Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bruce Ivins was not guilty

Last week, when the young female journalist and her cameraman and boyfriend were shot to death in Virginia while filming a live TV interview, I was surprised to read (in two different places which listed other journalists who have been killed in the US) that Army scientist Bruce Ivins (US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland) was guilty of murdering a photojournalist Robert Stevens with anthrax. It didn't happen that way; and I'm gonna challenge the lie.

That lie resulted in the destruction of Dr. Bruce Ivins career, and caused his suicide as well. It is also one of the lies that led to the widespread acceptance of other lies that led to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Just like the "imminent threat" from Saddam Hussein's non-existent stockpiles of WMD, there were no "terrorist sleeper cells" in communities across the country. That was a lie. And it was a lie that Bruce Ivins killed anyone with "weaponized" anthrax.

The FBI hounded Bruce Ivins with their constructed case for his guilt, where there was none. Sure he had the knowledge, he had access to the labs and strains of the virus; it was easy to build a circumstantial case for his guilt. Except ... none of it was true. They didn't care; they needed to pin it on someone; Bruce Ivins didn't have the political power or connections to defend himself against their attack. If he had been guilty and arrested for the anthrax letters in 2008, he would have been the only terrorist arrested in the US for killing at least 1 person since the year 2000. In 2008, when they were close to making his arrest, it was very important to the government that they find at least one real terrorist to back up their wild claims of terrorist "sleeper cells" just waiting for orders to attack ... in 2008, Americans were just beginning to believe that the terrorist threat was blown completely out of proportion.

Bruce Ivins was used to justify the war that the neocon leaders wanted; and would have. Americans were simply too frightened to care about the truth; or about American principles of justice. And that fear was largely cultivated by their governments.

Because the FBI botched its investigation, never had even the shred of a case against Ivins, and this is not the first time they were called out on it. The 2011 National Academy of Science (NAS) report pointed out the same things as this GAO report: that FBI and its contractors developed methods that were not validated. They never proved that the anthrax in the letters actually grew from parent spores in Bruce Ivins’ flask, as FBI purports. This failed claim forms the linchpin of the FBI’s entire case.

Bruce Ivins was innocent.

Earlier this year, in a lawsuit filed in US District Court in Knoxville, Tennessee, Richard Lambert, the FBI director who was in charge of the anthrax letter investigation from 2002-2006 claimed that the FBI is concealing evidence that will exonerate Bruce Ivins of sending those letters. Lambert was head of the FBI office in Knoxville from 2006 until his retirement in 2012.

Lambert's lawsuit also contends that the Justice Department caused him to be fired from a subsequent security job at the Energy Department's Oak Ridge National Laboratory because he had filed a whistleblower report in 2006 alleging mismanagement of the anthrax probe. In that report, nine years ago, he referred to "the FBI's fingering of Bruce Ivins as the anthrax mailer" and "the FBI's subsequent efforts to railroad the prosecution of Ivins in the face of daunting exculpatory evidence." In other words, Lambert was also targeted for attempting to reveal the truth.

Remember, if you can, that the government originally tried to pin the letters on another Army scientist, Steven Hatfill, who was cleared of those charges, and received $5.8 million to settle his own lawsuit against the Department of Justice.

Remember, too, that the two Senators to whom the letters were mailed (Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle) were those most likely to oppose the USA PATRIOT Act. Believe what you will, but I believe they were put on notice: You shut your mouths, or we'll shut them for you.

Bruce Ivins was innocent.

Never forget the vile spirit of fear-driven hatred and lust for vengeance that held Americans in its grip in 2002. Because that is the true character of those around you; that which is revealed in a time of crisis.

For that reason, I refute the lie when it's repeated now.

Bruce Ivins was innocent.