By Christopher Davis. We have lived parallel lives. We were born within three months of each other in We share humble beginnings, career paths in medicine, life in the armed services of our respective countries, PhDs, and work in research and development. We first met on a dark, bitterly cold early morning in the depths of a Moscow winter-on Tuesday, 8 January , not Monday, 14 January as he says in his account.
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By Christopher Davis. We have lived parallel lives. We were born within three months of each other in We share humble beginnings, career paths in medicine, life in the armed services of our respective countries, PhDs, and work in research and development.
We first met on a dark, bitterly cold early morning in the depths of a Moscow winter-on Tuesday, 8 January , not Monday, 14 January as he says in his account.
Notwithstanding such niggling errors, I commend to all scientists this account by Alibekov, now reincarnated as the American resident Ken Alibek and author of Biohazard.
Though we are separated by not much more than differing ethnic origins and the umbrellas of opposing political systems, I became the hunter and he the hunted and unwitting prey. Colonel Alibekov, a gifted doctor and talented scientist, placed his considerable intellect and skills at the disposal of his state. It used him-together with the flower of the modern generation of biomedical scientists in the former Soviet Union-to create the largest, most comprehensive and sophisticated biological weapons capability the world has ever seen.
It was my job to uncover, working with a handful of colleagues in London and Washington DC, what Alibekov and his numerous colleagues were creating in their vast research complexes. Over the past twenty years, we identified incidents associated with Soviet chemical and biological weapons, such as the release of anthrax spores in Sverdlovsk. Various contributors to New Scientist poured scorn on reports of this sort.
For those-including some who shall remain nameless in Whitehall and Washington-who thought we were crying wolf when we tried to tell you that there really was a Soviet biological weapons programme that threatened our security, this book will make uncomfortable reading. Nowhere else, outside the combination-locked safes of the secret bureaucracies in London, Washington and Moscow, will you find such a detailed picture of the bioweapons programme of the former Soviet Union.
What Alibek shows is that the Soviets had produced huge quantities of different microbiological agents for use in many different conditions and circumstances. Other agents were developed for tactical use, even individual assassination.
Handicapped as we remain by considerations of national security, we the hunters can never tell our full story. But now Alibek, ironically, can tell it like it is. No one can be left in any doubt as to what was going on at Sverdlovsk.
No more will we have to endure the endless contortions of apologists, on both sides of the Atlantic, who strained to convert the pathological and clinical evidence to fit the laughable cover-up story that the unfortunate inhabitants suffered a natural outbreak of intestinal anthrax. I was the first non-American to learn of his defection. The excitement was palpable. By writing Biohazard autobiographically, Alibek has made it accessible to readers not schooled in the esoteric world of chemical and biological weapons-the overwhelming majority, both of scientific and lay readers.
He gives a real feel for the personalities in the secret weapons world and for the atmosphere that pervaded life in the former Soviet Union. The grim illnesses he describes so realistically are, thankfully, known only to the very few, even among professional microbiologists.
Even after years of study, the sheer size and scope of the supersecret weapons programme we saw in January was hard to take in.
But much of the iceberg is yet to be discovered. We are left as scientists and citizens to worry about four things. Where in the Russian military system did the biological weapons programme retreat when Biopreparat was exposed? Where are the scientists who left for a better life in other countries and what are they doing now? To what extent have other countries succeeded in emulating the Russian programme?
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Ken Alibek, Steven Handleman. Random House, New York. Biohazard focuses on the career of the author, Ken Alibek, a military physician and microbiologist who worked on the Soviet Union's secret biological weapons BW program in an agency known as Biopreparat, the research arm of the BW program. Biohazard covers Alibek's career from , when he completed his medical studies and was recruited for Biopreparat, through the period —, when he was deputy chief of the BW program; the book also discusses Alibek's defection to the United States in and his subsequent experiences and insights through Intertwined with the story of Alibek's career are the chilling facts about the early development of the Soviet BW program, the continuation of the program by Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the BW programs of other countries, and the current efforts of governments to defend themselves against biological weapons.
Look Inside. An important and fascinating look into a terrifying world of which we were blissfully unaware. Incurable and horrifying Ebola-related fevers. For two decades, while a fearful world prepared for nuclear winter, an elite team of Russian bioweaponeers began to till a new killing field: a bleak tract sown with powerful seeds of mass destruction—by doctors who had committed themselves to creating a biological Armageddon. And in a chilling work of real-world intrigue, Biohazard offers us all a rare glimpse into a shadowy scientific underworld where doctors manufacture mass destruction, where witnesses to errors are silenced forever, and where ground zero is closer than we ever dared believe. Ken Alibek was born in Kauchuk, Kazakhstan, in He graduated in from the military faculty of the Tomsk… More about Ken Alibek.
The book is a semi-romanticized auto-biography depicting the life of a bioweapons developer. It was first published by Hutchinson in the United Kingdom in , then re-released by Arrow Books in For the most part, the book's assertions recently have been confirmed by U. Alibek, K. The book also details the worst Anthrax outbreak in history at Sverdlovsk. The outbreak caused 68 confirmed deaths see Sverdlovsk anthrax leak. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.