By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Finally, after three months of screwing around, the FBI may be moving on the anthrax caseor maybe not. A report this week in The Washington Timessays investigators are homing in on a single suspect, a former U.S. scientist who learned to make a weapons-grade strain of the bacteria in a government lab. On Monday, an FBI spokesman told the Voice there is no prime culprit, and insisted the bureau is still interviewing hundreds of people.
That's just the kind of stalling and wavering Barbara Hatch Rosenberg has been railing about. The outspoken director of the Federation of American Scientists' working group on biological weapons says the FBI has likely known the identity of the anthrax perp since October.
Rosenberg has kept up a constant cyber-campaign accusing the FBI of either dragging its feet on the issue or attempting a cover-up. In postings at www.fas.org/bwc/news/anthraxreport.htm, she was an early proponent of the theory that the anthrax attacks were an inside job, quite possibly by someone now or formerly employed by Uncle Sam. She told the Voice that could explain the feds' lack of action.
"Clearly they don't want to name anyone until they have sufficient evidence to make a conviction," she said. "On the other hand, considering the small number of people they have to interview and that they've had five months to do it inthis is purely conjecturethey may be reluctant to pursue this guy because he may know too much."
Together with www.redflagsweekly.com, the FAS site has made a serious public effort to keep track of the case and push the cops to move. Rosenberg has taken her argument offline as well, telling an audience at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School that the government is concerned an arrest would compromise still-secret projects.
Rosenberg grasped the possible scandal behind the attacks, a tale that includes incompetence at government labs, lousy security, and backstabbing among employees. She claimed in her Princeton lecture that the FBI found the suspect in October and questioned him on more than one occasion.
In its article about the purported perp, The Washington Timesmore or less repeated her report. She has painted this profile of the perpetrator: He's a middle-aged American who is skilled in handling hazardous pathogens, including anthrax. The individual "works for a CIA contractor in the Washington, D.C., area," she wrote. He has an up-to-date vaccination against anthrax and a grudge against some government agency. At Princeton, she dismissed the possibility the individual might have worked for one of the pharmaceutical enterprises in New Jersey because "access to classified information was essential." There's no sense looking for him there, she argued, but the FBI wasted resources that way just the same.
Rosenberg has said her insight is based on published sources and government insiders she refuses to name. "We know that the FBI is looking at this person, and it's likely that he participated in the past in secret activities that the government would not like to see disclosed," Rosenberg said, according to the Trenton Times. "I know that there are insiders, working for the government, who know this person and who are worried that it could happen that some kind of quiet deal is made that he just disappears from view."
Camp X-Ray Sows Threat to American GIs
Last week lawyers for two Brits and one Australian held at Camp X-Ray in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, filed a writ of habeas corpus in Washington, D.C., demanding the men be charged in U.S. courts. The petition, made in a federal court, challenges the constitutionality of President Bush's executive order allowing the detentions of those captured during the Afghan war. It also accuses President Bush, the secretary of defense, and commanding officers at the base of denying the men their right to a lawyer.
Attorneys are arguing that these prisonersBrits Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul and Australian David Hicksshould be treated in the same manner as John Walker Lindh, who has been charged under federal laws and ordered to stand trial in federal district court in northern Virginia sometime this summer. They say there is no evidence any of them set out to wage war against the U.S.
"We all know that John Walker Lindh is going to receive a full trial, a fair trial in the United States, and we're merely asking that citizens of the United States' closest ally, Great Britain, receive the same treatment," Stafford Smith, an attorney representing the Brits, told reporters last week.
There are about 300 detainees in the camp from some 25 nations, including France. The U.S. government has taken a nuanced position toward the inmates. Those it suspects of being Talibanand only Talibanare being treated in compliance with the Geneva convention on prisoners of war. Nonetheless, they will not be formally designated as prisoners of war. Those suspected of being part of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda forces will not get protections under the Geneva convention; some may face military tribunals. The detainees so far have been denied access to lawyers, but the Red Cross has been permitted to visit them.