August 3, 2008

Anthrax

A reader writes about Bruce Ivins, developer of an anthrax vaccine, who recently committed suicide as the government prepared to charge him in the 2001 anthrax terror attacks:

"Sorta like the fireman who is also an arsonist?"

Yes, that might turn out to be a useful analogy.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

24 comments:

Henry Canaday said...

There is something about the sequence of villains in Round Two of the terrorist wave that recalls the sequence in Round One.

During Round One, in the 1970s, Arab terrorists started high-jacking and blowing up airplanes. Soon, domestic whackos with no Islamic grudge began to high-jacking airplanes, and we all had to submit to the original baggage checks.

Round Two started with the first attempt to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. Arab terrorists had turned their focus to blowing up buildings. They were followed by Timothy McVeigh, and ex-soldier who much more successfully blew up a building.

It is a bit like the pattern of political assassinations that started in the 1960s. At first these had a political purpose, however warped. Then the craze turned into just assassinating a famous figure, from politics or pop culture, for the sake of revenge by unknown nebbishes.

Lessons? The potential for terrorism backed by governments is still much more lethal than that conducted by lone whackos. But we pretty much have to assume that any horribly murderous or destructive notion conceived and executed by political and government-backed terrorists will soon spread to free-lancers. In the anthrax case, merely the fear and massive discussion of chemical attacks was enough to encourage an attempt by a loner.

Anonymous said...

In these cases always consider the possibility that he was wholly innocent and the true perpetrator(s) knocked him off (perhaps he knew too much...) The 9/11 truthers believe 9/11 was a false-flag, as well may be the anthrax attacks.

Anonymous said...

I have my doubts about Ivins. He was obviously psychologically fragile, and it's possible that he simply snapped at the prospect of going through what Hatfill has gone through all these years. As Jerry Pournelle pointed out, the whole Hatfill mess, along with the Richard Jewell business, makes one wonder about the basic competence of the FBI.

Tschafer

Mark said...

Or kinda like this, the Colorado ranger who started the largest wildfire in the state's (recorded) history.

grizzlieantagonist said...

In Ray Bradbury's "Farenheit 451", the firemen were EXCLUSIVELY arsonists.

Lucius Vorenus said...

This is a bizarre story.

A few random thoughts:

1) It's possible that Ivins was BOTH a homicidal kook AND innocent of the original 2001 anthrax crimes. I agree with David Franz - that it's "very important that the FBI present their case against Bruce and not just state that the investigation was over because it was him and he's gone."

2) Given my own temper, I'd hate to see what a random psychiatrist or social worker thought of my day-to-day ideations.

3) If indeed Ivins was guilty of the original 2001 anthrax crimes, then Ivins in real life bore an eery resemblance to...

SPOILER

.
.
.
.
.

David Morse's character in 12 Monkeys.

/SPOILER

4) And again, if Ivins was guilty, then it just goes to show that evil is everywhere. No one is surprised when an ACLU official is dragged off by the Feds because of child pr0n on his computer, but Ivins was apparently a church-goer [albeit a Papist] in good standing with his congregation: To some of his longtime colleagues and neighbors, it was a startling and inexplicable turn of events for a churchgoing, family-oriented germ researcher known for his jolly disposition - the guy who did a juggling act at community events and composed satiric ballads he played on guitar or piano to departing co-workers... "I will miss you Dad. I love you and I can't wait to see you in Heaven," his son, Andy Ivins, wrote. "Rest in peace. It's finally over."

In that sense, Ivins's case would be eerily similar to that of Dennis Rader, who was president of his church council, and who was caught via back-tracing some metadata in a file he had created on his church's computer.

5) And if Ivins was guilty, then how did he go about choosing his victims? I seem to recall that they were rather random: At least 22 people developed anthrax infections, with 11 of the especially life-threatening inhalation variety. Five died of inhalation anthrax: Stevens; two employees of the Brentwood mail facility in Washington, D.C., Thomas Morris Jr. and Joseph Curseen; and two about whom their source of exposure to the bacteria is still unknown: Kathy Nguyen, a Vietnamese immigrant resident in the borough of the Bronx who worked in New York City, and Ottilie Lundgren, a 94-year old widow of a prominent judge from Oxford, Connecticut, who was the last known victim.

Although I suppose that the DEMs are gonna have a field day with the fact that a church-going family man was emailing anthrax to the likes of Daschle & Leahy [cf Jim D. Adkisson v. the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church].

6) For all of you Darwinian "Science" pagans out there: Remind us once again about how "scientists" are so "morally" superior to all those average, ordinary, hayseed peons out in flyover country.

What was that crap you were spewing on the other thread, about "agency" and "the truly ethical people - fact-finders, scientists"?

The work became even more intense in the aftermath of the 2001 anthrax attacks as the field grew tremendously, with billions of dollars in new federal support for research on potential biological weapons and to buy new drugs or vaccines to handle a possible future attack. Ivins was among the scientists who benefited from this surge, as 14 of the 15 academic papers he published since late 2001 were focused on possible anthrax treatments or vaccines, comparing the effectiveness of different formulations.

Anonymous said...

As I think you have written in the past, it is still bothersome that the White House went on CIPRO a week before the first anthrax attack.

http://www.judicialwatch.org/1967.shtml

gwood said...

Ivins committed suicide by drug overdose while locked up in Frederick Memorial Hospital, the mental hospital to which he had been confined since July 10th.
Nothing suspicious about that, nosiree.

halfbreed said...

.....or like a nurse who causes her patients to have seizures. In most of these cases their motivation seems to be the desire to come in, save the day, and appear the rescuing hero. The firemen who set fires usually do so so that they can then appear and put them out and appear to be saving the day. And the nurses who kill their patients often do so accidentally; their original motivation is to merely put them at death's door, so that they can get credit for "saving" them. It doesn't matter to these sociopaths if the patients (or victims of arson) die in the process, because sociopaths are not bothered by that. They just want the glory, at any cost to their victims. Ivins, if he was guilty, probably came from the same psychological mold.

testing99 said...

The White House and other government officials went on Cipro because the CIA reported, accurately, that AQ had an ongoing Anthrax development effort. Amply documented in the 9/11 Commission Report.

What's scary about this, if it was indeed Ivins, is that an individual can use biowarfare. That's truly Fifth Gen warfare.

Ultimately, that means either Japan-like social cohesion and hard efforts to deter foreign attackers, lots of social control internally, or "all against all" type Somalia devolution. Given how technology affects society.

Steve's point that Japan had aircraft carriers and battleships in WWII and AQ has none also has an interesting corollary -- PAKISTAN has likely 100 times the destructive power of Japan's entire war machine with their nukes. And a delivery system (AQ) that's "deniable." That's leaving aside biowar which is even cheaper than nukes.

[Weaponizing on the battlefield is hard, spraying around in subways and such not so much.]

RobertHume said...

I want to see Ivin's handwriting match that on the letters. And I want some sign that he went to the mailboxes where the letters were mailed. Surely the FBI asked for a sample?

Anonymous said...

I'm continually amazed that a writer as perceptive, contrarian, and paleolibertarian as Steve Sailer has yet to figure out that 9/11 was an inside job -- planned, organized, executed, and covered up by the military-industrial complex.

If you think that's impossible, reconsider.

Lucius Vorenus said...

RobertHume: And I want some sign that he went to the mailboxes where the letters were mailed.

Earlier today, I noticed the following intriguing coincidence:

**********

WIKIPEDIA, 2001 anthrax attacks: The letters
en.wikipedia.org

The anthrax letters are believed to have been mailed from Princeton, New Jersey.

**********

For colleagues, a 'quiet, giving kind of guy'
By Stephen Kiehl, Nick Madigan and Gus G. Sentementes
Sun reporters
August 2, 2008
baltimoresun.com

Ivins was the son of a Princeton-educated pharmacist, and one of his ancestors had opened a pharmacy in town in 1893, according to a Web site on Lebanon [OHIO] history.

Danindc said...

"9/11 was drummed up by the military industrial complex"... dumber words were never written

I take it the moon landing was done on a sound stage in Sherman Oaks

this comment section is generally reserved for the smart, rational types

Andrew Ryan said...

Its starting to sounds like there is microbial genetic evidence to link Ivins, or at least someone is his laboratory, to the attacks:

[url]http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D92B2JL80&show_article=1[/url]

That report is very general, but my guess is that genetic sequencing of Bacillus anthracis strains from victims matches precisely to the strain used in Ivin's laboratory.

Although they were clearly identified as the virulent Ames strain after the attack, different laboratory stocks will differ in very subtle ways over time as they are cultured-as small as just a few mutations in a ~4 million base pair genome. With recent improvements in parallel sequencing technologies, such as the SOLiD system [url]http://www.labtechnologist.com/Products/ABI-launch-SOLiD-gene-sequencer[/url] this kind of analysis became feasible.

We'll learn more in the next few days, but my guess is that "microbial forensics" identified Ivins as the culprit--or at least someone in his laboratory.

Anonymous said...

"9/11 was drummed up by the military industrial complex"... dumber words were never written

I take it the moon landing was done on a sound stage in Sherman Oaks

this comment section is generally reserved for the smart, rational types"

Yeah, all youse guys that is so much smarter than us dumkopfs do real good pointing and snickering when the hypothesis of a false-flag operation is mentioned. What you fail to do is provide a rationed, reasonable analysis about how a skyscraper can fall down at free-fall speed unaided by timed explosive charges in the floors below.

Congratulating yerself about how smart you are not to give a moment's thought to any alternative hypotheses but the conventional wisdom re: 911 is a remarkably similar mental trick to those status-seekers who point in horror and shout "racism" to anyone who points out black crime rates.

So, where's YOUR proof? Huh? Unless you lay it out, I think YOU'RE dumb. So there. Neener-neener.

Martin said...

"testing99 said...

PAKISTAN has likely 100 times the destructive power of Japan's entire war machine with their nukes. And a delivery system (AQ) that's "deniable." That's leaving aside biowar which is even cheaper than nukes."

It's not deniable if, as you say, we know that Pakistan has nuclear weapons and its ISI has been chummy with the Taliban in the past. If we were attacked with nuclear weapons the government could simply retalliate against all the "usual suspects". We'd certainly get the right one then. If we made that known to all the usual reprobates, deterence will be restored.

What does not promote deterrent, T99, is to remain in a state of perpetual war, and become so overextended and weakened thereby, that it would be obvious to anyone that any threat we might make is hollow.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Martin What does not promote deterrent, T99, is to remain in a state of perpetual war, and become so overextended and weakened thereby, that it would be obvious to anyone that any threat we might make is hollow.

Or you could pull a "glass is half full/make lemonade from lemons" and look at our five years in Iraq & seven years in Afghanistan as just one giant training exercise - no other military in the world has been able to field-test their systems and tactics and logistics the way we have since 2001.

AMcGuinn said...

There's an interesting difference with the fireman/arsonist analogy: A fireman who is an arsonist would probably still be an arsonist if he wasn't a fireman, because he was attracted to both for the same reason. A counter-bioterrorism researcher who is also a bioterrorist would similarly probably want to be a bioterrorist if he wasn't a researcher, but bioterrorism is more difficult than starting fires, if you don't have access to government labs...

Anonymous said...

no other military in the world has been able to field-test their systems and tactics and logistics the way we have since 2001.

The upshot of this seven year program is our soldiers will make really good policemen. Useful when the citizenry begins to balk at their tax burden necessary to sustain overseas occupations and the pensions and health care of retired soldiers, but for wars against other national militaries, not so much.

--Senor Doug

Anonymous said...

Lets be clear about this; I'm not saying that I think that Ivins is innocent. I'm just saying that, given the FBI screwups in the past, we're going to need some evidence this time. The day is past when people are simply willing to take their word on stuff like this. And incidentally, if the "Military-Industrial Complex" was so damned smart, you'd think that they would have thought to plant some plausible WMD's in Iraq; after all, it should have been easy, compared to engineering 9/11..

Tschafer

Tschafer

Lucius Vorenus said...

Senor Doug: Useful when the citizenry begins to balk at their tax burden necessary to sustain overseas occupations and the pensions and health care of retired soldiers, but for wars against other national militaries, not so much.

Oh, no question that that could always be a problem.

On the other hand, name for me another nation which has had the opportunity to field test a system [and iron out all the logistical kinks entailed in just fielding it] like this bad boy [controlled remotely from literally halfway around the world]:

Air force looks to a new drone to keep peace in Iraq
afp.google.com

...The Reaper can fly faster, higher, farther and carry more weapons than its predecessor, the MQ-1 Predator.

Unlike the Predator, which can carry two laser guided Hellfire missiles, the Reaper carries four Hellfires and two 500-pound GBU-12 laser guided bombers, North said.

"It is very, very effective," he said.

The Reaper, which are flown by a two person crew thousands of miles away at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, reportedly can stay aloft up to 24 hours at a time, sending back surveillance and reconnaissance data.

By contrast, a fighter jet can stay overhead for three to six hours; a B-1 bomber 10 hours...

David said...

For all of you Darwinian "Science" pagans out there: Remind us once again about how "scientists" are so "morally" superior

This comment is like pointing to a twentysomething black guy living in the hood who isn't a criminal and saying: "Remind us once again how young black men commit disproportionate numbers of crimes!"

"It isn't true women are shorter than men on average. HERE is a honey who is seven-and-a-half feet tall!"

And you call yourself a Steve reader. For shame.

none of the above said...

lucius:

I'll note the field testing and exercises we've gotten have been for holding down a hostile population against its will, suppressing insurrection, and hunting down enemies hiding out among civilians. I'm not entirely sure I want our military getting good at that stuff, and especially not getting good automated/remote control weapons for doing that stuff.