The Hunt for the September-October Anthrax Killer
In the Government’s never ending story, The Hunt for the September-October
Anthrax Killer, the case against Dr. Bruce “Crazy” Ivins reads like a Tom
Clancy novel, you know…CIA fiction. The
Government’s story, which will not be judged by a jury, has plot holes that rival those in Clancy’s
“Hunt for Red October.” The Government’s circumstantial case against Ivins
rests heavily on motive, specifically, why did he travel hundreds of miles to
To help to understand the plot holes in the Government Anthrax investigation one needs to read the Bible – i.e. the Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier – to learn about common screenwriting tools such as MacGuffins and plot devices.
A MacGuffin is an object which drives the actions of the characters, but whose actual nature is not important to the story; another object would work just as well, if the characters treated it with the same importance.
A plot device is an element introduced into a story solely to advance or resolve the plot of the story. In the hands of a skilled writer the reader or viewer will not notice that the device is a construction of the author; it will seem to follow naturally from the setting or characters in the story. A poorly-written story, on the other hand, may have such awkward or contrived plot devices that the reader has serious trouble maintaining suspension of disbelief.
MacGuffin 1: Government investigators had
an explanation for why Ivins drove hundreds of miles to mail the anthrax
letters from a particular mailbox in Princeton,New Jersey
BUT the Associated Press reported Kappa Kappa Gamma did not have a Princeton University
While Government investigators apparently didn’t know that fact, Ivins
apparently did. The New York Times reported Ivins had visited Kappa Kappa Gamma
sorority houses at universities in Maryland
MacGuffin 2: The Greendale School
Interestingly, this MacGuffin was also the “circumstantial” link to the other “mad
scientist” who John Ashcroft acknowledged as a “person of interest”. During the investigation of Dr. Steven Hatfill
it was learned that he attended medical school in Rhodesia
Plot holes? What plot holes?
And yet the Government still asserts absent the PU motive the evidence against Ivins as “overwhelming, any chance at full certainty was lost when Ivins took his own life in July, said Ed Montooth, the FBI special agent in charge of the investigation the bureau dubbed "Amerithrax." "We were truly disgusted after we knew he had killed himself," Montooth said, "because we knew the only way we'd have justice was to be in court."
Will someone please take the FBI up on Montooth's offer?
Holt for 1 too?
"I would like to have had the evidence tested in a court of law," Congressman Rush Holt said. "This is playing out in the court of public opinion and not in the court of law. The American way is to allow the accused to rebut the case in court. Of course, this guy never will."
Who writes this stuff? Perhaps the answer lies with "Red October".
Capt. Bart Mancuso: Central Intelligence Agency... Now, there's a contradiction in terms.
Ryan: I'm not an agent, I just write books for the CIA.
The greatest threat to this country is one the Government apparently is determined to make US forget: the domestic and international terrorists who were behind the Anthrax Attacks of 2001.
The following analysis of the Anthrax Attacks suggests the “poison pen letters” were part of an international coordinated effort to lead the country into an unjustified war against “Islamofascism”, along with the Italian Niger Yellowcake forgeries, the Mohammad Atta non-meeting in Prague with Iraqi agents and the “Curveball” intelligence that a gullible Sec State sold US at the UN. . If so, the “truth” and some very dangerous people are still out there.
Where does this sordid trail lead? As in another conspiracy the FBI did its best to ignore, as Deep Throat advised, “follow the money.”
“We are not alone”: The investigation into the anthrax mailings has drawn harsh reviews from critics in recent Senate and House hearings, such as Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who questioned whether one person could have carried out the attacks. The Justice Department publicly named Bruce Ivins as their lead suspect in the attacks in August, days after his suicide. Ivins' attorney, Paul Kemp, says his client was innocent and suggested many researchers had access to the anthrax identified by genetic fingerprints.
The Department of Justice says it is confident that Ivins sent the letters containing powdered anthrax that killed five people in 2001. But because Ivins allegedly committed suicide, (he did not leave a suicide note) his guilt or innocence will never be determined in court. This begs the question, if Steven Hatfill had cracked under Government pressure and “committed suicide”, would Ivins be alive today?
In disclosing its evidence against Ivins, the government links the anthrax used in the attacks to a sample Ivins created. But Ivins' lawyer, Paul Kemp, says "dozens . if not hundreds" of scientists, contractors and others used that same anthrax.
The curious case of the Anthrax investigation has many unresolved issues that would cause a reasonable one to concede there is a “reasonable doubt” as to Ivins’ guilt, such as:
According to the USA Today, the FBI never examined anthrax samples from the 2001 contamination of a bio-defense lab that was covered up by their lead suspect in the anthrax mailings -- a decision that one of the FBI's leading anthrax experts calls "weird."
FBI investigators have not yet analyzed the genetic fingerprints of 25 anthrax samples supplied from the lab contamination investigation, says Vahid Majidi of the FBI's Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.
"They're still in my lab," says Paul Keim, a microbiologist.. Keim called the FBI's decision not to examine the contamination samples "weird" given the intensity of investigators' focus on biodefense researchers, which included polygraphs of Army institute researchers.
"I don't know" why the FBI never analyzed the 2002 anthrax in Ivins' office, says Debbie Weierman of the FBI's Washington Field Office. "Suspicion on him was immense, if you look at this in hindsight."
"Why didn't the FBI analyze it? One presumes this was pretty relevant evidence," says bio-defense analyst Michael Stebbins of the Federation of American Scientists
"It raises questions about systematic errors in the FBI investigation."
The 11 O clock News will attempt to shine a light on these “systematic” (read: systemic) errors.
"When you have one of the first brains up against you, and all the powers of darkness at his back, there are infinite possibilities." – Sherlock Holmes
Actress and singer Edie Adams, who won a Tony Award for bringing Daisy Mae to life on Broadway and who played the television foil to her husband, comedian Ernie Kovacs, has died.
A liberated woman decades before the movement, the multi-talented Ms. Adams was a survivor. She single-handedly repaid the IRS a half million dollars in back taxes after Ernie's death. That tapped into her years of selling Muriel Cigars in TV commercials. She also successfully raised three girls. Two were from Ernie's first marriage.
Edie's film career was prolific with over 20 titles but it was her performance as Monica Crump, Sid Caesar's wife, in 1963's "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" that was her most high profile one.
"It was a gift," she says, referring to working in the film soon after Ernie's death. Though grieving, it helped to be surrounded by the biggest names in comedy. I love to be around funny men; Sid Caesar and Ernie were very similar in their comedy."
Edie fondly remembers her "Mad World" co-stars Phil Silvers pulling pranks on a scene-stealing Milton Berle, and Jonathan Winters.
"Ethel Merman was intimidated by Jonathan," Edie recalls. "This loud, blustery Broadway legend was totally soft spoken around Jonathan (off camera), and would leave the area when Jonathan was coming near."
The shy Pennsylvania girl raised by "strict Hessian parents" hit the big time in show business, despite a controlling mother who advised her daughter to seek nothing more than to "sing a pretty song and wear a pretty dress."
She was 81.
The FBI, seeking to counter scientific skepticism on its investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks, insists that the anthrax powder could have been made by Ivins and contained no "intentional additives" to make it more dispersible. According to a New York Times report on the press conference, FBI officials said, "FBI scientists easily reproduced it with gear that Ivins regularly used," the article stated.
As the Washington Post noted, the anthrax was: 1.5 to 3 microns in size and processed to a grade of 1 trillion spores per gram -- 50 times finer than anything produced by the now-defunct U.S. bio-weapons program and 10 times finer than the finest known grade of Soviet anthrax spores. In addition, the anthrax sent to Daschle and Leahy was so advanced that no one at Fort Detrick had ever seen anything like it before.
The FBI's new revelations did not eliminate skepticism about the case. Dr. Richard Spertzel, a retired microbiologist who led the United Nations' biological weapons inspections in Iraq, called the FBI's new presentation "a pretty tenuous argument," according to the Times. He specifically questioned the agency's claim that the letter anthrax was not "military grade."
In addition, Dr. C.J. Peters, a virologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, said it is puzzling that the FBI has not reported finding traces of the letter anthrax in places where Ivins lived and worked, given how widely the spores were dispersed in settings such as the Washington, DC, post office that processed the letters mailed to senators. "I would contend that anywhere he made the powder or manipulated the powder was almost certainly contaminated," Peters told CIDRAP news by e-mail. "Think about the positive nasal swabs in the Hart office building or environmental swabs in the post office. Look at the spore counts on the protective gear when the Leahy letter was detected."
Some of the top anthrax experts in the world say that the killer anthrax was weaponized: William C. Patrick III, top U.S. bioweapons expert, who holds numerous patents on the weaponization of anthrax, and former chief of the Product Development Division of the Agent Development and Engineering Directorate for the Army's Biological Warfare laboratories at Fort Detrick and consultant to the C.I.A., stated of the anthrax in the Leahy and Daschle letters: "It’s high-grade. It’s free flowing. It’s electrostatic free. And it’s in high concentration. It appears to have an additive that keeps the spores from clumping."
Dr. John Ezzell, a top expert who has published some 60 articles on anthrax, tested the letter and concluded that, in his many years of researching anthrax, he had never seen anthrax spores so potent. Dr. Ezzell characterized the anthrax in the Daschle letter as being "weaponized." Indeed, the anthrax spores were so potent that, when Dr. Ezzell opened the Daschle letter to test it, some of its contents aerosolized instantly.
Early in the investigation, the FBI indicated that the mailed anthrax was a weaponized product, treated or processed to make it spread more easily through the air and penetrate deep into the lungs. It was reported that the powder contained silicon and that Army experts had been unable to replicate the material. The implication was that one person working alone would not have been able to produce the powder. But in a statement presented at a news conference, the FBI said, "There were no intentional additives combined with the Bacillus anthracis spores to make them any more dispersible." However, silicon was found in the mailed anthrax (as reported previously), and FBI officials conceded that the duplicate powder they made did not match the letter anthrax in that respect, according to reports by the Times and the Washington Post. FBI scientists said they concluded that the high level of silicon occurred naturally in the anthrax used in the attacks, the Times reported.
Sounds like an open and shut case to me - the sooner it is shut, the better. We don’t want any Oliver Stones looking for deadly spores on a grassy knoll (ha, ha, ha). But just to be safe, let’s put all those wacko conspiracy theories to rest. If the killer spores were “easily reproduced” by FBI scientists, then no one should object to the FBI providing the Anthrax recipe to a qualified scientific lab for an independent scientific test.
To recap: Police round-up the Usual Suspect in the murder of a mother-to-be, and that would be the pater famili-as in Scott Peterson. Violating the Sherlock Holmes dictum - let the evidence drive the investigation - the police instead rely on the Idiot’s Guide to Solving Homicide: the husband/boyfriend/butler did it.
Calling Sherlock Holmes: The Scott Peterson investigation is a textbook case about the power of the self-fulfilling prophesy. Scott Peterson has always been the focus of the investigation. Let US ignore the facts as well as the Prosecution’s failure to establish trivial details such as Motive and the Psychological profile of the Accused. And let’s ignore any clues that get in the way of “justice”.
Curious Clue – Who let the dog out, who?
Six witnesses in the neighborhood
saw Laci walking her dog around the block the day she was supposedly
killed. Some of the witnesses said
Laci was being followed by two men. At
the same location, screaming is heard. At the same location, a suspicious
van speeds off. Reportedly, the same van was in front of her house 45
Vivian Mitchell says she saw Laci Peterson walking her dog Christmas Eve
morning, about 45 minutes after Scott Peterson left for a fishing trip.
Mitchell said it was between 10 and 10:15 a.m. when she saw Laci Peterson, wearing black
and white clothes. She called police and reported the sighting but they did
not call her back. Vivian had been washing dishes at her sink on Dec. 24
when she saw Peterson walk by her La Loma neighborhood home. "I had
glanced out the window, and the sun had come out and it was a very nice
day," she said. "It had been raining recently, so the sunshine
brought out all the dog walkers. I'm
sure it was Laci on Christmas Eve morning," she insists. "That was
the lady I saw. And she is so striking. Beautiful Lady and a Beautiful
Her husband, Bill Mitchell, a former three-term Modesto city councilman, said he was flipping through television channels when his wife called to him. "She said there was a pregnant lady with a beautiful dog."
Karen Servas, a neighbor, said she spotted the Petersons' golden retriever about 10:30 a.m. The dog was wearing its leash, which was muddy, and the possibility that Laci was abducted shortly after Mrs. Mitchell spotted her, demanded a very thorough and comprehensive investigation.
Homer Moldanado also saw Laci as he was driving to work that morning, he noted she was wearing a white shirt and black pants.
Curious Clue – Scott left a slew
For the Perfect Crime, Scott apparently screwed up when told the police the exact spot he went fishing where the body was eventually found. He travels 80 miles to go fishing, comes home with a receipt where he bought buy gas and food along the way, keeps the receipt of the dock and tells the police exactly where he went fishing. This is why you don’t put a defendant on the stand.
Curious Clue – Nice guy through and through
What about Scott’s psych profile? There was no history of domestic violence. No drugs. No financial problems. Scott worked three jobs to put himself through college and put his wife through college. Laci’s family talked about how much they loved each other. How happy they were. How happily married people they were.
Curious Clue – Money a motive too?
What about the $250, 000 life insurance policy? It's not a policy. It was a retirement policy that has insurance attached.
(Tomorrow – If not the money, then what about that Honey?)
Editors’ note: To even a
disinterested observer of Bizarro World that is paraded before US each night on
cable television, one would justifiably think that Scott Peterson was one of
the most important people in history. How else can the Mediocre Media justify the endless hours that it
has spent pandering to the masses that Scott deserved special consideration,
amidst the thousands of other murder cases that are lucky to make a mention on
the Obits page. But this is a topic that deserves the talents of the
Woodwards and Bernsteins of the world to address.
How could this happen in America? Why it was a total team effort, primarily headed by the Cable Enablers that have convicted many other innocents, such as the Duke Lacrosse team. These “Rush to Judgment” types failed to verify information they were given by the police and happily spread the misinformation to a voracious public. Then there were prosecutors who misrepresented and exaggerated the evidence. And let’s not forget to credit the Judge who failed to call a mistrial after repeated misconduct by the prosecutors and jurors.
What are the “facts”? The police concluded Scott strangled Laci either on the night of December 23 or the morning of December 24, 2002, in their home. He then wrapped her in a tarp, removed her from the house to his Ford pickup truck, and transported her to a warehouse. He unwrapped her from the tarp and put her into the boat, tied weights around her, and attached the boat cover so she could not be seen. He drove to the Berkeley Marina and headed towards Brooks Island. There he dumped Laci's pregnant body into the Bay, expecting it to never surface. On April 13 and April 14, respectively, Conner and Laci washed ashore in the same spot where Scott said he was fishing.
Sounds like a wrap. Guess it’s time for the Cable Enablers to move onto the next tidbit to satisfy the public’s voracious appetite for “news”. But hold onto your lugnuts, this investigation needs an overhaul.
Question 1: When did Connor
die, Mr. Peterson?
The measurements taken by Dr. Brian Peterson, the forensic pathologist who performed Conner's autopsy, confirm that Conner lived beyond December 24, 2002. The measurements taken by Dr. Alison Galloway, the forensic anthropologist tasked with determining Conner's age at the time of his death, confirm that Conner lived beyond December 24, 2002. Furthermore, Conner's macerated condition is not consistent with a 3.5 month intrauterine retention.
Question 2. Who wrapped twine around “unborn” Conner’s neck?
Sufficient testimony was given, from the criminologist and medical examiner, both State witnesses, to conclude that the twine could not have wrapped around Conner’s neck accidentally. As Dr. Cyril Wecht noted, "never in a million years."
Question 3. What evidence was that Laci was strangled and what about her other wounds?
Laci's injuries or bodily conditions are not consistent with the State's theory: two ribs fractured at the time of death or shortly thereafter is not consistent with the theory she died from strangulation.
Question 4. Was Scott the most competent killer or a total incompetent?
The perfect crime? Even CSI could not produce any trace evidence of Laci's murder or dead body from any of the multiple crime scenes or items that came into direct contact with her deceased body. Nor could the State produce any evidence of a clean-up.
The sole evidence produced consisted of two strands of hair of dubious origin that might have been Laci's found in a pair of pliers that the State criminologist concluded was not used in the commission of this crime.
The State could not produce a single eye witness that saw Scott Peterson committing any part of this crime, in spite of the fact that much of the crime occurred over several hours, in broad daylight, and in public places.
Amateur Hour? Inexplicably Scott apparently left ample evidence of his plan to travel to the marina, which police then used to tie Scott to the crime. And obviously Scott's no Boy Scout, given his inability to tie a slipknot, which allowed Laci's body to surface.
Question 5. Why was there no cadaver scent at any of the alleged crime scenes?
Cadaver dogs did not discover any indication of Laci's dead body at any of the crime scenes, in spite of the State's argument that Laci had been dead 12 hours before Scott moved her from the house.
"The cardinal rule of criminal detection was carved in stone more than a century ago. It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence, ... It biases the judgment.” - Sherlock Holmes
(More tomorrow: Motive, location and Identity)
“You've got to remember, that these are just simple farmers, these are people of the land, (e.g. the brush clearers, the moose hunters, the polar bear cub murderers) the common clay of the new west. You know . . . morons.” - Blazing Saddles
“Oh, I think they’re critics just not used to someone coming in from the outside saying you know what? It’s time that a normal Joe Six-Pack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency, and I think that that’s kind of taken some people off guard, and they’re out of sorts, and they’re ticked off about it,” - “Six-pack” Sarah Palin.
Sorry Sarah, but if you had read a newspaper or a magazine in the past eight years you would have known we’ve been there, done that. We’re very used to “saying you know what?” We had our beer with George. Bar's closed.
As you gather with your loved ones around the Looking Glass tonight and watch what McCain hath wrought, remember the wise words of a “critic” who so astutely foretold the devolution of our body politic. H.L. Mencken's astute prediction on the future course of American presidential politics and the electorate's taste in candidates has sadly come to pass. Jimmy Carters aside, H.L. pretty much nailed it.
“All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily and adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
Will Sarah be “Joe Six Pack’s” hero to replace the current mediocrity of the White House? And if she does, what a “Lost” country it will be. George fiddled while Wall Street burned. Following his “Joe Six Pack” gut instincts, he has virtually bankrupted the United States of America and put us in hock to the tune of nine trillion dollars — a sum larger than that accumulated by all the 42 other presidents we had in two and a quarter centuries.
Kind of makes me want to give up the suds. Sorry, Cindy.
A Maryland Republican is ridiculing part of the FBI's explanation for the 2001 anthrax attacks. Roscoe Bartlett says he's skeptical about the agency's conclusion that bio-defense researcher Bruce Ivins grew the anthrax in his laboratory at Fort Detrick in Frederick and then mailed it to unsuspecting victims, five of whom died. Bartlett, who holds a doctorate in physiology, says the FBI's theory that the anthrax was crushed to a fine powder by U.S. Postal Service mail-sorting machines is "patently ridiculous."
He says he's convinced the anthrax was deliberately "weaponized," and that Ivins lacked the equipment to make it.
According to the LA Times: "Since the early 1990s, U.S.Army scientists at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah have made small quantities of weapons-grade anthrax that is virtually identical to the powdery spores used in the bioterrorist attacks that have killed five people, government sources say."
"Dugway’s production of weapons-grade anthrax, which has never before been publicly revealed, is apparently the first by the U.S.government since President Nixon ordered the U.S.offensive biowarfare program closed in 1969. Scientists familiar with the anthrax program at Dugway described it to the Baltimore Sun on the condition that they not be named. Dugway’s weapons-grade anthrax has been milled to achieve a concentration similar to that sent in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, according to a source. The strain found in those letters is indistinguishable from that used most often by Dugway." (and Batelle too)
The FBI ruled out Dugway scientists by assuming a lone wolf was involved in the anthrax terrorism and that none of the Dugway scientists could have been in Princeton the day the anthrax letters were mailed. The FBI has never presented any evidence to support this assine assumption.
As Emily Litella exclaimed on SNL, “Never mind”.