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Category Archives: Germ Warfare

The Sverdlovsk Incident Was One of the World’s Worst Chemical Weapons Mishaps – War Is Boring

Posted: July 9, 2017 at 12:43 pm

In October 1979, a West German newspaper run by Soviet migrs ran a vague story alleging that an explosion in a military factory in Sverdlovsk now Yekaterinburg had released deadly bacteria, killing as many as a thousand people. The story swiftly drew attention from other Western newspapers and eventually the U.S. government, because if Soviet factories were producing biological weapons, they were doing so in contravention of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.

Not so, Moscow swiftly retorted. Yes, an outbreakhadkilled dozens in Sverdlovsk, a closed city devoted to the Soviet military-industrial complex and the fourth largest in Russia today. But the culprit was tainted meat afflicted by anthrax.

Anthrax is an infection caused by a naturally occurring bacteria transported via spores that can be found all over the planet, and that can lie dormant in the soil for some time. Humans are most commonly affected by anthrax when abraded skin makes contact while handling an affected animal, particularly sheep or cattle, or animal products such as hides or wool.

This form, known as cutaneous anthrax, leaves nasty sores, but is only fatal 20 percent of the time when left untreated. Much rarer gastrointestinal anthrax infections can result from eating infected animals.

However, the deadliest form of transmission involves breathing in anthrax spores, and has an 85 percent fatality rate. For pulmonary anthrax infections to occur, high concentrations of spores must be inhaled, and the spores cannot be too large, so as to slip past human mucous membranes. Once inside the human body, the bacteria multiply and in a couple of days begin producing deadly toxins.

The victim may feel flu-like symptoms such as a sore throat and aching muscles, as well as shortness of breath and nausea. These symptoms progress to intense bleeding coughs, fevers, interrupted breathing and lethal meningitis, leading to characteristic dark swelling along the chest and neck. Vaccination with antibiotics is effective at preventing the infection, but is not effective once the infection sets in.

Because anthrax can be easily manufactured and remains stable for years, it also was ideal as a biological weapona fact that U.S. scientists were aware of due to the experience of their own biological-weapons program, which had been active since 1943.

The United Statesultimately mass-produced six major strains of deadly bioweapons, many of which were designed to be spread by air-dropped cluster bombs. However, Pres. Richard Nixon brought an end to the program in 1969, and three years later most of the worlds nations signed onto the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, banning not only the use, but the production and development, of biological weapons.

However, the convention lacked a formal compliance and monitoring mechanism. Furthermore, it does not ban research on how to defendagainst bioweapons which explains why weapons-grade anthrax is stored in U.S. government laboratories, and was available for use in the infamous anthrax letters that were sent shortly after 9/11, likely by a disgruntled employee.

U.S. intelligence analysts were skeptical of the Soviet tainted-meat story CIA agents had obtained scattered reports supporting the narrative that there had been a factory accident at the time of the outbreak. Furthermore, the deaths of Soviet citizens spanning over two months did not cohere with a tainted meat-supply problem, which could have been dealt with swiftly.

The Reagan administration seized on the incident to lay into the Soviet Union for apparently contravening the bioweapons ban.

The Soviet press maintained that this just showed how Washington was ready to use any tragedy afflicting the Soviet people to its political advantage. Some U.S. scientists, such as renowned Harvard researcher Matthew Meselson, were also inclined to believe the Soviet explanation.

In 1981, the United States had alleged that communist forces in Asia made use of Yellow Rain mycotoxins in Asiaallegations that were widely discredited. When, in 1988, Soviet scientist Pyotr Burgasov flew to the United States and presented autopsy records and photos from the victims of the Sverdlovsk outbreak, many Western scientists were finally persuaded that the incident merely reflected an embarrassing slip-up of the Soviet medical system.

However, even that autopsy data suggested some curious anomalies, including evidence of swelling of the lungs corresponding to a pulmonary anthrax infection. Furthermore, why had the outbreak mostly affected adult males, and relatively few women or children? New rumors emerged that the Soviet Union had developed some form of disease tailored to kill military-age men.

The true situation would soon come to light in 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union. The newly anointed Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, confided to Pres. George H.W. Bush at a conference that U.S. allegations about the Soviet bioweapon were entirely true. Yeltsin, as it happened, had been the party boss in the Sverdlovsk during the outbreak, which he admitted wasthe result of the bioweapons accident.

Just a year after signing on to the 1972 bioweapons ban, the Soviet Union had actually expandedits bioweapons production via a massive new civilian program, known as Biopreparat,that employed 50,000 personnel scattered across 52separate facilities. Biopreparathad manufactured hundreds of tons of a dozen different biowarfare agents, designed to be spread by missiles or sprayed out of airplanes.

Mishaps didoccur for example, in 1971, weaponized smallpox being tested on Vozrozhdeniya Island infected a scientist on a passing ship, leading to three deaths.

The deputy director of Biopreparat, Kanatzhan Alibekov (now Ken Alibek), would later immigrate to the United States and give his account of the Sverdlovsk incident in his bookBiohazard, based on accounts he overheard from several colleagues.

The bacteria had originated from a bioweapons facility in Sverdlovsk known as Compound 19A, built in 1946 using specifications found in the Japanese germ warfare documents captured in Manchuria, according to Alibekov. The Japanese Unit 731 was infamous during World War II for both testing and field deploying bioweapons targeting Chinese civilians.

Compound 19A produced tons of anthrax in powdered form annually, for release from ballistic missiles in particular a strainknown as Anthrax 836selected (not designed) because it was particularly deadly to humans. One day Alibek places the date as March 30, 1979, though most sources insist it was early April a technician removed a clogged filter and left a note indicating it needed to be replaced.

His account continues:

Compound 19 was the Fifteenth Directorates busiest production plant. Three shifts operated around the clock, manufacturing a dry anthrax weapon for the Soviet arsenal. It was stressful and dangerous work. The fermented anthrax cultures had to be separated from their liquid base and dried before they could be ground into a fine powder for use in an aerosol form, and there were always spores floating in the air. Workers were given regular vaccinations, but the large filters clamped over the exhaust pipes were all that stood between the anthrax dust and the outside world. After each shift, the big drying machines were shut down briefly for maintenance checks. A clogged air filter was not an unusual occurrence, but it had to be replaced immediately.

Lieutenant Colonel Nikolai Chernyshov, supervisor of the afternoon shift that day, was in as much of a hurry to get home as his workers. Under the armys rules, he should have recorded the information about the defective filter in the logbook for the next shift, but perhaps the importance of the technicians note didnt register in his mind, or perhaps he was simply overtired. When the night shift manager came on duty, he scanned the logbook. Finding nothing unusual, he gave the command to start the machines up again. A fine dust containing anthrax spores and chemical additives swept through the exhaust pipes into the night air.

The missing filter was noticed hours later and swiftly corrected but by then it was too late. A brisk night breeze had carried the deadly spores over into an adjacent ceramics factory, infecting the largely male factory laborers working the night shift. Nearly all died within a week.

The city authorities were kept in the dark about the accident until the outbreak became apparent. Then the party swiftly engaged in a cover-up.

Troops established a perimeter around the factory, while Soviet officials announced that tainted meat was responsible. Hundreds of stray dogs were shot and black-market food vendors were arrested for spreading tainted food. The KGB destroyed hospital records and pathological reports documenting the outbreak, while the victims bodies were bathed in chemical disinfectants to remove the evidence left by the spores.

According to Alibek, damage control measures instigated by ill-informed Soviet officials actually worsened the outbreak.

The local Communist Party boss, who was apparently told that there had been a leak of hazardous material from the plant, ordered city workers to scrub and trim trees, spray roads, and hose down roofs. This spread the spores further through secondary aerosolsspores that had settled after the initial release and were stirred up again by the cleanup blitz. Anthrax dust drifted through the city, and new victims arrived at the hospitals with black ulcerous swellings on their skin.

Through May, at least99 Soviet citizens were infected and 64died within a two-and-a-half-mile radius of the factory. Alibek claims he was told the actual count was closer to 105. For sheep, which were more susceptible to the spores, cases were reported within 30miles.

Boris Yeltsin more or less supported Alibeks account when he admitted to the chemical weapons program and the accident in a speech in 1993. Furthermore, Andrei Mironyuk, head of the Special Department of the Ural Military District, also testified to a chemical accident inUralmagazine in 2008.

And of course, Yeltsin also allowed in international inspectors, including Matthew Meselson, whose findings now supported the explanation of bioweapons leak, as recounted in his wifes history of the incident,Anthrax: The Investigation of a Deadly Outbreak.

Yet despite the former Russian presidents open testimony to the contrary, the Sverdlovsk incident is treated as an open question today in Russia, with some Russian officials sticking to the tainted-meat story.

TheRussian-language Wikipedia articleon the incident lists both tainted-meat and factory leak narratives, and then lists a number of conspiracy theories blaming Western bioterrorists. Burgasov, the scientist who earlier had presented the tainted meat evidence in the United States, now claims that the anthrax strains in Sverdlovsk are only found in Canada or South Africa.

The Sverdlovsk incident illustrates both how inherently awful and self-destructive bioweapons have the potential to be, and the extent to which authoritarian societies engage in extraordinary deception and obfuscation to conceal their accidents and illicit activities. It should bring to mind the elaborate deception following theshooting down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007in 1983. Even in the face of strong contravening evidence, indignant denials can sway the fair-minded and convince sympathetic observers.

By some accounts, the facility at Compound 19 remained active in Yekaterinburg and is still engaged in bioweapons production. States today already dispose of vast arsenals of destructive and inhumane weaponry, ranging from thermobaric warheads to nerve gas and nuclear warheadsso what need is there to add biological weapons to the mix?

Surely, it should be in the collective interest of all nations to truly adhere to the ban on biological weapons, which have abundant potential to turn on their users, whether by accident or in the hands of terrorists.

This article originally appeared at The National Interest.

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The Sverdlovsk Incident Was One of the World’s Worst Chemical Weapons Mishaps – War Is Boring

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Documents Expose How Hollywood Promotes War on Behalf of the Pentagon, CIA and NSA – Center for Research on Globalization

Posted: at 12:42 pm

Alongside the massive scale of these operations, our new bookNational Security Cinemadetails how US government involvement also includes script rewrites on some of the biggest and most popular films, including James Bond, theTransformersfranchise, and movies from the Marvel and DC cinematic universes.

A similar influence is exerted over military-supported TV, which ranges fromHawaii Five-OtoAmericas Got Talent,OprahandJay LenotoCupcake Wars, along with numerous documentaries by PBS, the History Channel and the BBC.

National Security Cinemaalso reveals how dozens of films and TV shows have been supported and influenced by the CIA, including the James Bond adventureThunderball, the Tom Clancy thrillerPatriot Gamesand more recent films, includingMeet the ParentsandSalt.

The CIA even helped to make an episode ofTop Chefthat was hosted at Langley, featuring then-CIA director Leon Panetta who was shown as having to skip dessert to attend to vital business. Was this scene real, or was it a dramatic statement for the cameras?

James Bond and Domino are rescued via a plane and skyhook that was loaned to the production by CIA front company Intermountain AviationThunderball (Source: Medium)

The Militarys Political Censorship of Hollywood

When a writer or producer approaches the Pentagon and asks for access to military assets to help make their film, they have to submit their script to the entertainment liaison offices for vetting. Ultimately, the man with the final say is Phil Strub, the Department of Defenses (DOD) chief Hollywood liaison.

If there are characters, action or dialogue that the DOD dont approve of then the film-maker has to make changes to accommodate the militarys demands. If they refuse then the Pentagon packs up its toys and goes home. To obtain full cooperation the producers have to sign contractsProduction Assistance Agreementswhich lock them into using a military-approved version of the script.

This can lead to arguments when actors and directors ad lib or improvise outside of this approved screenplay.

On set at Edwards Air Force base during the filming ofIron Man,there was an angry confrontation between Strub and director Jon Favreau.

Favreau wanted a military character to say the line, People would kill themselves for the opportunities I have, but Strub objected. Favreau argued that the line should remain in the film, and according to Strub:

Hes getting redder and redder in the face and Im getting just as annoyed. It was pretty awkward and then he said, angrily, Well how about theyd walk over hot coals? I said fine. He was so surprised it was that easy.

In the end, this compromised line did not appear in the finished film.

One of several scenes for Iron Man filmed at Edwards Air ForceBase (Source: Medium)

It seems that any reference to military suicideeven an off-hand remark in a superhero action-comedy adventureis something the DODs Hollywood office will not allow.It is understandably a sensitive and embarrassing topic for them, when duringsome periodsof the ever-expanding and increasingly futile War on Terror, more US servicemen havekilled themselvesthan have died in combat. But why shouldnt a movie about a man who builds his own flying suit of armour not be able to include such jokes?

Another one-line quip that was censored by the DOD came in the James Bond filmTomorrow Never Dies.

When Bond is about to HALO jump out of a military transport plane they realise hes going to land in Vietnamese waters. In the original script Bonds CIA sidekick jokes You know what will happen. It will be war, and maybe this time well win.

This line was removed at the request of the DOD.

Strangely, Phil Strub denied that there was any support forTomorrow Never Dies, while the pre-eminent scholar in the field Lawrence Suid only lists the DOD connection under Unacknowledged Cooperation.

But the DOD are credited at the end of the film and we obtained a copy of the Production Assistance Agreement between the producers and the Pentagon.

The DOD-approved version of the HALO scene in Tomorrow Never Dies

Vietnam is evidently another sore topic for the US military, which also removed a reference to the war from the screenplay forHulk(2003). While the military are not credited at the end of the film, on IMDB or in the DODs own database of supported movies, we acquired a dossier from the US Marine Corps detailing their radical changes to the script.

This included making the laboratory where the Hulk is accidentally created into a non-military facility, making the director of the lab an ex-military character, and changing the code name of the military operation to capture the Hulk from Ranch Hand to Angry Man.

Ranch Hand is the name of a real military operation that saw the US Air Force dump millions of gallons of pesticides and other poisons onto the Vietnamese countryside, rendering millions of acres of farmland poisoned and infertile.

They also removed dialogue referring to all those boys, guinea pigs, dying from radiation, and germ warfare, an apparent reference to covert military experiments on human subjects.

The documents we obtained further reveal that the Pentagon has the power to stop a film from being made by refusing or withdrawing support. Some movies such asTop Gun,TransformersandAct of Valorare so dependent on military cooperation that they couldnt have been made without submitting to this process. Others were not so lucky.

The movieCountermeasureswas rejected by the military for several reasons, and consequently never produced. One of the reasons is that the script included references to the Iran-Contra scandal, and as Strub saw it Theres no need for us to remind the public of the Iran-Contra affair.

SimilarlyFields of FireandTop Gun 2were never made because they couldnt obtain military support, again due to politically controversial aspects of the scripts.

This soft censorship also affects TV. For example, a planned Louis Theroux documentary on Marine Corps recruit training was rejected, and as a result was never made.

It is impossible to know exactly how widespread this military censorship of entertainment is because many files are still being withheld. The majority of the documents we obtained are diary-like reports from the entertainment liaison offices, which rarely refer to script changes, and never in an explicit, detailed way. However, the documents do reveal that the DOD requires a preview screening of any project they support and sometimes makes changes even after a production has wrapped.

The documents also record the pro-active nature of the militarys operations in Hollywood and that they are finding ways to get involved during the earliest stages of development, when characters and storylines are most easily shaped to the Armys benefit.

The DODs influence on popular culture can be found at all stages of production, granting them the same kind of power as major studio executives.

Agencywood: The CIA and NSAs Influence on MovieScripts

Despite having far fewer cinematic assets the CIA has also been able to wield considerable influence on some of the projects they have supported (or refused to support).

There is no formal CIA script review process but the Agencys long-serving entertainment liaison officer Chase Brandon was able to insert himself into the early stages of the writing process on several TV and film productions.

The new recruits arrive at CIA training facility The Farm inThe Recruit

Brandon did this most prominently on the spy thrillerThe Recruit, where a new agent is put through CIA training at The Farman obvious vehicle for inducting the audience into that world and giving them a glimpse behind the curtain. The original story treatment and early drafts of the script were written by Brandon, though he is only credited on the film as a technical advisor, covering up his influence on the content.

The Recruitincludes lines about the new threats of the post-Soviet world (including that great villainous justification for a $600 billion defense budget, Peru), along with rebuttals of the idea that the CIA failed to prevent 9/11. And it repeats the adage that the CIAs failures are known, but its successes are not. All of this helped to propagate the idea that the Agency is a benevolent, rational actor in a chaotic and dangerous world.

The CIA has also managed to censor scripts, removing or changing sequences that they didnt want the public to see. OnZero Dark Thirtyscreenwriter Mark Boal verbally shared his script with CIA officers, and they removed a scene where a drunk CIA officer fires an AK-47 into the air from a rooftop in Islamabad, and removed the use of dogs from the torture scenes.

In a very different kind of film, the hugely popular romantic comedyMeet the Parents, Brandon requested that they change a scene where Ben Stillers character discovers Robert De Niros (Stillers father-in-law to be) secret hideaway. In the original script Stiller finds CIA torture manuals on a desk, but Brandon changed that to photos of Robert De Niro with various dignitaries.

Ben Stiller discovers that Robert De Niro is working for the CIAMeet theParents (Source: Medium)

Indeed, the CIAs ability to influence movie scripts goes back to their early years. In the 1940s and 50s they managed to prevent any mention of themselves appearing in film and TV untilNorth by Northwestin 1959. This included rejecting requests for production support, meaning that some films were never made, and censoring all references to the CIA in the script for the Bob Hope comedyMy Favourite Spy.

The CIA even sabotaged a planned series of documentaries about their predecessor, the OSS, by having assets at CBS develop a rival production to muscle the smaller studio out of the market. Once this was achieved, the Agency pulled the plug on the CBS series too, ensuring that the activities of the OSS remained safe from public scrutiny.

While very little is known about the NSAs activities in the entertainment industry we did find indications that they are adopting similar tactics to the CIA and DOD.

Internal NSA emails show that the producers ofEnemy of the Statewere invited on multiple tours of NSA headquarters. When they used a helicopter to film aerial footage of Fort Meade, the NSA did not prevent them from using it in the movie.

According to a 1998interviewwith producer Jerry Bruckheimer, they changed the script at the NSAs request so that the wrongdoings were the actions of one bad apple NSA official, and not the agency in general.

Bruckheimer said:

I think the NSA people will be pleased. They certainly wont come out as bad as they could have. NSAs not the villain.

This idea of using cinema to pin the blame for problems on isolated rogue agents or bad apples, thus avoiding any notion of systemic, institutional or criminal responsibility, is right out of the CIA/DODs playbook.

NSA headquarters at Fort MeadeEnemy of theState (Source: Medium)

In all, we are looking at a vast, militarised propaganda apparatus operating throughout the screen entertainment industry in the United States.

It is not quite an official censor, since decisions on scripts are made voluntarily by producers, but it represents a major and scarcely acknowledged pressure on the kind of narratives and images we see on the big and small screens.

In societies already eager to use our hard power overseas, the shaping of our popular culture to promote a pro-war mindset must be taken seriously.

***

Tom Secker and Matthew Alford are co-authors of the new book,National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood.

Secker is a British-based writer who covers the security services, Hollywood and the history of terrorism. He runs theSpyCultureblog which can be supported viaPatreon.com. His work has been covered by The Mirror, The Express, Salon, TechDirt and elsewhere.

Dr Alford is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Politics, Language and International Studies at the University of Bath. His documentary film based on his research,The Writer with No Hands,was premiered in 2014 at Hot Docs, Toronto and won runner-up at the Ammar Popular Film Festival, Tehran.

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Documents Expose How Hollywood Promotes War on Behalf of the Pentagon, CIA and NSA – Center for Research on Globalization

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The Story of the Deadly Anthrax Outbreak Russia Wanted to Hide … – Scout

Posted: July 8, 2017 at 9:41 pm

In October 1979, a West German newspaper run by Soviet migrs ran a vague story alleging that an explosion in a military factory in Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg) had released deadly bacteria, killing as many as a thousand.

In October 1979, a West German newspaper run by Soviet migrs ran a vague story alleging that an explosion in a military factory in Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg) had released deadly bacteria, killing as many as a thousand. The story swiftly drew attention from other Western newspapers and eventually the U.S. government, because if Soviet factories were producing biological weapons, they were doing so in contravention of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.

Not so, Moscow swiftly retorted. Yes, an outbreakhadkilled dozens in Sverdlovsk, a closed city devoted to the Soviet military-industrial complex and the fourth largest in Russia today. But the culprit was tainted meat afflicted by anthrax.

Anthrax is an infection caused by a naturally occurring bacteria transported via spores that can be found all over the planet, and that can lie dormant in the soil for some time. Humans are most commonly affected by anthrax when abraded skin makes contact while handling an affected animal, particularly sheep or cattle, or animal products such as hides or wool. This form, known as cutaneous anthrax, leaves nasty sores, but is only fatal 20 percent of the time when left untreated. Much rarer gastrointestinal anthrax infections can result from eatinginfected animals.

This story was originally published by The National Interest

However, the deadliest form of transmission involves breathing in anthrax spores, and has an 85 percent fatality rate. For pulmonary anthrax infections to occur, high concentrations of spores must be inhaled, and the spores cannot be too large, so as to slip past human mucous membranes. Once inside the human body, the bacteria multiply and in a couple of days begin producing deadly toxins. The victim may feel flu-like symptoms such as a sore throat and aching muscles, as well as shortness of breath and nausea. These symptoms progress to intense bleeding coughs, fevers, interrupted breathing and lethal meningitis (inflammation of the brain), leading to characteristic dark swelling along the chest and neck. Vaccination with antibiotics is effective at preventing the infection, but is not effective once the infection sets in.

Because anthrax can be easily manufactured and remains stable for years, it also was ideal as a biological weapona fact that U.S. scientists were aware of due to the experience of their own biological-weapons program, which had been active since 1943. It ultimately mass-produced six major strains of deadly bioweapons, many of which were designed to be spread by air-dropped cluster bombs. However, President Richard Nixon brought an end to the program in 1969, and three years later most of the worlds nations signed onto the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, banning not only the use, but the production and development, of biological weapons.

However, the convention lacked a formal compliance and monitoring mechanism. Furthermore, it does not ban research on how to defendagainst bioweaponswhich explains why weapons-grade anthrax is stored in U.S. government laboratories, and was available for use in the infamous anthrax letters that were sent shortly after 9/11, likely by a disgruntled employee.

U.S. intelligence analysts were skeptical of the Soviet tainted-meat storyCIA agents had obtained scattered reports supporting the narrative that there had been a factory accident at the time of the outbreak. Furthermore, the deaths of Soviet citizens spanning over two months did not cohere with a tainted meat-supply problem, which could have been dealt with swiftly. The Reagan administration seized on the incident to lay into the Soviet Union for apparently contravening the bioweapons ban.

The Soviet press maintained that this just showed how Washington was ready to use any tragedy afflicting the Soviet people to its political advantage. Some U.S. scientists, such as renowned Harvard researcher Matthew Meselson, were also inclined to believe the Soviet explanation. In 1981, the United States had alleged that Communist forces in Asia made use of Yellow Rain mycotoxins in Asiaallegations that were widely discredited. When, in 1988, Soviet scientist Pyotr Burgasov flew to the United States and presented autopsy records and photos from the victims of the Sverdlovsk outbreak, many Western scientists were finally persuaded that the incident merely reflected an embarrassing slip-up of the Soviet medical system.

However, even that autopsy data suggested some curious anomalies, including evidence of swelling of the lungs corresponding to a pulmonary anthrax infection. Furthermore, why had the outbreak mostly affected adult males, and relatively few women or children? New rumors emerged that the Soviet Union had developed some form of disease tailored to kill military-age men.

The true situation would soon come to light in 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union. The newly anointed Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, confided to President George H.W. Bush at a conference that U.S. allegations about the Soviet bioweapon were entirely true. Yeltsin, as it happened, had been the party boss in the Sverdlovsk during the outbreak, which he admitted wasthe result of the bioweapons accident.

Just a year after signing on to the 1972 bioweapons ban, the Soviet Union had actually expandedits bioweapons production via a massive new civilian program, known as Biopreparat,that employed fifty thousand personnel scattered across fifty-two separate facilities. Biopreparathad manufactured hundreds of tons of a dozen different biowarfare agents, designed to be spread by missiles or sprayed out of airplanes. And mishaps didoccurfor example, in 1971, weaponized smallpox being tested on Vozrozhdeniya Island had infected a scientist on a passing ship, leading to three deaths.

The deputy director of Biopreparat, Kanatzhan Alibekov (now Ken Alibek), would later immigrate to the United States and give his account of the Sverdlovsk incident in his bookBiohazard[3], based on accounts he overheard from several colleagues.

The bacteria had originated from a bioweapons facility in Sverdlovsk known as Compound 19A, built in 1946 using specifications found in the Japanese germ warfare documents captured in Manchuria, according to Alibekov. The Japanese Unit 731 was infamous during World War II for both testing and field deploying bioweapons targeting Chinese civilians.

Compound 19A produced tons of anthrax in powdered form annually, for release from ballistic missilesin particular a strainknown as Anthrax 836[4]selected (not designed) because it was particularly deadly to humans. One dayAlibek places the date as March 30, 1979, though most sources insist it was early Aprila technician removed a clogged filter and left a note indicating it needed to be replaced.

His account continues:

Compound 19 was the Fifteenth Directorate’s busiest production plant. Three shifts operated around the clock, manufacturing a dry anthrax weapon for the Soviet arsenal. It was stressful and dangerous work. The fermented anthrax cultures had to be separated from their liquid base and dried before they could be ground into a fine powder for use in an aerosol form, and there were always spores floating in the air. Workers were given regular vaccinations, but the large filters clamped over the exhaust pipes were all that stood between the anthrax dust and the outside world. After each shift, the big drying machines were shut down briefly for maintenance checks. A clogged air filter was not an unusual occurrence, but it had to be replaced immediately.

Lieutenant Colonel Nikolai Chernyshov, supervisor of the afternoon shift that day, was in as much of a hurry to get home as his workers. Under the army’s rules, he should have recorded the information about the defective filter in the logbook for the next shift, but perhaps the importance of the technician’s note didn’t register in his mind, or perhaps he was simply overtired. When the night shift manager came on duty, he scanned the logbook. Finding nothing unusual, he gave the command to start the machines up again. A fine dust containing anthrax spores and chemical additives swept through the exhaust pipes into the night air.

The missing filter was noticed hours later and swiftly correctedbut by then it was too late. A brisk night breeze had carried the deadly spores over into an adjacent ceramics factory, infecting the largely male factory laborers working the night shift. Nearly all died within a week.

The city authorities were kept in the dark about the accident until the outbreak became apparent. Then the party swiftly engaged in a cover-up. Troops established a perimeter around the factory, while Soviet officials announced that tainted meat was responsible. Hundreds of stray dogs were shot and black-market food vendors were arrested for spreading tainted food. The KGB destroyed hospital records and pathological reports documenting the outbreak, while the victims bodies were bathed in chemical disinfectants to remove the evidence left by the spores.

According to Alibek, damage control measures instigated by ill-informed Soviet officials actually worsened the outbreak.

The local Communist Party boss, who was apparently told that there had been a leak of hazardous material from the plant, ordered city workers to scrub and trim trees, spray roads, and hose down roofs. This spread the spores further through “secondary aerosols”spores that had settled after the initial release and were stirred up again by the cleanup blitz. Anthrax dust drifted through the city, and new victims arrived at the hospitals with black ulcerous swellings on their skin.

Through May, at least ninety-nine Soviet citizens were infected and sixty-four died within a two-and-a-half-mile radius of the factory. Alibek claims he was told the actual count was closer to 105. For sheep, which were more susceptible to the spores, cases were reported within thirty miles.

Boris Yeltsin more or less supported Alibeks account when he admitted to the chemical weapons program and the accident in a speech in 1993. Furthermore, Andrei Mironyuk, head of the Special Department of the Ural Military District, also testified to a chemical accident inUralmagazine in 2008. And of course, Yeltsin also allowed in international inspectors, including Matthew Meselson, whose findings now supported the explanation of bioweapons leak, as recounted in his wifes history of the incident,Anthrax: The Investigation of a Deadly Outbreak[5].

Yet despite the former Russian presidents open testimony to the contrary, the Sverdlovsk incident is treated as an open question today in Russia, with some Russian officials sticking to the tainted-meat story. TheRussian-language Wikipedia article[6]on the incident lists both tainted-meat and factory leak narratives, and then lists a number of conspiracy theories blaming Western bioterrorists. Burgasov, the scientist who earlier had presented the tainted meat evidence in the United States, now claims that the anthrax strains in Sverdlovsk are only found in Canada or South Africa.

The Sverdlovsk incident illustrates both how inherently awful and self-destructive bioweapons have the potential to be, and the extent to which authoritarian societies engage in extraordinary deception and obfuscation to conceal their accidents and illicit activities. It should bring to mind the elaborate deception following theshooting down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007[7]in 1983. Even in the face of strong contravening evidence, indignant denials can sway the fair-minded and convince sympathetic observers.

By some accounts, the facility at Compound 19 remained active in Yekaterinburg and is still engaged in bioweapons production. States today already dispose of vast arsenals of destructive and inhumane weaponry, ranging from thermobaric warheads to nerve gas and nuclear warheadsso what need is there to add biological weapons to the mix? Surely, it should be in the collective interest of all nations to truly adhere to the ban on biological weapons, which have abundant potential to turn on their users, whether by accident or in the hands of terrorists.

This story was originally published by The National Interest

Sbastien Roblin holds a masters degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history forWar Is Boring[8].

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The Story of the Deadly Anthrax Outbreak Russia Wanted to Hide … – Scout

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The case for keeping ‘Langevin Block’ – Macleans.ca

Posted: June 30, 2017 at 12:50 am

People relax on the front lawn of the Parliament buildings near Langevin Block in Ottawa, Wednesday June 21, 2017. The federal government is renaming the Langevin Block building, which sits across from Parliament Hill, out of respect for Indigenous Peoples. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

As we mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation, Canadian history is in the midst of an existential crisis. From coast to coast the physical presence of many once-celebrated historical figures is being scrubbed from our midst.

Last week, in honour of the newly renamed National Indigenous Peoples Day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Langevin Block, which houses the Prime Ministers Office, will be officially renamed in order to rid it of the name of Sir Hector-Louis Langevinan individual associated with the residential school system and the federal governments now-discredited plans to assimilate the Indigenous population.

Halifax has seen repeated demands that a prominent statue of city founder Edward Cornwallis be removed from public display because he declared a bounty on Mikmaq scalps in 1749. His name has already been removed from a local school.

Prince Edward Island has heard similar calls for Parks Canada to rename the national historic site Port-la-Joye-Fort Amherst to eradicate the legacy of British military commander Sir Jeffery Amherst, given his reputation as the mastermind behind a scheme to give smallpox-laced blankets to Indigenous foes.

And the Law Society of British Columbia recently hoisted a statute of Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, the first chief justice of British Columbia, out of the lobby of its building because the presence of the statue is offensive to Indigenous peoples. Begbie is known as the hanging judge for sentencing six Tsilhqotin chiefs to death in 1864.

The vast preponderance of Canadas historical heroes, it seems, were genocidal maniacs undeserving of statues erected or parks, forts, cities or streets named in their honour. As the evidence of misdeeds and character flaws pile up, should we simply wipe the slate clean of all references to our past?

Then again, maybe we shouldnt be so quick to turn our backs on our former selves.

It is axiomatic of history that it exists in context. Historical figures are products of their times, as well as figures astride pedestals in parks. They had full and complicated lives that cannot be adequately understood from a single quotation or act. And with this in mind, lets look again at the charges against Langevin.

As the minister of public works in Sir John A. Macdonalds government, Langevin formalized the residential school system in Canada. Further evidence of his unsuitability for current recognition comes from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report that makes repeated mention of a speech he gave in 1883: If you wish to educate the native children, you must separate them from the parents. If you leave them in the family they may know how to read and write but they still remain savages.

Taken on its own, Langevins quotation is a devastating indictment to modern ears. But what if we let the tape roll a bit longer? Later in that same speech, for example, Langevin said it was his intention to give every native child who graduates from residential school a free homestead. And in response to Langevin, Edward Blake, the leader of the Liberal party of the day, not only used words to describe Indigenous men and women that would be considered horrific today, he also complained that Ottawas plan was overly generous. The Liberal party of the day wanted to spend far less on the native file.

Extreme narrow focus on a few sentences of one speech may provide damning evidence of Langevins unfitness for present-day memorialization. But in the context of his time, Langevin actually stands among the more enlightened representatives of the federal government. As for the accusation that Langevin believed in assimilation of the Indigenous communitya concept now properly and universally considered abhorrenthe is guilty as charged.

But assimilation was conventional wisdom among all elite thinkers of his era. If statements in support of it are to be considered sufficient reason for removal from the historical record, then every politician of note in Canada prior to the 21st century must eventually be struck from the recordfrom Macdonald to Sir Wilfrid Laurier on down. Even Pierre Trudeau, often considered the father of an inclusive, multicultural Canada, was a confirmed assimilationist. His 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy planned to eliminate Indigenous status entirely. When such a plan was firmly rejected by the Indigenous community, Trudeau replied bitterly, Well keep them in the ghetto for as long as they want. Is the legacy of Trudeau senior next on the list for erasure?

And entirely ignored within the current debate over Langevin and the residential school issue is his stature as a key Francophone Quebec federalist during the crucial pre-Confederation era, which was the reason his name ended up on a federal building in the first place. Reconciliation between French and English was once considered a great Canadian virtue. It should still count for something today.

As for Cornwallis, in 1749 he did declare a bounty of 10 British guineas for every Mikmaq scalp delivered to him during a colonial-era conflict known as Father Le Loutres War. Like Langevins speech on residential schools, singular attention on this one act seems sufficient to declare him unfit for present-day consumption. By any standard, scalping is an horrific act. But once again history throws up some uncomfortable facts.

Father Le Loutres War (1749 to 1755) was the handiwork of French Catholic priest Jean-Louis Le Loutre, who goaded local Mikmaq tribes into conflict with the British in hopes of reclaiming New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for the French. For added motivation, he explicitly promised to pay Mikmaq warriors a bounty for English scalps. And they delivered. In 1753, for example, Le Loutre was reimbursed 1,800 French livres by the colonial government in Quebec City for sums he paid to the Mikmaq for 18 English scalps.

The payment of scalp bounties was unsettlingly common throughout North America during the entire colonial period. It was, in fact, standing French policy to offer payments for the scalps of the Englishmen, women and childrenas a subsidy to ensure the continued loyalty of allied Indigenous tribes. Scalp bounties in the English-speaking colonies generally only appeared when a war was on; and their value waned and fluxed depending on the publics panic level. It thus seems unfair to use Cornwalliss scalping proclamation as conclusive evidence against him when both sides in this ancient conflict, including those Mikmaq nations who today demand Cornwalliss expulsion from the public square, were fully engaged in the repulsive tactic.

And while Amherst is widely considered to be the father of modern germ warfare for allegedly handing out smallpox-infected blankets to Indigenous foes, this is a falsehood. There is no proof he ever did such a thing. Amherst responded positively to the suggestion from a fellow officer in a letter dated July 16, 1763, but this came a month after the one and only time British troops actually stooped to such a tacticduring a native siege of Fort Pitt (near present-day Pittsburgh) on June 24, 1763.

Finally, Begbie was indeed responsible for sentencing six Indigenous leaders to hanging for their role in the killing of 20 non-natives during B.C.s Chilcotin War. Yet condemning him into oblivion on this basis ignores his vast record of support and understanding for the provinces Indigenous communities at all other times. He was fluent in several Indigenous languages, recognized the concept of Aboriginal title in his rulings and took a strong position against racism. Begbie was perhaps the most liberal and native-friendly judge of his time. As for his controversial hanging decision, which the B.C. government recently apologized for, he had no choice. The death penalty was mandatory for murder cases. Despite all this, his own law society has removed him from the firmament.

To our great disadvantage, Canada has become obsessed with replaying a slow-motion, high-definition version of our past. Historical figures are now judged by intense focus on individual statements or actions. One infraction at odds with current acceptable standards has become sufficient evidence for expulsion from present-day society. Yet it is reasonable, if not inevitable, to expect that every notable figure from the past has probably said or done something that will grate against modern sensibilities, particularly with respect to Indigenous relations. It is therefore only a matter of time before every statue, park and street named for an historical character in Canada is declared incompatible with the present.

But while the fraught relationship between colonial Canada and Indigenous peoples is an important component of our history, it is not its entirety. We should not allow current attention being paid to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions findings, necessary and disturbing as they may be, to become a mechanism that strips Canada of our most significant characters and events. Or removes the context and detail from the stories of who we are and where we came from.

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Military Tested Germ Warfare on San Francisco and Other …

Posted: June 28, 2017 at 6:48 am

One of the largest human experiments ever was conducted on unsuspecting residents in the open air of San Francisco. It was the U.S. Governments own experiment conducted on its own people in 1950.

IFL Science reports[emphasis mine]:

In the wake of World War II, the United Sates military was suddenly worried about and keen to test out the threats posed by biological warfare. They started experiments looking into how bacteria and their harmful toxins might spread, only using harmless stand-in microbes. They tested these on military bases, infecting soldiers and their families who lived with them, but eventually they stepped things up a notch. Disclosed in 1977, it turns out that the U.S. military carried out 239 secret open-air tests on its own citizens.

In one of itslargest experiments called Operation Sea-Spray the military used giant hoses [and burst balloons] to spray a bacterial cloud of Serratia marcescens and Bacillus globigii, both thought to be harmless bacteria at the time, from a Navy ship docked just off the coast of San Francisco. They wanted to investigate how the citys iconic fog might help with the spread of bacterial warfare. And spread it did. Its estimated that all of the citys 800,000 residents inhaled millions of the bacteria over the next few weeks as they went about their daily lives none the wiser.

This entirely unnecessary experiment resulted in the death ofEdward J. Nevinafter he first suffered chills, fever and general malaise. TheS. marcescens bacteria alsodirectly caused the hospitalization of at least 10 others and may have spikedcases of pneumonia during that time. Heres why

S. marcescens, asoil-based bacterium that produces a bloody red pigment was used as a proxy for an anthrax attack. Although it was considered benevolent it can certainly reap death and destruction. In fact, S. marcescens is now one of the most opportunistic pathogens that loves to hang out in hospitals and create sturdy biofilms. Sadly, it latches onto people throughurinary tract infections, catheter infections, lung infections and through other hospital supplies used on vulnerable populations. It is now amongthe top 10 causes of all hospital-acquired respiratory, neonatal and surgical infections.

This bacteria is everywhere. It is now attributed to killing coral reefs via human sewage and causes cornea infections through contact lens cases. It is the reddish-pinkish moldy-looking stuff you see in an unhygienic bathroom or on spoiled food.

It has also symbiotically bonded with bacteria inside wax moth larvae the kind that are born of bee hives.

IFL adds:

But theexperiments didnt stop there. As stated, the military carried out over 200 such tests across the country, from New York to Washington DC., spraying bacteria and other fluorescent and microscopic particles into the air, one of which zinc cadmium sulfide is now thoughtto cause cancer. In another series of experiments, they even went so far as simulating an attack on Washingtons Greyhound bus station and airport.

They sprayedin the New York City subway system, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and in National Airport just outside Washington, DC.

But the madness still didnt stop there in tandem with the British governments Ministry of Defence, the military sprayed S. marcescens,an anthrax simulant and phenol off the coast of Dorset in southern England from a ship.Not just once over a hundred times. They, too, sprayed zinc cadmium sulfide across large patchesof Britain.

By the way the biowarfare simulation attack on America was deemed a success. Meaning, the conclusion was that another country could indeed attack Americans via ships off the coast.

In Clouds of Secrecy, author Leonard Cole writes,

Nearly all of San Francisco received 500 particle minutes per liter. In other words, nearly every one of the 800,000 people in San Francisco exposed to the cloud at normal breathing rate (10 liters per minute) inhaled 5,000 or more particles per minute during the several hours that they remained airborne.

Heres the worst part, no amount of congressional hearings or lawsuits has ever compelled the government to apologize or take any other view besides justified immunity for their tests. Worse yet, before Nevins death ultimately caused by a urinary tract infection that reached his heart while recovering from prostrate surgery there had never been any reported cases of S. marcescens bacteriain hospitals.

So this writer must ask which is worse, the threat of an anthrax terrorist attack or the now hospital-acquired bacteria that the government sprayed over large swathes of major cities?

This is not a conspiracy theory its a reality. And America is not alone. Canada also has a history of testing biowarfare on innocent people. Not only are these tests on unwitting human subjects reckless and horror-inducing, but they are also clear violations of the Nuremberg Code.

If you know people who trust the governments decisions regarding public health or the environment, perhaps you should show them this article so that they give pause. If you have friends who wish to join the military for its perks please send them this reminder that their superiors may view them as disposable, living biohazards.

Why? Because it happened before time and again even though it is clearly and knowingly amoral.

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Military Tested Germ Warfare on San Francisco and Other …

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Whom Are You Fooling?The Jewish Press | Rabbi Dani Staum | 30 … – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Posted: June 24, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Photo Credit: Jewish Press

In the End By R Jack Riemer

In the end, man destroyed the heaven and the earth. The earth had been tossing and turning, and the destructive spirit of man had been hovering over the face of the waters. And man said: Let me have power over the earth. And it was so. And man saw that the power tasted good, and so he called those that possessed power wise, and those that tried to curb power he called weak. And there was evening, and there was morning, the seventh day. And man said: Let there be a division among all the peoples of the earth. Let there be a dividing line, or a wall, between those that are for me and those that are against me, and it was so. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

And man said: Let us gather all of our resources into one place, and let us create instruments of power to defend ourselves: Let us make a radio to mold mens minds, and a draft to control their bodies, and flags and symbols of power to capture their souls. And it was so. And there was evening, and there was morning, the fifth day.

And man said: Let there be censorship to divide the light from the darkness. And it was so. And man made two great censorship bureaus to control the thoughts of men, one to tell only the truth that he wanted to be heard abroad, and one to tell only the truth he wanted to be heard at home. And it was so. And there was evening, and there was morning, the fourth day.

And man said: Let us create weapons that can kill millions and hundreds of millions from a distance, and let us make clean bombs, and let us learn sanitary germ warfare, and let us make guided missiles. And it was so. And there was evening, and there was morning, the third day.

And man said: Let us make God in our image. Let us say that God thinks what we think, that God wants what we want, that God commands what we want Him to command. And man found ways to kill, with atomic power and with radiation fallout, those that were living, and those that were not yet born, and he said: This is Gods will. And it was so. And there was evening, and there was morning, the second day.

And then, on the last day, a great cloud went up over all the face of the earth, and there was a great thunder over all of the face of the earth, and there was a great cry that reached up from over all of the earth, and then man, and all of his doings, was no more. And the earth rested on the last day from all of mans labors, and the universe was quiet on the last day from all of mans doings, which man in his folly had wrought. And there was nothing. There was no more evening, and there was no more morning there was no more day.

It is mind-boggling that despite Moshe Rabbeinus warning to Korach and his followers of what would occur if they persisted in their rebellion, they did not waver or even hesitate.

Moshe said, Through this you shall know that G-d has sent me to perform all these acts, that it was not from my heart G-d will create a phenomenon and the earth will opens its mouth and swallow them and all that is theirs, and they will descend alive into the pit then you shall know that these men have provoked G-d (Bamidbar 16:28-30). Korachs assembly was comprised of people who had witnessed all the miracles Moshe initiated and had seen him standing atop Har Sinai during the revelation of Matan Torah. Yet here they brazenly persisted in their attempted coup, undeterred. It seems analogous to imprudent sailors who refuse to abandon their sinking ship even as it plunges into the depths with safety boats available.

The Gemara (Eruvin 19a) states that even at the doorway of purgatory, the wicked will not repent. A person can be so utterly blinded by his opinions and feelings that he may fail to adhere to logic and reason. He can become so consumed and convinced by the veracity of his mission that there is no convincing him otherwise, even though the truth of where he is heading seems so obvious to everyone else. This can happen to even the greatest of men. They fall prey to their own machinations and intrigues, as did Korach and his worthy followers.

Rav Shlomo Levinstein relates (Umasok Haohr) that a person once approached the Tchebiner Rav, Rav Yissocher Dov Berish Weidenfeld ztl, to inform the Rav that he had appointed himself as a Rebbe, and he planned to invite people to seek his blessing and advice.

The Rav knew the man well and knew that he was far from worthy of such a title. When the Rav asked him why he felt he was worthy of the position, the man emphatically replied, Why not? If the Bais Yisroel can be the Gerrer Rebbe, and Rav Aharon Rokeach (known as Rav Arele Belzer ) could be the Belzer Rebbe, why cant I become a Rebbe as well?

The Tchebiner Rav was stunned. He replied by quoting the aforementioned statement from the Gemara and asked the man how it is possible for a wicked person not to repent when he sees an ignominious end awaiting him.

The Rav explained that at times a sinner whose soul has been sent to Gehenom to be purged of its iniquities may be on the verge of being released, but still requires a little more time. But then the soul of a righteous person being led to Gan Eden may be led past Gehenom, so that he can seize those lingering souls and insist that they ascend with them.

The Rav looked into the self-appointed Rebbes eyes and said, A wicked person while being led into purgatory will still not repent because he will continue to delude himself of his righteousness. Even at that fateful moment, he will be convinced that he is being led towards Gehenom so that he can rescue the lingering souls while on his way to his eternal reward. He wont even be able to fathom his own culpability.

G-d has endowed man with an imagination that can help him build worlds and accomplish incredible feats. Yet, at the same time, man can destroy himself and his world in the most horrific manner.

The Torah states (Bamidbar 26:11) that the sons of Korach did not die. Rashi explains that although Korachs sons were at first part of their fathers rebellion, while the dispute was unfolding they did teshuvah. Therefore, a special place was designated for them in purgatory where they still dwell.

Rav Shalom Schwadron ztl noted that if the sons of Korach repented before the punishment began they would not have been affected at all. If they repented after the ground opened up beneath them, it would have been too late. So why does it say that they have an elevated place in purgatory? When exactly did they repent?

We must conclude that they repented as the earth was opening beneath their feet. They saw that they were about to be swallowed up, and, at that moment, they began to contemplate that they may have been mistaken. Even at that moment their repentance accomplished something.

What is truly frightening is that the rest of the rebels, including Korach himself, did not harbor any such thoughts of repentance, even then!

Moshe had warned Korach and his adherents of what would transpire if they didnt desist, yet even when they saw it begin to happen, they obdurately maintained their position, even as they descended into Gehenom.

We often read about the tragedies of our ancestors in the Torah with a certain measure of disregard for the folly of their actions. We would be wise to realize that these sins were committed by people of stature, righteous individuals who were privy to the greatest miracles ever performed. If they could stumble so profoundly, we are surely far more vulnerable.

The Mishna in Avos tells us that that Jealousy, desire, and honor remove a person from the world. The tragedy of the meraglim was the result of the pursuit of honor, the rebellion of Korach was the catastrophic result of unbridled jealousy, and the tragedy in Shittim (where the men of Klal Yisrael were enticed to sin by the women of Moav) was the result of intemperate lust/desire. These three tragic accounts are generally read on consecutive Shabbosos during the weeks preceding the Three Weeks of mourning for the Bais HaMikdash: Parshas Shlach contains the story of the spies, Parshas Korach relates the story of the rebellion, and Parshas Balak contains the story of Shittim.

These accounts demonstrate that even the greatest of people must be wary of the dangers of their own passions and pursuits. A person needs to seek the guidance and counsel of teachers and mentors to ensure that the path he is following and the pursuits he is engaged in are not the results of his own foolish machinations, despite his best intentions.

My Rebbe, Rabbi Berel Wein, noted that the twentieth century was a century of Korach. In his words, Rebellion against tradition and the old and the veneration of new theories of social engineering, morality and religion have been the unfortunate hallmark of this, the bloodiest of all centuries. Nowhere has this been more noticeable than in Jewish life. Socialism, Communism, Secularism, Nationalism, atheistic Zionism, Reform, Conservatism, Reconstructionism, Feminism and other assorted theories and movements arose in this century to claim the place of prominence in fashioning the Jewish people and its future. All of them have proven themselves to be woefully inadequate for the task set forth.

Much of the ruin currently clearly visible in the Jewish world is directly traceable to the rebellion against Moshe and his Torah, against Holyoke and tradition, which marks every one of these theories and movements and is in fact the common denominator for all of them. From our perch just above the abyss of Jewish destruction and assimilation, there are determined Jews who shout out loudly that Moshe is true and his Torah is true.

But there are many sons of Korach who still maintain the belief in the false shibboleths of this past century. After an intermarriage rate approaching seventy percent in America, one strains to hear the admission of error from these groups. Unless there is an honest reappraisal of theory and belief on the part of these groups, these sons of Korach will not survive.

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We’ll pass on the Liberal Lollapalooza – Net Newsledger

Posted: June 18, 2017 at 11:38 am

In July of 1764 near what the Anishinabek called the crooked place Niagara Falls Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for British North America, met with some 2500 Chiefs and headmen to create an alliance that would be key to they creation of Canada. illustration by Charles Hebert

By Maurice Switzer

THUNDER BAY OPINION So, if you had a neighbour who kept stealing stuff from your yard, and constantly screamed obscenities at your kids, would you attend his birthday party if you got an invitation in your mailbox?

How about if you had a neighbour who stole your yard and kidnapped your kids?

Now you have some idea of how First Nations people feel about all the fuss being made over Canadas 150th birthday.

In the first place, 150 years isnt very long to people whove been around for thousands of years it leaves one with the same feeling you get when you see some wet-behind-the-ears pup like Justin Bieber publishing an autobiography TOO SOON!

People need to understand that those 150 years just happen to represent the worst period in history for the first peoples to inhabit these lands. Dont expect any July 1st fireworks displays in the 100 First Nations who live under boil-water advisories some for over a decade.

The $500 million being spent by the federal government on Canadas sesquicentennial bash is triple the amount it was ordered by a human rights tribunal to provide equal funding for First Nations child welfare agencies. This discriminatory gap is literally costing Native kids their lives.

This is the first of a series of four columns that will list 150 reasons Indigenous peoples have to feel less than enthusiastic about participating in the Liberal Lollapalooza. There are many more, but we just want to offer enough information to rain a little on the parade, not entirely engulf it.

3-4. The two sons of Chief Donnacona are kidnapped by Jacques Cartier in 1534 on the French explorers first trip up the St. Lawrence River, where he is greeted with great hospitality at the Iroquoian village of Stadacona. Cartier whisks them off to show as trophies to the King of France in what undoubtedly qualifies as the worst example of making a good first impression in the history of European diplomacy.

5-6. Two Mohawk chiefs are killed by the same musket-ball fired by Samuel de Champlain during a 1609 sortie into what is now New York State in which the celebrated Father of New France accompanies Huron fur-trading partners. This alliance results in the Iroquois virtually annihilating the Huron Nation within the next 50 years.

7-13. Seven years is the length of the apprenticeship the Hudson Bay Company requires applicants with any Indian heritage to serve if they hope to get jobs with the greedy multinational fur merchant. At the same time, raw European recruits qualify immediately for employment.

14-17. Four months how long it takes King George III to whip together the Royal Proclamation after Odawa chief Pontiac and a couple of hundred warriors capture nine British forts on what is the western frontier of Canada. Pontiac is not impressed with the arrogant English, who have defeated the French in the Seven Years War and experimented in germ warfare by distributing smallpox-infected blankets among the Natives. The Royal Proclamation says the Indian tribes of North America are nations, who are not to be molested in their own lands.

18-41. The largest gathering of Indigenous peoples in the history of the North American continent 3,000 chiefs representing 24 Nations of peoples living around the Great Lakes convene at Fort Niagara in July, 1764. They hear the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for British North America Sir William Johnston pitch the first major treaty on the continent. In exchange for the rights to create settlements and share existing Indian territories, the Kings representative offers an estimated 35,000 gifts, the cash equivalent in todays terms of $20 million, a huge swath of the centre of North America to be set aside as exclusive Indian territory, and a sacred promise to the assembled chiefs that Your people will never be poor; they will never want for the necessities of life..as long as the sun shines, as long as the grass grows, as long as the rivers run, and as long as the British wear red coats.

On July 1st, 2017, the sun will be shining over Parliament Hill, the grass will be growing even if temporarily trampled by thousands of Canadians watching performers on a huge stage and waiting for the fireworks to start and the Ottawa River will be roaring over the Chaudiere Falls. Tourists will be asking to pose for photos beside Mounties wearing their scarlet Red Serge tunics.

The half-billion-dollar party will be taking place on land that has never been legally acquired by the Government of Canada, and will be watched on television by thousands of people, some of whom live in homes without a safe source of drinking water, and whose children experience the highest degrees of poverty, disease, and youth suicide in the Western world.

To be, unfortunately, continued.

Maurice Switzer is a citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation. He operates Nimkii Communications, a public education practice with a focus on the Treaty Relationship between First Nations and Canada.

This is part one of a series stay tuned for the next part on Monday, June 18/17

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What Do We Celebrate? – The Runner

Posted: June 16, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Remembering 150 years of violent colonialism through the erasure of Indigenous peoples Justin Bige, Contributor

Nicole Kwit

Would you celebrate the existence of a culture that claims to own the land that you and your people have lived on for 10 times longer than those who colonized it? How about 100 times? Or 1000?

The first of July this year will mark the 150th anniversary of Canada existing on Native land. Brandon Gabriel from the Kwantlen First Nation calls this anniversary posturing by political parties to frame Canada as devoid of any political or economic structures.

Indigenous Erasure

The Department of Canadian Heritage is contributing $200 million for events to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Canada. The previous government allocated $150 million for infrastructure for these events to be run, and our current government doubled that amount to $300 million, according to a report from Global News. In total, $500 million has been budgeted for events and celebrations to mark the anniversary.

I had no idea there was that much money allocated for the celebrations, says Gabriel. Despite the fact that a portion of the money was set aside for celebrating Indigenous culture, Gabriel says that he hasnt seen that money go back into his community.

[The money for Indigenous people] is really tokenisticthe window dressing to this big celebration, he says. Its an afterthought.

Gabriel believes that Canadas 150 celebration contributes to the erasure of the Canadian governments crimes against First Nations. The event will encourage people to think of a wholesome, whitewashed Canada instead of the Canada responsible for atrocities.

Nobody will say, Im celebrating 150 years of Genocide. They say, Im celebrating 150 years of fur trade, free market capitalism, resettling of the land, says Gabriel.

The 150 celebration is just the latest Canadian effort to ignore the existence of the Indigenous people who have lived on this land for tens of thousands of years, perhaps even longer. One archaeological dig in North America found the bones of mastodons turned into anvils and stone tools an entire 130,000 years ago. Though there was no evidence of human bones, who else could create tools such as this?

What about the discovery of a 14,000-year-old village on Triquet Island, 500 kilometers northwest of Victoria, by UBC anthropology students? And recently, The Vancouver Sun interviewed Paulette Steeves, a Cree-Metis woman who has been digging into the oral histories of Indigenous peoples in North America and discovered that they trace back over 100,000 years.

So what exactly is Canada celebrating with its 150 event? According to Keara Lightning, a 21-year-old activist from Samson Cree Nation, its a manufactured identity for people who have given up their actual backgrounds, who feel lost and have nothing of actual richness and strength to feel proud of.

[Theyre celebrating] the usual stuff: genocide, colonialism, perpetuating the myths of Canada. It all seems self-evident but its really not to most people, says Lightning.

Though the nation continues with its tradition of Indigenous erasure, the province of British Columbia has added one element to their celebration. They call it Canada 150+, hoping that the plus sign is enough to acknowledge thousands of years of Indigenous existence.

Aboriginal Students Representative for the Kwantlen Student Association, Samantha Davis, believes the plus sign used by the province to be a continuation of the colonial institution, which goes against all of this decolonization that they like to tack onto everything that theyre doing.

150 years doesnt cover everything thats happened in so-called Canada. Its been way over 150 years that our peoples have been oppressed, says Davis.

Lightning echoes Davis frustration over the use of the plus sign.

Some of us dont want to be Canadian, she says. To take Indigenous culture and resistance, which are so many years old, and to include Indigenous peoples in that celebration is just insulting.

Celebrating Genocide

Many Canadians see their country as a long-standing refuge for multiculturalism and inclusivity. But most overlook the fact that establishing this nation required the genocide of Indigenous people.

The colonial wars of the fur trade and the germ warfare of smallpox predates the nationhood of Canada by a long shot. Later, to make Indigenous people desperate enough to sign treaties and move to reserves, the early Canadian settlers enacted starvation policies, not allowing the trade of food to their communities. When treaties were signed, the agreements were often about agriculture to recover from the disease and famine that colonialists imposed on them. Instead of honouring the treaties, the government banned communities from using newer farming implements and technology.

Then there are the more recent policies of cultural genocide as noted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Much of this began with the Indian Act of 1876, which pushed an assimilationist policy on Indigenous people and forced remaining Indigenous people onto Canadian reserves. Colonial government systems uprooted traditional Indigenous governance structures, replacing them with band councils. To ensure compliance, Indian Agents were dispatched to restrict Indigenous people leaving their own reserves, devastating trade and culturally important journeys.

Lets not forgot the removal of 150,000 Indigenous children from their homes, 6,000 of which died in the Indian Residential School System. These schools were meant to kill the Indian in the child, according to John A. Macdonald, the alcoholic forefather of this 150-year celebration.

Are we celebrating this institutionalization and theft of Indigenous children who were violently abused physically and sexuallywho were beaten for speaking their Indigenous language in institutions where there were graveyards on campus for students to bury their classmates? This system only ended 21 years ago, in 1996.

Of course, there was the strong-arm assimilationist policythe Sixties Scoop of Indigenous children into care in the 1960s up through the 1980s. This affected 20,000 Indigenous children who were taken from their families to be adopted or fostered.

Intergenerational trauma from both grave and despondent acts of genocide is still affecting communities today. The Canadian government has fought every lawsuit over the Residential School System and The Sixties Scoop, and the Conservatives even destroyed evidence of the Residential Schools during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Is legal power established through a court system set up on Native land also something that were celebrating?

One of the things that will be celebrated will be the railroad from coast-to-coast, and it will only be the sanitized version of it, says Gabriel. It wont show entire communities that were thrown off their land and waters to make way for this intrusive governing body.

Whats more, these communities were thrown off their land by the marginalization of other groups as well, such as the Chinese railroad workers who dealt with the Chinese head-tax.

Broken Treaties

So what about the treaties? Many talk about the treaties that lent out the land in much of Canada, but what do they mean?

They were comprehensive agreements made between the provincial and federal governments with different Inuit, First Nations, and Metis people that obligated the government to assist them in terms of education, medical services, trade, and economic benefit for and from the land.

Treaty Four, for example, says, The promises we make will be carried out as long as the sun shines above and the water flows in the oceans.

Today, the lack of adherence to these obligations shows in Indigenous communities. The government still neglects their critical infrastructure, causing long-term boil water advisories in 98 reserves and short-term advisories in 28 reserves. Houses are condemned but people are still living in them. Schools are built on contaminated land, and go unused while alternatives are not planned. Suicide crises have impacted reserves from coast-to-coast, especially for Indigenous youth.

In January of last year, The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found Canada guilty of discriminating against Indigenous children by underfunding reserves. Although Canada continues to do this, the tribunal has no ability to force them to change.

Despite representing less than 10 per cent of the population, Indigenous children account for 62 per cent of the 7,000 children-in-care in B.C.. This happens when Aboriginal agencies are underfunded and running under confusing agreements.

Theres nothing confusing about the need to acquire Free and Prior Informed Consent for resource extraction projects on Indigenous land, as outlined by the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that Canada helped create but failed to adopt. Mining, fish-farming, dam-building, oil fracking, and anything else the resource economy can devour happens across the country, despite opposition from Indigenous peoples. Imperial Metals mine in Mount Polley Secwepemc territory, Site C Dam in Peace River Treaty 8 territory, and Kinder Morgans Trans Mountain expansion have and will continue to be major issues for Indigenous people.

Kinder Morgan has a pipeline running from Alberta through the West Coast and ending in Burnaby. It crosses through traditional unceded Indigenous territories and was built without the consent of many Nations along its path, including Kwantlen First Nation. The expansion of this pipeline will triple its capacity for transport from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of oil a day.

When it comes to resource extraction, 150 years later, Canada has found its new gold rushes and fur trades to celebrate in the fossil fuel industry.

Dismantling Colonization

So what alternatives are there? What would be a better way to commemorate Canada 150+? For Lightning, the answer is simple.

Dismantle Canada, she says. I dont know what else there is.

If that cant be, the actions she would like to see would be actually stopping extraction projects and giving land back.

Canada is celebrating 150 years, but all of us come from generations and generations of people, she says. Dont come here and call yourself Canadian, because what is that? Dont give up over six generations of who you are for 150+ years.

Gabriel says, Ive come to recognize that I cant seek restitution from the colonizer, and their colonizing ways have no respect for our position. I seek nothing from them. Im not seeking anything from them. One of the things were doing here is starting a hashtag at Kwantlen events which is #Kwantlen12000.

He hopes the message will connect with a wide audience. Thus, he maintains his pride in his community and wants to celebrate excellence within the Kwantlen First Nation instead.

If I were approached tomorrow by Kwantlen youth, as in a young person in our community, and I asked them what we should be doing in our Canada 150 celebrationswe have always been doing it. We have always been protecting our water, our spirituality and culture and we dont need people outside our community to acknowledge that, he says.

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What Do We Celebrate? – The Runner

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GERM WARFARE – Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery Cleaning

Posted: June 15, 2017 at 9:42 pm

SERVICING THE TREASURE VALLEY SINCE 2009

The team at Germ Warfare Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning LLC, formerly Georges Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, stands behind the companys founding principles of quality of service, integrity of character, devotion to customers, and trustworthiness. Germ Warfare is a locally owned, family-operated company with over 20 years of experience in the field! Under the name of Georges Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, the same people have been servicing the Treasure Valley since 2009. Our customers, both current and future, will continue to appreciate the expertise and excellent quality and care that they have come to love under Georges.

We utilize the extremely powerful HydraMaster 4.8 Salsa truck-mount system. This unit specializes in providing powerful, reliable cleaning by capitalizing upon the power produced by a V-8 engine! The Salsa system on our unit is the hottest blower heat exchanger on the market and produces working temperatures as high as 235F. What this means for customerswe are able to provide the deepest cleaning possible and extract efficiently, thoroughly, and effectively.

Those searching for amazing customer service and the absolute highest quality in cleaning should call

Germ Warfare Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning 208-463-7722

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I meant every word – Fort Madison Daily Democrat

Posted: at 9:42 pm

Terry Altheide took exception to my last letter citing, of all things, the dirt under my fingernails. (They look clean to me) At any rate, I said what I meant, and I meant what I said. In fact, Id advise people to read it again. Other people thought my letter was both detailed and factual, but you cant please everyone.

Mr. Altheide characterizes my letter as wildly wacky, a hate-filled diatribe that shows my splenetic personality. I try not to hate anyone. Its bad for the digestion. What Mr. Altheide calls hate-filled, and Mr. Bindewald calls name calling is merely a description an accurate description of #45.

Elisabeth Parker writes: Trumps America gets uglier with each passing day. I cant really argue with that. A Harris County, Texas deputy and her husband are indicted on murder charges in the senseless death of John Hernandez thanks in part to cell phone video.

Kali Holloway writes: The trickle-down effect of Trumps campaign rhetoric and election is now being felt among kids in schools across the country. Bullying has taken on an alarming twistwith White students using the presidents words and slogans to bully Latino, Middle Eastern, Black, Asian, and Jewish classmates. The articles subtitle is This is Trumps America.

Sixty-three percent of white men and 53 percent of white women (that voted) voted for Trump. Is this the America they voted for? If Trump voters have angst defending their choice, too bad. Resistance is indeed the order of the day. Being anti-education or demeaning teachers wont change our nations history. It wont alter the fact that among the traditional values that this country was founded upon were slavery, attempted genocide, exploitation, and germ warfare.

I choose to stand for other traditional values, like kindness, compassion, honesty, equality, helping those in need, speaking up for and protecting the powerless. I will stand against, and call out anyone, including the president of the United States, who threatens these values or victimizes our citizens. My letter did exactly that.

William Windsor

Fort Madison

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I meant every word – Fort Madison Daily Democrat

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