Dilyana Gaytandzhieva is a Bulgarian investigative journalist and Middle East Correspondent. Over the last two years she has published a series of revealing reports on weapons smuggling. Two months ago South Front published her investigation into the Pentagon bio laboratories in 25 countries across the world. Her current report provides an overview of the Pentagon-funded experiments at the secretive UK military laboratory Porton Down near Salisbury, where an ex-Russian spy and his daughter were allegedly poisoned with a nerve agent.
By Dilyana Gaytandzhieva exclusively for SouthFront
The Pentagon has spent at least $70 million on military experiments involving tests with deadly viruses and chemical agents at Porton Down – the UK military laboratory near the city of Salisbury. The secretive biological and chemical research facility is located just 13 km from where on 4th March former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench following an alleged Novichok nerve agent poisoning.
The Porton Down Lab is located just 13 km from the site where Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found and from where they were rushed to hospital.
Information obtained from the US federal contracts registry reveals that the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has funded a number of military projects performed at the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), or Porton Down, over the last decade. Among them: experimental respiratory infection of non-human primates (marmosets) with Anthrax, Ebola virus, Marburg virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, Western equine encephalitis virus, and Eastern equine encephalitis virus. The US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has also funded experiments on animals which were exposed to chemical agents such as Sulfur Mustard and Phosgene gas. Phosgene gas was used as a chemical weapon during World War I where it was responsible for about 85 % of the 100,000 deaths caused by chemical weapons.
DTRA has also been granted full access to DSTL scientific and technical capabilities, and test data under a 2011 contract for the collaboration and exchange of scientific and technical capabilities with the UK Ministry of Defence.
At least 122,000 animals used for military chemical and biological experiments at Porton Down
Animal experiments are classified as confidential in the UK. Under section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, it is a criminal offence to disclose certain information about animal experiments in the UK.
Data obtained via the Freedom of Information Act though gives an idea of the dimensions of military chemical and biological experiments carried out at Porton Down. A total of 122,050 animals have been exposed to deadly pathogens, chemicals and incurable diseases over the last decade (2005-2016).
Monkeys being used in warfare agent testing at Porton Down in the past
Animals used include mice, guinea pigs, rats, pigs, ferrets, sheep, and non-human primates. Some of the deadly experiments have been sponsored by the Pentagon under contracts between DSTL and DTRA. Scientists at Porton Down have infected, or poisoned, animals in order to measure time to death and lethal dose of exposure. In practice, the possible use of the researched virus/chemical gas as a weapon.
Marmoset monkeys are experimentally infected at Porton Down with Ebola, Anthrax, Marburg Virus and other deadly pathogens. Scientists measure time to death and lethal dose of exposure to the bio agent. Photo credit: Vic Pigula