View Full Version : Anti-War Rally Sept 24 weekend

bobby fletcher
September 23rd, 2005, 04:38 AM
Hi, just want to bring this up, in case anyone wants to support Cindy Sheehan, or just voice your own opinion about the war.



September 24th, 2005, 08:06 PM
Some pics from the rally today (Sat. 9/24) taken from traffic cam at 15th & Constitution in DC (more at this site: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=104x4870788#4870788 )




TLOZ Link5
September 24th, 2005, 10:36 PM
There are probably more people in each of those frames than there were at the DoD's little country jamboree on 9/11.

September 25th, 2005, 12:34 AM
News reports said a couple of hundred thousand. I read somewhere that at some point CNN claimed 600,000 but I've not heard that report myself.

Train service from NYC to DC was messed up the better part of the morning and apparently things got a bit tense for a while at Penn Station, what with all the folk trying to get to DC but no trains moving. But reportedly the crowd kept it mellow and were eventually able to get down to the rally.

September 25th, 2005, 12:36 AM
Here's the latest from the CNN website:

Huge rally against Iraq war

Saturday, September 24, 2005; Posted: 6:49 p.m. EDT (22:49 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Crowds opposed to the war in Iraq surged past the White House on Saturday, shouting "Peace now" in the largest anti-war protest in the nation's capital since the U.S. invasion.

The rally stretched through the day and into the night, a marathon of music, speechmaking and dissent on the National Mall.

Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, noting that organizers had hoped to draw 100,000 people, said, "I think they probably hit that."

Speakers from the stage attacked President Bush's policies head on, but he was not at the White House to hear it. He spent the day in Colorado and Texas, monitoring hurricane recovery.

In the crowd: young activists, nuns whose anti-war activism dates to Vietnam, parents mourning their children in uniform lost in Iraq, and uncountable families motivated for the first time to protest.

Connie McCroskey, 58, came from Des Moines, Iowa, with two of her daughters, both in their 20s, for the family's first demonstration. McCroskey, whose father fought in World War II, said she never would have dared protest during the Vietnam War.

"Today, I had some courage," she said.

While united against the war, political beliefs varied. Paul Rutherford, 60, of Vandalia, Michigan, said he is a Republican who supported Bush in the last election and still does -- except for the war.

"President Bush needs to admit he made a mistake in the war and bring the troops home, and let's move on," Rutherford said.

His wife, Judy, 58, called the removal of Saddam Hussein "a noble mission" but said U.S. troops should have left when claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction proved unfounded.

"We found that there were none and yet we still stay there and innocent people are dying daily," she said.

"Bush Lied, Thousands Died," said one sign. "End the Occupation," said another. More than 1,900 members of the U.S. armed forces have died since the beginning of the war in March 2003.

A few hundred people in a counter demonstration in support of Bush's Iraq policy lined the protest route near the FBI building. The two groups shouted at each other, a police line keeping them apart. Organizers of a pro-military rally Sunday hoped for 10,000 people.

Ramsey said the day's protest unfolded peacefully under the heavy police presence. "They're vocal but not violent," he said.

Arthur Pollock, 47, of Cecil County, Maryland, said he was against the war from the beginning. He wants the soldiers out, but not all at once.

"They've got to leave slowly," said Pollock, attending his first protest. "It will be utter chaos in that country if we pull them out all at once."

Folk singer Joan Baez marched with the protesters and later serenaded them at a concert at the foot of the Washington Monument. An icon of the 1960s Vietnam War protests, she said Iraq is already a mess and the troops need to come home immediately. "There is chaos. There's bloodshed. There's carnage."

The protest in the capital showcased a series of demonstrations in foreign and other U.S. cities.

A crowd in London, estimated by police at 10,000, marched in support of withdrawing British troops from Iraq. Highlighting the need to get out, protesters said, were violent clashes between insurgents and British troops in the southern Iraq city of Basra.

In Rome, dozens of protesters held up banners and peace flags outside the U.S. Embassy and covered a sidewalk with messages and flowers in honor of those killed in Iraq.

Cindy Sheehan, the California mother who drew thousands of demonstrators to her 26-day vigil outside Bush's Texas ranch last month, won a roar of approval when she took the stage in Washington. Her 24-year-old son, Casey, was killed in Iraq last year.

"Shame on you," Sheehan admonished, directing that portion of her remarks to members of Congress who backed Bush on the war. "How many more of other people's children are you willing to sacrifice?

She led the crowd in chanting, "Not one more."

Separately, hundreds of opponents of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund danced to the beat of drums in the Dupont Circle part of the city before marching toward the White House to join the anti-war protesters.

Supporters of Bush's policy in Iraq assembled in smaller numbers to get their voice heard in the day's anti-war din. About 150 of them rallied at the U.S. Navy Memorial.

Gary Qualls, 48, of Temple, Texas, whose Marine reservist son, Louis, died last year in the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, asked: "If you bring them home now, who's going to be responsible for all the atrocities that are fixing to happen over there? Cindy Sheehan?"

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press (http://www.cnn.com/interactive_legal.html#AP).

September 25th, 2005, 12:51 AM
And from the NY Times:

Antiwar Rallies Staged in Washington and Other Cities

By MICHAEL JANOFSKY (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=MICHAEL JANOFSKY&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=MICHAEL JANOFSKY&inline=nyt-per)
September 25, 2005

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 - Vast numbers of protesters from around the country poured onto the lawns behind the White House on Saturday to demonstrate their opposition to the war in Iraq (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/iraq/index.html?inline=nyt-geo), pointedly directing their anger at President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
A sea of anti-administration signs and banners flashed back at a long succession of speakers, who sharply rebuked the administration for continuing a war that has cost the lives of nearly 2,000 Americans and many more Iraqis. Many of the speakers also charged Mr. Bush with squandering resources that could have been used to aid people affected by the two hurricanes that slammed into the Gulf Coast.

As protesters moved from the rally to a march around the White House, they packed city streets, and in some areas, came face to face with groups of pro-administration demonstrators, who held up signs expressing support for the war.

Organizers of the rally and march had a permit for 100,000 people, but the National Park Service no longer provides official estimates for large gatherings in Washington.

Rallies held on Saturday in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and other cities drew considerably smaller crowds, but unlike the more varied themes of recent protests against administration policies, antiwar sentiment on Saturday was consistent throughout. In Washington, it was evident from the start, as an organizer screamed over the microphone, "Let Bush and Cheney and the White House hear our message: Bring the troops home now."

Mr. Bush was in Colorado (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/colorado/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) and Texas (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/texas/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) monitoring hurricane developments, and Mr. Cheney was undergoing surgery at George Washington University hospital.

"It's significant that Bush is out of town," said William Dobbs, an organizer of the march. "It shows that he's turned his back on the peace movement, which represents a majority of the American public right now."

Dana Perino, a spokeswoman for the administration, said: "The White House is certainly aware of the protest. The president believes that one of the most treasured rights of Americans is to peacefully express yourself, and there are differences of opinion about the way forward. He understands that."

Speakers at the rally included a newcomer to the modern antiwar movement, Cindy Sheehan, the California (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/california/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) mother whose son was killed last year fighting in Iraq. Ms. Sheehan has become the face of the movement because of her efforts over the summer, camping near Mr. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Tex. Her appearance and brief remarks drew a thunderous response.

"I really haven't had a chance to digest all this," she said in an interview after her speech, referring to the attention she has received. "I hope I'm a catalyst for change, but I don't want to be the focus of change."

But the crowd also heard from old lions of the antiwar movement, like the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the actress Jessica Lange, Ralph Nader and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who has endorsed impeaching Mr. Bush.

Mr. Jackson reminded the crowd that the war proceeded without proof that Iraq had unconventional weapons or a connection to Al Qaeda, saying, "We deserve another way and better leadership."

The protests here and elsewhere were largely sponsored by two groups, the Answer Coalition, which embodies a wide range of progressive political objectives, and United for Peace and Justice, which has a more narrow, antiwar focus.

For months in planning, the theme was Iraq. But as Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, followed by Hurricane Rita, the rally quickly embraced domestic themes as well. One sign held high said, "Make levees, not war."

"To me, there is an ideological connection," said Sheri Leafgren, a professor of education at Kent State University in Ohio (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/ohio/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) who held a sign that said, "From New Orleans to Iraq: Stop the war on the poor." "If you care about people losing lives and being devastated by grief, it's all human suffering."

In San Francisco, as protesters marched toward downtown, David Miles, 49, pumped up the volume on his iPod, attached to a 12-volt battery and large speakers on wheels. "War," the Vietnam (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/vietnam/index.html?inline=nyt-geo)-era protest song by Edwin Starr, suddenly filled the air.

The lyrics, "War, what is it good for?" blared from the speakers, and protesters joined in, shouting back: "Absolutely nothing."

Reporting for this article was contributed by Holli Chmela and Lakiesha Carr in Washington, Carolyn Marshall in San Francisco and Chris Dixon in Los Angeles.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

September 25th, 2005, 01:11 AM
And from Reuters:

Thousands protest Iraq war, globalization

By Lisa Lambert
Sat Sep 24, 2005 9:02 PM ET

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2005-09-25T010224Z_01_WRI465220_RTRUKOC_0_US-IRAQ-PROTESTS.xml (http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2005-09-25T010224Z_01_WRI465220_RTRUKOC_0_US-IRAQ-PROTESTS.xml)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 100,000 protesters flooded Washington on Saturday to stage dual demonstrations against the U.S.-led war in Iraq and economic globalization, before coming together to demand President George W. Bush bring troops home.

"We need a people's movement to end this war," said Cindy Sheehan, an anti-war protester whose son was killed in fighting in Iraq. Camping out in Crawford, Texas, during much of August while Bush was vacationing there, Sheehan's rallies drew crowds there that sometimes numbered in the hundreds as she demanded a meeting with Bush.

Bush, who met with Sheehan in 2004 after her son was killed, refused to meet with her again.

"We'll be the checks and balances on this out-of-control criminal government," Sheehan, who has become the anti-war movement's best-known face, told the group gathered at the Ellipse, a park behind the White House.

In Los Angeles, about 15,000 people protested peacefully, while thousands more marched in San Francisco and in London urging an end to military action in Iraq nearly 30 months after an invasion ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The crowds in Washington swelled through the day, and by late afternoon organizers of the anti-war demonstration said 300,000 people had assembled -- exceeding an anticipated 100,000. Washington police declined to comment on the size of the rally.

Meanwhile, 1,000 to 3,000 people, as estimated by demonstration organizers, gathered a few blocks away to protest the autumn meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, saying policies that promote globalization and reduce trade barriers hurt the world's poor.


Many of them joined the anti-war march that circled a wide swath of downtown Washington, including the White House. They walked slowly, and often silently, and carried a blocks-long string of pictures of the 1,900 U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq.

"We're here to bring a dose of reality to the American public," said Chad Hetman, a member of an anti-war veterans' group. "This war was based on lies."

The protesters were graying baby boomers who had railed against the Vietnam War, parents pushing strollers with toddlers, college students and a few adults in wheelchairs.

On Washington's National Mall, they set up a faux military cemetery of hundreds of small, white crosses in neat lines. In Los Angeles, 60 mock coffins draped in American flags were laid out in rows on a downtown street.

"This is what we are losing every day," said Vickie Castro, of Riverside, California, standing in front of the coffins with a picture of her son, Cpl. Jonathan Castro, who was killed in action in Mosul, Iraq, in 2004.

Demonstrations in Washington and London took aim at the Bush administration, calling its policies and actions "criminal."

Some protesters carried signs calling Bush and Cheney "Liars." One sign said, "Bush is a Cat 5 Disaster," in a reference to the recent hurricanes that have hammered the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Another said, "Make Levees, Not Humvees" -- referencing the New Orleans levees that Katrina breached and recalling the "Make Love, Not War" chant of 1960s Vietnam war protesters.


The demonstrations also drew anarchists, communists and environmentalists. Others called for an end to the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba and expressed solidarity with leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the Palestinians.

Protesters tried to link their separate causes under the umbrella of a fight against global poverty.

Some at the IMF/World Bank protest said they were fighting for the rights of the poor in Louisiana displaced by Hurricane Katrina, the poor in Iraq who are being hurt by war and those that protesters say are forced into poverty by IMF policies.

A U.S. veterans' group criticized the protesters.

"The political protesters of the '60s didn't end their war and neither will this new generation," Jim Mueller, head of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said in a statement. "They will, however, achieve the same result -- they will devastate troop morale."

A veteran of the Iraq war at the Washington march disagreed.

"People join the military to defend their country, not lies," said Adam Reuter, a 22-year-old Georgia resident who was given a medical discharge from the Army four months ago.

Washington police said they made two arrests by Saturday afternoon.

(Additional reporting by Paritosh Bansal in Los Angeles)

© Reuters 2005.

September 25th, 2005, 11:01 AM
Caught in a Train Delay, a Protest Takes a Detour

By DAMIEN CAVE (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=DAMIEN CAVE&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=DAMIEN CAVE&inline=nyt-per)
September 25, 2005


An electrical failure in New Jersey (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/newjersey/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) disrupted train service between New York and Washington for five hours yesterday morning, leading to confusion, delays and an impromptu protest outside Pennsylvania Station by antiwar activists who gave up on plans to join a larger rally in the nation's capital.

Service was shut down just before 5 a.m. Vernae Graham, a spokeswoman for Amtrak, said the electrical failure occurred in Rahway when a crane accidentally dropped a beam on the wires that provided power to the trains, severing the connection.

Ms. Graham said that 13 Amtrak trains were affected, with one cancellation, forcing thousands of passengers traveling up and down the Eastern Seaboard to wait or make other plans. At Penn Station, the usual throngs moving to and from the underground platforms came to a halt for several hours. New Jersey Transit trains were also delayed.

The 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. trains to Washington included at least 200 passengers on their way to a rally and march to protest the war in Iraq (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/iraq/index.html?inline=nyt-geo). When the two trains were first combined and then delayed past 10 a.m., many of the protesters said they began to look for other ways to get to Washington.

Julie Finch, a pastry cook and actress from Manhattan, was on the 6 a.m. train for two and a half hours before she joined three other activists in trying to rent a car. She said that she was scheduled to help lead a silent peace vigil at 11 a.m. in Washington, and was heartbroken to discover that she would not arrive in time.

"I don't want to burst into tears," she said after walking out of Penn Station. "I have a hand-quilted peace banner that I was sewing last night, and I was up far too late."

About 60 protesters decided to take their opinions to a street corner just outside the station. Most were affiliated with Take Back the Future, a group of academics and writers who meet every month in SoHo to discuss public policy. Several members said they paid Amtrak roughly $9,000 two months ago to charter their own train car with 84 seats.

Judith Levine, one of the group's organizers, said that when it became clear that they might not reach Washington until after sundown, Take Back the Future decided to seize the present.

"We would rather stay together," said Ms. Levine, an author. "We've got lemons. Let's make lemonade."

So instead of a march past the White House with thousands of other activists, the protesters and their placards ended up at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue, in a 50-foot-by-6-foot space that the police had marked off with barricades.

They walked in a circle, denouncing the war, but some seemed to have amended their grievances to include train travel. A group of young women known as the radical cheerleaders, dressed in pleated short skirts, with pompoms made of plastic trash bags, shouted: "Let's get on the right track. Get the troops out of Iraq." Another chant went "Money for trains, not war."

Amtrak struggled this spring and summer with delays, pulling its high-speed Acela trains off the track in April after brake problems surfaced. Ms. Levine, responding to yesterday's unexpected trouble like a politician pretending to have seen it coming, said that the connection between the war and less reliable train service was obvious. "We want money for trains, for schools, for hospitals and other human needs and not for war," she said, adding that she planned to seek a refund from Amtrak for the chartered train car.

Ms. Graham declined to comment on whether Amtrak was underfunded. And for most passengers yesterday, the effects of the delay mattered more than the underlying cause.

More than an hour after service began to resume about 10 a.m., the snags of the morning's delays had yet to be untangled. Inside Penn Station, on the two large boards displaying scheduled departures, 10 of 16 Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains showed delays. Trips to Washington, Boston, Harrisburg and other locations would all drag on several hours behind schedule.

Near one of the boards, Rosemary Small, 44, a private nurse from White Plains, said that she was trying to visit her boyfriend in Cincinnati. She said she had been up since 5:30 a.m. in a seemingly thwarted effort to arrive early by traveling through Latrobe, Pa.

"I already paid money for this ticket," she said. "It's appalling."

Scott Robinson, 42, waiting for his fiancée and daughter to arrive from Baltimore for a wedding yesterday evening, said that the problems would probably extend through most of the day.

"The trains are all backed up," he said. "Murphy's law is kicking in. It's just bad luck."

Colin Moynihan contributed reporting for this article.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

September 26th, 2005, 12:29 AM
I'm no conspiracy junkie, but wow, that was some crazy timing there with the train delay, huh? Almost as crazy as the unexplained metronorth delays that bizarrely struck the day of the ginormous anti war protest in the city (just a bit before the war in 2003) that kept suburban protesters from joining the rest.

Funny coincidence I guess.

bobby fletcher
September 26th, 2005, 03:08 PM
Funny coincidence I guess.

Just have leave it at that. I don't think there's any political will to scrutinize this. Might just end with a dead crane operator at the best if we really looked into it.

Anyway, we've certainly out numbered the pro-war rally on 25th. Thanks everyone!

September 26th, 2005, 04:31 PM

a) Matt Drudge has lost his pun-making mind with this rediculously misogynist load and b) ok, now I'm starting to buy into the "pr stunt" line.

September 26th, 2005, 06:24 PM
I think Cindy Sheehan is very aware of the theatrical value of her actions (actions that have been dismissed as nothing more than "pr").

What is the point of a protest if no one is aware of it? If no one sees or hears it?

Of course, there is always the danger that the protester forgets the true and original intention of the protest and instead allows the situation to become nothing more than an attention-grabbing game.

I'm hoping -- both for her personal sake and the sake of her cause -- that Cindy Sheehan has been (and continues to be) able to separate the two and stays on the righteous course of ending this war.

TLOZ Link5
September 26th, 2005, 06:32 PM
Cindy seems to be taking it in stride.

September 26th, 2005, 06:37 PM
I think it's important that people hear the anti-war message, and it's cool to get press for a protest, but there's something about that smile that smacks of ...self-gratification? There's a huge leap between historic protest arrests (sufferagettes, 60's era civil rights) where the protesters are wrongfully arrested to supress their message and the modern try-anything-to-get-arrested-for-publicity contrivance.

September 27th, 2005, 09:31 AM
Well, for all of Dubya's expressed compassion for the woman, and his appreciation of the rights we have in America that let her speak out freely, there she is being arrested.

What should she do? Cry? Have a tantrum?

She's showing all the couch potatoes that you can be deeply concerned about events and put yourself on the line to try and stop them - and still have a smile on your face. Not every protest has to be vengeful and angry.

I imagine she's smiling because she hasn't faded from the news scene and this arrest just pushes her and her issue up another notch.

September 27th, 2005, 10:03 AM
She's also being applauded by possibly hundreds of people which could also cause her to smile.

September 27th, 2005, 12:02 PM
I don't mean to dismiss Cindy Sheehan or what she's accomplished, but I think staged arrests are a cheesy contrivance, and not a effective form of protest... and maybe a bit disrespectful to protesters in the past who were arrested against their will.

September 27th, 2005, 01:39 PM
I agree that staged arrests are a sort of slap in the face to people who've been arrested against their will.

September 28th, 2005, 10:20 AM
An arrest isn't "staged" unless their is an agreement beforehand by the arresters and arrestees and the person is taken out back and quietly released. I am pretty certain this was not the case. She was ARRESTED and you are calling her police record "disrespectful" to other protesters arrested in the past? Since when does any kind of arrest need to take into account the hundreds of arrestees that have gone before? The logic is totally out of whack.

September 28th, 2005, 11:56 AM
You don't see a difference between Historical figures getting arrested because the government was trying to suppress protesters messages and the current intentional arrest for publicity? She walked over and sat down in an area she where she knew she would be arrested. Policed warned her several times that she would be arrested, then they did.

50 years ago protesters were hosed with firehoses and had police dogs attack them. Now they sell T-shirts at marches. It's not the same thing.

September 28th, 2005, 12:13 PM
Whenever I've been asked to move at a protest, I move. I've also seen people cuffed with absolutely no warning at all. It's only fair that the police offer some warning before moving in to arrest, but in most cases, protesters should heed the warnings.

September 28th, 2005, 01:18 PM
Civil Disobedience Henry David Thoreau

The essay was an influence on the methods of nonviolent protest used by others, such as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. In 1930, Gandhi marched to the sea to protest the salt tax enacted by the British government. Knowing full well that it was against the law and he would be subject to arrest, he wrote the Viceroy, Lord Irwin, of his intentions to make his own salt. Over 60,000 people followed his example, and were also arrested.

At a second demonstration, volunteers marched on a salt works and were clubbed by the police.

Are the two protests morally equivalent?

October 2nd, 2005, 04:41 PM
US finds fever bacteria during war protest weekend

Oct 1, 11:07 PM (ET)


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Small amounts of a bacteria that causes "rabbit fever" were found on Washington's National Mall last weekend as thousands of protesters marched against the Iraq War, U.S. health authorities said on Saturday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said several government environmental air monitors in the Mall area detected low levels of Francisella tularensis bacteria that cause Tularemia, commonly known as rabbit fever, on September 24-25.

Public health agencies had no reports of any related human or animal illnesses caused by the bacteria.

The CDC said it issued an alert on Friday night as a precaution so medical personnel were aware of the situation and could report any suspected cases.

Rabbit fever can not be passed from person to person and can be effectively treated with readily available medicines, the CDC said. Symptoms usually appear 3 to 5 days after exposure, but in rare cases can take up to two weeks.

Symptoms of the disease, which an infected person would have begun experiencing no earlier than on Monday, include: sudden fever, chills, headaches, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough and progressive weakness.

District of Columbia health officials told local radio station WTOP on Saturday the detected bacteria was not harmful and probably occurred naturally.

The CDC waited a week to notify city officials of the detected bacteria because it took that long to test the samples at labs and confirm its presence, the radio station reported.

According to the CDC's Web site, people can get rabbit fever by:

* Being bitten by a infected tick, deerfly or other insect

* Handling infected animal carcasses

* Eating or drinking contaminated food or water

* Breathing in the bacteria

The CDC also said the bacteria can be used as a weapon if made into an aerosol that could be inhaled.

"The bacteria that cause Tularemia occur widely in nature and could be isolated and grown in quantity in a laboratory, although manufacturing an effective aerosol weapon would require considerable sophistication," the CDC said.

The Washington Post said the germ that causes tularemia is considered a biohazard because it is highly infectious and was tested in the 1960s by the United States as a biological weapon.

One of many security measures adopted in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks, the air monitors are part of the nationwide "Biowatch" system installed to sample the air in major metropolitan areas daily for pathogens that could be used in a biological attack on the United States.

Copyright 2005 Reuters

October 2nd, 2005, 05:09 PM

US finds fever bacteria during war protest weekend

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Small amounts of a bacteria that causes "rabbit fever" were found on Washington's National Mall last weekend as thousands of protesters marched against the Iraq War, U.S. health authorities said on Saturday.

Today in DC: Commandos in the Streets?

William M. Arkin on National and Homeland Security
September 24, 2005

http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/ear..._in_dc_com.html (http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/earlywarning/2005/09/today_in_dc_com.html)

Today, somewhere in the DC metropolitan area, the military is conducting a highly classified Granite Shadow "demonstration."

Granite Shadow is yet another new Top Secret and compartmented operation related to the military’s extra-legal powers regarding weapons of mass destruction. It allows for emergency military operations in the United States without civilian supervision or control.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said several government environmental air monitors in the Mall area detected low levels of Francisella tularensis bacteria that cause Tularemia, commonly known as rabbit fever, on September 24-25.

The CDC also said the bacteria can be used as a weapon if made into an aerosol that could be inhaled.

"The bacteria that cause Tularemia occur widely in nature and could be isolated and grown in quantity in a laboratory, although manufacturing an effective aerosol weapon would require considerable sophistication," the CDC said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2005/09/13/PH2005091300716.gif (http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/earlywarning/)

October 5th, 2005, 08:08 AM
Test Results Cited in Delay of Mall Alert

CDC Explains Why Local Officials Weren't Told for Days About Bacterium Detection

By Susan Levine and Sari Horwitz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, October 5, 2005


Area health officials were not notified for five days that sensors on the Mall had detected a potentially dangerous bacterium there last month because subsequent tests were not conclusively positive, a federal official said yesterday.

The Department of Homeland Security delayed in alerting the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the same reason, said Richard Besser, who directs the CDC's coordinating office for terrorism preparedness and emergency response. More than half a dozen sensors showed the presence of tularemia bacteria the morning after thousands of people gathered on the Mall for a book festival and antiwar rally, yet the CDC was not contacted for at least 72 hours.

Testing never identified all the definitive markers for which scientists were looking, and officials were wary of issuing a false alarm, Besser said. He called the entire incident "highly unusual," but he acknowledged that it would prompt the two agencies to review their protocol and the timeliness of their response "to make sure the system doesn't have any flaws in it."

"It really will cause us to look at the system and say, 'Should things have been different?' " Besser said in a phone interview.

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) has suggested that the answer is yes. In letters he sent Monday to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and CDC Director Julie Gerberding, he called the notification time frame "alarming" and asked for an accounting of the procedures triggered when the government's "BioWatch network" senses a biological agent.

His questions focused on what each agency knew and when it knew it, as well as which local and state officials were called and when. "Why weren't these officials notified immediately following the detection?" Davis wrote.
D.C. Health Director Gregg A. Pane, who learned of the situation in a conference call Friday morning, said he would have liked to have been involved sooner. Hours after being alerted by the CDC, he and his counterparts across the Washington region put out an announcement for the public.

"I wish they'd bring us in earlier," he said yesterday, with the "retrospective scope" clearly in place. "There's got to be a level of trust and communication" among the entities and layers of government, he said.

As of yesterday, local and federal health officials said they had confirmed no cases of tularemia from the Mall gathering and, through medical surveillance, had not found any spikes in possible symptoms. Although the germ that causes tularemia is highly infectious, the disease itself is not passed from person to person and can be easily treated with antibiotics. Left untreated, it can be fatal.

Besser said that if the initial evaluation had revealed true positives, the laboratory would have immediately contacted Homeland Security, which would have immediately brought CDC and local health agencies into the discussion.

Instead, as late as Thursday, CDC officials expected final testing to disprove the presence of the bacteria. "So we didn't really think there was a need to alert [area] public health officials," he said.

In his letter, Davis requested specifics about the bacteria levels ultimately detected and the government's plan to inform the public of risk. "How do you monitor the thousands of people who visited the affected areas?" he asked.
A Homeland Security spokeswoman did not return calls to comment on the issues Davis raised.

Staff writer Martin Weil contributed to this report.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company