Do you remember the Anthrax Scare? Envelopes with strange notes and mysterious white powder were showing up in various mailboxes. In many cases the white powder was “weaponized anthrax” … anthrax (bacterial) spores processed in such a way to enhance the spread of the spores by air and infection via lung tissues.
A total of five people died in that incident, which occurred shortly after the September 11th attacks.
US Government Scientist Bruce Ivins had been under suspicion for a number of reasons, and on learning that prosecutes were about to charge him with having a role in this case, he committed suicide. He took an overdose of painkillers earlier this week. We cannot be sure, but it looks like the Anthrax Attack, widely thought at the time to be an attack by a group such as Al Qaeda (which did take credit at the time, allegedly) was in fact the work of a diabolical evil scientist working for the government. But, in the larger picture, the effects of the Anthrax Murders and the way it was handled at the political and social levels, are an indictment of George Bush and his administration.
As a refresher, the BBC has compiled the following summary of events related to the 2001 event:
- First anthrax-laced letter is mailed on 18 Sept, 2001
- Florida sees first of five deaths, three weeks later
- Panicked Americans try to stock up on antibiotic Cipro
- Postal depots shut for de-contamination
- Senate offices shut for weeks
- Hoaxes become an almost daily occurrence
- Plans to deal with a biological weapons attack updated
- Mail irradiated to kill anthrax spores
According to the BBC:
Dr Ivins worked for the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.
As a microbiologist he helped the FBI investigate the anthrax-tainted envelopes.
The mail was sent to legislators in Washington and media offices in New York and Florida.
Those killed were two postal workers in Washington, a New York hospital worker, a Florida photo editor and an elderly woman in Connecticut.
Last week, FBI director Robert Mueller told CNN “great progress” had been made in the investigation and he was confident it would be resolved.
Associated Press news agency has quoted unnamed officials as saying an indictment was planned that would seek execution.
The agency said the authorities were investigating whether Dr Ivins had released the anthrax to test the vaccine he was developing.
Dr Ivins died in hospital on Tuesday. In a statement on Friday, USAMRIID said it “mourned the loss of Dr Bruce Ivins, who served the institute for more than 35 years as a civilian microbiologist… We will miss him very much”.
Dr Ivins’s lawyer, Paul Kemp, said: “We assert his innocence in these killings, and would have established that at trial.”
Let’s look at the bigger picture.
From the moment that it became apparent that terrorists (criminals) had taken over a handful of US based airliners, to use them as giant human-filled deadly missiles, it was probably inevitable that the United States would rush into a state of war that it would maintain for the next decade or more. Why was it inevitable? Because of the nature and character of the Republican Party, of George Bush, and of Bush’s handlers, those who shall no be named (by me, now, but who will increasingly be named in various indictments).
A criminal act .. a well executed one as it turns out … by a gang of misguided miscreants became on that day an excuse to convert what was at the time a relatively free society into something increasingly resembling a police state. At the same time, select corporations and families were given access to a huge and unstoppable fear-generated flow of government money. By shifting the flow of money in this manner, and pulling away from a number of progressive economic policies, decreasing tax rates on the very wealthy while maintaining high taxes for everyone else, and shirking responsibility for such essential services as health care, the Bush government also widened the rich-poor gap to a level not seen in a couple of generations.
The Bell Curve was no longer merely a racist excuse for the persistent but curable “achievement gap” in schools, but it became a formula for ensuring an increased separation between haves and have-nots, with strong racial overtones. The idea that there is only just so much to go around (in terms of resources, etc.) was translated into a government run systematic program to deepen poverty and build impassable barriers to individual progress except for the wealthiest and most privileged.
This all has been done at the same time as the Christianization of the nation, facilitated by the exploitation of anti-Muslim sentiment and well funded in part by government underwriting of so called faith-based programs.
In the end, far more Americans have died at the hands of misguided and mercenary (not to mention poorly executed from the criminal justice and military standpoints) government policy than as a result of Osama Bin Laden’s insanity.
I have one question regarding the Anthrax murders: Why is it that so much time has passed since these murders occured without a fairly clear statement that this was not a terrorist act?