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Archive for Thursday, August 7, 2008

Government lays out case that scientist was anthrax killer

August 7, 2008

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— The murder weapon was a flask.

Army scientist Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer whose mailings took five lives and rattled the nation in 2001, prosecutors asserted Wednesday, alleging he had in his lab a container of the lethal, highly purified spores involved and access to the distinctive envelopes used to mail them.

Making its points against Ivins, a brilliant yet deeply troubled man who committed suicide last week, the government released a stack of documents to support a damning though circumstantial case in the worst bioterror episode in U.S. history. The court documents were a combination of hard DNA evidence, suspicious behavior and, sometimes, outright speculation.

Ivins' attorney said the government was "taking a weird guy and convicting him of mass murder" without real evidence. Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa called for a congressional investigation.

Ivins had submitted false anthrax samples to the FBI to throw investigators off his trail and was unable to provide "an adequate explanation for his late laboratory work hours" around the time of the attacks, according to the government documents.

Investigators also said he sought to frame unnamed co-workers and had immunized himself against anthrax and yellow fever in early September 2001, several weeks before the first anthrax-laced envelope was received in the mail.

Ivins killed himself last week as investigators closed in, and U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor said at a Justice Department news conference, "We regret that we will not have the opportunity to present evidence to the jury."

The scientist's attorney, Paul F. Kemp, heatedly dismissed that comment.

"They didn't talk about one thing that they got as result of all those searches," he said.

Taylor, however, insisted the evidence would have been enough to convict.

The prosecutor's news conference capped a fast-paced series of events in which the government partially lifted its veil of secrecy in the investigation of the poisonings that followed closely after the airliner terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Ivins was described in the documents as the sole custodian of highly purified anthrax spores with "certain genetic mutations identical" to the poison used in the attacks. When pressed, Taylor acknowledged "a large number of individuals, over 100," had access to the substance.

Investigators also said they had traced back to his lab the type of envelopes used to send the deadly powder.

As for motive, investigators seemed to offer two possible reasons for the attacks: that the brilliant scientist wanted to bolster support for a vaccine he helped create and that the anti-abortion Catholic targeted two pro-choice Catholic lawmakers.

Noting that Ivins would have been entitled to a presumption of innocence, Taylor nevertheless said prosecutors were confident "we could prove his guilt to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt."

Comments

max1 5 years, 8 months ago

"Gosh, max1, I was beginning to doubt Saddam had WMD's Thanks for the clarification." -screedposterHey giggleboy, do you mean you didn't know your old buddies supplied him bio-terror agents? Your gross ignorance of world events certainly doesn't surprise me.I needn't explain further, because I see logrithmic has already tried to pound some sense into your thick Republican skull.

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logrithmic 5 years, 8 months ago

Screed,Either your pulling our legs or your not playing with a full deck. Either way its delusion.You know good and well that the WMDs were all destroyed, as ex-marine and U.N. arms control expert Scott Ritter and has gone on the record reporting, and these statements were supported in the book just published by Ron Susskind, a pulitzer price winning jounalist, who, according to MSNBC, writes in his book "The Way of the World," "that the head of Iraqi intelligence, Tahir Jalil Habbush, met secretly with British intelligence in Jordan in the early days of 2003. In weekly meetings with Michael Shipster, the British director of Iraqi operations, Habbush conveyed that Iraq had no active nuclear, chemical or biological weapons programs and no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction."I don't think I can make it much clearer than that. Ex- U.S. Marine and the head of Iraqi intelligence both reported to Bush that there were no weapons of mass destruction. I sure hope you're smart enough to recognize that you've been lied to. If not, then you and I have nothing more to say to one another.Stupid is as stupid does....

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jaythomp11 5 years, 8 months ago

madmike, i think you've been watching too many sci-fi movies....maybe you should do some reading instead

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screedposter 5 years, 8 months ago

Gosh, max1, I was beginning to doubt Saddam had WMD's Thanks for the clarification.

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max1 5 years, 8 months ago

http://www.c-span.org/executive/transcript.asp?cat=current_event&code=bush_admin&year=2002State of the Union AddressJanuary 29, 2002Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. October 22, 2002http://www.ithaca.edu/gagnon/talks/us-iraq.htmOur History with Iraq1985 is also a key year because the Reagan administration approved the export to Iraq of biological cultures that are precursors to bioweapons: anthrax, botulism, etc.; these cultures were "not attenuated or weakened, and were capable of reproduction." The Bush administration also authorized an additional 8 shipments of biological cultures that the Center for Disease Control classified as "having biological warfare significance."1990: Between July 18 and August 1 (the day before the invasion), the Bush Administration approved $4.8 million in advanced technology sales to Iraq's weapons ministry and to weapons labs that were known to have worked on biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.

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Roadkill_Rob 5 years, 8 months ago

Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. I thought all terrorists were muslim? How could a christian be responsible for this?

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max1 5 years, 8 months ago

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/258150Friday the LA Times reported that the person who may have been to blame for the 2001 anthrax attacks apparently committed suicide. John McCain played an early role in the conservative effort to blame Iraq and lay the groundwork for a subsequent invasion.October 18, 2001Letterman: How are things going in Afghanistan now? McCain: I think we're doing fine. I think we'll do fine. The second phase - if I could just make one, very quickly - the second phase is Iraq. There is some indication, and I don't have the conclusions, but some of this anthrax may - and I emphasize may - have come from Iraq. Letterman: Oh is that right? McCain: If that should be the case, that's when some tough decisions are gonna have to be made.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 5 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, and the moon landings were real too...

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Mkh 5 years, 8 months ago

right on cue there madmike...yet another confused "conservative" who trusts every word of his big government masters.Speaking of conspiracy theorists, did you actually watch the FBI's press conference yesterday? The suggestive motive given for Ivins' guilt was that he was a mad scientist convinced this was the only way to save his government funding for his precious anthrax! LOL, thanks madmike for pointing out that there is a ridiculous conspiracy theory at work here....and as usual it's the Government giving us the theory.

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Mkh 5 years, 8 months ago

screed...you are suggesting "thinking"....don't make me laugh.The Pentegon did blame the anthrax attack on Iraq initially. It of course didn't stick and was never backed up with any evidence. Though the media glamerized the lie far more than the retraction. It's called propaganda screed, and your mind has obviously been victimized by it all your life.btw, don't you think it's ironic how self proclaimed "conservatives" like yourself are always defending the deeds of big government? Think about that.Think about how you blindly hold allegence to an Administration that expanded the size and power of the federal government more than anyone since FDR and meanwhile call yourself a "conservative". By supporting W and those who control him you only support the Globalist ideals set forth by the ruling class of private banking families and their oligarchy of power.....you support Obama's bosses too....you are the same...think on that.

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madmike 5 years, 8 months ago

Ah yes, the conspiracy theorists!! Let's not forget about those pesky "black helicopters", and always wear your aluminim foil hats when outside, to keep those nasty secret government voices out of your heads!!!

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screedposter 5 years, 8 months ago

A link directly contradicting log's assertion:"They did try to frame Hussein:"http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/aug...

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screedposter 5 years, 8 months ago

"And you would have to be asleep if you didn't hear about the forged memo that Beezlebush asked to be drawn up that specifically linked 9-11 hijacker Atta to Saddam Hussein."Got a link?

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logrithmic 5 years, 8 months ago

Screed,They did try to frame Hussein:http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2008/08/02/mccain-anthrax-and-iraq.aspxAnd you would have to be asleep if you didn't hear about the forged memo that Beezlebush asked to be drawn up that specifically linked 9-11 hijacker Atta to Saddam Hussein.Finally, in the book "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder," which you can find in Borders, the author, Bugliosi says that the Manning memo proves that Bush inquired whether the CIA could stage a shootdown of an American plane disguised as a United Nations plane over Iraqi airspace prior to the invasion to demonstrate Hussein's war intentions.The evidence is piling up that Beezlebush commited both war crimes and treason. Hopefully he will be brought to justice for his crimes. Enemy combatant status for an ex-president - now wouldn't that beat all.

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screedposter 5 years, 8 months ago

"By the way, I thought the government already told us the anthrax attacks came from Iraq?"The why didn't they frame Hussein instead of, by your assertion, Ivins?You might try thinking next time, it helps with the headaches.

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Mkh 5 years, 8 months ago

This case is highliy suspicous to say the least. The FBI's conduct thus far has been shameful and above the law...right on par for the course. This guy is obviously being used as the fall guy to conceal the real criminals. After all when you're dead it's hard to mount a defense argument.By the way, I thought the government already told us the anthrax attacks came from Iraq?Someone forgot to check their stories...oops!

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screedposter 5 years, 8 months ago

I agree with logrithmic. We should abolish the FBI before Obama becomes president.

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logrithmic 5 years, 8 months ago

Anyone that believes the government's case without questioning has not been paying attention.Several recent cases have shown the FBI is not infallible and makes mistakes:Hatfill - the original anthrax terrorist who won $6 million from the U.S. taxpayer courtesy of the FBI for wrongful accusation.Richard Jewell pegged wrongly as the Atlanta bomber,Brandon Mayfield, a muslim attorney, that the FBI accused of being involved in the Madrid train bombings (this connection was nebulous - but somehow the FBI believed it was true!)Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee accused of spying for the Chinese I believe. *Former U.S. Army Chaplain James Yee, who had been accused of spying while serving prisoners at the U.S. military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay - again a bogus accusation.What strikes me as odd is that Ivins was not "detained" as an enemy combatant. Nor was Hatfield. Unlike Jose Padilla, who was arrested at Chicago OHare and then moved to a military brig after being accused of terrorism and declared an enemy combatant, and then who was imprisoned in a military brig for three years without constitutional rights and tortured, these two suspects, Hatfill and Ivins were afforded every constitutional right - including the ability to stay out of prison. Why this discrepancy? We know that Padilla was a Muslim. Is it one's faith that determines whether you are a terrorist suspect and deserve enemy combatant status? Ivins was a Catholic and I don't kow what Hatfill was. But is that the new legal standard?I personally believe none of these suspects should be denied their rights. But I find unequal treatment equally upsetting.Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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