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John Bolton

Russia's Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection Troops have released trove after trove of confidential documents detailing Pentagon bioweapons programs across the globe, particularly in Ukraine. US officials and media have broadly ignored the revelations, but part of the information has been corroborated in independent reporting.

John Bolton, the Washington arch-neocon who served as one of the architects of George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, and as former President Donald Trump's national security advisor before resigning in disgrace, was intimately involved in formulating the US drive for global dominance in bioweapons research, a top Russian military official has indicated. 

"The ongoing research by the United States to enhance the pathogenic properties of microorganisms is forcing us to rethink the statements of US officials in charge of countering biological threats. One such official is John Bolton, who [previously] served as the US national security advisor," Russian RCBP Troops chief Igor Kirillov said in a briefing Saturday. 

"Consider Bolton's September 2000 report 'Rebuilding America's Defenses,'" Kirillov said, recalling the paper's call for the US to take steps to maintain its military superiority deep into the 21st century. "The paper noted that to achieve a position of world leadership, the United States must maintain its military superiority, and one of the ways to do so was the creation of biological weapons. At the same time, the paper indicated that advanced forms of biological weapons capable of targeting certain genotypes could change the role of this type of weapon - from a deterrent into a beneficial policy tool," the senior officer said.

The MoD's briefing included the relevant quote from the 2000 document, which would go on to serve as a blueprint of sorts for the Bush administration's foreign and security policy.
Excerpt from the September 2000 document Rebuilding America's Defenses by the Project for the New American Century. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.11.2022
Excerpt from the September 2000 document Rebuilding America's Defenses by the Project for the New American Century. © Photo : PNAC
The "Rebuilding America's Defenses" paper's reference to the need for "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor" for neocons to be able to implement their empire-building plans raised eyebrows among journalists and historians in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, which took place one year after the paper was published.

New Documents

As is typical in his briefings, Kirillov accompanied his presentation with a fresh trove of documents, including papers related to US efforts to build up the country's military-biological potential. Unlike in earlier briefings, which featured classified materials, most of the documents cited in Saturday's presentation are already publicly available, with the MoD's take focusing on analyzing what is said and reading between the lines to uncover their implications.

The docs included the National Biodefense Strategy and Implementation Plan, a policy document published by the White House in October detailing US efforts ostensibly aimed at "countering biological threats, enhancing pandemic preparedness, and achieving global health security." Kirillov pointed out that the strategy has received $88 billion in funding for its implementation over five years, including $17 billion during the first year. 

Pointing to the document's statement that "biological risk management requires understanding and assessing biological risks and taking steps to mitigate those risks, regardless of whether they originate in the United States or abroad," Kirillov cited this as evidence of US attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of other states. 

The officer also pointed to US plans to continue the study of the pathogens of especially dangerous infectious diseases endemic to certain geographical areas, and efforts to cover up accusations of military biological activity by inviting the participation of civilian health organizations and scientists to work as contractors for the Pentagon.

"Thus, within the framework of the strategy, the United States intends to strengthen global control over the biological situation in the world, and reserve the right to conduct 'dual purpose' research, including outside US territory," Kirillov said.


Excerpt from White House national biodefense strategy document pointing to the dual-use nature of life sciences and biotech research. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.11.2022
Excerpt from White House national biodefense strategy document pointing to the dual-use nature of life sciences and biotech research. © Photo : White House


Unclassified portion of the DTRA's 2022-2027 Strategy document. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.11.2022

Unclassified portion of the DTRA's 2022-2027 Strategy document. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.11.2022
Unclassified portion of the DTRA's 2022-2027 Strategy document. © Photo : DTRA


The Russian MoD previously implicated the DTRA in a broad range of bioweapons-related activities around the globe, including the operation, funding, construction, and modernization of biolabs across Ukraine working with dangerous pathogens since at least 2005

Kirillov also pointed to the heavily redacted 345-page trove of documents recently retrieved by Judicial Watch through a FOIA request regarding the Pentagon's biological activities in Ukraine, including financing to Pentagon contractor Black and Veatch. The contractor and others like it received tens of millions of dollars to assist in a range of biowarfare-related programs across the Eastern European nation, from research into plague and typhus to diseases targeting agriculture, flora, fauna and even certain ethnic groups

"The published documents once again confirm the extent of cooperation between Kiev and Washington, as well as attempts to establish control over pathogens in Ukrainian laboratories through the introduction of the Pathogen Asset Control System (PACS), elements of which were transferred to Ukraine under the label 'property of the US Government,'" Kirillov said. 

"This corresponds to the materials at our disposal," the Russian officer said, pointing out that the MoD has already detailed how PACS has been used to enable the Pentagon to monitor in real time the location and use of deadly pathogens in laboratories across the planet, and provide it access to the results of ethically and legally dubious experimentation.

Unredacted excerpt from government document obtained via FOIA request detailing the PACS system and US reliance on contractor Black & Veatch. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.11.2022
Unredacted excerpt from government document obtained via FOIA request detailing the PACS system and US reliance on contractor Black & Veatch.

What Could Go Wrong?

One example of such dubious research has been the effort by virologists from Boston University to create a modified, chimeric SARS-CoV-2 strain with the spike protein of its Omicron strain and the remaining viral structures of the original virus, resulting in an estimated deadliness of 80 percent. 

"Although the US Department of Health and Human Services has decided to conduct an investigation into the activities of the university's leadership, the Boston experiment suggests that the United States does not have a system of state oversight on R&D in place in the field of genetic engineering and synthetic biology. Despite the high biological risks, the study was conducted using US government funds and without the appropriate approval from the national biosafety regulator," Kirillov said. 

The officer cited a recent US media analysis of over 5,500 pages of National Institutes of Health documents uncovered evidence of hundreds of accidents at biolabs across the US over the past two decades, with the incidents going undisclosed to the public and including instances of intralaboratory infections by deadly, genetically modified pathogens, and the escape of viruses and infected lab animals into heavily populated urban areas.

"The high risk of accidents in American biological laboratories is one of the reasons for their withdrawal from US jurisdiction and transfer to the territory of third countries, including Ukraine and other states. This explains the deterioration of the epidemiological situation in areas where they are situated, the emergence of diseases uncommon for these regions and their vectors," Kirillov said, pointing to the spread of a range of exotic diseases across Ukraine during the period that US biolabs have operated there.

Russia's Proposals

Ahead of the upcoming Ninth Review Conference to the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons, which will kick off in Geneva on November 28, Kirillov outlined a series of steps which can be taken to reduce the global risks posed by both natural and man-made epidemiological risks.

The officer pointed out that since the last meeting of the parties to the treaty was held in 2016, the world has faced a number of new threats, "including the pandemic spread of human and animal infections (COVID-19, monkeypox, African swine fever), risks posed by modern advances in biotechnology and synthetic biology, as well as the military biological activities of the Pentagon in various regions of the world." 

"In the face of the emerging challenges and threats, the Russian Federation proposes: First: restarting negotiations on the creation of a legally binding protocol to the BTWC which would include lists of pathogenic microorganisms, toxins, and specialized equipment, taking into account modern scientific and technological achievements in biology to provide for an effective verification mechanism," Kirillov said.

 Second: Complementing confidence-building measures with information about biosecurity-related research outside parties' national jurisdictions, as well as information about animal vaccine production facilities. Third: Providing for the creation of a scientific advisory committee to assess developments in science and technology relevant to the Convention, with broad geographical representation and equal rights for participants," he added. 

According to Kirillov, the implementation of these three proposals would increase the transparency of national biological research, and help assure the observance of BTWC requirements by state parties. 

The officer promised that Moscow would bring up US bioresearch activities outside its national borders, and the funding these projects get from the Pentagon, at the Geneva conference.


Ilya Tsukanov is a Moscow-based correspondent specializing in Eastern European, US and Middle Eastern politics, Cold War history, energy security and military affairs. Member of the Sputnik team since the site's inception in 2014.