Operation Dark Harvest

Gruinard-OperationDarkHarvest

In 1981, a group called Dark Harvest Commando [ which sometimes described itself as being part of the ‘Scottish Civilian Army’ – an early prototype of the SNLA or ‘Scottish National Liberation Army’ ] mounted what was named in the press as ‘Operation Dark Harvest.’

They demanded that the British Government decontaminate Gruinard and reported that a “team of microbiologists from two universities” had landed on the island with the aid of local people and collected 300 lb (140 kg) of soil. [ Containing anthrax spores ]

The group threatened to leave samples of the soil “at appropriate points that will ensure the rapid loss of indifference of the government and the equally rapid education of the general public”.

The same day a sealed package of soil was left outside the military research facility at Porton  Down and tests revealed that it did indeed contain anthrax bacilli.

Several days later, another sealed package of soil was left in Blackpool, where the ruling Conservative Party [ Tories ] were holding their annual conference. This soil did not actually contain anthrax, but when tested the soil was similar to that found on the island.

Since then, an effort to decontaminate Gruinard began in 1986. The worst of the infected soil was removed and 280 tonnes of formaldehyde solution diluted in seawater was sprayed over the full 196 hectares of the island. Another flock of sheep was introduced and this time they remained healthy.

The heirs of the island’s original owners were able to buy it back from the British Crown at the original selling price of £500 in 1990.

The Background : Due to the development of the German V2 rockets, Churchill was prepared to use chemical weapons during WW2, in particular, poison gas. Anthrax was also considered by Churchill’s advisors as another separate option under ‘biological warfare.’

His ‘Most Secret PRIME MINISTER’S PERSONAL MINUTE’ to the Chiefs of Staff, 6 July 1944,reads as follows :

“I should be prepared to do anything [Churchill’s emphasis] that would hit the enemy in a murderous place. I may certainly have to ask you to support me in using poison gas. We could drench the cities of the Ruhr and many other cities in Germany …, We could stop all work at the flying bombs starting points…. and if we do it, let us do it one hundred per cent.”

The use of Anthrax had already been developed in the early 1940’s, on a small island off the west coast of Scotland.

A highly contagious strain of Anthrax called “Vollum 14578was tested on Gruinard by scientists from PortonDown in 1942…

 

From ‘Meritocracy : A Revolution Of The Mind’ by Seán Gearárd McCloskey

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