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

* status report on the NAS anthrax study … it’s due to be released this summer

Posted by DXer on March 20, 2010

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The New York Times says the FBI’s anthrax case has “too many loose ends.” Find out where some of those looses ends might have originated in my novel CASE CLOSED. Sure it’s fiction, but many readers, including a highly respected member of the U.S. Intelligence Community, think my premise is actually “quite plausible.”

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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NAS Publications

BILL … It’s been some time since I’ve seen any updates from NAS regarding the status of the Amerithrax study. Can you provide any information regarding … recent meetings, nature of testimony given, anticipated report date? … LEW

The answer from NAS (3/19/10) …

The report is expected to be released this summer. I need to check on meeting schedule but I believe they’re deep into writing of report, which needs to be peer reviewed prior to approval for release.

******

18 Responses to “* status report on the NAS anthrax study … it’s due to be released this summer”

  1. Ike Solem said

    Did they release their list of witnesses called, by the way?

  2. DXer said

    Why did the mailer cut of 1, 2, 3 sides?

    What is the length?

    The one for which a ruler is conveniently alongside the full length shows it to be 220 mm. or 8 2/3 inches (with about 2 inches cut off apparently).

    Click to access a-brokaw-letter.pdf

    Did he re-use some organization’s stationery?

    Did he he cut off a bottom-line that indicate the organization’s name?

    Were all the letters identical in composition? (or were they different)

    Now that the FBI deems the case solved and closed, the DOJ should release the study of the composition of the toner, paper and “trash marks”.

    My intelligence source tells me that the photocopy toner is not a match with the photocopier that the DOJ, without basis, alleges that Ivins used to copy the letters.

  3. DXer said

    Most Likely Source of Silicon in Anthrax Attack Spores Argues Against Production by Ivins

    By: Jim White Saturday March 20, 2010 9:16 am
    http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/36259

  4. DXer said

    http://docs.google.com/present/view?id=df7mn8s4_0ffkjfwhn&interval=5&autoStart=true

  5. Anonymous scientist said

    http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/36075

    First off a comment on the silica coating – followed by a couple on Meselson.
    The silica coating was not the 1960’s “shake and bake” coating of fumed silica nanoparticles that is easy to see on micrographs. More modern coatings use “microencapsulation” – where the coated spore looks more a glazed donut than a donut coated with powdered sugar. When microencapsulation is used an organosilane monomer penetrates the exosporium and polymerizes into silica in situ on the spore coat.
    Thus the spores were indeed weaponized. That is clear from all of the AFIP data (which has not been released by the FBI).

    Finally note that Meselson has previously been quoted as saying that spores stick together like glue here:

    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/21stC/issue-3.2/osullbio.html
    “People who say that you can make these weapons in your kitchen just don’t understand what’s involved,” says Meselson.
    “If anthrax is stirred incorrectly it may clump,” notes Meselson, “and if the cells clump you can’t make an aerosol weapon. They stick together like glue. Who would have thought of that? And I imagine that there are hundreds of little wrinkles like that. All the nonsense about ease of production ignores these facts.”

    I’m not saying Meselson isn’t a brilliant biologist (he is) – but when he involved himself previously with bioweapons he seemed to have an agenda related to the treaty he was involved with Nixon signing (as if he didn’t want to admit the treaty had been broken by the Russians).

    See excerpts from Mangold and Goldberg’s “Plague Wars”:

    CHAPTER NINE Incident at Sverdlovsk

    Page 76:

    The Soviets now went to extraordinary lengths to buttress their lies and make them supportable and credible worldwide. What had begun as a local cover-up in Sverdlovsk, now became an international fairy tale, a fiction of breathtaking audacity.

    Page 77:

    Throughout the rest of the 1980s, Matthew Meselson, a respected Harvard professor of microbiology and longtime arms control activist, unwittingly helped the Soviet caravan of deception and disinformation gain acceptance in the West.
    Meselson emerged as the leading scientific expert to oppose his own government’s interpretation of Sverdlovsk in favour of the Soviets’ old tainted-meat cover-up. He defended the Soviets’ case publicly and doubtless from the most honest of beliefs. President Reagan was now in the White House and, no matter how forcefully his administration complained about Sverdlovsk, Meselson remained utterly convinced that there had been an accident with bad meat and it had nothing to do with any secret biological weapons plant.
    ………
    With his well-deserved and impressive academic/scientific credentials, his views were usually sought and carefully listened to. He also became an important figure for the US media to consult. His opinions about Sverdlovsk were widely quoted in the serious press, books, and prestigious scientific journals. The record shows that after 1980 his publicly stated views on Sverdlovsk broadly agreed with the explanations issued by the Soviets themselves.

    Page 81:

    But the guilty involvement reached even higher. Next, it emerged that Boris Yelstin himself also must have known about the cover-up. In May 1992, Yeltsin’s new Russian government formally acknowledged what was now well known, but still had no official imprimatur. The man who had been the powerful communist party chief of the Sverdlovsk region in 1979 was none other than President Boris Yeltsin. He now admitted that the outbreak had been caused by an accident at the biological weapons facility, and not by natural causes. This presumably correct version became the official position of the Russian government, and remains so to this day.
    Meselson, however, remained unfazed. In the face of Yeltsin’s admission and the Russian and US press disclosures, the professor assembled a team of expert American scientists and went with them to Sverdlovsk in June 1992 to see for himself. They interviewed two outstanding Sverdlovsk doctors Faina Abramova and Lev Grinberg who participated in the 1979 autopsies at Hospital 40. For thirteen years, these brave pathologists had secretly hidden incontrovertible medial evidence from the KGB including preserved tissue samples, slides, and autopsy reports which proved that the victims had died from breathing in the anthrax.
    Meselson later claimed that he and his team had made the discovery of the new truth from these important witnesses, but again, the facts were against him. The two Russian doctors had previously spoken to Soviet reporters and the Wall Street Journal, so Meselson was simply taking credit for being the final arbiter who had authenticated the evidence.
    After making a second trip to Sverdlovsk, Mesleson finally published his results in 1994 in the journal Science; the article accepted that the tainted-meat story was bogus. But, perversely, he still would not admit that the US government had been right for fifteen years, or that he had been wrong. Rather, he trumpeted the fact that he anf his team had finally uncovered the “defenitive proof” that the true cause of the outbreak was pulmonary anthrax.
    “This should end the argument about where the outbreak came from,” Meselson somewhat pompously told the New York Times “Right up until now, people have still been debating the matter.”
    Yet, to the bitter end, Meselson still clung to a benign interpretation of Soviet motives. He noted that the cause of the accident was still not determined, which implied that it may have involved only a Soviet research centre, one for finding an antidote to an anthrax attack, and not a military production centre for biological weapons. By clinging to this position, he could still argue that the Soviets were not violating the BWC, but were conducting permissable research under the treaty.

    • Ike Solem said

      In the guys defense, this was the same time the “Team B” crowd was working overtime to inflate the Soviet threat, with (for example) claims that the Soviets had created silent propulsion systems for nuclear submarines (the theme of “The Hunt for Red October”), etc. This non-stop effort at threat inflation meant that when evidence of Biopreparat, the gigantic Soviet biowarfare program, surfaced, the first thought was, “Oh, more of the same.” It was a real the-boy-who-cried-wolf situation – and remarkably, the CIA and Team B never got real evidence until the defections of Pasechnik and Alibek in 1989 and 1992.

      Indeed, the same “boy-who-cried-wolf” issue applies to claims about Iraqi and Al Qaeda bioweapon agendas – sure, some terrorist cell might want powdered anthrax, or a nuclear weapon, but going from “want” to “have” is a big step that only a sophisticated lab staffed with experienced biowarfare engineers could pull off.

      • DXer said

        You are mistaken, Ike, both as to Sverdlosk and Amerithrax.

        Here is evidence relating to Amerithrax.

        http://docs.google.com/present/edit?id=0AUOvQm3wQZPEZGY3bW44czRfMGZma2pmd2hu&hl=enc

        What factual support do you rely upon in debunking my factual claims about Amerithrax? (I’ve never addresed the “Iraqi bioweapon agenda” except to debunk the Administration that Saddam was behind Amerithrax and won’t address it). You are also mistaken that it was not clear that Sverdlosk was not a release from an illegal bioweapons facility but re-posting such evidence would be a distraction from the topic. I am not a boy who cried wolf but the fellow who has interviewed the former associates of Ayman Zawahiri, the FBI anthrax expert, the top DIA analyst and aerosol experts etc. Whereas you are a political activist who has not made any relevant inquiry testing your conclusions.

        • DXer said

          I believe the slides can be identified by the page #. You can indicate why it is inaccurate and your factual basis in support.

        • DXer said

          An example of a boy who cried wolf would be the head of the biopolicy institute who worries about Al Qaeda synthesizing small pox without having made any examination of the record indicating access to virulent Ames from Flask 1029 or access to know-how from the leading DARPA-funded projects involving silica in the culture medium.

          Or the former CIA head analyst who assumes that Zawahiri uses a parallel cell structure compartmentalized at the very top but would not be behind a mailing of anthrax modelled after the Al Hayat letter bombs because he would only want to kill a lot of people — the Bush Administration who looks right past the scientist sharing a suite with Ken Alibek who had been Andrew Card’s former assistant. Anwar Aulaqi’s consideration of the permitted targetting is a matter of public record.

          The people crying wolf are those whose thinking is not nuanced enough to know that the hadiths required a warning involving biological weapons and there had been no fatwa authorize indiscriminate use of such a weapon and that Ayman was receiving specific advice about permitted targetting. The people crying wolf are those who do not take time to appreciate and process that the Egyptian Islamic Jihad had specifically threatened to use mailed anthrax if the EIJ/VOC’s #2 bail was denied — and it was denied on October 5. 2001, prompting the mailing of the potent stuff.

        • DXer said

          To take a concrete example of the sophistication of scientists: Who has more expertise on functional polymerization of biological agents — Magdy Al-Nashar or Anonymous Scientist? Magdy Al-Nashar or Richard Spertzel?

        • DXer said

          Or who has more experience making an aerosol?

          The NYC BT aerosol biodefense expert from whom reporting calls reportedly were made to the Pakistan charity re WTC 1993 (see LM’s book for phone records) or Mohr, Larsen and Harper combined?

        • DXer said

          Al Qaeda Weapons of Mass Destruction Threat: Hype or Reality?

          A Timeline of Terrorists’ Efforts to Acquire WMD

          Paper, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

          http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/19852/al_qaeda_weapons_of_mass_destruction_threat.html

          PREFACE

          Rolf Mowatt-Larssen spent more than two dozen years in intelligence, both in the CIA and U.S. Department of Energy. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he led the U.S. government’s efforts to determine whether al Qaeda had WMD capabilities and to prevent a nuclear terrorist attack on the United States. Mowatt-Larssen, now a senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, has put together a detailed timeline illustrating terrorists’ efforts to acquire WMD.

          INTRODUCTION

          (Mowatt-Larssen’s timeline follows in the attachment below.)

          Several terrorist groups have actively sought weapons of mass destruction (WMD) of one kind or another. In particular, the Japanese cult group Aum Shinrikyo, al Qaeda and its associates — notably the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Jemaah Islamiya and Lashkar al Tayyib — figure most prominently among the groups that have manifested some degree of intent, experimentation, and programmatic efforts to acquire nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. To date, however, al Qaeda is the only group known to be pursuing a long-term, persistent and systematic approach to developing weapons to be used in mass casualty attacks.

          Osama bin Ladin’s assertion in 1998 that it was his Islamic duty to acquire weapons of mass destruction ensured that the fulfillment of this intent would become a top priority for his lieutenants in the ensuing years. In an effort to explain his thinking to his followers, and to help guide their efforts, the al Qaeda leader has offered a number of statements that provide a need and rationale for using weapons of mass destruction as a means of achieving the group’s concrete and ambitious goals. Most recently, he promised in a 2007 video release to “escalate the killing and fighting against you (Americans)” — on grounds of destroying an international conspiracy to control the world — adding, “The capitalist system seeks to turn the entire world into a fiefdom of the major corporations under the label of globalization in order to protect democracy.”

          ***

          Another 9/11-scale operational plot managed by the al Qaeda core leadership was the development of anthrax for use in a mass casualty attack in the United States. The sophisticated anthrax project was run personally by al Qaeda deputy chief Ayman Zawahiri, in parallel to the group’s efforts to acquire a nuclear capability; anthrax was probably meant to serve as another means to achieve the same effect as using a nuclear bomb, given doubts that a nuclear option could be successfully procured. Notably, al Qaeda’s efforts to acquire a nuclear and biological weapons capability were concentrated in the years preceding September 11, 2001. Based on the timing and nature of their WMD-related activity in the 1990’s, al Qaeda probably anticipated using these means of mass destruction against targets in the US homeland in the intensified campaign they knew would follow the 9/11 attack. There is no indication that the fundamental objectives that lie behind their WMD intent have changed over time.

          On the other hand, the pursuit of crude toxins and poisons appears to have been of little interest to the al Qaeda leadership, even though the production of such weapons is easier and thus might seem more attractive for potential use in attacks. Although experimentation and training in crude chemical agents and pathogens was standard fare in al Qaeda’s camps in Afghanistan before 9/11, their use in attacks appears to have been left to the initiative of individual cells and planners outside the direct supervision of the al Qaeda core leadership. Prominent examples of small-scale chemical- and biological- related activity include Midhat al-Mursi’s (aka Abu Khabab) basic training for operatives in the al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan before 9/11; the Abu Musab al Zarqawi network’s plotting to use ricin and cyanide in multiple attacks planned in Europe in late 2002-early 2003; and a Bahraini terrorist cell’s plot to use a crude cyanide gas device called the “mobtaker” (an Arabic word roughly meaning “invention”) in an attack on the New York City subway in the same time frame.

          In each of these cases, the evidence suggests that the al Qaeda senior leadership was not directly involved or apparently even aware of attack preparations until late stages of planning. Moreover, there is no evidence that the al Qaeda leadership regarded the use of crude toxins and poisons as being suitable for conducting what would amount to pin prick attacks on the United States; on the contrary, Zawahiri canceled the planned attack on the New York City subway for “something better,” suggesting that a relatively easy attack utilizing tactical weapons would not achieve the goals the al Qaeda leadership had set for themselves.

          So, why hasn’t a terrorist WMD attack happened since 9/11?

          There are many plausible explanations for why the world has not experienced an al Qaeda attack using chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons, but it would be foolish to discount the possibility that such an event will occur in the future. To date, al Qaeda’s WMD programs may have been disrupted. This is in fact one likely explanation, given a sustained and ferocious counterterrorist response to 9/11 that largely destroyed al Qaeda as the organization that existed before the fateful attack on the US. If so, terrorists must continue to be disrupted and denied a safe haven to reestablish the ability to launch a major strike on the US homeland, or elsewhere in the world.

          Or perhaps, al Qaeda operational planners have failed to acquire the kind of weapons they seek, because they are unwilling to settle for anything other than a large scale attack in the US. It would surely be hard for al Qaeda to lower the bar they set on 9/11: what would constitute a worthy follow-up to 9/11, on their terms? What would they achieve through another attack? There are few weapons that would meet their expectations in this regard. It is extremely difficult to acquire a functioning nuclear bomb, or to steal enough weapons usable material to build a bomb. And as al Qaeda probably learned in trying to weaponize anthrax, biological pathogens may seem simple enough to produce, but such weapons are not easy to bottle up and control. To complicate matters further, an attack on the scale of 9/11 is more difficult to accomplish in an environment of heightened security and vigilance in the US.

          But if Osama bin Ladin and his lieutenants had been interested in employing crude chemical, biological and radiological materials in small scale attacks, there is little doubt they could have done so by now. However, events have shown that the al Qaeda leadership does not choose weapons based on how easy they are to acquire and use, be they conventional or unconventional weapons. They choose them based on the best means of destroying the specific targets that they have in mind. Al Qaeda’s reasoning thus runs counter to analytic convention that equates the ease of acquisition of chemical, biological or radiological weapons with an increasing likelihood of terrorist use — i.e., a terrorist attack employing crude weapons is therefore more likely than an attack using a nuclear or large scale biological weapon. In fact, it is the opposite: If perpetrating a large- scale attack serves as al Qaeda’s motivation for possessing WMD, not deterrence value, then the greatest threat is posed by the most effective and simple means of mass destruction, whether these means consist of nuclear, biological, or other forms of asymmetric weapons.

          An examination of the 9/11 attack sheds light on al Qaeda’s reasoning behind the selection of specific weapons, and how that may apply to the role WMD plays in their thinking. Al Qaeda opted to pursue a highly complex and artfully choreographed plot to strike multiple targets requiring the simultaneous hijacking of several 747 jumbo passenger aircraft, because using airplanes as weapons offered the best means of attacking the targets they intended to destroy. If conventional wisdom on assessing WMD terrorism threats had been applied to considering the likelihood of the 9/11 plot, analysts may well have concluded it never would have happened; at the time, it was simply hard to believe any terrorist group could pull off such an elaborate plot utilizing novel, unpredictable weapons that were so difficult to acquire.

          Yet, WMD terrorism skeptics abound, and for understandable reasons. There is widespread suspicion in America and abroad that WMD terrorism is another phony threat being hyped for political purposes, and to stoke fears among the public. It is difficult to debunk this allegation, given the US government’s lack of credibility in the case of Iraqi WMD. That said, WMD terrorism is not Iraqi WMD. The case that the WMD terrorism threat is real bears no association with the Iraqi intelligence failure whatsoever, in terms of the reliability of the sources of intelligence, the quality of the information that has been collected, and the weight of the evidence that lies at the heart of our understanding of the threat. If anything, the biases in WMD terrorism analysis tilt towards treating the absence of information as an absence of threat; this could become a vulnerability in the defenses, considering the very real possibility that there may be a terrorist plot in motion that has not been found.

          On the other side of the spectrum, even for the most ardent believers in the threat posed by WMD terrorism, it must be acknowledged that much of the rhetoric expressed by the top levels of the group might be just that: mere saber rattling in an increasingly desperate bid to remain relevant, to frighten their enemies, and to rally their followers with promises of powerful weapons that will reverse their losses on the battlefield. It is also possible that al Qaeda may be engaging in a classic deception ruse, hoping to misdirect their foe with fears of mass destruction, in order to preserve the element of surprise for the fulfillment of their true intentions.

          There may be kernels of truth in each of these reasons as to why the world has not yet witnessed a terrorist WMD attack, which is at least a mild surprise, considering all that has come to pass since 2001. However, for purposes of making a clear-headed assessment of the threat, it may be useful to separate al Qaeda’s WMD activity into two streams, one consisting of the strategic programs managed under the direct supervision and management of the al Qaeda core leadership, and the other consisting of tactical chemical, biological and radiological weapons development that was decentralized and pursued autonomously in various locations around the world as part of the “global jihad.” On this basis, a more precise determination can be made on the actual threat posted by al Qaeda, and other groups in each of these cases.

          Fortunately, there is a body of historical information that provides a useful starting point for such an inquiry. Hopefully, an examination of WMD-associated information that is pertinent, but no longer sensitive, can help bridge the gaps in perceptions between the diehard believers and skeptics as to the true nature of the problem and the threat it may pose, not just in an al Qaeda context today, but in the future as WMD terrorism takes on new forms involving new actors.

          In June 2003, the US government issued a warning that there was a high probability of an al Qaeda WMD attack sometime in the next two years. This report represented a high water mark in concerns related to al Qaeda’s WMD planning going back to the founding of the group. Why didn’t an attack happen in the next two years? Was the threat hyped for political purposes? Was the intelligence assessment wrong? Or, was the threat neutralized? Some perspective into why the report was issued can be gleaned by examining some of the evidence that was available to US and international policymakers by the summer of 2003 concerning roughly fifteen years of al Qaeda’s efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Presenting this chronology will hopefully allow the reader to develop a better feel for the threat posed by al Qaeda’s interest in WMD at that time, and use it as a basis to help determine whether the WMD terrorism threat is real.

        • DXer said

          As for what is being said about the risk of a dirty bomb:

          • Nuclear terror risk to Britain from al-Qaeda
          Britain faces an increased threat of a nuclear attack by al-Qaeda terrorists following a rise in the trafficking of radiological material, a government report has warned.

          By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent
          Published: 10:20PM GMT 22 Mar 2010

          Lord West, the Security Minister, also raised the possibility of terrorists using small craft to enter ports and launch an attack similar to that in Mumbai in 2008, when more than 150 people were killed.

          The Government is so concerned about the threat that it is setting up a command centre to track suspicious boats.

          The terrorism threat level was raised from “substantial” to “severe” in January after the failed attempt to blow up an aircraft over Detroit on Christmas Day.

          Three separate reviews of the country’s ability to prevent a major terrorist attack were published simultaneously yesterday, before an international meeting on nuclear security in Washington next month.

          Downing Street released an update to the National Security Strategy in which it stated that “the UK does face nuclear threats now” and added that there was “the possibility that nuclear weapons or nuclear material [could] fall into the hands of rogue states or terrorist groups”.

          Another report, on the Government’s “Contest” counter-terrorism strategy, said there was a danger that the increased expertise of insurgents in making bombs in Afghanistan had increased the threat from a radiological “dirty bomb”.

          It added that there was a “significant increase in the illicit trafficking of radiological materials, the availability of chemical, biological radiological and nuclear (CBRN) related technologies over the internet and the increased use of CBRN material for legitimate purposes”, which could be acquired by terrorist organisations.

          A third report, on Britain’s strategy for countering chemical, biological radiological and nuclear terrorism, described al-Qaeda as the “first trans national organisation to support the use of CBRN weapons against civilian targets and to try to acquire them”.

          The report said security around stockpiles of decommissioned material was “variable and sometimes inadequate, leaving materials vulnerable to theft by insiders and criminal and terrorist organisations”.

          Legitimate uses for such materials also “significantly increases the risk that they may be diverted and exploited by terrorist organisations”.

          It added that al-Qaeda had established facilities to conduct research into CBRN weapons when Afghanistan was under the control of the Taliban before 2002.

          Since then the terrorist group had approached Pakistani nuclear scientists, developed a device to produce hydrogen cyanide, which can be used in chemical warfare, and used explosives in Iraq combined with chlorine gas cylinders.

          The possibility of an attack launched from speedboats was highlighted by Lord West, speaking at the new National Maritime Information Centre in Northwood, Middlesex. He said hundreds of thousands of small boats arrived in Britain unchecked every year. “I think the public would be surprised to discover that we do not know about every single contact [with a vessel],” he said.

          He said the agencies responsible for guarding the coastline did not know “with any clarity what is going on around our coasts”.

          The maritime centre will receive intelligence from the security services and combine the response of the navy, coastguard, police and fisheries vessels in the event of an attack.

          The Government has already set up 18 sites with officers who would co-ordinate the emergency services in the event of a CBRN attack.

          Police and fire services have been given extra equipment to detect potential attacks and more members of the Army have been trained in making CBRN devices safe.

          The Government has also introduced mobile radiation detection units to scan vehicles and passengers arriving at ports.

      • DXer said

        A decade earlier, Mark Popovsky was not the boy who cried wolf. He had inside information from a whistleblower.

        The Associated Press

        May 29, 1980, Thursday, AM cycle

        Soviet Science Writer Testifies On Anthrax Attack

        BYLINE: By LAWRENCE L. KNUTSON, Associated Press Writer

        SECTION: Washington Dateline

        LENGTH: 525 words

        DATELINE: WASHINGTON

        A Russian science writer told Congress Thursday that 1,000 people died last year when wind blew an “infectious cloud” south of a secret Soviet germ warfare facility on the outskirts of Sverdlosk.
        The writer, Mark Popovsky, testified that he obtained his information about the Soviet bacteriological development program from Soviet scientists who worked on it. He said his information about the purported April 1979 incident at Sverdlosk came in a letter from Moscow sent “through the underground” which reported an epidemic at Sverdlosk following an explosion at a bacteriological compound.

        “My friend informed me that an infectious cloud had been driven by wind south from the city and that no less than 1,000 people had died, both in the city and its suburbs,” Popovsky said.

        “Residents within a very large radius of the military bacteriological compound were vaccinated twice,” he said. “The nature of the disease was not known but it was thought to be a very virulent form of anthrax.”

        Popovsky testified before a House Intelligence subcommittee which is investigating the alleged incident at Sverdlosk with a view to determining whether the Soviet Union has secretly violated the anti-germ warfare agreement signed in 1975.

        He has been in the United States for a little more than two years and at present is a fellow at the Kennan Institute for Advanced Soviet Studies at the Smithsonian Institution’s Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.

        Popovsky is the author of “Manipulated Science,” a book on “the use and abuse of science in the USSR.”

        The anthrax epidemic was first made known by the United States at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, of the signers of the international convention banning the development, production, and storage of deadly germ and chemical weapons.

        Popovsky offered new details contending that most of those who died were workers at a brick factory and residents of a small village in the path of the disease.

        “On the basis of a large number of facts which were at my disposal in the USSR, I maintain that the Soviet Union never … carried out its commitment to renounce bacteriological weapons,” Popovsky said.

        The Soviet Union has not denied an anthrax outbreak at Sverdlosk but insists that it occurred naturally, not because of any accident at a germ warfare facility. The Soviet government said the victims died of stomach or skin anthrax caused by infected meat.

        Popovsky said the development and testing of germ warfare weapons is conducted by a special section of the Soviet army general staff headed by Colonel-General Efim Ivanovich Smirnov, whom he identified as a former Soviet minister of health.

        He said one test site is at Kirov which employed “at least until recently, 125 microbiologists, epidemiologists, zoologists and specialists on communicable diseases.”

        He said the Kirov compound is surrounded by two sets of concrete walls, the outer guarded by the army and the inner by the KGB, the Soviet secret police.

        “Plague, tularemia, tetanus, anthrax, and yellow fever were some of the infectious diseases worked on by Soviet experts at these secret compounds,” Popovsky said.

        • DXer said

          A decade earlier, Congressional Committee leaders did not need Ken Alibek to admit the deception he had perpetrated.

          Christian Science Monitor (Boston, MA)
          June 30, 1980, Monday, Midwestern Edition
          More evidence surfaces of Soviet germ-warfare accident

          BYLINE: By John K. Cooley, Staff correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

          The USSR is concealing the truth about an anthrax epidemic at Sverdlovsk last year that probably involved Soviet violation of a 1975 treaty against manufacturing biological weapons, according to intelligence reports released by a congressional committee June 30.

          Critics of the Carter administration, led by US Rep. Les Aspin (D) of Wisconsin, are charging that the administration’s awkward handling of news about a reported explosion in a Sverdlovsk germ-warfare research laboratory that allegedly led to hundreds of Soviet casualties has made it more difficult to get at the truth.

          In comments prepared for delivery on the House floor June 30, Congressman Aspin agreed with findings of the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Housing Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that there is strong evidence “the Soviets have cheated” on the biological weapons treaty.

        • DXer said

          The CIA did not need to wait for Alibek’s confession years later.

          COURIER-MAIL
          August 13, 1985 Tuesday
          SECRET US REPORT ACCUSES THE SOVIET UNION OF VIOLATING BI

          Secret US report accuses the Soviet Union of violating biological weapons treaty From CHRISTOPHER HANSON of Reuter WASHINGTON._ A secret US report accuses Moscow of running a major biological weapons program, apparently including genetic experiments to create deadly new life forms. US officials said the report, by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other analysts, said the program broke the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention under which the Soviet Union, the United States and some other nations agreed not to produce or use biological weapons. The Soviet Union has denied that it has a biological weapons program and says it is complying with the treaty. …

  6. DXer said

    The NAS report is irrelevant. The genetics inquiry limited things to 350 just in Buildings 1412/1425 — putting aside the hundreds elsewhere downstream — but so what?

    The same 350 had access to all the other strains in the unlocked refrigerators.

    The only relevance of the NAS study is that it had the effect of delaying production of the documents exculpatory of Ivins for 2 years — to include the documents relating to the tin signature, the iron signature, the subtilis contamination etc.

    It has served as a way of delaying production of documents that would reveal Dr. Bannan’s conflict of interest by reason of him having been a collections scientist at the Bacteriology Division at the American Type Culture Collection which co-sponsored Al-Timimi’s program. (He shared a suite with leading anthrax scientist who co-invented a process involving silica in the culture medium).

    The fact that all the science that the NAS chose to review proved irrelevant just demonstrates how many millions was totally wasted on the microbiological forensics. They didn’t even review the Federal Eagle envelope science, the photocopier toner science, the paper composition science, the FBI’s conclusion that the isotope analysis was not helpful etc.

    The NAS might have saved some of those millions and just –at no cost — uploaded the study of the toner, paper, and “trash marks” that shows the Ivins Theory offered up in the American Investigative Summary to be total crap.

    • DXer said

      Moreover, the focus on microbial forensics has just led to a proliferation of labs, which permits infiltration.

      Here, based on the record disclosed, the FBI first obtained the correspondence provided by Ivins about the former Zawahiri associate who worked alongside him with virulent Ames in 2005.

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