Tuesday, September 9, 2008

On Weaponization: Some Contributions from Others

From Sandia is a press release discussing their analysis of the spores

From Dr. Henry L. Niman is a discussion of how some letters only caused cutaneous anthrax, while others only caused inhalation anthrax, strong indirect support for weaponization, since in nature there are vastly more cutaneous than inhalation cases, even in areas where spores are regularly inhaled.

Dr. Barbara Rosenberg presents a detailed and well-referenced discussion of several aspects of weaponization. Unfortunately, I have lost the links she provided, but will try to correct this asap.

An Anonymous Scientist made some salient points as comments to my blog that I'd like to highlight also.


Anonymous said...

I believe I understand Anon's point about the FBI potentially misreading the isotope distribution analysis. If they didn't take the permeability issue into account, their evaluation could prematurely narrow or skew the pool of possible origins. (Whew!)

Here, it might be a good idea to remember that the science reported by the Justice Department may not reflect all that was actually found by FBI personnel and / or that the report was edited before it was presented in order to make the strongest public case. We don't know if they looked at the permeability studies you point to; we know they didn't talk about them.

In that context, it's hard to take the FBI's science as presented seriously because they don't seem to take it seriously themselves except as a selling point. It seems to be subject to the same cherrypicking that tried to sell us the idea that six kids from West Virginia came up with the Abu Graib torture program when it was obvious that the same program was in place in Afghanistan and in Guantanamo.

Anonymous said...

Rosenberg makes some cogent points about the bacillus subtilis contamination.*

Has the FBI been asked whether they tried to genetically match the bacillus subtilis with samples at USAMRIID and elsewhere?

* but damn, I wish she hadn't dropped the name of you-know-who, even if it was just an innocent passing remark.

AJ said...

Dr. Nass, I want to thank you for your dedication and perseverance regarding the anthrax attacks. I continue to read your blog every few days. You present very salient points and I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your effort to accumulate information into a single blog.

Anonymous said...

Also regarding the bacillus subtilus...it makes perfect sense that the perp would experiment with this safe anthrax simulant prior to making the "real thing". Which explains why the first batch was contaminated, and the second wasn't.