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

* Marwan Hadid worked at Omar Hospital assisting Yazid Sufaat. Hadid was a hematology technician. In May 2001, Yazid Sufaat reportedly was attempting to cultivate anthrax there. Who does Marwan Hadid think is responsible for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings?

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 9, 2011

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10 Responses to “* Marwan Hadid worked at Omar Hospital assisting Yazid Sufaat. Hadid was a hematology technician. In May 2001, Yazid Sufaat reportedly was attempting to cultivate anthrax there. Who does Marwan Hadid think is responsible for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings?”

  1. DXer said

    This relates to a detainee Jamal Muhammad Alawi Mari
    (Guantanamo Bay detainee file on Jamal Muhammad Alawi Mari, US9YM-000577DP, passed to the Telegraph by Wikileaks)

    The evidence from other statements, both officially released and those leaked by Wikileaks, do not seem to implicate Abu Ghaith as to Sufaat’s lab in May 2001 and the shipping of crates in May 2001 to Kandahar. That at least is my present understanding as I piece together the detainee reports on the subject of the anthrax labs.

    What is publicly known about Al Qaeda spokesman Abu Ghaith, now facing charges in SDNY and a trial as early as February 2014, seems to extend, if at all, only to equipment late in the timeline — in August 2001 and Abu Ghaith’s two week visit to Karachi in 2001 (which I believe was in August 2001).

    Despite numerous detainee reports about the early work at Omar Hospital in May 2001 and the transfer of crates from Omar Hospital to Kandahar in May 2001 — I don’t recall mention of Abu Ghaith/Abu Ghayth’s role at that time. The most difficult part of telling the truth often is figuring out the truth from the available evidence.

    If you want to start to understand what was shipped in May 2001 you can look at the equipment seized in March 2002 and then subtract out the equipment purchased in August 2001.

    The “SCI Addendums” have the most pertinent information about the anthrax lab but appear not to have been obtained and leaked by Wikileaks. The leaked classified reports are the best guide in reconstructing the chronology and government officials without the necessary clearance are not even supposed to read them. The use of aliases (as well as self-protective lies by detainees), however, pose the risk of mistakes in reconstructing the timeline.

    The big picture chronology I glean is this: Sufaat and his assistants were working at Omar Hospital initially in May 2001 while awaiting the crates of purchased equipment to be shipped to Kandahar where the new lab was set up. (See detainee reports by KSM and the muscle he asked to move the crates). Dr. Ayman Zawahiri’s plan was to move the lab every 3 months and decontaminate a lab upon the moving. The walls were to be painted so it could be decontaminated using insecticide.

    Dr. Batarfi is YM-627 in the detainee report above.

    The detainee reports, when read together, tend to be exculpatory of Abu Ghayth with respect to a hands-on role relating to procurement expenditures used in Sufaat’s lab by Abu Ghayth.

    Instead, he faces the video in which he urges that Al Qaeda is justified in killing 4 million civilians, including 1 million children, using WMD. That is very weighty evidence.

    I’m not sure that the USG can disprove his claim that he did not know about the Planes Operation untll that after it happened on 9/11. I believe he says after the event his father-in-law asked to see him and asked him to join in being the public face of Al Qaeda.

    But that does not avoid his liability for the October 2001 propaganda video, the fatwa reported in June 2002, the speech in 2002 referenced in the US updated indictment etc.

    He is not going to avoid life imprisonment and that’s the truth. Mr. Sulaiman aka Abu Ghayth (Abu Ghaith) might as well as tell the truth so that he can go down in history as a truth-teller.

    Some additional sources:

    Dr. Batarfi, who was known as “Doctor Ayman” associated with Yazid Sufaat’s anthrax lab, was the al-Wafa Chief Medical Advisor.

    (S//NF) Detainee acknowledged visiting the Kabul al-Wafa office in late
    September 2001 where he saw SA-005.29 Detainee also admitted he gave $1,000 US
    to Doctor Ayman (Ayman Saeed Abdullah Batarfi, ISN US9YM-000627DP (YM627)).
    30 YM-627 was the al-Wafa Chief Medical Advisor. YM-627 was associated
    with an al-Qaida anthrax researcher and met with UBL in Tora Bora to discuss
    procuring medical supplies.31

    31 TD-314/16880 02, IIR 2 340 6200 02, TD-314/36220 03, TD-314/35257 03

    http://wikileaks.org/gitmo/pdf/ym/us9ym-000627dp.pdf

    (S//NF) Detainee [Batarfi] acknowledged meeting with UBL on two occasions and saw him on at least two other occasions.46

    (S//NF) Detainee [Batarfi] stated he first saw UBL at the Hajji Habash Guesthouse, aka (al-Nibras Guesthouse) in May 2001.47 (Analyst Note: al-Qaida used the al- Nibras Guesthouse as a stopping point for fighters en route to the front lines or the al-Faruq Training Camp. Detainee did not meet UBL at that time.)

    (S//NF) Detainee’s first meeting with UBL occurred approximately August 2001, at the funeral of a famous mujahid in Kabul. Detainee stated he was the attending physician for the mujahid who had been shot in the head and he pronounced the man dead at the Kabul hospital. On the day of the funeral, UBL arrived at the graveyard and thanked detainee for his efforts to save the man’s life.48 (Analyst Note: UBL reportedly attended the 26 August 2001 funeral of a Saudi named Salman, who had been killed on the Kabul front line. Reporting lists attendance at his funeral from between 40 to 100 people.)49

    (S//NF) Detainee’s second meeting with UBL took place in the Tora Bora Mountains approximately 30 November 2001. When detainee arrived in Tora Bora and complained about the lack of available medical supplies, he was told to submit a written request for assistance from UBL. Several days later, Abu Yahya al-Shami escorted detainee to speak with UBL. Detainee expressed concern about the lack of medical care in the region, related the existence of medical supplies in Jalalabad, and requested information on escape routes.50

    (S//NF) Detainee stated during his meeting with UBL in Tora Bora UBL’s lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri was present but detainee did not speak with al-Zawahiri.51

    (S//NF) Immediately prior to detainee’s second meeting with UBL, al- Qaida spokesman Suleiman Abu Ghayth met with detainee. Abu Ghayth questioned detainee about his reasons for wanting to meet with UBL and then allowed detainee to do so.52 (Analyst Note: Detainee may have other connections to Abu Ghayth. The Kabul al-Wafa office sponsored Abu Ghayth during a two week visit in 2001.53)

    • DXer said

      In terms of tracking expenditures for the equipment for Yazid Sufaat’s bio lab, the most common mistake made by outside commentators is to not realize that the $5,000 just related to some equipment AFTER the numerous crates were delivered to Kandahar in May 2001. The same commentators commonly make the mistake of not understanding that Yazid Sufaat was not working with virulent anthrax. See KSM’s interrogation report. (And then the FBI made the mistake of not realizing he was working with virulent Ames strain). See Relman article.

      But let’s focus on what accounting records exist that have not yet seen the light of day relating to the equipment shipped to Kandahar in May 2001.

      Alawi received at least $110,000 US in money transfers on behalf of of the al-Wafa NGO in Karachi.

      The relevant receipts seem to have been seized upon his arrest in late September 2001 by Pakistan police.

      “Evaluation of Detainee’s Account: Detainee has provided a general timeline, but has only provided extensive details for the period that can be corroborated by other JTF-GTMO detainees. Detainee has not been forthcoming regarding al-Haramayn’s and al-Wafa’s support to terrorist entities, or his personal activities and those of his associates. In September 2007, detainee stated he is not stupid and nothing the interrogator tries will work with him, and noted he will never talk to an interrogator. Detainee continues to withhold information of intelligence value in an assessed show of support for extremism and associates who remain at large.”

      http://wikileaks.org/gitmo/pdf/ym/us9ym-000577dp.pdf

      “In late September 2001, Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate

      (ISID) personnel in Karachi and Islamabad, PK conducted joint operations targeting the al-Wafa NGO. Karachi-based cellular intercept operations targeted detainee, who was identified as the director of the Karachi al-Wafa office.34

      (S//NF) The investigation led to the arrest of detainee and the seizure of a computer, one cellular phone, three cellular chip cards, and two boxes of documents. Among the documents seized were numerous telephone numbers, financial transaction receipts, a check book, and lists of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. A notebook listing the characteristics of different military weapons, explosives, and attack scenarios was also recovered.35”

      “(S//NF) During interrogations by the ISID, detainee was described as “evasive” and failed to provide complete answers to most questions. When he did provide answers, they were often conflicting. Reporting also noted his assertions defied logic and he is viewed as deceptive.”

      “KU-568 further stated detainee smuggled money through al-Haramayn, sending $1 million US to al-Khattab in Chechnya.”

      [He was the Bin Laden friend that was known to be an associate of Moussaoui at the time the FBI in Minneapolis was denied access to Moussaoui’s laptop by FBI HQ.]

      “(Analyst Note: KU-568 obtained this information about the $1 million US from detainee when he discussed al-Haramayn and the transport of money. Al- Khattab is identified as a deceased Islamic militant commander in Chechnya named Ibn Khattab who was assassinated with a poisoned letter. Khattab was known as a fanatic who coveted the idea of a rigid Islamic state in the north Caucasus. He was reportedly aligned with UBL and other militant organizations. In March 2000, al- Haramayn leadership promised Khattab $13.3 million US.)45”

      Commentators like Milton L. who focused on the paltry sum of $5,000 greatly underestimated the funds available to Al Qaeda. Most of all, they ignore that Yazid Sufaat expressly told KSM that he was vaccinated for work with VIRULENT anthrax. Milton’s mistake in his 2005 treatise then is propagated by later authors due to his failure to update and correct his earlier misapprehension and assumptions. see, e.g., the Cornell PhD’s whose study he commented on.

      “(U) Detainee [Alawi] Threat:
      a. (S) Assessment: Detainee is assessed to be a HIGH risk, as he is likely to pose a threat

      to the US, its interests, and allies.

      b. (S//NF) Reasons for Continued Detention: Detainee is an admitted member of the al- Wafa and al-Haramayn NGOs. Through these NGOs, detainee provided direct support to al- Qaida, the Taliban, and Islamic extremists abroad. Detainee provided assistance to Yazid Sufaat, an al-Qaida anthrax researcher.”

      To gain insight into WAFA’s purchases of bio equipment prior to the shipment of equipment in May 2001, GAO should see TD-314/36518-01

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wikileaks-files/guantanamo-bay-wikileaks-files/8477537/Guantanamo-Bay-detainee-file-on-Jamal-Muhammad-Alawi-Mari-US9YM-000577DP.html

      “This support [by Alawi at Karachi WAFA] included assistance to members involved in al-Qaida’s anthrax research program. Detainee may have additional details on the program and the individuals associated with it. Detainee was the director of the al-Haramayn NGO in Baku and provided financial support to the Chechen separatist movement.”

      Intelligence Assessment: Detainee probably has knowledge of financial and logistical support to al-Qaida, the Taliban, and other extremist organizations through NGOs, which operated in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Azerbaijan. Detainee probably has information on numerous al-Qaida, Taliban and affiliated NGO personnel. Detainee may have additional information on the equipment and supplies provided for al-Qaida’s anthrax program, as well as other support.

      d. (S//NF) Areas of Potential Exploitation:

      Al-Qaida

      Anthrax research and development Yazid Sufaat

      Equipment and supplies purchases and transport

      ID-10019 Al-Wafa

      Personnel, associates, and activities SA-005, YM-627, and AG-705

      Financial and logistical support to al-Qaida and the Taliban

      Sources and international transfer of funding and goods Al-Haramayn

      Azerbaijan personnel and operations
      Illicit funding and money transfers including couriers Support to Islamic militants in Chechnya

      NGO recruitment and operations in support of extremism
      Links, cooperation, and support between Islamic NGOs”

      Now what did the USG do after AUSA Rachel Lieber and her colleagues came to be focused on the semen stained panties? The USG released these key operatives with knowledge of the equipment for Sufaat to Yemen.

      “As hundreds of Al Qaeda militants in Yemen are said to be planning terror attacks against the West, a U.S. lawmaker has called on the Obama administration to halt immediately the release of Guantanamo detainees to the Middle Eastern country.

      Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., wrote to President Obama Tuesday requesting that the administration not send any more Guantanamo detainees back to Yemen or any other unstable country. Wolf, who has penned four similar letters since Oct. 1, said he also would ask that threat assessments be made public for each detainee who is cleared for release.

      “I’m troubled by every [detainee] that I’ve read about,” Wolf told FoxNews.com. “I personally would have sent none of them back to Yemen. These guys are some of the most dangerous; they’ve been involved in activities with direct threats to the United States….

      “Given the security situation in Yemen and the failure of the Yemeni government to secure high-value prisoners in the past, we believe that any such transfers would be highly unwise and ill-considered,” the senators said.”

      It is notable that Anwar Awlaki, who was urging the use of a mass attack with anthrax, was based in Yemen.

      Additional except from source as background:

      “JTF-GTMO Detainee Assessment of Jamal Muhammad Alawi Mari

      Detainee Summary: Detainee is a financial facilitator supporting international extremism. Detainee is an admitted member of al-Wafa and the al-Haramayn non- governmental organization (NGO), both of which have provided financial and logistical support to terrorist organizations.

      Detainee then returned to Karachi where he served as the directory of al-Wafa in Pakistan and established a bank account in his name to receive and distribute funds for al-Wafa.5 Detainee received at least $110,000 US in money transfers on behalf of the al-Wafa NGO in Karachi.6 Detainee worked with Ayman Saeed Abdallah Batarfi, ISN US9YM-000627 (YM-627), and Jamil Qasim, a microbiology student from Yemen, to procure medical supplies for shipment to Afghanistan.7 After the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, most of the al-Wafa employees in Herat, Kabul, and Kandahar, AF closed their offices and fled for fear of US attacks. All the papers from the Kandahar al-Wafa office were sent by the Taliban to the Karachi al-Wafa office for safe keeping.8

      Pakistani military authorities arrested detainee at his Karachi home in a raid on 28 September 2001.9 Detainee was held for 10 days and then transported to Jordan, where he was questioned over a period of four months before being transferred to US custody and sent to JTF-GTMO.10

      Though not held at JTF-GTMO, the following items were reportedly in detainee’s possession at time of capture:11

      $11,300 US in a Karachi bank account for al-Wafa12
      Computer
      Cellular phone and three cellular telephone chip cards
      Two boxes of documents containing financial receipts, a check book, lists of

      chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and notes regarding the characteristics of different military weapons, explosives, and attack scenarios”

    • DXer said

      http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2009/04/14/the-story-of-ayman-batarfi-a-doctor-in-guantanamo/

      At Bagram, as former interrogator Chris Mackey explained in The Interrogators, a book he wrote (with the journalist Greg Miller) about his experiences in Afghanistan, Batarfi had been recommended for release, and had been given VIP status, including a private room to sleep in. When he was delivered to Kandahar, Mackey wrote that he was escorted by a 20-year old interrogator, “wearing cool-kid skater clothes,” who horsed around with him as though they were “a couple of junior high school chums.”

      Mackey admitted that he was not entirely convinced by this scenario, and, as a result, assigned his most subtle interrogator to Batarfi, who, over the following weeks, developed a rapport with the doctor, engaging him in educated conversation, bringing him gifts, playing chess with him, and slowly attempting to find out if there was more to his story than he had previously revealed. In response, Batarfi apparently told more of his life story than he had before, and requested a second meeting with representatives of the CIA, who, he said, had approached him in Bagram and had offered him an opportunity to work as a spy. However, when a woman from the CIA duly turned up to talk to Batarfi, she launched into a sudden tirade, declaring that the agency knew that al-Wafa and al-Qaeda were “running an unconventional weapons program out of hospitals in Kandahar and Kabul,” that Batarfi was “apparently running all manner of nefarious research in the basements of these medical facilities,” and alluding to suspicions that “there might be plans to put these substances to use.”

      As Mackey noted ruefully, in response to this verbal assault, the bond with the interrogator was broken, Batarfi clammed up completely, and he was soon sent to Guantánamo, where he has been held ever since, awaiting his release, seemingly in vain, as the grandiose plot between al-Wafa and al-Qaeda melted away, like the illusion it clearly was, and, one by one, al-Wafa’s workers were steadily released, a process that culminated in the repatriation of Abdul Aziz al-Matrafi, the organization’s founder and director, in December 2007.

      On March 30, however, an announcement by the Justice Department signaled that Ayman Batarfi’s long and unfortunate imprisonment — as an emblem of a prisoner who ended at Guantánamo because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time — would shortly be coming to an end. As part of an inter-departmental review of the Guantánamo prisoners’ cases, which was initiated by President Obama on his second day in office, the Justice Department announced in a court filing with the District Court in Washington D.C. that it would not be contesting his forthcoming appeal for habeas corpus (scheduled to begin last week), and would, instead, “initiate the appropriate diplomatic process” to facilitate his “prompt transfer from Guantánamo Bay to an appropriate destination country.”

  2. DXer said

    Mr. Sufaat, can you describe the results of your time at Omar Hospital? Do you agree with Marwan Hadid’s assessment?

    The world will commend your forthrightfulness. The world loves a truth-teller – no matter what the truth.

  3. Old Atlantic said

    General Musharraf is currently in Dubai because there is an arrest warrant for him in Pakistan for possible involvement in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

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

    The above is a lengthy article that is difficult for me to summarize now. But it shows she was in opposition to the ISI and military and that they perceived her as a threat and that there are questions about their involvement in the assassination.

    Perhaps they feared if she became prime minister that she would learn about bin Laden and hand him over to the Americans. If they were involved in 9/11 and the anthrax attacks, that would lead to their arrest and prosecution, possibly ending up at Gitmo.

  4. Old Atlantic said

    Yesterday on the Sunday talk shows, one week after Pakistan was found harboring him in a safe house, it was already standard orthodoxy that there was no evidence that Pakistan knew bin Laden was in their safe house. Pakistan is withholding those there from our investigators and has not given back our helicopter.

    This is the same mindset we are fighting as with this evidence of al Qaeda producing anthrax. Al Qaeda was the one that knew the timing of the 9/11 strike. Thus they are the most logical one to send out anthrax in the following week to increase the terror. Al Qaeda is the one that uses terror as its method of war.

    Yet to the establishment, there is no evidence of al Qaeda’s involvement in the anthrax attacks. Despite all the many things. All this adds up to no evidence to the establishment. Bin Laden in a safe house next to the Pakistan Military Academy is no evidence to the establishment that Pakistan knew he was there.

    • DXer said

      “one week after Pakistan was found harboring him in a safe house,”

      Nonsense. That is like saying that if Whitey Bulger were found in Miami, the United States is harboring him. Al Qaeda tried to assassinate the Pakistan President, as I recall. So I seriously doubt he was harboring the head of the organization trying to assassinate him. To call it “their safe house” is baseless.

      • DXer said

        To extend the analogy, now of course it is true that the lead FBI agent tipped Boston mobster Whitey Bulger off that his arrest was imminent, enabling him to flee. (There is a $2 million reward, I believe, and he may be dead). But the fault there was the fault of an individual (Special Agent John Connolly), not “the United States.” So the key is to identify the INDIVIDUALS who knew he was there.

        • DXer said

          Note that al-Hawsawi and the laptop with anthrax spraydrying documents were found in a home connected to the religious party JI. Don’t confuse the religious party JI with the government of Pakistan. They are not co-extensive. For example, the New York pharmacist who is the subject of today’s Mother Jones article is said in the Detainee Assessments to be close to the head of JI.

        • DXer said

          Pakistan pushed for release of alleged bin Laden associate from Guantánamo

          Nirupama Subramanian

          CHENNAI: A Pakistani businessman alleged by the U.S to have had a direct link with Osama bin Laden, of plotting to acquire chemical and other weapons for al-Qaeda, and offering his media network for al-Qaeda propaganda was among the Guantánamo detainees whose repatriation the Pakistan government actively pushed.

          The 64-year-old Saifullah Paracha remains in the Guantánamo Bay prison, possibly its oldest inmate and among the last six Pakistani prisoners not yet considered fit for release and repatriation by U.S. authorities. A U.S Embassy cable from Islamabad, dated August 30, 2006 ( 76668: confidential/noforn) details that a delegation of Pakistani officials who visited Pakistani detainees at Guantánamo returned with the impression that most of the detainees “are individuals who were ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’, not extremists who pose a serious threat.”

          Obtained by The Hindu through WikiLeaks as part of the Pakistan cables, the diplomatic communication is a small window into the complicated relations between the U.S and Pakistan in the “war on terror,” and their differences over how to tackle al-Qaeda.

          It shows how sections of official Pakistan differed from the U.S. in their assessment of al-Qaeda suspects. It also shows the domestic pressures on the Pakistani government as public resentment soared over the manner in which the U.S. had detained these suspects.

          The cable is a report of the Pakistani delegation’s Guantánamo visit, as told to the Political Counsellor at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad by Lt. Col. Imran Yaqoob — wrongly mentioned in the cable as Imran Farooq — Director of Operations at the National Crisis Management Cell in the Pakistani Ministry of Interior, who was in the delegation.

          The cable said, the Pakistani delegation that visited Guantanamo in early August that year, “left with the impression that no major obstacles remain to the repatriation of six of the Pakistani detainees,” including Paracha, “provided that the GoP [government of Pakistan] makes arrangements to keep him in detention here in Pakistan.”

          The Karachi businessman was arrested in Bangkok on July 8, 2003, and transferred to the U.S. off-shore prison in Cuba on September 19, 2004.

          One of his sons, Uzair Paracha, had been arrested in the U.S. earlier that year and charged with providing material assistance to al-Qaeda. He was convicted by a US court in 2006.

          The U.S. officials in Guantánamo assured the delegation that if the Pakistan government submitted a formal request for repatriation, it would be favourably considered. Lt. Col. Yaqoob told the U.S. Embassy official that he had already written to the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in support of sending such a request. In addition to the six detainees at Guantánamo, Pakistan also wanted the repatriation of 20 more of its nationals being held in Afghanistan.

          But Lt. Col. Yaqoob “warned that for the GOP to keep Saifullah Paracha in custody, it would need information/evidence from the USG to justify his continued detention, noting that Paracha’s family has a petition protesting his detention pending in the Pakistan Supreme Court. Without some evidence to support a longer detention, LTC Imran said, Pakistani law would only permit his detention for three months”.

          In paranthesis, the cable, sent under the signature of Charge d’Affaires Peter W. Bodde noted that the Embassy “will pursue the question of the GoP’s ability to hold detainees in custody with the MFA and other interlocutors.”

          Quite contrary to the Pakistani official’s impression that Paracha would be released soon, the Guantánamo files, released last month by WikiLeaks ( ISN 1094), show that he was assessed as a “high risk” detainee who “if released without rehabilitation, close supervision, and means to successfully reintegrate into his society as a law-abiding citizen, […] would probably seek out prior associates and reengage in extremist activities at home and abroad.”

          The December 1, 2008 assessment recommended his “Continued Detention Under DOD [Department of Defense] Control.”

          According to the file, Paracha was a “significant member” of al-Qaeda, and provided assistance to the terror network. In what the file describes as “custodial interviews” rather than interrogations, Paracha is said to have confessed to meeting Osama bin Laden twice, the first time in December 1999 or in January 2000, and then again in the autumn of 2000, offering the al-Qaeda leader the use of his television station to promote his message to the world.

          Paracha is alleged to have had close links with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed to masterminding the 9/11 attacks, and his nephew, Ammar al Baluchi, another al-Qaeda senior.

          His file alleges that bin Laden sent Khalid Sheikh to find out more about Paracha’s media company, Universal Broadcasting Limited, and how he planned to promote al-Qaeda. Paracha is alleged to have explained to Sheikh “his vision of dedicating a program on his broadcasting network depicting OBL quoting Koranic verses.”

          Over the next several months, Khalid Sheikh is alleged to have met Paracha five times regarding this proposal. The file also alleges that Ammar al Baluchi used Paracha’s media facilities to make a film of an al-Qaeda fighter discussing his experience at Tora Boara, which was passed on to the Al Jazeera news channel.

          According to Khalid Sheikh’s account to his interrogators as detailed in the file, Paracha, who is an American citizen and operated a travel agency in the U.S. before moving back to Pakistan, is said to have told al Baluchi that he could obtain “unspecified chemicals from Chinese sources.”

          Sheikh told his interrogators that “he assumed [Paracha] was talking about chemical or biological agents that could be used by extremists as weapons.”

          Paracha is alleged to have plotted to smuggle chemical, biological and radioactive materials into the U.S. for attacks.

          But he told his captors that his interaction with al-Qaeda “was just business.”

          In October 2007, when it became clear that Paracha was not going to be sent home as earlier expected, Amnesty International also called for Paracha’s release unless he was charged and given a fair trial in a non-military court.

          An American lawyer representing Paracha said in June 2008 that his client did not deny meeting al-Qaeda figures but did not know their real identities or that they were connected to terrorism.

          Speaking in Karachi, the lawyer, Zachary Katznelson, said Paracha had met bin Laden in 1999 and 2000 in connection with a television programme he wanted to make. The al-Qaeda leader had told him he would think about it but “no interview ever took place.”

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