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

* Take another look at just how weak (pathetic!) the FBI case against Dr. Ivins is …

Posted by DXer on December 12, 2009

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Every once in awhile, it’s good to re-visit just how weak the FBI case against Dr.Bruce Ivins actually is.

Here are extracts from the August 2008 press conference, as reported by CNN …



Anthrax Attacks News Conference; Aired August 6, 2008 – 16:00   ET


FBI announces - August 8, 2008 - that Dr. ivins is the sole perpetrator and the case will soon be closed

QUESTION: Jeff, did you find any handwriting samples or hair samples that would have matched Dr. Ivins to the envelopes where the hair samples were found in the mailbox?


JOSEPH PERISCHINI JR., ASST. DIR. IN CHARGE, FBI WASHINGTON FIELD OFFICE: We did not find any handwriting analysis or hair samples in the mailbox. So there was no forensics for that part.

QUESTION: Did you take handwriting samples from Dr. Ivins?

PERISCHINI: We examined handwriting samples, but then there was no comparison made or a specification identification of the handwriting. And it appears that if the analysts would look at it, that there was an attempt to disguise the handwriting. So he was unable to make a comparison.

TAYLOR: With respect to handwriting samples, we did have indications from individuals with whom we spoke that there appeared to be some similarities in handwriting that were apparent. That said, we did not have a scientifically valid conclusion that we thought would lead us to be able to admit that in evidence.

QUESTION: Do you think there’s a connection between Ivins and what was known at the time as the Quantico letter? That was the letter sent in September of 2001 identifying an Arab-American scientist at Fort Detrick as a bioterrorist. The letter also threatened a bioterror attack, and also “Death to Israel.”

Were you ever satisfied that you were able to run down that letter and the author of that letter?

TAYLOR: Not aware of any connection. To my knowledge, there’s no evidence linking the two.

QUESTION: In your affidavits, there’s a footnote that notes — indicates you searched, you had probable cause to search “other individuals,” more than one. Can you talk about the scope of the number of people you searched that you had probable cause on?

TAYLOR: I’m not going to get into the details of other investigative techniques that were handled — that were used in this case with the other individuals. We’re here today to say, based on all that investigation, we stand here today firmly convinced that we have the person who committed those attacks, and we are confident that had this gone to trial, we would have proved him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt — Mark.

QUESTION: Can you tell us how Dr. Ivins was able to get the anthrax out of the lab and he did not get sick himself?

Also, were you able to place him at the mailboxes in Princeton?

TAYLOR: With respect to your first question about getting the anthrax out of the site, Dr. Ivins — and correct me if I’m wrong, Ken — had vaccinated himself against anthrax.

With respect to the mailbox, as I laid out before, there is ample evidence in this case pointing to Dr. Ivins as the individual who drove to Princeton to mail those letters. He had the hours in the hot suite (ph) during the relevant times. We looked at the records when he was at work and when he would have had time to drive to Princeton, New Jersey, and it’s clear from those records that he had time on the relevant occasions to drive to Princeton, mail the envelopes, and come back. There’s also evidence I’ll refer you to in the affidavits concerning where that mailbox was located in Princeton, New Jersey, in relation to some obsessive conduct on his part with regard to a sorority.

Again, it’s a chain of evidentiary items that, assembled together, leads to one reasonable conclusion, and that is Dr. Ivins mailed that anthrax in those envelopes from that mailbox in Princeton.


QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) a gas receipt or that shows he was there? I mean, actually proves that he was in that area?

TAYLOR: We don’t have that piece of direct evidence you mentioned.

QUESTION: Sir, two questions. Is there any evidence at all that Dr. Ivins, based on his knowledge of his co-worker, somehow framed or set up Dr. Hatfill?

TAYLOR: There’s no evidence to indicate anything like that.


157 Responses to “* Take another look at just how weak (pathetic!) the FBI case against Dr. Ivins is …”

  1. DXer said

    Declassify and Release the Fort Hood Emails

    As with Amerithrax, there is no reason not to declassify and release the Fort Hood emails except for one: Cover Your Ass.

    When is the Obama Administration going to be part of the solution of the repeated failures to “connect the dots” — rather than part of the problem?

    It would be unreasonable for the public to always expect success in thwarting attacks or solving difficult cases — Monday morning quarterbacking, 20/20 hindsight are rightfully dismissed. But only in combination with a straightforward, these-are-the-facts-approach. (And of course it is important to get those facts right).

    It is not unreasonable for the public to expect straightforwardness and integrity in dealing with the issues and difficulties as they arise.

  2. DXer said

    NEW YORK, Dec. 29, 2009
    Did Abdulmutallab Meet Radical Cleric?
    American-Born Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki Already Linked to Fort Hood Suspect Hasan and Several 9/11 Attackers

    (CBS) The suspect in the Christmas day bombing attempt on Northwest Flight 253 may have been in contact with a radical imam, Anwar Al-Awlaki, linked to the 9/11 hijackers and Fort Hood Shooting suspect.

    Sources tell the CBS News investigative unit that say that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab may have met with Al-Awlaki in the United Kingdom while he was a student there.

    Both men lived in London, though it is not clear whether their time there overlapped. Abdulmutallab apparently attended a talk by Al-Awlaki at London mosque, though Al-Awlaki, barred from entering Britain since 2006, may have addressed the meeting by video teleconference.

    Since leaving the United States in 2002, Al-Awlaki has mainly lived in Yemen, where Abdulmutallab also spent several months this year.

    Investigators are looking at whether there was a relationship between them and whether the imam played a role in preparing him for martyrdom in this attack or had a role in the attack itself. Investigators believe Al-Awlaki may have helped him helped him on his road to radicalization.

    Al-Awlaki was born in the United States and moved back to Yemen in 2002. Al-Awlaki reportedly corresponded by e-mail with Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is charged with killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov.5.


    The Bush Administration was able to avoid embarrassment over the fact that Al-Timimi had been White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card’s assistant in another life and had recently received a White House letter of commendation for classified work.

    The White House insulated much of the investigation of Al-Timimi from Amerithrax investigators by avoiding Title III and FISA.

    The Bush Administration used warrantless NSA wiretapping. Only two individuals at the US DOJ were even aware of the program.

    This goes beyond a failure to connect the dots. This constitutes a continuing obscuring of the dots connecting Anwar Aulaki, Ali Al-Timimi and anthrax that has been countenanced by the current National Security Council.

    His defense counsel says Anwar Aulaqi was central to the conspiracy alleged against his client, who he describes as an “anthrax weapons suspect.”

    I expect a decision on highly classified briefing within the next month.

  3. DXer said

    This fellow Anwar Aulaqi taunting the FBI DC Field Office and CIA was the same fellow coordinating with Ali Al-Timimi. The real lesson to learn is that salafists play by rules — and one rule related to the requirement of a warning. The informed analyst, therefore, is not thrown off by the fact that the anthrax letters were targeted and contained the statements they did. In fact, the jihadist manual expressly instructs to tape the envelope in a manner so as to avoid killing the mailman. The “ulema” is consulted on the laws of jihad before an attack.

    Report: Hasan asked about killing troops in ’08
    Cleric says alleged Fort Hood shooter inquired whether it would be ‘lawful’

    A radical Muslim cleric claims Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan asked him about killing American soldiers nearly a year before Hasan allegedly shot to death 13 fellow soldiers at Fort Hood.

    In an interview Wednesday with the Arabic-language news network Al-Jazeera, Anwar al-Awlaki, considered a key recruiter for al-Qaida, said Hasan asked him in a December 2008 e-mail “whether killing American soldiers and officers is lawful or not” under Islamic law.

    In the interview, Al-Awlaki then appears to taunt U.S. intelligence and security, saying, “I wonder where were the American security forces that one day claimed they can read the numbers of any license plate, anywhere in the world, from space.”

    FBI Agents Play Blame Game: Report
    Who found which e-mails and when did they share them is at question
    Dec 21, 2009

    What has unfolded is a blame game within the FBI pitting the San Diego office against Washington D.C., reports Kelly Thornton with our media partner
    FBI agents based in San Diego intercepted close to 20 emails between Hasan and al-Aulaqi, but reports those emails were shared with counterparts in Washington, D.C.

    “Everything was fully communicated to the Washington field office, they had computer access to everything San Diego had,” a law enforcement source told the online news site. “It was received and [Washington] said they didn’t think it was an issue.”

  4. DXer said

    “Heroin users warned as two die from anthrax-laced drug in Glasgow,” Times Online, December 24, 2009

    “Anthrax was suspected of being responsible for a series of deaths among Scottish heroin addicts in 2000. New Scientist magazine reported that tests at the UK biological defence laboratory in Porton Down found signs of infection in dead addicts, even though health officials in Glasgow, where several of the deaths occurred, dismissed the claims.”

  5. DXer said

    There is a new November 13, 2009 memo from the University of Michigan Vice President of Research on Export Controls.

    The old VP of research will become provost at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (in Saudi Arabia).

  6. DXer said

    By email November 2, 2000, Dr. Ivins discusses shipping Ames out of the country pursuant to Export license request z173008. He writes: “I have no idea what research will be done with the strain after it leaves here.”

    I called the automatic confirmation service available to check the status of the application at 202-482-2752. The automated system is called STELA and I know her well.

    (The instructions say to type in the number, using “9” to represent “z.”)

    STELA advises that the application for export control license was denied on July 4, 2001.

    Query: Did Dr. Ivins send it anyway? Before/ without receiving export control clearance? Is that why the 1029 inventory was altered?

    The case I mentioned involving combat helicopters sold to Iraq involved an indictment for violation of the Export Control requirements, false statements to the effect the TOW missiles were going to be used to hunt gophers, things along that line.

    Those documents are not something that the exporter or importer wants to get wrong.

    • DXer said

      Guess who the party requesting the export control license was!

    • DXer said

      I had said “out of the country pursuant ….”

      Errata –

      an export license is also required for a shipment within the country to a non-citizen.

    • DXer said

      Here is an example of a false statement on an export control document. Even omission of a material fact is a real problem.

      US nuclear parts trafficker sentenced

      Israel denies the parts were to be used for nuclear weapons

      An American physicist has been sentenced to 40 months in prison and fined $20,000 for trafficking components that could be used as triggers for nuclear weapons.
      Richard Kelly Smyth, 72, and his wife spent 16 years on the run after he jumped bail in 1985 while awaiting trial.

      “[Escaping] was a grave mistake and error on my part… I wish I had never done it.”

      In December Smyth, a former scientific adviser to the US Air Force and to Nato, pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Arms Export Control Act and to making a false statement to Customs. …

      He was immediately made eligible for parole at Monday’s sentencing, due to his age and health problems.

      Krytrons, the tiny electronic devices which Smyth was convicted of exporting, are used in high-speed photography, strobe lighting and photocopying machines, but can also be used in nuclear triggers.

      Israeli involvement

      Smyth was originally indicted for allegedly selling about 800 krytrons to an Israeli-based firm, Heli Corp, when he was president of the company Milco International Inc.

      Then owner of Heli Corp, Arnon Milchan, denied involvement in the $60,000 krytron deal.

      But he later said that the Israeli Government had used his company as a conduit for trading with the United States.

      After Smyth was indicted, Israel returned most of the krytrons, denying that they were ever intended for use in nuclear weapons.

      • DXer said

        In a University of Michigan 2004 Annual Report on Research and Scholarship, Fawwaz T. Ulaby, Vice President for Research at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor explained the problem the University had been having with export control provisions being inserted into contracts.

        He discussed the

        “2005 Jerome B. Wiesner science policy symposium on biosafety issues and their impact on university research. The symposium – “Academic Freedom and National Security: Biological Research in the Post-9/11 Era” – was held on the morning of February 14, 2005, in the Great Lakes Room,Palmer Commons. Biological research has unquestionably benefited society and has great potential to continue to do so. However, in the hands of terrorists, research findings can be misused to cause great public harm. This symposium examined how such research can continue to thrive even as procedures are developed to prevent potential public health disasters. Thek eynote speaker was Ronald M. Atlas, Professor of Biology and Graduate Dean at theUniversity of Louisville, past President of American Society for Microbiology, and a member ofthe Institute of Medicine Committee, which authored the 2004 National Research Council report“Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism.” Following the keynote address, panelistsfrom the NIH, CDC, FBI, and the UM faculty presented their thoughts on this topic, followed by discussion and audience questions.

        Increased restrictions by Federal Agencies

        In reaction to the September11, 2001 tragedy and the enactment of the USA PATRIOTAct, some federal agencies, suchas DOD and DOE, have expanded the use of Export Controlregulations in funded projects (Figures 18-20). Export controlscarry restrictions on publication of research findings and on the participation of foreign nationalsin research projects. A task force composed of several deans and co-chaired by the Provost andVice President for Research developed a “Research Restrictions Policy” which reaffirms the position that the University will not accept projectsthat exclude the participation by researchers on the basis of their ethnicity or national origin. Exceptions are allowable underspecial circumstances, but they require approval by the Vice President for Research. This issue continues to plague major research universities and has been the subject of many discussions among senior research officers, as well as at many meetings with government..

      • DXer said

        The issue came up at a University of Michigan Regents meeting in May 2000.

        “Discussion of Export Control Issues


        There may be an issue with faculty participants who are not US citizens or faculty at UM. Sharon Sivyer, UM security officer, works on issues related to who needs security clearance and also is project representative.

        There are long and complex federal regulations, originating from different concerns the government has had related to export control issues. For example, ITAR, which is concerned with export administration regulation and the Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act. One issue is that these regulations are designed to control the sharing of defense-sensitive ideas. Many regulations are old, and the issues have been around forever. The recent spy case at Los Alamos, where data was going from research labs to foreign nationals, led to an elevation and reawakening of these issues in the last two years.

        Elaine Brock distributed the current policy. There is no expert on export regulations. UM is seeing overkill in contracts coming from government agencies and sub contractors, imposing on us the restrictions and paranoia which the government is imposing on them. We must get to a point where we think we know how they deal with these restrictions and understand what the scope of is, where will the impact be as the regulations are currently written and enough of a system to apply for and breeze through the process if we have to apply them. Export regulations will continue to exist but we need to get to the point where we can quickly apply them.


        There are enough projects of interest to faculty that it would not be realistic to say we will refuse the regulations – this would have an impact on faculty ability to pursue research interests. If we accept the restrictions, how we would apply them? Universities do not want this issue to restrict how they recruit students and faculty. UM will try to go through a more practical analysis on the impact from the point of view of dollars and time and will continue in discussions with the university community.


        This is an area that probes deep into our fundamental research values; publications, hiring faculty and recruitment of students and is an amorphous issue. RPC should at least be alert that this is a problem that can impact our colleagues and students at UM. We need to be aware that it is simmering and also that the pendulum swings back and forth.”

      • DXer said

        “Bureau of Export Administration: Management of the Commerce Control List and Related Processes Should Be Improved, Inspection Report No. IPE-13744
        Mar. 2001. 82 pp.; In English

        The House and Senate Armed Services Committees, through the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000, directed the Inspectors General of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, and State, in consultation with the Director of Central Intelligence and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to assess the adequacy of export controls and counterintelligence measures to prevent the acquisition of militarily sensitive U.S. technology and technical information by countries and entities of concern. The legislation mandates that the Inspectors General report to the Congress by March 30 each year until 2007.

  7. DXer said

    Speaking of the underlying evidence, rather than assertions, what is the evidence that this new death reported this afternoon by BBC is due to anthrax rather than cloristridium? Dr. Ahmed in 2000 had argued that Porton Down was in error and that it was cloristridium that caused the heroin deaths in Scotland. Are they sure it is anthrax in 2009? If so, does that have bearing on the findings and debate in 2000? Have the testing methods changed and become more reliable or are there other facts that differentiate the episodes?

    Second heroin user anthrax death

    Health officials have confirmed that a second heroin user, who tested positive for anthrax, has died.

  8. DXer said

    Turning to this issue of altered records, based on documentary evidence at

    when you go to look to see where he might have shipped 0.2 ml that was subject to the need for an Export Control License of Ames at the end of 2000 (see new correspondence released under FOIA), you don’t see an entry on the flask 1029 inventory.

    But for that matter you don’t see a contemporaneous entry of the shipment to UNM either. That entry was the only other entry less than 1 ml. Did he have a practice of not recording withdrawals if less than 1 ml?

    Instead you see a reference to 0.5 ml fed exed to Rick Lyon (the UNM researcher) on March 2001 with the notation that the entry was added in April 2004! 3 years later.

    That is, Dr. Ivins added the shipment to UNM to his records three years after the fact.

    Is there any other transfer that Dr. Ivins neglected to enter?

    Such as the other transfer less than 1 ml? Dr. Lyons in 2001 said that he expected what had been shipped to him from Bruce was genetically identical to the strain used in the attack.

    Is there any reason to doubt that any other shipment that was the subject of the export license was also genetically identical? What was the usage of flask 1028? flask 1030?

    Did Bruce re-do the second page relating to flask 1029 as has been suggested by some of his colleagues based on their observation of the document?

    And if he re-did it (while whiting out the Bldg. number in the first page and changing that), did he drop the shipment subject to the export control license and/or the shipment to UNM? Later adding back the reference to UNM? Did he falsely fail to reveal these transfers to investigators? Did he provide altered documents?

    In comparing page 1 and page 2, note that page 1 does not have “Amount In” filled in such as appears on page 2. It is on page 1 that there is an unexplained 100 ml discrepancy that other posters here have just assumed was a math error rather than a transfer that was not recorded at the time it was made (as is the case of the transfer to UNM).

    • DXer said

      In the newly released email he breaks down the percentage time that he and another colleague spent visiting Bioport, doing aerosol studies, site visits, etc involving Bioport. All of the scientists helping Bioport received a top civilian award. There are other emails I did not summarize involving conference calls and the like for the IPT mentioned in this article about the award they received. Patricia Fellows was with Dr. Ivins in the Bacteriology Division.

      Dr. Ivins was writing Dr. Fellows, who was his friend, in the email reported by FoxNews which stated that the FBI had narrowed the field to four suspects, to include a leading anthrax scientist and former deputy USAMRIID Commander, a microbiologist and perhaps one other.

      Wednesday, March 19, 2003
      USAMRIID employees earn top civilian award

      Three employees of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases received the highest honor given to Defense Department civilians at a Pentagon ceremony March 14.

      Dr. Louise Pitt, Dr. Bruce Ivins and Stephen Little were awarded the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service, which is equivalent to the Distinguished Service Medal for military service. Patricia Fellows, formerly of USAMRIID and now with the Southern Research Institute in Frederick, also received the award. From April 2000 to February 2002, they served as members of the Anthrax Potency Integrated Product Team, which was responsible for solving technical problems associated with the manufacture of the anthrax vaccine used by the Department of Defense.

      Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed, or AVA, is manufactured by Bioport Inc. of Lansing, Mich. In 1997, U.S. military personnel began receiving the vaccine to protect against a possible biological attack. Several months later, Bioport encountered difficulties with the potency test required for the vaccine to maintain licensure with the Food and Drug Administration. A number of vaccine lots failed the potency test, causing a shortage of vaccine and eventually halting the Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program.

      Getting the anthrax vaccine back into production was the mission of the IPT. Over a nearly two-year period, the team performed numerous site visits to Bioport, working directly with the manufacturer. This close coordination was important, Ivins said, to determine where the problems were and resolve them so the vaccine would pass the potency test.

      “Their expertise is in production, while ours is solving scientific problems,” Ivins explained. “Both perspectives were necessary.”

      Each of the USAMRIID scientists contributed something unique. Pitt’s expertise in aerobiology was tapped to design, conduct and interpret key aerosol studies of the vaccine’s efficacy using animal models. She solved procedural problems related to the potency assay and helped plan the studies that compared different lots of anthrax vaccine in rabbits and among guinea pigs from different vendors, thus identifying a major source of variability in the potency assay. These studies paved the way to regaining AVA licensure, acting as an anchor that allowed test results obtained with numerous vaccine lots, conducted at different laboratories, to be compared in a meaningful way.

      Ivins, experienced in the characterization and handling of anthrax spores and in animal models of anthrax vaccine immunization, helped perform studies comparing vaccine efficacy from different vaccine lots in the rabbit aerosol model of anthrax. He also solved problems associated with the production, purification, storage and use of the anthrax spores needed for challenge in the potency assay.

      Little’s specialty, serological testing of host immune responses to anthrax infection and anthrax vaccine immunization, was also critical to the team’s success. He established the immune assay systems used in studies comparing serological responses to the human anthrax vaccine by the manufacturer. He also supplied Bioport with the diagnostic reagents needed for these serological studies.

      Fellows provided expert advice to Bioport for spore storage procedures and protocols, and she provided technical assistance to a Bioport contractor with respect to methodology for producing, harvesting and purifying anthrax spores. She also assisted with a number of the animal studies that were performed.

      Thanks to the efforts of the IPT, the anthrax vaccine was reapproved for human use early in 2002.

      “I’m proud of our scientists,” said USAMRIID Commander Col. Erik Henchal. “They were able to translate over three decades of our knowledge and experience with anthrax into action to improve production of the vaccine. Their success underscores the enormous value of USAMRIID to the war fighter and to the nation’s defense against biological threats.”

      All three USAMRIID team members said they were surprised to receive an award for, as they called it, “just doing our job.”

      Ivins summed it all up by saying, “Awards are nice. But the real satisfaction is knowing the vaccine is back on-line.”

  9. DXer said

    Ed has the unsupported notion that the FBI withheld key information from the affidavit in support of a search after Dr. Ivins death.

    And in assessing its probativeness, he thought the genetics pointed to 1 guy — instead of up to 300. He just has never been principled enough to say “Oops, my mistake on the 1 vs. 300 people was very central to how I viewed the probativeness of the evidence. Experienced prosecutors, after they received private briefings (and hold security clearances) were stunned at the FBI’s conclusions.

  10. DXer said

    Never let it be said that the internet isn’t entertaining, Anonymous Scientist.

    First we had The Great Satan, an anonymous poster, who argued that FBI Agent Jennifer Gant did not exist. I had to call the FBI and ask Pamela, her colleague who accompanied Jennifer on the search of the Hatfill search, that Jennifer existed. But she would neither confirm nor deny it. She did, however, graciously confirm that she herself existed so that if Jennifer was imaginary, she at least had a real friend to go out with for drinks after work.

    So I dutifully reported to The Great Satan the news that Jennifer was not imaginary. (Indeed, she was recently in the newspaper regarding the question whether President Clinton was getting serviced by an intern).

    Then we had another anonymous poster, Anthrax Profiler, who argued that The Great Satan was really a Merck employee in West Point, PA, at a vaccine manufacturing facility. And that he was the anthrax mailer. Ever willing to help out in exploring and debunk hypotheses,but given The Great Satan’s efforts to remain anonymous, I (actually, a friend) had The Great Satan’s telephone calls traced and identified him.

    I then called him where he was a graduate student in the field in California to ask him if he was really from the Philadelphia area as The Anthrax Profiler was certain he was. While I had him on the phone, I told him that Pamela and Jennifer were real agents — indeed, they were very Special Agents, as “BugMaster” would say.

    Then, after taking time out to show that a First Grader did not write the letters as Ed insists happened — and showing that his First Grader is imaginary — Ed tops all of the above by crediting an anonymous tip without disclosing to both of his readers that he didn’t know the identity of the person telling him that. It is extremely reckless on Ed’s part, as is his hurting the feelings of that First Grader.

    Does anyone appreciate that true crime analysis is supposed to be a review of factual evidence, and not idiotic speculation without a factual basis? Did I mention that a lot of Ivins’ emails have just been produced and they provide no support for an Ivins Theory? And that there is not one single email to a First Grader in the entire lot?

    Heck, Bruce was even suggesting that Gary M. come and make a scientific presentation! :0)

    No credible reporter, Ed, would have repeated such news on an anonymous tidbit. Similarly, no credible analyst would avoid addressing the facts and instead argue that he was 99% certain that the anthrax letters were a First Grader.

    • Anonymous scientist said

      It’s totally priceless that Lake would actually make a post admitting he didn’t even know the identity of the anonymous source who keeps feeding him information.
      Do you think his source slips him notes under the dividing wall of stalls 3 and 4 in the mens room of Racine Greyhound bus station? Maybe along with the latest celebrity nude pictures?

      • DXer said

        It’s a wonder Ed did not consider the hypothesis that someone was having fun at his expense by being his Deep Throat. (Not in a Clintonesque sense.)

      • DXer said

        As an example, I had BugMaster’s IP within 4 minutes of the question being raised as to who she was.

        While I still haven’t figured out who you are, Anonymous Scientist, you do use big words and I am drawn to that… so I’m giving you a free pass.

      • DXer said

        It took a computer security consultant friend of mine to be the first to tell me that Ed was posting using the same IP as The Fake Detective. The FBI may have been paying him to work undercover but he secretly was working for me.

  11. BugMaster said

    “One might conclude that a grand jury was asked to hear evidence for charges of “accessory after the fact” AND “lying to a federal officer” and only handed down an indictment for the second charge.”

    Ed, if Ivins acted alone, there would be no “accessory after the fact”. Furthermore, if the FBI wanted to compel someone to turn over some documents, they would be subpoenaed, not indicted.

    And why would someone get advance notice from the FBI that they will get advance notice one day before an official announcement?

    Wouldn’t just one advance notice be enough?

    • BugMaster said


      I take it “Source A” never had any doubts or expressed any concern regarding the FBI’s initial conclusion that Ivins was solely responsible.

      • DXer said

        The scientist Ed you mention is not at all privy to the investigative facts. He is just a science guy tasked with an exceedingly narrow issue. The scientists consulting with the FBI of greater note have all said that the scientific evidence, by no means, establishes that Dr. Ivins is guilty.

      • BugMaster said

        Not exactly!

      • BugMaster said

        Enjoy the snow, Ed (and be careful while shoveling it). And have a nice holiday weekend!

      • BugMaster said

        This may come to a surprise to you Ed, but if in fact the FBI does close the case next month with the conclusion that Ivins was solely responsible, I will not doubt them.

        They have had plenty of time to get things right here.

        Having said that, I do not expect “closure of the case, Ivins solely guilty” to be the outcome.

        But it appears we should know for sure fairly soon.

        • Lew Weinstein said

          Bugmaster says: “if in fact the FBI does close the case next month with the conclusion that Ivins was solely responsible, I will not doubt them. They have had plenty of time to get things right here.”

          I don’t agree. I believe the FBI is hiding the truth, and that their reasons for doing so, whatever they are, are a matter of great importance to our nation. I will believe nothing the FBI says if it is not accompanied by compelling evidence.

        • BugMaster said

          I agree with your skepticism, but:

          It can get to a point where there is too much to cover up, to much risk associated with covering up, and the truth comes out.

          Watergate, as an example.

          Another example, the final scene in the movie “Witness”. (O.K., not a perfect analogy).

        • Lew Weinstein said

          The Warren Commission?

        • BugMaster said

          Hmmm, you have a point there, Lew.

        • BugMaster said

          Also, I do not expect the outcome to be “case closed, Ivins did it, nothing more to see here, just move along.”

        • DXer said

          Ed asks “Who determines what is “compelling evidence?”

          Well, the guy whose opinion doesn’t count is the one who is 99% that the letters were written by a First Grader recruited by Bruce Ivins.

        • BugMaster said

          What I’m waiting for is the Justice Dept. to make it official.

  12. Anonymous Scientist said

    It is indeed interesting to note where the 2 persons responsible for the news conference of which this thread is the subject – JEFFREY TAYLOR, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA and
    JOSEPH PERISCHINI JR., ASST. DIR. IN CHARGE, FBI WASHINGTON FIELD OFFICE – that’s them standing together at the podium in the photo above – about to expose the pathetic case and non-existent evidence they have in accusing just-deceased Bruce Ivins of terrorism and capital murder – are today.

    Perischni just resigned in shame from the bureau accused of cheating in an exam:
    Head Of Washington D.C. FBI Resigns In Shame

    And Jeffrey Taylor announced his resignation from the DOJ in May 2009

    Click to access taylorresignation-pre-1.pdf

  13. DXer said

    What can be said of the implication of the genetically distinct subtilis that contaminated the attack anthrax? Other than it was not found in Ivins’ lab.

    Applied and Environmental Microbiology, June 2007, p. 3896-3908, Vol. 73, No. 12
    0099-2240/07/$08.00+0 doi:10.1128/AEM.02906-06
    Copyright © 2007, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

    Stable Isotope Ratios and Forensic Analysis of Microorganisms
    Helen W. Kreuzer-Martin* and Kristin H. Jarman
    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 999 Battelle Boulevard, Richland, Washington 99352

    Received 15 December 2006/ Accepted 21 April 2007

    In the aftermath of the anthrax letters of 2001, researchers have been exploring various analytical signatures for the purpose of characterizing the production environment of microorganisms. One such signature is stable isotope ratios, which in heterotrophs, are a function of nutrient and water sources. Here we discuss the use of stable isotope ratios in microbial forensics, using as a database the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen stableisotope ratios of 247 separate cultures of Bacillus subtilis 6051 spores produced on a total of 32 different culture media. In the context of using stable isotope ratios as a signature for sample matching, we present an analysis of variations between individual samples, between cultures produced in tandem, and between cultures produced in the same medium but at different times. Additionally, we correlate the stable isotope ratios of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen for growth medium nutrients or water with those of spores and show examples of how these relationships can be used to exclude nutrient or water samples as possible growth substrates for specific cultures.

    See also Jarman, K. H., Kreuzer-Martin, H. W., Wunschel, D. S., Valentine, N. B., Cliff, J. B., Petersen, C. E., Colburn, H. A., Wahl, K. L. (2008). Bayesian-Integrated Microbial Forensics. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74: 3573-3582

  14. Anonymous Scientist said
    The Anthrax Case Falls Apart

    The anthrax investigation, code-named Amerithrax, ended as far as the public knew on July 29 2008 with the death of Dr. Bruce Ivins, a microbiologist at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland, at the nearby Frederick Memorial Hospital. The proximate cause of death was an overdose of the pain-killer Tylenol. No autopsy was performed, and there was no suicide note. Less than a week after his apparent suicide, the FBI declared Dr. Ivins to have been the sole perpetrator of the 2001 Anthrax attacks, and the person who mailed deadly anthrax spores to the NBC, the New York Post, and Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy accompanied by a photo-copied warning. These attacks killed 5 people, closed down the Senate’s Office Building, caused a national panic, and nearly paralyzed the postal system. The FBI’s 6 year investigation of it was the largest inquest in its history, involving 9000 interviews by its agents, the issuance of 6000 subpoenas, and the examination of tens of thousands of photo-copiers, typewriters, computers, and mail-boxes.
    But., as massive as it was, it failed to find a shred of evidence that identified the Anthrax killer– or even a witness to the mailings. With the help of a task force of scientists, it found a flask of anthrax that closely matched through its genetic markers the attack anthrax. This flask had been in the custody of Dr. Ivins, a senior biological warfare researcher, who had published no less than 44 scientific papers over three decades, and who was working on developing vaccines against anthrax. As custodian, he provided samples of it to other scientists at Fort Detrick, the Battelle Memorial Institute, and other facilities involved in Anthrax research. According to the FBI’s reckoning, over 100 scientists had been given access to it. Any of these scientists (or their co-workers) could have stolen a minute quantity of this anthrax and, by mixing it into a media of water and nutrients, used it to grow enough spores to launch the anthrax attacks. Consequently, Dr. Ivins, who was assisting the FBI with its investigation, as well as all the scientists who had access to it, became suspects in the investigation. In what approached an inquisition, they were intensely questioned, given polygraph examinations, and played off against one another in variations of the prisoner’s dilemma game. And their labs, computers, phones, homes, and personal effect were scrutinized for possible clues.

    As the Amerithrax proceeded over more than a half a decade, the FBI ran into frustrating dead ends, such as its relentless 5 year pursuit of Steven Hatfill, that ended with his exoneration in 2007 and his receiving a $5.8 million settlement from the US government as compensation for the damage inflicted on him. Another scientist became so stressed by the FBI’s games that he began to drink heavily and died of a heart attack. Eventually, the FBI zeroed-in on Dr. Ivins. Not only did he have access to the anthrax, but FBI agents suspected he had subtly misled them into their Hatfill fiasco. A search of his email turned up pornography and bizarre emails which,, though unrelated to anthrax, suggesting that he was a deeply disturbed individual. As the FBI turned the pressure up on him, isolating him at work, and forcing him to spend what little money he had on lawyers to defend himself. He became increasingly stressed. His therapist reported that Ivins seemed obsessed with the notion of revenge and even homicide. Then came his suicide (which as Eric Nadler and Bob Coen show in their documentary The Anthrax War was one of four suicides among bio-warfare researcher.) Since Dr. Ivins odd behavior closely fit the FBI’s profile of the mad scientist it had been hunting, his suicide provided an opportunity to finally close the case. So it pronounced Dr. Ivins the anthrax killer.
    But there was still a vexing problem– Silicon.

    Silicon was used in the 1960s to weaponize anthrax. Through an elaborate process, anthrax spores were coated with silicon to preventing them from clinging together so as to create a lethal aerosol. But since weaponization was banned by international treaties, research anthrax no longer contains silicon, and the flask at Fort Detrick contained none. Yet, the anthrax grown from it had silicon, according to the US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. This silicon explained why when the letters to Senators Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle were opened, the anthrax vaporized into an aerosol. If so, then somehow silicon was added to the anthrax. But Dr. Ivins, no matter how weird he may have been, had neither the set of skills nor the means to deliberately attach silicon to anthrax spores. At minimum, such a process would require highly-specialized equipment, such as a jet mill, that did not exist in Ivins’ lab– or, for that matter, anywhere at the Fort Detrick facility. As Richard O. Spertzel, a former bio-defense scientist who worked with Ivins, explained, the lab didn’t even deal with anthrax in powdered form, adding “I don’t think there’s anyone there who would have the foggiest idea how to do it.” So while Dr. Ivins’ death provided a convenient fall guy, the silicon content still had somehow to be explained.

    The FBI’s answer was that the anthrax contained only traces of silicon and those, it theorized, could have been accidently absorbed by the spores from the water and nutrient in which they were grown. No such nutrients were ever found in Ivins’ lab, nor, for that matter, did anyone ever see Dr. Ivins attempt to produce any unauthorized anthrax (a process which would have involved him using scores of flasks.) But since no one knew what nutrients had been used to grow the attack anthrax, it was at. least possible that they had traces of silicon in them which accidently contaminated the anthrax.

    Natural contamination was an elegant theory that ran into problems after Congressman Jerry Nadler pressed FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III in September 2008 to provide the House Judiciary Committee with a missing piece of data: the precise percentage of silicon contained in the anthrax used in the attacks. The answer came seven months later. According to the FBI lab, 1.4% of the powder in the Leahy letter was Silicon. “This is a shockingly high proportion,” explained Dr. Stuart Jacobson, an expert in small particle chemistry. “It is a number one would expect from the deliberate weaponization of anthrax, but not from any conceivable accidental contamination.” Nevertheless, in an attempt to back up its theory, the FBI contracted scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Labs in California to conduct experiments in which anthrax is accidently absorbed from a media heavily-laced with silicon. When the results were revealed to the National Academy Of Science in September 2009, they effectively blew the FBI’s theory out of the water. The Livermore scientists had tried 56 times to replicate the high silicon content without any success whatsoever. Even though they added increasingly high amounts of silicon to the media, they never even came close to the 1.4 percent in the attack anthrax. Most results were indeed an order of magnitude lower, with some as low as .001 percent. What these tests demonstrated is that the anthrax spores were not accidently contaminated. So, even though the public believed that the Anthrax case had been closed more than a year earlier, the FBI investigation was back to square one. If Dr. Ivins had neither the equipment or skills to weaponize anthrax with silicon, then some other party, with access to the anthrax, must have done it. Even before these startling results, Senator Leahy had told Mueller , “I do not believe in any way, shape, or manner that [Ivins] is the only person involved in this attack on Congress.” The supposedly closed case, thanks to the FBI’s science, is now re-opened.

    • BugMaster said

      “The supposedly closed case, thanks to the FBI’s science, is now re-opened.”

      I wonder if this is based on rumours as well.

      • Anonymous Scientist said

        This is based on more than rumour I’m led to believe.

        It would also be consistent with Mueller’s recent written statement that there is ongoing criminal litigation.
        There is also ongoing criminal and civil litigation concerning the Amerithrax investigation and information derived therefrom, and an independent review of the FBI’s “detective work” at this time could adversely affect those proceedings.
        There are two kinds of litigation: civil and criminal. When someone breaks a state or federal law, he commits an offense against society. The government, on behalf of the community, begins a criminal proceeding to hold the offender responsible. A criminal litigation is therefore between the government and the accused, or defendant.

        • BugMaster said

          Also consistent with Mueller’s recent regarding criminal litigation are the rumours Ed heard regarding an indictment against someone who made false statements in the anthrax case.

          This could indicate that the FBI was, at least to a certain extend, misled in some way.

          How this influenced their conclusion that Ivins was the culprit may be why the indictment, if it does in fact exist, is sealed for the time being.

        • Anonymous Scientist said

          “Also consistent with Mueller’s recent regarding criminal litigation are the rumours Ed heard regarding an indictment against someone who made false statements in the anthrax case.”

          I wouldn’t take any claims Ed Lake makes too seriously – he may have heard something but who knows what twisted interpretation he made of whatever it was he heard. One would have to read what he was told in full and word-for-word in order to get the real facts.

        • DXer said

          “This is based on more than rumour I’m led to believe.”

          Would everyone stop this BS nonsense of making up rumors? It’s real easy. If you think EJE’s post was not just covering ground that we’ve been discussing this past year, that there is something new, then email Ed and ask.

        • DXer said

          Anonymous Scientist,

          You can’t feed EJE a story ) and then cite it as an independent source of a rumor you started. (I don’t need a PhD in forensics to see your fingerprints all over it).

          I’m not complaining, mind you. EJE went to Prague to interview Czech officials over the Atta story. I think he may have waterboarded the Saudi owner of Bioport. And I love seeing OpEds in the WSJ. So it’s a pleasure to see him still with an oar in the water and look forward to his book on the 911 Commission.

          More importantly, he may actually ask someone a question and then cite a named source reporting news instead of this alternative of foolish trading of rumors.

        • Anonymous Scientist said

          The fact that FBI Director Mueller is on records stating that there is presently ongoing criminal litigation in the Amerithrax case is hardly a rumour. It’s a simple statement of fact based on very plainly worded English in an official government publication.

        • DXer said

          What Ed has said:

          “After all, I’m just working with rumors and “signs.” I have no actual inside knowledge that the case is about to be closed.”

          Ed has also said he is 99% certain a First Grader wrote the letters. (Which constitutes a conspiracy between a First Grader and Bruce Ivins).

          So if Ed is 99% confident a First Grader wrote the letters, we have to ask Ed: “Ed how confident are you that you have no actual inside knowledge that the case is about to be closed”?

        • DXer said

          Let’s take Ed’s insights on genetics. On December 31, 2008, after the entire world had known for 6 months that, after having been told, that there 8 identical isolates, Ed wrote:

          “The FBI states that RMR-1029 was one of those eight samples, and RMR-1029 was the “parent” of the attack anthrax and the “parent” of the other seven samples.
          It can undoubtedly be proven via documents and paper trails that RMR-1029 was the “parent” of the other seven samples.
          However, in the discussion, “BugMaster” argues that it is impossible to prove that one of the other seven samples couldn’t be the “parent” of the attack anthrax instead of RMR-1029. The argument is evidently based upon a belief that Bacillus anthracis does not mutate fast enough to allow anyone to distinguish DNA differences between RMR-1029 and any sample grown from spores in RMR-1029.
          In the roundtable discussion on August 18, however, Dr. Paul Keim made statements which seem to suggest that when using the entire DNA, it is now possible to distinquish which batch is the parent and which is the descendant.”

          Ed was the only one confused on this point which had been addressed by pretty much every major outlet in the country and BugMaster patiently and graciously tried to explain to him, as did others on Dr. Nass’ board. If he did not have a single source who could straighten him out on such a critically central point, then maybe Ed is not a reliable source of information.

        • DXer said

          Ed has a long history of pontificating on legal matters without understanding basic aspects of procedure or developing reliable and on-the-record sources. He fills in the gap by BS guesses. In January 2008, he said:

          “I expected that a trial would start in a month or two. But nothing goes the way I expect it to. I’ve started to expect that.”

        • BugMaster said

          O.K., Ed, but have you been givin specifics on what the “announcement” will be.

          Or are you just filling in the blanks here.

          There is a possiblity of a number of different announcements, not just “We have closed the case”.

        • DXer said

          After paying close attention to the matter for a couple of years and posting regularly, Ed summarized on his webpage:

          “The biggest misconception seems to be that the anthrax MUST have been stolen from USAMRIID. My research says it could just as easily have come from Dugway, Battelle and a couple other places.”

          Ed used to be right.

          Then he got confused because of his massive confusion and six-month daze over the 1 vs. 8 isolates issue (which translates to 1 person versus 100-300 known people).

          But even this massive confusion has never altered his 99% confidence the letters were written by a First Grader, someone who he has no information exists.

          So “consider the source” is a phrase to heed.

        • DXer said

          Hey, Anonymous Scientist. So Ed doesn’t know the identity of his source! Bwahaha!

          Ed, the way anonymous sources work is you keep their name private pursuant to a promise of confidentiality — it doesn’t mean sources whose identity is unknown to you. If you report rumors by people whose identity you don’t know — as you have now all month — without disclosing that you don’t even know the identity of the anonymous source of the rumor, you have abandoned any semblance of appropriate sourcing.

          “Source B is evidently someone who knows people who knew Dr. Ivins. I do not know the actual identity of Source B. I just get occasional emails.”

          Hey, Anonymous Scientist. Stop sending those anonymous emails to Ed just to have fun. It’s just too funny!

        • Anonymous Scientist said

          I think source B is the 7th grader who wrote the envelopes and source A is his mom 😉

        • BugMaster said

          Hey Ed:

          Did source A indicate anything to you that they knew anything about their associate’s indictment?

        • DXer said

          Let’s compare Catherine Herridge’s reporting and journalistic standards, and DOJ sources, to Ed’s. He dismisses the March 2008 report pointing to the FBi narrowing things to four suspects, to include a leading anthrax scientist and a former deputy USAMRIID Commander as based on a theory “based upon rumors, beliefs and unconnected tidbits of information that come down over the years.”

          When to the contrary, it was based on an email written by USAMRIID scientist to Bruce Ivins to Pat, in which he said the anthrax most like the anthrax used in the attack was once made by the FBI’s anthrax expert John E. Catherine has an unredacted copy of the email, which was pictured on screen. Now, Anonymous Scientist took the time to grab the image, blow it up, and read the email. And then AS’ trusty assistant called JE to ask him to confirm the facts and JE did. And the confirmation was reported on-the-record. JE was under a gag order and was being wiretapped but rather than fuel rumors like ED hopes to promote was willing to address and confirm facts.

          Ed cannot wrap his mind around the implications of the email and the well-sourced DOJ correspondent because it did not fit his First Grader Theory.

          Ed didn’t even know who was being referenced because he was too lazy to figure out who was the deputy USAMRIID Commander.

          So now, without any inside information (in contrast to Catherine, the US DOJ correspondent), he credits the rumor he wants to promote while totally garbling the rumor because his source has the perspective, he says, of a doorman who might not know what’s going on. It got even sketchier as December passed.

          Ed writes:

          “March 28, 2008 – Hmm. Fox New just put an article titled “FBI Focusing on ‘About Four’ Suspects in 2001 Anthrax Attacks” on the Net. It’s one of those stories from an unidentified “law enforcement source.” The story begins this way:

          The FBI has narrowed its focus to “about four” suspects in the 6 1/2-year investigation of the deadly anthrax attacks of 2001, and at least three of those suspects are linked to the Army’s bioweapons research facility at Fort Detrick in Maryland, FOX News has learned.

          Among the pool of suspects are three scientists — a former deputy commander, a leading anthrax scientist and a microbiologist — linked to the research facility, known as USAMRIID.

          And then there’s this paragraph, which I really find hard to believe:

          The FBI has collected writing samples from the three scientists in an effort to match them to the writer of anthrax-laced letters that were mailed to two U.S. senators and at least two news outlets in the fall of 2001, a law enforcement source confirmed.

          And this:

          A leading theory is that the anthrax was stolen from Fort Detrick and then sealed inside the letters.A law enforcement source said the FBI is essentially engaged in a process of elimination.

          That “leading theory” is the theory dreamed up by conspiracy theorists. The whole thing looks like an extension of their theory. The Fox article concludes with this:

          But in an e-mail obtained by FOX News, scientists at Fort Detrick openly discussed how the anthrax powder they were asked to analyze after the attacks was nearly identical to that made by one of their colleagues.

          “Then he said he had to look at a lot of samples that the FBI had prepared … to duplicate the letter material,” the e-mail reads. “Then the bombshell. He said that the best duplication of the material was the stuff made by [name redacted]. He said that it was almost exactly the same … his knees got shaky and he sputtered, ‘But I told the General we didn’t make spore powder!'”

          Asked for comment, an Army spokeswoman referred all calls to the FBI. The FBI would not comment about the pool of suspects, but a spokeswoman said the investigation clearly remains a priority.

          When was that email sent? I’m guessing it was in the very early days when people knew next to nothing about anthrax powders. If so, this who article is much ado about nothing.

          My first take on this is that it is an unconfirmed report based upon information from a single unidentified source, and not worth much at all. I’ll need a LOT of proof before I accept any of this as having anything to do with the actual investigation. It looks more like Fox News has decided to report on someone’s theory — a theory based upon rumors, beliefs and unconnected tidbits of information that come down over the years.

          But, there’s always hope that it will cause the FBI to make some kind of official statement that will enlighten us all.”

        • DXer said

          Look how he interpreted the FoxNews report, based on the email that Ivins wrote, through the lens of his beliefs.

          He wrote:

          “March 30, 2008 (B) – The Fox News story titled “FBI Focusing on ‘About Four’ Suspects in 2001 Anthrax Attacks” is still the hot topic of discussion and continues to float all by itself in the pool of current news.

          Ed writes:

          “When I first heard the mention of “4 suspects,” I couldn’t help but wonder if someone hadn’t misinterpreted something, since my analysis indicates that there may have been 4 people involved in the anthrax attacks of 2001: The Supplier, The Refiner/Mailer, The Letter Writer [ie., the First Grader] and someone I’ve referred to as “The Speaker.”
          But, the more times I read the Fox News article and listened to the video, the more it seems that the whole Fox story is a concoction put together to create a controversy. Why on earth would a single “law enforcement source” suddenly come forward at this point in time to talk about “four suspects” with three of them at Ft. Detrick? And where did the email come from that describes something that clearly happened years ago?”

          To the contrary, Ed. The email was written by Bruce Ivins. You hadn’t even known Ivins’ name even though he was a key researcher using the strain and central to its distribution (and anyone informed in the field knew that).

          Ed continues:

          “It seems far more likely that this story has been around for years and, as a result of the controversy over Toni Locy’s Contempt of Court ruling, someone at Fox just decided it was the right time to make a story out of it.
          The things in the Fox News story about 4 suspects seem to be just a belief or a theory or, perhaps, an interpretation by that single “law enforcement source.” It is totally unsupported information.”

          No, it wasn’t. It was a report by a DOJ correspondent at a national news outlet. You know, Ed, someone going to and from the building on Constitution, that sort of thing. An example of totally unsupported information is Ed’s unsupported claim that Dr. Ivins knew a First Grader in 2001 and that Mrs. Ivins cared for the child even though the documents show her daycare did not start until 2003.

          Did ever notice Ed’s lack of self-awareness? He regularly invokes the ad hominem label “Conspiracy Theorist” while alleging a conpiracy before people he imagines: “The Supplier,” “The Refiner/Mailer,” “The Letter Writer [ie., the First Grader]” and someone he’s referred to as “The Speaker.”

        • DXer said

          Instead of Ed’s usual erroneous garbage, if Ed had wanted to comment on a criminal litigation, an appropriate journalistic approach that he chose not to follow, would be to call someone who had testified before the grand jury and was free and willing to talk.

          Henry Heine testified before the jury. He has had to wait until retirement this month before going public with his explanation as to why an Ivins Theory is a crock.

  15. DXer said

    Can the same authors who published recently on subtilis with FBI authors narrow the geographic location of the subtilis by reason of lipopetide biomarkers in the B.S. spizizeni desert and several type strains?

    Title: Mass Spectrometric Analysis of Lipopeptide from Bacillus Strains Isolated from Diverse Geographical Locations
    Price, Neil
    Rooney, Alejandro
    Swezey, James et al.

    Cohan, Frederick – WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY

    Price, N.P., Rooney, A.P., Swezey, J.L., Perry, E., Cohan, F.M. 2007. Mass spectrometric analysis of lipopeptide from Bacillus strains isolated from diverse geographical locations. Federation of European Microbiological Societies Microbiology Letters. 271(1):83-9.

    Interpretive Summary: Lipopeptides biomarkers are often used to characterize the Bacillus family of bacteria. Several also have commercially importance as anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agents. This paper, arising for a collaboration of researchers at the USDA-ARS-NCAUR and at Welseyan University, describes and correlates lipopeptides from 54 different Bacillus strains, isolated from 7 diverse geographical locations. These strains are part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA – RS) Culture Collection in Peoria, Illinois (, where they are permanently archived. Several strains that produce lipopeptide antibiotics were identified, and may be of potential interest to the U.S. pharmaceutical industry.

    Technical Abstract: Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has been applied to characterize lipopeptide biomarkers from 54 different strains of Bacillis from most taxa within the B. subtilis – B. licheniformis clade, isolated from 7 different geographic locations on five different continents. The results show that even the most narrowly defined taxa are highly diverse in terms of the lipopetide profiles. Many strains produce previously identified compounds with known antimicrobial properties (e.g., polymyxins, bacitracins, etc.), whereas certain other compounds represent novel classes that were hitherto unknown. Of particular interest is the novel 942/958 Da biomarkers produced by B. s. spizizeni desert strains and several type strains.

    Last Modified: 12/21/2009


    Small protein biomarkers of culture in Bacillus spores detected using capillary liquid chromatography coupled with matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry
    David Wunschela, , Jon Wahla, Alan Willseb, Nancy Valentinea and Karen Wahla

    aChemical and Biological Sciences, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA 99354, United States

    bStatistical Sciences, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA 99354, United States

    Available online 23 June 2006.

    Capillary liquid chromatography (cLC) coupled with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOF-MS) was used to compare small proteins and peptides extracted from Bacillus subtilis spores grown on four different media. A single, efficient protein separation, compatible with MALDI–MS analysis, was employed to reduce competitive ionization between proteins, and thus interrogate more proteins than possible using direct MALDI–MS. The MALDI–MS data files for each fraction are assembled as two-dimensional data sets of retention time and mass information. This method of visualizing small protein data required careful attention to background correction as well as mass and retention time variability. The resulting data sets were used to create comparative displays of differences in protein profiles between different spore preparations. Protein differences were found between two different solid media in both phase bright and phase dark spore phenotype. The protein differences between two different liquid media were also examined. As an extension of this method, we have demonstrated that candidate protein biomarkers can be trypsin digested to provide identifying peptide fragment information following the cLC–MALDI experiment. We have demonstrated this method on two markers and utilized acid breakdown information to identify one additional marker for this organism. The resulting method can be used to identify discriminating proteins as potential biomarkers of growth media, which might ultimately be used for source attribution.

    Keywords: Capillary liquid chromatography; Bacillus; Spores; MALDI mass spectrometry; Differential display; Small proteins

    Article Outline

    1. Introduction
    2. Experimental
    2.1. Cell cultivation and preparation
    2.2. Protein sample preparation
    2.3. Reverse phase HPLC—fraction collection
    2.4. MALDI–TOF MS
    2.5. Data analysis
    2.6. Identification using MALDI–TOF data
    3. Results and discussion
    3.1. Processing of HPLC–MALDI–MS data
    3.2. Comparison of growth conditions
    3.3. Protein digestion for identification of select proteins
    3.4. Acid breakdown de novo sequence for identification
    4. Conclusion

    • DXer said

      Catherine Fenselau is one of the leading FBI-funded Amerithrax experts and she and her colleagues are publishing on the structural characterization of lipopeptide biomarkers. The authors conclude that the cyclic lipopeptides were found to have amino acid sequences identical with those in fengycins and plipastatins, antimicrobial compounds with phospholipase inhibitor activity, previously identified in related species of Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus cereus.

      Structural characterization of lipopeptide biomarkers isolated from Bacillus globigii
      Auteur(s) / Author(s)
      WILLIAMS Bruce H. (1) ; HATHOUT Yetrib (1) ; FENSELAU Catherine (1) ;
      Affiliation(s) du ou des auteurs / Author(s) Affiliation(s)
      (1) Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, ETATS-UNIS
      Résumé / Abstract
      Spectra obtained using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry of Bacillus globigii (Bacillus subtilis niger) spores, vegetative cells and the culture supernatant show a cluster of biomarkers centered at a molecular mass of 1478 Da. Three biomarkers were isolated from the cell-free culture supernatant by solid-phase extraction and reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography, and characterized using various kinds of mass spectrometry. A Fourier transform mass spectrometer with a MALDI source was used to determine the monoisotopic protonated masses at 1463.8, 1477.8, and 1505.8 Da in order of elution. The mass differences of 14 and 28 Da suggest that they are homologous molecules. Alkaline hydrolysis of each species showed that it contained a lactone linkage. Strong acid hydrolysis released a fatty acid from an amide bond, consistent with a lipopeptide. A quadrupole time-of-flight instrument with a nanospray source was used to sequence the hydrolyzed forms of the three biomarkers. The cyclic lipopeptides were found to have amino acid sequences identical with those in fengycins and plipastatins, antimicrobial compounds with phospholipase inhibitor activity, previously identified in related species of Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus cereus.
      Revue / Journal Title
      Journal of mass spectrometry ISSN 1076-5174
      Source / Source
      2002, vol. 37, no3, pp. 259-264 (12 ref.)
      Langue / Language
      Editeur / Publisher
      Wiley, Chichester, ROYAUME-UNI (1995) (Revue)
      Mots-clés anglais / English Keywords
      Bacteria ; Bacillales ; Bacillaceae ; Electron impact ; Matrix assisted laser desorption ionization ; Time of flight method ; Mass spectrometry ; Bacillus ; Biological marker ; Peptides ; Lipopeptide ; Structural analysis ;
      Mots-clés français / French Keywords
      Bactérie ; Bacillales ; Bacillaceae ; Fengycine ; Bacillus globigii ; Impact électron ; MALDI ; Méthode temps vol ; Spectrométrie masse ; Bacillus ; Marqueur biologique ; Peptide ; Lipopeptide ; Analyse structurale ;

      • DXer said

        Can lipopeptide biomarkers be used to attribute the subtilis contaminant in the attack anthrax to a source?

        All we’ve been told to date is that the subtilis was genetically distinct and that it was not in Ivins’ lab.

        Structural characterization of lipopeptide biomarkers isolated from Bacillus globigii
        Bruce H. Williams, Yetrib Hathout, Catherine Fenselau *
        Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA
        email: Catherine Fenselau (
        *Correspondence to Catherine Fenselau, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.

        Funded by:
        Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
        United States Army.

        Bacillus globigii; biomarker; lipopeptides; mass spectrometry; fengycin
        Spectra obtained using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry of Bacillus globigii (Bacillus subtilis niger) spores, vegetative cells and the culture supernatant show a cluster of biomarkers centered at a molecular mass of 1478 Da. Three biomarkers were isolated from the cell-free culture supernatant by solid-phase extraction and reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography, and characterized using various kinds of mass spectrometry. A Fourier transform mass spectrometer with a MALDI source was used to determine the monoisotopic protonated masses at 1463.8, 1477.8, and 1505.8 Da in order of elution. The mass differences of 14 and 28 Da suggest that they are homologous molecules. Alkaline hydrolysis of each species showed that it contained a lactone linkage. Strong acid hydrolysis released a fatty acid from an amide bond, consistent with a lipopeptide. A quadrupole time-of-flight instrument with a nanospray source was used to sequence the hydrolyzed forms of the three biomarkers. The cyclic lipopeptides were found to have amino acid sequences identical with those in fengycins and plipastatins, antimicrobial compounds with phospholipase inhibitor activity, previously identified in related species of Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus cereus. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
        Received: 10 July 2001; Accepted: 19 November 2001

    • DXer said

      Folia Microbiol (Praha). 2008;53(6):472-8. Epub 2009 Apr 18.
      Geographical distribution of genotypic and phenotypic markers among Bacillus anthracis isolates and related species by historical movement and horizontal transfer.
      Kiel JL, Parker JE, Holwitt EA, McCreary RP, Andrews CJ, De Los Santos A, Wade M, Kalns J, Walker W.

      Air Force Research Laboratory, Brooks City-Base, TX 78235-5107, USA.

      The geographical distribution of Bacillus anthracis strains and isolates bearing some of the same genetic markers as the Amerithrax Ames isolate was examined and evaluated. At least one mechanism for the horizontal movement of genetic markers was shown amongst isolates and closely related species and the effect of such mixing was demonstrated on phenotype. The results provided potential mechanisms by which attempts to attribute isolates of Bacillus anthracis to certain geographical and isolate sources may be disrupted.

      • DXer said

        Additional reading involving bacillus subtilis:

        Cliff, J. B., K. H. Jarman, N. B. Valentine, S. L. Golledge, D. J. Gaspar, D. S. Wunschel, and K. L. Wahl, “Differentiation of spores of Bacillus subtilis grown in different media by elemental characterization using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry,” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 71:6524-6530 (2005)

        Kreuzer-Martin, H. W., M. J. Lott, J. Dorigan, and J. R. Ehleringer, “Microbe forensics: oxygen and hydrogen stable isotope ratios in Bacillus subtilis cells and spores,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 100:815-819 (2003).

        Kreuzer-Martin, H. W. et al., “Microbe forensics: Oxygen and hydrogen stable isotope ratios in Bacillus subtilis cells and spores,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” February 4, 2003

  16. DXer said

    Edward Jay Epstein, “The Anthrax Case Falls Apart,” December 21, 2009

  17. DXer said

    Zawahiri kept in touch with Jaballah, who had emigrated to Canada in 1996, by satellite phone.

    Jaballah’s brother-in-law was Shehata, EIJ’s head of the Civilian Branch/special operations.

    Jaballah kept in touch with EIJ’s military commander Mabruk through Shehata.

    Jaballah told Mabruk (by fax) that he had recruited two Muslim Brotherhood members for operations and deemed them reliable. Who were they?

    Jaballah had been a lab tech in Egypt. What was his job?

    The mailer, if an MB member and like most Muslim Brotherhood members, would deem Sayyid Qutb to be the important thinker and influence, not Zawahiri. Zawahiri is thought to be a fanatic and not on the same intellectual par as Qutb or Cairo MD and former Vanguards of Conquest leader Al-Sharif.

    Below is a 12/18 article about Qutb, who was quoted by Ali Al-Timimi after his conviction. It is by Robert Spencer.

    The lawyer who represented Ann Arbor-resident Rabih Haddad, the Global Relief Founder (“GRF”) Founder, now represents the mosque of the so-called “Virginia Five.”

    It was that attorney who arranged for the pro bono assets for the “Virginia 11,” (see ABA Journal article) which included the daughter of the Amerithrax prosecutor to represent Ali Al-Timimi.

    I suppose none of this matters so along as the former lead investigators and prosecutors went to lucrative jobs or got a nice plaque — and a year and a half ago the US Attorney said that he was confident that the dead guy did it and the FBI Amerithrax head (Mr. Persichini) said that they would NEVER disclose how they eliminated others.

    Now that’s a promise of proof that they’ll find easy to keep.

    Sayyid Qutb and the Virginia Five – by Robert Spencer

  18. DXer said

    In a new book by Ayman Al-Zawahiri: ‘The Morning and the Lamp: A Treatise Regarding the Claim that the Pakistani Constitution Is Islamic’, a copy of which became available 12/18 (see MEMRI), he notes the constitution’s non-restriction to females and its reference to democracy in the preamble. In 2002, he reportedly explained that no woman could be a member of Al Qaeda and has previously railed against democracy. I once asked a friend of mine, the brother of the chief Egyptian prosecutor, the provenance for the koran (or bible for that matter) and absent-mindedly asked him if I could get him a drink (even though he is old school). If atheists have to always be PC around people who believe in God, why doesn’t Ayman have to show a little respect to a woman’s equal right to be a member of Al Qaeda — or for democratic principles?

    Why can’t Ayman or any rational individual show some skepticism for what was indoctrinated before he reached the age of reason? Why is that faith? As opposed to brainwashing? Ayman had memorized the koran before the age of 11.

    A crystal plaque is nice, to be sure. But solving Amerithrax would have been nicer and done more for relations by lending clarity to the situation.

  19. DXer said

    The Defense Intelligence Agency gave me (under FOIA) these articles that Ayman Zawahiri collected about clostridium. It reportedly was clostridium, not anthrax, that was determined to be the contaminant in the heroin in Scotland in May 2000. (although press reports do not confirm that Porton Down ever shifted to concluding it was clostridium instead of anthrax; some reasoned that antiobiotics had interfered with a definitive finding of anthrax).

    Why was Ayman Zawahiri studying clostridium? Clostridium consists of around 100 species that include common free-living bacteria as well as important pathogens. There are four main species responsible for disease in humans: C. botulinum, an organism producing a toxin in food/wound that causes botulism.

    Is it any comfort that the contaminant was clostridium (if it was)?

    Articles on clostridium of Ayman’s interest included:

    Batty, I and Walker, PD. (1965). Colonial morphology and fluorescent labelled antibody staining in the identification of species of the genus Clostridium. J. Appl. Bacteriol. 28:112.

    Hobbs, G, Roberts, TA, and Walker, PD. (1965). Some observations on OS variants of Clostridium botulinum type E. J. Appl. Bacteriol. 28(1):147-152.

    Hodgkiss, W, and Ordal, ZJ. (1966). The morphology of the spore of some strains of Clostridium botulinum type E. J. Bacteriol. 91:2031-2036.

    Roberts, TA. (1965). Sporulation of Clostridium botulinum type E in different culture media. J. Appl. Bacteriol 28(1):142-146.

    Roberts, TA, and Ingram, M. (1965). The resistance of spores of Clostridium botulinum type E to heat and radiation. J. Appl. Bacteriol. 28:125.

  20. DXer said

    Why in 2009 is the same public health expert talking about anthrax rather than clostridium?

    In an unrelated development, there is a new indictment involving the smuggling of cocaine.

    The issue is not whether AQ would intentionally set out to infect addicts, but in 2009 as in May 2000, the issue is whether there might be cross-contamination in a lab in Afghanistan used for both purposes.

    Thus, while there is a separate public health reason to discover the cause of death, it is useful (both as to 2000 and 2009) to correctly distinguish between clostridium and anthrax for threat assessment purposes.

    If the DOD can’t eliminate heroin labs, why would one expect them to be able to eliminate anthrax labs?

    What did the 100+ pages of notes from Zawahiri’s Zabadi program produced under FOIA say about clostridium? What peer reviewed articles did he have on the subject?

    1. Los Angeles Times

    U.S. prosecution links drugs to terrorism
    The case — the first of its kind — portrays northwest Africa as a new danger zone. Three men are accused of being Al Qaeda associates and conspiring to smuggle cocaine.
    By Sebastian Rotella

    December 19, 2009

    Reporting from Washington – Three men alleged to be Al Qaeda associates were charged Friday with conspiring to smuggle cocaine through Africa — the first U.S. prosecution linking the terrorist group directly to drug trafficking.

    The three suspects, who were charged in federal court in New York, are believed to be from Mali and were arrested in Ghana during a Drug Enforcement Administration sting. Although U.S. authorities have alleged that Al Qaeda and the Taliban profit from Afghanistan’s heroin trade, the case is the first in which suspects linked to Al Qaeda have been charged under severe narco-terrorism laws, federal officials said.

    The 18-page complaint describes a convergence of mafias and terrorists in northwest Africa that has caused increasing alarm among European, African and U.S. investigators.
    “It is a zone where there is a lot of money circulating, with cocaine traffic that is growing fast,” Interior Minister Chakib Benmoussa said. “A certain number of terror networks exploit this situation because these groups guarantee, secure the routes.”

    The charges unsealed Friday allege that the conspiracy began in Ghana in September, when one of the suspects, Omuar Issa, made contact with a DEA informant.

    2. The Herald (Glasgow)

    October 16, 2001
    Deadly heroin infection could return

    BYLINE: Alan Macdermid Medical Correspondent

    THE deadly infection imported in heroin from Afghanistan that killed 40 drug abusers last year could strike again at any time, public health experts warned yesterday.

    The pathogen, clostridium novyi, struck 108 addicts in Scotland, north-west England, and Dublin.

    At an international conference in Glasgow to discuss the clostridium outbreak, senior public health consultants with Greater Glasgow Health Board warned that their ability to monitor and prevent diseases among injecting drug users was “limited”.

    Dr Syed Ahmed said the batch that led to the infection appeared to have come from Afghanistan – the origin of 90% of the heroin that ends up in Scotland – but there was no reason to suppose that it had been created deliberately as a foretaste of Osama bin Laden’s terror campaign.

    “Given the circumstances in which it is manufactured and transported there is ample opportunity for it to be infected by accident. In fact it is surprising it does not happen more often,” he said.

    “Besides, it wouldn’t make much sense for the Afghans to set out to infect drug addicts. They would be killing the golden goose.”

    A total of 43 drug users, including 19 from Glasgow, four from other areas in Scotland, and 20 from Dublin, north-west England, and the West Midlands, are known to have died in last year’s outbreak. A fatal accident inquiry into the Glasgow deaths is due to begin later this month.

    Since identifying the organism, normally found in soil or animal droppings, scientists have been studying the infection, along with cases of anthrax that have occurred from heroin in Norway, and botulism, of which there have been two cases in Scotland in the past year.

  21. DXer said

    For an authoritative description of Sandia’s microanalysis done in connection with the FBI investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks, see

    Microanalysis and the FBI’s Investigation of the 2001 Anthrax Attacks

    Click to access Kotula-Michael-09.pdf

    For a discussion of why it points to a Salafist who infiltrated the suite containing the Battelle consultants who advised on Project Jefferson and Project Clear Vision (and coinvented the process using silica in the culture medium to concentrate anthrax) see

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration Of US Biodefense

    The scientist coordinated with the 911 imam and with Bin Laden’s sheik, who was subject to Bin Laden’s Declaration of War.

    Ongoing proceedings involving his prosecution are highly classified and it would be a felony to leak the classified material.

    It’s not a crime to be able to read the open source intelligence that has pointed to this as the solution for 8 years.

    • DXer said

      The discussion of the issue is not furthered by having non-microbiologist author from Sandia opine as to its purpose or as anything relating to growth of the pathogen. Or contrary views by others without any experience at making anthrax simulant aerosols under controlled conditions. Instead, a microbiologist working for the FBI who sought to replicate the signature using a silanizing agent prior to drying should be heard by the NAS. That was done by the Air Force military lab. The same SEMS result. The NAS, if it chooses, can just hear from the FBI expert, and do it in closed session. Then the public can judge from the witnesses reported to have testified in closed session whether the NAS sought independent opinion from experts knowledgeable about aerosol science and experienced at making anthrax simulants. There appear to be none serving on the panel. Testimony about the purpose that silica is added to the culture medium is beyond the ken of the Sandia author — and draws implications beyond his data. His role as an expert witness was to identify the location of the Si-O and sit down.

      “The spores had not been treated with silicon oxide (Si-0) nanoparticles that have been typically used as dispersal agents to make the substance more lethal. Figure 1b is an SEM image of a clump of spores from the letter sent to Senator Leahy where there is no extraneous material visible at these length scales. Further analyses of material from the letter sent to Senator Daschle show similar results. Detailed microanalysis, as shown in Figure 2, did indicate the presence of Si-0 in the attack materials. However, it was associated with an internal structure of the spores, and was thus related to the growth method, rather than added post-sporulation for enhanced dispersion.”

      It will pass muster only so long as it is supplemented by the testimony of a qualified expert in making aerosols using anthrax simulants — and independent expert opinion is also sought.

      • DXer said

        Note that the NAS has not yet heard an expert qualified to speak on the issue.

        At the December 10 meeting, all that occurred was…

        The following topics were discussed in the closed sessions:
        The committee discussed speaker presentations and the draft report.

        The following materials (written documents) were made available to the committee in the closed sessions:
        The committee reviewed documents made available to it.

    • DXer said

      Ayman Zawahiri had numerous Salafist supporters who were highly educated, including an expert on polymerization who studied in North Carolina and had the keys to the apartment where the 7/7 London bomb was made. His field was the use of functional polymers to protect drugs until they reach the intended organ.

      Montasser Al-Zayat was the lawyer in the Spring of 1999 who said that Ayman Zawahiri planned to use anthrax against US targets to retaliation for the rendering and mistreatment of senior Movement leaders. “Montasser al-Zayat, a lawyer and a former cellmate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader, said Mr. Zawahiri excels at finding recruits with no previous records who can be easily planted in the West.” “In Cairo Suburb, Man in Bombing Inquiry Is Described as Committed to His Studies,” The New York Times July 16, 2005

      Kathryn Crockett, Ken Alibek’s assistant — just a couple doors down from Ali Al-Timimi — addressed these issues in her 2006 thesis, “A historical analysis of Bacillus anthracis as a biological weapon and its application to the development of nonproliferation and defense strategies.” She expressed her special thanks to Dr. Ken Alibek and Dr. Bill Patrick. Dr. Patrick consulted with the FBI and so the FBI credits his expertise. “I don’t want to appear arrogant. I don’t think anyone knows more about anthrax powder in this country,” William Patrick told an interviewer. Dr. Alibek’s access to know-how regarding anthrax weaponization, similarly, seems beyond reasonable dispute.

      On the issue of encapsulation, she reports that “many experts who examined the powder stated the spores were encapsulated. Encapsulation involves coating bacteria with a polymer which is usually done to protect fragile bacteria from harsh conditions such as extreme heat and pressure that occurs at the time of detonation (if in a bomb), as well as from moisture and ultraviolet light. The process was not originally developed for biological weapons purposes but rather to improve the delivery of various drugs to target organs or systems before they were destroyed by enzymes in the circulatory system” (citing Alibek and Crockett, 2005).

      “The US and Soviet Union, however, ” she explains, “used this technique in their biological weapons programs for pathogens that were not stable in aerosol form… Since spores have hardy shells that provide the same protection as encapsulation would, there is no need to cover them with a polymer.“ She explains that one “possible explanation is that the spore was in fact encapsulated but not for protective purpose. Encapsulation also reduces the need for milling when producing a dry formulation.” She wrote: “If the perpetrator was knowledgeable of the use of encapsulation for this purpose, then he or she may have employed it because sophisticated equipment was not at his disposal.”

      One military scientist who has made anthrax simulants described the GMU patents as relating to an encapsulation technique which serves to increase the viability of a wide range of pathogens. More broadly, a DIA analyst once commented to me that the internal debate seemed relatively inconsequential given the circumstantial evidence — overlooked by so many people — that US-based supporters of Al Qaeda are responsible for the mailings. Most of Dr. Ivins’ colleagues have thought Al Qaeda was responsible.

      For years, Dr. Alibek’s theme has been:

      “‘[J]ust because you have a sophisticated product doesn’t mean the technique has to be sophisticated.’ ” Silica in the culture medium would not be a sophisticated “additive” added post-production that aided dispersability (Majidi’s definition of “weaponization”). But apparently it would permit the agent to be concentrated.

      • DXer said

        At Mr. Persichini’s farewell party, he received an award, a crystal plaque, as a thank-you, from those who think Ali Al-Timimi was treated too harshly by his predecessors:

        “Yet tensions remain, and local Muslims still decry the prosecution of terrorism cases in Northern Virginia after Sept. 11, especially the conviction of 11 men in what prosecutors called a “Virginia jihad network.”

        Nawar Shora, legal director for the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee — who, with a representative from a Muslim group presented the award to Persichini — said the Arab and Muslim communities will accept any charges against the men arrested in Pakistan as long as they are treated fairly.

        Yet he indicated that tensions could flare, depending how the government approaches a case. “If the FBI and the prosecutors say these were five Muslims and they were trying to commit jihad, and they throw out all of these incendiary religious terms, that’s different,” Shora said.”

        It’s nice that Mr. Persichini got a plaque. But if you want to know Anwar Aulaqi’s views on jihad, he’s written quite eloquently on the subject. There’s no reason to characterize his views and offend anyone’s sensibilities — quoting them will serve quite nicely. Now compare those views to what he was quoted saying in the Fall 2001 in the Washington Post.

  22. DXer said

    Al-Zawahiri’s wife is recruiting online to jihad.

    Al-Qaida leader’s wife calls women to join jihad, December 17, 2009

    Given Ayman’s sister Heba did research with anti-microbials, is it reasonable to not ask someone who got his PhD in microbiology there (and works with antimicrobials and was supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins) whether she recruited students? Ask her whether she was upset that the Leahy Law permitted continued appropriations to the security unit that she perceived mistreated her brother Muhammad (who was an EIJ leader and was first rendered and detained in March/April 1999 at the time that Ayman Zawahiri planned to use anthrax against US targets in retaliation for the rendering and mistreatment of senior Movement leaders)?

    Is it reasonable not to ask her? To ask her former students? Why did it take the FBI 11 months before first interviewing Yazid Sufaat? Why was the lack of cooperation by Malaysian authorities permitted to delay the interview?

    When Ayman Zawahiri toured the United States with the former US Army sergeant who was AQ’s and EIJ’s head of intelligence, who did they meet in Washington and elsewhere?

    Heeding Ayman’s wife’s call, the nominal President IANA spin-off HTN president, a female convert on IANA message boards (that was Al-Timimi’s charity), urged that it was a religious duty to raise children to be martyrs.

    • DXer said

      The coverage and headlines are contradictory (compare AFP with MSNBC/ABC) and so her 7 page letter is the best guide to what she argues.

      But here is ABC’s characterization:

      ” In the seven-page letter, after assuring friends and family that she and her husband are safe and well, Hassan outlines the ways in which women can assist their men with jihad. Hassan suggests that women work side by side in defending Islam with their men, but underlines that the most important role for women is to support male mujahideen by caring for their children.

      “Jihad is an obligation for every man and woman,” wrote Hassan, “but the way of fighting is not easy for women.”

      “Our main role — that I ask God to accept from us — is to preserve the mujahideen in their sons, and homes, and their confidentiality, and to help them raise/develop their children in the best way.”

      But Hassan also suggests that women can become suicide bombers, which she refers to as “martyrdom missions.” “

      • DXer said

        The letter sending the first anthrax reportedly had clouds pictured on it. The flagship of American Media, Inc., National Enquirer, described the letter sent AMI as follows:

        “Bobby Bender came around the corner with this letter in the upturned palms of his hands,” said photo assistant Roz Suss, a 13-year Sun staffer. “It was a business-size sheet of stationery decorated with pink and blue clouds around the edges. It was folded into three sections, and in the middle was a pile of what looked like pink-tinged talcum powder.”

        In admitting that he had taken over supervising the development of anthrax for use against the US upon Atef’s death (in November 2001), KSM separately noted that “I was the Media Operations Director for Al-Sahab or ‘The Clouds,’ under Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

        According to her defense psychiatrist, Aafia Siddiqui says she was tasked under a fatwa to study germ weapons.

        Why were Aafia and Fowzia associated with Ann Arbor addresses? The addresses were of their brother and sister-in-law who had lived in early 2001. Was it due to a home-based family charity?

  23. DXer said

    Systemic anthrax in an injecting drug user: Oslo, Norway April 2000

    A man who had injected drugs long term died from systemic anthrax in Oslo, Norway, in early April 2000 (1,2). He first developed a soft tissue lesion in his buttocks. This was suspected to be an abscess, but no pus was detected after incision. Two days later he was found comatose, suspected to have taken an overdose, and admitted to hospital. He did not respond to treatment with an opiate antagonist. Abundant Gram positive rods were detected in his cerebrospinal fluid. He died three days later from a haemorrhagic meningoencephalitis despite treatment with high dose penicillin. The isolate was confirmed by standard microbiological methods to be Bacillus anthracis – it was non haemolytic, non motile, and capsulated after growth in defibrinated horse blood and on 0.7% bicarbonate agar (3). Since then, we have confirmed the diagnosis by finding the isolate to be positive for the lethal factor gene (lef) and the protective antigen precursor gene (pag) from the pX01 plasmid and the capsular gene (capA) located on plasmid pX02 (4,53) by polymerase chain reaction.

    Infections among injecting drug users in Norway, 1997-2000

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration Of US Biodefense

  24. DXer said

    HEALTH; Looking for Early Warnings in Every Corner of the Globe
    Published: December 13, 2000

    While there can be overlap between the private disease-monitoring groups and W.H.O., the efforts can also be complementary. W.H.O. officials regularly go to groups like ProMed for information. For a variety of reasons, tips often come into the private groups first.

    Some time back, for example, a posting came to ProMed from a veterinary official in Norway, who was passing on an unconfirmed report that a heroin addict had died, possibly after contracting anthrax. The disease had not been seen in people in Norway in many years.

    ”The concern was, this could be a bad batch of heroin that had anthrax,” Dr. Shapiro said. When reports began arriving from Scotland that addicts had started dying mysteriously, concern grew.

    In the end, health officials determined that the heroin was contaminated by the bacterium clostridium, which is commonly found in soil and in dust as spores. Health officials mounted a public campaign to warn heroin users.

    Noting that ProMed staff members are partly reimbursed for their time, Dr. Shapiro said the group was highly dependent on online technology. ”It would simply not be possible without the Net,” he said.

    Sometimes, the lack of official ties to any government — W.H.O. has 191 member countries — can be liberating for private disease-monitoring groups.

    ”There are some countries that might not wish to report certain diseases,” Dr. Shapiro said. ”For example, if a country had cholera.”

    Although international law requires cholera to be reported, said Dr. Shapiro, ”There are countries that do not do that because they fear an impact on tourism,” or on exports. A report on an influential Web site puts pressure on those governments to acknowledge they have a problem.

    Still, for all the help the Web brings, it also poses problems. Obtaining information, and obtaining it fast, is crucial for doctors who battle epidemics. But there is such a thing as too much information, to say nothing of bad information. And the democratizing effect of the Internet, which has taken early reports about outbreaks out of the exclusive realm of health organizations, is not an unmitigated improvement.

    ”The quality of information is no longer controlled, and may be provided out of context, often causing unnecessary public anxiety and confusion,” said a report last spring in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. ”Rumors that later prove to be unsubstantiated may lead to inappropriate response, causing disruption in travel and trade and economic loss to affected countries.”

    To try to prevent this problem, when reports reach W.H.O. or ProMed, they are reviewed by experts before they are posted.

    No matter how much the free flow of information on the Net complicates their jobs, health officials say they are in a stronger position to fight diseases because of it. Dr. Heymann said that the Canadian monitoring system, which searches only English- and French-language sites, would soon include other languages.

    The technology, he said, has allowed W.H.O. to be much less passive when it comes to learning about trouble spots.

    ”Twenty years ago,” Dr. Heymann said, ”this wasn’t possible.”

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration Of US Biodefense

  25. DXer said

    Lethal outbreak of infection with Clostridium novyi type A and other spore-forming organisms in Scottish injecting drug users

    Greater Glasgow NHS Board, Glasgow, *Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health, Glasgow, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Public Health Laboratory Service, London and Cardiff and Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, Scotland

    Corresponding author: Dr C. McGuigan (e-mail: in linked copy).

    Received 13 June 2002; accepted 4 July 2002.


    This report describes the investigation and management of an unprecedented outbreak of severe illness among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Scotland during April to August 2000. IDUs with severe soft tissue inflammation were prospectively sought among acute hospitals and a mortuary in Scotland. Cases were categorised as definite or probable: probable cases had severe injection site inflammation or multi-system failure; definite cases had both. Information about clinical course, mortality, post-mortem findings and laboratory data was gathered by standardised case-note review and interview. Sixty cases were identified – 23 definite and 37 probable. Most had familial or social links with each other and 50 were from Glasgow. Median age was 30 years; 31 were female. The majority, especially definite cases,injected heroin/citric acid extravascularly. Of definite cases, 20 died (87% case-fatality rate; 13 after intensive care), 15 had necrotising fasciitis, 22 had injection site oedema and 13 had pleural effusion. Median white cell count was 60×109/L. Of 37 probable cases, three died (8% case-fatality rate). Overall, the most frequently isolated pathogen was Clostridium novyi type A (13 cases: 8 in definite cases). The findings are consistent with an infection resulting from injection into soft tissue of acidified heroin contaminated with spore-forming bacteria. Toxin production led to a severe local reaction and, in many,multi-system failure.

    “Thus, it is likely that the outbreak was limited by contaminated heroin either being used up, or withdrawn by dealers keen to protect their business.”

  26. DXer said

    This case study also serves as an example of the recent DOD-encouraged push toward international networking. See NAS report. The same lesson was illustrated by the May 2000 deaths.

    Question: How does the learning curve compare?

    BMJ. 2000 June 10; 320(7249): 1559.

    Copyright © 2000, British Medical Journal

    UK heroin deaths prompt international alert
    Bryan Christie

    “The whole episode highlights the importance of international networking.”
    Dr Gruer said he expected the process to be a long haul because of the methodical nature of the microbiologiocal examination, but he added: “I am hopeful that by working closely with our Irish colleagues and the CDC we will be able to establish what is causing these outbreaks.”

  27. DXer said

    “As part of our ongoing inquiries any injecting heroin users who have sought medical attention over serious soft tissue infections now or during the last four weeks will be investigated.”

    The evolving debate during the May-August 2000 period regarding Clostridia versus anthrax on Pro-Med, involving the same public health spokesman, is a fascinating case study of both learning from history and the use of new technology to share information. It will be interesting to see what the experts conclude about the current deaths, upon processing all past learning on the subject and digesting testing data as it is received. At the same time, it will be interesting to see if it causes the experts to revisit the differing 2000 conclusions of experts.

    It seems that the main lesson learned though — that both schools agreed upon in 2000 — is not to inject into muscle.

    “It is fairly easy to get anthrax cultures from USAMRIID, said Martin Hugh-Jones, an anthrax expert at Louisiana State University. “They kept the stuff there, and if you need a culture, you called up Art,” Hugh-Jones said. “Art” is USAMRIID senior research scientist Col. Arthur Friedlander (Associated Press, Nov. 26).”

  28. DXer said

    [CTRL] Feds Enter Search For Source Of Tainted Smack

    William Shannon
    Thu, 08 Jun 2000 16:15:37 -0700

    Vol. 6, No. 1349 – The American Reporter – June 8, 2000


    American Reporter Staff
    Hollywood, Calif.
    LOS ANGELES — Several weeks ago, the Internet tropical disease mailing list
    Pro-MED, to which this newspaper has occasionally contributed, first heard
    reports of an alarming number of deaths of unknown causes associated with the
    use of heroin by drug addicts in Glasgow, Scotland.

    Since that time, addicts have begun to die in Ireland, England and Wales
    while experts struggle to understand the origins of the disease that is
    killing them. Currently, the verified death toll is 32 in Ireland and the
    United Kingdom, according to official sources in those countries.

    Most recently, the Centers For Disease Control and the Pentagon have entered
    the investigation, according to this comprehensive report from Martin
    Hugh-Jones, a distinguished professor of veterinary medicine and contributor
    to ProMED and other medical journals who became interested when several of
    the deaths were attributed in the press to anthrax infections. Anthrax, a
    disease that originates in cattle and can spread to humans, has since been
    ruled out as a source of the unknown disease, he reports.

    This Mr. Hugh-Jones’ June 7 report to ProMED:

    The number of confirmed cases in the Greater Glasgow area now stands at 33,
    with 15 deaths. Nineteen of those cases, including eight of those who have
    died, have been women. In Dublin, Ireland, 8 have died and 15 are ill with
    similar symptoms. Seven heroin injectors in England and Wales (places have
    not been revealed) have died since 24th April and are believed to be from the
    same cause(s).

    Greater Glasgow Health Board said microbiologists suspected the condition had
    been caused by a form of anaerobic bacteria — the class of bacteria which
    includes the causes of botulism, tetanus and gas gangrene. The condition
    appears to affect heroin addicts who inject the drug into the muscle or under
    the skin, rather than into a vein. Victims suffer a septicaemia-type illness
    and need intensive care, but some have died from multiple organ failure
    within hours.

    According to Dr. Brian Duerden, medical director of the Public Health
    Laboratory Service in London, “The pattern of illness is one of localized
    infection at the injection site, followed by a systemic infection similar to
    a toxic shock reaction. It is highly suggestive of a Clostridia infection. If
    in fact it is ClostridiaD, it is very difficult to detect under normal
    laboratory conditions.”

    To augment their investigation, officials from both countries called upon the
    CDC in Atlanta. “There has been excellent cooperation amongst the
    international community. Doctors are talking to doctors and that is what we
    need,” said Maureen Browne, communications director of the Eastern Regional
    Health Authority in Dublin, Ireland. “The police forces of both countries
    have their investigations as well, but our concern is assessing and managing
    the public health risk.”

    Officials ruled out anthrax as a potential contaminant early on. They also
    explored the possibility that citric acid, mixed into the heroin, may be the

    “The citric acid may certainly be contributory to the problem,” Duerden said.
    “It causes localized tissue damage and necrosis at the injection site and may
    be establishing the ideal environment for a superinfection to grow, but the
    clinical signs clearly point to a bacterial infection.”

    The patients hospitalized have all had white blood cell counts between 4,000
    and 135,000, which would support the bacterial superinfection theory.
    However, these individuals have not responded to broad-spectrum antibiotics.

    Jai Lingappa was seconded to Glasgow from CDC [in] Atlanta and Kristy Murray
    to Dublin. [Editor’s note: “Seconded” means that that the named officials of
    the CDC were sent in person to the cities mentioned.]

    Dublin newspapers carried a bleak message for heroin addicts. Large
    advertisements warned there could be contaminated supplies of the drug on
    sale and urged users to contact a doctor immediately if they noticed any
    unusual symptoms, particularly an abscess or swelling close to an injection

    Whether these measures will reach those who are most vulnerable, the
    thousands of addicts who inject heroin and are not in touch with any of the
    social services provided, is a cause for serious concern. One counsellor said
    yesterday: “If an addict needs heroin, he or she will inject.”

    The crisis has focused a harsh spotlight on a problem which most Irish people
    would prefer to ignore since it hardly impinges on the more comfortably off
    sections of a society doing well in a time of economic boom. Ireland’s
    addicts are the youngest in Europe, with an average age of 24, compared with
    34 in the Netherlands. The overwhelming majority come from the most socially
    deprived areas of large cities, although senior police officers have recently
    expressed concern that the drug is becoming more available in rural areas.

    In Dublin alone there are 13,000 heroin-users, of whom 4,500 are on treatment
    programmes and 400 more are on waiting lists. That means that 8,000 addicts
    are not in touch with any of the social services offering some form of help.
    It is these young men and women who are most at risk from injecting
    contaminated heroin.

    As Anna Quigley, co-ordinator of the Dublin-based City Wide Campaign against
    Drugs, commented: “There’s no point in telling an addict not to inject. If it
    were that simple, we wouldn’t have a heroin problem.” Some argue that what is
    needed is a much more radical approach which would take the supply of heroin
    out of the hands of criminal gangs. Father Sean Cassin, a member of the
    National Drugs Strategy Team, has argued that Ireland should follow
    Switzerland’s example and prescribe heroin for young addicts.

    The Irish government’s own task force has recognised — and emphasised —
    that the drugs problem cannot be solved in isolation from the underlying
    causes of social exclusion, poverty, unemployment, lack of recreational and
    other facilities throughout large areas of inner cities.

    Most heroin reaching Dublin and Glasgow comes through Amsterdam and usually
    originates in Asia. However, Europol, the EU police intelligence agency, has
    reported that South American gangs are increasing their flow of drugs into
    European markets. The two batches of heroin which were used by two of the
    victims and have been located by gardai [Irish police] from the Garda
    National Drugs Unit are understood to be in powder form. These samples are
    being sent to the US for examination.

    Garda sources said it seemed uncertain whether all the deaths could be
    attributed to a contaminated batch of the drug. An average batch of heroin
    will be used by at least 100 or 200 addicts, and it might be expected that
    any bacteriological contamination would be more widespread.

    After the Garda Commissioner appointed the drugs unit to uncover the source
    of the heroin used by the victims, officers visited relatives and associates
    but were able to trace only two samples of heroin which had been used. In
    both cases the heroin appears to have been of unusually high strength. The
    drugs unit officers discovered that in all cases the victims appeared to have
    been diluting or “cutting” the heroin with citric acid.

    In the meanwhile, American secret service agents have been called in to
    investigate the mysterious illness. Pentagon officials ordered the probe
    after reports that a deadly batch of heroin may have been contaminated with
    the killer disease anthrax. …

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infilitration Of US Biodefense

  29. DXer said

    LSU Epidemiologist Uses Internet Technology To Track Infectious Diseases

    08/28/2000 10:03 AM
    An LSU professor of epidemiology and community health is playing a major role in determining worldwide occurrences of infectious diseases through an Internet collaboration of public health experts.

    Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine has participated as a moderator with the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases e-mail network — known as ProMED-mail — for the past five years. ProMED-mail, a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, is an Internet collaboration of academics, public health and government officials and the general public that has been in place for six years.

    ProMED-mail’s job is to report outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases internationally. With more than 20,000 members from 160 countries, ProMED-mail monitors emerging human, animal and plant diseases, as well as possible bioterrorist attacks or threats.

    Hugh-Jones has been a part of ProMED-mail since its inception when it included only 145 members. He serves as assistant moderator for animal disease and as a coordinator for the WHO Anthrax Research and Control Working Group in addition to his duties as a full-time professor at the LSU Vet School.

    ProMED-mail moderators act as in-house experts by answering questions, filtering information, reinforcing news and notifying appropriate officials of threatening infectious diseases as they surface across the globe. In particular, Hugh-Jones gets involved when traditional animal diseases, such as anthrax, equine encephalitis, rabies or plague are found in human beings.

    In early May, Hugh-Jones put his anthrax expertise to work for ProMED-mail. On May 6 he received notification that a Norwegian heroin user had died of an anthrax infection. Hugh-Jones and Norwegian officials were puzzled because the heroin user’s death in Oslo was the first anthrax infection in Norway since 1993.

    Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by bacteria. It is most commonly passed from warm-blooded animals and survives for years as spores in contaminated soil. Anthrax is usually found in agricultural regions and areas without effective public-health regulations.

    “The case was odd because you don’t expect to see anthrax in a heroin user. It had the smell of bioterrorism to us because it was clear it was not an accident,” Hugh-Jones said.

    The severity and delicacy of the situation prompted Hugh-Jones to immediately contact the CIA, FBI, CDC and WHO officials about the strange occurrence. Carefully written references of the case were also broadcast on ProMED-mail, although they were not heavily mentioned for fear of copycat occurrences.

    The user died after the anthrax infection was detected. According to Hugh-Jones, once a systemic infection sets in, death is inevitable.

    Officials still have no explanation for how or why anthrax was in his heroin supply. “The only explanation we could come up with was that the case was the result of some kind of drug war going on,” Hugh-Jones said.

    The next development came a few days later when Hugh-Jones noticed unexplained deaths among heroin users in Scotland. The symptoms of the Scottish incidents were similar to the Oslo death, and a connection was established between the two. Hugh-Jones again sent quick, private alerts to world health officials, highlighting the similarities between the two incidents.

    ProMED-mail reported over a number of days that more heroin users throughout England, Scotland and Ireland were dying from mysterious causes. It was determined early that anthraxwas not the cause of these new illnesses. Officials continued working to quickly uncover what was happening to the European heroin users.

    ProMED-mail eventually reported that a Clostridium novyi infection was found in the ill heroin users. This infection is a common sheep disease, traditionally known as “black disease,” and also comes from spores in the soil.

    The infected users had gotten sick when they injected the tainted heroin directly into their muscles, the injection method also practiced by the Oslo user. Widespread speculation remains about how this heroin supply was infected with Clostridium novyi.

    In total, about 44 cases developed among heroin users before the problem was solved. Through ProMED-mail, health officials across the globe were able to share information, send out warnings and communicate updates in the cases.

    “Our job is to get early reports out to people and point out existing connections if we can. This was a successful case because we haven’t seen anthrax outside of Norway.”

    “When we set up ProMED-mail, besides being a public health service, it was a trip-wire for bioterrorism events. These mysterious heroin deaths were a first occurrence for a potential hazard, but ProMED-mail successfully took care of it. The event was real, important, and ProMED-mail worked,” Hugh-Jones said.

    Hugh-Jones holds veterinary M.B., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Cambridge University and a M.P.H. degree from Tulane University He is a fellow in the American College of Epidemiology and has been on the LSU faculty since 1978. He is also the recent recipient of the Mary Louise Martin Professorship in Veterinary Medicine, the second professorship at the School of Veterinary Medicine.

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infilitration Of US Biodefense

  30. DXer said

    Science. 2000 Jun 16;288(5473):1941a.
    PUBLIC HEALTH: Deaths Among Heroin Users Present a Puzzle.
    Hagmann M.

    Deaths Among Heroin Users Present a Puzzle

    Michael Hagmann
    The first symptom is an abscess where the needle broke the skin. Next, inflammation tears through the body, triggering a steep drop in blood pressure. The number of white blood cells skyrockets. Within hours, the victim’s organs shut off one by one. More than 30 heroin users in Scotland and Ireland have died this dreadful way in the past 6 weeks, and health officials had reason to suspect that they were looking at the handiwork of a pathogen whose occasional appearance invariably is cause for alarm: anthrax, the notorious biological warfare agent.

    The suspicions aroused a lightning-fast response from microbe hunters on both sides of the Atlantic. Their analyses, first posted on 1 June on Eurosurveillance Weekly–an Internet site that tracks infectious diseases in Europe–and in more detail in last week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, offer a somewhat reassuring conclusion: Anthrax did not kill the heroin users. It’s unclear what did, but a new suspect has emerged.

    “Drug addicts die all the time,” says Syed Ahmed of the Greater Glasgow Health Board in Scotland. Even so, when Glasgow-area hospitals realized in early May that heroin users were succumbing to a mysterious malady, it was obvious that the cases painted “a very different picture” from an overdose, Ahmed says. Rather, a pathogen appeared to be responsible. Then on 6 May, Per Lausund of the Norwegian Army Medical School in Oslo posted a notice on ProMED, an Internet forum for infectious disease specialists. It described the case of a heroin addict in Norway who had died of anthrax the week before. Lausund had not yet heard about the Scottish victims.

    Researchers suspected that a batch of heroin of unknown origin had been contaminated, knowingly or otherwise, with the anthrax bacillus, the spores of which can lie dormant in harsh conditions for years. Although anthrax is not transmitted from person to person, the possibility of any commodity being spiked with the bacillus raised red flags. Springing to action was the U.K. Department of Health’s Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research (CAMR) in Porton Down, a lab that keeps samples of many exotic diseases. “Anthrax is one of our specialties,” says CAMR microbiologist Phil Luton. Its investigation drew intense public interest in the wake of news reports speculating about a budding anthrax epidemic.

    Since the U.K. Department of Health issued a Europe-wide alert on 19 May, the death tally among heroin users has climbed to 18 in Scotland, seven in Ireland, and seven in England and Wales. In a conference call on 30 May, U.K. and Irish health officials concluded that they were “dealing with the same phenomenon,” says Joe Barry of Ireland’s Eastern Regional Health Authority in Dublin. The authority, like its Scottish counterpart, shipped samples from patients to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta for analysis.

    The CDC and the CAMR returned good news: no anthrax. But the mystery deepened. The only bacteria the labs isolated are common ones unlikely to trigger such severe symptoms, says Ahmed. Although the outbreak appears to be subsiding, he says, “we still don’t know what [the drug users] are dying of.” The Norwegian death appears to be unrelated, he adds.

    Suspicion now centers on Clostridia, a family of more than 30 species including the bacteria that cause botulism, tetanus, and gas gangrene. Like anthrax, Clostridia form spores hardy enough to survive the high temperatures reached when heroin is dissolved before injection. And some Clostridia are hard to culture, which may explain why pathogenic strains have not yet been detected conclusively in tissue samples from the heroin users.

    But the circumstantial evidence is mounting. Most of the victims had dissolved the heroin in citric acid before injecting it into their muscles. Citric acid damages tissue, perhaps providing a hospitable oxygen-starved environment for Clostridia spores to flourish, says Ahmed. What’s more, toxins churned out by many Clostridia species would account for the rapid progression of symptoms and death. “Once the toxin is produced, an antibiotic treatment is too late,” says Brian Duerden of the Public Health Laboratory Service in London, the British version of the CDC.

    Researchers haven’t ruled out other possibilities, however. “It may be a new pathogen or something that makes you slap your head and say ‘Gee, why haven’t I thought of that before,’ ” says Martin Hugh-Jones of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. With roughly half of powder sold as heroin cut with filler, he says, “there’s a lot of space to let you inject God knows what.” And whatever that might be is likely to kill again.

  31. DXer said

    from a 2000 article –

    Meanwhile users were being advised to smoke the drug
    rather than inject it, and especially not to inject
    into the muscle.

    He believes that the weak results in the anthrax test
    may be because all the victims were treated with
    antibiotics before their samples were taken.

  32. DXer said

    Possibility Drugs Could Be Laced with Anthrax
    October 11, 2001 at 12:53:58 PT
    By Juan Montoya
    Source: Worthington Daily Globe

    As the FBI investigates to determine whether the death of a Florida man was a result of biological terrorism, an expert in microbiology and immunology has warned that terrorists are capable of lacing cocaine and heroin with deadly anthrax bacteria.

    Phillip Hanna, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan and an anthrax expert, said that such an occurrence had already been recorded in a Scandinavian country where heroin dealers had diluted the drug with powdered bone meal, which contained anthrax.

    The incident occurred within the last year and involved heroin, he said.

    “It was not done on purpose,” said Hanna. “The bone meal has the same consistency and color as heroin, so it was similar. The addict died of anthrax.”

    FBI Special Agent Bob Erikson with the Palm Beach County, Fla., office, said the prospect of deliberately tainted cocaine was “a scary thing,” but said investigators had not determined the source of the bacteria in the Stevens death.

    “We’re still working on isolating the origin of this stuff,’ he said. “We’re still in the building.”

    Federal and state authorities are calling the death of Robert Stevens, 63, a layout editor at the weekly tabloid, The Sun, isolated and no cause for alarm. Stevens, of Delray, Fla., died as a result of inhaling Bacillus anthracis, a strain of anthrax that results in death 90 percent of the time.

    Spores also were detected in the nasal cavity of Ernesto Blanco, a 73-year-old mail supervisor at The Sun who had been hospitalized with flu-like symptoms. Traces of anthrax were also found in a white powder found on a keyboard used by Stevens.

    The FBI has led an aggressive investigation with health officials and representatives of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention into how the two American Media employees came in contact with the anthrax bacteria.

    So far, there has been no report of the analysis of the white powder found on the keyboard or on whether cocaine has been found in the autopsy results done on Stevens. If there is something there, said Hanna, it could be an indication that someone may be lacing drugs with anthrax.

    “I don’t know if that could be the most effective way to disperse anthrax,” he said. “It wouldn’t be the most effective way to transmit it. But you don’t know the minds of terrorists. You don’t know with terrorists what they would do.”

    However, Hanna said that Afghanistan was a primary source of the world’s heroin.

    “That area is one of the main heroin routes in the world,” he said. ….

    • DXer said

      May 17, 2000 BBC article re early debate re findings. Some thought tests inconclusive — might be due to highly acidic heroin batch.

      Wednesday, 17 May, 2000, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
      Anthrax ‘link’ in heroin deaths

    • DXer said

      Neurologic Complications of Anthrax
      A Review of the Literature
      Michael Andrew Meyer, MD
      Arch Neurol. 2003;60:483-488.

      The recent report of a heroin-injecting drug user developing fatal anthrax meningoencephalitis with hemorrhagic qualities on autopsy9 raised new questions about the mode of entry for the organism. The authors postulated that this patient in Oslo, Norway, was infected from contaminated heroin that may have come from either Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Iran, where anthrax is common and Europe’s heroin supply originates, but stated that other intentional or unintentional sources could not be ruled out. Polymerase chain reaction testing was positive for all 3 markers: the protective antigen precursor, lethal factor, and the encapsulation protein. Despite high-dose penicillin, chloramphenicol, and dexamethasone, this particular patient died within 3 days after coming to the hospital in a coma and cardiovascular shock, 8 days after the onset of a soft tissue infection of the right buttock. As shown in Table 1, CSF examination on the day of admission revealed a low glucose level and a high white blood cell count; many large gram-positive rods without endospores were visible on the gram stain of the CSF.

  33. DXer said

    Anthrax found in dead heroin user
    BBC News – ‎29 minutes ago‎
    A heroin user who died in hospital in Glasgow had traces of anthrax in their blood, it has emerged. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the “drug injecting …

    Science. 2000 Jun 16;288(5473):1941a.
    PUBLIC HEALTH: Deaths Among Heroin Users Present a Puzzle.
    Hagmann M.

    More than 30 heroin users in Scotland and Ireland have succumbed to a mysterious malady in the past 6 weeks, leading health officials to suspect anthrax, the notorious biological warfare agent. Now, analyses by microbe hunters on both sides of the Atlantic offer a somewhat reassuring conclusion: Anthrax did not kill the heroin users. It’s unclear what did, but a new suspect has emerged.

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infilitration Of US Biodefense

    • DXer said

      NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the man died in the city’s Victoria Infirmary on Wednesday. A woman being treated there has also tested positive.
      A second man with “serious soft tissue infections” is being tested at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
      Police believe contaminated heroin or a contaminated cutting agent may be responsible for the infections.

      • DXer said

        May 18, 2000 Independent article

        Anthrax in heroin may be behind spate of addict deaths
        By Charles Arthur, Technology Editor

        Heroin contaminated at source with the deadly anthrax bacterium may have caused a spate of fatalities among addicts in Scotland, British scientists have discovered.
        The suspicion has been raised after Norwegian scientists confirmed earlier this month that a heroin addict who died in April had succumbed to anthrax, the first recorded case of the infection in Norway since 1967.

        Researchers at the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research (CAMR), the Government’s biological defence laboratory at Porton Down, Wiltshire, have found indicators of anthrax infection in the blood of two of the Scottish victims, though no firm diagnosis has been made.

        Ten people in Glasgow and Aberdeen have died in the past few weeks and 15 are seriously ill after injecting heroin into their muscles, rather than their veins, and developing pus-free lesions at the injection site.

        They died hours after the appearance of symptoms including leakage of fluids around the heart and lungs and soaring white blood cell counts. Pathologists said that those who died had multiple organ failures consistent with overwhelming infection, but have been unable to specify what the infection was.

        However, a report in New Scientist magazine says that two of the samples tested positive for an anthrax antigen, a chemical made by the body when it comes into contact with the bacterium.

        Phil Hanna, an expert at the University of Michigan, told the magazine there could be a link with injecting into muscles rather than veins: the infection only spreads when anthrax spores are eaten by the body’s defensive white blood cells. They do this more effectively in muscle than in blood.

        Anthrax usually affects cattle and other herbivores, and is endemic in Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, where most of Europe’s heroin originates. The drug is often adulterated before being exported in order to bulk it up.

        Les King of the Forensic Science Service, which analyses seized heroin in Britain, said: “Heroin can contain almost anything in small amounts. But no one checks it for infectious agents. There could be a long history of this, and we just haven’t observed it till now.”

        The disease cannot, however, be passed between humans, so the risk of any contaminated drugs is limited to those who use them.

        The Greater Glasgow Health Board has sent seven samples of blood to the CAMR, which is a world centre of expertise in anthrax for testing. The tests conducted so far “have been negative for traces of anthrax or any significant toxin”, the health board said, but antibiotics used to treat the abscesses could have killed the bacteria.

        The CAMR has not yet received any samples of fluid from the brain or spine, which could demonstrate for certain if anthrax caused the deaths.The diagnosis on the Norwegian was only made after tests found that fluid extracted fluid from his brain and spine contained bacteria, which were confirmed by DNA analysis as anthrax.

        An editorial in New Scientist suggested that the bacterium, which produces spores that are released from the blood of dead animals, might even have been the cause of past surges in deaths of heroin addicts, which are usually blamed on over-pure supplies. “No one looks further,” the magazine noted.

        Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infilitration Of US Biodefense

      • DXer said

        All three had infections in areas of the body they injected with heroin.
        NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said its Public Health Protection Unit was now working with the Procurator Fiscal and Strathclyde Police to identify the source of the anthrax.

  34. DXer said

    There is news today that SEC is dropping this civil case involving a decontamination firm and inquiries about whether it had access to Ames. The FBI had made routine inquiry into whether there was access to anthrax spores by the company making a decontamination product or whether the company could benefit commercially from future anthrax contaminations.

    The case involving a different company which that was true, NanoBio — with the access to virulent Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins — involved a former Zawahiri associate.

    $30 million in investment was garnered from the DC venture firm (Perseus) while coincidentally headed by the current #3 at the Department of State, the very powerful Richard Holbrooke in charge of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    So if you folks did your homework, read a little, and watched BONES to see how often Booth’s investigation is influenced by meddling superiors, you would better understand Amerithrax. You would appreciate the importance of the fact that the scientist coordinating with the 911 imam was the assistant to the former White House Chief of Staff. And you would appreciate that it is material that the decontamination inventor receiving virulent Ames from Bruce Ivins had been the associate of the pharmacology and antimicrobial-minded Zawahiris.

    You would see the problem investigators faced when they were so compartmentalized that all some of them knew was that Bruce Ivins liked recalling the days of yore when co-eds were blindfolded.

    Now Ed Montooth has publicly said that the Third Squad was also on board with an Ivins theory. Shame on them for not being more Bones-like — where the truth was all that mattered. FBI Seely Agent Booth, while professing to being realistic and accepting constraints imposed by superiors, somehow always found a way to bring the case to a successful conclusion, even if he needed to let the girl throw some punches.

    SEC Drops Anthrax Civil Case Against Convicted Exec

    Law360, New York (December 16, 2009) — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has asked a federal court to drop the rest of a civil case against Timothy Moses, a biotechnology executive sentenced to prison time after his company claimed the U.S. government had sought it out for an anthrax remediation product.

    The SEC on Tuesday asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to drop civil penalty proceedings against Moses, the former CEO of Georgia-based International BioChemical Industries….


    Litigation Release No. 19446 / October 28, 2005
    SEC v. International BioChemical Industries, Inc. and Timothy Moses, Case No. 1:03-CV-0346-JTC (N.D.GA).

    On October 27, 2005, a federal jury in Atlanta, Georgia convicted Timothy C. Moses of securities fraud and perjury. U.S v. Timothy C. Moses, Case No. 1:04-CRT-508-CAP (N.D.Ga.) Moses is the former Chairman, CEO and President of International BioChemical Industries, Inc. (“IBCL”), a publicly-held biotechnology company based in Norcross, Georgia that, prior to its bankruptcy in 2004, manufactured and sold antimicrobial products used as disinfectants.

    The Commission previously sued Moses and IBCL, and suspended trading in IBCL’s stock, in February 2003, after Moses issued a series of press releases that falsely suggested that the federal government was interested in buying IBCL’s anthrax remediation product. In truth, the FBI had contacted IBCL solely for investigative reasons, trying to ascertain whether IBCL or any of its personnel had access to anthrax spores or whether the company could benefit commercially from future anthrax contaminations. Moses’ press releases led to a sharp increase in IBCL’s stock price, with over 118 million shares being traded over the six days following the first press release, causing approximately $2.2 million of investor losses. .During this time, Moses dumped approximately 1 million of his IBCL shares.

    In the Commission’s lawsuit, the Court entered consent orders on February 21, 2003 that permanently enjoined IBCL and Moses from violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and required Moses to disgorge his ill-gotten gains. The Commission referred the case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia for possible criminal prosecution after Moses perjured himself in his deposition. Specifically, Moses testified that he was unaware that the sales of his IBCL shares had occurred, claiming that he had given his broker discretion to sell those shares.

    • DXer said

      “22. In his initial call with IBCL, the FBI agent spoke with a woman who identified herself as IBCL’s manager. The FBI agent explained that the meeting he requested would be a routine investigative meeting at which he would ask a series of standard questions concerning the company.

      23. Contrary to what the company stated in its January 29th and January 30th press releases, the FBI agent did not mention the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) in his conversations with IBCL. Nor did he indicate that the meeting pertained to a review by the FBI or any other federal agency regarding technical data publicly available from the EPA.”

      Note: By publicly available, the prosecutors mean if EPA complied with FOIA. I requested the same data and Patrick E. said there were no such documents even though I had sent him a link to the final EPA reports.





      International Biochemical
      Industries, Inc.
      and Timothy C. Moses,


      Civil Action No.


      The plaintiff, Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission” or the “Plaintiff”), files this complaint and alleges the following:


      10. At or around 1:51 P.M., EST on January 29, 2003, IBCL issued a press release stating:

      [A] Federal Government Agency has requested today an urgent meeting with the firm to discuss the [company’s] line of products in the war on bio-terrorism. According to the government official who contacted IBCL, the request is being made after a review by his agency of the technical data publicly available from the EPA.

      11. This press release directed readers to contact Moses for additional information on IBCL.

      13. This press release, which strongly suggested that the federal government had a business interest in IBCL’s products, dramatically impacted the trading volume of IBCL common stock. In the three hours before the press release, between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on January 29th, only 181,200 shares of IBCL were traded. Between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., the hour in which IBCL issued its press release, the trading volume soared to 3.4 million shares.

      15. On January 30, 2003, IBCL issued another press release in which it again indicated that the federal government was interested in its products. The press release stated:

      [A] Federal government agency, requesting urgency, has scheduled its meeting with [IBCL] to discuss test data and [IBCL] products that will be effective in the war on bio-terrorism. The discussion will include manufacturing capabilities, good laboratory practices and protocols, security of the facility and security of internal data files including test locations and employee confidentiality.

      19. IBCL knew that the January 29th and January 30th press releases contained materially false information and contributed to the false impression that the federal government was interested in procuring products or services from IBCL.

      20. On Friday, January 31, 2003, the Commission staff interviewed Moses and inquired about the press releases. Moses told the Commission staff that an FBI agent had contacted the company and requested the meeting.

      21. Contrary to what the company stated in its January 29th and January 30th press releases, the FBI agent did not request an “urgent” meeting to discuss the company’s product line.

      22. In his initial call with IBCL, the FBI agent spoke with a woman who identified herself as IBCL’s manager. The FBI agent explained that the meeting he requested would be a routine investigative meeting at which he would ask a series of standard questions concerning the company.

      23. Contrary to what the company stated in its January 29th and January 30th press releases, the FBI agent did not mention the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) in his conversations with IBCL. Nor did he indicate that the meeting pertained to a review by the FBI or any other federal agency regarding technical data publicly available from the EPA.

      24. In addition, contrary to IBCL’s January 30, 2003 press release, the FBI agent did not indicate that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss test data or IBCL products that would be effective in the war on bio-terrorism. The FBI agent did not tell IBCL that the discussion would include good laboratory practices and protocols, test locations, internal data files or employee confidentiality.

      25. Most importantly, the FBI agent did not say or indicate to IBCL that the purpose of the meeting was to explore, in any way, the possibility of the government procuring products or services from ICBL.

      26. During their initial telephone conversation, IBCL’s Manager told the FBI Agent that she needed to contact Moses before a meeting could be arranged, and that she would get back in touch with the FBI agent.

      27. On the evening of Friday, January 31st, after interviewing the FBI agent, the Commission staff again called Moses and told him that the staff believed that the January 29th and 30th press releases contained untrue and misleading statements.

      28. The Commission staff told Moses that the staff was informed that the FBI did not request an urgent meeting, that the purpose of the meeting was not to discuss the effectiveness of the company’s products in the war on bio-terrorism, and that the request for the meeting was not made after reviewing test data available from the EPA.

      29. The Commission staff told Moses that the press releases clearly had a material impact on both the price and volume of IBCL stock and warned that, if accurate information was not disseminated by the company to the investing public, the Commission staff would consider appropriate action.

      30. As a result of the telephone call from the Commission’s staff, Moses knew that IBCL’s January 29th and January 30th press releases contained false and misleading information. Moses, however, did nothing to correct the company’s misstatements.

      31. On Monday, February 3, 2003 at 9:01 a.m., IBCL issued another press release. IBCL knew that this press release continued the false impression created in the previous press releases that the federal government was interested in using IBCL products in the war on bio-terrorism.

      32. Specifically, this press release revealed that the previously disclosed meeting with a federal agency was a meeting requested by an FBI agent to discuss the company’s business operations and the company’s “efforts over the last 14 months relating to products, and the stability and security of the business.”

      33. The press release acknowledged that the company “does not have a contract with the Federal Government, nor has one been presented.” However, the press release added, “[t]he company is anxious to find out today, but does not know at this time, the exact level of interest in the company’s products.”

      34. The press release again referred readers to Moses for additional information about IBCL.

      35. Later that morning, after the issuance of the press release, the FBI agent met with Moses and, on two separate occasions, explained that the meeting had nothing to do with the purchase of the company’s products by the United States government. Moses responded that he understood that such was the case.

      36. The FBI agent explained to Moses that the meeting was pursuant to the FBI’s investigation of the post-September 11, 2001 anthrax attacks.

      37. Despite these clear an unequivocal statements by the FBI agent, IBCL and Moses failed to correct the misstatements within, and false impressions created by, its prior press releases.

      38. Instead, at or around 3:34 p.m. on February 3, 2003, IBCL issued another press release in which it again emphasized the purported business purpose of the meeting. The press release announced that the “business meeting” with “the Federal Government took place today” and claimed that the meeting had been “requested by Washington, D.C. and that the information and data gathered in the meeting is to be submitted back to Washington, D.C. for further technical review.”

      39. This press release again directed readers to contact Moses for additional information on IBCL.

      40. IBCL and Moses knew that this press release failed to correct the materially false information previously disclosed and instead contributed to the false impression that the federal government was interested in procuring products or services from IBCL.

      41. The investing public continued to react to the misinformation disseminated by IBCL. During February 3, 2003, the price reached $0.164 per share before closing at $0.112. The trading volume totaled 42.3 million shares, almost 100 times greater than the average daily trading volume between January 3 and January 28, 2003.


      Violations of Section 17(a)(1)
      of the Securities Act [15 U.S.C. § 77q(a)(1)]

      42. Paragraphs 1 through 41 are hereby realleged and are incorporated herein by reference.

      43. Defendants IBCL and Moses, in the offer or sale of securities, directly or indirectly, employed devices, schemes, or artifices to defraud purchasers of such securities, all as more particularly described above.

      44. Defendants IBCL and Moses knowingly, intentionally and/or recklessly engaged in the aforementioned devices, schemes and artifices to defraud.

      45. While engaging in the courses of conduct described above, Defendants IBCL and Moses, directly or indirectly, made use of the mails, or means or instruments of transportation or communication in interstate commerce, or means or instrumentalities of interstate commerce.

      46. By reason of the foregoing, Defendants IBCL and Moses violated, and, unless restrained and enjoined, will continue to violate Section 17(a)(1) of the Securities Act [15 U.S.C. § 77q(a)(1)].


      Violations of Sections 17(a)(2) and 17(a)(3)
      of the Securities Act [15 U.S.C. § 77q(a)(2) and (a)(3)]

      47. Paragraphs 1 through 41 are hereby realleged and are incorporated herein by reference.

      48. Defendants IBCL and Moses, in the offer or sale of securities, directly or indirectly, obtained money or property by means of untrue statements of material facts or omissions of material facts necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading and/or engaged in transactions, practices, or courses of business which operated as a fraud or deceit upon the purchasers of securities, all as more particularly described above.

      49. While engaging in the courses of conduct described above, Defendants IBCL and Moses, directly or indirectly, made use of the mails, or means or instruments of transportation or communication in interstate commerce, or means or instrumentalities of interstate commerce.

      50. By reason of the foregoing, Defendants IBCL and Moses violated or are about to violate, and, unless restrained and enjoined, will continue to violate Sections 17(a)(2) and 17(a)(3) of the Securities Act [15 U.S.C. §§ 77q(a)(2) and (3)].


      Violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Act [15 U.S.C.
      § 78 j(b)] and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5]

      51. Paragraphs 1 through 41 are hereby realleged and are incorporated herein by reference.

      52. As described above, Defendants IBCL and Moses, in connection with the purchase or sale of securities, directly or indirectly employed devices, schemes, or artifices to defraud; made untrue statements of material facts or omitted to state material facts necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading; or engaged in acts, practices, or courses of business which operated as a fraud or deceit.

      53. Defendants IBCL and Moses knowingly, intentionally and/or recklessly engaged in the conduct described above.

      54. While engaging in the above courses of conduct, Defendants IBCL or Moses, directly or indirectly, made use of the mails, or means or instruments of transportation or communication in interstate commerce, or means or instrumentalities of interstate commerce.

      55. By reason of the foregoing, Defendants IBCL or Moses violated or is about to violate, and unless restrained and enjoined, will continue to violate Section 17(a) of the Securities Act [15 U.S.C. § 77q(a)], Section 10(b) the Exchange Act [15 U.S.C. § 78j(b)] and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5].

      • DXer said

        Further background:

        “Although IBCL had sought EPA approval to market a product called “AnthraxShield” as being effective against anthrax, the EPA had rejected IBCL’s test data and refused to license the product months before the FBI contacted the company in January 2003.

        The FBI’s interest in IBCL was purely investigative; specifically, whether IBCL or any of its personnel had access to deadly anthrax spores or whether the company stood to benefit commercially from the anthrax attacks.

        The press releases led to a sharp increase in IBCL’s stock price and trading volume. In the six days following the first press release, the price of IBCL stock increased by more than 500 percent, and the number of shares traded rose from a daily average of several hundred thousand to a high of more than 40 million. In all, more than 118 million shares were traded during this time period.

        Moses took advantage of the fraudulently inflated market for IBCL stock to sell his own shares in the company, gaining about $70,000 in proceeds, and to advise other stockholding creditors of the company to sell their shares. The SEC suspended trading in IBCL stock on Feb. 6, 2003. When trading in the stock resumed, its price plummeted, causing nearly $2.2 million in losses to investors.

        In his deposition before the SEC in a subsequent civil enforcement action, Moses lied about his personal IBCL stock sales, claiming he was unaware the sales had occurred. But evidence presented at Moses’ trial showed he had called his stock broker more than 50 times during the three-day period in which he sold stock. The SEC referred the case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution after Moses perjured himself in his SEC deposition.”

        • DXer said

          A different decontamination company was sentenced to serve time for false statements to an investigator for defrauding the U.S.Postal Service in connection with the 2001 decontamination of a Manhattan sorting center. The statements related to whether the workers had training.

          President of Cleanup Company Sentenced for Anthrax Decontamination Fraud
          Nov 25, 2003 12:00 AM, By Sandy Smith

          Oscar Miranda, the president of Azteca Services Inc. based in Port Arthur, Texas, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for defrauding the U.S. Postal Service in connection with the 2001 anthrax decontamination of the USPS Morgan Processing and Distribution Center in Manhattan.

          Article Tools

          According to James B. Comey, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, U.S. District Judge Robert W. Sweet also ruled that Miranda made a false statement to an investigator during an OSHA inspection relating to the decontamination. In addition, Judge Sweet ordered Miranda to pay more than $1.38 million in restitution to the United States Postal Service.

          Miranda pled guilty on July 31 to charges that he falsely represented that Azteca workers who participated in the anthrax decontamination had the training required for the job when in fact they did not. The USPS paid more than $1.6 million for their services.

          The Morgan facility houses machines used for the processing and sorting of mail. In October 2001, anthrax bacteria was determined to be present on some of those machines. The USPS entered into a contract for cleaning and decontamination that required all workers performing the anthrax decontamination to have received hazwoper training.

          Hazwoper training is required by OSHA rules for certain workers involved in operations that expose or potentially expose them to hazardous substances such as biological and disease-causing agents. Among other things, the OSHA rules require a minimum of 40 hours of training, succeeded by eight hours of refresher training annually, in the use of personal protective equipment, work practices to minimize risks and symptoms and signs which might indicate overexposure to hazards. The rules also require that those who have received and successfully completed hazwoper training be given written certificates, certifying that they have successfully completed the training.

          Some of the Morgan decontamination work was subcontracted to Azteca. From Nov. 1, 2001, through Dec. 8, 2001, workers employed by Azteca, together with workers employed by other contractors, performed cleaning and decontamination services on the machines where anthrax had been determined to be present.

          Miranda admitted at the time of his guilty plea that he knew that Azteca workers assigned to the Morgan anthrax decontamination had not received the required Hazwoper training. Nonetheless, says Comey, in order to ensure that the Azteca workers would be permitted to be involved in operations that exposed or potentially exposed them to hazardous substances so that he would be paid for and profit from their work, Miranda falsely represented that the Azteca workers had received the requisite hazwoper training and took steps to conceal the fact that they had not.

          Those steps included creating and submitting bogus hazwoper training certificates for the Azteca workers, lying about the training given to the Azteca workers, instructing some of the workers to lie about their training and submitting documents to OSHA that falsely represented that the Azteca workers had received Hazwoper training during 2001.

          An OSHA investigator interviewed Miranda, who falsely stated that he had given all of the Azteca workers 40 hours of hazardous materials training.

        • DXer said

          Further background:

          IBCI was not finished. On February 3rd the Company sent out three more press releases. The first, which was issued before the stock markets opened for trading, attempted to “clarify” the two earlier releases. The Company now was claiming that a “Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator for the FBI, who is also a member of the Atlanta Joint Task Force on Terrorism,” contacted IBCI on January 28th. IBCI said that it spoke with the FBI agent again on January 29th and scheduled a meeting at the Company’s offices on February 3rd in order to discuss IBCI’s operations, products, security and stability.

          Adding a note of caution, the press release reminded investors that IBCI had no federal government contract. Nevertheless, the Company may have managed to pique the interest of some potential investors when it mentioned that it was prepared to discuss “everything requested by the agent,” including the “security of internal data files on Anthrax.”

          The second press release issued on the morning of February 3rd – also before the markets opened – revealed new additions to the Company’s sales and marketing team, but did not elaborate further on the pending meeting with government representatives.

          A third press release, issued at 3:34 pm focused on that subject. It stated that the Company had concluded its business meeting with two unnamed representative of an unidentified “agency of the Federal Government.” IBCI said that it had been advised that the meeting was requested by “Washington, D.C.,” and that information gathered about the Company and its employees was being submitted to “Washington, D.C.” for review. These vaguestatements provided virtually no useful information. ,

          Despite that rather cryptic summary of the meeting, IBCI shares continued to respond. On January 31st, while the Company took a brief breather from its series of press release, the Company’s common stock doubled in value, to 14 cents, on volume of 15.3 million shares. Then, on February 3rd, the date of the three press releases, another 42.3 million shares were traded, and prices reached a high of 16 cents per share, before closing down at 11 cents.

          The wave of press releases continued on February 4th, with the announcement that IBCI’s “partner,” Nova BioGenetics would be adding new antimicrobials to its product mix. The Company did not elaborate on the nature of its “partnership” with Nova, and the impact of this development on IBCI was unclear. Nevertheless, another 19.5 million shares of IBCI stock traded on February 4th.

          Interestingly, this onslaught of “news” comes just weeks after the Company registered 7 million shares of its common stock. On January 7, 2003, IBCI filed a Form-8 registering 7 million shares to be issued to unidentified officers, directors, employees, attorneys and consultants under its 2002 Option Plan. An additional 7 million shares already had been registered under this same 2002 Option Plan in September 2002.

          The SEC’s trading suspension of IBCI shares took effect on February 6, 2003 and will continue until 11:59 pm on February 20, 2003. Unless the SEC takes further action at that time, the stock can resume trading – most likely on the Pink Sheets.

        • DXer said

          On appeal before the Eleventh Circuit, Timothy C. Moses argued that he would not have perjured himself in the SEC deposition had he known the US Attorney was contemplating a criminal prosecution. The court noted that Moses was told at the time that false testimony could lead to a charge of perjury and that he could plead the right against self-incrimination. The date of the EPA testing elsewhere is noted to have occurred in March 2002.

        • DXer said

          In 2008, a ruling in favor of Emory University inventors found Mr. Moses of patent infringement. Dr. Lanny Liebeskind and his graduate student Gary All red had solved a stability problem by creating a chemical “cap” that prevented the product from reacting with water. DC 5700 had the ability to bond with the surface to which it was applied, thus causing that surface to have permanent antimicrobial properties. The problem was that it was not stable in water for any period of time and was rendered ineffective as an antimicrobial when exposed to water.

        • DXer said

          The case illustrates that often when people cannot talk about something because of national security, it really often is because of embarrassment, potential liability etc. When you see electronic surveillance under The Presidential Surveillance Program so sensitive that only two people at the US DOJ are allowed to know about even the general program, and no federal judge (not a single one)… then ask yourself: would it really be so awkward for the public to know that it was not Iraq that had access to the anthrax know-how, but the son of an Iraqi embassy lawyer who had been given a high security clearance and letter of commendation from the White House? The surveillance of Ali Al-Timimi, who his counsel describes as an “anthrax weapons suspect,” began on or about October 7, 2001.

          The reason they don’t disclose the Bruce Ivins material is that his suicide put the FBI in a regrettable and unfortunate position — especially in the outcry over the Hatfill matter. Do you think we will ever see the many dozens of FBI emails exchanged by investigators when they learned he had committed suicide? Surely there must be a #16 in Tiger Woods’ life that the media could focus on instead.

          But telling the truth, getting the facts and moving through it is the Booth-like thing to do.


          Biotech exec’s SEC case cloaked in mystery
          Atlantan won’t comment, cites ‘national security’

          The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

          Timothy C. Moses doesn’t have much to say about his recent troubles with the Securities and Exchange Commission, but his reason for not commenting is an eye-opener.

          “National security,” he said. As in the FBI and the CIA.

          “We deal in that arena where we can’t discuss it,” Moses said when questioned recently by a reporter about the SEC case.

          They ordered you not to talk?


          Both agencies?


          They invoked some kind of national security?


          They said, “Tim, you can’t say anything about this because it’s a matter of national security?”

          “Not those exact words.”

          A little background: Timothy C. Moses is a 46-year-old Atlantan who agreed to repay $11,600 in profits from stock sales after the SEC accused him of using words to mislead investors in an obscure, publicly traded company, International BioChemical Industries. Moses is chief executive of the company, whose stock now trades for a penny or less.

          In settling the case with the SEC, which is still deciding whether to pursue a civil penalty, Moses neither admitted nor denied the allegations.

          But that case — and how Moses chooses his words — illustrates the difficulty in determining what’s truth or fiction these days at International BioChemical, which sells a mold killer. Even something as simple as holding a shareholders meeting seems elusive for the company once known as BioShield Technologies.

          The company’s problems came to light early this year over some announcements Moses issued publicly — in the form of press releases.

          In late January and early February, International BioChemical issued a series of press releases that got the SEC’s attention. In one, dated Jan. 29, the company “announced that a Federal Government Agency has requested today an urgent meeting with the firm to discuss the BioShield line of products in the war on bioterrorism.”

          Thirty-nine minutes after that announcement was made, International BioChemical shares had nearly tripled, to 7 cents, according to the SEC. Trading volume, which had been less than half a million shares daily for much of January, soared to more than 22 million shares the next day, when the company put out a similarly worded press release titled “Government Sets Parameters Yesterday Afternoon for Discussion of Combating Bio-Terrorism.”

          Then, as the trading volume and price of the company’s stock rose following those announcements, Moses sold 1.2 million shares of International Biochemical, according to the SEC.

          The SEC sued in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, alleging Moses issued false and misleading announcements that suggested the federal government wanted to buy products or services from the company to fight terrorism. It turns out the FBI had contacted the company, but not to buy anything, according to the SEC.

          Instead, the FBI contacted Moses’ company as part of its national investigation into the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001, the SEC said. What led the FBI to International BioChemical is unclear.

          “All we’re going to have to say is that the FBI does not have a business relationship with Mr. Moses or his company,” says FBI Special Agent Joe Parris in Atlanta.

          Different versions

          Moses’ interpretation of the government’s interest was and is a little different from that of the SEC. He shared it early last month, when a reporter caught up with him on the day the company’s shareholder meeting was to have been held.

          “I’m saying that they were there to discuss our products,” said Moses from his nondescript offices in a north Fulton County office park.

          So you’re saying those press releases were accurate?

          “I’m saying those press releases, to the best of our belief, were appropriate.”

          His lawyer, in a brief filed in the SEC case, put it this way: The press releases were not misleading, but even if they were, they amounted to nothing more than “expressions of immaterial corporate optimism or puffery.”

          Little else is known about Moses. He also founded Nova BioGenetics, another small, publicly traded Atlanta company that is described in press releases as International BioChemical’s distributor. Previous SEC filings describe him as a former employee of Dow Corning and subsequent founder of a company called DCI Inc.

          Those documents also report that he graduated from “a division of Georgia Institute of Technology where he received his B.S. degree in 1980.” Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, once a division of Georgia Tech, said a Timothy C. Moses graduated in 1980. According to Southern Tech, the degree was a bachelor of architectural engineering technology.

          Financial trouble

          Documents filed with the SEC by International BioChemical also show the company has had trouble paying its bills, with several judgments against the company for nonpayment.

          And what about the special shareholders meeting, scheduled for Aug. 8 at a Roswell hotel? It never came off.

          A room at the Best Western Roswell Suites had been readied for the meeting of International BioChemical’s shareholders. But 17 minutes before it was to start, a stock market information firm called Knobias reported it had been postponed.

          Moses said the meeting was not held because the company was waiting for comments from the SEC. The only thing on the meeting agenda was a reverse stock split vote.

          There have been no further pronouncements by the company.

    • BugMaster said

      I expect we will all know soon after the holidays.

  35. DXer said

    I heard John Ezzell to confirm to me that he had given aerosolized Ames to John Hopkins at the request of DARPA and that it had tested after gamma irradiation to be inactive. Did I hear him correctly?

    He said that the FBI was likely wiretapping his phone. Why would they be doing that?

    This November 2001 article reports that the former Zawahiri associate funded by DARPA was testing the decontamination agent at John Hopkins in mid-October 2001.

    What were the results? What was the pathogen or simulant used? Sterne? Did John Hopkins have aerosolized Ames made by JE that had been subject to gamma irradiation? I asked the DARPA-associated people at John Hopkins but got no response. Ivins in an email had said that he had heard that the anthrax was closest to the attack anthrax.

    If I am correct that Dr. Ezzell, the FBI’s anthrax expert at USAMRIID, had made a dry aerosol and given it to John Hopkins at the request of DARPA, did he tell the FBI that he had? (I presume so). He seemed very sincere and forthright although he was limited in what he was confirming, as if he was trying to figure things out himself. Retired and in failing health, he did not follow postings on the internet.

    General John Parker, according to the account shared by Dr. Ivins in the email to Patricia Fellows (reported by FoxNews), had been told by some scientist that only wet aerosols had ever been made at USAMRIID. That scientist apparently did not know of the dry aerosol made at the request of DARPA for testing.

    A later EPA report suggests that the simulant Sterne was used at John Hopkins in the October 2001 testing. A simulant had been used, for example, Dr. Baker tells me, in the 1999 testing done at Dugway. The EPA FOIA person Patrick E. denied that EPA had any documents relating to the testing of Nanoprotect (which is crock IMO, as illustrated by the report below).

    See This Goop? It Kills Anthrax And the tiny biotech startup that invented it has been thrust into a national crisis that is upending its business.
    By Julie Creswell
    November 12, 2001

    What makes the stuff potent is how it is made. Think about what happens when you shake up salad dressing. Bubbles of oil are dispersed in the vinegar. Those bubbles contain energy that is stored as surface tension; the energy is released when the droplets coalesce again. NanoBio’s technology–called an anti-microbial nanoemulsion–forms these bubbles at the supertiny nano level. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, or about 100,000 times narrower than a human hair. The nanodroplets, stabilized by the detergents they float in, are small enough to literally bombard the lipids, or fats, found in bacteria and viruses, blowing the bugs up. NanoBio’s formula convinces a dormant anthrax spore that surface conditions are ripe for it to germinate into an active anthrax bacterium. As it germinates, the spore forms a lipid layer, which the nanoemulsion promptly assaults. Within a couple of hours, the anthrax is dead.

    The day after the Sept. 11 attacks, CEO Annis called together the NanoBio staff. “Nobody mentioned anthrax specifically at the meeting, but we thought it was likely that the terrorists’ next punch was already planned and that it would be a bio event,” he says. Realizing that the company’s initial product-rollout timetable was about to be put into hyperdrive, Annis began gathering the paperwork needed for fast-track EPA and FDA approvals. And he braced for a barrage of interest from reporters, following a local newspaper story on the company; the media soon dubbed NanoBio’s decontaminant “the salad-oil cure.”

    NanoBio’s product isn’t the only promising anthrax killer. A foam developed by New Mexico’s Sandia National Laboratories supposedly neutralizes pathogens and chemicals; it was recently used to decontaminate some NBC offices. In mid-October, Johns Hopkins University tested bio killing products from both companies, but it hasn’t yet made its findings public.

    “Other tests against the vaccine strain of Bacillus anthracis (sterne strain) were conducted by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratories and by the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research.”

    Reformulated NanoBio Nontoxic Hard Surface Sanitizer/Disinfectant Formulation To Inactivate and Kill B. Anthracis and Other Bioattack Pathogens
    EPA Contract Number: EPD04025
    Title: Reformulated NanoBio Nontoxic Hard Surface Sanitizer/Disinfectant Formulation To Inactivate and Kill B. Anthracis and Other Bioattack Pathogens
    Investigators: Hamouda, Tarek
    Small Business: NanoBio Corporation
    EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
    Phase: I
    Project Period: March 1, 2004 through August 31, 2004
    Project Amount: $69,906
    RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) – Phase I (2004)
    Research Category: SBIR – Safe Buildings , Hazardous Waste/Remediation

    Antimicrobial nanoemulsion technology was developed by Dr. James Baker at the University of Michigan Medical School over a period of 5 years. That research was funded by grants from the Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency (DARPA). DARPA identified a need for a nontoxic, noncorrosive, biodefense decontamination material that can decontaminate equipment, personnel, structures, and terrain in the event of a biological incident. A series of surfactant lipid nanoemulsions that have extensive antimicrobial activity and are not toxic to tissues resulted from this effort. Nanoemulsions are oil-in-water emulsions that employ droplets that range from 200 to 800 nanometers. They are composed of detergents, vegetable oil, salt, water, a food-grade alcohol, and for anthrax decontamination, a spore germination enhancer. The physical structure of the nanoemulsion contains the surfactants that mediate the antimicrobial activity. The emulsion droplet disrupts microorganisms through fusion with and destabilization of the cell membrane, leading to lysis. Commercialization of this technology should result in a safe biodecontaminate that will kill bacteria, enveloped viruses, spores, and fungi, including anthrax and smallpox, while presenting no toxic threat to humans or the environment.

    In December 1999, the U.S. Army tested a broad spectrum nanoemulsion and nine other biodecontamination technologies at Dugway, UT, against an anthrax surrogate, Bacillus globigii. Nanoemulsion was one of four technologies that proved effective and the only nontoxic formulation available. Other tests against the vaccine strain of Bacillus anthracis (sterne strain) were conducted by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratories and by the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research.

    The goal of this Phase I research project is to modify the new, safer nanoemulsion formulation for efficacy against anthrax by incorporating two nontoxic spore germination enhancers. Earlier studies have shown that careful selection of the enhancers, their ratio, and their concentration has a significant impact on efficacy against spores. Determination of the most efficacious formulation through efficacy tests against Bacillus spores will be conducted.

    The commercial application, NanoProtect™, will be nontoxic, very safe to humans, and serve as a biodecontaminate for standby emergency use in buildings and building contents. Customers will include federal, state, and local governments and corporations. A subcontractor will provide the manufacturing. Sales and support will be provided by NanoBio Corporation. NanoBio Corporation management has significant business experience applicable to the projects that will be required for the commercial success of NanoProtect™.

    Supplemental Keywords:

    small business, SBIR, sanitizer, disinfectant, surface sanitizer, bioattack pathogen, Bacillus anthracis, anthrax, antimicrobial nanoemulsion technology, biodefense, decontamination, spore germination enhancers, NanoProtectTM, homeland security, EPA. , Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, RESEARCH, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Sustainable Industry/Business, Scientific Discipline, RFA, Monitoring, Technology, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Chemistry, New/Innovative technologies, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, nanotechnology, bioterrorism, biodefense technology, biomonitoring, biocides, antimicrobial nanoemulsion technology, biotechnology, decontamination, nano engineering, anthrax decontamination, anthrax, homeland security, bioattack

    • DXer said

      The NSA was wiretapping Fowzia Siddiqui, a professor at John Hopkins, without a warrant under The Presidential Surveillance Program. Why?

    • DXer said

      Pre-massacre concerns about Hasan may have been off limits to FBI

      12:00 AM CST on Wednesday, December 16, 2009

      WASHINGTON – FBI agents who discovered Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s extremist ties before the Fort Hood massacre may not have had access to key Army records on the psychiatrist, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday.
      The Maine Republican said some information that terrorism investigators need stays in military education or training files “and does not make its way to the personnel files” – the records that intelligence agencies would see when deciding whether to investigate someone.

      Collins is the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, which is investigating how pre-massacre intelligence was handled. She spoke after a closed-door hearing with Defense Department officials.

      “It doesn’t appear that the military has updated its personnel policies to reflect the threat of Islamic extremism,” Collins said. “There appears to be a real gap in the protocols in the personnel procedures.”

      The FBI has investigated al-Awlaki’s ties to terrorists since the late 1990s. Any contact with him should have set off an investigation, experts have told The Dallas Morning News.

      Lieberman said that the White House would not allow Tuesday’s briefing to be held in public and that it had taken too long to give lawmakers information.

      Information-sharing problems still seem to be compromising American security more than eight years after the 9/11 attacks, Collins said.

  36. DXer said

    For tomorrow’s news today, see the 12/16 version of

    Al Qaeda and Anthrax: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

  37. DXer said

    For a copy of the warrant for the arrest of Anwar Aulaqi for false statements, see

    David Gaouette, the Assistant U.S. Attorney who supervised the case and currently U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, commented, “It was a determination of our office that we couldn’t prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt and we asked the court to withdraw the complaint.” Al-Awlaki had repeated contacts with Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan and lauded Hasan as a hero following the attack.

    By way of background, in March 2002, fellow Falls Church iman Anwar Aulaqi — known as the “911 imam” — suddenly left the US and went to Yemen, thus avoiding the inquiry the 9/11 Commission thought so important. (Eventually Aulaqi would be banned from entering both the UK and US because of his speeches on jihad, martyrdom and the like). Upon a return visit in Fall 2002, “Aulaqi attempted to get al Timimi to discuss issues related to the recruitment of young Muslims,” according to a court filing by
    Al-Timimi’s attorney at the time, Edward MacMahon. McMahon reports that those “entreaties were rejected.” After 18 months in prison in Yemen in 2006 and 2007, he was released over US objections, where he says he was subject to interrogation by the FBI.

    Al-Timimi’s counsel explained in a court filing unsealed in April 2008: “]911 imam] Anwar Al-Aulaqi goes directly to Dr. Al-Timimi’s state of mind and his role in the alleged conspiracy. The 9-11 Report indicates that Special Agent Ammerman interviewed Al-Aulaqi just before or shortly after his October 2002 visit to Dr. Al-Timimi’s home to discuss the attacks and his efforts to reach out to the U.S. government.”

    Falls Church imam Awlaqi (Aulaqi), who met with hijacker Nawaf, reportedly was picked up in Yemen by Yemen security forces at the request of the CIA in the summer of 2006. British and US intelligence had him and others under surveillance. Al-Timimi would speak alongside fellow Falls Church imam Awlaqi (Aulaqi) at conferences such as the August 2001 London JIMAS and the August 2002 London JIMAS conference. They would speak on subjects such as signs before the day of judgment and the like. Dozens of their lectures are available online. Unnamed U.S. officials told the Washington Post in 2008 that “they have come to believe that Aulaqi worked with al-Qaida networks in the Persian Gulf after leaving Northern Virginia.” One official said: “There is good reason to believe Anwar Aulaqi has been involved in very serious terrorist activities since leaving the United States, including plotting attacks against America and our allies.” “Some believe that Aulaqi was the first person since the summit meeting in Malaysia with whom al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi shared their terrorist intentions and plans,” former Senate Intelligence committee chairman Bob Graham wrote in his 2004 book “Intelligence Matters.”

    Awlaqi was hired in early 2001 in an attempt by the mosque’s leaders to appeal to younger worshipers. Born in New Mexico and raised in Yemen, he had the total package. He was young, personable, fluent in English, eloquent and knowledgeable about Middle East politics. Hani Hanjour and Nawaf Al Hazmi worshiped at Aulaqi’s mosque for several weeks in spring 2001. The 9/11 commission noted that the two men apparently showed up because Nawaf Hazmi had developed a close relationship with Aulaqi in San Diego. In 2001, Awlaqi came to Falls Church from San Diego shortly before Nawaf did. Awlaqi told the FBI that he did not recall what Nawaf and he had discussed in San Diego and denied having contact with him in Falls Church.

    The travel agent right on the same floor as Al-Timimi’s Dar Arqam mosque organized trips to hajj in February 2001. San Francisco attorney Hal Smith was Aulaqi’s roommate. Smith tells me that he was very extreme in his views when speaking privately and not like his smooth public persona. “Aulaqi is deep into hardcore militant Islam. He is not a cleric who just says prayers and counsels people as some of his supporters have suggested.” Sami al-Hussayen uncle checked into the same Herndon, VA hotel, the Marriot Residence Inn, on the same night — September 10, 2001 as Hani Hanjour and Nawaf al-Hazmi, and another hijacker. Hussayen had a seizure during an FBI interview and although doctors found nothing wrong with him was allowed to return home. During his trip to the US, al-Hussayen had visited both “911 imam” Aulaqi and Ali Al-Timimi.

    The unclassified portion of a U.S. Department of Justice memorandum dated September 26, 2001 states

    “Aulaqi was familiar enough with Nawaf Alhazmi to describe some of Alhazmi’s personality traits. Aulaqi considered Alhazmi to be a loner who did not have a large circle of friends. Alhazmi was slow to enter into personal relationships and was always very soft spoken, a very calm and extremely nice person. Aulaqi did not see Alhazmi as a very religious person, based on the fact that Alhazmi never wore a beard and neglected to attend all five daily prayer sessions.”

    The Washington Post explains that “After leaving the United States in 2002, Aulaqi spent time in Britain, where he developed a following among young ultra-conservative Muslims through his lectures and audiotapes. His CD “The Hereafter” takes listeners on a tour of Paradise that describes “the mansions of Paradise,” “the women of Paradise,” and “the greatest of the pleasures of Paradise.” In London, after leaving the United States, he spoke at JIMAS and argued that in light of the rewards offered to martyrs in Jennah, or Paradise, Muslims should be eager to give his life in fighting the unbelievers. “Don’t think that the tones that die in the sake of Allah are dead — they are alive, and Allah is providing for them. So the shaheed is alive in the sense that his soul is in Jennah, and his soul is alive in Jennah.” He moved to Yemen, his family’s ancestral home, in 2004.” Before his arrest in Yemen in mid-2006, Aulaqi lectured at an Islamist university in San’a run by Abdul Majid al-Zindani, who fought with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and was designated a terrorist in 2004 by the United States and the United Nations.

    Law enforcement sources told the Post that Aulaqi was visited by Ziyad Khaleel, who the government has previously said purchased a satellite phone and batteries for bin Laden in the 1990s. The Post explains: “Khaleel was the U.S. fundraiser for Islamic American Relief Agency, a charity the U.S. Treasury has designated a financier of bin Laden and which listed Aulaqi’s charity as its Yemeni partner. A Washington Post article explained: “The FBI also learned that Aulaqi was visited in early 2000 by a close associate of Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called Blind Sheik who was convicted of conspiracy in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and that he had ties to people raising money for the radical Palestinian movement Hamas, according to Congress and the 9/11 Commission report.”

    He now has been released and came to be at the center of a controversy concerning what the FBI should have known and shared about Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter. What did Awlaqi, detained in mid-2006 and held for a year and a half, tell questioners, if anything, about his fellow Falls Church imam and fellow Salafist conference lecturer Ali Al-Timimi? The Washington Post reports that in a taped interview posted on December 31, 2007 on a British Web site, “Aulaqi said that while in prison in Yemen, he had undergone multiple interrogations by the FBI that included questions about his dealings with the 9/11 hijackers.” “I don’t know if I was held because of that or because of the other issues they presented,” Aulaqi said. Aulaqi once said he would like to travel outside Yemen but would not do so “until the U.S. drops whatever unknown charges it has against me.”

  38. DXer said

    In Dr. Ivins’ sworn statement dated May 10, 2002, he explains that sometimes he took it to Bldg. 1412 and sometimes left it overnight on his desk.

    If you have a self-replicating weapon with your name on it, that can be taken without it being noticed that it was taken (through dilution see GAO report advised by top experts), and you leave it on your desk overnight and take it to a different building, how can any real weight be given to the notion that you have “sole custody”? The person least likely to use it is the one whose name appears on the weapon.

  39. Ike Solem said

    So, I’ve finished the second transcript, of Dr. Patricia Worsham, who ID’d the morphs originally.

    There are a lot of issues there, but take this excerpt from a 1958 paper (see link) to get the general notion:

    The identification of Bacillus anthracis involves its differentiation from other aerobic sporeformers, particularly Bacillus cereus. Smith et al. (1952), in a study of aerobic sporeforming bacteria, concluded that B. anthracis is a pathogenic variety of B. cereus. They also stated that strains of B. anthracis which had lost their virulence could not be differentiated from B. cereus. This apparent relationship between B. anthracis and B. cereus was supported by Brown et al. (1958). Burdon (1956) listed characteristics for the identification of pathogenic strains of B. anthracis, but indicated that attenuated and avirulent strains presented properties closely approaching those of B. cereus.

    Essentially, it appears that in Bacillus anthracis, virulence is easily lost and that the poor spore-formers are under positive selection in laboratory growth conditions (which, as you can imagine, are very different from those inside an infected cow, say). A very wide array of genetic mutations can lead to such genotypic morphs, however – meaning that again, the “unique fingerprints” that the FBI is claiming exists may actually arise during any large-scale laboratory spore production beginning with the Ames strain.

    There are also some serious unanswered questions about the developement of the morph assays and the validation that they underwent – as well as what kind of forensic background sequencing was used in order to differentiate such morphs from other members of the Bacillus anthracis Ames subgroup.

    The main point here, however is this: why didn’t the NAS committee request that the people who created the morph assays testify at the same time as Dr. Patricia Worsham? That looks like deliberate obfuscation to me – and yes, there do appear to be at least a few conflict-of-interest issues here in the committee makeup, although there are also people on the committee who are clearly asking the tough questions – at least, some of the tough questions.

    I wonder what the full NAS will have to say about this?

    • DXer said

      I haven’t seen any conflict of interest issues on the panel make-up.

    • DXer said


      While I don’t mean to be disagreeable, because I learn from and value your informed posts, I don’t think the ordering of presentations can be said to be deliberate obfuscation.

      I view the genetics big picture somewhat differently. It once was estimated that 1,000 people had access. Now it is estimated that up to 300 people had access. Consideration of the validation of the genetics work is best left to the peer reviewed journals and the NAS report.

      I think it is regrettable — if it is to be a review of the FBI’s science — that they don’t consider more mundane issues like the distinctiveness of the envelope. They say that limited things to 2 out of 50 states. That issues constitutes a narrowing of the field by 1 out of 25 rather than merely 1 out of 3, as in the case of the genetics.

      Also, I’ve never understood why the Read et al. (2002) finding that it was a mixture of two Ames strains does not, without more, not point to flask 1029. (Although we don’t know if any others fit that description, I believe it will turn out to be highly unusual, and it would have been knowable from the history of the flask).

      On the issue of conflict of interest in the past, I’ve been more narrowly referring, for example to the Battelle employee that should not be in the position of suggesting to the WMD Chief not to mention Battelle’s name lest they be bugged. Or the ATTC Collections Scientist that would face potential liability to the tune of millions if ATTC was the source of the attack Ames as it was the Vollum given Iraq.

      I would be satisfied if they had no future hand in obstructing the flow of information or guiding the issues to be addressed by the NAS.

  40. DXer said

    CIA Briefs Law Enforcement on Possible WMD Attacks
    Monday, December 14, 2009

    By Jim Kouri

    [The Central Intelligence Agency released declassified reports to the National Association of Chiefs of Police regarding CBRN threats to the United States. The following is a synopsis of the information contained in these disturbing reports.]

    Al-Qaeda and associated extremist groups have a wide variety of potential agents and delivery means to choose from for chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) attacks. Al-Qaeda’s end goal is the use of CBRN to cause mass casualties; however, most attacks by the group — and especially by associated extremists — probably will be small scale, incorporating relatively crude delivery means and easily produced or obtained chemicals, toxins, or radiological substances. The success of any al-Qaeda attack and the number of ensuing casualties would depend on many factors, including the technical expertise of those involved, but most scenarios could cause panic and disruption.

    Several groups of mujahidin associated with al-Qaeda have attempted to carry out “poison plot” attacks in Europe with easily produced chemicals and toxins best suited to assassination and small-scale scenarios. These agents could cause hundreds of casualties and widespread panic if used in multiple simultaneous attacks.

    Al-Qaeda is interested in radiological dispersal devices (RDDs) or “dirty bombs.” Construction of an RDD is well within its capabilities as radiological materials are relatively easy to acquire from industrial or medical sources. Osama Bin Laden’s operatives may try to launch conventional attacks against the nuclear industrial infrastructure of the United States in a bid to cause contamination, disruption, and terror. A document recovered from an al-Qaeda facility in Afghanistan contained a sketch of a crude nuclear device.

    Spray devices disseminating biological warfare (BW) agents have the highest potential impact. Both 11 September attack leader Mohammad Atta and Zacharias Moussaoui expressed interest in crop dusters, raising our concern that al-Qaeda has considered using aircraft to disseminate BW agents. ***

    • DXer said

      Booby-trapped letters is actually an established modus operandi of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad/Vanguards of Conquest.

      Lance Williams of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an eye-opening profile of Khalid Dahab, a Cairo Medical School drop-out who recruited US operatives for Al Qaeda. He was trained by Bin Laden’s head of intelligence, former US Army Sergeant Ali Mohammed. Ali Mohammed had recruited him while he was student at Cairo Medical in the early 1980s. The article was based on statements made in a Cairo court proceeding.

      Williams reports that Bin Laden personally congratulated Dahab, an Egyptian- born US Citizen, a Silicon Valley car salesman and member of Zawahri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad/Vanguards of Conquest, for recruiting Islamist Americans into al Qaeda. The account of Dahab’s confession was first published in the October 10, 2001 edition of the London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat. Ali Mohamed was also a Silicon Valley resident. Ali Mohamed had traveled to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s to report to bin Laden on the success the two were having in recruiting Americans. Bin Laden told them that recruiting terrorists with American citizenship was a top priority.

      Ali Mohamed has admitted role in planning the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, killing more than 200 people.

      Williams wrote: “Dahab’s confession supports the view of many terrorism experts that al Qaeda has “sleeper” operatives on station in the United States for future terrorist attacks.” Khaled Duran, an author and terrorism expert who has written about the Silicon Valley cell, said the recruits would be expected to “fade into the woodwork” until the organization needed them, he said. Williams continues: “His story, obtained from accounts of Egyptian court proceedings and interviews with people who knew him, is entwined with that of Mohamed, a former Egyptian military officer and aide to bin Laden who recruited Dahab into al Qaeda, brought him to America and became his handler.”

      Handsome and outgoing, Dahab spoke excellent English. He said he was from a wealthy Alexandria family. His mother was a physician and he was planning a career in medicine.

      “But Dahab told acquaintances he had been radicalized by a tragedy that happened when he was a schoolboy: his father, he claimed, had been among 108 people killed in the 1973 crash of a Cairo-bound Libyan Arab Airlines plane that was shot down by Israeli fighter jets when it strayed over the Sinai Peninsula, which at the time was occupied by Israel. He claimed that his father’s death — and Egypt’s failure to avenge it — had turned him against the Egyptian government and against Israel and the United States, as well. He said he was drawn toward Islamic Jihad, a radical movement that had assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981 in an effort to remake Egypt into a fundamentalist Muslim state.”

      Williams reports that it was while a medical student at Cairo Medical in about 1984, according to his confession, that Dahab met Mohamed, who then was an officer in the Egyptian commando forces and a Jihad operative planning to emigrate to the United States. Dahab came to the United States in 1986, obtaining a student visa by saying he wanted to study medicine. He rented an apartment in Santa Clara, where Ali Mohamed now lived with his American wife. He dropped the name Dahab, calling himself Khaled Mohamed or Ali Mohamed, the same name used by the man who had recruited him. “He sometimes claimed, falsely,” Williams explains, “that he had been a physician in Egypt, said people who met him.”

      “In 1992, Dahab married a junior college student from a tiny town in South Dakota whom he met while lawn-bowling in Santa Clara. His third wife converted to Islam. They had four children, and the marriage helped him win citizenship, acquaintances said. The family settled in a duplex near Santa Clara High School. Dahab struggled to support his family, court records show. He worked as a maintenance man at Kaiser Hospital in Santa Clara, then at National Semiconductor, then as a $30,000-per-year car salesman in San Jose.” In the mid-1990s, despite financial problems, “[h]e was often abroad, traveling extensively in the Middle East, vacationing in Pakistan, telling associates he was starting a chemical business in Egypt.”

      “In 1995, using a fake passport and identity documents, Dahab and Ali Mohammed smuggled Zawahiri into the US from Afghanistan for a covert fund-raising tour. Dahab reports that part of the money financed the bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan. Dahab also said that at Mohamed’s direction he had gone to terrorist camps in Afghanistan in 1990 and trained guerrilla fighters to fly hang gliders. He said Islamic Jihad was planning a hand-glider assault to liberate imprisoned Jihad leaders, some of whom had been locked up since the assassination of Sadat.”

      A former friend remembers that Dahab turned up in the parking lot at the Al- Noor Mosque in Santa Clara, driving a station wagon with a hang glider in the back and saying he was bound for Afghanistan. “He said, ‘I am going to take (the aircraft) to Afghanistan and help the mujahedeen — I am going to take it over there and train people to fly it,’ ” the friend said. “People said, ‘Oh, you crazy guy — they thought he was joking.’ ” Jihad later canceled the attack, Dahab said in his confession.”

      Williams continues: “Meanwhile, Dahab said Mohamed gave him military training and taught him how to make letter bombs. Dahab said he had also worked as an al Qaeda communications specialist, aiding terrorists inside Egypt by patching through their calls to other operatives in Afghanistan and the Sudan. This helped the terrorists plan operations while avoiding electronic surveillance by Egyptian security forces who routinely wiretapped calls between Egypt and countries that harbored jihad terrorists.

      Also in the 1990s, Dahab said, he and Mohamed were told to begin recruiting U.S. citizens of Middle Eastern heritage. Dahab said the recruitment project had first been outlined to him by an al Qaeda fighter named Abdel Aziz Moussa al Jamal, who, according to Arabic press accounts, recently surfaced in Islamabad, Pakistan, serving as translator for Taliban envoy Abdul Salam Zaeef. On another visit to Afghanistan, Dahab said, he and Mohamed discussed the project with Zawahiri and bin Laden.” “Dahab told Egyptian authorities he and Mohamed had found 10 recruits, all of them naturalized U.S. citizens who had been born in the Middle East. The account of the confession did not name the recruits or provide other details about them.”

      Williams explains that Dahab was arrested and sent to an Egyptian prison. “By 1998, Dahab was spending more and more time abroad, and he told a family law judge in San Jose that he intended to move his family back to Egypt. In August 1998, while Dahab was in Egypt, al Qaeda mounted suicide attacks on the embassies in East Africa. Within weeks Ali Mohamed was arrested for complicity in the attack. He pled guilty. .

      In October 1998, the Egyptian military moved to crush Islamic Jihad by arresting more than 70 of the organization’s leaders. Dahab decided to flee, and on Oct. 28 booked a flight to the United States. According to Dahab acquaintances, Egyptian security police boarded the plane shortly before takeoff and took him away in handcuffs. Dahab confessed his involvement with al Qaeda and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.”

      Sleepers, the former head of Bin Laden’s intelligence (and a former US Army sergeant) Ali Mohammed testified, “don’t wear the traditional beards and they don’t pray at the mosques.” An Al Qaeda encyclopedia, Military Studies in the Jihad Against the Tyrants, advises sleepers to “have a general appearance that does not indicate Islamic orientation,” and for men not to wear a beard. The book also instructs sleepers not to denounce unjustice faced by the ummah, and not to use common Islamic expressions such as “peace be on you,” nor to go to Islamic locations, such as mosques.

      Consider the example of another “sleeper” or operative, Tarik Hamdi of Herndon, Virginia. ABC News employed him to help secure an interview with bin Laden in early 1998. ABC News transported Hamdi to Afghanistan, unaware that his real purpose in going there was to carry a replacement battery to bin Laden for the satellite telephone he would later use to order the embassy bombings in East Africa. ABC was also unaware that the CIA had planted a listening device in the phone. The successful CIA operation, however, did not serve to prevent the planning of the embassy operation. Ironically, it facilitated it. If we don’t learn from history, we are bound to repeat it.

      • DXer said

        A Cairo Medical School alum joined chief of intelligence Ali Mohammed as Zawahiri’s tour guide on his last US tour. Who did Ayman recruit?

        In 1995, Ayman came once again to the United States where he was accompanied by US Army Sergeant Ali Mohammed on his travels to California, then Brooklyn, then the Washington, D.C. area. Who did he visit in Washington, D.C.?

        Zawahiri traveled to the US in 1991 and 1995 under an alias (though the dates are disputed). Zawahiri sometimes was accompanied by two brothers, a New Jersey pharmacist and a California doctor, Ali Zaki (a fellow Cairo Medical alum who denies knowing who Zawahiri was). They were joined by a former US Army sergeant and key Al Qaeda operative, Ali Mohammed. In Santa Clara, Ayman reportedly stated at the home of Ali Mohammed, even though Mohammed had recently been subpoenaed to testify about what he knew about Bin Laden’s activities. Dr. Zaki says he was a good friend of Ali Mohammed and that it was widely known that Ali Mohammed was a liaison between the islamists in Afghanistan and the CIA. In one of his trips, he also reportedly went to Texas. One of the most important starting points of the FBI’s Amerithrax investigation should have been to trace the contacts that al-Zawahiri made on his last trip to the United States. He met with supporters associated with the Maktab Khidmat al-Mujahidin (the Al-Mujahidin services office) in the US.

        The troubles of Cairo Medical School graduate (’71), San Jose physician Ali Zaki, over taking Ayman Zawahiri and Bin Laden’s head of intelligence around the US in 1995 had just about faded from memory. In January 2000, a new problem then reared its head. In 1999, he had prescribed $164,000 in prescriptions for Viagara, a syringe of a drug for renal insufficiency and a vial for hypogonadism. (Bin Laden suffered from renal insufficiency.) The California Board governing physicians found that Dr. Zaki violated regulations because no patient was named and he had kept no records. The drugs were ordered ostensibly for a fictitious business MedChem. When an investigator went to check out the listing it was the address at 550 Bevans Drive it turned out to have been a recently closed deli called Landmark Gourmet Delicatessen. Owned by Hasan Ibrahim, the business had been evicted. According to the decision, the drugs reportedly were for resale abroad. If they were intended for Afghanistan, someone must have expected a lot of action with some virgins. Perhaps erectile dysfunction was common there because of the cold, harsh conditions and the stress in that line of work. One of the allegations in the January 21, 2000 “Accusation” alleged that “On or about June 15, 1999, respondent ordered 100 bottles of Viagara, 30 tablets per bottle, at 100 milligram strength.” Cost: $164,000. Memories: Priceless. The public reprimand issued in August 2001 and is available online at the State agency’s website.

      • DXer said

        This was not the first time the Egyptian islamists sent letter bombs to newspaper offices in connection with an attack on the World Trade Center. NPR set the scene. It was January 2, 1997, at 9:15 a.m. at the National Press Building in Washington, D.C. The employee of the Saudi-owned newspaper Al Hayat began to open a letter. It was a Christmas card — the kind that plays a musical tune. It was white envelope, five and a half inches by six and a half inches, with a computer-generated address label attached. It had foreign postage and a post mark — a postmark appearing to be from Alexandria, Egypt. It looked suspiciously bulky, so he set it down and called the police. Minutes later they found a similar envelope. These were the first two of four letter bombs that would arrive at Al Hayat during the day. A fifth letter bomb addressed to the paper was intercepted at a nearby post office. They all looked the same. Two similar letter bombs addressed to the “parole officer” (a position that does not exist) arrived at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth. It seemed evident how some Grinch had spent the holidays in Alexandria, Egypt.

        Egyptian Saif Adel (Makawwi), thought to be in Iran, was involved in military planning. Adel was a colonel in the Egyptian Army’s Special Forces before joining Al Qaeda. He helped plan the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Africa. He was also a planner in the attack on the USS Cole and has served as the liaison officer between Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. Adel assisted Atef, who had overall responsibility for Al Qaeda’s operations. According to Cairo Attorney Al-Zayyat, Makkawi had many times claimed responsibility for operations that were carried out inside Egypt but when the perpetrators were arrested, it would be al-Zawahiri’s name whose name they shouted loyalty to from the docks. After the letter al-Hayat letter bombs were sent in January 1997, Saif Adel (Makawwi) gave a statement denying responsibility on behalf of the Vanguards of Conquest.

        On January 7, 1997 Saif Adel purporting to be speaking for the Egyptian Vanguards of Islamic Conquest said: “Those are messages of admonishment. There is no flirtation between us and the Americans in order for us to send them such alarming messages in such a manner.” Adel said that “the Vanguards of Conquest “are heavyweight and would not embark on such childish actions.” US press and political commentaries had hinted at the Vanguards of Conquest organization’s involvement in these attempts. In his statement to Al-Hayat, perhaps referring to the Egyptian Islamic Group, Adel added “I am surprised that we in particular, and not other parties, should be accused of such an operation.”

        He got admonished by the unnamed but official spokesman for the Vanguards organization. This other spokesmanchastisied him as not being authorized to speak for the organization (or even being a member). “We welcome any Muslim who wants to join us, and if Makkawi wants to [join us], he will be welcomed to the Vanguards march, but through the organizational channels. But if words are not coupled with actions, we tell him: Fear God, and you can use a different name other than the Vanguards to speak on its behalf.” The spokesman denounced Makkawi’s authority to speak for the group, referring to the January 5th statement it had made denying responsibility. The spokesperson for the Vanguards of Conquest apparently was Post Office employee Sattar’s friend, Al-Sirri, based in London.

        The FBI would not speculate as to who sent the letters or why. But this was your classic “duck that walks like a duck” situation. As NPR reported at the time, “analysts say that letter bombs are rarely sent in batches, and when they are it’s generally prompted by politics, not personal animus.” Al Hayat was a well respected and moderate newspaper. It was friendly to moderate Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. That, without more, was accurately discerned by observers at the time as sufficient to make the newspaper outlet a target of the militant islamists. The newspaper, its editor explained, does not avoid criticizing militant islamists. The Al Hayat Editor-in-Chief explained: “We’ve been opposed to all extremists in the Arab world, especially the fundamentalists.” Mohammed Salameh, a central defendant in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was sent to Leavenworth in 1994. The other three Egyptian extremists convicted in the bombing were sent to prisons in California, Indiana and Colorado. Like the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman, Salameh had complained of his conditions and asked to be avenged. The Blind Sheik was particularly irked that the prison officials did not cut his fingernails.

        Abdel-Rahman was convicted in 1995 of seditious conspiracy, bombing conspiracy, soliciting an attack on an U.S. military installation, and soliciting the murder of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. His followers were indicted for plotting to bomb bridges, tunnels and landmarks in New York for which Rahman allegedly had given his blessings. The mailing of deadly letters in connection with an earlier attack on the World Trade Center was not merely the modus operandi of militant islamists, it was the group’s signature. It’s their calling card. Khaled Abu el-Dahab, a naturalized American, from Silicon Valley, in a confession detailed in an Egyptian defense ministry document dated October 28, 1998, explained that he was trained to make booby-trapped letters to send to important people, as well as asked to enroll in American aviation schools to learn how to fly gliders and helicopters. He was a friend of Ali Mohammed, the former special forces officer in the Egyptian army and former US Army Sergeant. The modus operandi of these militant supporters of the blind sheik was known to be planes and booby-trapped letters.

        The Al Hayat reporters and editor were not expressing an opinion — though the owner did lay out various possibilities (e.g., Iraq, Iran etc.). The owner of the paper had commanded Saudi forces during the Persian Gulf War, when Bin Laden was so upset about American troops on the Arabian peninsula. Moreover, al Hayat had recently opened up a Bureau in Jerusalem, giving it a dateline of Jerusalem rather than al Quds, which some thought blasphemous. But none of the possibilities would plausibly explain why the letter bomb was sent to Leavensworth where three of the WTC 1993 defendants were imprisoned, including Ramzi Yousef’s lieutenant who had asked that his mistreatment be avenged. (That was the criminal genius who returned to Ryder to reclaim his deposit after blowing up the truck at WTC). Egyptian security officials argued that the letters were sent from outside of Egypt, the stamps were not available in Egypt, and that the postmark was not Alexandria as reported. Whatever the place of mailing, the sender likely was someone who was upset that KSM’s and Ramzi Yousef’s associates had been imprisoned, to include, most notably, the blind sheik. Whoever is responsible for the anthrax mailings, it is a very good bet that they are upset the blind sheik is detained. That should be at the center of any classified profile of the crime.

        On December 31, 1996 Mohammed Youssef was in Egypt — having gone to Egypt months before. The al Hayat letter bombs related to the detention and alleged mistreatment of the blind sheikh and the WTC bombers were sent 10 days earlier — on the Day of Measures. In 2006, he was named as co-defendant with Hassoun, Daher, Padilla and Jayyousi. Youssef was born in Alexandria. Do authorities suspect the “Florida cell” of being involved in the al Hayat letter bombs? Kifah Jayyousi’s “Islam Report” over the years — distributed by Adham Hassoun in Florida and Kassem Daher in Canada — expressed outrage at detention/extradition due to terrorism law and also what he perceived as attacks on his religion by some newspapers. His headlines on the internet groups blazed “Just In! First Muslim Victim of New Terrorism Law!: US Agents Arrest Paralegal Of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman Without Charge Prepares To Hand Him To Egyptian Regime,” soc.religion.islam, dated April 27, 1996 and “Islam Report (Newspaper Attacks Our Religion! Act Now!,” soc.religion.islam, Apr. 16, 1996

        In connection with the January 1997 letter bombs, Ayman got the know-how to send sophisticated electronic letter bombs from Iraqi intelligence according to one item from the highly controversial Feith memo. In the al Hayat letter bombings, Ayman allowed the finger to be pointed at Libya. In the Amerithrax letters, he allowed the finger to be pointed to a United States biodefense insider by the prosecutor who would have presented to any indictment to the grand jury. Born in Haifa in 1948, the man’s daughter then came to represent microbiologist Al-Timimi pro bono.

        After the Al Hayat letter bombs to newspapers in DC and NYC and people in symbolic positions, in January 1997, both the Blind Sheikh and his paralegal, Sattar, were quoted in separate articles in Al Hayat (in Arabic) denying that they or their supporters were responsible. The Blind Sheikh commented that al Hayat was fair and balanced in its coverage and his supporters would have no reason to “hit” them. The same sort of counterintuitive theory was raised in connection with the earlier letter bombing of newspapers to DC and New York City and people in symbolic positions. Sattar noted that the bombs were mailed on December 20, one day before the brief in support of the blind sheik on appeal. He questioned whether someone (like the FBI) was trying to undermine the appeal’s prospects. This time, Mr. Sattar did not need any help making the argument with respect to the anthrax letters. Numerous people with political agendas rushed to do it for him to include counsel for Bosnia and Herzogovina and legal advisor to the PLO, professor Francis Boyle. In accusing Dr. Ivins on the occasion of his death, the FBI embraced the same sort of theory — that is, when it was not grasping at other untenable theories relating to college sororities, incorrectly perceived anti-abortion news, or perceived financial motive.

        In September 2006, in a Sahab Media production called “Knowledge is for acting,” there is a clip in which Al Quds editor Atwan refers to his visit with Bin Laden in 1996 (see also his 2006 book The Secret History of al Qaeda). He says that Bin Laden was planning to attack America “and America prisons in particular.” That was an apparent reference to the Al Hayat letter bombs sent to newspapers and prisons in January 1997. There were recurrent references to Abdel-Rahman in the tape.

    • DXer said

      As the CIA bulletin to local enforcement notes, sending poisonous letters is also fairly understood as consistent with Al Qaeda’s modus operandi in that the Al Qaeda operations manual, a version on CD-ROM, had a chapter on “Poisonous Letter.” As with the insertion of biologicals into food, the key is mass panic, not mass casualty.

      The Belgian Prime Minister and the US, British and Saudi Arabian embassies have been sent letters containing hydrazine and an arsenic derivative used in nerve gas in May 2003. This bears on modus operandi. Some argue that islamists would never merely send lethal substances through the mail (though the risk of significant casualty is low) to send a message or warning. One of the ingredients is hard to obtain, suggesting one Health Ministry spokesman to remark that “We’re not dealing with a small-time joker.” A trial of 23 suspected al-Qaeda members was in its third week. “Set our brothers free. Bastards.” Couldn’t be a threat by islamists because they only go for mass casualties — not threats. Right? One of the defendants in that trial allegedly sought hydrazine for use in producing a bomb. A 45- year old Iraqi man was arrested.

      A similar modus operandi was followed in New Zealand with cyanide in early 2002 and early 2003 by a sender purporting to be islamist.

      A December 2004 report on terrorism in the European Union noted that in July 2004, eight letters arrived at several official locations in Brussels that contained an ochre-coloured chemical substance that caused itchy eyes and breathing problems. Tests indicated that the substance was adamsite (phenarsasine). Some of the letters included “a threat letter written in (very poor) English, demanding that two recently convicted Islamic extremists are released within that month.”

      Zawahiri feels that in the usual case, the best way to get a lot of people watching is to kill the maximum number of people. But he wouldn’t disagree with the comment by Brian Jenkins that “Terrorism is theater.” Just those 10 grams cost an estimated $6 billion and have been the subject of thousands of news stories and the focus of widespread bioterrorism preparations. They were fully adequate to do the job even within the constraints of small batch production.

      The anthrax sender may not have intended to harm anyone. Stevens’ death was reported late on October 5. Whether the mailer knew of the death might depend on whether the mailing was made Saturday, October 6 — or whether it was made as late as Tuesday, October 9, the day it was postmarked after a long holiday weekend.

      Al Qaeda’s shura or policy-making council is concerned with handling its efforts in such a way as to develop and maintain the Arab hatred of the US and Israel. That requires a delicate balance and choice of suitable targets and methods. For example, as explained by the spokesperson in mid-February, Abu al Bara’a Al-Qarshy, Al Qaeda will not use WMD in a muslim country, particularly the home of Mecca and Medina. Terrorism involves public relations. Zawahiri divines from his religious texts that it is moral to kill American civilians on the grounds that they stood silent as taxpayers while US-bought weapons were used on Palestinians. In 1998, in an interview that appeared in TIME Magazine, Bin Laden himself explained that it was Al Qaeda’s “religious duty” to obtain chemical and biological weapons, but it was up to them how to use them. Ali Al-Timimi’s mentor, Bilal Philips, would repeat the advice of the blind sheik in seeking recruits from among US military: Don’t harm civilians. Anwar Aulaqi gives the same advice on targetting — and gave that advice to Hasan, which is why he went to the center where people were preparing to be deployed.

      As Dr. Jane A. Alexander of DARPA once explained at DARPA Tech, 1999:

      “Small scale attacks may be adequate to immobilize national will with panic unless reasonable defenses are available. Terrorists do not need the technological sophistication of a military offensive
      biological warfare program. A military offensive BW program strives for predictable effect so that military operations can be planned. Terrorists could actually benefit from the variation of the onset and outcome of the illnesses creating added panic in the public.”

      The Ann Arbor NanoBio researchers thanked Dr. Alexander for her support of the DARPA research they were doing involving the Ames strain supplied by USAMRIID’s Bruce Ivins.

      The Al Qaeda shura (policy-making council) may deem that Al Qaeda needs to choose the methods of attack carefully so that they are both are effective and calculated to gain the support of others. (Gassing the Kurds ultimately was a public relations debacle for Saddam once the world stopped looking the other way).

      Suleiman Abu Ghaith claimed that Al Qaeda has the right to murder four million Americans, in a three-part article “In the Shadow of the Lances,” posted in June 2002 on the web-site of the Center for Islamic Research and Studies, Abu Ghaith wrote:

      “The Americans have still not tasted from our hands what we have tasted from theirs. The [number of] killed in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were no more than fair exchange for the ones killed in the Al-‘Amiriya shelter in Iraq, and are but a tiny part of the exchange for those killed in Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, the Philippines, Bosnia, Kashmir, Chechnya, and Afghanistan.”

      “We have not reached parity with them. We have the right to kill four million Americans – two million of them children – and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, it is our right to fight them with chemical and biological weapons, so as to afflict them with the fatal maladies that have afflicted the Muslims because of the [Americans’] chemical and biological weapons.”

      So this is one of those times where failure is not an option.

      • DXer said

        It is not possible to correctly profile the anthrax letters unless it is understood that the jihadists in their targetting are heedful of the following advice from their ulema:

        “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors… ,” says the Koran (2:190).

        Aafia would use it as a signature in the mid-1990s. Anwar would quote it in 2009.

        Post office employee and blind sheik spokesman Abdel Sattar has explained that Mustafa Hamza, who took over from Taha as Islamic Group leader after the Luxor debacle in which in 58 tourists were murdered, was asked how can you explain killing tourists. Mustafa Hamza answered in every moment and action, the group starts off by consulting with the righteous Olama. No action is initiated without fatwas from our trusted ulema — meaning scholars in the plural. In other words, before carrying out an operation, they get a fatwa. He confirmed that fatwas are important because they are authoritative statements by religious leaders declaring what is and is not Islamically permissible. Sattar had a copy of the book written by former Islamic Group leader Taha justifying the attacks that had been committed, to include Luxor. The book had been uploaded at the website maintained by London-based Vanguards of Conquest publicist Al-Sirri.

        The Koran and hadiths provide extensive guidance on the honorable conduct of warfare. One of the leading non-muslim expert on the subject was Princeton’s Bernard Lewis. For years, Princeton University Middle Eastern history Professor Emeritus Bernard Lewis’ writing on the clash between islam and the west would be translated by the Muslim brotherhood and handed out as pamphlets outside of mosques. After the 1998 “Crusaders” statement by Bin Laden and Zawahiri, Lewis wrote a Foreign Affairs article “License to Kill, Usama Bin Ladin’s Declaration of Jihad.” “Obviously, the West must defend itself by whatever means will be effective. But in devising strategies to fight the terrorists, it would surely be useful to understand the forces that drive them.”

        After 9/11, Lewis admonished the Pentagon Defence Policy Board to consider how much worse the devastation could have been on Sept. 11 if the terrorists had used a weapon of mass destruction —such as Iraq was said to possess. In a September 27, 2001, in an Op Ed in the Wall Street Journal, the 87 year-old historian explained the use of biochemical weapons by Al Qaeda: “the laws of jihad categorically preclude wanton and indiscriminate slaughter. The warriors in the holy war are urged not to harm noncombatants, women and children, ‘unless they attack you first.’ Even such questions as missile and chemical warfare are addressed, the first in relation to mangonels and catapults, the other to the use of poison-tipped arrows and poisoning enemy water supplies. Here the jurists differ– some permit, some restrict, some forbid these forms of warfare. A point on which they insist is the need for a clear declaration of war before beginning hostilities, and for proper warning before resuming hostilities after a truce. As Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman once said in the context of criticizing Sadat’s peace with Israel: “Believers govern according to God’s laws and do not change or replace a single letter or word of them.”

        In an essay “Islam and Terrorism,” Bilal Philips, a key religious mentor of GMU microbiology grad Ali Al-Timimi, explained the principles of islamic jurisprudence of islamic warfare:
        “Islam opposes any form of indiscriminate violence. The Quran states: “Anyone who has killed another except in retaliation, it is as if he has killed the whole of humankind.” [Quran Surah #32 Verse #5] There are strict rules regulating how war may be conducted. Prophet Muhammad forbade the killing of women, children, and old people and the destruction of Churches and Synagogues or farms. Of course, if women, children or the elderly bear arms they may be killed in self-defense.”
        “Defending Islam and the Muslim community is a primary aspect of the physical jihad which involves taking up arms against an enemy. God states in the Quran “Permission to fight has been given to those who have been attacked because they are wronged. And indeed, Allah is Most Powerful.” [Quran Surah #22 Verse #39] and “Fight in the cause of Allah against those who fight against you, but do not transgress the limits. Indeed Allah does not love transgressors.” [Quran Surah #2 Verse #190].

        As Ali Al Timimi once explained: “Modern warfare did not exist during those times when they wrote those classical books of fiqh.” The old principles therefore must be relied upon to guide the issue in new times.

        Spokesman al-Kuwaiti was giving a plain warning in the Fall 2001 threat letter — not disclosed until 2006 — that the green light had been given for US -bio attack (1) from folks that were US-based, (2) above suspicion, and (3) with access to US and UK government and intelligence information. “The Truth about the New Crusade: A Ruling on the Killing of Women and Children of the Non-Believers,” Ramzi bin al-Shibh, argues that “the sanctity of women, children, and the elderly is not absolute” and concludes that “in killing Americans who are ordinarily off limits, Muslims should not exceed four million noncombatants, or render more than ten million of them homeless.” Spokesman Abu Ghaith used the same figure in June 2002 in arguing in favor of the moral right to use biological or chemical weapons.

        A book commemorating the September 11 “raid” was published by Majallat al-Ansar and consisted of four essays. It addresses the importance that any attack comply with the laws of Sharia. “Some people see fit to raise the issue of Islamic principles of warfare. They claim that the raid does not observe those principles and that Sharia errors occurred. Some ‘modern’ legal scholars see the raid as a violation of the Sharia.” The book continued: “Everyone knows that the groups in the traditionalist mujahid movement are more committed than anyone else to Sharia in their actions. After all, their actions can cost them their dearest possession after their faith — their souls.” While purporting not to want to get entangled in a discussion of the legal technicalities, the author then addressed at length why the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon was justified under the laws of sharia.

        Vince Cannistraro, a former chief of CIA counter-terrorist operations, discussed the requirement of warning under the laws of jihad on NPR in connection with the Al Qaeda audiotape by Bin Laden that aired shortly before the November 2004 election. In the case of anthrax, Ayman Zawahiri likely considers that the warning required under the laws of jihad has been given.

        Zawahiri is the grandson of the well-known “Pious Ambassador,” who was President of Cairo University. Dr. Zawahiri is reserving himself a spot in a bad place by reason of his botched analysis of the hadiths and teachings of Mohammed governing warfare (no women, children, noncombatants etc.) The same principles prohibit attacking livestock, crops or wells. Judging by the interpretive texts, it would seem that Al Qaeda and the anthrax mailer have violated the Quran and hadiths by killing noncombatant women and children, and even the aged. It cannot be persuasively argued that those noncombatant women and children and the aged attacked the jihadists first. An infant visiting ABC was infected by the anthrax.
        Before the military tribunal, KSM says the koran forbids killing children. He noted that warfare is guided by the koran and hadiths.

        The head of Egyptian Islamic Group, who approved of Sadat’s assassination and was released after a quarter-century in prison, said of 9/11:
        “The killing of businessmen is forbidden by Islamic law and the World Trade Center was all businessmen. The killing of women and children and old people is forbidden by Islamic law and many of those were killed in the building.”

        Thus, the harshest judgment may await true believers in another world.

        • DXer said

          Contrary to the pundits who just associate Al Qaeda with a “big bang,” a key modus operandi of the Vanguards of Conquest was targeted assassination and it was widely known known that Zawahiri was seeking to weaponize anthrax for use against US targets. The Egyptian Islamic Jihad group specializes in armed attacks against high-level Egyptian government officials, including Cabinet ministers. The group had a “hit list” that included tens of Egyptians to be killed by the group, including journalists. In May 1987, a Major General was shot outside his home in Cairo. Several EIJ members and two Islamist Group members were arrested in connection with the attack. In November 1990, six members of EIJ were arrested in connection with the murders of People’s Assembly Speaker and five security men on October 12, 1990. The EIJ’s military wing, the Vanguards of Conquest, launched a violent campaign in March 1992. Of 223 killed in the first year or two, 67 were policemen, 76 were Islamic militants, 36 were civilian Christian Copts, and three were foreign tourists.

          Prosecutors and policemen would be targeted to avenge torture. By April 1995, 700 had been killed. Al-Jihad has had a role in most foreign terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies over the past 20 years. The group is most well known for its first, the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

          In August 1993, the same year as the bombing of the World Trade Center, al-Jihad attempted to assassinate Egyptian Interior Minister by firing on his motorcade and detonating a homemade bomb. The group also made an attempt that year against Prime Minister with an explosion which occurred about 500 yards from his home as his motorcade passed. A 15-year-old girl standing at a nearby bus stop was killed. EIJ issued a statement claiming the action was to avenge the recent death sentences. In 1992, Islamic Jihad activists murdered an author, Faraj Fodah, who had openly supported Israeli-Egyptian peace. The secular columnist in his last article had suggested that the militants were motivated by sexual frustration more than politics.

          In March 1994 Egypt’s higher military Court passed death sentences in absentia that included Tharwat Salah Shehata, Yasser al-Sirri, and ‘Isam Muhammad ‘Abd-al-Rahman for the assassination attempt on Prime Minister Sedki on November 25, 1993. (Abdel-Rahman shared a podium with Ali Al-Timimi that year, who came to share a suite with the leading anthrax scientist and former deputy USAMRIID Commander who coinvented the process to concentrate anthrax using silica in the culture medium). In 1994 al-Jihad militants were linked to two unsuccessful attempts to bomb the Israeli and U.S. embassies in Manila. In June 1995, the Vanguards of Conquest claimed responsibility for a failed assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to kill Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In November 1995, an EIJ suicide car bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan killed 17 and injured 59. An Egyptian with Canadian citizenship, Ahmad Saeed Kadr (Khadr), was charged in connection with the bombing. Kadr worked as the regional director of Human Concern International, a Canadian relief agency in Peshawar, and was alleged to have moved money through the aid agency from Afghanistan to Pakistan to pay for the operation. In December 1995, the Vanguards of Conquest sent a communiqué warning Pakistan to stop extraditing militants to Egypt, or “it will pay a heavy price.” That month, Egyptian Security forces arrested 56 terrorists after being tipped off by an EIJ informer. The group was accused of planning to assassinate President Hosni Mubarak on 1995 using 550 pounds of explosives to blow up the President’s motorcade.

          In November 1997 after the killing in Luxor, Egypt, of 58 tourists by Al Gamaa Al Islamiyaa, the Vanguards of Conquest warned that orders had “already been given for attacks on Americans and Zionists not only in Egypt but elsewhere.” In February 1998 Al Jihad was one of the founding signatories involved in the creation of the World Islamist Front for the Jihad against Jews and the Crusaders (World Islamist Front). The Front subsequently issued a fatwa calling for the killing of Americans worldwide and the expulsion of Americans from the holy land and Jews from Jerusalem. Egyptian Islamist sources declared that the release of the statement marked Al Zawahiri’s and Al Jihad’s return to the field of active terrorist groups.

          In June 1998 Egyptian security authorities arrest seventeen members on charges of forming an Al Jihad cell in east Cairo. Resulting confessions revealed that Al Jihad was planning to assassinate a number of public figures and security officers. That month, Jihad members al-Najjar (head of Al Jihad in Albania), and Majed Mustapha were arrested in Albania, reportedly with the aid of the Central Intelligence Agency, and extradited to Egypt in late June 1998. An August 1998 Statement issued by the Information Office of the Jihad Group in Egypt vowed revenge on the United States for the extradition of three Al Jihad members from Albania to Egypt.

          In September 1998, a number of senior EIJ and IG leaders in London were arrested, including the EIJ cell members who had faxed the claim of responsibility for the embassy bombings. In April 1999, after verdicts in the “Returnees from Albania,” the Vanguards of Conquest and Al Jihad issue separate threats of retaliation. Of the 107 accused, 87 defendants were found guilty, including Canadian Mahmoud Mahjoub. The day of the bombing, shortly after the explosions, EIJ military commander Mabruk called Canadian VOC member Jaballah and told him to call the London cell members and tell them he could be reached at Shehata’s residence. Shehata was Jaballah’s brother-in-law. The London cell members then issued a claim of responsibility for the blasts. That year, the group also planned an unsuccessful attack on the U.S. Embassy in Albania.

          Throughout these years, an estimated 70 Egyptian militants were rendered by the US to Cairo prior to 9/11 and the anthrax mailings. The fact that targeted assassination was the modus operandi of the US-based islamists — and that the motivation was retaliation for the detention of senior leaders and to create leverage aimed at their release — was established by the first of a series of terrorist attacks in the US — the assassination of radical rabbi Meir Kahane by Egyptian Nosair, who had emigrated from Egypt in 1981. In his address book, Nosair had written the names of some Jewish officials, to include two judges who recently had extradited an Arab terrorist. Nosair’s job had been to protect the blind sheikh in the US. He was a friend of Ali Mohammed who stayed with him when he came to New York. The commentators who argued that Al Qaeda just goes for the “big bang” were overlooking the modus operandi of the Vanguards and what was known about Ayman’s biological program through “open source” materials.

          In his March 2007 confession to a military tribunal, KSM admitted to having been involved in a plot to assassinate a number of former American presidents (including Jimmy Carter), Pope John Paul II and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. In December 2007, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. In January 2008, it was revealed that Jabarah, the go-between KSM and Hambali had vowed to avenge the death of a friend by killing FBI agents and prosecutors he knew and apparently intended to use some steak knives he had secreted. To suggest that Zawahiri and his colleagues do not use targeted assassination as their modus operandi — indeed, to not appreciate that it is the EIJ’s key modus operandi — totally misses the mark.

  41. DXer said

    The dates chosen for the anthrax mailings also pointed to peace with Israel as an important underlying motive. Anthrax was sent on the date of the Camp David Accord and the related Sadat assassination (Armed Forces Day). In a new Internet posting, Ayman Al-Zawahri also scoffs at key American allies in the region — the Egyptian president and the Jordanian king — for making peace with Israel. The 25-minute audio message focuses on Obama. I would think that the investigators would want to be doubly sure that they were right in accusing Ivins rather than someone recruited by this anthrax weapons planner threatening our President Obama. It is never too late to correct a mistaken answer and get things right. This exam is open book and you get can help from your friends.

    The FBI Counterterrorism Division sent out a warning to law enforcement in August 2001 that Al Qaeda or related groups might attack on an anniversary date.



    Expert Michael Scheuer, formerly with the CIA, has said that Al Qaeda does not plan attacks around important dates, so far as the CIA can glean. But take Ayman at his word when he says he at least plans some of his messages around anniversaries, as he and Islambouli did by sending Zawahiri-issued messages in 2004 on the third anniversary of 9/11 and then in 2005 on the third anniversary of the transfer of prisoners to Guantanamo. He said: “These days we are marking three years since the transportation of the first group of Muslim prisoners was sent to the Guantanamo prison.”

    The Vanguards of Conquest did the same thing in the late 1990s. Just as Zawahiri’s thinking on weaponizing anthrax was gaining traction in emails to Atef in the Spring of 1999, the Vanguards invoked an anniversary relating to the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and issued a statement marking its 20th anniversary. The group said at the time it was reiterating its enmity toward the US and Israel to mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the treaty in March 1979. Signed on March 26, 1979, the Egypt-Israel peace treaty was a direct result of the Camp David Peace Accords, signed in September 1978.

    The first round of letters was sent to ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Post, and the publisher of the National Enquirer and Sun. Letters were sent to Senators Daschle and Leahy in a second batch, using a much more highly refined product. The mailing dates were of special importance to the man that the CIA in its December 4, 1998 PDB told President Clinton was planning the attack the US using aircraft and other means — Mohammed Islambouli, the brother of Sadat’s assassin. The letters to the news organizations were mailed — coincidentally or not — on September 17 or September 18, either the day the Camp David Accord was signed in 1978 or the next day when it was approved by the Israeli knesset. Abdel-Rahman, the blind sheik, in the early 1980s, said: “We reject Camp David and we regret the normalization of relations with Israel. We also reject all the commitments that were made by the traitor Sadat, who deviated from Islam.” He continued: “As long as the Camp David Agreement stands, this conflict between us and the government will continue.”

    At the time of the anthrax mailings, Sadat’s assassination and the Camp David Accord still dominated Zawahiri’s thinking. In Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet, Al-Zawahiri argued in the Fall of 2001 that the Camp David Accord sought to turn Sinai into a disarmed area to serve as a buffer zone between Egypt and Israel. He cites the peace treaty between the two countries, particularly issues related to the armament of the Egyptian Army inside Sinai. He claims that Egypt has restored Sinai formally but it remains in the hands of Israel militarily. Al-Zawahiri cites many examples about the US flagrant support for Israel, including the US pressure on Egypt to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at a time when Israel publicly declares that it will not sign the treaty because of its special circumstances.

    Despite this, Zawahiri says, the United States sympathizes with Israel and overlooks its actions. This means that the United States has deliberately left the nuclear weapons in the hands of Israel to threaten its Arab neighbors. Al-Zawahiri argues in his book that the western states have considered Israel’s presence in the region a basic guarantee for serving the Western interests.

    The Wall Street Journal explained in August 2002: “Oct. 8 last year was Columbus Day, a public holiday on which mail wasn’t collected from letter boxes. That may mean the letters could have been posted as early as the Saturday before.” Taking into account the fact that there was no mail postmarked with a Trenton postmark on Columbus Day, October 8, the letter to Senator Tom Daschle postmarked October 9 may actually have been mailed October 6. (The FBI, of course, may know the date it was mailed based on information that has not been disclosed.) (Some press reports, however, suggest that they are considering that the mailing may have been at anytime during the October 6-October 9 period). October 6 was the day Anwar Sadat was assassinated for his role in the Camp David Accord. President Sadat was assassinated on the national holiday called “Armed Forces Day.” He was killed during an annual holiday parade which marks the day, October 6, 1973, that Egypt made a critical successful surprise attack on Israel during the 1973 war.

    “Death to Pharaoh!” the young Army officer shouted. He and his confederates jumped off the truck shot into the reviewing stand where Sadat had been watching the annual parade. “I killed the Pharaoh, and I do not fear death.” Sadat’s detention of Muhammad Shawqi al-Islambouli had spurred his brother, Khalid, to seize an opportunity presented on short notice to assassinate Anwar Sadat.

    Kamal Habib, founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and writer for the IANA quarterly magazine, who spent 10 years in prison in connection with the assassination, told academic Fawaz Gerges: “It was not a well-coordinated operation, and it succeeded by a miracle.”

    A street was named after Khalid Islambouli in Iran, with Iran having been upset at Egypt for granting the Shah safe haven. After leaving Egypt in the mid-1980s, Muhammad Islambouli operated in Pakistan recruiting Egyptian fighters for the war in Afghanistan, and headed a branch of Bin Laden’s Maktab al-Khidmat (‘Bureau of Services’) in Peshawar. Muhammad Islambouli was the subject of the December 4, 1998 Presidential Daily Brief titled “Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks” explaining that Bin Laden planned an attack on the US involving airplanes and that the motivation was to free the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman and a dissident Saudi sheik.

    US Postal employee Ahmed Sattar, in a 1999 interview, said of Sadat’s assassination: “I felt good. It was a shock to me at first because I never expected the pharaoh to be assassinated in front of his army. Sure, the pharaoh, yes. And but really, after absorbing the shock, I said, “Well, that was well done

    In his Fall 2001 Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet, Zawahiri explained that the US support for Israel (at Egypt’s expense) was well-illustrated by the historic 33-day airlift to Israel after this October 6 attack. He argues that the US support for Israel made the difference between success or failure for Egypt. Al-Zawahiri describes how the United States shipped weapons, ammunition, and tanks to Israel for 33 days, with the goal being to compensate Israel for its war losses and to swiftly upgrade the combat capabilities.

    He explained in his Fall 2001 book: “The animosity to Israel and America in the hearts of islamists is indivisible. It is an animosity that has provided the ‘al-Qa’dia’ and the epic of jihad in Afghanistan with a continuous flow of ‘Arab Afghans.'” Regarding the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, Zawahiri adds: “Whoever examines the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty will realize that it was intended to be a permanent treaty from which Egypt could not break loose. It was concluded in an attempt to establish on the ground, by force and coercion, a situation whereby it would be difficult to change by any government hostile to Israel that comes after Al-Sadat.” The militants were especially angry that Sadat had not fully implemented shariah law.

    Complicating consideration of the issue somewhere, on October 5, 2001, the shura member of EIJ and former head of Bin Laden’s farm in the Sudan, Mahjoub, had his bail denied on October 5. Mahmoud Mahjoub was second in command of the Vanguards of Conquest. A letter containing nonpathogenic bacteria had been sent in late January 2001 threatening use of mailed anthrax to the immigration minister signing his security certificate. Mahjoub was bin Laden’s farm manager in Sudan. Al-Hawsawi, KSM’s assistant with the anthrax spraydrying documents on his laptop, kept the books.

    The CIA and FBI analysts should have pored over translations of the journal Al-Manar Jadeed published by the Ann Arbor-based Islamic Assembly of North America from 1998 – 2002 by writers based in Cairo. It mainly concerned Egyptian politics and planned the strategy based on all that had gone on before. There was a change in tone between the first piece by Gamal Sultan and the second installment. The first (before his letter to Abdel-Rahman) urged a pluralistic tolerant approach to differing views while the second issue (after his letter to Abdel-Rahman) contained his piece that seems to have resorted to the familiar intransigent neo-Salafist view. Analysts should pay special heed to the terms dar al-harb (abode of war), dar al-salam (bode of peace) and dar al-’ahd (abode of the treaty). The religious doctrines were applied to the relationships between Islamic and non-Islamic countries. What the liberal and leftist antiwar activists who have rallied to support IANA defendants do not realize is that the central belief of these Salafists is that Israel must be destroyed and there can be no peace with Israel. The Camp David Accords are central to the beef they have with the US. The neo-Salafists are not at all peace-loving. It’s just that the public relations debacle of the reckless invasion of Iraq played right into Bin Laden’s hands.

    The 2005 bombing in Egypt at a Sinai resort was on July 23, which is Revolution Day, a national holiday in Egypt celebrating the Egyptian revolution. It commemorates the 1952 overthrow of King Farouk’s monarchy, led by Gamal Abdel Nassar. Perhaps a holiday weekend was chosen in order to maximize the number of casualties. The bombing last year at Taba resort in Egypt was on October 7.

    Similarly, in a September 2006 video, in a message on yet another 5-year anniversary of 9/11, Zawahiri explained: “Among the most prominent of these conspirators are the rulers of Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula and Jordan and the traitors in Iraq who shade themselves with the cross of America, the Great Satan…[For these regimes] the slogan ‘death to America, death to Israel’ has gone to be replaced by ‘rule from America and peace with Israel.'”

  42. DXer said

    The unredacted version of flask 1029 — the one that said it was stored in Bldg. 1412 before it was whited out and 1425 substituted — shows that Ames was fedexed to University of New Mexico in March 2001, where aerosol challenge vaccine research was being done.

    Why wasn’t that a match given it had come from the flask 1029 within the previous six months?

    Was a sample collected from UNM? How many morphs did it have?

  43. Ike Solem said

    P.S. The 2002 science paper (the Paul Keim & Claire M. Fraser research groups), is

    Comparative Genome Sequencing for Discovery of Novel Polymorphisms in Bacillus anthracis

    So, that’s how they found the SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) which allowed them to develop and assay to rapidly screen samples for the presence of Ames vs. non-Ames in the Bacillus anthracis group. Was similar work done for the morphs? I’m not sure at present.

    One of the things to keep in mind is that in very large batch cultures grown for long periods of time, the mutation rate vs. the population size is such that any possible mutation will have occurred. Under laboratory conditions there is likely selection for particular mutations (as compared to within the body of an animal) – hence, the selected morphs might arise anytime anyone grows up large batch cultures – and if so, their “unique fingerprint” suddenly becomes a whole lot less unique. This is a complex issue – see the Keim transcript (I’m working on the next one).

    As far as the laboratory distribution of Ames, it was a 1981 isolation from Texas(*see comment below) that was then sent to USAMRIID, where it replaced the Vollum strain, previously used for anthrax vaccine challenges. The strain was distributed to a number of other labs:

    The five labs that received the Ames strain from USAMRIID are the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in central Utah; Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio; the University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque; the Canadian DRES; and Porton Down. – Washington Post, Dec 21 2001

    The UNH HSC in Albuquerque is interesting, jsut because I’ve never looked into it – the director of their Center for Infectious Disease and Immunity does the following research:

    C. Rick Lyons, MD, PhD, Professor, Internal Medicine, Director, CIDI

    Mechanisms by which innate & acquired immunity protect against pulmonary challenge with category A pathogens Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis & smallpox; murine pulmonary animal models for anthrax, virulent tularemia & cowpox virus.

    Of course, there has been a vast proliferation of biowarfare research since the 2001 attacks, so many more labs may now have access to virulent strains of pathogens than ever before in U.S. history – not exactly a ‘secure’ situation.

    *Please note, none of this rules out previous Ames isolations from Texas during the U.S. biowarfare program, initiated c. 1943 and ‘terminated’ in 1970 – and it’s possible some of the isolates destroyed in 2001 and 2002 were actually identical to Ames – but that would also mean that some of these academic labs had sequestered the ‘fruits’ of the U.S. biowarfare program in 1970 – you can see why anyone involved in that might have a desire to get rid of those isolates, instead of shipping them to the Keim lab…

    There is another issue here of (largely) historical interest:

    Saddam Hussein had obtained the Vollum strain of anthrax from either the U.S. or Britain in the early 1980s, for use in his own biological warfare program. The scientist nicknamed “Dr. Germs”, Rihab Taha – now, she received her Ph.D in plant toxins from the University of East Anglia’s School of Biological Sciences in Norwich, England, which she attended from 1980 to 1984. Immediately after returning to Iraq:

    “Work seems to have started substantively in 1985, when Dr. Rihab Taha, a senior Iraqi biologist, was transferred from the University of Baghdad to Al-Muthanna.”

    So, here we have a British-trained toxicologist who gets a PhD and returns to Iraq to initiate a biowarfare program using the Vollum strain of anthrax… let’s just say that there are a lot of odd coincidences here, which I believe Dr. Kelly could have explained in more detail, if he was still alive. At the time, Saddam was an ally of Britain and America in the struggle against the Iranian revolution, recall, before he decided he wanted his own Middle Eastern empire.

    History should teach us that the only rational approach is to cut off the funding for biological warfare research – but that means chopping BARDA’s budget, which finances a lot of projects and private companies, and that’s the crux of the issue – some people seem to have grown addicted to Project Bioshield pork, and don’t want to give it up, regardless of the very serious and undeniable risks that such research engenders.

    Of course, some research should be supported – but the vaccine approach is wrong-headed. Monitoring and other epidemiological approaches are indeed valuable – but note, these apply to all disease outbreaks, whether natural or nefarious. I’m certainly not suggesting halting all research into emerging infectious diseases, definitely not – but the dual-use nature of some forms of research, the applicability to biowarfare development, cannot be ignored.

    Stockpiling vaccines is just a waste of money – profitable to some, but dangerous to most.

    • DXer said

      “At the time, Saddam was an ally of Britain and America in the struggle against the Iranian revolution, recall, before he decided he wanted his own Middle Eastern empire.”

      ATCC shipped them 5 strains in the mid-1980s to the University of Baghdad.

      I worked on a matter involving 100 combat equipped helicopters which were publicly announced to be for the purpose of agricultural cropdusting missions. (You could tell Tariq Aziz was lying when you saw his lips moving). This was at the height of Iraq-Iran war — when the US and Saudi Arabia was afraid of being overrun by the thousands of Iranian infantrymen. Prince Bandar arranged with arms trafficker Sarkis Soghanalian to pay for the purchase. Sarkis, in interviews, says that it was all approved by Ollie North in the basement as would be provable from his notebooks. The helicopter, the prosecutor publicly alleged, were equipped with TOW-missiles, a US-controlled item. So while I don’t think of Taha (“Dr. Germ”) as having any encouragement (other than shipment by ATCC of the strains), I have a real problem with President Bush’s indignation “He used chemical weapons against his own people!” (The US was just upset, IMO, that the aerial spraying capability was not used solely against the Iranians. That may be cynical and totally unfair. But it is historical record that they permitted 100 combat helicopters to sold to the Ministry of Agriculture for cropdusting missions — and that on its face, I think, says it all. Of course, it is a simple matter to consider the influence of money — who was paid and how much they made. Much of it is public. The media totally missed the story.

      If you appreciate the Saudi’s influence in Washington — especially Prince Bandar — there isn’t much that would surprise me. You can only hope to insist that officials avoid conflicts of interest and always presume they are acting in good faith.

  44. BugMaster said


    Why would there be ongoing grand jury proceedings associated with the anthrax case for a year or more after Ivins committed suicide?

    And who was fishing in Ed’s lake around the thanksgiving holiday?

    • Ike Solem said

      I’m currently transcribing the Joe Michaels talk on silica – and note, it appears that those Sandia samples did not come from USAMRIID, but rather via the Battelle “hockey puck” preparation – I’ll be interested in hearing your take on that.

      You should also read the transcripts of the talks by Dr. Patricia Worsham and Dr. Paul Keim:

      Note that the forensics in this case relies on two approaches – the morphological (phenotypic) appearance and genetic identity of the Ames sub-variants, on one hand, and the physical characterization of the attack material itself. (The above two posts discuss the genetic analysis only).

      In particular, pay attention to the validation scheme described by Dr. Paul Keim – that’s what you would call the “gold standard” in forensic (genetic) microbiological work.

      P.S. There is an even newer field than full-genome genomics, called proteomics, which could also be brought to bear on this issue.


      Could you be more specific here:

      “Dr. Ivin’s death appears to have opened up areas of investigation that would have been closed while he was alive.”

      Such as???

      • BugMaster said


        Do you really think the DOJ would seek an indictment against Dr. Ivin’s priest, lawyer, or doctor?

        The deception would had to have considerable consequences to warrent a bill of indictment.

        • DXer said

          Ed thinks that Ivins’ co-conspirator was a First Grader. He is 99% certain and wasn’t dissuaded even when I pointed out that the daycare hadn’t been started yet.

          Maybe the US DOJ indicted the kid for saying that he was at recess when he was actually practicing his penmanship addressing the envelopes to the Senators.

        • Anonymous Scientist said

          I sounds as if Ed has really gone off the deep end – as if he wasn’t there already. In his desperation to find a reason that the case is not yet closed he is fantasizing about imaginary persons who gave false information not related to the anthrax case – but false information anyway – to explain why, more than 500 days after the FBI unequivocally stated that Ivins was the sole perpetrator and the case would be closed “shortly” – it is till not closed and their is still ongoing “criminal litigation”.

          There is only ONE reason for there to be ongoing “criminal litigation” – namely that the FBI – after having had their patheticically weak case against Ivins exposed in the media repeatedly for over a year now, have realized thay cannot get away with their Ivins fairytale and are now looking for another way out.

        • DXer said

          Ed went off the deep end in December 2001 when he took a webposter’s suggestion that the block lettering looked like it had been written by a child because it was in block letters.

          For almost 8 years, he has expressed 99% certainty that a First Grader wrote the letters.

          But even the village idiot can gossip.

          “It Takes A Gingerbread Village (And Even The Village Idiot)” (free overnight shipping available)

        • BugMaster said


          For a grand jury to get involved, and then hand down an indictment, there has to have been consequences associated with the indicted individual’s actions.

          In other words, more than just “not going along with the program”.

        • DXer said

          And if you think it is 99% certain that a First Grader wrote the letters, you’ve demonstrated that you lack the common sense and critical reasoning ability to interpret what you’ve been told.

        • BugMaster said

          Interesting analogy, Mr. Lake.

    • BugMaster said

      I think if an individual is indicted for supplying false documents to the FBI, they wouldn’t be to inclined to drop the charges once the correct documentation is supplied.

      “a related crime involving lying to a federal officer about evidence in the Dr. Ivins case. It had nothing to do with science or Ft. Detrick. It was about falsified documents supplied to the FBI.”

      False statements by whom? Nothing to do with Ft. Detrick? If it was someone attempting to cover up for Ivins, you would think that would be made public as soon as possible.

    • DXer said

      As I’ve often said, Ed has been more wrong — more fundamentally — and longer — than anyone.

      Specifically: He argued for six months there was only 1 isolate that was identical instead of 8, regardless how many journalists, scientists and posters explained it to him.

      And for about a half decade he argued that silica was never used to weaponize anthrax because it would make it heavier — even though Anonymous Scientist and others cited numerous written authorities to him.

      Thus, these are the sorts of “sources” he has.

      He also regularly tries to find something to write about — given an utter lack of substance — by speculating about uninformed tidbits he hears from a scientist who is not on the Task Force and has no basis of knowing.

      • BugMaster said

        In this case, DXer, there could be a real basis to Ed’s rumours.

        • DXer said

          I fully credit Ed’s statement that he has no reliable source of information.

          Ed fails to address the merits relating to the fact that it was stored in Bldg. 1412 rather than Bldg. 1425. The FBI’s entire case was based on it being stored in Bldg. 1425.

  45. Ike Solem said

    It turned out there were quite a few repositories of anthrax isolates that were destroyed in 2001 and 2002 – an inexplicable course of events, since clearly Dr. Keim had requested that such samples be preserved in order to create the “forensic background.” Thus, at the time of the attacks, it wasn’t clear what Ames was, or if it could be found in nature, or if it was solely a derived strain that existed only within laboratories.

    Hence, there were hundreds of Texas isolates that were destroyed, plus the Iowa stockpile, and hence Dr. Keim and his team had to rely on I believe just five Texas isolates, and the next nearest groups were from China (the nearest Ames relatives)

    The initial work identifying the Ames strain was not on super-solid ground, as Dr. Keim notes:

    So, suddenly our power from 89 unique types shrinks, if you only consider it to be North American, and so we end up with only 16 unique types. So this is like rolling a few sets of dice and coming up with a match – and so you can see that in fact our power to draw the conclusion that the material in the letters as being the Ames strain was really much more limited than was probably being portrayed across the country at that time.

    So the latter work really nailed that down:

    Bacillus anthracis is a clonally propagated organism, we have very good papers and datasets showing this, and because of that then as mutations occur you end up with a heirarchical arrangement of mutations, so for example you have a mutation here which is nested inside a mutation there – you can then distinguish these things based on the orderly arrangement of mutations in a population. ANd so that’s much of what we did over the last seven or eight years is establish these relationships so that we could identify a particular type.

    This mutation for example could be used for distinguishing Bacillus anthracis from Bacillus cereus, this mutation could be used for example to identify the Ames strain from all other types of Bacillus anthracis, and that’s what I’ll show you now.

    What remains unclear is how exactly the so-called morphs were distinguished from other members of the Ames group.

    A second point is that the samples that were shipped to Sandia for elemental analysis were probably the ‘doctored’ samples that were sent to Battelle by the FBI the day after USAMRIID made the determination that they were a high-tech weaponized preparation – there is a big chain-of-custody gap, and the Sandia scientists said repeatedly that they had “no idea” where the samples came from – and the NAS folks didn’t ask a single question about that, at least not in open session…

    However, it does seem that the DHHS is responding to the public pressure, to some extent:

    Courtesy of WSJ online:

    Shares of vaccine makers PharmAthene Inc. (PIP) and Emergent BioSolutions Inc. (EBS) tumbled a day after the Department of Health and Human Services changed its approach in requesting anthrax vaccines.

    HHS canceled a request for proposals on recombinant protective antigen anthrax vaccines because it didn’t believe vaccine developers submitting proposals could have product ready for licensure by the Food and Drug Administration within eight years. Anthrax is a bacterial disease that humans can get through skin contact, inhalation or ingestion. Inhaled anthrax can be fatal and is more difficult to treat.

    PharmaAthene slumped 50% to $1.64. “While we are disappointed by today’s news, we remain encouraged by [the Biomedical Research and Development Authority’s] continued support for the development of a second generation anthrax vaccine,” Chief Executive David P. Wright said Monday night. “We will continue to work with BARDA to determine how to provide a next generation anthrax vaccine to the American public in the shortest period of time.

    Shares of Emergent–which produces BioThrax, the only U.S. Food and Drug Administration-licensed anthrax vaccine–dropped 8.5% to $13.18. Emergent said the government’s change has “no impact” on the company’s $400 million procurement contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the manufacture and delivery of 14.5 million doses of BioThrax.

    By Joan E. Solsman and Nathan Becker, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2291;

    The notion that stockpiling vaccines and supporting biowarfare research somehow makes us safer is fundamentally flawed – a far better approach is to limit the number of people who have access to anthrax, not to increase it.

  46. DXer said

    Tarek Hamouda the scientist who in presentations, articles, and patents says he was supplied virulent Ames strain by Bruce Ivins in connection with DARPA work using a lyophilizer, obtained his PhD in 1996 from Cairo Medical, Ayman Zawahiri’s alma mater. The professor of pharmacology there was a woman named Heba Al-Zawahiri. She is Ayman’s sister. Her research has included antimicrobials.

    Ayman Zawahiri’s uncle was the Dean of Cairo’s medical school.

    Ayman Zawahiri’s father, who passed away in 1995, was also a Professor of Pharmacy.

    Ayman Zawahiri was the medical doctor who Egyptian intelligence says made 15 attempts over 10 years to recruit a scientist who could assist in the use of anthrax against US targets. He understood the koran and hadiths to command that the jihadists use the weapons of his enemy. A memo he wrote to fellow Egyptian Atef, a former Cairo policeman, show that he calculated that the most expeditious means of developing anthrax as a weapon was to recruit specialists using the cover of universities and charities.

    Dr. Hamouda — provided virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins — likely would have keen insights into the upset that Professor Heba A-Zawahiri family felt about the rendering of Heba’s two brothers, Mohammad and Hussain. He had gone to medical school and graduated in December 1982, at the height of the frenzy surrounding the aftermath of Sadat’s assassination. Heba had been under the strain for years of having had her brothers Mohammad and Hussain rendered and detained by Egyptian authorities. She perceives (not unreasonably) that they had been physically mistreated. Under the “Leahy Law,” appropriations continued to Egyptian security units notwithstanding such mistreatment. Islamist publications show that this was noted shortly before the anthrax mailings.

    When I first contacted them a long time ago, Dr. Hamouda and his colleagues — although they received millions from DARPA — refused to even provide a copy of his presentations to ASM describing his research involving Bruce Ivins or the presentation made by Michael Hayes to ICAAC.

    This is why I get so testy when FOIA officers don’t comply with the law and when the scientists feeding at the public trough get arrogant. It is not right to take a lot of money from taxpayers — such as the $890,000 paid the staff of the National Academy of Sciences or the millions paid Sandia — and then not comply with the Government in the Sunshine Act. If Dr. Baker and University of Michigan does not want to comply with FOIA, they should refund the money provided by DARPA. If virulent Ames was provided the former doctoral student associated with Ayman Zawahiri’s sister, and the government funded his later research with Bruce Ivins, then as a condition of receipt of such funds there should be compliance with FOIA.

    The torment and worry that Pharmacology Professor Heba Zawahiri felt was understandable. It is the same stress felt by Fowzia Siddiqui, whose sister, according to her psychiatrist, says she was tasked to study germ weapons under a fatwa. She had been a professor at John Hopkins before returning to Pakistan to advocate for her sister. A sister’s love and stress is the subject of daily headlines.

    Human Rights Watch explained in 2005 Professor Heba Al-Zawahiri’s travails:

    “At the time he was rendered from UAE to Cairo in March or April 1999, Muhammad al-Zawahiri had not set foot on Egyptian soil for a quarter-century.”

    [This was when the blind sheik’s lawyer Al-Zayat announced that Ayman Zawahiri was going to use anthrax against US targets in retaliation for the rendering of senior Movement leaders.]

    Human Rights Watch continues:

    “After graduating from the faculty of engineering at Cairo University, Muhammad, the brother of senior al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, left Egypt to work for various construction firms in Saudi Arabia. In 1981, his name was on the list of defendants in the mass trial of alleged conspirators in the assassination of President Sadat.”

    [The second mailing was on the data of Sadat’s assassination; the first mailing was on the date that the Camp David agreement was approved. Ayman Zawahiri explains the significance of both dates in his October 7, 2001 book.]

    “Despite his acquittal, Muhammad was still wary of returning to Egypt after that,” his uncle said. “He was worried that they would accuse him again.”

    [In a footnote, Human Watch Rights note that Al-Zayat and Ayman Zawahiri have indicated that Muhammad had been in the same militant cell as Ayman.]

    “After an Egyptian imam of a mosque in Jeddah was arrested by Saudi authorities and returned to Cairo in the early 1990s, Muhammad began to prepare for his own departure.”
    He took his family first to Yemen, and then to Sudan, where he was reunited with Ayman. Both Muhammad and Ayman were forced to leave Sudan in 1995; Ayman returned to Afghanistan, and Muhammad went back to Yemen with his wife and six children.”

    “For these five years, none of his family knew anything about him. Everyone believed he was dead. For five years, his family didn’t even know, is he alive or is he dead?”…

    “Muhammad’s mother, Umayma ‘Azzam, separated from her two sons for several years, could not give up hope that Muhammad was still alive. But her brother counseled her to put the matter to rest.” [Heba’s other brother Hussain faced similar difficulties, including rendition and detention].

    “The first news that Muhammad might be alive came on February 28, 2004, five years after his forced transfer to Egypt, when the London-based al-Sharq Al-Awsat broke the story that he was still alive and
    being held in the Tora prison complex. The report was accompanied by a recent photograph of Muhammad.”

    “After the government acknowledged that Muhammad al-Zawahiri was in custody, it allowed members of his family to visit him in detention. .. During these visits his family learned that Muhammad had been tortured. Mahfuz ‘Azzam told Human Rights Watch that Muhammad’s sister, Heba, a doctor by training, noticed that Muhammad had trouble shaking hands. Heba also saw scars on his wrists, and noted that his feet were swollen. She concluded that the marks were a result of being hung from the ceiling by his wrists.”

    The family’s lawyer was Mamdouh Ismail. Mamdouh Ismail also represented the polymerization expert who studied in North Carolina and had the keys to the apartment used to prepare the 7/7 London bombs.
    He was charged a couple years ago with being a conduct between Zawahiri and jihadis in Iraq, Yemen and Egypt. His intermediary was the Egyptian spymaster and Islamic Group member who wrote about Amerithrax and announced that Islambouli had joined Al Qaeda. Islambouli had led the cell with KSM, who came to be in charge of anthrax planning.

    Following the anthrax mailings, rumors circulated in Islamist circles that Muhammad had been executed. The Americans asked the Egyptian government for a sample of his DNA from the dead body to match it with that of a skull found in Tora Bora, which they suspected was Ayman Al-Zawahiri. The head was delivered to President Bush in a box. “The Egyptian government,” Human Watch explains, “kept quiet, neither confirming nor denying any of the rumors about Muhammad’s fate.”

    “Although Muhammad could not speak freely in front of the prison guards who monitored all of his visits with his family, he asked his mother to make a formal request to the Prosecutor General for a forensics exam. He wanted one to be done as soon as possible, before the marks on his body disappeared. His mother presented the formal request to the government on August 4, 2004;
    the family has yet to receive a response from the government [as of the 2005 publication]. There was also no response from the government to Muhammad’s separate request to be examined by a forensics expert.”

    “In April 2004, Mahfiz ‘Azzam managed to win his first and only visit with his nephew [Muhammad]. The visit lasted only a few minutes, and the entire conversation took place in the presence of the SSI
    liaison officer in Tora prison. In those few minutes, Muhammad briefly conveyed to his uncle glimpses of the torture and ill-treatment that he had endured:”

    “He stayed for four years and half in an underground detention facility run by the mukhabarat, where he did not see sunlight, and could not distinguish between day and night. The interrogation and torture went hand in hand. He lost hope in seeing the sun again.”

    What insights does Tarek Hamouda have about Pharmacology Professor Heba Al-Zawahiri’s ordeal and concern for years over the rendition of her brother Muhammad in 1999 — at which time it was publicly announced that her brother intended to use anthrax against US targets in retaliation? (His transcript would show whether he studied with her).

    Dr. Hamouda and his small company took the millions from DARPA. After his product was used to decontaminate (in testing) the Senate Office Buildings, and his hand cream was pitched to postal workers, these questions are fairly asked given that Attorney Al-Zayat, the blind sheik’s lawyer, had expressly announced at the time of Muhammad Al-Zawahiri’s rendition anthrax would be used against US targets in retaliation of such rendering and mistreatment of Egyptian Movement leaders.

    I explained all of this to the CIA’s Zawahiri Task Force in mid-December 2001. And so any claim of having to play catch-up would be disengenuous. If I knew it, Cheney knew it.

    Does Tarek know Attorney Al-Zayat? Cairo Medical alum and former Vanguards of Conquest leader Dr. Agiza? Cairo Medical alum and former Vanguards of Conquest leader Dr. Al-Sharif? Cairo Medical alum and former Vanguards of Conquest leader Ayman Zawahiri? His childhood friend Tarek Hamid, who consults now for intelligence agencies, reports his own experience of being recruited by Ayman Zawahiri one Friday after classes. He says he got queasy and withdrew when talk turned to burying an Egyptian security officer alive near the mosque. Dr. Hamid, without drawing any inferences, tells me that he called Dr. Hamouda before 911 from abroad and asked about patents — and Dr. Hamouda said it was all in the marketing.

    It’s time to start asking relevant questions — and those questions don’t involve whether Dr. Bruce Ivins found the thought of rituals followed by blindfolded co-eds titillating, whether he wrote letters to the editor, or whether he got upset when he was barred from his workplace and his lifelong friends were forbidden to speak to him about what was going on. They don’t involve whether he keyed someone’s car 25 years ago.

    And anyone who does not understand that these questions about Ayman Zawahiri’s anthrax planning need to be asked and answered — and that FOIA’s obligations are mandatory — is mistaken.

  47. DXer said

    Dr. Claire Fraser-Liggett told the panel assembled by the National Academies of Sciences in July 2009 that she began her work to find a match began in late 2001 — a successful method was not completed until 2007, when agents report that they began to seriously investigate Ivins. (Elsewhere I thought it had been said that it was complete in 2005 and 2006, but no matter) “I was hopeful that perhaps genomics would provide sufficient amount of information to be able to track the material to its source, but I then, and have always, asserted that in no way did I ever believe that this kind of genomics-based investigation was ever going to lead to the perpetrator,” Fraser-Liggett said. “That was going to require much more traditional police investigation.”

    Fraser-Liggett, professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of the University of Maryland Institute for Genome Sciences and an adviser to the FBI on Amerithrax, asked, “What would have happened in this investigation had Dr. Hatfill not been so forceful in his response to being named a person of interest. What if he, instead of fighting back, had committed suicide because of the pressure? Would that have been the end of the investigation?” It was Fraser-Liggett’s genetic analysis of the anthrax spores in the letters that led to Ivins’ flask, and the other 7 isolates with the same genetic profile. “The part that seems still hotly debated is whether there was sufficient evidence to name Dr. Ivins as the perpetrator,” Fraser-Liggett says. “I have complete confidence in the accuracy of our data,” Fraser-Liggett says, but she says it does not indicate Ivins is guilty.

    Similarly, asked if he thinks Ivins was the anthrax letters terrorist the FBI’s genetics expert Paul Keim says he just doesn’t know. “It remains to be seen.”

    Now given that Dr. Keim et al. 2002 Science article pointed to the attack anthrax being a mix of two Ames samples, I’m surprised that the inquiry was not already pointing to Dr. Ivins work as being the original source.

    As to your question on the mailboxes, there was related skepticism at the time about why subpoenas to the labs waited. “But federal law enforcement officials defended their approach as sound, saying it was purposefully deliberate and thorough to ensure that no logical bit of evidence went unexamined and that assembled clues were incontestable.” : New York Times, February 27, 2002. THE ANTHRAX TRAIL, Labs Are Sent Subpoenas for Samples of Anthrax By WILLIAM J. BROAD

    Given that the documentary evidence establishes that University of New Mexico received virulent Ames from flask 1029 in March 2001, why is UNM not on the list of places that received Ames from 1029? (as distinguished from 1028 and 1030). Why isn’t University of Michigan? Michael Hayes, a lab tech there, reported on killing virulent Ames supplied by Dr. Ivins in a petri dish.

    In October 2001, LSU and University of Michigan were subpoenaed. A DARPA Program Manager at the time privately told a friend of mine that they knew where the attack Ames came from and even the machine used to make it. It was LSU and University of Michigan that were subpoenaed out of the gate. According to Richard Hidalgo, assistant to the dean of the school of veterinary medicine at LSU, the DOJ asked the school to provide by Oct. 23 a log of all visitors and employees at the Hugh-Jones Special Pathogens Lab since Jan. 1, 2000, including their Social Security numbers and dates of birth. The subpoena also asked for information on shipments of pathogens to and from the lab. “Besides Dr. Hugh-Jones and his lab director, only three others have been in the lab” during the time in question, Hidalgo said. “I’ve never been there myself.” Why did the FBI limit the October 2001 subpoena of LSU Special Pathogens Lab to visitors after January 1, 2000. Wasn’t the DARPA research involving virulent Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins prior to that?

    Newsday reported:

    “A subpoena also was delivered to the University of Michigan, according to a source who asked not to be identified. “All research institutions are being contacted by the FBI and asked for information,” the source said. “They were seeking personnel records for those who may be working with select agents.” …”LSU’s Hidalgo said the FBI appears to be looking for any breach in the strict handling procedures for anthrax and other select agents. It could not be determined yesterday how many institutions have received subpoenas. In some cases, the FBI has made investigative inquiries without court orders.”

    Alibek says Russia had Ames. Porton Down reportedly provided it to four unnamed researchers. American Type Culture Collection (“ATCC”) has written me to say that as a matter of policy, they will not address whether their patent repository (as distinguished from their online catalog) had virulent Ames prior to 9/11. Although ATCC did not take the opportunity to deny it, one can infer from the FBI’s affidavit in connection the search of Ivins’ residence that no lab in Virginia is known by the FBI to have had virulent Ames. Thus, FBI, in its “Ivins Theory,” was working on the understanding that ATCC did not have Ames in its patent repository.

    Ari Fleischer explained: “What you have to keep in mind is the difference between knowledge about what type of information you have to have to produce it, and who could have sent it. They are totally separate topics that could involve totally separate people. It could be the same person or people. It could be totally different people. The information does not apply to who sent it.” Ken Alibek, the former head of the Soviet bio-weapons program suggests that ‘If I were a terrorist, I would certainly not use a strain known to be from my country.'” To the same effect, Bruce Ivins would not have used the strain — a special mixture of the US Army strain — for which he was the “go-to” person.

    The Washington Post explained in a late October 2008 article: “While some FBI scientists were analyzing genetic mutations, others were scouring the planet for repositories of Ames-strain bacteria. To their surprise, Ames turned out to be quite rare, with only 15 U.S. institutions and three foreign ones possessing live, virulent Ames. Samples of Ames were collected and added to a repository the FBI had established at Fort Detrick. In a process that ended only in late 2006, bureau scientists picked up 1,072 samples of anthrax bacteria and tested each for mutations identical to the ones in the bioterrorist’s letters.”

    “Back at the bureau’s Washington field office, agents were reconstructing the history of RMR-1029. A giant flow chart, covering most of a wall, recorded each discovery about the origins of the spores and what Ivins did with them. But the agents wondered: Could others, besides Ivins, have gotten access to the flask of spores?” The Post article continues: “The question drives much of the skepticism about the FBI’s case.”

    At a news conference in August, bureau officials estimated that as many as 100 people potentially had access to the biocontainment lab where Ivins kept his collections. Investigators have maintained that other possible suspects were ruled out, but they have never explained how. It is one of the gaps that independent experts and lawmakers have raised since Ivins’s death.” Journalist Joby Warrick writes: “In interviews, FBI officials said the list of 100 names included USAMRIID scientists as well as anyone with even a tenuous connection to Ivins’s lab, such as visitors or janitors. Each person was investigated, though most could not have gotten to the spores under any reasonable scenario the investigators could construct.” “Still, dozens of people were cleared at various times to enter USAMRIID’s Building 1425, where Ivins worked and kept his spore collection (that is, when it was not in Bulding 1412).

    There was no requirement to document transfers prior to mid-1997. One former USAMRIID-sponsored vaccine researcher at UMass, Dr. Curtis Thorne reports that samples used to be sent by ordinary mail. In 2001, his research on virulence of genetically altered anthrax strains was being built upon at the University of Texas (Houston) by Theresa Koehler under a grant from the CIA, the National Institutes of Health and others. The Ames strain, along with other strains, would be distributed not for nefarious purposes, but for veterinary and other research, to include use in challenging vaccines in development.

    “We just don’t know how many hands it went through before it got to the ultimate user,” explained Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and once a consultant to the government’s investigation. One expert, Dr. C.J. Peters, summarizes: “Knowing that this strain was originally isolated in the U.S. has absolutely nothing to do with where the weapon may have been prepared because, as I tried to make the point, these strains move around. A post doc in somebody’s laboratory could have taken this strain to another lab and it could have been taken overseas and it could have ended up absolutely anywhere. Tiny quantities of anthrax that you couldn’t see, that you couldn’t detect in an inventory can be used to propagate as much as you want. So that’s just not, in fact, very helpful.”

    Although the FBI estimates that, at a minimum, 100 had access to the flask in Bruce Ivins’ lab, Ft. Detrick scientists point out that it used to be stored in a different lab in 1997, bringing the number up to 200-300 people. Other labs outside of Fort Detrick were sent RMR-1029 for their own research, including Dugway in Utah, the Battelle lab in Ohio, and academic institutions like the University of New Mexico.

    In April 2007, the United States Attorney sent Ivins a letter saying he was “not a target of the investigation.” Ivins’ attorney reports that Ivins was told that the FBI was investigating 42 people who had access to RMR-1029 at the Battelle labs in Ohio. Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman, commented in February 2009: “The recent inventory issues at USAMRIID highlight the difficulties confronted by the FBI in their efforts to trace the evidentiary material back to its source at USAMRIID, and reinforce our conclusion that samples of anthrax could easily have been removed from the facility undetected.”

    The question relevant to an Al Qaeda theory is what access to the US Army strain might have been accomplished by someone with 1) an organization supported by funds diverted from charities backing his play, and 2) a lot of educated and technically-trained Salafists who believe in his Islamist cause.

    A former KGB spy master says that the Russians had a spy at Ft. Detrick who provided samples of all specimens by diplomatic pouch. But it seems more likely that Al Qaeda got it directly from a western laboratory. For example, Ayman had a trusted scientist attending conferences sponsored by Porton Down scheduling 10-day lab visit as early as 1999. In the US, he had the support of other scientists (such as GMU’s Al-Timimi) who did advanced research alongside researchers working with the Ames strain under a contract with USAMRIID for DARPA.

    In a number of patents by University of Michigan researchers in Ann Arbor, Tarek Hamouda and James R. Baker, Jr., including some filed before 9/11, the inventors thank Bruce Ivins of Ft. Detrick for supplying them with virulent Ames. The University of Michigan patents stated: “B. anthracis spores, Ames and Vollum 1 B strains, were kindly supplied by Dr. Bruce Ivins (USAMRIID, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Md.), and prepared as previously described (Ivins et al., 1995). Dr. Hamouda served as group leader on the DARPA Anti-infective project. A patent application filed April 2000 by the University of Michigan inventors explained:

    “The release of such agents as biological weapons could be catastrophic in light of the fact that such diseases will readily spread the air.
    In light of the foregoing discussion, it becomes increasingly clear that cheap, fast and effective methods of killing bacterial spores are needed for decontaminating purposes. The inventive compounds have great potential as environmental decontamination agents and for treatments of casualties in both military and terrorist attacks. The inactivation of a broad range of pathogens … and bacterial spores (Hamouda et al., 1999), combined with low toxicity in experimental animals, make them (i.e., the inventive compounds) particularly well suited for use as general decontamination agents before a specific pathogen is identified.”

    In late August 2001, NanoBio relocated from a small office with 12 year-old furniture to an expanded office on Green Road located at Plymouth Park. After the mailings, DARPA reportedly asked for some of their product them to decontaminate some of the Senate offices. The company pitched hand cream to postal workers. The inventors company, NanoBio, is funded by DARPA. NanoBio received a $3,150,000 defense contract in 2003. Dr. Hamouda graduated Cairo Medical in December 1982. He married in 1986. His wife was on the Cairo University dental faculty for 10 years. Upon coming to the United States in 1994 after finishing his microbiology PhD at Cairo Medical, Dr. Hamouda was a post-doctoral fellow at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in downtown Detroit. His immunology department biography at Wayne indicates that he then came to the University of Michigan and began work on the DARPA-funded work with anthrax bio-defense applications with James R. Baker at their company NanoBio.

    The University of Michigan researchers presented in part at various listed meetings and conferences in 1998 and 1999. The December 1999 article titled “A Novel Surfactant Nanoemulsion with Broad-Spectrum Sporicidal Activity of against Bacillus Species” in the Journal for Infectious Diseases states: “B. anthracis spores, Ames and Vollum 1B strains, were supplied by Bruce Ivins (US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases [USAMRIID], Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD) and were prepared as described elsewhere. Four other strains of B. anthracis were provided by Martin Hugh-Jones (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge).” Dr. Baker reports the work NanoBio’s research with virulent Ames was “done at USAMRIID by a microbiologist under Dr. Ivins’ direct supervision and at LSU under the direction of Dr. Hugh Jones.”

    In the acknowledgements section, the University of Michigan authors thank:
    Shaun B. Jones, Jane Alexander, and Lawrence DuBois (Defense Science Office, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) for their support.
    Bruce Ivins, Patricia Fellows, Mara Linscott, Arthur Friedlander, and the staff of USAMRIID for their technical support and helpful suggestions in the performance of the initial anthrax studies.
    Martin-Hugh-Jones, Kimothy Smith, and Pamela Coker for supplying the characterized B. anthracis strains and the space at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge).
    Robin Kunkel (Department of Pathology, University of Michigan) for her help with electron microscopy and a couple of others for technical assistance and manuscript preparation.
    The researchers found that their nanoemulsion incorporated into the growth medium completely inhibited the growth of the spores. Transmission electron microscope was used to examine the spores.

    Kimothy Smith had worked at LSU and provided the space to the University of Michigan researchers. He then took the LSU samples with him went he worked for Dr. Keim. He was a key FBI genetics experts testing samples as they arrived. Before funding went forward, the FBI would face the difficult task of clearing people of conflicts of interest before proceeding in a small field with many interconnections. Here, Ike points out that funding went forward in May 2002 from the Department of Energy rather than the FBI which would not have been in the position to address such issues. Compartmentalization makes clearing conflicts of interest very difficult if not impossible.

    The University of Michigan researchers supplied the research space by Kimothy Smith and the LSU researchers explained in a patent that “The nanoemulsions can be rapidly produced in large quantities and are stable for many months *** Undiluted, they have the texture of a semisolid cream and can be applied topically by hand or mixed with water. Diluted, they have a consistency and appearance similar to skim milk and can be sprayed to decontaminate surfaces or potentially interact with aerosolized spores before inhalation.”

    A March 18, 1998 press release had provided some background to the novel DARPA-funded work. It was titled “Novavax Microbicides Undergoing Testing at University of Michigan Against Biological Warfare Agents; Novavax Technology Being Supplied to U.S. Military Program At University of Michigan as Possible Defense Against Germ Warfare.” The release stated that “The Novavax Biologics Division has designed several potent microbicides and is supplying these materials to the University of Michigan for testing under a subcontract. Various formulations are being tested as topical creams or sprays for nasal and environmental usage. The biocidal agent’s detergent degrades and then explodes the interior of the spore. Funding, the press release explains, was provided by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense.

    In a presentation at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) on September 26, 1998, Michael Hayes, a research associate in the U-Michigan Medical School, presented experimental evidence of BCTP’s ability to destroy anthrax spores both in a culture dish and in mice exposed to anthrax through a skin incision. “In his conference presentation, Hayes described how even low concentrations of BCTP killed more than 90 percent of virulent strains of Bacillus anthracis spores in a culture dish.” Its website explains that the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy is the “[p]remier meeting on infectious diseases and antimicrobial agents, organized by the American Society for Microbiology.”

    In 1999, LSU researcher Dr.Kimothy Smith moved to the Arizona lab, bringing with him the lab’s first samples of anthrax.”

    An University of Michigan Medical school, Medicine at Michigan, (Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1999) explained:

    “In studies with rats and mice in the U-M Medical School under the direction of James R. Baker, Jr., M.D., professor of internal medicine and director of the Center for Biologic Nanotechnology, the mixture, known as BCTP, attacked anthrax spores and healed wounds caused by a closely related species of bacteria, Bacillus cereus. (The letters BCTP stand for Bi-Component, Triton X-100 n-tributyl Phosphate.)
    Baker describes the process as follows: “The tiny lipid droplets in BCTP fuse with anthrax spores, causing the spores to revert to their active bacterial state. During this process, which takes 4-5 hours, the spore’s tough outer membrane changes, allowing BCTP’s solvent to strip away the exterior membrane. The detergent then degrades the spores’ interior contents. In scanning electron microscope images, the spores appear to explode.” The rapid inactivation of anthrax bacteria and spores combined with BCTP’s low toxicity thus make the emulsion a promising candidate for use as a broad-spectrum, post-exposure decontamination agent.

    The research is sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the central research and development organization for the U.S. Department of Defense.”

    Dr. Baker, by email, advises me that Ivins did the studies involving Ames for them at USAMRIID. He reports: “We never had Ames and could not have it at our UM facilities.” Before September 2001, it’s office was described as in the basement of a downtown bank which seems to describe 912 N. Main St., Ann Arbor, just west of the University of Michigan campus.

    An article in the Summer of 2000 in Medicine at Michigan explains:

    “Victory Site: Last December [December 1999] Tarek Hamouda, Amy Shih and Jim Baker traveled to a remote military station in the Utah desert. There they demonstrated for the U.S. Army Research and Development Command the amazing ability of non-toxic nanoemulsions (petite droplets of fat mixed with water and detergent) developed at Michigan to wipe out deadly anthrax-like bacterial spores. The square vertical surfaces shown here were covered with bacterial spores; Michigan’s innocuous nanoemulsion was most effective in killing the spores even when compared to highly toxic chemicals.”

    An EPA report explains:

    “In December 1999, the U.S. Army tested a broad spectrum nanoemulsion and nine other biodecontamination technologies in Dugway, Utah, against an anthrax surrogate, Bacillus globigii. Nanoemulsion was one of four technologies that proved effective and was the only nontoxic formulation available. Other tests against the vaccine strain of B. anthracis (Sterne strain) were conducted by the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and by the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research.”

    As Fortune magazine explained in November 2001 about NanoBio: “Then bioterror struck…. It moved to a bland corporate park where its office has no name on the door. It yanked its street address off its Website, whose hit rate jumped from 350 a month to 1,000 a day.” NanoBio was part of the solution: “in the back of NanoBio’s office sit two dozen empty white 55-gallon barrels. A few days before, DARPA had asked Annis and Baker if they could make enough decontaminant to clean several anthrax-tainted offices in the Senate. NanoBio’s small lab mixers will have to run day and night to fill the barrels. ‘This is not the way we want to do this,’ sighs [its key investor], shaking his head. ‘This is all a duct-tape solution.’ ” James Baker, founder of Ann Arbor’s NanoBio’s likes to quote a Chinese proverb: “When there are no lions and tigers in the jungle, the monkeys rule.”

    It’s naive to think that Al Qaeda could not have obtained Ames just because it tended to be in labs associated with or funded by the US military. US Army Al Qaeda operative Sgt. Ali Mohammed accompanied Zawahiri in his travels in the US. (Ali Mohamed had been a major in the same unit of the Egyptian Army that produced Sadat’s assassin, Khaled Islambouli). Ali Al-Timimi was working in the building housing the Center for Biodefense funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (“DARPA”) and had access to the facilities at both the Center for Biodefense and the adjacent American Type Culture Collection. For example, Michael Ray Stubbs was an HVAC system technician at Lawrence Livermore Lab with a high-level security clearance permitting access; that was where the effort to combat the perceived Bin Laden anthrax threat was launched in 1998. Aafia Siddiqui, who attended classes at a building with the virulent Vollum strain. She later married a 9/11 plotter al-Balucchi, who was in UAE with al-Hawsawi, whose laptop, when seized at the home of a bacteriologist, had anthrax spraydrying documents on it. The reality is that a lab technician, researcher, or other person similarly situated might simply have walked out of some lab that had it.

    Among the documents found in Afghanistan in 2001 were letters and notes written in English to Ayman Zawahiri by a scientist about his attempts to obtain an anthrax sample. One handwritten letter was on the letterhead of the Society for Applied Microbiology, the UK’s oldest microbiological society. The Society for Applied Microbiology of Bedford, UK, recognizes that “the development and exploitation of Applied Microbiology requires the maintenance and improvement of the microbiological resources in the UK, such as culture collections and other specialized facilities.” Thus, Zawahiri’s access to the Ames strain is still yet to be proved, but there was no shortage of possibilities or recruitment attempts by Ayman. One colleague of his estimates that he made 15 recruitment attempts over a many year period. Dr. Keim observes: “Whoever perpetrated the first crime must realize that we have the capability to identify material and to track the material back to its source. Whoever did this is presumably aware of what’s going on, and if the person is a scientist, they can read the study. Hopefully, the person is out there thinking: When am I going to get caught?”

    The FBI has not yet identified the location of the 8 isolates downstram from Ivins’ flask known to be an identical match — or the 100+ people it says had access. For the US Attorney Jeff Taylor to make it seem, however, that only Ivins had control over anthrax that was genetically identical was specious. The more commonsensical point would be that Ivins would have no reason to use anthrax so directly traceable to him by reason of being a distinctive mix of Ames strains.

    In June 2001, in addition to the conference at Annapolis organized by Bruce Ivins, a conference was held at Aberdeen Proving Ground (Edgewood) for small businesses that might contribute to the biodefense effort. It showcased APG’s world class facillities that had the full range of relevant equipment, as well as the range of activities and research featured by presenters at such conferences. It was called “Team APG Showcase 2001.″ Edgewood maintains a database of simulant properties. The information and equipment, including spraydrying equipment, is available to participants in the SBIR — promoting small business innovation. Might the anthrax attack have required the learning of a state? Well, to get that, all you needed to do was go to the program that shares such research for the purpose of innovation in the area of biodefense. APG built a Biolevel-3 facility and, according to a Baltimore Sun report, by October 2002 had 19 virulent strains of anthrax, including Ames. A 1996 report on a study done at Edgewood involving irradiated virulent Ames provided by John Ezzell that was used in a soil suspension. Another article discusses Delta Ames supplied to Edgewood by the Battelle-managed Dugway, subtilis, and use of sheep blood agar. Did Battelle have virulent Ames across I-95? Edgewood tested nanoemulsion biocidal agents during this time period, according to a national nanobiotechnology initiative report issued June 2002.

  48. Ike Solem said

    Well, I’ve just completed the task of transcribing part of the first audio-recorded NAS meeting on Sept 25, 2009 – truly fascinating, but at 20 pages a lot of work. With respect to the FBI investigation, one of the things that bothered me the most was the sheer amount of time it took for them to identify the Princeton mailbox as the letter-mailing location. However, Dr. Keim’s testimony explains why this happened, and I believe it is relevant to the current situation as well.


    “…if I was going to criticize the FBI, I will criticize the FBI, one of the biggest problems we had in the past eight years was in their contracting office. [my emphasis]

    “In fact, we weren’t able to get money from the FBI to do these analysis until May 2002, and instead it was Beth George? and Pete Cintia? at the Department of Energy who said, use our money, you’ve already got a contract in place, use our money and get this done. So I would say that for the next crisis it would be nice if the federal government had a couple of sugar grants out there – to get the money we had to do the work, because I still had to pay salaries, people had to go home and put gas in their car and feed their kids, and patriotism only gets you so far when you have to do things like that – so Beth George was a real hero in getting us the money – and Rita, as she pointed out, those sugar grants really got off the ground fast, and it was important to do.”

    Well, that explains why it took so long to run the Princeton mailbox samples against a robust and validated Ames assay, I guess – but the explanation raises more questions than it answers.

    I spoke to the Washington Post reporter, Dana Priest, about this several years ago, and she said the press had dropped the story because it had “gone cold” – but there seems to be clear evidence that the FBI wanted it to go cold, right from the very beginning – see this story, Nov 2001:

    FBI Turns Down Hundreds of Ex- Agents Offering Help; Investigation: The refusals fuel tension among alumni. The CIA welcomes such aid.
    [Home Edition]

    Los Angeles Times – Los Angeles, Calif.
    Subjects: Investigations, Anthrax, Biological & chemical terrorism, Employment, Terrorism
    Date: Nov 6, 2001
    Start Page: A.1
    Section: Part A; National Desk
    Text Word Count: 1157

    Document Summary:

    As many as 350 former FBI special agents have expressed interest in coming back to work for the bureau to assist in the wide-ranging investigations into the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the anthrax mailings. About 7,000 FBI agents and support staff are now working the cases, often chasing hoaxes and fruitless leads at the expense of other federal probes that have been forced to take a back seat to anti-terrorism efforts.

    “The response we got was, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ ” said retired FBI agent Larry C. Upchurch, a 28-year veteran who is pushing the FBI to reconsider its position. “I’m a little bit perplexed. I don’t want to carry a gun or a badge. I just want to help.”

    In Los Angeles, the FBI has received “a great outpouring” of offers from former agents but has not accepted their assistance because “there’s not an expressed need at this juncture,” said Los Angeles FBI spokesman Matt McLaughlin.


    The CIA “welcomed such aid” but then, they were not charged with investigating the domestic anthrax attacks.

    Let’s point out once again, that this was the worst bioterrorism attack to ever take place in the United States – certainly one with a massive effect on the entire country, including closing down one of the three branches of government – that’s pretty bad, you have to admit – in addition to the deaths and hospitalizations – and yet they turned down ex-agents who wanted to help run down leads? Why on earth would they do that?

    I’ll post the entire transcript of Dr. Keim’s talk – I’m now working on transcribing Pat Worsham’s discussion – very soon.

    Good work, as always.

    • Ike Solem said

      So, I set up a new blog to cover this topic – here’s the Dr Paul Keim transcript:

      As noted, this only relates to the work done to establish that the Ames strain was indeed the one used, but the points Dr. Keim raises regarding the morphs should be carefully considered. While it depends on the specifics of the morph work, the method validation -for the morphs, not for Ames- might be wide open to attack by a well-informed lawyer. More on that later.

      • DXer said

        “The other thing that happened when the select agent rules changed in 2002, there are a number of laboratories that destroyed their collections. The Texas State health labs, for example, destroyed hundreds of isolates that they collected over the years of Bacillus anthracis, and when they destroyed that we basically lost our forensically valid database of populations, and so – and I remember sitting in meetings where people in the federal government said, oh, they won’t destroy their collections, they’ll just ship them to you. No – that isn’t what happened – they destroyed them. I’ll name names later.”

        He said Texas State health labs? Not Iowa? If so, where are the Texas State health labs located?

        • Ike Solem said

          Yes, that’s pretty amazing, isn’t it? Notice also that there was an “informal working group” (see the Rita Colwell presentation in that NAS file) that apparently assured Dr. Keim that those samples would be preserved – bizarre.

        • Ike Solem said

          Yup, that’s third on the list… it’s pretty tedious, though. I would have liked to see Tom Geisbert and Peter Jahrling testify before the committee on this issue, personally.

          Also, the FBI only allowed “limited release” from the non-disclosure agreements signed by the USAMRIID personnel who are to testify before the committee – limited to what? How can the NAS committee even do its work under such conditions.

          If the committee wants to call people involved in the analysis, here’s one list of witnesses that likely know important facts about the case:


          Peter Jahrling – the senior scientist at USAMRIID.

          John Ezzell – the civilian microbiologist at USAMRIID who accepted the Daschle letter samples from the FBI’s Hazardous Materials Response Unit.

          Tom Geisbert – microbiologist at USAMRIID who conducted initial electron microscopy work.

          Denise Braun – Geisbert’s assistant.


          Florabel G. Mullick, MD, ScD, SES, AFIP Principal Deputy Director and department chair. ”

          AFIP experts utilized an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (an instrument used to detect the presence of otherwise-unseen chemicals through characteristic wavelengths of X-ray light) to confirm the previously unidentifiable substance as silica. “This was a key component,” Mullick said. “Silica prevents the anthrax from aggregating, making it easier to aerosolize. Significantly, we noted the absence of aluminum with the silica. This combination had previously been found in anthrax produced by Iraq.”

          In particular, they should also have two people testify to close the gap between the samples and Sandia:

          Michael Kuhlman – Battelle scientist, Vice President and Manager,
 Aerosol and Process Technologies
, National Security Division. He initially claimed that the Daschle anthrax spores were ten to fifty times less potent than the Army estimates indicated.

          Allyson Simons – head of the FBI laboratory.

          One Army official is said to have blown up at Simons and Kuhlman at the meeting, saying to the Battelle man, “Goddamn it, you stuck your anthrax in an autoclave, and you turned it into hockey pucks.” He told Simons that she should “call the CDC and at least tell them there is a disagreement over this anthrax.” She apparently did not. – Richard Preston, The Demon in the Freezer.

          That last would be the most interesting testimony, I think. I’d like to hear them try to justify the Battelle sample handling protocol – and also explain the history of the samples that were sent to Sandia for analysis.

          I think any decent lawyer could rip that apart with their eyes closed in a criminal court.

        • BugMaster said

          It was the Daschle material that Battelle turned into hockey pucks?

          I would hope that at the very least, the person responsible had something added to their personnel file.

        • Ike Solem said

          What a curious suggestion…

          “something added to their personnel file…”

          Such as, “This is the person responsible for the U.S. co-signatories to the Biological Weapons Convention requesting that UN weapons inspection teams be sent to Battelle’s West Jefferson Ohio facility as well as to Dugway Utah Proving Grounds.”

          That would be appropriate, I think. Why not add Porton Down, just to be on the safe side?

          P.S. Did they really have a big iodine spike in their AFIP data? Hygroscopic additives? You know, I can’t believe how psychotically idiotic some people are – it must be some kind of seriously isolated groupthink issue, everyone down in the Dr. Strangelove’s little bunker, going slowly insane by stages…

          The situation was best described by Joseph Conrad, I think..

          It made me hold my breath in expectation of hearing the wilderness burst into a prodigious peal of laughter that would shake the fixed stars in their places. Everything belonged to him — but that was a trifle. The thing was to know what he belonged to, how many powers of darkness claimed him for their own. That was the reflection that made you creepy all over. It was impossible — it was not good for one either — trying to imagine. He had taken a high seat amongst the devils of the land — I mean literally. You can’t understand. How could you? — with solid pavement under your feet, surrounded by kind neighbours ready to cheer you or to fall on you, stepping delicately between the butcher and the policeman, in the holy terror of scandal and gallows and lunatic asylums — how can you imagine what particular region of the first ages a man’s untrammelled feet may take him into by the way of solitude — utter solitude without a policeman — by the way of silence — utter silence, where no warning voice of a kind neighbour can be heard whispering of public opinion? These little things make all the great difference. When they are gone you must fall back upon your own innate strength, upon your own capacity for faithfulness. Of course you may be too much of a fool to go wrong — too dull even to know you are being assaulted by the powers of darkness. I take it, no fool ever made a bargain for his soul with the devil; the fool is too much of a fool, or the devil too much of a devil — I don’t know which. Or you may be such a thunderingly exalted creature as to be altogether deaf and blind to anything but heavenly sights and sounds. Then the earth for you is only a standing place — and whether to be like this is your loss or your gain I won’t pretend to say. But most of us are neither one nor the other. The earth for us is a place to live in, where we must put up with sights, with sounds, with smells, too, by Jove! — breathe dead hippo, so to speak, and not be contaminated. And there, don’t you see? Your strength comes in, the faith in your ability for the digging of unostentatious holes to bury the stuff in — your power of devotion, not to yourself, but to an obscure, back-breaking business. And that’s difficult enough. Mind, I am not trying to excuse or even explain — I am trying to account to myself for — for — Mr. Kurtz — for the shade of Mr. Kurtz

          Yes – breathe dead hippo, and not be contaminated. Well said, apropos indeed.

          Of course, if you want to see true crazy, you should read the Alibekov history of the Soviet Biopreparat Program, “Biohazard.” Don’t blame me for your nightmares, though.

        • DXer said

          “P.S. Did they really have a big iodine spike in their AFIP data?”

          No, there was no iodine spike in the AFIP data. Gary spoke at length to Frank the key scientist who did the work before he passed. If there were a spike of iodine, we would know it.

        • Ike Solem said

          Interesting, I guess. The reason that’s curious is that supposedly the powdered preparation crumbled away into nothing when exposed to humidity. However, that could just be a result of silica absorbing water from the air – but iodine is even more reactive in that regard.

          Noone really knows how the so called “Skull Anthrax Trick” is done, but I glumly imagine that perhaps some other country has a secretive biowafare program that is working to replicate it – as if it wasn’t bad enough already. I think it’s best to leave it at that… not that some clever scientist couldn’t figure a workable approach out from reading the published literature on inhalation aerosols, unfortunately. As with nuclear weapons, it’s easier if you take the copycat approach.

          The biowarfare genie seems to have left the bottle, meaning the best solution is now international cooperation and some level of transparency.

          I don’t know what the bigger concern is, really – terrorists with biological weapons or states with biological weapons – but neither case should be tolerated, at any level – and of course, the terrorist who infiltrates a state biowarfare program is probably the worst scenario.

        • DXer said

          As Dr. Meselson has noted, even the information of a state travels in the mind of individuals.

        • BugMaster said

          Iodine spike? It would only be detected in the AFIP data if the instrument was set up to analyze for it (note the x-axis in the EDX chromatograms, elements are detected in order of their molecular weight).

          So if the assay wasn’t performed with the voltage range set to go high enough to detect iodine (and why should it be, you wouldn’t expect such high molecular weight element to be present), it wouldn’t be detected.

          Iodine present?

          We shall see.

        • Anonymous Scientist said

          I agree with that – if AFIP only used 10keV they would not have excited iodine to emit k-shell X-rays – not enough energy.
          Personally I don’t think the iodine is too important – it’s probably 100ppm or less.
          Someone, somewhere has a complete assay – exactly how much of each element was present – but that’s something they are not keen to reveal for reasons they best understand.
          AFIPs data shows huge amouns of silicon – to put it in persepctive it’s more than half a million ppm in the NYP material and 30,000 – 50,000 ppm in the Daschle material.

    • anonymous scientist said

      I’d like to see Joe Michaels’ presentation to NAS transcribed – especially the part where he discusses a slide that contains a EDX silicon peak from a “normal” spore preparation. Ed Lake has the entire presentation but refuses to share it – that in itself speaks volumes that this Joe Michael Powerpoint contains information that doesn’t fit Eds Lake’s obssessive beliefs.

  49. DXer said

    I asked for a copy of the record relating to flask 1029.  The US Army FOI people, after it was vetted by the US Department of Justice, gave me a xerox showing that flask 1029 was kept in  Bldg 1425.  An earlier version of this document that I had, however, showed 1412.  The “1412” had been very neatly whited out and replaced by 1425.  Who did that?  Dr. Ivins? The original version of the document showing that it was stored in 1412 has never been produced by the government under FOIA.

  50. DXer said

    The Post and Brokaw letters contain low levels of a bacterial contaminant identified as a strain of Bacillus subtilis. The Bacillus subtilis contaminant has not been detected in the anthrax spore powders recovered from the envelopes mailed to either Senator Leahy or Senator Daschle. Bacillus subtillis is a non-pathogenic bacterium found ubiquitously in the environment. However, genomic DNA sequencing of the specific isolate of Bacillus subtilus discovered within the Post and Brokaw powders reveals that it is genetically distinct from other known isolates of Bacillus subtilis.

    Phenotypic and genotypic analyses demonstrate that the RMR-1029 does not have the Bacillus subtilis contaminant found in the evidentiary spore powders, which suggests that the anthrax used in the letter attacks was grown from the material contained in RMR-1029 and not taken directly from the flask and placed in the envelopes. Since RMR-1029 is the genetic parent to the evidentiary spore powders, and it is not known how the Bacillus subtilis contaminant came to be in the Post and Brokaw spore powders, the contaminant must have been introduced during the production of the Post and Brokaw spores. Taken together, the postmark dates, the Silicon signature, the Bacillus subtilis contaminant, the phenotypic, and the genotypic comparisons, it can be concluded that, on at least two separate occasions, a sample of RMR-1029 was used to grow spores, dried to a powder, packaged in an envelope with a threat letter, and mailed to the victims.

    At the ASM Biodefense presentation in February 2009, the FBI scientists explained that no subtilis found in any of Dr. Ivins samples was the genetically distinct subtilis. “We don’t know the process used,” Bannan says. “We never found the equivalent B. subtilis at USAMRIID in any of the evidence that we had.”

  51. DXer said

    Mr. Taylor neglected to mention that the tin signature points away from Dr. Ivins.

    The journal Nature summarized:

    “At a biodefence meeting on 24 February, Joseph Michael, a materials scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, presented analyses of three letters sent to the New York Post and to the offices of Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. Spores from two of those show a distinct chemical signature that includes silicon, oxygen, iron, and tin; the third letter had silicon, oxygen, iron and possibly also tin, says Michael.” Ivins flask did not contain tin.  

  52. DXer said

    Ivins “has been the sole custodian of RMR-1029 since it was first grown in 1997,” said one affidavit.

    How can the fact that you kept the records of RMR-1029 be dispositive when it is known that 100-300 had access, when the government alleged it was stored in 1425 when in fact it had earlier been stored in 1412 (and the room number whited out and altered on the document produced by the government), when it often was physically in the possession of others, when samples were left on his desk for mailing, when an amount could have been taken out (and upon dilution the missing amount would not have been missed) (see GAO report) etc.

    The fact that he was the alleged “sole custodian” points AWAY from him. As Ken Alibek has long said, someone would not use the strain for which they were the “go-to” person.

  53. DXer said

    Boston Globe reported:

    “As for motive, investigators seemed to offer two possible reasons for the attacks: that the brilliant scientist wanted to bolster support for a vaccine he helped create and that the anti-abortion Catholic targeted two pro-choice Catholic lawmakers.”

    Investigators may not have noticed that while the other couples were listing husband and wife in advertisement for the pro-life group, Dr. Ivins did not — and only his wife and children were listed. In the face of that documentary evidence from the Frederick News-Post, why do investigators even think the issue was important to him? When he wrote about abortion once, he did not take a position strongly opposed to it.

    He was the guy who was advocating in the newspaper that pedophiles should be able to work in daycare. There is nothing in the record that has been disclosed to indicate that abortion was an issue important to him — in fact, his will contemplated a conditional gift to Planned Parenthood.

    When there is a lack of direct evidence, how can one feel moved by such tenuous and unsupported evidence as a motive relating to a sorority or abortion?

  54. DXer said

    US Attorney Taylor got the federal eagle envelope totally wrong. He made it seem like it pointed uniquely to Dr. Ivins — and was sold just at his post office — when it was sold throughout Maryland and Virginia. If the NAS or Army were doing a comprehensive job in checking the FBI’s forensic work, it would purchase an unused Federal Eagle envelope stamp (such as this sample for sale for the next 20 hours) and compare the printing irregularities with the print irregularities claimed to have been found on the envelopes used in the attack.

    Mr. Taylor argued his first case on appeal after the press conference. If he had made the false statement before a panel of 3 federal appellate judges, he would have been roundly scolded for not having mastery of his facts.

    The bogus claim about the envelope was highlighted in the press such as in this AP headline.

    Government: Scientist had anthrax, envelopes
    By Lara Jakes Jordan, Matt Apuzzo
    Associated Press
    Published on: 08/07/08
    Washington —- Army scientist Bruce Ivins had custody of highly purified anthrax spores linked to the 2001 attacks that killed five and access to the distinctive envelopes used to mail them, the government declared Wednesday, releasing a stack of documents to support a damning though circumstantial case.

    In contrast, a government investigator explains in an affidavit: “Approximately 45 million Federal eagle 6 3/4″ envelopes were manufactured by Wastvaco Corporation … of Williamsburg, Pennsylvania, between December 6, 2000 and March 2002. These Federal eagle 6 3/4″ envelopes were manufactured exclusively for and sold solely by the U.S. Postal Service between January 8, 2001 and June 2002.” “[Envelopes with printing defects identical to printing defects identified on the envelopes utilized in the anthrax attacks during the fall of 2001 were collected from the Fairfax Main post office in Fairfax, Virginia and the Cumberland and Elkton post offices in Maryland. The Fairfax Main, Cumberland, Maryland, and Elkton, Maryland post offices are supplied by the Dulles Stamp Distribution Office (SDO), located in Dulles, Virginia. The Dulles SDO distributed “federal eagle” envelopes to post offices throughout Maryland and Virginia. Given that the printing defects identified on the envelopes were used in the attacks are transient, thereby being present on only a small population of the federal eagle envelopes produced, and that envelopes with identical printing defects to those identified on the envelopes used in the attacks were recovered from post offices serviced by the Dulles SDA, it is reasonable to conclude that the federal eagle envelopes utilized in the attacks were purchased from a post office in Maryland or Virginia.”

  55. DXer said

    The owner of Geeks and Wireless, recently arrested in Pakistan looking to make contact with the militants, is listed as one of the nearest computer repair places for Fort Belvoir.

    The company bills itself as an expert in spyware.

    Now if Gibbs (of NCIS) were running things, by now he would have a complete list in hand of all army personnel from Ft. Belvoir who had their computer repaired at or purchased from Geeks and Wireless.

    In the real world, OTOH, it seems you can communicate with the 911 imam about joining him in the afterlife and sending thousands to a militant connected charity and Pakistan — and get promoted.

    • DXer said

      From the Pakistani interrogation report:

      “Minni was initially contacted on his YouTube user account; however, later on they used another way of communicating which could not be intercepted by the secret agencies. They used to write an email and then save it in the drafts section of the email. The other person used to log on to the same account and leave another message on the draft. This mode of communication enabled them to pass on messages without fear of interception by the FBI.”

      This was also done, btw, by KSM and Al-Marri. Who did Al-Marri send his computer in Washington?

      “Drafts Folder of Yahoo Mail
      They made a plan with Saifullah to go to Afghanistan. Therefore, they reached Pakistan from where they would leave for Afghanistan. All of them gathered at Karachi and left for Hyderabad on December 1. They went to the Madrassah of Jaish-e-Mohammad where they informed them about their desire for Jihad. However, the management of the Madrassah refused to keep them, and advised them to go to Jamat-ud-Dawa Lahore. Interestingly the Jamat also refused to keep them as they could not provide a surety. Thus, they came along with their friend Umer Farooq to Sargodha.”

      Umar’s father was an expert in spyware. Who bought a computer from his company Geeks and Wireless? Company started in 2001. Umar goes to GMU. Where did Umar’s father go to school?

      The police took into custody their laptops, external hard drives, iPod, mobile phones. Have the laptops, hardware, phones etc. been cloned and made available to US investigators (apart from any decision on whether they are deported)?


      Click to access ht_interrogation_report_091211.pdf

    • DXer said

      Update: According to an AP report, it was the computer spyware expert who turned the boys in out of concern for their safety. If this is all true, it seems that great leniency should be shown as a reward to those who acted in the interests of the boy’s safety, both here and in Pakistan. Offering to provide material support likely can be treated very differently under the statute from providing material support.

      “However, it was only after Khalid Farooq, the 55-year-old father of Umar Farooq, contacted police that they moved in. Police said they had also detained Khalid Farooq as a precautionary measure.

      “If we had got there even 20 minutes later, they might have gone, and then they would have been very difficult to track,” said Abbas Majeed Marwat, a senior police official who had interviewed some of the men. “Khalid Farooq informed the police about the designs of his son and his friends.”

      The older Farooq, a U.S. national, feared that if his son made it to Afghanistan, he would never return, police said.

      Khalid Farooq “used all modes to persuade them first” to stop, Marwat said. “He used a harsh tone; he used a loving tone, he even locked them in the house.”

      • DXer said

        Los Angeles Times has a slightly different take suggesting that the dad had not made contact with authorities.

        “Islam said Farooq’s parents did not know about the group’s intentions and learned that they had left the U.S. only after another son there called to alert them.
        Khalid Farooq does not share his son’s radical beliefs and was angered by Umar’s actions, said Islam, the Sargodha police official.
        Khalid Farooq, 55, was arrested with the five young men and remained in custody while authorities decided whether to charge him for not informing police that the men were staying with him.”

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