Anthrax Attacks on the Democrats and Media
before passage of the USA PATRIOT Act
Uncle Sam's Army (USA)
Packages of Anthrax Terrorized Representatives Into Obliterating Tolerance (PATRIOT)
"you've got mail!"
"the F word" (fascism) by Michael Ruppert
Leahy asked Ashcroft by what authority had he decided - on his own and without judicial review - to nullify the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. He asked for an explanation and some description of the procedural safeguards that Ashcroft would put in place. He asked Ashcroft to appear before the Judiciary committee and to respond in writing by November 13.
His answer came a little late.
On November 16, Patrick Leahy received an anthrax letter. And, as of this press time, Ashcroft has not responded in writing.
FASCISM - who sent the anthrax to Congress?
Government by Anthrax
Who could have sent the anthrax letters and who has a motive? Here's evidence the letters were sent to grease the skids for the Patriot Act then before Congress.
By Richard J. Ochs
The glaring coincidence of the anthrax attacks with the passage of the Patriot Act can only be ignored as an elephant is ignored at a tea party. It is believable that this coincidence was overlooked in the fall of 2001 due to all the confusion, including letters to other places. In historical hindsight, the connection is obvious. It can be ignored now only as Germans ignored the death camps – the brazenness of the crime was unbelievable. Moreover, to admit the crime’s existence requires a courageous response. Timid souls may be tempted to stick their heads in the sand rather than do what is required to expose and root out criminals in high places, especially in time of war. The obvious response would be a Congressional investigation with no holds barred, even if it goes all the way to the top.
the leaders of the Democratic Party were targeted for assassination by right-wing elements that have some connection to the military. This staggering fact, however, has been met with a strange silence by the media, government officials and the Democrats themselves, including the two senators who were targeted. ....
In the face of such attacks the Democrats have proven their unwillingness and incapacity to wage a genuine struggle against these fascistic forces. They respond with cowardice even as leaders of their party are targeted for assassination. At the same time the Democrats have concealed from the American people the extent of the danger posed by the ultra-right.
Published online 25 February 2009 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2009.120
Anthrax investigation still yielding findings
Chemical composition of spores doesn't match suspect flask. The deadly bacterial spores mailed to victims in the US anthrax attacks, scientists say, share a chemical 'fingerprint' that is not found in bacteria from the flask linked to Bruce Ivins, the biodefence researcher implicated in the crime.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) alleges that Ivins, who committed suicide last July, was the person responsible for mailing letters laden with Bacillus anthracis to news media and congressional offices in 2001, killing five people and sickening 17.
Bruce Ivins: Fall Guy to Cover Secret Anthrax Weaponization Program
by Sheila Casey / August 19th, 2008
US Attorney Jeff Taylor was sweating on August 6, as he laid out his case against the late Dr. Bruce Ivins at a news conference-and with good reason. Anyone familiar with the case is well aware that Dr. Ivins was railroaded, and that the news conference was a flimsy web of lies.
Ivins had nothing to do with the 2001 anthrax attacks. The attacks were almost certainly carried out by the only group that had the means to produce the highly weaponized anthrax in the letters: the CIA, its contractor Battelle Memorial Institute of West Jefferson, Ohio., and the Army at Dugway in Utah.
also published at
August 19, 2008
FBI Frame-up of Bruce E. Ivins Made Simple
By Michael Green copyright 2008
On Wednesday, August 8, 2008, the Department of Justice held a news conference announcing that Bruce E. Ivins, a former anthrax researcher for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), was the sole person responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks. Headed by U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor and FBI Assistant Director Joseph Persichini, the presentation was noteworthy for often not answering relevant questions, but instead referring reporters to several dozen court documents they had just been provided, but had not had time to read, let alone digest. After hurriedly reading one of these documents I decided to hedge my strong conclusion in a version of an earlier essay, "911 Plotters Bury the Evidence of Anthrax as their Follow-up Punch," published at OPEDNEWS http://tinyurl.com/694avu. The strong conclusion was that the FBI had persecuted and framed Ivins in order to protect the actual perpetrators until determining enough facts to decide the matter. I stated, "The most important question is whether Ivins was provided with fully weaponized cutting-edge anthrax that he could use by merely drying it out as the FBI case requires. If not, then the cover-up explodes in the face of the FBI." And, indeed, the cover-up had exploded in the face of the FBI and DOJ.
Richard Spertzel, UNSCOM's biological weapons chief from 1994-199, had described an exquisitely weaponized anthrax contained in the letters to Senators Leahy and Daschle that "far exceeds that of any powdered product found in the now extinct U.S. Biological Warfare Program." These included anthrax spores of 1.5-3.0 microns necessary to make a pure spore mix, a polyglass that tightly bound hydrophilic silica to each particle (to prevent clumping) and a weak electrical charge to optimize dispersion by means of repulsion with no other propellant required. Spertzel concluded:
The multiple disciplines and technologies required to make the anthrax in this case do not exist at the Army's Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. Inhalation studies are conducted at the institute, but they are done using liquid preparation, not powdered products.
Furthermore, the FBI spent 12-18 months trying to "reverse engineer" the Daschle-Leahy anthrax without success. The FBI case against Ivins gives him 7½ hours in the evening over the course of three days to prepare his first concoction sent in letters postmarked September 18, 2001 and roughly 15½ hours over eight days to prepare the Senate anthrax letters postmarked October 9, 2001. But after reading the first DOJ document, that was suggestive and not apparently made from whole cloth, I was seized by the possibility that the FBI might have been concealing that Ivins had been working with fully weaponized anthrax in order to disguise a violation of the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention treaty to which the U.S. is a signatory, hence the hedge in my essay (made on the final day of OPEDNEWS window for editing one's essays.) Direct inspection of the BTWC rules out that concern. Apparently what matters is in the heart or mind of the weapon maker: fully weaponized materials may be made and stored so long as the purpose in doing so is in some part defensive or prophylactic, as was Ivins's purpose in testing the efficacy of anthrax vaccines.
The gravamen of the FBI's case against Ivins is that in 1997 he mixed an anthrax batch, RMR-1029, that was a genetic match to the letter anthrax, and thereafter Ivins was the "sole custodian" of the flask that contained it. (The FBI does not mention that other scientists at his facility had unfettered access to the flask, nor emphasize that over 100 individuals at other facilities had access as well, and this does not include the sources that provided Ivins with the anthrax components to mix.) The crucial question to determine whether Ivins could be the "lone biokiller" is thus whether the RMR-1029 in the flask in Ivin's possession was fully weaponized. The answer is that it was not.
Neither the DOJ oral presentation, nor anything in any of its documents states or implies this during a public presentation whose purpose was to convince the American public that the FBI "got the right man" this time. They cannot even bring themselves to say that the spores in Ivins's possession were of the same consistently tiny size of 1.5-3.0 microns that made them so deadly -- something they would surely say were it so. In fact, the topic is sedulously avoided even though -- or precisely because -- it is essential to making the case against Ivins.
Better, Jeffrey Taylor, who seemed to have a weak grasp of the evidence, in his opening remarks gave away the fact that the anthrax in the letters did not come directly from the flask with the sample of spores "RMR-1029" that Ivins monitored and that were reportedly a genetic match to the anthrax that killed its victims. Mr. Taylor advised:
As the court documents allege, the parent material of the anthrax spores used in the attacks was a single flask of spores, known as "RMR-1029," that was created and solely maintained by Dr. Ivins at USAMRIID. This means that the spores used in the attacks were taken from that specific flask, regrown, purified, dried and loaded into the letters.
So, that's the game and the frame-up right there. Regrown spores don't weaponize themselves. They do not regrow super-small and covered with state-of-the-art anti-clumping silica (silicon dioxide) with a weak electrical charge for dispersion. And how do we know, aside from voluminous ongoing reports that we will soon examine, that there was such silica on the spores, and that it was cutting edge technology? Search Warrant Affidavit 07-534-M-01 (available at USDOJ: Amerithrax Court Documents), dated October 31, 2007, states in pertinent part, p.4:
Microscopic examination of the evidentiary spore powders recovered from all four letters identified an elemental signature of Silicon within the spores. This Silicon signature had not been previously described for Bacillus anthracis organisms.
This fundamental problem with the FBI case has been around for a long time, and examination of the media coverage helps us understand how covert action can take place in front of the public without being noticed. For example, the entire emphasis of the DOJ and FBI is focused on proving that there is a genetic match between the letter anthrax and the anthrax batch RMR-1029 allegedly in Ivins's possession while ignoring that RMR-1029 lacked the weaponized qualities found in the Senate anthrax letters. That focus is a deliberate red herring to make it seem possible that Ivins was the lone nutcase perpetrator. An October 2, 2002 Washington Post article by Guy Gugliotta and Gary Matsumoto underscores how committed the FBI has been to protecting the 911 plotters from the beginning, e.g., by starting with a conviction that the perpetrator had to be a lone nutcase:
A profile of the attacker issued by the FBI last November described an angry, "lone individual" with "some" science background who could weaponize the anthrax spores in a basement laboratory for as little as $2,500.
Instead, the scientists who understood the spores opined as follows:
"In my opinion, there are maybe four or five people in the whole country who might be able to make this stuff, and I'm one of them," said Richard O. Spertzel, chief biological inspector for the U.N. Special Commission from 1994 to 1998. "And even with a good lab and staff to help run it, it might take me a year to come up with a product as good."
Instead, suggested Spertzel and more than a dozen experts interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks, investigators might want to reexamine the possibility of state-sponsored terrorism, or try to determine whether weaponized spores may have been stolen by the attacker from an existing, but secret, biodefense program or perhaps given to the attacker by an accomplice. ...
"Just collecting this stuff is a trick," said Steven A. Lancos, executive vice president of Niro Inc., one of the leading manufacturers of spray dryers, viewed by several sources as the likeliest tool needed to weaponize the anthrax bacteria. "Even on a small scale, you still need containment. If you're going to do it right, it could cost millions of dollars." ...
Several sources agreed that the most likely way to build the coated spores would be to use the fine glass particles, known generically as "fumed silica" or "solid smoke," and mix them with the spores in a spray dryer. "I know of no other technique that might give you that finished product," Spertzel said.
According to William C. Patrick III, the former chief of product development for the U.S. Army's now-defunct bioweapons program, U.S. government scientists made biological agents using spray dryers, but did not spray dry anthrax. ...
In spray drying, a technician mixes fumed silica and spores with water, then sprays the mist through a nozzle directly into a stream of superheated air shooting from a second nozzle into an enclosed chamber. The water evaporates instantly, leaving spores and additive floating in space.
What do the DOJ and FBI offer us for how Ivins could have done all this? Silence and disinformation. The aforementioned affidavit states:
Culturing anthrax and working safely with dried anthrax spores requires specific training and expertise in technical fields such as biochemist or microbiology. It also requires access to particular laboratory equipment such as a lyophilizer or other drying device, biological safety cabinet or other containment device, incubator, centrifuge, fermentor, and various protective gear, all of which Dr. Ivins had readily accessible to him through his employment at USAMRIID.
The above paragraph is a carefully worded frame-up. Yes, a special drying device is needed to coat the anthrax with silica in the right way; it is a spray dryer -- a device that works with intense heat to vaporize nearly instantly a water suspension of silica particles that then is drawn to the anthrax. Ivins had access to a lyophilizer, but not to a spray dryer. A lyophilizer freeze dries liquid anthrax into a powder. So the affidavit slips the fact that Ivins lacks even the basic tools by including "or other drying device" and states (truly and deceptively) that Ivins had access to "all of which," i.e., the unhelpful lyophilizer but not the essential spray dryer, let alone the specialized silica and team of colleagues to make it work. The Post continues about the requirements:
"Surface tension will pull those little [silica] particles together onto the big one," said California Institute of Technology chemical engineer Richard Flagan. "You will end up with some degree of coating."
Whoever made such an aerosol would "need some experience" with aerosols and "would have to have a lot of anthrax, so you could practice," Edwards said. "You'd have to do a lot of trial and error to get the particles you wanted." It would also help to have an electron microscope to examine the results.
This would mean at least several hundred thousand dollars worth of equipment, several experts said. Niro's cheapest spray dryer sells for about $50,000. Electron microscopes cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In all, said Niro's Lancos, "you would need [a] chemist who is familiar with colloidal [fumed] silica, and a material science person to put it all together, and then some mechanical engineers to make this work . . . probably some containment people, if you don't want to kill anybody. You need half a dozen, I think, really smart people."
The following year, Gary Matsumoto wrote an article for Science 28, November 2003, Volume 302 that stated that "a schism now exists among scientists who analyzed it for the FBI." Initially, there was consensus:
Early in the investigation [once it took to heart the science needed to produce the spores], the FBI appeared to endorse the latter view: that only a sophisticated lab could have produced the material used in the Senate attack. This was the consensus among biodefense specialists working for the government and the military. In May 2002, 16 of these scientists and physicians published a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association, describing the Senate anthrax powder as "weapons-grade" and exceptional: "high spore concentration, uniform particle size, low electrostatic charge, treated to reduce clumping" (JAMA, 1 May 2002, p. 2237). Donald A. Henderson, former assistant secretary for the Office of Public Health Preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Services, expressed an almost grudging respect: "It just didn't have to be that good" to be lethal, he told Science.
As the [criminal] investigation dragged on, however, its focus shifted. In a key disclosure, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft revealed in August 2002 that Justice Department officials had fixed on one of 30 so-called "persons of interest":Steven J. Hatfill, a doctor and virologist who in 1997 conducted research with the Ebola virus at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland. (Hatfill has denied any involvement in the anthrax mailing.)
Thus, the FBI had begun with the "backyard biokiller" profile, then was forced to abandon it by the advanced design of the anthrax that points the finger where it belongs at state-sponsored terrorism, and then embraced it again once it felt that Steven Hatfill could be made to fill the role of "patsy." But in order to convict Hatfill, the FBI would need to demonstrate how Hatfill could have produced the anthrax in the Daschle-Leahy letters, hence their effort to "reverse engineer" the process. One lovely comparable historical example is the FBI's fantasy that the WTC was car-bombed in 1993 by a coven of committed Arabs urinating to generate the "uric acid" needed for its imaginary "home-made" bomb in order to conceal that high-grade military explosives provided by FBI mole Emad Salem were used in that event. But those were Muslim "terrorists," easy to convict with the help of Judge Michael Mukasey, since promoted to Attorney General. Something better was needed for Hatfill, so the FBI tried, and failed:
Although the FBI did not spell out its theory [about Hatfill], this announcement and leaks to the media from federal investigators indicated that the inquiry had embraced the idea that a lone operator or small group with limited resources could have produced the Senate anthrax powder.
This premise now appears to have run its course. In September 2003, the FBI's Michael Mason admitted that the bureau failed to reverse engineer a world-class anthrax powder like the Senate material and expressed regret that Hatfill had been called a "person of interest."
Hatfill's story remains instructive for many reasons. The FBI violated normal investigative procedures by leaking Hatfill's name to the press and keeping politicians informed about the ongoing investigation. When Hatfill found a university position, the FBI forced the university to fire him. The FBI deliberately informed the press in advance of their searches of Hatfill's residence, both when he voluntarily submitted to a search and when the search was done under warrant, in order to create a media circus and to antagonize and intimidate Hatfill. The FBI harassed Hatfill by following him everywhere under the pretext that he would strike again if let out of their sight. The wave of propaganda against Hatfill was so pervasive and effective that when Hatfill reported to D.C. police that the FBI had run over his foot while surveilling him, he was ticketed for "walking to create a hazard." FBI sources stated that the Bureau had focused on Hatfill until 2006, but when a federal judge reviewed the case in 2008, including still-secret FBI summaries, he opined "There is not a scintilla of evidence that would indicate that Dr. Hatfill had anything to do with this." http://tinyurl.com/5zfho7
Former FBI counter-terrorism agent Brad Garrett, now working for the ABC network whose Brian Ross broadcast the manufactured leaks from four "well placed" sources that Iraq planted the anthrax and that now refuses to identify these plotters, is happy to tell us what went wrong with the Hatfill investigation in a June 30, 20008 "EXCLUSIVE: How the FBI Botched the Anthrax Case." According to Garrett:
The anthrax investigation, almost from the beginning, was hampered by top-heavy leadership from high ranking, but inexperienced FBI officials, which led to a close-minded focus on just one suspect and amateurish investigative techniques that robbed agents in the field the ability operate successfully. http://tinyurl.com/6ojel2
Garrett ignores the obvious implications of the fact that there was not a scintilla of evidence against Hatfill, viz., that the FBI modus operandi against Hatfill -- and Ivins as well -- was "frame 'em and break 'em." Garrett notes that "The original complaint accused several government officials, including Ashcroft, of deliberately leaking information about the criminal probe into Hatfill in order to harass him and to hide the FBI's lack of hard evidence," but he also states that the $5,825,000 settlement included no such admissions without seeming to understand that so much money was paid to avoid having to make that admission or having a jury so find. One wishes for more hard facts, but instead of taking the convenient route that the FBI investigation of this crucial act of domestic terrorism was hamstrung by stupid, incompetent and inexperienced high-ranking officials, the better interpretation in this case is that the FBI's wild goose chase was grand political theater to keep the public confused and distracted from the actual terrorists.
What about the "schism" that developed amongst scientists familiar with the Daschle-Leahy anthrax samples? Well, Matsumoto is an establishment journalist, which means that he is not permitted to think aloud in public. So he is careful to separate the John Ashcroft designation of Steven Hatfill in August 2002 as a "person of interest" from what follows way below in the article, and careful not to integrate the two facts into a coherent narrative, but to his full credit he does all that he can with a picture that is worth a thousand words. Hatfill is grimacing in fury, not the furtive guilt of a trapped perpetrator:
By the fall of 2002, the awe-inspiring anthrax of the previous spring had morphed into something decidedly less fearsome. According to sources on Capitol Hill, FBI scientists now reported that there was "no additive" in the Senate anthrax at all. Alibek said he examined electron micrographs of the anthrax spores sent to Senator Daschle and saw no silica. "But I couldn't be absolutely sure," Alibek says, "because I only saw three to five of these electron micrographs." Even the astonishingly uniform particle size of 1.5 to 3 micrometers, mentioned in 2001 by Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), now included whopping 100-micrometer agglomerates, according to the new FBI description recounted by Capitol Hill aides. The reversal was so extreme that the former chief biological weapons inspector for the United Nations Special Commission, Richard Spertzel, found it hard to accept. "No silica, big particles, manual milling," he says: "That's what they're saying now, and that radically contradicts everything we were told during the first year of this investigation."
In the cold. The U.S. Justice Department revealed that it was investigating scientist Steven Hatfill (bottom), formerly of Fort Detrick, and searched a nearby pond for clues.
Indeed, Matsumoto gives a clear and vivid description of what was first known about the anthrax spores in 2003, that survives now in the official story, only briefly and vastly under-described in the October 31, 2007 DOJ affidavit as "an elemental signature of Silicon within the spores"
More revealing than the electrostatic charge, some experts say, was a technique used to anchor silica nanoparticles to the surface of spores. About a year and a half ago, a laboratory analyzing the Senate anthrax spores for the FBI reported the discovery of what appeared to be a chemical additive that improved the bond between the silica and the spores. U.S. intelligence officers informed foreign biodefense officials that this additive was "polymerized glass." The officials who received this briefing--biowarfare specialists who work for the governments of two NATO countries--said they had never heard of polymerized glass before. This was not surprising. "Coupling agents" such as polymerized glass are not part of the usual tool kit of scientists and engineers making powders designed for human inhalation. Also known as "sol gel" or "spin-on-glass," polymerized glass is "a silane or siloxane compound that's been dissolved in an alcohol-based solvent like ethanol," says Jacobsen. It leaves a thin glassy coating that helps bind the silica to particle surfaces.
Thus, the shift of anthrax description in the fall of 2002 occurs just in time to make Attorney General John Ashcroft fingering Hatfill seem superficially plausible to those without knowledge or memories. Alibek, a Soviet defector, has gone over to the official government position, as have others for reasons not hard to fathom. Reading Matsumoto's Science article with care reveals the unstated political pressures that were applied to the scientists committed to the truth with the hard data on the Daschle-Leahy anthrax, but I shall not elaborate that here. There is not one example given of a scientist who changed his mind on the crucial issue of whether the Senate anthrax could have been done by a loner for solid scientific reasons. These political pressures are the source of the "schism."
That "schism" was formalized by FBI scientist Douglas J. Beecher, who published a technical paper on the dispersion of anthrax spores through the postal facilities and buildings in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, p. 5304-5310, Vol. 72, No. 8. In that paper, unrelated to its content and, as a letter to the editor pointed out, wholly unsupported by scientific research, Beecher simply asserted in the second quoted sentence, ipse dixit, "Individuals familiar with the compositions of the powders in the letters have indicated that they were comprised simply of spores purified to different extents (6). However, a widely circulated misconception is that the spores were produced using additives and sophisticated engineering supposedly akin to military weapon production." Kay A. Mereish, an official at the United Nations, wrote:
In a meeting I attended in September 2006, a presentation was made by a scientist who had worked on samples of anthrax collected from letters involved in the same incident in October 2001; that scientist described the anthrax spore as uncoated but said that it contained an additive that affected the spore's electrical charges (D. Small, CBRN Counter-Proliferation and Response, Paris, France, 18-20 September 2006; organized by SMi [www.smi-online.co.uk]).
We would like but cannot obtain the details of why D. Small thought the spores he/she examined were uncoated, but Lois R. Ember interviewed two scientists who claimed to have examined the electron micrographs of the Senate anthrax and observed no silica or other additive. She wrote of and quoted one of them December 2006 in Chemical and Engineering News, "If silica was present, I would have seen it, but nothing could have been purer than what I saw." http://tinyurl.com/69tytc
The previously mentioned political wrangling infects the science. The scientists just quoted by Ms. Embers is Matthew Meselson, a Harvard molecular biologist. Professor Meselson had distinguished himself in 2002 after the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) had reported the presence of silica based on lab reports showing the presence of the element silicon. AFIP's chief of Chemical Pathology said "There was silica there. There was no mistaking it." And Major General John S. Parker, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command who saw the lab reports commented, "There was a huge silicon spike. ...It peaked near the top of the screen." Professor Meselson's response was to send the FBI a 1980 article from the Journal of Bacteriology that noted silicon present in the spore coat of a different but related bacterium, B. cereus. The detection of silicon in B. cereus was never again replicated, its authors admitted their first report could be due to a contamination, B. cerus is not the anthrax spore, and silicon has never been reported as part of the naturally occurring coat of the anthrax spore. Using this pseudo-science from a great Harvard scientist, top-ranking FBI scientist Dwight Adams gave a briefing in late 2002 on Capitol Hill suggesting that the silicon was part of the natural coating of the anthrax, and quoting the paper sent by Professor Meselson as an authority. (Matsumoto, Science, supra.) The FBI would then invite the politically friendly Meselson to inspect electron micrographs of an anthrax sample they would tell him was the Senate anthrax and that he would report to be silicon free.
But FBI "science" went a step further. Using the Meselson-Adams perspective, the FBI decided to contract with two top biological warfare institutes to make an anthrax powder comparably lethal to the Senate anthrax but without having to worry about the "elemental signature of Silicon" that the October 31, 2007 search warrant affidavit would swear under oath was present in the anthrax "recovered from all four letters."
Elders gives us powerful details of the efforts of the U.S. Army's biodefense center at Dugway Proving Grounds to reverse engineer the anthrax using the Meselson-Adams assumption that no special additives were involved. Quoting Milton Leitenberg, a University of Maryland arms control expert:
Leitenberg says a well-connected former military scientist told him that Dugway was only able to produce preparations containing "one-fifth the number of spores found in the Leahy powder." This same military source also told Leitenberg that Battelle Memorial Institute was also asked to back engineer the Leahy powder.
As Matsumoto wrote in Science:
The Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Columbus, Ohio, is possibly the only corporation in the world known to possess both the Ames strain as well as a "national security division" offering the services of a team of "engineers, chemists, microbiologists, and aerosol scientists supported by state-of-the-art laboratories to conduct research in the fields of bioaerosol science and technology." On its Web site, Battelle calls this research group "one-of-a-kind."
The failure by both Dugway and Battelle to produce a comparable product was the basis for the public announcement in the fall of 2003 by Michael A. Mason, then assistant director of the FBI Washington field office to admit that after more than a year of efforts by two full scale out-in-the-open bioweapons research teams, the FBI had failed to make a comparably powerful product -- even without silicon. This failure, and the failure to explain how Ivins could have done so alone in a few hours of night-time lab work, remains the hippopotamus in the living room from which the FBI and the DOJ have worked so hard to distract the public with its long tale about the DNA match between the Senate anthrax and the RMR-1029 strain in Ivins's possession, to which so very very many others had access over the years.
It is important not to distract ourselves with the task of resolving exactly what attributes the Senate anthrax spores had -- attributes that the FBI and DOJ have deliberately kept secret and muddled through confusing and contradictory press leaks and releases. It is wiser to rely on the obvious inference that if the FBI had a simple, straightforward, true and compelling story to tell about how Ivins could have made such a deadly powder in a few brief spates at night, they would have told it. They did not tell it because they did not have it.
I am not going to discuss the rest of the DOJ case against Ivins because it rests on the slimmest of hunch and speculation, distortion and innuendo, legerdemain and suppression of relevant fact, especially the central fact that has been our focus here. The DOJ-FBI case is interesting, and in the absence of much of the actual evidence of this case that the FBI has been so busy suppressing, would be fruitful for further investigation of Ivins, but nothing more. In the face of the actual facts, the single-minded pursuit of Ivins as the lone perpetrator is a full-blown cover-up whether or not Ivins had any involvement in the 2001 anthrax attacks. Others, especially Glenn Greenwald of salon.com have done a fine job of pointing out problems with the legal case against Ivins. In one especially powerful post, Greenwald notes:
The FBI's total failure to point to a shred of evidence placing Ivins in New Jersey on either of the two days the anthrax letters were sent is a very conspicuous deficiency in its case. It's possible that Ivins was able to travel to Princeton on two occasions in three weeks without leaving the slightest trace of having done so (not a credit card purchase, ATM withdrawal, unusual gas purchases, nothing), but that relies on a depiction of Ivins as a cunning and extremely foresightful criminal, an image squarely at odds with most of the FBI's circumstantial evidence that suggests Ivins was actually quite careless, even reckless, in how he perpetrated this crime (spending unusual amounts of time in his lab before the attacks despite knowing that there would be a paper trail; taking an "administrative leave" from work to go mail the anthrax letters rather than just doing it on the weekend when no paper trail of his absence would be created; using his own anthrax strain rather than any of the other strains to which he had access at Fort Detrick; keeping that strain in its same molecular form for years rather than altering it, etc.). http://tinyurl.com/6lt4fr
In that same post, Greenwald -- who apparently has knowledge of the postal pick-up times from September-October 2001 of the Princeton, N.J. mailbox from which the letters were sent -- notes that the FBI has presented an impossible theory of how Ivins could have mailed the letters in September 2001 and the FBI presents as damning evidence against Ivins what in fact exculpates him (assuming that the Washington Post has accurately reported its facts). Again, this modus operandi is Warren Commission redux: the blue ribbon authority publicly asserts the opposite of what its evidence reveals. Nonetheless, Greenwald continues to suffer from the illusion that the FBI acted in good faith, preventing him from thinking, let alone saying plainly, that Ivins is the patsy chosen to protect the real conspirators, and that as in the Downey Street memorandum, "the facts were being fixed around the policy."
My focus in this article has been on the ways by which FBI has clearly framed Ivins as the lone nutcase biokiller as part of a state apparatus of disinformation. It is very difficult to find players in this drama whose motives are pure, or who can be counted upon to act and report on the facts alone independent of their motives. UNSCOM's Richard Spertzel, for example, seems to favor Iraq as the state sponsor of the anthrax terrorism. Silicon is one of the elemental components of bentonite -- an aluminum phyllosilicate -- the supposed "Iraqi marker" that the four "well placed" ABC sources lied to ABC was present. And, alas, it is impossible to assess how free from political influence are the results of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology lab that first found the dramatic silicon spike, given the pervasive efforts of the Cheney/Bush regime to generate and fabricate a pretext to invade Iraq.
Nonetheless, my considered opinion is that the Senate anthrax properties were accurately given in May 2002, by the 16 biodefense scientists and physicians working for the governement and the military who published the paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association, describing the Senate anthrax powder as "weapons-grade" and exceptional: "high spore concentration, uniform particle size, low electrostatic charge, treated to reduce clumping" (JAMA, 1 May 2002, p. 2237). These qualities are the fingerprints of a high level, well organized multi-specialty team "inside job" that had to be protected by creating and framing a lone nutcase patsy. Indeed, if the FBI were able to make a solid genetic match between the letter anthrax and the RMR-1029 strain in Ivins's possession, then what it has succeeded in proving is that since Ivins could not have made the weaponized spores found in the Senate letters, others within the U.S. government and/or private bioweapons industry did so. Concealing this fact has been the principal purpose of the vast public media theater that the FBI and DOJ have orchestrated.
There is a large group of suspects in the 2001 anthrax attacks, but they are all state or corporate-state agents who were implementing neocon foreign policy and domestic repression, and hence are being protected by the FBI. That the FBI is operating under orders from on high congenial to its institutional purposes is the only reasonable explanation of this clumsy frame-up of Ivins. Demonstrating the deliberate frame-up and thus exposing the motive of protecting the guilty is relatively simple provided one can follow the facts and reason clearly; solving the crime by showing just which people and institutions did just which deeds is much more difficult and much more dangerous.
As I opined originally, Hatfill proved a "formidable" opponent whereas Ivins "has been chosen as the most vulnerable individual to serve as a patsy." And so Ivins has been. Ivins's funeral was attended by 250-300 professional colleagues who offered their warm support, something they were not likely to have done had they believed the DOJ-FBI case against him, and they were in a position to know how strong it was, or was not. These colleagues for the most part will imagine that the FBI has made some terrible mistake; the seemingly small step required to appreciate that no mistake was made is far too difficult for most to make, for when followed to its proper conclusions, the ground gives way beneath one.
Michael B. Green, Ph.D.
Qualified Medical Examiner (1992-2006, retired)
Former Assistant Professor of Philosophy
University of Texas at Austin
March 3, 2007 - Courier News Online
Holt wants hearings on FBI anthrax investigation
TRENTON --Rep. Rush Holt (D-Princeton) wants hearings into what he says is a lack of headway in the FBI's investigation into the deadly anthrax attacks of 2001.
"It seems to me this investigation is not making progress. I can't say for sure. They
won't brief me," Holt told The Times of Trenton for Saturday newspapers.
"Not briefing Congress on the status of the probe into the biggest biological attack in United States history is inexcusable," he said.
The anthrax attacks through the postal system killed five people across the country and sickened 17 in the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001. Investigators have not determined who was responsible for the attacks.
Over the years, Holt has been a vocal critic of the bureau's handling of the case,
especially because anthrax contamination was found in mail facilities in and near Holt's district.
Holt on Friday called on four committee chairmen and one subcommittee chairman in the House to hold oversight hearings into the investigation. His request may carry more weight now that his party is in the majority in Congress.
Several earlier attempts to receive information failed. In September and October 2006, Holt formally requesting that the FBI brief Congress on the investigation. He was denied.
In December, a bipartisan group of 32 House and Senate members called on Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to direct that the FBI brief Congress on the investigation. That request was also denied.
Richard J. Kolko, a bureau spokesman, defended the handling of the anthrax probe, saying it is "one of the largest and most complex" ever conducted. He said the investigation is still a high priority.
Anthrax attack bug "identical" to army strain
19:00 09 May 02 NewScientist.com news service
The DNA sequence of the anthrax sent through the US mail in 2001 has been revealed and confirms suspicions that the bacteria originally came from a US military laboratory.
The data released uses codenames for the reference strains against which the attack strain was compared. But New Scientist can reveal that the two reference strains that appear identical to the attack strain most likely originated at the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick (USAMRIID), Maryland.
The new work also shows that substantial genetic differences can emerge in two samples of an anthrax culture separated for only three years. This means the attacker's anthrax was not separated from its ancestors at USAMRIID for many generations.
April 8, 2002
Anthrax and the Agency: Thinking the Unthinkable
By Wayne Madsen
Now that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has officially put the anthrax investigation on a back burner, it is time for Americans to think the unthinkable: that the FBI has never been keen to identify the perpetrator because that perpetrator may, in fact, be the U.S. Government itself. Evidence is mounting that the source of the anthrax was a top secret U.S. Army laboratory in Maryland and that the perpetrators involve high-level officials in the U.S. military and intelligence infrastructure.
The Lure of Bio-Weapons
By Bernard Lown and Prasannan Parthasarathi
The Boston Globe
Wednesday 23 February 2005
There is ample evidence that the anthrax in the letters mailed to Congress and elsewhere came from the Army biological weapons laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md.
Bernard Lown, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985, is professor emeritus at the Harvard School of Public Health. Prasannan Parthasarathi is associate professor of history at Boston College.
Providing Information for Washington DC P&DC Employees (Postal Workers Victimized by 2001 Anthrax Attacks)
The Anthrax Conspiracy Theories Page
www.fas.org/bwc/news/anthraxpaper.htm -- Federation of American Scientists updates on the investigation (it was probably sent from the Army's biowar center at Ft. Detrick, Maryland)