Science in Society Archive

Anthrax Attacks Linked to CIA and Drug Industry?

The anthrax was released by a US insider as part of a covert plan to restrict civil liberties, increase pharmaceutical profits and fulfil military and political objectives, so claims Harvard-trained health expert, Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz. Nick Papadimitriou reports.

Biotech companies are in league with the CIA and the US military, Horowitz alleges in a series of press releases, and he has challenged FBI director Robert Mueller to investigate those whom he considers to be the prime suspects. Two corporations, Bioport, the main beneficiaries of the US’ decision to invest in anthrax treatments, and Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI) are implicated. In 1998, Bioport won a contract worth $29m to make anthrax vaccine for the US Department of Defence. During the recent spate of mailings, the US government offered the vaccine to those exposed. This vaccine had not been approved.

Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., the signatory of the contract on behalf of the military subsequently received 22.5% of Bioport’s stock. Further, The Carlyle Group, US’ 11th leading defence contractors, are major shareholders of Bioport. Carlyle Group personnel include ex CIA director, Frank Carlucci, ex Prime Minister of UK, John Major, and, Horowitz claims, George HW Bush. (The Carlyle Group web-site listed the first two mentioned as key members, but there was no mention of the former US president.)

Horowitz points the finger at BMI as likely producers of the weapons grade anthrax used in the attacks. BMI directs the US government’s "Joint Vaccine Acquisition Programme" and has been awarded vaccine contracts worth more than $1bn. They were partnered with Bioport as the US’ sole anthrax vaccine producers. However it is possible that it wasn’t just anthrax vaccine that they were producing. The Washington Post reported last December that the anthrax in the attacks matched that used by the US army. DNA genetic fingerprinting of the spores indicated they were identical to those maintained by both the US Army at its Dugway proving grounds in Utah and to samples of anthrax stored at Porton Down, UK, the British government’s bioweapons research facility.

Horowitz cites an "anonymous pentagon official," quoted in a September 2001 article issued by Associated Press, as referring to "Operation Jefferson," in which "a new and highly lethal strain of anthrax" had been developed. BMI owns laboratories in West Jefferson. At about this time, BMI hired an anthrax expert, William C. Patrick III, to investigate the implications of mailing powdered anthrax through the post.

Horowitz also focuses on another group of potential beneficiaries of the anthrax attacks. These are also providers of bioweapon treatments. Bayer, who produce Cipro, the antibiotic used in the fight against anthrax and Acambis (formally OraVax and partnered with Aventis). Both companies were formed after World War II out of the German firm IG Farben, producer of cyanic toxin zyklon B, used in the Nazi gas chambers. The CIA, it is claimed, played a crucial role in the decartelisation of Farben, mainly because Allen Dulles, CIA’s first director was on the payroll of the Rockefellers’ who owned 50% of the Farben cartel. And at the time of Farben’s dissolution, its "flight capital" was handled, with CIA knowledge, by mainly American, Swiss and British banks.

Bayer did well out of anthrax and, on some readings, was rescued from virtual bankruptcy by the attacks. The government struck a deal with Bayer whereby the company agreed to reduce the cost of its tablets from more than four dollars to $0.9 each, still a long way above the cheapest. Acambis, alongside Aventis, is contracted to produce the US’ smallpox vaccine. The contract is worth approximately $343m for 40 million doses. In the wake of the anthrax attacks, calls were made to ask congress for another $500m to purchase enough vaccine for the US population.

The Emergency Preparedness Task Force, US’ standing advisory committee for bioweapons attack, is teeming with members of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Sources: Tetrahedron press; The Washington Post

I-SIS News 13 index

Article first published February 2002

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