KILL BRUCE! byPatrick Martin
TIME MAGAZINE SEEMS TO THINK ANTHRAX SCIENTIST Bruce IVINS SUICIDED HIMSELF AND WAS that fabled thing, a MAD SCIENTIST!
THE INFAMOUS "THEY" (unseen, unknown, unidentified but very rich,) killed 40 or more bio-weapon scientists in the last few years. Murdered them, suicided them. Car accidents. Whatever. AT LEAST FORTY men died because they KNEW SOMETHING and might have talked. And now 2008, Bruce Ivins of the Fort Detrick DEATH LAB supposedly killed himself. What was BRUCE? He was another man who might have "told on them. ' His death covered something up some plot or other. He was 'in the know' and he had to die and fershure, they'd find some phony drama to weave around him, like GUILT over Anthrax poisoning. The very poisoning that THE CIA DEPT OF DIRTY TRICKS had planned, themselves. See, CUI BONUM? A gov employee doesn't make cash if the world goes nuts on Anthrax as they allege. SOMEBODY with serious motive sent ANTHRAX to senators, liberal broadcasters and one very tacky publisher, the TABLOID, and actually (as this is a real serendipitous way to kill, ended up acing five. Justice/ FBI first went after HATFILL, another bio weapon SCIENTIST who lawyered up and SUED THEM and won millions.
So there's still an ANTHRAX POISONING CASE out there, right, nobody to hang it on. And there probably were all these deep sixed reasons to Kill Bruce. His supposed SUICIDE is the red herring of the hour. A genuine scientist doesn't wreak a CIA TYPE POISONING on Washington, selectively trying to kill broadcasters, publishers, senators, attempting to kill dozens more so that Vaccines he worked on would become hot stock.
From experience, we know that we have hundreds of MAD CIA PLOTS, exploding cigars and seashells to get Fidel, African liberals in car trunks being driven around by CIA operatives but in the history of Dirty Tricks, we have never had a SCIENTIST go mad. Well, Kozinsky but he's the only one. Mad SCI only happens in the MOVIES.
FORTY SCIENTISTS IN THE BIO WEAPON FIELD HAVE BEEN MURDERED.
The 41st is IVINS. IF they put him in a court, he MIGHT have proven his innocence. LIke Hatfill.
So they now get to try him in the court of EMPTY. VACANT IRREFUTABLE.
International Herald Tribune - A few days before the anthrax attacks of 2001, the scientist who has emerged as the suspect in the case sent e-mails warning that Osama bin Laden's "terrorists for sure have anthrax and sarin gas" and have "just decreed death to all Jews and all Americans," according to documents released by the government on Wednesday after Ivins' death. Now, I confess, I once manufactured emails from my landlady making ridiculous demands on me. I won in court after showing them to the judge. My miserable cheating landlady sat there not remembering as they were close enough to what she HAD sent me. I GOT HER! You think the CIA can't better what I DID?
Moreover, the government said, the scientist, Dr. Bruce Ivins, was the sole custodian as a microbiologist at Fort Detrick, Maryland, of the particular strain of anthrax used in the attacks, although he was not the sole person with access to that anthrax. . .
The segment about the e-mails notes that the wording was similar, and in some instances identical, to the language in the anthrax-laced letters. "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" were phrases that appeared both in the doctor's e-mails and in the letters. . .
The envelopes that held the letters were "federal eagle" envelopes, so-named because of the eagle perched on a bar bearing the initials "USA" in the upper right-hand corner, and bore tiny but tell-tale defects that searchers determined were traceable to a post office in Maryland or Virginia, the official documents relate.
And of the 16 government, commercial and university laboratories that had virulent anthrax strains like the one used in the deadly mailings, only one was in Maryland or Virginia ? the Fort Detrick lab where Ivins worked before his July 29 suicide, the documents say.
In addition, searches of Ivins's home in Frederick, Maryland, turned up "hundreds" of similar letters that had not yet been sent to media outlets and members of Congress, people who were briefed by the FBI on Wednesday said. Those people said investigators found that Ivins sometimes kept odd, night-time hours in the lab, and that he would sometimes drive to mailboxes miles out of his way. . .
As for motive, the documents suggest that in addition to whatever long-term personal problems he had, Ivins was distraught because a company had lost its government approval to produce an anthrax vaccine for troops, and he believed the vaccine was essential.
Friends and colleagues, meanwhile, have offered a more detailed account of
Ivins's difficult last nine months, saying that he
was so distraught by the FBI's constant scrutiny that he began drinking
excessively and had to be hospitalized twice for
periods of weeks for substance abuse.
A friend and fellow member of a 12-step program for alcoholics who spent
hours counseling him said Ivins, who at least in
recent years had not been a drinker, went rapidly downhill after the FBI
searched his house and questioned his wife and
children last November.
The friend, a fellow scientist who spoke on the condition that he not be
named, said Ivins had repeatedly denied sending the
anthrax letters and was particularly upset at what he considered to be the
FBI's aggressive questioning of his children,
Andrew and Amanda, both 24, as investigators tried to get them to turn on
"He said, 'I'm innocent of these charges,' " the friend said. "He was
absolutely shocked they were going after him like this."
Through much of the year, the friend said, Ivins was drinking large amounts
of vodka, combined with Ambien and
prescription tranquilizers. After being found unconscious in his home in
March, he spent four weeks in a treatment program at
Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland After that he spent another four
weeks in treatment at the Thomas Finan Center in
Cumberland, Maryland, being released to go home to Frederick in late May.
Smoking Gun - Included in the affidavits is the government's bid to
possibly explain why Ivins sent anthrax-filled letters to
Tom Brokaw (an NBC investigative reporter had filed a Freedom of
Information request regarding Ivins's laboratory work)
and U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle (the pols' pro-life stance
angered Ivins, a practicing Catholic). The
documents also describe how Ivins created a bogus e-mail trail in a bid to
deflect investigative attention from him to two other
scientists at Fort Detrick, where Ivins worked. The documents also describe
Ivins's fascination with the Kappa Kappa
Gamma sorority and how he engaged in an "edit war" on the group's Wikipedia
page. Ivins, investigators reported,
repeatedly posted negative information on the KKG page and was angered when
it was removed from the site by other
users. In a February 2007 online posting traced to one of his e-mail
addresses, Ivins bizarrely claimed that the sorority had,
many years earlier, labeled him an "enemy" and had issued a "Fatwah"
against him. Following the September 11 attacks (but
before the anthrax mailings), Ivins sent an e-mail to a colleague warning
that Osama bin Laden disciples possessed anthrax
and sarin gas. In other e-mails sent during 2000 and 2001, Ivins described
his precarious mental state and wrote that he
worried about someday reading a headline in the National Enquirer
exclaiming, "Paranoid Man Works With Deadly
Anthrax!!!" A July 11, 2008 affidavit reported that Ivins, angered at
being the government's prime suspect, planned "to kill
co-workers and other individuals who had wronged him." The law enforcement
searches, executed by agents with the FBI
and U.S. Postal Service, targeted Ivins's Frederick, Maryland home, his
government lab, three automobiles, several e-mail
accounts, and a safe deposit box.
Brad Blog - The first AP report relied heavily on testimony from Ivins'
short-time social worker Jean Duley, who has a
criminal record consisting of several drunk driving charges and narcotics
possession. She doesn't know how to spell the word
"therapist," according to her hand-scrawled note to the judge which she
filed while seeking a restraining order against Ivins. . .
The Frederick News-Post then notes today that apparently the FBI encouraged
Duley to seek the restraining order. "She
decided to get the peace order after an FBI agent working the case
suggested it," they write. . .
During a July 9 group session, Duley described Ivins as "extremely
agitated" and "out of control." When she asked him what
was going on, he told the group "a very long and detailed homicidal plan"
including killing his co-workers and roaming the
streets of Frederick trying to pick a fight with somebody so that he could
stab the person.
Those are some very serious charges, obviously, but they should be easy to
confirm, or quickly dismissed, by interviews with
other patients, since it was group therapy after all, and theoretically,
many others heard the same thing that Duley did. Has the
FBI talked with those folks yet? If so, they haven't decided to leak the
confirmation to the media. . . .
Duley had testified to the judge (on the suggestion of the FBI) that Ivins
"has been forensically diagnosed by several top
psychiatrists as a sociopathic homicidal killer." Oddly enough, however,
despite those supposed diagnosis, Ivins was allowed
to continue working in his high-security job at a U.S. Army facility, with
access to the world's most dangerous bio-terror
Stephen Kiehl, Baltimore Sun - The New York Times reported that
investigators intensively questioned his children,
Andrew and Amanda, now both 24. One former colleague, Dr. W. Russell Byrne,
said the agents pressed Ivins' daughter
repeatedly to acknowledge that her father was involved in the attacks. "It
was not an interview," Byrne said. "It was a frank
attempt at intimidation." Byrne said he believed Ivins was singled out
partly because of his personal weaknesses. "If they had
real evidence on him, why did they not just arrest him?". . .
Rep. Rush Holt, who represents the central New Jersey district where the
anthrax letters were mailed, said circumstantial
evidence is not enough, especially after the series of mistakes made in
this case. The FBI spent years investigating Steven J.
Hatfill, another scientist who worked in the same lab as Ivins. The
government recently agreed to pay a $5.82 million
settlement to Hatfill.
The article below was from TIME MAGAZINE by Amanda Ripley. TIME LIFE mag has a history of being an oligarch run, pro G.O.P media horn since the days of HENRY LUCE!
"For now, we do know that Bruce Ivins had a history of hiding relatively minor anthrax-related security breaches from his supervisors. He also was well-positioned to access anthrax, and his lab benefited enormously in money and resources from the fall-out of the anthrax attacks.
Along with other scientists, he was listed as a co-inventor on two patents for an anthrax vaccine, and he could have stood to gain financially from the rise in vaccinations that followed the anthrax attacks. Days before his death, he was accused by a counselor of making violent threats. But when it comes to the FBI and the anthrax investigation (or "Amerithrax," as the Feds so inelegantly call it), things are rarely as they first appear. Ivins had been cooperating with the FBI for six years, according to his attorney. In other cases, that's what happens when the FBI doesn't have a smoking gun but wants to wear a suspect down into confessing. But it's worth remembering that just one month ago, the federal government paid $5.8 million to Steven Hatfill, another scientist who worked at the very same research lab. Hatfill's name had been leaked to the media as a primary suspect during the years-long bioterrorism investigation. He was never arrested or charged, and when he sued the government for ruining his career, a federal judge found "not a scintilla of evidence" linking Hatfill to the mailings. Hatfill's lawyer, Thomas Connolly, said neither he nor his client had any comment on Ivins. The FBI had been watching Ivins' house for some time, according to neighbors' accounts, and it appears that the Los Angeles Times had also been investigating him well before he died. Ivins' lawyer says his client was totally innocent and that he killed himself because of the FBI's harassment. He was receiving psychotherapy in the weeks before his death and was banned from the premises of his research lab. Marilyn W. Thompson and Amy Goldstein, Washington Post - Nearly two years after anthrax-spore mailings killed five people and sickened 17 others, Army scientist Bruce E. Ivins accepted the Defense Department's highest honor for civilian performance for helping to resurrect a controversial vaccine that could protect against the deadly bacteria. . . The shy, socially awkward anthrax scientist was on the verge of indictment in the anthrax-spore mailings case, according to officials familiar with the investigation, and killed himself with a drug overdose as the FBI ratcheted up the pressure against him. The anthrax-laced letters, officials said, may have been part of a plan to test his cure for the deadly toxin. The Justice Department said yesterday only that "substantial progress has been made in the investigation." The statement did not identify Ivins. . . Ivins's attorney asserted the scientist's innocence and said he had cooperated with investigators for more than a year. . . For more than a decade, Ivins had worked to develop an anthrax vaccine that was effective even in cases where different strains of anthrax were mixed - a situation that made vaccines ineffective - according to federal documents. Among the small circle of scientists who worked with him, Ivins was solid, quiet, eccentric, even and a bit nerdy. But he also had a darker side, as suggested by court papers filed last month by Jean C. Duley, who asked a Frederick judge for a protective order against Ivins, saying he had repeatedly threatened her. "Client has a history dating to his graduate days of homicidal threats, actions, plans," the woman wrote in note attached to her request for protection.** She said Ivins' psychiatrist had confided to her that the scientist was "homicidal, sociopathic with clear intentions." She also noted that she had been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury about a capital murder case involving Ivins. It was a far different Ivins from the one colleagues and neighbors knew. As a microbiologist at the Army's main lab for studying bioterror agents, Ivins labored for years on the development of anthrax vaccines and had access to various strains of the anthrax bacteria, including the one used in attacks on media outlets and congressional offices. . . Ivins' profile increased after the anthrax mailings in October 2001, when the Fort Detrick labs went into a frenetic response to the crisis, testing suspicious mail and packages virtually around the clock. He was part of a response team that analyzed the handwritten letter sent to then senator Tom Daschle packed with Bacillus anthracis spores that matched the primary strain used in Fort Detrick research and had been used in the US biological weapons program until the 1970s. . . In early 2002, without notifying his supervisors, Ivins began sampling suspicious areas in the Detrick lab space that he believed might be contaminated with anthrax. He took unauthorized samples from the laboratory containment areas and later acknowledged to Army officials this was a violation of protocol. Ivins's odd behavior was detailed in an Army investigation, but his name never surfaced as a suspect in the mailings case. . . He also never raised the suspicions of coworkers, many of whom remained convinced Ivins had nothing to do with the case. "Almost everybody at 'RIID believes that he has absolutely nothing to do with Amerithrax," said a USAMRIID employee, referring to the FBI code name for the investigation. "The FBI has been hounding him mercilessly." The constant scrutiny "really pushed this poor guy to the edge," the employee said, and noted that his colleagues were upset at the way Ivins had been treated. Glenn Greenwald, Salon - The 2001 anthrax attacks remain one of the great mysteries of the post-9/11 era. After 9/11 itself, the anthrax attacks were probably the most consequential event of the Bush presidency. One could make a persuasive case that they were actually more consequential. The 9/11 attacks were obviously traumatic for the country, but in the absence of the anthrax attacks, 9/11 could easily have been perceived as a single, isolated event. It was really the anthrax letters - with the first one sent on September 18, just one week after 9/11 - that severely ratcheted up the fear levels and created the climate that would dominate in this country for the next several years after. It was anthrax - sent directly into the heart of the country's elite political and media institutions, to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt), NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, and other leading media outlets - that created the impression that social order itself was genuinely threatened by Islamic radicalism. If the now-deceased Ivins really was the culprit behind the attacks, then that means that the anthrax came from a U.S. Government lab, sent by a top U.S. Army scientist at Ft. Detrick. Without resort to any speculation or inferences at all, it is hard to overstate the significance of that fact. From the beginning, there was a clear intent on the part of the anthrax attacker to create a link between the anthrax attacks and both Islamic radicals and the 9/11 attacks. . . By design, those attacks put the American population into a state of intense fear of Islamic terrorism, far more than the 9/11 attacks alone could have accomplished. Much more important than the general attempt to link the anthrax to Islamic terrorists, there was a specific intent - indispensably aided by ABC News - to link the anthrax attacks to Iraq and Saddam Hussein. In my view, and I've written about this several times and in great detail to no avail, the role played by ABC News in this episode is the single greatest, unresolved media scandal of this decade. . . It's extremely possible - one could say highly likely - that the same people responsible for perpetrating the attacks were the ones who fed the false reports to the public, through ABC News, that Saddam was behind them. What we know for certain - as a result of the letters accompanying the anthrax - is that whoever perpetrated the attacks wanted the public to believe they were sent by foreign Muslims. Feeding claims to ABC News designed to link Saddam to those attacks would, for obvious reasons, promote the goal of the anthrax attacker(s). . . . There can't be any question that this extremely flamboyant though totally false linkage between Iraq and the anthrax attacks - accomplished primarily by the false bentonite reports from ABC News and Brian Ross - played a very significant role in how Americans perceived of the Islamic threat generally and Iraq specifically. As but one very illustrative example, The Washington Post's columnist, Richard Cohen, supported the invasion of Iraq, came to regret that support, and then explained what led him to do so, in a 2004 Post column entitled "Our Forgotten Panic": "I'm not sure if panic is quite the right word, but it is close enough. Anthrax played a role in my decision to support the Bush administration's desire to take out Saddam Hussein. I linked him to anthrax, which I linked to Sept. 11. I was not going to stand by and simply wait for another attack - more attacks. I was going to go to the source, Hussein, and get him before he could get us. As time went on, I became more and more questioning, but I had a hard time backing down from my initial whoop and holler for war." Cohen - in a March 18, 2008 Slate article in which he explains why he wrongfully supported the attack on Iraq - disclosed this: "Anthrax. Remember anthrax? It seems no one does anymore - at least it's never mentioned. But right after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, letters laced with anthrax were received at the New York Post and Tom Brokaw's office at NBC. . . . There was ample reason to be afraid. "The attacks were not entirely unexpected. I had been told soon after Sept. 11 to secure Cipro, the antidote to anthrax. The tip had come in a roundabout way from a high government official, and I immediately acted on it. I was carrying Cipro way before most people had ever heard of it. "For this and other reasons, the anthrax letters appeared linked to the awful events of Sept. 11. It all seemed one and the same. Already, my impulse had been to strike back, an overwhelming urge that had, in fact, taken me by surprise on Sept. 11 itself when the first of the Twin Towers had collapsed. . . . "In the following days, as the horror started to be airbrushed - no more bodies plummeting to the sidewalk - the anthrax letters started to come, some to people I knew. And I thought, No, I'm not going to sit here passively and wait for it to happen. I wanted to go to 'them,' whoever 'they' were, grab them by the neck, and get them before they could get us. One of 'them' was Saddam Hussein. He had messed around with anthrax . . . He was a nasty little fascist, and he needed to be dealt with. "That, more or less, is how I made my decision to support the war in Iraq.". . . We now know - we knew even before news of Ivins' suicide last night, and know especially in light of it - that the anthrax attacks didn't come from Iraq or any foreign government at all. It came from our own Government's scientist, from the top Army bioweapons research laboratory. More significantly, the false reports linking anthrax to Iraq also came from the U.S. Government - from people with some type of significant links to the same facility responsible for the attacks themselves. . . Update: Atrios writes: "now that we know that the US gov't believes that anthrax came from the inside, shouldn't Cohen be a wee bit curious about what this warning was based on?" That applies to much of the Beltway class, including many well-connected journalists, who were quietly popping cipro back then because, like Cohen, they heard from Government sources that they should. Leave aside the ethical questions about the fact that these journalists kept those warnings to themselves. Wouldn't the most basic journalistic instincts lead them now -- in light of the claims by our government that the attacks came from a government scientist -- to wonder why and how their government sources were warning about an anthrax attack? Then again, the most basic journalistic instincts would have led ABC News to reveal who concocted and fed them the false "Saddam/anthrax" reports in the first place, and yet we still are forced to guess at those questions because ABC News continues to cover up the identity of the perpetrators. Washington Post - For nearly seven years, scientist Bruce E. Ivins and a small circle of fellow anthrax specialists at Fort Detrick's Army medical lab lived in a curious limbo: They served as occasional consultants for the FBI in the investigation of the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks, yet they were all potential suspects. Over lunch in the bacteriology division, nervous scientists would share stories about their latest unpleasant encounters with the FBI and ponder whether they should hire criminal defense lawyers, according to one of Ivins's former supervisors. In tactics that the researchers considered heavy-handed and often threatening, they were interviewed and polygraphed as early as 2002, and re-interviewed numerous times. Their labs were searched, and their computers and equipment carted away. The FBI eventually focused on Ivins, whom federal prosecutors were planning to indict when he committed suicide last week. In interviews yesterday, knowledgeable officials asserted that Ivins had the skills and access to equipment needed to turn anthrax bacteria into an ultra-fine powder that could be used as a lethal weapon. . . "I really don't think he's the guy. I say to the FBI, 'Show me your evidence,' " said Jeffrey J. Adamovicz, former director of the bacteriology division at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, or USAMRIID, on the grounds of the sprawling Army fort in Frederick. "A lot of the tactics they used were designed to isolate him from his support. The FBI just continued to push his buttons." Investigators are so confident of Ivins's involvement that they have been debating since Friday whether and how to close the seven-year-old anthrax investigation. That would involve disbanding a grand jury in the District and unsealing scores of documents that form the basis of the government's case against Ivins. Negotiations over the legal issues continue, but a government source said that the probe could be shuttered as early as tomorrow. The move would amount to a strong signal that the FBI and Justice Department think they got their man -- and that he is dead, foreclosing the possibility of a prosecution. No charges are likely against others, that source added. Once the case is closed, the FBI and Justice Department will face questions -- and possibly public hearings -- from congressional oversight committees, which have been largely shut out of the case the past five years. . . Ivins's daily routine included the use of processes and equipment the anthrax terrorist likely used in making his weapons. He also is known to have had ready access to the specific strain of Bacillus anthracis used in the attack -- a strain found to match samples found in Ivins's lab, he said. "You could make it in a week," the expert said. "And you could leave USAMRIID with nothing more than a couple of vials. Bear in mind, they weren't exactly doing body searches of scientists back then." But others, including former colleagues and scientists with backgrounds in biological weapons defense, disagreed that Ivins could have created the anthrax powder, even if he were motivated to do so. "USAMRIID doesn't deal with powdered anthrax," said Richard O. Spertzel, a former biodefense scientist who worked with Ivins at the Army lab. "I don't think there's anyone there who would have the foggiest idea how to do it. You would need to have the opportunity, the capability and the motivation, and he didn't possess any of those.". . . Authorities cast doubt yesterday on reports that Ivins had acted for financial gain based on patents and scientific advances he had made. Experiments by Ivins, working with several other Fort Detrick colleagues, led to two patented inventions considered crucial in the development of a genetically modified anthrax vaccine made by VaxGen, a California company that secured large government contracts after the 2001 anthrax attacks. But sources familiar with details of the Army's patent process said it was unlikely that Ivins or the other scientists would reap a big financial windfall from VaxGen's vaccine production. They say the government restricts income from inventions produced in its laboratories to no more than $150,000 per year, but the amount is often considerably less. Court records obtained yesterday shed further light on the concerns of a mental health professional who met Ivins during his final months -- a period when, friends say, he fell into depression under the strain of constant FBI scrutiny. The records also suggest that a Frederick social worker, Jean Duley, passed on her concerns to the FBI after receiving death threats from Ivins. Duley became so worried that she petitioned a local judge for a protective order against Ivins. According to an audio recording of the hearing, she said she had seen Ivins as a therapist for six months, and thought he had tried to kill people in the past. "As far back as the year 2000, [Ivins] has actually attempted to murder several other people, [including] through poisoning," she said "He is a revenge killer, when he feels that he's been slighted . . . especially towards women. He plots and actually tries to carry out revenge killings," she told a judge. She described a July 9 group therapy session in which Ivins allegedly talked of mass murder. "He was extremely agitated, out of control," she said. Ivins told the group he had bought a gun, and proceeded to lay out a "long and detailed homicidal plan," she said. "Because he was about to be indicted on capital murder charges, he was going to go out in a blaze of glory; that he was going to take everybody out with him," she said.
World Socialist Web Site knows that TIME LIFE has been an oligarch serving, G.O.P media FLUNKY since the days of HENRY LUCE. They FEEL that HE WAS MURDERED.
Mounting questions over US anthrax probe and scientist’s alleged suicide
By Patrick MartinOne week after an Army germ warfare scientist apparently committed suicide, there are mounting questions over the government’s handling of the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks and expressions of skepticism regarding the sensationalized media coverage of the past four days.
4 August 2008
Colleagues and friends of Dr. Bruce Ivins, who died Tuesday from an overdose of prescription Tylenol he had taken two days earlier, have cast doubt on the claims by the FBI and Justice Department that Ivins perpetrated the anthrax attacks. They have also debunked many of the claims made in initial news reports about Ivins’ death.
Ivins’ lawyer, Paul Kemp, sent an email to news organizations Saturday denouncing reports that his client was considering a plea bargain to avoid a death sentence for the anthrax mailings, calling such reports “entirely spurious.” Kemp had been contacted by federal investigators—the FBI interviewed Ivins several times over the past year as well as searching his home—but there was no discussion of a possible plea.
Initial press accounts suggested that Ivins had committed suicide because he faced imminent indictment on five capital murder charges, with prosecutors determined to seek the death penalty. National Public Radio reported Sunday, however, that government investigators said they “still were several major legal steps away from indicting” Ivins, and that the Department of Justice leadership had not yet approved bringing charges. The process of obtaining executive approval, presenting the case to the grand jury and obtaining an indictment “could have taken weeks.”
There were conflicting reports about whether Ivins had the skills necessary to create the finely ground powder form of anthrax used in the 2001 mailings. Some germ warfare experts said that the job was not that difficult from a technical standpoint. But Dr. Alan P. Zelicoff, a physician formerly consulted by the FBI investigation, told the New York Times, “I don’t think a vaccine specialist could do it. This is aerosol physics, not biology. There are very few people who have their feet in both camps.”
Several current and former officials at the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), where Ivins worked, said they would not believe the charges against Ivins without convincing evidence that the FBI has yet to produce. Jeffrey J. Adamovicz, former director of the bacteriology division at USAMRIID, told the Washington Post, “I really don’t think he’s the guy. I say to the FBI, ‘Show me your evidence’.” He added, referring to the intense investigative pressure on Ivins, “A lot of the tactics they used were designed to isolate him from his support. The FBI just continued to push his buttons.”
Many of Ivins’ co-workers blamed his evident psychological disintegration on the constant harassment by the FBI, and said his suicide should not be viewed as an admission of guilt. Local police have refused to reveal whether Ivins left a suicide note.
The official statement issued by USAMRIID said the agency “mourns the loss of Dr. Bruce Ivins, who served the institute for more than 35 years as a civilian microbiologist.” Time magazine commented: “That seems like an unusual thing to say if you believe one of your employees had something to do with an anthrax attack.”
The magazine continued, “It now remains incumbent on the FBI to reveal what information it had linking Ivins to the attacks. Given the federal government’s record on the anthrax investigation, and the national security interests involved, Ivins’ death should not be used as an excuse for the case to be closed without a full, public airing.”
The Los Angeles Times reported similar sentiments expressed by the lawyer for the family of Bob Stevens, the photo editor for the Sun tabloid who died in the first anthrax mailing. “The family definitely wants to be able to see the evidence that the FBI has accumulated, that they’re not just trying to make this guy a scapegoat,” Schuler said.
Several press accounts cited FBI officials and government scientists who could not be quoted by name, claiming that Ivins was identified as the anthrax mailer through the use of sophisticated new DNA testing techniques that were not available at the time of the attacks, which killed five people and sickened 17 more between late September and early November 2001.
The Associated Press (AP) reported that DNA testing had conclusively linked the strain of anthrax used in the mailing to the biological weapons laboratory at Fort Detrick, near Frederick, Maryland, where Ivins worked, and to his work area within the lab. “It had to do with the very specific characteristics in the DNA of the letters and what was in Bruce’s labs,” an unidentified scientist told AP. “They were cultures he was personally responsible for.”
The AP report noted, however: “Dozens of other researchers in Ivins’ lab also had access to the type of Ames strain used in the attacks, the scientist said, meaning the DNA alone is not enough to prove his guilt.”
FBI and Justice Department officials have so far refused to release any evidence that would conclusively link Ivins to the anthrax mailings, citing the secrecy of grand jury proceedings. The next step could be an official decision to shut down the investigation and dissolve the grand jury, on the supposition that Ivins was a lone attacker and cannot now be prosecuted.
The downside to such an action—from the standpoint of these agencies—is that they could then be compelled to release the files of the case, either through congressional hearings or Freedom of Information Act suits brought by the press or the families of the victims.
It is not possible to determine at this point, given the lack of evidence, whether Dr. Bruce Ivins was responsible for the anthrax attacks. What can be said with certainty, however, is that the FBI, the Justice Department and the Bush White House are all proceeding as though they have something to hide.
The Bush administration has refused all congressional requests for information on the investigation for nearly seven years. Even the two Democratic officials whose offices were targets of the anthrax mailings, Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader, and Patrick Leahy, still the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have been denied any significant briefing on the progress of the case.
Daschle, who was defeated for reelection in 2004 and is now a top adviser to the presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama, issued a statement saying that “the FBI owes it to the country to provide some accounting of their investigation and their expectations for a successful conclusion.” But most of Daschle’s former Senate and House colleagues have been remarkably silent on what must be considered the attempted assassination of the Democratic Senate leadership.
One of the few criticisms of the FBI’s handling of the anthrax case came from a Republican, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who declared, “It’s been frustrating that the FBI has essentially shut out Congress throughout its seven-year investigation. Now seems to be the opportune time for the bureau to brief Congress about whether the case is to be closed and justice will be served ... In the meantime, we should remember that a rush to judgment can be dangerous and expensive for everyone. The last person the FBI had in its sights in this case suffered for six years and just collected a $6 million settlement.”
This was a reference to the FBI pursuit of Steven Hatfill, a former bio weapons scientist at Fort Detrick who was publicly named a “person of interest” in the anthrax case by then-Attorney-General John Ashcroft in 2002. The Justice Department agreed in June to pay Hatfill $5.8 million to drop his civil suit against government harassment.
The American media has consistently downplayed the evident right-wing political motivation of the anthrax attacks. One incident, reported by the Brad Blog web site, captures this deliberate political censorship. When the site contacted Tom Ivins, brother of the deceased scientist, and asked him what Bruce Ivins’s political views were, “He was surprised by the question, and although he said he’d been speaking with reporters all day ... none of the other reporters, not one of them, had asked him about his brother’s political affiliations, leanings, or beliefs.”
What these views are remains unclear, beyond his professed support to the most socially conservative tenets of Roman Catholicism. But the indifference to the question shows the determination, on the part of the media and political elite, to attribute terrorism exclusively to Islamic fundamentalists while ignoring the violent activities of the ultra-right.
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