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BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 16 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1077
  1. Fred Charatan, retired psychiatrist
  1. Boynton Beach, Florida, USA

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    Ken Alibek, Stephen Handelman

    Hutchinson, £17.99, pp 330

    ISBN 0 09 180085 4

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    Ken Alibek, formerly Kanatjan Alibekov, was born in Kauchuk, Kazakhstan, in 1950. He graduated from the Tomsk Medical Institute in 1975. He holds PhDs in microbiology and biotechnology. He joined the Soviet Union's Biopreparat in 1975 and was deputy chief of the agency from 1988 to 1992, when he defected to the United States.

    Biopreparat is “the Soviet state pharmaceutical agency whose primary function was to develop and produce weapons made from the most dangerous viruses, toxins, and bacteria known to man.” It is spread over 40 sites, many in European Russia, including Moscow and Leningrad. Alibek writes: “Over a twenty year period that began, ironically, with Moscow's endorsement of the Biological Weapons Convention in 1972, the Soviet Union built the largest and most advanced biological warfare establishment …

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