Friday, August 29, 2008

Frederick News-Post Op-Ed: Elephant in the Room

If Not Ivins by Katherine Heerbrandt

When Norm Covert, a conservative former Fort Detrick public affairs officer, and attorney Barry Kissin, liberal activist opposing Detrick's biolab expansion, agree that Bruce Ivins was not the anthrax killer, either the world's spinning off its axis, or the truth is staring us so hard in the face we'd have to be blind to miss it.

Covert's piece this week in establishes what many in our community, including scientists and support staff at USAMRIID, past and present, know: Bruce Ivins had nothing to do with preparing or sending the anthrax letters. --

In a recent letter to the FNP editor, Amanda Lane speaks for many who knew him: "I want to shout from the mountain tops that Bruce was the kind of man we look up to ... He was a decorated scientist and the humblest of men who didn't use his title as a status symbol. He picked up a mop or emptied the trash without a moment's hesitation. If he thought you were having a bad day he would offer candy or a catchy tune to cheer you up. If someone had to stay late to accomplish a task, Bruce would work with you so that the task would get completed faster."

Covert echoes what is widely reported by reputable scientists. The anthrax in the mailings, he says, was "highly bred, weapons-grade ... with a silica coating and a slight electrical charge so that each particle repelled the other ... each particle no more than five microns." Ivins had neither the expertise nor the equipment to create such a sophisticated form of anthrax.

But if not Ivins, then who or what?

"It's the elephant in the room nobody's talking about," Kissin says.

Since Nixon terminated the offensive weapons program at Detrick in 1969, there has been only one corporation in our country that operates laboratories where anthrax is weaponized: Battelle Memorial Laboratories, the corporation that does the biolab work for the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Army at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

In December 2001, FBI Director Mueller announced that the Battelle-operated labs in West Jefferson, Ohio and at Dugway had been "searched," and that there were NO suspects in those labs.

The FBI has not mentioned Battelle since.

New York Times science writer William Broad covered the subject in his 2002 book "Germs, Biological Weapons and America's Secret War." According to Broad, Projects Jefferson and Clear Vision, begun in the late '90s were ongoing secret anthrax weaponization projects. Project Clear Vision was managed by the CIA at the Battelle labs in West Jefferson, Ohio. Project Jefferson was managed by the DIA at the Battelle-operated labs at Dugway.

Kissin and writer Sheila Casey thread this information together in a recently published article in the Rock Creek Free Press,, to conclude that the case against Ivins is nothing but a flimsy cover-up of the secret workings of these anthrax weaponization projects.

How do Americans even begin to confront the reality that the only bioattack in our history came from an American military/intelligence lab? An attack we were told made the massive expansion of biolabs at Detrick and across the country necessary.

And guess who's been hired for $750 million to manage and operate the first new biolab facilities at Detrick that are about to open?

Battelle Memorial Laboratories.


Elizabeth Ferrari / San Francisco said...

The Valley Advocate:

Guilty by Reason of Insanity
Did the FBI make its case against Bruce Ivins? Or was Ivins a convenient scapegoat due to his alleged history of mental illness?

Thursday, August 28, 2008
By Mark Roessler

Last month, Dr. Bruce E. Ivins died an innocent man.

Days later, authorities sought to shroud his passing in a cloud of guilt.

His wife and children barely had weeks to grieve before the Federal Bureau of Investigation decided to bypass judge and jury and argue their case directly to the public. They announced that he died shortly after he'd heard the Bureau was preparing to serve him with an indictment accusing him of the anthrax murders and resulting scare that occurred shortly after the September 11 attack in 2001.

Not long after he'd drawn his last breath, details of the circumstantial case against Dr. Ivins were leaked, pointing to reports of psychological problems, counseling, and medication he was taking after having bouts of paranoid and delusional thoughts. Many, including the New York Times, hoped a full disclosure of evidence would be more convincing than the revelation that a scientist working for the military was seeing a therapist.

Ennealogic said...

I've been puzzling over this: the first death attributed to the "lone wolf" anthrax mailer was Robert Stevens, photo editor for the Sun, a tabloid published by AMI.

Where in anything the FBI has said or published or leaked is a motive for this?

Anonymous said...

In just over four months the Bush Administration is history (all bad), and most likely a Democratic President and Congress will take over in Washington. As details emerge on the FBI's case (aka second-guess) against Dr. Ivins, the "case" becomes weaker by the minute...

Somewhere documents are being burned furiously by a person unknown, who wakes every night in a cold sweat.

Meanwhile an old school FBI agent meets secretly at night with a hard-nosed Department of Justice colleague. As the two raise their glasses to to toast, the unknown document-burner suddenly awakes from another bad dream. At that moment all three utter the same phrase, "It ain't over!"

Elizabeth Ferrari / San Francisco said...

Fyi, Meryl, I put this up at OpEdNews.

Sheila Casey said...

Katherine Heerbrandt references the article Barry Kissin and I wrote; it is available here:

daedalus2u said...

In reading the FBI's account again, and thinking about the gigantic deal they make of testing 1000 samples and finding only 8 having the same 4 mutations. By what basis do they assume that each individual who provided each of the 1000 samples actually provided the correct sample and didn't substitute something else (the way they at first said that Ivins did)? It would be pretty trivial to subculture a mixture and get a single pure clone and submit that. Or grow a clone and substitute that for your sample in inventory and destroy the original.

If you knew that your sample was the source, and the FBI came asking for a sample, it would be pretty obvious that you should send them something else, and not the mix that you sent through the mail.

Snapple said...

The Rock Creek Free Press posts a lot of crackpot science. Sheila Casey even wrote propaganda about AIDS.

Unfortunately the KGB threw her under the bus and admitted they spread the lie that AIDS was made by American scientists at Fort Detrick.

The Russian Newspaper Izvestia, March 19, 1992:
“The head of the Foreign Intelligence Service [KGB General Yevgeni Primakov] made a number of really sensational announcements. He mentioned the well-known articles printed a few years ago in our central newspapers about AIDS supposedly originating from secret Pentagon laboratories. According to Yevgeni Primakov, the articles exposing the U.S. scientists’ 'crafty' plot against mankind were fabricated in KGB offices.