Bulgarian Journalist Disseminates Disinformation Regarding Military Personnel Research in Georgia and Ukraine

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On January 24th, Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva published an article on her blog dilyana.bg entitled: “Documents expose US biological experiments on allied soldiers in Ukraine and Georgia”. The English-language article claims that 4,400 soldiers in Ukraine and 1,100 in Georgia were involved in a potentially deadly experiment funded by the Pentagon and that their deaths were to be reported in Ukraine within 24 hours and in Georgia within 48 hours. The article asserts that the evidence to these claims is pointed out by the leaked documents. According to Gaytandzhieva, the Pentagon has launched a 5-year research project in Georgia, “Arthropod-borne and zoonotic infections among military personnel in Georgia”, which entailed taking blood samples from Georgian military personnel and testing them for antibodies against 14 different pathogens. In addition, Gaytandzhieva argued that the study results were not available to study participants. Gaytandzhieva’s article is accompanied by scanned project report documents.

On January 26th, the information disseminated by Gaytandzhieva was published on the Russian-language strana.today. In addition, according to Crowdtangle, a Facebook analytics tool, in January-March, Gaytandzhieva shared identical information based on her article with 11 Russian-language public groups and pages, including: Страна.UA – Новости Украины, Едины и Непобедимы! Вместе мы Победим! Инна Иваночко, РУССКИЙ МИР (2 Posts), Срочные новости, Народный корреспондент, Закарпатские новости и не только, Русский Мир#история, политика,жизнь, ИНФОРМАЦИЯ ОТ РУСИЯ И ЗА РУСИЯ.

Identical information appeared on the Georgian pro-Kremlin outlet “Georgia and World.” On March 10th, the information was shared by the Facebook account “Fantina.”

The claim that Georgian soldiers were subjects to military experiments in the Lugar Laboratory, which could have resulted in their potential death, is disinformation. The study only aimed at taking blood samples to determine the presence of antibodies to infections in military personnel and to identify possible epidemiological risk factors. The practice of reporting deaths within 48 hours is part of every scientific study protocol. The claim that the results of the research are not available is also false since the aforementioned data are public.

Aims and Safety of Research Conducted in the Lugar Laboratory of Tbilisi

Myth Detector requested public information about the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) study. The Center’s official letter states that the study, entitled Arthropod-borne and zoonotic infections among military personnel in Georgia, was conducted in 2014-2016 to determine the presence of antibodies to arthropod-borne and zoonotic (animal-to-human) infections and subsequent causes of these infections. The study provides insight into ​​what types of pathogens humans have come in contact with in the past. According to the NCDC, military personnel is an interesting population group in the sense that they frequently undergo field exercises and may come into contact with zoonotic pathogens in a variety of environments. Notably, similar studies are being performed in other countries to detect antibodies to various diseases. The research is completely safe, and the soldiers participating in it were informed about the objectives of the research.

“As for the safety of the study, it is classified as a minimal risk study because it involved only taking blood samples to identify antibodies against these pathogens and completing a questionnaire. In other words, the risk was not greater than it is during a regular visit to a doctor.” – notes the NCDC.

Availability of Research Results and the Project Report

It should be noted that the study is not classified, and its results are publicly available in the form of scientific articles published in various scientific journals. The authors of the study are both Georgian and foreign researchers.

As for the report documents that we find in the article of Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, NCDC clarified that these were only available to the collaborators or people involved in the project because the scientific information in the report is their intellectual property. In addition, the document includes personal information and protocol issues of the persons working on the project. Access to these materials for a Bulgarian journalist indicates that the official documents have been leaked. In this regard, it should be noted that in 2020, a cyber attack was carried out on Lugar Lab. The leaked documents, which indicated the contributions and royalties of the research project participants, were previously addressed by “Myth Detector.” Read more here:

Pages of the report that Gaytandzhieva disseminates:

Kremlin-affiliated journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, who often appears on Russian Defense Ministry TV Zvezda, has been publishing documents leaked from the Georgian official bodies even before the 2020 cyberattack on the Lugar Lab. In 2018, Gaitanjieva released documents from the Georgian Ministry of Health and personal correspondence from Minister Davit Sergeenko. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has launched an investigation into the crimes under the charges of unauthorized access to the computer system and violation of the secrecy of personal correspondence, telephone conversations or other means of communication. However, the results of the investigation are still unknown.

What does the record on ‘48 hours notice of death’ mean?

Dilyana Gaytandzhieva accentuates the record in the document, according to which the notification of the deaths of volunteers should be done preferably within 48 hours to the Gori Military Hospital. The Center for Disease Control explains in writing to Myth Detector that this is a standard practice, which, according to the regulations, was developed for research and is written in all protocols at the request of the Bioethics Council.

“No experiments were conducted within the research. We once again underscore – no new equipment, treatment method or medication was used. Experimental studies are not conducted at our Center and have never been conducted before.” – mentions the letter from the NCDC.

Research report document attached to Gaytandzhieva’s article

Research in Ukraine

In the second part of her “investigative” article, Dilyana Gaytandzhieva notes that Ukraine, like Georgia, is conducting dangerous experiments. “Spread of the Crimean-Congo virus of hemorrhagic fever and hantaviruses in Ukraine and the potential need for differential diagnosis of patients with suspected leptospirosis is the English name of a study conducted in Ukraine” is the name of the Ukrainian study that Gaytandzhieva mentions. The study looked at Crimean-Congo fever and hantaviruses, taking blood samples from study participants to determine if they had been exposed to these diseases in the past. Information about the research project is also available on the website of the US Embassy in Ukraine.

Records of the objectives and protocol of the research conducted in Ukraine are published on the portal UkrLeaks, founded by a former employee of Ukrainian intelligence Vasily Prozorov. Prozorov currently lives in Russia and spreads conspiracies and disinformation about Ukraine. There is nothing unusual in the documents published by Pozorov, which Dilyana Gaytandzhieva uses as simulation evidence. The document explains the aims of the study and states that the personal information of the soldiers involved in the study will be protected, which means that the results will not be recorded in their medical history after the blood samples are tested, and the results of blood tests will not be passed on to third parties. The document stresses that participation in the study is voluntary, and participants can opt-out at any time. The document also highlights the fact that according to studies already conducted, military activities such as, for example, digging trenches increase the risk of disease in soldiers, and this particular population was selected for this very reason.

The document of the research conducted in Ukraine published by Gaytandzhieva:

The Kremlin often targets both Ukrainian laboratories and the Richard Lugar Research Center in Georgia. See the materials checked by “Myth Detector” on this topic:


The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.

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Violation: Disinformation
Country: Georgia, Ukraine, USA
Source

Source

Gaytandzhieva Dilyana
Gaytandzhieva Dilyana

Source

Geworld.ge
Geworld.ge
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