Posts Tagged ‘Project Coast’

Through Project Coast, the Apartheid Government developed a range of biological and chemical weapons that were used to eliminate political rivals. The following article deals with one of the Apartheid Government’s preferred assassination methods: lacing items of clothing with poison.

There have been a variety of documented reports, detailing how Apartheid agents laced items of clothing with lethal toxins and poison, so that they would be slowly absorbed by their victims and cause death without suspicion of foul play.

In an article published by the Daily Mail in 2007, shocking details were finally put on record when Adriaan Vlok, the hardline Apartheid-era police minister, admitted to trying to kill Frank Chikane, a black anti-apartheid activist by lacing his underwear with poison. Vlok was the only apartheid-era minister to appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. And while he received an amnesty for a series of bombings that he orchestrated during Apartheid, he faced criminal chargesfor his assassination attempt on Chikane’s life.

Frank Chikane, who survived the attack, went on to play an important role in South Africa’s new government, becoming advisor to former President Thabo Mbeki. Chikane testified that the specific type of poison used against him attacked his nervous system, making him violently ill.

Unfortunately the use of poisoned items of clothing was not an isolated incident during Apartheid. According to other reports, the Roodeplaat Research Laboratories developed a poison that could be applied to T-shirts. As the toxin entered the bloodstream, it would form a blood clot causing heart failure. An autopsy would thus show the cause of death to be natural. This plan was part of an attempt to target black student activists, but ultimately failed when the police hit squads who were to distribute the T-shirts “chickened out.”

How many people were killed by the Apartheid Government through this insidious and cowardly tactic? What other dirty tricks did the Apartheid Government have up their sleeves? The further I dig back into the past, the stronger I believe that the truth is stranger than fiction.

Advertisements

The following post contains information from The South African Chemical and Biological Warefare Program: An Overview, by Chandré Gould and Peter I. Folb.

While many details about Project Coast have not been made publicly available, one particular covert operation that has been partially documented is Operation Barnacle.

Operation Barnacle was established in the early 1980’s and involved members of the South African Defence Force and former Rhodesian security forces. The primary goal of Operation Barnacle was to eliminate the enemies of the Apartheid Government.

A number of these covert assassinations were carried out by utilising a variety of toxins and chemicals developed by Wouter Basson and other Apartheid scientists.

The majority of victims targeted by Operation Barnacle  were members of the South West African People’s Organization (SWAPO) in Namibia. It is estimated that the number of deaths of prisoners of war and those who were considered “security risks” were well into the hundreds.

Johan Theron, who testified at Wouter Basson’s criminal trial, said that he was ordered to inject his victims with overdoses of muscle relaxants tuberine and scoline. This caused death by suffocation. All bodies were disposed of by throwing them out of aircraft into the sea.

Other victims of Operation Barnacle included members of the ANC, members of the United Democratic Front, individuals in the South African Council of Churches and its associated organizations and even  members of the SADF who threatened to reveal the workings of the Apartheid Government.

Operation Barnacle was just one of the many covert operations initiated by the Apartheid Government under Project Coast. But how many similar operations were there? How many deaths were the Apartheid Government responsible for? And what other atrocities did they commit.

We might never know.

The aim of Project Coast was to covertly research and develop technology in the sensitive areas of chemical and biological warfare.

In order to achieve this aim, the South African government recruited Wouter Basson, a man who has since earned the nickname “Dr Death” due to his involvement in Project Coast.

In 1981, Basson embarked on a fact finding mission and travelled abroad to secretly collect information about the Chemical and Biological Weapons programs of various Western nations. Basson used what he found during these trips to develop a blueprint for the Apartheid Government’s Chemical and Biological Warefare program.

The majority of details about Basson’s involvement in Project Coast only came to light during his criminal trial, which began in 1997 after Basson refused amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

During his criminal trial, Basson faced a range of charges, including the accusation of taking part in over 200 murders and drug trafficking.

According to a recent article, Johan Theron, a subordinate of Basson, testified about the following event that took place in 1983:

Theron, then a soldier in the South African Defense Force, was ordered by Basson to chain three black ANC anti-apartheid activists to some trees in a secluded forest and cover their bodies with a toxic chemical jelly to see if the jelly would kill them.

When the jelly did not kill the three men, Basson allegedly ordered Theron and another soldier to inject the three men with a deadly muscle relaxant. The injection caused their lungs to collapse. They died slowly of suffocation, and later their bodies were loaded onto an airplane and dumped into the icy ocean off Namibia’s Skeleton Coast.

Basson has also been linked to a number of bizarre experiments.

According to the Mail and Guardian, Basson attempted to develop a genetically sensitive compound that would only affect Africans – a so called “black bomb”. According to other reports, Basson researched a race-specific bacterial weapon; a project to find ways to sterilize the country’s black population and deliberately planned to spread cholera through South Africa’s water supplies.

Basson’s regularly worked with a number of other biological agents and viruses including anthrax, cholera, salmonella, botulinum, thallium, E. coli, ricin, organophosphates, necrotizing fasciitis, hepatitis A, and HIV., as well as nerve gases (Sarin, VX) and the Ebola, Marburg, and Rift Valley hemorrhagic-fever viruses. These were used to produce crude toxins for use by the military and police as biological weapons.
There were reports that Basson was experimenting with chemicals to alter members of the population. But from the limited amount of information available from these reports, it is not clear what this means exactly.
The full extent of Basson’s Project Coast experiments were never made public, leaving South Africa to only guess about the true extent of the atrocities committed by the man we now call Dr Death.

The following post contains information from The South African Chemical and Biological Warefare Program: An Overview, by Chandré Gould and Peter I. Folb.

Project Coast was a top secret Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW) program initiated by the Apartheid government during the 1980’s. But what was the purpose of the program?

South African Defence Force officials have repeatedly stated that the South African CBW program was established to counter a threat of chemical weapons being used against their troops during the conflict in Angola, which lasted from the mid-1970s to the end of the 1980s.

South Africa invaded Angola in 1975 in an attempt to disrupt Angolan independence but could not contend with large Cuban forces acting in support of the Popular Movement of the Liberation of Angola.

According to reports, South African troops found a Cuban military vehicle fitted with air filters as well as medical bags containing gas masks.  Project manager and surgeon general, General Daniel Knobel insisted that the threat against South Africa was so great that the nation had to defend itself at all costs, even if it meant buying items on the black market or “stealing the technology.”

Through out the 1970s and 1980s, the policies of the Apartheid government led to increasingly overcrowded environments, poor economic growth and discriminatory educational systems. Tensions erupted in 1976 during the Soweto Riots. This resulted in the government forcing the military to seek “alternative crowd control agents.”

When PW Botha was elected as Prime Minister in 1978, he brought with him a National Management System. When Botha was presented with the various “security issues” facing the country, he commissioned a team to investigate the feasibility to develop a CBW program to defend the state from its enemies. This program was code-named “Project Coast”.

I started this blog after becoming fascinated with the untold story of Project Coast, a covert weapons programme initiated by the Apartheid government during the 1980’s.

Through Project Coast, the government was able to successfully develop a range of nuclear, chemical, biological weapons that were used in numerous political assassinations.

Not much is known about Project Coast. But through Secret South Africa, I hope to unearth the truth and find out what really happened. From what i have discovered so far, I’m pretty sure it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

If you come across any information that you think could help, please send an email to secretsouthafrica@gmail.com

Alternatively you can follow me on Twitter by searching for @secretsablog

Together we will uncover the truth

John G.