Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Explaining What You Understand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Therefore, we have good circumstantial evidence that:

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

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

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


Monday, October 20, 2014

Subject: The Scientific Method

The Scientific Method

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In summary:

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Subject: The absurd al Qaeda anthrax theory

In the previous thread HERE, "DXer" (a.k.a. "Anonymous") argued that El-Shukrijumah called his mother from Afghanistan on September 13, 2001, to tell her that he was coming to the U.S. "DXer" views that as evidence that El-Shukrijumah mailed the anthrax letters.  We're supposed to believe that El-Shukrijuma had absolutely no problem flying to the U.S. in the week after 9/11 to mail the letters.  And, apparently, that was all he did, because there was no evidence that El-Shukrijuma did anything at all while he was supposedly in the US in September and October 2001.   

Why couldn't someone else mail the letters?  DXer has no answer.  Why was it necessary for El-Shukrijumah to fly half way around the globe to do it?  DXer has no answer.  He just argues that El-Shukrijumah is known to have left the U.S. months before 9/11.  But, he can't provide any evidence at all that El-Shukrijumah returned in time to mail the first anthrax letters on September 18, 2001. 

Next, DXer argued that al Qaeda's lab in Kandahar had Ames anthrax.  But, the facts say that the lab in Kandahar had no anthrax of any kind.  DXer appears to be relying on some "false positive" readings where pieces of Ames DNA were believed to have been found in the Kandahar lab.  Extensive tests done later found NO TRACE of any kind of anthrax. No doubt they planned to work with anthrax (they even got their inoculations), but there's no evidence they actually did anything with anthrax. 

DXer also seems to believe that al Qaeda got their anthrax from Porton Down.  But Porton Down Ames has been serially cultured so many times that it no longer has the same DNA as Ancestor Ames, which means the DNA is also different from the attack anthrax.

Now DXer is arguing about the fact that "Franklin Park, NJ" was part of the return address on the Senate anthrax letters, and how that must be because some of the 9/11 terrorists worshiped in a mosque in Fort Lauderdale, FL, that was across the street from a small park called "Franklin Park."  He evidently cannot see that as a coincidence.  However, of course, it must just be a coincidence that the anthrax letters were mailed 10 miles from a town in New Jersey called "Franklin Park."

Here are some simple facts:

Ivins had access to the source of the anthrax in the letters.
DXer has no evidence that al Qaeda had access to that source.

Ivins made Ames anthrax spores in his lab routinely.
DXer has no evidence that al Qaeda ever made any Ames anthrax spores.

The handwriting on the letters doesn't match Ivins' or Mohamed Atta's writing.
Ivins had reason to disguise his handwriting.  Atta did not.

Ivins was within driving distance of the mailbox at the time of the mailings.
DXer doesn't know where El-Shukrijumah was at the time of the mailings.

A timeline of Ivins' activities can be found by clicking HERE.
"DXer" (a..k.a. "Anonymous") cannot even construct a logical timeline to support his beliefs.  Sometimes he argues that al Qaeda must have used some Muslim agent to steal Ames anthrax from USAMRIID, other times he argues that al Qaeda obtained Ames from Porton Down.  Sometimes he seems to argue that the letters were filled with anthrax in the USA.  Other times he seems to argue that they were filled with anthrax in Afghanistan and then brought to the USA by El-Shukrijuma.  When and why were the envelopes bought in Maryland?  Why were there two different types of anthrax powder?  Why weren't both batches of letters mailed at the same time?  Why return to the same mail box to mail the second batch of letters.  Why mail the letters in Princeton?         

I could go on and on and on.  The al Qaeda theory is absurd.  I would have used the word "preposterous," but it wouldn't fit in the cartoon illustration at the top of this thread.

DXer needs to provide some EVIDENCE in support of his theory.  It is preposterous to argue that the FBI has "no evidence" against Ivins without DXer providing anything that even resembles evidence to support his argument that al Qaeda was behind the anthrax mailings of 2001.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

9/11 Truthers versus Anthrax Truthers

Here is how Anthrax Truther Lew Weinstein describes the Amerithrax evidence:
The FBI’s case against Dr. Ivins is clearly bogus: no evidence, no witnesses, an impossible timeline.

Here's how 9/11 Truther Elias Davidsson describes the 9/11 evidence:

There's no evidence whatsoever that the 19 people accused of mass murder boarded the planes on 9/11.

That quote from Davidsson can be found on a YouTube video by clicking
HERE and going to the 33 minute mark.

A similar quote can be found on another Davidsson video at the 21 minute mark by clicking HERE:

There is not a single item of evidence pointing that these attacks were perpetrated by people coming from abroad.  ... There is no single proof that any foreigners committed these acts.  No proof that any Arabs went into these planes.  And, so if these Arabs did not go into these planes, then the official story must be a lie.  ... The truth is that there were no Muslims involved in this crime.

Interestingly, Davidsson explains what he finds impossible to believe about the official version of what happened on 9/11.  At about the 37 minute mark in that same video, Elias Davidsson says,

We cannot state that the passengers died in these crashes.  We have full reason to suspect that the passengers were murdered somewhere else. Murdered in cold blood by the U.S. Government.  ... It's impossible to believe for most people.  But, the fact that we don't have evidence that people died in the crashes - we don't have evidence - and it forces us to consider that they were killed somewhere else.  These people do not exist anymore.  They have died.  There is no question about that.  Their families mourn them, and there are many people participating in the mourning.  ... These people are certainly dead, and somebody murdered them.  And, I don't believe personally that they were in these planes, because if they were in these planes, then somebody would have piloted these planes.  And nobody in his right mind would pilot these planes to crash these planes -- even a Muslim --- even a Muslim.  I'm sorry.  Nobody in their right mind would do that.  Even absent all that I told you about the lack of evidence, just the thought that somebody would have piloted - with a pilot's license - would be capable of piloting a civilian aircraft - which the alleged hijackers did not have - ....

Even beyond the fact that there is no evidence, the official story is so fantastic - it is so science fiction - to believe that anybody in his right mind had ... the capability and the wish to fly a plane like this is so outrageous that to believe anybody would have crashed the planes with these passengers - and kill themselves at the same time - is itself implausible to the extreme.
Click HERE for a 5-part video talk by Graeme MacQueen, the author of a new book titled "The 2001 Anthrax Deception."  

Click HERE for a talk by conspiracy theorist Barbara Honegger.  It has some truly screwball comparisons between Pearl Harbor and 9/11.  (Her slide show is HERE.)  She believes that neither Pearl Harbor nor 9/11 were surprise attacks.

Click HERE for a truly weird talk about the anthrax attacks by conspiracy theorist Barry Kissin. 

Click HERE for an interview with conspiracy theorist Elizabeth Woodworth where she rationalizes that disputing the official version of 9/11 doesn't require any attempt to prove any alternative version.  She also believes Osama bin Laden had nothing to do with 9/11.

It appears that the beliefs of all the 9/11 and the anthrax conspiracy theorists can be summarized as follows:
They find it impossible to believe the government's version of what happened.
They believe the government officials must be either incompetent or lying.
The government will not give them the evidence needed to prove a conspiracy.
They do not have the power needed to force the release of the "truth."
Therefore, they want a new investigation to find a "truth" they can believe.
And they are trying to convince the public to demand a new investigation.

Therefore, a conspiracy theorist might be defined as follows:
Someone who cannot believe the official version of events, who wants the government to provide him with facts to disprove the official claims, who considers any failure to provide complete and comprehensive facts to be proof of a conspiracy, who wants a new official investigation to prove what he believes to be true, and who is out trying to get other people to help him force the government to start a new investigation.    
People who have knowledge of actual conspiracies aren't "conspiracy theorists" because they will provide the evidence they have of the criminal conspiracy.  They don't ask the government to provide the evidence, nor will they consider it proof of a criminal conspiracy if the government doesn't do as they ask.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Subject: Discussions versus Arguments

In the prior two threads it was made perfectly clear that Mr. Rowley does not agree with the definitions of "Discussion" versus "Argument."  Below are definitions from a source HERE:
A discussion is an orderly confrontation based on a mutual willingness to learn from one another. It involves the presentation of evidence by each party and then a good-faith attempt of the participants in the discussion to come to agreement.

Discussion presupposes some degree of rational disagreement between us or at least a lack of consensus. If I agreed with you already, we would have nothing to discuss. In a discussion, I do not primarily want to disagree: I want to know the truth. If I do not think that what you say is true, then I disagree, stating my reasons as clearly as possible and without animosity. The same is true for you: you present me with your reasons. By sharing our ideas freely, we hope to arrive at a deeper truth. In a discussion, disagreement is for the sake of agreement.

An argument (emotional, not rational) is a disorderly confrontation based on an unwillingness to learn from one another. Desire for victory takes precedence over love of truth, with the result that agreement becomes impossible.

Although they may have rational grounds for disagreement in the first place, all arguments include an element of bad faith — we are not, with all honesty, pursuing the truth together. Rather, in an argument I simply want my position to be the right one and you to agree with me. I am, indeed, looking for agreement, but on my terms, not in terms of objective truth. Instead of my following reason and leaving passion aside, passion is primary, and reason (if it has a role) works in the service of passion. Quite often, in order to end an argument, we agree to disagree.
And, below is another definition from a source HERE:
When you argue over something, it does not naturally follow that you will arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. When you discuss a particular topic, you will arrive at a conclusion. This is the major difference between discussing and arguing.
Mr. Rowley appears to believe that these definitions should be reversed, since he argues that I'm the one doing the arguing.  From my point of view, I'm trying to discuss subjects of mutual interest to see where disagreements might be resolved.  But, Mr. Rowley seems to have NO interest whatsoever in resolving anything.  He only wants to state his beliefs/opinions.  And, if I don't agree, then I'm starting an argument with him.

I can provide probably a hundred instances where he just changes the subject or disappears if I try to discuss something.  But, for the sake of discussion, I'll provide just one.  Long ago on another blog, Mr. Rowley wrote this when arguing that he doesn't believe a child wrote the anthrax letters:
Said another (high falutin’) way: the pragmatics of the social situation make using a child a high-risk stratagem. And an unnecessary one: short term one can fake certain elements of one’s printing/handwriting.
And I responded:
We have a different point of view about how to look at evidence. From my point of view, the FACTS say that a child wrote the letters. From your point of view, that’s not the way an intelligent adult would PLAN things.

I’m talking about what the facts say in an actual crime.
You’re talking about the planning of a theoretical crime.

When the facts say that a child wrote the letters, the questions become: How did Ivins manage to keep the kid quiet? Why did Ivins do things that way?

You don’t say: I don’t believe it because that’s not the way I would do things, nor is it the way I would expect anyone else to do things. That is ignoring what the facts say and going with your beliefs, instead.
Analyzing this exchange, it's easy to see that Mr. Rowley was arguing "apples," while I was trying to discuss "oranges."

He was arguing that the anthrax killer would do things the way he believes they were done.  

In hopes of discussing things, I pointed out that we were not talking about the same things.  He was talking about what would happen in some theoretical crime - or what he believes happened in the anthrax case, and I was talking about what the evidence says in the actual anthrax case.

But, Mr. Rowley generally refuses to discuss the evidence.  He argues that there is no evidence that says Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer.  On rare occasions when I've managed to get him to discuss specific items of evidence, he will only argue that his interpretation of the law is correct and mine is wrong, regardless of how much evidence I show him that he is wrong.  His argument is that if the case isn't exactly the same as the Amerithrax case, then the law is different and one case cannot be used to discuss another.

There's no way to discuss something with a person if that person is not willing to accept the possibility that he is wrong.  As the definitions show, a discussion requires that the participants be willing to learn from one another.

I'm totally willing to discuss the evidence that a child wrote the anthrax documents.  For over a decade I've been looking for any compelling and overriding evidence that says a child did NOT write the anthrax documents. But, Anthrax Truthers will only argue that they do not believe it, therefore it cannot be true.  That leaves no room for discussion.

I'm totally willing to discuss the evidence that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer.  But Anthrax Truthers simply argue that there is no such evidence.  That leaves no room for discussion.

I'm totally willing to discuss the evidence that some unnamed criminal mastermind was behind the anthrax murders and many other crimes.  But Mr. Rowley generally refuses to provide such evidence, and where he has provided it (click HERE), he refuses to stay on topic.  That ends any attempt at discussion.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Subject: What is "Evidence"?

Conspiracy theorists do not seem to understand what evidence is or how it works in court.  Instead, they seem to want to use beliefs, theories and ideas of their own as "evidence," arguing that they have a better case against their "suspect" than the FBI/DOJ had against Bruce Ivins using actual evidence.

From "The Plain-Language Law Dictionary," here are legal definitions of "evidence" and "fact": 
evidence.  Everything that is brought into court in a trial in an attempt to prove or disprove alleged facts. Evidence includes the introduction of exhibits, records, documents, objects, etcetera, plus testimony of witnesses, for the purpose of proving one's case.  The jury or judge considers the evidence and decides in favor of one party or the other.  
 fact.  Something that took place; an act; something actual and real; an incident that occurred; an event.
In the Bruce Ivins case, the evidence showing him to be guilty of the anthrax attacks of 2001 consisted of a long list of facts, records and testimony related to the crime, which when viewed in their entirety would almost certainly have convicted him of that crime in court.

Example of one fact that is PART of the evidence against Ivins:
Dr. Ivins had no verifiable alibi for the times of the mailings.
Naysayers might argue that Ivins cannot be expected to remember what he was doing seven years before he was arrested.  That doesn't change the FACT that Ivins had no verifiable alibi.

Naysayers might argue that a lot of other people may also have had no alibi for the times of the mailings.  That also doesn't change the FACT that Ivins had no verifiable alibi.                   

The FACT that Dr. Bruce Edwards Ivins had no verifiable alibi is valid "evidence" and would be used in court to help show that he was guilty of the anthrax attacks of 2001.

Some other facts which could be used as evidence in court to help prove the prosecution's case against Bruce Ivins:

The FACT that Ivins was in charge of flask RMR-1029 (the "murder weapon") would be used in court to help show that Ivins was guilty.

The FACT that Ivins worked alone and unsupervised in his lab at  the time the attack spores were presumably made would be used in court to help show that Ivins was guilty.

The FACT that Ivins could not explain why he was working extraordinary hours alone in his lab at  the time the attack spores were presumably made would be used in court to help show that Ivins was guilty.

The FACT that Ivins was a diagnosed sociopath would be used in court to help show that Ivins was guilty.

Etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

If the jury had been able to hear all these facts presented as evidence against Dr. Ivins, it seems very reasonable to conclude that he would have been found guity beyond a reasonable doubt.


Conspiracy theorists argue in favor of their own theories, using what they consider to be "facts" and "evidence."  Often their "facts" are not facts, they are only opinions.  Often their "evidence" would not be allowed in court, since doesn't help prove anything.

1. Example from "DXer" (summarized from HERE):
 It is a fact that the so-called "J-Lo" letter sent to the Sun magazine was reportedly  "a business-size sheet of stationery decorated with pink and blue clouds around the edges."

It is presumably a "fact" that "The Clouds" was code name used by al Qaeda for a Media Operations Director. 
However, it is NOT a "fact" that the J-Lo letter contained anthrax, nor is it a "fact" that the J-Lo letter had anything whatsoever to do with the anthrax attacks.  It is just an opinion that the J-Lo letter "most likely" contained anthrax.  So, we have an opinion begin put together with an irrelevant fact to create a meaningless combination of facts.  It is not "evidence," since it does not help to prove anything.

2. Example from "DXer" (summarized from HERE): 
The ink used on the pre-stamped anthrax envelopes is green and the design is an American Eagle.  In Muslim mythology, green birds take the souls of martyrs to paradise.
It is a fact that the stamp was printed in blue-green color, and that it is of a "bird."  It may be a fact that green birds figure in Muslim mythology.  But these two "facts" do NOT connect Muslims to the anthrax letters.  Since the same stamps were used on millions of other letters, neither fact directly relates to the anthrax mailings.  Both appear to be irrelevant facts which are being put together to create a meaningless combination of facts.   

3. Example from R. Rowley (summarized from HERE):

In Mr. Rowley's opinion,  the letter G in the word "GREAT" in the media anthrax letters resembles the letter "Tet" in the cursive version of the Hebrew character set.

It is not a fact, it is just Mr. Rowley's opinion.  And it would therefore not be allowed in court unless (1) the matter could be shown to help prove something in a legal case, and (2) Mr. Rowley could be certified to be an "expert witness" capable of presenting this to a jury as a factual finding.  

In summary, the "facts" and "evidence" from conspiracy theorists are mostly just opinions.  Some are irrelevant facts that are arbitrarily put together to create an argument, but do not directly relate to the issue of who sent the anthrax letters.

The case against Bruce Ivins is a legal case that could be tried in court.  The cases argued by conspiracy theorists are opinions and beliefs that would never be allowed in court.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Subject: Conspiracy Theorist Psychology

A 2013 article from Slate magazine titled  "Conspiracy Theorists Aren’t Really Skeptics: The fascinating psychology of people who know the real truth about JFK, UFOs, and 9/11" contains these key sections:

Conspiracy chatter was once dismissed as mental illness. But the prevalence of such belief, documented in surveys, has forced scholars to take it more seriously. Conspiracy theory psychology is becoming an empirical field with a broader mission: to understand why so many people embrace this way of interpreting history. As you’d expect, distrust turns out to be an important factor.


The strongest predictor of general belief in conspiracies, the authors found, was “lack of trust.”


More broadly, it’s a tendency to focus on intention and agency, rather than randomness or causal complexity. In extreme form, it can become paranoia. In mild form, it’s a common weakness known as the fundamental attribution error—ascribing others’ behavior to personality traits and objectives, forgetting the importance of situational factors and chance. Suspicion, imagination, and fantasy are closely related.

The more you see the world this way—full of malice and planning instead of circumstance and coincidence—the more likely you are to accept conspiracy theories of all kinds. Once you buy into the first theory, with its premises of coordination, efficacy, and secrecy, the next seems that much more plausible.


Psychologists and political scientists have repeatedly demonstrated that “when processing pro and con information on an issue, people actively denigrate the information with which they disagree while accepting compatible information almost at face value.” Scholars call this pervasive tendency “motivated skepticism.”

Conspiracy believers are the ultimate motivated skeptics. Their curse is that they apply this selective scrutiny not to the left or right, but to the mainstream. They tell themselves that they’re the ones who see the lies, and the rest of us are sheep.

This would seem to apply to True Believers, also.  True Believers tend to think they are the only ones who can see the TRUTH, and the rest of us are just ignorant sheep.

The September 2013 issue of PSY-PAG (Psycology Post-Graduate Affairs Group) Quarterly is a special issue devoted to "The psychology of conspiracy theories."  The 56 page magazine contains these articles about conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists.

"An introduction into the world of conspiracy" - Christopher Thresher-Andrews

"Towards a definition of ‘conspiracy theory’" - Robert Brotherton

"A review of different approaches to study belief in conspiracy theories" - Anthony Lantian

"The psychology of conspiracy theories blog -"

"Has the internet been good for conspiracy theorising?" - Michael Wood

"The detrimental nature of conspiracy theories" - Daniel Jolley

The second PSY-PAG article on the above list, "Towards a definition of 'conspiracy theory'" poses an interesting question:

The claim that members of the US government were complicit in the attacks of September 11, 2001, for instance, is generally branded a conspiracy theory (e.g. Dunbar & Reagan, 2006; Grossman, 2006), yet the label is rarely applied to the claim that members of al-Qaeda secretly planned and executed the attacks. The two claims both postulate a successful conspiracy to commit the attacks.  Why is it that, in popular discourse, the term conspiracy theory is applied to the former but not the latter?

One amusing answer is:

The situation has been likened to attempting to define pornography – a task which forced US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stuart to conclude simply, ‘I know it when I see it’ (Byford, 2011).

But, the more comprehensive and useful definition is in this statement:

I define conspiracy theory as an unverified claim of conspiracy which is not the most plausible account of an event or situation, and with sensationalistic subject matter or implications. In addition, the claim will typically postulate unusually sinister and competent conspirators. Finally, the claim is based on weak kinds of evidence, and is epistemically self-insulating against disconfirmation.

In other words, a "conspiracy theory" is typically implausible, sensationalistic, gives the conspirators super-abilities, is based upon weak evidence, and is so vague that it cannot be easily disproved.

The article also contains this:

Conspiracy theories are unverified claims.
Conspiracies have occurred throughout history, and occur in some form every day – in politics, organised crime, insider dealing, scams, and so on. Philosopher Charles Pigden points out that ‘if a conspiracy theory is simply a theory which posits a conspiracy, then every politically and historically literate person is a big-time conspiracy theorist’ (Pigden, 2007, p.222). However, this is not how the label is commonly used. The term usually refers to explanations which are not regarded as verified by legitimate epistemic authorities. The theory may be regarded as indisputably true by those who subscribe to it, but this belief is invariably at odds with the mainstream consensus among scientists, historians, or other legitimate judges of the claim’s veracity.

I couldn't have said it better myself. 
It certainly fits ALL the conspiracy theories related to the anthrax attacks of 2001 that I've heard during the past 12+ years.

Another article from 2013, this time from Scientific American Magazine, is titled "Insights into the Personalities of Conspiracy Theorists," and it begins with this:

Conspiracy theories and scientific theories attempt to explain the world around us. Both apply a filter of logic to the complexity of the universe, thereby transforming randomness into reason. Yet these two theoretical breeds differ in important ways. Scientific theories, by definition, must be falsifiable. That is, they must make reliable predictions about the world; and if those predictions turn out to be incorrect, the theory can be declared false. Conspiracy theories, on the other hand, are tough to disprove. Their proponents can make the theories increasingly elaborate to accommodate new observations; and, ultimately, any information contradicting a conspiracy theory can be answered with, “Well sure, that’s what they want you to think.”

I think those three articles are enough to confirm that I'm not the only one who views "conspiracy theorists" as outside of the norm.  Conspiracy theorists tend to think of themselves as part of the majority, but, as I've written many times, they are just a fringe group that the vast majority of the public doesn't take seriously.  I don't see anything in these articles that disagrees with what I've been saying about conspiracy theorists for 12+ years.  

On the other hand, anarchist Alex Jones indicates he has a study which shows that conspiracy theorists are sane, and government dupes are crazy.   I found it by doing a Google search for conspiracy+theorist+majority.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Subject: Summing up Anthrax Truther Arguments

The past 12 years of arguing with Anthrax Truthers have been summarized in the past 24 hours in a debate with DXer/Anonymous.

DXer wrote HERE:
Adnan El-Shukrijumah is the anthrax mailer
I researched his claim and found he had no real evidence to support it.  It even appeared that his suspect was in Afghanistan at the time of the anthrax letter mailings.

DXer responded HERE with this argument:
Is there any evidence in the thousands of detainee interrogations — after announcing his intention to his mom upon 9/11 that he was coming to the US — that he did not come?that he was he was still in Afghanistan at the time of the anthrax mailings? No
So, DXer wants the FBI (or me) to prove that his suspect was NOT in the U.S. at the time of the attacks.

I argued that the FBI has infinitely more evidence that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax mailer than DXer has against the person he believes sent the anthrax letters.

DXer responded HERE with this attack on the FBI:
But it’s not like the FBI Agents spend all their time rummaging around for a man’s semen-stained panties so that the prosecutor then can threaten to call his family in front of a grand jury to ask about problems at home.– and then close the case and declare victory upon his suicide.
That's pretty much how our arguments have gone for the past 12 years.  Only his attacks are usually upon me.

These same basic arguments are used by all Anthrax Truthers.   The only difference with DXer is that he buries his arguments inside an endless stream of meaningless blather.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Subject: Putting 2 and 2 together

Conspiracy theorists and True Believers have once again demonstrated how they think.  Just look at their theories about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.  Each theorist has a different theory.

But, most of all, they show how they start with a theory and then find things to support that theory, ignoring any fact or evidence that contradicts their theory.  How else could someone connect a Muslim terrorist attack in Pakistan that involved a peddler's fruit cart to the fact that there was a cargo of fruit aboard Flight MH370, and conclude that the two events are evidence that Muslim terrorists hijacked MH370?

Here are some examples of Anthrax Truthers putting 2 and 2 together to get 739 or 395 or 55 or 38 or 1,233,754: 

1.  Ivins couldn't have made the spores at USAMRIID using standard procedures.  Everyone is required to follow procedures at USAMRIID.  Conclusion: Ivins must have been innocent.
Counter argument: Ivins didn't follow standard procedures.

2. Ivins didn't have time to make the spores.  It takes months to make that many spores.  Conclusion: Ivins must have been innocent.  
Counter argument: Ivins used spores from his lab trash that were already made. 
3.  I believe the spores were weaponized with silica.  I believe Ivins didn't know how to weaponize spores with silica.  Conclusion:  Ivins must have been innocent.
Counter argument:  The spores were NOT weaponized with silica.  They contained natural silicon.  
4.  Ivins could not have used the lyophilizer to dry the spores without contaminating the entire area. The lyophilizer was too big to move into a BSL-3 suite.  Conclusion: Ivins must have been innocent.
Counter argument: The spores were air dried.  The lyophilizer was not needed.
5.  Ivins seemed like a nice guy who couldn't hurt a fly.  Ivins was a blabbermouth, so he couldn't have sent the anthrax letters without telling other people about it.  Conclusion: Ivins must have been innocent.
Counter argument:  Ivins routinely did things and even committed crimes he didn't tell others about.  


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Subject: Belief-based arguments

What we seem to really need is to have is one of Dr. Ivins' co-workers try to argue his or her beliefs against the solid facts which show that Ivins was the anthrax killer.  Such a conversation might go something like this:

Believer: The case against Bruce Ivins is full of holes.

Researcher: What makes you say that?  Like what?

Believer: It would have been impossible for Dr. Ivins to have grown all the spores in all the letters in shaking flasks without someone noticing what he was doing.  Even with the shakers running 24-hours a day, it would have taken him about a year!

Researcher: But, the facts say that the spores weren't grown in shaking flasks.  They were grown in autoclave biosafety bags in a corner somewhere - probably in his lab.

Believer: What facts?

Researcher: First of all, the spore powders contained traces of agar.  You use agar when growing spores in plates.  You do not use agar in shaking flasks.  Secondly, there was no sign of the kind of growth media they use in shaking flasks.   Thirdly, the spores showed signs of growing "under stress," which occurs when they grow at less than the ideal temperatures in an incubator.

Believer: Where did you read that?  They didn't say that in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary.

Researcher: It's in the supporting documents.   The University of Maryland assisted with the testing, and they found traces of agar in both the New York Post and the Leahy powders.

Believer: It would still have taken a lot of plates and a lot of time, wouldn't it?  People would have noticed.

Researcher: No, it wouldn't and they wouldn't. Growing spores on plates was part of Ivins' job.  He would inoculate about 180 plates a day when preparing for challenges.  And, according to the National Academy of Sciences, it would only have taken 463 plates to grow all the spores in all the powders.  Ivins used 546 plates for some mice tests shortly before the attacks.  If you leave those plates in autoclave bags for a week or two, you'll have all the spores needed for the letters.  And, if anyone noticed the autoclave bags lying around, they didn't say anything, because Ivins was known to leave such things lying around for weeks.  They'd grown used to it.  So, no one ever said anything.  And, he used flask RMR-1029 as the source for the seed spores, so the spores on those plates would be exact matches to what was in the letters.

Believer:  But Ivins would have had to dry the spores.  Ivins didn't know how to dry spores, and he couldn't possibly have used the lyophilizer that was located in Suite B3.

Researcher: That's just more nonsense.  Every microbiologist knows how to dry spores.  They all know that if they leave a Petri dish inoculated with anthrax alone, in a couple weeks it will be covered with DRY spores.  Like everything else, anthrax spores will dry all by themselves if left exposed to the air.  Ivins could dry all the spores he needed in 2 and a half hours inside the bio-safety cabinet in his lab.  He could speed up the drying process by adding heat.  He certainly didn't need a lyophilizer.  The FBI and DOJ only mentioned the lyophilizer because Ivins lied and claimed he didn't know how to use it.  Plus, they could not prove that Ivins did NOT dry the attack spores using the lyophilizer.  The idea that Ivins wouldn't have known how to clean up after himself is just more nonsense.

Believer:  But, but, but, there are people who claim the spores were weaponized with silica.  Ivins didn't know how to do that.

Researcher: The spores were NOT weaponized with silica.  Silicon from the growth media gets absorbed into spore coats when spores are grown at room temperature.  Ivins grew the spores at room temperature in autoclave bags in a corner of his lab.  It's just crazy to assume that because it is the standard procedure at USAMRIID to grow spores in an incubator at higher temperatures, that a microbiologist like Ivins wouldn't know that spores can also grow at room temperatures.  There's testimony from witnesses who looked at plates Ivins left around inside autoclave bags for weeks, and those plates were covered with dry or nearly dry anthrax spores.  And, any competent microbiologist knows that if you let spores dry in the open air they can aerosolize all by themselves and kill you.  Nature makes them that way.

Believer: There's no proof that Ivins knew that silicon would be absorbed into spore coats from the growth media.

Researcher: So what?  Ivins made the spores in flask RMR-1030, and 6 percent of those spores had the same silicon signature as the attack spores.  So, there IS proof that Ivins could create spores with that silicon signature -- even if he didn't know what he was doing.  It's so easy to do that he could do it unintentionally.

Believer:  Well, I don't care what the facts say, I'm going to believe what I want to believe.

Researcher:  Yes, I know.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Subject: Meaningless questions

Here are some recent questions posted to start a thread on Lew Weinstein's blog:

"Who Was The Only Person In [Redacted] Spoke To About The Dried Aerosol Project?  Was the sample that Dr. Ivins says he was told was from Iraq — but wasn’t — actually from the dried aerosol project that had been launched at USAMRIID unbeknownst to Dr. Ivins? Who brought it to him? Where did it come from? Who worked alone on the dried aerosol project in Building 1412 and what does he or she say about the research? Was virulent Ames ever made into a dried powder in Maryland or Virginia?  Why did the FBI keep evidence of John Ezzell’s dried powder from the NAS?"

More questions from other threads in the same blog:

"Into what weapons did Yazid Sufaat attempt to load anthrax?  Why is Ivins’ polygraph not disclosable under FOIA?  Why doesn’t the FBI offer America a credible story? Why don’t we know who is responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks?"

These questions pose some other questions:  If you do not expect anyone to answer your questions, why ask the questions?  Is it just to show ignorance?  How many thousands of such questions have you asked?  How many of the questions have been answered?  If you want answers, why ban people who might have the answers from answering?  If you are asking the questions of people who do not read the blog, who do you think will answer?


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Subject: Certainty

“Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”
― Benjamin Franklin

“One of the few certainties in life is that persons of certainty should certainly be avoided.”
Willy Russell, The Wrong Boy  

Positive, adj.: Mistaken at the top of one's voice.”
― Ambrose Bierce, The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary 

“There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.”
― Robert Burns, The Works of Robert Burns  

At the core of all well-founded belief lies belief that is unfounded.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty 

"The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers."
Erich Fromm

"To teach how to live without certainty and yet without being paralysed by hesitation is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can do for those who study it."
Bertrand Russell

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”
― Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man 


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Subject: Truthers

After years of observations, here are some common traits that appear to apply to all Anthrax Truthers:

1.  They all believe the government is wrong in saying Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer.

2.  They all believe that they know "the truth," which is that someone other than Bruce Ivins did it.

3.  They cannot make any kind of meaningful case against whomever they think did it.

4.  They cannot provide evidence which proves their theory is better than the government's.

5.  They can only argue that the evidence against Ivins is not convincing to them.

6.  They do not seem to understand circumstantial evidence.

7.  They claim that the evidence against Bruce Ivins "isn't really evidence."    
8.  They do not fully agree with any other "truthers" about details of their own beliefs.

9.  Many "truthers" totally disagree with other "truthers" about who sent the anthrax letters. 

10. They endlessly seem to argue that beliefs and opinions are more important than facts.

11.  When presented with evidence that they are wrong, they ignore it and continue to just believe what they want to believe. 

12.  They believe their standards for evidence are the only acceptable standards for the world.


"Anonymous" has recently claimed once again HERE that the T in "NEXT" in the media letter was not highlighted. Here is what he wrote:

It is a FACT that the "T" in next has not been shown to have been double-lined and so the entire code was crock.

Here is an enlargement of the T in "NEXT" in the media letter:

Compare that T to the ones "Anonymous" doesn't seem to dispute, the T's in the two spellings of the word "TO" in the media letter, especially the T in the second "TO" below:

Can there be any dispute that the horizontal line in the T in NEXT is traced over in way that is virtually identical to the T in the second TO in the image above?  Isn't it perfectly clear that the horizontal lines in the T's in DEATH are NOT traced over the way the other T's are traced over?   


In a post HERE, R. Rowley quoted my point #5 in an earlier post and wrote his response:
5. It's a FACT that the message in the media letter CAN be decoded to be either "PAT" or "FNY" or both.
And literally hundreds of thousands(if not millions) of other things, rendering it worthless.
In other words, unless there is only one way to interpret "PAT" and "FNY," and that evidence points directly to Bruce Ivins, then the evidence is worthless.


In a post HERE, "Max" wrote this about the decoding of the hidden message in the media letter:

The FBI found nothing. There is no message.

PAT is not a message.
FNY is not a message.

What is Max's reasoning?  Try to make sense of this:

If you want to claim otherwise, then you need to show that you expected to find PAT before the "decoding". Of course, nobody did.
He appears to be saying that a person needs to expect to find "PAT" is the decoded message before they decode the message, otherwise "PAT" is not the decoded message?  Who but a "Truther" would think that kind of reasoning makes sense?

13.  When you attempt to get a "truther" to explain what he means, he either disappears or he changes the subject. 



Friday, January 3, 2014

Subject: Facts versus Facts

Click on the image above to view a larger version.

The picture above of snow on the pyramids is claimed to be a fake by Esquire magazine HERE, and a web site HERE, while a web site HERE suggests that it is real.  Which is it?  Real or fake?

The initial evidence of fakery seemed to consist entirely of three FACTS:

FACT #F-1: The picture seems to have been shot from the same spot as the picture below:
FACT #F-2: The two pictures seem to be tilted at the exact same angle.

FACT #F-3:  There are some KNOWN FAKES of snow on the pyramids on the Internet.

But those three FACTS didn't seem sufficient to prove it's a fake.  

There are also some FACTS which say that the picture COULD BE real:

FACT #R-1: Snow DID fall in Cairo on December 13, 2013.  Click HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE for news stories.  

FACT #R-2:  The pyramids are less than ten miles from the center of Cairo.

FACT #R-3: The weather system that caused the snow covered hundreds (maybe thousands) of miles and buried many places north of Cairo in deep snow. 

FACT #R-4: Because of the unrest in Egypt these days, tourists are discouraged from visiting the pyramids. Combined with the fact that it's winter and snowing, and since some vendors near the pyramids have become violent,  there wouldn't be hundreds of tourists taking pictures of the snow on the pyramids. 

FACT #R-5:  The KNOWN FAKES were not created in the same way as the picture in question would have to have been created (IF it is a fake).

Here is some information about the known "fake" pictures of snow on the pyramids:

FRAUDS. There are other pictures of snow on the pyramids which are KNOWN to be FRAUDS.  A fraud is something that is represented as something it is not.  Example, the picture below is a REAL picture which supposedly shows snow on a pyramid:

But, it's snow on the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, which is shaped like a pyramid.  So, it's a real picture, but it's not a picture of the actual pyramids.  That makes it a fraud.  Here's another fraud:

The picture above is actually a model of the Sphinx and a pyramid in a park in Tokyo.  It was really covered with snow.  So, it's a REAL picture, but it's not a picture of what it is claimed to be.

Here's another shot of the Sphinx model from another angle at a different time of year:

TRICKS.  The are real pictures of the real pyramids which supposedly show them covered with snow, but it is a TRICK done in a computer by simply altering colors.  The yellow sand and granite are made white.  Example from the British newspaper Mirror and

FACT R-5: The picture at the top of this blog thread did not appear to be either a "fraud" or a "trick."  It seemed that IF it was a fake, it was a true work of art "fake" piicture that someone spent a lot of time and effort to DELIBERATELY create.  They would have had to

1.  Replace the sky and get the new sky to fit perfectly around the blocks of the pyramid.
2.  Add the two men into the picture without any indication they were artificially added.
3.  Change the color and lighting on the pyramids.
4.  Remove objects on the ground to make them appear to be covered with snow (see below),
5.  Remove the shadow of the column (near the man's foot).
6.  Add a cloud haze around the top of the pyramid.
7.  Paint a layer of snow on the stone block at lower left.

Here's a larger view of the snow covered stone block in the lower left corner of the "fake" (top) and the same stone block from the real picture (bottom):

This illustration shows some interesting things.

First, it shows that the area in the lower right in the "real" picture has uneven spots and debris on the ground which do not appear in the "fake" picture.  So, they would have to be removed.  Or, if the picture is real, the rough spots and debris were simply covered over with snow.

Second, if you click on the image to make it larger, you'll clearly see that the snow atop the block is not smooth.  The light playing on the surface of the snow covering shows the snow is uneven as if it is a layer of snow on an uneven surface.  That is NOT easy to create.  It's either the work of an artist, or it's an indicator that the picture is real.

Third, notice that the stone blocks BEHIND the block in the foreground are slightly different.  You can see more of the rear blocks in the real picture than the rear blocks in the "fake" picture.  There are two possible explanations for that: (1) The snow is piled pretty high and thus covers more of the block that is behind, or (2) the "real" photograph was taken from a position a few inches higher than the "fake" picture.  That would mean that the "fake" picture was NOT made from the real picture.  The "fake" is also real.

"Waffles" at kindly provided this color adjusted version of the real picture:

And he provided the animated GIF file below which flips between the real picture and the "fake."  His intent, presumably, was to show that the "fake" is simply a color adjusted version of the real picture.

But, for me, the animated GIF just illustrated the vast differences between the pictures.  It showed the changing sky.  It showed the snow on the stone block at the lower left appearing and disappearing.  It showed the two men in the bottom center appearing and disappearing.  It showed the haze on the top of the Great Pyramid appearing and disappearing.  But most of all, it showed the light changing.  Notice particularly how the long platform behind the middle of the pillar changes from dark to light, indicating more than a simple color adjustment.  There's also a big change in the direction of the light source.

So, I hunted for the sources for the "real" picture and the "fake" picture.  Much larger versions would allow me to make a much better comparison.

Finally, I was supplied with NEW evidence.  Someone provide a link to the web site of post-apocalyptic art HERE.  It supplied some NEW FACTS:

FACT F-4:  That web page was created on April 27, 2013, before the snow reports in Egypt.

FACT F-5: The version of picture of the snow on the pyramids is equal in size to the largest version I have been able to find elsewhere.  It's the same size as the picture at the very top of this thread.

FACT F-6: It is all that it needed to be to convince me it was not a real picture, i.e., it is a work of art that took someone a long time to create.   

So, while I was once 95% certain that the picture was real, the NEW FACTS have convinced me that the picture is a work of art that was fraudulently presented on the Internet as being a real picture.  I'm 99.99% convinced of that.  But, I'm still open to SOLID proof that shows me to be wrong again.

A COMPLICATION: There is another picture (shown below) from a web site HERE which supposedly shows snow on the pyramids.  And, it shows similar wintery clouds in the sky.  But, it also seems to have a matching picture on the Internet that does not show snow.  And, in addition to the very different sky and coloring, there are also some very subtle minor differences between the two pictures:

One of the less subtle differences is that the picture with the snow also contains a man on a white camel in the lower right corner of the picture.  The man and camel are not there in the picture without snow.

Plus, there may be some unknown reason for people to take pictures from that spot (and the other spot), since I found another picture HERE that was taken from nearly the same angle:
And here's another:

So, do the FACTS say this picture is "fake" or do the facts say it is "real"?

On January 15, 2013, someone provided me with a tool to find other versions of the picture.  Using that tool, I found this version:

It also shows the same man on the camel.  And it shows the same clouds.  And, there still appears to be snow on the ground and on the pyramid even though it is not blue color adjusted like the other version.

So, does it really show snow on the pyramids?  It doesn't seem like another "work of art."  The web page where the photo is for sale says it was taken by Andre Klaassen, but it doesn't say WHEN it was taken. However, some research find that Andre Klaassen also took the picture which doesn't show the man on the camel, and he seems to do work on manipulating images to create works of art.

So, I feel, with about 95 percent certainty, that the facts say it is a work of art,  and NOT a REAL picture of snow on the pyramids. 

However, I am always open to new and better facts which solidly prove it one way or the other.