Anthrax As Disinformation
This Article Describes Anthrax as being Over rated by the Government in order to use it as a Scare Tactic and Scapegoat
The Article Following this Describes how Anthrax Poses an Extreme Threat
Anthrax is Trivial
Here's the truth of the matter. Anthrax cannot be weaponized by terrorists, and it could probably never be used successfully as a military weapon. It has to be converted to spores suspended in the air, which is technically very difficult; and the lethality is nowheres near the terror that it is made out to be. It is not 100% lethal as often claimed. Wool sorters inhale anthrax spores in small quantities continually (150-700 per hour, or 510 per 8-hour shift), and only if they get a large dose does an infection get started.
Only US and Russia can Weaponize it
To use anthrax as a weapon, it must be converted to a powder which can be inhaled. Only the US and Russian militaries have succeeded in doing that. Even Iraq used anthrax in liquid form, which is totally ineffective.
Humans are Seldom Affected
Anthrax is a livestock pathogen. There are anthrax spores in the ground in rural areas, because they survive for several decades. They normally have no effect upon humans, because a few anthrax spores cannot create an infection, and they do not come up from the ground in large quantities.Cellular Limitations
Anthrax is what's called a "gram positive" bacterium. This means it has the type of cell walls which are harmless, unlike the cell walls of "gram negative" bacteria, which attack tissue. Therefore, anthrax can only attack tissue by producing a special toxin which it excretes. One cell or spore does not produce enough toxin to start an infection.
Studies have apparently determined that, typically, ten thousand anthrax spores must be inhaled to start an infection. That number might be someone's guess, but it is in line with the biology of the disease. It is the number which the military uses, and only the military has significantly researched such questions. It uses gas chambers for animal tests.
Anthrax normally attacks the lungs, because it must lodge in vulnerable tissue. It can invade through other routes such as cuts or undercooked meat, but it only does so under third world conditions, and those routes are not relevant to biowarfare.
Livestock eat from the ground, so they have their faces in the ground where the spores are, and they can inhale ten thousand spores. How does anyone get ten thousand spores into the lungs of humans?
The first requirement would be to aerosolize the spores. The spores would have to be converted to a dry powder, because a liquid would create globs which would fall to the ground rather than staying suspended in the air.
To create a powder, the spores would first have to be washed several times in an array of very large and expensive centrifuges. Then a drying apparatus would have to be used; and it would require spraying a mist into a vacuum, which is how powders are created from liquids. Otherwise, everything globs up into hard rocks.
How do workers clean the equipment without getting spores everywhere? A likely procedure would be to enclose the equipment in a pressure chamber and steam sterilize it for several days. Such an operation costs hundreds of millions of dollars, considering related facilities and development. Only countries do that, not radical groups, and not in five gallon buckets.
Even in powder form, the spores would fall to the ground rapidly in the absence of wind. Anthrax is not adapted for airborne dissemination. It needs to stay on the ground until inhaled by livestock. So it would not stay in the air like mold spores but would fall out easily, about like flour. In the presence of wind, the spores would be carried away rapidly and would not stay in one place long enough for anyone to get more than a few inhaled.
Once the spores were on the ground, they would not affect humans significantly, because they would not come up from the ground in large enough quantities.
There is some talk about using liquids with fogging devices for dispersion of biological agents such as anthrax. It's not realistic. First, there is no mention of the purity that would be required to prevent globbing and plugging of nozzles. At least, a lot of expensive centrifuging would be required to remove debris.
Then agricultural spraying demonstrates that a mist drops rapidly to the ground. It does that because air can only hold a small amount of water, which causes sprays to precipitate.
Another problem is that spores would rapidly settle to the bottom of a liquid and form a gum due to sticky cell debris and their tendency to clump.
A chemical mist is different, because chemicals vaporize, while cells do not. Cells in a mist would clump together as the liquid vaporizes. To create free spores would require very clean material, high dilution, ultra fine mist and a vacuum for rapid evaporation. Foggers can't do the same thing.
For these reasons, anthrax would be difficult to use; and it could hardly kill more than a few hundred persons under the most ideal conditions, not the hundreds of thousands which are claimed. On top of that, antibiotics are effective for it during the early stage of the illness. It is not contagious for humans.
Innumerable journalists have been insisting that anthrax can be produced in a simple laboratory with little expertise. To the contrary, no countries but the U.S. and Russia can convert anthrax to a usable weapon. Iraq cannot.
Consider what the journalists fail to recognize. Growing a large quantity of anthrax would result in a fermenter full of slop which is extremely slimy and viscous with large amounts of debris and metabolic products mixed with the nutrient medium. That slop has to be washed and converted to a medium which will induce spores to form. Much research and knowledge would be required to get a reasonable yield of spores. Then the cells would have to be fragmented with something like a blender to get the spores out of the cells. Then much differential centrifugation would be required to separate the spores from the debris. Then spray drying of spores in a vacuum would be required.
Accomplishing all of that would require several Ph.Ds. and much developmental type research in addition to expensive equipment and a very large building. It isn't a matter of growing something in a kettle and pouring it into a rocket, as journalists and weapons inspectors seem to be assuming.
The latest contrivance is that terrorists might weaponize anthrax by drying a slurry and grinding it to particles 1-5 microns in size. (The bacteria are 1 by 3 microns.)
The first problem is that the gunk would dry like glue or get as hard as a rock.
The second problem is that bacteria do not tolerate grinding. They are as fragile as egg shells. Grinding is how they are broken apart for biochemical tests. Even if only 1% were broken, the result would be a sticky gum, not a powder; and nearly all would be broken before getting 5 micron particles.
The US military does use a procedure which is sometimes called grinding. But it is a very gentle procedure, about like removing lumps from flour, not trying to break up something as hard as a rock.
Journalists keep mentioning how many anthrax spores can be gotten onto the head of a pin. It's not a question of how many can be gotten onto the head of a pin but how many can be gotten into someone's lungs.
A scenario which is often mentioned is that someone might use a plane to dust a large city with anthrax during the night. It's unrealistic. First, no one in buildings without external ventilation would be harmed by anthrax. The few spores that entered such buildings would settle on surfaces, and few would enter the air, and even fewer would be inhaled. At most, someone might inhale a few dozen spores per hour. That's not the ten thousand that are needed.
Secondly, anthrax spores would not diffuse uniformly through the air like a gas. They will either drop too fast or blow away. A few dozen persons might be killed, but that's not the terror that is being hyped in the media. And more than anything, nobody is producing the spores in powder form but the U.S. and Russia.
Journalists seem to assume that an anthrax cell anywhere will kill someone someplace. Putting words alongside each other on a page is not the same thing as getting cells into humans on the ground. There are millions of square miles of space on the ground which do not show up with the words.
Out in the open, tons would be required, not grams.
Saddam Hussein is said to have produced anthrax. If so, the reason is because it is stable and easy to handle, not because it is effective when used. Iraq is unsophisticated to a point of ineptness in its approach to biological weapons.
It is said that Iraq uses anthrax in liquid form and puts it in missiles in liquid form. You would have to drink liquid anthrax for it to do any harm. It would be more effective to attack a city with used motor oil than with liquid anthrax. Therefore, Iraq poses no anthrax threat.
In fact, military and UN inspectors only found two Iraqi warheads with anthrax in them (in liquid form). If Iraq had anthrax in an effective form, it would have had it in hundreds of warheads, as they did with nerve gas. So Iraq knew its anthrax was useless.
For about a billion dollars, Iraq could probably get enough experts together to develop anthrax as a weapon. But the reason why it doesn't is that researchers already know that anthrax would be next to worthless after it was developed.
Biological warfare is a flawed concept. The only route usually considered is airborne, because bombs and missiles create the delivery system. There is no disease in existence which is propagated in that manner. Even the airborne diseases require close contact with the source. The reason is because wind disperses the agents too thinly, and gravity brings them down too rapidly. Increasing the quantities massively will get a few persons, but only a few.
And then, very few of the diseases which are mentioned as biowarfare agents are suitable for airborne dissemination. Brucellosis is not. It is disseminated through body fluids. Plague is not. It is carried by insects from the blood of one animal to another. The insects do not pick it up from the ground.
Biowarfare is promoted through a combination of ignorance and propaganda. The researchers, who should know better and often do, are getting paid to produce the agents, so they do not want to admit the futility of it. The nonresearchers cannot realistically evaluate the claims, and they have propaganda motives. They want to militarize society, and scare tactics go a long ways in that direction.
The point here is not that large countries cannot make a lot of persons miserable with biological weapons. It's that the small countries and terrorists cannot do so on their own; and it cannot be done on a large scale and in some magical way as described in the media.
Testing and controlling virulence requires an animal laboratory with about a hundred employees. It's not something that can be done in a five gallon bucket.
The Anthrax Attack Numerous persons have asked me how I interpret the anthrax attacks after 9-11. I think the incident verifies the points that I made. About a dozen persons were stricken by anthrax instead of the millions which authorities were predicting upon a terrorist attack. It shows that anthrax is almost impossible to use effectively. The terrorists may have succeeded in creating a lot of fear, but for casualties, guns would have been more effective.
The incident does not show that terrorists can weaponize anthrax. The weaponized powder came from the US weapons labs, as demonstrated by a chemical which was on it.
Here are some more points on anthrax which require a development of context.
One major point is that using biowarfare agents in liquid form is unrealistic. The bureaucrats don't know it; and a lot of peripheral scientists don't know it.
When the bureaucrats found that Iraq was buying spray nozzles for planes, they went hyper over it. They should have done the opposite; they should have sold the sprayers at a discount, and everyone would have been better off.
Some background on basics is needed here. The physical characteristics of microbes have a high tendency to be oriented toward clumping in various complex ways.
Bacteria often have a pattern for clumping. You've probably heard of staph bacteria; they often take over hospitals. Staph is Latin for cluster. The clumps look like clusters of grapes. Staph normally attacks skin through pores and produces a toxin like anthrax. The clumping allows the toxin to be concentrated in one place, so it can damage tissue more effectively.
Similar to it is strep, which creates strep throat. Strep is Latin for chain. The chains allow clumping while keeping the profile low for clinging to tissue without being washed down the throat by saliva.
You've probably seen Anthrax growing on TV. It creates a chain which keeps getting longer and longer until it covers the entire surface. The cells stay joined together in chains, so the toxin is concentrated to produce the maximum amount of tissue damage.
The clumping characteristics of microbes demonstrate the importance of physical characteristics in distribution. None of the organisms are naturally distributed through a mist. They certainly wouldn't clump if they were.
Therefore, if they are in a liquid, they will clump; and when sprayed, they will come out as clumps, if they come out at all without plugging the apparatus. Normal spray nozzles could not be used. Clumps and cells are not anything like a chemical. Spraying devices are designed for chemicals, not microbes. That fact seems to escape the awareness of most peripheral scientists as well as the nonscientists.
Propagandists talk about spry nozzles that will produce a five micron mist. One of the absurdities is that the characteristics of a mist are not determined by a nozzle but by the air which it is sprayed into. What sort of nozzle creates rain? When air gets supersaturated, it creates a precipitate. Spraying liquid into air supersaturates it creating a precipitate. That means that liquid particles combine to form larger ones. The more the liquid, the larger the drops.For biowarfare purposes, a very large amount of liquid would have to be forced into a relatively small amount of air, because the delivery devices would have to be fast, and they could not cover much area. There is no delivery device that would be adequate, because air will not hold a large amount of liquid. Air is often saturated already, particularly at night. Iraq focuses on liquids for its biowarfare agents, which demonstrates that its science is not up to the level of a coolaid stand. Putting liquid in a scud missile is a joke.
Westerners haven't seemed to have quite grasped how backwards science can be in the third world including Iraq. Journalists often speak of Iraq's sophisticated science laboratories, as if you could order science through the mail like gold plated bathroom fixtures.
Larry Harris is the sort-of microbiologist who keeps getting thrown in jail for trying to develop an anthrax vaccine or similar stunts. He had a book on the internet in which he said he took several courses in advanced microbiology in Ohio. The courses were presumably undergraduate; but regardless, he studied microbiology on paper and has never spent enough time in a laboratory to see how microbes actually grow. So he swallows everything he hears hook, line and sinker.
He said his campaign against biowarfare began with a discussion with another microbiology student who was from Iraq. She said she had been in the laboratories in Iraq and was enthused about biological warfare.
She said Iraq developed a terrorist procedure for spreading anthrax in this country by sending persons around with spray-cans of the type that are used for spraying gardens. She said the procedure was to open the can, put in some media, inoculate it and let it grow. After a few days it could be sprayed in subway tunnels or ventilation systems to kill people.
Remember how anthrax grows? It forms chains of cells stuck together for clumping; and it forms a capsule under some conditions. The spray-can that it grew in would have slimy, smelly gunk in it which wouldn't go through the hose, let along a spray nozzle.
That type of story has been around longer than Larry Harris, so it looks contrived, as criticism by Leonard Horowitz indicates. (link)Russia Spends Money on Futility.
Russia does a lot of research on biological weapons including anthrax. But it is mostly genetic engineering. Where that approach fails is that there is not a realistic delivery system.
Spending a lot of money is not the same thing as succeeding. Since the agents cannot be tested under actual conditions, their limitations are not visible to the nonexperts, and the researchers would pull the wool over their eyes, because they have ideal jobs, with all the money the military spends on research.
A few years ago, Anthrax escaped from a research facility in Russia and killed 68 people in a town downwind. Apparently, Russia still claims the anthrax was in meat. But a Harvard professor went over there and said ten grams escaped from a nearby research facility. How can a professor look at a building and determine that ten grams came out of it? It would have been a very large quantity, and it probably was a test.
The U.S. military has an official web site on Anthrax where they state that there are enough anthrax spores in a gram to kill 100 million persons. A gram would be about a trillion Anthrax spores, if pure, since bacterial spores are about one micron in diameter and about the density of water. A micron is one ten thousandths of a centimeter. So a cubic micron is a trillionth of a cubic centimeter, the later weighing one gram for water.
The military uses the figure of ten thousand Anthrax spores being required to start an infection in the lungs. So dividing a trillion spores by ten thousand yields 100 million persons being killed per gram.
So how many persons does a gram of Anthrax kill? Is it 6.8 persons, as supposedly occurred in Russia, or 100 million, as the U.S. military claims? There's a lot of difference.
Anthrax was unheard of by the public before sometime around 1995, when a flood of media stories appeared. At first, the subject was supposed terrorists weapons, but anthrax eventually became the center of focus.
A flood of stories hitting the media means the government underworld is behind them. Even during the Gulf War, anthrax was not mentioned. When the Israelis prepared for attack, the only thing they considered was nerve gas. The reason why is because anthrax was never considered to be a significant biological weapon.
The reason why Iraq never developed anthrax significantly is because it was too trivial to waste time on. The researchers left it in liquid form, so they could tell the higher-ups that they were doing something, but they knew it was too trivial to waste time converting it to a dry powder, which would be difficult and expensive.
When the U.S Government started promoting supposed terrorists weapons for disinformation purposes in 1995, very few persons had any way of knowing the truth about anthrax. Why are exploiters hyping anthrax now but weren't before 1995? If anthrax were as dangerous as they say it is, it would have been in the news for a century.
Anthrax took off in the media because the biology is obscure, and there was no separation of contrivance from fact. Before 1995, the persons who knew anything about anthrax considered it to be trivial to a point of irrelevance, even as a biological weapon.