Antony C. Black
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.
The Patriot Act, for one, was, in late September and early October, meeting tepid, if nevertheless substantive, resistance from the Democrat-controlled Senate. And who by chance were the two people most implicated in this resistance? You guessed it, Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy.
Thus, Daschle as Senate Majority Leader and Leahy as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee were the two key figures controlling passage of the legislation and who, though largely in obeisance to the Administration’s will, were yet a tad taken aback by the sheer scope and breadth of the powers being ceded by the proposed Act.
Moreover, they protested the unseemly haste with which the Administration was attempting to ram through the legislation. Following reception of the anthrax-laced letters on Oct. 15th, however, their opposition, such as it was, collapsed. The Patriot Act was then quickly signed into effect on Oct. 26.
Though jettisoned of necessity by the revelation of US government affiliation, the overweening importance of the Al Qaeda / Iraq anthrax narrative to the Bush Administration’s whole ‘war on terror’ meme cropped up again, two years later, when Colin Powell made his infamous bogus presentation to the United Nations in the lead up to the assault on Iraq.
Holding up a vial of simulated anthrax Powell inveighed not just against Iraq’s ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in general, but also against Iraq’s ‘aerial dispersion’ techniques. That it was all a load of total manure matters less for our concerns here than does the significance that the Bush Administration still placed, and had long placed, on the anthrax narrative – and on the idea of ‘aerial dispersion’.
Both of these, it turns out, have a fascinating connection to the alleged perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks themselves.
It is first pertinent to note, however, that the date of confirmation of the first anthrax attack, i.e. against Robert Stevens, was Oct. 3rd. Prior to this date no one knew – or was supposed to know – that the nation was, once again, ‘under attack’. Strange to tell, then, that the press was, all through September, chock-a-block full of reports and analyses of possible anthrax attacks.
The New York Times alone, between Sept. 12 and Oct. 3, fielded some 76 articles related to biological and chemical weapons attacks, of which 27 of these were specifically to do with anthrax.
Furthermore, on Sept. 22, the FAA, responding to special information (that we will visit in a moment) pointing to the possibility of a mass aerial anthrax assault, grounded all of the nation’s 4000 or so crop-dusting planes. Finally, it eventually came out that the White House staff had been placed on the anthrax antibiotic, Ciprofloaxcin, on the very day of Sept. 11.
Now one might at first suppose that all this seeming foreknowledge was merely prudent calculation on the part of both government and media. In short, perhaps this was not ‘foreknowledge’ but rather ‘foresight’. But this supposition is misleading. There was, as such, no obvious, no compelling reason to think that a follow-up terrorist plot by the likes of ‘Al Qaeda’ would come in the form of a biological attack. After all, purely conventional means (i.e. planes, bombs, etc.) offered the far simpler, the far greater threat.
And here we need take note, not only of the extreme technical difficulties in the weaponizing of anthrax, but of the overwhelmingly disproportionate emphasis on the threat of it throughout the period in question.
Nor can one credit the boys in blue – or the media – with some flashy detective intuition, for the plain fact of the matter is that they got it completely wrong, i.e. the provenance of the anthrax attacks were neither Al Qaeda nor Iraq – but US government-military labs!
Still, the FAA did seem to have been on to something when they grounded the nations’ crop-dusting fleet, and that ‘something’ turned out to be the startling revelation that a number (at least a dozen) of the alleged 9/11 hijackers had, over the previous year, been busying themselves attempting to procure crop-dusting planes. And not just procuring, but of making a big, very public splash of it to boot.
On Sept. 24, 2001, for instance, Ashcroft testified before Congress relating how Mohamed Atta, the supposed ringleader of the hijackers, “had been compiling information about crop-dusting before the 9/11 attacks.”
The following day it was revealed that Atta had, in early May, walked into US Department of Agriculture office in Florida and inquired about getting a loan to buy a crop-dusting plane adding that he was looking to modify the plane to carry a large additional chemical tank. After being turned down for the $650,000 loan he sought, Atta apparently then threatened to cut the throat of the loan officer and simply take the money from the safe. He made further blatant allusions to ‘Al Qaeda’ and ‘Osama Bin Laden’ and so on throughout the interview.
Apart from the fact that it is hard to reconcile this behaviour – and a large corpus of similar material relating to the behaviour of the 9/11 hijackers – with a group of men planning an ultra-secret mission of terror, it is also more than curious that the hijackers of 9/11 would be bothering to associate themselves with (presumably) spreading anthrax when it was clear, even according to the government’s own narrative, that ‘Al Qaeda’ was hardly likely to harbour the technical capability for weaponizing the bacteria.
This is, of course, where the link with Iraq insinuates itself, i.e. a state actor is required to provide the weaponized material.
The equation then becomes simple: The anthrax narrative equals the pretext for the invasion of Iraq. Here we may see Powell’s seemingly anomalous waving of the ‘anthrax card’ before the UN, in a new light, i.e. as part of an erstwhile, deeply entrenched (if, by then, completely discredited) script to attack Iraq.
A question now begs to be asked: Is there yet any connection between the hijackers – and the anthrax letters themselves?
The answer is yes, and the link between them is Robert Stevens, i.e. the very first person to be identified as having contracted anthrax (on Oct. 3; he died Oct. 5). Stevens worked as a photo-editor for a tabloid called The Sun in Baca Raton, Florida.
As it transpires, Gloria Irish, the wife of the head of the Sun, just happened to be the real estate agent not only for Stevens himself, but for two of the hijackers, Marwan al-Shehhi and Hamza al-Ghamdi. Two other hijackers moved in with al-Shehhi and al-Ghamdi and, in all, investigators later connected nine of the nineteen hijackers to the apartments located by Mrs. Irish.
But remember, the anthrax attacks did not actually involve Al Qaeda or the hijackers. They originated as a purely domestic conspiracy. Could then a ‘lone wolf’ agent like Bruce Ivins perhaps have deliberately targeted Stevens knowing his physical proximity to the hijackers?
No. The information linking Stevens and the hijackers came out only after Steven’s death.
That leaves either the pure coincidence theory, i.e. that, out of some 285 million people then living in the United States, a number of the hijackers just happened to be connected with the first anthrax victim, or that the entire anthrax narrative – including the reports of hijackers seeking crop-dusting planes etc – was meant to be linked with 9/11, this as a pretext to implicate Iraq in the 9/11 attacks themselves.
Moreover, as Graham MacQueen aptly notes, it matters not “whether actual hijackers were involved in sending out letters laden with anthrax spores: the question is whether fictions, verbal or enacted, were intentionally created to make this narrative seem credible. The Hijackers did not have anthrax, but the script portrayed them as likely to have it.”
The association between the alleged hijackers and the anthrax letters do not, of course, exhaust the many and profound connections linking the hijackers to a false-flag scenario.
There are, for instance, the known connections of a number of the hijackers to Western intelligence services. Of especial interest is the possible relation between the hijackers and Israeli intelligence agents operating in the US at the time. Still, as discussion of these fascinating threads would lead us far astray, let us conclude this exhibit with a final bizarro-world flourish known as ‘Dark Winter’.
Less than three months before the 9/11 attacks a bioterrorism exercise called ‘Dark Winter’ was held at Andrews Air Force Base. Whilst the holding of such exercises are not in themselves unusual, the peculiar parallels between this simulation and the subsequent anthrax attacks are yet worth noting.
Thus, like the anthrax attacks themselves ‘Dark Winter’ involved: contaminated letters being sent to the mainstream media; letters being sent to high state officials; preparations for the drastic restriction of civil liberties; and finally, an emphasis on a ‘double perpetrator’ narrative, even spelling out “Iraq” as the state sponsor in collusion with “terrorist groups in Afghanistan”. Also intriguing are the personnel who were involved in the exercise. Of these, three stand out: Judith Miller, James Woolsey, and Jerome Hauer.
Miller reprised for the simulation her real-world role as reporter for the New York Times; a role she leant zealously towards the framing of Iraq in the lead up to invasion. Also worthy of note is the bio-weapons book she co-authored, entitled ‘Germs’, which was released on Oct. 2/01, just in time to clean up on the anthrax scare and soar up the best-seller list.
Woolsey, reprising his former real-world role as CIA director (under Clinton), was also an erstwhile and virulent proponent of invading Iraq. Hauer played the role of FEMA director in Dark Winter.
In real life, Hauer was both a bioterrorism expert and had been, up until early 2000, the director of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) for New York City. The OEM had been located on the 23rd floor of the World Trade Center #7. According to a July 27, 1999 New York Times article, Hauer’s alternate expertise – and apparent obsession – was building collapse.
In following the chain of evidence adumbrated so far we are led inexorably to a startling conclusion. To wit, far from being just another obscure footnote in history, the 2001 anthrax attacks appear, not just as a domestic conspiracy originating within the highest levels of the US state apparatus, but as a pointer to the truth of that ‘other’ potential – probable – false flag, i.e. 9/11 itself.
As MacQueen summarizes the matter:
Since the Hijackers of 9/11 fame were connected to the anthrax attacks, and since the anthrax attacks manifestly had to be planned and carried out by deep insiders in the US, there is no avoiding the implication that the 9/11 attacks were also carried out by insiders. There is, as it happens, a large body of evidence which supports this thesis.”
And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is where, in the lawyering biz they say with steely finality: ‘I rest my case’.