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Alex Constantine - June 14, 2007

By Alex Constantine (Repost)

The West Nile Virus outbreak of 1999 made 67 people in New York City ill, and brought with it endemic anxiety. But the anthrax mailings two years later brought death (and endemic anxiety). Emergency measures in a jingoistic package, under consideration in the House of Representatives, arrived at the same time as the Ames strain and the emergency measures floated through Congress on a cloud of lethal white powder.
Right-wing propagandists stepped up to point out the obvious culprit. Laurie Mylroie explained to CNN, "it takes a highly sophisticated agency to produce anthrax in the lethal form-. Not many parties can do that." Saddam Hussein "continues his part of the war in the form of terrorism. It is unlikely that that anthrax will remain in letters. It is likely that it will be used - in the subway of a city, or in the ventilation system of a U.S. building. Saddam wants revenge against us. He wants to do to the U.S. what we've done to Iraq."
This cover story didn't hold up under the tension of scientific deduction, though. The true culprit - it emerged after Dr. Barbara Rosenberg of the Federation of American Scientists pestered the Bureau with facts and public exposure - was an obscure, right-wing biochemical warfare "counterterrorist." The serial killer took his training at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland and other civilian-run, federal facilities, also a two-year fellowship from the National Research Council, the country's leading CBW defense lab. He moved on to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases - USAMRIID - at Fort Detrick. He experimented with biological responses to filoviridae, the family of viruses that transmit Ebola. In September 1999 - as the Jerry Hauer-SAIC-Fort Detrick-USAMRIID West Nile Virus was taking hold in New York - the terrorist began working at the very same lab.
By March of 2002, it was clear that the FBI was protecting him. Spokesmen for the Bureau were evasive about the source of the anthrax but it gradually emerged, by process of elimination and genetic analysis, that the culprit worked at the SAIC facility in Maryland.
CounterPunch commented a month later on geographic connections that bore directly on the case: "The South African media [have] been abuzz with details of that nation's former biological warfare program and its links to the CIA. The South African Nazi Party.
But some of Hatfill's closest friends maintained his innocence. Stan Bedlington, a veteran CIA agent, told the Washington Post that he'd known Hatfill for several years: "They were drinking buddies who'd both been involved in anti-terrorism efforts long before the World Trade Center crumbled. Now, suddenly, people were saying that Hatfill could be responsible for the country's first case of domestic bioterrorism, a release of lethal anthrax through the mail that had left five people dead and 17 others infected in the fall of 2001."
Bedlington had fond memories of Hatfill, though he hadn't seen him for some time. They'd met at a Baltimore symposium on bioterrorism. Bedlington had spent six years bent over a senior analyst desk at the CIA's Counter-terrorism Center. Hatfill was a virologist at the U.S. Army-SAIC Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, "where he'd begun making a name for himself preaching the dangers of a bioterror attack. Soon they ran into each other again at Charley's Place in McLean, then a favorite hangout for the U.S. intelligence community." Hatfill "showed up there with men whom Bedlington recognized as bodyguards for Saudi Arabian Prince Bandar bin Sultan."2
To respond to intrusive media, Hatfill's friend Pat Clawson served as spokesman. Clawson was a radio executive who worked with Iran-contra's Oliver North.
Clawson, reports the Baltimore Sun, was a "former CNN reporter who has known Hatfill socially for six years, said he and Hatfill are part of a group of friends who visited a house in the Virginia mountains near Shenandoah National Park in October for a weekend of skeet-shooting and socializing. The visit, in the middle of that month, came at the peak of anthrax hysteria, Clawson said. He told Hatfill that a few weeks earlier he had opened a vitriolic letter addressed to Oliver North, whose radio program is produced by Clawson's employer, Radio America. White powder had spilled from the envelope, which Clawson discarded3
After Stephen J. Hatfill was named as the FBI's leading suspect, the same ultracon media opinion-shapers who had immediately blamed Saddam Hussein now hustled to Hatfill's defense. Rupert Murdoch's Evening Standard opined that his status as "interesting" to federal inevestigators "inspired a mini-industry of speculation that he may somehow be implicated in last fall's deadly anthrax attacks. [But] much of that speculation pretends to be something more: certainty of his guilt, and certainty that in every nook and cranny of his life must be found some blot or scar or mark of the devil that proves his guilt."4
Marks of the devil?:
• Bloodhounds found him of some interest after snuffling a letter inside of envelope put there by Hatfill, preserved in a hermetically-sealed bag. The hounds responded to him alone.
• A return address on one of the anthrax-bearing envelopes was Greendale, Rhodesia. Hatfill lived in Greendale.
• The neo-fascist Selous Scouts in Rhodesia spread anthrax. Hatfill was a member of the Scouts at the time of the contagion's spread.
• Hatfill had no fit alibi for the days of the anthrax mailings.
• Hatfill's PhD was forged. He was caught lying on his resumé.
• He failed a CIA lie-detector test regarding his activities in Rhodesia before the anthrax attacks. He failed a lie detector test afterward concerning his involvement in them.
Some of most damaging evidence was discovered in ponds recently searched near his home. Items pulled from the mud included a clear box with insert holes for rubber gloves to protect someone working with toxic materials. Also recovered were glass vials in plastic wrap, and gloves.5
One wonders which expletive David Kay, the SAIC vice president and Hatfill's boss, whispered to himself the moment he heard that these items had been found - not to mention a positive lab test for traces of anthrax FBI technicians detected on these objects, later changed to "inconclusive."6 But then, Kay was out of the country, conducting a WMD "search" of his own.


1) Wayne Madsen, "Anthrax And The Agency - Thinking The Unthinkable," CounterPunch.org, April 8, 2002.
2) David Tell, "The Hunting of Steven J. Hatfill: Why are so many people eager to believe that this man is the anthrax killer?' Evening Standard, vol. 8, no. 1, September 16, 2002.
3) Scott Shane, "FBI defends anthrax inquiry," Baltimore Sun, August 13, 2002. http://www.baltimoresun.com/bal-te.hatfill13aug13.story
4) Marilyn W. Thompson, 'The Pursuit of Steven Hatfill," Washington Post, September 14, 2003, p. W-6. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A49717-2003Sep9?language=printer
5) See, The Biovangelist web site. http://jdo.org/hatfill.htm
6) Ibid.

By Alex Constantine
The epidemic swept through Zimbabwe, the former British colony of Southern Rhodesia, in the late 1970s. It killed 180 people, infected over 10,000, devastated livestock, brought on economic disaster and widespread hunger ... but not throughout Zimbabwe indiscriminately, as you might expect. Only in black areas. This epidemic was respectful of gated white communities and politely kept out.1
Stephen Hatfill signed on with the Rhodesian Special Air Service (SAS) and the Se
lous Scouts, a counter-insurgency death squad that enforced apartheid rule, before arriving at the Godfrey Huggins School of Medicine. Some of the faculty were curious why the Yank would stoop to studying at a backwater academy like Huggins.
His admission was arranged by Robert Burns Symington, an anatomy professor and neo-Nazi. "Symington is strongly believed to have worked with the Ian Smith-led white supremacist regime on its biological warfare project," Africa's Sunday Mirror reported in 2002. "The Zimbabwe authorities have since established that [Smith's] security forces, particularly the much feared Selous Scouts, stealthily distributed the deadly anthrax spore among the hungry cattle of the Rhodesian Tribal Trust Lands, where most Africans lived, and seeded cholera into the rivers."
"Thirteen years after Zimbabwe's independence, a former senior white member of the Rhodesian Security forces admitted the use of anthrax in the war by the military. 'It is true that anthrax was used in an experimental role and the idea came from the Army Psychological Operations,' he said." The psychology of genocide isn't sophisticated - guerillas were scapegoated for the outbreak.2
One of the Selous Scout's favored tactics was mailing anthrax spores through the mail, embedded in the glue on envelope flaps.3
Hatfill. You know the type. A student at the medical school's radiation oncology department recalls that Hatfill sported a 9mm pistol, and boasted of past paramilitary glories in Vietnam and Zimbabwe.4
In 1984, he moved on to study at South African medical schools, joined the military. While in the area, Hatfill befriended Eugene Terre Blanche, leader of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement, the South African Nazi Party.5 After a year-long tour in Anarctica, he pressed on to the States, and found employment at the National Institutes of Health. "The PhD certificate he submitted to NIH could have easily been tracked back by authorities and exposed as a forgery," Marilyn Thompson, author of The Killer Strain: Anthrax and a Government Exposed, said in a blogged Q&A hosted by UCLA's School of Public Health in 2003, "but it was overlooked and Hatfill's credentials helped him gain access to sensitive government agencies. USAMRIID allowed him in as a contract researcher."6
The first casualty of the anthrax mailings was Bob Stevens, a photo editor at a tabloid that had run an article blasting the Saudi royals. From the CDC report: "On October 4, 2001, we confirmed the first bioterrorism-related anthrax case identified in the United States is a resident of Palm Beach County, Florida. Epidemiologic investigation indicated that exposure occurred at the workplace through intentionally contaminated mail..."7
It's within the realm of possibility that 911 hijackers Mohammed Atta and Ahmed Alhanzawi were the first to contract the disease, despite FBI denials.
These have not held up well over time.
In March 2002, the New York Times reported that Atta and his entourage "identified themselves as pilots when they came to the emergency room of Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., last June. One had an ugly, dark lesion on his leg," and "in October, a pharmacist in Delray Bea ch, Fla., said he had told the F.B.I. that two of the hijackers, Mohamad Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, came into the pharmacy looking for something to treat irritations on Mr. Atta's hands."
Dr. Christos Tsonas thought Alhanzawi's wound curious, but cleaned it and prescribed medication. "After Sept. 11, when federal investigators found the medicine among the possessions of one of the hijackers, Ahmed Alhaznawi, Dr. Tsonas reviewed the case and arrived at a new diagnosis. The lesion, he said in an interview this week, 'was consistent with cutaneous anthrax.'" Dr. Thomas Inglesby of John Hopkins, and Dr. Tara O'Toole, assistant secretary for health and safety at the Energy Department, sided with Dr. Tsonas.
Thompson followed every step in the Bureau's investigation, and she finds it entirely possible that Atta and Alhaznawi had some contact with anthrax spores: "The FBI contends that it pursued a hijacker connection in the early days and be ©came convinced that they were not involved in these mailings - mainly because the anthrax strain used was a military research strain. Many people in Florida, however, who know about the hijackers' movements in that part of the country in the months before 9/11, do not believe the FBI pursued this with enough vigor..."
The Times: "In an interview, Dr. O'Toole said that after consulting with additional medical experts on the Alhaznawi case, she was 'more persuaded than ever' that the diagnosis of cutaneous anthrax was correct..."
It was widely reported that Mohammed Atta's cell took flight school training in Boca Raton, not far from American Media, Inc., where Stevens worked, and rented apartments from the wife of an editor of The Sun, published by AMI.8
Others continued the mailings after 911. The Times: "They would probably have needed an accomplice to mail the tainted letters.... The four recovered anthrax letters we re postmarked on Sept. 18 and Oct. 9 in Trenton."9
But the mailings weren't confined by domestic borders. In November 2001, the CDC's web site in Atlanta confirmed that a tainted letter had been sent from Switzerland to Chile. Dr. Antonio Banfi, a pediatrician at a children's hospital in Santiago, received the letter. He suspected that something was amiss because it had been postmarked in Zurich but had a Florida return address.10
In 2003, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports, Maureen Stevens, the widow of the first victim, filed a wrongful-death suit that "could embarrass the U.S. government and provide insight into the ongoing investigation of the fall 2001 bioterrorism attacks." The "embarrassing" lawsuit held that spores "were known to be missing from an Army laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md., as early as 1992," and that the litigants "accuse the government of failing to adequately secure them. 'The bottom line is that a lo t of our [FOIA] requests were not acknowledged or were not answered or responded to.'"11
Maureen Stevens' lawsuit was filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. It named Ft. Detrick-USAMRIID, Battelle Memorial Institute and other possible sources of the anthrax - and BioPort Corp., of Lansing, Mich., a vaccine manufacturer.
The name BioPort is synonymous with mismanagement and contaminated product.
The company was founded on June 22, 1995 by Yoav Stern, a former avionics system officer specializing in F-15, A-4, Mirage and Kfir fighter jets for the Israeli Air Force. He was also commander of a flight training unit, and a deputy squadron commander. The BioPort web site reports that one Zive R. Nedivi has been the CEO, president and a director of the company since June 1995. Mr. Nedivi also served in the Israeli Air Force and was the founder "of the predecessor of the company, an indirectly wholly-owned subsidiary of Rada Electro £nic Industries Ltd."12
Three of BioPort's directors:
Niv Harizman: A director of the Company since December 1997. From January 1998 onward, Harizman was a principal with BT Alex. Brown Incorporated, the investment banking subsidiary of Bankers Trust New York Corporation. From June 1996 until January 1998, Mr. Harizman was a Vice President with Alex. Brown. He started with Alex. Brown in 1995.
General William Lyon: Retired Air Force general, currently serves as a director of Board of Fidelity National Financial, Inc. Chairman of the Research and Development Institute at the Air Force Academy.
Most interestingly of all, on the BioPort board sat another Iran-contra connection:
Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr.: A director of the company since March 1999. From 1985-89, Admiral Crowe held the position of chairman of the Joint Chiefs under President Reagan. After retirement from the military in 1989, Admiral Crowe was a c eounselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He has also served as chairman of the notorious Preside
nt's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, 1993-94, and served as U.S. ambassador to the UK and Northern Ireland, 1994-97. Admiral Crowe has previously served as a director of Merrill Lynch, Texaco and General Dynamics. He currently serves as a director of Bioport, and Intervac, an investment firm. He is a part-time senior advisor to Global Options LLC. The admiral commanded U.S. forces in the Middle East, was the commander-in-chief of NATO forces in Southern Europe, and headed up the nation's largest geographical military operation, the U.S. Pacific Command.13
Lois Battuello dug into BioPort's financial records, compared them with the inside-trade put option activity preceding 911, and found a jostling for position in financi tal circles that suggests premeditation of 911 and the anthrax attacks: "Niv Harizman was with Alex. Brown (BT for Bankers Trust)," she points out. "This is the firm that executed the 'puts' prior to September 11 that plunged the stocks of American Airlines, United Airlines, Boeing, some brokerage houses, and several reinsurance companies (some inter-locked) including AXA Assurance, Swiss Re and Munich Re. These trades hubbed from Alex. Brown, which was acquired with Deutsche Bank's acquisition of Bankers Trust. The gent heading Alex. Brown unit, Deutsche's trading-brokerage arm, was terminated rather suddenly. Former director of enforcement for SEC, Richard Walker, took a position as staff counsel for Deutsche."
Niv Harizman "is a dark side," Battuello says, "on the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (put into play by First Chicago group, Robert Angelo Podesta) when Peter G. Peterson (school under MI6) was Secretary of Commerce in 1972-73 under Nixon. And Robert Podesta was UnderSecretary of Commerce - both Chicago - pushed through legislation to approve creation of Chicago Board of Options Exchange. (Can't have options trading as it exists in its current form without options on equities to pair, i.e., can't have a bubble economy without a bubble machine). Peterson, currently chairman of the New York Fed, moved up the ranks along notorious Chicago bank lines - 1985 sets up the Blackstone Group and [Iran-contra's] Frank Carlucci sets up the Carlyle Group the same year. Admiral Crowe, following retirement in 1989, held board positions at Merrill Lynch, General Dynamics and Texaco, all very 'Republican' companies at the time ... "14

1) Meryl Nass, M.D., "Zimbabwe's Anthrax Epizoodic," Bioterror: Manufacturing Wars the American Way, edited by Ellen Ray and William H g. Schaap, New York: Ocean Press, 2003, p. 29.
2) "Zimbabwean authorities have made several reports that indicate that Rhodesians were using biological warfare against guerillas during the liberation war, but these have not received international coverage." - Innocent Chofamba-Sithole and Norman Mlambo, "Ex-Rhodesian under probe for US anthrax attacks," Sunday Mirror, July 9, 2002. http://www.africaonline.co.zw/mirror/stage/archive/020709/national8599.html
3) Wayne Madsen, "Anthrax and The Agency," CounterPunch.org, April 8, 2002.
4) See, "The Anthrax Letters" http://www.monitor.net/monitor/0208a/0208a-404.html ... This site offers a description of the covert tactics of the Selous Scouts, "a wolf pack. A handful of fighters would drop into the back country disguised as rebels. Living off the land for weeks without support, they would relentlessly track d down their opponents and kill them, even if it meant crossing into neighboring countries in violation of international law. Their training taught them to live off the barren land during their long pursuit on foot, drinking fetid water and eating carrion scraps. Some articles claim that they were responsible for two out of every three enemy fatalities in the civil war. Admirers and vets boast that the Selous Scouts were the most skilled and ruthless guerrilla warfare fighters in history."
5) See, "The Biovangelist" web site. http://jdo.org/hatfill.htm
6) UClA Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, "Reporter Interview on Steven Hatfill Article," September 15, 2003. http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/reporterinterview.html,"
7) Centers for Disease Control, "Bioterrorism-Related Anthrax: First Case of Bioterrorism-Related Inhalational Anthrax i dn the United States, Palm Beach County, Florida, 2001." http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol8no10/02-0354.htm
8) William J. Broad and David Johnston, "Report Linking Anthrax and Hijackers Is Investigated," New York Times, March 23, 2002.
9) Ibid. 10) AP report, "Anthrax Case in Chile Confirmed," November 23, 2001. http://www.usenet.com/newsgroups/talk.environment/msg06625.html
11) Kathy Bushouse, "Security at Issue in Widow's Case," South Florida Sun-Sentinel, September 28, 2003.
12) Alex Constantine post, "Adm. Crowe, Bioport and the Put Option Activity," December 5, 2001. http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&frame=right&th=88439d0c0d6bf5d2&se ekm=alexx12-65A234.12015319122000%40nntp.we.mediaone.net
13) CSIS web site: http://www.csis.org/html/alumni/crowew.html
14) Lois Ann Battuello, e-mail exchange with author, December 5, 2001.

By Alex Constantine
The stock market symbol for BioPort, inc. should be pi - because its corruption goes on indefinitely, or so it seems when you begin to sift through the records.
The company's founder and CEO is Mr. Fuad El-Hibri, a German of Lebanese extraction and a naturalized American citizen. In 1998, El-Hibri entered into a leveraged buyout of the Michigan State-owned Biological Products Institute (MBPI). This company held the exclusive contract on the U.S. supply of anthrax vaccine ... and it wasn't all that effective against the disease, right from the start. The Wall Street Journal discovered: "While its vaccine worked well against the Vollum strain of anthrax (used by Russia), it was more problematic against the Ames strain. So it had conducted tests with the virulent Ames strain on guinea pigs, mice and monkeys with mixed results. BioPort's spokeperson confirmed that it had access to the virulent Ames strain for testing on animals."
For the sole purpose of acquiring MBPI, El-Hibri became an American citizen. He gave retired Admiral William J. Crowe Jr. a sizable share of Intervac, "one of the corporations involved in the maneuver. The controlling shareholder was the same I&F Holdings used to take control of the British biotech lab, CAMR. He then renamed the company BioPort. BioPort, which controlled America's anthrax vaccine, was apparently of some interest to scientists in Afghanistan since an environmental assessment report of its planned laboratory renovations turned up in the house of a Pakistani scientist in Kabul..."1
Crowe made no investment in either company, but owns 22.5 percent of all Intervac shares. Another 30 percent went to El-Hibri's wife. In 1999, ABC reported that the remainder of the Intervace shares were "in the hands of I&F Holdings, a company directed by Nancy El-Hibri's father-in-law, Ibrahim El-Hibri, a Venezuelan citizen, and her husband, Fuad El-Hibri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent. ... Crowe's ownership of Intervac stock gives him a 13 percent share of Bioport."2
The company's web site displays El-Hibri's bona fidés: "Mr. El-Hibri helped establish regional offices in Singapore and Sydney for Booz-Allen & Hamilton..."
Let's just pause it right there, because in 1990 Mr. El-Hibri also arranged "the purchase of anthrax vaccine for Saudi Arabia." Did he perform this service for Booz-Allen, or the CIA? The well-connected security firm, to be sure, had extensive ties to the intelligence sector, and silky Faud palaces, too.
Students of the CIA know Booz-Allen as a privatized branch of the Agency with Saudi defense contracts worth billions. The company trained the Saudi marine corps and operates the country's Armed Forces Staff College.3 On 14 June 2000, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that the Royal Saudi Na
val Forces had begun a ten year development program that drew on the services of two American contractors - SAIC and Booz-Allen Hamilton.4 The FBI's Dale Watson was a leading "investigator" of the 1993 WTC bombing, the Oklahoma City bombing, the East Africa Embassy bombings, Khobar Towers, USS Cole, the September 11 attacks and the anthrax mailings before he "retired" to work for Booz-Allen Hamilton.5 Former CIA director James Woolsey is a vice president there.
" ... As a Senior Associate and resident project manager, Mr. El-Hibri led consulting projects in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Sydney, and Wellington. Before joining Booz-Allen, he was a manager of Citicorp in New York (Mergers and Acquisitions) and in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia."
All of this is more than grounds for investigation - these financial bridges to the Middle East are, in a sensible world, an argument for impeachment.
On January 26 2003, Bob Fitrakis wrote: "Let's recall Bush's strange relationship with that bizarre little company in Lansing, Michigan, known as Bioport. The company, despite failing various FDA inspections and being accused of bad record-keeping, holds the only federal contract for producing the anthrax vaccine. Bush has rewarded Bioport with favors such as ongoing military protection, and within weeks of 9/11 granted them a contract that tripled the price per vaccine. Now, add into the mix that the Strangelovian CIA-connected Battelle and Britain's top secret Porton Down labs are partners with Bioport.... Public records and foreign press reports have linked El-Hibri to the selling of anthrax to Saudi Arabia after the Pentagon refused to. He's also a business associate of the bin Laden family. A real Congressional investigation of Bush's relationships with the bin Laden family, El-Hibri and the related drug bank BCCI would easily lead to the President's impeachment."6
The ABC report was a horror show of rampant side-effects produced by BioPort. Human agony was the bottom line: ----------- 20/20 REPORT: WIDESPREAD MISTRUST AMONG THE RANKS
PFC Matthew Baker who was stationed at Fort Stewart, Ga. went AWOL after his first sergeant threatened to have him strapped to a gurney and forcibly injected with the anthrax vaccine.
MAJ Sonnie Bates, USAF, one of many pilots at Dover, AFB Del. was headed for a court martial and up to five years in prison until he went on "60 Minutes" and told what was going on. Soon the Air Force scrapped their hard-line tactics and Bates was allowed to leave the service.
More than a dozen members of Bates' squadron came down sick with a variety of illnesses. Thyroid and liver damage, memory loss, bone and joint pain, fevers, dizziness, infected cysts and lesions. The only common thread was these maladies immediately followed anthrax injections.
In a letter to the Air Force, Bates stated his position was a matter of principle.
"I'm doing what I've always been trained and taught to do. If you know it's right, you stand up for it. And likewise, if you know it's wrong, you have to challenge it, no matter what the consequences.
"After 13 years of exemplary service to my country, I am willing to give up my job, my rank, and everything I have worked for to avoid taking an unsafe drug."
Army SPC Kevin Edwards started to feel sick a few weeks after his third anthrax shot. He nearly died. Bleeding sores covered the soldier's entire body. Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina said he could barely keep his composure after seeing pictures taken of Edwards at an Army hospital. Jones is one of three dozen congressmen calling for a halt in the forced anthrax immunization program.
Texas Army National Guard CPT Jody Grenga, a medical operations officer with nearly 18 years service, was kicked out of the Army for refusing the anthrax shots on religious grounds. The highly respected officer said she also refused the immunizations because of her medical history of adverse reactions to medications.
PFC Jemekia Barber, an African-American Army soldier who was forced out of the service with a less-than-honorable discharge after she refused the shots, has filed suit in U.S. District Court in Colorado. Her lawyers contend the mandatory shot order violated Barber's Constitutional rights. Herbert Fenster argued that because his client is of child-bearing age, ordering her to take the anthrax vaccine injections could subject her to risk of bearing a child with birth defects.
Two former Connecticut Air National Guard pilots, MAJ Russell Dingle and MAJ Thomas "Buzz" Rempfer said they concluded the Pentagon's use of the vaccine was illegal because of serious questions about its safety and effectiveness. They said they were ordered not to talk to the press, but refused, and with seven other pilots in their unit, the 103rd Fighter Wing, resigned.
More than thirty pilots and 17 KC-10 tanker crew-members at Travis AFB in California quit rather than take the shots. So did pilots in the Wisconsin Air National Guard. And Air Force Capt. Clifton Volpe, assigned to a VIP transport squadron at Andrews AFB Maryland, is getting the boot for refusing to take the controversial injections.
Perhaps the most eloquent of the military opponents of the mandatory anthrax inoculation program is retired Air Force Lt. Col. Redmond Handy. Named the "most outstanding officer" in 1996 by the Reserve Officers Association, Handy was a full colonel on "the fast track to stars" when he quit his Pentagon job and decided to speak out. Because he didn't have the minimum time in grade requirement as a full colonel, Handy put principle ahead of pay and left the Air Force as a light colonel.
"It is appalling that Admiral Crowe, who was a key player in the effort to let all U.S. citizens sleep better at night by leading our defenders of freedom to defeat communism, now keeps these same defenders and their families awake at night wondering if their health will be defeated by his company's product."

1) Edward Jay Epstein, "FBI Overlooks Foreign Sources of Anthrax," Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2001. http://edwardjayepstein.com/archived/anthrax.htm 2) ABC News, 20/20 (March 12, 1999.
3) Ken Silverstein, "Privatizing War: How affairs of state are outsourced to corporations beyond public control," Nation, July 28, 1997. http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/silver.htm
4) GlobalSecurity.org, "Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF)": http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/gulf/rsnf.htm
5) Tom Flocco, "Terrorist's Name On Manifest Raises Questions About Saudi Flights After 9/11," Tom Flocco web site, April 4, 2004. http://www.tomflocco.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=53
6) Bob Fitrakis, "Impeach Bush," January 26, 2003.


By Alex Constantine
"'Our family has been through a living hell, to almost see your 23-year-old son die-' exclaims Cheryl. 'The government is wrong, and they need to take care of all these people that they've hurt.' The Department of defense says they continue to believe that the vaccine is 'safe' ..." - Firstcoastnews.com
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 the broker handled "the individual financial holdings of the bin Laden family group and the larger $18 billion Carlyle Group."
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 eleventh 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.
Porton Downs was the English mirror-image of Ft. Detrick. Both military laboratories conducted Auschwitz-style experiments on human subjects during the Cold War. In 2002, Express reported that scientists of the Ministry of Defense faced prosecution "over horrifying experiments on service men and women during chemical and biological weapons tests."
Subjects were duped into volunteering, led to believe that the military doctors were searching for an innocuous "cold cure." The guinea-pigs said they were "impregnated with deadly chemical agents such as sarin and mustard gas." Ronald Maddison, a volunteer airman, died after a cloth treated with sarin was wrapped round his arm. Another subject said he was coerced to participate "under threat of court martial. During three nightmare weeks at the center, he said he was stripped to his underpants and marched repeatedly into gas chambers where he was impregnated with sarin, tabin and mustard gas."2
El-Hibri inherited a horror factory, and this it remained. By 1996, Suber says, "the rape of the public resources of Great Britain was virtually complete," speaking of the "conservative" agenda behind privatization. The profit-lusting "interests of the Saudis and the Carlyle Group began to look to the United States for more promising plunder."
Michigan Governor John Engler was urged by fellow Republicans to privatize the state-owned vaccination lab - exactly as Thatcher had done with CAMR. It was renamed the Michigan Biologics Products Institute.
"Governor Engler gave the most respectable and profitable agency in Michigan government to Fuad El-Hibri without any individual investment whatsoever," Suber writes. The new owners "incurred no individual expense, made no investments, and did not owe any individual promissory notes or obligations of any kind for their new lab purchase. Receipt of a $180 million business for absolutely nothing. The next hand-out the company received was an unsecured, interest-free loan of $18.7 million as an advance payment from the Defense Department."3
All this fuss and expense over a vaccine that didn't even work against inhalation anthrax - it just made people sick.
But homeland defense was never the idea, as Houston attorney Linda Minor noted after scanning BioPort's directors' page: "This group is obviously an investment syndicate composed of numerous intelligence agency members representing assorted countries."4
Bio-economic terrorism is the CIA's kind of low-intensity conflict. Dr. Edgar J. DaSilva, director of the Division of Life Sciences of the UN, says the approach is predicated on "the undermining and destruction of economic progress and stability" by "the development and use of biological agents against economic targets such as crops, livestock and ecosystems."
Germs, bacilli and viruses have certain advantages over conventional armaments - explosives and noxious gases have to be explained, but viral agents are plausibly deniable: "Such warfare can always be carried out under the pretexts that such traumatic occurrences are the result of natural circumstances that lead to outbreaks of diseases and disasters of either endemic or epidemic proportions."5 The Zimbabwe anthrax outbreak, the West Nile Virus, conceived at SAIC-USAMRIID, for instance. Add a trained provocateur - a biochemical warfare specialist from a Rhodesian death squad with a parafascist history will do - a little media manipulation, and the result is anthrax psychosis.
That's exactly what the collective response was called in Argentina when a false alarm was tripped by a suspect piece of mail. "Anthrax psychosis," an Argentine newspaper reported, spread in October 2001, "when a travel brochure mailed from Miami to a Buenos Aires family initially tested positive." The spores tested inactive the second time, but "within hours, frantic citizens swamped police stations, hospitals and all kinds of government offices throughout the country with about 1,000 pieces of suspicious mail, most of them posted from the United States or Pakistan."6
The Ame strain did get around. The lethal dust was found in mail rooms - in a Princeton borough - in the Senate - in Dan Rather's CBS office - in a Kabul factory - in New York City Hall - in a diplomatic pouch to the US Consulate General in Yekaterinburg, Russia - in the Supreme Court's basement mailroom - in a letter mailed to Kenya - at the Bureau of Prisons headquarters in Washington - at the broadcaster's headquarters in 30 Rockefeller Plaza - on and on.
And the FBI, by focusing on Hatfill, gave the false impression that the perpetrator was a lone gunman. He had accomplices, ran with a death squad in the United States as he did in Rhodesia.
The anthrax plot - as reconstructed by Leonard Horowitz, Robert Lederman and other researchers - began with the meeting at the White House regarding the fate of OraVax, attended by representatives of the company, the administration, and DoD officials. It was agreed that the company, facing bankruptcy, would receive a pass to inventory vaccines. The idea was to allow OraVax to bail itself out with government contracts, not murder.
But some of those attending this meeting were active in our American Pinay Circle. One of them was William Patrick III, President and CEO of Advanced Biosystems Inc. (ABS). Patrick ran the anthrax "weaponization" program at the Ft. Detrick-SAIC lab where Hatfill worked. In 1999, Patrick wrote a study, according to the Baltimore Sun, that discussed "the danger of anthrax spores spreading through the air and the requirements for decontamination after various kinds of attacks. The author, William C. Patrick III, describes placing 2.5 grams of Bacillus globigii, an anthrax simulant, in a standard business envelope - slightly more than the estimated amount of anthrax in each of the letters that killed five people last fall
Stephen Hatfill, we learn, "is a friend and protegé of Patrick, 75, a bio-weapons legend who has himself experienced the dual status of expert and possible suspect."7


1) Tom Suber, "3500 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd," Rouge Forum, February 2003. http://www.pipeline.com/~rgibson/rouge_forum/newspaper/winter2003/SuberAnthr ax.htm
2) Alun Reesand Cyril Dixon, "Scandal of the British soldiers 'poisoned in MoD tests,'" Express, November 7 , 2000. http://www.mindcontrolforums.com/pro-freedom.co.uk/n1020-d.html
2) Suber. Also see, The Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations of the House Committee on Government Reform June 30, 1999.
4) Linda Minor, e-mail exchange with author, November 8, 2004.
5) Wayne Madsen, "Combining biological and economic warfare," Online Journal, May 3, 2003. http://www.911review.org/Wget/www.onlinejournal.com/Special_Reports/050303Ma dsen/050303madsen.html
6) Juan Pérez Cabral, "Anthrax, Anti-Semitism and Anguish In Argentina,' NOVEMBER 9, 2001.. http://www.thegully.com/essays/argentina/011109_debt_default_wtc.html
7) Scott Shane, "Scientist theorized anthrax mail attack - FBI searched apartment of expert linked to study," Baltimore Sun, June 27, 2002. http://www.baltimoresun.com/bal-te.anthrax27jun27,0,3331733.story 


By Alex Constantine
"You simply don't develop a new hyper-weaponized strain of anthrax powder for military defense, and then commission the top U.S. anthrax expert to report on this new weapon's capability and lethality from mailed delivery, unless that's how you foresee it being used." - Ingri Cassel, director of the National Vaccination Liberation Association -------------------------- The "conservative" corporatists in the 911 loop seem to derive a childlike thrill from their weaponized anthrax sto
A "new and highly lethal strain" was produced in advance of 911, a nameless Pentagon general told the New York Times in September 2001. He mentioned something called Operation Jefferson.1
What was "Operation Jefferson?" Before the anthrax mailings, William Patrick went to work at the Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI). Patrick holds five classified patents in the manufacture of weapons-grade anthrax. BMI - a contractual partner of BioPort - hired him to conduct a risk-assessment study involving the dissemination of anthrax powder through the mail system.2 BMI is located in West Jefferson, Ohio. The work was done at the BL-3 Anthrax Lab.3
Battelle had exclusive control of the Ames strain, a fact the press has not made clear. It's true that Dugway Proving Ground had an anthrax program of its own, as reported, but Battelle directed that program as well.
This narrows it down quite a bit... The FBI was drawn straight to William Patrick III - Stephen Hatfill's "mentor" at Ft. Detrick - and Ken Alibeck, a BMI consultant with a background in CBW research for the Soviets.4
One independent Internet news site reports that the FBI investigated "the possibility that financial gain was the motive behind the anthrax mailings." Two federal laboratories were searched, BMI and Dugway, but "a contradictory announcement was relayed the same day (December 21, 2001) by Ohio Senator Mike DeWine. Based on an ABC News report concerning a BMI employee who had been under FBI investigation for an anthrax threat, FBI Director Robert Mueller had, according to The Dispatch, assured Senator DeWine that the bureau was not investigating, nor intending to investigate, anyone with, or formerly with, BMI."5
Case closed. The FBI's stalling perplexed reporters assigned to the story. George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian in May 2002: "Last week, I phoned the FBI. Why, I asked, when the evidence was so abundant, did the trail appear to have gone cold? 'The investigation is continuing,' the spokesman replied. 'Has it gone cold because it has led you to a government office?' I asked. He put down the phone." Had the FBI spokesman remained on the line, there were any number of related outrages he might have explained: "The army's development of weaponized anthrax [the processed Ames strain], for example, directly contravenes both the biological weapons convention and domestic law. So does its plan to test live microbes in 'aerosol chambers' at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, also in Maryland. So does its development of a genetically modified fungus for attacking coca crops in Colombia, and GM bacteria for destroying materials belonging to enemy forces. These, as the research group Project Sunshine has discovered, appear to be just a tiny sample of the illegal offensive biological research programmes which the US government has secretly funded..."6
Some of the government's anthrax has been weaponized, kills effectively but is otherwise useless. It is also illegal. Ingri Cassel, director of the National Vaccination Liberation Association, points out that vaccines "are developed to help guard against pre-existing threats." Ames was processed illegally, "apparently for offensive military uses, sabotage, and even terrorism. You simply don't develop a new hyper-weaponized strain of anthrax powder for military defense ... and then commission the top U.S. anthrax expert [William C. Patrick, III] to report on this new weapon's capability and lethality from mailed delivery, unless that's how you foresee it being used."7
Once the anthrax was weaponized - milled and capable of airborne transmission - BMI ran a classified test in the Nevada desert. This was in early September 2001. It was reported that Patrick's study on mailing anthrax was instrumental to the test.
Was Stephen Hatfill recruited for the next phase of "testing?" This appears to be the case and explains the FBI's capricious explanations to the press: "Operation Jefferson" is a federally-sanctioned covert operation that would have never come to light had it not been for the doggedness of independent journalists and the scientific community. Wayne Madsen points to past bio-warfare studies: "In 1957, at the Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah, the Q-Fever toxin was discharged by an airborne F-100A plane. If a more potent dose had been used, the Army concluded 99 per cent of the humans in the area would have been infected. In the 1960s, conscientious objecting Seventh Day Adventists, serving in non-combat positions in the Army, were exposed to airborne tularemia..."8
The West Nile outbreak and the anthrax mailings began with the 1998 BioVax meeting held in the Truman Room of the White House, attended by SAIC's Jerry Hauer and William Patrick. Another participant at the meeting was William Cohen, who, as a Republican Senator, signed off on the heavily-spun Cheney-Hamilton Iran-contra report. In 2004, he was elected to the American International Group's (AIG) Board of Directors.
AIG is part owner of Kroll Associates, the infamous private security firm. Kroll - run by former CIA, FBI, British secret service, Scotland Yard and British Special Air Service agents - was once known as the CIA of Wall Street because the firm did everything from corporate espionage to the training of foreign armies. A Kroll partner provides counter-terrorism instruction in Saudi Arabia.
Cohen is also a member of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Cold War propaganda mill and ultracon academic base of Ray Cline, John Hamre, Admiral Crowe, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Kenneth Langone, Henry Kissinger and others central to 911 and subsequent profiteering through privatization.
Another attendee "of interest" at the 1998 Truman Room conference was Thomas Monath, former chief of the virology division at the SAIC-USAMIID facility at Ft. Detrick, and VP/chief scientific officer at BioVax, since renamed Acimbis.
Monath was a friend of Stephen Hatfill's. He was introduced to Rudolph Giuliani by Jerry Hauer, SAIC scientist and president of Rockefeller University - the fruits of this relationship were the aerial spraying of malathion, resmethrin or sumithrin in the New York City area.9 Nevertheless, the mosquito-borne disease has spread across the country.
The anthrax scourge also recurs from time to time. An increasingly feasible theory for the origin of Gulf War Syndrome is military experimentation with anthrax vaccines. Were the following incidents further "tests" of anthrax delivery systems by the "counter-terrorists" at SAIC-Ft. Detrick? ...
A) Exposure at a children's hospital blamed on an "accidental" shipment of live spores from the Southern Research Institute in Frederick, Maryland. BioPort director David Franz comes from SRI (a leading producer of depleted uranium):
http://www.nvo.com/shildtfinancial/sv003data/view.nhtml?profile=sv003data&UI D=12056
Researchers Exposed To Anthrax Health Highlights June 7 to June 13, 2004
A possible shipping mistake in late May resulted in at least half a dozen researchers at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute being exposed to live anthrax.
Some of the researchers, working on an anthrax vaccine, handled the live anthrax bacterium and others were present at the time. So far, none have shown any signs of illness. Seven of the workers are taking the antibiotic Cipro as a precautionary measure, the Oakland Tribune reported.
State health officials said there is no risk to other staff or residents living in the area.
The researchers believed they were handling a dead sample of the anthrax bacterium. However, according to hospital officials, the researchers were mistakenly sent live anthrax by the supplier, Southern Research Institute of Frederick, Md.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the incident.
B) Anthrax-Contaminated Heroin
Anthrax clue to heroin deaths Times of London May 18 2000 By Helen Rumbelow, medical reporter ANTHRAX, a virulent disease used as a biological weapon, could be responsible for a spate of deaths among heroin addicts i
n Scotland, it was disclosed yesterday.
Ten heroin users in Glasgow and one in Aberdeen have died of a mysterious illness in the past three weeks, which led scientists, who had heard of a similar death in Oslo, to send the victims' blood samples to Porton Down, the biological defence laboratory.
Two of the five tested so far have shown low levels of antibodies to anthrax, suggesting that the addicts were exposed to the disease through a contaminated heroin supply.
Although the results are not conclusive, experts are carrying out tests on the others who died and on nine more heroin addicts who have come down with the illness. One survivor still has the black scab that is typical of localised anthrax infection.
David Goldberg, deputy director of the Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health in Glasgow, said that tests were also being made for anthrax spores on heroin batches seized by police in the city. Meanwhile users were being advised to smoke the drug rather than inject it, and especially not to inject into the muscle.
He believes that the weak results in the anthrax test may be because all the victims were treated with antibiotics before their samples were taken.

1.) Nick Papadimitriou, "Anthrax Attacks Linked to CIA and Drug Industry?" Institute of Science in Society (UK), February 14, 2002. http://www.i-sis.org.uk/isisnews/i-sisnews13-12.php
2) Ibid.
3) Bob Fitrakis, "Battelle Exposed In Anthrax Biochemical Conspiracy," FreePress.org, January 14, 2002.
4) Ibid.
5) Anon., "FBI Implicated in Anthrax Mailings Cover-up." http://www.worldnewsstand.net/news/anthrax.htm
6) George Monbiot, "Riddle of the spores: Why has the FBI investigation into the anthrax attacks stalled?" Guardian, May 21, 2002.
7) Ingri Cassel, "Public Health Expert Says Solving The Anthrax Mailing Mystery May Be Easy: FBI Doesn't Seem Interested," NVLA press release, Nov. 12, 2001. http://www.tetrahedron.org/news/NR011112.html
8) Wayne Madsen, "Thinking The Unthinkable," CounterPunch.org, April 8, 2002.
9) See, http://www.democraticunderground.com/cgi-bin/duforum/duboard.cgi?az=printer_ format&om=5074&forum=DCForumID43

By Alex Constantine
Colonel David Franz was a cheerful "counter-terrorist." He told ABC News on April 4, 2002 that a "lot of good" had come of the anthrax attacks. Sad Sacks and Dreary Donnas may tremble because "five people have died, but we've put about $6 billion in our budget." Thumbs up. A sunny disposition can carry one far in the military heirarchy. Dr. Franz was appointed to the Homeland Security Science and Technology Committee in February 2004 by Dr. Charles E. McQueary (former president of General Dynamics), undersecretary for science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security.
Biological threats loomed on the horizon, the Pentagon's viral visionaries assured with psychic certainty. Peculiar, though ... read the small print on the packaging and it's clear that the newly emerging diseases and the vaccines created to repel them hung in ... CLUSTERS.
Ingri Cassel comments, "Cipro and smallpox vaccine have much in common besides capturing America's urgent attention." Alas, the corporate parents of the companies that produce "these favored elixirs for anthrax and smallpox bioterrorism are linked, strangely enough, to an infamous history involving contaminated blood, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and even the Nazi [ties] that the FBI doesn't seem anxious to explore."
Cipro is manufactured by Germany's Bayer AG, and "the smallpox vaccine's newly formed producers are Acambis [formerly OraVax, the West Nile people]. ... All have jaded histories. The 'Big Three' - Bayer, Baxter, and Rhone-Poulenc - are infamously known for having infected more than 7,000 American hemophiliacs with the AIDS virus during the early 1980s. They admitted foreknowledge in selling HIV-tainted blood clotting products and settled the class action case for $100,000 per claimant."1
Two shrouded power bases of the Third Reich, Bayer and Hoechst, were spun from IG Farben following World War Two. Hermann Schmitz, president of Farben during the war (which had partial control of the Deutsche Bank) "held as much stock in Standard Oil of New Jersey as did the Rockefellers," according to author Paul Manning. He wrote that on August 10, 1944, the Rockefeller-Farben group filtered flight capital through "affiliated German/French, American, British and Swiss banks 'for the new Germany.'" The reserves secured "the sophisticated distribution of national and corporate assets to safe havens" across the globe, ensuring the continuation of the "Neuordnung (New Order)" for the petrochemical, drug and banking cartels.2
An upcoming distiller of the said "elixirs," joining BioPort and Bayer, is VaxGen (owned by Genentech ((55.6%-owned by by Hoffmann-La Roche (((owned by Roche AG of Switzerland, also an ally of Farben and the German Reich))).
In November 2004, the company publicized a contract under the auspices of Project BioShield worth $877 million over five years, with the government paying VaxGen to produce 75 million doses of anthrax vaccine. In addition, the company is to receive $123 million in further payments from the government in late 2007.3
And it's just one more well-hyped boondoggle if the history of AidsVax, the company's failed HIV drug, is any indication.
On October 3, 1999, the Times of London reported that before VaxGen went public, "the most important government cheerleader for AidsVax" - Dr William Heyward, head of HIV vaccine research at the CDC - "had a SECRET DEAL to join the company." From the CDC, Dr. Heyward "lobbied policymakers and approved $8 million in grants for VaxGen. But the company had already drawn this chart on his future duties, and in January 2000, he joined ex-CDC staffer Dr. Donald Francis, VaxGen president, who also hired former CDC deputy director Dr Walter Dowdle to head its influential data monitoring board."
In US v William L. Heyward, prosecutors charged him with violation of anti-graft laws. Dr. Heyward skipped up the corporate ladder to a VP's office at VaxGen, but eventually confessed to the flagrant conflict of interest, paid a $32,500 fine "and escaped a high-profile criminal trial that might have proved devastating to the AidsVax project," the Times reported.
Next thing you know, on March 17 2003, a class action lawsuit was thrown at VaxGen. The suit claimed securities fraud after Dr. Heyward wrote a series of glowing reports on the potential of AidsVax that inflated the stock price but proved baseless when the drug failed its clinical trials.
A word about those "trials": As we shall see, there was little that was "clinical" about them. Testing of the vaccine was sponsored by the NIH, FDA, World Bank, UN agencies and the International Aids Vaccine Initiative.4
The tests were overseen by Dr. Donald Pinkston Francis, president of VasGen, who, along with molecular biologist Dr. Philip Berman, founded the company in 1995. Dr. Francis, 62, was bestowed with an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Harvard in 1979. Since 1978, he has been chief of the epidemiology division at the Hepatitis Labs Division of the CDC. Under the auspices of the Agency for International Development (AID), he served as an epidemiologist in Rivers State, Nigeria (1971). He was American "epidemiological intelligence service officer" at the CDC (1971-73).(In And The Band Played On, Randy Shilts's 1987 Aids book, Dr. Francis is found on no less than 76 pages, a driven, scolding, at times hysterical presence. In the movie, he's played by Full Metal Jacket's Matthew Modine."5)
Dr. Leonard Horowitz, an indepenent authority on public health education and the origins of AIDS, writes that Dr. Francis had "intimate connections to the U.S. Government agencies, programs and
people (including Max Essex and Robert Gallo) that CREATED numerous AIDS-like and Ebola-like viruses during the 'Special Virus Cancer Program' of the late 1960s and early 1970s..."6
Dr. Francis is one of the instigators of Aids, as Horowitz deconstructs the history of the disease under the Neuordnung.7
The London Times detailed the "clinical trials" conducted by Dr. Francis's team in Thailand. As Dr. Heyward sees it, "only through such trials will further knowledge be gained". Thumbs up.
AIDSVAX: THE VAXGEN EXPERIMENT The Sunday Times Magazine (UK) October 3, 1999 By Brian Deer
... At first glance, Thailand is a strange location to carry out medical trials.... Corruption is de rigeueur, while police are accused by Amnesty International of "extra-judicial killings". Much of its profile relies on sex: first with young women and later with children.
Since the coup, however, quick cheap, experiments on the Thai population have been added to the country's attractions. Dozens of projects are currently in progress, run by foreign pharmaceutical companies and sponsored by the CDC and WHO. With an estimated 800,000 Thais infected with HIV, Aids is the big one, with tests of drugs, immune-system stimulants, and top of the list Francis's AidsVax trial.
It makes sense to test products where the risk of Aids is greatest, but my attention was drawn to potential problems during a conference in a Bangkok hotel. The topic was Aids vaccines. Francis spoke. And a doctor pointed out that some volunteers in an AZT trial were mothers from remote hill tribes. "They come across the border from Burma." he said. "They don't speak Thai, so there is the question of whether they can understand enough to give informed consent."
The question was brushed aside ("They keep coming back.") and might not have meant much if I hadn't also met an activist from the northern town of Chiang Mai. Despite grilling 11 people who swallowed tablets daily, he complained that he couldn't discover even the name of the product or the pharmaceutical company involved. This man was a former heroin user, so I asked him where VaxGen was recruiting. "Go to Khlong Toei," he said. "By Port Authority Building. That's where they'll get people for the trial."
Khlong Toei is a slum; a sewage-stinking wasteland; a cauldron of disease and drug use. The better-off live in concrete hutches, with wire-fenced windows and balconies. Next down in the social scale are wooden-shack coops on plots of flood-prone ground. Then there are kennels: festering shantytown alleys of plank, sheet-iron and debris sheds. The "streets" are dim corridors, with boardwalk floors, cluttered with children and dogs. At night frail figures shuffle around, suffering from Aids, tuberculosis or both.
Thailand was once praised for anti-HIV efforts in disease hot zones such as this. But evidence suggests that since the 1992 coup priorities have changed. In 1992, a health minister complained that talk about the virus had "seriously affected tourism". And now, official figures show that Aids prevention has been slashed by one third against comparable public health programmes.
The biggest cuts have been in initiatives aimed specifically at drug misusers. "There used to be a project for clean needles in the early 90s, but now it's gone," a spokeswoman for a Khlong Toei charity, the Duang Prateep Foundation, told me....
Nobody could explain the thinking, but the effect on the junkies can be measured. Blood tests reveal that HIV prevalence peaked among female prostitutes in 1993 - when 30% were positive - and has since fallen back to 21%. Among rent boys, prevalence peaked in the following year at 18%, and is now half that figure. But prevalence among heroin-injectors has leapt from 31% in 1994 to a staggering 47% now.
Were these changes evidence that the government were allowing the junkies to be put at greater risk to make them useful for experiments? (Health department officials told me that if AidsVax is marketed, they expect a billion-dollar manufacturing plant.) I couldn't find out. People wouldn't talk when I raised such contentious concerns. Even Bangkok's Medicines Sans Frontieres staff went silent when asked about the trial.
Francis is convinced that nothing is amiss, and his collaborators voice no worries. "All have assured me that this has been done ethically," he told me, when eventually we met. "We are going out of our way not to increase the vulnerability of an already vulnerable population." The trial was conducted in Thailand, he said, for scientific reasons. Different parts of the world are linked with different HIV subtypes, with their myriad subsidiary strains. B subtype strains, for instance, are most common in North America, Europe and Australasia; A, C and D in Africa. In Thailand, there's a mix of B and E strains and, for technical reasons to do with E strains, the company argues that success is more likely there "than anywhere else in the world."
But there are aspects of the project which suggest that the junkies may be involved in an unusual way. A parallel trial among gay men at American clinics is having problems finding and keeping volunteers, due to scepticism towards the venture. But at Kachit's clinics the programme has features which may help to avoid these snags. The junkies get methadone, an oral heroin substitute, plus $10 expenses for each of up to 17 visits. The risk is the appearance of offering drugs and money as inducements to this desperate group.
There's also a feature of the experiment's design that seems self-contradictory. If the methadone liquid got people off injecting heroin, the volunteers' risk of infection would slump and they would be of little use to the vaccine trial. In fact, documents drawn up with the CDC and WHO show that that 7% of clinic users are expected to become HIV-infected each year. So, despite the oral methadone, they keep injecting heroin. They may even buy it with VaxGen's money and have an increased risk of getting Aids.
The logic of the trial creates a dilemma for Francis. The moral uncertainties about using junkies as GUINEA PIGS might be offset by humanity's greater needs. But there would need to be plausible scientific grounds to think that AidsVax might work. And on that the VaxGen experiment is open to even greater doubts. ***** When Francis returns from his trips to Bangkok, it's to Brisbane, a community on the San Francisco peninsula, midway between the city and its airport. His home and workplace both looks eastward across the bay: towards Oakland and, beyond that, America. His home is on a hill and lined with Chinese paintings. His office is by the shore, in black glass.
He huddles weekly with his senior colleagues: VaxGen's vice-president, Dr Phillip Berman, and its chairman, Dr Robert Nowinski. Berman, aged 49, is a molecular biologist. He's heavy set with curly hair and has laboured on the science for 15 years. Nowinski, 52, is bald and wears glasses. He's a biotechnology entrepreneur from Seattle. His main claim to fame is having founded and sold a company, ICOS, which boasts Microsoft's Bill Gates as an owner.
The key document at many of their sessions is a "special issue" of a prestigious journal, called Aids Research and Human Retroviruses. It's dated last October. Twenty papers are inside and they're a rave for VaxGen's ideas. Dr Seth Berkley, the International Aids Vaccine Initiative's president, declares that politics and economics are bigger obstacles to progress than "a scientific barrier". Dr Mary Lou Clements-Mann, a researcher for a rival company's vaccine (and who died in a Swissair plane crash off Nova Scotia last year), shrugs off pessimistic "misperceptions". ...
When visitors drop by, Berman outlines his own paper. It sets out how AidsVax is meant to work. "Many lines of evidence suggest that a strong antibody response to the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein," he explains, "will be an essential feature of any Aids vaccine." Berman sketches what this means on a board in the conference room, across the corridor from Francis's office. The
billions spent on Aids have produced unparalleled insights on HIV, which are the platform on which he builds. The virus infects. The immune system checks it with, among other things, specially-tailored antibodies. But the virus mutates around these adversaries. So the immune system tailors new defences. The virus then mutates and immunity responds. It's like a leapfrog competition. Eventually, the immune system tires of all this leaping, packs up and then it's Aids.
Of all the different parts of HIV, the envelope glycoprotein gp120 is the part that mutates the most. This sits in blobs around the virus, like loose balls of wool, on the tips of protruding spikes. Berman zooms on the moment a blob meets a cell, which is 1m times bigger than the virus. Part of the blob's surface locks onto a receptor (like a data-port where cells get information). The blob then unravels and locks another of its parts onto a second sort of receptor on the cell. This cues the cell to pull the virus inside. Infection is complete.
Here, Berman argues, is where AidsVax helps: by blocking this double-lock connection. Summoned in advance, due to earlier vaccination, antibodies stick to key parts of the blob and so stop it from locking on the cell. If the virus is a burglar, these antibodies are bullterriers, waiting for a leg to appear through the window on which to snap their jaws. Once they've got hold, the virus is paralysed, to be disposed of by other kinds of cell.
He makes things sound simple. Visitors are impressed. Investors wonder: why dither in Bangkok? But the science expounded in the journal issue doesn't convince many people who grasp the detail. "It's a waste of time," Dr Robert Gallo, America's pre-eminent retrovirologist, told me. Prof Andrew McMichael, Aids vaccine chief at Oxford's Institute of Molecular Medicine, said: "I wouldn't have the belief that this will work." And Dr Jean-Paul Levy, head of France's vaccine programme, spat: "It forgets one century of science."
For all the plausibility of the journal's special issue, the most detailed analysis of VaxGen's approach was published in February last year in the Journal of Virology, an even more influential publication. More than 500 people - mostly American gay men - took part in preliminary tests of gp120 in the mid-1990s but experts at seven of America's leading research centres found that, despite the shots, 16 vaccine recipients became infected with HIV. That's more than 3% of those getting vaccine, roughly the same percentage as those on placebo.
Molecular biologists were not surprised, although their critique is extremely technical. What it boils down to is that if HIV leapfrogs the immune system - with all its astounding complexity - it will easily do the same with antibodies induced by an off-the-shelf manufactured product. Inducing antibodies to one B strain, or two E strains, or five, or fifty XYZ strains, is like buying insurance against being hit by cars with specified license plates.
VaxGen's answer is to develop products from strains it claims provide "cross-protection" against others. In Bangkok, for instance, the vaccine is AidsVax B/E, including gp120 clones from one B and one E strain. The B strain was isolated from a six-year-old New Jersey boy in 1984, while the E strain was collected from a soldier in Chiang Mai about nine years ago. The plan is to mix 'n' match vaccines in this way to suit the subtypes in different parts of the world. Berman zooms closer and claims that parts of gp120 stay sufficiently constant between the mutating strains to offer a point of attack. Like all proteins, the blob is made from amino acid molecules, which string together like beads in a necklace to make the loose balls of wool. Each bead is made from one of a possible 20 amino acids. Letters are used to denote these acids: G stands for glycine, for instance, R for arginine and Q for glutamine.
Berman says that the vaccine needs to copy the amino acid sequence at a key point in this string. Near to where gp120 locks onto the cell, there is a loose loop of "wool" - not 100 millionth a cell's size - which biologists call V3. Berman zooms again: to the tip of this loop, a string of just six necklace beads. Here, he argues, is a segment that remains more constant than most and induces antibodies which will stick and stop the double-lock connection with the cell. All it needs is for the vaccine and the virus to have the same acids at the tip of this loop.
Using this argument, Berman deduces that the early tests of gp120 offer hope for the experiment after all. Mostly, volunteers studied for the Journal of Virology were injected with gp120 cloned from the New Jersey strain, in which the necklace in the V3 loop's tip has the beads GPGRAF (meaning: glycine, proline, glycine, arginine, alanine, and phenylalanine). It's a common configuration in North American strains. But Berman argues that some of the volunteers who became HIV-positive despite being vaccinated were infected with strains in which the loop was different: say, GPGRVL (ending with valine and leucine instead). This, he suggests, was why the gp120 didn't protect them. With the commoner strains he believes it did.
At VaxGen's offices, this bottom-line is dazzling. The "special issue" paper quickens pulses. But additional information reveals an oddity, which Berman's presentation overlooks. At the American government's Los Alamos National Laboratory, in New Mexico, staff track amino acid sequences for thousands of HIV strains. And when I asked them to print their data from Thailand, a startling contradiction emerged. The B component in AidsVax B/E - the shots being given to the junkies - has the New Jersey V3 loop tip sequence. It goes: GPGRAF.
According to Berman's argument, the local B strains would need to have the same string of beads. But only 10% of Thai B strains have the New Jersey amino acid sequence. Far more often - in nearly half the strains - there are two different beads in the loop's tip: glutamine (Q) and tryptophan (W). They are GPGQAW. By Berman's own reasoning, the Bangkok junkies are being injected with the wrong vaccine. ***** Every six months, a ten-strong committee of doctors and scientists crowds into VaxGen's boardroom. This is the "data safety and monitoring board", recruited to keep an eye on the experiment. On one side of the table sits a Harvard infectious disease specialist. On the other is a Yale ethicist. There are three Thai physicians and a Seattle statistician. Dr Walter Dowdle, a former CDC deputy director, presides. The Americans are casual, in open-necked shirts, but Dowdle runs proceedings with care. Piled around the table are printouts on the volunteers, with blood tests and other results. Using codes which nobody else gets to look at, they can see who's getting AidsVax and who the placebo and whether any difference the number of HIV infections has emerged between the groups.
By the convention for vaccines, any difference would be vast for the product to be declared effective. Measles vaccine, for instance, is 95% effective, tetanus 90%, and hepatitis B 85%. But the committee's brief is to watch for just 30% effectiveness. Such is the threat from Aids, it's argued, that this figure is enough for success.
I asked a professor of medical statistics to number-crunch this percentage. To reach the 30% mark, he said, there would only need to be 28 more infections among junkies on the placebo than among those receiving AidsVax. If VaxGen recruits 2,500 - and on its assumption that in a year about 7% (87 people) on placebo will become infected due to needle-sharing - then if the number who become infected after getting AidsVax is 59 (4.7%) or fewer, the committee can rule that the product works.
VaxGen critics think that even this meagre difference couldn't appear, and that Dowdle, 68, will one day emerge to drape a consoling arm on Francis's shoulder. But an alternative scenario is predicted by some with long research experience. Nobody can recall an HIV product being ditched after reaching a full-scale efficacy trial. And, such is the desire for
"something to be done" about Aids that science could be pushed to one side.
The most powerful pressure for something to be done comes from the White House, anxious to appease the Aids lobby. In May 1997, President Clinton threw his weight behind urgent action. "If the 21st century is to be the century of biology," he declared. "Let us make an Aids vaccine its first great triumph."
How such pressures can translate date back to 1989 and the first anti-Aids drug, AZT. A board like Dowdle's monitoring a trial among HIV-positive volunteers with no obvious illness, saw data suggesting that full-blown Aids could be prevented. At the time, AZT was licensed only for terminal disease, but this finding caused the trial to be halted and the product to be approved for this use. But the decision was based on a transitory data "blip", which had caused the board to act prematurely. A longer study, published four years later, found no preventative effect.
Stopping trials in this way before their scheduled completion is now standard in Aids product development. "If efficacy is observed at the time of a scheduled interim efficacy analysis," Nowinski explains, "the monitoring board will recommend termination of the trial."
But could bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Evaluation Agency license a vaccine that doesn't work on the basis of an AZT-style blip? Evidence suggests that agencies under political pressure take just such paradoxical steps. The National Institutes of Health, for instance, vetoed the VaxGen experiment as a waste of money and volunteers. But after being accused of "a human rights violation" by Dr Jonathan Mann, 51, former WHO Aids chief (and who died with his wife, Clements-Mann, also 51, in the Swissair crash), the institutes not only reversed themselves, but granted Francis $4.6m.
Sometimes the clamour may be marshalled by persons who may not be as detached as they seem. The Journal of Aids Research and Human Retroviruses, for instance, has an editorial board that's a Who's Who of Aids. But Francis paid the publisher $10,000 for the "special issue", which Berman edited as a "guest". As for some of the contributors, Francis helped to set up Berkley's international vaccine initiative and advised Bill Gates's charity foundation to give it $25m. He has done a deal to supply proteins to the rival manufacturer which employed Clements-Mann. And he has offered the CDC's Heyward the post of VaxGen vice-president, starting next January.
Pressure also comes from powerful bodies which have long-held institutional agendas. The CDC, which mostly collates disease data, first became a significant health service body due to polio vaccine, launched in April 1955. The WHO's singular success was smallpox eradication, accomplished in October 1977. Mass immunisation is what they know best. It's simply what they do. "Don Francis reminds them of when they were young," Dr John Moore, of New York's Aaron Diamond Aids Research Center, told me.
What worries critics such as Moore is that political and institutional pressures may lead to millions of people being injected with AidsVax before the benefits and risks are clear. The WHO estimates that annual demand for the first vaccine will be 650m doses and UNICEF leaders are thinking about adding it to programmes for 100m children.
Francis anticipates that the CDC, which has already granted him $8m, is to finance a US immunisation campaign and, in Europe, national health services will pick up the tab. "In addition, the International Aids Vaccine Initiative has started a campaign to fund the development and purchase of an HIV vaccine for the developing world," VaxGen documents say. "In meetings with us, the World Bank has indicated that it's exploring the potential for low-interest loans to support the purchase."
One of the snags which may be overlooked in this rush is the effect on recipients' behaviour. Common sense says that somebody who thinks that they may be protected is more likely to take chances with risky activities than a person who knows that they aren't. One study of this effect in 1997 found that unsafe sexual behaviours doubled among gay men in preliminary vaccine tests. If this was repeated globally, the impact of an even vaguely effective AidsVax may be that the Aids epidemic gets worse. ***** South of VaxGen's offices, the next freeway exit gives access to its powerhouse: Genentech. This is the world's front-runner in medical biotechnology, with seven licensed products, from human growth hormones to a clot-buster, Activase. Twenty years ago the company was all dreams and venture capital; its few staff snipping and splicing genes in a wasteland where shipyards had died. Today, their ranks of Mercs and BMWs surround 26 buildings in biology's Silicon Valley.
Stopping by from time to time are visitors from its master, the druggernaut Hoffman-La Roche. With twin headquarters in Basle and New Jersey, and sales last year of SWf24.7bn, this vitamins-to-Valium giant has the marketing muscle should AidsVax come on stream. At its own labs, Roche shuns the vaccine race, but with taxes pledged to line-and-jab Africa and Asia executives doodle in billions on the hope that Francis pulls it off.
When I flew to San Francisco to quiz Francis for this story, Berman was ecstatic, in jeans and a check shirt, over a new $1.4m vaccine facility. The experiment produces a torrent of clinic samples; each volunteer gives blood on 17 visits, and each sample is split for tests. Giant freezers were being installed to store bar-coded specimens. There could be 400,000 in all. There's also a $500,000 microbiology kit going in: DNA sequencers, PCR machines, centrifuges and the like. Soon he would direct 30 staff in 20 rooms. He was like a seven-year-old on Christmas Day.
The first thing that struck me was the push of the spending, irrespective of scientific achievements. Apart from all the investment so far, Genentech had a 10,000-litre fermenting tank, half full of New Jersey strain vaccine. Nobody wanted that, worth $1m, flushed away, much less the careers of its makers. The next thing I noted was the standard of safety imposed on the facility's construction. To handle a dangerous pathogen in California, the brown-and-yellow building, made from tipped-upright concrete slabs, was stamped with certificates and permits by the box load before the first plank was sawn. It's both earthquake- and microbe-proof. And its forests of copper pipes, air ducts and bio-filters were tested to tolerances few structures could endure.
But while regulations make sure that the building is safe, critics say that the product itself escapes much rigorous scrutiny. With vaccines, any problems often don't appear until mass-market use, and such is the head of steam building up behind Francis that sceptics think that if AidsVax doesn't join the annals of useless shots, it has the potential to join, say, a 1960s measles vaccine that made the disease in those infected worse.
What worries some scientists is that because AidsVax provokes antibodies to its own specific gp120 strains, there's a risk that it may actually suppress the immune system's ability to combat other strains. On this thinking (the principle is sometimes called "deceptive imprinting") even if the junkies were protected against the New Jersey and Chiang Mai strains, they might die more quickly if they get infected with one of the countless other mutations. "There's nothing new in this," Dr Heinz Kohler, who has led investigations at Kentucky University, said. "It's just common sense."
At Kansas University, researchers have found that monkeys injected with gp120 and then a hybrid kind of HIV had more of the virus in their blood later on than infected animals which weren't vaccinated. "The question is: will those people who are vaccinated progress to Aids more quickly if they become infected with HIV than those who were not vaccinated at all?" Prof McMichael at Oxford summarised. "We might not know the answer for 10 years."
No such problems were revealed in the preliminary tests
, but despite the importance of long-term follow-up (recipients of the hepatitis B vaccine that Francis worked on in the early 1980s have been tracked for two decades), VaxGen no longer monitors what has happened to the people who received its product in the mid-1990s preliminary tests. Francis argues that it makes more sense to wait for the full-scale trial results.
This apparent loss of data is surprising to some, because history warns of the pitfalls of not being thorough. In 1955, just one month after a near-hysterical press conference in Michigan launched polio vaccine, reports poured in to the CDC of hundreds of children going down with the disease, induced by the shots themselves. President Dwight Eisenhower said that, because of the "great pressure to bring this out", scientists may have "short-cut a little bit".
AidsVax cannot give volunteers Aids, but there may be something even more terrifying than the anxiety that it might accelerate their disease if they are later infected with HIV. Some scientists think that, if it works at all, the product may have a dangerous effect on the evolution of HIV. Five years ago, Los Alamos scientists declared that there was "no simple answer" as to whether Aids could become contagious through coughs and sneezes - and other researchers argue that, in much the same way as a partial course of antibiotics can promote resistant bacteria, so a poorly-effective vaccine may promote more deadly and infectious strains.
This may sound like journalistic scare, but HIV's best-understood RNA cousin is influenza virus, which produces devastating mutations every 20 or 30 years. Hepatitis B virus, meanwhile, has already produced mutant strains accepted as being vaccine-induced. "When you use a vaccine, you are introducing another selective pressure," Dr Paul Ewald, professor of biology at Amherst College, Massachusetts, explained. "It could make the problem more damaging, or less damaging, depending on the antigen you use."
Researchers told me that, compared with the potential risks to volunteers, this doomsday scenario was "unlikely". But with agencies standing by to jab hundreds of millions of people, some wondered if, for our species' safety, "unlikely" was reassuring enough. "My personal view," Dr Art Ammann, president of the San Francisco-based Global Strategy for HIV Prevention, and a former AidsVax researcher, said, "is that we could face a global nightmare." ...


1) Ingri Cassel, "Public Health Expert Says Solving The Anthrax Mailing Mystery May Be Easy: FBI Doesn't Seem Interested," news release, Tetrahedron, LLC, Nov. 12, 2001.
2) Paul Manning, Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile, Secaucus: Lyle Stuart, 1981.
3) Adam Feuerstein, "VaxGen Hits Anthrax Jackpot," TheStreet.com, November 5, 2004. http://www.thestreet.com/_googlen/comment/adamfeuerstein/10193015.html?cm_ve n=GOOGLEN&cm_cat=FREE&cm_ite=NA
4) Brian Deer, "AidsVax: The VaxGen Experiment," Sunday Times Magazine (UK), October 3 1999.
5) Ibid.
6) Dr. Leonard Horowitz, "New Genocidal AIDS Vaccine Experiments: Don Francis, Genentech, Hoffman-La-Roche, and The Rise of the Fourth Reich," updated 11/07/02. http://www.originofaids.com/articles/experiments.htm
7) Ibid. Also see, A. Cantwell, AIDS and the Doctors of Death. 1988 (pp. 50-2, 78, 178), A. Cantwell, Queer Blood: The Secret AIDS Genocide Plot. 1993 (pp. 42, 109, 123).

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