If the notion that, ‘truth always lies 180 degrees opposite to the direction pointed by the corporate media’ is not yet a modern maxim, it should be. A useful corollary might be added to the effect that, ‘the depth to which an event is consigned to the establishment memory hole is inversely related to its actual significance’.
Such an event is the occasion of the October, 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States, for coming close upon the heels of those of 9/11, the anthrax attacks of early October seemed to stamp with the imprimatur of destiny itself the coming of a new age, a new ‘clash of civilizations’, and, of course, a new conflictual modality, ‘The Global War on Terror’. It is ironic then that barely a decade later the entire episode should be so completely forgotten as almost never to have happened.
So what did happen?
The bald facts – as detailed by author Graeme MacQueen – are these:
From early October until November 20, some twenty-two people became infected by anthrax spores contained in letters sent through the US public mail system. Of these five died. A number of letters containing the spores were sent to several major news organizations and two were sent to the offices of US Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy.
The US Administration immediately laid blame for the attacks at the door of Al Qaeda – and, significantly, Iraq, even though the latter had in no way been implicated in the 9/11 attacks themselves.
A number of crude ‘Islamic’ propaganda letters also accompanied some of the anthrax mailings. As it turned out, these proved so crude as to convince virtually no one, but rather as to suggest blatant fraud. Even more problematic was that the ordained authorities chose early on to push the notion that the spores had physical characteristics whose provenance could only be that of Iraq.
This tactic was quickly seen to backfire for when thoroughly analyzed the strain of anthrax used was found, egads!, to have come from US government labs. Shocking.
Needless to say, the Al Qaeda / Iraq motif was quietly dropped as was the heavy curtain of amnesia over the entire wayward affair. In 2010, just by way of tying up loose ends, a government anthrax vaccine researcher, one Dr. Bruce Ivins, was, after conveniently committing suicide, judged in absentia as the ‘lone wolf’ culprit. Case closed.
Well not quite.
In 2008, following Ivins’ death and under pressure from Congress, the FBI reluctantly asked the National Academy of Sciences to review its scientific methodology in the case.
The NSA, after hurdling multiple bureaucratic and technical obstacles placed in its way by the FBI, concluded (in 2011) that, far from being airtight, the case against Ivins was, in fact, built on a foundation of sand.
Thus, not only was Ivins’ alleged ‘deception’ of authorities strongly called into question, but so was the actual physical link between Ivins’ research and the anthrax spores used in the mailings. The NSA findings received reinforcement that same year from an unexpected source.
The relatives of Robert Stevens – the first fatality and the first victim to be identified as suffering from anthrax, (Oct. 5) – in suing the US government for liability in the death of their loved one, incurred a raucous split between the government’s civil and criminal divisions.
The subsequent court battle witnessed the civil branch attacking the results of the FBI and concluding, as per the NSA report, that there was no substantive link between Ivins and the anthrax mailings.
For the government narrative, things got uglier still. In 2011 and 2012 two articles appeared in the Journal of Bioterrorism and Biodefense. The lead author of the two papers, Martin Hugh-Jones, was listed by the FBI itself as a “renowned anthrax expert”.
The papers argued that the spores used in the 2001 anthrax attacks were not only highly weaponized, but employed a very specialized ‘silicone coating with a tin catalyst’. As the authors concluded,
Potential procedures that might be applicable for silicone coating of spores, barely touched on here, are complex, highly esoteric processes that could not possibly have been carried out by a single individual”.
‘Highly esoteric processes that could not possibly have been carried out by a single individual’.
So if not by Ivins, then by who?
The authors of the papers answered this question too.
“The known clues point to Dugway [Proving Grounds in Utah] or Battelle [Memorial Institute in Ohio], not USAMIIRD as the site where the attack spores were prepared. Crucial evidence that would prove or disprove these points either has not been pursued or has not been released by the FBI”.
In short, all the evidence relating to the 2001 anthrax letters points, not just to a domestic false flag attack – that much is conceded – but to a collective conspiracy at the highest levels of the US state apparatus.
But then why? What was all this in aid of?
As mentioned earlier, the context of the 2001 anthrax attacks involved not just the assaults on the Trade Towers themselves, but the whole edifice of the subsequent ‘global war on terror’ that was so rapidly prosecuted by the Bush Administration.
Thus, within just one day of 9/11, i.e. on Sept. 12, Attorney General Ashcroft put forward a ‘use of force’ proposal that leant the President unprecedented wartime powers.
Within a week the Patriot Act was on the table and this was followed in short order by proposals for military tribunals and (on Oct. 4) bulk surveillance powers for the NSA. On October 7th, the US invaded Afghanistan.
As MacQueen shows, the entire ideological thrust of the US executive during this time was to phrase the attacks as acts of war rather than as terrorist incidents, this so as to replace the ‘legal system with the war system’.
And so, within a matter of mere weeks following 9/11, the nation witnessed a naked seizure of power by the Executive Branch such as had not been experienced during its entire two hundred plus years of existence.
But all was not entirely clear sailing for the Bush neo-cons.