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

Targeted assassination and mailed deadly letters were always a modus operandi, if not the signature, of Dr. Ayman Zawahiri’s supporters.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 6, 2015

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11 Responses to “Targeted assassination and mailed deadly letters were always a modus operandi, if not the signature, of Dr. Ayman Zawahiri’s supporters.”

  1. DXer said

    Al-Qaeda’s Zawahiri Calls on Supporters to Reject ISIS and Support Taliban

    By Jack Moore On 8/22/16 at 12:26 PM
    http://www.newsweek.com/al-qaedas-zawahiri-calls-supporters-reject-isis-and-support-taliban-492337

  2. DXer said

    http://news.wbfo.org/post/doctors-waiting-find-out-if-woman-has-anthrax

    Doctors Waiting to Find Out if Woman Has Anthrax

    By Howard Riedel

    Niagara Falls, NY – Doctors at the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center are trying to determine if a Niagara Falls woman has cutaneous anthrax.

    The 38-year-old woman went to the emergency room Saturday night with a lesion on her hand that bears some resemblance to the less severe, skin-based form of anthrax. She handles mail order returns for a clothing store at Summit Park Mall, Newport News outlet.

    Field tests by a hazmat team at the store showed nothing suspicious in some of the powders found in various packages. Lab tests of samples from the store and cultures from the woman’s hand will be done over the next three days.

    In the meantime, the woman has been put on antibiotics even though health officials doubt she has cutaneous anthrax.

    The Newport News outlet, closed voluntarily Sunday, though the rest of the Summit Park Mall remained open.

    • DXer said

      I presume this will prove negative for anthrax.

      But for those who find the coincidences in a boolean search world fun, it was a different “Newport News” in WW I where anthrax infections were studied.

      http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=220142

      “January 25, 1919
      ANTHRAX AT EMBARKATION HOSPITAL, NEWPORT NEWS, VA.
      OTIS T. AMORY, M.D. (Virginia); BENJAMIN RAPPAPORT, M.D. (Chicago)
      JAMA. 1919;72(4):269-270. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610040035013.

      In view of the recent occurrence of anthrax in the various Army camps, an account of the cases observed at the Embarkation Hospital, Newport News, Va., should be of interest”

      See also my old friend Jamie Bisher’s article about the German use of anthrax during WW I for sabotage.

      Baron von Rosen’s Sugar-Coated Anthrax Weapon
      By Jamie Bisher
      Anthrax–bacillus anthracis–is not new to the warfighter’s arsenal.

      http://anthrax1916.weebly.com/books-by-jamie-bisher.html

      “Anthrax–bacillus anthracis–is not new to the warfighter’s arsenal.”

      • DXer said

        A different “Newport News” in the history of anthrax warfare:

        During World War I, Newport News port was biggest supplier of war horses for British army
        http://touch.dailypress.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-82128438/

        By Mark St. John Erickson,merickson@dailypress.com
        5:45 pm, November 29, 2014

        Though the United States would not enter the Great War for 21/2 years, the people of Newport News saw the first sign of an increasingly crucial connection in late November.

        But it wasn’t a surge in building at their famous shipyard or the troop mobilization that many observers expected.

        Instead, it came as a flood of horses and mules — hundreds of thousands of them transported by rail from across the country in an epic British effort to resupply the badly mauled equine force of its struggling armies.

        That indispensable role made them targets, too, says Robert Koenig, author of “The Fourth Horseman,” a 2006 book that explores the use of the World War I horse, the British remount effort in the United States and the attempts of saboteurs to throttle the herds at Newport News.

        ***

        mong the hundreds of new faces drawn by the surging enterprise, however, were two Baltimore dock workers who posed a potentially greater threat than any competing city.

        Recruited and supplied with serum by German agents — including a Virginia-born German-American physician — the men slipped into the depot under the cover of darkness sometime in late 1915 and attempted to infect the herds with anthrax and a pneumonia-like bacterium.

        “Killing American horses and mules had become a strategic priority,” Koenig says.

        “The German sabotage campaign has the distinction of being the first systematic use of germs as a tool of modern warfare.”

    • DXer said

      Cayuga County Health Department conducts drill to test response to public health crisis

      http://auburnpub.com/news/local/cayuga-county-health-department-conducts-drill-to-test-response-to/article_fde4ca6d-2210-5419-b9f5-0c8d718683a9.html

      The false scenario, that residents were exposed to the infectious disease through the mail, brought out hundreds of county employees, plus residents, to assist with the drill.

      ,,,
      The false scenario, that residents were exposed to the infectious disease through the mail, brought out hundreds of county employees, plus residents, to assist with the drill.

      “The county Legislature was really good about allowing the county’s departments to come out on county time,” Hoey said.

      In the case of actual emergencies, to facilitate medication administration to large numbers of people in smaller periods of time, county businesses can become closed points of distribution to serve employees

  3. DXer said

    Tally of Attacks in U.S. Challenges Perceptions of Top Terror Threat
    By SCOTT SHANE
    JUNE 24, 2015
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/25/us/tally-of-attacks-in-us-challenges-perceptions-of-top-terror-threat.html?_r=0

    Comment:

    Cool article, subject and history. William Pierce of National Alliance, was a formidable threat.

    Although widely overlooked, the Unabomber was expressly appealing to nordicist anarchists in paras. 222, 227 and 229 of his manifesto as a perhaps necessary part of his hoped-for revolution. That was also an interesting chapter.

    Recent incidents seems to involve mental illness or bad upbringing — and so seem less interesting to me.

    I came to be interested in political violence with the case study of George Lincoln Rockwell. William Pierce had been his propaganda person. The boys in the barracks were a fascinating study. They were the product of very bad socialization.

  4. DXer said

    In Malaysia, a journalist this week asked the court to not have to testify against Yazid Sufaat, alleged to recruit terrorists.

    In November 2001, Lance Williams wrote a brilliant, largely overlooked article about a different recruiter — this one based in Bay Area and Brooklyn, trained to mail deadly letters.

    “LEARNED TO MAKE LETTER BOMBS

    Meanwhile, Dahab said Mohamed gave him military training and taught him how to make letter bombs.

    Dahab said he had also worked as an al Qaeda communications specialist, aiding terrorists inside Egypt by patching through their calls to other operatives in Afghanistan and the Sudan. This helped the terrorists plan operations while avoiding electronic surveillance by Egyptian security forces who routinely wiretapped calls between Egypt and countries that harbored jihad terrorists.

    Also in the 1990s, Dahab said, he and Mohamed were told to begin recruiting U.S. citizens of Middle Eastern heritage. Dahab said the recruitment project had first been outlined to him by an al Qaeda fighter named Abdel Aziz Moussa al Jamal, who, according to Arabic press accounts, recently surfaced in Islamabad, Pakistan, serving as translator for Taliban envoy Abdul Salam Zaeef.

    On another visit to Afghanistan, Dahab said, he and Mohamed discussed the project with Zawahiri and bin Laden. He said bin Laden especially wanted access to the recruits’ passports to facilitate travel by other al Qaeda operatives.

    Bin Laden also hoped the recruits would obtain travel visas in the United States that could be used by al Qaeda operatives to move between countries without security concerns.

    Dahab told Egyptian authorities he and Mohamed had found 10 recruits, all of them naturalized U.S. citizens who had been born in the Middle East. The account of the confession did not name the recruits or provide other details about them. But Dahab’s story was consistent with information in U.S. court records about bin Laden’s recruitment of American citizens and al Qaeda’s use of forged U.S. passports.

    In last year’s trial of terrorists implicated in the 1998 bombings of embassies in East Africa, prosecutors in New York said al Qaeda for years had sought to maintain cells and terrorist personnel in the United States.

    According to evidence in that case, bin Laden’s former personal secretary, Wadih el-Hage, emigrated from Lebanon to Texas in the early 1990s, became a U. S. citizen and then helped recruit a network of operatives in Texas, Florida and Oregon.

    An FBI affidavit shows that Dahab’s recruiter, Ali Mohamed, in 1993 admitted giving his passport and driver’s license to an al Qaeda terrorist in an effort to smuggle him in from Canada. The terrorist, not identified in the affidavit, had been apprehended by Canadian officials.”

    Bin Laden’s Bay Area recruiter
    Khalid Abu-al-Dahab signed up American Muslims to be terrorists
    Lance Williams, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Wednesday, November 21, 2001

    A confessed operative of a Silicon Valley terrorist cell says he recruited 10 U.S. citizens into Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda organization during his 12-year residence in California, according to a new account of his statements to an Egyptian military court.

    Bin Laden personally congratulated Khalid Abu-al-Dahab, 37, an Egyptian- born U.S. citizen, Silicon Valley car salesman and confessed member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, for recruiting Islamic Americans into al Qaeda, Dahab told investigators after his 1998 arrest in Cairo on terrorism charges.

    Dahab said bin Laden was eager to recruit American citizens of Middle Eastern descent because their U.S. passports could be used to facilitate international travel by al Qaeda terrorists, according to the account of the confession. It was published Oct. 10 in the London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat.

    In his confession, Dahab said he and another admitted terrorist from Silicon Valley, former U.S. Army Sgt. Ali Mohamed, had traveled to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s to report to bin Laden on their success in recruiting Americans.

    Recruiting terrorists with U.S. passports was a top priority, bin Laden said.

    “Bin Laden praised their efforts and emphasized the necessity of recruiting as many Muslims with American citizenship as possible into the organization,” according to the account.

    Dahab’s confession supports the view of many terrorism experts that al Qaeda has “sleeper” operatives on station in the United States for future terrorist attacks.

    Khaled Duran, an author and terrorism expert who has written about the Silicon Valley cell, said it was “perfectly credible” that Dahab and Mohamed had recruited other Americans into the terrorist cell.

    “These people are like missionaries,” he said. “If you want to make a revolution, you need revolutionaries, and to get them you have to preach, to spread the gospel, so to speak.”

    The recruits would be expected to “fade into the woodwork” until the organization needed them, he said.

    The confession also sheds new light on Dahab, whom bin Laden biographer Yossef Bodansky has called a “high-quality” al Qaeda agent, one of the “senior jihadist operatives in the United States” during the 1990s.

    His story, obtained from accounts of Egyptian court proceedings and interviews with people who knew him, is entwined with that of Mohamed, a former Egyptian military officer and aide to bin Laden who recruited Dahab into al Qaeda, brought him to America and became his handler.

    FROM A WEALTHY FAMILY

    People who met Dahab in California say he is handsome and outgoing and speaks excellent English. He said he was from a wealthy Alexandria family: his father was an airline pilot, his mother was a physician, and he also planned a career in medicine.

    But Dahab told acquaintances he had been radicalized by a tragedy that happened when he was a schoolboy: his father, he claimed, had been among 108 people killed in the 1973 crash of a Cairo-bound Libyan Arab Airlines plane that was shot down by Israeli fighter jets when it strayed over the Sinai Peninsula, which at the time was occupied by Israel.

    He claimed that his father’s death — and Egypt’s failure to avenge it — had turned him against the Egyptian government and against Israel and the United States, as well. He said he was drawn toward Islamic Jihad, a radical movement that had assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981 in an effort to remake Egypt into a fundamentalist Muslim state.

    While a medical student in Alexandria in about 1984, according to his confession, Dahab met Mohamed, who then was an officer in the Egyptian commando forces and a Jihad operative planning to emigrate to the United States.

    Dahab said Mohamed had recruited him into Jihad, an organization whose most violent elements were later merged into al Qaeda. In 1986, he came to the United States, obtaining a student visa by saying he wanted to study medicine. He rented an apartment in Santa Clara, where Mohamed had settled the previous year with his American wife.

    He dropped the name Dahab, styling himself either Khaled Mohamed or Ali Mohamed, the same name used by his fellow jihadist. He sometimes claimed, falsely, that he had been a physician in Egypt, said people who met him.

    3 MARRIAGES AND 5 KIDS

    During his 12 years in the South Bay, he tried to live the California good life: he married three American women, fathered five children, obtained U.S. citizenship and worked as a car salesman and at other jobs.

    Dahab sought to conceal his double life from people he met here, but sometimes acquaintances had glimpses of what, in retrospect, seemed terrorist activities.

    One female acquaintance said that in about 1987 she had gone unannounced to Dahab’s apartment in Santa Clara and found several men there cleaning rifles on the living room floor.

    “This was something I didn’t want to know about,” said the woman, who for safety reasons asked not to be named. “I just made up my mind after that, I will never . . . have anything to do with him.”

    From his arrival in the United States, he was eager to marry, at least in part to obtain a green card, people who knew him said. A few weeks after he got to California, he wed a woman he had met via Mohamed’s wife. Court records show the marriage collapsed within a month, apparently after the bride balked at converting to Islam. Meanwhile, the woman had become pregnant, provoking a child custody dispute that lasted years.

    A second marriage ended in divorce after less than a year. A court investigator concluded the marriage was “primarily based on convenience,” and was strained by Dahab’s insistence that he had the right to discipline his wife by beating her.

    “He believes it was not appropriate to hit one’s wife with a hand, but it was appropriate to hit her with a stick,” the investigator wrote in a report.

    In 1992, Dahab married a junior college student from a tiny town in South Dakota whom he met while lawn-bowling in Santa Clara. His third wife converted to Islam. They had four children, and the marriage helped him win citizenship, acquaintances said.

    The family settled in a duplex near Santa Clara High School. Dahab struggled to support his family, court records show. He worked as a maintenance man at Kaiser Hospital in Santa Clara, then at National Semiconductor, then as a $30,000-per-year car salesman in San Jose.

    HE FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY

    By 1996, he had lost his car sales job, his income had dropped to $15,000 per year, and he filed for bankruptcy, citing $36,000 in debts, mostly for credit card purchases and auto loans.

    He was often abroad, traveling extensively in the Middle East, vacationing in Pakistan, telling associates he was starting a chemical business in Egypt.

    In his confession, Dahab said his terrorist career had ramped up after 1989,

    when Mohamed returned to Santa Clara after a three-year hitch in the U.S. Army.

    As The Chronicle has previously reported, Mohamed and Dahab pulled off one startling feat and plotted another.

    In 1995, using a fake passport and identity documents, they smuggled Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is bin Laden’s chief deputy and a suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and a long list of other crimes, into the United States from Afghanistan for a covert fund-raising tour in which the terrorist raised as much as $500,000. Part of the money financed the bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan, Dahab said.

    Dahab also said that at Mohamed’s direction he had gone to terrorist camps in Afghanistan in 1990 and trained guerrilla fighters to fly hang gliders. He said Islamic Jihad was planning a hand-glider assault to liberate imprisoned Jihad leaders, some of whom had been locked up since the assassination of Sadat.

    A former friend remembers that Dahab turned up in the parking lot at the Al- Noor Mosque in Santa Clara, driving a station wagon with a hang glider in the back and saying he was bound for Afghanistan.

    “He said, ‘I am going to take (the aircraft) to Afghanistan and help the mujahedeen — I am going to take it over there and train people to fly it,’ ” the friend said.

    “People said, ‘Oh, you crazy guy — they thought he was joking.’ ”

    Jihad later canceled the attack, Dahab said in his confession.

    LEARNED TO MAKE LETTER BOMBS

    Meanwhile, Dahab said Mohamed gave him military training and taught him how to make letter bombs.

    Dahab said he had also worked as an al Qaeda communications specialist, aiding terrorists inside Egypt by patching through their calls to other operatives in Afghanistan and the Sudan. This helped the terrorists plan operations while avoiding electronic surveillance by Egyptian security forces who routinely wiretapped calls between Egypt and countries that harbored jihad terrorists.

    Also in the 1990s, Dahab said, he and Mohamed were told to begin recruiting U.S. citizens of Middle Eastern heritage. Dahab said the recruitment project had first been outlined to him by an al Qaeda fighter named Abdel Aziz Moussa al Jamal, who, according to Arabic press accounts, recently surfaced in Islamabad, Pakistan, serving as translator for Taliban envoy Abdul Salam Zaeef.

    On another visit to Afghanistan, Dahab said, he and Mohamed discussed the project with Zawahiri and bin Laden. He said bin Laden especially wanted access to the recruits’ passports to facilitate travel by other al Qaeda operatives.

    Bin Laden also hoped the recruits would obtain travel visas in the United States that could be used by al Qaeda operatives to move between countries without security concerns.

    Dahab told Egyptian authorities he and Mohamed had found 10 recruits, all of them naturalized U.S. citizens who had been born in the Middle East. The account of the confession did not name the recruits or provide other details about them. But Dahab’s story was consistent with information in U.S. court records about bin Laden’s recruitment of American citizens and al Qaeda’s use of forged U.S. passports.

    In last year’s trial of terrorists implicated in the 1998 bombings of embassies in East Africa, prosecutors in New York said al Qaeda for years had sought to maintain cells and terrorist personnel in the United States.

    According to evidence in that case, bin Laden’s former personal secretary, Wadih el-Hage, emigrated from Lebanon to Texas in the early 1990s, became a U. S. citizen and then helped recruit a network of operatives in Texas, Florida and Oregon.

    An FBI affidavit shows that Dahab’s recruiter, Ali Mohamed, in 1993 admitted giving his passport and driver’s license to an al Qaeda terrorist in an effort to smuggle him in from Canada. The terrorist, not identified in the affidavit, had been apprehended by Canadian officials.

    PLANNED TO MOVE BACK TO EGYPT

    By 1998, Dahab was spending more and more time abroad, and he told a family law judge in San Jose that he intended to move his family back to Egypt. In August 1998, while Dahab was in Egypt, al Qaeda mounted suicide attacks on the embassies in East Africa. Within weeks Ali Mohamed was arrested for complicity in the attack. He pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

    In October 1998, the Egyptian military moved to crush Islamic Jihad by arresting more than 70 of the organization’s leaders. Dahab decided to flee, and on Oct. 28 booked a flight to the United States. According to Dahab acquaintances, Egyptian security police boarded the plane shortly before takeoff and took him away in handcuffs. Dahab confessed his involvement with al Qaeda and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
    Hatem Bazian, director of Oakland’s Al-Qalam Institute, translated documents for this story. Chronicle staff writers Erin McCormick and Alan Gathright contributed to this report. / E-mail Lance Williams at lmwilliams@sfchronicle.com.

    This article appeared on page A – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

  5. DXer said

    Bryan Swift of the NYC DEC has targeted my swan friends William and Kate for assassination. This related local May 4 article was shared on Facebook 1.4k times.

    There were three people at the village hall fielding angry calls saying that Bryan Swift is out of line and should stand down while the legislature moves forward with shutting him down.

    The bill stopping Bryan passed the Senate 60-1 and is due shortly to be passed overwhelmingly by the Assembly.

    He nonetheless is trying to rush things rather than let the rule of law operate in an orderly fashion.

    http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2015/05/manlius_swan_lays_eggs_but_new_law_requires_they_be_destroyed.html

  6. DXer said

    The issue of targeted assassination is in the news today with the report that iSIS has targeted Pamela Geller for assassination. This is why I always comment that Dr. Ayman’s beard looks very distinguished and that Yazid Sufaat is an affable chap.

    Contrary to the pundits who just associate Al Qaeda with a “big bang,” a key modus operandi of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, for which the Brooklyn, NY-based Blind Sheik Abdel Rahman was the spiritual leader, was targeted assassination. It was widely known known that Zawahiri was seeking to weaponize anthrax for use against US targets. The Egyptian Islamic Jihad group specializes in armed attacks against high-level Egyptian government officials, including Cabinet ministers. The group had a “hit list” that included tens of Egyptians to be killed by the group, including journalists.

    In May 1987, a Major General was shot outside his home in Cairo. Several EIJ members and two Islamist Group members were arrested in connection with the attack. In November 1990, six members of EIJ were arrested in connection with the murders of People’s Assembly Speaker and five security men on October 12, 1990. The EIJ’s military wing, the Vanguards of Conquest, launched a violent campaign in March 1992. Of 223 killed in the first year or two, 67 were policemen, 76 were Islamic militants, 36 were civilian Christian Copts, and three were foreign tourists. Prosecutors and policemen would be targeted to avenge torture. By April 1995, 700 had been killed. Al-Jihad has had a role in most foreign terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies over the past 20 years. The group is most well known for its first, the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

    In August 1993, the same year as the bombing of the World Trade Center, al-Jihad attempted to assassinate Egyptian Interior Minister by firing on his motorcade and detonating a homemade bomb. The group also made an attempt that year against Prime Minister with an explosion which occurred about 500 yards from his home as his motorcade passed. A 15-year-old girl standing at a nearby bus stop was killed. EIJ issued a statement claiming the action was to avenge the recent death sentences. In 1992, Islamic Jihad activists murdered an author, Faraj Fodah, who had openly supported Israeli-Egyptian peace. The secular columnist in his last article had suggested that the militants were motivated by sexual frustration more than politics. In March 1994 Egypt’s higher military Court passed death sentences in absentia that included Tharwat Salah Shehata, Yasser al-Sirri, ‘Isam Muhammad ‘Abd-al-Rahman for the assassination attempt on Prime Minister Sedki on November 25, 1993. In 1994 al-Jihad militants were linked to two unsuccessful attempts to bomb the Israeli and U.S. embassies in Manila. In June 1995, the Vanguards of Conquest claimed responsibility for a failed assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to kill Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In November 1995, an EIJ suicide car bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan killed 17 and injured 59. An Egyptian with Canadian citizenship, Ahmad Saeed Kadr (Khadr), was charged in connection with the bombing. Kadr worked as the regional director of Human Concern International, a Canadian relief agency in Peshawar, and was alleged to have moved money through the aid agency from Afghanistan to Pakistan to pay for the operation.

    In December 1995, the Vanguards of Conquest sent a communiqué warning Pakistan to stop extraditing militants to Egypt, or “it will pay a heavy price.” That month, Egyptian Security forces arrested 56 terrorists after being tipped off by an EIJ informer. The group was accused of planning to assassinate President Hosni Mubarak on 1995 using 550 pounds of explosives to blow up the President’s motorcade.

  7. DXer said

    I have argued that the letters were the modus operandi of the Egyptian salafist-jihadists, if not their signature, since at least 2002.

    http://cryptome.org/alqaeda-anthrax.htm

    I reasoned that on understanding this issue of modus operandi, the key was that the Egyptian islamists sent letter bombs a few years before 911 to newspaper offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. in connection with the earlier bombing of the World Trade Center. The letter bombs were sent in connection with the treatment of the Egyptian islamists imprisoned for the earlier attack on the WTC. The apparent purpose of the letter bombs — which resulted in minimal casualty — was to send a message. (There was an outstanding $2 million reward now increased to up to $5 million under the Rewards For Justice program.)

    NPR set the scene. It was January 2, 1997, at 9:15 a.m. at the National Press Building in Washington, D.C. The employee of the Saudi-owned newspaper Al Hayat began to open a letter. It was a Christmas card — the kind that plays a musical tune. It was white envelope, five and a half inches by six and a half inches, with a computer-generated address label attached. It had foreign postage and a post mark — a post mark in Alexandria, Egypt. It looked suspiciously bulky, so he set it down and called the police. Minutes later they found a similar envelope. These were the first two of four letter bombs that would arrive at Al Hayat during the day.” A fifth letter bomb addressed to the paper was intercepted at a nearby post office. They all looked the same. Two similar letter bombs addressed to the “parole officer” (a position that does not exist) arrived at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth. It seemed evident how some Grinch had spent the holidays in Alexandria, Egypt.

    Egyptian Saif Adel (Makawwi), thought to be in Iran, was involved in military planning. Adel was a colonel in the Egyptian Army’s Special Forces before joining Al Qaeda. He helped plan the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Africa. He was also a planner in the attack on the USS Cole and has served as the liaison officer between Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. Adel assisted Atef, who had overall responsibility for Al Qaeda’s operations. Attorney Al-Zayyat has said, Makkawi had many times claimed responsibility for operations that were carried out inside Egypt but when the perpetrators were arrested, it would be al-Zawahiri’s name whose name they shouted loyalty to from the docks. Some would even say they did not know a person named Makkawi. After the letter al-Hayat letter bombs were sent in January 1997, Saif Adel (Makawwi) gave a statement denying responsibility on behalf of the Vanguards of Conquest. He got admonished by the unnamed but official spokesman for the Vanguards organization — chastising him as not being authorized to speak for the organization (or even being a member).

    On January 7, 1997 Col Muhammad Makkawi purporting to be speaking for the Egyptian Vanguards of Islamic Conquest said: “Those are messages of admonishment. There is no flirtation between us and the Americans in order for us to send them such alarming messages in such a manner.” Makkawi said that “the Vanguards of Conquest “are heavyweight and would not embark on such childish actions.” US press and political commentaries had hinted at the Vanguards of Conquest organization’s involvement in these attempts. In his statement to `Al-Hayat, Makkawi added “I am surprised that we in particular, and not other parties, should be accused of such an operation.”

    The FBI would not speculate as to who sent the letters or why. But this was your classic “duck that walks like a duck” situation. As NPR reported at the time, “analysts say that letter bombs are rarely sent in batches, and when they are it’s generally prompted by politics, not personal animus.” Al Hayat was a well respected and moderate newspaper. It was friendly to moderate Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt — just as, say NBC and CBS. That, without more, was accurately discerned by observers at the time as sufficient to make the newspaper outlet a target of the militant islamists. The newspaper, its editor explained, does not avoid criticizing militant islamists. The Al Hayat Editor-in-Chief explained: “We’ve been opposed to all extremists in the Arab world, especially the fundamentalists.” Mohammed Salameh, a central defendant in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was sent to Leavenworth in 1994. The other three Egyptian extremists convicted in the bombing were sent to prisons in California, Indiana and Colorado. Like the blind sheik, Abdel Rahman, Salameh had complained of his conditions and asked to be avenged. The Blind Sheik was particularly irked that the prison officials did not cut his fingernails.

    Rahman was convicted in 1995 of seditious conspiracy, bombing conspiracy, soliciting an attack on an U.S. military installation, and soliciting the murder of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. His followers were indicted for plotting to bomb bridges, tunnels and landmarks in New York for which Rahman allegedly had given his blessings. The mailing of deadly letters in connection with an earlier attack on the World Trade Center, was not merely the modus operandi of militant islamists, it was the group’s signature — it’s their calling card. Khaled Abu el-Dahab, a naturalized American, from Silicon Valley in a confession detailed in a state security document from Egypt’s defense ministry dated October 28, 1998, explained that he was trained to make booby-trapped letters to send to important people, as well as asked to enroll in American aviation schools to learn how to fly gliders and helicopters. Dahab was a friend of Ali Mohammed, a former special forces officer in the Egyptian army and former US Army Sergeant.

    Al Hayat reporters, editor and owner were not expressing an opinion — though the owner did lay out various possibilities (e.g., Iraq, Iran etc.). The owner of the paper had commanded Saudi forces during the Persian Gulf War, when Bin Laden was so upset about American troops on the Arabian peninsula. Moreover, al Hayat had recently opened up a Bureau in Jerusalem, giving it a dateline of Jerusalem rather than al Quds, which some thought blasphemous. But none of the possibilities would plausibly explain why the letter bomb was sent to Leavensworth where three of the WTC 1993 defendants were imprisoned, including Ramzi Yousef’s lieutenant who had asked that his mistreatment be avenged. (That was the criminal genius who returned to Ryder to reclaim his deposit after blowing up the truck at WTC). Egyptian security officials claimed that said that the letters were sent from outside of Egypt, the stamps were not available in Egypt, and that the postmark was not Alexandria as reported. Whatever the place of mailing, the sender likely was someone who was upset that KSM’s and Ramzi Yousef’s associates had been imprisoned, to include, most notably, the blind sheik. Whoever is responsible for the anthrax mailings, it is a very good bet that they are upset the blind sheik is detained. That should have been at the center of any classified profile of the crime relied upon by Jennifer at the CIA. And now, uh-oh, they likely are upset that anthrax lab tech Aafia Siddiqui is detained. Isn’t it time for embarrassment to the FBI to not be a consideration — isn’t the priority to get things right and keep the country safe?

    On December 31, 1996 Mohammed Youssef was in Egypt — having gone to Egypt months before. The al Hayat letter bombs related to the detention and alleged mistreatment of the blind sheikh and the WTC bombers were sent 10 days earlier — on the Day of Measures. In 2006, he was named as co-defendant with Hassoun, Daher, Padilla and Jayyousi. Youssef was born in Alexandria. Did authorities suspect the “Florida cell” of being involved in the al Hayat letter bombs? Kifah Jayyousi’s “Islam Report” over the years — distributed by Adham Hassoun in Florida and Kassem Daher in Canada — expressed outrage at detention/extradition due to terrorism law and also what he perceived as attacks on his religion by some newspapers. His headlines on the internet groups blazed “Just In! First Muslim Victim of New Terrorism Law!: US Agents Arrest Paralegal Of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman Without Charge Prepares To Hand Him To Egyptian Regime,” soc.religion.islam, dated April 27, 1996 and “Islam Report (Newspaper Attacks Our Religion! Act Now!,” soc.religion.islam, Apr. 16, 1996

    In connection with the January 1997 letter bombs, Ayman got the know-how to send sophisticated electronic letter bombs from Iraqi intelligence according to one item from the highly controversial Feith memo. In the al Hayat letter bombings, Ayman allowed the finger to be pointed at Libya. In the Amerithrax letters, he allowed the finger to be pointed to a United States biodefense insider. After Hatfill filled the role for a half decade under Rick Lambert’s watch, Dr. Ivins took his place.

    After the Al Hayat letter bombs to newspapers in DC and NYC and people in symbolic positions, in January 1997, both the Blind Sheikh and his paralegal, Sattar, were quoted in separate articles in Al Hayat (in Arabic) denying that they or their supporters were responsible. The Blind Sheikh commented that al Hayat was fair and balanced in its coverage and his supporters would have no reason to “hit” them. Sattar noted that the bombs were mailed on December 20, one day before the brief in support of the blind sheik on appeal. He questioned whether someone (like the FBI) was trying to undermine the appeal’s prospects. The same sort of counterintuitive theory was raised in connection with the earlier letter bombing of newspapers to DC and New York City and people in symbolic positions. But that time it was Ahmed Abdel Sattar who noted that the bombs were mailed on December 20, 1996 one day before the brief in support of the blind sheik on appeal. He questioned whether someone (like the FBI) was trying to undermine the appeal’s prospects. This time, Mr. Sattar did not need any help making the argument with respect to the anthrax letters — numerous people with political agendas rushed to do it for him.

    In September 2006, in a Sahab Media production called “Knowledge is for acting,” there is a clip in which Al Quds editor Atwan refers to his visit with OBL in 1996 (see his 2006 book The Secret History of al Qaeda) and he says that Bin Laden was planning to attack America “and America prisons in particular.” That was an apparent reference to the Al Hayat letter bombs sent to newspapers and prisons in January 1997. There were recurrent references to Abdel-Rahman in the tape.

    Saif Adel, like Ayman Zawahiri, is not a truth-teller. Saif and Ayman think war is deception. So knowing that Adel is behind the Yemen mailbombs requires analysis — the same sort of analysis that was required but botched in the Amerithrax matter. But the suggestion that Saif would not favor such a “low-level attack”— rather than a 9/11 — is misguided. There is nothing low-level about exploding planes brought down in mid-air by an exploding package or mailing anthrax costing $6 billion. Moreover, while he opposed 9-11 at the Kandahar meeting in 2000 because of the response it would cause, we assume his thinking has not evolved at our peril. Above all, Saif is a pragmatist.

  8. DXer said

    An estimated 70 Egyptian militants were rendered by the US to Cairo prior to 9/11 and the anthrax mailings. The fact that targeted assassination was the modus operandi of the US-based islamists — and that he motivation was retaliation for the detention of senior leaders and to create leverage aimed at their release — was established by the first of a series of terrorist attacks in the US — the assassination of radical rabbi Meir Kahane by Egyptian Nosair, who had emigrated from Egypt in 1981. In his address book, Nosair had written the names of some Jewish officials, to include two judges who recently had extradited an Arab terrorist. Nosair’s job had been to protect the blind sheikh in the US. He was a friend of Ali Mohammed who stayed with him when he came to New York. The commentators who argued that Al Qaeda just goes for the “big bang” were overlooking the modus operandi of the Vanguards and what was known about Ayman’s biological program through “open source” materials.

    In his March 2007 confession to a military tribunal, KSM admitted to having been involved in a plot to assassinate a number of former American presidents (including Jimmy Carter), Pope John Paul II and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. In December 2007, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. In January 2008, it was revealed that Jabarah, the go-between KSM and Hambali had vowed to avenge the death of a friend by killing FBI agents and prosecutors he knew and apparently intended to use some steak knives he had secreted. To suggest that Zawahiri and his colleagues do not use targeted assassination as their modus operandi — indeed, to not appreciate that it is the EIJ’s key modus operandi — totally missed the mark.

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