Tuesday, April 26, 2011

WikiLeaks Gitmo doc: 'Possible al- Qaida anthrax operative residing in New York'

Scott Shane's latest New York Times article on the Guantanamo files (link) weighs heavily on this Joint Task Force Gitmo detainee assessment: pdf link.

He peers out from the photo in the classified file through heavy-framed spectacles, an owlish face with a graying beard and a half-smile. Saifullah Paracha, a successful businessman and for years a New York travel agent, appears to be the oldest of the 172 prisoners still held at the Guantánamo Bay prison. His dossier is among the most chilling.

While the rest of the world focuses on the lack of hard evidence, The New York Times continues to push the threats and alleged plots obtained via torture and unverified accounts from countries such as Pakistan.

You need to read seven paragraphs by Shane and Benjamin Weiser (and with the White House seal of approval) before they note, "The newly revealed assessments, obtained last year by the group WikiLeaks and provided by another source to The Times, have revived the dispute, nearly as old as the prison, over whether mistreatment of some prisoners there and the prison’s operation outside the criminal justice system invalidate the government’s conclusions about the detainees."

Hina Shamsi, director of the national security project at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the assessments “are rife with uncorroborated evidence, information obtained through torture, speculation, errors and allegations that have been proven false.”

Anyway, this is what The New York Times missed from that same Gitmo document, and I don't believe this has ever been reported, and who knows if the New York Police Department were ever even notified about this:

The diary contained contact information for Najmut Tariq, a possible al- Qaida anthrax operative residing in New York. The name Tariq also appeared in a document recovered from an al-Qaida safe house in Pakistan along with a notation for the anthrax vaccine. Another al-Qaida associate identified Tariq as a businessman in the pharmaceutical industry.

Detainee stated he has known Tariq since 1969, prior to detainee’s travels to the US. Tariq lived in Nazimabad, PK, detainee’s village, and they both attended the Mahmoomadin Mosque. Detainee stated he last spoke with Tariq in Karachi, PK, in early July 2003.39 Detainee added Tariq is a member of Jamiat Islami and is a pharmacist in the US with stores in Boston and New York City. Tariq was also close to Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the leader of Jamiat Islami.

Information linking Tariq to anthrax and biological weapons was found on a calendar belonging to Arif Qasmani, a Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT) member and associate of senior al-Qaida facilitator Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, aka (Abu Zubaydah), ISN US9GZ-010016DP (GZ-10016).


I'm searching through old articles and documents looking for any other related stories.

Not related, but interesting to recall:

"In the immediate aftermath of the 2001 anthrax attacks, White House officials repeatedly pressed FBI Director Robert Mueller to prove it was a second-wave assault by Al Qaeda, but investigators ruled that out, the Daily News has learned," Former NY Daily News reporter James Gordon Meek wrote in August of 2008.

After the Oct. 5, 2001, death from anthrax exposure of Sun photo editor Robert Stevens, Mueller was "beaten up" during President Bush's morning intelligence briefings for not producing proof the killer spores were the handiwork of terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden, according to a former aide.

"They really wanted to blame somebody in the Middle East," the retired senior FBI official told The News.

On October 15, 2001, President Bush said, "There may be some possible link" to Bin Laden, adding, "I wouldn't put it past him." Vice President Cheney also said Bin Laden's henchmen were trained "how to deploy and use these kinds of substances, so you start to piece it all together."


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