The alleged misdeeds and cover-ups of the administration of George W. Bush related to the events of 2001 remain in historical limbo. President Obama has refused to investigate anything that happened under his predecessor, and neither the Congress nor the media have gotten to the bottom of these tragic events. As a result, the American public has not come to closure on the 9/11 attacks or on the anthrax mailings of 2001, nor is there a shared understanding of such a critical question as the real reasons that the US attacked Iraq in 2003.
These failures have left the field open to wild speculations regarding these events, generally termed “conspiracy theories”, though this term obscures the critical distinction between elaborate, prospective conspiracies (silly in the context of an open society) and the retrospective cover-up conspiracies that government officials who have made embarrassing mistakes are all-too-prone to engage in (very realistic and plausible).
[In a 2004 leak of a top secret Canadian Security Intelligence Service report, an al Qaeda detainee said that Abderraouf Jdey, a Canadian citizen of Tunisian origin, used a shoe bomb to cause the November 12, 2001 crash of American Airlines #587 from Kennedy Airport. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Jdey was also the mailer of the anthrax letters. See the analysis at the article Was Abderraouf Jdey The Anthrax Mailer?. The arguments below regarding the use of a Stinger-like missile and a northern New Jersey location of the Mailer are incorrect, but they are not being changed so that readers may follow the logic that led to the identification of Jdey as the likely Mailer. Information from October 2006 that the water used to prepare the anthrax was from the northeastern United States rules out a UK origin, as incorrectly argued below.] Continue reading »
Historian and former State Department intelligence analyst Kenneth J. Dillon devised the concept of “Anomalous Mistake-driven Opportunity Creation” (AMOC). “AMOC”, he says, “occurs when a government official charged with a certain problem commits an extraordinary error—one so inconceivable that no one can imagine that he/she has done it. And therefore the official gets away with it—and receives enhanced powers to combat the much more grievous resulting problem. As skilful politicians, Bush and Cheney were classic inside-the-box thinkers who lacked the insight to take precautionary measures that a reasonable person would have taken in response to the repeated warnings of an impending attack of the sort that occurred on 9/11. Therefore, it was a case of criminal negligence, not a conspiracy. However, after 9/11 Bush and Cheney conspired to cover up the evidence of their negligence, a task for which their skills were better suited. So there was a conspiracy, but it took place after 9/11 and is ongoing.” [This summary was in Wikipedia for several months but then was removed.]
AMOC occurs when a government official charged with a certain problem commits an extraordinary error—one so inconceivable that no one can imagine that he/she has perpetrated it. And therefore the official gets away with it. Continue reading »
Amid the twists, turns, and baffling uncertainties of the 2001 anthrax mailings case, many observers have managed to hold fast to one conviction: that the anthrax letters can’t possibly have been the work of al Qaeda. But are they right? One way to find out would be to identify the actual Mailer. That may prove easier than often thought—if one looks in the right place. Another approach would involve analyzing each of the objections to determine its merits. Let’s try that.
Objections, Objections Continue reading »
The FBI investigation of the 2001 anthrax mailings may well have been the most extensive criminal investigation in world history. According to FBI, which closed its investigation on February 19, 2010, the Mailer was U.S. Government scientist Bruce Ivins, who committed suicide in July, 2008. But the evidence FBI has adduced is so weak that skepticism is widespread among scientists, other observers of the case, and the public at large.
Many observers find it impossible to believe that the Bureau could persuasively rule out the other hundreds of scientists who had access to the virulent strain of anthrax from the flask Ivins kept. Few doubt that the anthrax in at least some of the letters came originally from this flask, but critics charge that FBI has no valid reason to claim that Ivins was the one who prepared the anthrax and put it into the envelopes. FBI has also not addressed the possibility that someone stole the anthrax, even though researcher Ross Getman has identified several university labs and a bioscience company where al Qaeda sympathizers had access to anthrax originating in Ivins’s flask. Continue reading »