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QUESTION 1: By way of critical thinking and succinct writing---what is your assessment of the below information and

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QUESTION 1: By way of critical thinking and succinct writing---what is your assessment of the below information and ? Did you like? What were the authors' failings, if any? Would you recommend it to anyone? If not, discuss why. Did you have a favorite section? How would you compare it with Michael Carroll’s LAB 257 ? Does Dr. Alibek add anything new or provide a different prospective? Critique text reading in one or two sharply written paragraphs. End your critique by rating it with one to five stars (5 stars being the best). Which book so far is your favorite BIOHAZARD OR LAB 257 and why? 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 in the world.” Biohazard is Alibek’s frightening exposure of this establishment, which, at its peak in the late 1980s, employed 60 000 people. In 1990 under Mikhail Gorbachev, the apostle of glasnost, the Soviet Union spent nearly $1bn on its covert biological weapons programme. It stockpiled hundreds of tonnes of anthrax, and dozens of tonnes of plague and smallpox near Moscow and other Russian cities for use against the United States and its Western allies. Alibek refers to Biopreparat as “our Manhattan project.” “The Soviet Government decided that the best agents were those for which there was no known cure. This shaped the entire course of our program and thrust us into a never-ending race against the medical profession.” Alibek vividly describes the accidents that accompanied this lethal research. Release of anthrax at Sverdlovsk in March 1979 caused about 66-105 deaths, although some estimate that well over 1000 died. The Communist party chairman at the time was none other than Boris Yeltsin. In an interview published in Komsomolskaya Pravda on 27 May 1993, he claimed, “Our military developments were the reason for the accident,” adding that he had asked then KGB chairman Yuri Andropov and Defence Minister Ustinov to close down the bacteriological facility as soon as he heard about the anthrax release. In 1983 Alibek himself was accidentally exposed to tularaemia and became infected. He kept the knowledge from his superiors for fear that he would lose his job, and, treated with massive doses of tetracycline, he eventually recovered. Alibek also describes elaborate cover up plans to deceive the Americans in the 1980s, after they suspected the Soviets were violating the Biological Weapons Convention— “We were as clever and resourceful as Iraq”—and recalls the Potemkin village of tsarist times. Why did he defect? Undoubtedly, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, when Alibek was attending a conference in Washington, played a part. As a Kazakh and member of an ethnic minority, he worked hard to gain the respect and acceptance of his Russian colleagues. With the Soviet collapse he was faced with a difficult choice: either return to the chaos of a new Russia or go back to Kazakhstan, where he had been offered a senior position. He may also have been influenced by the defection of Vladimir Pasechnik, one of Biopreparat’s top scientists, who had fled to Britain in 1989. But the main motivation may have been his learning at the 1991
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conference that US scientists working for the government earned $50 000-70 000 a year, whereas a top level Russian scientist could expect to earn the equivalent of about $100 a month. Biohazard is a first class book about biological warfare, whether read as a thriller or as a revelation. Alibek provides mountains of facts as well as insights into the Byzantine intrigues and power struggles within the Soviet system. As I finished the book, I recalled Rudyard Kipling’s 1898 poem, The Truce of the Bear : “When he shows as seeking quarter, with paws like hands in prayer, That is the time of peril—the Time of the Truce of the Bear.” Anthrax. Smallpox. Incurable and horrifying Ebola-related fevers. For two decades, while a fearful world prepared for nuclear winter, an elite team of Russian bioweaponeers began to till a new killing field: a bleak tract sown with powerful seeds of mass destruction--by doctors who had committed themselves to creating a biological Armageddon. Biohazard is the never-before- told story of Russia's darkest, deadliest, and most closely guarded Cold War secret. No one knows more about Russia's astounding experiments with biowarfare than Ken Alibek. Now the mastermind behind Russia's germ warfare effort reveals two decades of shocking breakthroughs. Moscow's leading scientists actually reengineered hazardous microbes to make them even more virulent. ..the secrets behind the discovery of an invisible, untraceable new class of biological agents just right for use in political assassinations. ..the startling story behind Russia's attempt to turn a sample of the AIDS virus into the ultimate bioweapon. And in a chilling work of real-world intrigue, Biohazard offers us all a rare glimpse into a shadowy scientific underworld where doctors manufacture mass destruction, where witnesses to errors are silenced forever, and where ground zero is closer than we ever dared believe. Ken Alibek wants you to know that the United States is in danger of biological attack from the progeny of the Soviet Union’s bioweapons program. As the former deputy administrator of that Biopreparat, a covert biological weapons organization within the Soviet Union, he was privy to near two decades of biological weapons research and development. Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World—Told from the Inside by the Man Who Ran It is equal parts portrait of Soviet bureaucracy at the end of the 20th century, introduction to the science of biological warfare, and personal-branding exercise. Full of anecdotes designed to shock American readers, the author traces his rise to the top of Russia’s secret military bioweapons program, his reflections along the way, and what it means for America today. Alibek bookends his career with an ethical quandary: how can a doctor oath-bound to protect life research weapons of mass destruction? In the 17 years he worked for Biopreparat, a covert biological weapons group in the Soviet government, this question rarely bothered him. But as a young infectious disease researcher deciding on a career-path and as a mature administrator considering defection to the Unites States, he found it troubling. It is his journey to this last phase of his life, during the time from 1988 to 1992 that he served as the first deputy chief of Biopreparat, that he focuses his memoir. Alibek draws liberally from the political thriller genre in his attempt to convince his audience of the danger of Biopreparat’s legacy. In a particularly harrowing chapter, he describes the agonizing death of a colleague who accidentally injected himself with a lethal, rare filovirus related to Ebola[1]. The man, a scientist named Dmritry Ustinov researching at Biopreparat’s base in Siberia, stuck himself with a needle as he tried to inject a guinea pig with Marburg. After three horrific weeks in a military hospital bed where his organs slowly liquefied, Ustinov dies.
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