Anthrax Mailed to U.S. Senator
National Geographic News
|October 15, 2001|
War Notebook: October 15, 2001
About 40 staff members of the office of the majority leader of the U.S. Senate were quarantined Monday after a letter addressed to Senator Tom Daschle tested positive for anthrax.
All mail deliveries to the Senate were suspended and unopened letters were collected.
Officials said that the package was postmarked Trenton, New Jersey, the same postmark as a letter containing anthrax that was sent to NBC anchor Tom Brokaw.
"I am very, very disappointed and angered," Daschle said at a news conference.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control issued comprehensive guidelines about how to recognize suspicious items in the mail and what to do if a letter containing anthrax is opened: Go>>
The U.S. Postal Service issued its own guidelines: Go>>
In an article he wrote for the Arab media, Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair, said: "It is always possible for the TV cameras to get pictures of people protesting at military action. But I do not believe the majority of Muslims in any country on earth want a Kabul-type regime in their country. Read the prime minister's article: Go>>
Astronomers have named three asteroids in honour of the victims of the September 11 hijack attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported. The names given are Compassion, Solidarity and Magnanimity. Read the BBC report: Go>>
War Notebook: October 12, 2001
Another case of anthrax infection in America was reported on Friday, this time in New York City, heightening concerns about the possibility of terrorist attacks using bioweapons.
A female employee of NBC News who works at the company's headquarters in Manhattan is being treated with antibiotics for anthrax infection and is responding well, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced at a news conference in New York on Friday.
He said the new anthrax case may be related to a letter containing a white powder that was received at NBC offices on September 25.
The FBI has begun a criminal investigation into the incident, which officials said did not appear to be related to recent cases of anthrax infection in Florida, including one man who died. Since the September 11 terrorist attacks and the earlier reported cases of anthrax, police and the FBI have been besieged with reports of possible contamination with deadly biological agents but nearly all have proven to be hoaxes, officials said.
The third floor of the NBC headquarters, where the employee with anthrax worked, was being sealed off for further investigation. It was also announced that other people who work on that floor would be treated with antibiotics as a precaution.
According to Guiliani and Andy Lack, the president and chief operating officer of NBC, the woman consulted a doctor when she experienced a rash and fever. The powder from the letter, which she had handled, was tested for anthrax but found to be negative. When a skin biopsy was done, however, it confirmed that the woman was infected with anthrax, and on October 1 she was placed on antibiotics used to treat the disease.
The woman's case was a different form of infection from that of the man in Florida who died. He had inhaled anthrax spores, while the woman has "cutaneous," or skin-based, infection.
At the news conference, Giuliani and health officials said people should not be fearful of becoming infected with anthrax because the disease cannot be passed from person to person.
For more information about anthrax:
Centers for Disease Control Anthrax Site
New York City Department of Health
New York State Department of Health Communicable Disease Fact Sheet
War Notebook: October 11, 2001
Gallery of images of U.S. and U.K. forces in Operation Enduring Freedom: Go>>
Photo gallery of the first images of the strikes against Afghanistan released by the U.S. Department of Defense: Go>>
Afghanistan country profile and gallery of images of what life is like inside the country: Go>>
As the United States observed the one-month anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, U.S.-led coalition forces continued to pound targets in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced this warning: "Certain information, while not specific as to target, gives the government reason to believe that there may be additional terrorist attacks within the United States and against U.S. interests overseas over the next several days."
Read the FBI advisory.
"On September 11th, great sorrow came to our country," President Bush said at a service of remembrance at the Pentagon, one of the targets a month ago. "From that sorrow has come great resolve. Today, we are a nation awakened to the evil of terrorism, and determined to destroy it. That work began the moment we were attacked; and it will continue until justice is delivered."
Read the President's full remarks.
War Notebook: October 10, 2001
As the terrorist network al Qaeda vowed that "the storm of plane attacks will not abate" on the United States, President Bush unveiled the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's most wanted list of terrorists and offered rewards of up to $5 million to catch them. Meanwhile, the U.S.-led coalition continued to strike targets in Afghanistan for the fourth day.
FBI Names Most Wanted Terrorists
President Bush unveiled the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's 22 most wanted terrorists and offered rewards for up to U.S. $5 million to catch them.
Bush said the 22 individuals do not account for all the terrorist activity in the world, "but they're among the most dangerous: the leaders and key supporters, the planners and strategists. They must be found; they will be stopped; and they will be punished."
Read the President's full remarks.
View the FBI photos and personal details of the most wanted terrorists.
Read the White House fact sheet about the terrorists and their alleged crimes.
Al Qaeda: "Plane Attacks [on U.S.] Will Not Abate"
Americans should know that "the storm of plane attacks will not abate," the terrorist network al Qaeda said in a statement broadcast on al Jazeera television station Tuesday.
The terrorists who flew airliners into buildings in the United States did a "good deed," the Qatar-based TV station broadcast in Arabic to the entire Middle East.
"They transferred the battle into the U.S. heartland. Let the United States know that with God's permission, the battle will continue to be waged on its territory until it leaves our lands, stops its support for the Jews, and lifts the unjust embargo on the Iraqi people who have lost more than one million children."
Read the full al Qaeda statement, as monitored by the BBC.
Blair: Al Qaeda Confirms Its Culpability
An official in the office of the British Prime Minister drew attention to the comments of the spokesman of Osama bin Laden "who in the previous 24 hours had in effect confirmed what we had been saying all along that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks, that if they could they would launch more, and that there were clear connections between Al Qaeda and the Taliban."
Read the Prime Minister's spokesman's briefing.
War Notebook: October 9, 2001
Sunday's and Monday's air strikes damaged or destroyed 85 percent of targets throughout Afghanistan, U.S. Air Force General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a briefing for reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said at the same briefing that the air strikes had hit every airfield in Afghanistan but one. The U.S.-led coalition could now conduct strikes in Afghanistan "more or less around the clock as we wish," he said.
Listen to the Pentagon briefing.
Four members of a local organization working with the United Nations mine-clearing programme in Afghanistan were killed Monday night during the bombardment of the capital, Kabul, a UN spokesperson said Tuesday.
Rumsfeld said he couldn't confirm reports that U.S. bombs killed the UN workers. "Nonetheless, we regret a loss of life. Terrorists attacked and killed thousands of innocent people in dozens of countries of all races and religions in the United States. If there were an easy, safe way to root terrorist networks out of countries that are harboring them, it would be a blessing. But there is not," Rumsfeld said.
Commenting on the death of the aid workers, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said "for the UN it was a hard blow."
The United Nations is continuing its efforts to bring aid to the suffering people of Afghanistan while working to protect its personnel in the country, Annan said.
Read Annan's comments.
CNN reported that investigators are considering the possibility that a letter sent to the mailroom of a Florida tabloid publishing company could have carried the anthrax bacteria that killed an employee.
Read the CNN story.
This National Geographic News story has a sidebar on nature of the anthrax bacterium, how humans may become infected, and what symptoms to look out for: Anthrax Resistance Found in Some Mice.
War Notebook: October 7-8, 2001
The United States and Great Britain began strikes against al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair announced Sunday.
The targeted actions were designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations, and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime, Bush said. He was addressing the nation from the Treaty Room in the White House less than an hour after explosions were reported in Kabul and other places in Afghanistan.
Blair confirmed that Great Britain was taking part in the offensive, deploying missile-firing submarines in the initial round of attacks. The two leaders said that France, Germany, Australia, and Canada also pledged forces as the operation unfolds.
"More than 40 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and across Asia have granted air transit or landing rights," Bush said. "Many more have shared intelligence. We are supported by the collective will of the world."
Read the President's full statement.
"These brutal attacks are horrendous, terrorist acts, as inhuman as any in the world," the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, was reported by CNN to have said in a statement shortly after the Allied strikes began. "America will never achieve its political goals by launching bestial attacks on the Muslim people of Afghanistan," he added.
In a statement believed to have been taped before Sunday's air strikes on Afghanistan, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden appeared to be endorsing the September 11 attacks on the United States. "God has guided a bunch of Muslims to be at the forefront and destroyed America, a big destruction, I wish God would lift their position," reads the transcript provided by Al-Jazeera television, an Arabic satellite service which aired the tape.
"I swear by God the Great, America will never dream nor those who live in America will never taste security and safety unless we feel security and safety in our land and in Palestine," the transcript says.
Read the transcript of Osama bin Laden's statement.
Operation Enduring Freedom
The Allied military action, called "Operation Enduring Freedom," came 26 days after terrorists killed more than 6,000 people in attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City and a wing of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Terrorists believed to be part of the al Qaeda network hijacked four airliners and flew three of them into the buildings. The fourth aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania in an apparent bid by the passengers to wrest the controls from the hijackers. It is believed that the hijackers were intending to fly that aircraft into a target in Washington.
In his statement on Sunday, Bush said Taliban leaders had failed to meet his demands to close terrorist training camps, hand over leaders of the al Qaeda network and return all foreign nationals, including American citizens detained in Afghanistan. "None of these demands were met. And now the Taliban will pay a price," Bush said. "By destroying camps and disrupting communications, we will make it more difficult for the terror network to train new recruits and coordinate their evil plans."
"It is now almost a month since the atrocity occurred," Blair said. "It is more than two weeks since an ultimatum was delivered to the Taliban to yield up the terrorists or face the consequences. It is clear beyond doubt that they will not do this. They were given the choice of siding with justice or siding with terror and they chose to side with terror."
Read the Prime Minister's full statement.
Food, Medicine Dropped for Afghan "Friends"
While striking military targets, the U.S. also began dropping food, medicine, and supplies to the "starving and suffering men and women and children" of Afghanistan, Bush said. "The United States of America is a friend to the Afghan people, and we are the friends of almost a billion worldwide who practice the Islamic faith. The United States of America is an enemy of those who aid terrorists and of the barbaric criminals who profane a great religion by committing murder in its name."
Both Bush and Blair stressed that the military action was only part of an overall strategy that included diplomacy, the freezing of financial assets, and humanitarian assistance.
"Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader," Bush said. "Every nation has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocents, they have become outlaws and murderers, themselves. And they will take that lonely path at their own peril."
"This, of course, is a moment of the utmost gravity for the world," Blair said. "None of the leaders involved in this action want war. None of our nations want it. We are a peaceful people. But we know that sometimes to safeguard peace we have to fight."
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