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

* USAMRIID (As Advised By JAG) Refuses To Identify Where It Shipped Virulent Ames Prior To 9/11

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 24, 2014

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20 Responses to “* USAMRIID (As Advised By JAG) Refuses To Identify Where It Shipped Virulent Ames Prior To 9/11”

  1. DXer said

    JAG is determined that the American public not know where the contemporaneous records show the Ames anthrax was shipped by Bruce Ivins — and who had access that Ames at USAMRIID.

  2. DXer said

    USAMRIID, for that matter, have refused to acknowledge where irradiated Ames (that was thought to be dead) were shipped.

    But the Army faces the practical problem this week of the anthrax it buried in its own backyard.

    http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/article31593620.html

    BALTIMORE (CN) – A U.S. Army Base in Maryland nicknamed Fort Doom for its research into offensive biological warfare is responsible for the deaths and illnesses of neighboring civilians, a class claims in Federal Court. … The Environmental Protection Agency allegedly put Fort Detrick on its Superfund list of the most polluted places in the country in 2009. Today the base is a cemetery for decades of biomedical and weapons research that were simply buried in shallow unlined pits, the complaint states.

    Pieper says the plume of chemical agents seeping from these pits quickly made their way into the drinking water supply of neighboring properties. The toxins have allegedly caused locals to develop various diseases and cancers.

    .

    A landfill that occupies one 400-acre site of Fort Detrick has been contaminated with “sterilized anthrax, radiological tracer materials, the lethal chemical agent phosgene, industrial waste, herbicides, and defoliants including known carcinogens in their formulation,” according to the suit.
    Other materials allegedly include “Agent Orange, dioxin, radioactive materials, anthrax, Ebola, tetrachloroethene (PCE), and trichloroethene (TCE).”
    Pieper and other current and former Marylanders say that the Army allowed “those toxics to contaminate the property and the vicinity surrounding Ft. Detrick.”

    The area has been subjected to multiple studies over the years, but the first attempt at remediation did not occur until 2001 – a limited removal action by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to the complaint.
    Cleaning crews opened one of the pits to find “unmarked, unlabeled containers, drums, barrels, and other chemical, biological, and/or radiological waste receptacles,” the complaint states.
    “Vials containing live pathological bacteria were also revealed to have been disposed of at the site,” the class added.
    Pieper says the water system contains the same chemicals that was found in the soil, but that the removal action made no attempt at addressing the “identified contaminated groundwater.”

    ***

    “Nor did [the United States] undertake any other action to remediate continuing migration of hazardous substances in groundwater,” the complaint states.
    In 1981, the EPA recommended that the State of Maryland and EPA monitor any Army investigations “to address the potential for off-site migration of toxic materials and to delineate the potential hazards related to the possible presence of anthrax cysts in the soil,” the complaint states.
    Pieper notes that “the base was the home of some of our government’s most dangerous projects.”

    The class seeks $750 million for negligence, wrongful death and other claims.
    It is represented by Jonathan Nace, of the Washington, D.C., firm Paulson & Nace.

    The attorney did not return a request for comment.

    http://www.courthousenews.com/2015/08/20/poisoned-by-armys-fort-doom-civilians-say.htm

    Comment: There would not be any class. The Complaint would seek to certify a class.

  3. DXer said

    Once you understand the requirement that USAMRIID supply JHU-APL and its contractors and collaborators with active biological threat agents under the MOA, you can appreciate the wrongheadedness of USAMRIID’s denial of this request for the record of “Anthrax Shipments” which was the second enclosure, I believe, to the USAMRIID response to the subpoena.

  4. DXer said

    More deadly pathogens, toxins found improperly stored in NIH and FDA labs

    By Brady Dennis and Lena H. Sun September 5 at 2:52 PM
    Workers scouring government laboratories in the wake of the Julydiscovery of smallpox and the mishandling of other infectious agents in federal facilities in recent months have found half a dozen more improperly stored substances — including the deadly toxin ricin and the bacteria that cause plague.

    Officials at the National Institutes of Health said Friday a search on their sprawling Bethesda campus had turned up five different misplaced biological materials in recent weeks. All of them are considered so dangerous — they are known as “select agents” — that the government requires them to be stored in specially secured facilities. But in these cases, the vials were in regular labs, often part of collections of samples that date back decades.

    The FDA’s discovery, meanwhile, came on July 15, though the agency did not disclose the findings to employees or the public until Friday.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/six-more-deadly-pathogens-found-improperly-stored-in-nih-and-fda-labs/2014/09/05/9ff8c3c2-3520-11e4-a723-fa3895a25d02_story.html

    • DXer said

      http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/nih-finds-ricin-forgotten-germs-labs-25282687

      NIH Finds Old Ricin, Other Forgotten Germs in Labs
      WASHINGTON — Sep 5, 2014, 10:18 PM ET
      By LAURAN NEERGAARD AP Medical Writer

      Also discovered were samples listing pathogens that cause botulism, plague, tularemia and a rare tropical infection called melioidosis. …

      But these samples were in different labs, mostly in historical collections that scientists once routinely kept in the backs of freezers or on dusty shelves but that today require special handling.

    • DXer said

      Six more deadly pathogens found improperly stored in NIH and FDA labs

      By Brady Dennis and Lena H. Sun, The Washington Post
      Posted Sept. 05, 2014, at 4:13 p.m.
      Employees also found two vials of a rare bacteria called Burkholderia pseudomallei, which causes Melioidosis, also called Whitmore’s disease, a disease common in tropical climates that can cause chest and joint pain, skin infections and fever.

      https://bangordailynews.com/2014/09/05/health/six-more-deadly-pathogens-found-improperly-stored-in-nih-and-fda-labs/

    • DXer said

      No need to read, but here are 48 pages on some letters on powder that caused alarm in Sweden in Fall 2001.

      Anthrax Letters in Sweden?
      Analysis of how FOI’s Division of NBC-Protection managed the “Anthrax Letters” during the Fall of 2001 – from a Crisis Management Perspective.
      http://fhs.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:442120/FULLTEXT02.pdf

      Can any reader outside of the GAO report authors put together 4 sentences in the use and distribution of virulent Ames in Sweden prior to 9/11?

      Where did UMEA get Ames? How many scientists had access? Under what biosecurity conditions was it stored?

      My friend Jamie once wrote about a Swedish baron’s plot to use anthrax. I always admired Jame’s intellectual curiosity about military history and his love of iife.

      Bisher, Jamie. “During World War I, Terrorists Schemed to Use Anthrax in the Cause of Finnish Independence.” Military History, Aug. 2003, 17-22, 77.
      Author’s description: “Biological warfare mission of Swedish Baron Otto von Rosen, an agent of the German General Staff, in the Russian duchy of Finland, 1916-1917.”

      The ricin they recently discovered was from 1914.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/us/nih-lab-search-uncovers-forgotten-ricin.html?_r=0

      N.I.H. Lab Search Uncovers Forgotten Ricin
      By THE ASSOCIATED PRESSSEPT. 6, 2014

      They included a bottle of ricin, a highly poisonous toxin, found in a box with microbes dating from 1914 and thought to be 85 to 100 years old, the memo said.

    • DXer said

      Dr. Forsman of UMEA, I believe, presented on his research at the conference Dr. Ivins helped plan. The conference was held in Maryland in June 2001.
      4th international conference anthrax

      4th International Conference on Anthrax
      Program and Abstracts Book
      June 10 – 13, 2001
      St. John’s College
      Annapolis, Maryland, USA

      Microarray for Genome-Wide
      Analysis of Bacillus anthracis
      Y. TAN
      1
      , M. FORSMAN
      2
      , L. NG
      1
      1
      DSO National Laboratories, Singapore, SINGAPORE;
      2
      National Defense Research Establishment,, Umea,
      SWEDEN

      The current method for detection and identification of B.
      anthracis uses PCR methods that target a chromosomal
      fragment, Ba813, and virulent-determinant genes carried by the
      two plasmids (pX01 and pX02). It has been postulated that
      virulent strains could spontaneously cure one or both of its
      plasmids, rendering it avirulent. The chromosomal marker has
      recently been found in other environmental Bacillus strain, thus
      reducing the confidence in its usage for identification. The
      identification of individual strains within the species is further
      hindered by the lack of polymorphism within the species.
      Identification of individual strains or typing of B. anthracis
      strains is important for epidemiological study and for following
      the evolution of the pathogen. The aim of our study is to explore
      the use of DNA microarray to perform a genome-wide screening
      for novel biomarkers for identification of B. anthracis and for
      strain typing within the species. An anthrax genome chip was
      fabricated with a shot-gun library of Bacillus anthracis Ames.
      Hybridisations of the chip with the genome of various strains
      reveal gene fragments that could potentially be used for
      identification and typing. From this chip, 536 potential
      biomarkers that show differences in distribution among Bacillus
      species or among the B. anthracis strains studied were
      identified. The clones of interest are in the process of sequence
      determination and the presence or absence of some biomarkers
      in each strain was confirmed by Southern Blot. Our poster will
      discuss the approach employed and the preliminary results
      obtained.

  5. DXer said

    White House orders U.S. labs to take inventory of infectious agents
    BY JULIE STEENHUYSEN
    CHICAGO Thu Aug 28, 2014
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/28/us-usa-anthrax-biosafety-idUSKBN0GS2S420140828

  6. DXer said

    Know where your anthrax is? U.S. to ask labs to pause and inventory dangerous agents

    By David Malakoff 27 August 2014

    http://news.sciencemag.org/policy/2014/08/know-where-your-anthrax-u-s-ask-labs-pause-and-inventory-dangerous-agents

    “In the wake of several high-profile laboratory safety incidents involving smallpox, anthrax, and dangerous flu strains, the U.S. government is planning to ask federally funded laboratories to pause all work involving “high-consequence” pathogens for 24 hours in order to inventory stocks, according to groups that represent research universities.

    “Essentially, what the government will request is a short term on the order of 24 hours suspension of research involving high-consequence pathogens in order to allow institutional lab personnel to take stock of what pathogens they have stored in freezers, cold rooms, etc.,” reads a memo distributed to universities today and signed by Carol Blum of the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) in Washington, D.C.

    The directive is expected to come soon from the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the memo states, and be delivered to labs through funding agencies. The exact language of the OSTP memo is not yet known.

    ***

    Institutions should consider revisiting policies and procedures for closing out labs when investigators transfer to other institutions, retire or change research focus. Often, pathogens are left behind for the use of post-doctoral fellows and graduates to complete work in progress. With the departure of fellows and students, pathogens languish forgotten or ignored in freezers and cold rooms. “

    • DXer said

      Government to Order Inventory of Dangerous Diseases in Federal Labs
      Eric Hal Schwartz – Staff Writer
      08/27/14 @3:53pm in Tech
      http://inthecapital.streetwise.co/2014/08/27/government-order-inventory-diseases-labs/

      “I ask all microbiologists to make sure that you and your colleagues know what they have in the lab (freezer, refrigerator, store room, etc),” said Timothy Donahue, president of the American Society for Microbiology in a statement this week. “Simply put, I think it is good “laboratory housekeeping” to review what microbes we each have in the lab, inventory them, and use appropriate methods to deposit in an approved collection or destroy any cultures that are no longer needed by our labs.”

      But despite directives coming from the top, there’s nothing the government can do to make the labs comply. Theoretically, the check is more just a redundant check, but it would be good to know if there was anything missing or not kept safely.

      “In short, its not enforceable and there are no consequences for non-compliance,” Blum wrote. “This request is deliberately more about best practices in lab management than it is about imposing new regulations on the community. As of now, the government cannot force any individual or institution to go through this process. Instead, the government is seeking voluntary compliance in a timely manner consistent with the proper management of pathogens.”

    • DXer said

      Update/ correction

      BREAKING NEWS: Pathogen inventory request won’t include research pause
      http://news.sciencemag.org/policy/2014/08/breaking-news-pathogen-inventory-request-wont-include-research-pause

      “In the wake of several high-profile laboratory safety incidents involving smallpox, anthrax, and dangerous flu strains, the U.S. government will ask federally funded laboratories to inventory pathogens and review safety practices. But officials will not ask labs to suspend research for any specific period of time, or focus only on studies involving “high-consequence” pathogens, a source familiar with the matter tellsScienceInsider.

      Earlier today, a memo distributed by groups that represent research universities reported that White House officials would call for a 24-hour pause in government-funded research involving the most dangerous agents. The memo was based on conversations between officials from the university groups and officials within the Obama administration, the memo said.

      But some of the memo is incorrect, the source says. The request, which will come from the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy and National Security Council, will not use the word “suspend,” the source says. In addition, it will cover studies involving any kind of pathogen, not just the most dangerous agents. It will ask for an inventory and scrutiny of safety practices. The idea, the source says, is to provide flexibility and acknowledge that researchers know best how to address biosafety issues within their labs.”

      Comment: Grocery stores conduct inventories regularly.

  7. DXer said

    From the review of the literature done by BHR in 12/2001, the following 15 set forth below were identified. The FBI says there were 20.

    No theory is viable or worth considering or addressing without having established access to Ames.

    BHR missed University of Michigan as being supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins — a 1999 article was not online or because the patents had not yet been published. The best source on the issue is Michael, the lab tech from the University of Michigan who worked alongside Bruce, Pat and Mara in the B3.

    BHR may have missed Southern Research Institute in downtown Frederick because there had not been a publication — just Hadron press releases. (I also interview Alibek on the point of where his research using virulent Ames was done).

    And as to Aberdeen, I would have to pull the article about being supplied Ames by JE and consider why that wasn’t on her list. But it is on her current expanded list not yet published.

    I have corresponded with BHR extensively and she would agree that Aberdeen and SRI should be on the list.

    Note that the FBI speaks of there only being one lab in the UK when it is known that the several researchers given were split between, for example, at least two, including CAMR and Porton Down.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/693822/posts

    • USArmy Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (Ft. Detrick, MD)#,*

    • Dugway Proving Ground (Utah)#,*

    • Naval Research Medical Center and associated military labs (MD)#

    • Battelle Memorial Institute (Ohio; plus laboratories in many other locations)#,*

    • Duke University Medical School, Clinical Microbiology Lab. (NC)

    • VA Medical Center, Durham (NC)

    • USDA laboratory and Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine, Ames (Iowa)

    • LSU College of Veterinary Medicine*

    • Northern Arizona State University (Arizona)*

    • Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute (IL)

    • University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque (NM)*

    • Institute for Genomic Research (MD)

    • Chemical and Biological Defense Establishment, Porton Down (UK)*

    • Center for Applied Microbiology and Research, Porton (UK)*

    • Defense Research Establishment, Suffield (CA)*

    In addition, CDC, NIH, and Los Alamos and a few others may have the Ames strain.”

    • DXer said

      She also missed a lab in Sweden. A revised and expanded page would be stronger if it included actual citations to the literature so that it can be determined whether some of those on the list were included in error.

  8. richard rowley said

    DXer,
    I admire your persistence in these FOIA requests. I’m confident there’s one or more installation whose name has not come to light, yet had Ames, possibly the pertinent substrain. Keep it up!

    • DXer said

      Richard,

      The one where your computer fellow (no microbiology background) was a student did not have Ames. 20 locations that had it, a number of which have not been named. Any theory should have begun with direct evidence of the supply of Ames — not your hope and assumption and optimism. BHR’s list of 15 in her compilation of evidence (12/2001) was a key starting point (based on a literature search) — and there are 20 on the final FBI list.

      Life is way too short to spend 10 years urging that a First Grader wrote the letters (I’m not kidding; there’s someone who thinks that ).

      It simiilarly is too short to think that some IT fellow with a bad attitude stole Ames from a University that never had it. Then when you started arguing that every batch of hoax letter in America, your theory went from nonviable to destroyed. You should have started with a literature search and recognized that without evidence of access to Ames, your theory was a non-starter.

      Aberdeen, SRI, NMRC are examples of places known to have Ames — necessarily obtained at some point from USAMRIID. They just haven’t yet been made of the discussion in the mass media.

      • richard rowley said

        “It simiilarly is too short to think that some IT fellow with a bad attitude stole Ames from a University that never had it. Then when you started arguing that every batch of hoax letter in America, your theory went from nonviable to destroyed.”
        ================================================================
        Hmm, I don’t remember ‘arguing’ about any case. Rather, I noted that I knew (and know) of one and only one UNKNOWN TO THE PUBLIC/AUTHORITIES serial sender of threatening letters( with or without white powder ) who uses a relay system. If, 2 years from now, another white powder series starts, a series that isn’t targeted on the typical recipients(abortion providers; courts; law enforcement etc), and/or seems designed to garner maximal publicity (read: by targeting news organizations and politicians ) I will probably attribute it to the Anthrax Killer. That is, with the given stipulations, a default position for me. That means I will be wrong a significant number of times (but it would be
        fewer if complete texts (linguistics!) and/or postmark locations were made public). But my mistake in that 2-years-from-now case will have no bearing on whether I’m right about Amerithrax. They are independent variables.

        You and your bete noire are the ones with the penchant for ‘arguing’ (and not always in the nice sense, dig?), and have gone the 10-year-plus route. Not only am I a (relative) Johnny-Come-Lately to Amerithrax but I’ve long since switched most of my energy in these matters to historical cases which evince a perpetrator with the same or similar neurological condition. That condition is revealed in the prose style itself.

      • DXer said

        A theory that does not have access to virulent Ames indicated by the direct evidence is a non-starter.

        And, absent access to virulent Ames, one does not bother to consider the “prose style” of the brief Fall 2001 anthrax letters.

  9. DXer said

    Hundreds of bioterror lab mishaps cloaked in secrecy, August 17, 2014

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/17/reports-of-incidents-at-bioterror-select-agent-labs/14140483/

    Comment:

    Some intentional murders are still cloaked in secrecy too — thus avoiding government accountability.

    • DXer said

      JAG has now been asked to address the separate earlier request for the enclosures regarding “Simulants”– which involved making a dried powder out of Ames from Flask 1029.

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