Scary Story: A stupid tale of our crap cowardly leaders

Posted in Bioterrorism, Decline and Fall, Extremism, Permanent Fail at 7:34 am by George Smith

Today’s top news item, a whoopie cushion expose in which the lousiest national leadership in national history, the GWB administration, believed it was exposed to botulinum toxin.

Why is it so bad? Well, our leaders — so benighted and fixated on the war on terror — were obviously too stupid to pick up the phone and get someone who would have told them right away that a detection was a false positive with absolute certainty.

Why with absolute certainty?

First — because bioterrorism detectors really don’t work very well. And they didn’t work at all reliably when this actually happened.

Second — there was no intelligence or evidence anywhere in the world that indicated al Qaeda or anyone, besides the United States biodefense industry, could make botulinum toxin into the potential weapon which the alleged attack would have represented. (In fact, there was only one company that leaked botulinum toxin during the height of the war on terror and it was here and on the inside of the homeland security industry. But the details aren’t important to get into for this post.)

The story reveals the absolute meretriciousness of so much American threat assessment. Identification of threats, not by way of any evidence, but by errant and lousy technology and potentials dreamed up by “advisors” and “experts” on what they think WE could do with all our resources.

From the wire:

It was just a few weeks after September 11, 2001 when Condoleezza Rice accompanied the president on a trip to China for the APEC summit. In Shanghai Vice President Cheney appeared on a secure video conference line and delivered President George W. Bush this message:

“The Vice President came on the screen and said that the White House detectors have detected botulinum toxin, and we were all– those of who exposed were going to die,??? Rice told me.

He said that?

“Yes, he said that. And I remember everybody just sort of freezing, and the President saying, ‘What was that? What was that, Dick?’??? Rice, who was the National Security Advisor at the time, said.

Botulinum toxin is, according to the Center for Biosecurity, the “most poisonous substance known??? and “extremely potent and lethal.???

The exposure time meant that she and those on the trip — Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Chief of Staff Andy Card — were all at risk, Rice told me.

The next day, the poisoning was confirmed as a false alarm by whatever great national lab had been employed to find out. No test mice breathing cups of White House air had died.

Folks, this is nothing but pure proof of epic fail in leadership, a tale of our self-absorbed leaders who believed in nothing but their own idiotic ghost stories and the machine that supported them in that.

These were the kind of people you’d laugh at on the SyFy Channel if they were the poorly dressed moron freak show reality actors on Ghost Hunters, stumbling through old houses with their Radio Shack cameras and night vision goggles, wondering if the cold draft just felt or creak heard from a dark corner was evidence of something from beyond.

What’s the big difference between the Ghost Hunters crew and our old national leaders? Not a trick question. Answer: The Ghost Hunters didn’t have the power to wreck the country.

This story, if you’re asking, is apparently courtesy of Condoleeza Rice’s new book, something called “No Higher Honor.” No higher joke.

If you had a class at Stanford with this person you’d be moved to throw things.

Another sad part is that most journalists simply don’t know enough about such details from the war on terror to get they’ve been fed still another worthless but demoralizing turd wrapped in the shiny paper of a new book announcement.


  1. Edward Hammond said,

    November 2, 2011 at 5:17 am

    To be fair, Alergan knows how to make some botox too.

  2. George Smith said,

    November 2, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Hi Ed! Yeah, I thought about mentioning that but didn’t want to start getting into the longish story on the desire for alt source botox by the various quack cosmetic industry people.

  3. Christoph Hechl said,

    November 4, 2011 at 3:57 am

    Technical/scientific question:
    Which parameters are relevant, when you determine who dangerous a substance is?
    How does for example botulinum toxin compare to lets say dimethyl mercury?
    The latter seems pretty hard to beat in terms of being dangerous as hell.

  4. George Smith said,

    November 4, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Botox is the deadliest poison known to man by amount to lethality. It has a proteolytic action that trims a critical part of the nerve endings and this results in non-function, leading to paralysis and death, usually because eventually the poisoned person can’t breath. So people who suffer from botulism, depending on how bad it is, must be put on ventilators until the body repairs itself. The nerve ending rebuild but only very slowly, so it can be a living death for months. The last cases in the news, which had to do with diversion of research botox for de-wrinkling and subsequent overdose, the victims could only move their eyeballs for months.

    The tricky part is making it into a weapon, since it has to be absorbed as a protein complex. Naturally occurring botulism achieves this when the bacteria grow in anaerobic conditions in food, often improperly canned. They lyse and release the complex which travels through the stomach and is absorbed in the intestine where it gets into general circulation.

    This is not that suitable for WMD use since it becomes necessary to contaminate a food source which will reach a lot of people. Originally, some thought putting it in a water supply would be an easy thing but protein complexes just don’t do well when put into big volumes, which is something only protein chemists know. So that becomes iffy.

    Subsequently, it was thought to make an aerosol out of it. Which does work.

    But that’s a capability only national offensive bioweapons programs have.
    It just didn’t (and doesn’t to my knowledge) exist anywhere in the terror group, al Qaeda, our characters were worried about. You couldn’t do this kind of thing, not even close, in Kandahar or Kabul or the mountains of Afghanistan. Or in Yemen, or Somalia or the uncontrolled northern tribal lands of Pakistan, or wherever they’re chasing the fleabags around.

    I wrote about it years ago. Documents have been recovered on and off on basis from the jihadists indicating they’re interest in it — from reading of our fear of it, but they mean nothing being only texts taken out of general microbiology books.

    Google Dick Destiny and “botox shoe of death.” Their beliefs were ridiculous. Any good expert on the outside would have told our leaders on that news to take a beer and a shot, calm down and disconnect the detectors.

  5. Christoph Hechl said,

    November 4, 2011 at 8:34 am

    That was pretty much the point i wanted to see.
    Of course you can say this substance is more deadly than another one because you need less of it to kill one person.
    But determining how dangerous a substance is would actually mean to also take into account how easy it is to produce, store, handle and distribute. If you simply go for the highest body count, than i guess water would be the most dangerous substance on earth, having killed millions of people.