Covid-19: Scientists Tracking Genetic Material, Iran Considers US Bio-warfare
By Nour Rida
Tehran - Some US media outlets and newspapers say that the Coronavirus’ outbreak could be linked to a military lab in Wuhan. They suggest a government-run lab, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, could have been researching military applications for the Coronavirus and may have been the source of the outbreak. Other sources say it is a biological warfare carried out by the US against China and Iran in particular. Whatever the real story is, biological warfare cannot be ruled out.
A short history of biological warfare from Pre-History to the 21st Century is capable of allowing for the hypothesis that Covid-19 is also of that sort.
History of bio-warfare
According to scientific reports, biological weapons include any microorganism (such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi) or toxin (poisonous compounds produced by microorganisms) found in nature that can be used to kill or injure people.
A number of nations have or are seeking to acquire biological warfare agents. Biological agents may be used for an isolated assassination, as well as to cause incapacitation or death to thousands. If the environment is contaminated, a long-term threat to the population could be created.
There are numerous examples of the use of biological weapons throughout history. Hence, it is not a new concept. Attempts to use biological warfare agents date back to antiquity. Scythian archers infected their arrows by dipping them in decomposing bodies or in blood mixed with manure as far back as 400 BC.
During the French and Indian War in the 18th century AD, British forces under the direction of Sir Jeffrey Amherst gave blankets that had been used by smallpox victims to the Native Americans in a plan to spread the disease. Allegations were made during the American Civil War by both sides, but especially against the Confederate Army, of the attempted use of smallpox to cause disease among enemy forces.
Biological warfare reached sophistication during the 1900s. During World War I, the German Army developed anthrax, glanders, cholera, and a wheat fungus specifically for use as biological weapons.
It was reported that they spread plague in St. Petersburg, Russia, infected mules with glanders in Mesopotamia, and attempted to do the same with the horses of the French Cavalry.
During World War II, Japanese forces operated a secret biological warfare research facility (Unit 731) in Manchuria that carried out human experiments on prisoners. In 1942, the United States formed the War Research Service. Anthrax and botulinum toxin initially were investigated for use as weapons. The United States continued research on various offensive biological weapons during the 1950s and 1960s.
The Geneva Protocol of 1925 was signed by 108 nations. This was the first multilateral agreement that extended prohibition of chemical agents to biological agents. Unfortunately, no method for verification of compliance was addressed.
Covid-19 in Iran
As soon as cases of Coronavirus were reported in Iran, the psychological and economic war of Trump started. Even though infected people and death rates were higher in other countries, but Iran was put in the limelight to be a contagious country and that its borders must be closed immediately. Nevertheless, the World Health Organization hailed Iran for its performance in dealing with the epidemic.
World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Richard Bernan lauded Iran’s preventive measures to fight against Coronavirus, and called on the regional states to use the country’s experience in its nationwide campaign against the epidemic.
“Iran enjoys the strongest health and hygiene system among the East Mediterranean states and the WHO has declared some priorities to confront Coronavirus and Iran follows all these priorities,” Bernan said in a news conference in Tehran on Saturday.
Iranian officials: Covid-19 US bio-warfare
A few days ago, the Chief Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said that the resistance and power of the Iranian nation will defeat the new coronavirus outbreak in the country.
“We are now dealing with a biological war but the nation will get through it with resistance and power,” Major General Hussein Salami said on Thursday in a ceremony held in Kerman city.
“We have learned to advance our Revolution by changing and improving patterns; we have passed many problems but the enemy is stressing on economic pressure and psychological operations and is taking advantage of every opportunity to connect these two issues to create a hard time for people,” he added.
"Today, the country is engaged in a biological battle," Salami was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency. "We will prevail in the fight against this virus, which might be the product of an American biological [attack], which first spread in China and then to the rest of the world," he said, adding that "America should know that if it has done so, it will return to itself."
The Head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization, Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, said Tuesday that media fear-mongering over the new Corornavirus and the spread of the disease in his country bolsters claims that the virus is a biological attack on China and Iran.
The virus is known to have killed dozens and infected thousands in Iran.
“A study of the consequences of the virus in terms of tolls or the extent of the epidemic and the type of media propaganda over this issue that is aimed at increasing fear and panic among people strengthens the speculations that a biological attack has been launched against China and Iran with economic goals,” Jalali told Iran’s Fars News Agency. Jalali said that analysis and “certain news reports” point to the source of the virus being a hostile state, but that laboratory research is required to compare the new strain with the primary virus to in order to prove the assumption.
Some Iranian analysts suggest that Covid-19 might be the interpretation of Donald Trump’s threat to hit cultural and historical sites in Iran, and maybe his vision has extended to include China, the US’s number one rival in economy and trade. Some say let us not lean on what is dubbed as conspiracy theories, but history has shown evidence that biological warfare exists and that years later governments confess to that. For instance, in 2008, the US Government Accountability Office acknowledged that tens of thousands of civilians might have been exposed to biological agents thanks to Project 112 and other tests.
US history in bio-warfare
It is not surprising to think that the US has carried out a biological warfare against its rivals, at the time when it wasn't until the 1970s that Americans learned that for decades they had been serving as experimental animals for agencies of their government, as reported by Dr. Leonard Cole, in his book "Clouds of Secrecy: The Army's Germ Warfare Tests Over Populated Areas."
The military tested how a biological or chemical weapon would spread throughout the country by spraying bacteria as well as various chemical powders — including an especially controversial one called zinc cadmium sulfide. Low flying airplanes would take off, sometimes near the Canadian border, "and they would fly down through the Midwest," dropping their payloads over cities, says Cole.
To prevent suspicion, the military pretended that they were testing a way to mask the whole city in order to protect it. They told city officials that "the tests involved efforts to measure ability to lay smoke screens about the city" to "hide" it in case of nuclear attack, according to Cole's account.
Also, reports in 2002 revealed that the United States secretly tested chemical and biological weapons on American soil during the 1960s, newly declassified Pentagon reports show.
The tests included releasing deadly nerve agents in Alaska and spraying bacteria over Hawaii, according to the documents obtained Tuesday.
The United States also tested nerve agents in Canada and Britain in conjunction with those two countries, and biological and chemical weapons in at least two other states, Maryland and Florida.
Genetic material used to track roots
Good news is that Iranian reports assure that in this unprecedented outbreak of the new coronavirus sweeping the world, the germ’s genetic material may ultimately tell the story not just of where it came from, but of how it spread and how efforts to contain it failed.
By tracking mutations to the virus as it spreads, scientists are creating a family tree in nearly real time, which they say can help pinpoint how the infection is hopping between countries.
Whoever stands behind Covid-19 must be trialed for polluting the entire globe and killing thousands so far, if not hundreds of thousands in the coming weeks.