Re: Anthrax

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I don't think Cheney had it done, but why would I rule it out?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:31 PM
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Have you seen Glenn Greenwald on this? Something is not right.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:32 PM
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There are some pretty odd details about this story that made me go a bit conspiracy-theoristy as well. Like his social worker, testifying that Ivins


"has been forensically diagnosed by several top psychiatrists as a sociopathic, homicidal killer. I have that in evidence. And through my working with him, I also believe that to be very true."

Is "homicidal killer" a DSM diagnosis? There's something not right about this.



Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:45 PM
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1: Just because the guy killed himself with a shotgun blast to the face from ten paces you want to blame Cheney? What kind of insane conspiracy theorist are you?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:55 PM
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John Emerson gloating in 3, 2, 1...


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:56 PM
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Also, what the fuck is up with this interview? Why was it aired? Sure, his brother says he thinks he did it but the brother sounds batshit insane. Is it only to suggest that batshit insanity runs in the family?


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:58 PM
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Well, its like gay Boy Scout leaders and "respect ma authoritay" cops. Why would someone want to be a germ warfare specialist? The only reason this guy was a anthrax researcher was because the better germs were already taken.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 6:58 PM
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The investigation will start pointing to Cheney when the detectives realize that in his suicide note Ivins seems to believe himself to be a quail.

Also, Glenn Greenwald makes a good point in that when journalists serve as conduits for people to spread lies to the public, those people should not be referred to as "sources".


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:00 PM
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Well, its like gay Boy Scout leaders and "respect ma authoritay" cops. Why would someone want to be a germ warfare specialist? The only reason this guy was a anthrax researcher was because the better germs were already taken.

What? Anthrax is the easiest thing to get microbiological research funded on these days, bar none.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:00 PM
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I have been interested to learn that one of his brothers (I think the one who's maintained media silence, or had as of the last time I paid attention) lives in my hometown. I need to ask my mom for dish.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:00 PM
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His social worker was inexperienced, minimally qualified, not a psychologist, had problems of her own, and seems to have relayed rumors that she is not able to justify ("homicidal back to grad school").


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:02 PM
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6: "We didn't play together because I was very athletic myself." Of course.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:04 PM
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Anthrax is the easiest thing to get microbiological research funded on these days

Sure, now. Look at how much work he had to do to put anthrax in the public eye. That has to be worth something.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:04 PM
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Also, what the fuck is up with this interview? Why was it aired? Sure, his brother says he thinks he did it but the brother sounds batshit insane. Is it only to suggest that batshit insanity runs in the family?

That was an effective technique in Bowling for Columbine.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:04 PM
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Seriously, that brother is missing a screw or two. Very odd stuff.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:07 PM
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Tom says he is a much stronger man than Bruce was -- proven by the way Tom says he handled questioning about the case by the FBI.
"They asked me a few questions, like 'What were you like growing up,' like family history questions, and I didn't buckle like the walls of Jericho coming tumbling down under their questioning, but it seems my two brothers did," he says. "Charles was not as strong as I am, nor was Bruce."

I have a follow-up question: WTF?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:09 PM
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I've posted this in various places:

This is a question I've had since 2001 and have never got an informed answer about. It's not immediately timely but anthrax is in the news again and I thought I'd give it a shot.

Why is anthrax used in bio warfare when it's treatable with penicillin? I've heard speculation about the possibility of a penicillin-resistant strain, but no one has said that it's been developed or that the 2001 anthrax was resistant. (In 2001 Cipro was recommended for those allergic to penicillin, and probably just in case the resistant strain had been developed.)

In 2001 I looked up anthrax in Mandell and in Current Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Disease. Before 2001 anthrax was a very rare disease in the US, in the single figures or low double figures annually, usually among people who work with hides. The mortality was very high only because the distinctive diagnostic symptoms occur very late, when the disease is untreatable. Survival of 2001 victims was 70%, IIRC, much better than the historical baseline. It would seem that once anthrax is known or suspected to be in use, it loses almost all of its effectiveness since prophylactic penicillin can be given. (The anthrax disaster in the USSR could be explained by Soviet ineptness and secrecy.)

The main reason I could think of that anthrax is used is that the spores are very durable. There's a down side to this, though: the area of an attack will be toxic for decades. (That would be an additional argument against creating a penicillin or vancomycin-resistant strain, since the anthrax would then be almost inevitably fatal too.)
I've toyed with the idea that anthrax bio warfare is just an international boondoggle that should have been sunsetted long ago. Everyone thinks they have to have a program, even though no one believes it will work very well, just to reassure everyone that they're doing everything they can

I sent it to Meryl Nass, a big anthrax researcher. She sent back a non-committal but friendly email, along with a link arguing that anthrax warfare was used against Zimbabwean rebels.

There are a lot of unknowns, but even in a poor, cattle-dependent country with a weak medical system, there were fewer than 200 deaths in almost 10,000 cases. The disease just doesn't seem as fearsome as it's built up to be, especially if you know it's being used.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:11 PM
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Yeah, and "that they... were... ahm-nih-poh-tent," with equal emphasis on every syllabus.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:12 PM
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17: I've been wondering the same thing. The fear of anthrax as a wide-scale weapon seems always to be based on potential - if it was produced in such a way in such a form and released in such a way at such a time in such a place under such weather conditions, etc., then...


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:19 PM
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Ya see, it's like in a Frank Miller graphic novel. The super secret government germ warfare group knowingly employs homicidal maniacs do do their dastardly evil work. The mad scientists don't know that that they are expendable, but the government will dispose of them if the plot is exposed. Where is the Batman when we need him?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:21 PM
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17: I think anthrax is one of those things that's worked on because the USSR was working on it and so there had to be something there, even though there isn't. It's kept going because there's a marginal argument to be made for it, in that if the enemy doesn't know they've been dosed the symptoms show up late and are sufficiently severe to render the enemy combat ineffective even if they do survive.

I think the main thing is that it's scary, like a dirty bomb. If I believed that Dubya and his merry band were (a) competent and (b) sincerely interested in protecting the US from another attack, I'd speculate that one of the reasons dirty bombs get brought up is because they are just about the worst terrorist weapon you can possibly come up with. They are easily detected before use (via various forms of radiation detectors capable of "seeing" through vehicles and most buildings), they are extremely dangerous to the person assembling them, the raw materials are tracked by the authorities, and even if they work exactly as intended the total number of casualties would be in the tens to low hundreds.

The simplest explanation IMO for both the anthrax fear and the dirty bomb fear is that there are people who stand to make money by ginning up worries so they can either get federal money to mitigate the threat or they can sell books and get to play the "serious thinker" game.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:22 PM
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This whole story is weirdness upon weirdness upon weirdness. For instance I would really like to know what the FBI did with any clues associated with a letter sent to them very early in the incident accusing Ayaad Assaad, a former researcher at Ft. Detrick, of being "a potential biological terrorist". Read the whole article for more oddness about our biological weapons research and Ft. Detrick in particular. They are all fucking nuts.

They probably did kill Ivins, but only because they were afraid of the size of the settlement he would win.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:29 PM
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As Teresa Nielsen Hayden said back in 2003: "I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist."

So, uh, how many people can you think of who (a) knew and cared who Tom Daschle was in September-October 2001, and (b) could stand to profit directly, financially, from a bioterror scare?


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:29 PM
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There's a sound economic argument for that, JP. A fiduciary responsibility for the taxpayer's money.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:30 PM
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23: As a wrong-thinking person, I'm delighted with the way the Bush administration has made many right-thinking people admit that they were wrong.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:35 PM
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that poor, cattle-dependent country is an endemic area of the disease and the populace historically developed immunity against the most severe stamms or what
but in a wider world the pandemic could be disastrous i guess


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:39 PM
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As Teresa Nielsen Hayden said back in 2003: "I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist."

One of the best blog lines ever.

I don't know what to think. It's all sounding a bit too weird, and I don't know who (if anyone) to trust on this. If I knew who to trust, I'd know what to think, I guess.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:43 PM
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Trust no one.


Posted by: mulder | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:47 PM
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Read the whole article for more oddness about our biological weapons research and Ft. Detrick in particular. They are all fucking nuts.

Hey now. Both my parents worked at Ft. Detrick, as did I for a bit in high school. Ivins taught my dad everything he knows about juggling. I guess we'll see if/when the feds release their evidence on Wednesday like they're promising.

My secondhand knowledge of FBI investigations does not fill me with hope.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:50 PM
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At a minimum, per Greenwald, the people who fed ABC news, Richard Cohen, and possibly John McCain, the apparently blatantly false idea that Iraq was responsible for the anthrax attacks should be exposed and dealt with appropriately (even if that includes torches and pitchforks).


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:50 PM
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What's strange to me is that I came of age during the big Whitewater scandal, Big Right Wing Conspiracy craziness big Wen Ho Lee debacle (for which I won't forgive the NYT and their role in that) and all of that reflexive anti-Asian yellow peril stuff concerning Gore's campaign donations, and it's only within the last seven years that I've truly become terrified and reflexively suspicious. This administration and its incredible abuses of power and extralegal use of force and torture and internment....gah, I will never recover my trust in government. I've really thought about working for the EEOC one day. But that day won't be anytime soon.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:51 PM
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Also, if you read the whole LA Times story about the "stood to gain due to the patent on an anthrax vaccine", you'll see that it's more or less bullshit. If he was going to be motivated by the possibility of making tens of thousands of dollars, he'd have jumped ship from the Army to industry long ago.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:53 PM
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My non-conspiracy self thinks that the FBI is rushing to shut this down because they realize that they have fubarred the investigation twenty different ways from Sunday and know that there is no legitimate way out at this point.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:55 PM
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Why is anthrax used in bio warfare when it's treatable with penicillin?

I am not an expert, but doesn't anthrax need to be treated relatively quickly after exposure? Also I believe that the symptoms are flu like at first so It would be a decent one shot weapon if you could expose a bunch of people without them knowing it.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 7:57 PM
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Of course togolosh says it better in 21.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:00 PM
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Also, the big effect of chemical and biological weapons is to force the other side to run around in protective gear giving each other antidotes while you shell the heck out of them.

Anthrax is nice because the spores survive more or less forever, so you have to wear the protective gear for a long time. There was a building at Ft. Detrick that was unused for more than a decade due to a bad case of anthrax contamination - if one was able to spread spores across a city or military installation it'd be really bad news.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:03 PM
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34: Yeah, it seems to need to be a stealth weapon.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:03 PM
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One of the news stories I read today said that the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority woman they interviewed about the case had "signed a nondisclosure agreement with the FBI." WTF? This is *not* how I want my government behaving (part 7,326).


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:07 PM
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I agree completely with John in 25. I've always sensed - and have argued here before, IIRC - that underlying TNH's famous quote in 23 was a distaste for DFHs. I know that her sci-fi background also exposed her to rightwing loons like Orson Scott Card, but I still smell a procedural liberal.

[this comment was delayed by bedtime and a quick - but delicious - slice of blueberry pie; sorry if it's now off-topic]


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:07 PM
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One of the news stories I read today said that the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority woman they interviewed about the case had "signed a nondisclosure agreement with the FBI." WTF? This is *not* how I want my government behaving

Do I smell inter-sorority sniping? "Those KKG girls were always suckups to the administration."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:10 PM
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But if it's a conspiracy, why didn't they stick with Hat/fill? All they would have had to do is plant some of the mailed strain on something of his. Or are they truly clever and paid him off so they could look incompetent as they went after another guy?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:13 PM
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The only relative of mine who was ever in a sorority was in KKG, actually.

(My favorite sorority story is the friend of a friend who joined while at a small rural college, hoping for a better social life. When she decided to leave the next year, the shocked response was "No one has ever de-sisterized.")

It still makes me smile.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:15 PM
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dirty bombs get brought up

I'm plenty cynical about BS memos or press releases in benefit of some contractor, but a container ship version of this takes not much capital, simple technology, and requires rapid large-scale action on the part of the port authority. The consequence would be fear, headlines, and a portion of a city lost to safe habitation. It would take orders of magnitude more planning than anything done to date though, but much less than a nation's resources.

The biggest risk from Anthrax in my mind is that the main Soviet facility used the Aral sea for approximate isolation, and the Aral sea has much less water than it used to. Not very useful as a weapon, IMO, but I'm no expert.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:20 PM
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A conspiracy doesn't have to be centralized and efficient. There can be several players acting in bad faith and somewhat at cross purposes. There don't have to be a lot of players, either. Two makes a conspiracy. And there might be several groups acting independently, all in bad faith.

Some of the "conspiracy" is the willingness to take cover stories at face value. In that sense, most of the media is a conspiracy, even though it isn't 100% consistent. A lot of the media know that Bush is lying, but refuse to call him on it. Conspiracy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:21 PM
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I have been following this at Greenwald's. Though rarely given to conspiratorial suspicions or wild speculation, I do believe there is about a 10% chance that Ivins was responsible, based mostly on the 90% probablity that the gov't is lying.

The anthrax is a crazy story. I don't think even Cheney would take a chance that Daschle or a network anchor would die. Downside to getting caught. My initial reaction was probably correct:that the anthrax came from the nutbar right, and for a variety of reasons, Bushco didn't want to investigate too quickly.

If various domestic groups had been associated with "terrorism" in 2002+, the Patriot Act & WoT rhetoric could have turned Bushco against its base.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:28 PM
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"No one has ever de-sisterized."

So excellent! Thanks, Witt, that makes me smile too.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:42 PM
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I've always sensed - and have argued here before, IIRC - that underlying TNH's famous quote in 23 was a distaste for DFHs. I know that her sci-fi background also exposed her to rightwing loons like Orson Scott Card, but I still smell a procedural liberal.

Oh no, not a procedural liberal!

I can't speak for TNH, but I got a personal distaste for grand conspiracy theorizing hanging around on Usenet sci and science fiction groups in the 1990s, at the height of the X-Files fad, when your really good conspiracy theories had to involve baroque secret parascience: suppressed laws of physics, etheric vibrations, perpetual motion machines and antigravity drives, abductor space aliens, etc. Somebody in the SF community is going to see a lot of that; unbelievable science crackpottery is deep in the bones of the field.

As John and Daniel Davies like to say, it's absolutely true that we dismiss conspiracies out of hand at our peril; obviously people conspire to do bad things all the time. But part of the problem is that people involved in parapolitics, to use Davies' term, have lacked standards, or they have standards but they're the wrong ones. A few years ago I read something about a much-more-coherent-than-usual JFK assassination conspiracy theory, mostly involving mobsters. The guy promoting it said he couldn't get much traction among JFK conspiracy buffs because it just wasn't grand enough; it wasn't a gigantic plot to remake America, it was just some thugs carrying out vendettas.


Posted by: Matt McIrvin | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:42 PM
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Ok you want consppiracy? Bushco did it, the media thinks it did it but can't say so, and Bushco not only has a horrible threat against the media & Democrats, but has a pretty decent cover story.

I have often thought this is the way Bush himself works, not with direct threats but by telling a cabinet official to go get the coffee.

The idea being that AUMF was gonna pass in 2002, and the the WMD story would slide thru, or people might mysteriously die.

Everybosy so scared of Cheney, but he was pretty direct, obvious, & clumsy...Plame affair. We have much less we can actually nail Bush himself with. He is meaner & smarter than Cheney.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:51 PM
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45

"... My initial reaction was probably correct:that the anthrax came from the nutbar right, ... "

Any theory of the attacks has to explain why they stopped. Not clear why political terrorists, whether the nutbar right or jihadists, would stop.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:54 PM
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The Kappa connection is really a sign that the government is throwing as much shit at the wall as they can to see what sticks. He sent the anthrax from a town in which he didn't live because it was within 100 yards of a sorority's storage facility?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 8:57 PM
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sorority woman they interviewed about the case had "signed a nondisclosure agreement with the FBI.

Liberty, egality, fraternity.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:11 PM
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I have a follow-up question: WTF?

This should be SOP as a follow-up questions at every White House press conference.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:12 PM
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Richard Cohen . . . should be exposed and dealt with appropriately (especially even if that includes torches and pitchforks).

Fixed.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:17 PM
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|| OT: Why I love Ron Paul.

Paul on the floor of the house, speaking out against a resolution to denounce China for human rights abuses and demand that they negotiate with Tibet...measure passed 419-1, with Paul as the only no vote:

Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this resolution, which is yet another meaningless but provocative condemnation of China . It is this kind of jingoism that has led to such a low opinion of the United States abroad. Certainly I do not condone human rights abuses, wherever they may occur, but as Members of the US House of Representatives we have no authority over the Chinese government. It is our Constitutional responsibility to deal with abuses in our own country or those created abroad by our own foreign policies. Yet we are not debating a bill to close Guantanamo , where abuses have been documented. We are not debating a bill to withdraw from Iraq , where scores of innocents have been killed, injured, and abused due to our unprovoked attack on that country. We are not debating a bill to reverse the odious FISA bill passed recently which will result in extreme abuses of Americans by gutting the Fourth Amendment.

Instead of addressing these and scores of other pressing issues over which we do have authority, we prefer to spend our time criticizing a foreign government over which we have no authority and foreign domestic problems about which we have very little accurate information.

I do find it ironic that this resolution "calls on the Government of the People's Republic of China to begin earnest negotiations, without preconditions, directly with His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives." For years US policy has been that no meeting or negotiation could take place with Iran until certain preconditions are met by Iran . Among these is a demand that Iran cease uranium enrichment, which Iran has the right to do under the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is little wonder why some claim that resolutions like this are hypocritical.

Instead of lecturing China, where I have no doubt there are problems as there are everywhere, I would suggest that we turn our attention to the very real threats in a United States where our civil liberties and human rights are being eroded on a steady basis. The Bible cautions against pointing out the speck in a neighbor's eye while ignoring the log in one's own. I suggest we contemplate this sound advice before bringing up such ill-conceived resolutions in the future.

||>
Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:22 PM
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uh, sorry for the length, didn't quite realize...


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:22 PM
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30

"At a minimum, per Greenwald, the people who fed ABC news, Richard Cohen, and possibly John McCain, the apparently blatantly false idea that Iraq was responsible for the anthrax attacks should be exposed and dealt with appropriately (even if that includes torches and pitchforks)."

This assumes ABC news wasn't lying when they claimed (per Greenwald) that they had four separate high level sources for the Bentonite story.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:23 PM
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Any theory of the attacks has to explain why they stopped.

No it doesn't.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:28 PM
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This assumes ABC news wasn't lying when they claimed (per Greenwald) that they had four separate high level sources for the Bentonite story.

Admission that they had no sources would totally destroy their reputation, but it would answer the question. responsibility, which is the thing we're trying to assess, would then lie with ABC.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:31 PM
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57

"No it doesn't"

Ok "has" is too strong, a theory of the attacks is more convincing if it provides an explanation for why they stopped.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:35 PM
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On the assumption that security tightened around sources of anthrax and the equipment required to produce anthrax in a form needed to be used in an attack, it's not that hard to come up with a theory of why the attacks stopped that doesn't say very much about the attacker or attackers (except to say that there were limits on their (singular or plural) ability to get access to the materials for new attacks.)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:40 PM
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58

"Admission that they had no sources would totally destroy their reputation, but it would answer the question. responsibility, which is the thing we're trying to assess, would then lie with ABC."

I expect they had four sources, whether they were in fact "separate" and "high level" is more doubtful. If ABC news refuses to give more details perhaps they should take the rap.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:41 PM
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57, 59:Shearer's right, an explanation would help.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:43 PM
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60

"On the assumption that security tightened around sources of anthrax and the equipment required to produce anthrax in a form needed to be used in an attack, it's not that hard to come up with a theory of why the attacks stopped that doesn't say very much about the attacker or attackers (except to say that there were limits on their (singular or plural) ability to get access to the materials for new attacks.)"

This would mean the anthrax likely came from within the government (or maybe an outside lab authorized to handle anthrax) and not from somebody's basement lab or a foreign country.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:48 PM
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So it would. That seems to be where the investigation is.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 9:54 PM
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Another feature of the anthrax attacks is that the letters contained warnings. Again more consistent with some motivations than others.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 10:07 PM
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I am someone who loves a good conspiracy theory. I savor them. That said, I am doubtful of big, weird-ass conspiracies here, mostly because I feel completely unqualified to have an opinion and a little bit because I think it's entirely likely that a dude could turn out to be psycho and that the feds could fuck up an investigation. I advise against assuming that the feds know what they're doing so he must be guilty or the feds don't know what they're doing so he must be innocent. Incompetent agents and psycho weapons researchers are not mutually exclusive. In fact, our current government's general track record makes both more likely.

That said:

The guy promoting it said he couldn't get much traction among JFK conspiracy buffs because it just wasn't grand enough

Christ, yes. If it wouldn't make a better X-Files movie than X-Files itself then it must not be worth a damn, right? Some days I miss reading Usenet all the time and some days I really don't.

FYI, the hometown gossip channel was empty. The folks don't know him from Adam.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 10:12 PM
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I converted the food wiki to 2.0, BTW, so if anyone wants access, just email me. You have to be invited now, but you get your very own password. (And sorry, existing users, but I think you have to make up a password now.) Rumor has it the editor's a bit easier to use, and there are folders now, which we could use for organization. If anyone wants to futz with it, feel free.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 10:19 PM
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Shit, wrong thread. No food in anthrax! I'll double-post.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 10:24 PM
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Christ, AWB is trying to poison us all. Not to be overly-suspicious, or to lower my voice to a conspiratorial whisper or anything, but when someone insists on talking of food in an anthrax thread...Well, when the FBI comes around, you can bet I'll be asking for immunity in exchange for my testimony...


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 10:55 PM
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You ask for immunity, I'll settle for a vaccine.

(Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all, uh, better not to specify a time period.)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08- 4-08 11:03 PM
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A few years ago I read something about a much-more-coherent-than-usual JFK assassination conspiracy theory, mostly involving mobsters. The guy promoting it said he couldn't get much traction among JFK conspiracy buffs because it just wasn't grand enough; it wasn't a gigantic plot to remake America, it was just some thugs carrying out vendettas

whoever this guy was, he was a cunt if he said that. The assassinology community are very close to mainstream history these days (and have a surprising amount of crossover with mainstream historians). And the Mafia theory is one of the very most common theories. I would guess perhaps that this guy was being obtuse about trying to ignore the massive interpenetration between the Mafia and the security state - I would certainly imagine that if you tried to say "but these guys were in the Mafia! The FBI were their worst enemies!" you would gain a reputation as an idiot quite quickly on most conspiracy lists.

Or, equally likely, that he was trying to draw a nice fine line between reasonable people like himself and those awful dirty fucking "nutbar conspiracy theorists".


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 12:19 AM
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My colleague, Kathy Olmsted, is just finishing up her history of conspiracy theories in the United States. It's quite an extraordinary book and should be out from OUP's trade division some time in the fall. I'll try to remember to make an announcement after it's released.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 12:28 AM
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should be out from OUP's trade division some time in the fall.

Is anyone copyediting it, or is OUP's trade division like their academic division?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 12:32 AM
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A new article up at the NYT website, some more info, but a lot of it just adds more confusion to the mess, a lot of skepticism from colleagues. The FBI has been contacting family members of the victims saying they are going to brief them on what they know. What stands out is the contrast of the seeming sophistication of the genetic detective work with what looks to be the bumbling and heavyhandedness of everything else. I wonder if the scientific part will really hold up.

Per water moccasin above (apologies for the overly broad slam on Dietrick, was just wowed by things like the Camel Club in the Salon article) the article does mention that he was an amateur juggler. He was a popular neighbor in Frederick, Md., a Red Cross volunteer and an amateur juggler who played keyboards at his church.

The sorority stuff seems so, so weak.

Years ago, he had visited Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority houses at universities in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, an obsession growing out of a romance with a sorority sister in his own college days at the University of Cincinnati -- although someone who knew him well said the last such visit was in 1981.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 4:26 AM
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Note that the US was founded on a conspiracy theory"

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -- Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 4:28 AM
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To me an interesting bit of anecdata on the degree to which people abhor thinking in terms of "conspiracy" (as well as indication of the negative effect the 9-11 truthers have had) is that at times I have seen folks initially push back against the thought that the 9-11 attacks were in fact the result of a big fucking conspiracy, at least among the perpetrators and their sponsors. You see this in the "19 madmen*" construction that people would use. Now with a moment's thought they grant the point, although usually pointing out that it is somehow different. But indeed at least once those two guys at the end of the bar in Florida really were up to something quite nefarious.

*The madman construction of course does a lot more work as well, especially in the area of cutting off inquiry and speculation into motives.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 4:49 AM
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Warning: the Fallujah KFC is bogus:

I understand you wanted some details about the store in Falluja that looks like a KFC. This store is not approved by KFC International and we have working with the US Military to warn the troops of this situation.

It would be tragic yet ironic if an American soldier survived everything else, and then died from eating pirate KFC. Think how horribly betrayed the troops who have eaten there feel now. It's reassuring that the Central Command is taking steps to remedy this situation.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 4:57 AM
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That's what I pointed out back in 2002 or so: the official story about 9/11 is about as lurid a conspiracy theory as you can get, with the Old Man of the Mountain with a long beard in far Afghanistan. H. Ryder Haggard couldn't have done better.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 5:00 AM
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||

Good news from the planet, for once:

125,000 lowland gorillas found in northern Congo. The article in the Times doesn't say what the previous estimate was, only that there were an estimated 100k 25 years ago, before the population was "devastated" by poaching and ebola.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 5:17 AM
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Kathy Olmsted is an example of the sort of thing I'm thinking of - she does occasionally cite the parapolitics/consipracy research and they cite her.

regarding 76, etc, I'm tempted to try an experiment in Korzybskian general semantics, by making a mental note to spend a few months reflexively adding the prefix "nutbar" to the phrase "official statement" rather than "conspiracy theory".


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 5:22 AM
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Whatever the origin of the anthrax attacks (and I have no opinion on that question, much less an informed one), it strikes me as bitterly ironic that Judith Miller was the leading Cassandra on biological warfare and bioterrorism prior to 9/11. One can infer that the anthrax attacks, coming on the heals of the trauma of 9/11, predisposed her to believe that she was doing the Lord's work and disseminating the war-mongering spin of Cheney and Chalabi.

Put yourself in her shoes for a moment: you had issued a prescient warning that was mostly ignored, and now here is a group of powerful, seemingly serious men in the government who GET IT and are willing to Do What It Takes to eliminate the threat, even if they have to bend a few rules along the way, and even if you aren't really ideologically sympatico with them.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 5:32 AM
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Weirdly, Miller's "Germs" book, which I read shortly after 9/11 when she hadn't yet embarrassed herself, makes Bill Clinton look very good. He worked with Venter and had a lot of his people read the JAMA biowarfare issue, which he himself read very carefully.

When Miller first came to DC she was working for the weenier-liberal-than-the-"Nation" "Progressive" magazine. There's got to be a story there.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 5:39 AM
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you had issued a prescient warning that was mostly ignored

But what was it exactly that she had presciently warned about? Anthrax in the mail?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 5:40 AM
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I WAS PROVED FUCKING RIGHT!


Posted by: OPINIONATED JUDITH MILLER | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 5:52 AM
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81-84: And one of the weird little footnotes to the whole affair is the hoax Anthrax letter that Miller received right in the middle of it (October 12th).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 5:59 AM
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But what was it exactly that she had presciently warned about? Anthrax in the mail?

I'm not crediting her with anything in particular. I'm just trying to picture the psychology that led her over to the Dark Side (see 82.2).


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:00 AM
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And one of the weird little footnotes to the whole affair is the hoax Anthrax letter that Miller received right in the middle of it (October 12th).

Are they sure it didn't originate in the NYT internal mail system?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:01 AM
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86: My theory is that it was Martin Peretz's amazing schlong that turned her around. His empire of heiresses and rent boys was not enough for him.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:02 AM
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I think we're supposed to kick you now, Emerson.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:06 AM
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Martin Peretz's amazing schlong

You mean Jam/e Kirch/ck? I don't think he likes girls.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:11 AM
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Other than a generic right wing nutjob acting alone, my second favorite anthrax theory is that it was someone associated with Chalabi's crowd. They certainly thought they stood to benefit from an attack on Iraq, and had demonstrated a clear willingness to lie, cheat, and steal, so a little murder is not such a big stretch.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:34 AM
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So you get folks like Dr. Richard Spertzel (once at Detrick, wm may have a view on him) weighing in on the WSJ Opinion page that it could not have been Ivins, and still hinting it might have been from overseas. But then with some searching you find out he has been at the beck and call of the neocons on spreading a lot of WMD disinformation in the past and was one of the people pushing the idea of an Iraq/Al-Qaeda connection during the event. Bullshit within bullshit within bullshit.

Shorter everything the FBI says in the next week: Make it stop daddy!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:35 AM
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Yeah, and someone on Kos recommended Spertzel. Careless reading, presumably. I rarely comment on Kos, but I had to say something about the Spertzel piece.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:43 AM
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Trust no one and all that, but one thing I thought was suggestive in yesterday's Post article was this:

Nearly two years after anthrax-spore mailings killed five people and sickened 17 others, Army scientist Bruce E. Ivins accepted the Defense Department's highest honor for civilian performance for helping to resurrect a controversial vaccine that could protect against the deadly bacteria.

At a March 2003 ceremony, Ivins humbly described the award, which he received along with several colleagues, as unexpected. "Awards are nice. But the real satisfaction is knowing the vaccine is back on-line," he told a military publication.

As 32 points out, his patents are probably a dead end, but don't government employees spend a lot of effort if necessary making sure their functions continue to exist with funding? How many multiples did the attacks increase anthrax vaccine funding by?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:44 AM
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Also, who the hell ever called it "Amerithrax"?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:46 AM
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The original speculation about a domestic source was always that someone in bioweapons research wanted to raise the profile of their work.

As I say above, anthrax seems like a pretty marginal weapon, and maybe people were afraid of reduced funding.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:47 AM
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80: reflexively adding the prefix "nutbar" to the phrase "official statement" rather than "conspiracy theory".

An experiment* that I have always wanted to do was to take the initial US government responses to any significant embarrassing or potentially embarrassing events over the last eight years, formulate the exact opposite responses, and then see which are closer to the ultimate truth (of course that is a challenge in itself). My suspicion is that it will be close or the "contrary" responses will win. Assume first that they are lying is a good model. (That was how the press handled Clinton, but they reversed for Bushco.)

*After the US shootdown of the Iranian airliner in the (late 80s, early 90s?) I recall ending a heated argument with a colleague by writing the 3 key "facts" the government had released (transmitting military signal, descending, not scheduled) on his whiteboard and predicting they were all BS. Sure enough I got to cross them off one by one. (But of course their retractions were small items on page A25 by then.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:48 AM
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I've seen hints that the mailer of the letters did not expect them to leak, so that the anthrax had more victims than it otherwise would have.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:49 AM
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The original speculation about a domestic source was always that someone in bioweapons research wanted to raise the profile of their work.

Okee then.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:49 AM
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Stormcrow's link in 22 is quite interesting. I wonder if anyone is currently trying to inverview Assaad. I'd sure be interested in his opinion.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:50 AM
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99: Don't forget that firefighters used to be freelance gangs setting fires in order to drum up business. Its the American Way!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:58 AM
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The fear of thinking like a conspiracy theorist has a lot in common with the Myers/Hitchens school of militant atheism. For Hitchens, if you identify with an organized religion, you must be intolerant and superstitious. Discussing religion can therefore only mean attacking intolerance and superstition. Similarly, people who fear thinking like conspiracy theorists think that any theory that involves plans not widely known to the public, or even social forces not widely known to the public, must be thinking about the Knights Templar.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 6:59 AM
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Knights of Malta, Rob. You've drunk the Koolaid.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 7:04 AM
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OT: The Israeli secret police is coercing sick Gazans into spying for them by denying them entry into Israel for treatment.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 7:22 AM
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104: Not secret enough, evidently.

But hey, stras, did you at least see the good news about gorillas? Doesn't make up for the elephants thing, but it's something.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 7:25 AM
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Yeah, the gorillas thing made me a little happier. But I'd spent all day being sad about the elephants, so.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 7:28 AM
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did you at least see the good news about gorillas?

Sorry, JRoth: Nearly half of the world's primates at risk of extinction.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 7:29 AM
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107: well, shit, that has to include a lot of people, right? Look on the bright side!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 7:30 AM
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I was marginally involved in this Anthrax thing - I participated in a 3 year study on the vaccine to see if there is a better way to give it. There is. Details on request, although the study results have not been officially released yet.

Military personnel have been vaccinated for anthrax since, I dunno, the seventies? The vaccine doesn't last a lifetime though.

And yes, anthrax is pretty easily treated with Cipro, an antibiotic. The problem is we don't have enough to treat everyone in the US, and certainly not enough to treat everyone in the world. The US has been stockpiling supplies but even so I don't think we have nearly enough.

So who will get the Cipro if an outbreak occurs? There are excellent models of how the disease spreads and good ideas of who to vaccinate (although not enough vaccine either) and who to treat. Where are you in that model?

Like it or not public health and government have to make some pretty hard choices if something like this started spreading.

As I've said in an earlier comment, I don't see much personal threat from Anthrax but it did factor a little bit into my choice of residence.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 7:50 AM
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||

The debut of Bitch PhD's advice column. Like Ask the Mineshaft, only without the cock jokes.

If this gig works out, maybe B. can take over this column as well.

|>


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 7:53 AM
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When I looked in 2001, the tretment of choice (according to Mandell and "Current Infectious Disease") was penicillin. Perhaps there's been more information since then making Cipro preferable, but there was a big push for Cipro in 2001 which was not justified by the medical literature of the time. Apparently (from what Richard Cohen, Sally Quinn, and others have said) there was a lot of talk about Cipro right at the time of the attacks, and even before.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 7:58 AM
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110:

A friend of mine had a brief fling at a conference with a major figure in her field, and now she suffers from a malodorous discharge which her ob-gyn is having trouble diagnosing and treating. What's the etiquette for asking the resident of an endowed chair which particular STD he's been passing around? (Background: my friend is an ABD in a top-twenty school that has top-ten aspirations.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 7:59 AM
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The elephant problem is a direct result of the ivory ban, which was a high handed move by meddling outsiders to tell the benighted Africans how to run their own damn countries. Prior to the ban Elephant populations in southern Africa were doing very well, being managed by the local governments in a way that kept the benefits in the communities near where the elephants live. Those are the exact same communities from which potential poachers are drawn, so this approach gave the community strong incentives to refrain from poaching and to cooperate with anti-poaching efforts. Now those benefits and therefore incentives are gone, with the obvious results.

Instead of this idiotic (and frankly imperialist) ban, those concerned about elephants should have been promoting the successful and sustainable wildlife management practices then in use in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and to a lesser extent in Namibia, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Instead they've made the situation worse for the elephants and along the way caused economic harm to the people of the developing world.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 7:59 AM
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112: sneak in and swab the endowed chair: easy enough.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:02 AM
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It's not like his endowment is right out there for everyone to swab, Tweety.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:02 AM
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Just gotta wait until he's not in the chair.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:05 AM
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togolosh,

Now now. Are you saying that it is wrong to take away someone's livelihood and then get all huffy when they do what it takes to survive? Why that sentiment is nearly communist, or worse yet liberal.

As good little capitalists we must support the new world order (aka globalism aka getting screwed so the prices at WalMart can fall another penny) and tut tut about how the ungrateful displaced people don't simply die quietly, far away. If a few elephants must die to keep these people away from our borders then so be it. After our new border wall and detainement facilities are completed then they are welcome to a little USA hot lead trying to get in but in the meantime - well, goodbye Jumbo.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:06 AM
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John,

Cipro, penicillin, still not enough of it.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:09 AM
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Tripp, making more penicillin is not impossible. Especially because the whole US isn't going to be attacked at once. You're not going to be treating 300 milion people.

Cipro is much more expensive and still patented. I really do expect that a PR person got their fingers into some of the original alerts.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:12 AM
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117 - I was a bit over the top in 113, but I do get a little testy about these things. I grew up in Botswana, witness to a never ending parade of well intentioned outsiders coming in to tell folks how everything ought to be done. Thankfully the local government had the sense to tell most of them to fuck off, which is why the country is doing about as well as could be hoped given the AIDS epidemic and Zimbabwe next door.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:18 AM
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John,

I trust this source.

My choice, I know, but this is who I trust.

The question is how fast the disease spreads after an initial outbreak and how long it takes to make more medicine.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:20 AM
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120,

togolosh - not at all. I'm with you on this one. It pisses me off that so few Americans bother to even look around the world to see what is happening as a result of their apathy and lifestyle. We don't want to hear it. We don't want to see it. We want happy lies.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:23 AM
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Anthrax doesn't spread human to human. The initial attack is the whole thing. It also seems hard to deliver to very many people, and most victims get the much-less-lethal dermatological disease.

What I've been askingis: What happened in 2000 or 2001 to make Cipro the treatment of choice? I was working in a medical bookstore, and the references I looked at were up to date (One was even named "Current".). It wasn't something learned from the 2001 attacks, because people were talking about Cipro immediately, before the medical consequences were known.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:26 AM
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To go one: 11 people got inhalation anthrax from the 2001 attacks, and five died. At least three of them and maybe all of them were not diagnosed in time.

One difficult part is that you have to keep up the antibiotic treatment as long as any significant number of spores remain in the system, about a month I think.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:28 AM
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That's interesting, togolosh. Reading the article I was wondering if the ban was backfiring. The poachers have more of an interest in getting ivory than anyone else has protecting the elephants.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:28 AM
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Becks,

the reflexive mistrust they've engendered in me.

Reflexive mistrust is probably better than reflexive trust, because it may leave you more open to alternatives. The trick is to not trust or mistrust forever, rather to get to the truth of the matter. Or find someone that you trust completely on certain matters (Mayo with medicine, for example) and let them do the hard work.

I've done a lot of the hard work already. You could do a lot worse than trusting my viewpoint. It won't always be good news though, but it will be the truth as best I know it.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:28 AM
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In the Zimbabwe/Rhodesia outbreak (before independence), there were 9,000 cases and fewer than 200 fatalities. This is in a country with a fairly weak medical system. Patients got penicillin, not Cipro.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:35 AM
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Isn't Cipro basically a broad spectrum antibiotic?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:35 AM
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It's a patented expensive antibiotic, and too new to have developed resistent strains.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:36 AM
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Yup. I was prescribed it for UTI that had proved resistant to penicillin. It's not a targeted anthrax-killer, certainly.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:36 AM
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Cipro is an antibiotic that has been sold in generic form for quite awhile - almost certainly since before 9-11. One supposes that it was recommended for anthrax because of its easy availability and efficacy.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 8:57 AM
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I was wrong about it not being generic. However, it's a cash cow for Bayer and is significantly pricier than penicillin:

The anthrax outbreak might turn out to be a lifeline for Bayer after the company was forced to withdraw its cholesterol lowering drug, cerivastatin ...... The company's share price fell from more than $40 a share in August to $24 in September. It has now made a modest recovery to about $30.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 9:04 AM
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131: Cipro went generic in June of 2004.

See FDA listing here.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 9:13 AM
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"GlaxoSmithKline is asking the FDA to approve for the treatment of anthrax two of its older drugs. It said that it would supply free all the medication the government needed to treat anthrax."

That's not a surprising offer given the climate of fear at the time, but if the anthrax came from a government lab and the fear was fanned by government sources ... well, that's interesting.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 9:25 AM
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133: I stand corrected. Thanks.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 9:26 AM
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My link makes it seem that there was a lot of politicking about the anthrax treatment recommendations. Since 2001 I'm sure Cipro's name recognition has gone up tenfold.

See? I can by cynical about anything, even our saintly drug companies.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 9:34 AM
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Prior to the ban Elephant populations in southern Africa were doing very well

Bullshit. Seventy thousand elephants were being killed every year before the ban; that means a good deal more elephants getting killed than elephants being born to an already reduced elephant population. The ban hasn't helped, because it's basically not being enforced effectively. That doesn't mean it's impossible to do so.

As for the notion of the ban being "imperialist," I say again, bullshit. Elephant poaching isn't exactly a keystone of the African economy; if you want to start railing at Western imperialism, start with organizations like the IMF and the World Bank, whose agricultural policies are largely responsible for the massive food shortages in the third world right now.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 9:37 AM
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From my Mayo link, the inhaled anthrax is the worst:

Inhaled anthrax is the most difficult to treat and is often fatal.

Treatment for all three forms of anthrax depends on oral or intravenous (IV) antibiotics. Treatment is most effective when started as early as possible.

Some strains of anthrax may be more responsive to one type of antibiotic than to another. Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), doxycycline and penicillin are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of anthrax in adults and children. However, your doctor may prescribe other antibiotics or a combination of antibiotics.

These medications work by killing the anthrax bacteria. However, antibiotics may fail in inhalation anthrax once symptoms become severe because the bacteria may already have released large amounts of toxin that aren't affected by antibiotics. Scientists are working to develop an anthrax antitoxin that could neutralize the toxin produced by anthrax bacteria.

If you've been exposed to anthrax, your doctor will likely prescribe a long course -- 60 days or more -- of antibiotics. If you have inhalation anthrax, you'll likely be hospitalized and treated with intravenous antibiotics.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 9:42 AM
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The Cipro conspiracy theory is not original to me, though I worked out parts of it independently. Most of the sites below are very fringey.

John P. Schmitz, of a well know hard-right SoCal family, was a co-conspirator with GHW Bush in Iran Contra and is an inlaw of the family. He refused to testify and probably was the main individual GHWB had to thank for skating entirely. (Iran Contra report, Ch. 28). He has a Blackwater connection and also was a lobbyist or other representative for Cipro, whose sales and prices skyrocketed during the anthrax scare.

http://alexconstantine.blogspot.com/2006_06_01_archive.html

http://911review.org/Alex/reference/Schmitz_anthrax-911.html

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0207/S00119.htm

http://www.tetrahedron.org/articles/anthrax/letter_to_fbi.html


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 9:50 AM
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137 - Stras,

Actually, for what it's worth, the learned people I talked to In Kenya laid the initial blame on the English and the crappy constitution they left Kenya with. Globalization came after that.

I dunno how much truth there is to that sentiment, but that is what the professors in Kenya are saying.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 9:55 AM
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Larisa Alexandrovna's remarks on the anthrax investigation are worth reading; this piece on Jean Duley, the woman Ivins allegedly stalked, especially.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 10:04 AM
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It would seem hardly necessary to cactually cause an anthrax outbreak in order to bag a vaccine supply contract; one could just follow the example of Lord Drayson - make the donation, then back up the truck (note that this was an order for smallpox vaccine; the UK has not had an outbreak of smallpox and it was never really clear why we suddenly needed 16m doses of the stuff since we weren't planning a vaccination program).

In general a lot of these things boil down to whether you consider J Washington Plunkitt's approach of "I seen my opportunities, and I took 'em" to be a conspiracy or not.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 10:06 AM
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Actually, for what it's worth, the learned people I talked to In Kenya laid the initial blame on the English and the crappy constitution they left Kenya with. Globalization came after that.

You mean for rising food prices? I don't quite see the connection there, but I'll admit I don't know much about the Kenyan constitution. But the World Bank/IMF system has been forcing third world nations to use their resources to grow cash crops to sell to first world countries at the expense of growing their own food for a couple decades now, turning countries that were once self-sufficient in terms of food supply into net food exporters in order to produce cheap coffee, cocoa and tobacco for the West. Agriculture subsidies and global warming have also played a major role, obviously, but years of coercing developing nations into unsustainable agricultural policies has been a big part of the problem.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 10:14 AM
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143,

I think the reasoning was that the bad constitution left them with too much power concentrated in one place, leaving them susceptible to despots willing to sell out the country for private gain. Hence vulnerable to exploitation by the first world.

I can't vouch for this claim, I'm just reporting it. This was about when Kibaki was refusing to give up power and the election was questioned.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 10:19 AM
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I don't think that the anthrax letters were motivated by Cipro. Just that someone with a White House connection, very plausibly Schmitz, made sure that everyone heard about Cipro. Two independent events.

The standard references I consulted in Spet-Oct 2001 either didn't mention Cipro, or mentioned it only for those allergic to penicillin.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 10:29 AM
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Stras- third world debt relief is certainly a cause celebre, esp. among celebs. The fact that the initial borrowings were to purchase guns need not be taken into account.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 10:30 AM
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The fact that the initial borrowings were to purchase guns need not be taken into account

need not be taken into account: yes!

is a fact: no!


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 10:37 AM
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Who needs facts when we have idle speculation and glib responses? Some people...


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 10:49 AM
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where I come from, bunch, "facts" are specific things, like "country X used international loan Y to buy weapons Z in 19xx". Generalised "oh, those Africans, they spent the money on guns" assertions are what we call "idle speculation" and don't deserve anything substantial in the way of a response. The overall claim that IMF and other development loans were mostly or even significantly allocated to defence budgets (and Africans are allowed to have a defence budget, you know, particularly as that continent has in fact seen quite a lot of wars) is false.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 11:10 AM
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Don't forget the secret Swiss bank accounts of the kleptocrats, dsquared. More to the point, ag subsidies to keep western farmers afloat and keep thirld world ag products out seem less helpful than debt relief campaigns.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 11:41 AM
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The thread looks dormant, but I have a vaguely on-topic query: Is this a non-denial denial?

Denying the report, White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said, "The notion that the White House directed anyone to forge a letter from Habbush to Saddam Hussein is absurd."

Any time I hear a pregnant negative from this crowd, I automatically start to mentally assess what possibilities the statement did not technically rule out.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 2:33 PM
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Is this a non-denial denial?

Yes.

Susskind really brings 'em out for this admin - do you remember all the N-DDs that followed the O'Neil book?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 4:06 PM
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Denying the report, White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said, "The notion that the White House directed anyone to forge a letter from Habbush to Saddam Hussein is absurd."

The White House did not have any particular person in mind as the purported author of the forged letter to Saddam which they directed to have written.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 4:10 PM
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Also, White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto is stepping down, to be replaced by a tandem of Trevor McPopcollar and Chet Douchemore.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 4:16 PM
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