The U.S. Forces Korea has conducted 16 rounds of clandestine experiments involving dead anthrax samples and one plague test since 2009, a joint investigation panel said Thursday, upending Washington’s previous claim that last May’s anthrax shipment marked its first-ever trial here.
In late May, 22 U.S. servicemen were found to have possibly come into contact with the lethal bacteria sent to Osan Air Base in Gyeonggi Province from a military laboratory in Utah.
Though the USFK said that none of them had shown signs of infection and the substances were destroyed immediately, the incident fueled vehement protests by civic groups over what they called porous customs clearance, and prompted the allies to launch a working group for a fact-finding probe in July.
Announcing the results, the panel said the USFK had brought in and tested dead anthrax samples 15 times at Yongsan Garrison in central Seoul between 2009 and 2014. That adds to the May exercise for which it mailed 1 milliliter of inactive Yersinia pestis (bubonic plague) samples alongside the same amount of possibly live anthrax bacilli.
“We confirmed that USFK imported inactivated Bacillus anthracis test samples as well as inactivated Yersinia pestis samples for detection and identification training … while safely decontaminating the facility and destroying the samples,” said Maj. Gen. Chang Kyung-soo, director general for policy planning at Seoul’s Defense Ministry, who jointly heads the joint working group.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.koreaherald.com