De Amerikaanse thuisterrorist

Posted by marbel on Wednesday 27/8/2008 in Internationaal, Nieuws, USA |

Tom Engelhardt heeft op zijn blog een interessant stuk over de ontwikkelingen in de Amerikaanse anthrax zaak. Voor wie het niet meer helder voor de geest staat: Vlak na de 9/11 aanval werden er brieven met anthraxpoeder verstuurd en daardoor zijn verschillende mensen omgekomen. Eerst werd gedacht dat daar dezelfde groepen mensen achter zaten maar na lang onderzoek bleek dat de antrax uit een van de eigen Amerikaanse militaire laboratoria moest komen.
De schuldige werd nooit gevonden maar toen een eind vorige maand Dr. Bruce Ivins (werkzaam bij het U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases) zelfmoord pleegde beschuldigde de FBI hem ervan achter die aanvallen te hebben gezeten. Vervolgens zijn er veel mensen die zeggen dat er teveel in het verhaal niet klopt, dus die niet zeker weten of het we Ivins is geweest.

Tom komt met een aantal vragen die mensen in dit geval vergeten te vragen en daar komen een paar dingen uit die ik interessant vind – en waar ik ook niet bij stilstond.

Allereerst: Waarom werd de War on Terror modus operandi hier niet toegepast?

Under the pressure of FBI “interest,” anthrax specialist and “biodefense insider” Perry Mikesell evidently turned into an alcoholic and drank himself to death. Steven Hatfill, while his life was being turned inside out, had an agent trailing him in a car run over his foot, for which, Broad and Shane add, he, not the agent, was issued a ticket. And finally, of course, Dr. Ivins, growing ever more distressed and evidently ever less balanced, committed suicide on the day his lawyer was meeting with the FBI about a possible plea bargain that could have left him in jail for life, but would have taken the death penalty off the table.

Still, tough as life was for Mikesell, Hatfill, Ivins, and scores of others, here’s an observation that you’ll see nowhere else in a media that’s had a two-week romp through the case: In search of a confession, none of the suspects of these last years, including Ivins, ever had a lighted cigarette inserted in his ear; none of them were hit, spit on, kicked, and paraded naked; none were beaten to death while imprisoned but uncharged with a crime; none were doused with cold water and left naked in a cell on a freezing night; none were given electric shocks, hooded, shackled in painful “stress positions,” or sodomized; none were subjected to loud music, flashing lights, and denied sleep for days on end; none were smothered to death, or made to crawl naked across a jail floor in a dog collar, or menaced by guard dogs. None were ever waterboarded.

Whatever the pressure on Ivins or Hatfill, neither was kidnapped off a street near his house, stripped of his clothes, diapered, blindfolded, shackled, drugged, and “rendered” to the prisons of another country, possibly to be subjected to electric shocks or cut by scalpel by the torturers of a foreign regime. Even though each of the suspects in the anthrax murders was, at some point, believed to have been a terrorist who had committed a heinous crime with a weapon of mass destruction, none were ever declared “enemy combatants.” None were ever imprisoned without charges, or much hope of trial or release, in off-shore, secret, CIA-run “black sites.”

Tom linkt in zijn stuk naar diverse gevallen van marteling van de gevangenen in Iraq en Afghanistan en natuurlijk in Guantanamo Bay. Maar ik vergelijk het zelf met hoe José Padilla werd behandeld; dat was immers ook een Amerikaans staatsburger die in Amerika werd gearresteerd. Met een strafblad, een kleurtje en bekeerd tot de verkeerde religie, dat wel. Maar hij is gruwelijk behandeld in de Amerikaanse gevangenis en is daar willens en wetens mentaal compleet beschadigd.

Een andere onverwachte vraag die Tom stelt is waarom er inene maar één verdachte was toen bleek dat de anthrax uit een militair laboratorium kwam. De groepen moslim-terroristen die eerst werden verdacht werden prompt vervangen door het beeld van de gekke geleerde die natuurlijk helemaal alleen werkte.

En wat is er gebeurd met de militaire laboratoria waar blijkbaar dit soort gevaarlijke massa-vernietigingswapens aanwezig waren?

In the years since the attacks occurred, funding has flooded into such labs, whose numbers have grown strikingly. On September 11, 2001, reports the Washington Post, “there were only five ‘biosafety level 4′ labs — places equipped to study highly lethal agents such as Ebola that have no human vaccine or treatment — a Government Accountability Office report stated last fall. Fifteen are in operation or under construction now, according to the report. There are hundreds more biosafety level 3 labs, which handle agents such as Bacillus anthracis, which does have a human vaccine.”

The few hundred people at work in the U.S. bio-defense program before 9/11 have swelled to perhaps 14,000 scientists who have “clearances to work with ‘select biological agents’ such as Bacillus anthracis — many of them civilians working at private universities” where, according to experts, “security regulations are remarkably lax.” And don’t forget the Army’s own billion-dollar plan to “build a larger laboratory complex as part of a proposed interagency biodefense campus at Fort Detrick.” We’re talking about the place where, as Ivins’s crew was evidently nicknamed, “Team Anthrax” worked and whose labs are reputedly “renowned for losing anthrax.” In these same years, according to the New York Times, “almost $50 billion in federal money has been spent to build new laboratories, develop vaccines and stockpile drugs.”


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