Ok, dear admin fellows, everyone hiding now: Binge TFTS-lurker posting for the first time.
As I am no native speaker, please be gentle.
I am a one-person-IT-department doing network-, system-, telco-admin for two small companies, around 50 employees in total. Much interesting infrastructure to play with and I had and have freedom to decide what to install and how to do it. (money restrictions apply :-) Very mixed environment with pc, mac, linux, mobiles for designers, typesetters, as well as programmers and consulting folk.
My job in short: if it has a cable attached, ask $lemecanicien, he will care somehow (since about 15 years in this company) I love my job and it's mostly easy going with most of the staff, although head-desk often happening because of the different ways, we look at our worlds (I think you know what I mean)
This very story unfolds just the past few days and I like to share it. But be warned (SPOILER!) its a cliffhanger :-)
Starting last year, we installed a shiny new security appliance, pretty expensive, to protect us from selected online-evil. This one also handles our mail as proxy and scanner and all the other magic it does with the data-streams coming in and out. Quite cute and kind of easy to handle.
Enter our dev-department: they want to outsource a huge bunch of customers web-services with their associated servers to some kind of cloud-provider with virtual hardware to spare. Think of it as something like linodes or the like.
Because they thought it too complicated to install a complete mail-configuration to each of the changing number of instances out there, they asked me for allowance to use our security appliance as trusted relay (upstream mailer). The traffic would consist of some status messages a the like. (blink-blink-blink)
I agreed and configured our firewall to trust the nodes and take the mail-traffic.
After a few weeks they oursourced a big customers web-portal to the external nodes, which nearly doubled the amount of them. Also it added traffic from another domain, which the customer used.
Some months later we had a constant stream of quasi-external mail flowing through our sec-appliance, among them strange messages like undeliverables and hundreds of status-mails a day.
If some of you now think they know where this leads ... read on, at least I did not suspect what followed ...
I complained about the rise in traffic and our dev-people tuned the thing a bit down, but I started to get leery.
Two days ago I found the additional domain causing by far the most mail-traffic day by day, much more than our own. I asked for explanation and found that in the meantime they added some script allowing registered portal-users sending out own status-messages.
I felt like looking at a yeast dough sitting in the warmth.
But there is always room for things getting worse.
In the last months I got used to see masses of mails from our own domain and the customers domain rocking our firewall. But yesterday something new popped up in the logs. A completely alien mail-sender address ($aliensender) was the king of statistics for the day.
Immediately I asked: Who is $aliensender and why is he allowed to use our firewall-appliance? Minutes later the reply: Thats OK, he is a registered user, just using the internal newsletter-tool of the portal.
... Dear dev-colleagues, we have to talk! Seriously! Now!!!
TLDR; The bad feeling when you give someone your small right finger ... and the other morning wake up with your right arm missing.
Beginning on September 18, 2001, letters containing weaponized anthrax spores were mailed to two senators, Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, and several news media outlets. Starting in early October, five Americans were killed and 17 were injured by the bioweapon. Initially, the government blamed Iraq for providing the anthrax to Al Qaeda terrorists but the facts soon proved the anthrax came from US bioweapons labs and they shifted their focus to two US bioweapons researchers. The first was officially exonerated and the second allegedly committed suicide before he could be charged, though the FBI still flimsily maintains that he was the lone anthrax killer. Yet, the facts suggest that elements inside the US government/military-industrial complex carried out the 2001 anthrax letter attacks, terrifying congress and the nation that a deadly weapon of mass destruction could be moving through the mail, all to drum up support for sweeping surveillance powers and brutal wars of aggression under the guise of a "Global War on Terror."
Blaming Iraq and Al Qaeda
First there was an apparent campaign to blame Iraq for providing Al Qaeda terrorists with the anthrax to carry out a second stage of 9/11. John McCain blamed Iraq on David Letterman
. ABC News ran false news stories
from "well-placed and separate" anonymous sources about Saddam's signature "bentonite" additive and 9/11 hijacker leader Mohamed Atta meeting with Iraqi intelligence in Prague. Project for the New American Century co-founder Bill Kristol joined in
Both stories were later proven false. In what Glenn Greenwald has called "the single greatest, unresolved media scandal of this decade," ABC News refused to reveal its sources for these lies. Tests showed the anthrax never had any bentonite
and actually came from US bioweapons labs. Glenn Greenwald
No tests ever found or even suggested the presence of bentonite. The claim was just concocted from the start. It just never happened. That means that ABC News' "four well-placed and separate sources" fed them information that was completely false -- false information that created a very significant link in the public mind between the anthrax attacks and Saddam Hussein...
ABC News already knows the answers to these questions. They know who concocted the false bentonite story and who passed it on to them with the specific intent of having them broadcast those false claims to the world, in order to link Saddam to the anthrax attacks and -- as importantly -- to conceal the real culprit(s) (apparently within the U.S. government) who were behind the attacks. And yet, unbelievably, they are keeping the story to themselves, refusing to disclose who did all of this...
They're not protecting "sources." The people who fed them the bentonite story aren't "sources." They're fabricators and liars who purposely used ABC News to disseminate to the American public an extremely consequential and damaging falsehood. But by protecting the wrongdoers, ABC News has made itself complicit in this fraud perpetrated on the public, rather than a news organization uncovering such frauds. That is why this is one of the most extreme journalistic scandals that exists, and it deserves a lot more debate and attention than it has received thus far.
Forced to Pivot to "Lone Nut" Scapegoats
The FBI then publicly targeted bioweapons researcher Steven Hatfill as a "person of interest." Hatfill was harassed with 24-hour surveillance for months, including digging through his garbage, tapping his phones, questioning his friends, public humiliation throughout the media smearing him as a murderer, and harassment by local police. These "bumper locking" tactics drove him to drink. Hatfill took the case to court. The judge found "not a scintilla of evidence that would indicate that Dr. Hatfill had anything to do with" the anthrax attacks
. So why did Mueller's FBI frame an innocent man with no evidence? Attorney General John Ashcroft might know. His Department of "Justice" was the parent agency of the FBI. Unfortunately, during his filmed deposition for the Hatfill case, he answered "I don't know" a total of 85 times
. Ultimately, the Justice Department settled, awarding Hatfill $5.82 million dollars.
Later, Mueller's FBI publicly targeted bioweapons researcher Bruce Ivins, who was also subjected to 24-hour surveillance but "committed suicide" via Tylenol overdose before he could be charged. His family was offered money to speak out against him. Obama came into office and closed the case, ensuring it would never be re-opened. The government had no evidence against Ivins anyways, though they like to pretend as though the case was solved. Glenn Greenwald
President Obama -- in what I think is one his most indefensible acts -- actually threatened to veto the entire intelligence authorization bill if it included a proposed bipartisan amendment (passed by the House) that would have mandated an independent inquiry into the FBI's anthrax investigation...
Indeed, the veto threat issued by the Obama White House was refreshingly (albeit unintentionally) candid about why it was so eager to block any independent inquiry: "The commencement of a fresh investigation would undermine public confidence in the criminal investigation and unfairly cast doubt on its conclusions." That would happen only if the FBI's claims could not withstanding independent, critical scrutiny. But -- as is even more apparent now than ever -- the White House is fully aware that it cannot. In a rational, non-corrupt environment, that would be a reason to insist upon -- not take extraordinary steps to block -- an independent investigation into one of the most consequential crimes ever committed on U.S. soil. But that, manifestly, is not the world in which we live, and thus -- despite continuously mounting evidence that we do not know anywhere close to the full story of who perpetrated this attack -- the country's political leadership continues to stonewall any efforts to find out.
Two of the anthrax letter recipients, Democratic senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, had been holding up the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act until the letters likely scared them into submission. It is notable that they both do not believe Mueller's FBI's conclusions that Bruce Ivins was the lone anthrax killer
The FBI's lead investigator of the anthrax case, Richard Lambert, sued former FBI Director Mueller and others in 2015
for obstructing and impeding the investigation and then firing him when he complained. He doesn't believe there was enough evidence to conclude that Ivins was a lone anthrax killer. Lambert's complaints included:
(a) WFO’s [Washington Field Office's] persistent understaffing of the AMERITHRAX investigation; (b) the threat of WFO’s Agent in charge to retaliate if Plaintiff disclosed the understaffing to FBI Headquarters; (c) WFO’s insistence on staffing the AMERITHRAX investigation principally with new Agents recently graduated from the FBI Academy resulting in an average investigative tenure of 18 months with 12 of 20 Agents assigned to the case having no prior investigative experience at all; ... (e) FBI Director’s Mueller’s mandate to Plaintiff to “compartmentalize” the AMERITHRAX investigation by stove piping the flow of case information and walling off task force members from those aspects of the case not specifically assigned to them...
(f) WFO’s diversion and transfer of two Ph.D. Microbiologist Special Agents from their key roles in the investigation to fill billets for an 18 month Arabic language training program in Israel; (g) the FBI Laboratory’s deliberate concealment from the Task Force of its discovery of human DNA on the anthrax-laden envelope addressed to Senator Leahy and the Lab’s initial refusal to perform comparison testing; (h) the FBI Laboratory’s refusal to provide timely and adequate scientific analyses and forensic examinations in support of the investigation;...
(j) the FBI’s fingering of Bruce Ivins as the anthrax mailer; and, (k) the FBI’s subsequent efforts to railroad the prosecution of Ivins in the face of daunting exculpatory evidence. Following the announcement of its circumstantial case against Ivins, Defendants DOJ and FBI crafted an elaborate perception management campaign to bolster their assertion of Ivins’ guilt. These efforts included press conferences and highly selective evidentiary presentations which were replete with material omissions...
After leaving the AMERITHRAX investigation in 2006, Plaintiff continued to publicly opine that the quantum of circumstantial evidence against Bruce Ivins was not adequate to satisfy the proof-beyond-a-reasonable doubt threshold required to secure a criminal conviction in federal court. Plaintiff continued to advocate that while Bruce Ivins may have been the anthrax mailer, there is a wealth of exculpatory evidence to the contrary which the FBI continues to conceal from Congress and the American people. The FBI vehemently opposes Plaintiff’s position.
June 22-23, 2001, three months before the anthrax attacks there was a bioterror drill at Andrews Air Force Base called Operation Dark Winter that simulated a large-scale bioweapons attack on the US. Just like the real attacks, the script
mentioned letters being sent to media and a threat of using anthrax. The June drill included fake news broadcasts
played to the participants in the drill that were almost identical to the fake ABC stories mentioned earlier that came out after the attacks in October:
Drill Actress Portraying News Anchor:
NCN has learned that Iraq may have provided the technology behind the attack to terrorist groups based in Afghanistan.
Former CIA Director James Woolsey played the CIA Director in the drill. He was a member of the Project For a New American Century (PNAC) neocon thinktank, famous for their September 2000 paper Rebuilding America's Defenses
that laid out plans for colossal increases in military spending and a "core mission" to "fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars." But PNAC worried that their ambitions plans might take a while because "the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor."
(Listen to General Wesley Clark explain how he was told right after 9/11 that the Secretary of Defense had a plan to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran
. It seems that plan is still underway, though the time frame was a little ambitious.)
On September 12th, 2001, the day after 9/11, and three weeks before the first anthrax attack infection, PNAC member Donald Kagan and his son Fred Kagan went on the Milt Rosenberg radio show and spoke about the supposed need to retaliate for 9/11 by attacking Palestine and Iraq. Incredibly, they also mentioned anthrax, saying "what would have happened, if instead of just having jet fuel on those planes, they had had anthrax bacilli?"
On September 16th 2001, two days before the anthrax letters were mailed, Richard Perle, Chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee and a member of PNAC, appeared on CNN to warn that the next attack might be biological.
Government watchdog group Judicial Watch found out that Bush and Cheney and other top officials went on the anthrax antidote Cipro on the evening of 9/11, well before there was any warning that anthrax attacks might occur. This is not something done lightly as the drug has serious physical effects.
Judith Miller, a New York Times writer who took part in the Operation Dark Winter drill, wrote a book called Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War
. Athough Iraq had destroyed its WMD programs after the Gulf War, the book vastly exaggerated Iraq's bioweapons capabilities, just like the Bush Administration and its neocon supporters would do to justify their coming war of aggression. Germs
was released on October 2nd, 2001. Days later, on October 5th, the first American died in the anthrax attacks, catapulting Miller's book into a best-seller. Miller was part of a think tank called the Aspen Strategy Group, that included members such as Vice President Dick Cheney, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former CIA Director James Woolsey, future 9/11 Commission Director Philip Zelikow (who wrote about large-scale attacks on the WTC back in 1998)
, and Saudi ambassador to the US Prince Bandar "Bush" bin Sultan (he
and his wife sent money to the 9/11 hijackers' support network in the US)
Later, in 2005, when Miller was in prison for failing to testify about the "Plame affair", Cheney's Chief of Staff "Scooter" Libby sent her a letter with a cryptic message
, exemplifying her special relationship with the Bush Administration and their sketchy warmongering neocon clique:
You went to jail in the summer. It is fall now. You will have stories to cover -- Iraqi elections and suicide bombers, biological threats and the Iranian nuclear program. Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work -- and life.
And the FBI didn't just cover up the anthrax attacks. For example, while Mueller was director, the FBI made public statements claiming that Abdulaziz and Anoud al-Hijji -- two Saudis who fled Sarasota Florida after 9/11, leaving behind cars, clothes, jewelry, and furniture -- had no connections to 9/11. Yet, multiple of the the FBI's own reports, released via the Freedom of Information Act, say the opposite: that the al-Hijji's had "many connections"
. Mueller was briefed on these papers. Former FBI agent Stephen K Moore says that he investigated California Saudis who had connections to Saudi intelligence and the 9/11 hijackers
, but the 9/11 Commission incorrectly claimed they did not. Clearly, the public isn't getting the full story.
Links A mind-blowing 36-minute documentary, American Anthrax, by Robbie Martin
: https://youtu.be/0PqU7dXEirU Glenn Greenwald on anthrax
: https://www.salon.com/2008/08/01/anthrax_2/ https://www.salon.com/2011/02/16/ivans/ https://www.salon.com/2011/07/19/anthrax_25/ https://www.democracynow.org/2008/8/4/anthrax Interviews with Graeme MacQueen, author of The 2001 Anthrax Deception
On Media Roots: http://mediaroots.org/media-roots-radio-the-2001-anthrax-deception-interview-with-graeme-macqueen/
Murder, Alaska Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/leo-helmaepisode-9-dr-graeme-macqueen-on-911-truth-and-the-anthrax-attacks
Guns & Butter: https://archives.kpfa.org/data/20110720-Wed1300.mp3 Murder, Alaska Interview with anthrax researcher & filmmaker Robbie Martin
: https://soundcloud.com/leo-helmafilmmaker-robbie-martin-on-the-investigation-into-the-anthrax-attacks-and-connections-to-911 Scott Horton interviews Bruce Ivins' work associate, Dr. Meryl Nass