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.