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

* when did Southern Research Institute (SRI) first obtain virulent Ames and from whom?

Posted by DXer on April 6, 2010

.

The FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins has been demonstrated to be bogus. So what really happened? And why? I offer one “fictional” scenario in my novel CASE CLOSED, judged by many readers, including a highly respected official in the U.S. Intelligence Community, as “quite plausible.”

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

.


Advertisements

54 Responses to “* when did Southern Research Institute (SRI) first obtain virulent Ames and from whom?”

  1. DXer said

    CDC inspection at Fort Detrick’s USAMRIID underscores need for regulations at other labs
    By Heather Mongilio hmongilio@newspost.com 5 hrs ago

    https://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/health/cdc-inspection-at-fort-detrick-s-usamriid-underscores-need-for/article_4b0f91bd-82b0-5558-a09e-7ded55775fd6.html

    There are a fair number of the labs in the county, she said, which Reed echoed. Private labs tend to cluster around public ones, so Fort Detrick would draw them in, she said.

    But Lewis Young could not tell a person where the labs are. There needs to be some oversight, she said.

    This year, she thought the law would pass. Now, she is unsure whether she’ll bring it back up again. She said she can submit an item only so many times before turning her attention to other legislative needs.

    “Maybe this recent issue will help prioritize it,” she said.

    County Executive Jan Gardner was told about the cease and desist letter, she previously told The Frederick News-Post. Any press conferences or public release of the information needed to come from USAMRIID, she said.

    “My approach has always been to tell everything that happens and do it in one fell swoop, and then tell people what you are going to do to prevent it in the future, what you’re doing to react and what you’re going to do to prevent it in the future,” Gardner said.

    Gardner said she is not a scientist, and it would not be fair for her to try to explain what was happening at USAMRIID to the public. She relies on her public health officials to provide her with timely, complete information. She plans to meet with Fort Detrick officials in the future about the USAMRIID issues, she said.

    “We need to make sure we’re informed,” Gardner said.

    It is her understanding that Jack Markey, director of emergency management in Frederick County, knows where the biosafety level 3 laboratories are. She does not think that regulation would fall to the county government. According to the city of Frederick’s website, there are two biosafety containment labs outside of Fort Detrick.

    “The bigger question to my mind … was that we need to make sure, and the public has the right to know, that levels of government — it may not be county government, but levels of government are making sure that public health and welfare is always protected,” she said. “And citizens have a right to know if there are issues, what risk is there and what steps are being taken.”

  2. DXer said

    In his new book, former FBI Agent Scott Decker pointed out that “Darin Steele a native Alabaman, had earned a doctorate degree in protein chemistry at the Crimson Tide’s Birmingham campus.” (Recounting the Anthrax Attacks, p. 93) Agent Steele served as the FBI’s on-site representative and collected samples with John Ezzell for several months.

    Maybe Agent Steele knows who threw out Ivins sample submitted in February 2002. Someone working in Ezzell’s lab threw out the sample, which goes against all protocols.

    Indeed, maybe Agent Steele knows when the Birmingham, UAB-based SRI first acquired virulent Ames.

    https://southernresearch.org/

  3. DXer said

    Ali Al-Timimi, who shared a suite with the Ames researchers Ken Alibek and Charles Bailey, was convicted of sedition in 2005 or so. Is his appeal still being heard on remand? Is it classified?

  4. DXer said

    USAMRIID’s Special Pathogens Branch would send out more b.anthracis (to places like UAB and IITRI and University of Maryland) than was requested and would lyophilize the excess amount of the secondary stocks to avoid temperature requirements in shipping. 279A-WF-22236-USAMRIID, FBI 302, dated 4/17/2003, page 5.

    University of Maryland, however, was never was sent virulent Ames because they did not have a BL-3.

    https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/history/famous-cases/anthrax-amerithrax/USAMRIID%20Section%209.pdf

  5. DXer said

    My good friend Sergei Popov confirms the obvious: Southern Research Institute had virulent Ames prior to 9/11. Note that there otherwise would have been no reason to contract with them to work with Ames in its virulent form if Ames was not available to SRI for research. (Previously, Alibek’s researchers only had (nonviolent) Delta Ames supplied by NIH.

    In my experience, Serge has always been part of the solution — never part of the problem.

    • DXer said

      My good friend Dave Franz writes today: “I don’t know where they (we) got the Ames, but would assume RIID. I think there were more personal relationships between SRI-RIID than between SRI-DPG.”

      I want to thank everyone working to get on the same page in attempting to reconstruct these historic facts. Reading these scientific articles has been an eye-opening experience for me — it brings home to me how smart scientists are.

      The new push to interest our young people in STEM is exciting — but they certainly face a challenge in mastering science, which grows by leaps and bounds.

      • DXer said

        Dave further notes, however, that Tom worked out of the Birmingham office. So it all requires further confirmation to include the records relating to the transfer of Ames to the UAB-affiliated SRI.

      • DXer said

        Dave is misremembering. Dr. Voss was in Frederick, MD at SRI from 2000-2004 ; he was at Birmingham for only part of 2000 and then after 2004. So I understand that in August 2000 and June 2001, for example, he was in Frederick.

      • DXer said

        David R. Franz wrote eloquently about the “The Dual Use Dilemma: Crying Out For Leadership” for the Saint Louis School of Law. In forwarding me the link, Dave notes that dual use dilemma is related to the insider threat. In the article, he discusses Amerithrax, the FBI’s “Hatfill Theory,” Ivins suicide and much more.

        The article is too substantial and he is too learned on biodefense policy for me to summarize the article before my morning coffee. But here is an excerpt:

        “Finally, in September 2009, the U.S. National Academies of Science released the report, Responsible Research with Biological Select Agents and Toxins.174 Like the other three reports above, it made recommendations for improving the security within our laboratories.175 First, laboratory leadership and the Select Agent Program should foster a “culture of trust and responsibility.”176 Second, a biological select agents and toxins advisory committee should be formed to provide continual oversight of the list of related regulations.177 Third, the Select Agents list should be stratified and provisions developed for timely inclusion or removal of an agent from the list.178 Fourth, accountability for agent materials should focus on archived stocks, but not working materials, and counting of vials should not be employed for agents that replicate.179 Fifth, the FBI’s Security Risk Assessment requirement should be maintained, but with an appeals process.180 Sixth, regulatory obligations should be clarified by defining “minimum cross-agency physical security requirements.”181 Seventh, an “independent evaluation of the Select Agent Program should be undertaken” and, lastly, inspectors should be mandated to have scientific and laboratory knowledge and experience, and training and inspections should be harmonized.182”

        http://www.slu.edu/Documents/law/SLUJHP/Archives/Vol7-1/Franz_Article.pdf

    • DXer said

      By January 1999, SRI already had a small BL-3. SRI planned on expanding it and hiring 3-4 new people. They ended up hiring Bruce Ivins’ assistant, Pat Fellows to head the BL-3 lab.

      The DOJ has shredded her civil deposition so lots of details are sketchy.

      Vaccine contract slashed by millions
      • Matthew Barakat News-Post Staff

      • Jan 26, 1999

      http://www.fredericknewspost.com/archive/vaccine-contract-slashed-by-millions/article_0904b77d-70a4-50eb-b12b-c4b96d4c3e68.html

      The vast majority of the work to be done in Frederick will be conducted by Southern Research Institute, near Frederick Municipal Airport. SRI’s subcontract represents 11.9 percent of the $322 million, 10-year contract.

      Southern Research will conduct pre-clinical testing of the vaccines on animals to help ensure the vaccines are safe and effective, said Susan Jessee, the company’s manager of business development.

      Vaccines which will be tested at Southern Research include Q-fever, smallpox, tularemia, botulinum, encephalitis, plague and ricin.

      The company, which has done extensive work with tuberculosis and HIV, has never before handled many of these agents, but Ms. Jessee said the company will be well prepared for any and all safety concerns.

      David Franz, the former commander of the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, now works for Southern Research and is in charge of the company’s work on the project.

      “We’ve undergone extensive renovations and our employees have received necessary vaccinations,” Ms. Jessee said.

      Most of the vaccines and diseases Southern Research will test for the project require labs with a Biosafety Level 3, the second-highest safety level in the rating system.

      The company already had a small BL-3 lab, Ms. Jessee said, but will expand it to accommodate the new work. SRI will only need to hire three or four new people to handle the subcontract.

  6. DXer said

    SRI according to the documents (press releases issued by Alibek’s company, Hadron) had the subcontract to do the work with virulent Ames. (In 2003, Dr. Alibek had told me it was done by a lab in the area but declined to identify the lab). SRI’s lab were located in downtown Frederick, Maryland. It is really quite amazing for political activist Barry to point to faraway Battelle and Dugway when FBI Director Mueller specifically said in a filmed congressional committee hearing that there was a third lab that could make a powder out of Ames — such as what was mailed — besides Battelle and Dugway. FBI Director Mueller said he couldn’t name the lab in an open session. (There is a Maryland state statute that might have been the reason for him to not be able to talk about it).

    Given that Ali Al-Timimi shared a suite, fax and mail drop with the leading DARPA-funded Ames anthrax researchers, transparency of SRI’s work with virulent Ames in 2001 is highly relevant. It is sufficient to identify the labs that are known to have had virulent Ames pre-9/2001. No national security interests are implicated. This was 13 years ago.

    I asked the SRI Prez and VP from 2001 when SRI first acquired Ames. Former USAMRIID Commander Dave Franz was the VP. Tom Voss was Prez. DF stopped communication as soon as I asked the question. He had warned me he would cut me off — as he says he did Dave Altimari — if he didn’t like the question or the reporting.

    It is GAO’s job to ask the hard questions — and get answers.

    Alibek and Bailey had been consultants for Battelle.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/floor-plan-of-suite-at-gmus-discovery-hall-in-2001-with-ali-al-timimi-and-leading-anthrax-scientists/

  7. DXer said

    Hadron’s press releases indicated that Southern Research Institute. It’s President and Vice-President declined to tell me when SRI first acquired virulent Ames. Hadron, according to what Ken Alibek told me, obtained Delta Ames from NIH but would not say where the research with virulent Ames was done — he just said an area lab. (I knew it to be SRI.)

    But that brings us back to the question: Where did SRI get virulent Ames? Virulent Ames is distinguished from Delta Ames, which is missing the virulence plasmids x101 and x 102. If you wanted virulent anthrax, and you didn’t want to bother (or couldn’t get it from another lab) you could just insert the virulence plasmids. For example, Theresa K., whose lab in Houston upgraded to BL-3 in March 2001, said that is what her lab did to obtain its first virulent anthrax. They just made their own by having a grad student, Melissa D., insert the virulence plasmids.

    If Alibek got Delta Ames from NIH but had virulent Ames to be used by the subcontractor at SRI, where did SRI first obtain its Ames prior to 9/11?

  8. DXer said

    The inadequate activation of virulent Ames — which exposed an estimated 75 employees at the CDC this past month — has occurred previously. In 2004, virulent Ames anthrax was shipped from Southern Research Institute in Frederick to unprotected vaccine researches at Childrens Hospital. Ironically, it was the CDC that investigated. The FBI removed the culture and it was available to test for 4 morphs. GAO, was it tested?

    From Oakland Tribune:

    “The Bacillus anthracis that killed the mice at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute was the Ames strain, the same type of anthrax bacteria used in the October-November 2001 letter attacks. Those attacks killed five people and spurred almost $10 billion in spending on new biodefense labs and research nationwide.”

    In 2004, SRI President Thomas Voss explained that heat inactivation had been used and that cuture didn’t grow after 48 hours. The FBI removed the culture.

    Bruce Ivins’ former assistant PF headed the B3 lab at SRI in Frederick. DOJ has shredded her civil deposition.

    http://www.warandpiece.com/
    “Update on anthrax: Am informed by Richard Ebright, a scientist at Rutgers, that what was involved in Southern Research Institute apparently accidentally sending live anthrax to the Oakland Children’s Hospital Research institute indicates that SRI is in possession of “not just B. anthracis…[but] B. anthracis *Ames.*” In other words, the same strain used in the 2001 anthrax letter attacks, FYI.

    Am informed by my colleague Scott Shane at the Baltimore Sun that David Franz, the former USAMRIID commander who had headed SRI’s bio/chem program out of Frederick Maryland, has moved to a different outfit. He moved to someplace called the Midwest Research Institute in November 2003.

    Am additionally informed by Ebright that Patricia Fellows now manages SRI’s biosafety level 3 facility in Frederick now. And that previously, Fellows worked with Ames at USAMRIID from 2000-2003. Worked with Ames at SRI from 2003 to present.”

    When did SRI first acquire shipped to Children’s Hospital which was mistakenly thought to have been inactivated?

    Did it have four morphs? A few years ago, I asked both Dr. Voss and Dr. Franz, who was the SRI VP, but they declined to answer when SRI first acquired virulent Ames. It should be clarified given that 5 ml of virulent Ames from Flask 1029 was missing from Building 1412.
    Bruce Ivins asked by email his assistant, Patricia F., but we do not have her response in the record. As I said, the DOJ shredded her civil deposition and so there is a lot we do not know about the distribution of virulent Ames.

    In any event, what the science supports is that SRI/ PF / and-or others may have been using an ineffective method of inactivation in 2001. It is scientifically unsound to assume that inactivated Ames that was shipped or transferred was in fact inactivated given the lack of controlled studies in 2001.

    This is just another reason why the FBI’s claimed “process of elimination” of the hundreds known to have access to virulent Ames was crock. (But there are many independent reasons).

    Dr. John E — the FBI expert at USAMRIID who made a dried powder out of Ivins’ Flask 1029 — is articulate on the subject. There have been studies on the levels of radiation needed, for example, but I will have to pull them. (I do not recall offhand whether they were published or not).

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 25, 2010
    http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/22896/title/US-lab-is-sent-live-anthrax/

    US lab is sent live anthrax
    Incident at Oakland, Calif., children’s hospital research lab exposes seven workers

    By John Dudley Miller(johnmiller@nasw.org) | June 11, 2004

    At least seven people in an Oakland, Calif., research laboratory have been inadvertently exposed to live anthrax bacteria that had twice been tested to be dead, once by the vendor company that shipped it and once in the lab.

    The seven work at Children’s Hospital and Research Center at Oakland in a building located 1 mile from the hospital, and no one at the hospital itself was exposed. Three researchers were trying to create an anthrax vaccine using Bacillus anthracis that had supposedly been heat inactivated, while the other four people, and perhaps a few others yet to be determined, worked in the lab but not on the project, according to Ann Petru, an infectious disease specialist at the hospital.

    Nasal swabs were taken, Petru said, “but they aren’t processed yet.” All seven have been put on a 60-day regimen of ciprofloxacin, she said, because they might develop anthrax even if their cultures show they are not carriers of the disease.

    The problem was discovered this week after 49 of 50 mice inoculated with the B. anthracis last week quickly died. Subsequent attempts to culture both the material and a sample from one of the dead mice both showed the bacteria was alive. The Federal Bureau of Investigation removed the remaining material from the lab last Wednesday night (June 9).

    At a press conference at the hospital yesterday, California Department of Health Services officials said they feel confident that there is no risk to anyone else in the research building or the surrounding community, according to Ken August, a departmental spokesperson. A 2-hour inspection convinced them that the lab had handled the bacteria properly, he said. Researchers had been wearing masks and proper clothing, and the lab’s air is filtered both entering and leaving. According to Petru, the lab is a Biosafety Laboratory 2 (BSL-2) facility, appropriate for research with inactivated B. anthracis. All seven are still working in the lab, August said.

    The focus of the ongoing investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is on the vendor, Southern Research Institute (SRI), which shipped the B. anthracis from its facility in Frederick, Md., about 3 months ago. “What happened there in this heat process that failed to kill the bacteria?” August asked. “What checks and balances do they have, and how did it pass through that?”

    Thomas Voss, vice president of the Homeland Security and Emerging Infectious Disease Research Division at SRI, told The Scientist that his company tested the B. anthracis it shipped by trying to grow the material in a culture medium for 48 hours. The culture didn’t grow, so SRI concluded that it was totally inactivated.

    Petru said that when the samples arrived in the Oakland lab, workers there also tried to grow it in culture for 48 hours but failed, so they too concluded it was dead. When asked how material that had twice been tested as inactivated 3 months ago could now be alive, Voss said, “This is biology. It doesn’t always work they way you expect it to work every time. You want to validate these procedures as fully as you possibly can, and that’s what we’re doing right now,” to see if they are sensitive enough to ensure inactivity.

    Voss said the sample sent to the Oakland lab is the only heat-inactivated B. anthracis sample SRI has ever shipped to any lab. The bacteria can also be killed with formaldehyde, UV light, and gamma radiation, he said. While Petru said the Oakland lab had only received one shipment, Voss said, “We’ve done two [shipments to the Oakland lab]. The ones we’ve done with these folks are probably the only ones we’ve done with Bacillus anthracis that’s been heat killed. Outside of that, that’s all.”

    Petru speculated that the SRI material is a heat-resistant mutant strain of B. anthracis: “If the material was properly processed, I think you have to presume it must be mutant, because heat didn’t kill it, that’s how you define it, right?” Voss said no one knows at this point.

    Although both SRI and the Oakland lab cultured the shipment of B. anthracis, the Oakland lab did not subculture it by taking a sample of the first culture and transferring it to a fresh culture dish. Voss said he doubts SRI subcultured it either, although he has not yet verified that fact. With some bacteria, subculturing is important because it won’t grow otherwise, according to a prominent bioterrorism researcher, who spoke on condition of anonymity because his organization competes with SRI. “We didn’t subculture it prior to inoculating it,” Petru said. “If we had, perhaps we would have discovered that.”

    Both August and Voss said the incident illustrates the heightened awareness and cooperation among government agencies fostered by the federal government’s efforts to strengthen the US public health system in the wake of September 11. August said that from the time his department was notified, it inspected the lab, wrote a report, and held a press conference in a little more than 24 hours. “I’ve been with the department for about 16 years,” he said. Of the cooperation among CDC, SRI, and state and local authorities, he said, “You wouldn’t have seen that 3 years ago.”

    Richard Ebright, a professor at Rutgers University, said he thinks the extraordinary increases in the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases budget, which is sponsoring the Oakland anthrax research, make accidents like this much more likely than they were before. “I think events like this are inevitable with the expansion of effort in this area,” Ebright said. “I think that additional accidents of all flavors and descriptions as well as deliberate releases are inevitable with this expansion.”

    • DXer said

      Live anthrax accidentally shipped from Frederick to California lab …
      Exposed workers undergo treatment
      CDC begins an investigation of lapse

      http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2004-06-11/news/0406110389_1_anthrax-bacteria-southern-research-institute

      Jun 11, 2004 – Scientists at Southern Research Institute in Frederick intended to send dead anthrax bacteria to their collaborators in Oakland, said Thomas G.

      ***

      The Frederick lab is rated at Biosafety Level 3, the second-highest level of security, Voss said.

      That is sufficient to work with anthrax, which the lab has used for research on vaccines, antibiotics and germ detection methods since 2001, he said.

    • DXer said

      The strain in 2004 that was ineffectively inactivated and shipped to the Childrens Hospital was virulent Ames. The head of the B3 lab was Dr. Bruce Ivins’ assistant, Patricia Fellows.

      Dr. Fellows should be asked: What method of inactivation was used in 2004? How did that compare to what had been done by her or colleagues in Dr. Ivins’ lab? When did SRI in Frederick first acquire virulent Ames? What happened to the virulent Ames that Dr. Ivins says went missing? Does she have a copy of her civil deposition that she could provide or was that copy shredded also?

      The Washington Post

      June 12, 2004

      Md. Lab Ships Live Anthrax In Error;
      U.S. Investigating;
      Calif. Workers Given Antibiotics

      Fredrick Kunkle, Washington Post Staff Writer

      Federal authorities said they are investigating an apparent laboratory foul-up in which live anthrax bacteria were shipped from Maryland to California by Federal Express because scientists involved in the transfer thought the bacteria were dead.

      The potentially lethal germs were sent by Southern Research Institute, of Frederick County, to a private lab in Oakland about three months ago, officials said. The mistake came to light recently when dozens of laboratory mice died after vaccine researchers in Oakland injected them with anthrax bacteria that supposedly had been chemically deactivated.

      Tests by the California Department of Health Services confirmed Wednesday that the germs were alive.

      Federal medical officials are now examining what went wrong when the Southern Research Institute shipped 22 cubic centimeters — or about four teaspoons — of anthrax bacteria to the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute.

      The bacteria were intended for research underway at the Oakland laboratory to develop a children’s vaccine for anthrax contamination. The bacteria were kept in storage until late last month. There were no signs of tampering in what was the third shipment from the Maryland laboratory to the Oakland facility in the past year. The two previous shipments of anthrax bacteria had been chemically deactivated.

      On May 28, researchers injected 10 mice with the supposedly inert bacteria. All were dead by June 3. Then, researchers injected 40 mice on June 7. They died three days later, and tests proved that the bacteria had been the cause.

      “Basically, at this point, we have something that’s unexplained,” said Michael G. Murray, director of infectious disease at Southern Research Institute. “In fact, it was shown to be dead.”

      Although tests came back negative yesterday for seven lab workers in Oakland who were possibly exposed to the bacteria, all have started on a 60-day regimen of the antibiotic Cipro as a precautionary measure, lab spokeswoman Beverly Mikalonis said.

      Bioterrorism experts in the FBI’s San Francisco office assisted in removing the toxins from the California lab, FBI spokesman Bill Carter said. He said there is no indication of criminal activity.

      The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is trying to determine what happened, Carter said.

      In an era of heightened security against terrorism, the federal government has tightened regulations on researchers using biological agents and toxins. The CDC is charged with overseeing registration of all such facilities, including government agencies, universities and commercial researchers.

      “All I know is that we’re working with all the institutes involved to find out what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” CDC spokeswoman Karen Hunter said.

    • DXer said

      Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA)
      June 11, 2004 Friday
      Idaho Edition

      CDC investigates mix-up involving anthrax delivery;
      Research institute mistakenly shipped live specimen to lab

      BYLINE: Scott Shane Baltimore Sun

      SECTION: A; Pg. 2

      ***
      CDC experts are investigating the incident in order to determine why the bacteria were not “inactivated” by the standard procedure of immersion in a hot-water bath, Voss said. CDC officials could not be reached for comment.

      Voss said that before the anthrax was shipped, the sample was tested for the presence of live bacteria, but none was detected.

      “We’re trying to go through the lab notebooks and make sure we know what was done and how it was done,” Voss said. “We may need to increase the sensitivity level on our testing.”

      Voss said there was no danger to Southern Research personnel because they always use protective equipment in handling anthrax and are vaccinated against the disease.

      The anthrax was shipped in March from Frederick to Oakland, where it was stored in test tubes. On May 28, it was injected into 10 mice, all of which were found dead on May 31. A second group of 40 mice were inoculated June 4, and all but one were found dead on Monday, Mikalonis said.

      Only then did the scientist in charge of the project learn that the mice had died and begin an inquiry, she said.

      Southern Research Institute, founded in 1942 and based in Birmingham, Ala., is a not-for-profit organization that conducts research under contracts with the government and private companies. Its infectious disease branch in Frederick employs 70 people, including 20 who work on biodefense and emerging diseases, Voss said.

    • DXer said

      For some science and background on the state of learning at the time of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings, see the 2003 article on the inactivation of bacillus spores published by the CDC.:

      Spotts Whitney EA, et al. . 2003. Inactivation of Bacillus anthracis spores. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 9:623–627. doi:10.3201/eid0906.020377.

      • DXer said

        Note the role of microencapsulation in resistance to destruction. Silicon uptake from the growth medium, absorbed into the coat, leads to resistance against destruction. Commentators appear not to realize that under the FBI’s explanation of the science, the silicon absorbed into the spore coat served the purpose of making it resistant to being destroyed.

        1.

        The Silicon Layer Supports Acid Resistance of Bacillus cereus Spores 2010

        Ryuichi Hirota,¶ Yumehiro Hata,¶ Takeshi Ikeda, Takenori Ishida, and Akio Kuroda*

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2798246/

        Silicon (Si) is considered to be a “quasiessential” element for most living organisms. However, silicate uptake in bacteria and its physiological functions have remained obscure. We observed that Si is deposited in a spore coat layer of nanometer-sized particles in Bacillus cereus and that the Si layer enhances acid resistance. The novel acid resistance of the spore mediated by Si encapsulation was also observed in other Bacillus strains, representing a general adaptation enhancing survival under acidic conditions.

        2.

        Riesenman and Nocolson, 2000. “Role of the spore coat layers in Bacillus subtilus spore resistance to hydrogen peroxide, artificial UV-C, UV-B, and solar UV radiation,” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 69: 1327-1330.

        Abstract
        Spores of Bacillus subtilis possess a thick protein coat that consists of an electron-dense outer coat layer and a lamellalike inner coat layer. The spore coat has been shown to confer resistance to lysozyme and other sporicidal substances. In this study, spore coat-defective mutants of B. subtilis (containing the gerE36 and/or cotE::cat mutation) were used to study the relative contributions of spore coat layers to spore resistance to hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) and various artificial and solar UV treatments. Spores of strains carrying mutations in gerE and/or cotE were very sensitive to lysozyme and to 5% H(2)O(2), as were chemically decoated spores of the wild-type parental strain. Spores of all coat-defective strains were as resistant to 254-nm UV-C radiation as wild-type spores were. Spores possessing the gerE36 mutation were significantly more sensitive to artificial UV-B and solar UV radiation than wild-type spores were. In contrast, spores of strains possessing the cotE::cat mutation were significantly more resistant to all of the UV treatments used than wild-type spores were. Spores of strains carrying both the gerE36 and cotE::cat mutations behaved like gerE36 mutant spores. Our results indicate that the spore coat, particularly the inner coat layer, plays a role in spore resistance to environmentally relevant UV wavelengths.

    • DXer said

      http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25766-anthrax-escape-raises-worries-about-labgrown-superflu.html#.U6RIes3rNkI

      • 15:30 20 June 2014 by Debora MacKenzie

      Excerpt:

      “Seventy-five lab workers may have been exposed to anthrax at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, the leading US lab for tracking infectious disease. The incident has not yet made anyone ill, and poses negligible risk for the public, but it raises concerns about work with deadly pathogens.

      According to the CDC, culture dishes of anthrax bacteria kept in a level 3 high-containment lab, were subjected to a treatment that should have killed them, then sent to a level 2 lower containment lab in the same building on 6 June, to help develop detectors for environmental anthrax.

      Workers there did not use heavy protective gear for procedures that could have spritzed the bacteria into the air as the anthrax was supposed to be dead. But on 13 June when the dishes were being gathered for disposal, a live anthrax culture was growing on one.

      People thought to have been exposed have been given the anthrax vaccine and ciprofloxacin, the antibiotic that prevented illness when anthrax was sent to US government and media offices in 2001. Heads, the CDC says, will roll.”

      ****

      Comment:

      Debora MacKenzie is experienced on this sort of issue and so I would be sure to check on any future updates by her on the story.

      Scott Shane likely is immersed in writing his Awlaki book.

    • DXer said

      Scientists were exposed to anthrax in U.S. lab
      June 20, 2014 12:00 AM
      Share with others:

      Anna Edney and Michelle Fay Cortez / Bloomberg News

      “It shouldn’t happen, but it is hard to keep accidents from happening,” said John Keene, president of Global Biohazard Technologies Inc. and a past president of the American Biological Safety Association. “The researchers are always at risk.” Still, he said, accidental exposures like this are “very, very rare”

      While the researchers would be at risk of getting infected only if they inhaled the spores, treatment with antibiotics is extremely effective, Mr. Keene said. Anthrax isn’t transmitted from person to person. “Getting it out of the lab isn’t necessarily going to cause a significant danger to people working there,” he said. “Unless someone was doing something that could create an aerosol to breath it in, the probability of getting infected with it is slim to none.”

      Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2014/06/20/Scientists-Exposed-to-Anthrax-in-U-S-Laboratory-CDC-Says/stories/201406200085#ixzz35CJERXDd

  9. DXer said

    Southern Research Institute Frederick is the lab that did the subcontracting under the multi-million DARPA contract to Ken Alibek and Charles Bailey at the DARPA Center for Biodefense at GMU. (That is established by the press releases issued by Alibek’s company Hadron at the time). Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey came to share a suite with Al Qaeda infiltrator Ali Al-Timimi. Al-Timimi had a security clearance from his work in 1999 for the Navy.

    Dr. Alibek and Bailey, according to an earlier profile, worked as aerosol consultants for Battelle in 1999. That may have been Battelle Arlington which published on the subject of microencapsulation. Ken Alibek on the telephone had told me it was done at an outside lab in the area but that he was constrained in telling me where.
    Upon reviewing the 2001 Alibek/Bailey patent, the head of the Air Force lab (making aerosols for biodefense testing) told me that the Spring 2001 patent by Alibek and Bailey was a microencapsulation patent. It was called Microdroplet Cell Culture patent and served to concentrate the anthrax and involved silica.

    According to this article by Scott Shane below, SRI in Frederick has been using virulent Ames, according to its President at the time, since 2001. In 2004 or so, SRI in Frederick mistakenly sent virulent Ames to a children’s hospital thinking it was irradiated.

    Where was the dry aerosol project that had been started at USAMRIID moved to? Was it SRI Frederick? The SRI VP, Dave F, was a good friend and work colleague of Dr. Ezzell; Dr. Ezzell had been given the virulent Ames from 1029 for the dry aerosol project. (Dr. Ezzell for years had served as the FBI’s anthrax expert at USAMRIID; it was his lab that threw out Ivins’ February 2002 submission.)

    I explained to the SRI VP that Dr. Ayman Zawahiri was the enemy who had orchestrated an infiltration of US biodefense — and that US scientists needed to drop their defensive shields so that we could follow the breadcrumbs.. It was then the SRI VP Dave helped me to gain JE’s confidence so that he would talk to me.
    And to JE’s great credit, he then came forward to be filmed at the conference Lew moderated.

    Was the dry aerosol project for which the FBI anthrax expert JE was using virulent Ames from 1029 moved to SRI in Frederick? Was it moved to where the infiltrated Alibek/Bailey DARPA-funded work was being done. SRI is where Ivins’ chief accuser, Pat, went to head the BL-3. Ivins by email asked what happened to 5 ml of Ames and whether it had been destroyed before she left for SRI. Pat’s civil deposition was shredded. A good rule is this: If you work for the government, don’t shred documents. Taxpayers paying your salary have a right to government accountability.

    Pat Fellows, coincidentally, was thanked for her technical assistance in connection with a different DARPA-funded project involving a former Zawahiri associate supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins. That project involved a decontamination agent and was tested in Bio-Level 3 labs at USAMRIID, Johns-Hopkin, LSU and Dugway.

    Has the fact of Ali Al-Timimi’s infiltration been kept buried because what was infiltrated was a secret, classified biodefense project? Hint: It is a bad idea to allow Ames anthrax researchers doing classified research to share a suite with the hardcore guy promoting the views of Bin Laden’s sheiks and predicting the destruction of Western Civilization. The scientists raking in all these millions in taxpayer dollars tend not to concern themselves with security or background checks. Dr. Alibek previously had defected from Russia where he ran a massive bio program under cover. In due course, he abruptly left the US.

    Al-Timimi was known to have extensive connections to Al Qaeda’s broader network. Before 911 the CIA had interviewed Bassem Khafagi, the head of the Ann Arbor charity IANA, about Ali Al-Timimi’s connections to Al Qaeda. The CIA knew that he spoke alongside Anwar Awlaki and a Syracuse doctor in Canada and UK in July and August 2001.

    Dr. Ayman Zawahiri thought that the Koran required that he use the weapons of his enemy. And Yazid Sufaat is nothing if not someone who thinks he is playing by the book.

    In seeking to establish the distribution of virulent Ames from 1029 and potential access, we have to overcome people’s reluctance to address the issues.
    People understandably are afraid of getting in trouble — for example, there may have been fall-out sending the virulent Ames to a Children’s Hospital in Oakland.

    But all truth-tellers should be rewarded. All those standing in the way of analysis of access to genetically matching Ames and the background of the Silicon Signature need to chart a different course.

    For Al Qaeda’s purposes, microencapsulation, as explained by Dr. Alibek, protected the anthrax from being destroyed in a bomb. See Philippine interrogation reports of Muklis Yunos. It was the iron that made it more deadly in the lungs.

    Live anthrax accidentally shipped from Frederick to California lab …
    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2004-06-11/news/0406110389_1_anthrax-bacteria-southern-research-institute

    Jun 11, 2004 – Scientists at Southern Research Institute in Frederick intended to send dead anthrax bacteria to their collaborators in Oakland, said Thomas G.

    ***

    The Frederick lab is rated at Biosafety Level 3, the second-highest level of security, Voss said.

    That is sufficient to work with anthrax, which the lab has used for research on vaccines, antibiotics and germ detection methods since 2001, he said.

  10. DXer said

    GAO: President Tom Voss and VP David Franz declined to tell me when SRI first obtained virulent Ames. There is a Maryland statute that makes it illegal to discuss.
    It appears that SRI in fact had virulent Ames and Bruce Ivins’ assistant, aerosol expert Pat, went to head the BL-3 there. She was the one on the rabbit experiment — for which the documents and information was suppressed. Most intelligence is open source. You should have to look harder and have amazing friends.

    Who approved the visit to BL-3 of the non-citizen who worked along Bruce Ivins — the man who learned microbiology from Dr. Zawahiri whose friends and classmates were recruited by Ayman Zawahiri into his jihadist group?

    The following is an August 6, 1998, news release of the Southern Research Institute:

    CONTACT: Rhonda Jung, Manager, Public Relations, 205-581-2317, jung@sri.org
    Leader in biological defense named V.P. at Southern Research Institute establishes new division dedicated to
    chemical/biological defense research

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Aug. 6, 1998) — One of the world’s leading authorities on biological and chemical defense
    has joined Southern Research Institute to lead its new Chemical and Biological Defense Division (CBD).
    Recently retired U.S. Army Col. David R. Franz, DVM, Ph.D. joins the Institute today.

    “The release of Sarin gas in a Japanese subway, and the threat of biological weapon deployment, have made
    us much more aware of the urgent need for more effective ways to detect and deal with chemical and biological
    agents,” said Gilbert E. Dwyer, President and CEO at Southern Research Institute. “By bringing Dr. Franz on
    board, and establishing this new research division, we underscore our commitment to this effort.”
    Dr. Franz served in the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command for 23 of his 27 years on active
    duty. He is a former Commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases
    (USAMRIID), and Deputy Commander of the Medical Research and Materiel Command, both at Fort Detrick,
    Maryland.

    Dr. Franz was Chief Inspector on three United Nations Special Commission biological warfare inspection missions
    to Iraq, and served as a technical advisor on long-term monitoring. He was also a member of the US/UK
    teams that visited Russia in support of the Trilateral Joint Statement on Biological Weapons, and as a member
    of the Trilateral Experts’ Committee for Biological Weapons negotiations.

    With Dr. Franz’s arrival, Southern Research has also established a new division dedicated to chemical and biological
    defense research, education and consultation. For more than 30 years, Institute scientists have conducted
    pioneering work in chemical detection and defense for the U.S. military.

    Most of that research, such as developing the reactive sorbent used by U.S. troops on the battlefield to decontaminate
    equipment during a chemical attack, has been conducted in Birmingham. Southern Research has
    also provided extensive support to the U.S. chemical demilitarization program and is currently extending it efforts
    into the international arena, providing support to the Japanese government for the destruction of chemical
    weapons stockpiles left in China after World War II.

    More recently, new projects have also included enhancing the speed and accuracy of detecting biological
    agents. The Institute’s Frederick, Maryland facility is gearing up this summer to begin work as a subcontractor
    on the U.S. Army’s Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program (JVAP). JVAP will produce, stockpile and obtain Food
    and Drug Administration approval and licensure for vaccines to protect against biological agents.
    From that $333 million award to the prime contractor — Dynport, LLC of Reston, Virginia — Southern Research
    received a $30-$40 million (10 year) sub-contract to conduct efficacy and safety testing on existing and newly
    developed biological vaccines, and will continuously monitor the stockpile of existing vaccine material for stability.
    Dr. Franz will continue to reside in Frederick, Maryland, and will direct the Institute’s Chemical and Biological
    Defense Division from its Frederick facility. He holds a D.V.M. from Kansas State University and a Ph.D. in
    Physiology from Baylor College of Medicine.

    Southern Research Institute, which began operations in 1945, is an independent research corporation with established
    capabilities in engineering, environmental, energy and life sciences. Research is conducted through
    contracts and grants with government, commercial and academic clients. With a current business volume of
    more than $50 million, Southern Research employs more than 550 professional, technical and support personnel
    in Birmingham, AL; Frederick, MD; and Research Triangle Park, NC.

    • DXer said

      errata – I meant that most intelligence is open source and you just need to look harder and have amazing friends. I should say in the affirmative, though, that neither the former SRI President Voss nor the Vice-President Franz denied to me that SRI had virulent Ames before the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. And Dave in particular was very helpful in other respects. FBI Director Mueller has alluded to the issue in a Congressional hearin about the constraints he was under in discussing where testing was done in addition to Dugway and Battelle using virulent Ames. There is no reason at all that the work at SRI during the 1998-2001 period cannot be openly discussed in open session or by the GAO — particularly as to whether virulent Ames was present.

  11. DXer said

    The July 8, 2011 Declaration of David R. Franz explains:

    “4. From 1995 to 1998, I was the Commander of the U.S. Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), Fort Detrick. Previously, I served at USAMRIID as Deputy Commander (1992-1995), Chief of the Toxicology Division (1989-1992), and Chief of Cardiorespiratory Toxicology Department (1987-1989). …

    5. In 1998, I served briefly as the Deputy Commander, U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command, during the transition period of one Commanding General to another. I retired from military service on 1 Aug 1998, after 27 years on active duty.

    6. After leaving service I worked for Southern Research Institute from 1998 to 2003…before joining Midwest Research Institute (MRIGlobal).”

    When does David say that Southern Research Institute first acquired virulent Ames? Neither Tom Voss, SRI’s former head, nor Dave will tell me.

    Pat Fellows later came to head the B3 there.

  12. DXer said

    Excerpt:

    The 2001 Attack Anthrax: Key Questions, Potential Answers

    June 11, 2011

    Martin E. Hugh-Jones, et al.

    Potential production sites of the attack anthrax

    Genetic evidence from the attack anthrax itself is the prime indicator of laboratories at which genetically-matching B. anthracis could have been accessed for growing the spores sent in the letters. The spores were found to be Ames-strain B. anthracis and to include multiple colony morphotypes, some apparently unique. The latter provided the basis for four specific molecular assays that were developed for use as indicators of close relationship to the anthrax in the letters.# The FBI collected a repository# (likely incomplete) of 1070 Ames-strain B. anthracis samples from 17 laboratories that were identified as possessing that strain.# Assays on 947 of the repository samples# detected samples from 10 laboratories that tested positive in one or more of the specific assays.# Two of the samples were positive in all four assays: one sample each from USAMRIID (which possessed flask RMR 1029, an Ames-strain B. anthracis spore preparation later shown in genetic tests to be indistinguishable from the attack anthrax) and Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI) in Ohio# (which had been sent samples from flask RMR 1029 on May 8 and June 18, 2001).# Samples with partially-matching assay results cannot be disregarded, for a variety of reasons including variability in the assay results,# lack of repeat analyses, false negatives, and the fact that, prior to assay, each sample had been through two rounds of cultivation.# Among the eight laboratories that submitted samples with 1-3 positive assay results# are: Dugway Proving Ground, the Naval Medical Research Center, Northern Arizona University, and the Canadian Defense Research Establishment at Suffield (DRES).# The Other four laboratories have not been revealed.

    A priori, the most likely sites of production of the letter anthrax are laboratories that work with dry spores: Battelle, Dugway, and DRES. Battelle, for example, is well-known for its aerosol study capabilities and biodefense activities, for which dry spores are routinely needed.# USAMRIID, on the other hand, has always insisted that dry spores are never used in the work there. The FBI says that, prior to the attacks, no US laboratory had Ames anthrax spores in powder form;# however, powdered anthrax spores are known to have been produced at Dugway in the last few years before the attacks.# The FBI recognized that Dugway had the know-how,# and also, the strain—Dugway had produced the bulk of the B. anthracis in USAMRIID’s flask RMR 1029 in 1997.#

    The FBI ruled out Battelle as the source of the attack anthrax on the implicit, and unwarranted, assumptions that the anthrax spore preparations in the letters must have been made covertly, and made by the perpetrator(s) of the attack. They say that every minute in the “Midwest” Battelle laboratory is accounted for, and no researcher was ever alone in the laboratory; background investigations of everyone who had access to the RMR 1029 material received from USAMRIID gave unremarkable results; and the great distance of the Battelle laboratory in Ohio from Princeton, NJ, where the anthrax letters were mailed, “preclude any reasonable possibility that the mailings came from there.”# Dugway and DRES, being much farther from Princeton than Battelle, may have been eliminated on that basis alone. However, there is no publicly available information to rule out the possibility that the anthrax spores in the letters were made somewhere in the normal conduct of authorized laboratory operations, and later acquired by the mailer(s) at the same or some other location.

    The FBI has also routinely assumed# that the attack spores were prepared during the short interval between 9/11 and the mailings of the letters on Sept. 18 and Oct. 9, 2001, but there is no publicly known evidence for that assumption. Battelle received its first shipment of material from the USAMRIID flask RMR 1029 on May 9, 2001.# A preparation of dry anthrax spores could have been grown at Battelle from that material any time thereafter, for some authorized (and probably classified) purpose such as vulnerability/response studies;# the spores could then have been provided to a distant client or other authorized person(s), who, following 9/11, decided to conduct the anthrax attacks. The same can be said of Dugway.

    The FBI has released a small amount of information on Battelle’s Ames-strain B. anthracis. Battelle received a sample of RMR 1029 in May, 2001 and used it, in part, to test aerosol equipment;# they used part of the second sample, received in June, to grow a new B. anthracis preparation, produced at Battelle on July 17, 2001.# In 2002 Battelle submitted 19 samples (in duplicate) to the FBI repository, including samples of all the Ames-strain preparations it is publicly known to possess.# It is interesting that a document that may have contained information related to Battelle’s repository samples was withheld by the FBI because of its security classification,# and that the FBI executed a search warrant at the Battelle laboratory in 2004 to make certain that all its Ames-strain stocks were represented in the repository.#

    As for USAMRIID, which the FBI has examined closely,# there is no material evidence that the attack spores were made there, and no direct evidence that an individual at USAMRIID made the anthrax, or mailed it. The FBI cannot point to specific equipment, facilities or materials that would have been needed at the site(s) where the spores were produced, or the time required for their production; in communicating with the NAS Committee, the FBI hedged on every aspect of the production process, indicating uncertainty while seeming to know more than they were willing to reveal.# If the motive is to protect some proprietary defense information, or something else, the result is nonetheless to raise questions about the adequacy of the investigation. The NAS Report recommends that a review should be conducted of all classified materials that are relevant to the investigation.#

    The FBI has turned its back on the most significant aspects of the attack anthrax preparations, discussed here in the next two sections. On the basis of these aspects–the Silicon and Tin levels and the B. subtiliscontaminant–as well as on purity, the powders in the first batch of letters (sent to the NY Post and Brokaw) are markedly different from the powders in the two Senate letters, mailed later. These differences strongly suggest that there were two different production runs, and that, instead of making the anthrax themselves, the perpetrator(s) probably took advantage of already-existing materials that had not been made for the purpose of terrorism.

    Source:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/10ONTNGMiPAcQ0Z3jo4S1Y7eI2IdNtf6-8xe1bq__tNI/edit?hl=en_US&authkey=CNSH1YML&pli=1

  13. DXer said

    When referring to the dry aerosol study that was conducted by the ________________________________ described it as a side project which occurred over a relatively short time period. ________

    ***

    The purpose of this project was to bridge the gap between wet aerosolization techniques as the model for studying a disease which in the real world would be caused by a dry aerosol ______ elaborated that if conducting aerosol vaccine challenges using a wet suspension of Ba spores did not accurately reflect a disease (e.g., inhalational anthrax) caused by a dry aerosol then the results of the model had limited value. The purpose of the bridging study was to demonstrate that a wet aerosol vaccine challenge was a suitable model. ___________________________ was directed by ____ to attempt to aerosolized _______________________________________ Work performed on this project was conducted in room ____ of building _____________________________ _____ designated area at the time.

    ________________ explained that during this project _____ inquired about possibility of using a dried biological agent. However, the administration at the USAMRIID denied the use of dried biological agents due to their dual use perception.

    ***

    ______________ conveyed that there were discussion ________ about attaining dried Bacillus anthracis (Ba). Discussions detailed that _______________________________ could be contracted to provide this material. There was also discussion as to whether or not the material acquired would need to be milled, and if so, from where would a mill be obtained. ___________ described that the use of dried biological agents was deemed out of the question by the administration due to dual use implications.”

    _________ has no recollection of discussions about dried agents between ______________________________________________ at USAMRIID. ______________________________________ spoke about the dry aerosol project, but to ___________ knowledge this was the only individual from _______________spoke to about this project. _____________ believes the project was shut down ______________________________ believes that ______________ …”

    Who was considered to contract the material? Was it Southern Research Institute? Is that what fits? Or was it Battelle Memorial Institute? Who was the other lab in Frederick authorized to handle virulent anthrax. (See Katherine Heerbrandt article about the state law).

  14. DXer said

    http://www.gazette.net/stories/03282011/frednew161459_32575.php

    Monday, March 28, 2011
    Location of biological agents is top secret in Maryland

    Confidentiality is critical to maintain security, state officials says

    by Katherine Heerbrandt | Staff Writer

    High-level containment laboratories and storage facilities that handle dangerous biological agents exist in Frederick County outside the secured gates of Fort Detrick, but state law mandates that the number and location of each remains confidential.

  15. DXer said

    In a January 28, 2003 email, Dr. Ivins complained about the lousy quality of the Dugway spores that had been sent pursuant to the new contract.

    He said that he didn’t trust Battelle to do the spores.

    He wrote that SRI was a possibility. (SRI is Southern Research Institute).

    • DXer said

      In a January 29, 2003 email, Dr. Ivins explained that the Dugway contract had called them to produce spores that were at least 90% spores, but the four preparations that they sent contained only about 10% refractile, unclumped spores.

  16. DXer said

    The DARPA-funded researchers at GMU had their work with virulent Ames done at Southern Research Institute, at the facility in Frederick, Maryland. It was announced that Southern Research Institute was a subcontractor on the DARPA award to Advanced Biosystems when the grant was made in 2000. Ike keeps talking about Battelle without apparently realizing that the leading Battelle consultants on biothreat assessment were at the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense.

    See, e.g., “Systemic cytokine response in murine anthrax” Serguei G. Popov 1 *, Taissia G. Popova 1 , Edith Grene 1 , Francis Klotz 1 , Jennifer Cardwell 1 , Chris Bradburne 1 , Yusuf Jama 1 , Matthew Maland 2 , Jay Wells 2 , Aysegul Nalca 2 , Tom Voss 2 , Charles Bailey 3 and Ken Alibek 1,3
    1 Advanced Biosystems Inc., Manassas, VA 20110, USA.
    2 Southern Research Institute, Frederick, MD, USA.
    3 George Mason University Center for Biodefense, Manassas, VA 20110, USA.

    The article notes that “All experiments with Ames strain were carried out in the BSL-3 facility of Southern Research Institute, Frederick, MD. This work was supported in part by grants from the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, and by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, USA.”

    “Authors thank … personnel of the Homeland Security Division of Southern Research Institute, Frederick, MD, for carrying out experiments with virulent B. anthracis strain ….”

    DARPA, for example, funded the research at the Children’s Hospital in Oakland, CA that received virulent Ames from Southern Research Institute when it expected that the ship of “dead” anthrax. (Dr. Ivins’ former colleague Patricia Fellows sent it). On June 10th, Childrens Hospital Oakland (California) announced that a shipment of “dead” anthrax sent to it by the Southern Research Institute (Frederick, Maryland location) in fact contained live bacteria. This error is reported to have resulted in the exposure of 5 to 7 laboratory workers to the bacteria. Believing that the anthrax was “killed”, the workers handled the live agent with inadequate personal and environmental biosafety precautions.
    The “Sunshine Project”, in reviewing the incident, provides a link to a 26 slide presentation by Dr. Thomas Voss, Director of SRI’s Homeland Security Division (established late 2001). This presentation was made on May 24th 2002 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham at a meeting in which university officials discussed biodefense research and weighed the possibility of entering a bid to construct a BSL-4 National Biocontainment Laboratory. They did not bid. The presentation provides substantial details about SRI programs and facilities, including its clients (DARPA, USAMRIID, USAMRMC, USAF, DTRA, NIAID, etc.), construction of new aerosol facilities, and desire to construct a BSL-4 facility.

    The Sunshine Project analysis as corroborating authority notes the January 2004 article published by SRI and Childrens’ Hospital authors in Immunology and Medical Microbiology (FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology 40 (2004) 231-237) which indicates that the particularly virulent Ames strain of anthrax was utilized in this research. This article also indicates that the research was partially funded by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

    Sunshine Project notes: “SRI advertises its involvement in classified research on biological weapons agents leading one to wonder if other mishaps have occured that have not been publicized due to secrecy.”

    Serge would refer to the Advanced Biosystems article published in 2004, submitted in 2003. But that doesn’t address the question when it was first obtained.

    To know when they first obtained it (and whey they obtained it) requires inquiry of Thomas Voss (who declines to tell me because he doesn’t know who I am) and Dr. Franz (who did not respond to my inquiry although he usually is very responsive).
    (He was the relevant VP at the time).

    When DARPA announced the $3 million grant to Advanced Biosystems in 2000, the Advanced Biosystems press release noted that Southern Research Institute was the contractor.

    Presentation by Dr. Thomas Voss, 24 May 2002, Birmingham, AL (2.5 mb, PDF format)
    http://www.sunshine-project.org/biodefense/voss.pdf

    PR Newswire
    May 4, 2000, Thursday
    HADRON Subsidiary Awarded $3.3 Million Biodefense Contract by DARPA

    DATELINE: ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 4

    Hadron, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: HDRN) today announced that one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries has been awarded a $3.3 million, one-year contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

    Hadron’s subsidiaries, Avenue Technologies, Inc. and Advanced Biosystems, Inc., will perform the biodefense research programs under this contract. The scientific and medical research will consist of several related programs regarding the development of rapid-acting broad-spectrum protection against biological threat agents. Southern Research Institute, a well known research organization … is a subcontractor on this program.

    “We are pleased to be working with DARPA to provide proof of concept of certain innovative medical concepts regarding protection against biological threat agents,” said Dr. Ken Alibek, Hadron’s Chief Scientist and President of Advanced Biosystems. “There are many novel approaches to biological weapons defense that I believe may provide superior protection than those methods currently in use,” Dr. Alibek continued. “We hope this program is just the beginning of new, innovative research, funded by government agencies and the private sector, to develop new prophylactic means and treatments for a broad spectrum of infectious diseases,” he concluded.

  17. DXer said

    If someone knows of a palindrome for Corona Plasma Discharge, this will be ready to submit to Clutch. CD? DC?

    Ed Ode:
    Rats Live On No Evil Star

    (A palindrome reads the same forwards and backwards)

    Ma handed Edna ham
    Ma is as selfless as I am

    Kayak salad, Alaska yak.
    Campus Motto: Bottoms up, Mac

    Wow! Sis! Wow!
    Wonton on salad? Alas, no, not now!

    “Desserts, sis?” (Sensuousness is stressed).
    Desserts I desire not, so long no lost one rise distressed.

    “Do nine men interpret?” Nine men, I nod.
    Doc, note I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.

    May a moody baby doom a yam?
    Marge let a moody baby doom a telegram.

    Oh who was it I saw, oh who?
    Oozy rat in a sanitary zoo?

    Was it a car or a cat I saw?
    War! I saw ‘Nam — man was I raw.

    We panic in a pew.
    We’ll let Mom tell Lew.

    ‘Tis in a DeSoto sedan I sit.
    To Idi Amin I am an idiot.

    Race fast, safe car.
    Rats live on no evil star.

    Toot! Toot!
    Too hot to hoot.

    Stop, Syrian! I start at rats in airy spots.
    Stop! Murder us not, tonsured rumpots.

    Trap a rat! Stare, piper, at star apart!
    Trade ye no mere moneyed art.

    If I had a hi-fi!? If I had a hi-fi!?
    I, madam, I made radio. So I dared! Am I mad? Am I?

    Ah! A mop, a man, a map: Omaha!
    Was it felt? I had a hit left, I saw.

    Solo gigolos.
    So many dynamos.

    Oh, no! Don Ho.
    Ogre, flog a golfer. Go!

    Ten animals I slam in a net.
    Pets, Ed, I sidestep.

    Yo Bob, mug a gumbo boy!
    Young Sten nets gnu! Oy!

    Nurse, save rare vases, run!
    Now, sir, a war is won.

    Mad? Am I, madam?
    Madam, in Eden, I’m Adam!

    Reviled did I live, said I, as evil did I deliver.
    Revered now I live on. O did I no evil, I wonder ever?

    Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas.
    Are we not drawn onwards, we few, drawn on to new era?

  18. DXer said

    There are various emails that USAMRIID uploaded today about SRI. One is entirely redacted under (b)(2) and (b)(6). One involves a pig stat study and the question who was going to pay for the publication of the study they had done. One involves his colleague PF going to work there, and the SRI VP putting in a good word. Another involves Bruce’s reaction “Very interesting” to the suggestion that a Russian defector was of interest etc.

  19. DXer said

    The Ames, thought to be dead but actually live, sent to the DARPA researchers in the Children’s Hospital at Oakland, was sent by Dr. Ivins’ former close colleague Pat, whom he assisted on the animal challenge experiments using Ames from Flask 1029. In the 2700 pages released by the DOJ, she is Former Colleague 2. She is the “PAT” of the fanciful code ventured in the Investigative Summary — that even the one expert interviewed says doesn’t pass the giggle test.

    http://iai.asm.org/cgi/content/full/72/9/5460?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=anthracis&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=780&sortspec=date&resourcetype=HWFIG

    “We thank Patricia F. Fellows, Southern Research Institute, Frederick, Md., for provision of B. anthracis.”

    • DXer said

      According to the email Bruce sent Patricia Fellows, he had heard the closest dry powder to the attack anthrax was a dry powder John Ezzell had made. See FoxNews report and Anonymous Scientist’s enlargement of redacted text. I spoke to Dr. Ezzell in July 2009. His friend was the SRI VP in 2001 and paved the way for the call by explaining my view that Ayman Zawahiri just outsmarted US biodefense and succeeded in using the weapons of his enemy (as commanded by the hadiths). Dr. Ezzell told me he was under a gag order and that his phone was likely wiretapped. I told him “pshawww…” Dr. Ezzell confirmed to me that he had made the dry powder at the request of DARPA and given to John Hopkins.

      Now, if you will, turn to the document that shows Dr. Ivins used virulent Ames from Flask 1029 for a DARPA project in August 2000 and it was examined at John Hopkins. (I’ll link the document below). Was this made into a dry powder before being examined? The DARPA-funded, former Zawahiri associate working alongside Bruce Ivins with virulent Ames reportedly tested his decontamination agent at John Hopkins which is why I am curious. (I don’t know the dates).

      At the time, Dr. Ezzell worked, btw, for FBI’s hazardous materials group, Dr. Ezzell was head of the Special Pathogens testing lab. The FBI would bring him hoax letters and he would test them. The FBI agents were impressed he drove a Harley motorcycle. Dr. Ezzell says that testing showed that the irradiation had been successful. (It would have been gamma radiation). (We saw in the incident involving the Ames Patricia Fellows sent to Oakland Children’s Hospital that sometimes Ames thought to be dead is actually live). So if the FBI find it awkward to talk about, it might be because it was the FBI’s scientist who made the closest product. But with the right encouragement, Dr. Ezzell is by no means unduly defensive (because he knows he was just doing what he was asked as part of the legitimate requirements of his job). The FBI scientists should just get over their awkwardness in addressing it if they are going to be persuasive in laying the crime off on Dr. Ivins. The public will want to know (1) why DARPA asked for it, (2) what method generally was used (and would that explain the Silicon Signature), (3) who had access or might have used a similar method. etc. One 1996 study has Dr. Ezzell providing gamma irradiated Ames in a soil suspension to someone at Edgewood — in a Soil 1 and Soil 2 taken from the Aberdeen grounds. Did the subtilis match subtilis at APG? Do some soil samples have tin at APG and some not?

      My curiosity there stems from the fact that the DARPA-funded former Zawahiri associate working alongside Bruce Ivins with virulent Ames also tested his decontamination agent at Edgewood in 2001 reportedly. See 2002 nanoemulsions report. What were the location of the soil samples used for the soil suspension by Dr. Ezzell in 1996. Dr. Ezzell is a highly regarded microbiologist and deservedly so. He did nothing improper — he was asked to make the product by DARPA. Given that it was gamma irradiated, he had not seen the “real thing”, he reports, until the attack anthrax. He mentioned that the DARPA project was connected to a University but this is best left to an in-person interview by a professional journalist like Joby or Scott.

      We need to press on and get at the facts notwithstanding the fact that some FBI scientists were in the same hazardous materials unit when the dry powder was made and notwithstanding the fact that the former collection scientist for American Type Culture Collection (at GMU) which co-sponsored Ali Al-Timimi’s program, is leading the FBI’s science effort (along with the fellow who headed the Navy’s biodefense effort). These scientists need to be sensitive to the issue of conflict of interest and be sure to recuse themselves from any issue that implicates such a conflict. Dr. Ezzell could explain to all those focused on silica and the process used what equipment he used. In the National Geo video Dr. Michael seems not to appreciate that the word “weaponize” has no usefulness — the key is the probativeness of the Silicon Signature. If Dr. Bannan has continued to be involved in the withholding of the AFIP data — or for that matter any FBI scientist given that it was their anthrax expert who made the dry powdered anthrax for DARPA — that would be very wrong.

      Is Pat Fellows the one who prepared the second round of slants (see emails posted) after Dr. Ezzell (apparently) threw out Dr. Ivins’ first submission (which reportedly used a different protocol)?

      • DXer said

        Proving my point that Dr. Ezzell is very forthright on these issues, I just noticed that JE has previously addressed these points. I thank him for setting me right and clarifying any and all details. I hadn’t noticed the post on Dr. Nass’ blog because it came some week later and people tend to only follow the current thread – but I see it now upon googling. Again, best regards and a profound thank you to all those help us get the facts right. (And I credit him on all points; these are finer points I did not have the presence of mind to ask him about.) One question I have would be to confirm the date — was it in August 2000 when Dr. Ivins refers to anthrax withdrawn from Flask 1029 being for the purpose of mass spectrometry?

        “John Ezzell said…

        The anthrax spores that my lab prepared for DARPA were dead spores. At no time have I ever prepared live virulent dried spores. Secondly.. the spores I prepared were snow white, ultra pure and were light and “fluffy” where as the spores in the Daschle and Leahy letters were tan, not ultra pure and were different in their physical characteristics. The spores prepared for DARPA were prepared in accordance with all regulations and were to used to test mass spectrometer detectors for biological threat agents. Neither I nor DARPA did anything wrong or illegal in this matter.
        John Ezzell
        If anyone has futher questions they may contact me at ezzella55@aol.com or call me at 301-432-6448

        September 26, 2009 2:38 PM

        • DXer said

          Another question that occurs to me: 1) Where were they made? The Special Pathogens lab at USAMRIID? SRI in Frederick? (which had DARPA as a client). 2) In what characteristics did they differ? 3) Did they have a Silicon Signature? 4) What equipment was used? Or if that question is too intrusive, did Dr. Ivins have that equipment available to him? We need a top journalist to call and ask these follow-ups while passing on how high regards and best wishes to JE.

        • DXer said

          I contacted the people at John Hopkins who worked with DARPA many months ago but got no response.

        • DXer said

          Did they differ in that the attack anthrax had a corona plasma discharge applied? Had a charge been imparted?

        • DXer said

          Dr.JE, of course, led the FBI’s effort in examining the opening of the Leahy letter.

          The Times (London)
          November 30, 2001, Friday
          Robot to open letter that could kill 100,000

          SCIENTISTS embarked yesterday on an operation to open a letter that is laced with enough anthrax to kill 100,000 people. It represents the FBI’s last real hope of catching the bioterrorist who has traumatised the nation.
          So crucial and delicate is the operation that the scientists at an army laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland, have spent two weeks meticulously preparing and rehearsing what to do. They have a small robot to assist them.

          The letter to Senator Patrick Leahy was sent from Trenton, New Jersey, on October 9 by the same person who sent contaminated letters to Tom Daschle, the Senate leader, Tom Brokaw, the NBC newscaster, and the New York Post .
          Unlike the other letters, this one was not opened. It was placed in one of 630 sealed plastic bags of congressional mail following the discovery of the Daschle letter on October 15. It was not detected by the FBI until November 16; by that time it had contaminated more than 50 other bags. It was leaking spores “like a sieve”, said one scientist.

          The three previous letters yielded few clues. The Daschle and NBC letters had been opened and lost many of their spores. The Post letter had been spoilt by dampness. But the Leahy letter is pristine and offers the FBI a chance not only to study the genetic make-up of the anthrax but to search for clues such as fibres,hairs, fingerprints and samples of human DNA.

          “The Leahy letter is the most intact piece of evidence we have,” said an FBI spokeswoman. “It may be the only complete opportunity we have to study this stuff in detail.” A plume of spores escaped from the envelope when it was put in an evidence bag. Since then the letter has been sealed in plastic bags and locked in a low-humidity refrigerator on the heavily protected base while US army scientists and FBI have worked out how to open it.

          “Even anthrax experts have no experience doing this,” said one investigator. “We’re writing the book on this one as we go along.”

          Just how difficult the operation would be had become apparent when the scientists tried to examine the Daschle letter on October 15. The potentially deadly spores, each less than one twentieth the diameter of a human hair, kept leaping off the glass microscope slide and wafting way. Some spores had to be transferred to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington where an X-ray spectroscope detected tiny particles of silica that made the anthrax lighter and so much more dangerous. Soon the scientists ran out of spores altogether.

          The new operation is taking place in a highly secure, sealed laboratory. John Ezzell, the army’s leading anthrax expert, is in charge. He has been vaccinated against anthrax so many times that he could wear a surgical mask rather than a complete protective suit. Only two or three other people, including an FBI forensic scientist, will be in the room with him, all wearing protective clothing. Other agents will watch through windows.

          Senator Leahy said last Sunday that the letter was so lethal it could have killed 100,000 people had it been opened. Without the letter, the FBI stands little chance of tracking down the bioterrorist who has killed up to five people.

        • So Ivins didn’t have the skills to open the envelope according to the FBI but he did have the skills to create it and close it.

        • DXer said

          The entry on the expanded Flask 1029 record for August 26, 2000 states:

          “For DARPA mass spec project with JHU-APL. See FD-302, sub-302, #3605 dated 4/15/2003”

          So is it correct that the dried powder Dr. Ezzell made using dead spores originated from Flask 1029?

        • DXer said

          40 ml was withdrawn in August 2000 for “DARPA mass spec project with JHU-APL”

          https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/from-dxer-why-has-the-doj-failed-to-provide-critical-cited-references-under-foia/

          Where were they gamma irradiated?

        • Just as a quibble. You can’t prepare dead spores without first preparing live spores and then killing them. If you kill a vegetative cell it won’t form a spore.

          Those who send in FOIA might ask for “regular” photos of the spores from the letters and others discussed. By regular is meant not microscopic. We should be able to see what color the spores were ourselves and whether mixed in with brown etc.

          Why do some spores come out white, some tan, and some brown? How does one get all pure white spores?

          Once spores are made and they are of mixed colors together, can they be separated? What makes them different colors?

        • DXer said

          Pictures have been provided in an NAS presentation.

        • Do you have the link?

        • DXer said

          I’m preparing a graphic that uses the NAS slides containing the pictures.

        • DXer said

          Dr. Jackman, before she went to JH-APL in 2000, where she continued the DARPA-funded mass spectrometry research, had been doing the work at USAMRIID with JE. Were dry powders also used in the mass spectrometry/ aerosolization experiments done at USAMRIID (referenced in the 1999 John Hopkins article I linked earlier)?

          http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ac9802372

          Joany Jackman and John Ezzell
          MCMR-UID-P, USAMRIID, 1425 Porter Street, Frederick, Maryland 21702

          And so while I posit infiltration of the DARPA program — with DARPA work including making dry powders in small quantities at USAMRIID for legitimate biodefense purposes — unfortunately one of the DARPA researchers making the dry powder was the FBI’s anthrax expert. For half a decade had served in the same hazardous materials unit as FBI scientists leading the FBI investigation. (And that was even before the collection scientist for ATCC that sponsored the program for Ali Al-Timimi came to lead the effort.) I’ve claimed that the scientist coordinating with the 911 imam and Bin Laden’s sheik shared a suite at the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense and that a former Zawahiri associate headed a different DARPA project involving nanoemulsions. The other DARPA program headed by the former Zawahiri associate involved testing alongside Bruce Ivins using virulent Ames, Dugway aerosol tests, and even testing at Edgewood and John Hopkins.

          Ayman Zawahiri must be laughing his balls off. Although some of the Salafist planners think it is commanded by the hadiths to use the weapons of your enemy, it proved a damned good strategy for tactical reasons.

          His enemy then just devoured itself and all the bad PR that might have followed using such a weapon was turned against his enemy. Meanwhile, billions flowed into a revolving-door, pork-fueled sinkhole that merely increased the risk of infiltration through proliferation.

          Nafeez Ahmed’s books seem worth reading — his theme is that interpenetration has made it difficult to get at the truth because of the embarrassment that USG faces over having allowed the infiltration.

          Where are the senior FBI or DOJ officials who are going to see that the country’s national security requires that things be set right?

    • DXer said

      By email dated August 29, 2004, Dr. Ivins wrote in a message titled “Spore shipments”

      “WHAT HAPPENED?? How long was teh delay and do we have temp tracking/recording? The last thing we need now is any question about the viability/virulence of these spores. Surely everyone is aware of recent experience by other Frederick institutions regarding shipment of anthrax spores. I am assuming and hope I am correct, there is a documented chain of custody from the RIID suite to inventory and storage at Battelle.”

  20. DXer said

    50,000 Unstoppable Watts –

    Here is some musical accompaniment from our correspondent in Frederick while Tom V decides whether to answer the question. The musician Clutch likes the beer stores in Frederick. (I haven’t heard from my friend the former SRI VP for Homeland Security but he travels a lot and has a lot of responsibility and things to do when not travelling).

    Speaking of fiction, in the 302 interview statements accompanying the Amerithrax Investigative Summary, was it Ivins who mentions that he first suggested the idea of using trailers off property in a 302 interview statement?

    “Anthrax, ham radio, and liquor”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: