Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Trusting Muslims?

Al-Timimi’s computer skills got him a job at SRA International where Ali worked as a “bioinformatics software architect” providing information technology to the government. Some of his jobs required that Ali obtain a high-level security clearance. One job resulted in a letter of recommendation from the White House.

Bin Laden's Infiltration Of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

By Ross E. Getman

a. Hardball Tactics In An Era Of Threats

A colleague of famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID head Charles Bailey, a prolific Ames strain researcher, has been convicted of sedition and sentenced to life in prison. He worked in a program co-sponsored by the American Type Culture Collection and had access to ATCC facilities, as well as facilities of the George Mason University Center for Biodefense. The Center for Biodefense was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The Center was run by Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey. The bionformatics grad student once had a high security clearance for mathematical support work for the Navy. In the 1990s, Ayman Zawahiri had Ali Mohammed infiltrate the CIA and US Army, and dupe the FBI. He did it all over again with Ali Al-Timimi. If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.

The Washington Post, in an article “Hardball Tactics in an Era of Threats,” dated September 3, 2006 summarized events relating to George Mason University microbiology graduate student Ali Al-Timimi. The well-spoken Al-Timimi had rock star status in Salafist circles. He lectured in July 2001 (in Toronto) and August 2001 (in London) on the coming “end of times” and signs of the coming day of judgment. He spoke alongside officials of a charity, Islamic Assembly of North America (”IANA”) promoting the views of Bin Laden’s sheiks. Another speaker was Ali’s mentor, Bilal Philips, an unindicted WTC 1993 conspirator (among about 170 others). Bilal Philips worked in the early 1990s to recruit US servicemen. Dr. Philips has explained the Saudi-funded program in magazine interviews.

The Washington Post explained last Fall:

‘In late 2002, the FBI’s Washington field office received two

similar tips from local Muslims: Timimi was running ‘an Islamic group known as the Dar al-Arqam’ that had ‘conducted military-style training,’ FBI special agent John Wyman would later write in an affidavit.

Wyman and another agent, Wade Ammerman, pounced on the tips. Searching the Internet, they found a speech by Timimi celebrating the crash of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003, according to the affidavit. The agents also found that Timimi was in contact with Sheikh Safar al-Hawali, a Saudi whose anti-Western speeches in the early 1990s had helped inspire bin Laden.

The agents reached an alarming conclusion: ‘Timimi is an Islamist supporter of Bin Laden’ who was leading a group ‘training for jihad,’ the agent wrote in the affidavit. The FBI even came to speculate that Timimi, a doctoral candidate pursuing cancer gene research, might have been involved in the anthrax attacks.

On a frigid day in February 2003, the FBI searched Timimi’s brick townhouse on Meadow Field Court, a cul-de-sac near Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. Among the items they were seeking, according to court testimony: material on weapons of mass destruction.”
According to witness testimony in the prosecution of the Virginia Paintball Defendants, after September 11, 2001, “Al-Timimi stated that the attacks may not be Islamically permissible, but that they were not a tragedy, because they were brought on by American foreign policy.” The FBI first contacted Timimi shortly after 9/11. He met with FBI agents 7 or 8 times in the months leading up to his arrest. Al-Timimi is a US citizen born in Washington DC. His house was searched, his passport taken and his telephone monitored. Ali Al Timimi defended his PhD thesis in computational biology shortly after his indictment for recruiting young men to fight the US.

Some of his communications in 2002 with dissident Saudi sheik Sheik Safar al-Hawali, one of the two fundamentalist sheikhs who were friends and mentors of Bin Laden, were intercepted. The two radical sheiks had been imprisoned from September 1994 to June 1999. Al-Hawali’s detention was expressly the subject of Al Qaeda’s claim of responsibility for Bin Laden’s 1996 Declaration of War against the United States and the 1998 embassy bombings.
Upon his indictment, in September 2004, al-Timimi explained he had been offered a plea bargain of 14 years, but he declined. He quoted Sayyid Qutb. He said he remembered “reading his books and loving his teaching” as a child, and that Qutb’s teaching was prevented from signing something that was false by “the finger that bears witness.” He noted that he and his lawyers asked that authorities hold off the indictment until he had received his PhD, but said that unfortunately they did not wait.

The indictment against the paintball defendants alleged that at an Alexandria, Virginia residence, in the presence of a representative of BIF, the defendants watched videos depicting Mujahadeen engaged in Jihad and discussed a training camp in Bosnia. His defense lawyer says that the FBI searched the townhouse of “to connect him to the 9/11 attacks or to schemes to unleash a biological or nuclear attack.” Famed head of the former Russian bioweaponeering program Ken Alibek told me that he would occasionally see him in the hallways at George Mason, where they both were in the microbiology department, and was vaguely aware that he was an islamic hardliner. When what his defense counsel claims was an FBI attempt to link him to a planned biological attack failed, defense counsel says that investigators focused on his connections to the men who attended his lectures at the local Falls Church, Va. In the end, he was indicted for inciting them to go to Afghanistan to defend the Taliban against the United States.

During deliberations, he reportedly was very calm, reading Genome Technology and other scientific journals. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment plus 70 years.
The month before they searched Ali’s townhouse, they questioned Umar Lee. Police arrested Mr. Lee, an American-born Muslim in St. Louis, in mid-February 2003 on an unrelated charge and questioned him about whether he was planning any attacks against the U.S. government. Bret Darren Lee, whose Muslim name is Umar ben-Livan (and for simplicity he shortens it to “Umar Lee”), said that he was stunned by the questions asked by the FBI agents: “I just looked at them. I didn’t think they’d asked me anything worth responding to.” Mr. Lee said he was sleeping in his apartment about 5 a.m. Sunday when he was woken by loud knocking on his door. But rather than a Muslim neighbor waking him for prayers, it was several police officers with weapons drawn.

They put Lee up against a wall and asked whether he had any weapons in the apartment. The National Rifle Association sticker affixed to the apartment’s front door was a cheap version of an alarm system. While he was down at the station house, the FBI agents spent a half-hour questioning his wife about whether he was a terrorist and his thoughts about the Taliban. Umar tells me that the suspicion reported in the Washington Post that Ali was involved in the anthrax mailings is nonsense. On his popular and lucidly-written blog, he clarified a quotation of his that appeared at the time in the Washington Post’s “Hardball Tactics in an Era of Threats.”

Two weeks later, at the same time the FBI was searching the townhouse of PhD candidate Ali Timimi, searches and arrests moved forward elsewhere. In Moscow, Idaho, FBI agents interviewed Nabil Albaloushi. (The FBI apparently searched his apartment at the same time they searched the apartment of IANA webmaster Sami al-Hussayen, who they had woken from bed at 4:00 a.m.) Albaloushi was a PhD candidate expert in drying foodstuffs. His thesis in 2003 was 350 pages filled with charts of drying coefficients. Interceptions showed a very close link between IANA’s Sami al-Hussayen and Sheikh al-Hawali, to include the setting up of websites, the providing of vehicles for extended communication, and telephone contact with intermediaries of Sheikh al-Hawali. Al-Hussayen had al-Hawali’s phone number upon the search of his belongings upon his arrest.

Former Washington State University animal geneticist and nutrition researcher Ismail Diab, who had moved to Syracuse to work for an IANA-spin-off, also was charged in Syracuse and released as a material witness to a financial investigation of the IANA affiliate “Help The Needy.” After the government failed to ask Dr. Diab any questions for nearly 3 months, the magistrate bail restrictions and removed the electronic monitoring and curfew requirements.

In Moscow, Idaho, the activities by IANA webmaster Sami al-Hussayen that drew scrutiny involved these same two radical sheiks. U.S. officials say the two sheiks influenced al Qaeda’s belief that Muslims should wage holy war against the U.S. until it ceases to support Israel and withdraws from the Middle East. Sami Hussayen, who was acquitted, made numerous calls and wrote many e-mails to the two clerics, sometimes giving advice to them about running Arabic-language websites on which they espoused their anti-Western views.

At his sentencing, Dr. Al-Timimi spoke in clear and measured tones:

“I will not admit guilt nor seek the Court’s mercy. I do this not out of any disrespect to the Court. I do this simply because I am innocent.

My claim of innocence is not because of any inherent misunderstanding on my part as to the nature of the crimes for which I was convicted nor is it because my Muslim belief recognizes sharia rather than secular law. It is merely because I am innocent. …

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I declare the government’s recitation poor as it stripped those words of their meaning.

***Imprisonment of any term, as this Court well knows, is a crisis for the incarcerated and his or her loved ones. I am no exception to that.

But the real crisis brought on my imprisonment, I sincerely believe is America’s. For if my conviction is to stand, it would mean that two hundred and thirty years of America’s tradition of protecting the individual from the tyrannies and whims of the sovereign will have come to an end. And that which is exploited today to persecute a single member of a minority will most assuredly come back to haunt the majority tomorrow.”

KSM invoked George Washington in his statement to a military tribunal in March 2007. That was far less compelling because he was admitting to many serious crimes. The evidence presented at trial, however, was offered only to show that Dr. Al-Timimi was guilty of nothing other than exhorting some young men to go abroad and defend their faith. It seems that, under the government’s case, his only crime was to put his religion before his nation-state. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 70 years. As one Washington Post reporter said of such cases, the government seems to be engaged in shadow boxing.

As Al-Timimi explained in his eloquent statement upon sentencing, he was convicted out of fear.

The former head of the DARPA Biological Counermeasures Program, Dr. Stephen S. Morse, in an interview airing on Charlie Rose on October 10, 2001, explained that there was no need for the public to fear. He noted that maybe the mailer had a personal reason — no reason to assume the Florida death related to terrorism or a large group. Dr. Morse urged that we put it into perspective and inform the public so as to remove the mystery. He explained we should not allow ourselves to feel fear . As reiterated in other interviews that week, he said mailed anthrax was not a great danger. As those words aired, however, more letters were en route from that mailbox at 10 Nassau St. in Princeton. The anthrax mailer asked a pointed question in the letter containing a much more highly refined product — product that aerosolized much more readily. The new batch of letters asked: “Are you afraid?”

The answer was clearly yes.

In a November 30, 2004 letter of appeal circulated in sympathetic circles in the US and the UK, Bilal Philips encouraged Muslims to assist Al-Timimi “financially, morally or politically.” The letter urged that “whatever the charges against him [Al-Timimi] may be, from an Islamic perspective they are false and contrived in order to silence the Da’wah to correct Islam.” Dr. Timimi has a substantial pending appeal relating to warrantless wiretapping and the First Amendment. Dr. Timimi’s attorney likely is understandably annoyed that they keep moving Al-Timimi between prisons. George Washington University Professor Turley, his counsel on appeal, explained that last year they were playing a game of “Where’s Waldo?”, preventing him from consulting with his client.

b. The Education of Ali Al-Timimi: Summons to Conquest
Milton Viorst, who knew Ali as a teenager, wrote a fascinating, balanced and sympathetic portrait in “The Education of Ali Al-Timimi” that appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, June 2006. In Saudi Arabia, Al-Timimi had been mentored by a Saudi-trained Canadian imam Bilal Philips. Philips was Al-Timimi’s Islamic Studies teacher at Manaret Riyadh High School in the early 1980s. Al-Timimi adopted Philips’ view that “The clash of civilizations is a reality,” and “Western culture led by the United States is an enemy of Islam.” Between 1991 and 1993, Philips relocated to the Mindinao, Philippines, where he taught at an islamic school. In 1993, according to an interview he gave in a London-based Arabic-language magazine interview, Philips ran a program to convert US soldiers to Islam stationed in Saudi Arabia during the first Persian Gulf War.

Philips was made a proselytization official by the Saudi Air Force. Philips followed up in the US, with telephone calls and visits intended to recruit the veterans as potential members of Bin Laden’s network. He enlisted assistance from others based in the U.S. and members of Islamic centers all over the US. These conversion specialists financed pilgrimages for US veterans and would later send Muslim clerics in the United States to their homes. Bilal Philips encouraged some converts from this program to fight in Bosnia in the 1990s. He enlisted WTC plotter Clement Rodney Hampton-El to help him with the program. Hampton-El was associated with the Al-Kifah center in Brooklyn. Hampton-El in trial testimony described a meeting at the Saudi embassy in 1992 at which Philips gave him a list of US Army personnel to approach. Bilal Philips was named along with Osama bin Laden and Bin Laden brother-in-law Khalifa (and many others) as unindicted co-conspirators in the Day of Terror trial that sent the “blind sheik” to prison.

Bilal Philips in one interview explained:

“[US Army Sergeant Ali Mohammed] used to coordinate with US intelligence. And, when Croatia closed its borders to Arab volunteers, there were a group of black Americans who completed their training and knew Islam through me. [Ali Mohammed] contacted Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman and offered to use this group for sabotage acts inside the United States. The offer was made on the telephone, which apparently was tapped by US intelligence. Shaykh Umar replied by saying: ‘”Avoid civilian targets.’ ”

Bilal Philips was a good friend of Adnan El-Shukrijumah’s father. Philips wrote in his guestbook on the family website his son created about learning Arabic: “He was one of my first teachers in Arabic and is a dear friend, though geography and world politics has separated us. Tell him that, as always, I love him for the sake of Allaah. Was salaam, Bilal.” Adnan’s family website also contained a picture of another “unindicted co-conspirator” of the ’93 bombing, Siraj Wahhaj, who would speak as the same Falls Church mosque as Al-Timimi. Siraj Wahhaj would host Sheik Abdel-Rahman at Masjid At-Taqwa in Brooklyn where two of the WTC bombers worshipped. Wahhaj was a character witness for Sheik Abdel-Rahman at his 1995 trial.

After completing his religious education in Saudi Arabia in Medina, Ali Al Timimi had returned to the United States and received a second bachelor’s degree — this time in computer science at the University of Maryland, while also studying software programming at George Washington University. Timimi spoke at IANA conferences in 1993 and 1994. A senior al Qaeda recruiter, Abdelrahman Dosari, also spoke at three IANA conferences in the early 1990s. In December 1993, Al-Dorsari (a.k.a. Shaykh Abu Abdel Aziz “Barbaros”) spoke on ‘Jihad & Revival” and exhorted young men to fight for their faith, just as Al-Timimi would later be accused of doing privately with young men in Virginia.

At the first annual IANA conference in 1993, other scheduled speakers included Bilal Philips, a fellow named Mohammed Abdul-Rahman from Afghanistan, Mohammad Qutb from Cairo, and Gamal Sultan from Cairo.

There was a Mohammad Abdul-Rahman from Afghanistan who was the blind sheik’s son. The blind sheik would soon be sentenced for terrorism relating to WTC 1993 and the “Day of Terror” plot directed at NYC landmarks. In 2000, Mohammed Abdel Rahman, a/k/a “Asadallah,” who is a son of Abdel Rahman, was sitting alongside Bin Laden and Zawahiri and was videotaped encouraging others to “avenge your Sheikh” and “go to the spilling of blood.

And there was a Mohammad Qutb who was Syed Qutb’s brother who taught Bin Laden at university in Saudi Arabia, having emigrated to Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. Qutb, as al-Hawali’s teacher, also strongly influenced al-Hawali. Al-Hawali would be sent to prison in 1994. In the 1970s, bin Laden was taught by Sayyid Qutb’s brother, Dr. Mohammad Qutb, and a Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood member, Dr. Abdullah Azzam, who later would found Al Qaeda. Azzam’s ideas of non-compromise, violent means, and organizing and fighting on a global scale were central to Al Qaeda methods.

Gamal Sultan was the former EIJ member who would seek to start a political party in 1999 with EIJ founder Kamal Habib that sought to chart a nonviolent course. The effort was acknowledged to be a response to the practical reality that the movement had been so infiltrated by the security forces, but that the blind sheik declined to endorse the project. In 2000, on a trip to Pittsburgh, Gamal Sultan and his colleagues thought Pittsburgh reminded them of Kandahar given its rolling hills.

In 1995 Ali Al Timimi headed an IANA delegation to China together with IANA President Bassem Khafagi and Syracuse oncologist and IANA Vice Chairman Rhafil Dhafir. The IANA condemned the UN women’s rights conference as “an attack on Islam.” They urged Imams worldwide to tell Muslims about “the hidden agenda of this UN Conference, and how to foil the libertine and Westernization movements in the Islamic world.”

Salafist commentator Umar Lee has explained that in the early 1990s “the most dynamic part of the salafi movement in the DC-area were the students Sheikh Ali al-Timimi. In the DC area, who in the 1990’s co-founded a very small group with a small office in DC for an organization called the Society for the Adherence to the Sunnah. In 1994, cooperation with Al-Timimi’s Society for the Adherence to the Sunnah, Washington, D.C., IANA held its first annual summer camp in English in early July, Frederick, MD. The theme of the camp is, “Living the Shahadah in America.”This is what Sheikh Ali was teaching kids at the 1st Annual IANA Summer Camp at Frederic, MD, July 2-4, 1994.

“Reflections on the Meaning of Our Testimony of Faith: ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” by Ali Al-Timimi.***“6 Wage Jihad in the Path of Allah…Allah — ta’ala– has said: “Slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them (captive) and beseige them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush.” (The Qur’an 9:5) Fight those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, and practice not the true religion (Islam), being of those who have been given the Scripture (the Jews and the Christians) — until they pay tribute readily and have been brought low. (The Qur’an 9:29)

The Prophet .. has said:

I am commanded to fight mankind till they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayers and pay the charity. When they do that they will keep their lives and their property safe from me.”
Author Milton Viorst, the father of a boy who knew Al-Timimi as a young teen, wrote: “Dozens of his talks are available on the Internet in text and in audio format. They contain little about Arab concerns with the Arab-Israeli wars, the rivalries between the Arab states, the problems faced by Muslims living in the West, or even the war in Iraq. Rather, they reveal a man who reflects deeply on the Islamic vision of Judgment day, prophecy, the nature of the divine, and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) — subjects with which he grappled in Medina and in his private reading.”

Al Timimi’s lectures (in English after Arabic opening) include “The Negative Portrayal Of Islam In the Media,” “Signs Before the Day of Judgement,” “Advice to the UK Salafis” and “Crusade Complex: Western Perceptions of Islam.” In one of his taped talks available online, al-Timimi warned Muslims not to become too friendly with non-Muslim “disbelievers” or even work for them if other jobs were available. “A Muslim should never allow the disbeliever to have the upper hand.” He was echoing the sentiments expressed in a lecture available on the internet by the IANA Chairman Rafil Dhafir, who said if a non-muslim mows your lawn, by all means, mow his lawn. But don’t be a friend to a non-muslim.

Al-Timimi’s increasing computer skills got him a job at SRA International where Ali worked as a “bioinformatics software architect” providing information technology to the government. Some of his jobs required that Ali obtain a high-level security clearance. One job resulted in a letter of recommendation from the White House. He then enrolled in a PhD program in computational biology at George Mason University.

By 2000, Ali Al-Timimi was already taking advanced courses at Mason in computational sciences. Timimi once explained his research: “I am currently a research scientist at the Center for Biomedical Genomics and Informatics, George Mason University. I am involved in the analysis of the microarray data generated by the CTRF Cancer Genomics Project. Likewise, I am developing new computational approaches and technologies in support of this project.” The webpage for Timimi’s program at the time explained: “Faculty members and graduate students in the Program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology participate in numerous collaborative efforts including but not limited to the following Laboratories and Research Centers:

Center for Biomedical Genomics and Informatics (GMU) , Laboratory for Microbial and Environmental Biocomplexity (GMU) and Center for Biodefense (GMU). Beginning the Spring of 2002, GMU hired Ali to develop a computer program that coordinated the research at several universities, letting him go only after he came under suspicion by the FBI. In Spring 2002, according to salary information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, GMU hired him for $70,000 a year. In 2002, the employment was through the School of Computational Sciences and in 2003, it was through Life Sciences Grants & Contracts.

The School of Computational Sciences at George Mason is a joint venture between the American Type Culture Collection (”ATCC”) and George Mason. The joint venture is an effort to maximize research efforts by combining the academic and applied approaches to research. The School’s first activity was to teach an ATCC course in DNA techniques adapted for George Mason students. The ATCC is an internationally renown non-profit organization that houses the world’s largest and most diverse archive of biological materials. The Prince William Campus shares half of Discovery Hall with ATCC. ATCC moved to its current state-of-the-art laboratory at Discovery Hall (Prince Willam II) in 1998. ATCC’s 106,000-square-foot facility has nearly 35,000 square feet of laboratory space with a specialized air handling system and Biosafety Level 2 and 3 containment stations.

The ATCC bioinformatics (BIF) program carries out research in various areas of biological information management relevant to its mission. BIF scientists interact with laboratory scientists in microbiology, cell biology, and molecular biology at ATCC and other laboratories throughout the world. ATCC has strong collaborations with a large number of academic institutions, including computational sciences at George Mason University.

Through these partnerships, the George Mason Prince William Campus offers George Mason microbiology students an opportunity for students to be involved in current research and gain access to facilities and employment opportunities at ATCC and other partner companies.

While I’ve not yet found any reference directly confirming Timimi’s room number, the person who inherited his old telephone number (3-4294) is Victor Morozov in the Center for Biodefense, who upon joining the faculty and inheriting the phone number was in Rm. 154A, very near Dr. Bailey in Rm 156B. It has been suggested that it instead was Rm. 154B, in the middle of the office suite. GMU Information Services helpfully looked up the listings from 2001 directory. As of October 2001 (when the directory is published according to GMU Information Services), judging from the directory, Al-Timimi was still just a graduate student.

Former USAMRIID head and Ames strain anthrax researcher Charles Bailey, in Rm 156B, was given a Gateway desktop computer in mid-March 2001 (upon his arrival) — serial number 0227315480. It was like the one Dr. Alibek would get the next year in 156D. One way to think of proximity analysis — a form of true crime analysis — is the number of feet or inches between 154B and 156B/156D. Another way is to think of it is in terms of the number of feet or inches to the hard drives. You can judge the distance for yourself from First Floor plan, available on-line, clicking upon 154-156 area to enlarge.

c. “The Straight Path”: Connecting the Dots
Al-Timimi was on an advisory board member of Assirat al-Mustaqueem (”The Straight Path”), an international Arabic language magazine that published out of Pittsburgh. Assirat, produced in Pittsburgh beginning in 1991, was the creation of a group of North American muslims, many of whom were senior members of IANA. Its Advisory Committee included Bassem Khafagi and Ali Al-Timimi. Two staff members who wrote for Assirat then joined IANA’s staff when it folded in 2000. They had been members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and were activists in the movement. One of the former EIJ members, Gamal Sultan, was the editor of the quarterly IANA magazine in 2002. Mr. Sultan’s brother Mahmoud wrote for Assirat also. The most prominent writer was the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Kamal Habib. He led the Egyptian Islamic Jihad at the time of Anwar Sadat’s assassination when young doctor Zawahiri’s cell merged with a few other cells to form the EIJ. Two writers for Assirat in Pittsburgh had once shared a Portland, Oregon address with Al Qaeda member Wadih El-Hage who served a Bin Laden’s “personal secretary.”

Kamal Habib had been a founding member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and had spent 10 years in jail for the assassination of Anwar Sadat. In the late 1970s, the cell run by the young doctor Zawahiri joined with three other groups to become Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) under Habib’s leadership. After a visit in 2000, Gamal Sultan said Pittsburgh was known as the “American Kandahar,” given its rolling hills. Besides forming the Islah (”‘Reform) party wth Gamal Sultan, Mr. Kamal Habib contributed to Al Manar al Jadeed, IANA’s quarterly journal.

The pair sought the blind sheik’s endorsement of their political party venture in March 1999. They were not seeking the official participation of organizations like the Egyptian Islamic Jihad or the Egyptian Islamic Group, they were hoping the groups would not oppose it. The pair wanted members of the movement to be free to join in peaceful partisan activity. They were not deterred when the blind sheik responded that the project was pointless, at the same he withdrew his support for the cease-fire initiative that had been backed by the imprisoned leaders of the Egyptian Islamic Group.

In early April 2001, Nawaf Alhazmi and Hani Hanjour rented an apartment in Falls Church, Virginia, for about a month, with the assistance of a man they met at the mosque. Nawaf Al-Hazmi had been at the January 2000 meeting at Yazid Sufaat’s Malaysian condominium in January 2000. Hijackers Nawaf and Hani Hanjour, a fellow pilot who was his friend from Saudi Arabia, attended sermons at the Dar al Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, where Al-Timimi was located until he established the nearby center. The FBI reports that at an imam who had recently also moved from San Diego had closed door meetings with hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar in 2000 while all three of them were living in San Diego. Police later found the phone number of the Falls Church mosque when they searched the apartment of 9/11 planner Ramzi bin al-Shibh in Germany. In his 2007 book, Center of the Storm, George Tenet noted that Ramzi bin al-Shibh had a CBRN role.

Yusuf Wells, who was a fundraiser for the Benevolence

International Foundation, visited Northern Virginia over the April 14-15, 2001 weekend. The previous month he had been at Iowa State University on a similar visit. On April 15, 2001, he was brought to a paintball game. In the second season, they had become more secretive after an inquiry by an FBI Special Agent was made in 2000 of one of the members about the games. Part of BIF fundraiser Wells’ job involved writing reports about his fund raising trips. In his April 15, 2001 report he writes:

“I was taken on a trip to the woods where a group of twenty brothers get together to play Paintball. It is a very secret and elite group and as I understand it, it is an honor to be invited to come. The brothers are fully geared up in camouflage fatigues, facemasks, and state of the art paintball weaponry. They call it ‘training’ and are very serious about it. I knew at least 4 or 5 of them were ex US military, the rest varied.

Most all of them young men between the ages of 17-35. I was asked by the amir of the group to give a talk after Thuhr prayer. I spoke about seeing the conditions of Muslims overseas while with BIF, and how the fire of Islam is still very much alive in the hearts of the people even in the midst of extreme oppression. I also stressed the idea of being balanced. That we should not just be jihadis and perfect our fighting skills, but we should also work to perfect our character and strengthen our knowledge of Islam. I also said that Muslims are not just book reading cowards either, and that they should be commended for forming such a group.
Many were confused as to why I had been ‘trusted’ to join the group so quickly, but were comforted after my brief talk. Some offered to help me get presentations on their respective localities.”

According to what Ali’s friend Umar Lee tells me, Al-Timimi was not friends with the Virginia defendants — at least he did not regularly associate with them outside his classes they attended. But it has been said that they were awed by Timimi, a man who could both translate 7th-century Koranic Arabic, talk about astrobiology with friends, or joke about the Redskins. The prosecutor argued that the paintball defendants “couldn’t figure out how to tie their shoelaces without asking al-Timimi.” The group looked up to Al-Timimi and sought his advice on all sorts of questions — to include whether it was permissible to pray in a moving car and whether one could cut short his prayers due to an approaching scorpion.

After 9/11, although a dinner that night was cancelled in light of the events of the day, Al-Timimi sought “to organize a plan in case of anti-Muslim backlash and to get the brothers together.” The group got together on September 16. Al-Timimi when he came in told the group to turn of their phones, unplug the answering machine, and pull down the curtains. Al-Timimi told the group that Mullah Omar had called upon Muslims to defend Afghanistan. Al-Timimi read parts of the al-Uqla fatwa to the group and gave the fatwa to Khan with the instructions to burn it after he has read it. Al Timimi said the duty to engage in jihad is “fard ayn” — an individual duty of all Muslims.

Over a lunch, Al-Timimi with two of the group, Al-Timimi told them not to carry anything suspicious and if they were stopped on the way to Pakistan to ask for their mother and cry like a baby. He told them to carry a magazine. The next day the pair left for Pakistan. The group from the September 16 meeting met again in early October, and a number left for Pakistan immediately after that meeting.

One man, Kwon, who had just become a U.S. citizen in August 2001, went to the mountain training camps of Lashkar-e-Taiba. The U.S. placed on its terrorist list in December 2001. Kwon practiced with a semi-automatic weapons and learned to fire a grenade launcher, but he was not able to join the Taliban. The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan closed as U.S. forces took control of Afghanistan shortly before Kwon completed his training. His trainers suggested that he instead go back to the United States and gather information for the holy warriors. Kwon told jurors at al-Timimi’s trial how he first heard Al-Timimi speak in 1997 at an Islamic Assembly of North America conference in Chicago and then found that he lectured locally near his home in Northern Virginia.

“Russian Hell” — a jihad video that featured bloody clips of a Chechen Muslim rebel leader executing a Russian prisoner of war — was a favorite among the videos that the group exchanged and discussed. “They (the videos) motivated us. It was like they gave us inspiration,” Kwon told the jurors.

Kwon recalled driving Al-Timimi home from the mosque Sept. 11, 2001 after the terrorist attacks. He said Al-Timimi and another scholar argued, with Al-Timimi characterizing the attacks as a punishment of America from God, while his fellow scholar decried the attacks. “He told me to gather some brothers, to have a contingency plan in case there were mass hostilities toward Muslims in America.” Kwon said Al-Timimi told the group that the effort to spread Islam in the United States was over and that the only other options open to them were to repent, leave the U.S. and join the mujahadeen — the holy warriors preparing to defend Afghanistan against the coming U.S. invasion. Four days later, Kwon was on the plane to Pakistan. “I made the decision to go, but (Al-Timimi) was a big part of my decision to go.”

In 2001, Al-Timimi kept the personal papers of IANA President Khafagi at his home for safekeeping. His taped audio lecturers were among the most popular at the charity Islamic Assembly of North America in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He knew its President, Khafagi, both through work with CAIR and IANA. Al Timimi was close to his former teacher Safar al Hawali, the dissident Saudi sheik who once close to Osama bin Laden and whose writings hail what he calls the inevitable downfall of the West. Under pressure from authorities after 9/11, Al Hawali has played a public role in mediating between Saudi militants and the government. Al-Timimi sought to represent and explain the views of radical sheik Al-Hawali in a letter he sent to members of Congress. The same nondescript office building at 360 S. Washington St. in Falls Church where Timimi used to lecture at Dar al Arqam housed the Muslim World League.

The Hawali October 6, 2002 letter drafted by Al-Timimi was hand delivered to every member of the US Congress just before their vote authorizing the use of force against Iraq, warning of the disastrous consequences that would follow an invasion of Iraq. Dr. Timimi’s defense committee explained on their website:
“Because Dr. Al-Timimi felt that he did not have enough stature to send a letter in his name on behalf of Muslims, he contacted Dr. Al-Hawali among others to send the letter. Dr. Al-Hawali agreed and sent a revised version which Dr. Al-Timimi then edited and had hand delivered to every member of Congress.”

In addition to the lucidly written October 6, 2002 letter , Hawali had sent a lengthy October 15, 2001 “Open Letter” to President Bush in which he had rejoiced in the 9/11 attacks. One Al-Hawali lecture sought to be introduced in the prosecution of the IANA webmaster, applauded the killing of Jews and called for more killing, praised suicide bombings, and said of Israel that it’s time to “fight and expel this hated country that consists of those unclean, defiled, the cursed.”

Bin Laden had referred to Sheik al-Hawali in his 1996 declaration of war on America. Prior to the 1998 embassy bombings, Ayman’s London cell sent letters to three different media outlets in Europe claiming responsibility for the bombings and referring to Hawali’s imprisonment. In two of the letters, the conditions laid out as to how the violence would stop were (1) release of Sheik Hawali (who along with another had been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia in 1994) and (2) the release of blind sheik Abdel Rahman (who had been imprisoned in connection with WTC 1993). Hawali was released in 1999 after he agreed to stop advocating against the Saudi regime and agreed to limit himself to urging the destruction of the United States and Israel.

The authorities had an interest in a lecture by dissident Saudi Sheik al-Hawali upon a search on February 26, 2003 of an IANA-connected scientist, a respected and blameless radiological engineer, in Syracuse, New York. A federal magistrate found that we had not reached the point where such reading material would be a reason for denial of bail.

Al-Timimi sent out a February 1, 2003 email in Arabic containing an article that said:

“There is no doubt Muslims were overjoyed because of the

adversity that befell their greatest enemy. The Columbia crash made me feel, and God is the only One to know, that this is a strong signal that Western Supremacy (especially that of America) that began 500 years ago is coming to a quick end, God willing, as occurred to the shuttle.”

As Ali later explained to NBC, “To have a space shuttle crash in Palestine, Texas, with a Texas president and an Israeli astronaut, somebody might say there’s a divine hand behind it.”

d. GMU Center for Biodefense: Discovery Hall

Ali Al-Timimi worked at George Mason University’s Discovery Hall throughout 2000 and 2002 period. The Mason Gazette in “Mason to Pursue Advanced Biodefense Research” on November 17, 2000 had announced:”The School of Computational Sciences (SCS) and Advanced Biosystems, Inc., a subsidiary of Hadron, Inc., of Alexandria, are pursuing a collaborative program at the Prince William Campus to enhance research and educational objectives in biodefense research. The article noted that the program was funded primarily by a grant awarded to Advanced Biosystems from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Instead of starting a center from scratch, GMU chose to join forces with Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey’s existing research firm, Hadron Advanced Biosystems Inc., which was already working under contract for the federal government, having received funding from DARPA. Dr. Alibek told the Washington Post that he and Bailey had spent their careers studying an issue that only recently grabbed the country’s attention, after the anthrax mailings the previous fall. Dr. Bailey and Alibek met in 1991, when a delegation of Soviet scientists visited the USAMRIID at Ft. Detrick. Dr. Bailey explained that the purpose of the tour was to show the Soviets that the US was not developing offensive biological weapons. Bailey said he tried to engage Alibek in conversation but Alibek remained aloof.

Alibek, for his part, explains that he was suspicious of this American smiling so broadly at him. A year later, Alibek would defect to the US and reveal an illegal biological program in the Soviet Union of a staggering scope. Alibek says that one reason he defected was that he realized that the Soviet intelligence was wrong — that the US research was in fact only defensive.
Former USAMRIID head and Ames researcher Bailey was the named coinventor, with Ken Alibek, the process to treat cell culture with hydrophobic silicon dioxide so as to permit greater concentration upon drying.

He was in Room 156B of GMU’s Discovery Hall. at the Center for Biodefense. The patent application was filed March 14, 2001. Rm 154A was Victor Morozov’s room number when he first assumed Timimi’s phone number in 2004 (and before he moved to the newly constructed Bull Run Hall). Dr. Morozov was the co-inventor with Dr. Bailey of the related cell culture process under which the silica was removed from the spore surface — with the silicon perhaps still detectable by an EDX by reason of having been absorbed by the exosporium.

One ATCC former employee felt so strongly about lax security there the scientist called me out of the blue and said that the public was overlooking the patent repository as a possible source of the Ames strain. ATCC does not deny they had virulent Ames in their patent repository pre 9/11 (as distinguished from their online catalog). But nor does ATCC admit. ATCC is not saying. The spokesperson emailed me: “As a matter of policy, ATCC does not disclose information on the contents of its patent depository…”
George Mason University, Department Listings, accessed August 17, 2003, shows that the National Center For Biodefense and Center for Biomedical Genomics had the same mail stop (MS 4ES).

The most famed bioweaponeer in the world — the former head of the Russian bioweapons program (to include anthrax) — was not far from this sheik urging violent jihad in an apocalyptic struggle between religions. Dr. Alibek’s office was Rm. 156D in Prince William 2. The groups both shared the same department fax of 993-4288. Dr. Alibek advises me he had seen him several times in the corridors of GMU and was told that he was a religious muslim hard-liner but knew nothing of his activities. At one point, Timimi’s mail drop was MSN 4D7

Charles Bailey at 3-4271 was the former head of USAMRIID and joined the Center in April 2001. He did research with Ames after 9/11. Dr. Alibek reports that shortly after the mailings, he wrote Director Mueller and offered his services but was advised that they already had assembled a large group.

Ali Al Timimi had the same telephone number that Dr. Victor Morozov, of the Center for Biodefense would later have when he joined the faculty and occupied the newly constructed Bull Run Building, which opened in late 2004 (Rm. #362). If only to show the sophisticated cutting edge work they do at the Center, Dr. Morozov focuses on the development of new bioassay methods for express analysis, high-throughput screening and proteomics. He has recently developed a new electrospray-based technology for mass fabrication of protein microarrays.

Dr. Morozov is currently supervising a DOE -funded research project directed at the development of ultra-sensitive express methods for detection of pathogens in which slow diffusion of analytes is replaced by their active transport controlled and powered by external forces (electric, magnetic, gravitational or hydrodynamic). His homepage explains that: “A variety of projects are available for students to participate in

1. Develop methods for active capturing of viruses and cells.

2. AFM imaging of macromolecules, viruses and cells.

3. Develop active immunoassay.

4. Analyze forces operating in the active assay of biomolecules and viral particles.

5. Develop immobilization techniques for antibodies and other biospecific molecules.

6. Study crystallization dynamics and morphology of organic and inorganic crystals in the presence of protein impurities.

7. Develop software to analyze motion of beads.

8. Develop software to analyze patterns in drying droplets.

9. Develop an electrostatic collector for airborne particles.”
Al-Timimi obtained a doctorate from George Mason University in 2004 in the field of computational biology — a field related to cancer research involving genome sequencing. He successfully defended his thesis 5 weeks after his indictment. Curt Jamison, Timimi’s thesis advisor, coauthor and loyal friend, was in Prince William II (Discovery Hall) Rm. 181A.

The staff of Advanced Biosystems was in Rm. 160, 162, 177, 254E and several others. Computational sciences offices were intermixed among the Hadron personnel on the first floor of Prince William II to include 159, 161, 166A, 167, 181 B and 181C. Rm. 156B was Charles Bailey, former commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, who was head of the Center for Biodefense.

Over 13 years, Dr. Bailey had served as a Research Scientist, Deputy Commander for Research, Deputy Commander and Commander at the U.S. Army Medical Research Instiute. As a USAMRIID scientist, he designed and supervised the construction of BL-3 containment facilities. His hands-on experience with a wide variety of pathogens is chronicled in 70 published articles. During his 4 years with the Defense Intelligence Agency, he published numerous articles assessing foreign capabilities regarding biological weapons.”

When I asked Dr. Bailey to confirm Al-Timimi’s room number relative to his own, his only response was to politely and succinctly refer me to University counsel. Counsel, although responsive, then never responded substantively to my inquiry regarding their respective room numbers, noting the privacy and confidentiality principles that seemed to apply. Dr. Jamison, Ali’s good friend and supervisor, never responded to an emailed query either. GMU may be nervous about losing the $25 million grant for a new BL-3 regional facility to be located very near our country’s capital.

In Fall 2001, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (”AFIP”) had detected silicon dioxide (silica) in the attack anthrax — with a characteristic big spike for the silicon. The reason for the silicon dioxide/silica claimed to have been detected by AFIP has never been explained (and it’s been nearly a half decade). Dr. Alibek and Dr. Matthew Meselson report that there was no silica was observable on the SEMS images that saw. The Daschle product was “pure spores.”

But was silicon dioxide used as part of a microdroplet cell culture process used prior to drying to permit greater concentration? As explained in a later related patent, the silica could be removed from the surface of the spore through repeated centrifugaton or an air chamber.

Dr. Alibek and the former head of USAMRIID, Ames anthrax research Charles Bailey, had filed a patent application in mid-March 2001 involving a microdroplet cell culture technique that used silicon dioxide in a method for concentrating growth of cells. The patent was granted and the application first publicly disclosed in the Spring of 2002. Weren’t the SEMS images and AFIP EDX finding both consistent with use of this process in growing the culture? It’s been suggested informally to me that perhaps the silicon analytical peak was more likely due to silanol from hydrolysis of a silane, used in siliconizing glassware.

But didn’t the AFIP in fact also detect oxygen in ratios characteristic of silicon dioxide? Wasn’t the scientist, now deceased, who performed the EDX highly experienced and expert in detecting silica? Hasn’t the AFIP always stood by its report. In its report, AFIP explained: “AFIP experts utilized an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (an instrument used to detect the presence of otherwise-unseen chemicals through characteristic wavelengths of X-ray light) to confirm the previously unidentifiable substance as silica?”

The nuance that was lost — or just never publicly explained for very sound reasons — was that silica was used in the cell culture process and then removed from the spores through a process such as centrifugation.

Dr. Morozov the scientist who inherited Al-Timimi’s telephone number, is co-inventor along with Dr. Bailey for a patent “Cell Culture” that explains how the silicon dioxide can be removed from the surface. Perhaps it is precisely this AFIP finding of silicon dioxide (without silica on the SEMS) that is why the FBI came to suspect Al-Timimi in 2003 (rightly or wrongly, we don’t know). The FBI would have kept these scientific findings secret to protect the integrity of the confidential criminal/national security investigation.

There was still a processor and mailer to catch — still a case to prove. Above all, they needed to protect the due process rights of Al-Timimi while he defended himself on other charges. The FBI is many things to many people but most agree that they tend to be inscrutable as part of their job.

e. Ali and The Islamic Ruling On The Peace Process
Establishing a center for Islamic education, al-Timimi contacted Egyptian-born Salafi Abd al-Rahman Abd al-Khaliq and translated his works into English. A London charity, JIMAS, at whose conferences Ali would speak, published the translation of the al-Khaliq’s book. He would give talks such as “Our Need for a Fiqh Suitable to Our Time and Place” at the 1997 conference in London or his “Cure for the Cancer of Globalization” or “The Position of Palestine in Allah’s Revelation” at the JIMAS conference in London August 24-27. (Fiqh relates to the principles of islamic jurisprudence to include the principles governing warfare). The UK Islamic charity published the book calling on Muslims worldwide to “overthrow” peace treaties between Arab states and Israel.

Sheikh Abdur Rahman Abdul Khaliq’s book published by JIMAS, The Islamic Ruling on The Peace Process, arguing that “the Jews are the enemies of the Islamic ummah (nation).” The US government’s National Commission for investigating the 9/11 attacks listed the book as one of a number of texts “espousing violence and hatred towards the west and reinforcing the victimization of Muslims as the hands of the infidels.”

“The Jews have been the enemies of the Islamic ummah since the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, began his call to Allah; and their hostility to this ummah will continue till the Day of Resurrection,” the National Commission’s website quoted from the book. “War or Jihad is an obligatory duty which remains in force till the Day of Resurrection. According to another version of the book made available by a separate jihadist website (currently offline), Muslims are completely prohibited from making peace with non-Muslims “except when the kafir (infidel) is humbled and surrenders.”

Any peace made by Muslim countries with Israel contravenes the Quran and must be reversed, the book argues. “Their (the Jews) hostility to the Muslims continues, so much so that stones and trees call out to the Muslims saying: ‘O Muslim, here is a Jew behind you, so fight him,’” a chapter in the book declared, based on an Islamic hadith (reported saying of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad).

The author commands Muslims to “firmly believe in the invalidity” of peace agreements with Israel, and calls on them “to work towards overthrowing these treaties.”

The letters to the news organizations were mailed — coincidentally or not — on September 17 or September 18, either the day the Camp David Accord was signed in 1978 or the next day when it was approved by the Israeli knesset. Abdel-Rahman, the blind sheik, in the early 1980s, said: “We reject Camp David and we regret the normalization of relations with Israel. We also reject all the commitments that were made by the traitor Sadat, who deviated from Islam.” He continued: “As long as the Camp David Agreement stands, this conflict between us and the government will continue.”

The letters to the Senators were mailed on the date Sadat was assassinated, October 6, for entering the peace treaty with Israel. Al-Timimi had hand-delivered the letter from Bin Laden’s sheik to every member of Congress on October 6, 2002, the first anniversary of the mailing to Senator Leahy and Senator Daschle.
After 9/11, a sweet young muslim Egyptian woman came to stay with a close relative. She was the daughter of a senior Egyptian official who worked at the UN. Given that peace seems a good thing, as we walked along a local duck pond, we discussed how Sadat seemed a hero of historic proportion.

Now I don’t know enough about international relations or history to be confident whether that is right or not. But in profiling Amerithrax, and having watched the tv detective Columbo for many years, I know when a motive seems to fit a person of interest and when the facts seem to point to the motive.

When pundits point to the targeting of Senator Leahy as pointing away from militant islamists as responsible for mailing, it may be that they were just unaware that he had the single most important role in appropriations to Egypt and Israel as head of the relevant Senate subcommittee overseeing the appropriations.

The government’s indictment alleged that after the space shuttle disaster in February, Timimi said the United States “was the greatest enemy of Muslims.”

f. The 2006 Arrest Of Falls Church “911 Imam” And Fellow Salafist Lecturer Awlaqi

Falls Church imam Awlaqi (Aulaqi), who met with hijacker Nawaf, reportedly was picked up in Yemen by Yemen security forces at the request of the CIA last summer. British and US intelligence had him and others under surveillance. Al-Timimi would speak alongside fellow Falls Church imam Awlaqi (Aulaqi) at conferences such as the August 2001 London JIMAS and the August 2002 London JIMAS conference. They would speak on subjects such as signs before the day of judgment and the like — dozens of their lectures are available online.

Aulaqi was hired in early 2001 in attempt by the mosque’s leaders, who were criticized as being too conservative, to increase its appeal to younger worshipers. Born in New Mexico and raised in Yemen, he had the total package. He was young, personable, fluent in English, eloquent and knowledgeable about Middle East politics. In 2001, Awlaqi came to Falls Church from San Diego shortly before Nawaf did. Hani Hanjour and Nawaf Al Hazmi, worshiped at Aulaqi’s mosque for several weeks in spring 2001.

The 9/11 commission noted that the two men may have showed up because Nawaf Hazmi had developed a close relationship with Aulaqi in San Diego. Aulaqi told the FBI that he did not recall what Nawaf and he had discussed in San Diego and denied having contact with him in Falls Church.

In March 2002, Awlaqi suddenly left the US and went to Yemen, thus avoiding the inquiry the 9/11 Commission thought so important. (Eventually Aulaqi would be banned from entering both the UK and US because of his speeches on jihad, martyrdom and the like).

g. The Ability of Intelligence To Prevent Domestic Bioterrorism

A former FBI agent in the New York office who asked not to be identified, told author Peter Lance: “Understand what this means. You have an Al Qaeda spy who’s now a U.S. citizen, on active duty in the U.S. Army, and he brings along a video paid for by the U.S. government to train Green Beret officers and he’s using it to help train Islamic terrrorists so they can turn their guns on us. … By now the Afghan war is over.” Steve Emerson once said of the former US Army Sergeant who was Ayman Zawahiri’s head of intelligence and taught Bin Laden and Atef and others spycraft: “Ali Mohamed is one of the most frightening examples of the infiltration of terrorists into the infrastructure of the United States.

Like a [character in a] John Le Carre thriller, he played the role of a triple agent and nearly got away with it.” Well, not even Ali Mohammed could boast a letter of commendation from the White House, previous work briefly for White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card (while at the Department of Transportation), and a high security clearance. Ali Mohammed did not even have a security clearance but was merely a supply sergeant at the base where Special Operations were located. Ali Mohammed would steal high resolution satellite image maps out of the map shack and take them to Zawahiri.

Those officials who sought to minimize the security breach would have to explain away the classified maps of Afghanistan he stole from the map shack, and the classified cables and manuals found in such places as the home of Nosair, the assassin of Rabbi Kehane. The FBI viewed and prosecuted Nosair as a “lone wolf” leaving dozens of boxes seized from his residence, where Ali Mohammed would stay, untranslated.

Many commentators others who have long held strong and divergent opinions of what had been published in the media based on what they knew and their political views. But it turns out that they apparently have just been seeing the elephant in the living room from a different angle. Actually, they’ve just been in a position to see the elephant’s rump from outside the living room door. One US law professor, Francis Boyle, who has represented islamists abroad originated the theory that a US biodefense insider was responsible, later reported that he was on all five terror watchlists.

Separately, and independently, the theory was adopted by professor Barbara Rosenberg and others. But Professor Boyle and Rosenberg were not so far from the truth — just incorrect as to motive. We need to stop seeing such important issues through political lenses that lead to knee-jerk reactions rather than careful factual analysis.

For example, the lawyer advocating for islamist clients, Professor Boyle, assumes that the correspondence between Ayman Zawahiri and Rauf Ahmad provided me by the Defense Intelligence Agency under FOIA were forgeries — an insupportable supposition in my opinion. If that were true, Ayman Zawahiri who appears on television more often than Wolf Blitzer, would say so and ridicule the United States government for the fraud.

Instead, the documentary shows that Zawahiri’s plan was to infiltrate the US and UK biodefense establishment, and he did.
In a June 2005 interview in a Swiss (German language) weekly news magazine, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Ken Alibek, insightfully addresses the anthrax mailings:

A. “…What if I told you Swiss scientists are paid by Al Qaeda? You could believe it or not. It has become somewhat fashionable to disparage Russian scientists. Americans, Iraqis, or whoever could just as well be involved with Al Qaeda. Why doesn’t anyone speculate about that?”

Q. “But could one of your students build a biological weapon in the garage?”

A. “Let me reply philosophically: Two hundred years ago, it was unthinkable to believe that people would be using mobile telephones, wasn’t it? Everything changes. Our knowledge grows, and technology develops incredibly quickly. These days even high-school kids can breed recombinant microbial strains. I am not saying that a student is in a position to build a biological weapon all by himself. But the knowledge needed to do it is certainly there.”

No one who responded to my inquiries ever knew Al-Timimi to ever have been involved in any biodefense project. For example, former Russian bioweaponeer Sergei Popov did not know of any such work by Al-Timimi, and Anna Popova had only seen him in the hall on a very rare occasion. Dr. Alibek thought of him as a “numbers guy” rather than a hands-on type.

Given that the FBI knows what Al-Timimi had for dinner on September 16, 2001 and lunch on September 17, it is very likely that the past years have involved a continued search for the mailer and/or processor. His attorney emphasizes that while they searched for materials related to a planned biological attack when they searched his townhouse in late February 2003, they came up empty.

Peter Leitner at GMU supervised a 2007 PhD thesis by a graduate student that explores biosecurity issues at GMU. He tells me that other students took a “red cell” approach that have corroborated the findings of the thesis. The thesis points to a pretty big iceberg indeed.

It turns out that Mohammed Islambouli, the brother of Sadat’s assassin, may be the final key that unlocks the Amerithrax mystery. Islambouli was part of a cell with KSM. KSM took over from the Al Qaeda military head Atef as head of the anthrax weaponization operation. The same Al Qaeda spymaster, Egyptian al-Hakaymah, who wrote about Amerithrax, announced Islambouli was leading those Egyptian Islamic Group members who have joined Al Qaeda to seek the release of their leader blind sheik Abdel-Rahman. Someone was expected to visit the US from Saudi Arabia in helping to plan the next attack.

The December 4, 1998 Presidential Daily Brief to President Clinton declassified and published in the 911 Commission Report discussed Islambouli’s role in planning an attack involving airplanes and other means Everyone focuses on the PDB in the summer of 2001 directed to President Bush while forgetting that there was a PDB with the same substance from December 1998 to President Clinton.

It’s not a question of finding fault or laying blame with 20/20 hindsight. We just need to learn from history or we are doomed to repeat it. In January 2002, FBI Assistant Director Van Harp told the 40,000 members of the American Society for Microbiology that it was “very likely that one or more of you know this individual.” They very likely did.

Courtesy Grendel Report

Monday, October 29, 2007


The following article appeared in the 10/10 Philadelphia Bulletin.

This retired Navy Vice Admiral indeed needs to be permanently retired.

Here's an example of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, at work.

During his campaign, whenever he needed volunteer workers to make calls, pass out flyers, etc. CAIR was johnny-on- the-spot with Muslim volunteers.

When he won and was faced with forming an office staff, CAIR recommended their local public relations director.......whom he hired as his office manager. She now controls his appointments, opens his mail, and who know what else to make sure he is under firm Muslim control. Obviously, this Admiral has become another "Useful Idiot" for the Islamists. Sad!

Al Rowley, CDR, USN (Retired)

[Must be something in the sea air that gets to them - some of them - Jack Murtha an EX-Marine (one of the few ever to qualify as an ex-marine) is another example and the current, active Admiral in charge of military activity in the Middle East and more specifically Iran and the Persian Gulf -wants to 'negotiate some more' with the Islamic Regime while it goes on developing nukes!]

Inside Today's Bulletin

Sestak Needs To Be Relieved From Duty

By Lori Lowenthal Marcus, For The Bulletin

"Congressman Joe Sestak, D-Pa., a recently elected former U.S. Navy admiral, recently revealed his indifference to the well-being of U.S. veterans of the Iraq war, that he is either careless or clueless about domestic security concerns and that he would be grateful if voters dumped him from office.

Yet the Democrat and Republican parties may not even run viable candidates against Mr. Sestak.

Mr. Sestak, along with three anti-U.S. and anti-Semitic activists, were touted as the featured speakers at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) first annual fundraiser last spring in Philadelphia.

CAIR (along with some of its highest-level members) has numerous documented connections to terrorist groups and their foreign funders and has ardently and with deep pockets strained to thwart security investigations of Muslim American terrorism suspects. The CAIR-Sestak connection is no accident:

Mr. Sestak hired the former spokesperson of Philadelphia CAIR, Adeeba al-Zaman, to run his local office. Despite interviewing her three times, Mr. Sestak claimed not to notice that CAIR was on her resume. Yet at 23 years old, how many entries could there be in the employment history section of Ms. Zaman's resume?

A largely Jewish audience at a March speech angrily confronted Mr. Sestak about lending his name and voice to raise money for an organization tied to terrorism and haters of Jews. The congressman initially offered three justifications:

1. He was going to the fundraiser because 250 of his constituents were going to be there. Mr. Sestak compared his CAIR fundraiser appearance to his meetings with Irish-American, Polish-American and African-American groups. To Congressman Sestak, a terrorism-related organization is equal to any other constituency group.

2. He was unaware the event was a fundraiser and that his employee, the one who had been a CAIR spokesperson, had accepted the invitation for him. But when told it was a fundraiser and given documentation about the CAIR-terrorism connections, Mr. Sestak went anyway.

3. He insisted that his appearance would send a powerful message because he would tell the audience they must denounce terrorism and terrorists and that they should name as terrorists groups such as Hamas.

But as Mr. Sestak should have known by then, his CAIR appearance would send a powerful message all right, but the message was one of validation for their activities and not a meaningful rebuke.

Fast forward to a June gathering in Washington. Mr. Sestak was asked whether, given that CAIR had just been named an unindicted co-conspirator in the terrorism-funding Holy Land Foundation criminal prosecution, he still would have agreed to speak at their fundraiser.

Mr. Sestak's lightening-quick response: "I would have agreed to it even more quickly" than he had in the spring.

Mr. Sestak went on to talk about the sacrosanctity of negotiating with everyone, friends and enemies alike. "Negotiations with consequences" was his mantra throughout the session. In fact, Mr. Sestak proudly stated that he went to speak to CAIR "in order to speak truth to power."

That line may be a good one for garnering street cred, but does Mr. Sestak, a member of the U.S. Congress, really not understand that he is the power, not CAIR?

Pressed repeatedly for when and what kind of consequences he would impose on organizations with documented ties to terrorists, Mr. Sestak finally exploded:

"Go ahead and vote me out of office; you'd be doing me a favor. My sick daughter is my priority, so go ahead and vote me out of office."

But in his March speech, Mr. Sestak used his daughter's illness to make a very different point. He said then that through the months of her hospitalizations he was grateful for the wonderful treatment she received at Walter Reed and other government hospitals.

He wanted good quality health care to be available to all Americans, not just high-level federal employees. That, he claimed, was the impetus for his political career.

A softball question was tossed to Mr. Sestak about the recent Walter Reed Hospital scandal. Mr. Sestak revealed that in all the times he visited his daughter at Walter Reed, he had never taken the opportunity to find out what was happening to the wounded war veterans.

He had never looked "below the deck," as he put it in Navy parlance. Next, this elected official and former Navy admiral admitted that even after the exposure of the U.S. veteran health care scandal, he did not attend the congressional hearings on the scandal.

In less than six months, freshman Congressman Joe Sestak managed to insult U.S. war veterans, Jews, African Americans, Polish-Americans and Irish-Americans. He did this publicly and proudly.

But the one group he extolled repeatedly was a segment of his Muslim constituency - the one connected to terrorism and Jew-hatred. Why? And why are both political parties ignoring what should be considered acts of political suicide?

Mr. Sestak said voters would be doing him a favor by voting him out of office. Doing so would also be a favor to all Americans. Let's take him up on that offer."

Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a lawyer and writer who lives outside of Philadelphia.


Bosnia leaders agree to unblock police reform
Oct 29
For oil producers, energy security rises up the political agenda
Oct 29
US, Russia urge states to join missile pact
Oct 29
Bomber kills policeman in Afghanistan
Oct 29
Pakistani militants agree to cease-fire
Oct 29
Somali premier Gedi tenders resignation: official
Oct 29
Turkish army encircles 100 Kurdish rebels
Oct 29
Four LTTE terrorists killed in clashes - Mannar, Jaffna
Oct 29
Somali pirates hijack Japanese tanker-officials
Oct 29
Report: Attack on Israeli embassy in Germany thwarted
Oct 28
Argentina Extends Buenos Aires Voting Hours in National Election
Oct 28
Vietnamese embassy official shot in South Africa
Oct 28
Petraeus: Iraqi "Mafia" Is Latest Danger
Oct 28
Ramadi war zone now rare bright spot
Oct 28
US: Al-Qaida presence in Baghdad reduced
Oct 28
3 rockets hit NW Pakistan city of Peshawar
Oct 28
Hamas denies secret talks with Israel
Oct 28
Palestinians say Israel cuts Gaza fuel supply
Oct 28
U,S,, Russia urge other states to join missile pact
Oct 28
Myanmar junta accuses U.S. of inciting recent demonstrations
Oct 28
Turkish army kills 15 Kurdish rebels: TV
Oct 28
Car bomb explodes outside bus terminal in Iraq, kills 8
Oct 28
Oil price 'grounds' N Korea fleet
Oct 28
Verdicts due for deadly Madrid train bombs
Oct 28
Battles rock Mogadishu for second day
Oct 28
NY Times: Syrian site may have been built in 2001
Oct 28
Sri Lanka says 29 rebels die in northern clashes
Oct 28
Navy ship in massive cocaine haul
Oct 28
Police track 20 more terror plot suspects
Oct 28
Kremlin extends its reach in cyberspace
Oct 28
US says 80 Taliban killed in battle
Oct 28
Sudan calls Darfur truce at talks
Oct 28
Passions revive over Spanish Civil War
Oct 28
Britons demand EU treaty referendum in parliament protest
Oct 28
Blast leaves 8 dead, 13 injured
Oct 28
Nuclear cover-up suspected after Israeli raid
Oct 27
At least three die in Colombia bombing before vote
Oct 27
Niger rebels say kill 12 soldiers in ambush
Oct 27
DR Congo militia leader surrenders
Oct 27
Sri Lanka violence claims 12 lives
Oct 27
Litvinenko worked for British intelligence: report
Oct 27
Maoists fire on crowd, kill 17 in eastern India
Oct 27
U.S. prepares to transition Karbala
Oct 27
Darfur talks open without rebels
Oct 27
Heavy fighting in Somali capital
Oct 27
Poland's centrists likely to pull Iraq troops
Oct 27
Greek Cypriots threaten British base closures
Oct 27
Russia's Proton Rocket Roars Back into Action
Oct 27
Militants behead 13 in Pakistan violence
Oct 27
Turkish PM: We'll fight Kurdish rebels 'when needed'
Oct 27
Iraqi insurgents' clash with Qaeda kills 16
Oct 27
North Korean Premier Visits Vietnam
Oct 27
U.S. says latest missile shield test succeeded
Oct 27
Suicide attack kills five in eastern Afghanistan
Oct 27
Talks with Iraqi delegation begin in Turkey
Oct 27
17 Islamists killed in Algerian army raids
Oct 27
Aide: al-Sadr could lift cease-fire
Oct 27
Pakistani militants behead 4 officers
Oct 26
Myanmar junta holds talks with Suu Kyi
Oct 26
Israeli troops raid Gaza, kill 6 militants
Oct 26
Two main Darfur rebel groups will not attend talks
Oct 26
FBI Warns Again Of Shoe Bomb Danger
Oct 26
Syria air strike target 'removed'
Oct 26
Putin warns of new missile crisis
Oct 26
Pakistani militant base attacked
Oct 26
China says U.S. missile shield threatens global stability
Oct 26
Denmark announces snap elections
Oct 26
Ukrainian court validates election results, opening way for government formation
Oct 26
Colombia says top guerilla leader, 18 more killed
Oct 26
Nigerian militants attack Italy-owned oil platform
Oct 26
Chad president, rebels sign peace deal
Oct 26
Al-Qaida anger at Jazeera on Laden tape
Oct 25
Darfur rebel group kidnaps foreign oil workers
Oct 25
Turkish leaders pressure US, Iraq over incursion threat
Oct 25
Mexico oil rig accident kills 18

Courtesy TRC - Terrorism Rsearch Center

Sunday, October 28, 2007



30 Dead in Pakistan Military Blast
October 25, 2007

A blast tore through a truck carrying paramilitary soldiers in restive northwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing 30 people and wounding at least a dozen more, a senior security official said.
The vehicle, which was packed with ammunition, was travelling outside Mingora, the main city in the scenic Swat valley in North West Frontier Province, when the explosion occurred, the official said.

'Thirty people were killed in the explosion including 17 paramilitary soldiers. The damage was high because the truck was packed with ammunition,' the official, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

A doctor at a local hospital said 10 bodies had been brought in so far.

'Ten dead bodies were brought to Saidu Sharif hospital, and 35 wounded people. Some of the bodies are charred,' doctor Nisar Khan told AFP.

Security sources said a suicide bomber detonated his explosives near the truck, but the government said the truck's cargo could have triggered the explosion.

'The nature of the blast is not clear and it is being ascertained. There was ammunition in the truck which caused the damage,' interior ministry spokesman Javed Cheema told AFP.

The explosion comes just one day after Pakistan deployed more than 2,000 troops to the scenic Swat valley to bolster efforts to stem rising violence linked to pro-Taliban militants.

The district was once one of Pakistan's premier tourist attractions, but the area in conservative North West Frontier Province, bordering Afghanistan, has become a stronghold of banned group Tahreek Nifaz-e-Shariat Mohammadi (TNSM).

The radical group has close ties to Taliban fighters who have been mounting attacks on government officials and security forces in the area.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack.
Hundreds of Taliban militants fled over the Afghan border into Pakistan's nearby tribal areas after the fall of the Taliban in a US-led invasion in 2001.

Pakistan's military has suffered a string of deadly attacks since government troops stormed the al-Qaeda-linked Red Mosque in Islamabad in July.

Most of those attacks have been suicide blasts that have killed about 400 people since July, according to an AFP tally.
The military said Wednesday that the deployment of troops into Swat was aimed at improving law and order in the troubled region.

Denmark: Four Protesters Against Islam Beaten With Iron Bars
October 25, 2007

As I mentioned earlier a campaign has been mounted in Europe called Stop Islamisation of Europe. This group's aim is self-evident - to oppose multicultural policies which have allowed Islamists to wield political influence, and the encroachment of Islam in Europe.

They regard this spread of a potentially violent religion/ideology as a threat to the values which built Europe. They are not racist - their slogan is 'Racism is the lowest form of human stupidity, but Islamophobia is the height of common sense.'

On the sixth anniversary of 9/11 this year, members of the group had tried to protest in Brussels. The politically correct mayor, Freddy Thielemans, was opposed to any event which could have inflamed Muslims in his city - a tacit admission that demonstrations of free speech - a basic European right - would be met with violence by the same Muslims he supports.

He banned the demonstration. Several people still turned up, hoping to make their protest, but 154 people were arrested.

Now, news comes that an attempt by SIOE to make a demonstration in Denmark was met with extreme violence in which four people, including the leader of the Danish branch of SIOE, were injured.

The incident is reported - with pictures - on SIOE's website. On Sunday, October 21, a demonstration by SIOE had been planned in Copenhagen. Anders Gravers was in one of two cars driving to a cellar before the meeting.

When he stopped the car to get through the security gate, his vehicle was attacked by four men. Two of these smashed the car's side windows with iron bars. One of Anders Gravers' passengers was struck by the bars. The attackers were calling 'Get him out! Get him out!'

Another person who was in the front of the car between Gravers and the other injured passenger, was also injured. A filled bottle of soda was thrown at her, breaking on the back of her head (above right). The attackers eventually ran off.

Gravers fought back as one of the men tried to lean into the car and unlock the door. It later was found that Gravers' shirt and jacket had holes, corresponding to stab marks. At the time, no-one was aware that the assailants had knives. Anders Gravers had been wearing a protective vest under his shirt. He suffered the least injuries of those attacked, having bruises on his arm and body.

An elderly woman passenger in Anders Gravers' car had managed to escape from the vehicle, but she was hit with iron bars by two of the assailants (above left). Another individual (top photo) was hit in the head at least four times with iron bars as he lay in the road.

The four attackers ran off, and the injured individuals took refuge in the cellar venue they had intended to meet at before the demonstration. Phone reception in the basement was poor, but an individual in the building phoned for police and ambulance services. Gravers went ahead and led the demonstration outside Copenhagen's Institute of Human Rights.


A Hero's Humanity
October 23, 2007

America paid tribute yesterday to Navy S.E.A.L. Lt. Michael Murphy, to whom President Bush posthumously awarded the nation's highest military decoration for valor - the Medal of Honor - in a White House ceremony.

No one could be more deserving of the honor. The Long Island native was recognized most of all for his singular bravery, but equally remarkable is the way he upheld his commitment to American ideals - even in the most harrowing moments of his mission.

While tracking a Taliban warlord in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan two years ago, Murphy's team came upon three wandering goatherds.

The dilemma for the SEALs was dire and immediate: Their mission depended on secrecy, and they had no way of knowing whether these seeming civilians were Taliban sympathizers - or perhaps even Taliban scouts. What should they do?

Letting the goatherds pass, they saw, could cost them their lives. Indeed, for everyone but Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell - who tells the story in his book, 'The Lone Survivor' - it ultimately did: The team was ambushed an hour later by nearly 100 Taliban fighters.
Murphy was killed in the ensuing gunfight, but not before braving open fire to signal for help.

Leaving the goatherds free was an act with foreseeable risks. But the alternative was to execute what might have been three completely innocent civilians - and this Murphy and his SEALs could not abide.

They did the right thing and took the consequences - an essentially American act of courage that matches any display of valor in battle.

It's also a striking illustration of precisely what separates America from its enemies, who regularly target civilians as a political tactic - when they're not hiding among them.

Murphy's courage and decency may come as a surprise to those who throw around names like Abu Ghraib as handy stand-ins for everything they dislike about the War on Terror.
It shouldn't.

Hard decisions like the one the SEALs made in the mountains of Afghanistan are the natural consequence of a struggle in which the enemy wears no uniform and respects no laws of war.

But the men and women of the U.S. armed forces continue to face them with humanity and valor - and, one can hope, with the admiration of a grateful nation. _humanity.htm

Iran War: Closer to Reality
October 25, 2007

Washington society has been chattering about the risk of war with Tehran. It's an open secret that Vice President Dick Cheney has made bombing plans, but even high-ranking military experts think an attack would lead to world economic chaos, or even what George W. Bush calls 'World War III.'

US Vice President Dick Cheney -- the power behind the throne, the eminence grise, the man with the (very) occasional grandfatherly smile -- is notorious for his propensity for secretiveness and behind-the-scenes manipulation. He's capable of anything, say friends as well as enemies. Given this reputation, it's no big surprise that Cheney has already asked for a backroom analysis of how a war with Iran might begin.

In the scenario concocted by Cheney's strategists, Washington's first step would be to convince Israel to fire missiles at Iran's uranium enrichment plant in Natanz. Tehran would retaliate with its own strike, providing the US with an excuse to attack military targets and nuclear facilities in Iran.

This information was leaked by an official close to the vice president. Cheney himself hasn't denied engaging in such war games. For years, in fact, he's been open about his opinion that an attack on Iran, a member of US President George W. Bush's 'Axis of Evil,' is inevitable.

Given these not-too-secret designs, Democrats and Republicans alike have wondered what to make of the still mysterious Israeli bombing run in Syria on September 6. Was it part of an existing war plan? A test run, perhaps? For days after the attack, one question dominated conversation at Washington receptions: How great is the risk of war, really?

Grandiose Plans, East and West

In the September strike, Israeli bombers were likely targeting a nuclear reactor under construction, parts of which are alleged to have come from North Korea. It is possible that key secretaries in the Bush cabinet even tried to stop Israel. To this day, the administration has neither confirmed nor commented on the attack.

Nevertheless, in Washington, Israel's strike against Syria has revived the specter of war with Iran. For the neoconservatives it could represent a glimmer of hope that the grandiose dream of a democratic Middle East has not yet been buried in the ashes of Iraq. But for realists in the corridors of the State Department and the Pentagon, military action against Iran is a nightmare they have sought to avert by asking a simple question: 'What then?'

The Israeli strike, or something like it, could easily mark the beginning of the 'World War III,' which President Bush warned against last week. With his usual apocalyptic rhetoric, he said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could lead the region to a new world war if his nation builds a nuclear bomb.

Conditions do look ripe for disaster. Iran continues to acquire and develop the fundamental prerequisites for a nuclear weapon. The mullah regime receives support -- at least moral support, if not technology -- from a newly strengthened Russia, which these days reaches for every chance to provoke the United States.

President Vladimir Putin's own (self-described) 'grandiose plan' to restore Russia's armed forces includes a nuclear buildup. The war in Iraq continues to drag on without an end in sight or even an opportunity for US troops to withdraw in a way that doesn't smack of retreat. In Afghanistan, NATO troops are struggling to prevent a return of the Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists. The Palestinian conflict could still reignite on any front.

In Washington, Bush has 15 months left in office. He may have few successes to show for himself, but he's already thinking of his legacy. Bush says he wants diplomacy to settle the nuclear dispute with Tehran, and hopes international pressure will finally convince Ahmadinejad to come to his senses. Nevertheless, the way pressure has been building in Washington, preparations for war could be underway.

In late September, the US Senate voted to declare the 125,000-man Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. High-ranking US generals have accused Iran of waging a 'proxy war' against the United States through its support of Shiite militias in Iraq. And strategists at the Pentagon, apparently at Cheney's request, have developed detailed plans for an attack against Tehran.

Instead of the previous scenario of a large-scale bombardment of the country's many nuclear facilities, the current emphasis is, once again, on so-called surgical strikes, primarily against the quarters of the Revolutionary Guards. This sort of attack would be less massive than a major strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

Conservative think tanks and pundits who sense this could be their last chance to implement their agenda in the Middle East have supported and disseminated such plans in the press.

Despite America's many failures in Iraq, these hawks have urged the weakened president to act now, accusing him of having lost sight of his principal agenda and no longer daring to apply his own doctrine of pre-emptive strikes.

Sheer Lunacy?

The notion of war with Iran has spilled over into other circles, too.

Last Monday Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the US House of Representatives, made it clear that the president would first need Congressional approval to launch an attack.

Meanwhile, Republican candidates for the White House have debated whether they would even allow such details to get in their way. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said he would consult his attorneys to determine whether the US Constitution does, in fact, require a president to ask for Congressional approval before going to war.

Vietnam veteran John McCain said war with Iran was 'maybe closer to reality than we are discussing tonight.'

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has also adopted a hawkish stance, voting in favor of the Senate measure to classify the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Her rivals criticized Clinton for giving the administration a blank check to go to war.

The US military is building a base in Iraq less than 10 kilometers (about six miles) from Iran's border. The facility, known as Combat Outpost Shocker, is meant for American soldiers preventing Iranian weapons from being smuggled into Iraq.

But it's also rumored that Bush authorized US intelligence agencies in April to run sabotage missions against the mullah regime on Iranian soil.

Gary Sick is an expert on Iran who served as a military adviser under three presidents. He believes that such preparations mark a significant shift in the government's strategy. 'Since August,' says Sick, 'the emphasis is no longer on the Iranian nuclear threat,' but on Iran's support for terrorism in Iraq. 'This is a complete change and is potentially dangerous.'

It would be relatively easy for Bush to prove that Tehran, by supporting insurgents in Iraq, is responsible for the deaths of American soldiers. It might be harder to prove that Iran's nuclear plans pose an immediate threat to the world.

Besides, the nuclear argument is reminiscent of an embarrassing precedent, when the Bush administration used the claim that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction -- which he didn't -- as a reason to invade Iraq. Even if the evidence against Tehran proves to be more damning, the American public will find it difficult to swallow this argument again.

The forces urging a diplomatic resolution also look stronger than they were before Iraq. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wants the next step to be a third round of even tighter sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council. Rice has powerful allies at the Pentagon: Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral William Fallon, head of US Central Command, which is responsible for American forces throughout the region.

Rice and her cohorts all favor diplomacy, partly because they know the military is under strain. After four years in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US lacks manpower for another major war, especially one against a relatively well-prepared adversary. 'For many senior people at the Pentagon, the CIA and the State Department, a war would be sheer lunacy,' says security expert Sick.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and now a Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution, agrees. A war against Tehran would be 'a disaster for the entire world,' says Riedel, who worries about a 'battlefield extending from the Mediterranean to the Indian subcontinent.'

Nevertheless, he believes there is a 'realistic risk of a military conflict,' because both sides look willing to carry things to the brink.

On the one hand, says Riedel, Iran is playing with fire, challenging the West by sending weapons to Shiite insurgents in Iraq. On the other hand, hotheads in Washington are by no means powerless.

Although many neoconservative hawks have left the Bush administration, Cheney remains their reliable partner. 'The vice president is the closest adviser to the president, and a dominant figure,' says Riedel. 'One shouldn't underestimate how much power he still wields.'

'Is it 1938 Again?'

Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Tehran last week also played into the hands of hardliners in Washington, who read it as proof that Putin isn't serious about joining the West's effort to convince Tehran to abandon its drive for a nuclear weapon.

Moreover, the countries bordering the Caspian Sea, including Central Asian nations Washington has courted energetically in recent years, have said they would not allow a war against Tehran to be launched from their territory.

Cheney derives much of his support from hawks outside the administration who fear their days are as numbered as the President's. 'The neocons see Iran as their last chance to prove something,' says analyst Riedel. This aim is reflected in their tone. Conservative columnist Norman Podhoretz, for example -- a father figure to all neocons -- wrote in the Wall Street Journal that he 'hopes and prays' that Bush will finally bomb Iran.

Podhoretz sees the United States engaged in a global war against 'Islamofascism,' a conflict he defines as World War IV, and he likens Iran to Nazi Germany. 'Is it 1938 again?' he asks in a speech he repeats regularly at conferences.

Podhoretz is by no means an eccentric outsider. He now serves as a senior foreign-policy adviser to Republican presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani. President Bush has also met with Podhoretz at the White House to hear his opinions.

Nevertheless, most experts in Washington warn against attacking Tehran. They assume the Iranians would retaliate. 'It would be foolish to believe surgical strikes will be enough,' says Riedel, who believes that precision attacks would quickly escalate to war.

Former presidential adviser Sick thinks Iran would strike back with terrorist attacks. 'The generals of the Revolutionary Guard have had several years to think about asymmetrical warfare,' says Sick. 'They probably have a few rather interesting ideas.'

According to Sick, detonating well-placed bombs at oil terminals in the Persian Gulf would be enough to wreak havoc. 'Insurance costs would skyrocket, causing oil prices to triple and triggering a global recession,' Sick warns. 'The economic consequences would be enormous, far greater than anything we have experienced with Iraq so far.'

Because the catastrophic consequences of an attack on Iran are obvious, many in Washington have a fairly benign take on the current round of saber rattling. They believe the sheer dread of war is being used to bolster diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis and encourage hesitant members of the United Nations Security Council to take more decisive action. The Security Council, this argument goes, will be more likely to approve tighter sanctions if it believes that war is the only alternative.,1518,513572,00.html

Iraqis, Coalition Forces Capture Key Shia Extremists
October 25, 2007

Shia extremists in Iskandariyah and Haswah are being arrested by Iraqi police and Coalition Forces so fast that militia leaders are in jail before the 'street' knows to stop giving tips on them.

Intelligence generated by operations has outpaced human intelligence, according to Col. Michael Garrett, commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division. 'This has never happened before,' he said.

A great deal of the benefit comes from the partnership between the Iraqi police and Coalition Soldiers. Whereas once there was concern that Shia extremists had infiltrated the police, in these areas the Iraqi police are hitting the extremists hard. Their cooperation means that once-safe areas, like mosques, now offer no shelter to the militant extremists.

A hand grenade attack on a patrol of paratroopers October 20 demonstrates the change. The grenade exploded near soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT (Abn.), 25th Inf. Div., while they were patrolling Iskandariyah. Instead of driving them away, the grenade drew their pursuit.
The men of the 509th PIR tracked their attacker to the Iskandariyah Husaniyah Mosque.

Coalition Forces did not enter the mosque, but requested instead that Iraqi police search it. Soon, Iraqi police arrived to conduct the search for the assailant. What they found, not in the mosque but in a nearby house, was the headquarters of a Shia extremist cell.
Inside they found homemade and commercial explosives, and a hoard of military gear.

The stash included night vision gear and rifles, advanced body armor and armor piercing weapons. It also included materials that could be used to make improvised explosive devices and suicide vests, including pounds of ball bearings.

Only days later in Haswah, another joint Iraqi police and 509th PIR patrol came under small arms fire October 23. The Iraqi police with the patrol surrounded the mosque and arrested a man who was one of the most wanted criminals in the area.

They also found Iraqi army and police uniforms. The 509th PIR element of the patrol chased down armed men in a gray Mercedes. When they took them, they captured pistols, Kalashnikov rifles, and incendiaries.

The man behind the effort is Lt. Col. Valery Keaveny, commander of 3rd Battalion, 509th PIR.

'Local citizens and Iraqi Security Forces, tired of the selfishness and brutality of the Shia extremists, have provided volumes of detailed intelligence on the terrorist activities and personalities,' Keaveny said. 'This information and aggressive operations by the ISF and Coalition Forces led to the capture of many Shia terrorist leaders and followers in Iskandariyah and Haswah.'

Meanwhile, the Iraqi police at the mosque finished their search. They turned over a 120mm mortar round converted to an IED, a number of rocket-propelled grenades, six of which were Iranian, launchers, mortars, body armor, grenades and more rifles.

Each of these finds produces more intelligence, driving more operations. On October 2 the battalion arrested their number seven most wanted. On October 12 they got their number one man, and their number eight. On October 15 they took number nine, and two days later, another individual who had just entered the top ten that week. The man arrested in the mosque raid in Haswah was the number two target.

With these relentless offensive operations and diminished presence of extremist threats, the civilians of this area are no longer in hiding and now feel empowered to step forward and help.

'In response to the reduction of the extremist threats, many more citizens have come forward with information and the ISF have increased their operations,' Keaveny said. 'Local Iraqis, Shia and Sunni, welcome the increased security, the promise of a better future, and the hope that they have gained with the obvious loss of control on the part of the Shia extremists.' ure_key_Shia_extremists11053.shtml


New U.S. Alert for Shoe Bombers
October 25, 2007

Following the seizure in Europe of hollowed-out shoes containing blasting caps, U.S. authorities have been told to be on the lookout for thick-soled shoes that could be used to conceal explosives, as infamously was the case with convicted 'shoe bomber' Richard Reid.

According to a Department of Homeland Security-FBI bulletin issued Wednesday, October 24, European authorities in September 2007 discovered a pair of shoes that were used to smuggle electric blasting caps across international borders for use in a terrorist attack.

'A recent terrorist incident involving the international smuggling of electric blasting caps highlights the continuing use of modified footwear as a concealment method for explosive devices,' stated the DHS-FBI Bulletin 'Terrorist Use of Modified Footwear to Conceal Explosive Devices.'

'The shoes were modified in a manner that would make it difficult for security personnel to distinguish them from normal shoes visually.' They were not worn, the bulletin said, but transported by bus concealed in luggage.

'The shoes -- made of leather with thick rubber soles -- were modified so that the insole of each shoe could be removed for access to the hollow interior of the rubber sole,' according to the bulletin.

'Electric blasting caps were placed inside the hollow rubber sole, and the insole was glued to the rubber sole to appear as if the shoe was never modified,' it continued. 'The blasting caps -- each measuring about two inches in length -- were individually wrapped in paper, possibly to protect them from the glue used when the shoes were reassembled.'

The FBI told the Blotter on that the bulletin was sent out as part of the routine information sharing between various members of the law enforcement and intelligence communities.

'The FBI and DHS routinely send out these bulletins to our law enforcement and intelligence community partners to share information,' said Senior Special Agent Richard J. Kolko, chief of the National Press Office. 'It is not related to a threat, but is provided in order to allow officers on the streets to be alert to items that appear routine but may not be, as they go about their daily duties.'

The bulletin itself noted there was no 'specific, credible' current threat information indicating 'that terrorists plan to use this concealment method in the homeland.' But it also noted the incident 'highlights the continuing use of modified footwear as a concealment method for explosive devices.'

As such, the attempt to smuggle blasting caps is but the latest in a series of attempts by terrorists, whether autonomous or al-Qaeda, to either smuggle explosive components in shoes, socks, gel bras and other items of clothing, or conceal complete improvised explosive devices in their clothing.

The most infamous in recent years occurred on December 22, 2001. On that day, Richard Reid boarded a Paris-to-Miami flight wearing a pair of dark-colored, high-topped shoes.

Into the waffle-style soles, he had woven a high explosive and a length of detonator cord. He linked his device to a paper-wrapped, homemade, high explosive initiator. Alert passengers and crew members spotted him bending over in an attempt to ignite a fuse and subdued him.

On December 4, 2003, Reid was convicted in Boston federal court of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. citizens as well as on other charges.

Reid, a 29-year-old British citizen, was sentenced in January 2003 to life in prison on three counts: one of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the United States and two of interference with flight crew and attendants using a dangerous weapon.

He was also ordered to pay a $2 million fine and sentenced to consecutive 20-year terms on four other counts and a 30-year term on an eighth count.

Since Reid's attempt, airports in the United States have implemented a 100 percent X-ray inspection policy for footwear. The bulletin noted that some foreign airports do not, however, check all passengers' shoes. In addition, terrorists have continued to refine their attempts to use footwear.

But by the close of 2003, U.S. authorities issued another alert, one that was broadcast by ABC News TV and radio and published on That alert warned of terrorists using socks soaked in explosives and hung from a cord around a terrorist's neck as a way to avoid bomb sniffing dogs and conceal the explosive from airport authorities.

The bulletin featured a pair of blue socks it said were found by British anti-terror police in November of that year. They were discovered during a series of raids. Forensic tests on the socks allegedly found they had been laced with several explosives, including TNT, PETN (similar to Semtex) and RDX.

'While it is not clear exactly in what capacity the individual may have been using the socks, it is possible the suspect may have been suspending the socks from around his/her neck or under outer garments in an effort to conceal explosives carried in them,' said the bulletin. 'It also cannot be discounted that these tethered socks were components of an improvised explosive device in the making. '

At the same time the alert on the explosive soaked socks was issued, the FBI weekly circular to law enforcement warned that recent intelligence 'indicates that terrorists continue to develop plans to hijack aircraft and use them as weapons' despite improved security and vigilance since the September 11, 2001, attacks.

In August 2006, a cell of al-Qaeda-inspired and linked alleged British terrorists were stopped in the final stages of a plot to board a series of U.S. airliners bound from Heathrow to the U.S. and ignite their bombs in flight. Elements of the devices they planned to use were concealed in the bottoms of sports drink containers they intended to smuggle aboard.


Few Labs can Test 'Dirty Bomb' Exposure
October 25, 2007

The U.S. has a shortage of laboratories to test the thousands of people who might be exposed to radiation if a ‘dirty bomb’ detonated in a major city, according to a recent congressional investigation.

The federal government established 15 disaster scenarios for federal, state and local officials to plan for, including one in which a dirty bomb goes off in a major downtown area and potentially exposes 100,000 people to radioactive materials.

A dirty bomb would contain some radioactive material that could cause contamination over a limited area but not create actual nuclear explosions.

Should this happen in real life, the nation would not be able to quickly conduct tests for these people, because there are few labs capable of doing so in the country; and the tests available only address six of the 13 radiological isotopes that would likely be used in a dirty bomb, according to the report prepared for the House Committee on Science and Technology.

Instead, it would take four years to complete all these tests, according to the report to be released Thursday.

‘I had hoped since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, that our government had smart people lying awake at 3 o'clock in the morning, trying to think through everything that terrorists could be dreaming of, every kind of attack they could be dreaming of, and trying to think of ways to prevent it and to respond to it if it does happen,’ said Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C.

‘Learning how poorly prepared we are for a dirty bomb, a radiological attack, makes me think that that's not happened.’

Miller is chairman of the subcommittee holding a hearing on the report's findings.

The report acknowledges that this type of dirty-bomb scenario would probably not cause massive casualties, but Miller said four years is too long to wait for results of whether people are contaminated.

‘I can't imagine a parent, who is told that their child can be tested for cesium in two-and-a-half more years, is going to be reassured to hear that their child probably won't die,’ Miller said.

The report on radioactive testing offered this example of the deficient lab capabilities in the U.S.:

When a former Russian KGB agent was poisoned with polonium-210 last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified 160 U.S. citizens who were staying at the same hotel where the Russian was poisoned or eating at the same restaurant and were potentially exposed.

But the CDC found only one laboratory in the U.S. that was qualified and able to conduct analysis for exposure to the radioactive material.

Ultimately, 31 samples were tested, and it took seven days to test each one. The Energy Department has labs capable of doing a polonium analysis, but those labs do not meet legal standards for testing set by CDC.

According to the report: ‘The public outcry for detailed clinical health assessments confirming their lack of radiological contamination is likely to be tremendous.’

Similarly, officials recently said the nation is ill-equipped to quickly track down the make and origin of nuclear materials.
If terrorists use such a radioactive device to attack the U.S., people would immediately want to know who is responsible, and it could take months to analyze and identify nuclear material, counterproliferation officials said earlier this month.

Chronology-Bird Flu Developments
October 8, 2007

An Indonesian woman died of bird flu, the World Health Organisation confirmed on its Web site on Monday. At least 202 people have died of H5N1 since 2003. Here is a chronology of major recent bird flu developments:

February 8, 2006 - First African cases of the deadly H5N1 strain are detected in poultry in northern Nigeria.February 18 - India announces its first cases of H5N1, finding the virus in poultry in a western state.February 25 -

France confirms H5N1 at a farm where thousands of turkeys died, the first case of the virus in domestic farm birds in the European Union. September 28 - China shares long-sought-after samples of H5N1 in what many scientists view as a breakthrough in cooperation.

February 3, 2007 - WHO confirms bird flu killed a 22-year-old Nigerian woman, its first known human fatality in sub-Saharan Africa.February 27 - Laos confirms its first human case of bird flu. The patient dies on March 7.April 17 - The first bird flu vaccine for people wins U.S. approval. May 22 - WHO agrees to demands from developing countries to revamp its system for sharing flu virus samples.

It also says it will work to ensure fair distribution of affordable vaccines. June 16 - Vietnam says bird flu killed a 20-year-old man, the first death in the country from H5N1 since late 2005. July 26 - India confirms latest outbreak of bird flu in poultry in Manipur state in the remote northeast, is the H5N1 strain.

It is the first case reported in India in a year. October 4 - A study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison says that H5N1 has mutated to infect people more easily, although it still has not transformed into a pandemic strain.October 8 - WHO says a 44-year old woman from Sumatra island died from bird flu. Indonesia has had 108 confirmed cases, of which 87 have been fatal, the highest for any country.


Programs to Counter the Shoulder-fired Missile Threat
October 25, 2007

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the FAS, the Department of Homeland Security has released a December 2005 report to Congress on the status of DHS's efforts to counter the threat from man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) to commercial airliners.

The report, which Congress required as part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, sheds new light on several key DHS counter-MANPADS efforts, including airport vulnerability assessments, contingency plans for MANPADS attacks, and intelligence sharing and law enforcement training. These efforts are part of a multi-faceted U.S. campaign to deprive terrorists of access to these weapons and mitigate the threat from missiles that are already in terrorist arsenals.

The current U.S. counter-MANPADS campaign was launched in late 2002 after al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists fired two Soviet-era SA-7 missiles at an Israeli airliner as it was departing from Mombassa, Kenya. Even though the missiles missed the plane, the attack had a profound effect on the international community and the United States in particular, transforming its nascent and modest efforts to address the MANPADS threat into a full-fledged campaign. Within weeks of the attack, the US government had established an inter-agency task force and 'a systematic, end-to-end countermeasures strategy' focused on three main areas:

(1) proliferation control and threat reduction,

(2) tactical measures and recovery, and

(3) technical countermeasures (i.e. anti-missile systems).

While much has been written here and elsewhere about the first and third areas, comparatively little is known about the second area (tactical measures and recovery), which includes vulnerability assessments of airports, contingency planning for manpads attacks, and information sharing and law enforcement training. The DHS report fills in some of these gaps.

The report provides a good general overview of DHS efforts to assess the vulnerability of U.S. and foreign airports to missile attacks. As of December 2005, the US government had conducted initial MANPADS vulnerability assessments at all 443 US commercial airports and several airports abroad, annual follow-up assessments at the largest 25 or so airports, and special assessments 'to support several National Security Special Events,' including the 2004 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the 2005 Presidential Inauguration, and the 2004 G8 summit. In addition, the Transporation Security Administration (TSA) has helped foreign governments develop the capacity to conduct their own assessments by training foreign officials and by providing an assessment methodology to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which has made it available to all 190 of its contracting (member) states via a secure Internet link.

Very little information on what the vulnerability assessments entail or the type and extent of security improvements made by airports in response to the assessments is provided in the report, however.
The report also provides some additional information about contingency planning for MANPADS attacks, although not enough to evaluate their rigor, implementation, and effectiveness. After completing a vulnerability assessment, each airport developes a MANPADS mitigation plan that is tested via tabletop exercises and revised to address any weaknesses.

Copies of the plans are then sent to TSA headquarters, which, as of December 2005, had received 400 such plans. The report also touches briefly on intelligence sharing and MANPADS awareness training, which has been provided to DHS employees, U.S. Capitol and Park Police, and thousands of officers who receive training at the DHS Federal Law Enforcement Center. DHS has also distributed CD-ROMs with training material to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies.

Also worth mentioning is the section on public education and neighborhood watch programs, which DHS ultimately decided not to pursue. Interestingly, one of the arguments against the programs is that MANPADS are not a 'high risk threat to aircraft within the United States,' which raises the question of why DHS is now spending tens of millions of dollars on programs to assess and develop ground- and UAV-based anti-missile systems for US airports on top of the tens of millions of dollars it has already spent on the development of aircraft-mounted systems.


Bali Three Set for Execution
October 25, 2007

As is tradition, there was a huge population shift last week as urban Indonesians crossed the country to return to their home villages for the Lebaran holiday. The flow was reversed over the weekend, with most city-dwellers back at work by 22 October.

Security forces were on alert throughout, not only for increases in petty crime (to be expected given the spike in travelers), but also for potential acts of terrorism. In hindsight, 2007’s Ramadhan fast and Lebaran will probably go down as one of the most peaceful in recent memory. Not only were there no acts of terrorism, but the number of raids by hard-line Muslim vigilante groups against entertainment venues—which were commonplace around 1999—were few and far between.

The only exception took place on the early morning hours of 21 October, when a small bomb went off behind the house of a retired army colonel in Salatiga, Central Java. There were no casualties, though the residence sustained minor damage. The device appeared to consist of black powder packed inside a bamboo tube—more of a large firecracker than a bomb. The authorities are still at a loss to explain motive.

Looking ahead, the three Bali bombers on death row—Imam Samudra, Ali Gufron, and his younger brother Amrozi—had their visitation rights restricted this past week. With their execution apparently set to take place in the near future (all three waved their right to seek a presidential appeal), the police are concerned about who might seek an audience with the trio during their final days.

The police counter-terrorist unit, Special Detachment 88, will vet all those requesting a visit. In addition, physical contact will only be permitted to blood relatives.

The authorities are correctly concerned about reprisals by Muslim hard-liners if and when the three go in front of a firing squad. Last year, after all, there were outbreaks of communal violence among Christian communities in East Indonesia following the execution of three Christian extremists linked to violence in Central Sulawesi. n.php


Manhattan: Terror Charges Stand
October 26, 2007

A judge refused yesterday to drop charges against a Staten Island man accused of providing material support to a terrorist organization by broadcasting al-Manar, a television network that prosecutors said was supported by Hizballah, the defendant's lawyer said. The judge, Richard Berman of Federal District Court, denied a motion to dismiss the charges against the man, Javed Iqbal, said his lawyer, Joshua L. Dratel. The judge also denied a motion to suppress statements by Mr. Iqbal and evidence found during a search. =1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1193373114-Q7fd8WzglckW6o8oO%20asn A&pagewanted=print


Suspicious Activity At California Fire Stations
September 20, 2007

During the last week of July, fire officials in the Bay Area city of Campbell reported that two men had been seen videotaping routine activities at a fire station.

The men were reportedly in their 20s or early 30s, and one was using a sophisticated news media-style camera.

When firefighters attempted to talk with the men, they reportedly jumped into a waiting car and sped off.

The incident prompted the Sacramento Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center to send out a request for Northern California fire stations to watch for similar incidents, and report them immediately.

The day the request went out, September 6, a second, similar incident was reported at a fire station in Yuba City.

According to officials, a fire captain encountered two men parked outside the city's main fire station. One of the men got out and allegedly began taking pictures of the fire station's administration building. When the captain approached the men, to tell them they were in a no-parking zone, the photographer jumped in the vehicle and the men left.

The man who took the photos was described as being between 30 and 40 years of age.

On September 12, Fresno Fire Department officials spotted two men in a vehicle allegedly observing activities at a fire training center. When questioned, the driver reportedly said they were just checking things out, then left immediately.

Two days later, on September 14, personnel from the Sacramento Metro Fire Department noticed two men taking photos of a fire station. A third man sat in the back of a car, and appeared to be drawing or taking notes. When fire officials walked toward them, the two taking pictures jumped in the vehicle and sped away.
The men allegedly took pictures in front of the station, and in the rear. They ranged in age from late teens to about 60, officials recalled.

Tim Johnstone, a commander with the threat assessment center in Sacramento, said all of the incidents are being investigated, but there is no indication they might be related.

'We aren't considering this a specific threat at this time; we're just asking our public safety partners to be on the watch for suspicious activity,' he said.

He said the threat assessment center was formed to act as a collection point for homeland security intelligence, and disseminate it appropriately.

Jay Alan, deputy director of communication for the Governor's Office of Homeland Security, said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is concerned about security agencies sharing information, and has made it a top priority.

Local officials said no suspicious incidents involving videotaping or photos have been reported at fire stations.

Fire department personnel are being asked to take note of vehicle descriptions, descriptions of suspicious subjects, and complete license plate numbers. Citizens who witness suspicious activity, near fire stations or elsewhere, should do the same, and report it to their local law enforcement agency.

Citizens should not attempt to contact suspicious individuals. ity-at-california-fire-stations-terrorism-center-issues-watch-request/

Feds Join Probe in SoCal Wildfire
October 24, 2007

Federal agents joined the search for evidence Wednesday in brush-covered Orange County hills where an arsonist is believed to have ignited one of the wildfires devastating Southern California.

In San Bernardino County, a man suspected of starting a small fire was arrested and another man was shot to death by police after he fled officers who approached to see if he might be trying to set a fire.

Wildfires, burning in seven counties, had destroyed about 1,500 homes and caused more than a half-million people to flee since the first blaze began late Saturday. At least two _ in Orange and Riverside counties _ have been linked to arson.

Throughout the region, authorities stepped up patrols in hopes of preventing copycat fires and looting. In San Diego County, sheriff's officials have reported scattered instances of looting in fire zones. Two people have been arrested.

Orange County officials converged on a remote area of bone-dry brush where a 19,200-acre wildfire has destroyed nine homes. They were aided by special teams from the FBI and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The federal government planned to send more agents from around the country to help with the probe.

Investigators taped off an area they called a crime scene, took photos, collected evidence and recorded map coordinates, according to ATF Special Agent Susan Raichel. Authorities believe the fire had been set because they found three different ignition points within a short distance _ a common sign of arson.

A $70,000 reward was offered for information leading to an arrest in the case.

In San Bernardino County, a motorcyclist who authorities say set a small fire in a rural foothill area of the San Bernardino Mountains has been booked for investigation of arson. Authorities said they didn't know if the man was connected to any of the 16 major wildfires burning in Southern California.

In the city of San Bernardino, police shot and killed a man who fled when officers approached to see if he might be trying to set a fire.

The man, whose name was not released, was shot Tuesday night following a chase that ended when he backed his car into a police cruiser and an officer opened fire, San Bernardino police said. dfires.Arson/print/

Outrage: The Mistreatment of Two Border Patrol Agents (back)
October 25, 2007

Do you recognize the names of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean? You should. They are the former U.S. Border Patrol Agents who were convicted and sentenced to eleven and twelve years in federal prison, respectively, for wounding a Mexican drug smuggler who brought 743 pounds of marijuana across the U.S. border.

Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and John Culberson (R-Tex.), along with 41 other Members of Congress, including Representative Ralph M. Hall (R-Tex.), who is Chairman of the Board of the Free Congress Foundation, have written to Judge Michael B. Mukasey, President Bush's nominee for Attorney General.

They point out that the two agents were prosecuted by Johnny Sutton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas. Sutton granted immunity to the drug smuggler, provided him free health care and granted unconditional border-crossing cards so he would testify against the agents.

The Congressmen want Mukasey to investigate the situation. In his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mukasey agreed to do so. In arguing for the investigation, these Members of Congress expressed great concern over the treatment of Agents Ramos and Compean.

The conditions, the Congressmen argued, are far worse than those for suspected terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay. Both officers are held in solitary confinement 23 hours a day. Ramos was placed in solitary confinement because he was assaulted in a different facility earlier this year. His assailants never were charged.

The Members of Congress are very concerned about the pattern of prosecutorial overreach by Sutton. Rohrabacher has long been concerned about the close relationship between Sutton, President George W. Bush and former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

The Members of Congress compared the conditions of Ramos and Compean with the imprisoned terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. What they discovered is an outrage.

The men who want to blow up Americans are far better off than these two very decent agents, who are the victims of a vindictive prosecutorial program demanded by the President, reinforced by former Attorney General Gonzales and finally carried out by Sutton. The comparison is as follows:

Ramos and Compean Special Housing Units: Administrative detention is a non-punitive status in which restricted conditions of confinement are required only to ensure the safety of inmates or others. It would appear that Ramos and Compean are abused in this case inasmuch as they are compelled to spend 23 hours in their cells.

Ramos and Compean are not permitted to participate in any recreational activity outside of their exercise cages. Only one hour outdoors is permitted per day. All outdoor recreation is limited to concrete, open air, chain link enclosures with high walls. Ramos is limited to three showers weekly with no shower on the weekends.

The officers receive no special meals or extra food privileges. Ramos has lost more than 30 pounds. All their meals are served alone in their cells. They are not permitted to watch television. They have a limited commissary list and do not enjoy the same privileges as the general population.

After a brutal assault by five inmates Ramos was not taken to a medical facility or a physician for several days. Nor did Ramos receive the proper medication for a previous condition for four months. They are allowed only one 15-minute telephone call every 30 days.

Gitmo detainees in Camp 4:

Camp 4, the only medium security camp at Guantanamo Bay, is the most sought-after camp. It offers detainees the privilege of living in a communal setting which offers more freedoms and perks. Inmates receive up to nine hours of exercise and recreation a day.

Exercise yards attached to the living quarters include covered picnic tables, ping-pong tables, soccer fields and volleyball courts. Showers are available daily after exercise. They receive 4,200 calories a day and have ice cream parties on Sundays and access to Subway.

Their meals are eaten together in cell blocks. They have permission to watch Arabic family television programs and soccer and have personal visits from librarians with books and magazines. They receive the same medical treatment as U.S. military personnel at state-of-the-art medical facilities.

These 43 Members of the House of Representatives are outraged that vicious anti-American prisoners, many of whom leave the prison and return to war against us, live much better than the Border Patrol agents.

They Mukasey will undertake an objective and thorough investigation of this matter if, as is likely, he is confirmed as Attorney General. Let us hope he does. ive/200710/COM20071025b.html


Suicide Bomb Organizations In Pakistan
October 25, 2007

Suicide bombs are becoming a more popular terrorist weapon in Pakistan. The one last week, that attempted to kill former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, was the deadliest to date, with a record 143 dead. Most of the 56 suicide bombs used in Pakistan over the last five years, killed far fewer. The 55 previous bombs killed an average of ten people. During this period, the deadliest bomb was a 2003 attack in Baluchistan, that left 53 dead.

Over the last two years, al-Qaeda and the Taliban have put an enormous effort into creating a suicide bombing organization. As a result, 52 percent of the last five years bombings have taken place in the first ten months of this year. More people have died from other types of terrorist violence, and there are many other Islamic militant operations in Pakistan. T

he Sunni and Shia groups are particularly violent, as well as Moslem groups that attack Christians, Hindus and other infidels (non-Moslems.) But the suicide bombs get the most attention, which is one reason terrorists prefer them. However, suicide bomber organizations are expensive to operate and take time to set up.

Each suicide bomber attack is supported by a team of ten or more people. The 'technicians' do things like make the bomb, and come up with a costume the bomber can wear and carry the bomb undetected. There are instructors to teach the bomber how to act, and then drill the bomber to make sure he can do it under the stress of moving among alert security personnel looking for him.

There are also several 'minders' who stay with the volunteer bomber to make sure he doesn't un-volunteer. And then there are recruiters, looking for more bombers. There are also administrative personnel, to handle records and cash. A large cash payment (usually several thousand dollars) is paid to the family of the suicide bomber, to insure that the kin don't bad mouth the terrorists, and make it easier to pretend that their dead son was truly a hero.

On the down side, most suicide bombings in Pakistan, as in Iraq, have mainly killed innocent civilians. The Islamic militants try to explain this away by declaring the dead civilians to be involuntary 'martyrs.' That doesn't work when it comes to public attitudes towards the bombings. But al-Qaeda and the Taliban, like many previous terrorist organizations, appear to believe that this backlash won't happen to them. It will. It has, and it's going to get worse.


Current Trends in Jihadi Networks in Europe
October 25, 2007

The terrorist related events that took place during the summer in Europe-the doctors' plot in Great Britain, the dismantling of various cells in Italy, Austria and Spain, and, finally, the September arrests in Germany and Denmark-have confirmed that Europe is a key staging ground for jihadi activities.

Although large differences exist from country to country and within various subgroups in the ever-evolving underworld of jihadi networks in Europe, it is possible to identify some current trends that, in one way or another, are common to the whole continent.

Independent, or Part of a Network

During the last few years, commentators have been fascinated with homegrown networks in Europe and, clearly, small groups of European-born, self-radicalized, violence-prone Islamists have sprung up in most European countries. Yet, the panorama of jihadi networks in Europe is quite complex and, for a more accurate analysis, could be described on a continuum.

At one extreme, one can identify quintessential homegrown groups such as the Hofstad Group in the Netherlands: small domestic clusters of radicals that have developed no ties to external groups and act in complete operational independence.

At the opposite side of the spectrum are cells that respond to the traditional model used by al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in the 1990s: compartmentalized cells inserted in a well-structured network and subjected to a hierarchy whose heads are often outside Europe. That is the model to which various cells of the Algerian GSPC (today al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) belong.

In between these two extremes, there is a whole spectrum of realities, positioned according to the level of autonomy of the group. The most recurring model seems to be that of the cell dismantled by Danish authorities on September 4, 2007: a small group of young men, most of them born and/or raised in Europe, who knew each other either from the neighborhood or from the mosque.

Their radicalization took place in Europe and only one or two members of the group traveled out of the country (Pakistan, in this case) to link up with foreign-based, well-structured groups ideologically or operationally affiliated with al-Qaeda. The knowledge acquired by the cell after this linkage obviously makes it more dangerous.

Traveling for Jihad: Primary and Secondary Fields

In contrast to the situation before the September 11 attacks, today most European jihadis do not travel out of the continent for training or to fight. Nevertheless, a small but significant number of them still opt for short stints in places where they can join training camps or guerrilla units. Pakistan/Afghanistan and Iraq are the two primary destinations.

The former seems to attract recruits mostly from Northern Europe (Great Britain, in particular), while militants from Spain, Italy and France seem to travel mostly to the latter (El Periodico, May 6; Le Monde, December 16, 2004).

Noteworthy is the presence of European militants in two lesser known fields of jihad: Somalia and Lebanon. A few dozen European volunteers have been arrested by Ethiopian and Somali governmental forces among the Islamic Courts Union's (ICU) fighters since December 2006.

Several of these militants possess Scandinavian passports, and, according to intelligence sources, Sweden is considered the hub for the flow of money from Europe to the ICU (Sveriges Radio, January 30).

Italian authorities have also monitored the visits of several ICU-linked preachers who are traveling to various Italian cities in order to fundraise and recruit among the country's Somali population (L'Espresso, February 5). Reportedly, Swedish and British fighters were killed by U.S. missiles and Somali army operations (BBC News, June 3).

A smaller number of Western volunteers, mostly from Denmark and Australia, have allegedly fought with Fatah al-Islam in the Nahr al-Barid refugee camp in Lebanon (The Australian, September 13).

The Muslim Ghetto Subculture: Jihad and Rap

Europe today is witnessing the growth of a disturbing new subculture that mixes violent urban behaviors, nihilism and Islamic fundamentalism. Many young, often European-born Muslims feel a disturbingly intense sense of detachment from, if not sheer hatred for, their host societies and embrace various antagonistic messages.

While some turn to Salafism, others adopt an indefinite blend of counter-cultures, ranging from hip hop to Islamic fundamentalism. Many youngsters from the Muslim-majority ghettoes of various European cities adopt several behaviors typical of Western street culture, such as dressing like rappers, smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, yet watching jihadi videos and having pictures of Osama bin Laden on the display of their cell phones.

Any individual who attacks mainstream society becomes a hero to these teens, be it Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or the late American rapper Tupac Shakur.

This hybrid street culture is particularly influenced by African-American gangster culture and music. Bands such as Fun-da-mental and Blakstone in the United Kingdom, Medine in France, and Zanka Flow (Moroccan-based, but hugely popular in the Netherlands) combine radical Islamic concepts with hip hop sounds, jargon and attitudes.

An aspiring star in the jihadi rap underworld is Mohammed Kamel Mostafa, the son of former Finsbury Park imam Abu Hamza, who has recently formed a rap duo called Lionz of Da Dezert. Using the stage name of al-Ansary, Mostafa raps about jihad and killing infidels. 'I was born to be a soldier,' read the lyrics of one of his songs. 'Kalashnikov on my shoulder, peace to Hamas and Hizballah, that's the way of the lord Allah. We're jihad. I defend my religion with the holy sword' (Agence France-Presse, March 1, 2006).

While the phenomenon affects only a minority of European Muslims, its dimensions and repercussions are more than noteworthy. In London, city officials are worried about the growth of an extremely violent gang commonly known as the Muslim Boys.

Operating in the southern areas of the British capital, the gang is composed of several hundreds of members and is active in criminal activities ranging from robberies to drug trafficking. The members of the gang are mostly British-born black youth originally from the Caribbean or Africa who converted to Islam in British penitentiaries and bond over their newfound faith (Evening Standard, February 3, 2005).

Yet, their interpretation of Islam is perverted. The gang members do not respect the most basic tenets of Islam, and their appearance and slang more closely resemble that of American ghetto culture than that of practicing Muslims. Tellingly, a gang member admitted to a reporter from the Evening Standard: 'I pray twice a day: before I do crime and after. I ask Allah for a blessing when I'm out on the streets.

Afterwards, I apologize to Allah for what I done [sic].' The gang is also involved in 'forced conversions,' compelling black youth at gunpoint to convert to Islam and join them; two years ago, they executed a 24-year-old for refusing to convert.

The Expansion to the Countryside

Radical Islam in Europe has traditionally been an urban phenomenon. Muslim immigrants have historically settled in large and mid-size cities and, as a consequence, radical mosques and jihadi activities have also been largely confined to urban settings.

Yet, during the past few years, there has been a noticeable expansion of radical activities to rural areas. The phenomenon is particularly evident in southern European countries, where large numbers of North African immigrants are employed, seasonally or permanently, in agriculture.

Wandering imams, often linked to Tablighi Jamaat and small makeshift mosques run by radicals, have popped up in small country towns and villages in Spain, Italy and France, spreading Salafism among the local Muslim communities. Taking advantage of the absence of other mosques and the limited surveillance of the small local police forces, Salafists have managed to establish a presence in rural areas of Piedmont, Campania, Provence and southern Spain.

In some cases, Salafist networks have taken advantage of the isolation provided by the countryside to create small fundamentalist communes, as in Artigat, a bucolic village of less than 1,000 residents in the French Pyrenees. When French authorities dismantled a Toulouse-based network that was smuggling volunteers to Iraq, they uncovered links to a 60-year-old Syrian man who was leading an Islamist commune in Artigat (Le Parisien, February 15).

Living completely isolated from the outside world, the commune's five families lived under a strict self-imposed Islamic code and preached a radical interpretation of Islam to their children and to the visitors who would come occasionally from the city (mostly Toulouse) to spend time in a 'pure Islamic environment.'

Eastern Europe?

While not already an established trend, there are indications showing that radical Islam is spreading, albeit at a slow pace and with significant differences from country to country, to Eastern Europe. The presence of radical networks in Bosnia, many of them leftovers from the conflict of the 1990s, is well known.

Although less grave, Wahhabi influence, propagated mostly by a wide network of Saudi-sponsored mosques, is on the rise in other areas of the Balkans with significant Muslim populations such as Albania, Kosovo and Serbia's Sandzak region (B92 Radio Serbia, June 6, 2006).

Various Islamist groups have been reported to be actively spreading their propaganda to other Muslim populations throughout Eastern Europe. Hizb-ut-Tahrir, for example, organized a large conference in Ukraine in August, targeting mostly Crimean Tatars (Kommersant-Ukraina, August 13).

Yet, even countries with little or no native Muslim population have seen a tiny, yet growing, presence of Islamist activities, particularly among their Arab and Pakistani student population. During the last few years, authorities in Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria have arrested individuals who were either promoting radical Islam through websites and publications or funneling money to terrorist organizations.

Additionally, in October 2006, Czech authorities issued a terror alert after uncovering information of an alleged plot to kidnap and kill Jews in Prague (Der Spiegel, October 6, 2006).

The attractiveness of Eastern European countries for jihadis has increased significantly with the inclusion of many of them in the European Union. Some Eastern European countries, with their understaffed and often corrupt intelligence and law enforcement agencies, easy access to black market weapons and forged documents, and possibility of traveling to Western Europe without border controls, can constitute ideal bases of operation.

An interesting related phenomenon is the suspicious spike in marriages between Bulgarian and Romanian women and North African men reported in Italy and Spain immediately after the entrance of the two Eastern European countries in the European Union. In all likelihood, the majority of these artificial marriages involve individuals with no connections to terrorism who simply want to acquire a European passport to stay and work in Western Europe. Nevertheless, the possibility that terrorists could use the same scheme should also be considered.


Jihadism is a global movement whose characteristics mutate rapidly. While today some of the abovementioned trends are still in a developing phase or can be noticed only in some European countries, it is likely that they will be replicated with greater intensity and in more countries in the near future.

ACLU Challenges US Visa Ban for Muslim Intellectual
October 25, 2007

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenged in federal court Thursday the US government's refusal to grant a travel visa to Swiss-based Muslim academic Tariq Ramadan.

Ramadan, one of the world's leading scholars on Islam, was forced to turn down a tenured position at the University of Notre Dame when the US government revoked his visa in late 2004 on the basis of the so-called 'ideological exclusion' provision of the Patriot Act.

Washington later dropped its claim, unable to prove that Ramadan had endorsed terrorism.

But it banned the academic in September 2006 on grounds he made donations between 1998 and 2002 to a Swiss-based charity that provides aid to Palestinians. The charity was included in a US list of terrorist organizations in 2003.

'The government is barring Professor Ramadan not because of his actions but because of his ideas,' ACLU's National Security Project Director Jameel Jaffer told the court in New York.
'Ideological exclusion is a form of censorship and it should not be tolerated in a country committed to democratic values,' he added.

The ACLU sued the US government in 2006 on behalf of the
American Academy of Religion, the American Association of University Professors and PEN American Center -- all of which had invited Ramadan as a guest speaker.

'The ideological exclusion of scholars like Tariq Ramadan impoverishes political and academic debate inside the United States and violates the (US Constitution's) First Amendment rights of those who seek to meet with foreign scholars, hear their views, and engage them in debate,' Jaffer said.

The ACLU on Thursday repeated the arguments it made when it first filed its lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

'Although the so-called ideological exclusion provision is ostensibly aimed at those who 'endorse terrorism,' its terms are vague and subject to political manipulation,' said Arthur Eisenberg, legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

'Professor Ramadan's small humanitarian donations were completely permissible at the time he made them, and he had no reason to know that the charity was supporting Hamas, if indeed it was,' said Melissa Goodman, a staff attorney with the ACLU's

National Security Project.

A controversial intellectual, Ramadan is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist political and social movement founded in Egypt in the 1920s. He lives in Geneva and teaches at Britain's Oxford University. JEE3Q


West Misused Islam for Political Reasons, Meet Told
October 26, 2007

al-Qaeda is being viewed in the Gulf as a part of the power struggle in Saudi Arabia, not as a global terrorist movement as the Americans perceive it, a seminar on US-Middle East relations here was told.

There is also a general feeling in the region that the West has badly misused Islam for political reasons during its 'war on terror.'
Speaking at a panel discussion on 'America's role in the Middle East', Dr Steven Wright, an expert on Gulf politics and US Foreign policy said, the 'US has failed to understand the complexity of regional political participation.'

Wright is currently an assistant professor in international affairs at Qatar University and is conducting research on the political economy and foreign relations in Qatar.

Another common perception in the region is that the war was driven by commercial interests of certain lobbies in the US government and the name of former US Defence Secretary Dick Cheney has been referred in this context, said Wright.

Many in the region also feel that the American view on the Iranian nuclear threat is exaggerated. They tend to sympathise with Iran on grounds that the expanding US presence in the region has posed a real threat to the latter's security.

According to Wright, countries in the Gulf are keen to see common grounds with the Americans in areas like trade and commerce, technological know-how, education and if possible tourism.

Presenting a 'view from Jerusalem', Eldad Pardo, an expert from Hebrew University said, Israel is the 'most Arab country' in the Middle East with Arabic as one of its two official languages, the other being Hebrew.

'We have bilingual schools, which offer special education in Arabic. We are very much a Middle Eastern country,' said Pardo.
He said the common areas that bind Israel and America are democracy, free press, Judeo-Christian relations, among others.
'America is made of individuals but in the Middle East family, tribe, religion, and ethnic groups are predominant.

Separation of religion from the state is not practical in this region,' said Pardo.

He said, all the countries in the Middle East should become 'strong enough' and people 'free enough.' Islamic unity is necessary to resolve the problems of the region, he felt.

'There is no solution without Islam,' he asserted.
Speaking on US-Iran relations, Mehran Kamrava, director of the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar, the organisers of the conference, said there is a chasm existing between the popular view in Iran about America and a more sympathetic view among the middle class in the country. s&subsection=Qatar+News&month=October2007&file=Local_News200710263172.xml


Face-Veil: Mistaking Social Customs for Religious Rules
October 26, 2007

Saudi women have been burdened with several social customs imposed on them as though they were inviolable religious injunctions. Islam, apparently, is not the only factor shaping the Saudi social life, as many outsiders or even some within the Saudi society itself are inclined to assume. It is closely tied to the local customs and traditions.

It has also been observed that such customs have a tighter hold on the Saudi people than the religious values, particularly in case of some conflict between the customs and the religious teachings. For instance, Islam does not insist that a woman cover her face while wearing a hijab (head cover). At the same time, women of conservative or tribal families conceal their faces as though they are observing an indisputable religious rule. Any one who dares to challenge the practice would be punished psychologically and at times even physically.

While Islamic law permits a man to look at a woman when he is seeking a spouse, some Saudi families deny this right, resulting in bizarre situations such as a bridegroom being unable to identify his bride. In some extreme cases a husband would never be able to identify his own wife because certain tribes do not allow women to lift their niqab (face-cover) even in front of their husbands.

Another Saudi custom, not related to Islam, is brides demanding fabulous sums of money as dowry, particularly if the suitor belonged to a different tribe or region. Regional or tribal spirit pervades some sections of Saudi society to such an extent that the major Islamic principle that the noblest of the people are the most pious is very often ignored. The present Saudi society regards family, wealth and position as the yardsticks to measure the nobility of a man.

I have been a witness to how an inconvenient social practice the face veil can become in a different social environment. A married Saudi woman used to attend classes in an American college where I was studying. She was fully veiled including her face, hands and feet. She was religious and well behaved but presented a picture of depression and sadness. However, after a few weeks she used to remove her face-veil and gloves the moment she entered the college campus.

She would not veil her face until the time her husband came to pick her up. I believed then that wearing or not wearing a veil was a purely personal matter. However I observed a markedly positive change in her classroom conduct with increased participation in the academic activities after she removed her face-veil.

I would like to point out the psychological significance of the change in her without criticizing a cultural tradition or religious practice.

A social custom would lose its meaning in another society where that custom would be judged by a set of different values. After all a people’s evaluation of a custom is based on a set of social and psychological factors that vary from culture to culture. This woman felt very comfortable covering her face while she was in Saudi Arabia. But when she moved to a different society, the US, she had to interact with men of different cultural and religious values. In this new society body language plays a major role in human communications.

In US or any other society, a man or woman finds it very difficult to communicate with a woman if her face is fully covered. This naturally leaves a woman with face-cover in a state of depression and isolation. The matter becomes worse for the Saudi woman when the Muslim women from other countries appear without a face-veil. The inevitable result is that others label Saudis as ‘rigid,’ ‘fundamentalist,’ ‘alien,’ or ‘barbarian.’

This Saudi woman might have suffered too much stress and tension while attending classes but would not dare discuss her difficulties with her Saudi husband. Instead she removed the veil when her husband was away.

A Saudi woman veils her face because it is the expression of modesty and dignified conduct in the Saudi society. In the US society where she is studying, leaving the face uncovered is never considered an immodest act.

In the American culture, a woman wearing her skirt just below the knees is considered more modest than the one wearing the skirt above the knees, while in Saudi Arabia covering the face and head is considered more modest than covering the head leaving the face unveiled.

Modesty is a relative term with varying definitions depending on the society in which one lives. The husband of the Saudi woman did not understand the relative meaning of the modesty but like several other Saudis transplanted the Saudi modesty to the United States on the understanding that face-veil is an inviolable religious stipulation.

Islam is not a religion with complex customs though some people strive it to make it a difficult one to live with. The woman’s husband did not hesitate to shave off his beard when he found that his beard was unacceptable to some of his teachers at his college. Ironically enough, there is a contradiction here. The Prophet, peace be upon him, recommended wearing a beard as a virtuous act.

The husband removed it in order to win social acceptability while he did not allow his wife to remove her face-veil though it did not involve violating any religious rules.

This happens often at most places away from the watchful eyes of the tribe or family. Saudi women remove their face-veil because they are fully aware that the face-veil is only a cultural practice and not a religious order.

When they find themselves in a changed cultural situation as required by their job, studies or some other factor, Saudi women can be seen making some adjustments in their cultural behavior without compromising their religious values. =10&y=2007