Accuracy in Media

Since Reed Irvine’s founding of Accuracy in Media, a number of imitators have sprung up, some on the right, some on the left. We recently came across a far-left website that calls itself “Media Monitors Network,” with a commentary on a case that has been of intense interest to us for over three years. Who carried out the post-9/11 anthrax murders?

The web site seems to be adamantly against lying or misleading the public. One of the featured articles was titled, “The Proof of Massive Anglo-American Media Lying Over Iraq.” But the column on the anthrax case contained a series of extremely misleading and false claims.  John Janney, described as a free-lance writer, wrote the following: “Despite the fact that the strain of anthrax used in the anthrax postal attacks was identified as originating in labs within America and supplied by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease, government officials, like Deputy Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz, are now insisting that these attacks were the work of evil-doing Iraqis under the command of Saddam Hussein?”

There are several things wrong with this statement. First, Wolfowitz is with the Defense Department, not State, and he never accused Iraqis of carrying out the anthrax attacks. Second, the anthrax strain used in the attacks, the Ames strain, was not determined to originate in a U.S. military lab. It is a strain that has been researched in U.S. military and other labs. That’s a big difference.

A good source on this matter is former Washington Post reporter Marilyn Thompson’s book, The Killer Strain. While the strain used in the attacks matched the strain used by U.S. labs, that doesn’t mean the strain originated in a U.S. lab. The strain was said to have come from Iowa; hence, the name, “Ames,” for Ames, Iowa. Thompson also acknowledges that the strain was shipped abroad.

Thompson cites evidence that one and possibly two of the 9/11 hijackers were exposed to anthrax. Professor Leonard Cole has taken this inquiry one step further, noting in his book, “The Anthrax Letters: A Medical Detective Story,” that the evidence of an Al Qaeda or foreign connection to the attacks hasn’t been properly considered by the FBI.

In an impressive analysis of the case posted on the Court TV crime library web site, Rachel Bell comments on another interesting connection. She notes that, “The 9/11 Commission Report issued in July, 2004, describes a message delivered by the hijacker pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, Mohammed Atta, which included the phrase, ‘We have some planes.’ One cannot help recalling the same odd phrasing in the anthrax letters: ‘We have this anthrax.’ An American would not use this type of sentence construction, but would write something like ‘We have anthrax.'” The phrase, “We have this anthrax,” preceded, “Death to America. Death to Israel. Allah is great.”

The significance of this wording is disregarded by the FBI, which wants us to believe that some current or former U.S. government scientist was really behind the attacks and that the Islamic language was just a diversion. Mr. Janney, writing on that left-wing web site and posing as a monitor of the media and the government, is taking the FBI point of view. But that approach leaves the case unsolved. True media watchdogs should put pressure on the media and the government to solve this case. If the FBI has to eat crow, so be it. Lives have been lost and more lives are at stake.

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