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According to a videotape declaration from June 2002 by Abu Graith, an
Al Qaeda representative, Al Qaeda is morally justi¬ed in killing over
four million Americans, including one million children, with biological
weapons.66
The same perspective was voiced by Mustafa Setmariam Nasar (a.k.a.
Abu Musab al-Suri), Al Qaeda™s lead strategist for developing WMD capa-
bilities. Setmariam proclaimed that the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade
Center and Pentagon did not do enough damage: “I feel sorry that there
were no weapons of mass destruction in the planes that attacked New
York and Washington on 9/11.”67 Setmariam, a veteran Syrian Jihadi, has
been a staunch advocate of incorporating WMD into conventional terr-
orist attacks; using conventional means to attack the United States would
take “many years and enormous sacri¬ces.” Therefore, “an attack on the
United States with WMD has become necessary . . . by means of decisive
strategic operations with weapons of mass destruction including nuclear,
chemical, or biological weapons.”68 He is known to have helped the Al
Qaeda chief of WMD, Abu Khabab al-Misri, train terrorists on how to use
WMD. He assembled a sixteen-hundred-page collection of his lectures,
entitled Call for Global Resistance, that urges terrorists to break the struc-
ture and hierarchy of the current Al Qaeda organization in order to branch
off into their own lone commando operations to more effectively in¬‚ict
terror. Although Setmariam was captured in Pakistan in 2005, his manu-
script The International Islamic Resistance Call and his Letter Reply to the
U.S. State Department, as well as various lectures, are reportedly widely
available.69 More important, his analysis is reprehensibly logical.

Religious and “Legal” Justi¬cation
Manifesting a remarkable combination of concern for law while planning
mass murder, bin Laden sought legalistic endorsement for using weapons
of mass destruction from a Saudi Arabian cleric Sheikh Nasir bin Hamd
75
WHO DID BIOVIOLENCE? WHO WANTS TO DO IT?

Al-Fahd.70 In May 2003, bin Hamd wrote a twenty-¬ve-page fatwa entitled,
A Treatise on the Legal Status of Using Weapons of Mass Destruction Against
Infidels.71 It provides a religious and legal justi¬cation for Muslims to use all
means at their disposal, including biological warfare if necessary, to pursue
and repel the enemy in¬dels “ America. As a purported albeit specious
dissertation on international law, it deserves substantial attention here.
Under the principle of reciprocity, Muslims are entitled to use weapons
of mass destruction against the in¬dels, even if it means innocent women,
children, and Muslims are killed. Citing scholars™ writings and the sayings
of the Prophet Mohammad concerning the nature of jihad, bin Hamd
asserts: “If the in¬dels can be repelled from the Muslims only by using such
weapons, their use is permissible, even if you kill them without exception
and destroy their tillage and stock.” Using weapons of mass destruction is
justi¬ed in order to break the strength and disrupt the unity of the enemy:
“God commanded that the polytheists should be killed. He did not specify
the manner in which it should be done, nor did he obligate us to do it in a
certain manner. Therefore, there is nothing to prevent their being killed by
every cause of death; shooting, piercing, drowning, razing, casting from a
cliff, and so forth.”
Pay no heed, says Bin Hamd, to “what they pretend to call ˜the rights of
man,™ or talk about ˜the peace-loving peoples.™” Weapons of mass destruc-
tion have been “internationally banned” by the in¬dels™ laws in order to
“frighten others.” The in¬dels “do not wish to protect humanity by these
terms, as they assert; rather, they want to protect themselves and monop-
olize such weapons on the pretext of ˜banning them internationally.™ ”
“[T]hese terms have no legal standing in Islamic law, only God Almighty
has reserved judgment and legislation to himself.” The very term “weapon
of mass destruction” misleadingly refers only to nuclear, chemical, and
biological weapons; it should include “internationally permissible” con-
ventional weapons:

If anyone should use any of those weapons [weapons of mass destruction]
and kill a thousand people, they would launch accusations and media wars
against him saying that he had used “internationally banned weapons.” If
he had used high explosive bombs weighing seven tons a piece and killed
three thousand or more because of them, he would have used internation-
ally permitted weapons.

It does not matter that weapons of mass destruction cannot be specif-
ically targeted or calculated. Says bin Hamd, “[T]he effect of several kilo-
grams of TNT can be considered mass destruction if you compare it to
the effect of a catapult stone of old. An RPG or mortar projectile can be
76 BIOVIOLENCE: PREVENTING BIOLOGICAL TERROR AND CRIME

considered mass destruction if you compare it to the shooting of arrows of
old.” “[A] catapult stone does not distinguish between woman, children,
and others; it destroys anything that it hits, buildings or otherwise.” There
is nothing wrong with “putting blood, dung, or poison in their water to
befoul it for them. Muslims have been commanded to subdue them and
break their strength. All these things are military tactics that will cause their
strength to break; they derive from obedience, not disobedience to what
has been commanded.” If the enemy is so forti¬ed and entrenched that
the Muslims are powerless, then the enemy “may be bombarded with cata-
pults, siege engines, ¬re, scorpions, snakes, and anything hateful to them.”
Bin Hamd distinguishes the “jihad of pursuit” “ an offensive military
campaign against in¬dels in the theatre of the in¬dels “ from the “jihad of
repulsion” “ a defensive struggle to expel the in¬dels from Muslim territory.
During a jihad of repulsion, the use of such weapons is imperative and
obligatory: “[N]othing is a greater duty, after faith itself, than repelling
an enemy attacker who sows corruption to religion and the world. No
conditions limit this: one repels the enemy however one can.” In a jihad of
pursuit, the use of weapons of mass destruction against the in¬dels must
be proportional: “whoso commits aggression against you, do you commit
aggression against him like as he has committed against you.” Because
America has killed ten million Muslims during the past decades, Muslims
are justi¬ed in killing just as many Americans.
There are three situations where using weapons of mass destruction
is bene¬cial: 1) taking the enemy by surprise; 2) subduing and weakening
the enemy™s strongholds; and 3) bombarding the enemy until they are
conquered. Although one should kill in a good manner when one can, “If
those engaged in jihad cannot do so, for example when they are forced to
bomb, destroy, burn, or ¬‚ood, it is permissible.” For Muslims employed
in jihad, “burning and devastating are permissible in enemy territory” in
order to “sap their polytheist enemy™s strength, weaken their cunning, and
facilitate victory over them. They may cut down their crops, divert their
water, and besiege them.”
Bin Hamd similarly dismisses Islam™s prohibition on the killing of
women and children. This applies, he says, only to the intentional killing
of women and children; if women and children are killed unintentionally,
such as when the attacker cannot or does not distinguish between the
enemy, then they are mere collateral damage of a justi¬ed attack. “One
avoids killing women and children only when one can distinguish them. If
one cannot do so, as when the in¬dels make a night attack or invade, they
may be killed as collateral to the ¬ghters.” It is imperative to prevent the
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WHO DID BIOVIOLENCE? WHO WANTS TO DO IT?

enemy from using the killing of civilians, especially women and children,
to undermine Al Qaeda™s cause and techniques. Thus, weapons of mass
destruction may be used even though women and children may be killed
because “they are of them” and “they do not have the legal factor of faith,
which spares one™s blood, nor do they live in abode of faith, which prevents
an attack on that abode.”
Another strictly held Islamic prohibition is against the killing of fellow
Muslims. However, asserts bin Hamd, “if those engaged in jihad are forced
to kill him because they cannot repel the in¬dels or ¬ght them otherwise,
it is permitted, as when the Muslim is being used as a living shield.” “There
is no way to avoid striking them while still obeying the commandment to
subdue the polytheists. What cannot be avoided must be pardoned.”
The justi¬cation for killing fellow Muslims is about intention. If there is
no intention of killing fellow Muslims, although there might be the knowl-
edge that fellow Muslims might die in the cross¬re, the legal status of the
Muslim bystander is that of the in¬dels. No fault rests with the Muslim
who besieges the enemy with weapons of mass destruction and happens
to kill an innocent Muslim because the defense of the Muslim community
far outweighs the individual loss suffered by the innocent bystander. The
enemy cannot force Muslims to abandon the jihad by simply using other
Muslims as shields.

Acquisition of Agents and Expertise
Al Qaeda is widely reported to have acquired lethal pathogens via pub-
licly available scienti¬c sources. In April 1999, bin Laden sought to acquire
agents such as anthrax, ebola, botulinum toxin, plague, and salmonella
through the mail from sources in the former Soviet Union, East Asia, Sudan,
Afghanistan, and the Czech Republic.72 A senior bin Laden associate on
trial in Egypt, Al Qaeda military commander Ahmad Salama Mabruk,
claimed his group had acquired biological weapons from Europe and the
former Soviet Union from 1996“1998.73 In July 1999, an Islamist attorney,
Muntasir al-Zayyat, who defended some of the 107 suspected jihadists
tried with Mabruk in Egypt, af¬rmed that Al Qaeda had acquired biological
weapons and will likely use them against the United States.74 In 2001, bin
Laden visited with two Pakistani scientists, Sultan Bashir ul Din Mehmood
and Abdul Majid, to share information relating to the production of bio-
logical weapons.75
In 2000, Al Qaeda operatives are believed to have purchased anthrax
and plague from arms dealers in Kazakhstan.76 In December 2001,
Malaysian authorities arrested Yazid Sufaat, a member of the Al Qaeda
78 BIOVIOLENCE: PREVENTING BIOLOGICAL TERROR AND CRIME

af¬liate Jemaah Islamiyah. Intelligence reports linked Sufaat to a plan to
obtain and produce biological warfare agents.77 Some Russian scientists
allegedly provided technical and scienti¬c expertise to assist in weaponiz-
ing anthrax as well.78 According to Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, Direc-
tor General of the British intelligence service MI5, “We know that renegade
scientists have cooperated with Al Qaeda and provided them with some
of the knowledge they need to develop these [chemical, biological, radio-
logical, and nuclear “ CBRN] weapons.”79 Egyptian and Israeli intelligence
have revealed that Al Qaeda has sought to acquire and use small-scale,
easy-to-produce, toxic materials.80
Al Qaeda urged followers to recruit microbiology and biotechnology
experts in the “fastest, safest, and cheapest” manner possible. Al Qaeda
leaders also encouraged militants to enroll in educational institutions in
order to research the American history of germ warfare providing them
“easy access to specialists, which will greatly bene¬t us in the ¬rst stage [of
the program], God willing.”81 On September 28, 2006, in a twenty-minute
audio ¬le posted on an Al Qaeda website, Al Qaeda terror chief in Iraq
identifying himself as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, also known as Abu Ayyub
al-Masri, called upon scientists to join the jihad against Americans in
Iraq. Addressing scientists, the terror leader proclaimed, “We are in
dire need of you,” adding “The ¬eld of jihad can satisfy your scienti¬c
ambitions, and the large American bases (in Iraq) are good places to test
your unconventional weapons, whether biological or dirty, as they call
them.”82
The story of Ali al Timimi is illustrative. American-born, he received
religious education in Saudi Arabia and was active in the Islamic Assem-
bly of North America (IANA). Known as a spiritual leader among radical
Islamists,83 he lectured at the Center for Islamic Information and Educa-
tion in Falls Church, Virginia.84 By spring 2002, as a computational biology
doctoral student at George Mason University, he worked in a program
designed to coordinate bioresearch at several universities. He thus had
ready access to various facilities involved in current research.85 He was
discovered by the FBI, convicted on charges of incitement to wage war
against the United States, and sentenced to life in prison in 2005.86

Production
Al Qaeda had facilities potentially capable of producing biological and
chemical weapons. In a June 1999 memo, Zawahiri instructed Al Qaeda
members to build laboratories in a particular manner to “facilitate clean-
ing” of the laboratories where the biological and chemical agents would
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WHO DID BIOVIOLENCE? WHO WANTS TO DO IT?

later be produced.87 Notably, investigations of the medical history of
Ahmet Al-Haznawi, one of the 9/11 hijackers, revealed that he might have
been suffering from cutaneous anthrax. Also, Mohammad Atta (leader of
the 9/11 attacks) had irritated, red hands purportedly from using too much
bleach to clean up anthrax labs.
With the capture of Khalid Shaykh Muhammad in Pakistan, investi-
gators uncovered detailed production plans for chemical and biological
weapons as well as indications that Al Qaeda had material capabilities for
producing cyanide and was close to producing weapons-quality anthrax.88
Al Qaeda was also working on a pesticide and nerve-agent cocktail com-
bined with a chemical compound in order to increase absorption. One dis-
covered document provided detailed tables illustrating the recommended
lethal doses of various poisons.89
A recently declassi¬ed CIA report asserts that Al Qaeda conducted sig-
ni¬cant research on bioagents, particularly anthrax.90 A computer found in
an abandoned Al Qaeda of¬ce in Kabul, Afghanistan, purportedly belong-
ing to Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, contained a ¬le describing plans for a
bioweapon program code-named “al Zabadi,” or “curdled milk.”91 Doc-
uments were also found revealing that Al Qaeda was researching how to
use botulinum toxin to kill two thousand people.92
Al Qaeda organizations including the World Islamic Front Against Jews
and Crusaders purchased three chemical and biological agent production
facilities in Zenica, Bosnia, and built another factory for producing anthrax
near Kandahar, Afghanistan, that U.S. forces discovered in early 2002.93 No
biological agents were found in the facility,94 but the lab equipment sug-
gested that Al Qaeda had acquired items for a “very limited production of
biological and chemical agents.”95 Al Qaeda took steps to ensure that their
covert bioweapons program would go undetected. One memo advised,
“[p]eriodically (for example about every three months) one of the loca-
tions is to be canceled and replaced by another.”96
Following the U.S.-led invasion in Afghanistan, ¬ve Al Qaeda biological
weapons labs tested positive for traces of anthrax, including al-Zawahiri™s
residence in Kabul.97 U.S. of¬cials also announced that Al Qaeda members
including Zarqawi established a weapons lab in Kirma, Iraq, to produce
ricin and cyanide.98 With the capture of Khalid Shaykh Muhammad in Pak-
istan, investigators uncovered detailed production plans for other chemi-
cal and bioweapons facilities. In 2002, Ansar al-Islam allegedly tested ricin
and experimented with cyanide-based toxins and a¬‚atoxin on live animals
and at least one human, but the group™s representative Muhammad Hasan
Muhammad denied this report.99
80 BIOVIOLENCE: PREVENTING BIOLOGICAL TERROR AND CRIME

Al Qaeda seems to have stumbled on the last step of bioviolence
preparation: testing a dissemination device. Zacharias Moussaoui and
Mohammad Atta sought to acquire crop dusters to disseminate bacte-
riological weapons.100 Later, a captured operative reaf¬rmed bin Laden™s
interest in acquiring aircraft to commit bioviolence.101 Documents calcu-
lating aerial dispersal methods of anthrax via balloon were discovered in
Kabul along with anthrax spore concentrate at a nearby vaccine labora-
tory.102


Concluding Observations
There is no convincing explanation for why catastrophic bioviolence has
not yet occurred. Experts speculate at length, and perhaps there have been
plots that covert intelligence has foiled. It has been suggested that the
failed attempts to prepare for and commit bioviolence are evidence that
bioviolence is beyond the capabilities of terrorists and cults; certainly,
making a lethal device is not a pedestrian matter. Most of the experience
with bioviolence involves small cults and lunatics whose capabilities have
fallen short of what would be necessary to conduct a global biocatastrophe.
Noted bioviolence incidents, plans, and hoaxes are listed in Box 3-1.
However, it might be quite wrong to conclude that terrorist groups
and cults pose no cause for concern. Even more worrisome is the bio-
offender that we do not know about or do not associate with widespread

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