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SUB-TITLE: Wouter Basson and South Africa’s Chemical and Biological Warfare Programme
This is a tale of military machination and scientific subterfuge, of combatants who disappeared without trace, and bizarre experiments carried out behind locked doors. In waging ‘total war’ during the 1970s and 1980s, South African securocrats demanded a ‘total strategy’, including secret and unconventional means to fight the perceived ‘total onslaught’ against the apartheid regime. Against that background, a group of scientists under military guidance crossed the threshold of an arcane realm, familiar to ordinary citizens only through the imaginations of fiction writers – a world marked by covert operations and germ warfare, high-stakes deals in the international arms bazaar, smoke and mirrors, plausible deniability. A world where intrigue and double-crossing are routine, where secret missions and sinister sub-plots are the milestones for life in the fast lane. Set against the backdrop of the international Cold War and South Africa’s bloody passage to democracy, the events related in this book were uncovered during ten years of investigation and made public by the trial of Wouter Basson, the first criminal prosecution in the world of the head of an official chemical and biological warfare programme. As the authors take you from combat zone to courtroom, read how one of the apartheid era’s best-kept secrets became the subject of one of the ‘new’ South Africa’s costliest legal exercises – and how the former military officer at the heart of both walked away a free man. Ten years have passed since Wouter Basson was acquitted of the criminal charges brought against him and Secrets and Lies was originally published.