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The chief biological inspector for the U.N. Special Commission from 1994 to 1998 - who describes himself as one of the "four or five people in the whole country" who could make the type of anthrax used in the 2001 attacks - noted in testimony to Congress:
According to the FBI, Ivins made the killer anthrax in his lab at Fort Detrick all by himself in something like 12 hours (pages 8-9).
Is that plausible?
Well, one of the handful of people who actually can produce the kind of high-tech weaponized anthrax used in the attacks said:
As everyone knows, the government initially tried to blame Iraq for the anthrax attack. One of the claims made was that the anthrax contained bentonite clay, which was also used by Iraqi anthrax bioweapons makers to "weaponize" the anthrax by decreasing the tendency of anthrax spores to clump together (which makes them less deadly since clumping reduces the amount of spores which end up in the target's lungs).
The government later disclaimed that assertion. However, the FBI now claims that the killer anthrax contained silicon. Silicon can be used as an anti-clumping agent to weaponize anthrax.
For example, McClatchy notes:
"Some of Ivins' former colleagues also dispute the FBI's assertion that he had the capability to mill tiny anthrax spores and then bind them to silicon particles, the form of anthrax that was mailed to the office of then-senator Tom Daschle, D-S.D."
Page 6 of the FBI's search warrant affidavit in the Ivins' investigation states:
"Of the sixteen domestic government, commercial, and university laboratories that virulent RMR-1029 Ames strain Bacillus antrhracis material in their inventory prior to the attacks. ...."
As the Baltimore Sun summarizes it:
"The government said that 16 government, commercial and university labs had the strain of anthrax with the same genetic mutations as the anthrax used in the attacks.
And even at Fort Detrick, the government said that more than 100 people had access to the flask, creating a lot of room for reasonable doubt."
According to the Washington Post, the other labs obtained the RMR-1029 from Ivins:
"The FBI determined that Ivins had shared samples of his RMR-1029 bacteria with as many as 15 other labs and institutes nationwide."
The FBI cannot match Ivins and the handwriting in the anthrax letters. As summarized by World Net Daily:
"Casting further doubt on the FBI's anthrax case, accused government scientist Bruce Ivins passed two polygraph tests and a handwriting analysis comparing samples of his handwriting to writing contained in the anthrax letters, U.S. officials familiar with the investigation say.
Officials confirm that FBI handwriting analysts were unable to conclusively match samples of Ivins' handwriting with the writing on the anthrax envelopes and letters".
The WND article points out other problems with the FBI's case:
Investigators also failed to uncover other critical evidence linking Ivins directly to the letters. For instance:
* No textile fibers were found in his office, residence or vehicles matching fibers found on the scotch tape used to seal the envelopes;
* No pens were found matching the ink used to address the envelopes;
One of the FBI's pieces of "evidence" against Dr. Ivins is that he sounded nutty, and thought the FBI was out to get him.
Maybe, he might have been a fruitloop, but:
- The FBI had mercilessly harassed him, showing his daughter pictures of dead anthrax victims and saying "your father did this", and attempting to bribe his son for millions
- It was the FBI's idea for social worker Jean Duley to report Ivins and get a restraining order against him
- Ivins' colleagues have noted other abuses, and the FBI undoubtedly harassed Ivins in ways which we have not even heard about
As leading reporter Larisa Alexandrovna writes:
It is clear that scores of people had access to the specific "RMR-1029" batch of anthrax stored at Fort Detrick (where Dr. Ivins worked) and used in the anthrax attacks.
What is less well known is that the anthrax was probably not manufactured by Ivins or Fort Detrick. Instead, it probably came from the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah:
The FBI gave its big press conference today, announcing why it thinks Dr. Bruce Ivins is the anthrax killer, and the sole guilty party.
Does this put the issue to rest?
Well, Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa called for a congressional investigation of the anthrax probe, saying there should be hearings rather than "the selective release of a few documents."
And as former constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald points out:
The FBI's "evidence" that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer is not very impressive.
The FBI made numerous claims in today's official press conference. They are largely refuted by Dr. Meryl Nass, an expert on anthrax.
I want to focus on the FBI's primary piece of "evidence": That the anthrax suspect, Dr. Bruce Ivins "has been the sole custodian of RMR-1029 [the specific batch of anthrax used in the attacks] since it was first grown in 1997".
In fact, according to the New York Times:
"After four years of painstaking scientific research, the F.B.I. by 2005 had traced the anthrax in the poisoned letters of 2001 to a single flask of the bacteria at the Army biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md., according to government scientists and bureau officials."
(this is the flask containing RMR-1029 concerning which Dr. Ivins was the "custodian").
Sounds bad for Dr. Ivins, right?
Well, the Times article continues:
In a dramatic confluence of events today, two kangaroo courts announced their pre-determined guilty verdicts.
In the first, 6 "military jurors" hand-picked by the Pentagon for their loyalty to the U.S. government and its views, convicted Bin Laden's alleged driver, Salim Hamdan, even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to try Gitmo detainees before a military tribunal, the former chief Gitmo prosecutor said the trials were unfair and rigged, and even though Hamdan was unlawfully tortured.
Colonel Arthur Anderson is the chief of human use and ethics at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), the bioweapons facility where Dr. Ivins worked and where the anthrax strains were apparently obtained by the anthrax killer.
In that position, Colonel Anderson's responsibilities include the following jobs:
The government's central piece of evidence against Bruce Ivins is that it has found anthrax in Ivins' lab that matches the anthrax letters exactly.
Pretty persuasive, right?
No, actually . . .
According to a story today in Time Magazine:
Bestselling journalist Ron Suskind has revealed that the White House ordered the CIA to forge and backdate a document falsely linking Iraq with Muslim terrorists and 9/11 . . . and that the CIA complied with those instructions and in fact created the forgery, which was then used to justify war against Iraq.
Suskind also revealed that "Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official 'that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion.' ”
This is a stunning revelation in its own right. But what does it say about the government's claims that 9/11 was an attack by Muslim extremists which the U.S. government could not have anticipated?
Ivins is the third scientist who the government has accused of being the Anthrax killer.
First the Egyptian scientist, Dr. Ayaad Assaad, was framed.
When that frame-up fell apart, they tried to frame Stephen Hatfill.
Now, a couple of weeks after the frame-up against Hatfill unravelled, they are claiming that Ivins is the guy.
No wonder the former Senate Majority leader - who was himself mailed anthrax - said "he did not know if the investigation involving Ivins 'is just another false track and a real diversion of where they need to be. We don't know, and they aren't telling us.' "