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Saturday, August 02, 2008


 

Anthrax and sheep


So the scientist at (surprise!) the U.S. Army's largest bioweapons lab (billed, in the usual Orwellian way, as a "defense against bioweapons" lab) suspected of killing five people with anthrax attacks has killed himself. A very important article from Glenn Greenwald today reminds us that the anthrax attacks, long since almost totally forgotten by the government and media, were no minor issue, but instrumental in panicking the country into accepting an attack on Iraq in response to 9/11. The letters themselves included language like "Death to America. Death to Israel. Allah is great." intended to point the finger directly at Arab terrorists (which, to the perverse amongst us including myself, said loud and clear that was not the source).

What Greenwald tells us, though, is that there was no, repeat no, evidence whatsoever to back up the claims that the attacks were connected to Iraq. The claim, broadcast by ABC News, was that multiple government sources had "confirmed" the presence of bentonite which was alleged (again without proof) to be "a trademark of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's biological weapons program." Greenwald's primary target seems to be ABC News, who not only broadcast the false information, but even now is refusing to disclose their sources, even though those sources were clearly involved in the deadly game of ginning up a war which has killed more than a million people. I don't disagree about pointing a finger at the media (the "sheep" in the title of this post, along with the consumers of their pablum), but surely the bigger finger has to be pointed at the unknown people who were responsible for these false claims in the first place.

The importance of the Greenwald article becomes even more significant when read together with another major article out today in the Los Angeles Times which alleges that the now-deceased scientist had a profit motive for the attacks, because of patents he held in anthrax vaccines. That story, of course, takes us back to the "lone nut" theory, driven by his own motives, in this case simple greed. But what Greenwald's article shows quite clearly is, whether that is true or not as far as the original attacks, the story is much, much bigger than that, because after the attacks happened, the circle of people deliberately exploiting them for other purposes (which, some might say involved greed too, I suppose) was much, much wider than just one man.

Incidentally, I don't want this to come off as anti-Semitic, and I don't know if the scientist in question was Jewish, but his local paper published a series of his letters to the editor, and one of them contains this: "By blood and faith, Jews are God's chosen, and have no need for "dialogue" with any gentile." This certainly suggests that he was Jewish (a non-Jew would likely have said "Jews claim to be God's chosen," and would be unlikely to use the word "gentile"), and that a desire to help provoke a wider war against Arabs, the supposed enemy of the Jews, by the U.S. could very well have been his prime motive.

As to the question of whether this scientist (or whoever else did it, if he didn't) acted alone in the first place, we have this rather interesting comment from columnist Richard Cohen, written a few months ago:

The attacks were not entirely unexpected. I had been told soon after Sept. 11 to secure Cipro, the antidote to anthrax. The tip had come in a roundabout way from a high government official, and I immediately acted on it. I was carrying Cipro way before most people had ever heard of it.
Does that mean there was a secret high-level plot, driven by the likes of Dick Cheney, to create an anthrax attack and cause panic? Maybe, but not necessarily. It could just mean that the likes of Cheney were indeed spreading rumors of possible anthrax attacks in order to build up the pressure for an attack on Iraq, and that a lone scientist at Fort Detrick decided on his own to make those predictions come true, without being part of a larger conspiracy. But again, whatever the genesis of the attacks themselves, the followup to those attacks described by Greenwald is far more telling. Or would be, if someone were telling. Or even asking.


Why stop here? There's more...

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