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

* Congressman Holt: the FBI’s “botched investigation” must be reopened … LMW: please write to your Congressman or woman and urge support for Holt’s Anthrax Commission bill

Posted by DXer on March 2, 2011

 

Congressman Holt is Dr. Bruce Ivins best chance for a deserved posthumous exoneration

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see prior posts …

* Washington Post editorial calls for Congressional commission to probe all evidence in the anthrax case

* help Congressman Holt’s Anthrax Commission bill become law … lobby the members of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security … names and links provided

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see also …   * Congressman Holt defeats “Watson” at Jeopardy

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Congressman Rush Holt’s

letter to the editor – NYT (3/1/11) …

  • The National Academy of Sciences, in issuing its much-anticipated report on the F.B.I.’s use of scientific and technical evidence during its investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks, concluded that there needs to be further investigation of the attacks and the federal government’s response to and investigation of the attacks.
  • Recently, I reintroduced legislation to create an independent commission modeled after the 9/11 Commission to review the entire episode …

the attacks,

the response,

the botched investigation,

and to determine whether our nation is prepared

to deal with a biological attack in the future.

  • The commission would make recommendations to the president and Congress on how the country can best prevent and respond to any future bioterrorism attack. This legislation can be passed now, just as it could have been enacted any time in the last four years.
  • We need the most advanced and well-vetted bioterrorism prevention, detection, forensics and recovery capabilities, and not simply to ensure the swift apprehension and prosecution of future perpetrators.
  • In the anthrax case, the F.B.I.’s jumping to conclusions led to tragic consequences for a relatively limited number of people. Another bioterror attack on this country could catapult us into war if it is as poorly investigated as the last one and if, based on faulty investigation, it is attributed to the wrong foreign state. It is long past time that we learned the right lessons from the anthrax case.

Rush Holt
Member of Congress, 12th Dist., N.J.
Hopewell Township, N.J., Feb. 24, 2011

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/opinion/lweb02anthrax.html?_r=1&src=twrhp

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LMW COMMENT …

  • We are thrilled that Congressman Holt, even in the face of stonewalling intransigence from the FBI, has not given up.
  • Please write to your Congressmen and women to support Holt’s bill to get the 2001 anthrax case properly investigated and resolved.

* help Congressman Holt’s Anthrax Commission bill become law … lobby the members of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security … names and links provided

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CASE CLOSED

is a novel about the FBI’s “botched” investigation

of the 2001 anthrax attacks

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read the opening scene of CASE CLOSED …

 

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* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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10 Responses to “* Congressman Holt: the FBI’s “botched investigation” must be reopened … LMW: please write to your Congressman or woman and urge support for Holt’s Anthrax Commission bill”

  1. DXer said

    Ezra Cohen Watnick:

    Amerithrax was botched. The American public needs to be allowed to understand why.

    At the Dangerous Pathogens 2000 Conference, Dr. Zawahiri’s infiltrating scientist Rauf Ahmad presented on the isolation of Bacillus Anthracis
    Posted on November 15, 2014
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/at-the-dangerous-pathogens-2000-conference-dr-zawahiris-infiltrating-scientist-rauf-ahmad-presented-on-the-isolation-of-bacillus-anthracis/

    CIA and FBI Knew Rauf Ahmad harvested “anthrax spore concentrate” for Al Qaeda for experiment on guinea pigs on “7-4-001” – handwriting on anthrax spore concentrate is same as handwriting of Rauf Ahmad in correspondence planning anthrax lab with Ayman Zawahiri
    Posted on November 26, 2014
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/cia-and-fbi-knew-rauf-ahmad-harvested-anthrax-spore-concentrate-for-al-qaeda-for-experiment-on-guinea-pigs-on-7-4-001-handwriting-on-anthrax-spore-concentrate-is-same-as-handwriting-of-rau/

    The FBI has known since 2001 that a paper at the 2000 UK conference chaired by the lone non-US Amerithrax advisor Les Baillie, explained how Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab scientist Rauf Ahmad had killed mice with 100 injected spores.
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 16, 2014
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/the-fbi-has-known-since-2001-that-a-paper-at-the-2000-uk-conference-chaired-by-the-lone-non-us-amerithrax-advisor-les-baillie-explained-how-al-qaedas-anthrax-lab-scientist-rauf-ahmad-had-killed-m/

    The Chair of the Dangerous Pathogens 2000 conference at which the Al Qaeda scientist’s Rauf Ahmad’s research on killing mice with anthrax was presented, worked at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Center while advising the FBI’s Amerithrax Investigation ; the paper Dr. Baillie presented was co-authored with sequencer of the Ames strain
    Posted on November 16, 2014
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/the-chair-of-the-dangerous-pathogens-2000-conference-at-which-the-al-qaeda-scientists-rauf-ahmads-research-on-killing-mice-with-anthrax-was-presented-worked-at-the-university-of-maryland-biotec/

  2. DXer said

    Dr. Vahid Majidi,

    I appreciate that you graciously pointed out that you weren’t the smartest person in the room.

    But let me point out that Rep. Holt beat the IBM Supercomputer at Jeopardy.

    He, as they say, is in fact a rocket scientist.

  3. DXer said

    NYPD, Brookhaven Releasing Harmless Gases in Subway for Chemical Weapon Study
    The NYPD and Brookhaven National Laboratory will begin studying air flow in the subway system
    Tuesday, Jul 9, 2013

    The NYPD is releasing harmless gases into the subway system during the morning rush beginning Tuesday to study how chemical weapons could be dispersed through the air.

    Police, working with Long Island’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, were spotted placing air-sampling devices in specific areas on the street and within the subway system across the five boroughs. Several researchers spent Tuesday morning outfitting the Columbus Circle subway station with the devices.

    Researchers will track the movement of harmless tracer gases called perfluorocarbons.

    The gases mimic how a chemical or biological weapon may react if released. They’ll be dispersed in low concentrations for 30 minutes only during the morning, city officials said.

    The project was announced in April. It will be funded through a $3.4 million federal grant.

    Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says results from the airflow study will help the NYPD learn how airborne toxins travel underground within the subway systems and above ground near the entrances and exits. The aim of the study is to better safeguard the city against a potential chemical attack, Kelly said.

    • DXer said

      One purpose of the study is to determine what to advise residents — for example, whether to shelter in place or particular evacuation routes to take.

      http://www.bnl.gov/s-safe/

      This month, I’m looking forward to walking the High Line (too narrow), taking the ferry to Staten Island and Governor’s Island (capacity too limited), and walking the Brooklyn Bridge. Very stupid question: Would disposable particle masks be effective such as they use in Japan on smoggy days? If so, might a supply be kept on board trains? Can such masks protect down to the 1 mm level?

    • DXer said

      Inhabitat
      Ohita is a wearable, portable air filter for city-dwellers
      http://bit.ly/1aVVf1o

  4. DXer said

    In “Jeopardy” contest, Rep. Rush Holt beats Watson, the IBM computer

    http://www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-democrat/index.ssf/2011/03/in_jeopardy_game_rep_rush_holt.html
    Published: Wednesday, March 02, 2011, 10:01 AM Updated: Wednesday, March 02, 2011, 10:07 AM

    In an exhibition “Jeopardy!” game in held Washington on Monday, Congressman Rush Holt faced IBM’s Watson computer — and won.
    Holt was on a team of five congressmen who competed against the computer. Although the team lost, Holt won his round against the machine, earning $8,600 to Watson’s $6,200 in the classic trivia game.

    It wasn’t Holt’s first “Jeopardy!” victory. He was a five-time winner on the TV show some 35 years ago.

    Holt, who is a plasma physicist and whose supporters sometimes display bumper stickers proclaiming, “My Congressman is a rocket scientist,” said he was happy to hold his own against Watson. “But this was not just about fun and games,” Holt said. The purpose of the exhibition game was “to highlight the importance of technology… science and math education and research and development are vital to our nation so we can out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.”

    IBM considers the technology behind Watson to be a major advancement in computing, but it couldn’t beat Holt in the categories “Presidential Rhyme Time” (example of a clue: Herbert’s military strategy; answer: What is Hoover’s Maneuvers) or “Also a Laundry Detergent” (example of a clue: 3-letter nickname for the Beatles; answer: What is Fab).

    Watson did beat the congressmen on the buzzer to provide the response to this clue: “Ambrose Bierce described this as ‘a temporary insanity curable by marriage.’” Watson rang in first and correctly answered, “What is love?”

    Holt represents the 12th Congressional District, which in Hunterdon includes Frenchtown, Lambertville, Stockton, the Amwells, Delaware, Franklin and Kingwood.

    Comment: I almost traveled to Troy, NY to watch the Valentines Day show they were going to show on tv. Beating the computer is quite an accomplishment. Congratulations Congressman Holt!

  5. DXer said

    Hallmark Greetings: Egyptian Islamists’ Earlier WTC Letter Bombs To Washington DC And New York City Newspapers And Symbolic Targets

    For the reasons explained by Congressman Holt in the current letter to the editor in the New York Times, it is 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. 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.

    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 symbolic positions, in January 1997, both the Blind Sheikh and his paralegal, Sattar, were quoted in separate articles in Al Hayat (in Arabic) denying that they or their supporters were responsible. The Blind Sheikh commented that al Hayat was fair and balanced in its coverage and his supporters would have no reason to “hit” them.

    The same sort of counterintuitive theory was raised in connection with the earlier letter bombing of newspapers to DC and New York City and people in symbolic positions. Sattar noted that the bombs were mailed on December 20, one day before the brief in support of the blind sheik on appeal. He questioned whether someone (like the FBI) was trying to undermine the appeal’s prospects. This time, Mr. Sattar did not need any help making the argument with respect to the anthrax letters. Numerous people with political or other agendas rushed to do it for him. In accusing Dr. Ivins on the occasion of his death, the FBI embraced the same sort of theory — that is, when it was not grasping at other untenable theories relating to college sororities, incorrectly perceived anti-abortion views, or imagined financial motive.

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

    • DXer said

      Requirement Under Laws Of Jihad Of Warning Before Use of Biochemical Weapons

      In an audiotape in late February 2011, Ayman Zawahiri urged followers to adhere to the laws of jihad. “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors… ,” says the Koran (2:190). Post office employee and blind sheik spokesman Abdel Sattar has explained that Mustafa Hamza, who took over from Taha as Islamic Group leader after the Luxor debacle in which in 58 tourists were murdered, was asked how can you explain killing tourists. Mustafa Hamza answered in every moment and action, the group starts off by consulting with the righteous Olama. No action is initiated without fatwas from our trusted Olama — meaning scholars in the plural. In other words, before carrying out an operation, they get a fatwa. He confirmed that fatwas are important because they are authoritative statements by religious leaders declaring what is and is not Islamically permissible. Sattar had a copy of the book written by former Islamic Group leader Taha justifying the attacks that had been committed, to include Luxor. The book had been uploaded at the website maintained by London-based Vanguards of Conquest publicist Al-Sirri.

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

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

      In an essay “Islam and Terrorism,” Bilal Philips, a key religious mentor of GMU microbiology grad Ali Al-Timimi, explained the principles of islamic jurisprudence of islamic warfare:

      “Islam opposes any form of indiscriminate violence. The Quran states: “Anyone who has killed another except in retaliation, it is as if he has killed the whole of humankind.” [Quran Surah #32 Verse #5] There are strict rules regulating how war may be conducted. Prophet Muhammad forbade the killing of women, children, and old people and the destruction of Churches and Synagogues or farms. Of course, if women, children or the elderly bear arms they may be killed in self-defense.”
      ***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • DXer said

        “Set our brothers free. Bastards”:
        Continuing Practice of Sending Poisonous Letters as Threats

        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 former Zawahiri associate supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins thanked Dr. Alexander for her support of the DARPA research in numerous patents that garnered tens of millions in investment from DC venture firm Perseus.

        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

          Target Acquired: Al Qaeda’s Spymaster on Amerithrax

          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 (www.almaqreze.com) 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 then was 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 denied 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 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 introduced 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 Al-Hukaymah 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.

          Internet hobbyists, talking heads and well-meaning political activists with agendas sometimes do not bother to learn this history relating to the close associates of the man plotting to use anthrax to destroy the United States. They really should.

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