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WHEN FACT IS STRANGER THAN FICTION
The reality of U.S. Biological Research Labs
By Jerri Ann Lewis
Edited by Megan Maloy

This story starts in a small town in Oregon. Just weeks before a local election a few people became violently ill with fever and nausea. As days passed several more people came down with similar symptoms. The affliction was salmonella and after all cases were examined, 751 people out of a population of about 7,500 had become sick. These illnesses from food poisoning were not given much thought until one year later. The plot thickened when an informant came forward to say that the Rajneeshis, a local cult in the town, had cultivated Salmonella. They cultivated it in vials and poured the bacteria over salad bars and coffee creamers in ten local restaurants. Their motive was to incapacitate the town's people before the elections so they could not vote against candidates that belonged to the cult. The reality of it all is that this is not a "movie of the week" special. Biological weapons are not fiction; they are clear and present danger.1

Any organism or toxin found in nature that could possibly hinder, injure, or exterminate an enemy is considered to be a biological weapon. However, there is a fine line between biological agents, chemical agents, and nuclear agents. Thus, sometimes these three types are grouped as one, called radiological agents. No matter what the name, any of these agents can harm humans, animals, and/or the environment.2

Research of biological agents can be found in numerous countries, including the United States. However, our government tells us little about the details of these facilities. Most of this research is passed off as medical research and not given much attention by the media or the public. What the public fails to realize is that there are biological research laboratories scattered throughout the United States, not to mention the world, that produce some severe diseases and viruses such as Anthrax, Smallpox, Ebola, and the Bubonic plague.3

Some bio-hazard for thought:

  • If a person or persons in America can obtain or produce biological agents within their own homes or organizations, what kinds of biological agents can a sealed and secured biological research facility obtain or produce within its walls.
  • If existing agents like plague or a new incurable disease transpires from these facilities, what is to stop a terrorist attack or a security breach upon one or more of these buildings. The locations of these labs and the agents contained within are not top-secret. Anyone can easily acquire this information, just as I have, from government publications, catalogs, and the internet.
  • If an earthquake or other natural disaster occurs how stable are areas where these biological agents (as well as chemical and nuclear agents) are kept? Many of these labs may lie on or near earthquake fault lines. Are these facilities or the towns surrounding these facilities prepared for such a catastrophe?
  • If Americans are deprived of research information then countries such as Iraq could have more knowledge of studies conducted in our own country. The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and other international treaties make governments in countries agree to exchange information about such research, so that no research may be misinterpreted as a threat. However, this could cause U.S. citizens to know less about America's biological research than Bin Laden himself.
  • If our government withholds information from us we could continue to be human experiments with federally unregulated vaccines and medicines causing severe illnesses such as the Gulf War Syndrome.4
  • If the anthrax strain used in the attacks was traced from one of the U.S. research laboratories, why, after the anthrax attacks, did the government call for an additional $11 million of funding to build more biological research labs? This "private funding" has began a "biodefense building boom" with a total of 30 new "high risk research" facilities to be constructed.2

One could reason that all of these diseases could be studied for discovery of cures and preventive measures only; however, that may be a result from the little information we are given regarding the labs or our nation in denial. One may reject these ill-fated ideas as "not-likely" to happen; however, no one ever thought two planes could be flown directly into the Twin Towers either. We must open our eyes to the dangers within our own nation. The biggest risk to Americans may not be biological agents from some third world country, but rather agents from within our own.


1 Diane Sawyer, "Germ Warfare: Weapons of Terror," ABC America. March 22, 1998.
2 Marylia Kelley and Jay Coghlan, "Mixing Bugs and Bombs," Atomic Scientists. 2003 Bulletin.
3 "Avoiding Armageddon: Biological Weapons Proliferation," (PBS Special.)
4 Captain Joyce Riley, "Biological Warfare Conducted on U.S. Military Members, and Corporate Bio-Genocide Levied on the Panetary Population," Houston, Texas. January 15, 1996. Transcripts

Other Related Sites:
The Sunshine Project
Secret U.S. Human Biological Experimentation
New Scientist
*To view a Map of High Containment and Other Facilities of the US Biodefense Program click on Biodefense here.

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