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Glenn Greenwald: Vital unresolved anthrax questions and ABC News

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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-01-08 09:58 AM
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Glenn Greenwald: Vital unresolved anthrax questions and ABC News

Glenn Greenwald: Vital unresolved anthrax questions and ABC News
The FBI's lead suspect in the September, 2001 anthrax attacks -- Bruce E. Ivins -- died Tuesday night, apparently by suicide, just as the Justice Department was about to charge him with responsibility for the attacks. For the last 18 years, Ivins was a top anthrax researcher at the U.S. Government's biological weapons research laboratories at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, where he was one of the most elite government anthrax scientists on the research team at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID).

The 2001 anthrax attacks remain one of the great mysteries of the post-9/11 era. After 9/11 itself, the anthrax attacks were probably the most consequential event of the Bush presidency. One could make a persuasive case that they were actually more consequential. The 9/11 attacks were obviously traumatic for the country, but in the absence of the anthrax attacks, 9/11 could easily have been perceived as a single, isolated event. It was really the anthrax letters -- with the first one sent on September 18, just one week after 9/11 -- that severely ratcheted up the fear levels and created the climate that would dominate in this country for the next several years after. It was anthrax -- sent directly into the heart of the country's elite political and media institutions, to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt), NBC News anchor Tom Brokow, and other leading media outlets -- that created the impression that social order itself was genuinely threatened by Islamic radicalism.

If the now-deceased Ivins really was the culprit behind the attacks, then that means that the anthrax came from a U.S. Government lab, sent by a top U.S. Army scientist at Ft. Detrick. Without resort to any speculation or inferences at all, it is hard to overstate the significance of that fact. From the beginning, there was a clear intent on the part of the anthrax attacker to create a link between the anthrax attacks and both Islamic radicals and the 9/11 attacks. This was the letter sent to Brokaw: /
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-01-08 10:10 AM
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1. Greenwald's article is awesome!
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porsche914 Donating Member (1 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-01-08 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Rumsfeld
Lets not forget the almost immediate response by Rumsfeld that only saddam had that strain available.
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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. cause Rummy sold it to Saddam in the 80s when he worked for Searle pharma.
or at least Rummy was a likely conduit for negotiations. The guy in charge of the inspections in Iraq said their BW program didn't start until the mid-1980s, which is also the time when that picture of Rummy shaking hands with Saddam took place.

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JohnyCanuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-01-08 11:34 PM
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3. ABC's media whores outdo Cold War era Pravda in the propaganda/spin game
Way to go ABC, take a well deserved bow. Then, in the immortal words of Dick Cheney, "go fuck yourself."

Another snip from the Greenwald article:

Seven years later, it's difficult for many people to recall, but, as I've amply documented, those ABC News reports linking Saddam and anthrax penetrated very deeply -- by design -- into our public discourse and into the public consciousness. Those reports were absolutely vital in creating the impression during that very volatile time that Islamic terrorists generally, and Iraq and Saddam Hussein specifically, were grave, existential threats to this country. As but one example: after Ross' lead report on the October 26, 2001 edition of World News Tonight with Peter Jennings claiming that the Government had found bentonite, this is what Jennings said into the camera:

This news about bentonite as the additive being a trademark of the Iraqi biological weapons program is very significant. Partly because there's been a lot of pressure on the Bush administration inside and out to go after Saddam Hussein. And some are going to be quick to pick up on this as a smoking gun.

That's exactly what happened. The Weekly Standard published two lengthy articles attacking the FBI for focusing on a domestic culprit and -- relying almost exclusively on the ABC/Ross report -- insisted that Saddam was one of the most likely sources for those attacks. In November, 2001, they published an article (via Lexis) which began:

On the critical issue of who sent the anthrax, it's time to give credit to the ABC website,, for reporting rings around most other news organizations. Here's a bit from a comprehensive story filed late last week by Gary Matsumoto, lending further credence to the commonsensical theory (resisted by the White House) that al Qaeda or Iraq -- and not some domestic Ted Kaczynski type -- is behind the germ warfare.


Surely the question of who generated those false Iraq-anthrax reports is one of the most significant and explosive stories of the last decade. The motive to fabricate reports of bentonite and a link to Saddam is glaring. Those fabrications played some significant role -- I'd argue a very major role -- in propagandizing the American public to perceive of Saddam as a threat, and further, propagandized the public to believe that our country was sufficiently threatened by foreign elements that a whole series of radical policies that the neoconservatives both within and outside of the Bush administration wanted to pursue -- including an attack an Iraq and a whole array of assaults on our basic constitutional framework -- were justified and even necessary in order to survive.

ABC News already knows the answers to these questions. They know who concocted the false bentonite story and who passed it on to them with the specific intent of having them broadcast those false claims to the world, in order to link Saddam to the anthrax attacks and -- as importantly -- to conceal the real culprit(s) (apparently within the U.S. government) who were behind the attacks. And yet, unbelievably, they are keeping the story to themselves, refusing to disclose who did all of this. They're allegedly a news organization, in possession of one of the most significant news stories of the last decade, and they are concealing it from the public, even years later.
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-01-08 11:39 PM
Response to Original message
4. After 9/11, McCain Linked Anthrax to Iraq (video)
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 09:39 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. An Anthrax Timeline:

On September 5, Ms. Clarke--lured back into government service by pal Mary Matalin on Vice President Dick Cheney's staff, from a high-paying post as Manhattan office director for the venerable public relations firm of Hill & Knowlton--the former PR chief to Senator John McCain and one-time George Bush (the elder) staffer would divulge to foreign media that the United States, via the Pentagon and the shadowy Defense Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, would begin producing a new and potent strain of anthrax bacteria, and that such plans had been in the works since 1997. The source of the anthrax was to be from Russian stock, and, according to Ms. Clarke, would be used "purely for defensive measures."

At the popular political site, Victoria Clarke posts as "Torie"--a self-proclaimed "statist neocon." The Pentagon's disinformation campaign was already in motion on September 5, 2001, and Victoria Clarke, then employed as Deputy Director for Public Affairs, was its "go-to girl" on "the anthrax question

On September 11, 2001, Jerome Hauer advised the White House to begin taking Cipro, an antibiotic which is effective against anthrax...

After the Oct. 5, 2001, death from anthrax exposure of Sun photo editor Robert Stevens

On October 15, 2001, President Bush said, "There may be some possible link" to Bin Laden, adding, "I wouldn't put it past him." Vice President Cheney also said Bin Laden's henchmen were trained "how to deploy and use these kinds of substances, so you start to piece it all together."

October 17, 2001: Top Bush Administration Officials Look to Blame Anthrax Attacks on Al-Qaeda, Iraq, or Russia

On Oct. 18, 2001, a White House alarm went off indicating that sensors had detected dangerous levels of radioactive, chemical or biological agents. According to Mayer, anyone who had entered the White House situation room, including Cheney, had been exposed...

October 18, 2001 (days before ABC News first broadcast their bentonite report) John McCain, on the David Letterman Show:
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creeksneakers2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-01-08 11:46 PM
Response to Original message
5. Great article!
If we knew who all the anonymous sources who lied were, and their motives, we'd have a much more complete picture of what has been going on in this country. ABC knows. They should be pressured to tell.
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Mabus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-02-08 10:01 AM
Response to Original message
6. Don't forget that ABC was also behind linking Hatfill to Greendale School
Remember when Hatfill was their person of interest? Ross made the connection between Hatfield and "Greendale School" (since one does not exist in NJ) because there was a school named Greendale near where Hatfield worked in Africa.

Bloodhounds May Have Found Anthrax Suspect
Bloodhounds Lead Investigators to Ex-Government Scientist in Anthrax Case
By Brian Ross and David Scott

Oct. 22

The FBI is using an elite team of specially trained dogs and leads from agents deployed to Africa in its investigation of former government scientist Steven Hatfill and his possible role in the five anthrax deaths.


These bloodhounds - considered by the FBI to be the best in the country at what they do - were each given the scent extracted from anthrax letters posted last year and each, independently, then led handlers to the Maryland apartment of the same man - Steven Hatfill.

One of the bloodhounds, Lucy, then led handlers directly to Hatfill.


As ABCNEWS has previously reported, Hatfill lived near a Greendale primary school while he attended medical school in Rhodesia. Greendale School was the phony return address used in the anthrax-laced letters sent to lawmakers and the media last fall.


Thanks in part to ABC's reporting, many were left with the impression that Hatfill was responsible. As a result, a little over a month ago, on June 28th, the government agreed to pay Hatfill over $5.8 million for ruining his reputation and his life.
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MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 09:08 AM
Response to Original message
7. Additional key facts re: the anthrax investigation
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. yes...Glenn has new info up...and thanks for the "Democracy Now" link! n/t
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 03:38 PM
Response to Original message
11. K & R
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HooptieWagon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 10:50 PM
Response to Original message
12. Why Greendale School? Let's examine
OK, here are the possibilities:

1) It's just a wild coincidence that a return address on an anthrax letter had the same name as a school nearby where Hatfield was in Africa - maybe a million to one odds... pretty slim likelyhood.

2) The perpetrator knew Hatfield had a connection to a Greendale School, and included the information to implicate him. Was this common knowledge? Did Hatfield talk about it? Seems unlikely to be a subject he would discuss, wouldn't he talk about his medical school rather than a small school nearby?... maybe 10,000:1 odds of this scenerio.

3) Careless slip by the perpetrator. A distinct possibility if the perpetrator is a lowlevel terrorist. Since the anthrax was of superior grade, and had to be handled with care, unlikely this job was carried out by a lowlevel operative, a pro wouldn't make a mistake like that. Odds maybe 1000:1

4) The perpetrator deliberately included a clue for investigators. Quite common among socio/psychopaths to prove they are "smarter" , "better", or "superior" to investigators. If the perpetrator was a sociopath, rather than a terrorist, odds are maybe 50/50 IMO.

My knowledge of Hatfield is rather low, I admit. I have read that he was arrogant and difficult to get along with. Anything else people know? What exactly was his job at USAMRIID? I'd say the odds are extremely in favor of the anthrax mailer actually being Hatfield. A deliberate clue left by a sociopath is by far the greatest likelyhood, and an obscure detail like that might be just the type. Perhaps the FBI's botch of the case is even worse that we've suspected.
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