Saturday, August 27, 2005

Some interesting email from Russia...

To the editor-in-chief
From REGNUM news agency, Russia

Dear Sir,
Your internet news agency ( has published the information about outbreaks of Tularemia in Russia, in particular, in Nizhny Novgorod area and Dzerzhinsk. You wrote that the cause of the outbreaks could be some sort of accidental release of
weaponized Tularemia.
I would appreciate a lot if you kindly explain what made you come to this conclusion.
The accusation of using (or misusing) bioweapons is very serious, it has already spread panic among Russians and it can badly affect Russia’s reputation.
Today the information you published is being cited by many Russian news agencies. Meantime, neither biologists nor other specialists confirmed this information.
REGNUM new agency would be very grateful if you can clarify your opinion and provide readers with more detailed information – e.g., comments of experts, facts and figures.
We are also ready to publish you answer and all the facts you provide on our web-site

Best regards,

Julia Sandler

REGNUM news agency
Nizhny Novgorod bureau

My response was as follows:

Ms Julia Sandler 08/27/05
REGNUM News Agency
Nizhny Novgorod Bureau

Dear Ms Sandler:

The details-such as they were – of a Tularemia outbreak in two somewhat contiguous areas of the Federation came to my attention during my daily checks of a website called ProMed – which is, I believe, maintained by the Federation of American Scientists,and which tracks new / existing disease outbreaks on a worldwide scale.

I started such monitoring not long after 9/11/2001 , and the subsequent Anthrax Attacks : putting myself in the position of “another set of eyes –
watching the tall grass for movement” : a hobby some might consider more than a bit paranoid.

I was at that time contributing to an online publication called “Biohazard News” , and it was natural to check such sites as ProMed. I simply continued the habit after the publication closed – eventually setting up my own small site.

It is strictly a “hobby site” : one old man, who relies on openly available information. At least 90% of what I publish is "light-hearted" material , with the occasional “special report” thrown in. The Tularemia report was one of my "specials”.

Here is a link to the first ProMed report that caught my eye. These reports are available in a number of languages, by the way.,F2400_P1001_ARCHIVE_NUMBER,F2400_P1001_USE_ARCHIVE:1001,20050718.2066,Y

I was a bit surprised when I read another report in August:,F2400_P1001_ARCHIVE_NUMBER,F2400_P1001_USE_ARCHIVE:1001,20050822.2467,Y

Yet another report emerged the following day:,F2400_P1001_PUB_MAIL_ID:1000%2C30178

NO follow-up reports emerged – which led me to wonder if there had been some sort of accident or incident.

I had read Kantjan Alibekov’s book “Biohazard” , and surmised there might be continuing bioweapons research at assorted locations. (The book helped confirm suspicions that came to mind when I learned a researcher at Vector accidentally injected herself with Ebola about 2 years ago.)

I looked at the Global Security site and checked their archive for known facilities in the era of the Tularemia outbreaks. (You will have to scroll down the page quite far to find the data.)

Having found no “mainstream media” references the outbreaks – including MosNews,Pravda RU,or RIA Novostoi- I decided to publish what I had in the form of a “special report” : in hopes it would be considered worth further inquiry “down the line”. ( I am glad to see there is further inquiry being made.)

Trusting this information may be of service, I remain

Cordially yours,

E. J. (Gene) Finneran

The original article was posted here :

Followup: Article 8/31/05 Interfax - 30 cases Tularemia in Sverdlosk area.
Also the following:

Aug 31 2005 9:28PM
Russia denies alleged departures from arms control accords
MOSCOW. Aug 31 (Interfax) - Moscow on Wednesday rejected U.S. allegations the previous day that Russia had been departing from its arms control and nonproliferation commitments.

"On August 30, the U.S. State Department published a report entitled '2005. Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments' full of allegations that Russia has violated its international commitments," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary published on its website,

"Such accusations are not new. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has had to comment more than once on sections of similar 'studies' that listed Russia among principal 'violators' of nonproliferation agreements indiscriminately and without citing any facts. We are forced to state that this State Department document is not very different," the commentary said.


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