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.



  1. "DXer/Anonymous" responded to my comments by sending me an email. Here it is in its entirety:

    "do you really not know where Meeta and her husband lived or are you just playing dumb?"

    What difference does it make? Who cares? What's your point? These are questions that need to be answered before there's any need to pinpoint exactly where Meeta (or Meetha) lived in New Jersey. Shukrijumah lived in Brooklyn and in Florida. The fact that he may have known someone who lived in New Jersey is beyond irrelevant.


  2. John N. Turner's AMERITHRAX (2014) is the perfect novel for those who read French. It is a prime candidate for translation into English by a publisher in the United States. Dr. Turner is a bacteriologist. The graphics are stunning -- with a vivid red wrapper around the mostly black book "Attendez--vous a etre contamines." It is available at in either hard copy or e-book. A solid fictional adaptation of the FBI's allegations against USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins with a touch of mystery thrown in for good measure. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

    1. Yes, I mentioned it in my April 17 comment on my web site. "Amerithrax" looks interesting. Unfortunately, I don't read French well enough to try reading it in that language. But, if they ever produce an English language version, I'll probably buy a copy -- particularly since it doesn't appear to promote any kind of conspiracy theory.


  3. I could just delete the above message by "V," since it was actually "DXer/Anonymous" posting under a false name. But, I think it's better to let it remain to show people how devious, disturbed and obsessed "DXer/Anonymous" is. He confirmed that he was posting as "V" by attempting another post as "V" that contained the same personal attacks "DXer/Anonymous" has been directing toward me for a decade. Plus, using his real name, he posted a couple comments about the novel "Amerithrax" to Meryl Nass's blog HERE


  4. Just on the nomenclature question:
    (partial from Mr Lake, commenting on something much longer and involved):
    "In summary, conspiracy theorists don't like being called "conspiracy theorists,""[...]
    Okay, it seems to me that there are several questions therein:

    1) is the term, IN COMMON USAGE, neutral (that is to say, merely descriptive) or is it pejorative?

    I would say that it's perjorative, even highly pejorative. So, just on that point alone, it's understandable that people don't like it.

    2) what does a posited 'conspiracy' have to consist of in order to be labeled a "conspiracy theory"?

    Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the Lincoln assassination. Though everyone who has ever learned about it in school knows about John Wilkes Booth, if you've had occasion to dig deeper, you know that, though in the Ford Theater Booth was indeed a 'lone gunman', he was part of a wider conspiracy: the Secretary of State William Seward barely escaped a lethal stab wound, and there was a plan to kill the Vice President as well. The would-be assassin merely lost his nerve at the last moment.

    Therefore, the general outline of what happened is, in the literal sense, a 'conspiracy theory'. Yet probably under ordinary usage no one would say that the investigators had 'a conspiracy theory', even though several persons were hanged as participants in that conspiracy.

    3) suppose, just for the sake of exploring this question further, the would-be assassin of Seward had chickened out also, and investigators never learned of that wider conspiracy. There might have STILL been people who had their own ideas that Booth wasn't acting alone. These then would have been 1865 versions of what we currently call 'conspiracy theorists', but with this caveat: they would have been right in the matter. 'Lone gunman' (in an absolute sense) is also a 'theory' about the commission of a crime. Sometimes it's right, sometimes it's wrong. And sometimes the clues tying that gunman to a wider conspiracy are subtle, even obscure.

  5. R. Rowley wrote: "2) what does a posited 'conspiracy' have to consist of in order to be labeled a "conspiracy theory"?"

    First of all, no one ever said there was no such thing as a REAL criminal conspiracy OR that it is impossible for government officials to engage in a REAL criminal conspiracy.

    I think we're all old enough to remember Watergate.

    I can see that you might consider the term "conspiracy theorist" to be "pejorative." But, "pejorative" means "expressing contempt or disapproval." I don't think the term "conspiracy theorist" is being used in a pejorative way.

    No one is expressing any contempt or disapproval. What is being expressed is frustration.

    The term "conspiracy theorist" is just being used to group together people who act the same way every time there is some kind of alarming and mysterious event that has no immediate solution. It's being used to classify people who develop a theory that seems to have no basis other than paranoia. And there's no way to get them to view the facts logically. They argue their beliefs and opinions against solid facts. And no amount of facts can change their opinions.

    The term "conspiracy theorist" is being used to group together people who claim there is some kind of conspiracy behind some mysterious event when they have absolutely NO PROOF of such a conspiracy. Their reasoning seems to be pure irrational paranoia.

    We saw it two months ago with the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. As soon as it appeared there was some kind of mysterious disappearance, the conspiracy theorists started arguing that it had been shot down by the American military and that the shoot-down was being covered up. Other conspiracy theorists started arguing that the Malaysian government was covering up some kind of mistake that got everyone on the plane killed. They had no facts to support such claims, other than a memory of real conspiracies in the distant past.

    There are MANY different conspiracy theories regarding MH370, and NONE has any meaningful evidence to support it.

    In addition to the "conspiracy theorists," of course, we also have those who think that they are the ONLY ones who know "the truth," and that all the investigators on the case are just plain incompetent. I generally refer to that second group as "True Believers."

    There are some common characteristics that cover both "conspiracy theorists" and the "True Believers."

    1. They cannot intelligently discuss their theories.

    2. They have no meaningful evidence to support their theories.

    3. They ignore all the facts which say their theories are wrong.

    None of this characteristics apply to people who have uncovered ACTUAL conspiracies. People who have uncovered ACTUAL conspiracies have ACTUAL evidence to support their findings, ACTUAL evidence that can be taken into court.

    Conspiracy theorists generally believe the Rules of Evidence would allow their opinions and beliefs to be used in court, AND/OR that the Rules of Evidence would NOT allow the evidence presented by government investigators to be used in court.

    The fantastical notion that there is NO evidence showing Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer is a perfect example. They cannot see real evidence. Instead, they think their BELIEFS are real evidence.

    Conspiracy theorists and True Believers live in a world where they are the only ones who know "the Truth." And everyone else refuses to listen to their "truth."

    They have to be addressed as a group, because there is no way to get any individual to discuss his beliefs in any rational way that would resolve whether he actually has a case or not.

    They are viewed as a group because they all do things the same way - even if their individual beliefs are not exactly the same.


  6. Mr. Rowley,

    While writing a comment for my web site about your two questions, I realized I should have made a couple additional points in my comment above.

    First, the term "conspiracy theorist" is NOT pejorative because it is not about the person. It's about the theory and the way the theory is developed and argued. There is no "contempt or disapproval" intended for the person. The contempt and/or disapproval is for the theory and the fact that it is typically based upon beliefs and opinions, instead of upon solid evidence which can be objectively weighed and evaluated.

    Secondly, I didn't fully answer your second question in my comment above. I did answer it on my web site. Here's the answer:

    A "conspiracy theory " is no longer a "theory" when it is supported by solid evidence that would stand up in court. Then it becomes a "conspiracy" or a "proven conspiracy." And the person who uncovered the conspiracy is called "an investigator," not a "theorist."


  7. Sorry, I've been busy with other stuff (among which is something I might mention below, about Ukraine). Back to the 'pejorative' aspect. The reason, well ONE of the reasons, I say it's pejorative is: in the course of my life I've used it too. It's a handy 'catch-all' category. I would say, in those years (decades) BEFORE I became interested in Amerithrax (late 2005), I would use it for people who claimed either Oswald was innocent (real patsy) or Oswald did some shooting (but with the fatal shots coming from the true 'grassy knoll' or some locational substitute), or Oswald HIMSELF was a knowing participant in the conspiracy etc. I would call the term a form of shorthand. I go back time after time to the JFK assassination when this subject comes up because it is, to my knowledge, the only really controversial one among US presidential assassinations (though this may merely be a sign of my ignorance of the deaths of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley) AND because it ISN'T merely a matter of a tiny minority of crackpots: 'conspiracy theories' broadly defined constitute the MAJORITY position(s) of the US populace in the JFK assassination, that for a long time......
    November 15, 2013
    Majority in U.S. Still Believe JFK Killed in a Conspiracy
    Mafia, federal government top list of potential conspirators
    by Art Swift
    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination approaches, a clear majority of Americans (61%) still believe others besides Lee Harvey Oswald were involved. But this percentage is the lowest found in nearly 50 years.
    If you go to the link there's a graph, and apparently never more than 36% of the public in those 50 years held to a 'lone gunman' idea....

    It's disconcerting.

    (Perhaps more later).

  8. Mr. Rowley,

    You have a theory that some criminal mastermind was behind the anthrax attacks of 2001 and many hoax anthrax letters, and he had lots of helpers working with him. That is a conspiracy theory.

    Are you arguing that you are NOT a conspiracy theorist while at the same time arguing your conspiracy theory?

    The term in not pejorative. It's no different than saying you are an American. It groups you together with a lot of other people, which you may not like, but it's not pejorative.

    Conspiracy theorists have lots of things in common. Their psychology is interesting to me. I can understand that they do not like being viewed as part of a group, but you and other conspiracy theorists REFUSE to OBJECTIVELY compare your evidence against the FBI's evidence. So, there's no real alternative but to group your theory together with a lot of other conspiracy theories and view them together as a phenomenon.