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Raccoon Trials

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The Raccoon Trials was an omnibus trial relating to the destruction in Raccoon City in the Sterilization Operation on October 1st, 1998. It was made between the U.S. government, the families of the victims killed in the Raccoon City outbreak as well as survivors, and the Umbrella Corporation. It lasted until early 2003, concluding with the collapse of the last of its subsidiaries in 2004.

Background

The U.S. government was one of Umbrella's bioweapons customers.[1] In September 1998, Dr. William Birkin attempted to sell the G-virus to the U.S. military, who was more-than willing to accept the offer if it meant cutting ties with Umbrella in favor of developing their own, closely-monitored B.O.W.s.[2] An interesting note here is that this would violate the Biological Weapons Convention, which the U.S. signed and ratified in 1972.

Likely fearing a loss of business from an acquisition of such a weapon, Umbrella sent in a team to steal the G-Virus sample before Birkin could make the deal. In the standoff, Birkin was accidentally shot and mortally wounded. With a sample of the virus left in his possession, he injected himself with the virus. The subsequent transformation inadvertently led to t-Virus samples flooding into the sewers, where they were carried by rats into the water supply.[3]

After the outbreak made itself known, Umbrella appealed to Congress[note 1] for them to delay the "Sterilization Operation", a biohazard contingency.[4] In the meantime, Umbrella sent its Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service under the guise of being a paramilitary force sent in to protect the civilians and assist the Raccoon City Police Department and the Raccoon City Fire Department in the evacuation efforts and combat the zombies.

On September 29, Umbrella's paramilitary forces fell under the command of former Soviet Colonel Sergei Vladimir; noticing that the United States Army Special Forces had been sent into Incineration Disposal Plant P-12A to gather valuable Umbrella assets, a force of T-103s was sent into the city to crush them.[5]

On the night of September 30/October 1, efforts to eradicate the zombies in Raccoon City failed and Congress refused to delay the plan any further. As a result, a prototype missile was fired at the city at dawn, eradicating it to remove any evidence of their links to Umbrella, under the guise of a desperate attempt to stall the virus.[6][7][8]

With the city destroyed, Congress filed a decree indefinitely suspending business with Umbrella USA Inc. Consequently, Umbrella filed a lawsuit against the government in protest.[6] As another result of the destruction, the President resigned in response to continuing press questions regarding the missile attack.[9] Another action by the U.S. government was to classify the existence of such biological weaponry encountered in Raccoon City, effectively fueling conspiracy theorists believing there to be a cover up.

The Case

In protest over the government's decision, Umbrella CEO Oswell E. Spencer hired a top-legal team. His purpose was to revoke Congress' decision at the Supreme Court by arguing that the bombing of Raccoon City took effect so that they could cover up their dealings with the company, establishing a conspiracy theory. Consequently, all witness testimonies in favor of Congress were denounced by the company as being fabricated or altered to absolve them of responsibility; Congress argued likewise over Umbrella's testimonies, which were denounced as perjurous.[6][10] Umbrella's defense consisted largely of moving blame to as many people as possible; a number of pharmaceutical corporations in the Federation of Pharmaceutical Companies were implicated in their bio-weapons program due to their production of special chemicals for Umbrella, without their specific knowledge, of course.[11]

While Spencer's "conspiracy theory" was a powerful tool early in the almost-five year trial, it slowly lost its strength as the U.S. government continued to bring forward more evidence against the company. The trial itself continued to go on, in part, because the politicians involved in dealings with Umbrella and the missile strike (e.g. National Security Advisor Derek C. Simmons and Senator Ron Davis) refused to make testimonies to the court with respect to their Fifth Amendment rights.[12] By 2002, however, Umbrella was closing on financial collapse due to the bad press from the case and the decree continuing to be in effect. At this time, at least one case of a rogue Umbrella employee selling bio-weapons on the black market took place, being potentially-damaging for the case.[13][excerpt 1]

The trial ended directly after Albert Wesker handed over the U.M.F.-013's data some time after the Caucasus outbreak of February 2003.[14][15] As information implicating the U.S. government, among others, to some involvement in Umbrella's shady dealings was present in the data, it was not made available to the public, and the information found admissible in private.[16]

The Decision

With Umbrella's own writings taken into account, they were found guilty on all charges relating to the events, with the U.S. government establishing itself as "entirely-innocent". Spencer's legal team made plans to appeal the decision, arguing that the evidence was not admissible in court (meaning that they could not be proved as the writers). Spencer subsequently vanished after the trial's end, when his involvement in the incident was made apparent. The FBI began working with the Russian Ministry of the Interior in the global manhunt.[14]

With the little-remaining faith in the corporation gone, Umbrella's stock plummeted,[17] and their few remaining facilities filed for bankruptcy and closed down for good by March 2004.[6]

However, not everyone was content with the decision. One in particular, Sara, an anti-Umbrella activist, expressed suspicion about the nature of the decision, as the evidence used to nail Umbrella was supplied in a shady manner, and that someone most likely got a copy of the evidence that was erased and intended to resume its legacy. She also noted that a lot of researchers are still out there with the ability to make the viruses Umbrella had, if not, create new ones, indicating that biological outbreaks are far from over. She also noted that the information not being made public implied that the evidence presented also contained information suggesting that, contrary to the U.S. government's claims, it also had been complicit in Umbrella's actions and possibly other national governments as well.[16]

Sources

notes
  1. The file "Fax From The H. Q." incorrectly attributes this only to the Senate
excerpts
  1. Excerpt from official website:
    "2002年、 製薬会社アンブレラは事実上崩壊し、 バイオハザード(生物災害)そのものが忘れ去られようとしていた。
    そんな中、 元アンブレラの研究者が南米の小国で、 ハヴィエ・ヒダルゴという男と接触を持ったという情報が入る。
    任務の為、 南米に向かったレオンは
    そこで過去に出会った恐怖と再び向き合うことになる…。"
references
  1. Resident Evil Archives. BradyGames. p. 293. 
  2. Tasuhisa Kawamura Interview. Project Umbrella. Retrieved on March 17, 2012.
  3. Resident Evil 2
  4. Capcom Production Studio 4. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. (Capcom Co., Ltd.). File: Fax From The H. Q..
  5. Capcom. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. (Capcom Co., Ltd.). File: Emergency Orders.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Resident Evil Archives II. BradyGames. p. 190. 
  7. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
  8. Wesker's Report: "ウィルスの感染を防ぐ為と偽り、アメリカ政府によってラクーンシティが爆撃されたのは、その翌日の事だった。"
  9. Resident Evil: Degeneration
  10. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, "Umbrella Raccoon City Judgement"
  11. Capcom. Resident Evil 5. (Capcom Co., Ltd.). File: BSAA.
  12. Capcom. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. (Capcom Co., Ltd.). File: Umbrella Raccoon City Judgement.
  13. CAPCOM:バイオハザード / ダークサイド・クロニクルズ 公式サイト (Japanese). Capcom.co.jp. Retrieved on 2013-04-11.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Capcom. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. (Capcom Co., Ltd.). Scene: Credits.
  15. Resident Evil Archives II. BradyGames. p. 194. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Capcom. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. (Capcom Co., Ltd.). File: Online Interview with Anti-Umbrella Activist.
  17. Resident Evil 4

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