Project Coast.

Position:Apartheid-era program to kill black people in South Africa through chemical and biological warfare

This is not the first time former Apartheid-era operatives have confessed in the open to having used chemical and biological weapons to kill black people.

During the infamous 30-month trial of Dr Wouter Basson, nicknamed Dr Death (from 4 October 1999 to 11 April 2002), many of his former colleagues, who were among the 200 witnesses called by the state, testified that Basson had used his minions and agents from Project Coast (the unofficial name of South Africa's CBW programme) to kill black Africans "big time".

Testifying under oath in Basson's trial, Dr Daan Goosen, the first MD of Roodeplaat Research Laboratories, the South African Defence Force (SADF) front company in Pretoria where Project Coast was based, said: "There are many people who think Basson was a war hero because he killed the blacks big-time."

Witness after witness told the court that over a period of 10 years, from 1983, Basson, a brigadier in the army and a famous cardiologist who travelled with President P. W. Botha, applied his medical skill and military training to eliminate opponents of the Apartheid regime in a most diabolical manner.

The harrowing details that emerged from Basson's trial reminded keen observers of what had happened in neighbouring Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) during the liberation war that brought independence to Zimbabwe in 1980. Rhodesia operated a chemical and biological warfare unit during the independence war.

At the trial Basson admitted in court that: "Aids research was an ideal cover story [for Project Coast] because it was very topical in 1988." At that stage, he said, "the bulk of Aids research in South Africa was done through the Medical Research Council, where some of the researchers were on our clandestine payroll."

He said the SADF front company, Delta G, and researcher Graham Gibson started doing separate Aids research for the SADF a few years later.

Other witnesses at Basson's trial testified that Project Coast embarked on the following: "Research into a race-specific bacterial weapon; a project to find ways to sterilise South Africa's black population; a discussion of deliberate spreading of cholera through the water supply; large-scale production of dangerous drugs; the fatal poisoning of anti-Apartheid leaders, captured guerrillas and suspected security risks; even a plot to slip thallium --a toxic heavy metal that can permanently impair brain function--into Nelson Mandela's medication before his release from prison in 1990."


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