Microbiologists With Link to Race-Based Weapon Turning Up Dead
August 9, 2003
By Gordon Thomas
Exclusive to American Free Press
Dr. David Kelly—the biological warfare weapons specialist at the heart of the continuing political crisis for the British government—had links to three other top microbiologists whose deaths have left unanswered questions.
The 59-year-old British scientist was involved with ultra secret work at Israel’s Institute for Biological Re search. Israeli sources claim Kelly met institute scientists several times in London in the past two years.
Israel has not signed the Biological Weapons and Toxins Convention, an international treaty ratified by more than 140 countries. It forbids the development, possession and use of offensive biological and chemical weapons.
The CIA, FBI and MI5 are now examining Kelly’s connections. Their findings could form part of the British government’s inquiry into the background of Kelly’s death, which opened last week.
The intelligence investigation is believed to have originated in Washington, where it emerged that Kelly had contacts with two companies in the U.S. bio-defense industry.
One of the men he was in touch with was a former Russian defector, Kamovtjan Alibekov. When he arrived in America, he changed his name to Ken Alibek. He is now president of Hadron Advanced Biosystems—a company specializing in medicines against biological terrorist attacks. Kelly was himself considering resigning from his senior post at the Ministry of Defense to work in America. Before his death, he had been discreetly headhunted by two companies. One was Hadron Advanced Biosystems, which has close ties to the Pentagon.
Hadron describes itself as “a company specializing in the development of technical solutions for the U.S. intelligence community.” Hadron also has links to William Patrick, who has five classified patents on the process of developing weaponized anthrax. He is a biowarfare consultant to both the Pentagon and the CIA.
The other company is Regma Biotechnologies—one that Kelly helped its founder, Vladimir Pasechnik, to set up in Britain, arranging for it to have a laboratory at Porton Down, the country’s chem-bio warfare defense establishment.
Regma currently has a contract with the U.S. Navy for “the diagnostic and therapeutic treatment of anthrax.”
Kelly had told family friends he wanted to go to America so that he could obtain the specialized treatment his wife, Janice, requires. “He also felt that working in the U.S. private sector would relieve him of the intense pressures which came with his government work,” said a colleague in the Ministry of Defense.
The two American scientists he had worked with were Benito Que, 52, and Don Wiley, 57. Both microbiologists had been engaged in DNA sequencing that could provide “a genetic marker based on genetic profiling.” The research could play an important role in developing weaponized pathogens to hit selected groups of humans—identifying them by race. Two years ago, both men were found dead, in circumstances never fully explained.
In November 2001, Que left his laboratory after receiving a telephone call. Shortly afterward he was found comatose in the parking lot of the Miami Medical School. He died without regaining consciousness.
Police said he had suffered a heart attack. His family insisted he had been in perfect health and claimed four men attacked him. But, later, oddly, the family inquest returned a verdict of death by natural causes.
Many questions remain about Que’s death:
Who was the mystery caller who sent Que hurrying from his lab hours before he was scheduled to leave? What attempts did the police make to track the four mystery men—after admitting Que was the “probable” victim of an attempt to steal his car? What were his links to the U.S. Department of Defense? What happened to his sensitive research into DNA sequencing? How close were his connections to Kelly?
A few days after Que died, Wiley disappeared off a bridge spanning the Mississippi River. He had just left a banquet for fellow researchers in Memphis.
Weeks later, Wiley’s body was found 300 miles down river. As with Que, his family said he was in perfect health. There was no autopsy. The local medical examiner returned a verdict of accidental death. It was suggested he had a dizzy spell and fell off the bridge.
Again, there remain many unanswered questions concerning Wiley’s demise:
Why did Wiley park his car on the bridge? Why did he leave the keys in the ignition and his lights on? Why was Wiley’s car facing in the opposite direction from his father’s house, which was only a short distance away? What happened to his research into DNA sequencing? How close were his connections to Kelly?
Kelly, himself an expert on DNA sequencing when he was head of microbiology at Porton Down, had been kept fully abreast of the two men’s research.
The death of a third microbiologist—Vladimir Pasechnik, 64—has left even more questions.
Kelly had played a key role in debriefing Pasechnik when he fled to Britain in 1989, bringing with him details of Russian plans to use cruise missiles to spread smallpox and plague, the Black Death of medieval times, which killed a third of Europe’s population. Before the plans could be brought to completion, the Soviet Union had collapsed. Pasechnik had warned Kelly and his MI6 debriefers that the weapons could be used by terror groups—using missiles obtained from China or North Korea.
Kelly, with government approval, had helped Pasechnik create Regma Biotechnologies. Regma was allowed to set up a laboratory in Porton Down.
Research there is classified as top secret. However, in August 2002, the company obtained a contract with the U.S. Navy for “the diagnostic and therapeutic treatment of anthrax.”
On Nov. 16, 2001, Pasechnik was found dead in bed—10 days after he and Wiley had met in Boston to discuss the latest developments in DNA sequencing.
It was only a month later that Christopher Davis, a former MI6 officer and a specialist in DNA sequencing as a potential weapon, announced Pasechnik’s death.
Davis had retired from MI6 and settled in Great Falls, Va. He confirmed to a reporter that Pasechnik was dead—from a stroke—a month after the microbiologist had been buried.
Details of the postmortem were not revealed at an inquest, in which the press was given no prior notice. Colleagues who had worked with Pasechnik said he was in good health.
Why was it left to Davis to announce Pasechnik’s death? Who authorized the announcement? Did an MI6 pathologist conduct the autopsy, as one source close to the service claims? Why did Pasechnik continue to visit Porton Down up to a week before his death? Who authorized his security clearance to enter one of the most restricted establishments in Britain?
Kelly’s links to the Institute of Biological Research in the Tel Aviv suburb of Nes Zions are also intriguing.
His connection to the secret biological plant began in October 2001, shortly after a commercial flight en route from Israel to Novosibirsk in Siberia was blown up over the Black Sea by a Ukrainian surface-to-air missile.
All on board the flight were killed, including five Russian microbiologists returning to their research institute in Novosibirsk—a city known as the scientific capital of Siberia. It has 50 facilities and 13 universities.
Many questions remain about the death of these five scientists. Why did Mossad send a team to Ukraine to investigate the crash? What became of their report after it was submitted to the Israeli government? Why do the Ukrainian authorities still insist they cannot reveal the name of the dead microbiologists? Did Pasechnik know them—or, more importantly, did Kelly?
The Institute for Biological Research is one of the most secret places in Israel. Only Dimona, the country’s nuclear facility in the Negev desert, is surrounded by more secrecy. Most of the institute’s 12 acres of facilities are underground. Laboratories are only reached through airlocks.
There have been persistent reports that the institute is also engaged in DNA sequencing research. One former member of the Knesset, Dedi Zucker, caused a storm in the Israeli Parliament when he claimed that the institute was “trying to create an ethnic specific weapon” in which Arabs could be targeted by Israeli weapons.
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