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Julius Civitatus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 11:48 PM
Original message
Bruce Ivins Wasn't the Anthrax Culprit (WSJ)
Wall Street Journal editorial:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121789293570011775.html...

Bruce Ivins Wasn't the Anthrax Culprit



By RICHARD SPERTZEL

August 5, 2008; Page A17


Over the past week the media was gripped by the news that the FBI was about to charge Bruce Ivins, a leading anthrax expert, as the man responsible for the anthrax letter attacks in September/October 2001.

But despite the seemingly powerful narrative that Ivins committed suicide because investigators were closing in, this is still far from a shut case. The FBI needs to explain why it zeroed in on Ivins, how he could have made the anthrax mailed to lawmakers and the media, and how he (or anyone else) could have pulled off the attacks, acting alone.

I believe this is another mistake in the investigation.

Let's start with the anthrax in the letters to Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. The spores could not have been produced at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, where Ivins worked, without many other people being aware of it. Furthermore, the equipment to make such a product does not exist at the institute.

Information released by the FBI over the past seven years indicates a product of exceptional quality. The product contained essentially pure spores. The particle size was 1.5 to 3 microns in diameter. There are several methods used to produce anthrax that small. But most of them require milling the spores to a size small enough that it can be inhaled into the lower reaches of the lungs. In this case, however, the anthrax spores were not milled.

What's more, they were also tailored to make them potentially more dangerous. According to a FBI news release from November 2001, the particles were coated by a "product not seen previously to be used in this fashion before." Apparently, the spores were coated with a polyglass which tightly bound hydrophilic silica to each particle. That's what was briefed (according to one of my former weapons inspectors at the United Nations Special Commission) by the FBI to the German Foreign Ministry at the time.

Another FBI leak indicated that each particle was given a weak electric charge, thereby causing the particles to repel each other at the molecular level. This made it easier for the spores to float in the air, and increased their retention in the lungs.

In short, the potential lethality of anthrax in this case far exceeds that of any powdered product found in the now extinct U.S. Biological Warfare Program. In meetings held on the cleanup of the anthrax spores in Washington, the product was described by an official at the Department of Homeland Security as "according to the Russian recipes" -- apparently referring to the use of the weak electric charge.

The latest line of speculation asserts that the anthrax's DNA, obtained from some of the victims, initially led investigators to the laboratory where Ivins worked. But the FBI stated a few years ago that a complete DNA analysis was not helpful in identifying what laboratory might have made the product.

Furthermore, the anthrax in this case, the "Ames strain," is one of the most common strains in the world. Early in the investigations, the FBI said it was similar to strains found in Haiti and Sri Lanka. The strain at the institute was isolated originally from an animal in west Texas and can be found from Texas to Montana following the old cattle trails. Samples of the strain were also supplied to at least eight laboratories including three foreign laboratories. Four French government laboratories reported on studies with the Ames strain, citing the Pasteur Institute in Paris as the source of the strain they used. Organism DNA is not a very reliable way to make a case against a scientist.

The FBI has not officially released information on why it focused on Ivins, and whether he was about to be charged or arrested. And when the FBI does release this information, we should all remember that the case needs to be firmly based on solid information that would conclusively prove that a lone scientist could make such a sophisticated product.

From what we know so far, Bruce Ivins, although potentially a brilliant scientist, was not that man. The multiple disciplines and technologies required to make the anthrax in this case do not exist at Army's Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. Inhalation studies are conducted at the institute, but they are done using liquid preparations, not powdered products.

The FBI spent between 12 and 18 months trying "to reverse engineer" (make a replica of) the anthrax in the letters sent to Messrs. Daschle and Leahy without success, according to FBI news releases. So why should federal investigators or the news media or the American public believe that a lone scientist would be able to do so?

Mr. Spertzel, head of the biological-weapons section of Unscom from 1994-99, was a member of the Iraq Survey Group.
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Mind_your_head Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 11:52 PM
Response to Original message
1. Haha...."someone(s)" wants the WSJ to 'cover their stupid lame ass'
by publishing a 'CREDIBLE' (and you say that in a "deep, serious voice") story.

:rofl:
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 11:53 PM
Response to Original message
2. Ruppert's WSJ????????
This case is now over ....

Some more info is coming soon ....
the rats are jumping ship
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druidity33 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 06:24 AM
Response to Reply #2
11. Ivins was a Sorority freak? nt
:eyes:

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notadmblnd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-04-08 11:58 PM
Response to Original message
3. of course he wasn't, however, he probably knew who was
hence the reason for his "suicide"
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DB1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. I think he is just a patsy, mentally unstable, pin it on him. Sound familiar?
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Julius Civitatus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 12:20 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. More than one patsy in this story...
Everyone in this seems seriously troubled or mentally unstable.
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DB1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 12:22 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Almost like it is too real to be true.
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Fridays Child Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 12:00 AM
Response to Original message
4. k/r
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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 12:37 AM
Response to Original message
8. They've convinced me -- *nobody* had the knowledge to make it
Must have been space aliens trying to help out the GOP -- right?

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Julius Civitatus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 12:51 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. The article doesn't clear this point: where did the anthrax come from?
Edited on Tue Aug-05-08 12:57 AM by Julius Civitatus
Sure: one single person, or Fort Detrick Labs don't have to capabilities to produce such a sophisticated variation of weapons-grade anthrax.

So, is there any suggestion as to where this could have been manufactured?
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-06-08 01:53 AM
Response to Reply #9
18. From my readings, evidently it was made about two years ago . . .
and the stuff used was separated from the "ancestor" possibly that long . . .

See wiki on this subject --- Anthrax letters -
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AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 12:57 AM
Response to Original message
10. This begs the question...

what labs ARE capable of making this form of anthrax, and could Ivins have supplied the raw material? Or am I falling for a trap set by the WSJ?
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 07:15 AM
Response to Original message
12. You know, if Ivins turns out to be a scapegoat, they may have selected
him because of his political affiliation. Maybe they thought if they could target a Democrat, that it would ease the anger from the other Dems and stop any investigation that would lead to the Republicans?

And, maybe in this matter, assuming Ivins was a Democrat, shouldn't we determine if he was a neo-con?
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
13. k*r So good I tried to rec twice

If correct, I'd say that this is the definitive end of the Ivins focus, other than to find out the nature of the operation to make him a patsy.

What a shot across the bow, and in the WSJ.

Shoudn't this thread be posted somewhere ;) Excellent. Wow!!!
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katty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
14. Ivins the scapegoat - they always have one...so obvious
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
15. Russian recipes!? This gets curiouser and curiouser?
I wonder if this is about the time Bush looked in to Putin's eyes and saw his soulmate?

Thanks for the thread, Julius Civitatus.
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Divine Discontent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 09:08 PM
Response to Original message
16. K&R 49! great story, bet the Ivins family is so ticked off about the media pinning him as the
culprit w/o saying, it remains to be seen if he really is the culprit - b/c the way it's been presented, he was a bad man...

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The_Casual_Observer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-05-08 11:33 PM
Response to Original message
17. It's simple. Some FBI assholes were under pressure to somehow
break this case. They couldn't, so they choose this guy to fuck with, knowing he had no means to fight back. Case closed.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-06-08 01:56 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. I think Mukasey pushed this because of the Leahy comments at the hearing, for one ---
and then they had the very notable loss of their 2nd suspect --- Hatfill -- who walked

off with 5.2 million?

So, obviously, there was going to be some pushing ---

and, very defintiely, I thinkg Bush/Cheney don't want this floating around as an OPEN

case after the elections.


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CJCRANE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-06-08 05:01 AM
Response to Original message
20. WSJ is Murdoch's rag - most likely muddying the waters.
Looks like they're trying to blame the Russians now to avoid the accusation of "inside job" and homegrown "false flag attack".
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-06-08 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. I don't see why it couldn't have been both. n/t
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TheBaldyMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-06-08 05:22 AM
Response to Original message
21. Is this the same R.O. Spertzel who swore blind Saddam had bio-weapons in 2003 ?
If he is I think he might fairly be described as a right wing shill with a less than 100% accurate record on bio-weapons matters.

Not only was he spectacularly wrong in his testimony to the armed services committee in 2003 in the run up to the Iraq war, he is also represented by a PR firm, Benador Associates, with a truly toxic list of clients.

Draw your own conclusions.
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CJCRANE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-06-08 05:32 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. Yes, WSJ is now like Fox News - part of the alternate RW reality
where Saddam had WMD and now where the anthrax attacks weren't an inside job.

This is the kind of article that freepers and the RW blogosphere reference to back up their delusions.
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