Biological Attack? Inept or Demonstration?
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Biological Attack? Inept or Demonstration?

October 9, 2001

MID-EAST REALITIES - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 10/09: Is someone sending a message that they can do it, a kind of primative, and deadly, deterrence attempt to try to protect themselves? Might this be an "inept attack" as today's TIMES in London suggests in its headline? As the third case of Anthrax in Florida is reported this morning, something seems to be up as the following reports indicate.

At the same time as this Anthrax scare, reports are that four U.N. officials in Afghanistan have just been killed by American bombing, Arafat's army has started shooting its own in occupied Palestine, General Musharraf in Pakistan has purged his army and intelligence services of senior persons and begun arresting top religious leaders, the situation in Saudi Arabia is far more tense than the Saudi government is allowing to be reported, and actual shouting about U.S. relations with Israel has been heard on American TV programs, including CNN this morning, for the first time in memory.

As for Anthrax, AFI Research in London reports that the US produced and stockpiled weapons containing anthrax prior to the Biological Weapons Convention in 1972 but has reportedly destroyed them. The Anthrax bacteria, Bacillus anthacis can be introduced through the skin, a cut for example or inhaled into the lungs, the latter, or Pulmonary anthrax is the far more serious variant and can result in toxaemia and septicaemia and death within 48 hours in almost 100% of those infected. The bacteria are resistant to both heat and light and can persist in the local environment for 20-30 years, and an added bonus for the terrorist is that the bacteria can be easily produced in bulk. As a pointer to how seriously the United States is taking the threat posed by the terrorist use of biological and chemical weapons, the first Anti-Terrorist Brigade of 4,800 US Marines will formerly enter service at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina on the10th October. It will be made up of Marine Security Force, Marine Security Guard and Anti-Terrorist Battalions, but the most interesting under present circumstances is the highly trained Chemical & Biological Incident Response Force. This force has carried out extensive testing of advanced equipment and techniques in expectation of the terrorist use of these appalling weapons.


"The FBI is also investigating a strangely worded letter...that contained a 'soapy, powdery substance' in the shape of a Star of David."


By James Bone
[The Times, UK, 9 October]: THE anthrax outbreak in Florida appears to have been caused by a deliberate but "inept" release into a newspaper office building, according to one of America's leading military experts on biological weapons.

"I do not believe it was accidental," Colonel (retd) Dick Spertzel, who spent 28 years as a US Army biological weapons expert before becoming the chief biological inspector in the United Nations drive to disarm Iraq, told The Times yesterday.

"I cannot conceive of any way that it could be natural. What it does suggest is a somewhat inept person may have released it intentionally into the building and had a mixed bag of small and large particles and did not know what he was doing," he said.

Dr Spertzel explained that a terrorist would try to use anthrax particles one to five microns in size, small enough to enter the lungs. To settle as dust, however, they would be 15-18 microns in size. Particles in between get lodged in the upper respiratory tract.

"You do not expect to find anthrax floating around the air in buildings in a city or even on a farm," he continued. "It's not a natural event. The only thing that makes sense is if it's some kind of intentional release. The implications can be anything from a disgruntled individual who has an axe to grind against an individual or the building, on up to an inept release by sympathisers of Osama bin Laden or my favourite country, Iraq."

The former deputy commander of the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases - the US equivalent of Porton Down - he said that the discovery of particles of anthrax in the Sun tabloid office in Boca Raton, Florida, suggested that the germ agent was released directly into the building rather than from the air.

Dr Spertzel rejected speculation that Mohammed Atta, one of the hijackers, dropped anthrax spores from a small aircraft while flying from nearby Palm Beach County Park airport. "I do not buy the theory that Atta released it a mile away because if it acted like gas it would have affected other buildings and you would not have any evidence of it today," he said.

Although the usual incubation period of anthrax is just three to five days, studies of the accidental 1979 release at Sverdlovsk in the Soviet Union show that symptoms may not develop for 30-35 days.

It it therefore impossible to determine whether the anthrax release in Florida took place before, after or at the same time as the September 11 attacks. Some have speculated that, as with other attacks, the release may have been a trial run for a larger operation. "I have heard some people say 60 days (incubation period), but I find 60 days pushing the limit," Dr Spertzel said. "But 30-35 days prior to onset of symptoms is possible."

The US has two laboratories equipped to study the DNA of anthrax spores to determine the particular strain.



[New York Post - 9 October 2001] -- An anthrax scare gripped the nation yesterday as a third employee of a supermarket tabloid was said to be exposed - and the FBI probed frightening reports of an odd e-mail from a departing intern about "a little present" that he left behind.

The FBI announced it had taken over the investigation as a possible criminal - or terrorist - attack.

Three employees of American Media, which publishes The National Enquirer and other supermarket tabloids out of Boca Raton, Fla., told The Post that the FBI wants to question a summer intern who left the company recently after sending out an e-mail to employees saying thank you and "I left you all a little present."

A top executive at the company said the intern was believed to be from Sudan and was on an exchange program at a local college.

At the time, no one thought anything of the intern's e-mail, but in the wake of the anthrax scare, employees are now concerned, they said.

The FBI is also investigating a strangely worded letter received by the company that contained a "soapy, powdery substance" in the shape of a Star of David, Newsweek has reported. The letter was handled by two of the people who contracted anthrax, the magazine said.

All employees and people who were in the building in the last 60 days were told to take antibiotics for the next two months to fight off infection. They were also asked for all their computer passwords so investigators could probe their hard drives.

One employee, 63-year-old photo editor Bob Stevens, died last week of inhalation anthrax, while a second, identified by sources as mailroom worker Ernesto Blanco, was found to have a small amount of anthrax in his nose.

David Pecker, the president of American Media, told The Post that a woman librarian at the office building already being treated for pneumonia tested positive for anthrax exposure, in addition to the other two cases.

Florida health officials said late yesterday that only two people had come into contact with the bacteria.

Health experts say it is extremely unlikely that such a transmission - two men working in separate areas in an office building - could be accidental.

"You have to really, really reach to come up with a scenario where this is unintentional," said Professor Thomas Johnson, the director of the Division of Respiratory Therapy at Long Island University.

The building where the staffers worked - which houses The Globe, The Sun, The Star, The National Enquirer, and Weekly World News - was ordered sealed yesterday.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said the Boca Raton case "could become a clear criminal investigation" as the feds dig deeper.

Officials cautioned they have no evidence to suggest a criminal or terrorist act - but they aren't taking any chances.

"We don't have enough information to know whether this could be related to terrorism or not," Ashcroft said.

Officials did not consider foul play in Stevens' death until a test swab on the nostrils of another employee, presumably Blanco, turned up the anthrax bacteria.

Officials said the mailroom worker has not contracted any symptoms of the disease - a very important and encouraging sign.

Hundreds of frightened workers lined up at a Palm Beach County health facility to get tested for the bacteria and receive antibiotics.

Part of their fear stems from news accounts that terror ringleader Mohamed Atta took flying lessons about a mile from Stevens' Lantana, Fla., home. Atta and some of the other hijackers also lived in Florida cities not far from American Media.

"To tell you the truth, I'm terrified," said Globe reporter Felicia Levine.

"We're in an area surrounded by the terrorists, and this is a coincidence? The name of our company is American Media. I'm scared." Health officials tried to reassure the company and the community, saying there was no public health threat. "The risk is low," said Dr. John Agwunobi, Florida secretary of health.

Pecker said all the publications had shifted to temporary locations in a rush to put out their next editions, which went to press yesterday. Employees were also asked to fill out questionnaires explaining how often they came into contact with the photo or mailroom areas, and if they've noticed anything unusual around the building since Sept. 11.

Meanwhile, in New York, Mayor Giuliani said there's no reason to fear an outbreak - but that area hospitals are on the lookout for possible symptoms. "Given the events of the last four weeks, we now monitor that even more carefully," he said.

Comment on these article(s)

October 2001


Bio and Nuclear Threats Escalate As Purposeful Leaks Proliferate to Mass Media
(October 26, 2001)
The timing of newsstories like this in the major Western media should be suspect now more than ever. For more than ever in fact governments and intelligence agencies are using the mass media by leaking things at times of convenience and more importantly with their own twists and turns.

"Stop Israel!" Pleads Israeli Professor
(October 26, 2001)
One Israeli, not invited by the naive and misguided American Jewish "liberals" to the USA, speaks up from Israel with tremendous courage and conviction. Her name is Tanya Reinhart and she deserves to be taken very seriously -- though far too many don't even know about her.

"Palestinian Statehood" - Another Grotesque Deception Unfolds
(October 25, 2001)
The political smokescreens are lifting a bit as the pressures build to go beyond mere words, yet at the same time a purposeful distorting haze is taking over. Bottom line: the kind of "Palestinian State" Yasser Arafat has maneuvered his people toward and is being cornered into implementing is a grotesque distortion of their aspirations and of what use to be meant by the term "Palestinian State."

"A Pen Bought And Sold" - A Saudi Poem Revisited - MER FlashBack
(October 21, 2001)
Change comes in the Middle East, as elsewhere, in complex ways. There is the regular daily news of course; and in the region especially it is inextricably intertwined with an ever-more-sophisticated and propagandistic journalistic establishment.

(October 24, 2001)
Both of the Georges are oh so full of themselves cocky -- just the personality type so many American's truly love. One is (to the amazement of many who wonder how in the world the U.S. chooses such persons to lead it) the President of the United States.

Massacres and Devastation Escalate Further In Palestine
(October 24, 2001)
The Palestinians are essentially defenseless with their backs up against the wall, the firing wall. Their "leadership" has been so corrupted and infiltrated that the Arafat regime has hardly any credibility with its own, not to mention anyone else.

Torture Now Coming to USA?
(October 22, 2001)
Adopting the tactics (as well as the goals) of the Israelis, and the methods long taught by the CIA in Latin America as well as the Middle East, the brave new world post 11 September is changing the face of the American homeland in ways nearly all Americans would have seriously resisted just a few long weeks ago.

Millions Likely To Die in Afghanistan U.N. Warns
(October 21, 2001)
As for Afghanistan, the American CIA worked behind the scenes to bring on the Soviet invasion of 1979, then engaged the Soviet Empire in a way that brought about the near-total devastation of Afghanistan and a huge uncounted death toll.

It's "New Imperialism" says leading British MP
(October 21, 2001)
Much pressure is building at the United Nations to not open itself to still more charges of being complicitous in "genocide", not to mention to do something to stop being seen as "an extension of the American State Department" (the actual private words of a senior U.N. official).

"Comply! Resistance Is Futile!"
(October 20, 2001)
British MP (Member of Parliament) George Galloway calls it the "new imperialism" (his article coming later today). On the whole the Anglo-British press is working up quite a frenzy (with notable exceptions like The Guardian and The Independent in the UK, sometimes The Nation in the U.S.).

The "Arafat Era" Collapsing or About To Be Reborn?
(October 20, 2001)
Yasser Arafat is losing both his grip on power (extended to him by the Israelis and the Americans for the past decade since the Gulf War) and his credibility (with his own people) at the same time.

The Coming Arab Crash
(October 19, 2001)
The west's most important friends in the Arab Middle East - Fahd of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah of Jordan, Mubarak of Egypt and the PLO's Yasser Arafat - are probably the world's most vulnerable political quartet.

Saudi Amb Bandar Badly Fails, Saudi Royals in Paralysis, US Relations in Doubt
(October 19, 2001)
Prince Bandar bin Sultan's 20+ year strategy has now substantially failed. Years ago, very much behind-the-scenes of course, the very controversial and in some circles much despised Saudi Ambassador in Washington began a relationship with the some of the most conservative and militant circles in Washington, very much including those associated with the powerful Israeli/Jewish lobby.

Worse Than Worthless Wartime "Promises"
(October 18, 2001)
The list of broken and disingenuous "promises" made to the Arabs by Western political leaders is something befitting a "Saturday Night Live" parody skit -- if only they would dare!

"New Era" Says Sharon Reacting In Character to "Gandhi" Assassination
(October 17, 2001)
He had called the Palestinians "lice" and "vermin" and "cancer", and he had urged their "transfer" or "extermination". Just Monday he has tendered his resignation as Minister of Tourism, insisting that Ariel Sharon was being too moderate and too compromising.

(October 17, 2001)
As for the British, what's going on in both Palestine and Kashmir, the two most likely potential nuclear flashpoints in our world today, can be traced back directly to what the British did in these areas when they were the "Empire"

(October 17, 2001)
For some time now Palestinians have been warning that because of Israel's assassination of Palestinian leaders, "crossing the red line" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they would respond.

Red Cross Bombed in Kabul Before Presidential Red Cross Visit in Washington
(October 16, 2001)
You gotta love the chutzpa of the Americans. Today the President went a few blocks from the White House to the Headquarters of the American Red Cross -- a little photo op designed to further enlist "the children of America" in his recently announced effort to help the children of Afghanistan. But just as President Bush was getting ready to do his Red Cross pictures reports came in from Afghanistan that the major Red Cross center in Kabul, complete with large Red Cross emblem on its roof, was destroyed by American bombs.

Saudi/U.S. "Meltdown"? And Neutralizing Al Jazeera With A Firm Embrace
(October 16, 2001)
While American and British officials rush to make one TV appearance after another with continual reassurances everything is going "as planned", that's not quite the reality of the situation as this article in today's Guardian makes quite evident.

What Can We Do About Terrorism? by Lt. Col Robert M. Bowman (ret)
(October 15, 2001)
"Mr. President, you did not tell the American people the truth about why we are the targets of terrorism. You said that we are the target because we stand for democracy, freedom, and human rights in the world. Baloney! We are the target of terrorists because we stand for dictatorship, bondage, and human exploitation in the world."

Pentagon Far More Confused and Uncertain Than Americans Realize
(October 15, 2001)
The Bush administration is growing increasingly alarmed by the direction of the military campaign in Afghanistan after a week of almost continuous bombing has failed to dislodge either Osama bin Laden or the Taliban leadership.

Al-Qaeda Weekend Statement
(October 15, 2001)
This isn't really about "secret messages". Anyone with a $300 satellite dish can watch the statements in full, in Arabic, on al Jazeera; and the text is widely available on the Internet, in this case from London and the BBC!

Hundreds Dead in Nigeria
(October 14, 2001)
Hundreds of people have been killed in religious clashes after anti-U.S. protests turned violent, sources have told CNN. The demonstrations against the U.S.-led missile strikes on Afghanistan began peacefully on Friday but spiralled into a killing spree during Saturday, CNN's Lagos bureau chief Jeff Koinange said.

akistan's Benazir Opens Campaign in Washington as Pakistan Trembles Anarchy
(October 14, 2001)
Benazir Bhutto came to Washington this week to open her campaign for a third term as Prime Minister of the world's second largest, and only nuclear armed, Muslim State -- her first two terms she was overthrown, political and financial corruption was rampant, and her arranged husband remains in a Karachi prison.

Iraq Likely To Be Next "Phase"
(October 14, 2001)
A powerful coalition of "hawkish" government officials, lobbyists (especially those connected with the Israelis and the arms corporations), conservative press publications and columnists, many of the national Jewish organizations, as well as millions of Christian fundamentalists associated with Pat Robertson and his daily TV "700 Club" program, is mobilized to make sure that "America's new war" does not end with Afghanistan and al-Qaeda.

Saudi Royals Bugged, Embarrassed, Unstable
(October 13, 2001)
The following information is about to come out in THE NEW YORKER MAGAZINE on Monday and is being leaked in Washington this weekend to stir up interest and try to get publicity for the magazine and author on the Sunday talk shows tomorrow.

Attacks and Demonstrations Escalating in Arab and Muslim Countries
(October 13, 2001)
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in various cities in the Middle East to protest the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan. Many more thronged to mosques for Friday prayers throughout the region and heard anti-American sermons.

Western Commando Forces Getting Ready
(October 13, 2001)
This article in The Telegraph today is a good outline of what now seems likely to be immediately ahead in Afghanistan, pushed forward by weather considerations as well as by current expectations that American-sponsored key governments in Pakistan, Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, as well as the Arafat Regime, will all be able to weather the political storms with much expanded and mostly covert continual help from the western governments and intelligence services.

"War of the Worlds" by Mark Bruzonsky
(October 11, 2001)
In the case of America's new war, the full might of the USA is being mobilized not against the armies of other nation states, but against the fanatical descendants of a puritanical militant Islam whose calling has become relentless opposition to American hegemony and passionate assertion of their own quaintly medieval religious constructs.

Arafat Begs Israelis To Save Him
(October 10, 2001)
It's a most complicated political dance than ever at this historical crossroads. But bottom line Yasser Arafat and his regime have now, even more than before, thrown their future to the Israelis and the now omnipresent CIA...

Uri Avneri - Fronting for Arafat and for a Castrated "Palestinian State"
(October 10, 2001)
The Israeli writer and activist Uri Avneri is "on tour" in the USA on his way to Washington. It shouldn't come as a surprise that a few naive or on- the-take "peace groups" -- Jewish and otherwise -- have invited him to speak.

After Afghanistan, U.S. has Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine in its Sights
(October 10, 2001)
In this case there should be no one saying down the road that they didn't know what was being planned. The Americans have said publicly and in many different ways right from the start of this "new war" that it wasn't going to end with Osama bin Laden, with the Taliban government, or with Afghanistan.

The "Palestinian State" Charade
(October 9, 2001)
Most of the Arab regimes, including that of Yasser Arafat, have proved themselves so co-opted and so gullible over the years that you can't blame the Americans for continuing to try their little tricks and deceptions -- just look how well, at least from their point-of-view, such things have worked in the past..

Anthrax Terrorism Now Likely
(October 9, 2001)
Federal officials suspect foul play rather than an environmental source is at the root of two Florida anthrax cases that have left one man dead and hundreds of co-workers lining up for medical tests.

Biological Attack? Inept or Demonstration?
(October 9, 2001)
Is someone sending a message that they can do it, a kind of primative, and deadly, deterrence attempt to try to protect themselves? Might this be an "inept attack" as today's TIMES in London suggests in its headline? As the third case of Anthrax in Florida is reported this morning, something seems to be up as the following reports indicate.

Bush versus bin Laden - Syria Elected to Security Council
(October 8, 2001)
It's all quite amazing really, President George W. Bush versus Osama bin Laden. On the one hand you have the most powerful man in the world commanding the full might of not only the world's only superpower but a whole entourage of Western European allies, the new Russia, and to a considerable extent at least behind-the-scenes many Arab and Muslim "client regimes".

Arafat's Army Opens Fire On Its Own - More Anthrax in Florida?
(October 8, 2001)
The Palestinian leadership rushed to distance itself Monday from Osama bin Laden while its police forces opened fire on university students protesting the U.S.-led military strikes on Afghanistan.

FBI Knocked...He's Not Home But You Can Find Him at the White House
(October 8, 2001)
Now the world will become much more confusing and dangerous, and the opponents of the American Empire will obviously be forced even deeper underground -- both literally and figuratively -- becoming even more insular and isolated among themselves leading to who knows what kind of future blowback.

US Journalist Warns: "Do not try to change the government in Afghanistan!"
(October 7, 2001)
Late friday evening one of the leading American journalists who is an expert on the Middle East and Islamic affairs was asked a question on CNN to which she immediately briefly answered...and that was more was asked or answered.

"Our Friends are Killers, Crooks and Torturers"
(October 7, 2001)
Surely the British Prime Minister should know better than to try to simplify such a complex world we live in to that understandable by a third-grader. If not we have a little weekend reading Mr. Blair should be doing, starting in one of his own newspapers which we surely hope, especially now, he can find a few moments to read on a regular basis, The Independent.

History Corrected - U.S. Wanted Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
(October 6, 2001)
The world believes that there was an invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union on 24 December 1979 and then, in response, the U.S. and Muslim countries rallied to help Afghanistan repel the invaders. Wrong...just as so much of the widely accepted history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the actual realities of U.S. involvements in the Middle East are wrong because of the manipulation of history by various governments and intelligence agencies -- most especially the U.S. and Israel, the CIA and the Mossad.

(October 6, 2001)
"Could it be that the stygian anger that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American freedom and democracy, but in the US government's record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite things - to military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide (outside America)?"

(October 5, 2001)
The government in Afghanistan, popularly known as The Taliban, has finally taken what could be a significant step. Just hours ago through its official representative in Pakistan the Afghan government has publicly offered to turn Osama bin Laden over...not to the United States, but to another Islamic country.

(October 5, 2001)
"The women in the audience -- academics, union members, mental health workers and advocates for female inmates, embraced her anti-American rhetoric, repeatedly interrupting her with cheers and standing ovations."

(October 5, 2001)
Now we know that a few years ago, when President Bill Clinton was meeting privately one-on-one with the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, the U.S. "hired" the agents of the infamous Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) to assassinate Osama bin Laden.

(October 3, 2001)
The United States and Britain yesterday called off military strikes against terrorist targets in Afghanistan at the last minute. Washington officials say today that a severe attack of last-minute cold feet by some key Arab members of the coalition caused President Bush to postpone the operation.

(October 3, 2001)
Osama bin Laden, arch nemesis of America today, is blowback from recent history -- the Gulf war, the permanent stationing of American forces in Arabia, and other American policies in the region, including the deceptive "peace process" fronting for Israel's brutal subjugation of the Palestinians.

(October 3, 2001)
The American Secretary of Defense is rushing to the Middle East, goal #1 to try one more time to "convince" the Saudis that Prince Sultan Airbase and its super-modern regional control center -- just completed in fact during the summer at a cost of many billions -- is needed for the new war.

(October 2, 2001)
"Drafted with a small coterie of loyal aides, mainly civilian political appointees at the Pentagon, the plans argue for open-ended war without constraint either of time or geography and potentially engulfing the entire Middle East and central Asia... The plans put before the President during the past few days involve expanding the war beyond Afghanistan to include similar incursions by special ops forces - followed by air strikes by the bombers they would guide - into Iraq, Syria and the Beqaa Valley area of Lebanon, where the Syrian-backed Hizbollah (Party of God) fighters that harass Israel are based."

(October 2, 2001)
Anyone with an ear tuned to Washington's politicians, lobbyists, and opinion molders can hear it quite loudly and clearly at this point. After taking down Osama bin Laden's al Queda network (said to be in some 50+ countries), after changing the government in Afghanistan, the American-led crusade (now more politely known by Colin Powell's term "campaign") will attempt to march on through the Middle East, next stop Baghdad.

(October 2, 2001)
It took them who intially talked of "crusade" nearly three weeks to figure out that all the "coalition building" wasn't going nearly as well as they keep saying in public and that doing something about all the Israeli oppression and "terrorism" against the essentially imprisoned Palestinian population would be a good idea in the post 11 September world and before the bombs start falling on Muslims here and there.

(October 1, 2001)
The situation is now so tense in Israel in dealing with the "Palestinian Authority" -- which it should be remembered the Israelis themselves created just a few years ago -- that Shimon Peres is getting more and more desperate.

(October 1, 2001)
The Palestinian opposition is usually very weak and confused. Had that not been the case for some time now Yasser Arafat would never have been able to do the things he has done for so long now, especially since the Gulf War; nor would Arafat have have been able to retain power these past few traumatic years, however weakened himself at this point.

(October 1, 2001)
Yes, it will be very interesting to see if and how Noam Chomsky answers the at first blush surprising attacks from Christopher Hitchens, who has now not only endorsed the new war but also at least parts of the "New World Order" that underpins it.

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