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Government deployed smallpox against Indians as a biological weapon of war, says historian


Biological warfare

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(NaturalNews) A lawyer and historian who has spent the past decade engaged in what he calls a "detective story" thinks that he has discovered the most compelling evidence yet that the spread of smallpox in North America in the 19th century was done intentionally, as a way to decimate a Native American tribe.

As reported by Coast Mountain News (CMN), the historian, Tom Swanky, a resident of Quesnel, British Columbia, in Canada -- who was born in a hospital on the site of where five of the six Tsilhqot'in chiefs were hanged in 1864 -- says he came to his conclusion after reading the defense provided by the chiefs during a court trial.

"They were supplied a defence council and the main reason they gave for their actions of war was the spread of smallpox," he told the CMN. "They saw it as a deliberate act of aggression and war on their people."

The CMN further reported:

Following this trail of evidence led Swanky to believe that smallpox was actually used as biological weapon against the natives by the colonial government of the time who were seeking to attain native land in places they knew harboured great resistance. This story corresponds with many tales told by native elders, who have long believed that the introduction of smallpox was a calculated move to eradicate their people.

In 2012, Swanky published a book, The True Story of Canada's "War" of Extermination on the Pacific, in which he details his 10 years' worth of research. Together with his son Shawn, the 60-year-old lawyer and historian is currently working on a documentary film about the smallpox epidemic, titled The Great Darkening.

One town key to Swanky's conclusions

There has been a general acceptance of reports and theories that smallpox was intentionally spread by governments throughout North America in the 18th and 19th centuries as a means of conducting biological warfare against indigenous peoples, but most historians, wrote Caitlin Thompson for CMN, "do not believe it was to the scale that Swanky proposes."

In fact, Swanky alleges that the spread of the disease went far beyond the most commonly accepted theory that the disease was spread through the intentional trading of infected blankets.

Scandal central, Swanky says, is a town called Bella Coola. Thompson notes:

Bella Coola's strategic position made it a very attractive place for investment and development during the latter half of the 1800s, and it is precisely this reason that Swanky believes smallpox was introduced into the Bella Coola Valley.

"In the 1860's there was great confidence that a railroad was going to be built to Bella Coola, and that goods would be transported from there down the coast," Swanky told the CMN. "Alongside the colonial government, there were also multiple private investors that wanted to see this happen, and they saw native occupation as their main obstacle to acquiring the land they needed."

The historian and attorney says that smallpox manifested itself in Bella Coola quickly -- too quickly, in fact, to have been a naturally occurring outbreak. That, he says, means the disease was introduced and spread intentionally.

"There were three main ways smallpox was intentionally spread," Swanky explained. "The first was through infected blankets. The second was intentional, direct contact with an infected person, and the third was through false vaccination programs."

Historically, the truth about this form of biological warfare is unclear

He pointed to a fact sheet on smallpox by the World Health Organization, which says that the disease normally takes months to spread through a particular population.

"The WHO says that smallpox epidemics develop comparatively slowly, the interval between each generation is two to three weeks," said Swanky. "Compare that to what happened in Bella Coola. There was nothing slow about it. In three weeks most were already dead. It is impossible that there was anything casual or accidental about this introduction."

Controversial political activist and former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill has claimed that, during the 1800s, the U.S. Army distributed smallpox-infected blankets to Native American tribes, but his claims have been disputed, with some claiming he engaged in falsifications and fabrications to reach his conclusions.

Indeed, if such spreading did take place, historians note that it was most likely perpetrated by the British army, some historians note.

Sources:

http://www.coastmountainnews.com

http://quod.lib.umich.edu

http://www.nytimes.com

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