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

* McClatchy should nominate Greg Gordon’s Amerithrax -subtilis piece for a Pulitzer

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 5, 2011

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http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/04/20/112520/was-fbi-too-quick-to-judge-anthrax.html

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14 Responses to “* McClatchy should nominate Greg Gordon’s Amerithrax -subtilis piece for a Pulitzer”

  1. DXer said

    As a leading researcher in both virulent Ames and the Bacillus subtilis strain — and given his role in advising the Amerithrax investigation — what did Dr. Baillie think of the Task Force’s failure to swab other suspect labs for subtilis? Did Professor Baillie advise on the issue?

    Did Professor Baillie know Rauf Ahmad from the 1999 and 2000 conferences? What lab did Rauf Ahmad visit in 1999 on the second visit — the one that had the thousands of pathogens? Was it Porton Down?

    In 2000, who did the MI5 find Rauf Ahmad buying samples from?

    How did the FBI resolve potential conflicts of interest within its scientific investigation? The lab that supplied the perpetrator with virulent Ames, if illegal or negligent, faced a potential $1 billion in civil liability for the clean-up costs alone. A private lab whose managerial agent intentionally supplied the Ames without authorization, might even face billions more in punitive damages.

    By way of example, with Jason B. having been the bacteriology collections scientist at ATCC (at GMU), did he participate in the decision-making as it relates to decision relating to ATCC? Or was there “a Chinese wall.” Similarly, what about any decision not to swab Porton Down labs? Building 1412? Were scientists excluded from decision-making that might implicate the millions, even billions, in civil liability?

    See, e.g.,

    Baillie, L.W.J., Johnson, M., Manchee, R.J. (1994) Evaluation of Bacillus subtilis strain IS53 for the production of Bacillus anthracis protective antigen. Letters in Applied Microbiology 19, 225–227.
    Direct Link:

    Baillie, L.W.J., Moore, P., Manchee, R.J. (1996) Development of a Bacillus subtilis based system for the expression of the protective antigen of Bacillus anthracis. Proceedings of the International Workshop on Anthrax, 19–21 September, 1995, Winchester, UK. Salisbury Medical Bulletin 87, 133–135.

    Baillie, L.W.J., Moir, A., Manchee, R.J. (1998) The expression of the protective antigen of Bacillus anthracis in Bacillus subtilis. Journal of Applied Microbiology84, 741–746.

    Baillie, LWJ et al., (1998) A heat‐inducible Bacillus subtilis bacteriophage Φ105 expression system for the production of the protective antigen of Bacillus anthracis, FEMS microbiology letters, 1998

    JE Thwaite, LWJ Baillie, NM Carter… (2002) Optimization of the cell wall microenvironment allows increased production of recombinantBacillus anthracis protective antigen from B. subtilis – Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2002

  2. DXer said

    Former WMD head Majidi now for the first time admits that the FBI did not test the suspect labs for subtilis.

    Once there was no match Dr. Ivins lab, the FBI’s work was done because a quarter century earlier he had stolen a book from a sorority, right?

    $100 million only goes so far.

    Some money, after all, in June 2008 was needed to test the semen stains on panties, of the guy who had attempted suicide that Spring. Right? Screw potentially dispositive testing of a genetically distinctive contaminant in the mailed anthrax.

  3. DXer said

    In Mirage Man, in an Appendix after the Epilogue, David Willman writes:

    “How did Bacillus subtilis, a contaminant that was not present in the parent flask of RMR-1029, get into the attack anthrax?”

    He answers: “A speck of dust or a simple sneeze could have introduced it.” (p. 348)

  4. DXer said

    FS: David Willman, The Mirage Man: Bruce Ivins, the Anthrax Attacks, and America’s Rush to War.

    I am authorized to sell copies at cost plus actual shipping (you can specify the manner of shipping). While supplies last.

    http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/non-fiction/david-willman/mirage-man/#review

    “Much of the narrative reads like a brief for the prosecution, but in the process of trying to get to the bottom of the anthrax attacks, Willman makes clear that many involved in the investigation acted incompetently, maliciously or irresponsibly, including cocksure but ignorant members of the national media and FBI officials, who seem to have settled on the guilt of another obscure scientist, thus doing harm to the investigation by limiting its purview.”

    • DXer said

      The documentary evidence to be uploaded over the course of the next week shows that the Ivins Theory is just Hatfill redux.

  5. DXer said

    Dr. Ivins’ researched subtilis with the fellow who first received the Ames and then went to work for the CIA:

    Immunization against Anthrax with Aromatic-Dependent (Aro- ) Mutants of
    Bacillus anthracis and with Recombinant Strains of Bacillus subtilis
    Producing Anthrax Protective Antigen

    Bruce E Ivins; Susan L Welkos; Gregory B
    Knudson; Stephen F Little
    1989 English Internet Resource 35 p. Ft. Belvoir
    Defense Technical Information Center

    The safety and efficacy of five prototype, live
    anthrax vaccines were studied in Hartly guinea pigs and CBA/J and A/J
    mice. Two of the strains, Bacillus anthracis FD111 and FD112, are
    Aro-mutants derived by transposon mutagenesis UM23-1. B. subtilis
    strains PA1 and PA2 contain a recombinant plasmid, pPA101 or pPA102
    respectively, that carriers the gene from B….

    Access: http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA216171
    Title: Immunization against Anthrax with
    Aromatic-Dependent (Aro- ) Mutants of Bacillus anthracis and with
    Recombinant Strains of Bacillus subtilis Producing Anthrax Protective
    Antigen
    Author(s): Ivins, Bruce E.
    Welkos, Susan L.
    Knudson, Gregory B.
    Little, Stephen F.
    Corp Author(s): ARMY MEDICAL RESEARCH INST OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES
    FORT DETRICK MD.
    Publication: Ft. Belvoir Defense Technical Information Center
    Year: 1989
    Description: 35 p.
    Language: English
    Abstract: The safety and efficacy of five prototype, live
    anthrax vaccines were studied in Hartly guinea pigs and CBA/J and A/J
    mice. Two of the strains, Bacillus anthracis FD111 and FD112, are
    Aro-mutants derived by transposon mutagenesis UM23-1. B. subtilis
    strains PA1 and PA2 contain a recombinant plasmid, pPA101 or pPA102
    respectively, that carriers the gene from B. anthracis encoding
    protective antigen (PA). B. subtilis DB-104 transformed with pPA101.
    All five strains were less virulent in guinea pigs and A/J and CBA/J
    mice than the toxinogenic nonencapsulated B. anthracis veterinary
    vaccine Sterne strain. A/J and CBA/J inbred mice represent mouse
    strains that are innately susceptible and resistant, respectively, to
    the Sterne strain. These differences in susceptibility are due to
    differences in ability to produce complement component 5. In guinea
    pigs immunization with PA1 or PA2 vegetative cells or PA7 spores
    protected 95% or greater from an intramuscular spore challenge of the
    virulent, ‘vaccine-resistant’ B. anthracis Ames strain. Strain PA2
    vegetative cells and strain PA7 spores were as effective as the Sterne
    strain in Sterne-resistant CBA/J mice. Immunization with FD111 or FS112
    vegetative cells fully protected guinea pigs from challenge.
    Immunization with FD111 cells protected up to 100% of CBA/J mice and up
    to 70% of A/J mice Keywords: DNA; Clones.
    Access: http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA216171

    • DXer said

      As published:

      Infect Immun. 1990 February; 58(2): 303-308

      Immunization against anthrax with aromatic compound-dependent (Aro-) mutants of Bacillus anthracis and with recombinant strains of Bacillus subtilis that produce anthrax protective antigen.
      B E Ivins, S L Welkos, G B Knudson and S F Little
      Division of Bacteriology, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland 21701-5011.

      ABSTRACT

      The safety and efficacy of five prototype, live anthrax vaccines were studied in Hartley guinea pigs and CBA/J and A/J mice. Two of the strains, Bacillus anthracis FD111 and FD112, are Aro- mutants derived by Tn916 mutagenesis of B. anthracis UM23-1. Bacillus subtilis PA1 and PA2 contain a recombinant plasmid, pPA101 or pPA102, respectively, that carries the gene from B. anthracis encoding synthesis of protective antigen (PA). The final strain, B. subtilis PA7, was isolated in this study from B. subtilis DB104 transformed with pPA101. All five strains were less virulent in guinea pigs and A/J and CBA/J mice than the toxinogenic, nonencapsulated B. anthracis veterinary vaccine Sterne strain. A/J and CBA/J inbred mice represent strains that are innately susceptible and resistant, respectively, to the Sterne strain. These differences in susceptibility are due to differences in ability to produce complement component 5. In guinea pigs, immunization with PA1 or PA2 vegetative cells or PA7 spores protected greater than or equal to 95% from an intramuscular spore challenge with the virulent, “vaccine-resistant” B. anthracis Ames strain. Strain PA2 vegetative cells and strain PA7 spores were as effective as the Sterne strain in Sterne-resistant CBA/J mice, protecting 70% of the mice from Ames strain spore challenge. Immunization with FD111 or FD112 vegetative cells fully protected guinea pigs from challenge. Immunization with FD111 cells protected up to 100% of CBA/J mice and up to 70% of A/J mice.

      Infect Immun. 1990 February; 58(2): 303-308

  6. DXer said

    The former Zawahiri associate supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins published DARPA-funded research on subtilis that was submitted on August 2001. Was testing done of the lab where that was done?

    A rapid staining technique for the detection of the initiation
    of germination of bacterial spores

    T. Hamouda1, A.Y. Shih1 and J.R. Baker, Jr

    Division of Allergy, Department of Medicine, and Center for Biological Nanotechnology, University of Michigan
    Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA 1Current affiliation: NanoBio Corporation, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

    2001/258: received 30 August 2001, revised 10 October 2001 and accepted 17 October 2001

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:AwDKKuM6hOUJ:nano.med.umich.edu/publications/HamoudaLettAppMicrobiol2002.pdf+NanoBio+subtilis+Hamouda&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESitF149jmQaR6QZ0dSNtJHKS_2W01JtvK7Uy2ZpEocZwB1FohJQbkR4H8EO060k1Kat01ricsoe8xwBMpp7GYFmfvunObeNvGsmJqI3Zj-zqyByZr5-54TGV-RFGQrOy5EQcEVD&sig=AHIEtbSu02oIjHX9h_UxgSMuDSKTWY20SQ

    • DXer said

      I contacted the authors about this some years ago. TH did not respond. AS did not respond. JB confirmed their work with subtilis. He confirmed that the work with virulent Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins was done at USAMRIID.

      • DXer said

        Last year, when I called Michael Hayes, who worked with TH alongside Bruce Ivins and Patricia Fellows and Mara Linscott, he said “You don’t want to know.”

        Did Pat and Bruce socialize with TH when they would visit Lansing?

  7. DXer said

    FBI lab reports on anthrax attacks suggest another miscue

    By Greg Gordon | McClatchy Newspapers

    Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/05/19/114467/fbi-lab-reports-on-anthrax-attacks.html#ixzz1MpvbxjeN

    • DXer said

      This a good summary of the issue. This Greg Gordon must be hard worker to cover such a wide range of issues with such aplomb.

      I obtained an interview with the quoted PhD expert who summarized the Amerithrax investigation in this exclusive taped interview:

      [audio src="http://jackytappet.tripod.com/scots/chase.mp3" /]

  8. Old Atlantic said

    This video raises an important issue, is subtilis pronounced tile or till in the middle? Which do biologists do? How would a Latin teacher say it? We can only hope they are different. This is ripe for schism. Tilers v tillers. The last frontier of ignorance.

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