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High-quality scans of anthrax letters
www.anthrax-letters.com ^ | April 1, 2002? | Anonymous <anthrax-letters at comcast.net>

Posted on 04/20/2002 8:43:48 PM PDT by Mitchell

Here is my description of the information at the web site above:

An anonymous person has, through a FOIA request, obtained copies of the FBI photographs of three of the anthrax letters and envelopes. High-quality scans are posted on the web site in TIFF format. These are much higher quality than the images on the FBI web site, and the photos include rulers next to the letters, so the sizes can be measured.

The images are much too big to be posted here. Go to the web site and download them if you are interested. (Links to the TIFF images are near the bottom of the web page.)

The author of this web site has a bizarre theory that the letters have hidden imagery on them. I do not subscribe to this strange idea, but I appreciate the efforts of this person to obtain, scan in, and post these photographs.


TOPICS: Anthrax Scare; Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: anthrax; envelopes; fbi; letters; photographs; scanned
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To: Mitchell
Actually, my site does have a lot of information about al Qaeda. However, I feel that the evidence is overwhelming that an American scientist sent the anthrax letters - and there is virtually no reason to think al Qaeda was behind it.

The "Milwaukee scientist" has not been cleared. He is just not the "focus" of the investigation, and that is almost certainly because he established a perfect alibi for himself for the date of the first anthrax mailing. On September 18, 2001, he was 800 miles away from Trenton talking with the FBI in his home. He even made certain they searched his home for anthrax on that date by telling the FBI he was building "an anthrax delivery system" in his basement. At that time, however, who knew that "an anthrax delivery system" would be a few envelopes?

My site at anthraxinvestigation.com is an attempt to analyze the available information without any particular agenda. Too many people were arguing opinions without looking at facts. I just wanted to see what the facts told me. That's why I created the site. When I find new data, I change the site - if necessary.

Ed

51 posted on 04/25/2002 11:30:52 AM PDT by EdLake
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To: EdLake
Actually, my site does have a lot of information about al Qaeda. However, I feel that the evidence is overwhelming that an American scientist sent the anthrax letters - and there is virtually no reason to think al Qaeda was behind it.

The "Milwaukee scientist" has not been cleared. He is just not the "focus" of the investigation, and that is almost certainly because he established a perfect alibi for himself for the date of the first anthrax mailing. On September 18, 2001, he was 800 miles away from Trenton talking with the FBI in his home. He even made certain they searched his home for anthrax on that date by telling the FBI he was building "an anthrax delivery system" in his basement. At that time, however, who knew that "an anthrax delivery system" would be a few envelopes?

I don't have time for a detailed answer right now. Let me just say that I don't think that "al-Qaeda was behind it"; I think the evidence indicates that some country was behind it, probably Iraq. That country may have used al-Qaeda agents to deliver the anthrax, however. I do think that it's conceivable that some U.S. scientist sold them the anthrax from American stock, so this isn't entirely inconsistent with there being some domestic angle to it.

There's a great deal of evidence connecting the 9/11 terrorists and Iraq to anthrax (you've seen it all, so I won't repeat all the details -- the proximity between the hijackers' apartments and AMI, as well as the connection with the rental agent; Mohamed Atta's meeting with an Iraqi agent and his investigation into cropdusters; Alhaznawi's apparent infection with cutaneous anthrax; the timing, so close to 9/11; the known Iraqi interest in biological weapons and, in particular, anthrax; the "weaponization" of the anthrax, which is now said to be better than the U.S. ever achieved; the handwriting on the letters; as well as many other facts).

Admittedly this evidence is circumstantial. However, in contrast, I know of no actual evidence for, say, the Rosenberg/Greenpeace theory or for some other connection with U.S. scientists. (As far as I know, the Milwaukee scientist didn't work with anthrax; he was a research chemist in explosive ordnance systems. I know that the date of the police report in Milwaukee is peculiar, but that's not much of a link.)

If it was a domestic scientist, here's a question: How did he fill the envelopes? This anthrax is highly weaponized; it's uncharged and scatters veryeasily. Filling the envelopes without contaminating everything around would be quite difficult. [Also, if this anthrax really is more weaponized than the U.S. ever made, where did he get it? I don't believe he could have prepared it himself in a makeshift lab in his house.]

Well, this turned out to be a longer post than I'd planned. I'd like to add that you have an excellent web site, with a great deal of good research on it. I just don't agree with your conclusion :-).

52 posted on 04/25/2002 4:32:25 PM PDT by Mitchell
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To: Mitchell
If it was a domestic scientist, here's a question: How did he fill the envelopes? This anthrax is highly weaponized; it's uncharged and scatters veryeasily. Filling the envelopes without contaminating everything around would be quite difficult. [Also, if this anthrax really is more weaponized than the U.S. ever made, where did he get it? I don't believe he could have prepared it himself in a makeshift lab in his house.]

I have a section describing how it was done. It's HERE.

But, personally, I think the guy used his lab at work. I think he has unlimited access to a sophisticated lab somewhere in Central New Jersey, probably in a pharmaceutical company, hospital or university.

Shouldn't you have asked "If it was al Qaeda, how did they fill the envelopes?" It would be much easier for a working American scientist to fill the envelopes than some al Qaeda member hiding out in a motel room.

The evidence seems to indicate that the scientist grew the anthrax himself (from an initial supply furnished to him by someone who previously worked in the biodefense area - like the "Milwaukee scientist). He quickly prepared the first mailing of Sept. 18 from anthrax supplies on hand, then grew more anthrax over the next three weeks and more thoroughly refined it for the second mailing of Oct. 9.

I don't think weaponizing anthrax is as difficult as some "experts" believe. There's a link on my site to an Apr. 27 article by the Weekly Standard that describes in detail how there are ways to "weaponize" anthrax that are very simple. The "experts" are just thinking about the complicated ways that the U.S. government last did it back in the 1960s. There have been lots of scientific advancements since then. And there are "experts" who believe it can now be done in a garage with $2,500 worth of equipment.

All the so-called "proof" that al Qaeda was behind the anthrax mailings is really only proof that al Qaeda was investigating ways to make bioweapons, they were building labs to make bioweapons, and they are really nasty guys would would use bioweapons if they got the chance. And, too, some 9-11 al Qaeda members got sick with sores and coughs last June, but they were all DEAD for a week before the first mailing, and DEAD for a month before the second mailing.

If you look for evidence that al Qaeda are creepy, nasty guys who would kill you if they got the chance, you'll find plenty of it. But if you look for evidence that they were behind the anthrax mailings, you won't find any. IMO

Ed Lake

anthraxinvestigation.com

53 posted on 04/26/2002 7:54:01 AM PDT by EdLake
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To: boris
Hello. I just wanted to briefly introduce myself. I am the author of the Anthra-Letters Website

Firstly let me say that I am simply a citizen that noticed the anomalies on the letters that were available on the FBI press release web page and sent in the FOIA request for the images. I have no affilation with any group or any interest other than distributing the images for analysis.

Secondly I wanted to mention why I chose to remain anonymous. The last thing I need in my life is harassment. There are far too many wackos out there in the Internet community and I choose not to deal with them. There is no mystery there. If you wish to write me at the anthrax-letters@comcast.net please do so.

I really do not wish to debate about whether these images exist on the letters. I have my opinions and do not feel the need to convince anyone whether or not these images exist. Debating the issue without using advanced image processing techniques is pointless.

I am glad that some have found a good use for the high resolution images. Ed Lake and others have produced some interesting observations using the images. I am glad I could help. As far as my knowledge goes, there were previously no other high resolution images of the letters available on the internet. See Ed's Anthrax Investigation Website

The 8.5 x 11 photographs that I received were the same ones distributed to the press. The media have clipped these images for display to the public.

They have been scanned on several types of scanners that all produced the same results. There is no injection of noise (or artifacts) introduced by the scanners or the file format (Tiff). Also note that all of the images outline are visible with the naked eye when viewing the photographs. The photographs are film quality and not run off on some copy machine or the like. Whether or not the images where initially captured on a digital camera, I am not certain. They pictures are of high quality (not reffering to lighting conditions or the camera angles).

As mentioned, if you want to really check out the images, download the high resolution images at the bottom of the page. All of the photos presented on the page are in JPG format and are used to maximize throughput for users on slower connections. I have much larger uncompressed images that exceed 500mb but I do not have the webspace available. If anyone out there would like to obtain these images, send me an e-mail and we can try to work something out.

As far as obtaining higher quality photographs (without the plastic baggies), I am very doubtful that any more information will be released by the FBI. In fact they stated that right in the FOIA denial. They have issued a blanket statement that no more information other than already released to the media will become available. I will continue to appeal the denials. One must assume that they are affraid of information being released that might jepordize the investigation. I disagree with that perspective and hope that after review they will release the photographs.

I do not see that I can really provide any other information to the discussion as I have stated my opinions on the page and have made available all the information that I have regarding the matter.

Have a nice day.

54 posted on 04/26/2002 10:15:37 AM PDT by anthrax_letters
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To: anthrax_letters
BUMP
55 posted on 04/26/2002 1:02:57 PM PDT by KS Flyover
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To: EdLake
I have a section describing how it was done. It's HERE. [About how envelopes could be filled with anthrax.]

It seems to me that some of the spores would have spread throughout the glove box in your scenario, even though the person is moving everything as smoothly and slowly as possible. Yes, most of the powder would go inside the envelope, but the outside of the envelope and the outside of the baggie would still get contaminated, probably substantially.

Also, a simple glove box is insufficient to keep such tiny, uncharged particles inside. Without a negative pressure facility, there would be leaks.

But, personally, I think the guy used his lab at work. I think he has unlimited access to a sophisticated lab somewhere in Central New Jersey, probably in a pharmaceutical company, hospital or university.

Shouldn't you have asked "If it was al Qaeda, how did they fill the envelopes?" It would be much easier for a working American scientist to fill the envelopes than some al Qaeda member hiding out in a motel room.

First of all, they didn't just have motel rooms. They had rented several apartments. [Moreover, two of these were close to the first anthrax incident (at AMI), and the rental agent's husband worked at AMI. There are also apartments in NJ associated with them.] And they could as easily have used a glove box as a U.S. scientist anyway, if you subscribe to the simple glove box idea.

But my guess is that the envelopes may have been filled abroad (in Iraq perhaps?) in a real lab [just as, with the domestic theory, you suspect that he used some real lab he had access to]. As I understand it, he is not likely to have used just a glove box, as I mentioned earlier. This is apparently inadequate for biohazards like weaponized anthrax; one would want to use a negative-pressure containment system to prevent leakage. One would presumably also need some type of ventilation and filtering system to remove spores that had been dispersed inside the glove box -- on the outside of the envelopes, on the outside of the baggies, on the inside walls of the glove box.

The evidence seems to indicate that the scientist grew the anthrax himself (from an initial supply furnished to him by someone who previously worked in the biodefense area - like the "Milwaukee scientist). He quickly prepared the first mailing of Sept. 18 from anthrax supplies on hand, then grew more anthrax over the next three weeks and more thoroughly refined it for the second mailing of Oct. 9.

I don't think weaponizing anthrax is as difficult as some "experts" believe. There's a link on my site to an Apr. 27 article by the Weekly Standard that describes in detail how there are ways to "weaponize" anthrax that are very simple. The "experts" are just thinking about the complicated ways that the U.S. government last did it back in the 1960s. There have been lots of scientific advancements since then. And there are "experts" who believe it can now be done in a garage with $2,500 worth of equipment.

Maybe there are "experts" who believe it can now be done in a garage with $2,500 worth of equipment, but I think there's a reason that the word "experts" has to be in quotes!

If the mailer grew all the anthrax himself from an initial supply, he would have had to weaponize it himself; weaponization in this context refers to a process of physical preparation (milling, drying, that sort of thing). These anthrax spores are supposed to have been ground more finely and to therefore be more highly weaponized than any produced by the U.S. military. They also are said to have been prepared so that they would have no electrical charge. This would be very difficult to carry out in one's home (to the point of near impossibility), and it's undoubtedly too long and complicated a process to do clandestinely with stolen minutes in a pharmaceutical company lab, say. Moreover, the contamination problem is even more severe in the weaponization stage than it would be in the pouring-into-envelopes stage, because of the length of the process. (The whole point of the weaponization is to make the powder disperse very quickly and easily, with only slightest motion of the air. This makes working with it very difficult.)

It's certainly possible that some of the anthrax wasn't weaponized (the AMI anthrax, perhaps the anthrax mailed to Brokaw and the NY Post), and such unweaponized anthrax could have been grown by the mailer. But the weaponized anthrax (sent to Sens. Daschle and Leahy, and maybe some of the rest) could not have just been grown; it requires extensive and complex preparation.

Notice that it's not just a question of whether there exists a simple method of weaponizing anthrax; the mailer would have had to discover that method, in your scenario. This would require extensive testing and experimentation; it's not conceivable that this could be done out of someone's home or in brief clandestine laboratory sessions (whether by a domestic scientist or an al-Qaeda terrorist). Such experimentation would have to be carried out in a full-time lab with security, to prevent being found out.

All the so-called "proof" that al Qaeda was behind the anthrax mailings is really only proof that al Qaeda was investigating ways to make bioweapons, they were building labs to make bioweapons, and they are really nasty guys would would use bioweapons if they got the chance. And, too, some 9-11 al Qaeda members got sick with sores and coughs last June, but they were all DEAD for a week before the first mailing, and DEAD for a month before the second mailing.

If you look for evidence that al Qaeda are creepy, nasty guys who would kill you if they got the chance, you'll find plenty of it. But if you look for evidence that they were behind the anthrax mailings, you won't find any. IMO

A few points regarding this:

  1. Some of the evidence is more direct than you suggest: the proximity of the first anthrax attack to two of the hijackers' apartments and to the small airfield they used; the fact that the wife of an AMI employee (an editor at the Sun) was the rental agent who managed these two apartments; the apparent infection of hijacker Alhaznawi with cutaneous anthrax; the highlighting of the letters A-T-T-A in two of the messages, like a signature; and the actual content of the messages. None of these things is definitive. But they all link the hijackers to the anthrax mailings; it's well beyond simply saying that al-Qaeda are creepy, nasty guys. [I'm purposely omitting things like the evidence of anthrax bioweapon planning in Afghanistan, since that isn't known to be linked to the mailings or to the hijackers. I could also have included the meetings that two of the hijackers had with Iraqi agents, in Prague and in the United Arab Emirates, but this could have been related to something other than anthrax.]
  2. Even circumstantial evidence (Atta checking into cropdusters, his reddened hands, etc.) is suggestive, since they show that the desire and the opportunity were there. Plus the timing was right. How likely is it that somebody was sitting on weaponized anthrax, just waiting for some event like 9/11 to happen? What was he actually waiting for, if he didn't know that 9/11 was coming?
  3. While you may not consider the evidence linking the terrorists to the anthrax mailings very strong, at least there are several connections, all mutually consistent; in contrast, there seems to be no evidence for the domestic scientist theory, not even anything circumstantial. There's some speculation of this sort (the Greenpeace/Rosenberg theory, the Milwaukee scientist theory, etc.), but these theories are unsupported by any specific evidence like the evidence we have connecting the terrorists to the anthrax mailings. I can't disprove them, of course, but there isn't any particular evidence that makes these theories more believable than any random speculation.
Finally, there's the question of motive. The motive for a foreign state (like Iraq) to do this is quite clear and straightforward: it's an act of military deterrence. (The possible motive for the mad scientist is vague and not very believable.) I've expounded at length on the military deterrence theory in other threads, so I won't do so again here.

Overall, the idea that the anthrax mailings were an action undertaken by a foreign state as a military deterrent, prepared abroad (most likely) and carried out by the 9/11 hijackers and other agents on U.S. soil, is supported by the evidence, is internally coherent, and is logical in that a strong, understandable motivation exists for the attack. Other theories (the domestic scientist theories, or the failed al-Qaeda attack theory) lack evidentiary support, are internally inconsistent, and have an ad hoc character that fails to explain why somebody would actually have done this.

56 posted on 04/26/2002 11:26:23 PM PDT by Mitchell
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To: keri; Nogbad; The Great Satan; right_to_defend; Shermy; okie01; Alamo-Girl; aristeides; muawiyah
Bump. You might be interested in the exchange above.
57 posted on 04/26/2002 11:28:04 PM PDT by Mitchell
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To: Mitchell
You are right, of course.
58 posted on 04/27/2002 12:01:19 AM PDT by The Great Satan
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To: Mitchell
It is an interesting exchange. I agree with you: it isn't likely these envelopes were filled outside the lab where the spores were produced.

I remain skeptical that a "lone scientist" could have produced these spores. Physics, Microbiology and Biochemistry are involved here, and I doubt a scientist of just one discipline has the expertise needed in all three to produce this anthrax.

JMO, and I might be very, very wrong.

59 posted on 04/27/2002 12:02:28 PM PDT by keri
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To: anthrax_letters
The 8.5 x 11 photographs that I received were the same ones distributed to the press. The media have clipped these images for display to the public.

Thank you for obtaining these, scanning them, and posting the images. What you have done is a public service.

It's unfortunate that nobody in the press has seen fit to scan and post these images. It shouldn't have required a private individual filing an FOIA request for the public actually to have access to them, since the press apparently already is in possession of these same photographs.

In any event, I just wanted to thank you for your efforts.

60 posted on 04/27/2002 12:05:58 PM PDT by Mitchell
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To: keri
I remain skeptical that a "lone scientist" could have produced these spores. Physics, Microbiology and Biochemistry are involved here, and I doubt a scientist of just one discipline has the expertise needed in all three to produce this anthrax.

Even if somebody had the necessary expertise, developing the weaponization process is not something that could easily be done. It would require extensive experimentation and testing to come up with a workable process. This means that there is a modern lab somewhere to which this scientist had sole access for long periods of time. Also, doing this for the necessary period of time without generating any contamination would be difficult, especially for a lone person, operating without being required to follow institutional protocols and the like.

How would he have tested the results of his intermediate attempts? Testing could not have been done in a glove box. It presumably would be done on test subjects in a normal environment (I'd like to think animals, but I'm sure Iraq has carried out tests on human subjects).

[This assumes that the report is true that some of this anthrax was more highly weaponized (more finely ground) than anything the U.S. had. If that report is false, the anthrax could simply have been stolen from U.S. stocks, say.]

61 posted on 04/27/2002 12:15:48 PM PDT by Mitchell
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To: The Great Satan
You are right, of course.

Well, I can't be sure, but I think so.

62 posted on 04/28/2002 1:51:50 AM PDT by Mitchell
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To: Mitchell
It seems to me that some of the spores would have spread throughout the glove box in your scenario, even though the person is moving everything as smoothly and slowly as possible. Yes, most of the powder would go inside the envelope, but the outside of the envelope and the outside of the baggie would still get contaminated, probably substantially.

The use of gloveboxes is routine. Precautions can be taken to keep the spores from flying all over the place. The guy didn't pour the spores from the test tube from a height. He did it carefully. And if the outside of the baggie was contaminated, that is easily taken care of by the decontamination procedures at the end. The outside of the bag could be swabbed down with some kind of antiseptic, same with the gloves. And I believe everything left in the box is then sterilized with ultra-violet light. Glove boxes are used for handling all sorts of things that are dangerous to handle. The cleanup procedures are routine for people in fields that need gloveboxes.

But my guess is that the envelopes may have been filled abroad (in Iraq perhaps?) in a real lab

Really? You really believe that the letters were written overseas, with the date put on them, the anthrax put into them, they were then sealed and brought to the United States by some unidentified al Qaeda member who mailed five some of them a week after Sept. 11 and two more a month after Sept. 11? I find it hard to believe that anyone would believe that. After all that handling, how did they get the letters out of the Baggie filled with anthrax? Why wasn't a mail box contaminated? Why did someone overseas target The New York Post and Senator Leahy? That whole idea is absurd.

If the mailer grew all the anthrax himself from an initial supply, he would have had to weaponize it himself; weaponization in this context refers to a process of physical preparation (milling, drying, that sort of thing). These anthrax spores are supposed to have been ground more finely and to therefore be more highly weaponized than any produced by the U.S. military. They also are said to have been prepared so that they would have no electrical charge. This would be very difficult to carry out in one's home (to the point of near impossibility)

There's a link on my web site to a new article by David Tell at The Weekly Standard, where he goes into great detail about how simple it could be. Some of those "experts" are talking about how things were done back in the 1960s. Things aren't done that way anymore. There was almost certainly NO milling involved. When anyone talks about "milling" they are talking about the way things were done in the 1960s or by Iraq. They are talking about out-of-date technologies.

Notice that it's not just a question of whether there exists a simple method of weaponizing anthrax; the mailer would have had to discover that method, in your scenario. This would require extensive testing and experimentation; it's not conceivable that this could be done out of someone's home or in brief clandestine laboratory sessions (whether by a domestic scientist or an al-Qaeda terrorist). Such experimentation would have to be carried out in a full-time lab with security, to prevent being found out.

The methods aren't that secret. And no one would use anthrax to learn how to refine anthrax spores. It's too dangerous. You use a similar but harmless germ, like BT. When you have mastered the technique using BT, you then switch to anthrax for the final step. All that is required to learn how to "weaponize" anthrax is the equipment, the anthrax, and the desire. And in many fields it is almost a requirement to learn how to do it. If you know something can be done, but you don't know how to do it, you are falling behind in your field. Learning new techniques can help you discover new processes and new science for other areas where you advance your career.

How likely is it that somebody was sitting on weaponized anthrax, just waiting for some event like 9/11 to happen? What was he actually waiting for, if he didn't know that 9/11 was coming?

I speculate about that in detail on my web site. Look for the link about "Plan A". And the guy wasn't "sitting on weaponized anthrax". All he had was a supply of anthrax germs, which he was culturing while probably experimenting using BT. You think he had the anthrax ready. I say he didn't. And the fact that the anthrax in the media letters was less well refined than the anthrax in the Senators' letters indicates he was growing and refining anthrax during the three week interval.

All your speculation about al Qaeda is based upon one coincidence: Some al Qaeda members lived near the first cases of anthrax at AMI in Florida. All the rest of your beliefs are based upon that one coincidence. Because all those Sept. 11 al Qaeda members were DEAD at the time letters were mailed, the entire al Qaeda scenario falls apart.

Finally, there's the question of motive. The motive for a foreign state (like Iraq) to do this is quite clear and straightforward: it's an act of military deterrence. (The possible motive for the mad scientist is vague and not very believable.)

But if Iraq did it as an "act of military deterrence", it certainly backfired. Ever since 9-11, Bush has been doing all he can to find a way to attack Iraq. And how can such a plan deter anything if you don't make it clear who did it? When it was first learned that there had actually been an anthrax attack, the first thought for everyone was that Iraq was behind it. The FBI and the American government spent a lot of time trying to prove that Iraq did it. They finally had to stop wasting their time on that pursuit when the evidence became overwhelming that it was a domestic terrorist. Would Iraq really go after The New York Post, AMI and Senator Leahy? Why? That's totally absurd.

There is virtually no doubt that the anthrax terrorist is an American scientist working at some kind of laboratory in Central New Jersey. For all the details visit my web site at anthraxinvestigation.com

Ed

63 posted on 04/28/2002 8:06:40 AM PDT by EdLake
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To: EdLake
Your scenario is based on this hypothetical easy method of weaponization, so easy that a person can get it right the first time he tries it on anthrax spores, without going through a normal cycle of prototypes and testing. I doubt that this is possible. (If it is possible, I certainly agree that it changes the whole picture. It also would change the entire balance of power in international relations, because every country (as well as many small organizations) could arm itself with a weapon of mass destruction.)

Really? You really believe that the letters were written overseas, with the date put on them, the anthrax put into them, they were then sealed and brought to the United States by some unidentified al Qaeda member who mailed five some of them a week after Sept. 11 and two more a month after Sept. 11? I find it hard to believe that anyone would believe that.

Well, I don't "believe" that in the sense that it's been proven or that it's the only way it could have happened. It seems likely, however, that the envelopes were filled in the lab where the anthrax powder was prepared. It is possible, however, that they were filled later, in a different lab.

After all that handling, how did they get the letters out of the Baggie filled with anthrax? Why wasn't a mail box contaminated?

The same question exists with any scenario. The baggies and the outsides of the envelopes obviously had to be cleaned before removal from the glove box. This is more easily done in a full-fledged lab than a makeshift one.

Why did someone overseas target The New York Post and Senator Leahy? That whole idea is absurd.

The choice of targets seems strange no matter who did it. The point was to get noticed, and sending to a smattering of media and a couple of major government officials would do that. But there appear to be more letters that weren't saved (ABC, CBS, probably AMI, and maybe others). Maybe if we knew the full list of recipients, then the few we know about wouldn't appear to have been selected out of the blue.

All your speculation about al Qaeda is based upon one coincidence: Some al Qaeda members lived near the first cases of anthrax at AMI in Florida. All the rest of your beliefs are based upon that one coincidence. Because all those Sept. 11 al Qaeda members were DEAD at the time letters were mailed, the entire al Qaeda scenario falls apart.

My speculation is about Iraq or some other foreign power, not about al-Qaeda specifically. The 9/11 hijackers appear to have been part of this foreign power's delivery vehicle. What the exact nature is of the relationship among the hijackers, al-Qaeda, Iraq, Iran, etc., I do not know.

The link between the hijackers and anthrax is not just based on the geographic proximity (although that proximity is striking and demands explanation). It's also based on proximity in time, on the indirect connection between the hijackers' rental agent and AMI, on the highlighting of the letters A-T-T-A in two of the letters, on the apparent cutaneous anthrax case contracted by Alhaznawi, on the fact that Atta was looking at cropdusters (which implies that he had access to some biological or chemical weapon), and on the content of the messages.

Also, why did Mohamed Atta go to Prague earlier in 2001 at great trouble, to meet with an Iraqi agent? In these days of instant communication, why did they have to meet physically? It must have been for the transfer of some physical object. If this object wasn't a vial of anthrax or a prepared set of envelopes containing anthrax, what could it have been?

But if Iraq did it as an "act of military deterrence", it certainly backfired. Ever since 9-11, Bush has been doing all he can to find a way to attack Iraq.

I don't think it's backfired at all, at least not yet. Of course trying to "find a way to attack Iraq" is what would happen. But you don't see an attack yet. Plus, if you think about the nature of deterrence, its use as a deterrent would have to be reserved for the most serious situations: the use of nuclear weapons (or other WMD) by us on Iraq, or an actual attempt to overthrow the government of Iraq. They can't waste their deterrent on lesser things, because then we have no reason to be deterred from taking more drastic action.

The whole military situation is very tricky. I don't think the anthrax will ultimately work as a deterrent this time, but it will come close. Rumsfeld, et al., are figuring out exactly how to respond.

And how can such a plan deter anything if you don't make it clear who did it?

They probably did make clear who did it, in private channels. It wasn't done publicly because Iraq (or whoever) felt that a public announcement in the wake of 9/11 might cause a public outcry for an immediate attack, whereas a private message to the government would result in a slower, deliberative response. Plus Iraq has the PR factor to take into account.

There is virtually no doubt that the anthrax terrorist is an American scientist working at some kind of laboratory in Central New Jersey.

I've enumerated substantial evidence for a connection between the anthrax mailings and the 9/11 attack, together with a coherent military rationale for a foreign power to have carried them out. The evidence is circumstantial, but it's there. I understand that you find it unconvincing.

But where is there any evidence at all linking the anthrax to an "American scientist working at some kind of laboratory in Central New Jersey"? I see nothing, not even circumstantial evidence.

It's possible that I'm wrong and you're right. I certainly wouldn't go out on a limb and say that there is "virtually no doubt" that I'm right. For you to say that about your own theory implies that you have very strong evidence for the American scientist theory. What is this evidence?

As a final thought, I do wish we had some definite information on the pre-9/11 letters, the ones that were said to be postmarked in Indianapolis. They might shed some light on the whole question.

64 posted on 04/28/2002 9:48:11 AM PDT by Mitchell
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To: Mitchell
The Atta-Iraq meeting that you base so much upon is turning out to be totally bogus. Newsweek has a story about it HERE.

You wrote: Your scenario is based on this hypothetical easy method of weaponization, so easy that a person can get it right the first time he tries it on anthrax spores, without going through a normal cycle of prototypes and testing. I doubt that this is possible. (If it is possible, I certainly agree that it changes the whole picture.

Actually, I said he didn't get it right the first time. The first mailing had spores that were not as well refined. He had to work on it for another three weeks to get it right.

Why wasn't a mail box contaminated? The same question exists with any scenario.

Not quite. I explain why the mail boxes weren't contaminated in detail on my GloveBox/MailBox page. The American scientist most likely took the letters straight to the mail box from the lab. That's a lot different from packing them away in a suitcase that goes aboard flight after flight (with pressurization and de-pressurization) and through customs search after customs search and then are stored away somewhere for months.

The choice of targets seems strange no matter who did it.

Not really. The media was a natural target for someone wanting to awaken America to the dangers of bioterrorism - particularly someone with "right wing" attitudes. Targets are always very carefully selected by terrorists. While al Qaeda would probably have picked The New York Times, the American terrorist chose The New York Post probably because it's the newspaper he reads. And Patrick Leahy was targeted because between the two mailings Leahy opposed AG Ashcroft's plans to trash all laws preventing illegal search and seizure. For someone deathly afraid of a bioweapons attack, Leahy's actions probably seemed traitorous. Al Qaeda would probably have seen it as a good move and gone after Ashcroft.

your own theory implies that you have very strong evidence for the American scientist theory. What is this evidence? It's all explained in detail on my web site, but the key items are the fact that the recipients of the letters were told to take precautions, the anthrax was carefully enclosed in the letter in a pharmaceutical fold, the targets were typical "right wing" targets and NOT typical al Qaeda-type targets.

Ed at anthraxinvestigation.com

65 posted on 04/28/2002 2:29:09 PM PDT by EdLake
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To: EdLake
Me: Your own theory implies that you have very strong evidence for the American scientist theory. What is this evidence?

You: It's all explained in detail on my web site, but the key items are the fact that the recipients of the letters were told to take precautions, the anthrax was carefully enclosed in the letter in a pharmaceutical fold, the targets were typical "right wing" targets and NOT typical al Qaeda-type targets.

I've enumerated a list of connections between the hijackers and the anthrax mailings, generally circumstantial but nevertheless connections. You haven't presented any specific evidence, even circumstantial, for this domestic theory.

The key items you list above do not in any sense point to an American scientist in New Jersey. The fact that "the recipients of the letters were told to take precautions" points to an American scientist in New Jersey? The use of a pharmaceutical fold points to an American scientist in New Jersey? There's no connection at all, not even circumstantial.

In fact, your key items are totally consistent with the military deterrence theory. (I agree that this was not an al-Qaeda attack as such, and I'm not claiming that it was. Al-Qaeda attacks look very different -- they don't include warning letters, and they set things up to try to murder many. This was something different -- a warning statement, warning us that the other side has a weapon of mass destruction and possesses both the ability and the willingness to use it, so we had better watch our step.)

By the way, the New York Post and American Media are hardly right-wing targets. Characterizing the recipients in that way is misleading. Even the other targets aren't the high-profile liberal icons that the "right wing extremists" focus on. (I'm not sure why you think the hypothetical American scientist would target liberals, but it's not even true that the recipients all fit that description.)

Regarding Atta's meeting with Iraqi agents, an important point is that the military deterrence theory does not rely on this being true. (I'm not even necessarily convinced that Iraq is the foreign power involved, although it seems fairly likely.) There are enough connections fitting together into a coherent explanation that the theory does not depend on the validity of any one of them.

But don't write off the story of Atta meeting Iraqi agents yet. See this FR thread for discussion of it. The Newsweek report is basically unsourced. How reliable is it? There has been a whole series of media reports that Atta met with two different Iraqi agents in several different European cities, and also that one of the other hijackers met with an Iraqi agent in the United Arab Emirates. Just because somebody decides to leak a denial a year later doesn't mean that all the older reports are suddenly invalidated. It may be that this latest report is true; I obviously don't know, but it's much too early to say that the earlier reports are "turning out to be totally bogus." Maybe it's the latest report which is bogus; we don't know. [But do notice that the only reason given for not believing the original stories is that there is no known travel record for Mohamed Atta under his name at the time of one of the reported visits. Maybe a person carrying anthrax would travel under a false identity? Maybe one of the reported visits didn't happen but the others did? Maybe the INS and Customs just don't have very good records? This whole denial is very weak. Why did Czech intelligence report this in the first place? They were following al-Ani; they must have taken photographs.]

66 posted on 04/29/2002 12:04:11 AM PDT by Mitchell
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To: Mitchell
The key items you list above do not in any sense point to an American scientist in New Jersey.

You're right. The items that point to New Jersey are the fact that he mailed the letters from New Jersey, he wouldn't have transported the letters very far (certainly NOT from some foreign country), Central New Jersey has a great number of laboratories where anthrax could have been cultured, he targeted The New York Post which is sold in Central New Jersey, and the return addresses on the Senators' letters were phony New Jersey addresses that seemed to be variations of real addresses. You have to look at all the clues in order to see the whole picture.

I'm not sure why you think the hypothetical American scientist would target liberals

I'm not sure he targeted "liberals" as such. He targeted the media, which is a frequent target of "the right". And he targeted two Democratic "liberal" Senators, one of whom had been in a lengthy and heated debate with a true blue conservative, AG Ashcroft, during the three week period that the second batch of anthrax was being cultured and refined. Also, this particular scientist appears to have been fed up with America's lack of preparedness for biological weapons and took matters into his own hands by sending anthrax through the mail. That isn't a "liberal" way of doing things. It's an "anti-liberal" way of doing things.

Your comments which attempt to make the warnings in the letters seem like warnings by Iraq and your dismissal of the Newsweek story are rationalizations. Instead of looking at what the evidence says, you are locked into the idea that Iraq is behind the mailings and you find ways to interpret all the evidence to support that theory.

We could probably argue forever about this. But the key point is: The anthrax terrorist had enough anthrax to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans (maybe millions), but he apparently only killed one deliberately and four by accident. Bob Stevens worked at AMI and could therefore be considered a target. The way the anthrax was wrapped and sealed indicates that the postal employees were all unintended targets. And the fact that the media letter told Bob Stevens to take penicillin indicates that the anthrax terrorist didn't really want to kill Bob Stevens, either. That by itself says that Iraq and al Qaeda were not behind the anthrax mailings. But someone used Arab phrases in the letters to point the blame at the Arabs - while doing minimum damage.

Ed at anthraxinvestigation.com

67 posted on 04/29/2002 8:01:20 AM PDT by EdLake
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To: EdLake
I had written: The key items you list above do not in any sense point to an American scientist in New Jersey.

You responded: You're right. The items that point to New Jersey are the fact that he mailed the letters from New Jersey, he wouldn't have transported the letters very far (certainly NOT from some foreign country), Central New Jersey has a great number of laboratories where anthrax could have been cultured, he targeted The New York Post which is sold in Central New Jersey, and the return addresses on the Senators' letters were phony New Jersey addresses that seemed to be variations of real addresses. You have to look at all the clues in order to see the whole picture.

1. You're forgetting about the Florida anthrax cases. There clearly was some transportation involved. Was it somebody in Florida who then visited New Jersey? Was it somebody in New Jersey who visited Florida? Was it somebody from elsewhere who traveled to both places? We can't say. As a result, there's no evidence that it's somebody from New Jersey.

2. There's also no evidence that the sender was an American.

So I don't see how you can possibly think that there is "virtually no doubt" that it is an American from New Jersey. That's pure speculation; it's possible that it's true but also possible that it's false.

Your comments which attempt to make the warnings in the letters seem like warnings by Iraq and your dismissal of the Newsweek story are rationalizations. Instead of looking at what the evidence says, you are locked into the idea that Iraq is behind the mailings and you find ways to interpret all the evidence to support that theory.

You misunderstand my position here. I wouldn't be very surprised if it turned out to be a country other than Iraq, or to be an alliance of various countries. I do not think that the connection with Iraq is proven by any means. I will be surprised, however, if it turns out not to be a military warning, of a deterrent nature, by some foreign power or powers. (In any case, I'm not "locked into" this theory. I've gone through a variety of possible theories since last Fall, but, after much discussion, military deterrence is the only one that appears to explain all the evidence.)

As to the meetings between Atta and the Iraqi agent, the jury is out. You can't reach any conclusions on the basis of one article, especially considering that the article is unsourced. But the military deterrence theory does not depend on the validity of these meetings; the foreign power involved may not even have been Iraq.

As for news articles, take a look at the special section that just came out in the New York Post on the anthrax mailings: here's a link to a FreeRepublic thread on this well-reasoned set of articles.

We could probably argue forever about this.

Indeed. But I do appreciate the discussion, even though (or maybe especially) because we disagree. Discussions always shed light on a subject.

But the key point is: The anthrax terrorist had enough anthrax to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans (maybe millions), but he apparently only killed one deliberately and four by accident. Bob Stevens worked at AMI and could therefore be considered a target. The way the anthrax was wrapped and sealed indicates that the postal employees were all unintended targets. And the fact that the media letter told Bob Stevens to take penicillin indicates that the anthrax terrorist didn't really want to kill Bob Stevens, either. That by itself says that Iraq and al Qaeda were not behind the anthrax mailings. But someone used Arab phrases in the letters to point the blame at the Arabs - while doing minimum damage.

You misunderstand the nature of military deterrence here. I agree that this demonstrates that it was not an actual attack intended to kill. But that isn't what I was claiming.

Time will tell. This is probably the best we can do at the current state of publicly available evidence; it will be interesting to see what new evidence emerges. Hopefully we'll get a satisfactory resolution at some point.

68 posted on 04/29/2002 3:58:32 PM PDT by Mitchell
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To: Mitchell
You wrote: 1. You're forgetting about the Florida anthrax cases. There clearly was some transportation involved.

Yes, indeed, there was transportation involved. The letter mailed with all the other media letters in Trenton on September 18 was transported by the post office to Boca Raton, Florida, and from there to the AMI offices.

I wasn't forgetting about the Florida anthrax cases at all. But apparently you feel that the AMI case is somehow unconnected to the other media cases (NBC, CBS, ABC and The New York Post). There is absolutely no evidence to support that idea. Everything indicates that the AMI letter was part of the same mailing.

I'm aware of the New York Post articles, and I've exchanged e-mails with the editor who wrote the editorial. I told him to look in the mirror if he wants to find someone who is not doing their job, since The New York Post hasn't pursued the source of the Indianapolis letters they wrote about, nor have they pursued the most likely cause of Kathy Nguyen's death by anthrax.

Ed at anthraxinvestigation.com

69 posted on 04/30/2002 7:03:35 AM PDT by EdLake
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To: EdLake
I wasn't forgetting about the Florida anthrax cases at all. But apparently you feel that the AMI case is somehow unconnected to the other media cases (NBC, CBS, ABC and The New York Post). There is absolutely no evidence to support that idea. Everything indicates that the AMI letter was part of the same mailing.

I don't think it's unconnected, but there is some difference between those two. Notice that, at AMI, there were two cases of inhalation anthrax but no cases of cutaneous anthrax. The people at the media in NY experienced many cases of cutaneous anthrax but no cases of inhalation anthrax. (The only cases of inhalation anthrax in the Northeast were in postal workers, and these could well have been due to the Daschle and Leahy letters only.) Now, inhalation and cutaneous anthrax are caused by the same bacterium; the difference is the site of infection. This difference in symptoms suggests that something was different in Florida as compared to the NY media cases: maybe the delivery method was different, maybe the physical preparation of the powder was different.

I'm aware of the New York Post articles, and I've exchanged e-mails with the editor who wrote the editorial. I told him to look in the mirror if he wants to find someone who is not doing their job, since The New York Post hasn't pursued the source of the Indianapolis letters they wrote about, nor have they pursued the most likely cause of Kathy Nguyen's death by anthrax.

I would very much like to see some research on the Indianapolis letters. The NY Post is apparently the only one to have seen these letters, other than the recipients and presumably the FBI and police.

As for Kathy Nguyen, how would a reporter pursue your theory (that she was infected by anthrax disposed of along with the undiscovered letter to CBS and ABC)? I agree that this was one possibility for the route of infection, but it's hard to see how a reported would investigate it. I guess garbage truck routes could be looked into, but it won't be too definitive a story no matter what's done.

Overall, the series of three articles in the NY Post is well-researched. The author doesn't get as far as motive (military deterrence, in my view), but he's asking the right questions and thinking logically about the evidence.

70 posted on 04/30/2002 8:11:50 AM PDT by Mitchell
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To: EdLake
Ed, you are hung up on what you want it to be rather than what is.
71 posted on 04/30/2002 8:18:02 AM PDT by bvw
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To: EdLake
"pharmaceutical fold"

The "pharmaceutical fold" is a pretty dang lazy one, if it is that. More likely the letter was just folded in at the sides to keep the powder from falling out while the envelope was loaded. Do you see any diagonal fold in of the edge folds? I do not.

Taken in combination with the blinders-on "evil right wing Dr Strangelove nut case" body of your argument, yet more than anything else you've said, this trumpeting of "pharmaceutical fold" makes me discount you.

72 posted on 04/30/2002 1:34:55 PM PDT by bvw
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To: Mitchell
You wrote: As for Kathy Nguyen, how would a reporter pursue your theory (that she was infected by anthrax disposed of along with the undiscovered letter to CBS and ABC)? I agree that this was one possibility for the route of infection, but it's hard to see how a reported would investigate it."

I'd begin by checking on what happened to the anthrax. It was apparently thrown into the trash, and at The New York Post they apparently actually dug their letter out of the trash weeks later. The two people at the Post who got anthrax got it from digging it out of the trash.

If the trash was just tossed into a dump truck and taken to a dump or an incinerator, I'd move on to the next case. I'd find out who handled the letters in the mail rooms. I'd find out exactly what happened to the letter after it was received in the mail. I'd find out who cleaned the desks where the anthrax was dumped out of the letters. I'd find out if they rode the same subway as Kathy Nguyen.

It's a matter of following the anthrax and anyone who might have come in contact with the anthrax. The CDC and FBI spent a lot of time following Kathy Nguyen's movements. All that needs to be done now is to follow the anthrax to see where the two trails might intersect.

Ed at anthraxinvestigation.com

73 posted on 04/30/2002 3:03:07 PM PDT by EdLake
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To: bvw
The "pharmaceutical fold" is a pretty dang lazy one, if it is that. More likely the letter was just folded in at the sides to keep the powder from falling out while the envelope was loaded.

Duh. That's the point. Why not just pour the anthrax in the envelope? Why wrap it in the letter? If you want to contaminate the postal system with anthrax, you just dump it in the envelope.

And you could also fold the letter normally - with only one end folded over - and still pour the anthrax inside through the open end. But the anthrax mailer didn't do that. Furthermore, he taped the flap shut on the Senators' letters.

Ed

74 posted on 04/30/2002 3:24:28 PM PDT by EdLake
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To: harpseal,Travis McGee,Squantos,sneakypete,Chapita
bump


75 posted on 04/30/2002 3:32:22 PM PDT by razorback-bert
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To: EdLake
The anthrax was meant to be collected, sampled and analyzed to prove that America's enemy (Iraq presumably) has the ability to manufacture weaponized anthrax.

That was the point of the exercise, not to kill a few postal employees or even a senator or two.

Whoever sent the gram sized samples must be presumed to have smuggled hundreds of kilos into the USA, ready for a massive strike if that nation is attacked. I see it as Iraq's "non nuclear MAD on the cheap".

100 one kilo glass jars of the weaponized spores dropped onto subway tracks in America's ten largest cities on the same day would kill tens to hundreds of thousands, and shut down those cities for weeks or longer, resulting in an economic disaster. Another ten kios put into thousands of leaky envelopes and dropped into mailboxes across the USA would shut down mail delivery for weeks or months, adding to the economic disaster. Many other delivery methods exist which are not yet in the public domain for open discussion, best not to give any new ideas to our enemies.

Last Autumn's "anthrax attacks" must be seen as a demonstration, and planning must be based on that idea. Of course, the witehouse and NSC may be privy to further proofs which they have not informed the public of.

76 posted on 04/30/2002 8:20:22 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: Mitchell
bttt
77 posted on 04/30/2002 8:27:16 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: EdLake; bvw; Travis McGee
If you want to contaminate the postal system with anthrax, you just dump it in the envelope.

This is a red herring. They weren't trying to contaminate the postal system. They wanted to prove that they had weaponized anthrax, that it was in the U.S., and that they had agents to deliver it. There had to be enough powder left in the envelope that it could be analyzed, so that we could see what it was and that it was "weaponized."

And, by being willing to waste a significant amount of anthrax spores on just a warning, they strongly implied that they have a much larger quantity of it. Maybe they're bluffing, but I wouldn't take that chance.

78 posted on 04/30/2002 10:26:41 PM PDT by Mitchell
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To: Mitchell;EdLake
If someone delivered a perfect scale model of a working hydrogen bomb complete with plutonium to the whitehouse, it must be assumed that it is a warning, and not the product of a gifted crank.

The weaponized anthrax sample was a warning.

I assume that further proof was sent to the whitehouse which has been closely held, demonstrating the quantities produced, and even perhaps the amount currently stockpiled here in the USA.

We know from the WOD that it is a trivial exercise to bring a ton of any type of powder, including anthrax, into the USA.

Our NSC must operate on the assumption that at a minimum the 100 one kilo jars of weaponized anthrax spores are already in the USA and agents are waiting for orders to head for the subways and mailboxes and other targets.

79 posted on 05/01/2002 8:50:22 AM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: Travis McGee
If someone delivered a perfect scale model of a working hydrogen bomb complete with plutonium to the whitehouse, it must be assumed that it is a warning, and not the product of a gifted crank.

Excellent analogy.

The weaponized anthrax sample was a warning.

I assume that further proof was sent to the whitehouse which has been closely held, demonstrating the quantities produced, and even perhaps the amount currently stockpiled here in the USA.

Quite possibly. At the very least, the sender has either identified itself outright or strongly hinted as its identity, since, without that, the warning would presumably be ineffectual.

We know from the WOD that it is a trivial exercise to bring a ton of any type of powder, including anthrax, into the USA.

Assuming that we're looking at a state sponsor (and not just, say, al-Qaeda and some Pakistanti scientists), diplomatic pouch is an easy way to smuggle contraband.

Our NSC must operate on the assumption that at a minimum the 100 one kilo jars of weaponized anthrax spores are already in the USA and agents are waiting for orders to head for the subways and mailboxes and other targets.

I wouldn't know how to guess the specific amount. For all we know, it could even be a huge bluff (but I agree that this is unlikely.)

80 posted on 05/01/2002 9:30:28 AM PDT by Mitchell
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To: Mitchell;piasa;Howlin
It could be a bluff, or there could be ten kilos or 1000 kilos in the USA. For planning purposes, our NSC must operate on the assumption that there is at least in the middle range, say 100 one kilo jars. To do otherwise would be the worst criminal negligence in history.

The Iraq-Atta link seems very adroitly done, with Al Qaida and Atta being the "cutout" (in intelligence terms) . Just enough linkage to force us to conclude Iraq has MAD anthrax capability, but without direct smoking gun linkage which might have led to an immediate massive preemptive strike against Bagdad.

81 posted on 05/01/2002 9:45:35 AM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: Travis McGee
The weaponized anthrax sample was a warning.

Right. But a warning by whom? My theory is that it was a warning by someone who wanted to wake America up to the dangers of bioterrorism. And the warning succeeded very nicely. We're spending billions on getting America prepared for any future attack. Everyone is on the alert; procedures have been modified; lessons have been learned and acted upon.

But if it was a warning by the al Qaeda or by Iraq, then it was a pointless warning and a total failure, since it didn't prevent us from blowing the crap out of every al Qaeda member we can find, and it isn't preventing Bush from doing everything he can to restart the war with Iraq.

And for your information, it's now "official", there is nothing linking Iraq to the Sept. 11 attacks (much less to the anthrax mailing). Check this LINK.

But I guess in your mind it could still all be a massive conspiracy to avoid telling the American people what is really going on.

Ed at anthraxinvestigation.com/

82 posted on 05/01/2002 11:08:08 AM PDT by EdLake
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To: EdLake
Your link is just a rehash of the Isikoff Newsweek story, which William Safire has already refuted.

And in the meantime, some more non-evidence for you: Either on the 19th or the 20th of September,[note the date] an article that appeared allegedly written by Uday [Hussein] in the Babel newspaper referred to a ''virus that would''—the exact wording to the effect that ''A virus would attack the raven and it would respond to antibiotics at first, but in later times, would no longer be controlled by antibiotics.''

83 posted on 05/02/2002 9:07:30 PM PDT by denydenydeny
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To: denydenydeny
The William Safire report seems to be saying merely that he believes the early reports and doesn't believe the later reports. He doesn't really have any proof of anything.

As far as the second item is concerned, anthrax is a germ, not a virus. So that cryptic warning means nothing.

Ed

84 posted on 05/03/2002 7:43:07 AM PDT by EdLake
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To: EdLake
He doesn't really have any proof of anything.

Just like you.

85 posted on 05/03/2002 9:32:15 AM PDT by denydenydeny
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