I realize any discussion of Anthrax -(more properly, the Anthrax Murders of 2001)-is in response to "a steadily diminishing number of requests"; but the topic is going to hit the news -perhaps big time-in a day or so,after Tuesday's meeting of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in Washington.
The scheduled topic is "bio-terror preparedness" ,and the discussions are supposed to involve dull, drab statistics,( and calls for additional funding), but: the hearings are falling on or near the 6th anniversary of the Anthrax event, and there are political muscles to be flexed,journalists to be impressed,and political paybacks to be exacted; so,things could get a lot more lively than anticipated !
All the old theories and speculations will be trotted out : some wild; others persuasive.
At the risk of alienating readers,I'll pass along some of my own observations.
I don't believe al-Qaeda, or those we normally think of as Muslim extremists had anything to do with these letters - although there is a considerable body of evidence to show al-Qaeda wanted to go into the bio-warfare business-and even expended scarce funds in an effort to do so.(There is an exception,I'll get into later.)
Yes, I know it says : "Allah is great " on both sets of letters; but it says so on the last line: which is not where a fanatical (or even moderately devout) Muslim would put this statement. I've read a few thousand translated documents by now, and have noticed they always seem to open with a first line invocation (Ex: "To God, the merciful and sublime...") As others have pointed out, most Muslims would have said "God is great", rather than "Allah is great." ( Again,there is an exception.)
It also says: "Death to America " and " Death to Israel" - which should be ironclad proof of Muslim involvement...but isn't. Not neccessarily.
That combination of imprecations has been around for a very long time : so long that it is almost-standard "Left Coast" protest poster content : content displayed by the extreme left-wing crowd to show their " solidarity " with "the Palestinian Cause". It is doubtful this group is even religious - let alone Muslim !
These slogans date back to the days when the (former) Soviet Union, and its satellites promoted unrest in the Middle East, in hopes of cutting off oil supplies and vital links of "The Main Enemy" (us).The slogans worked to a degree, so the new " Support Non-Violence or We'll Kill You !" organizations folded them into their modernized recipes for discord.
The letters are also "overly cute" in their execution. It's my belief a computer typeface called "Segoe" (found in Word 97 and other word processing programs) was used; that the type size was carefully adjusted so it would fit . It was then printed out in bold face, then traced onto tracing paper with a fine point marker. The resultant product was then photocopied repeatedly.
The point of all this word processing and tracing was to eliminate as much evidence of the perpetrators as possible . ( Can you imagine Muslim fanatics-who are usually so eager for their deeds to be traced back to them, that they call the authorities to "claim credit" -going through such an elaborate dodge ? )
It is time, however, to discuss the exception I previously mentioned.
There is a sect of Muslims native to our country - some of who are very bad apples : not too surprising since the "orchard" many of them were grown in was our nation's prisons. I refer, of course to the Black Muslims.
The Black Muslims are considered "apostates" by much of the Muslim world - although there has been some rapprochement in recent years. Black Muslims would probably use the name "Allah" , rather than "God". The most extreme members would subscribe to the use of "Death to the United States"- "Death to Israel" as slogans,as they consider themselves at war with "White America" , with Jews in general,and -to make a long list short-with anyone who is not one of them.
Unlike foreign-born Muslims - who could set up a strike, then hop a plane across the nearest national border, the Black Muslims are "home-grown", and would need to go to considerable lengths to protect their secrecy.
Would they have been capable of this attack ? I don't doubt it - but there are other "persons and/or groups of interest."
I hope to cover some of that ground in my next installment.