I just had my main backup hard drive crash and I lost years of stuff: my pictures from Europe, Music, etc. While looking through CDs for scraps of what I lost, I found something interesting.
Seven (7) years ago on what was then my “blog”, I asked ( 10/25/2001:) “Anthrax made in USA by people with access to American secrets?” In another entry the same day, I pointed out that the FBI confirmed the attacker used the Ames strain and included that the source was the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases in Maryland.
Now we know, according to the FBI, that the Anthrax attacker was an American, Bruce E. Ivins, who worked at the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases in Maryland.
The following are my entries and news clippings regarding the Anthrax attacks seven years ago. It might be interesting reading given what we know now.
10/27/01: SECRET SEARCHES OF HOMES AND OFFICES
After the president signs the measure on Friday, police will have the permanent ability to conduct Internet surveillance without a court order in some circumstances, secretly search homes and offices without notifying the owner, and share confidential grand jury information with the CIA.
“Stewart Baker, an attorney at the Washington D.C.-based Steptoe & Johnson and a former general consul to National Security Agency, said the FBI has plans to change the architecture of the Internet and route traffic through central servers that it would be able to monitor e-mail more easily.
The plans goes well beyond the Carnivore e-mail-sniffing system which allows the FBI to search for and extract specific e-mails off the Internet and generated so much controversy among privacy advocates and civil libertarians before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. “
… Sue Ashdown, executive director of the Washington-based American ISP Association, an Internet company trade group, said most Internet companies aren’t healthy enough financially to take on the government in court to protect their subscribers’ privacy rights. And no one, she says, wants to appear hostile to law enforcement right now. [ FoxNews 10-26-01 ]
MONDAY OCTOBER 22 2001 FBI considers torture as suspects stay silent.
FROM DAMIAN WHITWORTH IN WASHINGTON
AMERICAN investigators are considering resorting to harsher interrogation techniques, including torture, after facing a wall of silence from jailed suspected members of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network, according to a report yesterday. More than 150 people who were picked up after September 11 remain in custody, with four men the focus of particularly intense scrutiny. (continued below…)
SOVIETS: “While declaring that (we) complied with every clause of the Biological Weapons Convention, we conceded that observers might consider some of our activities suspicious. Nevertheless we insisted that all our research into biological warefare agents was conducted for the sole purpose of defending ourselves against potential aggressors. The treaty’s ambiguous definition of biodefense work had given us an important loophole.” – This is from Ken AlibekBiohazard, pg. 150. the leading Soviet Anthrax Scientist who defected to the US. From his book:
USA: “In a remote corner of the Nevada desert, a highly restricted area once used to test nuclear bombs, the U.S. government has been running a secret experiment called Project Bachus. [ more ] (E)xperts on biological weapons have been concerned that the supersecret U.S. projects would be misunderstood by other governments…and seen as a violation of the international treaty that bans making germ weapons. ” – From ABC News: C A M P 12, N E V A D A T E S T S I T E, Nev., Sept. 4, 2001
“Officials said the research would be part of Project Jefferson, yet another government effort to track the dangers posed by germ weapons. A spokesman for Defense Intelligence, Lt. Cmdr. James Brooks, declined comment. Asked about the precautions at Battelle, which is to create the enhanced anthrax, Commander Brooks said security was “entirely suitable for all work already conducted and planned for Project Jefferson.” [ NewsMakingNews 9-4-01]
FBI CONSIDERS TORTURE (Continued)
But investigators have found the usual methods have failed to persuade any of them to talk. Options being weighed include “truth” drugs, pressure tactics and extraditing the suspects to countries whose security services are more used to employing a heavy-handed approach during interrogations. “We’re into this thing for 35 days and nobody is talking. Frustration has begun to appear,” a senior FBI official told The Washington Post.
Under US law, evidence extracted using physical pressure or torture is inadmissible in court and interrogators could also face criminal charges for employing such methods. However, investigators suggested that the time might soon come when a truth serum, such as sodium pentothal, would be deemed an acceptable tool for interrogators.
The public pressure for results in the war on terrorism might also persuade the FBI to encourage the countries of suspects to seek their extradition, in the knowledge that they could be given a much rougher reception in jails back home. One of the four key suspects is Zacarias Moussaoui, a French Moroccan, suspected of being a twentieth hijacker who failed to make it on board the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. Moussaoui was detained after he acted suspiciously at a Minnesota flying school, requesting lessons in how to steer a plane but not how to take off or land.
Both Morocco and France are regarded as having harsher interrogation methods than the United States. The investigators have been disappointed that the usual incentives to break suspects, such as promises of shorter sentences, money, jobs and new lives in the witness protection programme, have failed to break the silence.
“We are known for humanitarian treatment, so basically we are stuck. Usually there is some incentive, some angle to play, what you can do for them. But it could get to that spot where we could go to pressure . . . where we don’t have a choice, and we are probably getting there,” an FBI agent involved in the investigation told the paper.
The other key suspects being held in New York are Mohammed Jaweed Azmath and Ayub Ali Khan, Indians who were caught the day after the attacks travelling with false passports, craft knives such as those used in the hijackings and hair dye. Nabil Almarabh, a Boston taxi driver alleged to have links to al-Qaeda, is also being held.
Some legal experts believe that the US Supreme Court, which has a conservative tilt, might be prepared to support curtailing the civil liberties of prisoners in terrorism cases. However, a warning that torture should be avoided came from Robert Blitzer, a former head of the FBI’s counter-terrorism section.
He said that the practice “goes against every grain in my body. Chances are you are going to get the wrong person and risk damage or killing them.” In all, about 800 people have been rounded up since the attacks, most of whom are expected to be found to be innocent. Investigators believe there could be hundreds of people linked to al-Qaeda living in the US, and the Bush Administration has issued a warning that more attacks are probably being planned.
Newsweek magazine reports today that Mohammed Atta, the suspected ringleader who died in the first plane to hit the World Trade Centre, had been looking into hitting an aircraft carrier. Investigators retracing his movements found that he visited the huge US Navy base at Norfolk, Virginia, in February and April this year.
[ up ] 10/26/01 HAND WASHING and ANTHRAX 10/25/01
Analysis: anti-anthrax handwashing is worthless to slightly dangerous. Report any suspicous mail and get to a doctor if you have symptoms.
This would be funny if it were not deadly serious.
In a single article by SF Chronicle science writer Carl T. Hall (10/25/01, A10) we learn that washing your hands after handling mail as the Postmaster General recommends to protect yourself against anthrax: “May not stop it”, “Would not do much”, “Won’t do any harm”, and even “Could increase the risk”!
You should know that anthrax “can be extremely hard to eradicate even with caustic chemicals,” and that “…(s)oap can break up (anthrax spore) clumps, creating smaller individual particles without killing the bacteria (and this) could increase the risk of infection if the tiny spores…become airborne around the sink…”
A few days after the attacks, on Sept. 13th, senators were calling for hearings: “Shelby predicted that there would be Senate hearings ‘as to why there was no warning.’ ‘If there was no indication, then we had an intelligence failure,’ Shelby said.” [Montgomery Advertiser, Ana Radelat, 9-13-01 ]
October 15, 2001: SENATE MAIL DELIVERY SUSPENDED WASHINGTON, DC — Due to the discovery of anthrax in the Hart Senate Office Building, all mail sent to the United States Senate will be temporarily held, and not delivered to individual Senator’s offices. Senator Shelby is requesting that all Alabamians wishing to contact his office do so by phone, fax or email. [ SenatorShelby 10-15-01 ]
“Daschle announced (on 10/25/01) that one wing of the Hart Senate Office building will be sealed off “for the foreseeable future” because of anthrax contamination. The move effectively shut down the main offices of dozen senators.”[SF Chronicle, A3, 10-26-01 ]
Anthrax made in USA by people with access to American secrets?
Q. Doesn’t the very fact that, as General Parker said, this is free and floaty anthrax that was sent to Senator Daschle, aerosolized, show that it is a very sophisticated operation that produced it, not a grad student in a basement, and that the knowledge of how to do that would be limited to a very narrow circle of people, some state actors and some people with access to American secrets?
GOVERNOR RIDGE: I’m not prepared to tell you what level of competency, accessibility to equipment, and other training either an individual or an institution needs in order to develop this level of anthrax. [ WhiteHouse.Gov 10-25-01, 12:55 P.M. EDT ]
A publication called New Scientist reports that there was “a secret experiment last year called Project Bacchus, in which employees of the US Department of Defense covertly produced a kilogram of bacteria similar to anthrax. It was milled to a few micrometres using machines available openly in the US.” According to this site, Bacchus is an achronym for “Biotechnology Activity Characterization by Uncoventional Signatures.”
Tom Ridge has confirmed that all three sites of anthrax attack have been from the same strain. The NS article reports that “an FBI spokesman in Florida confirmed the widespread reports that this was the Ames strain.” and goes on to say that this may refer to a strain from “the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research, the British biodefence establishment at Porton Down, Wiltshire.””from the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases in Maryland. It is, say those who compiled the library, the strain the US used when it produced anthrax weapons. That programme ended in 1969, and the mass-produced anthrax was destroyed, although the US and its allies kept samples. ” Ames, it says, was originally obtained
Source: The New York Times, Section: Foreign Desk, September 4, 2001, Tuesday. Photo from ABC News. The accompanying article by John McWethy dated Sept. 4 states that the “Pentagon agreed to show ABCNEWS this once-secret project.” A week later, of course, terror struck and now we have an anthrax problem. “(O)fficials say the primary customers for the knowledge (from Bacchus) were the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency … the FBI also was given data from the project.”
Next to Old Rec Hall, a ‘Germ-Making Plant’
By JUDITH MILLER 726 words Abstract: Article describes Camp 12, former military recreation hall and barbershop, converted into germ warfare test facility at Nellis Air Force Range in Nevada (coincidentally, Area 51 is located at Nellis too. – ed); facility is creation of Defense Threat Reduction Agency, arm of Pentagon that works to contain spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; officials say project is intended to assess how hard it would be for terrorist or rogue nation to assemble germ factory;
Lead Paragraph: In a nondescript mustard-colored building that was once a military recreation hall and barbershop, the Pentagon has built a germ factory that could make enough lethal microbes to wipe out entire cities.
According to a press conference on 10/18/01 with Tom Ridge, head of the new Office of Homeland Security, the anthrax attacks in NY, Washington and Florida all seem to be the same strain and they are not “weaponized”. This means they are not altered to be about 5 microns (optimal infecting size) and they are not coated to be easily aerosolized.
Why, then, do we hear elsewhere that “The high-grade form of anthrax in a letter sent to Sen. Tom Daschle may be the work of the Al Qaeda network, or it may have come from some other source. But either way, it has forced authorities to a sharp conclusion: The perpetrators are much more sophisticated than many originally believed. The key here is particle size. The anthrax found in Senator Daschle’s office was fine enough that it could float easily through the air, rather than simply falling to the ground. ” [ CSMonitor 10-18-01]
And according to the New York Times, “Although other government officials have declined to describe the material as “weaponized,” Gephardt said, “I think we’ve got to stop parsing words and trying to be anything other than accurate about what this is.” “This is weapons grade material … This is highly sophisticated material. It is small in size and it aerosolizes,” he said. “It’s small in diameter, which means its been milled.” [ NYTimes 10-23-01]
According to Ridge, the FBI has located the place from which the anthrax containing letters were mailed. A reporter asked him about the infection of the reporter from the New York post. At the time of the press conference on 10/18/01, he said he had no information about that, that he only knew of six cases. [Real Stream from Cspan.com ]
10/17/01: GOV. PATAKI’S OFFICES IN NY, SENATOR DASCHLE
Anthrax spores found in Gov. George Pataki’s New York City offices
Sen. Daschle: 31 office personnel test positive for exposure to anthrax House to close today for security sweep; Senate to remain in session Hundreds of Capitol Hill workers in line to be tested.
[ up ] 10/12/01: MICROSOFT UNDER ATTACK?
The latest target of an anthrax attack may be Microsoft. “Anthrax in Reno, NV! – 4:42PM PDT, Oct 12, 2001 This is being announced on CNN right now.” [ RGJ ]
By the evening of 10/12/01 the reports were “Second tests for anthrax negative on Nevada letter.” [ CNN ]
As of 10/14/01, a third test was positive. The letter mailed from Malaysia.
“Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar told the Associated Press that Malaysian officials were ‘shocked and deeply disturbed’ over the matter. Malaysia appealed to the FBI for all relevant information about the case.” [ ABCNews ]
Yesterday we followed the anthrax story to a company called BioPort. Today, the plot thickens.
BioPort’s Board of Directors consists of:
Fuad El-Hibri (Chairman and CEO) [bio below]
Robert G. Kramer (President & COO)
Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr. (USN Retired) and
Dr. Robert C. Myers (Executive Vice-President, CSO).
Admiral Crowe owns a 13% share in BioPort (ABCNews), the only company in the US allowed to make the anthrax vaccine. He is a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and according to an article written by retired Air Force Major Glenn MacDonald, Crowe “sold Saddam Hussein the deadly means to wage war with anthrax germs.” This obviously increases the future demand for the anthrax vaccine. Can anyone besides Maj MacDonald confirm this?
As reported yesterday, BioPort has produced no vaccine since 1998. However, “the Defense Department (using taxpayer money) advanced BioPort $18 million in 1999 and another $24 million in 2000.” Why?
One thing is certain, this shortage of vaccine will drive the prices sky high, resulting in massive profits for Adm Crowe.
In another area, the profits are already rolling. For example, Sitaraman Shankar (rense.com) reports that a 60 day supply of the anthrax antibiotic Cipro costs $693 in the US, but only $20 in India.
Using a position of power to increase demand for the vaccine and then placing oneself strategically to make billions in profit is both obscene and illegal. This is quite a damming set of circumstances. How much proof will be needed before someone takes a serious look at this?
When searching government web sites on profiteering, I found this interesting quote on the Department of Justice web site: “The army, which for years has been a bastion of corruption and profiteering, considers itself virtually a fourth branch of government in Haiti.”
Deaths: 1 in Florida, 2 in washington. Hospitalized with inhalation form: 1 in Florida, 2 in washington. Treated for inhalation symptoms: 4 in Washington, 1 in New Jersey. Treated for skin form: 4 in NY, 2 or 3 treated in NJ.
DIED OF INHALATION ANTHRAX:
— Robert Stevens, 63, photo editor, the Sun, American Media Inc., Boca Raton, Fla. Died Oct. 5.
–Thomas Morris Jr., 55, Washington postal worker. Died Oct. 21.
–Joseph Curseen, 47, Washington postal worker. Died Oct. 22.
CONTRACTED INHALATION ANTHRAX:
— Ernesto Blanco, 73, mail room worker at AMI in Boca Raton; remains hospitalized.
— Leroy Richmond, 57, Washington postal worker. Hospitalized in serious but stable condition in northern Virginia.
— Fourth Washington postal worker, name not released. Hospitalized in Virginia in serious but stable condition.
TREATED FOR INHALATION ANTHRAX SYMPTOMS; CASES NOT YET CONFIRMED:
— Female postal worker at Hamilton, N.J., regional post office, name not released. Hospitalized in serious but stable condition.
— Thirty-five-year-old male Washington postal worker, name not released.
— Forty-one-year-old female Washington postal union representative, name not released.
— Two other people in Washington; names not released.
CONTRACTED, TREATED FOR SKIN ANTHRAX:
— Erin O’Connor, 38, assistant to NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, New York.
— Seven-month-old son of ABC News producer, New York.
— Claire Fletcher, 27, assistant to CBS anchor Dan Rather, New York.
— Johanna Huden, 30, assistant to editorial page editor at New York Post.
— Teresa Heller, letter carrier at West Trenton post office in Ewing, N.J.
— Patrick O’Donnell, 35, who sorts and loads mail in Hamilton, N.J.
— Another New Jersey postal employee, a maintenance worker from the Hamilton office, likely had skin anthrax but tests to confirm could not be done because he had already been treated with antibiotics.
LOCATIONS WHERE ANTHRAX FOUND:
— Offsite mail-screening facility for White House on military installation.
— Brentwood postal facility in Washington.
— Gov. George Pataki’s office, New York City.
— Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s Washington office in the Hart Senate office building, on letter postmarked Oct. 9, Trenton, N.J.
— Dirksen Senate office building, where mail for Senate offices is processed; Ford House office building, where mail for House offices is processed; and an off-site postal facility where all congressional mail is processed.
— NBC, New York, on letter postmarked Sept. 18, Trenton, N.J.
— Three U.S. Postal Service facilities, two in Boca Raton, Fla., where AMI is based; one in Lake Worth, near AMI’s former address in Lantana. — American Media Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., on keyboard of man who died and in mail room.
[ NYTimes ]
Title 10, Part 3, Chapter 201, Section 1105 of Maine law (closest I could find):
§ 1105. Profiteering in necessities: Any dealer, trader, manufacturer or warehouseman who with intent to enhance the price or restrict the supply of the necessities of life … lessens or restricts the manufacture, production, supply or distribution of said necessities, or hoards said necessities, or enters into any contract, combination or conspiracy in restraint of trade or commerce, or exacts or demands any unjust or unreasonable profit in the sale, exchange or handling of the said necessities, … shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 3 years, or by both. [1979, c. 541, Pt. A, § 91 (amd).] The term “necessities of life” shall include food for human consumption, food for domestic animals, wearing apparel, shoes, building materials, gas and electricity for light, heat and power, ice, fuel of all kinds, fertilizer and fertilizer ingredients, together with tools, utensils, implements, machinery and equipment required for the actual production or manufacture of the same. .”
Well, luckily it doesn’t say anything about medicine, does it?
U.S. Senator Receives Anthrax-Laced Mail U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle’s office receives a letter with a powder that tests positive for anthrax. Talk show host Rush Limbaugh (disinfotainer and oil company spokesmouth) stated in July of this year, “This is a battle for the future of the country. It’s a political battle of ideas … He’s out of control. We are here to defeat Tom Daschle!” [ NewsMax ] (More Rush/Daschle from 7/2/01)
It gets even more interesting. This was written in 1999:
“According to ABC News, the only licensed US manufacturer of anthrax vaccine is a company called Bioport that virtually existed on paper when the Pentagon handed it an exclusive $29 million contract. Turns out that a 22% ownership stake in Bioport is held by a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral William J. Crowe, and 32% is held by key Bioport employees. Crowe may be remembered by some as the only senior military officer to endorse Bill Clinton in 1992. The CEO of Bioport is a politically well-connected friend, Fuad al-Hibri.” Actually, it should be Fuad El-Hibri. Here is his bio, and here is his testimony to the House of Representatives.
In another strange twist, a FoxNews article from Thurs Oct 11th, says that “Bioport Corp., under contract to provide the vaccine for the military, has been unable to ship any of its product during its three years of operation.” Interesting. So what have they been doing?
What’s the big deal about anthrax? “A 1993 report by the U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment estimated that between 130,000 and 3 million deaths could follow the aerosolized release of only 100 kg of anthrax spores upwind of the Washington, DC, area.” [ BioPort ]
How much is 100kg? (about 270 lbs.) For perspective, consider this. According to the book Biohazard by Ken Alibek (a top scientist in the Soviet biowarfare program and “inventor of the world’s most powerful anthrax”) “Our factory could turn out two tons of anthrax a day in a process as reliable and efficient as producing … Coca-Cola.” p. 105. Yes, two tons a day. Two metric tons is 2000kg, or enough antrax by the above estimate to cause up to 60 million deaths. The population of the US was about 281 million people in April of 2000.
Good thing the USSR is no more right? Well, “Alibek said … Russia still has four top-secret production facilities. One facility is capable of producing 1,000 tons of anthrax a year; another can make 50 tons a year, he said.” [ DefenseLink ]
Trenton NJ is the supposed source of the Anthrax mailings.
“On Saturday, authorities said a letter addressed to (newsman Tom) Brokaw and postmarked Sept. 18 in Trenton, N.J., contained a substance that tested positive for anthrax spores.” [ MSNBC ]
… Is there anything special about Trenton, NJ? According to FEMA’s web site, on June 3, 1998 … (FEMA) Director James L. Witt … invited the City of Trenton, NJ, to become a Project Impact community as part of FEMA’s nationwide initiative to create at least one disaster resistant community in each state by September 1998. “
Today (October 2001) there is a “Communicable Disease Service” (PO Box 369, 3635 Quakerbridge Road, Trenton, NJ 08625-0369 [1,2] ) in Trenton, and according to a document from the NJ state health dept. anthrax must be reported to this service by physicians immediately by telephone (609) 588-7500, 392-2020. They do have an infomation hotline: 800-792-883, but it was not available from my calling area.
The obvious question is…does this or any other facility in NJ keep any anthrax on hand for testing purposes? According to this bioterrorism readiness plan (4-13-99, .pdf) from the cdc, there is an FBI office in Newark, NJ at 973 622-5613. Someone could ask them. There is a company called BioPort that makes anthrax vaccine. Wouldn’t they have sources of the bacteria for testing?
It seems BioPort and the Dept. of Defense just last year (Oct 2000) were the focus of hearings in the House of Representatives regarding the antrax vaccine.
The document examines questions like, “Why have DoD public affairs officials repeatedly denied adverse reactions caused by the anthrax vaccine, while anthrax vaccine victims were simultaneously being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and being visited by the Army Surgeon General, LTG Blanck?”
“On Wednesday (10/10/01), the five major television news companies jointly agreed to adhere to the White House’s suggestion that they limit the airing of any future videotaped statements by Osama bin Laden. … It has long been the goal of the White House to put forth its official versions of events and control the flow of information.” [ CBSMarketWatch ]
[ up ] 10/12/01: MEDIA UNDER ATTACK!
NEW YORK (CNN) — An NBC “Nightly News” employee who received mail containing a suspicious white powder tested positive for a skin-based anthrax infection, New York officials said Friday. [ CNN ]
FLORIDA — It was reported before 10/8/01, perhaps by a caller to an AM radio show on KFBK that five people have been found to have traces of anthrax. So far, however, we’ve seen only three cases admitted by the press. One is Bob Stevens who died from the disease, and the other two are mailroom workers Ernesto Blanco and Stephanie Dailey. Spores were … found in the noses of two co-workers — Blanco, 73, and Dailey, 36. But they did not become sick with anthrax … [ SunSentinel ]
In Washington, Tim Caruso, deputy assistant director, counterterrorism division at FBI, told a subcommittee of the House intelligence committee that anthrax was found in “a number of locations” within the building — and only that building. In an interview, FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela said she was unable to say who might have planted the anthrax or whether investigators are specifically targeting hate groups. “We have not ruled out anything,” she said. “It could be somebody who just didn’t like tabloids. We just don’t know.” [ SunSentinel ]
For some reason, the FBI has now impounded the tabloid’s server. What would be on that server? Email? Stories in progress? Evidence?
Deadlines met Since the main office was closed, some employees have been working offsite, and the tabloids scheduled for printing this week met their production deadlines, the company said. “They put together some type of backup server” since the company’s main computer was impounded by the FBI, so some employees are able to continue working on the tabloids that will be printed next week with an Oct. 30 date, McKelvey said. ” [ SunSentinel ]
According to a reporter from the Sun-Sentinel, “Bob Stevens (who recently died of anthrax)worked for the tabloid “The Sun,” owned by American Media, which also owns the “National Enquirer” and “The Globe.” They are completely unrelated to the Sun-Sentinel. We are owned by the Chicago Tribune and are located on Congress Avenue. (American Media is on Broken Sound Parkway) Bob Stevens was not doing any stories, he was a photo editor. The person who was exposed is a mailroom employee.” [ private email ]
It is the proximity to the airport and the supposed location of the hijackers in Florida that may link the anthrax to the those responsible for the Sept. 11th attacks. In this map from the Miami Herald, (1) is Hamlet Estates, 401 Greensward Ln. Apartment of hijackers Fayez Ahmed and Marwan al-Shehhi from June 12 to Aug. 12., (2) is 401 Greesward Ln. Delray Beach Racquet Club, 755 Dotterel Rd. Where seven hijackers lived and were seen including ringleader Mohamed Atta. (3) is 5401 Broken Sound Blvd NW Headquarters of America Media Inc., where the victims worked, and (4) is Panther Motel 715 SE 20th Ave., Deerfield Beach Where hijackers stayed from Aug. 26 to Sept. 9.
Confirmed: “The mailroom employee, Ernesto Blanco, 73, has not contracted the disease.” So, any statements about a conspiracy to threaten the tabloid “alternative press” are unfounded at this point … unless there was some evidence in the building that needed to be removed. “Teams of specially trained FBI agents from all over the country descended Monday on the offices of supermarket tabloid publisher American Media Inc. to look for clues.” [ Miami Herald ]
Blanco delivered mail throughout AMI, — including on the second floor where deceased photo editor Bob Stevens worked and where investigators found traces of anthrax on a computer keyboard. Sen. Bob Graham, Florida’s senior senator and chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said federal health officials told him at a briefing Monday that “human intervention” had to be involved in the anthrax cases. Graham said Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, told him the possibility that the anthrax germ was spread “by anything other than human intervention was nil to none.”
AMI “publishes The Sun, The National Enquirer and The Globe, among other publications.” Checking the address “5401 Broken Sound Blvd” shows that was news to this reporter. Namely, all of these major tabloids are housed in the same building and run by the same company! Besides the “National Enquirer”, “the Sun”, and “the Globe”, the building also contains “Weekly World News”, “Star Magazine”, “Country Weekly Magazine.”
The parent company of all these tabloids is American Media, Inc. “one of the largest media companies in the U.S. with revenues of half a billion dollars. The company publishes 7 of the 15 best selling weekly magazines, including the National Enquirer, Star, Globe and Country Weekly. American Media, Inc. also owns Distribution Services, Inc., the country’s #1 in-store supermarket merchandising company. The corporate headquarters are in Boca Raton, Florida, with editorial and sales offices in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, Detroit, Miami and Chicago.” [ Magazine.Org ]
Perhaps America is now run by giant corporations and media machines even down to controlling election coverage such as the fiasco involving George Bush’s election in Florida. If that is the case, you might want to take a look at this next quote. It seems American Media, Inc. wanted to get into the serious news business. There sure has been a lot of serious news in Florida recently! Check this out:
“Elvis has left the newspaper! American Media, the nation’s top publisher of tabloid newspapers, is revamping its leading publications (“National Enquirer” and “Star”) to focus more on hard-news and reputable celebrity coverage. It also publishes “The Globe, National Examiner, Weekly World News,” and “Country Weekly.” The company hopes its move toward respectability will help reverse the falling circulation of its tabloids. American Media also operates Distribution Services, which places the periodicals in supermarkets throughout the US and Canada. About 85% of the company’s revenues are from circulation; advertising accounts for the rest. Investment firm Evercore Partners owns American Media. COMPETITION: The News Corporation Limited (NWS): PRIMEDIA, Inc. (PRM): Time Inc. (dossier) ” [ TheStandard ]
“BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — The FBI is investigating the possibility that the anthrax bacteria detected in two Florida men is a result of terrorism or criminal action …
The bacteria that killed a man last week has been detected in the nose of a coworker and on a computer keyboard in the newspaper office where both men worked, health officials said today.”
I hate the phrase “on condition of anonymity”. For example, “The FBI has been unable to find a source or cause the anthrax, but this kind of situation points to terrorism or criminal intent because it’s so rare to have two people working in the same building who have inhaled anthrax bacteria,” a senior law enforcement official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.” Yes, it actually says: “The FBI has been unable to … cause the anthrax”?
Did the anonymous source say that or if it is a misprint? As a person seeking news, this is frustrating. Why be anonymous here at all? Why doesn’t the FBI release all news from official sources when they are ready to do so?
According to MSNBC, “The America Media Inc., building is headquarters for several tabloids that have published derogatory stories about Osama bin Laden since the Sept. 11 attacks.” I wonder what else they have published … or were about to.
Is the Sun-Sentinel, which is unconnected with “The Sun” tabloid, gives plenty of details and it names names, “Dr. Steven Wiersma, the state’s epidemiologist. “, “Dr. James James, director of the Miami-Dade County Health Department. “, “Dr. Larry Bush, an infectious disease specialist.”, and “Richard Weisman, a toxicologist and director of the Poison Information Center at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital”.
According to the Sentinel, “… Stevens lived about a mile from an air strip where suspected hijacker Mohamed Atta rented planes, said Marian Smith, owner of the flight school. ” To me, that means they may have some inside information about the story.
Another fact: Richard Weisman (see above) … said he considered the odds of a terror attack unlikely (because the) variety of anthrax that killed Stevens is found in North America, and is sensitive to penicillin. An anthrax-based bioterror weapon developed by the Soviets is not. “
The last known case in Florida was 1974, when a military man who had handled a goat hide became ill with the skin-borne form. ” – Sun-Sentinel Hmmm. I wonder what the military guys are doing handling goat hides in Florida. Well, I’ve never been to Florida. Could be that a lot of military people there handle goat hides.
Frank – “What cha’ you doin’ this weekend Fred?”
Fred – “Same old. Hunt some gators, board down for the hurricane, and then I thought I’d … handle some goat hides. How about you?”
Frank – “Yup. Same thing here.”
Sorry about that. This was a horrible way to go and Bob was well loved by his friends and family. It makes me both sad and angry. Let’s see, Ken Alibek in his book BIOHAZARD says that the USSR lied about accidents with their bioweapons program. Is it paranoid to suggest that the US had some military anthrax in Florida in 1974 that was the real cause?
Florida (Palm Beach County) man (Bob Stevens) dies from anthrax – USA Today
“Bob Stevens, a photo editor at the supermarket tabloid The Sun, was the first person in the United States in a quarter-century to contract the inhaled form of anthrax. Stevens died at JFK Medical Center in Atlantis after antibiotics failed against the infection, Dr. Jean Malecki said.
… Eric Croddy, a bioterroism expert at California’s Monterey Institute, said that everything so far leads him to believe that the government is right, that Stevens caught the disease naturally and that it is an isolated case.
… Anthrax causes pneumonia, and patients are treated with antibiotics. There is also a vaccine to prevent the spread of the disease, but it is available only to the military now.
“Stevens was removed from a respirator and pronounced dead at 4 p.m. Friday (10/5/01) at JFK Medical Center in Atlantis. Dr. Larry Bush, an infectious disease specialist, said Stevens suffered cardiac arrest and could not be resuscitated.” – Sun-Sentinel
Fla. anthrax case is not seen as terrorism – USA Today (pg A9).
Florida man hospitalized with rare form of anthrax. – LATANA, Fla. (AP)
According to an article titled, “Authorities Insist Bioterrorism Not A Possibility” from: mycfnow.com/ 3:59 p.m. EDT October 4, 2001) (posted
“WASHINGTON — A Florida man was hospitalized with a case of anthrax, but authorities are careful to insist that there is no evidence of bioterrorism. “
Here’s another site with the story by AMANDA RIDDLE of the AP: link, and also ABCNews
For you scientists, “Bacillus anthracis is a very large, Gram positive, spore forming rod (1-1.5um x 4-10um). The organism is readily cultivated on ordinary nutrient medium and grows best aerobically, but will also multiply under anaerobic conditions.” link
Anthrax spores are odorless, colorless, and tasteless.
“About 1-6 days after inhaling Bacillus anthracis spores there would be a gradual onset of vague symptoms of illness such as fatigue, fever, mild discomfort in the chest and a possibly a dry cough. The symptoms would improve for a few hours or 2-3 days. Then, there would be sudden onset of difficulty in breathing, profuse sweating, cyanosis (blue colored skin), shock and death in 24-36 hours. ” Link
Is it contagious?
No, it does not usually spread from person to person.
Is there a vaccine?
Yes and no. Some sites say that the antrax vaccine is available only to the military. Some claim it is safe and effective, some say the vaccine offers questionable protection and may have caused Gulf War Syndrome. According to a CDC document on bioterrorism from 1999, an inactivated cell-free antrax vaccine was available in limited quantities from Bioport Corporation (formerly Michigan Biologic Products Institute) at 517/327-1500.
Here are some links:
What about squalene?
According to a United States Navy web page “Both DoD and the FDA had previously contended there was no squalene in the vaccine, but more recent tests detected minute amounts” . Here’s an offical military site regarding squalene and here’s another. You should always consider as many sides of an argument as possible. Here’s a site on the other side of this story.
How is antrax diagnosed?
Anthrax is usually diagnosed by isolating the bacterium from the blood, skin lesions, or respiratory discharges.
How deadly is it?
According to an American military web site, “100 million lethal doses per gram of anthrax material (100,000 times deadlier than the deadliest chemical warfare agent). Silent, invisible killer. Inhalational anthrax is virtually always fatal.” link
That contrasts with the calming media statements that “Anthrax can be successfully treated with antibiotics if treatment is begun early enough.” and that “there are enough anti-anthrax antibiotics to treat 2 million people for 60 days.”
This military site says “Without antibiotics, inhaled anthrax is 99% fatal” but also that
“… After serious symptoms have occurred in unvaccinated people, despite intensive care treatment and antibiotics, death rates still exceed 80%. Therefore, antibiotic treatment must be started at the earliest sign of disease.”
How early is early enough to start antibiotics?
“Almost all cases of inhalational anthrax, in which treatment was begun after patients have exhibited symptoms, have resulted in death, regardless of post-exposure treatment.” In other words, for the 20% that survive with antibiotics, when did they start taking them? During the first flu-like symptoms? I’m still looking in to this….
Are we under attack yet?
Back to the article regarding the Anthrax in Florida … “This is an isolated case and it’s not contagious,” Thompson said at a White House news conference. He said such cases are “rare, very rare.”
A bioterrorist attack would result in many victims. The article notes that there are no indications anyone else has been in contact with anthrax at this time. (Now there are, 10/8/01)
What about Bob?
Bob Stevens is a 63-year-old a Palm Beach newspaper photo editor for the who lives in Lantana, Florida. He is an avid outdoorsman of British descent. Stevens may have inhaled the spores. He was admitted to an undisclosed hospital early Tuesday. Stevens reportedly is in grave condition. An infectious disease specialist at the hospital where Stevens is being treated said he is on a ventilator and is sedated.
Where did this happen again?
According to ABCNews “Officials are aggressively investigating the individual’s schedule for the last few weeks and the source of the infection,” Thompson said Thursday. … An epidemiologist with the Florida Department of Health said he is certain the illness was contracted in Palm Beach County, where Stevens lived. “
Authorities are “advising anyone with severe upper respiratory ailments to go to the hospital.”
Crop Duster Planes
In the mycfnow article, Thompson said “There had been concerns about terrorists using crop-duster planes to spread anthrax through the air. “
“One person contracted anthrax in Texas earlier this year, but it was a so-called cutaneous case, resulting from handling animals. Pulmonary anthrax, in which the anthrax rests in the lungs, is much rarer. Previously, the most recent documented case of pulmonary anthrax was in 1976.”
How can I protect myself?
I. Well, the military likes the vaccine. There are many military sites that say it is the only real way to go and that it is safe. On the other hand, some claim it may be a factor in Gulf War Syndrome (military denies this) and the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] has said (Dec. 15, 2000, MMWR report on recommendations for the vaccine) the reaction rate is high, the number of inoculations is higher than for any other licensed vaccine, and the protection is questionable.
II. If you happen to be wearing a mask with holes smaller than 1um in size at the time of the attack, I think you’d be fine, but breathing it is not the only problem. It can also attack you right through your skin… yuck. More to come…