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Connecting the Dots and
Asking Questions about the Anthrax Letters

by Richard J. Ochs, 16 August 2002


Pretend you are a private investigator of last fall's anthrax attacks. What questions would you ask and what leads would you follow? First, consider the following facts, which were reported in major newspapers:

  • The letters were sent to senate leaders who were against letting President Bush weaken the Bill of Rights after 911. See

  • DNA analysis traced the anthrax, which killed five and terrorized Congress last year, to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID).

  • A former commander of Fort Detrick, Col. David Franz, said, "A lot of good has come from it . . . five people have died, but we've put about $6 billion in our budget . . ." (ABC News, 4/4/02).

  • Only 20 or 30 people who worked in USAMRIID labs have the capacity to make the concentrated powder that was used.

  • One of those people, Steven Hatfill claimed he served with the Special Forces of the white Rhodesian government in its civil war against black rebels in the late 1970s.

  • Reporter Nicholas Kristof asked if Hatfill had "connections to the biggest anthrax outbreak among humans ever recorded, one that sickened 10,000 black farmers in Rhodesia in 1978-80?" (New York Times, 7/2/02).

  • Pat Clawson, program manager for Oliver North who was guilty of selling guns to Iran for the cocaine-selling contra terrorists, admitted being at a party with his friend Hatfill and like-minded guys in a remote cabin suspected of being contaminated during the anthrax attacks last October (Baltimore Sun 8/13/02).

  • Kristof reported: "The FBI knows that Hatfill gave Cipro (anthrax vaccine) to people who visited" this property, which "may be operated by American intelligence."

Asked about his anthrax infection, Clawson replied he opened a powered envelope addressed to Oliver North but then discarded it. The alleged letter to the only right-winger of all the anthrax letters was not reported earlier. Should we believe that one?


Investigators just found out that the CIA and "DIA hired Battelle labs to create a genetically enhanced version of anthrax" with no prior proven vaccine, in violation of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. Who else will be implicated if Hatfill talks under duress of prosecution? Can he embarrass big shots in the Pentagon or government? Will he skate, take the fall or is he a walking dead man?

Who knowingly hired a known racist mercenary to handle the world's most dangerous biological agents? Are they extremists who collaborated or winked at Hatfill's schemes? An anonymous letter was sent to the FBI describing Egyptian-born Dr. Ayaad Assaad as a "potential terrorist" early last October right before the anthrax letters. Although the FBI cleared him of any suspicion, his victimization by a racist clique at Fort Detrick prior to his layoff in 1997 was revealed. At that time he was targeted with racist poison pen letters. His supervisor, Col. David Franz, "slammed the door in my face," asserted Assaad, "when I complained." Dr. Richard Crosland and Dr. Kay Mereish described Fort Detrick Commander Franz as a "bigot" and "racist" when they were laid off in the same year that Hatfill was hired. William Patrick, inventor of the powdered anthrax process and Hatfill's mentor of anthrax letter threats, described Franz as "fair minded" and belittled accusations of racism. What does that say about Patrick? Is Hatfill part of a clique of racist germ warriors? (Hartford Courant, 12/19/01)

FBI Cover Up?

"FBI spokesman Chris Murray said the FBI is not tracking the source of the anonymous letter (to Assaad), despite its curious timing, coming a matter of days before the existence of anthrax-laced mail became known" last October. Why not?

The FBI has been stalling, seeming to cover up these and other crimes. The FBI has not "asked its outside handwriting expert to compare his (Hatfill) writing to that on the anthrax letters" (NYT, 7/2/02). Kristof also asked if the FBI checked hoax letters of 1997 and 1999 for DNA on possible licked stamps (NYT, 7/12/02). We've heard zip.

Is the FBI deliberately sabotaging the legal case for successful prosecution with irregular procedures? Remember that the criminals Sgt. Calley and Oliver North never served a day in jail even though being found guilty of felonies. In the USA, the military is as immune to punishment as much as in any fascist dictatorship. That proves who rules.

Why is the FBI showing only one photograph to the public in Princeton NJ were the contaminated mailbox was found? Why don't they show pictures of all the men who were at the remote cabin a week after the anthrax mailings? Was North there?

Who else was there? What phone records exist for these men? Who called who, and when? Where were these men on October 9 when the anthrax letters were mailed from New Jersey? Who was missing? Have the credit/debit card records of gasoline purchases on the route to and from New Jersey been checked for these men? Who has ironclad alibis?

Some Tentative Conclusions

"The FBI knows who did it," concludes Dr. Barbara Hatch Rosenberg of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), "but it is dragging its feet because an arrest would be embarrassing to the U.S. authorities . . . The suspect is part of a clique that includes high-level former USAMRIID scientists and high-level former FBI officials."

Members of the Frederick Peace Resource Center believe the anthrax attacks were a conspiracy to intimidate Congress and influence legislation. The cabal is operating in the context of a military-intelligence culture of impunity, illegality, racism and international aggression. The anthrax perpetrator was helped by accomplices before and after the fact, by investigators who are not investigating and by an administration which allows such transgressions. The public spotlight on the domestic anthrax terrorism has also revealed other associated crimes, malfeasance and treaty violations as well.

Dr. Rosenberg of FAS summarizes the political climate which allows racist military cliques to run rampant:

"The Bush administration blocked action by the rest of the world on a vital treaty to monitor the ban on biological weapons . . . Rejection of the biological weapons treaty follows an administration pattern of arrogance . . . [+] The Bush administration, which is a minority government, is intent on using its brief opportunity to impose unilateral security decisions on the rest of the world, and to so in as irreversible a manner as possible. . . . We recognize that there is no way to defend populations from such weapons. Therefore, the world cannot afford to turn down any reassurance that would contribute to prevention." [++] (See FAS website:

The prevention urged by Dr. Rosenberg is international inspection and verification of all biological warfare labs in the world, including USAMRIID at Fort Detrick. That would protect us from foreign and domestic terrorism. President Bush: are you listening? Or do you want to keep everyone in a state of terror; the better to reap oil and war profits for your filthy rich friends and relatives?

Last question: when does democracy end and fascism start?

August 16, 2002

© 2002 Richard J. Ochs
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

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