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

* Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat’s former assistant indicted in Israel for holding biological weapons

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 5, 2014

samar al-barak

Samar al-Barak

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24 Responses to “* Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat’s former assistant indicted in Israel for holding biological weapons”

  1. DXer said

    Al Barq was kept a secret prisoner for many years. Sent to Jordan. Picked up by Israel. His detention remaining a secret. Any work toward transparency seems to have quite a way to go.

    Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat’s former assistant indicted in Israel for holding biological weapons

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 5, 2014
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/al-qaeda-anthrax-lab-director-yazid-sufaats-former-assistant-indicted-in-israel-for-holding-biological-weapons/comment-page-1/#comment-37034

  2. DXer said

    Senate Torture Report: Yazid Sufaat’s assistant Al-Barq alternately would say “I made the anthrax” or “I lied” depending whether he was subject to the enhanced interrogation procedures at any particular time.

  3. DXer said

    http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/99709/full

    OPINION ARTICLE
    Public Health, 04 August 2014 | doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2014.00110
    Biosecurity policy in the US: a critical assessment

    Ori Lev1* and Limor Samimian-Darash2
    • 1Department of Public Policy and Administration and Masters Program in Public Policy, Sapir College, D.N. Hof Ashkelon, Israel
    • 2The Federmann School of Public Policy and Government, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

    Excerpt:

    “Yet, scientists are incapable of assessing the likelihood that a given study would be misused; they do not have access to such information. This kind of information is not publically available. In particular, they have no way of knowing if there is any group with the intention of misusing the research information or materiel. They also lack any information regarding the capabilities of any group that might have the intention to misuse research findings. Moreover, they do not have access to knowledge about efforts to prevent groups who intend on doing harm and the success of such efforts. Without this information, the scientific community cannot assess DURC.
    The kind of information that is needed for a comprehensive assessment would only exist within the security and intelligence community. This kind of information is sensitive and thus it is unlikely that it will be shared with the scientific community unless a reliable mechanism to convey such information is established.

    However, one might only imagine the difficulties of establishing such a mechanism. Scientists would have to get security clearances; they would also have to be trained on how to interpret such information reliably (6). This has been done to a limited extent through the creation of the Biological Sciences Experts Group (BSEG) in which a limited number of scientists and science administrators receive clearance and are briefed from time to time (7). Yet this model cannot meet the demands of the new policy as it is too limited in scope and authority. The security and intelligence communities, it is safe to say, are unlikely to agree to extend this type of mechanism. They would object to sharing sensitive and classified information with a growing number of people outside their institutions. The risks of such a mechanism are too high.

    One might suggest a middle way in which security personnel would participate in the assessment process and provide input on whether a given study has high or low likelihood to be misused. But even this middle way would be problematic as scientists would probably demand greater transparency if they are to accept any limitations on their freedom to pursue scientific inquiries. Greater transparency, however, is unlikely to be forthcoming as providing more detailed information could have detrimental effects to the intelligence operations.”

  4. DXer said

    What evidence has been introduced against Yazid Sufaat’s assistant (vaccinated against virulent anthrax) in his court case?

    Islamist fighters in N. Africa
    Posted on November 19, 2013

    Reuters
    The mother of Samer Halmi Abdel Latif Al-Barq, the Senior al-Qaeda terrorist revealed to have been held in Israel for the past three years, has insisted in an interview with Israeli media that her son was “never” involved in building biochemical weapons.

    Al-Barq, 39, was detained by security forces as he attempted to enter Israel from Jordan via the Allenby Bridge. He faces allegations of planning a large-scale biological weapons attack against Jews via Jordan, and officials say he had elaborate plans to recruit a suicide bomber to release anthrax in a major urban center.

    Al-Barq’s family – Kuwaiti nationals – lives in the Palestinian Authority settlement of Jayyous, near Qalqiliya. While reports have been surfacing across the nation of her son’s capture, Al-Barq’s mother vigilantly denies his involvement, Channel 10 / Nana revealed Monday.

    “I know my son,” Al-Barq’s mother claims. “If he only got the chance to say his side of the story, there would be no reason to continue the administrative detention he is in now.”

    Al-Barq’s family claims that the terrorist’s odyssey from Arab country to Arab country was a quest to learn the best biology at local universities – nothing more. In his youth, he left Kuwait for Pakistan, ostensibly to study, then continued to Afghanistan.

    There, officials say, he began to prepare biochemical weapons. Al-Barq has reportedly told Israeli investigators that he performed initial tests in Afghanistan, using nerve gas on a dog. “Within seconds, the dog died,” he told them coolly. “I began talking to friends about possible plans to go back to the West, and use weapons like this against Israel.”

    Al-Barq also described how he was recruited into the terror organization, Nana reports, by the organization’s leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri. “I met him in Afghanistan. He said I should be in touch with him to learn about producing anthrax,” al-Barq stated. “We talked about the possibility of a suicide attack by releasing anthrax into a major urban center.”

    While he has yet to be charged with a specific crime in Israel, al-Barq can be legally detained indefinitely if shown that he poses a threat. On Monday, the State told the High Court that the terrorist must remain in jail for the time being.

  5. DXer said

    Perhaps Samar Al-Barak’s brother or father could ask Samar what strain this was and report back.

    Before his recent arrest, Yazid Sufaat declined to tell DXer the strain of the “anthrax spore concentrate” harvested July 4, 2001
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 29, 2013
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/before-his-recent-arrest-yazid-sufaat-declined-to-tell-dxer-the-strain-of-the-anthrax-spore-concentrate-harvested-july-4-2001/

    Was it subtilis? Was it sterne as ML has long assumed?

    Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat declined to tell me.

    Perhaps Yazid’s assistant Samar can fill in the blanks and then be released to rejoin his family. The Israelis were poised to release him to Egypt in 2012 after the long hunger strike and so it does not seem outside the realm of possibility.

    But it seems that would have to be both cooperation and a sign of rehabilitation.

  6. DXer said

    So Agent Borelli — who became head of the New York Field Office I believe — has candidly acknowledged that he recognized that the US was going the way of secret detention rather than open prosecution of biodefense infiltrator Rauf Ahmad. (Each year Rauf Ahmad would attend the Porton Down and USAMRIID anthrax conferences and scheduled a visit to an unidentified B3 with thousands of pathogens).

    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

    According to Amnesty, after Al-Barq was arrested in mid-July 2003 and kept for a short while in Pakistan, he was transferred to a secret prison in an unknown location outside Pakistan.

    Then he was transferred to Jordan

    Then he ended up detained in Israel.

    While varying details get fleshed out and corroborated about his detention, what are the details of the virulent strain he was using with Yazid Sufaat and the other assistant?

    At what point in a democracy is the public allowed to write a proper history?

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israel-must-hospitalize-or-release-palestinian-hunger-striker-verge-death-2012-09-05

    Amnesty states:

    “Background:

    According to al-Barq’s brother, Samir Helmi al-Barq, Samer left Jordan in 1996 and went to study in Pakistan where he received a Masters degree in Science.

    But he was arrested by the Pakistani authorities on 15 July 2003 and held for 14 days after applying to study for a PhD in Islamic Studies in Islamabad.

    Al-Barq does not know the reason for his arrest.

    He was then handed over to the US authorities and kept for an additional three months in a secret prison in an unknown location outside Pakistan.

    He alleged, in a private statement received by Amnesty International, that he “suffered numerous forms of inhumane torture during that period”.

    Al-Barq said he was handed over to the Jordanian authorities on 26 October 2003, who kept him in detention for over four years, without charging him or telling him why he was being held.

    He said he “was tortured physically and mentally” and “hidden from human rights groups, [and not] allowed to contact [his] family”.

    After being transferred several times between prisons, he was released on bail in January 2008.

    The Jordanian authorities arrested him again in April 2010 and handed him over to the Israeli authorities three months later.”

  7. DXer said

    Maybe Samar’s father or prison rights advocates have insight into whether Samar has shared details of the pre-2001 anthrax program.

    Before his recent arrest, Yazid Sufaat declined to tell DXer the strain of the “anthrax spore concentrate” harvested July 4, 2001
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 29, 2013
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/before-his-recent-arrest-yazid-sufaat-declined-to-tell-dxer-the-strain-of-the-anthrax-spore-concentrate-harvested-july-4-2001/

  8. DXer said

    Yazid Sufaat declined to tell me what poison was used in the experiments by Abu Khabab the month before 911 involving rabbits — although he complimented the question

    Yazid’s daughter similarly has lost her patience with my flattery and indicates she’s never going to tell me anything.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/experiments-led-by-egyptian-abu-khabab-killing-rabbits-with-poisons-under-during-the-month-before-911-at-a-camp-outside-kabul/

  9. DXer said

    Blogger Dick Destiny is far too articulate and crisp in his writing for me to want to characterize his lengthy 2010 article on botulinum and Al Qaeda.

    But given his ardent defense of the Al Qaeda ricin defendant in Europe — I don’t know if he was paid or did it pro bono — he is invited to consider the evidence relating to the botulinum allegedly found in the possession of Samar Al-Barak.

    Maybe his conclusions about Islamists and their capabilities will be influenced by what previously secret information is eventually disclosed — both as to botulinum and anthrax. The evidence has always been that Sufaat and his two assistants were working with a virulent anthrax strain. See leaked Wikileaks KSM summary.

    MONDAY, JANUARY 25, 2010
    AL QAEDA WANTS THE BOTOX — Another WaPo bioterror scare story
    http://www.dickdestiny.com/blog/2010/01/al-qaeda-wants-botox-another-wapo.html

    One, this misuse of man-prepared botulinum toxin came not from al Qaeda terrorists, said repeatedly by terrorism experts and the mainstream media to be wishing for it, but fresh from a California lab which delivered it into the hands of people motivated by the pursuit of illegal profits. It underscores the dichotomy that while Islamists have shown no scientific know-how in the manufacture of … botulinum toxin, an American purifier and three bad people unexpectedly collided in the delivery and employment of it through no more effort than a few telephone calls.

    • DXer said

      As an example, has DD ever disclosed that Yazid reports that he worked for a secret, long since abandoned Malaysian biological weapons program? Does DD really think he knows more about bioweapons than Yazid? There’s nothing like some animal experiments under your belt to teach you what works and what doesn’t.

      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/al-qaeda-anthrax-lab-tech-says-he-had-been-part-of-malaysian-armed-forces-biological-weapons-program/

    • DXer said

      Here is the 2010 Joby Warrick article discussed by DD.

      Officials fear toxic ingredient in Botox could become terrorist tool
      By Joby Warrick
      Washington Post Staff Writer
      Monday, January 25, 2010

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/24/AR2010012403013.html

    • DXer said

      Although DD is the expert in the case involving the ricin defendant, note that in initial reports it was alleged that he had been among those trained in Afghanistan in making poisons and that Menad Benchellali “was activiely trying to produce a botulism toxin.”

      Al-Qaida terror plot foiled, say French police

      Jon Henley in Paris

      The Guardian, Sunday 11 January 2004 21.49 EST

      The French police are convinced that their country has escaped a planned chemical or biological attack by an Islamist cell linked to al-Qaida.
      An interior ministry official said evidence from Islamist militants arrested in the Lyon area last week made it “very plain” that an attack with the deadly botulism or ricin toxins was being actively prepared.

      The eight suspects arrested on Tuesday were mainly relatives of Menad Benchellali, the son of a radical imam in the Lyon suburb of Venisseux, who has been in jail since December 2002, when he was arrested during a police investigation of French Islamists’ efforts to send young Muslim volunteers to fight the Russian forces in Chechnya.

      The ministry official, who asked not to be named, confirmed a report in Le Monde that the suspects admitted to the police that Mr Benchellali was a chemicals expert who had been trained in poison-making in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan and was actively trying to produce a botulism toxin and ricin.

      “He had tested his chemicals on animals, they said.”

    • DXer said

      Joby Warrick had written on the case in 2004.

      An Al Qaeda ‘Chemist’ and the Quest for Ricin
      By Joby Warrick Washington Post Foreign Service Wednesday, May 5, 2004; Page A01
      http://dtirp.dtra.mil/CBW/news/NG/ng_05may04_1.pdf

      “Al Qaeda’s interest in biological and chemical arms is well documented, although the group’s ability to produce such weapons is believed to have been crippled by the loss of its sanctuary in Afghanistan. Invading U.S. forces in 2001 discovered and destroyed two production centers that were preparing to manufacture cyanide and the botulinum and salmonella toxins, and possibly anthrax.”

    • DXer said

      I am hoping that when DD writes about Samar Al-Barak’s indictment he has had a chance to obtain the indictment. Perhaps the indictment has some additional detail that goes beyond the news story.

      DD writes often about botulinum toxin and Al Qaeda.

      1. TUESDAY, JUNE 06, 2006
      THE ANNALS OF TERRORISM: Abandon all skepticism

      “I’ve had some experience evaluating the alleged work and capability of jihadi “terrorists” since 9/11. A chronicle of the work can be read here.One formative experience was consulting to the legal defense of a group of alleged terrorists being prosecuted in what became known as the trial of the London ricin ring.

      I had access to the secret terrorist documents presented at the trial and saw how stupid they looked. So I put images of the translated court copies on the web. Their air of menace, you see, was preserved only when they were kept secret.”

      Comment:

      There are a lot stupid, bungling bank robbers out there — they leave their palm print on the counter, come back to the bank after feeling short-changed, don’t wear a mask, get in the wrong get-away car etc.

      I don’t understand DD to be suggesting that bungling is a defense to the crime. I think he is just making the solid point that the ricin case did not in any way provide support for invasion of Iraq.

      2.

      Preparation of Botulism Toxin” became important in mid 2005 when the New York Times ran an editorial by a Stanford business professor …

      I secured a copy and along with colleague and biological arms control expert Milton Leitenberg at the University of Maryland, we set out ourtake on the subject.

      The Times declined to print our counter-argument. In the coming days, for practical purposes, it didn’t matter. It was published on the website of the Federation of American Scientists and pointed to by Steven Aftergood’s Secrecy News. At that point, lots of other people became interested from staffers in Congressional committees, to contractors for the CIA being briefed on bioterrorism, to people in the dairy industry who had worked on securing the milk supply and who objected to this new unverified theory of terrorist threat.

      http://www.dickdestiny.com/blog/2008_12_01_archive.html

      “These cases remain of interest because they represent the only misuse of botulinum toxin on record. During the last eight years, US government anti-terror experts and fuglemen from the national security business have repeatedly maintained that jihadis could easily make botox and kill thousands of Americans because simple “recipes” for it were scribbled in their notebooks.

      However, these recipes don’t work.”

      Comment:

      I haven’t seen DD and Milton’s piece on botulism yet. Did they do animal studies in concluding that they didn’t work? What means of delivery was being tested?

      Couldn’t Al Qaeda simply buy botulinum from a commercial source? If so, is the pair’s emphasis misplaced? And how do they interpret the dead rabbits killed by Abu Khabab’s trainees the week prior to 9/11? Was it botulinum used on the rabbits? If so, might Abu Khabab and his trainees been better in the kitchen than DD and Milton? And the killing of the rabbits has been known about for a full decade. (This is different than the experiment of the dog).

      Milton and I in the years after 911 always disagreed as to whether Al Qaeda had virulent strain of anthrax. (KSM said in interrogation that Yazid had told him that he and his assistants were vaccinated to work with the strain. In his defense, Milton apparently did not know that at the time). I think we can all agree though that Samar Al-Barak represents a wonderful opportunity to find out what strain anthrax they were using now that his ordeal of a decades-long detention appears to be over. Moreover, DD can consult with Samar Al-Barak defense counsel (paid or pro bono, I don’t care) and report back as to where he is alleged to have obtained the botulinum.

    • DXer said

      Ron Suskind reported that “extremely virulent” anthrax was found in Afghanistan and had been there before 911.

      by Ron Suskind – The New York Times – Book Review
      http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/20/…/20kaku.html?…The New York Times

      Jun 20, 2006 – … by Osama bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. … ” extremely virulent” anthrax in Afghanistan before 9/11, which “could be …

      Suskind’s book …. appears to have been written with wide access to the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, George Tenet, as well as to other C.I.A. officials and a host of sources at the F.B.I., and in the State, Defense and Treasury Departments …

      Comment:

      I never understood why ML wasn’t more accepting of Mr. Suskind’s report given his sources, even though anonymous, were thought to be pretty impressive.

      Why wasn’t ML more skeptical of his own out-of-hand and dismissive treatment of the report?

      Yazid had been working on anthrax before May 2001 and then he and his assistants were waiting for a bigger lab to be set up in Kandahar.

      Did ML think that Yazid — who reports he was a former member of a secret Malaysian bioweapons program — wasn’t up to the job? Why?

      A friend told Malaysian authorities of his work in February 2002.

      ML in 2002 called and asked if I was Mossad because he sensed that I knew things before they happened.

      I welcomed the call but said no, and told him I only know a few minutes after they were reported on google.

      My only disagreements with ML, at the end of the day, was his reversing the order of the letters from Rauf Ahmad in speaking to the New York Times — and his omission of the sentence in his letter to Zawahiri announcing “The targets have been achieved.” That letter was written AFTER his visit to the B3 with the thousands of pathogens. Given that even Rauf Ahmad’s work extended over both 1999 and 2000 (if not also 2001), ML imo should have disclosed the sentence in his 2005 treatise. He then could have given his interpretation that Rauf just mean that he had accomplished what was on his list of things to do.

      Of course, the entire purpose of his mission to the B3 lab was to acquire virulent anthrax. Rauf arranged it after the first unsuccessful visit to a lab where the anthrax was nonpathogenic. This is why GAO should obtain the identity and disclose the identity of the second lab that Rauf visited — the one with the thousands of pathogens and the B3.

      I think ML, DD and I can all agree that contemporaneous documents are wonderful.

      By uploading them no one is going to be led by the interpretation of a person with a particular bias.

      The bias of any true crime mystery lover is to find convincing evidence of the “whodunnit.”

      http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

    • DXer said

      “Got Toxic Milk?”: A Rejoinder
      by Milton Leitenberg and George Smith
      https://www.fas.org/sgp/eprint/milk.html

      For the New York Times, Wein supposed that a terrorist could also get botulism toxin from a black laboratory located outside the United States. These last claims can be interpreted as the equivalent of a terrorism deus ex machina — an unconvincing event brought into the plot of a story in order to resolve an involved and complicated situation. In this case, they are furnished to sidestep the obstacles to making large amounts of botulism toxin so that the PNAS paper can proceed with its calculation of casualties.

      What follows is our critique of “Got Toxic Milk?” that the New York Times wasn’t interested in publishing.

      We have a copy of the 28-page jihadi manual. It is an oft-stated canard that terrorists, or a single one, can simply download their capabilities for mass death from the world wide web. The assistance that the manual is alleged to confer is greatly exaggerated. While its text certainly appears technical to laymen, its compiler does not explain, except in the most general terms, how to obtain a toxic strain of Clostridium botulinum in the first place. Any strain of the bacterium which produces botulinum toxin won’t do, an aspect even noted in the manual.”

      Comment:

      I guess I’m missing something. Are Milton and George suggesting that it cannot be bought commercially?

      Did the rabbits that were killed in the experiment the month before 9/11 live to celebrate that the terrorists had used the wrong poison?

      Or did they die. It seems like it would be a pretty straightforward factual inquiry based on questioning of Samar Al-Barak, who was first arrested in mid-July 2003 and then held in secret detention.

      The learned authors write:

      “Following the manual’s directions requires sophisticated equipment, special reagents, and substantial experience. These do not exist in “jihadi” camps.”

      What sophisticated equipment do they require that had not been shipped to Kandahar in May 2001?

      “In addition, the jihadi manual does not describe processes or professional art that would enable one terrorist to produce gram quantities of botulinum toxin.
      Possession of a patched-together electronic manual on botulinum toxin production does not magically make for a shortcut around the experience, education and labor involved in gaining hands-on expertise in the most lethal applications of microbiology. The portrayal of such alleged terrorist documents as true and accurate indications of what terrorists can achieve in this area is not the best assessment.”

      Are either Milton or George microbiologists? I recall Milton as having studied organizational behavior. In any event, how do they assess the microbiological skill of Samar Al-Barak? Saaed Mohammed? Hud al-Sudani? Yazid Sufaat? What is the basis underlying their assessment of the skill level of these grad students in microbiology. Or of Yazid Sufaat who says he had worked in a secret, since abandoned state bioweapons program.

      With respect to mixing up a chemical weapon, Does George consider himself to have more skill than chemical engineer Abu Khabab?

      I have no problem with not overthinking the unthinkable, spending a lot of money, giving terrorists ideas, needlessly invading countries, making people mad at us etc.

      But can we at least have an evidence-based discussion of the particular people killing the rabbits with botulinum the month before 9/11? Or is it that Milton an George were unaware of the experiments killing rabbits.

      George (DD), let’s start by obtaining the indictment of Samar Al-Barak and see if there is any detail beyond the news article.

      I think there is a bit of arrogance for Milton and George to understimate the skill level of the many PhDs that support Al Qaeda.

      • DXer said

        Going back to my sourcing 10 years ago, I see a reference to the cyanide and sodium being used on the rabbits — not botulism. (Is there any support at all anywhere that botulism was successfully used in animal testing in Afghanistan?)

        In November 20, 2002, in an essay on Cryptome, I claimed that “In Afghanistan, documents were found indicating that Al Qaeda was doing research relating to plans to use botulinum to kill 2,000 people.”

        I cited Reuters, “Al Qaeda tested germ weapons,” New Zealand Herald, January 1, 2002.

        That article read:

        “LONDON – Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist network was investigating the use of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons against the West and had experimented on animals, a British newspaper reports.”

        So let’s see, ML and DD knew about the experiments on animals — the dog video, involving a different agent, I believe — was widely publicized.

        Then there the perhaps lesser publicized experiments with the rabbits.

        “The Times said the information emerged from detailed examination of documents it discovered in abandoned al Qaeda houses in the Afghan capital, Kabul, after it fell on November 13.

        The documents proved al Qaeda was studying how to produce botulin poison in batches strong enough to kill 2000 people.

        The hundreds of pages of photocopied, handwritten and printed matter were in a mixture of Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Mandarin, Russian and English.”

        Okay, so we know a lot of people were being trained. The Wikileaks reports can be searched for the reference, I think, of 10 students in the “school” but I would refer to the interrogation summaries.

        “Samples were photographed and sent to British-based professional translators with scientific qualifications, and to experts in the field of weapons of mass destruction.”

        And so presumably some botulism expert or experts somewhere was given the botulism documents to study.

        “One section described how chemical weapons were tested on rabbits. The animals died when subjected to cyanide and sodium.”

        Okay. Back up. The evidence I myself relied upon in 2002 regarding the rabbits suggests the animals were subjected to cyanide and sodium.

        And so there seems no support for my suggestion that botulism was used on the rabbits. Or at least that this doesn’t constitute any support.

        “The documents also showed that al Qaeda was training units to assassinate Middle Eastern leaders sympathetic to the West.”

        The claim that assassination was not Al Qaeda’s modus operandi was the stuff of talking head profiles who didn’t know anything about Al Qaeda or Egyptian Islamic Jihad as far as I could tell.

        “The Times said documents discovered by British and United States agents in Kandahar and Jalalabad suggested that 40 Britons were given training at al Qaeda camps.”

        Perhaps the fellow on whose defense DD consulted was one of these Brits.

        “In other developments:

        * Pakistan’s central bank has frozen the personal bank accounts of two nuclear scientists and an industrialist suspected of having links with bin Laden.

        The three are Bashiruddin Mahmood and Abdul Majeed and industrialist Mohammad Tufail. All were on the board of Umma Tameer-e-Nau, an Islamic charity which the US has declared a terrorist group.

        Mahmood and Majeed, who retired from the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission in 1998, were detained by Pakistani authorities in November but have since been freed.

        Government spokesmen have said the two scientists had nothing to do with Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme and could not have passed any nuclear secrets to bin Laden when they visited Afghanistan during the rule of the ousted Taleban regime.

        * Poisonous gas was pumped for a third day into a US Senate building to kill trace amounts of anthrax spores in the heating and ventilation system.

        The southeast quadrant of the Hart Senate Office Building has been closed since October 17, two days after an aide to Senate majority leader Tom Daschle opened an anthrax-tainted letter.

        It was one of several such letters sent to US politicians and media outlets after the September 11 suicide hijackings.

        The intentionally tainted letters, which have not been linked to the September 11 attacks, unleashed a bioterrorism scare worldwide.

        Of the 18 confirmed cases of anthrax infection, five have died – two postal workers in Washington, a Florida newspaper editor, an elderly Connecticut woman and a New York hospital worker.

    • DXer said

      In The Challenge of Biological Terrorism (2005), Anthony H. Cordesman says that Milton Leitenberg argued that Yazid Sufaat had no biological weapons experience.

      What was Milton’s evidence? Wasn’t it just his mistaken assumption that this former military man who then became a contractor for a blood lab for the military had no biological weapons experience?

      Yazid Sufaat claims just the opposite — and that is what Malaysian authorities were advised in February 2002 by a “friend.”

      Al Qaeda anthrax lab tech says he had been part of Malaysian Armed Forces biological weapons program
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 23, 2012
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/al-qaeda-anthrax-lab-tech-says-he-had-been-part-of-malaysian-armed-forces-biological-weapons-program/

      That is why authorities brought in his wife Chomel in an attempt, Yazid says to gain leverage. But he says that the CIA will not hear the details from his mouth — he pleads the Fifth Amendment with regard to the Fall 2001 anthrax incidents.

      Yazid told me that he could do “magic.”

      I credit his relaxed braggadacio. I don’t credit Milton’s assumptions that now are contradicted by the available evidence.

      But I’ve yet to see either Milton or George report on Yazid’s claimed experience.

    • DXer said

      Killing for the Glory of God, In a Land Far From Home
      By JUDITH MILLER
      Published: January 16, 2001
      http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/16/world/killing-for-the-glory-of-god-in-a-land-far-from-home.html

      Within the last year, trainees at the camp, which is called Abu Khabab, have experimented on dogs, rabbits and other animals with nerve gases, the officials said. Recruits have also fashioned bombs made from commercially available chemicals and poisons, which have been tried out on animals tethered to outdoor posts on the camp test range, according to surveillance photographs and informers’ reports. …

      Where Recruits Study Tactics and Explosives

      Middle Eastern officials estimate that in the last six months, more than 100 men recruited by Mr. bin Laden’s and affiliated groups have been trained at the camp, which is named after the Egyptian militant who runs it, Midhat Mursi — whose nom de guerre is Abu Khabab.

      The camp is part of a large complex of such training sites known as Darunta, about eight miles from Jalalabad, an Afghan eastern provincial capital, down a dusty road that runs atop an old stone dam of the same name. According to Western and Middle Eastern officials, a cache of chemicals is stored in the reinforced caves of nearby mountains and naturally protected underground tunnels.

      Abu Khabab’s graduates in the last year include Raed Hijazi, the Jordanian-American whom Jordan has convicted in absentia as a ringleader of the failed plot to attack tourists in Amman during the millennium celebrations.

      Mr. Hijazi, whom the Syrians arrested in October and sent back to Jordan, has described his advanced training on explosives to Jordanian investigators, according to Western officials. He has told investigators that a key lieutenant of Mr. bin Laden helped arrange his trip to Afghanistan.

      A rare reference to the explosives training at the Abu Khabab camp appears in the sealed indictment of Nabil abu Aukel, a Palestinian arrested last June by Israel.

      Comment:

      This Judith Miller article is from January 2001. I haven’t seen the sealed indictment mentioned. Hijazi was part of a Boston cell of taxi drivers I’ve previously discussed. His friend was Nabil Al-Marabh, who was the Egyptian lab technician associated with the scientist studying anthrax in water at a midwest library in the summer of 2001. ML argued to me in 2002 that the US satellite capabilities were insufficient to identify dead animals on the ground. I am wary of any outsider’s estimate of the USG’s capability — just as I am wary of an estimate of the capability of the MDs and PhDs that were helping Dr. Ayman. Dr. Ayman had 40 doctors in his extended family — his sister, for example, was a Cairo medical school microbiology school professor who taught the fellow supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins. The peer-reviewed articles on botulinum culture were among the papers seized from Dr. Zawahiri in Afghanistan in 2001.

      While I won’t bother to venture an opinion on the NRO’s capability to identify images as dead animals on the opinion in 2001, I think we have seen enough of Snowden’s revelations to realize that outsiders commonly understimate the capabilities achieved with a lot of taxpayer money. Authorities of course by January 2001 also had the first-hand testimony of men like Hijazi.

    • DXer said

      James V. at the Washington conference moderated by Lew works for the US government and said that Al Qaeda’s bio program was much more elite than Al Qaeda’s chem program.

      You in the November 2001 USA Today article below you get a sense of the number of trainees who were instructed by Abu Khabab’s chem efforts.

      I see no mention of botulism being tested on animals which is supportive of ML and DD’s general thesis about the viability of the recipes found.

      I still think of their argument as misguided, though, if it is commercially available and subject to diversion.

      In canvassing the 2001 reports about the tests on animals, I am still looking for any source that indicates that — apart from the botulinum recipes — there was any actual testing of botulinum on the animals.

      The May 2001 Kandahar lab had much, much more equipment than Abu Khabab’s chem lab described here.

      11/26/2001 – Updated 01:19 PM ET

      Bin Laden’s camps teach curriculum of carnage

      By Jack Kelley, USA TODAY

      JALALABAD, Afghanistan — Plastic explosives, timing devices and sketches of the best places to hide a bomb on an airplane filled the files of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist training camps near here. Gas masks, cyanide and recipes for biological agents lined the shelves of his chemical weapons laboratory. Kalashnikov rifles, silhouetted targets and lesson plans teaching children to shoot at their victims’ faces lay among the toys and near the swing set at the elementary school bin Laden established.

      USA TODAY was escorted to the sites by Jalalabad security officials who insisted that it was not necessary to wear a gas mask or protective clothing. Nothing threatening happened the day of the visits, but ominous lesson plans for war were everywhere, out for display as if the camps were some sort of museum.

      The evidence shows that recruits at bin Laden’s two main camps, at least those visited by USA TODAY, were trained in conventional, biological and even nuclear warfare, according to class manuals. They came from at least 21 countries, including Bosnia, Egypt, France, Great Britain, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other U.S. allies, enrollment records show.

      Nearly all the students were told to return to their countries after training and “await orders” to carry out attacks against the United States, class notes reveal.

      In another drawer were several fake visa and immigration stamps, one purporting to be from the Pakistani Embassy in Rome and another from the Tajikistan Consulate in Islamabad, Pakistan. There was also a photocopy of a money transfer requesting that a London branch of Pakistan’s Habib Bank AG Zurich credit the account of an individual identified as Moazzam Begg in Karachi for an unspecified sum of money. U.S. and Pakistani officials say they do not know who Begg is but will try to find him.

      On one shelf of the laboratory was a long metal box lined with wood shavings. It held 18 bottles of liquids with labels identifying them as lead acetate, nitric acid, carbolic acid and glycerin, all of which are highly toxic. On another shelf were several plastic containers, including one labeled cyanide. A dozen gas masks lay on the floor.

      All the chemicals had labels reading “Made in China.” The equipment in the lab, ranging from scales to heaters, was from the United Arab Emirates.

      Outside the laboratory, next to a vegetable garden, were four metal poles with chains attached to their bases. At the end of one of the chains were the remains of what appeared to be a dead animal with white fur.

      Nerve gas experiments

      U.S. officials, citing satellite photographs taken of the camp earlier this year and intelligence gathered from local residents, say a 60-year-old Saudi man named Abu Khabab experimented with nerve gas on dogs, rabbits and other animals here.

      “Everyone was afraid of him,” says Shah Ahmadi, 35, who lives nearby. “One day, he was making something and there was a big explosion. The entire area smelled of chemicals for hours. We protested, and he limited his work. From then on, we knew something evil was going on inside.”

      Similar chemicals, weapons and manuals, including a brochure for a $4,200 Korean-made chemical agent alarm, were also found among the rubble of bin Laden’s palatial home and the elementary school.

      It all leads U.S. and Pakistani officials to wonder what the recruits did not leave behind but took with them.

      “I fear there’s a lot more out there that we just don’t know about,” Jalalabad governor Qadir says. “I’m afraid what happened at the World Trade Center and Pentagon was just the beginning. The worst terror may be yet to come.”

    • DXer said

      So although he worked on chem weapons and not bio, I’m not seeing that Abu Khabab was a PhD (whereas the crisp-writing DD is has a chem engineering degree from Lehigh as I recall).

      The fellow I argue is the anthrax mailer knew Abu Khabab, as evidenced by the correspondence.

      Below is a letter from Adnan El-Shukrijuman (Jafar the Pilot) to Abu Khabab.

      Abu Khabab was the Egyptian chemical engineer who was on the 3-member AQ WMD committee with the blind sheik’s son. That son spoke alongside Ali at charity conferences in 1993 and 1996 — the year of WTC 1993 and OBL’s Declaration of War. In 2000, the blind sheik’s son’s voice was on the video with Zawahiri and OBL — the voiceover commanded that followers should “go to the spilling of blood” to avenge the blind sheik’s Abdel-Rahman’s imprisonment in a US prison.

      Jafar the Pilot is the name of Adnan El-Shukrijumah. El-Shukrijumah was the guy who was part of the BOLO issued as the same time Aafia Siddiqui, who an AUSA said in federal court was prepared to participate in an anthrax attack if asked.

      DXer says: Adnan El-Shukrijumah is the anthrax mailer … on or about 9/13/2001, he phoned from KSM’s house to tell his mom he was coming to the US
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 6, 2013
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/dxer-adnan-el-shukrijumah-is-the-anthrax-mailer-on-9132001-he-phoned-from-ksms-house-to-tell-his-mom-he-was-coming-to-the-us/

      What did Al Qaeda anthrax lab head Yazid Sufaat discuss at the meeting in Kandahar with Adnan El-Shukrijumah and KSM before Adnan set off to return to the United States shortly after 9/11?
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 7, 2013
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/what-did-al-qaeda-anthrax-lab-head-yazid-sufaat-discuss-at-the-meeting-in-kandahar-with-adnan-el-shukrijumah-and-ksm-before-adnan-set-off-to-return-to-the-united-states-shortly-after-911/

      FBI’s Undercover Informant Asaad Is Frustrated That He And FBI Missed Opportunity To Thwart Mohammed Atta and Anthrax Letter Suspect Adnan El-Shukrijumah, Al Qaeda’s Current Head Of External Operations
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 26, 2013
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/fbis-undercover-informant-asaad-is-frustrated-that-he-and-fbi-missed-opportunity-to-thwart-mohammed-atta-and-anthrax-letter-suspect-adnan-el-shukrijumah-al-qaedas-current-head-of-external-opera/

      Adnan wrote Abu Khabab:

      Peshawar Islamic Center

      In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
      Praise to the Lord of worlds and peace to the Imam of Mujahdeen, Prophet Muhammad,
      as well as to his companions.

      Dear Abu Khabab:
      Salaam, God’s mercy and blessings to you.
      Happy Ramadan Holiday. May God accept your fasting.

      Dear Brother:

      I would like to advise you that Zubair (Zubayr) is a member of our group. He is from Qatar, trained in Al-Badr Camp, and intends to go to Kashmir. But because of snow over there, he could not go, so we appeal to you to accept him. He is trustworthy, and we hope that you can help take a vocational training course. You have a lot of new things [trades that Zabair may be trained to do].
      Thanks
      Yours truly
      Ja’far At-Tayyar) [At-Tayyar the pilot)

  10. DXer said

    Is there a copy of the indictment available?

    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

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