Thursday, August 07, 2008
Anthrax storyThe anthrax story is a fascinating one. It's fascinating because it's important in itself. And also because the story at this stage is as intriguing as a good crime novel or the first couple of chapters of a Kennedy assassination conspiracy book. (Just for the record, I'm one of maybe ten people in the country who actually buy the lone-gunman-in-the-Book-Depository-with-a-rifle theory.)
Meryl Nass at her Anthrax Vaccine blog provides the perspective of someone not part of the prosecution case who is very familiar with the story of the investigation and a real specialist in anthrax. Reading her blog and listening to the mainstream reporting is another reminder of how lazy many of our leading journalists have become in their reporting. The PBS Newshour last night had Mark Hosenball from Newsweek on to talk about the case who didn't seem to know much more than what he jotted down from the FBI's official statements on the case.
Nass provides several useful points to offer perspective on the case at this point. for instance, saying that the almost-accused Bruce Ivins was the "sole custodian" of the particular anthrax strain is only meaningful if you understand that any of the over 100 people who had access to the virus between the time of its creation in 1997 and the attacks of 2001 would have also become a "custodian" of the virus if they took a sample with them, authorized or not. Also, Nass notes that the FBI affadavit on Ivins' technical knowledge of weaponizing anthrax "carefully wordsmiths around Ivins' lack of knowledge for making weaponized anthrax, by emphasizing that he might have known some of the things needed to make such a product."
Glenn Greenwald is paying close attention to this case with his legal experience and journalistic talents. He cautions us that as of Wednesday, the FBI has not released its supporting evidence, only statements about their conclusions.
Marcy Wheeler, who provided such excellent coverage of the Scooter Libby trial, is also following this case at her EmptyWheel blog. She caught an odd though not necessarily that significant angle in
The Anthrax Prosecutor: The Daughter of the Defense Attorney for BushCo's "Germ Boy" 08/06/08. I met Marcy briefly at the Netroots Nation convention this year. I asked if she was an attorney and she said, "No, I only play one on TV." She has an academic background that required her to engage in careful linguistic analysis. A skill which is perfect for analyzing legal issues. As her reporting shows.
Dave Neiwert, now the editor at FireDogLake, and who has exerience covering similar types of investigations, is also following the case.
But an example of how tricky this story can is Robert Scheer's column from Wednesday, Terror From the Inside TruthDig.com 08/05/08. He seems to be willing to buy the FBI's description of the Bruce Ivins as the perpetrator, which based on the information publicly available as of end of day Tuesday was certainly a questionable conclusion. And it's even more so now that some of the journalists following it have had time to look more closely at the FBI claims released Wednesday.
Tags: anthrax, anthrax+attack
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
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