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

* have FBI Director Mueller and Congressman Holt met? if not, is a meeting scheduled?

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 22, 2010

13 days have passed …

we have sent emails and made phone calls to Congressman Holt’s office,

none of which have been returned …

what’s going on?

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FBI Director Mueller & Congressman Holt

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On December 9, Congressman Holt wrote to FBI Director Mueller …

  • Despite the FBI’s original charge to the NAS to examine only the scientific data and conclusions in the case, it now appears that the FBI—which has consistently botched and bungled this case from the beginning—may be seeking to try to steer or otherwise pressure the NAS panel to reach a conclusion desired by the Bureau.
  • I ask that you meet with me this week to explain the FBI’s troubling conduct in this matter.

It has now been a week … Have they met? … Is a meeting scheduled?

******

NOTE:

Robert Mueller became the FBI Director on September 4, 2001.

It’s a 10 year appointment, ending in September 2011.

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see also …

* DXer: why should we trust NAS when they don’t comply with the statutory obligation to release the materials submitted by the FBI?

* hints of conflict between the NAS and the FBI are found in the unexpected delay of the NAS report on the FBI’s anthrax science … the FBI is obviously trying to hide the truth as long as possible and the NAS is witholding documents it is required by law to release

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LMW COMMENT …

FBI Director Mueller has a record of stonewalling, even members of Congress. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.

Of course, by now you know my view of the FBI’s case against Dr. Ivins and their desperate effort to keep the facts from being known.

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 … POSSIBLE BUT NOT SO LIKELY
  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 … EVEN LESS LIKELY
  3. The FBI knows who did it (not Dr. Ivins) but is covering up the actual perpetrators, for undisclosed reasons … THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO

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 regarding Dr. Ivins.

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

 

 

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165 Responses to “* have FBI Director Mueller and Congressman Holt met? if not, is a meeting scheduled?”

  1. DXer said

    In this powerpoint “Investigative Response: FBI Hazardous Materials Response Unit,” one of the last slides mentions decontamination so as to avoid contamination in the lab.

    Here, Bruce Ivins thought it was an “incredible coverup” that he was not allowed to swab the diagnostic services division — where the Special Pathogens lab was located and the FBI’s anthrax expert did his work making a dried powder using the anthrax from Flask 1029. (Dr. Ezzell worked closely with David Wilson and others at the Hazardous Materials Response Unit and Wilson was put in charge of Amerithrax 2).

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/john-ezzell-forthrightly-to-my-way-of-thinking-heroically-answered-all-my-dxers-questions-relating-to-the-darpa-research-in-which-flask-1029-the-%E2%80%9Cmurder-weapon%E2%80%9D-to-borrow-us/

    It is unfair for the FBI to use contamination of bacteriology lab space as evidence of Dr. Ivins’ guilt when he forthrightly sought to gather evidence of contamination — and he was not allowed to do the same for the area where the FBI’s anthrax expert worked with the dried powder made from Flask 1029.

    This is not to fault the expertise or good faith of any of the FBI scientists — just to point out that the evidence of contamination being asserted against Dr. Ivins is more fairly construed as evidence of his good faith.

    In the case of Amerithrax, it apparently is the official government conclusion that there was cross-contamination in the FBI lab (Commonwealth Biotechnologies) in Richmond that in its press release bills itself as critical to Amerithrax testing.

    Maybe the FBI contractors should all have done as good a job and been as meticulous as Dr. Ivins.

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:mGL4LSMydfkJ:www.dtic.mil/ndia/2008homest/hmru.pdf+%22Hazardous+Materials+Response+Unit%22+FBI&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESj2oO22VO0S8T_eWV5NsRiZ8olc-RzKOKxSwgr678gBKW39C2W3ZBl3MSc7vEsRINwq3oqoX4Ozhx9TBTAzEnvzorPIjRoh0EKX-KzKSKYG1AeavSi1wKpHilapiktivIyYU21D&sig=AHIEtbTsAkepdaf_xBDBC9144Af1W-zYnQ

    Basically, the FBI in sticking it to Ivins is covering its ass and leaving the country vulnerable to attack — due to the greatest intelligence failure in the history of the United States.

    • DXer said

      FBI profiler Candice DeLong explained how she came up with her profile:

      “I vaguely knew who Daschle was. He wasn’t a household word. I didn’t know who Leahy was. He was definitely obscure.”

      Candice DeLong apparently was unaware that Senator Leahy had the single most important position regarding appropriations to Egypt and Israel (in addition to oversight over the FBI).

      Senator Leahy was obscure to the FBI’s profile but not to Ayman Zawahiri or the Egyptian Islamic Jihad or Egyptian Islamic Group.

      Candice DeLong evidenced no knowledge that Ayman Zawahiri’s shura members had announced that he planned to use anthrax against US targets to retaliate for the rendering of senior Egyptian Islamic Jihad leaders — and was unaware of the intelligence that he planned to use the cover of charities and universities to do it.

  2. DXer said

    Someone asks when the US first learned of Ayman Zawahiri’s plan to attack the US using anthrax.

    The CIA has known of Zawahiri’s plans to use anthrax since July 1998, when the CIA seized a disc from Ayman Zawahiri’s right-hand, Ahmed Mabruk, during his arrest outside a restaurant in Baku, Azerbaijan. At the time, Mabruk was the head of Jihad’s military operations. Mabruk was handed over to Egyptian authorities. A close associate and former cellmate in Dagestan in 1996, Mabruk was at Ayman’s side while Ayman would fall to his knees during trial and weep and invoke Allah. Their captors reportedly did not know the true identity of the prisoners. After Mabruk’s capture in Baku, Azerbaijan, the CIA refused to give the FBI Mabruk’s laptop. FBI’s Bin Laden expert John O’Neill, head of the FBI’s New York office, tried to get around this by sending an agent to Azerbaijan to get copies of the computer files from the Azerbaijan government. The FBI finally got the files after O’Neill persuaded President Clinton to personally appeal to the president of Azerbaijan for the computer files. FBI Special Agent Dan Coleman would later describe the laptop as the “Rosetta Stone of Al Qaeda.” O’Neill died on 9/11 in his role as head of World Trade Center security. He died with the knowledge that Ayman Zawahiri planned to attack US targets with anthrax — and that Zawahiri does not make a threat that he does not intend to try to keep.

    At the time, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (”DTRA”) set up a program at Lawrence Livermore to combat the Bin Laden anthrax threat. The CIA also snatched Egyptian Al-Najjar, another senior Al Qaeda member (a shura or policy-making council member) who had been working for the Egyptian intelligence services. Al-Najjar confirmed Ayman’s intent to use weaponized anthrax against US targets in connection with the detention of militant islamists in a sworn lengthy confession. Even Zawahiri’s friend, Cairo lawyer Montasser al-Zayat, who was the blind sheik’s attorney, announced in March 1999 that Bin Laden and Zawahiri were likely to resort to the biological and chemical agents they possessed given the extradition pressure senior Movement leaders faced. That week, and thoughout that year, Al-Zayat was in touch by telephone with US Post Office employee Sattar and Islamic Group leaders about the group’s strategy to free the blind sheik. An islamist who had been a close associate of Zawahiri later would explain that Zawahiri spent a decade and had made 15 separate attempts to recruit the necessary expertise to weaponize anthrax in Russia and the Middle East.

    EIJ military commander Mabruk was in regular contact with Mahmoud Jaballah, who was in Toronto beginning May 1996. Although Mabruk changed his location every few months, Jaballah kept aware of his whereabouts through his contacts with Jaballah’s brother-in-law Shehata. Shehata was in charge of EIJ’s “special operations.” When Mabruk was arrested and imprisoned in Dagestan along with Zawahiri, Jaballah was told on December 13, 1996 that Mabruk was “hospitalized.” That was code for “in jail” and, for example, is the code used by Zawahiri in emails on the same subject. Jaballah raised funds for Mabruk’s release and coordinated these collection efforts with Shehata. Indeed, it was Jaballah’s brother-in-law Shehata who brought the money to Dagestan to arrange for Zawahiri’s and Mabruk’s release.

    Correspondence between Mabruk and Jaballah in 1997 reported on Jaballah’s recruitment efforts. Mabruk, EIJ’s military commander, was pleased. Jaballah confirmed March 1999 that Bin Laden and Zawahiri were likely to resort to the biological and chemical agents they possessed given the extradition pressure senior Movement leaders faced. That week, and thoughout that year, Al-Zayat was in touch by telephone with US Post Office employee Sattar and Islamic Group leaders about the group’s strategy to free the blind sheik. An islamist who had been a close associate of Zawahiri later would explain that Zawahiri spent a decade and had made 15 separate attempts to recruit the necessary expertise to weaponize anthrax in Russia and the Middle East.

    EIJ military commander Mabruk was in regular contact with Mahmoud Jaballah, who was in Toronto beginning May 1996. Although Mabruk changed his location every few months, Jaballah kept aware of his whereabouts through his contacts with Jaballah’s brother-in-law Shehata. Shehata was in charge of EIJ’s “special operations.” When Mabruk was arrested and imprisoned in Dagestan along with Zawahiri, Jaballah was told on December 13, 1996 that Mabruk was “hospitalized.” That was code for “in jail” and, for example, is the code used by Zawahiri in emails on the same subject. Jaballah raised funds for Mabruk’s release and coordinated these collection efforts with Shehata. Indeed, it was Jaballah’s brother-in-law Shehata who brought the money to Dagestan to arrange for Zawahiri’s and Mabruk’s release.

    Correspondence between Mabruk and Jaballah in 1997 reported on Jaballah’s recruitment efforts. Mabruk, EIJ’s military commander, was pleased. Jaballah confirmed with Shehata and Mabruk his view of the reliability of the individuals he had recruited. His recruits were affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Zawahiri and the Vanguards of Conquest sought to recreate Mohammed’s taking of mecca by a small band through violent attacks on Egyptian leaders. By the late 1990s, Zawahiri had determined that the Egyptian Islamic Jihad should focus on its struggle against the United States and hold off on further attacks against the Egyptian regime.

    The cause of the Egyptian militants had suffered a serious setback with the murder of tourists at Luxor. After the public relations debacle of Luxor, and after the August 1998 US embassy bombings, al-Qaeda actively sought religious and legal opinions from Movement scholars around the world who might help rationalize the killing of innocents. The following letter is an example of such a letter taken from Zawahiri’s computer.

    “Folder: Outgoing Mail
    Date: September 26, 1998
    Dear highly respected _______
    I present this to you as your humble brother concerning the preparation of the lawful study that I am doing on the killing of civilians. This is a very sensitive case—as you know—especially these days.
    It is very important that you provide your opinion of this matter, which has been forced upon us as an essential issue in the course and ideology of the Muslim movement

    [Our] questions are:
    1- Since you are the representative of the Islamic
    Jihad group, what is your lawful stand on the killing of civilians, specifically when women and children are included? And please explain the legitimate law concerning those who are deliberately killed.

    2- According to your law, how can you justify the killing of innocent victims because of a claim of oppression?

    3- What is your stand concerning a group that supports the killing of civilians, including women and children?
    With our prayers, wishing you success and stability.”

    A February 1999 letter signed by “Army of Suicidals Group 66, Bin Laden Militant Wing” threatened anthrax attacks against Westerners if they stayed in Yemen beyond a 11-day ultimatum ending February 27, 1999. Investigators considered a possible connection to the attempted extradition to Yemen of the London-based Egyptian Islamic preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri. Memos in the Spring of 1999 from Zawahiri to Egyptian Mohammed Atef, Al Qaeda’s military commander, and former Cairo police sergeant, indicate that Ayman was a close student of the USAMRIID anthrax program. He believed that the Koran instructed that a jihadist should use the weapons used by the crusader. “What we know is that he’s always said it was a religious obligation to have the same weapons as their enemies,” former CIA Bin Laden unit counterterrorism chief Michael Scheuer once explained.

    The most senior Vanguards of Conquest leader in North America was Mohammad Mahjoub. Mahjoub had known Essam Mohamed Hafez Marzouk. Marzouk had trained the 1998 embassy bombers. Marzouk was one of those picked up in Azerbaijan in August 1998. For a time, Marzouk had lived in Canada in British Columbia. After initially denying he knew Marzouk, Mahjoub testified in 2001 that earlier he had lied and said he knew and had been in contact with him. Canadian Vanguards member Jaballah claimed that Mahjoub was in regular contact with Marzouk.

    87 of the 107 defendants in the 1999 “Returnees from Albania” trial in Cairo were Vanguards members. Mahjoub was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 15 years. The group swore that it would seek revenge in retaliation for the convictions in that case.

    According to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (“CSIS”) in the years leading up to his arrest, Mahjoub had shown signs of security consciousness. One time in December 1998, “he looked over his shoulder on three (3) occasions for no apparent reason, after making a call from a public pay phone.” He would call from pay phones rather than his residence. In May 1999, “he was observed looking back on several occasions while walking through a shopping centre parking area prior to boarding a bus.” In late January 2000, Mahjoub told an associate that he preferred to talk face to face when an associate asked about news. He said that could not talk about the matter because of “Moukhabarat” (secret services). When asked whether he meant military or civilian, Mahjoub said “both.”

    In early February 2001, the CIA briefed President Bush on a threat to use mailed anthrax if the bail for Vanguards of Conquest #2, Mahjoub, was denied. His bail was denied on October 5, 2001. The anthrax mailer then sent especially deadly anthrax to the people in the symbolic position of appropriations to Egypt and Israel and the rendering of senior Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Egyptian Islamic Group leaders.

    • DXer said

      An April 1, 1999 email shows Ayman Zawahiri was in active email contact with Egyptians in a Yemen cell engaged in operational planning. In 1999, Zawahiri created some computer documents describing his biological and chemical program, which he code-named Zabadi or “Curdled Milk.” It is milk curdled by bacteria. It’s made using a spraydryer. Like the FBI, Zawahiri has a penchant for suggestive code names, which sort of defeats the purpose. (Indeed, the US Army reportedly used Zabadi and “bad cow” as code names for Iraqi soldiers upon invading Iraq.) The project apparently included work on a pesticide/nerve agent that used a chemical to increase absorption (and was tested on rabbits and dogs). Was Ayman’s code-name al-Zabadi, meaning yogurt? Or was it instead al-Zubaidy, referring to the inventor of an aerosol spraying device used in adapting cropdusters? I have relied on a landmark article in the Wall Street Journal about the documents on Ayman’s computer in suggesting that Zabadi means “yogurt.”

      Later that month, a vitriolic message, signed by “Army of Suicidals Group 66, Bin Laden Militant Wing,” threatened anthrax attacks against Westerners if they stayed in Yemen beyond a 11-day ultimatum ending February 27, 1999. Egyptians, Algerians and Tunisians, all veterans of the Afghan war, were part of a group calling itself the Islamic Army of Aden and Abyan. Investigators considered a possible connection to the attempted extradition to Yemen of the London-based Egyptian islamic preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri. At a news conference on January 20, 1999, Abu Hamza, who was the leader of the London-based Supporters of Sharia (Islamic law), had warned that westerners should leave Yemen. Both his son and stepson were being held by authorities. Abu Hamzi al-Masri would later be arrested in May 2004. The anthrax threat, however, was a bluff. Ayman was still researching the subject.

      Richard Clarke once said in testimony, “All too often we ignore open sources. If we don’t pay for it or steal it, we don’t believe it.” There is a wealth of public information about the Vanguards of Conquest and Zawahiri’s quest to weaponize anthrax. On March 6, 1999, the report first appeared about Al Qaeda and anthrax in Arabic newspapers in connection with the confession of a senior Egyptian islamist militant, Ahmad al-Najjar. Al-Najjar had served and then betrayed Zawahiri in Yemen. Al-Najjar also revealed the EIJ’s wing in the United States centered on Ali Mohammed.

      • DXer said

        It was Ayman Zawahiri who researched using silicates in culture medium to grow anthrax in 2000 — not Bruce Ivins. (I have cited the article on silicates in culture medium that was his focus).

        George Tenet, in At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA, summarized:

        “The most startling revelation from this intelligence success story was that the anthrax program had been developed in parallel to 9/11 planning. As best as we could determine, al-Zawahiri’s project had been wrapped up in the summer of 2001, when the al-Qaida deputy, along with Hambali, were briefed over a week by Sufaat on the progress he had made to isolate anthrax. The entire operation had been managed at the top of al-Qai’da with strict compartmentalization. Having completed this phase of his work, Sufaat fled Afghanistan in December 2001 and was captured by authorities trying to sneak back into Malaysia. Rauf Ahmad was detained by Pakistani authorities in December 2001. Our hope was that these and our many other actions had neutralized the anthrax threat, at least temporarily.”

        In an April 1999 memorandum, Zawahiri wrote that “the destructive power of these [biological] weapons is no less than that of nuclear weapons. *** [D]espite their extreme danger, we only became aware of them when the enemy drew our attention to them by repeatedly expressing concern that they can be produced simply.” Demonstrating that Al Qaeda’s knowledge and expertise was still at a very early stage despite the grand statements and threats the earlier year, the memorandum read:

        “To: Muhammed Atef
        From: Ayman al-Zawahiri
        Folder: Outgoing Mail
        Date: April 15, 1999

        I have read the majority of the book [an unnamed volume, probably on biological and chemical weapons] [It] is undoubtedly useful. It emphasizes a number of important facts, such as:
        1) The enemy started thinking about these weapons before WWI. Despite their extreme danger, we only became aware of them when the enemy drew our attention to them by repeatedly expressing concerns that they can be produced simply with easily available materials.
        b) The destructive power of these weapons is no less than that of nuclear weapons
        c) A germ attack is often detected days after it occurs, which raises the number of victims.
        d) Defense against such weapons is very difficult, particularly if large quantities are used.”

        Ayman continued: “I would like to emphasize what we previously discussed—that looking for a specialist is the fastest, safest, and cheapest way [to embark on a biological- and chemical-weapons program].

        Simultaneously, we should conduct a search on our own.*

        ** Along these lines, the book guided me to a number of references that I am attaching. Perhaps you can find someone to obtain them.”

        The memorandum goes on to cite mid-twentieth-century articles from, among other sources, Science, The Journal of Immunology, and The New England Journal of Medicine, and lists the names of such books as Tomorrow’s Weapons (1964), Peace or Pestilence (1949), and Chemical Warfare (1921). The April 1999 email to Atef indicated Ayman had read one USAMRIID author’s description of the secret history of anthrax reported by USAMRIID — the book was called Peace or Pestilence. That was 2 1/2 years before the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. Post-9/11, we have had the same history avidly reported to us by critics of the biodefense industry. Ayman, well-aware of USAMRIID’s history with anthrax, may have had an operative or some other sympathizer arrange to obtain the US Army strain that would point the public and authorities to this history — confounding true crime analysis at the same time providing moral justification for the use anthrax under the laws of jihad. His interpretation — alluded to in the repeated citation to a particular koranic verse — was that jihadists should use the weapons used by their enemies.

        In Afghanistan, Zawahiri was assisted by Midhat Mursi (alias Abu Khabab). In his late 1940s, Mursi had graduated from the University of Alexandria in 1975. An Egyptian chemical engineer, he ran the camp named Abu Khabab. Intelligence reportedly indicates that Midhat Mursi had for some time been linked to the Kashmir-based Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba. According to a May 7, 1999 email, the modest amount of $2,000 to $4,000 had been marked for “startup” costs of the program. A letter dated May 23, 1999 written by one of Zawahiri’s aliases mentions some “very useful ideas” that had been discussed during a visit to the training camp Abu Khabab. “It just needs some experiments to develop its practical use.” Especially promising was a home-brew nerve gas made from insecticides and a chemical additive that would help speed up penetration into the skin. Midhat Mursi was widely reported and believed to have been killed in a January 2006 bombing raid in Pakistan — at a high-level terror summit at which Zawahiri’s son-in-law was also killed. But a year-and-a-half later, the Washington Post matter-of-factly announced:
        “U.S. and Pakistani officials now say that none of those al-Qaeda leaders perished in the strike and that only local villagers were killed.” Midhat Mursi later was killed in a missile strike in the summer of 2008.

        Al Qaeda’s experimentation with its chemical weapons has been featured on the nightly television news picturing a dog being put to death. Director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies and former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, Jonathan Tucker, an expert retained by the government to determine the chemical used in the video, opined that it was hydrogen cyanide. As journalist John Berger explained of the tapes: “US intelligence said al-Qaida’s chemical weapons programme was centered in Darunta camp. The mastermind behind experiments was allegedly Egyptian
        Midhat Mursi, who ran a section of the camp known as Khabab, and who worked mainly with Egyptians. Experts said that all but one of the voices on the tapes shown yesterday by CNN spoke in Egyptian accents. KSM had non-pilot hijackers practice how to slit passengers’ throats by making the hijackers practice killing sheep, goats, and camels in connection with the planned “Planes Operation.” Did the Amerithrax perpetrators similarly practice killing animals?

        Ahmed Ressam testified at his trial in New York that he participated in experiments using cyanide gas pumped into an office building ventilation system at a training camp run by bin Laden in Afghanistan. Abu Khabab camp was within the Darunta Camp, which also included the Assadalah Abdul Rahman camp, operated by the son of blind cleric Omar Abdel Rahman. Ayman liked the idea to make a home-brew nerve gas from insecticides and a chemical additive that would help speed penetration into the skin. In a June 1999 memo, however, he talked about building labs (with one being closed every three months so it can be moved and replaced by another), and planned to have them covered with oil paint so they might be cleaned with insecticides.

        • DXer said

          In early September 1999, the London Sunday Times reported that London Sheik Omar Bakri Muhammad, a friend of Abu Hamza, the mullah with metal claws for hands, in an open letter read out in mosques across Britain and published on the internet, called on Osama Bin Laden to use biological weapons against America and its allies. Sheik Omar Bakri posted his open letter to Bin Laden on his own website and read in mosques in Sheffield, Bradford, Leicester and London. When US officials complained, the letter was taken off the internet. “Using any biological weapons in self-defence is, in Islam, permissible, and I believe that we are currently operating under a defensive jihad. Obviously, we regret what could happen to innocent people, but there are always people who are war casualties or, if you like, victims of war.” He recommends that biological weapons be used against the “occupiers” of holy lands.

          Youssef Bodansky, the director of the Congressional United States Task Force on Terrorism, said: “Bakri knows that his letter will be acted upon and that is why he has written it.” He told the Sunday Times Bin Laden had taken encouragement from Bakri’s message and had issued a reply that was read out in mosques in Pakistan and Britain.

        • DXer said

          George Tenet in his May 2007 In the Center of the Storm says: “Al-Qa’ida spared no effort in its attempt to obtain biological weapons. In 1999, al-Zawahiri recruited Pakistani national Rauf Ahmad, to set up a small lab in Khandahar, Afghanistan, to house the biological weapons effort. In December 2001, a sharp WMD analyst at CIA found the initial lead on which we would pull and, ultimately, unravel the al-Qa’ida anthrax networks. We were able to identify Rauf Ahmad from letters he had written to Ayman al-Zawahiri. … We located Rauf Ahmad’s lab in Afghanistan. We identified the building in Khandahar where Sufaat claimed he isolated anthrax. We mounted operations that resulted in the arrests and detentions of anthrax operatives in several countries.”

          Delivering the James Smart Lecture, entitled “Global Terrorism: are we meeting the challenge?” at the headquarters of the City of London Police, Ms. Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, said: “Western security services have uncovered networks of individuals, sympathetic to the aims of al-Qa’ida, that blend into society, individuals who live normal, routine lives until called upon for specific tasks by another part of the network.” She concluded: “The threats of chemical, biological and radiological and suicide attacks require new responses and the Government alone will not achieve all of it; industry and even the public must take greater responsibility for their own security.”

          In 1999, a scientist from Porton Down had reported to sfam members on a conference in Taos, New Mexico in August that included a talk by Tim Read, (TIGR, Rockville, USA) and concerned the whole genome sequencing of the Bacillus anthracis Ames strain. The Ames strain may have been a mystery to many after the Fall 2001 mailings, but not to motivated Society for Applied Microbiology (“SFAM”) members, one of whom was part of Ayman Zawahiri’s “Project Zabadi.”

          As described by Dr. Peter Turnbull’s Conference report for SFAM on “the First European Dangerous Pathogens Conference” (held in Winchester), at the September 1999 conference, the lecture theater only averaged about 75 at peak times by his head count. There had been a problem of defining “dangerous pathogen” and a “disappointing representation from important institutions in the world of hazard levels 3 and 4 organisms.” Papers included a summary of plague in Madagascar and another on the outbreak management of hemorrhagic fevers.

          Dr Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University presented a paper on multilocus VNTR typing, for example, of Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis. There were more than the usual no-show presenters and fill-in speakers.

          The Sunday at the start of the Organization of the Dangerous Pathogens meeting in September 2000, which the SFAM director confirmed to me that Rauf Ahmad also attended, was gloomy. Planning had proved difficult. The overseas delegates included a sizable contingent from Russia. The organizers needed to address many thorny issues regarding who could attend. One of the scientists in attendance was Rauf Ahmad. The Washington Post reports: “The tall, thin and bespectacled scientist held a doctorate in microbiology but specialized in food production, according to U.S. officials familiar with the case.”

          Les Baillie the head of the biodefense technologies group at Porton Down ran the scientific program. Many of the delegates took an evening cruise round Plymouth harbor. The cold kept most from staying out on the deck. Later attendees visited the National Marine Aquarium — with a reception in view of a large tankful of sharks. Addresses include presentations on plagues of antiquity, showing how dangerous infectious diseases had a profound that they changed the course of history. Titles include “Magna pestilencia – Black Breath, Black Rats, Black Death”, “From Flanders to Glanders,” as well as talks on influenza, typhoid and cholera. The conference was co-sponsored by DERA, the UK Defence Evaluation and Research Agency.

          Les Baillie of Porton Down gave a presentation titled, “Bacillus anthracis: a bug with attitude!” He argued that anthrax was a likely pathogen to be used by terrorists. As described at the time by Phil Hanna of University of Michigan Medical School on the SFAM webpage, Baillie “presented a comprehensive overview of this model pathogen, describing its unique biology and specialized molecular mechanisms for pathogenesis and high virulence. He went on to describe modern approaches to exploit new bioinformatics for the development of potential medical counter measures to this deadly pathogen.”

          Bioinformatics was the field that Ali Al-Timimi, who had a security clearance for some government work and who had done work for the Navy, entered by 2000 at George Mason University in Virginia.

          Despite the cold and the sharks, amidst all the camaraderie and bonhomie no one suspected that despite the best efforts, a predator was on board — on a coldly calculated mission to obtain a pathogenic anthrax strain. The conference organizer Peter Turnbull had received funding from the British defense ministry but not from public health authorities, who thought anthrax too obscure to warrant the funding. By 2001, sponsorship of the conference was assumed by USAMRIID. USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins started planning the conference held in Annapolis, Maryland in June 2001 three years earlier, immediately upon his return from the September 1998 conference.

          According to the Pakistan press, a scientist named Rauf Ahmad was picked up in December 2001 by the CIA in Karachi. The most recent of the correspondence reportedly dates back to the summer and fall of 1999. Even if Rauf Ahmad cooperated with the CIA, he apparently could only confirm the depth of Zawahiri’s interest in weaponizing anthrax and provided no “smoking gun” concerning the identity of those responsible for the anthrax mailings in the Fall 2001. His only connection with SFAM was a member of the society. He was not an employee. The Pakistan ISI, according to the Washington Post article in October 2006, stopped cooperating in regard to Rauf Ahmad in 2003.

          I have uploaded scanned copies of some 1999 documents seized in Afghanistan by US forces describing 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; and the need for vaccination and containment. He explained that the lab director noted that he would have to take a short training course at the BL-3 lab for handling dangerous pathogens. Rauf Ahmad noted that his employer’s offer of pay during a 12-month post-doc sabbatical was wholly inadequate and was looking to Ayman to make up the difference. After an unacceptably low pay for the first 8 months, there would be no pay for last 4 months and there would be a service break. He had noted that he only had a limited time to avail himself of the post-doc sabbatical. I also have uploaded an earlier handwritten letter from before the lab visit described in the typed memo. The Defense Intelligence Agency provided the documents to me, along with 100+ pages more, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). 90 of the 100 pages are the photocopies of journal articles and disease handbook excerpts.

          The Washington Post, in an exclusive groundbreaking investigative report, recounts that the FBI’s New York office took the lead U.S. role — and its agents worked closely with the CIA and bureau officials in Pakistan in interrogating Rauf. Though not formally charged with any crimes, Rauf agreed to questioning. While the US media focused on the spectacle of bloodhounds alerting to Dr. Steve Hatfill and the draining of Maryland ponds, this former Al Qaeda anthrax operative provided useful leads. But problems began when the U.S. officials sought to pursue criminal charges, including possible indictment and prosecution in the United States.

          In earlier cases, such as the orthopedic surgeon Dr. Amer Aziz who treated Bin Laden in the Fall of 2001, the Pakistani government angered the Pakistani public when it sought to prosecute professionals for alleged ties to al-Qaeda. In the case of Amer Aziz, hundreds of doctors, engineers and lawyers took to the streets to demand his release. In 2003, the Pakistanis shut off U.S. access to Rauf. By then, I had noticed the reporting of his arrest in a local Pakistan news article about the raid of a compound of doctors named Khawaja and published it on my website. According to Pakistani officials, there was not enough evidence showing that he actually succeeded in providing al-Qaeda with something useful. Since then, the Post reports, Rauf has been allowed to return to his normal life. Attempts by the Post to contact Rauf in Lahore were unsuccessful. Initially the government agency had said an interview would be possible but then backpedaled.

          “He was detained for questioning, and later the courts determined there was not sufficient evidence to continue detaining him,” Pakistan’s information minister told the Post. “If there was evidence that proved his role beyond a shadow of a doubt, we would have acted on it. But that kind of evidence was not available.” Yazid Sufaat got the job handling things at the lab instead of Rauf Ahmad. More importantly, Zawahiri, if keeping with his past experience, would have kept things strictly compartmentalized — leaving the Amerithrax Task Force much to do.

        • DXer said

          Among the correspondence written by Rauf Ahmad seized in Afghanistan, there are handwritten notes about the plan to use NGOs, technical institutes and medical labs as cover for aspects of the work, and training requirements for the various personnel at the lab in Afghanistan.

          Two Pakistani nuclear scientists founded Ummah Tameer-e-Nau in June 2000. “Reconstruction of the Muslim Ummah,” or “UTN,” an Islamabad-based organization whose stated purpose was to conduct relief and development work in Afghanistan. UTN built a flour mill in Kandahar and purchased land in the Kandahar region. UTN business cards from the organization carry the motto “Build to Help, Help to Build.” After the fall of the Taliban, coalition forces and the media began to search UTN facilities in Kabul. It was in November that it was reported by The Economist that the “House of Anthrax” had been found.

          Documents found by journalists in November 2001 at a villa in Kabul occupied by UTN suggested brainstorming seminars on anthrax had been held to include diagrams suggestive of a plan to use a helium-filled balloon to disperse anthrax across a wide area. The nondescript two-story villa occupied by the Pakistani aid group was in a quiet residential neighborhood of Kabul where a number of international charities were located. One downloaded document had the picture of former Secretary Cohen holding up a 5 pound bag of sugar. There were details about the U.S. military’s vaccination program downloaded from a Defense Department site on the Internet and other Defense Department documents relating to anthrax. There were 10 copies each of most of the documents. On the floor, there was what appeared to be a disassembled rocket alongside a helium canister, as well as two bags of powder. A detailed diagram scrawled in black felt tip pen on a white board shows what appears to be a balloon rising at various trajectories, alongside a fighter jet that is apparently shooting at the balloon. Beside the jet are the words, “You are dead, bang.”

          There were also pictures of ground missiles linked by lines to the balloon. Mathematical calculations indicated the height at which the balloon would fly, the distance from which it would be shot down and the area over which its contents would be dispersed. Beside one of the balloons is the word “polystyrene” and beside another the word “cyanide.” Loose sheets of paper containing scribbles of missiles and balloons were strewn around the house, indicating those attending the seminar had been taking notes and doing calculations.

          Although people can reasonably disagree on the conclusion to be drawn of the drawing on the white board showing aerial dispersal of anthrax by balloon, the drawings should be understood in the context of Ayman’s research and reading on the subject. One email from Ayman to Atef lists Peace or Pestilence as one of the books he had read. (The author argued that said science should combat disease, not find devious ways to spread it. That book included a description of the Japanese research on anthrax leading up to WW II and the US concern that anthrax was being dispersed by balloons being sent to the US on high hot air currents. Unit 731 experimented extensively with anthrax bombs and hot-air balloons filled with the deadly disease. In late 1944, aerosol scientists at Ft. Detrick (then known as Camp Detrick) were alarmed when news of some large balloons, as large as 150 feet around, had been sighted silently floating over populated areas. Within a few months, over 250 balloons had been discovered in nine western states. The balloons are known only to have been armed with an incendiary device and killed and injured only a very few people.

          A senior CNN producer who visited many UTN and Al Qaeda houses in Afghanistan, found the documents linking UTN to Jaish e Muhammad, the Army of the Prophet Mohammad, the Pakistani militant group that had been listed as a terrorist organization by the US on October 12, 2001. Other documents linked UTN to the Pakistan-based Saudi charity WAFA Humanitarian Organization and Al Rashid Trust, two other non-governmental organizations with ties to al-Qaeda that were designated on September 23, 2001 as supporters of terrorism. The New York Times reported on the search of the home by US personnel. A group of men armed with pistols, reportedly Americans, wearing gas masks, rubber gloves and boots, then came to remove powdered chemicals. The men had instructed the guards posted by National Alliance to not go in the home because the chemicals could be dangerous. The room that had been littered with papers was empty and had been swept or vacuumed by the Americans. Even after the second group visited the home, and cleaned it, several bags of chemicals were still strewn in the yard. Two small plastic bags each appeared to hold two to three pounds of brown powder. On the outside of one appeared the name “Mahlobjan” and the number 436. A second bag had the numbers 999 — or 666 — along with a crescent moon, the symbol of Islam. The New York Times reported that there was also a small seal stamped on the corner of the bag, with an eagle in its center. The worker at a charity next door, “Save the Children,” said that Mehmood had been a quiet neighbor and it was impossible to tell whether the men visiting the house were aid workers or not.

        • DXer said

          On January 23, 2001, a Canadian court held that the Court did not have jurisdiction to decide the constitutional and Charter issues raised by detainee Mahjoub, thought to be #2 of the Vanguards of Conquest, and dismissed that part of the motion. A letter was received January 30, 2001 at the Citizenship and Immigration Office threatening to use anthrax. It was sent to Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan who had co-signed the detention certificate. Mahjoub had been sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison in 1999 by Egyptian authorities for his involvement in Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Now, he was being detained without charges under an order co-signed by Immigration Minister Caplan and threatened with deportation. The postmark has never been publicly identified. Separately, hoax letters were also sent to American businesses and a Walmart in Saanich, British Columbia. Mahjoub had been in regular contact with a man named Marzouk, who had trained the 1998 embassy bombers and was captured in Baku, Azerbaijan in August 1998.

          Suspecting Mahjoub of being a shura member of the Vanguards of Conquest and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Canadian intelligence officials alleged Mahjoub had significant contacts with persons associated with international Islamic terrorism including Osama Bin Laden, Ahmad Khadr, Essam Marzouk, Vanguards founder Ahmed Agiza, and Osama Bin Laden’s principal procurement agent for weapons of mass destruction Mubarak Al Duri.

          When the letter was received in January 2001, the letter was sent by Department of National Defence jet to the Canadian Science Center for Human and Animal Health in Winnipeg for examination. Authorities also sent the filters from the Jean Edmonds building’s ventilation system. Authorities said they were treating it as a possible terrorist act against the department and noted that it “was the first time a government department has been targeted in this way.” The Ottawa alert came after one of the employees working in the Minister’s office opened a plain white envelope at 11:15 a.m. The employee discovered powder and a piece of paper in the envelope. Police refused to reveal from where it had been mailed. One source said the letter was unsigned and “mostly gibberish.” Indeed, the Fall 2001 letters might be described as mostly gibberish, and certainly the “JLo letter” — talking about Jennifer Lopez’ planned wedding — was. An internal government memo distributed to staff said “an initial analysis of the envelope revealed some traces of bacteria.”

        • DXer said

          After the January 2001 anthrax threat, a Canadian research team undertook to assess the risk. The report titled “Risk Assessment of Anthrax Threat Letters” issued September 2001. The Canadian study found considerable exposure to those in the room resulted when such a letter was opened. Bacillus globigii spores (in dry powder form) were donated by the US Department of Defense (Dugway Proving Ground, Utah). Stock concentration powder was -1 x 10 11 cfu/gm. The anthrax sent to the Senators had a smaller particle size –tending toward a uniform 1 micron, subject to clumping that easily broke apart. Bacillus globigii (BG) spores are routinely used as a simulant for Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) spores. “The letter was prepared by putting BG spores in the center of a sheet of paper, folding it over into thirds, placing the folded sheet into the envelope and sealing using the adhesive present on the envelope. The envelope was then shaken to mimic the handling and tumbling that would occur during its passage through the postal system.” The aerosol, produced by opening the BG spore containing envelope, was not confined to the area of the desk but spread throughout the chamber. Values were almost as high at the opposite end of the chamber, shortly after opening the envelopes. 99% of the particles collected were in the 2.5 to 10 µm size range. The report explained: “In addition, the aerosol would quickly spread throughout the room so that other workers, depending on their exact locations and the directional air flow within the office, would likely inhale lethal doses. Envelopes with the open corners not specifically sealed could also pose a threat to individuals in the mail handling system.”

          More than 80% of the B anthracis particles collected on stationary monitors were within an alveolar respirable size range of 0.95 to 3.5 µm. Thus, the simulant performed very well. Those who continue to argue that the Daschle product was so advanced beyond what the US could do are mistaken. The CIA and CSIS apparently feared that the Vanguards of Conquest would use the good stuff.

          The CIA knew EIJ intended to use anthrax — from the proclamations of Jaballah’s friend, the captured military commander Mabruk and Jaballah’s brother-in-law’s former law partner al-Zayat. Authorities knew Al Qaeda was getting technical assistance from scientists — and that many of the senior Egyptian leaders had advanced or technical degrees. The specifications provided by Dugway perhaps envelope. The envelope was then shaken to mimic the handling and tumbling that would occur during its passage through the postal system.” The aerosol, produced by opening the BG spore containing envelope, was not confined to the area of the desk but spread throughout the chamber. Values were almost as high at the opposite end of the chamber, shortly after opening the envelopes. 99% of the particles collected were in the 2.5 to 10 µm size range. The report explained: “In addition, the aerosol would quickly spread throughout the room so that other workers, depending on their exact locations and the directional air flow within the office, would likely inhale lethal doses. Envelopes with the open corners not specifically sealed could also pose a threat to individuals in the mail handling system.”

          More than 80% of the B anthracis particles collected on stationary monitors were within an alveolar respirable size range of 0.95 to 3.5 µm. Thus, the simulant performed very well. Those who continue to argue that the Daschle product was so advanced beyond what the US could do are mistaken. The CIA and CSIS apparently feared that the Vanguards of Conquest would use the good stuff.

          The CIA knew EIJ intended to use anthrax — from the proclamations of Jaballah’s friend, the captured military commander Mabruk and Jaballah’s brother-in-law’s former law partner al-Zayat. Authorities knew Al Qaeda was getting technical assistance from scientists — and that many of the senior Egyptian leaders had advanced or technical degrees. The specifications provided by Dugway perhaps SAIC at the request of Dr. Steve Hatfill. As one bioterrorism expert commented about the report: “Anytime you pick something up like this, and it seems to layout the whole story for you months or years before the fact, your immediate response is to step back and say ‘whoa, something may be going on here. “Our attacker may very well have used this report as something of a — if not a template, then certainly as a rule of thumb.”

          The Canadian experiments in 2001 showed that if anthrax spores were finely powdered, a letter could release thousands of lethal doses of the bacteria within minutes of being opened. Furthermore, large amounts of material leaked out of sealed envelopes even before they were opened. By then, more than two dozen federal government employees knew of the Canadian studies, which showed that a real anthrax threat letter was a far more dangerous weapon than anyone had believed. Within days, a dozen more people were informed of the now highly relevant experimental findings. Over the course of the next decade, one FBI investigative squad was focused on people who may have known of the study — such as William Patrick’s friend, Dr. Steve Hatfill. Another squad would be focused on the usual suspects and their friends. For the next seven years, the investigation would be shrouded in great secrecy.

        • DXer 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 Attash. While not at the meeting with the hijackers, they met Hambali shortly after.

          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, according to author Suskind, 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 (his wife says) he had been serving in a Taliban medical brigade.

          Malaysian officials 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 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.

  3. DXer said

    On the issue of detection of use of heme on spore samples prepared with blood, the FBI used as one of its key scientists a scientist funded by DARPA in connection with the study of the effect of a sonicator and corona plasma discharge on Ames spores prepared from Dr. Ivins’ Flask 1029.

    If the National Academy of Sciences did not include the issue of conflict of interest within the expressly tasked issue of taint, then it might have well taken the taxpayer’s $1 million and blown it in Atlantic City.

    Conflict of interest issues need to be addressed even assuming the expertise and good faith of all the parties (as I do).

    Perhaps the FBI Director’s compartmentalization served to avoid – maybe even it was specifically partly intended to address — the taint.

    Quantitative Determination of Heme for Forensic Characterization of Bacillus Spores Using Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry

    Jeffrey R. Whiteaker* and Catherine C. Fenselau
    Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742
    Dean Fetterolf, Darin Steele, and David Wilson
    Federal Bureau of Investigation, Quantico, Virginia 22134
    Anal. Chem., 2004, 76 (10), pp 2836–2841
    DOI: 10.1021/ac034959r
    Publication Date (Web): April 14, 2004
    Copyright © 2004 American Chemical Society

    A quantitative method was developed for the determination of heme (ferriprotoporphyrin IX) using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOFMS). The method was designed for forensic characterization of the use of blood agar in preparation of Bacillus spores. An alkali wash of 0.3 M ammonium hydroxide was used to solubilize heme from spore samples. The wash was concentrated and analyzed by MALDI-TOFMS. Experimental parameters were optimized to obtain the best signal intensity, maximize signal reproducibility, and improve day-to-day repeatability of the measurement. Sinapinic acid was found to be the best matrix. A sandwich sample preparation protocol was determined to increase the shot-to-shot and point-to-point reproducibility of the measurement. Cobalt(III) protoporphyrin was used as an internal standard and the analyte/internal standard ratio responses from solutions of known concentrations were used to construct a calibration curve (R2 = 0.993). Limits of detection and quantitation for heme were calculated to be 0.4 (200 fmol) and 0.8 μM (400 fmol), respectively. Spore samples prepared on blood agar and nonblood agar were analyzed using the method. Heme was detected at a concentration of 0.3 ng/mg of spore on samples prepared on blood agar and purified by extensive washing. Heme was not detected on spore samples prepared without blood.

  4. ALERT1 said

    Have they found the Alqaida Operative that spilled his guts in 2000 about the Anthrax Attacks? Does anyone know that story, I do.

  5. DXer said

    Abu Ghaith, who wrote the first religious justification for a mass anthrax attack in June 2002, now in his new “20 Guidelines” book reasons that Ayman and Anwar are going to burn in hell for their senseless murder of innocents. He doesn’t name them but Ayman will know that Abu Ghaith is calling him a jerk.

  6. DXer said

    By Caitlin Dickson | December 21, 2010 4:07pm

    One of the most shocking news stories of the day revealed that salad bars are the target of the most recent terror threat to the US. Word spread quickly via Twitter, prompting a variety of reactions to the unusual news.

    National Review’s Jim Geraghty presumably feels superior about his aversion to lettuce.

    CNN: “Al-Qaeda targeting Americans by threatening to poison salad bars.” Ha! You’ll never catch me there, bastards!
    less than a minute ago via Mobile Web
    jimgeraghty

    J.M. Berger worries about giving other potential terrorists ideas.

    If no one was trying to poison a salad bar before, I am sure someone will now.
    less than a minute ago via web
    J.M. Berger
    intelwire

    Magnus Lie Hetland is already predicting an increase in salad security.

    Great. Now we’re going to get full body scanners by the salad bar. #alqaeda #poisonplot
    less than a minute ago via Twitterrific
    Magnus Lie Hetland
    mlhetland

    Barry Dorrans and Marcos Espinoza wonder if salad bars are really the best target.

    Terrorists are threatening to attack salad bars in america? SALAD BARS? Haven’t they seen americans? *snicker*
    less than a minute ago via Seesmic Desktop
    Barry Dorrans
    blowdart

    Dumbasses. Nobody gets the salad bar anymore: RT @TheAtlanticFOOD: Al Qaeda plot to slip cyanide into buffets and salads http://su.pr/336Sqe
    less than a minute ago via TweetDeck
    Marcos Espinoza
    FidelGastro

    But Political Quotes thinks the target might be effective at getting through to some people.

    First They Came for the Applebee’s Salad Bar: If you thought middle America was pissed when they hit the WTC… http://bit.ly/ibjydE #p2
    less than a minute ago via twitterfeed

    Marcus Lush remembers last year’s terror threat.

    latest terrorism target in the US is the salad bar! last xmas the underwear bomber – this xmas the salad bar poisoner!
    less than a minute ago via web
    Marcus Lush

  7. DXer said

    This is the fellow who supports the FBI’s position. He argues it is 99% certain that Dr. Ivins did not write the letters. He writes:

    “Ed Lake said
    December 21, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    1. The facts indicating that a first grader wrote the anthrax letters were clear and described in detail five or six years before Ivins was ever mentioned by anyone discussing the anthrax case. The facts have nothing to do with Ivins per se. The facts say a child wrote the letter, not Ivins.

    2. There is no evidence – competent or otherwise – that contradict the facts showing that a child wrote the letters.”

    • DXer said

      Ed is quite correct that there is no evidence — competent or otherwise — to suggest that Dr. Ivins wrote the letters.

      • DXer said

        For example, the paper used was not the paper associated with the USAMRIID photocopier.

        The “tracks” by which the paper was grabbed were not similar to the tracks made on photocopies made in September and October 2001 on those machines.

        The toner can be excluded at a statistically high level of confidence.

        There is no matching of ink or handwriting or paper with any of the extensive documents taken from Dr. Ivins home. etc.

  8. DXer said

    Ed Lake,

    In support of your argument that it is 99% certain that a First Grader wrote the anthrax letters, what peer-reviewed literature did you review?

    • DXer said

      Answer: Ed did not review any peer-reviewed literature in assessing his argument.

      There is no peer-reviewed literature that supports his interpretation.

      It thus would not be competent evidence under the 5-step standard for Daubert in connection with handwriting analysis.

  9. Old Atlantic said

    Ed Lake said
    December 21, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    OldAtlantic wrote: “Since the letter anthrax was grown with the intent to use silicon to help grow, purify or aerosolize spores, Ivins did not prepare it.”

    I understand your logic. But it is logic based upon false assumptions. There’s absolutely NO REASON to believe the silicon was put into the attack anthrax intentionally. The silicon does not help grow, nor help purify, nor help aerosolize the spores. Those beliefs are pure fantasy. To make them real, if you can, you need to explain HOW the silicon helps grow, helps purify and helps aerosolize the spores.

    The measurable silicon is inside the spore coats in SOME of the spores. There may be some unmeasurable amount of silicon in the other spores, but unmeasurable amounts are not relevant. There is no evidence that silicon helps Bacillus anthracis grow. The evidence only suggests that it helps make the spore coat more rigid, and it may help the spore pass through the acid in a cow’s stomach. There’s no evidence that the silicon has anything to do with purification. There is no evidence that silicon inside a spore coat helps in any way to aerosollize spores. In fact, the idea seems totally preposterous.

    Ed

    Old Atlantic said
    December 21, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    So Ed, if the attack spores were prepared using silicon additives at any stage, then Ivins did not do it. This is because Ivins believed that silicon additives could not help grow, purify or aerosolize anthrax spores. That is your position?
    Reply

    *
    Ed Lake said
    December 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Old Atlantic wrote: “So Ed, if the attack spores were prepared using silicon additives at any stage, then Ivins did not do it. This is because Ivins believed that silicon additives could not help grow, purify or aerosolize anthrax spores. That is your position?”

    There is no evidence nor any reason to believe that the attack spores were prepared using silicon additives at any stage. Period.

    Logic based upon a false assumption that silicon additives WERE used would be your logic, not mine.

    Ed

    ==

    I think this counts as the Perry Mason Moment.

  10. DXer said

    Dr. Zawahiri accomplished the attack on the US “structure” he intended. With the planes, Al Qaeda struck the US trade dominance (World Trade Center) and its military might (Pentagon). With the anthrax, some US-based supporter(s) of the goals of Zawahiri rounded out the field that they imagine provides support to Israel — the legislative branch and media. Analogous letter bombs were sent in connection with the earlier attack on the World Trade Center and the imprisonment of the Blind Sheikh and militant islamists responsible for that attack and a related plot. Thus, relying on the postal service to send its deadly missives in connection with an earlier attack of the World Trade Center is not only Al Qaeda’s modus operandi, it is its signature.

    The two FBI investigative squads were compartmentalized and not even aware what the other investigative squad was doing, how was there seamless cooperation between the CIA and FBI? How can the investigators on the one squad judge the quality of their analysis? How can the scientists on the third forensics squad know how they are being used in putting out the spin? In light of in the earlier politicization of the US DOJ, how can one say that the compartmentalization has not been used to serve political or personal or financial interests — rather than a legitimate law enforcement purpose.

    Ayman’s plan established by the documentary evidence seized in Afghanistan was to use the cover of charities and universities. That’s exactly what he did.

    In the Washington, D.C. area, Taliban supporter Ali Al-Timimi worked in the same building as famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID Deputy Commander and Acting Commander Charles Bailey, who had co-invented a process using silanized hydrophobic silica to lead to greater concentration of a biological agent. Dr. Bailey has been a prolific Ames anthrax strain researcher. Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey had multimillion dollar grants from DARPA funding a contract with USAMRIID with Delta Ames supplied by NIH. NSA intercepts showed that Ali Al-Timimi was working with Bin Laden’s sheik al-Hawali, who had been the subject of Bin Laden’s 1996 Declaration of War and his 1998 claim of responsibility for the embassy bombings. Timimi has been sentenced to life plus 70 years before his conviction was reversed and remanded. Bilal Philips had been Ali’s mentor and the father of Jafar the Pilot had been Bilal Philips’ mentor. Ali Al-Timimi shared a fax machine with famed Russian anthrax bioweaponeer Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID deputy commander Charles Bailey, who is listed as an author on various articles reporting biodefense research using virulent Ames strain of anthrax. Dr. Bailey had worked with the Defense Intelligence Agency (”DIA”) for years on threat assessment of biological weapons. Both he and Dr. Alibek had consulted for Battelle, world renown for its expertise on anthrax aerosols. They had co-authored the patent filed in mid-March 2001 on concentrating biological agents using silica in the growth medium that was still confidential as of Fall 2001. Both Dr. Bailey and Ali Al-Timimi had a high security clearance while working at SRA in 1999. Al-Timimi was doing work on a Navy contract.

    CIA Director Tenet, in a May 2007 book, notes that the CIA was startled to learn that the anthrax planning had been done in parallel with the 9/11 planning. Indeed, it was the laptop of Hawsawi, who was KSM’s assistant who sent and received money from the hijackers, that had the anthrax spraydrying documents on it. In June 2003, a UN report explained that Al-Qaeda “WMD Committee” — Mohammed Abdel-Rahman was one of its three members — “is known to have approached a number of Muslim scientists to assist the terrorist network with the creation and procurement of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.” Al-Timimi was one such scientist but there were others.

  11. Anonymous said

    (2) In April 2002 information that an “unusual chemical” had been found coating the attack powders was provided by senior government officials to Newsweek, CNN and the Washington Post. Later on it was revealed by the FBI that this “unusual chemical” was “polymerized glass.”

    Source: Newsweek, 8 Apr 2002.
    http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/sophisticatedstrainanthrax.html
    A Sophisticated Strain of Anthrax
    By: Mark Hosenball, John Barry and Daniel Klaidman

    “Government sources tell Newsweek that the secret new analysis shows anthrax found in a letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy was ground to a microscopic fineness not achieved by U.S. biological-weapons experts. The Leahy anthrax – mailed in an envelope that was recovered unopened from a Washington post office last November [2001] — also was coated with a chemical compound unknown to experts who have worked in the field for years; the coating matches no known anthrax samples ever recovered from biological-weapons producers anywhere in the world, including Iraq and the former Soviet Union. The combination of the intense milling of the bacteria and the unusual coating produced an anthrax powder so fine and fluffy that individually coated anthrax spores were found in the Leahy envelope, something that U.S. bioweapons experts had never seen.”
    Source: Washington Post, 9 Apr 2002.
    http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/anthraxpowdernotroutine.html
    Powder Used in Anthrax Attacks ‘Was Not Routine’

    By: Joby Warrick, Washington Post Staff Writer

    “Whoever concocted the wispy white powder used in last fall’s [2001] anthrax attacks followed a recipe markedly different from the ones commonly used by scientists in the United States or any other country known to have biological weapons, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

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

    “The powder’s formulation ‘was not routine,’ said one law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ‘Somebody had to have special knowledge and experience to do this,’ the official said.”

    Source: CNN, 11 Apr 2002.

    http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/unusualcoating.html
    Official: Unusual coating in anthrax mailings
    By: Kelli Arena, CNN Washington Bureau

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

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

    “Previously, officials had reported that the coating on the anthrax included silica, which helped the spores not to clump.”

    Source: OpEdNews.com
    http://www.opednews.com/articles/World-s-Top-Anthrax-Expert-by-George-Washington-080909-527.html

    “Apparently, the spores were coated with a polyglass which tightly bound hydrophilic silica to each particle. That’s what was briefed (according to one of my former weapons inspectors at the United Nations Special Commission) by the FBI to the German Foreign Ministry at the time.”

    ******

    2.1: What laboratory results were performed in order for the FBI to conclude that “polymerized glass” was individually coating the spores?

    2.2: The complete set of laboratory data, including any and all spectroscopic results, that led to this conclusion needs to be published in order for independent experts in the chemistry of silanes, siloxanes and polysiloxanes to assess the conclusion that polymerized glass was present as a spore coating.

    ******

    —-
    (3) Quantitative elemental silicon analysis results released by the FBI: FBI lab director Dr Hassell made the following statement to the
    National Academy of Science in July of 2009:
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/fbi-assistant-director-hassell-statement-to-nas-7-30-09.pdf

    “There has been a great deal written regarding the presence of silicon in the samples and the location of that silicon. The FBI
    Laboratory used Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) to quantify silicon, as well as other
    elements, in the Leahy letter spore powder. The results indicated the Leahy spores contained 1.45 percent by weight. The New York Post letter spore powder was qualitatively analyzed using ICP-OES and was found to have Silicon present in the sample. However, the limited quantity of recovered material precluded a reliable numerical measurement of any elements present within this powder. Insufficient quantities ofboth the Daschle and Brokaw letters spore powders precluded the analysis of these samples using this elemental analysis technique.”

    ******

    3.1: What is the minimum amount of sample needed to perform accurate quantitative elemental analysis on spore samples?

    3.2: All of the FBI’s ICP-OES data for all of the spore powders they measured needs to be released and published for independent verification by experts in analytical chemistry.

    ******

    —-
    (4) Role of Pacific Northwest National Labs in the Amerithrax investigation: In his slide presentation to NAS in July 2008, FBI lab director Dr Hassell acknowledged the involvement of Pacific Northwest National Labs. This can be seen in slide 14 here:
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/fbi-slides-d-christian-hassell-%EF%BB%BFscientific-approaches-to-the-2001-anthrax-letters-investigation/

    ******

    4.1: What role did Pacific Northwest National Labs serve in the Amerithrax investigation?

    ******

    Pacific Northwest Labs demonstrated in 2005 that accurate quantitative Elemental Analysis can be performed on bacillus spores with samples as small as one nanogram. The Pacific Northwest paper on this technique can be seen here: Differentiation of Spores of Bacillus subtilis Grown in Different Media by Elemental Characterization Using Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry, John B. Cliff, Kristin H. Jarman, Nancy B. Valentine, Steven L. Golledge, Daniel J. Gaspar, David S. Wunschel, and Karen L. Wahl, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, November 2005, p. 6524-6530, Vol. 71, No. 11

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

    ******

    4.2: Did Pacific Northwest National Labs determine the elemental quantities of silicon and other elements in the attack powders? What was the quantity of silicon they determined for each powder?

    ******

    (5) Amount of spores needed for all of the attack letters: The single flask of RMR-1029 consisted at its origination date of 30g of Ames anthrax spores in a slurry of 1 liter of water. The resources needed to make this 30g of spores consisted of a combination of 12 x 10 liter fermentor runs at Dugway Proving Ground and 22 flask culture lots made at USAMRIID. Dr Bruce Ivins had calculated that to make 30g of spores at USAMRIID it would take approximately one year of work, which is why USAMRIID contracted the large fermentor runs at Dugway in order to fulfill their need for spores for animal vaccine challenge studies.

    ******

    5.1: What calculations did the FBI labs perform that allowed them to conclude that the total quantity of spores needed for all the mailed letters could be made by a single person over a few evenings?

    ******

    (6) Dugway researchers publish in 2008 that the Daschle spores were “fluidized.” In March 2008 authors from Dugway Proving Ground and the CDC published a paper titled: Development of an Aerosol System for Uniformly Depositing Bacillus anthracis Spore Particles on Surfaces. Paul A. Baron1, Cherie F. Estill1, Gregory J. Deye1, Misty J. Hein1, Jeremy K. Beard2, Lloyd D. Larsen2, and Gregory E. Dahlstrom2, 1_Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA 2_Dugway Proving Ground, Dugway, Utah, USA

    http://pdfserve.informaworld.com/168090__790515467.pdf

    In this paper, which was concerned with manufacturing a powder that would display similar aerosol and dispersability behavior to the Daschle powder, the authors make the following statement: “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).”

    ******

    6.1: Were the authors from Dugway Proving Ground privy to the nature of the powder used in the attacks? What led the authors to conclude that the spores used in the attacks were “fluidized?”

  12. Old Atlantic said

    The silicon evidence is strongly against it being Ivins. The evidence is for two growths, based on subtilis in the first growth but not the second.

    The first growth was a failure by Ivins standards according to the DOJ/FBI theory. So why would Ivins use silicon again on the second growth? Wouldn’t Ivins say, enough with this silicon nonsense, I will grow it the way I know without silicon, just pure and clear anthrax.

    But instead, the person persisted with silicon methods for the second growth despite the first growth being a failure as the DOJ/FBI insist. This indicates the person was determined to use silicon for some reason.

    One reason is they thought silicon made growing or centrifuging or purifying anthrax easier. The second is they thought it would weaponize the anthrax.

    Ivins had years of experience with anthrax. He never used silicon. The first growth was a failure according to the DOJ/FBI. So Ivins would not think that he needed silicon to grow anthrax.

    Did Ivins think silicon would weaponize the anthrax?

    In fall 2001, when the silicon AFIP analysis was done, the reaction at Ft. Detrick was that it was added on the outside. Moreover, they said a country had to have done this, an individual could not have.

    None of them said the silicon was on the inside. None of them said you just grow in silicon and some sticks to the outside and you get cheap half way weaponization.

    The Ft. Detrick reaction was this was added to the outside after spore formation and it was done with great difficulty and a country had to have done it deliberately and at great cost.

    What this signifies is that Ivins had no reason to think that growing in silicon or adding a silicon additive to spores would weaponize. Such a way of thinking did not exist at Ft. Detrick. The Ft. Detrick concept of weaponization was not grow in silicon or just add a silicon additive to spores. They did not have any such way of thinking. There was no written source suggesting these things that Ivins had any access to. Nor was there a secret report, since the Ft. Detrick people with access to such reports reacted that a country did this with some sort of glass on the outside of the spore.

    There is no reason for Ivins to insist on using silicon in either try. Once the first one failed, as DOJ/FBI claim, there is no reason for Ivins to keep using silicon for the second one. He would go back to the methods he knew and had practiced not some silicon scheme that was not based on any text or any Ft. Detrick know-how.

    • Anonymous said

      You are going back to the TOTAL NONSENSE that the number of spores that contain TRACE AMOUNTS OF SILICON is relevant.

      RMR-1030 contained trace amounts of silicon – 0.1% or less in some spores.

      As Livermore have already demonstrated – if you have a sensitive enough detector you always detect trace amounts of silicon – in the range 0.0001% to 0.1%.

      The attack spores had massive QUANTITIES of silicon. Scientists measure elements by WEIGHT PERCENT of that element present.

      Your NONSENSE JUNK SCIENCE about how many spores contained TRACE AMOUNTS is a distraction to try to somehow claim the attack spores were “normal” Detrick spores.

      I’m not surprised you are in full panic mode about the WEIGHT PERCENTAGE of silicon. The FBI are too.

      • Excellent points. The point as you make clear is not that some silicon by legitimate accident made its way into RMR-1030. The point is that Ivins never deliberately used silicon as a way to grow, purify, or aersolize spores.

        The grower in the letter anthrax case believed that their silicon additives would help in one of these aspects.

    • Thanks for the compliment. It shows a little bit of BugMaster’s tutelage is sticking.

    • You make the key admission that Ivins had no equipment to measure silicon. This includes where in the spore it was. Thus Ivins had no reason to use a silicon additive method to grow, purify, or aerosolize spores.

      Since the letter anthrax was grown with the intent to use silicon to help grow, purify or aerosolize spores, Ivins did not prepare it. Someone with the ability to measure silicon in spores did prepare it. That is someone else than Ivins. It is also likely more than one person.

      • DXer said

        Ed writes … “The silicon does not help grow, nor help purify.”

        Ed is mistaken. See Microdroplet Cell Culture method filed March 14, 2001 by DARPA-funded researchers at Center for Biodefense.

      • Old Atlantic said

        So Ed, if the attack spores were prepared using silicon additives at any stage, then Ivins did not do it. This is because Ivins believed that silicon additives could not help grow, purify or aerosolize anthrax spores. That is your position?

      • Anonymous said

        Lake wrote:
        “In fact, the idea seems totally preposterous.”

        This comes from the guy who argued for 6 years that silica coatings were useless for weaponizing anthrax. Only to be proven wrong wrong wrong.

        http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/Update-History2004.html

        Lake: Right. Is it true to say that spores are not actually COATED with silica, they are MIXED with silica?

        Alibek: (laughing) Yeah, because there is no principle for coating. This is one mistake, hopefully, which just comes from the media.

        Lake: (laughing) Right.

        Alibek: The talk about coating spores is just ridiculous.

        Lake: Yeah, to me, if you coat a spore you prevent it from germinating.

        Alibek: Yeah, but I would put it a different way: Spores do not require coating.

        Lake: Right.

        • DXer said

          “In science, one does not stick to arguments that are proven wrong, one examines the facts and adapts to what the facts and the evidence say. That’s what I do.”

          That’s not what you do, Ed. You persisted for 6 months in arguing that the genetics pointed uniquely to Dr. Bruce Ivins, rather than up to 377. Similarly, you have stuck to your argument that it is 99% certain a First Grader wrote the letters when there is no evidence to support your belief and never was. Moreover, you simply ignore that silica makes detection more difficult. Most of all, you appear not to know the origin of the anthrax in Flask 1030.. which is curious for someone who has spent so much time on the matter.

        • DXer said

          Ed Lake said
          December 21, 2010 at 8:52 pm

          ““Similarly, you have stuck to your argument that it is 99% certain a First Grader wrote the letters when there is no evidence to support your belief and never was.”

          I present the evidence in great detail on my web site to support the finding, and I have challenged everyone for over five years to disprove the evidence. No one has. They just indicate as you indicate, they don’t care what the facts are, they’re going to believe whatever they want to believe.

          Ed”

          But I did, Ed. As just one example, you asserted that there was a day care at Dr. Ivins home in Fall 2001 and I obtained paperwork from the State and contacting the family and friends showed there wasn’t. As another, I demonstrated that not a single handwriting expert agreed with you — and thus there is no competent evidence supporting your interpretation. I also reviewed all the peer reviewed literature and showed that there is no support whatsoever in the peer reviewed literature for your interpretation. Your mantra of “I know when I see it” only applies to pornography. It’s the mantra of a true believer.

        • Anonymous said

          The Science Magazine article – subsequently cited 34 times in peer reviewed journals, set the standard for understanding the adhesion of spores in terms of van der Waals interactions.
          It is now understood that chemically modifying spores to make their surface hydrophobic causes the capillary forces to disappear (in other words, weaponization). The Daschle spores were highly hydrophobic, as a result of their deliberate treatment with silicon based polymerized glass.

          http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es902070b?ai=54taf=R

          Adhesion of spores of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and spherical silica particles on surfaces was experimentally and theoretically investigated in this study. Topography analysis via atomic force microscopy (AFM) and electron microscopy indicates that Bt spores are rod shaped, 1.3 μm in length and 0.8 μm in diameter. The adhesion force of Bt spores and silica particles on gold-coated glass was measured at various relative humidity (RH) levels by AFM. It was expected that the adhesion force would vary with RH because the individual force components contributing to the adhesion force depend on RH. The adhesion force between a particle and a planar surface in atmospheric environments was modeled as the contribution of three major force components: capillary, van der Waals, and electrostatic interaction forces. Adhesion force measurements for Bt spore (silica particle) and the gold surface system were comparable with calculations. Modeling results show that there is a critical RH value, which depends on the hydrophobicity of the materials involved, below which the water meniscus does not form and the contribution of the capillary force is zero. As RH increases, the van der Waals force decreases while the capillary force increases to a maximum value.

    • BugMaster said

      Excellent post, Old Atlantic.

      Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  13. DXer said

    Mailing of poison perfume to government officials –

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/12/al-qaedas-latest-weapon-poison-perfume/

    Al-Qaeda’s Latest Weapon: Poison Perfume

    • By Adam Rawnsley
    • December 7, 2010

    They’ve sent you exploding printer cartridges. Your Christmas present last year was a twenty-something with a bomb in his skivvies. So what’s al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s latest gift of murderous gadgetry? In a department store, they’d call it Eau du Terror.

    Saudi Arabia’s Okaz newspaper reports that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) recently tried to kill government officials and religious clerics by sending agarwood-scented and poison-dosed perfume to their homes and offices.

    Comment: Ed did not know this or other examples of mailed poisons because his nose for the past 10 years has been buried elsewhere.

    http://www.fake-detective.com/history/book-ppl.html

    • DXer said

      Al-Qaeda ‘planned poison plot’
      Operatives plotted to kill government officials and media workers by sending them poisoned perfumes, Saudi Arabia says.
      Last Modified: 04 Dec 2010 14:27 GMT
      Email ArticlePrint ArticleShare ArticleSend Feedback

      Last month’s arrests were the largest of alleged operatives in many years [Reuters]
      Al-Qaeda members planned to kill Saudi Arabian government and security officials, as well as media workers, by sending poisoned gifts to their offices, a Saudi interior ministry official was quoted as telling the Reuters news agency.

      Last month, Saudi Arabia said it had captured 149 al-Qaeda-linked fighters over the past few months. They were accused of raising money and recruiting members to carry out attacks inside the kingdom.

      The group “planned to rob banks and companies to finance their operations”, the official, who declined to be named, said on Saturday.

      “Using poisoned perfume … is one of the ways the arrested people planned to carry out their assassinations,” he said.

      The operatives, who have apparently revealed this information to Saudi security forces since their arrest, belonged to 19 al-Qaeda cells and included 124 Saudis and 25 foreigners.

      • DXer said

        In this recorded interview, Eric Holder is worried he may have missed something about Anwar Awlaki. Yes, he missed something.

        And there is a paper trail and audio recordings that will make plain to the next “911 Commission” what FBI Director Mueller and Attorney General Holder missed. (In Attorney General’s partial defense, US Attorney Taylor rushed to close it before Mr. Holder was appointed; but it was still closed under Mr. Holder’s tenure).

        Amerithrax and Awlaki will remain FBI Director Mueller’s legacy if they do not reopen Amerithrax.

        For them to suggest it is a new concern rather than one that dates to Ali Mohammed and Dahab’s recruitment of 10 sleepers — their count — is baseless.

        Ali Mohammed, Al-Zawahiri’s chief of inteligence, specifically trained Dahab on sending booby-trapped letters.

        http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/attorney-general-eric-holders-blunt-warning-terror-attacks/story?id=12444727

        Attorney General’s Blunt Warning on Terror Attacks

        AG Eric Holder Says ‘Terrorists Only Have to Be Successful Once’

        By JACK CLOHERTY and PIERRE THOMAS
        WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2010

        Attorney General Eric Holder has an urgent message for Americans: While he is confident that the United States will continue to thwart attacks, “the terrorists only have to be successful once.”

        And while it is not certain we will be hit, the American people, he told ABC News, “have to be prepared for potentially bad news.”

        “What I am trying to do in this interview is to make people aware of the fact that the threat is real, the threat is different, the threat is constant,” he said.

        What was uppermost on his mind, however, is the alarming rise in the number of Americans who are more than willing to attack and kill their fellow citizens.

        “It is one of the things that keeps me up at night,” Holder said. “You didn’t worry about this even two years ago — about individuals, about Americans, to the extent that we now do. And — that is of — of great concern.”

        “The threat has changed from simply worrying about foreigners coming here, to worrying about people in the United States, American citizens — raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason, have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born,” he said.

        • DXer said

          Attorney General Holder,

          There is a reason under parliamentary procedure that they take up old business first.

          Attorney general worries about home-grown terror
          (AP) – 1 hour ago

          WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder says he’s worried about terrorist attacks on the U.S. by Americans. And high on his list of concerns is the threat posed by anti-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen believed to be hiding in Yemen.

          Holder says al-Awlaki has a familiarity with the U.S. that terrorists usually lack. He says he puts him on the list of people who worry him the most, along with al-Qaida head Osama bin Laden, but adds, “Whether he’s one, two, three, four, I don’t know.”

          In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Holder said the terrorism threat is real and constant. He says he’s concerned that the authorities may have missed a signal that an attack is coming.

          He says Americans have to be prepared for “potentially bad news.”

        • DXer said

          Mark A. Gabriel, PhD, once taught at Al-Azhar in Egypt. He wrote a very lucid book Journey Into The Mind Of An Islamist Terrorist. He discusses a booklet Zawahiri wrote titled COVERT OPERATIONS which is available online in Arabic. The Nigerian underpants bomber Abdulmutallab wrote his father asking “when is lying allowed to deceive the enemy?”

          If you want to know how Zawahiri and Awlaki views deceit on such issues as battle plans and spying, read his own words online.

          Gabriel explains:

          “Ayman al-Zawahiri leads a busy terrorist organization, and he must solve practical problems. For example, he may want some Al-Qaeda members to blend in and live in the United States. If these men wore full beards and went to ultraconservative mosques to pray, they they would arouse suspicion and get put on a watch list. Instead, al-Zawahiri would want these operatives to go undercover and blend into society. However, these devout Muslims will not go undercover unless they believe they have permission to do so from the teachings of Islam.

          As a result, al-Zawahiri wrote a booklet titled COVERT OPERATIONS, which goes deep into Islamic teaching and history to describe how deceit can be a tool in Muslim life.”

          The entire book by al-Zawahiri is posted in the Arabic language website for al-Tawheed Jihad (The Pulpit of Monotheism and Jihad). Zawahiri concluded that “hiding one’s faith and being secretive was allowed especially in time of fear from prosecution of the infidels.” Indeed, his student group in Cairo in the 1970s was known as the “shaven beards.” The founder of one of the cells merged with Ayman’s to form the Egyptian Islamic Jihad then wrote for Al-Timimi’s charity IANA.

          Al-Zawahiri discussed two specific ways Muhammad used deceit in battle: (1) keeping battle plans secret, and (2) spying. The author writes: “Al-Zawahiri specifically gave radicals permission not to pray in the mosque or attend Friday sermons if it would compromise their position.” He noted that Al-Zawahiri sealed his argument with a very important quote from Ibn Taymiyyah (who was quoted by Al-Timimi upon his his indictment). Ever the practical man, Muhammad approved lying in three circumstances (1) during war, (2) to reconcile between two feuding parties, and (3) to a spouse in order to please her.

          Ali Al-Timimi’s former fellow Falls Church imam Anwar al-Awlaqi in “44 Ways To Support Jihad” similarly urges that a lot of jihad work by its nature is secret and clandestine in nature. He advises that everything should be on a need-to-know basis (in other words, don’t tell your wife). Secrecy and cell compartmentalization was a key organizing principle of how the anthrax mailings were accomplished. Ali’s wife Ziyana is very sweet and would have no reason to know. She told me she could not talk about her husband Ali’s classified work for the Navy unless and until she had consent of counsel but said we no doubt would speak sometime in the future. Anwar’s father would have no reason to know despite his piousness.

          “Protecting the mujahideen and preserving their secrets

          We need to guard our tongues. Sometimes you could end up endangering your brothers unwillingly by your words. A Muslim should develop the habit of being able to keep secrets. We have an incident from seerah where a sahabi refused to tell his own wife about a secret mentioned to him by the Messenger of Allah. Sometimes you want to protect the secrets from the closest people to you: your wife, parents, children and brothers, because they might be the most vulnerable. A Muslim should learn to not say more than what needs to be said, to work on a ‘need to know basis’.” “A lot of Jihad work is secret and clandestine by nature. Therefore, brothers and sisters should be very careful with their words. A lot of harm was inflicted on Jihad work because of otherwise good and sincere brothers who had loose tongues.” “The enemies of Allah will try to recruit Muslims to infiltrate Islamic work. They will tell them that we are doing this to protect the Muslims. They may carry along with them scholars who would approve that.”

        • DXer said

          Raymond Zilinskas, who was researching a history of the Soviet bioweapons program, told The Baltimore Sun a couple years ago that “his sources now say that Soviet intelligence routinely obtained details of work at USAMRIID that went beyond the descriptions in scientific journals.” The Sun quoted him saying: “It was clear there was somebody at Fort Detrick” who worked for Soviet intelligence. Alexander Kouzminov, a biophysicist who says he once worked for the KGB, had first made the claim in a book, Biological Espionage: Special Operations of the Soviet and Russian Foreign Intelligence Services in the West. Initially, Dr. Zilinskas had dismissed the memoir because the Russian had made separate fanciful inferences about the US program being offensive and some specific claims unrelated to infiltration of the US program.

          The Sun article explained that then “another former Soviet scientist told the Sun that his lab routinely received dangerous pathogens and other materials from Western labs through a clandestine channel like the one Kouzminov described.” A second unnamed “U.S. arms control specialist” told the Sun he had independent evidence of a Soviet spy at Fort Detrick.”

          The Baltimore Sun, in the 2006 article, also relied on Serguei Popov, who was “a scientist once based in a Soviet bioweapons lab in Obolensk, south of Moscow.” Dr. Popov “said that by the early 1980s his colleagues had obtained at least two strains of anthrax commonly studied in Detrick and affiliated labs. They included the Ames strain, first identified at Detrick in the early 1980s.” Ames was used for testing U.S. military vaccines and was the strain used in the 2001 anthrax letters that killed five people and infected 23 in the U.S. Dr. Popov is now at George Mason University’s National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Disease in Fairfax, Va.

          “If you wanted ’special materials,’ you had to fill out a request,” he said. “And, essentially, those materials were provided. How and by whom, I can’t say.” One colleague, Popov told the Sun, used this “special materials” program to obtain a strain of Yersinia pestis, a plague bacterium being studied in a Western lab. But he didn’t know whether that particular germ came from Ft. Detrick. Former KGB operative and author Kouzminov says the KGB wanted specific items from Western labs — including Detrick — that were closely held and were willing to pay for the privilege. The Soviets also wanted the aerosol powders U.S. scientists developed for testing during vaccine tests.

          Raymond Zilinskas, the bioweapons expert with the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and two colleagues had written a scathing review of Biological Espionage in Nature, a British scientific journal, but he later told The Sun “that his sources now say that Soviet intelligence routinely obtained details of work at USAMRIID that went beyond the descriptions in scientific journals.”

          Expert William C. Patrick III, a retired Ft Detrick bioweapons expert, and famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek agree. Patrick’s suspicions arose when he debriefed defector Alibek in the early 1990s. Alibek emigrated to the U.S. upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991. Patrick and Alibek both recognized that the Soviet and American programs had moved in a curious lock step during the 1950s and ’60s. “Anything we discovered of any import, they would have discovered and would have in their program in six months,” Patrick told the Sun. After his talks with Alibek ended: “For the next two weeks I tried to think, ‘Who the hell are the spies at Detrick?’”

          Both former Russian bioweaponeers Ken Alibek and Serge Popov worked with Ali Al-Timimi at George Mason University. Dr. Al-Timimi has been convicted of sedition and sentenced to life plus 70 years. Popov and Alibek worked at the Center for Biodefense funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (”DARPA”). At one point, Al-Timimi worked not much more than 15 feet (as I look at the floor plans) from both Dr. Alibek and former USAMRIID Deputy Commander Charles Bailey, who has been a prolific author and listed on a number of publications involving the virulent Ames strain.

          Dr. Alibek and Dr. Popov tell me that they never knew Ali to ever have worked on a biodefense project. He had a high security clearance for some work for the government, involving mathematical support work for the Navy, but no one seems able or willing to say what it involved. In the Fall of 2006, the Washington Post reported that when they raided his townhouse in late February 2003, two weeks after the capture of the son of blind sheik Abdel-Rahman, they suspected Al-Timimi of being somehow involved in the anthrax mailings. Mohammed Abdel-Rahman was on Al Qaeda’s 3-man WMD committee and had spoken alongside Ali Al-Timimi at conferences of the Islamic Assembly of North America in 1993 and 1996. Al-Timimi in July 2001 and August 2001 spoke alongside Anwar Aulawki in Toronto and London — Awlaki now publicly urges that it is islamically permissible to kill 1 million civilians. Eric Holder today is in the news saying that he fears there will be another attack and that he missed something with respect to Awlaki. He certainly did. Although FBI Director Mueller certainly has spent much more time on the matter over the years, Amerithrax will also be Eric Holder’s legacy given that the case was closed under his watch. (I was at the law firm who handled the Marc Rich pardon at the time Eric Holder approved it — this time it is important he buck whatever political tide stands in the way of justice).

        • DXer said

          Here is memo that Attorney General Eric Holder apparently did not read — but should have read.

          In October or November 2001, Al Qaeda’s spokesman al-Kuwaiti wrote a letter to the Administration claiming that they would use their biological weapons if the US did not stop their financial and military support for Israel and the muslim regimes. The letter from Abu ‘Abdullah Al-Kuwaiti outlined the next attack against the Americans and issued a statement to the Americans to let them know of their fighters’ readiness to kill hundreds of thousands with their nuclear and biological arsenal. The letter has been declassified (and was released by West Point Combating Terrorism Center in 2006).

          Your Brother Abu ‘Abdullah Al-Kuwaiti; 1- Announcing publicly the next attack.2- Announcing publicly that we gave some groups the green light to move.3- The groups that are present in America and Europe are above suspicion. 4- We obtain our intelligence information from your government and intelligence agencies.5- The statement/letter should be directed to the American people.A- There is no animosity between us. You involved yourselves in this battle. The war is between us and the Jews. You interfered in our countries and influenced our governments to strike against the Moslems.
          If the American people are ready to die as we are ready to die, then our combat groups along with our military, nuclear, and biological equipment will kill hundreds of thousands of people we don’t wish to fight.

          B- If you are ready to die as we are ready to die, the thousand present here in Afghanistan equals hundreds of thousands of Americans. I am pleased to inform you that the billions you spent fighting us so far have resulted in killing a small number of us. We consider them martyrs and they did not exceed (10) martyrs. We warn you that our war against you has not ended, but its effects will increase. Isn’t it time to end American arrogance and begin listening to your people before you experience more devastating disasters?

          In early October, Abu Graith had appeared on two widely-circulated videos on al Jazeera television to defend the attacks and threaten retaliation for the subsequent US invasion of Afghanistan, saying “Americans should know, the storm of the planes will not stop. There are thousands of the Islamic nation’s youths who are eager to die just as the Americans are eager to live.” Abu Gha’ith, Bin Laden’s spokesman, was from Kuwait and made a similar threat in a videotape released June 2002. In June, he renewed the biochem threat, more broadly, urging that under the koran, it was morally justified to kill up to 4 million Americans, including 1 million children, with biological or chemical weapons.

          Suleiman Abu Ghaith claimed that Al Qaeda has the right to murder four million Americans, in a three-part article “In the Shadow of the Lances,” posted in June 2002 on the web-site of the Center for Islamic Research and Studies, Abu Ghaith wrote:
          “The Americans have still not tasted from our hands what we have tasted from theirs. The [number of] killed in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were no more than fair exchange for the ones killed in the Al-‘Amiriya shelter in Iraq, and are but a tiny part of the exchange for those killed in Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, the Philippines, Bosnia, Kashmir, Chechnya, and Afghanistan.”

          “We have not reached parity with them. We have the right to kill four million Americans – two million of them children – and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, it is our right to fight them with chemical and biological weapons, so as to afflict them with the fatal maladies that have afflicted the Muslims because of the [Americans’] chemical and biological weapons.”

          At the time of the Fall 2001 anthrax letters, in contrast, there was no such fatwa permitting a mass attack. Absent such a fatwa, it was not a possibility. Now it is.

        • DXer said

          USAMRIID released some emails by Bruce Ivins discussing the difficulties of planning the Fourth International Conference on Anthrax in Annapolis. The first of the emails was from September 1998, upon his return from the conference at Plymouth. In June 2001, the good ship anthrax sailed in Annapolis, Maryland, the “sailing capital of the world.” The 4th International Conference on Anthrax was held at St. John’s College in historic Annapolis, Maryland, June 10 – 13, 2001. The conference was organized by the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and managed by the American Society for Microbiology. The 74-foot classic wooden schooner was named WOODWIND. Martin Hugh-Jones had convened the conference along with Peter Turnbull, the Porton Down scientist who had led the UK conferences attended by Ayman Zawahiri’s scientist, Rauf Ahmad. Reports of livestock and national park outbreaks were followed by a summary by Dr. Turnbull. Other anthrax notables who spoke included senior USAMRIID scientist Dr. Ezzell, who had one of the first looks at the Daschle product, and Dr. Paul Keim, who would play a key role in the genetic investigation.

          Theresa Koehler from the Houston Medica School gave a talk titled “The Expanding B. anthracis Toolbox” while Timothy Read from The Institute of Genome Research summarized research on The B. Anthracis Genome. Houston Medical School, the UK’s biodefense facility Porton Down, and Pasteur Institute each fielded three presenters. UK scientists presented on the characteristics of the exosporium of “the highly virulent Ames strain.” Researchers from Columbus, Ohio and Biological Defense Research Directorate (BDRD) of the Navy Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, assisted by Porton Down scientists from the UK, demonstrated that inoculated mice survived a challenge with b.anthracis spores. Researchers used b.anthracis containing a plasmid with a mutated lethal factor.” Dr. Phil Hanna from University of Michigan presented, as he did at the conference attending with Rauf Ahmad.

          A Kazakhstan Ministry of Health scientist presented on the re-emergence of anthrax in Kazakhstan. Upon the break-up of the Soviet Union the first job offer Ken Alibek fielded was the position of Minister of Health in Kazakhstan. He protested when he realized that his new employer just wanted to do what the Soviets had been secretly doing in an illegal and massive bioweapons program he had supervised as its First Deputy. After the KGB asked to meet with him, he asked to schedule the meeting in two weeks, so that he might visit his parents, and then found a secret expedited way of coming to the United States.

          Pakistan Rauf Ahmad had been the predator looking for the Ames strain and consulting on weaponization techniques at the UK conference. Did the Amerithrax perp attend this conference or work on any of the research presented? Ali Al-Timimi had a high security clearance for mathematical support work for the Navy. Why? When? What did his work involve? Ali’s wife Ziyana does not feel free to address it. In January 2002, FBI Assistant Director Van Harp told the 40,000 members of the American Society for Microbiology that it was “very likely that one or more of you know this individual.” They very likely did.

  14. DXer said

    NEW YORK, Dec. 20, 2010
    Latest Terror Threat in US Aimed to Poison Food

    Exclusive: The Dept. of Homeland Security Uncovered a Plot to Attack Hotels and Restaurants Over a Single Weekend

    By Armen Keteyian

    CBS News Exclusive: The latest terror threat to America involves the possible use of poisons aimed at food in hotels and restaurants over a single weekend. Armen Keteyian reports.


    Department of Homeland Security officials uncovered a plot by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to poison food at hotels and restaurants in the United States. (CBS)

    (CBS) In this exclusive story, CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports the latest terror attack to America involves the possible use of poisons – simultaneous attacks targeting hotels and restaurants at many locations over a single weekend.

    A key Intelligence source has confirmed the threat as “credible.” Department of Homeland Security officials, along with members of the Department of Agriculture and the FDA, have briefed a small group of corporate security officers from the hotel and restaurant industries about it.

    CBSNews.com Report: Terror in the U.S.

    “We operate under the premise that individuals prepared to carry out terrorist acts are in this country,” said Dec. of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Dec. 6, 2010.

    The plot uncovered earlier this year is said to involve the use of two poisons – ricin and cyanide – slipped into salad bars and buffets.

    Of particular concern: The plotters are believed to be tied to the same terror group that attempted to blow up cargo planes over the east coast in October, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. [Note: That effort included Anwar Awlaqi].

    In online propaganda al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has praised the cargo attack, part of what it called “Operation Hemorrhage.”

    The propaganda says in part, “…attacking the enemy with smaller but more frequent operations” to “add a heavy economic burden to an already faltering economy.”

    Manuals and videos on jihadist websites explain how to easy it is to make both poisons.

    “Initially it would look very much like food poisoning,” said St. John’s University professor of pharmaceutical sciences Dr. Susan Ford.

    She showed how little of each poison could be fatal by putting a small amount of poison in cups.

    Armen Keteyian: Are these dosages enough to really harm someone or kill someone?

    Susan Ford: Yes, these are 250 milligrams and that is the fatal dose.

    Keteyian: So just that much sodium cyanide is enough to kill me?

    Ford: Yes, it is.

    That leads to a difficult debate: The need to inform the public without alarming it.

    Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said, “A threat you might feel is sufficiently specific and credible to tell the people who are professionally involved might not be specific or credible enough to tell the general public.”

    Chertoff says it’s important to let public health officials know that what looks like food poisoning could be a terrorist attack.

    On Monday Dept. of Homeland Security spokesman Sean Smith said, “We are not going to comment on reports of specific terrorist planning. However, the counterterrorism and homeland security communities have engaged in extensive efforts for many years to guard against all types of terrorist attacks, including unconventional attacks using chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials. Indeed, Al-Qa’ida has publicly stated its intention to try to carry out unconventional attacks for well over a decade, and AQAP propaganda in the past year has made similar reference.

    “Finally, we get reports about the different kinds of attacks terrorists would like to carry out that frequently are beyond their assessed capability.”

    The fact remains the government and hospitality industries are on alert.

    Comment:

    In a September 27, 2001 Op Ed in the Wall Street Journal, the 87 year-old Princeton University Middle Eastern history Professor Emeritus Bernard Lewis explained the use of biochemical weapons by Al Qaeda: “the laws of jihad categorically preclude wanton and indiscriminate slaughter. The warriors in the holy war are urged not to harm noncombatants, women and children, ‘unless they attack you first.’ Even such questions as missile and chemical warfare are addressed, the first in relation to mangonels and catapults, the other to the use of poison-tipped arrows and poisoning enemy water supplies. Here the jurists differ– some permit, some restrict, some forbid these forms of warfare. A point on which they insist is the need for a clear declaration of war before beginning hostilities, and for proper warning before resuming hostilities after a truce. As Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman once said in the context of criticizing Sadat’s peace with Israel: “Believers govern according to God’s laws and do not change or replace a single letter or word of them.”

    Although I do not subscribe to any God myth and do not read such books, I won’t be surprised to find scholars will conclude Anwar Awlaki is mistaken if he doesn’t appreciate that poisoning of food and water is prohibited under the koran and hadiths. (For example, see the hadith, I believe, that refers to poisoning livestock). In any event, his father should have raised him better.

    The FBI science people have proven themselves not qualified to meet the challenge posed by Al Qaeda in their handling of Amerithrax. They have, without basis, urged as singularly important a genetics analysis that merely limited 1,000 to up to 377 at USAMRIID alone. They have relied heavily on it as pointing to Dr. Ivins when it did nothing of the sort. The same people at USAMRIID had access to the variety of anthrax there (e.g., Vollum) in Building 1425 and Building 1412. Importantly, they spent half the science briefing construing the submission of sample issue as key to proof of Ivins’ guilt — without ever revealing that the lab had thrown it out had made a dried Ames aerosol out of Dr. Ivins Flask 1029. At the same time, they withheld the photocopy toner examination report that excludes the photocopier the AUSA falsely implies was used by Dr. Ivins.

    If Anwar Awlaqi made such fools of the FBI Science people and investigators, it is time to bring in new people who are wired differently and have counterintelligence background. It is time to bring in people who are less concerned with CYA than with protecting the American people. Bring in the likes of a Harry Samit and then get out of his way.

    • DXer said

      Hey Anwar!

      You won’t stand a chance once Seely and Bones are put on the case. :0)

      Even Sheikh Al-Timimi thinks you are misinterpreting the hadiths on this latest one!

      • DXer said

        Bin Laden nixed a plan involving perfume bottles and nightclubs and cyanide on the grounds it would be ineffectual.

        Al-Balucchi, Aafia’s future husband, as I recall was carrying a spray bottle when he was captured. He had claimed it was for removing stains on clothing. Aafia was carrying a substantial quantity of cyanide when she was detained.

        Who were the US cell members whose correspondence was on the thumb drive?

        When are they are going to be arrested?

  15. DXer said

    “911 imam” Anwar Aulaqi, now in Yemen, was coordinating with fellow Falls Church imam Ali Al-Timimi.

    Ali Al-Timimi worked at George Mason University’s Discovery Hall throughout 2000 and 2002 period. The Mason Gazette in “Mason to Pursue Advanced Biodefense Research” on November 17, 2000 had announced: “The School of Computational Sciences (SCS) and Advanced Biosystems, Inc., a subsidiary of Hadron, Inc., of Alexandria, are pursuing a collaborative program at the Prince William Campus to enhance research and educational objectives in biodefense research. The article noted that the program was funded primarily by a grant awarded to Advanced Biosystems from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). A 2007 GMU PhD thesis explains that the “An Assessment of Exploitable Weaknesses in Universities” by Corinne M. Verzoni offices and research located in Discovery Hall, making this an attractive building on the Prince William Campus to target for information and technology.” The 2007 PhD student biodefense student explained: “Discovery Hall currently has BSL 1, 2 and 2+ labs in which students work with attenuated and vaccine strains of Fracella tularemia, anthrax and HIV. GMU will eventually have new biological labs featuring a BSL-3 lab which will have anthrax and tularemia.”

    Instead of starting a center from scratch, GMU chose to join forces with Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey’s existing research firm, Hadron Advanced Biosystems Inc. Hadron was already working under contract for the federal government, having received funding from DARPA. Dr. Alibek told the Washington Post that he and Bailey had spent their careers studying an issue that only recently grabbed the country’s attention, after the anthrax mailings the previous fall. Dr. Bailey and Alibek met in 1991, when a delegation of Soviet scientists visited USAMRIID at Ft. Detrick. Dr. Bailey explained that the purpose of the tour was to show the Soviets that the US was not developing offensive biological weapons. Bailey said he tried to engage Alibek in conversation but Alibek remained aloof. Alibek, for his part, explains that he was suspicious of this American smiling so broadly at him. A year later, Alibek would defect to the US and reveal an illegal biological program in the Soviet Union of a staggering scope. Alibek says that one reason he defected was that he realized that the Soviet intelligence was wrong — that the US research was in fact only defensive.

    Former USAMRIID Deputy Commander and Acting Commander Ames researcher Bailey coinvented, with Ken Alibek, the process to treat cell culture with hydrophobic silicon dioxide so as to permit greater concentration upon drying. He was in Room 156B of GMU’s Discovery Hall at the Center for Biodefense. The patent application was filed March 14, 2001. Rm 154A was Victor Morozov’s room number when he first assumed Timimi’s phone number in 2004 (and before he moved to the newly constructed Bull Run Hall). Morozov was the co-inventor with Dr. Bailey of the related cell culture process under which the silica was removed from the spore surface.

    One ATCC former employee felt so strongly about lax security there the scientist called me out of the blue and said that the public was overlooking the patent repository as a possible source of the Ames strain. ATCC would not deny they had virulent Ames in their patent repository pre 9/11 (as distinguished from their online catalog). The spokesperson emailed me:
    “As a matter of policy, ATCC does not disclose information on the contents of its patent depository.” Previously, though, the ATCC head publicly explained that it did not have virulent Ames.

    George Mason University, Department Listings, accessed August 17, 2003, shows that the National Center For Biodefense and Center for Biomedical Genomics had the same mail stop (MS 4ES). The most famed bioweaponeer in the world was not far from this sheik urging violent jihad in an apocalyptic struggle between religions. Dr. Alibek’s office was Rm. 156D in Prince William 2. The groups both shared the same department fax of 993-4288. Dr. Alibek advises me he had seen him several times in the corridors of GMU and was told that he was a religious muslim hard-liner but knew nothing of his activities. At one point, Timimi’s mail drop was MSN 4D7.

    Charles Bailey at 3-4271 was the former head of USAMRIID and joined the Center in April 2001. He continued to do research with Ames after 9/11. Dr. Alibek reports that shortly after the mailings, he wrote FBI Director Mueller and offered his services but was advised that they already had assembled a large group. A 2004 report describes research done by Dr. Alibek and his colleagues using Delta Ames obtained from NIH for a research project done for USAMRIID. There were two grants from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency from 2001. One $3.6 million grant dated to July 2001 and the other was previous to that.

    Ali Al-Timimi had the same telephone number that Dr. Victor Morozov of the Center for Biodefense would later have when he joined the faculty and occupied the newly constructed Bull Run Building, which opened in late 2004 (Rm. #362). Dr. Morozov focuses on the development of new bioassay methods for express analysis, high-throughput screening and proteomics. He has recently developed a new electrospray-based technology for mass fabrication of protein microarrays. Dr. Morozov is currently supervising a DOE -funded research project directed at the development of ultra-sensitive express methods for detection of pathogens in which slow diffusion of analytes is replaced by their active transport controlled and powered by external forces (electric, magnetic, gravitational or hydrodynamic). His homepage explains that: “A variety of projects are available for students to participate in “*** 7. Develop software to analyze motion of beads. 8. Develop software to analyze patterns in drying droplets. 9. Develop an electrostatic collector for airborne particles.”

    Al-Timimi obtained a doctorate from George Mason University in 2004 in the field of computational biology — a field related to cancer research involving genome sequencing. He successfully defended his thesis 5 weeks after his indictment. Curt Jamison, Timimi’s thesis advisor, coauthor and loyal friend, was in Prince William II (Discovery Hall) Rm. 181A. The staff of Advanced Biosystems was in Rm. 160, 162, 177, 254E and several others. Computational sciences offices were intermixed among the Hadron personnel on the first floor of Prince William II to include 159, 161, 166A, 167, 181 B and 181C. Rm. 156B was Charles Bailey, former commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, who was head of the Center for Biodefense. Defense contractor Hadron had announced the appointment of Dr. Bailey as Vice-President of Advanced Biosystems in early April 2001.

    “Over 13 years, Dr. Bailey had served as a Research Scientist, Deputy Commander for Research, Deputy Commander and Commander at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute. As a USAMRIID scientist, he designed and supervised the construction of BL-3 containment facilities. His hands-on experience with a wide variety of pathogens is chronicled in 70 published articles. During his 4 years with the Defense Intelligence Agency, he published numerous articles assessing foreign capabilities regarding biological weapons.” When I asked Dr. Bailey to confirm Al-Timimi’s room number relative to his own, his only response was to refer me to University counsel. Counsel then never substantively responded to my inquiry regarding their respective room numbers citing student privacy. Ali’s friend and thesis advisor, Dr. Jamison never responded to an emailed query either. GMU perhaps understandably was very nervous about losing the $25 million grant for a new BL-3 regional facility to be located very near our country’s capitol.

    The reports on the study on the effectiveness of the mailed anthrax in the Canadian experiment was reported in private briefings in Spring and Summer of 2001. An insider thus was not dependent on the published report later that Fall. (The date on the formal report is September 10, 2001).

    Dr. Charles Bailey for DIA wrote extensively on the the biothreat posed by other countries (and presumably terrorists). He shared a fax number with Al-Timimi. What came over that fax line in Spring and Summer of 2001? At some point, Dr. Al-Timimi, Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey also shared the same maildrop. It certainly would not be surprising that the two directors who headed the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense — and had received the biggest defense award in history for work with Delta Ames under a contract with USAMRIID — would have been briefed on the threat of mailed anthrax. The 1999 short report by William Patrick to Hatfill at SAIC on the general subject was far less important given that it did not relate to actual experimental findings.

    Plus, it is common sense that while someone might use as a model something they had surreptitiously learned of — they would not use as a model something in a memo that they had commissioned. Thus, it was rather misdirected to focus on the 1999 SAIC report commissioned by Dr. Hatfill rather than the 2001 Canadian report. The Canadian report related to the anthrax threat sent regarding the detention of Vanguards of Conquest #2 Mahjoub in Canada. Mahjoub had worked with al-Hawsawi in Sudan (the fellow with anthrax spraydrying documents on his laptop). The anthrax threat in late January prompted the still-classified Presidential Daily Brief (“PDB”) in early February 2001 by the CIA to President Bush on the subject.

    In Fall 2001, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (”AFIP”) had detected silicon dioxide (silica) in the attack anthrax — with a characteristic big spike for the silicon. No silica was observable on the SEMs images that Dr. Alibek and Dr. Matthew Meselson saw. The Daschle product was “pure spores.” Was silicon dioxide used as part of a microdroplet cell culture process used prior to drying to permit greater concentration? As explained in a later related patent, the silica could be removed from the surface of the spore through repeated centrifugaton or an air chamber.

    Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey had filed a patent application in mid-March 2001 involving a microdroplet cell culture technique that used silicon dioxide in a method for concentrating growth of cells. The patent was granted and the application first publicly disclosed in the Spring of 2002. Weren’t the SEMS images and AFIP EDX finding both consistent with use of this process in growing the culture? It’s been suggested informally to me that perhaps the silicon analytical peak was due to silanol from hydrolysis of a silane, used in siliconizing glassware. But didn’t the AFIP in fact also detect oxygen in ratios characteristic of silicon dioxide? Wasn’t the scientist, now deceased, who performed the EDX highly experienced and expert in detecting silica? Hasn’t the AFIP always stood by its report. In its report, AFIP explained: “AFIP experts utilized an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (an instrument used to detect the presence of otherwise-unseen chemicals through characteristic wavelengths of X-ray light) to confirm the previously unidentifiable substance as silica.” Perhaps the nuance that was lost — or just never publicly explained for very sound reasons — was that silica was used in the cell culture process and then removed from the spores through a process such as centrifugation. The applicants in March 2001 for an international patent relating to vaccines were a leading aerosol expert, Herman R. Shepherd, and a lonstanding anthrax biodefense expert, Philip Russell.

    Dr. Morozov is co-inventor along with Dr. Bailey for a patent “Cell Culture” that explains how the silicon dioxide can be removed from the surface. Perhaps it is precisely this AFIP finding of silicon dioxide (without silica on the SEMs) that is why the FBI came to suspect Al-Timimi in 2003 (rightly or wrongly, we don’t know). The FBI would have kept these scientific findings secret to protect the integrity of the confidential criminal/national security investigation. There was still a processor and mailer to catch — still a case to prove. After 9/11, intelligence collection takes precedence over arrests. As Ron Kessler explains in the new book, Terrorist Watch, many FBI officials feel that they are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. Outside observers are constantly second-guessing them about how to proceed rather than trusting that they are in the best position to balance the competing considerations of national security, intelligence gathering, the pursuit of justice, and the safeguarding of civil liberties. Above all, in disclosing the theory of access to know-how, the FBI has needed to protect the due process rights of Al-Timimi while he defended himself on other charges.

    An example from October 2006 of equipment that went missing from GMU’s Discovery Hall was a rotissery hybridization oven belonging to the Center for Biomedical Genomics. “This equipment can be used to manufacture biological agents and genetically modified agents, which could potentially be used as biological weapons,” Corinne Verzoni explained in her PhD 2007 thesis. “Upon hearing about instances or missing equipment in Discovery Hall, the author contacted campus security who was unaware of instances of missing equipment. Missing equipment should be reported to the equipment liaison. Missing equipment may not be reported to campus security because labs tend to share equipment. Equipment also goes missing because it is not inventoried if it is under $2,000.”

    One of her other examples was equally dramatic:

    “A DI system is a de-ionized water system, which removes the ions that are found in normal tap water. The assistant director for operations noticed the DI system in Discovery Hall was using the entire 100 gallons in two days, which is an enormous amount of water for the four DI taps in the whole building. According to the assistant director for operations, it is difficult to calculate the reason for that much water since no leak was found. A large amount of water used over a short period of time for unknown reasons could indicate that the research is being conducted covertly.”

    “A student with legitimate access to Discovery Hall,” she explained, “has easy accessibility to equipment. A student with access to the loading dock could steal equipment on the weekend when campus security is not present in Discovery Hall. A student could also walk out of the entrance with equipment on the weekend without security present.” She concluded: “The events at GMU demonstrate opportunity to create a clandestine lab, the ability to sell items illegally, or the ability to exploit school equipment.” In a late September 2001 interview on NPR on the anthrax threat, Dr. Alibek said: “When we talk and deal with, for example, nuclear weapons, it’s not really difficult to count how much of one or another substance we’ve got in the hands. When you talk about biological agents, in this case it’s absolutely impossible to say whether or not something has been stolen.”

    Presently, Al-Timimi’s prosecution is on remand while the defense is given an opportunity to discover any documents that existed prior to 9/11 about al-Timimi and to address an issue relating to NSA intercepts after 9/11. Ali’s defense counsel explained to the federal district court, upon a remand by the appeals court, that Mr. Timimi was interviewed by an FBI agent and a Secret Service agent as early as February 1994 in connection with the first World Trade Center attack. The agents left their business cards which the family kept. Defense counsel Johnathan Turley further explained that “We have people that were contacted by the FBI and told soon after 9/11 that they believed that Dr. Al-Timimi was either connected to 9/11 or certainly had information about Al Qaeda.”

    Al-Timimi worked for SRA in 1999 where he had a high security clearance for work for the Navy. At a conference on countering biological terrorism in 1999 sponsored by the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Dr. Alibek was introduced by a former colleague of Dr. Bailey:
    “Dr. Llewellyn: This is rather strange because I just met Dr. Alibek today. He was introduced to me by Dr. Charlie Bailey, who now works for SRA. But Charlie and I were associated with the Army Medical Research and Development Command Defense Program for over 20 years.”
    When I emailed Dr. Bailey in December 2007 to confirm Ali had the room right near his at Discovery Hall and whether he had worked with Al-Timimi at SRA he politely referred me to counsel and took no questions. Dr. Alibek and Dr. Popov have told me that Ali is not known to have worked on any biodefense project. Dr. Popova told me I should direct any such questions to Dr. Bailey. Dr. Bailey told me I should direct any questions to University counsel. University counsel declined to answer any questions.

  16. DXer said

    WikiLeaks: Yemen nuclear material was unsecured
    (AP) – 1 day ago

    CAIRO (AP) — A storage facility housing Yemen’s radioactive material was unsecured for up to a week after its lone guard was removed and its surveillance camera was broken, a secret U.S. State Department cable released by WikiLeaks revealed Monday.

    The message, dated Jan. 9, relates the worries of a Yemeni official, whose name was removed, about the unguarded state of a National Atomic Energy Commission facility. He pushes the U.S. embassy to urge his own government to secure the material.

    “Very little now stands between the bad guys and Yemen’s nuclear material,” the official is quoted as saying in the cable, which appeared on the website of the British Guardian newspaper.

    Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, hosts a particularly active branch of Al-Qaida that has not only repeatedly attacked the Yemeni government but attempted several attacks against the U.S. including last year’s failed plot to blow up an airliner in Detroit on Christmas.

    On Jan. 7, Yemeni Foreign Abu Bakr al-Qirbi told the ambassador that “no radioactive material was currently stored in Sanaa and that all ‘radioactive waste’ was shipped to Syria.”

    According to the cable, the radioactive material was used by local universities for agricultural research, Sanaa hospital and by international oil companies.

    The facility’s lone guard was removed on Dec. 30, 2009, reported the cable and its single closed circuit TV camera had been broken for the last six months.

    Yemeni officials could not immediately be reached for comment on the cable.

    The cable said the embassy would push senior Yemeni officials to provide an accounting of its radioactive materials and ensure storage facilities were secure.

    Comment: The only thing standing in the way of Ali Al-Timimi and the most diverse microbiological repository in the world was the collections scientist at the bacteriology division of the American Type Culture Collection (“ATCC”) which co-sponsored Ali’s program. Jason now is guiding the NAS in its review of the Amerithrax science that he says points uniquely to the dead scientist (who supplied the virulent Ames that was used secretly by another FBI anthrax expert to made a dried Ames powder and was put under tremendous pressure).

    When the history is written, there are going to be two groups: people who were part of the problem, and part of the solution. In a week, there will be the start of a New Year. Everyone has the opportunity to buckle up and do the reading necessary to avoid the next 911 and to overcome the effects of compartmentalization to which they were subject for years. It is never too late to be right and be part of the solution. The FBI scientists should start by producing the photocopy toner examination documents, to include the report by Dr. Bartick and his colleagues, that has been wrongfully withheld.

    FBI Director Mueller always said that Amerithrax would be reopened upon new evidence. Even Gary Cooper didn’t show up to meet the bad guys until the last minute.

    • DXer said

      Series: US embassy cables: the documents
      Previous | Next | Index
      US embassy cables: the documents
      US embassy cables: Yemen sounds alarm over radioactive materials

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      * guardian.co.uk, Sunday 19 December 2010 23.10 GMT
      * Article history

      Saturday, 09 January 2010, 05:04
      S E C R E T SANAA 000019
      SIPDIS
      DEPT FOR NEA/ARP AMACDONALD AND ISN/NESS MHUMPHREY
      EO 12958 DECL: 01/08/2020
      TAGS ENRG, ECON, MNUC, PARM, PREL, PGOV, IN, YM
      SUBJECT: XXXXXXXXXXXX SOUNDS ALARM OVER
      UNPROTECTED RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS
      REF: A. 07 SANAA 1905 B. 07 SANAA 2029
      Classified By: Ambassador Stephen A. Seche for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

      1. (S) The lone security guard standing watch at Yemen’s main radioactive materials storage facility was removed from his post on December 30, 2009, according toXXXXXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXXXXXXX. The only closed-circuit television security camera monitoring the facility broke six months ago and was never fixed, according to XXXXXXXXXXXX. The facility XXXXXXXXXXXX holds various radioactive materials, small amounts of which are used by local universities for agricultural research, by a Sana’a hospital, and by international oilfield services companies for well-logging equipment spread out across the country. “Very little now stands between the bad guys and Yemen’s nuclear material,” a worried XXXXXXXXXXXX told EconOff.

  17. DXer said

    Anwar al-Awlaki: terror plots linked to Yemen-based cleric, 21 Dec 2010
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/8215788/Anwar-al-Awlaki-terror-plots-linked-to-Yemen-based-cleric.html

    From the article that appeared today about Awlaki, I’ve omitted the details of the particular violence associated with the religious cultist inspired by Anwar, to highlight the end:

    “Awlaki was fleeing an FBI inquiry in America in the wake of his involvement with three of the Sept 11 hijackers, when he arrived in Britain in late 2002. After September 11, however, it emerged that three of the hijackers had attended his mosques and one investigator said he believed Awlaki was their “spiritual adviser”.
    After the September 11 attacks, the FBI interviewed Awlaki four times, and one detective told the 9/11 Commission that he believed he “was at the centre of the 9/11 story”. It is believed that he kept the hijackers “spiritually focused”.”

    The Administration and FBI has made the same mistake regarding Anwar in Amerithrax as it did in 9/11.

    The FBI is experienced all right. And they are repeating their experience in the case of so-called “911 imam”. But this time Congress let them without so much as a 911 Commission Report pointing out the error.

    If we don’t learn from history, we are bound to repeat it.

    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. By 2010, when the United States announced that there was authorization to attempt to kill Anwar Aulaqi, he had long since gone into hiding after acknowledging his role in the Ft. Hood shooting and attempt to bring down an airliner flying into Detroit.

    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.”

    • DXer said

      While Ali Al-Timimi was recruiting for the Taliban and sharing a suite with the leading DARPA-funded anthrax Ames researchers scientists in the country, he was also connected to one of the principals on Al Qaeda’s WMD Committee, Mohammed Abdel-Rahman. Mohammed Abdel-Rahman spoke at the first conference of the Islamic Assembly of North America (”IANA”) in 1993 and was noted to be from Afghanistan. Mohammed Abdelrahman spoke alongside Ali Al-Timimi again, for example, in 1996 in Toronto and again that December in Chicago at the annual conference. The December conference was held after blind sheik Abdel-Rahman was indicted. Mohammed Abdel-Rahman was close to bin Laden and was engaged in planning key operations. OBL considered him like a son. Mohammed was on the three member WMD committee with Midhat Mursi. Mohammed Abdel-Rahman ran a training camp that was part of the larger complex of several camps. He was an explosives trainer.

      The “Superseding Indictment” in United States of postal employee Ahmed Abdel Sattar and others explains that on February 12, 1997, with Mohammed Abdelrahman back in Afghanistan, a statement issued in the name of the Islamic Group threatened, “The Islamic Group declares all American interests legitimate targets to its legitimate jihad until the release of all prisoners, on top of whom” is Abdel Rahman. Three months later, on May 5, 1997, a statement issued in the name of the Islamic Group threatened, “If any harm comes to the [S]heikh [,] al-Gama al-IsIalamiy[y]a will target [] all of those Americans who participated in subjecting his life to danger.” The statement also said that “Al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya considers every American official, starting with the American president to the despicable jailer [] partners endangering the Sheikh’s life,” and that the Islamic Group would do “everything in its power” to free Abdel Rahman.

      Al Qaeda continued to seek religious approval from blind sheik Abdel-Rahman for its attacks. The US indictment of the Post Office worker in contact with Mohammed Abdel-Rahman alleged: “On or about June 19, 2000, one of Abdel Rahman’s sons, Mohammed Abdel Rahman, spoke by telephone with SATTAR and asked SATTAR to convey to Abdel Rahman the fierceness of the debate within the Islamic Group about the initiative, and said SATTAR should tell Abdel Rahman to calm the situation by supporting “the general line of the Group.” The indictment of the US Post Office worker Sattar further alleges: “On or about June 20, 2000, SATTAR spoke by telephone with Mohammed Abdel Rahman and advised him that a conference call had taken place that morning between Abdel Pahman and some of his attorneys and that Abdel Rahman had issued a new statement. The press release issued in Abdel-Rahman’s name containing additional points which made clear, among other things, that Abdel Rahman was not unilaterally ending the initiative, but rather, was withdrawing his support for it and “stating that it was up” to the “brothers” in the Islamic Group now to reconsider the issue.

      The indictment of the US Post Office employee Sattar further alleges: “On or about September 21, 2000, an Arabic television station, Al Jazeera, televised a meeting of Usama Bin Laden (leader of the al Qaeda terrorist organization), Ayman al Zawahiri (former leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization and one of Bin Laden’s top lieutenants), and Taha. Sitting under a banner which read, “Convention to Support Honorable Omar Abdel Rahman,” the three terrorist leaders pledged “to free Abdel Rahman from incarceration in the United States. During the meeting, Mohammed Abdel Rahman was heard encouraging others to “avenge your Sheikh” and “go to the spilling of blood.”

      Mohammed Abdel-Rahman was arrested in mid-February 2003. Ali Al-Timimi’s townhouse was searched two week later.

      • DXer said

        Al-Timimi’s attorney explained in a court filing that unsealed in April 2008 that Ali “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 described during his trial by FBI agent John Wyman as having ‘extensive ties’ with the ‘broader al-Qaeda network.” Al-Timimi was on an advisory board member of Assirat al-Mustaqueem (”The Straight Path”), an international Arabic language magazine. Assirat, produced in Pittsburgh beginning in 1991, was the creation of a group of North American muslims, many of whom were senior members of IANA. Its Advisory Committee included Bassem Khafagi and Ali Al-Timimi. As Al-Timimi’s counsel explained in a court filing unsealed in April 2008:
        “[IANA head] Bassem Khafagi was questioned about Dr. Al-Timimi before 9-11 in Jordan, purportedly at the behest of American intelligence. [redacted passage ] 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.”

        Two staff members who wrote for Assirat then joined IANA’s staff when it folded in 2000. They had been members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and were activists in the movement. One of the former EIJ members, Gamal Sultan, was the editor of the quarterly IANA magazine in 2002. Mr. Sultan’s brother Mahmoud wrote for Assirat also. The most prominent writer was the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Kamal Habib. He led the Egyptian Islamic Jihad at the time of Anwar Sadat’s assassination when young doctor Zawahiri’s cell merged with a few other cells to form the EIJ. Two writers for Assirat in Pittsburgh had once shared a Portland, Oregon address with Al Qaeda member Wadih El-Hage. Wadih al Hage was Ali Mohammed’s friend and served as Bin Laden’s “personal secretary.”

        Kamal Habib had been a founding member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and had spent 10 years in jail for the assassination of Anwar Sadat. In the late 1970s, the cell run by the young doctor Zawahiri joined with three other groups to become Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) under Habib’s leadership. After a visit in 2000, Gamal Sultan said Pittsburgh was known as the “American Kandahar,” given its rolling hills. In Egypt he formed the Islah (“Reform”) party with Gamal Sultan. While contributing to Al Manar al Jadeed, the Ann Arbor-based IANA’s quarterly journal, the pair sought the blind sheik’s endorsement of their political party venture in March 1999. They were not seeking the official participation of organizations like the Egyptian Islamic Jihad or the Egyptian Islamic Group. They were just hoping the groups would not oppose it. The pair wanted members of the movement to be free to join in peaceful partisan activity. They were not deterred when the blind sheik responded that the project was pointless, at the same he withdrew his support for the cease-fire initiative that had been backed by the imprisoned leaders of the Egyptian Islamic Group.

        In early April 2001, Nawaf Alhazmi and Hani Hanjour rented an apartment in Falls Church, Virginia, for about a month, with the assistance of a man they met at the mosque. Nawaf Al-Hazmi had been at the January 2000 meeting at Yazid Sufaat’s Malaysian condominium in January 2000. Hijackers Nawaf and Hani Hanjour, a fellow pilot who was his friend from Saudi Arabia, attended sermons at the Dar al Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, where Al-Timimi was located until he established the nearby center. The FBI reports that at an imam named Awlawki who had recently also moved from San Diego had closed door meetings with hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar in 2000 while all three of them were living in San Diego. Police later found the phone number of the Falls Church mosque when they searched the apartment of 9/11 planner Ramzi bin al-Shibh in Germany. In his 2007 book, Center of the Storm, George Tenet noted that Ramzi bin al-Shibh had a CBRN role.

        Yusuf Wells, who was a fundraiser for the Benevolence International Foundation, visited Northern Virginia over the April 14-15, 2001 weekend. The previous month he had been at Iowa State University on a similar visit. On April 15, 2001, he was brought to a paintball game. In the second season, they had become more secretive after an inquiry by an FBI Special Agent was made in 2000 of one of the members about the games. Part of BIF fundraiser Wells’ job involved writing reports about his fund raising trips. In his April 15, 2001 report he writes:
        “I was taken on a trip to the woods where a group of twenty brothers get together to play Paintball. It is a very secret and elite group and as I understand it, it is an honor to be invited to come. The brothers are fully geared up in camouflage fatigues, facemasks, and state of the art paintball weaponry. They call it ‘training’ and are very serious about it. I knew at least 4 or 5 of them were ex US military, the rest varied.
        Most all of them young men between the ages of 17-35. I was asked by the amir of the group to give a talk after Thuhr prayer. I spoke about seeing the conditions of Muslims overseas while with BIF, and how the fire of Islam is still very much alive in the hearts of the people even in the midst of extreme oppression. I also stressed the idea of being balanced. That we should not just be jihadis and perfect our fighting skills, but we should also work to perfect our character and strengthen our knowledge of Islam. I also said that Muslims are not just book reading cowards either, and that they should be commended for forming such a group.
        Many were confused as to why I had been ‘trusted’ to join the group so quickly, but were comforted after my brief talk. Some offered to help me get presentations on their respective localities.”

        A man named Kwon recalled driving Al-Timimi home from the mosque September 11, 2001 after the terrorist attacks. He said Al-Timimi and another scholar argued, with Al-Timimi characterizing the attacks as a punishment of America from God. “He told me to gather some brothers, to have a contingency plan in case there were mass hostilities toward Muslims in America.” Kwon said Al-Timimi told the group that the effort to spread Islam in the United States was over and that the only other options open to them were to repent, leave the U.S. and join the mujahadeen —preparing to defend Afghanistan against the coming U.S. invasion.

        After 9/11, although a dinner that night was cancelled in light of the events of the day, Al-Timimi sought “to organize a plan in case of anti-Muslim backlash and to get the brothers together.” The group got together on September 16. Al-Timimi when he came in told the group to turn of their phones, unplug the answering machine, and pull down the curtains. Al-Timimi told the group that Mullah Omar had called upon Muslims to defend Afghanistan. Al-Timimi read parts of the al-Uqla fatwa to the group and gave the fatwa to Khan with the instructions to burn it after he read it. Al Timimi said the duty to engage in jihad is “fard ayn” — an individual duty of all Muslims. Over a lunch with two of the group on September 19, Al-Timimi told them not to carry anything suspicious and if they were stopped on the way to Pakistan to ask for their mother and cry like a baby. He told them to carry a magazine. The next day the pair left for Pakistan. The group from the September 16 meeting met again in early October, and a number left for Pakistan immediately after that meeting.

        Al-Timimi’s lawyer explains that Al-Timimi was in telephone contact with Al-Hawali on September 16, 2001 and September 19, 2001:
        “The conversation with Al-Hawali on September 19, 2001 was central to the indictment and raised at trial. Al-Timimi called Dr. Hawali after the dinner with Kwon on September 16, 2001 and just two hours before he met with Kwon and Hassan for the last time on September 19, 2001.”

        Al-Timimi was urging the young men go defend the Taliban against the imminent US invasion. A recent open letter to Ayman Zawahiri from a senior Libyan jihadist, Bin-Uthman, now living in London, confirms that Ayman Zawahiri and Atef, at a several day meeting in Kandahar in the Summer of 2000, viewed WMD as a deterrent to the invasion of Afghanistan.

        won, who had just become a U.S. citizen in August 2001, went to the mountain training camps of Lashkar-e-Taiba. The U.S. placed on its terrorist list in December 2001. Kwon practiced with a semi-automatic weapons and learned to fire a grenade launcher, but he was not able to join the Taliban. The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan closed as U.S. forces took control of Afghanistan shortly before Kwon completed his training. His trainers suggested that he instead go back to the United States and gather information for the holy warriors. Kwon told jurors at al-Timimi’s trial how he first heard Al-Timimi speak in 1997 at an Islamic Assembly of North America conference in Chicago and then found that Al-Timimi lectured locally near his home in Northern Virginia. “Russian Hell” — a jihad video that featured bloody clips of a Chechen Muslim rebel leader executing a Russian prisoner of war — was a favorite among the videos that the group exchanged and discussed. “They (the videos) motivated us. It was like they gave us inspiration,” Kwon told the jurors.

        In 2001, Al-Timimi kept the personal papers of IANA President Khafagi at his home for safekeeping. His taped audio lecturers were among the most popular at the charity Islamic Assembly of North America in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He knew its President, Khafagi, both through work with CAIR and IANA. The same nondescript office building at 360 S. Washington St. in Falls Church where Timimi used to lecture at Dar al Arqam housed the Muslim World League.
        deterrent to the invasion of Afghanistan.

        Kwon, who had just become a U.S. citizen in August 2001, went to the mountain training camps of Lashkar-e-Taiba. The U.S. placed on its terrorist list in December 2001. Kwon practiced with a semi-automatic weapons and learned to fire a grenade launcher, but he was not able to join the Taliban. The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan closed as U.S. forces took control of Afghanistan shortly before Kwon completed his training. His trainers suggested that he instead go back to the United States and gather information for the holy warriors. Kwon told jurors at al-Timimi’s trial how he first heard Al-Timimi speak in 1997 at an Islamic Assembly of North America conference in Chicago and then found that Al-Timimi lectured locally near his home in Northern Virginia. “Russian Hell” — a jihad video that featured bloody clips of a Chechen Muslim rebel leader executing a Russian prisoner of war — was a favorite among the videos that the group exchanged and discussed. “They (the videos) motivated us. It was like they gave us inspiration,” Kwon told the jurors.

        In 2001, Al-Timimi kept the personal papers of IANA President Khafagi at his home for safekeeping. His taped audio lecturers were among the most popular at the charity Islamic Assembly of North America in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He knew its President, Khafagi, both through work with CAIR and IANA. The same nondescript office building at 360 S. Washington St. in Falls Church where Timimi used to lecture at Dar al Arqam housed the Muslim World League.
        defiled, the cursed.”

        Bin Laden referred to Sheik al-Hawali in his 1996 Declaration of War on America. Prior to the 1998 embassy bombings, Ayman’s London cell sent letters to three different media outlets in Europe claiming responsibility for the bombings and referring to Hawali’s imprisonment. In two of the letters, the conditions laid out as to how the violence would stop were (1) release of Sheik al-Hawali (who along with another had been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia in 1994) and (2) the release of blind sheik Abdel Rahman (who had been imprisoned in connection with WTC 1993). Hawali was released in 1999 after he agreed to stop advocating against the Saudi regime.

        Al-Timimi sent out a February 1, 2003 email in Arabic containing an article that said:
        “There is no doubt Muslims were overjoyed because of the adversity that befell their greatest enemy. The Columbia crash made me feel, and God is the only One to know, that this is a strong signal that Western Supremacy (especially that of America) that began 500 years ago is coming to a quick end, God willing, as occurred to the shuttle.”

  18. DXer said

    The “Teflon Terrorist” And Risk Of Infiltration

    In 2000, IANA radio ran an item “CIA to Monitor Foreign Students.” The item as published on the IANA website read: “American anti-terrorism policies are ‘seriously deficient according to the US National Commission on Terrorism, a body created by Congress after the bombing of 2 US embassies in East Africa.'”

    In November 2007, FBI Director Mueller gave a speech in which he warned against the need to guard against spies at universities, who for example, may have access to pre-patent, pre-classification biochemistry information.

    “Al Qaeda is tremendously patient and thinks nothing about taking years to infiltrate persons in and finding the right personnel and opportunity to undertake an attack. And we cannot become complacent, because you look around the world, and whether it’s London or Madrid or Bali or recently Casablanca or Algiers, attacks are taking place.”

    Infiltrator Ali Mohamed was the “Teflon terrorist.” Ali Mohammed, an EIJ member who was associated with the unit that killed Sadat, had an alibi for the Sadat assassination. He was at an officer exchange program studying at the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Green Beret and Delta Force officers trained there. After he was forced out of the Egyptian Army for his radical beliefs, he went to work at Egyptair. As a security advisor, where he learned how to hijack airliners. He then joined the CIA and the US Army. He was a supply sergeant at the US Army’s Fort Bragg. He lectured Green Beret and Delta Forces on the middle east. He stole high resolution maps from the map shack and brought them to Zawahirii in Afghanistan. In 1989, Ali Mohamed traveled from Fort Bragg to train men that would later commit WTC 1993. When Ali Mohammed traveled to Brooklyn, he stayed with Islamic Group and Abdel-Rahman’s bodyguard Nosair, the man who would assassinate Rabbi Kahane in 1990.

    WTC 1993 prosecutor Andrew McCarthy concludes that “in small compass, [Ali Mohammed] is the story of American intelligence and radical islam in the eighties and nineties: the left hand oblivious not only to the right but to its own fingers … while jihadists played the system from within, with impunity, scheming to kill us all.” He emphasizes: “There is no way to sugar coat it: Ali Mohamed is a window on breathtaking government incompetence.” He writes: ”I raised holy hell … that I strongly suspected Mohamed was a terrorist, that the FBI should be investigating him rather than allowing him to infiltrate as a source … Because, you know what they say “IMAGINE THE LIABILITY.”

    In 1991, when Bin Laden wanted to move from Afghanistan to Sudan, Ali Mohammed served as his head of security and trained his bodyguards. Along with a former medical student, Khalid Dahab, Ali Mohamed recruited ten Americans for “sleeper cells.” After the 1998 embassy bombings, when FBI agents secretly swarmed his California residence, they found a document “Cocktail” detailing how cell members should operate. Even Al Qaeda central would not know the identity of members and different cells would not know each other’s identity. It was Ali Mohamed who was the source for the December 4, 1998 PDB to President Clinton explaining that the brother of Sadat’s assassin, Islambouli, was planning attacks on the US. In November 2001, did the Quantico profilers know of this egregious history of infiltration and harm flowing from treating the Nosair case as a “lone wolf” rather than an international conspiracy? One man’s “lone wolf” experiencing howling loneliness is another man’s Salafist operating under strict principles of cell security and “need-to-know.”

    A former FBI agent in the New York office who asked not to be identified, told author Peter Lance: “Understand what this means. You have an Al Qaeda spy who’s now a U.S. citizen, on active duty in the U.S. Army, and he brings along a video paid for by the U.S. government to train Green Beret officers and he’s using it to help train Islamic terrorists so they can turn their guns on us. By now the Afghan war is over.”

    Steve Emerson once said of the former US Army Sergeant who was Ayman Zawahiri’s head of intelligence: “Ali Mohamed is one of the most frightening examples of the infiltration of terrorists into the infrastructure of the United States. Like a [character in a] John Le Carre thriller, he played the role of a triple agent and nearly got away with it.” Those officials who sought to minimize the security breach would have to explain away the classified maps of Afghanistan he stole from the map shack, and the classified cables and manuals found in such places as the home of Nosair, the assassin of Rabbi Kehane.

    Not even Ali Mohammed, however, could boast the letter of commendation from the White House once given Ali Al-Timimi, previous work for White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, or a high security clearance. Ali Mohammed did not even have a security clearance but was merely a supply sergeant at the base where Special Operations was located. ‘Dr. Ali Al-Timimi’s Support Committee’ in an email to supporters dated April 5, 2005 explained: “This is a summary of the court proceedings that took place yesterday April 4th 2005. We will send a summary everyday inshallah. *** “In his opening statement, Defense attorney Edward B. MacMahon Jr. said that Al-Timimi was born and raised in Washington DC. He has a degree in Biology and he is also a computer scientist, and a mathematician. He worked for Andrew Card, who’s now the White House chief of staff, at the Transportation Department in the early 1990s.”

    here was an elephant in the room no one talked about. A colleague of famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID Deputy Commander Charles Bailey, a prolific Ames strain researcher, has been convicted of sedition and sentenced to life plus 70 years in prison. He worked in a program co-sponsored by the American Type Culture Collection and had access to ATCC facilities, as well as facilities of the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense at George Mason University then run by Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey. The bionformatics grad student once had a high security clearance for mathematical support work for the Navy.

    Many commentators have long held strong and divergent opinions of what has been published in the media about Amerithrax, what they knew and their political views. But it turns out that they apparently have just been seeing the elephant in the living room from a different angle. Actually, they’ve just been in a position to see the elephant’s rump from outside the living room door. One US law professor, Francis Boyle, who has represented islamists abroad, first publicized the theory that a US biodefense insider was responsible. He has served as legal advisor to the Palestinian Liberation Organization and as counsel for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Separately the theory was adopted by professor Barbara Rosenberg. But Professor Boyle and Rosenberg were not so far from the truth — just incorrect as to motive. The documentary shows that Zawahiri’s plan was to infiltrate the US and UK biodefense establishment, and the evidence shows that is exactly what he did.

    In a June 2005 interview in a Swiss (German language) weekly news magazine, Ken Alibek addresses the anthrax mailings:

    A. “What if I told you Swiss scientists are paid by Al Qaeda? You could believe it or not. It has become somewhat fashionable to disparage Russian scientists. Americans, Iraqis, or whoever could just as well be involved with Al Qaeda. Why doesn’t anyone speculate about that?”
    Q. “But could one of your students build a biological weapon in the garage?”
    A. “Let me reply philosophically: Two hundred years ago, it was unthinkable to believe that people would be using mobile telephones, wasn’t it? Everything changes. Our knowledge grows, and technology develops incredibly quickly. … I am not saying that a student is in a position to build a biological weapon all by himself. But the knowledge needed to do it is certainly there.”

    No one who responded to my inquiries ever knew Al-Timimi to ever have been involved in any biodefense project. For example, former Russian bioweaponeer Sergei Popov did not know of any such work by Al-Timimi. Anna Popova had only seen him in the hall on a very rare occasion. Dr. Alibek thought of him as a “numbers guy” rather than a hands-on type. Given that the FBI knows what Al-Timimi had for dinner on September 16, 2001 and lunch on September 17, it is very likely that the past years have involved a continued search for the mailer and/or processor. His attorney emphasizes that while they searched for materials related to a planned biological attack when they searched his townhouse in late February 2003, they came up empty.

    DOD official Peter Leitner, who also taught at GMU, supervised a 2007 PhD thesis by a graduate student that explores biosecurity issues at GMU. The PhD biodefense thesis on the vulnerability of the program to infiltration explains:

    “As a student in the biodefense program, the author is aware that students without background checks are permitted to work on grants, specifically Department of Defense, that has been awarded to NCBD under the Department of Molecular and Microbiology at GMU. Students are also permitted to do research separately from work in the lab for their studies. Work and studies are separate, but related by the lab. Thus, student access, research and activities go unchecked and unmonitored. Students have access to critical information and technology.”
    The author explains:

    “A principal investigator (PI) may hire a student based on a one on one interview, post doctoral or masters interest, technical abilities, publications, previous work and lab experience, whether student qualifications match the principal interrogators current research, whether there is a space, and if the timing is right. There is no formal screening process or background check that the author is aware of for teaching or research assistantships.”

    Other students took a “red cell” approach that have corroborated the findings of the thesis. Proliferation leads to great risk of infiltration.

    LSU researcher Martin Hugh-Jones explained: “There were no more than ten labs in the nation working with the organism, and now it’s about 310—and they all want virulent strains. In the old days virtually everyone was paid by Department of Defense to do their research because that’s the only place where money came from because the organism wasn’t thought to be of economic importance. Now that it’s a bioterrorist threat and money’s available for research, experts have come out of the walls. The whole damn thing is bizarre.”A 2004 Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services report: “Serious weaknesses compromised the security of select agents at the universities under review. Physical security of select agents at all 11 universities left select agents vulnerable to theft or loss, thus elevating the risk of public exposure.”

    Dr. Leitner in a letter to the Fairfax County Police Department wrote:

    “Now we see that Sergeant Rasool was the subject of a several-year long investigation – in fact, he was under investigation at the time he lodged his complaints against us — and was recently convicted of a very serious security breach involving misusing FBI databases to assist another person under FBI investigation for Federal terrorism charges.” Fairfax County Police Department Sergeant Rasool sought to stop the training work being done by Dr. Leitner, who taught biosecurity work at George Mason University’s Center for Biodefense.”

    • DXer said

      The Washington Post, in an article “Hardball Tactics in an Era of Threats,” dated September 3, 2006 summarized events relating to George Mason University computational biology graduate student Ali Al-Timimi:

      “In late 2002, the FBI’s Washington field office received two similar tips from local Muslims: Timimi was running ‘an Islamic group known as the Dar al-Arqam’ that had ‘conducted military-style training,’ FBI special agent John Wyman would later write in an affidavit.

      Wyman and another agent, Wade Ammerman, pounced on the tips. Searching the Internet, they found a speech by Timimi celebrating the crash of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003, according to the affidavit. The agents also found that Timimi was in contact with Sheikh Safar al-Hawali, a Saudi whose anti-Western speeches in the early 1990s had helped inspire bin Laden.

      The agents reached an alarming conclusion: ‘Timimi is an Islamist supporter of Bin Laden’ who was leading a group ‘training for jihad,’ the agent wrote in the affidavit. The FBI even came to speculate that Timimi, a doctoral candidate pursuing cancer gene research, might have been involved in the anthrax attacks.

      On a frigid day in February 2003, the FBI searched Timimi’s brick townhouse on Meadow Field Court, a cul-de-sac near Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. Among the items they were seeking, according to court testimony: material on weapons of mass destruction.”

      Al-Timimi had rock star status in Salafist circles and lectured in July 2001 (in Toronto) and August 2001 (in London) on the coming “end of times” and signs of the coming day of judgment. He spoke alongside officials of a charity, Islamic Assembly of North America (”IANA”) promoting the views of Bin Laden’s sheiks. Another speaker was Ali’s mentor, Bilal Philips, one of the 173 listed as unindicted WTC 1993 conspirators. Bilal Philips worked in the early 1990s to recruit US servicemen according to testimony in that trial and interviews in which Dr. Philips explained the Saudi-funded program. According to Al-Timimi’s attorney, Ali “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.” The NSA was intercepting communications by Fall 2001 without a warrant.

      At the same time the FBI was searching the townhouse of PhD candidate Ali Timimi, searches and arrests moved forward elsewhere. In Moscow, Idaho, FBI agents interviewed Nabil Albaloushi. (The FBI apparently searched his apartment at the same time they searched the apartment of IANA webmaster Sami al-Hussayen, who they had woken from bed at 4:00 a.m.) Albaloushi was a PhD candidate expert in drying foodstuffs. His thesis in 2003 was 350 pages filled with charts of drying coefficients. Interceptions showed a very close link between IANA’s Sami al-Hussayen and Sheikh al-Hawali, to include the setting up of websites, 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. Former Washington State University animal geneticist and nutrition researcher Ismail Diab, who had moved to Syracuse to work for an IANA-spin-off, also was charged in Syracuse and released as a material witness to a financial investigation of the IANA affiliate “Help The Needy.” After the government failed to ask Dr. Diab any questions for nearly 3 months, the magistrate bail restrictions and removed the electronic monitoring and curfew requirements.

      In Moscow, Idaho, the activities by IANA webmaster Sami al-Hussayen that drew scrutiny involved these same two radical sheiks. U.S. officials say the two sheiks influenced al Qaeda’s belief that Muslims should wage holy war against the U.S. until it ceases to support Israel and withdraws from the Middle East. Sami Hussayen, who was acquitted, made numerous calls and wrote many e-mails to the two clerics, sometimes giving advice to them about running Arabic-language websites on which they espoused their anti-Western views.

      According to witness testimony in the prosecution of the Virginia Paintball Defendants, after September 11, 2001, “Al-Timimi stated that the attacks may not be Islamically permissible, but that they were not a tragedy, because they were brought on by American foreign policy.” The FBI first contacted Timimi shortly after 9/11. He met with FBI agents 7 or 8 times in the months leading up to his arrest. Al-Timimi is a US citizen born in Washington DC. His house was searched, his passport taken and his telephone monitored. Ali Al Timimi defended his PhD thesis in computational biology shortly after his indictment for recruiting young men to fight the US in defending against an invasion of Afghanistan.

      Communications between Al-Timimi with dissident Saudi sheik Safar al-Hawali, one of the two fundamentalist sheikhs who were friends and mentors of Bin Laden, were intercepted. The two radical sheiks had been imprisoned from September 1994 to June 1999. Al-Hawali’s detention was expressly the subject of Bin Laden’s 1996 Declaration of War against the United States and the claim of responsibility for the 1998 embassy bombings. He had been Al-Timimi’s religious mentor at University.

      ABC reported in July 2004 that FBI Director Mueller had imposed an October 1, 2004 deadline for a case that would stand up in court. The date passed with no anthrax indictment. Al-Timimi was not indicted for anthrax. He was indicted for sedition. Upon his indictment, on September 23, 2004, al-Timimi explained he had been offered a plea bargain of 14 years, but he declined. He quoted Sayyid Qutb. He said he remembered “reading his books and loving his teaching” as a child, and that Qutb’s teaching was prevented from signing something that was false by “the finger that bears witness.” He noted that he and his lawyers asked that authorities hold off the indictment until he had received his PhD, but said that unfortunately they did not wait. On October 6, 2004, the webmaster of the azzam.com website Babar Ahmad was indicted. In 2007, the North Brunswick, NJ imam who mirrored the azzam.com website was indicted (on the grounds of income tax evasion).

      The indictment against the paintball defendants alleged that at an Alexandria, Virginia residence, in the presence of a representative of Benevolence International Foundation (”BIF”), the defendants watched videos depicting Mujahadeen engaged in Jihad and discussed a training camp in Bosnia. His defense lawyer says that the FBI searched the townhouse of “to connect him to the 9/11 attacks or to schemes to unleash a biological or nuclear attack.” Famed head of the former Russian bioweaponeering program Ken Alibek told me that he would occasionally see Al-Timimi in the hallways at George Mason, where they both were in the microbiology department, and was vaguely aware that he was an islamic hardliner. When what his defense counsel claims was an FBI attempt to link Al-Timimi to a planned biological attack failed, defense counsel says that investigators focused on his connections to the men who attended his lectures at the local Falls Church, Va. In the end, he was indicted for inciting them to go to Afghanistan to defend the Taliban against the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan. During deliberations, he reportedly was very calm, reading Genome Technology and other scientific journals. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment plus 70 years.

      His prosecution on remand is ongoing and classified. The issue of NSA warrantless wiretapping in which the DOJ was excluded is presented. FBI Director Mueller — picture Gary Cooper in HIGH NOON — famously had a show down with Andrew Card over the continuation of the program as it then existed.

      • DXer said

        Milton Viorst, who knew Ali as a teenager, wrote a fascinating and sympathetic yet balanced portrait in “The Education of Ali Al-Timimi” that appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, June 2006. In Saudi Arabia, Al-Timimi had been mentored by a Saudi-trained Canadian imam Bilal Philips. Philips was Al-Timimi’s Islamic Studies teacher at Manaret Riyadh High School in the early 1980s. Al-Timimi adopted Philips’ view that “The clash of civilizations is a reality,” and “Western culture led by the United States is an enemy of Islam.” Between 1991 and 1993, Philips relocated to the Mindinao, Philippines, where he taught at an islamic school. In 1993, according to an interview he gave in a London-based Arabic-language magazine interview, Philips ran a program to convert US soldiers to Islam stationed in Saudi Arabia during the first Persian Gulf War. Philips was made a proselytization official by the Saudi Air Force. Philips followed up in the US, with telephone calls and visits intended to recruit the veterans as potential members of Bin Laden’s network. He enlisted assistance from others based in the U.S. and members of Islamic centers all over the US. These conversion specialists financed pilgrimages for US veterans and would later send Muslim clerics in the United States to their homes. Bilal Philips encouraged some converts from this program to fight in Bosnia in the 1990s. Bilal Philips explained these recruitment efforts to a London newspaper in Arabic (translated by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service) in an article titled “Jamaican-Born Canadian Interviewed on Islamic Missionary Work Among US Troops”:

        “[redacted] used to coordinate with US intelligence. And, when Croatia closed its borders to Arab volunteers, there were a group of black Americans who completed their training and knew Islam through me. [Redacted] contacted Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman and offered to use this group for sabotage acts inside the United States. The offer was made on the telephone, which apparently was tapped by US intelligence. Shaykh Umar replied by saying: ‘”Avoid civilian targets.’”

        After completing his religious education in Saudi Arabia in Medina, Ali Al Timimi returned to the United States and received a second bachelor’s degree — this time in computer science at the University of Maryland, while also studying software programming at George Washington University. Timimi spoke at IANA conferences in 1993 and 1994. A senior al Qaeda recruiter, Abdelrahman Dosari, also spoke at three IANA conferences in the early 1990s. In December 1993, Al-Dosari (a.k.a. Shaykh Abu Abdel Aziz “Barbaros”) spoke on ‘Jihad & Revival” and exhorted young men to fight for their faithjust as Al-Timimi would later be accused of doing privately with young men in Virginia.

        At the first annual IANA conference in 1993, scheduled speakers included Bilal Philips, Mohammed Abdul-Rahman from Afghanistan, Mohammad Qutb from Cairo, Gamal Sultan from Cairo, and Abu Abdel Aziz ‘Barbaros’ (Bosnia).

        Mohammad Abdul-Rahman was the blind sheik’s son. The blind sheik soon was sentenced for terrorism relating to WTC 1993 and the “Day of Terror” plot directed at NYC landmarks. In 2000, Mohammed Abdel Rahman, a/k/a “Asadallah,” who is a son of Abdel Rahman, was sitting alongside Bin Laden and Zawahiri and was videotaped encouraging others to “avenge your Sheikh” and “go to the spilling of blood.”

        Mohammad Qutb was Sayyid Qutb’s brother. Egyptian Mohammad Qutb, a renown scholar and activist, taught Bin Laden at university in Saudi Arabia, having emigrated to Saudi Arabia. In the 1970s, bin Laden was taught by Sayyid Qutb’s brother, Dr. Mohammad Qutb, and a Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood member, Dr. Abdullah Azzam. Azzam’s ideas of non-compromise, violent means, and organizing and fighting on a global scale were central to Al Qaeda methods. Qutb, as al-Hawali’s teacher, also strongly influenced al-Hawali. Al-Hawali was sent to prison in 1994.

        Gamal Sultan was a former EIJ member who would seek to start a political party in 1999 with the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Kamal Habib. They sought to chart a nonviolent course (given the practical reality that the movement had been so infiltrated by the security forces). The blind sheik declined to endorse the venture. In 2000, on a trip to Pittsburgh, Gamal Sultan and his colleagues thought Pittsburgh reminded them of Kandahar given its rolling hills.

        Abu Abdel Aziz ‘Barbaros’ was a well-known holy warrior and fundraiser from Saudi Arabia. In 1994, Abdel Aziz glorified jihad and praised the Pittsburgh magazine Assirat for its interest in holy war. He asked Assirat readers and in a 1995 update, to donate money for holy war. He lauded Dr. Abdullah Azzam, the founder of al-Qaeda. He explained jihad will continue till the day of judgment.” In 1996, he was detained as the primary suspect in the attack on the Dhahran barracks, in which 19 U.S. servicemen were killed. Expert Evan Kohlmann explains: Barbaros was “one of the key individuals responsible for LeT’s formation and development.” He “was a Saudi Al-Qaida member.” Kohlmann writes “In the fall of 1992, a former Al-Qaida lieutenant-turned-government informant attended secret meetings in Croatia chaired by Abu Abdel Aziz (“Barbaros.”). During those meetings, Abu Abdel Aziz talked about his directives from Usama Bin Laden and indicated that Al-Qaida was seeking to use regional jihads such as those in Bosnia and Kashmir as “a base for operations… against al Qaeda’s true enemy, the United States.”

        In 1995 Ali Al Timimi headed an IANA delegation to China together with IANA President Bassem Khafagi and Syracuse oncologist and IANA Vice Chairman Rhafil Dhafir. The IANA condemned the UN women’s rights conference as “an attack on Islam.” They urged Imams worldwide to tell Muslims about “the hidden agenda of this UN Conference, and how to foil the libertine and Westernization movements in the Islamic world.”

        Salafist commentator Umar Lee has explained that in the early 1990s “the most dynamic part of the salafi movement in the DC-area were the students Sheikh Ali al-Timimi who in the 1990’s co-founded a very small group with a small office for an organization called the Society for the Adherence to the Sunnah. In early July 1994, cooperation with Al-Timimi’s Society for the Adherence to the Sunnah, Washington, D.C., IANA held its first annual summer camp in English in Frederick, MD (where the ponds were drained in the Amerthrax investigation). The theme of the camp was “Living the Shahadah in America.” This is what Sheikh Ali was teaching kids at the 1st Annual IANA Summer Camp at a Frederick, MD park:

        “Reflections on the Meaning of Our Testimony of Faith: ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” by Ali Al-Timimi.
        ***
        “6 Wage Jihad in the Path of Allah
        ***
        “Fight those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, and practice not the true religion (Islam), being of those who have been given the Scripture (the Jews and the Christians) — until they pay tribute readily and have been brought low. (The Qur’an 9:29)”
        “The Prophet has said:
        I am commanded to fight mankind till they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish

        According to the webpage of his first defense committee (which disbanded when they felt under pressure due to their support), at some point years earlier had worked for Andrew Card for 2 months.

        Al-Timimi’s increasing computer skills got him a job at SRA International where Ali worked as a “bioinformatics software architect” providing information technology to the government. Some of his jobs required that Ali obtain a high-level security clearance. One job resulted in a letter of recommendation from the White House. In 1999, Battelle consultant and former USAMRIID Charles Bailey also worked at SRA.
        Ali then enrolled in a PhD program in computational biology at George Mason University. By 2000, Ali Al-Timimi was already taking advanced courses at Mason in computational sciences. Dr. Bailey became co-Director of the DARPA-funded Center of Biodefense there in the Spring of 2001.

        Timimi once explained his research: “I am currently a research scientist at the Center for Biomedical Genomics and Informatics, George Mason University. I am involved in the analysis of the microarray data generated by the CTRF Cancer Genomics Project. Likewise, I am developing new computational approaches and technologies in support of this project.” The webpage for Timimi’s program at the time explained: “Faculty members and graduate students in the Program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology participate in numerous collaborative efforts including but not limited to the following Laboratories and Research Centers: Center for Biomedical Genomics and Informatics (GMU) , Laboratory for Microbial and Environmental Biocomplexity (GMU) and Center for Biodefense (GMU). Beginning the Spring of 2002, GMU hired Ali to develop a computer program that coordinated the research at several universities, letting him go only after he came under suspicion by the FBI. In Spring 2002, according to salary information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, GMU hired him for $70,000 a year. In 2002, the employment was through the School of Computational Sciences and in 2003, it was through Life Sciences Grants & Contracts.

        The School of Computational Sciences at George Mason is a joint venture between the American Type Culture Collection (”ATCC”) and George Mason. The joint venture is an effort to maximize research efforts by combining the academic and applied approaches to research. The School’s first activity was to teach an ATCC course in DNA techniques adapted for George Mason students. The ATCC is an internationally renown non-profit organization that houses the world’s largest and most diverse archive of biological materials. In 2001, the Prince William Campus shares half of Discovery Hall with ATCC. ATCC moved to a state-of-the-art laboratory at Discovery Hall (Prince William II) in 1998.

        ATCC’s 106,000-square-foot facility has nearly 35,000 square feet of laboratory space with a specialized air handling system and Biosafety Level 2 and 3 containment stations. The ATCC bioinformatics (BIF) program carries out research in various areas of biological information management relevant to its mission. BIF scientists interact with laboratory scientists in microbiology, cell biology, and molecular biology at ATCC and other laboratories throughout the world. ATCC has strong collaborations with a large number of academic institutions, including computational sciences at George Mason University. Through these partnerships, the George Mason Prince William Campus offers George Mason microbiology students an opportunity for students to be involved in current research and gain access to facilities and employment opportunities at ATCC and other partner companies.

        The person who inherited his old telephone number (3-4294) is Victor Morozov in the Center for Biodefense. Dr. Morozov, upon joining the faculty and inheriting the phone number was in Rm. 154A, very near Dr. Bailey in Rm 156B. One faculty member who consulted with Al-Timimi suggested to me that Ali instead was Rm. 154B, in the middle of the office suite. GMU Information Services helpfully looked up the listings from 2001 directory.

        Former USAMRIID Deputy Commander and Acting Commander Ames strain anthrax researcher Charles Bailey, in Rm 156B, was given a Gateway desktop computer in mid-March 2001 (upon his arrival) — serial number 0227315480. It was like the one Dr. Alibek would get the next year in 156D. One way to think of proximity analysis — a form of true crime analysis — is the number of feet or inches between 154B and 156B/156D. Another way is to think of it is in terms of the number of feet or inches to the hard drives. You can judge the distance for yourself from a First Floor plan that is available online, clicking upon 154-156 area to enlarge.

        The December 2007 biodefense PhD thesis explains:

        “Although computers are password protected, anyone can access the computers located throughout the labs. Research results can be recorded on lab computers. Someone wanting to access research results would first have to understand what the numbers meant. Research results are also kept in a lab notebook that is kept in the lab or office. This enables other students to repeat what was already done or to see results.”

        In a separate appeal, the conviction of Al-Timimi’s assistant Chandia affirmed but the 15 year sentence was vacated and remanded for resentencing because of failure to making findings warranting terrorism enhancement. The conviction was reaffirmed by the District Court. He was alleged to have helped a Pakistan group buy components of a UAV.

        FBI scientist Dr. Chris Hassell in explaining the science associated with the mailed anthrax asked the public’s indulgence and noted that there would be some issues on which he would not be entirely forthcoming given the nature of the subject.

  19. DXer said

    Ed just ignored fully 1/2 of the investigation — one of the two investigative squads — because it did not square with his obsessive belief (for reasons only he knows) that a First Grader wrote the letters. He had — and has no basis — for his belief.

    I, on the other hand, highlight the documentary evidence here to which Ed does not respond because he doesn’t know anything on the subject because he’s not well-read. Ed is operating on a very narrow bandwidth and only picks up signals on that bandwidth. He cannot change frequency.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/ross-getmans-slide-presentation-at-the-nov-29-anthrax-letters-seminar/

  20. BugMaster said

    “My guess is that since the chemicals have to get inside the spore coat and destroy the DNA, the “goop” is liquified DNA.”

    Note that the image is “color enhanced”. Also, the “goop” has to have enough electron density to be visualized by the scanning electron microscope.

    I don’t think “liquified DNA” qualifies here.

    Is this an image of a spore from the actual attack material?

    • BugMaster said

      I think, Ed for SEM you need to coat whatever you are going to view with a thin layer of metal for contrast (otherwise, the electrons can’t produce the 3d-like image). Sort of like having to sometimes stain biological materials when using a light microscope.

      The process is called “deposition” and is performed in a vacuum.

      If this is the case, the “Goop blebs” would have been present before the “staining” and could be the result of the contents of the spore bursting out due to sublimation (“boiling” of aqueous material in a vacuum).

      This is not the same thing as the “goop” described oozing out while the attack material was being analyzed.

  21. DXer said

    This was not the first time the Egyptian islamists had sent letter bombs to DC and NYC newspapers in connection with the WTC — at the same time they mailed targets symbolic of the detention of the brothers sparking their concern.

    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 etter. 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 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.” 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 spokesman chastised 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 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 spokesman chastised 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 in an 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. 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.

    After the Al Hayat letter bombs to newspapers in DC and NYC and people in 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. 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.

    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 or other agendas rushed to do it for him. 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 views, or imagined 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.

  22. DXer said

    Contrary to the pundits who just associate Al Qaeda with a “big bang,” a key modus operandi of the Vanguards of Conquest was targeted assassination and it was widely known known that Zawahiri was seeking to weaponize anthrax for use against US targets. The Egyptian Islamic Jihad group specializes in armed attacks against high-level Egyptian government officials, including Cabinet ministers. The group had a “hit list” that included tens of Egyptians to be killed by the group, including journalists. In May 1987, a Major General was shot outside his home in Cairo. Several EIJ members and two Islamist Group members were arrested in connection with the attack. In November 1990, six members of EIJ were arrested in connection with the murders of People’s Assembly Speaker and five security men on October 12, 1990. The EIJ’s military wing, the Vanguards of Conquest, launched a violent campaign in March 1992. Of 223 killed in the first year or two, 67 were policemen, 76 were Islamic militants, 36 were civilian Christian Copts, and three were foreign tourists.

    Prosecutors and policemen would be targeted to avenge torture. By April 1995, 700 had been killed. Al-Jihad has had a role in most foreign terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies over the past 20 years. The group the microbiology department where Heba Zawahiri taught. I asked him which of the defendants he knew but he did not respond.

    In November 1995, an EIJ suicide car bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan killed 17 and injured 59. An Egyptian with Canadian citizenship, Ahmad Saeed Kadr (Khadr), was charged in connection with the bombing. Kadr worked as the regional director of Human Concern International, a Canadian relief agency in Peshawar, and was alleged to have moved money through the aid agency from Afghanistan to Pakistan to pay for the operation. In December 1995, the Vanguards of Conquest sent a communiqué warning Pakistan to stop extraditing militants to Egypt, or “it will pay a heavy price.” That month, Egyptian Security forces arrested 56 terrorists after being tipped off by an EIJ informer. The group was accused of planning to assassinate President Hosni Mubarak on 1995 using 550 pounds of explosives to blow up the President’s motorcade.

    In November 1997 after the killing in Luxor, Egypt, of 58 tourists by Al Gamaa Al Islamiyaa, the Vanguards of Conquest warned that orders had “already been given for attacks on Americans and Zionists not only in Egypt but elsewhere.” In February 1998 Al Jihad was one of the founding signatories involved in the creation of the World Islamist Front for the Jihad against Jews and the Crusaders (World Islamist Front). The Front subsequently issued a fatwa calling for the killing of Americans worldwide and the expulsion of Americans from the holy land and Jews from Jerusalem. Egyptian Islamist sources declared that the release of the statement marked Al Zawahiri’s and Al Jihad’s return to the field of active terrorist groups.

    In June 1998 Egyptian security authorities arrest seventeen members on charges of forming an Al Jihad cell in east Cairo. Resulting confessions revealed that Al Jihad was planning to assassinate a number of public figures and security officers. That month, Jihad members al-Najjar (head of Al Jihad in Albania), and Majed Mustapha were arrested in Albania, reportedly with the aid of the Central Intelligence Agency, and extradited to Egypt in late June 1998. An August 1998 Statement issued by the Information Office of the Jihad Group in Egypt vowed revenge on the United States for the extradition of three Al Jihad members from Albania to Egypt.

    In September 1998, a number of senior EIJ and IG leaders in London were arrested, including the EIJ cell members who had faxed the claim of responsibility for the embassy bombings. In April 1999, after verdicts in the “Returnees from Albania,” the Vanguards of Conquest and Al Jihad issue separate threats of retaliation. Of the 107 accused, 87 defendants were found guilty, including Canadian Mahmoud Mahjoub. The day of the bombing, shortly after the explosions, EIJ military commander Mabruk called Canadian VOC member Jaballah and told him to call the London cell members and tell them he could be reached at Shehata’s residence. Shehata was Jaballah’s brother-in-law. The London cell members then issued a claim of responsibility for the blasts. That year, the group also planned an unsuccessful attack on the U.S. Embassy in Albania.

    Throughout these years, an estimated 70 Egyptian militants were rendered by the US to Cairo prior to 9/11 and the anthrax mailings. The fact that targeted assassination was the modus operandi of the US-based islamists — and that the motivation was retaliation for the detention of senior leaders and to create leverage aimed at their release — was established by the first of a series of terrorist attacks in the US — the assassination of radical rabbi Meir Kahane by Egyptian Nosair. Nosair emigrated from Egypt in 1981. In his address book, Nosair had written the names of some Jewish officials, to include two judges who recently had extradited an Arab terrorist. Nosair’s job had been to protect the blind sheikh in the US. He was a friend of Ali Mohammed who stayed with him when he came to New York. The commentators who argued that Al Qaeda just goes for the “big bang” were overlooking the modus operandi of the Vanguards and what was known about Ayman’s biological program through “open source” materials.

    In his March 2007 confession to a military tribunal, KSM admitted to having been involved in a plot to assassinate a number of former American presidents (including Jimmy Carter), Pope John Paul II and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. In December 2007, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. To suggest that Zawahiri and his colleagues do not use targeted assassination as their modus operandi — indeed, to not appreciate that it is the EIJ’s key modus operandi — totally misses the mark.

    • DXer said

      Indeed, a Cairo Medical School student from the early 1980s was trained in the United States by the Egyptian Islamic Jihad head of intelligence to make lethal letters.

      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. 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. 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.”

      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, 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.”

      In August 1998, Dahab was in Egypt when al Qaeda mounted suicide attacks on the embassies in East Africa. Back in the U.S., Ali Mohamed was arrested for complicity in the attack and 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 unjustice 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.

      • DXer said

        In 1995, Ayman came once again to the United States where he was accompanied by US Army Sergeant Ali Mohammed on his travels to California, then Brooklyn, then the Washington, D.C. area. Who did he visit in Washington,
        D.C.? Zawahiri traveled to the US in 1991 and 1995 under an alias (though the dates are disputed). Zawahiri sometimes was accompanied by two brothers, a New Jersey pharmacist and a California doctor, Ali Zaki (a fellow Cairo Medical alum who denies knowing who Zawahiri was). They were joined by a former US Army sergeant and key Al Qaeda operative, Ali Mohammed. In Santa Clara, Ayman reportedly stayed at the home of Ali Mohammed, even though Mohammed had recently been subpoenaed to testify about what he knew about Bin Laden’s activities. Dr. Zaki says he was a good friend of Ali Mohammed and that it was widely known that Ali Mohammed was a liaison between the islamists in Afghanistan and the CIA. In one of his trips, he also reportedly went to Texas. One of the most important starting points of the FBI’s Amerithrax investigation should have been to trace the contacts that al-Zawahiri made on his last trip to the United States. He met with supporters associated with the Maktab Khidmat al-Mujahidin (the Al-Mujahidin services office) in the US.

        The troubles of Cairo Medical School graduate (’71), San Jose physician Ali Zaki, over taking Ayman Zawahiri and Bin Laden’s head of intelligence around the US in 1995 had just about faded from memory. In January 2000, a new problem then reared its head. In 1999, he had prescribed $164,000 in prescriptions for Viagara, a syringe of a drug for renal insufficiency and a vial for hypogonadism. (Bin Laden suffered from renal insufficiency.) The California Board governing physicians found that Dr. Zaki violated regulations because no patient was named and he had kept no records. The drugs were ordered ostensibly for a fictitious business MedChem. When an investigator went to check out the listing it was the address at 550 Bevans Drive it turned out to have been a recently closed deli called Landmark Gourmet Delicatessen. Owned by Hasan Ibrahim, the business had been evicted.

        According to the decision, the drugs reportedly were for resale abroad. If they were intended for Afghanistan, someone must have expected a lot of action with some virgins. Elzahabi in the September 2009 interview with journalist Colin Freeze was confident that God would find the time to provide him with the 72 virgins to which he felt he was entitled for keeping quiet about the 3 individuals whose picture he was shown. Perhaps erectile dysfunction was common tin Afghanistan because of the cold, harsh conditions and the stress in that line of work. One of the allegations in the January 21, 2000 “Accusation” alleged that “On or about June 15, 1999, respondent ordered 100 bottles of Viagara, 30 tablets per bottle, at 100 milligram strength.” Cost: $164,000. Memories: Priceless. The public reprimand issued in August 2001 and is available online at the State agency’s website.

      • DXer said

        There is a requirement under the laws of jihad of warning before use of biochemical weapons.

        “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors… ,” says the Koran (2:190). Post office employee and blind sheik spokesman Abdel Sattar has explained that Mustafa Hamza, who took over from Taha as Islamic Group leader after the Luxor debacle in which in 58 tourists were murdered, was asked how can you explain killing tourists. Mustafa Hamza answered in every moment and action, the group starts off by consulting with the righteous Olama. No action is initiated without fatwas from our trusted Olama — meaning scholars in the plural. In other words, before carrying out an operation, they get a fatwa. He confirmed that fatwas are important because they are authoritative statements by religious leaders declaring what is and is not Islamically permissible. Sattar had a copy of the book written by former Islamic Group leader Taha justifying the attacks that had been committed, to include Luxor. The book had been uploaded at the website maintained by London-based Vanguards of Conquest publicist Al-Sirri.

        The Koran and hadiths provide extensive guidance on the honorable conduct of warfare. One of the leading non-muslim expert on the subject was Princeton’s Bernard
        Lewis. For years, Princeton University Middle Eastern history Professor Emeritus Bernard Lewis’ writing on the clash between islam and the west would be translated by the Muslim brotherhood and handed out as pamphlets outside of mosques. After the 1998 “Crusaders” statement by Bin Laden and Zawahiri, Lewis wrote a Foreign Affairs article “License to Kill, Usama Bin Ladin’s Declaration of Jihad.” “Obviously, the West must defend itself by whatever means will be effective. But in devising strategies to fight the terrorists, it would surely be useful to understand the forces that drive them.”

        In a September 27, 2001 Op Ed in the Wall Street Journal, the 87 year-old historian explained the use of biochemical weapons by Al Qaeda: “the laws of jihad categorically preclude wanton and indiscriminate slaughter. The warriors in the holy war are urged not to harm noncombatants, women and children, ‘unless they attack you first.’ Even such questions as missile and chemical warfare are addressed, the first in relation to mangonels and catapults, the other to the use of poison-tipped arrows and poisoning enemy water supplies. Here the jurists differ– some permit, some restrict, some forbid these forms of warfare. A point on which they insist is the need for a clear declaration of war before beginning hostilities, and for proper warning before resuming hostilities after a truce. As Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman once said in the context of criticizing Sadat’s peace with Israel: “Believers govern according to God’s laws and do not change or replace a single letter or word of them.”

        In an essay “Islam and Terrorism,” Bilal
        Philips, a key religious mentor of GMU microbiology grad Ali Al-Timimi, explained the principles of islamic jurisprudence of islamic warfare:
        “Islam opposes any form of indiscriminate violence. The Quran states: “Anyone who has killed another except in retaliation, it is as if he has killed the whole of humankind.” [Quran Surah #32 Verse #5] There are strict rules regulating how war may be conducted. Prophet Muhammad forbade the killing of women, children, and old people and the destruction of Churches and Synagogues or farms. Of course, if women, children or the elderly bear arms they may be killed in self-defense.”
        ***

        As Ali Al Timimi once explained: “Modern warfare did not exist during those times when they wrote those classical books of fiqh.” The old principles therefore must be relied upon to guide the issue in new times.

        Spokesman al-Kuwaiti was giving a plain warning in the Fall 2001 threat letter — not disclosed until 2006 — that the green light had been given for US -bio attack (1) from folks that were US-based, (2) above suspicion, and (3) with access to US and UK government and intelligence information. “The Truth about the New Crusade: A Ruling on the Killing of Women and Children of the Non-Believers,” Ramzi bin al-Shibh, argues that “the sanctity of women, children, and the elderly is not absolute” and concludes that “in killing Americans who are ordinarily off limits, Muslims should not exceed four million noncombatants, or render more than ten million of them homeless.” Spokesman Abu
        Ghaith used the same figure in June 2002 in arguing in favor of the moral right to use biological or chemical weapons.

        A book commemorating the September 11 “raid” was published by Majallat al-Ansar and consisted of four essays. It addresses the importance that any attack comply with the laws of Sharia. “Some people see fit to raise the issue of Islamic principles of warfare. They claim that the raid does not observe those principles and that Sharia errors occurred. Some ‘modern’ legal scholars see the raid as a violation of the Sharia.” The book continued: “Everyone knows that the groups in the traditionalist mujahid movement are more committed than anyone else to Sharia in their actions. After all, their actions can cost them their dearest possession after their faith — their souls.” While purporting not to want to get entangled in a discussion of the legal technicalities, the author then addressed at length why the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon was justified under the laws of sharia.

        Vince Cannistraro, a former chief of CIA counter-terrorist operations, discussed the requirement of warning under the laws of jihad on NPR in connection with the Al Qaeda audiotape by Bin Laden that aired shortly before the November 2004 election. In the case of anthrax, Ayman Zawahiri likely considers that the warning required under the laws of jihad has been given.

        Zawahiri is the grandson of the well-known “Pious Ambassador,” who was President of Cairo University. Dr. Zawahiri is reserving himself a spot in a bad place by reason of his
        botched analysis of the hadiths and teachings of Mohammed governing warfare (no women, children, noncombatants etc.) The same principles prohibit attacking livestock, crops or wells. Judging by the interpretive texts, it would seem that Al Qaeda and the anthrax mailer have violated the Quran and hadiths by killing noncombatant women and children, and even the aged. It cannot be persuasively argued that those noncombatant women and children and the aged attacked the jihadists first. An infant visiting ABC was infected by the anthrax.
        Before the military tribunal, KSM says the koran forbids killing children. He noted that warfare is guided by the koran and hadiths.

        The head of Egyptian Islamic Group, the Cairo Medical alum who approved of Sadat’s assassination and was released after a quarter-century in prison, said of 9/11:

        “The killing of businessmen is forbidden by Islamic law and the World Trade Center was all businessmen. The killing of women and children and old people is forbidden by Islamic law and many of those were killed in the building.”
        Thus, the harshest judgment may await true believers in another world.

      • DXer said

        Sending poisonous letter bombs is also fairly understood as consistent with Al Qaeda’s modus operandi in that the Al Qaeda operations manual, a version on CD-ROM, had a chapter on “Poisonous Letter.” As with the insertion of biologicals into food, the key is mass panic, not mass casualty.

        The Belgian Prime Minister and the US, British and Saudi Arabian embassies have been sent letters containing hydrazine and an arsenic derivative used in nerve gas in May 2003. Some argue that islamists would never merely send lethal substances through the mail (though the risk of significant casualty is low) to send a message or warning. One of the ingredients is hard to obtain, suggesting one Health Ministry spokesman to remark that “We’re not dealing with a small-time joker.” A trial of 23 suspected al-Qaeda members was in its third week. “Set our brothers free. Bastards.” Couldn’t be a threat by islamists because they only go for mass casualties — not threats. Right? One of the defendants in that trial allegedly sought hydrazine for use in producing a bomb. A 45- year old Iraqi man was arrested.

        A similar modus operandi was followed in New Zealand with cyanide in early 2002 and early 2003 by a sender purporting to be islamist.

        A December 2004 report on terrorism in the European Union noted that in July 2004, eight letters arrived at several official locations in Brussels that contained an ochre-coloured chemical substance that caused itchy eyes and breathing problems. Tests indicated that the substance was adamsite (phenarsasine). Some of the letters included “a threat letter written in (very poor) English, demanding that two recently convicted Islamic extremists are released within that month.”

        Zawahiri feels that in the usual case, the best way to get a lot of people watching is to kill the maximum number of people. But he wouldn’t disagree with the comment by Brian Jenkins that “Terrorism is theater.” Just those 10 grams cost an estimated $6 billion and have been the subject of thousands of news stories and the focus of widespread bioterrorism preparations. They were fully adequate to do the job even within the constraints of small batch production.

        The anthrax sender may not have intended to harm anyone. Stevens’ death was reported late on October 5. Whether the mailer knew of the death might depend on whether the mailing was made Saturday, October 6 — or whether it was made as late as Tuesday, October 9, the day it was postmarked after a long holiday weekend.

        Al Qaeda’s shura or policy-making council is concerned with handling its efforts in such a way as to develop and maintain the Arab hatred of the US and Israel. That requires a delicate balance and choice of suitable targets and methods. For example, as explained by the spokesperson in mid-February, Abu al Bara’a Al-Qarshy, Al Qaeda will not use WMD in a muslim country, particularly the home of Mecca and Medina. Terrorism involves public relations. Zawahiri divines from his religious texts that it is moral to kill American civilians on the grounds that they stood silent as taxpayers while US-bought weapons were used on Palestinians. In 1998, in an interview that appeared in TIME Magazine, Bin Laden himself explained that it was Al Qaeda’s “religious duty” to obtain chemical and biological weapons, but it was up to them how to use them.

        As Dr. Jane A. Alexander of DARPA once explained at DARPA Tech, 1999:
        “Small scale attacks may be adequate to immobilize national will with panic unless reasonable defenses are available. Terrorists do not need the technological sophistication of a military offensive biological warfare program. A military offensive BW program strives for predictable effect so that military operations can be planned. Terrorists could actually benefit from the variation of the onset and outcome of the illnesses creating added panic in the public.”

        The Ann Arbor NanoBio researchers thanked Dr. Alexander for her support of the DARPA research they were doing involving the Ames strain supplied by USAMRIID’s Bruce Ivins.

        The Al Qaeda shura (policy-making council) may deem that Al Qaeda needs to choose the methods of attack carefully so that they are both are effective and calculated to gain the support of others. (Gassing the Kurds ultimately was a public relations debacle for Saddam once the world stopped looking the other way).

  23. DXer said

    Zawahiri explained in the Fall of 2001 about the media:

    “The killing of Anwar al-Sadat .. was a strong blow to the US-Israeli plan for the region:
    “This proves the lies that are reiterated by Arab secularism that several jihad movements, especially those in the Afghan jihad, are the creation of the United States. One is surprised by the capacity of secular writers to lie. Seeing the overwhelming support in the Muslim world for the Islamic Jihad movements, which dealt painful blows to the United States, they invented this lie, forgetting that Anwar al-Sadat was killed at the hands of fundamentalists in 1981, i.e., at the beginning of the Afghan jihad. These mujahidin participated in the Afghan jihad afterward.”

    Zawahiri summarizes in Knights Under The Banner of the Prophet: “If we add to the foregoing the media siege imposed on the message of the jihad movement as well as the campaign of deception mounted by the government media we should realize the extent of the gap in understanding between the jihad movement and the common people.”

    In his book first published October 7, 2001, Zawahiri says of the media:

    “The Western media and the Arab media are both responsible for demeaning and distorting the image of the Arab Afghans. They portrayed them as half insane maniacs who revolted against America, who trained and financed them before. This was repeated over and over after the comeback of the Arab Afghans in the second half of the 90’s. . . . The aim of the American campaign to defame the Arab Afghans is clear. America is trying to deprive the Arab nation of claiming the championship. It’s as if the Americans are saying to us, ”Those who you think of as heroes are made by me and they are mercenaries who revolted against me when I stopped financing them.”

    Even dating back to the summer of 1993, CBS’ Dan Rather was just one of many who carried reports of the blind sheik being let in the country, with interviewees taking the position that they believed the sheik was being deliberately rewarded by the CIA for his help in the Afghanistan war.

    The best publicly evidence available online of Dr. Al-Timimi’s own views on the subject are his online speeches, “The Negative Portrayal Of Islam In the Media” and “Crusader Complex: Western Perceptions of Islam.” In 1994, Al-Timimi spoke alongside Commander Abu Abdel Aziz ‘Barbaros’ (Bosnia) at the annual IANA conference. Barbaros was the Al Qaeda recruiter who met at BIF offices in Zagreb, Croatia in 1992 to plan strategy relating to jihad directed against the US. Jihadist fighter “Barbaros” speaks pretty directly to the issue in a 1994 interview “Understanding Jihad” in the arab language Assirat, for which Al-Timimi served on the advisory board.

    “THE MEDIA CAMPAIGN (AGAINST JIHAD)
    The main purpose of the International media campaign against Jihad is to paint it with the trait of terrorism and things of that sort. (This is done) to push people away from it. They know that Muslims, if they hold tight to Jihad, will achieve the intended thrust which will make them reach whatever Allah wills. They know quite well that the Muslim zeal to Jihad stems from the belief that Allah is the sole source of victory, He will send His help from the sky and that if the Mujahid dies, his abode shall be the highest Firdaws (Peak of Paradise)…”

    Why did the sender target the New York Post rather than the New York Times? One would expect the New York Times to be targeted if a conservative biodefense insider was responsible. Was the mailer from the New York City region? The New York Post is one of the most pro-Israel papers around. The Post letter was addressed to the “Editor.”

    In an audiotape received by al-Jazeera and published in October 2002, Zawahiri repeated his view of the secular lies being told: “America is clearly lying concerning any news related to Afghanistan.” Bin Laden himself in January 2004 noted “This is in addition to the crusader media campaigns against the Islamic nation.”

  24. DXer said

    The FBI Counterterrorism Division sent out a warning to law enforcement in August 2001 that Al Qaeda or related groups might attack on an anniversary dat

    NLETS MESSAGE (ALL REGIONS)
    8/1/01
    A MESSAGE FROM FBI COUNTERTERRORISM DIVISION, WASHINGTON, D.C

    **

    CONCLUSION: RECIPIENTS ARE BEING NOTIFIED AT THIS TIME BECAUSE THE U.S. INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY CONSIDERS ANNIVERSARY DATES AS A KEY THREAT INDICATOR. ALTHOUGH LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SECURITY PERSONNEL ARE CAUTIONED NOT TO EXCLUSIVELY RELY ON SUCH DATES TO ‘PREDICT’ ACTS OF TERRORISM, ANNIVERSARY DATES CERTAINLY WARRANT INCREASED ATTENTION IN ROUTINE SECURITY PLANNING.
    RECIPIENTS WHO RECEIVE OR DEVELOP ANY INFORMATION CONCERNING THIS MATTER SHOULD CONTACT THEIR LOCAL FBI OFFICE OR FBI HEADQUARTERS IMMEDIATELY.

    Anthrax was sent on the date of the Camp David Accord and the related Sadat assassination (Armed Forces Day). Expert Michael Scheuer, formerly with the CIA, has said that Al Qaeda does not plan attacks around important dates, so far as the CIA can glean. But take Ayman at his word when he says he at least plans some of his messages around anniversaries, as he and Islambouli did by sending Zawahiri-issued messages in 2004 on the third anniversary of 9/11 and then in 2005 on the third anniversary of the transfer of prisoners to Guantanamo. He said: “These days we are marking three years since the transportation of the first group of Muslim prisoners was sent to the Guantanamo prison.”

    The Vanguards of Conquest did the same thing in the late 1990s. Just as Zawahiri’s thinking on weaponizing anthrax was gaining traction in emails to Atef in the Spring of 1999, the Vanguards invoked an anniversary relating to the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and issued a statement marking its 20th anniversary. The group said at the time it was reiterating its enmity toward the US and Israel to mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the treaty in March 1979. Signed on March 26, 1979, the Egypt-Israel peace treaty was a direct result of the Camp David Peace Accords, signed in September 1978.

    The first round of letters was sent to ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Post, and the publisher of the National Enquirer and Sun. Letters were sent to Senators Daschle and Leahy in a second batch, using a much more highly refined product. The mailing dates were of special importance to the man that the CIA in its December 4, 1998 PDB told President Clinton was planning the attack the US using aircraft and other means — Mohammed Islambouli, the brother of Sadat’s assassin. The letters to the news organizations were mailed — coincidentally or not — on September 17 or September 18, either the day the Camp David Accord was signed in 1978 or the next day when it was approved by the Israeli knesset. Abdel-Rahman, the blind sheik, in the early 1980s, said: “We reject Camp David and we regret the normalization of relations with Israel. We also reject all the commitments that were made by the traitor Sadat, who deviated from Islam.” He continued: “As long as the Camp David Agreement stands, this conflict between us and the government will continue.”

    At the time of the anthrax mailings, Sadat’s assassination and the Camp David Accord still dominated Zawahiri’s thinking. In Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet, Al-Zawahiri argued in the Fall of 2001 that the Camp David Accord sought to turn Sinai into a disarmed area to serve as a buffer zone between Egypt and Israel. He cites the peace treaty between the two countries, particularly issues related to the armament of the Egyptian Army inside Sinai. He claims that Egypt has restored Sinai formally but it remains in the hands of Israel militarily. Al-Zawahiri cites many examples about the US flagrant support for Israel, including the US pressure on Egypt to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at a time when Israel publicly declares that it will not sign the treaty because of its special circumstances.

    Despite this, Zawahiri says, the United States sympathizes with Israel and overlooks its actions. This means that the United States has deliberately left the nuclear weapons in the hands of Israel to threaten its Arab neighbors. Al-Zawahiri argues in his book that the western states have considered Israel’s presence in the region a basic guarantee for serving the Western interests.

    The Wall Street Journal explained in August 2002: “Oct. 8 last year was Columbus Day, a public holiday on which mail wasn’t collected from letter boxes. That may mean the letters could have been posted as early as the Saturday before.” Taking into account the fact that there was no mail postmarked with a Trenton postmark on Columbus Day, October 8, the letter to Senator Tom Daschle postmarked October 9 may actually have been mailed October 6. (The FBI, of course, may know the date it was mailed based on information that has not been disclosed.) (Some press reports, however, suggest that they are considering that the mailing may have been at anytime during the October 6-October 9 period). October 6 was the day Anwar Sadat was assassinated for his role in the Camp David Accord. President Sadat was assassinated on the national holiday called “Armed Forces Day.” He was killed during an annual holiday parade which marks the day, October 6, 1973, that Egypt made a critical successful surprise attack on Israel during the 1973 war.

    “Death to Pharaoh!” the young Army officer shouted. He and his confederates jumped off the truck shot into the reviewing stand where Sadat had been watching the annual parade. “I killed the Pharaoh, and I do not fear death.” Sadat’s detention of Muhammad Shawqi al-Islambouli had spurred his brother, Khalid, to seize an opportunity presented on short notice to assassinate Anwar Sadat.

    Kamal Habib, founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and writer for the IANA quarterly magazine, who spent 10 years in prison in connection with the assassination, told academic Fawaz Gerges: “It was not a well-coordinated operation, and it succeeded by a miracle.”

    A street was named after Khalid Islambouli in Iran, with Iran having been upset at Egypt for granting the Shah safe haven. After leaving Egypt in the mid-1980s, Muhammad Islambouli operated in Pakistan recruiting Egyptian fighters for the war in Afghanistan, and headed a branch of Bin Laden’s Maktab al-Khidmat (‘Bureau of Services’) in Peshawar. Muhammad Islambouli was the subject of the December 4, 1998 Presidential Daily Brief titled “Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks” explaining that Bin Laden planned an attack on the US involving airplanes and that the motivation was to free the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman and a dissident Saudi sheik.

    In his Fall 2001 Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet, Zawahiri explained that the US support for Israel (at Egypt’s expense) was well-illustrated by the historic 33-day airlift to Israel after this October 6 attack. He argues that the US support for Israel made the difference between success or failure for Egypt. Al-Zawahiri describes how the United States shipped weapons, ammunition, and tanks to Israel for 33 days, with the goal being to compensate Israel for its war losses and to swiftly upgrade the combat capabilities.

    He explained in his Fall 2001 book: “The animosity to Israel and America in the hearts of islamists is indivisible. It is an animosity that has provided the ‘al-Qa’dia’ and the epic of jihad in Afghanistan with a continuous flow of ‘Arab Afghans.'” Regarding the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, Zawahiri adds: “Whoever examines the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty will realize that it was intended to be a permanent treaty from which Egypt could not break loose. It was concluded in an attempt to establish on the ground, by force and coercion, a situation whereby it would be difficult to change by any government hostile to Israel that comes after Al-Sadat.” The militants were especially angry that Sadat had not fully implemented shariah law.

    Complicating consideration of the issue, on October 5, 2001, the shura member of EIJ and former head of Bin Laden’s farm in the Sudan, Mahjoub, had his bail denied. Mahmoud Mahjoub was second in command of the Vanguards of Conquest. A letter containing nonpathogenic bacteria had been sent in late January 2001 threatening use of mailed anthrax to the immigration minister signing his security certificate. Mahjoub was bin Laden’s farm manager in Sudan. Al-Hawsawi, KSM’s assistant with the anthrax spraydrying documents on his laptop, kept the books.

    The CIA and FBI analysts should have pored over translations of the journal Al-Manar Jadeed published by the Ann Arbor-based Islamic Assembly of North America from 1998 – 2002 by writers based in Cairo. It mainly concerned Egyptian politics and planned the strategy based on all that had gone on before. There was a change in tone between the first piece by Gamal Sultan and the second installment. The first (before his letter to Abdel-Rahman) urged a pluralistic tolerant approach to differing views while the second issue (after his letter to Abdel-Rahman) contained his piece that seems to have resorted to the familiar intransigent neo-Salafist view.

    In a September 2006 video, in a message on yet another 5-year anniversary of 9/11, Zawahiri explained: “Among the most prominent of these conspirators are the rulers of Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula and Jordan and the traitors in Iraq who shade themselves with the cross of America, the Great Satan…[For these regimes] the slogan ‘death to America, death to Israel’ has gone to be replaced by ‘rule from America and peace with Israel.'” On numerous occasions, Zawahiri has been paying express attention to anniversary dates.

  25. DXer said

    A senior militant who met with Atef, Zawahiri and Bin Laden to discuss these issues in the summer of 2000 in Kandahar confirms that deterring the invasion against Afghanistan was a key purpose of the threatened use of WMD.

    In November 2007, a former leader of an armed Islamic group in Libya, Numan Bin Uthman, wrote an open letter to al-Qaeda second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri telling him that Jihadi groups in Arab countries have failed and that the strategy of using nonconventional WMD to deter an invasion of Afghanistan was a misguided and failed strategy.

    In his letter to Zawahiri, the Libyan jihadist Numan Bin Uthman wrote:

    “Dear Doctor Ayman, as I told you during a meeting in Kandahar [in Afghanistan] in 2000,
    ***
    Uthman also said that he had taken part in an important al-Qaeda summit in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2000, in which al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had defined search for and use of weapons of mass destruction as a “Sharia obligation”.
    “During this occasion, I had a strong dispute with the martyr Abu Hafs al-Kumandan [Commander Abu Hafs aka Mohammed Atef, Al Qaeda’s military commander], because he was heavily involved in acquiring weapons of mass destruction.”

    Ayman Zawahiri was reporting to Atef about anthrax weaponization program codenamed Zabadi. Atef died when a missile landed on his head in November 2001.

    Ali Al-Timimi had a stern warning not to invade Iraq hand-delivered to every member of Congress on October 6, 2002 — the first anniversary of the mailing to Senator Leahy and Senator Daschle. It was in the name of Bin Laden’s sheik.

  26. DXer said

    An October 2007 affidavit in support of a search of the home of Ft. Detrick microbiologist Bruce Ivins states:

    “In that same September 26, 2001 email, Dr. Ivins states “Osama Bin Laden has just decreed death to all Jews and all Americans” — language similar to the text of the anthrax letters postmarked two weeks later warning “DEATH TO AMERICA,” “DEATH TO ISRAEL.”
    Bin Laden had decreed that and Dr. Ivins was accurately describing a well- publicized news event.

    One affidavit reads “Ivins sent an email to a friend [redacted] a few days before the anthrax attacks warning [redacted] that “Bin Laden terrorists for sure have anthrax and sarin gas”… Actually, the email was September 26, 2001 a full week after the first anthrax attack. The FBI omitted Ivins’ phrase “I just heard tonight…” and fails to disclose the media accounts appearing that day to include evening broadcast reports repeating Gertz’ column making that point in the Washington Times.

    Bill Gertz had published a September 26 column that morning reporting that Al Qaeda attempting to acquire sarin and anthrax.
    “Intelligence officials say classified analysis of the types of chemicals and toxins sought by al Qaeda indicate the group probably is trying to produce the nerve agent Sarin, or biological weapons made up of anthrax spores.”

    Just before the 1998 embassy bombings, Zawahiri and his Vanguards of Conquest had said that the rendering of the senior EIJ leaders would be answered in “language you can understand.” Before the military tribunal, in March 2007, KSM talked of the language of war — deaths. “Same language you use, I use. That is why the language of any war in the world is killing.” Here, the lethal letters were plainly worded.

    The letter postmarked September 18, 2001 read:

    “09-11-01
    THIS IS NEXT
    TAKE PENACILIN NOW
    DEATH TO AMERICA
    DEATH TO ISRAEL
    ALLAH IS GREAT.”

    From the streets of Cairo to Tehran to Jakarta, on historic anniversaries (such as Jerusalem Day in Iran, the day the Israeli state was created) protesters have gathered on the streets and shouted “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” For the talking heads to profile it as a non-Islamist awkwardly trying to sound muslim is odd. It is in fact the common protest slogan.
    What surer way to avoid giving away clues than to use common short phrases or short sentences using common words. Egyptians such as Islamic Group leader and soft-spoken accountant, Taha — and Egyptian Islamic Jihad #2 Shehata and Shawqi Islambuli, brother of Sadat’s assassin — may very well have watched these protesters shouting these very chants while living in Iran after 9/11.

    The next month, the letter arriving one Friday afternoon at Senator Daschle’s office at Room 509 of the Hart Office Building had garnered little notice. It was routed up to the sixth-floor mailroom. No one opened the letter that afternoon. They were all at a talk on the threat of biochemical attacks sent through the mail. On Monday morning, however, an intern found the innocuous looking letter, postmarked October 9, 2001, at the top of a pile of a stack of mail waiting to be opened. The intern made a slight cut and immediately a small amount of powder spilled out on her skirt, shoes and the floor, as well as an intern standing next to her. She froze. The Capitol Hill officers arriving at the scene opened the letter and read it aloud:

    “09-11-01
    YOU CAN NOT STOP US.
    WE HAVE THIS ANTHRAX.
    YOU DIE NOW.
    ARE YOU AFRAID?
    DEATH TO AMERICA.
    DEATH TO ISRAEL.
    ALLAH IS GREAT.”

    Among the piles of papers of documents relating to anthrax in a house associated with a Pakistan charity was a drawing of a jet shooting down a balloon. (There were 10 copies each as if a seminar or brainstorming session was being conducted). The words “YOU ARE DEAD, BANG.” Thus, although some pundits argued that “YOU DIE NOW” in the anthrax letters does not sound like a militant islamist, the physical evidence relating to Al Qaeda’s anthrax planning suggests otherwise. Indeed, “WE HAVE THIS ANTHRAX” was starkly threatening, just like Atta’s “We have some planes” to the passengers of AA Flight 11 over the intercom.

    Mohammed Islambouli, brother of Sadat’s assassin, may be the final key that unlocks the Amerithrax mystery. Islambouli was part of a cell with KSM. KSM took over from the Al Qaeda military head Atef as head of the anthrax weaponization operation. The Al Qaeda spymaster, Egyptian al-Hakaymah, wrote about Amerithrax. He announced that Islambouli was leading those Egyptian Islamic Group members who have joined Al Qaeda to seek the release of their leader blind sheik Abdel-Rahman. Islambouli was expected to send someone to the US to plan the next attack, as described in the December 4, 1998 Presidential Daily Brief to President Clinton that warned of a planned attack involving airplanes and other means. The 9/11 Commission Report contains a copy of the declassified December 1998 PDB which discusses Islambouli.

  27. Old Atlantic said

    “Ed Lake said
    December 20, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Old Atlantic asked, “What experience would that be?”

    It would be experience that shows that Muslim terrorists don’t normally give medical advice with their attacks, they don’t normally take precautions to make sure that the damage is minimal, they don’t use a tiny amount of a pathogen to send a warning and then not follow up with a larger attack, they don’t use the terms used in the anthrax letters (“Allah is great”), they don’t misspell important words (PENACILIN), they don’t typically attack newspapers and TV news anchors, they don’t attack liberal politicians, etc., etc., etc.

    Ed”

    But if the intent was to divert attention to a domestic terrorist so that the US would not invade Afghanistan it makes sense.

    • DXer said

      Someone who participated in the meeting in Kandahar with Ayman, Atef and Bin Laden in which the reason for the anthrax planned was discussed explains that it was for the purpose of deterring invasion of Afghanistan. Your uninformed speculation is no substitute for the first hand report.

  28. Old Atlantic said

    Re Ed Lake temperature hypothesis on silicon uptake.

    What would the chemical mechanism be that would take up silicon at room temperature say 75 degrees but not at 95 degrees?

    Why would the spore block the entry of the silicon at 95 degrees but not block it at 75 degrees?

    Is there any known case where that happens?

  29. Old Atlantic said

    Large levels of silicon in the letter anthrax would tend to imply that the sender did experimentation with using silicon additives prior to sending the letters. Ivins has no such history.

    This is why the DOJ/FBI were hoping for an accidental theory. If it could happen by accident, they could try to say that Ivins did it and the silicon was accidental.

    Ed Lake has suggested lower temperature and slower growth. This would still require the silicon to be there to be absorbed, so someone would have to put it there.

    The more work it is to get silicon to the levels in the letter anthrax, the more it implies that the sender had done experiments with silicon or production methods using silicon.

    The silicon was present in both batches of letters. This argues against an accidental hypothesis as well. Rather it suggests that the sender was most intent on using silicon in high levels. That in turn implies they had experimented with silicon previously.

    Conducting experiments with silicon additives is not something a lone mailer would do. That is something a group does over time. So the presence of non-accidental silicon implies that the letters were sent by a group.

    • Old Atlantic said

      If accidental silicon of 1 percent or more as in Senate anthrax and much larger amounts like over 30 percent in parts of NY Post happen from accident using normal lab growth materials, then it would be common. It would not stand out as inexplicable.

      Your hypothesis that slow growth and blood agar produce high silicon naturally would then imply it is happening all the time in labs everywhere. In that case, it would not have surprised people. Growth rates vary from almost zero to high, so slow growth scenarios are common.

      • Anonymous said

        Lake now seems to be telling fabrication after fabrication in order to dodge the UNAVOIDABLE FACT that Hassell lied when he said there was not enough sample to determine the most basic measurement of all – the actual AMOUNT of silicon present in the powders. Hassell especially wants to avoid it for the NYP powder because he knows fully well it points to deliberate addition.

        It is the VERY FIRST measurement any analyst would determine.

        Lake thus continues ignore that the weigh percenate can be determined even with one nanogram of sample.

        This will be the central issue of the NAS critique.

        • Anonymous said

          There is no need to listen to anything Hassell said. It’s all IN WRITING by Hassell at the links below. Hassell explicitly states there was not enough sample to obtain the QUANTITY of silicon in the NYP powder. That is a scientifically absurd statement.

          OBVIOUSLY there was only ONE source of silicon for all the powders. Even the FBI aren’t dumb enough to suggest there were TWO separate “accidental” sources of silicon – one that gave 1-2% in the Leahy powder and another completely different accidental source that gave 30% silicon in the NYP powder. The problem they have is that if they admit 30% in the NYP they are then stuck with deliberate addition in all the powders.

          NAS are fully aware of this.

          ————————————-
          Quantitative elemental silicon analysis results released by the FBI: FBI lab director Dr Hassell made the following statement to the
          National Academy of Science in July of 2009:

          “There has been a great deal written regarding the presence of silicon in the samples and the location of that silicon. The FBI
          Laboratory used Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) to quantify silicon, as well as other
          elements, in the Leahy letter spore powder. The results indicated the Leahy spores contained 1.45 percent by weight. The New York Post letter spore powder was qualitatively analyzed using ICP-OES and was found to have Silicon present in the sample. However, the limited quantity of recovered material precluded a reliable numerical measurement of any elements present within this powder. Insufficient quantities ofboth the Daschle and Brokaw letters spore powders precluded the analysis of these samples using this elemental analysis technique.”

          ******

          3.1: What is the minimum amount of sample needed to perform accurate quantitative elemental analysis on spore samples?

          3.2: All of the FBI’s ICP-OES data for all of the spore powders they measured needs to be released and published for independent verification by experts in analytical chemistry.

          ******

          —-
          (4) Role of Pacific Northwest National Labs in the Amerithrax investigation: In his slide presentation to NAS in July 2008, FBI lab director Dr Hassell acknowledged the involvement of Pacific Northwest National Labs. This can be seen in slide 14 here:

          ******

          4.1: What role did Pacific Northwest National Labs serve in the Amerithrax investigation?

          ******

          Pacific Northwest Labs demonstrated in 2005 that accurate quantitative Elemental Analysis can be performed on bacillus spores with samples as small as one nanogram. The Pacific Northwest paper on this technique can be seen here: Differentiation of Spores of Bacillus subtilis Grown in Different Media by Elemental Characterization Using Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry, John B. Cliff, Kristin H. Jarman, Nancy B. Valentine, Steven L. Golledge, Daniel J. Gaspar, David S. Wunschel, and Karen L. Wahl, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, November 2005, p. 6524-6530, Vol. 71, No. 11

          ******

          4.2: Did Pacific Northwest National Labs determine the elemental quantities of silicon and other elements in the attack powders? What was the quantity of silicon they determined for each powder?

        • Anonymous said

          Link to Hassell statement:

          https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/fbi-assistant-director-hassell-statement-to-nas-7-30-09.pdf

        • anonymous said

          “The 30% silicon number could have been in a single particle that AFIP found. It is OBVIOUS to everyone (except perhaps to you) that the entire powder wasn’t 30% silicon. To suggest it was based upon AFIP’s data is totally preposterous.”

          As usual, you haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about. Have you actually read the AFIP report and do you actually understand EDX? EDX samples thousands of spores simultaneously – looking at x-rays that are emitted. The AFIP people looked at 3 different areas of the NYP sample and found exactly they same silicon content in each one – 30% silicon.

          There are dozens of ways of determining the quantity of ALL elements. To claim they don’t know how much silicon is in the NYP sample is beyond absurd.

          Hassell is clearly lying – he knows it and NAS knows it. And Rush Holt knows it.

          Do you think Rush Holt just accused the FBI of steering the NAS committee to a report that favors the FBI because he THINKS they may be trying that?

          Haven’t you worked out that Holt and his staffers have been in contact privately with NAS? Or are you not smart enough to figure that one out?

    • Old Atlantic said

      Fall 2001 is when the DOJ/FBI flipped to the lone mailer hypothesis as their exclusive. But that was not based on evidence, but their own obsessions.

      Just because it wasn’t produced by Russia on Putin’s orders doesn’t mean it was done by a lone malcontent in the US with no link to al Qaeda.

      • Old Atlantic said

        “Actually, it WAS based upon the evidence AND on decades of experience. ”

        What experience would that be?

        People sending sugar through the mail? Was that the experience?

        Or was it ignoring the 1993 World Trade Center attacks as being jihad?

        • DXer said

          Ed is mistaken on each of the points he asserts as explained here in which unlike Ed I cite evidence. For example, Ed says that supporters of blind sheik Abdel-Rahman would not give a warning with respect to a pathogen even though the koran expressly requires that a warning be given — and a warning was given with the mailed toxins that were sent in retaliation for other detained jihadists since 2001. He says they don’t attack newspapers when to the contrary that is exactly what they did with the Al Hayat letter bombs that had the same motivation and were the model for the mailings. Mailing lethal letters is not merely the modus operandi of the Vanguards of Conquest, it is their signature. He says they don’t attack liberal politicians. What a hoot! Ayman could care less about the distinction between democrats and Republicans. Leahy was #1 in charge of appropriations to Egypt and Israel. Ed is totally uninformed about counterintelligence matters, does not read on the subject, and does not address the issues. Instead, he just reasserts his conclusions that he adopted when he first started obsessing about a First Grader in December 2001. He argues that it is 99 percent certain a First Grader wrote the letters!

          The Infiltration Of US Biodefense
          http://www.blurb.com/books/1443811

        • DXer said

          I highlighted the documentary evidence here but Ed has never addressed it — realizing he has no argument on the merits that withstands scrutiny.

          https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/ross-getmans-slide-presentation-at-the-nov-29-anthrax-letters-seminar/

          The reason Ed can only reassert his conclusions rather than address the merits is because he doesn’t know anything about the subject. He posts things I send him or he sees posted by Lew and never goes to read source documents as they become available.

          It is especially amusing that he think a jihadist would not say “Allah is Great.” What did Aafia say as she allegedly raised and pointed the weapon? “Would you like some ice cream?” Ed has never discussed any of the relevant players because that would require reading and research.

        • DXer said

          As for the FBI profilers’ experience, that’s funny! Nosair, Ali Mohammed etc. was their experience. And, yes, they repeated their experience in those cases.

  30. DXer said

    In June 2001 the FBI paid SAIC $122 million to create a virtual case file system or VCF – software to speed up the sharing of information among agents. But the FBI abandoned VCF when it failed to function adequately. Robert Mueller, FBI Director, testified to a congressional committee, “When SAIC delivered the first product in December of 2003 we immediately identified a number of deficiencies – 17 at the outset. That soon cascaded to 50 or more and ultimately to 400 problems with that software . . . We were indeed disappointed. ”

    Sounds a lot like Amerithrax.

  31. BugMaster said

    From today’s Mr. Ed:

    The “unidentifiable substance” they needed to identify was the “goop” that Tom Geisbert and Peter Jahrling saw oozing out of the Daschle spores when they turned up the power on their Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (STEM). It was “goop” added by the investigators. But, the samples tested by AFIP were sterilized by radiation, instead of using chemicals, so they didn’t contain the “goop.”

    Has anyone besides yourself put forth this explanation for the “goop”? Any references?

    It seems strange that one would use a chemical denaturant prior to forensic analysis here. Rather defeats the purpose.

    “…..saw oozing out of the Daschle spores when they turned up the power on their Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (STEM).”

    Turned up the power on the STEM? How hot does the sample get? Around boiling, or even hotter, say 200 C.?

    “samples tested by AFIP were sterilized by radiation, instead of using chemicals, so they didn’t contain the “goop.””

    I wasn’t aware that AFIP used STEM as well, I was under the impression their analysis was by EDX.

    Please feel free to enlighten me if I am wrong, Ed. Thanks.

    • anonymous said

      “Has anyone besides yourself put forth this explanation for the “goop”? Any references?”

      The answer is no. This is Lake’s fantasy – stated as if fact – stating his misguided beliefs as facts is a common trick from Lake’s playbook.

      “…..saw oozing out of the Daschle spores when they turned up the power on their Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (STEM).”

      AFIP used SEM with an EDX addition. AFIP do not have a transmission microscope (STEM)

      • BugMaster said

        And what was this “Goop” Ed?

        Let me give you a hint. It couldn’d have been any aqueous disinfectant “oozing” out of the spore prep as it was heated up.

        The sample is under a high vacuum LONG before the electron beam is turned on to analyze!

        Any liquid would have sublimated out long before the heat was applied!

    • BugMaster said

      From page 32 of the AFIP report:

      “Significant findings for the SPS02.57.03 [Daschle] sample include the presence of silicon and oxygen, which is indicative of silica (SiO2) or silicates (SiO4, etc.). It is not possible to distinguish between silica and silicates (clays). Other components, which are not expected to be significant to the question at hand were sulfur, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, and chlorine . It is worthwhile to note that there was no evidence of aluminum in the specimen.

      The SPS02.88.01 [New York Post] sample had regions which exhibited the same set of elements found in SPS02.57.03 [Daschle sample], but these tended to be on “large” pieces within the sample. Many of the smaller pieces within the sample exhibited the main peak associated with silicon. It appears that silicon (not bonded to oxygen or other elements) is present in many areas of this sample.”

      Ed’s interpretation:

      “So, the AFIP newsletter claimed it was confirmed that the unidentifiable substance was silica, but the AFIP report says it is not possible for the equipment at AFIP to distinguish between silica and other silicates. And the report states that the New York Post powder contained silicon that was not bonded to oxygen and therefore could not be silica.”

      Right! Said Ed!

      My interpretation:

      So it was SILICA in the Daschle material and ELEMENTAL SILICON in the NY Post Material (at 30%, no less)?

      WHAT THE F*CK?

      They do realize that the assumption all along has been that the anthrax used in the attacks is a biological substance of terrestrial origin, right?

      Got to love this:

      “Other components, which are not expected to be significant to the question at hand were sulfur, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, and chlorine”.

      Chlorine wouldn’t be expected to be significant to the question at hand? What’s the damn question here, anyway! (Hint: It clearly isn’t “Shall we consider the possiblity that the use of trichlorosilane was a factor here?”)

      “Many of the smaller pieces within the sample exhibited the main peak associated with silicon”.

      Oh, and yes, without any doubt whatsoever, the peak associated with elemental silicon just HAS to be elemental silicon, right Ed? Scientific analysis always works out that way!

      Maybe Mr. Ed should go work for the AFIP. He could write their reports for them!

      At the very least, it indicates that whoever was involved in this early analysis have very little experience in dealing with biological samples. They clearly don’t understand the “question at hand”.

      Do they know how to account for possible artifacts one could obtain in a biological sample that could lead to misinterpretation? Could this explain how they came up with such extraterrestrial conclusions (and maybe the absurdly high 30% silicon level?).

      Maybe that is why it took them so long to release the report.

      At this point, I am highly dismissive of their findings, or at the very least, their “Investigative Approach”.

      P.S. I just remembered:

      At this point in time, the question at hand is:

      “How can we pin this on Iraq?”

    • BugMaster said

      Yes, Ed, there is another explanation for the “goop”. It can’t be an aqueous liquid, rather, a material that melted or decomposed at the temperature the sample reached when the beam hit it.

      Incidentally, this would be a good one for an analyst to reproduce.

      Take some silicon and silica preps, some samples of other materials that could be used for weaponization (not going to specify here) and apply the beam at increasing amounts of power.

      At what temp. (power setting) does the material start to ooze?

      How does this correspond to what was observed in the acutal attack material?

      Sort of a crude “melting point determination test”. What did it reveal?

  32. DXer said

    In 2005, the Department of Homeland Security held a meeting at the Banbury Center of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory that focused on the collection, handling, and storage of microbial forensic samples. The group issued a report entitled “Quality Sample collection, Handling and Preservation for an effective Microbial Forensics Program.”

    B. Budiowie, S.E, Schutzer, J.P. Burans, D.J. Beecher, T.A Cebula, R. Chakraborty, et al, “Quality sample collection, handling, and preservation for an effective microbial forensics program,” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 72 (2006) 6431-6438.

    The article states::

    “The collection and preservation of microbial forensic evidence are paramount to efficient and successful investigation and attribution. If evidence (when available) is not collected, degrades, or is contaminated during collection, handling, transport, or storage, the downstream characterization and attribution analyses may be compromised. Retrieving sufficient quantities and maintaining the integrity of the evidence increase the chances of being able to characterize the material to obtain the highest level of attribution possible.”

    Of course, a sample is compromised if it is destroyed.

    Here, the sample submitted by Bruce Ivins from Flask 1029 was thrown out by the experts working for the FBI who had made a dried powder using Ames from that flask.

    Majidi understands that: “I don’t think, No. 1, we’re ever going to put the suspicions to bed.”

    Yet, at no time did Dr. Majidi explain that the lab that threw out the sample had made a dried powder aerosol out of anthrax supplied by Bruce Ivins from Flask 1029.

    At no time did he explain that a corona plasma discharge was used on that Ames powder to test its effect.

    At no time did Dr. Majidi identify the locations at which aerosol testing of such dried powder Ames was done.

    Instead, he and his colleagues spun the loss as evidence of Dr. Ivins’ guilt and falsely spun when Dr. Ivins was provided with the written protocol — which judging from the email correspondence occurred on May 24, 2002 and not in February 2002 as the FBI officials claimed. (A subpoena to USAMRIID is not written notice to Dr. Ivins — email correspondence to Dr. Ivins is available online and the emails show Ivins’ lab pleading for the written protocol in May 2002 and urging that the FBI anthrax expert provide the protocol and slants to be used).

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/04/05/who-wrote-this-email-who-submitted-the-slants-to-the-fbi/

    The FBI relies on the fact that Dr. Ivins spent time in the lab before the mailings and yet refuses to provide his contemporaneous handwritten notes (or Fall 2001 interviews) explaining how he had spent his time.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/fbi-doj-slam-the-door-you-cannot-have-dr-bruce-ivins-lab-notebook-4010-in-fact-you-cannot-have-anything-more-than-has-already-been-released/

    FBI tossed anthrax type used in attacks

    Officials acknowledge mistake but say it didn’t hinder investigation

    The Associated Press
    updated 8/18/2008 9:15:48 PM ET 2008-08-19T01:15:48

    WASHINGTON — Months after the deadly 2001 anthrax mailings, FBI scientists had — but destroyed — the unique strain of the bacteria used in the attacks that years later would lead them to Dr. Bruce Ivins, now the government’s top suspect.

    FBI officials admitted Monday that destroying the initial Ivins sample was a mistake, but said it didn’t really hinder the investigation because the technique used to trace the source of the anthrax to Ivins had not been developed yet. Luckily, a copy of that first sample was sent to an outside professor, who years later used it to help further link Ivins to the killer strain.

    Ivins, 62, took a fatal dose of acetaminophen last month as prosecutors prepared to indict him for murder.

    Top FBI officials and a handful of prominent scientists who aided the investigation presented more — but not all — of the scientific case against Ivins in a two-hour-and-fifteen-minute news conference to try to quell suspicions of outside scientists, some of whom were friends of the suspect.

    Contradictions in accounts
    At times the officials and scientists contradicted themselves, even down to the number of flasks containing the anthrax Ivins had. They eventually agreed it was one one-liter triangular flask capped with cheesecloth that linked Ivins to the attacks.

    “There were a lot of lessons learned,” FBI Assistant Director Vahid Majidi said. “Were we perfect? Absolutely not. We’ve had missteps, and those are the lessons learned. … It was over the last few years that we were able to incorporate all of the lessons learned that we have throughout this investigation.”

    The complete genome mapping of the unique killer strain — the cornerstone of the forensic case — won’t be public for months, maybe more than a year, because it will be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals that take time. The outsiders who had questions about the government’s case wanted to see the complete genomic map sooner.

    “There are still many nagging questions about this,” said Dr. Michael Stebbins, who directs the Federation of American Scientists’ biosecurity project and wasn’t at the Monday’s briefing. “Unfortunately a lot of them are not going to be able to be answered in the immediate future.”

    Majidi understands that: “I don’t think, No. 1, we’re ever going to put the suspicions to bed.”

    Mutations in the anthrax strain
    FBI officials spent much of their time going into more detail about the specific four mutations in the strain of anthrax that led back to Ivins’ Army lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland. They were not easy to find, rare like red or green M&Ms in a flask mostly full of blue candies, Majidi said.

    FBI officials and scientists had to come up with a technique for looking at the DNA of anthrax to whittle down the list of labs and suspects who could have produced it, creating a new field of forensic microbiology. That scientific technique to connect a lab with a unique strain wasn’t available until after the FBI had destroyed its first sample from Ivins.

    In February 2002, the FBI sent subpoenas around the world to labs handling the Ames strain of anthrax, which was the strain that killed five people in 2001. They got 1,070 samples and destroyed only one: the first one from Ivins. It was destroyed because Ivins didn’t use the proper test tube and growth medium so it may have not been useful as evidence in court, officials said.

    Ivins was one of the first to respond to FBI subpoenas, but his sample was deemed useless and he was asked to submit another. He gave investigators a second sample of anthrax from his lab in April 2002 to comply with standards in a subpoena issued in the case. But that sample contained a different strain than what he submitted two months earlier in what prosecutors call an attempt to deceive or confuse investigators

    When Ivins sent his initial sample to the FBI, a duplicate went to the lab of Dr. Paul Keim, a geneticist at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.

    Keim still had his RMR-1029 sample in 2006 when the FBI realized it could match Ivins to two batches of anthrax-laced letters that were mailed in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

    Stebbins said the fact that Keim kept his sample was key in building the case, something Keim played down after the news conference.

    FBI officials and scientists also played down any significance of the element silicon in the killer anthrax strain, saying it seemed more of a natural occurrence than deliberate weaponizing as once theorized early in the investigation.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Was any other submitted sample of anthrax discarded? Or was it only the RMR-1029 sample Ivins submitted?

      Ezzell’s lab should have studied its own anthrax to know it well. This is part of craftsmanship. They had worked with RMR-1029 so it was theirs and so it was their job to know their anthrax.

      If you don’t know your own tools and your own work product then you are not a craftsman.

      • DXer said

        Given that the FBI anthrax expert’s dried powder was made using flask 1029 and it was better — more pure — than the Daschle product, the question immediately arises: (1) what did they do with the left-over virulent Ames (it was kept in the unlocked refrigerator in Rm. 212 of Building 1412), (2) did Joany Jackman take any with her to Johns-Hopkins? (whether virulent Ames or irradiated dried powder); (3) did the DARPA-funded former Zawahiri associate who had his decontamination agent tested at Johns-Hopkins have access to Joany’s materials taken from the Special Pathogens lab at USAMRIID? Did he have access in Building 1412 when the DARPA researchers did their work using specially constructed facilities? John suggested that he took only the white portion of what had been lyophilized but that the mailed anthrax was tan (Daschle) and dark/multi-colored — using the same method he used but not limited to the finer white portion. At one point, he may have said the Daschle might have been a mixture of the entire lyophilized product. If the FBI officials showed half the forthrightness that JE has these questions would not be languishing. But the FBI’s failure to provide the lab notebooks that show how Dr. Ivins spent his time is one of the most telling bit of evidence. At one point there was a suggestion that 120 rabbits might be involved in the early October second bleed! Transparency in science requires documentation and the FBI should produce the lab notebooks — not only the contemporaneous observations made by Dr. Ivins when they speculate, without evidence, that he was weaponizing anthrax but the notebooks relating to the DARPA research involving a dried powder MADE AT USARMIID (for one place) made from Flask 1029. When the information is disclosed, there can be confidence that it was always irradiated in the slurry (even when done, for example, at Southern Research Institute which had a subcontract with DARPA).

        • Old Atlantic said

          Excellent points. Also, I am not sure, but haven’t you told us that one or perhaps more of the main critics against Ivins were assistants to Ezzell?

          So they might have blamed him for their mistake in not plating their own sample?

          They also handled and processed the second submission by Ivins. Things can go wrong in the test processing. This is part of method validation.

        • DXer said

          “Excellent points. Also, I am not sure, but haven’t you told us that one or perhaps more of the main critics against Ivins were assistants to Ezzell?”

          No. The scientists whose emails are being used against Bruce were assistants and very good friends of Bruce. Mara Linscott and Patricia Fellows. Former Colleague #1 and Former Colleague #2 respectively. Bruce liked and respected both greatly. I don’t know their views but the FBI has characterized their IMs and emails from Bruce Ivins in a very damning (misleading IMO) way. Mara’s email finally produced by JAG after 2 years actually expresses concern that the FBI would misunderstand or misconstrue what she had told him about Dr. Ivins’ kindnesses. (Folks who have never had an unrequited love might not understand Bruce’s behavior as well).

          At one point, Patricia was mad at Bruce for guessing her password and reading her email. (Bruce in turn got upset to hear them talking about him — which actually might unnerve anyone).

          Mara and Pat were both thanked for provided technical assistance by the scientist I have alleged, without contradiction, had close friends recruited by Ayman Zawahiri and whose sister taught microbiology there at Cairo Medical in 1996, when he received his PhD. (He had also attended medical school there years earlier when his friends were recruited by Ayman Zawahiri). Tarek, who was supplied virulent Ames by Bruce (see numerous patents acknowledging this), remains good friends with the MD who is CAIR-St. Louis who was in Ann Arbor at the time.

          I emailed Tarek to see how well he knew Bassem Khafagi, Rabih Haddad, Ayman Zawahiri etc but he did not respond. I called Tarek’s friend “Tawfiq,” a childhood friend and medical school classmate, and Tawfiq told me that he (“Tawfiq”) had been recruited into the Egyptian Islamic Group by Ayman Zawahiri who would visit the school (his alma mater) on Fridays to recruit. He withdrew when they wanted him to bury a security officer alive near the mosque. Tawfiq, who consults with intelligence agencies, has written a book INSIDE JIHAD (MAY 2008).

          Ayman Zawahiri’s Dad and TWO sisters were medical professors. Heba taught microbiology. Ayman’s dad taught pharmacology. The Zawahiris were very well-respected. The Egyptian Islamic Group was legal and dominant at the school. Once an anatomy professor tried to hold a lecture in conflict with the Friday talk and he was beat up. One grandfather was president of Cairo University. Tarek, whose NanoBio has received millions in taxpayer money — and University of Michigan provided no documents in response to a FOIA request — at least should explain any relationship he had with the Zawahiri family. NanoBio pitched its decontamination agent at the Capitol and pitched hand cream to postal workers…. and then garnered about $70 million in investment over the past decade.

          I called Tarek’s colleague, Michael Hayes, who is described in the 302s as doing the research alongside Bruce Ivins and he politely said “You don’t want to know.”

          This is not coming out of left field. If anyone actually bothered to look at the source documents provided by the FBI you would see this information is coming from the United States government.

          But as I might have told Michael Hayes, I do want to know. For example, I want to see the notes written by Bruce Ivins about how he spent his nights when Rachel Lieber speculates, without any evidence, that he was weaponizing anthrax. I want to see the photocopy examination report on the USAMRIID photocopy machine that Rachel and Ken say Bruce used. And I want Tarek to tell me whether he was recruited by Ayman like Tarek’s good friend “Tawfik” was. Tawfik’s brother Khalid (CAIR St-Louis) gave a radio interview explaining that he can’t tell the FBI (which has asked) about a sleeper cell if he doesn’t know about it.

    • BugMaster said

      “But that sample contained a different strain than what he submitted two months earlier in what prosecutors call an attempt to deceive or confuse investigators”

      Different strain? Bullshit! The FBI may have concluded that the morphs weren’t present (and there could be other explanations besides a false sample, the NAS should have examined that issue), but it was not a different strain.

      It was the Ames strain. Never was it reported that it was Vollum or Sterne, then yes, that would indicate an attempt to decieve.

  33. DXer said

    As I have explained in past years, the DARPA-funded researchers sharing a suite with the Salafist-Jihadi supporter Ali Al-Timimi (who was coordinating with fellow Falls Church imam Anwar Awlawki) explain the role of silicon dioxide in their “Microdroplet cell culture technique.”

    The DARPA-funded researchers were working with Ames anthrax. Southern Research Institute (“SRI”), in Frederick, had been subcontracted to handle the BL-3 work with virulent Ames. DARPA/FBI researcher John Ezzell made a dried powder Ames using Ivins’ Flask 1029 that in July 2009 (and then more recently on film) he told me was better than — more pure — than the powdered mailed to Senator Daschle.

    Al-Timimi was the former assistant of Andrew Card, who was the White House Chief of Staff personally directing the warrantless NSA wiretaps. His dad worked at the Iraqi embassy. The White House thought they were using Ali but he was using them. It was a classic case of penetration following the example of Ali Mohammed, Zawahiri’s chief of intelligence and sleeper cell planning. While Director Mueller can rationalize things by saying that Ali is cooperating against Anwar, that could not possibly continue to justify continuation of this travesty at Justice. Whistle blowers are a determined lot.

    The patent was filed in Spring 2001.

    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6649408.html

    United States Patent 6649408

    As can readily be appreciated by one skilled in the art, it will not always be necessary or preferable to separate the hydrophobic particles away from the liquid cell culture following cell growth. For example, since silicon dioxide is frequently utilized in soil treatment, there is no need to remove the silicon dioxide from cell cultures that are grown for the purposes of soil treatment. Furthermore, since the hydrophobic particles limit the potential for the spread of contamination, it may be desirable to maintain cultivated cells within the Individual hydrophobic microdroplets for storage purposes.

    It is a particularly beneficial feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that the enhanced aeration of cultured cells, combined with the efficient removal of metabolites, allow for microbial cultures to divide to a density that consumes all of the available liquid present in a microdroplet. Thus, in a preferred embodiment of the invention there is no need to (1) concentrate cultures or (2) remove the hydrophobic particles from the microdroplet culture. When all of the liquid media is consumed, the hydrophobic particles disassociate from the cell cultures, allowing the cells to interact directly with the surrounding environment.

    Alternatively, once cell growth is complete, the liquid media can be isolated away from the hydrophobic particles through a simple centrifugation step. As can readily be appreciated by one skilled in the art, the time and force of centrifugation will vary depending on the organism and hydrophobic particle employed in the process. The silicon dioxide particles can be sterilized and re-used in another microdroplet cultivation process.

  34. DXer said

    BugMaster explained to Ed on July 24, 2009:

    July 24, 2009 at 6:50 pm
    “Remember, Ed, spores are porous. They have do be, so nutrients can diffuse into the spore when it is in the right environment, thus signalling it to germinate.

    Diffusion of silica in the form of silicic acid into the spores is also possible.”

    I’m glad some of what Bugmaster has been trying to explain to Ed about silicic acid is beginning to soak in. It was joy to see, for example, when after 6 months he finally “got” that the genetics pointed to up to 377 at USAMRIID alone and not Dr. Ivins uniquely.

    • DXer said

      BugMaster explained to Ed in 2008:

      “Silicon added as silicone would be in the form of polymerized [R2SiO], R being an organic group, but note that the silicon and oxygen are present in equimolar amounts. Silcon introduced as silicic acid would be in the forms H2SiO3, H4SiO4, H2Si2O5, or possibly H6Si2O7. In the case of some of the silicon being introduced from these sources, there would be clearly more oxygen than silcon.”

  35. DXer said

    Dr. Ivins did not use silicates or silica gel or silicic acid jellies for cultivation. See published articles, lab notebooks, emails and testimony of his colleagues. (His colleagues are all reachable by email).

  36. anonymous said

    You have been confidently writing for about 8 years that the silicon content in the spores is an irrelevant accident, it was not added deliberately and has zero investigative value. Much like the FBI’s position. The FBI have dodged and hidden from the weight percentages of silicon in ALL the powders over these years.
    You must have “debunked” the silicon around 200-300 times on your website – in an almost weekly obsession.

    Was once not enough? If you are so confident in your theories why do you write so obsessively, again and again and again? Why are you so terrified of the silicon?

    Have you at last worked out that the NAS want to know the most basic scientific parameters derived from the analysis of the powders – that is the weight percentage of ALL the elements in the anthrax powders.

    As you can see here, it’s rather easy to do : https://e-reports-ext.llnl.gov/pdf/333118.pdf

    Have you at last figured out that the FBI don’t like what they read in the NAS first draft?

    Have you figured out that NAS must know FBI lab director Chris Hassell was lying when he said?:

    “However, the limited quantity of recovered material precluded a reliable numerical measurement of any elements present within this powder. Insufficient quantities ofboth the Daschle and Brokaw letters spore powders precluded the analysis of these samples using this elemental analysis technique.”

    Have you figured out that NAS consists of real scientists who KNOW how much sample is required to determine accurate quantitative elemental analysis?

    • anonymous said

      As see you have not figured out that NAS must know FBI lab director Chris Hassell was lying when he said?

      “However, the limited quantity of recovered material precluded a reliable numerical measurement of any elements present within this powder. Insufficient quantities of both the Daschle and Brokaw letters spore powders precluded the analysis of these samples using this elemental analysis technique.”

      Noe have you figured out that NAS consists of real scientists who KNOW how much sample is required to determine accurate quantitative elemental analysis.

      Maybe Velsko’s paper doesn’t actually say that 1mg ( 1 thousandth of one gram) is needed for quantitative elemental analsyis. Maybe the table in his paper was completely fabricated by him.

      • anonymous said

        Page 520:
        https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/microbial-forensics-chapter-30-nonbiological-measurements-on-biological-agents-stephan-p-velsko/

        There was PLENTY of New York Post powder available. And yet the FBI laughingly claim there was not enough to obtain a quantitative determination of silicon.

        This is because the silicon is 30% and the FBI do NOT WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT.

        Hassell’s statement of the NYP powder: “However, the limited quantity of recovered material precluded a reliable numerical measurement of any elements present within this powder” is laughable.

        It is a blatant mistruth told by Hassell – but one the NAS committee are well aware of.

        Obviously the SOURCE of the silicon in the NYP powder is the SAME as the source in the Leahy and Daschle powders – there was just much more used – in fact so much that it actually may have backfired and caused the spores to form into blocks.

        But there is no doubt the silicon was added POST-SPORULATION. All the Sandia studies showed was that 1960’s weaponization technology was not employed. Sandia pretend that technology is the ONLY ONE EMPLOYED in the 2000’s.

        The FBI have CONSISTENTLY hidden and dodged from the weight percentage of silicon for years. This has been documented again, and again and again.

        The NEW York Post silicon removes any doubt that a silicon species was deliberately added – which is precisely why the FBI lied about it.

        It is HIGHLY likely that Pacific Northwest labs actually have the accurate silicon content of ALL THE POWDERS. The FBI acknowledge they used them as a contractor.

        And, as you can see here:
        ————————————————————–
        Pacific Northwest Labs demonstrated in 2005 that accurate quantitative Elemental Analysis can be performed on bacillus spores with samples as small as one nanogram. The Pacific Northwest paper on this technique can be seen here: Differentiation of Spores of Bacillus subtilis Grown in Different Media by Elemental Characterization Using Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry, John B. Cliff, Kristin H. Jarman, Nancy B. Valentine, Steven L. Golledge, Daniel J. Gaspar, David S. Wunschel, and Karen L. Wahl, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, November 2005, p. 6524-6530, Vol. 71, No. 11

        ——————————————————————————

        Their specialty area is determining accurate QUANTITIES of elements in miniscule samples of bacterial spores. This information may well have been deliberately witheld from NAS – and NAS may well have complained about that in their first draft.

        The above Pacific Northwest paper proves beyond doubt Hassell was lying. If he was lying, he was lying for a very important reason. Ergo, the FBI KNOW the silicon is the key and KNOW the silicon proves the spores were not made at Detrick.

  37. DXer said

    On September 18, 1998, Bruce Ivins wrote about this issue of security after coming back from Plymouth (UK) where he dined and socialized with Ayman Zawahiiri’s infiltrating scientist Rauf Ahmad. In regard to planning the conference that was to be held in June 2001 in Annapolis, he wrote the email dated September 18, 1998:

    “security – may want to start a dialogue early on with the experts to benefit from their wisdom and knowledge so we can say we’ve done everything possible to ensure a safe meeting.”

    Well, Dr. Ivins, first you need a USAMRIID command that takes this to heart and does not require you to provide virulent Ames to a former Zawahiri associate in your own BL-3 lab. The barn door had already been swung wide open as to both access to virulent Ames and the know-how for processing. See Rauf Ahmad correspondence to Ayman describing his visit to the lab with thousands of pathogens.

    As Dr. Ayaad Assaad told one of the book authors, security at USAMRIID was nonexistent and foreign scientists were given free reign.

    • Old Atlantic said

      I think this is very important to stress. We can’t be immobilized by fear to say the obvious. Moreover, its becoming harder and harder for anyone to say this.

      Foreign scientists should only be allowed in weapons labs under very limited circumstances.

      If they come from WMD labs of a foreign country that is ahead of us and they are teaching our people to catch up, it makes sense. This is especially true if they could go work for a hostile state doing the same thing.

      If they are just people from a foreign country whose only know-how is graduating from school, then they should not be allowed into our weapons labs.

      Very closely linked countries like Canada might be an exception, if we have to have another exception, but even there it should not be wide open. In this case, it should still be someone of outstanding skill and know-how and they should not have free access to RMR-1029 etc.

      • DXer said

        Dr. Assaad was giving the example of foreign (non-citizen) Chinese and Russian scientists allowed to work late etc.

        But my point is very specific and narrowly tailored to Amerithrax: If Ayman Zawahiri has announced he plans to use anthrax against US targets to retaliate against the rendering of his brother and other senior EIJ leaders, the one thing you don’t do is give virulent Ames to the scientist taught 3 years earlier by Ayman’s sister, Heba. Heba was equally (and understandably) distraught about the rendition of Mohammed. Attorney Mamdouh Ismail, later indicted as a conduit between Zawahiri and the jihadis, represented her and the family in connection with his detention. The family was understandably concerned that he was being mistreated — and they had received no word even whether he was alive or not. There was a distressing rumor that he was dead. It is gross incompetence for the FBI not to obtained Tarek’s transcript. It is gross incompetence for the FBI not to have interviewed Heba. It is gross incompetence for the FBI not to have obtained the 16 pages about his visit in 2001 rather than 2005. It is gross incompetence to be thrown off the mispelling of his name on the log.
        Maybe if the head of the criminal prosecution had not been the father of the pro bono counsel for Ali Al-Timimi, things might have been appropriately handled.. and there would not have been the Hatfill saga. Maybe if the Bush Administration had included DOJ in the wiretapping of Ali Al-Timimi, Andrew Card’s former assistant, the investigation might have been appropriately handled. Maybe if the FBI and NAS had complied with FOIA and FACA, the investigation might have been appropriately handled. But with the agents reporting directly to FBI Director Mueller, the buck stops with Director Mueller. He’s got two months to reopen Amerithrax based on new evidence as he said he would.

  38. DXer said

    Robert Mueller Remarks
    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Mue

    Oct 6, 2010
    Bipartisan Policy Center

    FBI Director Robert Mueller spoke about U.S. terrorist threats from al-Qaida. He stressed the importance of recognizing homegrown threats and ensuring a fine balance between national security and civil liberties. Following his prepared remarks, he answered questions from audience members. Mr. Mueller’s address was part of the Domestic Intelligence Reform Conference.

    FBI and Domestic Intelligence

    Rep. Mike Rogers
    R-Michigan House Intelligence (will be new chairman)
    Committee Member & Former FBI Agent
    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/295849-2

    Michael Hayden notes that other countries do not have domestic intelligence function within the FBI (he gives example of MI5, CSIS and others). He discusses the difference between a law enforcement FISA and an intelligence FISA. He questions whether you can get a liberal approach within a law enforcement organization.

    Sean Joyce
    FBI National Security Branch

    and others.

    Comment:

    The FBI is damned if they do and damned if they don’t. And consider their massive responsibilities over a wide range of priorities.

    While attempting to persuade them of Dr. Ivins’ innocence, we should be cheering for and hoping for the best for our team — appreciating the diverse challenges they face.

    1/10/11 is “reverse day”. Sure – we should call out to our star players and urge them they are running toward the wrong goal line — but do so as supporters, not detractors.

  39. DXer said

    Am I right that none of you bothered to search Scopus or otherwise pull up this article about spore suspensions which discusses adding silica to the spore coat? Dr. Ivins forwarded it to the FBI in 2004 after receiving it from a colleague.

    The FBI isn’t hiding anything that is not apparent from open source materials. And Ed is correct — Dr. Ivins would not have added silica. End of Ivins’ fairytale, boys and girls. It made for a nice bedtime story but now it’s time for Dr. Majidi to warrant such an important job relating to national security.

  40. Old Atlantic said

    Reply to Anonymous below on silicon by weight.

    “Anonymous said
    December 17, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    “.58 percent by weight.”

    But that is just 0.58% in the spore coat. The entire spore is only 0.3% It is 0.03% that Velsko uses as the Stewart number. Velsko concludes that 0.3% is the highest possible for bacillus anthracis.

    The Daschle is 1.45% and the NYP is 30%. Obviously a silicon species was deliberately added. That is, and always has been, the issue here. The FBI have been furiously hiding it for 8 years. So why are they so uncomfortable with this?”

    Your remarks reveal a depth of knowledge more than I have. After reading your comment, I did find the following in the paper:

    “If one assumes
    that the core accounts for half of the spore dry
    weight (probably an underestimate) and the cortex/
    coat layer accounts for the remainder, the
    results presented in Table 2 would indicate that
    98% of spore calcium, 94% of spore magnesium,
    and 96% of spore manganese reside in the core
    of wild-type B. cereus T spores (these percentages
    would be even higher if the core were to
    account for more than half of the spore dry
    weight).”

    This is on page 9.

    My calculation summed the amount in the core, 45, with the cortex/coat 162 to get 207.

    This was then not further adjusted. If one were to divide the 207 by 2 assuming equal weight of core and coat/cortex as indicated in the above passage, one gets 103.5 This then leads to dividing the .58 percent by 2 to get .29 percent.

    This could correspond to the .3 percent mentioned above?

    Note Table 2 in the Stewart paper has other lines for different samples. Some of these are lower.

    • Old Atlantic said

      The issue is what the kg means in the denominator in Table 2 of Stewart et al linked to below.

      If kg means kg of spores, then you sum the silicon in each part of the spore. It doesn’t matter what percentage the parts of a spore are to a spore by volume or weight.

      If kg means part of a spore there is a problem of where the number comes from. Kg of spore coat can’t be directly measured. You can’t separate the spore coats of a billion spores and weigh those separately.

      You would have to find the total spore weight and then based on an invented fraction allocate that weight to spore coat, etc.

      You couldn’t do such a calculation and produce Table 2 without noticing you did that. Does he say he does that in the paper? It would be better to report the data separately if such a calculation is done and then show what assumed percentage by weight one was using for the parts of the spore.

      If kg in the denominator in Table 2 means kg of spore, then its correct to add and there is no division by 2. If it means kg of spore part, then how did he come up with the kg of spore parts to use to divide to get that number in Table 2.

      What do other papers do? Are any of them explicit on this point?

      The above is preliminary, comments and corrections welcome.

  41. DXer said

    Who does Dr. Alibek think was responsible for the anthrax mailings?

    By way of his life story, the initial offer he described in Biohazard was from Kazakhstan, his native place. Relatively recently, he spent some time in Ukraine. The rumors were he got $300M for the development of their biotechnology, and that the money came from the US. People close to him said it was from private investors, but it’s obscure. He setup a company, MaxWell, there which included a production facility he constructed (converted from a warehouse, this is a separate story), a hospital in Borispol, and a publishing house. All this was on his MaxWell.com site. He also kept a research company in Maryland. Long story short, I believe MaxWell went bankrupt, and the research company was closed during the crisis recently. In Ukraine, he was close to president Ushenko (the US ally) and his wife, but Ushenko was not re-elected. Ukraine became pro-Moscow, and Ken fled to Kazakhstan, which is rich with oil dollars. The rumors say he is acting as an education advisor to president Nazarbaev and is affiliated with one of Kazakh universities. He travels to the US and arranges educational programs with US universities. Meanwhile, he established a second-opinion telecommunication medical service from his home (office?). Apparently, he did not abandon his scientific plans, since he recently visited one of the high-rank Defense Threat Reduction officer in charge of research funding.

    His expertise is matched only by his responsiveness and approachability. Someone should ask him whether he thinks Dr. Ivins is responsible and relatedly whether he agrees with the suggestion, as I do, that the silica could have been in the culture medium.

  42. DXer said

    Anonymous,

    Why isn’t the AFIP entirely consistent with the suggestion that the silica was in the culture medium, as Dr. Majidi has said. The difference in content is a matter of additional centrifuging. And as Ed notes, Dr. Ivins would have no reason to use silica in the medium. So it tends to point to the person who made it a point to use silica in the culture medium.

    Then, as you have previously pointed out, the use of a corona plasma charge would have made the particles self-repelling. You get 5 gold stars for that and can throw down the football down.

    Dr. Burans might have bought himself some trouble by using the phrase “naturally occurring” — in that it is naturally occurring in that it is part of the growth process.

    But nothing is gained by belaboring semantical posturing over words like “weaponization” or “naturally occurring.” There is no reason to doubt that the fine powder that the FBI anthrax expert was made was BETTER — more pure — than the Daschle product. And that a corona plasma discharge was being used by DARPA in experiments to study its effect.

  43. DXer said

    A recent Japanese study concludes

    “Our findings also strongly indicate that the anthrax spores were harvested from culture on a silicate-containing medium.”

    Dr. Ivins did not use a silicate-containing medium.

    It was Ayman Zawahiri who was studying the use of a silicate-containing medium. See study cited below.

    Closer to home, the scientist coordinating with Anwar Awalaqi shared a suite with the leading DARPA-funded anthrax scientists, including a prolific Ames researcher, used a silicate-containing medium.

    It is the FBI’s own anthrax expert, throwing out Dr. Ivins’ submission, who had made a dried powder using Ames from Flask 1029 and had briefed the folks at DARPA in Virginia on his work.

    The key inquiry would relate to where else aerosol experiments were done using such a dried Ames powder. Edgewood? DARPA-contractor SRI? (SRI was the subcontractor for the Center for Biodefense folks and the BL-3 work was done there).

    Thus, although the NAS will not reach the question, the science likely will be found to support Dr. Majidi that the silicate could have been in the culture medium (which points away from Dr. Ivins). We now have many hundreds of pages of emails spanning the period 1999 – 2008 and there is absolutely no mention of a silicate-containing medium such as would have led to what was observed in the mailed anthrax.

    For all of Randall Murch’s scholarly complaints about the suspicious talking heads, what is his excuse for suppressing the information that a dried powder had been made by the FBI anthrax scientist using Ames from what was later described as the “murder weapon”? If that had been disclosed, investigators could have proceeded to see if a corona plasma discharge had been used to impart a unipolar charge causing the particles to be self-repelling. I appreciate that would have been awkward for the FBI scientists but more was at stake than their comfort level — certainly more was at stake for Dr. Ivins.

  44. DXer said

    Analysis may show that certain unique or unusual materials were used in the process. Here, the forensics indicate that silica may have been in the culture medium — such as the selective medium and growth in soil that was the object of Ayman Zawahiri’s study.

    In Zawahiri’s study of Morris “A selective medium for Bacillus anthracis,” J. Gen. Microbiol. 13:456-460 (1955), for example, Ayman was advised of the “Growth tests” in which the Miles & Misra (1938) technique was used to inoculate the control and test media. Broth cultures, spore suspensions and soil extracts were tested. The latter were prepared by extracting various samples of soil to which Bacillus anthracis had been added with water (1 g. soil/20 ml. water) and heating at 60 degrees for 30 min. before use. Portions of the heated soil extract were also filtered through Millipore membranes which after filtration were placed with deposited upwards on the agar media.

    Such information may shape the response to an extortion demand or influence the scope and locus of an investigation. In some cases, the choice of manufacturing method may point to a unique source of knowledge, e.g. from Zawahiri’s anthrax planning documents. But the significance of this must be interpreted very carefully in the light of all other available information. In this regard, the technical community bears a significant responsibility for managing the expectations of the national security and law enforcement communities regarding both the power and limitations of scientific analysis for “attribution” of a biological terror incident.

    R&D challenges related to inferences about the manufacture of BW agents In principle, the morphological and chemical properties of an agent contain information about the methods and materials used to generate it. Thus, from instrumental analysis, one or more plausible “recipes” by which the material was made may be deduced. The validity of these deductions must then be confirmed by showing that new
    material made using a putative method matches the evidence sample. This type of information is of value to an investigation to the extent that it constrains the pool of suspects to those that have access to the equipment, materials, and information necessary to carry out specific “recipes”. In practice, however, outside of the very specific information that was gathered in the Amerithrax investigation, the knowledge base from which such deductions may be drawn is currently still quite sparse, and what information exists is not easily accessible to investigators – or is of questionable reliability. With respect to the dried powdered Ames the FBI anthrax expert made using Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins from Flask 1029, he suggests renografin he used in purifying might have resulted in a Silicon Signature. (But without access to such a database, JE doesn’t know).

    The knowledge base that is required to deduce process associations from measurement data consists of two basic components. The first is a systematic understanding of the many different possible “recipes” for generating agents. While much current expertise in
    this area centers around archival knowledge generated by the historical U.S. biological weapons program (and to a lesser extent, knowledge about foreign BW programs) it is important to recognize that would-be bio-terrorists are likely to utilize information from a broader range of sources, including open scientific literature, the internet, underground “cookbooks”, and information that has been cooking under Ayman’s furrowed brow. There is no necessary presumption that this information is always accurate or leads to an effective biological weapon. But only by collecting and organizing this information (and keeping it up-to-date) — such as the selective medium and soil that was the object of Ayman Zawahiri’s study — can we hope to recognize the recipe used to make an agent in the widest variety of possible incidents. To organize such information, it is useful to adopt a principle from chemical engineering, and break complex recipes down into their basic steps, called “unit processes.” For each unit process in therecipe, the terrorist or proliferator usually has a choice among many specific techniques and materials. Thus, the goal of analysis is to identify the specific sequence of steps that the perpetrator has chosen from this matrix of unit process options. Of course, in many cases, agents used in bio-crimes are likely to be crudely processed, and in some cases no “processing” as such may be used.

    The second necessary (and currently inadequate) knowledge component is a database of the specific chemical and physical signatures that each unit process variant will imprint on a finished agent. To acquire such a database will require the systematic analysis of reference samples produced by various paths through the unit process matrix. Ironically, the HVAC repairman who had top level clearance at Lawrence Livermore where they were doing this work was working for Bin Laden — his brother even named his child after Osama and had been his roommate at relgious school. The FBI lead profiler left to handle biosecurity there at the Lawrence Livermore.

    Experiments should be designed to establish statistically validated signatures for a given unit process variant – i.e. demonstrating that a putative chemical or morphological signature of that step is present at statistically significant levels in samples produced by recipes that include that step, but not in samples produced by alternative methods. This issue of “false positives” and “false negatives” is distinct from, but dependent on the precision of the techniques used to acquire the signatures, and is thus connected with the establishment of criteria for declaring matches among samples.

    Another, somewhat unique challenge in this technical area is the need to balance the requirement for classification in some matters with the necessity to publish as widely as possible to achieve the criteria for scientific acceptability in the courtroom. This is especially true with respect to the publication of complete detailed “recipes” for producing agents, and with revealing specific unit process variants that may be derived from intelligence on foreign programs or terrorist efforts. However, it is unlikely that the basic acceptability of instrumental analysis will be seriously compromised in practice by the requirement to protect this kind of information.

    There are a number of instruments that can measure the chemical and physical properties of trace quantities of agent, even single agent particles. Most important are those that provide high-resolution structural imagery such as electron microscopy (EM) or atomic force microscopy (AFM), and those that can “map” chemical composition within a single particle, such as secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). Techniques like these provide information about subtle structural characteristics of the agent particles that can be related to the growth conditions or other unit process steps. However, the task of identifying these kinds of signatures and establishing their statistical validity is at a very early stage. Generalized techniques for mounting and handling samples to permit different instruments to analyze the same particle remained to be developed.

    A knowledge base that allows law enforcement agencies to extract manufacturing signatures from a BW material and assess the level of sophistication and possible sources of information used in its manufacture is as important as the genetic fingerprinting methods that are emerging from the microbial forensics effort. At the same time, the forensic utility of the data that can be obtained from instrumental analysis of agents is less developed than that of genetic fingerprinting, and rests critically on establishing rigorous and defensible scientific underpinnings. It is likely that with sufficient targeted investment the R&D challenges outlined here can be met — and the proliferation of labs that will allow more opportunities for Ayman to access pathogens – the national expertise in this area will move from its present ad-hoc form to an established capability on the part of Ayman Zawahiri and Anwar Awalaqi to conduct a mass attack on Washington, D.C. and New York City.

  45. Old Atlantic said

    Will there come a time when the FBI acts as if it has its man in Ivins instead of its patsy?

    By releasing the lab notebook pages for 2001?

    By letting NAS release the documents?

    Replicating the numerical results of the anthrax letters using equipment and conditions available to Ivins?

    Admitting to each distortion or false statement or leak they made and correcting them?

    Issuing a corrected summary, distinctly pointing out each error of omission or commission in the original report?

    Releasing the St. Petersburg letters?

    Answering the questions asked by Congress, the lawyer representing the Ivins family, victims, and others?

    Responding to FOIA requests by issuing documents not stonewalling?

    Releasing federal employees, contractors, and others to talk about the case?

    • DXer said

      I asked AUSA Rachel Lieber that the FBI provide the lab notebook pages on the nights she speculates he was weaponizing anthrax – in which he contemporaneously made record of what he was doing. She emailed that the FBI will never release the lab notebook pages for those nights — that the FBI had produced under FOIA all it was going to produce.

      Where are his answers from Fall 2001 when asked what he was doing on those nights? Why are we expected to rely on Rachel’s characterizations of his statements 5-7 years later? No federal judge would permit the DOJ to withhold the notes contemporaneously made on those nights.

  46. DXer said

    At the press conference, Dr. Majidi explained of the silica: “It could have been within the growth media.” It was added to the culture media. Wasn’t its incorporation to borrow Dr. Burans phrase, part of a natural occurrence — as the result of having been added to the culture media?

    • DXer said

      Kathryn Crockett, Ken Alibek’s assistant — just a couple doors down from Ali Al-Timimi — addressed this issue of the Silicon Signature in her 2006 thesis, “A historical analysis of Bacillus anthracis as a biological weapon and its application to the development of nonproliferation and defense strategies.” She expressed her special thanks to Dr. Ken Alibek and Dr. Bill Patrick. Dr. Patrick consulted with the FBI and so the FBI credits his expertise.

      On the issue of encapsulation, she reports that “many experts who examined the powder stated the spores were encapsulated. Encapsulation involves coating bacteria with a polymer which is usually done to protect fragile bacteria from harsh conditions such as extreme heat and pressure that occurs at the time of detonation (if in a bomb), as well as from moisture and ultraviolet light. The process was not originally developed for biological weapons purposes but rather to improve the delivery of various drugs to target organs or systems before they were destroyed by enzymes in the circulatory system.”

      “The US and Soviet Union, however, ” she explains, “used this technique in their biological weapons programs for pathogens that were not stable in aerosol form… Since spores have hardy shells that provide the same protection as encapsulation would, there is no need to cover them with a polymer.“ She explains that one “possible explanation is that the spore was in fact encapsulated but not for protective purpose. Encapsulation also reduces the need for milling when producing a dry formulation.” She wrote: “If the perpetrator was knowledgeable of the use of encapsulation for this purpose, then he or she may have employed it because sophisticated equipment was not at his disposal.”

      For years, Dr. Alibek’s theme has been:

      “‘[J]ust because you have a sophisticated product doesn’t mean the technique has to be sophisticated.’ ” Silica in the culture medium would not be a sophisticated “additive” added post-production that aided dispersability (Majidi’s definition of “weaponization”)

      “Plague Wars,” one of the many books on the subject of Dr. Zawahiri’s focus, explains:

      “There are already effective ways in which to protect deployed BW agents. Dr. Malcolm Dando, the distinguished biologist and Professor of International Security at the Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, England, talks of microencapsulation a process where BW agents can be coated and protected under a variety of harmful outside factors, particularly their natural enemies light and heat. This process also allows agents to survive longer and to be inhaled more easily, which increases the likelihood of infection and death. Currently, the detection and identification of microencapsulated BW agents is more difficult than for non-encapsulated materials. (The Soviets crossed this scientific threshold years ago and were able to ’spray’ their offensive bacterial and viral agents that were resistant to the sun’s rays.)”

      In fact, microencapsulation can already be tailored for the mission. For example, you can apply one coating for added protection from heat, and then another one for the effects of sunlight. A germ would need both coatings if it were packed inside a missile warhead and then had to survive explosive decompression at its target, together with sudden exposure to sunlight.”

      Dr. Hassell has asked the public’s indulgence if they hold back some information that might have implications for the country’s ability to detect an anthrax attack. It is not an indication of bad faith, he explains, but done for national security purposes. Thus, if turns out that they have finessed disclosing that the Si and O detected in the spore coat was due to a microencapsulation method, I credit that he and Dr. Majidi would be acting in good faith. In fact, I question the wisdom of discussing such matters in a public forum at all – it was only made necessary because the stupidity of an Ivins Theory seems to pose a greater risk. That is, not reaching the correct solution to Amerithrax poses a greater risk to national security. See Ft. Hood shooting, Detroit bombing incident. To keep it simple: failing to connect the dots should be avoided.

      When Plague Wars was first published in September 2000, Rauf Ahmad, Ayman Zawahiri’s scientist was attending the conference in the UK with Bruce Ivins and other USAMRIID and Porton Down scientists. (Dr. Ivins had been working to plan the June 2001 conference for over two-and-a-half years, since coming back from the September 1998 conference). A starting point of analysis is: Rauf Ahmad says he consulted with someone about processing tricks. Who did he consult? See uploaded correspondence mentioning the processing tricks he had learned from someone. Dr. Ahmad is initially always very approachable upon initial contact and then only drops off if you don’t offer money.

      Plague Wars read:

      “Through the coldest war years of the fifties, other agents were added to the active research list… The army scientists attempted to make each of these agents more virulent, more stable, more viable, and easier to manufacture. The new techniques included use of additives and mixtures of agents; micro-encapsulation of particles to counter the degrading effects of sunlight; and devising new methods of generating aerosols.”

      Rauf Ahmad knew a lot about seeds, foodstuffs, bacteria and the like. But he was not the only expert who supported the Salafist-Jihadis. Some were even highly expert — cutting-edge — on microencapsulation to include Magdy Al-Nashar.

      Anonymous Scientist and others are simply overly focused on floatability (“hang-time”) as being the only focus of bioweaponeering when the dual purpose process of micro-encapsulation is also involved –when viability, lethality in the lungs, acid resistance, resistance to ultra violet light, ease of manufacture are examples of other considerations that bioweaponeers consider. That is why it is important to seek out the opinion of experts who have been involved in making aerosols using anthrax simulants. It doesn’t help for people with political or personal agenda to be involved. Politics has no role in true crime analysis.

      Besides, as the FBI’s anthrax expert has now explained, the dried powder Ames he made using Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins from Flask 1029 was better — more pure — than the Daschle product.

      Magdy Al-Nashar is but one example of an expert on functional polymerization. Rather than having no access to virulent anthrax or know-how, the difficulty of the investigation by the Third Squad has been that there are so many vexing possibilities that needed to be run down, both here in the United States and abroad. As Ken Kohl explained years ago, he only wishes the public could understand how much work has gone into running down the full range of possibilities. We can fully credit the good faith of investigators and prosecutors while noting that what has been disclosed about an Ivins Theory is not at all persuasive — and urging that the effects of any compartmentalization be overcome. While Ed expects that the FBI will show how it exclude others, that would never happen. It would not be possible. To take a single example, if Dr. Majidi does not know the whereabouts of Jdey, how could he be excluded?

      The scientists and former prosecutors with disparate views — but who agree that the Ivins Theory is not persuasive based on the evidence disclosed — urge:

      Be sure to connect the dots and don’t take the easy way out of blaming the dead guy. Because it simply ain’t gonna fly without a lot better evidence than has been shown.

      These investigators and prosecutors do not have an easy job. They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

      But, above all, produce the photocopy toner examination results or start looking for a different job.

    • Old Atlantic said

      For others as ignorant as me, culture medium and growth medium are the same according to the Wiki article on growth medium.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growth_medium

      “A growth medium or culture medium is a liquid or gel designed to support the growth of microorganisms or cells [1], or small plants like the moss Physcomitrella patens [2]. There are different types of media for growing different types of cells.[3]

      There are two major types of growth media: those used for cell culture, which use specific cell types derived from plants or animals, and microbiological culture, which are used for growing microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast. The most common growth media for microorganisms are nutrient broths and agar plates; specialized media are sometimes required for microorganism and cell culture growth.”

  47. DXer said

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC373606/

    J Bacteriol. 1942 March; 43(3): 317–327.

    Copyright notice
    Adaptability of Silica Gel as a Culture Medium
    A. J. Sterges
    aTexas Agricultural Experiment Station1

    A list of the articles that Ayman Zawahiri had on culture medium, to the extent unclassified, has previously been provided.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/dxer-documents-in-the-possession-of-ayman-zawahiri-and-his-associates-illustrate-the-dangers-of-scientific-openness/

    • DXer said

      For a review of the use of inorganic media involving silica as a means of culturing microorganisms, see
      Appl Microbiol. 1954 January; 2(1): 5–8.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1056944/

      Silica Gel as a Microbiological Medium
      Potentialities and a New Method of Preparation
      John M. Kingsbury and Elso S. Barghoorn1
      Biological Laboratories, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

      • DXer said

        Microbial Culture Preservation With Silica Gel
        by AR GRIVELL – 1969 – Cited by 19 – Related articles

        Preserving microbial cultures by dehydration with anhydrous silica gel. …
        mic.sgmjournals.org/cgi/reprint/58/3/423.pdf

    • DXer said

      In Zawahiri’s study of Morris “A selective medium for Bacillus anthracis,” J. Gen. Microbiol. 13:456-460 (1955), for example, Ayman was advised of the “Growth tests” in which the Miles & Misra (1938) technique was used to inoculate the control and test media. Broth cultures, spore suspensions and soil extracts were tested. The latter were prepared by extracting various samples of soil to which Bacillus anthracis had been added with water (1 g. soil/20 ml. water) and heating at 60 degrees for 30 min. before use. Portions of the heated soil extract were also filtered through Millipore membranes which after filtration were placed with deposited upwards on the agar media.

  48. DXer said

    The co-inventors of the patent for using silica in the culture medium to lead to more concentrated growth were Ken Alibek and former deputy USAMRIID Commander and Ames researcher Charles Bailey. A DOD biodefense incident commander told me that at the November 29 conference that Dr. Alibek had defected. Maybe I misunderstood her. He of course defected years ago to the US but she seemed to be saying that he had recently defected to Ukraine. Although he has moved to Ukraine and travels with a bodyguard in Ukraine, I hadn’t thought of it as a defection. It is true that years ago at the time of the break-up of the Soviet Union he had once been asked by the head of the country to develop a bioweapons program as he had done for the Soviet Union. (He instead chose to come to the US where he then made millions in government grants). But I didn’t think of his recent business venture there as relating to an offensive bioweapons program or even biodefense. He is reachable by email still and Eric Nadler not too long ago went there and interviewed him. Someone might ask Ken whether he has defected, whether he visits the US etc.

    The scientist supervising the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad Kamal Habib, the lead writer for the Ann Arbor charity IANA, shared the suite with them. Alibek’s suitemate Ali Al-Timimi had been mentored by Bin Laden Sheik Al-Hawali and by Bilal Philips. They shared a fax and in-box. Ali’s other mentor, Bilal, has explained that his assignment was to recruit people from the US Army to fight jihad. Ali was also coordinating with Anwar Aulaqi who now wants to destroy the United States. Al-Timimi’s defense counsel explains that his client was an “anthrax weapons suspect.” Ali’s father worked at the Iraqi embassy.

    The Washington Post, in an article “Hardball Tactics in an Era of Threats,” dated September 3, 2006 summarized events relating an American scientist Ali Al-Timimi who shared a suite with the co-inventors of the patent for using silica in the culture medium to concentrate the spores formed upon drying. The co-inventors were Charles Bailey, former deputy USAMRIID Commander and famed Russian bioweaponeer.

    “To the government, they were a terrorist risk in the Washington area. To local Muslims, they were unfairly singled out for prosecution and severe sentences in a post-9/11 world.

    ‘In late 2002, the FBI’s Washington field office received two similar tips from local Muslims: Timimi was running ‘an Islamic group known as the Dar al-Arqam’ that had ‘conducted military-style training,’ FBI special agent John Wyman would later write in an affidavit.

    Wyman and another agent, Wade Ammerman, pounced on the tips. Searching the Internet, they found a speech by Timimi celebrating the crash of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003, according to the affidavit. The agents also found that Timimi was in contact with Sheikh Safar al-Hawali, a Saudi whose anti-Western speeches in the early 1990s had helped inspire bin Laden.

    The agents reached an alarming conclusion: ‘Timimi is an Islamist supporter of Bin Laden’ who was leading a group ‘training for jihad,’ the agent wrote in the affidavit. The FBI even came to speculate that Timimi, a doctoral candidate pursuing cancer gene research, might have been involved in the anthrax attacks.”

    On a frigid day in late February 2003, the FBI searched Timimi’s brick townhouse on near Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. Among the items they were seeking, according to court testimony: material on weapons of mass destruction.

    His defense lawyer says that the FBI searched the townhouse of “to connect him to the 9/11 attacks or to schemes to unleash a biological or nuclear attack.” Unlike in the Berenson’s riveting fictional account Faithful Spy, there was no basement lab — there was no evidence at all found that even remotely hinted at a planned biological attack. When that effort failed, defense counsel says, investigators focused on Al-Timimi’s connections to the men who attended his lectures at the local Falls Church, Va.

    Ali Al-Timimi was a graduate student at George Mason University. In November 2000, GMU announced that the School of Computational Sciences and Advanced Biosystems, Inc., a subsidiary of Hadron, Inc., of Alexandria, was pursuing a collaborative program at the Prince William Campus to enhance research and educational objectives in biodefense research. The program was funded primarily by a grant awarded to Advanced Biosystems from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It was located at GMU’s Discovery Hall on Prince William 2 campus.

    Ali Al-Timimi worked at George Mason University’s Discovery Hall throughout 2000 and 2002 period He drafted an October 6, 2002 in the name of dissident Sheik al-Hawali, Bin Laden’s former religious instructor, just before the US Congress vote authorizing the use of force against Iraq. The letter warned of the disastrous consequences that would follow an invasion of Iraq. Dr. Timimi’s defense committee explained on their website:

    “Because Dr. Al-Timimi felt that he did not have enough stature to send a letter in his name on behalf of Muslims, he contacted Dr. Al-Hawali among others to send the letter. Dr. Al-Hawali agreed and sent a revised version which Dr. Al-Timimi then edited and had hand delivered to every member of Congress.”

    Bin Laden had referred to Sheik al-Hawali in his 1996 declaration of war on America. Prior to the 1998 embassy bombings, Ayman’s London cell sent letters to three different media outlets in Europe claiming responsibility for the bombings and referring to Hawali’s imprisonment. In two of the letters, the conditions laid out as to how the violence would stop were (1) release of Sheik Hawali (who along with another had been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia in 1994) and (2) the release of blind sheik Abdel Rahman (who had been imprisoned in connection with WTC 1993). Hawali was released in 1999 after he agreed to stop advocating against the Saudi regime and agreed to limit himself to urging the destruction of the United States and Israel.

    Instead of starting a center from scratch, GMU chose to join forces with Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey’s existing research firm, Hadron Advanced Biosystems Inc., which was already working under contract for the federal government, having received funding from DARPA. Dr. Alibek told the Washington Post that he and Bailey had spent their careers studying an issue that only recently grabbed the country’s attention, after the anthrax mailings the previous fall. Dr. Bailey and Alibek met in 1991, when a delegation of Soviet scientists visited the USAMRIID at Ft. Detrick. Dr. Bailey explained that the purpose of the tour was to show the Soviets that the US was not developing offensive biological weapons. Bailey said he tried to engage Alibek in conversation but Alibek remained aloof. Alibek, for his part, explains that he was suspicious of this American smiling so broadly at him. A year later, Alibek would defect to the US and reveal an illegal biological program in the Soviet Union of a staggering scope. Alibek says that one reason he defected was that he realized that the Soviet intelligence was wrong — that the US research was in fact only defensive.

    In Saudi Arabia, Al-Timimi had been mentored by a Saudi-trained Canadian imam Bilal Philips. Philips was Al-Timimi’s Islamic Studies teacher at high school in Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s. Al-Timimi adopted Philips’ view that “The clash of civilizations is a reality,” and “Western culture led by the United States is an enemy of Islam.”

    After completing his religious education in Saudi Arabia in Medina, Ali Al Timimi had returned to the United States and received a second bachelor’s degree — this time in computer science at the University of Maryland, while also studying software programming at George Washington University. Timimi spoke at IANA conferences in 1993 and 1994. A senior al Qaeda recruiter, Abdelrahman Dosari, also spoke at three IANA conferences in the early 1990s. In December 1993, Al-Dorsari (a.k.a. Shaykh Abu Abdel Aziz “Barbaros”) spoke on ‘Jihad & Revival” and exhorted young men to fight for their faith as Al-Timimi would later be accused of doing privately with young men in Virginia.

    One author, the father of a boy who knew Al-Timimi as young teen, wrote: “Dozens of his talks are available on the Internet in text and in audio format. They contain little about Arab concerns with the Arab-Israeli wars, the rivalries between the Arab states, the problems faced by Muslims living in the West, or even the war in Iraq. Rather, they reveal a man who reflects deeply on the Islamic vision of Judgment day, prophecy, the nature of the divine, and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) — subjects with which he grappled in Medina and in his private reading.” Al Timimi’s lecturers (in English after Arabic opening) include “The Negative Portrayal Of Islam In the Media,” “Signs Before the Day of Judgement,” “Advice to the UK Salafis” and “Crusade Complex: Western Perceptions of Islam.”

    Al-Timimi’s increasing computer skills got him a job at SRA International where Ali worked as a “bioinformatics software architect” providing information technology to the government. Some of his jobs required that Ali obtain a high-level security clearance. One job resulted in a letter of recommendation from the White House. He then enrolled in the PhD program in computational biology at George Mason University.

    By 2000, Ali Al-Timimi was already taking advanced courses at Mason in computational sciences. Timimi once explained his research: “I am currently a research scientist at the Center for Biomedical Genomics and Informatics, George Mason University. I am involved in the analysis of the microarray data generated by the CTRF Cancer Genomics Project. Likewise, I am developing new computational approaches and technologies in support of this project.” The webpage for Timimi’s program at the time explained: “Faculty members and graduate students in the Program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology participate in numerous collaborative efforts including but not limited to the following Laboratories and Research Centers: Center for Biomedical Genomics and Informatics (GMU) , Laboratory for Microbial and Environmental Biocomplexity (GMU) and Center for Biodefense (GMU).

    Beginning the Spring of 2002. GMU hired Ali to develop a computer program that coordinated the research at several universities, letting him go only after he came under suspicion by the FBI. In Spring 2002, according to salary information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, GMU hired him for $70,000 a year. In 2002, the employment was through the School of Computational Sciences and in 2003, it was through Life Sciences Grants & Contracts.

    The School of Computational Sciences at George Mason is a joint venture between the American Type Culture Collection (“ATCC”) and George Mason. The joint venture is an effort to maximize research efforts by combining the academic and applied approaches to research. The School’s first activity was to teach an ATCC course in DNA techniques adapted for George Mason students. The ATCC is an internationally renown non-profit organization that houses the world’s largest and most diverse archive of biological materials. The Prince William Campus shares half of Discovery Hall with ATCC. ATCC moved to its current state-of-the-art laboratory at Discovery Hall (Prince Willam II) in 1998. ATCC’s 106,000-square-foot facility has nearly 35,000 square feet of laboratory space with a specialized air handling system and Biosafety Level 2 and 3 containment stations. The ATCC bioinformatics (BIF) program carries out research in various areas of biological information management relevant to its mission. BIF scientists interact with laboratory scientists in microbiology, cell biology, and molecular biology at ATCC and other laboratories throughout the world. ATCC has strong collaborations with a large number of academic institutions, including computational sciences at George Mason University.

    Through these partnerships, the George Mason Prince William Campus offers George Mason microbiology students an opportunity for students to be involved in current research and gain access to facilities and employment opportunities at ATCC and other partner companies.

    If the FBI suspected Al-Timimi, there may have been something in the forensic findings that encouraged their suspicion. In mid-March 2001, former USAMRIID head and Ames researcher Bailey and Ken Alibek filed a patent involving a process to treat cell culture with hydrophobic silicon dioxide so as to permit greater concentration upon drying. He was in Room 156B of GMU’s Discovery Hall at the Center for Biodefense. Victor Morozov later was the co-inventor with Dr. Bailey of the related cell culture process under which the silica was removed from the spore surface.

    One ATCC former employee felt so strongly about lax security there the scientist called me out of the blue and said that the public was overlooking the patent repository as a possible source of the Ames strain. ATCC does not deny they had virulent Ames in their patent repository pre 9/11 (as distinguished from their online catalog). The spokesperson emailed me: “As a matter of policy, ATCC does not disclose information on the contents of its patent depository…”

    Al-Timimi was on an advisory board member of Assirat al-Mustaqueem, an international Arabic language magazine that published out of Pittsburgh. Assirat, produced in Pittsburgh beginning in 1991, was the creation of a group of North American muslims, many of whom were senior members of IANA. Its Advisory Committee included Bassem Khafagi and Ali Al-Timimi. Two staff members who wrote for Assirat then joined IANA’s staff when it folded in 2000. They had been members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and were activists in the movement. One of the former EIJ members, Gamal Sultan, was the editor of the quarterly IANA magazine in 2002. Mr. Sultan’s brother Mahmoud wrote for Assirat also. The most prominent writer was the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Kamal Habib. He led the Egyptian Islamic Jihad at the time of Anwar Sadat’s assassination when young doctor Zawahiri’s cell merged with a few other cells to form the EIJ. Two writers for Assirat in Pittsburgh reportedly had once shared a Portland, Oregon address with Al Qaeda member Wadih El-Hage who served a Bin Laden’s “personal secretary.”

    After a visit in 2000, Gamal Sultan said Pittsburgh was known as the “American Kandahar,” given its rolling hills. Besides forming the Islah (“‘Reform) party wth Gamal Sultan, Mr. Kamal Habib contributed to Al Manar al Jadeed, IANA’s quarterly journal. The pair sought the blind sheik’s endorsement of their political party venture in March 1999 — although they were not seeking the official participation of organizations like the Egyptian Islamic Jihad or the Egyptian Islamic Group, they were hoping the groups would not oppose it. The pair wanted members of the movement to be free to join in peaceful partisan activity. They were not deterred when the blind sheik responded that the project was pointless. At the same, Sheik Abdel-Rahman withdrew his support for the cease-fire initiative that had been backed by the imprisoned leaders of the Egyptian Islamic Group.

    Yusuf Wells, who was a fundraiser for the Benevolence international Foundation, visited Northern Virginia over the April 14-15, 2001 weekend. The previous month he had been at Iowa State on a similar visit. On April 15, 2001, he was brought to a paintball game. In the second season, they had become more secretive and an inquiry by an FBI Special Agent was made in 2000 of one of the members about the games. Part of BIF fundraiser Wells’ job involved writing reports about his fund raising trips. In his April 15, 2001 report he writes:

    “I was taken on a trip to the woods where a group of twenty brothers get together to play Paintball. It is a very secret and elite group and as I understand it, it is an honor to be invited to come. The brothers are fully geared up in camouflage fatigues, facemasks, and state of the art paintball weaponry. They call it ‘training’ and are very serious about it. I knew at least 4 or 5 of them were ex US military, the rest varied.

    Most all of them young men between the ages of 17-35. I was asked by the amir of the group to give a talk after Thuhr prayer. I spoke about seeing the conditions of Muslims overseas while with BIF, and how the fire of Islam is still very much alive in the hearts of the people even in the midst of extreme oppression. I also stressed the idea of being balanced. That we should not just be jihadis and perfect our fighting skills, but we should also work to perfect our character and strengthen our knowledge of Islam. I also said that Muslims are not just book reading cowards either, and that they should be commended for forming such a group.

    Many were confused as to why I had been ‘trusted’ to join the group so quickly, but were comforted after my brief talk. Some offered to help me get presentations on their respective localities.”

    Al-Timimi was not friends with the Virginia defendants – at least he did not regularly associate with them outside his classes they attended. But they reportedly were awed by Timimi, a man who could both translate 7th-century Koranic Arabic or joke about the Redskins. The prosecutor argued that the paintball defendants “couldn’t figure out how to tie their shoelaces without asking al-Timimi.” The group looked up to Al-Timimi and sought his advice on all sorts of questions – to include whether it was permissible to pray in a moving car and whether one could cut short his prayers due to an approaching scorpion.

    After 9/11, although a dinner that night was cancelled in light of the events of the day, Al-Timimi sought “to organize a plan in case of anti-Muslim backlash and to get the brothers together.” The group got together on September 16. Al-Timimi when he came in told the group to turn of their phones, unplug the answering machine, and pull down the curtains. Al-Timimi told the group that Mullah Omar had called upon Muslims to defend Afghanistan. Al-Timimi read parts of the al-Uqla fatwa to the group gave the fatwa to Khan with the instructions to burn it after he has read it. Al Timimi said the duty to engage in jihad is “fard ayn” — an individual duty of all Muslims. Over a lunch, Al-Timimi with two of the group, Al-Timimi told them not to carry anything suspicious and if they were stopped on the way to Pakistan to ask for their mother and cry like a baby. He told them to carry a magazine. The next day the pair left for Pakistan. The group from the September 16 meeting met again in early October, and a number left for Pakistan immediately after that meeting.

    Al-Timimi sent out a February 1, 2003 email in Arabic containing an article that said:

    “There is no doubt Muslims were overjoyed because of the adversity that befell their greatest enemy. The Columbia crash made me feel, and God is the only One to know, that this is a strong signal that Western Supremacy (especially that of America) that began 500 years ago is coming to a quick end, God willing, as occurred to the shuttle.”

    In 2001, Al-Timimi kept the personal papers of IANA President Khafagi at his home for safekeeping. His taped audio lecturers were among the most popular at the charity Islamic Assembly of North America in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He knew its President, Khafagi, both through work with CAIR and IANA. Al Timimi was close to his former teacher Safar al Hawali. Al Hawali has played a public role in mediating between Saudi militants and the government. Al-Timimi sought to represent and explain the views radical sheik Al-Hawali in a letter he sent to members of Congress. The same nondescript office building at 360 S. Washington St. in Falls Church where Timimi used to lecture at Dar al Arqam housed the Muslim World League.

    Al-Timimi met with FBI agents 7 or 8 times in the months leading up to his arrest. Al-Timimi is a US citizen born in Washington DC His house was searched, his passport taken and his telephone monitored. His communications with Sheik al-Hawali were intercepted.

    Al-Hawali, was one of the original incorporators of Mercy International. Mercy, as a front for Al Qaeda, was deeply involved in planning the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The two radical sheiks had been imprisoned from 1994-1999. Ali Al Timimi received his PhD in computational biology shortly after his indictment for recruiting young men to fight the US.

    Upon his indictment, in September 2004, al-Timimi explained he had been offered a plea bargain of 14 years, but he declined. He quoted Sayyid Qutb. He said he remembered “reading his books and loving his teaching” as a child, and that Qutb’s teaching was prevented from signing something that was false by “the finger that bears witness.” He noted that he and his lawyers asked that authorities hold off the indictment until he had received his PhD, but said that unfortunately they did not wait.

    The indictment against the paintball defendants alleged that at an Alexandria, Virginia residence, in the presence of a representative of BIF, the defendants watched videos depicting Mujahadeen engaged in Jihad and discussed a training camp in Bosnia.

    Famed head of the former Russian bioweaponeering program Ken Alibek told me that he would occasionally see Al-Timimi in the hallways at George Mason, where they both were in the microbiology department, and had been vaguely aware that he was an islamic hardliner. In the end, Al-Timimi was indicted for inciting the young men to go to Afghanistan to defend the Taliban against the United States. During deliberations, he reportedly was very calm, reading Genome Technology and other scientific journals.

    At the same time the FBI was searching the townhouse of PhD candidate Ali Timimi, searches and arrests moved forward elsewhere. In Moscow, Idaho, the activities by IANA webmaster Sami al-Hussayen that drew scrutiny involved the same radical sheik. Interceptions showed a very close link between IANA’s Sami al-Hussayen and Sheikh al-Hawali, to include the setting up of web sites, and the providing of vehicles for extended communication. Al-Hussayen had al-Hawali’s phone number upon the search of his belongings upon his arrest. Sami Hussayen made numerous calls and wrote many e-mails to al-Hawali, sometimes giving advice to him and another dissident Saudi sheik about running Arabic-language Web sites on which they espoused their anti-Western views. Sami al-Hussayen was acquitted of all charges.

    George Mason University, Department Listings, accessed August 17, 2003, shows that the National Center For Biodefense and Center for Biomedical Genomics had the same mail stop (MS 4ES). The most famed bioweaponeer in the world — the former head of the Russian bioweapons program (to include anthrax ) — was not far from this sheik urging violent jihad in an apocalyptic struggle between religions. Dr. Alibek’s office was Rm. 156D in Prince William 2. The groups both shared the same department fax of XXX-4288. Dr. Alibek reports that shortly after the mailings, he wrote Director Mueller and offered his services but was advised that they already had assembled a large group.

    Dr. Alibek advises me he only had ever seen Al-Timimi several times in the corridors of GMU.

    Charles Bailey, the former head of USAMRIID, formally joined the Center in April 2001. He continued to do research with the Ames anthrax strain after 9/11. Over 13 years, he had served as a Research Scientist, Deputy Commander for Research, Deputy Commander and Commander at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute. As a USAMRIID scientist, he designed and supervised the construction of BL-3 containment facilities. His hands-on experience with a wide variety of pathogens is chronicled in 70 published articles. During his 4 years with the Defense Intelligence Agency, he published numerous articles assessing foreign capabilities regarding biological weapons.” When I asked Dr. Bailey to confirm Al-Timimi’s room number relative to his own, his only response was to politely refer me to University counsel. Counsel then never responded to my inquiry regarding their respective room numbers.

    In Fall 2001, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (“AFIP”) had detected silicon dioxide (silica) in the attack anthrax – with a characteristic big spike for the silicon. The reason for the silicon dioxide/silica claimed to have been detected by AFIP has never been explained (and it’s been nearly a half decade). Dr. Alibek and Dr. Matthew Meselson (of Sverdlosk fame) report that no silica was observable on the SEMS images that they saw. The Daschle product was “pure spores.” But while the spores were not coated with silica, was silicon dioxide used as part of a microdroplet cell culture process used prior to drying to permit greater concentration? (Is that why it was detected by the EDX?)

    Dr. Alibek and the former head of USAMRIID, Ames anthrax research Charles Bailey, had filed a patent application in mid-March 2001 involving a microdroplet cell culture technique that used silicon dioxide in a method for concentrating growth of cells. The patent was granted and the application first publicly disclosed in the Spring of 2002. Weren’t the SEMS images and AFIP EDX finding both consistent with use of this process in growing the culture? It’s been suggested informally that perhaps the silicon analytical peak was more likely due to silanol from hydrolysis of a silane, used in siliconizing glassware.

    But didn’t the AFIP in fact also detect oxygen in ratios characteristic of silicon dioxide? Wasn’t the scientist, now deceased, who performed the EDX highly experienced and expert in detecting silica? Hasn’t the AFIP always stood by its report, in which it explained: “AFIP experts utilized an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (an instrument used to detect the presence of otherwise-unseen chemicals through characteristic wavelengths of X-ray light) to confirm the previously unidentifiable substance as silica?” Perhaps the nuance that was lost – or just never publicly explained for very sound reasons – was that silica was used in the cell culture process and then removed from the spores through a process such as repeated centrifugation.

    Dr. Morozov is co-inventor along with Dr. Bailey for a patent “Cell Culture” with co-inventor Bailey that explains how the silicon dioxide can be removed from the surface. Perhaps it is precisely this AFIP finding of silicon dioxide (without silica on the SEMS) that is why the FBI came to suspect Al-Timimi in 2003 (rightly or wrongly, we don’t know). The FBI would have kept these scientific findings secret to protect the integrity of the confidential criminal/national security investigation. There was still a processor and mailer to catch – still a case to prove, particularly given that their investigation had not produced any evidence against Al-Timimi.

    FBI microbiologist Dr. Doug Beecher commented in a publication that it undermines biodefense preparations to underestimate the danger of simple spore preparations. He provided me a copy when I wrote him as the designated corresponding author. I then distributed it to reporters. The paper reportedly had been reviewed by Professor Meselson at Harvard. Dr. Beecher is right that there is no reason to view it as akin to “militarization” or requiring state sponsorship. The two sentences by Beecher actually did not address the precise issue presented at all. They just go to illustrate and confirm Dr. Alibek’s point that a sophisticated product can result from a relatively simple method. Perhaps the United States biodefense establishment should not let officials commercialize and disclose such dual use technology, whether the patent is assigned to a DARPA-funded program or not — and whether deemed “biofriendly” or not. (The 2001 patents I’ve described, which was not classified, has been assigned to George Mason University). Richard Ebright is right: proliferation of facilities increases the risk of access to know-how. Given that biodefense spending is fueled by the usual politics-driven pork-barrelled spending, it’s a recipe for disaster.

    The many bloggers and commentators who have long held strong and divergent opinions may have just been seeing the elephant in the living room from a different angle. Actually, they’ve just been in a position to see the elephant’s rump from outside the living room door.

    Ali Al-Timimi has a very substantial appeal pending in a case that involves a sentence that seems way out of proportion to the crime of exhorting young men to go abroad and defend their faith. In a November 30, 2004 letter of appeal circulated in sympathetic circles in the US and the UK, Bilal Philips encouraged Muslims to assist Al-Timimi “financially, morally or politically.” The letter urged that “whatever the charges against him [Al-Timimi] may be, from an Islamic perspective they are false and contrived in order to silence the Da’wah to correct Islam.”

    In a June 2005 interview in a Swiss (German language) weekly news magazine, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Ken Alibek addresses the anthrax mailings:

    A. “…What if I told you Swiss scientists are paid by Al Qaeda? You could believe it or not. It has become somewhat fashionable to disparage Russian scientists. Americans, Iraqis, or whoever could just as well be involved with Al Qaeda. Why doesn’t anyone speculate about that?”

    Q. “But could one of your students build a biological weapon in the garage?”

    A. “Let me reply philosophically: Two hundred years ago, it was unthinkable to believe that people would be using mobile telephones, wasn’t it? Everything changes. Our knowledge grows, and technology develops incredibly quickly. These days even high-school kids can breed recombinant microbial strains. I am not saying that a student is in a position to build a biological weapon all by himself. But the knowledge needed to do it is certainly there.”

    Al-Timimi’s attorney emphasizes that while they searched for materials related to a planned biological attack when they searched his townhouse in late February 2003 — what he calls Plan A — they came up empty.

    He explains that it was only then they turned to Plan B. No one who responded to my inquiries ever knew Al-Timimi to ever have been involved in any biodefense project. For example, former Russian bioweaponeer Sergei Popov did not know of any such work by Al-Timimi, and Anna Popova had only seen him in the hall on a very rare occasion.

    Dr. Alibek thought of him as a “numbers guy” rather than a hands-on type. Given that the FBI knows what Al-Timimi had for dinner on September 16, 2001, it is very likely that the past years have involved a continued search for the mailer and/or processor – with all theories explored and no stone left unturned.

    If ever you find someone who thinks that Bruce Ivins is the processor and/or mailer, ask them whether they have read the 302s and Dr. Ivins emails — or ask whether they are getting information instead from the argument of the DOJ and FBI officials. Recommend to them that if they fancy themselves researchers, they should use the original source materials.

    • DXer said

      http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2006/0273187.html Cell Culture Document Type and Number: United States Patent 20060273187

      Abstract: The invention involves developing and stabilizing cultivating droplets within a matrix of a porous medium. A cultivation medium may be selected, prepared and mixed with a surfactant. Where cells are desired to be cultured in droplets, cells may be added. The mixture may be converted into cultivating droplets. The cultivating droplets may be stabilized by introducing them to a porous medium. The porous medium may contain hydrophobic particles. Stabilized, cultivating droplets having one or more cells may form an aseptic microenvironment for the concentrated growth of cells. *** The porous medium may include hydrophobic particles (sometimes be referred to as hydrophobic beads or beads). In an embodiment, the porous medium is a hydrophobic powder. Hydrophobic particles may help protect the inoculated mixture from contamination, as well as water penetration from neighboring cultivatable droplets. An example of hydrophobic particles includes silanized silicon dioxide. *** One particular example of hydrophobic particles is the series of silanized Aerosil particles produced by DeGussa AG of Dusseldorf, Germany. These include, but are not limited to, Aerosil® R 104, Aerosil® R 106, Aerosil® R 202, Aerosil® R 805, Aerosil® R 812, Aerosil® R 812.S, Aerosil® R 972, Aerosil® R 974 and Aerosil® R 8200. By themselves, Aerosil particles are generally hydrophilic (like sand). However, Aerosil particles can become water repellent, and hence suitable for stabilizing cultivatable droplets, after being treated via silanization. *** Generally, hydrophobic particles are held on the surface of water with weak Van der Waal’s forces. It is well known in the art that the interface between a hydrophobic particle and water surface can be substantially stabilized in the presence of surfactants in a solution.

      • DXer said

        This wikileaks memo concerning India dates to 2006. But what Salafist-Jihadi supporter was in the United States and available to recruit back in 2001? Former DIA analyst James Vandevelde says that in Ayman Zawahiri’s anthrax planning the bio people were highly compartmented and recruitment was done on a localized basis — that is, for a country in the United States they would recruit scientists in the US.

        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;
        [passage redacted]
        * 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…

        A motion filed in early August 2008 seeking to unseal additional information in federal district court was denied.

        ‘Dr. Ali Al-Timimi’s Support Committee’ in an email to supporters dated April 5, 2005 explained: “This is a summary of the court proceedings that took place yesterday April 4th 2005. We will send a summary everyday inshallah. *** “In his opening statement, Defense attorney Edward B. MacMahon Jr. said that Al-Timimi was born and raised in Washington DC. He has a degree in Biology and he is also a computer scientist, and a mathematician. He worked for Andrew Card, who’s now the White House chief of staff, at the Transportation Department in the early 1990s.”

        The FBI and CIA may have been concerned that there might have been unauthorized access to the Ames strain. That would explain their aggressive prosecution of various matters related to Al-Timimi’s charity, IANA, which was based in Ann Arbor. It was Andrew Card, however, who arranged for the warrantless NSA wiretapping of Al-Timimi that was not shared with the Amerithrax Task Force.

        Al-Timimi was a current associate and former student of Bin Laden’s spiritual advisor, dissident Saudi Sheik al-Hawali. Ali Al-Timimi preached on the end of times and the inevitability of the clash of civilizations. He was in active contact with al-Hawali whose detention had been the express subject of Bin Laden’s 1996 Declaration of War. Al-Timimi would speak along with the blind sheik’s son at charity conferences. The blind sheik’s son served on Al Qaeda’s WMD committee. Al-Timimi’s mentor Bilal Philips was known for recruiting members of the military to jihad. At GMU, Dr. Bailey would publish a lot of research with the “Ames strain” of anthrax. The anthrax used in the anthrax mailings was traced to Bruce Ivins’ lab at USAMRIID, where Ivins, according to a former colleague, had done some work for DARPA.

        A laptop evidencing Al Qaeda’s intent on weaponizing anthrax was seized in Baku in July 1998. Two months later, Dr. Ken Alibek, then Program Manager, Battelle Memorial Institute, testified before the Joint Economic Committee on the subject of “Terrorist and Intelligence Operations: Potential Impact on the U.S. Economy” about the proliferation of know-how. Dr. Alibek noted that “[t]here are numerous ways in which Russia’s biological weapons expertise can be proliferated to other countries.” Indeed. Sometimes such proliferation is funded by DARPA and any student who wanted to apply to work in the building could submit an application. One applicant accepted was this Salafist preacher seeing signs of the coming day of judgment and the inevitable clash of civilizations. He had been mentored by the sheik named in Bin Laden’s declaration of war in 1996. In 1999, Al-Timimi had a high security clearance for work for the Navy. His father worked at the Iraqi embassy.

        Al-Timimi had supervised Cairo-based militants writing for the Pittsburgh-based Assirat and then for IANA. One of them, Kamal Habib, was the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and a friend of Ayman Zawahiri. The Cairo-based writers Kamal Habib and Gamal Sultan approached the blind sheik Abdel Rahman about starting a political party in early 1999. On March 1 and 2, 1999, Lynne Stewart and translator Yousry visited Abdel Rahman in prison in Rochester, Minnesota and relayed the proposal. On March 6, 1999, the first press reports about anthrax appeared quoting the blind sheik’s Cairo lawyer, Montasser al-Zayat, and detainees in a massive trial al-Zayat was defending. He explained that Ayman likely was going to use anthrax against US targets to retaliate against the rendering and detention of the Egyptian militants.

        On March 9, 1999 following the visit in prison at which the political idea had been proposed, Abdel Rahman issued a statement rejecting a proposal that the Islamic Group form a political party in Egypt. That day, the Islamic Group military commander Mustafa Hamza spoke with the blind sheik’s liaison, US Post Office employee Abdel Sattar. The next month, the Blind Sheik’s publicist Sattar spoke with Taha, the IG head close to the Taliban and Bin Laden, in a three-way call with Cairo attorney Al-Zayat. Sattar also spoke on the telephone with Vanguards of Conquest spokesman Al Sirri (based in London). From the beginning, the weaponization of anthrax for use against US targets was inextricably linked to the detention of senior militant Egyptian leaders, including the blind sheik.

        Ayman Zawahiri’s brother Muhammad was rendered to Cairo in April 1999. Mamdouh Ismail, Al-Zayat’s co-founder of a key reform party, represented the Al-Zawahiri family in connection with Muhammad’s rendition and detention. Ayman Zawahiri and Muhammad’s sister, Heba, a Pharmacology Professor at Cairo Medical, were concerned that he might be mistreated by Egyptian security services. A recent graduate from the same department, Tarek Hamouda, soon was working alongside Bruce Ivins with virulent Ames at Ft. Detrick. His work involved nanoemulsions (i.e., microencapsulation).

      • DXer said

        WikiLeaks: US fears bioweapons from India labs

        (AP) – 2 hours ago

        NEW DELHI (AP) — U.S. officials fear lax security at Indian laboratories could make the facilities targets for terrorists seeking biological weapons to launch attacks across the globe, according to comments in a leaked U.S. diplomatic cable made public Friday.

        The cable was part of a trove of documents sent from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi that was obtained by the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks and published Friday by the British newspaper The Guardian.

        The cables dealt with accusations of Indian torture in Kashmir and the concerns of Rahul Gandhi — seen as India’s prime-minister-in-waiting — that Hindu extremists posed a greater danger to India than Islamist militants.

        One of the cables from June 2006 raised concerns that terrorist groups could take advantage of weak security at Indian laboratories to steal “bacteria, parasites, viruses or toxins.”

        “Terrorists planning attacks anywhere in the world could use India’s advanced biotechnology industry and large bio-medical research community as potential sources of biological agents,” read the cable, marked confidential. “Given the strong air connections Delhi shares with the rest of the world and the vulnerabilities that might be exploited at airports, a witting or unwitting person could easily take hazardous materials into or out of the country.”

        “Getting into a facility to obtain lethal bio-agents is not very difficult here,” one expert, whose name was redacted from the cable, told U.S. diplomats.

        A second expert said that academic research facilities maintain only very loose security procedures. “The harsh reality is that you can bribe a guard with a pack of cigarettes to get inside,” the expert was quoted as saying.

        One source told the diplomats that India’s thousands of biological scientists also might be recruited, either out of ideological sympathies or for money.

        An Indian government official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly address the issue, dismissed the concerns as “far-fetched and fanciful.”

        However, Suman Sahai, a biotechnology expert, told The Associated Press that security remains very poor at biotech firms four years after the cable was written.

        The regulatory system is porous, employees are easily influenced and those leaving public laboratories to work for private companies often steal seeds, genetic material and other sensitive property before they head out the door for their new jobs, she said.

        While India has not been the target of a biological attack, it has suffered devastating conventional terror strikes, including a 2001 attack on its parliament and the 2008 attack by 10 Pakistan-based militants who laid siege to the city of Mumbai for 60 hours.

        Indian officials made it clear that they were focusing more on a possible nuclear or chemical attack — presumably from longtime rival Pakistan — than a biological one, which they considered unlikely to happen, the cable read.

        India’s surveillance system and its public health system were ill-prepared for the possibility of such an attack, the cable said.

  49. This is an interesting hypothesis. It can be tested by students in the courses I have linked to or indicated searches pick up.

    • The EDS spectrum courses cover doing EDS. Is that enough to determine the percentage by weight in the bacillus spore? Even if they can’t tell where in the spore it is.

      • DXer said

        As Dr. John Ezzell explained, he knows of no evidence that Dr. Ivins made any dried powder, let alone the attack powders. Instead, the only evidence is that the FBI anthrax expert made dried powdered Ames using Ames from Flask 1029. (JE forthrightly acknowledges it). Dr. Ivins was unaware that had been done for a couple of years. JE explains that it was common for a scientist to keep left-over in the unlocked refrigerator. And so a key inquiry would relate to who had access to the unlocked refrigerator of the FBI anthrax expert. The FBI concealed that its expert made a dried powder using Ames for 10 years.

  50. The search prereq subtilis site:.edu

    picks up many hits.

    homework silicon subtilis site:.edu

    322 hits

    • Paper on Cd and subtilis

      http://ag.udel.edu/other_websites/soilchem/Boyanov03GCA.pdf

      Abstract—The local atomic environment of Cd bound to the cell wall of the gram-positive bacterium Bacillus
      subtilis was determined by X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) spectroscopy. Samples were prepared at
      six pH values in the range 3.4 to 7.8, and the bacterial functional groups responsible for the adsorption were
      identified under each condition. Under the experimental Cd and bacterial concentrations, the spectroscopy
      results indicate that Cd binds predominantly to phosphoryl ligands below pH 4.4, whereas at higher pH,
      adsorption to carboxyl groups becomes increasingly important. At pH 7.8, we observe the activation of an
      additional binding site, which we tentatively ascribe to a phosphoryl site with smaller Cd-P distance than the
      one that is active at lower pH conditions. XAFS spectra of several cadmium acetate, phosphate, and
      perchlorate solutions were measured and used as standards for fingerprinting, as well as to assess the ability
      of FEFF8 and FEFFIT to model carboxyl, phosphoryl, and hydration environments, respectively. The results
      of this XAFS study in general corroborate existing surface complexation models; however, some binding
      mechanism details could only be detected with the XAFS technique. Copyright © 2003 Elsevier Ltd

  51. DXer said

    Here is one of the patents relating to the DARPA research involving using silica in the culture medium that I’ve often described.

    As I’ve often explained over the years, DARPA-funded researchers were experimenting with growing anthrax in silica.
    SEARCH:

    Microdroplet cell culture technique
    United States Patent 6649408

    The present invention comprises a novel culture method and device in which living cells are cultured in a plurality of individual microdroplets that are immobilized and isolated within a matrix of hydrophobic particles. The hydrophobic particles adhere to inoculated microdroplets of media, isolating the microdroplets in an aseptic microenvironmet. The plurality of individual microdroplets provide and optimal environment for the concentrated growth of cultured cells contained therein.

    Inventors:
    Bailey, Charles L. (Fayetteville, TN)
    Alibek, Ken (Alexandria, VA)
    Application Number:
    09/805464
    Publication Date:
    11/18/2003
    Filing Date:
    03/14/2001

    George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)

    This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/191,771, filed Mar. 24, 2000.

    Claims:
    Having thus described our invention, what we claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is as follows:

    1. A cell culture method comprising the steps of: introducing liquid media inoculated with cells to be cultured into a vessel; converting the inoculated liquid media into individual microdroplets; introducing a sufficient quantity of hydrophobic particles in the form of a dry powder into the vessel to coat the individual microdroplets; and growing the cells within the individual microdroplets.

    ***

    2. Background Description

    The culturing of microbial and animal or plant cells are crucial processes that are essential to the production of a wide array of useful chemical and biochemical products. Living cells are employed in such processes because they provide the essential elements necessary to economically synthesize many commercially valuable metabolic products.

    Typically, growing cells are cultured either in liquid media (submerged cultivation) or on the surface of a solid nutrient(surface cultivation). Microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi can be cultured in either the surface or submerged method. Eukaryotic cells can be cultured in a submerged or suspended cell culture in rolling flasks or, where cell surface attachment is necessary, cells are grown to confluence in tissue culture flasks with liquid nutrient media placed above the cells. A suitable nutrient medium for microorganisms typically includes a carbon and energy source, an assimilable nitrogen source, oxygen (usually derived from surrounding air), and suitable pH conditions and additional factors which vary for a given microorganism, as one skilled in the art can readily appreciate.

    With the surface method, nutrients are absorbed from contact with the media under the culture, oxygen is provided through contact with the air above the culture, and inhibitory metabolites seep down and away from the culture. Surface cultivation of microorganisms has the advantageous features of providing a plentiful oxygen source from the surrounding air and efficient removal of inhibitory metabolites through absorption from the surface medium. Also, contamination of surface culture can be relatively confined to a minimal surface area or a growing culture.

    On the negative side, surface cultivation of microorganisms is not amenable to large scale production. The process of filling and inoculating numerous individual plates or dishes with culture and then individually harvesting each plate is extremely labor intensive. Furthermore, the storage of solid surface plates or dishes inoculated with microorganisms requires significant allocations of space in sophisticated incubators.

    With the submerged method, a microorganism is cultured throughout the liquid media. Nutrients are absorbed from contact with the media surrounding the individual microorganisms, oxygen and are provided by various means of aeration that one skilled in the art can readily appreciate, and metabolites seep out and into the media. Usually, the nutrient media is also stirred continually, in order to evenly distribute the microorganisms.

    The submerged cultivation process has the beneficial advantages of being less labor and space intensive than the surface method and can be used to produce large batches of cells in a relatively small space. The submerged method is thus the method of choice currently employed in most pilot and industrial scale production of cultured microrganisms and cells.

    The submerged cultivation method does, however, require an extensive investment in equipment necessary for the large scale production of cell cultures. In addition, the end products that are the object of large scale submerged cultivation (i.e., the intracellular or extracellular metabolic products of cell and microbe growth) usually require further purification and concentration either from the liquid media or the cells therein. This additional isolation step is necessary because the concentration of product in the media is limited by the metabolites released into the media and the limited solubility of oxygen and/or other gases in the media.

    Another major drawback to the large scale submerged cultivation method is the greater risk and effects of contamination that this method entails. In submerged cultivation, the complexity of the equipment necessary for bacterial fermentation systems, for example, provides more opportunities for a contamination event when compared to the surface growth methodology. Furthermore, once a culture is contaminated, the contamination quickly spreads throughout the agitated liquid media, resulting in the destruction of the entire batch of a culture.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

    It is therefore an object of the invention to provide for the growth of a microbe or cell culture with a hybrid method that both combines the beneficial features of submerged and surface cultivation while eliminating some of the negative features inherent in both procedures.

    ***
    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

    The present invention provides a generalized method and apparatus for aseptically culturing a plurality of microdroplets of media that are inoculated with a given cell type that is to be cultured. Each individual microdroplet provides an individual microenvironment that is isolated from the surrounding microdroplets. In such a manner, each microdroplet is protected from contamination by any adjacent microdroplets. In addition, the apparatus and methods of the present invention provide for concentrated growth of cells in minimal amounts of liquid medium, without the need for extensive further concentration of cells or their metabolic products.

    Referring now to the drawings, and more particularly to FIG. 1 , there is shown a flow chart of the process that is the object of the present invention. Liquid media is inoculated with a given cell strain, which can be a prokaryotic or eukaryotic cell, either of which may be additionally infected with a virus, transformed with a heterologous DNA expression vector, or otherwise genetically engineered to produce a given substance with techniques that are well known within the art. It is also within the scope of the present invention that cells that produce important chemical and biochemical products without any genetic alterations can be grown with the apparatus and methods of the invention.

    In the practice of the present invention, liquid media is inoculated in an aseptic fashion with a cell type that is to be cultured. Referring now to FIG. 2 , the inoculated media is then introduced through a first opening into a coating vessel of the present invention, for example, in one embodiment by means of a peristaltic pump, through an entry port. The coating vessel provides an environment in which individual microdroplets of inoculated media can be encased by hydrophobic solid particles. Once the microdroplets are formed and added to the coating vessel, dry hydrophobic powder composed of a plurality of particles of, for example, a hydrophobic ceramic, are introduced into the vessel where the coating process then occurs. The hydrophobic particles intercalate with and adhere to the individual microdroplets, preventing the microdroplets from becoming a confluent liquid, thereby creating a plurality of individual microdroplet cultures, each containing an isolated droplet of growing cells. The resulting product is a slurry-like material that has a semi liquid consistency, due to the fact that the individual microdroplets are prevented from re-aggregating as a confluent liquid. Once the coated hydrophobic particles are formed, they are collected and removed through narrow slotted openings located at the bottom of the coating vessel. The coated microdroplets are then cultured either in a batch or continuous flow process.

    It is contemplated in the practice of the present invention that the timing and means of introducing the inoculated media and hydrophobic particles can be varied without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, the media may be introduced through means other than a peristaltic pump and an entry port, for example, via a spray nozzle. In addition, it is only required that the hydrophobic particles be introduced into the coating vessel at a time such that they are able to homogeneously mix with the microdroplets of liquid media. This time may be varied without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, as discussed further infra, the hydrophobic particles may be introduced into the coating vessel prior to, simultaneous with, or subsequent to formation of the microdroplets of inoculated culture. The only limitation on this aspect of the invention is that the hydrophobic particles must be able to surround and adhere to the microdroplets after they are formed.

    In one embodiment of the invention, the inoculated media is converted into microdroplets prior to introduction into the coating vessel. Such a process is enabled by introducing the inoculated media via a spray nozzle that dispenses individual microdroplets into the vessel. It is not essential to the practice of the invention that the microdroplets be created prior to the introduction of the droplets into the coating vessel. Thus, in yet another embodiment, the microdroplets are created after the inoculated liquid media is introduced into the coating vessel. Ferromagnetic particles are sterilized and introduced into a non-magnetic mixing/coating vessel. Electromagnetic inductors are mounted in parallel on either side of the coating vessel. Activation of the electromagnetic inductors causes an electromagnetic field to exist within the vessel. Oscillations of this electromagnetic field are induced by the inductors. The ferromagnetic particles orient along and follow the field lines of the electromagnetic field and follow the oscillations of the field. The rapid motion of the field and particles vigorously mixes the hydrophobic particles and liquid media, inducing the formation of droplets.

    The size of the microdroplets will vary, with an optimum size for the cultivation of microorganisms, for example, usually being between 0.5 and 2.0 mm in diameter. Sizes within this range have been found to result in high concentrations of microorganisms per microdroplet. It should readily be understood by one skilled in the art, however, that the optimal size of microdroplet will vary, depending on such factors as the growth rate of the cultured cell type, the amount of optimal aeration for a given cell type, the most effective cell density for production of a given metabolite, and the like.

    The size of individual microdroplets can be regulated by adjusting such factors as the size of the nozzle or portal delivering the liquid or aerosolized media, the volume of the vessel, the speed at which the various components are added, the power and frequency of electromagnetic induction (in one embodiment of the invention), and the type of hydrophobic particle utilized, for example.

    In one particular embodiment of the invention, the vessel is contained in a refrigerated environment to prevent the rapid random motion of the electromagnetic process from destroying the inoculated microdroplets with excessive heat.

    Once the microdroplets of inoculated media have formed, the hydrophobic particles can then intercalate between and around individual microdroplets, creating a semi-liquid slurry comprising a matrix of interspersed microdroplets of inoculated culture and hydrophobic particles. In one embodiment of the invention, the particles are pumped into the coating vessel while the ferromagnetic particles and liquid media are agitated, resulting in the simultaneous agitation and mixing of the hydrophobic particles along with the microdroplets. In another embodiment, the hydrophobic particles are introduced through a second opening positioned such that the particles encounter the aerosolized microdroplets of inoculated media as the droplets enter the vessel.

    The hydrophobic particles can be introduced into the vessel by a variety of methods well known within the art, for example, by forced flow with the assistance of an air pump. Introduction of the coating particles can be through the same opening used for the introduction of the inoculated media or through a second opening. The use of two different openings for the media and coating particle introduction may have the advantage of allowing for easier process controls.

    In one embodiment of the invention, the hydrophobic particles comprises a powder of silicon dioxide. It can readily be seen by one skilled in the art, however, that the hydrophobic particles can alternatively comprise other hydrophobic ceramic particles (e.g., possibly aluminum oxides and zinc oxides).

    In a particularly preferred embodiment, the silicon dioxide particles are Aerosil 300, produced by Brenntag N.V. of Belgium. In another preferred embodiment, the silicon dioxide particles are selected from the group comprising the AEROSIL series of powders manufactured by the Degussa-hüls Corporation (i.e., AEROSIL R 104, AEROSIL R 106, AEROSIL R 202, AEROSIL R 805, AEROSIL R 812, AEROSIL R812.S, AEROSIL R 972, AEROSIL R 974, and AEROSIL R.8200). Other silicon dioxide particles are contemplated and within the scope of the invention. The choice of silicon dioxide particles will vary depending on the organism to be cultured and the amount of aeration required. In general, silicon dioxide particles that are useful in the practice of the present invention will be hydrophobic and have a surface area between 50 and 380 meters 2 per gram of weight.

    It is contemplated within the practice of the invention that the percent composition of coating particles to inoculated medium will vary, depending on, but not limited to, such factors as the cell type, the size of the individual microdroplets, and the desired final density and phase of growth that is the objective of the particular culture. In one embodiment of the invention that the ratio of individual coating particles to cultured inoculum may be within a range of 99:1 and 1:99. In one preferred embodiment of the invention, the ratio individual coating particles to cell inoculum to will be within a range of 1:2 to 2:1.

    Once the microdroplets are formed and coated, they are evacuated from the coating vessel through narrow slotted openings at the bottom of the vessel. In one particular preferred embodiment, the slotted openings will be between 1.5-2.0 mm wide but may vary depending on the size of the microdroplets formed. The microdroplets can be as little as 10 to 20 microns, so long as the initial inoculum is dense enough to ensure each microdroplet contains inoculated medium. The microdroplets can be much larger, with diameters greater than 2.5 mm, so long as the hydrophobic particles are able to maintain the media in individual droplet form. Accordingly, the slots for removal can also be designed to be the same as whatever size the microdroplets are or slightly larger.

    In most cases, the space between the coated microdroplets provides adequate aeration of the cell culture. It is a particularly useful and beneficial feature of the present invention that the space which exists between individual coated microdroplets provides an optimum environment for the concentrated growth of cell cultures. The adequate aeration provided with the present invention allows the growing cultures to make optimal use of the liquid media contained within each microdroplet.

    It can readily be seen by one skilled in the relevant art, however, that various means can be employed to provide the growing microdroplet culture with supplemental oxygen and/or other gases to optimize the aeration conditions for a given cell culture. For example, a fermentation vessel or zone may be provided with a port opening onto the vessel or zone through which exogenous molecular oxygen may be pumped via conduits and means to transport the gas. Additionally, the fermentation vessel or zone may further be equipped with a second port opening for removal of gases during the fermentation process.

    In one embodiment of the invention, the cultured cells will be microorganisms. Fermentation of microorganisms can proceed via a batch process or a continuous fermentation process. In the case of batch fermentation, the microdroplets are collected and grown in a fermentation vessel. In a continuous fermentation process, the coated microdroplets are collected from the slots at the bottom of the coating vessel and are grown in long conduits that constitute a fermenting zone. The particular fermentation method used to culture the microdroplets is not critical to the practice of the present invention.

    As can readily be appreciated by one skilled in the art, it will not always be necessary or preferable to separate the hydrophobic particles away from the liquid cell culture following cell growth. For example, since silicon dioxide is frequently utilized in soil treatment, there is no need to remove the silicon dioxide from cell cultures that are grown for the purposes of soil treatment. Furthermore, since the hydrophobic particles limit the potential for the spread of contamination, it may be desirable to maintain cultivated cells within the Individual hydrophobic microdroplets for storage purposes.

    It is a particularly beneficial feature of a preferred embodiment of the present invention that the enhanced aeration of cultured cells, combined with the efficient removal of metabolites, allow for microbial cultures to divide to a density that consumes all of the available liquid present in a microdroplet. Thus, in a preferred embodiment of the invention there is no need to (1) concentrate cultures or (2) remove the hydrophobic particles from the microdroplet culture. When all of the liquid media is consumed, the hydrophobic particles disassociate from the cell cultures, allowing the cells to interact directly with the surrounding environment.

    Alternatively, once cell growth is complete, the liquid media can be isolated away from the hydrophobic particles through a simple centrifugation step. As can readily be appreciated by one skilled in the art, the time and force of centrifugation will vary depending on the organism and hydrophobic particle employed in the process. The silicon dioxide particles can be sterilized and re-used in another microdroplet cultivation process.

  52. EDS silicon drift detector SDD talk

    http://epmalab.uoregon.edu/Workshop2/DonovanWorkshop07_SDD_Newbury.pdf

    This came from search

    Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy site:.edu

    Is growing bacillus subtilis with siloxane an experiment that can be given in a college course as a lab experiment? And then measure the silicon? Is that too hard or is it a reasonable part of an experimental biochemistry or biophysics course?

    • Here is a course on EDS

      https://engineering.purdue.edu/MSE/Academics/Courses/MSE583/index.html

      “MSE 583
      Energy Dispersive X-ray MicroAnalysis

      Sem. Fall, cr 1 (may be repeated for credit).

      Practical introduction to the operation of energy-dispersive x-ray spectrometers, in association with electron microscopes. Required of all students who use the EDS in their research. Prerequisite: MSE 581.
      Goals:

      The course goal is for the students to become competent, research-level energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopists. They will understand the functions of the EDS system and how it works. They will be competent in basic operating techniques, and ready to learn more advanced ones as needed.”

      “Strategies

      This course is taught based on having two lectures per week and a weekly three hour lab for four weeks.
      Assessment

      Student progress is assessed by their ability to operate the microanalysis system with increasing independence and decreasing instructor intervention, as the labs progress. Students add to their own “user manual” throughout the course.
      Evaluation

      Student evaluation will be based on homework exercises, writing four lab reports, and the ability of students to operate the x-ray microanalyser for qualitative and quantitative elemental microanalysis, line profiling, and elemental mapping.”

      It seems to me that growing subtilis with the various treatments and then doing EDS on them is within what can be assigned in lab courses at this level.

      Ed is saying that the papers are done waiting for peer review. So some students could do this and put it on the web by January. For a school with a January intersession this could be a good project.

      • The search I did was

        homework Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy site:.edu

        There is one course after another. A related search is

        lab assignment Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy site:.edu

        syllabus Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy site:.edu

        prereq Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy site:.edu

        or

        prerequisite Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy site:.edu

        A lot of courses use and teach these. This is a good project for such a course. There is no reason that it should take years to get papers published on this.

  53. The search bacillus silicon repelcote

    picks up 70 hits, many at this blog and some at Meryl Nass.

    The links to photos below still work.

    http://anthraxvaccine.blogspot.com/2009/01/more-pictures-complete-exosporium.html

  54. Old Atlantic said

    A start on a set of questions.

    1. Who has prepared bacillus spores with a content of over 1 percent of silicon by weight?

    2. Prior to Sep 18 2001?

    3. Who has measured silicon content of spores?

    4. Who has measured silicon content of spores prior to Sep 18 2001?

    5. Who has know-how to prepare spores today that results in over 1 percent by weight?

    6. Who had such know-how prior to Sep 18 2001?

    7. Was there any paper or publication or document available to Ivins that suggested any method to prepare bacillus to achieve a silicon content of over 1 percent of spores?

    8. Did Ivins ever do any experiment where he measured silicon content of spores?

    9. What equipment did he use for this?

    10. Can that equipment be used for anthrax spores safely? After irradiation?

    11. Is there any published paper with bacillus spores of over 1 percent by weight?

    12. When was the first such publication? After 2001?

    • Well thanks for your kind words.

      45 + 162 = 207.

      According to a webpage,

      http://forum.onlineconversion.com/showthread.php?t=11006

      you then calculate as follows

      207 * 28.0855
      = 5813.70 mg/kg

      = 5.813 g/kg

      = .58 percent by weight.

      Is this what you got?

      • The search
        mmol/kg
        by itself brings up those happy to explain how to convert.

      • Old Atlantic said

        FBIc

        Feds

        buy ice cream.

      • Anonymous said

        “.58 percent by weight.”

        But that is just 0.58% in the spore coat. The entire spore is only 0.3% It is 0.03% that Velsko uses as the Stewart number. Velsko concludes that 0.3% is the higeat possible for bacillus antharcis.

        The Daschle is 1.45% and the NYP is 30%. Obviously a silicon species was deliberately added. That is, and always has been, the issue here. The FBI have been furiously hiding it for 8 years. So why are they so uncomfortable with this?

    • Anonymous said

      “Shortly after the silicon was detected and it was see that there was no visible silica mixed with the spores”

      Wrong. AFIP wrote:

      “AFIP experts utilized an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (an instrument used to detect the presence of otherwise-unseen chemicals through characteristic wavelengths of X-ray light) to confirm the previously unidentifiable substance as silica.”

      Thus something was seen that led them to write “previously unidentifiable substance”. How can you have an invisible unidentifiable substance?

      It’s clear now that what they saw was the glue holding together the NYP spores. Now that the AFIP results are released we see that the EDS detected massive amounts of silicon the NYP powder. 30% silicon by weight percentage.

      • Anonymous said

        Now that the AFIP results are released we see that the EDS detected massive amounts of silicon the NYP powder. 30% silicon by weight percentage.

        • Anonymous said

          The data are now accessible at https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B7Vzv7IcODeVZmZiYmM0ZWYtN2E0MS00Y2YwLTkxMGQtNTI5ZjMyOWQyNDQw&hl=en. The key to the sample ID numbers used in the AFIP data can be found at http://foia.fbi.gov/amerithrax/847545.PDF, page 112 for the Leahy, Daschle and NY Post samples; pp 121-123 for the others. The other samples, examined by AFIP the next day, October 26, were bentonite (IV-B), sea sand, dried powder from a fermenter run (VI-B), spray drier Bacillus thuringiesis (VII-B), and dried B. thuringiensis powder (VIII-B).

          The Daschle sample contains 2-4% silicon. The NYP sample contains 30% silicon.

          The calculations were made with software for quantitative X-ray microanalysis provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology at http://www.cstl.nist.gov/div837/837.02/epq/dtsa2/index.html

          AFIP, in other words, reached very reasonable conclusions when they stated:

          “AFIP experts utilized an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (an instrument used to detect the presence of otherwise-unseen chemicals through characteristic wavelengths of X-ray light) to confirm the previously unidentifiable substance as silica.”

          I realize neither yourself nor the FBI have any desire for NAS to read the AFIP report and perform their own calculations – since the conlusions will cause them great discomfort. Nor do you want them to obtain copies of the other studies revealing silicon concentration in all the powders.

          But, as you will find out in February – that’s exactly what they did.

        • DXer said

          Anonymous Scientist and others are simply overly focused on floatability (“hang-time”) as being the only focus of bioweaponeering when the dual purpose process of micro-encapsulation is also involved –- when viability, lethality in the lungs, acid resistance, resistance to ultra violet light, ease of manufacture are examples of other considerations that bioweaponeers consider.

          Kathryn Crockett, Ken Alibek’s assistant, in her thesis advised by Dr. Alibek and Dr. Patrick (the bioweaponeer who advised the FBI), writes: “The US and Soviet Union, however, ” she explains, “used this technique in their biological weapons programs for pathogens that were not stable in aerosol form… Since spores have hardy shells that provide the same protection as encapsulation would, there is no need to cover them with a polymer.“ She explains that one “possible explanation is that the spore was in fact encapsulated but not for protective purpose. Encapsulation also reduces the need for milling when producing a dry formulation.” She wrote: “If the perpetrator was knowledgeable of the use of encapsulation for this purpose, then he or she may have employed it because sophisticated equipment was not at his disposal.”

          But, as you say Ed, Dr. Ivins would not have deliberately added silicon. Yet it appears the experts agree from the data that silicon was deliberately added.

  55. Anonymous said

    In April 2002 information that an “unusual chemical” had been found
    coating the attack powders was provided by senior government officials to
    Newsweek, CNN and the Washington Post. Later on it was revealed by the FBI
    that this “unusual chemical” was “polymerized glass”.

    http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/sophisticatedstrainanthrax.html
    Source: Newsweek, April 8, 2002.

    INVESTIGATIONS: A Sophisticated Strain of Anthrax
    by Mark Hosenball, John Barry and Daniel Klaidman
    “Government sources tell NEWSWEEK that the secret new analysis shows anthrax
    found in a letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick
    Leahy was ground to a microscopic fineness not achieved by U.S.
    biological-weapons experts. The Leahy anthrax – mailed in an envelope that

    was recovered unopened from a Washington post office last November – also
    was coated with a chemical compound unknown to experts who have worked in
    the field for years; the coating matches no known anthrax samples ever
    recovered from biological-weapons producers anywhere in the world, including
    Iraq and the former Soviet Union. The combination of the intense milling of
    the bacteria and the unusual coating produced an anthrax powder so fine and
    fluffy that individually coated anthrax spores were found in the Leahy
    envelope, something that U.S. bioweapons experts had never seen.”

    http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/anthraxpowdernotroutine.html
    Source: Washington Post, April 9, 2002.

    Powder Used in Anthrax Attacks ‘Was Not Routine’
    By Joby Warrick, Washington Post Staff Writer
    “Whoever concocted the wispy white powder used in last fall’s anthrax
    attacks followed a recipe markedly different from the ones commonly used by
    scientists in the United States or any other country known to have
    biological weapons, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

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

    The powder’s formulation “was not routine,” said one law enforcement
    official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Somebody had to have
    special knowledge and experience to do this,” the official said.”

    http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/unusualcoating.html
    Source: CNN, April 11, 2002.

    Official: Unusual coating in anthrax mailings
    >From Kelli Arena, CNN Washington Bureau

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

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

    Previously, officials had reported that the coating on the anthrax included
    silica, which helped the spores not to clump.”

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/World-s-Top-Anthrax-Expert-by-George-Washington-080909-527.html
    “Apparently, the spores were coated with a polyglass which tightly bound
    hydrophilic silica to each particle. That’s what was briefed (according to
    one of my former weapons inspectors at the United Nations Special
    Commission) by the FBI to the German Foreign Ministry at the time.”

    2.1: What laboratory results were performed in order for the FBI to conclude
    that “polymerized glass” was individually coating the spores?
    2.2: The complete set of laboratory data, including any and all
    spectroscopic results, that led to this conclusion needs to be published in
    order for independent experts in the chemistry of silanes, siloxanes and
    polysiloxanes to assess the conclusion that polymerized glass was present as
    a spore coating.

    (3) Quantitative elemental silicon analysis results released by the FBI: FBI
    lab director Dr Hassell made the following statement to the National Academy
    of Science in July of 2009:
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/fbi-assistant-director-hassell-statement-to-nas-7-30-09.pdf
    “There has been a great deal written regarding the presence of silicon in
    the samples and the location of that silicon. The FBI Laboratory used
    Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) to
    quantify silicon, as well as other elements, in the Leahy letter spore
    powder. The results indicated the Leahy spores contained 1.45% by weight.
    The New York Post letter spore powder was qualitatively analyzed using

    ICP-OES and was found to have Silicon present in the sample. However, the
    limited quantity of recovered material precluded a reliable numerical
    measurement of any elements present within this powder. Insufficient
    quantities of both the Daschle and Brokaw letters spore powders precluded
    the analysis of these samples using this elemental analysis technique.”

    3.1: What is the minimum amount of sample needed to perform accurate
    quantitative elemental analysis on spore samples?
    3.2: All of the FBI’s ICP-OES data for all of the spore powders they
    measured needs to be released and published for independent verification by
    experts in analytical chemistry.

    (4) Role of Pacific Northwest National Labs in the Amerithrax investigation:
    In his slide presentation to NAS in July 2008, FBI lab director Dr Hassell
    acknowledged the involvement of Pacific Northwest National Labs.
    This can be seen in slide 14 here:
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/fbi-slides-d-christian-hassell-%EF%BB%BFscientific-approaches-to-the-2001-anthrax-letters-investigation/

    4.1: What role did Pacific Northwest National Labs serve in the Amerithrax
    investigation?

    Pacific Northwest Labs demonstrated in 2005 that accurate quantitative
    Elemental Analysis can be performed on bacillus spores with samples as small
    as one nanogram. The Pacific Northwest paper on this technique can be seen
    here:
    Differentiation of Spores of Bacillus subtilis Grown in Different Media by
    Elemental Characterization Using Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass
    Spectrometry, John B. Cliff, Kristin H. Jarman, Nancy B. Valentine, Steven
    L. Golledge, Daniel J. Gaspar, David S. Wunschel, and Karen L. Wahl, Applied
    and Environmental Microbiology, November 2005, p. 6524-6530, Vol. 71, No. 11
    http://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/full/71/11/6524?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=subtilis&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=630&resourcetype=HWFIG

    4.2: Did Pacific Northwest National Labs determine the elemental quantities
    of silicon and other elements in the attack powders? What was the quantity
    of silicon they determined for each powder?

    • Anonymous said

      The lab reports asked for above may be the ones the FBI have now handed over. If they have, prepare for an even more scathing report from NAS.

  56. BugMaster said

    Let us also note that the FBI seems to be convinced (based on what, 2 images never revealed obtained by Dr. Michael that show an endospore containing silica?) that none of the silica is the result of ANY post-production process.

    It seems quite logical that this one area where the FBI was not in agreement with the draft NAS report.

    There is no doubt that under normal growth conditions, trace amounts of silica can be incorporated into the spore coat.

    So the FBI wants to conclude that such trace accumulation is the ONLY explanation for the silica signature, and there could not have possibly been any post-production process that added additional silica?

    Could additional silica be the result of the use of a sucrose-gradient post-production process? Could it be the result of additional trace amounts of silica being released from silicon-containing material the spores were in contact with (silicon tubing, etc)? Silicon-based antifoam? What about the use of ***********?

    They really want to continue to beat the drum that none of the silica was the result of some elaborate process involving coating the spores with polyglass, or anything akin to the cold war weaponization procedures.

    So these procedures they insist are ruled out are the only possible post-production mechanism where additional silica could be introduced?

    No wonder the FBI was unhappy with the NAS reports.

    That’s the problem with scientists, they tend to look for reasons rather than go by assumptions.

    • Anonymous said

      “All sorts of tests were done to see if some post-production process would add silicon to spore coats. Sandia tested some of them.”

      That is fantasy. There has NEVER been any published information that anything other than dissolved SiO2 was tried – and that was done by Livermore.

      All Sandia ever said was that spores produced using silicone antifoam did not produce a level seen in the attack spores.

      Asides from that, we have pictorial evidence that bacillus anthracis spores treated with a siolxane called repelcote produce spores that look just like normal spores only they have massive amounts of SiO2 on the spore coat. That evidence has thus far been ignored by the FBI, as far as we are aware.

      • Roberto said

        I’m not totally sure why it ultimately matters anyway if any of the detected trace elements were accidental or not. It wouldn’t rule out any clandestine anthrax factory (or kitchen, if you prefer) until you found the right one – which they can’t prove that they have. It does not support nor does it preclude Ivins’ guilt that I can tell. (or rather it does so only if you buy into a particular set of assumptions; which, as far as I can tell are unsupported by any publicly established facts)

        I recall the big silica media-created gotcha was that it meant that Iraq (or similar) operation was behind the powder. I didn’t think it meant anything then and I still don’t think it means anything, one way or the other. Whoever did this apparently thought up a new way of doing business – which has yet to be reproduced.

        Silica on the anthrax is like a DNA sample at a murder scene… it’s a double-edged piece of evidence. I.E., you found someone else’s DNA at the scene, therefore: I didn’t do it!

        • Roberto said

          Caveat – silica matters to the person actually doing the research, I’m referring above to people reading the news and speculating about it.

        • Roberto said

          I understand about silicon, re:weaponization (or rather, I get what you mean about it… i’m not a microchemist). Surely the silicon being added deliberately would only point to a regular-sophisticated weaponization process! After all, a super-sophisticated process would use a unique process to make finger-pointing that much more difficult, or in fact, make the finger point the wrong way. Leaving fingerprints behind is not a mark of sophistication!

          But I get your point, silicon is the smoke from the grassy knoll.

          I do believe that the seemingly non-uniform nature of the enveloped powders suggests small-scale production. But at the same time, this neither rules out nor suggests actions by government agents of any stripe – agents who may be acting with or without consent of their bosses. It (the known nature of the powders) just doesn’t further any arguments without more evidence.

    • BugMaster said

      “The only conditions left untested seem to be the conditions under which spores form in nature.”

      Or other “conditions” under which, for obvious reasons, the FBI wouldn’t be able to disclose publically.

  57. Anonymous said

    Yes, siloxane is the most obvious silicon containg additive that would give rise to the observed silicon content – something that the NAS, as a body of scientists, will not have overlooked.

    The scenario that unfolded seems to the following.

    The FBI contracted Livermore Labs with a work statement that said something like “We want you to make spores under normal conditions with normal reagents and test for silicon content”.

    None of the chemicals used to make spores contain any deliberate silicon – but might contain in the range 1-100ppm silicon by accident. Thus they got results like spores that contain 0.001% silicon.

    Next they deliberately spiked the water with saturated SiO2 – that consisted of taking water and boiling it in silica particles – to dissolve some SiO2. But SiO2 is not very soluble in water – so they were only able to get spores containing 0.01% silicon – but even that was deliberate.

    In one case they got 0.3% silicon but in this case some SiO2 had actually precipitated on the spore outside.

    So – the FBI’s statement of work to Livermore did not allow then to go beyond scenarios that were “plausibly accidental”. This is not how scientists generally work – they were totally constrained to one particular silicon containg species – SiO2. There are thousands more. But going beyond SiO2 means going beyond plausibly accidental and immediately strikes down the present FBI prosecution narrative.

    This is the most liekly reason the FBI did not like the first NAS report. Because NAS likely pointed out the absurdity of not considering siloxanes – the obvious cause of a high silicon concentration.

    • Anonymous said

      page 513:

      “Thus if the estimates silicon concentrations in the Amerithrax spores are correct, they are not consistent with our current understanding of silica deposition or those materials must have indeed been produced under an unusual set of conditions. If the latter were true, the silica evidence might provide a significant bound on the credible growth and production scenarios that would be consistent with the prosecution narrative in this case.”

      ————————————
      http://www.amazon.com/reader/0123820065?_encoding=UTF8&query=lead#reader_0123820065

      page 516:
      “In the years after this was written, it became apparent that there were in fact, fundamental issues in inferential validation of sample matching protocols for biological agents. This concern arose from the National Research Council’s report on bullet lead analysis…………..”

      • Anonymous said

        What Dr Velsko is saying is written in very plain English:
        “If the latter were true, the silica evidence might provide a significant bound on the credible growth and production scenarios that would be consistent with the prosecution narrative in this case.”

        The arguments about “what percentage of spores contained silicon” are bogus junk science meant to distract from the real issue of “weight percentage”.

        Joe Michael clearly states in his latest Microbial Forensics chapter (which incidentally does NOT now claim that the silicon is “naturally occurring”) that his technique has a THRESHOLD for detecting silicon in a spore of 0.1%. Thus, to say that some spores contain no silicon is bogus.

        The Livermore folks can detect MUCH SMALLER concentrations that 0.1%. They can detect down to 0.0001% – and they detected some level of silicon in every spore they ever made.

        You, as usual, are talking nonsense. Try sticking to your fantasies about Bruce Ivins directing 6-year old boys to write the anthrax letters.

      • BugMaster said

        “..his technique has a THRESHOLD for detecting silicon in a spore of 0.1%. Thus, to say that some spores contain no silicon is bogus.”

        I’ve been trying to explain to Ed that you can’t detect zero for years.

        He still refuses to get it!

        • Anonymous said

          “I’ve been trying to explain to Ed that you can’t detect zero for years.”

          No doubt he will continue to ignore the explicit statement in plain English in Joe Michael’s article that his threshold for Si detection was 0.1%.

  58. Old Atlantic said

    Ed Lake has stressed that Dr. Ezzell said it was possible that Ivins could do it. This should be clarified as more like its a known unknown to use Rumsfeld categories.

    It is not known that Ivins could have produced the numerical results in the letter anthrax until it is reproduced by US science. Thus at this stage, its a known unknown.

    However, given that it can’t be reproduced after 10 years by US science indicates its likely non-US science sponsored by a long term research program of another country.

    • Anonymous said

      “Nonsense. It’s not a “given” that it hasn’t been reproduced.”

      Sorry to spoil your fantasies – but it’s already ESTABLISHED FACT that the silicon has not been reproduced by anything plausibly accidental.

      page 513:

      “Thus if the estimates silicon concentrations in the Amerithrax spores are correct, they are not consistent with our current understanding of silica deposition or those materials must have indeed been produced under an unusual set of conditions. If the latter were true, the silica evidence might provide a significant bound on the credible growth and production scenarios that would be consistent with the prosecution narrative in this case.”

      If you actually understood science you would read Velsko’s detailed studies concerning the partition coefficients of SiO2 and no-role from any Fe mechanism in the attack spores. But you don’t understand anything about science.

      You are here as a shill:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill
      “Shill” can also be used pejoratively to describe a critic who appears either all-too-eager to heap glowing praise upon mediocre offerings, or who acts as an apologist for glaring flaws.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Are you saying Ivins put the bacillus into soil prior to sporulation? Then he let them sporulate in soil? Did he centrifuge after that? This is for NY Post letters as well?

      Which night on the weekend of Friday Sep 14 2001 to Sunday Sep 16 2001 did he put the anthrax into soil? Which night did he centrifuge the soil?

      • BugMaster said

        “spores are normally formed in soil”?

        That’s funny, I thought that in the case of anthrax, they formed in the decomposing carcass of their victim.

        And actually, Ed, as you pointed out some time ago, the bioavailability of silica would be greater in the dead animal than in the soil.

        Found those b. anthracis silica utilization genes yet, Ed?

      • Old Atlantic said

        What do you believe Ivins did to put the silicon into the anthrax? Also please post in a new box.

  59. Old Atlantic said

    If one of the outstanding issues is silicon levels being too high, then that should be made public immediately for public comment.

    Siloxane has been suggested as an additive by several on this blog, possibly Bugmaster I am not sure and at least one anonymous, or perhaps Anonymouse I am not sure. I believe this was at the post spore production stage.

    Has this been tried? It can be tried by the FBI between now and the mid January meeting if it has not been.

    If the silicon levels can’t be reproduced by US science 10 years after 9/11, then it would imply its the product of some other country’s science. The first on that list would be Russia. That know-how could have spread to others in Central or South Asia.

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