Avigdor Shafferman The Anthrax Letters: A Medical Detective Story
Israeli Anthrax Developer Resigns
the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils—Exodus 9:11—
Via Veterans Today
Dr. Avigdor Shafferman, Director of the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) since 1995, resigned on April 4, 2013. He sent a letter to the institute workers in which he explained: “In the last two years, the institute development tendencies changed. In 2013, I was forced to reduce the budget in over 4%, including the firing of workers. Two weeks ago, we were asked to prepare ourselves to another reduction in the budget, which will have deep repercussions. I cannot be part of this.” The real reason for the unprecedented step was different.
Shafferman has a PhD in Physical Chemistry (not Chemical Physics) from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He joined the IIB in 1983, establishing the Molecular Genetics Department there. Later on, he became Head of the Biology Directorate, Manager of Scientific Research, and finally Director of the Institute. IIBR has approximately 350 workers, 150 of them scientists; a large part of it is owned by Japanese pharmaceutical companies.
IIBR and Weapons
One of the IIBR strongest fields is the development of nerve toxins. On 4 October 1992, El Al Flight 1862, a Boeing 747 cargo plane crashed into the Groeneveen and Klein-Kruitberg flats in the Bijlmermeer neighborhood of Amsterdam. Many people died and were injured. The cargo included over 280 kilograms of depleted uranium, used for certain types of missiles, and 190 liters of dimethyl methylphosphonate, which is used in the synthesis of Sarin nerve gas. The owner of the latter was the IIB. The IDF possesses weapons containing Sarin.
On September 25, 1997, Khaled Mashal, a prominent leader of the Hamas, was the target of an assassination attempt carried out by the Israeli Mossad under orders of the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who at this occasion became a proven bio-terrorist. Two Mossad agents carrying Canadian passports entered Jordan and injected Mashal with an unknown nerve toxin. A few days later, Netanyahu surrendered to international pressure and provided the antidote. Toxin and antidote were developed at the IIB.
Shafferman has a different field of expertise: anthrax. How can a physical chemist become an expert on a biological weapon? The point is simple, the infection with anthrax is not a biological problem. The disease is caused by bacillus anthracis, a bacteria that can form dormant endospores capable to survive in harsh conditions for centuries. The problem in its transformation into a weapon belongs to a field known as “surface treatment;” physical chemistry is the relevant discipline. The terrorist-scientist task is to make the weapon safe enough to be transported while assuring its proper dispersion and activity. In other words, the 2001 anthrax attacks on the USA were unlikely to be prepared by terrorists. A government was behind them.
- Israeli Anthrax Developer Resigns (veteranstoday.com)
- Israeli Anthrax Developer Resigns (roitov.com)
- This Day in the Yesteryear: SVERDLOVSK ANTHRAX LEAK (1979) (euzicasa.wordpress.com)
- Israeli Cloning Vector PEO3 at USAMRIID prior to 2001 ? (cartelism.com)