U.S. Dismisses Bird Flu Bioweapon Claim

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates yesterday rejected a claim by Indonesia's health minister that the United States was using bird flu samples to create biological weapons, the Jakarta Post reported (see GSN, Feb. 22).

"I think it's the nuttiest idea I've ever heard," Gates said after giving an address in Jakarta.

In the book "It Is Time for the World to Change! God's Hand Behind Bird Flu Virus," Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said the U.S. military is transferring virus samples to a Los Alamos National Laboratory facility as part of a World Health Organization plot against developing nations.

Gates also denied claims that the United States has offered military assistance to Indonesia in exchange for banning the English version of the book.

"I respectfully and strongly disagree with the minister, and it is not true that the United States offered military equipment if the book was withdrawn," he said.

Supari's belief does not reflect the view of the Indonesian government, said presidential spokesman Dino Pati Djalal (Desy Nurhayati, Jakarta Post, Feb. 26).

February 26, 2008
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U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates yesterday rejected a claim by Indonesia's health minister that the United States was using bird flu samples to create biological weapons, the Jakarta Post reported (see GSN, Feb. 22).