Fact Check: The Pentagon Is Not Planning Biological Experiments Using Bulgarian Soldiers

проверка на факти

  • от: Lead Stories автор
Fact Check: The Pentagon Is Not Planning Biological Experiments Using Bulgarian Soldiers No Such Plans

Is the Pentagon planning to conduct biological experiments using Bulgarian soldiers at the Military Medical Academy (MMA) in Sofia? No, that's not true: The documents cited in the claim by Dilyana Gaytandzhieva were falsely interpreted and did not support the allegation that the Pentagon planned experiments on Bulgarian soldiers in Sofia. The claim, which would represent major violations of international treaty law, has been refuted by the Ministry of Defence, the National Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD), and the US Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria

The claim originated in a TikTok video (archived here) published on Feb 12, 2022 under the title "The Pentagon's Bio Experiment with Bulgarian Soldiers". The video featured an excerpt from the YouTube channel "Tsanov FORWARD and UPWARD" where at the 01:26 mark, the narrator says:

When the investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva finds out that Americans are coming to Bulgaria to do biological experiments with our soldiers, she knows that many people will be surprised. But she's not. She has already done a number of investigations into where the $2.1 billion budget for military bio-laboratories scattered around the world is going. More precisely, throughout the Third World. Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Cameroon, Georgia, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and more. They are more than 200. 25 are already known. Soon, there will be another elite division in a Third World country - Bulgaria.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-07-06 230646.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Jul 6 20:06:50 2023 UTC)

Gaytandzhieva's publications and interviews, shared by Bulgarian websites and social media, allege that US military scientists intend to experiment on Bulgarian soldiers at the Bulgarian Military Medical Academy (MMA) to test viruses and dangerous pathogens in cooperation with the country's National Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD) and the Walter Reed Research Institute of the US Department of Defense.

She falsely alleges that public documents published by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) mission, known as the United States Army Medical Research Directorate - Georgia (USAMRD-G), support her claim. Instead, the document is a performance work statement (PWS) for contracts which describes "a non-personal services contract to provide scientific biomedical research support, project management support, clinical research/surveillance support, and operational (management and ancillary) support for affiliated activities" in Georgia and Bulgaria.

It refers to technical questions related to the disease research process and topics related to methodology development, technology provision, and intellectual property. Bulgaria's NCIPD and MМА are indeed listed as partnering institutions. However, the subject ends with a description of their functions and structure.

Allegations of biological warfare experiments using human test subjects would amount to serious violations of international law and the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. It is extremely unlikely that a public document between military agencies of the US and Bulgaria would contain evidence of such serious violations.

Bulgaria's Ministry of Defense categorically refuted allegations that the plan allowed biological experiments using Bulgarian soldiers.

The US Embassy in Bulgaria also issued a statement to Bulgaria's National Radio BNR saying:

The U.S. Army Medical Research Directorate - Georgia, part of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), has an agreement with the Bulgarian National Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD) for cooperation in the study of infectious diseases existing in Bulgaria, in order to improve their diagnosis and treatment. WRAIR is funding the participation of a researcher who will work at the NCSP on this important study under the agreement. This agreement is not a secret - it is public knowledge, as are the documents that relate to it.

Prof. Dr. Iva Hristova - NCIPD director, also rejected in an interview for Factcheck.bg, the allegation of any experiments with Bulgarian soldiers and stated that work is about diagnostics and research of infectious diseases existing in Bulgaria.

Gaytandzhieva's claims tie into previous "investigations" that the Pentagon conducted "biological experiments" with soldiers in Ukraine and Georgia, which have been repeatedly debunked as conspiracy theories by various fact-checking platforms, including PolitiFact, and Stop Fake. Her allegations have been shared by the Atlantic Council and Myth Detector with the clarification that Gaytandzhieva is "a Bulgarian journalist with Russian ties".

Other Lead Stories fact checks related to bio labs can be found here.

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