More pictures +/- the complete exosporium

Here (or here, if you are having trouble viewing the first set of images) is a side by side comparison of the Sandia pictures (from Anonymous) with pictures of 2 different batches of anthrax spores from another paper. One picture shows anthrax spores WITH an intact exosporium, the other WITHOUT an intact exosporium. Clearly the Sandia picture most resembles the one WITHOUT an exosporium. This contradicts Sandia’s claim that their picture of the mailed spores has an intact exosporium.

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Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

I don’t know what other people see, but when I look at the .ppt file, all I see is the Sandia image. The left side of the screen just shows a tiny X indicator that the image is either corrupted or missing.

I’d post a .jpg version of what I see, but someone will just claim that I’m deliberately distorting things to mislead people.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Ed Lake has been in touch with Sandia labs , and Sandia confirm that their image was produced using z-contrast. z-contrast is explained here:
http://see.leeds.ac.uk/research/igt/people/lloyd/gral-1a-2a.htm

It means that areas of the SEM that appear brighter contain elements of high atomic weight. In the example above, the element iron (Fe) is clearly brighter than the element magnesium (Mg). This is becasue Fe has a higher atomic weight than Mg.

Anthrax spores consist almost entirely of carbon (C). The element silicon has an atomic weight of 28, compared with only 12 for carbon.

The Sandia picture clearly shows bright rings around the spores, which tell us that a silicon-rich coating is present.

Obviously EDS images (where x-rays rather than electrons are detected) would highlight the silicon coatings even more so.

The first thing any competent analyst would want to know when tasked with discerning if an additive may be present in any sample is to determine the AMOUNT of that additive. This is called quantitative elemental analysis, a decades old branch of analytical chemistry. For example, if a sample contains the element silicon, it is relatively easy to determine the weight percentage of the element silicon. All the elements present totaled together obviously have to come to 100%.

I doubt if any journal referee would accept Sandia’s conclusions about the presence of silicon without the vital weight percentage of silicon being disclosed.

Roughly speaking, the conclusions would be the following:

less than 0.1% – trace quantities, could come from contamination

0.1%-0.5% – minor quantities, more contamination from possibly using non-distilled tap water, or from silicone grease contamination from glassware stoppers.

0.5%-1.0% – fairly high concentration – could come from using a silicon based antifoam agent in a fermenter production run.

1.0%-2.0% – highly likely that a silicon containing compound was deliberately added.

greater than 2% – certainty that a silicon congaing compound was added deliberately.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

If the exosporia were missing, or were too thin to be detected at Sandia’s silicon imaging conditions, that could certainly explain the lack of silicon in the exosporia.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Ed:

I noticed that some of the images you posted links to were from a journal article describing the natural accumulation of silicon in a non-anthrax bacillus. Do you have access to the entire article? If so, could you go to the “Materials and Methods” section, there should be a paragraph or so describing the exact media components used in the study.

Could you copy this section and post it, please? Perhaps this may shed a little more light on the possible sources of the silicon.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

One of the Anonymi wrote: “The Sandia picture clearly shows bright rings around the spores, which tell us that a silicon-rich coating is present.”

I’m not sure that that can be concluded from the images. The spore coat is clearly very light in color in the Sandia images, but it’s also known that the spore coat is very hard, which means it’s probably very dense. And it is density which is really being shown by the light shading.

NOTE that in BOTH of the images posted by Anonymous, the spore coat is DARK, not light. So, clearly there is a great difference in settings for those TEM images.

Now check HERE.

You will note that the uncoated spore consists of just 3 layers.

The coated spore provided by Anonymous consists of 6 layers, IF you include the hair nap as a layer.

The TEM images from Sandia do not show the hair nap, but they DO show the other 5 layers. The shadings are merely reversed. The space between the exosporium and the spore coat is very light in the image from Anonymous, but it is DARK in the image from Sandia.

Interpreting images this way is a very questionable practice, but can anyone really say that there are only 3 layers in the TEM image from Sandia? Clearly there are only 3 layers in the spore without its exosporium.

And it is VERY clear that the spore coat is DARK on the image where there is no exosporium, and the spore coat is very LIGHT on the TEM images from Sandia. PLUS, there is clearly something else covering the spore coat in the Sandia images.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

“Roughly speaking, the conclusions would be the following:

less than 0.1% – trace quantities, could come from contamination

0.1%-0.5% – minor quantities, more contamination from possibly using non-distilled tap water, or from silicone grease contamination from glassware stoppers.

0.5%-1.0% – fairly high concentration – could come from using a silicon based antifoam agent in a fermenter production run.

1.0%-2.0% – highly likely that a silicon containing compound was deliberately added.

greater than 2% – certainty that a silicon containing compound was added deliberately.”

Do you have 4 citations you could share? One for each claim?

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

When I wrote “the uncoated spore” and “The coated spore” I meant “the spore without the exosporium” and “the spore with the exosporium.”

It’s hard to break the habit of talking about coatings. 🙂

Also, it seems clear that the spore with the exosporium provided by Anonymous is WET. The exposporium is fully expanded like a wet sponge.

The exosporia in the TEM images provided by Sandia are DRY and collapsed.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

BugMaster wrote: “I noticed that some of the images you posted links to were from a journal article describing the natural accumulation of silicon in a non-anthrax bacillus. Do you have access to the entire article?”

If you are talking about the 1964 article by Rouf, it’s HERE.

If that’s not what you’re asking about, I’ll be back again tomorrow. I’m a 9-5 guy. And it’s almost 5, shut down time.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

The layer Ed Lake labels “5” in the Sandia images is clearly just a portion of the spore exterior located at a lower vertical height as compared to the bright cross-section layer “3”, since in each image the darker layer “5” is fully or partially covered up by the cross-section layer “3” at various locations in the image. I’ve marked up Lake’s pictures with blue arrows to indicate many of the places where Lake’s layer “3” covers Lake’s layer “5”, here. Most likely, layer “5” is just a lower, non-cross-sectional portion of the same layer as layer “3”.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Ed Lake wrote:

“Also, it seems clear that the spore with the exosporium provided by Anonymous is WET.”

Ed apparently doesn’t understand that ALL SEM micrographs are obtained from dry samples. The sample is scanned under a very high vacuum, where liquid water cannot exist.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

BugMaster, the article you seek is located here.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

The bacillus article referenced an earlier article that described the growth conditions used in the study. The only component that stands out is ammonium sulfate, present at quite a high level of 5 grams / liter. (more typical 1 g/l or less). Perhaps the ammonium sulfate contained trace amounts of silica.

Agar, since it is derived from a marine seaweed (which is a plant), would be a very likely source of silica, but in the articles, it was clearly stated that the spores were produced in liquid.

The authors theorized that in their case, the trace amount of silica found in the spores was from either the glassware or from silicon grease used in some of the lab apparatus they employed.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

A recent article “Tough house-arrest conditions ruled lawful,” Globe and Mail, January 15, 2008 reports that it costs up to $1 million a year to conduct surveillance of Mahjoub who is house arrest after being released last year. As part of his house arrest, intelligence agents took a picture of Nintendo Wii video game, which amounted to a technical breach“ because it allegedly has Internet capacity. Absent internet capacity, however, how can Mr. Mahjoub participate and follow this discussion of 5 nm detergent micelles and exosporiums?

Alleged to have been Vanguards of Conquest #2, his bail was denied on October 5, 2001 and was immediately followed by the anthrax letters to the two Senators deemed symbolically responsible for the rendering of senior Egyptian Islamic Jihad leaders.

The attorneys for the biology teacher and former lab tech Jaballah, who was in regular contact with Zawahiri by satellite telephone, face similar problems. The biology teacher was in contact with Mabruk, the military commander who announced Zawahiri’s anthrax plans and Shehata, the man in charge of civilian special operations. He too was forbidden internet access that might permit him to look at Mr. Lake’s cool pictures. It was then revealed that he had DSL connection in his kitchen that was paid for by the Canadian government . The government had awarded his daughter the connection as part of a computers for kids program. The biology teacher’s lawyers argued that perhaps intelligence agents had arranged for the award — implying perhaps that it was a trick to see who might secretly contact him or what web pages he might visit. Ah, if only life were as interesting and fun as the movies, it will turn out that Dr. N is working for the CIA and has arranged this website as a honey pot sting to see who visits. :0)

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

One of the Anonymi wrote: “I’ve marked up Lake’s pictures with blue arrows to indicate many of the places where Lake’s layer “3” covers Lake’s layer “5”, here. Most likely, layer “5” is just a lower, non-cross-sectional portion of the same layer as layer “3”.”

What you are pointing out are simply places where the exosporium is touching the spore coat. There is NO overlap. Your arrows do not point to ANY overlap anywhere.

Your argument is clearly FALSE because the spore coat clearly always has a different density than the exosporium.

Your argument is clearly FALSE because the exoporium is very flexible, while the spore coat is hard and inflexible. And the TEM images from Sandia clearly show that the exoporium is distorted away from the spore coat in many places.

Your argument is clearly FALSE because the open space between the spore coat and the exosporium is clearly visible whenever the exosporium is not touching the spore coat. The open space is clearly less dense than either the exosporium OR the spore coat.

The Sandia images show spores WITH their exosporium intact beyond any doubt.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

One of the Anonymi wrote: “Ed apparently doesn’t understand that ALL SEM micrographs are obtained from dry samples.”

They are TEM samples, not SEM samples. TEM samples are fixed in some fixing material and micro-sliced to provide a very thin cross-section of the sample. That’s what the TEM images show.

The images from the .ppt slide appear to show spores that were fully hydrated at the time they were fixed. The Sandia TEM images show spores that were DRY at the time they were fixed and sliced.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

BugMaster wrote: “The authors theorized that in their case, the trace amount of silica found in the spores was from either the glassware or from silicon grease used in some of the lab apparatus they employed.”

Yes. And that was just one of two reports written in 1980 which had scientsts guessing about what the source of the silicon might be. The other report was:

K. Johnstone, et al. (1980) Location of metal ions in bacillus megaterium spores by high-resolution electron probe X-ray microanalysis. FEMS Microbiology Letters 7: 97-101.

It said,

“Detectable amounts of zinc and silicon are located in the coat, and coat plus core, respectively.”

“Linescans for silicon (unpublished results) confirmed the high levels of silicon in the coats and also the resolution of the method.”

“The biological significance of the silicon observed in the coats and cortex is in doubt since it may be derived from glass culture vessels.”

It appears that, for a long time because of these reports, it was thought by FBI investigators that the silicon may have come from the glassware or some other form of lab contamination. But, the investigation showed that was almost certainly NOT the case.

I provided a link to the Rouf report from 1964 which actually talks about OTHER ways that silicon can get into spores. Rouf found that the silicon was coming from the WATER he used.

Near the end of the Rouf article he writes:

“The significance of the high content of Si, Zn, Mn and Cu in spores is not understood.”

Until silicon was detected in the attack anthrax, those three reports were evidently the entire record of silicon being detected in spores.

Silicon is not considered an essential nutrient. Therefore, no one really had any reason to pay any attention to how it gets into spores.

Now they have a reason.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

One “Anonymous” apparently asked an different “Anonymous”: “Do you have 4 citations you could share? One for each claim?”

Good question. The claims about the significance of percentages of silicon seem to be pure guesswork. At best, they are arbitrary conclusions derived from a few reports written decades ago where the sources for silicon were largely guesswork.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

FWIW, On December 17, 2004, I interviewed Dr. Ken Alibek, one of Russia’s top experts on weaponized anthrax. Here’s what was said when we talked about the exosporium on the spores:
——–
Lake: Matthew Meselson is quoted as saying that the exosporium on the Daschle anthrax was “highly evident”. Did you see the same thing?

Alibek: You know if …ah … I saw several micrographs. And some of them just showing spores – of course very small size spores. And a couple of pictures which were huge size. And the exposporium was seen there.

Lake: Yeah, but could you tell if the exosporium as intact. You said that the …

Alibek: When you see just a couple spores , of course you cannot say anything about the entire powder. Just according to the pictures I saw, I didn’t see any damage to the exosporium.
——

So, it is both VERY clear that the TEM image from Sandia shows the exosporium on the spores, and top experts actually saw that the exosporium was intact.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Again, FWIW, an FBI scientist just sent me the image HERE pointing out that the exosporium is clearly visible on the Sanda TEM image.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Once again, FWIW, a scientist at the FBI just told me he’s seen the Sandia STEM images which show the locations of the silicon (and other elements).

He says they are incredibly detailed and informative, far far beyond what was shown in the 1980 document by Stewart et. al., and there is absolutely no question that the silicon is inside the spore coat and NOT in or on the exosporium.

I’ve been told the same sort of thing by a scientist at Sandia, so when I say that the scientific papers that are in the works will show that kind of detail, it is NOT speculation. It is what the people writing the report and the people who have seen the images are saying.

I wish I could get some idea of when the reports will be published, but that entire process seems to be buried in superstition, as if saying anything will screw up or jinx the process.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

If the amount of silicon detected in the spores was consistent with the levels that were a result of trace amounts in the water, there would be no debate here, and the FBI would have been able to reproduce the silicon signature.

It had to be more than just the water.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

This is in response to anonymous' request to provide citations for the statement that anything over 1% silicon content would have to be deliberate addition of an additive.

The highest concentration of silicon in any of the bacillus studies cited by the FBI as evidence that "naturally occurring" silicon occurs in anthrax is less than 0.5% silicon.

Several years ago another study was performed in an article that appeared in the Journal of Bacteriology entitled 'Mechanism of Silicate Binding to the Bacterial Cell Wall in Bacillus subtilis.' (1993 Mera and Beveridge) Figure 1 therein shows the levels of silicon in the spores after soaking in sodium silicate solution for 10 days, 17 days and 21 days. These spores were obviously not going to take up any more silicon than this. The average level expressed on the graph as 3.5 ug/ml corresponds to about 0.5 % dry weight Silicon.

Thus even with these extreme measures of soaking in potent sodium silicate solutions for weeks, the spores would STILL not take up any more than 0.5% silicon.

The term "naturally occurring" as used by the FBI is extremely misleading. There is nothing natural about growing spores in controlled man-made environments using controlled chemicals. The silicon has to come from somewhere.

Spores do not magically take up massive quantities of silicon as the 1993 Mera and Beveridge study clearly illustrates.

Of course, there is one sure way of making the spores silicon-rich. Coat them with polymerized glass starting with the siloxane monomer form.

Finally, the recent study at the below link

http://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/full/71/11/6524?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=subtilis&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=630&resourcetype=HWFIG

demonstrated they could obtain highly accurate quantitative elemental analysis of Bacillus subtilus spores – they found lots of metals present in trace amounts – and could use only tiny samples (1 mg or less). In this sample they failed to detect any silicon whatsoever (there was more silicon in the sample holder!).

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Was it true that there was more silicon in the less purified material in the media mailings, or is this just speculation?

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Ed Lake wrote — What you are pointing out are simply places where the exosporium is touching the spore coat. There is NO overlap. Your arrows do not point to ANY overlap anywhere…

Just another case of Ed Lake denying reality again… It’s also noteworthy that Lake’s original post selectively illustrated spores not representative of Sandia’s complete image

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Ed Lake wrote:

I’ve been told the same sort of thing by a scientist at Sandia, so when I say that the scientific papers that are in the works will show that kind of detail, it is NOT speculation… I wish I could get some idea of when the reports will be published…

These repetative arguments about what Sandia is going to write and publish in the future do nothing more than emphasize the actual facts of what Sandia hasn’t published. Hearsay from Ed Lake about what he claims he was told by Sandia proves nothing.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

BugMaster wrote: “It had to be more than just the water.”

YES, it HAS to be more than the water. Is anyone even talking about the Ft. Detrick water being the only possible source of the silicon? I don’t think so.

All the informed talk I’ve seen is that the silicon most likely came from the nutrients/growth media — AND the amount of silicon may have been increased by some anti-foaming or thickening additive in the growth media.

I think it can also be stated with near certainty that the silicon was in a water soluble form – which excludes any “waterproofing” form of silicon.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Anonymous,

Soaking spores in sodium silicate has NOTHING to do with the attack anthrax. The silicon in the attack anthrax was accumulated as the spores were formed within the dying “mother” bacteria.

When spores are soaked in sodium silicate, the exosporium should also contain great amounts of silicon. And the amount of silicon that gets into the spore coat should be very high at the outer surface and taper off dramatically as you look deeper inside the spore coat.

I know you do not claim that the attack spores were soaked in sodium silicate, you only claim that this information has some kind of relevance to proving the silicon in the attack anthrax came from some “weaponization” process. IT DOESN’T.

Dr. Nass doesn’t like it when I use this term, but you are using JUNK SCIENCE to make your arguments. You are using irrelevant information and a scattering of a few papers where silicon was detected in spores to arbitrarily manufacture some LAWS about what levels of silicon can be “natural” and what levels must confirm deliberate “weaponization”.

I agree that the term “naturally occurring” can be viewed as misleading – particularly to anyone who says “There is nothing natural about growing spores in controlled man-made environments using controlled chemicals”.

But, government scientists use the term “naturally occurring” to differentiate between spores that accumulated silicon via some NATURAL PROCESS versus some deliberate “weaponization” process.

The attack anthrax accumulated silicon via some NATURAL PROCESS. That can be INFERRED by the fact that the silicon accumulated almost exclusively in the spore coat where it offers some protective qualities. It can also be INFERRED by the fact that it is fairly evenly distributed through the spore coat. Silicon was a type of BUILDING BLOCK in the formation of the spore, it was NOT a layer of paint on the outside.

PLUS, silicon evenly distributed through the spore coat serves NO “weaponization” purpose that anyone can clearly define.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

As stated earlier (if my comment ever gets posted), I know that Dr. Nass does not like the term “junk science,” but there is no other term for what Anonymous is doing.

After looking over the article “Mechanism of Silicate Binding to the Bacterial Cell Wall in Bacillus subtilis,” it appears that Anonymous is trying to relate a paper about what happens to living Bacillus subtilis bacteria in SOIL to what happens during the formation of Bacillus anthracis spores in some growth medium such as agar.

There can be no comparison at all. They are totally unrelated processes.

It is pure “JUNK SCIENCE” to imply that any conclusions about anthrax spores can be drawn from that particular study about Bacillus subtilis bacteria.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

The only person writing “junk science” on this forum is Ed Lake. Ed Lake is a non-scientist who continually spouts his beliefs about science, and most of the time is completely wrong. He stated earlier in this thread that pictures of spores with an intact exosporium were “wet”. An impossibility for a SEM picture taken under high vacuum. Ed demonstrates he does not even understand basics.

If he actually understood the point of the Bacillus subtilus paper, if he actually even read it, he would see that the entire purpose of this paper was to test if subtilus spores naturally take up the element silicon and use it in their spore coats. In other words the very question that the FBI claim is a natural process. To simulate spores being in contact with silicon chemistry they soaked spores in sodium silicate.
Thus, the very experiment to prove or disprove the FBI’s claim that silicon might be biologically naturally active in bacillus spores has already been done. It was done in 1993. The result is that the spores would not take up silicon in any natural chemical process to a degree greater than 0.5%.

Coating with polymerized glass is a completely different thing. In that case there is no chemistry between the spores and the siloxane monomer – they do not react chemically. The siloxane just polymerizes and stays put – under the exosporium – exactly where Sandia found it.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

BugMaster asked: “Was it true that there was more silicon in the less purified material in the media mailings, or is this just speculation?”

It’s apparently true. But, my source at the FBI says that there is some dispute over those findings, and they don’t have enough of the NY Post material left to do any more tests to determine the actual quantity of silicon in the Post powder. They have to destroy the material in order to do certain kinds of tests.

However, they know with absolute certainty that the actual SPORES contained the same amount of silicon as the spores in the Daschle and Leahy letters. It’s the silicon in the debris that they cannot analyze at this time. Hopefully, they’ll figure out how to analyzed it without having to destroy it.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

I also suggest that the pharse “JUNK SCIENCE” only be use don this forum once the National Academy of Sciences have finished their report.

In a previous audit of the FBI’s lead in bullet analysis they DID officlly find that the FBI were using JUNK SCIENCE.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/16/60minutes/main3512453.shtml

Dwight Adams was the FBI lab director who commissioned the National Academy of Sciences study that ended up debunking decades of FBI testimony, some of which Kroft read back to him.

Asked what he found out, Tobin tells Kroft, “It hadn’t been based on science at all, but rather had been based on subjective belief for over four decades.”

“So what you’re saying is that this is junk science?” Kroft asks.

“That’s correct,” Tobin says. “It’s worthless as a forensic tool.”

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Ed Lake said:

“All the informed talk I’ve seen is that the silicon most likely came from the nutrients/growth media — AND the amount of silicon may have been increased by some anti-foaming or thickening additive in the growth media.”

This is very close to what I have concluded as a strong possiblity as well, although there wouldn’t have been any “thickening additive” beyond the agar (assuming plates were used).

The antifoam may have been added as a surfactant in the purification process. This would have required amounts far in excess of that normally used for foam control.

As far as the silicic acid (if it is in fact the source of the material incorporated into the spore coat), it may have come from a material occasionally used as a nutrient source, although in this case, it too would have been present in far greater concentrations than expected.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Ed Lake wrote:

“It’s the silicon in the debris that they cannot analyze at this time.”

Hmmm – that’s the most interesting nugget Ed has ever provided.

An official at the briefing said “There was no exogeneous silicon”.

Apparently there was.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Ed Lake wrote:

“It’s the silicon in the debris that they cannot analyze at this time.”

WHAT?

They never analyzed it?

Or did they, and don’t what to say what they found.

Ed, could you get your source to expand on this?

Thanks.

Ellen Byrne
Ellen Byrne
13 years ago

This is better than Reality TV.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

BTW, it appears that Sandia National Laboratories received a great deal of publicity and profit as a result of the Anthrax Attacks — Sandia’s clean-up formulation was used to decontaminate Capitol Hill, and Sandia was hired to conduct analytical work for the FBI at least as early as Febuary of 2002. Does anyone know the extent of fees and profits Sandia has received to date?

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Anonymous wrote: “In a previous audit of the FBI’s lead in bullet analysis …”

That’s more JUNK SCIENCE. You are claiming that, because some mistakes were made in some bullet analysis at the FBI labs, nothing the FBI labs ever claim ever again can be believed.

That’s not even JUNK SCIENCE. It’s not any kind of science whatsoever. It’s PURE BIAS.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Bugmaster:
The silicon in the debris was very dramatically observed by AFIP when they performed EDS spectroscopy on the spores. Here are the results obtained by AFIP in October 2001 for the Daschle powder and the NYP powder.

Daschle powder:
Reading (1): C=120, Si=275, O=50
Reading (2): C=1600, Si=500, O=400
Reading (3): C=1200, Si=500, O=400

NYP powder:
Reading (1): C=500, Si=18,000, O=500
Reading (2): C=50, Si=17,000, O=50
Reading (3): C=100, Si=16,000, O=100

They took readings at 3 different spots on the powder material. The Daschle powder shows silicon peaks that correspond to elemental concentrations of silicon ranging from about 3% to 10%. This can be obtained by running an EDS simulation.

But the NYP powder has elemental silicon greater than 50% and even up to 90%. What does this mean?

A spore could not contain that much silicon and still be a spore. Thus, the answer is that the silicon signals are coming from the debris, not just the spores. Indeed they indicate that ALL of the debris in the NYP post material is actually a silicon based material.

How could this happen? Here’s one possible scenario:

Weh a solution of a siliconizing agent like Repelcote gets old it starts to polymerize. The dimethyldichlorosilane converts to the polymer dimethlysiloxane. This actually makes the liquid solution turn milky. The milkiness is due to tiny particles of polymer.

It could be that the perps used old Repelcote when they made the NYP powder, and ended up with lots of polymer debris in the powder.

Then when they made the Daschle powder they used fresh Repelcote and there was no residual polymer debris.

At least the FBI now seem to be acknowledging the presence of siloxane polymer in the debris.

The next logical step for them will be to back away from the “naturally occurring” statements. They must know that the National Academy of Sciences understand EDS spectra, quantitative elemental analysis and polymerization of silane monomers.

Presumably the NAS will ask to see the existing AFIP lab reports that fully analyzed the NYP powder.

It seems to me that Sandia only bothered looking at the spore coats in the NYP powder and ignored all the debris.

Whatever, we’ll get all these answers from the upcoming hearings and the NAS audit.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

I wrote: “It’s the silicon in the debris that they cannot analyze at this time.”

And Anonymous mentioned that an official at the briefing said “There was no exogeneous silicon.”

There was no exogeneous silicon on the spores. But, as one of the many Anonymi once said, there was more silicon detected in the NY Post powder than in the Leahy powder. Yet, the spores themselves contained nearly identical amounts of silicon.

Therefore, the extra silicon in the NY Post powder must have been in the debris. If you remember, the NY Post powder also contained Bacillis subtilis contamination. It was a crude powder.

It’s my understanding that FBI lab tests did indeed find an unusual amount of silicon in the debris. But, after that finding, there wasn’t enough debris left to thoroughly analyze it to find out what the true source was. It could have been something as simple as a stray shard of glass buried in the powder.

BugMaster asked: “Ed, could you get your source to expand on this?”

My FBI sources wasn’t involved in the actual testing. All he knows is what was said in briefings. And that is summarized in what I stated above.

It’s also my understanding that Sandia did not find any unusual silicon in the NY Post debris that they analyzed.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Bugmaster wrote:
“They never analyzed it?”

Yes, they did analyze it, and they determined years ago that it was polymerized glass (polysiloxane is a polymerized glass). They leaked to the media in April, 2002 that they had found an unusual chemical, but at that time they did not release the identity of this unusual chemical.

This was reported in Newsweek, CNN and the Washington Post. Then almost 18 months later it was reported in the media that this unusual chemical was polymerized glass. All links to these FACTS are given below:

http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/sophisticatedstrainanthrax.html
Government sources tell NEWSWEEK that the secret new analysis shows anthrax found in a letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy was ground to a microscopic fineness not achieved by U.S. biological-weapons experts. The Leahy anthrax — mailed in an envelope that was recovered unopened from a Washington post office last November — also was coated with a chemical compound unknown to experts who have worked in the field for years; the coating matches no known anthrax samples ever recovered from biological-weapons producers anywhere in the world, including Iraq and the former Soviet Union.

http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/anthraxpowdernotroutine.html
Washington Post
Whoever concocted the wispy white powder used in last fall’s anthrax attacks followed a recipe markedly different from the ones commonly used by scientists in the United States or any other country known to have biological weapons, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

Extensive lab tests of the anthrax powder have revealed new details about how the powder was made, including the identity of a chemical used to coat the trillions of microscopic spores to keep them from clumping together. Sources close to the investigation declined to name the chemical but said its presence was something of a surprise.

http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/unusualcoating.html
Official: Unusual coating in anthrax mailings

From Kelli Arena, CNN Washington Bureau

Washington (CNN) — Scientists have found a new chemical in the coating on the anthrax spores mailed to journalists and politicians last fall, a high-ranking government official said Wednesday.

The discovery of the unnamed chemical, something scientists are familiar with, was surprising, the official said.

http://cryptome.quintessenz.at/mirror/anthrax-powder.htm

About a year and a half ago, a laboratory analyzing the Senate anthrax spores for the FBI reported the discovery of what appeared to be a chemical additive that improved the bond between the silica and the spores. U.S. intelligence officers informed foreign biodefense officials that this additive was “polymerized glass.” The officials who received this briefing—biowarfare specialists who work for the governments of two NATO countries—said they had never heard of polymerized glass before.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Ellen Byrne wrote: “This is better than Reality TV.”

Yes, it is, isn’t it?

I think it’s an important public record to discuss these things in a forum that gets permanently recorded somewhere.

Scientific arguments appear to be normally kept out of the public eye. Reputations are at stake. And the scientist with the most data and best facts may also be the scientist with the least ability to write coherently.

Judging from the arguments I’ve been in, many in-person arguments among scientists probably simply end when one scientist with strong beliefs starts verbally attacking his associates and calling them names.

I LOVE debating science. I LOVE it when the facts are so clear that anyone can see them, yet, as we saw in the arguments over whether or not the exosporium was visible in the Sandia TEM image, the people who argued against what can be clearly seen will continue to argue in petty ways, never admitting that their claims were totally bogus and thoroughly disproved.

I’ve argued many of these same points with some of the same people on FreeRepublic.com. One such argument is HERE. Debates there would sometimes go on for months and months, and there were some people there, too, who commented on what a great public record it made.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

I just got a clarification from the FBI about the “silicon in the debris” that I mentioned.

They feel that the unusual Silicon reading in the NY Post material was a technical glitch. When they fixed the glitch, they wanted to do another test, but there wasn’t enough material left to justify it.

So, in the eyes of the FBI:

The only usable information is from the Sandia results; basically Dr. Michael’s assessment is the final word. Apparently, only the Leahy material was tested at the FBI labs more than once, and it was found to have roughly 1% Silicon.

Go to my comments on my web site for further details.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

One of the many Anonymi wrote: “Hearsay from Ed Lake about what he claims he was told by Sandia proves nothing.”

A scientist at Sandia just reminded me that there is going to be a Biodefense & Emerging Diseases Research Meeting in Baltimore on February 22-25. Some details about the attack anthrax as examined by Sandia and other labs will be evidently be presented at the meeting.

Unfortunately, the scientific protocols seem to indicate that if you don’t attend the meeting, you will have to wait until the information is formally published to get anything you can quote.

But, if you have a theory that everyone in the government is lying about the “weaponization” of the attack anthrax, that might be the right time to corner some of the top scientists to get them to fess up.

Old Atlantic Lighthouse
Old Atlantic Lighthouse
13 years ago

This is a good dialogue with good contributions by many. Ed Lake is to be commended for his efforts and taking it in stride as have others.

The more steps, time taken, resources used, ideas exploited, money, etc. the more it indicates it was many who did it and not Ivins. Its clear that the silicon fits that.

One test is to look for spores with silicon in the BSL3 or look for silicon on equipment that might have been taken out. If he had leakage into BSL3 in processing then there should have been spores in BSL3 with silicon. Or there should have been silicon left from the processing. This could be under equipment, desks, etc.

Also if he took a lot of spores from the RMR1029 flask to speed up production, used silicon in processing and then put some spores back in RMR1029 to tank it back up, then there would be silicon back in RMR1029. It appears there is none. That means he likely didn't add back to RMR1029. That means his ability to use a large starting amount from it is less.

This means he needed more growing time to produce his runs. This is very important for both sets, the Sep 17-18 and the Oct 6-9 mailings. The former was on a tight schedule and did have .5 grams of bacillus anthracis spores according to some estimates.

The second run had at least 2 grams of spores. So he had to grow this and he couldn't speed up the growing by using more from the flask and then returning it. That is very important. Because it means he needed longer run times.

http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA426293

Carey, Laurie F. ; St. Amant, Diane C. ; Guelta, Mark A.

Is the paper with times for production.

For an external party, not Ivins, putting spores back in their source would not be an issue and we don't have their flask. For them it would make sense to use silicon to grow. Ivins, however had reasons not to. One is returning to the flask. The other is it would leave a signature of spores in BSL3 that could be detected and finger him. But it appears no such spores have been found in BSL3. It seems almost impossible that Ivins worked quickly to do these large volume runs without leaving spores in the lab containing the same silicon. Thus this is another proof that Ivins didn't do it.

The subtilis contaminant is another proof he didn't start with more from the RMR1029 and then put some back. So we have to count on longer runs from smaller numbers of starting spores if Ivins did it. Together with the dtic paper linked to above, that implies Ivins didn't have the time is the reasonable interpretation of the evidence.

Also there should be some subtilis spores in the BSL3 if he prepared it there. Some of those should have silicon too it would seem. Those also were not found and that's more evidence it didn't happen there.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

So, Ed, could any of your sources tell us if b. subtilis genetically identical to the contaminant found in the “media mailings” was in fact isolated from the AMI building?

This is the type of question that would be hard to provide an evasive answer for.

The answer is either yes (indicating that the material was from the same lot as the other “media mailings”) or no (indicating that the AMI mailings were from a separate lot mailed on a separate day.)

If your sources are not willing to disclose this to you, I’ll provide the answer myself.

The answer is NO! And the reason you will not find anyone from the FBI disputing this is that it can’t be disputed. (and they would rather not discuss it).

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

The FBI reports that the third country that virulent Ames was in Sweden.

What was that laboratory?

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

At the Annapolis conference organized by Dr. Ivins, a researcher from the National Defense Research Establishment in Umea, Sweden, along with two other scientists from Singapore, presented on a genome-wide analysis of bacillus anthracis. Their paper discusses the virulence plasmids and the Ames strain and so perhaps it was National Defense Research Establishment that had Ames. (An FBI affidavit identified one of the 16 labs known to have had virulent Ames to be in Sweden).

Dr. Keim has posited that any sample the size in Dr. Ivins’ flask might have the same four mutations and so it important to flesh out these sorts of details. (He notes the hypothesis has not been tested).

What was the lab visited by the scientist that Ayman Zawahiri’s scientist had attending the 1999 and 2000 conference on dangerous pathogens/anthrax? Senators and Congressman should find out. The scientist infiltrating the conferences for Zawahiri, Rauf Ahmad, described the lab as having thousands of pathogens, including virulent anthrax. He told Zawahiri he had successfully achieved his targets.

Did Rauf Ahmad also attend the June 2001 conference organized by Dr. Ivins? He regularly attended conferences, I’m told by a friend at DIA, on dangerous pathogens in Europe. Is there any reason to think he did not attend the Annapolis conference? I was given the dates 1999 and 2000 by the head of Sfam in Europe (the equivalent of ASM). But the director did not have record of the conference in 2001 organized by Ivins as sfam was not helping to organize it. ASM was.

In his correspondence with Ayman, the scientist said he had learned some processing tricks and made some internet connections. Who was he learning tricks on processing from? Instead of having non-experts spend more time parsing hairs on an exosporium, the public should ask that some basic questions be answered. For example, if Zawahiri’s scientist visited a lab with virulent Ames, let’s hear about it. It was when the DOJ/FBI started talking about extraditing him that the ISI balked and stopped cooperating with the CIA.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Ed Lake appears to have a contact inside the FBI labs who is desperately leaking information to him. The latest leak is particularly desperate.

“They feel that the unusual Silicon reading in the NY Post material was a technical glitch. When they fixed the glitch, they wanted to do another test, but there wasn’t enough material left to justify it.”

If Ed or this FBI contact actually knew anything about how EDS works they’d know that once samples are mounted they can be kept and stored indefinitely, mounted again and remounted in different machines. They can be remeasured once recalibrations, if required, are performed and once any “technical glitches” are fixed.

This “technical glitch” sounds look a fairy-tale that the FBI hope a gullible public will swallow. Yeah, they just mounted a sample, measured a huge amount of silicon in debris. Then they threw away the mounted sample. And, hey, guess what? There was no more other NYP material left. And then, guess, what they discovered a “technical glitch”.

Discarding that originally mounted sample would be against EVERY forensic laboratory protocol.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Dr. Agiza, the former head of Vanguards of Conquest, had not planned on settling in Sweden. Dr. Agizah had been head of Vanguards of Conquest until Zawahiri took over. Agiza had been in Pakistan in the mid-1990s and had once worked closely in Egypt with Ayman Zawahiri. In 1999, while living in Iran, he was convicted in absentia by an Egyptian military court. Swedish officials prepared an expulsion order at 4 p.m. on December 18, 2001. Agiza, a 39-year old physician, was at a shop in downtown Stockholm, on his way home from his language class, when Swedish security officers grabbed him. They forced him into a waiting car. He was picked up by 6 p.m. and he was in the air by 10 p.m. In a small room at the airport, six-hooded figures took Agiza and another prisoner and changed them into dark red overalls. The men cut off his clothes, without having to remove his handcuffs and leg irons. They inserted a suppository containing a sedative while putting on diapers. Then they hung him, blindfolded and hooded, in a harness in the plane. Dr. Agiza had been convicted in his absence in 1999, together with 106 others, by a military court in Cairo for membership in the Vanguards of Conquest (“Talal al-Fateh”). The crew of the plane did not use the term “extraordinary rendition” — they just referred to the process as “snatches.” The Egyptian government had promised not to torture the suspects, but Agiza claims that they applied electric shocks through electrodes fastened to sensitive parts of his body — to his genitals, nipples, tongue, ear lobes, and underarms. At his trial, while he admitted to having been a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, he argued that he opposed the use of violence and his views to that effect had been in the Pan-Arab press at the time. After his arrest, in a message dictated to his mother, he emphasized: ”I am not part of any terrorist activity in any form. And my repudiation of Ayman Al Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden is a well-known fact in islamist circles.”

He had been picked up in 1982 in connection with Sadat’s assassination, and released in 1983. He graduated from Cairo Medical School in 1986. He was in Iran in 2000, when he feared that he would be picked up due to thawing relations between Egypt and Iran. So headed for Canada. His Vanguards of Conquest colleague Mahjoub had settled there after serving as Bin Laden’s farm manager in Sudan. But Mahjoub had his own problems and was detained by Canadian authorities under a security certificate. The jihadists threatened to use mailed anthrax if his bail was denied and the CIA reported the threat to President Bush in a February 2001 PDB. Mahjoub’s bail was denied on October 5, 2001. The Salafi-Jihadi supporters of the blind sheikh Abdel-Rahman then rushed to send the “real deal” to the people in symbolic positions relating to his detention and to newspapers in DC and NYC, just as they had done in the Al Hayat letter bombs four years earlier.

Agiza never made it to Canada or the UK and had problems of a different sort. He had prudently got off the plane in transit in Sweden and sought refuge. He had wanted to travel to the UK but could not obtain a visa.

His rendition was just one of the opening volleys in what would prove to be a lengthy and largely unreported secret effort to find the parties responsible for the letters containing anthrax sent to US Senators and media outlets. In 1999, captured leaders of Zawahiri’s Vanguards of Conquest had said that Ayman was going to use weaponized anthrax against US targets in retaliation for the rendering of EIJ leaders and supporters to places like Cairo and Amman. It was the “Leahy Law” that permitted continued appropriations to security units engaged in torture under an exception applicable to “extraordinary circumstances.” The danger is that if the FBI and CIA are truly as clueless as they appear about the motive underlying the anthrax mailings, then not only has the warning gone unheeded, but the US has continued to commit the same renditions with the anthrax threat informing the debate. FBI Director Mueller can rationalize all he wants about the value of maintaining a collection platform for intelligence purposes. Outside the beltway, CYA still looks like CYA.

In September 2008, Dr. Agiza was awarded a half million dollars in damages against the Swedish government for cooperating with the CIA’s rendition to Cairo. He is still in an Egyptian prison.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Ed Lake wrote:
I LOVE debating science. I LOVE it when the facts are so clear that anyone can see them, yet, as we saw in the arguments over whether or not the exosporium was visible in the Sandia TEM image, the people who argued against what can be clearly seen will continue to argue in petty ways, never admitting that their claims were totally bogus and thoroughly disproved.

Too bad Ed Lake can’t seem to stick to scientific facts – and seems more interested in elementary school tactics; name calling and the like. Got news for you Lake; this isn’t how scientists debate each other.

Of course when you have a failed argument and keep arguing that something can be seen in pictures that no one can see but Ed Lake and his “FBI contact” (anyone can claim to have a secret “FBI Contact”)…

“…the people who argued against what can be clearly seen will continue to argue in petty ways, never admitting that their claims were totally bogus and thoroughly disproved.

Has anyone noticed all those times Lake has admitted error? How many times Lake has admitted his claims were totally bogus? Does Lake consider his “conspiracy theory”, “junk science”, “true believer”, etc. name calling to be something other than petty?

I LOVE debating science.

Then stick to provable science.

__

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