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Indybay Feature

General Mills Developed Weapons of Mass Destruction

by Alcid
The breakfast cereal manufacturer General Mills was the nation's foremost
developer of Biological Weapons of Mass Destruction in the early 1960s.
GENERAL MILLS DEVELOPED WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION

By Michael Ravnitzky , mikerav [at] mindspring.com

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.

===================

GENERAL MILLS BIOWEAPONS REPORTS

AD 348405, Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW (Biological Warfare) Agents,
Quarterly Progress Report Number 14, 4 Sept - 4 Dec 1963, G. R. Whitnah,
February 1964, General Mills Report number 2512, General Mills, Inc.,
Minneapolis, MN, Contract number DA 18064 CML 2745, 13 pages. Prepared for
U.S. Army Biological Laboratories, Fort Detrick, Maryland. Approved by S.P.
Jones, Director of Aerospace Research at General Mills. Project No. 82408.
General Mills Aerospace Research Division, 2295 Walnut Street, St. Paul 13,
Minnesota.

AD 346751, Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW (Biological Warfare) Agents,
Quarterly Progress Report Number 12, March 4 - June 4, 1963, G. R. Whitnah,
July 1963, General Mills Report number 2411, General Mills, Inc.,
Minneapolis, MN, Contract number DA 18064 CML 2745. 184 pages. Approved by
S.P. Jones, Director of Aerospace Research at General Mills. Project No.
82408. General Mills Aerospace Research Division, 2295 Walnut Street, St.
Paul 13, Minnesota.

AD 346750, Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW (Biological Warfare) Agents,
Quarterly Progress Report Number 13, 4 June - 4 Sept 1962, G.R. Whitnah,
October 1963, General Mills Report number 2451, General Mills, Inc.,
Minneapolis, MN, Contract Number DA 18064 CML 2745. 19 pages (?)

AD 332404, Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW (Biological Warfare) Agents,
Quarterly Progress Report Number 7, Dec. 4, 1961 - March 4, 1962, by G.R.
Whitnah, February 1963, General Mills Report Number 2373, General Mills,
Inc., Minneapolis, MN, Contract Number DA 18064 CML 2745. 123 pages.

AD 333298, Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW (Biological Warfare) Agents,
Quarterly Progress Report Number 9, June 4, 1962 - Sept. 4, 1962. by G.R.
Whitnah, October 1962, General Mills Report Number 2344, General Mills,
Inc., Minneapolis, MN, Contract Number DA 18064 CML 2745. 130 (or 150)
pages.

AD 332405, Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW (Biological Warfare) Agents,
Quarterly Progress Report Number 8, Period March 4, 1962 - June 4, 1962.
G.R. Whitnah, August 1962, General Mills Report Number 2322, General Mills,
inc., Minneapolis, MN, Contract Number DA 18064 CML 2745. 198 pages.

AD 33????, Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW (Biological Warfare) Agents,
G.R. Whitnah, June 1962, General Mills Report Number 2300, General Mills,
inc., Minneapolis, MN, Contract Number DA 18064 CML 2745.

AD 329067, Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW (Biological Warfare) Agents,
Quarterly Progress Report Number Six, G.R. Whitnah, February 1962, General
Mills Report Number 2264, General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, MN, Contract
Number DA 18064 CML 2745. 103 pages. Approved by S.P. Jones, Manager,
Materials and Mechanics Research, General Mills Research and Development
Office, 2003 East Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis 13, Minnesota.

AD 327072, Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW (Biological Warfare) Agents,
Quarterly Progress Report Number Five, 4 June - 4 Sept 1961. by G.R.
Whitnah, November 1961, General Mills Report Number 2249, General Mills,
inc., Minneapolis, MN, Contract Number DA 18064 CML 2745.

AD 325247, Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW (Biological Warfare) Agents,
Quarterly Progress Report Number 4, 4 March - 4 June 1961, by J.E. Upton for
G.R. Whitnah, Project Manager. February 1963, General Mills Report Number
2216, General Mills, inc., Minneapolis, MN, Contract Number DA 18064 CML
2745. General Mills Electronics Group, Research Dept., 2003 East Hennepin
Avenue, Minneapolis 13, Minnnesota. 225 pages.

AD 324746, Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW (Biological Warfare) Agents,
Progress Report 3 Juen - 3 Sept. 1960. by G.R. Whitnah, October 1960,
General Mills Report Number 2125, General Mills, inc., Minneapolis, MN,
Contract Number DA 18064 CML 2745. 78 pages

AD 323599, Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW (Biological Warfare) Agents,
Quarterly Progress Report Number 2, for period 4 Sept - 4 Dec 1960, by G.R.
Whitnah, February 1961, General Mills Report Number 2161, General Mills,
inc., Minneapolis, MN, Contract Number DA 18064 CML 2745. 90 pages?
Mechaniscal Division of General Mills, Inc., Research Department, 2003 East
Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis 13, Minnesota.

AD 323598, Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW (Biological Warfare) Agents,
Quarterly Progress Report, for period 4 Dec. 1960 - 4 March 1961, by G.R.
Whitnah, May 1961, General Mills Report Number 2200, General Mills, inc.,
Minneapolis, MN, Contract Number DA 18064 CML 2745. 95 pages.

AD 337635, Dissemination of Solid and Liquid BW (Biological Warfare) Agents,
Quarterly Progress Report No. 10, period Sept. 4, 1962 - Dec. 4, 1962. G.R.
Whitnah, Project Manager, Approved by S.P. Jones, Aerospace Research,
February 1963. 247 pages.

These reports can be requested by sending a letter to the office below and
citing the Mandatory Declassification Review provisions of Executive Order
13291, which allows any person to request declassification of government
records.

Department of Defense
Will Kammer
Directorate for Freedom of Information and Security Review
Room 2C757
1155 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301-1155
telephone number: (703) 697-1160
fax number: (703) 693-7341
e-mail address: dfoisr [at] dfoisr.whs.mil
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