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New Version of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’: Government House Won’t Ask Pentagon About Anthrax Shipment


                 Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp

Regular readers of the V.I. Free Press have known since July that the Pentagon mistakenly sent live anthrax spores to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

So it came as no surprise when the Facebook component of the Virgin Islands Free Press ran a story written by the online newspaper Business Insider yesterday – quoting the website and saying just that.

Asked for comment about where the potentially-deadly is being stored in the territory, Government House told the Virgin Islands Free Press in August that it was still trying to confirm that the report was true.

“There have been no deaths or serious illnesses reported from the military’s 10-year program to ship anthrax to private and military labs for testing to develop vaccines and detection devices, according to the Defense Department,” the Business Insider wrote on Wednesday.

Since early May, “the number of labs and facilities known to have received live anthrax has significantly expanded,” it wrote.

“At least 31 military and civilian personnel were treated with antibiotics as a precaution after a lab in Maryland discovered in May that a supposedly irradiated anthrax sample contained live spores,” the Business Insider said.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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