« Invincible folly? - US policy and mass delusion | Main | If I were a Republican ... »

20 June 2017

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jeff

The not-so-aptly named Reality Winner is now in federal prison for having leaked the latest and bested NSA report on the Russian involvement. And that document shows there is no evidence for Russian involvement, only hearsay and 'context'.

turcopolier

Jeff

As a troll you should be prepared to deal with simple matters of logic and fact such as the very definition of what an ANALYTIC document is. You get one more chance. pl

WildWilly

To add to what Jeff said, and someone please correct me if I'm wrong, there is no clear cut evidence the hack produced any results for whoever was responsible, although in the leaked document Jeff referred to it was alleged to have been the Russians who were responsible. To the best of my knowledge there was an apparent effort to steal credentials and gain access to a private company, but what more ever came of that is not clear either.

With respect to Publius' thoughts, I would go further and given your past thoughts, I think you would share my sentiments. This is a case of unelected groups interfering with the elected government, to hamstring the President from hammering through any agenda in contravention to their entrenched interests. It's also politics to distract from their own failings and possible criminality.

It is not difficult to understand that 62 million Americans finally got tired of all the absurdity pushed forth on TV and print media. The absurdity of when Clinton collapsed and we were instructed she had pneumonia, that there was nothing to see here, wasn't lost to much of the public. Or the absuridy of watching Megyn Kelly deem candidate Trump a sexual predator, but refusing to assert the same claim when she was pressed by Newt Gingrich to repeat the claim of Bill Clinton, who has long been accused of rape and sexual misconduct.

I think it is now plainly evident that people no longer believe the narratives spun in Washington and corporate boardrooms. Like Bill Ivey told John Podesta in leaked emails leading up to the November 8th election, "The unawareness remains strong but compliance is obviously fading rapidly."

FND

Another one of the 17 intelligence agencies is the Department of Energy intelligence agency, which is supposed to ensure nuclear weapons secrets and materials are not stolen. Why would they be analyzing who hacked the DNC emails? Its absurd. Could be the Obama administration got all the intelligence agency heads together to be given a presentation by the NSA, CIA, and FBI, and then all the political appointee heads "agreed" that yeah, the Russians did it. That way the dems could have the "17 intelligence agencies agree" BS talking point.

Lars

Hopefully Bob Mueller and his team will find out who did what and with whom. No doubt there will be plenty of speculation in the meantime and when he eventually issues his report, there will be those who will not accept it.

In the meantime, it appears that Mother Nature is reclaiming the swamp that once was Washington, DC, with latter replacements of the usual creepy critters to be found in a swamp. As I have claimed for some time now: We have the best government money can buy and a lot of money has.

The Republic has always rested on those who would do the right and honorable things and hopefully they will again. Even if they are kind of hard to find right now.

Old Microbiologist

Lars,
It will never happen. The game is to keep the unproven allegations alive until the 2018 elections. However, it may all fall apart once WWIII starts over Syria, unless the US decides to back off but they won't do that either. This is a clear case of the Abilene Paradox.

David Habakkuk

Lars,

You write:

‘Hopefully Bob Mueller and his team will find out who did what and with whom. No doubt there will be plenty of speculation in the meantime and when he eventually issues his report, there will be those who will not accept it.’

From an article by Carl M. Cannon in the ‘Orange County Register’ last month, entitled ‘Comey and Mueller bungled big anthrax case together’:

‘The third and most important factor tempering my enthusiasm for the new special prosecutor is that Comey and Mueller badly bungled the biggest case they ever handled. They botched the investigation of the 2001 anthrax letter attacks that took five lives and infected 17 other people, shut down the U.S. Capitol and Washington’s mail system, solidified the Bush administration’s antipathy for Iraq, and eventually, when the facts finally came out, made the FBI look feckless, incompetent, and easily manipulated by outside political pressure.

‘This, too, was an enormously complex case. But here are some facts: Despite the jihadist slogans accompanying the mailed anthrax, it had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein or any foreign element; the FBI ignored a 2002 tip from a scientific colleague of the actual anthrax killer, who turned out to be a Fort Detrick scientist named Bruce Edwards Ivins; the reason is that they had quickly obsessed on an innocent man named Steven Hatfill; the bureau was bullied into focusing on the government scientist by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy (whose office, along with that of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, was targeted by an anthrax-laced letter) and was duped into focusing on Hatfill by two sources – a conspiracy-minded college professor with a political agenda who’d never met Hatfill and by Nicholas Kristof, who put her conspiracy theories in the paper while mocking the FBI for not arresting Hatfill.’

(See http://www.ocregister.com/2017/05/21/comey-mueller-bungled-big-anthrax-case-together/ .)

Is this is accurate?

BraveNewWorld

Correct me if I am wrong but weren't the intelligence agencies at least sceptical about WMD Iraq and it was Dick that told them to change their reports to remove the ambiguity if not out right lie?

I would also point out that no one here knows what has been said in closed session.

Virginia Slim

The "17 intelligence agencies" nonsense is much like any ad verecundiam device in propaganda, intended to dissuade the audience from any attempt at counter-argument (cf. the "scientific consensus" and "peer-reviewed research" devices in the AGW debate).

There are a whole host of questions knotted up in the "Russian Interference" net and, much like the global warming issue, they are often conflated into a false "Yes/No" dilemma. Just a few:

1. Did RIS conduct espionage and associated influence operations during the 2016 presidential campaign?
2. If 1. true, were RIS alone, or were the intelligence services of other nation-states involved?
3. If the intelligence services of other nation-states were involved, what was the nature and scope of their efforts?
4. Were the influence operations solely for the benefit of a single candidate, merely to sow discord, or were there competitive forces at play?
5. Did any domestic political entities collaborate, either wittingly or unwittingly, with foreign actors?
6. Have these sorts of things happened before (e.g. in 2012 or 2008, when a Democrat candidate might well have been the beneficiary)?

Fred

WildWilly,

"This is a case of unelected groups interfering with the elected government,..."

Maybe you missed this piece of news but here are almost 70 elected members of congress opposing the elected government.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/01/16/more-than-30-democratic-lawmakers-now-skipping-trumps-inauguratio

Jack

I doubt Mueller is gonna do any such thing as determine if & how the Russians hacked and how much it influenced voters to change their mind from voting for Hillary.

Mueller is running a pure fishing expedition. Looking at the lawyers he's hired it seems to be mostly about those associated with the Trump campaign and how much "consulting fees" they received from the Russians. Of course they'll not investigate how much money Podesta and the Clinton Foundation received from the Russians and the Saudis among others.

Publius Tacitus

What? You are seeing conspiracy where there is none.

Lars

I did start my post with "hopefully" and I suspect that Bob Mueller is very aware that his personal and professional reputation is on the line here. The main aspect of my opinion is that patience is a virtue here and speculations are not.

Lars

Neither Podesta nor Hillary Clinton are part of the government, but Donald Trump and many of his supporters are. How they got there is a valid inquiry.

The Twisted Genius

Publius Tacitus,

On your last point of not yet having a definitive report on what the Russians did and if/how it affected the election, I think you're being far too impatient. The Clinton email server criminal investigation took a full year before Comey presented his findings to the public. Hell, Starr's investigation went on for four plus years. I have yet to see a published report of that investigation. I have also not seen "a well-sourced, thoroughly coordinated document from the USIC" on any of the major cyber breaches attributed to foreign actors such as the 2014 to 2015 OPM hack or many others at the White House, Pentagon and State Department. I am aware of many more that have not and probably will not see the light of day. This election hack, however, has serious implications for the future of our electoral system. I sincerely hope we a published and well publicized report of what did and didn't occur during the 2016 election cycle.

Swami Bhut Jolokia

So what explains your use of her first name, and none of the males? Are you on first name terms with her?

Yeah, Right

Based on Clapper's duplicitous testimony there doesn't appear to be anyone in the Senate capable of seeing an obvious act of omission.

Clapper: "Well, we didn’t go through that – that process, this was a special situation because of the time limits and my – what I knew to be to who could really contribute to this and the sensitivity of the situation, we decided it was a constant judgement to restrict it to those three."

OK, dubious, but at least that is an arguable point i.e. in October 2016 there was an urgency that made it necessary to short-circuit the normal coordination process.

But.... but.... but.... that was in October 2016, and once that joint statement was released then the "urgency" had passed.

From that point on nothing stopped that analysis from being fed back into the National Intelligence Council and undergoing the normal process of being circulated amongst the US Intelligence Community for review and approval.

Retrospectively, to be sure, but I see no reason why Clapper's analysis couldn't subsequently be reviewed and approved.

So, did that happen?

Clapper: "I’m not aware of anyone who dissented or – or disagreed when it came out."

I think you can bank that as a definite "no".

Old Microbiologist

David, In this I am somewhat an expert as I was one of the top 10 suspects for the anthrax letters and I shared a lab with Bruce Ivins. IMHO, Ivins was also a setup as I knew him very well. He was perhaps weirder than most of us and that is not saying much as all of us working in this field are a bit out on the edge. I met with the FBI investigators numerous times and I can categorically state as an expert in this field they were hopelessly incompetent. The only verifiable evidence against Bruce was that his (also mine but luckily for me I hadn't worked in that particular lab for over 6 months) centrifuge contained identical DNA as the strains used. Not mentioned anywhere is that Bruce was tasked with expanding the exact isolates from the forensic samples so duh! there was of course the same DNA present. There are a number of things that have gone unmentioned from the anthrax investigation. The first is that Hatfill's only job was to decontaminate equipment out of the BSL-3 labs using paraformaldehyde vapor. He never worked with or had access to any agents. Paraformaldehyde is a particularly unpleasant and highly penetrating chemical and anyone working in the field who does decontamination work regardless of PPE is going to have trace amounts of paraformaldehyde on them. You handle the equipment afterwards and it is still permeated with the formaldehyde. The reason Hatfill was a suspect in the first place (other than his working in Rhodesia and his highly suspicious resume, was they lined up the entire staff of USMRIID and had dogs sniff the envelope (decontaminated using paraformaldehyde) then go down the line to see who the dogs alerted on. So duh! they alerted on Hatfill because of the paraformaldehyde.

The second thing and this has been very tightly controlled and to my knowledge never reported on although anyone interested should do a FOIA for laboratory accident reports and the minutes of the monthly biosafety committee meetings) is that the Directors of the CIA and FBI as well as several Generals and Colonels were all exposed to anthrax when they opened the one intact letter to obtain spores for analysis. It was done outside the Biosafety cabinet out on the counter in the lab. These idiots failed to know that weaponized anthrax spores are treated (usually with bentonite) to make them lose their ionic charge so they disperse easily otherwise the powder will clump together and not be very useful as an aerosolized weapon. So, this particular anthrax was weaponized (meaning it was highly purified and treated with bentonite clay) so when they opened the envelope woosh it all dispersed out into the room (there is high airflow in these labs for exhaust filtration) leaving only a very minute amount of sample to test and the rest inhaled by those present in the room at the time. It was a pretty large crowd in there and no one was wearing PPE at all. That leads up to another problem.

The anthrax spores we use in the lab are actually in a liquid slurry which permits metered dosing using a nebulizer for inhalation exposures of animals. We never dry them out and have no equipment to actually do that. We have desiccators but that leaves a very clumpy material which must be crushed or pulverized then sieved and we didn't have that stuff at all. When you do that it mostly kills all the spores. The real weapons systems back in the day used a liquid nitrogen spray system. We also don't do anything to improve dispersion (other than using a sugar based solution which more or less does the same thing) as it goes straight from the nebulizer (aerosol impinger) to the airstream used for the exposures. It is diluted using humidified air and measured using a laser scatter nephelometer to estimate particle counts and samples collected into a liquid broth for subsequent culture.

My point is there was no way to weaponize these samples using the equipment located at USAMRIID at least not to the level actually present in the samples. All that highly specialized equipment was destroyed back in 1928 after we signed the bioweapons treaty. This brings us to asking just exactly where could weaponized anthrax have come from? Well, it happens that the CIA back in the Clinton administration built an anthrax production facility for nefarious reasons (in violation of the treaty) look up Operation Clear Vision or Project Jefferson all of which are in the open literature as are all the techniques I mentioned.

Then we have a problem concerning Ivin's allegedly committed suicide by overdosing on Tylenol and died 18 hours after taking the pills. The problem is that acetaminophen kills by destroying the liver which takes roughly 72 hours. So, IMHO he was assassinated and the case subsequently closed.

My personal opinion is that this was a CIA operation which went awry (unintended consequences). There had been a very nice paper published in Canada in 1999 (since classified and removed from the internet - sorry but I went looking for it a ways back and it had disappeared along with some of my stuff as well) discussing the potential use of anthrax powder in envelopes. The conclusion was that it wouldn't work well and might at best only expose the person who opened the letter. So, I believe whoever did it was trying to send a message or create a "threat" so as to move some political agenda. I believe they never intended to actually kill anyone and had assumed the paper's conclusions were correct. No one anticipated the mail sorting machine getting jammed with a bulky powder filled envelope nor would anyone know that the way you clean the sorting machine is with a blast of high pressure air. If you look at the victims it would be what you might expect for a low dosage exposure with only babies and old people or immunologically impaired individuals which would be what happened after blasting the jammed letter and spreading spores all over the mail sorting facility. Lucky for everyone the minimum absorbed dose for a healthy adult for anthrax spores is in the 1,000's (or 1 or 2 logs more) which for a point release requires kilograms and not milligrams of material. Dispersal is a square of the distance in 3 dimensions and anthrax spores are actually heavy and fall out of suspension fairly quickly depending on temperature and humidity. In a room like that it might be a little bit effective but in general it is a poor weapon as it disperses quickly down to non-infective levels. But, small doses will infect impaired individuals. Remember these are intended for combat use as a denial of terrain weapon or for rear communications disruptions. Really, it is a crappy weapon to actually use but is the easiest to store so for logistical reasons it is the biological weapon of choice. It is also one of the 2 biological agents which have a vaccine which works. Smallpox being the other.

So, my conclusion to all of this is the real culprits were never found nor was any real investigation ever conducted. In many ways it was run like a Keystone Cops episode and was tragically flawed from the outset, maybe deliberately. Poor Hatfill and Ivins and of course the people who were infected, were the real victims of this charade. After Ivin's death it was a case closed as they had a patsy to take the fall and even better with him dead. Personally, as much as I liked Bruce at least it ended the witch hunt. Sadly, the Army ends up taking the blame for the incident and all the subsequent billions of dollars for emergency biodefense research then went mostly outside the military. I might add that despite all the money we are no better off than before 9/11. It was much like the F-35 fighter a mission to spend money but to not actually ever develop anything that might work. I would love to see an in depth investigation as to where and how the money was used. But, we will never see that.

The Twisted Genius

Holy crap! I guess I ought to spend some time proofreading my comments before sending them in. I know about the Starr Report. It's a report concerning the Clinton email server investigation that I haven't seen along with ones about the other cyber intrusions. A public report on the election IO is more important than any of those.

Lefty

OMB

Thank you very much. Your first hand narration is better than anything I have seen. It seems the FBI generally settles on a culprit first then does all in its power to gin up a case.

Hatfill turned out to be surprisingly resilient and successfully resisted. They then settled on Ivins, a more vulnerable target. They got him. Dead suspects do not defend themselves, and give the FBI propaganda machine free reign.

FBI's ballyhooed revolutionary "science" was more charade than investigative tool. Years ago some folks who were in a position to know were of the opinion that most in the FBI were not very bright. They would hurt you if you pissed them off, but could not find the bathroom without a paid informant. Nothing much has changed, as Ivins and Comey's self righteousness and secret leaks demonstrate.

Old Microbiologist

Should read 1969 for the treaty and cessation of offensive bioweapons. I am not sure what my spell checker was thinking.

I might add the brand new bioweapon production facility at Fort Detrick was immediately turned over to the National Cancer Institute after the treaty was enacted (never ratified by the way). I have read quite a few published papers coming out of the NCI indicating the development of viruses (which are also human infections and can be delivered by aerosol) to cause cancer following inhalation. Of course they aren't written that way but if you look for articles over-expressing the cDNA for c_FOS and c-JUN in adenovirus that they cause sarcomas in mice and monkeys. Then if you examine just how many foreign leaders who are semi- or overtly- hostile to the US hegemonic goals, especially in Central and South America died from sarcomas then one might think it is again highly coincidental. I know I sound like a conspiracy theorist nutcase but I was thinking after Chavez's death could it be done and loe and behold there were the articles backing up my hypothesis. I also must add that I was involved in a wound infection project to enhance wound healing by the over-expression of heat shock protein 70 using an adenovirus vector (which had a 50% enhancement in wound healing by the way). So, I do know that it is relatively simple to do this kind of work. Delivery is always the problem and many people have had low grade adenovirus infections and are naturally immune. But, it could be done for pretty much any virus.

I might add my personal belief that the timing of the anthrax letters is also another highly suspicious issue and would indicate a knowledge of the 9/11 attacks to be imminent and was timed to be coincidental. Being a cynical person after 40 years working for the Army, I never believe in coincidence. I also believe the CIA has been out of control for a very long time.

Jack

By your logic, Roger Stone and Paul Manafort shouldn't be investigated.

Hillary was in government when there apparently was some kind of quid pro quo with a Russian uranium transaction. There has been some ink spilled on this topic and it would be nice to know if millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation greased the wheels to such a transaction.

What about Bill's tarmac tryst with AG Lynch? Comey suggested in testimony that Lynch influenced him to mischaracterize the investigation. Doesn't that require a special counsel too?

How about Jimmy Clapper? There is reason to believe he committed espionage by leaking the most sensitive secret that we were intercepting and decrypting secure Russian communications.

The Mueller fishing expedition smacks of vendetta that the voters in Michigan and Wisconsin cast their ballot for Trump. And the Democrats can't accept responsibility for their poor candidate selection and campaign. Did the Russians also hack the Georgia congressional race too, considering the Democrat spent seven times more than the GOP candidate?

Jack

OM

Thank you for this excellent explanation based on first hand knowledge and your deep experience of the subject.

This is exactly the problem. How to trust any government investigation? When there have been numerous cases of manipulation and insider dealing.

Fred

Lars,

Both John Podesta was President Clinton's chief of staff and Hilary Clinton was a Senator from New York as well as Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. Trump got "there" by winning an election.

mauisurfer

Ron Paul interviews Snowden:

Paul asserted that the Deep State has usurped some of the powers of the legislative and executive branches of government.

“It’s becoming more commonplace now for people to realize that the average congressman doesn’t call the shots, but there’s a force out there called the deep state and they’re the ones calling the shots.”

Fundamentally, the growing power of the deep state cuts against the US democratic system.

“It raises the question: Who really has the most power in our society? Is it the voter, or at least in theory the politicians who are supposed to be carrying out their will, or is it this larger group, this constellation of influential actors who are able to subvert and shape the decisions of these Congressmen or even Presidents.”

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-20/ron-paul-interviews-snowden-discusses-rise-super-state

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

September 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30      
Blog powered by Typepad