The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Anthrax Letters:
What a Convenient Coincidence!

Feb 4, 2002

Last week, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) gave permission for a Michigan company, BioPort, to begin shipping anthrax vaccine to the Department of Defense (DoD).

The factory was shut down in 1998 for failing to pass FDA inspections. The company had failed sterility tests and its bookkeeping was considered inadequate, among other problems found by the FDA inspection.

Whatever the FDA may have found out, this vaccine certainly had already developed a lot of problems. It was first used on army personnel during the early 1990s at the time of the Gulf War. After that war, veterans began reporting a number of problems that began to be called the Gulf War Syndrome. The DoD denied for the first few years that there was a Gulf War Syndrome. When it finally admitted that there was such a problem, it disagreed with the causes being discussed, namely, that their own vaccination programs and their own weapons could have caused the symptoms which the vets were experiencing.

In 1997, the DoD ordered vaccination for anthrax for all current service personnel and national guards. That is more than two million people, but as of last year, only half a million had begun the vaccination program. The vaccination program was effectively but quietly suspended after a number of service personnel refused to be vaccinated.

The DoD has never carried out any longterm serious study on the problem. By contrast, the Canadian Department of National Defense did study Canadian Gulf War vets and reported a significant relationship between immunizations and the development of chronic fatigue symptom, one of the problems often reported by U. S. Gulf War vets. A 1999 British study examined British Gulf War vets and other vets and found that receiving anthrax vaccine was related to developing illness consistent with Gulf War Syndrome. A recent French Ministry of Defense study suggested that "multiple vaccinations given during the war, particularly those for anthrax, botulism and plague, seem associated with an excess of Gulf War Syndrome symptoms”

Even a study of Kansas vets of the Gulf War, published in 2000, showed that one third of Gulf War vets had those symptoms, while vets who had not been vaccinated rarely had any such symptoms.

Now, however, the vaccine is being produced again–without any changes in the vaccine, with none of the problems resolved. It’s enough to make a suspicious person question last autumn’s anthrax letters–sent by a yet undiscovered terrorist of U.S. origin.

In any case, BioPort certainly couldn’t be happier.