Monday, January 19, 2009

Bubonic Justice

Via ProMED-mail: UPI reports that at least 40 al-Qaeda militants have died in a plague outbreak near Algiers.

Al-Qaida leaders said they fear the plague has spread to other cells or to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.
The epidemic began in the hideouts of the al-Qaida in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb in Algiers, sources told The Sun. The group fled to Bejaia and Jijel provinces.

As they say, Allah hu Akbar.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Anthrax Redux

Via ProMED-mail: The New York Times reports on the life and spores of the late Dr. Bruce Edwards Ivins.

Focused for years on the wrong man, the bureau missed ample clues that Dr. Ivins deserved a closer look. Only after a change of leadership nearly five years after the attacks did the bureau more fully look into Dr. Ivins’s activities. That delay, and his death, may have put a more definitive outcome out of reach.
Brad Garrett, a respected F.B.I. veteran who helped early in the case before his retirement, said logic and evidence point to Dr. Ivins as the most likely perpetrator.
“Does that absolutely prove he did it? No,” Mr. Garrett said. With no confession and no trial, he said, “you’re going to be left not getting over the top of the mountain.”

And doubts will persist:

In November, four of Dr. Ivins’s closest co-workers wrote a glowing obituary of their “valued collaborator” for Microbe, the leading microbiology journal. It did not mention the anthrax accusations and was a singular protest by the four scientists against the F.B.I.’s conclusion.
“His colleagues and friends will remember him not only for his dedication to his work,” the obituary said, “but also for his humor, curiosity and great generosity.”