Too bad he's dead.
The FBI's lead suspect in the September, 2001 anthrax attacks -- Bruce E. Ivins -- died Tuesday night, apparently by suicide, just as the Justice Department was about to charge him with responsibility for the attacks. For the last 18 years, Ivins was a top anthrax researcher at the U.S. Government's biological weapons research laboratories at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, where he was one of the most elite government anthrax scientists on the research team at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID).
The 2001 anthrax attacks remain one of the great mysteries of the post-9/11 era. After 9/11 itself, the anthrax attacks were probably the most consequential event of the Bush presidency. One could make a persuasive case that they were actually more consequential. The 9/11 attacks were obviously traumatic for the country, but in the absence of the anthrax attacks, 9/11 could easily have been perceived as a single, isolated event. It was really the anthrax letters -- with the first one sent on September 18, just one week after 9/11 -- that severely ratcheted up the fear levels and created the climate that would dominate in this country for the next several years after. It was anthrax -- sent directly into the heart of the country's elite political and media institutions, to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt), NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, and other leading media outlets -- that created the impression that social order itself was genuinely threatened by Islamic radicalism.
If the now-deceased Ivins really was the culprit behind the attacks, then that means that the anthrax came from a U.S. Government lab, sent by a top U.S. Army scientist at Ft. Detrick. Without resort to any speculation or inferences at all, it is hard to overstate the significance of that fact. From the beginning, there was a clear intent on the part of the anthrax attacker to create a link between the anthrax attacks and both Islamic radicals and the 9/11 attacks.
Ivins added bentonite to the samples of the spores that were used, a chemica that was only used by Iraqi biowarfare specialists. That was how the lie was planted. Unfortunately, the bentonite did not detract from the fact that further analysis showed the spores were grown in Ft Detrick labs.
The letters sent out read:
We have anthrax.
You die now.
Are you afraid?
Death to America.
Death to Israel.
Allah is great.
Implicating Islamic terrorism in addition to Iraq. There is no doubt in my mind that this was part of the campaign to shore up support for a war in Iraq. The anthrax came from Ft Detrick. Ivins worked at Ft Detrick. Reports leaked to ABC implicating by name Iraq as the source of the anthrax came from Ft Detrick. Link Iraq to Islamic terrorism. Link the anthrax attacks to 9-11. 9-11 = Iraq. Osama bin Laden and Saddam are working together.
The narrative is obvious and bears no real repeating.
The most interesting thing though is that the piggybacking technique of this act of terrorism is an idea that originated on the far-right of the US political spectrum, among the militias dreaming of destroying the Federal Government. There are papers that have been circulated among such groups calling for anonymous follow-up attacks in the case of foreign terrorism against the USA - a grassroots strategy of tension designed to throw society to the far-right while dealing some deadly blows to their establishment enemies (notably centrist and left wing politicians).
I tried doing some looking around on sites that track the far right to see what they had on Ivins, if anything. As it turns out, extremely little. His political affiliations do not seem to be listed, only that he has a very violent temper and apparently came up with a plan to methodically murder all of his co-workers just a month before he offed himself.
However, it is worth noting that, attacks on the media aside (which I suspect were done for publicity), the real attacks on political figures were done on those on the left, Daschle, Leahy and Feingold's office. It is also worth noting that the person who sent fake anthrax letters a few years later - piggybacking off the piggyback terrorism - was none other than Chad Conrad Castagana, a Freeper, Michelle Malkin fan and extreme Christian Nationalist who once said:
Liberals and Lefties everywhere in America's institutions are trying to slowly but increasingly ban Christianity from America, from our site, from our discourse !
They have already succeded in banning any sign of Christianity from ourPublic Schools ! !
If THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST were released today for the first time, it would be slapped with an NC-17 rating !
So there is no conclusive evidence of this being militia orientated....however the links in methodology are disturbing, especially when we consider how this came from within high ranks of the US military (Maj. Gen. John Parker perpetuated the lie that the USA did not have powder anthrax, only liquid) and also apparently served the interests of the government of the time - well before most manouvering on the Iraq war had even begun to take place. Of course, some figures within the US administration, notably the Pentagon neocons, were pushing for an attack on Iraq immediately after 9-11 (Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith etc) but that was not public knowledge at the time.
This raises a lot more questions than it solves, it seems.