Skip to comments."Saddam's Fingerprints on N.Y. Bombings" (Wall Street Journal, June 1993)
Posted on 04/10/2004 11:29:37 PM PDT by WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
Military retaliation from Baghdad was the main administration concern following Saturday's strike on Iraq. Yet U.S. officials should start thinking seriously about the question of retaliation through terror. It is quite possible, for example, that there was a connection between Saddam and recent attempts to blow up Manhattan. It is quite possible that New York's terror is Saddam's revenge.
Speculation about the responsibility for last week's bombing plot and the earlier World Trade Center bombing has focused on Iran, Sudan, and the fundamentalist Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman. Much energy has been spent linking the terror to Islamic fundamentalism. Yet Saddam, a secular tyrant, is also suspect.
Information already in the public domain allows us to make this case. Start with the fact that the most important person in the Trade Center bombing is an Iraqi, Ramzi Ahmad Yusuf. Known in New York as Rashid, Mr. Yusuf has 11 aliases. The U.S. press has reported that he left Iraq in early 1992, transiting Jordan to Pakistan. He entered New York in early September on Pakistan Airways. Mr. Yusuf, traveling on his Iraqi passport, passed through immigration by requesting asylum. The FBI claims the plot began in August, while Mr. Yusuf was abroad.
Mr. Yusuf soon became the roomate of Mohammed Salameh, the naive Palestinian who repeatedly returned to the van rental agency for his deposit. Passionate, but not bright, Mr. Salameh would appear a ready dupe to an intelligence operative. In trial documents, an Iraqi-American, Musaab Yassin, has stated that he had known Mr. Salameh two years. Mr. Yassin moved into Mr. Salameh's apartment in September 1992, and Mr. Salameh moved out. Mr. Yassin's younger brother, Abboud, lived with him. An Arab who knows Musaab Yassin, like Mr. Yusuf, came to the U.S. in the fall of 1992, seeking medical treatment.
In late November, Mr. Yusuf allegedly ordered chemicals for the bomb and Mr. Salameh rented a locker to store them. The plot was underway. In early February, Mr. Salameh notified his landlord that he and Mr. Yusuf would leave at month's end. On Feb. 26 the World Trade Center was bombed. Messrs. Salameh and Yusuf vacated their apartment two days later.
Mr. Salameh was arrested March 4. Musaab Yassin returned home that day to find the FBI searching his apartment, while Abboud had been taken for questioning. Abboud Yassin told the FBI that he taught Mr. Salameh to drive the van that carried the bomb, that he accompanied Mr. Salameh to an apartment later identified as the bomb's testing ground; and Abboud Yassin's information helped lead the FBI to the locker where the chemicals had been stored. The U.S. press reports that Abboud Yassin then returned to Iraq, as did Mr. Yusuf. The New York Times reported that Arabs who knew Mr. Salameh and the second Palestinian arrested, Nidal Ayyad, said that the two had "close ties with two Iraqis, one of whom they say was named Rashid, but both of whom have since disappeared."
This information, although sketchy, indicates Iraqi activity. If Mr. Yusuf, the key figure, had worked for Iran, Tehran would not have let him return to Iraq. Given the totalitarian nature of the Iraqi regime, even Abboud Yassin's return to Iraq is significant. An innocent man would, arguably, have chosen to stay in the U.S. - he would have a better chance of a fair hearing in a U.S. court than before an Iraqi intelligence officer. If Abboud Yassin was involved in the bombing - but was not acting under Baghdad's instruction - then it was even more imprudent for him to return to Iraq. Mr. Yusuf and Abboud Yassin could have gone to Afghanistan, where they would not have exposed themselves to the potentially fatal suspicions of Baghdad's intelligence agencies.
That two men involved came from Iraq and returned there is reason enough to consider an Iraqi role in the World Trade Center bombing. What other possible evidence is there? It has been reported that the bombing suspects received money from abroad: up to $100,000 from Germany, Iran, and "another Middle Eastern Country." That country is probably Jordan, shielded by U.S. authorities who continue protecting Amman for the sake of the "peace process." Without knowing how much money came from each country, though, it is hard to exclude Iraq. Last but not least, it is worth noting that the February bombing occurred on the second anniversary of Kuwait's liberation.
What about last week's arrests? The FBI arrested five Sudanese and three others as it broke up a second bombing plot. The conspirators' first target was the United Nations' headquarters. Other targets were added, including FBI headquarters in New York. Additionally, four assassinations were planned, including that of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and U.N. secretary general Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Like the Trade Center bombing, much of this operation was amateurish. The conspiracy instigator, Siddiq Ibrahim Ali, had a plan to get a car into the FBI building, but it was amateurish (he proposed shooting the guards). Professional terrorists divide their organizations into small cells, each devoted to specific tasks. These planners used a large group in which every participant was known to the others, so that the entire plot could quickly unravel once one member was caught. Yet, like the World Trade Center bombing, this was audacious. Had it suceeded, thousands could have died.
It's important to note that both the Trade Center bombing and the later plot represent something new - at least in the West. Saddam, however, commits that kind of carnage on a daily basis. Two of the nations thought to be behind the second plot are not ideal suspects. Khartoum is suspected, because Sudanese played a big role in the plot. With Iran, Sudanese has been involved in a violent campaign to overthrow secular governments in North Africa, including Mr. Boutros-Ghali's own government in Cairo. But Khartoum has not sponsored terrorism against U.S. targets. That it should suddenly support potentially the most devastating anti-American attack ever makes little sense. A separate question though is whether Sudanese diplomats could be bought. This is possible, since Khartoum is broke, and months behind in paying its diplomats. Iranian sponsorship of the plot is also unlikely. Iran has no big quarrel with the U.N. - it benefits from the U.N.'s disarmament of Iraq. The U.N. is not the obvious target for Muslim extremists. Their quarrel is with the U.S. They could have easily chosen an American target. Explaining why fundamentalists would bomb the U.N. is possible, but the explanation is strained - that they see the U.N. as a U.S. surrogate; that their violence is caused by anger at many issues involving the U.N., including Bosnia, Somalia and the Palestinians. The Trade Center suspects issued a set of demands that the U.S. stop aiding Israel and stop interfering in the internal affairs of Middle Eastern countries.
Saddam by contrast has every reason to attack the U.N. Saddam also hates Egypt's Mubarak and wants him dead, no less than he wanted George Bush dead. Baghdad Radio threatened Mr. Bush personally during the Gulf War and Mubarak as well, "Does he (Mubarak) think that the crime he committed against the people of Iraq will go unpunished?... Prepare yourself for it and shiver at the thought."
Attention has focused on the Iranian-Sudanese relationship. But Baghdad could as easily recruit Sudanese as Tehran. For Saddam, Iraqi sponsorship would be vengeance with a twist. Baghdad wants Washington to blame Iran for the terror striking America's shores. If it doesn't and fundamentalists are caught, that too is fine, because it promotes a hysteria about Islamic fundamentalism and Iran which, Saddam calculates, would eventually benefit Iraq. If Saddam is behind the attacks, more will surely follow. The focus of the New York investigations should shift to the question of state sponsorship. If considerable evidence points to Saddam, then President Clinton must fulfill his Saturday pledge: "We will combat terrorism. We will deter aggrssion. We will protect our people."
Iraq Linked to WTC Attack Tactic
(October 16, 2001)
The Jerusalem Post
By Melissa Radler
NEW YORK (October 14) - An Iraqi intelligence agent who met with suspected hijacker Muhammad Atta six months ago in Prague helped devise the terrorist tactics that downed the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon, according to an Iraqi opposition group.
An official at the Iraqi National Congress (INC) in Washington said the terrorist plot was hatched by Farouk Hijazi, Iraq's ambassador to Turkey and a former brigadier-general in the General Intelligence Directorate (GID), and its current brigadier-general, Habib Ma'amouri.
The two worked together at the GID's Special Operations Branch in Salman Pak, south of Baghdad, according to the INC official.
Ma'amouri was in charge of special operations from 1982-90, where Hijazi lectured on espionage, assassination, and hijacking following the Gulf War, said the official.
"The plan of controlling a civilian airplane with full fuel tanks, using teams of five and items that can be easily carried aboard a plane, such as knives, and then using the plane as a guided missile was hatched by Ma'amouri and Hijazi at Salman Pak some time before 1995," said the INC official.
According to an article in the October 15 issue of Newsweek, Atta met Hijazi in Prague in April. Hijazi last received widespread press attention in 1998, after he visited Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.
In June, 2000, Atta met with agent Ahmed Ani, a former Iraqi consul who was expelled from the Czech Republic in April on suspicion of espionage.
Despite the earlier official denials, the anthrax in the mail turns out to be weapons-grade, finely ground and with electrostatic charges eliminated to facilitate aerial spread. After weeks of official denials, similarly, the Czech interior minister confirms that Mohamed Atta met with a ranking Iraqi spy on his route to the United States.
This should be a scales-from-the-eyes moment, but our government is back at the old stand, stressing that any Ph.D. microbiologist can whomp up weapons-grade anthrax and leaking that the FBI and CIA suspect domestic cranks. Perhaps this time it's true, but I for one am not reassured. Yes, other scenarios are conceivable, but why ignore the elephant standing in the corner of the room? To wit, Saddam Hussein. Consider:
Saddam has the anthrax. After his defeat in the Gulf War, U.N. inspectors found he'd deployed missiles and artillery shells loaded with anthrax, botulism toxin and nerve gas. We do not need to speculate; we know that he's capable of milling anthrax to military grade and eliminating its electrostatic charge.
Saddam has no compunction about using such weapons. He used poison gas in his war with Iran. He also used it to suppress Kurdish Iraqis; an attack in the town of Halabja in 1988 killed some 5,000. Chief U.N. inspector Richard Butler recently wrote in the New York Times, "I concluded that biological weapons are closest to President Hussein's heart because it was in this area that his resistance to our work reached its height. He seemed to think killing with germs has a lot to recommend it."
Saddam has a record of terrorism against Americans. In particular, he mounted an assassination plot against former President Bush when he visited Kuwait in 1993. The CIA said it was "highly confident" that the car-bomb attempt had been ordered by "Iraqi government, at the highest levels."
In a Prague press conference, Interior Minister Stanislav Gross said that apparent September 11 ringleader Atta "did have a contact with an officer of the Iraqi intelligence, Mr. Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani." The Iraqi was expelled shortly afterwards.
Iraqi defector Sabah Khalifa Khodada Alami says he was a member of a unit training airline hijackers at Salman Pak south of Baghdad, where Iraqi biological facilities are also located. The potential hijackers, he says, trained on a Boeing 707 parked at the facility. Espionage author Edward Jay Epstein notes that while cabin crews and passengers reported the September 11 hijackings, none of the eight pilots got off a warning.
The man in the street knows an elephant when he sees it. A Reuters/Zogby poll found last week that some 74% of respondents are ready to expand the war to include Saddam. But at official levels there's a history of denying evidence of unpleasant truths such as arms control violations, Soviet-era missile buildups and assassination plots on the Pope. As the authors of the New York Times story on the Prague news conference delicately put it, "it seemed possible that American officials, concerned about the political implications of Iraqi involvement in terror attacks, had put pressure on the Czechs to keep quiet."
Even the Bush administration has to rely on bureaucracies at State, Defense and the CIA. In a recent article for us, former CIA chief James Woolsey cited plenty of reasons, ranging from bureaucratic lethargy to eight years of Clinton spinning, that the spy agency he tried to run might slough off the Saddam connection. Even before the confirmation of weapons-grade anthrax, indeed, he was warning in the New Republic of the need to plumb the possibility that "the attacks--whether perpetrated by bin Laden and his associates or by others--were sponsored, supported, and perhaps even ordered by Saddam Hussein."
Mr. Woolsey cites the work of Laurie Mylroie, author of "Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War Against America." She's assembled evidence that Saddam was behind the original bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. She centers on the bombing mastermind, who entered the country on an Iraqi passport for Ramzi Yousef, and fled the night of the bombing on a Pakistani passport bearing the name Abdul Basit Karim. He was later implicated in another bomb plot in the Philippines and arrested in Pakistan; he was extradited and convicted of the bombing and is now in federal prison.
The point is that Kuwaiti police files do show an Abdul Basit Karim, whose fingerprints match Yousef's. However, Yousef is six feet tall, while Abdul Basit was only 5-foot-8; other discrepancies abound. The real Abdul Basit and his family vanished with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, when Iraqi occupiers also had control of the police files and could have created a fake identity for one of their agents. If so, the 1993 bombing mastermind was an obvious Saddam agent. Miss Mylroie says the government has refused to take people who knew Abdul Basit to witness Yousef in prison to confirm his identity.
James Fox, the initial FBI investigator of the 1993 bombing, suspected an Iraqi connection. Instead, the case became the genesis of the notion of "loose networks" of Islamic militants now used to explain the September 11 attacks. But as widely reported at the time, in 1998 Farouk Hijazi, Iraq's ambassador to Turkey and one of its top intelligence officials, traveled to meet Osama bin Laden at his Afghan camps near Kandahar.
The government's responsibility here is not to make a criminal case beyond any reasonable (let alone any conceivable) doubt. It is to protect American lives, some 5,000 of which have just been lost in an act of war. Saddam Hussein has the motive, means and opportunity to mount terrorism, and the anthrax attacks fit his modus operandi. There is plenty of reason to presume he's behind the current attacks, with bin Laden and his al Qaeda network as a front or ally. In any event, given his capabilities and intentions, he remains a threat to American lives as long as he's at large.
Saddam's involvement would have several implications. First, the attacks are not likely to stop easily. Second, he has the capability of escalating, for example releasing biological weapons or nerve gas as aerosols rather than in letters. And third, our troops may be bogged down in the snows of Afghanistan while the main enemy goes untouched.
Mr. Bartley is editor of The Wall Street Journal. His column appears Mondays in the Journal and on OpinionJournal.com.
Phil Brennan, NewsMax.comEditor's note: Part one of series: FBI and Anthrax: Another TWA 800 in the Making? Part two: FBI Ignored Letter in Anthrax Probe. Part three: FBI Rejects Link Between Anthrax, 9-11 Terrorists.
Saturday, Aug. 17, 2002
BOCA RATON, Fla. Plenty of evidence implicates Iraq in the anthrax attacks on America. But the FBI doesn't seem interested.
Creating, or weaponizing, deadly inhalation anthrax spores is a highly sophisticated process. Some say that the spores involved in the attacks had all the earmarks of having been produced in some government's facility because the job would have been beyond the capability of a lone wolf working in a basement lab.
According to the Weekly Standard's opinion editor, David Tell: "In order to produce inhalation anthrax, bacterial spore-particles must be small enough no more than a couple or three microns wide to reach a victim's lower respiratory mucosa. And for decades, until very recently, scientists believed that the mechanical milling required to produce such fine dust artificially would also produce a charge of static electricity sufficient to bind anthrax spores together into oversized, harmless clumps.
"To prevent this from happening to keep the spores separate, 'floaty,' and therefore deadly bioweapons specialists in the United States and elsewhere went to considerable lengths to identify a chemical additive that would, like throwing a sheet of Bounce into your clothes dryer, remove the static.
"It has been widely reported, but never confirmed, that American scientists eventually settled on silica. It has been just as widely reported, and more or less confirmed, that the Soviet and Iraqi biowarfare programs each at some point used a substance called bentonite, instead."
Thus Iraq is ruled out. Right?
Writes Tell: "Before they were kicked out of Iraq for good, U.N. weapons inspectors concluded that Saddam's military biologists were no longer relying on mechanical milling machines to render dried-out paste-colonies of anthracis bacteria into fine dust, but had instead refined a spray drying technique that produced the dust in a single step. And the suspected key ingredient in this Iraqi innovation, interestingly enough: pharmaceutical-grade silica, a common industrial drying agent."
Moreover, Tell explains that silica, or silicon dioxide, is simple quartz or sand, the most abundant solid material on Earth. "Bentonite" is the generic term for a class of natural or processed clays derived from volcanic ash, all of which are themselves mineral compounds of silica and not all of which necessarily contain aluminum.
In other words: Trace amounts of silica in an anthrax powder are consistent with the presence of bentonite. And the absence of aluminum from that powder is not enough to exculpate any foreign germ-warfare factory thought to have used bentonite in the past.
Tell is far from alone in believing that the anthrax used in the AMI and subsequentt attacks originated in Iraq.
Most convincing is the contention of Dr. Khidhir Hamza, a former top official in Iraq's program on weapons of mass destruction. He disagrees with the FBI's domestic terrorism hunch.
'This Is Saddam'
"This is Iraq," Hamza told CNBC. "This is Iraq's work.
"Nobody [else] has the expertise outside the U.S. and outside the major powers who work on germ warfare. Nobody has the expertise and has any motive to attack the U.S. except Saddam to do this. This is Iraq. This is Saddam."
The Iraqi weapons expert told CNBC that his homeland had developed the capability to weaponize anthrax even before he defected to the U.S. seven years ago, and continues to maintain that capability.
"I have absolutely no doubt," he said. "Iraq worked actually even before the Gulf War on perfecting the process of getting anthrax in the particle size needed in powder form to disseminate the way it is being disseminated now."
After linking the Iraqi dictator to the U.S. anthrax attacks, the man familiar with Saddam's secret doomsday strategy said he thought the anthrax contamination of America's postal system was just the opening salvo in Saddam's bioterror war on the U.S.
"Probaby this is the first wave," Dr. Hamza told CNBC. "I'm not trying to frighten everybody in this, but probably this is the first wave."
Whats Known About Iraqs Bioweapons
According to an analysis by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, U.N. documents from UNSCOM disclosed the following:
In its final report to the Security Council, UNSCOM determined that Iraq had not accounted for 520 kilograms of yeast extract growth medium specifically for anthrax. This amount of growth medium is sufficient for the production of 26,000 liters of anthrax spores more than three times the amount that Iraq declared before the U.N.
Iraq's planned storage capacity for all its biological agents reached 80,000 to 100,000 liters.
About 200 biological aerial bombs were additionally produced. However, according to the U.N., Iraq's most effective biological weapons platform was a helicopter-borne aerosol generator that worked like an insecticide disseminator (perhaps intended for domestic use or against Iranian troops close to the Iraqi border).
The disseminator was successfully field tested. Dispersal research for biological weapons was conducted by Salman Pak Technical Research Center. Iraq engaged in genetic engineering research to produce antibiotic resistant strains of anthrax spores.
The success of this research is unknown.
Iraq conducted drying studies for anthrax in 1989-90. Nonetheless, it formally denied having a drying capability in documents it submitted to the U.N. Security Council dated February 1999.
According to Baghdad's National Monitoring Directorate, Iraq was blocked from importing a special spray dryer for anthrax from a Danish company, Niro Atomizer. Claiming that its biological weapons were kept only in a wet slurry form, and thereby possessed a limited shelf life, Iraq argued that any remaining biological materials were no longer toxic, as it sought the lifting of U.N. sanctions.
Butler wrote that Iraq was trying to refine its crude anthrax "to the more potent, longer-living form of dry, small particles," but UNSCOM was not able to ascertain what level of proficiency had been achieved. Butler's former weapons inspectors told ABC News on Oct. 26 that Iraq had used bentonite as an additive to keep anthrax particles small.
Assessing Iraqi Connection to the U.S. Anthrax Attacks
Iraqi defectors have reported that "Islamicists" trained on a Boeing 707 in Salman Pak during 2000 (William Safire, New York Times, Oct. 22, 2001).
As noted, Salman Pak had been one of the main Iraqi biological weapons centers as well. Thus, equipping international terrorists with biological agents and training them could be accomplished in one location.
The anthrax used in the U.S. is responsive to antibiotic treatment. According to ABC News, the additive that Iraq characteristically put into its dried anthrax, bentonite, was found by a Maryland laboratory in the anthrax sent to Senate plurality leader Tom Daschle. Still, a White House official called this determination "an opinionated analysis."
In this context, it is important to note that UNSCOM discovered the involvement of Iraq's Special Security Organization in its bioweapons program. This is the military unit that protects Saddam Hussein.
Biological weapons are Hussein's preferred weapons, in the near term. But these are political weapons, useful against the enemies of the Iraqi regime: Aflatoxin does not work on the battlefield but rather causes liver cancer over many years.
Butler told the Jerusalem Center last year that Tariq Aziz, Iraq's prime minister, admitted privately that Iraq's biological weapons were for "the Zionist entity."
It is premature to conclude at this point that Iraq stands behind the anthrax attacks in the United States. But the evidence from the U.N. weapons inspections of the 1990s makes Iraq a prime suspect.
Should Iraq become a target of the U.S. war on terrorism and Hussein feels his regime threatened, adequate domestic preparations need to be made in the U.S. and Israel in the event that Iraq decides to retaliate with bioweapons. Even if U.S. officials decide that Iraq is not the source of the anthrax attack, but nonetheless Iraq is attacked for other reasons, a biological response by Iraq cannot be ruled out. 
Iraq's Link to Atta
The Czech government has confirmed meetings between Sept. 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and a top Iraqi intelligence official in Prague last June. Reports that Osama bin Laden was able to buy anthrax from a factory in the Czech Republic add further legitimacy to suspicions of a foreign bioterror tie. Iraqs intelligence service is in charge of Iraqs anthrax program.
In spite of previous denials that the meeting ever took place, and serious doubts by the CIA and FBI, the White House later backed claims that Atta secretly met five months earlier with an Iraqi agent in Prague, a possible indication that Hussein's regime was involved in the terror attacks, according to the Washington Post.
Some knowledgeable sources have suggested that Atta was given anthrax during that meeting.
A new and startling piece of information has now been brought to light by David Tell. Writing in the Weekly Standard on July 17, Tell revealed that a Pakistani named Syed Athar Abbas had agreed to plead guilty to check-kiting charges.
"Abbas," it appears, "from on or about June 7, 2001, through on or about July 10, 2001," defrauded two banks, a Wells Fargo branch in Woodland Hills, California, and a Fleet Bank branch in Fort Lee, New Jersey, of slightly more than $100,000 by manipulating three checking accounts he'd opened for a bogus Fort Lee business alternately known as "Dot Com Computer" and "Cards.Com."
So what did he have to do with anthrax? A lot.
Tell reports that the FBI, "pursuing some thus far undisclosed lead, originally went looking for Abbas in the first few days after September 11 at his presumed address on the top floor of a commercial building in Fort Lee." That city, Tell notes, "is thought to have been home at some point to Nawaq and Salem Alhamzi, both of whom helped fly American Airlines Flight 77 into side of the Pentagon."
The bureau couldnt find Abbas. His former landlord told the FBI that the man had suddenly abandoned his Fort Lee lease more than a month before and had disappeared without a trace. It turned out hed gone home to Pakistan to care for his dying father. All in all, it would appear that Syed Athar Abbas is not that big a deal.
He is. Thanks to a reporter named Rocco Parascandola, who covers law enforcement and the courts for Newsday in New York, we know why hes a big deal.
On Dec. 27, Parascandola noticed something very interesting about Abbas. When the FBI first sought to interview Abbas back in September, it did not discover that he was a run-of-the-mill check-kiting scam artist. What it did learn was Abbas was "an abruptly vanished fugitive" who, using an alias, had recently "arranged to pay $100,000 in cash" roughly the amount he'd stolen from Wells Fargo and Fleet for the purchase and shipment of a "fine-food particulate mixer," a "sophisticated machine used commercially" to do various things you wouldn't expect an outfit called Computers Dot Com to do.
Such as "mix chemicals," for example," Tell writes.
Parascandola reported that it's been established Abbas did take possession of this machine at the "Computers Dot Com" offices in Fort Lee last summer, but had the thing "immediately transported elsewhere" before leaving for Pakistan.
Federal investigators "have not been able to locate the industrial food mixer" in question, which problem continues to be of some "concern," he reported. All the more so because, despite his guilty plea and promise of restitution to the banks he bilked, Abbas has "refused to cooperate with investigators trying to find out more about his accomplices or the mixer."
"The $100,000 particulate mixer Parascandola describes, incidentally, is the exact same technology commonly employed by major food and pharmaceutical manufacturers to process fluid-form organic and inorganic compounds into powder: first to dry those compounds; next to grind the resulting mixture into tiny specks of dust, as small as a single micron in diameter; then to coat those dust specks with a chemical additive, if necessary, to maximize their motility or 'floatiness'; and finally to aerate the stuff for end-use packaging. In other words, this is how you'd put Aunt Jemima pancake mix in its box. Or place concentrations of individual anthrax spores into letters addressed to Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy."
Now this is dynamite, but it seems that the FBI is ignoring another explosive piece to the anthrax puzzle. Writes Tell: "I know of no hard evidence to suggest that Syed Athar Abbas is 'the' anthrax terrorist or any kind of anthrax terrorist, for that matter." What he does know, he says, is that "Mr. Abbas has been ignored."
Next: the FBI and Dr. Hatfill: another Richard Jewell case?
 Dore Gold, Publisher; Saul Singer and Mark Ami-El, Managing Editors. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (Registered Amuta), 13 Tel-Hai St., Jerusalem, Israel; Tel. 972-2-5619281, Fax. 972-2-5619112, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. In U.S.: Center for Jewish Community Studies, 1515 Locust St., Suite 703, Philadelphia, PA 19102-3726; Tel. (215) 772-0564, Fax. (215) 772-0566. Web site: www.jcpa.org. © Copyright. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Under an overcast sky at the Norfolk naval base in Virginia, President Clinton led thousands of US servicemen in mourning the 17 victims of last week's blast, as the state department warned that more attacks against US citizens could be on the way in the Middle East or Turkey.
In Aden, Yemeni police and FBI agents were examining a flat apparently rented by the bomb makers four days before the attack. Bomb-making materials were found in the flat, which was rented by two non-Yemeni Arabs, at least one of whom had a Gulf accent, local residents said. They kept a fibre glass boat parked nearby.
It was not clear whether the missing suspects were the two men who manoeuvred their small boat alongside the USS Cole and blew themselves up, or whether they were technicians spirited out of the country after the attack.
Paying tribute to the Cole victims, Mr Clinton said: "To those who attacked them we say: You will not find a safe harbour. We will find you and justice will prevail. America will not stop standing guard for peace, for freedom or stability in the Middle East or around the world."
Vincent Cannistraro, the CIA's former head of counter-terrorist operations and a respected expert on Middle Eastern terrorism, said the timing, location and method of the attack pointed to Bin Laden's terrorist network, al-Qaeda. He said it was the only group in the area which has issued a fatwa (a religiously inspired death sentence) against US and British citizens.
Bin Laden, a Saudi national based in Afghanistan, has Yemeni family roots and close links with some of the local tribal warlords. A few weeks before the attack, he distributed a video in which he issued familiar calls for a holy war against the "forces of evil". He was wearing Yemeni tribal costume and a Yemeni dagger.
"He's puckish like that. On one hand he does not want to give out his address, but on the other hand, he likes to let his followers know he is leading the fight," Mr Cannistraro said.
He argued that the sophistication of the bomb - an estimated 272kg of high explosive shaped and placed within a metal container to channel the blast and penetrate the armoured hull of the USS Cole - suggested the involvement of a state.
"The Iraqis have wanted to be able to carry out terrorism for some time now," Mr Cannistraro said. "Their military people have had liaison with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and could well have supplied the training."
He said the theory was still speculative but was consistent with the series of recent contacts between Baghdad and the Bin Laden organisation.
Harvey Kushner, a terrorism expert at Long Island University, said there was reason to believe Bin Laden had been investigating ways of launching attacks by sea. "He's been looking around for small, personal submarines. One of his relatives in the United States had an order in for one of these personal submarines, and it was stopped," Mr Kushner said.
Other terrorism experts agreed the boat bomb was a significant technical advance on earlier terrorist attacks, such as the bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania two years ago.
The bodies of six of the US sailors killed in the blast were still being extracted from the wreckage left by the blast, which punched a 12-metre hole in the ship.
Investigators in Aden were studying video surveillance tapes of the port from the hours leading up to the attack.
Note: This Wall Street Journal article by Laurie Mylroie is dated 6/28/1993.
Please FReepmail me if you want on or off my infrequent miscellaneous ping list.
This is the MOST informative thread I have ever read on FR and I just found it this morning.
After five hours of reading, I've barely scratched the surface. There's just so much information here.
Please put a link to this thread as often as you can. Your time line of events is fascinating and the USS Cole and the Bali bombings are also notable.
Thanks so much, WPTG.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.