by Richard Prasad
In the silly but true category, comes the story out of Washington
that the Bush Administration is spending $8,000 to cover up
two semi-nude statues in the Justice Department's Great Hall,
at the behest of Attorney General John Ashcroft. Is Ashcroft
a prude? Of course he is! The statue has existed for 70 years,
and no one sought to cover it up - until now.
Justice is supposed to be blind, but does the Attorney General
have blinders on when it comes to more important issues like
the anthrax investigation? Why is the pace of the investigation
going so slowly? Why was it only recently that we found out
that the source of the anthrax was probably domestic? Why
was it that we only recently found out that the army was still
Could Ashcroft be afraid of what he could find if he really
looked? That military security of anthrax is lax? Or worse,
that the release of anthrax was done by some right wing fringe
groups, similar to those who perpetrated the bombing of the
Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City?
It's a distant memory now, but the deaths from anthrax began
on October 5th 2001, when Robert Stephens, an employee of
American Media Inc, a Florida tabloid, died of inhalation
anthrax. No letter was found in the Florida anthrax case,
but this anthrax death was first thought to be of natural
causes. That was soon dismissed after letters were sent to
Senator Daschle and Tom Brokaw. Soon, anthrax cases were being
discovered in all kinds of news media outlets ,from ABC to
CBS and even the New York Post. And a second letter was found
addressed to a politician, this one addressed to Senator Patrick
Even more shocking than the fact that these letters were
aimed at media and politicians was the fact that our mail
was unsafe, and the decent, hardworking letter carriers and
mail sorters were the people most likely to contract anthrax.
People were quite literally afraid to open their mail for
a few weeks after the attack, and rightfully so.
These anthrax cases were no longer considered naturally occurring
because the letters came with a white powdery substance. Coming
on the heels of the World Trade Center attacks, the anthrax
letters were naturally thought to be the work of Arab terrorists,
like Osama Bin Laden. Also the letters said something to the
effect of "death to America, death to Israel, Allah be
praised," - so naturally it had to be Arab terrorists,
As time passes, it becomes clearer that the anthrax letters
are a form of domestic terrorism. The strain of the particular
anthrax is a form called the Ames Strain, it's origins are
not from Ames Iowa as the names suggest, but actually from
Texas. The Washington Post reported on December 16th, that
only five labs have anthrax spores with the same genetic fingerprints
as those used in the Capitol Hill and media anthrax attacks,
and all those spores can be traced back to the U.S. Army Medical
Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
The Ames strain has been a favorite of military testing since
1981. It was also learned through the course of the current
investigation that the U.S. military is still conducting tests
with anthrax. But how securely are those potentially deadly
vials of anthrax being kept?
Apparently, security is not as tight as it should be. Several
reports on CNN have indicated that the FBI is investigating
the disappearance of more than two dozen biological samples
over a decade ago - some of these samples included anthrax.
Even the Washington Times pointed out that scientists said
that security was lax during the 1990s.
Who stole these samples and why are we finding out about
this now, instead of in 1991 when it happened? Could those
anthrax samples have fallen into the hands to some right-wing
wacko who is currently terrorizing the country? I believe
this is the case.
Why do I think the people responsible for this domestic terror
are conservative? Look at the targets of the letters. Two
Democratic Senators, Daschle and Leahy, and look at the media
targets, the three major television networks. What the conservatives
love to call the "liberal media." Only the New York Post
doesn't fit the pattern of the liberal media, but the others
definitely do. There were no anthrax letters to the Washington
Times or Fox News channel. Have you ever wondered why?
If it is a right-wing group, is that the reason why this
anthrax investigation is being pushed to the back-burner?
I realize that the war in Afghanistan is still going on, and
there are many issues that Ashcroft is involved with, but
it seems like no one from the Justice Department wants to
talk about any possible suspects for the anthrax mailings.
It is already clear that Ashcroft has run roughshod over
most civil rights in his international terror investigation,
but the Attorney General still won't allow the FBI to do gun
checks on possible terrorists. In the midst of walking all
over the Constitution, Ashcroft still seeks to protect the
conservatives favorite, the Second Amendment. Similarly, Ashcroft
doesn't want to look in the places that might hold a militia
or another domestic terror group, because those groups are
most probably located in the "red states" that voted
This is an ideal chance for Ashcroft to go after groups that
act on their hatred, but he will not do it, because of a lack
of political courage. Clinton's Justice Department went after
the gun toting white supremacists in Ruby Ridge, and was vilified
for it. Will Ashcroft do the same in the anthrax case? Probably
And what if someone is caught? And he is from a hate group?
What then, will Ashcroft ask for the death penalty for this
terrorist? Probably not. This domestic terrorist will probably
not be tried in front of a military tribunal either. Why?
Because he is an American citizen, and as such, will probably
get a life sentence behind bars. Paid for by my tax dollars.
Just like another domestic terrorist, named John Walker Lindh.
Sure, the Justice Department raised the reward for catching
the anthrax terrorist to $2.5 million, but that is just window
dressing. Just like those $8,000 curtains bought by the Bush
Administration to cover those naked statues in the hall of
the Justice Department.