The CIA and Anthrax

by Douglas Valentine

As everyone is aware by now, the anthrax postal attacks began on 4 October 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. Two other Sun employees also were infected, but survived, and are being treated. Unidentified FBI agents, with their hats pulled down low over their eyes, said their hands-off investigation is now a criminal probe, while other unnamed officials (CIA?) said there is no evidence linking the outbreak to the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Then in New York, teeny-tiny anthrax spores were found on the police officer and two lab technicians who were investigating a totally unrelated case in which an anthrax infected letter was sent to government propagandist Tom Brokaw.

Basking in the limelight of the recent tragedy, New York Mayor (and adulterer) Rudolph Giuliani said Brokaw had not, repeat, not been contaminated. The Greatest Generation could relax, he said, urging calm, and asking that the usurper issue an emergency order allowing to him remain as mayor indefinitely.

Like the isolated case in Florida, the New Yorkers who contracted the deadly disease had touched envelopes that contained anthrax spores, the type that have been artificially produced across America for years, in order to develop antidotes in case a Three Mile Island-type accident spread the military’s purely defensive (unlike Saddam’s) anthrax arsenal o’er our beloved Homeland.

Then on Saturday the Microsoft office in arid Reno, Nevada received a piece of mail sent from Malaysia containing anthrax dust. None of the six people who accessed the envelope are known to have been infected by the bacteria (not virus) or offended by the pornography the envelope also contained. (The pictures were not released to the public, but are rumored to be of you-know-who in his snorting days, cavorting with a donkey in Tijuana.)

The latest and most newsworthy of these unrelated incidents came on Monday, when the senate office of Bush Administration rubberstamp, Tom Daschle, was suddenly struck. Camera shy FBI agents said the package was postmarked Trenton, New Jersey, same as the anthrax-laced letter sent to Brokaw.

When asked if the object of Eternal Hot Pursuit, Osama bin Laden, had sent the black valentines, the idiotic unpresident replied, “I wouldn’t put it past him.”

All kidding aside, while the sending of anthrax to U.S. 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 U.S. Information Agency building was burned and sacked and the ARAMCO pipeline from Saudi Arabia to Tripoli was severed. To placate King Hussein, America began selling arms to Jordan and mounting 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 CIAnik 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 U.S., immediately restored diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and lifted a ban on the Communist Party in Iraq. Sidney Gottlieb came up with the idea of infecting a handkerchief and mailing it to Iraq via the CIA station in New Delhi, India. ‘It was not an assassination,’ Gottlieb told (Hersh) in an interview. ‘They [the CIA’s Near East division] just wanted him to get sick for a long time. I went to (CIA Deputy Director of Plans, Richard) Bissell and he said go ahead.’

“Others in the agency saw it differently. One senior officer, in an interview for this book, revealed that the men running the Near East division were interested in getting rid of General Kassem permanently.”

(Incidentally, in a Frontline story aired on 25 January 2000, titled The Survival of Saddam, it was revealed that Saddam Hussein, then an up-and-coming CIA asset and dictator, and other members of the Ba’ath party worked with “the Americans” to overthrow General Kassem. According to Frontline, “With CIA help, the Iraqi Ba’ath Party seized power in 1963. General Kassem was killed in the coup. The CIA provided lists of suspected communists for Ba’ath Party hit squads, who liquidated at least 800 people. Saddam Hussein rushed home to join in as a interrogator, torturer and killer.”)

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.

Over to you, Governor Ridge. CP

Douglas Valentine writes frequently for CounterPunch. He is the author of The Phoenix Program, the only comprehensive account of the CIA’s torture and assassination operation in Vietnam, as well as TDY a chilling novel about the CIA and the drug trade.

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