by Ed Lake
& Changes: Sunday, September 28, 2014, thru Saturday, October 4,
September 30, 2014 - When is the
13th anniversary of the anthrax attacks of 2001? Was it a couple
weeks ago when the first letters were mailed, or is it next week when
people first began to realize there had been an attack?
Thirteen years ago today, Bruce Ivins was presumably going crazy
waiting for something to happen. Back on the evening of September
17, he'd sent out a batch of five
letters to the media. Then he'd
undoubtedly waited for the hysterical news reports to appear.
For the first week of the wait, from the 17th through the 24th of
September, he'd barely spent any evening hours in Suite B3 at all:
did "work" in Suite B3 on the 25th, but it was only to clean the place
because Patricia Worsham had ordered
him to do the cleaning. He wrote his
famous "Queen of the Universe" email the next day, informing
that he'd done as instructed.
Then, frustrated over the lack of news about anthrax being sent through
the mails (and probably thoroughly pissed at having a woman who was
younger and less experience than he was order him around), on the 28th
he evidently began work on the spores for the second
mailing. It appears he finished preparing those spores on
the 5th of October, since he then, once again, had no reason to go into
B3 in the evenings.
October 5th was also the day that Bob Stevens died. But the
"experts" in the media were saying that Stevens might have been infected by some
natural source while on vacation. Nothing was going the way Ivins had
planned. He made certain his second batch of letters would leave
no doubt that a biological weapons attack was occurring - the powder
was more lethal, the letter said it was anthrax, and he would mail the
second batch of letters to two important Senators. Then he would
have to wait once again.
Meanwhile, back in today's world of 2014, the search for Malaysia
Flight MH370 is starting up again in
the Southern Indian Ocean. According to an article in today's USA
Today, the mapping survey of the ocean floor is complete and search
will soon begin sending down submersibles to do a detailed examination
area where MH370 is calculated to have gone down.
conducted from May through late September by Chinese and Australian
ships, has revealed several previously unknown features, including two
volcanoes, a mile-deep trench and a mountain ridge nearly 9 miles long,
4 miles wide and rising more than a mile from the ocean floor.
Having completed the seafloor mapping, the Netherlands-owned Fugro
has returned to the search area and hopes to begin the
latest hunt in the coming days. It will be joined by the Fugro
Discovery and the GO
, owned by Maryland-based Phoenix International
Rough weather is forecast through the rest of the week.
It's early fall here, so it's early spring down there. Hopefully,
it will just take weeks, not months or years to find the plane.
Then I'm hoping they can recover not only the "black box," but also
cellphones from the passengers, who will likely have recorded some of
what was going on during their final minutes or hours of
consciousness. I'd like to have a major mystery be satisfactorily
solved for once -- although I suppose there will always be a band of
theorists who will be claiming that all the new evidence that is found
was simply planted by the CIA and the U.S. government.
Also meanwhile, it seems to take forever to get anything done on my
computer these days. It's like I'm back in the days of "dial-up"
connections. I'm not sure what's going on, but I suspect it's an
incompatibility between the ancient software I'm using in my computer
and some aspect of new software being used by my up-to-date Firefox web
browser and web site developers. Or maybe all the new software
requires more memory space than I have in my computer. All I seem
to be able to think about right now is how to best go about getting
reasonably up-to-date with my hardware and software - at least the
hardware and sofware I use to work on-line.
I can still use old stuff for off-line work.
September 28, 2014 (B) - I see that
"DXer" is posting a whole slew of rambling,
silly messages to Lew Weinstein's blog asking Adnan Shukrijumah's
brother Nabil about details of the anthrax mailings. Does "DXer"
really think he'll get a reply? Or is it just another way for
"DXer" to argue his beliefs and to pose screwball questions?
It seems pretty clear some of "DXer's" posts are in response to my (A)
comment this morning. In one
of his rambling posts, "DXer" says,
The United States Attorney
Falsely Alleged That The Federal Eagle Stamp Was Uniquely Sold At Dr.
Bruce Ivins’ Post Office And Then That Ran As An AP Headline. In fact, the envelopes with the
printing defects are known to have been sold throughout Maryland and
Virginia post offices (and that is where the hijackers were).
That is almost certainly
in response to this part of my (A) comment:
The post office envelopes
used in the mailings were sold in the area
where Ivins lived.
"DXer" has no explanation for why al Qaeda would buy envelopes in
the fact that the hijackers
were reportedly in the Virginia/Maryland area at some point in time
prior to 9/11 merely poses the question: Is "DXer" saying that one of
the hijackers put the two different types of anthrax powders into the
letters while they were somewhere within the US? Are we to
believe that the hijackers then set the two batches of letters aside
somewhere to wait for Adnan Shukrijumah to come to the US to do the two
actual mailings after 9/11?
Instead of asking silly questions of someone who is unlikely to
respond, it would seem far more logical for "DXer" to attempt to show
that his al Qaeda theory makes some kind of sense. What is the
timeline? Who did what? When? How?
September 28, 2014 (A) - Maybe it's a quirk of fate or a stroke
of luck that I'm currently reading a
humorous philosophy book during breakfast and lunch, after I
finished reading a
different humorous philosophy book a couple weeks ago.
Some days I really need to be humorously philosophical.
In the past months, I've been so busy working on my sci-fi novels while
also arguing with
Anthrax Truthers, while also doing all the things "normal" people do
every day, that I haven't taken time out to update software for my
computer. I'm still using Windows XP, which is no longer
Microsoft. I can't simply load a new operating system, since that
would require also reloading all my other software. And I don't
know if I have the materials I would need to reload my 1998 version of Lotus-123
spreadsheet software which is no longer being sold. My Microsoft
is from 2003, and I don't know if I have the disks for that,
Or my graphics software. Or my software for creating and
maintaining web site pages. Or my software for uploading
web site pages and updates. And, very importantly, I don't know
if I can
my existing email files to some kind of new email software. My
software is from 2004. And I have an archive of over 50,000
I'm also having problems with my emails. Sometimes it seems to
forever to download incoming emails. And sometimes when I try to
an email, it takes so long that it "times out" and I have to try
I keep having to override automatic updates to various
of software because the updates will crash my operating system.
And, I probably should put all the new software onto a new computer - probably a laptop
computer - before trying to update software on my existing desktop
computer, so I can use it as a backup.
But, I really want to work on my sci-fi novels. I'm thinking of
starting a third book and postponing doing the second draft of my
And, I've got this stack of novels on a shelf in front of me that I
want to read.
However, instead of doing any
of this, I'm endlessly arguing with Anthrax Truthers over minutiae and
the meanings of words.
On Friday, I was really pleased when I found the
UPI article which stated that Adnan el Shukrijumah and Mohammed
Mohammed Khan appeared to be two different people, who just sometimes
use the same aliases.
But, "DXer" then posted more articles and references where reporters
appear to still believe that
Mohammed Khan is an alias used by Adnan el
Shukrijumah, and they are the same person.
I tried to find more information to settle the matter.
There's nothing on the FBI web site
about Mohammed Sher Mohammed Khan. It's not even mentioned as
being an alias used by Shukrijumah in Shukrijuma's
FBI wanted poster. But, after some thorough searching, I did find a web site HERE
which seems to say that Mohammed Sher Mohammed Khan really is
alias used by Adnan el Shukrijumah. And, it provides enough
detail to make it seem convincing. But, it also seems possible
Mohammed Sher Mohammed Khan is a real person whose identity Shukrijumah
I made a BIG mistake
in arguing this subject. It is just a total waste
of time. Even if
Mohammed Khan is an alias
used by Shukrijumah, the argument is really about what "after Sept. 1,
2001" means in the sentence "The FBI said Friday it is looking for a
man called Mohammed Sher Mohammed Khan, who entered the country
illegally after Sept. 1,
2001." That sentence is from a Feb. 7, 2003, UPI news article HERE.
A different UPI
March 20, 2003, says "There was
a warning that Khan entered the U.S. illegally around Sept. 1, 2001."
"DXer" seems to think "after" and "around" September 1 can only
mean "between September 13 and September 18, 2001," since it would have to mean that if Shukrijumah
was in Afghanistan on September 13 talking
to his mother on the phone, and also
in Princeton, New Jersey, on
the evening of September 17 or morning of September 18 to mail the
first anthrax letters.
The argument is a total waste of time.
It proves nothing.
The absurd al Qaeda anthrax theory is so full of holes that arguing
over one minor piece of minutiae can do nothing but waste time.
order to make an intelligent case that al Qaeda was behind the anthrax
mailings, "DXer" needs to provide BETTER evidence that shows
did it than the FBI has showing that Bruce Ivins did it. But, so
"DXer" hasn't even attempted to do that. The reasons are pretty
Ivins had full access to the source of the
anthrax used in the letters.
"DXer" has no evidence
that al Qaeda had access to that source.
Ivins routinely made Ames
anthrax spores in his lab.
"DXer" has no evidence
that al Qaeda ever
made any Ames anthrax spores.
Ivins was within driving
distance of the mailbox at the time of the
"DXer" doesn't know where
Shukrijumah was at the time of the mailings.
Ivins used the biosafety cabinet in his lab to put the anthrax in the
"DXer" has no timeline showing when al Qaeda put the anthrax in the
The post office envelopes used in the mailings were sold in the area
where Ivins lived.
"DXer" has no explanation for why al Qaeda would buy envelopes in
Ivins had several
connections to Princeton, NJ, where the letters were
"DXer" had no explanation for why al Qaeda chose to mail the letters
It makes sense for Ivins to send two different forms of anthrax.
It makes NO sense for al Qaeda to send two different forms of anthrax.
It makes sense for Ivins to wait three weeks before doing a second
It makes NO sense for al Qaeda to wait three weeks between
The handwriting on the letters doesn't match Ivins' or Mohamed Atta's writing.
Ivins had reason to
disguise his handwriting. Atta did not.
Osama bin Laden denied responsibility for
the anthrax attacks.
Terrorist are called "terrorists" because they want responsibility for their
Etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.
& Changes: Sunday, September 21, 2014, thru Saturday, September 27,
September 26, 2014 (B) - I should
probably save this for Sunday, but I've been doing some research on
Adnan el Shukrijuma, the Islamic terrorist who "DXer" inexplicably
believes mailed the anthrax letters in 2001. "DXer" just started
a new thread on Lew Weinstein's blog with the title "In
February 2003, the FBI announced that “Jafar the Pilot” (aka Adnan
El-Shukrijumah) had entered the country sometime after September 1, 2001."
"DXer" doesn't provide a link to where the FBI announced this dubious
claim. Instead, he provides an image of a UPI
news article from Feb. 7, 2003, which says,
FBI said Friday that it is looking for a man called Mohammed Sher Mohammed
Khan, who entered the country illegally after Sept. 1, 2001.
aliases include Muhammad Shir Muhammad Khan; Mohammed Essagh; Ja'Far
Al-Tayar; Jaffar Tayar; jaafar Al-Tayyar; Ali Abdul Qadir and Abdul
Note that there is no mention of Adnan el Shukrijumah anywhere in the
entire article, nor is it one of Mohammed Sher Mohammed Khan's aliases.
To figure out what "DXer" is talking about, you have to look a the
title of the thread he created, which says "Jafar the Pilot" is aka
Adnan El-Shukrijumah. And some of Khan's aliases use variations
on the name "Jafar."
The problem is, over a month later it appears things looked a bit
different to terrorism experts and the FBI. According to a different
UPI article dated March 20, 2003, titled "FBI
hunting for alleged al-Qaida terorrist":
Adnan el-Shukrijumah --
believed to be a
27-year-old Saudi citizen -- is wanted for questioning in regard
to a possible domestic terrorist plot.
Using the alias Ja'far al-Tayar and similar names, el-Shukrijumah is
described as standing between 5'3" and 5'5" and weighing at least 130
There has been some confusion on the
part of intelligence and law enforcement sources about the identity of
el-Shukrijumah, who might also be wanted by the FBI under the name
Mohammed Sher Mohammed Khan. Khan
fits the same physical description as el-Shukrijumah, although the FBI
alert -- dated Feb. 7 -- has him as being 36 years old and born in Pakistan.
Khan is also a pilot and was last seen in Miami.
Federal agents recently
raided a home in Miami where Khan was believed to be living, but failed
to apprehend him. The original
FBI warning about Khan acknowledged that law enforcement was unsure
about his name, age and place of birth. However, Khan is known to use
the same aliases
"Obviously you can tell how
hard it can be to track these guys," said one federal law enforcement
official. "Whether they're the
same guy or not, we want to talk to them."
"We don't know if they are the same
person and, frankly, we're not sure the FBI knows, either," said one
terrorism expert. "But we do know this alert was spawned by the
interviews with Khalid. There was
a warning that Khan entered the U.S. illegally around Sept. 1, 2001.
Then we knew he was in Miami. Now we have reason to believe he's
a Mohammed Atta-type of guy."
September 26, 2014 (A) - This is
entirely off topic, but someone might find it interesting:
I see that O'Hare and Midway airports in Chicago are currently shut
down because of a fire at an FAA radar center. It's probably just
a coincidence, but last night I watched the first episode of a new TV
series titled "Scorpion."
It was about a fictional problem that shut down radio communications at
LAX and a couple other airports in the Los Angeles area. A
super-intelligent bunch of misfits are called into help, since there
were 54 planes looking to land at LAX, and the government would have to
shoot them down over the
ocean if radio contact could not be regained before the planes
run out of fuel.
I watched about two thirds of the program before turning it off.
The story was just too stupid, and the script was full of holes,
although the band of geniuses idea was good.
I had a bunch of other new programs on my DVR that I hadn't had time to
watch because I first wanted to view all 14 hours of "The Roosevelts"
(which I found very interesting). After watching the last part of
the last episode last night, I started on the other programs I had
recorded on my DVR. I watched two episodes of "Forever," which I thoroughly enjoyed. It's my
kind of show: a super-smart guy with a sense of humor working with a
smart, beautiful woman to solve crimes together. (It fits very
my current list of favorite TV series: "The Mentalist," "Elementary" and "Castle.") The first
episode of "Madam
was okay, and I'll probably watch episode #2. But, I couldn't
get through the first episode of "Gotham."
Not my cup of
tea. Too gloomy.
September 25, 2014 - "Dxer" (a.k.a.
"Anonymous") continues to argue his belief that al Qaeda was behind the
anthrax attacks of 2001 by trying to point at mistakes I've made,
instead of by supplying evidence in support of his claim.
This is a common tactic of Truthers who have no evidence to support
their beliefs. They cannot argue that they have a better case, so
they instead attack the FBI's case or just argue trivial details.
"DXer" has been banned from my
interactive blog for posting disgusting personal attacks and an
endless stream of irrelevant, time-wasting materials. If I
allowed any of his new post attempts to go through, he'd probably call
me a liar, since I said I wasn't going to allow him to post
anymore. So, instead of once again letting his posts go through,
I just quote from them as I post my responses to his nonsense.
This has been going on for about a week, and what it clearly shows is
how preposterous his al Qaeda
theory is. He argues that the FBI has no evidence against Bruce
Ivins, but he cannot provide anything
that even resembles evidence
in support of his own theory. But, the arguments are sometimes
very interesting. They are so interesting that I just
created a new thread titled "The
absurd al Qaeda anthrax theory" for my blog. Hopefully, I'll
be able to get DXer to argue his theory there, instead of just arguing
that the FBI doesn't do things they way he thinks they should be done,
or that I made mistakes in the past and nothing further can be
discussed until I correct those mistakes (which are usually his
mistakes, but he doesn't see things that way).
September 24, 2014 - Hmm. What
a difference a day makes. Yesterday, I felt I had lots to write
comments about and no time to do the writing. Today, I'm sitting
around trying to remember what I was so excited about. The
Anthrax Truther who didn't seem to know the difference between a
syllogism and logic hasn't posted any further messages to my interactive blog.
The Truther who endlessly argues about al Qaeda tried to change
the subject and argue about which mosque some terrorists attended
in Florida. He can't explain what he's talking about, and I'm not
in the mood to try to figure it out.
I remember I had watched the movie "Breach"
on Monday night, and I was thinking about how the Robert Hanssen
case, which completed in early 2001, was supposedly the FBI's biggest
investigation ever -- until the anthrax mailings later in 2001. I
thought I'd write a comment about it, but now I can't think of anything
further to write.
I remember I was thinking about the incredibly
silly arguments made by members of the House Committee for Science,
Space and Technology, and how I could try to create syllogisms for
their absurd arguments. For example, Rep. Steve Stockman, a
Republican from Texas, argued this kind of syllogism:
The Ice Age was caused by global wobbling.
wobbling was not included in claims about global warming.
global wobbling causes global warming, not CO2 emissions.
The problem is global wobbling occurs over tens of thousands of years,
and thus could not cause something that began so recently as global
Then Rep. Dan Rohrabocher, a Republican from California, argued:
Breathing CO2 would be fatal to all
a human and I haven't been harmed by CO2 in the atmosphere.
CO2 in the atmosphere cannot be dangerous to humans.
The problem is that the CO2 in the atmosphere is causing global warming. No one said
it is causing human asphyxiation.
Then Rep. Larry Bucshon, a Republican from Indiana, argued:
Scientists claim that global warming is a
members of the public disagree with the scientists.
global warming is not a proven danger.
That's a standard argument from Truthers. The next comment from
Buschon, when turned into a syllogism, seems to explain why he has such
I do not believe scientists
I must believe the scientists are wrong.
The last argument was another one from Representative Stockman:
All the world's ice is floating in water.
ice turns to water when it melts.
when the ice caps melt it won't raise the level of the water.
The problem, of course, is that the bulk of the ice in Antarctica and
on Greenland is on land,
not floating in water.
I doubt that any of the above "syllogisms" follow all the rules for
creating syllogisms. But, they certainly illustrate that a
syllogism does not have to be logical.
It's a format for creating a logical argument, but a
syllogism is not necessarily
a logical argument.
Hmm. I've run out of time again.
September 23, 2014 - Wow!
There are a lot of things I want to write about this morning, but I've
been so busy arguing with a couple Anthrax Truthers on my
interactive blog that I've run out of time. One
argument over the difference between logic and a syllogism was
pretty enlightening. It seems to explain why one Truther
thinks his invalid logic is actually valid logic. He didn't know
the difference between logic and a syllogism.
Meanwhile, someone sent me an email with a link to a new article in PC World titled "Nvidia
debunks moon landing conspiracies with new GTX 900-series 'Maxwell' GPUs."
So, there are still people out there trying to convince the moon
landing conspiracy theorists that they are wrong. Good luck.
I also want to mention a segment on last night's "Daily
Show with Jon Stewart," where Stewart showed clips of congressmen
on the House Committee for
Science, Space and Technology arguing against climate change
using the most idiotic logic
imaginable. The total stupidity of their beliefs was
jaw-dropping. It wasn't just ignorance. It was stupidity. If it wasn't on
video and was just in some print article, no one would believe
it. The congressmen didn't have the scientific understanding of a
typical sixth grader. I was as amazed as Jon Stewart was.
I have a bunch of other things to write about, too. But, it's
lunch time and then I need to head to the health club for a
workout. Maybe I'll write another comment later.
September 22, 2014 - Since the
search for Malaysia Flight MH370 was supposed to resume today, I
checked the news. I found an article in a British newspaper from
Friday titled "Missing
Flight MH370 search to resume." It says,
The Australian Transport
Safety Bureau (ATSB) intends to resume the search on 30 September.
So, there has been a delay
of about a week. Interestingly, the article also mentions a new
book on the subject:
The authors [of "Goodnight
Malaysian 370"] - a New Zealand pilot, Ewan Wilson, and a
journalist, Geoff Taylor - theorise that the captain, Zaharie Ahmad
Shah, locked the copilot out of the flight deck and depressurised the
plane. The passengers and crew would have passed out quickly and died
They speculate that Captain
Shah, using oxygen, then turned the aircraft around and headed south,
carrying out a controlled ditching when the plane ran out of fuel. But
the airline angrily issued a statement deploring the book: “The authors
and publishers should quite simply be ashamed of themselves for
what is nothing more than a cheap and maligned publicity stunt, seeking
to simply cash in on the suffering of the families and undermining the
dignity of all of those onboard.”
It seems like a fairly
good premise (or hypothesis) that fits all the known facts (except
the "controlled ditching" part). At
least it isn't a conspiracy theory book.
Further research finds that, on October 8, NOVA on PBS will be airing a
program that mentions Flight MH370. Click HERE for a preview
video of "Why Planes Vanish."
September 21, 2014 (B) - During breakfast and lunch for the
past week or so, I've been reading the book "Monty
Python and Philosophy," which I obtained from my local library for
my Kindle. I've been highlighting
passages, which on a Kindle means I create copies of passages in my
"clippings" file. That also means I can copy and paste the
passages from my "clippings" file to a comment here.
For example, in Chapter 5 of the book, University of Wisconsin
Professor of Philosophy Harry Brighouse
says this about Monty Python's Argument Clinic
comedy skit, in
clinician simply argues with the patient about everything:
like the sketch for at least two reasons. First, argument is just about
all we are good at: it is not at all uncommon for a philosopher to
exclaim dismissively “but that’s an empirical, not a philosophical,
issue,” and by that they mean that evidence is irrelevant: argument is
the only guide to the truth.
So, if you want to find out what is true by examining evidence, don't
philosopher to for his advice (and definitely do NOT ask a Truther).
Another "clipping" from the book very clearly explains how I view
It is only through a
process of argument with other people can most of us hope to come to
have true beliefs about matters of any complexity.
I had very little knowledge of anthrax, spores or microbiology when I
researching the anthrax letter case. I had to do a lot of
research in order to
find the answers to countless questions - and also to ask intelligent
questions. Now I think I can
intelligently argue with scientists about how Ivins most likely made
the attack spores, and I can probably win most such arguments.
experience has been that when I show them how it was done, they stop
Here's another clipping from the book:
is the systematic study of questions, the answers to which cannot be
determined simply by gathering observational data about the world and
making hypotheses about those data.
In philosophy, the Amerithrax question is not "who did it?".
The question is: what does the Amerithrax case MEAN
for humanity? (and what does it say about trust, and about a world
in which someone you never heard of can do something stupid and kill
brings us back to the Argument Clinic. One’s own perspective on moral,
and other, matters is necessarily limited. This doesn’t mean that one is
completely stuck in one’s own perspective; one can, and should, think
as far beyond it as one can. But often, one needs help: someone or,
preferably, many people, to present alternatives, with whom one can
then uncover agreement and disagreement. Mere contradiction,
entertaining as it is to a pantomime audience, simply does not serve
When you have an intelligent
argument, both sides can learn from the other. Mere contradiction
is what you get from Truthers, instead of argument. No matter
what facts or evidence you present to them, they simply argue that they
don't believe it, or that some "expert" doesn't believe it, or that
some reporter said he didn't believe it.
Another (and final) clipping:
we are committed to uncovering the
truth about matters of human value or other matters of great
complexity, we usually need other smart, good-willed, and
intellectually serious people to alert us to perspectives and reasons
we would not have been able to conjure up on our own. If more
people sought argument clinics the world would be a better place, and
not only because philosophers would be richer.
I fully agree. Unfortunately, "smart, good-willed, and
intellectually serious people" are few and far between, and they are
usually too busy with their own
lives and jobs to debate much of anything. They rarely have the
to debate something as complex as the Amerithrax case. So, I
mostly discuss Amerithrax with Anthrax Truthers in hopes of figuring
out what is true (or most likely) and what is false (or very
unlikely). It is very rare
to get intelligent answers from an Anthrax Truther, but it is fairly common to learn something
new through the process of posing a
new question. If they
ask a new question, it can force me to look at things from a different
angle. The result can be that I understand things more
clearly. And if I am
the one who formulates a new question, it can be equally
enlightening. It, too, can provide a different way of looking at
things. The more different ways you view something, the more
certain you can be that you thoroughly understand it - or don't understand it.
Reading "Monty Python and Philosophy" also makes me want to create a
Python-esque comedy skit to illustrate what I think about Barbara Honneger's
two hour talk with fellow 9/11 Truthers. From my point of
view, she is abysmally ignorant of the laws of physics, and her
equally or even more ignorant.
I can envision John Cleese telling an audience how ridiculous "the
government" is to try to claim that there are people living on the
other side of the earth -- below their feet.
Are we to believe
that the people on the underside of the world pave their streets with
Velco so that their cars can use Velco tires to cling to the road
instead of falling off into space?
Cleese: Are we to
believe that all the people have Velco soles on their shoes so that
they don't go falling off into space?
Michael Palin in the
audience: Who can
believe such nonsense??!!
Cleese: Do their infant
children cling to the bars in their cribs like monkeys? How
does one take a shower when the water is falling upwards?
Idle in the audience:
Hilarious! How stupid to they think we are!?
Are we to believe that children on the underside of the world do not
When you go "downstairs" in an upside down building, are you going up
or down? Do you sleep on the floor or on the ceiling? Or do
you sleep in a hammock hanging in the middle, between the floor and the
ceiling? Do people in the government just make up these beliefs, or do they make down such beliefs?
(rolling on the floor in hilarious laughter)
When I'm arguing with
Anthrax Truthers I'm also reminded of Monty Python's Dead
Parrot Skit. Only instead of me being a customer who is
trying to return a parrot I just bought, because the parrot is
obviously dead, I see myself more like a customer to whom the clerk is
trying to sell a dead
parrot. I refuse to buy their parrot because it is so obviously
dead, but the clerk just endlessly continues to try to sell it to me,
arguing that it isn't dead, it's just asleep or meditating.
The problem is that there is no Skit Police or Absurdity Control
Agency to step in and bring an end to the argument. So, the
argument is now about to enter it's 14th year.
September 21, 2014 (A) - "DXer"
on Lew Weinstein's blog just provided an excellent example of the
Python-esque reasoning used by Anthrax Truthers. In a
post yesterday evening, DXer wrote:
The anthrax letters used
large paper, such as standard in Europe but not in US.
The quote is from an MSNBC
article from December 11, 2001, which I cannot find on the Internet
anywhere anymore. However, I can find a
Wall Street Journal article from that same day that says basically
the same thing:
One clue was contained in the missive
to the New York Post: The letter, which read in part, "Death to
America," wasn't printed on a
paper size normally found in the U.S., says an FBI official
familiar with the matter. An FBI spokesman declined to elaborate. Erich
Speckin, who runs a private forensic laboratory in Okemos, Mich., says the height-to-width ratio was
approximately 1.41 to 1, according to a photo released by the
FBI. He says that ratio is common
for business letters in Europe and elsewhere but rare in the U.S.
That could suggest that the mailer is from another country or has
traveled outside the U.S.
And "DXer" uses as a reference a USA
Today article from September 28, 2001, (before the anthrax letters were
found) which talks about Muslims using "large paper." So, he put
2 and 2 together and came up with 736,259, evidently concluding that
this is somehow evidence that Muslims sent the anthrax letters using
large paper they bought in Europe.
The problem is, it's total
nonsense. I also believed it at first (back in 2001), but
then the facts quickly became clear when I obtained photos of the
letters placed next to rulers so their true sizes could be
determined. On my original web site I
showed that the evidence says that all the anthrax letters were trimmed
down by cutting off bottoms and/or sides.
#1 measures approximately 225 millimeters in length by 215.9
#2 measures approximately 230 millimeters in length by 165 millimeters
#3 measures approximately 215 millimeters in length by 208 millimeters
copy paper is 8-1/2 inches by 11 inches, or 215.9 mm by 279.4 mm.
shows the size of the letters compared to standard 8-1/2 by 11 paper.
Letter 2 is the one that
has a ratio
similar to business letters in Europe. But the size is
totally different - much smaller.
(The reason Dr. Bruce Ivins trimmed off the bottoms and sides of the
anthrax letters is almost certainly so they would more easily fit into
a small post office envelope after they have been folded with the
The real sizes of the anthrax letters have been known since early
2002. Yet, "DXer" still
hasn't learned it.
To make the situation even more "Python-esque," just a few hours
earlier yesterday evening, "DXer"
also wrote this:
Far too many people don’t
read relevant materials and thus are reaching conclusions based on 2002
Yes, and "DXer" is a prime
example of such a person.
& Changes: Sunday, September 14, 2014, thru Saturday, September 20,
September 19, 2014 - It appears that
we now have another interesting case of "experts arguing with
experts." This one is in the hunt for
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. I just noticed that Duncan Steele and
his group of outside experts have published a document that disagrees
with the official experts as to where flight MH370 can most likely be
found. Click HERE
for the pdf version or HERE for the html
The outsider version is based upon opinions and beliefs, of
course. They accept that the satellite data and communication
facts say MH370 went down somewhere in the South Indian Ocean along the
"7th arc," i.e., around where MH370's final "handshake" with ground
stations occurred. The outsiders, however, believe that MH370 was
headed in a more southerly direction, therefore was further south along
the arc than what the Air Transportation Safety Board (ATSB)
believes. They also argue:
ATSB considered thousands
of paths, with many possible speeds tested. However, the most
likely scenario chosen by ATSB (low BTO and BFO errors) had a TAS
of 400 kts. But ATSB provides no
rationale for a pilot to have made a deliberate selection of this
speed. If the aircraft was flying under the control of the
autopilot, a human must have selected the configuration. We doubt that a pilot would select
400 kts, and a lower altitude to match, regardless of the
motivation. Using our path models, we have confirmed
that the path would end on the 7th arc in the ATSB Priority Search Area
if the speed was 400 kts, but we note that this result is the
least consistent with (a) the most likely speeds a human
would choose and (b) the fuel range/performance intersections with
the 7th arc.
It's the same kind of
problem "outside experts" have with the Amerithrax case. They
don't care what the evidence says, they
don't believe Ivins would have done this or that. And like the
"outside experts" in the
Amerithrax investigation, the MH370 "outside experts" don't have all
facts that the government experts have.
So, who should we believe? Truthers will simply disbelieve the official version
from "the government" regardless of what the facts say. But, I
would tend to believe the side that most
the BEST data. That would once again be "the government."
By the standards of one
Anthrax Truther, that makes me a government flunky:
What I do have problems with is: your
(implicit) repudiation of: observations, hypotheses, summaries made by
you simply in order to align yourself with whatever the government's
current line is.
If it turns out that
Duncan Steele's theory is proved right, I'll find that totally fascinating. If it
turns out the government is right, I'll just shrug and say, "Of
course. They had
the better facts and better experts. Ho hum." If it turns
out that neither is right
and/or that they just cannot find MH370, I
won't automatically assume it is because of some kind of sinister
government conspiracy. I'll just assume that there is some piece
of data they are not aware of that changes
everything. That is what happens sometimes when all you have to
work with is scattered pieces of incomplete data. It's happened a
times in the past, and it will happen a billion times again in the
September 18, 2014 - In my arguments
with Anthrax Truthers, they
keep arguing that the various people who disagree with the official
Amerithrax findings have impressive credentials. Yet, they don't
seem to believe the 9/11 conspiracy theories - even though many 9/11
conspiracy theorists also
have impressive credentials. Back on January 29, 2012, I wrote a comment
in which I said,
Evidently, it's time to repeat
the adage: There is no idea so
preposterous that you can't find an expert with perfect credentials to
This morning I tried to figure out where that "adage" came from.
It probably wasn't phrased exactly that way. I did a good search
for "perfect credentials" and found nothing meaningful. Then I
did a Google search for ignorant+expert
and found a lot of interesting stuff, but not the original wording of
that "adage." I found
when we set out to learn a
new skill, most of us start out as “unconsciously
incompetent.” That is, we don’t even know how much we don’t
know. Then we learn a thing or two, and we advance to being
“consciously incompetent.” We’ve found out enough to understand just
how much we don’t know.
Finally, we learn enough to
actually be competent. At first, it takes concentration to produce our
best work. But by the time we become a true expert, we turn in superior
work as a matter of course, almost without having to thing about it.
It’s just what we do. ....
the problem is the “unconsciously
incompetent” often looks a lot like the expert to an untrained
observer. They’re both self confident — the difference is one is
confident because he knows what he’s doing… while the other is
confident because he’s simply unaware of how unskilled he really is.
Farther down in the list
of links I found a Wikipedia link
that had this:
In this age of
specialization men who thoroughly know one field are often incompetent
to discuss another.
That's apparently a
quote from scientist Richard Feynman, who also said:
Science is the
belief in the ignorance of the experts
And I found a transcript
of a talk by Dr. Feynman on the subject "What is
science?". The final point in that talk is:
alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the
danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the
It was all very interesting,
but it didn't help me find the source of the "adage." Maybe I'll
try again tomorrow. Or maybe it isn't an "adage" that I actually
heard somewhere. Maybe it's just something I learned from
experience. Maybe it should be
But, if so, it should probably have one word changed:
is no idea so
preposterous that you can't find an expert with impressive credentials to
September 17, 2014 - It appears that
the GAO review of the Amerithrax investigation may not be released for
another month or three. Blogger Lew Weinstein
has asked the GAO for information about the release date and says the
GAO is now
expect it will be the later part of the summer or early fall
Meanwhile, an Anthrax
my interactive blog seems to be arguing that the number of books
supporting anthrax conspiracy theories seem to outnumber the books
which agree with the government findings, and that somehow means that the official
government findings must be wrong:
Mister Lake is in a
minority among Amerithrax-book authors in concurring publicly that
Ivins, acting alone, did the crimes. I'm unaware of any other author
besides David Willman who holds that position
That prompted me to look at some books which challenge the official
findings about 9/11. There are lots
and lots of them. A dozen examples:
I could probably list dozens more of such titles.
Excluding the books which do not try to point fingers but only tell
stories of people who survived 9/11, I see only a few books which
support the official findings with additional facts, most notably:
How many people feel they have something
new to say in support of the
official findings about the 9/11 attacks? Compare that number to
the number of people who feel they have something new to say in opposition
to the official findings. Every conspiracy theorist seems to have
own personal theory that he wants to tell everyone.
Any nut case can
probably publish a book describing some 9/11 conspiracy theory.
And it's much easier to get a real
publisher to publish such a book, because there is a market for controversial books. There
just aren't many people who are willing to spend good money to buy a
book which simply supports the offical story. What
for? Unless it involves some interesting personal story, there is
no market for non-controversial non-fiction books about 9/11 or the anthrax attacks of
2001. But come up with an interesting conspiracy theory -
no matter how stupid - and you might have a book deal. That's
just the way the publishing business works - unfortunately.
The same holds true for the news business. The number of media
stories which argue against the official findings has nothing to do with the validity of
the official findings. It only has to do with what sells
newspapers and gets viewers: Controversy.
all the "news" stories which show other points of view about the
anthrax attacks of 2001 may just show how low some news outlets will go
to make a buck.
September 16, 2014 - When I turned
on my computer this morning and did a Google search for anthrax+2001,
I found two book reviews for Graeme MacQueen's new book "The
2001 Anthrax Deception." One is in al-Jazeera.
the FBI remains committed to the Ivins hypothesis, the case has been
disintegrating for the last three years. Currently, it is justly held in contempt not
merely by scientists who worked with Ivins but by many journalists as
well as several US senators.
Well, as I aways say, "The number of people who believe in something
has nothing to do with whether it is true or not." And
whether a disbelief is "justly held" or not depends upon what the
The evidence says that Dr. Bruce Ivins was
the anthrax killer. Contrary
beliefs and opinions
won't change that. Only solid
evidence can change that. There is NO meaningful evidence
say Ivins was not the anthrax
killer OR that someone else was.
The second book review is on the web site "Centre for Research on
Globalization," and is titled "The
Smoking Guns of the 2001 Anthrax Attacks." The "smoking guns"
appear to be merely some disjointed or irrelevant facts. Example:
There was a set of 3
letters sent around the same time as the initial anthrax mailings,
which attempted to frame the Russians for the anthrax
attacks, and which warned of further attacks. These letters could
not have been sent by Dr. Bruce Ivins (the scientist the FBI blamed for
the attacks), nor could they have been “copycat” letters
So, once again we see an argument that, because there were some anthrax
hoax letters sent
at about the same time as the real
anthrax mailings of 2001, that cannot
be a coincidence and the hoax and real letters must be connected. Here's a
comment I wrote for my interactive blog on May
1. The hoax white powder
letter phenomenon really began when, a few weeks prior to the December
15, 1997 announcement of the Anthrax Vaccine Program, US Secretary of
Defense William S. Cohen held up a 5-lb. bag of sugar on the Today Show
and warned that if the bag contained anthrax, it could kill half of
2. Between 1997 and 2000, the number of credible bioterror threats or
incidents rose dramatically, up to roughly 200 per year, or one
biological threat every couple of days. Most of them were anthrax
3. The number of white powder hoaxes got so bad that the Canadian
Military did research on how dangerous it would be to open a letter
filled with real anthrax powder. Their report was published in September
, just before the mailings. You can read it by clicking HERE
4. Steven Hatfill and his boss at SAIC asked William Patrick III to
produced a similar report at about the same time. It was also produced
shortly before the mailings.
5. So, we had a constant flow of hoax letters going through the
mails - roughly one every couple days
That means that NONE
of the hoax letters that went out in
September of 2001 were "copy cats". They were just more of the same
-- more hoaxes in the flood of hoaxes.
All you need to do in order to see some sinister connection between the
hoax anthrax letters and the real anthrax letters is to be ignorant of
the facts. Back on March 2, 2002, I created a web page where I
looked at the facts. Click HERE.
It says that, according to Richard Preston's book "The Demon in the
Freezer, between 1997 and 2000 the number of hoax anthrax letters rose
dramatically to about one every couple days. Plus, it shows
articles about anthrax appearing in the news right after 9/11, long
before the first stories about Bob Stevens appeared in early
October. The possibility of Muslim terrorists launching an
anthrax attack or some other kind of biological weapon attack as a
follow-up to 9/11 was being discussed publicly by a LOT of people.
The real anthrax letters were mailed at a time when hoax anthrax letter
were common. That's
why all the real anthrax letters sent to the media were simply thrown
away or ignored.
Bruce Ivins got the idea to send out real
anthrax in letters at the same time that a lot of others were sending
out hoax anthrax
letters. It wasn't a coincidence. It was Bruce Ivins
failing to realize how many hoax letters were also in the mails.
September 15, 2014 (D) - When I
wrote my (A) comment this morning, I failed to mention something I read
near the very beginning of "Monty
Python and Philosophy"
where they described what the various sections in the book would be
Brighouse's contribution, "Why Is An Argument Clinic Less Silly than an
Abuse Clinic or a Contradiction Clinic?," makes use of the Python's famous "Argument Clinic"
sketch (originally in Epispode 29 of Monty Python's Flying
Circus, "The Money Programme") to illuminate how the political
philosopher John Rawls (1926-2002) analyzed our beliefs about the
rightness or wrongness of social practices and institutions. Far
from being a ridiculous scenario, Brighouse suggests, a real argument clinic could serve a
genuine and much-needed social function.
The famous "Argument Clinic" sketch? When I got home this
afternoon, I did a search and found it on YouTube.com. Click HERE.
There's also a Wikipedia article about it HERE.
And a transcript of the sketch is HERE.
There's another HERE.
I'm looking forward to reading that part of "Monty Python and
Philosophy." I can see how "a real argument clinic could serve a
genuine and much-needed social function." But how would you get
an Anthrax Truther to go to one? Argue with him?
September 15, 2014 (C) - If anyone
is interested, on my
interactive blog I'm currently engaged in another debate with a
conspiracy theorist who doesn't seem to comprehend the difference
between a belief and an hypothesis. While doing research for the
found this quote about the difference between a "theory" and an
Scientists and science
writers have a disturbing tendency to misuse these two words. In the
vernacular, "hypothesis" and "theory" can be used interchangeably.
However, in the scientific literature, scientists and science writers
must be careful to distinguish between these two terms. A hypothesis is a tentative explanation
that can be tested through investigation; a theory is an established
set of ideas that can be used to make predictions.
As I see it, neither a
theory nor an hypothesis cannot be logically compared to a
belief. A belief is something a person "believes" regardless of
what the facts say. Specifically, an hypothesis doesn't have
anything to do with beliefs. It just says if A, B and C are true,
one possible explanation
could be "D." No one believes
"D" is true. It's just a temporary answer until more
evidence can be found. It might also help show where to look for
more evidence which will either help confirm or disprove "D." It's a
If the tool doesn't work, you probably need a different "tool."
Beliefs are irrelevant.
September 15, 2014 (B) - Yesterday,
someone sent me a link to an article from The New Yorker titled "The
Twenty-Eight Pages." This morning, someone else sent me a
link to Tampa, Florida's Channel 10 TV station's web site and an
article titled "10
investigates allegations of FBI 9/11 coverup."
The two articles are related to the old story that some Saudis who were
living in Florida at the time of 9/11 helped the 9/11 hijackers, and
that Saudi Arabian officials helped finance the 9/11
terrorists. It seems to be mostly allegations, but there
are people who are demanding that those allegations be
investigated. The problem with investigating allegations is that
it could harm relations between the USA and Saudi Arabia - and the
investigation might not find anything that can make a solid case in
court. And, even a solid case can be made, there's no chance of
extraditing anyone from Saudi Arabia.
Nevertheless, a lot of Floridians and others want to "reopen the 9/11
investigation." But, it's not to investigate some theory that it
wasn't Muslim terrorists who were behind the attacks, it's to find out
if there are some additional
Muslims who should have been arrested and prosecuted for helping the
I can see the reasoning behind their call to "reopen the 9/11
investigation." But I can also see that there could be many political reasons for not opening
an old bag of worms.
I see no way this crusade could change the facts of who was behind the
anthrax attacks of 2001, so I have no "mission" to seek "the truth" on
this matter. I'll leave that to others. It's not really a
crusade to find "the truth." It's a crusade to find more people to blame for the
attacks, people who, if not arrested, might theoretically some day help
perpetrate another attack. I'm not sure it's a "coverup" when the
FBI fails to investigate such a matter. It could just be a
situation of where to allocate limited resources. That's
something that people on a mission do not care about.
September 15, 2014 (A)
- This is more or less "off topic," but yesterday I finished reading
another library book on my Kindle. I'd been reading this non-fiction book during breakfast
and lunch for over a month (when not on a novel reading binge).
Big Bang Theory and Philosophy: Rock, Paper, Scissors, Aristotle, Locke."
As I wrote in my August 17
comment, while it's touted as a philosophy
book, it's more like a psychology
book. And psychology is one of my primary lifetime
is a very general look at the processes governing human thought and
is usually a look at the thoughts and conducts of a particular person
or group of persons. In this case, it's about the thoughts and
conduct of the the fictional characters on the TV series "The Big Bang Theory."
The book was so interesting that I bought Season 1 of the TV show on
DVD and watched it so that I could understand who was who. (It is
favorite TV series of mine.) Since the book is all about the
motivation processes and human interaction between the fictional
scientists "Leonard Hofstadter" and "Sheldon Cooper" and their
next-door neighbor "Penny" and others, I'm also hoping it will help me
with my problem of making the characters in my sci-fi novels more
I also found it interesting that the book is part of a
series. After I finished reading "The Big Bang Theory and
Philosophy," I immediately started reading "Monty
Python and Philosophy." I may read "The
Avengers and Philosophy" after that. Or "Batman
and Philosophy." Or "The
Big Lebowski and Philosophy." Those are at my library.
But, some of the others in the series look so interesting that I may
actually buy one
I have to be philosophical if
I want to continue to argue with conspiracy theorists and True
Believers every day. Remember the motto: Illegitimi
September 14, 2014 - While in the past I haven't been
in conspiracy theories related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, last week
watching and listening
to 9/11 conspiracy theorists Elias Davidsson and Barbara Honegger
explain themselves and their theories to be very
interesting. Their thought processes seem to match the thought
of Anthrax Truthers very neatly.
example, no matter how much evidence there is in support of a
government claim, they can't see any
is how Anthrax
Truther Lew Weinstein describes the Amerithrax case:
FBI’s case against Dr. Ivins is clearly bogus: no evidence, no
witnesses, an impossible timeline.
And here is how 9/11 Truther Elias Davidsson describes the 9/11 case:
whatsoever that the 19 people accused
of mass murder boarded the planes on 9/11.
The above quote from Elias Davidsson can be found on a YouTube video by
clicking HERE and going to the 33 minute mark.
A similar quote can be found on another Elias Davidsson video at the 21
minute mark by clicking HERE:
is not a single item of evidence pointing that these attacks [on 9/11]
perpetrated by people coming from abroad. ... There is no single
proof that any foreigners committed these acts. No proof that any
Arabs went into these planes. And, so if these Arabs did not go
into these planes, then the official story must be a lie. ... The
truth is that there were no Muslims involved in this crime.
Interestingly, Davidsson explains what
he finds impossible to
believe about the
official version of what happened on 9/11. At about the 37 minute
mark in that same video, Elias Davidsson says ,
cannot state that the passengers died in these crashes. We have
full reason to suspect that the passengers were murdered somewhere
else. Murdered in cold blood by the U.S. Government. ... It's
impossible to believe for most people. But, the fact that we
don't have evidence that people died in the crashes - we don't have
evidence - and it forces us to consider that they were killed somewhere
else. These people do not exist anymore. They have
died. There is no question about that. Their families mourn
them, and there are many people participating in the mourning.
... These people are certainly dead, and somebody murdered them.
And, I don't believe personally that they were in these planes, because
if they were in these planes, then somebody would have piloted these planes. And nobody in his right mind would pilot
these planes to crash these planes -- even a Muslim --- even a Muslim.
I'm sorry. Nobody in their
right mind would do that. Even absent all that I told you
about the lack of evidence, just the thought that somebody would have
piloted - with a pilot's license - would be capable of piloting a
civilian aircraft - which the alleged hijackers did not have - ....
beyond the fact that there is no evidence, the official story is so
fantastic - it is so science fiction - to believe that anybody in his
right mind had ... the capability and the wish to fly a plane like this
is so outrageous that to believe anybody would have crashed the planes
with these passengers - and kill themselves at the same time - is
implausible to the extreme.
It appears that "DXer" finds it impossible
to believe just the opposite, that the Muslim terrorists who he fully
accepts and believes killed
thousands of innocent people on 9/11 did not also kill five people
and injure 17 with the anthrax letters mailed after 9/11. Only
terrorists capable of a crime like 9/11 would do such a thing. It
seems DXer simply cannot believe that a lone scientist could or would
a thing. Evidence means nothing to people who find it impossible to believe the truth.
Barbara Honegger's two
hour-long talk about the airliner that hit the Pentagon is very
interesting - and chilling in its display of angry ignorance.
It's a demonstration of how someone who
has no understanding of physics or human nature can misinterpret just
about everything that happened on 9/11 at the Pentagon. She seems
to believe it is impossible
for a mere airplane to hit the side of the Pentagon and do so much
damage. In her imagination, it should have done no more harm than
bug hitting a windshield. She finds
it impossible to believe that
the people who were inside the Pentagon when it was hit by Flight 77
could mistakenly assume it
was a bomb of some kind instead of somehow knowing it was a plane. She
seems to find it impossible
to believe that every clock in the area wasn't set to the exact same
time. She seems to find it impossible to believe that the
first reports from the scene aren't the most accurate reports.
And she seems to find it impossible
to believe that everyone in the world wouldn't do things the exact same
way she believes she would do things in such a situation.
Elias Davidsson and others find it impossible
to believe that a plane hitting the ground at high speed will plow into
the ground instead of just splattering all over the place. That's
they cannot accept what happened to United Airlines Flight 93 in
Pennsylvania. The physics of mass and velocity
seem totally unknown to Davidsson and Honegger. And, judging by
the reactions of their audiences, there are a lot of people just like
It appears that the beliefs of all the
9/11 conspiracy theorists and
the anthrax conspiracy theorists can be summarized as follows:
find it impossible to believe
the government's version of what happened.
believe government officials must all be either
incompetent or lying.
If the government is lying, that would constitute a vast criminal conspiracy.
government will not provide the evidence needed to prove a conspiracy.
do not have the power needed to force
releasing of "the truth."
they want a new
investigation to find a "truth" they can believe.
they are trying to convince the public to demand a new investigation.
What they do not seem to understand is that
EVIDENCE to open a new
investigation. The fact that some individual or group of
individuals simply cannot believe
that anyone would deliberately crash an airliner into a skyscraper
bring about a new investigation. Neither will some individual or
group who simply cannot cannot believe that a lone American could be
behind the anthrax letter attacks of 2001.
The idea that there's going to be a new investigation to find new evidence is absurd.
Woodward and Carl
didn't sit around and wail and complain and demand that the government
find evidence of a conspiracy they believe existed. Woodward and
Bernstein found it. If the conspiracy theorists and
new investigation, they need to find some important new evidence that
would require a new investigation.
Displaying abysmal ignorance of the existing evidence isn't going to
bring about a new investigation. It will just show the world that
Truthers are truly a "Lunatic Fringe."
& Changes: Sunday, September 7, 2014, thru Saturday, September 13,
September 13, 2014 - This is totally
off topic, but someone might find it interesting.
On Wednesday, I visited a store that sells used books. It had
hardback copies of "High
Five" and "Twelve
Sharp," the two Stephanie Plum
novels by Janet Evanovich that I didn't yet have in my reading
queue. They were just $1.89 apiece, so I bought both. That
means I now have eighteen
Stephanie Plum novels in various formats on a shelf or in my Kindle
waiting to be read. And nearly as many Jack Reacher
novels by Lee Child. Plus, two Temperance
Brennan novels (#2 & #4) by Kathy Reichs. Plus a few
from Jonathan Kellerman, Robert B. Parker, Brad Thor, James Patterson
and Scott Turow.
I'm still having a difficult time getting started on the second draft
of my new sci-fi novel, so I was in the mood to read another
novel. But, also on Wednesday, "The
Cold Dish," the first book in the Walt
Longmire series by Craig Johnson became available in ebook form
from my local library. I already had #2 and #3 in the series in
my Kindle, but I was waiting for #1 to become available before reading
any of them. So, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I read "The
Cold Dish." It took about 6 hours of total reading time. While
enjoyable, it definitely wasn't as enjoyable as the Stephanie Plum
novels and Jack Reacher novels I've been reading.
(Walt Longmire is also the main character in the TV series "Longmire" which ran for three
seasons on the A&E network before getting
cancelled a few days ago.)
So, now I'm between reading binges again, and I'm again trying to get
started on that second draft.
But, first I have to start working on tomorrow's comment for this site.
September 10, 2014 - Lew Weinstein
and "DXer" continue to demonstrate how they have no interest in
facts. If some newspaper with an agenda printed distorted
nonsense, and if that nonsense agrees with the beliefs shared by Lew and DXer,
they'll endlessly use and distort the nonsense as "proof" of their
Yesterday, in a new post titled "the
holes in the FBI case against Ivins are huge … will GAO point this out?
… when will GAO report?" they said:
The Justice Department then highlighted
the very points that many have said prove that Ivins could not have
committed the attacks:
• That the anthrax used in
the attacks originated from but did not come directly from Ivins’ flask.
words come from an July 18, 2013 article titled
of Justice upholds stance on Ivins" in The Frederick News-Post. Anthrax
Truthers Lew Weinstein and DXer appear to view the claim out of context,
even though the
• That the government’s anthrax was “genetically similar, but
dissimilar in its form, to the anthrax that resulted in the death of
• That “it would also take special expertise (even among those used to
working with anthrax) to make dried material of the quality used in the
attacks,” expertise that many of Ivins’ former co-workers said they
didn’t believe he had
quotes originated in the
U.S. Government's motion for a summary judgment in the Stevens v USA
lawsuit. The Government was seeking to prove that it was not legally "foreseeable" that
Ivins would commit such a crime. If it was not
"foreseeable," then the government cannot be held liable. The
plaintiff, Maureen Stevens, was basically attempting to prove that the
forseeable, that the government was negligent, and therefore the
government was liable and responsible for Ivins' crime.
In seeking to prove
the anthrax attacks were not foreseeable, the Justice
Department notes that it is unclear when preparation for the anthrax
The Justice Department then highlighted the very points
that many have said prove that Ivins could not have committed the
- That the anthrax used in the attacks originated from
but did not come directly from Ivins' flask.
- That the government's anthrax was "genetically
similar, but dissimilar in its form, to the anthrax that resulted in
the death of Robert Stevens."
- That "it would also take special expertise (even
among those used to working with anthrax) to make dried material of the
quality used in the attacks," expertise that many of Ivins' former
co-workers said they didn't believe he had.
But Boyd said in his Tuesday statement that "as the
several motions filed Friday make clear, the Justice Department and FBI
have never wavered from the view that Dr. Ivins mailed the anthrax
letters. The Justice Department and FBI stand behind their findings
that Dr. Ivins had the necessary equipment in the containment suite
where RMR-1029 was housed to perpetrate those attacks and that a
lyophilizer which he ordered, and which was labeled 'property of Bruce
Ivins,' was stationed in a nearby containment suite."
So, Anthrax Truthers Lew Weinstein and DXer (aided by the News-Post)
have done is distort the facts and twist one claim (that the crime was
not forseeable) to argue a
totally different and preposterous
claim - "that Ivins could not have committed the attacks."
The fact that Ivins didn't send out spores taken directly from flask
RMR-1029 in no way
says he couldn't have committed the crime. The Truther
claim is pure NONSENSE.
The fact that the dry
spores that killed Bob Stevens were "genetically similar" to the wet spores used by
USAMRIID, but dissimilar in form
(wet vs. dry), is a good legal point showing unforseeablity, but that
fact in no
way says Ivins couldn't have committed the crime. The Truther
claim is pure NONSENSE.
The fact that it takes
"special expertise" to make dried spores, expertise that "many of
co-workers said they didn't believe
he had," shows those co-workers could not forsee that Ivins would commit such
a crime. But, it no way
says Ivins couldn't have committed the crime. The Truther
claim is pure NONSENSE.
of course, the two Anthrax Truthers do not allow anyone to dispute
their nonsensical claims on their blog, so I have to point them out
here on my site.
September 9, 2014 - While doing some
research to analyze the similarities in beliefs between various
conspiracy theorists, I found a long discussion about the anthrax case
that was stared by Ken Dillon on December 12, 2008. There were
173 comments. Click HERE
to read it. It involves a number of different people - including
me. That discussion was preceeded by an even longer discussion
started by Mr. Dillon on December 9, 2008, with 984 comments
from various people. Click HERE. So, there was a time when a conversation
could be held without Truthers resorting to personal insults and
burying the talk under a flood of endless, irrelevant
documents. Nothing was resolved, of course. No minds were
changed. And there are some very long speeches. But it was generally a
September 8, 2014 (B) - This
morning, I decided to do some additional research on some of the
anthrax conspiracy theorists who helped Graeme MacQueen with his new
2001 Anthrax Deception." I found four very
interesting YouTube videos.
for a talk by Barbara Honegger. It has some truly screwball comparisons between Pearl
Harbor and 9/11.
(Her slide show is HERE.) She believes that neither
Pearl Harbor nor 9/11 were
for a truly weird talk about
the anthrax attacks by Barry Kissin.
for an interview with Elizabeth Woodworth where she rationalizes
disputing the official version of 9/11 without attempting to prove any alternative version. She also
disbelieves that Osama bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11.
If anyone wants to know
why conspiracy theorists are viewed as "nut jobs," those 3 videos
will explain it - providing you have some comprehension of what really
A fourth video HERE
shows Elias Davidsson explaining very calmly, point by point, why he
doesn't believe Muslim terrorists were behind 9/11. He doesn't
even believe there were any Muslim terrorists on the hijacked
aircraft. He also seems to believe that tens of thousands of
people are involved in the coverup of "what really happened" on
9/11. He begins his hour long talk by saying it's just his opinion, and he doesn't ask
anyone to believe him. He doesn't seem to be "nuts." That's
what is most scary about him.
September 8, 2014 (A) - In case
is interested, it appears that the mapping
of the section of the Indian
Ocean floor where they plan to continue the search for the wreckage of
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has found
some "hard objects." However, the "objects" could just be
some kind of natural
rock formation. The actual search
of the ocean bottom
will evidently resume on September 22, with additional ships joining
the search in October and November. Meanwhile, the
conspiracy theories continue.
September 7, 2014 (B) - Hmm.
In my previous comments, I failed to mention Graeme MacQueen's
credentials for writing "The
2001 Anthrax Deception." Amazon.com says:
[The Author] received his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from
Harvard University and taught in
the Religious Studies Department of McMaster University for 30
years. While at McMaster he became founding Director of the Centre for
Peace Studies at McMaster, after which he helped develop the B.A.
program in Peace Studies and oversaw the development of peace-building
projects in Sri Lanka, Gaza, Croatia and Afghanistan. Graeme was a
member of the organizing committee of the Toronto Hearings held on the
10th anniversary of 9/11 and is co-editor of The Journal of 9/11
Using Amazon.com's "Look Inside" feature, I also examined the "acknowledgements" section and
checked the names of people who helped him with his book.
Davidsson and Barbara
Honegger were ready to help. Meryl Nass read the manuscript
carefully and gave detailed advice. Barry Kissin helped me at every
stage of the research. .... Philipp
Sarasin's work was an essential source of inspiration .... Herbert Jenkins read an early
version of this book and offered constructive criticism. Elizabeth Woodworth carried out
a detailed reading of several drafts and had much useful advice.
She shared generously her own research materials and suggested I
refashion into a book what was originally only an academic article.
At first glance, it
seems to be the blind leading the blind. After more thorough
reading, it is clear that is definitely
the blind leading the blind - or conspiracy theorists helping
conspiracy theorists. Elias Davidsson wrote a book called "Hijacking
America's Mind on 9/11: Counterfeiting Evidence." Here's part
of the book description on Amazon:
A large body of literature
discusses the preplanned destruction of the Twin Towers and of WTC
Nr.7, while mainstream media have extensively reported about the
reluctance of the Bush administration to investigate 9/11, the
destruction of criminal evidence from Ground Zero and other facts
suggesting a government cover-up. But they all stopped short of
connecting the dots. Four features distinguish Davidsson's book from
the rest. He provides: - The
definite (or ultimate) demonstration that there is no evidence of
Barbara Honegger wrote an
op-ed piece for OpEdNews.com that says:
So what is the
evidence linking anthrax to Sept. 11?
insiders wrote the letters mailed with the anthrax wanted you to
believe they were linked to 9/11. As is well known, the date
hand written on the anthrax letters is Sept. 11, 2001. Though the
official story -- that the first letter, to Florida photo journalist
Bob Stevens, wasn’t mailed until after 9/11 and so anthrax wasn’t part
of the actual 9/11 plot -- it’s
clear that whoever wrote and dated the letters and added the
super-weaponized (3) U.S. military anthrax wanted you
to believe there is a direct connection, and that Islamic foreigners
were responsible for both.
Reference (3) leads to an
article co-authored by Barry Kissin. That article from Aug.
18, 2008 says:
Ivins had nothing to do
with the 2001 anthrax attacks. The
attacks were almost certainly carried out by the only group that had
the means to produce the highly weaponized anthrax in the letters: the
CIA, its contractor Battelle Memorial Institute of West
Jefferson, Ohio., and the Army at Dugway in Utah.
Meryl Nass's opinions are well known. Her blog is HERE.
Philipp Sarasin wrote a book titled "Anthrax:
Bioterrorism as Fact and Fantasy."
This is from a synopsis of the book:
Basing his analysis on
government documents and media coverage between the events of September
11, 2001, and the beginning of the Iraq War in March 2003, he shows that the anthrax letters
became the necessary fantasy-link between the 9/11 attacks and Saddam
Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction."
A Google search for Elizabeth Woodworth finds an
article she wrote about Building 7 of the World Trade Center being
brought down by a "controlled demolition."
A Google search for
Herbert Jenkins finds only a page with his
name as the heading, but the page has a YouTube video of
an interview with Graeme MacQueen.
I posted the above comment, someone advised me of a 5-part video talk
by Graeme MacQueen on YouTube. Click HERE.
He seems to be arguing that, because it wasn't immediately known
sent the anthrax letters, the investigation that followed must all be
some kind of U.S. government plot to fool the public. But he also
argues that if anyone disbelieves or disagrees with the official
version, then the official version must
wrong. Ignorant opinions override all facts and evidence.)
September 7, 2014 (A) -
This morning, I had a comment all written and ready to post to this
site as my Sunday offering. I wrote some of it on Friday and
finished it on Saturday morning. Then, later on Saturday, I read
Friday's PressTV article "Neocons
confess: 'We did 9/11-anthrax'," which led to Graeme MacQueen's new
2001 Anthrax Deception." And this morning I've got only one
question on my mind: Why don't the various
conspiracy theorists argue with one
Dr. Meryl Nass seems to have given Mr. MacQueen's book a glowing
review. Does she agree with MacQueen that the U.S. Government was
behind the 9/11 attacks? Does she believe the Twin Towers were
brought down by explosives that were planted by the CIA? She
certainly seems to believe that the U.S.
Government was somehow behind the anthrax attacks. However, all
in her review is that she disagrees that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax mailer:
book has come out that explodes the FBI's anthrax letters case.
only is there no evidence
linking Army scientist Bruce Ivins to the crime--it turns
out his famous flask of
anthrax was never proven to be related to the attack
peeks behind the curtain, showing that nothing about the
anthrax letters case is as
Why don't all these
conspiracy theorists argue
with one another!? I think it would be a lot more
interesting and we could all learn a lot more if the conspiracy
theorists argued with one another, instead of just mindlessly agreeing
that the U.S. government cannot be trusted about anything. I
suspect that there are plenty of conspiracy
theorists who accept that Ivins was the anthrax killer, but that he was
working as an agent or pawn of the U.S. Government. I'd like to
hear them argue with the people who think Ivins had nothing to do with
Every day, the cartoon I created in March
2013 seems more and more
doesn't DXer - who fully and
unshakably believes al Qaeda operatives were behind the anthrax attacks
- post rants against Graeme MacQueen's book for suggesting that the
U.S. Government was behind the anthrax attacks? This morning DXer
posted a large paragraph he
found on a the Alibris.com web site which appears copied from Amazon
and seems to support the al Qaeda idea before it mildly indicates that
MacQueen's point of view is totally different. And then DXer
makes his own point:
“(c) these insiders were
connected to the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks;”
but Bin Laden was behind the 9/11 attacks.
comment posted this morning in another thread, DXer wrote this:
Graeme MacQueen mastered the documents and read the literature? Why
would he engage in a structural and historical analysis rather than a
documentary and true crime analysis?
Obtain and compare his
manuscript to the documents uploaded on this blog.
Instead of arguing his
belief that al Qaeda sent the anthrax letters against MacQueen's
apparent belief that the U.S. government sent the letters, DXer just
more of his endless, silly,
meaningless questions! His only argument seem to be that
MacQueen doesn't do things the way DXer does them.
running out of time. I'm just going to post what
I already wrote for
today. Here goes:
Leo Rosten once wrote: "I never
cease being dumbfounded by the unbelievable things people
I keep thinking I should create a
supplementary web page where I would list The Top Ten Most Unbelievable
Truthers Believe. But how would I rank them? Sometimes,
each seems more unbelievable than the next.
The belief that the GAO is
going to somehow overturn the FBI's finding that Dr. Bruce Edwards
Ivins was the anthrax mailer should probably to be at the top of the
list. But, does anyone really believe that is going to
happen? Or are the Anthrax Truthers just trying to make it happen? The belief
that they can make it happen
by posting screwball questions to some obscure blog would be almost as
#2 on the list might be how the Anthrax Truthers seemed to believe that
the DOJ prosecutors were "Spinning
The Theory That Bruce Ivins Was The Anthrax Processer and Mailer"
by claiming that flask RMR-1029 was never stored in Building
1412. It was incredibly dumb, since
facts clearly say it was the FBI
who was trying to prove flask RMR-1029 was
stored in Building 1412 (where Steven Hatfill worked), while Dr. Ivins
was claiming that flask RMR-1029 was NEVER stored there.
Are the Truthers still arguing that belief? I've seen no mention
of them learning that they were wrong. The claim remains uncorrected on
Weinstein's blog. The longer it remains uncorrected, the dumber
#3 on the list could be the unbelievable belief that "The
anthrax letters are in the handwriting of [Mohammed] Atta."
Anyone with any knowledge of handwriting
analysis can see that it
isn't Atta's handwriting. The facts show DXer's
But he won't accept what just anyone says. He
some official expert to state officially
that it is not Mohammed Atta's
handwriting. Until then, he is evidently going to
continue to believe that, because there is a similarity in the way Atta
drew the number 2 and the way the anthax writer wrote the number 2,
that overrides all the many and varied differences in the
handwriting. That's just plain unbelievable
#4 might be the inexplicable belief voiced by more than one Anthrax
Truther that the FBI's failure to find evidence everywhere they look is
the same as finding exculpatory evidence showing Ivins to be
innocent. That is truly
an unbelievable belief. How can anyone believe that just because
the FBI looked for the culprit's DNA in the mailbox where the letters
weren't found and didn't find it, that is somehow exculpatory evidence
indicating Dr. Ivins was innocent? Unbelievable!!!
#5 could be the belief that Adnan El-Shukrijumah was the
anthrax mailer. There's no reason to believe that El-Shukrijuma
was even in the U.S. when the anthrax letters were mailed, much less in
New Jersey on both
dates. It's an unbelievable belief conjured up by putting 2 and 2
together and getting 437,397. It makes no sense whatsoever.
#6 might be #1 on some days. It's the belief that Dr. Ivins
didn't have the knowledge
to make dry anthrax spores. That is as unbelievable as beliefs
can get. A three year old child would know that if you leave
something wet out in the open air for a few hours it will dry.
Mud will dry and become dust. There's nothing magic about
it. It's probably one of the first things you learn in
microbiology classes: Don't leave wet spores out in the open air.
They'll dry and aerosolize. Duh!
#7 ties to #6. It's the unbelievable belief that Dr. Ivins didn't
have the equipment
to make the anthrax powders. It appears to come from some kind of
unbelievable belief that the only way anything can be done in a
government lab is the safe, official, approved way. If it is
dangerous to make dry anthrax spores, then no one could possibly do it.
If it is not officially
allowed to make dry spores, then it cannot be done. If the
approved way to make dried spores is in a drying machine, then that's
the only way it can possibly be done. The fact that dried spores
can be created with equipment that is in nearly every BSL-3 lab seems
incomprehensible to people with unbelievable beliefs. All the equipment that Bruce Ivins needed
to create the anthrax powders that were in the media envelopes was a
biosafety cabinet and some plates covered with anthrax that had been
left in a biosafety bag in a corner for a few weeks. The spores
would air-dry in the biosafety cabinet in a few hours. Or maybe
the Truthers have some unbelievable belief that Ivins didn't have any
rubber gloves or a utensil to scrape the dried spores out of the
plates. Or do they believe that biosafety cabinets don't work?
#8 ties to #6 and #7. It's the unbelievable belief that Dr. Ivins
didn't have the time
to make the anthrax powders. DXer endlessly argues his
unbelievable belief that if Bruce Ivins had any official work to do during a given
day, then Ivins could not possibly have done anything unofficial during that same
day. If Ivins was at a meeting from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., then he
could not possibly have gone anywhere else that evening after 7
p.m. If Ivins was working with test rabbits in October, then he
couldn't possibly have had the time to do anything but work with test
rabbits during October -- or September or August. It's another
unbelievable belief endlessly voiced by DXer.
#9 is the seemingly unshakable and unbelievable belief some Anthrax
Truthers have voiced that the attack anthrax was deliberately
"weaponized" with silicone or silicon or silica or most unbelievably -
"polymerized glass." The powder in the media letters was 90%
dried slime (matrix material) and dead mother germs. It was only
10% spores. It's what you get in a Petri dish when you let
anthrax bacteria germinate and grow until they run out of food and
room. You get dead bacteria that failed to sporulate, you get the
carcasses of mother germs that produced spores, you get the matrix
material that is the after-birth slime of sporulation, and you get
spores. And the whole mess will all dry into a soft, crunchy
powder in the open air. How do you "weaponize" a spore by
coating it with "polymerize glass" when it is still inside the mother germ?
How do you do it without also coating the dead bacteria and leaving
most of the "polymerized glass" as part of the dried slime? Some
Anthrax Truthers have a totally unbelievable belief that it must have been done somehow. If it wasn't done
the way they believe, then it wasn't a government conspiracy. And
they find that unacceptable. For some Anthrax Truthers, it's
better to believe the unbelievable than to accept that Ivins could have
unintentionally created anthrax spores with a "silicon signature"
without using some secret and illegal, government-approved
And what should #10 on the list be? The unbelievable belief that
the FBI claimed that a lyophilizer was used to make the anthrax
powders? The unbelievable belief that beliefs somehow make Bruce Ivins innocent and the solid facts
showing Dr. Ivins was guilty are meaningless and irrelevant? The
unbelievable belief that the attack powders were made in Afghanistan in
two different forms, transported to America and then mailed at two
different times by Muslim terrorists who included medical advice in the
letters to reduce the danger of someone accidentally being harmed by
the anthrax? The unbelievable belief that if anyone makes a
mistake, then nothing they ever do afterward can be trusted ever
again? The unbelievable belief that everyone
in the government is part of some gigantic conspiracy and - just like
the Borg villains on Star Trek - everyone in the government
automatically knows what everyone else knows? The inexplicable and unbelievable and idiotic belief that the Twin
Towers were brought down by CIA planted explosives instead of by the
hijacked planes that crashed into the towers?
I could go on and on and on and on.