Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Subject: Richard Lambert's Lawsuit

The lawsuit former FBI agent Richard Lambert filed against the FBI, the DOJ and against other parties contains some very strong accusations that will almost certainly have Anthrax Truthers jumping for joy.  Mr. Lambert implies in the lawsuit that the FBI and DOJ are withholding "exculpatory evidence" which would disprove their case against Dr. Bruce Ivins in the anthrax letter killings of 2001.

Of course, Mr. Lambert was the leading FBI agent pointing the finger at Dr. Steven Hatfill during the time he was in charge of the Amerithrax investigation (from April 2003 to August 2006).  In August 2006, he left Amerithrax to take the position of Agent in Charge of the Knoxville, TN, office of the FBI.  Mr. Lambert's replacement on Amerithrax, Edward Montooth, examined the evidence found so far and concluded that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the person most likely to have sent the anthrax letters.  So, the focus of the Amerithrax investigation shifted from Dr. Hatfill to Dr. Ivins.

Based upon what I read in his lawsuit, however, leaving Amerithrax was a bitter pill for Mr. Lambert to swallow.  He repeatedly complains that he wasn't given the support he needed to find evidence against the person he believes sent the anthrax letters, and  he evidently believes that the "truth" about who sent the anthrax letters is being hidden from the American people. 

This of course, qualifies Mr. Lambert to join the ranks of "Anthrax Truthers."

Like all Anthrax Truthers, Mr. Lambert provides no facts or evidence to prove his case.  He basically argues that he wasn't allowed to find the "truth."  And, like all Anthrax Truthers, he wants the FBI and DOJ to prove the negative, i.e., to prove that there is NO "exculpatory evidence" showing Dr. Ivins to be innocent, and that further investigation will NOT find that someone else sent the letters. 

Here are some key parts of the lawsuit that relate to Amerithrax:   
52. In October 2002, in the wake of surging media criticism, White House impatience with a seeming lack of investigative progress by WFO, and a concerned Congress that was considering revoking the FBI’s charter to investigate terrorism cases, Defendant FBI Director Mueller reassigned Plaintiff from the FBI’s San Diego Field Office to the Inspection Division at FBI Headquarters and placed Plaintiff in charge of the AMERITHRAX case as an “Inspector.” While leading the investigation for the next four years, Plaintiff’s efforts to advance the case met with intransigence from WFO’s executive management, apathy and error from the FBI Laboratory, politically motivated communication embargos from FBI Headquarters, and yet another preceding and equally erroneous legal opinion from Defendant Kelley – all of which greatly obstructed and impeded the investigation.
and
53. On July 6, 2006, Plaintiff provided a whistleblower report of mismanagement to the FBI’s Deputy Director pursuant to Title 5, United States Code, Section 2303. Reports of mismanagement conveyed in writing and orally included: .......
(j) the FBI’s fingering of Bruce Ivins as the anthrax mailer; and, (k) the FBI’s subsequent efforts to railroad the prosecution of Ivins in the face of daunting exculpatory evidence. Following the announcement of its circumstantial case against Ivins, Defendants DOJ and FBI crafted an elaborate perception management campaign to bolster their assertion of Ivins’ guilt. These efforts included press conferences and highly selective evidentiary presentations which were replete with material omissions. 
and
55. After leaving the AMERITHRAX investigation in 2006, Plaintiff continued to publicly opine that the quantum of circumstantial evidence against Bruce Ivins was not adequate to satisfy the proof-beyond-a-reasonable doubt threshold required to secure a criminal conviction in federal court. Plaintiff continued to advocate that while Bruce Ivins may have been the anthrax mailer, there is a wealth of exculpatory evidence to the contrary which the FBI continues to conceal from Congress and the American people. The FBI vehemently opposes Plaintiff’s position. 
Note that in the above paragraph (#55), Mr. Lambert says that he (the "plaintiff") advocated "that while Bruce Ivins MAY have been the anthrax mailer," there is supposedly "a wealth of exculpatory evidence to the contrary," which would show that Dr. Ivins was NOT the anthrax killer.  So, Mr. Lambert is avoiding saying that Dr. Ivins was innocent.  He just claims that there is evidence which he believes should prove it.
 
You can also click on the images at the top of this thread to see larger versions of key pages, or you can click HERE to view the entire lawsuit claim.

Ed

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Subject: Handwriting evidence

R. Rowley continuously argues his mistaken beliefs about handwriting evidence over and over and over.   Click HERE for his latest argument, which went as follows:
Mister Lake ignores the findings of the Task Force's own questioned document examiner and continually touts unnamed 'witnesses' (ie informants) whose testimony would be excluded for reasons adduced dozens of times in the past 3 or 4 years. To 'prove' (huh?) that Ivins' 'disguised' printing bears some resemblance (on how many points? No clue!) to the Amerithrax letters.
Here is Rule of Evidence #701:
  -------------------------
RULE 701:
Opinion Testimony by Lay Witnesses

If a witness is not testifying as an expert, testimony in the form of an opinion is limited to one that is:

(a) rationally based on the witness’s perception;

(b) helpful to clearly understanding the witness’s testimony or to determining a fact in issue; and

(c) not based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge within the scope of Rule 702.

-------------------------------
Mara Linscott, Patricia Fellows and possibly Nancy Haigwood would have testified as LAY WITNESSES that the handwriting on the anthrax documents - in their opinion - resembled Dr. Ivins disguised handwriting.  Here is what it says on pages 89 and 90 of the Amerithrax Investigative Summary about their planned testimony:
a witness who had received a number of packages and cards over the course of several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s was shown copies of the letters and envelopes used in the anthrax attacks. The witness thought that the handwriting on the envelope addressed to Senator Daschle reminded the witness of Dr. Ivins’s writing. If the witness were to receive a package with that writing on it, the witness would think of Dr. Ivins. The witness noted that, in particular, the style of the block letters with alternating heights stood out, as did the slant of the writing. The witness said that this was the type of writing Dr. Ivins used when he disguised his handwriting as part of a joke. As the witness studied the letters, the witness noted that the “E” and the “R” in the letter to the New York Post also looked familiar. The witness stated that these letters also reminded the witness of when Dr. Ivins disguised his handwriting as a joke. The witness described this “disguised” handwriting as being similar to Dr. Ivins’s standard handwriting, and that one could tell that he was trying to disguise his handwriting to a limited extent. Another witness familiar with the handwriting of Dr. Ivins in many contexts said the same thing.
The witnesses would have testified to this in court, under Rule #701.

1. They would NOT be testifying as experts.
2. Their testimony would be rationally based on their perceptions.
3. Their testimony would be deemed helpful in determining who wrote the letters.
4. Their testimony would NOT be covered by Rule 702.

Mr. Rowley inexplicably believes that such witnesses would have to be handwriting experts or they would not be allowed to testify about handwriting.  Click HERE for his latest post on this subject.  Rule #701 clearly says the lay witnesses the prosecution planned to use in the Amerithrax case CANNOT be such experts.  If they were such experts, they would have to testify under Rule #702, which covers "expert testimony."

When shown testimony about how handwriting testimony from lay witnesses was used in other cases, Mr. Rowley just argued that the circumstances were different.  In other words, he creates imaginary new rules to fit this case.  He seemingly cannot understand that Rule #701 covers lay witness opinion testimony in EVERY criminal case, not just cases which fit or don't fit his beliefs.

Plus, Mr. Rowley argues that an expert "document examiner" would testify in court, even though the prosecution would have NO REASON to call a handwriting "expert" who appears to have nothing relevant to say about Dr. Ivins' disguised handwriting or anything else proving Dr. Ivins' guilt. 

This purpose of this thread is to show Mr. Rowley once and for all time that his beliefs about handwriting evidence are NONSENSERule #701 CLEARLY says that lay witnesses CAN provide opinion testimony about handwriting they perceive as being familiar and relevant to the case.  Mr. Rowley had NO BASIS for arguing otherwise, yet he endlessly continues to do so.

Ed

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Subject: An "Opinion" vs a "Finding"


In a previous thread HERE, R. Rowley provided this interesting argument:
What do you think a jury's verdict is but a collective OPINION on the validity and weight of constellations of facts/evidence (including testimony) touching on a criminal case?!?!?!?!?!?!?
A jury's verdict, of course, is NOT a "collective opinion."  It is a FINDING.  The jury selection process is an attempt to get rid of any potential jurors who might have opinions about the case before they are admitted to the jury. During the trial, the jury first listens to the prosecution present their evidence intended to show that the defendant is guilty of the crime for which he or she is charged, and then the defense presents their arguments intended to show that the evidence presented by the prosecution is not conclusive.  The jury is supposed to listen to both sides of the argument, then they go into a room where they are supposed to discuss the evidence to reach an agreed upon "finding" as to whether the prosecution's case was proven or not proven.  If they cannot unanimously agree one way or the other, then the process starts all over again with a new trial.

Also interestingly, R. Rowley argued this:
What do you think the Henry Fonda character was trying to do in TWELVE ANGRY MEN but change the opinions of those 11 other jurors?!?!?!?
The screenplay for "12 Angry Men" is on-line HERE, and it shows that all the Henry Fonda character ("Juror No. 8") wants to do was what they are supposed to do in the jury room: discuss the case and the evidence.

And, gradually, that is what they start to do.

In concept, all the jurors can still have the opinion that the defendant is guilty and yet agree that the prosecution's case is "not proven."  If all the jurors feel that way, the "finding" or "verdict" must be "Not guilty due to insufficient evidence." In doing so, they do NOT decide that the defendant is "innocent."  They merely decide that there is "reasonable doubt" about his guilt.

The jury deliberation process is intended to settle all misunderstandings.  If a juror explains why he thinks the evidence says the defendant is guilty or not proven guilty, the other jurors will supposedly explain how they view the same evidence differently.  Gradually, though explaining how they view the evidence, they are all supposed to agree on the "correct" way to view the evidence.

In "12 Angry Men," for example, some jurors saw the eye-witness testimony as being conclusive.  But then someone pointed out that the eye witness saw the crime from her bed in the middle of the night.  And then his conversation takes place between the jurors:
FOREMAN: Wait a minute! Did she wear glasses at all? I don't remember.
NO. 11: (excited). Of course she did! The woman wore bifocals. I remember this very clearly. They looked quite strong.
NO. 9: That's right. Bifocals. She never took them off.
NO. 4: She did wear glasses. Funny. I never thought of it.
NO. 8: Listen, she wasn't wearing them in bed. That's for sure. She testified that in the midst of her tossing and turning she rolled over and looked casually out the window. The murder was taking place as she looked out, and the lights went out a split second later. She couldn't have had time to put on her glasses. Now maybe she honestly thought she saw the boy kill his father. I say that she saw only a blur.
NO. 3: How do you know what she saw? Maybe she's far-sighted.
[He looks around. No one answers.]
NO. 3: (loudly). How does he know all these things?
[There is silence.]
NO. 8: Does anyone think there still is not a reasonable doubt?    
Minds were changed by looking at the evidence.  However, no one argued that the defendant was "innocent."  All they did by discussing the evidence was determine that the prosecution's case was not sufficient to eliminate "reasonable doubt."  The final verdict was "Not guilty due to insufficient evidence."

The people who argue that they do not believe Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer refuse to discuss the evidence with people who feel the evidence says Ivins was the killer.  I've been trying to get them to discuss the evidence for years, but to no avail.  They even state that there is "no evidence" to discuss.  It appears that, by denying the very existence of evidence showing Ivins to be guilty, they feel they can never be put in a position of having to discuss the evidence.  And if they don't discuss the evidence, they can never be shown to be wrong in their beliefs.

When R. Rowley is show to be wrong on other matters, like the law or the definition of words, he becomes "hypercorrective" and endlessly argues that his interpretation is the only correct interpretation. 

When DXer is shown to be wrong about other matters, he argues that I am not an official "expert" on the subject, and therefore my view is of no value no matter how much evidence I may have.  When experts disagree with him, he finds something in their background to dismiss their views (right or wrong) as worthless.  He argues that presenting facts and evidence is no different from arguing what is "possible."  Nothing but what DXer believes means anything to him. 

Ed



Monday, January 5, 2015

Subject: Facts vs Evidence


 Albert Einstein famously said,

“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother” [and get her to understand it, too.]

So, I'm going to try to explain the difference between "facts" and "evidence" to see if I understand it myself.

Evidence is presented in court to determine what the facts are, i.e., evidence is presented to let a jury decide if it is "a proven fact" that the defendant committed the crime for which he/she is accused.

Another source expresses this differently:
"Fact is a truth that can be proven. On the other hand evidence is something that is told by someone. It has to be accepted only on belief. There cannot be truth in all evidences.   This is the main difference between facts and evidence."
The copy of "The People's Law Dictionary" in my personal library contains these definitions:
FACT: n.  an actual thing or happening, which must be proved at trial by presentation of evidence and which is evaluated by the finder or fact (a jury in a jury trial, or by the judge if he/she sits without a jury).

EVIDENCE: n.   every type of proof legally presented at trial (allowed by the judge) which is intended to convince the judge and/or jury of alleged facts material to the case.  It can include oral testimony of witnesses, including experts on technical matters, documents, public records, objects, photographs, and depositions (testimony under oath taken before the trial).  It also includes so-called "circumstantial evidence" which is intended to create belief by showing surrounding circumstances which logically lead to a conclusion of fact.
So, it is totally absurd to say there is "no evidence" showing that Dr. Bruce Ivins was responsible for the anthrax attacks of 2001.  In the Amerithrax Investigative Summary report, the Department of Justice presented 92 pages summarizing the evidence against Dr. Ivins.  And they released thousands of pages of supplemental information.

A naysayer could argue that he or she does not accept or believe the evidence, and therefore, as far as they are concerned, it is not a proven fact that Dr. Ivins was the anthrax killer.  But, they cannot logically say there is "no evidence" showing Dr. Ivins was the anthrax killer.

In court the prosecutor would present the evidence that Dr. Ivins had means, motive and opportunity to commit the crime.  The prosecutor would establish "as a fact" that Ivins had means, motive and opportunity.  And the prosecutor would ask the jury to conclude and confirm the fact that Ivins was the anthrax killer.

On the Internet, an Anthrax Truther can present "evidence" showing that his or her favorite suspect was actually the real anthrax killer.

However, as it says above (and below), "There cannot be truth in all evidences.   This is the main difference between facts and evidence."

One Anthrax Truther on this blog presents "evidence" arguing that "linguistics" within the anthrax documents show that his unnamed "suspect" is the anthrax killer.  He indicates that someday he may present "evidence" showing that his "suspect" had means, motive and opportunity.  But, for now, all he is willing to discuss is the "linguistics" in the documents.  As I see it, his linguistics "evidence" is easily challenged and disputed, so there is no "truth" in his "evidence."  It's something only he sees.

Another Anthrax Truther argues that a 2003 news report saying that Adnan el-Shukrijumah had gone to the United States via Mexico is "evidence" that el-Shukrijumah mailed the anthrax letters.  As further "evidence," he cites another news story which said el-Shukrijumah entered the U.S. "some time after September 1, 2001" as evidence that el-Shukrijumah was in New Jersey in September and October of 2001 mailing the anthrax letters.   As I see it, his "evidence" is so vague and lacking in detail that is no way to find any "truth" in his "evidence."  "The truth" is something only he sees in his "evidence."

The Department of Justice's case against Dr. Ivins, on the other hand, provides excellent evidence which shows that Ivins had means, motive and opportunity to commit the crime, plus they can have FBI agents testify that all other likely suspects can be eliminated for lack of means, motive and/or opportunity.

Unlike the two Anthrax Truthers mentioned above, the DOJ can show solid evidence to establish as a fact that Ivins had the means to commit the crime.   The DOJ can present scientists who can explain that they personally created powders identical to the attack powders using the same equipment Ivins had available in his lab.  The DOJ can also show that Ivins had the opportunity to commit the crime.  To establish that as a fact, they can present documents, time logs and testimony showing that Ivins had no alibi for the times when the mailings were done.  And the DOJ can show that Dr. Ivins had motive for committing the crime:  Though his emails and the testimony of witnesses, they can establish as a fact that:  (1) Dr. Ivins’s life’s work appeared destined for failure, absent an unexpected event.  (2) Dr. Ivins was being subjected to increasing public criticism for his work.  (3)  Dr. Ivins was feeling abandoned in his personal life.  A jury could reasonably conclude that Ivins expected the anthrax mailings to make him and his work important again.

The jury would watch and listen to the evidence being presented.  They would then listen and watch the defense present evidence for their side of the argument.  When done, the jury would decide, based upon all the evidence presented to them, if the case against Dr. Ivins was proven or not proven.  If they decided it was proven, it would become a "fact" that Dr. Ivins was the anthrax killer.

Others can disagree with the "fact" that Ivins did it, but their disagreements would be of no value unless and until they could somehow present better evidence showing someone else did it.

That's my explanation of the difference between "facts" and "evidence."


Below are some sources I used in writing the comment above.
----------------------------------------

Facts and evidence are two words that are often used incorrectly. Even though they are often used interchangeably, they have entirely different meanings. A fact is something that can be proven but evidence is something that someone tells you or objects that can point to the facts. Evidence can be accepted only as a belief that something is a fact and in all cases this is not true.

There are two types of evidence – factual evidence and documented evidence.  In a trial, the court always relies on the documented evidence because facts are needed to prove that it is not true.
However, it is very easy to damage or destroy evidence. Therefore there is not a lot of strength in evidence and it is difficult to authenticate it. In contrast to evidence, a fact can be proven by any means and this is one of the main differences between the two words.

A fact cannot be destroyed or damaged. This is true of scientific facts that have been proven by multiple experiments. No matter how much you change the variables, the conclusion is fact. Facts are based on evidence, but evidence does not necessarily have to be true. It is also considered to be a reality about which a large number of people agree. Facts cannot be disputed.

Information that proves to be helpful in forming a conclusion is termed evidence, but it has to be either true or false. Evidence can be disputed, which is why it is presented in court. The lawyers for both sides present arguments and witnesses to prove or disprove the evidence that has been collected for the case.

It is the evidence that starts an investigation and fact develops from the conclusion of the investigation.

Click HERE for the source.

-------------------------------------

Facts and Evidence are two legal terms that are used with difference. They are generally understood as one and the same thing to an untrained litigant, but strictly speaking they are different.

Fact is a truth that can be proven. On the other hand evidence is something that is told by someone. It has to be accepted only on belief. There cannot be truth in all evidences. This is the main difference between facts and evidence.

Evidence is generally of two types, namely, documental evidence and factual evidence. The decision of the court is always based on documental evidence. You need to have factual evidence to disprove it.

On the main difference between facts and evidence is that evidence can be easily destroyed. This is because of the fact that evidence lacks strength and cannot be proved authentically. On the other hand a fact can be proved by all means. In fact the proven status has made the fact different from evidence.
On the other hand a fact cannot be destroyed at all for that matter. Scientific facts are all proved and hence can never be destroyed by any means. This is mainly due to the fact that fact is characterized by truth whereas evidence is characterized by falsehood.

Evidence is information helpful in forming judgment or a conclusion. Remember it is only information that can be either true or false. On the other hand a fact is a fundamental reality that has been agreed upon by a substantial strength of people.

Another important difference between facts and evidence is that facts cannot be disputed. On the other hand evidence can be disputed in the court. It all depends on the skill of the lawyer to dispute the evidence produced in the court. Fact is arrived at after investigation or experiment. Evidence begins an investigation.

Click HERE for the source. 

--------------------------------------------------------

fact

An objective consensus on a fundamental reality that has been agreed upon by a substantial number of people.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fact?rdfro...

evidence

information used to establish facts in an investigation

http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/evi...

information helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment

http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dic...

one or more reasons for believing that something is or is not true

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.a...

Fact is that which is accepted by a large number of persons. Evidence is information provided by a few persons for accepting a certain fact.

Some evidences may become disputable at a later date. That which is never disputed becomes a fact.

http://www.trueauthority.com/cryptozoolo...

Click HERE for the source.  

Ed

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Explaining What You Understand


Albert Einstein said, "You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother."  And of course, he was saying you have to get your grandmother to understand it, too.

This quote is relevant to the theories of two bloggers who post or attempt to post to this blog:

1.  "DXer" from Lew Weinstein's blog endlessly demonstrates that he cannot explain anything.  And it is clear that the reason he cannot explain anything is either (1) he doesn't understand what he is arguing, or (2) he knows that if he tried to explain himself his explanation would be seen to be clearly ridiculous.

2.  R. Rowley, on the other hand, occasionally seems to try to explain himself.  But, when he does so, he shows everyone that he simply does not understand what he is talking about.  His beliefs do not jibe with reality.

Very little to nothing of what DXer attempts to post has any relevance to the anthrax attacks of 2001.  Yet, he seems to think he is somehow making a good argument for his theory that al Qaeda was behind the anthrax attacks.  Here are two recent examples of his meaningless babble:
Ed, perhaps I can help you make a credible argument in support of an Ivins Theory.

To start, rather than try to suggest he grew the anthrax in the autoclave (ha!) used by others, point out that the FBI doesn't know what happened to the Ames that his assistants were always making. They said it wasn't put into Flask 1029. See Amerithrax Investigative Summary.
and
Also, Ed, if I could help you further in coming up with a credible Ivins Theory, consider Ivins experiment with heat shocked vs. non-heat-shocked spores. That was done in 1412 in connection with aerosol experiments. It could be done in lieu of purification using Renocal, Ivins said. He said he was first learned that it was done by Iraq during the Persian Gulf war era.
DXer doesn't even appear to understand that I'm not trying to develop any kind of "Ivins theory."  The FBI and DOJ presented their legal case against Ivins.  I simply see it as a very good case.  DXer clearly doesn't understand or doesn't believe the evidence, and he apparently doesn't even understand that it's the FBI, not me, who did the investigation.  Nothing in what he talks about in those two attempted posts has anything to do with the evidence against Dr. Bruce Ivins.

R. Rowley, on the other hand, endlessly demonstrates that he does not understand circumstantial evidence.  He says the FBI has no case against Ivins because the FBI doesn't view evidence the way Mr. Rowley views evidence.  In a post HERE, Mr. Rowley argued:
Evidence of the drives to Princeton would be: toll receipts on a road heading to/from NJ; CC television footage of Ivins on any road leading to New Jersey; a parking ticket issued in NJ ; a speeding ticket issued on a highway going to/from New Jersey; receipts for gasoline or any other purchase on the way to/from New Jersey; someone who wrote down/remembered Ivins tag numbers for some reason on the night(s) in question, etc. And, please note, ALL of the above would be "circumstantial evidence" save only the eyewitness jotting down the tag numbers.    
In reality, "DIRECT evidence" is defined as follows:
Evidence in the form of testimony from a witness who actually saw, heard, or touched the subject of questioning. Evidence that, if believed, proves existence of the fact in issue without inference or presumption. That means of proof which tends to show the existence of a fact in question, without the intervention of the proof of any other fact, and which is distinguished from Circumstantial Evidence, often called indirect.
Therefore, while they might not be "direct evidence" of Ivins' guilt,
Toll receipts would be direct evidence of Ivins' trip to New Jersey.
A parking ticket in New Jersey would be direct evidence of Ivins' trip to New Jersey.
A speeding ticket would be direct evidence of Ivins' trip to New Jersey.
Gasoline receipts would be direct evidence of Ivins' trip to New Jersey.
An eye witness would be direct evidence of Ivins' trip to New Jersey.
Click HERE for a definition of "Circumstantial Evidence."
"Books, movies, and television often perpetuate the belief that circumstantial evidence may not be used to convict a criminal of a crime. But this view is incorrect. In many cases, circumstantial evidence is the only evidence linking an accused to a crime; direct evidence may simply not exist. As a result, the jury may have only circumstantial evidence to consider in determining whether to convict or acquit a person charged with a crime. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that "circumstantial evidence is intrinsically no different from testimonial [direct] evidence"(Holland v. United States, 348 U.S. 121, 75 S. Ct. 127, 99 L. Ed. 150 [1954]). Thus, the distinction between direct and circumstantial evidence has little practical effect in the presentation or admissibility of evidence in trials."
Here's the example of circumstantial evidence that I provided to Mr. Rowley, but which he doesn't seem to understand.  He he clearly cannot explain why it wouldn't be totally valid in court:
1. Ivins created the powders and the letters.
2. The letters were mailed from New Jersey.
3. Ivins had no alibi for the times when the letters were mailed.
4. Ivins had a history of driving long distances to commit crimes.

Therefore, we have good circumstantial evidence that:

5. Ivins drove to New Jersey to mail the letters.
 
In another post (HERE), Mr. Rowley argued:
 The only solid evidence in the case is: that the genetic profile indicates that the flask (RMR_1029) was likely a parent of the attack anthrax. That doesn't point to Ivins alone.
 And I responded:
Generally speaking, NONE of the evidence in a circumstantial case points only to ONE person.

Evidence item #1 may point to suspects A, B, C and D.
Evidence item #2 may point to suspects A, C, J, K and L.
Evidence item #3 may point to suspects C, J, L and M.
Evidence item #4 may point to suspects A, C, D, K, L and M.
Which means that the ONLY person that ALL the evidence points to is C.
 But all Mr. Rowley did in response (as usual) is change the subject.

With every argument it becomes more and more clear that neither of these two Anthrax Truthers understands the evidence against Dr. Bruce Ivins.  Therefore, they cannot explain why I or anyone else should not accept that evidence as very good proof of Dr. Ivins guilt in the anthrax attacks of 2001. And neither of the two Anthrax Truthers can make a clear case in favor of their own personal (and very different) theories -- probably because they do not understand their own theories, either.

Ed

Monday, October 20, 2014

Subject: The Scientific Method

The Scientific Method

Anthrax Truthers and conspiracy theorists appear to be incapable of understanding the scientific method.  It seems they generally start with a conclusion, and then they just look for facts which support that conclusion, while ignoring anything and everything that does not support their conclusion.  Thus, the idea of finding evidence that says you are on the wrong track is virtually incomprehensible to them.  To them, anyone who admits to having been on a wrong track is considered to be incompetent and forever distrusted.

However, understanding that your first impressions are not always right is key to the Scientific Method that is used by most investigators in most fields, including FBI agents and scientists.

For example, it was initially assumed by many people that al Qaeda was behind the anthrax attacks of 2001, because (1) the anthrax letter attacks came so soon after the horrific attacks of 9/11, (2) the letters contained threats and language that appeared to be from Islamic extremists, and (3) it had been feared for years - since the first attack upon the World Trade Center in 1993 - that Islamic terrorists might someday strike America with "the poor man's atomic bomb," i.e., a biological or chemical weapon.

So, it can be argued that the Amerithrax investigation began with an hypothesis that al Qaeda was behind the attacks.

Then the FBI began to investigate (i.e., do research) to determine whether the hypothesis was true or not.

In other words, the first question asked was: Did al Qaeda operatives really send the anthrax letters?

The investigation couldn't find any additional evidence to support the hypothesis.  Instead, it found evidence which seemed to show that the al Qaeda hypothesis was invalid.  One of the first facts uncovered was that the strain of anthrax used in the attacks was an American strain used primarily in American labs for vaccine research.  Plus, no trace of anthrax could be found anywhere the 9/11 hijackers had been, so it didn't appear that 9/11 and the anthrax attacks were connected.  The initial assumption (or hypothesis) appeared to be false.

So, a new question was asked: Who sent the anthrax letters?

The subsequent investigation by the FBI uncovered an abundance of facts and evidence showing that Dr. Bruce Edwards Ivins was the anthrax killer.

But, there were still some unanswered questions.  Examples:
Exactly how did Dr. Ivins make the anthrax spores used in the letters?
Where did the silicon in the spores come from?
How did Dr. Ivins disguise his handwriting?
There are many ways that Dr. Ivins could have made the attack spores, and the results would be the same for all the methods. Dr. Ivins is dead and cannot explain what he did. Thus, there's no way to be absolutely certain which method he used.  There are also different ways that the silicon could have gotten into the spores, and we are unlikely to ever know exactly which method Dr. Ivins used. (Six  percent of the spores Dr. Ivins created for flask RMR-1030 contained a "silicon signature" that exactly matched the attack spores, but Dr. Ivins himself may not have known how it happened.)  At best, the investigators can only determine the "most likely" way that he did it. 

The same holds true for the method Ivins used to disguise his handwriting.  The writing on the anthrax documents does NOT match Dr. Ivins' normal handwriting.  But he was known to disguise his handwriting when sending letters and presents to his female co-workers.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice are not going to attempt to determine which methods Dr. Ivins most likely used to accomplish those tasks, since it is not necessary in order to prove their case.  They just need to prove that Dr. Ivins has the means.  Plus, arguing about what is "most likely" only generates counter arguments that the crime might have been done in some totally unlikely way.  

Facts and evidence indicate that Dr. Ivins most likely disguised his handwriting in a relatively unique way:  He manipulated a child into doing the writing for him.  Click HERE for a video explaining 12 facts which support this hypothesis.  Click HERE to read a detailed written explanation of the hypothesis.

The hypothesis that a child wrote the anthrax documents has remained unchallenged for over ten years.  Discovering that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer helped confirm the hypothesis, since he seems to have had access to first graders who could have done the writing.  Plus, Dr. Ivins' psychological makeup indicates he could very likely have done things that way.

Anthrax Truthers, of course, do not believe this handwriting hypothesis, but they cannot challenge it by providing facts and evidence which show it is incorrect.  Mostly all they seem to be able to do is argue that a typical killer would not have done things that way.  That is a different question and means nothing to the Amerithrax case.  Dr. Ivins was not a typical killer, and the methods he "most likely" used seem to fit his personality and situation perfectly.

Sometimes Anthrax Truthers also try to argue about whether the child was a boy or girl, and whether it's easier to manipulate a typical boy or typical girl.  Those are also different questions, so the hypothesis does not answer or address those questions.  There don't seem to be sufficient writing samples to make such an evaluation, and there's no reason to believe the child was "typical."

Of course, one could ask the question: Who was the child who wrote the anthrax letters?

But, any answer from me would be only an hypothesis.  And such an hypothesis would have to name some child who could be forever harmed by being identified as "the child who wrote the anthrax letters."  So, I'm not willing to even discuss such an hypothesis.

In summary:

The facts and evidence form an hypothesis that Dr. Ivins most likely used anthrax spores in the attack letters that were created as part of his job for test purposes, instead of destroying the spores after the tests were done.

The facts and evidence form an hypothesis that anthrax spores can most likely be created with silicon in their spore coats if they are grown at room temperatures instead of at incubator temperatures. 

The facts and evidence form an hypothesis that says Dr. Ivins most likely used a first grader to write the anthrax documents.

Everyone reading this blog is urged to challenge these hypotheses with contrary facts and evidence showing that some other explanation was more likely, if they can do so.

The objective of using the Scientific Method is to find out what most likely happened, and if there are better facts and better evidence which shows different explanations are most likely, I would be most interested in being advised of them.

Ed