Monday, June 3, 2013

Subject: Claims, Arguments and Evidence

Here are the Google definitions of three important words everyone should know:

CLAIM  /klām/

Verb
State or assert that something is the case, typically without providing evidence or proof.

Noun
An assertion of the truth of something, typically one that is disputed or in doubt.

AR·GU·MENT  /ˈärgyəmənt/

Noun
1. An exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one: "I've had an argument with my father".

2. A reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong.

EV·I·DENCE   /ˈevədəns/

Noun
The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

Verb
Be or show evidence of.


Examples of claims:

From the Department of Justice: Dr. Ivins perpetrated the anthrax letter attacks

From "Anonymous": "Amerithrax represents the greatest counterintelligence failure in the history of the United States."

From Mr. Rowley: "The multiple Hebrew elements [in the Amerithrax documents] all but preclude someone who ISN'T thoroughly familiar with the Hebrew alphabet as being the printer."

From Ed Lake: "The facts say a child wrote the anthrax letters and addressed the envelopes."

Arguments come when someone disagrees with or fails to see any reasoning or proof behind any of the above claims.

Arguments resulting from the three claims above:

The claim by the Department of Justice is disputed by various "Anthrax Truthers," who each seem to have a unique theory about who did it, and they only seem to agree on one thing: The government is wrong.

The claim by "Anonymous" is disputed by the FBI and the DOJ which concluded that Bruce Edwards Ivins was the anthrax mailer, and thus there was no "counterintelligence failure" involved in the case.

The claim by Mr. Rowley is disputed by Ed Lake (and probably by everyone else) because there is no discernible evidence to support such a claim.

The claim by Ed Lake is disputed by "Anonymous" because "Anonymous" doesn't believe the claim.

Examples of supplying evidence to support a claim:

The evidence supplied by the Department of Justice begins with the 92 page Amerithax Investigative Summary, which is supported by 2,720 pages of detail documents HERE. Additional documents related to the scientific aspects of the case may be obtained in the form of a CD from the National Academy of Sciences.

The evidence supplied by "Anonymous" in support of his claim seems to consist of just 2 undisputed facts: (1) al Qaeda had a motive for the attacks, and (2) al Qaeda was considering an anthrax attack upon America before the actual attacks.  He has supplied no meaningful evidence that al Qaeda actually carried out the attacks.  Click HERE to view what "Anonymous" considers to be "evidence."

Mr. Rowley has presented no meaningful evidence to support his claim.  He mostly just points to more of his claims while arguing over words and interpretations.

The evidence supplied by Ed Lake HERE consists of 12 indisputable facts (and more can be presented if needed) which point to only one logical conclusion: A first grader was used to write the anthrax letters and to address the envelopes.

Current results:

The evidence supplied by the Department of Justice showing that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax mailer is generally accepted, but is highly disputed by people who continue to have their own unique theories about who "really did it." 

"Anonymous" doesn't accept or believe any of the evidence which the FBI found to prove Ivins' guilt.  "Anonymous" continues to believe Islamic militants were behind the anthrax attacks.  He appears to argue possibilities instead of facts: It's possible that that the FBI is totally mistaken, it's possible that Islamic militants obtained a sample from flask RMR-1029 somewhere, and it's possible that unidentified Islamic militants wrote and mailed the anthrax letters.

Mr. Rowley continues to believe in his theory and seemingly argues that his claims are evidence.  He doesn't accept the FBI/DOJ's findings because (apparently) he believes they are just covering up a failure to find the right person (e.g., Mr. Rowley's "suspect").

"Anonymous" continues to argue that "There is no support for [Ed Lake's] theory."  "Anonymous" refuses to discuss the facts presented by Ed Lake or even to comment on them.

Conclusion:

Some people on this blog need to understand that a CLAIM is just an unsupported opinion or belief UNLESS it can be successfully ARGUED against other opinions by using valid, acceptable, unbiased EVIDENCE.

Ed

225 comments:

  1. Ed, the evidence in support of the claim that Al Qaeda operatives were responsible is here.

    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

    Your argument throughout the investigation was found here:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20110915013528/http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/AlQaeda.html

    You wisely (albeit quietly) abandoned the argument which was always specious.

    Your claim that the FBI was not talking about -- and thus did not know about -- an accomplice of the hijackers was always provable false.

    The FBI has known Adnan El-Shukrijumah all along and has massively publicized the manhunt for him.

    Your argument simply was really uninformed. You need to read more.

    It's not possible to discuss an Al Qaeda theory with you because you never make an effort to inform yourself. You don't even know the names of the various anthrax operatives. As for taking the time to educate you, I have no reason to bother because I don't care what you think.

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  2. "Anonymous" wrote: "Ed, the evidence in support of the claim that Al Qaeda operatives were responsible is here. http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com "

    There's nothing at that link except cryptic images and gibberish. All it shows is that you cannot explain anything. Providing an image of a document is NOT evidence if the evidence isn't explained and put in context. What you provide is a bizarre puzzle that apparently people are supposed to figure out in order to understand what you believe. It's about as far from being "evidence" as anyone can get.

    If you want to see what evidence looks like and how it can be properly explained, check my web page on "How Bruce Ivins Made the Anthrax Powders" here: http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/HowIvinsMadePowders.html Then compare your idea of evidence to mine.

    "Anonymous" also wrote: "Your argument throughout the investigation was found HERE"

    You are mistaken once again. A summary of the evidence is located here: http://www.justice.gov/amerithrax/docs/amx-investigative-summary.pdf

    And there are 2,720 pages of details here: http://vault.fbi.gov/Amerithrax/

    Plus, of course, there are the thousands of additional pages provided to the NAS and made public by them.

    My web page is titled "Other Theories about the Anthrax Mailings." It's my explanation of OTHER THEORIES, showing that they are all largely without evidence.

    Anonymous wrote: "It's not possible to discuss an Al Qaeda theory with you because you never make an effort to inform yourself. You don't even know the names of the various anthrax operatives. As for taking the time to educate you, I have no reason to bother because I don't care what you think."

    I've studied the RELEVANT information regarding the "Al Qaeda theory." There's no meaningful evidence which shows that al Qaeda was involved. The evidence says that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax mailer.

    So, the question is not why I don't bother to "know the names of various operatives" which mean absolutely nothing to the Amerithrax case, the question is why you appear to be totally incapable of understanding or even SEEING the mountain of evidence which says that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax mailer and that al Qaeda and Islamist militants had NOTHING to do with it.

    Ed

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  3. FYI, the heading text at the top of this thread is a work in progress. I just added some paragraphs showing that the FBI/DOJ also has a claim, an argument, evidence and a conclusion about the case. It's not just me, "Anonymous" and Mr. Rowley.

    I'm planning to add a cartoon at the start of the thread. I just haven't come up with a good idea for it yet.

    Ed

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  4. Here from your argument -- for 10 years -- here is an example showing how uninformed you are.

    You wrote:

    "And most convincing of all: Americans were in Afghanistan pounding the crap out of al Qaeda, yet there were no more anthrax attacks."

    If you read on the subject, you would know that Al Qaeda's anthrax lab was destroyed in early October 2001 and its lab head Yazid Sufaat captured as he tried to escape home to Kuala Lumpur. Instead of reading and learning the facts, you just went with your belief a First Grader wrote the letters and was secretly helping a man in Wisconsin in a conspiracy with a man in New Jersey. You are a true believer, Ed. Whenever I tried to post the facts contradiction your beliefs you would delete the posts.

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    1. "Anonymous wrote: "Instead of reading and learning the facts, you just went with your belief [about] a man in Wisconsin in a conspiracy with a man in New Jersey. You are a true believer, Ed."

      It appears that among your various misconceptions, you don't know what a "True Believer" is.

      For years, the facts appeared to indicate that a scientist in New Jersey (possibly helped by a scientist in Wisconsin) was the anthrax mailer largely because that's what the FBI seemed to be thinking, and I saw no reason to disagree with them. But, I also saw that there was very little evidence, so I mentioned REPEATEDLY EVERYWHERE that I could be wrong.

      Then, when it was announced that Bruce Ivins was the FBI's actual suspect, and all the FBI evidence against Ivins was made public, I changed my analysis as soon as I had gone through the evidence. It was clear that Ivins was the anthrax mailer beyond any reasonable doubt.

      Is that the way you think a "True Believer" operates? No. A True Believer gets an idea into his head - such as an idea that al Qaeda was behind the attacks - and he becomes incapable of changing his mind - no matter how many facts are presented to him showing him that he's wrong. That's how a True Believer thinks.

      Anonymous also wrote: "If you read on the subject, you would know that Al Qaeda's anthrax lab was destroyed in early October 2001 and its lab head Yazid Sufaat captured as he tried to escape home to Kuala Lumpur."

      So what? Are you saying that all the anthrax that al Qaeda was able to make were the few grams that were in the letters, and that their threats were EMPTY threats? Isn't that just a made-up excuse on your part to explain why there were no more attacks? Wouldn't it be more logical for al Qaeda to smuggle their whole supply to the U.S. prior to 9/11? Wouldn't they assume that it would be next to impossible to smuggle anthrax into the U.S. after 9/11? Or don't you even think about such things - because it wouldn't fit with your fixed beliefs?

      "Anonymous" also wrote: "Whenever I tried to post the facts contradiction your beliefs you would delete the posts."

      Nonsense. I only deleted your posts when you made vicious personal attacks and/or attempted to dump your endless irrelevant crap from Lew's site onto this blog. Your posts aren't about "evidence." They're irrelevant cut and paste material about Islamist militants. That is OFF-TOPIC here.

      BTW, the fact that you refuse to even discuss the 12 undeniable facts which say that a child wrote the anthrax documents is just another example of the closed mind of a True Believer.

      Ed

      Delete
    2. Mr. Lake,

      An adult has no reason to involve another person in disguising his handwriting.

      But I agree with you there is no evidence Bruce Ivins wrote the letters. Thanks very much for keeping the focus on the handwriting!

      Delete
    3. "Anonymous" wrote: "An adult has no reason to involve another person in disguising his handwriting."

      Really? You state this as an absolute certainty. Why? Because it's what you believe?

      And you do not care what the facts say?

      So, you're saying you believe what you want to believe, and you don't care what the facts say?

      Thank you for making that absolutely clear to everyone.

      Ed

      Delete
  5. Everyone in the world reading on the matter knew about Adnan El-Shukrijumah was a known accomplice of the hijackers except you, Ed. It was the subject of massive publicity. He was repeatedly pointed out to you. He was subject of repeated massively publicized BOLOs and $5 million reward offers.

    Yet your argument was as follows:

    "What was most puzzling about that The New York Times article was this sentence: "If the hijackers did have anthrax, they would probably have needed an accomplice to mail the tainted letters, bioterrorism experts knowledgeable about the case said."

    "They would probably have needed an accomplice"?! If you have been DEAD for a week and your body is splattered all over the countryside, is it just a "probability" that you need help to mail some letters? And is it still just a "probability" that you’d also need help a month later to mail a second batch of letters!?

    All the "new" evidence that al Qaeda was behind the anthrax attacks pertained to people who died on September 11th! But to those in Camp Jingo, the fact that those terrorists were all dead is merely "proof" that there must have been an unidentified accomplice.

    Of all the complaints that people have had about the FBI since September 11, one I’ve never heard is that the FBI has been lax in tracking down everyone associated with the 9-11 terrorists. We know all the terrorists names - even the one who failed to show up for his flight. We know where they lived, where they visited, where they went to flight school, who rented them their apartments, where they had drinks, what they drank, how they paid their bills, who they talked with, where they had arguments, where they went for medical help. We’ve seen photographs of every one of them, plus video tapes of them going through airports. Nearly two thousand people are reportedly still behind bars because of their possible associations to the 9-11 terrorists. But in all this we have seen absolutely nothing of this supposed "accomplice" from the anthrax attacks.

    So, what do we know about this "accomplice" other than that he has apparently never been seen in any photograph and that he has never been associated with the dead al Qaeda members?"
    -----------

    Now, Ed, it's not possible to discuss Adnan El-Shukrijumah because you don't inform yourself. You refuse to discuss the Al Qaeda operatives coordinating with the hijackers and Al Qaeda anthrax planners and scientists. You delete and refuse to post anything explaining that your argument on Al Qaeda -- throughout the pendency of the investigation -- was specious and contradicted by the facts. That's because you are a True Believer who (inexplicably) wants only to talk about young children.

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    1. "Anonymous wrote: "You refuse to discuss the Al Qaeda operatives coordinating with the hijackers and Al Qaeda anthrax planners and scientists."

      The facts said that the anthrax letters were sent by an American scientist and the letters had nothing to do with al Qaeda. That's the way the FBI viewed it, and I had no reason to disagree.

      The FBI has shown the world evidence that proves that Dr. Bruce Edwards Ivins was behind the attacks. All you've been doing for the past 11 years is posting information about al Qaeda that really has NOTHING to do with the anthrax attacks (except what you IMAGINE). Until you can come up with BETTER EVIDENCE than the FBI's evidence which shows that Islamist extremists were actually behind the anthrax attacks, there's no reason to take you seriously.

      It's not that difficult to explain evidence. Read the DOJ's explanation of the case against Ivins HERE and compare it to your explanation. If you think your explanation is better, then you need to explain to the world HOW it is better. Because I think almost everyone can see that the FBI's case is solid and your case is virtually non-existent.

      Ed

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    2. Ed, we are talking about your Al Qaeda theory.

      You are argued there was no known accomplice.

      That was your emphatic argument throughout the decade.

      You were wrong.

      You refused to change your argument even though Adnan El-Shukrijumah was pointed out to you on numerous occasions.

      You were a True Believer who insisted some guy in WIsconsin was involved -- and yet the FBI Director expressly said the theory was baloney on December 21, 2001. You thought he was lying -- and had no basis for thinking that.

      Even after I interviewed the Wisconsin fellow and explained he never had any access to anthrax -- and had not even known it was a bacteria -- you were not daunted.

      You argued that a First Grader wrote the letters -- and when the FBI claimed that Dr. Ivins did, you persisted in your theory. You are a True Believer, Ed.

      And a conspiracy theorist too. You imagined -- insisted -- that the Wisconsin fellow had conspired with a fellow in New Jersey. Even though you had no basis to think they even were acquainted.

      You are really bad at true crime analysis, Ed.

      Delete
    3. "Anonymous" wrote: "You are argued there was no known accomplice."

      You need it improve your reading skills. In reality, I didn't argue anything like that. I argued just the opposite. I ridiculed a statement in the New York Times that said, "If the hijackers did have anthrax, they would probably have needed an accomplice to mail the tainted letters, bioterrorism experts knowledgeable about the case said."

      I responded: "They would probably have needed an accomplice"?! If you have been DEAD for a week and your body is splattered all over the countryside, is it just a "probability" that you need help to mail some letters? And is it still just a "probability" that you’d also need help a month later to mail a second batch of letters!?"

      In other words, I was saying, IF the hijackers did have anthrax, they would UNDOUBTEDLY have needed an accomplice to mail the tainted letters.

      But, of course, the hijackers were NOT involved in the anthrax mailings, so whatever accomplices they had, those accomplices also had nothing to do with the anthrax mailings. The FBI proved that.

      If you still think al Qaeda was involved in the anthrax mailings in spite of all the evidence the FBI provided which shows that Bruce Ivins did it and he acted alone, then you are really bad at true crime analysis.

      Ed

      Delete
  6. Throughout the decade and the pendency of your investigation, this was your argument on an Al Qaeda theory.

    "Here is the "new evidence" as reported in The New York Times article:

    1. In June of 2001, two men visited the emergency room of Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, FL. One of them was Ahmed Alhaznawi, who piloted the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11. Dr. Christos Tsonas treated Alhaznawi for an ugly, dark lesion on his leg.

    2. After September 11, when federal investigators found the medicine among the Alhaznawi’s possessions, Dr. Tsonas was question (in October, after anthrax became a hot subject in the news, particularly in Florida). Dr. Tsonas reviewed the case and decided that the lesion "was consistent with cutaneous anthrax."

    3. According to The New York Times, experts at the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies recently sent a memorandum to government officials in which they concluded that the diagnosis of cutaneous anthrax was "the most probable and coherent interpretation of the data available." The memorandum added, "Such a conclusion of course raises the possibility that the hijackers were handling anthrax and were the perpetrators of the anthrax letter attacks."

    Unfortunately, Johns Hopkins fails to explain exactly how that "possibility" accounts for dead people being "the perpetrators of the anthrax letter attacks."

    Did some member of Camp Jingo at Johns Hopkins simply fail to check his dates? Or was he or she totally out of touch with virtually every aspect of the anthrax mailing case?

    The New York Times seemed to be aware of the situation, since they alluded to the dates in a vaguely worded paragraph in the middle of their article:

    "If the hijackers did have anthrax, they would probably have needed an accomplice to mail the tainted letters, bioterrorism experts knowledgeable about the case said. The four recovered anthrax letters were postmarked on Sept. 18 and Oct. 9 in Trenton." ...

    Why not just say, All those September 11 guys were DEAD at the time of the anthrax mailings! It couldn't have been them!"

    Ed, everyone else was discussing Adnan, his association with the hijackers in Florida, and the manhunt for him. His existence was a FACT. Why did you pretend he didn't exist just to promote your specious CLAIM about an imaginary First Grader? El-Shukrijumah was known to exist. Yet you falsely denied his existence. You falsely denied the FACT of his existence. Your First Grader, on the other hand, was a figment of your imagination.

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    1. Anonymous wrote: "Ed, everyone else was discussing Adnan, his association with the hijackers in Florida, and the manhunt for him. His existence was a FACT. Why did you pretend he didn't exist...?"

      I didn't pretend he didn't exist. The FBI's search for Adnan El-Shukrijumah had nothing to do with the anthrax attacks. My web site is only about the anthrax attacks of 2001 and separating fact from opinion. I didn't have any reason to mention Adnan El-Shukrijumah or any of the other Islamist militants the FBI was hunting for. What could I possibly add to what was already in the news?

      "Anonymous" also wrote: "Your First Grader, on the other hand, was a figment of your imagination."

      Prove it. Or is that just another baseless BELIEF of yours?

      The FACT say that a first grader wrote the anthrax documents. If you don't know who he is, that doesn't mean he doesn't exist. The FACTS say he exists. The FACTS said so years before either of us ever heard of Dr. Bruce Ivins.

      Ed

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    2. Anonymous wrote: "Ed, everyone else was discussing Adnan, his association with the hijackers in Florida, and the manhunt for him. His existence was a FACT. Why did you pretend he didn't exist...?"
      I didn't pretend he didn't exist. The FBI's search for Adnan El-Shukrijumah had nothing to do with the anthrax attacks. My web site is only about the anthrax attacks of 2001..."

      Ed, your argument on the anthrax attacks was that you were confident Al Qaeda was not responsible because the hijackers would have needed an accomplice -- and they had no accomplice.

      Yet, it was known that they did have an accomplice.

      The problem is that you are uninformed. That's why you falsely claimed the hijackers did not have an accomplice. You failed to correct your argument even when it was pointed out you were mistaken.

      You crack me up. Just because you have access to a keyboard doesn't mean anyone needs to bother to explain things to you.

      That's why they teach elementary and middle school students media literacy.

      Delete
    3. "Anonymous" wrote: "That's why you falsely claimed the hijackers did not have an accomplice."

      Again, your reading skills need a lot of work. I made no such claim. I said just the opposite.

      The New York Times said that the 9/11 hijackers would "PROBABLY" have needed an accomplice if they were involved in the anthrax mailings. I ridiculed that comment. I argued that, if the 9/11 hijackers had anthrax, they would UNDOUBTEDLY have needed accomplices to mail the letters, since the 9/11 hijackers were DEAD for a month at the time of the second mailing.

      You shouldn't need me to explain that to you. It's very clear in what I wrote. Maybe you need some remedial classes in basic reading comprehension.

      Ed

      Delete
  7. So what was your theory?

    You argued:

    "8. The anthrax mailer most likely lives and works in Central New Jersey and has not been arrested because the FBI has not yet obtained sufficient evidence to make an arrest.
    ..

    ...

    10. The anthrax mailer probably had no direct connection to any source of the Ames strain of anthrax and probably never worked for any government lab.

    ...

    11. The person who removed the Ames anthrax from the lab where it was being used for medical research is almost certainly not the same person who refined and mailed the anthrax."


    Ha! This is what you argued from early January 2002 through June 2008.

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  8. "Anonymous" wrote: "This is what you argued from early January 2002 through June 2008."

    So what? I also stated that I could be wrong. It's just what the facts seemed to say - and where the FBI seemed to be focused. I was totally open to new evidence that would prove me wrong. (Denials aren't proof of anything, since the FBI will deny that it has a suspect until they actually get an indictment.)

    Are you thinking that everyone should be a True Believer and stick with a belief no matter what evidence can be shown to prove that the belief is false? That may be the way you think, but it's not my way.

    Ed

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    1. "So what? I also stated that I could be wrong. It's just what the facts seemed to say - and where the FBI seemed to be focused."

      Do I really need to go find where you said you were 99% certain?

      Do I really need to quote you the investigators who explained that they suspected Hatfill?

      You argued for a decade that they did not suspect Hatfill -- when everyone else knows they did. And the lead investigator has said so? You were just a true believer about that Wisconsin fellow.

      You have been wrong on every aspect imaginable relating to Amerithrax --with your claim that the FBI did not suspect Hatfill (when they say they did) being just one of the central aspects of Amerithrax that you misunderstood.

      The fact that you cling to your First Grader theory is hilarious.

      Delete
    2. "Anonymous" wrote: "Do I really need to go find where you said you were 99% certain?"

      I may have written that I'm around 99% certain that a child wrote the letters, but I NEVER gave any such certainty level for believing that a scientist in New Jersey sent the anthrax letters. I knew I had very few facts, so my certainty level was probably never more than 30% -- if that much. I just didn't have any BETTER facts which pointed to anyone else. Your nonsense about al Qaeda being involved certainly didn't provide any facts.

      "Anonymous" also wrote: "Do I really need to quote you the investigators who explained that they suspected Hatfill?"

      Yes, I think you do need to name the investigators who said that and provide the exact quotes. I do not recall any investigator ever saying any such thing. It was the MEDIA that was pointing at Hatfill and complaining that the FBI was NOT looking at Hatfill as a suspect, and they suggested that the FBI might be "covering up" for Hatfill because he "knew too much." The FBI kept saying that the media's suspect (Hatfill) was NOT an FBI suspect.

      Check my Hatfill Timeline page HERE. On February 22, 2002, an FBI spokeswoman named Silberling stated, "It is not accurate that the FBI has identified a prime suspect in the case."

      A quote from Feb. 25, 2002: "Federal law enforcement officials denied a newspaper report that the FBI had a identified a scientist who once worked in a U.S. government laboratory as a chief suspect."

      Another quote from that same day: ""There is no prime suspect in this case at this time""

      From the 26th: "Investigators keep a running list of as many as 20 people who are under scrutiny at any time. But no individual has remained on the list for more than a month, and none has emerged as a solid suspect, authorities said."

      and

      "FBI officials over the last week have flatly discounted Rosenberg's claims, which were included in a Washington Times article yesterday reporting that a suspect had been identified. Numerous Bush administration officials, including White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, yesterday called the report erroneous and said the FBI was not close to identifying a suspect."

      Attorney John Ashcroft tried to tell everyone that Hatfill was NOT a suspect by saying he was just a "person of interest," but the MEDIA (and probably most of the public) couldn't see any difference between a "person of interest" and a "suspect."

      Please provide the names and quotes of federal "investigators who explained that they suspected Hatfill."

      "Anonymous" wrote: "And the lead investigator has said so?" Why the question mark? Is that a Freudian slip?

      Again, please provide a name and the quote.

      Ed

      Delete
  9. You even self-published a book resting on the fact that the hijackers were dead and had no accomplice. Why on earth would you not have read up on the subject first? This boogie man, Adnan El-Shukrijumah was not imaginary, Ed, as you claim. This known accomplice of Atta and the anthrax planners has been subject to a $5 million manhunt for over a decade. You remain remarkably uninformed. Living with the 911 mastermind on 9/13/2001 Adnan called his mom he was coming to the US despite her pleas that he not come because he would be arrested. Yazid Sufaat does not deny Al Qaeda's anthrax mailings. He also lived with KSM for a period that Fall.

    In contrast to these facts, you write:

    "10. The Usual Suspects
    Some still argue that the anthrax attacks must have been the work of al Qaeda. But their arguments are based upon possibilities, not facts. They are just "boogie man theories" pointing at evildoers who seem to be responsible for everything bad in the world. It doesn’t seem to bother the theorists one bit that the al Qaeda hijackers were dead for a week before the first mailing and dead for a month at the time of the second mailing."

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    1. "Anonymous" wrote: "You even self-published a book resting on the fact that the hijackers were dead and had no accomplice."

      Really? Which book was that? Where did I ever say that the hijackers had no accomplices? As I recall, the FBI found a couple accomplices out west somewhere, plus there was Moussaoui who as in the news all the time.

      My point was that no one ever proved that any "accomplices" were involved in the anthrax attacks. You and others seemed to believe the 9/11 terrorists MUST have also been behind the anthrax attacks. But, no one was providing any EVIDENCE, they were only implying that the 9/11 hijackers were involved in some way.

      If you recall, until a couple weeks ago, you were arguing that Mohamed Atta wrote the anthrax letters. You were pointing out places where the 9/11 terrorists could have made the copies and bought the envelopes.

      It didn't seem to bother you at all that the 9/11 hijackers were dead at the times of the mailings.

      I argued that it wasn't just a probability that they would have needed accomplices to do the actual mailings, it was a CERTAINTY. But the FACTS said that neither the 9/11 hijackers nor any accomplice was behind the anthrax mailings. The FACTS said that it was almost certainly an American scientist. And, of course, the FBI was hunting around in New Jersey for YEARS looking to find that scientist.

      "Anonymous" also wrote: "This boogie man, Adnan El-Shukrijumah was not imaginary, Ed, as you claim."

      I made no such claim. I never mentioned El-Shukrijamah before a couple weeks ago when you started writing about him after I debunked your theory that Mohamed Atta wrote the anthrax letters. Claiming I said things I never said only shows how desperate you are to avoid trying to PROVE that Islamist militants were behind the anthrax attacks.

      Ed

      Delete
  10. Source: Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2008.

    Leaks, focus on single suspect undercut anthrax probe

    The flawed FBI investigation was marked by abnormal tactics and internal dissent, interviews and court documents show. More than six years after the deaths, no charges have been filed.

    By David Willman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer


    ...

    A federal judge who reviewed details of the investigation, including still-secret FBI summaries, declared earlier this year that there "is not a scintilla of evidence that would indicate that Dr. Hatfill had anything to do with this."

    FBI leaders remained fixated on Hatfill into late 2006, agents said.

    "They exhausted a tremendous amount of time and energy on him," said one of the FBI agents involved with the case who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.

    "I'm still convinced that whatever seemed interesting or worth pursuing was just basically nullified in the months or year following when 'person of interest' came out about Hatfill," he said. Other possibilities got short shrift, he said, because of assumptions within the FBI that "sooner or later they'll have this guy nailed."

    Said another investigator: "Particular management people felt, 'He is the right guy. If we only put this amount of energy into him, we'll get to the end of the rainbow.' Did it take energy away? It had to have. Because you can't pull up another hundred agents and say, 'You go work these leads [that] these guys can't because they're just focused on Hatfill.' "

    Comment: One of the senior managers fixated on Hatfill was the lead prosecutor, Daniel Seikaly. His brother and sister-in-law were publicly arguing that Bin Laden was not responsible for 911. He was the father of the daughter who came to represent anthrax suspect Ali Al-Timimi for free. He pled the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination for leaking the hyped stories about Hatfill.

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    1. "Anonymous,"

      I gather the point of the above post is to show quotes that some UNNAMED individual FBI agents believed that Hatfill was the culprit and they said so to David Willman.

      I acknowledge that in my second book. At the top of page 200 I wrote:

      "With so many people pointing at Dr. Hatfill, there were some in the FBI and more than a few in the Department of Justice who believed that where there is so much smoke there must also be fire. There just might be something to what everyone was saying about Hatfill, even if no one could find any solid proof of it. Besides, the FBI investigators didn't have a better suspect than Dr. Hatfill. And there was no solid, undeniable proof that Dr. Hatfill was not the anthrax mailer."

      But, no FBI agent ever named Hatfill publicly, and the FBI officially denied Hatfill was a suspect many many times during the course of the investigation.

      As you recall, there was an FBI agent who made news by telling Tara O'Toole that that he believed al Qaeda might have been behind the attacks.

      There were probably individual FBI agents who had all sorts of favorite suspects because they had spent a lot of time investigating that particular individual. That's the way complex criminal investigations work. Individual investigators have theories, and gradually the FACTS and the correct theory are supposed to bring everyone together in agreement.

      It took YEARS before the FACTS began to make it absolutely clear that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax mailer. Then it didn't make any different what THEORIES individual agents had in the past.

      Ed

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    2. "Anonymous" wrote: "FBI leaders remained fixated on Hatfill into late 2006, agents said."

      The facts seem to indicate that Richard Lambert, who was the head of the investigation from 2002 to 2005 believed that Hatfill was the culprit, probably because so many "experts" like Barbara Hatch Rosenberg were pointing at him, and there was no solid evidence pointing at anyone else.

      But, it didn't make any difference what Lambert or anyone else believed. Only FACTS AND EVIDENCE are used in court.

      Eventually, Lambert was moved out and replaced by Edward Montooth who was told to make his own judgements about what the FACTS said. By that time, the FACTS were starting to pile up that Bruce Ivins was the most likely person to have sent the letters.

      I explain all this in Chapter 32 of my book "A Crime Unlike Any Other." The chapter is titled "Hatfill or Ivins."

      You may have some fantasy that everyone should be like you and divine the real culprit on Day One, but that's not the way things work for most people. In real life situations, people get lots of opinions and lots of conflicting facts, and gradually the picture starts coming together. Gradually, people who thought their favorite suspect was the culprit realize that they were wrong and that Mr. X is the culprit.

      That's the way it works in real criminal investigations, and that's the way things typically happen in crime shows on TV and in the movies, because it's good drama to first believe one thing and then discover facts which point to something else.

      It's actually VERY EXCITING to discover a fact which changes everything you previously believed about something. It's a HOLY CRAP! moment. Sometimes it's called an "having an epiphany." It's what drives scientists, explorers and inventors.

      If everyone divined the "truth" immediately - the way you seem to believe you do - then life would be very dull. There would be no mysteries and all criminals would go immediately to jail.

      That's just not the way things work on this planet. Sorry to disappoint you.

      Ed

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  11. Anonymous,

    I think if you would just explain a few things about what you believe, everyone would be able to understand your beliefs a bit better.

    1. Where did the Islamist militants make the anthrax powders for the letters? Was it in the U.S. or was it in Afghanistan? Or somewhere else - like Canada? You seem to argue whatever argument fits the moment. Don't you have any actual FACTS?

    2. If the Islamist terrorists made the anthrax powders in Afghanistan, did they just make the few grams that were in the letters? Were the threats in the letters FALSE threats?

    3. If the Islamist militants did NOT make a FALSE threat, why hasn't there been a major anthrax attack? Did they plan to make more anthrax later and smuggle it into the U.S. after 9/11 and after the first anthrax attacks? Wouldn't they see it be at least a thousand times more difficult to smuggle anthrax into the U.S. after America was made aware of the dangers?

    4. Why do you believe the Islamist militants sent a crude powder in the first letters and then waited a month to send the more sophisticated powders in the second letters? It's clear why Ivins did that, but why would Islamist militants send two different kinds of powders a month apart? Why send the media a crude powder, and then a month later send a sophisticated powder to politicians?

    5. Why did the Islamist militants send the first letters to the media? If they only had a few grams of powder, wouldn't it have made more sense to mail more letters to politicians?

    Ed

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    Replies
    1. Ed asks why the supporters of the Blind Sheik would send deadly letters to the media.

      Letters to the media and people is not merely the modus operandi of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, it is signature of Adnan Al-Shukrijumah associate at the al-Farouq mosque. Adnan Al-Shukrijumah was the son of the translator for the Blind Sheik at al-Farouq in Brooklyn. The fellow who ran the Blind Sheik's services organization was a fellow named Dahab. He was trained by EIJ head of intelligence Ali Mohammed to send deadly letters. Indeed, the Al Qaeda spokesman was in the news earlier this week urging that lone wolves send poisonous letters.

      In 1997, purporting to speak for the Vanguards of Conquest, Saif Adel specifically denied the letters to NYC and DC newspapers and people in symbolic positions sent in connection with detention of the blind sheik. But then he was roundly rebuked by the London-based spokesman for the Vanguards of Conquest, Al-Sirri, who denied responsibility for the letters on behalf of the Vanguards and said Saif Adel was not authorized to speak for the group unless he went through formal channels.

      The same sort of counterintuitive theory (a bioevangelist theory) — with or without being dressed up by panties — was raised in connection with this earlier letter bombing of newspapers to DC and New York City and people in symbolic positions. (Al Hayat letter bombs for which there is up to a $5 million reward under the rewards for justice program) But that time it was US Post Office worker Ahmed Abdel Sattar who noted that the bombs were mailed on December 20, 1996 one day before the brief in support of the blind sheik on appeal. He questioned whether someone (like the FBI) was trying to undermine the appeal’s prospects. This time, Mr. Sattar did not need any help making the argument with respect to the anthrax letters — numerous people with agendas rushed to do it for him.

      Delete
    2. NPR set the scene. It was January 2, 1997, at 9:15 a.m. at the National Press Building in Washington, D.C. The employee of the Saudi-owned newspaper Al Hayat began to open a letter. It was a Christmas card — the kind that plays a musical tune. It was white envelope, five and a half inches by six and a half inches, with a computer-generated address label attached. It had foreign postage and a post mark — a post mark in Alexandria, Egypt. It looked suspiciously bulky, so he set it down and called the police. Minutes later they found a similar envelope. These were the first two of four letter bombs that would arrive at Al Hayat during the day.” A fifth letter bomb addressed to the paper was intercepted at a nearby post office. They all looked the same. Two similar letter bombs addressed to the “parole officer” (a position that does not exist) arrived at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth. It seemed evident how some Grinch had spent the holidays in Alexandria, Egypt.

      Egyptian Saif Adel (Makawwi) was involved in military planning. Adel was a colonel in the Egyptian Army’s Special Forces before joining Al Qaeda. He helped plan the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Africa. He was also a planner in the attack on the USS Cole and has served as the liaison officer between Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. Adel assisted Atef, who had overall responsibility for Al Qaeda’s operations. There was part of a long-running disagreement with Saif Adel (Makawwi) and Ayman, however. As Attorney Al-Zayyat has said, Makkawi had many times claimed responsibility for operations that were carried out inside Egypt but when the perpetrators were arrested, it would be al-Zawahiri’s name whose name they shout loyalty to from the docks. Some would even say they did not know a person named Makkawi. After the letter al-Hayat letter bombs were sent in January 1997, Saif Adel (Makawwi) gave a statement denying responsibility on behalf of the Vanguards of Conquest. He got admonished by the unnamed but official spokesman for the Vanguards organization (Al-Sirri) — chastising him as not being authorized to speak for the organization (or even being a member).

      The FBI would not speculate as to who sent the letters or why. But this was your classic “duck that walks like a duck” situation. As NPR reported at the time, “analysts say that letter bombs are rarely sent in batches, and when they are it’s generally prompted by politics, not personal animus.” Al Hayat was a well respected and moderate newspaper. It was friendly to moderate Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt — just as, say NBC and CBS. That, without more, was accurately discerned by observers at the time as sufficient to make the newspaper outlet a target of the militant islamists. The newspaper, its editor explained, does not avoid criticizing militant islamists. The Al Hayat Editor-in-Chief explained: “We’ve been opposed to all extremists in the Arab world, especially the fundamentalists.” Mohammed Salameh, a central defendant in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was sent to Leavenworth in 1994. The other three Egyptian extremists convicted in the bombing were sent to prisons in California, Indiana and Colorado. Like the blind sheik, Abdel Rahman, Salameh had complained of his conditions and asked to be avenged. The Blind Sheik was particularly irked that the prison officials did not cut his fingernails.

      Delete
    3. On the issue of the impending wedding of Jenny Lopez (see his #10), Ed overlooks the CDC report, in a peer reviewed publication, that there were two letters sent to AMI publications containing anthrax. This was discernable from the two routes of anthrax contamination through the post offices. The CDC scientists and published their conclusion that there were two letters, not one, containing anthrax sent to AMI (to two different publications) The hardworking FOIA personnel at CDC provided me 2000 pages relating to their study of the issue. One of them was the so-called Jenny letter.

      "Jenny" was the code name that Atta used for Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, the 911 plotter. I have uploaded the email that Atta wrote Ramzi. The letter sent to AMI in Florida sought to dissuade Jennifer Lopez from a planned marriage. A wedding or marriage is well-known Al Qaeda code for an attack. The sender said how much he loved her and asked her to marry him. Stevens noted at the time it was especially off the wall given that the Sun did not deal with celebrities, which was the subject of the sister-paper Globe. Stevens’ fellow photo editor Roz Suss was looking over his shoulder: “With that Bob says to me,” Hey, I think there’s something gold in here. It looks like a Jewish star sticking out of the powder.” I walked up behind him and reached over his shoulder. I pulled this little star out of what looked like a mound of powder in this letter. I remember it as a fine white powder.” “It looked like something from a Cracker Jacks box,” she says. She picked it out of the powder and tossed it in her wastebasket. Stevens’ colleague Bobby Bender has a different recollection. He says he opened a letter to Jennifer Lopez, recalls handling a large envelope to Jennifer Lopez, care of the Sun. In it was a cigar tube containing a cigar, a small Star of David charm, and something that seemed like soap powder. Hambali and two al-Qaeda minions considered attacking an Israeli restaurant, with a Star of David above it, in the Khao San Rd. backpacker area in Bangkok.

      A December 1998 Presidential Daily Brief to President Clinton explained: “An alleged Bin Ladin supporter late last month remarked to his mother that he planned to work in ‘commerce’ from abroad and said his impending ‘marriage,’ which would take place soon, would be a ’surprise.’” The December 1998 PDB continued: “‘Commerce’ and ‘marriage’ often are code words for attacks.” Of course, sometimes, a young man just wants to tell his mom he’s got a job or warn her that she may not approve of the woman he intends to marry. Similarly, sometimes folks who write to tabloids are merely commenting on JLo’s impending nuptials.

      Delete
    4. Mrs. Stevens recently explained: “They get strange letters sometimes, and the consensus seems to be that if Robert wasn’t wearing his glasses and if it was something funny, he would hold the letters up to his face. They think perhaps that’s how he got it. Just bad luck.” Another published expert opinion on this issue of the Jennifer Lopez letter thus far is the New England Journal of Medicine in which Stevens’ doctor concludes that the letter, opened 9/19 and resulting in symptoms appearing 9/30, evidenced an incubation period consistent with inhalational anthrax.

      A CDC report discusses a second letter of possible interest thought to have been opened on September 25 by a different woman who was exposed. The jury will have to remain out unless and until there is more information on the letter(s) that transmitted the anthrax to AMI. The FBI went back to AMI in August 2002. A February 2003 article in Esquire says the “cops and the doctors” have concluded that there were two letters, following two different paths, with one having been mailed to an old address of the National Enquirer before being forwarded. If there were two different letters, were they to two different AMI publications? That would make sense — with one directed to the Sun and one directed to the National Enquirer.

      Delete
    5. In various of the questions, Ed asks why Al Qaeda does what it does in its choice of tactics.

      Mr. Abu Ghaith is quoted as saying that al-Qaeda “functions according to a rigorous, secret logic” He said: “Al-Qaeda will organize more attacks against American and Jewish targets, inside and outside American territory, at the moment we choose, at the place we choose and with the methods we want." Just this week the Al Qaeda spokesman urged that jihadists turn to poisonous letters.

      Religious scholar and Al Qaeda spokeman Abu Ghaith, who now faces trial in New York City, long ago explained Al Qaeda did not usually claim responsibility.

      Abu Ghaith, Bin Laden's son-in-law, sat alongside Bin Laden and Zawahiri after 911 in a videotaped message.

      Abu Ghaith will be represented by the blind sheik's attorney, who himself is being prosecuted down the street from me. The lawyer has accepted my invitation to have ribs at Dinosaur Barbecue and chat and so I hope to learn more -- after reading Abu Ghaith 2010 "Twenty Guidelines" for jihad.

      I was learning a lot in chat with Yazid Sufaat, the head of Al Qaeda's anthrax lab, but then he was arrested and he faces life imprisonment.

      Delete
    6. Ed's question about why FBI would withhold information about Al Qaeda's anthrax question ignores the reality that it is all SECRET - NO FORN, and some is TOP SECRET. Indeed, the FBI refused to give the NAS any classified information. I have posted a leaked SECRET - NO FORN document explaining that Yazid and his two assistants were working with virulent anthrax and were protected by reason of having been vaccinated.

      As for why the FBI withheld the information relating to Adnan El-Shukrijumah, former Senator Graham is in the news today again seeking the answer to that question. (It relates to the FBI's failure to provide the documents relating to a family named Al-Hilji).

      Delete
    7. Ed asks why hasn't there been a mass attack using anthrax.

      KSM had several jihadists move Sufaat's crates to Kandahar in May 2001.

      Yazid Sufaat was working on his anthrax project. He briefed Zawahiri and Hambali over a week.

      After 911, Yazid Kandahar lab was bombed as were other sites where bio work was being done.

      Yazid Sufaat was captured in December 2001.

      Delete
    8. Although Ed disagrees with the CIA, the CIA formally concluded that Al Qaeda's inquiries relating to cropdusters related to aerial dispersal of anthrax. KSM said the same thing.

      Al-Hindi and two colleagues stayed in New Jersey in 2001 casing NYC targets (at the instruction of KSM). At some point, Adnan did also (also at the instruction of KSM) -- spending a week in NYC, DC and Montreal.

      Authors Schwartz and University of Minnesota Professor Osterholm explained in December 2000: "Dozens of Websites offer information on new and used crop-dusting planes and equipment that can be fitted to almost any plane or even trucks. Most of the equipment can be found on those sites produce a highly controlled mist spray, with nozzles that can set the droplet size precisely." "A quick call to the toll-free number for a state university's agricultural service (listed, naturally on its Website) revealed that powder dispersal systems, while less popular than wet systems, are still available. One Website even provides a handy guide to the area one would expect to cover using various particle sizes, wet and dry -- from thousand micron particles to half-micron particles capable of drifting almost four hundred miles."

      Resident Bush, at a press conference on October 11, 2001 said: "We received knowledge that perhaps an al-Qaeda operative was prepared to use a crop-duster to spray a biological weapon or a chemical weapon on American people, and so we responded. We contacted every crop dust location, airports from which crop-dusters leave. We notified crop-duster manufacturers to a potential threat. We knew full well that in order for a crop-duster to become a weapon of mass destruction would require a retrofitting, and so we talked to machine shops around where crop-dusters are located."

      Mohammed Atta and Zacarias Moussaoui reportedly made inquiries about cropdusters and a cropdusting manual was found among Moussaoui's belongings. Ahmad Ressam, an Al Qaeda terrorist caught in the United States, revealed that Bin Laden was personally interested in using low flying aircraft to disperse biological agents. In early June 3, 2003, a CIA report concluded that the reason for Atta's and Zacarias Moussaoui's inquiries into cropdusters was in fact for the contemplated use in dispersing biological agents such as anthrax. Moussaoui, however, has confessed only to a plot to fly a 747 into the White House if the United States government refused to free the blind sheikh.

      in an interview with ABC News, Johnelle Bryant, a USDA employee, provided this very dramatic account of a meeting with Atta in connection with a loan he wanted for $650,000 to start a cropdusting business. Anthrax likely can be delivered using the nozzle setup that some USDA official says Atta imagined (as explained by Secretary Cohen some years ago). Secretary Cohen's remarks were found in the Kabul home with papers relating to the aerial delivery of anthrax.

      On September 19, 2001, an FBI agent asked a federal judge in Colorado for permission to search an e-mail account named "greenlab@usa.net" that Al Qaeda anthrax lab head Yazid Sufaat had given Moussaoui to use.

      The FBI is currently looking for a diminutive Saudi Arabian, Adnan Shukrijumah, who, at least according to some reports, was trained as a pilot and was last known to have been in Miami in late 2001. The Saudi Arabian from Florida is said to be at the level of Atta. A federal undercover agent has reported that he saw El-Shukrijumah with Atta. Jdey, also hotly sought by the FBI, was one of two other pilots who for unknown reasons were not still candidates for the first wave.

      But as to why Yazid Sufaat could not mount a mass attack, he had to flee upon the US bombing of Kandahar. He had hoped to reconstitute the lab, KSM says, in Pakistan, and then in Malaysia, Hambali says, but he was captured and spent 8 years in prison.

      Now he is back in prison and facing life imprisonment.

      Delete
    9. Hmm. There were 13 posts by "Anonymous" waiting when I returned from doing some chores. Ordinarily, I would probably delete most of them as being filled with irrelevant material, but since they are all in this one thread, I think they can serve better as examples of the irrelevant obfuscation that "Anonymous" dumps on anyone who questions his beliefs.

      In the first post, "Anonymous" wrote: "Ed asks why the supporters of the Blind Sheik would send deadly letters to the media.

      Letters to the media and people is not merely the modus operandi of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, it is signature of Adnan Al-Shukrijumah associate at the al-Farouq mosque."


      Like R. Rowley, instead of supplying evidence to support his original claim, "Anonymous" just supplies us with MORE CLAIMS. Instead of supplying examples of past instances where al Qaeda sent threatening letters to the media, we get a sermon and a lot of blahblah and a brief mention of letter bombs sent to the media under very different circumstances. That hardly establishes a "modus operandi."

      The second post says, "As NPR reported at the time, “analysts say that letter bombs are rarely sent in batches, and when they are it’s generally prompted by politics, not personal animus.” "

      So, "Anonymous" confirms that the letter bombs were unusual and NOT a modus operandi.

      The third post says, "Ed overlooks the CDC report, in a peer reviewed publication, that there were two letters sent to AMI publications containing anthrax."

      Yes, I did overlook that. Even though the CDC report may have been "peer reviewed," it was still nonsense. The FBI stated that there was only one letter with anthrax sent to AMI, and it was NOT the J-Lo letter. The facts clearly show that the J-Lo letter did NOT contain anthrax (there was little contamination in the area where it was opened and passed around.)

      The fourth post is just more blahblah on the same topic.

      The fifth post is just a sermon by "Anonymous" and doesn't answer any specific question.

      The sixth post says, "Ed's question about why FBI would withhold information about Al Qaeda's anthrax question ignores the reality that it is all SECRET - NO FORN, and some is TOP SECRET."

      This is his explanation for why the FBI might be hiding the fact that a flask full of the Ames strain was found in Afghanistan. It's all secret - a massive conspiracy to keep the truth from America. Standard conspiracy theory reasoning.

      The seventh post just repeats what "Anonymous" wrote before and doesn't answer any question.

      The ninth post begins with "Although Ed disagrees with the CIA, the CIA formally concluded that Al Qaeda's inquiries relating to cropdusters related to aerial dispersal of anthrax. KSM said the same thing."

      Again, "Anonymous" doesn't really answer the question. He just goes into a long sermon. One would think that if al Qaeda was doing inquiries into hiring or buying a crop duster aircraft to spray anthrax, they would have a large stock of anthrax ready to use. What happened to that stock?

      It seems quite possible (and far more likely) that they were looking at crop dusters merely because such planes have very large chemical tanks which can also be filled with gasoline to turn the the crop duster into a flying bomb. But, they decided to do it with hijacked airliners instead.

      You don't buy airplanes and then have them sit around as you make attempt after attempt to smuggle anthrax into America. It's putting the cart before the horse. You get the anthrax and THEN buy the planes.

      But, I'm sure "Anonymous" will believe what he wants to believe and cite "experts" who agree with his beliefs.


      Ed

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  12. "Anonymous,"

    A few more questions:

    6. Why did the Islamist militants use the Ames strain? If they made the anthrax powders in Afghanistan, wouldn't it make much more sense to use some local strain? No one had ever used the Ames strain for a bioweapon before, and it would have been VERY difficult for al Qaeda to obtain a sample. If there are dozens of other strains around, why pick the Ames strain? Why use a strain that can be killed by almost any antibiotic? It's clear why Ivins chose the Ames strain, but why would al Qaeda chose it.

    7. Why did the Islamist militants mail both sets of anthrax letters from Princeton? It would seem to be STUPID for terrorists to do both mailings from the same place or even the same area if there wasn't a specific reason to do so. Ivins had a reason, but what reason would Islamist militants have? Wouldn't it be more logical for them to mail the first letters from one place, like New York City, and the second letters from a very different place, like Washington, DC?

    8. Since Ivins' flask RMR-1029 was the "murder weapon," is it your argument that Islamist militants stole a sample from flask RMR-1029, transported it to a lab in Afghanistan where only a few ounces of powders were made in two different degrees of sophistication, and then the two powders were transported BACK to the United States where they were used in the two mailings a month apart? Does that seem even remotely logical to you? Wouldn't it make infinitely more sense to make the powders in Afghanistan using a local strain and then transport the powders to the U.S., instead of going back and forth? It's clear why Ivins did what he did, but it doesn't seem logical that Islamist militants would do such a thing.

    Ed

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  13. "Anonymous,"

    Two more questions to make an even 10:

    9. Doesn't the picture of the "anthrax spore concentrate" you show on Lew's site HERE indicate that they did NOT have the Ames strain? Do you think that if it was the Ames strain the FBI would fail to mention it? If it was the Ames strain, why wouldn't your contacts and EVERYONE ELSE say so? Do you believe there is some kind of conspiracy between the FBI, the DOJ and Islamist militants?

    10. Why do you believe the Islamist militants sent a love letter to Jennifer Lopez at the Sun Magazine that contained laundry detergent instead of anthrax? You say the blue clouds printed on the stationery are a code relating to "The Cloud" which is a terrorist group, and that Jennifer Lopez's first name has something to do with a "Jennie" code, but what was the purpose of a letter that had no anthrax, that looked like a love letter to Jennifer Lopez, and which ended up just getting thrown away? What did Islamist militants hope to achieve with a harmless letter that just gets thrown away and is never seen by anyone outside of the AMI offices?

    Ed

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  14. On this question of leltters as modus operandi, the jihadists have long had the modus operandi of sending poisonous letters as threats. The Al Qaeda operations manual, a version on CD-ROM, had a chapter on “Poisonous Letter.” As with the insertion of biologicals into food, the key is mass panic, not mass casualty.

    The Belgian Prime Minister and the US, British and Saudi Arabian embassies have been sent letters containing hydrazine and an arsenic derivative used in nerve gas in May 2003. One of the ingredients is hard to obtain, suggesting one Health Ministry spokesman to remark that “We’re not dealing with a small-time joker.” A trial of 23 suspected al-Qaeda members was in its third week. “Set our brothers free. Bastards.” Couldn’t be a threat by islamists because they only go for mass casualties — not threats. Right? One of the defendants in that trial allegedly sought hydrazine for use in producing a bomb. A similar modus operandi was followed in New Zealand with cyanide in early 2002 and early 2003 by a sender purporting to be islamist.

    A December 2004 report on terrorism in the European Union noted that in July 2004, eight letters arrived at several official locations in Brussels that contained an ochre-coloured chemical substance that caused itchy eyes and breathing problems. Tests indicated that the substance was adamsite (phenarsasine). Some of the letters included “a threat letter written in (very poor) English, demanding that two recently convicted Islamic extremists are released within that month.”

    Zawahiri feels that in the usual case, the best way to get a lot of people watching is to kill the maximum number of people. But he wouldn’t disagree with the comment by Brian Jenkins that “Terrorism is theater.” Just those 10 grams cost an estimated $6 billion and have been the subject of thousands of news stories and the focus of widespread bioterrorism preparations. They were fully adequate to do the job even within the constraints of small batch production.

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    1. "Anonymous" wrote: Zawahiri feels that in the usual case, the best way to get a lot of people watching is to kill the maximum number of people."

      Are you forgetting about your own claims that this is not done without warning people first?

      Whenever I ask why al Qaeda would send out deadly letter with the edges taped, with medical advice inside the letters and other precautions taken to avoid harming anyone, you say it's because the Koran says that's the way things should be done.

      But, evidently, when they don't do things that way, it makes no difference.

      So, "Anonymous" can find an answer that fits any question, even if his answers disagree with each other.

      Ed

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  15. Al Qaeda’s shura or policy-making council is concerned with handling its efforts in such a way as to develop and maintain the Arab hatred of the US and Israel. That requires a delicate balance and choice of suitable targets and methods. For example, as explained by the spokesperson in mid-February, Abu al Bara’a Al-Qarshy, Al Qaeda will not use WMD in a muslim country, particularly the home of Mecca and Medina. Terrorism involves public relations. Zawahiri divines from his religious texts that it is moral to kill American civilians on the grounds that they stood silent as taxpayers while US-bought weapons were used on Palestinians. In 1998, in an interview that appeared in TIME Magazine, Bin Laden himself explained that it was Al Qaeda’s “religious duty” to obtain chemical and biological weapons, but it was up to them how to use them.

    As Dr. Jane A. Alexander of DARPA once explained at DARPA Tech, 1999:

    “Small scale attacks may be adequate to immobilize national will with panic unless reasonable defenses are available. Terrorists do not need the technological sophistication of a military offensive biological warfare program. A military offensive BW program strives for predictable effect so that military operations can be planned. Terrorists could actually benefit from the variation of the onset and outcome of the illnesses creating added panic in the public.”

    The Ann Arbor NanoBio researchers supplied virulent Ames by Dr. Ivins thanked Dr. Alexander for her support of the DARPA research they were doing involving the Ames strain supplied by USAMRIID’s Bruce Ivins.

    The Al Qaeda shura (policy-making council) may have deemed that Al Qaeda needs to choose the methods of attack carefully so that they are both are effective and calculated to gain the support of others. (Gassing the Kurds ultimately was a public relations debacle for Saddam once the world stopped looking the other way).

    Both Abu Ghaith and Yazid Sufaat were religious men bound by the hadiths. The judgment as to whether they violated those hadiths awaits them.

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    1. Same old, same old. Just a sermon instead of answering a specific question.

      Delete
  16. Ed asks, but why mail the letters from New Brunswick, New Jersey. The question to ask is where the Al Qaeda operatives stayed in New Jersey while casing NYC financial targets in 2001. Al-Hindi and his colleagues stayed with his sister Meehta and her husband.
    Al Qaeda's website was based in New Brunswick. It was on that website that a FAQ prominently explained the Green Birds of Paradise -- where the Arabic word in the hadith referred to what was inside. The powder represented the souls of the hijackers going to paradise to be alongside Allah.

    August 9, 2004 Tourist Copters in New York City a Terror Target

    Pakistan has given American officials what they regard as credible and specific information indicating that Al Qaeda has considered using tourist helicopters in terror attacks in New York City, domestic security officials said Sunday.

    As a result, the officials said, security measures for helicopter operators in New York City will be stepped up in a new directive as early as this week.
    ***
    The senior official, who has been briefed on the information from Britain and Pakistan, would not discuss specific operations that were emerging from the new computer data, saying that the evaluation of the material was still under way.
    ***
    The senior intelligence official and security advisers to President Bush have said they increasingly see the intelligence about the financial institutions ...

    The reconnaissance missions appear to have been conducted three or four years ago, but officials said they considered the information about Al Qaeda's possible interest in things like helicopters and financial institutions to be critical in understanding how or where terrorists might strike, if not when.
    ***
    The authorities now believe that one of the men who conducted the surveillance at the New York Stock Exchange was Adnan G. el-Shukrijumah, who was born in Saudi Arabia, has relatives in Florida and on May 26 was the subject of an F.B.I. bulletin seeking information about seven men with suspected ties to terrorists.

    Some intelligence officials believe that Mr. Shukrijumah is a close associate of Abu Issa al-Hindi, a suspected operative of Al Qaeda who was one of the men arrested last week in Britain and who was believed to have traveled to the United States at the direction of senior terrorist leaders to supervise and take part in the surveillance of the financial institutions.

    There are no charges in the United States against Mr. Shukrijumah, but officials said investigators had been seeking him since shortly after the Sept. 11 terror attacks because he is believed to have taken flight training and is fluent in English.

    ...

    An article in The Washington Post on Sunday said that Mazen Mokhtar, from New Brunswick, N.J., was under investigation because of suspected ties to Babar Ahmad, a computer specialist who was among the men arrested in London last week. Citing an affidavit released Friday by the United States attorney's office in Connecticut, the report said Mr. Mokhtar operated a Web site identical to one used by Mr. Ahmad to solicit money for terrorist groups.

    Reached at his home on Sunday, Mr. Mokhtar said, "I am not interested in giving any interview, at least until I better understand what is going on."

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    1. "Anonymous" wrote: "Ed asks, but why mail the letters from New Brunswick, New Jersey."

      I didn't ask such a question because the letters were NOT mailed from New Brunswick, New Jersey. They were mailed in Princeton. So, the question remains: Why would they drive TWICE to Princeton to mail the two batches of letters? Why not mail them in New York City or New Brunswick?

      The rest of his post is just more irrelevant blather, indicating that I'll soon have to start deleting posts from "Anonymous" once again - maybe just copying the bits that answer a question, if there are any such bits.

      Ed

      Delete
  17. I'm just going to respond to this paragraph of the above Subject written by Mister Lake:
    --------------------
    The evidence supplied by the Department of Justice begins with the 92 page Amerithax Investigative Summary, which is supported by 2,720 pages of detail documents HERE. Additional documents related to the scientific aspects of the case may be obtained in the form of a CD from the National Academy of Sciences.
    ================================================
    This is the triumph of quantity over quality. If the Amerithrax Investigative Summary document had been a mere 8 to 10 pages long but included such items as documentation that

    1)Ivins' fingerprints were certifiably found on Amerithrax letter stationary

    and/or

    2)Ivins' DNA was found on/in same

    and/or

    3)powdered anthrax was found in Ivins' domicile and/or vehicle

    and/or

    4)eyewitnesses saw a vehicle in Princeton on the night of Sept 17-18, and took down the tag number, and the # fit a car belonging to Ivins

    and/or

    5) a credentialed Questioned Document Examiner did a side-by-side comparison of exemplars of Ivins' printing and that of the Amerithrax texts and gave his opinion that, to a high degree of certitude, they were written by the same person

    and/or

    6)an eyewitness at USAMRIID saw Ivins doing late-night drying/purifying of spores there in Sept-Oct

    Etc. then, despite the brevity of the document, it would have been VASTLY more impressive (not just to me, but to Anonymous, Lew Weinstein et alia) than the present 92-page behemoth of little pertinent-to-the-crime and NO physical evidence whatsoever.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. R. Rowley,

      I think you've established that you want the government to do things your way. And you want your kind of evidence to be used.

      But, the world doesn't operate according to your rules. You should understand that by now.

      And, you seem to have demonstrated once again that you have double standards for evidence. You require that the government supply evidence that fits your specific standards, but absolute nonsense is totally acceptable as evidence when arguing in favor of your own beliefs.

      If the FBI report had been a home movie of Ivins dropping the anthrax letters into the mailbox, then the DOJ wouldn't have needed to write any report at all.

      Ed

      Delete
    2. R. Rowley,

      I think you've established that you want the government to do things your way. And you want your kind of evidence to be used.
      -------------------------------------------
      You've written to that effect a number of times. I see NOTHING in my positions that justify that description.

      The FBI led the way in fingerprinting identification long before I was born, has used it in THOUSANDS of cases through the decades. So my noting that there's no Ivins' fingerprint evidence doesn't constitute asking the FBI to do things my way, it constitutes asking them to continue using THEIR OWN LONG_ESTABLISHED METHODOLOGY. Ditto for the other skeins of "missing evidence": they weren't invented by me. They have been used by law enforcement/prosecutors in COUNTLESS cases through the years.

      What we have in the FINAL REPORT is: special pleading.
      In essence: 'Darned that Bruce Ivins! He was so darned clever in avoiding leaving anthrax residue in his vehicle, in avoiding being seen in Princeton, in avoiding being seen drying/purifying anthrax at night, in avoiding
      printing in his normal fashion, in avoiding being seen xeroxing the texts etc. so we would have expected the jury to accept evidence that no jury has ever accepted before AND to have found Ivins guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based on a lower order of evidence.'

      I would have wanted Amerithrax to have been judged on the merits.

      Delete
    3. R. Rowley wrote: "my noting that there's no Ivins' fingerprint evidence doesn't constitute asking the FBI to do things my way, it constitutes asking them to continue using THEIR OWN LONG_ESTABLISHED METHODOLOGY."

      No, it's asking them to use evidence that they do not have because it's the only evidence you will accept.

      R. Rowley wrote: "so we would have expected the jury to accept evidence that no jury has ever accepted before AND to have found Ivins guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based on a lower order of evidence.'"

      A totally false BELIEF on your part. You appear to be totally ignorant of how circumstantial evidence works in court. And, as I've stated repeatedly, you seem to expect the courts to do things YOUR way.

      Any objective person looking at ALL the available evidence against Bruce Ivins would find it compelling. And, if it were properly explained by a prosecutor, it would almost certainly convince any typical jury that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer beyond any reasonable doubt.

      R. Rowley wrote: "I would have wanted Amerithrax to have been judged on the merits."

      I want the same thing. But, I'm looking at the evidence objectively. It doesn't make any difference to me who sent the anthrax letters. For years, I thought that it was someone in New Jersey. But, then the DOJ presented it's case against Bruce Ivins. Looking at the evidence against Bruce Ivins objectively, there seems no reasonable doubt that Ivins was the anthrax killer.

      You appear to have started by forming a conclusion, and you do not accept any evidence that does agree with that conclusion.

      You have NOTHING that would even remotely convince a single juror that your case against your suspect is a better case than the government's case against Bruce Ivins. I doubt that any juror would see any real evidence in your case. Yet, you BELIEVE it's a better case than the DOJ's case against Ivins. The only way that would be possible is if your view of the justice system is the valid view and all the lawyers in the Department of Justice are just idiots who do not know anything about the law.

      Ed

      Delete
  18. Mustafa Hamzaonce explained to the Blind Sheik's paralegal and spokesman, Abdel-Sattar, that in every moment and action, the group starts off by consulting with the righteous Olama. No action is initiated without fatwas from our trusted Olama -- meaning scholars in the plural. In other words, before carrying out an operation, they get a fatwa. He confirmed that fatwas are important because they are authoritative statements by religious leaders declaring what is and is not Islamically permissible. Sattar had a copy of the book written by former Islamic Group leader Taha justifying the attacks that had been committed, to include Luxor.

    The Koran and hadiths provide extensive guidance on the honorable conduct of warfare.

    In a September 27, 2001 Op Ed in the Wall Street Journal, the 87 year-old historian from Princeton, Bernard Lewis, explained the use of biochemical weapons by Al Qaeda: "the laws of jihad categorically preclude wanton and indiscriminate slaughter. The warriors in the holy war are urged not to harm noncombatants, women and children, 'unless they attack you first.' Even such questions as missile and chemical warfare are addressed, the first in relation to mangonels and catapults, the other to the use of poison-tipped arrows and poisoning enemy water supplies. Here the jurists differ-- some permit, some restrict, some forbid these forms of warfare. A point on which they insist is the need for a clear declaration of war before beginning hostilities, and for proper warning before resuming hostilities after a truce.

    The good friend of Adnan El-Shukrijumah's father, Bilal Philips and a key religious mentor of GMU microbiology grad Ali Al-Timimi, explained the principles of islamic jurisprudence of islamic warfare:

    “Islam opposes any form of indiscriminate violence. The Quran states: “Anyone who has killed another except in retaliation, it is as if he has killed the whole of humankind.” [Quran Surah #32 Verse #5] There are strict rules regulating how war may be conducted. Prophet Muhammad forbade the killing of women, children, and old people and the destruction of Churches and Synagogues or farms."

    A book commemorating the September 11 "raid" was published by Majallat al-Ansar and consisted of four essays. It addresses the importance that any attack comply with the laws of Sharia. "Some people see fit to raise the issue of Islamic principles of warfare. They claim that the raid does not observe those principles and that Sharia errors occurred. Some 'modern' legal scholars see the raid as a violation of the Sharia." The book continued: "Everyone knows that the groups in the traditionalist mujahid movement are more committed than anyone else to Sharia in their actions. After all, their actions can cost them their dearest possession after their faith -- their souls." While purporting not to want to get entangled in a discussion of the legal technicalities, the author then addressed at length why the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon was justified under the laws of sharia.

    Vince Cannistraro, a former chief of CIA counter-terrorist operations, discussed the requirement of warning under the laws of jihad on NPR in connection with the Al Qaeda audiotape by Bin Laden that aired shortly before the November 2004 election.

    The head of Egyptian Islamic Group, the Cairo Medical alum who approved of Sadat's assassination and was released after a quarter-century in prison, said of 9/11: "The killing of businessmen is forbidden by Islamic law and the World Trade Center was all businessmen. The killing of women and children and old people is forbidden by Islamic law and many of those were killed in the building." Thus, the harshest judgment may await true believers in another world.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. This appears to be just another irrelevant sermon by "Anonymous." There are rules Islamist militants are supposed to use, and if they don't follow the rules, they go to hell. However, it appears that Islamist militants interpret the "rules" whatever way they want to. So, any discussion of rules is meaningless.

      Ed

      Delete
  19. Ed asks why El-Shukrijumah would have sent to the anthrax to the media on or about September 18, 2001.

    Zawahiri explained in the Fall of 2001: "The killing of Anwar al-Sadat .. was a strong blow to the US-Israeli plan for the region: "One is surprised by the capacity of secular writers to lie. Seeing the overwhelming support in the Muslim world for the Islamic Jihad movements, which dealt painful blows to the United States, they invented this lie, forgetting that Anwar al-Sadat was killed at the hands of fundamentalists in 1981, i.e., at the beginning of the Afghan jihad."

    Zawahiri summarizes in Knights Under The Banner of the Prophet: "If we add to the foregoing the media siege imposed on the message of the jihad movement as well as the campaign of deception mounted by the government media we should realize the extent of the gap in understanding between the jihad movement and the common people."

    In his book first published October 7, 2001, Zawahiri in which he argues the Blind Sheik should be freed, says of the media:

    "The Western media and the Arab media are both responsible for demeaning and distorting the image of the Arab Afghans. They portrayed them as half insane maniacs who revolted against America, who trained and financed them before. This was repeated over and over after the comeback of the Arab Afghans in the second half of the 90's. . ."

    Even dating back to the summer of 1993, CBS' Dan Rather was just one of many who carried reports of the blind sheik being let in the country, with interviewees taking the position that they believed the sheik was being deliberately rewarded by the CIA for his help in the Afghanistan war.

    The best publicly evidence available online of Dr. Al-Timimi's own views on the subject are his online speeches, "The Negative Portrayal Of Islam In the Media" and "Crusader Complex: Western Perceptions of Islam." In 1994, Al-Timimi spoke alongside Commander Abu Abdel Aziz 'Barbaros' (Bosnia) at the annual IANA conference. Barbaros was the Al Qaeda recruiter who met at BIF offices in Zagreb, Croatia in 1992 to plan strategy relating to jihad directed against the US. Jihadist fighter "Barbaros" speaks pretty directly to the issue in a 1994 interview "Understanding Jihad" in the arab language Assirat, for which Al-Timimi served on the advisory board.

    "THE MEDIA CAMPAIGN (AGAINST JIHAD)
    The main purpose of the International media campaign against Jihad is to paint it with the trait of terrorism and things of that sort. (This is done) to push people away from it. They know that Muslims, if they hold tight to Jihad, will achieve the intended thrust which will make them reach whatever Allah wills. They know quite well that the Muslim zeal to Jihad stems from the belief that Allah is the sole source of victory, He will send His help from the sky and that if the Mujahid dies, his abode shall be the highest Firdaws (Peak of Paradise)..."

    Why did the sender target the New York Post rather than the New York Times? One would expect the New York Times to be targeted if a conservative biodefense insider was responsible. The New York Post, read by so many in the New York City region where Adnan had lived, had very unflattering coverage of Blind Sheik Abdel-Rahman in particular The Post letter was addressed to the "Editor."

    In an audiotape received by al-Jazeera and published in October 2002, Zawahiri repeated his view of the secular lies being told: "America is clearly lying concerning any news related to Afghanistan." Bin Laden himself in January 2004 noted "This is in addition to the crusader media campaigns against the Islamic nation."

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    1. I don't see anything of relevance in this post. It's just more sermonizing by "Anonymous." So, I'll soon have to start deleting his posts again if he continues.

      Ed

      Delete
  20. Okay, I think it's been adequately demonstrated that if I don't delete irrelevant posts by "Anonymous," this blog will be inundated by the same blather that fills Lew Weinstein's blog.

    From this point on, I'll be once again deleting posts that do not specifically address the issue of whether there is a better case for Ivins being the anthrax mailer or for some other "suspect" being the anthrax mailer.

    Nothing in all the posts above makes any kind of meaningful case that anyone other than Ivins sent the anthrax letters.

    I'll be back tomorrow.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ed questions why Al Qaeda operatives might have Ames when that it what the researchers they worked with used. Ayman Zawahiri had a highly compartmentalized, elite bio program and had other operatives sharing food, office space, and anthrax with Ames anthrax researchers. For example, Ali Al-Timimi shared office space and a fax with the leading DARPA-funded Ames anthrax researchers.

    Ali Al-Timimi worked at George Mason University’s Discovery Hall throughout 2000 and 2002 period. The Mason Gazette in “Mason to Pursue Advanced Biodefense Research” on November 17, 2000 had announced: “The School of Computational Sciences (SCS) and Advanced Biosystems, Inc., a subsidiary of Hadron, Inc., of Alexandria, are pursuing a collaborative program at the Prince William Campus to enhance research and educational objectives in biodefense research. The article noted that the program was funded primarily by a grant awarded to Advanced Biosystems from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). A 2007 GMU PhD thesis explains that the "An Assessment of Exploitable Weaknesses in Universities" by Corinne M. Verzoni offices and research located in Discovery Hall, making this an attractive building on the Prince William Campus to target for information and technology."

    Former USAMRIID Deputy Commander and Acting Commander Ames researcher Bailey coinvented, with Ken Alibek, the process to treat cell culture with hydrophobic silicon dioxide so as to permit greater concentration upon drying. He was in Room 156B of GMU’s Discovery Hall at the Center for Biodefense. The patent application was filed March 14, 2001. Rm 154A was Victor Morozov’s room number when he first assumed Timimi’s phone number in 2004 (and before he moved to the newly constructed Bull Run Hall). Morozov was the co-inventor with Dr. Bailey of the related cell culture process under which the silica was removed from the spore surface.

    Ken Alibek explained to me where the group's virulent Ames research was done.

    The staff of Advanced Biosystems was in Rm. 160, 162, 177, 254E and several others. Computational sciences offices were intermixed among the Hadron personnel on the first floor of Prince William II to include 159, 161, 166A, 167, 181 B and 181C. Rm. 156B was Charles Bailey, former commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, who was head of the Center for Biodefense. Defense contractor Hadron had announced the appointment of Dr. Bailey as Vice-President of Advanced Biosystems in early April 2001.

    Dr. Charles Bailey for DIA wrote extensively on the the biothreat posed by other countries (and presumably terrorists). He shared a fax number with Al-Timimi. What came over that fax line in Spring and Summer of 2001? At some point, Dr. Al-Timimi, Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey also shared the same maildrop.

    In a late September 2001 interview on NPR on the anthrax threat, Dr. Alibek said: "When we talk and deal with, for example, nuclear weapons, it’s not really difficult to count how much of one or another substance we’ve got in the hands. When you talk about biological agents, in this case it’s absolutely impossible to say whether or not something has been stolen.”

    Al-Timimi worked for SRA in 1999 where he had a high security clearance for work for the Navy. At a conference on countering biological terrorism in 1999 sponsored by the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Dr. Alibek was introduced by a former colleague of Dr. Bailey: “Dr. Llewellyn: This is rather strange because I just met Dr. Alibek today. He was introduced to me by Dr. Charlie Bailey, who now works for SRA. But Charlie and I were associated with the Army Medical Research and Development Command Defense Program for over 20 years."

    When I emailed Dr. Bailey in December 2007 to confirm Ali had the room right near his at Discovery Hall and whether he had worked with Al-Timimi at SRA he politely referred me to counsel and took no questions.

    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "Anonymous" wrote: "Ed questions why Al Qaeda operatives might have Ames when that it what the researchers they worked with used. ... Ali Al-Timimi shared office space and a fax with the leading DARPA-funded Ames anthrax researchers."

      "Anonymous" endlessly digs up dead issues to argue them again, because apparently no issue is really "dead" if there is any possibility that it can be used in an argument to support his beliefs.

      Some details of this argument are in an article by Kenneth Dillon HERE.

      An Islamist militant - Al-Timimi - worked in the same building at George Mason University GMU) where other scientists were working with the Ames strain. That's the sum-total of the "evidence." There's no evidence that Al-Timimi actually worked with or had access to the Ames strain. The facts say that Al-Timimi was studying "computational biology," which suggests that he wouldn't know what to do with an Ames sample even if he could get his hands on it. There's just the possibility that he could have somehow gotten his hands on a sample.

      Other facts say that the GMU sample of the Ames strain did NOT contain the morphs that were in flask RMR-1029 and in the anthrax letter spores. It wasn't one of the labs that had a sample with the morphs.

      And, what the other scientists were working on had NOTHING to do with making spores. Kenneth Dillon's article says,

      "Al-Timimi’s office was right around the corner from the offices of Charles Bailey and Ken Alibek, co-principal investigators on a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)-funded anthrax project. ... Bailey and Alibek had partnered on a patent application for a method of preparing anthrax that would closely resemble the sophisticated preparation in the letters mailed to Senators Daschle and Leahy.

      As a computer expert, al-Timimi presumably knew how to access Bailey’s poorly secured computer to obtain this patent application."


      So, the argument is really just a FALSE BELIEF that the patent that Alibek and Bailey were working on would weaponize spores with silica.

      The patent had nothing to do with making spores. It is a patent for growing BACTERIA in "batches" within tiny "microcapsules," so that if there is a mutation or contamination in a "batch," that "bad batch" will only be about a millimeter in diameter and will not spread to and contaminate the rest of the production run. It's a very clever patent that solves the serious problem of a tiny bit of contamination ruining an entire flask of bacteria.

      But, it also says that if there are morphs in a batch, those morphs will be restricted to contaminating only the contents of the microcapsule that is 1 millimeter in diameter.

      Kenneth Dillon explains further:

      "Al-Timimi provided the anthrax to a scientist who sympathized with al Qaeda and who had a lab somewhere along the Canadian border (according to the isotope ratios in the water used to prepare the anthrax). When it was ready, al-Timimi gave it to Mohamed Atta. Atta and his group of intending hijackers in Florida unsuccessfully sought to obtain a cropduster, and they evidently handled the anthrax themselves, infecting themselves in the process."

      So, this argument says that the spores were made in CANADA, NOT IN AFGHANISTAN, and they were given to Mohamed Atta to use in a CROPDUSTER. Dillon and "Anonymous" assume that a few grams were either turned over to someone else to mail, or Atta prepared the letters and someone else just mailed them.

      None of this makes much sense. But Dillon and "Anonymous" don't seem to care. They leave it to others to try to prove it is "impossible."

      Ed

      Delete
  22. There are six pending posts from "Anonymous" this morning. Looking them over, I see that five of the six have nothing of interest to say about the anthrax attacks of 2001. They are just more endless irrelevant blather about activities of Islamist militants.

    I deleted the post that begins with:

    "Adnan El-Shurkijumah was at Brooklyn's al_Farouq and the Blind Sheik Services Organization there that was run by Dahab, a Cairo Medical School dropout trained to recruit US operatives and make booby trapped letters during the 1989-1989 period. Adnan's father was imam there at al-Farouq."

    I also deleted the post that begins with:

    "In one question Ed points out that the Ames strain of anthrax was used. Ed doubts the sourcing of Ron Suskind. who in reporting 2003 capture of Hambali and Sufaat's assistants, reported the seizure of "extremely virulent" (but unweaponized) strain of anthrax."

    The post says nothing about Ames. It just talks about "extremely virulent" anthrax that Islamist militants were reportedly working with. "Anonymous" just uses Ames as a way to get into another irrelevant ramble about Islamist activities.

    He does the same thing with the next post I deleted, which began with:

    "Ed mentions that the strain was the so-called "Ames strain."

    In 1999, al-Zawahiri recruited Pakistani national Rauf Ahmad, to set up a small lab in Khandahar, Afghanistan, to house the biological weapons effort. I… We located Rauf Ahmad’s lab in Afghanistan."


    I also deleted the post that began with:

    "My sometimes Facebook Friend Yazid Sufaat got the job handling things at the lab instead of Rauf Ahmad."

    That post didn't even attempt to address the subject of the anthrax attacks of 2001.

    I also deleted the post that begins with:

    "Here is the WMD Commission report on "Agent X" corresponding with Ron Suskind's account. (He had White House contacts)."

    It also doesn't even attempt to address any issue relevant to the anthrax attacks of 2001.

    So, that leaves just one post, which is somewhat on-topic - enough to let it go through. It begins with:

    "Ed questions why Al Qaeda operatives might have Ames when that it what the researchers they worked with used."

    I'll let that comment go through, even though it's probably just a waste of time, too.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  23. One thing that is coming clear in these discussions is that there is very little chance of resolving any disagreements by "barrage posts." Barrage posts are complicate by the problem of having only two levels of posts.

    One side posts a "barrage" of comments, and then the other side answers with a "barrage" of responses. And you have to dig through it all to see if any of the comments are actually answered by the other comments.

    I did it myself when I posted 10 questions in three posts. I should have asked each question separately as a 1st level post. Then "Anonymous" could have responded to each question at the 2nd level, and ideally a response to the response following that, etc. That would theoretically keep the discussion on a single topic all together.

    Instead, "Anonymous" posted 9 responses at the 2nd level after question #5. And he posted others as 1st level posts at the bottom of the thread.

    Here's my idea of a intelligent discussion, with one side in bold and the other in italics:

    10. Why do you believe the Islamist militants sent a love letter to Jennifer Lopez at the Sun Magazine that contained laundry detergent instead of anthrax?

    The CDC says the J-Lo letter contained anthrax. So, there were TWO anthrax letters sent to AMI.

    But the CDC is WRONG. Their analysis was based upon INTERVIEWS. The interviews indicated there were two letters with powders, so the CDC concludes there were two letters with anthrax. The FBI did sampling of where the spores were found in the AMI building, and the area where the J-Lo letter was opened and passed around was one of the least contaminated areas in the building. The most contaminated area was the area where the OTHER letter was opened - near Stephanie Dailey's desk in the mailroom. So, there was only ONE anthrax letter sent to AMI.

    There's still a POSSIBILITY that the J-Lo letter contained anthrax. A lot of people believe it was the anthrax letter.

    It's a "possibility" that is disproved by all the known facts. And, it doesn't really matter what people believe. All that matters is what the facts say.

    I don't really care what the facts say, I'll believe what I want to believe.

    I understand that. We agree that is the way you think. Thank you.

    End of discussion. All issues resolved. No need for any further discussion on that topic.

    All other discussions would probably go the same way.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
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    1. 10. Why do you believe the Islamist militants sent a love letter to Jennifer Lopez at the Sun Magazine that contained laundry detergent instead of anthrax?

      The CDC says the J-Lo letter contained anthrax. So, there were TWO anthrax letters sent to AMI.
      ================================================
      This is one of those areas where I agree with Anonymous.
      It's highly likely that AMI got two anthrax-bearing letters.
      That's because the building housed TWO tabloids, not just one.

      And because Stevens examined that J-Lo letter (after someone else opened the package and brought it to him) on September 19th, 2001, there's zero % chance that it was mailed with the so-called 'first mailing(s)' ie those of the Sept 18th postmark. So, in my analysis I call this the 'pre-batch': the letters, destroyed on site in the incinerator before anyone knew their import HAD to have been mailed at least a few days before Sept 18th to have arrived at AMI on the 19th.

      Delete
    2. R. Rowley wrote: "It's highly likely that AMI got two anthrax-bearing letters.
      That's because the building housed TWO tabloids, not just one."


      AH! Another one of your imaginary "patterns." And all the facts which say the J-Lo letter did NOT contain anthrax and had NOTHING to do with the anthrax mailing means nothing to you.

      I'm seeing a pattern to your belief system.

      Ed

      Delete
    3. R. Rowley wrote: "It's highly likely that AMI got two anthrax-bearing letters.
      That's because the building housed TWO tabloids, not just one."

      AH! Another one of your imaginary "patterns."
      =========================================
      If a number of 'anthrax hoax' mailings have improbable 'misspellings' in them---------which can be verified by looking at the spellings--------then there's nothing 'imaginary' about that pattern.

      In fact that's what MO (modus operandi) determination largely does: it collects a body of details about 2 or more crimes and tries to determine whether the correspondences between/among those crime details
      are trivial and incidental, or whether they constitute a pattern. There's just about no way to avoid link blindness EXCEPT via finding such patterns.
      ------------------
      Back to AMI: Stevens worked for THE SUN, so probably he was looking at a J-Lo letter sent to THE SUN. But THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER had/has the largest circulation among
      supermarket tabloids, so we could easily imagine THE ENQUIRER being targeted without THE SUN being targeted. But the reverse seems unlikely: the play for publicity would induce the offender to pick THE ENQUIRER first.

      Delete
    4. R. Rowley wrote: "If a number of 'anthrax hoax' mailings have improbable 'misspellings' in them---------which can be verified by looking at the spellings--------then there's nothing 'imaginary' about that pattern."

      The key word in your theory is "improbable." There's nothing "improbable" about deliberately misspelling "PENACILIN" as part of a coded message. There's nothing "improbable" about misspelling "Isreal," which seems to be a VERY common misspelled word.

      What you are ignoring is the TONS of other junk mail received by The Sun and The Enquirer. Are they all from the same person? Why just pick out the J-Lo letter? Is it because it's the only one mentioned in the news? Is that part of your "theory," too?

      BTW, I deleted the first version of your email. When I got home from the health club I saw two messages that began nearly the same way, and I assumed you sent a second message to replace the first or because you thought it got lost somewhere.

      Ed

      Delete
    5. I wrote: "BTW, I deleted the first version of your email."

      What I meant to say was that there were two emails waiting for me when I got home telling me that you had posted two messages into the moderator queue for this blog.

      Looking at the messages, they seemed to be nearly the same. So, I only let the second one go through.

      Ed

      Delete
    6. Are you talking about emails or blog postings? I haven't sent you an email since....March?

      Delete
    7. Mister Lake posted:
      --------------
      R. Rowley wrote: "If a number of 'anthrax hoax' mailings have improbable 'misspellings' in them---------which can be verified by looking at the spellings--------then there's nothing 'imaginary' about that pattern."

      The key word in your theory is "improbable." There's nothing "improbable" about deliberately misspelling "PENACILIN" as part of a coded message.
      ----------------------------------------
      But YOU'RE the one on the other thread who denied that "PENACILIN" was a deliberate spelling, one of a number of denials that just flow off your cursor when I state something! I've held that that was a deliberate misspelling since late 2005, when I did my very first linguistic write-up (which I sent Mister Lake in 2006 or 2007 via email and under a pseudonym) and that linguistically-based determination had NOTHING to do with any (spurious) 'code' which wasn't invented by the Task Force/DoJ until 4 years later. And the 'code' has drawn praise from no one (that I've noticed) except Mister Lake, who immediately hailed it as "smoking gun evidence". Huh? It's of unknown origin: there are no cryptoanalysts, no cryptographers of any sort (individuals or organizations) listed in the text or footnotes of the AMERITHRAX INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY, a fact that I have noted a half a dozen times in the past 2 to 3 years in conversations with Mister Lake in various venues.

      It's once again alleged evidence which would need to be presented in court by an expert. But none is in sight.

      Mister Lake's reaction to my document of 2006 or 2007?
      Ill-concealed contempt. Plus ca change, plus la meme chose.

      Delete
    8. R. Rowley wrote: "there are no cryptoanalysts, no cryptographers of any sort (individuals or organizations) listed in the text or footnotes of the AMERITHRAX INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY, a fact that I have noted a half a dozen times in the past 2 to 3 years in conversations with Mister Lake in various venues.

      It's once again alleged evidence which would need to be presented in court by an expert. But none is in sight."


      FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. FALSE.

      There would be absolutely no problem whatsoever with FBI agent Darin Steele explaining in court how he deciphered the code in the letters. And I seriously doubt that the Defense would even try to challenge his findings by bringing in some kind of cryptographer. Any intelligent cryptographer looking at all the facts would almost certainly agree with Steele's observations.

      The court would view it as figuring out clues, which is what an FBI agent is trained to do.

      The idea that only a professional cryptographer can testify in court about deciphering a code is ABSURD. Steele was an expert in the codes used to describe DNA codons and that's the expertise that was needed to break the code.

      All you are doing, Mr. Rowley, is telling everyone once again that you have no idea of what happens in court and who can testify about what. You have your own NONSENSICAL Rules of Evidence that have NOTHING to do with reality.

      You can repeat your NONSENSICAL BELIEFS a thousand times and they will still be NONSENSICAL BELIEFS.

      Do any cryptographers disagree with Agent Steele's findings? Name them and provide their reasoning.

      Ed

      Delete
    9. Mr. Rowley,

      You seem incapable of even conceiving a notion that you can be wrong.

      I propose starting a new thread about this one subject. And, I'll state that no other subjects can be discussed in the thread. Then, maybe we can try to figure out how to prove who is right and who is wrong.

      But, before I can do that, I need to clarify your CLAIM. Does this seem correct to you:

      Mr. Rowley claims that FBI Agent Darin Steele would not be allowed to testify in court about decoding the hidden message in the media letters because he is not a cryptographer, therefore all the evidence Steele discovered about the hidden message in the media letters would be not be allowed by the judge.

      I think you'd also need to provide the "Rule of Evidence" that you think covers this claim of yours.

      Ed

      Delete
  24. Anonymous just attempted to post another rant complaining that his irrelevant blather isn't really irrelevant blather. I would have let it go through, but it also includes a sick personal attack in the form of a snide remark. So, I deleted the entire post.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  25. YAY!!!!!! ALL THREE OF US AGREE ON SOMETHING!!!!

    We all agree that there is more than a possibility that there is a connection between the J-Lo letter and the anthrax letter received by AMI.

    This may be the first time we've agreed on anything!

    "Anonymous" sees a connection because he believes the CDC and not the FBI, and therefore he believes there were TWO anthrax letters, the J-Lo letter and the letter opened by Stephanie Dailey.

    R. Rowley sees a connection because he thinks there is a "pattern" to having two letters arrive at the AMI building with powders inside, even though they arrived about a week apart. How two letters equals a "pattern" is something I'll leave to Mr. Rowley to explain.

    And I see more than a possible connection between the J-Lo letter and the anthrax letter, too!

    On page 57 of my book "A Crime Unlike Any Other," I wrote:

    In early September of 2001, Ivins may have mailed another box of detergent and some mysterious odds and ends to movie actress and singer Jennifer Lopez c/o the Sun magazine in Boca Raton, Florida. Some decoding was required for that letter, too. The large manila envelope contained a cigar tube with a cheap cigar inside, an empty can of chewing tobacco, an empty detergent box, and a tiny Star of David pendant buried in a mound of detergent around which a love letter had been carefully folded.

    The unsigned letter contained some sexual innuendo, and the writer expressed how much he loved Lopez, asking her to marry him. The letter itself was on a business-size sheet of stationery decorated with pink and blue clouds around the edges.

    Jennifer Lopez’s most recent movie was The Cell, which was about a beautiful psychotherapist who uses newly developed experimental technology to cause her mind to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer in an attempt to help stop another killing. Ivins had been looking for such a woman for decades - a beautiful, brilliant woman who could enter his mind and see what he saw and be fascinated by what fascinated Ivins. And he needed someone to stop him from doing the insane things he kept plotting.


    I'll have to write a comment about this for my web site, telling how we all agree on something. And, I'll list the FACTS which seem to connect Ivins to the J-Lo letter.

    1. There was an empty box of detergent in the J-Lo package, and a mound of detergent. Ivins had previously sent out a box of detergent as a coded message to a co-worker. (He signed it "Laundry Boy.")

    2. He made a practice of sending out packages to women, packages containing items that needed to be decoded in order to figure out who sent the packages.

    3. There was a sexual undertone to the packages Ivins sent to his former co-worker.

    4. There's the psychiatrist connection described in my book.

    5. There's the story within "The Cell" as described in my book.

    6. Ivins was apparently a reader of the tabloids.

    7. Sending the J-Lo letter to the Sun could have got Ivins to thinking about sending an anthrax letter to the Enquirer.

    8. Ivins had a weird fascination with Kathryn Price on the TV reality show "The Mole," so it wouldn't have been out of character for him to have a fixation on Jennifer Lopez, too.

    Are there other connections? I'll have to think more about it.

    I wonder how many facts "Anonymous" and Mr. Rowley have to support their theories. I doubt that they have this many.

    Do I believe that Ivins sent the J-Lo letter? Not really. I believe there are enough facts to say it's more than a remote possibility. I'd say there's about a 30% certainty that Ivins sent the J-Lo letter.

    I wonder if there's anything in Ivins' personal emails about Jennifer Lopez or going to see the movie "The Cell." I wonder if an FOIA request would find such emails. If Ivins mentioned either one in emails in August or September of 2001, I think the certainty level would jump to about 60%.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  26. Somewhat up the thread: (partial) Mister Lake:
    -------------------------
    What you are ignoring is the TONS of other junk mail received by The Sun and The Enquirer. Are they all from the same person? Why just pick out the J-Lo letter? Is it because it's the only one mentioned in the news?[...]
    ----------------------------------------------------
    No. Junk mail is (usually) readily identifiable (frequently without even opening it). If it is from
    a detergent company (or something like that) and contains samples, those samples are usually secured in some sort of container. It's to the company's advantage that that be the case. And the samples are clearly labeled for the product/company.

    In the case of the J-Lo letter:

    1)there was no 'product' or 'company' name given. Though there was a chewing tobacco tin inside, neither the letter, nor the rest of the package indicated this was a product on offer.

    2)the white powder was loose in the letter itself. It wasn't
    a matter of a container breaking, it was a matter of the whitish
    powder being PURPOSELY put in the fold of the letter, just like
    in the Amerithrax mailings proper.

    3)NONE of the "eyewitnesses" (I use the term in the Ed Lake sense), Bobby Bender et alia, took the package/letter for "junk mail". They remembered it because it was clearly
    NOT "junk mail" and because the letter made so little sense to them: THE ENQUIRER, not THE SUN handled celebrity news, and even if you ignore that, the contents were weird.

    4)there was a personally written letter to/about Jennifer Lopez, not the form letter that generally accompanies junk mail.

    5)the short-sighted guy who examined it on his desk, holding it close to see it better, reported feeling very sick about 11 to 12 days later (fitting within the incubation period of inhalational anthrax: http://www.odh.ohio.gov/slides/dpslides/pubaware/sld009.htm)
    and died about 16 days after closely examining that letter. Also not unusual as to the chronology.

    6)that short-sighted buy, Bob Stevens, did not regularly handle the correspondence at THE SUN, he was merely a fill-in in that role on the 19th of September and he wasn't needed in that role literally until the day he died (October 5th 2001).
    =============================================================

    ReplyDelete
  27. R. Rowley wrote: "Junk mail is (usually) readily identifiable (frequently without even opening it). If it is from a detergent company (or something like that) and contains samples, those samples are usually secured in some sort of container. It's to the company's advantage that that be the case. And the samples are clearly labeled for the product/company."

    You are talking about the kind of junk mail YOU GET. I'm talking about the kind of junk mail news organizations get.

    The CBS, ABC and AMI letters were thrown away because they were thought to be junk mail. The NY Post letter was thrown into a junk mail bin and was luckily found unopened in a garbage bag on a freight elevator. The Brokaw letter was opened and then put in a junk mail file, where it was later found again.

    The J-Lo letter was "junk mail" that was immediately thrown UNOPENED into the garbage by the Sun's Managing Editor Joe West. Click HERE.

    ---------------
    The envelope sent to the Sun was addressed: “Please forward to Jennifer Lopez, c/o the Sun.”

    “When I picked up the envelope, I could feel something cylindrical inside,” West told The ENQUIRER.

    “Something told me, `Don’t open it! So I tossed it into the garbage.”

    But recently hired news assistant Bobby Bender, whose daughter is a J.Lo. Fan, said, “I want to open it.” He grabbed the envelope from West’s garbage can.

    “As he opened it, I saw a metal cigar tube – obviously the cylinder I’d felt – with a cheap cigar inside.” Said West. “There was also an empty can of chewing tobacco and a small detergent carton.

    “There was a handwritten letter to Jennifer Lopez. The writer said how much he loved her and asked her to marry him. The letter also contained some sexual innuendo.

    ----------

    It was "junk mail" like the TONS of junk mail they routinely got at AMI. It was just a little different - bigger and full of stuff. And because it was addressed to Jennifer Lopez and Bobby Bender's daughter was a J-Lo fan, he opened it. But it was still just junk mail. That's why they ended up throwing it away after their curiosity was satisfied.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  28. It was "junk mail" like the TONS of junk mail they routinely got at AMI. It was just a little different - bigger and full of stuff. And because it was addressed to Jennifer Lopez and Bobby Bender's daughter was a J-Lo fan, he opened it. But it was still just junk mail.
    =======================================================
    No, junk mail=commercial mail. That means sent with an eye toward selling a good or service. There was no good or service that J-Lo letter was intended to sell.

    I've gotten many thousands of same---------and even delivered them in a stint at the post office as a letter carrier-------and never heard of a 'fan letter' being a part of same.
    ------------------------------------------------
    But it was still just junk mail. That's why they ended up throwing it away after their curiosity was satisfied.
    -------------------------------------------------
    It isn't MERELY 'junk mail' that is incinerated: they incinerate any mail that there's no reason to hold onto, that there's no reason to either respond to or file away.

    Once again we have Mister Lake making up his own definitions of things, as always to argue a point, no matter how torturedly.
    ---------------------------------------------
    junk mail
    n.
    Third-class mail, such as advertisements, mailed indiscriminately in large quantities.
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/junk+mail
    ---------------
    junk mail

    mail order
    junk fax
    DefinitionEdit DefinitionSave to FavoritesSee Examples
    Unsolicited mail sent out usually by direct marketing or direct mail firms. Used mainly for introducing new products, books and magazines, investment opportunities, merchandise catalogs, etc., junk mail is big business in industrialized countries especially the US, UK, and Canada. Unsolicited email is called spam.

    Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/junk-mail.html#ixzz2VdnEIYpR
    -------------
    Definition of JUNK MAIL
    : unsolicited mail that consists mainly of promotional materials, catalogs, and requests for donations
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/junk%20mail
    Etc.

    ReplyDelete
  29. R. Rowley wrote: "No, junk mail=commercial mail. That means sent with an eye toward selling a good or service. There was no good or service that J-Lo letter was intended to sell."

    Jeeze! Another MORONIC argument over the definition of words!

    Mr. Rowley, what would be your term for the mail that news organizations receive that is of no interest to them and just gets tossed like junk into the garbage?

    Also, are you incapable of understanding a statement or question unless every word uses your exact definition?

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, are you incapable of understanding a statement or question unless every word uses your exact definition?
      =========================================
      The whole PURPOSE of doing online dictionary searches and the like is to AVOID giving idiosyncratic, by-the-seat-of-one's-pants definitions to words.
      ----------------------------------------
      Mr. Rowley, what would be your term for the mail that news organizations receive that is of no interest to them and just gets tossed like junk into the garbage?
      ----------------------------------------
      Discarded mail. 'Junk mail' refers to a class of mail.
      If I get a first class letter from my 5th cousin once removed and I don't bother to open it, cause I don't like him, that doesn't make it "junk mail", even though it will end up junked or discarded.

      Delete
    2. R. Rowley wrote: "Discarded mail. 'Junk mail' refers to a class of mail."

      Since you clearly just want to play word games, answer me this: How can mail you just received be "discarded mail?" Doesn't it become "discarded mail" only AFTER you discard it?

      What was it that CAUSED it to be "discarded" by the news media employees? What distinguishes it from other mail?

      Are you sure the right term isn't "UNWANTED mail?" Why isn't the term "Unwanted Mail" in the dictionary?

      Maybe it's because the question really is: Why is it UNWANTED?

      Answer: Because it's "junk."

      But, of course, that doesn't fit the dictionary definition found by Mr. Rowley. And, that's the only definition he will accept.

      Will he accept "unwanted mail" if it isn't in the dictionary? What are synonyms for "unwanted"? exceptionable, ill-favored, ill-timed, immaterial, improper, inappropriate, inapt, incompetent, inept, irrelevant, malapropos, objectionable, unacceptable, unallowable, unbecoming, undesirable, unfit, unqualified, unreasonable, unsatisfactory, unseemly, unsuited, unwelcome but not "junk."

      Maybe we can agree on "objectionable mail." But, would everyone understand that? Some might think it relates only to pornography.

      Unbecoming mail? Nah.

      Unseemly mail? Nah.

      So, it looks like I'll just call it "junk mail" and accept the fact that Mr. Rowley cannot comprehend why anyone would describe what he thinks is "discarded mail" as "junk mail" even though it hasn't yet been discarded. And "unwanted mail" isn't any good either, for him. But, "junk mail" explains that the mail is unwanted AND WHY it is unwanted. The only problem is that Mr. Rowley disapproves. Tsk tsk. I guess I'll just have to live with it.

      Ed

      Delete
    3. R. Rowley wrote: "The whole PURPOSE of doing online dictionary searches and the like is to AVOID giving idiosyncratic, by-the-seat-of-one's-pants definitions to words."

      Really? Who in the world - besides you - does that?

      The main reason I do "online dictionary searches" is to look up an unfamiliar word someone else just used to make sure I understand it correctly.

      In your case, I also look up the definitions to explain things to you that you do not seem to understand, such as the words above: "claims," "arguments" and "evidence." I tried to make a point that evidence is needed to support a claim if the claim is disputed (i.e., argued against). You do not seem to understand the concept of "evidence."

      Are you a robot of some kind? Or, are you communicating via a robot for some reason? I can see how a robot might be confused by my use of the term "junk mail," but I don't see how any human being who speaks American English could misunderstand.

      Robots are very literal, but I think any human would understand that if I said my car is parked "in the street outside," that would mean the street outside, even if the street is named "Rockefeller Boulevard" and has a center grassy strip dividing the two lanes of traffic, therefore it is literally an "boulevard" and not a "street." My "seat-of-the-pants" terminology would be understood by human beings, but I can see it might not be understood by a robot.

      What kind of robot are you? Or are you an android? Or are you a computer trying to talk like a human?

      If I say "You seem to be in Looney-Tune Land," do you understand I'm not speaking literally?

      Ed

      Delete
    4. Ah! Maybe "unwanted mail" is a new term for "junk mail" that no one yet knows about. Click HERE for further details.

      Ed

      Delete
    5. Ed Lake June 11, 2013 at 9:50 AM

      R. Rowley wrote: "The whole PURPOSE of doing online dictionary searches and the like is to AVOID giving idiosyncratic, by-the-seat-of-one's-pants definitions to words."

      Really? Who in the world - besides you - does that?
      ===============================================
      Only the linguistically meticulous.

      Delete
    6. Are you a robot of some kind? Or, are you communicating via a robot for some reason? I can see how a robot might be confused by my use of the term "junk mail," but I don't see how any human being who speaks American English could misunderstand.
      =============================================
      I didn't "misunderstand", I understood: you were misusing the word. As my copy-and-pasted definitions more than supported. But maybe your usage IS a Wisconsin dialectical thing, who knows?

      Delete
    7. Mr. Rowley,

      I see no point to having more MORONIC arguments over words when we have some key issues on the table:

      1. Your near-total IGNORANCE of the case against Bruce Ivins.

      2. Your TOTAL ignorance of what qualifies as evidence.

      Click HERE to go to a worthwhile discussion.

      Or, are you deliberately trying to change the subject because you cannot argue any important issues?

      Ed

      Delete
  30. In a message HERE, R. Rowley wrote: "I've held that that was a deliberate misspelling since late 2005, when I did my very first linguistic write-up (which I sent Mister Lake in 2006 or 2007 via email and under a pseudonym) and that linguistically-based determination had NOTHING to do with any (spurious) 'code' which wasn't invented by the Task Force/DoJ until 4 years later."

    I found the email to which Mr. Rowley refers. It was sent using a name with the initials WG on June 1, 2007. But, prior to sending that message, WG first asked on May 31, 2007,

    "Would you be interested in a linguistic/graphological analysis I've been working on for some time?

    If you are, and I send it, please DON'T share it with anyone!"


    I asked him to send it. He did on June 1. I looked it over and found that most of it was just repeating what others had said. I wrote to him:

    "I don't know how to respond to your message. When I said "I found nothing new in what you wrote", I didn't mean that you didn't have a new theory, I meant that you didn't provide any new information."

    I went through some of his theory claims one by one, and then wrote:

    "Everything else seems to be a matter of looking for facts which can be twisted to support a belief, while ignoring facts which would disprove the belief.

    A good theory explains ALL the facts.

    Sorry, but I think you need to go back to the drawing board with your theory. "


    So, now Mr. Rowley is just saying his theory has already been explained to me. There's no need to do it again.

    I agree. His theory was explained to me in June 2007 and I rejected it as worthless in June 2007.

    So, now Mr. Rowley is just repeating his claims as if they were never rejected. What is the benefit to that?

    If Mr. Rowley seriously wants to discuss his theory with me, we need to go through it one claim at a time. There's no point in him just making the same speech over and over and over, while I tell him it's bogus over and over and over.

    We need to pick something can can be OBJECTIVELY RESOLVED. And, as I stated in my post HERE, that we begin by arguing - in a separate thread - his ridiculous belief and claim that Darin Steele could not present his findings about the hidden message in the media letter in court because Steele was not a cryptographer.

    All Mr. Rowley needs to do is agree to debate that one claim of his, and I'll set up the new thread.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just noticed that WG sent a second long email on June 6, 2007 explaining more details about his theory after I told him on June 1 that I didn't see anything "new" in what he believed. I responded to the second email on June 7, 2007.

      Ed

      Delete
  31. A bit up the thread:
    ----------------------
    The idea that only a professional cryptographer can testify in court about deciphering a code is ABSURD.
    ===============================================
    That about says it all: if you don't think cryptoanalysis/cryptography is a specialized field requiring a special training/experience to testify in court, then it's clear that you have no standard whatsoever.

    What substitutes for a standard for you is: the polemical needs of the moment.

    ReplyDelete
  32. R. Rowley wrote: "if you don't think cryptoanalysis/cryptography is a specialized field requiring a special training/experience to testify in court, then it's clear that you have no standard whatsoever."

    And, if you cannot understand that I never said anything of the sort, and that you are distorting things to create an argument, then you're never going to understand anything.

    The issue is NOT whether "cryptography is a specialized field." That has nothing to do with anything.

    The issue is what an FBI agent (or any eye witness) can and cannot testify about in court. You have screwball beliefs that have nothing to do with reality.

    If an FBI agent - as a result of his specialized knowledge in other fields - discovers that there is a coded message in a letter that is critical to a court case, there is NOTHING that says he cannot describe his findings to a jury. The idea that he must be a cryptographer before he can decode a hidden message and testify about it in court is ABSURD.

    The idea that a co-worker of Dr. Ivins cannot testify in court that Ivins sent her mysterious notes in a disguised handwriting which she deciphered as coming from Ivins is ABSURD.

    You have ABSURD misunderstandings about what law enforcement officers and eye witnesses can and cannot testify about in court.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  33. If an FBI agent - as a result of his specialized knowledge in other fields - discovers that there is a coded message in a letter that is critical to a court case, there is NOTHING that says he cannot describe his findings to a jury.
    ============================================
    Once again, you fool only yourself by (mis)labelling a decryption as "discovering". Decryption is to cryptoanalysis as diagnosis is to medicine. Would 'Judge' Lake allow a non-medical (lay-) man to testify to what medical condition a person had if that 'discovery'
    (ie the diagnosis) was made not by a qualified Doctor, but by the layman himself?

    As before when this topic came up----------expert testimony and its distinction from ordinary testimony-------Mister Lake is trying to do an end-around the legal requirements by avoiding calling things by their proper names: a decryption by a non-professional is just that: a decryption and not a 'discovery'.
    Therefore inadmissible.
    ---------------------------------------------------
    The idea that a co-worker of Dr. Ivins cannot testify in court that Ivins sent her mysterious notes in a disguised handwriting which she deciphered as coming from Ivins is ABSURD.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    Probably, she could testify but not under the language that you use: she could testify that she INTERPRETED the printing on a given package or letter/note as coming from Dr Ivins.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    I see you've dropped "nonsense", "total nonsense", "ridiculous" from your rain of dismissive terms. But "absurd" is little better.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Here's an example of the testimony of an FBI agent who was a code expert: (appellate court upholding cocaine conviction): (partial)
    ------------------------------
    At Metral's trial, the government called FBI Special Agent Kent Paulin, a racketeering records examiner. Paulin had examined and opined on coded conversations in 250 cases and had been qualified as an expert in cryptanalysis 16 times previously in state and federal courts. Paulin testified that in his opinion the taped conversations concerned the distribution of cocaine. Specifically, Paulin testified that Metral and her coconspirators sought to sell two to three kilograms of cocaine for prices ranging from $23,000 to $27,500 per kilogram. He further testified that the "I can't put nothing together" conversation involved a frustrated drug transaction.

    7
    The government also called Robert Gates, a member of a joint state-federal Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force. Gates had nine years of experience in investigating cocaine trafficking and had participated in more than 300 investigations. Gates identified the various individuals on the tapes. He also testified as to the common methods of packaging of cocaine: zip-lock bags for eight ounces or less, brick-shape wrapped in tape or foil for a kilogram. Finally, he testified that he never heard cocaine traffickers refer to the narcotic by its name and that places where kilogram units of cocaine are stored and sold are sometimes referred to by traffickers as "the ranch, Hacienda, bank ... warehouse."
    https://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F3/15/15.F3d.225.93-1279.286.html
    ===============================================
    Where's the Kent Paulin of the Amerithrax Case?

    ReplyDelete
  35. R. Rowley wrote: "Decryption is to cryptoanalysis as diagnosis is to medicine."

    As usual, you are MISSTATING and OVERSTATING the situation. This seems like another MORONIC argument over WORDS from a robot who doesn't really understand English or the law. Should I start referring to you as "Rowley the Robot?" Or maybe "Rowbot" for short?

    "Rowbot" also wrote: "Would 'Judge' Lake allow a non-medical (lay-) man to testify to what medical condition a person had if that 'discovery' (ie the diagnosis) was made not by a qualified Doctor, but by the layman himself?"

    Answer: MAYBE. IT ALL DEPENDS. There is no single yes or no answer as "Rowbot" suggests there is.

    If a witness to an accident says he ran to one of the vehicles and saw that the man's arm was broken and a bone was sticking out, the Judge would NOT - REPEAT NOT - say that the witness could not testify to what he saw because he's not a doctor, and only a doctor can diagnose a broken arm as a broken arm.

    If another witness to the same accident says he ran to the other car and saw that the driver was dead, since his head had been almost lopped off by a piece of fender that came through the side window, the Judge would NOT - REPEAT NOT - say that the witness could not testify to what he saw because only a coroner or doctor can determine if a person is dead.

    Likewise, if an FBI agent deciphered a code in a letter, there would be absolutely NO reason for the judge to not allow the agent's testimony. Deciphering a code does NOT - REPEAT NOT - ALWAYS require an expert. A child could testify that he used his Scooby-Doo decoder ap on his iPhone to decode a message his friend gave to him describing where the back door to a warehouse had been found open.

    None of these people are testifying as "experts." They are eyewitnesses (i.e., NON-expert witnesses) testifying as to what they saw, did and thought. Their testimony would be allowed in virtually any court in the land.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. R. Rowley wrote: "Decryption is to cryptoanalysis as diagnosis is to medicine."

      As usual, you are MISSTATING and OVERSTATING the situation. This seems like another MORONIC argument over WORDS from a robot who doesn't really understand English or the law. Should I start referring to you as "Rowley the Robot?" Or maybe "Rowbot" for short?
      ==============================================
      How about "Mister Rowley" as I have consistently referred to you as "Mister Lake" since at least December of 2008?
      ===============================================
      Since Anonymous went to law school for three more years than you and I did, why don't we ask HIM about "the law" in this regard? And if you were such an expert, you would be the one (instead of me)citing case law and/or providing links/copy-and-pastes where necessary. Instead you conjure up situations where no "analysis" of an expert sort is necessary, to wit:
      -----
      If a witness to an accident says he ran to one of the vehicles and saw that the man's arm was broken and a bone was sticking out, the Judge would NOT - REPEAT NOT - say that the witness could not testify to what he saw because he's not a doctor, and only a doctor can diagnose a broken arm as a broken arm.
      ===================================================
      If the accident led to a lawsuit, and the outcome (including dollar damages) depended on the degree of injury, then a medical doctor would indeed by called. And for the same general principle.

      And in criminal law we'll likely get a very good example of this when the Zimmerman murder trial comes up: policemen will make general observations in testimony about Zimmerman's physical condition when they arrived on the scene, but whatever injuries he suffered (broken nose?) will likely be left to the testimony of medical personnel who examined him. Again, same general principle.
      --------------
      Back to Mister Lake:
      -----

      If another witness to the same accident says he ran to the other car and saw that the driver was dead, since his head had been almost lopped off by a piece of fender that came through the side window, the Judge would NOT - REPEAT NOT - say that the witness could not testify to what he saw because only a coroner or doctor can determine if a person is dead.
      --------------------------------------------
      No, but the OFFICIAL determination (via death certificate) would require an MD's signature. And they generally don't give those without examining the body.
      ============================================
      All Mister Lake has done in his most recent post is EMPHASIZE what we already knew: he is utterly incapable of distinguishing between those circumstances at trial which require expert testimony and those that do not. That incapability was amply established on this long thread of about a month ago:
      http://anthraxdebate.blogspot.com/2013/05/subject-mohamed-attas-handwriting.html

      Delete
    2. Mr. Rowley wrote: "Instead you conjure up situations where no "analysis" of an expert sort is necessary"

      You may not understand it, but that is the situation being argued.

      The situation where FBI agent Steele would testify to how he decoded the hidden message in the media letter would be a situation "where no 'analysis' of an expert sort is necessary."

      You argue that expert testimony IS necessary. I argue that expert testimony is NOT necessary in a situation where a NON-expert states what he or she did or observed or thought.

      I argue that a lay witness can testify in court that he saw that someone was dead. You argue that only an MD can issue a death certificate, a fact which no one disputes.

      I argue that a lay witness can state in court that a man had a broken arm, you argue that only an MD can state in court how severely the arm was broken for purposes of a lawsuit, a fact which no one disputes.

      Mr. Rowley argues, "policemen will make general observations in testimony about Zimmerman's physical condition when they arrived on the scene, but whatever injuries he suffered (broken nose?) will likely be left to the testimony of medical personnel who examined him.

      No dispute. We're in total agreement. But you evidently believe there is some kind of disagreement on this.

      All Mister Rowley has done in his most recent post is EMPHASIZE what we already knew: he is utterly incapable of distinguishing between those circumstances at trial which require expert testimony and those that do not. That incapability has been pointed out again and again for months.

      FBI Agent Darin Steele would testify in court that he decoded the hidden message in the media letter, because it's what he did.

      Mr. Rowley argues that Agent Steele would NOT be allowed to testify to what he did, because he is not a certified expert in what he did. Mr. Rowley's argument is TOTAL NONSENSE. The situation is no different from a witness testifying about seeing a broken arm or a dead man. It's what he saw and thought.

      If there's a need to bring in an expert to clarify some technical point for the court, then an expert can be brought in.

      Ed

      Delete
    3. FBI Agent Darin Steele would testify in court that he decoded the hidden message in the media letter, because it's what he did.

      Mr. Rowley argues that Agent Steele would NOT be allowed to testify to what he did, because he is not a certified expert in what he did. Mr. Rowley's argument is TOTAL NONSENSE. The situation is no different from a witness testifying about seeing a broken arm or a dead man. It's what he saw and thought.
      =====================================================
      Points:

      1)I've read all 92 pages of the Amerithrax Investigative Summary, and nowhere (not in the text, not in the footnotes)does it state that the 'amino acid code' was
      the product of Agent Darin Steele (the pertinent pages are
      58 to top of page 64). That section of the report mentions only "investigators" and "the Task Force", no decryptors of any sort are mentioned by name. (And I imagine something that arbitrary and tendentious is going to have to be attributed to some group: the 'amino acid code' was not designed to stand up in court, it was designed to impress certain segments of the population who expressed skepticism after the August 6th 2008 press conference blaming Amerithrax on Ivins http://business.highbeam.com/437311/article-1G1-195982273/lone-suspect-amerithrax-investigation-identified-but ).


      2)But if we imagine Agent Steele or someone else standing in for the entire Task Force in the matter of the code, that person would have to relate more than what "he/she did", because if that were the criterion, then each and every local/state/federal law enforcement agent would be able to testify on decryptions based solely on the fact that it is something that 'they did'. That's no standard at all.

      3)You'll find that there are specializations in such things, EVEN IN LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, and the pertinent FBI office, in that regard, was not employed in Amerithrax:
      http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/scientific-analysis/crypt

      Delete
    4. R. Rowley wrote: "I've read all 92 pages of the Amerithrax Investigative Summary, and nowhere (not in the text, not in the footnotes)does it state that the 'amino acid code' was the product of Agent Darin Steele"

      So what? Are you changing the argument? The information comes from pages 294-295 of my book "A Crime Unlike Any Other," and I got my information from page 301-302 of David Willman's book, "The Mirage Man."

      R. Rowley also wrote: "if that were the criterion, then each and every local/state/federal law enforcement agent would be able to testify on decryptions based solely on the fact that it is something that 'they did'. That's no standard at all."

      So, you've learned something: There is no standard at all covering what you believe to be true.

      In reality, of course, there IS a standard: Witnesses put their hand on the Bible and swear that they will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In other words, the "standard" is that the witness CANNOT LIE.

      You have beliefs that have nothing to do with reality. I've been telling you that for a long, long time.

      Ed

      Delete
    5. Mr. Rowley,

      I suppose I should have mentioned that the notes in David Willman's book say he got his information from an interview with Darin Steele in March 2010.

      Ed

      Delete
    6. R. Rowley wrote: "I imagine something that arbitrary and tendentious is going to have to be attributed to some group: the 'amino acid code' was not designed to stand up in court, it was designed to impress certain segments of the population who expressed skepticism after the August 6th 2008 press conference blaming Amerithrax on Ivins"

      Yes, everyone understands that is what you "imagine," but what you "imagine" clearly has NOTHING to do with reality. People with beliefs of their own "imagine" all sorts of ridiculous nonsense to justify their own beliefs in an attempt to dispute solid facts and evidence they do not like.

      Ed

      Delete
  36. R. Rowley wrote: "Here's an example of the testimony of an FBI agent who was a code expert"

    IRRELEVANT! Why can't you understand that?

    The argument is NOT about what "experts" can testify to, the argument is about what NON-Experts can testify about.

    Bringing up what "experts" can testify about is RIDICULOUS and MEANINGLESS. No one is disputing what EXPERTS can testify about.

    The argument is over what EYEWITNESSES or LAY WITNESSES can testify about. Haven't you figured that out yet?

    A lay witness can testify to what they saw and did even if it is a field where there are "certified experts." THERE IS NO RULE THAT SAYS ONLY EXPERTS CAN TESTIFY ABOUT DECODING MESSAGES. If the message was decoded by your mother because it was a code your father always used when they were kids, that is perfectly acceptable in court. If you testify that you decoded a message that said "I'm where Uncle Bob proposed to Aunt Laura" and that was how you happened to be in the park to witness your sister being robbed, no judge is going to disallow your testimony because you're not a certified cryptographer.

    Your mistaken belief in some absolute rule about who can testify about given subjects is TOTALLY ABSURD. It has nothing to do with reality OR the law.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. R. Rowley wrote: "Here's an example of the testimony of an FBI agent who was a code expert"

      IRRELEVANT! Why can't you understand that?
      ===================================
      It's not irrelevant: would they have even bothered calling him if any old agent could testify to the same effect? No, they would not.
      ---------------------------------
      The argument is NOT about what "experts" can testify to, the argument is about what NON-Experts can testify about.
      ----------------------------------
      But the one more or less defines the other: non-commissioned officers are officers who aren't commissioned. Commissioned officers are ones who have been commissioned and are therefore NOT non-commissioned officers.
      -----------------------------------
      The argument is over what EYEWITNESSES or LAY WITNESSES can testify about. Haven't you figured that out yet?
      ----------------------------------
      Figured it out? I've been copy-and-pasting stuff from the Rules of Evidence and similar documents that pertain to this question, and I've been doing it AT LEAST since the month of May!
      -----------------------------------
      A lay witness can testify to what they saw and did even if it is a field where there are "certified experts." THERE IS NO RULE THAT SAYS ONLY EXPERTS CAN TESTIFY ABOUT DECODING MESSAGES.
      ----------------------------------
      If the judge rules that a particular skein of evidence requires expert testimony then that's that. A judge would so rule if he determined that the evidence was highly technical in nature.
      -----------------------------------
      If you testify that you decoded a message that said "I'm where Uncle Bob proposed to Aunt Laura" and that was how you happened to be in the park to witness your sister being robbed, no judge is going to disallow your testimony because you're not a certified cryptographer.
      ----------------------------------------
      The conviction of the robber in that case does not turn IN ANY WAY on the accuracy of my decryption. In Amerithrax, Ivis' guilt could have turned on reasonable doubt regarding multiple strands of evidence, and the RELIABILITY of this decryption is what determines it's admissibility.
      ---------------------------------------
      Your mistaken belief in some absolute rule about who can testify about given subjects is TOTALLY ABSURD.
      -----------------------------------------
      I did not say it was absolute. I merely showed that it was much more clear-cut than you want to make it out to be. According to you, everyone is an 'eyewitness' (in a judicial sense) to every single thing they saw in their entire lives.
      According to you, any lawman assigned by his superiors to do a decryption may testify to that decryption, REGARDLESS OF RELIABILITY, in a trial setting. The law, though not absolute, is much more stringent than that.

      Delete
    2. R. Rowley wrote: "It's not irrelevant: would they have even bothered calling him if any old agent could testify to the same effect? No, they would not."

      You STILL do not understand.

      In the case you cited, Kent Paulin "had examined and opined on coded conversations in 250 cases and had been qualified as an expert in cryptanalysis 16 times previously in state and federal courts. Paulin testified that in his opinion the taped conversations concerned the distribution of cocaine."

      It was Paulin's job to break codes. So, he was put to work on breaking drug dealers' codes. He testified in court to what he found.

      FBI Agent Darin Steele's job was working on the Amerithrax case. On November 7, 2007, the FBI did a thorough search of Ivins' home looking for evidence. From past experience, the FBI knew that guilty people often wait a few days and then throw away incriminating evidence that the FBI failed to find in such a search.

      A week after a search of his house, Dr. Ivins was observed acting peculiar while waiting for the garbage collector. It turned out that he'd throw out one of his favorite books and a magazine that he'd kept for years. FBI agents wondered why he'd thrown out those items.

      Darin Steele went through the book page by page, and on page 404 he found an image of a coded message using certain highlighted characters that was very similar to what was in the media letter. Steele had already wondered if the highlighted characters in the media letter represented codons, since that appeared to be a possibility. Steele then read further in book and found the ENTIRE scheme that Ivins had used to encode the hidden message in the media letter. Everything fit perfectly!

      The idea that Agent Steele would not be able to testify to what he found because he's not a cryptographer is ABSURD. Your claim says that someone had to KNOW there were codes to be broken and assigned a code breaker to break them. But no one knew there was a code to be broken until Steel broke it. To argue that that is not allowed would be STUPID. Steele broke the code as part of his job. And that is what he would testify.

      R. Rowley also wrote: "If the judge rules that a particular skein of evidence requires expert testimony then that's that. "

      But there is no reason for a judge to do that in this situation.

      R. Rowley wrote: "According to you, any lawman assigned by his superiors to do a decryption may testify to that decryption, REGARDLESS OF RELIABILITY, in a trial setting. The law, though not absolute, is much more stringent than that."

      You are DISTORTING THE FACTS AGAIN. You must realize you have no argument unless you distort the facts.

      No one assigned Steele to break codes. If anyone knew there was a code to break, they would have assigned a cryptographer. Steele broke a code that no one knew was there. In court, Agent Steele can testify to what he did and how he did it.

      Ed

      Delete
    3. R. Rowley wrote: "The conviction of the robber in that case does not turn IN ANY WAY on the accuracy of my decryption. In Amerithrax, Ivis' guilt could have turned on reasonable doubt regarding multiple strands of evidence, and the RELIABILITY of this decryption is what determines it's admissibility."

      NONSENSE. You're taking rules for accepting the testimony of "expert witnesses" and applying them to "eye witnesses." That is ridiculous. Expert witnesses must be certified as experts and therefore reliable. Eye witnesses have no such OFFICIAL requirement. Eyewitnesses are basically chosen by happenstance.

      In the past, you've mentioned the movie "Twelve Angry Men." One big point in the "Twelve Angry Men" case was that an eyewitness had testified to being awakened in the middle of the night and seeing the defendant through a window. The jurors figured out that she needed glasses and wouldn't likely have put them on in the middle of the night in such a situation. So, they discounted her testimony. There was no rule that she had to have 20-20 vision to be a eyewitness. She testified to what she THOUGHT she saw, and the jury decided not to believe her.

      You're just making up fantasy rules to create arguments where you have no arguments.

      Ed

      Delete
    4. "No one assigned Steele to break codes."
      --------------------------------------
      We don't know that in the case of the Brokaw text. In fact, we don't even know HOW MUCH of the thing Steele did. I reread those pages of Willman's book (?pp 301-2?) that you cited, but Steele's name is only in one sentence of those two pages.

      My take on the re-read was the same as when I read it originally: the 'decryption' was a joint effort of multiple persons on the Task Force. That one sentence with Steele's name merely says he did the initial ?'teasing out'? of the TTT of lines 1 to 2 (but possibly implying that he picked each A and T that made it to the final 'decryption', this part not entirely clear from the paragraph).
      ===========================================
      One big point in the "Twelve Angry Men" case was that an eyewitness had testified to being awakened in the middle of the night and seeing the defendant through a window. The jurors figured out that she needed glasses and wouldn't likely have put them on in the middle of the night in such a situation. So, they discounted her testimony. There was no rule that she had to have 20-20 vision to be a eyewitness.
      ----------------------------------------------
      I'm sorry but having 20/20 vision, while nice to have, does not constitute a "highly specialized field", unlike cryptology.
      -----------------------------------------------
      She testified to what she THOUGHT she saw, and the jury decided not to believe her.
      ----------------------------------------------
      No, it would be more accurate to say that the jury felt that her testimony was of questionable reliability because of the eyesight issue. Reliability is key, BOTH to admissibility (the decision the court makes), AND to
      weight (the decision the jury makes). Since there was a real possibility she was blind-as-a-bat without her glasses and she was in bed trying to sleep at the time of the incident, there was little chance she was wearing her glasses, making her testimony of highly questionable reliability.

      Delete
    5. R. Rowley wrote: "My take on the re-read was the same as when I read it originally: the 'decryption' was a joint effort of multiple persons on the Task Force. That one sentence with Steele's name merely says he did the initial ?'teasing out'? of the TTT...

      You appear to be deliberately misstating the facts. This is a direct quote from page 301:

      The theorized messages were teased out initially by one of the FBI scientists, Darin Steele,

      In other words, the MESSAGES were initially decoded by Steele.

      The sentence on page 301 continues:

      who saw that the first three bold-faced characters in the Brokaw- New York Post letter were TTT.

      In other words, Steele's decoding started with noticing that the first three highlighted characters were "TTT" which suggested to him that they might represent a codon.

      What difference does it make that Steele's name is only mentioned once?

      Everyone understands that Steele would have told others at the FBI about what he'd found. And, together they may have figured out other details of the code. SO WHAT?

      You are just being argumentative. If others had helped Steele do the decoding, that wouldn't prevent Steele from taking the stand to testify to what he AND THE OTHERS did. If it wasn't a waste of time, the prosecution could have call the others to the stand, too.

      The IMPORTANT POINT here is that FBI Agent Steele would have taken the stand to testify about how the hidden message in the media letters was decoded.

      It's been PROVED in a message below (Click HERE) that your interpretation of rule 701-C is TOTALLY WRONG.

      Ed

      Delete
  37. Mr. Rowley will probably find some reason to say this is different from our current argument, but I did some research and found an interesting case of a NON-expert telling a jury about a coded message in court. You can read the ABC News article by clicking HERE:

    -------------
    Jurors listening to the Jodi Arias' murder trial -- which already includes an admitted killing, confessed lies, kinky sex and nude photos -- heard another stunning allegation when the prosecution claimed that Arias sent a coded message from her jail cell in an attempt to tamper with a witness.
    ......

    [Prosecutor] Martinez did not reveal in court why the items drew suspicion, but at some point someone noticed the small, faint notes written in pencil in the margins.

    Like something out of a spy novel, Martinez laid out for jurors what he believes is evidence of Arias' attempt to manipulate the testimony of a witness.
    ....

    In the Star Magazine at the bottom of one page was the following set of numbers: 43 40 56 20 37 54. Each number, the prosecutor said, corresponded to a page from the Digital Photo Pro magazine which contained a part of the message.

    Strung together, the entire message, according to Martinez, read, "You f***ed up what you told my attorney the next day / directly contradicts what I've been saying for over a year / get down here ASAP and see me before you talk to them again and before / you testify so / we can fix this / interview was excellent! Must talk ASAP!"

    ----------

    This is an instance where a PROSECUTOR provides the information about the coded message to the jury instead of a cryptographer. They evidently didn't even have to bring in the person who actually decoded the hidden message. (It appears to be someone on the prosecutor's staff.)

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  38. I don't follow that case, but my IMPRESSION is: once you go to each page in question the segment it carries is: in plain text (since merely knowing the page number wouldn't tell you which words on that particular page count as part of the message). Could be wrong....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Rowley,

      I assume you're now talking about the Jodi Arias case.

      I didn't follow the case, either. I just found that article by doing a Google search for "coded message" and "testimony."

      As I read it, Arias had penciled notes into the borders of the pages of Digital Photo Pro magazine and in Star Magazine she'd printed the numbers that pointed to pages in Digital Photo Pro and put the penciled notes in order.

      Ed

      Delete
  39. R. Rowley wrote: "It's not irrelevant: would they have even bothered calling him if any old agent could testify to the same effect? No, they would not."

    You STILL do not understand.

    In the case you cited, Kent Paulin "had examined and opined on coded conversations in 250 cases and had been qualified as an expert in cryptanalysis 16 times previously in state and federal courts. Paulin testified that in his opinion the taped conversations concerned the distribution of cocaine."

    It was Paulin's job to break codes.[...]
    ===========================================
    Exactly. And it was not Darin Steele's job because he didn't have the background for it. Case closed.

    ReplyDelete
  40. R. Rowley wrote: "And it was not Darin Steele's job because he didn't have the background for it. Case closed."

    Case closed in that you have proven yourself incapable of understanding the difference between an eyewitness and an expert witness.

    In other words, you don't care what the facts say, you're going to believe what you want to believe.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  41. R. Rowley wrote: "And it was not Darin Steele's job because he didn't have the background for it. Case closed."

    Case closed in that you have proven yourself incapable of understanding the difference between an eyewitness and an expert witness.
    ===========================================
    An "eyewitness" to a handwriting had to have been there when the writing/printing was done. No one qualifies on that score in Amerithrax. To compare known and unknown handwriting samples requires two (count 'em! 2!) things:

    1)requisite background (training/education and experience)

    2)side-by-side comparison.

    There's no one who fills the bill available to enter into evidence pages 89-90 of the AMERITHRAX INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY's claims. The (mislabelled)"witness(es)" was/were (a) layman (laymen) in graphological terms, and did no side-by-side comparisons. whatsoever.

    In the present instance a non-cryptoanalyst is being touted as someone who could testify about the results and reliability of a decryption. Non-experts simply can't do that. Not because I say so, but because of the Rules of Evidence.
    ------------
    A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:

    (a) the expert’s scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;

    (b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;

    (c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and

    (d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.
    -----------
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_702

    ReplyDelete
  42. R. Rowley wrote: "An "eyewitness" to a handwriting had to have been there when the writing/printing was done."

    Nonsense. Again, you demonstrate that you have your own personal rules for how the world is supposed to work, and you have no comprehension of reality.

    An eyewitness is a "someone who has knowledge about a crime or dramatic event through first-hand experience via any of the senses." SOURCE

    That would include receiving a letter that has relevance to the case, looking at the handwriting on the letter, and testifying in court as to what was observed.

    An "expert witness" does the type comparisons you describe, i.e., side by side comparisons based upon training and expertise.

    R. Rowley argues, "Non-experts simply can't do that. Not because I say so, but because of the Rules of Evidence."

    Nonsense. You cite the rules about expert testimony and once again claim that the same rules apply to eyewitness testimony. THAT IS JUST PLAIN NONSENSE.

    I cited the Jodi Arias case where the PROSECUTOR explains to the jury how he or someone on his staff decoded a hidden message that Arias wrote. No "experts" where required. The PROSECUTOR presented the evidence himself.

    An eyewitness testifies in court about what they saw or heard or smelled or felt. The only rules are they must tell the truth, it must be something they personally did (no hearsay), and they can only respond to questions that are asked by members of the court (they can't make speeches).

    If an eyewitness decoded a message, they can testify that they decoded a message, even if they are not an accredited cryptographer.

    If an eyewitness made a handwriting comparison on documents that no longer exist, they can testify that they made such a comparison, even if they are not an accredited handwriting expert.

    If an eyewitness saw that someone was dead, they can testify they saw someone was dead, even if they are not a licensed doctor.

    If an eyewitness saw that a document was fake, they can testify that they saw that a document was fake, even if they are not an accredited document examiner.

    If an eyewitness saw that a knife was bloody, they can testify that they saw a knife that was bloody, even if they are not an accredited forensic evidence examiner.

    Eyewitnesses testify to what they observed that is relevant to a court case, regardless of their expertise on the subject. Their only credentials are that they were there when a relevant event occurred.

    Expert witnesses testify to what they were asked - as experts in a field - by the prosecution or defense to examine for use in court. They weren't at the scene of the crime. They are only experts in a field looking at things after the fact.

    Arguing that eyewitnesses must also be expert witnesses is just plain nonsense. And arguing it over and over is ridiculous.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oops. I forgot the fifth sense: taste. An eyewitness can testify that something tasted bitter, even if they are not an accredited chemist or food taster.

      I also wrote this about "expert witnesses: "They weren't at the scene of the crime. I should have written, "They weren't a eyewitness to some event related to the case."

      Ed

      Delete
    2. R. Rowley wrote: "An "eyewitness" to a handwriting had to have been there when the writing/printing was done."

      Nonsense. Again, you demonstrate that you have your own personal rules for how the world is supposed to work, and you have no comprehension of reality.

      An eyewitness is a "someone who has knowledge about a crime or dramatic event through first-hand experience via any of the senses." SOURCE

      ===================
      Nonsense yourself. We went over this WEEKS ago. Then I posted NOT "my own opinion" but a partial from something Mister Lake HIMSELF had already posted from an online source:
      ---------------------------
      Eyewitness testimony is the account a bystander gives in the courtroom, describing what they perceived happened during the specific incident under investigation.
      (among many other sources)
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyewitness_testimony
      =========================================]
      No recipient of mail from Ivins/allegedly from Ivins was a "bystander" to the printing, either of THOSE MAILINGS or of the Amerithrax mailings. A 'bystander' is someone who is standing by (ie in close proximity) when something happens and who therefore can testify about it based on being nearby. Mister Lake wants to expand the definition to include tesfiying about EVERY SINGLE PRINTING SAMPLE the person has ever seen in their lifetime. That just won't fly.

      Delete
    3. R. Rowley wrote: "A 'bystander' is someone who is standing by (ie in close proximity) when something happens and who therefore can testify about it based on being nearby."

      So, we're going to get into another MORONIC argument over words?

      No one is talking about any "bystander." We're talking about an "eyewitness" or a "lay witness." Your Wikipedia link is to "eyewitness testimony" which is misleading, since it's specifically about a witness to a crime.

      If you just look up "witness" on Wikipedia you find this:

      A witness is someone who has, who claims to have, or is thought, by someone with authority to compel testimony, to have knowledge relevant to an event or other matter of interest. In law a witness is someone who, either voluntarily or under compulsion, provides testimonial evidence, either oral or written, of what he or she knows or claims to know about the matter before some official authorized to take such testimony.

      A percipient witness OR EYEWITNESS is one who testifies what they perceived through his or her senses (e.g. seeing, hearing, smelling, touching).


      The term "eyewitness" is being used to distinguish that type of witness from an "expert witness." It doesn't mean that the "eyewitness" actually witnessed the crime.

      According to your definition, there were no "eyewitnesses" in the Amerithrax. No one saw Ivins drop the letters into the mailbox. Do you believe that that means the feds wouldn't be able to call anyone except EXPERT witnesses to the stand to testify? Do you believe that is what happens in all other trials involving circumstantial evidence?

      Mr. Rowley also wrote: "Mister Lake wants to expand the definition to include tesfiying about EVERY SINGLE PRINTING SAMPLE the person has ever seen in their lifetime. That just won't fly."

      Now you're just making things up to be argumentative.

      A trial is held to settle an issue. The issue in the Amerithrax case is Ivins' guilt or innocence. The DOJ claimed Ivins was guilty of mailing the anthrax letters. The Defense claimed Ivins was innocent of mailing the anthrax letters.

      During the course of the trial, EVIDENCE would have been presented by the Prosecution showing that Ivins was the anthrax mailer. The only allowable testimony by prosecution witnesses would have been testimony that went to proving the DOJ's case against Ivins. That EXCLUDES "EVERY SINGLE PRINTING SAMPLE the person has ever seen in their lifetime" EXCEPT for the few printing samples relevant to the case.

      Your arguments are ridiculous and show a total lack of understanding of the criminal trial process.

      For purposes of this discussion, an "eyewitness" should be synonymous with a "LAY witness," i.e., someone who is NOT an "expert witness," but who testifies to seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling or tasting something relevant to Ivins' guilt or innocence.

      A good example would be FBI agent Darin Steele, who decoded the hidden message Ivins put in the media letters. He was an "eyewitness" to the decoding process. He would explain to the jury how he went about it.

      Ivins' co-worker Pat Worsham would also likely testify to holding a meeting where she explained to Ivins how slants for the FBI repository were to be prepared. Ivins claimed he didn't recall any such meeting, and that was why he prepared the slants incorrectly. FBI Agent Scott Stanley was also in the meeting, so he would also testify as an EYEWITNESS that Ivins was there.

      Mara Linscott would testify as an EYEWITNESS to receiving packages that Ivins drove hundreds of miles to leave on her doorstep. Her testimony would show Ivins' practice of driving hundreds of miles at night to do secret things.

      Etc., etc.

      Ed

      Delete
    4. During the course of the trial, EVIDENCE would have been presented by the Prosecution showing that Ivins was the anthrax mailer. The only allowable testimony by prosecution witnesses would have been testimony that went to proving the DOJ's case against Ivins. That EXCLUDES "EVERY SINGLE PRINTING SAMPLE the person has ever seen in their lifetime" EXCEPT for the few printing samples relevant to the case.
      ==================================================
      Yes, but we are not just talking about the notional trial of Bruce Ivins, we are talking about what Due Process requires/permits IN GENERAL. And the above paragraph by you captures exactly what you are doing:

      1)you start with your desire to 'convict' Bruce Ivins
      in this notional trial.

      2)to do that you have to find some way to get before a jury all sorts of normally inadmissible items: handwriting
      evaluations by informants who did no side-by-side comparisons and had no background in handwriting analysis;
      a 'decryption' by some person (Steele) or persons (2 or more Task Force members) with no KNOWN background in cryptoganalysis etc. To get before the jury everything that's outlined in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary.

      3)you do that by making sweeping, but frequently erroneous, statements about expert/lay testimony and/or
      the Rules of Evidence. Sometimes these statements contradict EACH OTHER.

      4)you fail to see the more general implications of what you are stating: that if non-experts could give expert testimony AS YOU IMAGINE, it would render 701 and 702 nil and void and would complicate endlessly criminal (and civil?) litigation throughout the United States.

      Delete
    5. R. Rowley wrote: "1)you start with your desire to 'convict' Bruce Ivins in this notional trial."

      Not so. I am looking at the evidence objectively. I previously thought that someone in New Jersey was most likely the anthrax mailer. But all the evidence showing that the anthrax mailer was Bruce Ivins changed my opinion. I'm open to solid proof that someone else did it. But, you certainly haven't provided any such proof. All you do is argue that the evidence against Ivins isn't valid - even though it CLEARLY is valid.

      R. Rowley also wrote: "2)to do that you have to find some way to get before a jury all sorts of normally inadmissible items: "

      Not so. The FBI/DOJ's evidence pointing to Ivins' guilt is TOTALLY ADMISSIBLE. You just try to distort the law to CLAIM it is not admissible.

      R. Rowley also wrote: "3)you do that by making sweeping, but frequently erroneous, statements about expert/lay testimony and/or the Rules of Evidence. Sometimes these statements contradict EACH OTHER."

      My statements based upon the nature and admissibility of "expert/lay testimony" is the result of research. I generally CITE THE SOURCE for what I find. When you believe my statements contradict each other, it is generally because YOU do not clearly understand the rules of evidence.

      Page 16 of the pdf file HERE says,

      "In 2000, Rule 701 was amended to stipulate that lay opinion must not be based on scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge. The amendment was intended to harden the division between lay opinion and expert opinion, and to ensure that all opinion based on scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge would be subject to the reliability requirements
      of Rule 702."


      Agent Steele's testimony would NOT have been based upon any scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge. It was based upon his rational perceptions. Therefore it WOULD be allowable as lay testimony.

      R. Rowley also wrote: ")4 you fail to see the more general implications of what you are stating: that if non-experts could give expert testimony AS YOU IMAGINE, it would render 701 and 702 nil and void and would complicate endlessly criminal (and civil?) litigation throughout the United States."

      No, you fail to see that there ARE numerous safeguards to allow the judge to prevent lay witnesses from giving totally invalid information. The judge will stop testimony and the defense will object if a witness tries to give evidence that is not "rationally based" on the witness’s perception. If the witness’s opinion represents too great a leap from the witness’s knowledge base, the court would exclude it as not rationally based. The judge would stop the witness and the defense would object if the lay witness tries to tell the jury HOW to the evidence points to Ivins guilt. That is something an EXPERT can do, but a lay witness cannot. A lay witness can only explain what he found. The jury will decide HOW the evidence points to the defendant's guilt.

      Ed

      Delete
    6. R. Rowley wrote: "1)you start with your desire to 'convict' Bruce Ivins in this notional trial."

      Not so. I am looking at the evidence objectively. I previously thought that someone in New Jersey was most likely the anthrax mailer.
      ----------------------------------------------
      I don't doubt that you believed someone in NJ was involved, just as in your earlier website you observed
      that all 3 letter O's of the Brokaw text were partially
      retraced. There was no official government line to adhere to THEN. No "amino acid code" to defend 'to your last breath'.

      I'm not talking primarily about the Ed Lake of 2001 to mid 2008, I'm talking about the Ed Lake who signed onto the government's case against Ivins in the second half of 2008 and who is unwilling to concede an inch or a point in that regard. Just as some Catholics are termed "More Catholic than the Pope", you have become more anti-Ivins since 2008
      than the entire Task Force put together(!!). (The weirdest manifestation was your fixation of long-ago an Ivins' alleged 'nanny cam').
      -------------------------------------------
      R. Rowley also wrote: "2)to do that you have to find some way to get before a jury all sorts of normally inadmissible items: "

      Not so. The FBI/DOJ's evidence pointing to Ivins' guilt is TOTALLY ADMISSIBLE. You just try to distort the law to CLAIM it is not admissible.
      -----------------------------------------------
      No, I'm just doing my level best to describe Due Process, as I (a layman) understand it. And I have asked Anonymous once or twice to correct me if I'm wrong. Your legal arguments are consistent in only one respect: they are all geared toward giving you your heart's desire: an notional 'conviction' of Ivins. THAT'S your prejudice.

      Delete
  43. Okay, on to your comments of today (Sunday)June 16th which included this:
    -----------------
    I even pointed out that, if a child used a Scooby-Doo decoder ap on his iPhone to decode a message, and if that information was relevant to a court case, the child could testify to decoding the message.
    ----------------
    As well as this:
    -----------
    I found an article which says that Jesus once sent a coded message to John the Baptist. But, there didn't seem to be any court case involved, and "The Convincer" would likely argue that the laws are different in other countries. Besides, since Jesus was the Son of God, he can probably be considered to be a "certified expert" on almost everything.
    =====================================================
    Okay, here Mister Lake is confusing various parties, and it's a good thing too, because by picking these examples, he makes his confusion crystal clear:

    1)the child, as I understand(?) it, is using a computer PROGRAM (the 'ap') to 'decode' a message. Therefore the decoding technique/method is written into that 'ap'. As long as the child's memory isn't faulty, the message will likely be accurate (provided the message doesn't include words/expressions that a child of that age couldn't understand correctly).

    The important point: the PROGRAM ('ap') is doing the decoding, not the child. And, as far as I know, all 'apps' and computer programs have some human or human writers behind them at one or more remove(s). The true decoder(s).

    2)Jesus, in the second paragraph, is the one sending a message, let's stipulate by some sort of code. He therefore is the AUTHOR* of the text and the ENCODER. He's not the decoder. Therefore neither he nor the child of point 1) is in the position of PERSONALLY decoding anything. John the Baptist presumably is, in the second instance, some sort of decoder.

    Said another way, neither the child of the first paragraph, nor Jesus of the second paragraph is in the position of Darin Steele or any other member of the Amerithrax Task Force who would be in the position of presenting THEIR OWN DECRYPTION TECHNIQUES, and explaining to the court/jury how reliable such techniques are. To know how reliable a decryption/decryption technique is requires: experience/education in the field.

    *So Jesus as the author/encoder is the analogue of the Amerithrax
    author/printer (the perp), not third parties looking to decrypt any possible message...as the Task Force members in Amerithrax were.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Maybe Anonymous or some other attorney can help with the Arias Case but I learned over the weekend:

    1)the trial PER SE ended on May 8th with a conviction for 1st degree murder.

    2)the ongoing litigation since has been a SENTENCING HEARING, and it's possible that such hearings have somewhat divergent rules from those for a trial proper.

    3)the latest news on that front is that Arias' lawyer wants to postpone the (rest of?) the sentencing hearing until 2014.
    -----------------------
    Anonymous, any opinion/insight on Arias?

    ReplyDelete
  45. R. Rowley wrote: "The important point: the PROGRAM ('ap') is doing the decoding, not the child."

    Not true. The child had to know HOW to use the program. The program does NOTHING unless the child CAUSES it to happen. The child had some expertise on the use of the program and used that expertise and the program to decode the message. Then he could testify to what he did in court.

    Agent Steele used the coding process described in the book Godel, Escher, Bach (GEB) and code information in a magazine to decode the message in the media letter. And, he would describe the decoding technique explained in GEB to the jury, showing how the hidden message in the letter fitted the code PERFECTLY. The book didn't decode the message. Steele decoded the message after reading the book. And, he already had EXPERTISE in the condon part of the code.

    This appears to be another MORONIC argument over words.

    R. Rowley also wrote: "Said another way, neither the child of the first paragraph, nor Jesus of the second paragraph is in the position of Darin Steele or any other member of the Amerithrax Task Force who would be in the position of presenting THEIR OWN DECRYPTION TECHNIQUES, and explaining to the court/jury how reliable such techniques are."

    Steele didn't use his "own decryption technique." He used a technique described in GEB. It's a decoding technique used by astronomers all over the world who listen for
    signals from outer space, and it's probably also used by the NSA to hunt for hidden messages in transmissions from suspected terrorists.

    Determining the reliability of the technique would be an issue for the jury to decide. There would be NOTHING preventing Steele from describing to the jury what he did.

    R. Rowley also wrote: "it's possible that such hearings have somewhat divergent rules from those for a trial proper".

    You are grabbing at straws.

    The decoding evidence given by the prosecutor was not related to Arias' guilt or innocence in the matter being tried, but it was still NOT evidence from an EXPERT IN CRYPTOGRAPHY.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  46. Mr. Rowley,

    I think we need to get some definitions clear, so that we don't just continue to have MORONIC arguments over the definitions of words.

    The word "witness" is a very general term and can apply to someone who merely witnesses a signature. The term also includes eyewitnesses, expert witnesses and character witnesses in criminal trials. Those are three very different kinds of witnesses.

    Then there's the term "lay witness," which merely means the witness is NOT an "expert witness."

    You bring up the term "bystander," which would be an "eyewitness" to the crime.

    Wikipedia uses the term "percipient witness," which merely means a witness who "perceives," and is used as a synonym for "eyewitness."

    So, in one sense, an "eyewitness" is someone who actually witnessed a crime. In another sense, an "eyewitness" is anyone who observed (or felt or smelled or heard or tasted) something relevant to the case being tried.

    Mara Linscott would have been an "eyewitness" or "lay witness" who would have described to the jury the many packages she received from Ivins that Ivins drove hundreds of miles to deliver in the middle of the night.

    It can be argued that there are no TRUE "eyewitnesses" in the Amerithrax case, since, as far as we know, no one watched Ivins deposit the anthrax letters in the mailbox in Princeton.

    So, to avoid having more MORONIC arguments over definitions of "eyewitness," can't we settle on a term to use that would apply to testimony given by Ivins former co-workers, his relatives, his therapy session members, and FBI agents who worked the case, but who would NOT be testifying as "expert witnesses"?

    If you cannot comprehend using the term "eyewitness" for those kinds of witnesses, then I suggest we use the term "lay witness." That would distinguish such witnesses from "expert witnesses," which seems to be the main goal here.

    I wrote in my Sunday comment that FBI Agent Darin Steele would most likely have been put on the stand in the Ivins trial as a "lay witness," since much of his testimony would be about things he saw while investigating the Amerithrax case.

    Plus, according to legal precedent, "his observations did not require significant expertise to interpret and were not based on scientific theory." He gathered much of the "expertise" to decode the hidden message by simply reading a book and a magazine. The courts have ruled that this is allowable testimony from a lay witness. It is one of the things that distinguishes a "lay witness" from an "expert witness."

    ---------------
    Section 701. Opinion Testimony by Lay Witnesses

    If the witness is not testifying as an expert, the witness’s testimony in the form of opinions or inferences is limited to those opinions or inferences which are

    (a) rationally based on the perception of the witness;

    (b) helpful to a clear understanding of the witness’s testimony or the determination of a fact in issue; and
    (c) not based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge within the scope of Section 702.
    -------------

    Agent Steele's testimony about the code would be about what he rationally perceived as a "lay witness." Also, "his observations did not require significant expertise to interpret and were not based on scientific theory," they were based upon his understanding of the facts.

    Can we agree that Agent Steele would have been a "lay witness" AND that his testimony would be allowed because it is what he rationally perceived, even though he is not a certified cryptographer?

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Rowley,

      Maybe a simpler way to put an end to the MORONIC arguments over what word to use to describe a witness who is neither an eyewitness to the crime nor an expert witness testifying on some specialized field, is to decide on what kind of witness Jodi Fortier was in the Timothy McVeigh trial. She wasn't a witness to the actual explosion. She wasn't an expert witness.

      Her testimony can be viewed by clicking HERE.

      Please DO NOT invent a new term. As I see it, the only choices are:

      1. Lay witness
      2. Eye witness

      Ed

      Delete
  47. Please DO NOT invent a new term. As I see it, the only choices are:

    1. Lay witness
    2. Eye witness
    =============================================
    You keep on making it out that I'm "inventing" stuff including terms. But that just isn't so, and I've SHOWN you that several times in the past. I'm quoting online sources (with links) for just about everything. So, unless you are trying to REALLY ascribe to me 'super powers', ie the ability to put online innumerable ordinary and legal dictionaries, compilations of legal terminology, the Rules of Evidence etc. I see no basis for the claim I'm making anything up.

    I see you are back to Jodi Fortier. Okay, I would call her a lay witness. What of it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. R. Rowley wrote: "You keep on making it out that I'm "inventing" stuff including terms."

      I was merely recalling how you invented the term "discarded mail" to mean unwanted mail that had just arrived and had not yet been discarded -- mail that most people would call "junk mail."

      R. Rowley also wrote: "I see you are back to Jodi Fortier. Okay, I would call her a lay witness. What of it?"

      I means we now have a common term to apply to witnesses in the Amerithrax case like Mara Linscott, Pat Worsham, Pat Fellows and FBI agents Darin Steele and Scott Stanley. It means we won't have to argue over what kind of witnesses they are --- unless you want to argue that Darin Steele and Scott Stanley are NOT "lay witnesses" but "expert witnesses" or some other kind of witness. Do you?

      And, it means we can now view Rule 701 of the Rules of Evidence as applying to Linscott, Worsham, Fellows, Steele and Stanley:

      ----------------------
      Rule 701. Opinion Testimony by Lay Witnesses

      If the witness is not testifying as an expert, the witness’s testimony in the form of opinions or inferences is limited to those opinions or inferences which are

      (a) rationally based on the perception of the witness;

      (b) helpful to a clear understanding of the witness’s testimony or the determination of a fact in issue;
      and
      (c) not based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge within the scope of Section 702.

      Rule 702. Testimony by Expert Witnesses

      A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:

      (a) the expert’s scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;

      (b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;

      (c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and

      (d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.
      --------------

      That means that FBI Agent Darin Steele's testimony about decoding the hidden message in the media letters would have been "rationally based on the perception of the witness" and "helpful to a clear understanding of the witness’s testimony or the determination of a fact in issue."

      It means the same thing for Mara Linscott's testimony about how she viewed the notes she received from Bruce Ivins.

      Doesn't it?

      They would be lay witnesses testifying to what they rationally perceived, and their testimony would be helpful to determining the fact at issue: Ivins guilt or innocence.

      Right?

      Ed

      Delete
    2. Part I
      ------------------------

      R. Rowley also wrote: "I see you are back to Jodi Fortier. Okay, I would call her a lay witness. What of it?"

      I means we now have a common term to apply to witnesses in the Amerithrax case like Mara Linscott, Pat Worsham, Pat Fellows and FBI agents Darin Steele and Scott Stanley
      ----------------------------------
      Darin Steele is a lay witness when HE'S TESTIFYING ON CRYPTOANALYSIS and other specialized fields for which he has no background (training/experience). But as an investigator he might testify on a myriad of Amerithrax tasks which he performed as a law enforcement professional and in THAT CAPACITY I doubt that 'lay witness' is accurate. For instance he photographed (an?) Amerithrax letter(s?) as it/they were held up again a transparent enclosure by one of the USAMRIID scientists. He certainly could testify as to that task, without any advanced training in photography. But he would be more than a layman in my opinion.

      ALL of us are 'laymen' in some aspects (most aspects) of our lives. We only qualify, only CAN qualify as 'experts' (in a trial setting, outside of a trial setting) in a minority, sometimes tiny minority, of fields. Of course,
      expertise in lepidopterology will seldom come up in criminal cases (THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS notwithstanding),
      but if lepidopterology DOES come up in, say, a murder trial, the court will want witnesses testifying about moths and/or butterflies to be more than arrant amateurs who looked something up in a book. And the more 'material' the (potential) testimony on the moths/butterflies is, the more the court will demand demonstrable expertise.


      Jodi Fortier was a lay witness for the testimony (or what I read of it here)she gave at the McVeigh trial, but it's conceivable that in her lifetime she could testify as an 'expert' at some other trial, if she has the necessary expertise in a field that has bearing on the outcome of that trial.

      Delete
    3. Mr. Rowley,

      I waited for Part II, but it didn't show up. So, I'm going to respond to Part I only:

      Mr. Rowley wrote: "Darin Steele is a lay witness when HE'S TESTIFYING ON CRYPTOANALYSIS and other specialized fields for which he has no background (training/experience). But as an investigator he might testify on a myriad of Amerithrax tasks which he performed as a law enforcement professional and in THAT CAPACITY I doubt that 'lay witness' is accurate."

      So, what are you going to do now? Invent a new term?

      You indicated that you read my web site where I pointed out that witnesses CAN be both lay witnesses AND expert witnesses in the same trial. I quoted from the source you can read by clicking HERE:

      ------------
      It is well established that a police officer may testify as an expert witness in one case and a lay witness in another. However there has been some debate as to whether an officer can offer both kinds of testimony in the same trial; in other words, whether a policeman can wear "two hats" on the witness stand. The following case examples examine the issue as viewed by three different appellate courts.
      --------

      The first case resulted in this:
      This court overruled Beach and held that there should not be a per se ban in criminal trials against dual expert and lay testimony from a single witness. Instead the court held "that the decision should be left to the trial court's discretion in each case whether the danger of jury confusion can be neutralized by lesser measures than exclusion of dual testimony altogether."

      The second case resulted in this:
      the Second Circuit specifically declined to categorically prohibit the use of case agents as expert witnesses. Instead the court noted that the district courts could avoid the noted risks by acting as vigilant gatekeepers and properly applying discovery rules.

      The third case resulted in this:
      The Ninth Circuit explained: "Testimony of this kind may save time and expense, and will not necessarily result in juror confusion, provided that the district court engages in vigilant gatekeeping… If jurors are aware of the witness's dual roles, the risk of error in these types of trials is reduced.”

      So, it appears that FBI Agent Steele could have been both a "lay witness" and an "expert witness" in the Ivins trial. And, he could have testified as either a LAY WITNESS OR AN EXPERT WITNESS when presenting his findings about the hidden message in the media letters. Most likely, he would have testified as a LAY witness.

      Ed

      Delete
    4. I should have added: EITHER WAY, AGENT STEELE'S TESTIMONY ABOUT DECODING THE HIDDEN MESSAGE IN THE MEDIA LETTER WOULD HAVE BEEN ADMISSIBLE.

      Ed

      Delete
    5. I waited for Part II, but it didn't show up. So, I'm going to respond to Part I only:

      Mr. Rowley wrote: "Darin Steele is a lay witness when HE'S TESTIFYING ON CRYPTOANALYSIS and other specialized fields for which he has no background (training/experience). But as an investigator he might testify on a myriad of Amerithrax tasks which he performed as a law enforcement professional and in THAT CAPACITY I doubt that 'lay witness' is accurate."

      So, what are you going to do now? Invent a new term?
      ----------------------------------------------
      No, I don't see that as necessary.
      -----------------------------------------------
      So, it appears that FBI Agent Steele could have been both a "lay witness" and an "expert witness" in the Ivins trial. And, he could have testified as either a LAY WITNESS OR AN EXPERT WITNESS when presenting his findings about the hidden message in the media letters. Most likely, he would have testified as a LAY witness.
      -------------------------------------------
      No, because lay witnesses aren't permitted to give testimony on highly specialized ('technical') matters, ESPECIALLY when such testimony is 'material' (ie could
      affect the verdict). It violates point (c) of the 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.
      http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_701

      Delete
    6. That means that FBI Agent Darin Steele's testimony about decoding the hidden message in the media letters would have been "rationally based on the perception of the witness" and "helpful to a clear understanding of the witness’s testimony or the determination of a fact in issue."

      It means the same thing for Mara Linscott's testimony about how she viewed the notes she received from Bruce Ivins.

      Doesn't it?
      ========================================
      No, you're jumping to the subordinant clauses (a, b,c,d) without giving heed to the main clause (which is as follows):

      A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:
      -----------------------------------------
      Steele is NOT "qualified as an expert" in crypto-stuff,
      therefore he's excluded. With Linscott, it depends on whether she's making a COMPARISON. If so, THAT (the comparison) is excluded.

      Delete
    7. R. Rowley wrote: "No, because lay witnesses aren't permitted to give testimony on highly specialized ('technical') matters, ESPECIALLY when such testimony is 'material' (ie could affect the verdict)."

      I thought we'd established that that is merely YOUR MISTAKEN BELIEF, and it has nothing to do with reality.

      R. Rowley also wrote: "It violates point (c) of the Rule of Evidence 701"

      NO, it doesn't. You are MISREADING the rules.

      Agent Steele was NOT a cryptographer, so his testimony would NOT be "based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge within the scope of Rule 702."

      If Agent Steel WAS a cryptographer, THEN he could NOT testify as a lay witness, he'd have to testify as an EXPERT witness. But, because he is NOT a cryptographer, he MUST testify as a lay witness.

      You are misinterpreting the rules to say that a lay witness cannot testify about things related to breaking codes. That is a RIDICULOUS MISINTERPRETATION. If a lay witness breaks a code, he can certainly testify to doing so. It is what happened. Agent Steele cannot be prevented from testifying to what happened. That would be absurd and a miscarriage of justice.

      Let me spell it out for you once again:

      Agent Steele was NOT a cryptographer, so he would testify as a LAY witness to how he broke the code. Rule 701-C says he MUST testify as a LAY witness because what he did was "not based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge within the scope of Section 702."

      If Agent Steel WAS a cryptographer, then he would testify as an EXPERT witness under Section 702.

      Agent Steele CAN testify to what he found. PERIOD. The only question is whether he would testify as a LAY witness or as an EXPERT. He would testify as a LAY witness because he was NOT a crypotgrapher.

      HE CANNOT BE BARRED FROM TESTIFYING TO WHAT HE FOUND. THAT WOULD BE ABSURD AND A MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE.


      It's not really that complicated. You just have a serious problem with understanding things that other people write.

      Ed

      Delete
  48. And part of Mister Lake's comment today:
    --------------------
    According to "The Convincer,"

    The important point: the PROGRAM ('ap') is doing the decoding, not the child.

    But, of course, the child had to know how to use the program and that the message could be decoded by using the program. So, the child USED the program to decode the message just as FBI agent Darin Steele used the book Godel, Escher, Bach and a science magazine to decode the hidden message Ivins put in the anthrax letters he sent to the media. The FBI agent just had to figure things out first.
    ======================================================
    You have an advantage over me: I've never decoded a message on an iPhone, therefore I'm going somewhat by guesswork as to what is involved: my IMPRESSION is: all the child has to do is press a button or series of buttons to get the device to decode the message for him/her.

    If so, is that REALLY what Steele et alia were doing? Pressing buttons? Or were they trying to:

    1) determine whether there was (potentially) a message in the Brokaw text? (Hofstadter's book can't tell them that)

    2) trying to determine which of the PARTIALLY retraced letter fit into the surface text of such a message? (Hofstadter's book can't tell them that: if you look on page 404 of the book the letters done heavy are done so IN THEIR ENTIRETY, so if someone was following the book, they took some liberties at the very least)

    3) trying to read that text from one direction or another? Possibly trying variants of same? (Hofstadtler's book can't tell them which way is correct)

    1) 2) AND 3) are all preliminary steps and ones that, if wrongly done, could give the jury TOTALLY SPURIOUS 'EVIDENCE'. And that's why 'amateur cryptoanalysts' aren't what courts are looking for when it comes to such a specialized field: they want RELIABLE evidence. Note that there are no analogues of 1) 2) and 3) in what the child is doing with the iPhone: for the child it's all or nothing at all. If the decoder isn't functioning either the text remains encoded or the decoding amounts to gibberish. Either way, the child knows something is 'wrong'. But there's no analogue to that in the 'amino acid code', no way for the would-be 'decoders' to know whether what they came up with is valid or a group-forged figment.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    There are additional steps which, if wrongly done, would ALSO give totally unreliable results vis-a-vis any connection to ANY suspect. But I'm going to omit them for now, since I've gone over them in the past.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. R. Rowley wrote: "And that's why 'amateur cryptoanalysts' aren't what courts are looking for when it comes to such a specialized field: they want RELIABLE evidence."

      You're misunderstanding things and spinning your misunderstandings to fit your beliefs.

      The courts look for evidence to prove or disprove a claim. Trials are about weighing evidence to prove or disprove a claim. In the Amerithrax case, breaking the code in the media letters would be evidence that goes to prove a claim. If a LAY witness broke a code, the evidence would be presented by the LAY witness. If an EXPERT witness broke a code, the evidence would be presented by the EXPERT witness. NO ONE IS GOING TO PREVENT VALID EVIDENCE FROM BEING PRESENTED IN COURT. IF THE CODE BREAKER IS A LAY PERSON, THE JURY WILL DECIDE WHETHER THE EVIDENCE IS BELIEVABLE OR NOT.

      You cannot have an amateur testify about the principles of code breaking, because that would be EXPERT witness testimony. It's about concepts and meanings.

      You CAN have an amateur testify about how HE personally broke a code that is relevant to the case. That is LAY witness testimony. It's what he personally did. It's not about concepts or meanings.

      Ed

      Delete
  49. So, on the question of the status of pre-sentencing hearings vis-a-vis due process in TRIALS, a partial description I found includes this:

    -----------------
    (partial) on Presentence investigation report (in Wiki)
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Controversy[edit]

    Presentence reports typically include copious amounts of hearsay that would not be permitted in court testimony. This practice has been criticized:[9]
    “ Generally, the state (or judge) seeks to rely on extremely subjective, hearsay-laden documents such as police reports and presentence reports as “evidence” that the defendant committed a “violent” crime. In other words, they attempt to “go behind” the prior conviction by looking at the alleged facts of the crime to determine whether the crime was “violent”. This practice violates due process. Moreover, this practice will inevitably lead to "ad hoc mini-trials" concerning prior offenses that have long since gone stale. ”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presentence_investigation_report

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Rowley,

      Your reasoning eludes me. The prosecutor's decoding of the secret message that Arias used to tamper with a witness has nothing to do with "hearsay." Plus, the secret message information decoded by the prosecutor was evidently provided to the court WITHOUT OBJECTION.

      According to the source you can read by clicking HERE:

      ---------
      New evidence in the Jodi Arias trial shows that she may have been trying to influence the testimony of her friend by slipping out coded messages while she was in jail for her ex-boyfriend's murder.

      The Phoenix courtroom was shown a picture of the bottom of a page of one of the magazines that she handed a visitor who it is thought was meant to pass it along to another person who was going to testify on Arias' behalf.

      The picture shows numbers written at the bottom of a page in her copy of Star Magazine, that were intended to match messages that she had written on the corresponding page numbers from the second magazine, Digital Photo Pro.
      ....

      The evidence is intended to show that she tried to manipulate one of the few people who could theoretically corroborate her story about being abused by Alexander.

      The date of the magazine incident and the interviews scheduled around that time point to the prospect of the recipient being her friend and former boyfriend Matt McCartney.

      When presented with the magazine codes on Thursday, Arias denied trying to sway McCartney.

      'You tried to get someone to lie at that hearing, didn't you?' prosecutor Juan Martinez said.

      'No, she responded.

      -----------

      No objections from the defense OR from the judge.

      NO CLAIMS that the prosecutor is not a cryptographer and therefore not qualified to decode such a message.


      Ed

      Delete
    2. Mr. Rowley,

      Your reasoning eludes me.
      ===============================================
      All I stated was that I thought that presentencing hearings may well have rules which diverge from those of a trial (and presumably a preliminary hearing). That has now been confirmed via the passage from Wiki I copy and pasted. I certainly didn't/don't expect to find a source that supplies every objection/attempted objection/other legal maneuver in the presentencing hearing of Jodi Arias: I did do a search for transcripts, but found nothing. And as I've mentioned numerous times (though in connection with TRIALS) an enormous amount of this stuff (what is admissible etc.) is hashed out 'in chambers', where no transcript is going to capture the arguments of both sides.
      --------
      So, let me return the compliment: your reasoning eludes me.

      But it SEEMS to go: because a lot of trial-inadmissible stuff is admitted without KNOWN (open court) protest in a presentencing hearing, that means that the Due Process rules governing expert testimony AT TRIALS are: null and void.

      Naturally, I don't think that's the case, nor do I think it follows logically: Due Process is concerned PRIMARILY with avoiding unfair treatment of and convictions of DEFENDANTS. By the time you get to a presentencing hearing. the defendant is: the condemned/convicted. Said another way, no evidence at such a hearing can unduly and unfairly influence the verdict.

      Delete
  50. R. Rowley wrote: If so, is that REALLY what Steele et alia were doing? Pressing buttons? Or were they trying to: [yada yada yada]

    FBI agent Steele wasn't trying to do ANY of your three suggestions.

    It was a known fact that, after an FBI search of their homes, guilty people often throw away critical evidence that the search failed to find. They do so out of fear that another search might find the evidence.

    Agent Steele was trying to figure out why, after a search of his home, Bruce Ivins threw away one of his favorite books and a science magazine that he'd kept for years.

    That is investigative work. Agent Steele is an FBI investigator.

    As it turned out, on page 404 the book showed an example of highlighting characters in one message to encode another "hidden message". It looked very much like the unexplained highlighted characters in the media letter. And, Agent Steele eventually figured out that the book also explained the entire code that Ivins had used to put the hidden message in the media letter.

    R. Rowley wrote: " if wrongly done, could give the jury TOTALLY SPURIOUS 'EVIDENCE'. And that's why 'amateur cryptoanalysts' aren't what courts are looking for when it comes to such a specialized field: they want RELIABLE evidence."

    But you are making a ridiculous personal interpretation of what was done in order to justify your own beliefs.

    You're arguing that, because a lay witness decoded a hidden message in a critical document instead of a certified cryptographer, the evidence should be IGNORED, regardless of whether it was correctly interpreted or not.

    But the law says that, as a lay witness, Agent Steele would testify to what he rationally perceived, AND that testimony would be helpful to determining the fact at issue in the trial: Ivins guilt or innocence.

    The jury would decide whether to believe him or not.

    Taken to an extreme, your belief says that if an FBI agent who was not a cryptographer had somehow decoded a message telling about plans for the upcoming attacks on 9/11, everyone should have ignored his rationally perceived findings because he was not qualified to make such an observation.

    You also need to look at your "rationally perceived" findings regarding the linguistics in the letters and ask yourself if YOU would be a lay witness or an "expert witness" when presenting such "evidence."

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. R. Rowley wrote: If so, is that REALLY what Steele et alia were doing? Pressing buttons? Or were they trying to: [yada yada yada]

      FBI agent Steele wasn't trying to do ANY of your three suggestions.
      ---------------------------------------------
      Then he/they wasn't (weren't) really even trying to do a decryption, for those are just the preliminary steps.

      Delete
    2. As it turned out, on page 404 the book showed an example of highlighting characters in one message to encode another "hidden message". It looked very much like the unexplained highlighted characters in the media letter
      ==============================================
      No it didn't: the letters highlighed on page 404 are highlighted in their ENTIRETY. None of the T's in the Brokaw text are. (And there are other 'partials' in the text) There's no explanation in the Amerithrax document how they determined which partially-highlighted characters counted as 'intended to be hightlighted' and there's nothing in Hofstadter's book that could tell them.

      Delete
    3. R. Rowley wrote: "Then he/they wasn't (weren't) really even trying to do a decryption, for those are just the preliminary steps."

      Correct. Agent Steele was just trying to figure out why Ivins threw away the book and magazine. The process of figuring that out resulted in doing a decryption.

      Columbus didn't start out to find America. But he found America. Does that mean his discovery was invalid?

      Many discoveries are made by accident while looking for something else. That doesn't mean they aren't valid discoveries.

      R. Rowley also wrote: "There's no explanation in the Amerithrax document how they determined which partially-highlighted characters counted as 'intended to be hightlighted' and there's nothing in Hofstadter's book that could tell them.

      So what? Agent Steele figured it out. The jury would decide whether or not they believe what he figured out. When viewed IN THEIR ENTIRETY, the FACTS say that Agent Steele figured it out correctly.

      When viewed under high-magnification, all the highlighted characters can be seen to be highlighted. Other characters which naysayers might claim are also highlighted can be seen to be just misinterpretations. All that is needed is a good enlarged image of the letters. Steele could see it, and the members of the jury would be able to see it, too. No unique abilities are required.

      Ed

      Delete
    4. When viewed under high-magnification, all the highlighted characters can be seen to be highlighted.
      -------------------------------------------------
      Is that fresh from the Tautology Department?
      --------------------------------------------
      Other characters which naysayers might claim are also highlighted can be seen to be just misinterpretations. All that is needed is a good enlarged image of the letters. Steele could see it, and the members of the jury would be able to see it, too.
      =========================================
      So, is there someone out there BESIDES ME who, after seeing the text's characters at high-magnification, has gone on record as saying that other letters have been at least partially retraced? Yes, there is.

      His 'testimony' is to be found here:
      http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/writing1.html

      His observation:
      "But the person who wrote the text of the letter did things very differently with the alphabetical character O. He not only completes ever single O, on all three O's in the text he went past the point were the circle would be complete and drew over part of the letter."

      I concur with this observer of yesteryear: the letter "O", is, in at least two instances, 'drawn over' or retraced.

      The observer's name? Mister Ed Lake.

      Delete
    5. R. Rowley wrote: "I concur with this observer of yesteryear: the letter "O", is, in at least two instances, 'drawn over' or retraced."

      You're playing word games again. The T's and A's were deliberately traced over, some numerous times. The small o's were partially drawn over because a six-year old child often lacks the hand-eye coordination needed to draw something as precise as a small o. It was NOT deliberate. Anyone looking at the handwriting can see that.

      Ed

      Delete
  51. You're arguing that, because a lay witness decoded a hidden message in a critical document instead of a certified cryptographer, the evidence should be IGNORED, regardless of whether it was correctly interpreted or not.
    ====================================================
    No, all they have to do is submit their work to a certified cryptoanalyst or cryptographer, who could then determine the RELIABILITY of the decryption. THAT'S what this all turns on: reliability. A true expert in that field is in a MUCH better position to evaluate the decryption than some (more or less) randomly-selected group of 12 jurors.

    Since the FBI has an office dedicated to such crypto work
    (see: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/scientific-analysis/crypt )
    what would have stopped them from having had that office evaluate the 'amino acid code'?


    And while we're on this subject, the FBI ALSO has an office dedicated to Questioned Documents/Handwriting comparisons
    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/forensic-science-communications/review/2009_10_review02.htm/
    Instead they cite in the AMERITHRAX INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY two unnamed "witnesses" (ie informants), neither of whom would have been able to testify due to the Rules of Evidence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. R. Rowley wrote: "No, all they have to do is submit their work to a certified cryptoanalyst or cryptographer, who could then determine the RELIABILITY of the decryption."

      That transfers responsibility that belongs to a judge and jury to a cryptographer. That's NOT how the law works. It's merely a fantasy of how you want things to work in order for you to have a valid argument.

      R. Rowley also wrote: "Instead they cite in the AMERITHRAX INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY two unnamed "witnesses" (ie informants), neither of whom would have been able to testify due to the Rules of Evidence."

      NONSENSE. The rules only say they would have to testify as LAY witnesses, not as EXPERT witnesses. Either way, the evidence WOULD be admitted. The jury would decide whether it is believable or not.

      Ed

      Delete
  52. Taken to an extreme, your belief says that if an FBI agent who was not a cryptographer had somehow decoded a message telling about plans for the upcoming attacks on 9/11, everyone should have ignored his rationally perceived findings because he was not qualified to make such an observation.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    No, I've been talking about TRIAL requirements (though I assume preliminary hearing requirements are more or less the same), and the situation you describe does not involve a trial, it involves the use of (potential) intelligence to prevent a crime/series of crimes.

    ReplyDelete
  53. You also need to look at your "rationally perceived" findings regarding the linguistics in the letters and ask yourself if YOU would be a lay witness or an "expert witness" when presenting such "evidence."
    -----------------------------------------------
    I would be a lay witness and for that reason my testimony would not be admissible. It (such testimony) would have to be entered by a Don Foster-type who has the credentials. After verifying its reliability.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. R. Rowley wrote: "I would be a lay witness and for that reason my testimony would not be admissible. It (such testimony) would have to be entered by a Don Foster-type who has the credentials. After verifying its reliability.

      So, in you fantasy world, you cannot testify in court about what you found. You (or somebody) would have to find some EXPERT who agrees with you, and that person would testify in court.

      You may not realize it, but you are talking about HIRING and "outside expert" to come into court and testify that he agrees with you. And the other side would almost certainly HIRE a different expert who would come into court to dispute what your expert says.

      Don't you remember the movie (and book) "Anatomy of a Murder"? Jimmy Stewart had to hire a psychiatrist to come in and testify about "irresistible impulse." And the prosecution hired a different psychiatrist who had better credentials to come in and dispute the argument about "irresistible impulse."

      In the Amerithrax case, there would be NO NEED to bring in any expert to testify to what Agent Steele found. His testimony would be that of a LAY witness testifying to what he found. If the DEFENSE wanted to do so, they could hire some expert to come in and dispute Steele's findings, but there would be no need to bring in some outside expert to verify Agent Steele's findings. The jury would decide if what he found was valid or not.

      Without the experts, the evidence stands as is, and the jury decides whether to believe it or not.

      Ed

      Delete
    2. R. Rowley wrote: "I would be a lay witness and for that reason my testimony would not be admissible. It (such testimony) would have to be entered by a Don Foster-type who has the credentials. After verifying its reliability.

      So, in you fantasy world, you cannot testify in court about what you found. You (or somebody) would have to find some EXPERT who agrees with you, and that person would testify in court.
      --------------------------------------------
      Why is that a 'fantasy'?!@? Don't fantasies generally center on being the object of attention and the 'man of the hour'? I'm just being consistent: my credentials in linguistics are probably a TAD better than Steele's in crypto-stuff (since the latter seem to be non-existent!) but that DOESN'T mean they would be good enough for open court testimony on the Amerithrax texts (plus the attorneys like to wow the juries with HIGHLY-credentialed experts).

      Delete
    3. R. Rowley wrote: "Why is that a 'fantasy'?!"

      Because that's NOT the way the legal system works. If you are not a key expert witness NOR an investigator on the case, and if you do not have some relevant testimony based upon a direct involvement with the case, who gives a damn about your personal theory?

      What reason is there for you to testify?

      Do you think because you emailed a neat idea about linguistics to the FBI, they're going to call as a witness? No, they wouldn't. If it was a good idea, someone in the FBI would have to agree with it, and if he checked it out and agreed, HE would testify, not you. Your participation would have no meaning or relevance in court and would be just a waste of time.

      Furthermore, if you are a lay witness testifying ONLY about a personal theory about linguistics, and then Don Foster has to come in as an "expert witness" to testify that he believes your theory, why would you need to testify in the first place? Just to get credit for coming up with the idea?

      Your fantasy is a fantasy because it has nothing to do with the real world. PERSONAL fantasies might "center on being the center of attention, but no one said anything about personal fantasies prior to you suggesting that your idea might make you a hero in court.

      Ed

      Delete
    4. R. Rowley wrote: "Why is that a 'fantasy'?!"

      Because that's NOT the way the legal system works. If you are not a key expert witness NOR an investigator on the case, and if you do not have some relevant testimony based upon a direct involvement with the case, who gives a damn about your personal theory?
      ==============================================
      As things stand now, no one. But things have a way of changing. Remember the Dreyfuss Affair? He was a live
      CONVICTED scapegoat, Ivins was only convicted in the court of public opinion. Public opinion, by its very nature, is changeable. That there's so much non-admissible evidence in the AMERITHRAX INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY would be obvious to anyone who read it with an open mind and some knowledge of the Rules of Evidence, Due Process etc. Long term, that may count for something.


      ---------------------------------
      What reason is there for you to testify?
      ---------------------------------
      You're the one who put me on the witness stand upthread:
      -------------------------
      (partial)
      "ask yourself if YOU would be a lay witness or an "expert witness" when presenting such "evidence."
      ----------------------------------------
      So, I asked myself here. Aloud. Then you take me to task for it.

      'We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.'

      Delete
    5. R. Rowley wrote: "You're the one who put me on the witness stand "

      I regret allowing you to get me into a side discussion that has nothing to do with the Amerithrax case.

      I'll try to avoid allowing you to do that in the future.

      Ed

      Delete
  54. There were 9 messages from Mr. Rowley in the moderator's queue this morning. They almost all relate to the same misinterpretation Mr. Rowley makes of rules 701 and 702 of the Rules of Evidence.

    So, just to make sure my explanation of Mr. Rowley's misunderstanding isn't lost in a blur of posts and responses, here it is again:

    Agent Steele was NOT a cryptographer, so he would testify as a LAY witness to how he broke the code. Rule 701-C says he MUST testify as a LAY witness because what he did was "not based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge within the scope of Section 702."

    If Agent Steel WAS a cryptographer, then he would testify as an EXPERT witness under Section 702.

    Agent Steele CAN testify to what he found. PERIOD. The only question is whether he would testify as a LAY witness or as an EXPERT. Rule 701-C says he would testify as a LAY witness because he was NOT a crypotgrapher.

    HE CANNOT BE BARRED FROM TESTIFYING TO WHAT HE FOUND. THAT WOULD BE ABSURD AND A MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE.


    Mr. Rowley argues that Agent Steele cannot testify as a LAY witness to breaking the code because he MISINTERPRETS Rule 701-C as saying that ONLY EXPERTS can testify about such things. Rule 701-C doesn't say that. It says that because Agent Steele is NOT a professional cryptographer he MUST testify to what he found as a LAY WITNESS, not as an expert witness.

    Mr. Rowley says that an outside expert must be brought in to verify what Agent Steele found. That is something he simply made up. The rules say nothing like that.

    If Agent Steele discovered a hidden message that is relevant to the case, the rules only explain whether he must testify as a LAY witness or as an EXPERT witness. There is nothing in the rules that says he cannot testify AT ALL because he's not an expert. That would be preposterous and a miscarriage of justice.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Rowley says that an outside expert must be brought in to verify what Agent Steele found. That is something he simply made up. The rules say nothing like that.
      =========================================
      If not, then imagine Steele IS allowed to testify:

      Defense cross-examination (after preliminaries): So, you have had no training in the military related to cryptoanalysis or related fields, no training in the civilian world related to those fields, have had no specialized training as an FBI agent in those fields, and this "amino acid code" is your very first 'decryption' in a criminal case, is that right?

      Steele: Yes.

      Defense: Since you lack all background in the field in question, how could you possibly know whether what you came up with has any validity whatsoever?

      Steele: Uh, cause other Task Force people agreed with me!

      Defense: And did ANY of them have the requisite background in cryptoanalysis or cryptography?

      Steele: Not that I know of. We just went by Hofstadter's book. (Shrugs shoulder)
      ------------------------------------------------
      Actually, it's possible-------I'm no lawyer--------that this testimony could have been elicited via deposition, and that the deposition testimony ITSELF could have indicated to the court that the 'amino acid code' lacked the scientific rigor and trustworthiness that would be necessary to establish its validity and therefore to place it before a jury.

      But basically I don't think the prosecution would have even attempted to use it as evidence: Maryland is thick with retired NSA cryptoanalysts and one or more such true experts in the field, acting as defense witnesses would have destroyed 'the code' and with it a lot of the prosecution's credibility.

      The risk, in my judgement, would not have been worth it.

      Delete
    2. R. Rowley wrote: "But basically I don't think the prosecution would have even attempted to use it as evidence: Maryland is thick with retired NSA cryptoanalysts and one or more such true experts in the field, acting as defense witnesses would have destroyed 'the code' and with it a lot of the prosecution's credibility.

      The risk, in my judgement, would not have been worth it."


      You judgment is nothing but a BIASED opinion based upon the fact that you have a different theory, therefore you simply dismiss the DOJ's case without even trying to understand it. It's a judgement based upon IGNORANCE.

      And HOW would these imagined outside experts used as "defense witnesses" have "destroyed" the code? Making preposterous claims doesn't do any good toward your own credibility.

      The Amerithrax Investigation Summary included the coded message as part of the evidence against Ivins. It's a KEY piece of evidence, since it appears to establish a DIRECT connection between Ivins and the first anthrax letters. (The decoded message refers to his two assistants.)

      The idea that the DOJ wouldn't have used it in court is just one of your more ridiculous fantasies.

      You have a personal theory about linguistics that is DESTROYED by the FBI's evidence that Ivins put a hidden message in the media letters. So, you argue that the FBI and DOJ are just making it all up and that outside experts can somehow destroy the prosecution's evidence. But anyone who cares to look at the evidence and study all the facts will see that it is almost "smoking gun" evidence of Ivins' guilt. The prosecutors would make certain that the jury fully understood that.

      Ed

      Delete
    3. And HOW would these imagined outside experts used as "defense witnesses" have "destroyed" the code?
      ===========================================
      By showing, in a step by step fashion, that the decryption:

      1) failed to establish a criterion for determining what percentage of the 'stroke space' had to be retraced for a given letter to count as part of any secret message or code (which partly retraced letters to count as 'highlighted')

      2) zeroed in EXCLUSIVELY on T's and A's because the
      Task Force had a PRECONCEIVED notion that it was a code based on nucleotide bases*, rather than letting the 'stroke space' criterion/ia determine whether it might be a code or hidden message of another sort.

      3) failed to follow any known cryptological principle in equating co-solution 'FNY' with 'F[bleep]NY', when there are many other possibilities even there (the 'end' of the decryption): numerous place-names in New York State that start with the letter 'F'; organizations that bear the initials FNY; individuals whose initials break out as FNY etc.

      4) failed to follow any known cryptological principle in equating co-solution 'PAT' with a co-worker/acquaintancece of Ivins at USAMRIID. There are literally tens of thousands of persons in the US whose name or nickname is 'PAT' including Pat(rick) Leahy, the US Senator who was one of the Amerithrax addressees. To pick an acquaintance of Ivins' for that last part of the decryption just isn't justified by cryptology: it's allowing the cryptoanalysis be contaminated by outside hypotheses which are cryptologically untestable.



      *And thus only C, G, A, and T would be seriously considered as 'highlighted'. ANY other highlighted letters would make such an amino acid code impossible on general principles.

      Delete
    4. R. Rowley answered my question "And HOW would these imagined outside experts used as "defense witnesses" have "destroyed" the code?" by posting this:

      "By showing, in a step by step fashion, that the decryption:

      1) failed to establish a criterion for determining what percentage of the 'stroke space' had to be retraced for a given letter to count as part of any secret message"


      That's hilarious!!!! Now you're making up rules for how to decode a message?! Why on earth would anyone follow your rules?!!

      R. Rowley continued: "zeroed in EXCLUSIVELY on T's and A's because the Task Force had a PRECONCEIVED notion that it was a code based on nucleotide bases"

      And you believe you're a MIND READER, too?!

      R. Rowley continued: "failed to follow any known cryptological principle in equating co-solution 'FNY' with 'F[bleep]NY', when there are many other possibilities even there (the 'end' of the decryption): numerous place-names in New York State that start with the letter 'F'"

      Don't you understand that, while everyone realizes that there are "other possibilities," the important point is that ONE of the "possibilities" fits to Dr. Ivins perfectly?

      And the same applies to Mr. Rowley's argument about the decoded word "PAT." While everyone realizes that there are "other possibilities," the important point is that ONE of the "possibilities" fits to Dr. Ivins perfectly.

      All you are doing is ONCE AGAIN showing that you do not understand circumstantial evidence. It doesn't make any difference that there are "other possibilities." Such evidence is NOT viewed by itself. It is viewed TOGETHER with all the other evidence against Dr. Ivins. And when viewed together with all the other evidence, it becomes EXTREMELY unlikely that any of the "other possibilities" is the correct solution.

      You do not understand circumstantial evidence.

      You misunderstand the rules of evidence.

      You repeatedly inject your personal beliefs into the discussion because you have no facts support your arguments.

      You display unwarranted BIAS for your theory and against the FBI's evidence and use feigned mind reading to claim you KNOW what everyone in the DOJ was thinking.

      You show that you do not even understand the FBI's evidence and appear to be unaware of most of it.

      In summary, your theory is based upon personal BELIEFS, and you display both an ignorance of the law AND an ignorance of the actual facts of the case.

      You have no meaningful arguments against the DOJ's case OR for your own theory.

      Ed

      Delete
    5. Mr. Rowley,

      Many of your misconceptions seem to stem from a basic misunderstanding of circumstantial evidence. You keep stating the same misunderstandings over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

      I created a new message at the bottom of this thread which goes into great detail about how circumstantial evidence works in court. Click HERE to go directly to the message about circumstantial evidence.

      If there's anything you do not understand, I'd be glad to try to explain it.

      Ed

      Delete
    6. 1) failed to establish a criterion for determining what percentage of the 'stroke space' had to be retraced for a given letter to count as part of any secret message"

      That's hilarious!!!! Now you're making up rules for how to decode a message?! Why on earth would anyone follow your rules?!!
      ================================================
      What's hilarious?!?!? If each and every 'highlighted' letter in the Brokaw text were highlighted 100%, (as is the case on page 404 of Hofstadter's book), then the would-be decryptor couldn't possibly err (ie do something in the first instance that would throw off, and throw off COMPLETELY the decryption.....actually throw off even the POSSIBILITY of a correct decryption...if there were such a message).

      But that is NOT THE CASE. Just look at the Brokaw text:
      http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/detect/antdetect_letters_a4a.htm

      Clearly, except for three instances of the letter A, all the (potential, let's say) candidates for inclusion in the decryption are, in some way or another, only partially highlighted/retraced.

      Once you realize that, you (the decryptor) have really only two possibilities:

      1)only count the 3 A's, in which case the (surface) text is: AAA.

      or:

      2) establish a criterion or criteria (based on highlighted stroke-space as a percentage of the letter's
      TOTAL stroke space and/or based on a (probably more subjective) evaluation of the HEAVINESS of the retracing of each candidate).

      Logically, there are no other alternatives, IF one is sincerely trying to decrypt any possible message to be found in highlighted letters.

      My reading of the end-of-investigation document's pages 58 to 64 is: the 'decryptors' did neither.

      The whole 'decryption' is eyewash. And inadmissible eyewash at that.

      Delete
    7. R. Rowley wrote: "If each and every 'highlighted' letter in the Brokaw text were highlighted 100%, (as is the case on page 404 of Hofstadter's book), then the would-be decryptor couldn't possibly err"

      You should read my book "A Crime Unlike Any Other." It explains in detail the MANY problems with doing as you suggest.

      If every character in the code were highlighted the way you suggest, THEN EVERYONE IN THE WORLD WOULD REALIZE IT MUST BE A CODE AND WOULD TRY TO DECIPHER IT.

      Just think of what would have happened then:

      1. People would quickly realize that the code came from the book Godel, Escher, Bach.

      2. People would quickly realize that the code involved 3-letter codons, meaning the encoder MUST be a scientist who has read Godel, Escher, Bach.

      3. Then they'd realize that "FNY" and "PAT" must have some meaning to the scientist who sent the letter.

      4. Encoding "PAT" and "FNY" into the media letter does not seem like something a Muslim terrorist would do, so the coded message would strongly indicate that the anthrax letter was NOT sent by Muslim terrorists.

      5. Since the FBI was focused on American scientists anyway, they'd be questioning everyone at USAMRIID to see what they might think of those two decoded items.

      6. The FBI could learn that Ivins once loaned a copy of Godel, Escher, Bach to PAT Fellows.

      7. Nancy Haigwood was the person who first recommended Godel, Escher, Bach to Ivins. She had already named Ivins to the FBI as possibly being the anthrax mailer. She would certainly also tell the FBI that Ivins was a fan of the book Godel, Escher, Bach AND had a great interest in codes.

      8. Lots of other people also knew that Ivins had a passion for codes, and sometimes he would send out coded messages to people.

      Ivins knew all this, so he could NOT make it obvious that there was a hidden message within the media letter, since it could very quickly make him a suspect.

      In my book, I explain all the facts which indicate that Ivins probably wrote the coded letter more than a YEAR before the attacks. He evidently planned to use it in conjunction with the NITRATE BOMB he was thinking about using to cause panic, then using a letter to tell the authorities that "THIS IS NEXT" - meaning an anthrax attack would be coming next.

      But, one of the reasons he didn't go ahead with the bomb plot MAY have been because he couldn't figure out how to encode the hidden message into the letter without making it OBVIOUS that the letter contained a hidden message.

      Then, a few weeks before 9/11, he figured out how to do it.

      R. Rowley also wrote: "The whole 'decryption' is eyewash. And inadmissible eyewash at that."

      It's only "eyewash" because you seem to be nearly TOTALLY IGNORANT of the facts of the case. And if you think it's "inadmissible" as evidence, then you are DEFINITELY TOTALLY IGNORANT of what qualifies as evidence.

      Ed

      Delete
  55. Because it took so long for me to realize that Mr. Rowley was misinterpreting Rules of Evidence - particularly rule 701-C - I've been wondering what else Mr. Rowley is misinterpreting.

    It seems clear that he also misunderstands how a lay witness would be vetted before taking the stand. He seems to believe that if his interpretation of Rule 701-C is not correct, then any Joe Blow can walk in off the street and into a courtroom, take the stand and testify to whatever he believes about anything.

    In the case of FBI Agent Steele, a lot of vetting would go on before he takes the stand.

    1. When he made his discovery, he would undoubtedly have discussed it with other agents and with the head of the Amerithrax task force. If they didn't see what he was talking about, they would challenge it and look for other explanations. They might also notice things that Steele didn't notice.

    2. Once that vetting process was complete and it was agreed by the head of the task force that it was good evidence to take into court to prove Ivins was guilty, they would go to the Assistant US Attorney (AUSA) who would be trying the case in court. The AUSA would listen and challenge anything she didn't clearly understand. If she decided it was good evidence, then she would start working on how she would present it in court.

    (BTW, in one of his posts yesterday (click HERE), DXer (a.k.a. "Anonymous") wrote: "The AUSAs Ken and Rachel reported directly to FBI Director Mueller." That's another ridiculous belief. The US Attorney's office and the FBI are separate but equal entities. AUSA's do NOT report to the FBI Director. Never did. Never will.)

    3. Prior to going to court, all the issues of whether Agent Steele would be testifying as a lay witness or as an expert witness would be ironed out during discovery. If he was testifying as an expert witness, the defense would then start looking for an expert witness to dispute his findings. If he was testifying as a lay witness, the defense would then start planning ways to make sure the jury doesn't fully believe him.

    4. In the pre-trial hearings, the judge would review the witness list and what types of witnesses were going to be called. If he saw that an FBI agent was testifying as both a lay witness AND as an expert witness, he might question how that was going to be made clear to the jury, but otherwise he'd have no reason to comment.

    5. When Agent Steele took the stand, the prosecutor would make sure the jury understood that he was testifying about his code-breaking findings as a LAY witness, not as an "expert witness" who was an authority on code-breaking.

    There's no way some person who just has an opinion can get through that vetting process.

    Since the word "vetting" may not be in Mr. Rowley's dictionary, the term means "to evaluate for possible approval or acceptance." SOURCE 1 SOURCE 2

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's no way some person who just has an opinion can get through that vetting process.
      ---------------------------------------
      That's why, among other reasons, Steele would never have taken the stand (to talk about an 'amino acid code').

      That PAT= some (ex?)colleague of Ivins is merely opinion, plain and simple.

      That FNY=F[bleep] New York is merely opinion.

      And without those two opinion-based elements, the 'code' is worthless as a skein of evidence in any notional prosecution of Bruce Ivins.

      Delete
    2. R. Rowley wrote: "And without those two opinion-based elements, the 'code' is worthless"

      All you are doing is showing your TOTAL IGNORANCE of what constitutes evidence and how evidence is presented in court.

      -----------
      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.

      http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_701
      -------------

      That's what lay witnesses to: they testify to their observations and opinions.

      How can that be news to you?

      Ed

      Delete
    3. (c) not based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge within the scope of Rule 702.
      http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_701
      -------------

      That's what lay witnesses to: they testify to their observations and opinions.

      How can that be news to you?
      =================================
      No, you are once again not understanding what you are reading: part c of 701 EXCLUDES Steele and any other Task Force crypto-amateur(s) from testifying on a decryption because DECRYPTIONS ARE INHERENTLY BASED ON "scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge". That specialized knowledge is the field(s) of: cryptoanalysis/cryptography.

      (But I know from experience with you that you won't believe me, so you need to ask someone YOU TRUST and who has a more intimate knowledge of the law. Good luck!)

      Delete
    4. R. Rowley wrote: "701 EXCLUDES Steele and any other Task Force crypto-amateur(s) from testifying on a decryption because DECRYPTIONS ARE INHERENTLY BASED ON "scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge"."

      That is your MISTAKEN BELIEF, which has nothing to do with reality.

      Rule 701-C doesn't mention the word "EXCLUDE," that's your invention.

      Rule 701 basically says that people are "lay witnesses" unless they are qualified and testifying as "expert witnesses." NO ONE IS EXCLUDED. The idea that some rule can automatically exclude people with important testimony is preposterous.

      This web site: http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_701 specifically addresses your nonsense interpretations in the comments at the bottom of the page. And there are probably other web sites that do so, too.

      Here are some passages from that site:

      most courts have permitted the owner or officer of a business to testify to the value or projected profits of the business, without the necessity of qualifying the witness as an accountant, appraiser, or similar expert.

      Such opinion testimony is admitted not because of experience, training or specialized knowledge within the realm of an expert, but because of the particularized knowledge that the witness has by virtue of his or her position in the business. ... Similarly, courts have permitted lay witnesses to testify that a substance appeared to be a narcotic, so long as a foundation of familiarity with the substance is established.


      Another passage:

      (two lay witnesses who were heavy amphetamine users were properly permitted to testify that a substance was amphetamine; but it was error to permit another witness to make such an identification where she had no experience with amphetamines). Such testimony is not based on specialized knowledge within the scope of Rule 702, but rather is based upon a layperson's personal knowledge. If, however, that witness were to describe how a narcotic was manufactured, or to describe the intricate workings of a narcotic distribution network, then the witness would have to qualify as an expert under Rule 702.

      I suggest creating a separate thread where ONLY this subject can be discussed. And, we can then do research to find supporting "evidence" for each point of view.

      I suspect, however, if I show you a hundred situations where a non-expert testified on some matter where there are experts, you will see no connection between those arguments and the Amerithrax case UNLESS it is specifically about an FBI agent decoding a message and then testifying as a lay witness. I doubt that there are many cases like that on-line.

      Ed

      Delete
    5. Mr. Rowley,

      I just read more from this web site: http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_701

      I noticed that they are proposing an amendment which proves my argument. They are trying to block people who are really expert witnesses from avoiding the expert witness vetting requirements by simply testifying as lay witnesses.

      That basically says anyone can be a lay witness, but only certain people can qualify as expert witnesses.

      Here's the actual wording:

      Rule 701 has been amended to eliminate the risk that the reliability requirements set forth in Rule 702 will be evaded through the simple expedient of proffering an expert in lay witness clothing. Under the amendment, a witness’ testimony must be scrutinized under the rules regulating expert opinion to the extent that the witness is providing testimony based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge within the scope of Rule 702. ... By channeling testimony that is actually expert testimony to Rule 702, the amendment also ensures that a party will not evade the expert witness disclosure requirements set forth in Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 and Fed.R.Crim.P. 16 by simply calling an expert witness in the guise of a layperson.

      In other words, an expert witness who isn't qualified as an expert witness cannot be allowed to testify as a lay witness where there ARE NO SUCH REQUIREMENTS.

      Ed

      Delete
    6. R. Rowley wrote: "701 EXCLUDES Steele and any other Task Force crypto-amateur(s) from testifying on a decryption because DECRYPTIONS ARE INHERENTLY BASED ON "scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge"."

      That is your MISTAKEN BELIEF, which has nothing to do with reality.
      ============================================
      No, it's not. But prove me wrong: ask an attorney, preferably one you don't have a 'history' with!

      Delete
    7. R. Rowley wrote: "But prove me wrong: ask an attorney, preferably one you don't have a 'history' with!"

      I PROVED you wrong by looking at the text that follows the explanation of Rule 701. I explained it in the message above yours. Click HERE. That text says in part,

      "Rule 701 has been amended to eliminate the risk that the reliability requirements set forth in Rule 702 will be evaded through the simple expedient of proffering an expert in lay witness clothing."

      In other words, people cannot avoid meeting the "reliability requirements" for an expert witness by simply having him testify as a lay witness where there are no such reliability requirements.

      I can do further research into rule 701-C to show why it was added.

      I tried asking an on-line lawyer, but the site I checked wanted $44 for an answer.

      Before asking any lawyer, I think we need to agree on exactly what the question would be. As I see it, no matter what I ask, you will undoubtedly just become argumentative and distort the answer in some way to claim that it doesn't really answer the question.

      You clearly do not care what the facts say, you're going to believe what you want to believe. If you were concerned with the facts, you would already see that your argument is ridiculous when you claim that Agent Steele could not testify as a lay witness to how he decoded the hidden message in the media letter.

      Ed

      Delete
    8. In other words, people cannot avoid meeting the "reliability requirements" for an expert witness by simply having him testify as a lay witness where there are no such reliability requirements.
      ===========================================
      This is what's wrong: you use you OWN PERSONAL UNDERSTANDINGS as 'confirmation' of things where you were going out on a limb about to begin with. I don't agree with your analysis here, but will have to do more research by (?early?) next week to make sure I understand the full dimensions of the problem. For us laymen figuring out this legal stuff, even WITH online resources, is a lot like deciphering or decoding something. Haste makes.....amino acid codes...

      Delete
    9. R. Rowley wrote: "This is what's wrong: you use you OWN PERSONAL UNDERSTANDINGS as 'confirmation' of things where you were going out on a limb about to begin with."

      And you use YOUR own personal understandings as "confirmation" of things that are totally ridiculous.

      It's hard to find a legal document that doesn't require some interpretation and understanding.

      As you say, there is a lot of legalese involved. I've been researching the matter, and there is NO DOUBT that Agent Steele would have been allowed to testify as a lay witness to decoding the hidden message in the media letters.

      The only problem is finding a legal explanation that you cannot twist or distort. I'm finding lots of documents that explain the reason for the 2000 amendment which added rule 701-C, and they are all about lawyers having EXPERTS testify as lay witnesses.

      Your argument was that 701-C prevented a lay witness testifying about something for which he is not a certified EXPERT. That understanding is TOTALLY WRONG.

      That is what lay witnesses do: They testify about things for which they are NOT certified experts.

      Section C was added to Rule 701 to prevent lawyers from using "experts" as lay witnesses when the "expert" HAS all the necessary qualifications to BE an "expert," but the lawyer didn't want the other side to question the "expert" during Discovery. If he's an "expert," he should testify AS an "expert," and the other side should have the opportunity to hear exactly what the expert is going to say BEFORE the trial - during Discovery, so they an prepare by finding their own experts.

      Ed

      Delete
  56. Mr. Rowley, if you click HERE you will find the source for this explanation of "Circumstantial Evidence":

    -----------
    CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

    Circumstantial evidence is evidence of facts from which inferences or can be drawn.

    For example, in an assault case where the crime took place on O'Connell Street at 6.15pm, you may give evidence that you saw the accused walking down O'Connell Street at 6pm. In that situation, you are giving circumstantial evidence to the court.

    Inferences or conclusions may be drawn from the fact that the accused was on O'Connell Street at 6pm, but you have not given evidence as to the actual fact at issue in the case - whether the accused attacked a person.

    In a case of a theft, examples of circumstantial evidence include:

    Evidence of the defendant's fingerprints at the scene of the crime
    The fact that the defendant was found with a large amount of money without being able to give any reason

    In the case of a murder, examples of circumstantial evidence include:

    The fact that the accused had an intense dislike of the victim
    The fact that the accused behaved in a bizarre and suspicious way after the offence
    The fact that he or she lied about his or her alibi
    The fact that he or she was in the area at the time that the offence was committed
    The fact that the defendant's blood or DNA corresponds to blood or DNA found on the victim's body.

    RULES

    The general rule is that circumstantial evidence is admissible. However, the courts are careful when the only evidence in a case is circumstantial evidence.

    Circumstantial evidence must be closely examined and it must be looked at cumulatively. In other words, a court would be very slow to convict a defendant on the basis of one piece of circumstantial evidence alone, for example, the fact that his or her fingerprints were found at the scene of the crime.

    However, if there are a number of different strands of circumstantial evidence, taken together, they have more weight. For example, in a theft case, if the defendant was seen in the area at the time of the theft, his or her fingerprints were found at the scene of the crime and if he or she was later found with a large sum of money that he or she could not explain, then the court would be more likely to convict the accused.
    --------

    Click HERE for another explanation.

    Click HERE for another explanation.

    Click HERE for another explanation.

    And click HERE for the source of this simple explanation of circumstantial evidence:

    You look out the window before you go to bed and there is no snow on the ground.

    You get up in the morning and look out the window. There is snow on the ground.

    You think "it snowed while I was asleep." That conclusion is based on circumstantial evidence because you never saw it snow.

    Circumstantial evidence is perfectly allowable evidence in a court of law and a jury is allowed to consider circumstantial evidence put before them and decide if it is valid or not.

    Sometimes a jury says, yes that's valid circumstantial evidence and sometimes they reject it.


    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  57. Here's a good and current (very rough) equivalent to the "amino acid code" as a skein of (proposed) evidence, one that was to be presented by an expert witness: (partial)
    ----------------------------------------
    SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — The judge in the murder trial of George Zimmerman said Saturday that prosecution audio experts who point to Trayvon Martin as screaming on a 911 call moments before he was killed won't be allowed to testify at trial.

    Judge Debra Nelson reached her decision after hearing arguments that stretched over several days this month on whether to allow testimony from two prosecution experts. One expert ruled out Zimmerman as the screamer and another said it was Martin. Defense experts argued there was not enough audio to determine who the screams are coming from. Zimmerman's attorneys also argued that the state experts' analysis is flawed.

    Nelson ruled that the methods used by the experts aren't reliable. But her ruling doesn't prevent the 911 calls from being played at trial.

    The screams are crucial pieces of evidence because they could determine who the aggressor was in the confrontation. Martin's family contends it was the teen screaming, while Zimmerman's father has said it was his son.
    ===================================================
    Now according to Mister Lake (ie if he were being consistent across cases), the prosecution, stymied at presenting this expert testimony on the screams, could then turn around and ask any law enforcement official who ever heard the tape, whether, in HIS OPINION, the scream was that of a 17 year old or that of a 28 year old. And Mister Lake would say that it was then up to the jury to decide whether they 'believed' the witness. I say that the same strictures that apply to the (true) expert also apply to the non-expert when he is asked about things which NORMALLY (ie outside of court) would require (at the very least!) an expert witness.
    So in the analogy:

    Agent Steele=any law enforcement official who heard the tape
    cryptology expert=audio expert
    ------------------------------------
    IMHO, both non-experts (laymen in the fields) are excluded because
    to allow them to testify would mean allowing non-experts to testify on highly technical matters for which they have no background.
    And note that in the Zimmerman case, it all turns on the RELIABILITY of the testimony. It's determined here by the judge, not the jury (who will never hear that testimony).

    http://news.yahoo.com/judge-no-audio-testimony-zimmerman-trial-140933201.html

    ReplyDelete
  58. Continuation of news item about Zimmerman trial and audio experts:


    Audio experts from both sides testified at different times during the hearing, which stretched over three weeks. Voice experts were hired by lawyers and news organizations to analyze the calls, which were made during the confrontation between the two. The experts arrived at mixed conclusions.

    In deciding whether to admit the voice-recognition technology used by prosecution audio experts Tom Owen and Alan Reich, Nelson had to determine whether it is too novel or whether it has been accepted by the scientific community at-large.

    "There is no evidence to establish that their scientific techniques have been tested and found reliable," the judge said in her ruling.

    Owen was hired by the Orlando Sentinel last year to compare a voice sample of Zimmerman with screams for help captured on 911 calls made by neighbors. He said Zimmerman's voice doesn't match the screams. He only compared Zimmerman's voice to the 911 calls because he didn't have a voice sample for Martin at the time.
    "The screams don't match at all," Owen testified during the hearing. "That's what tells me the screams aren't George Zimmerman."

    Owen also testified that remarks Zimmerman made in a conversation with a police dispatcher aren't a racial slur. He testified Zimmerman said, "These f------ punks."
    Reich testified in a report for prosecutors that the screams on the 911 tapes were from Martin, and the defense does not want him to testify at trial.

    Reich's analysis also picked up words that other experts couldn't find. They include the words, "This shall be" from Zimmerman and "I'm begging you" from Martin.

    Reich's testimony would "confuse issues, mislead the jury," the judge said.

    In contrast, a British audio expert testified for the defense that it would be extremely difficult to analyze voices by comparing screaming to a normal voice.

    "I've never come across a case in my 13 years where anybody's tried to compare screaming to a normal voice," said audio expert Peter French.

    A second audio expert for the defense, George Doddington, also criticized prosecution experts who said Friday that screams and pleas on a 911 recording likely belonged to Martin.
    "It's all ridiculous," Doddington said.
    http://news.yahoo.com/judge-no-audio-testimony-zimmerman-trial-140933201.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Rowley,

      While writing my "Sunday comment" for my web site, I realized something significant about how our debate relates to the Treyvon Martin case.

      I found an NBC News article HERE that says,

      In a written order filed to county court this morning, Judge Debra Nelson called methodologies used by forensic voice analysts seeking to determine who is screaming during the call "not reliable."

      And

      In her ruling today, Judge Nelson said there is "no competent evidence that the scientific techniques used by Dr. Owen and Dr. Reich are generally accepted in the scientific field."

      And

      However, Nelson said the recording itself can be played at trial -- and left the door open for family and others who knew Zimmerman or Martin to testify about it."

      So, while EXPERTS will not be allowed to testify to whose voice they think is on the tape, LAY witnesses who KNEW Zimmerman and Martin CAN testify to whose voice they think is heard on the tape.

      In other words, lay witnesses can give OPINION testimony in an technical area where experts exist, but the experts CANNOT give testimony because their SCIENTIFIC TECHNIQUES are not sufficiently reliable.

      That makes perfect sense to me. But, I imagine it is totally incomprehensible to you because of your serious misunderstanding of the Rules of Evidence.

      Ed

      Delete
    2. In other words, lay witnesses can give OPINION testimony in an technical area where experts exist, but the experts CANNOT give testimony because their SCIENTIFIC TECHNIQUES are not sufficiently reliable.
      =============================================
      Strange to say, we agree on the SUBSTANCE of things here, but not on the wording.

      Hearing and/or recognizing a loved one's voice is NOT 'a highly technical field' even when that recognition takes place via a tape recording. Therefore neither Martin's parents, nor Zimmerman's parents, if allowed to testify about the screams, would be rendering 'expert testimony' in the sense that courts use that term.

      The 'audio experts' whose testimony was excluded were persons who didn't know either Zimmerman or Martin. Their findings (and non-expert opinion never really even uses the word "finding(s)") were to be based entirely on equipment which would evaluate certain acoustic (and other?) qualities of the screams in question. No personal (acoustic) recognition whatsoever.

      So, what makes it 'expert testimony' is the methodology used, not the nameplate on the (would-be)witness bearing the label "expert". If a close friend or relative of the
      'audio expert' were involved in such a violent encounter,
      and the screams recorded a la Zimmerman/Martin, the 'audio expert' could probably testify as a 'lay witness', as his testimony would be based on personal recognition/non-recognition of the friend/relative's voice, not his (the expert's) instrumentation and its findings.

      I think that Mister Lake and I further agree that the relatives would, on the whole, be better placed in this than ANY expert because they have heard their loved one's voice in a myriad of emotional circumstances.....

      Delete
    3. R. Rowley wrote: "So, what makes it 'expert testimony' is the methodology used,"

      NOT SO. What makes it "expert testimony" is that the witnesses are recognized experts in their field, formally studied to become experts, AND are testifying to facts based upon that expertise.

      Here's what the experts HERE say about the meaning of the amendment that added clause C to rule 701:

      The effect of this change is that if testimony COULD qualify under 702, then it CANNOT qualify under 701. The focus of the amendment is on the subject matter of the testimony, rather than whether the witness is a layperson or an expert.

      There wouldn't be any kind of situation similar to the Amerithrax case here. But, if some hypothetical lay witness in the Zimmerman trial was NOT a certified expert and COULD NOT qualify under Rule 702, but he or she nevertheless has compelling scientific evidence that it was Zimmerman's voice on the tape, then he or she CAN qualify under Rule 701.

      R. Rowley also wrote: "I think that Mister Lake and I further agree that the relatives would, on the whole, be better placed in this than ANY expert .."

      And I think that Mr. Rowley will once again fail to see that an experienced FBI agent and microbiologist intimately familiar with DNA coding, Bruce Ivins AND the contents of Godel, Escher, Bach would, on the whole, be better placed in decoding the hidden message in the media letter than ANY cryptography expert working from scratch.

      Ed

      Delete
    4. And I think that Mr. Rowley will once again fail to see that an experienced FBI agent and microbiologist intimately familiar with DNA coding, Bruce Ivins AND the contents of Godel, Escher, Bach would, on the whole, be better placed in decoding the hidden message in the media letter than ANY cryptography expert working from scratch.
      ============================================
      Since it eluded Steele and the Task Force for years that Ivins was probably using Hofstadter's book to DECODE what Ivins himself thought MIGHT be an amino acid code rather than, years earlier, to ENCODE anything in the Brokaw text, there's a double-dose of absurdity to Mister Lake's statement of confidence in Steele/the Task Force. It's misplaced.

      Delete
    5. Partial by Mister Lake:
      ------------------
      if some hypothetical lay witness in the Zimmerman trial was NOT a certified expert and COULD NOT qualify under Rule 702, but he or she nevertheless has compelling scientific evidence that it was Zimmerman's voice on the tape, then he or she CAN qualify under Rule 701.
      ====================================================
      No, "scientific evidence" is for scientists. If it were NOT for scientists, then any layman could give "scientific evidence" at ANY trial despite not having the background for it. That would defeat the whole purpose of Rules of Evidence 701 and 702. And how would the court determine 'pre-testimony' whether the scientific evidence the layman
      is providing is "compelling" or not? That's no standard at all.

      The parents and/or other relatives (of Zimmerman/Martin) will probably be able to testify BECAUSE THEIR TESTIMONY IS NOT SCIENTIFIC. They are qualifying on 701:

      (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
      ----------------------------------
      And qualifying in a NEGATIVE WAY on 701 c:

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

      Delete
    6. R. Rowley wrote: "Since it eluded Steele and the Task Force for years that Ivins was probably using Hofstadter's book to DECODE what Ivins himself thought MIGHT be an amino acid code ...."

      Your comment makes no sense. It appears to be based upon total ignorance of the case against Bruce Ivins.

      R. Rowley also wrote: "No, "scientific evidence" is for scientists. If it were NOT for scientists, then any layman could give "scientific evidence" at ANY trial despite not having the background for it. That would defeat the whole purpose of Rules of Evidence 701 and 702.

      Your ignorance of the law is evident once again. Rules 701 and 702 don't just apply to scientific information. They apply to "expertise" of many kinds. The change to Rule 701 to add item C was apparently NOT the result of any kind of scientific evidence. It appears to have been the result of accountants and engineers testifying as lay witnesses to avoid any challenge to the validity of their testimony. It also avoids the requirement that expert witnesses tell the other side during discovery what they plan to say.

      If you have an accountant in your company testify as a lay witness about some other company's accounting practices as part of a case about industrial espionage, there's no science involved. Rule 701-C was added to prevent such testimony as a lay witness. Because the accountant is an expert, he MUST testify as an "expert witness." AND he would have to tell the other side during discovery what was found.

      The rule applies equally to accountants and engineers AND scientists.

      R. Rowley also wrote: "And how would the court determine 'pre-testimony' whether the scientific evidence the layman is providing is "compelling" or not? That's no standard at all."

      I used the wrong word. The word I should have used instead of "compelling" is "RELEVANT."

      Relevancy is determined by "officers of the court," i.e., the lawyers for one side or the other. If the prosecution decides it has "relevant evidence" in support of their side of the case, they are allowed to present it. The judge can question the lawyer as to whether the information is relevant or not, but the benefit of the doubt is given to the lawyer. If it turns out the lawyer CANNOT explain relevance, then the evidence cannot be admitted and the lay witness cannot testify. It is the jury which will ultimately decide if the relevant information is truly "compelling" or not.

      If you have evidence you found by decoding a document, which you then turned over to the police, if it is relevant to the trial, you can testify in court as a lay witness to how you decoded the document. Your credentials are irrelevant. All that matters is that the POLICE and the District Attorney feel that it is relevant information to proving their side of the case, and that it appears that the other side cannot easily disprove it and show it to be invalid.

      Ed

      Delete
  59. R. Rowley wrote: "Now according to Mister Lake (ie if he were being consistent across cases), the prosecution, stymied at presenting this expert testimony on the screams, could then turn around and ask any law enforcement official who ever heard the tape, whether, in HIS OPINION, the scream was that of a 17 year old or that of a 28 year old. And Mister Lake would say that it was then up to the jury to decide whether they 'believed' the witness. I say that the same strictures that apply to the (true) expert also apply to the non-expert when he is asked about things which NORMALLY (ie outside of court) would require (at the very least!) an expert witness."

    That is not a valid argument.

    First, ASKING a lay witness for his or her opinion isn't allowed in court. So, your hypothetical situation would never happen.

    Second, "opinion" testimony clearly isn't "opinion" in the way you interpret it.

    If Suzy saw Joe Blow murder Sam Brown, Suzy would be a lay witness telling the jury what she BELIEVES she saw. Her testimony would be AN OPINION, meaning there is no science backing up what she said she saw. She's merely CLAIMING that is what she saw. She could be making it all up. So, her testimony is an OPINION of what she believes she saw, and the jury has the option of believing her or not believing her.

    With expert testimony, the jury doesn't have the option of believing or not believing. They are supposed to BELIEVE the expert, UNLESS the expert is disputed by another expert. Then they decide which "expert" to believe.

    Third, according to Rule 701,

    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;


    An opinion from a lay witness police officer about whether the voice was that of an 18 year old or a 28 year old is NOT HELPFUL to determining a fact in issue. No one cares what the officer's opinion is. So, there is no valid reason to ask the police office the question.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An opinion from a lay witness police officer about whether the voice was that of an 18 year old or a 28 year old is NOT HELPFUL to determining a fact in issue. No one cares what the officer's opinion is. So, there is no valid reason to ask the police office the question
      =============================================
      I agree with you but you aren't citing a PRINCIPLE (why can't we let the jury decide whether the testimony is "helpful"?). If the policeman were an 'earwitness' to the screams (via the audio tape), then, under one Ed Lake-manufactured scenario, that makes it ADMISSIBLE testimony, because the cop is an 'earwitness', rather than an expert.

      If the policeman listened to the tape 'as a regular part of his job' then, again according to another Ed Lake version of admissibility, this makes it admissible.

      At least that's the way it goes when Mister Lake is discussing Steele, and those 'handwriting laymen' so-called
      "witnesses" of pages 89-90 of the AMERITHRAX INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY.

      Mister Lake has a whole bag of inventions as to why PROSECUTION-FAVORABLE TESTIMONY, but prosecution-favorable testimony alone, doesn't have to conform to the Rules of Evidence in the notional trial of Bruce Ivins.....

      Delete
    2. R. Rowley wrote: "If the policeman listened to the tape 'as a regular part of his job' then, again according to another Ed Lake version of admissibility, this makes it admissible."

      Not so. The word for today is RELEVANCE. The mere fact that the cop listened to the tape does NOT make his testimony RELEVANT. It becomes RELEVANT if it is "helpful ... to determining a fact in issue." A random cop's opinion is NOT helpful. As I said, "No one cares what the officer's opinion is." It doesn't help to decide anyone's guilt or innocence.

      Agent Steele decoded the message as part of his regular job. It is (a) rationally based on his perception; it is (b) helpful to determining the fact in issue, i.e., Ivins' guilt or innocence; and (c) it is not based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge within the scope of Rule 702, so he does NOT have to testify as an "expert witness," but CAN testify as a lay witness

      Ed

      Delete
  60. Mr. Rowley,

    When Agent Steele would testify in court in the hypothetical Bruce Ivins case, he would testify as a lay witness.

    1. He would testify to what he "rationally perceived" in decoding the hidden message in the media letter.

    2. Any opinion he happened to give would supposedly be helpful to understanding the witness's testimony. Examples: Guilty people often throw away evidence that the police didn't find during a search. The H in "DEATH" doesn't seem to be deliberately highlighted.

    3. His testimony would be helpful "to
    determining a fact in issue," that fact being Bruce Ivins guilt or innocence.

    Rule 701-C doesn't apply. Agent Steele would NOT be an expert testifying as a lay witness. He would just be a lay witness testifying to what he figured out.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  61. Mister Lake:
    -----------------
    R. Rowley wrote: "Now according to Mister Lake (ie if he were being consistent across cases), the prosecution, stymied at presenting this expert testimony on the screams, could then turn around and ask any law enforcement official who ever heard the tape, whether, in HIS OPINION, the scream was that of a 17 year old or that of a 28 year old. And Mister Lake would say that it was then up to the jury to decide whether they 'believed' the witness. I say that the same strictures that apply to the (true) expert also apply to the non-expert when he is asked about things which NORMALLY (ie outside of court) would require (at the very least!) an expert witness."

    That is not a valid argument.

    First, ASKING a lay witness for his or her opinion isn't allowed in court. So, your hypothetical situation would never happen.
    =====================================================
    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.
    ==============================================
    The whole PURPOSE of Rule 701 is describing how and when and under what circumstances (in general terms)a layman may give an opinion and this is indicated by the first two lines: "If a witness is not testifying as an expert, testimony in the form of an opinion is limited to one that is:..."
    ---------------------------------------------
    How then can you POSSIBLY maintain that "ASKING a lay witness for his or her opinion isn't allowed in court."??????

    It certainly IS allowed in court, the only question is: what are the limits on such questions/statements of opinion?

    ReplyDelete
  62. When Agent Steele would testify in court in the hypothetical Bruce Ivins case, he would testify as a lay witness.

    1. He would testify to what he "rationally perceived" in decoding the hidden message in the media letter.
    ==============================================
    Your point #1 contradicts your statement above it: decryption-related testimony is for those conversant in a major way with the techniques of cryptoanalysis. Experts in cryptoanalysis. You are trying via your usual (mis-)labeling penchant to dodge the requirements of the Rules of Evidence. Won't work. Steele, if he did indeed do the whole "decryption", was doing the job (read: task) of a cryptoanalyst. Whether, while he was doing this, he "rationally perceived" anything would only come up in a juryroom IF THE TESTIMONY WERE ALLOWED. But the judge would not allow it, due to the Rules of Evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Mister Lake again:
    -----------------------
    Second, "opinion" testimony clearly isn't "opinion" in the way you interpret it.

    If Suzy saw Joe Blow murder Sam Brown, Suzy would be a lay witness telling the jury what she BELIEVES she saw. Her testimony would be AN OPINION, meaning there is no science backing up what she said she saw. She's merely CLAIMING that is what she saw. She could be making it all up. So, her testimony is an OPINION of what she believes she saw, and the jury has the option of believing her or not believing her.
    ==============================================
    No, she's an eyewitness. Maybe she's lying, but if her testimony is being classified by its prima facie form, it's eyewitness testimony, not "opinion".

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  64. R. Rowley wrote: "The whole PURPOSE of Rule 701 is describing how and when and under what circumstances (in general terms)a layman may give an opinion"

    True, a lay witness may GIVE an opinion, but lawyers CANNOT ASK a lay witness for their opinion. You can only ask EXPERT witnesses for their opinions.

    If you click HERE you will find this:

    --------
    OPINION EVIDENCE

    Evidence of what the witness thinks, believes, or infers in regard to facts in dispute, as distinguished from personal knowledge of the facts themselves. The rules of evidence ordinarily do not permit witnesses to testify as to opinions or conclusions.

    When this type of evidence is expressed by an expert witness, it may be used only if scientific, technical, or specialized knowledge will aid the trier of fact in understanding the evidence or determining a fact in issue. In the event that the witness is not testifying as an expert, the witness's testimony is restricted to opinions or inferences that are rationally based upon his or her perception and are helpful to a clear understanding of the testimony or the determination of a fact in issue.

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

    Agent Steele would have been called to the stand to give testimony on how he decoded the hidden message in the media letter. However, it is formally recognized by the court that during the course of giving testimony a lay witness MAY give opinions. Agent Steele, for example, may state, "The coding of the hidden message looked like something Ivins might do, based upon my discussions over the years with Dr. Ivins." That's an opinion. It's allowed.

    The prosecutor is NOT allowed to ask, "In your opinion, is that the type of thing Dr. Ivins would do." That calls for a conclusion or opinion, and is only allowed with expert witnesses.

    You also need to understand that anything Agent Steele says about how he decoded the hidden message in the media letters is technically an opinion BECAUSE it has not been scientifically proved by an expert. I pointed that out when I mentioned an eyewitness talking about seeing a murder. That's an OPINION because it cannot be scientifically proved that she actually saw the murder.

    Ed

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  65. R. Rowley wrote: "Steele, if he did indeed do the whole "decryption", was doing the job (read: task) of a cryptoanalyst. Whether, while he was doing this, he "rationally perceived" anything would only come up in a juryroom IF THE TESTIMONY WERE ALLOWED. But the judge would not allow it, due to the Rules of Evidence."

    You've stated that misconception many many times.

    Agent Steele was doing his job as an FBI investigator. During the course of doing that job, he decoded a hidden message in the media letter. If a code is simple enough, children can sometimes decode messages. This was NOT a situation where an expert was required. This is a situation where Agent Steele's expertise in MANY areas allowed him to do something that people might ordinarily leave to an expert. So, clearly even a non-expert can decode messages. And it CERTAINLY does not mean Steele couldn't testify in court to what he did. What he did is CLEARLY helpful "to determining a fact in issue," that fact being Bruce Ivins guilt or innocence. A judge would certainly allow it.

    Agent Steele would testify to what he did, and the jury would decide if what he did was believable or not.

    Ed

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  66. R. Rowley wrote: "Steele, if he did indeed do the whole "decryption", was doing the job (read: task) of a cryptoanalyst. Whether, while he was doing this, he "rationally perceived" anything would only come up in a juryroom IF THE TESTIMONY WERE ALLOWED. But the judge would not allow it, due to the Rules of Evidence."

    You've stated that misconception many many times.

    Agent Steele was doing his job as an FBI investigator. During the course of doing that job, he decoded a hidden message in the media letter. If a code is simple enough, children can sometimes decode messages. This was NOT a situation where an expert was required.
    =====================================================
    Gee, then why didn't YOU 'decrypt' it in the years 2001 to 2009?
    That's nonsense. It definitely does require expertise. You are, once again, trying to get out of evidentiary requirements by mischaracterizing things.

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    Replies
    1. R. Rowley wrote: "Gee, then why didn't YOU 'decrypt' it in the years 2001 to 2009?"

      Because it never occurred to me that there was a hidden message in the letter. I knew NOTHING about Dr. Ivins.

      It occurred to Agent Steele because Ivins threw away a favorite book that had a technique for encoding messages in it that looked very similar to what was in the letters.

      I have a patent on a bi-directional hydraulic flow meter. Should the patent have been refused because I had absolutely no formal expertise in hydraulics? The idea occurred to me because people told me there was a NEED for such a thing. So, I figured out a way to make one.

      People CAN figure things out even if they are not certified experts. Maybe you can't, but most other people can.

      Ed

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    2. It's the one on the bottom right at this link:
      http://www.lakemonitors.com/flowmeter.htm

      The patent: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5458007.pdf

      My background is computer systems analysis.

      That analytical experience enabled me to analyze the problem. A couple months work at my brother's company helped me understand enough about hydraulics. I put 2 and 2 together and out came a patentable product.

      Agent Steele is a microbiologist and an FBI investigator. When presented with a question (Why did Bruce Ivins throw away one of his favorite books?), Steele put 2 and 2 together and figured out why. That is what good investigators are SUPPOSED to do.

      Ed

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    3. R. Rowley wrote: "Gee, then why didn't YOU 'decrypt' it in the years 2001 to 2009?"

      Because it never occurred to me that there was a hidden message in the letter. I knew NOTHING about Dr. Ivins.
      ===========================================
      C'mon, get real. Are you claiming that in the years 2001 to 2008 NO ONE on the Internet discussing the Brokaw text said 'Hey, look at the highlighting, maybe it means something?!?!'. I'm sure that there WERE such people, and that they counterposed THEIR hypotheses in that regard to the Brother Jonathan/Ed Lake hypothesis/es which explained the highlighting in another way. (And since 3 A's were fully highlighted, a number of T's partially highlighted, I doubt that some sort of nucleotide base-based code didn't cross anyone's mind in those years in that regard; it's the ABCs of genetics).

      I myself, a Johnny-come-lately to the Amerithrax 'party',
      concentrated a great deal from the very beginning on that highlighting and it was my read-out of it in the second half of September 2006 (ie 3 to 4 years before the meretricious 'amino acid code' was unveiled)that told me,
      in the first instance, who that author was. It's a somewhat camouflaged signature line, not a true code.

      One didn't need to know who Ivins was in 2001-2008 to see what Brokaw text letters were highlighted to what extent. And since the profile assumed that either the writer was a scientist or 'ha[d] a strong interest in science', looking
      at some genetic 'coding' would seem to be straight forward and plausible, if one's assumption was that it WAS a code. It was not. It was a signature line. Actually lines as the signature is repeated.
      -----------------------------------------------
      People CAN figure things out even if they are not certified experts. Maybe you can't, but most other people can.
      ------------------------------------------------
      In light of what I wrote in the very first section of this post, there's a great irony in the above. Not only can I 'figure things out' I can figure out when clumsily-assembled deceptions like an 'amino acid code' are being ladled out to the unwary. That might come close to making me a conspiracy theorist, if it weren't for the fact that the first persons the Task Force deceived were themselves.

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    4. I have a patent on a bi-directional hydraulic flow meter. Should the patent have been refused because I had absolutely no formal expertise in hydraulics?
      ======================================
      Not at all. But I ASSUME the people at the patent office have enough experience to RECOGNIZE when something new/original has been developed in a field (remember Einstein worked in a patent office in Switzerland while he was working on his 'little theories'). How ELSE could the patent office determine whom to issue a patent to?

      But here in Amerithrax there is NO analogue to the patent office. There's no one saying "yeah, that's a valid decryption and totally in accord with the principles of cryptoanalysis as they are generally understood". It's amateurishly amateurish. I'm the one saying this 'amino acid code' "solution" should have been submitted to the FBI division/office in charge of codes; I've noted this and/or linked that office here and that recently (office is here:

      http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/scientific-analysis/crypt

      with another URL from that office offering a 'challenge'
      to the public with this opening:

      "Can You Crack a Code?
      Try Your Hand at Cryptanalysis


      04/02/13

      The cryptanalysts in our FBI Laboratory are pros at code-cracking…but it has been a few years since we have challenged you to give it a go.


      We’ve done it a bit differently this time around, creating our first dot code. Good luck!///snip///
      http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2013/april/can-you-crack-a-code/can-you-crack-a-code
      -------------------------------------------------
      Instead we get something that just wouldn't have been able to pass patent office-caliber muster.

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    5. R. Rowley wrote: "C'mon, get real. Are you claiming that in the years 2001 to 2008 NO ONE on the Internet discussing the Brokaw text said 'Hey, look at the highlighting, maybe it means something?!?!'."

      Yes, of course people said that. But, as I said, NO ONE that I know of discussed it as being some kind of secret code. If they did, they never tried to break it.

      Some people thought that the A's and T's somehow had a connection to Mohamed ATTA, the lead 9/11 hijacker. But it was just a theory, and why would there be so many A's and T's highlighted, and NOT in the order to spell out "Atta"?

      "Anonymous" (a.k.a. DXer on Lew Weinstein's web site) was seeing hidden codes EVERYWHERE, but he never saw a code in the highlighted A's and T's, other than they might have something to do with Atta.

      I thought that the highlighted characters were DOODLING by the 6-year-old who wrote the letters, and A and T might be the initials of the child who did the writing.

      Those are the only two theories that I heard of before the FBI revealed the actual meaning in the Amerithrax Investigation Summary.

      Mr. Rowley also wrote: "Not only can I 'figure things out' I can figure out when clumsily-assembled deceptions like an 'amino acid code' are being ladled out to the unwary. That might come close to making me a conspiracy theorist, if it weren't for the fact that the first persons the Task Force deceived were themselves."

      You are just IGNORANT of all the facts. Plus you are BIASED toward your own worthless theory. You've made that abundantly clear.

      Mr. Rowley wrote: "I ASSUME the people at the patent office have enough experience to RECOGNIZE when something new/original has been developed in a field (remember Einstein worked in a patent office in Switzerland while he was working on his 'little theories'). How ELSE could the patent office determine whom to issue a patent to?"

      It has nothing to do with what you assume. I and my patent attorney had to do the research to show that my patent was significantly different from any other kind of bi-directional flow meter. All the Patent Office did was verify our research.

      R. Rowley also wrote: "But here in Amerithrax there is NO analogue to the patent office. There's no one saying "yeah, that's a valid decryption and totally in accord with the principles of cryptoanalysis as they are generally understood".

      Haven't you learned ANYTHING yet? Your beliefs about requiring a cryptographer to decode the message in the media letter are TOTAL NONSENSE.

      I explained what clause 701-c did and means in my post HERE.

      And, in a post HERE I explained that the judge in the George Zimmerman trial disallowed EXPERT testimony about whose voice is on the 911 tape because it's unreliable, but she WILL ALLOW LAY WITNESSES WHO KNEW TRAYVON MARTIN and WHO KNOW GEORGE ZIMMERMAN to testify about whose voice they think is on the tape.

      Rule 701-C means:

      IF Agent Steele acquired his knowledge of decoding messages in his regular job and his regular life, then he CAN testify as a lay witness to what he did.

      IF Agent Steele acquired his knowledge of decoding messages by taking courses and becoming a certified cryptographer, then he CANNOT testify as a lay witness and MUST testify as an EXPERT witness.

      Either way, Agent Steele CAN testify to what he figure out.


      Your interpretation of rule 701-C is NONSENSE.

      Ed


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