- Which of the following is dissembling about the anthrax
vaccine, The Department of Defense (DOD), the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA), Bioport, or the news media? Answer, all of the above.
Get comfortable in your chair as you read this because it gets pretty complicated.
In an earlier article (The Anthrax Vaccine Snafu) this writer detailed
how Bioport has changed the recipe (formula) of its anthrax vaccine. This
was done in anticipation of receiving a huge contract from the DOD for
enough vaccine to vaccinate all of the men and women in the armed forces.
Although Bioport had received several warnings from the FDA that it needed
to improve the quality of its laboratory processes, Bioport voluntary
shut down its lab to install new equipment and renovations. The news media
erroneous reported that the FDA had shut them down.
Bioport announced yesterday that it had completed all the paperwork necessary
to obtain FDA approval of its improved processing and expected to start
shipping vaccine again (after a three-year delay) within six months.
Approval of a vaccine involves two licenses. One, a product license, establishes
the chemical composition of the drug. The other is a site license, which
controls the procedures used on the production line.
Bioport, The FDA, and DOD are all proceeding as if the lab conditions (site
license) were the only problem to be resolved. Consider the following
facts uncovered in an in-depth review of all the available material on
In the original formula, (which had FDA approval) two principal ingredients
(formaldehyde and benzethonium chloride have not been evaluated for human
consumption. Actually, The FDA never tested the stateís vaccine
for human consumption. The license issued to the state lab was based on
evaluation of a sample made by another manufacturer (Merke, Sharpe and
Dohme) The vaccine is only effective against cutaneous (skin contact)
anthrax. It has never been tested against inhaled anthrax (the deadliest
form that would be used in biological weapons). Thus, neither Bioportís
"old" formula nor the new formula (being ignored by virtually
everyone) has ever been evaluated for human consumption.
When the Pentagon decided to vaccinate all the troops, it acknowledged
that the vaccine (old formula) had not been tested or approved for those
under 18 years of age, over 65 and for pregnant women. It contemplated
using both the vaccine and antibiotics to treat those exposed to anthrax
(evidently not understanding or not making the distinction between cutaneous
and inhaled anthrax).
When the State of Michigan decided to sell its anthrax lab, two employees
of the lab formed a company to buy it. However, another company, Bioport,
put together by Fuad El-Hibri persuaded the two to join with Bioport,
which purchased the assets of the lab basically with promissory notes
to the state.
When El-Hibri testified before a congressional subcommittee in June of
1999 (in conjunction with an increase in Bioportís prices to the
DOD for the vaccine) he described the ownership of Bioport.
Bioportís stock was split into two classes, 80% of the shares were
voting, 20% non-voting. The non-voting shares were distributed to lab employees.
The controlling shareholder of the voting stock is Intervac LLC. That
company is owned by El-Hibri, his wife Nancy and Admiral William Crowe.
Bioport owes money to the State of Michigan for royalties and promissory
notes in conjunction with the purchase. It also owes several million dollars
advanced to it by "I & F Holdings" (remember that name).
When Michigan State authorities were contemplating awarding the purchase
to Bioport, concern was raised about a federal law that prohibits giving
a sole source contract to a foreign controlled company (Intervac). El-Hibri
was a German citizen at the time although he had applied for American
El-Hibri was known to have facilitated shipments of anthrax vaccine from
a British company he was affiliated with to Saudi Arabia after the Saudiís
had been turned down by the Pentagon. It was feared he might also ship
vaccine to Iraq. In order to develop vaccines, companies must first possess
live anthrax bacteria.
Since Mrs. El-Hibri and Admiral Crowe were both U.S. citizens, and in view
of Croweís "service to the country," national security
considerations were dismissed. Crowe later testified that he had made
no investment in Intervac although some shares are in his name.
To further complicate matters, last week it was announced that Avant Immunootherapeutics
Inc. was licensing its vaccine producing technology to a defense contractor
that is working to improve anthrax vaccines. The contractor was identified
as Dynport Vaccine Company LLC, a subsidiary of Dyncorp a major defense
Dyncorp of course has been in the news in recent years as the hirer of
mercenary soldiers for various uses under state department contracts and
working with the CIA.
Dnycorp hired former police officers (and some current ones who took leaves
of absence from their departments) to train the KLA narco-terrorists in
Kosovo to perform the police function. Officers were paid as much as $101,000
per year for this service.
It was also Dyncorp employees who flew the CIA plane that "fingered"
the missionary plane that was shot down in Peru. Its employees are also
involved in the crop eradication programs in Colombia and Peru reminiscent
of the Agent Orange fiasco in Vietnam.
However, a perusal of Dyncorpís website reveals that Dynport is
not exactly a subsidiary, it is a joint venture between Dyncorp and Porton
Products Ltd. (Porton) in the United Kingdom.
Porton is the British equivalent of Bioport, in several respects. It is
the "privatization" of a laboratory owned by the British government.
The private buyout was organized by no other person than Fuad El-Hibri
who, as a director of Speywood Holdings Ltd. (the owner of Porton) exercised
oversight responsibility over Porton. It was in that capacity that he
oversaw shipment of anthrax vaccine to at least Saudi Arabia.
In turn, Speywood Holdings is a subsidiary of I & F Holdings (thereís
that name again), an investment firm incorporated in the Netherland Antilles,
a notorious haven for money laundering. In his congressional testimony,
Fuad El-Hibri said I & F Holdings is owned by his father, Ibrihim
El-Fuad. He did not say "sole" owner and no further questions
The British have their share of problems with the anthrax vaccine they
used on their troops during the Gulf War. The military had discovered
that combining the drug with the vaccine for whooping cough significantly
sped up the reaction in the anthrax procedure. This was done despite warnings
by the civilian health authorities that such a combination would greatly
magnify the side effects. Just as a side note, the former director of
the British lab was arrested for evading over 500,000 pounds (Sterling)
in value added taxes (VAT).
At this point, we should take note of Fuad El-Hibriís stint at CitiGroup,
the dominant investment banking fir in New York.. Fuad, at one time, was
in charge of the groupís operations and credit arrangements in
Saudi Arabia. Although the name of bin Laden was not the household word
is today, it beggars belief not to think that Fuad had extensive dealings
with the bin Laden family. Aside from the royal family, the bin Laden
construction empire is one of the dominant forces in Saudi Arabia.
We know from other sources that the bin Laden family had chosen Citibank
and CitiGroup to handle its banking and investment interests in the United
States and elsewhere.
The situation today screams for an investigation into who really controls
the production of anthrax vaccines, both in the U.S. and Britain, and
what is in them.
Donít hold your breath waiting for such an investigation. There
are too many oxen to be gored. ___
- Permission is granted to reproduce this article in its
- The author is a free lance writer based in Romulus, Michigan.
He is a former newspaper editor and investigative reporter, a retired
customs administrator and accountant, and a student of history and the
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