Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 11, 2005

Billmon: 04/10(2)

Not really Ex yet, but soon to be: The Ex-Terminator

Posted by b on April 11, 2005 at 02:11 AM | Permalink


NYT on A1 Inquiries of Top Lobbyist Shine Unwelcome Light in Congress

WaPo Santorum Urges DeLay to Answer Critics

and Google has some 400 links about the story.

Please keep thescandal going for another 12 month...

Posted by: b | Apr 11, 2005 2:28:40 AM | 1

I hate to blow the party, but the Marburg virus is spreading and it's getting little coverage. Think about it: first the Pope died, and now a killer virus is spreading. The bird flu is mild compared to that (afaik, it was killing mostly old people with weak immune system). The disease has no vaccine and no specific treatment. As somone once said: "Africa wins again."

links: -- the probability of dying from Marburg disease once you've caught it, currently more than 85%, is higher than in previous events. In the first recorded incidence of the disease, which stemmed from infected monkeys shipped from Uganda to Europe in 1967, some 23% of those infected were killed. The high death toll parallels that of the only other large outbreak of the disease, in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1998 and 2000. There, more than 80% of infected patients died. ... an estimated three-quarters of those affected have been children under five years of age: -- By April 8, 2005, it had spread to 7 of 18 provinces and 180 of 205 known cases had been fatal.
-- Latest from the WHO. all WHO updates

sort by date

Posted by: MarcinGomulka | Apr 11, 2005 5:08:44 AM | 2

Thanks Marcin - you preempted me :-). I was about to write on this.

Though for now the danger is limited because the virus seems not be able to transfer via air, but only through fluid contacts.

If it mutates to an air transferable form (like antrax spores), this would be really dangerous bug.

Posted by: b | Apr 11, 2005 5:31:41 AM | 3

It's kill rate and incubation periods are probably a bit high for a really successful virus, aren't they? Not to mention the infection rates are quite low for a real killer. The problem with flu is that it spreads so goddamn easily and has damn near optimal incubation periods.

A lot of these African viruses seem more impressive than they are because they are in populations that are already pretty unhealthy: war, famine and disease always go together. Add screwed up medical infrastructure and diseases which would be just dangerous seem world-ending. Avian flu is still the one to worry about. Actually, we probably won't even have heard of the one to worry about until after it happens.

However, if you're worried MSF always seem like good people to donate to.

Posted by: Colman | Apr 11, 2005 5:44:43 AM | 4

What the death of the Pope have to do with Marburg virus?

Posted by: Colman | Apr 11, 2005 5:45:30 AM | 5

Which brings up a possible scenario: "12 monkeys" + Al Quaida.

Think about it, they don't even need a bio-weapons lab. All they have to do is go there and pick up some blood from a dead patient. Then have a tour through all the major airports in the the United States, visiting every toilet, touching every place. Low-tech warfare style.

The only rational response would be to acknowledge that it is a war through genocide and go nuclear on arab cities.

That's why we need to develop genetics now and find a method for instant vaccines. The alternative is being the victim of a mass murder by a bio-weapon dilettante.

Posted by: MarcinGomulka | Apr 11, 2005 5:58:46 AM | 6

kill rate and incubation periods
It spread to 7 out of 18 provinces in Angola. That's not endemic.

death of the Pope have to do with Marburg virus
End of World Omens :)

Posted by: MarcinGomulka | Apr 11, 2005 6:04:23 AM | 7

kill rate and incubation periods It spread to 7 out of 18 provinces in Angola. That's not endemic.
Sure. Civil war and no health infrastructure. Fertile ground.

Posted by: Colman | Apr 11, 2005 6:20:09 AM | 8

The only rational response would be to acknowledge that it is a war through genocide and go nuclear on arab cities.
I assume that was sarcasm.
All they have to do is go there and pick up some blood from a dead patient. Then have a tour through all the major airports in the the United States, visiting every toilet, touching every place.
Well, first they have to survive fucking with it. Second, that's probably not good enough. People try to avoid using blood smeared toilets ... door handles would work better, but how long will the virus survive in a viable form on a door handle? You also need to get enough material onto people to get past their immune systems. Healthly humans are good at surviving this stuff: we're still here. Note that this document gives infection rates of 15 in 1000 to 1 in 1000 in infected communities, with reuse of syringes being implicated in spreading the disease. The WHO factsheet is here. Also transmission don't occur during the incubation period, and that close contact with bodily fluids is required.

(I think that's enough reading of WHO reports instead of work for me!)

Posted by: Colman | Apr 11, 2005 6:34:51 AM | 9

@Marcin 5:58 -

Tom Clancy's "Executive Orders" - he has an Ebola terror event laid out with some background information - not very convincing.

That's why we need to develop genetics now and find a method for instant vaccines. The alternative is being the victim of a mass murder by a bio-weapon dilettante

Terrorism is not the reason why we should fight such deseases. Millions of death that occure through viral deseases are reason.

By the way: Who did spread the US produced Anthrax in 2001? Why doesn´t anybody talk or writes about this anymore?

Posted by: b | Apr 11, 2005 6:46:19 AM | 10

I would like to complement the photoshop artist who did the Delay/Terminator work on Billmon's article. Nicely done!

Posted by: Dan of Steele | Apr 11, 2005 6:57:12 AM | 11

Who did spread the US produced Anthrax in 2001? Why doesn´t anybody talk or writes about this anymore?

It got too close to the Carlyle Group

Posted by: Dan of Steele | Apr 11, 2005 7:12:01 AM | 12

I would like to complement the photoshop artist who did the Delay/Terminator work on Billmon's article. Nicely done!


(Everything at Whiskey Bar is home grown.)

Posted by: Billmon | Apr 11, 2005 8:35:31 AM | 13

Who did spread the US produced Anthrax in 2001? Why doesn´t anybody talk or writes about this anymore?

the washington post sunday magazine did an article about this a while back (a year ago?), giving a profile of the fbi's "person of interest" - it left me with the impression that the preponderance of the evidence pointed to that guy, although perhaps not "beyond a reasonable doubt" - hence the lack of an arrest and trial - i'm relatively satisfied with this conclusion even though i recognize that neither the fbi nor the post are the "gold standard" of reliability

on another topic, i recently read here at moon of alabama, about the topic of "gradual collapse" - someone posted a quote from and/or a link to an article postulating that one could take a "moderate" viewpoint - rather than "collapse" being a spectacular one-time event, collapse may already be under way and we just haven't noticed it yet (like the frog in the kettle where the temperature is gradually going up - this analogy wasn't cited there, but it could have been)

i read it about the same time i came across

can someone help me out on this? thanks in advance

Posted by: mistah charley | Apr 11, 2005 10:16:56 AM | 14

Arnold's time, like his balanced budget solution, is borrowed. Furrowed brows on passing SUV drivers are discernible as gasoline is officially $3 per gallon plus in California at many places now and the air leaking from the real estate balloon is becoming noticeable as sellers far outnumber the buyers.

Posted by: bcf | Apr 11, 2005 10:54:32 AM | 15

@ mistah charley:

Perhaps this one from DeAnander? "The Slow Crash". She comes up with the best stuff. :-)

Posted by: beq | Apr 11, 2005 11:19:27 AM | 16

@beq - yes, that's the one i meant

Posted by: mistah charley | Apr 11, 2005 11:26:27 AM | 17

so what is the deal w/ all those microbiologists turning up dead over the past years? the 911 timeline includes the ones surrounding 11 sept & the anthrax mailings as a possible part of the package. is there a connection to these endemic & pandemic situations? ralph schoenman points out some patterns in a multi-part taking aim series on creating the next pandemic.

this article from 2001 on Vladimir Pasechnik's death mentions that when he defected from the soviet union he told western intel about a program named Biopreparat, which was "a network of secret laboratories" throughout europe, "each focused on a deadly agent" where "scientists and technicians were developing potential biological weapons like anthrax, Ebola, Marburg virus, plague, Q fever and smallpox." tie that in w/ this :

According to Ken Alibek, a former deputy chief of the Soviet program who defected to the United States in 1992, a scientist named Nikolai Ustinov accidentally pricked himself while injecting a guinea pig with Marburg virus in 1988. He died an agonizing death two weeks later.

"No one needed to debate the next step," Alibek wrote in his 1999 book Biohazard. "Orders went out immediately to replace the old strain with the new, which was called, in a move the wry Ustinov might have appreciated, `Variant U.'"

then this :

Dr. Ustinov died on April 30, 1988. An autopsy was performed in the spacesuit morgue of the biocontainment hospital. If this was indeed the Popp strain of Marburg virus-and who could say?-It was incredibly lethal. It produced effects in the human body that were stunning, terrifying. Alibek says that a pathology team removed Ustinov's liver and his spleen. They sucked a quantity of his destroyed blood,out of a leg vein using large syringes. They froze the blood and the body parts. They kept the Ustinov strain alive and continually replicating in the laboratories at Vector. They named the strain Variant U, after Ustinov, and they teamed how to mass-produce it in simple bioreactors, flasks used for growing viruses. They dried Variant U, and processed it into an inhalable dust. The particles of Variant U were coated to protect them in the air so that they would drift for many miles. In late 1990, Biopreparat researchers tested airborne Variant U on monkeys and other small animals in special explosion-test chambers at the Stepnagorsk plant. Marburg Variant U proved to be extremely potent in airborne form. They found that just one to five microscopic particles of Variant U lodged in the lungs of a monkey were almost guaranteed to make the animal crash, bleed, and die. With normal weapons-grade anthrax, in comparison, it takes about eight thousand spores lodged in the lungs to pretty much guarantee infection and death. Alibek said that by the fall of 1991, just before Boris Yeltsin came to power, Marburg Variant U was on the verge of becoming a strategic/operational biological weapon, ready to be manufactured in large quantities and loaded into warheads on mirvs. These warheads are sinister things. Ten separate cone-shaped warheads, each targeted on a different location, sit atop a missile. Special cooling ' 'de each warhead keep the systems insi virus alive during the heat of re-entry through the earth's atmosphere. "If we can land a cosmonaut to earth alive, we can do the same with a virus," Alibek explained. "We use parachutes." The biowarheads are parachuted over a city, and at a certain altitude they break apart. Out of each warhead bursts a spray of more than a hundred oval bomblets the size of small cantaloupes. The cantaloupes fly out a distance and then split in overlapping patterns, releasing a haze of bioparticles that quickly becomes invisible. Variant U never became part of the Soviets' strategic arsenal, which was stocked with Black Death, Alibekov anthrax, and powdered smallpox. (Never less than twenty tons of weapons-grade dry smallpox was stockpiled in bunkers.) But it seems quite possible that when the Russian biowarfare facilities fell on hard times and biologists began leaving Russia to work in other countries, some of them carried freeze-dried Variant U with them, ready for further experimentation. Variant U started, perhaps, with a monkey worker named Popp, but its end in the human species is yet to be seen.

so many questions, so little time...

Posted by: b real | Apr 11, 2005 11:27:46 AM | 18

mistah charley

is their person of interest - still th researcher hatfield (?) - there were other possibilities within the arms research community - i've not read the wapo article

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 11, 2005 2:19:41 PM | 19

Marburg Airborne Transmission in Angola?

The deteriorating situation in Uige is raising the obvious question. Is Marburg transmitting through the air in Angola?

Posted by: b real | Apr 11, 2005 2:24:27 PM | 20

Latest update from WHO 11 April 2005

As of 9 April, 214 cases of Marburg haemorrhagic fever have been reported in Angola. Of these, 194 have died. 9 : 1 . Africa wins again.

Posted by: MarcinGomulka | Apr 11, 2005 3:09:12 PM | 21

even I can hear the crinkling of tinfoil about my own ears -- but I cannot help a quick look back to

The increasing mass of fictional value carried on the US dollar is restlessly seeking new bubbles to inflate, and meanwhile fewer than a quarter billion human beings (increasingly poor third-world women, btw), the deracinated proletarians in the hellish bidonville cities across the globe, are valorizing the total social capital (not the fictional value, but at the point of production), leaving billions more not as that 'reserve army of labor' that Marx saw, but as surplus population left behind from the past generations of capital expansion. US imperialism is now about positioning not to control these populations to exploit them, but capturing the dwindling resource base of the planet for itself and allowing them to die. Haiti is an example, as is most of sub-Saharan Africa.

From "allowing them to die" to assisting the process is a slippery slope. Is the DU contamination of Iraq merely callous imperial carelessness? or is a lowered live birth rate and a population increasingly burdened with chronic diseases and defects a strategic goal?

Boil those blankets before using, friendly natives -- or better yet burn them before using.

I also wonder about those microbiologists. So many untimely deaths, and not all of them in lab accidents.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 11, 2005 7:46:13 PM | 22

by the way b real your book suggestions on amerindian culture at lespeakeasy have helped me immeasurably in uderstanding the genocidal nature of the american empire

the books you suggested - point out as is common with all indigenous culture - the nature of wonder & the wonder of nature

there is something in th art of anna missed which resonates with the beautiful & terrible knowledge of the real americans

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 11, 2005 8:16:51 PM | 23

De- did someone write that sentence you quoted above for publication? were they writing in their native language?

If that were written for a blog, I could understand the horrible construction and the jargonese. I can understand the sloppiness, because I'm guilty, guilty guilty.

However if someone wrote that as a published piece, this person needs a good editor, at the least, and maybe needs to go through jargon dry out. It's nearly incomprehensible. the goal is to communicate, right?

a quarter billion human beings (increasingly poor third-world women, btw), the deracinated proletarians in the hellish bidonville cities across the globe, are valorizing the total social capital (not the fictional value, but at the point of production),...

I guess I'm just too much of a rube or something, but when someone writes in this way, I have a hard time taking them seriously.

Posted by: fauxreal | Apr 11, 2005 8:20:32 PM | 24

did someone write that sentence you quoted above for publication? were they writing in their native language?

oh, cruel, cruel :-)

actually it was private correspondence, and therefore somewhat informal and stream-o-conscious-y. funny, I didn't find it that unreadable at the time... but I share some scholarly background with the author.

it wouldn't be the best opener for a high school textbook on globalisation or an Air America radio spot, I agree!

anyway the basic point in shorter sentences is: global capitalism is based on a very small, highly "efficient" core of actual labourers doing actual work. it just doesn't take that many people any more to flood the market with cheap plastic crap. as agriculture also becomes centralised, corporatised and gigantised, the workforce engaged in
food production also shrinks; it's cheaper that way and who cares about the long term viability of factory ag?

old time Capitalist Utopians predicted that this trend meant we would all live lives of leisure in the sweet by-n-by, working 2 hours a day and living the life of Reilly. instead, a core exploited labour force works 10, 12, 15 hours a day in sweatshop conditions, a shrinking consumer class tries to absorb the enormous productive capacity of that core, and the rest is smoke and mirrors (aka finance capitalism -- speculation, gambling, usury). the rest of the world's non-rich people -- billions of them -- are simply not necessary to the ruling class. their labour, even at slave rates, is not needed.

the fantasy is constantly purveyed that they will all become consumers -- the middle class will magically expand to embrace everyone on earth. this, as the HitchHiker's Guide remarks, is of course impossible. the middle class is shrinking pretty much everywhere we look. Greider in One World Ready Or Not approaches this topic gingerly in his musings on the crisis of surplus production capacity.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 11, 2005 8:45:57 PM | 25

back to the exterminator future-

Toward a Stalinist Theocracy

No one has any excuse at this point for not understanding what these people want: the ideas offered by Schlafly and Farris, for example—gutting the courts’ ability to review all those cases which relate in any way to the separation of church and state, “abolishing the concept of binding judicial precedents” and the like—would fundamentally alter, and destroy, the nature of the United States as a political entity. And the notion that Americans “as a people” must “acknowledge that God exists” states the essence of theocratic governance as plainly as any Islamic fundamentalist could wish.

...“The true enemy of the United States is not over there—it’s right here in our midst.” Some of us have been saying this for quite some time...

And the laudatory references to Stalin—Stalin, one of the handful of bloodiest dictators and murderers in all of mankind’s history—are unforgivable. From this news account, it appears that Vieira made those references not once, but twice—and apparently without objection or condemnation from anyone else present. Moreover, Vieira specifically praised Stalin’s methods—methods which included mass starvation, torture, and murder on an inconceivable scale.

This last sentence seems to get back around to De's quote, but from another angle, since this person is a libertarian. (I also have to disagree with Rand's analysis of liberals in the second link, but maybe she was so unable to understand the left, she couldn't articulate a philosophy that made sense.)

However, what's interesting to me is that this person is a conservative who is fully aware of the neocons, who is trying to explain this to other libertarian conservatives...and who calls it the New Fascism...which ultimately, in the U.S. leads to theocracy.

Posted by: fauxreal | Apr 11, 2005 9:03:16 PM | 26

De- I "got it" -- after breaking down the run-ons. But Emmanuel Todd said the same thing in After the Empire.

and, no, it wouldn't work for a high school textbook, etc. but that is not the point.

it is badly written. that's the point.

but that was one of my chief gripes with academia long ago...the b.s. that passes for "higher" uses of language. Jargon is a way to exclude. It's a power trip that is essentially worthless, and laughably so in people who claim to speak "for the people."

I did not mean to offend your correspondent, but I have to say that there wasn't anything said that could not have been said without the pretention. Again, Todd serves as an example of someone whose ideas have merit, are not for "air america" spots or "high school" and yet they clearly articulated, without resorting to MLA crap.

Posted by: fauxreal | Apr 11, 2005 9:13:54 PM | 27

the run-on sentence I freely grant, but I do feel impelled to protest that the use of specialist jargon is not always the same thing as pretension. when one person with a grounding in marxist literature -- for example -- writes to another, they can use a common language, a set of shortcuts and abbreviations... much as astronomers, auto mechanics, theologians, medical professionals or sailors can use a common language. it saves a lot of time.

most folks probably don't know what e.g. a "pinrail" or a "sheerpole" is, but it would take quite a lot of description to substitute for one pithy jargon-word. [come to think of it, should I not be "allowed" to use the abbreviation "e.g." because it might be unfamiliar to some subset of readers? is that pretension? bad form? elitism? or just an assumption that most readers in this venue are literate enough to understand the abbreviation, and the rest are literate enough to look it up?]

although most any topic, assertion, theorem can be expressed without using technical jargon -- if it cannot, then the writer doesn't understand the jargon either -- it often takes waaaay more text to do so. that's why we invent jargon in the first place.

MLA? Marxist Language Association? :-)

I do agree with the broader point, i.e. that much of what is published in various academies flourishes its jargon boldly with full intent to obfuscate -- correct use of exotic, state-of-the-art, rarefied jargon plus baroque sentence structure are a way of "showing one's colours" and demonstrating one's rightful place in the subculture; the prose style may also, if impenetrable enough, disguise a certain lack of substance :-)

that said, it is at times very useful to be able to refer to such terse conceptual labels as "K-selected behaviour" (or "Godwin's Law," to pick an in-joke/jargon expression from a different culture) without having to type the lengthy explanation or anecdote that it summarises.

btw, the hapless author with the run-on habit is not a professional academic, but a working-class autodidact :-)

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 11, 2005 10:08:06 PM | 28

MLA= Modern Language Association

...probably not the originator, but one of the worst offenders in jargonese. "Verbing" was very popular...probably still is. classic example is "priviledging."

But again, I apologize for my winesap mouth. My complaint was a long-standing I was auditing a grad course and the "real" students were cribbing from my liner notes...they were also swallowing whole whatever theory they heard. I, on the other hand, reflexively questioned things, still do, and sometimes not in a polite way...though if I'd known this was a friend of yours, I wouldn't have said anything at first...but once I had opened my mouth...

And yes, I admit that there is shorthand, and the difference between something written between friends vs for publication can be huge...which is why I asked in the first place, because I actually could see this as a something from, say, Kristeva...not the ideas, per se, but the construction of ideas. If I remember correctly, she was a Lacanian.

I also have to say that I more often seem to favor "germanic" modes in English rather than "latinate." Minimalism ruined me, I suppose.

so, apologies.

Posted by: fauxreal | Apr 11, 2005 10:49:35 PM | 29

no apologies needed :-) the debate about levels of discourse and accessibility rages on in every area of intellectual endeavour -- oh, you should hear what the professional academic historians have to say about the "popularisers"! -- and it's a worthwhile debate.

apropos (sorta) of which, we need a little comedy relief around here now and then --> happen to find this delicious. (speaking of the MLA)

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 12, 2005 1:15:44 AM | 30

Check Calvin and Hobbes:

"Verbing weirds words"

Posted by: Jérôme | Apr 12, 2005 5:25:40 AM | 31

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