CASE CLOSED … what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks?

* there are so many ways to demonstrate that the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins is simply not convincing

Posted by DXer on July 24, 2009

WHY did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?CASE CLOSED

WHO had the power to divert the FBI from the truth?

CASE CLOSED offers a fictional scenario that answers those questions

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon

******

Here are the analyses previously posted as a comment on this blog by Beat Schaub.

Mr. Schaub reports … I studied molecular biology/biochemistry and recieved my PhD in Cell Biology. I’m a 5 times published author (4 can be easily found on PubMed, search for Beat E. Schaub, the 5th is in current protocols in cell biology). I’m currently doing training in Bio Safety/Security and Quality Assurance. Ah yes, I’m Swiss, 32 yo.

Access to RMR-1029:

  • Everybody at Ft. Detrick could have taken a sample before 1999 when it was transferred to a more secure location, up to then it was in an easily accessible place.
  • It was sent out to several laboratories at which point again a large number of persons (including cleaning personnel for all we know) could have taken 1 microliter to start a new culture.
  • Despite that, only one laboratory had RMR-1029/daughter thereof when the FBI collected samples indicating a less than perfect sample acquisition method. Due to the fact that a huge number had access to RMR-1029 it’s almost impossible to exclude everybody else.
  • Simply because nobody can have an air tight alibi for multiple days (As there is not a single defined timepoint when the letters have been sent but a 2/3 day long timeframe) unless he was in another country.
  • The alibi also loses importance if one is not preoccupied by the one culprit theory and includes the possibility of multiple culprits. It is entirely irrelevant who worked with RMR-1029 at the time of the attack since the attack spores where made of a daughter culture.

The Where (Overtime, Unsupervised Work, Bleachings):

  • While the location of the mailbox, the pre-stamped envelopes and RMR-1029 point in the general direction of Ft. Detrick we don’t know where exactly the attack spores were produced.
  • The only FORENSIC EVIDENCE we have is that the airfilters at Ft. Detrick did NOT show unusual high CFU counts (Dried spores would ultimately end up in the filtration system of the AC, as we know they get easily airborn) indicating that this is NOT WHERE the attack spores were produced.
  • That this is not preposterous claim is shown by the FBI’s Hatfill case as well as the claims by the FBI how easy such spores are produced.
  • In addition, this the B. subtilis found in the first attack was not found at Ft. Detrick. Finally, other personnel at Ft. Detrick claims that Ivins could not have done it. So:
    • Ivins overtime / unsupervised work is actually an alibi because we know he was not where the spores were produced.
    • Ivins secret bleaching, which he reported to a friend AND we only know of because Ivins told us; took place where the spores were NOT produced.
    • Since Ivins could bleach without anybody noticing we can assume any number of people could have done so, just they did not reveal it.

The When (Overtime, Unsupervised Work,  Bleachings):

  • There is no evidence for the timeline. But experience tells us that the refinement of the protocol observed by the difference of quality between the two attack waves CANNOT be achieved in three weeks, working only in evenings and in secrecy. I personally doubt that it can be achieved in three weeks working exclusively on this.
  • This makes his overtime / unsupervised work / bleaching irrelevant as we don’t know when the production has taken place.

The How (Equipment and Experience):

  • We don’t know how the spores were prepared therefore we can only guess whether Ivins had access to the necessary equipment.
  • However if the boasts of the FBI are true, no special equipment was required at all to produce the spores (Incubator, centrifuge etc. can be obtained easily), supporting the theory that the spores were not necessarily produced INSIDE of Ft. Detrick.
  • The how also could tell us about the expertise needed; what we know is that they did not work with dried spores at Ft. Detrick.
  • We also know that the wet growing of anthracis is well published and can be reproduced by anyone. Therefore anyone working on DRIED bacillus spores (e.g. Dugway people but also many other labs) should be considered more experienced when it comes to dried anthracis spore production.

The Alibi:

  • Sure Ivins has no conclusive Alibi for time when the letters were sent.
  • We DON’T HAVE: Ivins was at the place where the letters were sent, at the time they were sent.
  • We HAVE: Ivins cannot prove he was not there at that time.
  • Fortunately, you don’t have to prove your innocence; your guilt has to be proven.

The Silicon:

  • Low concentrations of silicon such as found in RMR-1030 are naturally occurring as claimed by the FBI and might be the result of the addition of silicon anti foaming agent.
  • None of the ~200 protocols tested by the FBI resulted in silicon concentrations as high as found in the attack spores clearly indicating that a very specific protocol was used which resulted in this.
    • Ivins would not have deviated from the well known and documented protocols.
    • The high silicon count cannot be the result of some obscure purification method because it did not add to the deadliness and therefore there is no reason to enrich it.

Dr. Ivins’ Mental Health:

  • If Ivins psyche was a problem, why was he allowed to work at Ft. Detrick?
  • And why did none of his colleagues notice/report it?
  • We should also not that he was in treatment /therapy all the time, so he was open and honest about his mental problem.

Driving a Distance to the Mailbox:

  • Well, that is the most obvious thing to do; everybody with half a brain would drive a couple of miles before placing the letters into the mailbox. It’s the most logical thing to do.

The Motive:

  • On the patents Ivins is only listed as provider of the spores and would as such not have profited much, leaving people with access to RMR-1029 AND much more direct interests.

Misleading the Investigators:

  • Ivins did not mislead the investigators:
    • Sample 1 was the wrong tube but sent in before official specifications (Wrong tube = obvious, the FBI also immediately realized that it was the wrong tube).
    • Sample 2, as sample 1, contained culture from RMR-1029 but first set of tests failed, only later the FBI realized this with two new tests (using the duplicate from Dr. Keim, which raises the questions what had happened to the sample they have gotten? Used up? Destroyed?).
  • The error is not with Ivins but with the FBI.
    • Obviously others misled the FBI because only one sample containing RMR-1029 or derivate was recovered from outside Ft. Detrick even though it was sent out multiple times to multiple institutions.
    • Alternatively, the test of the FBI is not so reliable and they did not repeat it with the new methods on all samples.
  • Dr. Ivins also admitted to the bleaching, something we wouldn’t know without him generally indicating that he did not try to mislead the FBI.

9 Responses to “* there are so many ways to demonstrate that the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins is simply not convincing”

  1. AS said

    Dxer: “You claimed you were a material witness to the mailing — by him. I find such an unsupported claim by an anonymous web poster specious in light of the record evidence.”

    It is a very supported claim. And to boot, I still have some of the 2001 anthrax in my possession, illegal for me to have this stuff BTW, which I have publicly stated many times before and have emails and other documentation to prove that it has been ignored at the State and Federal level. And here I’ve stated it again in a public forum and you will get to watch the days go by as no one is interested in using this “physical evidence”. As for your Leahy theory you seem to have missed the connection that Daschle and Leahy were the 2 Senators obstructing the passing of the patriot act. Something “jahdist” could care less about.

    You also stated: “The Amerithrax Task Force imagines that Ft. Detrick anthrax researcher Bruce Ivins targeted Leahy and Daschle because they were Catholics who voted pro-choice in opposition to the beliefs of the Catholic Church. The affidavit regarding Dr. Ivins further explains:”

    I think any reasonable person would see that the Ivins’ will concerning being cremated contradicts that theory wholly.

  2. AS said

    DXer. Don’t bother with Ed. He has an agenda. And it is not figuring out who the guilty parties are in the Anthrax mailings. Before jumping on the Ivins is guilty bandwagon Ed for years thought the Anthrax was mailed by some twit working at a bowling ally in Jersey.
    Keep in mind that Ed thinks the self admitted cold blooded murderer, who kept his victim’s shoes as a souvenir, could not possibly have done anything wrong but that the mild mannered real scientist must be guilty.
    Let’s step back and think about how this came about. The Bush administration was winding down and would no longer be able to completely steer the Anthrax investigation off the cliff as it did for 8 years. So, all of a sudden the DOJ makes the self admitted cold blooded murderer the 6 million dollar man without ever making him take the stand. A first year law student could have made any jury on earth so disgusted with him that he would be laughed out of court. And then the main Anthrax scientist at USAMRIID dies, be it suicide, accidental overdose or suicided. So, sweet now the DOJ/FBI can sweep this under the rug before we have a new administration coming in that might actually not try to steer the investigation off a cliff because that new administration has that letter D after it which we all know were the targets of the mailings.
    So DXer stop wasting your time with Ed and let him bloviate about “conspiracy theorists” and the Anthrax was not weaponized. What a joke. And don’t waste your time thinking some CIA created list of useful jihadist stored in Saudi bank computers called Al Qeada did it either. Jihadist would not target democrats only. It is painfully obvious how far up this crime goes and should people learn that truth it might make them think what else might these people have been capable of doing.

    • Lew Weinstein said

      Your comment is right on target. The FBI is hiding some deep dark secrets. It’s why I wrote CASE CLOSED. The FBI’s case against Ivins is laughable, and they must know it. My “fictional” theory in CASE CLOSED is that the FBI was told NOT TO SOLVE the anthrax case. Which leads to the two crucial questions: 1. Who benefited by not solving the case? 2. Who had the power to divert the FBI from the truth? There are a limited number of answers to those questions. The scenario I play out in CASE CLOSED goes to terrifying corruption at the highest levels of the U.S. government. True? I doubt that the facts in my story conform to what actually happened. But I do believe that I am asking the right questions, and that these questions are so far unanswered. Have you read CASE CLOSED? I’d be interested in your reaction.

    • DXer said

      AS,

      “Ed for years thought the Anthrax was mailed by some twit working at a bowling ally in Jersey.”

      That’s not accurate. I’ve spoken to the fellow. He is neither a twit nor did he work in Jersey. He was in Wisconsin. I do agree, though, that Ed’s theory was baseless. The notable thing about Ed’s theory was that FBI Director Mueller announced on December 21, 2001 that the theory was baloney (see ABC headline using that word). Yet Ed persisted for 7 years in arguing that the FBI was just saying that while actually being convinced Michael was guilty and looking for evidence that would stand up in court. (Ed apparently thought the 9,000 interviews on six continents were a distraction). Ed didn’t even realize that there were three compartmentalized squads working on the matter.

      Ed argued that Michael clearly was guilty because he had a “perfect alibi” — with the police coming to the home in Wisconsin after being called by his mother upon an argument with his neigbhor.

      On Ivins, his theory stemmed from his fundamental confusion for the first 10 months or so on the genetics — he did not realize that there was a stream of genetically matching isolates. He seized on US Attorney Taylor’s use of the word “daughter” and “granddaughter” and not being a scientist, got confused despite the clear explanations provided by numerous microbiologists and journalists.

      On your Hatfill Theory, I agree with the federal district court judge that there is not a scintilla of evidence indicating Dr. Hatfill is guilty. I have read many hundreds of pages of court exhibits and depositions in the matter. You claimed you were a material witness to the mailing — by him. I find such an unsupported claim by an anonymous web poster specious in light of the record evidence. The $5.8 million related to a privacy claim, btw, not guilt or innocence. The district court’s comment seems uncontradicted by any evidence material to the crime and you offer none.

      On Hatfill, I was intrigued by the Cipro issue set forth in the FBI’s affidavit, to be sure, and find the FBI’s theory in good faith. They are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. We fault them if they don’t aggressively pursue all theories and then second-guess them when they do. Their job is not an easy one — being subject to the whims of an anonymously posting peanut gallery and posing Congressional leaders with startling conflicts of interests. But at the end of the day, if Dr. Hatfill did not want suspicion to be drawn to him, he should not have forged a PhD certificate in gaining access to the deadly ebola virus.

      As to my theory, I explain and support it here.

      http://www.anthraxandalqaeda.com

      I address the reason the mailer targeted the head of the Subcommittee overseeing billions in appropriations to Egypt and Israel. The Senator was the author of the law (“Leahy law”) that permitted appropriations to security units who engaged in torture if there were “extraordinary circumstances” (such as were declared after 9/11). The “Leahy Law” was the subject of discussion in late August in connection with the detention of Jaballah, who was the brother-in-law of the head of special operations Shehata. Jaballah was in active contact with Ayman Zawahiri by satellite phone. Senator Leahy, one of my favorite Senators, also was involved with approval of the MLAT that allowed use of evidence from one country in another country. There are many detained EIJ leaders in the UK and elsewhere who are affected. Captured EIJ leaders and even the blind sheik’s lawyer had announced that anthrax would be used in retaliation for the rendering and torture of EIJ leaders. Of course, this was an awkward thing for the Bush Administration to focus on as the motive for the mailed anthrax.

      Bruce Ivins supplied virulent Ames to a friend of a friend. My friend was recruited by Ayman Zawahiri while in medical school to the Egyptian Islamic Group. To his credit, he left the group after they suggested burying a security office alive near the mosque.

      It turns out that the scientist at Ft. Detrick who made the anthrax closest to the attack anthrax was the FBI’s anthrax expert John Ezzell, who spoke with me and confirmed it last week.
      He made it for a DARPA project. In late 2001, the head of a DARPA program told someone they even knew what machine it was made on. And so I’ve always had a special eye out for DARPA programs.

      It turned out that a scientist coordinating with the 911 imam and Bin Laden’s sheik was working 15 feet from the co-directors of a DARPA funded program at the Center for Biodefense. They invented a process by which anthrax was concentrated using silica in the culture medium, which is what is indicated by the forensics according to the FBI WMD head.

      All this hoopla about the FBI concealing the silica data is misconceived. It is journalist Gary Matsumoto who has the info and data and is concealing it while trying to parlay it into a book deal. Shame on Gary. If he were sincerely interested in the correct resolution of the Amerithrax matter, he would just release the information. I really don’t want to hear anymore from Anonymous Scientist about how the FBI is concealing the information from Sandia — it is Matsumoto who is concealing the information from Sandia and the public.

      • DXer said

        In March 1999, attorney al-Zayat was representing defendants in a massive prosecution of jihadists in Cairo. He told the press that Ayman Zawahiri would use weaponized anthrax against US targets because of the continued extradition pressure and torture faced by Egyptian Islamic Jihad members. Two senior EIJ leaders then on trial were saying the same thing to the press and in confessions.

        The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy would not support Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey because Mukasey hasn’t taken a firm enough stand against torture. Leahy said: “No American should need a classified briefing to determine whether waterboarding is torture.” Separately, Patrick Leahy at last report is very dissatisfied with the briefing the former US Attorney General Gonzales had promised to give him on why he had been sent mailed anthrax. At the same time, he repeatedly criticized Gonzales for allowing waterboarding. Judge Mukasey was in a difficult spot in his confirmation hearing through no fault of his own. Senator Leahy, one of my favorite Senators, was targeted in Fall 2001 precisely because of this issue of torture. The folks connected to the WTC 1993 prosecution overseen by Judge Mukasey were responsible. History will Judge Mukasey’s tenure as Attorney General by whether the FBI has truly screwed up Amerithrax as badly as it appears.

        After the assassination of Anwar Sadat, Cairo attorney Montasser al-Zayat first met blind sheik Abdel-Rahman after Montasser had been tortured for 12 hours. He was near a mental breakdown. Abdel-Rahman came over to where he was huddled in a corner of a cell, bent over and whispered: “Rely on God; don’t be defeated.” Mohammed had spoken the words in the Koran. Al- Zayat would become one of Sheik Omar’s most trusted legal advisers and a lawyer on the defense team of El Sayyid Nosair. Nosair was the Egyptian who served as Abdel-Rahman’s bodyguard and was tried in New York in 1990 for the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane.

        US Postal employee Sattar, who had been the blind sheik’s spokesman after his 1993 arrest, in a 1999 Frontline interview spoke of the role of appropriations and torture in fueling the islamist rage:

        “this is the same old story happening again, and again, and again. American government don’t get it. The American government [is] deceiving the American people. They’re not telling them what’s really going on. You can kill Osama bin Laden today or tomorrow. You can arrest him and put him on trial in New York or in Washington.”

        “Tomorrow you will get somebody else, his name probably will be different, Abdullah, or Muhammad. It’s not going to end. Until you, take a hard, and a good look at your policies in the Islamic world and the Muslim world, as long as you’re supporting dictators like Mubarak as long as you are giving aid to regimes that [are worse] to their people than Saddam Hussein, things will get ugly, and you cannot control the emotion of people when you are tortured in Egyptian prison by an American trained Egyptian officer. He is torturing you, and he is bragging that he was in the United States getting his training, when the equipment that he is using is American made.”

        The founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad Kamal Habib (who wrote for the quarterly magazine of the US charity Islamic Assembly of North America) told scholar Fawaz Gerges:

        “The prison years also radicalized al-shabab [young men] and set them on another violent journey. The torture left deep physical and psychological scars on jihadists and fueled their thirst for vengeance. Look at my hands — still spotted with the scars from cigarette burns nineteen years later. For days on end we were brutalized — our faces bloodied, our bodies broken with electrical shocks and other devices. The torturers aimed at breaking our souls and brainwashing us. They wanted to humiliate us and force us to betray the closest members of our cells.

        I spent sleepless nights listening to the screams of young men echoing from torture chambers. A degrading, dehumanizing experience. I cannot convey to you the rage felt by al-shabab who were tortured after Sadat’s assassination.”

        While Kamal Habib wrote for the jihad-supporting Assirat, Ali Al-Timimi was on the Board of Advisers.

        In a videotape that circulated in the summer of 2001, Zawahiri said “In Egypt they put a lot of people in jails — some sentenced to be hanged. And in the Egyptian jails, there is a lot of killing and torture. All this happens under the supervision of America. America has a CIA station as well as an FBI office and a huge embassy in Egypt, and it closely follows what happens in that country. Therefore, America is responsible for everything that happens.”

        An August 29, 2001 opinion column on Islamway, the second most read site for english speaking muslims, illustrates that the role of “Leahy Law” was known by educated islamists:

        “There is an intolerable contradiction between America’s professed policy of opposition to state-sponsored terrorism, exemplified by the Leahy Law, and the U.S. Congress’ continuing sponsorship of Israeli violence against Palestinians.” The article cited “References: CIFP 2001. “Limitations on Assistance to Security Forces: ‘The Leahy Law’” 4/9/01 (Washington, DC: Center for International Foreign Policy) Center for International Foreign Policy Accessed 8/28/01.Hocksteader, Lee 2001.

        The next day, in the same publication, there was an article describing the 21-page document released in Ottawa on August 29, 2001, in which the CSIS claimed that Canadian detainee Jaballah had contacts with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader Shehata and sought to deport Jaballah. Shehata was in charge of EIJ’s Civilian Branch and in charge of “special operations.”The nominal President of the Syracuse-based Help the Needy IANA spin-off was moderator of islamway for women. It would be seven more years — not until February 2008 — before the Canadian government for the first time revealed that after coming to Canada in 1996, Jaballah would contact Ayman regularly on Ayman’s Inmarsat satellite phone.

        “They [Senators Daschle and Leahy] represent something to him,” says James Fitzgerald of the FBI Academy’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. “Whatever agenda he’s operating under, these people meant something to him.” To more fully appreciate why Leahy — a human rights advocate and liberal democrat — might have been targeted as a symbol, it is important to know that Senator Leahy has been the head of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, the panel in charge of aid to Egypt and Israel. In addition to the Senate majority leader, anthrax was mailed to the position symbolic of the 50 billion in appropriations that has been given to Israel since 1947 (and the equally substantial $2 billion annually in aid that has been keeping Mubarak in power in Egypt and the militant islamists out of power).

        Within a couple weeks after September 11, a report in the Washington Post and then throughout the muslim world explained that the President sought a waiver that would allow military assistance to once-shunned nations. The militant islamists who had already been reeling from the extradition of 70 “brothers”, would now be facing much more of the same. President Bush asked Congress for authority to waive all existing restrictions on U.S. military assistance and exports for the next five years to any country where the aid would help the fight against international terrorism. The waiver would include those nations who were currently unable to receive U.S. military aid because of their sponsorship of terrorism (such as Syria and Iran) or because of their nuclear weapons programs (such as Pakistan).

        In late September 2001, the Washington Post quoted Leahy: “We all want to be helpful, and I will listen to what they have in mind.” The article noted that he was chairman of both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee, which were considering the legislation. “But we also want to be convinced that what is being proposed is sound, measured and necessary and not merely impulsive,” said Leahy. “Moral leadership in defense of democracy and human rights is vital to what we stand for in the world. Acts of terrorism are violations of human rights. Now is the time to show what sets us apart from those who attack us,” he said.

        The options being considered in response to the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington included potential cooperation with virtually every Middle Eastern and South and Central Asian nation near Afghanistan. “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists” would be the only test for foreign aid. The “Leahy Law” plays a key role in the secret “rendering” of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Al Qaeda) operatives to countries like Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Algeria where they are allegedly tortured. Richard Clarke, counterterrorism czar during the Clinton Administration, has quoted Vice-President Gore saying: “Of course it’s a violation of international law, that’s why it’s a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass.” Although humanitarian in its intent, the Leahy Law permits continued appropriations to military and security units who conduct torture in the event of “extraordinary circumstances.”

        In an interview broadcast on al-Jazeera television on October 7, 2001 (October 6 in the US) — about when the second letter saying “Death to America’” and “Death to Israel” was mailed — Ayman Zawahiri echoed a familiar refrain sounded by Bin Laden: “O people of the U.S., can you ask yourselves a question: Why all this enmity for the United States and Israel? *** Your government supports the corrupt governments in our countries.”

        A month after 9/11, late at night, a charter flight from Cairo touched down at the Baku airport. An Egyptian, arrested by the Azerbaijan authorities on suspicions of having played a part in the September 11 attack, was brought on board. His name was kept secret. That same night the plane set off in the opposite direction. Much of the Amerithrax story has happened at night with no witnesses, with the rendering of University of Karachi microbiology student Saeed Mohammed merely one example. Zawahiri claims that there is a US intelligence bureau inside the headquarters of the Egyptian State Security Investigation Department that receives daily reports on the number of detainees and those detainees who are released. At the time Ayman Zawahiri was getting his biological weapons program in full swing, his own brother Mohammed was picked up in the United Arab Emirates. He was secretly rendered to Egyptian security forces and sentenced to death rendered in the 1999 Albanian returnees case.

        Throughout 2001, the Egyptian islamists were wracked by extraditions and renditions. CIA Director Tenet once publicly testified that there had been 70 renditions prior to 9/11. At the same time a Canadian judge was finding that Mahmoud Mahjoub was a member of the Vanguards of Conquest and would be denied bail, Bosnian authorities announced on October 6, 2001 they had handed over three Egyptians to Cairo who had been arrested in July. In Uruguay, a court authorized the extradition to Egypt of a man wanted in Egypt for his alleged role in the 1997 Luxor attack. Ahmed Agiza, the leader of the Vanguards of Conquest (which can be viewed as an offshoot of Jihad), was handed over by Sweden in December 2001.

        One islamist, a Hamas supporter, summarized why the anthrax was sent in an ode “To Anthrax” on November 1, 2001: “O, anthrax, despite, your wretchedness, you have sewn horror in the heart of the lady of arrogance, of tyranny, of boastfulness!” In an interview that appeared in the Pakistani paper, Dawn, on November 10, 2001, Bin Laden explained that “The American Congress endorses all government measures, and this proves that [all of] America is responsible for the atrocities perpetrated against Muslims.”

        At a December 2002 conference held by “Accuracy in Media,” former State Department analyst Kenneth Dillon noted that Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), the key component of al Qaeda under Dr. Ayman Zawahiri, head of al Qaeda’s biowarfare program, likely targeted Senator Leahy because of his role as head of a panel of the Senate Appropriations Committee that had developed the so-called “Leahy Law” in 1998. Dillon explained, “According to the wording of the Leahy Law, the U.S. Government was authorized to ‘render’ suspected foreign nationals to the government of a foreign country, even when there was a possibility that they would be tortured, in ‘exceptional circumstances.’ When the Leahy Law was applied to send EIJ members captured in the Balkans back to Egypt, Zawahiri fiercely denounced the United States. So Leahy was a high-priority target.”

        That aid goes to the core of Al Qaeda’s complaint against the United States. (The portion going to Egypt and Israel constituted, by far, the largest portion of US foreign aid, and most of that is for military and security purposes.) Pakistan is a grudging ally in the “war against terrorism” largely due to the US Aid it now receives in exchange for that cooperation. The press in Pakistan newspapers regularly reported on protests arguing that FBI’s reported 12 agents in Pakistan in 2002 were an affront to its sovereignty. There was a tall man, an Urdu-speaking man, and a woman — all chain-smokers — who along with their colleagues were doing very important work in an unsupportive, even hostile, environment. The US agents — whether CIA or FBI or US Army — caused quite a stir in Pakistan along with the Pakistani security and intelligence officials who accompanied them. In mid-March 2003, Washington waived sanctions imposed in 1999 paving the way for release in economic aid to Pakistan. Billions more would be sent to Egypt, Israel and other countries involved in the “war against terrorism.”

        The commentators like “AS” above (not to be confused by “Anonymous Scientist”) who suggest that Al Qaeda would have had no motivation to send weaponized anthrax to Senators Daschle and Leahy as symbolic targets — because they are democrats — are mistaken. The main goal of Dr. Zawahiri is to topple President Mubarak. He views the US aid as the chief obstacle and is indifferent to this country’s labels of conservative and liberal.

        Zawahiri likely was surprised that the plainly worded message of the letters accompanying the anthrax was not deemed clear. Perhaps the talking heads would not have been so quick to infer an opposite meaning if no message had been expressed using words at all. Perhaps the public the sender had relied only on what KSM describes as the language of war — the death delivered by the letters — the pundits would not have been so misdirected. But why was Al Qaeda evasive on the question of responsibility for the anthrax mailings, dismissing the issue with a snicker, and falsely claiming that Al Qaeda did not know anything about anthrax? Simple. Bin Laden denied responsibility for 9/11 until it was beyond reasonable dispute. On September 16, 2001, he said: “The US is pointing the finger at me but I categorically state that I have not done this. I am residing in Afghanistan. I have taken an oath of allegiance (to Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar) which does not allow me to do such things from Afghanistan.” Before that, Ayman had denied the 1998 embassy bombings too. On August 20, 1998, coincidentally on the day of strikes on camps in Afghanistan and Sudan, Ayman al-Zawahiri contacted The News, a Pakistani English-language daily, and said on behalf of Bin Laden that “Bin Laden calls on Moslem Ummah to continue Jihad against Jews and Americans to liberate their holy places. In the meanwhile, he denies any involvement in the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam bombings.” To Ayman, “war is deception.”

        The targeted Senators have another connection pertinent to the Egyptian militants. The United States and other countries exchange evidence for counterterrorism cases under the legal framework of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (”MLAT”). Egypt is signatory of such a treaty that was ratified by the United States Senate in late 2000. For example, when the Fall 2001 rendition of Vanguards of Conquest leader Agizah was criticized, the US explained that it was relying on the MLAT. In the prosecution of Post Office worker Ahmed Abdel Sattar, the MLAT was described. Sattar’s attorney Michael Tigar, at trial in December 2004 explained: “Now, that might be classified, it’s true, but we have now found out and our research has just revealed that on, that the State Department has reported that it intends to use and relies on the mutual legal assistance treaty between the United States and Egypt signed May 3, 1998, in Cairo, and finally ratified by the United States Senate on October 18th, 2000. The State Department issued a press report about this treaty on November 29th, 2001 and I have a copy here.” He explained that “Article IV of the treaty provides that requests under the treaty can be made orally as well as under the formal written procedures required by the treaty, that those requests can include requests for testimony, documents, and even for the transfer to the United States if the treaty conditions are met.”

        Vanguards of Conquest spokesman Al-Sirri was a co-defendant in the case against post office worker Sattar. In the late 1990s Sattar and he often spoke in conversations intercepted by the FBI. Al-Sirri’s fellow EIJ cell members in London were subject to process under those treaties at the time of the anthrax mailings. Those London cell members had been responsible for the faxing of the claim of responsibility which stated the motive for the 1998 embassy bombings. A group calling itself the “Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places” took credit for the bombings listing as among their demands “the release of the Muslims detained in the United State[s] first and foremost Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (the spiritual guide of the Gama’a Islamiya) who is jailed in the United States.” As reason for the bombings, in addition to the rendition recent EIJ members to Cairo and the detention of Blind Sheik Abdel-Rahman, the faxes pointed to the detention of dissident Saudi Sheik al-Hawali . Al-Hawali was the mentor of GMU microbiology student Al-Timimi who spoke in London in August 2001 alongside 911 Imam Awlaki (also from Falls Church) and unindicted WTC 1993 conspirator Bilal Philips. Al-Timimi was in contact with Saudi sheik Al-Hawali in 2002 and arranged to hand deliver a message to all members of Congress he had drafted in al-Hawali’s name on the first anniversary of the anthrax mailings to Senator Leahy and Daschle.

        Michael Scheuer the former chief, Bin Laden Unit, eruditely defended the extraordinary rendition program he had launched at the request of President Clinton and his advisors before Congress in April 2007. There’s always been a huge irony in Michael Scheuer’s emphasis on how OBL is attacking the US for its policies without publicly acknowledging the importance of the rendition policy is to those planning the attacks. For the purpose of true crime analysis, it’s not rendition as a policy or human rights issue — or even a tactical issue — that is the question presented. It is walking in the shoes of your adversary (as expert Scheuer urged us to do in his 2002 book). The key is seeing things in terms of what motivates them to act. Sometimes it’s the only way to catch the bad guys — so that you then have the luxury of deciding how well you are going to treat them.

        The Amerithrax Task Force imagines that Ft. Detrick anthrax researcher Bruce Ivins targeted Leahy and Daschle because they were Catholics who voted pro-choice in opposition to the beliefs of the Catholic Church. The affidavit regarding Dr. Ivins further explains:

        “On September 26, 2001, in an email to a friend, Dr. Ivins writes: “The news media has been saying that some members of Congress and members of the ACLU oppose many of the Justice Department proposals for combating terrorism, saying that they are unconstitutional and infringe too much on civil liberties. Many people don’t know it but the official ACLU position to oppose all metal detectors in airports and schools and other public buildings. It’s interesting that we may now be living in a time when our biggest threat to civil liberties and freedom doesn’t come from the government but from enemies of the government. Osama Bin Laden has just decreed death to all Jews and all Americans, but I guess that doesn’t mean a lot to the ACLU. Maybe I should move to Canada…”

        If FBI Director Mueller had not compartmentalized the Task Force into three investigative squads over Lambert’s strong objection, then maybe the folks submitting the Ivins affidavits might have been better able to judge the viability of their theory as to Ivins’ motivations and not had to settle for a ridiculous sorority theory.

  3. DXer said

    Dr. John Ezzell, the only fellow known to have made dry powdered Ames anthrax at Ft. Detrick (for a DARPA project done at a University) addresses this issue of altered records in a chapter in the FBI-sponsored treatise MICROBIAL FORENSICS.

    He writes (at p. 222)

    “However, if there are original data remaining in the laboratory, there should be information provided in the sample folder or LIMS tracing the sample analysis to specfic laboratory notebooks or computerized data files that are recorded as write-protected, read-only files. With any system, there will be errors in data and case records, and it is imperative that mistakes and corrections are clearly identifiable. Entry errors should not be erased or completely marked out, but rather the entry should be marked through with a single line, initialed, and dated. In that original data should be preserved, all notes should be saved. The data management system, whether as a hard copy or electronic, should be established or designed with the understanding that records may be subpoenaed years later. If the analytical laboratory chooses not to maintain the records for extended periods of time, then arrangements should be made with the respective law enforcement agencies to transfer the data and records to an approved location.”

  4. DXer said

    The record for flask 1029 record originally listed the location as 1412.

    Then someone whited out the location and put down 1425.

    Ed, if I show you both records — including unredacted copies — would it change the viability of your Ivins Theory to know that someone changed 1412 to 1425? (and sought to make the change undetectable?…at least upon xeroxing)

    Was Dr. Ivins a neatnik who altered the original record after the flask came to be in 1425? (That would be very sloppy record-keeping because it would not reflect its location up until the date it was moved).

    Or was it all just a brilliant stimulation exercise on the part of law enforcement? (As you know, I favor the view that law enforcement is brilliant and just disagree with their claim that Ivins is guilty). I’m open to all alternatives.

    I don’t favor the view, though, that someone did it to falsify the investigation because it should have been known that copies of the document existed in the earlier form and had already been released. I submitted my first FOI years ago.

    Dr. John Ezzell in his chapter on Microbial Forensics regarding handling pathogens in a lab specifically notes that the originals — including all earlier versions — be kept intact. Otherwise, someone would be able to rewrite history, whiting out any inconvenient facts.

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