Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #317 AIDS, Biological Warfare and Apartheid

MP3: Side 1 | Side 2

Recorded on 7/29/2001

Introduction: Recorded about six weeks before 9/11, this broadcast foreshadows the anthrax attacks that followed shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The story of Dr. Larry Creed Ford, his life’s activities and the many connections that he maintained illustrates the difficulty in accurately conceptualizing and properly investigating the anthrax attacks. Central to the presentation of the events in, and around, September 11 is Mr. Emory’s view that the fateful day was the beginning of World War III and, in turn, an extension of World War II. In his view, a Third Reich gone underground is “making its move,” so to speak. (World conquest by the Reich depends on the economic and /or physical subjugation and/or destruction of the United States. It is Mr. Emory’s view that this effort is now underway, with the efforts of an Underground Reich Fifth Column at the core of the enterprise. The comparison of the US to France in the pre-World War II period is the closest one can come to citing an historical precedent for what is now underway. It is Mr. Emory’s view that the anthrax attacks were perpetrated by this Underground Reich-an element inside of (but not synonymous with) the government. One should not lose sight of the fact that the attacks were directed against the news media and key senatorial Democrats. It is interesting to contemplate the primary focal point of this broadcast-Dr. Larry Creed Ford-in the context of the anthrax attacks.

1. The program begins with the subject of the US rejection of the international convention on biological weapons. (For more about the Bush administration’s policies in that regard, see FTR#287.)

“Laboratories developing and producing such weapons look no different from facilities producing legitimate products such as vaccines. The US says the [proposed] inspection regime would give ample time for those guilty of pursuing biological warfare to destroy the evidence and mask their activities. ‘You could produce biological weapons in this office and you could get rid of the evidence in five minutes,’ said one administration official.”

“To underline their concerns, US officials point to the failure of United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq to detect Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons operations.” Against that, the Bush administration says the proposed inspections would undermine its own biotech and drugs industries. By imposing regular site visits, it says, trade secrets would be compromised under the guise of arms control.”

It is interesting that the rejection of this convention occurred just a few months before the first certifiable biological warfare attack on the United States. “Officials also claim inspections would compromise US efforts to defend itself against a biological attack, as US defense facilities would come under scrutiny.”

“However, other countries have taken the view that while the draft protocol would be no guarantee against cheating, it would enhance security by acting as a further deterrent to the use or production of biological weapons. Disarmament campaigners point out that many of the deficiencies in the inspection regime were put there at the insistence of the US, concerned to protect military and commercial secrets . . . “

(“US Says Bio-Warfare Deal is Unworkable” by Richard Wolffe and Frances Williams; Financial Times; 7/26/2001; p. 5.)

2. The bulk of the program consists of presentation and analysis of a vitally important article about Dr. Larry Ford from the summer of 2001. Be sure to visit Edward Humes’ website in order to view the article in its entirety. (“The Medicine Man” by Edward Humes; Los Angeles Magazine; July, 2001; access the article at: http://www.edwardhumes.com/articles/medicine.shtml .)

3. Substantive discussion of Dr. Ford begins with an account of FBI-informant Peter Fitzpatrick’s surveillance of Ford during the 1980’s, when Ford was working on behalf of Project Coast-a biological warfare development program undertaken by the Apartheid government of South Africa.

“The meeting at the Beverly Hills mansion of the South African trade attaché was unusually secretive, but Peter Fitzpatrick still managed to witness it, peering from an adjacent room through a massive shared fireplace. He watched as Niel Knobel, deputy surgeon general of South Africa – the white-ruled, apartheid South Africa of 1986 – met Larry Ford, a noted Los Angeles gynecologist and infectious disease specialist with an unofficial subspecialty: biological and chemical warfare. The two spoke in hushed tones, then Ford, a devout Mormon who volunteered his services to missionaries and Boy Scout troops, passed over a hefty black satchel. The meeting came to a close. Later Fitzpatrick sat down with the boisterous trade attaché, Gideon Bouwer, who could not resist explaining in his thick Afrikaans accent what had just happened.”

“The white minority government of South Africa was in those years in a bloody struggle with its black citizens, willing to do anything to stay in power. Bouwer’s role was to thwart the U.S. trade embargo on locked technology and expertise coveted by the apartheid regime; Fitzpatrick, a young actor, glib and personable, was part of Bouwer’s informal embargo-busting team, making sure the parties at the mansion were well attended by the well-connected.”

(Ibid.; p. 1.)

4. Ford’s efforts on behalf of the apartheid regime entailed the securing of deadly agents, including “designer” biological weapons-genetically engineered pathogenic agents. It appears that his activities had at least the tacit support of elements within the U.S. government, judging from the failure to interdict what Ford was doing. “Larry Ford was a regular at those gatherings, and the technology he handed over that day, Bouwer chortled, could prove invaluable: a sampler of virulent, designer strains of cholera, anthrax, botulism, plague, and malaria, as well as a bacteria he claimed had been mutated to be ‘pigment specific.’ ‘Kaffer-killing germs,’ Bouwer confided, using the derogatory Afrikaans term for blacks. ‘Dr. Ford has done my country a great service.'”

“Fitzpatrick clinked glasses with Bouwer and left, then called his handler at the FBI, where he served as one of two informants planted at South Africa’s Los Angeles consulate. He told the FBI everything; yet, he says, nothing was done. According to Fitzpatrick, the deputy surgeon general flew off with his suitcase full of death. ‘Why didn’t you guys stop him?’ he later asked his handler. The agent just stared at him.”

(Ibid.; pp. 1-2.)

5. After Ford’s suicide following disclosures of the doctor’s sponsorship of an attempt on the life of his business partner, James Patrick Riley, Fitzpatrick’s path crossed Ford’s once again. Note that Ford’s claim of connections to the CIA proved to be valid.

“Fifteen years passed. Apartheid was dead. the FBI had long since lost interest in its old informant, and Peter Fitzpatrick was sitting on his couch talking with his wife, the television set muted as the evening flashed by. Then something on the screen caught his eye: a grainy photo of a jut-jawed, narrow-eyed, round-shouldered man he hadn’t seen in years – Dr. Larry Ford. He turned up the volume and heard a reporter explain how Ford, co-owner of an up-and-coming biotech firm, had become a prime suspect in the attempted murder of his business partner. That stunned Fitzpatrick, but what had him scrambling to his feet and reaching for the phone were images that followed Ford’s photo: policemen searching the doctor’s Irvine home – unprotected.”

“‘Oh my God, they have no idea what they’re getting into,’ Fitzpatrick exclaimed. It all came back to him then: Ford’s talk of bio-weapons and booby traps, his hoard of guns and explosives, not to mention the doctor’s claims of doing dirty work for the CIA – stories Fitzpatrick had once dismissed as a nerd’s Walter Mitty fantasies until he noted the FBI’s official hands-off policy with the suitcase of germs. ‘I’ve got to warn them,’ he told his wife.”

It would appear that Fitzpatrick’s alarming disclosures to the FBI about Ford continued to be viewed with dispassion.

“So for the first time in many years, Fitzpatrick called the FBI. And once again, no one there seemed interested in what he had to say.”

(Ibid.; p. 2.)

6. Next, the program details the assassination attempt on Ford business partner Riley, and Biofem, the company they had launched to develop a prophylactic vaginal suppository to protect women against infection by HIV.

“WHEN A MASKED ASSASSIN PUT A BULLET into James James Patrick Riley’s head in front of his office on February 28. 2000, the case at first unfolded as a classic story of greed and envy, a corporate power struggle between Riley, the voluble CEO and marketing whiz, and his partner, Dr. Larry Creed Ford, the visionary with big ideas and the scientific skills to carry them out.”

“Ford was working on a combination contraceptive and microbiocide he and Riley named Inner Confidence,” a suppository that promised not only to revolutionize birth control but also to prevent HIV infection, AIDS, and almost every other sexually transmitted disease. Ford liked to say they were going to save the world – and get rich in the process. Their Irvine company, Biofem Inc., could capture annual sales worth some $400 million. Riley told investors. The profits, in turn, would fund Ford’s true passion of the past 12 years, a secret Biofem project to develop a super antibiotic derived from what he called ‘Unidentified Amniotic Fluid Substance.’ He believed it was nature’s way of protecting embryos from disease, the reason HIV-negative babies can be born to HIV-positive mothers. Ford hoped to synthesize the substance, saving countless lives, and earning him a Nobel Prize along the way . . . . “


7. An Irvine police detective (Victor Ray) pursued the investigation of Dr. Ford. Alarmingly, it appeared that Ford’s bioweapons skills may have been put to work on behalf of right-wing extremist groups and terrorists.

“The Biofem case might have made the back burner then and there had Irvine police detective Victor Ray quit when his department and the FBI warned him to. But Ray, a former sonar technician on navy submarines, a job that requires patience and persistence, would not give up. He steered the investigation to Ford’s backyard, where men in Andromeda Strain suits would evacuate a neighborhood and haul away an arsenal of toxins, germs, plastic explosives, and guns. In the process they unearthed a trail that stretched all the way from the CIA to apartheid-era South Africa and Dr. Wouter Basson, the man who ran the country’s clandestine bioweapons program.”

Particularly disturbing is an alternate application of the benign “microencapsulation” technique developed for the Biofem suppository. Apparently it could be used as a delivery system for biological warfare weapons.

“The question still plaguing federal, state, and local investigators is a simple but urgent one: What was Ford planning to do with his germs and bioweapons expertise? The discovery of militia-movement and racist literature among Ford’s papers has raised the possibility that he offered biological or chemical weapons to terrorist groups. Concerns have also mounted over a patented feature of his Inner Confidence suppository: the microencapsulation of beneficial bacteria. It turns out this architecture could double as an ideal delivery system for bioweapons, allowing otherwise fragile disease organisms to be seeded virtually anywhere. Ford, in essence, had patented the prescription for a perfect microscopic time bomb.” ‘That,” says Ray, “scares the hell out of everyone .'”

(Ibid.; p. 3.)

8. The broadcast details some of Ford’s account of the development of his relationship with elements of the military and intelligence community.

“The invitation to work in the government laboratory had come from a man Ford identified only as General Wyman. He liked to show people a framed photo of the general and himself (with Ford in an army uniform, though records show he was never in the military). This offer to an 18-year-old about to enter college did not seem all that unusual to Ford or his blue-collar parents. He had, after all, earned lab privileges at Brigham Young University in his hometown of Provo, Utah, at age 12, according to Riley.”

“Ford told the Rileys and others his subsequent work for the military and the CIA included research on biological and chemical weapons, consulting on Iraqi capabilities during the Gulf War, and sneaking into epidemic hot zones in Africa to gather samples of such killer organisms as the Ebola and Marburg viruses . . . .”


9. A friend of Ford’s was arrested for the attempt on Riley’s life.

“Police traced the plates and the van to an old friend of Ford’s with a violent past, Dino D’Saach, who was arrested that night as the getaway driver and has since been convicted of attempted murder and conspiracy, crimes carrying a mandatory 26-year sentence. His cell phone records showed him talking to Ford immediately before and after the hit from a cell location near Biofem. (Biofem’s receptionist remembers seeing Ford on the phone at his office window just before the shooting, with a perfect view of Riley’s parking space.) Police found private Biofem correspondence fixed from Ford to D’Saach’s South-Central Los Angeles tax preparation business, along with hit-man manuals, photos of Riley’s parking spot, and a crude homemade silencer . . . . “

(Ibid.; p. 4.)

10. Boasting impressive academic credentials, Ford developed an ob-gyn patient list that included Margaux Hemingway, who died of an overdose of barbiturates that Ford prescribed. This last detail is particularly interesting in light of the fact that Ford apparently didn’t hesitate to experiment on his patients, sometimes with extremely negative effects.

“Ford graduated magna cum laude from BYU, published more than 65 articles, held numerous patents in medicine and biochemistry, had an international ob-gyn award named for him, and bulk a patient list that included doctors and a smattering of celebrities (although one, the late Margaux Hemingway, overdosed on barbiturates Ford provided) .”


11. Next, the program begins exploration of Ford’s “dark side”-his association with sinister individuals and institutions. One of the most intimidating and unsavory of those was a Dr. Nilsson, who apparently sparked Ford’s affinity for work on behalf of apartheid.

“Only after Ford’s suicide did informants start coming forward. Ray and his sergeant, Tom Little, began hearing about an entirely different Larry Ford, a man who cheated on his wife, betrayed his partner, and bred super-germs and was willing to use them. This was the Larry Ford who formed a close bond with Dr. Jerry D. Nilsson, a gifted Anaheim general surgeon with extreme views and a penchant for trouble that quickly made him a suspect in the Riley shooting. Nilsson, who boasted of having worked as a special forces physician for the white minority government of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, appears to have kindled Ford’s interest in supporting apartheid. At the time of Ford’s suicide, Nilsson was in the process of losing his license for sexual misconduct with patients, one of them a 14-year-old who allegedly became his lover for the next 15 years.”

“Whenever the two doctors were together, it was the charismatic Nilsson who made the most lasting impression. Now 72, the surgeon was a formidable presence even in late middle age. Tom Byron worked with Fitzpatrick as an FBI informant in the South African Consulate in the 1980s and spent time with both doctors. He describes Nilsson as ‘the monster with miracle hands,’ a towering figure with a shaved head – Jesse Ventura as a skilled surgeon. ‘He was very fit, very muscular, the kind of guy who could knock you out with one punch,’ Byron says. ‘He told me, `I’ve killed people in my lifetime, and I have no qualms about killing again.’ I would never cross that man.’ Nilsson was not available for comment.”

Ford and Nilsson worked together on biological weapons and both stockpiled them in their homes.

“Nilsson had long worked with Ford to amass biological and chemical weapons, and both doctors stored them openly in their homes, his ex-lover told the FBI. She sued Nilsson and won a confidential settlement after accusing him of performing unnecessary surgeries on her, including cosmetic enhancement, without her permission. She was also treated by Ford and was one of several former patients who told Ray that the gynecologist used them as lab rats, deliberately making them ill in order to test his remedies. ‘If taking a life advances scientific knowledge,’ Ford would tell her, ‘the sacrifice is well worth it.'” (Ibid.; p. 5.)

12. Ford may have experimented on friends and acquaintances, utilizing them as human guinea pigs. Some of the diseases that he may have given to unsuspecting associates may have involved genetically-engineered organisms. “The detective spoke with a Los Angeles gun-shop manager, a longtime friend of Ford’s, who developed a complex of rare diseases, among them a chronic lung and immune system disease, sarcoidosis, that is extremely uncommon in every racial group but one: African Americans. The man is white, and he is convinced Ford had a hand in his ailment. There was a woman with cervical cancer whom Ford treated with an experimental drug that didn’t work; she later required emergency surgery to save her life. Other women, Ray learned, had been given prototypes of Inner Confidence that were never intended for human use. All of them fell ill with a variety of vaginal infections, he says.”

“‘Riley was told there was no product, that it was still being developed, but I have one in a jar sitting in my office that Ford gave to a patient,’ Ray says. ‘He was experimenting.'”

“More people came forward. A former business associate of Ford’s said that when a mistress broke up with Ford in the early 1980s, the doctor vowed to infect her with an ‘alpha bug,’ promising ‘she will never be healthy or normal again.’ Authorities talked to the woman and learned that she suffered from a mysterious and incurable malady that has caused debilitating vertigo for the past 14 years. She’s undergone two brain surgeries just to ease the symptoms. At least one other woman, who maintains that Ford drugged her against her will during a business lunch, has reported similar problems with chronic vertigo and complained of symptoms that resemble Gulf War Syndrome, except she was nowhere near the war.” (Idem.)

“State and county health officials, with help from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, interviewed many of these patients, but their investigation was limited to whether there was a public health risk, such as the threat of an epidemic. They found none and closed their inquiry, though the FBI still makes at a point to ask former patients of Ford’s if they were ever unconscious in his presence, something the complaining patients all have in common.”

” ‘We started to realize there was a lot more to Dr. Ford than we had first thought,’ says Ray. ‘It began to look like there might be something to the stories he told, and that the attempt on Mr. Riley’s life was just the tip of the iceberg . . .'” (Ibid.; p. 6.)


“One of the most chilling stories Ray heard came from the owner of Chantal Pharmaceuticals of Los Angeles, a company that developed an antiwrinkle cream with Ford’s help. She told the FBI that Ford, angry with one of her partners, went into the man’s office carrying a cardboard box with a rabbit inside. He put the box on the man’s desk, pulled on latex gloves, removed a syringe from his pocket, and squirted two drops of a viscous amber liquid onto the rabbit’s shoulder. It immediately convulsed and died, blood pouring out of its nose and ears. Ford, never uttering a word, turned and left, the box still sitting on the desk.”


14. Ford’s behavior is particularly alarming in light of his documented ties to the CIA, among other institutions.

“Ray got confirmation of the doctor’s government ties three days after the case was opened and a few hours after Ford’s suicide. He had picked up Valerie Kesler, Ford’s research assistant at Biofem, for questioning. She met Ford while an undergrad at UCLA, and the two had been lovers for most of the past 18 years. The night of the shooting, she spent hours deleting Ford’s files from Biofem computers, according to James Riley’s wife, Pam, who is the company’s business manager. (Kesler’s attorney, John Kremer, says that any files that may have been deleted had nothing to do with the shooting.)”

“Kesler denied knowing anything about the attempt on Riley’s life. Later, however, her lawyer suggested officers exercise caution opening up a gym bag in the trunk of her car, which Ray had impounded. Kremer had been told that it might contain firearms and a knife dipped in ricin, a deadly toxin synthesized from castor beans. A drop in the bloodstream was all it took to kill. Ray and his superiors called in the FBI, whose Weapons of Mass Destruction Response Team is charged with dealing with biological and chemical threats.”


15. Initial skepticism of Ford’s alleged CIA ties on the part of an FBI investigator gave way to respectful acknowledgement.

“According to Ray, the agent in charge of the team mocked the notion that Ford was connected to bioweapons research and the CIA. But with Ray insisting that the information seemed good, that it matched other accounts, the agent agreed to contact the FBI liaison to the intelligence agency. In about ten minutes a call came back: The CIA knew of Ford.”


“The CIA knows a lot of people, the agent laughed. They probably know my grandmother. But ten minutes later the liaison called again and said there was ‘high confidence’ that Ford had biological- and chemical-weapons knowledge and did, in fact, have the capability to coat the knife with a deadly toxin. Shortly after that a third call came in: Ford did work for the CIA, the chastened FBI official told the room full of cops.”

“There was no more laughing after that. The men in space suits took over. Searchers found an Uzi and another illegal firearm in the gym bag; the knife was plunged into decontaminating fluid before it could be tested, which allowed the authorities to make the calming announcement that they had found no dangerous substances in the car. But a jar of ricin turned up later in Ford’s home.”

(Ibid.; p. 7.)

16. Former FBI informant Peter Fitzpatrick continued to experience frustration in his attempts to warn of the seriousness of Ford’s involvement in sinister activities in connection with the former apartheid regime in South Africa.

“While this drama unfolded in Irvine, Peter Fitzpatrick was trying to get through to someone, anyone, at the FBI who would listen to his recollections of Ford’s involvement with biowarfare in South Africa. No one was available, so he went to the FBI’s bureau in West L.A., where he was turned away by the receptionist. ‘Basically,’ says Fitzpatrick, ‘they said they didn’t know who the hell I was and that I should go.’ Next he called the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and asked for the prosecutor assigned to the Ford case, but ended up trapped in voice mail. He left an exasperated message, then hung up.”

“The next day, to Fitzpatrick’s surprise, two FBI agents met at length with him to discuss his information about Ford, bioweapons, and South African surveillance. Then two things happened: First, the weapons team showed up to do another high-risk search and excavation of Ford’s home. They uncovered nearly a hundred firearms, most of them shotguns and rifles, 17 of them illegal automatic or semiautomatic weapons, including four Uzis, an M16, and a gangster-era Thompson submachine gun.”

In addition to large quantities of illegal firearms, Ford had secreted a sizable quantity of C-4-a powerful plastic explosive that is extremely difficult to obtain.

“Ford had stowed the illegal weapons in six large plastic cylinders buried in his backyard, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition – something his family apparently did not consider unusual, though they were unaware that one canister contained a large supply of the powerful military explosive C-4. The plastic explosives were packed with blasting caps and secreted dangerously close to electrical wires. Some 52 homes and several hundred people had to be evacuated to the Hyatt Regency for three days (it was, after all, Irvine – no Red Cross sleeping bags in the school gym for this crowd).”


17. As the investigation progressed, the South African connections of Ford continued to loom large-convicted gunman Dino D’Saach apparently was involved with Ford, Nilsson and the South Africans.

“At the same time, Detective Ray expressed interest in talking to Fitzpatrick and Byron in order to explore the South African angle, but he and his partner, Sergeant Little, were forbidden to do so by the bureau and forbidden to come near Ford’s house. Their department pulled the reins even tighter. ‘[They thought] we were crazy, we were imagining things,’ Ray says. ‘They said we had been working too long without enough sleep. It stunk. But we were off the case . . .'”


“Both informants say that Ford, Nilsson, and Ford’s mistress, Kesler, were regular guests at Bouwer’s mansion, and Byron remembers encountering Dino D’Saach, the getaway driver, at several gatherings. Indeed, Ford and Nilsson’s connection to South Africa ran deep. The two doctors went on big-game hunts beginning in the early 1980s – about 20 stuffed trophies lined the walls of Ford’s home – and, as Ford and Nilsson told it, they did charity medical work there.”

“Later Ford began smuggling into the U.S. distilled human amniotic fluid collected by South African doctors for Ford’s antibiotic research. They would hide the biologically hazardous body fluids in wine and liquor bottles to avoid impoundment. Riley, in testimony in the D’Saach trial, described one trip in which a bottle of amniotic fluid broke inside a suitcase while in flight, creating a noxious odor that permeated the aircraft.”

(Ibid.; p.8.)

18. One of the most significant and chilling aspects of the article concerns Ford’s research into AIDS, conducted in conjunction with the apartheid regime. AIDS has ravaged the population of South Africa. The Broederbond was the ruling core group of South Africa, structured along the lines of the German Nazi Party during World War II and allied with it during that conflict. The possibility that the research into AIDS conducted by Ford, Project Coast, the Broederbond and company may have been conducted for the explicit purpose of conducting genocide is not one to be too readily dismissed. Such a possibility would not be far removed from the apparent purposes and applications of Project Coast.

“Ford and Nilsson were befriended by South African deputy surgeon general Dr. Niel Knobel. Ford began advising him on protecting troops from biological attack, as well as suggesting AIDS prevention programs in a country that today has the worst AIDS infection rate on earth – benign and praiseworthy endeavors that Knobel maintains had ‘no political agenda.’ But the AIDS prevention program was for whites in the military, not blacks. A secret right-wing South African organization, the Broeder-bond, conducted studies around this same time that suggested the AIDS epidemic could make whites the majority in the future.”

“Since then, through the new government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was formed to probe the abuses of apartheid, information has surfaced about a secret South African bioweapons program. Code-named Project Coast, it was run by another Ford friend and financial benefactor, Dr. Wouter Basson; Knobel had administrative oversight. Basson’s alleged ties to hundreds of poisonings and assassinations in South Africa and in the neighboring countries of Angola and Zimbabwe earned him the nickname Dr. Death in the South African press. Documents indicating he had arranged an offshore bank account for Ford were found in Ford’s papers after his death.”

“The commission uncovered evidence that whole villages, including an Angolan settlement of several hundred people suspected of harboring rebels, may have been decimated by Project Coast weapons. This finding parallels information Nilsson’s ex-girlfriend provided: She said Ford more than once boasted of wiping out an entire Angolan village during a civil war. (She claimed Ford had been talking with Nilsson in 1996 about obtaining a missile or bombing system from former Soviet bloc nations that might be used to deliver biological weapons.)”

“Project Coast scientists called to testify against Basson have said Ford was brought in to brief them on the use of biological weapons in mass attacks and discrete assassination, the latter through the contamination of ordinary items such as Playboy magazines and tea bags. One scientist involved with South African bioweapons development noted that Ford’s ideas – and arrogance – were not well received, and that his work was given little credence in the Project Coast lab. However, Ford continued to work with Basson and Knobel, who had a picture of him hanging in his den at the time of the suicide.”


19. The alarming possibilities of Dr. Ford’s “post-regime” activities were underscored by a report indicating that the Broederbond milieu has gone underground in order to continue its activities.

“According to a recent U.S. Air Force Academy report on South Africa’s biological warfare program, Ford was part of a global network of scientists that Basson assembled to assist Project Coast. Whether that meant creating – or receiving and storing – toxins produced by the program is a matter of conjecture, the report suggests, as South African officials have been unable to account for all of the dangerous material produced over the years. The Air Force report quotes testimony from a Swiss intelligence agent who laundered money for Basson and who describes a worldwide conspiracy involving unnamed Americans.”


“‘The death of Dr. Ford and revelations of his South African involvement,’ the report states, ‘[raises] the possibility of a right-wing international network, [still] united by a vision of South Africa once again ruled by whites.'”

(Ibid.; p. 9.)

The decline of the apartheid regime does not appear to have broadened the horizons of public disclosure concerning Ford’s activities during the heyday of that regime.

“In the wake of Ford’s suicide Fitzpatrick and Byron reminded a new set of FBI agents about the meeting between Ford and Deputy Surgeon General Knobel, in which the satchel of deadly germs was allegedly passed over to the South African – and about the fact that nothing was done to intercept Knobel as he returned to South Africa. Once again no explanation was offered. Byron suggested reviewing the surveillance recordings from the bugs he and Fitzpatrick helped plant so long ago. ‘You can get a blockbuster out of those, I’m sure.'”

“‘Not even we can get those tapes,’ he remembers the agent responding. ‘They’re sealed. National security.'”

“Matthew McLaughlin, spokesman for the FBI in Los Angeles, says the bureau’s policies bar him from confirming or denying Byron’s and Fitzpatrick’s accounts. Nor will he comment on their allegation that the government permitted Ford to illegally develop and traffic in bioweapons. McLaughlin does caution, however, that there are often reasons criminal activity is allowed to go on in order to preserve an investigation, and that no informant in any case has the whole picture. ‘We compartmentalize people we work with, and they are not privy to the breadth and width of a case,’ he says. ‘They see the elephant’s toenail.'”


20. Another truly terrifying possibility is that Ford & company’s bioweapons capabilities could be used on the United States. In the wake of 9/11, this possibility seems even more chilling.

“Of course, Byron and Fitzpatrick say trade attache Gideon Bouwer was clear in their conversations 16 years ago about what had happened in the meeting with Ford. They say he raved about the ability to keep whites in power through biological warfare, and he hinted at being part of a separate agenda – some sort of extragovernmental conspiracy, like the one described in the Air Force report, that had plans to unleash biological agents worldwide on South Africa’s enemies if the need should ever arise.”

“‘Just be ready,’ Fitzpatrick remembers Bouwer warning him cryptically, then asking, ‘How fast could you get your daughter out of the country if you had to?'”

“I have to be honest,” Fitzpatrick says. “Gideon could be a great guy. But there was something dangerous about him. And when he started talking about that master plan, about what a great service Ford had done for his country, about getting out of the country, it gave me chills.'”


21. It would appear that the investigation is continuing, albeit with a veil of official public secrecy.

“Niel Knobel has admitted meeting with Ford at the attache’s home in the period Fitzpatrick and Byron describe but denies any involvement with biological weapons.”

“The informants never found out what happened after that meeting between Ford and Knobel. Bouwer fell from favor less than a year later, apparently considered a security risk by his own government. He was recalled, and the visits by Ford and Nilsson to the consulate ended, as did Byron’s and Fitzpatrick’s work there. Bouwer died ten years ago in South Africa.”

“Looking for answers, Fitzpatrick recently used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain his FBI file. All but the captions were redacted from the small ream of reports detailing his information about Ford and the South Africans. But those captions clearly show one thing: Whatever Fitzpatrick told his handler was immediately forwarded to FBI headquarters in Washington, and then it was dispatched to the CIA.”

“Victor Ray was brought back on the Ford case after a week, once it became clear that he had not been off-base about a possible CIA connection and that he had developed sources the FBI wanted – sources he wasn’t going to give up unless there was mutual cooperation.”


22. A detail that lends credence to the speculation that Ford’s activities in recent years were conducted in conjunction with some sort of underground (and potentially deadly) right-wing apparatus concerns the continued reticence of Dino D’Saach to testify in conjunction for lenience. It would also appear that the authorities continue to be reluctant to expand the investigation.

“After some initial tug-of-war the Irvine police and the FBI are working well together, Ray says, but there have been disagreements. He could only get to Byron and Fitzpatrick through an L.A. Times reporter whom Fitzpatrick had called, rather than through the FBI, which declared them off-limits. And it is Ray, not the FBI, who has kept pushing to widen the investigation, expanding it to other suspects and states, securing out-of-town search warrants the FBI said couldn’t be obtained, locating a key witness the FBI believed to be dead. It appears that Irvine’s small police department is the main reason an international investigation is now under way, one that started with an Orange County grand jury probe and that now appears headed for a federal grand jury.”

(Ibid.; pp. 9-10.)

“So far the only public charges have revolved around Riley’s shooting. Besides D’Saach’s attempted-murder conviction, Kesler has been charged with weapons violations for the guns found in her car. She remains a suspect in the shooting, as does Nilsson, whose home was searched but who has not been charged. The gunman remains unidentified . . . .”


23. Attempts to reassure the public concerning the potential threat posed by Ford’s clandestine arsenal appear to have been motivated, in part, by attempts at avoiding widespread alarm.

“The search of Ford’s house unearthed more than 260 containers of biological material, most of it in a refrigerator in Ford’s garage, along with the jar of ricin, the substance Kesler said the knife had been dipped in. Authorities found it in his family room. Botulism, which produces one of the deadliest toxins known, was recovered from a refrigerator at Biofem, stored by Ford next to a bottle of ranch dressing.”

“These discoveries were followed by reassuring statements to the public that the doctor’s illegal brew of germs was aged and posed little danger. But internal FBI reports state there was a genuine public health hazard, and Dr. Mark Horton, head of public health services for Orange County, concedes that, had the materials been handled without great care, they could have imperiled the community.”

“It turns out that the assurances were based on the testing of only 16 of the samples – there has been no official accounting of what was in the rest. The public statements did not even mention the botulism.”

“Ray has no doubt that the danger was severe. He notes that many of the biological samples in Ford’s home were stored next to a jar of what was suspected to be old and chemically unstable ether. ‘If that ether had been exposed to a higher temperature, it would have exploded,’ he says, ‘and Larry Ford’s chemistry set would be blown all over Irvine.'”

“His disgust over the case almost led him to leave it for good last summer. He was away all the time, his wife was complaining; the stress was enormous. ‘It really made me think … what in the hell was going on and how could the government have stood by while Ford … did these things? . . .'”


24. Additional perspective on the story of Dr. Ford comes from some musings from a recent article on the dangers of bioterrorism.

“Were a terrorist to disperse the smallpox virus, for example, populations that were once universally vaccinated would now be horribly vulnerable. Today, the U.S. government stows only about 15.4 million doses of the smallpox vaccine-enough for less than seven percent of the American population. The World Health Organization (WHO) keeps another 500,000 doses in the Netherlands, and other national stockpiles total about 60 million more doses of varying quality and potency. If the smallpox virus were released today, the majority of the world’s population would be defenseless, and given the virus’ 30 percent kill rate, nearly two billion people could die.”

(“The Nightmare of Bioterrorism”) by Laurie Garrett; Foreign Affairs; January/February 2001; p. 77.)


“The world is thus completely vulnerable to a smallpox attack. The last time a mass emergency vaccination took place in the United States was 1947, when a traveler from Mexico spread small pox to New York City. Vaccines were then readily available, and 6.35 million New Yorkers were immunized in less than four weeks. In 1961, a similar vaccination campaign was administered following a small pox outbreak in England: 5.5 million people were immunized in a month’s time. A decade late, small pox cases in Yugoslavia prompted the rapid vaccination of 20 million people in that country. Were a small pox crisis to emerge today, none of these efforts could be repeated.”

“Even in large stockpiles of the smallpox vaccine could be collected immediately, they would be of limited value for two reasons: only several days after infection would individuals develop recognizable symptoms, by which time thousands-even millions-would have been exposed; and only several days or weeks after vaccination would individuals develop sufficient antibodies to stave off infection.”

(Ibid.; p. 78.)


“In a large urban center, the true costs of a bioterrorist attack might be the consequences of panic, such as a stock market collapse in New York or a commodities market crash in Chicago. At a 1998 Senate hearing on bioterrorism, then Minnesota State Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm warned against underestimating the degree of panic such an event would provoke: ‘[A] single case of meningitis in a local high school causes enough fear and panic to bring down a whole community . . . . Now imagine you’re telling people, ‘This is going to unfold for eight weeks, and I can’t tell you if you’re going to die.’ And with every symptom . . . real or imagined, [people are] going to think, ‘I’ve got it! I’m going to die!'”

(Ibid.; p. 79)

27. The degree of overlap between the highly-skilled Dr. Ford and other right-wing extremists is underscored by author Garret’s account of the activities of the militia milieu.

“Although most people remain ignorant of the issues raised in that scenario, handfuls of Internet-hooked extremists, right-wing militia members, psychologically imbalanced belligerents, and postmodern fascists are well versed in the fine points of bioterrorism. Recipes for producing botulinum and anthrax are posted on the Web. Books describing biological-warfare assassination techniques are readily available. Some private militia groups train to use biological weapons.”

(Ibid.; p. 81.)

28. Note that the use of ricin is advocated by one of the fascist activists cited by Garrett. As noted above, ricin is one of the deadly agents stockpiled (and, possibly used) by Dr. Ford.

“Perhaps it is the tone of some militants’ rhetoric that sparks the most concern. In The Poisoner’s Handbook, for example, Maxwell Hutchkinson suggests that readers poison or kill Internal Revenue Service workers by filling out phony tax-return forms and lacing them with a mixture of ricin (a poisonous protein) and dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO)-a concoction Hutchkinson claims is 10 percent lethal. ‘The purpose of all this is to disrupt the operations’ of the IRS, Hutchkinson writes. ‘If done on a large enough scale, it would serve two purposes-it would make it more difficult for the IRS to operate efficiently, thus helping tax cheats and tax protesters. It might also awaken the politicians to the depth of resentment felt by the taxpaying public.'”

“Fortunately, Hutchkinson is a lousy chemist: only simple chemicals-not proteins such as ricin-can dissolve in DMSO. But the depth of Hutchkinson’s antagonism is unmistakable: he suggests that readers kill Catholics by soaking their rosary beads in phytotoxin abrin, a toxin derived from a rare bean; he writes that botulinum is ‘fun and easy to make’; and he urges survivalists around the world to hone their skills, readying themselves for biological warfare in the coming Armageddon.”

(Ibid.; p. 82.)

29.The program concludes with some interesting quotes from former CIA director William Colby (quoted from a right-wing book about alleged Bush family involvement in organized vice activities). In the book, Colby expresses his fear that the militia movement could be taken advantage of by a hostile foreign power, in order to do harm to the United States-a potentially significant observation by the late William Colby when taken in the context of the activities of Larry Creed Ford. (The Franklin Cover-Up; by John W. De Camp; Copyright 1992; AWT, Inc.; ISBN 0-9632158-0-9.)


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