- A NEW WORLD ORDER INTELLIGENCE UPDATE ADVISORY
- This sobering insight into the Soviet Union's
deadly biowar research program - conducted, you'll notice in
passing, under the overall supervision of Mikhail Gorbachev -
comes from the Soviet expert directly responsible for it.
- Note his chilling warning that: "Bioweapons
are no longer contained within the bipolar world of the Cold
War. They are cheap, easy to make, and easy to use. In the
coming years, they will become very much a part of our
- Now, why were we reminded, upon reading that,
of the ominous statement in the elite's 1994 Report, OUR GLOBAL
NEIGHBOURHOOD: THE REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON GLOBAL
GOVERNANCE", that global citizens of the future would be
"granted limited rights in exchange for guaranteed
- Granted "limited rights" BY who, in
exchange for "guaranteed security" FROM who? If you
checked the box alongside the answer "The same
people", and had globalist groups like the Bilderbergers in
mind, we rather suspect that you'll soon be considered too
independently well-informed to be permitted to stay on the
- John Whitley, Editor NEW WORLD ORDER
INTELLIGENCE UPDATE http://www.inforamp.net/~jwhitley/index.htm
- [To join the NWO/Y2K low-volume mailing list,
send your e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Toronto Star, June 26th, 1999
- A LARGE DOSE OF TERROR
- An inside look at how the Soviet Union
developed lethal germ weapons, and why the end of the Cold War
has made the threat of biological warfare even worse
- By Ken Alibek
- An edited excerpt from the chilling new book,
Biohazard, by Ken Alibek, a former biological weapons expert in
the Soviet Union, with The Star's Stephen Handelman.
- ON A BLEAK island in the Aral Sea, 100 monkeys
are tethered to posts set in parallel rows stretching out toward
the horizon. A muffled thud breaks the stillness. Far in the
distance, a small metal sphere lifts into the sky then hurtles
downward, rotating, until it shatters in a second explosion.
- Some 25 metres above the ground, a cloud the
colour of dark mustard begins to unfurl, gently dissolving as it
glides down toward the monkeys. They pull at their chains and
begin to cry. Some bury their heads between their legs. A few
cover their mouths or noses, but it is too late: They have
already begun to die.
- At the other end of the island, a handful of
men in biological protective suits observe the scene through
binoculars, taking notes. In a few hours, they will retrieve the
still-breathing monkeys and return them to cages where the
animals will be under continuous examination for the next
several days until, one by one, they die of anthrax or
tularemia, Q fever, brucellosis, glanders, or plague. These are
the tests I supervised throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.
They formed the foundation of the Soviet Union's spectacular
breakthroughs in biological warfare.
- Between 1988 and 1992, I was first deputy
chief of Biopreparat, the Soviet state pharmaceutical agency
whose primary function was to develop and produce weapons made
from the most dangerous viruses, toxins and bacteria known to
man. Biopreparat was the hub of a clandestine empire of
research, testing, and manufacturing facilities spread out over
more than 40 sites in Russia and Kazakhstan. Nearly every
important government institution played a role in the Soviet
biological weapons program. The System, as Biopreparat was often
called, was more successful than the Kremlin had ever dared to
- Over a 20-year period that began, ironically,
with Moscow's endorsement of the Biological Weapons Convention
in 1972, the Soviet Union built the largest and most advanced
biological warfare establishment in the world. Through our
covert program, we stockpiled hundreds of tons of anthrax and
dozens of tons of plague and smallpox near Moscow and other
Russian cities for use against the United States and its Western
- What went on in Biopreparat's labs was one of
the most closely guarded secrets of the Cold War. Before I
became an expert in biological warfare I was trained as a
physician. The government I served perceived no contradiction
between the oath every doctor takes to preserve life and our
preparations for mass murder. For a long time, neither did I.
Less than a decade ago, I was a much-decorated army colonel,
marked out for further promotion in one of the Soviet Union's
most elite military programs. If I had stayed in Russia, I would
have been a major general by now, and you would never have heard
my name. But in 1992, after 17 years inside Biopreparat, I
resigned from my position and fled with my family to the United
States. In numerous debriefing sessions, I provided U.S.
officials with their first comprehensive picture of our
activities. Most of what I told them has never been revealed in
- With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the
danger once posed by our weapons work has sharply diminished.
Biopreparat claims that it no longer conducts offensive
research, and Russia's stockpile of germs and viruses has been
destroyed. But the threat of a biological attack has increased
as the knowledge developed in our labs - of lethal formulations
that took our scientists years to discover - has spread to rogue
regimes and terrorist groups. Bioweapons are no longer contained
within the bipolar world of the Cold War. They are cheap, easy
to make, and easy to use. In the coming years, they will become
very much a part of our lives.
- Since leaving Moscow I have encountered an
alarming level of ignorance about biological weapons. Some of
the best scientists I've met in the West say it isn't possible
to alter viruses genetically to make reliable weapons, or to
store enough of a given pathogen for strategic purposes, or to
deliver it in a way that assures maximum killing power. My
knowledge and experience tell me that they are wrong. I have
written this book to explain why.
- There are some who maintain that discussing
the subject will cause needless alarm. But existing defenses against these weapons are dangerously inadequate, and when
biological terror strikes, as I'm convinced it will, public
ignorance will only heighten the disaster. The first step we
must take to protect ourselves is to understand what biological
weapons are and how they work. The alternative is to remain as
helpless as the monkeys in the Aral Sea.
- The windows in the administrative offices at
Vector were covered with thick sheets of ice. It was midway
through the Siberian winter, and the temperature outside had
plunged to minus 40 degrees Celsius. The scientists crowding
into the tiny room were bundled in sweaters and thick jackets.
They grumbled about the cold and the peculiarities of the Soviet
- I smiled good-naturedly. It was February,
1988, and I was on one of my frequent commuting trips to the
Vector Institute. By then I knew the scientists well enough to
enjoy their bleak sense of humor.
- The man whose joke provoked so much laughter
was a hardy example of our Siberian species of scientists. His
name was Nikolai Ustinov. A gregarious, well-built man with an
easy smile and a sharp wit, Ustinov led a research team working
on Marburg, a hemorrhagic fever virus we had obtained in the
1970s. Marburg was set to become one of the most effective
weapons in our biological arsenal. The project had become as
important as our work with smallpox.
- Ustinov loved his job. He had been at Vector
for many years and was one of the most well liked members of the
community. His wife, Yevgenia, worked as a lab scientist in
another part of the institute, and the couple had two teenage
sons. He was 44 when I met him.
- Two months later, in mid-April, I was sitting
in my Moscow office one morning when a call came in from Lev
Sandakchiev, Ustinov's boss and the head of Vector.
- ``Something terrible has happened,'' he said.
- ``An accident?''
- ``Yes. It's Ustinov. He injected Marburg into
his thumb.'' Sadness and frustration were palpable in his voice.
- ``Right into his thumb,'' he repeated. ``He
was in the lab working with guinea pigs when it happened.''
- ``Wait,'' I interrupted him. ``You know the
regulations. Send me a cryptogram. Don't say any more.''
- I felt heartless ordering Sandakchiev to stop
talking, but the mere mention of Marburg was too sensitive for
an open line.
- Marburg was the most dangerous virus we were
working with at that time - dangerous because we knew so little
about it as well as because of its terrible impact on humans.
- The first recorded outbreak of the virus
occurred in 1967 at the Behring pharmaceutical works in Marburg,
an old university town 110 kilometres north of Frankfurt. An
animal keeper died two weeks after he contracted a mysterious
illness from green monkeys sent to the Behring lab from central
Africa. The lab was culturing vaccines in kidney cells extracted
from the monkeys. Other workers soon fell sick, and similar
cases were reported at laboratories in Frankfurt and Belgrade,
both of which had received shiploads of green monkeys from
central Africa at the same time.
- The filoviruses were already multiplying by
the billions inside Ustinov's tissues, sucking out their
nutrients in order to clone copies of themselves
- Twenty-four lab technicians came down with the
unknown disease, along with six of the nurses caring for them.
Of the 31 people infected, seven died. This kind of undiagnosed
outbreak would be alarming enough, but it was the horror of
their deaths that caught the attention of biologists and
tropical disease specialists around the world.
- The mysterious virus appeared to liquefy body
organs. One of the survivors went mad after the organism chewed
away his brain cells. Before the victims died, every inch of
their bodies was wet with blood.
- Following tradition, the virus was named after
the place where it was first identified. It would alter forever
the image of a city that has been a centre of European
philosophy, science and religion for centuries.
- A similar virus surfaced nine years later on
the banks of the Ebola River in Zaire, now the Democratic
Republic of Congo. By the time that epidemic died out, 430
people were dead in Zaire and nearby Sudan. The virus
responsible for that outbreak was called Ebola, after the site
where it was isolated. Ebola struck again in the same area in
- The viruses isolated in Africa differed
slightly in genetic composition from the strain found in
Germany, but they were closely related. Under an electron
microscope, both organisms seemed to proliferate by shooting out
tiny filament-like threads, like the lines cast by fishermen,
from the cells they had already scoured for the food they needed
to grow. The threads were often bent at the top, like fishing
hooks, and as they prepared to invade a new cell they curled
into rings, like microscopic Cheerios. Marburg and Ebola were
deemed to belong to a new family of viral organisms. They were
- We still know very little about where
filoviruses come from and how they are transmitted to humans. In
some cases an animal or insect bite has delivered the organism
into the bloodstream. In others, sexual contact has been a
source of infection, and some scientists believe the virus may
even be located in plants. Both Ebola and Marburg can spread
from one person to another with no direct physical contact.
- The natural reservoirs of filoviruses are
unknown. Although recent research suggests that they have been
lurking on the fringes of human activity for centuries, Marburg
and Ebola joined a new category of ``emerging viruses''
threatening to eclipse more familiar infectious diseases.
- A strain of Marburg arrived in the Soviet
Union a decade after it was first isolated, during one of our
periodic global searches for promising material. It wasn't clear
from the records whether we obtained it from the United States
or directly from Germany, but it was immediately added to our
growing collection of viral warfare agents. We were already
investigating a number of micro -organisms that weaken blood
vessels and cause hemorrhagic fevers, such as Junin from
Argentina and Machupo from Bolivia. Marburg quickly proved to
have great potential.
- Ustinov had been conducting a series of
experiments with guinea pigs and rabbits to monitor the effects
of increasingly higher concentrations of Marburg. The injection
of such a highly concentrated dose directly into his thumb meant
that he now had hundreds, perhaps thousands of times more
particles of the virus coursing through his body than any of the
victims in Germany. I thought his chances of survival were near
- I called our biosafety department and asked
them to send technicians at once to the viral centre of the
Ministry of Defence in Zagorsk, where scientists had isolated a
Marburg antiserum. Then I instructed the Ministry of Health to
send a team of physicians to Siberia with the antiserum.
- It was a shot in the dark. The team was four
hours away by plane and the next flight from Moscow wasn't until
later that night. Even if they made the flight, they would
arrived nearly two days after the initial infection - an
eternity for Marburg.
- Zagorsk had only a few hundred millilitres of
antiserum on hand.
- Yury Kalinin, the head of Biopreparat, was in
a meeting when I asked to see him. His secretary, Tatyana, took
one look at me and hurried me into his office. He dismissed his
visitors, and I gave him the scanty details I had of what had
- Kalinin turned pale.
- ``You don't think he can be saved?'' he asked.
- ``I can't be too optimistic.''
- ``We'll have to tell the higher levels,'' he
said with a grimace.
- I couldn't blame him for being as preoccupied
with our superiors' reaction as with Ustinov's well-being. We
both knew that any major accident would put Biopreparat at risk.
- Yet the state shared the blame for Ustinov's
accident. My visits to Vector had shown me under what pressure
we were placing our best scientists. Sandakchiev had never
ceased to complain about the inhuman pace at which his workers
were being driven. It was dangerous, as well as scientifically
unsound. No technician should have worked long hours with such a
contagious organism. People tired easily in the heavy protective
suits required for Zone Three. Their reflexes slowed down, and
it was easy to become careless.
- Ustinov's illness lasted nearly three weeks.
Throughout that time, none of his colleagues was allowed to stop
- Ustinov had been injecting Marburg into guinea
pigs with the help of a lab technician, working through a glove
box. He was not in a full space suit and was wearing two thin
layers of rubber gloves instead of the thick mitts normally
required for such work in Zone Three. The gloves provided the
flexibility to control the animals, who otherwise squirm and try
to wriggle out of a technician's grip.
- Our rules required that animals targeted for
injection be strapped to a wooden board to hold them securely in
place. That day, Ustinov wasn't following procedure. He decided
to steady the guinea pigs with his gloved hand. Perhaps he
thought it would help calm them. Or perhaps he was in too much
of a hurry.
- The technician became distracted and nudged
him accidentally. Ustinov's hand slipped just as he was pressing
down on the syringe. The needle went through the guinea pig and
punctured his thumb, drawing blood.
- The needle went in no farther than half a
centimetre, but the faint spot of blood indicated that liquid
Marburg had entered his bloodstream. As soon as he realized what
had happened, Ustinov called the duty supervisor from the
telephone inside the lab
- From then on, the procedures established for
such emergencies were followed to the letter. Doctors and nurses
dressed in protective suits were waiting for him as he emerged
from the disinfectant shower. They rushed him to the small
hospital in the Vector compound, a 20-bed isolation facility
sealed off from the outside with thick walls and pressure-locked
- Physicians did what they could to make Ustinov
feel comfortable while waiting for the antiserum to arrive from
Moscow. He was in no doubt of the danger he faced, but there
were periods when he believed he could escape alive. He was
lucid enough to describe what had happened in precise scientific
detail and to calculate the exact amount of Marburg coursing
through his veins. His wife hurried over from her lab, but
neither she nor their children were permitted inside the
hospital. She was later allowed a few private visits, until the
sight of her suffering husband became too much to bear.
- Ustinov at first maintained his sense of humor, joking with nurses and occasionally planning his next
experiments aloud. Within a couple of days he was complaining of
a severe headache and nausea.
- Gradually, he became passive and
uncommunicative, as his features froze in toxic shock. On the
fourth day his eyes turned red and tiny bruises appeared all
over his body: capillaries close to his skin had begun to
- Ustinov twitched silently in his bed while the
virus multiplied in his system. Too tired to speak, or to turn
over, or to eat, he would drift in and out of consciousness,
staring for long periods of time at nothing. Occasionally,
lucidity would return. He called for paper during those brief
moments to record the progress of the virus as it foraged
through his body. Sometimes he burst into tears.
- On the tenth day, his fever subsided and he
stopped retching. As brilliant a scientist as he was, Ustinov
began to entertain the delusion that he was improving. He
started smiling again and asked about his family.
- But by the 15th day, the tiny bruises on
Ustinov's body had turned dark blue, and his skin was as thin as
parchment. The blood pooling underneath began oozing through. It
streamed from his nose, mouth, and genitals. Through a mechanism
that is still poorly understood, the virus prevents normal
coagulation: The platelets responsible for clotting blood are
destroyed. As the virus spreads, the body's internal organs
literally begin to melt away.
- Shuddering bouts of diarrhea left rivers of
black liquid on his sheets. The scraps of paper on which he had
been scribbling his symptoms and which the nurses had gingerly
carried out to transcribe each day no longer littered the floor.
There was nothing more to write. Everything was unfolding before
his doctors' eyes.
- The filoviruses were already multiplying by
the billions inside Ustinov's tissues, sucking out their
nutrients in order to clone copies of themselves. Each viral
particle, or virion, forms a brick that pushes against the cell
walls until they burst. The cells then sprout wavering hair-like
antennae that home in on their next target, where the process of
foraging and destruction blindly repeats itself.
- Ustinov lapsed into long periods of
- The doctors from the Ministry of Health
arrived early in the first week with the antiserum. To no one's
surprise, it proved useless. Antiviral drugs such as ribavirin
and interferon were also tried.
- A long cryptogram arrived in my office on
April 30, describing Ustinov's condition that day. I noticed
that the symptoms appeared worse than usual. I sat up in my
chair when I reached the final line: ``The patient died. Request
permission to conduct an autopsy.''
- Though I had been expecting it, the news came
as a shock. I walked into Kalinin's office and told him the
ordeal was over.
- ``They want to conduct an autopsy,'' I added.
- Kalinin was expressionless.
- ``I'll inform everyone,'' he said, and turned
back to the file he was reading. He didn't ask after Ustinov's
widow or his colleagues at Vector. It was time to move on.
- I don't know how the senior levels of our
bureaucracy reacted to Ustinov's death, but no condolence letter
was ever sent to his widow. Sandakchiev asked us for 10,000
rubles as special compensation for his family in addition to the
normal pension survivors were entitled to. It was a princely sum
in those days, and Kalinin balked at first, but he finally
approved the request.
- Even after death, Ustinov was imprisoned by
the virus that had killed him. The risk of contagion made normal
interment impossible, so his corpse was covered with chloramine
disinfectant and wrapped in plastic sheeting. The remains were
placed inside a metal box, welded shut, and fitted into a wooden
coffin. Only then was it safe to lay him in the ground.
- The funeral was over quickly. Sandakchiev
delivered a brief eulogy beside a marble gravestone, which, in
the Russian tradition, bore an engraved image of Ustinov and the
dates of his birth and death. The small group of mourners
included Ustinov's immediate family, his closest colleagues, and
a cordon of KGB agents who had worked frantically to keep the
circumstances of his illness secret. No one came from Moscow.
- Regulations prohibited the circulation of any
reports about accidents, fatal or otherwise, but news of the
tragedy spread quickly through The System. An investigation by
the Ministry of Health and the KGB concluded that the principal
person at fault was the victim himself, who had not followed
proper safety rules.
_________________________________________________ A virus grown
in laboratory conditions is liable to become more virulent when
it passes through the live incubator of a human or an animal
body. Orders went out immediately to replace the old strain with
the new __________________________________________________
- A virus grown in laboratory conditions is
liable to become more virulent when it passes through the live
incubator of a human or an animal body. Few were surprised,
therefore, when samples of Marburg taken from Ustinov's organs
after his autopsy differed slightly from the original strain.
Further testing showed that the new variation was much more
powerful and stable.
- No one needed to debate the next step. Orders
went out immediately to replace the old strain with the new,
which was called, in a move that the wry Ustinov might have
appreciated, ``Variant U.''
- At the end of 1989, a cryptogram from
Sandakchiev arrived in my office with the terse announcement
that Marburg Variant U had been successfully weaponized. He was
asking for permission to test it.
- Construction at Vector was running far behind
the schedule set out in Gorbachev's last decree, and test
chambers were still not ready. There were only three other spots
where Marburg could be tested: Omutninsk, Stepnogorsk, and a
special bacteriological facility at Obolensk, in the Moscow
region. Obolensk had to be ruled out because it was too close to
the capital, and Omutninsk was just embarking on tests for a new
plague weapon. That left Stepnogorsk
- The facility had never been used to test viral
agents before. Colonel Gennady Lepyoshkin, who had replaced me
as the director of Stepnogorsk, reminded me of that heatedly
when I ordered him to prepare the facilities for a Marburg test
- ``It's just too dangerous,'' he insisted.
- I respected his views, but orders were orders.
``Don't argue with me,'' I said. ``It has to be done, so do
- A brace of bomblets filled with Marburg and
secured in metal containers was sent on the long journey by
train and truck from Siberia to Kazakhstan, accompanied by
scientists and armed guards. It took nearly 27 hours.Another
caravan with 12 monkeys followed shortly afterward.
- I went to Stepnogorsk twice to supervise the
test preparations. It was less than two years since I'd left
there for Moscow, but the facility had expanded so much that it
was almost unrecognizable. After testing the weapon in explosive
chambers, we applied it to the monkeys. Every one of the 12
contracted the virus. They were all dead within three weeks.
- In early 1990, Marburg Variant U was ready for
approval by the Ministry of Defence.
- [From ``Biohazard'' by Ken Alibek, with
Stephen Handelman, The Star's former Moscow bureau chief.
Copyright. Published by Random House.]
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