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

* International anthrax expert Dr. Hugh Martin-Jones challenges the government to test his team’s hypothesis in a lab instead of with “lawyer talk” … “I hope [the findings] will add to the pressure that the investigation be actively reopened.”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 12, 2011

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Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones

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 Henry Rome writes in The Daily Princetonian (10/12/11) …

  • International anthrax expert Martin Hugh-Jones, molecular biologist Barbara Hatch Rosenberg and chemist Stuart Jacobsen assert …

the Army microbiologist accused of mailing anthrax-laden letters

did not, in fact, have the technical skill needed to manufacture the spores.

  • In response to a statement issued by Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd dismissing the team’s claims, Dr. Hugh-Jones said in an email to The Daily Princetonian that he challenged the government to test his team’s hypothesis in a lab in order to take the discussion “out of the realm of lawyer talk of you said/we say nonsense.”
  • “The DOJ forgets that we are scientists and all ‘speculation’ are hypotheses which are subject to testing to see if they have any basis in hard fact,” he said. “I hope [the findings] will add to the pressure that the investigation be actively reopened.”
  • The team claims that the particles of tin and silicone found in the anthrax spores are not random contaminants. Instead, they argue, the particles are indicators of the complex coating used in the mass production of pharmaceutical products.
  • These recent findings come less than a year after the National Academy of Sciences issued a review that criticized the FBI’s scientific analysis of the anthrax spores.
  • New Jersey Rep. Rush Holt has also condemned the FBI’s handling of the investigation … Holt has called for a commission, styled after the 9/11 commission, to investigate the mailings.

read the entire article at … http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2011/10/12/29020/

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7 Responses to “* International anthrax expert Dr. Hugh Martin-Jones challenges the government to test his team’s hypothesis in a lab instead of with “lawyer talk” … “I hope [the findings] will add to the pressure that the investigation be actively reopened.””

  1. DXer said

    Before it was closed, Martin Hugh-Jones was perhaps the most oft-quoted anthrax scientist. He urges that the case be reopened also.

  2. DXer said

    The new head of the FBI office on the murder of a federal prosecutor.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/29/us-usa-security-fbi-idUSBRE87S0U520120829
    in 2004 she took on the most controversial case of her career — leading the FBI investigation into the puzzling death of Baltimore federal prosecutor Jonathan Luna.

    Luna disappeared in December 2003 and was later found dead in a shallow creek bed near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with 36 stab wounds. The official cause of death was drowning. Local investigators ruled the death a homicide, and multiple probes were launched.

    The FBI has since closed the case, without determination, Brooks said, though a Pennsylvania State Police investigation remains open, according to a spokeswoman. No arrests have ever been made.

    “There’s no evidence to show that he met his death at the hands of any other individual,” Brooks said. “Or that he had seen or been with any other individual that night. You have naysayers and you have a divergence of (law enforcement) opinion,” she said. “But again, we turned over every rock. We are confident that there is nothing hanging out there to find.”

    Comment: “There’s no evidence to show that he met his death at the hands of any other individual,” Brooks said.

    Huh? I’m not familiar with the case beyond the Wikipedia passage quoted below. But aren’t the stab wounds, without more, evidence that he met his death at the hands of another individual?

    In Amerithrax, the GAO should identify the FBI and DOJ officials that think that just because a mystery is unsolved it should be “closed.” For one, upon the closing of the case, any federal reward is taken off the table, isn’t it? That removes any incentive to avoid to come forward with evidence as to the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. Or the Luna murder (in the event that upon the closing of the case the federal reward was withdrawn).

    I just saw “The Guard.” Likable movie. It had waterproof bags hiding guns in the marshes of Ireland, drug trafficking, corrupt law enforcement officials taking pay-offs — and a guy who against his nature was going to do the right thing.

    If someone says a former associate A&P Luna committed suicide by stabbing himself 36 times — and I worked at A&P for years — they should leave the case open absent better evidence of suicide before closing the case. $25k in credit card dead of a lawyer married to a doctor, for example, is not evidence supporting a suicide. I recommend the case be reopened. Just because the FBI couldn’t solve it, with the federal reward back on the table, maybe someone else can.

    From Wikipedia:

    Jonathan P. Luna (October 21, 1965–December 4, 2003) was a Baltimore-based Assistant United States Attorney who was stabbed 36 times with his ownpenknife and found drowned in a creek in Pennsylvania.
    Contents [hide]

    • 1 Personal background
    • 2 The night he died: December 3–4, 2003
    • 3 Suicide theory
    • 4 Homicide theory
    • 5 Inquest
    • 6 References
    [edit]Personal background

    Luna grew up in the projects in the South Bronx near Yankee Stadium. He was of African-American and Filipino ancestry. He was a graduate of Fordham University and the law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He worked at Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC in 1993–1994 and the Federal Trade Commission in 1994–1997. He worked as a prosecutor in Brooklyn before moving to Baltimore. He was married to an obstetrician and had two children. He was 38 years old when he died.
    [edit]The night he died: December 3–4, 2003

    • 11:38 pm: Luna left the Baltimore courthouse and went northeast on I-95. He used his E-ZPass on I-95 into Delaware but not on the New Jersey andPennsylvania Turnpikes. After three toll interchanges, he switched to buying toll tickets.
    • 12:57 am: $200 was withdrawn from Luna’s bank account from the ATM at the JFK Plaza service center near Newark, Delaware.
    • 02:47 am: he crossed the Delaware toll bridge to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
    • 03:20 am: his debit card bought gas at the Sunoco King of Prussia service plaza.
    • 04:04 am: his car exited the turnpike at the Reading-Lancaster interchange. The toll ticket had a spot of his blood on it suggesting that he was already injured. His car was parked at the back of the Sensenig & Weaver Well Drilling company at 1439 Dry Tavern Road, Denver, Pennsylvania (Brecknock Township) before it was later driven into the creek.
    • 05:00 am: the first employee of Sensenig & Weaver arrived.
    • 05:30 am: the car was noticed, with its lights off and the front end into the stream. Blood was smeared over the driver’s door and the front left of the car. Luna was face down in the stream under the car engine. He was wearing a suit and a black overcoat with his court ID around his neck. A pool of blood was found on the rear seat floor. Although stabbed 36 times with his own penknife around the chest and neck plus a head injury, the death was due to drowning.
    No suspects or motive for murder was determined. The federal authorities (FBI) lean towards calling it a suicide but the local Lancaster County authorities, including two successive coroners, ruled it a homicide. Additional evidence collected during the investigation has captured a second set of blood and a partial print, as well as some grainy footage from near the time of the gas station purchase made with Luna’s credit card at the Sunoco service plaza [1]. The investigation remains ongoing. There is an unclaimed federal reward of $100,000 for information leading to a conviction.
    [edit]Suicide theory

    It was initially reported that Luna did not have the expected substantial defense wounds on his hands and that many of the wounds are shallow which are called “hesitation” wounds in a suicide victim. These claims were rebuffed by the coroners’ office, which stated that his hands had been “shredded” and that he experienced significant slashing to the throat and scrotum.[2] Some suggested motives for suicide were that Luna was to take a polygraph test concerning $36,000 which disappeared from a bank robbery case that he had prosecuted. Luna had a charge card which his wife, Angela, did not know about.[3] His name was on an Internet dating site and he had a $25,000 credit card debt.[3] There is also an accidental suicide theory that Luna was fabricating a kidnapping and attack and that he went too far.
    [edit]Homicide theory

    The Lancaster County coroner’s office, who performed the autopsy, has stated in unambiguous terms that they rule Luna’s death as a homicide due to the nature and type of the wounds [4]. Luna left his glasses, which he needed to drive, and his cell phone on his desk. He had called defense attorneys earlier in the night saying he would fax over documents that night but they never arrived. The pool of blood in the back seat would suggest Luna was in back and someone else was driving.
    [edit]Inquest

    In early February 2007, a private investigator and an attorney, both hired by Luna’s family, filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in order to force the Lancaster County coroner to conduct an inquest into Luna’s death, after an earlier request was declined.[5][6]
    [edit]References

    • ^ http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bal-probe0109,0,5329212.story
    • ^ http://www.yardbird.com/luna_stabbed_in_back_scrotum_hands_cut.htm
    • ^ a b Hewitt, Bill (22 December 2003). “Who Killed Jonathan Luna?”. People Magazine 60. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
    • ^ http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bal-md.luna30nov30,0,2938855.story
    • ^ “Attorney, PI ask for inquest in Md. prosecutor’s death”. The Examiner. 2007-02-26[dead link]
    • ^ “Private Investigator Wants Jonathan Luna Case Reopened”. WBAL Radio. 2007-02-26. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-02-26.

  3. anonymous said

    All of the analysis of the anthrax powders needs to be repeated – this time without secrecy constraints.

    The problem with the way the FBI conducted the anthrax science investigation was the complete compartmentalization. For example, the labs at Sandia were given blind samples – they didn’t know which samples were the attack powders. They also weren’t told the results of the FBI’s own analysis of the spores by ICP-OES. They weren’t told that massive amounts of silicon and tin had been detected.

    None of the scientists involved were allowed to talk to each other.

    This time around the investigation should be completely open – scientists should be allowed to share results and ideas.

    This should begin by taking the New York Post powder, rich with forensic evidence on silicon and tin, and using the tools readily available in modern labs to determine the exact identity of the tin-silicon species that was added to the preparation. No cutting edge science is required here – just standard analysis techniques that have been around for years.

    After the tin silicon species is identified this will lead the way for a proper reverse engineering study – spores can be made using the properly identified silicon-tin precursors.

    In parallel, the criminal investigation can begin to audit all the suspect labs inventories and records to determine who had been ordering silicon-tin chemicals and for what purpose.

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