Last week 3 young people, who introduced themselves as members of the “For the Sake of the Law” social movement, organized a protest in front of the US Embassy in Yerevan.
One of the protestors Arman Ghukasyan told the journalists that the reason for their assembly is the biological reference laboratories funded by the United States. In Ghukasyan’s words, the laboratories have military purpose and are dangerous for Armenia since biological weapons may be produced there.
As a justification for his words, the young man said, “Such laboratories function in more than 400 countries of the world”, and all of them are funded by the US Defense, by Pentagon”.
It is difficult to say what “400 countries Ghukasyan means since, to our information, there are only 197 countries in the world.
Note that the aforementioned laboratories are funded by the “Threat Reduction Agency” of the US Department of Defense. One of the aims of the agency created in 1991 is prevention of spread of biological weapons and hazards.
The agency has been cooperating with Armenian authorities since the year 2000 when our governments signed the Agreement on Cooperation in the Area of Counterproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
One of the objectives of funding the laboratories is enhancing Armenia’s capability to detect, diagnose and report about outbreaks of endemic and epidemic, man-made or natural pathogens and diseases of security concern, and bioterror attacks. In that way, the United States are reducing the potential threats coming from biological weapons and epidemics both in the region and in the whole world.
In other words, the US funds the aforementioned laboratories in order to help Armenia cope with spread of epidemics and biological weapons more efficiently, as otherwise the whole mankind can be affected.
All the laboratory employees are Armenians, and there are no Americans among them. They are research laboratories subject to the RA Ministries of Agriculture and Health. Moreover, they receive devices and equipment from Russia as well, which is also interested (like the US) in building Armenia’s capacity in fight against spread of biological weapons.
And while Arman Ghukasyan has kept on stating that US soldiers work in the laboratories, the “National Center of Disease Control and Prevention” (SNCO) under RA Ministry of Health has assured us that the employees include Armenians only.
It is worth adding that these people have been spreading the disinformation on biological weapons since November, and it has been mainly broadcast by Russian or pro-Russian media outlets (for instance, armeniasputnik.am, geoclub.info, kavkazoved.info, openarmenia.com, verelq.am, regnum.ru, fondres.ru, eadaily.com, eurasianinfoleague.com, armsovereignty.com, and etc.). This time, however, media outlets that do not have the reputation of being pro-Russian also unintentionally joined the spread of disinformation. Those include but are not limited to armtimes.com, panorama.am, tert.am, and etc.
Note that “Union of Informed Citizens” NGO applied to the RA Prosecutor’s Office on June 12, asking the latter to investigate and finally answer the question whether the aforementioned laboratories produce biological weapons.
“Union of Informed Citizens” has also published a small report addressing the motives of the groups that spread this disinformation. The small investigation concluded that the main aim of the aforementioned disinformation is to represent USA as an “enemy” and “danger” for Armenia, and create and reinforce the image of Russia as the guarantor of our security and our “rescuer”.