Thursday, August 21, 2008

What About the Anthrax Attacks in 2001?

*******Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. B. anthracis was so called after the Greek word for black coal ('anthracis'), due to the black necrotic ulcers characteristic of cutaneous anthrax infection. Anthrax is primarily a disease of domesticated and wild animals, particularly herbivores such as cattle, sheep, horses, mules and goats. The bacterium produces spores which can survive dormant in the soil for many years and although human anthrax is fairly rare, infection occurs incidentally through contact with diseased animals or by inhaling anthrax spores from contaminated animal products such as flesh, bones, hides, hair and excrement.*******
Inventory Uncovers 9,200 More PathogensLaboratory Says Security Is Tighter, but Earlier Count Missed Dangerous VialsBy Nelson Hernandez, Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 18, 2009
An inventory of potentially deadly pathogens at Fort Detrick's infectious disease laboratory found more than 9,000 vials that had not been accounted for, Army officials said yesterday, raising concerns that officials wouldn't know whether dangerous toxins were missing.
After four months of searching about 335 freezers and refrigerators at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, investigators found 9,220 samples that hadn't been included in a database of about 66,000 items listed as of February, said Col. Mark Kortepeter, the institute's deputy commander.
The vials contained some dangerous pathogens, among them the Ebola virus, anthrax bacteria and botulinum toxin, and less lethal agents such as Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus and the bacterium that causes tularemia. Most of them, forgotten inside freezer drawers, hadn't been used in years or even decades. Officials said some serum samples from hemorrhagic fever patients dated to the Korean War.
Kortepeter likened the inventory to cleaning out the attic and said he knew of no plans for an investigation into how the vials had been left out of the database. "The vast majority of these samples were working stock that were accumulated over decades," he said, left there by scientists who had retired or left the institute.
"I can't say that nothing did [leave the lab], but I can say that we think it's extremely unlikely," Kortepeter said.
Still, the overstock and the previous inaccuracy of the database raised the possibility that someone could have taken a sample outside the lab with no way for officials to know something was missing.
"Nine thousand, two hundred undocumented samples is an extraordinarily serious breach," said Richard H. Ebright, a professor at Rutgers University who follows biosecurity. "A small number would be a concern; 9,200 . . . at an institution that has been the focus of intense scrutiny on this issue, that's deeply worrisome. Unacceptable."
The institute has been under pressure to tighten security in the wake of the 2001 anthrax attacks, which killed five people and sickened 17. FBI investigators say they think the anthrax strain used in the attacks originated at the Army lab, and its prime suspect, Bruce E. Ivins, researched anthrax there. Ivins committed suicide last year during an investigation into his activities.
Kortepeter noted that since 2001 the lab has imposed multiple layers of security to check people entering and leaving, that there are now cameras in the labs, and that employees are subjected to a reliability program and random inspections.
"The bottom line is, we have a lot of buffers to prevent anybody who shouldn't be getting into the laboratory," Kortepeter said.
Sam Edwin, the institute's inventory control officer, said most of the samples found were vials with tiny amounts of pathogens that would thaw quickly and die once they were taken out of a freezer, making smuggling something off the base difficult.
The probe began in February, when a problem accounting for Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus triggered the suspension of most research at the lab. A spot check in January found 20 samples of the virus in a box of vials instead of the 16 listed in the institute's database. Most work was stopped until the institute could take a thorough inventory of its stock of viruses and bacteria.
Edwin said about 50 percent of the samples that had been found were destroyed. The rest were added to the catalog. Because the lab will now conduct an inventory every year, "it's really less likely that we will be in a situation like this again," he said.
Procedures have changed, too. Scientists who have worked at the lab said that in the past, departing scientists turned over their logbooks to their successors, but records were sometimes incomplete or complex. As generations of scientists passed through, the knowledge of what was in the freezers was lost. With a comprehensive database, every sample is now tracked until it is destroyed or transferred.
But some scientists are skeptical. Unlike uranium or chemical weapons, pathogens are living materials that can replicate and die. A small amount can easily be turned into a large amount. They said the strict inventories slow their work without guaranteeing security.
Anthrax Suspect's Suicide: Who Benefits?By: Devvy Kidd August 21, 2008
© 2008 -
Earlier this month, Bruce E. Ivins, a skilled microbiologist who assisted the FBI in their investigation of the 2001 anthrax mail attacks, supposedly killed himself. Seems to be the thing for microbiologists over the past ten years. Allegedly the Federal Department of InJustice was ready to file criminal charges against Ivins for the attacks. Those clever crime busters at the FBI originally tapped another government scientist, Steven J. Hatfill, as the chief suspect. They hounded and harassed this man for years and finally, when they could no longer hide their complete ineptness, they settled with Dr. Hatfill to the tune of $5.82 MILLION dollars.
There was never any evidence that Dr. Hatfill possessed any anthrax, but that didn't stop the men and women of the "Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity" bureau from pursing and ruining the wrong man's life. Because there's no money in the treasury, that $5.82 MILLION dollar settlement had to be borrowed from the "FED" with the interest heaped upon the backs of we the people. No doubt those responsible for that monumental screw up in the FBI will be promoted, not fired. This time around, how convenient that just as the G-men were about to get their new man, he ups and kills himself. Dead men tell no tales nor do they sue for damages like Dr. Hatfill, costing the taxpayers millions of dollars for another sloppy investigation by the FBI.
Ivins, age 62, worked for the past 18 years at the government's "elite" biodefense research labs at Ft. Detrick, Md. He worked on anthrax vaccines to save lives. According to all reports, Ivins, was "A well-respected and award-winning scientist; Ivins co-wrote a slew of anthrax studies, including a recent work on the treatment for inhalation anthrax published in the July 7 issue of the Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy journal." His colleagues have come forward and said it simply could not have been him for many reasons. Doesn't sound like a loon as depicted by therapist/social worker, Jean Duley.
One would think that scientists at all levels working at these highly sensitive facilities would be, well, in control of their faculties. However, there appears to have been a problem with Dr. Ivins, according to Ms. Duley: "Yet, Ivins had attempted to poison people as far back as 2000 and his therapist said she was "scared to death" of him, according to court testimony that emerged Saturday. Social worker Jean Duley testified at a court hearing in Frederick, Md., on July 24 in a successful bid for a protective order from Ivins that he "actually attempted to murder several other people."
It's unclear exactly the date when Ivins began seeing this "social worker." Ms. Duley states Ivins had attempted to poison people as far back as 2000. Huh? Why didn't she immediately report knowledge of a crime? If she knew all this about Ivins, why didn't she alert authorities? Surely this woman knew Ivins worked in a highly sensitive and dangerous environment and would recognize a ticking time bomb....or would Jean Duley? In his August 4, 2008, column 'Additional key facts re: the anthrax investigation,' Glen Greenwald writes:
"(2) So much of the public reporting about Ivins has been devoted to depicting him as a highly unstable psychotic who had been issuing extremely violent threats and who had a violent past. But that depiction has been based almost exclusively on the uncorroborated claims of Jean Carol Duley, a social worker (not a psychiatrist or psychologist) who, as recently as last year, was apparently still in college at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. Duley's scrawled handwritten complaint against Ivins, seeking a Protective Order, has served as the basis for much of the reporting regarding Ivins' mental state, yet it is hardly the model of a competent or authoritative professional. Quite the opposite.
"Duley herself has a history that, at the very least, raises questions about her credibility. She has a rather lengthy involvement with the courts in Frederick, including two very recent convictions for driving under the influence -- one from 2007 and one from 2006 -- as well as a complaint filed against her for battery by her ex-husband. Here is Duley's record from the Maryland Judicial data base: (see link to view)
"Just three months ago, Duley pled guilty and was sentenced to probation (with a suspended fine of $500), as a result of having been stopped in December, while driving at 1:35 a.m., and charged with driving under the influence: (see link to view)."
This is the caliber of professionals the FBI uses to provide mental health assistance to individuals like Ivins who work in sensitive, dangerous, high-pressure environments? The bureau of Fidelity, Integrity and Bravery could do better with a Girl Friday agency.
While I find counterfeit U.S. Senator Charles Grassley to be nothing more than a business as usual bureaurat for many valid reasons, he has done the right thing here. On, August 7, 2008, he sent a very detailed letter full of questions to two corrupt high ranking public officials: The Dishonorable Attorney General, Michael B. Mukasey and the Dishonorable Robert S. Mueller, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation; I would put Mueller in the criminal activities category. I would expect the same response forth coming to Grassley as most members of Congress get from those two: stonewalling and obfuscation.
The question is who benefits from Dr. Ivins death assuming this man was hounded to commit suicide? I would like readers to go back to a series I wrote back on January 16, 2006: ENRON - The Smokin' Cannon of 9/11? The same source of mine in California sent me mail following, Ivins, alleged suicide that raised another question:
"I postulated that the real culprit of the 9/11 and Anthrax attacks - who engineered it all - was Thomas E. (Enron) White, the former co-Chair of 'Enron, who subsequently became Army Secretary. His dominate motive, was cover his, and others, ass and assets. Was there a massive cover up? White, who was co-Chair, again, of Enron, was never indicated. Recently, we are led to believe that Bruce Ivins was behind the Anthrax attacks, who worked out of the ARMY's Fort Detrick biological center. I wondered if there besides that was any direct connection between Dr. Ivins and Tom White."
Indeed, it appears the two met: On March 14, 2003, at a Pentagon ceremony, Ivins and two of his colleagues received the 'Decoration of Exceptional Civilian Service,' which is the highest honor awarded to non military employees of DOD (Department of Defense). As Secretary of the Army at that time, Thomas E. White bestowed this honor to Dr. Ivins. Less than a month later, Donald Rumsfeld fired White.
Is all this just a bunch of malarkey? Thomas E. White and Dick Cheney have a history, see my column here: 9-11/ The New White-Washing & Buckets of Money. Thomas E. White left Enron after 11 years, holding MEGA MILLIONS in stock and stock options. This is May 2001. He leaves this lucrative job to become Secretary of the Army making a couple hundred thousand a year. A very interesting fact is that when White moved over to DOD, his official bio was massaged; see here. The ENRON meltdown is now percolating and ready to blow; time line here. The anthrax attacks commence September 19, 2001, when the first letter is sent to American Media in Florida. White dumps his stock for $12 million bux while ENRON employees lose everything including all their retirement. "The Architect," Karl Rove, sells his ENRON stock in June 2001, estimated value between $100,000 - $250,000.
This is one incestuous cabal. White and ENRON. White and Cheney. White and Bush. Lay, Bush and White. White, as Secretary of the Army, would in his position without question have access to Ft. Detrick or any other labs and personnel. White, Cheney, DKRW and BILLIONS of dollars. White was Secretary of the Army on 9/11. Able Danger was an Army operation; the full testimony can be found here:
"My veteran ABLE DANGER colleagues and I share the common fear that the seeds of the next 9-11 attack have already been sewn – and that much of the critical data that was harvested for the ABLE DANGER project, that could be used again now in the search for sleeper cells and others that matched the “Atta” profile is now gone – destroyed at the direction of DoD officials in the 2000 time frame. You have heard from Eric Kleinsmith of his work on ABLE DANGER, and his receiving direction to “destroy the data and background documents or go to jail” – which he did. However, it must be noted that despite citing AR 380-10 as the “authority” for this action, the DoD lawyer is wrong and, worse, deceptive. There are two exceptions that allow the retention of U.S. person information – both of those were met by then MAJ Kleinsmith – yet lawyers directed that he destroy the data anyway."
In this entire sickening saga, White is the "universal epicenter and common denominator" as Cheney is to the attacks of 9/11. All of this reads like a Tom Clancy novel, but much we can prove as facts. The masterminding of the anthrax attacks is speculation. The truth is being undermined by the FBI. However, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, guess what you have?
Who benefits from Ivins suicide and case closed? Very powerful people who need the problem to go away. This investigation was dragging along for years and after the Hatfill disaster, "new evidence" was cooked up in the lab to direct the G-men to Ivins. This is the same FBI whose laboratory in Washington, DC, royally screwed up the OKC bombing evidence in that cover up. According to the OIG (Office of Inspector General) report, the FBI lab boys have no idea if ANFO was used as "weapons of mass destruction in the Murrah bombing." Here is just a tiny sample of "evidence" used to send someone to death row; see my full column here.
I know there are some good people who work for the FBI. They must be so ashamed to see what has gone on since Ruby Ridge, WACO, OKC, TWA Flight 800, AA Flight 587, 9/11 and this latest farce, solving the anthrax attacks. How can you people continue working for such a corrupt agency? How can you people look in the mirror every morning knowing the American people have been lied to over and over and over? Ah, paychecks. But, will they make up for what's in your heart and conscience?
Thomas E. White has been protected by powerful people like Dick Cheney. The only way we will ever find out the truth is real investigations into the events of September 11, 2001, and the anthrax attacks. That will not happen until decent, courageous individuals are elected to Congress who care about the truth instead of the next election. This means open investigations using civilians who have uncovered the discrepancies; testimony from people like Steven Jones and so many others. It can't be an investigation by the Department of Justice because as my friend in California says, "Why would you investigate anyone with a tank sitting on your own lawn?"
One thing "elected" public servants need to remember: No one is safe and any of them or their families could have been in the wrong place at the wrong time on 9/11, same as the anthrax victims. The victims of September 11, 2001 and the anthrax attacks cry out for justice. Remember that when you vote in November.
The mysterious deaths of top microbiologists
It all began with Don Wiley.
On November 15th, Harvard Professor Don Wiley left a gathering of friends and colleagues some time after 10:30 PM. The next morning, Memphis police found his rental car stopped on a bridge, with a full tank of gas and keys still in the ignition. There was no financial or family trouble. Indeed Wiley was supposed to meet his family at the Memphis airport to continue on to an Icelandic vacation. Neither was there any history of depression or mental illness.
In the report printed in the New York Times on November 27th, the FBI's Memphis office distanced itself from the case saying that the available facts did not add up to a suspicion of foul play. I guess at the FBI it's a perfectly everyday occurrence for a Harvard Professor to stop his rental car on a bridge in the middle of the night before he is supposed to leave for Iceland and just walk away into the Tennessee dark.
The NYT report of November 27th also downplayed Professor Wiley's expertise in virology, quoting Gregory Verdine, a professor of chemical biology at Harvard, said, "If bioterrorists were to abduct Don Wiley, they'd be very disappointed," because his research was in studying the component parts of viruses, and "that doesn't really help you make a more dangerous version of the virus."
But this statement is not consistent with the facts of Professor Wiley's full range of knowledge. Wiley has, in conjunction with another Harvard Professor, Dr. Jack Strominger, won several academic prizes for their work in immunology, including a Lasker prize. Don Wiley is a Harvard professor, but he is also a researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the National Institute of Health. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is located in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and performs biological research, sometimes jointly funded by the Department of Defense and the NIH. Don Wiley's peers at Harvard include prof essors such as John Collier performing research on Anthrax.
So, contrary to the dismissive tone of the New York Times report, Professor Wiley would be of great value to anyone developing biological weapons. This makes the FBI's obvious disinterest in the case highly questionable, indeed reminiscent of the FBI's obvious disinterest in the numerous witnesses in Oklahoma City who had seen Tim McVeigh in the company of additional perpetrators not to mention the witnesses who had seen additional bombs.
Especially in light of the events of 9/11, the vanishing of a scientist with Professor Wiley's expertise in virology and immunology should have been expected to be an issue of critical national importance, yet the official tone of the government was that this is nothing to worry about. Move along citizen, nothing to see.
In the context of the Anthrax letters being sent through the mail, any disappearance of any microbiologist under questionable circumstances should have set off alarm bells across the nation. but it didn't. Professor Wiley was assumed to have committed suicide, end of story.
The professor's colleagues expressed doubts about the official "suicide" explanation for his disappearance.
Then, more biologists started to die under suspicious circumstances.
The Very Mysterious Deaths of Five Microbiologists.
The body count of infections disease experts continued to climb. Connections to weapons research began to surface.
As many as 14 world-class microbiologists died between 9/11/1 and 3/2/2, and on 6/24/2 yet another microbiologist was added to the list.
Still the US Government acted as if nothing was amiss, as silent on the question of dead microbiologists as they are on the question of the Israeli spies and their connection to 9-11.
In fact, the official silence on the question of how so many top experts in infectious diseases could die in such a short time span is deafening.
Now, statistically, it's possible, even likely, that one or two of these microbiologists legitimately were killed in random accidents. But for so many to die in such a short while exceeds all reasonable bounds of statistics. Prudence would demand an investigation, not the "ho hum" attitude of the government which even today continues to issue dire warnings to the general population of how much we are all in danger from "bioterrorism".
So, let's take a moment and step away from the perpetual fear-mongering of the media (and Rumsfeld) as they assure us another attack IS coming (with a certainty which suggests inside information on the subject) and assume for a moment that some party has indeed decided to "liquidate" weapons research infectious disease experts.
There is really only one reason to kill off a bunch of scientists. To keep them from doing something they are able to do.
What were these scientists able to do? Maybe blow the whistle if an artificially created disease was about to be used in a manner those who created it did not approve of.
Regardless of the exact reason, there does seem to be a clear pattern of targeted microbiologists, and paired with it, an obvious government disinterest in the matter.
I leave it to you to figure out why.

List Of Dead Microbiologists
From Charlene Fassa 1-12-5
Here is at least a partial list of dead microbiologists:July 18, 2003: Dr. David Kelly, a British biological weapons expert
June 24, 2003: Dr. Leland Rickman, a UC San Diego expert on infectious diseases
November 12 2002: Dr. Benito Que, 52, was "an expert in infectious diseases and cellular biology at the Miami Medical School
March 25, 2002: Dead microbiologist: Steven Mostow, 63
March 24, 2002: Dead microbiologist: David Wynn-Williams, 55
February 28, 2002: Two dead microbiologists in San Francisco,Tanya Holzmayer, 46, is shot and killed by a colleague, Guyang Huang, 38, who then apparently shot himself.
February 11, 2002: Dead microbiologist: Dr. Ian Langford, 40
February 9, 2002: Dead microbiologist: Victor Korshunov, 56
January 2002: Two dead microbiologists: Ivan Glebov and Alexi Brushlinski
December 14, 2001: Dead microbiologist: Nguyen Van Set, 44
December 10, 2001: Dead microbiologist: "Dr. Robert Schwartz, 57
November 24, 2001: Three more dead microbiologists: Dr. Yaakov Matzner, 54, dean of the Hebrew University school of medicine; Amiramp Eldor, 59, head of the haematology department at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv and a world-recognized expert in blood clotting; and Avishai Berkman, 50, director of the Tel Aviv public health department and businessman
November 21, 2001: World-class microbiologist and high-profile Russian defector Dr. Vladimir Pasechnik, 64
November 16, 2001: Dr. Don Wiley, 57
November 6, 2001: Jeffry Paris
Now, read the circumstances of the deaths of some of these scientists. It seems microbiology is the most dangerous occupation...
Stanford Report, April 20, 2005
Anthrax attack response needs both antibiotics, vaccineStudy details how most cost-effective defense involves mass vaccination—after exposure to germsBY Michelle L. Brandt
Kenneth Lambert/Associated Press
A bioterrorism squad demonstrates anthrax clean-up techniques at a 2001 news conference following five anthrax-related deaths. Almost four years later, a new study evaluates medical preparations for a major anthrax attack.
Anthrax first became a household name for Americans in September 2001 when 22 cases of bioterrorism-related anthrax, including five deaths, were identified on the East Coast. Although the incidents were relatively isolated, they raised an important question: how should the health-care system respond to a bioterrorist anthrax attack?
Nearly four years later, researchers may be closer to an answer. A study from the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, the School of Medicine and the University of Toronto has found that the timely use of both antibiotics and vaccination after an attack is the most cost-effective way to treat people potentially exposed to anthrax.
"Our findings make clear that combination therapy with antibiotics and vaccination is better then either treatment alone," said Douglas Owens, MD, senior investigator at the VA-Palo Alto and associate professor of medicine at Stanford's Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research and the Center for Health Policy in the Stanford Institute for International Studies. "And the best strategy is actually the least expensive."
Owens is the senior author of the paper in the April 19 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. As he and his co-authors note, their findings highlight "the critical need for distribution systems that can provide prophylaxis and vaccination rapidly for hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of exposed people."
Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax spores can be used as a bioterrorist weapon, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified anthrax as one of the few biological agents capable of crippling a developed region through death and disease.
"Anthrax has been weaponized; it's lethal and it's available," said Owens. "As we point out in our paper, a serious anthrax attack could be catastrophic."
If inhalational anthrax is left untreated, the mortality rate approaches 100 percent. A report from the World Health Organization estimated that the aircraft release of anthrax over a city of 5 million people would result in 250,000 deaths. Owens and his colleagues evaluated the cost-effectiveness of different methods of defending against such an attack. For their study, they simulated a large-scale aerosolized anthrax attack over a U.S. metropolitan area. They then developed a decision model to compare costs, harms and benefits of four post-attack strategies: no vaccination or antibiotics, vaccination alone, antibiotics alone or a combination of vaccination and antibiotics. They also compared two pre-attack strategies: vaccination or no vaccination.
There are no well-established estimates of the probability of an attack or the probability of exposure for any given type of attack, so the researchers chose estimates based on reviews of literature and expert opinions. They estimated the probability of surviving clinical anthrax from past studies and recent U.S. anthrax cases.
After reviewing several strategies, the researchers found that the combination of vaccination and antibiotics was the most effective and least costly option for preventing death and disease. It resulted in a four-month gain of life and savings of $355 per person when compared with vaccination alone.
"The savings associated with preventing cases of inhalational anthrax offset the cost of using both vaccination and antibiotics," said lead author Robert Fowler, MD, a former Stanford postdoctoral scholar who is now at the University of Toronto.
The researchers also found that widespread pre-attack vaccination was not particularly cost-effective. For a city of 5 million, assuming a low probability of attack, the incremental cost of such a plan could be between $500 million and $1 billion without appreciable health benefits.
The authors emphasized that without an adequate distribution system no strategy can be effective. "There must be a way to get antibiotics to a very large number of people very rapidly; otherwise you won't get the benefits that we predict," said Owens. His hope, he added, is that these findings will help the country become better prepared for a possible bioterrorist attack.
"We hope the findings in our study are never put to the test, and there's never an attack," Owens said. "At the same time, if this helps get people more prepared, that would be a very good outcome."
This study was funded by grants from the Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, the University of Toronto, the Homer Laughlin Fund, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Stanford co-authors include Dena Bravata, MD, social science research associate, and Alan Garber, MD, PhD, senior investigator at the VA-Palo Alto Heath Care System and the Henry J. Kaiser Jr. Professor at the medical school. Garber also directs the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research and Center for Health Policy.