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Day 189: Blowing Up the Constitution, too

This looks like a fuzzy kind of nationwide martial law.

Army units have been spotted by bloggers in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Wilmington, Los Angeles, and North Jersey, key areas vulnerable to chemical sabotage. Unless they were National Guard units, which are officially reported to be in motion everywhere. It’s a tapestry of state flags no one can recognize. No matter. There’s a media blackout on troop movements, specifically including blogs.

I’ll bet the soldiers are confused, too. At least they have masks.

UNSOLVED MYSTERY: THE 2001 ANTHRAX ATTACKSMine won’t stop chlorine, or hydrochloric gas, or the stuff that killed at least 20,000 Indians (so far) in Bhopal. My protective gear assumes that people are inherently dangerous, but not because they mean to poison us.

So has the president quietly called out the U.S. Army for what seems a shaky terror claim? Al Qaeda franchises have occasionally used chlorine trucks and tanks for extra oomph in the Middle East, so the connection is thinkable.

I’m not convinced by that ‘martyr’s video’ allegedly posted on behalf of a dead worker who allegedly blew up the chlorine plant. The image is really shaky. The man’s family insists that the speaker’s voice, face, and ideology are alien to them.

Loved ones always want to believe that. But the man in the family videos that were posted, then seized by the government and taken down as ‘evidence,’ looks different to me, too. Sure, both guys have black hair, but their lips, eyes, forehead, and hair quality are different.

Dead men have certain charms in a pinch: Lee Harvey Oswald will never rise to challenge anyone’s convictions about John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas.

Consider also the enduring mystery over
the post-9/11 anthrax mailings. At first the White House pressured the FBI to blame al Qaeda. Then the U.S. government spent years hounding Steven Hatfill, a bioweapons researcher who eventually won a $5.8 million settlement clearing his name. Finally the FBI pinned the attacks on Army researcher Bruce Ivins, who had committed suicide while they were pressing him.

Few were convinced he did it. A panel of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that the FBI lacked proof of Ivins’ guilt. (Read the text and/or watch the video presentation of its impressive report.) And the Justice Department admitted in 2011 that it had no idea how Ivins could have dried and weaponized the anthrax because the Federal lab in which he worked lacked the necessary equipment.

Laurie Garrett, prized journalist and author of The Coming Plague, put out I Heard the Sirens Scream, an e-book detailing her experiences and thoughts regarding the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent anthrax mailings. (Both on sale here.) Garrett suspects that al Qaeda is as likely as anyone to have launched the virus and that Osama bin Laden probably enjoyed the U.S. government’s response.

I’m still not convinced a crime took place in Houston. Chlorine plants are extremely dangerous. They’re meant to be inspected regularly. Journalists in Houston were preparing a story about inspection lapses amid ‘accidents’ and ‘incidents’ that caused injuries and production delays at that installation. The government has just seized their work and barred them from discussing it, declaring it part of a “criminal investigation.” There’s no role for al Qaeda in an industrial accident facilitated by sloppy inspection practices, so let’s not go there.

It worked! Now that the journalists’ videos have vanished from YouTube, Houston is all about terror.

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