Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Ivins’

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.

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