A Look at the World's Largest Anthrax Dump and Open Air Testing Site for Biological Weapons

October 29, 2001

It’s in the rapidly shrinking Aral Sea between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and its left almost completely unguarded.

Federal Officials have turned their sights on the likelihood that the anthrax attacks causing panic around thecountry are the work of right wing groups here at home.

But bio weapons experts are continuing to speculate that the anthrax spores now terrorizing Americans might have hadtheir origin in the Soviet Union. Most of the Soviet Union’s complex for producing and testing bio weapons waslocated in Soviet Central Asia, especially in the now independent republic of Kazakhstan. One Soviet facility atStepnogorsk, Kazakhstan, had the capacity to produce over 300 metric tons of highly weaponized anthrax each year.Anthrax and other biological weapons were tested on an island in the Aral Sea, between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan,which is now by far the largest anthrax dump in the world and has been left all but unguarded.

US officials recently reached agreement with the government of Uzbekistan to "clean up" the site, but have not saidwhat they will do with the bio weapons stored there. But the Bush Administration continues to block an internationalgerm warfare that might make it possible to inspect bio weapons facilities at home and abroad.Guest:

  • Geoffrey Sea, a writer and expert on weapons of mass destruction in Central Asia.