In an article published Wednesday evening on their website, McClatchy points out yet another failing in the FBI’s Amerithrax investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people. The article focuses on the fact that the FBI was able to get a clear genetic fingerprint of a bacterial contaminant that was found in the attack material mailed to the New York Post and to Tom Brokaw (but not to either Senator Daschle or Senator Leahy). This contaminant, Bacillus subtilis, is used in some cases by weapons laboratories as an anthrax simulant, because its behavior in culture and in drying the spores is very similar to Bacillus anthracis but it is easier to handle because it is not pathogenic. I covered the FBI’s failure to link this B. subtilis contaminant to Ivins in this diary in February of 2010.
|By: Jim White Thursday April 21, 2011 7:50 am|
|By: Jim White Tuesday February 8, 2011 7:00 am|
The crisis sparked by US “consular employee” Raymond Davis shooting and killing two Pakistani citizens in Lahore on January 27 heightened on Monday, when it was revealed that his victims were part of Pakistan’s “security establishment”, that a second Congressional delegation had intervened with the Prime Minister on Davis’ behalf and that the widow of one of the victims had committed suicide. Developments in the case continue at breakneck pace, with the story once again breaking into the Washington Post for Tuesday, where we learn that the US “has suspended all high-level dialogue with Pakistan” over the incident. Dawn fills in more detail on that suspension, noting that Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari had been scheduled to visit Washington next month, but that trip now appears endangered. Further, we learn that Pakistan has added three more consular employees to the exit control list, preventing their departure from Pakistan. The unidentified employees are believed to have been in the car that rushed to Davis’ defense after the shooting, hitting and killing a third Pakistani who was on a motorcycle.
|By: Jim White Tuesday November 23, 2010 7:30 am|
Almost a month ago, The Guardian was warning that the Afghanistan “peace talks”, which General David Petraeus was claiming to aid by transporting key Taliban figures, had “less than meets the eye“. However, on Tuesday, the New York Times revealed that the “key” figure who had been meeting with NATO and Afghan officials was not Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, who is believed to be second in command in the Taliban behind Mullah Omar. In fact, the Washington Post went so far as to point out that the impostor was “a lowly shopkeeper from the Pakistani city of Quetta.” This development is a remarkable setback for Petraeus and NATO, especially because there have been so many claims about the famed “biometric database” that has been developed for rapid identification of insurgents. The equipment used in this endeavor has been given the rather unfortunate acronym “HIDE”, for Handheld Interagency Detection Equipment. Because of HIDE, it will be very difficult for Petraeus to hide from the failure of his intelligence operatives to determine that “Mansour” was an impostor.
|By: Jim White Tuesday October 5, 2010 8:50 am|
In an article published Monday by Der Spiegel, we learn that German authorities remain skeptical regarding information being obtained by US interrogation of Ahmad Sidiqi, a German citizen of Afghan heritage currently held at Bagram Air Base. Since there are accusations that US torture continues at this facility (which appears to be under the control of the Defense Intelligence Agency outside normal detention practices) and since it is known that torture produces notoriously unreliable information, then the question must be asked whether the German skepticism is based on a presumption that Sidiqi is being tortured.