Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dec. 25 - Dec. 31 Discussions

This week's Sunday comment on my web site is about how scientists view their theories versus how True Believers view their theories. I used the news about the Higgs boson to make the point that, if a scientist discovers that he was mistaken, he learns from his mistakes and could go on to make even greater discoveries.

If a True Believer makes a mistake, he never admits to the mistake, he rationalizes ways that he could still be right, and he continues with his beliefs. To a True Believer, anyone who admits to making mistakes is someone who admits to being incompetent.

But, the True Believers seem to have put themselves into a "Higgs boson"-type situation.

They have built a case that Bruce Ivins was innocent because he was working with test animals in Suite B3 during his "unexplained" evening and weekend hours prior to the attacks. He was not making the anthrax powders during that time.

However, the facts seem to say that when Ivins was working with test animals, he was NOT in Suite B3. Therefore, his work with test animals has nothing to do with his unexplained evening hours in Suite B3.

It appears that what is needed to prove or disprove the True Believers' theory about the test animals is solid, undeniable proof of where the test animals were located. Every document they've produced so far says that, either the animals were somewhere else, or the information on the document is so vague and irrelevant that it means nothing one way or the other.

It also seems that it should be fairly easy to determine where the test animals were located in September and October of 2001.

It may only be a matter of asking the right question.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dec. 18 - Dec. 24 Discussions

My Sunday post this week was about the various ways I can analyze data gathered about visitors to my web site.

I had a couple other things to add, such as a list which shows "search strings," i.e., what people were searching for via Google, Yahoo or other search engines when the came to my site. But, every image I put on my site is another "hit" when people visit the page, and images use a lot of bandwidth. So, I decided against it. There are already 6 new images in my Sunday comment.

Another image I was thinking of putting in Sunday's comment was a comparison between visitors to my site and visitors to, Lew Weinstein's web site, which is the #1 site used by Anthrax Truthers. However, Since I created the graph, I might as well post it here:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dec. 11 - Dec. 17 Discussions

The main topic this week is the silly way the Anthrax Truthers argue. One Truther argued that an FBI/DOJ statement that Ivins NEVER spent the same amount of long hours alone in his lab in the evenings after October 2001 is "specious" because new rules were implemented in 2002 that no one could work alone in a lab. You had to have a "buddy" there, too.

So, the statement by the FBI is true, but the Anthrax Truther considers it to be misleading. It doesn't point out that the reason Ivins NEVER spent any long hours in his lab at night in 2009 was because he was DEAD.

That's the kind of silly argument the Anthrax Truthers constantly use.

Another example: The FBI/DOJ pointed out that Ivins knew how to dry anthrax spores because he was an expert in the use of the lyophilizer, a freeze dryer that Ivins arranged for USAMRIID to purchase. But, the Anthrax Truthers claim that means the FBI and DOJ are saying that Ivins used the lyophilizer to dry the attack spores. The FBI and DOJ never said any such thing - except in an erroneous statement in a document in the Stevens vs USA lawsuit, which was quickly corrected.

The fact that Ivins knew how to dry spores using the lyophilizer does NOT mean he dried the attack spores using the lyophilizer. The fact that Ivins knew how to dry spores using chemicals does not mean he dried the attack spores using chemicals. It just means Ivins had all the expertise needed to make the attack spores.

The method Ivins used was air drying, which is far easier than the other methods, but it still requires being careful and cleaning up afterwards.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dec. 4 - Dec. 10, 2011 Discussions

Ivins evidently experimented with drying spores in the lyophilizer. It didn't work as well as other methods. The spores were "wrecked" by the freezing process.

The main comment for this week, however, is about how long it can take a big organization like the FBI to change directions. It appears that some within the FBI were looking at Ivins as early as 2005, maybe 2004. FBI Special Agent Edward Montooth started focusing on Ivins as the prime suspect in 2006. And U.S. Attorney Rachel Lieber seems to have become convinced that Ivins was the killer in early 2008, when she started preparing to have him indicted and put on trial.

The point I tried to make is that the FBI and DOJ are made up of individuals, and each individual looks at the facts from a slightly different point of view. So, when an individual is asked a question, they may give an answer that seems inconsistent with someone else's answer. When that happens, it isn't necessarily because the massive organization called "The FBI" has changed its direction, it's more likely because a different individual simply expressed his or her point of view of what's happening.

Also, did Ivins mail the letters from Princeton because Newark was just too far? He wanted to see al Qaeda blamed for the letters, and UAL flight #93 had left from Newark. Ivins may have wanted to mail the first letters in Newark, but he either couldn't get that far that night, or he changed his mind once he'd reached Princeton.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nov. 27 - Dec. 3, 2011 Discussions

The major subject this week should be my new web page How Bruce Ivins Made the Attack Powders ... Allegedly. Together with the page about "When & Where Bruce Ivins Made the Attack Powders ... Allegedly," the two pages should explain everything significant that there is to know about how Dr. Ivins committed the attacks.

The Anthrax Truther arguments, however, will still be that Dr. Ivins couldn't have been making anthrax in his lab because he was tending to test animals there, even though the facts clearly show he was NOT tending to the animal during most of the times he was in his lab in the evenings.

And the conspiracy theorists will argue that Ivins couldn't have made the attack anthrax because it was weaponized with silicon (and tin) in some supersophisticated way that was not in Dr. Ivins' skill set, even though the facts clearly show that the attack anthrax was NOT weaponized with silicon (or tin).

A second subject for discussion could be the transcripts I located for the PBS Frontline interviews of FBI Agent Edward Montooth and U.S. Attorney Rachel Lieber that were done for the October 11, 2011 program called "The Anthrax Files." The interviews thoroughly shoot down a lot of arguments from Anthrax Truthers.

The interviews also show how biased and distorted the PBS Frontline show "The Anthrax Files" was. The show asked questions that were thoroughly answered by Montooth and Leiber, yet Frontline presented them as if they hadn't been answered or as if the answers weren't believable.

The Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit was settled on Tuesday for $2.5 million, which is substantially less than the $50 million the suit had demanded.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nov. 13 - Nov. 19 Discussions

The big subject for discussion for this week would be the major changes which resulted from me talking with someone with inside knowledge of Building 1425 and Suite B3. Those discussions required that I totally change my thinking about where the keycard readers and the keypad were located.

I also had do do a major overhaul to my new supplemental page called "Where & When Bruce Ivins Made The Anthrax Powders ... allegedly."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nov. 6 - Nov. 12 discussions

The big topic for discussion this week is my new web page about Where & When Bruce Ivins made the anthrax powders ... allegedly.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oct. 30 - Nov. 5, 2001 discussions

The first comment I made this week was about how the in-out logs clearly show that Ivins was making spore powders in his lab during evenings from August 31 to September 16, 2001. On the 17th he drove to New Jersey to mail the media letters. From the 18th through the 27th, he was waiting for the media letters to be delivered and to create panic.

When the media letters had NO effect, Ivins returned to his BSL-3 lab again on the 28th and started making the spore powders for the senate letters. He continued doing that through the 5th.

On the 6th, Ivins suddenly had no further reason to go into his BSL-3 lab again. He was evidently just waiting for the senate letters to be delivered and to have their effect. He didn't work long hours in his BSL-3 lab again until the 17th of October when Peter Jahrling asked him to quantify the spores in the Daschle letter.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oct. 23 - Oct. 29, 2001 discussions

The main topics during this period are:

Mistaken beliefs by Anthrax Truthers that Ivins' unusual time in his BSL-3 lab could be explained by his tending to mice and rabbits being used in tests.

The facts indicate that Ivins had no reason to go into his lab for a week or so after he completed making the anthrax powders. He worked long hours in his lab to make the powders, then he did almost nothing in his lab while waiting for the reaction to the letters.  See the graph below:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oct. 18, 2011 - A ridiculous editorial in The New York Times

Click HERE to view an editorial from today's New York Times in which they embrace the nonsense from McClatchy, ProPublica and PBS Frontline about evidence in the Amerithrax investigation. The Times makes the same ridiculous arguments. The New York Times' editorial says:

"As for the circumstantial evidence, an investigation by PBS Frontline, assisted by ProPublica and the McClatchy newspapers, cast doubt on two elements that prosecutors had declared important. A contention that Dr. Ivins worked extraordinarily long hours alone at night in his laboratory just before the mailings looked less suspicious after the journalists found that he regularly worked late hours in other labs and offices."

Yes, and the fact that he "regularly" worked long hours in offices and other laboratories explains why the guards and others in Building 1425 didn't pay any attention when Ivins suddenly started working those hours in his BioSafety Level 3 laboratory instead of his office and other laboratories where he'd previously spent his time at night and on weekends. The guards had become accustomed to seeing him in the building at night. They just had no way of knowing that he was doing something different from what he normally did.

The evidence is that Ivins was working in his BSL-3 lab alone and unsupervised with equipment that he could use to create the powders. And why couldn't he explain what he was doing in his BSL-3 lab on those evenings? Why did he suddenly start doing something different? What was he doing? It's the fact that he was in his personal BSL-3 lab doing something DIFFERENT that is the evidence against Ivins. The fact that he normally worked long hours only shows why his time spent making the anthrax powders went unnoticed by others.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oct. 16, 2011 - Science in anthrax letter case under attack

Click HERE to read the article by David Willman titled "Science in anthrax case comes under attack."

I wish the Los Angeles Times article and the Science magazine article had addressed a lot more of the baloney printed by McClatchy and The New York Times, put on-line by ProPublica, and aired by Frontline. So much of what was printed, put on-line and aired was total nonsense and can be clearly shown to be total nonsense. But Science magazine and the LA Times just addressed a few pebbles from the mountain of nonsense.

The lesson seems to be that if conspiracy theorists and True Believers just keep repeating their theories and beliefs for year after year after year after year, sooner or later people in the media will forget what the real facts are and start to think that what the conspiracy theorists and True Believers are claiming is actually "news." And, they'll report it to a public that has also forgotten what the real facts are. And fewer and fewer journalists and scientists will stand up and argue for the truth.

That's a direct road to havoc.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oct. 15, 2011 - McClatchy & ProPublica nonsense continues

Click HERE to read a new article from McClatchy Newspapers, and Frontline titled "Despite Evidence of FBI Bungling, New Probe Into Anthrax Killings Unlikely."

The article indicates that all the "experts" McClatchy, ProPublica and Frontline have been depending upon in their "investigation" of the FBI's investigation have a golden opportunity to get the case reopened. The article explains:

To reopen the case, [Former FBI agent and profiler Brad] Garrett said, would take “something fairly compelling … somebody comes forward [or] there’s a new piece of evidence that links it to somebody else.”

Nearly every one of the conspiracy theorists and True Believers believes they have "evidence" that someone else sent the anthrax letters! Unfortunately for them, however, it's obviously not "compelling" evidence or McClatchy, ProPublica and Frontline would have seized upon it and exploited it. Instead, all that McClatchy et al can do is question (and distort) the FBI's evidence against Ivins.

If someone else did it, why is there no solid evidence against anyone else? The answer from the conspiracy theorists and True Believers is just another attack upon the FBI: There is no solid evidence against anyone else because the FBI failed to find it or even look for it. That implies that all the conspiracy theorists and True Believers are totally incapable of finding any evidence for themselves. So, their arguments are all about beliefs and opinions. And, most of them do not agree on who they think sent the anthrax letters. So, among Anthrax Truthers there's unity against the FBI's case, but near total disagreement about who did it if it wasn't Bruce Edwards Ivins.

Is it any wonder that no one wants to reopen the case just because some angry and frustrated conspiracy theorists and True Believers have differing beliefs and opinions about who did it?


Friday, October 14, 2011

Oct. 10, 2011 - PBS asks Clair Fraser-Liggett leading questions

Click HERE to read PBS's edited interview with Clair Fraser-Liggett. It's titled "Clair Fraser-Liggett: 'This is not an airtight case by any means'."

The PBS journalist doing the interview starts with some good questions then proceeds to ask leading questions which were obviously intended to get answers that would fit with PBS/McClatchy's biased view of the case:

The other conclusion was that it seemed to be that the FBI had overemphasized how the science defined the end results of the case. Explain that.

[Did] the FBI, to some extent, perhaps overemphasize the role of science in proving their case?

Were you surprised at the tone of the FBI as far as how clear they were that Ivins was the man?

Did you feel a little sense of awkwardness about being there, because you realized that you were possibly part of a bit of a charade?

[What about] the thoughts that pressure from the top down, to some extent, perverted the investigation?

So, PBS got the answers they wanted by asking biased questions that would get the right answers from someone who was not really familiar with all the evidence against Bruce Ivins. And they could then report on TV that "one of the FBI's outside experts" didn't fully agree with the FBI's findings.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oct. 13, 2011 article by Laurie Garrett on her beliefs

Click HERE to read the article by Laurie Garret titled "The Anthrax Letters."

This statement from Garrett seems almost nonsensical:

if Ivins didn't do it, the terrorists are still out there, ten years later, free to wreck more havoc.

Shouldn't it read: If Ivins didn't do it, and the real terrorists have been out there for ten years, free to wreak more havoc, why haven't they done so?

Garrett doesn't address that question. Instead, she addresses the question of why al Qaeda didn't boast about their role in the 2001 anthrax mailings. Her fantasy answers:

It is possible that a claim of credit was never found because it is in one of the lost letters, and the primary operatives responsible for producing the spores perished on 9/11 in their dastardly hijackings.


The second possibility is that al-Qaeda considered the mailings a failure. No Senator or famous news anchor died.

But, the letters caused panic, shut down congress and cost America many billions of dollars. Wouldn't that be plenty of reason for al Qaeda to claim credit? Instead, bin Laden actually denied that al Qaeda was responsible for the mailings.


Oct. 12, 2011 - McClatchy article on anthrax

Click HERE to read the McClatchy article titled "Was FBI's science good enough to ID anthrax killer?"

The McClatchy article explains (as others have) that there was a conflict between managers at the top of the bureaucracy pushing to get results from the scientists and investigators at the bottom of the bureaucracy who had no way to speed up the process of getting results. (That's a conflict with which I have a lot of personal experience - from the investigators point of view.) The McClatchy article then reports:

Rachel Lieber, the lead prosecutor, said law enforcement officials did try to make sure the science was rigorously vetted. But Lieber said there were limits and that the science was only a piece of a much larger mosaic of evidence against Ivins.

"You look at the lines of a trial and where do we spend our resources," Lieber said. "Are we doing a science project or are we looking for proof at trial? These are two very different standards."

Yes, indeed. Was the Amerithrax investigation a science project or were they looking for a murderer? Answer: They were looking for a murderer. The science helped point the investigators in the right direction, but it wasn't science alone that proved that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax mailer - and would have proved that fact to a jury beyond any reasonable doubt.


Oct. 12, 2011 - Science Magazine Criticizes NYT article

Click HERE to read the Science magazine article "New Challenge to FBI's Anthrax Investigation Lends an Ear to Tin."

The Science article eviscerates the paper by Martin Hugh-Jones, Barbara Hatch Rosenberg and Stuart Jacobsen that The New York Times seemingly considered to be very newsworthy, even though it wasn't new and wasn't scientific. Here's part of what was in Science Magazine:

In the new paper, Hugh-Jones, Rosenberg, and Jacobsen [...] don't cite any literature or documented methods for weaponizing anthrax but offer that a "procedure of this kind can be envisioned for encapsulating B. anthracis spores." They write that "the ratio of Tin to Silicon in the attack spores is 'about right' for a Tin catalyst used to produce a silicone coating, according to a chemist in the field."

In other words, the Hugh-Jones et al paper uses "junk science" to challenge real science.


Oct. 9, 2011 - New York Times article

You can read the article by clicking HERE

Discussion topic: Why is this news? The paper the article is about was written by a couple conspiracy theorists and a veterinarian, and it's been around since June. Plus, it wasn't published in a science magazine, therefore the science was not "peer reviewed." And it contains nonsense like this:

If the authors of the new paper are correct about the silicon-tin coating, it appears likely that Dr. Ivins could not have made the anthrax powder alone with the equipment he possessed, as the F.B.I. maintains. That would mean either that he got the powder from elsewhere or that he was not the perpetrator.

And if pigs could fly, we could all feast on deep fried pig wings.

If Dr. Ivins did not make the powder, one conceivable source might be classified government research on anthrax, carried out for years by the military and the Central Intelligence Agency. Dr. Ivins had ties to several researchers who did such secret work.

And if the powder had been made by Pinocchio, how would he have gotten a mask over his long nose?


Monday, October 10, 2011

Tin in the attack anthrax

The New York Times has a October 9, 2011, article by William Broad and Scott Shane titled "Scientists' Analysis Disputes F.B.I. Closing of Anthrax Case."

It repeats the old conspiracy theory that the element tin found in some samples of the attack anthrax could indicate a supersophisticated weaponization process that Bruce Ivins couldn't have accomplished all by himself.

At the very end of the article, it also says that tin is a very common meaningless contaminant in laboratories and that spores commonly pick up all kinds of contaminants. But, the reader is left with the idea that the tin could be very meaningful and change the entire case.

The question is: How much money should the government spend on resolving a question that will NEVER be resolved to the satisfaction of conspiracy theorists?


Thursday, October 6, 2011

PBS Frontline "The Anthrax Files"

The PBS Frontline program titled "The Anthrax Files" is scheduled to air on Tuesday, October 11, 2011, at 9 PM Central Time. If you have thoughts about that program, this is the place to post them.

The attack anthrax was NOT weaponized.

The facts say that the attack anthrax was NOT weaponized.  The spores were examined by Sandia National Laboratories, and it was determined beyond any doubt that the silicon which showed up in the spores was inside the spore coat, which is under the exosporium.  Plus, the silicon was clearly accumulated there via natural processes, since they also found the same silicon "signature" in spores that were still inside the "mother germ."

One test of the powder from the New York Post letter supposedly found 10.77% silicon and 0.65% tin.  The finding was explained as possible contamination from a shard of glass.

An alternative explanation is that the material was centrifuged before it was dried, and the process of centrifuging resulted in natural silicon being concentrated in one spot in the centrifuge tube.  When dried, it showed up in one sample but not in others.

The facts show that the attack spores were not weaponized, so an unexplained finding of an unusual amount of silicon and tin in one sample doesn't change the "weaponization" finding.