Dr. Malone was so damn right when he said we’re barely scratching the surface on the biolabs topic.
And so was I when I insisted you should pay special attention to the research on insects that’s been going on not only in the US funded labs in Ukraine and Georgia, but all over the world, including US soil.
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA WELCOMES YOU TO YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE YOU HAVEN’T EVEN FATHOMED YET
THE CHERNOBYL & FUKUSHIMA RESEARVH INITIATIVE BY DTRA, THE US AGENCY FUNDING THE UKRAINE BIOLABS
SUMMARY OF THE INITIATIVE AND ITS RESEARCH
The Chernobyl Research Initiative began formal research activities in Ukraine in 2000, Belarus in 2005, and Fukushima, Japan, in July, 2011. To date, the group has conducted more than 35 research expeditions to Chernobyl and 16 expeditions to Fukushima.
USC’s Chernobyl Research Initiative was the first and currently is the only research group to utilize a multidisciplinary approach to address the health and environmental outcomes of radiation effects in free-living natural populations. This has permitted the investigation of both acute (short term) and chronic (long term and multi-generational) exposures.
The Chernobyl Research Initiative is also currently the only research team studying plants and animals in both Chernobyl and Fukushima.
Key funding sources have included the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust, the CNRS (France), the National Science Foundation, and the National Geographic Society. Subsequently, additional funding sources have included the Civilian Research Development Foundation (CRDF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Qiagen GmbH, the Fulbright Foundation, the University of South Carolina Office of Research and the College of Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Finland, and gifts from private citizens.
To date, more than 90 scientific publications have resulted from this initiative, most in the past 10 years (see link above for publications). This research has been highlighted in many newspaper reports and television programs including the New York Times, The Economist, Harpers, the BBC, CNN, CBS’s 60 Minutes, and Miles O’Brian of PBS News Hour (see links above for media coverage).
The team has pioneered the use of ecological, genetic and dosimetric technologies in order to unravel the health and environmental consequences of chronic low-dose exposure resulting from the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. These have included massively replicated ecological censuses of natural populations of birds, mammals and insects to investigate population and demographic effects; DNA sequencing and genotoxicity testing to assess short and long term genetic damage to individuals living in the wild; and the use of miniature dosimeters attached to wild animals and field measurements of whole body burdens of radioisotopes in birds and mammals to obtain accurate estimates of realized external and internal radiation doses to animals living under natural conditions. Recently, the group has expanded to include epidemiological and genetic studies of human populations (especially children) living in Chernobyl-affected regions of Ukraine.
Key results include the discovery of tumors, cataracts and damaged sperm in birds from high radiation areas of Chernobyl, and impacts on biodiversity in Fukushima. Exciting new results include the discovery that some species of birds may have developed resistance to the effects of radiation and effects on neurological development in small mammals in both Chernobyl and Fukushima.
These two disasters differ in the time since the events, and the amount and diversity of radionuclides that were released, although the predominant source of radiation is cesium-137 in both locations.
We are seeking funding to support the following ongoing and planned future research activities of the Chernobyl + Fukushima Research Initiative:
1)Continued monitoring of Fukushima populations of birds, small mammals, and insects in order to test for changes in population sizes (abundances) and numbers of species (biodiversity) through time.
2)Continued monitoring of barn swallows and rodents (mice and voles) populations for cancers, survival, reproduction, and genetic damage in Fukushima and Chernobyl (in collaboration with the CNRS, France, Rikkyo University, Tokyo, the Wild Bird Society of Japan, the National Institute of Forestry, Japan, and the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland).
3)Initiate a new project to study effects of radiation on tree growth and soil microbial activity in Fukushima (in collaboration with Chubu University, Nagoya, Japan).
4)Initiate a new project to investigate effects of radiation growth, fertility, and genetic damage in cows living in highly radioactive regions of Fukushima (in collaboration with the Fukushima Cattle Ranchers Association).
5)Initiate a new project to examine mutation rates in humans using whole genome DNA sequencing. Initially this project will focus on families living in contaminated regions of Ukraine. The project is in collaboration with the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University, the Center of Radiological Research at Columbia University, and the Institute for Radiation Medicine in Kiev, Ukraine.
6)Continued development of new methods for measurement of dose and genetic damage in wild populations of animals.
7)Coordination of an international consortium of independent scientists to provide unbiased evidenced-based information concerning the health and environmental risks related to nuclear accidents. This group will compile, evaluate, and interpret the current scientific and medical literature and develop a literature suitable for public distribution via the print and internet media, as well as public presentations in Japan and internationally.
Highlights from research published by the Chernobyl Research Initiative include the following:
•Population sizes and numbers of species (i.e. biodiversity) of birds, mammals, insects, and spiders are significantly lower in areas of high contamination in Chernobyl.
•For many birds and small mammals, life spans are shorter and fertility is depressed, in areas of high contamination.
•In Fukushima, only birds, butterflies, and cicadas showed significant declines during the first summer following the accident. Other groups were not negatively affected. Now, five years later, effects on birds have increased.
•There is considerable variability among species in their sensitivity to radionuclides. Many species are not affected, and a few species even appear to increase in numbers in areas of high contamination in both Chernobyl and Fukushima, presumably in response to competitive release (i.e. more available food and shelter) and fewer predators.
•Many species show evidence of genetic damage stemming from acute exposures and the differences observed between Fukushima and Chernobyl suggests some species may show the consequences of mutation accumulation over multiple generations.
•Some individuals and species show no evidence of genetic damage in relation to radiation exposure and some even show evidence of evolutionary adaptation to the effects of radiation through increased antioxidant activity, which may provide protection against ionizing radiation.
•The bird species that are most likely to show declines in numbers in response to radiation are those that historically have shown increased mutation rates for other reasons possibly related to DNA repair ability or reduced defenses against oxidative stress.
•Deleterious effects of radiation exposure seen in natural populations in Chernobyl include increased rates of cataracts, tumors, growth abnormalities, deformed sperm, and albinism.
•Neurological development is impacted as evidenced by depressed brain size in both birds and rodents and consequent effects on cognitive ability and survival have been demonstrated in birds.
•Tree growth and microbial decomposition in the soil are also depressed in areas of high radiation.
•In Fukushima, the first signs of developmental abnormalities have been observed in birds in 2013, although significant genetic damage has not yet been documented for birds or rodents.
Do I need to spell it out?
They are using these grounds for experiments.
Did they end up being experiment grounds by accident?
People in Chernobyl have been evacuated, but fauna and flora are hardly impacted by radiation.
Radiation does not discriminate by species.
You know who does that?
Viruses and bacteria.
DARPA IS A PENTAGON AGENCY WOKING FOR AGRICULTURE WITH GENETICALLY MODIFIED INSECTS THAT CAN POTENTIALLY BE WEAPONIZED. THEY SAY.
DARPA director Steven Walker, who recently took over that job after five years as the agency’s deputy, told reporters that he had personally visited the country in 2016 for talks with Ukrainian military, intel and industry leaders.
“We did have a good visit to the Ukraine,” Walker said Thursday at a breakfast hosted by the Defense Writer’s Group. “Yes, we have followed up with them, and through the U.S. European Command, we have started several projects with the Ukraine, mostly in the information space.”
“Not providing them weapons or anything like that, but looking at how to help them with information,” Walker added, before declining to go into further detail.
Ukraine has become a testing ground for hybrid warfare techniques from Russia and Russian-backed militant groups ever Russia’s invasion of Ukrainian territory in 2014, including disinformation campaigns. While that has allowed Moscow to test out new capabilities and techniques, it also provides an opportunity to develop counter techniques — which may benefit the U.S. and its allies in the long term.
“I think we’ve got to get better, as a country, in information warfare and how we approach info warfare,” Walker said. “I think there are capabilities there that we need to improve upon, and DAPRA is working in some of those areas.”
This is not the first tie between DARPA and Kiev. The Ukrainian government has hired Tony Tether, who led DARPA for the entirety of the George. W. Bush administration, to help lead a reorganization of their science and technology efforts, something Tether in a LinkedIn post said was necessary in part because so much of Ukraine’s S&T facilities were in the territory seized by Russia.
The former DARPA head has also consulted for the Ukroboronprom group, Ukraine’s largest defense contractor, and just a few weeks ago was added to the group’s supervisory board in a move that Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko called a “symbol of effective cooperation between Ukrainian and American partners.”
Tether is expected to try and recreate some of what make DARPA so successful in Ukraine, but Walker notes that many countries have tried to do that — and failed, in large part due to a cultural fear of giving workers the freedom to fail they need.
“When I talk to others about DARPA and why it works, many other cultures say ‘this couldn’t happen,’” Walker noted.
More broadly, Walker said part of what he wants to see at DARPA during his tenure is looking at increasing counterinsurgency capabilities.
“I think as more populations across the world move to larger and larger cities, we need to understand the three dimensionality of cites and how to operate in those very crowded, very three-dimensional spaces,” Walker said, noting DARPA is working on ways to sense and map underground tunnels and infrastructure.
Updated 3/1/18 at 1:45 PM EST to reflect the fact that after publication, DARPA confirmed that Walker visited Ukraine in 2016.
About Aaron Mehta
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.
DARPA Is Making Insects That Can Deliver Bioweapons, Scientists Claim
BY HANNAH OSBORNE ON 10/4/18 AT 2:00 PM EDT
The U.S. government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been accused of trying to create a new class of biological weapons that would be delivered via virus-infected insects.
The Insect Allies program was announced by DARPA in 2016. It is a research project that aims to protect the U.S. agricultural food supply by delivering protective genes to plants via insects, which are responsible for the transmission of most plant viruses. Scientists believe loading the bugs up with viruses that would offer plants protective benefits could be one way of ensuring food security in the event of a major threat.
In an editorial published in the journal Science, a group of researchers led by Richard Guy Reeves, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Germany, says Insect Allies isn’t exactly what it says it is. Instead, they claim DARPA is potentially developing insects as a means of delivering a “new class of biological weapon.”
How Does Insect Allies Work?
There are many threats that could impact upon food security. This includes environmental disasters, natural pathogens and intentional attacks. Crop failure, for whichever of these reasons, has the potential to have devastating consequences—wheat and maize, for example, are relied upon by hundreds of millions across the globe for their basic nutritional needs.
Genetically altering a species to make it more resilient comes with problems. Introducing alterations directly into a species’ chromosome is slow, as the alteration must be passed down through generations before it takes hold.
Instead, scientists with DARPA are looking at introducing genetically modified viruses that can edit chromosomes directly in fields—these are known as horizontal environmental genetic alteration agents (HEGAAs).
The DARPA program is using the principles of HEGAAs but, unlike traditional methods of dispersal—like spraying fields with them—it wants to spread them through insects. At the moment, maize and tomato plants are being used in experiments and the insects being used for dispersal are leafhoppers, aphids and whiteflies.
“Insect Allies aims to develop scalable, readily deployable, and generalizable countermeasures against potential natural and engineered threats to mature crops,” Blake Bextine, DARPA Program Manager for Insect Allies, told Newsweek. “The program is devising technologies to engineer and deliver these targeted therapies on relevant timescales—that is, within a single growing season. To do so, Insect Allies researchers are building on natural, efficient, and highly specific plant virus and insect vector delivery systems to transfer modified, protective genes to plants.”
Why Biological Weapons?
Reeves and his colleagues offer a number of assertions about why Insect Allies could end up being a means of bioweapon dispersal. Firstly, they question the very nature of the project—the use of insects. Why, they say, are insects so integral? What is the problem with spraying HEGAAs?
The team says Insect Allies “appears very limited in its capacity to enhance U.S. agriculture or respond to national emergencies…. As a result, the program may be widely perceived as an effort to develop biological agents for hostile purposes and their means of delivery.”
Potentially, the viruses being introduced could do harm instead of good. The insects could be used to disperse agents that would prevent seeds from growing. “HEGAA weapons could be extremely transmissible to susceptible crop species, particularly where insects were used as the means of delivery,” they write. “Chromosomal editing would be targetable to particular crop varieties dependent on their genome sequence (presumably those varieties not grown by the deploying parties).”
The development of an insect-based system, according to the authors, points to “an intention to develop a means of delivery of HEGAAs for offensive purposes.” The technology, they say, could quickly be simplified and used to develop a whole new class of biological weapons. “In our view, the program is primarily a bad idea because obvious simplifications of the work plan with already-existing technology can generate predictable and fast-acting weapons, along with their means of delivery, capable of threatening virtually any crop species,” they wrote.
The team calls for more transparency from DARPA as the Insect Allies progresses. However, it also says the potential to weaponize this technology is already out there. They say weapons programs are driven by the perceived activities of competitors—maybe the Insect Allies program is a response to intelligence about another nation’s capabilities.
Furthermore, “the mere announcement of the Insect Allies Program, with its presented justifications, may motivate other countries to develop their own capabilities in this arena—indeed, it may have already done so…. Reversal of funding for this DARPA project…would not in itself close the particular Pandora’s box that HEGAAs or their insect dispersal may represent.”
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DARPA Making Weaponized Insects?
DARPA denies the assertions made by Reeves and his colleagues. “DARPA is producing neither biological weapons nor the means for their delivery,” a spokesman told Newsweek. “We do accept and agree with concerns about potential dual use of technology, an issue that comes up with virtually every new powerful technology.” He said these concerns are the reason Insect Allies has been structured in the way it is—supposedly as a transparent and university-led research project that encourages communication. “We also have numerous, layered safeguards in place to maintain biosecurity and ensure the systems we’re developing function only as intended,” the DARPA spokesperson added.
Bextine reiterated this point. Researchers working with DARPA are allowed to publish their results and work with different agencies. The experiments they carry out are done so in biosecure greenhouses. “At no point in the program is DARPA funding open release of Insect Allies systems,” Bextine said.
He said he disagrees with the conclusion of the editorial in Science, saying technology and research that deals with food security and gene editing “have a higher bar than most for transparency”—and Insect Allies, he says, meets these high standards.
Responding to the queries relating to delivery—why spraying technology cannot be used—Bextine said these are just not up to the challenge, especially when it comes to responding at a large scale to the most severe threats.
“Many existing methods for protecting crops are inefficient, expensive, imprecise, or destructive to plants, may require significant infrastructure, and often provide only limited efficacy,” he said. “Sprayed treatments are impractical for introducing genetic modifications on a large scale and potentially infeasible if the spraying technology does not access the necessary tissues with specificity. Meanwhile, traditional selective breeding methods for introducing protective traits into plants require years to propagate, nowhere near the speed required to prevent a fast-moving threat from developing into a crisis.”
He added that DARPA would never receive funding for the next generation of aerial spraying technology. The development of this new technology is dependent on industry and other research funders. “Instead, we reach for fundamentally new ways of delivering more precise, efficacious treatments through systems that can be readily adapted to confront a range of potential threats.
“Emerging biotechnologies—and especially the cutting-edge research being performed on Insect Allies—are pushing science into new territories. DARPA is proud to be taking a proactive role in working with stakeholders to inform a new framework for considering how the benefits of these technologies can be most safely realized.”
US military plan to spread viruses using insects could create ‘new class of biological weapon’, scientists warn
Agency says it is trying to genetically modify crops, but experts think this goal is ‘simply not plausible’
The Independent, 05 October 2018 11:16
US military plan to spread viruses using insects could create ‘new class of biological weapon’, scientists warn
The Insect Allies programme aims to use bugs to disperse genetically modified (GM) viruses to crops.
Such action will have profound consequences and could pose a major threat to global biosecurity, according to a team that includes specialist scientists and lawyers.
However, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), which is responsible for developing military technologies in the US, says it is merely trying to alter crops growing in fields by using viruses to transmit genetic changes to plants.
In theory, this rapid engineering would allow farmers to adapt to changing conditions, for example by inserting drought-resistance genes into corn instead of planting pre-engineered seeds.
But this seemingly inoffensive goal has been slammed by the scientists, who say the plan is simply dangerous and that insects loaded with synthetic viruses will be difficult to control.
They also say that despite being in operation since 2016 and distributing $27m in funds to scientists, Darpa has failed to properly justify the existence of such a programme.
“Given that Darpa is a military agency, we find it surprising that the obvious and concerning dual-use aspects of this research have received so little attention,” Felix Beck, a lawyer at the University of Freiburg, told The Independent.
Dr Guy Reeves, an expert in GM insects at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, said that there has been hardly any debate about the technology and the programme remains largely unknown “even in expert circles”.
He added that despite the stated aims of the programme, it would be far more straightforward using the technology as a biological weapon than for the routine agricultural use suggested by Darpa.
“It is very much easier to kill or sterilise a plant using gene editing than it is to make it herbicide or insect-resistant,” explains Reeves.
Experiments are reportedly already underway using insects such as aphids and whiteflies to treat corn and tomato plants.
Mr Beck said he and fellow experts were not suggesting that the US military wanted to create biological weapons, but that the proposed agricultural uses are “simply not plausible for a number of reasons”.
Firstly, they note that if farmers wanted to use genetically modified viruses to improve their crops, there is no reason not to use conventional spraying equipment.
They also noted that despite Darpa stating that no insects used should survive longer than two weeks, if such safeguards were not in place “the spread could in principle be unlimited”.
Mr Beck added: “The quite obvious question of whether the viruses selected for development should or should not be capable of plant-to-plant transmission – and plant-to-insect-to-plant transmission – was not addressed in the Darpa work plan at all”.
Air Force fails to acknowledge mysterious meteor that crashed to Earth near US military base
Making their case in the journal Science, the team noted that if Insect Allies’ research cannot be justified, it could be perceived as breaching the UN’s Biological Weapons Convention.
“Because of the broad ban of the Biological Weapons Convention, any biological research of concern must be plausibly justified as serving peaceful purposes,” explained Professor Silja Voeneky, a specialist in international law at Freiburg University.
“The Insect Allies Program could be seen to violate the Biological Weapons Convention, if the motivations presented by Darpa are not plausible.
“This is particularly true considering this kind of technology could easily be used for biological warfare.”
To prevent any suspicion and to avoid encouraging other nations to develop their own technologies in this area, the authors of the study have called for more transparency from Darpa if it intends to pursue such programmes.
A spokesperson from Darpa defended the programme, explaining that using insects to apply these gene altering treatments could provide advantages over sprays.
“Most importantly in this context, sprayed treatments are impractical for introducing protective traits on a large scale and potentially infeasible if the spraying technology cannot access the necessary plant tissues with specificity, which is a known problem,” they said.
“If Insect Allies succeeds, it will offer a highly specific, efficient, safe, and readily deployed means of introducing transient protective traits into only the plants intended, with minimal infrastructure required.”
Ukroboronprom Appoints Former DARPA Head as Supervisory Board Member
- Defense World, February 2, 2018
Anthony Tether, Former Head of US DARPA was appointed as member of UOP Supervisory Board (Image: Ukroboronprom)
Ukraine’s state run Ukroboronprom has appointed former head of US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Anthony Tether as member of UOP Supervisory Board.
Anthony Tether has been in charge of Ukroboronprom long-term development for over a year and a half. He assists in implementing UOP development strategy, implementation of reforms, corporatization, and international audit. The former head of DARPA contributed to strengthening Ukroboronprom’s export potential and investment development. Under his chairmanship, the State General Advanced Research and Development Agency (GARDA, the prototype of the American DARPA) was created, the company said in a statement Thursday.
“As a member of the Supervisory Board, Anthony Tether will help Ukroboronprom to implement the reform strategy and international audit,” said Roman Romanov, Ukroboronprom Director General.
Earlier, Mykhaylo Zhurovs’kyy – the rector of the National Technical University of Ukraine “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute named after I. Sikorsky” – was elected as Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Lieutenant General Yaroslav Skal’ko, former commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Air Force, was elected as Vice-Chairman.
On January 31, the Ukroboronprom Supervisory Board – after a long-term meeting -took key decisions on the activities of the Concern. During the meeting, UOP management report was heard; strategic directions for UOP development, corporatization process of UOP enterprises-participants, the international audit, the system of effective anti-corruption measures, creation of an advisory body and other issues were discussed.
Ukraine to Create DARPA-like Defence Research Agency
- Defense World, March 23, 2018
Ukriane will soon set up its General Advanced Research & Development Agency (GARDA), modeled along the American Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at Igor the Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (KPI).
This was stated by UKROBORONPROM Director General Pavlo Bukin during his speech at the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, during the parliamentary hearings “National Innovation System: State and Legislative Development”.
“It was decided to create an agency of advanced technologies based on the DARPA model, to implement technologies in the defense industry. Mykhaylo Zhurovs’kyy – the rector of the National Technical University of Ukraine “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute named after I. Sikorsky” – agreed that the agency will be based at this very university. I am sure this decision will contribute to the greatest effect”, stressed Pavlo Bukin.
At the same time, he mentioned that the issue of innovative technologies development is connected with the necessity of legislative changes that would improve the mechanisms of financing such projects.
“The legal framework for innovation in Ukraine is sufficiently developed, but some aspects need to be improved, as they hamper financing. When it comes to research institutes and design bureaus – their resources are limited. It is necessary to legislatively create a mechanism for innovation activity financing and preferential taxation, “- said UKROBORONPROM Director General Pavlo Bukin from the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
He named UGV “Phantom-2” development among UOP innovations. “This platform allows to destroy the enemy’s manpower and to transport the goods, and it has already passed the test abroad, and it can be considered to be a result of the activities of the State Concern and its design engineering bureaus,” said Pavlo Bukin.
Ukroboronprom head: Ukraine’s military industrial complex during hybrid warfare
By Roman Romanov, Dec 11, 2017
Roman Romanov is the director general of Ukrainian defense company Ukroboronprom.
Three years ago, Ukraine was facing an unexpected challenge – Russia’s military aggression. The annexation of Crimea and the first battles in Donbass were a total shock to the Ukrainian armed forces and the domestic defense industry. At that time, defense and law enforcement agencies were uncapable of performing their tasks; weapons and military equipment were not ready for operational use; and the military-industrial complex could not meet the needs of the Army.
Unfortunately, over the past 25 years, Ukrainian defense enterprises received no orders from the state – more than half of the plants were practically closed. The main types of the military equipment manufactured required Russian components.
In 2014, we completely stopped our cooperation with the Russian defense industry, and Ukroboronprom received the task to provide the Army with necessary weapons and military equipment in the shortest possible time.
First of all, we formed a new team of Ukroboronprom managers, who managed to quickly make qualitative changes and introduce the best business and management practices. We replaced about half of the directors of Ukroboronprom enterprises, mainly those who failed to adapt their way of thinking to new realities; we initiated repair and overhaul of the military equipment – Ukroboronprom enterprises organized 55 mobile maintenance crews, restoring military equipment directly in the anti-terrorist operation zone.
Furthermore, we arranged the import of critical components and organized the repair and manufacture of modernized military equipment samples. Ukroboronprom heads for strategic partnership with Western countries and NATO-Ukraine defense-technical cooperation.
In 2015, Ukroboronprom began implementing a new strategic task – the State Defense Order. Ukroboronprom enterprises launched serial production of new military equipment samples. The Army began to receive sniper rifles, mortars, modernized tanks and new armored personnel carriers manufactured in Ukraine.
The next urgent task was set: to overcome the dependence on imported components from the Russian Federation. To solve this problem, we launched a large-scale import substitution program to attract domestic reserves and set up cooperation within the country with enterprises of any form of ownership.
Ukroboronprom representatives visited all regions of Ukraine, held meetings with governors and discussed the issues of attracting the region’s industry to cooperation with Ukroboronprom.
As a result, enterprises from all regions of Ukraine began to join the import-substitution program implementation. As of today, 414 small, medium and large enterprises of Ukraine and 200,000 specialists joined the process. In fact, Ukroboronprom has attracted the whole country to working on strengthening the Ukrainian Army and the development of the country’s economy.
Furthermore, we renewed the workforce, attracted scientific and educational potential of the country: memorandums of cooperation were signed with 48 Ukrainian universities. Today, we train young specialists: 8,000-plus students had their practical training at Ukroboronprom enterprises and almost 600 of them are already working at our plants.
Memorandums of cooperation were signed with 30 institutes of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Attracting talented Ukrainian scientists and young specialists resulted in 535 promising developments upon the anvil and 80 projects that are already being implemented at Ukroboronprom enterprises.
We set ourselves to the task of expanding partnerships and implementing NATO standards for all stages of armament life cycles. The work on the introduction of the AQAP 2000 series standards at Ukroboronprom enterprises is launched. The ISO 9001 system already operates at 73 percent for Ukroboronprom enterprises.
Ukroboronprom specialists actively participate in multinational projects of the NATO concept Smart Defence, as well as in the meetings of the NATO-Ukraine Joint Working Group on Defence-Technical Cooperation.
In 2016, the development of the Ukroboronprom reform strategy was launched. The state concern Ukroboronprom held a meeting of a specially established tendering committee, involving the specialist of the Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee of Transparency International Ukraine, to help select the international consulting company using a “competitive dialogue” procedure. Thus, the concern started the process of conducting an international audit. We launched the next stage of Ukroboronprom’s reform. Implementation of such a large-scale process – as international audit and transformation of Ukroboronprom’s enterprises into joint stock companies – will last for about two years.
As a result of military operations in the anti-terrorist operation area, 900-plus technical solutions were introduced and implemented by Ukroboronprom engineers in the armored vehicles operated by the Army, having significantly improved tactical and operational characteristics of the military equipment and taking into account hybrid war experience.
Today, the latest developments of our specialists are being used and tested in the anti-terrorist operation zone. A good example is the unmanned complex Spectator, developed by the specialists of state concern Ukroboronprom, together with scientists of the National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.” In May 2015, a contract for production was signed. And in January 2016, the first batch was transferred to Ukraine’s armed forces. This high-tech product has been successfully used in combat conditions for more than a year. The prototype of the new tactical UAV, Horlytsya, developed by the Ukrainian enterprises, successfully performed its first flight.
Hybrid war in the east of Ukraine forced us – taking into account combat experience – to develop unmanned equipment for performing various tasks on the battlefield without putting our soldiers’ lives at risk.
Ukroboronprom withstood the challenge of the war and in three years transferred about 16,000 units of weapons and military equipment to the military. Thanks to the work of the entire defense industry of Ukraine, our armed forces – from combat-ineffective units in 2014 – turned into a well-armed Army.
Researchers developing long-lasting topical cream that alters skin’s “microbiome” so troops can ward off disease-carrying insects.
Breaking Defense, March 07, 2022
WASHINGTON: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency may have been created to develop cutting-edge technology to help the US take on the Soviet Union in the Cold War, but now it’s taking on another deadly enemy: mosquitos.
DARPA’s latest idea, now entering its second phase, is to get down to the molecular level to make a topical cream that would actually alter the “microbiome” of human skin to make it less appetizing to the disease-carrying insects.
“The ReVector program aims to precisely, safely, and efficiently reduce mosquito attraction and biting, and, subsequently, to help maintain the health of military personnel operating in disease-endemic regions,” the agency said in a release last month.
While tiny compared to the USSR and totally lacking artillery, the mosquito is the deadliest animal on the planet, responsible for spreading malaria, which kills more than 400,000 people every year, in addition to other deadly diseases. Throughout human history militaries have struggled with mosquito-borne maladies, from the million-plus cases that waylayed soldiers during the Civil War to the over 80,000 cases among US servicemembers in Vietnam.
Even though a vast majority of those survived, the disease disrupted the forces’ ability to fight, at times in critical moments. Army researchers currently estimate malaria infections are responsible for up to 21,000 lost work hours and between $1.2 and $4.4 million per year in evacuation and medical costs.
The treatment for malaria has progressed significantly in recent decades, but the ReVector program aims to stop the disease before it can get into the human body at all. The program’s first phase involved the development of technology to “modify human skin microbes” and the “volatile molecules” it produces, and testing the effect of those modifications on mosquitos.
“In Phase 2, the team plans to advance testing in animal models and move complex microbiome communities,” ReVector program manager Linda Chrisley said in the release.
The release explained that “ultimately, ReVector seeks to develop topical formulations that could be applied shortly before a mission with minimal equipment or training, and last for at least two weeks without reapplication, offering improved, sustained protection against disease vectors.”
DARPA is working with Stanford University researchers on the project, and the agency notes the research is reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration and “if necessary” the Environmental Protection Agency “to ensure that technologies are effective and do not pose a threat to humans or the environment.”
PENTAGON UNIT A1266 STUDIES INSECTS AS BIOTERRORISM AGENTS ON RUSSIA’S DOORSTEPS:
DARPA has been working for several years on genetic editing of mosquitoes. Through its “Insect Allies” program, DARPA has been working, using CRISPR gene-editing and gene drive technologies, on manipulating the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The US Department of Defense has spent at least $100 million in the controversial technology known as “gene drives” making the US military a top funder and developer of the gene-modifying technology. “Gene drives are a powerful and dangerous new technology and potential biological weapons could have disastrous impacts on peace, food security and the environment, especially if misused,” said Jim Thomas, co-director of ETC Group, an environment safety group. “The fact that gene drive development is now being primarily funded and structured by the US military raises alarming questions about this entire field.”
Entomological warfare is a type of biological warfare that uses insects to transmit diseases. The Pentagon, using DARPA research, has allegedly performed such entomological tests secretly in the Republic of Georgia and Russia. Is the DARPA development, together with Gates’ foundation and Oxitec, of the gene edited mosquitoes a covert program in entomological warfare?
The Pentagon presently has top security bio laboratories in 25 countries across the world funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under a $ 2.1 billion military program– Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP). They are in former Soviet Union countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa. Among their projects, Phlebotomine sand fly species were collected under the heading, “Surveillance Work on Acute Febrile Illness,” in which all (female) sand flies were tested to determine their infectivity rate. A third project, also including sand flies collection, studied the characteristics of their salivary glands. This is weaponization research.
The controversial person picked by the Biden Administration to become the first Cabinet-level science advisor, Eric Lander, came from the MIT-Harvard Broad Institute. Lander is a specialist in gene drive and gene editing technologies and played a major role in the flawed US Human Genome Project. This is not the kind of science we need to be supporting. It is rather part of what is obviously a larger eugenics agenda and Bill Gates is again playing a key role.
New synthetic biology programme makes use of natural capabilities to gather intelligence
The Independent, 23 November 2017 16:55
The US military wants to deploy plants as “the next generation of intelligence gatherers”.
Genetically modified plants could be employed as self-sustaining sensors to gather information in settings unsuitable for more traditional technologies.
The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is responsible for the development of emerging technologies in the US military, has called for scientists to submit ideas for how to harness the power of plants.
In the past, DARPA has produced information-gathering technologies such as the satellites and seismographs employed to ensure Soviet compliance with the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
But in this new initiative, termed the Advanced Plant Technologies (APT) programme, the agency is looking to the natural world for help.
“Plants are highly attuned to their environments and naturally manifest physiological responses to basic stimuli such as light and temperature, but also in some cases to touch, chemicals, pests and pathogens,” said Dr Blake Bextine, the manager of the ATP programme.
“Emerging molecular and modelling techniques may make it possible to reprogramme these detection and reporting capabilities for a wide range of stimuli, which would not only open up new intelligence streams, but also reduce the personnel risks and costs associated with traditional sensors,” said Dr Bextine.
The idea is that plants’ natural capabilities can be co-opted to detect relevant chemicals, harmful microorganisms, radiation and electromagnetic signals.
Modifying the genomes of plants would enable the military to control the types of sensing they are doing, and also trigger certain responses that can be monitored remotely using existing hardware.
Technology already exists to monitor plants from the ground, air and even from space.
“Advanced Plant Technologies is a synthetic biology programme at heart,” said Dr Bextine.
“As with DARPA’s other work in that space, our goal is to develop an efficient, iterative system for designing, building, and testing models so that we end up with a readily adaptable platform capability that can be applied to a wide range of scenarios.”
Past experiments with plants that have been modified in this manner have resulted in organisms that have difficulty settling in the natural environment, where they would be deployed.
The additional strain placed on the modified plants by their new duties makes it difficult for them to survive and compete with surrounding plants. This will be a key area that the new programme seeks to address.
The “proposers day” is being held on 12 December in Arlington, Virginia. It will lay out the objectives of DARPA’s programme and take submissions for research projects that are relevant to the initiative.
Gene Edited Catastrophe in Brazil
A British-American gene-editing company has released millions of genetically modified mosquitoes containing a dominant lethal gene, each week for 27 months in the Bahia, Brazil region in a test to see if the gene-edited mosquitoes would mate with local mosquitoes carrying Zika, malaria or other mosquito-borne diseases. A new study documents the alarming fact that following an initial reduction of the target population of mosquitoes, after some months the “population which had been greatly suppressed rebounded to nearly pre-release levels.” Scientists to date have no idea what dangers are presented by the new mutations. This once more highlights the dangers of uncontrolled gene-editing of species.
According to a new published study in Nature Reports journal, genetically engineered mosquitoes produced by the biotech company, Oxitec, now part of the US company Intrexon, have escaped human control after trials in Brazil and are now spreading in the environment.
On paper the theory was brilliant. Strains of “yellow fever” male mosquitoes taken from Cuba and Mexico were altered using gene-editing to make it impossible for their offspring to survive. Oxitec then began a systematic release of tens of millions of the manipulated mosquitoes over more than two years in the the city of Jacobina in the region of Bahia in Brazil. The Oxitec theory was the altered mosquitoes would mate with normal females of the same type which carry infectious diseases like dengue fever, and kill them off in the process.
A team of scientists from Yale University and several scientific institutes in Brazil monitored the progress of the experiment. What they found is alarming in the extreme. After an initial period in which the target mosquito population markedly declined, after about 18 months the mosquito population recovered to pre-release levels. Not only that, the paper notes that some of the mosquitos likely have “hybrid vigor,” in which a hybrid of the natural with the gene-edited has created “a more robust population than the pre-release population” which may be more resistant to insecticides, in short, resistant “super mosquitoes.”
The scientists note that, “Genetic sampling from the target population six, 12, and 27–30 months after releases commenced provides clear evidence that portions of the transgenic strain genome have been incorporated into the target population. Evidently, rare viable hybrid offspring between the release strain and the Jacobina population are sufficiently robust to be able to reproduce in nature…” They continue, “Thus, Jacobina Ae. aegypti are now a mix of three populations. It is unclear how this may affect disease transmission or affect other efforts to control these dangerous vectors.” They estimate that between 10% and 60% of the Bahia natural Ae. Aegypti mosquitoes now had some gene-edited OX513A genome. They conclude that “The three populations forming the tri-hybrid population now in Jacobina (Cuba/Mexico/Brazil) are genetically quite distinct, very likely resulting in a more robust population than the pre-release population due to hybrid vigor.”
This was not supposed to happen. Professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, Jeffrey Powell, senior author of the study, remarked on the findings: “The claim was that genes from the release strain would not get into the general population because offspring would die. That obviously was not what happened.” Powell went on to note, “But it is the unanticipated outcome that is concerning.”
A Gates Foundation Project
The Brazil study deals a major alarm signal on the uncontrolled release of gene-edited species into nature. It calls to mind the horror plot of Michael Crichton’s 1969 science fiction novel, Andromeda Strain. Only it is no novel.
The Oxitec mosquitoes were developed using a highly controversial form of gene-editing known as gene drive. Gene Drive, which is also being heavily funded by the Pentagon’s DARPA, combined with CRISPR gene-editing, aims to force a genetic modification to spread through an entire population, whether of mosquitoes or potentially humans, in just a few generations.
The scientist who first suggested developing gene drives in gene-editing, Harvard biologist Kevin Esvelt, has publicly warned that development of gene editing in conjunction with gene drive technologies has alarming potential to go awry. He notes how often CRISPR messes up and the likelihood of protective mutations arising, making even benign gene drives aggressive. He stresses, “Just a few engineered organisms could irrevocably alter an ecosystem.” Esvelt’s computer gene drive simulations calculated that a resulting edited gene “can spread to 99 percent of a population in as few as 10 generations, and persist for more than 200 generations.” This is very much what has now been demonstrated in the mosquito experiment in Brazil.
Notable is the fact that the Oxitec Brazil mosquito experiment was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In June, 2018 Oxitec announced a joint venture with the Gates Foundation, “to develop a new strain of Oxitec’s self-limiting Friendly™ Mosquitoes to combat a mosquito species that spreads malaria in the Western Hemisphere.” The Brazil results show the experiment is a catastrophic failure as the new strain is anything but self-limiting.
The Gates Foundation and Bill Gates have been backing development of the radical gene-editing technology and gene drive technology for more than a decade. Gates, a long-time advocate of eugenics, population control and of GMO, is a strong gene-editing promoter. In an article in the May/June 2018 magazine of the New York Council on Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs, Gates hails gene editing technologies, explicitly CRISPR. In the article Gates argues that CRISPR and other gene-editing techniques should be used globally to meet growing demand for food and to improve disease prevention, particularly for malaria. In his article he adds, “there is reason to be optimistic that creating gene drives in malaria-spreading mosquitoes will not do much, if any, harm to the environment.”
Every bit as alarming as the failure of the Brazil gene-editing mosquito experiment is the fact that this technology is being spread with virtually no prior health or safety testing by truly independent government institutions. To date the US Government relies only on industry safety assurances. The EU, while formally responsible to treat gene-edited species similarly to GMO plants, is reportedly trying to loosen the regulations. China, a major research center for gene-editing, has extremely lax controls. Recently a Chinese scientist announced an experiment in human gene-editing allegedly to make newborn twins resistant to HIV. Other experiments are proliferating around the world with gene-edited animals and even salmon. The precautionary principle has been thrown to the winds when it comes to the new gene-editing revolution, not a reassuring situation.
Currently Oxitec, which denies that the Brazil results show failure, is now trying to get regulatory approval from the US Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a similar experiment with the same gene-edited species in Texas and Florida. One of the people involved in the attempt, Texan Roy Bailey, is a Washington lobbyist and close friend of Randal Kirk, the billionaire CEO of Intrexon, owner of Oxitec. Bailey is also a major Trump fundraiser. Let’s hope that regulatory prudence and not politics decide the outcome.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
Genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in Florida and Texas beginning this summer
Gates Foundation Oxitec Grant
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Gates Foundation Awards $4.1 Million for Mosquito Engineering
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Researchers Turn Mosquitoes Into Flying Vaccinators
US Army & Gates Study Immunization Via Mosquito Bite With Radiation-attenuated Sporozoites (IMRAS)
Who is the biggest killer on the planet?
EPA suspends enforcement of environmental laws amid coronavirus
So yeah, nothing to worry here, just “health labs” and SPAs …
Thanks Fukushima Exposed for the great and timely contribution that decisively helped me complete this investigation!
To be continued?
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! Articles can always be subject of later editing as a way of perfecting them