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

* The Parties In The Civil Litigation Have Agreed To Release Certain Depositions and Reports While Wrongfully Shielding The Majority Of Other Key Documents From Public View — Effectively Gutting the Sunshine in Government Act

Posted by DXer on October 25, 2011






29 Responses to “* The Parties In The Civil Litigation Have Agreed To Release Certain Depositions and Reports While Wrongfully Shielding The Majority Of Other Key Documents From Public View — Effectively Gutting the Sunshine in Government Act”

  1. DXer said

    A decision denying a large number of pending motions as moot pending finalization of settlement adds a note that the public can get updated court information from the Judge’s unofficial website.

  2. DXer said

    Government Cans Proposal to Hide Records
    by Jennifer LaFleur
    ProPublica, Nov. 4, 2011, 9:01 a.m.
    4 CommentsRepublishEmailPrint

    Last week, we reported that a proposed Freedom of Information Act rule from the U.S. Department of Justice would allow agencies to tell requesters of certain law-enforcement or national security records that the information did not exist — even if it did.

    The measure riled open-government advocates and some members of Congress, who have pushed for greater federal transparency.

    Thursday, DOJ said it had withdrawn the measure from its final regulations.

    In a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, one of several members of Congress who had questioned the proposal, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich said that the measure would not be included in the DOJ’s final rule.

    “The Justice Department decided that misleading the American people would be wrong, and made the right decision to pull the proposed regulation,” Sen. Grassley said in a statement.

    The Justice Department has not set a date for when it plans to release its final regulations.

  3. DXer said

    The parties have agreed to settle.

    So the way it works is taxpayers pay for the government’s negligence while the government withholds the documents. The documents show what Dr. Ivins was doing on the night that the DOJ speculated, without basis, he was making a powdered anthrax from public view.

    Mr. Schuler as a condition of settlement should require that all documents not exempt under FOIA be produced.

    Once the CIvil Division realizes just how egregious the lies are that have been told what Dr. Ivins was doing those nights he was swimming in rabbits, they’ll want to be sure to come down on the side of compliance with the FOIA and appropriate policy under Fed. R. CIv. P. 26.

    Otherwise, the GAO may look as harshly at the withholding of documents as at the distortion of the known facts by the AUSA and former US Attorney.

    The Civil Division will want to step off the stage before those 52 rabbits come bounding out of the hat.

    Personally, if I were Mr. Schuler I would hold off until the GAO report comes down.

    • Can DOJ settle FOIA requests by paying people instead of providing the documents? A new way to feed the poor?

      • DXer said

        It is the Stevens litigation that is being settled — the civil suit by Mrs. Stevens.

        The overbroad sealing orders under Rule 26(c) — done at the initiative of the parties and rubber stamped by the judge
        — have prevented documents that would not be exempt under FOIA from being produced.

        Even though FOIA as such does not apply to documents filed by the court, the US Army has relied upon the sealing orders as grounds for denying documents that they admit would otherwise be exempt. The IG and Sandia report are merely two examples.

  4. DXer said

    Government Could Hide Existence of Records under FOIA Rule Proposal
    by Jennifer LaFleur
    ProPublica, Oct. 24, 2011, 10:26 a.m.

    A proposed rule to the Freedom of Information Act would allow federal agencies to tell people requesting certain law-enforcement or national security documents that records don’t exist – even when they do …

    But the advocacy groups propose another response: You have requested “…records which, if they exist, would not be subject to the disclosure requirements of FOIA…”


    In a recent case brought by the ACLU of Southern California, the FBI denied the existence of documents. But the court later discovered that the documents did exist. In an amended order, U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney wrote that the “Government cannot, under any circumstance, affirmatively mislead the Court.”

  5. DXer said

    Ivins died in 2008, apparently a suicide, after learning that the FBI planned to charge him. No charges were ever brought and there remains significant controversy over whether the FBI got it right.

    “The government has decided it was one crazed person and it doesn’t go beyond that,” Bush said. “I don’t know if that’s true or not, but if it isn’t true haven’t we sort of missed the boat?”

  6. DXer said

    How Ready Are We for Bioterrorism?
    Published: October 26, 2011

    Inside the building, he followed a long corridor to a room where Vice President Dick Cheney and members of the national-security staff soon joined him. Also in the room were Tara O’Toole, who is now the Obama administration’s top official for biodefense research at the Department of Homeland Security, and Thomas Inglesby, who runs the Center for Biosecurity. Three months earlier, Larsen, O’Toole and Inglesby collaborated on a national-security exercise to simulate the effects of a smallpox attack. Now, with the twin towers in ashes, they had come to brief the vice president on their findings.

    As O’Toole began the presentation, Larsen studied Cheney’s expression. The vice president showed no reaction as O’Toole listed the officials who participated in the simulation, the complications they encountered as they tried to develop an emergency response and the arguments that broke out as they watched the disease spread beyond control. She concluded by telling the vice president that the country was unprepared for a biological attack.

    Cheney nodded. “O.K.,” he said. “But what are we looking for? What does a biological weapon look like?”

    At this, Larsen reached into his briefcase and pulled out a small test tube. “Mr. Vice President,” he said, “it looks like this.” Inside the tube was a weaponized powder of Bacillus globigii, almost genetically identical to anthrax. “And by the way,” Larsen said, “I just smuggled this into your office.”

    At one of the most secure buildings in the world, in a moment of unprecedented alarm, the White House guards had searched Larsen’s briefcase — and never even saw the powder. “They were looking for the wrong things,” Larsen says now. “They still are.”


    “Can I prevent terrorists from getting into their hands anthrax or other pathogens? No! Even our best efforts can’t do that.”

    Comment: Until the USG complies with FOIA and the DOJ Civil Division stops the practice of these overbroad protective orders (extending to things not exempt under FOIA), the public will never be able see what was going on pre-911. The public will never be in a position to judge the government’s efforts — fair or foul. Millions get paid to sweep government negligence under the rug or keep unsafe products on the market. In the case of government misfeasance and malfeasance, taxpayers are the ones who foot the bill to keep the documents from coming to light by buying off the suing plaintiff.

    • DXer said

      In 2004, a report from the National Intelligence Council warned, “Our greatest concern is that terrorists might acquire biological agents.” Michael Chertoff, the secretary of Homeland Security between 2005 and 2009, told me, “In terms of catastrophic attacks, bio was at the top of the list.” In 2008, the director of national intelligence, Adm. Mike McConnell, described a biological attack as “my personal greatest worry.” In 2009, McConnell’s successor in the Obama administration, Dennis Blair, warned the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that “the terrorist use of biological agents represents a growing threat.” In November 2009, the National Security Council estimated that a biological attack could place “hundreds of thousands of people” at risk of death and cost more than $1 trillion. Heidi Avery, a top biodefense official in the White House, told me recently that biological terrorism poses “the ultimate asymmetric threat; it should be considered in the same class as the nuclear threat.” And a report by the Congressional Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, formed in 2007, concluded: “To date, the U.S. government has invested most of its nonproliferation efforts and diplomatic capital in preventing nuclear terrorism. The commission believes that it should make the more likely threat — bioterrorism — a higher priority.”


      It certainly is not a priority for DOJ or FBI FOIA. FOIA civil division today told me that it would be a hassle to make redactions and I would have to pay for redaction of documents from the civil division not subject to protective orders.

      FBI FOIA still has not even assigned a number for my early September request for notebooks containing Dr. Ivins’ contemporaneous notes on the dates that they claimed, without basis, he was making a dried powder. When AUSA Ken Kohl and AUSA Rachel Lieber provably knew he was keeping close quarters in the BLS-3 laboratory (Rm.313) with 52 bunnies, with dozens of them dying and needing autoclaving and the contemporaneous documents contradict their false narrative.

      If Tara O’Toole thinks that there is a signficant risk of a biodefense attack, she should call up Mr. Kovakis and Mr.Sobonya that they expedite the requests and grant a fee waiver. I had extensive and detailed emails with Tara O’Toole in December 2002 and I am charging her publicly with knowledge that supporters of the blind sheikh are responsible for the anthrax mailings. Dr. Inglesby too.

  7. DXer said

    10/26/2011 SYSTEM ENTRY – Docket Entry 235 restricted/sealed until further notice. (dj) (Entered: 10/26/2011)
    10/26/2011 SYSTEM ENTRY – Docket Entry 234 restricted/sealed until further notice. (dj) (Entered: 10/26/2011)

  8. DOJ lawyers lose perspective in their cases. In a recent case, DOJ asked for a sentence of 17 to 22 years for a person because he bought meals and sports tickets for politicians.

    Ex-lobbyist Kevin Ring is scheduled for sentencing Wednesday on a jury’s finding that he was guilty of bribing public officials with meals and event tickets. Prosecutors are requesting he get more than four years of imprisonment, which would give him one of the stiffest sentences in the far-reaching investigation. Only the ringleader, Abramoff, got a harsher penalty, with a six-year sentence.

    The Justice Department initially suggested a 17-year to 22-year sentencing guidelines range for Ring, but U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle rejected the idea and suggested that it appeared to justify Ring’s suggestion that he was being retaliated against for exercising his constitutional right to trial. Most other figures in the scandal cooperated with investigators and pleaded guilty in deals that spared them jail time for similar conduct.

    The DOJ is a world apart that has lost contact with reality. They also punish any challenge to them as the judge said. In the Hatfill case, they also payed a very large amount to avoid being shown up at trial as not understanding the anthrax case, which is what a Hatfill case would have shown despite all the restrictions on what its subject matter would be limited to.

  9. DXer said

    Jason Bannan,

    the mice died

    the hamsters died

    the rabbits died

    doj got their man

    fbi doesn’t comply with foia requests because there is no threat

    what about the other 998 deadly pathogens timimi had access to

    a vaccine will not counter mutated/bioengineered variants

    • DXer said

      With security spotty, many had access to anthrax at Army lab
      By GREG GORDON AND STEPHEN ENGELBERG – McClatchy Newspapers and ProPublica

      Read more:

      The Sandia report emphasized that terrorists had obtained germs from research labs before. It cited a February 2001 National Defense University study that found 11 cases in which terrorists or other “non-state operatives” had acquired biological agents from “legitimate culture collections,” including three research or medical laboratories.

      Read more:

      Comment: Do these 11 instances include the virulent strains of anthrax that ATCC, co-sponsor of Ali Al-Timimi’s program, sent to the university in Baghdad in the mid-1980s? (to include the US Army strain Vollum)? That was the same time a hundred combat configured helicopters were sold to the Iraq Ministry of Agriculture for spraydrying missions. The helicopters were equipped illegally with the US-controlled TOW missile as the convicted arms dealer Sarkis Soghanalian would be glad to explain. DIA could tell you all about it.

      Follow the money.

      • DXer said

        Sarkis Soghanalian could explain that he arranged for financing of the deal at a meeting at the restaurant Beni Hana’s with Prince Bandar. (Saudia Arabia did not want Iranian infantry to overrun Iraq for fear that they would keep going). Given he was sent to jail for what he says was an approved operation, he is quite willing to speak to these issues.

        Sarkis, who used to pump gas in Upstate NY before becoming a CIA-backed 3rd ranked arms trafficker, could explain that large cash bribes were paid to US officials. One bribe was $300,000.

        The helicopters were equipped with quick release mechanisms for release of agent.

        The DIA and CIA and Oliver North know all about this. Soghanalian’s legal defense was that it had all been approved and that Ollie’s notebooks would prove the authorization.

        Eric Nadler was there at the trial in Miami and could dig up his notes.

        Charles Bailey was the DIA threat assessment guy for biological weapons — and was located at USAMRIID in the 1980s.

        Question: what was done about ATCC selling 5 strains of virulent anthrax to the University of Baghdad during the height of the Iraq/Iran war?

        What was done about ATCC allowing Ali Al-TImimi to have unfettered access to the confidential patent repository at ATCC?

        What is GAO doing about the FBI’s withholding of documents that are not exempt under FOIA?

        People are going to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Anyone who stands in the way of producing non-exempt documents from this point on is part of the problem and part of obstruction of justice in a matter involving thousands of lives.

        Follow the money.

        • DXer said

        • DXer said

          Sarkis Soghanalian
          From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

          Sarkis Garabet Soghanalian (Armenian: Սարգիս Սողանալեան; February 6, 1929 – October 5, 2011), nicknamed Merchant of Death, was an international private arms dealer who gained fame for being the “Cold War’s largest arms merchant”.[1] and the lead seller of firearms and weaponry to the former government of Iraq under Saddam Hussein during the 1980s.[2]
          Soghanalian, then a permanent resident living in Virginia Gardens, Florida, was hired on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency to sell arms to help Iraq in the midst of the Iran–Iraq War.[3] With the encouragement of the Reagan Administration and the backing of US intelligence agencies, he coordinated the transaction of several crucial arms deals, including the sale of artillery from France which cost an estimated $1.4 billion USD.[citation needed]

          In addition to Iraq, he also sold weapons to other groups such as the Polisario forces in Mauritania, to Phalange militias during the Lebanese Civil War and to Latin American countries such as Nicaragua, Ecuador, and to Argentina during the Falklands War.[1] He extended his services to other regions of the world including Africa. Prior to the beginning of the Persian Gulf War, Soghanalian appeared in several television interviews, detailing the work he had done in Iraq along with naming several top US government officials who were involved in the arms transactions.
          With this, the Justice Department charged Soghanalian for “conspiracy of shipping unauthorized weapons” to Iraq where he was found guilty and sentenced to jail.[4] He was released several years later when he helped the Clinton administration unsuccessfully break up a counterfeiting ring in Lebanon. He moved his office from the United States and opened up operations in France and Jordan. In 2001, was arrested once more by the US government on bank fraud charges but was released a year later after he revealed the weapons transactions deals that were going on between CIA and Peru, an account which arguably led to the collapse of the Alberto Fujimori government.[4]

          Arrest and conviction

          Soghanalian’s testimony damaged the reputation of many American government officials. The United States Congress however stated that his revelations had been found to be “extremely disturbing to every American. They are disturbing to Mr. Soghanalian. He gives a first-hand description of official and unofficial American involvement in the enormous buildup of arms to Saddam Hussein.”[10]
          His testimony lead to the George H. W. Bush administration open criminal charges in 1991 and convicted him on six counts for possession of armament and intent to sell to Iraq. The weapons included 103 helicopter gunships from the Hughes Helicopters corporation and two rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers from a 1983 deal.[citation needed] A year later, he was fined $20,000 and sentenced to six years in prison. However, in 1993 his sentence was reduced to two years; although the exact reasons remain unknown, his attorney stated that Soghanalian had given intelligence to US law-enforcement officials which lead them to an unsuccessful attempt to break up a $100 billion counterfeiting operation in the Bekaa valley in Lebanon. In 1995, after he was released, he moved to France and opened offices there and in Amman, Jordan.[citation needed]

          Comment: The USG instead let Sarkis out of prison because what he knows about germs. You might ask this question of Sarkis: Why were those helicopters equipped with quick-release spraydrying mechanism?

        • DXer said

          Note that the documents withheld by the FBI show that Ivins’ time in the lab on the precise nights was not unexplained. He was challenging 52 rabbits in the B3 lab — where they always did parenteral challenges — and dozens of them were dying and thus needed autoclaving which would take a couple of hours. See 302.

        • Old Atlantic said

          It is easier to follow the money than long vertical columns of words.

        • DXer said

          I see that Sarkis died a few weeks ago. Never mind.

        • DXer said

          Here is an article yesterday about Sarkis’ death.

          Infamous arms dealer lived and worked in VG



          Dubbed the “Merchant of Death,” he peddled rocket launchers, .50-caliber machine guns and Huey helicopters from his Virginia Gardens-based office, near Denny’s.
          Sarkis Soghanalian, 82, the Cold War’s largest arms dealer, once had a fleet of cargo jets and a luxury home on Miami Beach’s Hibiscus Island. He died quietly on Oct. 5 at Hialeah Hospital, his family by his side.
          “A lot of people don’t know even one percent of what he did,” said Mark Geragos, a Los Angeles-based attorney who described Soghanalian, who tipped the scale at 300 pounds, as “larger than life. … “At first, I didn’t believe 99 percent of what he said. But then I learned it was true.”

          Fluent in eight languages, Soghanalian separated himself from “amateurs” by not talking “too much.”

          Soghanalian filled orders for jungle dictators, international spies and the U.S. military, and was featured twice on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” He also inspired the main character in the 2005 film “Lord of War.”

          In the early ’90s, a Miami federal judge sentenced Soghanalian to six years in prison. He tried to sell Iraq more than one hundred “civilian” Hueys (Hughes helicopters) from his Virginia Gardens-based business, Pan Aviation, located near the airport perimeter road, two blocks from his home.

          [ Trivia: If you did business with him or for him, he would give you a PanAviation watch. It would have a bugging device in it. ]

          Weapons sales were brisk, as records show he owed hundreds of millions of dollars in back taxes to the IRS. When he wasn’t being chased by the tax man — or ducking contracts on his life by terrorists for arming Christian militias in Lebanon — he stood before judges to plead his case.
          But Soghanalian, when convicted, never seemed to stay behind bars too long. He had a “get-out-of-jail-free card” courtesy of his best customer, the U.S. government. After all, his clients included the Central Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon and the White House.
          The reasons for his early releases from jail remain shrouded in secrecy.

          Read more:

          [ If he hadn’t died this month, you could have asked him why the helicopters were outfitted with a quick release mechanism. ]

        • DXer said

          Scott Shane described Sarkis in an article this month:

          In a career that might have provided material for a shelf of thrillers, Mr. Soghanalian (pronounced SAHG-ah-NAY-lee-an) became a major arms supplier to Mr. Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, operated a fleet of cargo planes and owned homes in a dozen countries.


          In 1993, he was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for smuggling 103 helicopters to Iraq in violation of United Nations sanctions. But he managed to have his sentence reduced to two years…

          “He’s one of those characters who emerged out of the cold war and played a critical role in clandestine activities on behalf of the United States, while providing deniability,” said Mr. Bergman, a reporter who produced reports about Mr. Soghanalian for ABC, the PBS program “Frontline” and “60 Minutes” on CBS.

          After he settled in Florida in the 1990s, United States Customs officials would occasionally raid his hangar at Miami International Airport, looking for contraband, Mr. Bergman said.

          “And then the case would go away,” he said, as Mr. Soghanalian called on friends in the government to come to his defense.

          He could be infuriating and totally self-absorbed,” said Mr. Bergman, who has also reported for The New York Times. “What was always amazing was how much he knew.”

          An American official who worked with Mr. Soghanalian years ago confirmed his work with both the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. He said he recalled sitting with Mr. Soghanalian and listening as he called United States senators, members of Jordan’s royal family and leaders of Hezbollah, a Lebanese-based militant group.

          “They’d all take his calls,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about his former contact. “You’d find out he was telling you the truth, even if he was kind of gilding it in his favor.”

          Comment: I didn’t mean to say that Sarkis was frugal with bribes. Sometimes it might take $300,000. Sometimes it might take $3-4 million.

          In one raid on that warehouse, there was a US-controlled TOW missile, which was a controlled item available only to the Pentagon and Hughes helicopter.

        • DXer said

          Investigation began after the arms dealer, Sarkis Soghanalian, told federal prosecutors and FBI agents in Miami that Marianne Gingrich said during a meeting in Paris in 1995 that she could provide legislative favors through her husband. The case progressed to the point that it was deemed a major investigation requiring approval in Washington.

          Soghanalian, a convicted felon who is now dead, said he wanted the speaker’s help in getting the arms embargo lifted so he could collect an $80 million debt from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, according to an FBI document filed to obtain continuing wiretap authorization for the case. The facts in the document were “developed through a cooperating witness,” whom The Washington Post has confirmed was Soghanalian.

          Soghanalian said Marianne Gingrich assured him “she would be able to do anything [Soghanalian] requested of her ‘as long as they had an understanding,’ ” the document states.

          Several months after the meeting in Paris, a man who had been on the trip with Gingrich and Soghanalian told the arms dealer that the embargo could be lifted for the right price. In conversations recorded by Soghanalian, the man, a Miami car salesman named Morty Bennett, stated that Marianne “wanted 10 million dollars to get the job done, five million of which would go directly to Marianne Gingrich,” the document states.

          Bennett said in an interview Thursday, “I knew somebody and introduced them to somebody and that was it. Thank you for calling, and don’t call me back.”

          Comment: Sarkis secretly recorded a lot of conversations including conversations with high government officials and Prince Bandar. He paid bribes routinely to include bribes paid in connection with arming Saddam in advance of the Gulf war. He’s now dead but the recordings still exist.

        • DXer said

          “DXer said

          October 26, 2011 at 5:43 am
          Sarkis Soghanalian could explain that he arranged for financing of the deal at a meeting at the restaurant Beni Hana’s with Prince Bandar. (Saudia Arabia did not want Iranian infantry to overrun Iraq for fear that they would keep going). Given he was sent to jail for what he says was an approved operation, he is quite willing to speak to these issues.


          What is GAO doing about the FBI’s withholding of documents that are not exempt under FOIA?

          People are going to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Anyone who stands in the way of producing non-exempt documents from this point on is part of the problem and part of obstruction of justice in a matter involving thousands of lives.

          Follow the money.”

          The eavesdropping devices were in the Pan Aviation watch that Sarkis gave you as a present.

        • DXer said

          Bennett contacted Sarkis Soghanalian after being referred by General Janeb (Phonetic). General Janeb (Phonetic) had informed Bennett that Iraq had purchased weapons from Sarkis (the FBI’S confidential informant) in the past and hte souce might still be an an international arms dealer.

          As I may have mentioned last October, Sarkis paid an Iraqi general a $3-4 million bribe in connection with one sale.

        • DXer said

          Comment: The developing story about “Newt Gingrich, Marianne and the Arms Dealer” is fascinating but I will try to point out its possible relevance.

          The underlying arms deal for which Sarkis thought he was owed $54 million by Saddam involved the sale of helicopters to Iraq in advance of the Persian Gulf War.

          It is public record that they allegedly were for cropdusting missions. Tariq Aziz explained as much in a press conference.

          That explanation on its face was crock given that it was the high point of the Iraq-Iran war.

          The purchase of the helicopters was arranged at a meeting between Prince Bandar and Sarkis at a Beni Hana restaurant. Someday maybe an FBI memo about that will come out but I doubt it.

          But in the meantime, understand just because the invoice of anthrax samples sold by ATCC to Iraq (University of Baghdad) did not include Ames but instead included Vollum there remain a few truths illustrated by Sarkis and his bribes:

          (1) things are not always what they seem;

          (2) the influence of money is powerful;

          (3) good people who are frustrated that countries so readily turn to violence and war should do what they can to ensure that the influence of money does not lead to the deaths of innocents.

          Here, when you see Al-TImimi, a committed Salafist supporter of Bin Laden’s sheiks coordinating with Anwar Awlaki at the same time as he is sharing a suite with DARPA-funded Ames anthrax researchers, and you see a former Zawahiri associate being supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins, maybe you should do more to press the FBI to provide non-exempt documents under FOIA without further delay.

          The FBI’s Ivins Theory is not supported by the documents it has produced. Its key witness has written a book explaining that she was controlled by an alien who implanted a device in her butt. The fact that you haven’t spent $10 to buy the book on kindle at and read those passages yourself merely illustrates that you are far too ready to accept unsupported claims in an area that is filled with self-interested rationalizations and lies.

          If the FBI did a proper job of protecting whistleblowers, as urged by Senator Grassley, more documents and audio tapes that would come out that might avoid the death of innocents.

          Newt Gingrich, Marianne and the Arms Dealer:
          A Buried FBI Investigation

          By Joseph Trento, on December 13th, 2011

          “David told me that Howard Ash and his wife had been at the Parc Monceau Hotel in Paris for days and still did not have an answer from this arms dealer and that Ash said he needed me to come to get an answer. He paid for my expenses and even though it was at an inconvenient time, I made the trip.” She says she thought the meeting was to win Soghanalian over as an investor in the IEDC. When asked why she would be willing to meet Soghanalian, a convicted felon, when she was no longer being paid by the IEDC, she says because her friend, Robert J. Loewenberg, the head of the IASPS, and her former boss at the IEDC, David Yerushalmi, “wanted me to meet with the arms dealer in Paris as a potential investor. …I believed that Robert Loewenberg had good ideas about free trade in Israel and this would help keep it going.”

          As Marianne Gingrich tells it, she did not expect her job back at the IEDC if Soghanalian made the $10 million investment because she was already too busy “working with Newt on his book projects. I let him attend a meeting by himself on one of the book deals, and he left more money in that meeting than I would have made in a year working at the export zone. I decided then and there Newt needed me to handle these things.”

          Morty Bennett says he was also in Paris for the meetings with Soghanalian, Mrs. Gingrich, Howard Ash and his wife. As Bennett tells it, he began to “feel uncomfortable with what Ash was trying to do with Sarkis. My antennae should have been sharper.”


          At the time, Soghanalian had been helping the FBI with several investigations that were unrelated to this one. Soghanalian told Gregorie and several FBI agents that he had a “bad feeling” about why he had been approached. The agents advised him “to make arrangements for another meeting and to keep track of all the details.” Tony Khater, Soghanalian’s top aide, says, “The FBI was aware of every contact Sarkis had with these people. The FBI told Sarkis to push for meetings with Gingrich and his wife. The FBI instructed Sarkis to attend the meetings, if they could be arranged.”
          Morty Bennett and Soghanalian met with Howard Ash and Marianne Gingrich in Paris in July 1995. Soghanalian was extremely busy with business generated by the recent Paris Air Show, but he tape recorded the conversations with Bennett and Ash and provided copies of those tapes to the FBI.


          Soghanalian said, “Marianne came one weekend with Ash and met me and Bennett. I took her to clubs and we had several dinners and luncheons.” In interviews in Paris in 1995, Soghanalian said that he was “making arrangements to get the arms embargo lifted” and that is why he was meeting with Mrs. Gingrich.


          Soghanalian, a popular figure in Paris, took Mrs. Gingrich and her associates to legendary places like Regine’s and several famous restaurants where they posed for photographs with the arms dealer. Finally, Mrs. Gingrich got an answer. “The last night all of us went somewhere till two or three in the morning…It was final. He said, ‘No.’ I caught the first flight out in the morning.”

          Soghanalian had a different version of events. He said that he told Ash and Mrs. Gingrich that he would talk to the Iraqis about making an investment in the free trade operation but that he would not personally invest. “I told them this may be a way of getting my money out of Iraq and doing something good for Israel…I also told Marianne I wanted to meet her husband so we could discuss a high speed train opportunity in Florida.”


          Because of changes in Israeli tax law, the free trade zone effort lost its investment appeal and the IEDC shut down. But, Morty Bennett says, “Ash still wanted me to push Sarkis. He told me to call him again.”

          As Bennett tells it, on January 23, 1996, Ash instructed him to call Soghanalian at his Miami horse farm with a surprising bit of news. Bennett said to the arms dealer that Marianne Gingrich had told him the Iraq embargo could now be lifted. According to the FBI memo, “Bennett stated that it would cost the source [Soghanalian] ten million dollars to get the job done.” Bennett confirms that the FBI memo is an accurate description of what he told Soghanalian. Bennett says that Howard Ash promised him $400,000 if Sarkis made the $10 million payment.


          Soghanalian became even more suspicious when Bennett asked him to deposit $250,000 into his bank account as a tax-deductible donation to the IASPS. “I began to think they were getting me involved in some Israeli intelligence operation,” Soghanalian said. He told the FBI that Bennett asked for an additional $300,000 fee, “preferably… in cash.”


          Soghanalian, a consummate actor, developed a clever and ironic response to their overtures, with the approval of his FBI contacts. He told Bennett that he would talk to the Iraqi government about financing the entire deal. At the suggestion of the FBI, Soghanalian asked to speak to Mrs. Gingrich in person. Soghanalian said, “Bennett told me not until a week after the deposit was made…It was funny because Bennett said Mrs. Gingrich was very concerned about being caught on tape.”

          Bennett says, “Everything I told Sarkis was done under the instructions of Howard Ash. He gave me the words.”

    • DXer said

      FBI scientist Jason Bannan was the collection scientist in the bacteriology collecton at ATCC.

      ATCC provided the vollum used by saddam hussein in the 1980s in his anthrax planning. (see taha’s tearful breakdown about the records found at the chicken farm).

      ATCC then allowed ali al-timimi unfettered access to its repository. Ali’s dad was a lawyer at the small Iraqi embassy. (For the unschooled, one would not ordinarily waste such a slot on a mere lawyer given that lawyers typically are so utterly useless relative to a good spy).

      The ATCC collection scientist then went to work for the FBI investigation that did things like throw out Ivins’ sample, claim Ivins had no reason to be in the lab in early October when they knew he was in close quarters with 52 rabbits in the B3, dozens of which were dying and needing autoclaving etc.

      Questions for GAO: Did Dr. Bannan recuse himself from matters relating, for example, to whether ATCC had virulent ames in its confidential patent repository?

      DId he recuse himself from all matters that might point forensically to or away from ali al-timimi?

      Did he recuse himself from decisions relating to the withholding of documents from NAS?

      including the withholding of Ivins’ lab notebooks — which incredibly still have not been produced?

      If he did, did conlict of interest principles (presuming his good faith as I do) require that he do so?

      I don’t know. Conflict of interest analysis requires the expertise of GAO.


      The Times (London)

      August 9, 2005, Tuesday

      Saddam’s germ war plot is traced back to one Oxford cow

      BYLINE: Dominic Kennedy

      SECTION: Home news; 19

      LENGTH: 544 words

      A British cow that died in an Oxfordshire field in 1937 has emerged as the source of Saddam Hussain’s “weapons of mass destruction” programme that led to the Iraq war.
      An ear from the cow was sent to an English laboratory, where scientists discovered anthrax spores that were later used in secret biological warfare tests by Winston Churchill.

      The culture was sent to the United States, which exported samples to Iraq during Saddam’s war against Iran in the 1980s. Inspectors have found that this batch of anthrax was the dictator’s choice in his attempts to create biological weapons.

      The discovery has angered some British politicians. Austin Mitchell, the Labour MP for Great Grimsby, has renewed his call, supported by 126 MPs in the last Parliament, for a UN investigation into whether Washington broke a weapons control agreement. “It just makes them look more hypocritical than ever,” he said.
      The odyssey of the Iraqi anthrax was unravelled by Geoffrey Holland, a politics student and antiwar campaigner at the University of Sussex. The exact batch chosen by Saddam was disclosed in the CIA report by Charles Duelfer, the former UN weapons inspector, last autumn.

      “Iraq declared researching different strains of B. anthracis, but settled on the American Type Culture Collection strain 14578 as the exclusive strain for use as a BW,” Mr Duelfer said.

      A congressional investigation into Gulf War syndrome by Don Riegle had already uncovered invoices showing that this batch was shipped from the United States between 1986 and 1988.

      The ATCC is a private, non-profit-making collection of cultures of living micro-organisms, viruses, plants and human and animal cells, stored in Virginia.

      Its catalogue shows that batch 14578 consists of “bovine anthrax”, isolated by R.

      L. Vollum, a professor of bacteriology at Oxford University during the 1930s. It is named after him.

      Martin Hugh-Jones, who co-ordinates the World Health Organisation’s Working Group on Anthrax Research and Control, said: “We have traced it back and it would have come in on some contaminated bones from Southern Rhodesia.

      “England was importing sun-dried bones from dead animals in the colonies. They would be shipped to London and used to make soap. When they got the fat out, (the bones) were meant to be sterilised and ground as bone meal and fed to cattle.

      The sterilisation was not always complete. It was the major cause of anthrax for almost 100 years.”

      The Vollum anthrax was used in biological weapons tests on the Scottish island of Gruinard in 1942, which had to be quarantined for 48 years. “It killed any number of sheep in Gruinard,” Professor Hugh-Jones said.

      “(Saddam) obviously at one point had a programme because he was buying the laboratory’s cultures to underwrite a programme. Why would he want peaceful research with Vollum? Come on!”


      * Anthrax is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis

      * The spores can survive in soil for years

      * Herbivores are most vulnerable. Humans get it from contaminated flesh

      * The word comes from the Greek for “coal” because victims develop black skin lesions

      * Contaminated mail was used to attack US Congress in 2001. Two postal workers died

  10. If there was ever a right for the public to know the proceedings in a trial, this would be it.

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