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[casi] American media, which just can't be as gullible as they seem to be

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What do we need an "Office of Strategic Influence" for when we have the Wall Street Journal? Not to 
mention the rest of the American media, which just can't be as gullible as they seem to be. The 
latest anthrax stories – Al Qaeda was mixing huge vats of the stuff in the Afghan hinterlands, 
the hijackers sent it just before they clocked out, it's all an Iraqi plot – are such a 
compilation of cow-dung and other varieties of excrement that one imagines them writing this junk 
while holding their noses. Naturally, the War Street Journal is the absolute worst, building an 
editorial out of all these dubious elements and then standing, unsteadily, on the pinnacle of the 
rickety mess to proclaim:
"The evidence of Saddam's repeated efforts to acquire biological and chemical weapons is 
overwhelming, so it's hardly a leap to imagine that he might have shared that expertise with his 
like-minded friends in al Qaeda. The famous meeting in Prague between Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi 
agent is unlikely to be the sole connection between al Qaeda and Saddam.”
That's a leap of Olympic athleticism, one likely to set a world record. There is not a scintilla of 
evidence that the "famous" meeting in Prague ever happened, as Bob Novak points out. Yet this urban 
myth – which seems restricted to certain pundits, who repeat it endlessly and then quote each 
other – persists, in spite of the flimsiness of the evidence. And of course an "effort to acquire 
biological and chemical weapons" is not the same as a successful effort to do so.
As for the alleged like-mindedness of Saddam and Osama: the savagery of the former is secular, 
while the latter's is almost purely theo-pathological. Their actions are equally monstrous, but 
like-minded is precisely what these two monsters are not. Failure to understand this is to confess 
complete ignorance of the war bin Laden is waging. 9/11 was a declaration of religious war, or 
jihad, against the West. To the bin Ladenite – still smarting over the loss of Andalusia – the 
enemy is modernity.
Seen from bin Laden's theological perspective, the Ba'athist form of secular socialism espoused by 
Saddam and his clan – that owes more to Marxism than Mohammedanism – is as much to be despised 
by the radical Islamist as anything produced in the West. Indeed, by these lights, Saddam could be 
configured as even more of a threat, since Ba'athism and fundamentalism are competing for the same 
constituency: the Arab "street."
As Peter Bergen points out in his excellent book, Holy War, Inc., the catalyst of bin Laden's jihad 
against the US was the profanation of the holy territory of Saudi Arabia by the presence of 
American "infidels," unbelievers whose physical proximity to the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina 
was impermissible. To forestall that, bin Laden offered to defend the Kingdom against Saddam after 
the invasion of Kuwait – on the condition that the Americans were to stay out.
The offer was not accepted – a bad move on Riyadh's part. For just imagine if the Saudis had set 
their mad dog renegades on Saddam: instead of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, all 30 or so 
of Saddam's palaces might have been reduced to rubble in very short order and we would not now be 
awaiting the first shots of Gulf War II.
The meandering conspiracy theory proffered by the Journal is pure fiction, from beginning to end. 
There is no evidence of anthrax production in Afghanistan. USA Today reports that some components 
of a production system were found, but essential elements were missing:
"The laboratory was apparently under construction and did not have all the equipment necessary to 
produce anthrax. Also, no trace of any biological agent was found, nor did troops find chemicals 
necessary to 'weaponize' anthrax.
"In five other locations in Afghanistan, tests have discovered traces of anthrax and another 
biotoxin, ricin, Myers said. But the anthrax traces were so small that they could have been residue 
of naturally occurring anthrax carried by diseased animals. The faint traces of ricin could have 
been residue from stores of castor beans, from which the toxin is extracted."
The [UK] Observer quotes a Pentagon official denying the whole thing:
"A Pentagon official told The Observer there was no intelligence to support claims from London that 
al-Qaeda was developing biological weapons in the Shah-e-Kot area. 'I don't know what they're 
saying in London but we have received no specific intelligence on that kind of development or 
capability in the Shah-e-Kot valley region – I mean a chemical or biological weapons facility,' 
said an official in the Army department in Washington."
Since the purported discovery of a bioterrorist facility was used to justify – after the fact – 
the recent dispatch of some 1700 more British troops to Afghanistan, this has caused quite a stir 
in the House of Commons, which is up in arms over an obvious ploy. Lies, lies, and more lies – 
that is the method they're utilizing to sell a policy of perpetual war, and it isn't a smart one. 
For the backlash is already upon them, first in Europe, and eventually, as war in the Middle East 
draws closer, on the home front as well.
The alleged connection between the hijackers and the anthrax letters is equally bogus. To begin 
with, the anthrax strain sent in letters to Daschle, Brokaw, and the others originated not in Iraq, 
but in Ft. Detrick, Maryland, at the US government's own bio-terror research facility – a fact 
omitted from the WSJ’s editorial. Furthermore, as the editorial points out, at this stage law 
enforcement's "work is aimed at ensuring that any evidence they bring forth will survive challenge 
in a courtroom." The FBI isn't buying the alleged hijacker connection – because they already know 
who did it.
Lax security at Ft. Detrick had been a problem, and when it was discovered that a number of 
specimens – including anthrax – had gone missing, an investigation was conducted, in 1992, by 
the then chief officer in charge of the lab, Lt. Col. Michael Langford. As the Hartford Courant 
"Documents from the inquiry show that one unauthorized person who was observed entering the lab 
building at night was Langford's predecessor, Lt. Col. Philip Zack, who at the time no longer 
worked at Fort Detrick. A surveillance camera recorded Zack being let in at 8:40 p.m. on Jan. 23, 
1992, apparently by Dr. Marian Rippy, a lab pathologist and close friend of Zack's, according to a 
report filed by a security guard."
Zack no longer worked at the lab because he had been involved in a campaign of harassment directed 
at one of the other scientists, Dr. Ayaad Assaad, an Egyptian, by a vicious clique at Ft. Detrick. 
Obscene poems were dropped in Assaad's office mailbox, and, from the content of these, the 
motivation of the group appears to have been ethnic hatred. Assaad left Ft. Detrick, but, in the 
wake of 9/11, was visited by FBI agents who brandished an anonymous letter accusing him of being a 
"bio-terrorist." It was soon determined that he was nothing of the kind, but the letter – mailed 
before the anthrax letters became public knowledge – was clearly an attempt to frame him for the 
Strangely, none of this is mentioned by the Wall Street Journal. Which raises the question: just 
how stupid do they think their readers are? It would be hard enough to swallow their amalgam of 
lies on its own terms: but, in view of the widely-reported story of Dr. Assaad's victimization, one 
has to ask: whom do they think they're fooling?
The War Party is getting sloppy. They don't even care if their story hangs together. They think 
they can coast along on the anger generated by 9/11, confident that the public will go along with 
any excuse to lash out – and the anger, they hope, can be manipulated by crude propaganda and 
pointed in any direction. But the American people are better, and smarter, than that. The price, in 
troops and treasure, of conquering Iraq is going to be very high. Is it worth it?
The answer, from an American perspective, has got to be an emphatic no. When the US electorate 
wakes up and realizes that the War Party is not arguing from an American perspective, there is 
going to be hell to pay at the polls. I just hope and pray that we don't have to wade through 
rivers of blood before getting to that point.
How the authorities deal with the anthrax case can be taken as a barometer of just how corrupted is 
our system of justice. It is clear that the identity of at least one guilty party is known: if this 
person is not arrested, then we have to ask why he or she merits special immunity. The feds, we are 
told, are busy building a case that will stand up in a court of law. But how long will we have to 
wait before another incident involving anthrax – or something far worse?

Justin Raimondo

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