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

* Thiesen’s COURTING DISASTER (2010): It Was Al-Balucchi (Who Consulted With Aafia About Anthrax Lab) Who Sent Maryland’s Majid Khan To Thailand In 2002 With the $50,000

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 15, 2012

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10 Responses to “* Thiesen’s COURTING DISASTER (2010): It Was Al-Balucchi (Who Consulted With Aafia About Anthrax Lab) Who Sent Maryland’s Majid Khan To Thailand In 2002 With the $50,000”

  1. DXer said

    A new Foreign Policy article about Aafia says she had documents about how to weaponize Ebola. It reports that Islamic State terrorists who murdered American journalist James Foley last week demanded her release to spare his life. But won’t this proposal (which never reached Hagel) and it being made public itself tend to spur additional kidnappings?

    The blog and the federal undercover who did my graphics (at my request) dropped almost all mention of the pious, doe-eyed Aafia because Ayman Zawahiri insisted. No one wants make Dr. Ayman angrier than he already is.

    But it is widely known that she worked 6 months at Al Qaeda’s Karachi anthrax lab at the request of her her hubby, the 911 planner.

    I now vote to let her go and let her coauthor a book with Yazid Sufaat so that we might learn more than we have from the team of Tinkerbelle and Lucy.

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

    Lady al Qaeda: The World’s Most Wanted Woman
    The Taliban wanted to trade Bergdahl for her. The Islamic State offered to swap Foley. Why does every jihadi group want the U.S. to free Aafia Siddiqui?

    • BY SHANE HARRIS
    • AUGUST 26, 2014
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/08/26/lady_al_qaeda_the_worlds_most_wanted_woman

    While the White House has steadfastly refused to put Siddiqui’s release on the table in negotiating for American prisoners, a team inside the Defense Department has proposed trading her for American captives, according to a U.S. lawmaker.

    “We are aware of at least one entity in the Defense Department that has developed possible options to trade Siddiqui. And we can say with certainty that the option was weighed for Bergdahl and several others in captivity,” said Joe Kasper, a spokesman for Rep. Duncan Hunter (R.-Calif.), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and a former Marine who has criticized the Obama administration for not doing more to free American prisoners.

  2. DXer said

    Aafia Siddiqui, who says she spent 6 months at Karachi Technical Institute studying use of anthrax as a weapon at the request of 9-11 plotter Al-Balucchi, KSM’s nephew whom she married after 9-11, has long been connected to El-Shukrijumah in reports. The BOLO for Aafia was issued at the same time as El-Shukrijumah.

    Dan Abrams keeping track of all homeland security developments and joins us now.
    Dan:

    DAN ABRAMS reporting:

    Well, Lester, so far, so good. No major incidents around the country. And that
    is certainly good news. Federal agents, though, now searching for two people
    they consider al-Qaeda suspects. They may be in the United States. One of them,
    a woman. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani native, first entered the US. Unclear as
    to exactly when she first came here. But she is suspected of providing
    logistical support to this man, Adnan El-Shukrijumah. An al-Qaeda suspect who’s
    been compared to Mohammed Atta, the leader of the 9/11 attacks. The FBI thinks
    Shukrijumah could be planning further attacks on US soil.

    • DXer said

      The Washington Post

      March 21, 2003 Friday
      Final Edition

      FBI on Global Hunt for Saudi Al Qaeda Suspect

      BYLINE: Dan Eggen and Manuel Roig-Franzia, Washington Post Staff Writers

      SECTION: A SECTION; Pg. A07

      LENGTH: 1250 words

      The FBI launched a global manhunt yesterday for a suspected Saudi al Qaeda
      member who is feared to be planning terrorist attacks …

      The FBI called Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, 27, an “imminent threat to U.S. citizens
      and interests” who is “suspected of planning terrorist activities.” A senior law
      enforcement official described him as a possible terrorism organizer in the
      style of Mohamed Atta, the suspected ringleader of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
      But authorities said they have no details on what kind of plot he might be
      involved in.

      An alias used by El Shukrijumah “kept coming up in numerous places,” including
      interrogations of captured al Qaeda lieutenant Khalid Sheik Mohammed, an
      official said. El Shukrijumah is believed to have a connection, as yet unclear,
      to Jose Padilla, the American al Qaeda suspect held on charges he was plotting
      to explode a radiological bomb in the United States.

      U.S. authorities also recovered a document that links the same alias to the
      Oklahoma flight school where Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person in the United
      States charged as a conspirator in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, studied
      aviation, an official said. There is no evidence that El Shukrijumah received
      pilot training in the United States, the official said.

  3. DXer said

    Some recent stories about Aafia Siddiqui:

    JI Balochistan chief visits Dr Aafia’s mother, June 13, 2012
    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012613story_13-6-2012_pg12_8

    Quelling rumours: US prison officials deny Dr Aafia passed away
    By Huma Imtiaz
    Published: June 21, 2012
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/396935/quelling-rumours-us-prison-officials-deny-dr-aafia-passed-away/

    What about Dr Aafia
    June 22, 2012
    http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/editorials/22-Jun-2012/what-about-dr-aafia

    Dr. Fowzia addresses Aafia, May 27, 2012
    http://www.demotix.com/news/1240474/dr-fowzia-addresses-aafia#.T-eKF_ESTFc

  4. DXer said

    Dr. Ivins fedexed virulent Ames to Rick Lyons in March 2001. It was listed, after the fact, as coming from Flask 1029. My understanding is that that UNM BL-3 was not finished and in operation until December 2001. See FBI document. Thus, it is surprising that it would have been sent many months before secure storage in a BL-3 was available. (It reportedly was put in storage).

    It was Dr.Koehler’s lab and Dr. Drysdale lab, in Houston, that was upgraded to BL-3 in March 2001. See TK’s interviews. Dr. Koehler and Dr. Drysdale do research with Dr. Lyons using Ames as illustrated by this article this week (and many others). Dr. Koehler says there was not a lock on the Houston BL-3 doors in 2001 (before 9/11). See her 2001 NPR interview. A tropical storm wiped out the lab in June 2001 with millions of gallons of water. Dr. Siddiqui’s sister-in-law, Dr. Khawaja, had an office down the hall from Dr. Koehler. (Dr. Khawaja did not respond to my emailed inquiry that sought to confirm the details). Dr. Ayman has said he’ll kill anyone who talks about Aafia and has demanded her release. Dr. Ayman’s chivalry is noble but his threats should not be allowed to deter understanding the finer points of the distribution of Ames. The FBI should obtain the very best evidence of what virulent strains the Houston lab was using in March 2001 — requiring that everyone be vaccinated. Dr. Drysdale did not respond to my inquiry years ago asking for the details of her insertion of the virulence plasmids. (There was an inverted plasmid observed in the mailed anthrax). See 2002 Science article. Dr. Lyons did not respond either but gave a forthright interview in 2002 or so explaining that the UNM Ames was expected to be a genetic match to the attack anthrax. There is only speculation as to why the Ames submitted to the repository did not contain the 4 morphs.

    http://iai.asm.org/content/early/2012/04/17/IAI.06340-11.abstract
    Expression of either Lethal Toxin or Edema Toxin by Bacillus anthracis is Sufficient for Virulence in a Rabbit Model of Inhalational Anthrax
    Julie A. Lovchik1,*, Melissa Drysdale1, Theresa M. Koehler2, Julie A. Hutt3 andC. Rick Lyons1
    +Author Affiliations

    1 Center for Infectious Disease & Immunity, Department of Internal Medicine, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131
    2 Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas 77030
    3 Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108
    ABSTRACT

    The development of therapeutics against biothreats requires that we understand the pathogenesis of the disease in relevant animal models. The rabbit model of inhalational anthrax is an important tool in the assessment of potential therapeutics against Bacillus anthracis. We investigated the roles of B. anthracis capsule and toxins in the pathogenesis of inhalational anthrax in rabbits by comparing infection with the Ames strain versus isogenic mutants deleted for either the genes of the capsule operon (capBCADE), lethal factor (lef), edema factor (cya), or protective antigen (pagA). Absence of capsule or protective antigen (PA) resulted in complete avirulence, while the presence of either edema toxin or lethal toxin plus capsule resulted in lethality. Absence of toxin did not influence the ability of B. anthracis to traffic to draining lymph nodes, but systemic dissemination required the presence of at least one of the toxins. Histopathology studies demonstrated minimal differences among lethal wild type and single toxin mutant strains. When rabbits were co-infected with the Ames strain and PA- mutant strain, the toxin produced by the Ames strain was not able to promote dissemination of the PA- mutant, suggesting that toxigenic action occurs in close proximity to secreting bacteria. Taken together, these findings suggest that a major role for toxins in the pathogenesis of anthrax is to enable the organism to overcome innate host effector mechanisms locally, and that much of the damage during the later stages of infection is due to the interactions of the host with the massive bacterial burden.

    • DXer said

      The Houston lab had a $100,000 grant from the CIA in 2001 to study the persistence of anthrax in soil. Soil is silica.

      • DXer said

        The stated reason for the CIA research project related to the persistence of anthrax on the battlefield. After an aerosolized release, the notion related to the dangers it would present. TK could be explain whether it involved growing anthrax in soil — or in a growth medium containing silica. When I corresponded in late 2001 or 2002 with her on the subject, she said that research could be done without virulent Ames but then later published on the importance of using virulent strains. So the details of that lab’s work seems important to understand given the admitted total lack of security (absence of locks on the doors) and given the fact that after it was rendered BL-3 so as to be able to use virulent strains it was wiped out by millions of gallons of water. I believe the name of the tropical storm was Tropical Storm Allison. The best sources of info were the university publications. Aafia had finished her PhD thesis in June 2001 and used to go to school in that very building after she first came to the US. She had lived with her brother. Did she ever visit Houston in June 2001 where her brother and sister-in-law had recently returned after living in Ann Arbor, MI? Aafia, Fowzia and Ismaat are all associated with an address in Ann Arbor not far from IANA headquarters. Was Aafia involved with IANA? Did she know Ali? Did she know Tarek?

        • DXer said

          Who Knew Who?
          https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/who-knew-who/

        • DXer said

          GAO, did the beautiful and pious Aafia Siddiqui have potential access to the virulent Ames strain at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston? She reports she was tasked by someone named “Abu Lubaba” to research germ warfare.
          Veterinarian and anthrax expert Martin Hugh-Jones, a professor at Louisiana State University, has said: “It was like trading baseball cards.” Hugh-Jones reports he got most of his anthrax from Peter Turnbull at the Porton Down lab in Great Britain, one of those that had received the Ames strain directly from Ft. Detrick. Dr. Theresa Koehler at Houston and Hugh-Jones discussed the distribution of Ames on NPR in January 2002:

          Ms. KOEHLER: Because Ames is used by investigators all over the world, does it matter if originally the strain came from Texas or came from Iowa? I don’t think so.
          ***

          Mr. MARTIN HUGH-JONES (Louisiana State University): I think the most important point is that we didn’t have Ames in this country in anybody’s collection prior to 1980. I think that’s very, very clear. And I think that limits the list of possible suspects quite considerably.
          ***

          KESTENBAUM: Martin Hugh-Jones also has an answer to the mystery of why one paper listed the Ames strain as dating back to 1932. He was an author on that paper. When his team got the Ames sample, it was labeled `10/32,’ which turns out to have meant `Sample number 10 out of 32.’ But they interpreted it as October 1932. David Kestenbaum, NPR News, Washington.

          In 2001, Dr. Theresa M Koehler held a faculty appointment at the UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She was Associate Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. She has had grants from the CIA, the National Institutes of Health, and others for her work on virulence. Her office was in the same complex, in the connected John Freeman Building. Aafia’s sister-in-law, Dr. Lubna Khawaja, had an office there. In Fall 2001, Dr. Koehler said she had taken the anthrax vaccine and that she got anthrax strains from Porton Down. In the Spring of 2003, Dr. Koehler explained that “It’s critical to use a genetically complete strain of the [anthrax] bacterium in experiments involving virulence.” A government study reported in April 2003 found that all of the labs that had received grants from the National Institutes of Health had unobstructed access to the floors with critical labs.

          Ten million gallons of water were unleashed on the UT Medical School at Houston June 9, 2001 by Tropical Storm Allison. The basement, where the anthrax lab was located, was the hardest hit. More than 400 emergency personnel (internal and contracted) attempted to address the devastation. Throughout June, no equipment could be removed or powered up. Stairwell doors needed to be kept closed. By the first week of July 2001, the basement and ground floor was still off limits, and only one entrance was available. Ground floor occupants needed to continue to work at their temporary sites. Gross mold spore counts continued to be beyond acceptable limits in the basement, which was ventilated separately from the rest of the building.

          The building was opened for business on July 11, 2001 but the ground floor and basement were construction remediation sites and off-limits except to access elevators to upper levels. Two entrances to the building were available: on the Webber Plaza side of the building near the circle drive and at the breezeway near the guard’s desk. Occupants were reminded in an employee newsletter not to block open stair well doors on any floor. The newsletter Scoop reported that in 2007, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new six-story research space completed in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Allison, “[m]any in the crowd were moved to tears as they recalled that day in June 2001. ‘All of the animals were drowned and there were $165 million in structural damages,’ President Willerson said. ‘It was a daunting task, but we didn’t give up.’”

          Did the anthrax lab in the basement have virulent Ames anthrax strain, to include Ames? If so, what was done with the isolates during the devastation caused in the basement by the flood? At the time it was lawful to have virulent anthrax in its liquid form in a BL-2 facility, contrary to the occasional misperception; a hood is used in handling such isolates. A University President explained as much in a letter in connection with the incident when some live Ames spores were sent by Northern Arizona to Los Alamos in Fall 2001.

          Members of the lab brought out the champagne at the lab in late 2001 when a special visa was granted to a research team member, who without it would have had to return to China. “We knew it was going to be risky,” said Dr. Koehler, a microbiologist at the school who for the past 20 years has studied the anthrax bacterium now being used as a terrorist weapon. “The question was whether current events would convince federal officials that [the researcher’s] skills are in the national interest or make them restrict workers from certain countries.”

          “It is a horrible feeling to think that it could be someone I know, that the perpetrator is a microbiologist among us,” said Dr. Koehler. In September 2001, Dr. Koehler explained her anthrax research, how terrorists might deploy anthrax as a biological weapon and how physicians would treat it.

          Aafia’s brother in 2001 was associated with addresses in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Canton, Michigan — and even Harrison, NJ — in 2001. The ACLU attorney representing Aafia’s family advised me that it had been years since she was Houston — certainly before 2001 and maybe not since she was married. She added that if Aafia was there, it was to visit her brother, who has nothing to do with the med center.” The attorney reports: “there is no way they could have helped her get access to the necessary labs at the med center.”

          On Research Day in 2003, the award winners for Biomedical Excellence included a graduate student working in Dr. Koehler’s lab, Melissa Drysdale, who worked on gene regulation in a virulent strain of bacillus anthracis.

          Dr. Koehler received, for example, the Weybridge strain from Porton Down prior to the Fall of 2001. Did Dr. Koehler have virulent Ames from either Porton Down or somewhere else? (Her mentor was the eminent vaccine researcher Dr. Curtis Thorne who got samples directly from Ft. Detrick). Co-researcher Rick Lyons at UNM was fedexed virulent Ames from flask 1029 in March 2001 at the same time the Houston lab upgraded. This month, Dr. Lyons co-published with Dr. Koehler on virulent Ames in rabbits, along with former Houston grad student Melissa Drysdale, who is now at UNM with Dr. Lyons.

          Remember: Khalid Mohammed, who told authorities about Aafia, had anthrax production documents on his assistant’s laptop (the guy working with Aafia’s future husband in UAE in the summer of 2001). She allegedly was associated with both KSM and “Jafar the Pilot” who is at large. She later married an Al Qaeda operative al-Baluchi who, like al-Hawsawi, had been listed as a contact for the hijackers and took over plots upon the arrest of KSM. Authorities have said that a Pakistani scientist , who they refused to name was helping Al Qaeda with its anthrax production program. Were they referring to bacteriologist Abdul Qudus Khan in whose home the Pakistan authorities claim KSM was captured? Was it Rauf Ahmad who Zawahiri sent to infiltrate UK biodefense? Was it the chemistry professor who met with Uzair Paracha in February 2003? Or was it Aafia who was alleged to be a “facilitator” who handled logistics. “Logistics” is handling an operation that involves providing labor and materials as needed. One government psychiatrist affidavit reports that she claims to have been tasked by an “Abu Luaba” to research germ warfare. According to a UN dossier reviewed by a journalist at the Wall Street Journal, in June 2001 she traveled to Liberia to meet Al Qaeda’s military commander, Atef, who had been head of the anthrax planning. One important mystery to resolve analysis is to determine whether the chauffeur who claims the lady was Aafia is lying or mistaken. A FBI memo from 2003 titled “Allegations Relating to al Qaeda’s Trafficking in Conflict Diamonds,” and a related 2004 presentation to the intelligence community, debunking the allegations relating to trafficking in conflict diamonds. The memo was declassified in 2006 and provided under FOIA in February 2008 to intelwire.com. If those documents represent the FBI’s current thinking, there is reason to think Aafia never went to Liberia in June 2001 — or at least that the FBI does not think she did.

          The ACLU in a February 2004 publication called “Sanctioned Bias: Racial Profiling Since 9/11” described Aafia’s brother first encounter with the FBI. Muhammad A. Siddiqui is an architect in Houston and father of two young children. Someone with the same common name, as mentioned in the court record relating to Project Bojinka. United States of America v. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef et al, (August 26, 1996), page 5118. A letter was read into the record
          “To: Brother Mohammad Alsiddiqi. We are facing a lot of problems because of you. Fear Allah. Mr. Siddiqi, there is a day of judgment. You will be asked, if you are very busy with something more important, don’t give promises to other people. See you in the day of judgment. Still waiting, Khalid Shaikh, and Bojinka.”

          In addition to many people having this very common name, people often used aliases. The attorney, Dietrich Snell, at the time was under the impression it related to a solicitation for money. Attorney Snell was from the US Attorney’s Office. More recently, Snell acted as counsel for the 9/11 Commission. He served as Deputy Attorney General for Public Advocacy under Eliot Spitzer. What was the address of the recipient? Who was Muhammad Siddiqui with whom KSM corresponded?

          Attorney General Ashcroft and Director Mueller made an on-the-record renewed push to find Aafia Siddiqui in a press conference on May 26, 2004 shortly after ACLU Attorney Annette Lamoreaux responded to my emailed inquiries about Aafia. Three days after the Pakistan Ministry of Interior claimed she had been handed over to US authorities in late March 2003.

          There are the many questions surrounding the mystery of the disappearance of the lovely, intelligent and pious — and it turns out occasionally quite chatty — Aafia Siddiqui. Aafia once had an MIT alumni email account forwarded to umaisha@yahoo.com — which under one translation means lively mom. Aisha was the Prophet’s favorite wife. Maybe correspondence in that email account held the answers.

          In a Pakistan news account, Attorney Whitfield Sharp reported that she didn’t know of any police report filed by the mom. In the same account, she reports that Aafia received job offer at both Johns Hopkins and the State University of New York (SUNY). It likely was SUNY downstate in Brooklyn where her sister had gone to school and lived. (Her mother Ismat is associated with addresses in Brooklyn, as well as Massachusetts, in Houston, and in Ann Arbor where Mohammad’s wife had a medical practice. Mohammad is associated with some Ann Arbor and Detroit-area addresses. Ann Arbor, coincidentally, was where IANA was located, as well as the President of Global Relief.

          When he was captured, Al-Baluchi, Khalid Mohammed’s nephew and Aafia Siddiqui’s husband, “was in possession of a perfume spray bottle which contained a low concentration of cyanide when he was arrested.” He was the fellow who met with Majid Khan about using a textiles shipping container to smuggle an unidentified chemical into the country. Cyanide in perfume bottles had been suggested for use in nightclubs in Indonesia but Bin Laden reportedly nixed the plan as ineffectual.

          The transcript from the Combatant Status Review Tribunal explains:
          MEMBER [AL-BALUCHI]: While you were in Pakistan you describe the cyanide…
          DETAINEE: [Interrupting the Member]
          MEMBER: … you had in your possession, a small amount, as being textile, chemical-oriented.
          DETAINEE: Yes.
          MEMBER: Why would you have that on your person?
          DETAINEE: Just I have. Wasn’t for specific purpose but I have. It’s ah…
          MEMBER: Did you have an intent to use it once you got there? What were you going to do with it?
          DETAINEE: No, no. Just ah, it’s use for clothing to remove the color. And something in Pakistan it’s something that they do. It’s bleach like kinda bleach but industrial bleach so.”

          According to the DOD formal charges issued in February 2008, KSM would give the hijackers a chemical in an eye dropper to remove Pakistan visas from their passport. Perhaps the low concentration of cyanide in the perfume bottle used to remove stains just related to that — rather than consideration of a plot to spray cyanide in a nightclub that had been vetoed by Bin Laden.

          But here’s a Helpful Heloise Tip. Before attempting to get that damn spot out, first get rid of that incriminating pocket litter. The transcript from the hearing on al-Baluchi’s status as an “unlawful combatant” continues: “The Detainee’s pocket litter included a letter from unidentified Saudi Arabian scholars to Usama bin Laden. The letter discussed al Qaida’s strategy in the War on Terror.” Upon her arrest in the summer of 2008, Aafia’s pocket litter included both documents about biological weapons and correspondencing with US-based cell members about attacks.

          Will Aafia Siddiqui cooperate about other US-based operatives? Will Ali Al-Timimi?

          Will GAO at least obtain all the unclassified documents relevant to its charge from Congress?

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