Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Anthrax Conspiracy

Been thinking a lot about the anthrax issues. I was always shocked at how quickly the issue was ushered out of the public eye. Here were attempts to murder Democratic Senators in a closely divided Senate, something not far off from a coup d'etat, and yet it just seemed to vanish from the news.

I live just a few miles from Fort Detrick and so the idea that it might have been an inside job by one of my neighbors was both frightening and on some level not terribly surprising. While Maryland is a liberal state in large, parts of Frederick county (Fredneck county, as it is widely called) can be scary. From the John Birch Society billboard on route 15 to the klan in Thurmont to the reactionary op/eds in the Frederick "News"-Post, the area is home to some of the most radical of the radical right.

But since the suicide of the latest prime suspect, Bruce Ivins, a rabid right-wing specialist in bioweapons at Detrick, questions and conspiracy theories have been flying. Was it initiated by the Bush administration as an attemot to lure us into invading Iraq? Remember that initially the news reports definitively linked the substance to Sadam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction capabilities because of the presence of bentonite, a fingerprint that proved it was from Iraq...except that there actually was no bentonite found in the sample. Glenn Greenwald points out that ABC News had this "fact" from four independent government sources. Why would these government sources mislead the public in thinking that American made bioweapons deployed against Democrats really came from a country that they had clear intentions on invading? Why hasn't ABC outed these "sources" who lied to them? Why was the FBI so slow to make progress on this case? Did the fact that the terrorist was an American conservative play a role in slowing down the investigation or even keeping the investigation from actually proceeding? Why weren't more resources dedicated? Why are they being so quick to dismantle the investigation?

Were they right about Ivins being a lone gunman ("envelopeman" just doesn't sound omninous enough here, does it?)? The conspircacy theories on this point are not just coming from the left. In the Wall Street Journal, an op/ed contends that Ivins could not have been the source of the poisoned letters.

The principle of parsimony argues that one should look for the simplest explanation. We should always hesitate to consider something the result of a brilliant ploy whenever it is possible to attribute it to banal incompetance. The X Files is fiction. At the same time, we do have an administration that reintroduced and has actively supported the use of black propoganda and covert actions. Of course, this is also a government that has been incompetant at carrying out virtually all functions from protecting American cities to rebuilding Iraq to prosecuting terrorism suspects.

Was the whole thing a government sponsored plot to lure us into an invasion of Iraq and possibly get rid of a couple political opponents? Was the investigation a sham and a cover-up to protect the operation? Is the media complicit? Did Bruce Ivins commit suicide? Was he involed and if so did he work alone? What does a skeptic believe here? Hell, if I know.