In late March, as the COVID-19 outbreak spread across the United States, the Fort Detrik Army Institute of Infectious Disease Medicine (USAMRIID) in Maryland quietly returned to full operation.
Remarkably, last August, before the outbreak, the lab, which had a long history of mishaps, was suddenly asked to close.
As a former biological warfare research base for the US military, the Fort Detrick laboratory not only took over the biological warfare materials of invading Japanese Army Unit 731 stained with the blood of thousands of people in the mid-20th century, but also studied and stored a variety of deadly biological weapons and even was revealed to have experimented with mind control “brainwashing”.
After 1969, although fort Detrick switched its main business from “biological weapons research” to “Biological defense Project”, and became the US military’s only P4 biological laboratory, a number of security vulnerabilities were exposed.
The high-level laboratory, home to 67 high-risk pathogens, including Ebola, anthrax and plague, has seen serious cases of anthrax deaths caused by man-made leaks, as well as low-level leaks such as broken protective suits and illegal wastewater treatment.
The image of Fort Detrick as an “evil biological laboratory” has long been ingrained in The American psyche.
Fort Detrick’s experience studying biological warfare was mentioned or alluded to in the 1995 American disaster film “Zone of Terror” and the 2009 video game “Torture And The Original.”
Better known is the national Geographic Channel’s 2019 drama “The Blood Epidemic,” in which Fort Detrik’s role in the suspected Leeston-type Ebola outbreak in 1989 was brought to the forefront.
Controversy still surrounds the infamous “Dark Lab.”
Just as I was about to nod off, someone sent me a pillow
In early 1942, the United States, losing ground in the Pacific, tried to reverse the decline by launching the “Doolittle Raid”, the first bombing of The Japanese mainland, to wash away the shame of Pearl Harbor.
According to the Japan Times, the Japanese wanted to fight back by any means possible after the bombing of their homeland, and one of the plans was to put rinderpest virus in a high-altitude balloon and send it across the ocean with the high-altitude air currents to the mainland.
However, fearing a devastating American retaliation, the Japanese eventually cowered.
Although the Japanese temporarily abandoned the crazy idea of biological warfare on the American mainland, but the Japanese biological weapons research did not stop.
Water supply according to the Washington post pointed out that the kwantung army epidemic prevention department headquarters, the notorious Japanese 731 troops in northeast China was carried out, including human trials, all kinds of biological warfare and germ warfare research, and in the Chinese battlefield throwing bombs, infected with the bacterium vibrio cholerae flies are installed in the bomb, causing tens of thousands of people died.
Shocked by Japan’s germ warfare, the United States chose to collude with the enemy.
After an inspection tour, the ARMY chose the abandoned Detrick Airfield in Maryland as the home of the 731.
It has the advantage of being both isolated and not far from Washington, D.C., and Edgewood Arsenal, the U.S. Chemical Warfare Institute.
Of course, after nearly 80 years, Detrick is no longer the barren place it once was.
Detrick Airport officially ceased operations in 1943.
That same year, the federal government bought more land around the airport and renamed it Camp Detrick.
After much building, the ARMY biological Warfare Laboratory (USBWL) was built.
Detrick became the center of American biological warfare during World War II.
During World War II, Detrick had four biological agents manufacturing plants, according to NPR.
In 1944, the Army Biological Warfare Laboratory completed simulation tests and prepared to produce one million anthrax bombs for the U.S. military, considered its most important biological weapon and highly lethal.
But the next year, at the end of World War II, the U.S. military canceled the order.
Although the end of the second world war made it less urgent for America’s armed forces to use biological weapons as a “big kill” (and, of course, because America had an even bigger kill, nuclear), its ambitions in this area have not gone away.
Just as I was about to nod off, someone sent me a pillow.
This man was Shiro Ishii, the leader of Unit 731, who was trying to escape a post-war trial with a large amount of information.
To save his life, Ishii cut a deal with the US military to hand over all the research data he obtained through living experiments in exchange for immunity from prosecution for war crimes, according to the National Interest.
For the head of America’s biological weapons programme, the data from Unit 731 on biological warfare is “absolutely priceless”.
The Dedrick Army Biological Warfare Laboratory developed rapidly after obtaining information from Ishii’s research.
In the 1950s, the bioweapons program was one of the Pentagon’s most secret programs, focused on developing biological agents that could be used against enemy forces as well as animals and plants, according to NPR.
Crazy biological research
In 1956, Camp Detrick was first designated by the federal government as a permanent peacetime research and development facility for biological research, and was renamed Fort Detrick. The facility’s mission was to continue biological research and keep the United States a world leader in biological warfare.
To achieve this goal, the U.S. military conducted a series of shocking experiments at Fort Detrick, such as a biological warfare program that tried to attack enemy countries by releasing mosquitoes carrying the yellow fever virus from planes or helicopters.
Fort Detrick was producing half a million mosquitoes a month carrying the yellow fever virus, but the U.S. military, not content with that, planned to raise the number to a staggering 130 million a month.
In addition to using the “pervasive” mosquito as a weapon, Fort Detrick has studied many pathogens that can be used to destroy crops or trees, even developed a variety of biotoxins and conducted mock warfare experiments in the nation’s most populous cities, such as New York.
In 1975, the New York Times revealed that a Defense Department engineer named Charles Senseney said he had participated in the Fort Detrick Army Laboratory’s “vulnerability Study” of New York, designed to test the dangers of biological warfare.
Sanseni claims that fort Detrick workers, under instructions from the Army and the CIA, dropped a “light bulb” containing a simulated biotoxin on two New York Subway lines in 1966 or 1967.
When the bulb burst, the airflow from the train sent the simulated biotoxins along the tracks, Mr. Sanseni noted. “Within a short time after the two trains passed, the simulated biotoxins had spread from 15th street to 58th Street.”
The New York project, however, is just one of many experiments at Fort Detrick.
Together with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Fort Detrick workers secretly put a colored dye in the water supply of a Building in Washington, D.C., to test how quickly residents would die or become disabled if biological weapons were dropped in the building’s water supply, Sanseni said.
At the same time, Fort Detrick conducted research into the use of drugs to control the human mind.
Politico, a US political news website, revealed last September that the CIA conducted mind control research at Fort Detrick in the 1950s, which Allen Dulles, head of the agency’s Secret Service, named bluebird.
In 1951, Dulles hired chemist Sidney Gottlieb to advance the mind control project.
The latter is what Stephen Kinzer, author of “Poisoner-chief: Gottlieb and the CIA’s Search for Mind Control,” calls “America’s Joseph Mendler.”
Mengele was the Nazi “doctor” at the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp.
Gottlieb used a combination of psychotropic drugs and electric shocks to conduct mind control experiments on prisoners in secret detention facilities.
In 1954, a prison doctor in Kentucky quarantined seven black inmates and gave them “double, triple, quadruple” doses of hallucinogens for 77 consecutive days, the report said.
No one knows the whereabouts of the victims.
They may also have been ignorant of the CIA programs in which they were “engaged.”
In another experiment, captured Korean People’s Army soldiers were sedated and forced to take a powerful stimulant, then subjected to high temperatures and electric shocks in an attempt to control their spirits while they were in a transitional state of weakness.
“This is the most terrifying experiment the U.S. government has ever conducted on humans.”
However, in 1973, most of the records surrounding Fort Detrick and the CIA’s mind control program were destroyed.
The hidden truth of death
While fort Detrick was conducting all kinds of terror tests, accidents occurred frequently inside and outside the laboratory, such as pollutant leakage, animal death, mysterious death of employees, cancer of residents…
A series of events shocked the American people.
The New York Times published two stories on September 20 and 21, 1975, which revealed that the U.S. Army had covered up the deaths of three civilian employees at Fort Detrick, all of whom had died in suspicious circumstances in the 1950s and 1960s.
William A. Boyles, A microbiologist who had worked at Fort DE Creek, died in 1951 of A “rare disease,” his daughter wailed.
At the onset of his illness, he was diagnosed with a common cold by army doctors, but as his condition worsened, the army hospital refused to treat him. He was forced to be admitted to a local hospital, where he fell into a coma and died.
The US military did not admit until July 1975 that The true cause of Boyle’s death was anthrax, and said it had previously falsified his death certificate, giving the cause as “bronchopneumonias with gastric ulcers and bleeding”.
At the same time, the military also admitted to covering up the deaths of two other Fort Detrick employees, an electrician and an zookeeper, on July 5, 1958 and October 10, 1964, respectively, from what the military deemed “rare diseases.”
The electrician’s real cause of death, however, was anthrax, but the US military said at the time that he had died of “occupational respiratory disease”.
The zookeeper’s actual cause of death was Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, but his death certificate listed the cause as “viral encephalitis of undetermined cause.”
In addition, there are fort Detrick employees who, while still alive, have been outspoken about the devastating effects of biological weapons in the laboratory.
Bill Patrick was a senior fort Detrick employee who studied germ warfare and oversaw the team’s work, the New York Times reported in 1998.
He admitted that he was always present when US troops secretly tested deadly bacteria in remote areas.
He went to Hawaii in 1968, for example, one thousand km southwest of Marine observation a bacterial weapons test, when the U.S. dispatched fighter jets to weapon at fort detrick, developed by bacteria on the barge, and barge is filled with hundreds of rhesus monkeys and guinea pigs, after bacteria weapon attack, half of the animals.
Meanwhile, Patrick admitted that three of his colleagues died after accidentally touching a bacteriological weapon.
In 1969, President Richard Nixon was forced to stop the development of biological weapons, destroy existing biological weapons and ban “offensive biological research” in the United States.
Since then, Fort Detrick’s focus has shifted to “defensive biology.”
Critics within the US military, however, point out that “offensive” and “defensive” biological research are actually the same thing.
As a result, the civil opposition has not subsided.
In July 1970 the New York times reported that the peace organization alliance launched a protest during the month, and petition to congress and asked us to stop the development and production of chemical and biological weapons, one called “CBW movement” also called on the coalition against biological weapons at fort detrick, biological weapons research facilities into world health center.
Faced with wave after wave of protests, the administration gave in again, and Nixon went to Fort Detrik on the 19th of the month to announce the conversion of the Army biological warfare Research Center into a cancer research center, the New York Times reported in October 1971.
Experts praised the move in the federal government, they thought, for a country already has a chemical and nuclear weapons, biological weapons “almost useless”, but also have analysts doubt Nixon is “show”, says he will do so only in order to build their image of biological weapons, “terminator”, and the biological weapons development work could no substantive change.
Controversy continues as residents in the surrounding area suffer from unusual cancer
The New York Times noted in 1988 that after Nixon declared fort Detrik a cancer research center, scientists were still at the site for what they called “medical Defense B.W. Research,” developing vaccines or antidotes that could be used against any bacteriological weapons used by the U.S. military.
The Pentagon has identified a number of deadly diseases that could be used for biological warfare and they are among the first on the Fort Detrik study list, including Rift Valley fever, anthrax and haemorrhagic fever.
“For this reason, we are pursuing a unique form of medical defense research.”
Col. Richard Barquist, director of the Army’s Infectious Diseases Research Institute.
Critics of Fort Detrick’s work continue to stress that there is virtually no difference between “offensive” and “defensive” research.
“There’s really no difference in terms of research,” He agrees. “But we don’t develop biological weapons. It’s all medical research.”
Notably, after switching to “defensive” research, fort Detrick has had a number of pollution spills, not only have fort Detrick employees had to deal with death on a daily basis, but the lives of people living near the lab have also been shortened.
An 18-month senate review found “serious flaws” in the Pentagon’s security procedures for studying chemical and biological weapons defenses, the New York Times reported in 1988.
The Senate report noted that “unreasonable regulations, lax safety measures and ineffective safety measures have increased fivefold since 1980” in defense Department research on vaccines, drugs and devices.
The report also cited incidents at Fort Detrick involving biological research, including fires and chemical leaks.
The Pentagon responded only by saying it would conduct a full review of the report and would work with Congress to ensure that best safety standards were adhered to, but skirted the question of whether it would continue biological research.
But the situation did not get better. In the early 1990s, the loss of anthrax and other deadly strains and viruses occurred in fort Detrick Biological laboratory.
After the 2001 anthrax attacks that set off nationwide panic, the FBI charged suspects from the Fort Detrick biological laboratory, which infected 22 people, killed five of them, and gave 20,000 Americans antibiotics, the laboratory’s reputation plummeted.
In 2014, there were at least 37 cases of broken or perforated protective suits in laboratories.
With accidents large and small, people living near Fort Detrick are in a state of fear.
According to the Baltimore sun in 2011, despite decades of fort detrick, nearby residents have been suspected fort detrick experiment affects their health, but the U.S. has responded that the army had cleared 4000 tons of contaminated soil, and laid underground leakage layer, residents are completely unfounded.
Maryland health officials, who have studied cancer rates in the area over the past two decades, also said they found no evidence of excessive concentrations of pollutants and that cancer rates among local residents were not significantly higher than average.
But Randy White, a former pastor and businessman there, says Maryland’s cancer registry is not only incomplete but outdated.
White claims to have two daughters, one who died of brain cancer at age 30 and another who grew a tumor in her abdomen, while his ex-wife died of renal cell cancer in November 2010 and White’s mother was diagnosed with melanoma in September 2011.
The doctor told White that their condition was probably caused by their surroundings.
That’s why White hired epidemiologists and toxicologists to monitor air, soil and water pollution around Fort Detrik, as well as asking neighbors about their health histories and measuring toxin levels in their blood.
Tests showed there had been a leak of contaminants in the area around Fort Detrick.
Meanwhile, the Baltimore Sun reported that a 161-hectare section B on the west side of fort Detrik is being used as a dumping ground for discarded laboratory equipment and materials.
According to the ENVIRONMENTAL Protection Agency, toxic substances have indeed been commonly found in the soil around Fort Detrik, with the most toxic being trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE), both known carcinogens.
In addition to contaminants in the soil, groundwater near Fort Detrik also contains these two carcinogens, such as the fact that in 1992 Maryland state officials detected higher-than-normal LEVELS of TCE in the drinking water of four homes outside Area B.
After gathering evidence, White joined more than 100 residents around Fort Detrick in a lawsuit in 2010, seeking federal compensation for people whose health had been damaged by a leak of pollutants from Fort Detrick.
However, a District court in Maryland rejected the suit in 2016, saying it did not have jurisdiction, and in 2017 a US federal appeals court said it would not review the case, leaving no redress for the residents and their families.
In march of this year, from 1995 to 1998 as a fort detrick, director of the laboratory for the retired U.S. army colonel David Franz and the bacteria: biological weapons and the secret wars author Judith miller in the City daily (City Journal) signed in an article published on the truth laboratory management problems, including a lack of money, not overlooked by the pentagon, dilettante leadership adept, divided, and so on.
In 2016, the pentagon inspector general’s office issued a military biological research about enterprise audit report also pointed out that “the public’s health and safety at risk”, because these laboratories exists “using untested research plan, the lack of regular check, even not be checked, but not obviously by the department of defense to correct the defects and loopholes” and so on.
Shut down suddenly and restart again
But for all its problems, while residents around the city question the spill, Fort Detrick is expanding aggressively.
The federal government plans to overhaul existing facilities at Fort Detrik and build a new “biodefense research complex,” which will include laboratories operating at the highest biosafety level to handle the deadliest pathogens, according to an August 2006 article in Nature Science.
The plan was immediately bombarded by public opinion.
“It’s almost pointless in any way.”
“It’s expensive, it’s dangerous and it’s dangerous to the safety of residents,” said Barry Kissin, a Maryland lawyer and congressional candidate.
Analysts believe that more LABS will only increase the threat to the surrounding community, and that “pathogens may leak out of the LABS.”
Others accuse the expansion of Fort Detrick of making other countries suspicious of American attempts to develop offensive biological weapons.
Despite the opposition, the expansion of Fort Detrick was completed in 2008.
But just a few years after the expansion was completed, Fort Detrick was abruptly shut down in August 2019 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In a statement, the Army Infectious Disease Medical Institute at Fort Detrik said research at the facility involving dangerous microbes such as The Ebola virus has been suspended.
Vander Linden, a spokesman for the institute, said in an interview that Fort Detrik could be shut down for months because its top-safety LABS ‘wastewater treatment systems are not capable.’
Linden revealed that at fort detrick, problems can be traced back to May 2018, at that time, the heavy rain make the institute for the treatment of laboratory wastewater steam sterilization equipment scrapped, the water and the device has decades of history, “which makes the study stopped for several months, until the institute has developed a new decontamination system using chemicals to recover.”
But new problems ensued.
Linden noted that despite the new system requiring changes to certain procedures in the lab, an inspection in June 2019 found that staff were not following the new procedures. “Inspectors also found mechanical problems with the decontamination system, while there were still chemical leaks.”
According to the “military” news website report, get rid of waste water purification system fault, the CDC also found during inspection staff within the fort detrick blatant violation safety instructions for many times, as in the removal of biological hazardous waste, staff should open the high pressure sterilization room door, increased the risk of contaminated air into the high pressure sterilization room.
In the autoclave, workers don’t even wear protective equipment.
, however, does not entirely put on the fort detrick, according to “military” web site reported in November 2019, the U.S. army medical research institute of infectious diseases, announced that month at fort detrick will restart part of the facilities, the head of the institute colonel Cox (Darrin Cox) stressed that the CDC noted all don’t follow the rules and regulations of safety problems are solved.
A few months later, coVID-19 broke out in many parts of the world, including the United States.
The Wall Street journal reported in March 2020, studied the SARS virus in recent years, village card virus, ebola vaccine at fort detrick chosen again, through the field after checking the CDC’s last, fort detrick, on March 27 run full recovery, and the federal government as much as $900 million of funding, to research and development will be coronavirus vaccine.
This mysterious laboratory with a history of multiple deadly biological weapons is now on the front line of the Novel Coronavirus…