Our Longest, Darkest Night

by lizard

The winter solstice this year coincides with a new moon, making the longest night of the year also one of the darkest. Seems like a good time to take a trip down memory lane to the weeks after 9/11, specifically the Anthrax attacks that occurred in the aftermath of 3 buildings being totally demolished from 2 airplane strikes. Here’s wikipedia with some surface-level context:

The 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States, also known as Amerithrax from its Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) case name, occurred over the course of several weeks beginning on Tuesday, September 18, 2001, one week after the September 11 attacks. Letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to several news media offices and two Democratic U.S. Senators, killing five people and infecting 17 others. According to the FBI, the ensuing investigation became “one of the largest and most complex in the history of law enforcement”.[1]

A major focus in the early years of the investigation was a bio-weapons expert named Steven Hatfill, who was eventually exonerated. Another suspect, Bruce Edwards Ivins, became a focus of investigation around April 4, 2005. Ivins was a scientist who worked at the government’s biodefense labs at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland. On April 11, 2007, Ivins was put under periodic surveillance and an FBI document stated that “Bruce Edwards Ivins is an extremely sensitive suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks.”[2] On July 29, 2008, Ivins died from an overdose of acetaminophen.[3]

On August 6, 2008, despite having no direct evidence of his involvement,[4][5] federal prosecutors declared Ivins to be the sole culprit of the crime.[6] Two days later, Senator Charles Grassley and Rep. Rush Holt called for hearings into the DOJ and FBI’s handling of the investigation.[7][8] On February 19, 2010, the FBI formally closed its investigation.[9]

A review of the scientific methods used in the investigation at the National Academy of Sciences,[10] published in February 2011, cast doubt on the U.S. government’s conclusion that Ivins was the perpetrator. The review report said that, although the type of anthrax used in the letters was correctly identified as the Ames strain of the bacterium, there was insufficient scientific evidence for the FBI’s assertion that it originated from Ivins’ laboratory.

A few days ago ABC reported on another report that came to a similar conclusion that the FBI’s Anthrax investigation was flawed. This is the same FBI now claiming North Korea was responsible for the Sony hack. From the link:

The FBI used flawed scientific methods to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others, federal auditors said Friday in a report sure to fuel skepticism over the FBI’s conclusion that Army biodefense researcher Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator.

The 77-page report from the Government Accountability Office says the FBI’s research, including novel microbial forensic tests, did not provide a full understanding of how bacteria change in their natural environment and in a laboratory. This failure to grasp the reason for genetic mutations that were used to differentiate between samples of anthrax bacteria was a “key scientific gap” in the investigation, the report says.

The GAO also found a lack of rigorous controls over sampling procedures and a failure to cite the degree of uncertainty in measurement tools used to identify genetic markers.

“Although the complexity and novelty of the scientific methods at the time of the FBI’s investigation made it challenging for the FBI to adequately address all these problems, the agency could have improved its approach,” the report said.

The GAO didn’t take a position whether Ivins, who worked at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, made and mailed the anthrax-filled envelopes.

For Americans who can’t fathom domestic involvement in the attacks that radically altered the trajectory of our country, the Anthrax attacks offer a fascinating window into the final push to get the Patriot Act passed and to ensure the media understood the consequences of not falling into line.

7 years ago a Bush insider, Francis Boyle, weighed in on the Anthrax attacks. Here is a bit from his wikipedia resume:

Francis Anthony Boyle (born 1950) is a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law.[1] Boyle received a A.B. (1971) in Political Science from the University of Chicago, then a J.D. degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, and A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in Political Science from Harvard University. He also practiced tax and international tax with Bingham, Dana & Gould.

And here is a lengthy excerpt from an article by Steve Watson for more context:

Is it possible that the anthrax attacks were launched from within our own government? A former Bush 1 advisor thinks it is.

Francis A. Boyle, an international law expert who worked under the first Bush Administration as a bioweapons advisor in the 1980s, has said that he is convinced the October 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people were perpetrated and covered up by criminal elements of the U.S. government. The motive: to foment a police state by killing off and intimidating opposition to post-9/11 legislation such as the USA PATRIOT Act and the later Military Commissions Act…

And that is exactly what has happened. Here’s more:

“Senators Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) were holding it up because they realized what this would lead to. The first draft of the PATRIOT Act would have suspended the writ of habeas corpus [which protects citizens from unlawful imprisonment and guarantees due process of law]. Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, come these anthrax attacks.”

“At the time I myself did not know precisely what was going on, either with respect to September 11 or the anthrax attacks, but then the New York Times revealed the technology behind the letter to Senator Daschle. [The anthrax used was] a trillion spores per gram, [refined with] special electro-static treatment. This is superweapons-grade anthrax that even the United States government, in its openly proclaimed programs, had never developed before. So it was obvious to me that this was from a U.S. government lab. There is nowhere else you could have gotten that.”

Boyle’s assessment was based on his years of expertise regarding America’s bioweapons programs. He was responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 that was passed unanimously by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.

After realizing that the anthrax attacks looked like a domestic job, Boyle called a high-level official in the FBI who deals with terrorism and counterterrorism, Marion “Spike” Bowman. Boyle and Bowman had met at a terrorism conference at the University of Michigan Law School. Boyle told Bowman that the only people who would have the capability to carry out the attacks were individuals working on U.S. government anthrax programs with access to a high-level biosafety lab. Boyle gave Bowman a full list of names of scientists, contractors and labs conducting anthrax work for the U.S. government and military.

Bowman then informed Boyle that the FBI was working with Fort Detrick on the matter. Boyle expressed his view that Fort Detrick could be the main problem. As widely reported in 2002 publications, notably the New Scientist, the anthrax strain used in the attacks was officially assessed as “military grade.”

“Soon after I informed Bowman of this information, the FBI authorized the destruction of the Ames cultural anthrax database,” the professor said. The Ames strain turned out to be the same strain as the spores used in the attacks.

The alleged destruction of the anthrax culture collection at Ames, Iowa, from which the Fort Detrick lab got its pathogens, was blatant destruction of evidence. It meant that there was no way of finding out which strain was sent to whom to develop the larger breed of anthrax used in the attacks. The trail of genetic evidence would have led directly back to a secret government biowarfare program.

This FBI agent, “Spike” Bowman, is an important name for those who aren’t satisfied with the government account of what transpired on 9/11. Why? Because he’s the guy who kept the laptop computer of Zacarias Moussaoui from being examined. From the link:

Mike Maltbie and Rita Flack of the Radical Fundamentalist Unit (RFU) forward a request for a warrant to search Zacarias Moussaoui’s belongings (see August 21, 2001) to National Security Law Unit chief Spike Bowman. The request was submitted by the Minneapolis field office (see August 22-28, 2001), which has been trying to obtain a warrant for some time. Earlier in the day, Maltbie edited the request, removing information connecting Moussaoui to al-Qaeda through a rebel group in Chechnya (see August 28, 2001). RFU chief Dave Frasca was to attend the meeting, but is called away at the last minute. According to Bowman, who is already very familiar with the facts in this case, Maltbie is adamant that there is not enough evidence to issue the warrant. Bowman agrees, saying that the evidence fails to implicate Moussaoui as an agent of a foreign power. The FBI thus abandons the effort to obtain a FISA warrant and begins planning his deportation (see (August 30-September 10, 2001)). [US Department of Justice, 11/2004, pp. 164-6, 168 pdf file; US Department of Justice, 3/1/2006 pdf file]

I sympathize with those who don’t want to look too closely into this stuff. I actually appreciate these two comments from Turner in a previous post about Fascism:

Count me among the many who can’t process the thought that elites were behind 9/11.

Actually, I’m not much of a seeker. Most of the time I’m willing to settle for appearances. They’re damning enough.

Unfortunately I disagree, appearances aren’t damning enough, they are masterfully controlled, making it so much easier to ignore, minimize, rationalize, attack, ridicule, dismiss and deny the connections that implicate foreknowledge and complicity of domestic actors in the greatest terror show ever sold.

It’s almost 2015. Babies born after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 are now teenagers. Psychic shock fades over time.  That said, now that programs of torture are out in the open and mostly accepted by the American people, maybe another 9/11 won’t be necessary.  Just little jolts as reminders to remain compliant while they play the global chessboard for the spoils.


  1. evdebs

    In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Bush’s crew (he merely being the front man, without a brain in his head) tried to blame it all on Saddam, despite zero evidence and it making no sense at all.

    The anthrax attacks came quickly on the heels of 9/11. Bush was already claiming there was a case to be made (and the PNAC bunch was in the lead in promoting that horseshit) that Saddam was going to spread anthrax throughout the U.S., using his drones.

    I was outraged by the propaganda ploy, Saddam’s drones, which were supposed to be the vehicles for spreading the spores, weren’t capable of reaching Crete, certainly not a country 8,000 miles or more away.

    I was fortunate enough to have had a long talk with Scott Ritter in August, 2002, who thoroughly debunked the notion that Saddam had any WMDs of any sort. History has proven him 100% right. He actually showed a film about the inspections that had been terminated by Saddam because they were being used to spy on Iraq, instead of just monitoring and inspecting for WMDs.

    There was testimony from Saddam’s son-in-law, a general in charge of much of the program, that the regime had destroyed all its WMDs in 1996. The guy had fled to Syria and was talking about everything. Saddam convinced him that everything was okay and that he could return to iraq. He did so and was immediately executed, along with another general/son-in-law.

    Bush was such an idiot, that he claimed, in answer to a reporter’s question during a W.H. meeting with Kofi Annan, that he “had to” invade Iraq because Saddam wouldn’t let the inspectors in. In fact, he had let the inspectors back in and then Bush removed ours and the U.S. got the U.N.’s other inspectors out because the bombing was to start just hours after they left.

    What has been given almost no publicity was that Bush bought huge supplies of Cipro to treat the supposed impending anthrax attacks. The price was supposed to be over $5 a pill, and becasuse of an outcry, the Rx industry dropped it a buck or so. But the government of India offered it to us at 11 cents a pill and Bush declined the offer. So he spent billions on treatment for a nonexistent threat.

    I was particularly upset with Powell’s speech in front of the Security Council. I knew for sure that half of what he was saying was an absolute lie, and figured the other half had to be as well. Anyone who was paying any attention to French, German, Spanish or press from other countries (including the Guardian and Independent, from Great Britain) knew it was horseshit.

    Ironically, I was at a hotel right after Tom Daschle spoke to a group from my union, on March 19, 2003. Karl Rove was in the next room, meeting with business leaders including token blacks, and I planned to go in and harrass him, but Daschle came out of the forum. His eyes were watering. He told me and two other people, including the publisher of the American Prospect, that he had just been summoned to the White House. All of us knew exactly what that meant, without it being expressed verbally. Bush was ordering the immediate invasion.

    Because a shit paper in Florida was also targeted by the anthrax, as were some media in New York, i doubted if this was an official, though secret, move by the government. I think it was just one nutcase with access whose behavior was used to frighten parochial and information-ignorant Americans even further. Besides, the nitwits have continuously proven that they can’t keep a secret.

    • Glad you solved the case. Perpetrators would surely never think to disperse the stuff to deflect guilt. They ain’t bright at all.

      I note in your analysis that all of the players are elected or appointed officials and well known. This can only mean the electoral system still works.

      Meanwhile, it’s a good thin that Ivins is dead. That usually seals guilt in this country, or at least stops inquiry. Patsies are useful.

      • evdebs

        They really aren’t all that bright, actually. Their causus belli was nonsense like ricin, which is about as much a WMD as is a six shot .22 revolver. It was the aluminum tubes which were supposed to be used as centrifuges, though they would have to have their coating machined off to be used for that purpose. They were clearly meant to be rocket bodies, but the problem is that those rockets, properly positioned, could have reached Tel Aviv. They used incredibly amateurish forged documents to try to make a case that Saddam was buying yellowcake from Niger, laundered through Italian intelligence services. El Baradei had them for two days (after the CIA had them for many months) and proved they were fakes. They sent Richard Wilson to Niger to get proof that the report was real and he proved it was almost certainly a fabrication, so they trashed and outed his wife. They claimed that Saddam was tolerating an Ansar al-Islam training camp in northern iraq, one involving Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, but in fact I knew damned well that Saddam had no control over it. It was practically on the iranian border, in Kurdish territory, just south of the no-fly zone that we’d imposed. He claimed there was an alliance between Saddam and al Qaida, when in fact they were mortal enemies with Saddam at the top of bin Laden’s hit list.

        The problem is, our politicians and media sold us out. Bush was able to make his “…you’re with us or with the terrorists” bullshit stick, intimidating the hell out of congress and the press. The only newspaper chain that really told the truth was Knight-Ridder. The Times was feeding us front page bullshit penned by Judith Miller, who was probably banging someone in the W.H., and Michael Gordon and the WaPo was putting propaganda on the front page and occassionally some bits of truth on p. 27.

        Every Republican except Chaffee voted to go to war. Every Democrat who was up for reelection in a few weeks voted to go to war, excepting Wellstone.

        Now I was able to know all this because I was paying attention. I live 60 miles from the nearest city, and don’t read hard copy papers. But if readers here don’t know it, and if they’re over 35 years old, they should be ashamed of themselves when they go to vote, as uninformed as they are.

        • evdebs

          There should be a comma following “Michael Gordon” in my post. He was Miller’s partner in propaganda.

          The Times just laid off or retired over 100 reporters. I hope that worthless asshole Gordon was one of them.

        • Steve W

          The real problem is we had a coup d’ etat in 1963 and we have no functioning civilian government. Just the illusion. When won’t our politicians and the media sell us out? If Reagan trades arms for hostages? If Wall street empties the treasury? If the CIA spies on congress?


          There is NO civilian government.

          Play time is over.

          • evdebs

            I don’t think we’ve lost it completely, but democracy is certainly on very shaky ground.

            After reading your comments, I thought of one of those who have been on the side of those who do care about it. I found these two quotes on Wikipedia:

            (Idaho’s U.S. Senator Frank Church, who served four terms),… was stunned by what the Church Committee learned about the immense operations and electronic monitoring capabilities of the National Security Agency (NSA), an agency whose existence was unknown to most Americans at the time.

            Church stated in 1975: “That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.”

            He is widely quoted as also stating regarding the NSA: “I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge… I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

            • Church ran the Senate side of the only independent investigation of the CIA ever done in the US. Post-Watergate there was a brief period of openness, just as in the post-Enlightenment period of the late eighteenth century here. But as back then, the window quickly closed.

      • Of course there were lies about lies and then some more lies too. But the odd thing is that it doesn’t matter. No one was punished, Iraq was devastated, and came time to destroy Libya and Syria, new lies were invented. And they worked too. The capacity for forgetting is a bottomless well.

        American news is distraction and lies. But I don’t think they fail at their job. We merely don’t understand their job. They are doing it well.

  2. Steve W

    Liz, seven building were completely destroyed on 9/11 all with a WTC address. 7 missing skyscrapers.

  3. steve kelly

    Thanks Liz for the post, and cheers to all who seek truth in this crazy time.

    Winter solstice is something too grand to be altered by humans. Most ignore it, maybe for reasons close to why most ignored the coup in 1963, and everything of any significance since. Regardless of the stench of our institutions, each year it gives us hope of better things to come. More daylight. We all need more daylight after the long slog through the fall months, and another round of media head-pounding.

    Nothing better than sitting outdoors around a (real) fire and sipped some pretty average Champagne on the longest night of the year. Feeling better already.

  4. The truth seekers will be dealt with so pay up your life insurance.

    I for one welcome our new overlords.

    • steve kelly

      Shaking in my boots. Swede, can you name one new “overlord?” If you don’t mind sharing. And please don’t include any member of Congress as long as it’s popularity hovers below 10%.

      • “Overlords” as in the 12 man council.


        • 404. They found me,

        • Craig Moore

          I thought you were referring to Dr. Evil. http://www.hulu.com/watch/730013

        • steve kelly

          Illuminati? Is that what you’ve got rattling around upstairs? Swede, my friend, come baaack.

          • evdebs

            Tooooo laaaaate.

            He’s goooooone!

  5. larry kurtz

    With web down in DPRK, Sony hack another Gulf of Tonkin moment:


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