"Defence scientists secretly tested E.coli bacteria as a possible biological weapon in and around two British towns, documents revealed today.
Between winter 1965 and November 1967 a series of Government trials involving the release of "microthreads" covered in the bacteria were carried out near Swindon and Southampton.
The experiments are detailed in the 1966 Ministry of Defence report on the Microbiological Research Establishment at Porton Down, Wilts.
It is being released for public viewing for the first time today at the National Archives in Kew, south west London.
The paper discusses the "production of micro-organisms for weapons systems", suggesting that the "excellent quality and reproducibility" of E.coli indicated "highly satisfactory results" could be achieved.
Preliminary experiments were conducted in winter 1965 in and around Southampton, with follow-up tests the next summer.
In September, similar experiments were performed in Swindon "which was selected because it is a reasonably large inland industrial city in the midst of a large rural area".
The tests were designed to establish how well the bacteria would survive in different climate and atmosphere conditions."----------------------------------------
But... but... I thought democratic high-minded western nations didn't engage in bioweapons research, let alone on their own civilians!
Ok, so I'm not shocked. I'm am actually really surprised they released this information for public consumption, however. I guess the UK is different then the US - at least they let you know when they're committing war crimes on their general public... 40 years after the fact, that is.
Makes me wonder what they're testing out on the village folk these days.