America At War
ANTHRAX SCARE MOVES WEST, HITS HOLLYWOOD; PLAN FOR=
by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 13, 2001 4:00 a.m. PDT -- A Hollywood studio and the <= i>Los Angeles Times joined the list Friday of high-profile communicatio= ns companies where workers have opened envelopes containing a white powdery=
substance that may contain deadly anthrax spores, news reports here said l= ate Friday and early Saturday morning.
The reports followed word that an NBC employee, an assistant to anchor= man Tom Brokaw, may have contracted anthrax of the skin from contact with a= powdery substance recieved in an envelope on Sept. 25 addressed to the wel= l-known newsman. She is not believed to be in danger of dying from the skin= variety of the deadly disease, which is common among cattle but relatively= rare in humans.
Photo editor Bob Stevens of American Media Inc, which owns supermarket= tabloids including the National Enquirer, Star, Sun and Globe, died earlie= r this week of inhalation anthrax, a disease variety that infects the lungs= . Two other employees tested positive for the spores but are not believed= to be in danger at this time.
The third-floor newsroom of the Times= i> was evacuated Friday afternoon after employees there encountered a white= powder in an envelope, news reports on radio station KFI said.
Around 7:30 p.m., an employee in the mailroom at Sony Pictures Studio = in Culver City opened an envelope and came into contact with a white, powde= ry substance. He was hospitalized at the nearby Daniel Brotman Hospital se= veral blocks away, butis said to be suffering no symptoms of infection.
[= According to news reports Saturday afternoon, none of the new incidents hav= e yielded any substance that tested positive for anthrax.]
The American Reporter received information on Sept. 25 concerning a poss= ible attack on Los Angeles employing anthrax and relayed it by fax to Los A= ngeles Police Chief Bernard C. Parks the same day.
The attack was to be conducted by bin Laden associates here, and invol= ved distributing anthrax spores sealed in a thin cover of wax that are supp= osed to deteriorate and release the spores.
The source of the information= was a wealthy Saudi Arabian businessman who said the plan had been extract= ed by torture from an associate of Osama bin Laden after the businessman an= d his associates learned that money they had given to a Saudi charity was u= sed to conduct the attacks against New York and Washington on Sept. 11.
According to the businessman, one of the Saudi businessmen recommended t= he charity to them, and that man's brother acted as a solicitor and interme= diary between the charity and the businessmen. The brother, who reportedly = was an Islamic activist of moderate views, eventually went over to the Al Q= aeda network and assisted their growth with funds from the group of busines= smen that included his brother.
Shortly after the attacks occurred the businessmen beagn to worry that t= heir money was being used for terrorism and sent their fellow businessman t= o Afghanistan to contact his brother. When the brother confirmed their fea= rs, the American Reporter's source said, operatives were sent to kidnap and= torture him to learn of any future plans.
Theplan revealed by the businessman was the result of his confession u= nder torture, he said.
The businessman, still in Saudi Arabia, advised an intermediary in Los= Angeles about one month ago to take his family and get out of the city.
= The New York Times reported today that a group of Saudi businessmen,= including members of the country's most prominent families, had given mill= ions of dollars to a charity called Blessed Relief, a front for Osama bin L= aden and his al-Qaida network.
The New York Times's offices were also evacuated when reporter J= udith Miller, author of a prize-winning book on bioterrorism last year, ope= ned an envelope containing a dust white powder. Yet another incident was re= ported Friday afternoon by Nevada's Governor, who said a Microsoft office i= n Reno received an envelope tested positive for anthrax. Later reports said= a second test did not show anthrax in the substance.
There does not appear to be any connection between the plan described t= o the American Reporter and Friday's events. However, it may be reasonable = to assume that a similar plan had superseded an earlier one that proved unw= orkable, or that the original plan has not yet been implemented.
The American Reporter also learned that at least one senior researcher a= t City of Hope, a cancer research facility in Duarte, Calif., was approache= d after Sept. 11 by a Middle Eastern man and asked to leave the research ho= spital to come to work for him as a DNA sequencer for a substantial raise, = but a telephone number given by the man was not working.
Subsequently, the man made a surprise appearance at the laboratory of = the research associate and again requested his help. The associate specula= ted that the man may have planned to manufacture deadly substances in a has= tily improvised laboratory near Newport Beach. Authorities have been notif= ied of that series of encounters.