Revolutionary Worker #1126, November 11, 2001, posted at http://rwor.org
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's main diagnostics laboratory in Ames, Iowa, the National Veterinary Services Laboratories, maintains small quantities of anthrax to use as reference material in making confirmatory anthrax diagnoses in animals.
"Postmaster General Anthony M. Frank declared that he intends to halt the Army's shipments of deadly experimental viruses through the U.S. mails, a practice that the Army has followed for years."
Los Angeles Times, June 14, 1988
"So far all the anthrax samples discovered have characteristics of the so-called Ames strain, a variety the United States used in its germ weapons program. That suggests the possibility that the anthrax was domestically produced, the experts say. So too, they say, does the presence of silica in the anthrax sent to Mr. Daschle. Silica was the additive American bioweapons developers chose to remove electrostatic charges from the anthrax spores to prevent them from sticking together. Other countries used different materials."
New York Times, October 31, 2001
The panic that overcame the U.S. Congress when a letter was discovered containing finely milled anthrax was the panic that comes from recognition.
Over the course of decades the United States government developed the means to kill millions of people by unleashing deadly biological agents. From 1940 to 1969 the U.S. budgeted millions of dollars, built major facilities, and conducted deadly tests with biological and chemical weapons. And while they officially banned using these agents in 1969, they continue to experiment with them.
When the Congress discovered what was in the Daschle letter, they surely knew the awful power of what they were looking at.
Anthrax as a Weapon: Made in USA
During the course of World War 2 the U.S. created the Chemical Warfare Service (CWS), that later became the Army Chemical Corps., budgeting millions of dollars to develop deadly biological weapons. Along with this they enlisted universities and private industry. According to a historical chronology by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Project, "In August 1942, George Merck, president of the Merck & Co. pharmaceutical company, accept[ed] the position as head of the newly created War Research Service (WRS), the coordinating agency that joins government and private institution resources to carry out the U.S. biological warfare program. Headed by a small cadre of well-connected individuals, the WRS [began] to conduct research at dozens of American universities."
The U.S efforts were to culminate in the dropping of anthrax bombs on Germany. An article in the LA Times in 1987 reported on the findings of Stanford University historian Prof. Barton J. Bernstein: "British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was advised that 1,000 projectiles, each of 500 pounds and containing 106 four-pound anthrax bombs, could destroy life in a 25-square-mile area. Potential targets included Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Aachen and Wilhelmshafen. American production of the bombs fell too far behind schedule to make available enough of the anthrax weapons in 1944, Bernstein said, and by 1945 'Germany was near surrender.' "
After World War 2 the U.S. turned its attention to the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China and Korea. Between 1954 and 1967 the U.S. developed at least seven different biological agents to be used as weapons of mass destruction--among them anthrax, botulism and staphylococcus enterotoxin B. Though the U.S. continues to deny it, North Korea reported that they were targets of U.S. biological warfare involving plague agents in 1951. North Korea was not the only target, according to Jane's Intelligence Review, "The following year Peking claimed anthrax, cholera and plague had been used against north-eastern China. Alleged vectors included flies, fleas, spiders, clams and feathers."
In the course of this period the U.S. military conducted repeated tests. They released mosquitoes around Savannah, Georgia to see how good of a carrier of these deadly agents they would be, and they released zinc cadmium sulfide particles from an airplane over South Dakota and Minnesota to see how far they would travel. (The particles made it as far as New York.)
In 1989, the St. Louis Dispatch reported, "The Army revealed in 1977 congressional testimony that in the 1950s and '60s it had sprayed 239 populated areas in the United States with biological and chemical agents. Biological agents were released in aerosol form in St. Louis, San Francisco, the New York City subway system and elsewhere, causing a few deaths and several injuries." As late as 1968 the government was testing the killing powers of such weapons, releasing a biological agent in the Pacific Ocean 1,000 miles from Hawaii over a barge carrying monkeys--half of the animals died from the exposure.
Despite the professed shock by authorities about where the current anthrax is coming from, the prevalence of such deadly agents makes this less than astonishing.
The Boston Globe in 1998 spoke with Meryl Nass of the group Physicians for Social Responsibility. The article reported that, "Until a few years ago it was relatively easy to get samples of almost any organism from the American Type Culture Collection, a private, nonprofit repository of biological materials in Rockville, Md. 'That's now stopped,' and there are much tighter restrictions on potential biological warfare agents." However, in the same piece, Jean Guillemin, of Boston College said, "Our government has it, private companies that work on strains and vaccines have it. You could probably find a house that would provide it."
And while much is made of the destruction of chemical and biological weapons as a result of a 1972 international treaty banning these weapons, there is clear evidence the U.S. continues to experiment.
In 1988 the LA Times reported that "The military continues work on protective gear and decontamination procedures"--in other words experimenting with biological weapons in the name of developing protective measures. That particular article reported on ending the practice of using the mail and FedEx to ship biological weapons samples. But the article also revealed how widespread these deadly agents were in the U.S.: "In 1987 the Army research institute sent 48 shipments of germ agents to various private and military laboratories."
In 1991, Jane's Intelligence Review reported that "Despite accusing the USSR of actually violating the Convention [banning such weapons], the U.S. has been suspected of conducting extensive BWs research at Dugway Proving Ground. In 1985 it was reported that there had been U.S. military interest in the creation by genetic engineering of a new influenza virus. To its critics and the USSR, the U.S. 1986 'Program for Biological Weapons Defence' implied work on an offensive BW capability. In the end the programme was scaled down."
On top of all this, while the U.S. has demanded that Iraq submit to every manner of weapons inspections in the past several years, as recently as last summer, the U.S. vetoed a protocol for verifying compliance with the biological and chemical weapons treaty because as the NY Times reported, "the protocol would have granted foreign inspectors too much access to American installations and companies."
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