Jennifer Lake's Blog

May 12, 2010

Anthrax Addendum

Filed under: anthrax,Modern History — jenniferlake @ 7:02 pm
Facts, Enigmas, Holes and Questions
        situation normal, all FEHQed up
Anthrax takes a while to propagate and set up an infection. In the 2001 attacks, it averaged out among the victims of either type, cutaneous or inhalation, to a close and repeated period of 4 to 6 days. Most of the cases fit neatly into this time window, although a few of the total 23 (plus or minus) took a few days longer. Only one case, the first one, violated this norm.  The woman was a New York Post editor who manifested a red ‘bump’ on her right-hand middle finger which she noticed on Friday, September 21. The bump was becoming a blister and the next day, while she attended a wedding, it burst. She recalled drying the sore on the fabric of her dress.
   Several days earlier, on Tuesday the 18th, someone dropped an anthrax-tainted letter into a mail slot somewhere in central New Jersey. It was addressed to the “Editor, New York Post”. A ‘twin’ letter to Tom Brokaw at NBC was mailed the same day from another N.J. mail slot, but they were both sent on to the Hamilton mail center outside Trenton where they passed through the sorting machines about three hours apart, sometime on the 18th. Later that evening, a Hamilton worker who repaired and maintained the postal machinery reached into a contaminated sorter and cut his arm. No one is really sure who got sick first, the mechanic or the editor. They both started out with unusual red bumps that they thought were spider bites and noticed about the same time, but clearly the mechanic had a head start. He recalled his symptoms began on September 22.
   New York City-bound mail was sent from Hamilton to the Morgan mail center in Manhattan where it was sorted, stamped again, separated and bundled for local delivery. No one at the Morgan center was ever reported with anthrax. After processing at Morgan, the Post’s letter arrived at the company headquarters, waiting there for the company mailroom clerks to sort it again. Could all this have happened in less than a day? It makes the editor’s anthrax onset more believable were it so. But the actual timing of this letter through the postal equipment appears unannounced by any public media. Maybe it’s classified, or maybe just a well-kept secret. Maybe, like the Leahy letter, knowledge of the real route and time stamps would cancel out what modicum of ‘credence’ remained with the telling. Without proof of the ‘Editor’ letter’s traveling time, the case is still implausibly fast and oddly isolated. An account by the editor herself, published five years later, contains a remembrance of this letter and how she transferred it from her desktop to a shelf where it got stuffed in a bin of anonymous-looking crank mail. Funny– because after she got sick and sought treatment she couldn’t remember anything about any unusual mail and had no idea about how or where she might have picked up anthrax!
   Four weeks after she first noticed her blister, on October 19, investigators said they finally found the letter, unopened in the company trash. Two of the Post’s employees, a mail clerk and another editor, had helped them look for it. Four days after that, those two workers developed unusual red bumps…
The deadliest of the “in evidence” letters, comprising four of a suspected seven, was the Leahy letter. It was found on November 16, 2001, shortly before the last recorded fatality in Connecticut, in a quarantined batch of undelivered mail. It was thought to have been delayed behind the Daschle letter which was opened Oct.15, because of mistaken routing to the State Department’s mail facility,  but it was missing a special stamp from the State Dept. machinery. CDC investigator Jim Hayslett tracked down the Leahy Letter’s Washington journey and learned from the senator’s aide that, in fact, the Leahy letter was delivered and returned unopened when the gravity of the Daschle letter contamination was known. Senator Leahy’s office tested negative for anthrax. Over a month later, when the letter turned up in undelivered mail, the envelope bore a mysterious pinhole.
   The official story asks us to believe that a 94-year-old woman in Connecticut died from cross-contaminated mail. As proof of a theory, on November 30, officials found a neighbor one mile away with a saved letter bearing “an anthrax spore, a tiny amount” that had followed the Leahy letter through the New Jersey sorting machine by 15 seconds. And that’s it — proof of a theory. The neighbor’s house and family turned up zero contamination. The local post office and the victim’s home and belongings turned up zero contamination. But the lingering question is whether or not Mrs. Lundgren’s neighbor, artist and “estate liquidator” John Smith Farkas, may have been involved in some deeper way with or without his knowledge. Among the ‘interesting persons’ of September 11th is New york/Miami lawyer who was well-connected to the CIA and Israeli Mossad, named Michael D. Farkas. As yet, the research neither proves nor disproves a connection between these men, however in the world of high-finance and fine-art, they are drawing closer and closer…
Earlier, in the Florida contamination at the National Enquirer where no letters had been saved, the remembrance of a woman employee who worked in the mailroom office, was that “on or about” September 25 she opened a powdery letter at her desk. She continued to use her office for two more weeks before the American Media Inc.’s building was closed down two days after the death of the SUN tabloid photo editor on Oct.5. She remained healthy and well, even through the diagnosis of having anthrax spores on her nasal swab. Her mailroom office later tested ‘hot’ for anthrax and the building had air-borne microscopic contamination throughtout its three-stories, but there were no spores found in the air ducts near her workstation….an enigma indeed.
   Photo editor, Bob Stevens, was said to have visited Duke University on or before the day his infection became acute, a recollection of his wife Maureen and known to be true by North Carolina health officials. No reports of Mr. Stevens’ activity or purpose at Duke has been offered in the mainstream press, but according to the “Special Libraries” of news archivists used by the tabloids, only two places in the country house the information and personnel Experts on the terror events of September 11- Harvard and Duke Universities. Was Bob visiting for professional reasons regarding 9-11? Did he have a personal interest in 9-11 or was there another reason? The ongoing ‘wrongful death’ lawsuit of Mrs. Stevens and her family, hinging on the ‘lone perpetrator’ theory, have fundamentally ‘gagged’ any case information until well into 2011, when the case may finally be allowed to proceed.
   The first two inhalation-anthrax cases which happened in Florida, to Mr. Stevens and co-worker Ernie Blanco, were both administered in ‘medical centers’ belonging to HCA, the Hospital Corporation of America, a large-scale hospital manager belonging to Senator Bill Frist, MD, and his family (founded by Frist’s father). Frist became the Congressional ‘anthrax’ spokesman and also took a chair at CSIS, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which participated in bioterror drills that included various anthrax attack scenarios. Mr. Blanco survived, thanks in great part to a ‘miraculous’ coincidence concerning a minor car accident on a Miami street involving the mother of a DoD anthrax expert. Blanco’s son-in-law was nearby, working at his car dealership job when the lady came in to negotiate for a car. This fateful connection led to Ernie Blanco’s case being advised from afar by top docs in the US military.
In Washington D.C. at the Brentwood Road mail center, four cases of inhalation anthrax resulted in two fatalities. One of the two survivors remains today ‘unidentified’. He does not appear in the subsequent lawsuits. Brentwood employed approximately 2,000 workers, and this man was said to be among them. Curiously, the other survivor, Mr. Richmond, was best friends with the two who died and he worked part of his time at an express package facility by the Washington-Baltimore Int’l Airport, some long distance outside D.C. Off work, the three met regularly to play cards and pray together, Mr. Richmond himself being the common point of contact. (Anthrax is not contagious – only spores can initiate infection). Richmond was the first to sicken enough to seek treatment. During his hospitalization which began Oct.19, he was enabled by his Brentwood plant manager to remember the details of how he became infected. It was agreed and reported in the news at the time, that an unusal request by his manager for Mr. Richmond to clean a Brentwood letter-sorting machine on the morning of October 11 was the infectious cause. At least one of the deadly “weaponized” letters, the Daschle letter, did not pass through the equipment until 7:10 am the next day, on the 12th. Either the contamination was already present, or the timing is wrong. Should we believe the Leahy letter caused this contamination when it did not leave a spore behind at the senator’s office? So far, details of the Leahy letter’s timing through Brentwood cannot be found.
   In a class-action suit brought against the Postal Service by Brentwood workers, it was revealed that mid-managers were instructed by their superiors to LIE to the floor supervisors about possible contamination and keep the workers on the job. In a surreal twist of visualization, regularly uniformed postal employees carried on their normal duites while health officials in hazmat space-suits walked around them taking samples. The lawsuit only mentions the Daschle letter, stamped on the morning of October 12. After the Daschle letter was opened on the 15th, hours later the FBI carefully ferried it over to Fort Detrick for analysis by Dr. John Ezzell –Dr. Ezzell was said to have called the anthrax powder inside “the Face of Satan”. He said in all his years as a bioweapons expert, he had never seen anything as concentrated or imagined an aerosol as finely produced.
   Despite his careful technique and state-of-the-art protective barriers, Dr. Ezzell took the “very painful” step of inhaling bleach solution for fear of anthrax. He went home and baked all his mail in the family kitchen and then prepared a public statement for the internet, encouraging everyone to use their ovens to ‘autoclave’ their own mail.
Fortunately, John Ezzell’s fears aside, the Face of Satan didn’t leave anthrax spores in anyone’s airways on Capitol Hill. Staffers and Capitol Police who might have breathed in spores turned out to test positive for bacterial antibodies only. Washington D.C. did not report any known contamination to any other letter or package mail. Just the Daschle and Leahy letters. Spores, however, seemed to be all over D.C. mailrooms in miniscule amounts, causing closures and general havoc.  Up to that point in time, the medical significance of tiny amounts was not a matter of concern. It was the later Connecticut case that began changing doctors’ minds. They really were very impressed, the news told us,  that Ottilie Lundgren could have been infected by near-undetectable amounts of anthrax. Another neighbor of Mrs. Lundgren was impressed enough to cover his entire house with heavy-gauge plastic and duct tape.
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There’s more ‘Addendum’ to come…
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