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

* SEMINAR UPDATE … terrorism consultant James Van de Velde has been added to the panel of the Anthrax Mailings investigation seminar on Monday, November 29 at 1:00 pm

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 23, 2010

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terrorism consultant James Van de Velde added to the panel …

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James Van de Velde, Ph.D., is a former White House Appointee for nuclear weapons arms control under President George H.W. Bush Sr., Lecturer of Political Science and residential college dean at Yale University, State Department foreign service officer and naval intelligence reserve officer.  He was a fellow at the Stanford Center for International Security and Arms Control and at the US-Japan Program, Center for International Affairs, Harvard University.  From 2003-2004, he volunteered for a Presidential recall (an active duty mobilization) and served as a Senior Intelligence Analyst for al-Qa`ida and biological weapons at the Joint Interagency Task Force for Counter Terrorism (JITF-CT), at the Defense Intelligence Agency.  Van de Velde made two trips to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to interview an individual involved in al-Qa`ida interest in developing anthrax in Afghanistan.

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see the entire revised program and speaker bios at …

https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/11/16/youre-invited-to-the-anthrax-mailings-investigation-a-seminar-to-discuss-the-investigation-the-scientific-aspects-the-lessons-learned-and-the-broader-implications-of-the-case/

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LMW COMMENT …

The FBI’s case against Dr. Ivins is clearly bogus: no evidence, no witnesses, an impossible timeline, science that proves innocence instead of guilt. So what really happened? And why doesn’t the FBI offer America a credible story?

I can imagine only 3 possible “actual” scenarios …

  1. The FBI has more evidence against Dr. Ivins but is, for some undisclosed reason, withholding that evidence.
  2. The FBI, despite the most expensive and extensive investigation in its history, has not solved the case and has no idea who prepared and mailed the anthrax letters that killed 5 Americans in 2001.
  3. The FBI knows who did it (not Dr. Ivins) but is covering up the actual perpetrators, again for undisclosed reasons.

The “fictional” scenario in my novel CASE CLOSED has been judged by many readers, including a highly respected official in the U.S. Intelligence Community, as perhaps more plausible than the FBI’s unproven assertions.

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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10 Responses to “* SEMINAR UPDATE … terrorism consultant James Van de Velde has been added to the panel of the Anthrax Mailings investigation seminar on Monday, November 29 at 1:00 pm”

  1. DXer said

    Strong Push On To Solve 1998 Slaying Of Yale Student Suzanne Jovin, September 26, 2017
    http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-news-suzanne-jovin-murder-investigation-20170926-story.html

    James Van de Velde, From Pariah Back to Pillar – The New York Times
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/…/james-van-de-velde-from-pariah-back-to-pillar.html?

    At Yale, Remembering a Slain Undergraduate
    By NICK RAVODEC. 11, 1998

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

  2. DXer said

    Among the supporters of the Salafist-Jihadis were people like US scientist Ali Al-Timimi and Pakistan scientist Rauf Ahmad who blended into society and were available to act when another part of the network requested it. Two letters — one typed and an earlier handwritten one — written by a scientist named Rauf Ahmad detailed his efforts to obtain a pathogenic strain of anthrax. He attended conferences on anthrax and dangerous pathogens such as one in September 2000 at the University of Plymouth co-sponsored by DERA, the UK Defense Evaluation and Research Agency. In October 2009, historian Christopher Andrew published an official history of MI5 in which he reported that MI5 had found money and equipment in Rauf Ahmad’s luggage as he left the September 2000 conference.

    A handwritten letter from 1999 is written on letterhead of the oldest microbiology society in Great Britain. The 1999 documents seized in Afghanistan by US forces by Rauf describe the author’s visit to the special confidential room at the BL-3 facility where 1000s of pathogenic cultures were kept; his consultation with other scientists on some of technical problems associated with weaponizing anthrax; the bioreactor and laminar flows to be used in Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab; a conference he attended on dangerous pathogens cosponsored by UK’s Porton Down and Society for Applied Microbiology, and the need for vaccination and containment. Rauf had arranged to take a lengthy post-doc leave from his employer and was grousing to Zawahiri that what the employer would be paying during that 12-month period was inadequate. Malaysian Yazid Sufaat, who told his wife he was working for a Taliban medical brigade, got the job instead of Rauf.

    One typed memo reporting on a lab visit, which included tour of a BioLevel 3 facility, where there were 1000s of pathogenic samples. The memo mentioned the pending paperwork relating to export of the pathogens. The documents were provided to me by the Defense Intelligence Agency (”DIA”) under the Freedom of Information Act.

    Taliban supporter Al-Timimi was a graduate student in the same building where famed Russian bioweapon Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID head Charles Bailey worked at George Mason University. The three worked at the secure facility at Discovery Hall at the Prince William 2 campus. Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey headed a biodefense program funded by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
    (”DARPA”). Al-Timimi had a top security clearance and had worked for SRA International doing mathematical support work for the Navy. In 2000 and 2001, Timimi was a graduate student in computational sciences. His field was bioinformatics.

    Al-Timimi tended to travel to give speeches on interpretation of the koran during semester breaks. Al-Timimi’s speeches are widely distributed on the internet and tend to focus on religious rather than political issues. A district court judge would say that Al-Timimi’s later speeches tended to favor violent jihad. After 9/11, they reportedly were removed from the website of the Center he had founded. The night of 9/11, he got in a heated debate with some colleagues. He said while islamically impermissible, the targeting of civilians was not impermissible where they were used as a shield. Others thought that it was reckless to say that so soon after the 9/11 attack when emotions were so inflamed.

    Years earlier, the blind sheik’s son, Mohammed Abdel-Rahman was scheduled to come from Afghanistan to speak at the IANA 1993 conference alongside Ali Al-Timimi and former EIJ member Gamal Sultan. Al-Timimi was scheduled to speak alongside the blind sheik’s son again in 1996, the year Bin Laden issued his Declaration of War against the United States. In July and August 2001, Ali was scheduled to speak in Toronto and London alongside “911 imam” Anwar Awlaki and unindicted WTC 1993 “unindicted co-conspirator” Bilal Philips. Both Anwar and Bilal are very articulate. Who do they think is responsible for the anthrax mailings?

    • DXer said

      On March 14, 2001, former USAMRIID deputy commander Ames researcher Charles L. Bailey and famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek filed a patent application for a process to treat cell culture with hydrophobic silicon dioxide. Dr. Bailey was in Room 156B of GMU’s Discovery Hall at the Center for Biodefense. Ali Al-Timimi, an associate of radical Saudi sheik al-Hawali, considered to be Bin Laden’s spiritual mentor, was a graduate student who worked in the same building. Ali Al-Timimi was the most celebrated speaker of the charity Islamic Assembly of North America (”IANA”). The IANA website had published the fatwa “Provision of Suicide Operations,” dated June 19, 2001, that stated: “The mujahid [or warrior] must kill himself if he knows this will lead to killing a great number of the enemies or demolishing a center vital to the enemy or its military forces. In this new era, this can be accomplished with the modern means of bombing or bringing down an airplane on an important location that will cause the enemy great losses.” On August 26, 2001, IANA’s website http://www.islamway.com published a propaganda statement that encouraged individuals to join arms against the West titled “An Invitation to Jihad,” stating that “[t]he mujahid brothers will accept you with open arms and within a period of two weeks you will be given commando training and will be sent to the frontline.”

      In mid-December 2001, the US arrested US-based Al Qaeda biochem operative Ali Al-Marri, who had arrived on September 10, 2001 and was nominally a student living in Macomb, Illinois. Al-Marri had lived in Macomb the previous summer and had traveled to New York City to join with UK operative Dhiren Barot to case NYC helicopters and financial institutions. Authorities had learned of calls he made to KSM’s assistant al-Hawsawi from Illinois. He had the imam at the local mosque store the computer in his basement and then ship it to Washington.

      Beginning December 2001, Ali Al-Timimi was on GMU staff and paid $70,000 a year. Officials learned of communications between Al-Timimi and Bin Laden’s spiritual adviser, radical Saudi sheik al-Hawali. Al-Timimi’s attorney, for example, says that Al-Timimi and Al-Hawali spoke on September 16, 2001 and September 19, 2001. They later spoke in coordinating a letter to members of Congress on the first anniversary of the anthrax letters to the Senators and helping Moussaoui with his defense.

      In March 2002, a crude biological weapons site was found in Afghanistan. U.S. forces discovered a site near the southern Afghan city of Kandahar that appeared to be an Al Qaeda documents have been found by the police authorities,” a spokesman for international peacekeepers said. One local report said that the discovery included 36 types of chemicals, explosive materials, fuses, laboratory equipment and some “terroristic guide books.” It said the laboratory was found in a residence in the diplomatic area of Kabul in a building that had been used by an Arab national who headed the group prior to 9/11. WAFA was a militant supporter of the Taliban. Documents found in WAFA’s offices in Afghanistan revealed that the charity was intimately involved in assassination plots against U.S. citizens as well as the distribution of “how to” manuals on chemical and biological warfare. U.S. officials have described WAFA as a key component of Bin Laden’s organization.

      In 2002, a man named Singh tried to purchase over the internet a wireless video module and a control module for use in an unmanned aerial vehicle (”UAV”). He chose an airborne video system with a camera and transmitter able to transmit video images from a UAV back to a receiver from as far as 15 miles away. The video camera could be used in military reconnaissance and in helping aim artillery and other weaponry across enemy lines. Singh placed his order from England, but the company was unable to confirm Singh’s overseas credit card. Two young men from Northern Virginia, Chapman and Khan, who were among the group later known as the “Virginia Paintball Defendants,”assisted him in completing the purchases. As the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals later explained, the pair “attended the Dar al Arqam Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia where Ali Timimi, a primary lecturer, spoke of the necessity to engage in violent jihad against the enemies of Islam and the ‘end of time’ battle between Muslims and non-Muslims.” In the summer of 2002, Singh visited Virginia, staying first with one of them and then with the other. Ali Timimi was unindicted co-conspirator number 1 in the Virginia Paintball Case, and was only later identified by Prosecutors (and then separately indicted).

      Ali Timimi drafted a letter from dissident Saudi sheik Hawali dated October 6, 2002. He had it hand delivered it to every member of the US Congress just before their vote authorizing the use of force against Iraq. The letter was from al-Hawali (not Timimi), and warned of the disastrous consequences that would follow an invasion of Iraq. Rm 154A in George Mason’s Discovery Hall (down from former USAMRIID head Dr. Bailey in Rm 156B) would be Victor Morozov’s room number when he first assumed Timimi’s phone number in 2004 (and before he moved to a newly constructed, adjacent building). Morozov was the co-inventor with Dr. Bailey of the related cell culture process under which the silica was removed from the spore surface. A faculty member who would consult with Ali suggests that it instead was Rm. 154B, in the middle of the office suite.

  3. DXer said

    You had to know that my monthly tribute to NCIS investigator Gibbs wouldn’t be far behind.

  4. DXer said

    Here are some excerpts from James’ superb July 2010 “The Impossible Challenge of Deterring “Nuclear Terrorism” by Al Qaeda” in Studies in Conflict & Terrorism.

    It is very well-done and sophisticated. My selection of excerpts is haphazard relative to the article’s actual organization.

    I recommend the article as an excellent read on a very important issue and difficult strategic problem

    James R. Van De Veldevelde
    … Washington, DC, USA
    Online publication date: 13 July 2010
    To cite this Article Van De Velde, James R.(2010) ‘The Impossible Challenge of Deterring “Nuclear Terrorism” by Al
    Qaeda’, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 33: 8, 682 — 699

    The Impossible Challenge of Deterring
    “Nuclear Terrorism” by Al Qaeda
    JAMES R. VAN DE VELDE

    Washington, DC, USA

    Deterring Al Qaeda from using a nuclear weapon, should it acquire one, is a harder challenge than analysts have argued. Suggestions for “deterrence based on punishment” have severe limitations. Al Qaeda is not a state, has no clear command authority, and has no clear nuclear weapons–employment doctrine. Most analysts also ignore the dynamic of “crisis instability” (“use it or lose it”): should the West believe Al Qaeda has an improvised nuclear devise, it is unlikely (regardless of whether Al Qaeda leadership claimed the weapon would be held as a deterrent only) that the West would accept a mutually-assured-destruction relationship with the group. The West would hunt the weapon down, forcing Al Qaeda’s hand. The best counter–Weapons of Mass Destruction–Nuclear Terrorism defense, therefore, is good counterinsurgency policy to starve it of recruits until the group dies.

    ***

    Most are well aware of the various, concerted, important, and determined efforts by the Bush administration to deter WMD terrorism through defense—all of which continue under the Obama administration. First and foremost, of course, the U.S. government is aggressively seeking terrorists worldwide. But beyond that, the U.S. government is coordinating WMD-event mitigation (crisis management efforts) to persuade attackers as best as possible that attacking the United States with most types of WMD will not be physically, economically, or psychologically devastating. (This too is an element of deterrence based on defense, although a particularly weak one since it involves planning defenses against the very last stage of a WMD-T event.) The U.S. government is also trying to dissuade terrorists from using WMD in the first place by attacking their self confidence, their religious legitimacy to use such weapons in a wanton manner, and arguing through local (i.e., Muslim) voices that the strategic loss from such an attack would outweigh any strategic gain.6

    The U.S. government also attempts to deter WMD-T by exposing plots uncovered through intelligence and increasing security around suspected government and civilian targets so that plotters will feel that they have little operational security or will likely achieve moderate success in attacking the target. Terrorists suffer a credibility and legitimacy problem when they fail to attack a target successfully and so cannot suffer toomany failures,
    lest they hurt their image and recruitment. But dissuading WMD attacks by exposing plots or hardening targets works best (maybe “only” works) if one increases security around the very target the plotters are considering attacking. And it is also another example only of deterrence through defense.

    Discrediting terrorist legitimacy by exposing their hypocrisy, their lack of religious authority, the wanton murder of thousands of innocents (including Muslims—which is forbidden in the Koran) is also an example of deterrence based on defense (attacking the image and self- confidence of an adversary) and works to undermine Al Qaeda’s credibility, ability to recruit, and coherence. But all of these efforts too are defensive.

    ***
    Al Qaeda leadership in particular has shown a consistent interest in the development of a nuclear capability and other WMD. Former senior Al Qaeda operations planner Khalid Shaykh Muhammad (KSM) confirmed in March 2003 that senior Al Qaeda leadership—including bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Muhammad ‘Atif (a.k.a. Abu Hamza al-Masri)—all believed that obtaining a CBRN capability was necessary and that they were intent on developing weapons that could cause large numbers of casualties.

    Following Pakistan’s nuclear tests in 1998, bin Laden urged Muslims to follow Pakistan’s example and “not be lax in possessing nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.” In a 1999 interview, bin Laden called acquisition of WMD a “religious duty.”11

    As has been widely reported, in May 2003, a Saudi cleric, Nasir Bin Hamad Al-Fahd, produced the only widely recognized fatwa on the use ofWMD. In “A Treatise on the Legal Status of Using Weapons of Mass Destruction against Infidels”—a 25 page fatwa—Fahd argues that the Western ban on use of weapons of mass destruction “was not to protect humanity but to protect themselves and monopolize such weapons.”12

    Al-Fahd asserts that Americans and the West have killed ten million Muslims and, therefore, “If a bomb that killed ten million of them and burned as much of their land as they have burned Muslims land were dropped on them it would be permissible, with no need to mention any other argument.”13 It seems reasonable to conclude that the current Al Qaeda leadership likely sympathizes with this perspective.

    ***
    Analysts can cite a collection of related, but disparate comments from such Al Qaeda members as Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, and Abu Musab al-Suri regarding the employment of aWMD. Clerical views have ranged from “WMD acquisition is impermissible, to acquisition as a deterrent is permissible, to use of WMD against the West is permissible.” (In most cases, the weapon under consideration was a nuclear weapon.) In
    short, there is no clear Al Qaeda employment doctrine regarding “WMD,” either concerning its acquisition or its use. Further still, since Al Qaeda considers itself “at war” with the West, what confidence would the West have in an Al Qaeda declaratory doctrine that its nuclear weapon (should it acquire one somehow) is merely a deterrent? No one knows of course what Al Qaeda’s nuclear employment doctrine is for the simple reason that it
    can change moment to moment, depending on who allegedly is in charge of the group (if anyone); who controls the weapon moment to moment; and what the mood of the war may be moment to moment. There is no developed ideology to read that guides Al Qaeda leadership necessarily.

    ***

    chemical WMD-T attack will almost certainly be ambiguous: Was the 2001 anthrax attack that killed five and injured 17, but caused $1.5+ billion in response a WMD-T event? Would an anthrax attack in Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., that caused the death of, say, 250 people and caused the economic evacuation of several square blocks constitute a WMD-T event? If not, what if the U.S. government concluded that the attacker likely had more anthrax than that used in the initial Dupont Circle attack?

    A chemical weapon disseminated successfully in a crowded environment, Times Square, New York, for instance, could kill hundreds and even conceivably thousands but the effects would dissipate quickly both literally and figuratively. What if the attack killed only a dozen?

    ***
    Sub-questions to answer:

    a. What would constitute “multiple personnel casualties or significant political, economic, or psychological damage?” 10? 100? 1000?Would a radiological device that killed very few cross a “red line”?
    b. How would one determine whether certain biological WMD-T attacks crossed theU.S. “red line,” especially if it took weeks or months for the attack to manifest itself?
    c. Would attacks on U.S. livestock or agriculture ever cross the U.S. “red line”?

    Dirty bombs would unlikely cross the nuclear threshold, although they would have significant psychological impact. Only weapons that killed many more than a car bomb would likely constitute a WMD attack that crossed a red line. Bio-attacks would likely take so long to discern that they would not trigger a quick U.S. response no matter if hundreds were killed. Attacks on livestock would also likely never trigger a quick U.S. response.

    ***

    1. WMD attack plotting results in the immediate loss of key technical experts (i.e., anyone identified through whatever means aiding Al Qaeda with WMD is individually targeted, i.e., killed or rendered).

    Can the United States sit back and allow scientists, technicians, chemists, bio chemists, or moderately trained scientists to knowingly aid Al Qaeda in the development of weapons of mass destruction? Does not their support for Al Qaeda represent an immediate threat to the well being of thousands? Given Al Qaeda’s declaration of war against the West, would not technical assistance to the group constitute a legally recognized, immediate, and grave danger (i.e., “war aid,” to those who have declared war on the West)?

    Most nuclear smugglers identified by intelligence are followed, not immediately arrested, to discern their suppliers and ultimate customers. In most such cases, this is the preferred intelligence approach. When would it be more advantageous to “signal” or “message” such smugglers by arresting or targeting them? And what would be the message precisely? And would not the message need to be made public—ideally known worldwide
    for other smugglers to be duly effected? And even if one picked a few candidates to “message,” rather than follow, how does one know that the “message” will be successfully delivered to all would-be smugglers, even if the message made international news?

    Sub-questions to answer:

    a. Would unwitting suppliers or technical specialists be targeted?
    b. Would smugglers be targeted?
    c. Would members of state intelligence services be targeted?
    d. Would individuals of any country (i.e., Russia or China), be targeted?
    e. Would Americans be targeted?

    Unwitting suppliers would likely not be targeted. Smugglers might be. But members of state intelligence services would not, complicating the entire objective. Russian, Chinese, and many other such nationals would likely be treated differently, as would Americans. In short, such a deterrent policy would be too complicated to be effectual. And such a “punishment” would not likely be viewed as sufficiently costly for a group like Al Qaeda.

    Drain Al Qaeda of Important Personnel Through False Flag Operations and Scams—Mostly Still “Defense,” But Some “Punishment” Involved

    2. Draining of important Al Qaeda personnel, time, money from other plots to an ineffective WMD-T attempt (i.e., enticing plotters toward dud weapons/wasting their time on plots the United States is controlling).

    U.S. and allied counter-WMD-T efforts should include false flag efforts to erode Al Qaeda’s confidence in its acquisition efforts. Such efforts could include offers of assistance to Al Qaeda by technically competent individuals who in fact sell or transfer technically false information, or the release onto the black market of materials that appear genuinely virulent, radioactive, or toxic, but in fact are inert. Although this effect is mostly defensive, the loss of time, money, effort, and expertise to the failed acquisition effort would constitute a level of punishment to Al Qaeda facilitators, encouraging them to conclude that WMD acquisition
    is too costly (wasteful of time, money, and personnel) an endeavor.

    Sub-questions to answer:

    a. Would the United States invite the cooperation of other states in such endeavors?
    b. Would the United States invite other states (i.e., Russia, Pakistan, India, China . . .)
    to devise and conduct similar operations on their own?
    c. Would the intelligence concerns resulting from numerous false flags outweigh the benefit?
    d. Would the international outcry outweigh the benefit, should some operations result unintentionally in severe WMD scares?

    The United States could invite other states to cooperate, although such efforts would be immensely complicated to compartmentalize and conduct. Inviting other states to conduct their own operations might be less complicated. Should efforts prove successful, more could be planned. Draining key operations would also not likely be viewed as unacceptable punishment for a nuclear weapons acquisition program (a program they likely have today).

    Al Qaeda leadership would also likely dismiss the loss of key individuals as the expected cost of the acquisition program.

    Punishment for Use of WMD
    Worldwide Condemnation/Loss of Prestige and Strategic Goal

    3. Increased worldwide disdain for Al Qaeda and intolerance of its tactics, ideology, and recruitment.
    Al Qaeda does have a constituency. Yet most Muslims worldwide already today reject Al Qaeda methods and specifically the wanton killing of innocent civilians. But not all Muslims worldwide denounce all Al Qaeda activity. Would the few that would support the use of a nuclear weapon enable an Al Qaeda member or group to go ahead and kill thousands of civilians? Could that sympathetic constituency be so reduced that Al Qaeda
    would be self-deterred, concluding that the benefit would be outweighed by the loss of all support within the Muslim world?

    International condemnations can be written in advance by numerous Muslim, international, and non-state voices condemning the use of a nuclear weapon, along with pledges to work against any individual, group, or organization that uses a nuclear weapon. The threat might work to dissuade recruitment into Al Qaeda WMD acquisition programs by convincing technically savvy jihadists that helping Al Qaeda acquire a nuclear weapon
    would outweigh any benefit. Unless, say, a nuclear weapon not only destroyed the U.S. Capitol but collapsed the U.S. political regime, use of a nuclear weapon would likely not advance Al Qaeda’s larger political/religious agenda but instead likely undermine it. The United States ought to spell this out explicitly in advance as a form of “condemnation retaliation” threat. Such a threat could be extended (“threatened”) to those charities and
    individuals who provide Al Qaeda financial assistance.

    Likewise, Al Qaeda leadership is sensitive to its image within the Muslim world. If, say, a campaign was waged to educate the Muslim world of the enormous damage and death toll as a result of the use of an improvised nuclear device or weapon in a civilian center, might worldwide Muslim revulsion threaten to undermine Al Qaeda leadership prestige and legitimacy? If so, part of the international effort to deter WMD-T might be to illustrate graphically and in detail the enormous damage nuclear weapons threaten. Similarly, should the United States engage in a “nuclear weapons-peace campaign,” designed to point out to Muslim audiences that the United States has never used a nuclear weapon against Muslims, despite having the capability to do so and that it considers the weapon a retaliatory weapon only, to undermine the jihadi rhetoric that the West is cruel
    and kills Muslims wantonly and constantly? Those clerics and extremists who rationalize

    Sub-questions to answer:

    a. What would such international condemnation look like? A document? A statement from religious, political and Islamic leaders? (Such condemnations exist today, of course; what could be different in yet another, new one?)

    b. What would “pledges” to oppose any group that uses a nuclear weapon consist of?

    c. How would involved charities be retaliated against, following a nuclear weapon terrorism event?

    d. Given that some states such as Saudi Arabia still support jihadist activities through the financial support of maddrasses, some of which advance radical ideology and support Al Qaeda goals and efforts, would the condemnation retaliation be extended to states such as Saudi Arabia?

    e. How could the United States best teach Muslim audiences how enormously damaging these weapons are, in order to undermine Al Qaeda leadership legitimacy?

    A joint statement consisting of a band of like-minded clerics would be largely symbolic and another, larger fight behind the scenes would erupt regarding the credibility of those conducting the condemnation. Charities would be starved even more ofWestern aid; Saudi Arabian support for radical ideology would likely continue, albeit more hidden.

    Devise a Form of Muslim Excommunication

    4. A form of Muslim excommunication with credibility (i.e., some resonance within the radical communities).

    Several Muslim clerics have questioned whether Islam permits the handling and using of biological weapons, especially since biological weapons may kill fellowMuslims. Perhaps several important clerics can be persuaded that the handling of radioactivematerial likewise is improper for a good Muslim, especially since it may lead to the death or injury or numerous innocent Muslims. Use of a nuclear weapon will contradict the tenets of Islam
    in numerous, fundamental ways:

    • They are indiscriminate weapons. Any use of a nuclear, chemical, or biological weapon will kill innocent men, women, and children of all religions.
    • They will alienate the Muslim world and brand Muslims as wanton murders of Muslims, women, and children.
    • They advance no cause. They cannot build any future. They will destroy animals, resources, water, and defile land.
    • They cannot be targeted against any particular government, person, or group. They are indiscriminate by nature. They will invite indiscriminate retaliation.
    • The investment in acquiring such weapons can better be directed at more worthy needs.

    A religious condemnation threat, therefore, should be devised and made explicit by numerous, credibleMuslim voices—including voices within the radical community—threatening to declare as takfir (unbeliever) any Al Qaeda member involved in the use of a nuclear weapon. Such a threat should also be extended to those charities and individuals who provide Al Qaeda financial assistance. Such a threat could be leveled and enacted against the families of those aiding Al Qaeda in the development of a nuclear weapon. Al Qaeda is sensitive to its moral authority; attacking the justification to use a nuclear weapon may be
    possible.

    ***

    Advance U.S. Forensics as a Form of Existential (Ambiguous) Threat

    7. Advance U.S. forensic capabilities and make much more public theAdministration’s “attribution” policy.

    In his 8 February 2008 remarks to the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley, stated that the U.S.
    government has “strengthened nuclear forensics capabilities, so if the worst should happen, and a nuclear attack should occur on U.S. soil, wewould be able to identify those responsible
    quickly and accurately;. . .” and that the United States “reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force to the use of weapons of mass destruction . . .” and “will hold any state,
    terrorist group, or other non-state actor fully accountable for supporting or enabling terrorist efforts to obtain or use weapons of mass destruction, whether by facilitating, financing, or
    providing expertise or safe haven for such efforts.”15

    Conclusion

    Al Qaeda continues to represent a worldwide threat to the United States and its allies. It continues to plot terrorist acts against the West and aspires to acquire or develop weapons of mass destruction, which it very well might use against the West without hesitation.

    Despite much intellectual effort, there remain some inescapable truths regarding Al Qaeda’s interest in attacking the West with a nuclear weapon:

    • The United States cannot likely persuade the irredeemable jihadists that it is not at war with Islam.
    • Acquiring a WMD is not categorically forbidden by Islam.
    • Ayman al-Zawahiri may have claimed on 2 March 2008, that the practical use of a WMD would be to deter Western aggression, but there is no discernable Al Qaeda WMD employment doctrine. The United States has no idea when, where, or why Al Qaeda might use an IND (Improvised Nuclear Device). And a decision to use such a weapon will be influenced by such factors as how and where the weapon was acquired, by whom, who controls it, and the weapon type (IND vs. a stolen state-weapon).

    The West ought, therefore, to characterize those irredeemably committed to acquiring a nuclear weapon as irrational, apocalyptic, and dangerous—first and foremost because they are! The “center of gravity” in the war with Al Qaeda is the worldwide fight over Al Qaeda ‘s legitimacy and Muslim perceptions of the West. The best and perhaps only means, therefore, to deter Al Qaeda’s use of a nuclear weapon in particular is to treat it as an
    insurgency and defeat the group by starving it of recruits. The goal must be to defeat and end Al Qaeda legitimacy and recruitment, since an insurgency is defeated when no one (or very few) join it.

    • DXer said

      Question for James: Ali Al-Timimi’s brother reports that he was told by the FBI the first week after 9/11 that his brother was suspected of being part of a broader Al Qaeda network. Ali shared a suite with two of the leading anthrax researchers in the world, including the famed Ken Alibek. SRI, which had a BL-3 lab, was a subcontractor on the multi-million dollar grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

      Ali was the former assistant in another life to Present Bush’s White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. Ali’s defense committee reported that he received a letter of commendation for his work on bioinformatics for the Navy (while at the contractor SRA). Ames researcher and co-founder DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense Charles Bailey was there at SRA at the same time (in 1999).

      What work did Ali Al-Timimi do for which he received a letter of commendation from the White House. Did it relate to testing of simulate aerosols on ships such as was conducted, as I recall, in the Spring of 2001?

      • DXer said

        Second question for James: A non-citizen, an Egyptian, worked with virulent Ames and was supplied virulent Ames by the late Bruce Ivins. He came to head a DARPA project within a few years of getting his PhD from the department where Ayman Zawahiri’s sister Heba was a professor in microbiology. Like Ayman, Heba was very distraught in the late 1990s over the rendering and suspected mistreatment of her brother Mohammed. What vetting is done before allowing such access by a non-citizen. Dr. Ivins reported to the FBI he had not known that the scientist coming was not a citizen. Who approved access after his arrival — upon emailed request.

        The FBI did not receive 16 pages relating to that research until February 2005. The name had been misspelled when entered into the log. Shouldn’t such access have received top priority in the years prior to 2005 given that it was known that Ames was involved and that Ayman Zawahiri had announced that he intended to use anthrax against US targets? Given that the documents seized by the CIA in Fall 2001 showed that Ayman intended to use the cover of universities and charities to weaponize anthrax, what was done by the Department of Defense to ensure that US biodefense had not been infiltrated? Did DOD share all intel and information it had with the FBI investigating the anthrax mailings?

        • DXer said

          Third question for James: James Burans, was head of Naval biodefense and later head of Amerithrax science – would he have been the one whose office was responsible for vetting Ali Al-Timimi’s work for the Navy? Despite Dr. B’s undisputed expertise and good faith, shouldn’t he recuse himself from any issue related to the FBI’s withholding of documents from the NAS and the NAS’s delay in producing them to the public as required by FACA?

        • DXer said

          Fourth question for James: A childhood friend and medical schoolmate of Ivins’ non-citizen researcher supplied virulent Ames, “Tawfiq”, tells me that he was recruited by Ayman Zawahiri while at medical school. Ayman would come on Fridays to speak. Egyptian Islamic Group was not only lawful but dominated the school.

          His brother, Khalid Hamid, is CAIR-St. Louis and has a blog that is virulently anti-Israel (I think that is a fair characterization without having an opinion on whether the criticism of Israel is warranted). The St. Louis MD will not speak to his brother “Tawfiq”, at last report, because of Tawfiq’s cooperation with intelligence agencies. He has publicly said he does not know of any sleeper cell and even organized a press conference of doctors arguing that terrorism by a medical doctor was against the Hippocratic Oath.

          The FBI appears not to have obtained the 16 pages about the non-citizen’s work with Ames with Bruce (see fax sent from Dr. Friedlander’s fax) until February 2005. So the FBI seems not have to obtained the relevant documents. Had DIA obtained the documents? Was there a means set up at DOD labs to vet people taught microbiology by the sister of the man who had sworn to use anthrax against the US to retaliate for the rendition of her brother?

          If not, doesn’t Amerithrax represent the greatest intelligence failure in the history of United States?

          And if the NAS does not address the issue of conflicts of interest, shouldn’t the GAO do so after obtaining the relevant documents from DARPA?

  5. DXer said

    A former naval intelligence reserve officer, a fellow at the Stanford Center for International Security and Arms Control and at the US-Japan Program, Center for International Affairs, Harvard University.” “From 2003-2004, he volunteered for a Presidential recall (an active duty mobilization) and served as a Senior Intelligence Analyst for al-Qa`ida and biological weapons at the Joint Interagency Task Force for Counter Terrorism (JITF-CT), at the Defense Intelligence Agency.”

    My older brother was in the Navy and then Naval reserve and knew President Bush from college. After 9/11, his overriding reaction was “Put me back in the game, coach!” Now I know why I’ve always looked up to James — and who he reminds me of.

    For your Thanksgiving day reading, the novel “Pandora’s Succession” by Russell Brooks “has taken different parts of our current history and used that madness to build a more cataclysmic horror.”

    http://blogcritics.org/books/article/book-review-pandoras-succession-by-russell/page-2/#ixzz16CRi7lQ9

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