Malaysia releases Yazid Sufaat: al Qaeda WMD biologist, sponsored Moussaoui, housed 9/11 hijackers en route U.S., acquired ammonium nitrate for Singapore plot

Yazid Sufaat helped Zacharias Moussaoui obtain the visa he used to enter the United States and funded him, housed two 9/11 hijackers while they were en route to the U.S., acquired tons of ammonium nitrate for both the Bali bombings and the Singapore bombing plot, and, in 2001, attempted to obtain Anthrax for al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Now, he is walking around Malaysia a free man.

Reuters, December 10, 2008:

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (Reuters) — Malaysia has released five men held on suspicion of terrorism, including one who has been linked to the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, the country’s home minister said Wednesday. Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar, who is in charge of security, said that a man linked to the Jemaah Islamiyah militant network had been freed Thursday, along with two from a Thai separatist group and two Malaysians suspected of working for foreign intelligence groups. Mr. Syed told reporters at Parliament that he believed that Yazid Sufaat, a Malaysian who the police suspected had provided lodging for two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, was among them. In 2002, a Malaysian official [all emphasis added in this post mine] said that he doubted that Mr. Yazid knew of Al Qaeda’s plans for Sept. 11.

Los Angelas Times, September 01, 2002:

The CIA asked the Malaysians to monitor the Kuala Lumpur meeting. The Malaysians photographed the men going in and out of the condo. It was not until much later that CIA analysts figured out who the men in the photos were. Atash was determined to have been one of the coordinators of the October 2000 attack in Yemen on the destroyer Cole. Yemeni authorities say Almihdhar also helped prepare the attack. Bin al-Shibh has not been positively identified from the photographs. German police, however, say they have credit card receipts that indicate Bin al-Shibh was in Malaysia at the same time. Sufaat, who has been arrested, told Malaysian officials he allowed the condo to be used at Hambali’s request and had no idea who the men were. He said he does not know whether Hambali attended the meeting but said Hambali has his own key to the condo. … The meeting occurred in early January 2000, just after a series of planned Al Qaeda millennium attacks failed. Intelligence officials believe the men met to discuss new attacks: the Cole and, given the timing, Sept. 11. On Jan. 8, the men left Kuala Lumpur. On Jan. 15, Almihdhar and Alhazmi arrived in Los Angeles.

Funding Terrorism in Southeast Asia: The Financial Network of Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah – December 2003. by Zachary Abuz, Associate Professor of International Politics at Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts

Organization of Jemaah Islamiyah

To begin, it is important to start with a conceptualization of what JI is. JI was established in 1993 or 1994 by two radical Indonesian clerics, Abu Bakar Ba’asyir (Bashir) and the late Abdullah Sungkar, who had been living in exile in Malaysia since 1984. They built up a following among radical Malaysians and Indonesian exiles, and were active recruiters for the mujahidin in Afghanistan. Two of their closest associates, Riduan Isamuddin (Hambali) and Mohammed Iqbal Rahman (Abu Jibril), both of whom fought in the mujahidinand were recruited into Al Qaeda, were instructed to establish a network of cells across Southeast Asia beginning in 1994. Shortly thereafter, Abdullah Sungkar visited Afghanistan, where he met with Osama bin Laden, and JI was brought into the Al Qaeda fold.

Al Qaeda and JI officials planned operations together at two important meetings — the January 2000 meeting in Kuala Lumpur in which the suicide attack on the USS Cole and the September 11 attacks on the United States were planned, and the January 2002 meeting in Bangkok in which Mohammed Mansour Jabarah represented Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in the planning of the Bali bombings. … some operations were planned and conducted jointly. For example, JI cells in Indonesia and Singapore often planned suicide attacks and were charged with surveillance and bomb-making, but the attacks themselves were to be executed by Al Qaeda operatives from the Middle East. Yet other operations, such as the Bali attack were autonomous. Hambali has confessed that Al Qaeda was so pleased with the attack they sent $100,000 for Hambali to use at his own discretion for future attacks. Finally, Al Qaeda dispatched numerous trainers to camps of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mindanao, and JI camps in Indonesia, to train JI members.

JI’s most important shell and front companies were established by the Malaysian cell. … These Al Qaeda shell companies were established at a rate of more than one a year between 1993 and 1996. They include two general trading companies, a bio-medical lab, and a computer firm. Most had overlapping board membership.

Green Laboratory Medicine was established in October 1993. Its director was Yazid Sufaat, a former Malaysian army captain who studied bio-chemistry at California State University,graduating in 1987. Upon his return to Malaysia, Sufaat was reproached by his family for his loss of Islamic values while abroad, and he began attending prayer sessions which brought him into contact with Hambali. Sufaat was then sent to Pakistan for religious training, where he was recruited into JI/Al Qaeda. In June 2001 Sufaat traveled to Afghanistan for training from Al Qaeda. He was arrested on December 9, 2001, when he tried to return to Malaysia from Afghanistan. Green Laboratory Medicine was instructed to purchase 21 tons of ammonium nitrate for use in terrorist attacks in Singapore (by way of comparison, the Oklahoma City bombing perpetrated by Timothy McVeigh used two tons of ammonium nitrate). At the time of his arrest, Sufaat had already purchased and dispatched four tons that remained unaccounted for until March 2003.

Hambali has revealed since his arrest in mid August 2003, that Yazid Sufaat and Green Laboratory Medicine also were selected by Al Qaeda “to play a leading role” in the development of chemical and biological weapons for the organization. Sufaat, who was with Hambali in Kandahar, Afghanistan in the fall of 2001 where he was working with Al Qaeda weapons experts, discussed anthrax production in Southeast Asia. As one U.S. intelligence official remarked, “We are very anxious to find out what [Sufaat] knows” about Al Qaeda’s biological and chemical weapons programs. “We think he can answer a lot of those questions.” There is no evidence, however, that Sufaat was able to obtain a virulent strain of Anthrax.

Ramzi Yousef and Wali Khan Amin Shah established another shell company, the Bermuda Trading Company, in 1994 as a cover to import chemicals for bomb-making. Infocus Technology was established in July 1995, also by Yazid Sufaat. The company was partially owned by his wife. Infocus Technology hired Zacarias Moussaoui, alleged to be the 20th September 11hijacker, as a marketing consultant and was able to get him a visa to the United States. Infocus was to have paid Moussaoui a lump sum of $35,000 and a monthly stipend of $2,500 to cover his flight training in the United States.

Chapter 5 of the 9/11 Commission Report:

In addition to staging actual terrorist attacks in partnership with al Qaeda, Hambali and JI assisted al Qaeda operatives passing through Kuala Lumpur. One important occasion was in December 1999-January 2000. Hambali accommodated KSM’s requests to help several veterans whom KSM had just finished training in Karachi. They included Tawfiq bin Attash, also known as Khallad, who later would help bomb the USS Cole, and future 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar. Hambali arranged lodging for them and helped them purchase airline tickets for their onward travel. Later that year, Hambali and his crew would provide accommodations and other assistance (including information on flight schools and help in acquiring ammonium nitrate) for Zacarias Moussaoui, an al Qaeda operative sent to Malaysia by Atef and KSM (According to statements attributed to Hambali and Sufaat, in each of these instances the al Qaeda guests were lodged at Sufaat’s condominium, an apartment on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur).

After completing his casing mission, Khallad returned to Kuala Lumpur. Hazmi arrived in Kuala Lumpur soon thereafter and may even have stayed briefly with Khallad and Abu Bara at Endolite. Mihdhar arrived on January 5 [2000], probably one day after Hazmi. All four operatives stayed at the apartment of Yazid Sufaat, the Malaysian JI member who made his home available at Hambali’s request.

Wayne Turnbull, July 31, 2003:

Between 1993 and 1996, Sufaat established Green Valley Medicine, Infocus Technology, and Secure Valley. Green Valley Medicine was the front used to purchase and store ammonium nitrate earmarked for the vehicular bombs in Operation JIBRIL [the Singapore bombing plot]. Through Infocus Technology, Sufaat provided support for the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States. Among the documents seized during the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui was a letter signed by Sufaat stating that Moussaoui was an Infocus Technology marketing representative for the United States. In addition to the letter, Sufaat also provided Moussaoui with US$ 35,000 upfront and an additional US$ 2,500 a month while he was in the United States.

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