Anthrax, the Second Punch
MacQueen describes the anthrax episode of 2001, preceded by the 9/11 attack, as a "one-two punch" intended 1) to enable permanent war and 2) to pass the Patriot Act eviscerating American civil liberties. 9/11 was the first punch; anthrax was the pivotal second punch.
He describes almost a day-by-day account of how the executive branch, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, got Congress to pass the Patriot Act by disseminating a huge dose of scare tactics involving anthrax, a dangerous virus that killed five people (including photo editor Robert Stevens). Anthrax turned up at news outlets and other locations, but the biggest "second punch" was inflicted after two senators received anthrax in the mail. Everyone had to evacuate the Senate building, and all senators were warned not to drive with their license plates showing, hide their Congressional pins, etc. – all propaganda aimed to instill in them the bogus fear that they were targets of terrorists. MacQueen argues that without the anthrax "two punch," the Patriot Act would not have passed as fast or as conclusively as it did.
The Letters Containing Anthrax
Anthrax letters were sent to Senators Leahy and Daschle, the two primary holdouts against the full provisions of the Patriot Act. The envelopes containing the deadly anthrax spores proved to be the coup de grâce because once the senators' lives appeared threatened by this false flag operation, they too came on board with the Patriot Act.
It is imperative you look at a photo of the letters that were sent to the senators. The text, "Death to America. Death to Israel. Allah is great," expose the letters to be utter fakes. It is as if they were written by a fourth grader pretending to be a jihadi terrorist. Or as MacQueen writes in ridiculing the plausibility of the letters: "It is as if someone had tried to frame Native Americans for the crime by inserting a note in the letters, "White man in heap big trouble."
The Double Perpetrator Propaganda
MacQueen makes clear the anthrax scare was a false flag operation by showing how the executive branch and sections of the FBI were initially vigorously trying to pin the anthrax letters on Al Qaida. However, when it came out that it was impossible to make that type of anthrax in a cave or by individuals without a lab, their finger-pointing then evolved into a proxy state: Iraq or Syria. This scenario was played out for several weeks, reinforcing the massage that Iraq in particular was a dangerous enemy to be much feared.
After the Patriot Act was passed, after Afghanistan was invaded, after the media had eaten up every word about terrorist bogeymen, eventually it was shown that Iraq and Syria neither possessed nor had the capability to make the type of spores required to produce the anthrax in the letters. Non-state agents likewise could not have made the anthrax given their lack of sophisticated labs. (Similarly, nano thermite cannot be made in a cave in Afghanistan and can only come from state agents.)
It was eventually determined that the anthrax could only have come from three places in the world, and all three were located in the United States: 1) Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, 2) Battelle Memorial Institute in Ohio, and 3) USAMRIID (United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases) at Fort Detrick, Maryland. Battelle should have been a prime suspect since it is ". . . the largest R&D company in the world, which regularly does work for the CIA and the U.S. military and was involved in anthrax weaponization projects in the second half of the 1990s."
The Lone Wolf Excuse
After they achieved their purpose of getting the media whipped up and dutifully parroting the 1%'s party line, and after it became clear that their "terrorist" explanation was bogus, the FBI then switched gears and said the anthrax attacks were the work of a lone wolf named Bruce Ivans, a researcher at USAMRIID. The Department of Justice's (DoJ) position was that Ivans alone did it, and he had the opportunity and access since his work entailed developing anthrax vaccines. This position – that an entity within a state agency was responsible – is what MacQueen and others call a limited hangout.
Ivans, however, focused on wet anthrax, not the dry powder used in 2001. But even if he had secret access to the dry powder, a former supervisor at USAMRIID said that the period in Ivins' schedule identified by the FBI as his opportunity to prepare the spores (the "34 more hours in the B3 suite than his combined total for the previous seven months") was completely inadequate for the task the FBI alleges he was performing. The 34 hours are less than one-half of one percent of the time he would have needed to develop this type of anthrax (estimated to be more than 8,000 hours). This task would have been impossible to do in secret.
In 2011 and 2012, a team of three experts wrote two articles in the Journal of BioTerrorism and BioDefense analyzing the 2001 anthrax issue. One of their conclusions was that the anthrax procedures involved here ". . . are complex, highly esoteric processes that could not possibly have been carried out by a single individual." So much for the lone wolf theory. Further, they explained, USAMRIID did not have the laboratory, specialized capabilities or expertise to do so. So much for Bruce Ivans.
The story of Bruce Ivans does not end there, however. On Tuesday, July 28, 2008, Ivans (supposedly) committed suicide after learning that the FBI was probably going to file criminal charges against him in connection with the 2001 anthrax attacks. Formal charges were never filed against him, and no direct evidence has ever been proven of his involvement.
Robert Stevens Family Lawsuit
The first anthrax death was of Robert Stevens, a photo editor with a Florida-based tabloid on October 5, 2001. Although the criminal side of the DoJ to this day maintains that lone wolf Ivans carried off the anthrax caper, the civil side of DoJ was forced to argue somewhat to the contrary to avoid liability in a lawsuit filed by the Stevens family. Their law suit argued something to the effect that the U.S. government was negligent for allowing Ivans to create the anthrax.
In their defense, the civil DoJ expanded upon their argument saying that this anthrax was too specialized for a lone individual at Fort Detricks to transform it into dry powder, that special expertise was needed that was not available at that facility. DoJ lawyers didn't say that Ivans didn't make the anthrax, but they didn't say that he did either. Apparently, there was panic and shouting matches within the DoJ between the civil and criminal divisions. Civil "got scolded" and was made to settle the case without trial as quickly as possible. In 2011, the Stevens family won a $2.5 million settlement with no admission of liability by the U.S. government.
Foreknowledge of Anthrax
MacQueen documents the extent of advanced knowledge. For one, the media was full of reports, articles, and speculations about anthrax and Cipro that appeared weeks before the first anthrax death on October 5, 2001. Even New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd was writing about women carrying Cipro in their pocketbooks. Why was the media rife with anthrax stories? There was no reason to consider the "enemy" would attack with anthrax as opposed to a bomb, hostage situation or whatever. This was all planted news. But planted by whom?
No lone wolf could have carried out this level of "predictive programming." It required what MacQueen concludes as "a very powerful team with high-level inside knowledge and connections." Richard Cohen of the Washington Post said he got a tip from someone high in government to use Cipro. Top officials, including President Bush, began using Cipro after 9/11. All this in a period when anthrax was not even threatened to be released, let alone any surfacing publicly. These planted anthrax stories all points to foreknowledge.
"Dark Winter" Exercise
During June 22-23, 2001, several institutions joined to sponsor a biological warfare simulation at Andrews Air Force Base . The exercise, called Dark Winter, involved a fictional scenario whereby terrorists release a smallpox virus via aerosol spray in three American cities beginning in December, 2002. The exercises were concocted to take place during three successive National Security Council meetings over a period of 14 days.
Although it is not uncommon to simulate biological weapons attack as a means of preparedness training, in this instance, the simulations uncannily took place a mere three months before the anthrax attacks. Second, there were at least ten elements in common to Dark Winter and the actual anthrax attacks. For example, both entailed threat letters containing the bio-warfare agent. Both had allegations involving state-sponsored terrorism, specifically Iraq. Both made drastic restrictions on civil liberties.
Dark Winter used prominent civilians to play roles in the simulation. Judith Miller played a New York Times reporter, her real life occupation. James Woolsey played a CIA director, and in real life had served in that capacity during the Clinton Administration. Jerome Hauer played a FEMA director (see bio below). See here the participants and the roles they played.
Judith Miller is notorious for helping to sell the Iraq war to the U.S. public by her series of fraudulent articles in the New York Times about weapons of mass destruction (WMD) both before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It is not an understatement to say her role in the anthrax attack was the dress rehearsal. With amazing synchronicity, Miller's co-authored book, Germs, which warned about Iraq's alleged ongoing bioweapons program, was published the day the first anthrax victim entered the hospital.
On October 12, 2001, Miller was the recipient of a bioweapon threat letter at her Times office. Unlike the congressional letters, the powder Miller received was harmless, but the incident gave her an amazingly convenient opportunity to spout fear propaganda as she alerted one and all to believe her that the Iraqis were behind it. No doubt the scare promoted sales of her book since by the end of October Germs had made the NYT bestseller list.
James Woosley likewise profited off the anthrax scare. Woolsey supported the neo-conservative Project for a New American Century (widely known as PNAC) and signed several of their letters calling for an "aggressive military agenda" against Iraq. On the day of September 11, he opined that Iraq was involved and a "ruthless" response was needed. An outside-the-Beltway reporter's headline read, "Woolsey Needs to Make a Choice Between Being a War Profiteer and a War Pundit." Apparently he owned an interest in a small arms firm.
Jerome Hauer was the director of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) in New York City from 1996 to 2000. The OEM was located in a "bunker" on the 23rd floor of Building 7. Hauer has a master's degree in emergency medical services from Johns Hopkins and has been interested in bioterrorism for years. A 1999 NYT profile noted that building collapses had become Hauer's obsession and he collected samples from every building collapse he could find in New York City.
On the morning of September 11, he was interviewed by Dan Rather saying he anticipated the official cause of the collapse of the North and South Towers would be a weakening of the structure through plane impact and burning jet fuel. Later that same day he told Peter Jennings that, regarding Building 7, he had heard concerns about the "structural stability of the building." Up to that day, there had never been any issues regarding Building 7's integrity. MacQueen calls this "merely one instance among many of suspect foreknowledge of this historically unprecedented collapse."
Anthrax and the 19 Alleged Hijackers
At least 15 of the 19 Hijackers had a connection to Florida, living in a 71-mile strip between West Palm Beach and Miami. (MacQueen is quite aware that a number of the Hijackers are real people unconnected to 9/11, so he purposefully uses the term with a capital H to stand for "alleged hijackers."). In the middle of that strip, Boca Raton, is where Robert Stevens died from anthrax. He worked as a photo editor at the now defunct The Sun. The editor-in-chief's wife was a real estate agent who found apartments for two of the Hijackers and had found Stevens' house for him. MacQueen asks why officials never looked into this. He has much more info on the 19 Hijackers and the unsuccessful efforts to associate them with the anthrax scare as the patsies, including the fact that the anthrax letters to the media all came from Florida.
Powell's UN Presentation
In February 2003, Colin Powell gave a dramatic speech to the United Nations in which he held up a vial of white power (not real anthrax) with his line that a teaspoon will kill you and Iraq has truckloads. This staged presentation was believed by almost all Americans and by almost nobody abroad. He falsely stated that Iraq possessed the means to disperse anthrax from planes. Actually, Iraq was a devastated country by this time with negligible quantities of anthrax to their name (almost all were destroyed in 1991). MacQueen says, "The U.S. Secretary of State displaying his vial of anthrax simulant before the international community just prior to a war of aggression against Iraq is one of the most telling gestures of the 21st century."
In early October 2001, when anthrax scares and letters were at their height, the media frequently employed the word "unthinkable" to describe an anthrax or bioweapons attack by an enemy. MacQueen cites seven influential outlets (e.g., NYT, CNN, USA Today) among many. Who pushed the media into peddling this meme? MacQueen doesn't say, but he concludes ". . . there is a pattern here." He says it might not be a conspiracy, ". . . but whatever the origins of the 'unthinkable' discourse, it deserves investigation and contemplation" which he proceeds to do.
For many years before 2001, "the unthinkable" had been used as a term among those who studied and participated in American war strategy to refer to nuclear war, traced to Herman Kahn's famous book, Thinking about the Unthinkable. Kahn gave the term a quasi-technical status which was accepted by many subsequent writers. How did "unthinkable" as a term for nuclear weapons get morphed into a term for bioweapons in 2001?
In 1972, the U.S. and Soviet Union signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM), a pillar of the Cold War strategy of nuclear deterrence. The superpowers agreed to renounce the attempt to build weapons of defense against nuclear missiles. They gave up military defense on the understanding that the prospect of nuclear retaliation by the enemy was so horrifying that each side would be deterred from attacking the other. MacQueen writes, "This was an unusual agreement in the history of warfare and came about due to the spectacular destructiveness of nuclear weapons and the fact that no technology had been invented to offer a significant defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles."
On May 1, 2001, President Bush gave a major foreign policy speech at Ft. McNair putting the public on notice that the U.S. intended to unilaterally withdraw from the ABM Treaty. A signatory could withdraw as long as they gave six months notice and was able to cite "extraordinary events" that have "jeopardized its supreme interests." Bush put the proposed withdrawal in terms of good (us) versus evil (Soviets), and that since the evil Soviet Union no longer existed and Russia was democratic, cuts in nuclear arsenals were thus possible. In other words, he invokes everyone to leave behind the relics of the Cold War era such as the ABM Treaty. How clever and convenient, right?
Bush then explained that there were new dangers at hand – "weapons of mass destruction" – a phrase which at that time referred only to nuclear weapons, chemical weapons and biological weapons. These weapons were in the hands of "some of the world's least responsible states." When Bush spoke of making a shift to "a new framework," Bush said the U.S. must be willing to "rethink the unthinkable." The expression had not been used on a comparably important occasion. In this context, it meant be aware of 1) terrorism and 2) rogue states with WMDs, both events which would shortly come to pass (i.e., the 9/11 attack, followed by the anthrax attacks). Either George Bush has incredible prescience, or foreknowledge was at work.
The "new framework" had actually already been expressed in a PNAC document in 2000 whose members had been trying for years to invade and take over Iraq and establish a Pax Americana. One of the key recommendations of the PNAC document is to create a defense capability to enable a policy of aggression, or threat of same, by eliminating the target entity's ability to launch a retaliation.
In other words, the U.S. needed to withdraw from the ABM Treaty. The Bush White House used the pretext of the 9/11 attack to withdraw from the ABM Treaty on December 13, 2001. MacQueen argues (with references) that the withdrawal was "a top-down decision made by a small number of men engaging in minimal consultation with others inside the U.S. security community."
The problem is that although the 9/11 attacks were horrific, they had little to do with the ABM Treaty, as there was no nuclear weapons involved and not even a "weapons of mass destruction." By December 13, the White House had dropped the claim that al Qaeda and/or Iraq were responsible for the anthrax attacks since by then it was well-established to be a domestic operation. So there was no "extraordinary event" to permit a withdrawal from the ABM Treaty based on the treaty's tenets. The Bush White House did it anyway with a high-school sophomore's level of justification.
MacQueen writes that "the expression 'the unthinkable,' whether part of a plan or not, functioned as part of a transitional discourse, taking citizens from the horrors of the Cold War to the horrors of the new framework: the Global War on Terror."
Apart from the Bush speech, MacQueen cites another important example of "the unthinkable." There were three threat letters sent to the media, Judith Miller (NYT), Tom Brokaw (NBC) and Howard Troxler (St. Petersburg Times). Images of two of the three letters were released to the public quickly, but not the September 20 letter sent to Brokaw. The FBI gave access to the Brokaw letter to an academician who said it contains the word "unspeakable." The September 20 letter could not have been mimicking all the media usage of that term because the term did not come into its macabre vogue until October, specifically the first two-to-three weeks of October. And the media could not have been prompted by the September 20 letter to start using the term because the letter was not revealed to the public until October 22. So how is it that an alleged threat letter from supposed terrorists would employ the term "unthinkable"? Critical thinkers know the answer.
PNAC and the Bush administration were long pushing to elevate bioweapons belonging to "evil" Islamic states to be on the same level as U.S. nuclear weapons. The weapons of mass destruction discourse has been used to accomplish this. MacQueen writes, "If the chemical and biological weapons of a small state, however pathetic their destructive potential, can be listed as WMD and conveniently put in the same category as the U.S. nuclear arsenal, half the battle has already been won. The U.S. population can in this case be made to regard the country in question as an existential threat comparable to the Soviet Union and can be induced to regard invasion and occupation as necessary 'defense.'"
What a stealth and pivotal role the 9/11 anthrax attacks have played in formulating U.S. policy! Without the anthrax angle, the Patriot Act would have never passed.
Yet MacQueen points out that the attacks have just drifted down the memory hole of our collective recollection of the machinations of 9/11. MacQueen writes, "Every time there is a new incident – the Boston Marathon bombing, for instance – the anthrax attacks seem to grow dimmer in the collective consciousness. ("They were so long ago . . . and didn't the FBI find the guy?"). This amnesia is a sign of the success of the FBI cover-up."
In addition to providing the grounds, albeit spurious, for the withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, the anthrax attacks were, according to MacQueen, also ". . . certainly successful in causing an infusion of funds into bioweapons work in the U.S." to the tune of $70 billion between 2002 and 2011. In 2008, a new $143 million biodefense laboratory was dedicated in Fort Detrick, the lab where Bruce Ivans worked before he was driven to suicide by the FBI.
MacQueen's concludes that the U.S. stance of unilateralism and ignoring international law in accord with PNAC's agenda has a price. "The price was erosion of international sympathy for the U.S. government and a growing conviction that the U.S. was [sic] itself a rogue state run by criminals."