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

* In a May 2003 brochure, the CIA explained that it believed that Al-Qaida has explored the possibility of using agricultural aircraft for large-area dissemination of biological warfare agents such as anthrax.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 23, 2012

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20 Responses to “* In a May 2003 brochure, the CIA explained that it believed that Al-Qaida has explored the possibility of using agricultural aircraft for large-area dissemination of biological warfare agents such as anthrax.”

  1. DXer said

    Jeb Bush this week published this email thread:

    To: “‘jeb@jeb.org”

    From: “McCollum, Bill” [ email deleted by DXer ]

    RE: Terrorism and Florida
    Know you have been busy. Ed Moore and I have been discussing a terrorism
    studies center at the James Madison Institute with a Florida focus. Idea
    would be to provide Florida business and community leaders with a regular
    source of information and the best thinking on the radical Islamist
    terrorist movement and security concerns peculiar to Florida. Wondered what
    you thought of this role for JMI and how that might fit into any efforts you
    may have in mind. I still think a citizens group or commission or task force
    you may appoint similar to what I hear other states are doing would be a
    good idea and stand ready to discuss/help/chair any such endeavor.

    Bill

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Jeb Bush [ email deleted by DXer ]
    Sent: Saturday, September 29, 2001 1:59 PM
    To: McCollum, Bill
    Subject: RE: Terrorism and Florida

    Sorry I just got to this. I will try to give you a call this coming week.

    Jeb

    —–Original Message—–
    From: McCollum, Bill [mailto:BMcCollum@bakerlaw.com]
    Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2001 11:47 AM
    To: jeb [ email deleted by DXer ]
    Subject: Terrorism and Florida

    As you may be aware I founded and chaired for eight years the U.S. House
    Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare and then served six years
    on the House Intelligence Committee (until January of this year) where I
    chaired the Human Intelligence subcommittee. Naturally I have been quite
    engaged since the terrorist plane attacks. It is my understanding several
    states are considering or have set up special commissions or task forces to
    work with private industry, utilities and local government to facilitate
    threat assessments and encourage improvements in security measures. I read
    your press release right after the September 11th tragedy and know you have
    taken steps to shore up our state’s emergency preparedness and to
    re-evaluate state and local government security. But I am wondering if you
    have considered augmenting that with a commission or task force with a
    broader mission. I am concerned a lot of our private businesses may not
    fully appreciate their risks or what they might do to mitigate them or help
    local government protect against terrorist acts. Should you wish to discuss
    this I would be happy to talk with you and would be prepared to chair or be
    a part of any effort like this you may choose to initiate.

    Bill

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    INFORMATION THAT IS PRIVILEGED, CONFIDENTIAL, AND EXEMPT
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    If the reader of this message is not the intended
    recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for
    delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are
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    forwarding, or copying of this communication is strictly
    prohibited. If you have received this communication in
    error, please notify the sender immediately by e-mail or
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  2. DXer said

    Graeme MacQueen, who seems unable to discuss or mention anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat, fails to mention him in connection with the inquiries about cropdusters.
    Yazid Sufaat wrote this letter of introduction for Zacarias Moussaui. He had set up an email for Zacarias greenlab@yahoo.com. Green Lab was the name of Yazid Sufaat and his wife’s company.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/anthrax-lab-director-yazid-sufaat-wrote-this-letter-of-introduction-for-zacarias-moussaoui-who-made-the-cropduster-inquiries/

    At page 158-159, Graeme MacQueen of “2001 Anthrax Deception” addresses the cropduster inquiries:

    “On at least two occasions (September 16 and September 23-24) in the interim between 9/11 and the anthrax attacks all 3500-4000 crop-duster planes in the U.S. were grounded by the FAA. These developments were related to several reported events.

    The main post-9/11 crop-duster warnings began on September 22, 2001. An article written for TIME Magazine announced on September 22 that the September 16 grounding of the planes was caused by the fact that “U.S. law enforcement officials have found a manual on the operation of cropdusting equipment while searching terrorist hideouts.”93
    The authors went on to explain:

    The discovery has added to concerns among government counterterrorism experts that the bin Laden conspirators may have been planning—or may still be planning—to disperse biological or chemical agents from a cropdusting plane normally used for agricultural purposes.
    They added that, according to “sources,” the materials in question were found among the belongings of Zacarias Moussaoui.

    After September 11 Moussaoui was considered to have been a member of the Hijacker group. He was given the epithet, “the 20th hijacker.” We were apparently supposed to believe when the TIME article appeared, that because he had been interested in crop-dusters the rest of this dangerous team was also interested in crop-dusters.

    Other media also mentioned on September 22 the growing concern about crop-dusters. The Washington Post, for example, noted that “the FBI asked operators of the nation’s 3,500 crop-duster planes to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior around their hangars.”94 The authors of the article expressed concern about “a cloud of microbes
    released from a small plane” and put this worry within the wider context of worries that a biological attack may already be in progress and that the physical signs may simply not have been recognized yet. Rick Weiss, author of the Post article, noted that in the previous week, “a National Guard unit with special training in bioterrorism was mobilized, as was a team with similar expertise from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.”

    The second piece of information, apparently responsible for the September 23-24 grounding of crop- dusters, appeared to be more significant. Information was released to the effect that between February and September, 2001, groups of “Middle Eastern men” had visited a municipal airport in Belle Glade, Florida—“about an hour’s drive from Delray Beach, the coastal community where some of the alleged hijackers are believed to have lived”—to inspect and enquire about crop-dusters.95 Willie Lee, “general manager of South Florida Crop Care,” said the men described themselves as flight students.96 The apparent leader of the group, identified by employee James Lester as Mohamed Atta,97 was aggressive.

    “I recognized him because he stayed on my feet all the time. I just about had to push him away from me,” Lester said.
    Lee said the men pestered employees with ‘odd questions’ about his 502 Air Tractor crop-duster. He said they asked about the range of the airplane, how much it could haul in chemicals, how difficult it was to fly, and how much fuel it could carry.
    During one visit, they followed Lester around, asking questions while he was working on one of the planes. Another time, they carried video equipment and asked to photograph the inside of the cockpit.98

    Atta supposedly visited twice more over the following months, while a variety of other Middle Eastern men came back repeatedly for further details. The visitors took more photographs and video footage of the planes. At one point they wanted to enter the cockpit, but Lester refused to allow this.99
    Willie Lee confirmed that the “groups of two or three Middle Eastern men came by nearly every weekend for six or eight weeks prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks—including the weekend [Saturday, September 8] just prior to the assaults.”100 Lee estimated that, all told, perhaps 12 to 15 men had been involved over time and that each visit typically lasted 45-60 minutes. He added that, “They were asking the types of questions that other people didn’t ask,” and that they were so persistent and annoying that he asked the “Belle Glade Police Department to run them off”—without success.101
    On the same day the media reported this information, September 24, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft testified before Congress.102 After explaining that crop-dusters could be used to “distribute chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction,” he stated that Mohamed Atta, the supposed ringleader of the “hijackers,” “had been compiling information about crop-dusting before the Sept. 11 attacks.”

    The following day there was a shocking new development: Mohamed Atta had “apparently walked into a U.S. Department of Agriculture office in Florida last year [2000] and asked about a loan to buy a crop-duster plane.”103 This information, uncovered for the first time on September 24, readers were told, “has heightened fears that the United States may be at risk of an aerial assault involving biological or chemical weapons.” Further details were scarce at this time because the key witness, Johnelle Bryant, “was told by authorities not to speak about it.” Fortunately, ABC News was able to fill out the narrative in 2002—the story will be discussed later in this chapter.

    In the meantime, in the days and weeks following these early reports, well into the period of the growing panic and the deaths from anthrax, crop-dusters became a staple in the news media, being referred to repeatedly in articles that associated the Hijackers with the anthrax attacks. For example, on October 10, Mohammad Akhter, at the time executive director of the American Public Health Association and former commissioner of public health for the District of Columbia, began an article on bioterrorism with the sentence: “The disclosure that terrorists may have been interested in using crop-dusting planes to spread any number of deadly diseases shows how close we may be to getting our first real dose of bioterrorism.”104

    Perhaps the high point in the crop-dusters’ fame came on October 11, the day after Akhter’s article appeared, when George W. Bush included in a public address about the war on terror the following remarks:
    …let me give you one example of a specific threat we received. You may remember recently there was a lot of discussion about crop-dusters. We received knowledge that perhaps an al Qaeda operative was prepared to use a crop-duster to spray a biological weapon or a chemical weapon on American people, and so we responded. We contacted every crop-dust location, airports from which crop-dusters leave. We notified crop-duster manufacturers to a potential threat. We knew full well that in order for a crop-duster to become a weapon of mass destruction would require a retrofitting, and so we talked to machine shops around where crop-dusters are located.
    We took strong and appropriate action, and we will do so anytime we receive a credible threat.105

    In the question period after his speech Bush was asked what one was supposed to do, concretely, when told by intelligence agencies to increase one’s awareness or to be on the lookout for something suspicious. His response must have caused people on the streets of New York and Washington to scratch their heads in puzzlement: “You know, if you find a person that you’ve never seen before getting in a crop-duster that doesn’t belong to you, report it.”

    The crop-duster accounts, or at least those coming from Belle Glade, do appear to have been based on actual incidents involving real people. Independent researchers assert that they have confirmed that the Middle Eastern men in question were not only interested in the crop-dusters but were intrusive and impolite, making themselves unwelcome and unforgettable.106 “

    • DXer said

      Graeme MacQueen tells the story of Atta’s reported meeting with Johnelle Bryant about a loan that could be used to buy a small plane. He cites “Blum and Weiss, “Suspect May Have Wanted to Buy Plane; Inquiries

      Reported On Crop-Duster Loan.” The story appeared in the Washington Post. It seems the thing to do if he does not credit Johnelle Bryant’s story, as told to ABC’s Brian Ross, is to interview her to see what she says today. Then bear down on the story and ask about any discrepancies with documentary evidence.

      Graeme can credit Johnelle Bryant’s story or not — but what she said is best evidenced by the transcript of the ABC interview and not Graeme’s account.

      Here is the Transcript of Johnelle Bryant interview with Brian Ross.
      http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=130304
      http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=130305&page=1

      In checking the story, he might consider for example whether Atta was even in the country yet at the time Johnelle says she met him. So for starters, if she recalls mid or late May 2000 but he did not arrive until June 2000, she may have been off on the date that she recalled.

      I never paid the story that much attention because a small plane with a retrofitted fuel tank, on its face, to me would more likely relate to use of the small plane as a fuel bomb. (That would avoid the need to get the muscle hijackers in the country etc.) Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab did not get off the ground until May 2001, a full year after the interview.

      As for the remarkable and surprising detail she claims to recall a year-and-a-half after the meeting, I am less surprised than Graeme at forthrightness of an Al Qaeda operative.

      If Graeme ever dares to start discuss Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat, there will no denying Yazid’s affability or his willingness to talk about Bin Laden. In this filmed interview where he discusses his friend Moussaoui, he says that the queue of those who want to support Osama Bin Laden is long.

      Al Qaeda anthrax lab tech Yazid Sufaat discusses Zacarias Moussaoui in this 2011 French language television interview
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 28, 2012
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/al-qaeda-anthrax-lab-tech-yazid-sufaat-discusses-zacarias-moussaoui-in-this-2001-french-language-television-interview/

      Al Qaeda anthrax lab tech Yazid Sufaat told me that he realized that addressing these issues might get him thrown in jail.

      Al Qaeda anthrax lab technician tells DXer that he realizes that by addressing these issues he may “jack myself up” but says that the “plan is on the way” — what does he mean when he says the “plan is on the way”?
      Posted on May 1, 2012
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/al-qaeda-anthrax-lab-technician-tells-dxer-by-chat-that-he-realizes-that-by-addressing-these-issues-he-may-jack-myself-up-but-says-that-the-plan-is-on-the-way-what-does-he-mean-when-he-s/

      While it’s hard to tell what is going on in wily Yazid Sufaat’s mind, there’s no denying his affability and easy-going nature — or, as he is quick to emphasize, his undeniable good looks. He talks casually about the mass murder of innocents — Graeme can find it surprising but the interviews are published and available to Graeme.

      Yazid Sufaat later then was thrown in jail for alleged bad acts relating to some young men leaving for Syria.

      And, no, I am not part of some vast conspiracy, Graeme. I’m just a blogger who ordinarily makes it a point to contact people directly to interview them and get their take on things.

      If Barry and Graeme are suggesting in the alternative that Johnelle is lying, they should contact her and interview her to see what she says today.

      If instead the suggestion is that Atta was taken direction from Tara O’Toole or someone else, then maybe Barry and Graeme should show a little common sense.

      Graeme describes the Johnelle Bryant story as follows:

      “Bryant supposedly told authorities of her experience a few days after 9/11 when she recognized Atta’s photograph in the newspaper. The authorities, after she allegedly passed a polygraph test, were said to have advised her not to talk about her experience.114

      The function of Bryant’s agency, she explained in her 2002 interview with Ross, was to make loans to farmers who were finding it impossible to obtain credit. Mohamed Atta entered her office seeking funds in late April or early May of 2000. (Although Bryant recalled a great many details of this encounter, she presumably did not take notes of the meeting, because she was unsure of the date.) Atta said he was from Egypt, via Afghanistan. He told Bryant his name, Mohamed Atta, and made sure she knew how to spell it. He was new to the U.S., he said, and wanted to fulfill his dream to fly planes, including crop-dusters. To this end he sought a loan of $650,000 with which to buy a two-engine, six-passenger aircraft. He wanted to modify the plane from its original form so that it could hold a very large chemical tank. He would then “run the spray nozzles along the wing span.” With this extra capacity tank, he explained, he would be able to do all the spraying required in one flight, not needing to land to refill his tank as he would have to in an ordinary crop-duster. Bryant was confused by this requirement. She was also dubious about his plan, because she had some experience with crop-dusters and knew it was essential that they be small and agile. She expressed her doubts about his plan but he assured her that he was an engineer and could manage the modifications without any problem.

      When Bryant explained to Atta that he could not simply walk out of her office with $650,000 in cash but would have to go through an application process, he became agitated. Noting the lack of security in the building, he asked what would stop him from going around her desk, cutting her throat, and taking the money from the large safe in the office. Bryant, unfazed, replied that they did not keep large amounts of cash in the safe and that, in any case, she knew karate. She went on to explain that he was ineligible for the loan because he was not a U.S. citizen.

      [Note: As evident from the transcript of the ABC interview not cited by Graeme, is that the discussion about security was not alarming because it was rhetorical.
      Ms. Bryant recounted:
      “And you’ve got to understand that when he said this, he said it in a rhetorical manner, as compared to the lack of security in my office, versus what he was accustomed to, at, at home.”]

      Atta then noticed a picture on her wall. It was an aerial photograph of Washington, D.C. He became obsessed with the photograph and threw down cash on her desk, wanting to buy it. It was one of the best photos of Washington he had ever seen. He admired the view of the monuments and buildings of the city and paid special attention to the White House and the Capitol, as well as to the Pentagon, which he was able to point out. She refused to sell the photograph, which she said was a gift, but he continued the conversation by explaining that he wanted to visit Washington. He asked Bryant what the security was like in the various buildings there and whether he would be admitted.

      Atta then said he would like to visit the World Trade Center in New York City. Again, he asked Bryant what the security was like. He also inserted into the conversation what seems to have been a recruitment probe. His organization, he explained, could use someone with insider knowledge of Washington, where Bryant had previously worked. Growing emotional, he told her the name of an organization, al-Qaeda, which he said was based in his country (she was not sure whether he meant Egypt or Afghanistan) and with which, he implied, he was associated. He next spoke of Osama bin Laden, telling Bryant Bin Laden “would someday be known as the world’s greatest leader.”

      Bryant had never heard of either al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden, but she wished Atta luck and pointed him to a bank where he might pursue his loan.

      And that is the story of how a terrorist leader engaged in a top-secret operation sought a government loan to help him with his plan.”

      FN/Hijacker may have wanted to buy plane

      ©Washington Post

      © St. Petersburg Times,
      published September 25, 2001

      WASHINGTON — The man who the FBI thinks flew an American Airlines plane into the World Trade Center Sept. 11 apparently walked into a Department of Agriculture office in Florida last year and asked about a loan to buy a crop-duster plane.

      Employees told the man that the department does not offer such loans, and referred him to a local private lender, according to a bank president whose security chief was briefed by the FBI. It appears the man did visit that lender and made further inquiries about a crop-duster loan, but there is no record that he applied for one, according to Robert Epling, president of Community Bank of Florida.

      The suspected hijacker’s apparent interest in the spray planes has heightened fears that the United States may be at risk of an aerial assault involving biological or chemical weapons. The loan inquiry revelation comes one day after employees at a Florida municipal airport said the suspected hijacker, Mohamed Atta, and several other Middle Eastern men repeatedly visited the airport to learn more about crop-dusters.

      The Federal Aviation Administration has grounded the nation’s crop-duster fleet three times for several days at a time since the attacks on New York and Washington two weeks ago.

      Experts Monday offered differing assessments about how one might use a plane to release a deadly cloud of microbes over an unsuspecting populace. But choosing to err on the side of caution, FBI agents and other law enforcement officials fanned out across the country last week and over the weekend, warning agricultural aviators to keep a close eye on their equipment and report suspicious behavior immediately.

      Those suspicions were based in part on the discovery last week that Atta and several colleagues made repeated visits to Belle Glade State Municipal Airport, starting in February of this year. There, they peppered agricultural aviators with questions about fuel and chemical capacities and asked how difficult it was to fly the planes.

      Until Monday, however, no evidence had been made public to suggest that Atta had looked into acquiring a plane.

      Epling said Monday that his bank, headquartered in Homestead, received a call from the FBI seven to 10 days ago saying that Atta had gone into a USDA office that until recently was in the bank’s building. The agents asked if Atta had applied for such a loan from Community Bank, since USDA employees had apparently suggested to Atta that he try Epling’s bank. Several USDA employees had recently identified Atta to the FBI, and recalled that he wore Tommy Hilfiger clothes and a lot of cologne, according to the FBI version of events provided to the bank.

      Crop-dusters can be bought for as little as $80,000 to $100,000, said James Callan, executive director of the National Agricultural Aviation Association. No special security checks are conducted on pilots who apply for agricultural aviation licenses, according to the FAA.

  3. DXer said

    The subject of drones cannot be addressed without appreciating that the context includes a threat of drones carrying bombs — even into a nuclear power plant.

    Al Qaeda’s anthrax program in 2001 would have found its way to drones — by 2002 purchases were already being made, to include one by members of Ali Al-Timimi’s Virginia Paintball group.

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-04-07/a-new-york-law-firm-sees-opportunity-in-commercial-drones

    A New York Law Firm Sees Opportunity in Commercial Drones
    By Justin Bachman April 07, 2014

    America’s best-known commercial drone litigator—a title that means nothing at this moment—is a Harvard-trained lawyer with a garage full of model aircraft he’s been flying for 20 years, weather permitting. Brendan Schulman is special counsel at Manhattan law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, which launched an “unmanned aircraft systems practice group” in December.

    For now, the work in this area is growing. One new Kramer Levin client is Texas EquuSearch Mounted Search and Recovery, a Houston-based organization that uses an unmanned, five-pound foam and plastic aircraft to hunt missing people. In February, an FAA aviation safety inspector told Texas EquuSearch to halt making drone flights immediately. The agency told the nonprofit to operate its drones with a organization that holds one of the 500 operating certificates issued by the agency, mostly to law enforcement.

    Managing the way through this thicket of countervailing interests will not be easy because unlke Captain America, the FBI still needs a parachute.

    Up in the Sky—It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s the FBI
    Mark Thompson
    April 8, 2014

    http://time.com/54303/fbi-parachute-hostage-rescue-terrorism/

  4. DXer said

    Drones above us: Syracuse University professor assesses the prospects, 1/3/2014

    http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2014/01/drone_proliferation_syracuse_university_professor_assesses_the_prospects.html

  5. DXer said

    Given the CIA’s findings, this is a matter where the GAO should prod the FBI to disclose all the scientific materials that it says did not point to Dr. Ivins — isotope ratios, tape, pen ink, human DNA, paper, toner ink, paper tracks. The charge is to review the scientific methods that the FBI used in the investigation. Relatedly, GAO should release the transcripts of interviews of the scientists doing that work.

  6. It’s curious that CIA’s evidence includes no mention of discoveries at Visoko airstrip, just SE of the jihad stronghold of Zenica in Bosnia, raided by SFOR on 26 Sept. 2001. The little private airstrip had been taken over by foreign fighters under Belkasem (senior AQ commander, closely linked to Abu Zubaydah). It was a large raid, with a dozen helicopters, 40 Humvees, and some M2s.

    The official Army Times’ account from 10 December 2001 mentioned the crop dusters but was exceedingly vague. But Schindler, from the Naval War College, gives more details in his _Unholy War_, some of which may come from former colleagues in intelligence. He is explicit: AQ had crop dusters and literature on spraying pesticides, and the purpose of the raid has been concern over those crop dusters.

    Kolhman’s _AQ Jihad in Europe_ suggests that what was discovered struck the fear of God into the EU.

    It’s always seemed to me that if AQ were interested in using crop dusters in the U.S. and elsewhere, they’d have to have had access to a whole lot of whatever nasty substance they were planning to use. Could a few people cook this up in their cave? Or would they have to have been supplied with it?

    Army Times on the raid: http://www.armytimes.com/legacy/new/0-ARMYPAPER-632239.php

    […]

    During the civil war, the Muslims had used Visoko to smuggle arms into Bosnia, according to Canadian Army Capt. Daryl Morrell, an SFOR spokesman. Now there was reason to suspect arms were again being smuggled into the country through the airfield, he said.

    But there were other reasons to take down Visoko, Sylvester said. He noted that in late September, the U.S. government became concerned about the potential for terrorists to use crop-dusting aircraft to launch biological or chemical attacks. All crop-dusting aircraft in the United States were grounded for several days, he noted.

    Sylvester said this heightened awareness of the threat posed by civilian aircraft, coupled with the knowledge that “organizations that supported transnational terrorist organizations” had possibly been operating from the airfield, caused him to act.

    ”I wanted to know if any of the aircraft had been fitted with spraying equipment, etc. I wanted to know if there was any residue of any pesticides or those kinds of things from those aircraft. I wanted to ensure that nothing from that facility could potentially be used as a striking force against SFOR or anyone else.”

    […]

    • DXer said

      Ali, thanks very much for the citations. Tomorrow I’ll type in the passages on crop-dusters from the two books.

      • There are reports that the confessions of some of the foreign fighters forcibly returned from Bosnia to Egypt in 1999 included mention of biological weapons, supposedly purchased from Eastern Europe and Indonesia. Among them, was Muhammad, Ayman Zawahiri’s brother. (He’s still alive, by the way, and was briefly released from his Egyptian dungeon back in Feb of last year.)

        FBIS :: Translating London Al-Sharq al-Awsat in Arabic 6 Mar 99 p 5

        […]

        Nonconventional Weapons [subhead]

        The most controversial point in the confessions of the defendants from
        the Albanian fundamentalist group was the confirmation that pro-Bin-Ladin
        elements had obtained germ and biological weapons by post at a cheap
        price. Factories in the former Eastern Europe supply viruses that cause
        fatal diseases, such as E-Coli and Salmonella, without checking the
        identities of the purchasers. The important thing for them is payment of
        the invoice in advance. One of the organization’s members secure an offer
        to supply samples of anthrax gas [as published] and other toxic gases
        from a factory in a Southeast Asian country. The germs were offered at a
        price of $3,685, including shipping costs. A laboratory in Indonesia
        exported serums to the Islamic Moro Front, which has close ties with
        pro-Bin-Ladin groups and with Arab Afghans and Balkans [as published]. It
        is believed that the Moro Front has large quantities of toxic gases.
        In another part of the investigation the defendants said that a
        laboratory in the Czech Republic had agreed to provide samples of the
        lethal butolinum germ at $7,500 a sample. The laboratory did not query
        the purpose for which this lethal substance would be used. The security
        services’ report on this point said that it is possible to use a
        microscopic quantity of these viruses [as published] to kill hundreds of
        people by inhaling it or eating contaminated food.

        The security services monitored contacts that elements abroad made with
        members inside the country to urge them to carry out new operations
        against police officers with the aim of undermining security. The
        security authorities exerted great efforts to monitor these elements and
        succeeded in getting back 12 leading members from Albania, another group
        from Arab and African countries, in addition to defendants seized in the
        [Nile] Delta area as they were preparing to carry out new operations,
        specially the al-Minufiyah group. The latter included ‘Amr ‘Ali, Sayyid
        Jum’ah, Majid Muhammad Mulukhiyah, Muhammad ‘Abd-al-Mu’min Yusri, ‘Ali
        ‘Abd-al-Raziq Abu-Shanab, Sa’id Muhammad ‘Abd-al-Ghaffar, and Muhammad
        ‘Abd-al-Mun’im, in addition to Ahmad Sayyid Ibrahim al-Najjar, who was
        sentenced to death in the Khan al-Khalili case. Among the arrested
        defendants were Jad Abu-Sari’ al-Qannas, Samir al-‘Attar, Sabri Ibrahim
        al-‘Attar, Mahmud al-Sayyid ‘Abd-al-Dayim, Muhammad Husayn, Ashraf ‘Ali
        Isma’il, Samir ‘Abd-al-Mun’im, Hasan Muhammad Hasan, ‘Abdallah Muhammad
        al-Bakri, Sayyid Muhammad ‘Ali Mansur, Muhammad Muhammad Shalgham, ‘Imad
        Ahmad Hasanayn, ‘Awad Hasan Mutawalli, Na’im ‘Abd-al-Na’im, Hisham
        Abazah, and ‘Ali al-‘Arif.

        […]

        SOURCE: http://www.fas.org/irp/news/1999/03/990306-cairo.htm

        Cf. also Islamic Terror and the Balkans – Shaul Shay – Google Books – http://goo.gl/y1wFM
        Probably used the FBIS report.

      • I’ve got to run teach some classes, more later.

        For now….

        1. I think there was something in the Israel press in 2001 on the raids. I can’t seem to find the reference, though. It gets cited a lot, though. Maybe from Yedi’oth.

        2. Bosnia was huge for the global jihadis in the early and mid-1990s. Once things started to wind down in Afghanistan, ca. 1989, it became the most popular place to train for western and Arabic-speaking jihadis. More hospitable than Chechnya, and not under ISI’s thumb, like Kashmir.

        There was a reticence to discuss it during the 9/11 hearing, as U.S. policy had been to turn a blind eye to the influx of jihadis and to Iranian arms shipments; possibly, too, as it was a cause dear to the hearts of many (clueless) American journalists. Nonetheless, Bosnia is one of the best documented areas from the 1990s: due to the documents produced by the Hague trials and the wealth of other materials generated by EU and US military and intel. We can pretty much reconstruct events on a day to day basis.

        Domestic U.S. law enforcement has not been much interested in looking too closely at Americans who fought there, or more recent immigrants who arrived to the U.S. from there. Heck, Hooper and Awad from CAIR went in the winter of 1993, to Zenica. And there was only one reason to go the Zenica in 1993…. In the large town where I live, I’ve known at least a dozen guys who fought there, under Saudi aegis, including two important imams. One has since fled the country (links to both WTC I and WTC II). The other is currently under indictment.

        Here’s Kohlman ::

        Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe

        To underscore that point, the Bosnian government freely cooperated with United States authorities on a number of high-profile and successful terror raids in local areas. A NATO officer explained what was to unfold in an article later published in a United States military newspaper: ‘These raids were small . . . Two to three guys on surveillance, a few SUVs drive up, a few guys go in quietly, bag ‘em, tag ‘em, and drag ‘em out to SUVs and then on to the detention facility.’ As described, on 25 September, at 3:30 a.m., six United States special forces Green Berets travelling in four rented SUVs stopped outside the Hotel Hollywood in a suburb of Sarajevo. The soldiers smashed open the front door of the hotel with weapons drawn, and seized two Middle-Eastern men sleeping inside: Hamed Abdel Rahim al-Jamal, a Jordanian, and Al-Halim Hassam Khafagi, an Egyptian. Both were deported to their respective homelands about 10 days later.

        – 219 –

        Nine hours later, the same six United States commandos repeated their raids at the local headquarters of the Saudi High Commission for Relief in Ilidza. Despite its close links to the government of the Saudi Arabia, the High Commission was still allowed to be raided ‘because it seemed to be a meeting point and a central location for some of the guys [SFOR intelligence agents] were trailing or monitor- ing,’ according to one NATO source. Aided by supporting Italian carabinieri stationed with the military police, the Americans arrested two more suspects and seized a number of intriguing documents. The NATO officer added: ‘That’s when we discovered the extent that NGOs are used as a cover for some suspicious activities.’ Representatives of the American government reportedly confronted the Saudi ambassador in Sarajevo with the damning evidence, who was ‘surprised, and [he] promised to look into it.’ The United States subsequently asked the Bosnian government to officially shut down the local operations of four Islamic charities, including the Saudi High Commission.11

        Encouraged by the results, SFOR counter-terrorism operations continued on 27 September with a raid of the Visoko airfield, northwest of Sarajevo. This action was quite significant; it consisted of at least two to three M2 Bradley armored fighting vehicles, thirty to forty Humvee jeeps, and eight to ten armed combat helicopters. According to United States military officials, their intelligence had indicated that Visoko airport served as a hub for ‘organizations that supported transnational terrorist organizations.’ One of their chief concerns was the prospect of crop-dusting aircraft being retrofitted for germ warfare.

        In fact, a few days later, their fears that Visoko was hiding an anti-Western terror plot proved to be well founded. Between 17 and 21 October, Bosnian authorities detained at least eleven Islamic militants linked to the international north African sleeper cell network who were plotting a crude aerial attack on two American military bases in Bosnia: Eagle Base and Camp Connor. An unnamed NATO source was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as stating that the terrorists were suspected of planning to collect a small armada of light planes and helicopters from Visoko airfield, and suicide-crash them into the foreign military installations. The information had come from an intelligence intercept on 16 October in Sarajevo on a conversation discussing United States bombing in Afghanistan and ‘what the response should be’ in Europe. After a discussion of hitting a collection of Ameri- can and British targets in the region, the callers ended with a definite, ‘Tomorrow, we will start.’ The apparent ringleader of the group of primarily Algerians and Egyptians was a 41-year-old Algerian named Bensayah Belkacem, (also known as Majed). American intelligence had become familiar with Belkacem through monitoring of the satellite telephones of a number of his terrorist cohorts in Afghanistan. Police who raided Belkacem’s various local residences found Algerian and Yemeni identity papers, blank passports, and, according to Bosnian Interior Minister Muhammad Besic, the telephone numbers of senior Al-Qaida terrorist

        – 220 –

        recruiters and Bosnian war veterans Abu Zubaydah and Abu el-Ma`ali.12 A closer look at his cell phone records revealed that Belkacem had also called locations in Afghanistan at least seventy times in the month following September 11.

        One of the other eleven suspects arrested included the recently pardoned Saber Lahmar, a known GIA terrorist who had already been imprisoned for his role in terrorist acts in Bosnia. On 19 October, a local Bosnian news magazine reported that a telephone number ascribed to Abu el-Ma`ali was found among Lahmar’s belongings at the time of his arrest.13 Lahmar was also a known employee of the Saudi High Commission for Relief.14 The involvement of the charities in the plot, especially as parallel investigations of BIF and other organizations in the United States picked up pace, was no longer ignored. The Saudi High Commission came under obvious scrutiny, and its role became exposed in preying on the poor and destitute and using its vast weapon of wealth to aggressively propagate strict Wahhabi Islam. In July 2001, the High Commission publicly disclosed that over nine years, it had collected $600 million for its programs in Bosnia.15 It has yet to offer a credible explanation for where the lionshare of that money went.

        United States officials, aided by novel enthusiasm on behalf of the Bosnian government to crack down on their former Arab allies, were finally starting to uncover the truth about the staggering recruitment and financial arms of the loosely assembled Arab-Afghan movement, despite being hidden by a humanitarian face. Saber Lahmar’s arrest was particularly embarrassing for the Bosnian government, as he had already been in their custody for his past acknowledged role in the local north African sleeper cell terrorist network. His pardon from jail in 2000 seems to have been a grave error by the Bosnian government; indeed, it nearly cost the lives of potentially hundreds of United States and British peacekeepers in the Balkans.16 The discovery of the Visoko airport terror conspiracy caused a minor-furor both in the Bosnian press, and also in Western capitals still reeling from the shock of the devastating 11 September suicide hijackings. European governments were particu- larly concerned about the notion that a new similar airborne plot was being hatched so close to home. Almost immediately, the United States and UK temporarily closed their embassies and consulates in the region until a renewed strategic assessment could be completed about potential terrorist threats lurking in Bosnia. On 17 October, BiH Foreign Minister Lagumdzija was immediately dispatched to Belgium for high-level talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

        11. Naylor,SeanD.‘RoutingOutTerrorisminBosnia.’ArmyTimes,10December
        2001, p. 12.
        12. McGrory, Daniel. ‘Bin Laden aide arrested in Bosnia.’ The Times (London),
        11 October 2001.
        13. Habul,Emir.‘ReactionsinSouthEastEuropetotheattackson11September.’
        AIM (Alternative Information Network) Press. http://www.aimpress.org. 22
        October 2001.
        14. Purvis, Andrew. ‘Targeting “Eagle Base.”’ Time, 5 November 2001, p. 36.
        15. Schwartz, Steven. Op. cit., pp. 189–90.
        16. Rubin, Daniel. ‘NATO: Terrorist attacks against U.S. installations in Bosnia averted.’ Knight Ridder News Agency. 25 October 2001.

        • DXer said

          Charity is as Charity Does: The Blind Sheik Followers Who Saw No Evil

          Ali,

          Given my ignorance of foreign affairs, I try to pick up threads at the point, to borrow Kohman’s phrase, that “parallel investigations of BIF and other organizations int he United States picked up pace.”

          Benevolence International Foundation (“BIF”) had long been of keen interest to the FBI in connection with its investigation of the threat of biological, chemical or radiological terrorism. One of the founders of BIF in 1987 was Bin Laden’s late brother-in-law, the late Jamal Khalifa. Cooperating witness Jamal al-Fadl told Patrick Fitzgerald and the FBI that in 1992, Bin Laden sent him from Bin Laden’s headquarters in Sudan to Zagreb, Croatia, to gather information about the prospects of jihad in Bosnia. In Croatia, he met with Enaam Arnaout (who the next year would become the head of the BIF
          in the US), and al-Qaeda operative Abu Abdel Aziz Barbaros. In 1994, when Khalifa was arrested in northern California where he was visiting, he was traveling with BIF President Mohammed Loay Bayazid. Bayazid reportedly was looking to buy enriched uranium. Bayazid listed BIF’s Chicago-area office as his residence. Years earlier, Bayazid had left Kansas City to go to Pakistan and then Afghanistan. Bayazid, a Syrian, was one of the founders of both Al Qaeda and BIF. He was at the meeting at which Al Qaeda was founded.

          Khalifa’s personal organizer had the numbers for Khalid Mohammed, regional Al Qaeda operative Hambali, and the 1993 WTC bomber Ramzi Yousef. Khalifa’s name was also written on a bomb making manual in the possession of one of the WTC 1993 bombers. Egyptian Ayman Zawahiri visited the area the next month on a charity fundraising trip. Thus, authorities have long alleged that Al Qaeda has sought to develop weapons of mass destruction – and charities like the Benevolence International Foundation have been at the center of such allegations for years. When the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman was arrested, he had Khalifa’s business card along with $62,000 in cash in a suitcase. One idea the Bojinka plotters had, as evidenced by draft letters on Ramzi Yousef’s laptop, was to attempt to free an imprisoned brother by threatening a chemical or poisonous gas attack. When Al Qaeda gets what it thinks is a good idea, they tend to stick with it.

          Barbaros spoke alongside Ali Ali Al-Timimi at IANA conferences in the mid-1990s in exhorting young men to jihad. A Justice Department indictment explains that Barbaros told Fadl that “al-Qaeda’s goal in Bosnia was to establish a base for operations in Europe against al-Qaeda’s true
          enemy, the United States.” Around this time, BIF began providing food, clothing, money and communications equipment to fighters in Bosnia. The blind sheik’s son, who would serve on the 3-member Al Qaeda WMD committee, spoke alongside Al-Timimi in 1993 and again in 1996.

          In 1996, al-Fadl, who had been involved in an earlier attempt to buy uranium for Bin Laden along with Bayazid, defected from al-Qaeda. There are 900 pages of transcripts of conversations in videotaped teleconferences. The FBI agents and prosecutor Fitzgerald did not realize the marshals who set up the video teleconferences were taping.

          An FBI Special Agent in an affidavit in the prosecution of the BIF head, Arnaout, alleged that Arnaout “has a relationship with Usama Bin Laden and many of his key associates dating back more than a decade, as evidenced by cooperating witnesses and seized documents.” He continued “various persons involved in terrorist activists – specifically including persons trying to obtain chemical and nuclear weapons on behalf of al Qaeda – have had contacts with BIF offices and personnel.” The agent opined that Arnaout was a trusted associate of Bin Laden and also Gubuddin Hekmatyar and once involved with Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami organization. For a time, the BIF head administered funds for Bin Laden but later had a personality conflict with Al Qaeda military commander, Egyptian Mohammed Atef. Atef came to head the plans to weaponize anthrax. A folder recovered in another BIF trash search in December 2001 contained handwritten notations in Arabic indicating that BIF had a field office in Zagreb, Croatia for relief operations support of jihad in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

          In the prosecution of BIF head Arnaout, the agent recounted that in an April 1999, the FBI recovered from BIF’s office in Palos Hills, Illinois, a February 1999 article in the Seattle Times concerning smallpox as a biological terrorism weapon. The sections of the text indicating that
          authorities were poorly prepared for a biological attack involving smallpox were highlighted. Although I do not see the referenced article from February 1999, on March 15, 1999, for example, there was a news article explaining that the idea that smallpox was a threat took hold when Ken Alibek said that Russia had produced tons of anthrax, along with smallpox. The FBI at some point apparently realized that if one wanted to gain access to what this defector knew about weaponizing anthrax, one would merely have to apply to be a graduate student down the hall from him – which is exactly what Falls Church, VA Salafist Ali Al-Timimi did.

          In 2000, Chechen military commander associated with Bin Laden’s CBRN aspirations, Ibn Khattab solicited funds on the Al Qaeda website, qoqaz.com. Mirrored by a North Brunswick, NJ webmaster Mazen Mokhtar, the website said that funds should be routed through one of two charities. One
          of the two charities commended by the website for this purpose was BIF.

          In the New York City area, BIF was represented by Saffet Abid Catovic. Catovic was a boy scout troop leader, religious teacher, hospital administrator, and senior Bosnian diplomat and “Minister Counsellor” at the Bosnian Mission to United Nations in Manhattan. New York City police found
          his New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation business card among the personal effects of the blind sheik’s bodyguard, El Sayyid Nosair, after Nosair assassinated militant Jewish leader Meir Kahane. Mr. Catovic worked as a budget director at a New York Hospital. In a videotaped religious
          lecture, Catovic introduced and praised Siddig Ali (who was later convicted of a central role in a fundamentalist conspiracy to bomb New York landmarks in 1993). Siddig Ali spoke on the subject of “Jihad: The Forgotten Duty.” Catovic spoke alongside Mazen Mokhtar at a jihad summer camp in Pennsylvania in 2000 in which he explained that a timeframe for the US to become a caliphate was 2-5 years.

          Yusuf Wells, who was a BIF fundraiser, visited Northern Virginia over the April 14-15, 2001 weekend. The previous month he had been at Iowa State University on a similar visit. On April 15, 2001, he was brought to a paintball game. In the second season, they had become more secretive after
          an inquiry by an FBI Special Agent was made in 2000 of one of the members about the games. Part of BIF fundraiser Wells’ job involved writing reports about his fund raising trips. In his April 15, 2001 report he writes:

          “I was taken on a trip to the woods where a group of twenty brothers get together to play Paintball. It is a very secret and elite group and as I understand it, it is an honor to be invited to come. The brothers are fully geared up in camouflage fatigues, facemasks, and state of the art paintball
          weaponry. They call it ‘training’ and are very serious about it. I knew at least 4 or 5 of them were ex US military, the rest varied.. Many were confused as to why I had been ‘trusted’ to join the group so quickly, but were comforted after my brief talk. Some offered to help me get
          presentations on their respective localities.”

          After the anthrax mailings, former FBI agent Jack Cloonan and several colleagues arrived in Khartoum, Sudan in November 2001 to interview al-Douri and Bayazid. He was part of a joint FBI-CIA team. Cloonan has said Douri and a second Iraqi laughed when asked about possible bin Laden ties to Saddam Hussein’s regime, saying bin Laden hated Saddam. Bin Laden viewed Saddam as “a Scotch-drinking, woman-chasing apostate.” Both al-Douri and Bayazid lived in Tucson during the early 1990s.

          On December 14, 2001, in the afternoon, three immigration agents arrested Rabih Haddad, head of Global Relief Foundation, at his Ann Arbor home on a minor immigration violation. The FBI made related raids of BIF offices in connection with the search for evidence that Bin Laden was
          planning further attacks in the US and developing weapons of mass destruction such as weaponized anthrax. United States Attorney Fitzgerald’s original plan did not call for searches or “takedowns of the GRF or BIF offices in Illinois.” Instead, the 9/11 Commission found, the FBI had
          intended to listen using electronic intercepts to the reaction to the searches by the charity personnel. Their hand was forced, however, by the reporter’s call to Global Relief Foundation.

          The Newark, NJ BIF office was searched in mid-December 2001 at the same time the BIF and Global Relief Foundation offices in Illinois were searched.

          The charity investigation remained shrouded in secrecy until June 2002 when a helicopter emerged out of the clouds circling about Adham Hassoun’s car not not far from his residence in Sunrise, Florida. “They thought I was somebody important. They thought they hit the jackpot.” FBI
          agents questioned him initially when it was discovered that he had been the American representative for the publication Nida’ul Islam. “Brother Adham Hassoun” was listed as the publication’s subscription officer. Hassoun explained “I called these people and told them, ‘Take my name off there’.”
          Hassoun was the founder of BIF in the US, in Plantation, Florida in 1992 before it was moved to Chicago.

          The government alleged that Adham Hassoun, a computer programmer, had allegedly planned an assassination, provided material support to terrorist groups, and was a member of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman’s Islamic Group. Hassoun, a Palestinian of Sunrise, Florida born in Lebanon, allegedly tried to recruit Egyptian Mohammed Yousseff, a friend of Padilla’s. Hassoun had ties to charitable groups with alleged links to terrorist groups. The authorities did not want to arrest him and instead wanted to see where he might lead them. Their hand was forced when a Miami reporter called him to ask him about Padilla and they thought he might flee. It is suspected that Hassoun was among those who would be assisting Zacarias Moussaoui in a separate mission, totally separate to 9/11.

          Mohammad Javed Qureshi, a Muslim from Pakistan and founder of the School of Islamic Studies in Sunrise, was Padilla’s former boss. As manager of a Taco Bell he hired Padilla to make Tacos about the time Padilla converted to Islam. ”With this latest arrest it leads me to believe that
          there is a cell or organization recruiting Muslims for terrorist activities,” Javed told a local newspaper upon news of Padilla’s detention. ”We need to look into Egypt and see where he went,” he told New York Times, “and then put the two and two together. Are there recruiters here?
          Yes. Have I met them? No. But .. the recruiters are out there. I’m trying to find them myself.”

          The FBI investigation of Mr. Hassoun began after the arrest of supporters of the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman in Brooklyn revealed the existence of a network in North American supporting Islamic fighters worldwide. Thousands of telephone calls between those charged in the Miami
          case were monitored by the FBI and other U.S. intelligence agencies over more than a decade. No one was arrested until June 2002 and no charges were brought until October 2004. Phone calls related to financial support of individuals willing to fight in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Eritrea and
          Somalia. A November 2005 indictment details numerous checks payable to Global Relief Foundation to fund “tourists” from 1998 – 2001.

          An associate of Jayyousi, Hassoun helped distribute the Islam Report in South Florida and looking for young recruits willing to become mujahidin to fight overseas for extremist Muslim causes, according to the FBI. According to court papers, Hassoun had been under FBI investigation since a
          January 1993 telephone call between Hassoun and the blind sheik. Like Hassoun, Jayyousi, a Jordanian national and naturalized U.S. citizen, was a strong supporter of Abdel- Rahman. Jayyousi frequently spoke with the jailed sheik by telephone in 1994 and 1995. Shortly after Rahman’s arrest, Jayyousi (aka Abu Mohammed) founded the American Islamic Group, which published the Islam Report. The newsletter carried news about the sheik and recounted the exploits of jihadists around the world.

          Jayyousi, who lived in San Diego, Detroit, Baltimore and Egypt during the probe, also used the Islam Report to raise money for Muslim extremists through nonprofit organizations to include Save Bosnia Now, later renamed to American Worldwide Relief. Jayyousi was interviewed by FBI agents
          eight times between 1995 and 2003 about his activities but was not charged until April 2005. He was released on bail – the only defendant in the Miami case to win pretrial release. Jayyousi was dismissed from his job as Assistant Superintendent of DC Public Schools in the Spring of 2001.

          Co-defendant Kassem Daher, another follower of Sheik Rahman, lived in Le Duc, Canada and helped distribute Jayyousi’s Islam Report in Canada. According to the FBI, Daher left Canada for Lebanon in May 1998 and is still there, having been detained in 2000. According to the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service, Daher had contact with Vanguards of Conquest member Jaballah and involvement with EIJ activities. After 9/11, an article in the Arabic newspaper Sharq al Awsat reported that Lebanon had received a request from Canada through Interpol for information on eight people, including a man described as a “partner of Daher’s” – Ahmad Khadr (“al-Kanadi”). Thus, there appears to have been a coordination between the “al-Kanadi” and Florida networks. The “Florida cell” had connections to Jaballah and would have been concerned over his detention to a security certificate, along with EIJ member Mahmoud Mahjoub.

          The federal government charged that Adham Hassoun recruited Padilla into Islam and possibly into al Qaeda. Padilla started studying Islam at the Darul Uloom Islamic Institute and the al-Iman mosque. An outspoken Palestinian activist living in the area, Hassoun had quit his job as a
          computer programmer to oversee the opening of a Muslim charity, Benevolence International Foundation, in Plantation. Although only recently incorporated in the U.S., the charity had existed for a couple of years in previous incarnations – with branches in Pakistan, the Sudan, Saudi Arabia and the
          Philippines. The group can be traced back to the wealthy Saudis who founded its predecessor groups, two sheiks with strong ties to Osama bin Laden. The same two sheiks underlie the views espoused by the Islamic Assembly of North American formed in 1993. One of the two sheiks, al-Hawali, was in touch with Al-Timimi in fall 2001 in connection with having his views heard and understood by the US Congress.

          CBS reported that “US officials describe Hassoun as an important link not only to the Padilla investigation, but possibly to a suspected US-based al-Qaeda network awaiting orders for future attacks. Sources said domestic intelligence intercepts have now convinced officials that such a
          network of al-Qaeda fund-raisers and operatives exist in the United States.” Senator Richard Shelby (Republican, Ranking Member, Intelligence Committee) said: “I-I fear that it’s a lot more widespread than we originally thought, and there are probably other terrorist cells that could be affiliated with
          them, other groups besides al-Qaeda.”

          BIF Canada was founded by Mahammed Khatib, an employee of the International Islamic Relief Organization. International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) is a Saudi charity that Canadian agents allege was involved in financing Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The Manila office of the IIRO
          was headed by Khalifa, bin Laden’s brother-in-law. Muslim World League and IIRO had an office at 360 Washington, the location of Al-Timimi’s Dar Arqam. The Canadian BIF chapter shared an office in Toronto with IIRO’s parent organization, Muslim World League, and both Canadian groups were run by the same man.

          Dating back to its founding, BIF is connected to World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) in Falls Church, Virginia, which was run by Bin Laden’s nephew. 50 FBI agents raided WAMY offices in late May 2004. The Washington Post explained:

          “Sources said the raid was part of an investigation into whether the group’s operations around the world have financial and other ties to terrorists, but the scope of the probe could not be learned because the case is under court seal.” Abdullah bin Laden incorporated WAMY’s U.S.
          branch in Falls Church in 1992, became president and was listed on forms until at least 1998. A volunteer board member who had just received his computer sciences doctorate from George Mason University was arrested on immigration charges. He was expert and had published on computer security protocols. The WAMY official and newly minted GMU computer security PhD left for Saudi Arabia in July under a plea agreement.

          An arrest warrant then issued for a former Falls Church, Virginia resident, Dr. Hassan Faraj, on immigration charges on June 29, 2004. He had been working as an intern and resident at hospital in Manhattan for the past three years.

          The Syrian-born doctor, Hassan Faraj, formerly worked for the Al Qaeda front charity, BIF, in Zagreb, Croatia. He had gone to medical school in Zagreb, graduating in 1995 apparently. He was accused in late June 2004 of supporting an Al Qaeda operative who after 9/11 asked the doctor to support
          his application to come to the United States. Dr. Faraj was listed in 2002 as an author of a key article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (“JAMA”) about the fatal anthrax inhalation exposure of 61-year-old Kathy Nguyen. She had worked in the stockroom of Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital (MEETH), which was a subsidiary of Lenox Hill. The article concluded that although her workplace had been searched for traces of anthrax, it was unknown how Kathy Nguyen had been exposed. It is still unknown how Kathy Nguyen was exposed to anthrax – and an association of BIF under these circumstances is still of keen interest.

    • DXer said

      Bosnia is important to understand (though I don’t); I’m glad there are such experts as Kohlman helping the FBI. For example, Bin Laden chose Nawaf al-Hawaf and Almidhar because of their service in Bosnia. Jdey fought in Bosnia. It seems that one would want to trace the thread of all operatives in 2001 back to Bosnia. Consider one of the authors of the JAMA article on the first anthrax victim Kathy Nguyen. He escorted fighters to the camps in Bosnia.

      When Aafia SIddiqui was asked about her emails to Adnan and others, she insisted on fleeing the country before a second planned FBI interview. She screamed to her husband “Are you trying to get me killed?” (Scroggins, WANTED WOMEN, 2012)

      http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/287/7/858

      Dr Hasan Faraj who was an author on the above JAMA paper on the death of anthrax victim Kathy Nguyen was arrested.

      By way of the background you mention (see Schinder, Unholy War, p. 284), in October 2001, NATO forces raided the Saudi High Commission for Aid to Bosnia and seized before-and-after photographs of the World Trade Center, U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the USS Cole; maps of government buildings in Washington; materials for forging U.S. State Department badges; files on the use of crop duster aircraft; and anti-Semitic and anti-American material geared toward children. An employee of the Saudi High Commission for Aid to Bosnia and another cell member was in telephone contact with Osama bin Laden aide and al-Qaeda operational commander Abu Zubayda. The employee’s planned immigration to the United States was going to be sponsored by Dr. Hassan Faraj, who worked at the hospital where the first New York inhalational anthrax victim died. The doctor was a co-author of a leading article in the Journal of American Medical Association (“JAMA”) about the causes of the woman’s death. Dr. Faraj lived in the building next to Al-Timimi until 1999 when he moved to Brooklyn to take an internship at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.

      An arrest warrant issued for a former Falls Church, Virginia resident, Dr. Hassan Faraj, on immigration charges on June 29, 2004. He had been working as an intern and resident at hospital in Manhattan for the past three years.

      The Syrian-born doctor, Hassan Faraj, formerly worked for the Al Qaeda front charity, BIF, in Zagreb, Croatia. He was accused in late June 2004 of supporting an Al Qaeda terrorist. He was listed in 2002 as an author of a key article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (“JAMA”) about the fatal anthrax inhalation exposure of 61- year-old Kathy Nguyen. She had worked in the stockroom of Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital (MEETH), which was a subsidiary of Lenox Hill. The doctor, Hassan Faraj, was an intern there at the time and then finished his residency at Lenox Hill in 2004. The article explained that an epidemiological study of her workplace and residence had not turned up any explanation of how she was exposed. The United States government charged Dr. Farah with immigration violations, accusing him of providing aid to a supporter of Osama Bin Laden and making false statements. In early November 2004, federal prosecutors alleged that they found shredded blueprints for a suburban Washington overpass in a bag in his Brooklyn apartment. His lawyer claimed that they were from his brother, a lecturer at an unidentified Washington-area university who had left the country. Prosecutors said that Faraj’s duties included running recruits to camps in Bosnia. In November 2004, the Daily News reported that “Computers seized at the foundation’s office in Chicago contained a deleted file stating, ‘Hassan has spent substantial amount of time with us in Bosnia . . . and had said that he is willing to do anything.’”

      In an April 11, 2005 letter (provided to me by intelwire.com, an Assistant United States Attorney explained to a federal magistrate the “defendant had engaged in repeated fraud in pursuing a medical career in this country, including lying to obtain his Virginia medical license.” The Virginia medical licensing website, there is a Consent Order confirming that he had surrendered his license. His license in Connecticut was also allowed to expire that year after it had been granted.

      The AUSA in the 2005 letter explained that on June 29, 2004, the defendant had been arrested on charges of falsely obtaining his United States citizenship, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1425. The defendant gained his citizenship in part because he had fraudulently obtained asylum. The government summarized:

      “To get asylum, the defendant claimed that he was a Bosnian citizen, that his Bosnian wife … had been killed by Serbs during the Balkan conflict, that he had been studying medicine at Sarajevo University in Bosnia, and that he had been forced to flee Bosnia due to the conflict. These claims were a sham. The defendant was not a Bosnian citizen, [his wife] never existed, the defendant never studied medicine at Sarajevo University, and the defendant was not forced to flee Bosnia (indeed, he did not even reside in Bosnia, but rather in Croatia).”

      At his initial appearance on June 30, 2004, the defendant was released pursuant to an agreed upon bail amount of $100,000, co-signed by two sureties.

      On August 12, 2004, the defendant was indicted on the immigration charge. Sitting outside the courtroom in November 2004 before his hearing on whether his bail would be revoked, Mr. Faraj told the New York Times reporter: “I have nothing to be afraid of. They have nothing else to do but to make things up.”

      In early November 2004, the government learned that the defendant had violated his pre-trial release conditions by making false statements in his August 2004 Virginia medical licensing application. The defendant made at least two false statements to the Virginia board: (i) falsely asserting that he had not engaged in any plea bargaining in any matter; and (ii) falsely asserting that he had never been censured or warned in regard to his medical background. The February 2007 Consent Order in Virginia explains that he had been warned about his job performance on February 28, 2003.

      The government argued that false statements to the Virginia board were part of a larger pattern of medical fraud by the defendant, dating back several years. In essence, the defendant satisfied two other essential medical requirements beyond the state licensing requirement through fraud: (i) fraudulently securing a required medical residency position at Lenox Hill hospital, and (ii) fraudulently securing a required certification from the Educational Committee for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMGO). The government contended that in 2001, the defendant told at least two significant lies to secure the residency. “First, in his personal statement and application submitted to Lenox Hill, the defendant falsely claimed that, “[f]rom January 1996 to January 1997, I did an internship in Zvijezda Hospital in Zagreb where I rotated in all departments.” The government continued: “In fact, the defendant did not intern at that hospital and was in the United States eleven months of the twelve he was supposedly doing the internship in Croatia.”

      The defendant engaged in similar fraud, the government explained, in his submissions to the Educational Committee for Foreign Medical Graduates, which regulates the practice of foreign medical graduates in the United States. Among other things, the defendant falsely asserted to the ECFMG that he was an intern at yet another hospital in Croatia in 1996, the Venograd Hospital. The defendant even went so far as to submit a fraudulent certification to ECFMG that he interned at Sestre Vinogradska (Sisters of Misericordy) hospital in Croatia from September 1, 1996 to January 31, 1997.

      The good doctor came under suspicion, in part, because of his support for suspected foreign terrorist Amir Abdulrazzak. Associated Press reported in November 2004 that “Sources familiar with the case said Abdulrazzak’s immigration documents were found on a computer recovered during a raid by U.S. Special Forces on a building in Bosnia housing the Saudi High Commission for Relief, an independent group linked to the Saudi Arabian government. The building, also known as “Mecca House,” was targeted after intelligence reports indicated terror suspects using it as a meeting house were planning to attack U.S. and NATO targets in Bosnia, according to a 2001 report by Army Times, a weekly for military personnel.”

      In the 2005 letter to the federal magistrate, the Department of Justice formally provided additional detail:

      “In the fall of 2004, the government discovered that the defendant used his fraudulently-obtained United States citizenship in January 2002 to sponsor the attempted entry into the United States by suspected foreign terrorist Amir Abdulrazzak, also known as Amir Amrush. At the time, Amir Abdulrazzak was an employee of the Saudi High Commission for Refugees (SHCR) in Bosnia. In October 2001, just a few months before the defendant’s sponsorship of Abdulrazzak, NATO forces raided the SHCR Sarajevo office where Abdulrazzak worked. The search recovered computers containing, among other things, the following information:

      – confirmation of Abdulrazzak’s SHCR employment, including as acting manager of SHCR

      – Abdulrazzak’s obtainment of software to hack into Hotmail e-mail accounts;

      – an inventory of chemical protective clothing;

      – anti-American and anti-Israeli propaganda;

      – a German magazine article regarding Usama Bin Laden’s travel to Bosnia in 1993; and

      – documents concerning the appearance of United States State Department identification.

      Due to SHCR’s terrorism ties, the Saudi government eventually closed the SHCR Sarajevo office.”

      The government claimed that “the defendant’s attempt to assist Abdulrazzak was only the most recently known example of the defendant’s support for terrorism-related organizations.”

      As noted above, when he was not sponsoring Al Qaeda operatives, he was serving as a listed author on an article in a prestigious journal addressing the epidemiological puzzle of the anthrax spores that infected a fellow Lenox Hill employee Kathy Nguyen — who worked in the stock room at MEETH. It seems that one never knows what one is hiding in the closet.

      Attorney Stanley L. Cohen represented Hassan Faraj. “The defendant had nothing to give and wouldn’t become one of their snitches,” Cohen told the press in November 2004. Attorney Cohen was the law partner of radical attorney Lynne Stewart, who represented blind sheik Abdel-Rahman. The blind sheik’s son, Mohammed Abdel-Rahman, was on Al Qaeda’s 3-member WMD committee. Mohammed was in frequent contact with the blind sheik’s paralegal, Post Office employee Abdel Sattar. He would use Lynne Stewart as a “dove” to send messages to his father. The blind sheik once bemusedly said that they’ll stop using doves when the US stops using secret evidence. Mohammed Abdel Rahman was captured on February 13, 2003 in Quetta, Pakistan, and that had quickly led to the seizure of anthrax spraydrying documents at the home of a bacteriologist and the raid on Ali Al-Timimi’s townhouse on February 26, 2003. According to the February 2007 Virginia Consent Order, two days later — “on or about February 28, 2003″ — Lenox Hill had issued a warning to Dr. Faraj about his job performance.

      Those massive searches and numerous arrests would be enough to distract even the most committed doctor from their work. On that day — the day Al-Timimi’s townhouse was searched — 100 agents came here and simultaneously interviewed 150 people.

      See also

      http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9500E2DE123CF935A35752C1A9629C8B63

      In a letter submitted to a federal judge yesterday, prosecutors outlined what they said were ties linking a Syrian-born American doctor, who has been charged with lying to obtain American citizenship, to terrorism and suspected members of Al Qaeda.

      Still, no new charges have been brought against the man, Hassan Faraj, of Brooklyn, and his lawyer belittled the letter as a scare tactic and called the allegations flimsy.

      Mr. Faraj, 39, was arrested in June and charged with naturalization fraud. Prosecutors accuse him of lying to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, when he applied in 1993 to come to the United States as a Bosnian refugee. He was later released on bail.

      Mr. Faraj worked for three years until June as a resident in internal medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said.

      • DXer said

        I emailed Mr. Faraj a few years ago to ask him if he fought in Bosnia alongside Jdey and Nawaf Al-Hazmi but didn’t hear back. Here is a New York Times just scratching the surface. Amerithrax represents the greatest intellgence failure in the history of the United States — if we are to judge what comes out of Rachel’s mouth.

        The New York Times

        November 6, 2004 Saturday
        Late Edition – Final

        U.S. Letter Tries to Establish a Doctor’s Links to Terrorists

        BYLINE: By SABRINA TAVERNISE

        SECTION: Section B; Column 3; Metropolitan Desk; Pg. 2

        LENGTH: 729 words

        In a letter submitted to a federal judge yesterday, prosecutors outlined what they said were ties linking a Syrian-born American doctor, who has been charged with lying to obtain American citizenship, to terrorism and suspected members of Al Qaeda.

        Still, no new charges have been brought against the man, Hassan Faraj, of Brooklyn, and his lawyer belittled the letter as a scare tactic and called the allegations flimsy.

        Mr. Faraj, 39, was arrested in June and charged with naturalization fraud. Prosecutors accuse him of lying to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, when he applied in 1993 to come to the United States as a Bosnian refugee. He was later released on bail.

        Mr. Faraj worked for three years until June as a resident in internal medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said.

        ”The government loves to dangle all the buzzwords because it’s very seductive,” said the lawyer, Stanley Cohen. ”Quite frankly, Judge, it means nothing. There’s nothing new.”

        In the letter, addressed to Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, prosecutors in the office of the United States attorney for the Eastern District charged that Mr. Faraj tried to help a man they say was a suspected Qaeda associate enter the United States.

        They also raised questions about what they said were shredded blueprints of Washington-area sites found in his apartment and about his association with a Muslim charity group in Croatia.

        Formally, the letter was drawn up to request that Judge Matsumoto order Mr. Faraj taken into custody because of what prosecutors said was a risk that he might flee the country.

        Judge Matsumoto ordered yesterday that Mr. Faraj be electronically monitored, but he delayed a decision on whether he will be held until the next hearing, set for Nov. 10.

        The letter also provided a look into the prosecutors’ thinking on the case. Terror-related charges would carry years of jail time, while Mr. Faraj faces a maximum of six months in jail and deportation under the current naturalization fraud charges, his lawyer said.

        Nationwide, federal prosecutors have had mixed results prosecuting terror cases.

        In Detroit last year, two men were convicted on terrorism charges in a prominent case, whose handling later came into question.

        In February, a federal judge in Virginia acquitted an American who had been accused of taking part in a ”jihad network” in Virginia.

        An assistant United States attorney, John Buretta, the prosecutor who argued the case yesterday, declined to comment on why Mr. Faraj had not been indicted on any terror-related charges, saying only that an investigation into his activities is continuing.

        Among the questions raised in the letter were prosecutors’ claims that Mr. Faraj worked for and later donated money to a Muslim charity, Benevolence International Foundation, whose assets were frozen in December 2001 after the government designated it a terrorist organization.

        It gained national attention when its director was charged with terrorism, and Attorney General John Ashcroft went to Chicago to announce the indictment.

        Mr. Cohen argued that the charity was a United Nations-registered entity at the time Mr. Faraj worked there and that his subsequent donations mentioned by prosecutors totaled just $750.

        In addition, a federal judge in Chicago declined to convict the organization’s director, Enaam Arnaout, a Syrian-born American citizen, on terrorism charges.

        ”Indict him and arrest him and charge him with terrorism,” Mr. Cohen said.

        ”They don’t because they can’t prove it.”

        Mr. Cohen said the destroyed blueprints had belonged to Mr. Faraj’s older brother, a civil engineer, who had lived with Mr. Faraj for several years but had moved out this summer.

        Prosecutors also said Mr. Faraj had tried to help a man they identified as a suspected Qaeda associate enter the United States in December 2001 by filling out an affidavit agreeing to sponsor the man. It was not clear from the letter if the man had eventually entered the United States, or what his precise connection was to Al Qaeda.

        Mr. Faraj, a soft-spoken man quick to smile, said he had provided the affidavit as a courtesy for a friend who knew the man, Amir Abdulrazzak.

        Sitting outside the courtroom half an hour early for his hearing yesterday, Mr. Faraj said: ”I have nothing to be afraid of. They have nothing else to do but to make things up.”

        • DXer said

          For someone caring for patients in a life and death situation to have lied about going to medical school seems serious — and to go way beyond mere licensing issues. What was he doing when he claimed to be in medical school, fighting alongside Jdey, Nawaf Al-Hazmi and Al-Midhar?

        • DXer said

          The fine particulate mixer was delivered to the block that Atta and Al-Nawaf would do their final planning for 911 — that location was 8 miles, across the river, from Lenox Hill in Manhattan, where the fake jihad-supporting doctor worked in connection with Nguyen’s infection. Where was the particulate mixer taken? Nawaf Al-Hazmi would travel to Falls Church, where he had lived and associated with 911 imam Anwar Awlaki, Ali Al-Timimi’s fellow Falls Church imam and associate… and also to Laurel Maryland where they did their copying and bought postal supplies at the MBE in Laurel.

      • Do we have any AKAs for Faraj?

        • DXer said

          Cripes. I can’t even find his name in the databases relating to licensing — where I had previously obtained the great decision giving the detail about his false statements. For example, incredibly, in Virginia, you need the last 4 digits of the social security number or date of decision or license number. I think the decision was January 29, 2007 but I can’t find it. His middle initial though is Y. for Hassan Y. Faraj. you can see the Woodbridge address online that is very dated. And on Zabasearch you see the Bowie, MD, the Falls Church, VA address and the Brooklyn addresses. WIthout looking back, I think he was born in 1965. Any help you can provide in terms of getting updated information would be much appreciated. I would like to contact him by email and ask him about Jdey, Al-Hazmi and also Al-Midhar. I’m thinking he may have known them from taking them to camps in Bosnia. I’ve always focused on Nawaf Al-Hazmi because he was at the Kuala Lumpur planning meeting but it is not clear to me as between Al-Midhar and Nawaf Al-Hazmi who was calling the shots. I think Bin Laden may once have referred to Al-Hamzi as Almidhar’s right-hand man. Anwar Awlaki met them in San Diego where he mentored them spiritually — and then came when he did to Falls Church. He set them up with someone who helped them get VA licenses and showed them around Paterson, NJ where he had lived. (That fellow was deported to Jordan). Hassan Y. Faraj lost his license (never obtained it) in Virginia and Connecticut. The meaty decision, as I recall, was in Virginia. But right now I am not finding a listing anywhere and I have misplaced my password and lost my access temporarily to PACER. Any help you can give would be much appreciated. He would be a fascinating interview. I would also ask him his relationship with Anwar Awlaki and Ali Al-Timimi. I am also having difficulty located Syed Athar Abbas for an interview.

  7. DXer said

    During the late June-August, 2001 period, 9/11 hijacker Atta called Al-Hawsawi, KSM’s assistant, who had the anthrax spraydrying docuemnts on his laptop.

    9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta made several calls to plot facilitator Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi to coordinate the arrival in the US of four muscle hijackers (see April 23-June 29, 2001) including the hijacker who arrived from Kandahar in June and had a leg lession, and whose remains tested positive for Ames in one test. Al-Hawsawi, the man with the anthrax spraydrying documents on his laptop, was in contact with Atta both before tickets are purchased, to learn where the hijackers are traveling, and after the hijackers arrive, to check whether they have made it through immigration. Atta and two other hijackers also called al-Hawsawi later to make arrangements for returning unspent money (see September 5-10, 2001).

    Source: US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, ALEXANDRIA DIVISION, 7/31/2006 ; US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 3/21/2007.

  8. DXer said

    The March 1999 Public Announcement Of Zawahiri’s Quest To Weaponize Anthrax

    The CIA has known of Zawahiri’s plans to use anthrax since July 1998, when the CIA seized a disc from Ayman Zawahiri’s right-hand, Ahmed Mabruk, during his arrest outside a restaurant in Baku, Azerbaijan. At the time, Mabruk was the head of Jihad’s military operations. Mabruk was handed over to Egyptian authorities. A close associate and former cellmate in Dagestan in 1996, Mabruk was at Ayman’s side while Ayman would fall to his knees during trial and weep and invoke Allah. Their captors reportedly did not know the true identity of the prisoners. After Mabruk’s capture in Baku, Azerbaijan, the CIA refused to give the FBI Mabruk’s laptop. FBI’s Bin Laden expert John O’Neill, head of the FBI’s New York office, tried to get around this by sending an agent to Azerbaijan to get copies of the computer files from the Azerbaijan government. The FBI finally got the files after O’Neill persuaded President Clinton to personally appeal to the president of Azerbaijan for the computer files. FBI Special Agent Dan Coleman would later describe the laptop as the “Rosetta Stone of Al Qaeda.” O’Neill died on 9/11 in his role as head of World Trade Center security. He died with the knowledge that Ayman Zawahiri planned to attack US targets with anthrax — and that Zawahiri does not make a threat that he does not intend to try to keep.

    At the time, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (”DTRA”) set up a program at Lawrence Livermore to combat the Bin Laden anthrax threat. The CIA also snatched Egyptian Al-Najjar, another senior Al Qaeda member (a shura or policy-making council member) who had been working for the Egyptian intelligence services. Al-Najjar confirmed Ayman’s intent to use weaponized anthrax against US targets in connection with the detention of militant islamists in a sworn lengthy confession. Even Zawahiri’s friend, Cairo lawyer Montasser al-Zayat, who was the blind sheik’s attorney, announced in March 1999 that Bin Laden and Zawahiri were likely to resort to the biological and chemical agents they possessed given the extradition pressure senior Movement leaders faced. That week, and thoughout that year, Al-Zayat was in touch by telephone with US Post Office employee Sattar and Islamic Group leaders about the group’s strategy to free the blind sheik. An islamist who had been a close associate of Zawahiri later would explain that Zawahiri spent a decade and had made 15 separate attempts to recruit the necessary expertise to weaponize anthrax in Russia and the Middle East.

    EIJ military commander Mabruk was in regular contact with Mahmoud Jaballah, who was in Toronto beginning May 1996. Although Mabruk changed his location every few months, Jaballah kept aware of his whereabouts through his contacts with Jaballah’s brother-in-law Shehata. Shehata was in charge of EIJ’s “special operations.” When Mabruk was arrested and imprisoned in Dagestan along with Zawahiri, Jaballah was told on December 13, 1996 that Mabruk was “hospitalized.” That was code for “in jail” and, for example, is the code used by Zawahiri in emails on the same subject. Jaballah raised funds for Mabruk’s release and coordinated these collection efforts with Shehata. Indeed, it was Jaballah’s brother-in-law Shehata who brought the money to Dagestan to arrange for Zawahiri’s and Mabruk’s release.

    Correspondence between Mabruk and Jaballah in 1997 reported on Jaballah’s recruitment efforts. Mabruk, EIJ’s military commander, was pleased. Jaballah confirmed with Shehata and Mabruk his view of the reliability of the individuals he had recruited. His reported that his recruits were affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Zawahiri and the Vanguards of Conquest sought to recreate Mohammed’s taking of mecca by a small band through violent attacks on Egyptian leaders. By the late 1990s, Zawahiri had determined that the Egyptian Islamic Jihad should focus on its struggle against the United States and hold off on further attacks against the Egyptian regime.

    The cause of the Egyptian militants had suffered a serious setback with the murder of tourists at Luxor. After the public relations debacle of Luxor, and after the August 1998 US embassy bombings, al-Qaeda actively sought religious and legal opinions from Movement scholars around the world who might help rationalize the killing of innocents. The following letter is an example of such a letter taken from Zawahiri’s computer.

    “Folder: Outgoing Mail
    Date: September 26, 1998
    Dear highly respected _______

    I present this to you as your humble brother concerning the preparation of the lawful study that I am doing on the killing of civilians. This is a very sensitive case—as you know—especially these days.

    It is very important that you provide your opinion of this matter, which has been forced upon us as an essential issue in the course and ideology of the Muslim movement

    [Our] questions are:
    1- Since you are the representative of the Islamic Jihad group, what is your lawful stand on the killing of civilians, specifically when women and children are included? And please explain the legitimate law concerning those who are deliberately killed.
    2- According to your law, how can you justify the killing of innocent victims because of a claim of oppression?
    3- What is your stand concerning a group that supports the killing of civilians, including women and children?
    With our prayers, wishing you success and stability.”

    A February 1999 letter 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. Investigators considered a possible connection to the attempted extradition to Yemen of the London-based Egyptian Islamic preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri. Memos in the Spring of 1999 from Zawahiri to Egyptian Mohammed Atef, Al Qaeda’s military commander, and former Cairo police sergeant, indicate that Ayman was a close student of the USAMRIID anthrax program. He believed that the Koran instructed that a jihadist should use the weapons used by the crusader. “What we know is that he’s always said it was a religious obligation to have the same weapons as their enemies,” former CIA Bin Laden unit counterterrorism chief Michael Scheuer once explained.

    The most senior Vanguards of Conquest leader in North America was Mohammad Mahjoub. Mahjoub had known Essam Mohamed Hafez Marzouk. Marzouk had trained the 1998 embassy bombers. Marzouk was one of those picked up in Azerbaijan in August 1998. For a time, Marzouk had lived in Canada in British Columbia. After initially denying he knew Marzouk, Mahjoub testified in 2001 that earlier he had lied and said he knew and had been in contact with him. Canadian Vanguards member Jaballah claimed that Mahjoub was in regular contact with Marzouk.

    87 of the 107 defendants in the 1999 “Returnees from Albania” trial in Cairo were Vanguards members. Mahjoub was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 15 years. The group swore that it would seek revenge in retaliation for the convictions in that case.

    In early February 2001, the CIA briefed President Bush on a threat to use mailed anthrax if the bail for Vanguards of Conquest #2 was denied. His bail was denied on October 5, 2001. The anthrax mailer then sent especially deadly anthrax to the people in the symbolic position of appropriations to Egypt and Israel and the rendering of senior Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Egyptian Islamic Group leaders.

    • 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?

      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. In a June 1999 memo, however, he talked 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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