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Five Countries Have Smallpox

The CIA says 5 countries?the U.S., Iraq, North Korea, Russia and France?have smallpox. Smallpox cultures are held officially in two heavily guarded laboratories, one in Atlanta and the other in Koltsovo, Siberia?all the others are unofficial. Everyone knew that Russia, North Korea and Iraq have stockpiles, but France comes as a surprise. The French say they use it only for defensive research.

Records found this year in Afghanistan show that Osama bin Laden tried to buy smallpox, along with other biological weapons, although officials say there is ?no reason? to believe he succeeded. Other items on al-Qaeda?s wish list are the nerve agent ricin, and the toxin that causes botulism.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union produced tons of smallpox. Ken Alibek, who worked on "black biology" in Russia before he defected in 1992, says he supervised production of it in liquid form, which could be delivered on missiles.

In 1995, British inspector David Kelly found a freeze drier in Iraq labeled "smallpox." On Oct. 7, 1997, inspector Diane Seaman found a document in the Al-Rasheed Military Hospital on smallpox research. Iraq's chief bioweapons researcher, Hazem Ali, told UN inspectors they were developing camelpox as a weapon, because Iraqis, unlike Americans, spend enough time near camels to be immune to it. But Richard Spertzel, the UN?s chief biological inspector, doesn?t buy that explanation. "Only one person ever died of camelpox," he says.

On Jan. 14, 1991, an Iraqi agent described military smallpox casualties he saw in 1985 or 1986. The Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center reported that eight of 69 Iraqi prisoners of war had blood that showed immunity to smallpox, which had not occurred in Iraq for 20 years. The same prisoners had been inoculated for anthrax, so it?s suspected that they were vaccinated for smallpox as well?meaning Iraq planned to use it as a weapon. A former Soviet scientist told the U.S. that Russia "transferred [smallpox] technology in the early 1990s to Iraq."

North Korea, according to U.S. officials, "has a longstanding and active biological weapons program." On March 5, 1993, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service reported that "North Korea is performing applied military-biological research" with "pathogens for malignant anthrax, cholera, bubonic plague and smallpox."

In a War Game called Dark Winter, that took place after Sept. 11, former senator Sam Nunn played a president who failed to contain a smallpox outbreak that began in Oklahoma City. It spread in less than two weeks to 25 states and 15 countries overseas, inflicting "massive civilian casualties."

U.S. officials are considering a mass smallpox vaccination program, but the current vaccine would probably kill more of us than a terrorist attack, so it will probably be postponed two years, until an improved version is developed. Friendly governments in the Middle East, such as Jordan and Kuwait, have asked us for the vaccine, so they can administer it before the outbreak of a war with Iraq.

The Nazis developed the technology for flying saucers during World War II?and it?s still classified today! Learn the secrets from Nick Cook in ?The Hunt for Zero Point,? click here.

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