Florida, of course... and more ITYS for Gene ;-)

Jeff Bone jbone@jump.net
Wed, 17 Oct 2001 13:55:19 -0500

CNN's Paula Zahn in an interview with former U.N. Chief Weapons
Inspector in Iraq Richard Butler, regarding the similarity between
the various strains of anthrax that have been found, particularly
those in New York and Washington D.C....

    "Florida still, of course, is non-conclusive."

Of course.  ;-)  I think they should change the state motto to "The
Equivocal State.  Maybe."  The whole story can be had at





PS - Gene:  I told you so, told you so, told you so, told you so...
;-) :-) :-)  About a month ago, Gene said:

"Low tech is not going to hurt, with overwhelming probability. This
relates to both obtaining starter pathogens, modifying them,
culturing them, packaging them, quality-testing them, and deploying
them. This is a long chain, requiring considerable resources, leaving
trails in physical and logical space. All links have to be good in
order for it to kill lots of people...  If you don't aerosol that
stuff, covertly, in presence of many people, you're not going to make
a splash."

So, "not going to hurt."  IMO, "hurt" = dramatic, unplanned, and
costly change to existing systems and ways of doing things with
attendant costs and fear.  This gets right to the point I was trying
to make a month ago:  it's not always necessary for terrorists to
kill lots of people in order to accomplish their goal, which is
maximum disruption and destabilization.  The theme of the day:  think
low-tech, think subverting ordinary systems and mechanisms in order
to maximize fear, uncertainty, disruption.  I'd certainly say these
anthrax attacks have "made a splash" --- wouldn't you, Gene?
Unplanned shutdown of the House of Reps?  That qualifies, doesn't it?

Consider what has happened since the anthrax stories first broke:
Bayer running its factories 24 x 7 to produce ciprofloxin, law
enforcement running around testing every Chicken Little's suspicious
mail, massive massive resources diverted to chasing down mostly false
reports...  think of all the time and attention and dollars that are
focused on this thing right now.  It doesn't even take real anthrax
to perpetuate this beyond this point;  the terrorists (now that
they've established a basis for fear) can probably continue the
disruption by mailing out flour or other white powder most of the
time.  When the fear starts to die down, send out another round of
"real" stuff.  This goes on for very long and I suspect (as Steven
Levy has suggested) that this could spell the beginning of the end
for snail mail in the US.

How about we double down on this one, Gene?  I'm willing to bet we
ultimately discover that this anthrax was produced by fairly
low-skilled (i.e., undergrad-level education) Islamic extremists from
cultures found in abandoned Russian biowar facilities the CIS
(probably Uzbekistan) and subsequently provided to US-based Al Qaeda
operatives for distribution.  One interesting similarity between 9-11
and the anthrax attacks:  both use interesting delivery mechanisms,
in the first case turning airliners into missiles and in the second
using the mail as a (possibly mass) biowar delivery vehicle.  Both
have multiple effects:  the first-order shock, horror, and costs,
plus follow-on fear and disruption of existing systems
(transportation, logistics;  governmental and military systems,
media, tying up healthcare, disrupting financial markets) leading to
continuing financial impact.  This whole operation (if indeed 9-11
and the anthrax attacks are part of a single coordinated operation)
is *extremely* well thought-out strategically.  It might be prudent
for us to consider what other innocuous systems and mechanisms could
be subverted to wage a terror war against the US.  Top of my
things-to-watch list:  food distribution, particularly dairy and