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Democracy Now! Ju;y 08, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! Ju;y 08, 2002
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 
PZ0450.201
Description: 

THE ANTHRAX ASSASSIN/THE EINSTEIN FILES/AIDS conference

Today, we'll look at the FBI investigation into the world's most famous scientist, Albert Einstein. Then, six months after questioning former Army biological weapons scientist Steven Hatfill, the FBI finally searched his Maryland apartment last week. They were looking for evidence about the anthrax-laced letters that killed five people last fall. Hatfill is closely connected to biological weapons training programs run by the CIA. Several years ago, he commissioned a study of a hypothetical terrorist attack in which anthrax is sent through the mail. All that and more coming up. 9:01-9:06 Headlines: STORY: AIDS conference opens amid controversy. The world's biggest conference on AIDS began amid controversy in Barcelona on Sunday as protesters chanted throughout the opening ceremony. Meanwhile, the US pharmaceutical company VaxGen says a vaccine against Aids could be available within five years. GUEST: John Riley, reporter for New York Pacifica Station WBAI's Health Action and activist with Act UP NY Contact: www.actupny.org 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20 THE ANTHRAX ASSASSIN -- WHO IS THE FBI REALLY LOOKING AT? Six months after questioning former Army biological weapons scientist Steven Hatfill, the FBI finally searched his Maryland apartment last week. They were looking for evidence about the anthrax-laced letters that killed five people last fall. Also last week, Barbara Hatch Rosenberg of the Federation of American Scientists criticized the FBI at a Senate briefing. She says they have failed to aggressively pursue a "likely suspect." Rosenberg didn't mention Hatfill by name, but her description closely resembles him. Steven Hatfill attended medical school in Zimbabwe (then called Rhodesia) in the late seventies, during the largest ever known outbreak of anthrax. It infected more than 10,000 black farmers. According to the New York Times, there's evidence the anthrax was released by the white Rhodesian army, fighting against black guerillas. And Hatfill's r sum also claims involvement in the former South African Defense Force, and some of his colleagues told a reporter for the American Prospect boasted that he worked as a double agent in South Africa. In the 1990s, Hatfill worked at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrich, Maryland the military's top bioterrorism research facility. According to the American Prospect and other publications, Hatfill is closely connected to biological weapons training programs run by the CIA. Several years ago, he commissioned a study of a hypothetical terrorist attack in which anthrax is sent through the mail. The FBI insists Hatfill isn't a suspect. Last fall's letters were laced with what's known as the Ames strain of anthrax. The Ames strain has been distributed to about 20 U.S labs since 1981. Only four facilities are believed to have the ability to produce the highly lethal, dry powder form the letters contained. The Fort Detrich bioweapons lab where Hatfill worked is one of those facilities. Instead of beginning with a narrow investigation of these four labs, the FBI cast a wide net, looking as far afield as Iraq and Russia. The F.B.I. waited until December to open the intact anthrax envelope it found. And it didn't obtain anthrax strains from various labs for comparison until March, and the testing is still not complete. In writing about a so-called "Mr Z" (whose resume closely resembles Hatfill's) New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof writes "If Mr. Z were an Arab national, he would have been imprisoned long ago. But he is a true-blue American with close ties to the U.S. Defense Department, the C.I.A. and the American biodefense program." Guest: Meryl Nass, anthrax expert, physician and writer. Nass identified the 1979 anthrax outbreak in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) as bio-terrorism. It was the largest outbreak of human anthrax in history. She developed a model for analyzing epidemics to assess whether they are natural or man-made Contact: www.anthraxvaccine.org www.redflagsweekly.com Guest: Scott Shane, reporter with the Baltimore Sun who has been covering anthrax for the paper since the first anthrax death October 4 Contact: www.sunspot.net 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:40 ANTHRAX CONT'D 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:58 THE EINSTEIN FILES: J. EDGAR HOOVER'S SECRET WAR AGAINST THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS SCIENTIST We have been talking about the FBI's investigation into US scientists who could have been behind last fall's anthrax attacks. Today we are going to look at another scientist the FBI investigated for more than 20 years. The world's most famous scientist, in fact. This scientist who revolutionized the study of the physical world, rewriting the laws of space, time and gravity. But he was also a pacifist, a Jewish immigrant who supported civil rights, disarmament, internationalism, and socialism. He was a friend of celebrated African-Americans Paul Robeson and W. E. B. Du Bois. And he dared to use his immense prestige to denounce Joseph McCarthy at the height of McCarthy era, and publicly urged witnesses to refuse to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). I am talking about Albert Einstein, the great physicist who gave the world the theory of relativity in 1919. J. Edgar Hoover launched a ruthless, "derogatory information" campaign against Einstein in 1933, the year he emigrated from Germany to the United States. The campaign included illegally opening Einstein's mail, monitoring his phone, going through his garbage, trying to link him to Soviet spies, and trying to take away his US citizenship. The investigation turned up nothing, but that did not stop Hoover from amassing a 1,500-page file on the physicist. He closed the file a few days after Einstein died in 1955. A broad history of this story has been known since 1983, when an English professor obtained a censored version of Einstein's FBI file and wro te about it in The Nation magazine. But a new book provides further shocking details of the FBI campaign against Einstein. The book is called "The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover's Secret War Against the World's Most Famous Scientist." It was written by Fred Jerome, who sued the government with the help of the Public Citizen Litigation Group to obtain a less censored version of the file. The book was published in May by St. Martin's Press. Guest: Fred Jerome, author of "The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover's Secret War Against the World's Most Famous Scientist" IN STUDIO 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits

Date Recorded on: 
July 08, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
Ju;y 08, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
Keywords: 
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Distributor: 
WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. July 08 , 2002
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