Monday, August 4, 2008

FBI Tried Coercing Ivins' Children into Accusing Their Father in Anthrax Attacks

The more we learn about the Ivins Anthrax investigation the more we see an attempt by the feds railroad an innocent man. In this case the NY Times questions the dubious tactics employed used by the FBI:

After four years of painstaking scientific research, the F.B.I. by 2005 had traced the anthrax in the poisoned letters of 2001 to a single flask of the bacteria at the Army biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md., according to government scientists and bureau officials.

But at least 10 scientists had regular access to the laboratory and its anthrax stock — and possibly quite a few more, counting visitors from other institutions, and workers at laboratories in Ohio and New Mexico that had received anthrax samples from the flask at the Army laboratory.

Does sound like a man who would murder people in order to make money. Certainly not the homicidal maniac he's made out to be:
Dr. Ivins had been a respected microbiologist for three decades at the United States Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick. He was a popular neighbor in Frederick, Md., a Red Cross volunteer and an amateur juggler who played keyboards for Sunday services at his church.

These are tactics used by totalitarian governments. The FBI is desperate and will apparently do anything to find someone to blame for an investigation they've botched from day one. It is a classic case of prosecutorial misconduct. It reminds me of the 1996 Olympics bombing case in where the FBI also falsely accused a totally innocent man of the crime, Richard Jewel. This is just as outrageous and frightening.
They had even intensively questioned his adopted children, Andrew and Amanda, now both 24, with the authorities telling his son that he might be able to collect the $2.5 million reward for solving the case and buy a sports car, and showing his daughter gruesome photographs of victims of the anthrax letters and telling her, “Your father did this,” according to the account Dr. Ivins gave a close friend.

As the investigation wore on, some colleagues thought the F.B.I.’s methods were increasingly coercive, as the agency tried to turn Army scientists against one another and reinterviewed family members.

One former colleague, Dr. W. Russell Byrne, said the agents pressed Dr. Ivins’s daughter repeatedly to acknowledge that her father was involved in the attacks.

“It was not an interview,” Dr. Byrne said. “It was a frank attempt at intimidation.”

Dr. Byrne said he believed Dr. Ivins was singled out partly because of his personal weaknesses. “They figured he was the weakest link,” Dr. Byrne said. “If they had real evidence on him, why did they not just arrest him?”

Another former co-worker, Dr. Kenneth W. Hedlund, who collaborated on anthrax research with Dr. Ivins in the 1980s, had a similar theory.

“The investigators looked around, they decided they had to find somebody. They went after all of them but he looked the most susceptible to pressure,” Dr. Hedlund said. “It is like prisoners of war: if they are harassed enough, they will be driven to do anything. But I don’t believe he would have done what they say he did.”

- Previous Related Post:
Bruce Ivins was a Scapegoat in the FBI Anthrax Investigation

Transcript: Obama Energy Speech (8-4-08)

Read the entire transcript of Obama's speech on his energy proposals given in Lansing, Michigan:

OBAMA: We meet at a moment when this country is facing a set of challenges greater than any we've seen in generations. Right now, our brave men and women in uniform are fighting two different wars while terrorists plot their next attack. Our changing climate is placing our planet in peril. Our economy is in turmoil and our families are struggling with rising costs and falling incomes; with lost jobs and lost homes and lost faith in the American Dream. And for too long, our leaders in Washington have been unwilling or unable to do anything about it.

That is why this election could be the most important of our lifetime. When it comes to our economy, our security, and the very future of our planet, the choices we make in November and over the next few years will shape the next decade, if not the century. And central to all of these major challenges is the question of what we will do about our addiction to foreign oil.

Without a doubt, this addiction is one of the most dangerous and urgent threats this nation has ever faced -- from the gas prices that are wiping out your paychecks and straining businesses to the jobs that are disappearing from this state; from the instability and terror bred in the Middle East to the rising oceans and record drought and spreading famine that could engulf our planet.

It's also a threat that goes to the very heart of who we are as a nation, and who we will be. Will we be the generation that leaves our children a planet in decline, or a world that is clean, and safe, and thriving? Will we allow ourselves to be held hostage to the whims of tyrants and dictators who control the world's oil wells? Or will we control our own energy and our own destiny? Will America watch as the clean energy jobs and industries of the future flourish in countries like Spain, Japan, or Germany? Or will we create them here, in the greatest country on Earth, with the most talented, productive workers in the world?

As Americans, we know the answers to these questions. We know that we cannot sustain a future powered by a fuel that is rapidly disappearing. Not when we purchase $700 million worth of oil every single day from some the world's most unstable and hostile nations -- Middle Eastern regimes that will control nearly all of the world's oil by 2030. Not when the rapid growth of countries like China and India mean that we're consuming more of this dwindling resource faster than we ever imagined. We know that we can't sustain this kind of future.

Despite Crackdown Violence Threatens to Disrupt China Olympics

Just when China's rulers thought that they would get away with Nazi-style Olympic propaganda (thanks to the U.S. media) freedoms rears it's ugly head.

Chinese police says a grenade assault that killed 16 police in restive western Xinjiang region on Monday was a "suspected terrorist" attack.

The violence comes four days ahead of the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympic Games.

The Xinhua news agency said two assailants drove a truck towards exercising border police officers in Kashgar, home of many Muslim Uighur people resentful of Chinese control on the region.

The authorities sould like Bush using fear of terrorism to bring the population in line and gain world sympathy. Could the administration decide to send military aide to help Beijing? After all, isn't Mr. Bush attending the Olympics as a sign of unity?
Chinese officials have thrown an almost smothering blanket of security across this capital of 17 million in preparation for the start of the Olympic Games on Friday. Above all else, Chinese leaders say, these Olympics will be “safe.”

[...]Even before that raid, Chinese officials had transformed Beijing into a giant fortress. Surface-to-air missiles take aim at the sky above the Olympic stadiums here. Surveillance cameras mounted on light poles scan sidewalks. Police officers search thousands of cars and trucks entering the city.

Even civilians have been called on to strengthen the motherland: Tens of thousands of middle-age and elderly residents wearing red armbands, reminiscent of the zealous Red Guard youth from decades ago, now patrol neighborhoods looking for even a slightly suspicious act or person.

But human rights advocates accuse the Chinese government of using the pretext of terrorism to silence dissent and clamp down on ethnic minority groups that chafe at rule by ethnic Han Chinese, who dominate the Communist Party leadership. Some security experts say many of the surveillance measures will probably stay in place after the Games, to bolster the reach of the authorities.

To hear Chinese officials tell it, the threats come from a dizzying array of malcontents: groups advocating independence in the western autonomous regions of Xinjiang and Tibet, followers of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, Al Qaeda, and unstable individuals.

We can't allow human rights and terrorism to get in the way of huge profits.
Never before has an Olympics been staged in a market so big — and so underserved. Though capitalism has been a fact of life in China for years, no brand category has been captured the way, say, Wal-Mart dominates the U.S. retail market. Which means: Olympic sponsors are staring at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to engage and snare the Chinese consumer. Do it right, and the payoff could be massive.

Never mind such a minor details as the fact that the Chinese government cannot be trusted.
A senior White House official says staffers accompanying President Bush to China have been told to leave their BlackBerries at home, reports CBS News White House correspondent Peter Maer.

The mobile e-mail blackout is the latest sign of U.S. concerns over Chinese cyber-spying. Sensitive presidential communications are always encrypted, but government cyber-security experts are worried about electronic eavesdropping on the BlackBerries, which are difficult to protect from snooping.

But despite the repression it is inspiring to see people fighting for their basic rights. We could be seeing the seed for a future revolution that will bring democracy to China. And the people there will do it without the help of Western politicians and media.
About 20 people angry about being evicted from their homes in central Beijing demonstrated Monday not far from Tiananmen Square, saying the Olympics should not curb their legal rights.

Uniformed police quickly surrounded the residential street where AP Television News video showed the group shouting about being kicked out of their homes and not getting proper compensation.

"We don't oppose the Olympics. But it's wrong for them to demolish our house. It's wrong," said protester Liu Fumei. AP Television News footage showed her screaming and scuffling with women in civilian clothes.

The police officers did not interfere, but women who said they were members of a neighborhood committee pushed and led the protesters away from the area. Neighborhood committees are not officially part of the government but work closely with police and other departments.

Hope lies with the people of the world to not buy into the propaganda.
Concerns about China's human rights record and its polluted air have dampened public interest around the world in the Beijing Olympics, a research group said.

The survey by Sport+Markt -- based on 1,000 telephone interviews with people aged between 16 and 69 per country -- showed the level of "interest" in the Olympics had decreased across the world over the last four years.

"The event in Tibet this spring as well as protests regarding the torch relay was a worldwide negative campaign for the Olympics in Beijing," Hartmut Zastrow, executive director at Sport+Markt, said in a note released on Friday.