The Guardian July 17, 2002


"Mr Z" and the anthrax attacks

A tremendous challenge looms for the postal workers and their unions in 
the United States. The American Government knows who probably sent the 
deadly anthrax letters, but has done nothing about it. This shocking 
assertion doesn't come from us. It was first made by Dr Barbara Hatch 
Rosenberg, a prominent expert on biological weapons who reported her 
findings on the American Society of Scientists Web site.

An article about her views appeared in the March 18 New Yorker 
magazine.

Now the culpability of the Government has been suggested by an even 
weightier establishment source: the New York Times.

On July 2, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas D Kristof describes in 
detail the person responsible, identifying him only as "Z" for obvious 
legal reasons.

He is not somebody from the Middle East, says Kristof, but a "true-blue 
American with close ties to the Defense Department, the CIA, and the 
American biodefense program".

He had access to an isolated residence last autumn that could be a 
government "safe house". The FBI "knows that Mr Z gave Cipro to people who 
visited it", says Kristof. Cipro is the antibiotic recommended to 
counteract anthrax.

While the Bush administration pretends that its strengthening of the 
repressive apparatus here and abroad is for "fighting terror" and "homeland 
security", and has put more than a thousand Muslim and Arab people behind 
bars, it has allowed the prime suspect in the domestic anthrax attacks to 
use multiple passports and identities and "travel abroad on government 
assig nments, even to Central Asia", says Kristof.

His identity appears to be an open secret in Washington. Kristof notes that 
the FBI has polygraphed [lie-detector tested] him, searched his home twice 
and interviewed him four times.

But the agency has not placed Mr Z. under surveillance or asked a 
handwriting expert to analyse any similarities between his writing and that 
on the letters that accompanied the anthrax.

The political police also declined to obtain comparison anthrax samples 
from labs until March and allowed the stocks of anthrax at Iowa State 
University to be destroyed before they could be tested.

Scientists at two likely labs  Port Detrick, Md., and Dugway Proving 
Ground in Utah  were not systematically polygraphed until June.

This person has an extreme racist political pedigree that is also known to 
Washington. Kristof says he has "claimed that he participated in the White 
army's much-feared Selous Scouts" in Rhodesia, before it became Zimbabwe.

He "also claims involvement in the former South African Defence Force", 
which committed horrendous crimes against the African majority under the 
apartheid regime.

The worst recorded outbreak of anthrax in history occurred in Rhodesia from 
1978 to 1980, exactly the period when the liberation movement was winning 
the war against the Selous Scouts and white minority rule.

The disease rages in the African-owned Tribal Trust Lands. Some 10,000 
Black farmers were sickened and 182 died, but the white elite of Rhodesia 
and their cattle were untouched. There was suspicion that the disease was 
spread by aerial spraying.

The FBI and the Bush administration appear totally unconcerned that a 
person with Mr Z's background has worked high up in the biological weapons 
program of the United States and is viewed by his colleagues as a prime 
suspect in the anthrax murders.

But postal workers, many of whom are African American, must look at it 
differently. There have been nine known deaths since the letters started to 
appear  the majority postal workers. All were purposefully exposed to 
anthrax.

Don't they have the right to conduct an independent investigation of what 
is going on? Kristof ascribes a benign motive to the killer: he "probably 
had no intention of killing people... My guess is that the goal was to help 
America by raising preparedness against biological attacks in the future".

But what if the goal of this unregenerate racist was something much more 
sinister?

To provide a pretext to dismantle civil liberties and strengthen a police 
state?

And/or to wage a war on countries US imperialism wants to conquer, like 
Iraq? And what if cover-up is similarly motivated?

The workers' movement  particularly the postal workers' union  has the 
right to take control of this investigation and pry it open to public view, 
here and around the world.

* * *
Workers World (US)

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