Islamic Voice
Ramadan/Shawwal 1422
December 2001
Volume 14-12 No:180

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Iraq, Anthrax and the Hawks

Iraq, Anthrax and the Hawks

One piece of anthrax evidence strongly indicates that Iraq was not involved. The type of anthrax used in the U.S. mail attacks, the so-called Ames strain, is one that Iraq does not seem to have.

By A Staff Writer

The Anthrax postal attack in USA has become the most reported story after the Attack on Afghanistan. The global media is so concerned about the killing due to Anthrax that the Afghan civilian killings in US bombing, is under reported or neglected for obvious reasons.

The number of people who have died from the Anthrax in USA is so far tiny compared with the mass slaughter caused by the US bombing in Afghanistan. As everyone is aware by now, the anthrax postal attacks began on October 4 in Florida, when a photo editor at a Boca Raton tabloid inhaled the bacteria form of anthrax, and died. His was the first such death in the US since 1976. Among many theories floated, is the suggestion that the anthrax originated in Iraq. That is a useful notion for those hawks in the Pentagon who would like the current campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan broadened to an onslaught designed to get rid of America’s nemesis, Saddam Hussein.

Iraq, Anthrax, and the Hawks

“It didn’t take long for the hawks to seize on the anthrax scare as a justification for the US to bomb Iraq. By far the likeliest supplier is Saddam Hussein,” The Wall Street Journal wrote in an editorial on October 18. James Woolsey, former CIA director, said almost the exact same thing in the Journal’s adjacent guest column. After speculating about Iran’s involvement, he said: “But by far, the more likely candidate for involvement with al Qaeda is Iraq.” Richard Butler, the bellicose leader of UN inspections in Iraq in the late 1990s, took to the op-ed page of The New York Times the same day to insinuate that Iraq was behind the attacks: “If the scientific path leads to Iraq as the supporter of the anthrax used by the terrorist mailers, no one should be surprised.”

Three things need to be noted about this “Let’s Go Get Iraq” chant. First, the hawks wanted to get Iraq even before any anthrax was delivered. Second, the evidence against Iraq is not overwhelming. Third, it makes no political sense for Iraq to be behind the anthrax attacks. One piece of anthrax evidence strongly indicates that Iraq was not involved: The type of anthrax used in the US mail attacks, the so-called Ames strain, is one that Iraq doesn’t seem to have. Federal scientists examining the anthrax used in the Florida and New York attacks have tentatively concluded that it is a domestic strain that bears no resemblance to the strains Russia and Iraq turned into biological weapons. David Johnston and Scott Ritter, the UN weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998 who was a strong advocate for military action against Saddam Hussein in the days leading up to the Gulf War, discounts the Iraq link. “Fears that the hidden hand of Saddam Hussein lies behind these attacks are based on rumour and speculation, and under close scrutiny, fail to support the weight of the charge,” he wrote in the Guardian on October 19.

Among many theories floated,is the suggestion that the anthrax orignated in Iraq. That is a useful notion for those hawks in the Pentagon.

Domestic Extremists

But in Washington Post, October 28 issue, the mask began to slip: a story titled “FBI, CIA Suspect US Extremists in Anthrax Cases,” by Bob Woodward and Dan Eggen reports, “Top FBI and CIA officials believe that the anthrax attacks on Washington, New York and Florida are likely the work of one or more extremists in the US who are probably not connected to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda.”

The method of sending envelopes packed with with Poison, as we know was developed and perfected by the CIA. While the sending of anthrax to the US citizens seems to be yet another bizarre aspect of the on-going terror attacks on America, there is a precedent, and it is connected to America’s on-going woes with the Arab world. The problem began in 1958, with the formation of the United Arab Republic by Egypt and Syria. To protect Israel, the CIA armed Iraq’s Kurds and encouraged them to revolt and attack Syria, which was considered a Soviet pawn. In response, Colonel Abdul Karim el-Kassem overthrew Iraq’s King Faisal and restored relations with the Soviets. The coup d’etat incited nationalists in Lebanon’s Arab community and in May 1958, armed revolt erupted in Beirut. The US Information Agency building was burnt and sacked and the ARAMCO pipeline from Saudi Arabia to Tripoli was severed. To placate King Hussein, America began selling arms to Jordan, and mounted covert operations against Iraq, including an MKULTRA operation in which the infamous CIA officer, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb sent, from India, a handkerchief laced with poison to Colonel Kassem.

According to Seymour Hersh in his JFK-bashing book, The Dark Side of Camelot (page 194): “the (CIA’s Technical Services Division) created a poisoned handkerchief that was mailed with the approval of the agency’s top management to the home of General Abdul Karim Kassem, the military strongman of Iraq. Kassem had seized power in a bloody coup and, to the dismay of the US, immediately restored diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and lifted a ban on the Communist Party in Iraq.

Douglas Valentine, the author of The Phoenix Program, the only comprehensive account of the CIA’s torture and assassination operation in Vietnam, recently wrote in Counter Punch, “So, if the FBI is looking for motive and method (meaning modus operandi), the CIA must rate as a prime suspect in the anthrax black valentines that are currently being sent across the country.

The motive, of course, is to keep the threat of terrorism alive and widespread; so more assaults can be made on our Civil Liberties, thus strengthening the National Security elite. The method of sending envelopes packed with poison, as we know, was developed and perfected by the CIA. Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld gave a foreboding response to a question at a press conference on October 19. Asked if the US would be waging war in another country before the anti-terror campaign was through, he replied: “I have no doubt in my mind. Rumsfeld and Bush are preparing to wage war against Iraq on the flimsiest of evidence. If they do, they will reconfirm to the world community how reckless they are”.

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