Deep Dives 17 | General Mills Inc. | A Cereal History in Research: Testing and Development of Biological Warfare
General Mills Incorporated, is a multinational food processing manufacturer and marketer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They are currently best and widely known in over 100 countries and 6 continents, for producing popular cereal products, with a wider catalogue, that includes over 100 brands, and is the main competitor to Kellog Company.
The roots of General Mills Inc. begin with the Minneapolis Milling Company, founded in 1856 by Robert Smith from Illinois. He was an extensive land owner involved in the Real Estate business, a Lawyer and member of the US House of Representatives between 1843-1849, and then again from 1857-1859. Shortly after it’s foundation, the company was formally acquired by Cadwallader C. Washburn, a Banker and Lawyer, who also served as a General in the Union Army in the American Civil War. He was also a member of the US House of Representatives between 1867-1871 and the 11th Governor of Wisconsin.
In 1866, he started his own milling company with his brother William D. Washburn, and by 1877 he entered into a partnership with John Crosby to create the Wasburn-Crosby Company. General Mills Inc itself, was officially founded in 1928. After major success in it's own right and the winner of many milling industry awards, Washburn-Crosby Company merged with 28 other mills under the care of then company President James Ford Bell. James Ford Bell, was very well connected himself within the political and banking/business establishment, and was previously appointed as the Chairman of The Food and Drug Administration of the milling division. He also assisted Herbert Hoover's European Hunger Relief Mission and was awarded the Belgian Order of the Crown and membership in the French Legion of Honor. Of course, he was also anointed as a 'philanthropist'. No conflicts of interest anywhere!
Cadwallader C. Washburn, is credited as being the founder of General Mills Inc., which explains the naming of the company with his military background and participation in the Civil War as a General.
Post WWI, General Mills became a popular and household brand name, as well as a major advertiser and influence in both radio and television, in their formative years - through the heavy investments made by Bell into that sector of the market. They actually created the very first commercial jingle for radio, called the Wheaties Barbershop Jingle.
They also created war time propaganda "in accordance with the Official Information Program on Point Rationing of the Office of Price Administration and the Office of War Information, Washington D.C.", by providing public rationing bulletins, during WWII.
Post WWII, General Mills expanded it's corporate 'vision', and opened it's own Aeronautical Research and Electronics Divisions and went on to claim many military and inter-governmental agency contracts and sub-contracts. The chief engineer of it's Aeronautical Research Division was Otto C. Winzen, a German-American engineer who helped develop the Skyhook Baloon, along with Jean Piccard, a Swiss-born American chemist, engineer, professor and high-altitude balloonist. Piccard invented the clustered high-altitude balloon, along with his wife Jeannette Piccard. Piccard's inventions and co-inventions are used in balloon flight, aircraft and spacecraft. They, along with the entire research division worked closely with the United States Navy, and the Office of Naval Research, as well as other military and governmental agencies during this period and beyond. Their balloon research and inventions, were also used by the Air Force at Holloman Air Force Base, which also contributed greatly, to the development of guided missiles and space technology.
There is a long history of military ballooning, which included the use of biological warfare against enemy combatants and infrastructure, including crops. This form of warfare is further developed, tested and used more widely, as time and the technology progresses. Balloon warfare is also considered to be the precursor to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's), or better known as Drones.
The first known case that directly coincides with the timeframe set out in the above unclassified document (unclassified, because the real secrets are in other classified documents, that are yet to be released), is the use of an incendiary balloon, called the E77 balloon Bomb.
Within the overarching framework of 'Project Moby Dick', which was a Cold War reconnaissance operation by the U.S. Air Force, the program included Project Skyhook, Project Mogul, Project Grandson, and Project Genetrix, which were used as spy balloon missions, against the Soviet Union during the cold war. Included within that same project's framework, was a Weapon System 124A, codenamed 'Flying Cloud', that was a project of the United States Air Force to use high-altitude balloons to deliver bombs and weapons of mass destruction on enemy targets, through the use of biological warfare agents.
From The Black Vault Archives
The breakfast cereal manufacturer General Mills was the nation’s foremost developer of Biological Weapons of Mass Destruction in the early 1960s.
The Department of Defense has released small portions of several reports detailing the work in biological warfare performed by the Minneapolis-based company following a lengthy declassification review.
During World War 2, American consumer products companies were expected to come to the aid of their nation’s defense needs. After the war, many of these companies established small but lucrative defense contracting divisions.
General Mills set up a research division to tap into the long experience the company had in grinding or milling of fine particles, and in fabricating large thin films used for balloons, as well as making intricate electronics assemblies. The company made thousands of balloon systems for high altitude
reconnaissance purposes in a series of programs during the 1950s. High altitude balloons were used for various purposes, including taking photos of the Soviet Union and also to collect air samples to detect radioactive isotopes caused by nuclear weapons tests.
The success of the high altitude reconnaissance balloons suggested to the military possible use as a way to disseminate biological agents in remote locations. One of the problems with biological agents is that they can blow back to friendly troops. Dissemination by balloon offers a way to release these agents deep within enemy territory without requiring an aircraft overflight.
The Gopher mid-air recoverable reconnaissance balloon program was renamed Grandson in June 1953, and became ready for operational use after test flights in early 1954. A variant of Grandson, named WS-124A (Weapons System 124A), also called FLYING CLOUD, was designed and flight tested for the possibility of special warfare applications, but that effort was discontinued in late 1955. In reference books, WS-124A is listed as a Weather Reconnaissance Project, which was a cover story used to shield the aerial biological weapons program.
References to difficulties in milling, or grinding, of fine particles have surfaced recently in discussions concerning the anthrax sent to Congress through the mail. The fineness of the particles, considered critical in making the material easily dispersed by air, is a measure of the
technological sophistication of the anthrax manufacturer. Other types of biological agents also require fine grinding for maximum lethality.
George Whitnah, the project manager, died several years ago; his widow said that her husband and his colleagues had expressed some reservations about the work, but felt it was necessary because it was known that the Russians were working in similar directions. She said: “it was a different era back then”.
A company spokesperson disclaimed any knowledge of the bio-weapons program, and said that the defense unit was sold to Raytheon several years ago, taking with them any records from that era.
The documents that were unclassified and released from the FOIA request in 2013, are progress reports from the General Mills Mechanical Division, in the 'Dissemination of Solid and Liquid Biological Weapons Agents', and range from June 3 1960, through to 4 December 1963.
The use of chemical aerosols for the purpose of weapons testing systems. That is chemical warfare!
Carbon dioxide used to test weapons systems? Climate change?...corporations and the military industrial complex are not responsible:)
Page 82, Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW Agents, Progress rept. 3 Jun-3 Sep 1960
And a little anthrax!
Diagram of the biological weapons system model
Page 32. Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW Agents, Quarterly progress rept. no. 2, 4 Sep-4 Dec 1960
General Mills also contributed directly, to the chemical and biological weapons program, of The US army's testing facility at Dugway Proving Ground.
General Mills Inc., is listed in this report as one of the major contributors to the classified programs at Dugway Proving Ground, along with some other well known multi-national corporations - and as is stated, the majority of documents related to General Mills involvement at the facility, are still classified to this day.
"An Airborne Integrated Weapons System for Anti-Crop Warfare".
You can also view a large archive of technical reports from the facility, at muckrock.com
Some of the operations conducted at the facility, included the production and live testing of nerve agents such as the VX Nerve Agent and Anthrax, the testing and practical use of radiological warfare (with the help of NASA), as well as Asymmetric Warfare techniques, in the form of Entomological Warfare. Some examples of operations in Entomological Warfare include, Operation Big itch (1954), and Operation Bellwether II (1961).
Two unclassified documents that were released in 2009 and 2010 respectively, can be viewed at the theblackvault.com, with regards to these two Entomological Warfare testing operations.
Operation Big itch, was almost entirely developed and engineered as a weapons test program by General Mills
Map of Bellwether II testing area
There is a much longer history related to this type of warfare, possibly going back to centuries ago.
Here is a short overview of 'some', of the operations that would have been conducted at the facility, in a clip from the youtube channel of The Business Insider.
At least we now know, that everything that went wrong, was all just incompetency and an "accident"...a few guys just "lost" stuff too, which is why they manipulated the data :P
I have a hunch, that these operations were quite successful overall, based on the technology and weapons of mass destruction we see around us today!
General Mills obviously had at it's disposal, a high calibre of scientific expertise with chemical and biological substances in both development and practical applications, which is how they operated their own private chemical division, as part of their overall corporate structure.
This however, came to an end in 1977, when it was announced that General Mills would be selling the chemicals division to Henkel, a German chemicals and consumer company. Interestingly there isn't any mention of this sale or takeover on both the Wikipedia pages of General Mills or Henkel. There is also no mention of this on either of the company's history timelines on their own webistes, which you can see here for General Mills, and here for Henkel. That is strange! Or does it have something to do with the history of General Mills and their involvement in the testing of weapons systems and their research and development in the bio-warfare arena?
I did however find an archived article, from the New York Times announcing the sale! Even more interesting, is the existence of a Wikileaks cable where the Chief Legal Officer of Henkel, contacts the Secretary of State to inform them of the takeover of General Mills Chemicals Inc. You can view the cable here.
Whatever the real reason is for the minimal public information available on the sale, General Mills (just like with many other multi-national corporations around the world), don't have a great track record with some of their actions as 'corporate citizens'.
In a 2013 article published on dailyreperter.com
General Mills has agreed to pay $8.5m to settle a lawsuit that alleged it launched a national marketing campaign for its Yoplait YoPlus probiotic yogurt products in the US based on misleading digestive health claims.
From a 2015 article published on naturalsociety.com
Minneapolis residents claim that General Mills polluted their air and water with more than 15,000 gallons of carcinogenic solvents that have seeped into homes.
GM also knowingly disposed of 1,000 gallons of laboratory solvents and other chemical wastes at its technical research property.
General Mills have also been implicated in the class action lawsuit on roundup, because it's cereal's have been confirmed to be contaminated in the latest test results conducted on it's products, according to this article . This is nothing new, as these claims have been made against their cereal products for at least a decade now.
There is evidence to suggest that genetically modified organism's themselves were originally created and developed as a form of biological weapon, which is not at all far fetched if you consider who the manufacturers of those chemicals are, and what their history shows us with the open sourced documents that we have access to. Especially when you study the earlier document relating to the anti-crop warfare program, that was tested and specifically made to be used as a bio-terror weapon!
None of this should come as a complete surprise - or coincidence, considering the company's history over many decades with their involvement in many operations in the field of research, development and testing of chemical and biological warfare agents. You could hardly claim ignorance on these issues.
What do you do as a multi-national corporation, who has a previous long history in the chemicals business? Do you hire a PR firm to create the image of a 'good corporate citizen'? Do you also start your own foundation and claim to protect the very thing your chemical agents may have poisoned for decades?
General Mills very recently, also made an appearance on The United Nations Human Rights Watch Council's database of 112 blacklisted companies, it says are "conducting business" in West bank Settlements.
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