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

* US citizen Khalil Deek financed the chemical/biological program at Darunta, according to Harun al-Afghani, who helped Yazid Sufaat set up the laboratory in Kandahar

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 6, 2011

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8 Responses to “* US citizen Khalil Deek financed the chemical/biological program at Darunta, according to Harun al-Afghani, who helped Yazid Sufaat set up the laboratory in Kandahar”

  1. DXer said

    Deek, for one, used the honey trade as an operational front.

    Counterterrorism expert Rita Katz will later claim that the Jordanian government “knew about Deek since the early 1990s. They had a lot of interest in him. They really considered him a major terrorist figure.” [ORANGE COUNTY WEEKLY, 6/17/2004] Deek and Zubaida will later work together on a number of operations, for instance using the honey trade to ship drugs and weapons (see May 2000), and masterminding a millennium bomb plot in Jordan. [NEW YORKER, 1/22/2007]

  2. DXer said

    Both KSM and El-Shukrijumah fought in Bosnia in 1995. Khalil Deek worked in Bosnia. The California-based Deek helped finance the research being done at Darunta camp. He travelled there in June 2001.

    Even when people refer to biochem, it is important to understand the difference between Al Qaeda’s chemical and biological program as they were distinct programs.

    James Vandevelde, the former DIA analyst on Amerithrax who then went to work for the CTC, explained in his filmed and authorized presentation moderated by Lew, Al Qaeda’s bio program was much more secretive and compartmentalized than the chemical program.

    For example, Yazid did not even know of Dr. Ayman’s work with and handling of Rauf Ahmad.

    Here are some passages from History Commons about Deek. He was closely connected to Blind Sheik Abdel-Rahman, as was Adnan El-Shukrijumah.

    Early 1990s: Al-Qaeda Operative Running Training Camps in California Also Helping Militants in Bosnia War

    Khalil Deek, a US citizen and al-Qaeda operative mostly living in California, also works in Bosnia for the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA), also known as the Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA), during the Bosnia war. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/17/2000] A secret 1996 CIA report will say, “The IARA office in Zagreb [Croatia] provides weapons to the Bosnian military, according to a clandestine source. The source claimed the office was controlled by officials of Sudan’s ruling party, the National Islamic Front.” [CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, 1/1996] The Wall Street Journal will later claim that the “US suspects [the IARA] was involved in smuggling fighters into Bosnia from among the mujaheddin.” [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/17/2000] Deek has a Bosnian passport. [SCHINDLER, 2007, PP. 270] … Deek will later reportedly serve similar roles for al-Qaeda in Pakistan, helping to smuggle weapons (see May 2000) and direct recruits to militant training camps in Afghanistan (see 1998-December 11, 1999). While in Bosnia, he will get to know other al-Qaeda operatives later connected to various bomb plots (see January 2000). Around the same time that he is working in Bosnia, he is also being monitored by the FBI running militant training camps in California, but the FBI takes no action against him or his camps (see Early 1990s).


    Al-Qaeda operative Khalil Deek runs military training camps in Southern California in the early 1990s. Those trained in the camps include followers of the “Blind Sheikh,” Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, and some of the people involved in the 1993 “Landmarks” plot (see June 24, 1993). Deek is a member of an al-Qaeda sleeper cell based in Orange County and has reportedly been under investigation by US intelligence since the late 1980s …

    March 1993-1996: FBI Uninterested in Warnings of California Terrorist Cell

    In 1992 and early 1993, the “Blind Sheikh,” Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, visits a mosque in Anaheim, California, and is hosted by an al-Qaeda sleeper cell there. Cell leaders Hisham Diab and Khalil Deek live next door to each other and are avid followers of Abdul-Rahman. Apparently he stays with Deek on one trip and with Diab on another. Saraah Olson, Diab’s wife, sees Abdul-Rahman on television in connection with the February 1993 World Trade Center bombing (see February 26, 1993) and fears that her husband is a terrorist. She will later claim, “I called the FBI. I said I have information about the blind sheikh. He’s been to my house, and I need to speak to someone.” But she will say they responded, “We don’t know who you’re talking about. Thank you for the information. And they hung up.” [ABC NEWS, 12/23/2004; ABC NEWS, 12/23/2004] From 1990 until 1996, when she divorces Diab, she claims that “some of Osama bin Laden’s top deputies would stay with her and her husband.” She claims she repeatedly tried to warn the FBI about this but was never taken seriously. She also claims that even after Abdul-Rahman was arrested in mid-1993, he would regularly call Diab from prison each Sunday and deliver fiery sermons that were recorded and distributed to some of his other followers. US intelligence had been investigating Deek since at least the late 1980s but never took any action against him (see Late 1980s). [ABC NEWS, 12/23/2004; LOS ANGELES TIMES, 10/8/2006] Apparently also in the early 1990s, the FBI is apparently aware that Deek is running militant training camps in California for followers of Abdul-Rahman, but they take no action against him or the camps (see Early 1990s). Diab eventually becomes a US citizen and then will leave the US in June 2001. He is now believed to be hiding in Pakistan with top al-Qaeda leaders. The FBI has been asked about Olson’s allegations but has neither confirmed nor denied them. [ABC NEWS, 12/23/2004]

    ***

    December 9, 1999: President Clinton Warned about Al-Qaeda Operatives Living in US

    As an al-Qaeda millennium plot is broken up in Jordan (see November 30, 1999), attention is focused on the fact that two of the plotters were long time US residents. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger sends a memo to President Clinton about the two men, Raed Hijazi and Khalil Deek. Hijazi had lived in California and then moved to Boston to drive a taxi there for several years. The 9/11 Commission will say Berger tells Clinton was a naturalized US citizen who had “been in touch with extremists in the United States as well as abroad.” Later in the month, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke will warn Berger in an e-mail, “Foreign terrorist sleeper cells are present in the US and attacks in the US are likely.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 179, 501]

  3. DXer said

    I am assuming Abu Bakr al-Filistini — Yazid’s technical assistant in the lab with the PhD — is not the same as Abu Ayad al-Filistini aka Khalil Deek. (But am still sorting things out).

    Khalil Deek was a naturalized US citizen who served as an al-Qaida financier connected to al-Qaida’s WMD program and who directly supported the Jordan phase of the Millennium Plot. Deek financed the development of a chemical / biological program at Derunta.

    • DXer said

      A manual was found in Khalil Deek’s possession in 1999. Security experts were asked not to discuss the portions relating to bioterrorism.

      I am not sure offhand whether this was the chapter on using mailed biological agent and wiping the interior with a silicone sealant so as to avoid harming the mailman.

      http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0111/15/qa.01.html

      “The Poisonous Letter” is the title of one section on poison inks. “Write a letter to the victim mentioning very exciting and very interesting news,” it reads. “Wipe the envelope from the inside with silicone sealant,” it goes on, “so it would not kill the mailman.”

      See CNN piece. I believe it is a different one. I believe this longer one was written by a fellow named Setmarian, the fellow, I think, with red hair.

      Revealed: the bloody pages of Al-Qaeda’s killing manual
      The Sunday-Times of London ^ | 11/04/2001 | Nick Fielding

      From the bloody pages of Al-Qaida’s killing manual

      Author: Nick Fielding
      Publication: The Times of London
      Date: November 4, 2001

      A unique manual for Islamic terrorists, detailing every aspect of how to fight a guerrilla war, from biochemical attacks to finding the fatal pressure point during hand-to-hand combat, has been obtained by western intelligence agencies.

      The 7,000-page guide – titled Encyclopedia of jehad – provides an insight into how terrorists from Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida network operate in both urban environments and on the battlefield.

      Filling 11 volumes and circulated both in book form and on CD-Rom to terrorist instructors, it offers guidance on how to inject frozen food with biochemical agents to create mass panic, rig up a door lock to explode when the handle is turned, and bring down a plane with a missile.

      The encyclopedia is dedicated to bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam, a charismatic preacher who was a formative influence on the Saudi terrorist. It distils the experience of 10 years of guerrilla fighting against the Russians in Afghanistan and draws on stolen CIA and special ‘services’ handbooks.

      The most chilling volume is the 11th, which deals with bio-terrorism, which is on a separate CD-Rom. It explains how to disperse potentially lethal organisms and poisons, ranging from botulism and viral infections to anthrax and training camp in Pakistan where toxins are manufactured.

      It details targets such as water and food supplies, and advocates maximizing public panic by poisoning medicine, thereby jeopardising treatment of the sick and injured. Sources of biological material include a list of countries that produce anthrax and a training camp in Pakistan where toxins are manufactured.

      The encyclopedia was found in 1999 in the home of Khalil Deek when he was arrested in connection with an alleged plot to bomb Jordan’s main airport in the capital, Amman, on the eve of the millennium.

      Each of the 10 volumes of the main encyclopedia carries a picture showing a belt-fed machinegun standing in a window next to a copy of the Koran. One, on security and intelligence, shows the long-term planning involved in operations, with “sleeper” cells set up years in advance. “The mujaheed should be young, so he can start the mission 10 years before the start of the jehad,” it states.

      ***

      The sophistication of some parts of the manual has alarmed intelligence agencies, which have asked counter-terrorism experts given access to the document not to discuss or release key elements, particularly on bio-terrorism. (The Sunday Times)

      http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

  4. DXer said

    Mr. Sufaat, do you agree with Harun al-Afghani’s description of Khalil Deek’s role in helping with the financing?

  5. DXer said

    SUBJECT
    PRESSURE MOUNTS AGAINST INTERNAL SECURITY ACT (ISA)
    DATE
    2008-12-23 07:21:00
    CLASSIFICATION
    SECRET
    ORIGIN
    Embassy Kuala Lumpur

    12. (SBU) In early December, local and international press
    reported that the GOM had released 17 ISA detainees from
    November 5 through December 4. Of those released, 10 had
    been held for suspected links to Al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah,
    and/or the Darul Islam terrorist groups. The released
    terrorist suspects included Yazid SUFAAT, who played an
    important role in Al Qaeda’s anthrax development program,
    according to the 9/11 Commission. The remaining seven
    persons released consisted of suspected foreign agents (2
    persons), southern Thailand separatists (2), document forgers
    (2), and prominent blogger Raja Petra, according to an NGO
    that consistently and accurately monitors ISA detentions.
    In his public remarks, Syed Hamid said those recently
    released ISA detainees had been rehabilitated and no longer
    posed a security threat to Malaysia.

    13. (S) Note: Authorities had detained the terrorist
    suspects for periods between two and (in the case of Yazid
    SUFAAT) seven years, for an average detention period of four
    years for the ten individuals. Special Branch relies on a
    process for rehabilitating ISA detainees, and eventually
    releasing them under restricted and monitored conditions when
    judged necessary. The GOM has never attempted to prosecute
    any terrorist suspects, including those held under the ISA.
    This is due in large part to the fact that the GOM pursues
    almost exclusively an intelligence approach to CT, as opposed
    to a law enforcement approach that would involve criminal
    investigations, collection of legally admissible evidence,
    and development of cases for prosecution in the courts. In
    2007, Malaysia amended anti-terrorism provisions in its penal
    code and criminal procedures code, but authorities have not
    yet utilized these provisions. Malaysia also has a poor
    track record of prosecuting other complex criminal
    conspiracies, including drug trafficking cases, preferring
    instead to utilize the ISA and other emergency ordinances to
    detain suspects without trial. End Note.

    14. (S) A well-known journalist contacted us in early
    December and said that officers of the Police Special Branch
    had complained to him that Home Minister Syed Hamid had
    ordered the recent releases of terrorist suspects without
    adequate consultation and in some cases against the
    recommendation of Special Branch. Australian and British
    diplomats, speaking with Polcouns December 16, stated that
    Syed Hamid, who is a lawyer by training, personally reviewed
    the dossiers of ISA detainees and was inclined to approve
    releases absent compelling justification from the Special
    Branch.

  6. DXer said

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

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

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

    • DXer said

      Zawahiri’s April / May 1999 Memos To Al Qaeda’s Military Commander Atef and Interest In Anthrax and Pesticides

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

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

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

      “To: Muhammed Atef
      From: Ayman al-Zawahir

      Folder: Outgoing Mail
      Date: April 15, 1999
      I have read the majority of the book [an unnamed volume, probably on biological and chemical weapons] [It] is undoubtedly useful. It emphasizes a number of important facts, such as:
      1) The enemy started thinking about these weapons before WWI. Despite their extreme danger, we only became aware of them when the enemy drew our attention to them by repeatedly expressing concerns that they can be produced simply with easily available materials.
      b) The destructive power of these weapons is no less than that of nuclear weapon
      c) A germ attack is often detected days after it occurs, which raises the number of victims.
      d) Defense against such weapons is very difficult, particularly if large quantities are used.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Ahmed Ressam testified at his trial in New York that he participated in experiments using cyanide gas pumped into an office building ventilation system at a training camp run by bin Laden in Afghanistan. Abu Khabab camp was within the Darunta Camp, which also included the Assadalah Abdul Rahman camp, operated by the son of blind cleric Omar Abdel Rahman. Ayman liked the idea to make a home-brew nerve gas from insecticides and a chemical additive that would help speed penetration into the skin. Today we learned that US citizen Khalil Deek funded a lab at Darunta.

      In a memo, however, Ayman wrote about building labs (with one being closed every three months so it can be moved and replaced by another), and planned to have them covered with oil paint so they might be cleaned with insecticides.

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