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Reply #29: "An Improbable Ending: Scientist Bruce Ivins Tried and Convicted by the Media [View All]

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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-03-08 12:50 PM
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29. "An Improbable Ending: Scientist Bruce Ivins Tried and Convicted by the Media
as Anthrax Letter perpetrator, after his suicide"
Now it turns out that Bruce was one of several scientists the justice department turned its spotlight on, after Hatfill succeeded in not only getting them to leave him alone, but also pay him for destroying his (admittedly tawdry) reputation. Bruce was a gentle guy, the opposite of Hatfill. While Hatfill stirred up a cauldron of controversy, held press conferences and initiated many legal efforts (I was subpoenaed as a witness for his case against the New York Times), Bruce got depressed. Then killed himself, apparently.

Bruce wasn't the anthrax perpetrator. First off, he had no motive. He didn't need to direct money toward the bioterrorism effort, or increase interest in it. He had a very solid job, since he was the army's top expert on anthrax vaccines. He didn't move on to a better job in industry, unlike many of his colleagues at Fort Detrick, after the anthrax letters made bioterrorism a profitable industry.

Second, he had no access to dry, powdered anthrax, according to Fort Detrick spokespersons, who said that only liquid anthrax was used at the Fort Detrick facility in animal aerosolization experiments. If he had been making dry anthrax, it would have been detectable: because anthrax forms a protective spore, the bacteria contaminate the facilities where they are produced. A wet swab can then be used to remove them from surfaces for culture and identification. So if Bruce had made enough anthrax (at least 10-20 grams) to fill the letters, it would have been detectable and the strain would have matched that of the letters. It would not take 7 years to perform the forensics for this experiment, though it could take 7 months. His colleagues would have noted something amiss: half an ounce of dried anthrax requires a lot of fermentation and processing to prepare.

So, we have what appears to be a deliberately botched investigation of the anthrax letters case, and it is all going to end with the suicide of an ill and depressed scientist who lacked a motive and probably lacked access to powdered anthrax.

Wow, she makes some strong points, the kind that should be getting made if any reporters in the mainstream media actually asked questions and investigated this story.

From another item in her blog, it looks like they are too busy twisting statements to fit their story line to actually do that:

My comments to a reporter were misinterpreted and I want to clarify them. The story says, "Ivins was a civilian working in the Army's main bioterrorism program. Nass said Ivins always complained about being treated poorly by some of the military personnel."

Bruce did not ever complain to me about being "treated poorly." I suggested to the reporter that Bruce might have been a relative outsider since he was a civilian in an army institution run and mostly staffed by military officers and soldiers. I had also discussed with Bruce the possibility a chronic illness might be exacerbated by his yearly booster vaccinations. But if you are an anthrax expert, and you need yearly vaccinations to continue in your profession, you don't have many options. I don't know whether he considered this a serious problem.

This makes me wonder how many other statements made by people have been morphed to fit the storyline.

Thanks for finding this site. Really stunning info on it.
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