Thursday, August 7, 2008

cui bono?

I'm a fan of conspiracy theories. It's not so much that I buy into them as being true so much as I like thinking about the implications if they were true.

But you don't have to be wearing a tinfoil hat to think there is something very fishy about the whole anthrax-scientist-suicide thing. Putting aside any crazy theories or conclusions, just the basic facts are striking:

Fact One: Back in 2001, shortly after 9/11, the fear factor in this country was ramped up from Shocked and Frightened to Uncontrolled Paranoia as a result of letters containing weaponized anthrax being received through the mail. This resulted in 5 deaths and 17 cases of serious illness. (Source: various contemporaneous media coverage; my own personal recollection)

Fact Two: The anthrax used in these attacks came from the government's own anthrax laboratory, which is under the direct control of the U.S. military. (Source: FBI)

Fact Three: The perpetrator of these attacks was an anthrax expert working for the U.S. federal government. (Source: FBI)

I don't think you have to be a shrill whacko conspiracy theorist to think that this is really an extraordinary set of facts. Think about it: the perpetrator of the first and only biological weapons attack in United States history was a government scientist working at a government biological weapons lab.

I'm not sure I even know what to say about that. But let's throw in a few more facts:

Fact Four: The perpetrator is now dead of an apparent suicide, leaving behind no suicide note or other explanation. (Source: Various recent media reports)

Fact Five: The letters accompanying the anthrax used jihadist rhetoric and were clearly intended to connect the anthrax attacks to 9/11 and to be the work of Arab terrorists (one read as follows: "9/11/01 -- This is next -- Take penicillin now -- D-e-a-t-h to America -- D-e-a-t-h to Israel -- A-l-l-a-h is great"). (Source)

Fact Six: The anthrax letters were primarily directed at members of the news media and Democratic congressional leaders. (Source: contemporaneous media reports and my own personal memory)

Fact Seven: Immediately following the anthrax attacks, many media outlets, led by ABC News, began reporting that numerous government sources were telling them that the particular kind of anthrax used in the attacks had been scientifically proven to be the same variety produced by Saddam Hussein's biological weapons facilities in Iraq (John McCain, appearing on Letterman, also identified Iraq as the culprit, without attributing any source). (Source)

Study those facts, and draw your own conclusions. A useful question to ask when trying to make sense of something like this is to ask: who benefits? Another: what goals or objectives might be advanced by this sequence of events?


One more minor point: if I were a person who was about to be publicly accused and prosecuted as the perpetrator of a heinous act of terrorism, I might very well decide that my best option would be to kill myself. However, I would certainly not do so without first disseminating a document which stated one of the following: (1) I did not do what they say I did; I am being falsely accused, or (2) yes, I did what they say I did, and here's why it was perfectly justified. I don't think it is reasonable to believe that a person in such a position would not leave such a message behind. Which leaves two possibilities: (a) he left a note, but it is being kept secret by someone for some reason, or (b) he didn't kill himself.

1 comment:

Gleemonex said...

It isn't paranoia if they really are out to get you.

This has quite an odor about it, no?