Skip to comments.Lawyers: Ohio Terror Probe Could Grow
Posted on 08/04/2007 2:43:09 PM PDT by John W
Government investigators are tightlipped about the possibility that a terrorist cell investigation could extend beyond the three people already charged, but lawyers for two men found guilty say they were part of a group that had as many as 10 members.
"A lot more than three performed in their jihadist group," David Smith, a former attorney for Iyman Faris, told The Columbus Dispatch for a story published Saturday.
Faris, 38, was sentenced in 2003 to 20 years in prison for plotting with al-Qaida to topple the Brooklyn Bridge, and authorities said he held meetings with Christopher Paul and Nuradin Abdi, a Somali man the government says plotted to blow up an Ohio shopping mall.
Abdi, 35, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and is expected to receive a 10-year sentence.
Paul, of Columbus, is accused of plotting to bomb European tourist resorts and U.S. military facilities and military bases overseas.
Investigators haven't publicly identified any other associates of the three, but Abdi's attorney, Mahjir Sherif, said there were "nine or 10 people that knew each other and would meet each other" after prayers at a Columbus mosque.
"I'm sure with the government they are guilty by association," Sherif said.
A message was left seeking comment from Fred Alverson, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Columbus.
"I can't understand why they haven't been indicted already. I'm assuming it could be that it depends on Abdi's cooperation," Smith said. Several members of the group may have already left the United States.
Investigators aren't likely to get help from Abdi, since it was not a stipulation in his plea agreement, Sherif said.
Smith represented Faris during his appeals and said his former client indicated that meetings at parks and mosques were social gatherings and nothing more. The government disagrees.
Federal investigators have not said if they are pursuing cases against any associates of Faris, Abdi or Paul, but the government's statement of facts following Abdi's plea deal refers to an additional unnamed co-conspirator.
The documents say the associate met with Paul in Pittsburgh on Sept. 11, 2002, to discuss attacking a U.S. military base in Qatar, then rode with Abdi from Pittsburgh to Columbus a few months later to meet again with Paul. The next day, Abdi allegedly took the co-conspirator to the Columbus airport.
Sherif believes that man may be cooperating with authorities, but could be charged as a co-conspirator later.
Paul's indictment also accuses him of recruiting co-conspirators on a 1999 trip to Germany and of taking several others on a training camp at Burr Oak State Park in Glouster, about 75 miles southeast of Columbus.
I think we will be seeing a plethora of these kind of cases in the near future, considering that the Senate passed a better surveillance bill yesterday.
This is just great, give the guy 10 years to recruit new members to his gang.
We are paying his room and board, allowing him library access, and all he has to do
is sign up new blood for the cult of terror.
Great, just Great
Why do we not have a law which mandates the DEATH penalty for ALL terror acts or plotting? It’s not as though these monsters can be rehabilitated. Twenty years, with half off for “good behavior” for plotting to murder thousands of people IS A JOKE, which also shows that we are not yet serious about this war (and it isn’t a war against “terror”, folks).
Of course it’s going to “grow”. They are like cockroaches. You see 2 of them, and there have to be a hundred more behind the walls.
Is there an undisclosed connection between Amerithrax and Ohio?
Ohio: Terror conspiracy bigger, insiders say, Columbus Dispatch, August 4, 2007
In mid-2001, Ohio resident Iyman Faris (Faris) had dinner and spent the night at the detainees family residence in Baltimore, Maryland. Faris stated during this visit the detainee spoke to him about the fighting and struggle in Afghanistan. On a subsequent visit the detainee told Faris he met Khalid Shaykh Mohammed (KSM) in Pakistan. KSM, a multi-tasker to be sure, was heading the effort to use weaponized anthrax against the US.
KSM, when captured, identified Majid Khan, Aafia Siddiqui and Iyman Faris as Al Qaeda operatives. KSM allegedly asked former Maryland resident Majid Khan to research contaminating a reservoir. What contaminant would have been used? Anthrax? Cyanide? Was it cyanide such as the thwarted attack against the US embassy in Rome in 2002? Some identified chemical intended to be smuggled in using the Paracha shipping container? Would the koran permit such indiscriminate murder of innocents? A recent study shows that anthrax is resistant to chlorine, but the most analysts typically think anthrax would be ineffective given the dilution. Other analysts focus on the risk of an attack on more localized water supply such as apparently contemplated at the Rome embassy.
In February 2003, Majid Khan had met with Uzair Paracha and someone described as a chemistry professor. (Paracha and his father had meetings with al-Qaeda members Majid Khan and senior operative Ammar al-Baluchi, who about that time married Aafia. In the prosecution of Uzair Paracha, the AUSA said Aafia Siddiqui was willing to participate in an anthrax attack if asked. She opened up a P.O. Box to facilitate Majid Khans re-entry into the country.
New water-surveillance systems are being tested that promise to detect biological attacks more quickly and accurately than is possible today. Ever since the anthrax mailings, the Homeland Security Department has been concerned about the risk that public water supplies will be poisoned. Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories, the University of Cincinnati, and Argonne National Laboratory have paired up with the Environmental Protection Agency to develop the Water Sentinel Program: software that monitors municipal water systems. It is being tested in Albuquerque.
In Ohio, there was the long-forgotten case of a mysterious Egyptian in the Summer of 2001 associated with the members of an alleged terror cell in Ohio. (The young men worked at a local chicken slaughterhouse and are more commonly known as the Detroit cell. In June 2001, they had an angry conversation about the detention of the blind sheik. Sometime before 9/11, the Egyptian along with one of these young men made repeated attempts to obtain maps of the water supply system of Canton, Ohio. At the library, he studied books dealing with disease spread to human by animals such as anthrax. Akron Beacon Journal reported that after 9/11, a librarian in Canton alerted authorities who called in the FBI after the man visited the library as many as a half dozen times and asked for detailed maps of Cantons water system and books concerning microbiology and animal borne diseases. Among the things the man sought were maps of waterlines running under Interstate 77 to Cantons Mercy Medical Center. The librarian described the man as 50ish, with a slight paunch, and balding. He said he worked at Case Farms (where the Detroit defendants were working at the time).
Was the scientist ever identified and questioned? According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the man told the librarian that he worked at Case Farms. The Egyptian reportedly had lived with the young men in Canton in the past year or so, according to the librarian. (their names were Hanna and Koubriti) The FBI has never confirmed the story. Case Farms doesnt confirm the story. The librarians wont confirm the story and a reporter who went in person was shown the door. What news, if any, came out of the trial of members of the Detroit terror cell? Portions of the proceeding were sealed. During the same period, two of the men on trial reportedly had enrolled in a four-week truck-driving course.
In considering how many Egyptian biologists taxi driver Nabil Al-Marabh knew, he knew Mahmoud Jaballah. Mahmoud Jaballah was a biology teacher and co-founder of an elementary school on the edge of Little Beirut in Toronto. He was rearrested in August 2001 after an earlier security certificate was quashed. CSIS alleges that he has had contact with Hassan Farhat and Ali Hussein, whom they say were part of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. After Jaballah s second arrest, Nabil al-Marabh s uncle took over as principal at Jaballah s school. Ahmed Shehab had shared control of the school with Jaballah as co-founder. Was Jaballah the scientist researching anthrax in the Canton, Ohio folks from May to July 2001, telling the librarian that he had worked at a laboratory in Egypt where he had learned to detect pathogens otherwise not detectable? The Detroit cell members lived in apartment that had al-Marabhs name on it. Jaballah was 40 rather than 50ish. But he otherwise fit the description and from his picture looks older than his age.
Last year, I did a lot of testing of water as another unrelated interest. Albuquerque where the University of Cincinnati folks are testing Sentinel. Albuquerque was an interesting choice given the high levels of arsenic there. (With arsenic, it is very difficult to get the levels down short of dilution or incurring substantial capital costs). Arsenic occurs due to naturally occurring geothermal springs. I tested a bottled water from Cokes distributor in Northern Mexico (Topo Chico) that I picked up in Phoenix and it tested above the 10 ppb limit 13 ppb and 26 ppb. The Mexican company gave me a single test showing that they tested it at 9 ppb. Its NYC attorney (big firm, but I forget which) told me that they werent willing to do any further testing in the US because it would be against his clients interest. Indeed. The FDA did nothing. The company did not notice a recall. So forgive me if I have little confidence in relying on the industry-dominated FDA or EPA or industry or its trade association to address these issues of the water safety.
One of the cell members, the recently indicted Christopher Paul, even had a remote controlled boat. Mr. Paul said he traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the early 1990s to fight jihad. There, he met bin Ladens former pilot (apparently Wadih al Hage) and became friends with another al-Qaida member responsible for logistics and transporting personnel to and from training camps in Afghanistan (that description fits Nabil al-Marabh).
In February 1999, Paul obtained a new passport under the name Christopher Paul, claiming his was water-damaged. The next month he began talking to co-conspirators in Germany. The indictment alleges that in late Spring 1999, Paul traveled to Germany to teach others how to use explosive devices and to recruit other jihadists to attack al-Qaida targets in Europe and the United States. After KSM told authorities about Iyman Faris, if Paul was fearful after Faris went to jail, he didnt show it. In November 2005, Paul alleged received a fax containing names, phone numbers and contact information for key al-Qaeda leadership and their associates. Paul has now been indicted and accused of aiding terrorists and conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction. He was arrested in Columbus, Ohio in the same apartment Paul had shared with Iyman Faris.
In 2000, Paul researched remote-control boats and helicopters and flight-simulator programs for commercial jets. When federal officials last November searched the house of Pauls father in a nearby suburb, authorties found a modified remote-control boat, books and manuals about how to make explosives and land mines, and a fanny pack with information about how to find books on booby traps, radio-detonation bombs and guerrilla war techniques.
But to return to the story of the day, who were the other folks in Ohio that defense lawyers were part of the same group?
8/4 -AP Lawyers: Ohio terror probe could grow, The Associated Press, 08/04/2007
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