Tuesday, July 01, 2008

History Channel Mega-Disasters episode: "Airborne Attack"


Tonight, July 1, 2008, The History Channel Mega-Disasters series presented one of the most disturbing of all of the episodes, named “Airborne Attack.” The one-hour documentary examined the possibility of the use of anthrax as a weapon against a civilian population, whether by a non-state actor or by a (rogue or enemy) government. The link for the documentary is this.

The program examined the history of the agent, which French scientists worked on in the 1920s, after World War I. The Japanese may have used it against the Chinese in the 1930s before the full outbreak of World War II. Hitler, Stalin, and the United States and Britain all did research on it during World War II.

The program traces the history of the 1979 incident in Sverdlovsk, which was an accidental release from a biological weapons plant in the Ural Mountains that resulted in civilian fatalities in a few days.

The program also summarizes the events in the fall of 2001. The details are available on Wikipedia at this link. The Weekly Standard ran a probing article by David Tell on April 29, 2002, about the "lone actor theory" and international theories, link here.

The program then lays out a hypothetical scenario of an incident in Phoenix.

The “Ames Strain” is mentioned and refers to a Department of Agriculture facility near I-35 north of Des Moines. I have seen it from the distance while driving. The other major facility is near Frederick MD. The recent “person of interest” litigation against the Justice Department was not mentioned.

The program does discuss clinical course, antibiotic treatment with Cipro, and the deficiencies of the current vaccine, which is given to the military.

ABC Nightline had outlined a fictitious subway incident in 1999, before 9/11.

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