Guest blogged by Brad Jacobson of MediaBloodhound
Do not miss Tom Engelhardt's article, "Double Standard in the Global War on Terror: Anthrax Department," in which he poses and explores six questions regarding the anthrax case. These questions, however, are not ones we're conditioned to ponder.
Prefacing his queries, Engelhardt writes:
His overall thesis is encapsulated in the first question:
Engelhardt first cites the hardships that suspects endured during the course of the investigation:
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.
But he then offers a chilling reminder of how Bush's War on Terror affected those accused of far less than masterminding the deadliest bio-terror attack on U.S. soil in our nation's history...
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."
His remaining questions include: 2) "Why wasn't the U.S. military sent in?"; 3) "Once the anthrax threat was identified as coming from U.S. military labs, why did the administration, the FBI, and the media assume that only a single individual was responsible?"; 4) "What of those military labs? Why does their history continue to play little or no part in the story of the anthrax attacks?"; 5) "Were the anthrax attacks the less important ones of 2001?"; and 6) "Who is winning the Global War on Terror?"
Engelhardt not only further exposes the predominantly vapid, deficient and misleading coverage of the Ivins case, but, like most of the writing on TomDispatch, also pushes American citizens to think more deeply about the very real forces at work "in the shadows."
Brad Jacobson, a Brooklyn-based freelance writer, media critic, independent journalist and satirist, is the founding editor and writer of MediaBloodhound.