CASE CLOSED … what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks?

* DXer … observations on the FBI anthrax investigation

Posted by DXer on January 12, 2010

CASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question … Why did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case? Here, the (fictional) DIA team considers the role of the President and Vice-President in the early days of the FBI’s anthrax investigation …

“Then a curious thing happens. A second attack is made against the great country, this time with lethal anthrax powder mailed in envelopes.

“The very best police force in the land is assigned to track down the person or persons who prepared and mailed the lethal anthrax envelopes.

“But even before any evidence is obtained, the great leader announces the desired result – there may be some possible link to Saddam, he says; I wouldn’t put it past him. The great vice-leader also chimes in, saying that ‘Saddam had henchmen who were trained in the use and deployment of these kinds of substances, so you start to piece it all together.’

“I would ask you to note that these instantaneous, unsupported allegations are directed at Saddam; Osama, who sent the planes, is not mentioned.”

Click here to …  buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

in paperback or kindle


DXer … observations on the FBI anthrax investigation


these comments are extracted from DXer’s comment to the post … * DXer … Keith Olbermann, who has strongly questioned the FBI’s “Ivins did it all” conclusion about the 2001 anthrax attacks, needs to talk more with his frequent guest Jonathan Turley about Turley’s client Al-Timimi


  • it once had been estimated that 1,000 were known to have access.  16 labs.  Perhaps a few more abroad where there no cooperation or where it had been obtained surreptitiously.  That was narrowed, depending on whose estimate you rely on, to 100-300.  At just a few labs rather than 16+.
  • On this central issue of access, the US DOJ committed the most fundamental misdirection imaginable — with no mention at all of Building 1412 where the virulent Ames was often used and appears even to have been stored the first full year when it just sat unused in an unlocked refrigerator.
  • They used the phrase “sole custody” as if it had practical meaning when applied to an unlocked refrigerator or a package left overnight on a desk for shipping — or that was available any time it was used from contamination.

*** see related post … * USAMRIID RMR records – Dr. Bruce Ivins’ flask 1029 – two documents don’t match


  • In terms of criminal attribution, the genetics … points away from the fellow who was the “go-to” guy for the strain because he would not want to use a weapon with his name on it.

forensic evidence

  • we’ve not heard anything about the failure to associate Dr. Ivins with any copy machine that produced the forensic signature.  Hair, fiber, Tin Signature, Iron Signature, alibi… everything points away from Dr. Ivins, not toward him.

FOIA (Freedom of Information Act)

  • Had there been compliance with FOIA by USAMRIID, EPA and the University of Michigan and Louisiana State University, an Ivins Theory could have been flushed down the toilet many months ago.

*** see related post … * a few of the critical pieces of information the FBI/DOJ are still hiding in apparent violation of FOIA requirements to disclose

Silicon signature

  • When the DOJ gets around to triumphantly explaining that the Silicon Signature was due to a “microencapsulation process,” rather than post-production addition of an additive for the purpose of aiding floatability, will it constitute anything more than admitting to their unproductive obfuscation of the issue by their withholding of the AFIP data?


It seems clear beyond any shadow of doubt that the “Ivins did it” theory presented by the FBI simply does not hold water. So who really did commit the worst bio-terrorist attack in the history of the U.S.?

  • Does the FBI have more evidence that it is not making public?
  • Has the FBI in fact solved the case but is covering up the real perpetrators?
  • Has the FBI simply failed, after its largest investigation in history, to solve the case?


124 Responses to “* DXer … observations on the FBI anthrax investigation”

  1. DXer said

    “Pulmonary Deposition of Aerosolized Bacillus Atrophaeus in a Swine Model Due to Exposure from a Simulated Anthrax Letter Incident
    E. J. Scott Duncan‌, Bill Kournikakis‌, Jim Ho‌, Ira Hill‌
    Defence R. & D. Canada – Suffield, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
    Address for Correspondence:E. Scott Duncan, Defence R&D Canada – Suffield, PO Box 4000 Station Main, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, T1A 8K6.

    Dry anthrax spore powder is readily disseminated as an aerosol and it is possible that passive dispersion when opening a letter containing anthrax spores may result in lethal doses to humans. The specific aim of this study was to quantify the respirable aerosol hazard associated with opening an envelope/letter contaminated with a dry spore powder of the biological pathogen anthrax in a typical office environment. An envelope containing a letter contaminated with 1.0 g of dry Bacillus atrophaeus (BG) spores (pathogen simulant) was opened in the presence of an unrestrained swine model. Aerosolized spores were detected in the room in seconds and peak concentrations occurred by three minutes. The swine, located approximately 1.5 m from the source, was exposed to the aerosol for 28 min following the letter opening event and then moved to a clean room for 30 min. A necropsy was completed to determine the extent of in vivo spore deposition in the lungs. The median number of viable colony forming units (CFU) measured in the combined right and left lung was 21,200: the average mass of both lungs was 283 g. In excess of 100 CFU per gram of lung tissue was found at sites within the anterior, intermediate and posterior lobes. The results of this study confirmed that opening an envelope containing spores generated an aerosol spanning the respirable particle size range of 1–10μm, and that normal respiration of swine led to spore deposition throughout the lungs. The observed deposition of spores in the lungs of the swine is within the LD50 range of 2,500–55,000 estimated for humans for inhaled anthrax. Thus, there would appear to be a significant health risk to those individuals exposed to anthrax spores when opening a contaminated envelope.”

    Details of the events related to the anthrax spore contaminated letters that unfolded in October 2001 in the USA have been well documented (Jernigan et al., 2001; Dull et al. 2002). Until then little was known about the aerosolization and dispersal of spore powder from letters during transport, sorting, and the action of physically opening the envelope containing the contaminated letter (Dull et al., 2002). Prior to October 2001 all such “anthrax letter” incidents were hoaxes. The first Canadian “anthrax letter” incident occurred on 30 January 2001 at a government office building in Ottawa, Ontario. Since no experimental studies on which to base a realistic assessment of the threat posed by these “anthrax letters” could be found, Defence Research and Development Canada – Suffield (DRDC Suffield) undertook a series of experiments to determine the extent of the hazard (Kournikakis et al., 2001). Their results showed the dispersion to be far more effective than initially suspected. Specifically, significant numbers of respirable aerosol particles (>99% in the 2.5 to 10μm size range) were released upon opening envelopes. Follow-on scenario-based studies (unpublished data, DRDC Suffield) were initiated to examine in more detail aerosol dispersion and contamination of personnel due to a simulated anthrax letter incident.”

    • DXer said

      That related to a threat to used mailed anthrax if the bail for Mahmoud Mahjoub was denied. He was Vanguards of Conquest #2. Bail was denied on October 5, 2001 and the anthrax mailer then rushed to mail the “real deal” to newspapers in New York and DC and people in symbolic positions relating to the detention. This was the same pattern as the Al Hayat letters that were sent to newspapers in New York and DC and people in symbolic positions relating to WTC 1993. The same group is responsible for both the Amerithrax letters and the Al Hayat letters. There is a $2.5 million reward offered for the Amerithrax letters and up to a $5 million reward for the Hayat letters under the Rewards for Justice program.

      • DXer said

        If President Obama would order the February 2001 PDB from the CIA to President Bush declassified, about OBL’s interest in using anthrax, the motive for Amerithrax would become clear — just as the “planes operation” became clear after declassifying the August 2001 PDB about the motive to hijack the planes. (That PDB revealed the connection between the planes operation and its connection to the detention of the blind sheik).

        Does anyone in the government remotely connected to Amerithrax think they are going to keep their jobs if the US is attacked using anthrax — if they continue the theme of US Attorney Jeff Taylor’s press conference?

  2. DXer said

    The effects of aerosolized bacteria on fingerprint impression evidence*
    Hide Abstract Wilkinson, D.A., Larocque, S., Astle, C., Vogrinetz, J. 2009 Journal of Forensic Identification 59 (1), pp. 65-79 0
    The distribution of letters containing viable Bacillus anthracis spores throughout the United States in 2001 demonstrated a lack of interoperability between public health and law enforcement sectors. Although protocols for sampling and analysis of the biological agent and the physical evidence have since been developed and exercised by multidisciplinary response teams, the processing of contaminated evidence presents challenges to the forensic community. In this research, latent and blood-contaminated fingerprints on a variety of substrates were contaminated by aerosolized bacteria: Bacillus globigii (spore), Bacillus atrophaeus (formerly Bacillus subtilis var. niger) (vegetative), and Pantoea agglomerans (formerly Erwinia herbicola) (vegetative) (standard simulants for anthrax, plague, and tularemia). All fingerprint reagents performed well in the presence of biological agents. Increased exposure time and aging samples prior to exposure did not influence the number of detected fingerprints. Standard protocols for surface sampling resulted in no viable organisms for the fragile vegetative bacteria. Instead, a settling plate protocol was used to determine their surface contamination. Forensic Science and Identification Services Royal Canadian Mounted Police NPS Building, Room 503 1200 Vanier Parkway Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R2 Canada.

  3. DXer said

    Abdulmutallab said Anwar al-Awlaqi, a radical preacher believed to be holed up in the remote mountains of Yemen, told him to detonate the underwear bomb over US soil, the source told CBS.

    Detroit bomb plot suspect points to cleric: report

    Comment: Anwar was coordinating with “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi, according to defense counsel.

    • DXer said

      In March 2002, fellow Falls Church iman Anwar Aulaqi — known as the “911 imam” — suddenly left the US and went to Yemen, thus avoiding the inquiry the 9/11 Commission thought so important. (Eventually Aulaqi would be banned from entering both the UK and US because of his speeches on jihad, martyrdom and the like). Upon a return visit in Fall 2002, “Aulaqi attempted to get al Timimi to discuss issues related to the recruitment of young Muslims,” according to a court filing by
      Al-Timimi’s attorney at the time, Edward MacMahon. McMahon reports that those “entreaties were rejected.” After 18 months in prison in Yemen in 2006 and 2007, he was released over US objections, where he says he was subject to interrogation by the FBI.

      Al-Timimi’s counsel explained in a court filing unsealed in April 2008: “]911 imam] Anwar Al-Aulaqi goes directly to Dr. Al-Timimi’s state of mind and his role in the alleged conspiracy. The 9-11 Report indicates that Special Agent Ammerman interviewed Al-Aulaqi just before or shortly after his October 2002 visit to Dr. Al-Timimi’s home to discuss the attacks and his efforts to reach out to the U.S. government.”

      Falls Church imam Awlaqi (Aulaqi), who met with hijacker Nawaf, reportedly was picked up in Yemen by Yemen security forces at the request of the CIA in the summer of 2006. British and US intelligence had him and others under surveillance. Al-Timimi would speak alongside fellow Falls Church imam Awlaqi (Aulaqi) at conferences such as the August 2001 London JIMAS and the August 2002 London JIMAS conference. They would speak on subjects such as signs before the day of judgment and the like. Dozens of their lectures are available online. Unnamed U.S. officials told the Washington Post in 2008 that “they have come to believe that Aulaqi worked with al-Qaida networks in the Persian Gulf after leaving Northern Virginia.” One official said: “There is good reason to believe Anwar Aulaqi has been involved in very serious terrorist activities since leaving the United States, including plotting attacks against America and our allies.” “Some believe that Aulaqi was the first person since the summit meeting in Malaysia with whom al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi shared their terrorist intentions and plans,” former Senate Intelligence committee chairman Bob Graham wrote in his 2004 book “Intelligence Matters.”

      Awlaqi was hired in early 2001 in an attempt by the mosque’s leaders to appeal to younger worshipers. Born in New Mexico and raised in Yemen, he had the total package. He was young, personable, fluent in English, eloquent and knowledgeable about Middle East politics. Hani Hanjour and Nawaf Al Hazmi worshiped at Aulaqi’s mosque for several weeks in spring 2001. The 9/11 commission noted that the two men apparently showed up because Nawaf Hazmi had developed a close relationship with Aulaqi in San Diego. In 2001, Awlaqi came to Falls Church from San Diego shortly before Nawaf did. Awlaqi told the FBI that he did not recall what Nawaf and he had discussed in San Diego and denied having contact with him in Falls Church.

      The travel agent right on the same floor as Al-Timimi’s Dar Arqam mosque organized trips to hajj in February 2001. San Francisco attorney Hal Smith was Aulaqi’s roommate. Smith tells me that he was very extreme in his views when speaking privately and not like his smooth public persona. “Aulaqi is deep into hardcore militant Islam. He is not a cleric who just says prayers and counsels people as some of his supporters have suggested.” Sami al-Hussayen uncle checked into the same Herndon, VA hotel, the Marriot Residence Inn, on the same night — September 10, 2001 as Hani Hanjour and Nawaf al-Hazmi, and another hijacker. Hussayen had a seizure during an FBI interview and although doctors found nothing wrong with him was allowed to return home. During his trip to the US, al-Hussayen had visited both “911 imam” Aulaqi and Ali Al-Timimi.

      The unclassified portion of a U.S. Department of Justice memorandum dated September 26, 2001 states

      “Aulaqi was familiar enough with Nawaf Alhazmi to describe some of Alhazmi’s personality traits. Aulaqi considered Alhazmi to be a loner who did not have a large circle of friends. Alhazmi was slow to enter into personal relationships and was always very soft spoken, a very calm and extremely nice person. Aulaqi did not see Alhazmi as a very religious person, based on the fact that Alhazmi never wore a beard and neglected to attend all five daily prayer sessions.”

      The Washington Post explains that “After leaving the United States in 2002, Aulaqi spent time in Britain, where he developed a following among young ultra-conservative Muslims through his lectures and audiotapes. His CD “The Hereafter” takes listeners on a tour of Paradise that describes “the mansions of Paradise,” “the women of Paradise,” and “the greatest of the pleasures of Paradise.” In London, after leaving the United States, he spoke at JIMAS and argued that in light of the rewards offered to martyrs in Jennah, or Paradise, Muslims should be eager to give his life in fighting the unbelievers. “Don’t think that the tones that die in the sake of Allah are dead — they are alive, and Allah is providing for them. So the shaheed is alive in the sense that his soul is in Jennah, and his soul is alive in Jennah.” He moved to Yemen, his family’s ancestral home, in 2004.” Before his arrest in Yemen in mid-2006, Aulaqi lectured at an Islamist university in San’a run by Abdul Majid al-Zindani, who fought with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and was designated a terrorist in 2004 by the United States and the United Nations.

      Law enforcement sources told the Post that Aulaqi was visited by Ziyad Khaleel, who the government has previously said purchased a satellite phone and batteries for bin Laden in the 1990s. The Post explains: “Khaleel was the U.S. fundraiser for Islamic American Relief Agency, a charity the U.S. Treasury has designated a financier of bin Laden and which listed Aulaqi’s charity as its Yemeni partner. A Washington Post article explained: “The FBI also learned that Aulaqi was visited in early 2000 by a close associate of Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called Blind Sheik who was convicted of conspiracy in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and that he had ties to people raising money for the radical Palestinian movement Hamas, according to Congress and the 9/11 Commission report.”

      He now has been released and came to be at the center of a controversy concerning what the FBI should have known and shared about Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter. The next month he was alleged to have been involved with the planned bombing of a airliner flying into Detroit. What did Awlaqi, detained in mid-2006 and held for a year and a half, tell questioners, if anything, about his fellow Falls Church imam and fellow Salafist conference lecturer Ali Al-Timimi? The Washington Post reports that in a taped interview posted on December 31, 2007 on a British Web site, “Aulaqi said that while in prison in Yemen, he had undergone multiple interrogations by the FBI that included questions about his dealings with the 9/11 hijackers.” “I don’t know if I was held because of that or because of the other issues they presented,” Aulaqi said. Aulaqi once said he would like to travel outside Yemen but would not do so “until the U.S. drops whatever unknown charges it has against me.”

      Getman, “Al Qaeda and Anthrax: The Infiltration of US Biodefense”

      • DXer said

        Anwar Aulaqi’s name does come up in filed court pleadings by Ali Al-Timimi’s defense counsel, the famed MSNBC commentator and First Amendment scholar Jonathan Turley, who says the FBI considered his client an “anthrax weapons suspect.” Attorney Turley says Anwar Aulaqi is central to the allegations against his client in the alleged sedition conspiracy. He says: “Anwar Al-Aulaqi goes directly to Dr. Al-Timimi’s state of mind and his role in the alleged conspiracy.”

        In 2001, Ali worked alongside researchers at the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense who invented a process to concentrate using silica in the culture medium which then was removed from the surface of the spore by repeated centrifugation. Professor Turley wrote: “Al-Timimi is the spiritual adviser to many Muslims across the country. He has worked with the government, including White House chief of staff Andrew Card…”

        After an October 2001 bombing raid at a Qaeda camp in Darunta, Afghanistan US forces found 100+ printed, typed, handwritten pages of documents that shed light on Al Qaeda’s early anthrax planning. The Defense Intelligence Agency provided me the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents confirmed that it was Zawahiri’s plan to use established specialists and the cover of universities and charities as cover for weaponizing anthrax. From early on, the evidence suggested that charity is as charity does. 90 of the 100 pages are the photocopies of journal articles and the disease handbook excerpts. It was not clear whether they had yet acquired virulent anthrax or weaponized it, but it was clear that the planning was well along.

        When Vice President Cheney was briefed on the documents in late 2001, he immediately called a meeting of FBI and CIA. “I’ll be very blunt,” the Vice President started. “There is no priority of this government more important than finding out if there is a link between what’s happened here and what we’ve found over there with Qaeda.”

        In a filing unsealed in United States v. Al-Timimi, Dr. Ali Al-Timimi’s lawyer, Professor and MSNBC commentator Jonathan Turley, explained that his client “was considered an anthrax weapons suspect.” Al-Timimi was a computational biologist who came to have an office 15 feet from the leading anthrax scientist and the former deputy commander of USAMRIID. A motion filed in early August 2008 seeking to unseal additional information in federal district court was denied. The ongoing proceedings are highly classified.

        Dr. Al-Timimi’s counsel summarizes:

        “we know Dr. Al-Timimi:
        * was interviewed in 1994 by the FBI and Secret Service regarding his ties to the perpetrators of the first World Trade Center bombing;
        * was referenced in the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing (“Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US”) as one of seventy individuals regarding whom the FBI is conducting full field investigations on a national basis;
        * was described to his brother by the FBI within days of the 9-11 attacks as an immediate suspect in the Al Qaeda conspiracy;
        * was contacted by the FBI only nine days after 9-11 and asked about the attacks and its perpetrators;
        *was considered an anthrax weapons suspect;
        * was described during his trial by FBI agent John Wyman as having “extensive ties” with the “broader al-Qaeda network”;
        * was described in the indictment and superseding indictment as being associated with terrorists seeking harm to the United States;
        * was a participant in dozens of international overseas calls to individuals known to have been under suspicion of Al-Qaeda ties like Al-Hawali; and
        * was associated with the long investigation of the Virginia Jihad Group.
        The conversation with [Bin Laden’s sheik] Al-Hawali on September 19, 2001 was central to the indictment and raised at trial. ***

        [911 imam] Anwar Al-Aulaqi goes directly to Dr. Al-Timimi’s state of mind and his role in the alleged conspiracy. The 9-11 Report indicates that Special Agent Ammerman interviewed Al-Aulaqi just before or shortly after his October 2002 visit to Dr. Al-Timimi’s home to discuss the attacks and his efforts to reach out to the U.S. government.

        [IANA head] Bassem Khafagi was questioned about Dr. Al-Timimi before 9-11 in Jordan, purportedly at the behest of American intelligence. [redacted ] He was specifically asked about Dr. Al-Timimi’s connection to Bin Laden prior to Dr. Al-Timimi’s arrest. He was later interviewed by the FBI about Dr. Al-Timimi. Clearly, such early investigations go directly to the allegations of Dr. Al-Timimi’s connections to terrorists and Bin Laden [redacted]”

        The letter attached as an exhibit notes that in March 2002 Al-Timimi spoke with Al-Hawali about assisting Moussaoui in his defense. Al-Hawali was Bin Laden’s sheik who was the subject of OBL’s “Declaration of War.” Moussaoui was the operative sent by Bin Laden to be part of a “second wave” who had been inquiring about crop dusters. The filing and the letter exhibit each copy defense co-counsel, the daughter of the lead prosecutor in Amerithrax. That prosecutor pled the Fifth Amendment concerning all the leaks hyping a “POI” of the other Amerithrax squad, Dr. Steve Hatfill. His daughter withdrew as Al-Timimi’s pro bono counsel on February 27, 2009.

  4. DXer said

    Official: Christmas Day suspect gives information on Yemen radical

    His cooperation against U.S.-born Yemeni radical Anwar al-Awlaki is significant because it could provide fresh clues for authorities trying to capture or kill him in the remote mountains of Yemen. Al-Awlaki has emerged has a prominent al-Qaeda recruiter and has been tied to the 9/11 hijackers, Abdulmutallab and the suspect in November’s deadly shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas.

    The law enforcement official would not say what information Abdulmutallab provided, but al-Awlaki himself said in a recent interview that he and Abdulmutallab had kept in contact. A senior U.S. intelligence official said al-Awlaki represented the biggest name on the list of people Abdulmutallab might have information against. Both spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive ongoing investigation.

    Abdulmutallab agreed to cooperate after FBI flew to Nigeria and returned to the U.S. with Abdulmutallab’s family members. In a federal prison cell outside Detroit, Abdulmutallab’s father and uncle persuaded him to cooperate with the FBI, according to a U.S. official briefed on the talks who also spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing case.

    A month before the attack, Abdulmutallab’s father warned the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria that his son might be dangerous, a warning that officials failed to connect to others evidence trickling in to intelligence officials. President Barack Obama has said the U.S. had enough information to prevent the attack.

    Al-Awlaki, who once preached in mosques in California and northern Virginia and posted fiery English-language Internet sermons urging Muslims to fight in jihad, said in an interview released Thursday that he taught the Christmas bomber and supported his efforts but did not call for the attack.

    “Brother mujahed Umar Farouk — may God relieve him — is one of my students, yes,” al-Awlaki said in the interview, which Al-Jazeera reported on its website Tuesday. “We had kept in contact, but I didn’t issue a fatwa to Umar Farouk for this operation,” al-Awlaki was quoted as saying.

  5. DXer said

    London health officials issue heroin anthrax alert

    “Accidental contamination seems the most plausible explanation to these incidents,” it said.

  6. DXer said

    Why did FBI WMD Chief Majidi allow it to be concealed from the American public that Jdey had been detained at the same time as Moussaoui — while carrying biology texts — and then released?

    If he had disclosed that, then the American public or someone in the August 2008 press conference, might have asked him: “You say the FBI was able to exclude everyone else with potential access. So where was Jdey at the time of the mailings?” “And why do you say the FBI was able to exclude everyone else with potential access when the person with access to virulent Ames need not be the same person as the mailer or even the processor?”

    Was the detention of Jdey concealed to avoid embarrassment to the FBI rather than for national security reasons? Was it to avoid the argument that the FBI’s missteps allowed the anthrax mailings to occur? (such as was being argued about the failure to access Moussaoui’s laptop and 911)

    Isn’t it about time for the FBI to swallow hard and to make the disclosures that might lead to Amerithrax being solved? Or at least increase the chances of Jdey being captured? 10 years later, with Jdey’s whereabouts still unknown, and an attack within the next 6 months deemed “certain,” does the FBI have any reason to think its strategy is working?

    Might it be time to try something entirely different?

    Hasn’t the FBI’s approached to Aafia Siddiqui similarly misfired? Haven’t the bad public relations in Pakistan — due to the lack of compelling evidence — put the world at greater risk? Why wasn’t she charged with a WMD conspiracy? If Aafia fired the weapon, why wasn’t it sent back for forensic testing given the importance of Aafia Siddiqui (relative to the importance of a single weapon, even in Afghanistan’s war zone).

    Isn’t there a direct connection between Aafia and Jdey?

    Early 1998
    The merger of Ayman Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) and Osama bin Ladin’s al Qaeda organizations marks a particularly significant development in al Qaeda’s efforts to acquire WMD. Zawahiri, who holds a master’s degree in surgery, brought his Egyptian scientific capabilities to al Qaeda, which—combined with Osama bin Ladin’s strategic, global objectives—was pivotal in bringing WMD to the forefront of the combined leadership’s list of priorities. The more technologically sophisticated Egyptian wing of al Qaeda has consistently been linked to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons development. While Osama bin Ladin’s vision is crucial to understanding the potential value of WMD in their struggle, Zawahiri took personal control over what became the development of strategic biological weapons and nuclear development. He personally oversaw and managed the biological weapons development, and he steered the group toward the idea that these weapons might be used to attack vulnerabilities in the US infrastructure and economy.10

    Note: There were internal discussions within the al Qaeda leadership about the wisdom and efficacy of pursuing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear interests as far back as the early 1990’s, according to some accounts.11 However, 1998 marked the year when systematic, programmatic efforts began, according to most available information.12


    Early 1999
    Al Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri recruits a non-descript, mid level Pakistani government biologist with extremist sympathies named Rauf Ahmed to secretly develop a biological weapons program, including a laboratory in Kandahar, Afghanistan.21

    Early 1999
    Hambali (aka Riduan Isamuddin), the head of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), an al Qaeda-associated militant Islamist group based in southwest Asia, introduces an ex-Malaysian Army Captain, Yazid Sufaat, to Ayman Zawahiri, to develop anthrax in a second, parallel network to Rauf Ahmed’s Afghanistan program. Neither network knew of the existence of the other, and each reported to Zawahiri independently. Assigned to different tasks, Ahmed was responsible for acquiring equipment and setting up labs. Sufaat, a fully trusted, hard core JI cadre member, was therefore given a more prominent role than the less-committed Ahmed. Sufaat was primarily focused on developing the anthrax pathogen and has been described as the “CEO” of al Qaeda’s anthrax program.22 Sufaat, who received his college degree from California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), hosted a meeting of the 9/11 attackers in Kuala Lumpur in June 2001. Sufaat provided a false Malaysian address for Zacharias Moussaoui, who was arrested shortly before 9/11, to travel to the U.S.23
    Note: This collaboration between al Qaeda and JI was likely the first established instance involving joint development of WMD between Islamic terrorist groups at the most senior levels of two organizations.24

    August 2001
    Ayman Zawahiri and Riduan Isamuddin (Hambali) personally inspect Rauf Ahmed’s completed
    laboratory in Kandahar.29 They separately meet with Yazid Sufaat, a member of al Qaeda’s terrorist
    network with a degree in biochemistry, who gives them a weeklong briefing on his reportedly successful efforts to isolate and produce a lethal strain of anthrax.30
    Note: Presumably, the inspection visit was timed to occur at the last possible time before the events of
    9/11, of which both Zawahiri and Hambali were of course well aware.31

    Summer 2001
    Some casing-related activity and contacts allegedly take place between Mohammed Atta, organizer
    and leader of the September 11th attacks, and WMD-associated figures, including Adnan
    Shukrijumah, an al Qaeda member named by the FBI as a “future facilitator” for attacks against
    the U.S. by al Qaeda. According to the FBI, Shukrijumah, aka Jaffar al-Tayyar (“the pilot”), cased
    targets in New York City for possible attacks; he has been associated with al Qaeda’s interest in a
    nuclear weapon and/or “dirty bomb” plot.32
    Note: A person fitting Atta’s description sought to apply for a loan in Florida to purchase a crop
    duster, but was refused.33 This information prompted the FBI to approach all crop duster companies
    in the US, in an effort to identify any possible links to terrorists.34

    Summer 2001
    Detention of Abderraouf Yousef Jdey, a biology major with possible interest in biological and
    nuclear weapons,35 who traveled with Zacharias Moussaoui from Canada into the United States.
    Moussaoui is detained with crop duster manuals in his possession;36 Jdey had biology textbooks.37
    Earlier, they attended McMaster University in Canada, along with Adnan Shukrijumah.38
    Note: There has been unconfirmed speculation that they were slated to be part of a “second wave” of
    attacks post-9/11.39 Their whereabouts are unknown.

    • DXer said

      The source of the timeline is from the recent Harvard report issued by the former top CIA WMD person.

      Why is it acceptable to conceal the identity of the lab Rauf Ahmed (Ahmad) visited? It happened 10 years ago. Why is it sensitive any longer? President Obama talks about the importance of sharing information and then his Administration takes no steps in sharing pertinent information.

      And how can commentators consider themselves informed and confident that Ayman did not have access to virulent Ames if they don’t know what lab Rauf Ahmed visited? And didn’t know that Bruce Ivins had supplied virulent Ames to a former Zawahiri associate? The leading analysts (Pita, Leitenberg) and reporters (Lipton) even reversed the order of the handwritten and typed letters between Rauf and Ayman — and if they had gotten the order of the undated letters right, they might have thought it useful to address the first line of the typed letter saying that the targets had been achieved.

      “December 2001

      Capture of Jemaah Islamiya senior operative Yazid Sufaat by authorities crossing the Malaysian
      border.57 Pakistani authorities arrest Rauf Ahmed at his home in Islamabad, based on correspondence
      found in Afghanistan between Ahmed and Zawahiri that establish Ahmed’s role in developing
      a biological weapons program on behalf of al Qaeda. Ahmed confesses his involvement in
      the project and provides substantiating evidence. 58

      Note: Ahmad’s laboratory was located in Kandahar.59 Much equipment was recovered by Pakistani
      authorities, and connections were identified and thoroughly run down in the course of a coordinated
      international investigative effort on the part of numerous countries.60”

      • DXer said

        The report mentions the assassination of Abu Khattab by a poison letter:

        “March 2002
        Chechen leader Ibn al-Khattab is assassinated by Russian special services, utilizing a poison that was reportedly delivered to him in a letter by a messenger.63 ”


        An April 1, 2001 note to FBI Director Freeh, titled “Bin Laden/Ibn Khattab Threat Reporting, read: “Director Freeh: This note is to advise you of recent threat reporting deemed significant and urgent by the United States Intelligence Community.”

        “The U.S. Government has received information indicating that serious operational planning has been underway since late 2000, with an intended culmination in late Spring 2001. These plans are being undertaken by Sunni extremists with links to Ibn al Khattab, an extremist leader in Chechnya and to Usama Bin Laden. There are several planning channels, some with connections to Afghanistan, all within a large shared mujahideen recruitment network.”

        “It is not known whether there are different parallel plans or whether all activity centers on one major operation since all the players are heavily intertwined.”

        Ibn Khattab was killed by a poisoned letter in 2002. The trusted courier had retrieved the contents of a post office box in Baku, Azerbaijan, to include some small presents and money. The man, named Ibragim, brought a coded Sony video-camera, a watch and a letter. After Ibn Khattab opened the envelope, he went into his tent. He came out a half hour later. His face was pale — he was, rubbing his face with the stump of his arm. He then fell into the arms of his bodyguards. Feeling temporarily better, Khattab gave an order to let Ibragim, who, along with five others, had been put under arrest, could go. “He has to get back to Baku.” An hour later Khattab fell ill again. He fell into some bushes, and a short while later was dead. Khattab’s people searched for Ibragim in Baku for a month. His bound body was found in the city outskirts with five bullets in the head. In an interview with the Prima News Service, Shamil Basaev, who reportedly had personally ordered Ibragim’s execution, confirmed his opinion that Khattab had been poisoned by the Russian special services: “They slipped him a poisoned letter,” Basaev told the interviewer.

        What was the motive of the islamist who delivered a poison letter to Bin Laden’s friend, Khattab, in March 2002? The letter was delivered by a messenger who he knew — someone he trusted who had was delivering mail from a P.O. Box in Baku, Azerbaijan sent from the Middle East. Was the islamist who carried the letter that killed Khattab working for the Russian intelligence services? Was he an unwitting dupe? Given Khattab’s connection to the same EIJ folks at charities in places like in Albania and Azerbaijan, it might it be directly relevant to Ayman’s Zabadi program and his choice of means of delivery.

      • DXer said

        Spring 2002

        In Khartoum, Sudan, a CIA officer meets two senior al Qaeda associates, Mubarak al-Duri and Abu
        Rida Mohammed Bayazid, in an effort to determine whether they are involved in al Qaeda’s nuclear
        and biological weapons programs. Both men were in Osama bin Ladin’s inner circle during al
        Qaeda’s years in Sudan and have ties to WMD. Bayazid, a founding member of al Qaeda, graduated
        from the University of Arizona with an advanced degree in physics in the 1980’s. By his own admission,
        he is a close associate of the 9/11 principals, including Wadi el-Hage. Bayazid assisted bin Ladin
        in managing his financial affairs and was responsible for establishing Islamic non-governmental
        organizations in the U.S. Bayazid was directly involved in al Qaeda’s attempt to purchase uranium
        in 1993-1994 (see entry). Mubarek al-Duri, an agronomist with biological dual-use knowledge, also
        received his degree at the University of Arizona. He summed up his views when asked to assist in a
        common cause to prevent differences from leading to the deaths of innocent women and children
        on both sides of the war: “Killing millions (of you) is justifiable, by any means….It is your doing.
        You made us what we are.”66

        [The report does not mention that the NYC Field Office had visited these folks shortly after 9/11.
        They laughed at the suggestion Bin Laden was working with Saddam and said that Bin Laden hated Saddam.]

      • DXer said

        Summer 2002
        Al Qaeda leader in Saudi Arabia Yusef al-Ayeri (aka “Swift Sword”), Ali al-Faqasi al-Ghamdi (aka
        Abu Bakr al-Azdi) and associates begin planning attacks against the royal family and oil assets in the
        Kingdom.67 Nuclear and biological-related references begin to appear in communications within the
        al Qaeda cell in Saudi Arabia.68

        Comment: In his June 2002 fatwa, Abu Ghaith said that AQ would never use a biological weapon on muslim lands.

      • DXer said

        August 2002
        CNN exposes Afghanistan training camp experiments conducted on animals in late 1990’s, led by
        Abu Khabab al-Masri. These gruesome experiments include testing the lethality of crude toxins and
        poisons, including cyanide creams, ricin, mustard, sarin, and botulinum. Abu Khabab later laments
        that his students did not take their training to heart by using chemical, biological, radiological and
        nuclear weapons in terrorist attacks.78
        Note: Abu Khabab was killed by a U.S. predator strike in Pakistan on July 28, 2008.

      • DXer said

        Septemb er-Decemb er 2002
        Zarqawi associates infiltrate into Turkey, UK, Spain, Italy, France, Sweden, Germany and other
        countries and begin coordinating ricin and cyanide attacks in a loose association of terrorist cells in
        several countries.79
        Note: The U.S. President and Vice President receive briefings on the Zarqawi network’s poisons and
        toxins-based activities.80 Over the course of several briefings, the loosely associated network grew from a
        handful of terrorists in one country to extremists identified in over 30 countries.81

      • DXer said

        March 1, 2003
        9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) is captured in Pakistan, along with Ahmed
        Abdul Qadus Khan.89 Confronted with the evidence found during the raid, KSM provides confirming
        information on al Qaeda’s nuclear and biological weapons programs.90
        Note: KSM later recanted some of the information he provided on al Qaeda’s nuclear and anthrax
        programs, including information that had been confirmed by other detainee and reporting.91

      • DXer said

        May 21 2003
        Radical Saudi cleric Nasir al Fahd, a steady companion of al-Faqasi, writes a 26-page fatwa
        justifying use of WMD. The fatwa was endorsed by another radical cleric, Ali al–Khudair, one
        of the leading religious supporters of al Qaeda. Entitled “A Treatise on the Legal Status of Using
        Weapons of Mass Destruction Against Infidels,” it makes four principal justifications for the use
        of WMD.100

      • DXer said

        August 13, 2003
        Capture of Jemaah Islamiya’s chief, Riduan Isamuddin (Hambali), who provides confirmation
        of his role in the anthrax program.110

  7. DXer said

    A new indictment in the Zazi matter illustrates that a charge for conspiring to obstruct justice will often accompany a charge of making a false statement.

    NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–The father of a man accused of buying chemicals that could be used to make bombs in a plot to attack New York City has been charged in Brooklyn with conspiring to obstruct justice.

    The indictment, unsealed Monday, accused Mohammed Wali Zazi of conspiring with others to alter, destroy, manipulate or conceal “glasses, masks, liquid chemicals and containers, with the intent to impair the objects’ integrity and availability for use in an official proceeding”–namely a grand jury probe into terrorism.

    The charges were sought by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

    Mohammed Zazi had previously been indicted in Colorado on the charge of making a false statement to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents. He is expected to make an appearance in U.S. District Court in Denver later Monday.

  8. DXer said

    “The Killer Strain” Film Documentary Trailer

  9. DXer said

    Marital Communications Privilege

    The privilege of marital communications has evolved from the same basic notions that underlie the privilege of adverse spousal testimony. This privilege is related more directly to other privileges such as attorney-client, priest-penitent, and doctor-patient, in that the testimony of the witness is not barred, but rather, communications that were intended to be private are considered privileged. However, the marital communications privilege, unlike the spousal testimonial privilege, survives death and divorce.10

    The courts have ruled that private communications made during marriage are presumed to be confidential.11 This is a rebuttable presumption; however, the burden of which rests with the government.12 For the marital communications privilege to apply, there are three prerequisites. First, the communication must have been in words or acts intended to be communicative13 or intended to convey a message.14 “Though this privilege has been expanded to encompass more than mere conversations and writings, invocation of the privilege requires the presence of at least a gesture that is communicative or intended by one spouse to convey a message to another.”15 Observations of the witness spouse, generally, are not communications and therefore cannot be barred.16

    Second, the communication must be made during a valid marriage.17 Although this prerequisite would seem to be self-explanatory, the issue of what constitutes a valid marriage has been argued quite extensively. If a couple is separated, the court will have to determine whether the separation is permanent or only temporary. This prerequisite is not met if the communication takes place while the couple is permanently separated.18 There are a number of other factors that courts have considered in determining the validity of the marriage. These factors include the filing for a divorce, the conduct of the parties, the stability of the marriage, or any other statements or actions by the parties that may show their intent.19

    Third, the communication has to have been intended to be private. If the communication was made in the presence of third parties20 or with the intention of being communicated to a third party,21 then the communication is not privileged. The presence of a third party may include a child of the marriage if the child is old enough to understand.22 The courts have been reluctant to extend the communications privilege to family members other than the husband and wife.

    There are two exceptions to the marital communications privilege. First, the privilege does not apply in cases of crimes against the spouse or children.23 In such cases, courts have held that the societal interests far outweigh the interest of the marriage and therefore should not apply. In United States v. Martinez,24 the court stated “[c]hildren, especially those of tender years who cannot defend themselves or complain, are vulnerable to abuse. Society has a stronger interest in protecting such children than in preserving marital autonomy and privacy.”25 Second, the privilege does not apply in cases of spouses conspiring to commit a crime, communicating about past criminal acts, or communicating about future criminal activity.26 However, there is a split among the Circuits with regard to this issue. The Sixth and the Eighth Circuits have ruled that the conspiracy exception is limited to “communications regarding ‘patently illegal activity.’”27

    The marital communications privilege can be waived. Courts also have held that disclosure, even if inadvertent or unintended, can serve to waive the privilege. If no objections to the disclosure of the information are expressed, the court can find that the privilege has been effectively waived. InUnited States v. Brown,28 the parties agreed to hear the testimony of the spouse without the jury at the suggestion of the judge to determine whether the marital communications privilege applied. The testimony of the spouse was offered by the defendant to prove the statements of the defendant were marital communications. But, the court held, by allowing the testimony of the spouse, the defendant had, instead, waived the privilege. In United States v. Lavin,29 the court stated “the holder must zealously protect the privileged materials, taking all reasonable steps to prevent their disclosure.”30

    Grand Jury Proceedings

    Often subpoenas are issued for witnesses to testify in a grand jury. These subpoenas compel the testimony of the witness. If the witness is a spouse of the target of the grand jury proceedings, the federal district court may be asked to consider whether the privileges of adverse spousal testimony or marital communications apply in the context of grand jury proceedings.44 In the case of Grand Jury Investigation of Hugle,45 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the marital communications privilege is applicable in grand jury proceedings.46 The court also determined that the defendant spouse has standing to assert the privilege in grand jury proceedings.47

    The courts have ruled in several cases that the adverse spousal testimony privilege applies in grand jury proceedings. In United States v. Calandra,48 the Court stated that a grand jury, “may not itself violate a valid privilege, whether established by the Constitution, statutes, or the common law.”49The application of the adverse spousal testimony privilege in grand jury proceedings has been upheld in several cases.50

    As the privileges apply, so do the exceptions. If the government can meet its burden to rebut the presumption of confidential communications, it can compel the testimony of one spouse against another. Furthermore, the government can overcome spousal privileges if the prosecutor promises not to use the information obtained against the other spouse. Courts have ruled that “a spouse asserting the adverse spousal testimony privilege or the marital communications privilege may be compelled to testify if the prosecutor gives an adequate promise that the information will not be used against the other spouse.”51

  10. DXer said

    In a January 25, 2010 letter to the federal judge, Aafia Siddiqui’s attorneys write:

    “:after our having urged her not to testify, she has refused to speak with us. … Not only is she subjecting herself too of the dangers of the cross-examination*, she risks prejudicing herself in the eyes of the jurors should she repeatedly underscore her ability to reach out to the Taliban in order to broker peace between the group and the United States. Should Dr. Siddiqui continue her irrational and bewildering insistence that she has the power to influence the Taliban, she will invite the jurors to infer that she has terrorist associations and on that basis they very well may convict her in this proceeding, which involves offense conduct that has nothing to do with terrorism.”

    [Editor’s note: There are prior inculpatory statements.]

    • DXer said

      In a letter today, the federal prosecutors in the Aafia Siddiqui matter wrote Judge Berman opposing defense counsel’s attempt to prevent Dr. Siddiqui from testifying. The prosectors argued:

      “The defendant has a fundamental constitional right to testify in her own defense, and the law does not permit her counsel to restrict that right in contravention of the defendant’s wishes. Moreover, should the defendant decide to testify in the trial of this matter, the Government reserves the right to impeach her credibility using the voluntary statements she made to FBI agents during her time at Bagram. These statements were neither involuntary nor coerced, and there is absolutely no basis to preclude their use during cross examination for impeachment purposes.”

      The concern is that Aafia is going to talk about a threatened attack by non-islamic parties. She previously had exclaimed to the jury that she needed to speak to the President and has urged that within a day she could achieve peace between the Taliban and the United States.

  11. DXer said

    OPINIONJANUARY 24, 2010, 7:33 P.M. ET

    The Anthrax Attacks Remain Unsolved
    The FBI disproved its main theory about how the spores were weaponized.


    The investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks ended as far as the public knew on July 29, 2008, with the death of Bruce Ivins, a senior biodefense researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Md. The cause of death was an overdose of the painkiller Tylenol. No autopsy was performed, and there was no suicide note.

    Less than a week after his apparent suicide, the FBI declared Ivins to have been the sole perpetrator of the 2001 Anthrax attacks, and the person who mailed deadly anthrax spores to NBC, the New York Post, and Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. These attacks killed five people, closed down a Senate office building, caused a national panic, and nearly paralyzed the postal system.

    The FBI’s six-year investigation was the largest inquest in its history, involving 9,000 interviews, 6,000 subpoenas, and the examination of tens of thousands of photocopiers, typewriters, computers and mailboxes. Yet it failed to find a shred of evidence that identified the anthrax killer—or even a witness to the mailings. With the help of a task force of scientists, it found a flask of anthrax that closely matched—through its genetic markers—the anthrax used in the attack.

    This flask had been in the custody of Ivins, who had published no fewer than 44 scientific papers over three decades as a microbiologist and who was working on developing vaccines against anthrax. As custodian, he provided samples of it to other scientists at Fort Detrick, the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, and other facilities involved in anthrax research.

    According to the FBI’s reckoning, over 100 scientists had been given access to it. Any of these scientists (or their co-workers) could have stolen a minute quantity of this anthrax and, by mixing it into a media of water and nutrients, used it to grow enough spores to launch the anthrax attacks.

    View Full Image

    Getty Images
    Consequently, Ivins, who was assisting the FBI with its investigation, as well as all the scientists who had access to the anthrax, became suspects in the investigation. They were intensely questioned, given polygraph examinations, and played off against one another in variations of the prisoner’s dilemma game. Their labs, computers, phones, homes and personal effects were scrutinized for possible clues.

    As the so-called Amerithrax investigation proceeded, the FBI ran into frustrating dead ends, such as its relentless five-year pursuit of Steven Hatfill, which ended with an apology in 2007 and Mr. Hatfill receiving a $5.8 million settlement from the U.S. government as compensation. Another scientist, Perry Mikesell, became so stressed by the FBI’s games that he began to drink heavily and died of a heart attack in October 2002.

    Eventually, the FBI zeroed in on Ivins. Not only did he have access to the anthrax, but FBI agents suspected he had subtly misled them into their Hatfill fiasco. A search of his email turned up pornography and bizarre emails which, though unrelated to anthrax, suggested that he was a deeply disturbed individual.

    The FBI turned the pressure up on him, isolating him at work and forcing him to spend what little money he had on lawyers to defend himself. He became increasingly stressed. His therapist reported that Ivins seemed obsessed with the notion of revenge and even homicide. Then came his suicide (which, as Eric Nadler and Bob Coen show in their documentary “The Anthrax War,” was one of four suicides among American and British biowarfare researchers in past years). Since Ivins’s odd behavior closely fit the FBI’s profile of the mad scientist it had been hunting, his suicide provided an opportunity to close the case. So it held a congressional briefing in which it all but pronounced Ivins the anthrax killer.

    But there was still a vexing problem—silicon.

    Silicon was used in the 1960s to weaponize anthrax. Through an elaborate process, anthrax spores were coated with the substance to prevent them from clinging together so as to create a lethal aerosol. But since weaponization was banned by international treaties, research anthrax no longer contains silicon, and the flask at Fort Detrick contained none.


    Yet the anthrax grown from it had silicon, according to the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. This silicon explained why, when the letters to Sens. Leahy and Daschle were opened, the anthrax vaporized into an aerosol. If so, then somehow silicon was added to the anthrax. But Ivins, no matter how weird he may have been, had neither the set of skills nor the means to attach silicon to anthrax spores.

    At a minimum, such a process would require highly specialized equipment that did not exist in Ivins’s lab—or, for that matter, anywhere at the Fort Detrick facility. As Richard Spertzel, a former biodefense scientist who worked with Ivins, explained in a private briefing on Jan. 7, 2009, the lab didn’t even deal with anthrax in powdered form, adding, “I don’t think there’s anyone there who would have the foggiest idea how to do it.” So while Ivins’s death provided a convenient fall guy, the silicon content still needed to be explained.

    The FBI’s answer was that the anthrax contained only traces of silicon, and those, it theorized, could have been accidently absorbed by the spores from the water and nutrient in which they were grown. No such nutrients were ever found in Ivins’s lab, nor, for that matter, did anyone ever see Ivins attempt to produce any unauthorized anthrax (a process which would have involved him using scores of flasks.) But since no one knew what nutrients had been used to grow the attack anthrax, it was at least possible that they had traces of silicon in them that accidently contaminated the anthrax.

    Natural contamination was an elegant theory that ran into problems after Congressman Jerry Nadler pressed FBI Director Robert Mueller in September 2008 to provide the House Judiciary Committee with a missing piece of data: the precise percentage of silicon contained in the anthrax used in the attacks.

    The answer came seven months later on April 17, 2009. According to the FBI lab, 1.4% of the powder in the Leahy letter was silicon. “This is a shockingly high proportion,” explained Stuart Jacobson, an expert in small particle chemistry. “It is a number one would expect from the deliberate weaponization of anthrax, but not from any conceivable accidental contamination.”

    Nevertheless, in an attempt to back up its theory, the FBI contracted scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Labs in California to conduct experiments in which anthrax is accidently absorbed from a media heavily laced with silicon. When the results were revealed to the National Academy Of Science in September 2009, they effectively blew the FBI’s theory out of the water.

    The Livermore scientists had tried 56 times to replicate the high silicon content without any success. Even though they added increasingly high amounts of silicon to the media, they never even came close to the 1.4% in the attack anthrax. Most results were an order of magnitude lower, with some as low as .001%.

    What these tests inadvertently demonstrated is that the anthrax spores could not have been accidently contaminated by the nutrients in the media. “If there is that much silicon, it had to have been added,” Jeffrey Adamovicz, who supervised Ivins’s work at Fort Detrick, wrote to me last month. He added that the silicon in the attack anthrax could have been added via a large fermentor—which Battelle and other labs use” but “we did not use a fermentor to grow anthrax at USAMRIID . . . [and] We did not have the capability to add silicon compounds to anthrax spores.”


    If Ivins had neither the equipment or skills to weaponize anthrax with silicon, then some other party with access to the anthrax must have done it. Even before these startling results, Sen. Leahy had told Director Mueller, “I do not believe in any way, shape, or manner that [Ivins] is the only person involved in this attack on Congress.”

    When I asked a FBI spokesman this month about the Livermore findings, he said the FBI was not commenting on any specifics of the case, other than those discussed in the 2008 briefing (which was about a year before Livermore disclosed its results). He stated: “The Justice Department and the FBI continue working to conclude the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks. We anticipate closing the case in the near future.”

    So, even though the public may be under the impression that the anthrax case had been closed in 2008, the FBI investigation is still open—and, unless it can refute the Livermore findings on the silicon, it is back to square one.

    Mr. Epstein is currently completing a book on the 9/11 Commission.

    • DXer said

      “A search of his email turned up pornography and bizarre emails which, though unrelated to anthrax, suggested that he was a deeply disturbed individual.”

      Is it true that a search of his email turned up pornography? What is Ed’s source on this? Ed Lake deals with pornography online — there is no evidence that Dr. Ivins did.

      That cute poem did not suggest he was a deeply disturbed individual. It was a cute poem. What email suggested that he was a deeply disturbed individual? All I see is hundreds of emails that are routine and business-like.

      • DXer said

        “But since weaponization was banned by international treaties, research anthrax no longer contains silicon, and the flask at Fort Detrick contained none.”

        Rubbish. Ivins’ flask 1030 contains silicon. I wrote Ed E. and suggested as a question for the day what the source of the silicon in flask 1030 was. By making this mistake, all he does is set up the FBI’s bogus forthcoming argument about the Silicon Signature as it relates to Ivins and flask 1030.

        • DXer said

          “This silicon explained why, when the letters to Sens. Leahy and Daschle were opened, the anthrax vaporized into an aerosol.”

          No it doesn’t. John Kiel has done controlled experiments that show that when a silanizing solution is used in the slurry, it performs comparably with and without the siliconizing solution. He says the silanizing solution results in the same spike as in the product mailed to the Senators — but serves a purpose other than floatability.

        • DXer said

          “The answer came seven months later on April 17, 2009. According to the FBI lab, 1.4% of the powder in the Leahy letter was silicon. “This is a shockingly high proportion,” explained Stuart Jacobson, an expert in small particle chemistry. “It is a number one would expect from the deliberate weaponization of anthrax, but not from any conceivable accidental contamination.” ”

          Clearly, the reason for the withholding of the AFIP data — whatever it is — is important. The reason for that high level in the first batch is critical to understand. Dr. Jacobsen’s mistaken assumption is that the siliconizing does not serve a purpose other than floatability, as expert John Kiel could explain had the NAS heard relevant testimony.

        • anonymous scientist said

          “Ivins’ flask 1030 contains silicon.”

          Only a small number of the spores in 1030 contain silicon – and the FBI won’t say what QUANTITY of silicon were in these spores. They could find this out if they wanted to – they could get Weber at Livermore to analyze them – his technique can determine the amount of silicon in a single spore. They SHOULD have got Weber at Livermore to analyze the attack spores – Weber would have obtained a number greater than 1.45% for the Leahy spores – since he analyzes at the SINGLE spore level, and not all the Leeahy spores had silicon. So if the TOTAL concentration in Leahy was 1.45%, individual spores could have as much as 2%.

          The spores in 1030 that did contain silicon may have only had 0.1% silicon for all we know – that would have been the highest levels found by Weber in his reverse engineered spores.

          It should come as no surprise that out of samples of spores taken from 1030 only some contained silicon – after all these flasks were made from DOZENS of different production runs.

          The FBI’s premise that the attack spores were somehow magically “accidentally” contaminated with silicon has now run it’s course, as the Livermore results clearly demonstrate. The Livermore results completely demolish their case that Ivins made the spores inside Detrick.

      • DXer said

        Maybe Ed E. is thinking of Dr. Ivins post office box which would explain why he maintained a post office box.

        • DXer said

          This is a picture of the blindfolded woman that has been at the center of the FBI’s narrative.

          The American Family Association was opposed to pornography. That is perhaps their primary campaign. See their archived newsletters. The FBI argues that Dr. Ivins was a supporter of the AFA. There is nothing in the Affidavits about viewing pornography online. The “porn-obsessed” characterization is set up as a straw man argument by Justin R., and others but it only serves to diminish the man, and is not part of a fact-based defense. (It is straw man in the sense it is easy to knock down as irrelevant). But it is offensive for the straw man argument to be dragged into the defense of Dr. Ivins and it needs to stop — because it simply not in the case. (If it is, I will need to see pictures).

          It is not even part of the FBI’s narrative. Editing Wikipedia and using screen names is the conduct that Dr. Ivins stands accused of engaging in. The FBI even has accused him (in an affidavit) of inviting people to write him rather than change his wikipedia edits back. This diabolical behavior seems to be a shrewd way of meeting chicks and/or avoiding having to keep changing back his edits. It gave him the chance to persuade the other person he was correct. And if you disagree with me, please drop me an email if you are a young, hot co-ed.

          There is no evidence that Dr. Ivins went to Ed’s website with the hundreds of fake pictures of famous women with their breasts exposed. Ed’s posting of their images and maintenance of such an archive is in in gross violation of their rights — it permits each new generation of horny 13 year-olds to have an archive to draw upon. Ed is obsessed with pornography. Dr. Ivins is not. There is no evidence that Dr. Ivins ever did more than steal a look at this fetching lady justice who is rumored to have been a sorority girl.

        • DXer said

          If you want to see hundreds of examples of Dr. Ivins emails, see

          They in no way show that he was unfit to do his job. On his death, he was on medications for depression, not anti-psychotic drugs. You would have to be crazy not to be depressed given that he was barred from the only workplace he had ever known, his friends were forbidden from speaking with him about it, he was told he was going to be indicted, he was escorted off the base etc.. Everyone standing up at the podium later this week (or whenever) will need to be fired, starting with all the folks responsible for withholding the documents exculpatory of Ivins in violation of the Government in the Sunshine Act.

  12. DXer said

    It would be useful to pool resources in planning a pro bono litigation strategy under FOIA upon closing of the case, with defendants to include NAS, the Postal Service, the FBI, the EPA, USAMRIID and the CDC.

    If the federal defendants were to seek to claim that everything has been turned over to the FBI and thus the FBI alone will be responding, it would seem that the defense is without merit.

    The leading newspapers clearly would be the first choice for Plaintiffs / counsel but we shouldn’t rely on the kindness of strangers. They may have other or more narrow priorities.

  13. DXer said

    The top people to interview upon closing of the Amerithrax investigation include Patricia Fellows, Mara Linscott, and Henry Heine — these are USAMRIID people who have worked with him closely and have not previously been permitted or willing to speak.

    Dr. Heine has said informally to a mutual friend that the FBI’s Ivins Theory is a crock and that he will explain things when he is able.

  14. DXer said

    “Grade-A terror ma’s new rant

    January 24, 2010

    Accused terror mom Aafia Siddiqui earned a near-perfect academic record as a grad student at Brandeis University, according to a transcript introduced into evidence at her attempted-murder trial yesterday.
    Siddiqui, 37, accused of firing shots at American personnel in Afghanistan in 2008, notched 17 grades of “A” and two of “A-minus.”

    Despite her impressive credentials, the former university whiz failed a test of manners yesterday and got booted from the courtroom for the second time in a week.

    Manhattan federal Judge Richard Berman ordered Siddiqui removed after she refused to sit down at the defense table and began ranting at the gallery.after returning from a morning break.”


    Did Aafia have potential access to any Ivins-supplied virulent Ames in the collection of anthrax strains at Brandeis and did that long-held collection include Ames? On March 11, 2002, the Brandeis General Counsel sent an email advising that the federal authorities had subpoenaed records in connection with the investigation of the anthrax crimes.

    In November 2001, the Hazmat Team and the State Department of Health was called after three researchers were doing research with anthrax and Administration officials were concerned there might be contamination. The scientists were confident all scientific protocols had been followed but Hazmat was called nonetheless. The research had been done after the anthrax mailings seeking means to detect anthrax spores. The anthrax used had been at Brandeis a long time, acquired at a time before federal regulations in 1997 required that transfers be recorded. The lab was in the Kalman Building, part of the complex of buildings adjoining the Volen Center. Brandeis researchers Daniel Perlman and Inga Mahler had “decided to focus on developing a solid growth medium for cultivating B. anthracis that might be usable in the field with a minimum of equipment. They further developed the growth medium for use at room temperature thereby obviating the need for equipment such as incubators for sustaining an elevated temperature.” The pair obtained a patent issued March 2004 titled “Selective growth medium for Bacillus anthracis and methods of use.”

    Dr. Perlman has been innovative on a wide range of consumer products; Dr. Mahler had published on the subject of gram positive and gram negative bacteria (the subject underlying the patent) in the Journal of Bacteriology in 1989. Dr. Mahler advises me that the strain of Bacillus anthracis they used in December 2001 was ordered by her group at Brandeis almost 40 years ago. It came from the American Type Culture Collection and was kept viable, together with other stock strains. She explains that before 9/11 you could simply obtain the organism from culture collections or colleagues. Their offices are in Abelson-Bass-Yalem, adjoining the Volen Center where Aafia’s lab was located. The strain used, Dr. Mahler advises (referred to in the paper as MC 607) — MC stands for Rosenstiel Center — was Vollum, not Ames. Vollum is a strain that like Ames is used to challenge vaccines. It is less lethal but was used by the US in the 1950s in making anthrax weapons. Dr. Mahler reports she knows of no Ames on campus. Dr. Perlman did not respond to an email query. The anthrax was autoclaved, or inactivated in a pressure cooker, before the inspectors arrived at the scene.

    Aafia obtained her PhD from Brandeis in 2001, having graduated from MIT with a degree in biology in 1994. The Visual Lab at which Aafia worked had rules: “No Hitting, No Punching, No Pushing, No Grabbing, No Biting.” Judging from its internet page, the lab seems to have been a pleasant place to work. The operating manual instructed that if you don’t know “ask.” The lab’s work under Robert Sekuler, mainly funded by a grant from the NIH, related to how we remember, forget, or misremember things. Aafia’s 2001 183-page thesis “Separating the components of imitation,” which concerns visual learning and visual discrimination, was very far removed from questions like the Palestinian conflict or creating a fine powder using a mini-spraydryer.

    In the first year of their Ph.D. program, students do 4 nine-week rotations in different laboratories of their choosing. First-year course work includes a core class in principles of neuroscience, and intensive graduate level seminars that give students experience in reading original research literature and making oral presentations. Graduate research advisors are typically chosen at the end of the first year. We are now advised that she had 17 grades of “A” and two of “A-minus.” So one question is: what different labs did Aafia work in during her first year? It is related to the question: what is the origin of the anthrax spraydrying documents on the laptop of the colleague of Aafia’s future husband al-Balucchi?

    “Aafia Siddiqui was here (Boston) in June 2001— when some press reports suggest she was in Liberia meeting with Atef — says the family’s attorney, Elaine Whitfield Sharp. “And I can prove it.” When her attorney proposed to the family that they obtain her credit card records by subpoena, the family vetoed the idea. Although it should have been easy to check, no members of a play group were brought forward to say that Aafia was in Boston in June. Counsel for the family succeeded at preventing Ismat, the mom, from having to testify before a grand jury in Boston on the grounds that she was too distraught over the disappearance of her daughter.

    • DXer said

      Aafia was a biology major at MIT. I’m told that her Brandeis grad school professors report that she had recommendations from labs at MIT. What type of labs?

  15. DXer said

    Rene Pita and Rohan Gunaratna addressed these issues in CTC Sentinel in May 2009 in “Revisiting Al-Qa’ida’s Anthrax Program.”

    Click to access CTCSentinel-Vol2Iss5.pdf

    I will highlight some points to emphasize material not covered before here.

    — “Compounding matters, the police chief of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) stated that some al-Qa-ida and Taliban militants had “expertise in making biochemical weapons.” citing, Muhammad Bilal, “Qaida, Taliban Planning 9/11-like Attacks in US, Europe NWFP IG,” Daily Times, March 31, 2009.

    — “What characterized al-Qa-ida’s anthrax program were its unsuccessful attempts to recruit Pakistani and Indonesian scientists who had access to microbial culture collections.”

    — “A subsequent message dated June 1999 insisted on the need to find qualified personnel for the BW program in educational institutions. This seems to be the strategy followed with the collaboration of Saud Memon … whose search for qualified microbiologists focused on Pakistani scientists.”

    — In accordance with a January 2007 Agence France-Presse report, Nangarhar’s governor had stated that in the dwelling where Taliban spokesman Muhammad Hanif had been found, “packets of anthrax powder” had been found. See “Taliban Official Said Found with Anthrax,” Global Security Newswire, January 17, 2008. This information does not seem to credible and no other media organization has reported on the said “packets” or on how Afghan authorities determined that they contained B. anthracis.

    — In the case of local autonomous cells without links to each other, the probability of establishing these multidisciplinary teams with the explicit and tacit knowledge of producing B. anthracis spores is much lower. … Autonomous cells would be virtually limited to the possibility of having access to an already-produced agent, by means of some biological defense program, or through states with offensive programs.”

    • DXer said

      For Spanish speakers, authors also addressed these issues in the Julio-Septiembre de 2008 issue of Athena Intelligence Journal, Vol. 3, No. 3, at pages 21-55. The title is “El agente etiologico del antrax maligno como arma biologica y su posible uso en atentados terroristas: a proposito de la crisis del Amerithrax de 2001. Even without speaking Spanish, the 153 footnotes are a useful resource and I can email a pdf to anyone who likes a copy.

  16. DXer said

    Dr Rene Pita and Dr. Gunaratna have authored “Anthrax as a Biological Weapon: From World War I to the Amerithrax Investigation”? International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Volume 23, Issue 1 March 2010 , pages 61 – 103 1 March 2010 , pages 61 – 103

    Authors: Ren Pita – Professor Ren Pita of the NBC Defense School, Madrid, Spain, has considerable experience in the strategic, operational, and tactical aspects of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) defense, including many North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) exercises. Recipient of a Ph.D. in neurotoxicology from Madrid Complutense University, Dr. Pita has written extensively on issues of CBRN terrorism. He is currently a qualified expert in toxicology for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), with international headquarters at The Hague, Netherlands.; Rohan Gunaratna – Dr. Rohan Gunaratna is head of the International Centre on Political Violence and Terrorism Research and Professor of Security Studies at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is the author of a dozen books on these matters, including Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002). Holder of a doctorate from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, he has conducted counterterrorism courses for numerous military, law enforcement, and intelligence services, including the United States Navy SEALS and the New York City Police Department. As a litigation consultant for the U.S. Department of Justice, he testified in the Jos Padilla case. Since 1984, Dr. Gunaratna has interviewed detainees in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Iraq, the Philippines, Indonesia, the U.S., and several other countries.

    Subjects: Intelligence; Military & Strategic Studies;

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

    • DXer said

      See also

      Jihadists and Weapons of Mass Destruction By Gary Ackerman, Jeremy Tamsett (2009)

      Book overview
      Written for professionals and policymakers working at the forefront of counterterrorism efforts, this exceptionally authoritative and comprehensive work covers weapons of mass destruction as jihadist terrorists have used them historically and are likely to use to use them in the future. Leading international experts examine terrorist ideology, strategy, and target selection. They describe chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons, and discuss how terrorists might acquire or manufacture them. They also address detection, prevention, and attack mitigation techniques. Devoid of sensationalism, this multidimensional evaluation adds a heightened level of sophistication to our understanding of terrorism.

      Limited preview – 2009 – 494 pages – Political Science


      “On August 21, 1995, a handwritten statement from Abu Ahmad (aka Muhamad Salah), the head of the military wing of Hamas, indicated that the Islamic fundamentalist organization had attempted to recruit members in the United States with expertise in both biological and chemical weapons. According to Salah, who was arrested in 1993, the operation was initiated by Musa Abu Marzuq, the leader of the Muslim Brothers organization in the United States. Abu Ahmad was instructed by Marzuq to collect the names of Palestinians residing in the United States who had expertise in chemical materials, toxins, physics, military education and knowledge of computers. Approximately twenty-seven individuals were recruited by the group to manufacturer weapons based on their field of expertise. It is unknown if the efforts were successful, however, as available interview transcripts with Salah do not indicate that the organization was successful in developing biological weapons.”

    • DXer said

      See also 2008 article by Dr. Pita and Dr. Gunaratna:

      Title: El agente etiológico del ántrax maligno como arma biológica y su posible uso en atentados terroristas: a propósito de la crisis del Amerithrax de 2001
      Author: René Pita ; Rohan Gunaratna
      Abstract: Bacillus anthracis , el agente etiológico del carbunco, ha sido el principal agente biológico estudiado y producido por los países que han contado con un programa de armas biológicas a lo largo de la historia. Sin embargo, también ha sido objeto de interés por parte de grupos terroristas como al-Qaida, y dio lugar a la denominada crisis del Amerithrax , también conocida como la “crisis del ántrax “, tras los atentados del 11 de septiembre de 2001. Este trabajo analiza todos estos hechos haciendo especial hincapié en la crisis del Amerithrax y en la posibilidad de que el terrorismo yihadista pueda utilizar este agente biológico en atentados terroristas.
      Journal: Athena Intelligence Journal

      Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

  17. DXer said

    Example of false statement indictment unsealed 2 years later.

    January 22. 2010
    Dearborn man indicted in case linked to terror support group Holy Land
    Paul Egan / The Detroit News

    Click to access HLF_EmployeeList.pdf

    Tags: Mohamad Mustapha Ali Masfaka, FBI, Hamas, U.S, fbi agents, HLF Office, Holy Land Foundation,Detroit, Dallas, Texas City, Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, Terrorism, Politics, Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, Kind Hearts for Charitable Human Development, Ethics, Muslim Brotherhood, Law Crime, War Conflict

  18. DXer said

    Aafia was booted again from her trial for blurting out that her defense counsel won’t let her testify. The judge said he wasn’t going to put up with any antics — and explained to her that she had a right to testify.

    Her defense counsel is going to file a motion Monday about how court personnel are taking the names and addresses of attendees at the trial. I saw a YouTube video where some protester commented about it. They perhaps don’t remember the Bin Laden associate who blinded a correctional officer there at the MDC with a sharpened comb.

    That correctional officer was blinded. One WTC 1993 plotter was planning assassinations with a jail visitor. I used to work for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals there. So while I’m glad Attorney Swift is making such motions, I don’t disagree with courtroom security in the least.

    I think the shenanigans over her right to trial has to be addressed. Her attorneys have a right/duty not to participate in the cross if they think she’ll perjure herself. Or they have a right to withdraw if they know she’ll perjure herself. Walter LeRoy Moody insisted on testifying. Freeh was prosecuting as AUSA. He was allowed to testify and his defense counsel sat it out.

    Stupid question: Were the handwritten notes admitted? I don’t want to hear characterizations about them from a witness– I want to see the “best evidence” of what she wrote.

    I hope the judge lays down the law with defense counsel over her right to testify (and their options).

    • DXer said

      The handwritten notes were shown on the overhead camera, but not so that we could read what they said, and we have heard people’s recollections of bits they read from them. But just today the judge ruled that they would be “protected” (i.e., under seal) because they mention instructions for making biological and chemical weapons. The press were all terribly disappointed. The New York Post and Daily News are filing suit to get them opened, but that’s where it stands now.

      • DXer said

        Target: Terrorism: Look at Al Qaeda’s Dreadful Recipe Book

        Aired November 15, 2001 – 09:42 ET



        The poisonous letter is the title of one section no poison inks. “Write a letter to the victim mentioning very exciting and very interesting news,” it reads. “Wipe the envelope from the inside with silicone sealant,” it goes on, “so it would not kill the mailman.”

  19. DXer said

    Washington Post reports that newly obtained FOIA documents showed that Paul Harvey jumped the fence of a nuclear facility to show how lax security was — and to prove that someone could walk out with materials or papers.

    60 years later we have GAO reports concluding the same thing at biodefense facilities at USAMRIID and universities.

    While Paul Harvey got off, I have a friend who did that and spent several months in jail. Later a friend of the former head of Amerithrax, she describes herself as a “felon for peace.”

    It just goes to show that sometimes if you know the right people, you can get away with murder. And sometimes you can’t.

    Amerithrax will be an example where you can’t get away with murder regardless who you know. It will prove vindication of justice and will be an FBI/CIA success story. The entire American public is a stakeholder in the correct solution.

  20. DXer said

    For those interested in military history, biodefense, or in Amerithrax, see

    “Alarm in Washington: A Wartime ‘Expose’ of Japan’s Biological Warfare Program,” by Roger B. Jeans, Jr., in the The Journal of Military History (2007). It compares the US biodefense community’s reaction to a book published during WW II on the Japanese program by an outsider, a high school science teacher in the US. The article is thoughtful articulate, and well-sourced. It will be fascinating to have the article author’s view once the FBI opens up the materials relating to Amerithrax. I respectfully disagree with FBI WMD Chief Majidi view that there will always be a “lone gunman” type Kennedy assassination type speculation. He hopefully has taken steps to preserve all documents as required by law so that litigation can be directed to disclosure of information required to be disclosed. Destruction of documents required to be preserved will be subject to prosecution.

  21. DXer said

    FBI Sting Operation Nabs 22 Arms Industry Executives In Bribery Probe
    January 20, 2010

    “From now on, would-be FCPA violators should stop and ponder whether the person they are trying to bribe might really be a federal agent,” Breuer added.

    Comment: This is a great development and another example of the important work the FBI does in a wide range of matters.

    Who are the undercover agents in Amerithrax?

  22. DXer said

    The FBI is being criticized for not even getting National Security Letters in requesting telephone records (which is a violation of the Electronic Communication Privacy Act).

    I once brought a case under the Electronic Communication Privacy Act against AT&T in connection with a woman whose brother allegedly was killed by a bodybuilding State Trooper on the Canadian border. (There is a civil cause of action). In an age of digital interceptions, the potential for abuse is huge. The deposition of the corporate security telephone folks in New Jersey was difficult because they feel they when law enforcement is asking them to do something, it doesn’t matter that it does not comport with the law. So everything is deniable whether true or not (they reason). The Trooper was eventually convicted of a parallel crime by Leahy’s former campaign manager, Tetzlaff, who was the US Attorney.

  23. DXer said

    Army Boss Testifies at al-Qaida Suspect’s NY Trial
    Published: January 20, 2010

    New York trial prompts outrage in Pakistan

  24. DXer said

    Without naming them, Marc A. Thiessen in COURT DISASTER discusses Sufaat and his two assistants, Barq and Wahdan. One was Egyptian. One was Sudanese.

  25. DXer said

    “Information from detainees in CIA custody helped break up an al-Qaeda cell that was developing anthrax for terrorist attacks inside the United States.”

    Marc A. Thiessen in COURTING DISASTER (2010)

  26. DXer said


    Earlier, just before the jury entered the courtroom, Siddiqui turned to onlookers and shouted, “I have information about attacks, more than 9/11!”

    “I want to help the president to end this group, to finish them,” she said. “They are a domestic, U.S. group, they are not Muslim. I’m not lying, I swear!”

    Comment: You’ve been in jail for 18 months, Aafia. It seems that your information may be a bit dated, eh? But go ahead, girl. Just blurt it out and don’t be such a tease.

  27. DXer said

    According to NBC, her outbursts started earlier in the day when she turned to spectators before the trial began and stated: “The President has to talk to me and this is the last opportunity I have once I’m sentenced … God, it’s important, and please don’t ignore me for the sake of God and this beautiful country.”

    Aafia, trust me. This is a classic prisoner’s dilemma you studied in psychology 101. If you withhold the information you have, you lose. The authorities already know much more than you realize and this is the time to become a national hero by announcing to the courtroom what you know (while your lawyers handle your defense on the alleged weapons incident).

  28. DXer said

    NY Post

    “An MIT-trained scientist charged with shooting at GIs in Afghanistan was thrown out of a Manhattan courtroom today after proclaiming her innocence following a tirade-filled outburst.

    Aafia Siddiqui, whom the FBI had sought for years for suspected ties to al Qaeda, shouted, “I was never planning to bomb [New York]. You are lying.”

    Siddiqui’s rant was aimed at Army Capt. Robert Snyder, who was testifying in Manhattan federal court that she had been arrested with a handwritten note outlining plans to attack the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and Wall Street.

    While Snyder testified, it took the outburst-prone Siddiqui just 90 minutes into her trial to disrupt the proceedings. That’s when she stood up and shouted, “Since I’ll never get a chance to speak” — before continuing her tirade with a plea of innocence.

    She had stayed mostly silent during opening statements.

    Earlier in the day, even before the trial began, Siddiqui had an outburst.

    “The president has to meet with me,” she said, after turning to the gallery while the judge asked her a series of questions. “It’s important!”

    Comment: No doubt it’s important, Aafia, but the best approach is to make the statement publicly. These in-person meetings haven’t always turned out so well. Then you will win sympathy and we will start believing you. A political solution will be reached perhaps for your return to Pakistan. And the jury perhaps will understand the distress you’ve been under these years. But refusing to announce what you know is a misconceived approach. Once convicted, you won’t be given credit for saying what you know. Of course, follow the advice of your lawyers. But they are making $2 million. Why shouldn’t you? That’s the reward being offered if you just blurt out everything you know and establish that you speak the truth. You can then distribute the $2.5 million (an additional $500,000 would be paid by a direct marketing group) to the poor of Karachi.

    In case you’ve been able to pay attention, your help may not be needed if you keep dragging your feet. Upon a WMD event, then lots of people will be picked up.

    • DXer said

      Aafia, the President’s appointments secretary might want to know about this ABC headline: “The Female Osama Bin Laden Aafia Siddique was linked to plots to assassinate former U.S. presidents.” He might ask that you just email him with the info if you are not comfortable telling the spectators.

  29. DXer said

    Siddiqui resisted as the soldiers tried to treat her wound, saying “I hate Americans,” “You will die by my blood,” and “Death to America,” AUSA Jenna Dabbs said in her opening argument. Before the proceeding began, Aafia told the jurors she knew of domestic plots. Aafia, you should tell what you know about Amerithrax and Ayman’s anthrax planning. You would be eligible to go home to Pakistani and would be eligible to the $2.5 million reward. You don’t get any credit if you wait until after you conviction.

  30. Anonymous said

    She said “Death to America.” She must be trying to sound an alarm by sounding like a Salafist-Jihadi. Contrary to what is oft reported and once the characterization in an affidavit, Bruce Ivins did not hear the report about the fatwa until well after the first mailing — not before. (It was the day of a column by Gertz of the Washington Times). Aafia says she knows about domestic plots. Well, the simple way to prove that, Aafia, is just to tell the spectators. Of course, you don’t get any credit if the domestic plots are proved without your help.

    Reputed al-Qaida supporter taken from NY courtroom
    By TOM HAYS and LARRY NEUMEISTER Associated Press Writers © 2010 The Associated Press
    Jan. 19, 2010, 11:43AM

    U.S. Army Capt. Robert Snyder testified that documents found in Siddiqui’s purse included targets for a mass casualty attack, including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street and the Brooklyn Bridge.

    “I was never planning a bombing! You’re lying!” Siddiqui yelled as she was rushed out of court.

    Prosecutors say Siddiqui used a U.S. soldier’s assault rifle to attack Americans during a chaotic confrontation at an Afghan police outpost in the summer of 2008.

    “She said in perfect English, ‘Get out of here,’ and then she pulled the trigger,” Assistant U.S. Jenna Dabbs told jurors.

    Dabbs claimed that, during a struggle, Siddiqui yelled, “I hate Americans”

    Before the jury entered the courtroom on Tuesday, Siddiqui told spectators that she had information about domestic terror plots, wouldn’t work with her lawyers and was there against her will.

    “This isn’t a fair court,” she said. “Why do I have to be here?”

    She then sat slumped in her chair, her face veiled by a white head scarf, as defense attorney Charles Swift told jurors there was no conclusive evidence she ever picked up the rifle.

    “There are many different versions of how this happened,” he said.

    The 37-year-old Siddiqui hasn’t been charged with terrorism, but her case has drawn attention in part because authorities have accused her of fleeing the United States to her native Pakistan in 2003 after marrying an al-Qaida operative related to Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

  31. DXer said

    CNN reminds us today:

    “Siddiqui also possessed a computer thumb drive that contained correspondence referring to specific ‘cells,’ ‘attacks’ by certain ‘cells,’ and enemies,'” the indictment said. “Other documents on the thumb drive discussed recruitment and training.”

    To what specific cells did the correspondence allegedly refer?

  32. DXer said

    “One of those released, Ayman Batarfi, is a Yemeni doctor who told Pentagon interrogators that he had twice met Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan … Mr. Batarfi also said he had assisted a Malaysian microbiologist, Yazid Sufaat, in seeking to purchase equipment for a medical facility in Kandahar, Afghanistan. U.S. officials have subsequently accused Mr. Sufaat of seeking to produce anthrax and other biological weapons on behalf of al Qaeda. Mr. Sufaat was arrested in Malaysia, but never charged there.”

    Yemen to Hold Six Returned Detainees Indefinitely, Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2009
    White House Says It Is Comfortable With Security Pact, but Some Lawmakers Want Guantanamo Transfers Halted


    What equipment did Dr. Batarfi assist Yazid Sufaat in seeking to purchase? What time period?

    Who did Ayman Zawahiri visit in Yemen prior to 9/11? See Lawrence Wright September 2002 New Yorker article.

  33. DXer said

    Alleged Pakistani militant stands trial today in NYC
    Scientist trained at MIT, Brandeis

    Aafia Siddiqui went to MIT and Brandeis and lived in Boston before returning to Pakistan. Aafia Siddiqui went to MIT and Brandeis and lived in Boston before returning to Pakistan.
    By Farah Stockman
    Globe Staff / January 19, 2010

    NEW YORK – In the summer of 2008, a shopkeeper in the Afghan city of Ghazni noticed a strange sight: a woman in a burqa drawing a map. In a region where nearly all females are illiterate, he found it suspicious and called the police, according to an Afghan intelligence official.

    In her bag, police found two pounds of deadly poison, as well as hundreds of handwritten notes on making not only bombs and viruses, but machines to bring down US drones, according to US court documents.

    The testimony will hinge on narrow questions of her actions when she was confronted by US agents, but the trial may also help settle a lingering mystery that hangs over her strange story: Where was Siddiqui from 2003 until her capture in 2008?
    “The US government had an interest in clearing up . . . what they say are wild charges,’’ said Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, one of several groups that included Siddiqui’s name in reports about possible secret CIA prisoners but never drew a final conclusion as to what happened to her. “It matters where she has been for the last five years. I don’t know what the truth is.’’

    Pretrial documents filed by prosecutors allege that Siddiqui, who graduated from MIT in 1995 with a biology degree, was a fervent believer in jihad and interested in weaponry. Some of her behavior and statements were seemingly bizarre, leading to a court-ordered evaluation of her mental status, which has also been in dispute.

    One document filed by the government, written in Siddiqui’s own handwriting, says: “It is better to die while fighting infidels than to die or become handicapped by one’s own negligence and carelessness when making weapons.’’

    Other documents in her possession at the time of her capture explained the manufacture of C-4 explosives, gun power, and deadly germs, although some papers described weapons that would be almost impossible to make, such as viruses that do not attack children.

    Siddiqui’s lawyers have maintained that she was abducted, by either the United States or Al Qaeda, and that as a result is suffering from a mental illness caused by post-traumatic stress.

    Siddiqui herself has never given a complete picture of her six missing years, according to documents filed in her case. But documents show that Siddiqui told the FBI that she had been teaching at the Karachi Technical Institute in 2005 and had moved around so freely in Pakistan that she once noticed an ad for her sister’s business on the side of bus.
    Feng Zhou, a fellow graduate student who worked in a lab with Siddiqui, recalled her as a polite and focused mother who often brought her kids in to the lab.

    Siddiqui’s family, including her sister, Fowzia, a Harvard-trained epilepsy specialist, publicly accused the United States of secretly detaining and torturing Siddqui at the US military base in Bagram.
    She offered little evidence of that claim, except a report that a former prisoner had seen her there. The charges have sparked deep outrage in Pakistan, where Siddiqui is widely viewed as a victim.

    “There is this feeling in Pakistan that she is being used, and it is all manufactured, and that she was tortured for years,’’ said Jessica Eve Stern , a terrorism specialist and lecturer at Harvard Law School. “Whatever the truth is, this case is of great political importance because of how people view her.’’

    Pakistan’s government does not accuse the United States of holding Siddiqui in secret, but it has said it does not know the truth of her whereabouts. The government’s current position is that Siddiqui is in a weak mental state and should be sent home. “This is an issue that has become very sensitive,’’ said Nadeem Kiani, a Pakistani embassy spokesman.

    The government of Pakistan is paying an estimated $2 million for the expenses of three of the lawyers on her defense team, which includes Elaine Whitfield Sharp, a Marblehead attorney.

    He has not spoken publicly. But an Afghan intelligence official in the ministry of the interior who investigated Siddiqui’s case, who requested anonymity for security reasons, said the boy reported that he and his mother worked in an office in Pakistan, purportedly collecting funds for poor people, and that they were later dispatched with maps and documents to Afghanistan.

    The Afghan official said he believes that Siddiqui was working with Jaish-e-Mohammed, or army of God, a Pakistani military group that fights in Kashmir and Afghanistan. He said he traveled to Ghazni in 2008 to investigate the case, but by the time he arrived, the Americans had already taken Siddiqui away.”

  34. DXer said

    What did Aafia’s documents say about gliders (only the handwritten will be entered into evidence, not the printed material). Did she know the US operative from Cairo Medical, Dahab, trained to use gliders and mail lethal letters? The Cairo Medical school dropout was trained to recruit US operatives and make booby-trapped letters during the 1989-1998. Dahab had been was trained by Al Qaeda’s chief of intelligence, Ali Mohammed, who served in the US Army, was an informant for the FBI on matters unrelated to terrorism, and briefly worked for the CIA. The FBI Special Agent who was his contact was distracted because his future son-in-law had murdered his parents and the Special Agent was running interference for him. Ali Mohammed toured the US with Ayman Zawahiri and another Cairo Medical alum seeking to develop the infrastructure in the US. Ali Mohammed and Dahab say that they had recruited 10 US citizens to operate as operatives. Did Ali Mohammed know Aafia?

    Lance Williams of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an eye-opening profile of Khalid Dahab, a Cairo Medical School drop-out who recruited US operatives for Al Qaeda. He was trained by Bin Laden’s head of intelligence, former US Army Sergeant Ali Mohammed. Ali Mohammed had recruited him while he was student at Cairo Medical in the early 1980s. The article was based on statements made in a Cairo court proceeding.

    Williams reports that Bin Laden personally congratulated Dahab, an Egyptian- born US Citizen, a Silicon Valley car salesman and member of Zawahri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad/Vanguards of Conquest, for recruiting Islamist Americans into al Qaeda. The account of Dahab’s confession was first published in the October 10, 2001 edition of the London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat. Dahab said he and Bin Laden’s head of intelligence, former U.S. Army Sgt. Ali Mohamed. Ali Mohamed was also a Silicon Valley resident. Ali Mohamed had traveled to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s to report to bin Laden on the success the two were having in recruiting Americans. Bin Laden told them that recruiting terrorists with American citizenship was a top priority.

    Ali Mohamed has admitted role in planning the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, killing more than 200 people.

    Williams wrote: “Dahab’s confession supports the view of many terrorism experts that al Qaeda has “sleeper” operatives on station in the United States for future terrorist attacks.” Khaled Duran, an author and terrorism expert who has written about the Silicon Valley cell, said the recruits would be expected to “fade into the woodwork” until the organization needed them, he said. Williams continues: “His story, obtained from accounts of Egyptian court proceedings and interviews with people who knew him, is entwined with that of Mohamed, a former Egyptian military officer and aide to bin Laden who recruited Dahab into al Qaeda, brought him to America and became his handler.”

    Handsome and outgoing, Dahab spoke excellent English. He said he was from a wealthy Alexandria family. His mother was a physician and he was planning a career in medicine.

    “But Dahab told acquaintances he had been radicalized by a tragedy that happened when he was a schoolboy: his father, he claimed, had been among 108 people killed in the 1973 crash of a Cairo-bound Libyan Arab Airlines plane that was shot down by Israeli fighter jets when it strayed over the Sinai Peninsula, which at the time was occupied by Israel. He claimed that his father’s death — and Egypt’s failure to avenge it — had turned him against the Egyptian government and against Israel and the United States, as well. He said he was drawn toward Islamic Jihad, a radical movement that had assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981 in an effort to remake Egypt into a fundamentalist Muslim state.”

    Williams reports that it was while a medical student in about 1984, according to his confession, that Dahab met Mohamed, who then was an officer in the Egyptian commando forces and a Jihad operative planning to emigrate to the United States. Dahab came to the United States in 1986, obtaining a student visa by saying he wanted to study medicine. He rented an apartment in Santa Clara, where Ali Mohamed now lived with his American wife. He dropped the name Dahab, calling himself Khaled Mohamed or Ali Mohamed, the same name used by the man who had recruited him. “He sometimes claimed, falsely,” Williams explains, “that he had been a physician in Egypt, said people who met him.”

    “In 1992, Dahab married a junior college student from a tiny town in South Dakota whom he met while lawn-bowling in Santa Clara. His third wife converted to Islam. They had four children, and the marriage helped him win citizenship, acquaintances said. The family settled in a duplex near Santa Clara High School. Dahab struggled to support his family, court records show. He worked as a maintenance man at Kaiser Hospital in Santa Clara, then at National Semiconductor, then as a $30,000-per-year car salesman in San Jose.” In the mid-1990s, despite financial problems, “[h]e was often abroad, traveling extensively in the Middle East, vacationing in Pakistan, telling associates he was starting a chemical business in Egypt.”

    “In 1995, using a fake passport and identity documents, Dahab and Ali Mohammed smuggled Zawahiri into the US from Afghanistan for a covert fund-raising tour. Dahab reports that part of the money financed the bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan. Dahab also said that at Mohamed’s direction he had gone to terrorist camps in Afghanistan in 1990 and trained guerrilla fighters to fly hang gliders. He said Islamic Jihad was planning a hand-glider assault to liberate imprisoned Jihad leaders, some of whom had been locked up since the assassination of Sadat.”

    A former friend remembers that Dahab turned up in the parking lot at the Al- Noor Mosque in Santa Clara, driving a station wagon with a hang glider in the back and saying he was bound for Afghanistan. In today’s piece in TIME we are reminded by gliders in connection with reference to documents reported to be in possession of Aafia Siddiqui, who goes on trial today. “[Dahab] said, ‘I am going to take (the aircraft) to Afghanistan and help the mujahedeen — I am going to take it over there and train people to fly it,’ ” the friend said. “People said, ‘Oh, you crazy guy — they thought he was joking.’ ” Jihad later canceled the attack, Dahab said in his confession.”

    Williams continues: “Meanwhile, Dahab said Mohamed gave him military training and taught him how to make letter bombs. Dahab said he had also worked as an al Qaeda communications specialist, aiding terrorists inside Egypt by patching through their calls to other operatives in Afghanistan and the Sudan. This helped the terrorists plan operations while avoiding electronic surveillance by Egyptian security forces who routinely wiretapped calls between Egypt and countries that harbored jihad terrorists.

    Also in the 1990s, Dahab said, he and Mohamed were told to begin recruiting U.S. citizens of Middle Eastern heritage. Dahab said the recruitment project had first been outlined to him by an al Qaeda fighter named Abdel Aziz Moussa al Jamal, who, according to Arabic press accounts, recently surfaced in Islamabad, Pakistan, serving as translator for Taliban envoy Abdul Salam Zaeef. On another visit to Afghanistan, Dahab said, he and Mohamed discussed the project with Zawahiri and bin Laden.” “Dahab told Egyptian authorities he and Mohamed had found 10 recruits, all of them naturalized U.S. citizens who had been born in the Middle East. The account of the confession did not name the recruits or provide other details about them.”

    Williams explains that Dahab was arrested and sent to an Egyptian prison. “By 1998, Dahab was spending more and more time abroad, and he told a family law judge in San Jose that he intended to move his family back to Egypt. In August 1998, while Dahab was in Egypt, al Qaeda mounted suicide attacks on the embassies in East Africa. Within weeks Ali Mohamed was arrested for complicity in the attack. He pled guilty. .

    In October 1998, the Egyptian military moved to crush Islamic Jihad by arresting more than 70 of the organization’s leaders. Dahab decided to flee, and on Oct. 28 booked a flight to the United States. According to Dahab acquaintances, Egyptian security police boarded the plane shortly before takeoff and took him away in handcuffs. Dahab confessed his involvement with al Qaeda and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.”

    Sleepers, the former head of Bin Laden’s intelligence (and a former US Army sergeant) Ali Mohammed testified, “don’t wear the traditional beards and they don’t pray at the mosques.” An Al Qaeda encyclopedia, Military Studies in the Jihad Against the Tyrants, advises sleepers to “have a general appearance that does not indicate Islamic orientation,” and for men not to wear a beard. The book also instructs sleepers not to denounce injustice faced by the ummah, and not to use common Islamic expressions such as “peace be on you,” nor to go to Islamic locations, such as mosques.

    Consider the example of another “sleeper” or operative, Tarik Hamdi of Herndon, Virginia. ABC News employed him to help secure an interview with bin Laden in early 1998. ABC News transported Hamdi to Afghanistan, unaware that his real purpose in going there was to carry a replacement battery to bin Laden for the satellite telephone he would later use to order the embassy bombings in East Africa. ABC was also unaware that the CIA had planted a listening device in the phone. The successful CIA operation, however, did not serve to prevent the planning of the embassy operation. Ironically, it facilitated it. If we don’t learn from history, we are bound to repeat it.

    Bruce Ivins gave Tarek Hamouda, who graduated from Cairo Medical in December 1982 and obtained his PhD from Cairo Medical in 1994. He was head of a DARPA project and being supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins for the research within a few years. Did Dr. Hamouda know Dahab while at Cairo Medical school in the early 1980s? Did Dr. Hamouda know Ali Mohammed while at Cairo Medical school in the early 1980s? Did he know Aafia Siddiqui who is associated with her brother’s address from the first half of 2001 at 1915 Woodbury in Ann Arbor? (According to one neighbor in Houston, Aafia frequently visited her brother and sister-in-law.)

    • DXer said

      A memo seized in the 1995 arrest proposed flying an explosive laden plane into CIA headquarters. Anyone reading the Washington Post in the mid-1990s read about the plan to fly a plane into CIA headquarters over their morning coffee. The earlier plot to fly an airliner into the Eiffel tower by some Algerians connected to Bin Laden was also notable. Condi Rice professed not to have imagined the threat even though it was publicly known and even a threat at the G-8 conference .It’s important that as a country we learn from our mistakes and not pay short shrift to the evidence on the issue of modus operandi relating to Zawahiri’s planned use of anthrax. It was only compartmentalization that caused the investigators on the squad investigating Ivins to become so confused.

      This was not the first time the Egyptian islamists sent letter bombs to newspaper offices in connection with an attack on the World Trade Center. NPR set the scene. It was January 2, 1997, at 9:15 a.m. at the National Press Building in Washington, D.C. The employee of the Saudi-owned newspaper Al Hayat began to open a letter. It was a Christmas card — the kind that plays a musical tune. It was white envelope, five and a half inches by six and a half inches, with a computer-generated address label attached. It had foreign postage and a post mark — a postmark appearing to be from Alexandria, Egypt. It looked suspiciously bulky, so he set it down and called the police. Minutes later they found a similar envelope. These were the first two of four letter bombs that would arrive at Al Hayat during the day. A fifth letter bomb addressed to the paper was intercepted at a nearby post office. They all looked the same. Two similar letter bombs addressed to the “parole officer” (a position that does not exist) arrived at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth. It seemed evident how some Grinch had spent the holidays in Alexandria, Egypt.

      Egyptian Saif Adel (Makawwi), thought to be in Iran, was involved in military planning. Adel was a colonel in the Egyptian Army’s Special Forces before joining Al Qaeda. He helped plan the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Africa. He was also a planner in the attack on the USS Cole and has served as the liaison officer between Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. Adel assisted Atef, who had overall responsibility for Al Qaeda’s operations. According to Cairo Attorney Al-Zayyat, Makkawi had many times claimed responsibility for operations that were carried out inside Egypt but when the perpetrators were arrested, it would be al-Zawahiri’s name whose name they shouted loyalty to from the docks. After the letter al-Hayat letter bombs were sent in January 1997, Saif Adel (Makawwi) gave a statement denying responsibility on behalf of the Vanguards of Conquest.

      On January 7, 1997 Saif Adel purporting to be speaking for the Egyptian Vanguards of Islamic Conquest said: “Those are messages of admonishment. There is no flirtation between us and the Americans in order for us to send them such alarming messages in such a manner.” Adel said that “the Vanguards of Conquest “are heavyweight and would not embark on such childish actions.” US press and political commentaries had hinted at the Vanguards of Conquest organization’s involvement in these attempts. In his statement to Al-Hayat, perhaps referring to the Egyptian Islamic Group, Adel added “I am surprised that we in particular, and not other parties, should be accused of such an operation.”

      He got admonished by the unnamed but official spokesman for the Vanguards organization. This other spokesmanchastisied him as not being authorized to speak for the organization (or even being a member). “We welcome any Muslim who wants to join us, and if Makkawi wants to [join us], he will be welcomed to the Vanguards march, but through the organizational channels. But if words are not coupled with actions, we tell him: Fear God, and you can use a different name other than the Vanguards to speak on its behalf.” The spokesman denounced Makkawi’s authority to speak for the group, referring to the January 5th statement it had made denying responsibility. The spokesperson for the Vanguards of Conquest apparently was Post Office employee Sattar’s friend, Al-Sirri, based in London.

      The FBI would not speculate as to who sent the letters or why. But this was your classic “duck that walks like a duck” situation. As NPR reported at the time, “analysts say that letter bombs are rarely sent in batches, and when they are it’s generally prompted by politics, not personal animus.” Al Hayat was a well respected and moderate newspaper. It was friendly to moderate Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. That, without more, was accurately discerned by observers at the time as sufficient to make the newspaper outlet a target of the militant islamists. The newspaper, its editor explained, does not avoid criticizing militant islamists. The Al Hayat Editor-in-Chief explained: “We’ve been opposed to all extremists in the Arab world, especially the fundamentalists.” Mohammed Salameh, a central defendant in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was sent to Leavenworth in 1994. The other three Egyptian extremists convicted in the bombing were sent to prisons in California, Indiana and Colorado. Like the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman, Salameh had complained of his conditions and asked to be avenged. The Blind Sheik was particularly irked that the prison officials did not cut his fingernails.

      Abdel-Rahman was convicted in 1995 of seditious conspiracy, bombing conspiracy, soliciting an attack on an U.S. military installation, and soliciting the murder of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. His followers were indicted for plotting to bomb bridges, tunnels and landmarks in New York for which Rahman allegedly had given his blessings. The mailing of deadly letters in connection with an earlier attack on the World Trade Center was not merely the modus operandi of militant islamists, it was the group’s signature. It’s their calling card. Khaled Abu el-Dahab, a naturalized American, from Silicon Valley, in a confession detailed Egyptian defense ministry document dated October 28, 1998, explained that he was trained to make booby-trapped letters to send to important people, as well as asked to enroll in American aviation schools to learn how to fly gliders and helicopters. He was a friend of Ali Mohammed, the former special forces officer in the Egyptian army and former US Army Sergeant. The modus operandi of these militant supporters of the blind sheik was known to be planes and booby-trapped letters.

      The Al Hayat reporters and editor were not expressing an opinion — though the owner did lay out various possibilities (e.g., Iraq, Iran etc.). The owner of the paper had commanded Saudi forces during the Persian Gulf War, when Bin Laden was so upset about American troops on the Arabian peninsula. Moreover, al Hayat had recently opened up a Bureau in Jerusalem, giving it a dateline of Jerusalem rather than al Quds, which some thought blasphemous. But none of the possibilities would plausibly explain why the letter bomb was sent to Leavensworth where three of the WTC 1993 defendants were imprisoned, including Ramzi Yousef’s lieutenant who had asked that his mistreatment be avenged. (That was the criminal genius who returned to Ryder to reclaim his deposit after blowing up the truck at WTC). Egyptian security officials argued that the letters were sent from outside of Egypt, the stamps were not available in Egypt, and that the postmark was not Alexandria as reported. Whatever the place of mailing, the sender likely was someone who was upset that KSM’s and Ramzi Yousef’s associates had been imprisoned, to include, most notably, the blind sheik. Whoever is responsible for the anthrax mailings, it is a very good bet that they are upset the blind sheik is detained. That should be at the center of any classified profile of the crime.

      On December 31, 1996 Mohammed Youssef was in Egypt — having gone to Egypt months before. The al Hayat letter bombs related to the detention and alleged mistreatment of the blind sheikh and the WTC bombers were sent 10 days earlier — on the Day of Measures. In 2006, he was named as co-defendant with Hassoun, Daher, Padilla and Jayyousi. Youssef was born in Alexandria. Do authorities suspect the “Florida cell” of being involved in the al Hayat letter bombs? Kifah Jayyousi’s “Islam Report” over the years — distributed by Adham Hassoun in Florida and Kassem Daher in Canada — expressed outrage at detention/extradition due to terrorism law and also what he perceived as attacks on his religion by some newspapers. His headlines on the internet groups blazed “Just In! First Muslim Victim of New Terrorism Law!: US Agents Arrest Paralegal Of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman Without Charge Prepares To Hand Him To Egyptian Regime,” soc.religion.islam, dated April 27, 1996 and “Islam Report (Newspaper Attacks Our Religion! Act Now!,” soc.religion.islam, Apr. 16, 1996

      In connection with the January 1997 letter bombs, Ayman got the know-how to send sophisticated electronic letter bombs from Iraqi intelligence according to one item from the highly controversial Feith memo. In the al Hayat letter bombings, Ayman allowed the finger to be pointed at Libya. In the Amerithrax letters, he allowed the finger to be pointed to a United States biodefense insider by the prosecutor who would have presented to any indictment to the grand jury. Born in Haifa in 1948, the man’s daughter then came to represent microbiologist Al-Timimi pro bono.

      After the Al Hayat letter bombs to newspapers in DC and NYC and people in symbolic positions, in January 1997, both the Blind Sheikh and his paralegal, Sattar, were quoted in separate articles in Al Hayat (in Arabic) denying that they or their supporters were responsible. The Blind Sheikh commented that al Hayat was fair and balanced in its coverage and his supporters would have no reason to “hit” them. The same sort of counterintuitive theory was raised in connection with the earlier letter bombing of newspapers to DC and New York City and people in symbolic positions. Sattar noted that the bombs were mailed on December 20, one day before the brief in support of the blind sheik on appeal. He questioned whether someone (like the FBI) was trying to undermine the appeal’s prospects. This time, Mr. Sattar did not need any help making the argument with respect to the anthrax letters. Numerous people with political agendas rushed to do it for him to include counsel for Bosnia and Herzogovina and legal advisor to the PLO, professor Francis Boyle. In accusing Dr. Ivins on the occasion of his death, the FBI embraced the same sort of theory — that is, when it was not grasping at other untenable theories relating to college sororities, incorrectly perceived anti-abortion news, or perceived financial motive.

      In September 2006, in a Sahab Media production called “Knowledge is for acting,” there is a clip in which Al Quds editor Atwan refers to his visit with Bin Laden in 1996 (see also his 2006 book The Secret History of al Qaeda). He says that Bin Laden was planning to attack America “and America prisons in particular.” That was an apparent reference to the Al Hayat letter bombs sent to newspapers and prisons in January 1997. There were recurrent references to Abdel-Rahman in the tape. The anthrax mailer will turn out to be upset at the blind sheik’s detention.

  35. DXer said

    Passing by David Hoffman’s review of DEAD HAND, we have this book on zombies.

    Book Review: Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

    A top pharmaceutical CEO has joined forces with a Middle Eastern terrorist to create a biological weapon that he intends to create an antidote for and make billions off of. However, the terrorist intends to take advantage of the CEO and create a true biological weapon that can’t be stopped.

    In the meantime, Joe Ledger and the ultra-secret agency, the Department of Military Science, are following the bodies and the zombie disease to figure out what’s truly at stake. Maberry goes out of his way to make sure the readers understand that Joe Ledger is a tough guy, and that very few of him gets made these days. I enjoyed that because I’ve always been a fan of the tough guy loner against impossible odds.


    Given all the weird diseases and flus that have been going through everyone lately, maybe a little paranoia and increased knowledge would be beneficial.

    Patient Zero is evidently the first of a series. A second book of Joe Ledger’s adventures is already in the works. For fans of knock-down, drag-out zombie adventures, this novel will probably be a great treat.

  36. DXer said

    The Associated Press
    Saturday, January 16, 2010; 4:04 AM

    CANBERRA, Australia — An Australian lawyer whose son was killed in the 2002 Bali bombing said on Saturday that a trial in Washington of alleged terrorist Riduan Isamuddin could jeopardize chances of convicting him over the nightclub attacks that killed 202.

    Brian Deegan, a former magistrate whose 21-year-old son Josh was among 88 Australians killed in the attack, said Isamuddin, Osama bin Laden’s alleged lieutenant better known as Hambali, should be tried in Indonesia where the crime was committed.

    The Obama administration is conducting an intense security review as part of a plan that could bring the notorious Guantanamo Bay inmate and two associates to Washington for trial, officials said.

    Hambali is believed to be the main link between al-Qaida and Jemaah Islamiyah, the terror group blamed for the 2002 bombing at two Bali nightclubs.

    Deegan conceded a trial in Washington would be “more open” than one in Indonesia, but he fears legal challenges to Hambali’s detention in secret CIA prisons – and the intense interrogation he underwent there – could stop any trial in the United States. Hambali was taken into CIA custody in 2003 and later transferred to the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

    Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir’s conviction for giving his blessing to the Bali bombings was overturned by the Indonesian courts after he spent only three years in prison.

    Former militants allege Bashir headed Jemaah Islamiyah in the early 2000s.

    “A decision about a criminal prosecution is one for the U.S. authorities to make,” the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement.

    Comment: A Hambali trial might be fascinating because he tried to re-establish Sufaat’s anthrax lab after Sufaat had to flee Afghanistan. Attorney General has an incredibly complicated review to make of the many cases.

  37. DXer said

    Aafia’s defence team ensures fair trial
    Published: January 17, 2010

    Note: Charles Swift, former US military, served as defense counsel for Salim Ahmed Hamdan. He took the case to the United States Supreme Court and prevailed. Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden captured during the invasion of Afghanistan, was charged in July 2004 with conspiracy to commit terrorism. I believe Pakistan provided $2 million for her defense. As early as Wednesday, perhaps we will learn the content of the handwritten notes that Aafia allegedly was carrying, and learn what they say about anthrax. My friend watching the trial was very impressed by Attorney Swift.

  38. DXer said

    Seven dead, 14 hospitalised… who is infecting Scotland’s heroin with anthrax?

    Some of the main theories about how anthrax spores came to contaminate the heroin, include the possibility that bonemeal, which is sometimes used to cut – ie, bulk up – heroin batches came from diseased animals.

    Another theory suggests that the equipment used to manufacture the drug was contaminated. Some peasant producers mix raw opium with water and chemicals in an oil barrel before heating the mixture over a large fire. These barrels may have previously been used to carry diseased meat, cattle feed or even manure.

    Professor Graeme Pearson is a former director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA), the country’s leading crime-fighting unit, and is now with Glasgow University’s Unit for the Study of Serious Organised Crime. He has investigated the heroin production process and says he is surprised infections are so rare.

    He said: “I’ve seen videos of heroin production and it’s a horrible and unhygienic process. It’s surprising that this doesn’t happen more often.”

  39. DXer said

    Who is the prosecutor at the briefing of the science media clarifying the timeline and claiming that contrary to Dr. Majidi’s account, Dr. Ivins had the subpoena in hand. Is that AUSA Ken Kohl?

    “DR. MAJIDI: So that’s another issue. The first sample we received didn’t really meet our requirements for the chains of custody issue, either.

    QUESTION: So what happened? Well, continue the narrative. So, it’s the first sample, second sample; can you take us through that?

    QUESTION: I’m just wondering if because of the medium issues, that would have made it difficult to identify. Wouldn’t — you know, because it was not using the right medium —

    BACKGROUND OFFICIAL: Well, you know, let me just say from the scientific point of view, if you don’t follow the procedure, the result is ambiguous.

    DR. MAJIDI: So after the first sample, Dr. Ivins received the subpoena —

    QUESTION: When?

    DR. MAJIDI: April 2002?

    BACKGROUND OFFICIAL: Just to clarify the timeline, the first subpoena was dated February 22, 2002. Dr. Ivins submitted his first samples February 27th of 2002. We have reason to believe, based on conversations with other scientists — other FBI scientists — that he actually submitted them in response to the subpoena, based on notations of the conversation that he had, that a scientist had with Dr. Ivins, that he actually did comply. You know, he had the subpoena in hand and he submitted the first samples. They were rejected because they were submitted on the wrong type of slant. He was told to resubmit them in April of 2002. That he did, according to the protocol on the appropriate commercially available slant, though that second sample lacked all four genetic mutations.

    QUESTION: Thank you. Can you identify yourself?

    BACKGROUND OFFICIAL: I’m one of the prosecutors on the case.”


    And who was Dr. Ivins submitting the sample to for genetic typing? Genetics expert Kimothy Smith was working for the FBI on the genetics. Dr. Kimothy L. Smith provided the lab space to former Zawahiri associate to do the research with virulent Ames at LSU. Was he the one doing the genetic typing regarding this sample submitted by Dr. Ivins — and finding it did not include the 4 morphs?

    Is he the one in 2001 who wrote Dr. Ivins opening with Heyo and closing with “ciao for now?”

    In the Blackwater case, Ken Kohl was recently found by a federal district court judge to have deliberately flouted the law, mischaracterized the evidence before the grand jury and implausibly testified about what he had done. I have no way to judge whether the court’s criticism was well-founded but it seems that a cautious approach would look to have fresh prosecutorial eyes lead the Amerithrax investigation. While the FBI produces the documentary evidence, including Ivins’ emails, establishing the timeline during the February 2002-April 2002 period. Please provide the documents and not characterization which might turn out to be inaccurate or relying on testimony by someone with a vested interest.

  40. Ike Solem said

    Ike Solem said
    January 14, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    DXer, your theory of silica being incorporated onto the spore coat during sporulation is really kind of ridiculous, and unsupported by any scientific evidence whatsoever. Spores, recall, form INSIDE of vegetative cells. Spores of B. cereus do contain crystalline inclusions, but those are inclusions of protein toxins that are released as the spores “hatch” in the insect gut (cereus being an insect pathogen) – so by the time the vegetative cells are active, the toxins have already gone to work on the insect, which provides an environment conducive to growth of the bacteria. Silica particles in the medium would have to be incorporate into the interior of the vegetative cell – which is surrounded by a membrane, recall, which excludes polar or charged material, so there would have to be some (clearly non-existent) uptake process.

    It’s just an effort by the FBI to rule out the kind of advanced spore weaponization process used in the attacks – a process that Bruce Ivins clearly had no access to. Put that next to the fact that the “unique morphs” might very well arise in ANY large-batch spore production process, and the FBI’s case falls apart, and you’re right back to where you were in Dec 2001.

    The biggest flub of a case in the FBI’s history? I’m not sure, but it seems to come close – and not only that, we’re now into a useless and dangerous multi-billion dollar biowarfare research program as a result. The fact that they’ve enlisted some conflict-of-interest laden National Academy of Sciences committee – one that seems to be avoiding calling key witnesses, as well as NOT asking any of the key questions, only makes one wonder how far the corruption has spread.

    In fact, the cover-up (a fair term) seems similar in scale to the Soviet Union’s cover-up of their Sverdlovsk outbreak – well, not quite the same… people who raised questions about that in 1980 would probably have been subjected to some kind of full-scale KGB investigation and harassment program, and would have ended up in prison or worse, right?

    (For the Sverdlovsk details, see “Anthrax: The Investigation of a Deadly Outbreak”, by Jeanne Guillemin – a nice blueprint for investigating the 9/18 and 10/9 events – perhaps the NAS committee should sit down and read it.)

    DXer said
    January 14, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    “Ike Solem said
    January 14, 2010 at 8:35 pm
    DXer, your theory of silica being incorporated onto the spore coat during sporulation is really kind of ridiculous, and unsupported by any scientific evidence whatsoever.”

    You dismiss my suggestion that microencapsulating silicon was used.

    What on earth are you talking about? That sounds like mumbo-jumbo of the most unscientific sort. Explain the molecular structure of this material to me, please.

  41. DXer said

    Is it true that there were 4 other letters with powder recovered?

    If it were true, what would be the implications?

  42. DXer said

    The Anthrax Files
    Christopher Ketcham. American Conservative. Arlington: Aug 25, 2008. Vol. 7, Iss. 16; pg. 6, 4 pgs

    Abstract (Summary)
    The first week of August, the popular press got back in the game, reporting the apparent suicide of USAMRIID scientist Bruce E. Ivins, alleged to be the sole operator behind the anthrax letters. The Associated Press reported that Ivins, who is said to have killed himself on July 29 with an overdose of prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine, was “one of the government’s leading scientists researching vaccines and cures for anthrax exposure.” According to the AP, he was “brilliant but troubled.” His lawyer, Paul Kemp, says that Ivins passed a pair of polygraph tests and that the grand jury investigating the case was weeks from returning an indictment. Yet within days of his death, the bureau announced that it was beginning the shutdown of its “Amerithrax” investigation. “Anthrax case a Wrap,” blared the Daily News on Aug. 4.

    Ivins was subjected to similar treatment. According to the AP, he complained to friends that agents had “stalked” him and his family. They offered his son $2.5 million and “a sports car of his choice” to rat out his father. They approached his hospitalized daughter to turn evidence on him, plying her at bedside with pictures of the murdered anthrax victims and telling her, “This is what your father did.” W. Russell Byrne, Ivins’s supervisor at USAMRIID, told the AP that Ivins, 62, was emotionally broken by the FBFs behavior: “One person said he’d sit at his desk and weep.”

    Following the release of the FBI’s public case against Ivins, the New York Times editorialized that “there is no direct evidence of his guilt” and decried the “lack of hard, incontrovertible proof.” The Washington Post called the case “admittedly circumstantial.” Investigators failed to place Ivins in New Jersey on the dates in September and October 2001 when the letters were reportedly mailed from a Princeton location. They swabbed his residence, locker, several cars, the tools in his laboratory, and his office space, but found no trace of anthrax that genetically matched the bacteria in the letters. Indeed, some of the evidence-all circumstantial, none forensic-was downright laughable. Ivins at one time maintained a mailbox under an assumed name where he received pornographic magazines. He had once been “obsessed” with a Princeton sorority because of a failed college romance, and the Princeton mailbox where one of the letters originated was located within 100 yards of a storage facility used by the sorority-in a location Ivins apparently last visited 27 years ago. He drank. He made homicidal statements to a mental-health support group. He wrote rambling letters to the editor of his local paper. How any of this motivated Brace Ivins to kill fellow Americans with a bioweapon is not established.

    » Jump to indexing (document details)
    Full Text (3099 words)

    Copyright American Conservative LLC Aug 25, 2008

    [case not closed]
    The FBI claims to have caught the killer. But so much evidence has been neglected or mishandled that many experts still have doubts.

    SEVEN YEARS AFTER the anthrax attacks shut down Congress, sowed panic nationwide, killed five, sickened 17, and allowed neocon propagandists to variously blame al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, the FBI claims to have gotten its man. But the official story doesn’t fully accord with the facts. Any reasonable assessment of the evidence suggests that the same powerful interests that might have been served by prolonging the investigation would have had a stake in finally bringing it to a tidy conclusion. That doesn’t mean that the killer was caught

    The acknowledged certainty is that the anthrax letters weren’t the work of Islamiste or Iraqis. The attacks were perpetrated by someone with highlevel access to U.S. government supplies of the deadly bacteria. Ground zero of the investigation has long been the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland. But the lab had dropped from the headlines until recently, much as the FBI had seemingly allowed its investigation to languish.

    The first week of August, the popular press got back in the game, reporting the apparent suicide of USAMRIID scientist Bruce E. Ivins, alleged to be the sole operator behind the anthrax letters. The Associated Press reported that Ivins, who is said to have killed himself on July 29 with an overdose of prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine, was “one of the government’s leading scientists researching vaccines and cures for anthrax exposure.” According to the AP, he was “brilliant but troubled.” His lawyer, Paul Kemp, says that Ivins passed a pair of polygraph tests and that the grand jury investigating the case was weeks from returning an indictment. Yet within days of his death, the bureau announced that it was beginning the shutdown of its “Amerithrax” investigation. “Anthrax case a Wrap,” blared the Daily News on Aug. 4.

    In April, it was reported that the FBI had been focusing on as many as four suspects. Fox News identified them as a “former deputy commander,” presumably in the U.S. Army, a “leading anthrax scientist,” and “a microbiologist.” The fourth suspect was given no description. Now the bureau is “confident that Dr. Ivins was the only person responsible for these attacks,” according to the assurances of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia

    The Ivins news came close on the heels of a far quieter announcement on June 27 that the FBI’s investigation of the previous top anthrax suspect, Steven Hatffll, also a USAMRIID bioresearcher, ended not with a trial and conviction but with a $5.8 million settlement effectively admitting that the bureau had the wrong guy. Hatflll had been hounded by investigators for three years, his career and reputation ruined.

    Ivins was subjected to similar treatment. According to the AP, he complained to friends that agents had “stalked” him and his family. They offered his son $2.5 million and “a sports car of his choice” to rat out his father. They approached his hospitalized daughter to turn evidence on him, plying her at bedside with pictures of the murdered anthrax victims and telling her, “This is what your father did.” W. Russell Byrne, Ivins’s supervisor at USAMRIID, told the AP that Ivins, 62, was emotionally broken by the FBFs behavior: “One person said he’d sit at his desk and weep.”

    Francis Boyle, a professor of law at the University of Illinois who drafted the 1989 Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act signed by President George H. W. Bush, advised the FBI in its initial investigation of the anthrax letters. Along with several other American bioweapons experts-among them Jonathan King, professor of molecular biology at MIT, and Barbara Rosenberg, who studied biowarfare with the Federation of American Scientists-Boyle warned early on that the spores issued from inside a U.S. research operation, possibly one that was classified. He provided the FBI with lists of scientists, contractors, and laboratories that had worked on anthrax projects, but he is skeptical of Ivins as the lone killer: “The Feds pursued the same strategy against Ivins as they did against Hatfill-persecute him until he broke, which Ivins did and Hatful did not. Dead men tell no tales.”

    Ivins, says Boyle, just doesn’t fit the bill. “It does not appear that he had the technological sophistication to manufacture this super weapons-grade anthrax, which would have included aerosolization, silicon coating, and an electrostatic charge.” Jeffrey Adamovicz, who directed the bacteriology division at Fort Detrick in 2003 and 2004, told McClatchy that the anthrax mailed to Sen. Tom Daschle was “so concentrated and so consistent and so clean that I would assert that Bruce could not have done that part.”

    Following the release of the FBI’s public case against Ivins, the New York Times editorialized that “there is no direct evidence of his guilt” and decried the “lack of hard, incontrovertible proof.” The Washington Post called the case “admittedly circumstantial.” Investigators failed to place Ivins in New Jersey on the dates in September and October 2001 when the letters were reportedly mailed from a Princeton location. They swabbed his residence, locker, several cars, the tools in his laboratory, and his office space, but found no trace of anthrax that genetically matched the bacteria in the letters. Indeed, some of the evidence-all circumstantial, none forensic-was downright laughable. Ivins at one time maintained a mailbox under an assumed name where he received pornographic magazines. He had once been “obsessed” with a Princeton sorority because of a failed college romance, and the Princeton mailbox where one of the letters originated was located within 100 yards of a storage facility used by the sorority-in a location Ivins apparently last visited 27 years ago. He drank. He made homicidal statements to a mental-health support group. He wrote rambling letters to the editor of his local paper. How any of this motivated Brace Ivins to kill fellow Americans with a bioweapon is not established.

    Moreover, his former colleagues have repeatedly told the media that, as far as they are aware, Ivins didn’t know how to weaponize anthrax. He was a vaccine specialist, not a weaponizer. The assumption is that Ivins kept his weaponizing skills secret from his coworkers. But how did he learn those skills? Perhaps colleagues at Ft Detrick provided the help in casual conversation. Yet there’s not the slightest indication that during his years at Ft. Detrick Ivins even once asked fellow scientists about weaponizing techniques.

    Nor is it clear why Ivins-a registered Democrat-would single out Sens. Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle to receive lethal letters. Interestingly, both had been critical impediments to passage of the Patriot Act. The first wave of anthrax mail, sent Sept. 18, 2001, targeted ituyor media; the second round, posted Oct. 9, went to Congress. On Oct 25, amid widespread panic, the act passed. Yet it is improbable that a mad scientist would specialize in such targeted political activity-or that he personally benefited from the repercussions. Many others did, however.

    “In the absence of the anthrax attacks, 9/11 could easily have been perceived as a single, isolated event,” Salon’s Glenn Greenwald writes. “It was really the anthrax letters that severely ratcheted up the fear levels and created the climate that would dominate in this country for the next several years … that created the impression that social order itself was genuinely threatened by Islamic radicalism.”

    By Oct. 28, ABC was reporting, “four well-placed and separate sources have told ABC News that initial tests on the anthrax by the U.S. Army at Fort Detrick, Maryland, have detected trace amounts of the chemical additives bentonite and silica”-bentonite being a hallmark of the Iraqi weapons program. (In 2007, ABC admitted that no bentonite was ever detected but refused to unmask its sources.) “Some are going to be quick to pick up on this as a smoking gun,” Peter Jennings said at the time.

    The administration’s acolytes did not disappoint. William Kristol and Robert Kagan complained, “What will it take for the FBI and the CIA to start connecting the dots here? A signed confession from Saddam?” The leading supplier suspect has to be Iraq,” the Wall Street Journal opined, “The government has to do everything possible to destroy the anthrax threat at its state-sponsored source.” Added Laurie Mylroie in National Review, “Iraqi intelligence was intimately involved in the 9/11 attacks and [the] military grade anthrax sent to Senators Leahy and Daschle almost certainly came from an Iraqi lab.” As late as 2007, long after it became apparent that the anthrax was homegrown, outlets like Fox News continued to insist on a Middle Eastern link.

    Those making the case for war in Iraq and seeking to advance the administration’s domestic security agenda had good reason to resist a swift resolution to the case-especially one involving an American perpetrator. Whether by suggestion or as a result of its own incompetence, the FBI obliged.

    As early as November 2001, the New York Times was reporting that the bureau’s “missteps” were “hampering the inquiry.” Indeed, from the beginning, the FBI has been in possession of a key piece of evidence that it apparently ignored.

    Among the first suspects to come into the FBI’s sights was an Egyptian-born ex-USAMRIID biologist named Ayaad Assaad. He appeared on the radar because of an anonymous letter sent to the bureau identifying him as part of a terrorist cell possibly linked to the anthrax attacks. Yet, according to the Hartford Courant, the FBI did not attempt to track down the author of the letter, “despite its curious timing, coming a matter of days before the existence of anthrax-laced mail became known.”

    Assaad was quickly exonerated by FBI investigators, and the matter swiftly dropped-though the letter may have provided the best piece of evidence in the case. It was sent prior to the arrival of the anthrax letters, suggesting foreknowledge of the attacks, and its language was similar to that of the deadly mail. Moreover, it displayed an intimate knowledge of USAMRIID operations, suggesting that it came from within the limited ranks of Fort Detrick researchers -a relatively small group with access to and expertise in weaponized anthrax.

    The FBI has refused to make a copy of the letter publicly available-or even to give one to Assaad himself. It did, however, share the contents with a Vassar College professor and language forensics expert named Don Foster, who famously fingered Joe Klein as the anonymous author behind Primary Colors and helped to catch the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bomber. After reading news reports, he requested a copy of the letter, and, following his review of documents written by “some 40 USAMRIID employees,” Foster “found writings by a female officer that looked like a perfect match,” according to an article he authored in the October 2003 Vanity Fair. When he brought this seemingly crucial clue to the attention of the FBFs anthrax task force, however, the bureau declined to follow up. According to Foster, the senior FBI agent on the case had never even heard of the Assaad letter. (For the record, Foster isn’t an unimpeachable source. He strayed from his area of professional expertise and published unrelated circumstantial evidence in his Vanity Fair piece that wrongly fingered Hatfill, who sued the magazine, which settled on undisclosed terms.)

    “The letter-writer clearly knew my entire background, my training in both chemical and biological agents, my security clearance, what floor I work on, that I have two sons, what train I take to work, and where I live,” Assaad told reporter Laura Rozen. Since he was almost immediately cleared, attempting to ftame him served no purpose, except to indulge a personal enmity. To that end, Assaad suggested that the FBI question the pair of USAMRIID colleagues most likely to carry a grudge against him, Marian Rippy and Philip Zack, who years earlier had been reprimanded for sending Assad a racist poem. Though the Courant reported video evidence of Zack making after-hours trips to labs where pathogens were stored, there is no record of the FBI ever investigating him or Rippy, a colleague with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

    The FBI’s failures don’t end there. The anthrax used in the terror attacks has been identified as similar to strains held at laboratories in Ames, Iowa The Ames database, maintained and overseen by Iowa State University, was a comprehensive culture collection of some 100 vials gathered since 1928. It listed all parties, agencies, and labs that acquired its anthrax strains. When researchers, fearful of terrorists breaching the lab, offered to destroy the anthrax cultures, the FBI did not object. “This was an astonishing thing to do,” Francis Boyle tells me. “It should have been preserved as evidence. This was a roadmap of everybody and anybody that had gotten access to develop the super-strain that hit Leahy and Daschle.”

    Questions about the Ames database point to a bigger concern: where was the weapons-grade anthrax in the letters produced? If the FBI had an airtight case that the anthrax killer worked at Ft Detrick-thanks to new. DNA techniques supposedly linking the spores to that lab-surely the Assaad letter would be a key piece of evidence in the case against Ivins. At the very least it would have to be explained away rather than ignored.

    Another possibility is that the attacks didn’t originate at USAMRIID at all, and the FBI has once again accused an innocent man. Ironically, it was Ivins who, among other investigators, was initially tasked by the FBI with analyzing the anthrax in the letters. Dr. Gerry Andrews, a professor of microbiology at the University of Wyoming and former colleague of Ivins at Ft. Detrick, wrote in the New York Times, “When [Ivins’s] team analyzed the powder, they found it to be a startlingly refined weapons-grade anthrax spore preparation, the likes of which had never been seen before by personnel at Fort Detrick.” Granted, Andrews has an interest in exonerating his former lab, but he goes on to make an astonishing allegation: “It is extremely improbable that this type of preparation could ever have been produced at Fort Detrick, certainly not of the grade and quality found in that envelope.”

    If the scientists at Fort Detrick did not have the capacity to produce this kind of anthrax, who did? Boyle suggests an answer hi his book, Biowarfare and Terrorism. He alleges that the evidence in the anthrax spores, if properly pursued, would have “led directly back to a secret but officially sponsored U.S. government biowarfare program that was illegal and criminal, in violation of [the] Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989.” This might be easily dismissed as conspiracy theory except that a source no less reputable than the New York Times published a similar charge on Sept. 4,2001: “the United States has embarked on a program of secret research on biological weapons that, some officials say, tests the limits of the global treaty banning such weapons…. earlier this year, administration officials said, the Pentagon drew up plans to engineer genetically a potentially more potent variant of the bacterium that causes anthrax.”

    Boyle suggests possible perps: the Pentagon, the CIA, or perhaps private sector scientists acting under covert contract with the government. According to a 2002 BBC report, the CIA may indeed have been investigating “methods of sending anthrax through the mail which went madly out of control.” “The shocking assertion,” offered the BBC, “is that a key member of the covert operation may have removed, refined and eventually posted weapons-grade anthrax.” Boyle theorizes that the FBI’s investigation was purposely bungled as part of a cover-up. He argues that the legal process ensuing from a. thorough investigation “would, in a court of law, directly implicate the United States government, its agencies, its officials, and its agents, in conducting illegal and criminal biowarfare research.”

    But if such a program exists, why would anyone associated with it risk exposure by sending crude anthrax letters? Perhaps for the oldest motive in the world: money. In the wake of the postal terror, biowarfare funding under the rubric of “biodefense” received a major shot in the arm. By a vote of 99-0, the Senate passed the BioShield Act of 2004r which, on top of $22 billion for civilian biowarfare-related “defense work” funded between 2001 and 2005, allocates $5.6 billion through 2014 “to purchase and stockpile vaccines and drugs to fight anthrax, smallpox, and other potential agents of bioterror.” Critics claim that BioShield is a form of covert offensive biowarfare planning.

    Such research could come at a high price-beyond the billions Congress readily rubber-stamped. “The bioterror programs are far more likely to generate new risks to public health, rather than to provide additional protections,” MTT microbiologist Jonathan King says. Programs such as BioShield are “also generating a network of small and large companies planning to profit”

    Hillel W. Cohen, associate professor of epidemiology and population health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, offers a similar assessment. “Before 2001, some of us in public health described bioterrorism as an exaggerated threat,” Cohen says. “No one had ever died from bioterrorism, and we warned that the proliferation of laboratories studying anthrax and other biological weapons agents was a terrible mistake, diverting money from real health needs and dangerously multiplying the number of people with access. After the 2001 anthrax letters, our warnings were buried in an avalanche of fearmongering.” Today, Cohen says, “billions are being spent to support many more such labs.”

    Sen. Chuck Grassleyjs calling for a Congressional investigation, but we may never know the identity of the anthrax killer. Was it the uninvestigated Ft Detrick letter-writer with compelling foreknowledge? The dead scientist the FBI initially asked to investigate the attacks then later turned against? Or some other individual or group, with access to highgrade strains, who stood to benefit from a bioterror scare? We know who didn’t put anthrax in the mail: Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. Beyond that, all we know is that the FBFs conduct-whether by bureaucratic bungling or some kind of cover-up-makes it unlikely this case will ever be definitively closed.




    • DXer said

      Anthrax Central
      Fitrakis, Bob. Columbus Alive. Columbus, Ohio: May 30, 2002. Vol. 19, Iss. 22; pg. 4

      Abstract (Summary)
      Battelle reportedly conducted the CIA anthrax tests at West Jefferson and the DIA’s tests at the Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah. A December 18, 2001. Battelle News release issued from their Columbus headquarters refers to “Battelle’s Dugway, Hill Air Force Base and Toole, Utah locations.”

      The FBI questioned both William Patrick III and Ken Alibek, who worked for Battelle and the CIA as either employees or consultants. Last December, the New York Times asserted that Patrick authored a secret paper on the implications of sending anthrax through the mail. Patrick denies this, but the BBC made a similar assertion and noted that Patrick “had been a suspect” in the mailed-anthrax deaths.

      A September 7, 2001, Associated Press report noted a “new strain” of extremely lethal anthrax had been recently developed. The BBC and New York Times claimed that Patrick’s report had the U.S. anthrax program achieving an unprecedented anthrax concentration of one trillion spores per gram, twice that of the Russian anthrax program, which Alibeck earlier headed.

      • DXer said

        Bug hunt: Why is the FBI dragging its feet in the anthrax investigation?
        Fitrakis, Bob. Columbus Alive. Columbus, Ohio: Apr 25, 2002. Vol. 19, Iss. 17; pg. 7

        Abstract (Summary)
        Wonder what’s up with the anthrax investigation? While President Bush and his administration scour the world in search of terrorists, the FBI appears determined not to look at the biochemical terrorists right here in the homeland. Wayne Madsen’s article “Thinking the Unthinkable,” recently published on, nicely summed up the government’s foot dragging (or cover up) in the anthrax case.

        As usual, the article refers to our own Battelle Memorial Institute. I know, I know–you read the copyrighted story in the Columbus Dispatch that insisted Battelle had nothing to do with the military-grade anthrax unleashed on the U.S. media and Democratic Congressional leadership. Who are you going to believe? The Dispatch or the BBC, which reported that Battelle conducted secret biological warfare tests in the Nevada desert last September with genetically modified anthrax? Coincidentally, according to the BBC, Battelle’s anthrax tests occurred just prior to the terrorist attacks on September 11.

        The BBC also reported that William Capers Patrick III, part of the U.S. military’s anthrax development program at Fort Detrick, which officially ended in 1972, was working as a contractor for Battelle. Patrick’s claim to fame was that, while working for Battelle, he produced a paper on sending anthrax through the mail.

        • DXer said

          Oh, wait. The scientist coordinating with the 911 imam and Bin Laden’s shiek

          …the one who had worked as Andrew Card’s assistant briefly and had a high security clearance for work for the Navy…

          shared a mailbox and fax with the Battelle consultants and top DIA biothreat expert…

          had an office was a few feet away in the same suite.

          Dr. Bailey declined to discuss silica in Fall 2001 because he didn’t want to give the terrorists any ideas. With Dr. Alibek, he co-invented the process using silica in the culture medium. A military aerosol expert advises me it is a microencapsulation patent. The purpose of silicon encapsulation was explained in the book PLAGUE WARS that Ayman researched.

          So turning back to the first article, the suggestion that it was not “Al Qaeda” is over simplistic. Attorney General Ashcroft has long explained that the phrase “domestic” includes a highly educated US citizen who supports the Salafist-Jihadis.

  43. DXer said

    US said to eye DC for Gitmo trial

    The Associated Press
    Friday, January 15, 2010

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is considering a criminal trial in Washington for the Guantanamo Bay detainee suspected of masterminding the bombing of a Bali nightclub that killed 202 people, a plan that would bring one of the world’s most notorious terrorism suspects just steps from the U.S. Capitol, The Associated Press has learned.
    Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, was allegedly Osama bin Laden’s point man in Indonesia and, until his capture in August 2003, was believed to be the main link between al-Qaida and Jemaah Islamiyah, the terror group blamed for the 2002 bombing on the island of Bali.

    Other terrorism trials also may occur in Washington and New York City under a proposal being discussed within the Obama administration, according to U.S. officials briefed on the plan, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private planning meetings.

    Authorities already have begun discussing the intense security measures needed to bring Hambali and others before a Washington federal judge, the officials said.

    Conducting a trial in the nation’s capital would be a symbolic repudiation of the policies of former President George W. Bush, who portrayed Hambali as a success story in the Bush administration’s program of interrogating terror suspects in secret CIA prisons overseas.
    Bush said such interrogations, which included the simulated drowning technique of waterboarding, helped crack alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and led authorities to Hambali. Under intense questioning at a CIA “black site,” Hambali revealed a plan for another wave of suicide hijackings in the U.S., Bush said.

    Obama already has decided that Mohammed will face trial in New York and has said he believes criminal courts can handle even the most dangerous terrorists. If Hambali’s trial were held in Washington’s federal courthouse, the country’s most significant terrorism trials in generations will be conducted in the two cities targeted in the Sept. 11. 2001, attacks.

    But as Obama tries to close the military-run detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, he has found that moving detainees into U.S. courts is more difficult than he spelled out during his presidential campaign. Hambali was among 14 of what the U.S. said were key al-Qaida operatives moved from CIA custody to Guantanamo Bay in 2006.

    Some Guantanamo prisoners have been cleared for release for more than a year, but the U.S. can’t find any country to take them. Other detainees are deemed too dangerous to release, but prosecutors don’t have enough evidence to charge them in court. And prosecuting people like Mohammed and Hambali, both of whom spent time in secret CIA prisons, risks revealing more details about the classified interrogation program.

    Attorney General Eric Holder is sorting through the files of the nearly 200 detainees, deciding who can be brought to court and who should remain in a military commission system, where rules of evidence are more lax and prisoners have fewer rights. Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Hambali’s fate remains undecided.
    “The attorney general has made no decision on forum for this case, let alone on where such a case would be tried if it were sent to federal courts,” Miller said.


    George Tenet in his May 2007 In the Center of the Storm says Sufaat was “the self-described ‘CEO’ of al-Qai’da’s anthrax program.” Tenet reports that “Sufaat had impeccable extremist credentials” and “[i]n 2000 he had been introduced to Ayman al-Zawahiri personally, by Hambali, as the man who was capable of leading al-Qai’da’s biological weapons program.”

    The 9/11 Commission Report explained:

    “Hambali played the critical role of coordinator, as he distributed al Qaeda funds earmarked for joint operations. In one especially notable example, Atef turned to Hambali when al Qaeda needed a scientist to take over its biological weapons program. Hambali obliged by introducing a U.S.-educated JI member, Yazid Sufaat, to Ayman al Zawahiri in Kandahar. In 2001, Sufaat would spend several months attempting to cultivate anthrax for al Qaeda in a laboratory he set up near the Kandahar airport.”

    Participants at a key meeting in Kuala Lumpur in January 2000 included Hambali, Yazid Sufaat, two of the 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almidhar, Cole planner Attash aka Khallad, and others. Tawfiq Bin Attash was a long time Bin Laden operative. The Yemeni first went to Afghanistan in 1989. He came to lead Bin Laden’s bodyguards and was an intermediary between Bin Laden and those who carried out the bombing of the Cole in October 2000. Attash also had been a key planner in the 1998 embassy bombings, serving as the link between the Nairobi cell and Bin Laden and Atef. Khalid Almhidhar, one of the 9/11 hijackers, was from Saudi Arabia but was a
    Yemeni national. Almhidhar was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the indictment against Zacarias Moussaoui. Al-Hindi, who along with Jafar the Pilot would later case the NYC landmarks, had gone to Kuala Lumpur with Khallad. While not at the meeting with the hijackers, they met Hambali shortly after that meeting.

    Zacarias Moussaoui was alleged, at least initially, to have received his money from Yazid Sufaat, under the cover of a company managed by his wife named Infocus Tech. A legitimate company, the company has eight employees and virtually no connection to the US. The company was an importer of US computer software and hardware. After authorities found a letter signed by Yazid Sufaat purporting to authorize Zacarias Moussaoui as its marketing representative, authorities went looking for Sufaat. But by then, he had left for Pakistan and Afghanistan. According to his wife, he went to Pakistan in June 2001 because he wanted to do his doctorate in pathology at the University of Karachi. Dursina had attended Sacramento State with Sufaat. It was her mother who encouraged Yazid’s religious studies.According to his wife, Sejarhtul Dursina, “He had planned to set up a medical support unit in Afghanistan, near Kandahar.” Kandahar is where Al Qaeda established its anthrax lab and where extremely virulent (but unweaponized) anthrax was found at a home identified by Hambali after his capture.

    Sufaat graduated from California State University, Sacramento in 1987. He received a bachelors degree in biological sciences, concentrating on clinical laboratory technology, with a minor in chemistry. Sacramento State biological sciences professor Robert Metcalf taught Sufaat a food microbiology class in the spring of 1986. The first lesson in class was to teach students how German physician Robert Koch proved that anthrax was caused by a specific bacterium. “All of my students know how to isolate anthrax in soil samples,” Metcalf told the Chicago Tribune. “Anthrax was the first organism we talked about.” Sufaat joined the Malaysian army, where he was a lab technician assigned to a medical brigade. After five years, he left the service with the rank of captain and worked for a civilian laboratory. In August 1993, he set up his own company, Green Laboratory Medicine. The 9/11 Commission Report notes that Sufaat started work on the al Qaeda biological weapons program after he participated in JI’s December 2000 church bombings. In December 2001, Sufaat was arrested upon returning from Afghanistan to Malaysia where he had been serving in a Taliban medical brigade.

    Malaysian officials, at the time, have long sought to minimize Sufaat’s role. Sufaat merely was a foot soldier who provided housing and false identification letters and helped obtain explosives. “I would put it this way: If Hambali [Al Qaeda’s point man in Southeast Asia] was the travel agent, Sufaat was the guy at the airport holding up the sign.”

    Sufaat admits to having purchased 4 tons of ammonium nitrate to build a truck bomb for the Singapore cell. The Malaysian officials report that they believe that Sufaat had no knowledge of what the hijackers who stayed at his condominium or Zacarias were planning. That is consistent with the principles of cell security ordinarily followed — also evasion in interrogation. At a minimum, however, the established facts relevant to the Amerithrax investigation show that in the Summer and Fall of 2001 an Al Qaeda supporter who had assisted in the 9-11 operation — and who was a lab technician working with anthrax — was in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    Was he the fellow perceived as Filipino who the journalist met in Afghanistan in the Fall of 2001 bragging about his ability to manipulate anthrax? According to Sufaat’s attorney, Sufaat gave two FBI agents no fresh evidence during a 30-minute interrogation finally conducted in November 2002 (where they mainly wanted to know how he knew Zacarias). The U.S. has asked for his extradition in connection with hosting of the two 9/11 hijackers, but Malaysia has refused. President Bush reports that US officials did not fully appreciate Sufaat’s role in Al Qaeda’s anthrax program until after KSM’s capture in March 2003.

    As described in US News, a former reporter from the Kabul Times actually may have met a Filipino carrying papers from Zawahiri and bragging about his ability to manipulate anthrax. The man may have been Hambali’s lieutenant, Muklis Yunos, who had been Hambali’s right-hand man and was in charge of special operations for the Philippine Moro Islamic Liberation Front (“MILF”). British reporter Philip Smucker explained that the Afghan reporter working with him spoke fluent Arabic and made regular undercover trips into Afghanistan from Pakistan. He had visited three functioning al Qaeda camps at grave risk to his life. Smucker explains that his colleague had landed in a Kabul hotel with a Filipino scientist who had a signed letter from al Qaeda’s number two, Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, authorizing him to help the network develop biological weapons. The man at the hotel had described his own efforts to develop an “anthrax bomb.” Filipino Muklis Yunos was an explosives expert who had participated with Yazid Sufaat in the December 2000 church bombings. Upon his arrest in May 2003, Philippine intelligence said he had received anthrax training in Afghanistan.

    Perhaps he was who the journalist encountered.

  44. Anonymous Scientist said

    Giuliani says there was a direct anthrax attack on New York city hall ?????!!!!!

    Wolfe Blitzer, The Situation Room, Jan. 8, 2010

    BLITZER: There — there was at least one terror attack on U.S. Soil that happened after 9/11. I’m referring to the anthrax attacks in New York and in elsewhere. What that a terror attack, do you believe?

    GIULIANI: Well, as far as I know, the FBI has never been able to figure out who did it and has never designated it as a terror attack. I mean, I lived through that. I — there was…

    BLITZER: But whoever was trying to do it was trying to terrorize a lot of people.

    GIULIANI: Yes, but that was not done in the name — as far as we know, that was not done in the name of Islamic terrorism any more than, you know, serial killers who…

    BLITZER: Right. It could have been a domestic terror attack, too, and we don’t know, as you correctly point out, who was responsible…

    GIULIANI: That’s right. So you’re — so…

    BLITZER: …for that anthrax attack.

    GIULIANI: …so you can’t — you can’t describe something as a terrorist attack if it hasn’t been investigated and there’s no — no proof. And the best thinking on the part of the FBI is that it wasn’t involved with Islamic terrorism.

    But, again, that’s pretty — we’re on pretty shaky grounds there because they’ve never been able to solve that.

    BLITZER: And you — you don’t have any inside information on who was responsible?

    Who do you believe was responsible — because I know it happened in New York. We remembered what happened…

    GIULIANI: Gee, Wolf, it not only happened, there was — there was anthrax found in the office right next to mine. There was attack on city hall as well as on the major networks and Governor Pataki’s office. I mean, I as directly involved in that.

    At the time — at the time, I thought it was probably all connected to — to the terrorism that was attacking us. In retrospect, it seems to me, from what I know of it, that it wasn’t. But, again, that’s unresolved and it was be irresponsible to come to a conclusion about it.

    • DXer said

      ” there was anthrax found in the office right next to mine. There was attack on city hall as well as on the major networks and Governor Pataki’s office.”

      As I recall, in the case of the contamination of Patkai’s office it was tracked in. Cross-contamination was found at the White House on a slitter. At the Pentagon. Lots of places.

      But I meant to ask a stupid question about the search for other mail described by Dr. Beecher. I realize that there were a million pieces of mail. And that creating a little hole in the garbage bag and measuring spores seems like a well-thought out plan. But how does one know whether they missed an anthrax letter? Might it have been trapped under the weight of other mail and the spores didn’t have a chance to circulate? What happened to the mail? Was it destroyed? I don’t recall Dr. Beecher’s presentation. Might it have made more sense to go through all the mail individually rather than just by garbage bag? The reason I ask is that an additional letter or two might have made a huge difference in profiling the crime.

    • Dxer said

      While I don’t recall the exact nature of the tracking thought to have resulted in the spores in the state building, here is a new EPA-funded article.

      Experimental and theoretical investigation of particle-laden airflow under a prosthetic mechanical foot in motion

      This research effort was aimed at understanding how foot motion affects air transport and thus how walking affects contaminant dispersion. Particle imaging velocimetry (PIV) showed that during a rotational motion of the foot (typical footstep), a draft corner flow develops that carries particles from heel to toe. Foot contact with the floor may result in one or both of two types of reentrainment: (1) particles become airborne due to detachment from the floor, and (2) particles are first collected by the foot cover (e.g., Tyvek) and then detached from the foot into the airflow produced by the foot rotation. The airflow under the rotating foot was modeled as a rotating corner flow, and it was shown that such modeling can capture major characteristics of the airflow generated by the rotating foot and can explain how rotational foot motion contributes to reentrainment and dispersion of contaminants.

      1. Introduction

      Resuspension of particulate matter (PM) from flooring surfaces, along with tracking, is believed to contribute significantly to the movement of materials inside a building [1]. The ricin attack on Capitol Hill on February 2, 2004 [2] revealed the need to develop quantitative methods to estimate the risk of exposure of rapidly evacuating occupants to agents resuspended from office surfaces.

      A growing number of studies have shown that resuspended PM can contribute to indoor air pollution and thus to increased exposure of adults and children to PM from the flooring in homes and offices [3], [4], [5] and [6]. Resuspended particles from these surfaces fall predominantly in the 1–10 μm size range and may pose a threat to human health. In certain cases, even small amounts of resuspended material, such as anthrax spores, radiological particles, or pesticides, can result in very serious health effects. Although a substantial amount of work has been published on the subject of particle resuspension [7] and [8], a reliable method of assessment of the aerosol concentration reaching a breathing zone following agitation of the deposited contaminant is not available because of the complexity of phenomena associated with contaminant resuspension [9] and [10].

  45. Ike Solem said

    DXer, your theory of silica being incorporated onto the spore coat during sporulation is really kind of ridiculous, and unsupported by any scientific evidence whatsoever. Spores, recall, form INSIDE of vegetative cells. Spores of B. cereus do contain crystalline inclusions, but those are inclusions of protein toxins that are released as the spores “hatch” in the insect gut (cereus being an insect pathogen) – so by the time the vegetative cells are active, the toxins have already gone to work on the insect, which provides an environment conducive to growth of the bacteria. Silica particles in the medium would have to be incorporate into the interior of the vegetative cell – which is surrounded by a membrane, recall, which excludes polar or charged material, so there would have to be some (clearly non-existent) uptake process.

    It’s just an effort by the FBI to rule out the kind of advanced spore weaponization process used in the attacks – a process that Bruce Ivins clearly had no access to. Put that next to the fact that the “unique morphs” might very well arise in ANY large-batch spore production process, and the FBI’s case falls apart, and you’re right back to where you were in Dec 2001.

    The biggest flub of a case in the FBI’s history? I’m not sure, but it seems to come close – and not only that, we’re now into a useless and dangerous multi-billion dollar biowarfare research program as a result. The fact that they’ve enlisted some conflict-of-interest laden National Academy of Sciences committee – one that seems to be avoiding calling key witnesses, as well as NOT asking any of the key questions, only makes one wonder how far the corruption has spread.

    In fact, the cover-up (a fair term) seems similar in scale to the Soviet Union’s cover-up of their Sverdlovsk outbreak – well, not quite the same… people who raised questions about that in 1980 would probably have been subjected to some kind of full-scale KGB investigation and harassment program, and would have ended up in prison or worse, right?

    (For the Sverdlovsk details, see “Anthrax: The Investigation of a Deadly Outbreak”, by Jeanne Guillemin – a nice blueprint for investigating the 9/18 and 10/9 events – perhaps the NAS committee should sit down and read it.)

    • DXer said

      “Ike Solem said
      January 14, 2010 at 8:35 pm
      DXer, your theory of silica being incorporated onto the spore coat during sporulation is really kind of ridiculous, and unsupported by any scientific evidence whatsoever.”

      You dismiss my suggestion that microencapsulating silicon was used.

      Silicon was detected in the spore coat. Oxygen was also. Don’t think of that as my theory. Think of it as the FBI’s theory. It is the conclusion, I as understand it, of Dr. Majidi, who is WMD Chief in an investigation that has relied on top experts. If you mean to say I am misunderstanding the investigation’s conclusion, then I am open to having more precise phrasing suggested that accurately reflects the FBI’s position. If you mean you disagree with the army of top experts that have worked tirelessly for the FBI, then indulge me while I credit the experts have done the work and are qualified to speak to the issue. So I mean to credit the expert testimony, as I understand it. If you disagree with the FBI’s army of experts, you are free to continue to post your opinion on the internet.

      “It’s just an effort by the FBI to rule out the kind of advanced spore weaponization process used in the attacks – a process that Bruce Ivins clearly had no access to. ”

      While you’ve been posting on the internet, I enlisted a lab to do controlled experiments using a silanizing solution in the slurry prior to drying. I rely on the experts such as Dr. Kiel who have done controlled experiments. If I ever misunderstand what these experts are saying, then by all means it is the expert’s view that I mean to forward. That’s why I try to quote whenever possible.

      You regularly say things without a basis in fact, Ike. Like your dismissal of Dr. Patrick’s expertise because he had never consulted with the FBI — when to the contrary, he was a leading expert.

      In contrast, I always contact and solicit the opinion of most qualified experts and quote them. Here, qualification as an expert on some key issues, requires that the PhD has made an aerosol using anthrax simulant or anthrax.

      “Put that next to the fact that the “unique morphs” might very well arise in ANY large-batch spore production process, and the FBI’s case falls apart, and you’re right back to where you were in Dec 2001.”

      I am curious why they did not focus on the flask 1029 early on given that the attack anthrax was known to be a mix of strains, such as was known to be the case with that flask.

      “The biggest flub of a case in the FBI’s history? I’m not sure, but it seems to come close – and not only that, we’re now into a useless and dangerous multi-billion dollar biowarfare research program as a result.”

      If they don’t solve it, I wouldn’t disagree. But it is an open case until it is not. I can appreciate that the FBI is regularly in a position of damned if we do, damned if we don’t. I think if you did a voice stress analysis of Mr. Taylor’s presentation, it would show high stress on sentences. I think Dr. Ivins was indictable for altering the flask 1029 record. If he altered it, he would be indictable as an accessory after the fact, among other things.

      “The fact that they’ve enlisted some conflict-of-interest laden National Academy of Sciences committee – one that seems to be avoiding calling key witnesses, as well as NOT asking any of the key questions, only makes one wonder how far the corruption has spread.”

      There you go again. Twice I’ve asked you to stop claiming that there is a member or members has a conflict of interest without being able to point to one. I vetted each one for conflicts of interest personally. The fact that you would make a factual claim without support — where you have been repeatedly asked to provide support — is significant. When I claim a conflict of interest, I point to the factual basis. I’ve done so on numerous occasions but see no conflict of interest as to NAS panel members. For example, I’ve argued that Dr. Bannan should recuse himself and not be the cause any documents are withheld given he was the collection scientist at the ATCC Bacteriology Division and ATCC sponsored Al-Timimi’s program (and he had access). I called the daughter for the lead Amerithrax prosecutor and suggested that she should withdraw from representing Al-Timimi, given that her father had pled the Fifth Amendment regarding key leaks and given that Al-Timimi’s defense counsel described his client as an “anthrax weapons suspect.” But the big difference is I cite the factual support and you don’t. The standard for a “conflict of interest” is set out by the NAS and does not apply to “points of view.”

      “In fact, the cover-up (a fair term) seems similar in scale to the Soviet Union’s cover-up of their Sverdlovsk outbreak – well, not quite the same… people who raised questions about that in 1980 would probably have been subjected to some kind of full-scale KGB investigation and harassment program, and would have ended up in prison or worse, right?”

      Sverdlosk is a fascinating historical example worth coming to understand. It goes to show how long a cover-up can go on. Google Books (choose Magazines) has some good articles. It’s interesting to see who believed what and for how long. And to consider their motivations. Here, suppressing information relating to how best make bioweapons is a sensible way to proceed. As is maintaining confidentiality of a criminal investigation — one with grave national security implications to boot. I’ve previously agreed that proliferation of labs only increases the risk of infiltration or access to pathogen.

      “(For the Sverdlovsk details, see “Anthrax: The Investigation of a Deadly Outbreak”, by Jeanne Guillemin – a nice blueprint for investigating the 9/18 and 10/9 events – perhaps the NAS committee should sit down and read it.)”

      You cite the book by Matt Meselson’s wife, who by the way is writing a book on USAMRIID as we speak.

      Instead of just posting your assertions and opinions, Ike, solicit an expert’s opinion and post it. You would not be qualified as an expert by a federal district court judge and I am interested in the expert opinions of those whose expert testimony would be admissible.

    • DXer said

      Ike, Murrell’s chapter discusses the natural tendency of silicon to be absorbed in the spore coat. Have you read it? What was the highest level observed?

      What Dr. Majidi said was that it could have been in the culture medium.

  46. DXer said

    Antimicrobial Polymers and Fibers: Retrospective and Prospective

    Vigo, T.L.

    Southern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1100 Robert E. Lee Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70124, United States


    Aproaches for imparting antimicrobial activity to polymeric materials have evolved from ancient practices to eclectic, modern strategies. The mechanisms by which microbes attach to polymeric surfaces and acquire resistance to antimicrobial agents are critically reviewed. Representative microorganisms (primarily bacteria, fungi, algae and viruses) are listed that are deleterious from a health or medical perspective and/or cause unwanted damage in materials. A variety of chemical approaches have been effective and include micrencapsulation polymerization, covalent bond formation and simple insolubilization. Effectiveness of these agents (primarily biocides but also selective antibiotics) against various types of microorganisms and the modes by which they prevent microbial contamination and growth is discussed. Newer synthetic and naturally occurring agents are noted as well as strategies that prevent microbial attachment are discussed. The latter include modification of polymer surfaces, chemicals that disorient biochemical signals to microbes, and other useful concepts and approaches. The interest in this area is relevant to an array of applications where biological activity on fiber and other polymeric surfaces is of concern as biological discoveries reveal that many pathologies are caused by microbial infection.

  47. DXer said

    Will all the Al Qaeda/Guantanamo cases be dismissed for violation of the Speedy Trial Act? Will a dismissal of Ghailani then serve as precedent in the prosecution of KSM? These prosecutors have a difficult job.

    New York Times:
    Published: January 11, 2010

    A federal judge in Manhattan was asked on Monday to dismiss an indictment against a terror suspect whose lawyer argued that his nearly five-year detention in secret C.I.A. prisons and later at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was “perhaps the most egregious violation in the history of speedy-trial jurisprudence.”

    The judge, Lewis A. Kaplan of United States District Court, listened as a lawyer for the suspect, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, indicated that he was not challenging the government’s authority to decide to detain his client or the wisdom of that decision. The government held Mr. Ghailani to try to obtain intelligence about Al Qaeda.

    But the government “cannot have it both ways,” said the lawyer, Peter E. Quijano.

    Once these decisions are made, he added, “they can’t just simply change their mind, their political mind, 57 months later, and say, ‘You know, that indictment before Judge Kaplan? Let’s try it now.’ ”

    The judge did not say when he would rule. The debate over the significance of the delays in bringing Mr. Ghailani to trial arises in a case that is seen as crucial because it could foreshadow a key issue in the prosecution of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the professed organizer of the 9/11 attack, and four other Guantánamo detainees accused in the plot who were recently ordered to New York for trial.

    Last spring, Mr. Ghailani became the first Guantánamo detainee moved into the civilian court system. A Tanzanian, he faces charges of conspiring in the 1998 bombings of two American Embassies in East Africa, which killed more than 200 people. He later worked for Osama bin Laden as a bodyguard and a cook, military authorities have said.

    A federal prosecutor, Michael Farbiarz, sharply challenged the defense’s contention that the delays warranted dismissal of the charges. The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan has said in court papers that upon his capture in 2004, Mr. Ghailani was seen as “a rare find,” and his “recent interactions with top-level Al Qaeda terrorists made him a potentially rich source of information that was both urgent and crucial to our nation’s war efforts.”

    Mr. Farbiarz suggested in court that Mr. Ghailani had been a fount of valuable information for the authorities — and that the interrogation program did not constitute a violation of the constitutional right to a speedy trial. “Nobody from the government side means to suggest in the slightest that extraordinary times mean that the Constitution gets put on a shelf, not looked at, suspended in some way,” Mr. Farbiarz said. “That’s not what this case is about in the slightest.”

    Judge Kaplan will ultimately have to weigh several factors set out by the Supreme Court in assessing the claim, like the length of and the reason for the delay, and the prejudice caused to Mr. Ghailani and his case.

    Much in the case is classified, …

    Both sides acknowledged the weighty issues presented by the case, and the unusual circumstances that had brought the defendant into court. “What would indeed be unprecedented here would be dismissing this indictment on speedy-trial grounds,” Mr. Farbiarz argued at one point.

    “I think everybody can agree that whatever I do here will be unprecedented,” Judge Kaplan responded.

    • DXer said

      Lawyer: Feds chose torture over trial for detainee
      The Associated Press
      Monday, January 11, 2010; 6:13 PM

      Quijano said the U.S. government had the right to treat Ghailani as an intelligence asset for two years before he was transferred to Guantanamo Bay as an enemy combatant, but that there were Constitutional consequences for making such a “political decision.”

      “A state of war does not give the president a blank check when it comes to Constitutional rights,” he said.

      Farbiarz agreed that the Constitution does not “get put on a shelf” during extraordinary times and that a speedy trial is a fundamental right, but he said legal decisions in previous cases make it clear that the delay in bringing Ghailani to trial was justified and reasonable.

      “The delay is valid when its purpose is not to hinder the defense,” he said.

  48. DXer said

    It’s Scott Shane’s analysis that leaderless resistance constitutes a lesser threat.

    News Analysis
    A Year of Terror Plots, Through a Second Prism

  49. DXer said

    Now that Shawn Henry has taken over, it seems a good time to revisit the code used in the anthrax letters.

    (1) Atta’s “Jenny” Code and the Jennifer Lopez Letter

    The goofy letter sent to the publisher of the National Enquirer and Sun tabloids in Florida sought to dissuade Jennifer Lopez from a planned marriage. “Wedding” is known Al Qaeda-speak for “event” or “attack.” In the Summer of 2001, Mohammed Atta was communicating with a terrorist contact in Germany. He used tradecraft code in these contacts — he used the code “Two sticks, a dash and a cake with a stick down” to convey to his contact the intended date of the 9/11 attack. In sending these emails to Germany, Atta pretended to be writing to an imaginary girlfriend named “Jenny.” Khalid Mohammed used a similar code in communicating with Ramzi Binalshibh during the period, instructing Binalshibh to send “the skirts” to “Sally”. (The 9/11 Commission Staff noted that “Sally” was Zacarias Moussaoui.) KSM admits that upon the death of military commander Atef, he came to supervise the cell planning on attacking the United States with weaponized anthrax. In 2003, after the interrogation of regional operative Hambali, “extremely virulent” anthrax was found at a house in Kandahar that could be readily weaponized. Al Qaeda had it prior to 9/11.

    Stevens noted at the time it was especially odd given that the Sun did not deal with celebrities, which was the subject of the sister-paper Globe. Stevens’ fellow photo editor Roz Suss was looking over his shoulder: “With that Bob says to me, ‘Hey, I think there’s something gold in here. It looks like a Jewish star sticking out of the powder.’ I walked up behind him and reached over his shoulder. I pulled this little star out of what looked like a mound of powder in this letter.” “It looked like something from a Cracker Jacks box,” she says. She picked it out of the powder and tossed it in her wastebasket. Stevens’ colleague Bobby Bender recalls opening a large envelope to Jennifer Lopez, care of the Sun. In it was a cigar tube containing a cigar, a small Star of David charm, and somethiing that seemed like soap powder. According to an early National Enquirer, Stevens held it up to his face and then put it down on the keyboard (where traces of anthrax were found). The publisher’s wife was the real estate broker who rented to two of the hijackers. Small world, eh? KSM’s assistant in supervising the anthrax cell was Hambali, who along with two colleagues considered attacking an Israeli restaurant, with a Star of David above it, in the Khao San Rd. backpacker area in Bangkok.

    Jennifer Lopez’ fame had withstood a number of underperforming movies, to include the movie “The Cell” in the year 2000. In the movie, following a trail of bodies, an FBI agent tracks down and captures a disturbed serial killer. Before the killer can reveal the whereabouts of his next victim (a woman trapped in a cell on the verge of drowning), he falls into a coma. Enter FBI psychologist Lopez, who uses a radical link to the killer’s brain that could destroy her own sanity. “Her mission: Find the cell’s location before time runs out, and avoid getting trapped inside the killer’s head.” How apt.

    Mrs. Stevens explained:

    “They get strange letters sometimes, and the consensus seems to be that if Robert wasn’t wearing his glasses and if it was something funny, he would hold the letters up to his face. They think perhaps that’s how he got it. Just bad luck.”

    The CIA knows that wedding is Al-Qaeda-speak for an event. That, according to New York Times journalists, is why the CIA got so anxious to have the Buffalo boys arrested. Apart from an email about a “big feast,” they had started talking about a planned wedding. Interpreting such code is not without risk. The CIA kicked down the door in Bahrain and dragged him away from the altar to the horror of his bride-to-be.

    What does the J.Lo letter tell us about the sender, or senders? J.Lo is what they used to call a “sex bomb” – and the biggest one at the time. She had international fame. The vehicle had a “weird” love letter, a Star of David, maybe a cigar. Who has “issues” and weird obsessions with women, sex (with a cigar being a crude symbol) and Jewish symbolism? Atta, for example, had strict instructions in his will about what women would be allowed to do at his funeral. Follow the anomalies.

    Two of the hijackers had subscriptions to AMI publications, as did at least one other Al Qaeda operative in contact with Atta in the summer of 2001.

    (2) “School”

    “Greendale” School is the return address of the anthrax letters to Senators Daschle and Leahy — two Senators who played key roles in both appropriations to Israel and Arab secular regimes and the rendering of senior Egyptian Islamic Jihad leaders. In December 2002, the Arabic paper London Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that correspondence on Zawahiri’s computer (which was obtained by the Wall Street Journal) shows Zawahiri uses “school” as code for Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The letter was found on Al Zawahiri’s computer. The letter was designed to look innocent. It was dated 3 May 2001 and signed “Dr. Nour, Chairman of the Company.” Nour was one of Zawahiri’s aliases. In this context, it was Egyptian Islamic Jihad, not Al Qaeda, of which he was Chairman.

    “We have been trying to go back to our main, previous activities. The most important step was the opening of the school. We have made it possible for the teachers to find openings for profitable trade.”

    The letter read:

    “To: Unknown From: Ayman al-Zawahiri Folder: Letters Date: May 3, 2001

    The following is a summary of our situation: We are trying to return to our previous main activity. The most important step was starting the school, the programs of which have been started. We also provided the teachers with means of conducting profitable trade as much as we could. Matters are all promising, except for the unfriendliness of two teachers, despite what we have provided for them. We are patient. [This apparently refers to an internal dispute with two senior London Egyptian islamists].

    As you know, the situation below in the village [Egypt] has become bad for traders [jihadis]. Our Upper Egyptian relatives have left the market, and we are suffering from international monopolies. Conflicts take place between us for trivial reasons, due to the scarcity of resources. We are also dispersed over various cities. However, God had mercy on us when the Omar Brothers Company [the Taliban] here opened the market for traders and provided them with an opportunity to reorganize, may God reward them. Among the benefits of residence here is that traders from all over gather in one place under one company, which increases familiarity and cooperation among them, particularly between us and the Abdullah Contracting Company [bin Laden and his associates]. The latest result of this cooperation is … the offer they gave. Following is a summary of the offer:

    Encourage commercial activities [jihad] in the village to face foreign investors; stimulate publicity; then agree on joint work to unify trade in our area. Close relations allowed for an open dialogue to solve our problems. Colleagues here believe that this is an excellent opportunity to encourage sales in general, and in the village in particular. They are keen on the success of the project. They are also hopeful that this may be a way out of the bottleneck to transfer our activities to the stage of multinationals and joint profit. We are negotiating the details with both sides.”

    The full message, decoded, is thought to say:

    “We have been trying to go back to our military activities. The most important step was the declaration of unity with al-Qaeda. We have made it possible for the mujahideen to find an opening for martyrdom. As you know, the situation down in Egypt has become bad for the mujahideen: our members in Upper Egypt have abandoned military action, and we are suffering from international harassment.”

    But Allah enlightened us with His mercy when Taliban came to power. It has opened doors of military action for our mujahideen and provided them with an opportunity to re-arrange their forces. One benefit of performing jihad here is the congregation in one place of all mujahideen who came from everywhere and began working with the Islamic Jihad Organization. Acquaintance and cooperation have grown, especially between us and al-Qaeda.”

    Dr. Jean Rosenfeld, a researcher associated with the UCLA Center for the Study of Religion, and an expert on the symbolism of religious extremist movements, wrote me: “Greendale’ to me signified a conscious choice to use the symbolic color of Islam.” She continued: “The franked eagle on the envelope of the anthrax letters was identical to the one I caught on a documentary that showed a one-second shot of the site where Sadat was assassinated — the huge eagle above the podium where he was when he died. That assassination was of great significance to Egyptian Jihad and produced the pamphlet by Faraj that justifies “fard ‘ayn”/individual duty as the basis of jihadist doctrine.” She explained that “AQ is rooted in Egypt and Salafism, not Saudi Arabia and Wahhabism. Al-Zawahiri, I believe, is intensely nostalgic for the Nile Valley.”

    The CIA factbook explains that the color green — such as used by anthrax lab technician Yazid Sufaat in naming his lab “Green Laboratory Medicine” , and by the mailer who used the return address “Greendale School” — is the traditional color of islam. Green symbolizes islam, Mohammed and the holy war. In its section on Saudi Arabia, and the “Flag Description:,” the CIA “Factbook” explains that the flag is “green with large white Arabic script (that may be translated as There is no God but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God) above a white horizontal saber (the tip points to the hoist side); green is the traditional color of Islam.”

    “Green is the color of the prophet Mohammed who himself declared it his favourite color and who’s cloak and turban were green. Even today only his direct successors – the Kaliphs – are allowed to wear a green turban. The Holy Banner – the most precious relic of Islam – is green with golden embroidery. Mohammed supposedly carried this very banner into the holy war which resulted in conquering Mecca. Green is also the predominating color in Paradise where it stands for flowery fields and eternal oases. Green is the color of the Arabic League and many Arabic countries have included green in their national flags as it symbolizes the unity of all arabic nations. Green is also the life-giving color of all desert peoples.”

    Al Qaeda anthrax lab technician Yazid Sufaat and Zacarias Moussaoui used the name Green Laboratory Medicine as the name of the company that he used, for example, to buy 4 tons of ammonium nitrate, and that he used to cover his anthrax production program. In a Hadith the Messenger of Allah explains that the souls of the martyrs are in the hearts of green birds that fly wherever they please in Paradise.

    Green dale refers to green “river valley” — Egypt, Cairo, Egyptian Islamic Jihad and/or Egyptian Islamic Group. Put it all together and you have their new official name (though the American press does not use it) — Qaeda al Jihad. For what it is worth, at the Darunta complex where jihadis trained, recruits would wear green uniforms, except for Friday when they would be washed.

    A similar type of coded talk was used around the same period between Atta and Binalshibh as they approached the zero hour of 11 September. Code phrases included:

    Faculty of Fine Arts/arts = Pentagon Faculty of Town Planning = World Trade Center Faculty of Law = The Capitol politics = White House White Meat = Americans Terminal = Indonesia Market = Malaysia Hotel = Philippines Village = Egypt

    In the conversations that the blind sheikh’s spokesman, Sattar, had with people like Taha, al-Sirri, and the sheikh’s son, Ahmed, they used the same language found in emails between Zawahiri and the Yemeni cell. If a brother was in the hospital, it meant he was in prison. If he had an accident, it meant perhaps that Egyptian security services had killed him.

    Given that using the same address helps the second recipient receiving the letter to identify it and avoid opening it, the perp would have no reason to use the same address unless he was communicating something and wanted to draw attention to it.

    On the return address, Greendale School purported to be in Franklin Park where fugitive Adnan El-Shukrijumah worshipped along with others who now have been indicted. The pilot El Shukrijumah is said to be at the level of Mohammed Atta and is thought to have been associated with Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT-trained biologist. Mohammed Atta lived 11 miles away from this mosque across from Franklin Park. Holy Cross hospital — where Dr Tsonas treated Flight 93 hijacker Ahmad al-Haznawi for a suspicious leg lesion that he and other experts think was due to cutaneous anthrax — is only 7 miles from the mosque. Al-Haznawi had just come from Kandahar where the “extremely virulent” anthrax had been found and where Sufaat’s anthrax lab was located. Is it all a coincidence? Possibly. Certainly, it is speculative and the relevant information is classified. Sufaat’s two principal assistants, a Sudanese man and an Egyptian man, were captured in 2003.

    The coded e-mail Faris wrote back to KSM suggesting that the idea of removing bolts from the span of the Brooklyn Bridge was not a viable idea was but one of many examples of the simple codes used by Al Qaeda operatives. Sometimes it might be Iyman Faris’ reference to the weather or Ramzi Binalshibh’s “shirts” for Sally. Sometimes the code might be as simple as Adham Hassoun’s “stuff” for the local soccer team in places like Bosnia or his references to a young man who wanted to go out and get some “fresh air” [go join the jihad]. Sometimes it might be a reference to Greendale School or a marriage proposal to Jenny such as in the case of the anthrax mailings.

    But putting aside this question of nuptials, impending or annulled, the fact remains that the sender of the anthrax letters would have had no reason to use the same address on the second letter unless he was communicating something. That identical return address, in fact, helped authorities locate and intercept the letter to a Senator.

    (3) “In The Hearts Of Green Birds” (Inside Green Birds)

    It was widely published among the militant islamists that martyrs go to paradise “in the hearts of green birds.” The stamp used in the anthrax mailings was designed by artist Michael Doret. Mr. Doret advises me that the color of the eagle is a “teal” or greenish-blue.

    In the very interview in which they admitted 9/11, and described the codes used for the four targets for the planes, KSM and Ramzi Binalshibh admitted to the Jenny code, the code for representing the date 9/11, and used the symbolism of the “Green Birds.” Osama Bin Laden later invoked the symbolism in his video “The 19 Martyrs”, describing a hijacker as “A man of worship who enjoined good and forbade evil. His body was on earth but his heart roamed with the green birds that perch beneath the Throne of the Most Merciful.”

    9-11 plotter Ramzi Binalshibh a few months earlielr in his interview with al-Jazeera, in a lengthy and articulate essay “The Nineteen Lions” published by Azzam Publications on December 2002, explained:

    “One of the explanations of the Quranic verse [3:169] in which Allah says that the shuhadaa (martyrs) are not dead, is that as well as their souls being inside the hearts of green birds, they are alive because the shaheed (martyr) gives life to those around him. Indeed evidence of this is apparent throughout the Ummah today.”

    Peter Finn of the Washington Post explains the symbolism:

    “Around 7 one evening during Ramadan in 1998, the believers filed down a long corridor leading to the prayer room of the Al Muhadjirin mosque here, placing their shoes on the dark brown shelves before stepping onto a carpet the color of turquoise, a mixture of green for Islam and blue for heaven. Among the worshipers was a small group of men who clustered around a severe, slight Egyptian named Mohamed Atta. ..

    In the [9/11/2002] interview with al-Jazeera, Binalshibh, said that Al-Shehhi, even before he learned of the operation, used to have beautiful visions that he flies in the sky with huge green birds and crashes into things.”

    A FAQ on Al Qaeda’s website, the Azzam Publications website, explained that “In the Hearts of Green Birds” refers to what is inside: “The actual Arabic word used in the Hadith is not Qalb (heart) but it is Jowf which can mean any of interior, inside, or heart (as in center).” There was a video based on the hadith with the title “In The Hearts of Green Birds” about foreign mujahideen that had been martyred in Bosnia. The audiocasette was created in August 1996 and its 3rd edition was released in January 1997. The website selling the “In the Hearts of Green Birds” audiocassette was shut down after 9/11 because authorities thought it might contain codes and instructions to militants. posted an exclusive interview with Ayman al-Zawahiri and stressed the importance of cash donations and gas masks and chemical-resistant suits. Ibn Khattab, the Arab Chechnyan fighter who was Bin Laden’s good friend, had told his public that was highly recommended and that only the two charities identified by the website should be used to route donations — announcing in 2000 that Benevolence International Foundation was one of the charities that should be used. The other was the Islamic Assembly of North America (“IANA”). Ibu al-Khattab, the late Arab-Afghan commander of foreign mujahideen in Chechnya (who in March 2002 was killed by a poison letter), expressly endorsed Azzam Publications. had “no bricks and mortar address, but operates a post office box in London, and bill[ed] itself as “an independent media organisation providing authentic news and information about jihad and the Foreign Mujahideen everywhere.” One posting datelined from the southern Afghan city of Kandahar and was a message to Muslim youth from top terror suspect Bin Laden. A farewell message from Azzam Publications .. exhorts “Muslims all over the World (to) render as much financial, physical, medical, media and moral support to the Taliban as they can.” Azzam also urged those with computer expertise to mirror the website so as to keep it up after authorities took it down. One can access old websites as they existed on past dates through and its wonderful Wayback Machine.

    British and US intelligence sources suspected that some of’s jihad photos and graphics contain messages embedded with a technology known as steganography. The code instead perhaps was there separately for all to see on the stamps of the lethal missives being sent.

    A man formerly known as Paul Hall, was arrested in Phoenix on a federal criminal complaint in March 2007 and agreed to be removed to District of Connecticut for further prosecution where there has been investigation of Azzam Publications website located on a server there He is alleged to have provided classified information to the London-based Azzam Publications about a U.S. Navy battle group as it traveled from California to the Persian Gulf region in 2001. He allegedly “described a recent force protection briefing given aboard his ship, voiced enmity toward America, praised Osama bin Laden and the mujahedeen [and] praised the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole.”

    Even Zarqawi invoked the imagery in a 60-minute audio message:

    “The martyrs rejoice in the bounty provided by God. Their souls are inside the bodies of green birds that fly in heaven.”

    In Fall 2004, the federal authorities indicted the fellow behind Azzam Publications selling “Green Birds,” Babar Ahmad, pointing, in part, to the “distribution of videotapes and compact discs depicting fighters in Bosnia, Chechnya and elsewhere, and the eulogizing of dead fighters, for the purpose of recruiting individuals and soliciting donations to support the mujahideen in Afghanistan and Chechnya.” Of Pakistani descent, Ahmad is a British computer specialist. He is associated with KSM, who had anthrax production documents on his laptop and admits to having headed the cell (after Atef’s death) planning to use weaponized anthrax against the United States. Ahmad is also the cousin of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, who was arrested mid-2004 in Pakistan. Khan’s computers carried detailed surveillance of five financial buildings in New York, Newark and Washington and once prompted the Department of Homeland Security to elevate the threat alert level to orange.

    In an affidavit, an FBI special agent and computer investigative specialist, alleged that a New Brunswick, NJ man, Mazen Mokhtar, assisted Babar in maintaining the continued operation of the Azzam sites, through the use of mirror sites, when the administrators of Azzam sites shut down the site down after 9/11. The mirror sites, and, allegedly routed people trying to access The affidavit alleges that Mr. Mokhtar is listed as the administrative contact for the mirror sites. He also operated A friend reports: “He said he used to run a hosting service four or five years ago that used to resell Web hosting services to people. He said he didn’t know those guys (mentioned in court papers) and he is not involved in anything like that.” An Egyptian-born imam and political activist, he is a supporter of Palestinian cause and frequent speaker before groups in Brooklyn and the Bronx. He is said to be nice and seems a man of peace.

    Of course, given that the symbolism used in this regard in the anthrax mailings had an origin in religious writing, there is no direct tie with the website — the tie could be with the hadith. The webmaster has said that the FBI allowed it to remain up (while it moved from server to server) for another year hoping to get leads on supporters.

    Bin Laden was using “Green Birds” in the same way he used the repeated phrase “Looming Tower” to hint of what was to come with the planes attack on the World Trade Center. He would say:

    “Wherever you are, death will find you, even in the looming tower.”

    On October 7, 2001 in a prerecorded tape aired October 7, Bin Laden said “The winds of faith have come.” This would be enough to keep Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell up at night — or when he does sleep, to keep him dreaming about green birds.

    (4) KSM and Clouds (Al-Sahab)

    In admitting that he had taken over supervising the development of anthrax for use against the US, Khalid Mohammed separately noted that “I was the Media Operations Director for Al-Sahab or ‘The Clouds,’ under Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

    The flagship of American Media, Inc. described the letter sent AMI as follows:

    “Bobby Bender came around the corner with this letter in the upturned palms of his hands,” said photo assistant Roz Suss, a 13-year Sun staffer.

    “It was a business-size sheet of stationery decorated with pink and blue clouds around the edges.”

    (5) Allusion to Both Atta and Genomic Sequencing of Ames Strain

    The writing of the text of the letter is also interesting in that the “As” and “Ts” are double-lined — to suggest ATTA, the lead hijacker.

    When the US Centers for Disease Control first identified that the Ames strain had been used in the mailng to Florida in October 2001, Dr. Paul Keim and his colleagues at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) had nearly finished a project to sequence Bacillus anthracis— specifically, the chromosome of an anthrax isolate from a laboratory in Porton Down, U.K. Ayman had a microbiologist attending Porton Down-sponsored conferences at which presentations were made about the sequencing of Ames. The Defense Intelligence Agency provided me the correspondence between the scientist and Zawahiri. And, sure, enough, the letter writer appears to have even double-lined A’s and T’s in the letters possibly to simultaneously allude to Atta and the genomic sequence. The hazmat courier who delivered anthrax to Dr. Keim’s lab emailed me this past week to say that he was interviewed twice — once in March 2002 and then in January 2003. It was in January 2003 that the FBI had come to be fixated on whether any middle eastern man had come to have access to anthrax at the lab. The FBI thus apparently has been clued into the code used in the letter years ago.

    As explained at the Porton Down conferences attended by Ayman’s operative Abdur Rauf, Keim’s research team eventually discovered 60 new ‘markers’ in the Bacillus anthracis genome—DNA sequences that may vary from one isolate to another. These include insertions or deletions of DNA, and short sequences that are repeated at different lengths in the genome known as VNTRs (variable-number tandem repeats). A decade earlier, it had been determined that one of three proteins comprising anthrax toxin, and the first nucleotide sequence to be reported from B. anthracis (by USAMRIID authors no less), had a consensus TATAAT sequence located at the putative -10 promoter site. It is all greek to me but apparently something with meaning to the person who drafted the letter. Perhaps the sender was saying that the bacteria was pathogenic unlike what had been sent to the Canadian immigration minister six months earlier when a bail hearing was announced for the manager of Bin Laden’s farm in Sudan. The man was a shura member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

    This and the other coding together may have served to tell the world, for example, that Mohammed Atta and the others were going to fly to paradise on a green bird and that the anthrax was courtesy of Zawahiri’s Vanguards of Conquest. Ayman simultaneously framed the US Army and UK biodefense establishment while telling them who did it. DNI McConnell, in acknowledging at the conference that he perceived this threat, seems to be abiding long-honored inside-the-beltway code: CYA.

  50. DXer said

    Cybersecurity expert to head FBI’s D.C. office

    By Carrie Johnson
    Washington Post Staff Writer

    Saturday, January 9, 2010

    The FBI has tapped a cybersecurity expert as the new head of its Washington Field Office, one of the largest and most prestigious posts in the crime-fighting bureau, a spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

    As assistant director in charge of the field office, Shawn Henry, 47, will be responsible for leading federal investigations of fraud, public corruption and terrorism across Northern Virginia and the District, bureau spokeswoman Katherine Schweit said.

    The surroundings will be familiar: Henry began his career as a special agent in the District in 1989, focusing on public corruption. He was also on the SWAT team.

    In recent years, Henry attracted international attention for heading up probes of computer intrusion and fraud cases, and he appeared as an FBI representative at security conferences across the United States and Europe. In September 2008, he wasnamed assistant director of the bureau’s Cyber Division.

    During his tenure there, the FBI set up special cybercrime offices in Estonia, Romania and the Netherlands to help combat the growing problem. The bureau sifted through 2,120 international cybercrime leads in fiscal 2008 alone.

    Henry, a graduate of Hofstra University and Virginia Commonwealth University, replaces Joseph Persichini Jr., who retired in December. Persichini had been the focus of an internal investigation into allegations that he might have cheated on an FBI training exam, two sources said late last year.

    • DXer said

      ( – Director Robert S. Mueller, III has named Shawn Henry assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Division. Mr. Henry most recently served as assistant director of the Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters.

      “I’m excited to be moving to the Washington Field Office; it’s where I started my career back in 1989. Some of the most challenging work in the FBI is done here in Washington, D.C. and the office is filled with committed and talented personnel dedicated to the Bureau’s mission,” said Henry.

      Mr. Henry entered on duty as a special agent with the FBI in 1989. Upon completion of training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, he was assigned to the Washington Field Division, where he investigated a variety of matters, focusing primarily on public corruption. He was also a member of the SWAT team. In 1995, he was the recipient of the Director’s Award for Outstanding Criminal Investigation.

      Mr. Henry was promoted to supervisory special agent in the Public Corruption Unit at FBI Headquarters in 1996, with program management oversight for public corruption investigations nationwide. In 1999, he was designated chief of the Computer Investigations Unit within the National Infrastructure Protection Center at FBI Headquarters. In that capacity, he was responsible for all criminal computer intrusion matters. He was appointed as a representative for the United States delegation to the G8 as a member of the cyber crime subgroup.

      In 2001, Mr. Henry was promoted to field supervisor of the Computer Crimes Squad for the Baltimore Division, with responsibility for investigation of computer intrusion and computer fraud matters, computer forensic examinations, and technical operations. He was named assistant inspector and team leader in the Inspection Division at FBI Headquarters in 2003, where he led teams conducting evaluations and audits of FBI field and Headquarters divisions.

      Mr. Henry was selected as assistant special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Division in 2004, with oversight for all administrative matters, special operations, technical services, and the Field Intelligence Group. He was subsequently detailed to FBI Headquarters to assist in the implementation of the National Security Branch. In 2006, he was selected as a member of the Senior Executive Service to serve as chief of the Executive Staff to the Executive Assistant Director of the National Security Branch.

      In 2007, Mr. Henry was named deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division, with program management responsibility for all FBI computer investigations worldwide. He was named assistant director of the Cyber Division in September 2008.

      Mr. Henry has earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Hofstra University in New York, and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

  51. DXer said

    If you want a DOD report explaining microencapsulation and its use in bioweapons, see “The Advantages and Limitations of Calmatives for Use as a Non-Lethal Technique,” a 49 page report describing research being done at the time of the anthrax mailings.

    Under “Modes of Delivery: A number of weaponization modes are discussed in the report. These include, for example, and aerosol sprays and microencapsulation. Microencapsulation technology in this context involves creating granules of a minute quantity of agent coated with a hardened shell.

    It does not involve “floatability” as such.

  52. DXer said

    NYC trial of reputed al-Qaida associate begins
    The Associated Press
    Wednesday, January 13, 2010; 12:32 PM

    NEW YORK — A U.S.-trained scientist allegedly linked to al-Qaida and charged with shooting at FBI agents in Afghanistan greeted potential jurors at her attempted murder trial Wednesday with a white scarf covering her face and an impromptu commentary on the proceedings.

    “I’m boycotting the trial, just to let all of you know,” Aafia Siddiqui said as a judge began jury selection in federal court in Manhattan. “There’s too many injustices. … I’m out of this.”

    After U.S. District Judge Richard Berman responded, “Thank you, Dr. Siddiqui,” she put her head down on the defense table and went silent as prosecutors flashed a photo of her face on a television monitor.

    The scene marked the latest in a series of courtroom rants by Siddiqui, who has refused to work with her defense lawyers and lambasted the court since her case began last summer. Her trial had been delayed so she could be examined by several psychiatrists, with most concluding she was faking mental illness.

    “I don’t trust you,” she told the judge at one point Wednesday before the potential jurors packed the courtroom.

    The 37-year-old Siddiqui – a specialist in neuroscience who trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brandeis University – is accused of grabbing a U.S. Army officer’s rifle during an interrogation in Afghanistan in July 2008 and exchanging gunfire with U.S. soldiers and FBI agents.

    She survived a gunshot wound to the stomach and was brought to the United States weeks later to face federal charges of attempted murder and assault.

    Prosecutors allege Siddiqui was carrying a list naming the Statue of Liberty and other New York landmarks, and notes about chemical and biological weapons when she was first detained by Afghan police.

    They have also said they believe she fled from United States to her native Pakistan in 2003 after marrying an al-Qaida operative, and because she knew 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

    The judge ruled Wednesday that the government could use the Siddiqui’s handwritten notes as evidence against her. But the government was barred from mentioning al-Qaida or Osama bin Laden.

    Opening statements were scheduled for Tuesday.

  53. DXer said

    Woman accused of al-Qaida ties set for NYC trial
    The Associated Press
    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    NEW YORK — A U.S.-trained scientist accused of shooting at FBI agents in Afghanistan and being an al-Qaida sympathizer is set to go on trial in New York.

    Jury selection for the case against Aafia Siddiqui (ah-FEE’-uh sih-DEE’-kee) is to begin Wednesday morning in federal court. Opening statements are scheduled for next week.

    Prosecutors accuse the 37-year-old Siddiqui of grabbing a U.S. Army officer’s rifle in 2008 and exchanging fire with U.S. soldiers and FBI agents. She was shot in the abdomen and denies she fired the weapon.

    She says she won’t participate in the trial. A judge has said she’ll be brought to the courthouse every day and given a choice whether to attend.

    Her previous court appearance have included outbursts in which she has said she doesn’t hate America.

    • DXer said

      Following the outburst, government lawyers told Judge Berman that they should be allowed to introduce materials at Ms. Siddiqui’s trial, which is scheduled to start Jan. 19, including sodium cyanide and handwritten notes written in Urdu and English referring to a “mass casualty attack” in the United States.

      Might the cyanide have just been used to remove visas from passport document? Her husband, when found with a sprayer containing low level of cyanide, said he had it to remove stains on his clothing. Maybe he and his wife Aafia went to the same drycleaners.

      The transcript from the Combatant Status Review Tribunal explains:

      MEMBER [AL-BALUCHI]: While you were in Pakistan you describe the cyanide…
      DETAINEE: [Interrupting the Member]
      MEMBER: … you had in your possession, a small amount, as being textile, chemical-oriented.
      DETAINEE: Yes.
      MEMBER: Why would you have that on your person?
      DETAINEE: Just I have. Wasn’t for specific purpose but I have. It’s ah…
      MEMBER: Did you have an intent to use it once you got there? What were you going to do with it?
      DETAINEE: No, no. Just ah, it’s use for clothing to remove the color. And something in Pakistan it’s something that they do. It’s bleach like kinda bleach but industrial bleach so.”

      According to the DOD formal charges issued in February 2008, KSM would give the hijackers a chemical in an eye dropper to remove Pakistan visas from their passport. Perhaps the low concentration of cyanide in the perfume bottle used to remove stains just related to that — rather than consideration of a plot to spray cyanide in a nightclub that had been vetoed by Bin Laden.

  54. DXer said

    What do the hundreds of handwritten pages that I’ve heard Aafia was carrying (it won’t be confirmed until admitted into evidence) say about anthrax? We’re told only they related to biological weapons and plans to kill us.

    Did Aafia have potential access to any Ivins-supplied virulent Ames in the collection of anthrax strains at Brandeis and did that long-held collection include Ames? On March 11, 2002, the Brandeis General Counsel sent an email advising that the federal authorities had subpoenaed records in connection with the investigation of the anthrax crimes.

    In November 2001, the Hazmat Team and the State Department of Health was called after three researchers were doing research with anthrax and Administration officials were concerned there might be contamination. The scientists were confident all scientific protocols had been followed but Hazmat was called nonetheless. The research had been done after the anthrax mailings seeking means to detect anthrax spores. The anthrax used had been at Brandeis a long time, acquired at a time before federal regulations in 1997 required that transfers be recorded. The lab was in the Kalman Building, part of the complex of buildings adjoining the Volen Center. Brandeis researchers Daniel Perlman and Inga Mahler had “decided to focus on developing a solid growth medium for cultivating B. anthracis that might be usable in the field with a minimum of equipment. They further developed the growth medium for use at room temperature thereby obviating the need for equipment such as incubators for sustaining an elevated temperature.” The pair obtained a patent issued March 2004 titled “Selective growth medium for Bacillus anthracis and methods of use.”

    Dr. Perlman has been innovative on a wide range of consumer products. Here is a patent using microencapsulating silicon titled “Methods for isolating mutant microorganisms from parental populations” that issued in 1987.

    A method for isolating a mutant microorganism is described. The method comprises the steps of: (a) separately microencapsulating in a semi-permeable membrane each or a small number of microorganisms from a microorganism population containing said mutant; (b) growing said microencapsulated microorganisms including treating to induce a detectable difference between microcapsules containing mutant microorganisms and those containing non-mutant microorganisms; and (c) separating said microcapsules containing mutant microorganisms from those containing non-mutant microorganisms based on said difference.

    Here then there is the 1999 patent by food researcher Daniel Perlman, the Harvard researcher doing research at Brandeis, using microparticulate silicon dioxide.

    US Patent 5962064 – Method and composition for preventing oil separation in vegetable kernel butters by combining with microparticulate silicon dioxide
    US Patent Issued on October 5, 1999

    Now the folks showing us the Ivins dog and pony show may say that Dr. Ivins used microencapsulating silicon and that was the reason for the silicon signature in flask 1030. But given that we don’t have the blinders on that the Task Force investigators did, let’s take a broader view that actually includes the people that the hundreds of pages of handwritten notes showing plans to try to murder us.

    Dr. Mahler had published on the subject of gram positive and gram negative bacteria (the subject underlying the patent) in the Journal of Bacteriology in 1989. Dr. Mahler advises me that the strain of Bacillus anthracis they used in December 2001 was ordered by her group at Brandeis almost 40 years ago. It came from the American Type Culture Collection and was kept viable, together with other stock strains. She explains that before 9/11 you could simply obtain the organism from culture collections or colleagues. Their offices are in Abelson-Bass-Yalem, adjoining the Volen Center where Aafia’s lab was located. The strain used, Dr. Mahler advises (referred to in the paper as MC 607) — MC stands for Rosenstiel Center — was Vollum, not Ames. Vollum is a strain that like Ames is used to challenge vaccines. It is less lethal but was used by the US in the 1950s in making anthrax weapons. Dr. Mahler reports she knows of no Ames on campus. Dr. Perlman did not respond to an email query. The anthrax was autoclaved, or inactivated in a pressure cooker, before the inspectors arrived at the scene.

    Aafia obtained her PhD from Brandeis in 2001, having graduated from MIT with a degree in biology in 1994. The Visual Lab at which Aafia worked had rules: “No Hitting, No Punching, No Pushing, No Grabbing, No Biting.” Judging from its internet page, the lab seems to have been a pleasant place to work. The operating manual instructed that if you don’t know “ask.” The lab’s work under Robert Sekuler, mainly funded by a grant from the NIH, related to how we remember, forget, or misremember things. Aafia’s 2001 183-page thesis “Separating the components of imitation,” which concerns visual learning and visual discrimination, was very far removed from questions like the Palestinian conflict or creating a fine powder using a mini-spraydryer.

    In the first year of their Ph.D. program, students do 4 nine-week rotations in different laboratories of their choosing. First-year course work includes a core class in principles of neuroscience, and intensive graduate level seminars that give students experience in reading original research literature and making oral presentations. Graduate research advisors are typically chosen at the end of the first year. So one question is: what different labs did Aafia work in during her first year? It is related to the question: what is the origin of the anthrax spraydrying documents on the laptop of the colleague of Aafia’s future husband al-Balucchi?

    “Aafia Siddiqui was here (Boston) in June 2001— when some press reports suggest she was in Liberia meeting with Atef — says the family’s attorney, Elaine Whitfield Sharp. “And I can prove it.” When her attorney proposed to the family that they obtain her credit card records by subpoena, the family vetoed the idea. Although it should have been easy to check, no members of a play group were brought forward to say that Aafia was in Boston in June. Counsel for the family succeeded at preventing Ismat, the mom, from having to testify before a grand jury in Boston on the grounds that she was too distraught over the disappearance of her daughter.

    If Aafia Siddiqui really said the charges against her were lies she would show up in court, take the stand, and tell her story. Her ex-husband says she is lying. Her uncle tells a story that rings true (and Yvonne Ridley’s suggestion Aafia’s uncle did not know that it was Aafia talking to him in January 2008 seems implausible).

    By the way, when Fowzia says she was “Harvard-trained” she is referring to a hospital teaching affiliate rather than having actually studied at Harvard. And by John Hopkins, she is referring to the hospital rather than the University.

    I emailed Dan Perlman to ask if Aafia ever worked with him on his food research involving microencapsulating silicon but he is one of the people who would not respond. Dr. Mahler, in contrast, was very forthcoming and approachable. Perhaps someone else could ask Dr. Perlman as I hate to ask twice.

    • DXer said

      Alternatively, did the PhD neurologist Aafia Siddiqui have potential access to the virulent Ames strain at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston? Veterinarian and anthrax expert Martin Hugh-Jones, a professor at Louisiana State University, has said: “It was like trading baseball cards.” Hugh-Jones reports he got most of his anthrax from Peter Turnbull at the Porton Down lab in Great Britain, one of those that had received the Ames strain directly from Ft. Detrick.

      Dr. Theresa Koehler at Houston and Hugh-Jones discussed the distribution of Ames on NPR in January 2002:

      Ms. KOEHLER: Because Ames is used by investigators all over the world, does it matter if originally the strain came from Texas or came from Iowa? I don’t think so.


      Mr. MARTIN HUGH-JONES (Louisiana State University): I think the most important point is that we didn’t have Ames in this country in anybody’s collection prior to 1980. I think that’s very, very clear. And I think that limits the list of possible suspects quite considerably.


      KESTENBAUM: Martin Hugh-Jones also has an answer to the mystery of why one paper listed the Ames strain as dating back to 1932. He was an author on that paper. When his team got the Ames sample, it was labeled `10/32,’ which turns out to have meant `Sample number 10 out of 32.’ But they interpreted it as October 1932. David Kestenbaum, NPR News, Washington.

      Dr. Theresa M Koehler holds a faculty appointment at the UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She is Associate Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. She has had grants from the CIA, the National Institutes of Health, and others for her work on virulence. In Fall 2001, Dr. Koehler said she had taken the anthrax vaccine and that she got anthrax strains from Porton Down. In the Spring of 2003, Dr. Koehler explained that “It’s critical to use a genetically complete strain of the [anthrax] bacterium in experiments involving virulence.” A government study reported in April 2003 found that all of the labs that had received grants from the National Institutes of Health had unobstructed access to the floors with critical labs. Her office was in the same complex, in the connected John Freeman Building. Aafia’s sister-in-law, Dr. Lubna Khawaja, had an office there. Aafia had just finished her PhD thesis and is reported by a neighbor to have often visited her brother who moved from Ann Arbor back to Houston in 2001.

      Ten million gallons of water were unleashed on the UT Medical School at Houston June 9, 2001 by Tropical Storm Allison. The basement, where the anthrax lab was located, was the hardest hit. More than 400 emergency personnel (internal and contracted) attempted to address the devastation. Throughout June, no equipment could be removed or powered up. Stairwell doors needed to be kept closed. By the first week of July 2001, the basement and ground floor was still off limits, and only one entrance was available. Ground floor occupants needed to continue to work at their temporary sites. Gross mold spore counts continued to be beyond acceptable limits in the basement, which was ventilated separately from the rest of the building.

      The building was opened for business on July 11, 2001 but the ground floor and basement were construction remediation sites and off-limits except to access elevators to upper levels. Two entrances to the building were available: on the Webber Plaza side of the building near the circle drive and at the breezeway near the guard’s desk. Occupants were reminded in an employee newsletter not to block open stair well doors on any floor. The newsletter Scoop reported that in 2007, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new six-story research space completed in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Allison, “[m]any in the crowd were moved to tears as they recalled that day in June 2001. ‘All of the animals were drowned and there were $165 million in structural damages,’ President Willerson said. ‘It was a daunting task, but we didn’t give up.'”

      Did the anthrax lab in the basement have virulent Ames anthrax strain, to include Ames? If so, what was done with the isolates during the devastation caused in the basement by the flood? At the time it was lawful to have virulent anthrax in its liquid form in a BL-2 facility, contrary to the occasional misperception; a hood is used in handling such isolates. A University President explained as much in a letter in connection with the incident when some live Ames spores were sent by Northern Arizona to Los Alamos in Fall 2001.

      Members of the lab brought out the champagne at the lab in late 2001 when a special visa was granted to a research team member, who without it would have had to return to China. “We knew it was going to be risky,” said Dr. Koehler, a microbiologist at the school who for the past 20 years has studied the anthrax bacterium now being used as a terrorist weapon. “The question was whether current events would convince federal officials that [the researcher’s] skills are in the national interest or make them restrict workers from certain countries.”

      “It is a horrible feeling to think that it could be someone I know, that the perpetrator is a microbiologist among us,” said Dr. Koehler. In September 2001, Dr. Koehler explained her anthrax research, how terrorists might deploy anthrax as a biological weapon and how physicians would treat it.

      Aafia’s brother in 2001 was associated with addresses in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Canton, Michigan — and even Harrison, NJ — in 2001. The ACLU attorney representing Aafia’s family advised me that it had been years since she was Houston — certainly before 2001 and maybe not since she was married. She added that if Aafia was there, it was to visit her brother, who has nothing to do with the med center.” The attorney reports: “there is no way they could have helped her get access to the necessary labs at the med center.”

      On Research Day in 2003, the award winners for Biomedical Excellence included a graduate student working in Dr. Koehler’s lab, Melissa Drysdale, who worked on gene regulation in a virulent strain of bacillus anthracis.

      Dr. Koehler received, for example, the Weybridge strain from Porton Down prior to the Fall of 2001. Did Dr. Koehler have virulent Ames from either Porton Down or somewhere else? (Her mentor was the eminent vaccine researcher Dr. Curtis Thorne who got samples directly from Ft. Detrick).

      Remember: Khalid Mohammed, who told authorities about Aafia, had anthrax production documents on his assistant’s laptop (the guy working with Aafia’s future husband in UAE in the summer of 2001). She allegedly was associated with both KSM and “Jafar the Pilot” who is at large. She later married an Al Qaeda operative al-Baluchi who, like al-Hawsawi, had been listed as a contact for the hijackers and took over plots upon the arrest of KSM. Authorities have said that a Pakistani scientist , who they refused to name was helping Al Qaeda with its anthrax production program. Were they referring to bacteriologist Abdul Qudus Khan in whose home the Pakistan authorities claim KSM was captured? Was it Rauf Ahmad who Zawahiri sent to infiltrate UK biodefense? Was it the chemistry professor who met with Uzair Paracha in February 2003? Or was it Aafia who was alleged to be a “facilitator” who handled logistics. “Logistics” is handling an operation that involves providing labor and materials as needed. One government psychiatrist affidavit reports that she claims to have been tasked by an “Abu Luaba” to research germ warfare. According to a UN dossier reviewed by a journalist at the Wall Street Journal, in June 2001 she traveled to Liberia to meet Al Qaeda’s military commander, Atef, who had been head of the anthrax planning. One important mystery to resolve analysis is to determine whether the chauffeur who claims the lady was Aafia is lying or mistaken. A FBI memo from 2003 titled “Allegations Relating to al Qaeda’s Trafficking in Conflict Diamonds,” and a related 2004 presentation to the intelligence community, debunking the allegations relating to trafficking in conflict diamonds. The memo was declassified in 2006 and provided under FOIA in February 2008 to If those documents represent the FBI’s current thinking, there is reason to think Aafia never went to Liberia in June 2001 — or atleast that the FBI does not think she did.

      The ACLU in a February 2004 publication called “Sanctioned Bias: Racial Profiling Since 9/11” described Aafia’s brother first encounter with the FBI. Muhammad A. Siddiqui is an architect in Houston and father of two young children. Someone with the same common name, as mentioned in the court record relating to Project Bojinka. United States of America v. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef et al, (August 26, 1996), page 5118. A letter was read into the record

      “To: Brother Mohammad Alsiddiqi. We are facing a lot of problems because of you. Fear Allah. Mr. Siddiqi, there is a day of judgment. You will be asked, if you are very busy with something more important, don’t give promises to other people. See you in the day of judgment. Still waiting, Khalid Shaikh, and Bojinka.”

      In addition to many people having this very common name, people often used aliases. The attorney, Dietrich Snell, at the time was under the impression it related to a solicitation for money. Attorney Snell was from the US Attorney’s Office. More recently, Snell acted as counsel for the 9/11 Commission. He served as Deputy Attorney General for Public Advocacy under Eliot Spitzer. What was the address of the recipient? Who was Muhammad Siddiqui with whom KSM corresponded?

      Attorney General Ashcroft and Director Mueller made an on-the-record renewed push to find Aafia Siddiqui in a press conference on May 26, 2004 shortly after ACLU Attorney Annette Lamoreaux responded to my emailed inquiries about Aafia. Three days after the Pakistan Ministry of Interior claimed she had been handed over to US authorities in late March 2003.

      There are the many questions surrounding the mystery of the disappearance of the lovely, intelligent and pious — and it turns out occasionally quite chatty — Aafia Siddiqui. Aafia once had an MIT alumni email account forwarded to — which under one translation means lively mom. Aisha was the Prophet’s favorite wife. Maybe correspondence in that email account held the answers.

      In a Pakistan news account, Attorney Whitfield Sharp says she doesn’t know of any police report filed by the mom. In the same account, she reports that Aafia received job offer at both John Hopkins and the State University of New York (SUNY). It likely was SUNY downstate in Brooklyn where her sister had gone to school and lived. (Her mother Ismat is associated with addresses in Brooklyn, as well as Massachusetts, in Houston, and in Ann Arbor where Mohammad’s wife had a medical practice. Mohammad is associated with some Ann Arbor and Detroit-area addresses. Ann Arbor, coincidentally, was where IANA was located, as well as the President of Global Relief.

      When he was captured, Al-Baluchi, Khalid Mohammed’s nephew and Aafia Siddiqui’s husband, “was in possession of a perfume spray bottle which contained a low concentration of cyanide when he was arrested.” He was the fellow who met with Majid Khan about using a textiles shipping container to smuggle an unidentified chemical into the country. Cyanide in perfume bottles had been suggested for use in nightclubs in Indonesia but Bin Laden reportedly nixed the plan as ineffectual.

      The transcript from the Combatant Status Review Tribunal explains:

      MEMBER [AL-BALUCHI]: While you were in Pakistan you describe the cyanide…
      DETAINEE: [Interrupting the Member]
      MEMBER: … you had in your possession, a small amount, as being textile, chemical-oriented.
      DETAINEE: Yes.
      MEMBER: Why would you have that on your person?
      DETAINEE: Just I have. Wasn’t for specific purpose but I have. It’s ah…
      MEMBER: Did you have an intent to use it once you got there? What were you going to do with it?
      DETAINEE: No, no. Just ah, it’s use for clothing to remove the color. And something in Pakistan it’s something that they do. It’s bleach like kinda bleach but industrial bleach so.”

      According to the DOD formal charges issued in February 2008, KSM would give the hijackers a chemical in an eye dropper to remove Pakistan visas from their passport. Perhaps the low concentration of cyanide in the perfume bottle used to remove stains just related to that — rather than consideration of a plot to spray cyanide in a nightclub that had been vetoed by Bin Laden.

      But here’s a Helpful Heloise Tip. Before attempting to get that damn spot out, first get rid of that incriminating pocket litter. The transcript from the hearing on al-Baluchi’s status as an “unlawful combatant” continues: “The Detainee’s pocket litter included a letter from unidentified Saudi Arabian scholars to Usama bin Laden. The letter discussed al Qaida’s strategy in the War on Terror.” Upon her arrest in the summer of 2008, Aafia’s pocket litter allegedly included both documents about biological weapons and correspondence referencing cells and attacks. Will Aafia Siddiqui cooperate about other US-based operatives? Or was she a member of a cell? I’m told she did contribute to IANA but without more I am not versed on connections she had to anyone of interest.

  55. Ike Solem said

    Quote from Washington Post, Oct 28, 2002

    “In spray drying, a technician mixes fumed silica and spores with water, then sprays the mist through a nozzle directly into a stream of superheated air shooting from a second nozzle into an enclosed chamber. The water evaporates instantly, leaving spores and additives floating in space.”

    “Surface tension will pull those little [silica] particles together onto the big one,” said California Institute of Technology chemical engineer Richard Flagan. “You will end up with some degree of coating.”

    Whoever made such an aerosol would “need some experience” with aerosols and “would have to have a lot of anthrax, so you could practice,” Edwards said. “You’d have to do a lot of trial and error to get the particles you wanted.” It would also help to have an electron microscope to examine the results.

    This would mean at least hundred thousand dollars worth of equipment, several experts said. Niro’s cheapest spray drier sells for about $50,000. Electron microscopes cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    In all, said Niro’s Lancos, “you would need [a] chemist who is familiar with colloidal [fumed] silica, and a material science person to put it all together, and then some mechanical engineers to make this work… probably some containment people, if you didn’t want to kill anybody. You need half a dozen, I think, really smart people.”

    The theory of Ivins, in his basement, with the lyophilizer, just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

    (Almost done with those transcipts!)

    • DXer said

      Catalog entries would confirm the details. But I don’t think Niro had a labtop spraydryer, a mini-spraydryer. Their smallest, I think, was a pilot scale.
      Small scale processing is indicated (a mini-spraydryer). E.g., a Bucchi 290B. There were 200 in the US at the time. I am not a scientist though and am not in the field.

      But I do agree with Ike’s suggestion that this is the method used. The Bucchi technical representative told me that the charge cannot be avoided and results from the speed out the nozzle. I think the theory about mail sorting charges imparting the unipolar charge is the chief contender. But we have not yet been told that it was confirmed in testing. Thus, those like Dr. Alibek suggesting a fluidized bed dryer was used (see his draft of Biohazard 2) still need to explain the charge. He originally (for a couple of years) had thought a spraydryer was indicated. Dr. Spertzel thought a spraydryer was used. The Air Force military lab has done some experiments that did not involve a spraydryer and said that it performed comparably. It used a silanizing agent in the slurry and the controlled experiments were done to test the FBI’s theories as I pressed to confirm the FBI’s statements about the Silicon Signature (in Spring 2007, I think). But I would have to ask the fellow why it would have a charge as all of this is beyond my ken. The Air Force scientist described the Spring 2001 GMU patent as a microencapsulation patent. The patent described the use of hydrophobic silica and the co-applicants for the international patent that had pharma applications were involved in the 1950s and later biodefense program. John Hopkins. GWU.

      I would note that somewhere someone said a used mini-spraydryer costs less (e.g., $35,000)? But as to the Bucchi 290B and smallest Niro, it seems a relatively simple matter to get prices both new and used (and get historical data using The size of the spraydryer that perhaps was used is suggested by the small amount of product. There are also separately issues of contamination raised.

      Also, note that if you obtaining the processing information from someone, or from someone’s computer, you don’t have to do basic research with an electron microscope. The PhD thesis done by a student of Dr. Leitner explained that at the GMU DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense one researcher has access to the same computers in the lab used by the previous researcher.

      As for the Ivins hypothesis, one question raised is whether Dr. Ivins had a chance to review the old lab notebooks he was seeking. He suggested they might be classified and if so someone with a clearance could review them. They related to the provenance of the Vollum 1B spores used in connection with developing of the Bioport vaccine. There is no indication he knew how to use a spraydryer or had one available to him. What did Dr. Ezzell use? I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask him when I spoke with him to confirm he had made aerosolized Ames at the request of DARPA.

      A spraydryer is used routinely in processing foodstuffs, for example, to include mixing with silica and microencapsulating the medicine that it desired to be delivered to the cow before being destroyed by enzymes. A scientist a mile from me was arrested as a material witness the same day and time Al-Timimi’s residence was searched. See generally “Hardball Tactics in an Era of Threats.” I once called him to ask him about it. He thanked me for my concern but said too much was happening for him to talk. (I actually was calling him to ask if he was the processor but try to always be polite). I saw him at the mall (I think) as we simultaneously vyed to get the copy of Eric Nadler’s new book that Sunday morning. We were the only ones at the mall before Borders opened at 10 a.m. on a Sunday. He went upstairs. I went downstairs. I went to military history given that it takes so long, apparently, for the FBI to put the bits and pieces together and bought both copies. :0)

      • DXer said

        The scientist arrested at the time 100 agents came here and simultaneously interviewed 150 people had been here in Syracuse prior to 9/11. Then he went to where he had worked for years as a PhD researcher in animal foodstuffs. (That’s the field of biodefense infiltrator, Rauf Ahmad, who had been sent by Ayman Zawahiri). His supervisor and good friend told me that he was experienced at making dry powder using a spraydryer. (Silica would be mixed using a simple method). In making animal feedstuffs, the traditional reason would be rheological control through simple mixing, but later microencapsulation came to be a reason).

        He was there until August 2002 until it became known the FBI was investigating and then he came back here. He left his PhD research job with no explanation and his friends were very concerned for him and continued to wish him well not knowing what was going on. He was a volunteer at the spin-off of the Ann Arbor-based IANA charity although my source as to the charity branch here did know what he did and he was not one of the charity people charged under an indictment for record-keeping type issues. Instead, he was arrested as a material witness and placed under home detention with an electronic bracelet. But at last report (and this was years ago) they never asked him any questions. I am too shy to call for an interview (after that one unsuccessful try). And all the FBI seems interested in are those blind-folded sorority girls. If I see him in the grocery store or drug store, I’ll try to interview him and ask what he knows about microencapsulation using silica-based coating in making animal foodstuffs used to deliver medicine to cattle.

        It was Ken Alibek who first told me that the FBI suspected Al-Timimi. I expect reporters are often thrilled to learn that sometimes the quickest way to learn something is to call someone up, show them respect, and ask them. (Being impolite never works).

        • DXer said

        • DXer said

          By way of some background, in 2000, Al-Timimi’s charity IANA announced that it had signed a cooperative agreement with the Cairo based publisher and distributor Dar Al-Manar Al-Jadeed. “Jointly they will publish in Cairo and distribute around the world the quarterly Al-Manar Al-Jadeed magazine.” The editor in chief is the well-known writer, [G]amal Sultan.” Al-Manar Al-Jadeed magazine was published in Arabic and available online. It discusses strategy and tactics in promoting Salafism. In early 2001, the IANA website announced that the Help The Needy website was open. Help The Needy was its Syracuse-area based spin-off/dba run by Bassem Khafagi’s business partner Rafil Dhafir. Bassem Khafagi was Al-Timimi’s good friend and Dr. Khafagi’s personal papers were found in Al-Timimi’s home where they were being kept for safekeeping.

          Thus, there had been a close connection between (1) Ann Arbor, MI (2) Syracuse, NY, (3) DC-Falls Church, VA, (4) Moscow, Idaho-Pullman, Washington, (5) and Cairo, Egypt.

          On February 26, 2003, at the same time the FBI was searching the townhome of PhD candidate and Ken Alibek colleague Ali Timimi, searches and arrests moved forward elsewhere. In Moscow, Idaho, FBI agents interviewed Nabil Albaloushi (they searched his apartment at the same time they searched the apartment of Sami al-Hussayen, who they had woken from bed at 4:00 a.m. (6:00 a.m. EST) Albaloushi was a PhD candidate expert in drying foodstuffs. His thesis in 2003 was 350 pages filled with charts of drying coefficients. “About me there is nothing suspicious,” Albaloushi told a reporter while the agents were still in his home. “I live in this country, my children were born in this country, I love this country.” In Syracuse, they arrested an animal geneticist and food researcher as a material witness.

          Probers exploring a possible terror connection focused on Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, a 34-year-old computer scientist and doctoral candidate who was researching cyber-intrusion techniques at the University of Idaho in Moscow. On February 25, 2003, computer expert Sami a-Hussayen’s brother in Canada, asked him about where to give a charitable contribution pursuant to Muslim religious obligations. According to an electronic intercept read into the Court record at Sami al-Hussayen’s trial. (Al-Hussayen was acquitted and other remaining charges were dropped): “There’s this organization called Help The Needy. They are IANA’s organization for the needy.” Al-Hussayen noted that the group had been around for close to a decade. As explained in a Spokesman Review trial blog, his brother noted that Help the Needy sends relief to Iraq, and asked, “Maybe they are an organization that has issues nowadays?” to which Al Hussayen answered “I don’t think so, since this is a relief organization and a registered organization. As I said, it is 9 to 10 years old and has branches in Britain and Australia.” He added, “The most important is for the organization to be clean, without any question marks on it. In addition, it was not listed on the list (of) organizations that were supporting terrorism. This is the most important thing. You don’t want to be in trouble.”

          Less than 24 hours later, Al-Hussayen was arrested, and Syracuse, NY Help The Needy’s director and three others had been jailed. In the predawn hours of February 26, 2003, in several coordinated raids, a computer graduate Al-Hussayen was arrested by FBI agents in Idaho and agents in and around Syracuse arrested three of the four suspects in the Help the Needy case. In March 2004, Hussayen was indicted on additional charges relating to support for a terrorist group by reason of being the sole administrator of a website that urged suicide attacks. He was acquitted of most charges in late Spring of 2004. The government agreed to drop the remaining charges, with the result that he would be deported rather than imprisoned. Sami al-Hussayen, an Idaho PhD student, provided funding and internet services for the Islamic Assembly of North America. From 1995 to 2002, IANA received $3 million in support from sources related to Sami al-Hussayen. Sami served on the IANA Board of Trustees. Interceptions showed a very close link between IANA’s al-Hussayen and Bin Laden’s sheik, Sheikh al-Hawali, to include the setting up of web sites, the providing of vehicles for extended communication, and telephone contact with intermediaries of Sheikh al-Hawali. Al-Hussayen had al-Hawali’s phone number upon the search of his belongings upon his arrest. IANA was characterized in a press release by the Saudi Arabian Embassy in the District of Columbia as following the beliefs of the Muslim Brotherhood. IANA was the only American Muslim organization to be individually promoted on the Azzam website, the leading English-language Al Qaeda website.

          The Syracuse charity run by an oncologist, “Help The Needy,” was an IANA spin-off. The doctor, Rafil Dhafir, was the IANA Vice-President. The President of HTN, in name only, was Dhafir’s medical technologist. The Vice-President was Ali-Al-Timimi’s colleague and co-founder of the Society for the Adherence to the Sunnah in Washington, D.C.

          Al Qaeda recruiter and Bosnian fighter Sheik Abu Abdel Aziz Barbaros had spoken at the 1993, 1994 and 1995 annual IANA conferences, as did IANA lecturers Dr. Dhafir from Syracuse and Ali and Al Timimi, from Washington, D.C. Sheik Abu Abdel Aziz Barbaros from Bosnia told an interviewer in 1994 that he had first arrived in Afghanistan in 1984 and had then begun his “journey with Jihad.” The January 2000 edition of Assirat carried an editorial titled “In the Land of Ice Cream” by “Abdallah Abd’ al Aziz.” Two writers for Assirat in Pittsburgh had once shared a Portland, Oregon address with Bin Laden’s secretary Wadih El-Hage.

          The stated purpose of the “Help the Needy” charity in Syracuse, NY was to help the “starving children and muslims of Iraq.” Some years ago, two Chicago-area charities — the Global Relief Foundation and the Benevolence International Foundation — received checks totaling $42,000 from Help the Needy. Global Relief returned the favor, contributing $18,000 to Help the Needy. “Help the Needy” is not a sleeper cell, and it won’t carry out murderous attacks on the United States,” said Rita Katz, director of the SITE Institute, a counterterrorism think tank in Washington. “But its friends are capable of mounting such attacks,” she asserts.

          The respected Dr. Rafil Dhafir, 55, a founder of Help the Needy, was practicing in upstate Rome and had been a member of the medical staff at Rome Memorial Hospital since 1982. Four men were accused of conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions against Iraq by transferring cash to unidentified people in Baghdad without a license. Former Washington State University animal geneticist and nutrition researcher Ismail Diab was charged and released as a material witness. After the government failed to take Dr. Diab’s deposition for nearly 3 months, the judge removed the electronic monitoring and curfew requirements.

          The charity allegedly diverted at least $4 million to Iraq, out of $5.6 million that passed through its accounts since 1995. Prosecutors said that only a small portion of the funds they could trace were used to feed Iraqis. But the indictment provides no evidence of links to terror and no suggestion the money went to Saddam or his regime. Prosecutors said they don’t know where the money went. “At most, it’s a technical violation in not applying for a license,” the charity’s executive director explained.

          Dr. Dhafir was jailed without bail after he talked in an email about his imagined daughter’s upcoming wedding. (The Buffalo case demonstrated that the CIA has this thing about weddings; in his defense, he would argue that code was being used to prevent Saddam’s regime from seizing relief intended for charity as it entered the country). Authorities took away his medical license, and threw him in prison without bail. His detention without bail was the subject of protests. In mid-November 2003, 100 rallied for his freedom. His lawyer explained that to get a permit would cause the Saddam regime to seize money intended for needy muslims in Iraq. The repeated denial of his bail has rested on his representing a risk of flight because of money and connections abroad — never on the basis of any connections to terrorist activities. The prosecutor suggested he might drive across the frozen St. Lawrence river into Canada.

          There is a wonderful website is We should have such dedicated and well-meaning supporters in our life. Another well-done website titled “Free Rafil Dhafir.” The site describes “Operation Imminent Horizon”:

          Operation Imminent Horizon

          “On February 26th of this year (2003) federal authorities attacked our Muslim community (Syracuse, NY) as part of an operation code named ‘Imminent Horizon’. Its purpose ABC News (March 5, 2003) reported was to “disrupt and rattle” potential terrorist operations ahead of the invasion of Iraq. Deemed as a risk by Attorney General Ashcroft were Dr. Rafil Dhafir, an USA citizen, and 150 predominantly Muslim families that had made donations to Dr. Dhafir’s charity Help the Needy. Help the Needy provided humanitarian aid to Iraq. The February 26th raid was the largest interrogation of Muslims in America undertaken by federal agents at one time.

          ABC news said that; “it’s called “shaking the tree,” – creating doubts, trying to rattle potential terrorists.” This paper reported that up to 150 Muslim families (‘Up 150 questioned, Dr. Denied Bail’, March 1, 2003, Renee Gadoua) were asked obtrusive and inappropriate questions. Nothing fell from those interrogations or from Dr. Rafil Dhafir who still sits in jail denied bail. All the bluster and innuendo of terrorism as implied by Attorney General Ashcroft on the day of Dr. Dhafir’s arrest has not materialized.”

          John O’ Brien and John Mariani of the Syracuse Post-Standard provided the details of the investigation in Syracuse. In early 1999, at a Fleet Bank in Upstate New York, someone was depositing between $9,000 and $9,900 into a particular account almost daily. With $10,000 being the limit for reporting, someone took notice. An investigation in some federal agency was opened. But it was not until three years later, that Dr. Rafil Dhafir, driving a tan 2001 Lexus was pulled over by federal investigators and a state trooper. It was just after 6 a.m. and the doctor was on his way to work from his home in a suburb of Syracuse to his practice in Rome, NY. Meanwhile, others who had worked with the “Help The Needy” charity opened their doors to be greeted with investigators with search and arrest warrants. 200 deposits had been made in Zagha’s account over three years, totaling nearly $2 million drawn from a Help the Needy account

          By the end of the day, 146 muslims would be interrogated by offices from over a half dozen agencies. The charge at the center of it all? The men did not have a permit to provide money to the starving children of Iraq.

          In March 2002, federal agents began intercepting e-mails to and from Dhafir’s home Time Warner Road Runner account under a federal search warrant. In May 2002, for the next four months, they began intercepting faxes pursuant to a warrant. Eight e-mails, most of them to or from Dhafir, provided ambiguous evidence that some of the money raised by the charity may not have gone to the charity’s stated purpose. For example, in May 2002 emails suggested that up to $50,000 had been funneled to Al Wahaidy’s family through Help the Needy accounts. In July 2002, emails indicated that other money — $500 per month — was going to other individuals in Jarwan’s family. In media reports, the individuals were described with the loaded term “operatives.” But, at bottom, the charity was doing what it said it was doing — providing money to individuals in Iraq.

          After intercepting the August e-mail, FBI agents rummaged through Help the Needy’s trash after it left the charity’s East Brighton Avenue office and found donation receipts from 1994, 1995 and 1996. Agent Lee Pugh would explain that agents didn’t need a search warrant to go through the trash. Under the law, it’s considered abandoned material once it leaves someone’s office or home. Some donation receipts from the mid-1990s listed Islamic Assembly of North America’s tax exempt number even though the IANA was not designated a charitable organization for IRS purposes until 1999. Similar receipts agents dug out of the trash, for 1996 and 2002, showed Help the Needy used Somali Relief Network’s employer ID bearing and saying donations were tax deductible.

          In August and September 2002, FBI agents listened in on four meetings at Help the Needy’s Syracuse office. Another warrant permitted the agents to spy on a meeting of Help the Needy’s trustees in a hotel room in Washington, D.C., August 31. Dr. Dhafir is on the tape saying he didn’t want other people at the trustee meetings because of “sensitive issues such as where the money goes, who gets it and how much we get.” The same sort of comment, however, is made, for example, at those law firms where they do not share information about what others are making to avoid hurt feelings and unproductive competitive feelings.

          For those keeping score: Help the Needy activists were helping the widows and orphans in Iraq. The agents were snooping on those efforts and coming up with nothing beyond the charity’s guarantee that “that all of your donation dollars go directly to the needy in Iraq” (and the hard reality that to get a permit would be to allow Saddam’s regime to take the money and thwart the charitable purpose).

          In October 2002, investigators obtained a warrant to copy the contents of an envelope Dhafir mailed to himself from Egypt to the hospital at Rome. It contained two ledgers — one for the relief account and another for a private account. The ledger relating to the relief account detailed more than $3.9 million was spent from February 1996 to September 2002. Two of the people identified in the ledger and e-mails were individuals who Help the Needy had been paying — and both were in Iraq. That is just where you would expect them to be. In January 2003, investigators intercepted an overnight envelope at Kennedy International Airport in New York City that Dr. Dhafir addressed to Zagha Trading Establishment in Amman, Jordan. The packet was forwarded to postal inspectors in Syracuse for inspection. Pursuant to a search warrant, agents found a sealed business envelope containing a $200,000 Oneida Savings Bank cashier’s check payable to “M. Zagha Trading Est.”. Officials suspect $2.73 million in bank checks bought with Help the Needy money reached Zagha this way. Maher Zagha, 34, went to college in Central New York and was living in Amman, Jordan.

          Agents got 29 search warrants in all. The e-mail search warrants had to be renewed every 30 days. But what was the crime investigated? Not having a permit to provide for the needy? That’s morally wrong but invading the country based on ambiguous or falsified evidence morally compelled? Over the last year of the investigation, there were 12 investigators from eight law enforcement agencies working full-time on the case. Clearly, investigators had to suspect that $2.73 million was going to fund terrorism rather than provide for the needy. But where’s the beef? Where’s the proof? It’s not of special moment that the funds went in a circuitous course — first going to Amman, Jordan. Why hadn’t Magya been located and extradited so he can testify where the money went?

          Undeterred by any gaps in proof, and knowing they had solid evidence of various technical violations, on February 26, 2003, 110 officers from the various agencies massed. The got their assignments the day before. The plan was to interview 150 people the same day, many of whom were donors. The massive raid coincidentally was scheduled for the Tenth Year Anniversary of the World Trade Center bombing. The agents asked the donors whether they were told their money would be going to a militant Islamic group or to help starving widows and children. They were not otherwise asked questions about their religion, the US Attorney said. “It was to establish they were defrauded and for no other reason,” he said. “It’s not because we’re interested in their religion. We’re not running around just interviewing people in the Islamic community for no reason.” (In contrast, a post by a supporter of Dr. Dhafir reports that questions asked included: “Do you celebrate Christmas?, How often to do pray?, Where do you pray? Do you have family in the Middle East?”) So what was the real reason for all this investigative interest? (Remember: this was before the days US Attorney Jeff Taylor started looking up the skirts of those sorority co-eds).

          Dhafir and Help the Needy sought to “promote a strain of Islam known as Salafism” in Iraq, the affidavit filed by an IRS agent said. Some have described Salafism as a form of Islam followed by Osama bin Laden. After the arrests, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brenda Sannes told the federal magistrate in a letter that investigators intercepted “a disturbing series of apparently coded e-mails” from Dhafir recently about “some currently unknown plan” involving someone in Iraq who had received $358,000 from Help the Needy between August 2000 and September [of 2002]. She wrote “It is not believed that these e-mails refer to relief efforts by HTN since Dhafir has communicated openly in e-mails about possibly aiding relief efforts in Iraq in the event of a war.”

          Jarwan, the charity’s executive director, has academic degrees in nuclear and radiological engineering, Prosecutor West said, adding: “This man knows how to use and has access to this material.” On the question of bail, the prosecutor urged the court to consider reports that terrorists were planning to detonate a “dirty bomb” designed to spread radioactive material. “I reject that because he holds advanced degrees or reads radical material, he’s a danger,” the magistrate ruled. Prosecutors have said they know of no link between Help the Needy and terrorists. His attorney forcefully argued that it was irresponsible of West to present Jarwan’s education as evidence he posed a threat. “It just raises the level of prejudice,” he said. “It will be difficult to get a fair trial when there are those implicit suggestions that he’s a terrorist because he has a degree.”

          “There are many common threads” between the Syracuse and Idaho cases, said Terry Derden, first assistant U.S. attorney in Idaho. Michael Olmsted, one of the prosecutors in the Syracuse case, would not comment on any possible connections. Ismail Diab, arrested as a material witness, has a Ph.D. in animal genetics and worked as a nutrition researcher at Washington State University before he moved to Syracuse, the government said. (8 miles from Pullman, it has joint programs with the university there). He was released on bail.

          Among 500 pages eventually unsealed was this quote from the transcript at the hotel in Washington, D.C.

          “To us it is the issue of feeding and rescue. It is a good idea. But that’s not the major goal. Our major goal is the issue of Al-Dawah (Islamic mission work) so that people get back to the right path that makes Allah happy for their benefit in life and after life. To us that’s most important. Is the change (as a result of the expected U.S. invasions) going to allow (us) to do that? Even under the cover of charity, that’s the most important question.”
          The “Help The Needy” work sounded a lot like the President Bush’s faith-based initiative.

          Dr. Dhafir faced nearly three dozen counts of tax and health care fraud. The jury found him guilty in February 2005. He had top-flight appellate counsel (the complicated briefs are online) who now estimated he had about a one-third prospect of success on appeal. Based on questioning at oral argument, I predict his appeal will succeed and his conviction will be reversed or at least remanded for resentencing.

          The Washington Post reported a few years back that the authorities were wiretapping Dr. Dhafir while talking to a supporter (who coincidentally is my friend and lives a few houses down from me). I, for one, would like to truly believe that authorities had left no stone unturned. But as to an Ivins Theory, all I’ve seen is a nonsense theory as to motivation about a college sorority, an absence of any physical evidence directed to the individual rather than the flask, and affidavits submitted by agents who had 18 months and 3 years experience respectively. All I see in the NAS powerpoints that Lew has uploaded (and he has my profound thanks for his hard work) is forensic evidence that confirms flask 1029 as the original source of the downstream of isolates (to which there was access) and a Silicon Signature that points to the use of a silica-based substance in microencapsulation. Given the compartmentalization on the Task Force, I have no reason to thing those investigators are privy to the more relevant facts. The FBI counterterrorism chief has written to say that while Amerithrax is indeed a “mess,” he still thinks that it is important to keep the truth from the public. From where I sit, however, it is not acceptable to have Amerithrax botched because we have seen the Administration sometimes kept its secrets for political rather than legitimate law enforcement or intelligence purposes.

          Oh, did I mention Ali Al-Timimi was the former assistant to the White House Chief of Staff?

        • DXer said

          The US Attorney here was once on a conference call with Michael Mason head of Amerithrax. The suggestion made was that the CIA was involved in the anthrax mailings. (It was all unsupported conjecture about something someone had heard involving a lab in NJ). But I find the example interesting because it points to the political sensitivities that inevitably come into play in a bureaucracy. Michael Mason’s chair suddenly made a loud noise as he pulled it to the table, cleared his throat. He commented that his superiors wouldn’t like to hear the suggestion. (He of course went on to one of the country’s top jobs in corporate security so failing to solve Amerithrax did not prejudice his prospects.)

          Well, screw that. Michael. I don’t think the CIA “is involved.” Biodefense necessarily involves research so as to understand what needs to be defended against. (I don’t subscribe to William Patrick’s 1950s “big stick” view). But nor is it acceptable for the fear of political embarrassment to guide a criminal investigation. The lead prosecutor Dan S. who leaked all the hyped and distracting Hatfill stories moved over from the CIA in late September 2001. If a proper leak investigation had been done, we would never have to scratch our head and say “hmmm…”or even consider the funding of his sister-in-law, a Palestinian activist, by a Saudi institute in connection to an education sideline.

          The President of the United States had the word “veritas” on his university’s logo. And the first step to abiding by the truth is being smart enough to understand it. So the bad guys had better understand that there is a new Sheriff in town.

          Unless of course we have to run him out of town on a rail like we should have done Bush after the first term.

  56. DXer said

    The government is saying that Aafia was caught carrying hundreds of handwritten pages discussing ways to kill “enemies” that included a list of NYC landmarks.

    It seems that many of those notes may be introduced into evidence. It does not appear that she will testify. Or show up.

  57. DXer said

    Although the quote refers to a fictional novel, in real life, Vice President Cheney gave a very reasonable broadcast interview suggesting Bin Laden may be responsible (without mentioning Saddam).

    Al-Timimi’s father worked in the Iraqi embassy, which was in a renovated home.

    Al-Timimi had a letter of commendation from the White House and a high security clearance.

    He worked down the hall from Hadron and Center for Biodefense biodefense experts. Shared their fax and maildrop.

    From early on, the situation presented a potential public relations nightmare. The administration commenced warrantless wiretapping of Al-Timimi on or about October 7, 2001 with only two individuals at the Department of Justice even knowing of the general program, let alone particular targets. How could the Task Force succeed when they were not privy to highly material information — with that information kept from them because of the fear of political embarrassment. The Bush Administration, IMO, would not have won a second term if the negligence of the Bush Administration had come to be known. Michael Rolince served as head of Amerithrax. He was the one testifying about the FBI dropping the ball with regard to Moussaoui. The suspicion of Al-Timimi’s involvement in Amerithrax represented a continuation of that story — elevated to even more dramatic levels. Bush’s second term depended on derailing the public’s attention on anthrax which served both the purpose of the Bush Administration and the Salafist-Jihadis.

    • DXer said

      Cheney: ‘Reasonable’ to assume anthrax cases linked to terrorists

      October 12, 2001

      WASHINGTON (CNN) — Vice President Dick Cheney said Friday it is “reasonable” to assume the recent anthrax cases in the United States are linked to the September 11 terrorist attacks, because Osama bin Laden’s terrorist training manuals teach “how to deploy these kinds of substances.”

      “If I received a letter that I didn’t know where it came from, didn’t recognize the sender, … then I’d be suspicious of it. I’d have it checked,” Cheney said in an interview on PBS’ “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.”

      He urged Americans to be “more alert as a society” and to contact authorities if anything seems suspicious.

      “We just need to be more sensitive that there are, in fact, people in our midst who wish us ill,” said Cheney.

      The vice president, who has been at a secure location for national security purposes since Sunday’s bomb campaign over Afghanistan began, said the United States knew over the years that bin Laden “tried to acquire weapons of mass destruction,” including chemical and biological weapons.

      Asked about possible links between the September 11 terrorist attacks and the recent anthrax cases, Cheney said bin Laden has trained his al Qaeda fighters for such attacks and handling of chemical and biological weapons.

      “When you start to piece it all together, and again we haven’t completed the investigation and maybe it is coincidence, but I must say I’m a skeptic,” he said. “I think the only responsible thing for us to do is to proceed on the basis it could be linked.”

      Health officials and the FBI have said there is no evidence yet of any links between the September 11 attacks and the anthrax cases. Four people — three in Florida and one in New York — have been exposed to anthrax in the past 1 1/2 weeks, including one man who died.

      Cheney said the U.S. has received numerous threats of more terrorist attacks, but nothing specific.

      “It will reference what happened on September 11, and talk about another event. It may not be any more precise than that,” he said.

      He said there is no reason to believe the deadly attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were a “one-off event.”

      “In fact, we have to assume it will happen again,” he said. “The events of September 11 marked a watershed in American history. It was a time when the U.S. homeland now is open to attack in ways that we had only speculated about before. And we know that there are threats out there.”

      The vice president said Pennsylvania Avenue, which runs right in front of the White House, should remain closed to through traffic, especially amid the current terror climate.

      “Pennsylvania Avenue ought to stay closed because … if somebody were to detonate a truck bomb in front of the White House, it would probably level the White House and that’s unacceptable.”

      Cheney said it is believed more terrorists are in the United States. He said one person arrested in Minnesota in August may have been preparing to be the fifth terrorist on one of the hijacked flights.

      Cheney noted that there were only four hijackers aboard the flight that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.

      • Lew Weinstein said

        DXer writes that, on October 12, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney said “it is reasonable to assume the recent anthrax cases in the United States are linked to the September 11 terrorist attacks, because Osama bin Laden’s terrorist training manuals teach how to deploy these kinds of substances.

        But Cheney soon changed his tune, as many reporters later wrote …

        Jonathan Landay in McClatchy Newspapers (4/22/09) … The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist. Bush and his top lieutenants charged that Saddam was secretly pursuing nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in defiance of a United Nations ban, and had to be overthrown because he might provide them to al Qaida for an attack on the U.S. or its allies. In fact, no evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network and Saddam’s regime. “I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq),” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said in a conference call with reporters. “They made out links where they didn’t exist.”

        Frank Rich in the NYT (4-26-09) … Maj. Paul Burney, a United States Army psychiatrist assigned to interrogations in Guantánamo Bay that summer of 2002, told Army investigators: “A large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq and we were not being successful.” As higher-ups got more “frustrated” at the inability to prove this connection, the major said, “there was more and more pressure to resort to measures” that might produce that intelligence.In other words, the ticking time bomb was not another potential Qaeda attack on America but the Bush administration’s ticking timetable for selling a war in Iraq; it wanted to pressure Congress to pass a war resolution before the 2002 midterm elections. But there were no links between 9/11 and Iraq, and the White House knew it.

        Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker (10-27-03) … Since midsummer, the Senate Intelligence Committee has been attempting to solve the biggest mystery of the Iraq war: the disparity between the Bush Administration’s prewar assessment of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and what has actually been discovered. What the Bush people did was “dismantle the existing filtering process that for fifty years had been preventing the policymakers from getting bad information. They created stovepipes to get the information they wanted directly to the top leadership. Their position is that the professional bureaucracy is deliberately and maliciously keeping information from them.

        … and then there was this …

        February 5, 2003 … Secretary of State Colin Powell … Address to the United Nations Security Council (Extracts)…

        “My second purpose today is to provide you with additional information, to share with you what the United States knows about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction as well as Iraq’s involvement in terrorism.

        “My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.

        “We know from sources that a missile brigade outside Baghdad was disbursing rocket launchers and warheads containing biological warfare agent[s] to various locations, distributing them to various locations in western Iraq.

        “The gravity of this moment is matched by the gravity of the threat that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction pose to the world.

        “First, biological weapons …

        “Iraq declared 8,500 liters of anthrax, but UNSCOM estimates that Saddam Hussein could have produced 25,000 liters. If concentrated into this dry form, this amount would be enough to fill tens upon tens upon tens of thousands of teaspoons.

        “The Iraqis have never accounted for all of the biological weapons they admitted they had and we know they had. And they have not accounted for many of the weapons filled with these agents such as there are 400 bombs. This is evidence, not conjecture.
        This is true. This is all well-documented.

        “Dr. Blix told this council that Iraq has provided little evidence to verify anthrax production and no convincing evidence of its destruction.

        “One of the most worrisome things that emerges from the thick intelligence file we have on Iraq’s biological weapons is the existence of mobile production facilities used to make biological agents. In a matter of months, they can produce a quantity of biological poison equal to the entire amount that Iraq claimed to have produced in the years prior to the Gulf War.

        “… a fourth source, an Iraqi major, who defected, confirmed that Iraq has mobile biological research laboratories, in addition to the production facilities I mentioned earlier.

        “Ladies and gentlemen, these are sophisticated facilities. For example, they can produce anthrax and botulinum toxin. In fact, they can produce enough dry biological agent in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands of people. And dry agent of this type is the most lethal form for human beings.

        “By 1998, U.N. experts agreed that the Iraqis had perfected drying techniques for their biological weapons programs. Now, Iraq has incorporated this drying expertise into these mobile production facilities.

        “We know from Iraq’s past admissions that it has successfully weaponized not only anthrax, but also other biological agents, including botulinum toxin, aflatoxin and ricin.

        “The Iraqi regime has also developed ways to disburse lethal biological agents, widely and discriminately into the water supply, into the air.

        “There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more. And he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction.

        LMW COMMENT …

        Of course we later learned that Saddam had no biological weapons nor any means to deliver them. How convenient it was for the Bush/Cheney false argument that the anthrax case was still unsolved. The more we learn, the scenario I presented in my novel CASE CLOSED seems ever more plausible.

        • Ike Solem said

          Also, among the first publicized effort to draw a link between the anthrax attacks and Iraq was a trip made by James Woolsey, former director of the CIA under Clinton and a leading member of the “Committee on the Present Danger”, as reported by Toby Harden on Oct 26, 2001 in at the Telegraph newspaper in Britain:

          “Such is the sensitivity of the Iraq issue, Mr Woolsey will make no comment about the exact nature of his brief. He told the Telegraph, ‘I was in London and that’s it.’

          “But he made clear that he believed there were ‘substantial and growing indications’ that a state was behind the attacks.

          “The milled, ‘weaponized’ anthrax that virtually shut down Congress and killed two postal workers has increased his suspicions…

          “All this, Mr. Woolsey said, made it imperative that America ‘should look under that rock’ to establish whether Iraq helped Al-Qaeda to carry out the September 11 or anthrax attacks.

          “He said, ‘If a state is involved, obviously it seems to me to be important for us to know who we’re at war with.’

          “Focusing soley on proof that would be admissible in a court of law would be a mistake.

          “He said, ‘Hearsay is not admissible as evidence and almost all intelligence is hearsay. Evidentiary standards are the wrong standards. I would talk about indications, information.’

          “He added, ‘The United States has not yet decided it is at war with Saddam Hussein but Saddam Hussein may have decided he is at war with the United States.’

          He goes on in that vein for some time – mostly about various (thoroughly disproven) links between Saddam and Al Qaeda, and concludes with:

          “‘If the government chooses, based on the information it has, to take military action against any other state outside of Afghanistan, I believe that the world will see our reaction in that case will be ruthless, relentless and devastating… in the American vernacular – you ain’t seen nothing yet.’

          That was in 2001 – but by Oct 2002, after the Bush Administration’s initial “state sponsor” theory had been replaced by the FBI’s “pharmaceutical profit motive” theory, which was immediately dumped for the “solitary lone wolf theory” (Hatfill), the Washington Post was reporting that:

          Scientists suggested that the loner theory appeared flawed even in the opening days of the investigation. The profile was issued three weeks after U.S. Army scientists had examined the Daschle spores and found them to be 1.5 to 3 microns in size [individual spores, in other words] and processed to a grade of 1 trillion spores per gram – 50 times finer than anything produced by the now-defunct U.S. bioweapons program and 10 times finer than the finest known grade of Soviet anthrax spores… ‘Just collecting this stuff is a trick,” said Steven A. Lantos, executive vice president of Niro, Inc., one of the leading manufacturers of spray driers, viewed by several sources as the likeliest tool needed to weaponize the anthrax bacteria. ‘Even on a small scale, you still need containment. If you’re going to do it right, it could cost millions of dollars…’

          “Even the sparse evidence made public by the investigation – the uniformly tiny particle size and the trillion-spore-per-gram concentration – has been enough to show many researchers that whoever weaponized the spores was operating at the outer limits of known aerosol technology.”

          By 2006 however, a new theme was being pushed through the press – for example, the AP reported on Oct 3, 2006 that:

          “Shortly after the attacks, there were reports that the spores contained additives and had been subjected to sophisticated milling [not true, it was spray drying that was indicated] – both techniques used in anthrax-based weapons – to make them more lethal. But bureau officials now say the early media reports of weaponized anthrax were misconceptions.”

          At around the same time (Sept 25 2006), the Washington Post, without explaining why their early reporting needed revising, ran this new spin:

          “What was initially described as a near military-grade biological weapon was ultimately found to have had a more ordinary pedigree, containing no additives and no signs of special processing to make the anthrax bacteria more deadly, law enforcement officials confirmed. In addition, the strain of anthrax used in the attacks turned out to be more common than was initially believed, officials said.”

          Note that the most recent FBI line is that the strain was a highly unique “morph” of Ames with a “unique fingerprint” tying it to the RMR-1029 flask – yet another flip-flop in the official story line.

          The “no additivies” claim flies in the face of work done at AFIP, and was due to the line put out by Douglas J. Beecher, a scientist in the FBI’s HMRU lab, in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology:

          Beecher: “A widely circulated misconception is that the spores were produced using additives and sophisticated engineering supposedly akin to military weapons production…”

          I read that journal article, and there are no methods reported in it that would have allowed Beecher to make that determination – and the FBI placed him under a gag order so that reporters could not question him, similar to the gag order placed on USAMRIID (and AFIP?) personnel – and the USAMRIID people who are testifying before the NAS, like Worsham, have been only granted limited release from that gag order!

          Why is that, I wonder? Why didn’t the NAS committee call Beecher to testify, or, for that matter, any of the USAMRIID and AFIP personnel involved in the initial post-attack analysis? The AFIP newsletter (a kind of departmental publicity blurb) on the matter was titled:

          “Detecting Environmental Terrorism: AFIP’s Department of Environmental and Toxicological Pathology provides critical DoD, Homeland Defense programs”, by Christopher C. Kelly.

          When U.S. Army investigators at Ft Detrick, Md, examined anthrax found in a letter sent to Sen Thomas Daschle last fall, they discovered that the highly refined spores floated in the air, making them much easier for potential victims to inhale. What made this anthrax so easily aerosolized? A series of sophisticated tests revealed some clues, but the presence of another unidentified substance left the investigation incomplete. That’s when Fr Detrick contacted AFIP’s Department of Environmental and Toxicological Pathology for assistance…

          … the previously unidentifiable substance as silica. ‘This was a key component,’ Mullick said. ‘Silica prevents the anthrax from aggregating, making it easier to aerosolize. Significantly, we noted the absence of aluminum with the silica. This combination had previously been found in anthrax produced by Iraq.

          Hence, the entire argument that the spores were NOT weaponized (physically speaking, not genetically speaking, as in antibiotic resistance, etc.) rests on the Sandia Labs analysis – which is what Douglas J. Beecher might have been referring to, as he did no such work himself – but I think the transcript will reveal significant problems, such as sample prepration issues (destruction/alteration) and the introduction of major artifacts due to the techniques employed (ion beams used to carve up the samples prior to analysis, instead of using non-destructive and traditional microtome slicing).

          Can you imagine the scene in court if a competent lawyer was able to call witnesses for the defense to testify under oath? Bruce Ivins would probably, like Hatfill, have ended up with a multi-million dollar settlement for unjust harassment and politically motivated prosecution… and of course, we also know now that Iraq’s bioweapons program really HAD been completely dismantled by the UN inspectors during the 1990s.

          The NAS committee doesn’t seem to be doing its job on the matter, either… and I recently ran into one of my old microbiology professors, who tried to claim the matter was, quote, “ancient history” – but even he seemed quite startled when I (politely) laid out the central issues for him.

        • DXer said

          Ike is wrong in his understanding of the FBI’s position on silica and sets up a straw man argument by pointing to the Beecher article’s stray sentence of two (which are not inaccurate, just unsupported by authority).

          The WMD Chief staked out the position: there was no additive added post-production for the purpose of aiding dispersability.

          He is not saying that there was not an additive added to the culture medium. That’s not post-production. In fact, he is saying the opposite. He is saying the silica could have been added to the culture medium. How much plainer does Dr. Majidi have to be?

          He did not say that it did not serve particular functions and traits deemed desirable in bioweapons (and that also serve purposes in pharmacology and the food industry). That’s why they call it dual purpose research and that’s the cause for real concern over a wide range of issues.

          The Sandia expert after not defining “naturally occurring” now is saying “people could argue all day about what naturally occurring.” (It is always better if people define their terms if the phrase might otherwise mislead).

          The real experts like Dr. Popov say that without a doubt it was intentionally added — for what purpose is not clear.

          The FBI is not saying that microencapsulation was not used. The powerpoints and presentations and emails show that it was and even suggest that it will turn out to factor in the FBI’s mistaken Ivins theory.

          One key is to understand that this flask was a unique, highly purified source. Montooth says only a half dozen could have made such a thing. But when starting with that flask as the source, drying it is not so difficult. A spraydryer, for example, does all the heavy lifting, though it requires experience and knowledge relating to the temperature etc. (otherwise high temperature kills the anthrax)

          As to how to best weaponize anthrax so as to increase its lethality, it would be wrong for the FBI to too openly discuss it, wouldn’t it? Hassell expressly said that they would be keeping some information confidential and some might think that such misleading was ill-motivated. But that it came with the territory of the subject being a bioweapon. Folks like my friends Barry and Professor Boyle and Ike are highly political partisans — keeping information confidential suddenly evidence of an offensive bioweapons program. When, actually, it is the nature of biodefense and consistent with treaty obligations. If political activists think that it is not necessary to research such issues as part of biodefense, then that is their right but they are mistaken. The Navy for example was doing highly sophisticated research in the spring of 2001 involving aerosols. Or at least it should be understood not to point to “who did it” — but perhaps instead the source of the know-how (perhaps not given it is dual purpose and the same research is being done in other fields).

          It is JK at the air force lab who in 2007 did controlled studies using a silanizing agent in the slurry PRIOR to drying that showed the anthrax simulant resulted in the same spike for silicon — and was not added for the purpose of aiding floatability.

          But it would serve other functions relating to lethality. The iron increases the silicon uptake.

          Political activists are hung up on the use of silica under the old Dugways 1990s method without appreciating that (1) sophisticated products can result from simple methods, (2) the use of silica in microencapsulation is widely used by non-state actors, and (3) silica microencapsulation serves a variety of purposes related to the use of pathogens as bioweapons. See 2000 best-selling book PLAGUE WARS that Ayman Zawahiri was reading. Yes, the info the FBI and Dr. Hassell and Dr. Majidi are so keen not to discuss was bedside reading by Dr. Zawahiri. The sooner they realize that the safer the country will be.

          Now, of course, the folks looking up the skirts of those sorority co-eds knew nothing about what Ayman was reading because of the compartmentalization of the Task Force, so it allowed Jeff Taylor to claim the dead guy did it because the truth was too inconvenient.

          Truth in achieving justice is truth. Inconvenience is not something to be added to the scale.

        • DXer said

          Ali Al-Timimi had a high security clearance doing work (presumably computer work) for the Navy while at the contractor SRA, where Dr. Bailey was at the same time. Dr. Bailey in 1999 was a leading Battelle consultant and was the DIA’s leading biological threat assessment person. Dr. Bailey won’t talk to me about Dr. Al-Timimi and “lawyered up” years ago.

          The most diverse microbiological depository in the world — the one that shipped Vollum to Iraq in the mid-1980s — sponsored Al-Timimi’s program. Dr. Bannan, guiding the FBI’s science, was the collections scientist at the bacteriology division there.

          What did Al-Timimi’s work for the Navy involve? Dr. Burans was the Navy’s lead biodefense guy. Maybe he would know. Someone should ask him.

          If it had become known that the Bush adminsitration had not merely allowed Al-Timimi to infiltrate biodefense but had given him a letter of commendation (as the White House did), the Bush Administration would have not succeeded in winning a second term (IMO).

          If they try to close this case on Dr. Ivins, I think a lot more people are going to be fired.

        • DXer said

          This was exactly part of Ayman Zawahiri’s plan.

          Step One
          Use universities and charities to infiltrate US biodefense.

          Step Two
          Use the “weapons of your enemies” as commanded by the hadiths.

          Step Three
          Watch while the Bush Administration engages in a political cover-up when the evidence points to US biodefense.

          The Bush Administration played right into his hands, caused lots of anger in the Arab world, invaded Iraq etc. just as Ayman could anticipate.

          Never underestimate your adversary. Ayman is a brilliant spymaster. Although he might have thought not to keep the records detailing his plan on his computer.

          His plan has resulted in a lot of innocent people being killed — including women and children.

        • Anonymous Scientist said

          Majidi specifically said that there was no additive to increase flotability. The persons who would best be able to determine the spores flotability attributes are the persons with expertise in that field and the persons who anlyzed the powder for the FBI. These persons are located at Dugway Proving Ground – and they did study the powder for the FBI.

          They published a paper in 2008 stating that they beleived the Daschle powder had flotability additives (they say it was “fuidized”.)

          Clearly this is at odds with what Majidi said.

          We can only hope that it was these Dugway authors who testified to the NAS committee in closed session last month.

          The Dugway paper is here:


        • DXer said

          “Anonymous Scientist said

          January 13, 2010 at 2:33 pm
          Majidi specifically said that there was no additive to increase flotability.”

          Please quote what he said on this point rather than characterizing it — so that we might see whether he used the word “post-processing” or “post-production.” Thanks. What he said was that the silica could have been in the culture medium. (And whether it was silica as such or something silica-based is another question). But your expert John Kiel also says it would not serve the purpose of increasing floatability. In the email you rely upon, when he said the simulant prepared with the silanizing agent floated like “a butterfly and stung like bee” he was not saying that the same was not equally true of the control prepared without the silanizing agent. Dr. Kiel and I exchanged many emails on this subject and although I appreciate your reading of the one email, it is out of context of his other clarifying emails. The microencapsulation serves other additional purposes. Silica typically is used for rheological purposes. And so it commonly would be described as a fluidizing agent. Or as Dr. Smalls, a consultant for the FBI said, it would commonly be used to dampen Vander Waals forces. A charged 1 micron particle naturally can have great floatability. Silica neither necessarily points toward nor away from state sponsorship. But rather than getting enmeshed in the difference of flocculate and agglomerate — when I pretty much only am familiar with flatulence — let’s focus on what Dr. Majidi actually said. Which is available to us in the transcript Lew helpfully posted.

          And be prepared to understand microencapsulation because in defending its Ivins Theory, the FBI is preparing to launch its explanation of the reason for the Silicon Signature in flask 1030.

        • Anonymous Scientist said

          Majidi: “First of all, let me dispel some frequently repeated erroneous information.
          For example, there were no intentional additives combined with the Bacillus anthracis spores to make them any more dispersible.”

          Dugway 2008 paper: “In the anthrax attack of 2001, some of the material was believed to be in a “fluidized” form (defined here as having fumed silica added).”

          “The focus of the work presented here was to develop a system to prepare multiple samples in a chamber, which allowed predictable concentrations of aerosolized spores (closely simulating
          the type of spores used in the actual attack) to settle on at least two types of surfaces and at concentrations that tested the limits of detection of the sampling and analytical methods.”

          The implication is clear, stated in very plain English. Dugway scientists studied the properties of the attack spores as contracted for by the FBI (see Jeff Mohr’s statements). From these studies they reached conclusions about the nature of the powder used in the attacks. They state “In the anthrax attack of 2001, some of the material was believed to be in a “fluidized” form”.

          Majidi states the complete opposite – he says there was no intentional additive to enhance dispersibility.

          The 2 differing statements couldn’t be further apart – they are completely 180 degrees opposed to one another.

        • Anonymous Scientist said

          Can we have the names of the authors you claim you correspoonded with?

        • Anonymous Scientist said

          Mohr stated to Nadler and Coen (remember this was BEFORE the death of Bruce Ivins):
          ‘A bunch of us worked with the FBI on Amerithrax. So we all know all the ins and outs and we have to be careful about that because we signed statements saying that we wouldn’t talk about exactly what that anthrax looked like.”
          I interpreted that as being his team was intimately familiar with the mailed spores. If the above statement does not mean they had intimate knoweldge of what the mailed spores looked like, then what does it mean?
          Then (again BEFORE Ivins death) – they published a paper in the Journal of Aerosol Science that contained this:
          “In the anthrax attack of 2001, some of the material was believed
          to be in a “fluidized” form (defined here as having fumed
          silica added). In order to simulate the aerosol-deposited nature
          of the anthrax biowarfare agent on surfaces, a two part study
          was initiated.”…………………..
          So, we have this team at Dugway who are intimately familiar with the mailed spores and they write a paper in April 2008 stating they believe the mailed spores were fluidized (in other words “weaponized). They undertake a costly study to simulate the opening of the envelopes using weaponization techniques to make dry powder anthrax – techniques it would have been IMPOSSIBLE for Bruce Ivins to recreate at Detrick.

        • Anonymous Scientist said

          There are SEVEN authros on this paper from TWO different institutes. One of the institutes is Dugway the other is the EPA.
          Only Dugway signed and non-discosure with the FBI.
          Hence, once again you are rleying on an anonymous source that you claim to have corresponded with.
          Dugway’s Jeff Mohr made a very clear statement – the aerosol scientists at Dugway were intimately familiar with the attack spores. It is a FACT that Mohr said this. It is a FACT that the paper stated they beleived the attack spores were fludized. All you are doing is BSing with anonymous sources – as you usually do. That and being obsessed with adults coercing six year old boys to write letters.

        • DXer said

          The background of publicization of the Beecher article is that I saw the article (which otherwise would have gone unnoticed). I contacted him and asked for a copy. He was the corresponding author. He sent it. Then I widely distributed it to the press quoting those two sentences which are the ones I found pertinent to the true crime aspects. So there is no nefarious propaganda machine. Just a good friend of Anonymous Scientist looking to have issues defined by the people privy to millions of dollars worth of testing done. That testing showed that the Silicon Signature results from a microencapsulation process and not the historical 1990s Dugway process, which involved simple spraydrying and mixing with silica by a dairy processor. It involved a dairy processing process that was more cutting edge. It is a dual purpose technology that has application in pharmacology (for example, delivering vaccines by aerosol), bioremediation, delivering foodstuffs to cattle so as to make better milk etc.

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