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In dem vorliegenden Buch schildert der in die USA übergelaufene ehemalige hochrangige sowjetische Bio-Waffen-Forscher Alibekov seinen Werdegang innerhalb eines der wohl geheimsten Waffenprogramme der Menschheitsgeschichte. Obwohl die Sowjetunion die BTWC unterzeichnet und ratifiziert hatten, starteten sie just zu diesem Zeitpunkt ein streng geheimes, riesiges und unvorstelltbar tödliches Bio-Waffen-Programm, dessen Fortschreiten der Autor maßgeblich mit vorangetrieben hat. Er schildert darin die für den Einsatz vorgesehenen Trägersysteme, die entsprechenden Kampfstoffe sowie die Ausmaße und Produktions- und Lagerkapazitäten des Programms. Zudem schildert er schockierende Forschungsprojekte mit weiteren hoch ansteckenden Erregern sowie die Erforschung und Erschaffung gänzlich neuer Arten von "Superkampfstoffen" und Unfälle während der Forschungsarbeiten.
Nach und nach beschleichen den Autor Zweifel an der Richtigkeit seines Tuns und schließlich beschließt er in die USA überzulaufen und schildert den dortiger Sicherheitsbehörden das sowjetische Programm, dessen Ausmaße völlig unterschätzt wurden und verweist auf die Gefahren, die auch künftig von biologischen Waffen ausgehen.

Das Buch liefert somit einen glaubwürdigen und authentischen Bericht aus der Welt der biologischen Waffen und macht klar, welche Gefahr von diesem Kampfstoffen auch weiterhin für die gesamte Menschheit ausgehen. Zudem ist das Buch gut geschrieben und angenehm zu lesen und wahrlich spannender als viele frei erfundene Thriller und Krimis. Kaufen, lesen und sich schockieren lassen!!!
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am 5. Mai 1999
I found this to be among the best written and informative books on this topic. There is an excellent discussion of how the Soviets (and now Russia?) have interwoven their military and production programs.
Also discussed are the contributions the United States and other countries made to this program by supplying equipment and other material.
This is a great book to develop an understanding of why we have so much more to fear from a rogue bioweapons attack than we do from being nuked. Where has all the material wound up? With Russia's current economic troubles, who has sold what where?
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am 2. Februar 2000
This book is a fascinating account of the development of the Soviet Union's bioweapons program, but it focuses too closely on the development of the viruses, bacteria and toxins involved, and the office politics of the author's organization - but does not give enough information on why the Kremlin though spending billions of roubles on their development was worthwhile, given the risks of detection and their doubtful strategic advantage over nuclear weapons. Also, more space should have been devoted background detail about the author, the formation of his character before joining the army, and how he rationalized what he, a doctor, was doing. He took an oath to protect life, and then plunged into work that was the antithesis of what he had sworn. A little more detail about his current work in the United States would also have been interesting.
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am 3. Mai 2000
Biological/chemical warfare is quite often overlooked in general historical reviews of the Cold War; similarly, it tends to be overlooked in present-day foreign policy and national security. Too many in the general public don't conceive of such an attack because it is far more subtle than the image of mushroom clouds, but the sad truth is that bio-warfare is just as lethal as nuclear warfare.
Fortunately, Ken Alibek has written "Biohazard", a look at the Soviet bio-warfare programs during his tenure at Biopreparat in the late stages of the Soviet Union. This book, written as part-science, part-memoir, and part-warning, excels at both opening the shrouds that surrounded this program during the Cold War and highlighting the potential for disaster in the modern world.
I found the descriptions of the various projects the Soviets worked on to be fascinating, and Alibek did well to explain the science and epidemiology in such a way as to be understood by the layman. I also appreciated his statements late in the book about how America and others in the world are grossly unprepared for a biological attack, though this was an area I wish he would have fleshed out a little more.
While I did also enjoy some of the political maneuvering that Alibek relates throughout, I thought this was a weak point in the book. I do not discount the heavy influence of the politics involved in his programs, but at the same time I thought he focused on this area a bit too much in several places.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world has become perhaps more dangerous, what with Russia and the former Soviet republics selling military equipment to rogue nations for hard currency. We may never know what precisely is being sold, but given the immense secrecy surrounding the bio-warfare programs even to this day, it is only logical to suggest that some of this work (research or physical weapons) has been among those obtained. If that is the case, then it makes Alibek's work all the more revealing and, yes, sobering. Given what he has described in "Biohazard", one can only imagine the horrors that are in experimentation today.
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am 21. April 2000
The Hippocratic Oath at root is: "Above all, do no harm". Would that Alibek, a doctor himself, would have heeded that simple credo. This book deals with the very scary world of biological warfare, one of the two so-called "poor man's nukes" (along with chemical weapons). I remember the early modern images of biowarfare in the 70s, with soldiers wearing gas masks and protective suits, looking like invading aliens.
Of course, the basics of biological warfare have been around for a long time-the Mongols hurling plague-laden corpses over besieged city's walls, for example. At any rate, what makes biowarfare so frightening is that with today's superior technology and industrial methods, biowarfare becomes not an exception, but an actual business. Similarly, production on such a scale leads to inevitable bioweapons accidents, which Alibek ably documents. One of the most horrifying accounts is that of a Soviet scientist who gets infected by one of their superbugs, and then clinically documents the progression of his illness for as long as he can before he inevitably succumbs to a horrible, lingering death. This is the stuff of nightmares - the next time somebody sneezes near you in public, you'll shudder.
Alibek was a high-up in the former Soviet Union's bioweapons program, and from his position, he reveals much of the USSR's bioweapons program in methodical and chilling detail as only an insider can. This book makes Richard Preston's "Hot Zone" seem like a folk dance, mostly because this is intentional, whereas superbugs like Ebola are simply freaks of nature. The book gives interesting glimpses of the Soviet Union in its dying days, of a bureaucracy run by Party officials who are like feudal barons - if ever there was a doubt that the USSR wasn't actually communist (anymore than the US is actually democratic), this book should reveal it. The paranoid secrecy and unaccountable authority of the Party bureaucrats can only seem like déjà vu to American readers, in our own national security state.
Biotechnology is the shotgun marriage of science and business-and biowarfare is the monstrous offspring of biotechnology itself. Alibek elaborates on efforts to gene-engineer hybrid viruses combining aspects of smallpox, plague, and/or ebola. A Frankenstein's monster if ever there was one.
The US claims to have not engaged in bioweapons research since 1969 (via a treaty banning it)-but given that the US is currently violating a 1967 accord against the weaponization of space, and that the former USSR moved forward with bioweapons in the wake of that 1969 treaty, I can't believe that our government isn't doing this kind of research, too, if only in that twisted logic of mutually-assured destruction that characterized the Cold War. To my mind, the Cold War continues - talk of the Peace Dividend lasted about two weeks, before bogeymen like narcoterrorists and Islamic fundamentalists were conjured up to justify the huge American military economy.
In fact, that's the scariest thing of all - Alibek speaks of his regretful involvement in bioweapons research, turning his medical degree on its head and using it create lethal organisms. Yet he defects to the USA after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and puts his considerable knowledge to work for bioweapons research yet again. Admittedly, he says he's working to come up with countermeasures against biowarfare, while at the same time noting that there are scientists in Russia who will most likely turn mercenary and develop similar programs in other countries. Is a defense possible? I doubt it. Its seems that if bioweapons get used on a large scale (and it doesn't take much - that's what is so scary) - humanity will pay a dear price.
My feeling with Alibek is he's a mix of Adolf Eichmann and Robert Oppenheimer. That may seem unfair, but the idea of the banality of modern evil comes readily to mind - he's not a scheming madman; rather, he's a doctor and former Communist Party bureaucrat, faithfully doing his job - just following orders, focusing narrowly on the task at hand, and not really thinking much about the larger consequences of his research. It is revealing to me that he sticks with the program in the USSR until it becomes inconvenient for him, whereupon he switches sides and continues to ply his talents, this time for different masters. I think he feels guilty for his past work, but I can't help but think that he hasn't learned his lesson.
The Cold War was used as a justification of an ongoing militarization of both the US and the USSR, each the mirror image of the other, and each using the other as a pretext for domestic social control. The USSR is gone, but the programs remain in place, and American policy itself is largely unchanged. Americans should read this book, if merely to get a sense that the only answer to biowarfare is seeking alternatives to war itself -- check out "The Conquest of War" by Harry B. Hollins, Averill L. Powers, and Mark Sommer is a good place to start. It seems the sanest response, rather than fighting fire with fire - because with bioweapons, everybody loses.
This book is worth your time, if only as a glimpse into a nightmare world not of science run amok, but science deliberately prostituted and perverted to suit the interests of nationalism, statecraft, and business, producing horrid offspring whose only purpose is to harm and hurt.
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am 11. Dezember 1999
Glanders. Vaccine-resistant smallpox. Bolivian hemorrhagic fever. Pneumonic plague. Pulmonary anthrax. Tularemia. This book is a rare chance to evaluate a man who devoted most of his working life to making them more deadly.
I read this book with morbid fascination, I must admit; it suggests to me that bioweapon research is much further along than I'd realized. On the downside, I'm not sure how much of what Alibek says can be verified, particularly the details of the biological attack by the USSR during WWII, but I suspect he's mostly telling the truth.
Recommended with mild reservations as to accuracy and as to the self-portrayal of the author. While he's honest enough to admit to having personally done a great deal to make these abominable weapons still more abominable, I am not so sure he switched sides for the most altruistic of reasons.
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am 5. August 1999
Accidently started in a vaccine lab in the former Soviet Union, scientits stumbled upon what seemed to be a strain of anthrax resistant to all known vaccines. The world realized that war no longer meant lugging massive arsenals of bombs across oceans, but releasing into the air bacteria or virii. Germs that would kill any living organism in their path. With political tensions rising, the Soviet Union continued research on weaponizing agents such as plague and smallbox.
A book that brings out raw fear in our safe haven which we call the world. It will keep you keen on watching the sky, always suspicious of Russian planes dropping bomblets containing invisible but deadly germs. Strange smells will automatically remind you of aerosol agents. A truly chilling account of what went on behind closed doors.
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am 20. Mai 1999
Alibek's personal story is very much along the lines of other defectors stories, such as Belenko, Viktor Suvorov and a number of defectors from the KGB and the GRU. They were talented people who were absorbed by the Soviet machine until an external event caused them to begin re-examining the system and eventually come to reject it. In this respect there is nothing new.
The parts of the book that make it worth reading are his description of the Soviet/Russian biological warfare program and the scale of the effort, and the background that he gives on biological warfare agents. The reader who does not have a scientific background should find his expositions clear and come away wiser about the need to prevent proliferation of biological weapons and the problems associated with counterproliferation.
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am 28. Mai 1999
This is not a novel. Dr. Alebek's revelations of the Soviet biological weapons capabilities surpass the training currently provided to 99% of NATO military forces. Readers with an understanding of the true potential of biological weapons and our inability to cope with them will be astounded by the depth and bredth of the Soviet, now Russian, programs and capabilites. One need only to look at the influenza pandemic of 1918 or the European "Black Death" of 1347-1354 to be left dumbfounded by the apocalyptic potential developed by the former Soviet Union and revealed by Dr. Alebek in Biohazard. This book is a must read for political leaders, military commanders, military doctors, NBC officers and NBC specialists.
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am 5. Oktober 1999
It almost sickened me to read about some of the projects the author and his fellow scientists were involved in. I realize that this type of research goes on all over the world, including here in the United States, that only makes this subject more frightening. The stories about the accidents, cover-ups, and the back door dealings really showed how the military system worked in the former Soviet Union. The book was great, it clearly showed the progression of bioweapon research from the earliest parts of the twentieth century to the recent and probabally still ongoing research today. Who in there right mind would want to make an ebola-small pox virus? I highly recommend this book to anybody with an interest in world affairs.
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