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A 2004 press update in the War on Terror

As part of the 10th year remembrance of the Sept. 11 attacks, Fiction365 is presenting a “found story” – a press release declaring one of the early successes in the War on Terror.

San Francisco (2004)  — A swarm of Nigerian mosquitoes was arrested Wednesday in San Francisco’s infamous Haight District on suspicion of infecting a human with the deadly  West Nile Virus.

The human was listed in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital as of late Wednesday night. However doctors say they expect man, who is also a heroin addict, to live.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations and the INS have been on the hunt for the group of mosquitoes ever since the War on Terrorism began three years ago, claiming the African insects are “evil-doers.”

President Bush applauded the arrests, saying, though he wasn’t “absolutely certain,” he does believe Africa plotted with Saddam to create the West Nile Virus inside an Iraqi lab with the intention of spreading the disease throughout America.

“I knew they were terrorists,” the president said while getting his boots polished at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. “They’re African, they’re illegal and they’re no friend of mine.”

The Office of Homeland Security immediately transported the mosquitoes from San Francisco to a secluded cell in Guantanamo Bay, where 6 million other dark-haired, suspected terrorists have been jailed since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Baffled by the arrests, reporters gathered at the Pentagon, curious as to why the president would peg mosquitoes as terrorists. When asked how the Bush Administration defines “terrorists” these days, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said: “It’s a moving target and it always will be.”

“I know this might sound ironic, but we just can’t assume anything anymore,” Rumsfeld told reporters. “It’s clear that even mosquitoes are terrorists.” Rumsfeld said the administration was still investigating whether the mosquitoes were trained by Osama bin Laden, noting that there has been some  evidence, though spotty, of mosquito swams in parts of  Afghanistan.

Africa was moved to the top of Bush’s list of most wanted countries after the United States Center for Disease Control announced in December that they had come in contact with a goat that had been infected with West Nile Virus. The geographical origin of West Nile Virus remains a mystery, as  Wednesday’s incident is the first reported human case worldwide. However, the disease has been detected in mosquito populations in the Middle East as well as Uganda and Nigeria, Africa.

Though the CDC has insisted the disease could have come from almost anywhere in the world, and it’s not necessarily manmade, Bush went ahead and listed West Nile Virus as a possible chemical and biological weapon. Upon hearing about the arrests, millions of mosquitoes throughout America fled the country, fearing the president’s cowboy tough-talk rhetoric.

“They can run, but they can’t hide,” the president said defiantly at a White House press briefing. “We will hunt down every mosquito and get them, dead or alive.”


Erin Sherbert is a journalist by day and photographer by night. She likes to watch and observe, but doesn’t like to be watched and observed.


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