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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

67 posted on 04/29/2002 8:01:20 AM PDT by EdLake
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