For some reason – yet unknown to me – I have always been fascinated and intrigued by international politics, relations between countries (who-does-what-to-whom-and-why) and, as some kind of spezialisation – the history of ABC-weapons (atomic, biological and chemical). My first account in this area was during my study (chemical-engineering), when I held a lecture about the negative sides of our (= the students’) knowledge, namely the history of chemical warfare.
I won’t repeat the whole lecture (of course our teacher had to cut me off, because I had exceeded the time-limit), but I think most of you will know the basics: the Greeks & Romans already threw infected corpses into the enemy-camps, so did the Europeans in the Middle-ages with plague-infected corpses. But the first mass-scale use of chemical warfare was during WW-I on the Belgian and French battlefields, where both German and Brittish armies started using chlorine-gas, phosphor and mustardgas (a.k.a. Yperiet, because it was used near the town of Iper for the first time). The results are well-known. I think.
I am digressing, sorry! Well, at least that proves my fascination with the ‘subject’…
Yesterday my favorite tv-channel Arte-TV had a special about anthrax, called “The Anthrax-dealers“. Focus-point was the anthrax-attack on the U.S.A. in 2001, just after the 9/11-attacks. But, since anthrax is an organism with DNA, it can be traced and a trace can be followed.
Of course we all know the USA have biological research centres, just like their (former) enemies and allies and the one tries to surpass the other. But I had never, never expected that the then-ruling apartheid-regime in South-Africa would have been involved in this whole shebang. I did know that the then-ruling ‘white-supremacy’-governments in Rhodesia, South-Africa and a few others had a dirty history, but I held the ‘black-bomb’ really for a rumour. But, as Arte reported (no: I do not believe everything on tv, but yes: I do believe most of what arte says), there really was research about an ethnic-biological weapon, supported by and provided-with the basics-by (guess-who?) the USA and Great-Brittain.
Well, here’s a few links in case you’re interested in the deeper history of Project Coast:
- Arte: The Anthrax-dealers: http://videos.arte.tv/de/videos/die_anthrax_dealer-3399594.html (only in DE or FR)
- Project Coast: Apartheid’s Chemical and Biological Warfare programme:
UN-Research Institute Report: http://www.unidir.org/pdf/ouvrages/pdf-1-92-9045-144-0-en.pdf
or for online-reading: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst;jsessionid=JM5G6p1ThLPTs4DRQ4LblQvn4Wd0hLX2cGJQTX2JWvFkq2Zy3dBt!60093048?a=o&d=114219671
- Wouter Basson (the South-African project-leader on Project Coast): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wouter_Basson
Please follow the links from there further – many documents are online available.