Deze post is een beetje anders dan een traditionele "Boeknotities"-post, maar eerder een combinatie van een normale boeknotities post en een nieuwsartikel. Het onderwerp zijn de aanvallen met anthrax die volgden de dagen en weken na 9/11. Over deze anthrax-aanvallen is eigenlijk weinig bekend. Nadat ze plotseling ophielden, viel eveneens de mediabelangstelling plotsklaps weg. Een echt onderzoek is er nooit naar gevoerd en ook de 9/11 Commissie zwijgt er grotendeels over.
Vooreerst beschrijft MacQueen hoe de aanvallen precies in zijn werk gingen:
The anthrax attacks of 2001 began in September, shortly after the events of 9/11. Victims of the attacks were identified between October 3 and November 20. At least 22 people were thought to have become infected, 11 with cutaneous anthrax and 11 with inhalation anthrax. All instances of the disease appear to have been caused by letters containing dried spores of the bacteria sent through the public mail. Two of those who died were postal workers. The five people known to have died from anthrax (all from the inhalation form of the disease) were Robert Stevens, a Florida photo editor (died Oct. 5); Thomas Morris Jr., a postal worker at a mail sorting facility in Washington, D.C. (died Oct. 21); Joseph Curseen Jr., a postal worker at the same facility as Thomas Morris Jr. (died Oct. 22); Kathy Nguyen, a hospital employee in New York City (died Oct. 31); and Ottilie Lundgren, an elderly woman living in a small town in Connecticut (died Nov. 21). The first letters to be recovered containing spores of B. anthracis were postmarked on September 18 in Princeton, New Jersey. Letters apparently sent at this time went to the following media corporations: NBC News, the New York Post, CBS News, ABC News, and the Sun (or possibly its sister publication, the National Enquirer). Infections were induced in all of these places. During this same period bio-threat letters containing messages and powder but no genuine anthrax were also sent to news media. Beginning on approximately September 22, skin lesions began to develop in one or more persons at each of these news locations, but the illness was not yet diagnosed as anthrax. Robert Stevens’ illness was the first to be correctly diagnosed. Stevens was admitted to the hospital with an undiagnosed illness on October 2. His disease was diagnosed as anthrax on October 3 and a press conference was held announcing this on October 4. He died on October 5. Robert Stevens is exceptionally important in the history of the anthrax attacks not only because he was the first to die of the disease but also because no one, in the public or even the U.S. intelligence community, is supposed to have known that B. anthracis was in play before his diagnosis. That is, according to the FBI, no one except the perpetrators knew before Oct. 3, 2001 that the attacks were in progress.
At some point between October 6 and October 8, letters containing a more highly refined and lethal preparation of B. anthracis were sent to Democratic Senators Thomas Daschle and Patrick Leahy. Daschle’s letter was opened and studied by the FBI on October 15. This single letter contaminated the Hart Senate Building, leading to the closure of the building and to numerous confirmed anthrax exposures. The Leahy letter was buried in mail that was sequestered after the discovery of the Daschle letter, so it was not discovered for some time.
Vooraleer verder op de aanvallen in te gaan, moeten we eerst een stap terug zetten en het over 9/11 zelf hebben en hoe met die aanvallen - die duidelijk gelinkt zijn met de anthraxterreur (in feite moeten beide aanvallen als één geheel worden gezien zoals overtuigend wordt betoogd door Lance deHaven-Smith) - door de autoriteiten werd omgegaan. Dit is hoe MacQueen het beschrijft:
When Osama Bin Laden was accused of the deed by the U.S. government, they offered at various times to hand him over for trial if the U.S. would supply some evidence of his guilt. From the perspective of law this was an entirely reasonable request. No credible evidence had been presented. Bin Laden had not been formally charged with the crime by the FBI (nor, for that matter, would he ever be charged for the crime of 9/11). But on September 12 Bush publicly defined the 9/11 events as acts of war: “The deliberate and deadly attacks which were carried out yesterday against our country were more than acts of terror, they were acts of war.”10 The Bush administration had by this time already decided that war, not law, would be the framework used to deal with 9/11.
Bush did not even acknowledge the Taliban request for evidence as what it was. Instead, operating entirely within the discourse of war, he referred to Taliban requests as pleas for “negotiation,” which he then declined. Secretary of State Colin Powell stated that the U.S. would soon be presenting, for the edification of the world, a document detailing evidence of Bin Laden’s guilt. When no such document was produced, the government of the United Kingdom stepped forward.
The British document of October 4 was, however, astonishingly weak. The preamble noted that, “this document does not purport to provide a prosecutable case against Osama Bin Laden in a court of law” even as it was purporting to provide something of much greater import: a casus belli. Indeed, the document consisted mainly of unverifiable claims from intelligence agencies, the evidence seldom rising to the level of circumstantial. Anthony Scrivener, Q.C., noted in The Times that, “it is a sobering thought that better evidence is required to prosecute a shoplifter than is needed to commence a world war.” A familiar band of conservatives and neoconservatives rapidly made the point that since the attacks were an act of war, the U.S. must wage war in response. Henry Kissinger was among the first to make the point in writing. At about 9 p.m. on September 11 his article was posted online at the Washington Post site, and it showed up in print on September 12. Evoking Pearl Harbor, Kissinger made it clear that treating the attacks as a police matter was not good enough.
Robert Kagan, one of the founders of the neoconservative Project for the New American Century, began his article with another evocation of Pearl Harbor (“Sept. 11, 2001—the date that will live in infamy . . .” ) and then said that Americans must respond as did their grandfathers:
is it not odd that all these intellectuals would risk urging such extreme actions against the wrong party? They were, after all, speaking in the absence of credible evidence. What if different perpetrators were shortly to be discovered or their identities were clarified by subsequent assaults on the U.S.? Why take the chance of losing your credibility by going after those who might very shortly turn out to be the wrong people? Were these accusers all simpletons, or were they parties, knowingly or not, to a plan that preceded 9/11? That they may have shared a predilection for accusing Muslims (whether Muslims were complicit or not) is not so surprising; that they united in calling for war as the appropriate response should give pause.
On September 12 Bush had met with Congressional leaders to explain the need for a resolution that would allow him to use force.22 Democratic Senator Tom Daschle indicated at that meeting that he was willing to step up and propose the bill to Congress. Since he was Senate Majority Leader that virtually guaranteed its acceptance. He did not, however, write the text of the bill: it was forwarded to him by the White House that evening. Despite his eagerness to be of help, Daschle was taken aback by the breadth of the resolution. It was not a full-fledged declaration of war but it gave the President of the United States extraordinary power and breadth of action.
After Daschle had managed, through his revisions, to restrict permission for future aggression by keeping the focus more tightly on the September 11 events. But the resolution still had two profoundly important implications beyond the obvious facilitation of an attack on Afghanistan. First, this resolution arguably (not everyone agreed) let Bush assume the role of Commander-in-Chief, and that meant he would now be able to use his new special powers in ways that could have profound effects domestically. This, as we shall see, is what he immediately began to do. Second, there were crucial epistemic implications—implications having to do with knowledge and the validation of knowledge—of this resolution. The resolution gave Bush the right to determine matters of fact
in relation to the events of 9/11: he got to say who planned, carried out, and so forth, the 9/11 attacks. Although he could call on U.S. intelligence agencies to help him, there was no requirement that their methods meet the standards of a legal process. George Bush could have determined that the Tooth Fairy was responsible for 9/11 and still have met the conditions of the resolution. This was a fatal mistake on the part of Congress.
Polls soon confirmed Daschle’s observations. A sense of national unity and pride increased, support for the executive dramatically climbed, and citizens confirmed a willingness to surrender some of their civil liberties as part of the sacrifice that seemed demanded of them. From that violent day in September until the anthrax attacks were finished, there was no time when Congress was able to feel safe. After 9/11 the Capitol was closed to the public and “surrounded by yellow police tape and concrete barriers.” The danger of further violent incidents, especially directed at Congress, became a major media theme during the remainder of the fall.
En toen begonnen de anthrax-aanvallen exclusief gericht op de Senaat (en niet het Huis van Afgevaardigden) en enkel twee Democratische senatoren (en geen Republikeinen). MacQueen:
There is no mystery as to why the Senate was targeted rather than the House of Representatives. In the House the Republicans had a comfortable majority. It was almost impossible for the Patriot Act to fail in the House. But the Senate, through a number of accidents, had ended up with a Democratic majority. It was a majority of one, but still a majority. If Democrats decided to reject the bill, and if they voted as a bloc, the bill would fail. The Senate vote was essential: both chambers had to pass the bill before it could become law.
The question of why these two senators were targeted is only slightly more complicated. Tom Daschle (Democrat, South Dakota) was Senate Majority Leader. In his role as, arguably, the most powerful Democrat in the Senate, Daschle would have been expected to help direct debate in the Senate and to establish a timetable for the discussion and passing of the new legislation supposedly crafted to deal with terrorism. During this process he would also be expected to consult with both the opposition party and members of the executive.37 Given the Democratic majority in the Senate, he was crucial to the passing of the new legislation. Patrick Leahy
(Democrat, Vermont) was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This committee is a standing committee of the Senate, which has as one of its mandated duties the consideration of all legislation relating to civil liberties.38 Leahy’s committee was only one of several that reviewed the proposed Patriot Act, but it was the most important given the direct relationship of the legislation to civil liberties. In fact, Leahy played a central role throughout the discussion and refinement of the bill.
Recall that Daschle felt an overwhelming sense of the unity of the American people after the 9/11 attacks. He was the one who willingly proposed the crucial resolution on the use of force on September 14 that began the process of handing over power to the executive. Reading accounts of these events today, we do not readily conclude that Daschle was an obstreperous figure needing a lethal threat. Similar things can be said about Mr. Leahy. He believed in the necessity of the Patriot Act and he worked day and night, in consultations with John Ashcroft and other members of the executive, to refine the legislation so that it could be passed with as little delay as possible.
Monday, September 17, Attorney General John Ashcroft first publicly announced he would be sending an “antiterrorism” proposal to Congress. He made it clear at that time that he wanted it enacted with blazing speed: “we will be working diligently over the next day or maybe two to finalize this comprehensive proposal, and we will call upon the Congress of the United States to enact these important antiterrorism measures this week.” If Daschle had been shocked by the draft of the use of force proposal that he received on September 12, he was now shocked again. Ashcroft’s draft of the Patriot Act was, it turned out, not even presented to Congress until Wednesday, September 19. Was Congress really supposed to pass this complex, lengthy and extremely important legislation between Wednesday the 19th and Friday the 21st with no significant review whatsoever?
This request went too far. Leahy, wanting to cooperate but unwilling to see Congress “rubber-stamp the antiterrorism proposals” said that “[i]f the Constitution is shredded, the terrorists win.” He added that he would work hard over the weekend and, with luck, be prepared to have a more acceptable draft ready by Tuesday, September 25, at which time his committee would hold hearings on the bill. Leahy’s tone was positive. He said, according to the Washington Post (September 20), that he hoped “that Congress could send the anti-terrorism measure to President Bush within a few weeks—an expedited schedule that reflects the continuing sense of
national emergency.” “A few weeks” was, indeed, a greatly accelerated schedule, but it was not sufficiently accelerated for the Bush administration.
In een opvallende parallel met de "strategie of tension"-operaties van de stay-behind-netwerken rond Gladio kwam in de V.S. rond deze periode een "atmosphere of tension" tot stand:
Meanwhile, opposition to the bill was rapidly growing, both inside Congress and among a broad variety of civil society groups concerned about the proposed inroads on civil liberties. But the administration kept up the pressure. In an important September 20 speech Bush took the opportunity to mention the importance of the new legislation. By September 22 rumors of biological terrorism had begun to spread in the mass media, and shortly thereafter the rumors included suggestions that al-Qaeda might conduct mass attacks with crop-dusting planes. This added to the atmosphere of tension.
The rumors of biological attacks continued to spread over the next few days. A front page article in The New York Times on September 30 was entitled, “Some Experts Say U.S. Is Vulnerable To a Germ Attack.” Anthrax was mentioned as a worry. In truth, anthrax letters were at that time already in circulation, but, according to the official account, no one but the perpetrators knew about them. Indeed, on September 30 a major administration offensive began, with the aim of putting pressure on Congress to meet Cheney’s new deadline of October 5. Among members of the executive branch stepping forward were Attorney General John Ashcroft, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson. Ashcroft, appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation, referred to the “likelihood of additional terrorist activity,” and he made it clear that the terrorist activity could be expected to come from the same sources as the 9/11 attacks: “It’s very unlikely that all of those associated with the attacks of Sept. 11 are now detained or have been detected.” Card said that “terrorist organizations, like al Qaeda . . . have probably found the means to use biological or chemical warfare.” Rumsfeld stated that terrorists could be equipped by their state sponsors with weapons of mass destruction. Tommy Thompson tried to strike a less
distressing note, reassuring viewers on CBS’s 60 Minutes, “that we’re prepared to take care of any contingency, any consequence that develops for any kind of bioterrorism attack.”
(T)he same day as this administration offensive, September 30, photo editor Robert Stevens, on vacation, came down with “flu-like symptoms” and crawled into the backseat of his car to rest, letting his wife take the wheel. He had inhalation anthrax. His illness would be diagnosed on October 3 and he would die on October 5. The press had carried articles throughout this period about biological attacks and anthrax. On September 28, for example, Rick Weiss of the Washington Post had written of the need to make an anthrax vaccine available to the public. Clinics across the country, he explained, were being swamped with requests for the vaccine. It is in this context that Leahy and Daschle’s actions of October 2 must be understood. On that day it was determined that the administration’s October 5 deadline would not be met. Both senators were directly implicated in the delay.
In other words, the October 5 deadline would not be met. Leahy and Daschle were the only Democratic senators mentioned in the article. Although this small act of resistance may seem trivial to us today, Republican senator Orrin Hatch, supporting the administration, noted at the time: “It’s a very dangerous thing.”60 Apparently it was, indeed, a very dangerous thing. Shortly after the October 5 deadline passed with no enactment of the bill, letters containing anthrax spores were sent to Senators Leahy and Daschle. These letters were put in the mail sometime between October 6 and 9.61 It could be argued that mailing letters to the two senators was unnecessary since a compromise had been worked out on October 3-4.62 But the executive was not seeking a compromise with this or that committee or with a few Democrats: it wanted the bill voted on and enacted without further delay. As it happened, the vote approving the bill in Senate did not take place until October 11, directly after the previously mentioned FBI warning. Even then, the legislation was not secure. The House and the Senate had passed different versions of the bill. The two had to be harmonized, and two separate votes needed to be held on the final version. Only then could Bush sign the final bill into law. The process did not
come to a conclusion until October 26 and in the interim Congress would not be permitted to feel secure.
Maar de "terroristen" maakten enkele fouten:
The perpetrators of the anthrax attacks, in attempting to set up al-Qaeda and Iraq as the Double Perpetrator, made several mistakes. The first mistake had to do with the type of anthrax used in all of the letters, the Ames strain. (A “strain” is a genetic subtype of a bacterium.) Originally isolated from a cow in Texas—called the Ames strain because it was mistakenly thought to have originated in Ames, Iowa— this type of anthrax was more common in U.S. labs than elsewhere. It was central to U.S. military work on anthrax and it certainly did not point in the direction of al-Qaeda or Iraq. But how could the perpetrators have been so ill-advised as to use
this strain when they could, presumably, have used others more likely to implicate Iraq?
It was widely believed, even by microbiologists well acquainted with anthrax, that the Ames strain had become so broadly dispersed throughout laboratories across the world that this identification would not say much about the origin of the samples in the letters—or otherwise put, could easily be used to implicate Iraq. The perpetrators may have shared this misconception.
Eventually, the FBI drew up a detailed list of laboratories around the world that were known to have the Ames strain: neither Iraq nor al-Qaeda was on that list. According to the Bureau, only 15 U.S. laboratories and three foreign labs possessed the Ames strain.
Another possible reason for use of the Ames strain by the perpetrators was that they intended from the outset to frame one or more persons within the U.S. microbiology community. If such parties could have been credibly connected to the Ames strain and portrayed as acting on behalf of Iraq, they would have been good candidates for framing. Ayaad Assaad, a scientist who apparently had been subjected to racial harassment while working for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), could have been that candidate. He had worked for USAMRIID until 1997. On October 2, 2001 the FBI received a letter (postmarked on September 26) calling Assaad “a potential biological terrorist.” It is difficult to believe that this was a coincidence given that the attacks were underway but not yet made public. The FBI interviewed Assaad on October 3 but decided for reasons unknown to us not to follow this lead.
Another mistake made by the perpetrators had to do with the weaponization of the attack spores. By the time the perpetrators targeted the two U.S. senators they were employing extremely sophisticated anthrax spores. It was clear that this was exceptionally lethal material that had undergone considerable modification from its natural state. The spores dispersed quickly and widely, threatening far more lives than would anthrax spores in their natural state. Tom Daschle has remarked on this feature of the spores in his memoirs: “The researchers were stunned to confirm not only the high aerosolizability of this anthrax, but its ability to reaerosolize so readily a month after the original spill.” He has also confirmed that scientists at USAMRIID who studied the elusive,
aerosolized material “had trouble keeping it under the microscope long enough to examine it.”
On October 24 and 25 the tension was building. The FBI was now reported as saying privately that it suspected the source of the spores was domestic. The White House, as well as many in Congress, was said to still lean toward al-Qaeda, but it was obvious the proponents of the domestic perpetrator hypothesis were growing more outspoken. Meanwhile, the White House was said to be backing off its accusations against Iraq. But this retreat from Iraqi provenance caused its own difficulties because the anthrax, being sophisticated, could not have been produced by al-Qaeda. The discovery that there was an aerosolizing additive in the spores, announced on October 25, brought matters to a
head. Only three countries in the world were now said to have the capability of producing this anthrax: the former Soviet Union, the United States, and Iraq. While this opened up an opportunity for the get-Iraq group, it also had grave risks. Some experts were already saying that the U.S. was the leading contender as producer of these spore preparations.
Suddenly, the White House began retreating not only from the Iraq hypothesis but also from the al-Qaeda hypothesis. Ari Fleischer, making an about-face, said on October 26 that, in the words of the Washington Post, “a skilled microbiologist and a small sophisticated lab would be capable of producing” the Daschle anthrax. Readers of the Washington Post were now told a disagreement had developed between the Bush administration and a separate party, of which James Woolsey was a representative, that wanted Iraq to remain the chief suspect as source of the spores.
But the bentonite did not exist. On November 1, Ross was forced to inform his audience that further tests had ruled out bentonite. Significantly, it was the White House that contradicted Ross’s bentonite claim and that appears to have made him back down. The takeaway is that Ross’s sources— and this applies as well to one of his 2002 tales discussed in the next chapter—remained determined to frame Iraq even after the White House had been persuaded to give it up and was moving on to the lone wolf theory.
The final major mistake the perpetrators made was the crude forging of letters from Muslim extremists. Although the FBI initially seemed to be moving, after reading the Daschle letter, in the direction of al-Qaeda, the Bureau soon turned in the opposite direction. The letters were an embarrassment. It was as if someone had tried to frame Native Americans for the crime by inserting a note in the letters announcing, “White man in heap big trouble.”
Pas in 2008 leek de FBI de dader gevonden te hebben:
In 2008 the Bureau decided the “anthrax killer” was Dr. Bruce Ivins, who had been working on an anthrax vaccine at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick in Maryland. This time the FBI faced no serious challenge from its chosen perpetrator because Ivins died shortly before he was to be charged with the crime. He was said to have committed suicide.61 If he took his life—a likelihood given his mental instability and the extent of FBI harassment and pressure—the FBI must bear some responsibility. Iin 2010 the Department of Justice (DOJ) formally closed the case, affirming Ivins’ guilt.
Of toch niet?
But the case against Ivins was subjected to serious critique from the beginning. On October 2, 2009, attorney Barry Kissin, responding to an invitation by one of Congressman Rush Holt’s aides, submitted a detailed and historically important memo to Mr. Holt’s office on the anthrax attacks and the associated cover-up. In his submission Kissin showed that the anthrax spores, clearly from a domestic source, had been subjected to sophisticated processes that would have been impossible for a lone wolf perpetrator to perform. He pointed out that the domestic U.S. anthrax program had gone underground when Nixon ordered destruction of biological weapons materials in 1969 but that during the late 1990s the CIA was directly involved in the development of both weaponized anthrax and the means of delivering it as a weapon. Because of these clandestine programs, he argued, the U.S. military- industrial complex possessed, prior to the anthrax attacks, all the elements essential for the attacks. These elements included: the Ames strain of anthrax; methods of refining the spores to achieve the right size and uniformity for maximum lethality; and a method of promoting dispersibility through the addition of silicon to the spores. Kissin referred as well to domestic studies relevant to sending the attack spores through the mail: In 1999, William Patrick, the original inventor of anthrax weaponization, was commissioned to do an analysis of a hypothetical anthrax attack through the mail for the CIA.
(T)he NAS committee’s findings dramatically weakened an already weak case. The committee found that the method used by FBI scientists was inadequate to support the conclusions drawn. The committee said the anthrax in the mailings could have derived from what was in Ivins flask, after one or more intermediate stages of culturing, but the anthrax spores in the mailings could have come from a different source altogether. The committee said the evidence was simply inconclusive. The NAS committee thus removed the main pillar in the case against Ivins.
What, then, is the state of the DOJ’s case against Ivins today? The official position of the Department and its investigative agency, the FBI, is that Ivins was the anthrax killer. The case is closed. But not only have many scientists expressed skepticism, so have several important elected officials. The fact that these doubts are discussed openly in the mainstream media indicates that the standing of the DOJ’s case in the courts of expert and public opinion is extremely low. The much discussed “600,000 investigator work hours” and “in excess of 10,000 witness interviews” that the FBI claims to have invested in this case have resulted, 13 years after the attacks, in a case without credibility.
Kortom, bijna twintig jaar na de aanvallen weten we eigenlijk nog altijd niet wie de daders waren, al lijkt het vast te staan dat het niet Irak of al-Qaeda was. De anthrax-aanvallen kwam zeer waarschijnlijk vanuit de Verenigde Staten zelf. In dit licht moeten er nog een aantal bijkomende anomalieën, opgemerkt door Greame MacQueen, verder worden onderzocht. Zo was er het merkwaardig voorval dat op 11 september zelf een vaccin tegen de Ames-variant van Anthrax die werd gebruikt, verdeeld werd onder de bewoners van het Witte Huis:
(It) eventually came out that some White House staff had been put on Cipro on September 11, 2001.11 In 2002, the public interest group Judicial Watch filed a series of lawsuits against U.S. government agencies: In October, press reports revealed that White House staff had been on a regimen of the powerful antibiotic Cipro since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Judicial Watch wants to know why White House workers, including President Bush, began taking the drug nearly a month before anthrax was detected on Capitol Hill. The decision to put White House staff, including George Bush and Richard Cheney, on Cipro on September 11 led to embarrassing evasions. Mr. Bush was, it seems, unwilling to tell the public he and others were on Cipro.
Een andere toevalligheid voltrekt zich rond de door van Robert Stevens, een slachtoffers van de aanvallen:
(T)he death of Robert Stevens took place in Florida, where John Ellis Bush, (“Jeb”), the younger brother of George W. Bush, was governor. Florida’s new incident commander, appointed by Jeb Bush with responsibilities for managing events in case of a terrorist attack, met with “the chief of Florida’s Department of Health to confirm contingency plans in the event of a biological attack” one week before Stevens was admitted to the hospital. “Also fortuitously,” reported the Washington Post, “several laboratory chiefs from around the state had recently returned from Atlanta after attending a CDC training course in identifying bioterror agents.
When the samples arrived from Bush, they had everything they needed and knew what to do.”
Then there is the case of Richard Cohen, a columnist for the Washington Post. (Cohen’s cheerleading for an attack on Iraq was mentioned in Chapter 5.) Cohen wrote, in an article for Slate magazine in March, 2008: “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.” When did Cohen receive this extraordinary tip? Maureen Dowd wrote about New York women with Cipro in their Prada bags on September 25 (article published on September 26), an indication that a great many people had heard of Cipro by then. In any case, by September 26 (article published September 27) there was a run on Cipro and druggists could not keep it in stock. So Cohen’s tip must have been received “way before” September 25/26 and “soon after” September 11. Whatever the precise date may have been, it was well before any government official is supposed to have known about the anthrax attacks.
Note also that Cohen did not portray his anthrax information as rumor or the result of panic: it was a “tip” and it came from a high government official. What on earth can this mean? Has the FBI sought more information from Cohen? Has the Bureau asked him who his highly placed benefactor was? Cohen has told the same story elsewhere, with the added information that when he, in the conviction that he was acting on insider information, went to his doctor to get Cipro, he found that many people had preceded him. When the FBI was pursuing Steven Hatfill and building a case against him it did not hesitate to cite his use of Cipro prior to the anthrax attacks as evidence of his complicity in the crime. Have Cohen and his source been treated in the same way?
In addition to the parallels between the Dark Winter simulation and the anthrax attacks that soon followed, there was a strange intersection of roles. Consider Judith Miller, James Woolsey and Jerome Hauer. In Dark Winter, Miller played a reporter for The New York Times, Woolsey played the director of the CIA, and Hauer played director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Judith Miller would have found it easy to play a reporter for The New York Times since that was her real-life role as well. Mention was made in Chapter 5 of an article in The New York Times on October 26 that she cowrote with William Broad that touched on the bentonite claims ABC was more flagrantly publicizing at the same time, used in both cases to implicate Iraq. But this was a minor part of her participation in the framing of Iraq. Her bioweapons book, Germs (co-authored with William Broad and Stephen Engelberg), which sounded warnings about Iraq’s alleged ongoing bioweapons program, was published just as the anthrax attacks were about to enter public consciousness (probably on October 2, the day the first inhalation anthrax victim entered the hospital). By the end of October the book was a New York Times best seller, an effective and timely piece of propaganda against Iraq. On October 12—the same day anthrax was reported at NBC—Miller was the recipient of a bioweapon-threat letter at her office at The New York Times. The powder she received was harmless but she was able to write with flair about the incident. No doubt the scare promoted sales of her book.
Woolsey began trying to implicate Iraq in the 9/11 attacks on the day itself and continued doing so thereafter. When the anthrax attacks unfolded, he added them to the list of Iraq’s likely crimes, telling the American Jewish Congress on October 22, 2001 that a war against Iraq should be waged quickly and “ruthlessly.” But Woolsey was not content to frame Iraq. He also played an important role in the wave of Islamophobia that hit the United States after the fall attacks. He gave his support to such scurrilous productions as the volume Shariah: The Threat to America and the DVD “The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America.”
Jerome Hauer, who played FEMA director in Dark Winter, was, in real life, an important figure in the linking of the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax attacks. Hauer is a member of The Committee on the Present Danger, described by the Institute for Policy Studies as “a neoconservative pressure group.” A committee of this same name played an important anti-Soviet role during the Cold War, while the present incarnation of the committee was launched in 2004 to promote the Global War on Terror. Hauer has a Master’s degree in emergency medical services from Johns Hopkins and maintains a deep interest in bioterrorism. On 9/11 he “was a national security
advisor with the Department of Health and Human Services, a managing director with Kroll Associates, and a guest on national television, because of his background in counter-terror and his specialized knowledge of biological warfare.”
Hauer participated in the U.S. administration’s efforts, on September 30 and October 1, 2001, to sound warning bells about biological weapons attacks as part of the effort to intimidate Congress into the passing of the Patriot Act by October 5.51 But Hauer was more than an expert in bioterrorism. He had been the director of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) of New York City from 1996 until early in 2000.52 The OEM had been located in a “bunker” on the 23rd floor of World Trade Center 7. It was while he was working at this job that many New Yorkers first learned of him.
By 1999, the article continued, Hauer had graduated from actual human guts to the innards of structures. His obsession had become building collapse. Hauer, said the article, collected samples from every building collapse he could find in New York. Presumably Hauer was in his element when, two years later, he got a chance to become intimately familiar with what were arguably the most politically important building collapses in modern history. Not only did the Twin Towers undergo a surprising annihilation, but Hauer’s old bailiwick, World Trade Center 7, although not hit by a plane, disappeared that day as well. The OEM bunker was supposed to be the command center for response to terrorism, but on 9/11 it was abandoned early in the morning. Then the entire 47-story building underwent a sudden collapse--allegedly from fire, although no steel-framed skyscraper had ever come down in such a fashion before except from controlled demolition—at near free-fall acceleration at 5:21 p.m.
Interviewed by Dan Rather on television on September 11, 2001, Hauer’s anticipation of what the official causes would be for the destruction of the twin towers—weakening of the structures through plane impact and burning jet fuel— has surprised many. He likewise reported on television on the same day (ABC News, in an interview with Peter Jennings), well before World Trade 7’s collapse, that he had heard concerns about the “structural stability of the building.” This is merely one instance among many of suspect foreknowledge of this historically unprecedented collapse.
Hier is Hauer's interview met Dan Rather:
Commentaar van AlienScientist: How did Dan Rather happen to have a guest with him on the morning of 9/11 who knew the entire official story before it became public knowledge?
Jerome Hauer was introduced to CBS's viewers as a former director of NYC's OEM. Strangely, perhaps, CBS News audiences were not told he was also a managing director of the security company responsible for the twin towers. And of course no one was told to start taking Cipro -- except the White House.
En hier is de helderziende Hauer in zijn interview met Jennings:
Nog even terug naar misschien wel het belangrijkste slachtoffer van de aanvallen: Robert Stevens.
Anthrax victim Robert Stevens worked as a photo editor for a tabloid in Boca Raton called the Sun. (The Sun, now defunct, was owned by American Media Inc., which also owns the National Enquirer.) The editor-in-chief of the Sun was a man named Mike Irish, whose wife Gloria had a direct connection to two of the Hijackers. Gloria Irish was a real estate agent and she had found apartments, in the summer of 2001, for Marwan al-Shehhi and Hamza al-Ghamdi. Al-Shehhi was, according to the official narrative of 9/11, a major player in the attacks. He is said to have been a close friend of ringleader Atta for years, having stayed with him in Hamburg and having been involved in early plans for attacks on the U.S. He is said to have had a joint bank account with Atta and to have been seen with him on many occasions in the U.S. On 9/11 itself, not long after Atta allegedly piloted a plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, Al- Shehhi allegedly piloted a plane into the South Tower.
But if Gloria Irish had some familiarity with the two Hijackers, she had much more familiarity with Robert Stevens. Mike Irish had known Stevens for 25 years. Gloria Irish had found Robert Stevens’ house for him. That is to say, she was the real estate agent of the first anthrax victim and of two of the 9/11 Hijackers.
Allemaal toeval uiteraard, of toch niet?
The coincidence theory is not credible. In addition to other links to be explored in this chapter, there are obvious facts about the spatial congruence just explored that cannot be ignored. Many Hijackers lived, at one time or another, in this vicinity. “Six of them had addresses in Delray Beach or Fort Lauderdale, a few miles from the AMI building where the Sun was published.” AMI employees are said to have gone to the same gym as Atta. In addition, two of the Hijackers were reported to have taken out subscriptions to publications of AMI, where Stevens worked. Mike Irish, a licensed pilot, was a former member of the Civil Air Patrol based at Lantana airport, the same airport where Atta supposedly rented a plane in August, 2001. Anthrax victim Stevens lived
Ten slotte nog enkele losse notities uit het boek:
9/11 Commission Report makes inadequate distinctions when dealing with the religious beliefs and practices of the Hijackers. One moment we receive evidence that they were pious Muslims; the next minute we are supposed to believe they were “fundamentalist;” and then we are led to believe they were violent extremists keen to kill themselves and large numbers of innocent others. Further, The 9/11 Commission Report does not attempt to deal adequately with the media reports, which began soon after 9/11, of the peculiar behavior of the Hijackers, which included consumption of alcohol to the point of intoxication, as well as indulgence in cocaine, prostitutes, sex toys and lap-dancing. This behavior certainly is not compatible with the first two options (piety and
fundamentalism), and, in fact, stands as evidence that these characterizations were false.
Pilots whose planes are being hijacked can punch in a hijack code to let the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) know what is happening. It takes a few seconds to enter this four-digit code. Yet, although we are told four planes were hijacked on 9/11, not one of the eight men trained to do this (four pilots and four copilots) entered the code. In the case of “Flight 93,” which allegedly crashed in Shanksville after a passenger revolt, we are told it took more than 30 seconds for the Hijackers to break through the door and overwhelm the pilot and copilot, yet no hijack code was entered.
Are we really supposed to believe that the leader of a group of men soon to successfully carry out one of the most lethal crimes in U.S. history would, a year before the operation, threaten to cut the throat of his interviewer —and do so in the context of pursuing his search for a plane with a large tank that would carry out its task on a single mission? That he would express interest in a view of Washington from the air? That he would also express interest in the World Trade Center and its security? That he would make sure his interlocutor knew his name and of his association with al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden? Are we to believe that he, evidently already being followed by U.S. agents suspecting him of planning an attack with biological or chemical weapons, sought
hundreds of thousands of dollars from a U.S. government agency with which to acquire his delivery vehicle?
We confront two possibilities. The first possibility is that the story of Atta and the loan is pure fiction and the event never took place. Presumably, if this is the case someone coached Bryant. Who might this have been? What was the role of her interviewer, Brian Ross, known by the news website Gawker as “ABC News’ Wrongest Reporter”? Ross was certainly no stranger to fiction: he had taken the lead in the false bentonite stories meant to frame Iraq and he broke a number of misleading stories over the years that served the interests of the authors of the Global War on Terror. But suppose—this is option two—events unfolded as Bryant
says. In this case Mohamed Atta was certainly no secretive al-Qaeda leader but a man laying down a trail we were supposed to follow. Other stories about him, some listed above in the discussion of the Hijackers, are similar. The man’s task appears to have been to make himself unforgettable.
Aansluitend geef ik u hier ook nog een bespreking mee van dit zeer belangrijk doch volkomen genegeerd boek van Greame MacQueen:
The anthrax attacks that followed those of 9/11 have disappeared from public memory in ways analogous to the pulverization of the Twin Towers and World Trade Center Building 7. For the towers, at least, ghostly afterimages persist, albeit fading like last night’s nightmare. But the anthrax attacks, clearly linked to 9/11 and the Patriot Act, are like lost letters, sent, but long forgotten. Such disappearing acts are a staple of American life these days. Memory has come upon hard times.
With The 2001 Anthrax Deception, Professor Graeme MacQueen, founding Director of the Center for Peace Studies at McMaster University, calls us back to a careful reconsideration of the anthrax attacks. It is an eloquent and pellucid lesson in inductive reasoning and deserves to stand with David Ray Griffin’s brilliant multi-volume dissection of the truth of that tragic September 11th. MacQueen makes a powerful case for the linkage of both events, a tie that binds both to insider elements deep within the U.S. government, perhaps in coordination with foreign elements.
MacQueen’s thesis is as follows: The criminal anthrax attacks were conducted by a group of conspirators deep within the U.S. government who are linked to, or identical with, the 9/11 perpetrators. Their purpose was to redefine the Cold War into the Global War on Terror and in doing so weaken civil liberties in the United States and attack other nations.
Obviously these are explosive charges that demand substantial evidence connected logically in a compelling thesis.
MacQueen, in countering anti-conspiratorial thinkers of the left and right who approach such issues with minds like beds already made up, explains his method thus: “The tools of investigation are no different from those used to test other proposals. We use evidence and reason. In some cases we will be able to make confident assertions and in other cases we shall have to acknowledge that we are speculating, but even in this second case we will do our best to ground our speculation in evidence. Ideology, national loyalty, outrage and ‘common sense’ will not do the job.”
There is no doubt that his thesis, backed up by abundant evidence and some intriguing speculation, is a conspiracy theory, just like the 9/11 Commission Report’s explanation of 9/11 and the Bush administration’s neo-con and media assisted conspiratorial tying of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda to 9/11 and the anthrax attacks. “We would have to look very hard to find anyone who does not hold a conspiracy theory about 9/11,” he writes. “And for this reason it is silly to denigrate people for holding a conspiracy theory about this event.”
But good theory of any kind necessitates facts to make it credible, and MacQueen provides a plethora of these, while the Bush administration made allegations and promises of evidence that was never delivered. He aptly quotes researcher Elias Davidsson ‘s evidentiary points concerning the 9/11 hijackers:
‘The following five classes of evidence should have been produced by U.S. authorities in September 2001 or shortly thereafter.
1. Authenticated flight lists;
2.Authenticated boarding cards;
3. Authenticated security videos from the airports;
4. Sworn testimonies of personnel who attended boarding of the aircraft;
5. Formal identification of the bodies or bodily remains from the crash sites, including chain-of-custody reports.”
Not only does MacQueen provide copious documented facts to support his case, but he does it in a systematically logical way that leaves the official story in shambles. If a crime were being prosecuted (as it should, but war was waged instead), MacQueen marshals a case for conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.
The anthrax letter attacks began on September 18, 2001 when the first letters were mailed from Princeton, New Jersey. Between October 3 and November 20 twenty-two people were infected with dried anthrax spores and five died. Between October 6 and October 8 especially highly refined and aerosolized anthrax letters were sent to two key Democratic Senators, Thomas Daschle and Patrick Leahy. Before October 3 when the first case, that of Robert Stevens who died two days later, was diagnosed, the FBI claimed that “no one except the perpetrators knew…that the attacks were in progress.”
Yet The New York Times, between September 12 and October 3, made reference to the possibility of biological or chemical terrorist attacks 76 times, 27 references specifically to anthrax. Many of these warnings came from government leaders. Of course the Times was home to Judith Miller, notorious for her deceptions regarding Iraq’s WMD, and whose book Germs: Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War, was about to be published in the first few days in October. In that book Miller et al. assert that Iraq might use a terrorist group to unleash a bioweapon against the United States.
Just coincidentally, throughout the month of October as the anthrax attacks became public, the Bush administration and the mainstream media pushed the claim that Al Qaeda (already accused of 9/11) and Saddam Hussein (slyly implicated by innuendo) were responsible for the anthrax attacks. Once the U.S. started bombing Afghanistan on October 7, alleged Al Qaeda retaliation enhanced the claim. No evidence was presented. The Washington Post, vying with The New York Times for Cassadran bragging rights, had published a September 27 article “Al Qaeda May Have Crude Chemical Capabilities.” This double foreign group suggestion – that Bin Laden’s group, state-sponsored by Iraq, sent the anthrax spores – was promoted vigorously throughout October. The crude anthrax letters written to Tom Brokaw of NBC News and Senator Daschle with their 09-11-01 headings and Muslim extremist language, released to the public on October 23, seemed to clinch the case.
“Much evidence suggests that this option was meant to carry the day and was central to the original plan. An attack on the U.S. by groups of foreign Muslims using weapons of mass destruction could clearly serve to legitimize internal repression, external aggression, and a host of ancillary transformations. This scenario was established in advance of the anthrax attacks and pushed hard in October 2001 as citizens got sick and died of anthrax, as the Patriot Act was pushed through Congress and the large scale NSA domestic spying was launched, as the invasion of Afghanistan began, and as preparations were made to invade Iraq.”
By October 26, once Bush had signed the Patriot Act, that case began falling apart, but not before the two Democratic Senators, Daschle and Leahy, who had resisted ramrodding the bill into law, had received their own lethal anthrax letters as possible reminders.
When R. W. Apple Jr. wrote a New York Times front page article on October 18, “City of Power, City of Fears,” and said, “the government has been caught completely by surprise by the anthrax attacks,” he may not have known about the exercise termed Dark Winter, conducted four months earlier on June 22-23, though one would think he might have known of the plethora of references to anthrax in his own paper in the few weeks before the attacks became known. Maybe he thought the Bush administration didn’t read the New York Times for intelligence.
MacQueen,in a greatly significant piece of sleuthing, however, lets us know about Dark Winter, a biological warfare simulation planned and conducted by Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies/Center for Strategic and International Studies at Andrews Air Force Base with uncanny parallels to the actual anthrax attacks. Some oddities follow. Dark Winter had anonymous letters sent to the mainstream media with threats of anthrax. Dark Winter claimed that the perpetrators are probably state-sponsored international terrorists. Dark Winter claimed that “a prominent Iraqi defector is claiming Iraq arranged the bioweapons attacks on the U.S. through intermediaries.” Dark Winter concludes that the attacks necessitate harsh restrictions on civil liberties, possibly Martial Rule. Dark Winter has a fictional television anchor announce that “still no group claims responsibility for unleashing the smallpox virus, but NCR has learned that Iraq may have provided the technology behind the attack to terrorist groups based in Afghanistan.”
And yes, not to be missed, we learn that Dark Winter’s simulation’s actors included Apple’s New York Times’ colleague Judith Miller, soon to be the New York Times best- selling author of Germs, playing a reporter for the New York Times; James Woolsey, former CIA Director and supporter of The Project for the New America Century (we’ll need a new Pearl Harbor, folks); and Jerome Hauer,a member of the Committee on the Present Danger, and “an important figure in the linking of the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax attacks,” who played the FEMA director.
Once the government’s accusations against Al Qaeda and Iraq fell apart but the Patriot Act had become law, NSA spying commenced, and the war in Afghanistan proceeded apace, the FBI changed its tune and pursued the lone wolf perpetrator theory, first accusing a scientist named Steven Hatfill and then, after he sued and eventually received $5.82 million in compensation, they accused Bruce Ivins, a scientist working on an anthrax vaccine at Fort Derrick in Maryland. MacQueen shows in detail how that claim came apart and resulted in a case without credibility but with Ivins committing suicide. But, he concludes, the Ivins accusation served its purpose of diverting attention from the real reason for the anthrax attacks and its culprits.
Finally, MacQueen details how the anthrax evidence leads to some of the alleged 9/11 hijackers in Florida as they lay down a trail of incriminating “evidence” we were meant to follow, linking crop-dusters/anthrax to 9/11. Mohamed Atta, the alleged 9/11 ringleader, supposedly went into a U.S. Department of Agriculture office seeking a $650,000 loan to buy and enlarge a crop-duster. He made
sure the agent knew and could spell his name, and when she balked at the loan, “he asked what would stop him from going around her desk, cutting her throat, and taking the money from the large safe in the office.” He then admired a photo of Washington, D.C., asked to buy it, inquired about security at the World Trade Center, implied he was associated with Al Qaeda, and told her that Bin Laden “ ‘would someday be known as the world’s greatest leader.’ “
MacQueen sardonically comments, “And that is the story of how a terrorist leader, engaged in a top-secret operation, sought a government loan to help him with his plan.”
For one familiar with Lee Harvey Oswald’s (or his double’s) antics to make himself unforgettable on visits to a car dealership and a rifle range before JFK’s assassination, the Atta charade should ring a bell. MacQueen makes a powerful case that the various crop-duster incidents were “disinformation” and that their purpose was to link 9/11 to the anthrax attacks and, notably, to Iraq. He notes that it was also at this time that the fictitious story of Atta meeting with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague was widely circulated to “solidify this connection.” He argues that once the FBI admitted that the anthrax attacks were not a foreign operation but the claim had served its purpose, the crop-duster stories vanished into obscurity. However, he concludes, “Given that the anthrax attacks were a domestic operation, and given that the alleged hijackers were implicated in that operation prior to its occurrence, the conclusion cannot be avoided: the 9/11 attacks were also a domestic operation.”
But as few can forget, on February 5, 2003 at the UN Security Council, the Iraq/anthrax/crop-duster claim arose from its sleep in the infamous, fraudulent presentation by Colin Powell as he slyly tied Iraq back to the anthrax attacks and shilled for war against Iraq. That feat of propaganda was but one of at least 532 occasions when eight top members of the Bush administration made at least 936 false statements on Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction and its links to Al Qaeda, according to a study conducted by The Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism and released in 2008.
Anyone concerned about the truth behind 9/11 and the anthrax attacks should read this profoundly important book. It is filled with tight argumentation backed by solid evidence, and even the speculative parts ring true.
In closing I will mention MacQueen’s fascinating penultimate chapter wherein he speculates about the significance of the repeated word “unthinkable” by the media and government officials following George W. Bush’s use of the term “rethink the unthinkable” in a May 1, 2001 speech at the National Defense University. The mainstream media used the word “unthinkable” repetitively throughout October 2001 when referring to the anthrax attacks. And one of the early anthrax threatening letters sent to Tom Brokaw, begins: “The Unthinkabel” (sic) – showing, of course, how Muslim terrorists can’t spell English. “There is a pattern here,” MacQueen writes.
“The pattern may not signify a grand plan, or, indeed, conscious intent at all – there may be no conspiracy – but, whatever the origins of the ‘unthinkable’ discourse, it deserves investigation and contemplation.”
Words matter, and those repeated enough matter more, words such as ground zero, homeland, and unthinkable. “He who wants to persuade should not put his trust in the right argument,” Joseph
Conrad wrote in Lord Jim. “The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.”
MacQueen has chosen sense through argument, and rather than dismissing his as unthinkable, thinking people everywhere should engage it.