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

* the DIA re-investigates the FBI’s failed case

Posted by DXer on February 2, 2011

the opening scene of Lew Weinstein’s novel




* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

26 Responses to “* the DIA re-investigates the FBI’s failed case”

  1. DXer said

    Ali Al-Timimi came to share a suite with Ken Alibek and Charles Bailey. Didn’t Dr. Bailey, who had been a senior intelligence officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency (the head biothreat analyst) and a Battelle consultant, realize that Ali Al-Timimi had never been properly vetted? Did he not know that Ali would speak alongside the blind sheik’s son — whose detention had prompted Ayman Zawahiri to use anthrax against US targets in retaliation for the rendering of senior EIJ leaders? (The blind sheik was also the spiritual leader for EIJ, as well as the IG head). Did he not know in the Summer of 2001 Ali was speaking alongside Bilal Philips who has explained that he would recruit members of the US Army to jihad? (Bilal was Ali’s mentor). Did he not know that Ayman Zawahiri was going to use the cover of charities and universities?

    Why should we blame the FBI when they came to the party after the cake had been dropped upside down on the floor. Why isn’t the Amerithrax mess the DIA’s fault? And most of all DARPA’s fault. I can prove the DIA knew the identity of the mailer by 2003 through extensive correspondence.

    Dr. Alibek told me in 2003 that he knew Ali was a hard-liner and that the FBI suspected him of being involved in the anthrax mailings.

    But why was Ali ever even allowed access to the most diverse microbiological inventory in the world and share an in-box with the top DARPA-funded researchers?

    GMU refused to provide any documents under FOIA because I was not a Virginia resident.

    I guess my point would be that we don’t have time or good enough reason to find fault. It is just urgent that we get the analysis right and move on.

    But to summarize: It was the FBI who was re-investigating the DIA’s failed case — not the other way around.

  2. DXer said

    The book, which also recounts his first tour as Pentagon chief under Gerald Ford, begins with Rumsfeld’s 1983 trip to Baghdad as Ronald Reagan’s envoy. “It seems unnatural,” Saddam told him during a two-hour meeting, “to have a whole generation of Iraqis growing up knowing little about America and a whole generation of Americans growing up knowing little about Iraq.” Rumsfeld had uttered the same words the night before to the Iraqi dictator’s aide, Tariq Aziz, and wondered whether the room had been bugged. …

    “Nearly two decades later, in the rubble of 9/11, Rumsfeld took grim note when Saddam gloated that “the United States reaps the thorns its rulers have planted in the world.”

    Comment: This was the year Tariq Aziz arranged for a purchase of 100 TOW-equipped combat helicopters from Hughes Helicopter, with quick release pesticide mechanism, to be sold to the Agriculture Ministry. See indictment of Sarkis Soghanalian and Sarkis interview. Tariq Aziz in a press conference reported in the Washington Post said they were for cropdusting missions. It was at the height of the Iraq-Iran war. I interviewed the DIA person and he denied knowing that the helicopters were equipped with TOW, a US-controlled item. Perhaps Rumsfeld and Prince Bandar were just concerned with supporting Iraqi agriculture.

    Lew in his fictional account says DIA reinvestigates Amerithrax. But wasn’t it DIA that dropped the ball and allowed the infiltration at US Center for Biodefense at GMU? Won’t the CIA have to clean up the DIA and FBI’s mess?

  3. Old Atlantic said


    When I open the pages of your text in another window the text is either too small when first opened or becomes giant when maximized. I can then only see part of each line on the screen without having to scroll to the right and left.

    I keep my browser window with a large amplification so that I can see it from several feet away.

  4. DXer said

    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, at last report, 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.”

    As I vaguely recall, Dr. Bailey was head of DIA biothreat assessment. 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.

  5. DXer said

    Dahab was the name of the Cairo Medical School dropout trained to recruit US operatives and make booby-trapped letters (1989-1998) .

    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. Did the former Zawahiri associate supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins know schoolmate Dahab?

    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

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

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

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

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

        He got admonished by the unnamed but official spokesman for the Vanguards organization. This other 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 recurrent references to Abdel-Rahman in the tape.

        • DXer said

          Totally aside both the Hippocratic Oath and the assumptions of those unschooled in these matters as irrelevant, the laws of jihad required a 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-Kuwait, who now has had a change of heart, 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).

    • DXer said

      As explained by author Peter Lance in Triple Cross, after the 1998 embassy bombings, a ten-member federal team secretly entered the California residence of Ali Mohamed, Zawahiri’s former head of intelligence. They copied Mohamed’s hard drives and removed a series of CD-ROM and floppy disks. A memo titled “Cocktail” appeared to be a draft manual on sleeper cell structure.

      The file on cell structure read in part:
      “Every member knows how to do everything.
      Every member has a legal job as a cover (Student, worker, trade).
      Safety is the main concern, so the contingency plan is very important. Before working on the target you have (to) specify a rally point to meet in case of separation for any reason.
      The communications between the different groups are conducted through the dead drop only.
      Each group does not know anything about the other group, even Majmouat (the word means “the collected” or “the collection”). Al-qeyada does not know how many group(s) under its leadership. Only the group know each other because the members of one group only working with each other.”

      Mohammad Hasan Khalil al-Hakim took on Ali Mohammed’s role. His alias is easier to remember — Abu Jihad al-Masri. Al Masri means the Egyptian. Also known as Al-Hukaymah, he was the author of the description of the Amerithrax investigation in 2002. Born in 1961, Abu Jihad al-Masri joined the Egyptian Islamic Group in 1979. He was arrested in 1981 after Sadat’s assassination. He once was arrested alongside the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman. Hukaymah is reportedly connected to the blind sheikh’s successor Taha, the Islamic Group head who was in close touch in 1999 and 2000 with the NY-based US postal employee Sattar, the blind sheik’s “surrogate.”. Al-Hukaymah dedicated the treatise “[t]o the pious and the hidden who are not known when they come and who are not missed when they disappear — To those whom their God will answer when they pray to Him. To all the eyes that are vigilant late at night to bring victory to this religion.”

      The introduction of the 152-page book starts:

      “The Manhattan raid led to a radical change in the perception of American Security. After the northern half of the continent had been isolated from the rest of the world and its threats by two oceans, it now came from inside. The surprise hit the symbols of American power in its economic and security dimensions.”

      Published at al-Maqreze Center for Historical Studies website ( by the one-time EIJ shura member al-Sibai, the section on the anthrax investigation appears to have been written in 2002.
      “The Anthrax Scandal:
      Over many months, there was an excited search for the person responsible for the worst biological terror attack on American soil. Six letters sent by mail to Leahy, Daschle, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, The New York Post and the offices of the National Enquirer in Florida, led to the sickening of 18 people and five deaths. The crime was especially scary because anthrax, which is a complex powder that scatters in the atmosphere, had spilled from the envelopes and spread through parts of the mail system and contaminated a Senate building. One year later, the main post office in Washington had not yet opened.
      The FBI is under great pressure to close this case, and the anthrax criminal is supposed to be alive and free. Two members of the Senate have asked to receive regular reports about this investigation from the FBI, and they have become increasingly impatient.”

      After a lengthy discussion of the focus on Hatfill, the author explains,

      “Until the investigators find material evidence that connects a person to the crime, they are forced to speculate about the motives and methods of the criminal. They are still casting a wide net. Law enforcement sources say they have issued hundreds of subpoenas and they are analyzing thousands of documents in search of new evidence.

      The evidence may be small and unseen – sweat or an odor on an envelope – but that is all that they need in order to attract the dogs.”

      Al-Hukaymah pointed to the Aldrich Ames incident and the FBI’s inability to find the perpetrator of the anthrax mailings as evidence that U.S intelligence can be defeated. Aldrich Ames, head of counterintelligence relating to the Russians, had a different rolex for different days of the week. He drove a new jaguar to work. Aldrich told the CIA that his money came from his wife’s foreign inheritance, and the CIA never required meaningful corroboration. So we should not be that surprised when someone known, to borrow Dr. Alibek’s description to me, as an “Islamic hardliner,” is given access to Center for Biodefense and ATCC facilities, to include a program funded by DARPA’s $13 million during the relevant period. Perhaps the focus should not be on more money for biodefense but on doing a better job at maintaining security. Perhaps focus should be on avoiding proliferation of know-how.

      Al-Hukaymah reportedly was Ayman’s connection to Mamdouh Ismail, an Egyptian defense attorney and a former member of “the Jihad group” who since the 1980’s has represented various Egyptians accused of terrorism offenses in Egypt. Mamdouh Ismail represented al-Nashar, the biochemist who was an expert on polymerization and had a key to the 7/7 bomber’s flat. Ismail was one of several hundred rounded up following the assassination of Anwar al-Sadat in 1981. He served three years. He represented Ayman Zawahiri’s family in connection with the rendition and detention of Ayman’s brother Muhammad in the Spring of 1999. Ismail was arrested on March 29, 2007.

      In 1999, Ismail was refused permission to establish an Islamist political party with the help of fellow lawyer attorney al-Zayat. After the blind sheik said in March 1999 that an attempt through a political party should not be attempted, Al-Zayat and Mamdouh Ismail deferred and Attorney Ismail has publicly objected to a reconciliation between Cairo and Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The two had worked with EIJ shura member al-Sibai before he took refuge in the UK. Mamdouh Ismail now is accused of complicity in an “Egyptian project” of al-Qaeda, taking his orders from Ayman al-Zawahiri via al-Qaeda propaganda chief al-Hukaymah and the UK-based EIJ publicist Hani al-Sibai. Both al-Hukaymah and Al-Sibai deny the charge. Al Sibai considers himself historian of the movement and published his diaries in Al Hayat in 2004. He is at al-Maqreze Center for Historical Studies website that published the treatise that included the discussion of Amerithrax.

      Al-Hukaymah was apparently killed at the end of last month in a missile strike in late October 2008. Cairo-based IANA writer Kamal Habib says that the man was a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad that had assassinated Sadat but was part of a second generation, not part of the first generation responsible for the assassination. Abu Jihad al-Masri was said by US authorities to operate in Iran as the head of media and propaganda for al-Qaeda, and “may also be the Chief of External Operations for al Qaeda”.

      Al-Hukaymah appeared in an August 2006 as-Sahab (al-Qaeda) video to announce the merger of al-Qaeda with part of the Egyptian Islamic Group. Ayman al-Zawahiri introduces him. The video claims that al-Hukaymah joined al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya in 1979 and was arrested in connection with the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Al Sadat in 1981, and subsequently rearrested several times in various countries. Zawahiri claims in that video that Muhammad al-Islambouli (brother of assassin Khalid al-Islambouli) had joined al-Qaeda with al-Hukaymah.

      In addition to the analysis of the American intelligence community, the next month he wrote a short piece entitled Towards A New Strategy in Resisting the Occupier that appeared on a jihadist website. Abu Jihad Al-Masri emphasized the need to consider public opinion in planning operations.

      After all, the group’s real goal is the overthrow of Egypt.

      • 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 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-Aulaqi 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.

        “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

          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.”

          In July 2003, a Kuwaiti minister announced that the Iranian government had offered to extradite Abu Ghaith to Kuwait, but that Kuwait had refused the offer. Most recently, al-Kuwait has come forward explaining that Bin Laden’s and Zawahiri strategic vision has proved a failure.

          From where Dr. Ayman is sitting, as events unfold in Cairo, he respectfully disagrees — he views his vision as being realized.

  6. DXer said

    The anthrax letters were “written in language you can understand.”

    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:


    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: 


    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.

    • DXer said

      Given the importance of knowing your enemy, it is important to walk in his shoes and come to know the man, especially given the events this week in Cairo. It’s part of what is known as “Red Teaming.” Tenet in his memoirs said that after 9/11, they set up a small team of analysts — he wanted them not to think just “out of the box.” He wanted them to do their thinking from an entirely different zip code. It was called the “red cell.”

      Al-Zawahiri’s family has its roots in a small town in Saudi Arabia “where the first battle between Prophet Muhammad and the infidels was fought and won by the Prophet.” With 9/11 and the anthrax mailings, he essentially is seeking to recreate the taking of Mecca by a small band. Al-Zawahiri’s great grandfather came to the Nile Delta in the 1860s to a city where there is a mosque that still bears his name. His grandfather on his mother’s side was president of Cairo University and the Egyptian ambassador to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. His grandfather was known for being pious and nicknamed “the devout ambassador.” Two of Ayman’s sisters are on the faculty at Cairo University Medical School. His sister Heba is a professor of pharmacology who researches antimicrobials. His uncle was the Dean of Cairo’s medical school at one point. His father, who passed away in 1995, was Professor of Pharmacy. Including in-laws, he has 40 doctors of various sorts in his family.

      Born June 1, 1951, he grew up in Cairo’s Al-Ma’adi neighborhood. He graduated cum laude from Cairo University’s medical school in 1974 with an MD degree. He received a master’s degree in surgery in 1978 and was married the next year to Izzat Ahmad Nuwair who had graduated with a degree in philosophy from Cairo University. His wife and children were killed in a bombing raid in Afghanistan and an obituary mourning their loss appeared in Cairo. He has a younger brother Hassan, an engineer, and had an older brother Muhammad. (Muhammad was in Al Qaeda until being extradited to Egypt pursuant to a death sentence imposed in the “Albanian returnees” case; Hassan was once extradited but released). Without his family, Zawahiri is a fanatic guided only by his faith and his literal interpretation of a book written many years ago that he memorized as a child.

      Al Qaeda’s spymaster al-Hakaymah wrote “The History of the Jihadist Movements in Egypt.” When asked why Al-Zawahiri started his group, he explained that Al Zawahiri thought of Sayyid Qutb as a coroner who dissects a body with a high degree of professionalism and talent that suits someone who knows it inside out. In his youth, Zawahiri was influenced by Sayyid Qutb, one of the spiritual leaders of Islamic religious groups. After a two year stay in the United States where Qutb gained a contempt for American culture, the secular writer Qutb returned to his religious roots and wrote extensively supporting violence against Christians and Jews, and even muslim leaders deemed infidel. The introduction of Milestones linked at IANA’s Islamway website states: “I have written Milestones for this vanguard, which I consider to be a waiting reality about to be materialized.” Zawahiri traces the origin of the modern islamist movement to the hanging of Qutb in 1966. It was Sayyid Qutb’s brother, Muhammad, who supervised the research of the masters thesis of Saudi dissident sheik Safar Al-Hawali.

      Ayman and his young colleagues would go to the Al-Kikhya mosque in Abidin area in Cairo and read books from the Salafist library at the mosque, such as books by Ibn Taymiyah, whose religious rulings greatly influenced him. The group felt ashamed by Egypt’s defeat in the 1967 war with Israel and attributed the defeat to Egypt’s failure to follow Shariah rule.

      George Mason University microbiology grad student Al-Timimi years later would invoke both Sayyid Qutb and Ibn Taymiyah in an eloquent speech upon his indictment for sedition. Muhammad Qutb spoke alongside GMU microbiology graduate Al-Timimi at the 1993 conference along with the blind sheik’s son Mohammad Abdel-Rahman (from Afghanistan). Former EIJ member and current Cairo activist Gamal Sultan was also a speaker. Al-Hawali was Al-Timimi’s religious mentor at university.

      In 1968, Zawahiri’s group in high school brought together Nabil al-Bura’i, Ismail Tantawi, Sayyid Imam and others. They were all in the last year of high school in the Cairo suburb of Maadi. Sayyid Imam, who issued revisions in November 2007, was thought to be more charismatic than Ayman, who tended to be shy.

      Zawahiri later would form a military wing under the guidance of Al-Qamari, an Egyptian army officer. Zawahiri formed his first cell from students at Maadi High school and other schools. By 1974, the year he graduated from medical school, it had 40 members. Ayman deemed infiltrating the military the most effective and least costly means of seizing power. Known for their extreme secrecy, the group avoided growing beards like most Islamists and were thus known as “the shaven beards.” Ayman’s friend Kamal Habib, who later would contribute to the quarterly journal of the Ann Arbor-based Islamic Assembly of North America, explained to CNN through a translator: “We thought at the time that the goal to apply the laws of Islam can’t be achieved with ways other than violence.” It would remain Zawahiri’s tactic to recruit members of the Egyptian army because of their training and expertise. After graduating medical school in 1974, he served three years as a surgeon in the Egyptian Army, at a base outside Cairo, before establishing a clinic at the same duplex he shared with his parents. He got his masters in surgery in 1978 based on book learning, according to his mentor Sayyid Imam. At a Saudi clinic, Sayyid Imam reports that he needed to cover for Ayman’s lack of clinical experience.

      During the 1975-1979 period, radical but not revolutionary study groups spread quickly through the Cairo, Ayn Shams and al-Azhar universities and elsewhere. Al-Jihad began as such a student organization. The student groups were one of the main targets of Sadat’s crackdown in 1979. Hundreds were arrested and their campus groups dissolved. The revolutionary ideas of Qutb influenced these student groups, which were known as jam’iyat. Courses of study in Egyptian universities are narrow, preventing many from acquiring a liberal education as they acquired technical skills. Thus, many fundamentalists are highly educated in technical fields but do not have a broader educational background. Life as a student in Egypt is hard and job prospects are poor. In the late 1970s, an estimated 85% of al-Jihad’s members were students.

      At Cairo Medical School, while a postgraduate, Ayman spoke fervently to members of Islamic Group, which operated openly within the school and had great influence among the students. A former student there, Tawfiq Hamid, explains that Jamaah Islamiyah, then approved by both the Egyptian government and the university, was not classified as a terrorist organization until a few years later. The group “built a small prayer room in our medical school that later developed into a mosque with an associated library.” He reports that “The mosque was behind the physiology and biochemistry departments, and members of Jamaah came there daily before science classes to lecture us on Islam. They warned us about the punishments awaiting us after death if we did not follow Islam strictly and were effective in advancing Islamism among many of the students, including me. He continued: “Our fear of being punished after death was exacerbated by our work in the cadaver room, where we dissected dead bodies. Seeing death regularly during anatomy and physiology courses made us feel that the life of this world was meaningless compared to ‘real’ life after death.”

      One of Dr. Hamid’s medical schoolmates and childhood friends was Tarek Hamouda, who Bruce Ivins supplied virulent Ames for a DARPA project on nanoemulsions. Dr. Hamouda was in the same class as Dr. Hamid’s older brother, and they graduated in December 1982. Hamouda as a child would go with both Hamid brothers to the comic store when he visited from Khartoum, Sudan, where his mother was an accounting professor. The older brother, an MD in St. Louis, role model. The harshest edicts of the koranic verses were to be followed and criticism of those verses was punishable by death. Dr. Hamid explains: “I passed through three psychological stages to reach this level of comfort with death: hatred of non-Muslims or dissenting Muslims, suppression of my conscience, and acceptance of violence in the service of Allah.”

      In 1979, while working at a Muslim Brotherhood clinic, Al-Zawahiri was asked if he wanted to go to Afghanistan and he jumped at the opportunity. Even then, Afghanistan represented a possible secure base from which to wage jihad. He would later write: “It is as if 100 years were added to my life when I came to Afghanistan.” He spent 4 months in Peshawar, Pakistan.

      Three hundred al-Jihad activists were arrested after Sadat’s assassination. Almost all of those arrested were between the ages of 20 and 28. Most were medical, law or pharmacy students at either the Universities of Asyut or al-Minya. Of those prosecuted for Sadat’s assassination, five were sentenced to life, twelve were given long prison terms and two were acquitted, including the blind sheik, who had purported to authorize the assassination on the basis of Islamic doctrine. According to Professor Fawwaz Gerges, who conducted extensive interviews with Mr. Habib, IANA writer Kamal Habib played a key operational role in the assassination of Anwar Sadat.

      Zawahiri was imprisoned for a few years after Sadat’s assassination in 1981 and allegedly tortured. Attorney Al-Zayat maintains that after his arrest in connection with the murder of President Sadat, Al-Zawahiri was tortured by the Egyptian police, and disclosed where his close friend and ally Al-Qamari was hiding. Zawahiri has burned with bitterness over the humiliation ever since. In the long run, torture merely tends to lead to more terrorism. “They don’t seem to understand the cult of pain they’re creating,” al-Zayat has said. After being released from prison in 1984, he went to Saudi Arabia in 1986, returning to Pakistan by the next year.

      One co-defendant who said of him: “While in prison, I used to meet him in court during the trial sessions. He is a very calm person and polite and has more of a strategic thought than being an intellectual or the owner of jurisprudence interpretations or even a student in search of knowledge.” Attorney al-Zayyat, who was in prison for three years along with Ayman, had a similar view. Even back then, Zawahiri placed great weight on the religious authority of the blind sheikh, Abdel-Rahman.

      A powerful 5 minute excerpt from the PBS/Frontline, “Looking for Answers” shows Zawahiri delivering an impassioned speech (in English) from jail. His statement sheds light on the motive underlying the anthrax mailings (and the reason the two dates of mailing were chosen). The choice of targets related to US appropriations to Egypt and Israel, the extradition or “rendering” of Egyptian Islamic Jihad members pursuant to the “Leahy Law,” retaliation for the detention and alleged mistreatment of the Blind Sheikh and others, and what Ayman views as “lies” about these issues in the media. The two mailing dates were (1) the signing of the agreement between Egypt and Israel and (2) the assassination of Sadat for signing the agreement. The choice of mailing dates was not surprising when one realizes that the subject of the December 4, 1998 Presidential Daily Brief to President Clinton was Islambouli, the brother of Sadat’s assassin. The PDB described the plan to attack the US using aircraft and other means. Islambouli was part of a cell with Khalid Mohammed who not only led the “planes operation,” but would come to lead the effort to attack the US with weaponized anthrax upon Atef’s death in November 2001.

      Al-Zayyat writes of Ayman:

      “I visited him in the Ibn al-Nafees hospital, where he was working in Jeddah. He looked very sorrowful. The scars left on his body from indescribable torture he suffered caused him no more pain, but his heart still ached from it.”
      “The torture he suffered was not proportionate to his comparatively minor role in the assassination of Sadat. The authorities were particularly harsh with him not because of his deeds, but because of his connections. They discovered after arresting him that he was in contact with a number of officers from the Egyptian Armed Forces. These included the martyr ‘Esam al-Qamari, an Armed Forces officer. Qamari fled from the army when, in March 1981, the authorities discovered his Islamist orientations.

      Al-Zayyat continues:

      “Despite all that he had suffered physically, what was really painful to Zawahiri was that, under the pain of torture, he was forced to testify against his fellow members in the case against ‘Esam al-Qamari and other officers. Zawahiri was taken from the Tora prison to the Higher Military Court to give testimony against other jihadi members from the army. Under these conditions, he admitted that they formed a movement inside the army to topple the regime and institute an Islamic government.”

      After he was arrested on October 15, 1981, Zawahiri informed the authorities of Qamari’s whereabouts. He had taken a refuge in a small mosque where he used to pray and meet Zawahiri and other members of the group. It was this painful memory which was at the root of Zawahiri’s suffering, and which prompted him to leave Egypt for Saudi Arabia. He stayed there until he left for Afghanistan in 1987. During the three years following his arrival in Afghanistan, his leadership among jihadi Islamists became more prominent, as he worked to regroup the disoriented group members.

      Zawahiri left Egypt in late 1985 after he filed a lawsuit and obtained a stay of a decision of the minister of interior banning his travel. He spent a year working at a medical clinic in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Al-Zawahiri started the Islamic Jihad Bureau in 1987. He published a monthly magazine called “al-Fath” [conquest]. When Bin Laden’s spiritual leader Azzam was assassinated, al-Zawahiri assumed the role. In Afghanistan and later Sudan, Zawahiri would control Bin Laden by surrounding him with members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group. As a result, Bin Laden’s financial support flowed to Egyptian Islamic Jihad but not the Egyptian Islamic Group.

      Zawahiri opposes democracy because then people could choose their own religion rather than adhere to the religious beliefs he was taught as a young boy before he reached the Age of Reason. He thinks democracy must be overcome through violence. He knows best based on words written many years before — words he learned by rote memory. Although soft-spoken and outwardly calm, he is a fanatic. The humiliation he felt upon betraying his former mentor al-Qamari still rages within him. He is not constrained by what most would view as ethical limits. Beware the quiet, deep thinker who thinks he knows best, particularly after you’ve killed his wife and child. In Bitter Harvest, he was very critical of the Muslim Brotherhood for its growing accommodation of secular rulers, though he softened his views somewhat in Prophets under the Banner. Zawahiri’s friend, IANA magazine writer Kamal Habib, says that, in contrast to Zawahiri, he has renounced violence and embraced democracy as a pragmatic means of establishing sharia law.

      In the mid-1990s, Al-Zawahiri sought to coordinate the activities of the various Islamic terrorist movements to carry out sabotage activities against the United States. A series of meetings included representatives of Hamas and Hezbollah. In a meeting held in Khartoum in April 1995, one direction Al-Zawahiri charted was to develop the effectiveness of the Islamic networks in London and New York, especially Brooklyn, where he visited the Blind Sheik’s Services Organization.

      Zawahiri visited the US in 1995 and visited mosques with Ali Mohammed and San Jose physician Ali Zaki. Apparently, however, it was the planned visit by a representative from Saudi Arabia sent by Mohammed Islambouli several years later that more recently that may had lay groundwork for the planned attacks using aircraft and other means. The planned visit was the subject of the CIA’s December 4, 1998 Presidential Daily Brief to President Clinton.

      Islambouli, brother of Sadat’s assassin, was in a cell with KSM, who upon Atef’s death assumed leadership of the cell planning to attack the US with weaponized anthrax. Islambouli was head of the blind sheik’s Services Organization in Peshawar. In addition to his numerous videotaped messages and his October 2001 book “Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet,” Zawahiri announced in 2007 that Islambouli was head of the Islamic Group members who had joined Al Qaeda. Islambouli may know the identity of the mailer even though KSM does not.

      • 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.

        • 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



          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.

          Tarek Hamouda’s lifelong friend, Khaled Hamid (CAIR-St. Louis) has a website ( that addresses the US support for Israel.

        • DXer said

          After the assassination of Anwar Sadat, Cairo attorney Montasser al-Zayat first met blind sheik Abdel-Rahman after Montasser had been tortured for 12 hours. He was near a mental breakdown. Abdel-Rahman came over to where he was huddled in a corner of a cell, bent over and whispered: “Rely on God; don’t be defeated.” Mohammed had spoken the words in the Koran. Al- Zayat would become one of Sheik Omar’s most trusted legal advisers and a lawyer on the defense team of El Sayyid Nosair. Nosair was the Egyptian who was Abdel-Rahman’s bodyguard and was tried in New York in 1990 for the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane. In March 1999, attorney al-Zayat was representing defendants in a massive prosecution of jihadists in Cairo. He told the press that Ayman Zawahiri would use weaponized anthrax against US targets because of the continued extradition pressure and torture faced by Egyptian Islamic Jihad members. Two senior EIJ leaders then on trial were saying the same thing to the press and in confessions.

          The founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad Kamal Habib (who wrote for the quarterly magazine of the US charity Islamic Assembly of North America) told scholar Fawaz Gerges:
          “The prison years also radicalized al-shabab [young men] and set them on another violent journey. The torture left deep physical and psychological scars on jihadists and fueled their thirst for vengeance. Look at my hands — still spotted with the scars from cigarette burns nineteen years later. For days on end we were brutalized — our faces bloodied, our bodies broken with electrical shocks and other devices. The torturers aimed at breaking our souls and brainwashing us. They wanted to humiliate us and force us to betray the closest members of our cells.

          I spent sleepless nights listening to the screams of young men echoing from torture chambers. A degrading, dehumanizing experience. I cannot convey to you the rage felt by al-shabab who were tortured after Sadat’s assassination.” When Kamal Habib wrote for the jihad-supporting Assirat, Al-Timimi was on the Board of Advisers.

          In a videotape that circulated in the summer of 2001, Zawahiri said “In Egypt they put a lot of people in jails — some sentenced to be hanged. And in the Egyptian jails, there is a lot of killing and torture. All this happens under the supervision of America. America has a CIA station as well as an FBI office and a huge embassy in Egypt, and it closely follows what happens in that country. Therefore, America is responsible for everything that happens.”

          An August 29, 2001 opinion column on Islamway, the second most read site for english speaking muslims, illustrates that the role of “Leahy Law” was known by educated islamists:
          “There is an intolerable contradiction between America’s professed policy of opposition to state-sponsored terrorism, exemplified by the Leahy Law, and the U.S. Congress’ continuing sponsorship of Israeli violence against Palestinians.” The article cited “References: CIFP 2001. “Limitations on Assistance to Security Forces: ‘The Leahy Law’” 4/9/01 (Washington, DC: Center for International Foreign Policy) Center for International Foreign Policy Accessed 8/28/01.Hocksteader, Lee 2001.

          The next day, in the same publication, there was an article describing the 21-page document released in Ottawa on August 29, 2001, in which the CSIS claimed that Canadian detainee Jaballah had contacts with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader Shehata and sought to deport Jaballah. Shehata was in charge of EIJ’s Civilian Branch and in charge of “special operations.” It would be seven more years — not until February 2008 — before the Canadian government for the first time revealed that after coming to Canada in 1996, Jaballah would contact Ayman Zawahiri regularly on Ayman’s Inmarsat satellite phone.

          “They [Senators Daschle and Leahy] represent something to him,” says James Fitzgerald of the FBI Academy’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. “Whatever agenda he’s operating under, these people meant something to him.”
          To more fully appreciate why Leahy — a human rights advocate and liberal democrat — might have been targeted as a symbol, it is important to know that Senator Leahy has been the head of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, the panel in charge of aid to Egypt and Israel. In addition to the Senate majority leader, anthrax was mailed to the position symbolic of the 50 billion in appropriations that has been given to Israel since 1947 (and the equally substantial $2 billion annually in aid that has been keeping Mubarak in power in Egypt and the militant islamists out of power).

          Within a couple weeks after September 11, a report in the Washington Post and then throughout the muslim world explained that the President sought a waiver that would allow military assistance to once-shunned nations. The militant islamists who had already been reeling from the extradition of 70 “brothers”, would now be facing much more of the same. President Bush asked Congress for authority to waive all existing restrictions on U.S. military assistance and exports for the next five years to any country where the aid would help the fight against international terrorism. The waiver would include those nations who were currently unable to receive U.S. military aid because of their sponsorship of terrorism (such as Syria and Iran) or because of their nuclear weapons programs (such as Pakistan).

          The options being considered in response to the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington included potential cooperation with virtually every Middle Eastern and South and Central Asian nation near Afghanistan. “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists” would be the only test for foreign aid. The “Leahy Law” plays a key role in the secret “rendering” of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Al Qaeda) operatives to countries like Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Algeria where they are allegedly tortured. Richard Clarke, counterterrorism czar during the Clinton Administration, has quoted former Vice-President Gore saying: “Of course it’s a violation of international law, that’s why it’s a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass.” Although humanitarian in its intent, the Leahy Law permits continued appropriations to military and security units who conduct torture in the event of “extraordinary circumstances.”

          In an interview broadcast on al-Jazeera television on October 7, 2001 (October 6 in the US) — about when the second letter saying “Death to America’” and “Death to Israel” was mailed — Ayman Zawahiri echoed a familiar refrain sounded by Bin Laden: “O people of the U.S., can you ask yourselves a question: Why all this enmity for the United States and Israel? *** Your government supports the corrupt governments in our countries.”

          A month after 9/11, late at night, a charter flight from Cairo touched down at the Baku airport. An Egyptian, arrested by the Azerbaijan authorities on suspicions of having played a part in the September 11 attack, was brought on board. His name was kept secret. That same night the plane set off in the opposite direction. Much of the Amerithrax story has happened at night with no witnesses, with the rendering of University of Karachi microbiology student Saeed Mohammed merely one example. At the time Ayman Zawahiri was getting his biological weapons program in full swing, his own brother Mohammed was picked up in the United Arab Emirates. He was secretly rendered to Egyptian security forces and sentenced to death rendered in the 1999 Albanian returnees case.

          Throughout 2001, the Egyptian islamists were wracked by extraditions and renditions. CIA Director Tenet once publicly testified that there had been 70 renditions prior to 9/11. At the same time a Canadian judge was finding that Mahmoud Mahjoub was a member of the Vanguards of Conquest and would be denied bail, Bosnian authorities announced on October 6, 2001 they had handed over three Egyptians to Cairo who had been arrested in July. In Uruguay, a court authorized the extradition to Egypt of a man wanted in Egypt for his alleged role in the 1997 Luxor attack. Ahmed Agiza, the leader of the Vanguards of Conquest (which can be viewed as an offshoot of Jihad), was handed over by Sweden in December 2001.

          One islamist, a Hamas supporter, summarized why the anthrax was sent in an ode “To Anthrax” on November 1, 2001: “O, anthrax, despite, your wretchedness, you have sewn horror in the heart of the lady of arrogance, of tyranny, of boastfulness!”

          The appropriations go to the core of Al Qaeda’s complaint against the United States. (The portion going to Egypt and Israel constituted, by far, the largest portion of US foreign aid, and most of that is for military and security purposes.) Pakistan is a grudging ally in the “war against terrorism” largely due to the US Aid it now receives in exchange for that cooperation. The press in Pakistan newspapers regularly reported on protests arguing that FBI’s reported 12 agents in Pakistan in 2002 were an affront to its sovereignty. There was a tall man, an Urdu-speaking man, and a woman — all chain-smokers — who along with their colleagues were doing very important work in an unsupportive, even hostile, environment. The US agents — whether CIA or FBI or US Army — caused quite a stir in Pakistan along with the Pakistani security and intelligence officials who accompanied them. In mid-March 2003, Washington waived sanctions imposed in 1999 paving the way for release in economic aid to Pakistan. Billions more would be sent to Egypt, Israel and other countries involved in the “war against terrorism.”

          The commentators who suggest that Al Qaeda would have had no motivation to send weaponized anthrax to Senators Daschle and Leahy as symbolic targets — because they are liberal — are mistaken. The main goal of Dr. Zawahiri is to topple President Mubarak. He views the US aid as the chief obstacle and is indifferent to this country’s labels of conservative and liberal.

          Zawahiri likely was surprised that the plainly worded message of the letters accompanying the anthrax was not deemed clear. Perhaps the talking heads would not have been so quick to infer an opposite meaning if no message had been expressed using words at all. Perhaps the if the sender had relied only on what KSM describes as the language of war — the death delivered by the letters — the pundits would not have been so misdirected. But why was Al Qaeda evasive on the question of responsibility for the anthrax mailings, dismissing the issue with a snicker, and claiming that Al Qaeda did not know anything about anthrax? Simple. Bin Laden denied responsibility for 9/11 until it was beyond reasonable dispute. On September 16, 2001, he said: “The US is pointing the finger at me but I categorically state that I have not done this. I am residing in Afghanistan. I have taken an oath of allegiance (to Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar) which does not allow me to do such things from Afghanistan.” Before that, Ayman had denied the 1998 embassy bombings too. On August 20, 1998, coincidentally on the day of strikes on camps in Afghanistan and Sudan, Ayman al-Zawahiri contacted The News, a Pakistani English-language daily, and said on behalf of Bin Laden that “Bin Laden calls on Moslem Ummah to continue Jihad against Jews and Americans to liberate their holy places. In the meanwhile, he denies any involvement in the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam bombings.” To Ayman, “war is deception.”

          The targeted Senators have another connection pertinent to the Egyptian militants. The United States and other countries exchange evidence for counterterrorism cases under the legal framework of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (”MLAT”). Egypt is signatory of such a treaty that was ratified by the United States Senate in late 2000. For example, when the Fall 2001 rendition of Vanguards of Conquest leader Agizah was criticized, the US explained that it was relying on the MLAT. In the prosecution of Post Office worker Ahmed Abdel Sattar, Sattar’s attorney Michael Tigar, at trial in December 2004 explained: “Now, that might be classified, it’s true, but we have now found out and our research has just revealed that on, that the State Department has reported that it intends to use and relies on the mutual legal assistance treaty between the United States and Egypt signed May 3, 1998, in Cairo, and finally ratified by the United States Senate on October 18th, 2000. The State Department issued a press report about this treaty on November 29th, 2001 and I have a copy here.” He explained that “Article IV of the treaty provides that requests under the treaty can be made orally as well as under the formal written procedures required by the treaty, that those requests can include requests for testimony, documents, and even for the transfer to the United States if the treaty conditions are met.

          Vanguards of Conquest spokesman Al-Sirri was a co-defendant in the case against post office worker Sattar. In the late 1990s Sattar and he often spoke in conversations intercepted by the FBI. Al-Sirri’s fellow EIJ cell members in London were subject to process under those treaties at the time of the anthrax mailings. Those London cell members had faxed the claim of responsibility which stated the motive for the 1998 embassy bombings. A group calling itself the “Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places” took credit for the bombings listing as among their demands “the release of the Muslims detained in the United State[s] first and foremost Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (the spiritual guide of the Gama’a Islamiya) who is jailed in the United States.” As reason for the bombings, in addition to the rendition recent EIJ members to Cairo and the detention of Blind Sheik Abdel-Rahman, the faxes pointed to the detention of dissident Saudi Sheik al-Hawali . Al-Hawali was the mentor of GMU microbiology student Al-Timimi who spoke in London in August 2001 alongside 911 Imam Awlaki (also from Falls Church) and unindicted WTC 1993 conspirator Bilal Philips. Al-Timimi was in contact with Saudi sheik Al-Hawali in 2002 and arranged to hand deliver a message to all members of Congress he had drafted in al-Hawali’s name on the first anniversary of the anthrax mailings to Senator Leahy and Daschle.

        • DXer said

          Zawahiri explained in the Fall of 2001:

          “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 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.”

        • DXer said

          The extradition of Egyptian islamists has been one motive for Zawahiri’s crimes over the past quarter-century. In 1993, Abdel Sattar was 33. The US Post Office employee was a member of the board at Abu Bakr mosque in Brooklyn. He was already a close associate of Abdel-Rahman. In talking to a Washington Post reporter, he took a zigzag ride to a place chosen at random at the last minute. He explained that bad things likely would happen if the blind sheik was not released. In December 1994, Algerian Islamic militants seized control of an Air France jetliner in Algiers in an unsuccessful bid to crash it into Eiffel Tower on Christmas Day. The hijackers demanded the release of the blind sheik.

          The United States State Department, on its webpage, explains that the Egyptian Islamic Jihad “[h]as threatened to retaliate against the United States for its incarceration of Shaykh Umar Abd al-Rahman and, more recently, for the arrests of its members in Albania, Azerbaijan, and the United Kingdom.” As one informant would later testify, Al Qaeda leadership, then in Khartoum, Sudan, found the blind sheikh’s arrest “very sad and.. very bad.” They concluded they had “to do something.. They talk about what we have to do against America.”

          Blind sheik Abdel-Rahman spoke to Mary Anne Weaver, author of the seminal A Portrait of Egypt: A Journey Through the World of Militant Islam in the mid-1990s. Abdel-Rahman first went to Peshawar in 1985. He left from Peshawar for a trip into Afghanistan after being released after three years in an Egyptian prison after Sadat’s assassination. He settled into the back seat of the U.S.-supplied camouflaged truck shortly after prayers, helped into a flak jacket by his friend, Afghan resistance leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Hekmatyar was receiving half of the CIA’s financial support even though he was one of the most anti-US leaders in the resistance against Soviet occupation. Mary Anne Weaver wrote in The Atlantic Monthly in 1996: “They had much in common: both were exceedingly charismatic religious populists; both had committed their lives to jihad, or Islamic holy war; both were fiery orators. They were both given to elliptical, colorful turns of phrase, and their shared message was clear: the imperative to overthrow a secular government — whether in Afghanistan or Egypt — and establish an Islamic state.” Weaver recounts that joining them in the truck was Mohammed Islambouli, the brother of Sadat’s assassin. The 60 CIA and special forces officers in Peshawar considered Abdel-Rahman an asset. In preaching jihad, Abdel-Rahman travelled to Islamic centers in Germany, England, Turkey, and the United States.

          Weaver explained that Sheikh Omar’s closest friend in Peshawar was Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, a highly respected Palestinian. He was killed by a car bomb in 1989. Azzam established the Service Office, which he led until November of 1989, which like its sister office at the Alkifah Refugee Center, on Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue, recruited Arab volunteers. Islambouli headed the office after Azzam’s death. Mohammed Islambouli had been a student of Sheikh Omar’s at the Upper Egyptian University of Asyut. WTC 1993 prosecutor McCarthy explained in a 2008 book: “In Peshawar, both in 1985 and several times thereafter, Abdel Rahman would enjoy the august company of his former student Mohammed Shawky al-Islambouli, a fixture there. A rising jihadist star in his own right, Shawky’s prominence owed much to his mythogenic brother…”

          By the time Weaver wrote her article for the Atlantic Monthly, Mohammed Islambouli had joined a cell with KSM in planning the aircraft and other attacks on the US and was with him in Doha, Qatar.

          In December 1995, the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad was attacked by a devastating car bomb following threats from militant Egyptian Islamist groups who demanded that the government of Pakistan stop extraditing their members who had stayed in Peshawar when the war came to an end. The groups also demanded that the United States release Sheikh Abdel-Rahman who had been imprisoned in connection with a plot to blow up New York City landmarks.

          In a booklet written by al Zawahiri, distributed among his colleagues in Pakistan and Afghanistan, al Zawahiri discussed the reasons that led to Egyptian Islamic Jihad to blow up the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad. He criticized all branches of the Egyptian government from the Minister of Information, to the army and police forces, the justice system, the public prosecutor’s office, and the religious scholars. But his harshest criticism was directed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which was responsible for pursuing jihad members abroad and kidnapping and extraditing them. In September 2000, in an interview with an Arabic-language television station, Usama Bin Laden called for a “jihad” to release the “brothers” in jail “everywhere.” In the book he wrote at the time of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings, he explained that the reason for the attack on the Egyptian embassy in Pakistan in 1995 was because Egypt had been extraditing fundamentalists from Pakistan. When surveillance of the US embassy showed that it was perhaps too difficult a target, the Egyptian embassy was targeted as a symbol. Zawahiri wrote in the Fall 2001 that : “It left the embassy ruined as an eloquent and clear message.”

          An FBI 302 memo dated December 30, 1996 relating to intelligence gathered from the jailed WTC 1993 plotter Ramzi Yousef reflected the same warning of a hijack-of-an-aircraft-to-free-the-blind sheik plot.

          Bin Laden’s 1996 declaration of war on the United States complained of the arrests of Sheik al-Hawali and another colleague. In an interview, Bin Laden conducted with CNN’s Peter Arnett in 1997, Bin Laden told Arnett: “When the Saudi government transgressed in oppressing all voices of the scholars and the voices of those who call for Islam. I found myself forced, especially after the government prevented Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali and some other scholars, to carry out a small part of my duty of enjoining what is right and forbidding
          what is wrong.” The views of these two sheiks were promoted by the US-based charity, Islamic Assembly of North America (“IANA”).

          In a public relations debacle for the islamists, on or about November 17, 1997, six terrorists shot and stabbed a group of tourists visiting an archaeological site in Luxor, Egypt. Fifty-eight tourists were killed along with four Egyptians. The terrorists left leaflets explaining their support for the Islamic Group and calling for the blind sheik’s release. The torso of one was slit and a leaflet inserted: “No to tourists in Egypt.” It was signed “Omar Abdul Rahman’s Squadron of Havoc and Destruction — the Gama’a al-Islamiya, the Islamic Group.” Intelligence concluded that Bin Laden had financed the operation and that Luxor was ordered by Egyptian Islamic Group military commander Mustafa Hamza.

          Dale Watts, Chief of the FBI’s International Terrorism Section, explained in a 1998 Statement Before the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee: “There is an indication that the November 1997 attack on foreign tourists in Luxor, Egypt, was apparently an example of this type of interwoven violence. The ambush appears to have been carried out in an attempt to pressure the United States into releasing Sheik Rahman, who is serving a life sentence in federal prison for his part in planning attacks against the president of Egypt and several sites in New York City. ”

          Testimony from December 14, 2004 in the trial USA v. Sattar, involving co-defendant Lynne Stewart, described the position of Mustafa Hamza that the Islamic Group had no dispute
          with the United States so long as the Blind Sheik was released.

          In 1998, the blind sheik issued a fatwa directing that Americans be killed to avenge his imprisonment. During the trial relating to bombing the U.S. embassies in Africa, one witness testified that Abdel Rahman smuggled a flier from prison calling on Muslims to avenge indignities he sustained as a prisoner. “Oh people, oh men of Allah, rise up from your deep slumber. .. Rise up and see justice done,” the sheik wrote in a letter smuggled out of prison.

          Zawahiri gave the same motivation for the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa. In 1998, the “Information Office of the Jihad Group in Egypt” issued a statement — a copy of which was received by Al-Hayat — entitled “About the extradition of three of our brothers.” It said that “the US government, in coordination with the Egyptian government, arrested three of our brothers in some East European states.” The statement said: “The accusation leveled at our three brothers was participation in a group declaring jihad against the United States and Israel and their trade, and cooperation with the mujahidin in Kosovo outside US influence.” It continued: “We are interested in briefly telling the Americans that their message has been received and that the response, which we hope they will read carefully, is being [prepared], because we — with God’s help — will write it in the language that they understand.”

          Three days later, 220 people at the embassies, mostly Africans, were killed. Zawahiri deemed many were working on intelligence matters against islamists in the region. In response to a retaliatory cruise missile strike after the embassy bombings, Zawahiri told a Pakistan journalist by satellite phone that “The war has only just begun.” The phone had been bought by a charity worker in Columbia, Missouri who later lived with the father of the leader of the Virginia Paintball defendants Royer.

          In the Spring and Fall of 1999, the Blind Sheik’s assistant, Sattar, was in telephone communication with Deputy Military Commander Mustafa Hamza, the blind sheik’s successor Taha, Yassir al-Sirri, and al-Zayat. They spoke on conference calls about the blind sheikh’s withdrawal of his support for the cease fire. Although suspecting his phone was wiretapped, Sattar continued to talk vaguely in code about these issues with these people, all of whom were closely connected to al-Zawahiri. This was the period Zawahiri moved forward his anthrax planning and there was a public dialogue between Bin Laden and a London cleric’s call for a holy biowar.

          On September 21, 2000, an Arabic television station, Al Jazeera, televised an interview with Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Zawahiri, and Islamic leader Abu Yasser (of the Islamic Group and Al Qaeda), and Mohammed Abdel Rahman (the blind sheik’s son), during which they pledged jihad to free Abdel Rahman. They urged that his followers avenge the “insult” paid him by his imprisonment for conspiracy to commit murder. Bin Laden vowed “to work with all our power to free our brother, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, and all our
          prisoners in America, Egypt, and Riyadh. Bin Laden told his followers to remember Nosair, the man who assassinated Rabbi Kahane. In an audio overlay, Mohammed was heard saying “avenge your sheik” and “go to the spilling of blood.”

          When Abdel-Rahman visited Peshawar in the late 1980s and early 1990s Abdel-Rahman stayed in a large house outside of Peshawar with Mohammed Islambouli and Zawahiri. Al-Timimi would speak alongside Abdel-Rahman’s son at IANA conferences in 1993 and 1996. Alarm bells should have gone off when Al-Timimi in the late 1990s first started walking down the hallways with famed Russian bioweaponeer and former USAMRIID head Charles Bailey. There is no indication that they did.

          Zawahiri wrote in Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet published at the time of the second anthrax mailing that he agreed with the supporter of the “blind sheik” who said: “the Egyptian Government is guilty of a major shortcoming by not intervening to safeguard the shaykh, guarantee his humanitarian rights inside the US jail, and find a solution to his case because, in the final count, he is an Egyptian national, a Muslim scholar, and a professor at Al-Azhar university. Finally he is a blind and sick old man. His continued detention and the inhuman way in which he is treated will continue to be a source of tension on all levels.

          The ruling shura (council) of Egyptian Islamic Jihad in the mid-1990s had 14 members, including three in London. Two of those three, Adel Abdel Bari and Ibrahim Eidarous, at the time of the anthrax mailings, were the ones who
          had announced that the 1998 embassy bombings were in retaliation for the detention of the blind sheik and Sheik al-Hawali. They were in Belmarsh prison fighting extradition to the United States for alleged involvement in the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. Ahmed and Mohammed Abdel-Rahman, two of the Egyptian sheikh’s 13 children, were named as co-conspirators in the September 11 attacks.

          In late May 2000, Post Office employee Sattar had telephone conversations with Islamic Group leaders in which he explained that Abdel Rahman (1) did not object to a return to “work” (terrorist operations); (2) agreed that the IG should escalate the issues in the media; (3) advised the IG to avoid division within the IG’s leadership; and (4) instructed the IG to hint at military operation even if the group was not ready for military action.

          On October 4, 2000, US Postal employee Sattar called the Vanguards of Conquest publicist in London, Al-Sirri, and read to him a fatwa to be issued under Abdel Rahman’s name entitled, “Fatwah the Killing of Israelis Everywhere,” which Al-Sirri agreed to distribute. The next day, the fatwa appeared on a web-site operated by Al-Sirri.

          On or about November 21, 2000, Al Jazeera featured a meeting of Bin Laden, Zawahiri and Taha under a banner that read “Convention to Support Honorable Omar Abdel Rahman. The three pleaded “jihad to free Abdel Rahman from incarceration in the United States. Mohammed Abdel Rahman, the blind sheik’s son, was heard urging others to “avenge your Sheikh” and “go to
          the spilling of blood.” But the blind sheik’s plight was also of concern to alleged Al Qaeda operatives in the US.

          Members of an alleged Detroit, Michigan terror cell had an angry conversation in June 2001 about Abdel Rahman’s imprisonment.
          Similarly, the Government’s Indictment of the Buffalo defendants explained that one of the reasons motivating the terrorists actions was that “al Qaeda opposed the United States Government because of the arrest, conviction and imprisonment of persons belonging to Al Qaeda or its affiliated terrorist groups or those with whom it worked.”

          In July 2001, Attorney Lynne Stewart visited Abdel Rahman and prior to the visit she signed and faxed to the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York an affirmation by which she agreed to abide by the terms of the administrative restrictions on communication. Lynne Stewart had been appointed by the Court in 1995 along with former Attorney Ramsey Clarke, to represent the Blind Sheik. In the Summer of 2001, Patrick Fitzgerald wanted to impress upon her the seriousness of the obligation. Her next visit was recorded on videotape without her knowledge. She was found to have brought a message to Abdel Rahman from his son, Mohammed Abdel Rahman, which urged Abdel Rahman to support an end to the cease-fire. The blind sheikh’s son, Muhammed (aka Assadullah) was reportedly on a three-member WMD Committee, along with Midhat Mursi (aka Abu Khabab) and Abu Bashir al-Yemeni. He ran a camp at the Darunta complex, as did Midhat
          Mursi. Stewart was indicted in 2002 for violating prison administrative regulations by helping the Blind Sheik communicate his abandonment of support for the cease fire.

          Stewart secretly brought to Abdel Rahman correspondence and messages from other individuals. During this visit, Stewart told Abdel Rahman that Sattar had been told that the U.S.S. Cole had been bombed on Abdel Rahman’s behalf and that translator Yousry had been asked to communicate the United States Government that other things would follow if it did not free Abdel Rahman. Abdel Rahman said that negotiations should go through an attorney. While Yousry was informing Abdel Rahman about these things, attorney Stewart actively concealed the conversations from the prison guards by, for example, tapping a water bottle on the table while noting that she was “just doing covering noises.” Attorney Stewart, Sattar, and a co-defendant were convicted in February 2005.

          IANA writer Kamal Habib, the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, was in charge of the “National Campaign to Release Detainees.” It perhaps was inevitable that IANA would be caught in the crossfire just as was Abdel-Rahman’s attorney Lynne Stewart.

          As a source, the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief titled “Bin Laden Determined to Attack in the U.S.” mentions “a senior EIJ member” living in California. The reference is to former US sergeant Ali Mohammed, Ayman Zawahiri’s head of intelligence. The references in the PDB to the threat of aircraft hijacking in an attempt to free blind sheik Abdel-Rahman were perhaps underscored a month later when, the week before 9/11, the Taliban government offered to exchange eight Christian missionaries in exchange for Sheik Abdel-Rahman. Whether viewed as blackmail or retaliation, the detention of the blind sheikh and numerous other detainees in custody prior to 9/11 figured as an important part of the motive for all the terrorist attacks by the Salafist-Jihadis for years leading up to the anthrax mailings.

          In April 2005, Moussaoui confessed to a plot to fly a 747 into the White House if the United States government refused to free the blind sheikh. Bin Laden had considered hijacking a plane in an attempt to flee the blind sheikh but determined it was impractical.

          In the Amerithrax Third Squad’s testing of the theory that a supporter of the Salafist-Jihadis mailed the anthrax, concern for detention of blind sheik Abdel-Rahman should have been a major factor.

        • DXer said

          Let’s consider despots, democracy and the cease-fire initiative after the Luxor massacre.

          Although the proposal in the Spring 1999 by IANA writers Kamal Habib and Gamal Sultan to channel their activities into nonviolent activities was rejected by the blind sheik, they were not deterred. “There is something new that is trying to storm and overcome old, traditional ideas and play a political and social role in society, ‘ Kamal Habib told author Anthony Shadid in 1999. Shadid is the author of the 2002 Legacy of the Prophet: Despots, Democrats, and the New Politics of Islam. Violence, Habib explained to the author, was understandable where Sadat had left no room for participation it did not sanction. Sadat had visited and made peace with Israel. The month before Sadat was gunned down Sadat had ordered the arrest of 1500 people. Over twenty years, the lesson learned by these sons of the Movement was that violence had not led to power. The “attacks hurt not only the not only the Islamic movement but also Islam itself as da’wa and as a religion.” In prison, their goal in interpreting the koran turned to deciding “what to take, what to leave, what to build on and what to add to.”

          Former militants, in particular, were responding to the public revulsion over the 1997 murder of 58 tourists at Luxor. Kamal Habib and Gamal Sultan sought to form the Reform Party while the lawyers al Zayat and Mamdouh Ismail sought to form the Islamic Party. “We have been through a violent clash between the state and members of the Islamist groups and saw the negative consequences of this violence. We have learned from bitter experience that we must reorder our priorities.” Shariah would be the law of the land — but it would be brought about by democratic, nonviolent means.

          The Cairo-based Kamal Habib wrote for the “The Straight Path” (Assirat) out of Pittsburgh and then for IANA’s quarterly journal. Kamal Habib was Ayman’s friend. Habib had founded the Egyptian Islamic Jihad by bringing together several cells, including Ayman’s cell which by then had as many as 40 members. One of the members of the advisory board of Assirat was Ali Al-Timimi. Al-Timimi was a colleague of famed Russian anthrax head Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID Deputy Commander and Acting Commander Charles Bailey, a prolific anthrax researcher (judging by the publications bearing his name as a co-author) who worked with the Ames anthrax strain.

          IANA’s quarterly publication, Al Manar al-Jadeed (in Arabic) was written by EIJ and IG founders and other deep thinkers of the movement during the 1998-2001 period. Its pages in Arabic chronicled a running dialogue on this question of the role of violence. (Two of the three main contributors were IG and EIJ founders respectively). The editor, Gamal Sultan, was behind the proposal in 1999 to renounce violence involving an attempt to form the Reform Party. Sultan viewed his effort as a pragmatic recognition that the militants had been so infiltrated by the intelligence services that it wasn’t practical to engage in violence. But, more broadly, it was in recognition of the fact that
          violence had not worked. Others took a different approach. They just tightened their application of the principles of cell security.

          The US-based charity IANA, as the result of the Cairo-based talent that they had writing for their main journal, was in the middle of the issue of conditions of the blind sheiks’ detention and a public debate by former members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad as to whether the violent means favored by jihadists could be channeled into nonviolent means. In January 1999, Gamal Sultan and Kamal Habib wrote the blind sheik, through his paralegal Sattar, seeking a fatwa agreeing to participation in a political party by Movement members. In addition to key supporter Kamal Habib, Gamal Sultan’s main partner in seeking to found the Reform Party was Salah Hashem, founder of the Egyptian Islamic Group and a chief proponent of the cease-fire initiative.

          In March 1999, upon the visit by attorney Lynne Stewart, the blind sheik indicated that he thought the effort pointless and rejected the idea of a political party. At the same time he withdrew support for the cease-fire initiated by the imprisoned Islamic Group members in 1997. In his opening argument in the prosecution of US postal employee Sattar, the federal prosecutor explained: “What was Abdel Rahman’s view on an Islamic Group political party? He flatly rejected the idea. In other words, we will prove to you that Abdel Rahman from prison and while subject to the SAMs, with the assistance of these defendants, directed the Islamic Group to remain outside the law, to remain a terrorist organization.”

          The co-founder of the other proposed party, Cairo lawyer Montasser Al-Zayat, deferred to the blind sheik’s pronouncement. Al-Zayat later explained that any political participation, let alone in parliamentary elections, was sinful. Al Zayat then promptly announced in March 1999 that Ayman likely was going to use weaponized anthrax against US targets to retaliate against the rendering of EIJ leaders. Abdel-Rahman’s Cairo lawyer, Montasser al-Zayat, announced the intention to use anthrax in the press on March 6, 1999.

          Zawahiri in April 1999 pressed the current Islamic Group leader Taha for news and the implications and details of the ceasefire initiative and the proposal to establish a political party. Taha had been maintaining contact with the blind sheik’s paralegal Sattar, as had Cairo attorney Al-Zayat and Islamic Group military commander Mustafa Hamza. In public and in private teleconference calls set up by US Post Office employee Sattar, Cairo lawyer Al-Zayat played “good cop” to the “bad cop” played by IG leader Taha in faraway Afghanistan.

          In a letter to Taha, Ayman discussed the party sought to be cofounded in 1999 by IANA editor Gamal Sultan and IANA writer Kamal Habib.
          The co-founder of the other proposed party, Cairo lawyer Montasser Al-Zayat, deferred to the blind sheik’s pronouncement. Al-Zayat later explained that any political participation, let alone in parliamentary elections, was sinful. Al Zayat then promptly announced in March 1999 that Ayman likely was going to use weaponized anthrax against US targets to retaliate against the rendering of EIJ leaders. Abdel-Rahman’s Cairo lawyer, Montasser al-Zayat, announced the intention to use anthrax in the press on March 6, 1999.

          Zawahiri in April 1999 pressed the current Islamic Group leader Taha for news and the implications and details of the ceasefire initiative and the proposal to establish a political party. Taha had been maintaining contact with the blind sheik’s paralegal Sattar, as had Cairo attorney Al-Zayat and Islamic Group military commander Mustafa Hamza. In public and in private teleconference calls set up by US Post Office employee Sattar, Cairo lawyer Al-Zayat played “good cop” to the “bad cop” played by IG leader Taha in faraway Afghanistan.

          In a letter to Taha, Ayman discussed the party sought to be cofounded in 1999 by IANA editor Gamal Sultan and IANA writer Kamal Habib.
          intellectual and tactical debates raging in 1999 about cease-fire declared in Egypt, nonviolence and democracy, the release of the blind sheik and other detainees, and the “near” vs. “Far” enemy issue. He was similarly close to the announcement of the intent to use anthrax to retaliate for the rendition of the blind sheik and other detainees.

          When the FBI searched Al-Timimi’s townhouse, they found Khafagi’s personal papers. Some pretty weighty and focused tactical matters involving Egyptian politics were discussed in the Arabic-language Al Manar al Jadeed — to include the role of violence and whether democracy could be a vehicle for imposing shariah.

          IANA’s webmaster Sami al-Hussayen once pleaded by email that Al-Manar Jadeed was out of control, printing what they wanted and then sending IANA the bill, while risking getting IANA officials in trouble (which then, in fact, happened). For example, IANA websites published a fatwa in June 2001 saying it was a duty to kill as many as possible, such as by flying a plane into a building. IANA websites prominently distributed the views of Sheik al-Hawali who was working closely with both Sami and with GMU computational biologist Ali Al-Timimi.

          In late March 2007, al-Zayat’s co-founder of the Islamic Party, Mamdouh Ismail, was arrested. The Egyptian government
          alleged Ismail was the conduit between Ayman Zawahiri and jihadists in Yemen, Iraq and Egypt. The alleged intermediary between Zawahiri and Mamdouh Ismail was the Al intellectual and tactical debates raging in 1999 about cease-fire declared in Egypt, nonviolence and democracy, the release of the blind sheik and other detainees, and the “near” vs. “Far” enemy issue. He was similarly close to the announcement of the intent to use anthrax to retaliate for the rendition of the blind sheik and other detainees.

          When the FBI searched Al-Timimi’s townhouse, they found Khafagi’s personal papers. Some pretty weighty and focused tactical matters involving Egyptian politics were discussed in the Arabic-language Al Manar al Jadeed — to include the role of violence and whether democracy could be a vehicle for imposing shariah.

          IANA’s webmaster Sami al-Hussayen once pleaded by email that Al-Manar Jadeed was out of control, printing what they wanted and then sending IANA the bill, while risking getting IANA officials in trouble (which then, in fact, happened). For example, IANA websites published a fatwa in June 2001 saying it was a duty to kill as many as possible, such as by flying a plane into a building. IANA websites prominently distributed the views of Sheik al-Hawali who was working closely with both Sami and with GMU computational biologist Ali Al-Timimi.

          In late March 2007, al-Zayat’s co-founder of the Islamic Party, Mamdouh Ismail, was arrested. The Egyptian government
          alleged Ismail was the conduit between Ayman Zawahiri and jihadists in Yemen, Iraq and Egypt. The alleged intermediary between Zawahiri and Mamdouh Ismail was the Al Qaeda’s spymaster, Al-Hakayma, who had written the 2002 treatise on intelligence. That treatise included a description of the Amerithrax investigation and was dedicated to those who are up at late night working to bring victory to Islam. Mamdouh Ismail was the attorney who volunteered to represent the expert in functionalized polymers.

          Ironically, although Zabadi was Ayman’s program, the anthrax letters — in showing some restraint — represented a compromise between his desire to attack the “Far Enemy” and the wishes of the many who opposed him and thought that EIJ should remain focused on Egypt and should avoid the targeting of civilians. The anthrax letters confirmed abandonment of the cease-fire while escalation in the media just as blind sheik Abdel-Rahman had urged. The anthrax letters followed the same modus operandi as the al Hayat letters to newspapers in DC and NYC and people in symbolic positions relating to detention of the WTC plotters. Thus, the one thing that seems clear is that the anthrax mailer and processor likely are supporters of the blind sheik. While they know and respect Zawahiri, they may view democracy as a viable vehicle for imposition of shariah. Perhaps among the 300,000 telephone calls intercepted with blind sheik supporters in Florida or the 85,000 conversations involving Sattar in New York, the authorities already have taped phone calls made with the anthrax plotters.

        • DXer said

          Former CIA agent Robert Baer in See No Evil first publicly reported that in 1996 KSM was in a cell with Mohammed Islambouli, the younger brother of Khaled al-Islambouli, the militant who assassinated Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981. Baer’s source was a local police chief.

          ABC’s Brian Ross has reported that “the FBI tracked Mohammed to Doha, and was within hours of capturing him.” Ross’s source was Jack Cloonan, in the New York Office Bin Laden Squad. Cloonan told Ross that “a specially equipped government executive jet complete with blackout windows, was standing by to transport Mohammed.” As recounted by author Peter Lance in Triple Cross, Cloonan said that “somebody had leaked the information to Khalid Shaikh and he left.” Brian Ross identified the collaborator as none other than the Qatari religious affairs minister. The FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue team found that he had already fled to the Czech Republic. Mohammed’s work at the water department is worth noting given the later plans and research relating to poisoning water supplies. The head national security person at the time at the DOJ, Daniel Seikaly, would later serve as the lead Amerithrax prosecutor who was leaking sensationalized stories diverting public attention to Hatfill.

          The “Presidential Daily Brief” on December 4, 1998 to President Clinton, titled “Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks,” states: “1. Reporting [ redacted ] suggests Bin Ladin and his allies are preparing for attacks in the US, including an aircraft hijacking to obtain the release of Shaykh Umar ‘Abd al-Rahman, Ramzi Yousef, and Muhammad Sidiq Awda.'” Awda was al-Hawali’s fellow radical Saudi sheik who was detained from 1994 through 1998. Sheik Abdel-Rahman, Awda and al-Hawali were all expressly the subject of Bin Laden’s 1996 declaration of war against the US. US Sheik Al-Timimi drafted a letter for al-Hawali and had it hand-delivered to members of Congress on the first anniversary of anthrax letters to Senators.

          The December 1998 PDB continued: “One source quoted a senior member of Gama’ at al-Islamiya (IG) saying that, as of October, the IG had completed planning an operation in the US on behalf of bin Ladin, but that the operation was on hold. A senior Bin Ladin operative from Saudi Arabia was to visit IG counterparts in the US soon thereafter to discuss options — perhaps including an aircraft hijacking.” The December 4, 1998 PDB stated: “IG leader Islambouli in late September was planning to hijack a US airliner during the “next couple of weeks” to free ‘Abd al-Rahman and the other prisoners, according to what may be a different source.” Islambouli was the brother of Sadat’s assassin. Islambouli is still at large and is working with Zawahiri. He can be thought of as the leader of those IG members who support Al Qaeda.

          The younger brother of Sadat’s assassin, Mohammed, had gone to Pakistan where he had joined Al Qaeda and run a camp. Islambouli operated in Afghanistan and had good connections in Pakistan. He worked for Maktab al-Khidmat (Bureau of Services) in Peshawar. When the blind sheik visited Peshawar, he would stay at a large house outside of Peshawar with both Islambouli and Ayman. Islambouli had an Algerian passport. He left Peshawar, Pakistan for Afghanistan in Spring 1993 upon a crackdown on foreign fighters. In more recent years he reportedly spent some time living in Algeria.

          In his introduction on an August 2006 tape, Al-Zawahiri said the Egyptian group was led by Mohammed al-Islambouli. It had been his brother Mohammed’s detention that motivated the assassin Khalid Islambouli to seize an opportunity presented to kill Sadat on October 6, 1981. Sadat was killed during the annual Armed Forces parade celebrating Egypt’s successful attack on Israel in 1973. The militants objected to his signing the Camp David Agreement establishing a peace between Israel and Egypt. The assassin was promptly tried, sentenced to death, and executed. The anthrax mailer appears to have chosen the dates of the approval of that agreement and Sadat’s assassination to send the anthrax letters.

          The Al Qaeda spymaster Al-Hakayma appeared on a tape in 2006 claiming that IG had joined formally with Al Qaeda. In front of a grove of palm trees, Al-Hakayma said former members had decided to revive the group and rejected the imprisoned leaders’ adherence to a truce. He vowed loyalty to Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. This was a controversial announcement because the shura members of the group had denounced violence against innocents and dissolved their military wing.

          The person making the announcement, Al-Hakayma, was the Al Qaeda spymaster, an Egyptian Islamic Group member himself, who had summarized the Amerithrax investigation in a 2002 treatise on US intelligence apparatus. Al-Hakayma says in the interview that a group of hardliners from Al Jamaa Al Islamiya had joined Al Qaeda, “to help our great scholar, His Eminence the unshakable Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, languishing in the dungeons of the American prisons.”

  7. DXer said

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