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"In 1979, the largest recorded outbreak of anthrax occurred in Rhodesia, present day Zimbabwe. The incident, widely known in Africa and in intelligence circles is not widely known in the U.S. or Europe. "
"The largest recorded outbreak of anthrax in humans occurred in Zimbabwe during its civil war, in 1979 to 1980. There were a number of unusual features of the epizootic. The disease spread over time from area to area, until six of the eight provinces were affected. Yet anthrax usually appears as a point source outbreak, without significant geographic spread. Only the African-owned cattle in the Tribal Trust Lands were affected; cattle belonging to whites were uninvolved."
"There is something curious about Hatfill's claim, on his resume, to have worked concurrently with the U.S. Army Institute for Military Assistance in Fort Bragg and with the Rhodesian Special Air Squadron. Indeed, several of his associates have told the Prospect that Hatfill bragged of having been a double agent in South Africa -- which raises some intriguing questions. Was the U.S. military biowarfare program willing to hire and give sensitive security clearances to someone who had served in the apartheid-era South African military medical corps, and with white-led Rhodesian paramilitary units in Zimbabwe's civil war two decades earlier? Or did Hatfill serve in the Rhodesian SAS, and later in the South African military medical corps, at the behest of the U.S. government?"
"Ultimately, South Africa manufactured six air-deliverable nuclear weapons of the "gun-type" design. "
"During its existence Coast scientists tested or developed a wide range of harmful BW agents, including Bacillus anthracis, botulinum toxin, Vibrio cholerae, Clostridium perfringens, plague bacteria, and salmonella bacteria. Some of these pathogens were probably used to assassinate individual "enemies of the state," and it is alleged that both anthrax bacteria and V. cholerae were each employed on at least one occasion to infect larger populations."
"During its existence Coast scientists tested and developed both small quantities of well-known CW agents (including mustard agent, sarin, tabun, BZ, and perhaps VX) and a host of lethal, hard-to-trace toxic chemicals. Several of these latter, above all the toxic organophosphates, were almost certainly employed to assassinate individual "enemies of the state." "
"Ford’s colleague Wouter Basson, M.D., headed the South African biowarfare program from its inception in the late 1970s until it was nominally abandoned in 1993. Arrested in 1997 on charges of murder, embezzlement and drug violations, Basson’s trial commenced in 1999 and continues today. Sessions of Basson’s South African trial were held in Florida in January 2000 to hear testimony of attorney David R. Webster, who had created a complex of off-shore companies and accounts through which Basson operated.9 Revelations in the course of his trial include: Basson claims to have enjoyed access to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases [AMRIID] and Porton Down, respectively the principal U.S. and U.K. chemical-biological warfare establishments. Basson was involved in several undertakings (of an undetermined nature) with Libyans and made numerous trips to Libya, continuing after his program was terminated (leading to successful British and U.S. demands that he be reemployed, and controlled, by the South African government). He also had established relationships in the U.S.S.R. and in a number of eastern and western European countries. South African responsibility for a major anthrax outbreak in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1979 is currently being investigated. Basson is alleged to have developed such means of delivery of biological agents as, e.g., anthrax-laced cigarettes."
Trained as a gynecologist and microbiologist, he taught at the University of California at Los Angeles in the 1980's and later at the university's campus here. He wrote dozens of scholarly articles on infectious diseases and, with Mr. Riley, ran a biotechnology company, Biofem Inc.
After his suicide, officials began to wonder if Dr. Ford might have deliberately infected some patients. There were the hidden medical records, and a number of women had come forward to say they feared Dr. Ford was responsible for their mysterious illnesses. But in interviews, several former patients praised Dr. Ford and said they felt fine.
Over the years, Dr. Ford made a number of trips to South Africa. His laboratory assistant and constant companion, Valerie Kesler, says she traveled there with him at least six times.
Speaking through her lawyer, Ms. Kesler said that Dr. Ford had once carried a vial in his vest pocket and handed it to a South African official at the airport. Dr. Ford, she remembered, was extremely nervous throughout the flight. Years later, she said, she realized that the vial held lethal bacteria, endangering everyone on the plane.
Dr. Wouter Basson, the cardiologist who ran Project Coast, said Dr. Ford twice brought biological samples "in his pocket." They were not dangerous, he said, and "had no military significance."
Biofem, he added, has sufficient funds to complete tests.Until the outbreak of violence, Biofem was a little-noted company through which Ford and Riley sought to market Inner Confidence.One of their ideas was to conduct clinical trials in South Africa, a plan supported by Knobel, the military surgeon general who retired in 1997.
Ford met with scientists from South Africa's Project Coast in the 1980s to discuss chemical and biological warfare, Wouter Basson, who headed the project, told '60 Minutes.''
Ford also passed a bag filled with cholera, typhoid, botulism, anthrax and bubonic plague to a South African military doctor during a meeting at the house of the South African trade attaché in Beverly Hills, former FBI informant Peter Fitzpatrick told '60 Minutes.'
"Wouter Basson (born July 6, 1950) is a South African cardiologist and former head of the country's secret chemical and biological warfare project, Project Coast, during the apartheid era. Nicknamed "Dr Death" for his alleged actions in apartheid South Africa, Basson was acquitted in 2002 of 67 charges, after having been suspended from his army post with full pay in 1999."
"In 1993 the Office of Serious Economic Offences (OSEO) began to investigate Basson's business dealings in an as yet unheard of seven year forensic audit. In 1995 the South African government hired Basson to work for Transnet, a transportation and infrastructure company and possibly for other more secretive jobs. The USA and UK governments suspected that during his visits to Libya between 1993-1995, Basson might have sold chemical and biological weapons secrets. In 1995, the government of Nelson Mandela rehired Basson as an army surgeon, allegedly due to USA and UK pressure and possibly because the government wanted to keep an eye on him."
"The most recent known activities of Basson included a three-day long secret meeting with U.S. law enforcement officials at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria in July 2003. U.S. agents questioned Basson about bio-toxins from South Africa's CBW program that were thought to have been destroyed by Basson, but have lately resurfaced. There was concern that the potentially harmful agents had fallen into the wrong hands.
The U.S. obtained information that many of the CBW agents were indeed not eliminated, as the South African government claimed in the late 1990's. Instead, it has been suggested that unknown or unidentified individuals sold many of the deadly toxins once produced by the now extinct Project Coast to private buyers around the world. According to an article by Joby Warrick, Basson was unable to guarantee U.S. officials that all the lethal agents or secret government documents left over from the project he worked on were accounted for. Moreover, he suggested that there was a possibility that scientists working for Project Coast could have smuggled out some of the products developed in the front company labs once controlled by Basson."
Journalist Ian Gurney provided additional evidence linking Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network to Bioport in a report issued over the Internet on December 19, 2001. The original story published on December 1, by the Pakistan News Service, documents originating from the US Defense Department that referred to Bioport, Inc. were found in the possession of the al-Qaeda in Kabul, Afghanistan. The documents contained highlighted items and stars scribbled across the top of one page. According to Bioport spokeswoman Kim Brennen Root, "The document was a report on the environmental impact of renovations to our Lansing, Michigan plant, not a 'how-to' manual on making the vaccine." The Bioport official surmised, "The discovery supports the notion that the al-Qaeda and the Taliban have been studying biological warfare and protecting against weapons of mass destruction," despite the greater likelihood that Osama bin Laden, in light of the above revelations-his family's investments in the Carlyle Group and ties to Bioport principle Fuad El Hibri-desired to keep tabs on their alleged Bioport investments.(18)
"Three companies currently hold voting equity in BioPort: Intervac LLC and Intervac Management LLC, which are both Maryland limited liability companies, and ichigan Biologic Products, Inc., a Michigan corporation. Intervac LLC is the controlling shareholder. Intervac LLC is owned by Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., my wife Nancy and me, and I and F Holdings N.V., a Netherlands Antilles investment company owned by my father Ibrahim El-Hibri. As mentioned earlier, I and F Holdings is an investment company in biotech operations, which previously had invested in the management buy-out of Porton Products Ltd. Admiral Crowe and I are the controlling members of Intervac LLC."
El-Hibri once worked as a merger and acquisitions manager for the Rockefeller-linked Citigroup in New York and arranged various deals for the Bin Laden Family, at that time close friends to Saudi Arabia
Interestingly enough, the Italian magazine Il Manifesto reported, in its
October issue, that this happened at the same time that the FBI also
placed the El Hibri’s at the top of their list of suspects for sending
anthrax spores through the mail system.
Fuad El-Hibri arranged investments for well-heeled Saudi clients as a broker
at Citibank's Jeddah office. Tom Suber, a contributor to the Rouge Forum, a
grassroots Internet think-tank, reports that he handled "the individual
financial holdings of the bin Laden family group and the larger $18 billion
The bin Ladens and Carlyle are "reputed to have had partnership interests
with Fuad El-Hibri's Porton, International and Bioport investments. These
embarrassing partnerships are the result of complex web of interlocking
private corporate holdings and are publicly denied by the El-Hibri family."1
Carlyle Management Group, of course, is America's 11th leading defense
contractor, founded by Iran-contra's Frank Carlucci, James Baker III and
George H.W. Bush.
Ties to the bin Ladens and Carlyle constituted one "embarrassing" pact with
the devil. Another was El-Hibri's acquisition of the Center for Applied
Microbiology and Research (CAMR) at Porton Downs in the UK, a
government-held toxic stockpile-research laboratory privatized by Margaret
Thatcher. CAMR was launched under private ownership - El-Hibri's - as
Porton, International in 1993.
January 19, 2009
By Eli Lake
An al Qaeda affiliate in Algeria closed a base earlier this month after an experiment with unconventional weapons went awry, a senior U.S. intelligence official said Monday.
The official, who spoke on the condition he not be named because of the sensitive nature of the issue, said he could not confirm press reports that the accident killed at least 40 al Qaeda operatives, but he said the mishap led the militant group to shut down a base in the mountains of Tizi Ouzou province in eastern Algeria.
He said authorities in the first week of January intercepted an urgent communication between the leadership of al Qaeda in the Land of the Maghreb (AQIM) and al Qaeda's leadership in the tribal region of Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan. The communication suggested that an area sealed to prevent leakage of a biological or chemical substance had been breached, according to the official.
"We don't know if this is biological or chemical," the official said.
The story was first reported by the British tabloid the Sun, which said the al Qaeda operatives died after being infected with a strain of bubonic plague, the disease that killed a third of Europe's population in the 14th century. But the intelligence official dismissed that claim.
AQIM, according to U.S. intelligence estimates, maintains about a dozen bases in Algeria, where the group has waged a terrorist campaign against government forces and civilians. In 2006, the group claimed responsibility for an attack on foreign contractors. In 2007, the group said it bombed U.N. headquarters in Algiers, an attack that killed 41 people.
Al Qaeda is believed by U.S. and Western experts to have been pursuing biological weapons since at least the late 1990s. A 2005 report on unconventional weapons drafted by a commission led by former Sen. Charles Robb, Virginia Democrat, and federal appeals court Judge Laurence Silberman concluded that al Qaeda's biological weapons program "was extensive, well organized and operated two years before the Sept. 11" terror attacks in the U.S.
Another report from the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation, released in December, warned that "terrorists are more likely to be able to obtain and use a biological weapon than a nuclear weapon."
British authorities in January 2003 arrested seven men they accused of producing a poison from castor beans known as ricin. British officials said one of the suspects had visited an al Qaeda training camp. In the investigation into the case, British authorities found an undated al Qaeda manual on assassinations with a recipe for making the poison.
The late leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab Zarqawi, was suspected of developing ricin in northern Iraq. Then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell referred to the poison in his presentation to the U.N. Security Council in February 2003 that sought to lay the groundwork for the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Roger Cressey, a former senior counterterrorism official at the National Security Council under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, told The Washington Times that al Qaeda has had an interest in acquiring a poisons capability since the late 1990s.
"This is something that al Qaeda still aspires to do, and the infrastructure to develop it does not have to be that sophisticated," he said.
Mr. Cressey added that he also is concerned about al Qaeda in the Land of the Maghreb, which refers to the North African countries of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
"Al Qaeda in the Maghreb is probably the most operationally capable affiliate in the organization right now," he said.