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

* The FBI did not take custody of the Pakistan anthrax scientist Rauf Ahmad who conducted a seminar on using a balloon to disperse the anthrax he had made

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 17, 2015

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44 Responses to “* The FBI did not take custody of the Pakistan anthrax scientist Rauf Ahmad who conducted a seminar on using a balloon to disperse the anthrax he had made”

  1. DXer said

    Kenyan authorities claim to have to foiled potential bio-terror attack, in name of ISIS
    By Robyn Kriel and Briana Duggan, CNN
    Updated 6:50 AM ET, Wed May 4, 2016
    http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/04/africa/kenya-foiled-terror-attack/index.html

  2. DXer said

    Identifying Meningitis During an Anthrax Mass Casualty Incident: Systematic Review of Systemic Anthrax Since 1880.

    Katharios-Lanwermeyer S1, Holty JE2, Person M1, Sejvar J1, Haberling D1, Tubbs H3, Meaney-Delman D4, Pillai SK3, Hupert N5, Bower WA1, Hendricks K1.
    Author information

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND:

      Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is a potential bioterrorism agent. Anthrax meningitis is a common manifestation ofB. anthracisinfection, has high mortality, and requires more aggressive treatment than anthrax without meningitis. Rapid identification and treatment of anthrax meningitis are essential for successful management of an anthrax mass casualty incident.

    METHODS:

      Three hundred six published reports from 1880 through 2013 met pre-defined inclusion criteria. We calculated descriptive statistics for abstracted cases and conducted multivariable regression on separate derivation and validation cohorts to identify clinical diagnostic and prognostic factors for anthrax meningitis.

    RESULTS:

      One hundred thirty-two of 363 (36%) cases with systemic anthrax met anthrax meningitis criteria. Severe headache, altered mental status, meningeal signs, and other neurological signs at presentation independently predicted meningitis in the derivation cohort and were tested as a four-item assessment tool for use during anthrax mass casualty incidents. Presence of any one factor on admission had a sensitivity for finding anthrax meningitis of 89% (83%) in the adult (pediatric) validation cohorts. Anthrax meningitis was unlikely in the absence of any of these signs or symptoms (LR-=0.12 [0.19] for adult [pediatric] cohorts), while presence of two or more made meningitis very likely (LR+=26.5 [30.0]). Survival of anthrax meningitis was predicted by treatment with a bactericidal agent (P=0.005) and use of multiple antimicrobials (P=0.01).

    CONCLUSIONS:

      We developed an evidence-based assessment tool for screening patients for meningitis during an anthrax mass casualty incident; its use could improve both patient outcomes and resource allocation in such an event.

    Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2016. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.

    [If this is in the public domain, having been prepared at taxpayer expense, I guess I don’t understand why it is behind a paywall.]

    • Corresponding Author: Kate Hendricks, MD, MPH&TM, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd. NE, MS A-30, Atlanta, GA 30333, Phone: (404) 639-3153, Fax: (404) 315-2488, Email: KAH1@cdc.gov
    • Alternate Corresponding Author: William A. Bower, MD, FIDSA, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd. NE, MS A-30, Atlanta, GA 30333, Phone: (404) 639-0376, Fax: (404) 638-5478, Email: wbower@cdc.gov

  3. DXer said

    Could ISIS Really Attack the West With a Dirty Drone?

    David Cameron is worried about terrorist drones spraying radioactive material over Western cities. Should you be?​

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a20334/isis-dirty-drone/

  4. DXer said

    Biodefense Roundup –

    Balloons as weapons pose a serious threat to India
    Daily‎ – 9 hours ago

    Terrorist organisations also have shown some interest in using balloon technology for destructive purposes. Certain evidence to this effect was found in Afghanistan, post 9/11 invasion by the US forces. Several designs were found being worked out for a long thin balloon (operating 10 km and above) which could hinder an incoming fighter jet. Also, sketches and calculations in respect of developing a balloon system which could carry anthrax spores for dropping on a specific target were found.

    These papers were found in the Kabul office of an NGO headed by Bashiruddin Mehmood, one of the two Pakistani nuclear scientists who was detained in Islamabad for questioning for alleged links with Osama bin Laden. The design involved making a helium-powered balloon filled with anthrax which could be busted say over a city to spread anthrax infection.

    On the whole, India should not take the possibility of balloon based threat lightly. Particularly, the winds flowing over the North India are mostly of western origin and they travel from Afghanistan/Pakistan region towards India. Today, such winds assist the cold chill to travel towards northern and western parts of India but, it may be remembered that they could also assist an enemy balloon to travel towards India.

    http://www.dailyo.in/politics/pakistan-barmer-cross-border-terrorism-balloon-anthrax-uav-weapon-system/story/1/8700.html

    That mysterious Homeland Security box plugged into an SF utility …
    SFGate‎ – 3 hours ago
    That unmarked Homeland Security box plugged into an SF utility pole in the … The purpose is to sniff the air for potential weapons like anthrax and other …
    http://www.sfgate.com/superbowl/article/That-mysterious-Homeland-Security-box-plugged-6790510.php

    Washington Post
    See realtime coverage
    WHO: Zika virus ‘spreading explosively,’ ‘level of alarm extremely high’
    Washington Post – ‎57 minutes ago‎

    The World Health Organization announced Thursday that it will convene an emergency meeting to try to find ways to stop the transmission of the Zika virus – which officials said is “spreading explosively” across the Americas.

    http://news.google.com/news/url?sr=1&ct2=us%2F0_0_s_0_1_a&sa=t&usg=AFQjCNElxGpMDop2XBJDLdo7qFAgFv2Fdg&cid=52779037155871&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fnews%2Fto-your-health%2Fwp%2F2016%2F01%2F28%2Fzika-virus-who-announces-formation-of-emergency-committee-level-of-alarm-extremely-high%2F&ei=CIeqVtDtNJHK3QHktZPIDQ&rt=HOMEPAGE&vm=STANDARD&bvm=section&did=-5962975259412415580&sid=toptop&ssid=h&st=1&at=dt0

    Comment:

    There is a 70 acre island I am the only one who regularly visits. I am hoping to obtain a government award this next month (in a biodiversity ideas competition called Elevating Erie) that could be used to buy some bat boxes to deploy. Bats gobble up a gazillion mosquitos. We have VEE, EEE and bird flu, too, in these parts (although I’ve never paid much attention because I wear long sleeves etc.)

    Opening the forest to a breeze from the water likely does more than anything to getting rid of mosquitos. But even just to talk about deploying bat boxes on a large scale would be cool bar stool talk at the marina.

  5. DXer said

    Ex-FBI Agent sentenced to 10 years in Afghan kickback scheme
    Ex-FBI agent given 10 years after pleading guilty to derailing Afghan scheme investigation
    http://news.yahoo.com/ex-fbi-agent-sentenced-10-234541087.html;_ylt=AwrBEiQ7oxpVpUoAERjQtDMD

    “Federal prosecutors say the onetime FBI agent agreed to derail a Utah investigation into a company started by former soldiers and suspected of paying kickbacks to win $54 million in bloated government contracts in Afghanistan.

    In exchange for a cut of the multimillion-dollar business, Lustyik promised to “blow the doors off” the investigation, prosecutors said.”

    FBI agent indicted on obstruction of justice charges
    KABC-TV-Mar 26, 2015
    The woman, a Korean national, was being smuggled into the United States to work as a prostitute. Joel allegedly helped her stay in the U.S. by …
    http://abc7.com/news/fbi-agent-indicted-on-obstruction-of-justice-charges/575139/

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/03/30/federal-agents-charged-with-stealing-bitcoin-from-silk-road-case/70672058/

    Former feds charged with stealing Silk Road bitcoin
    Donna Leinwand Leger, USA TODAY
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/03/30/federal-agents-charged-with-stealing-bitcoin-from-silk-road-case/70672058/

    Comment:

    Note that in the summary below, opposition to the FBI’s Ivins Theory need not be explained by the Palestinian lead prosecutor’s daughter representing anthrax weapons suspect Ali Al-TImimi suspect for free.

    Or the scientist guiding production to the NAS having served as the collections scientist for the ATCC bacteriology section — to which Ali Al-Timimi (who shared a suite at GMU with the DARPA Ames anthrax researchers) had unfettered access. (ATCC and GMU shared facilities).

    Or the British former- Porton Down consultant to Amerithrax, Les Baillie, having hosted Al Qaeda’s anthrax scientist Rauf Ahmad in 1999.

    But it nonetheless seems clear that the DOJ Inspector General — as to Amerithrax at least — has not mastered and acted on the principles of conflict of interest that should have been applied.

    FBI Director Mueller would point to the difficulty arising from the fact that the available pool of specialized scientists was small. To be sure, there is some merit to the point. For example, one decision the Director had was to allow the scientist at USAMRIID who secretly made a dried powder for DARPA, John Ezzell, to collect the samples in Amerithrax. (Dr. Ezzell’s lab then discarded Ivins’ submitted sample that would have shown it was a match).

    Even apart from these conflicts of interest, Lew has addressed the merits through the documentary evidence. Week after week — over the course of years — he has uploaded the original documents I obtained under FOIA so that the public can see for itself the astonishing lack of credible evidence supporting the FBI’s Ivins Theory. My comments below are based largely on those documents. Here are the major points on which the FBI’s assertions fail to prove its case …

    1. The FBI apparently never tracked down and eliminated as potential suspects all of the persons who had, or may have had, access to the anthrax strains used in the attacks

    The FBI’s genetic analysis merely narrowed things to several hundred scientists and others who had access. And, any one of them could have given the genetically matching Ames strain to someone else. Security at labs was very lax. Anyone with access to a lab could simply walk out with a pathogen.

    The FBI had estimated up to 377 persons had access which required elimination — and that was just at USAMRIID. US Attorney Taylor nonetheless falsely claimed in August 2008 that only 100 needed to be eliminated. He premised his conclusion on the claim that only those with access at USAMRIID’s Building 1425 had to be eliminated, overlooking the fact that the genetically matching Ames was also stored in Building 1412.

    2. There has been broad access to the anthrax strain used in the attacks

    The potential access to Ames is not reasonably disputed. For example, a microbiologist connected to the Al Qaeda network, Ali Al-Timimi, shared a suite with two leading DARPA-funded Ames anthrax researchers at George Mason University. DARPA is the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency. One, Ken Alibek, was formerly a Soviet physician, microbiologist and biological warfare expert. The other, Charles Bailey, had been the former commander of USAMRIID.

    As another example of potential access, a non-US citizen from Sudan and then Egypt for a few days in 1998, worked alongside Bruce Ivins in the B3 with Ames anthrax. He studied at Cairo Medical where Dr. Ayman Zawahiri recruited students to jihad every Friday. Dr. Ayman’s sister Heba taught microbiology at Cairo Medical.

    David Relman, the Vice-Chairman of the National Academy of Sciences panel that reviewed the science relied upon in Amerithrax, explained in “Science” that Ames anthrax was detected at a lab in Afghanistan. Indeed, Ames was detected in the remains of the hijacker Ahmad Al-Haznawi who came to the US in June 2001. Al-Haznawi had been at Kandahar, where Yazid Sufaat’s anthrax lab was located.

    Whenever there was a positive finding, however, the FBI concluded it was a false positive. When a genetics test narrowed 700-1000 researchers to 300, the FBI closed the case.

    Yazid Sufaat told Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that he was not at risk because he and his two assistants had been vaccinated to protect them against their work with virulent anthrax. (Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was identified as “the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks” by the 9/11 Commission Report). One of those assistants was tortured and then kept in secret prisons in Jordan and Israel. He told his CIA interrogators that “I made the anthrax” but then later would recant.

    The main evidence relied upon by the FBI was Dr. Ivins’ work at night and on weekends in late September and early October 2001. The documents eventually produced by USAMRIID under FOIA and published on Lew’s blog, however, show that Dr. Ivins was working on an experiment with 52 rabbits. Checking on animals at night and on weekends was a one person job and would take a couple of hours. That is the amount of time Dr. Ivins spent in the lab. The binding and mandatory protocol required that the principal investigator conduct the observations for the first 7 days after the rabbits were injected in early October 2001. US Attorney Taylor in explaining Ivins’ overtime in Fall 2001 (including November and December) overlooked the 2-person rule first implemented in January 2002 that precluded such overtime. That is why there would have been no continuing late night hours working alone past December 2001. The FBI’s Amerithrax Investigative Summary makes no mention of the rabbits.

    Either it was (a) negligent for the FBI not to know of the experiment or (b) the 52 rabbits were knowingly stuffed down into a hat.

    4. handwriting evidence is exculpatory for Ivins

    Other evidence was exculpatory. For example, a handwriting report by the FBI’s handwriting expert – nowhere mentioned in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary – concluded that Dr. Ivins probably did not write the letters.

    5. a contaminant found in the attack anthrax was not found in Dr. Ivins lab

    The genetically distinctive b. subtilis contaminant found in the Brokaw and New York Post anthrax letters was not found in Dr. Ivins’ lab. Similarly, meglumine and diatrizoate were in Flask 1029 but not in the mailed anthrax.

    The FBI acknowledges it did not swab all the other suspect labs for the b. subtilis contaminant.

    6. the psychological profile of Ivins is not reliable

    The FBI, in the case they initially touted as being established by the scientific evidence, then turned to its stock psychological profile of a lone nut. The FBI’s key witness, however, was Dr. Ivins’ first counselor who has written a 2009 book explaining that when she counseled Dr. Ivins, she was receiving her instructions each night from an alien. She reports that the alien had implanted a microchip in her butt. She thought that murderous astral entities were attached to her clients in her new part-time addictions counseling gig. In her book, she explained that each night she would fly to Afghanistan and Ground Zero. The astral entities would chase her back home, and she would narrowly escape through a vortex of energy that would close up behind her. That counselor annotated the psychiatrists’ notes. Her notes and her annotations were handed to a second counselor in July 2008.

    The second counselor then sought a restraining order that day against Dr. Ivins, alleging he was a murderous sociopath, just as the first counselor controlled by the alien had claimed. This was part of the tragic chain of events that led to Dr. Ivins suicide.

    7. Al Qaeda had a deep involvement in anthrax over many years

    Dr. Ayman Zawahiri’s colleagues explained in 1998 that he intended to use anthrax against US targets to retaliate for the rendering of senior Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) leaders, including the Blind Sheik Abdel Rahman. Ali Mohammed, the EIJ head of intelligence, had a document on his computer seized by the FBI that outlined principles of cell security that would be followed. Ali Mohammed trained Dahab, a Cairo medical drop-out, to make deadly letters. Dahab was involved in the founding of the Blind Sheik’s Services Organization in Brooklyn.

    Zawahiri recruited Pakistan government scientist Rauf Ahmad to infiltrate Porton Down-sponsored conferences in the UK in 1999 and 2000. In1999, after visiting a first lab that did not have pathogenic strains, Rauf Ahmad arranged to visit a second lab. He ominously began a letter to Dr. Ayman about that visit to the second lab: “I have successfully achieved the targets.”

    The public still does not know the identity of that second lab.

    Rauf Ahmad reported to Dr. Ayman that he had made contacts that were helpful in learning processing tricks. The official history of MI5 indicates that Ahmad was intercepted leaving with equipment and strains after the 2000 conference. At the 2000 conference, Rauf Ahmad and his co-authors presented a paper on harvesting anthrax in the wild and killing mice with 100 injected spores. That abstract is online. The FBI and CIA thus had reason to know that Al Qaeda’s anthrax scientist already had been working with virulent anthrax.

    The information on what the Al Qaeda anthrax scientist took with him from the 1999 lab continues to be suppressed.

    So it should be no surprise that the label of “anthrax spore concentrate” harvested in April 2001 appears to be in the handwriting of Rauf Ahmad. CIA Director Tenet reports in his book that Ahmad helped set up Yazid Sufaat’s lab in Kandahar in May 2001. Rauf Ahmad, in occasional correspondence, would not cooperate with me unless I paid him money. The Washington Post correspondent in Pakistan once arranged to conduct an interview but then the Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence backpedaled on its consent.

    8. Who were the real perpetrators?

    I think it is most likely that Adnan El-Shukrijumah was the mailer of the letters containing anthrax in Fall of 2001, based on the following evidence.

    A number of the individuals associated with Al Qaeda’s anthrax program were closely associated with Adnan El-Shukrijumah. Adnan El-Shukrijumah was the son of a salaried Saudi missionary who while the family lived in Brooklyn would translate for Blind Sheik Abdel-Rahman. Shukrijumah was at a Sarasota, FL home with his accomplice, 911 lead hijacker Mohammed Atta.

    Shukrijumah called his mother on or about September 11, 2001 to tell her he was coming to the United States. He insisted he was coming over her protests that he would be arrested. The FBI reported that El-Shukrijumah, traveling under an alias, entered the United States sometime after September 1, 2001. Shukrijumah was with Atta and the other hijackers at a Sarasota, FL home associated with a close advisor of a key Saudi Arabian prince.

    The FBI did not tell the “Joint Inquiry” about Shukrijumah even though he was known to be an associate of Mohammed Atta.

    Leaked detainee statements from Guantanamo indicate that Shukrijumah lived in safe houses in Karachi from February 2002 to April 2002. Hawsawi was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s assistant and had documents explaining how to turn anthrax into a powder. Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab was equipped with a dryer, centrifuge and the other equipment the FBI deems necessary to make a dried powder out of anthrax.

    Shukrijumah was killed in a raid in Pakistan’s tribal area late last year. The public may learn more about Shukijumah and his association with Mohammed Atta in a litigation under FOIA.

    As to the identify of the processor of the mailed anthrax, Yazid Sufaat, in written correspondence with me, does not deny responsibility for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings.

    9. 2001 anthrax attacks … summary of conclusions

    1. The FBI’s suggested solution is not established by the evidence it has presented.

    2. There is much evidence which strongly suggests an al Qaeda involvement.

    3. Aspects of the scenario presented in Lew Weinstein’s novel CASE CLOSED are all-too-plausible.

    4. And, moving forward, the Al Qaeda anthrax threat remains very real.

  6. DXer said

    “Our concerns in this regard were heightened when Pakistani biologist Rauf Ahmed confessed in 2002 that he personally discussed causing a mass casualty attack in the United States using bacillus anthracis with Ayman Zawahiri. Among the pieces of evidence was a letter that Ahmed had written to the al-Qaeda Deputy Chief relating the progress of his efforts. We were able to confirm Ahmed’s biological weapon-related relationship with Zawahiri through a number of sources.”

    How to Get Terrorists to Talk
    A former CIA interrogator on the “do’s” and “don’ts” of interrogation.
    Rolf Mowatt-Larssen
    February 18, 2015

    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-get-terrorists-talk-12270

  7. DXer said

    Numerous major newspapers and journals have published editorials urging that the FBI’s proposed solution of Amerithrax should be reconsidered. Frontline, ProPublic and McClatchy joined together in an in-depth investigative look and found the FBI’s evidence unconvincing. Most of Dr. Ivins’ colleagues, in sworn civil deposition testimony, have detailed the reasons the FBI’s “Ivins Theory” lacks merit. Senator Daschle, one of the recipients of the mailed anthrax, in a 2013 book emphasizes: “To this day, authorities have not conclusively figured out who mailed those letters.” The FBI’s anthrax expert Claire Fraser-Liggett has explained that the genetic analysis of the spores in Ivins’ flask do not indicate Ivins is guilty and the FBI’s use of the science was misleading.

    The Government Accountability Office formally concluded that the FBI’s reliance on 4 morphs was flawed. But even more fundamentally, that analysis merely narrowed things to several hundred scientists who had access. The reality that any one of them could have given the genetically matching Ames strain to someone else. Security at labs was very lax and a researcher could simply walk out with a sample of anthrax strain used in the Fall 2001 mailing. Even though the FBI had estimated up to 377 had access required elimination — and that was just at USAMRIID — US Taylor falsely claimed in August 2008 that only 100 needed to be eliminated. He premised his conclusion on the claim that only those with access at USAMRIID’s Building 1425 had to be eliminated — overlooking the fact that the genetically matching Ames was also stored in Building 1412.

    Dr. Ayman Zawahiri’s colleagues explained in 1998 that he intended to use anthrax against US targets to retaliate for the rendering of senior Egyptian Islamic Jihad leaders, to include Blind Sheik Abdel Rahman. Ali Mohammed, the head of intelligence for Egyptian Islamic Jihad, had a document on his computer seized by the FBI that outlined principles of cell security that would be followed in such an operation. Ali Mohammed trained Dahab, a Cairo medical drop-out, to make deadly letters; Dahab was involved in the founding of the Blind Sheik’s Services Organization in Brooklyn.

    Dr. Ayman recruited Pakistan government scientist Rauf Ahmad to infiltrate Porton Down-sponsored conferences in the UK in 1999 and 2000. After visiting a first lab that did not have pathogenic strain, Rauf Ahmad arranged to visit a second lab. He ominously began a letter to Dr. Ayman about that visit to the second lab: “I have successfully achieved the targets.” The public still does not know the identity of that second lab.

    Rauf Ahmad, after attending the Porton Down conference in 1999, reported to Dr. Ayman that he had made contacts that were helpful in learning processing tricks. The official history of MI5 indicate that he was intercepted leaving with equipment and strains after the 2000 conference. At the 2000 conference, Rauf Ahmad’s paper on harvesting anthrax in the wild and killing mice with 100 injected was presented. That abstract is online. The FBI and CIA thus had reason to know that Al Qaeda’s anthrax scientist had provably already been working with virulent anthrax. The information on what he took with him from the 1999 lab continues to be suppressed. So it should be no surprise that the label of “anthrax spore concentrate” harvested in April 2001 appears to be in the handwriting of Rauf Ahmad. CIA Director Tenet reports in his book that Rauf Ahmad helped set up Yazid Sufaat’s lab in Kandahar in May 2001. Rauf Ahmad, in occasional correspondence, would not cooperate with me unless I paid him money. The Washington Post correspondent in Pakistan had arranged to conduct an interview but then the ISI backpedaled on its consent.

    The potential access to Ames is not reasonably denied. For example, a microbiologist connected to the Al Qaeda network shared a suite with the leading DARPA-funded Ames anthrax researchers at George Mason University. One, Ken Alibek, had been a former Russian bioweaponeer and the other had been the former commander of USAMRIID. Indeed, one non-citizen from Sudan and then Egypt for a few days in 1998 worked alongside Bruce Ivins in the B3 with Ames anthrax. He studied at Cairo Medical where Dr. Ayman Zawahiri recruited students to jihad every Friday. Dr. Ayman’s sister Heba taught microbiology at Cairo Medical.

    As NAS Vice-Chairman David Relman explained in “Science,” Ames was detected at a lab in Afghanistan. Indeed, Ames was detected in the remains of the hijacker who came in June 2001. The hijacker had been at Kandahar, where Yazid Sufaat’s anthrax lab was located. Yazid Sufaat told KSM that he was not at risk because he and his two assistants had been vaccinated to protect them against their work with virulent anthrax. Whenever there was a positive finding, however, the FBI concluded it was a false positive. Yet when a genetics test narrowed 700-1000 to 300, the FBI closed the case. One of those assistants was tortured and then kept in secret prisons in Jordan and Israel. He told his CIA interrogators that “I made the anthrax” but then later would recant.

    The main evidence relied upon by the FBI was Dr. Ivins’ work at night and on weekends in late September and early October 2001. The documents eventually produced by USAMRIID under FOIA and published on Lew’s blog, however, show that Dr. Ivins was working on an experiment with 52 rabbits. Checking on animals at night and on weekends was a one person job and would take a couple of hours. That is what Dr. Ivins spent. The binding and mandatory protocol required that the principal investigator conduct the observations for the first 7 days after the rabbits were injected in early October 2001. US Attorney Taylor in explaining Ivins’ overtime in Fall 2001 (including November and December) overlooked that the 2-person rule that in 2002 precluded such overtime. That is why there would have been no continuing late night hours working alone past December 2001. Dr. Ivins’ hours were in no way suspicious. The FBI’s Amerithrax Investigative Summary makes no mention of the rabbits — it either was negligent for the FBI not to know of the experiment or 52 rabbits were knowingly stuffed down into a hat.

    Other imagined evidence involved a concocted interpretation of a coded message: “PAT FNY”. The only expert interviewed by the FBI about the code in the letters for which documents were produced disagreed with the FBI’s theory of code in the letters. He noted that all the letters needed for the FBI’s interpretation of the code were NOT in fact double-lined. The documentary evidence showing that Ayman Zawahiri used “school” as code — the return address on the letters to the Senators — and not Bruce Ivins.

    Other evidence was exculpatory. For example, in a handwriting report nowhere mentioned in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary concluded that Dr. Ivins probably did not write the letters.

    The genetically distinctive b. subtilis contaminant found in the Brokaw and New York Post anthrax letters was not found in Dr. Ivins lab. The FBI acknowledges it did not swab all the other suspect labs for b. subtilis contaminant.

    The FBI, in the case they initially touted as being established by the scientific evidence, then turned to its stock psychological profile of a lone nut. The FBI’s key witness however, was Dr. Ivins’ first counselor who has written a 2009 book explaining that when she counseled Dr. Ivins, she was receiving her instructions each night from an alien. She reports that the alien, she believed, had implanted a microchip in her butt. She thought that murderous astral entities were attached to her clients in her new part-time addictions counseling gig. In her book, she explained that each night she would fly to Afghanistan and Ground Zero. The astral entities would chase her back home, and she would narrowly escape through a vortex of energy that would close up behind her. That counselor annotated the psychiatrists’ notes. Her notes were handed to the second counselor in July 2008 — and the second counselor then sought a restraining order that day against Dr. Ivins leading up to Dr. Ivins’ suicide. She alleged he was a murderous sociopath. The chain of events led to Dr. Ivins suicide.

    Lew Weinstein has done a huge public service. Week after week — over the course of years — he uploaded the original documents so that the public can see for itself the lack of evidence supporting the FBI’s Ivins Theory. Dr. Ayman Zawahiri and his fellow members are part of a cult of death. Dr. Ayman seems determined to attack the United States in a mass attack. The FBI must not rest on a mistaken intelligence and true crime analysis. Zawahiri has shown himself to be all too willing to kill innocents, to include innocent elderly and children.

    In written exchanges with me, Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat does not deny responsibility for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. Instead he “pleads the Fifth.” I believe Adnan El-Shukrijumah, who like Yazid Sufaat stayed at KSM’s house in Kandahar in September 2001, was the anthrax mailer.

    A number of the individuals associated with Al Qaeda’s anthrax program were closely associated with Adnan El-Shukrijumah. Adnan El-Shukrijumah was the son of a salaried Saudi missionary who while the family lived in Brooklyn would translate for Blind Sheik Abdel-Rahman. Shukrijumah was at a Sarasota, FL home with his accomplice, 911 lead hijacker Mohammed Atta. Shukrijumah called his mother on or about September 11, 2001 to tell her he was coming to the United States. He insisted over her protests that he would be arrested. The FBI reported that Adnan El-Shukrijumah had entered the United States sometime after September 1, 2001. The FBI did not tell the “Joint Inquiry” about Shukrijumah. It turns out that he was a known associate of Mohammed Atta and met and him and the other hijackers at a Sarasota, FL home associated with a close advisor of a key Saudi Arabia prince.

    Leaked detainee statements from Guantanamo indicate that Shukrijumah lived in safe houses in Karachi from February 2002-April 2002. Hawsawi was KSM’s assistant and had productions explaining how to turn anthrax into a powder. Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab was equipped with a dryer, centrifuge and the other equipment the FBI deems necessary to make a dried powder out of anthrax. Shukrijumah was killed in a raid in Pakistan’s tribal area late last year. The public may learn more about Shukijumah and his association with Mohammed Atta in a litigation under FOIA .

    Separately, documents in Ali Al-Timimi’s pending case may shed some light about his possible access to the genetically matching Ames. Ali Al-TImimi shared a suite with the leading DARPA-funded Ames anthrax researchers. “911 imam” Anwar Al-Awlaki was coordinating with his fellow Falls Church imam, Al-Timimi. Awlaki in the Al Qaeda publication “Inspire”, from his grave, urged followers to attack using a biological weapon. Ali Al-Timimi had unfettered access to the largest microbiological repository in the world. The bacteriology collection scientist was the future head of the Amerithrax science investigation who would help guide the review by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the production of documents from the FBI to NAS.

    The Technical Review Panel Summary notes that the NY Post sample had apparently been treated with hydrophilic silica. The term “weaponization” — when equated with “floatability” — is used as a straw man to avoid the potential key probativeness of the silicon signature. Former FBI WMD Director Vahid Majidi says the silica could have been in the culture medium. To credit that the silicon signature did not relate to “weaponization” – as many of us do — does not avoid the fact that it is potentially highly probative, and without more tends to be exculpatory of Dr. Ivins. For example, if it relates to “microencapsulation” using hydrophilic silica, that might be a huge lead. Leading experts Weber and Velsko, key experts on the nonmicrobiological signature signature, think that further study is warranted to determine the source of the silicon signature.

    The FBI’s Ivins Theory is Hatfill Theory redux. The “Hatfill Theory” was part of the same unstoppable train wreck as the “Ivins Theory.” There was a change of cars (investigators), but it was the same flawed train of reasoning and the investigators never overcame the earlier truncated emphasis of the investigation.

    There are many difficult potential conflicts of interest in Amerithrax. Those conflicts of interests were not addressed by the GAO’s extremely narrowly focused review. For example, USAMRIID’s John Ezzell, the FBI’s anthrax expert, prior to 9/11, made a dried aerosol using Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins and sent to Johns-Hopkins Applied Physics. The daughter of the lead Amerithrax prosecutor then represented “anthrax weapons suspects” Ali Al-Timimi for free. The prosecutor pled the Fifth Amendment at civil deposition when questioned about whether he leaked hyped reports about Hatfill that led the investigation astray.

    It may very well be that Dr. Ayman Zawahiri is the one to write the history of Amerithrax. In the meantime, we can entertain ourselves with Lew Weinstein’s novel and consider the possibilities.

  8. DXer said

    Paul Boger, Mississipans to be on Alert for Possible Terrorists,

    http://www.mpbonline.org/blogs/news/2015/02/04/fbi-director-urges-mississippians-to-be-on-alert-for-possible-terrorists/

    The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation says his agency is currently looking into potential terrorism cases in Mississippi. The FBI is counting on local law enforcement and citizens to help stop attacks before they happen.

    Comment:

    In 2001, I once knew someone who grew up in Maadi down the street from Dr. Ayman Zawahiri and then attended Cairo Medical. He was a very nice fellow. He shaved his beard on 9/11. My acquaintance once told me that back in Egypt he himself was an emir and would have to caution a fellow walking aside him to switch sides so as to not draw attention. (Apparently there was protocol where the emir walked on a certain side). He said he couldn’t go near the mosque, although at the time I didn’t understand why.

    Approaching the first anniversary of 9/11, I bought him four one-way tickets on Spirit Airlines on 9/11/2002 for $1. There was a promotion and I wanted to maintain some humor given the awkwardness of the situation. I told him that they were for his friends. In particular, though, I sought to gain insight about Dr. Ayman and my friend’s former acquaintances from Brooklyn. I’ve always thought that Brooklyn — and who knew who — was a key to the correct intelligence analysis of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings.

    It turns out, I believe, that Adnan El-Shukrijumah — from Brooklyn — was the mailer of the Fall 2001 anthrax letters. In 2002, the FBI and CIA was suppressing information about Adnan El-Shukrijumah and never told the Joint Inquiry or 911 Commission what they knew about Shukrijumah. As a result, I continued to miss that critical piece to the puzzle. Although I had long felt that the Fall 2001 anthrax mailer was a supporter of Blind Sheik Abdel-Rahman and other detained senior EIJ leaders, I had not ever heard Shukrijumah’s name. I did not know about his close connection to Mohammed Atta and the Al Qaeda anthrax program (to include KSM and Hawsawi).

    I did point out to the CIA the possible importance of Moussaoui to a profile of Amerithrax (in a December 2001 emailed memo). But I did not know of Moussaoui’s connection to Yazid Sufaat. I did not learn about Yazid Sufaat until February 2002, when news of his capture was reported.

    My friend, Dr. Ayman’s childhood friend, much later explained the importance of the hadiths to analysis. (I’m otherwise pretty ignorant about religion and many other things). He noted that Qutb was a more important thinker than Dr. Ayman. Before I met him, I believe my friend had sent his wife and child back to Egypt to avoid Americanization. It was only later that I met his wonderful and enchanting new, and fully Americanized, wife.

    Early on, I had posted that two EIJ operatives were arrested in 1998 and spilled all they knew about EIJ network in the United States (see recent list of original AQ members). Years later, my acquaintance, Dr. Ayman’s childhood friend, would ask me how I knew what I knew. I explained that in December 2001, I had found a database at the local university library called Foreign Broadcast Information System (FBIS) which was a CIA database (at the time).

    With my friend not drinking, in December 2001 and throughout 2002, I was short on ideas on how to learn more about Dr. Ayman because of the awkwardness of the inquiries. That was very unfortunate. My friend later explained (in 2006 or 2007, I think) that he was the brother of the chief Egyptian prosecutor and so he likely knew a lot. I don’t doubt his shared insight that Dr. Ayman was a murderous guy.

    Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat similarly once asked me how I knew what I knew and, truth be told, it was just through knowing Dr. Ayman’s friends. Yazid Sufaat did not deny responsibility for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings — he pled the Fifth Amendment. I would much prefer to talk to a truth-teller Al Qaeda operative than a lying, self-serving government official, interested more in his future career prospects than in convincingly solving the whodunnit. Ironically, KSM told what he knew to interrogators in 2003 because he assumed the government already knew it. Judging from what I was posting all over the internet about Yazid Sufaat and Ayman Zawahiri, he had reason to think that.

    Being a longtime fan of the FBI and a true crime hobbyist, I normally would be inclined to favor a “keep your ears” open. (In 2002, I was derisively called an “FBI fanboy” by one poster). But I’ve swung from a “Columbo” to a “Rockford Files” view of the FBI and law enforcement generally. Based on my personal experience, I would not encourage trying to help the FBI — not with lost paintings, public corruption, or counterterrorism. If your insights do not square with their preconceptions (see their stupid early October 2001 profile in Amerithrax) or the self-interest of the career-minded FBI employees making decisions, it likely will not turn out well for you. Law enforcement is filled with Lt. Chapmans, the bane of Rockford’s existence. The FBI, in my personal experience, does not even comply with FOIA. Moreover, only being human, they are just as likely snorting the evidence or allowing an investigation to be messed up to avoid getting in trouble upon a subject’s suicide. To be fair across professions — book authors, journalists, psychiatrists have proved to do the same. It seems no one is quick to correct their mistakes. Everyone (understandably) seems to act in their best interest — and that seldom will square with yours. So you might as well enjoy your life and concern yourself with your health, family and friends — and whatever you consider the essentials of life (e.g., food, scrabble and nature).

    Two federal undercovers have cost me — in my opinion — millions of dollars in unrelated legal matters.

    So given that FBI Director Comey didn’t bother to reopen Amerithrax, I recommend that you just go about your life and let the FBI handle counterterrorism. We can wish them well. Dr. Ayman or his minions will enter proof of Director Comey’s and Director Mueller’s mistakes into the record soon enough. It will take only a single confession. Let’s hope that too many do not die. Meanwhile, Vahid Majidi openly asks him in an e-book marketed to his Linked-In contacts that Director Comey, his former supervisor, cover his ass in an Amerithrax. (He is confident that Comey has his back).

    There will always be demented religious cultists — both here and abroad. And there will always be CIA and FBI agents who do not want to risk having their career prospects undermined. So simply do not count on them to do the right thing if it looks like they were wrong. In the case of iSIS, ISIS exists because the United States knowingly invaded Iraq based on falsified intelligence– which included, to an important extent, suppressing the information about Al Qaeda’s anthrax program (and access to Ames from a Western lab rather than Iraq).

    The way we can avoid deluded young men going abroad to kill themselves — or worse yet, to kill their neighbors — is to engage in community outreach and make friends. We can leave it our government and men like Prince Bandar to screw things up for American citizens. We can leave it to Prince Bandar to corrupt our system with large cash bribes and prevent the truth from coming out while promoting a perpetual war. We can leave it to our government to invade Iraq based on intel they knew to be false because they suppressed the information, for example, about Rauf Ahmad and anthrax. It’s really quite outrageous that the public doesn’t know the second lab that Rauf Ahmad visited. Most observers are clueless enough not to realize how much that it matters.

    If Prince Bandar and our government officials who participate in the revolving door of our military-industrial complex are the consummate professionals (see interview below), then I am proud to be an amateur.

    Unless FBI Director Comey publicly favors disclosure of the “28 pages” and disclosure of the documents relating to El-Shukrijumah, I don’t see that the FBI deserves the help of the American public. Consider it tough love from someone who believes that the best way to prevent future terrorism is to solve past terrorist acts.

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

    Sarkis Soghanalian
    World’s Largest Cold War Arms Merchant – March 2001

    http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/sierraleone/soghanalian.html

    “When you say it could be very dangerous what do you mean?

    Leaking out the information and things like that, because this business runs on individuals and individuals alone. Not by several employees. Amateurs like to talk a lot. They like to talk to the opponent to impress him and say a little bit more than [they should].

    So the business is built on trust?

    Mainly on trust, yes, and secrecy. …You listen with your mouth and you talk with your ears. But then you don’t blame anyone who said something wrong.”

    • DXer said

      Zacarias Moussaoui says al-Qaida was backed by Saudi Arabia. But can he be believed?
      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/04/zacarias-moussaoui-al-qaida-backed-by-saudi-arabia

      Another plan Moussaoui says was mooted at the time was to use a crop duster to spray some kind of chemical weapon. This may well be true, but is not new: it was considered a threat in 2001.

      Why make these allegations now?

      ***

      But Moussaoui’s charges come at an interesting time. Former US senator Bob Graham recently called for the release of 28 pages redacted from an 800-page joint congressional inquiry from 2002 on the 9/11 attacks of which he was lead author, saying they “point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as the principal financier” of the hijackers.

      The pages are being withheld for reasons of national security, though Barack Obama has reportedly told 9/11 families that he wants to see the pages declassified. Given the strength of the deputation the US president recently led to Riyadh to cement ties following the succession of King Salman to the Saudi throne, and the cost to the relationship of releasing the missing chapter, it does not appear likely that anyone, inside or outside a supermax, will be reading it soon.

      Comment:

      Although it is of strictly historical interest, the Hughes helicopters that the former Saudi head of intelligence Prince Bandar financed for Iraq — in the sale arranged by Sarkis Soghanalian — had a quick release pesticide mechanism. According to Iraq foreign minister Tariq Aziz, they were for cropdusting missions, and were to be delivered to the Ministry of Agriculture.

      On its face, the cover story was a crock — given that it was the height of the Iraq-Iran war. Saudi Arabia feared being overrun by Iranian infantry. 800,000 Iranian infantry died.

      So while I have no means of corroborating a particular claim made by loose cannon Zacarias Moussaoui, I think his claims should be carefully vetted — to start, the “28 pages” should be released.

      Then we can more carefully consider his claim that they considered dispersing a chemical weapon using a crop duster.

      Saudi Arabia has specifically urged that the “28 pages” be released — because it is difficult to defend against blank pages. And so I am disappointed by the pessimism reflected in this Guardian article.

      Instead, journalists should take the Saudi embassy at its word. The embassy has specifically backed release of the 28 pages. (And of course, if the embassy was lying, then that’s the problem).

    • DXer said

      The Scott Shane article in the New York Times is the only article I’ve seen so far that links the Moussoui testimony. I wish more media outlets would link source documents.

      https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1569256/2927-5-moussaoui-transcript-1.pdf

      https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1569257/2927-6-moussaoui-transcript-2.pdf

      https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1569258/2927-7-moussaoui-transcript-3.pdf

      https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1569259/2927-8-moussaoui-transcript-4.pdf

    • DXer said

      http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/bob-kerrey-moussaoui-saudis-full-9-11-truth-article-1.2105003

      Moussaoui, Saudis & the full 9/11 truth

      Release the 28-page classified section of a congressional intelligence committee report

      BY Bob Kerrey
      NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
      Friday, February 6, 2015, 5:00 AM
      The news that an Al Qaeda terrorist residing in a Supermax prison in Colorado has accused members of the Saudi royal family of complicity in terrorist activities in the late 1990s and beyond should scramble the nation’s national security apparatus to action.

      We do not need another 9/11 Commission. That independent commission, on which I sat, produced an extensive report. So did congressional intelligence committees, including 28 classified pages that directly addressed the Saudi role in financing the attacks.

      Those pages must be declassified now. President Obama has promised 9/11 family members as much, and many members of Congress who have read the section understand that the benefit of shining a bright light on recent history will be far greater than any harm to U.S.-Saudi relations.

      Even the Saudi government wants them declassified.

      After that happens, Congress, which has all the power it needs to get to the bottom of these allegations, is duty bound to the American people to do just that.

      The terrorist in question, who’s just made the explosive claims, is Zacarias Moussaoui. He held a position of “high respect” in Al Qaeda and, according to the U.S. government, dealt directly with Osama Bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. For his role in 9/11, he was imprisoned for the rest of his life.

      We know he has information that people outside of Al Qaeda do not and could not have.

      The Saudi government insists that he is mentally unstable. They base this on the notion that his “lawyers” argued as much to the court during his trial.

      But actually, Moussaoui primarily represented himself. The only assertion that he lacked mental competence was made by the legal team that had been representing him. The judge who presided over his trial and sentenced him rejected the contention out of hand.

      She deemed Moussaoui to be a very intelligent man who understood the law even better than some lawyers who appeared before her.

      So, should we believe Moussaoui, including when he claims that he once discussed with a member of the Saudi Embassy in Washington a plan to shoot down Air Force One with a Stinger missile?

      That’s the wrong question. The right question is: “Do we have the whole truth and, if not, how can we get it?”

      As far as I’m concerned, we do not have the whole truth. As an example, the Saudi government and its lawyers repeatedly assert that the 9/11 Commission on which I served concluded that it and the royal family had nothing to do with 9/11. That is just untrue.

      The Commission made clear that it did not have all the facts and that further investigation was necessary. Moreover, we had no access to Moussaoui (or other potentially useful witnesses).

      So, who can get to the truth?

      Congress can. It must also pass Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act sponsored by Sens. Chuck Schumer and John Cornyn. This will allow victims of 9/11 and other terrorist acts to sue foreign countries that funded terrorist groups — and cut through the unconscionable delays preventing families of 9/11 victims from seeking the truth and compensation they deserve.

      There is also a role for the executive branch. The Department of Justice can and must investigate Moussaoui’s claims to help us and the Congress judge their validity.

      I’m not unsympathetic to the importance of maintaining public alliance with Saudi Arabia. We need them in the fight against ISIS and as negotiations continue with Iran over its nuclear program.

      But that is no excuse to sweep these charges under the rug. Al Qaeda has American blood on its hands and it wants more. We deserve to know precisely and completely who funded their terrorist acts. We deserve to know it soon.

      Kerrey is a former U.S. senator from Nebraska and was a member of the 9/11 Commission.

    • DXer said

      “Some have argued that it should remain secret because it includes material that had not been investigated enough, but others, speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, have said there was no good reason not to have it released.

      People familiar with the report said most of the material that remained classified originated with the FBI.”

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/obama-considers-release-of-secret-sections-of-report-on-saudi-arabia-ties-to-al-qaeda-10029728.html

      Comment:

      Attorney Zelikow, former head of the 911 Commission, should reconsider his position on release of the “28 pages” excised from the earlier “Joint Inquiry” report. It would be hard to improve on the rationale of former US Senator Kerrey in an editorial.

      In late 2000 and early 2001, Zelikow served on President Bush’s transition team. Zelikow favored suppression of the information and still seems not to grasp the role he should have played in favoring transparency — rather than abiding the wishes of Prince Bandar’s close friends in the White House, such as Mr. Zelikow’s former co-author Condi Rice.

      History will not be kind to those who continue to favor “hide-the-ball.” Former 911 Commission Chairman Lee Hamilton has said he is embarrassed to have been associated with the 911 Commission given all the redactions. (In addition to the entire chapter excised from the “Joint Inquiry” report, there were numerous additional redactions to Joint Inquiry materials and the 911 Commission materials.)

      From Wikipedia, keeper of the changeable public myth:

      “In Rise of the Vulcans (2004), James Mann reports that when Richard Haas, a senior aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell and the director of policy planning at the State Department, drafted an overview of America’s national security strategy following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Dr. Rice, the national security advisor, “ordered that the document be completely rewritten. She thought the Bush administration needed something bolder, something that would represent a more dramatic break with the ideas of the past. Rice turned the writing over to her old colleague [and co-author] , University of Virginia Professor Philip Zelikow.” This document, issued on September 17, 2002, is recognized as a significant document in the Bush administration doctrine of preemptive war.[6][7]”

      ***

      “After being informed of the Department of Defense’s Able Danger project by U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, he failed to have the 9/11 Commission investigate, despite the promise that the Commission would investigate all 9/11 related topics. Able Danger was not included in the Commission’s final report.”

      Mr. Zelikow’s opposition to the Bush policy on torture shows that he can think for himself — and developments have shown that history takes no prisoners. He should change his position on the “28 pages” and announce support for release of the “28 pages.”

      Dean Zelikow not seeking reappointment

      University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily-Feb 4, 2014
      History Prof. Philip Zelikow, associate dean for the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, has decided not to seek reappointment at the end of the …
      http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2014/02/dean-zelikow-not-seeking-reappointment

  9. DXer said

    Two days ago Daniel Pellow uploaded a very attractive set of graphics describing the FBI’s Amerithrax case and conclusion. Its beauty marred only by the fact that when the science does not provide support for Dr. Ivins being responsible, the presentation turns to a stock FBI profile about a loner with a grudge.

    He nowhere mentions the GAO review of the FBI’s reliance on the 4 morphs.

    Or alternative profiles.

    If one is going to take that approach — ignoring the scientific dead-ends and chucking it all for the FBI’s stock lone nut profile with a grudge — one might as well not bother at all with the mult-million dollar forensic approach. One might as well not collect or analyze intelligence.

    But note that the author says that the manufacturing process is known — he says it is known to have been freeze dried. That is contrary to the mid-August 2008 press conference. On what does he rely?

    For example, on what does he conclude (or did the FBI conclude) that a fluidized bed dryer was not used?

    In any event, that fact would be exculpatory of Dr. Ivins.

    25 was in Suite B5, not Suite B3 where Dr. Ivins was on the nights in question (where he was doing the study with the 52 rabbits)
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 11, 2011
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/the-lyophilizer-in-building-1425-was-in-suite-b5-not-suite-b3-where-dr-ivins-was-on-the-nights-in-question-where-he-was-doing-the-study-with-the-52-rabbits/

    Daniel relies on the fact that Ivins was alone in the lab. Forensic scientists seem averse to document review when merely accepting a prosecutor’s assertions.

    DXer summarizes the documentary evidence relating to Dr. Ivins work with rabbits (nowhere mentioned by the DOJ) which demolishes the FBI’s claim that Dr. Ivins had no reason to be in the lab

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 3, 2012
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/dxer-summarizes-the-documentary-evidence-which-demolishes-the-fbis-ivins-theory/

    He discusses the photocopy tracking marks — with no match being found — but does not discuss the comparison of the photocopy toner. Which has 99% confidence levels in the newest tests.

    He discusses the handwriting analysis but nowhere cites that the FBI’s expert found that judging by the handwriting Dr. Ivins did not write the Fall 2001 anthrax letters.

    In the formal handwriting examination conducted in the Amerithrax investigation, it was concluded that “Bruce E. Ivins probably did not write the writings appearing on the ‘anthrax’ envelopes and letters.” The Assistant US Attorney did not disclose that fact in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary.
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 13, 2013
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/in-the-formal-handwriting-examination-conducted-in-the-amerithrax-investigation-it-was-concluded-that-bruce-e-ivins-probably-did-not-write-the-writings-appearing-on-the-anthrax-envelopes-and/

    But we shouldn’t blame Daniel — the FBI did not disclose the FBI’s expert opinion in its Amerithrax summary either.

    At the end of the day, Amerithrax does not represent a conclusion based on science — but reliance on the FBI’s stock profile. The prosecutors and investigators clung dearly to that profile once the subject committed suicide.

    Note that the psychological discussion — once again — relies indirectly on the first counselor Judith McLean who has written a 2009 book saying she got her instructions each night from an alien who had implanted a microchip in her butt.

    She says murderous astral beings were attached to the clients in her part-time counseling gig — she says she was protected from a medical diagnosis of being psychotic by her husband, who was in military personnel.

  10. DXer said

    NCIS: Los Angeles

    In hopes of identifying the source of an anthrax poisoning before terrorists can turn it into a biological weapon, Sam and Callen (LL Cool J, Chris O’Donnell) go undercover as food truck owners in Mexico in the new episode Black Wind. Angelique Cabral and Enrique Castillo guest star. (CBS, Global)

    See
    http://www.tvequals.com/2015/02/02/ncis-los-angeles-season-6-episode-14-black-wind/

    • DXer said

      When is tv going to have plausible plots? Does NCIS really think they can prevent a massive bioterrorism attack without Gibbs?

      Isn’t the Navy that hired the scientist who hosted infiltrating scientist Rauf Ahmad — the scientist who consulted on Amerithrax?

      Consider the time when Al Qaeda used wind as a possible coded reference.

      • DXer said

        The show is on now. The agents are racing to intercept the perp who has arrived at the helipad, having recently learned to fly a helicopter.

    • DXer said

      What was Al Qaeda’s 2004 announcement that its “Winds of Black Death” being 90% complete about? Was this the time when Zawahiri canceled the cyanide plan (dispersed by a special device) involving the New York subway? … with Dr. Ayman indicating he had something bigger in mind? Did the “Black Winds” plot involve Al-Hindi and Shukrijumah?

      Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltraiton of US BIodefense
      http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

      03-11-2004, 06:47 PM
      Purported Qaeda Letter Says U.S. Strike Near Ready

      DUBAI (Reuters) – A letter purporting to come from Osama bin Laden’s militant Islamist al Qaeda network said a big attack on the United States was in the final stages of preparation, a London-based Arabic newspaper said on Thursday.

      “We bring the good news to Muslims of the world that the expected ‘Winds of Black Death’ strike against America is now in its final stage…90 percent (ready) and God willing near,” the letter said.

      The letter, signed by the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades which said it is part of al Qaeda, was sent to the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper. A copy of the letter was faxed to Reuters in Dubai.

      It was not possible to independently authenticate the letter.

      The United States blames al Qaeda for September 2001 attacks on New York on Washington that killed some 3,000 people.

  11. DXer said

    Members Only: Al Qaeda’s Charter List Revealed After 13 Years in US Hands

    By Phil Hirschkorn
    Thursday, January 29, 2015
    http://justsecurity.org/19484/al-qaeda-member-number/

    Syracuse Snow Monster Update

    http://videos.syracuse.com/2015/01/syracuse_snow_monster_update.html

  12. DXer said

    The federal government is more like New York State government than some people may think.

    Sheldon Silver’s downfall exposes corruption in Albany
    By Michael GoodwinJanuary 27, 2015

    “In other words, We the People are the solution. Only when New Yorkers get mad as hell and refuse to take it anymore will the pols go straight.
    Sign me up.

    http://nypost.com/2015/01/27/sheldon-silvers-downfall-exposes-corruption-in-albany/

  13. DXer said

    There is a very clearly and straightforward written thesis on the subject. I commend it to you. It is a masters student at the online American Military University.

    Here is the link:
    8-2014
    The Lingering Specter of Bioterrorism: Assessing Al-Qaeda’s Intent and Capability to Use Biological Weapons against the U.S.
    Mason Ryan Davenport
    http://digitalcommons.apus.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1022&context=theses&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fscholar.google.com%2Fscholar%3Fas_ylo%3D2015%26q%3Danthrax%2Band%2BFBI%26hl%3Den%26as_sdt%3D0%2C33#search=%22anthrax%20FBI%22

    Mr. Davenport concludes:

    “While it is undeniable that al-Qaeda sought to attack the U.S. via biological means, even prior to 9/11, research strongly indicates that the group never came close to developing a lethal microbial agent, no less a concrete bioterror attack plan. Possibly due to the sheer audacity of the 9/11 attacks, the group’s capabilities have been consistently overstated both by politicians in Washington (to promote a strong national biodefense) as well as by al- Qaeda’s own leadership (to keep the U.S. unhinged). Al-Qaeda’s failure to either acquire or cultivate lethal biological agents over the last decade should bear more weight on D.C.’s incessant terrorism-cum-bioweapons debate.”

    I disagree totally with its conclusions. I think Mason is easily proved wrong based on the documentary evidence linked above. But I commend it to you for its lucid writing. I think of it as a case study on where some analysts have been led astray by Milton Leitenberg’s 2005 treatise on biological weapons (along with some later writings in the literature that in turn relied on that). I believe the author went to Alvin Community College and works as an analyst for BAE Systems, a military contractor. A recurring fault of the masters thesis is relying on secondary sources rather than the now (thanks to Lew) widely available original sources.

    But it is never too late for analysts to revise their understanding and conclusions. It never is too late to overcome one’s “confirmation bias” — until it is. It is time for outside commentators to know what some in the FBI and CIA knew long before they totally botched Amerithrax.

    CIA and FBI Knew Rauf Ahmad harvested “anthrax spore concentrate” for Al Qaeda for experiment on guinea pigs on “7-4-001″ – handwriting on anthrax spore concentrate is same as handwriting of Rauf Ahmad in correspondence planning anthrax lab with Ayman Zawahiri
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 26, 2014
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/cia-and-fbi-knew-rauf-ahmad-harvested-anthrax-spore-concentrate-for-al-qaeda-for-experiment-on-guinea-pigs-on-7-4-001-handwriting-on-anthrax-spore-concentrate-is-same-as-handwriting-of-rau/

    The FBI has known since 2001 that a paper at the 2000 UK conference chaired by the lone non-US Amerithrax advisor Les Baillie, explained how Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab scientist Rauf Ahmad had killed mice with 100 injected spores.
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 16, 2014
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/the-fbi-has-known-since-2001-that-a-paper-at-the-2000-uk-conference-chaired-by-the-lone-non-us-amerithrax-advisor-les-baillie-explained-how-al-qaedas-anthrax-lab-scientist-rauf-ahmad-had-killed-m/

    I actuallly agree with Milton’s thoughtful 2005 discussion of overall public health priorities. But it is precisely because there are so many important other public health priorities that we cannot afford to waste years in faulty analysis of documents or selective and overly circumscribed review of the science.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/in-have-we-met-the-enemy-science-3-february-2012-vol-335-no-6068-pp-540-541-dr-david-relman-who-had-been-vice-chairman-of-the-nas-committee-explains/

    Besides, true crime analysis of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings is a whodunnit — not a policy discussion.

    We have to kick Dr. Ayman’s in the butt — once and for all — and then move on to other pressing concerns. For starters, had the truth been established and publicly known, neither Rauf Ahmad nor Yazid Sufaat would have been released — and Al-Barq would not have suffered being kept in a secret prison for a decade.

    • DXer said

      Mason writes:

      “This thesis mainly intends to build upon both Milton Leitenberg’s 2005 monograph and Salama and Hansell’s 2005 Nonproliferation Review report.”

      He writes:

      “This thesis will test the validity of the following two hypotheses:
      Hypothesis 1: Al-Qaeda is no longer actively seeking a biological avenue to achieve their aim of a high-visibility, mass-casualty attack on U.S. soil.”

      “Hypothesis 2: Al-Qaeda and its affiliates have experienced difficulties with producing and/or acquiring lethal pathogens as well as determining effective delivery means; hence, the group will continue to rely on other, more practical tactics.”

      (Let’s hope he is right on both.)

      He writes:

      “Given the fact that the majority of works published on the topic of bioterrorism are estimative or predictive in nature, there is a high probability that varying degrees of academic biases are present. In addition, confirmation bias is possible considering this researcher’s decade-plus experience as an intelligence professional.”

      Self-awareness does not mitigate the faulty analysis where there is a faiure to cite the relevant documentary evidence.

      He continues:

      “To combat all forms of bias, the devil’s advocacy analytic method has been chosen to drive the research. Differing schools of thought will purposely be sought out and investigated at length. The paper will also be submitted to reviews by peers in the Intelligence field. Some segments of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), have likely produced or are in the process of producing similar analytical reports within the classified data spectrum, potentially negating any IC need for this academic paper. However, it is still likely that a paper using only openly available information may hit upon areas or themes that the IC overlooks if only due to a preference for all things classified.”

      Mason hasn’t cited half of the probative original evidence — including the scientific evidence — that was available to him in the public domain.

      A key error is revealed in his biography of Rauf Ahmad.

      Abdur Rauf Ahmed

      “Zawahiri recruited Abdur Rauf Ahmed, a Pakistani government microbiologist, in 1999 to set up labs and acquire appropriate equipment for a bioweapons program. Abdur Rauf was a Ph.D.-level scientist but he was apparently never a ‘true-believer’. He used his degree to gain access to
      Western labs and conferences and supposedly attempted to find lethal strains of anthrax for al-Qaeda, although he “was not prepared to do any of the laboratory work himself” (Leitenberg 2005, 31). Evidently tired of Rauf’s frequent requests for more money and notable lack of progress, Zawahiri “dispensed with his services” in 2000.”

      He cites a secondary source (by Rene and Rohan, who in turn relied heavily on Milton).

      I contacted Milton after reading his 2005 treatise to complain of his failure to quote the relevant first sentence. If his readers were not told that Rauf Ahmad claimed to have achieved his targets upon his visit to the second lab in 1999, then one doesn’t even know the context of the MI5 seizure of samples from Rauf Ahmad after the 2000 conference . Indeed, I asked Milton why he didn’t disclose that the paperwork for the transfer of samples in 1999 was being processed — and he said he just assumed it must have been turned down. Why would he assume that? Bruce Ivins was allowed to work with and provide Ames to a non-citizen who was a former Zawahiri associate. Why would Milton assume anything much was done differently at the unidentified -UK lab? Money talks. Pathogens walk.

      Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
      http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

      To the contrary, MI5 reportedly confirms that Rauf Ahmad was also leaving with samples in 2000. Putting any uncertain details aside, Mason Davenport should have located and then relied upon the 2000 report of Rauf Ahmad’s injection of 100 mice with virulent anthrax to kill them. (I do not know when it was first uploaded to the DTIC database; I first found it in November 2014.) So to be fair, perhaps it was uploaded after Mason did his thesis.

    • DXer said

      Mr. Davenport writes of Yazid Sufaat:

      “Sufaat’s education was less than that of Abdur Rauf and his work in Afghanistan never really progressed beyond the “planning stages” (Clark 2008a, 182).”

      Mason would be free to call the affable Yazid Sufaat a liar. (I have on occasion). But it is not appropriate not to address his claim that he had been part of a secret Malaysian Armed Forces biological weapons program.

      Al Qaeda anthrax lab tech says he had been part of Malaysian Armed Forces biological weapons program
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 23, 2012
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/al-qaeda-anthrax-lab-tech-says-he-had-been-part-of-malaysian-armed-forces-biological-weapons-program/

      Mason relies on a 2008 source from some outside academics rather than Sufaat’s filmed interview several years later. What possibly would justify overlooking a lengthy filmed interview by Al Qaeda anthrax scientist Yazid Sufaat and addressing it?

      In today’s installment of a continuing series, Al Qaeda anthrax lab technician Yazid Sufaat defends his decision to go to Afghanistan to work on his “anthrax project” for Al Qaeda
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 20, 2012
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/interview-yazid-sufaat-released-in-november-2008-says-he-met-osama/

      Al Qaeda anthrax lab tech Yazid Sufaat discusses Zacarias Moussaoui in this 2011 French language television interview
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 28, 2012
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/al-qaeda-anthrax-lab-tech-yazid-sufaat-discusses-zacarias-moussaoui-in-this-2001-french-language-television-interview/

      Although citing other academics and their 2005 writings, I suppose, is fine, in the process to get credentialed. But in the area of intelligence analysis, if leaked classified material is not understood to be better than Milton’s mistaken assumptions, then there is a huge risk that in a compartmentalized bureaucracy the mistaken speculation by outsiders will supplant the actual statements of detainees in interrogation. Many people from the military briefed on the anthrax threat cannot even identify a picture of Ayman Zawahiri.

      Here is a basic truth one can derive from the detainee statements that needs to be accepted and noted in future discussions:

      If Yazid Sufaat and his assistants had not been working with virulent anthrax at the Kandahar lab, there would have been no reason for them to have been vaccinated
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 22, 2014
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/if-yazid-sufaat-and-his-assistants-had-not-been-working-with-virulent-anthrax-at-the-kandahar-lab-there-would-have-been-no-reason-for-them-to-have-been-vaccinated/

    • DXer said

      Here are some additional selected excerpts, passed on without commentary:

      –“Salama and Hansell’s past assertion that “the majority of allegations concerning al-Qaeda’s biological endeavors [involves] anthrax bacteria, botulinum toxin, and ricin” continues to be true to this day, save perhaps for plague (Salama and Hansell 2005, 619).”

      –“Yazid Sufaat’s laboratory in Afghanistan was meant for anthrax production but, by most accounts, he was never close to accomplishing the task Zawahiri set before him despite the fact that B. anthracis is widespread throughout Afghanistan’s cattle population (Pita and Gunaratna 2009, 12). According to Leitenberg, this failure “demonstrates the same difficulty faced by the Aum Shinrikyo group” (Leitenberg 2005, 33).”

      –“August 2002 – A CNN report relays that Abu Khabab al-Masri was a special instructor for al-Qaeda trainees in Afghansitan. Al-Masri reportedly taught using chemical and biological weapons to the students and even conducted live experiments on animals at the camps; ricin is named as one of the toxins he used for these experiments. Mowatt-Larssen writes that al-Masri was upset that the trainees evidently did not take his brand of weapons training “to heart” (Mowatt-Larssen 2010a, 23).”

      –“March 2003 – Ayman Zawahiri calls off a planned attack on the New York City subway system. As this attack was supposed to use cyanide gas, it does not fall into the ‘biological’ category. However, the dispersal device for such an attack could be considered similar to those needed for a successful bioterror attack. Furthermore, Zawahiri was said to have cancelled the plan for “something better” (Tenet 2007, 273).”

      –“October 2003 – The mastermind of the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing, Riduan Isamuddin, tells U.S. interrogators that al-Qaeda wanted to build a bioweapons plant in Indonesia that was intended to weaponize lethal strains of anthrax (Wright 2003).”

      –“August 2010 – U.S. Intelligence officials brief President Barack Obama about Yemen-based al-Qaeda’s “efforts to acquire large quantities of castor beans” in order to produce ricin (Schmitt and Shanker 2011).”

      –“May 3, 2012 – In Inspire, al-Qaeda’s English-language magazine, U.S.-born Anwrar al-Awlaki (who had been killed in a drone strike in Yemen prior to publication) is quoted as saying that “the use of Specter of Bioterrorism chemical and biological weapons against population centers is allowed and is strongly recommended” (Kreider and Ross 2012).”

      –“Nov 18, 2013 – Disclosed Israeli court documents reveal that Tel Aviv has been detaining Samar al-Baraq, a Palestinian microbiologist with alleged ties to al-Qaeda, for the last three years (Lubell 2013).”

      –“The above chronology supports the hypothesis that the al-Qaeda organization has experienced numerous setbacks and difficulties with pursuing biological attack avenues, thereby making biological agents an unappealing weapon choice, especially in light of the other al-Qaeda terror attacks within the same time frame. Also, al-Qaeda’s biological weapons pursuit, which was notably high in the late ‘90s to early 2000s, seems to have waned considerably in recent years. Much of the recent history of al- Qaeda connections to bioterrorism are unsubstantiated, non-specific threats and activities, indicating there may no longer be a full-fledged al-Qaeda bioweapons program as there was just prior to 9/11.”

      “Samar al-Baraq
      Samar al-Baraq is a Palestinian who studied microbiology in Pakistan. The extent of his education is not known. Al-Baraq has been held by Israel since August of 2010 due to “his al-Qaeda connections” (Cohen and Khoury 2013). Tel Aviv has accused al-Baraq of being an al-Qaeda bioweapons expert: the wording of the February 2014 indictment against him expressly mentions that he is knowledgeable in botulinum toxin and that “he practiced killing dogs with poisons and was tasked with developing biological weapons by…Ayman al-Zawahiri” (Levinson 2014).”

      “Abdur Rauf may be the closest al-Qaeda ever came to retaining the proper level of talent needed to undertake bioterrorism. Still, expertise alone is not enough to cultivate a pathogen. “

    • DXer said

      Mason seems to have accepted Rauf Ahmad’s apparent pitching of himself to interrogators on the second day of questioning as incompetent — after reckless lies didn’t work the first day.
      But the documentary evidence indicates he in fact harvested anthrax spore concentrate in April 2001.

      CIA and FBI Knew Rauf Ahmad harvested “anthrax spore concentrate” for Al Qaeda for experiment on guinea pigs on “7-4-001″ – handwriting on anthrax spore concentrate is same as handwriting of Rauf Ahmad in correspondence planning anthrax lab with Ayman Zawahiri
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 26, 2014
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/cia-and-fbi-knew-rauf-ahmad-harvested-anthrax-spore-concentrate-for-al-qaeda-for-experiment-on-guinea-pigs-on-7-4-001-handwriting-on-anthrax-spore-concentrate-is-same-as-handwriting-of-rau/

      The Chair of the Dangerous Pathogens 2000 conference at which the Al Qaeda scientist’s Rauf Ahmad’s research on killing mice with anthrax was presented, worked at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Center while advising the FBI’s Amerithrax Investigation ; the paper Dr. Baillie presented was co-authored with sequencer of the Ames strain
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 16, 2014
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/the-chair-of-the-dangerous-pathogens-2000-conference-at-which-the-al-qaeda-scientists-rauf-ahmads-research-on-killing-mice-with-anthrax-was-presented-worked-at-the-university-of-maryland-biotec/

      The UK Lab That Let Al Qaeda Scientist Rauf Ahmad Leave With Virulent Anthrax in 1999 Made A Mistake; To Keep The Lab’s Identity A Secret Prevents Us From Learning From History
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 5, 2014
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/the-uk-lab-that-let-al-qaeda-scientist-rauf-ahmad-leave-with-virulent-anthrax-in-1999-made-a-mistake-to-keep-the-labs-identity-a-secret-prevents-us-from-learning-from-history/

      The bottle of anthrax spore concentrate was removed by an unknown person before boots on the ground seized it. I can’t help that — but an adversary’s destruction of evidence merely is reason to push on.

      Milton L told me he merely assumes the strain of the “anthrax spore concentrate” pictured above was Sterne. (ML sure is quick with assumptions evidencing “confirmation bias.”) (Once people publish they are loathe to correct themselves — so the errors just perpetuated for the following decade).

      On the subject of Rauf Ahmad, it was totally unjustified for Mason not to cite and rely upon Joby Warrick’s article .

      Suspect and A Setback In Al-Qaeda Anthrax Case – Washington Post, Oct 31, 2006
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/…/AR2006103001250.html‎

      Joby’s article is the landmark MSM learning on the subject. In fact, it is about all there is, with a NYT article being botched. NYT’s Eric botched the brief article after he was in touch with Milton L, and ML misled him on the order of the handwritten vs typed correspondence.

      Would it be impolite for me to ask what the source of funding is for ML’s group? Why would he cast the handwritten letter as reporting the visit to the second lab when on its face it is obvious the typed letter came second. At the same time he was mischaracterizing it, he was refusing to share the correspondence. ML in 2002 called me to ask my funding — and so don’t think of me as impolite for me to ask his. My funding is the $250 awarded last week — which leaves me with just one shoestring for the two sneakers.

      • DXer said

        Mason Davenport does not cite Joby Warrick article on Rauf Ahmad and anthrax — which serves to correct ML’s mistaken assumptions in his 2005 treatise. (Sorry for the broken link above).

        Suspect and A Setback In Al-Qaeda Anthrax Case – Washington Post, Oct 31, 2006
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/30/AR2006103001250.html

        Mason instead only cites these two:

        Warrick, Joby. 2004. “An Al-Qaeda ‘Chemist’ and the Quest for Ricin.” Washington Post, May 5. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp- dyn/articles/A2159-2004May4_3.html (accessed April 20, 2014).
        Specter of Bioterrorism

        Warrick, Joby. 2010. “Report Says Al-Qaeda Still Aims to Use Weapons of Mass Destruction Against U.S.” Washington Post, January 26. National Security News section. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp- dyn/content/article/2010/01/25/AR2010012502598.html (accessed February 23, 2014).

    • DXer said

      In his discussion of Yazid Sufaat’s assistant Al-Barq, this background source was available to Mason — or at least not cited by him.

      Senate Torture Report: Yazid Sufaat’s assistant Al-Barq alternately would say “I made the anthrax” or “I lied”
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 10, 2014
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/senate-torture-report-yazid-sufaats-assistant-al-barq-alternately-would-say-i-made-the-anthrax-or-i-lied/

    • DXer said

      Mr. Davenport says that there is no evidence that Al Qaeda ever recruited a “:meteorologist, to forecast weather patterns that are most advantageous for aerosolized agents (Clark 2008a, 166).” Ha! He relies on Clark who once made the point, which is a very silly point. Admittedly, Al Qaeda might not have had the benefit of a WIlliam Patrick, who has given public, archived speeches about low pressure systems etc and the effect on dispersal. But it is small comfort when one sees the material from the seminar on weather balloons to disperse anthrax. Mason does not address who conducted the seminar.

      The focus of this blog is the Fall 2001 anthrax attack — not consideration of whether 37, 370, 3700, 370,000 or 3.7 million in an attack. It is focused on the question: Who murdered innocent Ottilie Lundgren?

      Mr. Davenport reasons:

      “Hellmich and Redig argue that al-Qaeda’s past ingenuity should be taken into account when it comes to the various bioterrorism hurdles (Hellmich and Redig 2007). Yet, the group’s most successful attack, 9/11, involved the hijacking of U.S. commercial airliners to be used as missiles; while this certainly speaks to the group’s ingenuity, it also serves to indicate that al-Qaeda relies on simple solutions and readily-available materials. Microbial agents are both notoriously complex and exceptionally fragile.”

      Complex? Fragile? Putting aside other more temperamental pathogens, anthrax spores are very hardy. That’s the problem and why their use has been preferred historically.

      The drying process, according to the FBI at least, is very simple. The FBI says that they can even be air-dried. Al Qaeda had a dryer in its lab no later than May 2001.

      In the typed letter uploaded in this thread Rauf Ahmad told Ayman Zawahiri that he had been learning processing tricks from contacts at the Porton Down-sponsored conferences. Technical know-how — processing tricks — travel in the minds of individuals.

      Prof Les Baillie presented on “The Misuse of Biology” last month in this slide presentation at the Global Trends and Implications for British Security Conference
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 16, 2014
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/prof-les-baillie-presented-on-the-misuse-of-biology-this-month-in-this-slide-presentation-at-the-global-trends-and-implications-for-british-security-conference/

      In his recent slideshare on the “Misuse of Biology,” the sole non-US Amerithrax adviser Les Baillie discussed Amerithrax, stealing pathogens from lab, and the consquences of a small-scale and large scale anthrax attack
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 16, 2014
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/in-his-recent-slideshare-on-the-misuse-of-biology-the-sole-non-us-amerithrax-adviser-les-baillie-discussed-amerithrax-stealing-pathogens-from-lab-and-the-consquences-of-a-small-scale-and-larg/

      The UK Lab That Let Al Qaeda Scientist Rauf Ahmad Leave With Virulent Anthrax in 1999 Made A Mistake; To Keep The Lab’s Identity A Secret Prevents Us From Learning From History
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 5, 2014
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/the-uk-lab-that-let-al-qaeda-scientist-rauf-ahmad-leave-with-virulent-anthrax-in-1999-made-a-mistake-to-keep-the-labs-identity-a-secret-prevents-us-from-learning-from-history/

      The UK Lab That Let Al Qaeda Scientist Rauf Ahmad Leave With Virulent Anthrax in 1999 Made A Mistake; To Keep The Lab’s Identity A Secret Prevents Us From Learning From History
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 5, 2014
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/the-uk-lab-that-let-al-qaeda-scientist-rauf-ahmad-leave-with-virulent-anthrax-in-1999-made-a-mistake-to-keep-the-labs-identity-a-secret-prevents-us-from-learning-from-history/

      Milton L, who Mason relies upon so heavily, was at University of Maryland where Les Baillie was in the years leading up to ML’s 2004 and 2005 publications. They worked in the same field. Did they know each other? Did ML consult with Les and rely on him for his interpretation of the Rauf Ahmad/Ayman Zawahiri correspondence?

    • DXer said

      At page 46, Mr. Davenport turns to Al Qaeda’s official statements:

      “Chronology of Al-Qaeda Official Statements

      Triceratops, the tri-college (Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges) database, maintains a collection of official statements and media releases from the al-Qaeda network. A total of 337 Triceratops reports were reviewed as a means of gauging the group’s bioweapons intentions. The results of this review are as follows:

      — November 7, 2001 – In his first post-9/11 interview, Osama bin-Laden is asked about reports claiming al-Qaeda is pursuing WMD. Bin-Laden responds: “I wish to declare that if America used chemical or nuclear weapons against us, then we may retort with chemical and nuclear weapons. We have the weapons as deterrent” (Bin-Laden 2001a). Even though bioweapons are not mentioned specifically, this statement nevertheless relays al-Qaeda Core’s basis for WMD use.

      –February 10, 2002 – In an al-Qaeda internet magazine, a top bin- Laden aide, Abu Ubeid al-Qurayshi, authors an article on the terror group’s fight against a technologically superior adversary:
      …technology did not help these great [American] armies, even though [this technology] is sufficient to destroy the planet hundreds of times over using the arsenal of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. The Mujahedeen proved their superiority in fourth-generation warfare using only light weaponry. (Al- Qurayshi 2002)

      ***
      — June 12, 2002 – Al-Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith declares that his group has the right to kill 4 million Americans with WMD. More specifically, Geith says: “it is our right to fight [the U.S.] with chemical and biological weapons, so as to afflict them with the fatal maladies that have afflicted the Muslims because of the [Americans’] chemical and biological weapons” (Abu Ghaith 2002).

      ***

      “The data review also revealed that al-Qaeda demonstrates a tendency to willfully mislead via official statements. Shortly after 9/11, bin-Laden vehemently denied a part in the attacks:
      I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children and other people. Such a practice is forbidden even in the course of a battle. (Bin-Laden 2001c)” (p. 48)

      “There is, of course, an obvious disparity between al-Qaeda’s Islamic underpinnings and their actions as well. In light of the visage that al-Qaeda presents to the mainstream, it is clear that gauging the group’s bioterror intent via ‘official’ statements is an imperfect approach.” (p. 49)

      Mr. Davenport then does some psychologizing of Dr. Ayman:

      “There are significant questions surrounding Zawahiri’s direction of al- Qaeda since the death of bin-Laden. Dr. Elena Mastors, who has written extensively on al-Qaeda’s psychological tenets, claims that a portion of Islamic extremists, possibly even within al-Qaeda proper, view Zawahiri as a coward: he departed Sudan early despite urging his followers to fight to the death and suspicions abound about his possible involvement in the deaths of al-Qaeda members who were on record as challenging his authority (Mastors 2010, 156). Counterterrorism experts often color Zawahiri as a more calculating zealot than most if only for his level of education, but he noticeably lacks his predecessor’s charismatic personality. Zawahiri’s commitment to extremist aims has even been called into question; Mastors explains that Zawahiri actually confessed, possibly under torture by the Egyptians, about his EIJ associates and their whereabouts (Mastors 2010, 157).”

      In contrast, I think Zawahiri’s informing (under torture) on his mentor Qamari, who had been in the armed forces, is an important part of what fuels his rage. I’ve previously suggested that Dr. Ayman in fact was charismatic. but I guess I’m a sucker for anyone who 2002 headlines touted as the brains behind Bin Laden. Among his EIJ peers, he is thought of as fanatical and prickly.

      DXer: With Bin Laden’s death, it is important to understand Dr. Ayman Zawahiri
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 2, 2011
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/dxer-with-bin-ladens-death-it-is-important-to-understand-dr-ayman-zawahiri/

      Ayman Zawahiri, Anwar Awlaki, Anthrax, and Amerithrax: The Infiltration Of US Biodefense
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 12, 2011
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/ayman-zawahiri-anwar-awlaki-anthrax-and-amerithrax-the-infiltration-of-us-biodefense/

      Mr. Davenport writes:

      “While it is undeniable that al-Qaeda sought to attack the U.S. via biological means, even prior to 9/11, research strongly indicates that the group never came close to developing a lethal microbial agent, no less a concrete bioterror attack plan. ”

      Mason is provably wrong. (see images posted by Lew above). But Les Baillie’s and Peter Turnbull’s mistake of letting Rauf Ahmad attend the 1999 and 2000 conferences — combined with Milton Leitenberg’s flawed interpretation of the Rauf Ahmad- Ayman Zawahiri correspondence — live on in a new crop of researchers and analysts. Shame on you, Milton, for not ever having corrected your mistakes. Shame on you, Mason, for not citing Joby’s excellent Washington Post article.

      Let’s hope innocent civilians in New York City and Washington, D.C. don’t die all because people guessed wrong about Dr. Ayman Zawahiri’s intentions and capabilities as a strategist.

      Rauf Ahmad would be in jail now but for the flawed analysis embodied in Mason’s master’s thesis.

    • DXer said

      Mason Davenport doesn’t even attempt to address the scientific evidence of Ames anthrax at Sufaat’s Afghanistan lab.

      The learned forensic scientist, Dr. Michael Garvey, PhD (former FBI, former CIA, current head of forensic science for the City of Philadelphia) has explained:

      “In the Amerithrax investigation, the FBI report discusses OCONUS samples that had inconsistent results for the presence of B. anthracis and possibly even indications of the presence of the Ames strain. However, these results were ultimately discarded by the FBI due to the inconsistencies in the various testing results, sampling procedures, and methodology used by the FBI and IC. As this case never reached trial and the details of this intelligence based collection is mostly classified, it cannot be fully addressed.”

      Separately he noted:

      “The reporting suggests that B. anthracis consistent with Ames strain was identified from this location. However, without full disclosure of the scientific data, one cannot ascertain whether these results are reliable. If reliable, did these results indicate the presence of Ames strain in an Al Qaeda lab from a laboratory transfer or is there an isolate of B. anthracis that is located in the undisclosed region of the world that developed similar markers to the Ames strain through parallel evolution. More importantly, these results show the importance of fully understanding the limitations of an assay in order to better explain its results.”

      Microbial Forensics and U.S. National Security: Science and Strategy
      Garvey, Michael
      URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1920/8957
      Date: 2014-08

      If the CIA concluded from the molecular evidence that there was Ames at the Afghanistan lab — and the FBI discarded those results —wasn’t there a conflict of interest beyond pale? Ames anthrax genetics expert Les Baillie was working for the FBI on Amerithrax at the NMRC in Maryland (where the FBI repository was kept), He had organized the Porton Down sponsored conference in 2000 and hosted Rauf Ahmad.

      Dr. Garvey notes:

      “While the FBI would perform extensive investigations on each consultant in order to verify his/her suitability to assist the investigation and rule them out as a subject of the investigation, this unique aspect of the investigation could be correlated to a forensic examiner, who is suspected of a sexual assault, being consulted on and examining the sexual assault evidence in the same case.” (p. 79)

      The FBI interview Rauf Ahmad, a Pakistan government scientist, over tea and cookies at an ISI safehouse.

      Both Bruce Ivins and Ottilie Lundgren deserve greater transparency. For starters, the second lab that Rauf Ahmad visited in 1999 should now be disclosed. Relatedly, the strains he obtained and/or attempted at the second lab in 1999 — and then after the conference in 2000 — should be identified. The scientist who gave him the strain(s) or allowed him access to anthrax strains in the BL3 should also be identified. Both Dr. Baillie and Dr. Turnbull consulted on Amerithrax for the FBI.

      Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US BIodefense
      http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

    • DXer said

      Someone who knows Mason Davenport should ask him: who does he think harvested this “anthrax spore concentrate” in April 2001 if not Rauf Ahmad?

  14. DXer said

    Exclusive: CIA’s Top Spy Steps Down
    The secretive head of the agency’s National Clandestine Service is retiring amid reports of infighting over a reorganization of the intelligence service.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/23/exclusive-cia-s-top-spy-steps-down.html

    There will be a Charlie Rose interview after fellow’s talk before the Council on Foreign Relations.

  15. DXer said

    “CIA Found No Magic in Operation Merlin”
    January 23, 2015

    “Operation Merlin” provides a dramatic illustration of how a bureaucracy serves its own institutional interests by pushing its pet program or operation in the name of national security.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2015/01/23/cia-found-no-magic-in-operation-merlin/

  16. DXer said

    New York’s political kingpin Sheldon Silver was arrested last week.

    The US Attorney’s work in New York State on public corruption is why it behooves everyone to support the FBI and Department of Justice. Support is deserved even while we sort through a particular whodunnit and seek to correct perceived missteps in analysis in a particular counterterrorism or true crime matter. DOJ and FBI do incredibly important work in the area of public corruption. Watch for more arrests and Complaints that reveal the critical role that the FBI has played.

    The townspeople may be armed with pitchforks but it is going to take a white knight to go into the cave and slay the dragon. Don’t let a prosecutor’s relaxed tongue-in-cheek humor distract you from the fact that serious investigative effort can be presumed to lie behind the prosecutor’s talking truth to power.

    Close friend, top lobbyist helped feds take down Sheldon Silver
    By Carl Campanile, Jamie Schram and Bruce GoldingJanuary 23, 2015
    http://nypost.com/2015/01/23/close-friend-top-lobbyist-helped-feds-take-down-sheldon-silver/

    Brian Meara, 63, is the person referred to in court papers as “the Lobbyist” who revealed that Silver told him “there was nothing to worry about” regarding the speaker secretly sharing in legal fees paid by Meara’s client, billionaire developer Leonard Litwin, the sources said.

    Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara has said those payments to Silver — from a law firm run by Silver’s former Assembly counsel — were one way he “illegally monetized his public position” through a corruption scam that dates back to at least 2000.

    ***

    “The fact that Meara is the witness is not a good sign for Shelly,” said one Albany insider, alluding to how much Meara knows about his pal.

    In addition to the state court officers union and other labor groups, Meara represents a host of big-bucks industries, including casino operators, insurance companies and soft-drink makers.

    Comment:

    You don’t know have to know the inside baseball in Cooperstown to know that the FBI also likely engaged in wiretapping of targets — perhaps even having key participants wearing a wire. There is a pen now that you can buy at Brookstone for $59 that films the other person. There likely is a lot contained in the black notebooks lining the walls of FBI offices around the state that hasn’t yet made its way into a federal complaint.

  17. DXer said

    Did former FBI Special Agent Borelli know about the seminar when he interviewed Rauf Ahmad in February 2002 at the iSI safehouse? He was accompanied by two CIA Agents — I believe the same two chain-smokers who had questioned the orthopedic surgeon who treated Bin Laden and mentored Dr. Batarfi. (Dr. Batarfi helped Yazid Sufaat procure the equipment he needed from Karachi using the front of the WAFA charity).

    Did Agent Borelli know about the anthrax harvested by Rauf Ahmad in April 2001? Matt Apuzzo and his co-author should ask him. Agent Borelli seems a straight shooter. The country could use some clarification.

    As for the “secret prisons” mentioned by Agent Borelli, Yazid Sufaat’s assistant Al-Barq was secretly held by Jordan and then Israel for over a decade. Justice and accountability requires greater transparency.

    Rauf Ahmad, in email exchanges with me over the years, would not cooperate unless I paid him money.

    “All done?”

    Please go and vote so we can fund some answers to Amerithrax that the FBI and Vahid Majidi failed to provide.

    http://www.redcross.org/ny/syracuse/3dayok/video

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