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

* Where was Alamatrafi, the head of WAFA in Afghanistan assisting Sufaat in anthrax program, going to get $500,000 to buy computerized laser-guided missile system?

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 6, 2011

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16 Responses to “* Where was Alamatrafi, the head of WAFA in Afghanistan assisting Sufaat in anthrax program, going to get $500,000 to buy computerized laser-guided missile system?”

  1. DXer said

    Bin Laden son-in-law pleads not guilty to new terrorism charges
    http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-ny-terror-trial-bin-laden-20131223,0,4796725.story#ixzz2oODzn8Qs

    NEW YORK — The son-in-law of Osama bin Laden entered not guilty pleas Monday to two additional terrorism charges filed against him last week, and a judge granted the prosecution’s request that jurors chosen for the trial remain anonymous, even while they go through the selection process.

    The trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is due to begin Feb. 3 and would mark the first time a terrorism suspect charged with crimes related to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has been tried in a U.S. civilian court.

    An indictment unsealed last March alleged that Abu Ghaith “served alongside” the Al Qaeda leader from May 2001 through part of 2002 and appeared on videos praising the Sept. 11 attacks and threatening more assaults.

    A superseding indictment unsealed last Friday added two more counts accusing Abu Ghaith of conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists and providing support to terrorists.
    New details in the latest indictment include allegations that Abu Ghaith, in his role as Bin Laden’s spokesman and an Al Qaeda propaganda chief, delivered a speech in April 2002 praising the bombing that month of a synagogue in Tunisia.

    In that speech, prosecutors allege, Abu Ghaith alluded to the “victory” of the 2001 attacks in New York in Washington and said that “the organization … is now observing, investigating and monitoring new American targets … which we will strike at a period that is not long.”

    “We shall be launching terrorist attacks on America … at a time, place and a method of our choosing,” the indictment accuses Abu Ghaith of saying in the April address.

    Abu Ghaith, 48, is a Kuwaiti who was arrested by U.S. officials early this year in Jordan while he was traveling from Turkey back to his home country. In their motion to have jurors’ names, addresses and other identifying information kept secret, even from attorneys, prosecutors said the case was certain to include evidence of “chilling and extensive threats against the United States by the defendant.”

    ***
    U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said he agreed with the prosecution. Kaplan did not rule on a motion by the defense to grant a 60-day delay in the start of the trial. Defense attorney Stanley Cohen said he needed the delay because of new details in the latest indictment, which he said change the prosecution’s theory of Abu Ghaith’s alleged role in the 2001 attacks.

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-ny-terror-trial-bin-laden-20131223,0,4796725.story#ixzz2oOEbk4Zn

    Comment:

    To understand the potential importance of this trial to understanding the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings, you need to understand the chronology of events relating to WAFA and procurement of equipment involving Dr. Batarfi, Yazid Sufaat and Abu Ghaith, who headed WAFA. The manager of the Kabul WAFA office explained that Abu Ghaith was the founder of WAFA before the Combat Review Status Tribunal.

    In February, I wrote on this blog that “Yazid Sufaat is available to be interviewed on Abu Ghaith.” But now it seems that Yazid is no longer available to reporters. Yazid too has been arrested and charged with terrorism. Abu Ghaith apparently cooperated both during his hotel stay in Turkey and on the plane ride home about WAFA’S procurement activities and Yazid Sufaat.

    By way of background on Abu Ghaith’s role, among the correspondence written by Rauf Ahmad seized in Afghanistan, there are handwritten notes about the plan to use NGOs, technical institutes and medical labs as cover for aspects of the work, and training requirements for the various personnel at the lab in Afghanistan. Two Pakistani nuclear scientists founded Ummah Tameer-e-Nau in June 2000. “Reconstruction of the Muslim Ummah,” or “UTN,” an Islamabad-based organization whose stated purpose was to conduct relief and development work in Afghanistan. UTN built a flour mill in Kandahar and purchased land in the Kandahar region. After the fall of the Taliban, coalition forces and the media began to search UTN facilities in Kabul. It was in November that it was reported by The Economist that the “House of Anthrax” had been found. Documents found by journalists in November 2001 at a villa in Kabul occupied by UTN suggested brainstorming seminars on anthrax had been held. THere were diagrams suggestive of a plan to use a helium-filled balloon to disperse anthrax across a wide area. The nondescript two-story villa occupied by the Pakistani aid group was in a quiet residential neighborhood of Kabul where a number of international charities were located. One downloaded document had the picture of former Secretary Cohen holding up a 5 pound bag of sugar. There were details about the U.S. military’s vaccination program downloaded from a Defense Department site on the Internet and other Defense Department documents relating to anthrax. There were 10 copies each of most of the documents. On the floor, there was what appeared to be a disassembled rocket alongside a helium canister, as well as two bags of powder. A detailed diagram scrawled in black felt tip pen on a white board shows what appears to be a balloon rising at various trajectories, alongside a fighter jet that is apparently shooting at the balloon. Beside the jet are the words, “You are dead, bang.”

    There were also pictures of ground missiles linked by lines to the balloon. Mathematical calculations indicated the height at which the balloon would fly, the distance from which it would be shot down and the area over which its contents would be dispersed. Beside one of the balloons is the word “polystyrene” and beside another the word “cyanide.” Loose sheets of paper containing scribbles of missiles and balloons were strewn around the house, indicating those attending the seminar had been taking notes and doing calculations. Although people can reasonably disagree on the conclusion to be drawn of the drawing on the white board showing aerial dispersal of anthrax by balloon, the drawings should be understood in the context of Ayman’s research and reading on the subject. One email from Ayman to Atef lists Peace or Pestilence as one of the books he had read. (The author argued that said science should combat disease, not find devious ways to spread it. That book included a description of the Japanese research on anthrax leading up to WW II and the US concern that anthrax was being dispersed by balloons being sent to the US on high hot air currents. Unit 731 experimented extensively with anthrax bombs and hot-air balloons filled with the deadly disease. In late 1944, aerosol scientists at Ft. Detrick (then known as Camp Detrick) were alarmed when news of some large balloons, as large as 150 feet around, had been sighted silently floating over populated areas. Within a few months, over 250 balloons had been discovered in nine western states. The balloons are known only to have been armed with an incendiary device and killed and injured only a very few people.

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

    The manager of the Kabul WAFA office explained that Abu Ghaith was the founder of WAFA before the Combat Review Status Tribunal. Shortly before September 11, he helped Abu Ghaith to leave Afghanistan. and his family leave for Karachi, Pakistan. He had known Abu Ghaith from Kuwait. Before 9/11, he had been in Kandahar working with WAFA. He was paid $200 a month but had been willing to work for free as a volunteer. After a month, however, he got a new supervisor he did not like. He would get upset when medical supplies came and it was broken or crooked. He complained about the expensive long distance calls young people would make, but his supervisor disagreed with his complaints. When the supervisor rifled through his and his wife’s things, he had reached his limit. His supervisor, in any event, said he only wanted people from Mecca working for him and kicked him out on about August 1, 2001. After bringing his family to Pakistan, he returned to Kabul where he met Abu Ghaith. He spent 16 days in what has been described as a “safe house” in Kabul while waiting to go safely back to Pakistan. “I am not a combat fighting animal. It is just a charity organization. What is my mistake? Why are you mentioning Al Qaida and fighting when I worked for a charity organization?” He says he did not know Abu Ghaith was an Al Qaeda spokesman until after 9/11. The Tribunal found his statements to be self-serving and unpersuasive. Abu Ghaith, as Al Qaeda’s spokesman at the time, later claimed that Al Qaeda had the right to use their military, nuclear, and biological equipment to kill hundreds of thousands of people.” In short, although the unclassified evidence relating to the unlawful combatants associated with WAFA in Afghanistan tended not to be rocket scientists, Al Qaeda’s practice of using charities as cover was well-established.

  2. DXer said

    Today’s news:

    Islamic charity officials gave millions to al-Qaeda, U.S. says

    By Joby Warrick and Tik Root, Pu

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/islamic-charity-officials-gave-millions-to-al-qaeda-us-says/2013/12/22/e0c53ad6-69b8-11e3-a0b9-249bbb34602c_story.html

  3. DXer said

    Here is a great talk by Attorney Cohen.

    Attorney Cohen says to the FBI, CIA, snitches etc. : Just tell the truth and everything will be okay.

    Stanley emphasizes the importance of understanding Egypt. I agree that Egypt is an important case study in understanding activism, whistleblowing and truth telling.

    I think he’s right but for different reasons. The Salafist-Jihadists blew their chance by not promoting a constitution that protected the rights of minorities.
    So it was inevitable that those minorities would rise up and say, “f— you.”

    Stanley Cohen says the truth will always rise. It’s all about truth…rising up and saying, “F—— you.”

    The truth is that Al Qaeda spokesman Abu Ghaith was the one pictured in the video, speech, fatwa etc. and so the law supports his incarceration for the rest of his life. 3000 died on 9/11. Case closed. That’s the simple truth.

    (I was curious as to whether there was a jurisdictional issue as to how he came to be in Court but that apparently wasn’t a viable defense; I haven’t seen any briefing on the subject)..

    On the merits, the more interesting truth is that Abu Ghaith was closely involved with WAFA (see reports leaked by Guantanamo leaked by Anonymous).

    WAFA was involved in the procurement of bioequipment for Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat. (see report above for example). Intel that is not yet public proves that Abu Ghaith had personal knowledge of expenditures.
    When it all comes out Abu Ghaith is just going to be made to look like a liar.

    Tell the truth, Stanley. And don’t pretend to be telling the truth while hiding it.

    Stanley is very persuasive in urging his audience to rise up and say, F— You.

    Okay. F— you, Stanley. If you want a reputation as a truth-teller you are going to have to earn it by telling the truth.

    I realize you can’t tell the truth because you are a lawyer representing a client accused of serious crimes. I accept that and so I recognize that your approach is principled and required by your professional obligations.

    But given your professional constraints require you to hide the truth … don’t pretend to be a truth-teller. You are paid — quite handsomely, it now appears — to hide the truth. So f— you.

    By not telling the truth, you are just making it harder to overcome the CYA and hide-the-ball that has been allowed to prevail at DOJ, FBI , USPIS, and CIA. The FBI counterterrorism managers subject of that flattering TIME (or NEWSWEEK) piece recently have remained silent even though Amerithrax was botched.

    You are making it harder for the activists, whistleblowers and truth tellers to effect positive social change in the US.

    The last thing, for example, opponents of drones need is a mouthpiece representing the murderous Al Qaeda spokesman who appears motivated by money — all the while purporting to be a communist.

    Let a priest who has taken a vow of poverty urge due process and collateral damage. You OTOH STFU.

  4. DXer said

    Mail Qasim (Saeed Mohammed) was a microbiology student who served as a junior medical advisor for Al-Wafa in the Karachi office. He was helping Yazid Sufaat with procurement from Karachi. Nearly a decade ago, I described how Qasim was rendered to Jordan in October 2001.

    In addition to Qasim in the Karachi office the head of WAFA in Afghanistan was alleged to have helped procure “chemical warfare weapons.” He is said to have “authorized al-Wafa to spend $5000 US to assist al-Qaida anthrax researcher, Yazid Sufaat, purchase laboratory equipment.”

    Yazid Sufaat does not deny to me responsibility for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. He pled the Fifth when I asked him whether he was using the Ames strain.

    Given Wafa’s connection to my one-time Facebook Friend Yazid Sufaat, isn’t it a good bet that the author of this threat to use bioweapons was Al Qaeda’s spokesman and a reported WAFA founder Abu Ghaith, Bin Laden’s son-in-law?

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/from-dxer-infiltration-of-u-s-biodefense-document-seized-in-afghanistan/comment-page-1/#comment-26459

    Abu Ghaith now faces trial in Manhattan and last week, his lawyer was indicted the same day his indictment was updated with additional charges.

    These jihadists were using so many aliases in Afghanistan precisely to make identification difficult. Abu Ghaith was unavailable to interview for the decade after 9/11. But he since spoken to the FBI and CIA. His attempt to exclude his statements to the FBI from trial was unsuccessful. His lawyer, Stanley Cohen, now was indicted the same day as the charges were updated. Attorney Cohen had previously been indicted here on similar charges but the new indictment seems to be as weighty as it is skimpy on detail.

    In his statement to the FBI, did Abu Ghaith address Al Qaeda’s anthrax program which his group WAFA helped equip? If so, what did he say?

    And if he was the author of this statement from “Abu Abdullah Al-Kuwaiti”, what infiltration of US government did he mean?

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/from-dxer-infiltration-of-u-s-biodefense-document-seized-in-afghanistan/comment-page-1/#comment-26459

    Let’s be realistic. Abu Ghaith is never going to be released from prison. His defense lawyer may make a lot of money but the client isn’t getting off because the videotapes make for a slam dunk case. Isn’t it time he man up? Complaining about having to wipe up his own pee on the flight back, after he missed the bowl, is undignified. He instead could dye his beard red and public admit all his actions — he could show a little class in the style of KSM.

    http:///www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

    Abu Ghaith was a founder of Al-Wafa who came to Pakistan in August 2001 and then after a month returned to Kandahar, where Yazid Sufaat had his his anthrax lab.

    Even though the government assessed the detainee below as concealing information, he provided useful testimony about Abu Ghaith’s travel to Pakistan and back in August 2001.

    http://media.mcclatchydc.com/smedia/2008/06/02/12/ISN-568.source.prod_affiliate.91.pdf

    Q What position did you hold in al-Wafa?

    A. I was the manager for the Kabul office.

    Q. So you were the senior person in the Kabul office?

    A. Yes.

    Q Did you also help Mr. Abu Ghaith family also leave Afghanistan?

    A. Yes.

    [ That seems to have been in August 2001. He says he spent a month in Pakistan and then returned to Afghanistan — to Kandahar.]

    A. “I went back to Afghanistan after a month in Pakistan and went again to Kandahar. After that I took the Ghaith family and went back to Pakistan again.

    [Did Sufaat and KSM join Abu Ghaith in Karachi on a procurement trip for more bio equipment? ]

    • DXer said

      Salman Abu Ghayth

      Paragraph 6 a. under “Overt Acts” of the Superseding Indictment states:

      “In or about May 2001, ABU GHAYTH urged individuals at a guest house in Kandahar, Afghanistan, to swear an oath of allegiance to Bin Laden.”

      It was May 2001 that the crates of biological equipment were moved to Kandahar.

      Mohammed Ahmad Rabbani was one of two who Khalid Mohammed (KSM) used to help Atef and Sufaat moving a roomful of crates purchased in Pakistan to Kandahar for the Al Qaeda anthrax program. KSM’s assistance had been sought by Abu Harith al-Masri.

      Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 6, 2011
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/mohammed-ahmad-rabbani-was-one-of-two-who-khalid-mohammed-ksm-used-to-help-atef-and-sufaat-moving-a-roomful-of-crates-purchased-in-pakistan-to-kandahar-for-the-al-qaeda-anthrax-program-ksms-as/

      Abdul Rabbani Abu Rahman was the other fellow who KSM tasked to move the crates with biological equipment for Al Qaeda’s anthrax program
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 6, 2011
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/abdul-rabbani-abu-rahman-was-the-other-fellow-who-ksm-tasked-to-move-the-crates-with-biological-equipment-for-al-qaedas-anthrax-program/

      Who were the individuals at the guest house? Were any of them involved in Al Qaeda’s anthrax program?

      What did Abu Ghayth know about Dr. Ayman Zawahiri’s anthrax program and Yazid Sufaat’s lab in Kandahar. Abu Ghayth’s group, WAFA, was helping with the procurement of equipment for the lab.

      Paragrah 6 e. states:

      “After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, ABU GHAYTH gave a speech in which he addressed the United States Secretary of State and warned that “the storms shall not stop, especially the Airplanes Storm,” and advised Muslims, children, and opponents of the United States “not to board any aircraft and not to live in high rises.”

      Paragraph 6 g quotes his April 11, 2002 speech: “we shall be launching terrorist attacks on America … at a time, place, and a method of our choosing.”

      The talking heads have always urged that Al Qaeda would only use anthrax in a mass attack. This goes directly contrary to what Al Qaeda spokesman was publicly saying.

    • DXer said

      Stanley Cohen responded to the indictment by a statement via Twitter (December 19, 2013)

      Dear friends and “fan club members”. This will be my one and only comment in twitter regarding the events of yesterday in the SDNY where not surprisingly a vindictive indictment was unsealed charging me with 4 MISDEMEANORS and a NEW YORK STATE OFFENSE, that did not even rise to a discrete violation of federal law. Needless to say I deny all these allegations as well as the earlier ones lodged against me in the NDNY more than a year ago – those counts involved allegations of impeding the tax code and are listed on my website. BOTH indictments relate essentially to the same alleged facts and circumstances, during the same period. The only difference is the SDNY elected to pile on these new counts that had some venue limitations in upstate NY and did so only after he had refused to have them “added” to the NDNY charges a year ago. These charges DO NOT allege income tax evasion, no matter what they are called or how they are interpreted by the fan club and I am certain they will result in a not guilty verdict (if combined) or verdicts at separate trials by a jury not consumed with hatred for my speech, or 40 year plus opposition to the policies of the United States government, including the Department of Justice, and Israel and its blind and rabid Zionist supporters. Make no mistake about it, this investigation, which began more than a decade ago, when initiated by the “terrorism unit” of the DOJ, was a direct result of my work and politics. After all the persons, organizations and beliefs that I have represented for most of my life as an activist, organizer, social worker and attorney have been a thorn, no a spike, in the side of the powerful, those in government and out that have largely controlled the narrative of our lives and deign to dictate how we are to live them wherever they wave their flags, sing their anthems and define their borders. My clients, comrades and friends have been declared and persecuted by this Government and others as enemies; subversives and terrorists. Some have been murdered, many are imprisoned and still yet countless others hunted by those who fear their principles, sacrifice and struggle. It is no accident that one who has successfully defended the leadership of Hamas here and abroad, who has advocated on behalf of members of Hezbollah and other liberation and anarchist and free speech movements throughout the world, who has sued the United States, Israel and other fascist and other deadly regimes and who has represented in court more persons accused of terrorism — real and fake — that an other attorney would find himself charged by the US Government. To those who know me and my work they understand I wear these charges as an honor, a badge of courage, independence and determination; they will neither silence me nor cause me to take a single step back. Life is short, we live, we fight and we die. more than a hundred years ago the greatest advocate/lawyer of his day, perhaps of any, said “show me an attorney who has spent their life representing the despaired, the despised and the powerless who has not themself been criminally charged and I will show you a wasted effort.” Clarence Darrow. Up The Rebels.

      Comment:

      I once read a biography of Clarence Darrow in high school and as I mentioned to Stanley I definitely “get it”. Free speech needs to be protected and criminal defendants need to have a zealous defense. To hear Archibald Cox parse out the First Amendment principles to incendiary speech in a public square was a real privilege. And to know that attorneys of the caliber and stature of a former US Attorney General (under Carter) represent the Blind Sheik Abdel Rahman is a real testament to our justice system.

      It turns out that defending the constitution pays well too. I don’t know anything about tax law and so I’ll leave those issues to Attorney Cohen.

      But I’m all in favor of enforcing the constitution and statutory protections — and zealously so. And I’m just too uninformed about (and removed from) mideast politics to have an opinion.

      The rights of Ottilie Lundgren and Kathy Nguyen, however, deserve representation too — more so than the mass murderers like Bin Laden and his colleagues.

      A real truth teller would want what happened — who is responsible for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings — to be known.

      Stanley of course does not purport to be an activist acting out of the goodness of his heart in the public interest. He is far too well-spoken to be misunderstood. He is a very accomplished and well-paid attorney representing terrorists (both real and merely alleged) — here Al Qaeda’s spokesman. Many of his clients are accused drug traffickers and cigarette smugglers.

      But Stanley, far more interesting than whether you complied with the tax laws laws is: who do you think is responsible for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings?

      These terrorists are not well-served in their cause by lawyers who make them seem like lying crybabies.

      Unlike Abu Ghaith (Abu Ghayth), Yazid Sufaat had real cojones in public addressing these issues.

      p.s. If we are ever able to get to Dinosaurs BBQ, you are treating.

      p.s.s. Have Abu Ghaith come clean on the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. We’ll collect millions in rewards and then you can pay any back taxes.

  5. DXer said

    Al Qaeda’s anthrax scientist – The Long War Journal
    http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/…/al_qaedas_anthrax_sc.phpDec 12, 2008

    Al Matrafi’s ties to these senior terrorists gave al Wafa access to al Qaeda’s most sensitive projects, including Yazid Sufaat’s anthrax program.

    Comment: The reason Abu Ghaith, co-founder of WAFA, now may be cooperating with regard to Al Qaeda’s anthrax program, is that being a teacher of religious studies he found that certain individuals (like Dr. Ayman) had monopolized jihad and departed from the koran and hadiths to settle their personal vendettas. Numerous operations by Dr. Ayman and Bin Laden may have departed from the principles of the ancient writings to which Yazid aspires to follow. For example, in his 2010 book, Abu Ghaith explained that it was wrong for Bin Laden to attack the US from Afghanistan given assurances to his host, Mullah Omar, that he would not launch an attack from Afghanistan. I believe Yazid has served as an imam at his local mosque and so likely is able to read Abu Ghaith’s book for himself and determine whether he agrees. The book title is something like “21 Guidelines for Jihad.” In any event, if Abu Ghaith is cooperating, a failure to cooperate on Yazid’s part will not advance anyone’s cause.

    • DXer said

      Did Abu Ghaith live in Kandahar in mid-September 2001? Did he know Sufaat who for much of his time lived in a guest house in Kandahar? Did he know KSM? Did Abu Ghaith know Shukrijumah?

      1. Bin Laden son-in-law detained overseas, brought to New York …
      http://www.reuters.com/article/…/us-usa-militant-idUSBRE9260ZS20130307‎

      Mar 7, 2013 – It cited a May 2001 gathering at a house in Kandahar, Afghanistan, alleging Abu Ghaith urged guests to swear allegiance to bin Laden, and it …

      2. BIN LADEN AIDE LOSES BID TO HALT U.S. SURVEILLANCE EFFORT
      By Christie Smythe – Jul 9, 2013
      http://about.bloomberglaw.com/legal-news/bin-laden-aide-loses-bid-to-halt-u-s-surveillance-effort/

      “The key to much of this application lies in the misuse by the defense of the word government,” Kaplan said, saying that the government’s surveillance programs are separate from the work of federal prosecutors. “That really could be the beginning and end of this discussion.”

      Stanley Cohen, Abu Ghayth’s lawyer, said yesterday in court that his client is concerned about what information could potentially have been gathered through the National Security Agency’s Prism program, made public June 6, and others like it.

      “How are we to know, judge, what filters its way down to the prosecutors?” Cohen asked.

      Comment:

      I find this discussion on the motion in the prosecution of Abu Ghaith fascinating — I find substantial merit to both arguments. I admire Attorney Cohen’s ability to “push back” against such steep odds through the power of words and the kernel of an important idea.

      On the merits of this particular case, however, the context of the case is a defendant who is depicted on videos serving as Al Qaeda’s spokesman. (Go to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.)

      As for the lawfulness of the process by which Abu Ghaith found himself in Manhattan, it seems that will not hinge on the testimony of Al Qaeda members and others with whom Attorney Cohen wishes to speak confidentially.

      The legality of that process likely can be decided as a matter of law based on agreed-upon facts.

      In his meetings, Attorney Cohen may want to leave his usual pen, belt buckle and shoes at home. If he was concerned about surveillance, he should have stopped carrying his cell phone years ago. Law enforcement can merely turn a cell phone that is off back on and listen in to conversations held near the phone.

      http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

      • DXer said

        On the merits of Attorney Cohen’s argument about the surveillance chilling his ability to defend his client, consider an attempt to interview a former Abu Ghaith associate, a charity worker Zamil.

        Would Zamil care one bit if information were leaked to prosecutors? Did his harsh treatment have anything to do with prosecutors or the rule of law?

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

        The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will have their work cut out for them in addressing the issue.

        As for whether Abu Ghaith was Al Qaeda’s spokesman, however, Zamil’s account is immaterial. The videos speak for themselves.

        http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

  6. DXer said

    Abu Ghaith was a founder of WAFA. He is being detained and questioned in Turkey. Now Yazid Sufaat has been arrested. Yazid needs to be forthright about the anthrax strain he was using if he wants to have the public subscribe to the idea that he is the devoted family man he seems to be.

  7. DXer said

    Mr. Sufaat, what was Mr. Alamatrafi like?

  8. DXer said

    Among the correspondence written by Rauf Ahmad seized in Afghanistan, there are handwritten notes about the plan to use NGOs, technical institutes and medical labs as cover for aspects of the work, and training requirements for the various personnel at the lab in Afghanistan. Two Pakistani nuclear scientists founded Ummah Tameer-e-Nau in June 2000. “Reconstruction of the Muslim Ummah,” or “UTN,” an Islamabad-based organization whose stated purpose was to conduct relief and development work in Afghanistan. UTN built a flour mill in Kandahar and purchased land in the Kandahar region. UTN business cards from the organization carry the motto “Build to Help, Help to Build.” After the fall of the Taliban, coalition forces and the media began to search UTN facilities in Kabul. It was in November that it was reported by The Economist that the “House of Anthrax” had been found. Documents found by journalists in November 2001 at a villa in Kabul occupied by UTN suggested brainstorming seminars on anthrax had been held to include diagrams suggestive of a plan to use a helium-filled balloon to disperse anthrax across a wide area. The nondescript two-story villa occupied by the Pakistani aid group was in a quiet residential neighborhood of Kabul where a number of international charities were located. One downloaded document had the picture of former Secretary Cohen holding up a 5 pound bag of sugar. There were details about the U.S. military’s vaccination program downloaded from a Defense Department site on the Internet and other Defense Department documents relating to anthrax. There were 10 copies each of most of the documents. On the floor, there was what appeared to be a disassembled rocket alongside a helium canister, as well as two bags of powder. A detailed diagram scrawled in black felt tip pen on a white board shows what appears to be a balloon rising at various trajectories, alongside a fighter jet that is apparently shooting at the balloon. Beside the jet are the words, “You are dead, bang.”

    There were also pictures of ground missiles linked by lines to the balloon. Mathematical calculations indicated the height at which the balloon would fly, the distance from which it would be shot down and the area over which its contents would be dispersed. Beside one of the balloons is the word “polystyrene” and beside another the word “cyanide.” Loose sheets of paper containing scribbles of missiles and balloons were strewn around the house, indicating those attending the seminar had been taking notes and doing calculations. Although people can reasonably disagree on the conclusion to be drawn of the drawing on the white board showing aerial dispersal of anthrax by balloon, the drawings should be understood in the context of Ayman’s research and reading on the subject. One email from Ayman to Atef lists Peace or Pestilence as one of the books he had read. (The author argued that said science should combat disease, not find devious ways to spread it. That book included a description of the Japanese research on anthrax leading up to WW II and the US concern that anthrax was being dispersed by balloons being sent to the US on high hot air currents. Unit 731 experimented extensively with anthrax bombs and hot-air balloons filled with the deadly disease. In late 1944, aerosol scientists at Ft. Detrick (then known as Camp Detrick) were alarmed when news of some large balloons, as large as 150 feet around, had been sighted silently floating over populated areas. Within a few months, over 250 balloons had been discovered in nine western states. The balloons are known only to have been armed with an incendiary device and killed and injured only a very few people.

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

    The manager of the Kabul WAFA office explained that Abu Ghaith was the founder of WAFA before the Combat Review Status Tribunal. Shortly before September 11, he helped Abu Ghaith to leave Afghanistan. and his family leave for Karachi, Pakistan. He had known Abu Ghaith from Kuwait. Before 9/11, he had been in Kandahar working with WAFA. He was paid $200 a month but had been willing to work for free as a volunteer. After a month, however, he got a new supervisor he did not like. He would get upset when medical supplies came and it was broken or crooked. He complained about the expensive long distance calls young people would make, but his supervisor disagreed with his complaints. When the supervisor rifled through his and his wife’s things, he had reached his limit. His supervisor, in any event, said he only wanted people from Mecca working for him and kicked him out on about August 1, 2001. After bringing his family to Pakistan, he returned to Kabul where he met Abu Ghaith. He spent 16 days in what has been described as a “safe house” in Kabul while waiting to go safely back to Pakistan. “I am not a combat fighting animal. It is just a charity organization. What is my mistake? Why are you mentioning Al Qaida and fighting when I worked for a charity organization?” He says he did not know Abu Ghaith was an Al Qaeda spokesman until after 9/11. The Tribunal found his statements to be self-serving and unpersuasive. Abu Ghaith, as Al Qaeda’s spokesman at the time, later claimed that Al Qaeda had the right to use their military, nuclear, and biological equipment to kill hundreds of thousands of people.” In short, although the unclassified evidence relating to the unlawful combatants associated with WAFA in Afghanistan tended not to be rocket scientists, Al Qaeda’s practice of using charities as cover was well-established.

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