The US Shipment Of Lethal Food Poisoning To Belgian Congo
After undertaking a search for information about war crimes from the archives of the former Belgian Congo, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louis Michel, had a different mind. His aim is to cover up crimes which took place in the former colony of Belgium. Thus, he decided immediately upon the establishment of the inquiry to close all the colonial archives of the ministry.
Researchers, including me, were denied all access to the archives of the Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi, countries principally in the hands of Belgium. However, moments later, the new Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, took over but maintained the same attitude, virtually impossible to conduct thorough historical research.
Yet still, I got information about the revolt of the Katanga Gendarmes and the population in the sixties, which was brought to a halt by Belgium, with the support of the US government. The US could and wanted to do more but wouldn't like to openly involve with the CIA commandos, since that could ruin their credibility in Africa.
After all, it was a period racial trouble was brewing up in the US, for example, the struggle for equal civil rights for black people and the problems that escalated after its own intervention in the Vietnam wars. Action undertook by Belgium, the US and the so-called Congolese air force against the rebels was labeled by the military researchers as highly classified.
In 1975, the concern over revelations of myriad intelligence abuses led to a comprehensive investigation by the U.S. Senate's Church Committee. The publication was a CIA memorandum, listing the deadly chemical agents and toxins then stockpiled at Fort Detrick. These included, amongst other agents, mycotoxin and a dozen other lethal food poisons, some of which, the committee learned had been shipped in the early 1960's to the Congo.
"Majority leader Mike Mansfield appointed me to a newly created committee named: 'Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities,", said John Stockwell, a former CIA paramilitary intelligence case officer, stationed in Angola. The committee soon came to be known as the 'Church Committee,' after the late Sen. Frank Church of Idaho, its former chairman.
One of the main goals of the committee was a comprehensive investigation by this U.S.A. Senate’s Church Committee, which also published a CIA memorandum listing the deadly chemical agents and toxins, then stockpiled at Fort Detrick and shipped to Congo. Most striking was the fact that also the Tuskegee syphilis experiments were cited and the 1978 hepatitis-B experiments, as precedent researchers also believe the CIA was behind the AIDS epidemic originating in West and Central Africa.
Many prominent Africans, including former South African President Thabo Mbeki and Wangari Mathai, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, believed the CIA is responsible. John Stockwell stated also that: “There is circumstantial evidence the CIA was involved in spreading the deadly retroviruses causing Aids.”
Moreover, Stockwell suggested also the origin of Aids may be linked to a mass smallpox inoculation conducted by WHO and that the disease was used by the agency intentionally to target gay men and intravenous drug users, which is described also in an Upjohn 1978 report that SCID is involved after smallpox vaccinations. The issue now in Central America is not a Russian subversion. The United States is playing a child's game in Central America.
The game is: Let's make believe that the Russians are taking over Central America and let's go down there and destabilize governments and kill a lot of people. That is wrong. It has discredited the United States. It has made the United States responsible for genocide in the Third World. So, should the CIA Fight Secret Wars as described by Mark Danner and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, William Colby, Leslie Gelb on September 30, 1984?
The hypocrisy and dissembling of the U.S. Government is evident today not only in such actions and its language - "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (WMD) being the new, more militaristic buzzword - but also is the fact that the United States has been the only nation ever to have deployed the most lethal of WMDs, nuclear bombs, against civilians. Moreover, the United States has also been the most notorious and prolific practitioner of chemical-biological warfare (CBW) since World War II.
But all secret wars are guided by firms as Upjohn and Glaxo Smith Kline. The last firm has, in collaboration with the Belgian Royal Academy of Overseas Sciences, a regular price called 'Glaxo Smith Kline Price of Overseas Medical Sciences' for a researcher or researchers group, in the field of human medicine or pharmaceutical sciences. An important contributor to fundamental or clinical knowledge of the pathology of specific to the countries overseas to reward particularly in the parasitological and microbiological industries.
One of those researchers was professor Stefaan Rogier Pattyn, who received his M.D. degree from the University of Ghent, Belgium in 1953. From 1954 to 1960 he worked as a medical educator and researcher in Elisabethville (Lubumbashi), Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), where he was head of the Pathology Section and created the Virology Section to study enteroviruses and adenoviruses.
It was here that his interest in mycobacteria began, starting with studies on Mycobacterium ulcerans, the cause of Buruli ulcer (BU). From 1960 to 1972, he was Professor of BacteriologyVirology at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), Antwerp,
Belgium. Following Pattyn it is remarkable to see that in 1958 he went to the U.S.A. to a World Health Organization (WHO) grant and among other activities, he studied at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C. and at CDC laboratories in Montgomery, Alabama.
Professor Pattyn learned that the Belgian Damien Foundation (DF) (now Damien Action), in those days DF was responsible for the management of leprosy and tuberculosis in the northeastern part of Congo. But it is Pattyn who organized treatment trials in collaboration with the foundation. Protocols were written, training sessions organized, the rationale of the treatment schedules explained, and diagnoses confirmed.
In those early days because communications were ‘primitive,’ the results were communicated by Belgian International Radio, in code. This rapid communication enhanced the efficacy of this effort. Why in code? Well, because of the Congo, Rwanda, and Africa’s “First World War.” The Congo exemplified biowarfare medical problems.
In 1960, Belgium granted its former colony independence, but this proved only the beginning of new troubles. Civil war ensued, and initially the United States, as a participant in a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping force, seemed to back Belgium as well as Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. But as Lumumba drifted increasingly into the Soviet orbit, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) considered means of assassinating him.
In the words of the local CIA station chief: “To avoid another Cuba.” Meanwhile, the United State provided assistance to army officer Joseph Désiré Mobutu, whose troops captured and killed Lumumba. Although conditions in the Congo were difficult under Lumumba, they were at least as bad under Mobutu, who became the unquestioned leader of the nation in 1966.
And all those researchers of Belgian Royal Academy of Overseas Sciences were protected by “Belgian Paratroopers” during there medical trials on innocent natives. But eventually, they couldn't prevent that some facilities were destroyed.
Institute for Scientific Research in Central Africa (IWOCA) was founded in 1946 under the decisions of the Prince Regent. Founded by Mr. Jean-Paul Harroy, future governor-general of Ruanda-Urundi (1958-1962).
The IWOCA consisted of five departments that are on both sides of the separation Congo-Nile situ were: BUTARE (Astrida) Faculty of Humanities Prof. Marcel d'Hart Field, later director of I.N.R.S. (Institut National de Recherche Scientifique). IWOCA (Astrida) changes in I.N.R.S. after the independence of Rwanda.
LWIRO: headquarters of the IWOCA, 15 kilometers north of Bukavu. Faculty of Geology - Volcanology - Astronomy. Uvira: (to be destroyed in 1960!) Faculty Flora and fauna of Lake Tanganyika.
LUBUMBASHI (Elizabeth City) Faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
MAPALI: was south of Mbandaka (Coquillatstad now Mbandaka) Faculty Botanica.
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Joel Savage and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana.