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A child of an ABCNEWS employee has tested positive for cutaneous anthrax after visiting the network's New York office
October 15, 2001 7:00 PM   Subscribe

A child of an ABCNEWS employee has tested positive for cutaneous anthrax after visiting the network's New York office, Senate Majority Leader Daschle's office receives an anthrax-positive letter, and ninety Planned Parenthood clinics receive the 'white powder' envelopes. This comes after the other anthrax letters sent to NBC and supermarket tabloid publishers... more and more, these anthrax outbreaks seem to point to a domestic origin: specifically right-wing radicals that traditionally target 'the media', 'liberals', and pro-choice organizations; and "right-wing extremists [that] are obsessed with biological warfare". Will President Bush & Attorney General Ashcroft be as eager to hunt down the terrorists that harbor among their own political base?
posted by SenshiNeko (32 comments total)

 
OK, Kojak, tell me what the fuck Microsoft has to do with your summation...
posted by machaus at 7:07 PM on October 15, 2001


it's ok. eventually someone will figure out it's the government sending out these letters so we can made to stay scared stupid. that way they can push their initiatives and get away with whatever they want.

once someone figures it out, it'll be bush's watergate, and he can be removed.

stupid puppet head. no wonder he made to win.
posted by jcterminal at 7:09 PM on October 15, 2001


Thanks for finally voicing what so many of us have been fearing for the last few days, SenshiNeko. With our newfound love of the Arab-terrorist prototype, I think that we're forgetting all about that white guy who was put to death a few months ago, what's his name....
posted by saladin at 7:20 PM on October 15, 2001


So, machaus, let's say the Planned Parenthood letters aren't even anthrax and were sent by individuals who weren't connected to the anthrax people. Aren't they still terrorists for capitalizing on a clear and present threat to induce terror??
posted by z00td at 7:23 PM on October 15, 2001


Sure, apart from Microsoft, Tom Daschle and Planned Parenthood, target the organizaiions that have been in business--for years now--scaring people to death so they stay home and watch the news and, therefore, the ads running during the news. Somebody out there isn't dumb.

Which is more than I can say about posting this sort of it's-already-on-TV-guys crapola. It's like wearing a t-shirt with a Nike logo on it: Free Advertising. At least ABC's making money off the story...

I'm not worried about anthrax--it's this pandemic of stupidity that people should be thinking about....
posted by y2karl at 7:23 PM on October 15, 2001


Don't let facts get in the way of a good story guys...
There is no evidence yet that the Planned Parenthood envelopes are anything more than copy-cats with talcum powder. So, you'll need to add a few more bristles to your wide paintbrush; that all wacko right-wing press haters are also rabid linux zealots.

And to zootd, no, people who get off on hoaxes are not terrorists. Terrorists generally have agendas that extend past seeing themselves on TV in a format other than Springer Cam...
posted by machaus at 7:30 PM on October 15, 2001


I think a lot of these cases are caused by people using the current state of paranoia as an opportunity to spread some of their own brand of fear.

It's all speculation anyways.

Besides, I'd think it'd be hard for some domestic right-wingers to send Anthrax from Malaysia.
posted by mkn at 7:30 PM on October 15, 2001


Hey, uh, in that CNN article you double-linked, it says that the note to Tom Brokaw talked about Israel and ended by praising Allah. Not exactly fitting with the general M.O. of Jim the Evil Religious Guy.
posted by whatnotever at 7:35 PM on October 15, 2001


it's ok. eventually someone will figure out it's the government sending out these letters so we can made to stay scared stupid. that way they can push their initiatives and get away with whatever they want.

So you're saying a Bert and Afghan is better than Pooh and George Bush?
posted by rushmc at 7:37 PM on October 15, 2001


the note to Tom Brokaw talked about Israel and ended by praising Allah

This post is smoterrific!
posted by machaus at 7:42 PM on October 15, 2001


hmmm....

yeah. i'd pick bert over bush any day.

or Alfred E. Neumann most of all.
posted by jcterminal at 8:13 PM on October 15, 2001


"News media coverage of anthrax scares sets up a cycle of copycat behavior, experts said, producing clusters like those seen after school shootings, tampering incidents like the Tylenol poisonings in 1982 and other widely covered events."

Reports have said that the Microsoft letter had been reopened and tampered with before it arrived in Reno. It's entirely possible (and likely) that someone inserted the anthrax into that letter after it arrived in the US. As to why that particular person chose to target Microsoft, I can't say. My comments were more directed toward the Trenton and St. Petersburg postmarked flurry of letters that were sent to the media and the Senate. As Mkn said, people are using the "current state of paranoia as an opportunity to spread their own brand of fear" by putting some powder in envelopes and sending them off to their personal hate-list.

Whatnot, you believe what was scribbled on that note? Anyone can sign their name 'Osama Bin Laden', after all. It's just as likely that the real culprit enclosed the "Arab" note in a feeble attempt to throw investigators 'off the track'. Look at the target to discern the pattern and true intent, not necessarily the included propaganda.

And yes, those sending out white powder envelopes are terrorists - even if the envelopes contain nothing but talcum or baking soda. It's still a crime to make a terroristic threat in general, and especially when the threat is so executed as to copy an existing clear and present danger.
posted by SenshiNeko at 8:20 PM on October 15, 2001


Shades of Emily Litella -- I was visiting my 86-year old mother-in-law in the hospital the other day, and when asked if she wanted the TV turned on, she said "No. All they talk about is Amtraks."

That response derailed my train of thought and set me ROTFLMAO.

Never mind.
posted by fpatrick at 8:32 PM on October 15, 2001


SenshiNeko, I find your post wildly irresponsible. You've brushed aside fact after fact, not to mention the sheer inability of joe-six-pack domestic terrorist to formulate Anthrax in a useful media. Read this link for some more background:

I quote from that article:

"The simple obtaining and growing of the organism is not the difficult thing. Converting it to a weapon of mass destruction is," says Dr. Atlas. The challenge is making the invisible spores the right size in aerosol form, "so that it would spread through the air like a fog and not just settle to the ground and still be a particle size that would get into human lungs."

More at MetaTalk...
posted by machaus at 9:16 PM on October 15, 2001


Sure, apart from Microsoft, Tom Daschle and Planned Parenthood, target the organizaiions that have been in business--for years now--scaring people to death...

Apart from Microsoft? I dunno... they have been scaring me for years....

Anyway, what happened to the good old days when people used to take credit for their terrorism?
posted by spilon at 9:34 PM on October 15, 2001


In the case of the clinic letters, it may well be the work of far-right nutjobs:

Planned Parenthood Federation of America said some of the letters included messages from a group called the Army of God, a militant anti-abortion group that has advocated violence against medical personnel who perform abortions.
posted by nikzhowz at 9:53 PM on October 15, 2001


Perhaps the terrorists have learned not to take credit for their crimes by watching episodes of the old Batman teevee show.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:55 PM on October 15, 2001


Or, perhaps it is both? Is that so difficult to conceive?
The circumstances of Florida, New Jersey, Malaysia post marks do seem to lean in one direction, while the planned parenthood powder puffs are more likely anti-abortion terrorists. I guess that puts DC up for grabs.
And what about Canada, France and Australia. Doubtful that US right wingers give a crap about that.
More likely that an initial al Queda hit sparked worldwide copycats.
posted by HTuttle at 1:01 AM on October 16, 2001


"The challenge is making the invisible spores the right size in aerosol form, "so that it would spread through the air like a fog..."

The current anthrax incidents aren't using an effective transmission vector, which to me is another indicator that it is a 'Joe-Six-Pack domestic terrorist' after all. If it were Osama or Saddam behind this, they probably wouldn't be mailing white powder envelopes to the media and individual Senators... they would have rented that crop-duster and sprayed cities or Capitol Hill. The fact that all we've seen so far are the 'simple' clumps of growth media with low doses of organism attached and not weaponized aerosol biological agents (thank goodness) suggests to me that it's probably just some rabid reactionary or two or three that is taking this opportunity to use homegrown anthrax to 'strike back' at their 'hate list' and get the whole mess blamed on Osama and Friends. (Not to mention all the copycats that think suddenly think sending baking soda through the post is some sort of sick fun...)

Anyway, my original point in posting these links was an attempt to: a) point out some alternate analysis that leads to domestic terrorism, especially after today's revealed attacks; and b) engender commentary and informational links on whether, if these are right-wing domestic linked incidents, the President and Attorney General will prosecute these people with as much fervor as they are prosecuting the attacks on Afghanistan.

I do have the background to know what I'm talking about. If it's irresponsibility to not swallow the Administration's spin-attempts to blame everything on Osama when there is high likelihood of our own homegrown fundamentalists being involved with these anthrax attacks, then so be it.
posted by SenshiNeko at 1:04 AM on October 16, 2001


Amen, SenshiNeko, amen. Thanks for the great post. :)
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:00 AM on October 16, 2001


ABCNEWS, eh? /me mumbles something about it not being able to happen to a nicer buncha people
posted by aaron at 5:25 AM on October 16, 2001


Hey guys, if you read the article that was linked up at the top of this thread, you would have learned that authorities are saying that the letter sent to Microsoft in Reno contained no anthrax.
posted by crunchland at 5:29 AM on October 16, 2001


I do have the background to know what I'm talking about.

You claim to have said background; none of us have any way of independently verifying this. Not that I see any reason you would have any specialized knowledge about such supposed "American extremists" anyway even if your claims about your CV are true. And given that your MeFi posting history makes it clear that you're one of those types who has long been obsessed with finding any way possible to make the Bush Administration look bad, we can't take anything you say about this at face value.

Might I suggest that you check out this site for further information.
posted by aaron at 5:34 AM on October 16, 2001



Aaron:

ABCNEWS, eh? /me mumbles something about it not being able to happen to a nicer buncha people

Just what do you have against 7 month old toddlers?

Goofball...
posted by jpburns at 5:58 AM on October 16, 2001


Actually, there have been fake biological attack letters around for years. Even without the Klingerman virus hoax, each year there are various threats of letter attacks or anthrax threats.
posted by SEWilco at 6:42 AM on October 16, 2001


I'm also wondering if the Terror Attack Planning Committee is using the Urban Legends collections as source material. Not that blue stars are much of a threat, nor a terrorist with a hook arm around Lover's Lane....and we've been doing a good job of scaring ourselves without any help.

(And, yes, I'm aware of the task of the literary organization in "Seven Days of the Condor")
posted by SEWilco at 6:47 AM on October 16, 2001


Here was my thought:

Why Daschle? I can see foreign terrorists wanting to take out any number of congressmen and celebs, but Daschle seems like a fishy choice. His enemy list consists primarily of the far right.

Now all we need is a anthrax letter to Jeffords and I'll be sure it's a right wing wacko. (wink to aaron)
posted by jragon at 9:16 AM on October 16, 2001


Just what do you have against 7 month old toddlers?

Ah, but toddlers have peepers. Peepers to watch. To watch for a moment of weakness and then BAFF comes the knock in the head and we're down!
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:03 AM on October 16, 2001


My department recently hosted a speaker who claimed that the response to 9/11 of the committed core of the militia movement which he studies has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive of Al Qaida. He went on to suggest that the anthrax letters, if they've really increased in number, were mostly sent by militia types. They've been sending hoaxes to abortion cilincs, etc. for a long while. After hearing this, I went home and heard the Planned Parenthood story.
posted by rschram at 10:47 AM on October 16, 2001


Just what do you have against 7 month old toddlers?

Our friend Aaron has a past with ABCNews. And World News Now....
posted by owillis at 11:02 AM on October 16, 2001


Our friend Aaron has a past with ABCNews. And World News Now....

Ohhhhh... That Aaron. Well then he's not only a goofball, he's a boring goofball.

During the first 48 hours of coverage (following the attack) I would switch the channel (yes, even to the evil Fox network) when he came on. How someone could make the start of a world war sound plodding and tedious is beyond me...
posted by jpburns at 11:24 AM on October 16, 2001


/me weighs whether to say anything, or to just let him keep on thinking that. Feh, let him keep on thinking that.
posted by aaron at 11:13 PM on October 17, 2001


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