Ever since Moscow put the cat among the pigeons by drawing attention to the existence of a network of US-funded and controlled biological warfare labs on Ukrainian soil, Washington has kept changing its story.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki opted for a flat denial: the reports were fake news put out by the Russians. Intelligence officials finessed the question: yes there were biolabs, funded by the USA, but they were simply conducting research into pathogens.
Victoria Nuland further muddied the water by telling a Senate committee: “The US is working with Ukraine to prevent biological research facilities from falling into the hands of Russians.”
It is hard to imagine such a panic seizing Washington if all that was at stake was some innocent academic study about, say, the common cold. In fact, a report by the US National Academy of Sciences back in 2012 reported that some of the labs were working with such pathogens as cholera and anthrax, prompting the World Health Organisation to advise their destruction to avoid “any potential spills”.
The development of the couple of dozen biolabs in Ukraine – themselves a fraction of the 400-odd US-controlled biolabs worldwide – is best understood in the context of European Union/Nato pressure on Ukraine to ‘integrate’ the country into the ‘civilised’ west.
In 2005, under president Viktor Yushchenko (the darling of the US-backed 2004 ‘Orange revolution’, US-funded biological warfare laboratories began operations on Ukrainian soil in collaboration with the USA. In 2008, Nato promised membership to Ukraine as an inducement to further integration with the west.
However, in 2013, the elected president Viktor Yanukovych, in line with his preferred policy of maintaining balanced relations between west and east, desisted from cooperation with these US-supported labs. This move was cut from the same cloth as Yanukovych’s pull-back from signing an association agreement with the EU, not wishing to sell out his country lock stock and barrel to the west.
Outraged by this modest show of independence, the US and EU backed the fascist putsch which unseated President Yanukovych and propelled the ‘chocolate king’ Petro Poroshenko into office. The new Kiev junta promptly signed up to the EU association agreement, embarked upon the state persecution of Russophone Ukrainian citizens – and resumed collaboration with the USA in setting up a network of biowarfare labs across the country.
So aside from a brief hiccup when it seemed that Kiev might actually cleave to a path of neutrality, the biolab project has been a work in progress for the last 17 years.
For most of that time, their doings flew under the public radar. But now, with Washington contradicting itself at every turn, and the sordid details of Hunter Biden’s business involvement reaching even the far reaches of the Daily Mail, this is a story that refuses to go away.
On 25 March, the Mail headline read: “Hunter Biden DID help secure millions in funding for a US contractor in Ukraine specialising in deadly pathogen research”. The day before, the Russian state duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin reported that an investment fund run by Hunter Biden had financed research and the implementation of the US military’s biological programme. (Josh Boswell)
It turned out that Hunter had started an investment company which went on to invest $500,000 in an outfit called Metabiota, specialising in pathogen research. Hunter further used his position as the holder of a well-remunerated sinecure on the board of Burisma (a Ukrainian gas company) to introduce Metabiota to Burisma officials, with a view to participating in a “science project” setting up biolabs.
These dealings were all revealed in emails preserved on a laptop owned by Hunter. According to the Daily Mail, Metbiota has worked in Ukraine for US defence contractor Black & Veatch (B&V), which built secure labs in Ukraine.
B&V was asked by the US government to build a lab in Odessa. According to the company’s own blurb, the aim was to “enhance the government’s existing surveillance systems to detect, report and respond to bioterrorism attacks, epidemics and potential pandemics”.
Yet, back in February, before Russia launched its military operation and was able to reveal physical evidence from the labs themselves, a spokesman had stated that the Russian military had documents which proved “that the Kiev regime was seriously considering the possibility of using biological weapons against the population of the Donbass and the Russian Federation”.
It is clear that questions about the activities of these toxic labs, why the US defence department is funding them, and why Ukraine has the dubious honour of hosting them, will not go away in a hurry.