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

* Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat told his family in 2001 that he was going to join a Taliban medical brigade

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 29, 2013

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2 Responses to “* Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat told his family in 2001 that he was going to join a Taliban medical brigade”

  1. DXer said

    Drawing from Al Qaeda anthrax training seminar – “You are dead, bang.”

    Anthrax letter – “You die now.”

    Title: Piles of papers on biological weapons found at abandoned villa , Chicago Tribune (IL), Dec 01, 2001

    Database: Newspaper Source

    Piles of papers on biological weapons found at abandoned villa

    KABUL, Afghanistan-Neighbors say they noticed nothing particularly unusual about the comings and goings at the shabby, two-story villa occupied by a Pakistani aid group and located in a quiet residential neighborhood of Kabul favored by a number of international charities.

    But items found at the house since the Taliban fled from Kabul suggests that the Islamabad-based Ummah Tameer e Nau, or Foundation for Construction, may have been interested in something other than helping Afghans rebuild their country.

    Piles of documents containing detailed information about the use of anthrax in biological warfare, boxes containing gas masks and diagrams suggestive of a plan to use a helium filled balloon to disperse anthrax across a wide area were found in the house by journalists. The president of the charity on whose premises the evidence was found was one of Pakistan’s leading nuclear scientists, Bashiruddin Mahmood, who had been detained by Pakistani authorities, along with another retired nuclear scientist, in October and questioned about his links with the Taliban amid concerns that he may have shared Pakistan’s nuclear secrets with Osama bin Laden.

    Mahmood, who had founded the aid group after retiring from his job at Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Agency in 1998, denied ever meeting bin Laden and insisted his frequent contacts with the Taliban had taken place solely because of his involvement in the delivery of humanitarian aid.

    Mahmood and his associate, Chaudry Abdul Majeed, were detained for questioning again last week after the discoveries at the house, although Pakistan still insists it has found no evidence he was involved in wrongdoing. “There is no linkage established at all with any anthrax-related capability,” said Pakistani government spokesman Maj. Gen Rashid Qureshi.

    Pakistan has also denied Pakistani newspaper reports that Mahmood had been involved in the development of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb. Nothing was found at the house to suggest any link to nuclear weapons or efforts to acquire nuclear expertise, and nor was there anything directly linking the house to Osama bin Laden, apart from a newsletter published by the al-Qaeda organization.

    But someone either living at the house or visiting it had taken a close interest in anthrax and in studying ways of delivering biological weapons.

    In one upstairs room there were dozens of copies of documents about anthrax, including details about the U.S. military’s vaccination program downloaded from a Defense Department site on the Internet and other Defense Department documents relating to anthrax. One, entitled “The bacteria: what you need to know” contains the statement that anthrax “spores can easily be spread in the air by missiles, rockets, artillery, aerial bombs and sprays.”

    There were 10 copies each of most of the documents, suggesting some kind of seminar or perhaps a brainstorming session had been held in the room for a group of people.

    On the floor, there was what appeared to be a disassembled rocket alongside a canister labeled “helium,” as well as two bags of powder, which journalists have refrained from inspecting.

    An elaborate diagram scrawled in black felt tip pen on a white board of the kind used in classrooms, depicts what appears to be a balloon rising at various trajectories, alongside a fighter jet that is apparently shooting at the balloon. Beside the jet are the words, “You are dead, bang,” which appear to have been added later because they are written in a different color.

    There are also pictures of ground missiles linked by lines to the balloon. Mathematical calculations indicate the height at which the balloon would fly, the distance from which it would be shot down and the area over which its contents would be dispersed. Beside one of the balloons is the word “polystyrene” and beside another the word “cyanide.” There is no mention of anthrax on the diagram, but the impression is of a plan to deliver biological agents by packing them into the gondola of a balloon that would be shot down by a jet or a missile. Loose sheets of paper containing scribbles of missiles and balloons similar to those on the board were found among the documents, indicating those attending the seminar had been taking notes, or elaborating on the calculations.

    The significance, if any, of the findings is difficult to establish. It is conceivable that the entire setup was a hoax, designed to play on U.S. fears in the wake of the anthrax attacks in America. U.S. officials have said they believe a lone domestic terrorist, not an international organization, was behind the attacks. If it was a hoax, however, it was an elaborate one. The photocopied documents are faded, suggesting they have been there a while. Western diplomats in Kabul, speaking on condition of anonymity, say they have no reason to believe the evidence was planted, although they say they have not had a chance to study it.

    “We know there were a lot of houses like this, and many that have been found by journalists in very similar circumstances,” said one diplomat.

    Investigators know that al-Qaeda had been trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction, he said. “It’s a question of whether they have the availability, and there’s no evidence yet that they do have the availability or the capability,” said the diplomat. “The evidence is inconclusive.”

    Neighbors say the house had been occupied by three Pakistani men, their wives and their children, and said they had no reason to believe they were engaged in anything other than charitable work. The house is next door to the British charity Save the Children and just a few doors down from the offices of the United Nation’s refugee agency. Local children begging on the street said they used to receive second-hand clothing from the occupants.

    Those living in the house left abruptly after September 11, leaving behind just one man, who fled on the night the Taliban withdrew from Kabul to Kandahar, according Faizuddin, the door keeper of the Save the Children organization next door.

    “It didn’t seem to be the kind of charity that made projects to help people,” he said. “All they did was give clothes to some children in the neighborhood.”

  2. DXer said

    His daughter today writes:

    Soraya Yazid ‏@sorayaanur4h
    Tomorrow. 9am. Court of Appeal. #FreeYazidSufaat

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