Biden's undersecretary of state for political affairs admits that Ukraine possesses at-risk biolab facilities
For two weeks, people have claimed that Russia is targeting American-owned or -run labs in Ukraine that housed biological weapons. I shied away from those reports, not because I thought they were "Russian disinformation," but because I didn't feel there were enough data to elevate them from theory to fact. I also discounted mainstream media reports debunking the story because they didn't have enough data, either. Well, now we have data: Victoria Nuland, Biden's undersecretary of state for political affairs, and one of the architects of the current disastrous state of affairs, admitted under oath that Ukraine has "biological research facilities," the concerning contents of which may fall into Russian hands.
Within a few days of Russia's attack on Ukraine, a few people sent me a NewsWars article:
Is Russia's "special military operation" actually a smokescreen to target US bio-labs in Ukraine?
Speculation on social media suggests Russian strikes on Ukrainian military installations could also include US bio-labs in the region, as the Russian government has for years accused the US of developing bio-weapons near its border.
The ulterior motive theory was put forth Thursday by Twitter user @WarClandestine, whose account was suspended soon thereafter. Fortunately, his thread was archived before the account was banned.
Evidently there are several US bio-labs in Ukraine under the auspices of the US State Department's Biological Threat Reduction Program, an initiative where the US partners with other countries "to counter the threat of outbreaks (deliberate, accidental, or natural) of the world's most dangerous infectious diseases."
The report went on to say that Ukraine's U.S. Embassy also acknowledges that it has programs intended "to consolidate and secure pathogens and toxins of security concern." Of course, if these places are consolidating and securing pathogens and toxins, it means they can also use them. However, while the article has a lot of well sourced dots, I didn't feel that it connected them well enough to go beyond a very good theory.
The Democrats' media operatives were adamant that it wasn't a good theory at all; it was a crazy QAnon theory. Some examples:
PolitiFact, which "[s]tand[s] up for the facts," was clear: "There are no US-run biolabs in Ukraine, contrary to social media posts." Instead, PolitiFact said, it's just a partnership with Ukraine "to improve public health laboratories and prevent the threat of outbreaks of infectious diseases." (That sure failed with COVID.)
USA Today insisted that "[f]alse claim of US biolabs in Ukraine tied to Russian disinformation campaign." It referred to the same program PolitiFact discussed and said that all that the U.S. did, per a treaty, was help update the labs.
MediaMatters writes that "YouTube has been making money from videos pushing a false conspiracy theory about supposed biolabs in Ukraine, a claim that originated as part of a Russian disinformation effort and has become tied to supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory."
Image: Victoria Nuland. YouTube screen grab.
On Wednesday, when Nuland appeared before the Senate, Sen. Marco Rubio, perhaps to allay his constituents' fears about this biolab theory, posed this question: "Does Ukraine have chemical or biological weapons?" Presumably, he anticipated that Nuland would either deny this or say she'd heard the rumors but that the only labs in Ukraine are innocent research labs that the U.S. had helped remodel, all to prevent a possible successor to the COVID pandemic.
Except that's not what Nuland said. Instead, speaking slowly, hesitatingly, and very carefully, this was her answer:
Ukraine has biological research facilities which, in fact, we are now quite concerned Russian troops, Russian forces, may be seeking to gain control of, so we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach.
Rubio then cut Nuland off and tried to steer her into admitting that the stories circulating about biolabs are all Russian disinformation and that, if there were a biological attack in Ukraine, Russians would be the culprits. Nuland gratefully seized upon his suggestion:
There is no doubt in my mind, Senator, and it is classic Russian technique to blame on the other guy what they're planning to do themselves.
So, less than one minute after conceding that there was very dangerous material at these Ukraine biolabs, Nuland is blaming the Russians for a hypothetical bio-attack.
As Glenn Greenwald rightly says in his lengthy post about Nuland's confession, "[i]t should go without saying that the existence of a Ukrainian biological 'research' program does not justify an invasion by Russia, let alone an attack as comprehensive and devastating as the one unfolding[.]" However, says Greenwald, the confession makes a few things clear:
1. Nuland's being "quite concerned" shows that these are not "just benign and standard medical laboratories." Given that Russia has its own sophisticated laboratories, the contents of the Ukraine labs must be something worrisome that Russia does not possess.
2. Are the Americans truly just helping the Ukrainians protect innocuous lab stuff, or was America always behind these labs with their concerning contents?
3. This comes closer than anything we've yet heard to confirming what all of us have long feared, which is that the big countries are engaged in bioweapon research.
4. Nuland's statement confirms how deeply intertwined the American government is with Ukraine, which goes some way to explaining Putin's paranoia about NATO and others encroaching on Russian security and sovereignty.
I'll add a fifth item to the list: we have an utterly incompetent government that has known since December that these labs were at risk and that did nothing to secure them.
Tucker did a masterful monologue on the subject:
Despite Nuland's confession, we are still very much in the dark about what those laboratories contain, how dangerous the contents are, and what Russia's (and China's) plans are should Russian troops reach them. The only thing we know with startling clarity is that our government and its media lackeys are lying to us frequently and consistently.