In the spring of 2010, I put together a blog of news and commentary, scraped together from what had been published in the news about the anthrax attacks. It didn’t take long to find contradictions and inconsistencies but it took weeks and months of scouring the sources to pull out a narrative about what did and did not happen, and after all that there was still less than half a story– just enough to say with certainty that the first victim in five deaths could not have been contaminated at his Florida tabloid office by an anthrax letter. There was enough evidence to say that none of the next four fatalities had plausibly traceable infections either. Survivors each had anomalous details of time and place in their individual accounts that made the sequence of events impossible. The executive staff at the Florida tabloid were allowed to come and go in hazmat suits and do their own cleanup at the “crime scene” before the FBI started their investigation 10 months later. The contaminated letters that the government took into custody, it turns out, could not have been the source of lethal infections, and these are just a few of the problems.
The missing half of the “Amerithrax” picture, which leaves only an impression that the biological attacks were calculated murders, hovers like a phantom over the memorials of September 11. If you turn and look for it, nothing is there. The propaganda about anthrax from Iraq, with Colin Powell holding up his little vial of powder, also seems to have vanished with it. Bruce Ivins, the ‘lone nut’ who suicided the day before his official indictment (in 2008, while under surveillance), was posthumously declared guilty. Case closed. No public memorials for the anthrax victims. Nothing sexy here. Flush it all down the memory hole. Who wants to be reminded of how dirtied we felt by the uncontrolled spread of disease and mental filth after the shock of watching the towers fall again? Not me.
–but this is not really about that.
I learned from 9-11 and the anthrax attack how easily the public can be hoaxed –how willingly we take the word of authority in times of confusion, even if that authority is the ‘because I said so’ kind making claims to analyses and logic. What I saw was the whole 2001 anthrax story running desperately short on information and because of the anthrax attacks, lawmakers were hustled around in Washington during those critical days of passing the Patriot Act and a phony link was forged between Iraq and the hijackers. Because of anthrax, airports are shoving people through bodily x-rays. Because of anthrax, biological reality is divorcing medical expedients and becoming a way of life.
In a speculative moment of comprehension, I’d say the anthrax attacks were the largest and longest case of hearsay ever broadcast over the national media. There was no perp video, no audio, no testimony about credible threats. Just the slow, rumor-ridden dropping of The Other Shoe. Bad things must come in twos.
According to the CDC final report, “22 cases of anthrax (11 inhalational, 11 cutaneous) were identified.. in..seven states” http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/8/10/02-0353_article.htm
The half-story is still hanging at www.thirdring.wordpress.com . If I can find the time, I’ll amend this post with a review.