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FTR #1139 The Anthrax Attacks, the Invasion of Iraq and Expansion of Biological Warfare Capabilities

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FTR #1139 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment. [5]

Intro­duc­tion: As the title indi­cates, this pro­gram presents polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal foun­da­tion for the expo­nen­tial expan­sion of Amer­i­can bio­log­i­cal war­fare infra­struc­ture fol­low­ing the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Impor­tant back­ground infor­ma­tion comes from the Whit­ney Webb arti­cle about DARPA spend­ing on bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es.

The Broad­cast­ing Board of Governors–a CIA “derivative”–and The Wash­ing­ton Times (owned by the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church) helped devel­op dis­in­for­ma­tion about SARS CoV‑2 com­ing from a Chi­nese Bio­log­i­cal War­fare lab. Both were instru­men­tal in hyp­ing the anthrax attacks as authored by Sad­dam Hus­sein, as well. The Wash­ing­ton Times also pre­sent­ed infor­ma­tion float­ed by Steven Hat­fill that fore­shad­owed sub­se­quent charges that Sad­dam Hus­sein was devel­op­ing bioweapons and was behind the 2001 anthrax attacks.

In addi­tion, the Project For a New Amer­i­can Cen­tu­ry was advanc­ing an agen­da in which genet­i­cal­ly-engi­neered bio­log­i­cal war­fare tech­nol­o­gy as essen­tial to con­tin­ued Amer­i­can glob­al dom­i­nance.

As will be seen below, a key func­tionary in the PNAC milieu was for­mer Sec­re­tary of Defense Don­ald Rums­feld, for­mer chair­man of the board of Gilead Sci­ences.

In FTR #‘s 1135 [6], 1136 [7]and 1137 [8], we relied heav­i­ly on the Kris New­by’s Bit­ten: The Secret His­to­ry of Lyme Dis­ease and Bio­log­i­cal Weapons. In that book, Ms. New­by net­worked with a group of expe­ri­enced, Cold War bio­log­i­cal war­fare pro­fes­sion­als whom she termed “the Brain Trust.” They were con­vinced that Fort Det­rick sci­en­tist Bruce Ivins–the “lone nut” who con­ve­nient­ly com­mit­ted sui­cide and was fin­gered as the sole per­pe­tra­tor of the 2001 anthrax attacks–was framed. ” . . . . Among oth­er sub­jects, they dis­cussed  . . . tech­ni­cal details on why they believed that their col­league Bruce Ivins had been framed as the anthrax mail­er . . . .”

Much of the pro­gram cen­ters on the 2001 attacks and the sus­pi­cion that focused on Steven Hat­fill as a pos­si­ble per­pe­tra­tor of them. Although exon­er­at­ed in the attacks, Hat­fill was the focal point of con­sid­er­able sus­pi­cion in con­nec­tion with the event. Our sus­pi­cion is that he is an oper­a­tive of one or anoth­er intel­li­gence agency, CIA being the most prob­a­ble.

We sus­pect that the anthrax attacks were a provo­ca­tion aimed at jus­ti­fy­ing the inva­sion of Iraq and spurring devel­op­ment of the U.S. bio­log­i­cal war­fare capa­bil­i­ty.

Of par­tic­u­lar note is the appar­ent “oper­a­tional Teflon” worn by Hat­fill. Although cir­cum­stan­tial evi­dence point­ed in his direc­tion, he appeared to be alto­geth­er “off lim­its” to inves­tiga­tive ele­ments of Alpha­bet Soup. Don Fos­ter not­ed the unusu­al treat­ment accord­ed to Hat­fill by the pow­ers that be.

Of sig­nif­i­cance, as well, are the numer­ous exam­ples of fore­shad­ow­ing of the foren­sic cir­cum­stances of the anthrax attacks, as well as oth­er “false alarm” inci­dents that occurred before and after the fatal attacks. It requires lit­tle to see state­ments and arti­cles by nota­bles such as Bill Patrick and the seem­ing­ly ubiq­ui­tous Steven Hat­fill as lay­ing a foun­da­tion of cred­i­bil­i­ty for sub­se­quent events.

Note that the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health have also part­nered with CIA and the Pen­ta­gon, as under­scored by an arti­cle [9] about a BSL‑4 lab at Boston Uni­ver­si­ty.

  1. As the arti­cle notes, as of 2007, the U.S. had “more than a dozen” BSL4 labs–China com­mis­sioned its first as of 2017. a ten­fold increase in fund­ing for BSL4 labs occurred because of the anthrax attacks of 2001. Those attacks might be seen as some­thing of a provo­ca­tion, spurring a dra­mat­ic increase in “dual use” biowar­fare research, under the cov­er of “legit­i­mate” medical/scientific research. In FTR #1128 [10], we hypoth­e­sized about the milieu of Stephen Hat­fill and apartheid-linked inter­ests as pos­si­ble authors of a vec­tor­ing of New York City with Sars COV2: ” . . . . Before the anthrax mail­ings of 2001, the Unit­ed States had just two BSL4 labs—both with­in the razor-wire con­fines of gov­ern­ment-owned cam­pus­es. Now, thanks to a ten­fold increase in funding—from $200 mil­lion in 2001 to $2 bil­lion in 2006—more than a dozen such facil­i­ties can be found at uni­ver­si­ties and pri­vate com­pa­nies across the coun­try. . . .”
  2. The Boston Uni­ver­si­ty lab exem­pli­fies the Pen­ta­gon and CIA pres­ence in BSL‑4 facil­i­ty “dual use”: ” . . . . But some sci­en­tists say that argu­ment obscures the true pur­pose of the cur­rent biode­fense boom: to study poten­tial bio­log­i­cal weapons. ‘The uni­ver­si­ty por­trays it as an emerg­ing infec­tious dis­ease lab,’ says David Ozonoff, a Boston Uni­ver­si­ty epi­demi­ol­o­gist whose office is right across the street from the new BSL4 facil­i­ty. ‘But they are talk­ing about study­ing things like small pox and inhala­tion anthrax, which pose no pub­lic health threat oth­er than as bioweapons.’ . . . The orig­i­nal NIH man­date for the lab indi­cat­ed that many groups—including the CIA and Depart­ment of Defense—would be allowed to use the lab for their own research, the nature of which BU might have lit­tle con­trol over. . . .”

As not­ed in past pro­grams, Gilead Sci­ences is very well-con­nect­ed [11] pro­fes­sion­al­ly, with for­mer Sec­re­tary of Defense Don­ald Rums­feld [12] (among oth­er polit­i­cal lumi­nar­ies) serv­ing on its board of direc­tors. Rums­feld was chair­man of the board from 1997 until he left in 2001 to become George W. Bush’s Sec­re­tary of Defense.

Rums­feld was Sec­re­tary of Defense dur­ing the peri­od in which the 2001 anthrax attacks occurred.

Dur­ing the post‑9/11 peri­od of explod­ing gov­ern­ment invest­ments in biode­fense pro­grams [9], Sec­re­tary of Defense Don­ald Rums­feld was still hold­ing onto mas­sive amounts of Gilead stock, which was increas­ing in val­ue dra­mat­i­cal­ly. What kind of rela­tion­ship did Gilead devel­op with the US biode­fense nation­al secu­ri­ty state dur­ing this peri­od? That seems like a pret­ty impor­tant ques­tion at this point in time.

The U.S. gov­ern­ment was among the cus­tomers whose pur­chas­es drove up the Gilead earn­ings and stock price: ” . . . . What’s more, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is emerg­ing as one of the world’s biggest cus­tomers for Tam­i­flu. In July, the Pen­ta­gon ordered $58 mil­lion worth of the treat­ment for U.S. troops around the world, and Con­gress is con­sid­er­ing a mul­ti-bil­lion dol­lar pur­chase. . . .”

Sev­er­al years into his tenure at the Pen­ta­gon, Rums­feld made a killing on the sale of Gilead Sci­ences’ stock, which rose expo­nen­tial­ly in val­ue fol­low­ing its devel­op­ment of Tam­i­flu as a treat­ment for H5N1 avian flu.” . . . . The firm made a loss in 2003, the year before con­cern about bird flu start­ed. Then rev­enues from Tam­i­flu almost quadru­pled, to $44.6m, help­ing put the com­pa­ny well into the black. Sales almost quadru­pled again, to $161.6m last year. Dur­ing this time the share price tre­bled. Mr Rums­feld sold some of his Gilead shares in 2004 reap­ing – accord­ing to the finan­cial dis­clo­sure report he is required to make each year – cap­i­tal gains of more than $5m. The report showed that he still had up to $25m-worth of shares at the end of 2004, and at least one ana­lyst believes his stake has grown well beyond that fig­ure, as the share price has soared. . . .”

Don­ald Rums­feld was a sig­na­to­ry [13] to the 1998 let­ter to Pres­i­dent Clin­ton by the Project for a New Amer­i­can Cen­tu­ry. That let­ter advo­cat­ed a hard­er line against Iraq. ” . . . . Rums­feld has strong ties to the Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty [14], as well as to the Atlantic Insti­tute [15], and is a mem­ber of the Bilder­berg [16] group. He is a finan­cial sup­port­er for the Cen­ter for Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy [17]. Rums­feld was one of the sign­ers of the Jan­u­ary 26, 1998, Project for the New Amer­i­can Cen­tu­ry [18] (PNAC) let­ter [19] sent to Pres­i­dent William Jef­fer­son Clin­ton [20]. . . .”

DARPA and the Pen­ta­gon have into the appli­ca­tion of genet­ic engi­neer­ing in order to cre­ate eth­no-spe­cif­ic bio­log­i­cal war­fare weapons, as dis­cussed by the Project for a New Amer­i­can Cen­tu­ry.

In past pro­grams and posts [21], we have not­ed that DARPA was research­ing [22]  bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es.  One can but won­der to what extent the PNAC doc­trine helped spawn the DARPA research into coro­n­avirus­es and, pos­si­bly, the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic.

1a. Impor­tant back­ground infor­ma­tion for dis­cus­sion of the anthrax attacks of 2001, the inva­sion of Iraq and the sub­se­quent, expo­nen­tial increase in spend­ing for bio­log­i­cal war­fare research comes from the Whit­ney Webb arti­cle about DARPA spend­ing on bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es.

The Broad­cast­ing Board of Governors–a CIA “derivative”–and The Wash­ing­ton Times (owned by the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church) helped devel­op dis­in­for­ma­tion about SARS CoV‑2 com­ing from a Chi­nese Bio­log­i­cal War­fare lab. Both were instru­men­tal in hyp­ing the anthrax attacks as authored by Sad­dam Hus­sein, as well.

In addi­tion, the Project For a New Amer­i­can Cen­tu­ry was advanc­ing an agen­da in which genet­i­cal­ly-engi­neered bio­log­i­cal war­fare tech­nol­o­gy as essen­tial to con­tin­ued Amer­i­can glob­al dom­i­nance.

As will be seen below, a key func­tionary in the PNAC milieu was for­mer Sec­re­tary of Defense Don­ald Rums­feld, for­mer chair­man of the board of Gilead Sci­ences.

“Bats, Gene Edit­ing and Bioweapons: Rec­cent DARPA Exper­i­ments Raise Con­cerns Amid Coro­n­avirus Out­break” by Whit­ney Webb; The Last Amer­i­can Vagabond; 1/30/2020. [22]

. . . . For instance, the first out­let to report on this claim was Radio Free Asia, the U.S.-government fund­ed media out­let tar­get­ing Asian audi­ences that used to be run covert­ly by the CIA and named by the New York Times as a key part in the agency’s “world­wide pro­pa­gan­da net­work [23].” Though it is no longer run direct­ly by the CIA, it is now man­aged by [24] the gov­ern­ment-fund­ed Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors (BBG), which answers direct­ly to Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo, who was CIA direc­tor imme­di­ate­ly pri­or to his cur­rent post at the head of the State Depart­ment.

In oth­er words, Radio Free Asia and oth­er BBG-man­aged media out­lets are legal out­lets for U.S. gov­ern­ment pro­pa­gan­da. Notably, the long-stand­ing ban on the domes­tic use of U.S. gov­ern­ment pro­pa­gan­da on U.S. cit­i­zens was lift­ed in 2013 [25], with the offi­cial jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of allow­ing the gov­ern­ment to “effec­tive­ly com­mu­ni­cate in a cred­i­ble way” and to bet­ter com­bat “al-Qaeda’s and oth­er vio­lent extrem­ists’ influ­ence.” . . . .

. . . . With Radio Free Asia and its sin­gle source hav­ing spec­u­lat­ed about Chi­nese gov­ern­ment links to the cre­ation of the new coro­n­avirus, the Wash­ing­ton Times soon took it much far­ther in a report titled “Virus-hit Wuhan has two lab­o­ra­to­ries linked to Chi­nese bio-war­fare pro­gram [26].” That arti­cle, much like Radio Free Asia’s ear­li­er report, cites a sin­gle source for that claim, for­mer Israeli mil­i­tary intel­li­gence biowar­fare spe­cial­ist Dany Shoham.

Yet, upon read­ing the arti­cle, Shoham does not even direct­ly make the claim cit­ed in the article’s head­line, as he only told the Wash­ing­ton Times that: “Cer­tain lab­o­ra­to­ries in the [Wuhan] insti­tute have prob­a­bly been engaged, in terms of research and devel­op­ment, in Chi­nese [bio­log­i­cal weapons], at least col­lat­er­al­ly, yet not as a prin­ci­pal facil­i­ty of the Chi­nese BW align­ment (empha­sis added).”

While Shoham’s claims are clear­ly spec­u­la­tive, it is telling that the Wash­ing­ton Times would both­er to cite him at all, espe­cial­ly giv­en the key role he played in pro­mot­ing false claims that the 2001 Anthrax attacks was the work of Iraq’s Sad­dam Hus­sein [27]. Shoham’s asser­tions about Iraq’s gov­ern­ment and weaponized Anthrax, which were used to bol­ster the case for the 2003 inva­sion of Iraq [28], have since been proven com­plete­ly false . . . .

. . . . the con­tro­ver­sial neo­con­ser­v­a­tive think tank, the now defunct Project for a New Amer­i­can Cen­tu­ry (PNAC), open­ly pro­mot­ed the use of a race-spe­cif­ic genet­i­cal­ly mod­i­fied bioweapon as a “polit­i­cal­ly use­ful tool.” In what is arguably the think tank’s most con­tro­ver­sial doc­u­ment, titled “Rebuild­ing America’s Defens­es [29],” there are a few pas­sages that open­ly dis­cuss the util­i­ty of bioweapons, includ­ing the fol­low­ing sen­tences:

“…com­bat like­ly will take place in new dimen­sions: in space, “cyber-space,” and per­haps the world of microbes…advanced forms of bio­log­i­cal war­fare that can “tar­get” spe­cif­ic geno­types may trans­form bio­log­i­cal war­fare from the realm of ter­ror to a polit­i­cal­ly use­ful tool.”

Though numer­ous mem­bers of PNAC were promi­nent in the George W. Bush admin­is­tra­tion, many of its more con­tro­ver­sial mem­bers have again risen to polit­i­cal promi­nence in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. . . .

1b. In FTR #‘s 1135 [6], 1136 [7]and 1137 [8], we relied heav­i­ly on the Kris New­by’s Bit­ten: The Secret His­to­ry of Lyme Dis­ease and Bio­log­i­cal Weapons. In that book, Ms. New­by net­worked with a group of expe­ri­enced, Cold War bio­log­i­cal war­fare pro­fes­sion­als whom she termed “the Brain Trust.” They were con­vinced that Fort Det­rick sci­en­tist Bruce Ivins–the “lone nut” who con­ve­nient­ly com­mit­ted sui­cide and was fin­gered as the sole per­pe­tra­tor of the 2001 anthrax attacks–was framed. ” . . . . Among oth­er sub­jects, they dis­cussed  . . . tech­ni­cal details on why they believed that their col­league Bruce Ivins had been framed as the anthrax mail­er . . . .”

Bit­ten: The Secret His­to­ry of Lyme Dis­ease and Bio­log­i­cal Weapons by Kris New­by; Harper­Collins [HC]; Copy­right 2019 by Kris New­by; ISBN 9780062896728; p. 140. [30]

. . . . Dur­ing the evening, I was impressed with the Brain Trust. Among oth­er sub­jects, they dis­cussed the Ebo­la out­break; tech­ni­cal details on why they believed that their col­league Bruce Ivins had been framed as the anthrax mail­er; and why the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of the U.S. mil­i­tary was bad for the coun­try. . . .

2. Much of the pro­gram cen­ters on the anthrax attacks of 2001 and the sus­pi­cion that focused on Steven Hat­fill as a pos­si­ble per­pe­tra­tor of the attacks. Although exon­er­at­ed in the attacks, Hat­fill was the focal point of con­sid­er­able sus­pi­cion in con­nec­tion with the event. Our sus­pi­cion is that he is an oper­a­tive of one or anoth­er intel­li­gence agency, CIA being the most prob­a­ble.

We sus­pect that the anthrax attacks were a provo­ca­tion aimed at jus­ti­fy­ing the inva­sion of Iraq and spurring devel­op­ment of the U.S. bio­log­i­cal war­fare capa­bil­i­ty.

Of par­tic­u­lar note is the appar­ent “oper­a­tional Teflon’ worn by Hat­fill. Although cir­cum­stan­tial evi­dence point­ed in his direc­tion, he appeared to be alto­geth­er “off lim­its” to inves­tiga­tive ele­ments of Alpha­bet Soup. Don Fos­ter not­ed the unusu­al treat­ment accord­ed to Hat­fill by the pow­ers that be.

Of sig­nif­i­cance, as well, are the numer­ous exam­ples of fore­shad­ow­ing of the foren­sic cir­cum­stances of the anthrax attacks, as well as oth­er “false alarm” inci­dents that occurred before and after the fatal attacks. It requires lit­tle to see state­ments and arti­cles by nota­bles such as Bill Patrick and the seem­ing­ly ubiq­ui­tous Steven Hat­fill as lay­ing a foun­da­tion of cred­i­bil­i­ty for sub­se­quent events.

NB: Hat­fill was nev­er tried for the attacks. Mr. Emory used the term “acquit­ted” a few times. The word­ing might be mis­un­der­stood as imply­ing that he had been indict­ed.

Also: the infor­mant who sup­plied dis­in­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing Sad­dam Hus­sein’s mobile bio­log­i­cal war­fare lab­o­ra­to­ries was “Curve­ball,” not “Soft­ball.”

“The Mes­sage in the Anthrax” by Don Fos­ter; Van­i­ty Fair; Octo­ber 2003; pp. 188–200. [31]

. . . . Patrick’s B.g. sam­ple was puri­fied to a tril­lion spores per gram — near the the­o­ret­i­cal lim­it — and bet­ter than any­thing ever pro­duced by Iraq, South Africa, or the Sovi­et Union. An untrained eye could not dif­fer­en­ti­ate it from the anthrax pow­der that Patrick had pro­duced in 1959. The pur­pose of the exer­cise at Dug­way, how­ev­er, was defen­sive: to pre­pare our nation for a bioter­ror attack.

In April 1999, Patrick told Fox News that in two years there will be an attack with a sophis­ti­cat­ed agent man­u­fac­tured over­seas. His pre­dic­tion was not far off the mark.

By Octo­ber 12, 2001, the press was report­ing that Bob Stevens (case 5 [32]), the 63-year old tabloid pho­to edi­tor at Amer­i­can Media Inc. in Boca Raton, Flori­da, who had mys­te­ri­ous­ly suc­cumbed to inhala­tion­al anthrax on Octo­ber 5, had been infect­ed at work.(Inhalational anthrax comes from breath­ing in spores, and is far dead­lier than the cuta­neous form of the dis­ease, which is usu­al­ly con­tract­ed through cuts and scratch­es in the skin.) Spores were found through­out the A.M.I. build­ing, with hot spots in the mail­room and on the vic­tim’s key­board. . . .

. . . . Pow­der sam­ples from both the Brokaw and Daschle let­ters were couri­ered to Fort Det­rick, head­quar­ters of the U.S. Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Dis­eases (USAMRIID), in Fred­er­ick, Mary­land. The USAMRIID sci­en­tists were alarmed by what they dis­cov­ered. It was the same stuff that had killed Bob Stevens, the tabloid pho­to edi­tor, in Flori­da: the Ames strain, used in the U.S. biode­fense pro­gram. The dis­tri­b­u­tion of Ames, reg­u­lat­ed by USAMRIID, was lim­it­ed to about a dozen labs under tight secu­ri­ty con­trols. More­over, the anthrax had been weaponized, refined to its most lethal par­ti­cle size of one to three microns. Most aston­ish­ing was its puri­ty: the pow­der had been con­cen­trat­ed to a tril­lion spores per gram. . . .

. . . . In Novem­ber, some of the West­’s top biowar­riors con­verged on Swin­don, Eng­land, for an advanced train­ing course for the Unit­ed Nations Mon­i­tor­ing, Ver­i­fi­ca­tion, and Inspec­tion Com­mis­sion. One of the big names on hand for the con­fer­ence was Steven J. Hat­fill [33], a for­mer USAMRIID virol­o­gist and a pro­tégé of Bill Patrick­’s. Those who com­plet­ed the course and were cer­ti­fied would have a chance to join the search for Sad­dam’s bioweapons in Iraq. . . . 

. . . . New USAMRIID hires that year, fol­low­ing Assaad’s depar­ture, includ­ed Steven J. Hat­fill, a recruit from the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health. Hat­fill was a con­cept man with a detailed vision for build­ing mobile germ labs. Assaad, mean­while, took a job with the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, where he now works as a tox­i­col­o­gist test­ing pes­ti­cides. . . .

. . . . It was while look­ing for infor­ma­tion on the B’nai B’rith inci­dent that I found a Wash­ing­ton Times inter­view with Steven Hat­fill, then a virol­o­gist with the N.I.H., who was said to have “thought care­ful­ly about bioter­ror­ism.” The Times para­phrased Dr. Hatfill“s expla­na­tion of the “four lev­els” of pos­si­ble bio­log­i­cal attack:

The first is the B’nai B’rith vari­ety, in which no real organ­isms are used. (“Hel­lo. This is Abdul. We have put anthrax in the food at Throck­mor­ton Mid­dle School.” In fact, Abdul has­n’t.) We emp­ty pub­lic build­ings for bomb threats, how about for anthrax threats” After all, soon­er or lat­er, one might be real.

The sec­ond lev­el con­sists in the release of real bac­te­ria, but with­out the inten­tion of infect­ing many peo­ple. Prob­a­bly only a few peo­ple would get it, and per­haps none would die.

The third lev­el con­sists in try­ing to get a lot of peo­ple sick, and maybe dead. Anthrax spores put into the ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem of a movie the­ater would do the trick. The result would be hor­ren­dous pan­ic even if only 100 peo­ple got sick or died. ...

The fourth lev­el con­sists of a self-sus­tain­ing, unstop­pable epi­dem­ic.

How hard, real­ly, would it be to car­ry out a bio-attack? Not very, Hat­fill said. Cul­tur­ing bac­te­ria is easy and almost uni­ver­sal­ly under­stood. . . .

. . . . Search­ing fur­ther, I learned that the B’nai B’rith episode occurred a few months after mys­te­ri­ous gas inci­dents at Wash­ing­ton Nation­al Air­port (now Rea­gan Nation­al) and Bal­ti­more- Wash­ing­ton Inter­na­tion­al Air­port. On both occa­sions, pas­sen­gers were over­come with nox­ious fumes not pub­licly iden­ti­fied by inves­ti­ga­tors. Ten months lat­er, peo­ple again fell ill at Wash­ing­ton Nation­al and had to be hos­pi­tal­ized after report­ing fumes. In Jan­u­ary 1998, after the third air­port inci­dent in a year, The Wash­ing­ton Times’ mag­a­zine, Insight, pub­lished a sec­ond inter­view with Hat­fill, who said, “These types of inci­dents could be a form of test­ing for a pos­si­ble future ter­ror­ist attack — per­haps next time using anthrax.”

This omi­nous com­men­tary was accom­pa­nied by a pho­to­graph of Hat­fill at home, in his kitchen, wear­ing garbage bags, gloves, and an army-sup­ply gas mask, illus­trat­ing how a bioter­ror­ist might cook up bubon­ic plague in a pri­vate lab­o­ra­to­ry and cause hav­oc using a home­made spray dis­sem­i­na­tor such as the one Hat­fill had designed him­self. All of which seemed, to me, an unusu­al hob­by for a virol­o­gist then employed by the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health.

Then I found anoth­er inter­est­ing news item. Short­ly after Insight pub­lished its ghoul­ish pho­to­graph of Hat­fill in his home lab­o­ra­to­ry, a white male, wear­ing a gas mask, deposit­ed a bot­tle out­side the U.S. Trea­sury Build­ing. An anony­mous call was then placed alert­ing the U.S. Secret Ser­vice that it con­tained “liq­uid chem­i­cal war­fare agent.” The bot­tle, though found, was not pre­served — it was, after all, just a “hoax.”

In its inter­view with Hat­fill, Insight report­ed that he had worked in Zim­bab­we in the late 1970s when “an epi­dem­ic of anthrax from nat­ur­al caus­es affect­ed 10,000 peo­ple.” In fact, Hat­fill had been in apartheid Rhode­sia from 1978 to 1980 (the year it was renamed Zim­bab­we), and wit­nessed the worst out­break of anthrax ever record­ed — in a part of Africa where anthrax was rarely encoun­tered. Dur­ing the civ­il war to top­ple the apartheid gov­ern­ment, the south­ern Trib­al Trust Lands were rav­aged by an epi­dem­ic that caused 10,738 record­ed human infec­tions in about two years. Today, black Zim­bab­weans and their live­stock are still becom­ing ill and dying from the bio­log­i­cal fall­out.

That the out­break was “nat­ur­al” is debat­able. In 1992, Dr. Meryl Nass, an Amer­i­can physi­cian, and Jere­my Brick­hill, a Zim­bab­wean jour­nal­ist, pub­lished sep­a­rate reports sup­port­ing what was already sus­pect­ed: that the Rhode­sian anthrax epi­dem­ic was delib­er­ate, a biowar­fare attack on the black town­ships, prob­a­bly car­ried out by Rhode­si­a’s noto­ri­ous gov­ern­ment-backed Selous Scouts mili­tia.

In Jan­u­ary 2002, while com­pil­ing doc­u­ments by and about Hat­fill, includ­ing his unclas­si­fied sci­en­tif­ic pub­li­ca­tions, I found a brief auto­bi­og­ra­phy. In it, Hat­fill, though Amer­i­can, boast­ed of hav­ing served in the late 1970s with the Selous Scouts in Rhode­sia. In that same brief bio, Dr. Hat­fill indi­cat­ed that he had tak­en his med­ical degree from the God­frey Hug­gins School of Med­i­cine in Harare, Rhode­sia, which he attend­ed from 1978 to ’84. Next I searched the Inter­net for a Green­dale School some­where in Africa and dis­cov­ered the Courteney Selous School, sit­u­at­ed in the wealthy, white Harare sub­urb of Green­dale, a mile from the med­ical school where Hat­fill spent six years obtain­ing his M.D. while serv­ing, by his own uncon­firmed account, with the Selous Scouts.

Steven Hat­fill was now look­ing to me like a sus­pect, or at least, as the F.B.I. would denote him eight months lat­er, “a per­son of inter­est.” When I lined up Hat­fil­l’s known move­ments with the post­mark loca­tions of report­ed bio­threats, those hoax anthrax attacks appeared to trail him like a vapor cloud. But in Feb­ru­ary 2002, short­ly after I advanced his can­di­da­cy to my con­tact at F.B.I. head­quar­ters, I was told that Mr. Hat­fill had a good ali­bi. A month lat­er, when I pressed the issue, I was told, “Look, Don, maybe you’re spend­ing too much time on this.” Good peo­ple in the Depart­ment of Defense, C.I.A., and State Depart­ment, not to men­tion Bill Patrick, had vouched for Hat­fill. I decid­ed to give it a rest. But first, I faxed a com­par­a­tive-hand­writ­ing sam­ple to F.B.I. head­quar­ters, with exam­ples of Hat­fil­l’s print­ing on the left and print­ing by the anthrax offend­er on the right. I am not a hand­writ­ing expert, so I sup­plied the doc­u­ment with­out com­ment. A week lat­er, I got a thank-you call.

In 1999, Hat­fill was fired by USAMRIID. He was then hired at Sci­ence Appli­ca­tions Inter­na­tion­al Cor­po­ra­tion (S.A.I.C.), a con­trac­tor for the Depart­ment of Defense and the C.I.A., but he depart­ed S.A.I.C. in March 2002, a month after he took a poly­graph con­cern­ing the anthrax mat­ter that he says he passed. Hat­fill at the time was build­ing a mobile germ lab out of an old truck chas­sis, and after S.A.I.C. fired him he con­tin­ued work on it using his own mon­ey. When the F.B.I. want­ed to con­fis­cate the mobile lab to test it for anthrax spores, the army resist­ed, mov­ing the trail­er to Fort Bragg, North Car­oli­na, where it was used to train Spe­cial Forces in prepa­ra­tion for the war on Iraq. The class­es were taught by Steve Hat­fill and Bill Patrick.

In March 2002, as the F.B.I. con­tin­ued to inves­ti­gate, Hat­fill moved on to a $150,000- a‑year job in Louisiana, fund­ed by a grant from the Depart­ment of Jus­tice. That same month, from Louisiana, came a fresh batch of hoax anthrax let­ters. L.S.U.‘s Mar­tin Hugh-Jones, a World Health Orga­ni­za­tion direc­tor, exam­ined the pow­der they con­tained and found it to be non­tox­ic. The let­ters were then put into a zero file with­out their lan­guage being exam­ined by a trained pro­fes­sion­al.

On the night of March 12, Ayaad Assaad received a call from a per­son rep­re­sent­ing him­self as a Louisiana F.B.I. agent. The caller demand­ed to know if Assaad had been told who wrote the Quan­ti­co let­ter. To prove his cre­den­tials, the caller rat­tled off per­son­al infor­ma­tion from as far back as Assaad’s Egypt­ian high school — the Ara­bic name of which he pro­nounced cor­rect­ly. Assaad believes he rec­og­nized the caller’s source of infor­ma­tion: he was like­ly read­ing from Assaad’s con­fi­den­tial SF-171, a U.S.-government employ­ment appli­ca­tion form that had been on file at USAMRIID.

Fright­ened, Dr. Assaad hung up, then called me at home at 10 P.M. to tell me of the inci­dent. I assured him the call was fraud­u­lent. The F.B.I. does not con­duct its busi­ness in that way.

There were, in my opin­ion, a few peo­ple whose record­ed voic­es should be played back to Assaad to see if he rec­og­nized one of them as his anony­mous caller. Though it is a felony to imper­son­ate an F.B.I. agent, the task force decid­ed not to inves­ti­gate. Accord­ing to Assaad, when he final­ly called the F.B.I., he was told to get caller ID.

In Decem­ber 2001, Dr. Bar­bara Hatch Rosen­berg, a not­ed bioweapons expert, deliv­ered a paper con­tend­ing that the per­pe­tra­tor of the anthrax crimes was an Amer­i­can micro­bi­ol­o­gist whose train­ing and pos­ses­sion of Ames-strain pow­der point­ed to a gov­ern­ment insid­er with expe­ri­ence in a U.S. mil­i­tary lab. In March 2002, she told the BBC that the anthrax deaths may have result­ed from a secret project to exam­ine the prac­ti­ca­bil­i­ty of send­ing real anthrax through the mail — an exper­i­ment that mis­fired despite such pre­cau­tions as taped enve­lope seals. That sur­pris­ing hypoth­e­sis made Rosen­berg a tar­get for knee-jerk crit­i­cism, but com­pe­tent sources with­in the biowar­fare estab­lish­ment thought she might well be right.

In April, I met Rosen­berg for lunch at an Indi­an restau­rant in Brew­ster, New York, and com­pared notes. We found that our evi­dence had led us in the same direc­tion, though by dif­fer­ent routes and for dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

The weeks dragged on. Prod­ded pub­licly by [Dr. Bar­bara Hatch] Rosen­berg and pri­vate­ly by myself, the F.B.I.‘s anthrax task force nev­er­the­less seemed stub­born­ly unwill­ing to con­sid­er the evi­dence point­ing toward a mil­i­tary insid­er or to exam­ine the Quan­ti­co let­ter or those few “hoax” bio­threats that I believed, and still believe, may shed light on the anthrax mur­ders. The addi­tion­al doc­u­ments that I had been expect­ing from the F.B.I. nev­er arrived. S.S.A. Fitzger­ald, the F.B.I.‘s top in-house text ana­lyst, asked to exam­ine the same set of doc­u­ments and received the same answer: no. I’m not an insid­er, nor an old hand. I have worked with the F.B.I. for only six years, on no more than 20 inves­ti­ga­tions. But nev­er have I encoun­tered such reluc­tance to exam­ine poten­tial­ly crit­i­cal doc­u­ments.

Mean­while, friends of Fort Det­rick were leak­ing to the press new pieces of dis­in­for­ma­tion indi­cat­ing that the mailed anthrax prob­a­bly came from Iraq. The leaks includ­ed false alle­ga­tions that the Daschle anthrax includ­ed addi­tives dis­tinc­tive to the Iraqi arms pro­gram and that it had been dried using an atom­iz­er spray dry­er sold by Den­mark to Iraq.

Her patience exhaust­ed, Dr. Rosen­berg met with the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee staff on June 18, 2002, and laid out the evi­dence, such as it was, hers and mine. Van Harp, head of the Amerithrax Task Force, sat in on the brief­ing. The sen­a­tors were atten­tive. So, too, evi­dent­ly, was Harp: exact­ly one week after Rosen­berg’s meet­ing with the Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee staff, the F.B.I. searched Hat­fil­l’s res­i­dence. A bureau spokesman described it to The Wash­ing­ton Times as a “vol­un­tary search” with­out a war­rant, “request­ed” by Dr. Hat­fill to clear his name.

Sud­den­ly I was being flood­ed with doc­u­ments from reporters and con­cerned sci­en­tists: let­ters, e‑mails, cur­ric­u­la vitae, hand­writ­ing sam­ples, and orig­i­nal fic­tion by Steve Hat­fill. I learned from one doc­u­ment that Hat­fill had audit­ed a Super Ter­ror­ism sem­i­nar in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., on April 24, 1997, the day of the B’nai B’rith inci­dent. The next day, in a let­ter to the sem­i­nar’s orga­niz­er, Edgar Bren­ner, he wrote that he was “tremen­dous­ly inter­est­ed in becom­ing more involved in this area” and not­ed that the petri-dish scare, so soon after the sem­i­nar, showed that “this top­ic is vital to the secu­ri­ty of the Unit­ed States.” Hat­fil­l’s orig­i­nal fic­tion includ­ed a cut-and-paste forgery of a diplo­ma for a Ph.D. from Rhodes Uni­ver­si­ty, which he used to obtain his jobs at the N.I.H., USAMRIID, and S.A.I.C.

No less inter­est­ing to me, as a pro­fes­sor of Eng­lish lit­er­a­ture, was Hat­fil­l’s unpub­lished nov­el, Emer­gence, which I exam­ined in Wash­ing­ton at the U.S. Copy­right Office. In the book, an Iraqi virol­o­gist launch­es a bioter­ror attack on behalf of an unnamed spon­sor, using an iden­ti­ty acquired from the Irish Repub­li­can Army and a home­made sprayer like the one Steven J. Hat­fill demon­strat­ed for The Wash­ing­ton Times. A fic­tion­al sci­en­tist named Steven J. Roberts comes to the res­cue, trac­ing the out­break to Iraq. The Strangelovean nov­el ends with Amer­i­ca nuk­ing Bagh­dad. As the war­heads fall, the pilot remarks, “Beau­ti­ful . . . just beau­ti­ful. Wel­come to Fuck City, Rag­heads! Let’s get the hell out of Dodge.”

I was remind­ed of Bill Patrick­’s words in his talk at Maxwell Air Force Base: “The beau­ty of bio­log­i­cal war­fare, good peo­ple, is that you can pick an agent with a short peri­od of incu­ba­tion, or a mod­er­ate peri­od of incu­ba­tion, or a long peri­od. And this, I think, would be very attrac­tive to ter­ror­ists, because they can do their dirty work and get out of Dodge City, and you won’t know that you’re infect­ed till they’re long gone.”

Hat­fil­l’s nov­el, how­ev­er, has a sur­prise end­ing. In a three-page epi­logue, the nar­ra­tor, a Russ­ian mob­ster, reveals that his own orga­ni­za­tion, not Iraq, is respon­si­ble for the bioter­ror attack:

“The reac­tion was as great as we had hoped for the entire focus of the Amer­i­can F.B.I. has now shift­ed towards com­bat­ing chemical/ bio­log­i­cal ter­ror­ism and this is allow­ing us to for­mu­late the unprece­dent­ed expan­sion of our orga­ni­za­tion.”

Biowar­fare fic­tion was no mere lark for Steven Hat­fill. It was his spe­cial­ty. His respon­si­bil­i­ties at USAMRIID includ­ed the writ­ing of bioter­ror sce­nar­ios, at least one of which actu­al­ly hap­pened. Hat­fill envi­sioned some­one spread­ing a pathogen through­out sev­er­al floors of a pub­lic office build­ing. It would take only one report­ed ill­ness, he pre­dict­ed, “to shut down the entire build­ing, espe­cial­ly if the bug had been sprayed on sev­er­al .floors. Then the call comes: “Let our man loose, or we’ll do a school.” In August 1998, in Wichi­ta, Kansas, 40 miles south­east of South­west­ern Col­lege, Hat­fil­l’s alma mater, pow­der was spread through­out sev­er­al floors of the Finney State Office Build­ing. Then came “the call,” in the form of a let­ter from a team of Chris­t­ian Iden­ti­ty extrem­ists and a group call­ing itself Broth­ers for Free­dom of Amer­i­cans.

A few days lat­er, Hat­fill and Bill Patrick arrived in San Diego for the World­wide Con­fer­ence on Antiter­ror­ism, spon­sored by the U.S. Depart­ment of Defense. I asked my F.B.I. con­tact for the Wichi­ta doc­u­ments. Again, my requests were denied.

The ink was hard­ly dry on Emer­gence when the gov­ern­ment hired Hat­fill, now work­ing for S.A.I.C., to com­mis­sion a paper from Bill Patrick focus­ing on how to respond to a bio­log­i­cal ter­ror event.

I have read Patrick­’s 1999 report “Risk Assess­ment.” Though it’s a clas­si­fied doc­u­ment, it con­tains lit­tle that he has­n’t said before else­where. I did, how­ev­er, find in it some­thing that sur­prised me: Patrick describes a hypo­thet­i­cal inci­dent in which an attack­er uses the U.S. mail ser­vice to deliv­er a busi­ness enve­lope con­tain­ing no more than 2.5 grams of aerosolized anthrax, refined to a tril­lion spores per gram, in par­ti­cles small­er than five microns. Patrick explains that 2.5 grams is the amount that can be placed into a stan­dard enve­lope with­out detec­tion. “More pow­der makes the enve­lope bulge and draws atten­tion.”

As prophe­cies go, that one’s right on the mon­ey. The “DEATH TO AMERICA” let­ters sent two years lat­er to Sen­a­tors Daschle and Leahy con­tained about a gram of aerosolized anthrax, par­ti­cle size one to three microns, refined to a tril­lion spores per gram. Bill Patrick plus the Dug­way sci­en­tists make up Richard Spertzel’s short list of four U.S. experts who know how to make such a fine dry pow­der. The anthrax killer, who­ev­er he may be, rep­re­sents a fifth expert with Patrick­’s bench skills. But until the Daschle pow­der appeared, every quot­ed expert I had seen except Patrick said it could­n’t be done at all.

After rumors broke that Bill Patrick, in a clas­si­fied paper, had fore­seen a bioter­ror attack using the mail ser­vice, a tran­script of his paper was leaked to the press. The leaked ver­sion rep­re­sents Patrick­’s orig­i­nal text for S.A.I.C., typos and all, but with one crit­i­cal omis­sion: a foot­note in which Patrick claims that the U.S. has refined “weaponized” pow­der to a tril­lion spores per gram has dis­ap­peared.

By mid­sum­mer 2002, the F.B.I. and even Attor­ney Gen­er­al John Ashcroft were oblig­ed to call Steve Hat­fill a “per­son of inter­est,” despite diehard assur­ances from oth­er gov­ern­ment sources that he was­n’t. That August, the F.B.I. returned to Hat­fil­l’s Mary­land apart­ment. Search­ing his refrig­er­a­tor, agents found a can­is­ter of Bacil­lus thuringien­sis, or B.t. — a most­ly harm­less pes­ti­cide wide­ly used on cater­pil­lars — which USAMRIID adopt­ed for study in 1995, after UNSCOM dis­cov­ered that B.t. was Iraq’s favored anthrax sim­u­lant. . . .

. . . . As for Hat­fill, it was the F.B.I.‘s best team of trained blood­hounds, not an offend­er pro­file nor my text analy­sis, that final­ly per­suad­ed the Amerithrax Task Force in July 2002 to asso­ciate Hat­fill with the anthrax let­ters and put him under 24-hour sur­veil­lance. The bureau’s descrip­tion of him as a “per­son of inter­est” is nei­ther inac­cu­rate nor unfair. (Through his lawyer, Hat­fill main­tained his inno­cence and declined to com­ment for this arti­cle.) . . . .

. . . . Sev­er­al of Amer­i­ca’s bioweaponeers have said, for the record, that the anthrax attack has an upside. The killings have forced long-await­ed F.D.A. approval of the Bio­port anthrax vac­cine facil­i­ty and prompt­ed increased fed­er­al spend­ing on biode­fense — by $6 bil­lion in 2003 alone. But the anthrax offend­er also divert­ed law-enforce­ment resources when we need­ed them most and wreaked hav­oc on the U.S. Postal Ser­vice. He has shown the world how to dis­rupt the Amer­i­can econ­o­my with min­i­mal expense, and how to kill with min­i­mal risk of being caught.

Now that it“s been done once, it seems like­ly to hap­pen again. . . .

6. Note that the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health have also part­nered with CIA and the Pen­ta­gon, as under­scored by an arti­cle [9] about a BSL‑4 lab at Boston Uni­ver­si­ty.

  1. As the arti­cle notes, as of 2007, the U.S. had “more than a dozen” BSL4 labs–China com­mis­sioned its first as of 2017. a ten­fold increase in fund­ing for BSL4 labs occurred because of the anthrax attacks of 2001. Those attacks might be seen as some­thing of a provo­ca­tion, spurring a dra­mat­ic increase in “dual use” biowar­fare research, under the cov­er of “legit­i­mate” medical/scientific research. In FTR #1128 [10], we hypoth­e­sized about the milieu of Steven Hat­fill and apartheid-linked inter­ests as pos­si­ble authors of a vec­tor­ing of New York City with Sars COV2: ” . . . . Before the anthrax mail­ings of 2001, the Unit­ed States had just two BSL4 labs—both with­in the razor-wire con­fines of gov­ern­ment-owned cam­pus­es. Now, thanks to a ten­fold increase in funding—from $200 mil­lion in 2001 to $2 bil­lion in 2006—more than a dozen such facil­i­ties can be found at uni­ver­si­ties and pri­vate com­pa­nies across the coun­try. . . .”
  2. The Boston Uni­ver­si­ty lab exem­pli­fies the Pen­ta­gon and CIA pres­ence in BSL‑4 facil­i­ty “dual use”: ” . . . . But some sci­en­tists say that argu­ment obscures the true pur­pose of the cur­rent biode­fense boom: to study poten­tial bio­log­i­cal weapons. ‘The uni­ver­si­ty por­trays it as an emerg­ing infec­tious dis­ease lab,’ says David Ozonoff, a Boston Uni­ver­si­ty epi­demi­ol­o­gist whose office is right across the street from the new BSL4 facil­i­ty. ‘But they are talk­ing about study­ing things like small pox and inhala­tion anthrax, which pose no pub­lic health threat oth­er than as bioweapons.’ . . . The orig­i­nal NIH man­date for the lab indi­cat­ed that many groups—including the CIA and Depart­ment of Defense—would be allowed to use the lab for their own research, the nature of which BU might have lit­tle con­trol over. . . .”

“High-Stakes Sci­ence” by Jeneen Inter­lan­di; Newsweek; 12/05/2007. [9]

. . . . Before the anthrax mail­ings of 2001, the Unit­ed States had just two BSL4 labs—both with­in the razor-wire con­fines of gov­ern­ment-owned cam­pus­es. Now, thanks to a ten­fold increase in funding—from $200 mil­lion in 2001 to $2 bil­lion in 2006—more than a dozen such facil­i­ties can be found at uni­ver­si­ties and pri­vate com­pa­nies across the coun­try. . . .

. . . . But some sci­en­tists say that argu­ment obscures the true pur­pose of the cur­rent biode­fense boom: to study poten­tial bio­log­i­cal weapons. “The uni­ver­si­ty por­trays it as an emerg­ing infec­tious dis­ease lab,” says David Ozonoff, a Boston Uni­ver­si­ty epi­demi­ol­o­gist whose office is right across the street from the new BSL4 facil­i­ty. “But they are talk­ing about study­ing things like small pox and inhala­tion anthrax, which pose no pub­lic health threat oth­er than as bioweapons.” And when it comes to ter­ror­ism, Ozonoff says, more labs will only increase the threat of an attack. “There has been one seri­ous bioter­ror inci­dent,” he says. “That was anthrax, and it came from a biode­fense lab.” While the uni­ver­si­ty has repeat­ed­ly stat­ed that the new facil­i­ty will not house bioweapons research, that might not be a promise it can keep. The orig­i­nal NIH man­date for the lab indi­cat­ed that many groups—including the CIA and Depart­ment of Defense—would be allowed to use the lab for their own research, the nature of which BU might have lit­tle con­trol over. . . .

7. As not­ed in past pro­grams, Gilead Sci­ences is very well-con­nect­ed [11] pro­fes­sion­al­ly, with for­mer Sec­re­tary of Defense Don­ald Rums­feld [12] (among oth­er polit­i­cal lumi­nar­ies) serv­ing on its board of direc­tors. Rums­feld was chair­man of the board from 1997 until he left in 2001 to become George W. Bush’s Sec­re­tary of Defense. The fir­m’s stock has been heav­i­ly invest­ed in by hedge funds [34], includ­ing Robert Mer­cer’s Renais­sance Tech­nolo­gies [35]. Gilead Sci­ences’ stock has been a major dri­ver of the stock mar­ket’s per­for­mance.

Dur­ing the post‑9/11 peri­od of explod­ing gov­ern­ment invest­ments in biode­fense pro­grams [9], Don­ald Rums­feld was still hold­ing onto mas­sive amounts of Gilead stock, which was increas­ing in val­ue dra­mat­i­cal­ly. What kind of rela­tion­ship did Gilead devel­op with the US biode­fense nation­al secu­ri­ty state dur­ing this peri­od? That seems like a pret­ty impor­tant ques­tion at this point in time.

The U.S. gov­ern­ment was among the cus­tomers whose pur­chas­es drove up the Gilead earn­ings and stock price: ” . . . . What’s more, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is emerg­ing as one of the world’s biggest cus­tomers for Tam­i­flu. In July, the Pen­ta­gon ordered $58 mil­lion worth of the treat­ment for U.S. troops around the world, and Con­gress is con­sid­er­ing a mul­ti-bil­lion dol­lar pur­chase. . . .”

“Rumsfeld’s grow­ing stake in Tam­i­flu” by Nel­son D. Schwartz; CNN; 10/31/2005 [12]

The prospect of a bird flu out­break may be pan­ick­ing peo­ple around the globe, but it’s prov­ing to be very good news for Defense Sec­re­tary Don­ald Rums­feld and oth­er polit­i­cal­ly con­nect­ed investors in Gilead Sci­ences, the Cal­i­for­nia biotech com­pa­ny that owns the rights to Tam­i­flu, the influen­za rem­e­dy that’s now the most-sought after drug in the world.

The forms don’t reveal the exact num­ber of shares Rums­feld owns, but in the past six months fears of a pan­dem­ic and the ensu­ing scram­ble for Tam­i­flu have sent Gilead’s stock from $35 to $47. That’s made the Pen­ta­gon chief, already one of the wealth­i­est mem­bers of the Bush cab­i­net, at least $1 mil­lion rich­er.

Rums­feld isn’t the only polit­i­cal heavy­weight ben­e­fit­ing from demand for Tam­i­flu, which is man­u­fac­tured and mar­ket­ed by Swiss phar­ma giant Roche. (Gilead receives a roy­al­ty from Roche equal­ing about 10% of sales.) For­mer Sec­re­tary of State George Shultz, who is on Gilead’s board, has sold more than $7 mil­lion worth of Gilead since the begin­ning of 2005.

Anoth­er board mem­ber is the wife of for­mer Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Pete Wil­son.

“I don’t know of any biotech com­pa­ny that’s so polit­i­cal­ly well-con­nect­ed,” says ana­lyst Andrew McDon­ald of Think Equi­ty Part­ners in San Fran­cis­co.

What’s more, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is emerg­ing as one of the world’s biggest cus­tomers for Tam­i­flu. In July, the Pen­ta­gon ordered $58 mil­lion worth of the treat­ment for U.S. troops around the world, and Con­gress is con­sid­er­ing a mul­ti-bil­lion dol­lar pur­chase. Roche expects 2005 sales for Tam­i­flu to be about $1 bil­lion, com­pared with $258 mil­lion in 2004.

Rums­feld recused him­self from any deci­sions involv­ing Gilead when he left Gilead and became Sec­re­tary of Defense in ear­ly 2001. And late last month, notes a senior Pen­ta­gon offi­cial, Rums­feld went even fur­ther and had the Pentagon’s gen­er­al coun­sel issue addi­tion­al instruc­tions out­lin­ing what he could and could not be involved in if there were an avian flu pan­dem­ic and the Pen­ta­gon had to respond.

As the flu issue heat­ed up ear­ly this year, accord­ing to the Pen­ta­gon offi­cial, Rums­feld con­sid­ered unload­ing his entire Gilead stake and sought the advice of the Depart­ment of Jus­tice, the SEC and the fed­er­al Office of Gov­ern­ment Ethics.

Those agen­cies didn’t offer an opin­ion so Rums­feld con­sult­ed a pri­vate secu­ri­ties lawyer, who advised him that it was safer to hold on to the stock and be quite pub­lic about his recusal rather than sell and run the risk of being accused of trad­ing on insid­er infor­ma­tion, some­thing Rums­feld doesn’t believe he pos­sess­es. So he’s keep­ing his shares for the time being.

8a. Sev­er­al years into his tenure at the Pen­ta­gon, Rums­feld made a killing on the sale of Gilead Sci­ences’ stock, which rose expo­nen­tial­ly in val­ue fol­low­ing its devel­op­ment of Tam­i­flu as a treat­ment for H5N1 avian flu.” . . . . The firm made a loss in 2003, the year before con­cern about bird flu start­ed. Then rev­enues from Tam­i­flu almost quadru­pled, to $44.6m, help­ing put the com­pa­ny well into the black. Sales almost quadru­pled again, to $161.6m last year. Dur­ing this time the share price tre­bled. Mr Rums­feld sold some of his Gilead shares in 2004 reap­ing – accord­ing to the finan­cial dis­clo­sure report he is required to make each year – cap­i­tal gains of more than $5m. The report showed that he still had up to $25m-worth of shares at the end of 2004, and at least one ana­lyst believes his stake has grown well beyond that fig­ure, as the share price has soared. . . .”

“Don­ald Rums­feld makes $5m killing on bird flu drug” by Geof­frey Lean and Jonathan Owen; The Inde­pe­nent; 03/12/2006 [36]

Don­ald Rums­feld has made a killing out of bird flu. The US Defence Sec­re­tary has made more than $5m (£2.9m) in cap­i­tal gains from sell­ing shares in the biotech­nol­o­gy firm that dis­cov­ered and devel­oped Tam­i­flu, the drug being bought in mas­sive amounts by Gov­ern­ments to treat a pos­si­ble human pan­dem­ic of the dis­ease.

More than 60 coun­tries have so far ordered large stocks of the antivi­ral med­ica­tion – the only oral med­i­cine believed to be effec­tive against the dead­ly H5N1 strain of the dis­ease – to try to pro­tect their peo­ple. The Unit­ed Nations esti­mates that a pan­dem­ic could kill 150 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide.

Britain is about halfway through receiv­ing an order of 14.6 mil­lion cours­es of the drug, which the Gov­ern­ment hopes will avert some of the 700,000 deaths that might be expect­ed. Tam­i­flu does not cure the dis­ease, but if tak­en soon after symp­toms appear it can reduce its sever­i­ty.

The drug was devel­oped by a Cal­i­forn­ian biotech com­pa­ny, Gilead Sci­ences. It is now made and sold by the giant chem­i­cal com­pa­ny Roche, which pays it a roy­al­ty on every tablet sold, cur­rent­ly about a fifth of its price.

Mr Rums­feld was on the board of Gilead from 1988 to 2001, and was its chair­man from 1997. He then left to join the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, but retained a huge share­hold­ing .

The firm made a loss in 2003, the year before con­cern about bird flu start­ed. Then rev­enues from Tam­i­flu almost quadru­pled, to $44.6m, help­ing put the com­pa­ny well into the black. Sales almost quadru­pled again, to $161.6m last year. Dur­ing this time the share price tre­bled.

Mr Rums­feld sold some of his Gilead shares in 2004 reap­ing – accord­ing to the finan­cial dis­clo­sure report he is required to make each year – cap­i­tal gains of more than $5m. The report showed that he still had up to $25m-worth of shares at the end of 2004, and at least one ana­lyst believes his stake has grown well beyond that fig­ure, as the share price has soared. Fur­ther details are not like­ly to become known, how­ev­er, until Mr Rums­feld makes his next dis­clo­sure in May.

The 2005 report showed that, in all, he owned shares worth up to $95.9m, from which he got an income of up to $13m, owned land worth up to $17m, and made $1m from rent­ing it out. . . .

8b. Don­ald Rums­feld was a sig­na­to­ry [13] to the 1998 let­ter to Pres­i­dent Clin­ton by the Project for a New Amer­i­can Cen­tu­ry. That let­ter advo­cat­ed a hard­er line against Iraq. ” . . . . Rums­feld has strong ties to the Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty [14], as well as to the Atlantic Insti­tute [15], and is a mem­ber of the Bilder­berg [16] group. He is a finan­cial sup­port­er for the Cen­ter for Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy [17]. Rums­feld was one of the sign­ers of the Jan­u­ary 26, 1998, Project for the New Amer­i­can Cen­tu­ry [18] (PNAC) let­ter [19] sent to Pres­i­dent William Jef­fer­son Clin­ton [20]. . . .”

DARPA and the Pen­ta­gon have into the appli­ca­tion of genet­ic engi­neer­ing in order to cre­ate eth­no-spe­cif­ic bio­log­i­cal war­fare weapons, as dis­cussed by the Project for a New Amer­i­can Cen­tu­ry“. . . . In what is arguably the think tank’s most con­tro­ver­sial doc­u­ment, titled ‘Rebuild­ing America’s Defens­es [29],’ there are a few pas­sages that open­ly dis­cuss the util­i­ty of bioweapons, includ­ing the fol­low­ing sen­tences: ‘…com­bat like­ly will take place in new dimen­sions: in space, ‘cyber-space,’ and per­haps the world of microbes…advanced forms of bio­log­i­cal war­fare that can ‘tar­get’ spe­cif­ic geno­types may trans­form bio­log­i­cal war­fare from the realm of ter­ror to a polit­i­cal­ly use­ful tool.’ . . .

In past pro­grams and posts [21], we have not­ed that DARPA was research­ing [22]  bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es.  One can but won­der to what extent the PNAC doc­trine helped spawn the DARPA research into coro­n­avirus­es and, pos­si­bly, the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic.

“Bats, Gene Edit­ing and Bioweapons: Rec­cent DARPA Exper­i­ments Raise Con­cerns Amid Coro­n­avirus Out­break” by Whit­ney Webb; The Last Amer­i­can Vagabond; 1/30/2020. [22]

 . . . . In what is arguably the think tank’s most con­tro­ver­sial doc­u­ment, titled ‘Rebuild­ing America’s Defens­es [29],’ there are a few pas­sages that open­ly dis­cuss the util­i­ty of bioweapons, includ­ing the fol­low­ing sen­tences: ‘…com­bat like­ly will take place in new dimen­sions: in space, ‘cyber-space,’ and per­haps the world of microbes…advanced forms of bio­log­i­cal war­fare that can ‘tar­get’ spe­cif­ic geno­types may trans­form bio­log­i­cal war­fare from the realm of ter­ror to a polit­i­cal­ly use­ful tool.’ . . .

. . . . the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), began spend­ing mil­lions on such research in 2018 and some of those Pen­ta­gon-fund­ed stud­ies were con­duct­ed at known U.S. mil­i­tary bioweapons labs bor­der­ing Chi­na and result­ed in the dis­cov­ery of dozens of new coro­n­avirus strains as recent­ly as last April. Fur­ther­more, the ties of the Pentagon’s main biode­fense lab to a virol­o­gy insti­tute in Wuhan, Chi­na — where the cur­rent out­break is believed to have begun — have been unre­port­ed in Eng­lish lan­guage media thus far. . . . For instance, DARPA spent $10 mil­lion on one project [37] in 2018 ‘to unrav­el the com­plex caus­es of bat-borne virus­es that have recent­ly made the jump to humans, caus­ing con­cern among glob­al health offi­cials.” Anoth­er research project backed by both DARPA and NIH [38] saw researchers at Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty exam­ine the coro­n­avirus that caus­es Mid­dle East Res­pi­ra­to­ry Syn­drome (MERS) in bats and camels ‘to under­stand the role of these hosts in trans­mit­ting dis­ease to humans.’  . . . For instance, one study con­duct­ed in South­ern Chi­na in 2018 [39] result­ed in the dis­cov­ery of 89 new ‘nov­el bat coro­n­avirus’ strains that use the same recep­tor as the coro­n­avirus known as Mid­dle East Res­pi­ra­to­ry Syn­drome (MERS). That study was joint­ly fund­ed by the Chi­nese government’s Min­istry of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy, USAID — an orga­ni­za­tion long alleged to be a front for U.S. intel­li­gence [40], and the U.S. Nation­al Insti­tute of Health — which has col­lab­o­rat­ed with both the CIA and the Pen­ta­gon [9] on infec­tious dis­ease and bioweapons research. . . . .