I am Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Anton of the US Army Public Affairs Office.
I would like to take this opportunity to address the wild “flu epidemic” rumors that have been proliferating recently, and which have, sadly, found their way onto this board. Since the stated purpose of this website is the elimination of ignorance, I am sure this group of people will be eager to dispense with baseless speculation and scare-mongering.
There is no “killer flu epidemic”. Granted, there is a Malaysian flu bug going around. Its symptoms do seem rather severe, but the overwhelming majority of sufferers recover with no ill effects within one to two weeks. Those few who have died have almost exclusively been those with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly and those who are already seriously ill, such as with cancer or AIDS.
The recent increase in military activity that many have noted is merely part of a large-scale readiness exercise, being conducted with the intent of being prepared for the possibility of widespread high-intensity terrorist activity on American soil. There is NO crisis or emergency–it is merely an exercise. As one of the conditions of the exercise is the simulation of actual stress responses in military personnel, many reservists have been denied information concerning their assignments. This is merely a test of their psychological readiness.
No “secret bio-weapons” are involved in either the exercise or the current flu-related unpleasantness. The United States, in accordance with NATO agreements, does not, I repeat DOES NOT engage in bio-weapon research. Also, no evidence exists that terrorists are employing bio-weapons against American citizens. This is merely a rumor, created by the paranoid.
Many of you may be aware that Internet transmissions, including message board posts, contain identifying data as a normal and necessary aspect of Internet operations. In the unlikely event that a national emergency were to arise which would require the temporary establishment of martial law, message board posts could be traced by qualified personnel with sufficient accuracy to identify the posters. Individuals who were deemed guilty, by a military tribunal, of attempting to foment insurrection or cause panic during a time of national emergency would be liable to severe reprisals for treasonous activity… theoretically, such reprisals could include the death penalty.
In closing, please let me assure you that all public entities are doing everything possible to alleviate the unpleasantness of the Malaysian flu, and that your loved ones will be returning from their military training exercises shortly, better-prepared to defend our soil from terrorists and other foreign threats.
Thank you for your attention,
Lt. Col. Robert L. Anton,
Public Affairs Officer, US Army