Project Coast: Apartheid's Chemical and Biological Warfare Programme

By Chandré Gould; Peter Folb et al. | Go to book overview
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THE PRIVATE COMPANIES
In 1986, at the same time that Goosen was replaced by Swanepoel at RRL, Jan Lourens left the Special Operations Unit to start a private company called Systems Research and Development (SRD). SRD started in Lourens' garage and only later moved to its own site. SRD had four components:344Phoenix Service Station, a garage near the Special Forces Headquarters that could service the Nissan Skylines which Lourens had modified when he was a member of Special Operations. They made them faster and installed radio equipment in the cars.345SRD Electronics, a laboratory that took on chemical defence projects and which provided Basson with an electronic surveillance and countersurveillance capacity, at his request.346QB Labs, a company which did mechanical work. The company's main product was the packing of new generation teargas into hand-held spray devices for the South African Police, but other projects were also. Bart Hettema was in charge of the aerosol programme and liaised closely with Lothar Neethling in this regard.347In about 1987 QB Labs began producing covert assassination weapons with the assistance of former Rhodesian and ex-EMLC machinist, Philip Morgan. Morgan manufactured the assassination weapons designed by Lourens. The weapons included348:
Signet rings topped with a coin, covering a small chamber which could contain a powder;349
Spoon-like blades that would contain a chemical in a cavity. One was a cigarette box from which a sharpened spoon would spring. The spoon contained poison which would enter the victim's body. These spoon weapons were for use in prison where spoon stabbings are commonplace. About seven were manufactured at QB Labs. The

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