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

* On The Question Whether Yazid Sufaat Was Using Virulent Ames (see NAS Report), We Need One Of These Top-Flight Journalists To Succeed In Getting Substantive, On-The-Record Responses From Yazid

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 3, 2012

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Yazid Sufaat

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18 Responses to “* On The Question Whether Yazid Sufaat Was Using Virulent Ames (see NAS Report), We Need One Of These Top-Flight Journalists To Succeed In Getting Substantive, On-The-Record Responses From Yazid”

  1. DXer said

    I believe Al-Barq’s attorney, brother and father now are giving interviews. Reporters could ask them. Al Barq was Yazid Sufaat’s assistant. Secretly held by the US, Jordan and Israel for over a decade, his lawyer can reason that he has already been been imprisoned for Al Qaeda’s anthrax program and today is a new day. He should be either charged, and the charges proven, or he should be released.

    The same could be argued by Yazid Sufaat’s counsel. Yazid’s court date is today, I believe, although there may be a separate additional court date on Thursday (I’m not sure). (There was a twitter post in Malay that seemed to suggest that).

  2. DXer said

    In his new manuscript, Dr. Majidi writes:

    “Attribution, as I often preached at the Bureau and intergovernmental meetings, is a confluence of information gathered from investigation, intelligence sources and forensic evidence. We had plenty of each, and our job was to identify key information resulting in unambigous attribution.”

    Dr. Majidi should be asked what strain Yazid Sufaat says he was using in interrogation.

  3. DXer said

    In connection with Yazid Sufaat’s work with anthrax — he is due in court, I believe, on May 6 on another charge — the key factual question in regard to analysis in the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings is: what strain was he working with? Yazid wouldn’t tell me.

  4. DXer said

    Yazid and accomplice plead not guilty to inciting violence
    WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2013 – 15:59
    Location:
    KUALA LUMPUR

    A FORMER Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee and his friend pleaded not guilty at the High Court here today, of being involved in the inciting of violence and threatening of the public in Syria, last year.

    Yazid Sufaat, 49, and his accomplice Halimah Hussein, 52, merely nodded their heads in understanding and claimed trial to the charges.

    On Feb 8, Yazid, a canteen operator at the Jalan Duta Court Complex here and Halimah, a housewife were charged with allegedly committing the offence at a house in Taman Bukit Ampang, Ampang between 8.30 and 10.30 am, from Aug 1 to Oct 20, 2012.

    They were the first individuals to be charged under Section 130G(a) of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum of 30 years in prison and fine, upon conviction, after the abolishment of the ISA.

    Meanwhile, Judge Kamardin Hashim set the trial date for four days starting May 20 and allowed both the accused to be jointly tried.

    Yazid’s lawyer, Amer Hamzah Arshad told the court that he and his colleague Edmund Bon, who represented Halimah, would file an application to drop the charges, in the near future.

    Halimah was also represented by former Solicitor General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden.

    Judge Kamardin also set Feb 25 to hear the habeas corpus application by canteen assistant Muhammad Hilmi, 33, who was detained with Yazid.

    Muhammad Hilmi filed the application through his mother Rahamah Abdul Majid, 58, seeking to be freed from police custody.

    He claimed that he was detained under Section 4(1) of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 but has yet to be charged in court. -Bernama

  5. DXer said

    A very principled advocate of civil liberties, Attorney Fadiah Nadwa Fikri (tweets at the time of Yazid’s and Hilmi’s arrest) likely appreciates that hard cases can make bad law.

    OTOH, one cannot choose one’s “test cases”.

    In this case, given Yazid’s assistant, Hilmi, may have been a confidante, he and his mother stand to make $5 million US by cooperating with questioners (even with the $2.5 million reward in Amerithrax withdrawn).

    Even constitutional lawyers, like mothers, sometimes have to think outside the box — and outside the confines of their training — in determining what is best for their client.

    If it is Hilmi’s interest that needs to be furthered, query whether a loving mother couldn’t do more than a constitutional advocate. (I don’t know).

    At the end of the day, Hilmi was just coming back with groceries and has not even been charged.

    With $5 million US, he could buy a chain of deluxe cafeterias in KL’s finest shopping malls.

    The matter of the men en route to Syria in comparison seems small potatoes.

    • Feb 7
    Fadiah Nadwa Fikri ‏@FadiahNadwa
    Definitely will challenge constitutionality of #SOSMA “@aizatmokhtar: harapnya @FadiahNadwa dan @edmundbon can look into Yazid Sufaat’s case

    • Feb 7
    Fadiah Nadwa Fikri ‏@FadiahNadwa
    Been trying to get hold of the investigating officer,he didnt pick up d phone.IGP just said, he “feels” like charging Yazid tmrw #SOSMA

    • Feb 7
    Fadiah Nadwa Fikri ‏@FadiahNadwa
    If u’r arrestd &chargd u #SOSMA,ull be denied bail,will be detaind until trial ends.If acquitted,ull b detaind until appeal is dispossed off

    • Feb 7
    Fadiah Nadwa Fikri ‏@FadiahNadwa
    The broad definition allows govt to invoke #SOSMA agnst activists & political dissidents 4 exercising their rights,eg. demonstrations

    • Feb 7
    Fadiah Nadwa Fikri ‏@FadiahNadwa
    #SOSMA is old wine in new bottle,definition IS TOO broad”act prejudicial to national security&public safety.No different fr #ISA

    • Feb 7
    Fadiah Nadwa Fikri ‏@FadiahNadwa
    #SOSMA #ISA~Smoke and Mirrors:Malaysia’s “New” Internal Security Act by @MickeySpiegel ,Human Rights Watchhttp://www.hrw.org/news/2012/06/19/smoke-and-mirrors-malaysia-s-new-internal-security-act …

    • Feb 7
    Fadiah Nadwa Fikri ‏@FadiahNadwa
    Ex-ISA detainee Yazid Sufaat “@tan_yl: @FadiahNadwa Wow. Who were the detainees/arestees and did they seem to know why they were arrested?”

    • Feb 7
    Fadiah Nadwa Fikri ‏@FadiahNadwa
    Witnessed 1st arrest u SOSMA,the new law replacing ISA at KL court cafe,police arrested 2 men without informing them grounds of arrest.

  6. DXer said

    Yazid’s daughter tweets that the next hearing is on March 20.

    “Soraya Yazid ‏@sorayaanur
    Alhamdulillah, Bapak’s court case is transferred to High Court Jln Duta. The next trial is on next wednesday 20/3 #FreeYazidSufaat”

  7. DXer said

    If Yazid’s assistant knows the strain Yazid was using, then Yazid’s cooperation would not be necessary. I suspect as soon as key questions are answered, everyone can go home.

    The non-profit Suaram issues this appeal. Apparently the assistant at the drinks stall, who has not been charged, is not being allowed to be seen by “lawyers [who] have approached the authorities”. It is unclear to me whether Hilmi, though, has been allowed to consult with other counsel. He might have concluded already that he would be better represented by someone not associated with Yazid or his counsel. I don’t know. The news reports identified where Yazid and Halimah were being taken.

    Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) ·

    • ‎14 February 2013

    URGENT APPEAL: ALLOW LEGAL ACCESS TO HILMI HASIM

    Mohd Hilmi Hasim was arrested last Thursday, 7 February 2013, under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) together with Yazid Sufaat and Halimah Hussein. This is the first time that arrests have been made under the new Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA), since its introduction in April 2012.

    On 8th February 2013, Yazid Sufaat and Halimah Hussein were charged at the Ampang Magistrate’s Court for allegedly promoting an ideology aimed at inciting the people of Syria. Hilmi, however, continues to be held in police custody. Despite it being seven days since his arrest, he has not been charged or tried in an open court. The police have also refused to disclose where he is being held.

    SOSMA, which replaced Malaysia’s previous Internal Security Act (ISA), fails to meet international human rights standards in several key ways – including by allowing police to detain suspects incommunicado for 48 hours, thus increasing the risk of torture, and by allowing detention without charge or access to the courts for up to 28 days.

    Under section 5 of the law, police can hold suspects for 48 hours and can deny them access to lawyers. It is now more than 48 hours, and the police are still denying Hilmi access to legal representation even though lawyers have approached the authorities.

    Denying one legal access is a form of human rights violation. It is an act which violates Article 7 and Article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) where everyone has the right to be treated equally before the law and the right to ask for legal assistance.

    SUARAM condemns the police and we view that denying Hilmi the right to counsel also contravenes the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

    Actions Requested:

    i. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Mohd Hilmi Hasim;
    ii. Allow immediate legal access to Mohd Hilmi Hasim;
    iii. Release or charge him in an open court ;
    iv. Put an end to any acts of harassment, intimidation and any form of torture or ill treatment;
    v. Ensure that in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments.

    Released by,

    Nalini Elumalai
    Executive Director
    SUARAM

    What can you do?

    Urgent action needed:

    Please write protest letters to the government and the police to express your strongest condemnation of the arrests of Mohd Hilmi Hasim which denies his right to be represented by lawyer.

    SAMPLE LETTER
    [Letterhead of your organisation]
    Inspector-General of Police
    Tan Sri Ismail Omar,
    Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
    50560 Bukit Aman,
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
    Tel: +603 2262 6015
    Fax: +603 2272 5613

    Dear Sir,

    Re: Allow Legal Access to Mohd Hilmi Hasim Immediately

    We are writing to you, once again, to express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over the arrest of Mohd Hilmi Hasim under the draconian law Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA). Denying him his right to counsel is not only unconstitutional but contravenes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well.

    We demand the government to release Mohd Hilmi Hasim immediately or charge him in open court. We also urge the government to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and well-being of Mr. Mohd Hilmi Hasim and put an end to any acts of harassment, intimidation and any form of torture or ill treatment.

    We strongly urge you, once again, to stop bringing shame to Malaysia with this abuse of fundamental human rights.

    Yours sincerely,

    [Name]

  8. DXer said

    An Interview By Malaysiakini With Yazid Sufaat (Former ISA Detainee), The Experience Of Meeting With Sheikh Usamah Bin Ladin

    Jamadi-ul-Awwal 03, 1433 A.H, Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    JOHOR, Malaysia – Yazid Sufaat is a biochemist and former Army captain, accused of aiding the 11th September 2001 attacks in the US, and was imprisoned in the Internal Security Act political prison of Malaysia since 2002, and then was freed in 2008. He told that he had met with Sheikh Usamah bin Ladin rahimahullah and it was an honour for him. Below is the article and interview by Malaysiakini with Yazid Sufaat in the series, ISA by Fathi Fathi Aris Omar, Aidila Razak and Salhan K Ahmad, published by Malaysiakini on (20/3/2012).

    ***

    A simple Google search on Yazid Sufaat will return the following results – militant, bombmaker, biological weapons expert, and one of the longest serving detainees under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

    “They call me the CEO of Anthrax.”

    Shrugging as he says this, the father of four who was released from ISA detention in November 2008 after seven years – five of which were in solitary confinement – wears the title almost like a badge of honour.

    “They (the accusers) call me that because I only have a ‘cabok’ (simple) Bachelor of Science but my students were PhDs, Masters’ degree holders,” he told Malaysiakini in an extensive interview at his home last week.

    His “students” are now inmates in Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, which he discovered when the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed him photographs of them during questioning at the Kamunting detenion centre where he was held.

    “I am Yazid Sufaat. I am not going to hide myself, my face, my name. Why should I? I am handsome, no?” asked the 48-year-old Johor native, laughing.

    His devil-may-care attitude may lead one to believe that Yazid’s “I love Osama Laden” proclamation on his Facebook page as a sort of joke.

    But the unrepentant Yazid, who is one of seven Malaysians on the United Nations ‘travel, asset and arms deal’ sanction list for alleged involvement with the infamous al-Qaeda, really loves Osama.

    Recalling his time in Afghanistan in 2000-2001, Yazid admitted having met the now deceased al-Qaeda leader and considered it “an honour”.

    “Of course, I met him, it’s an honour to meet him. How many people have?” he asked.

    Yazid, who crossed the the Pakistan-Afghan border on learning of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on the US, said he trained as a militant for six months under the one-time most wanted man in the world.

    “That was the opportunity to face them (the enemy). Of course, they came… I think the closest bomb that fell was 15m from me. That was the experience; (I) wanted it, Allah give (me) a chance,” he said.

    Under Osama, he sharpened his shooting skills, learned to walk in the dark and navigate using the stars and how to withstand the brutal desert combat conditions -losing about 18kg in the first two months.

    “I am military trained but trained in a different terrain. (In Afghanistan) there is no jungle, all desert.

    “Of course we could not run away from the Qur’an. I learned Arabic, listened to (Osama’s) lectures, his usrah (discussion to instill loyalty and brotherhood).”

    When Kabul fell to the Northern Alliance forces in November 2001, it was Osama who advised him to leave the war-torn country and return when “we have won back Afghanistan”.

    “At that time I thought, if they catch me out here, I would be heading to Guantanamo. If I go home, it’s only ISA. So I called a friend at Bukit Aman and he said: ‘Come back. At least here it’s only ISA’.

    “My wife didn’t believe I would be arrested, so I said let’s cross the border and see. We crossed Bukit Kayu Hitam (Thai-Malaysian border) and I was arrested ,” he said of the December 2001 incident.

    The journey to Afghanistan

    A Royal Military College alumnus and a retired army captain, Yazid’s journey to Afghanistan began when he started seeking answers about his religion.

    He said that he became an adult in the “sin cities” of the US, having graduated from California State University as a biochemist at the age of 23.

    “When I returned, I was still wild. My mother-in-law said I should go study religion, but I didn’t want to learn about the solat or how to perform the haj.”

    “I wanted something different. So (people said) go meet this ustaz and (when I did) I thought, ‘this is good, this is something different’.”

    “Addicted” to the lessons, Yazid began delving more and more into the teachings of Islam only to be left unsatiated.

    “I thought, ‘this can’t be it’. (I) wanted to graduate, so I started reading more and when you have knowledge you want to ‘do’ (something). I am a scientist… I want to prove the theory.”

    In 1995, Yazid performed the umrah and vowed to only return to perform the haj when he could understand the Qur’an. He returned in 1998.

    The same year, he went to Ambon, Indonesia, at the height of the Christian-Muslim conflict – to experience the “real jihad”.

    “I had a bit of money. If I left my family, they can sustain themselves. I wanted to see the real thing. What is so special about it. I wanted to face it… jihad in terms of qital , which means war,” he said.

    Going into Ambon “blind” on his own steam on the first fact-finding mission, Yazid and a friend met with Muslims there to understand their urgent needs and returned home to build a network of assistance.

    At the time, Yazid was operating a pathology lab, running medical tests for up to 600 clinics and it was his clients that he approached to get the rudimentary medical supplies to send to Ambon.

    “It was humanitarian. There you could find all sorts of non-Muslim humanitarian groups like the Red Cross. The Muslims were people like me, who wanted to help. They were called Mujahideen (freedom fighters), now they are called terrorists.

    “In a conflict area, you have to defend yourself. You don’t just go like that Mavi Marmara ship. It’s stupid!” he said.

    Yazid would later be charged for funding sectarian violence in Ambon – one of the five charges which kept him under the ISA.

    “Mercy (Malaysian NGO) was there. Umno (Malaysia’s ruling party – ed.) guys were there. Both were funded. Yazid Sufaat was there, self-funded, but this is a threat to national security,” he said.

    The ‘project’ in a Kandahar lab

    His desire to “help (his) fellow brothers” also saw Yazid finding himself criss-crossing the Afghan-Pakistan border – this time to build a hospital.

    He used his experience in running a pathology laboratory to train staff at the hospital and to set up a laboratory next to the hospital in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar.

    It was at this laboratory that he was accused of having developed biological weapons – something which he terms “the so-called project”.

    Initially hesitant to reveal what went on in the lab, which he claims he started before Sept 11, 2011 and was bombed out following the World Trade Centre attacks, Yazid let out that it was a defence strategy.

    “Of course (there was research), we are scientists (laughs) . We have to do it, but the lab wasn’t that sophisticated. It was bare bones, that was what we could manage. We do what we can and leave the rest to Allah.

    “If (the other side) use ‘bugs’, you must understand that bug in detail so we can counter any biological weapon that they use. You must know your enemy,” he said.

    But was he really the ‘CEO of Anthrax’ and a senior al-Qaeda leader as alleged?

    “I never expected to be accused of doing this thing… if you read the stuff they wrote about me, it’s impressive. But (what I did) was really nothing.

    “If people want to write bad things, they will write bad things. (If) they want to write good things they would. That is just perception. I don’t care. What do I need to hide?

    “My name is Yazid Sufaat. I did not do anything wrong. I don’t feel guilty at all,” he declared.

  9. DXer said

    I love quotes and Yazid posts many good ones:

    “Wise men never argue with fools, because people from a distance can’t tell who is who.”

    Here is a post of Anwar Awlaki by Yazid about unjustly detained prisoners. Yazid should think more seriously about Zawahiri’s urging that innocents be kidnapped. It seems that Yazid is not applying his religious views consistently. At the moral level, how can his wife Chomel justify the kidnapping of innocents, to include the ill and elderly as Ayman Zawahiri has done?

    Yazid has posted a picture of himself from 1984 — about the time he went to Sacramento State.

    On May 23, he posted:

    Yazid Marwan Hadeed
    May 23 via BlackBerry Smartphones App
    “Every Muslim must rise to defend his religion…! The wind of faith is blowing…!” Sheikh Osama bin Laden

    I always found that quote from Osama troubling — Osama had once talked about the “looming towers” in advance of 911 and in the context of the particular statement, it seemed ominous.

    I sent Yazid a message asking if he knew Razif, the fellow detained last month in Lebanon on his way to Syria, but I don’t think the message sent — I don’t know why.

  10. DXer said

    GAO should place a call to Yazid Sufaat or drop him a message on Facebook and ask him whether he was using the Ames strain. At the very least, by friending him you can see the substantive questions I asked and see his response. I thought continuing to have him as a friend might scare off scrabble prospects so I unfriended him — and so I don’t have ready access to his Facebook page anymore. But for a murderer of innocents, he is a very approachable and romantic fellow. Dr. Ayman, on the other hand, is just an unhappy crank who thinks it furthers religious values to kidnap elderly civilians.

  11. DXer said

    I don’t know that it qualifies as investigative journalism when you obtain the relevant interviews 11 years after the attack. The key is to obtain the interview before the attack so as to prevent it.

  12. DXer said

    Leonard Cole, who presented at the November conference at which John Ezzell answered questions so forthrightly, has written about the earlier New York City subway experiment in the early 1950s.

    Clouds of Secrecy: The Army’s Germ Warfare Tests Over Populated Areas
    By Leonard A. Cole, pp. 65-71.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=CLCTL4woX_4C&pg=PA65&lpg=PA65&dq=subway+%22New+York+City%22+1950s+Army+subtilis&source=bl&ots=1c8QnWI2bJ&sig=h7fSKRnMTod-PA3IAm9K0TwiJSc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=HarGT_-lJqWO6gGm4ZCsBg&ved=0CFgQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=subway%20%22New%20York%20City%22%201950s%20Army%20subtilis&f=false

    He based hs account on “A Study of the Vulnerability of Subway Passengers in New York City to Covert Action with Biological Agents,” MIscellaneous Publication 25, Department of the Army, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland, January 1986.

  13. DXer said

    Bacterial Biological Release In Boston’s MBTA Tunnels This Summer

    First of its kind? Hardly. They tested an anthrax simulant years ago in subways.

    • DXer said

      The Day Subway Got Dusted
      BY MICHAEL DALY
      Sunday, February 22, 1998
      LARRY WAYNE HARRIS apparently had nonlethal germs, but if he or Saddam Hussein or anybody else wants the real stuff, they need only dig up a few spores from the grave of some anthrax-stricken cow.

      All you need to do then is add a broth of sugars, amino acids, salts and proteins such as can be had from any biological supply store. The germs un-spore and grow exponentially.

      The next step is make the germs re-spore by cutting off the air, say by putting them inside a light bulb. A light bulb also makes a handy weapon of mass destruction, as the Army demonstrated 32 years ago with secret “vulnerability tests” in the New York subway.

      Those light bulbs contained a harmless anthrax cousin, Bacillus subtilis variant niger. The air currents generated by the moving trains proved particularly effective at disseminating spores and an estimated 1 million people were exposed. This suggests that we can bomb Iraq forever and we will still be at the mercy of anyone who decides to micro-brew a little anthrax.

      “Test results show that a large portion of the working population in downtown New York City would be exposed to disease if one or more pathogenic agents were disseminated covertly in several subway lines at a period of peak traffic,” the team reported.

      The “Study of the Vulnerability of Subway Passengers in New York City to Covert Attack with Biological Agents” began June 6, 1966. The 21-person team broke light bulbs on gratings on the Seventh and Eighth Ave. lines. Each bulb contained 175 grams of Bacillus, or about 87 trillion spores.

      “When the cloud engulfed people, they brushed their clothing, looked up at the grating and walked on,” the team noted. “People in the big city are moving too fast to see what is going on around them.”

      The team observed what happened to the germs when a train departed the station.

      “The cloud was pulled down the tube after it,” the team noted.

      Team leader Charles Senseney rode the trains with a measuring device on his belt that was disguised to look like a photographic meter. Other team members toted what appeared to be briefcases and pocketbooks.

      The team members positioned in the station had more obvious devices. They later detailed their encounters with curious New Yorkers.

      “Sitting on bench in 28th St. station, a man also sat on bench, began to look at box sampler case, then asked me what was making so much noise,” one team member wrote. “I answered, the radio. He seemed satisfied. A train came in, and he caught it.”

      A second team member wrote: “A man sitting on bench beside me leaned over and looked into case. No comment made. I looked at him as if to indicate he should mind his own business, and he looked away.”

      The lone challenge during the whole six-day test came from a transit cop who caught a team member smoking. The offender got off with a warning after he explained he was from out of town and produced a “cover” letter saying he was with an industrial research firm.

      “Following this, he completed sample collection without further questioning,” the team later reported.

      The measuring device in the 23rd St. station showed that a citizen’s “calculated respiratory exposure” was some 100,000 spores-a-breath just five minutes after the light bulbs broke. And each train pushed the germ agent farther along a test area stretching from 14th St. to 59th St.

      “Agent was recovered in air sample in all but one station in the test on the Eighth Ave. line within five minutes after each dissemination was initiated, and in all stations in the test on Seventh Ave.,” the team noted.

      The team decided on the optimum means of dispersal.

      “Dropping an agent package to the roadbed from a rapidly moving train is an easy and effective method for covert contamination of a segment of a subway line with a biological agent,” the team reported. The germ “is aerosolized and dispersed rapidly by the movement of the trains, penetrating stations and trains.”

      By June 10, a million New Yorkers were hatching spores in the wet warmth of their lungs. Had it been anthrax, the whole city would have talked about the bad cold that was going around. The truth would have become apparent only when it was too late.

      OF COURSE, no city official was notified of the tests, and they remained secret until 1975, when the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence summoned Senseney to testify. He wore a plaid sports coat and a white tie as he offered his expert opinion as to what a couple of anthrax-laden light bulbs could accomplish in the subway.

      “Put New York out of commission,” he said.

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