The mighty US war on terror machine grinds on. Big news, big news, an allegedly important al Qaeda man, nabbed by US special forces in the failed state formerly known as Libya. Hate to rain on the parade.
High school yearbook photo.
Anas al Libi was a retiree from the Afghan war against the Soviets.
The picture now all over the news is misleading. Anas al Libi most probably does not look like that now.
From the New York Times on Sunday:
American commandos carried out raids on Saturday in two far-flung African countries in a powerful flex of military muscle aimed at capturing fugitive terrorist suspects
[Anas al Libi's] brother, Nabih, told The Associated Press that just after dawn prayers, three vehicles full of armed men had approached [his] home and surrounded him as he parked his car. The men smashed his window, seized his gun and sped away with him, the brother said.
In 2000 al Libi was living in England when the British took the "Manual of Afghan Jihad" off him and gave it to the FBI. Al Libi was not arrested and later faded from sight, apparently leaving the country.
After 9/11, the US government started calling this book the "al Qaeda manual." It's what you used to see quoted from when authorities wanted to produce some evidence of the methods of mayhem used by al Qaeda. Photocopies were published, various edits of it have been posted around the web, by the GWB White House and, of course, here.
British authorities tried to use it in a famous ricin trial to establish that an "al Qaeda poison cell" was linked to al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The US government also used the alleged "al Qaeda poison cell" as evidence in Colin Powell's discredited UN Security Council exposition on the Saddam Hussein regime's WMD programs and its connection with al Qaeda.
The British jury for the London ricin trial did not agree there was a poison cell (and the defense proved a ricin recipe seized in an anti-terror raid in England was not the same as that in al Libi's "Manual of Afghan Jihad") and found all of the Muslims rounded up as part of the alleged plot not guilty, except for one man.
It was the British prosecution's aim to link the "UK poison cell" to al Qaida by associating its ricin and poisons recipes with documents of Afghan -- read al Qaida -- origin. It cited three documents of interest: the "Manual of Afghan Jihad" seized in an information gathering raid in Manchester in 2000, notes found in English and Russian in Kabul in 2001 and notes found in Kabul, written in Arabic, also in 2001.
In a mini-trial within the trial, the prosecution's claims became unconvincing for a number of reasons. The "Manual of Afghan Jihad" was obtained in Manchester in April 2000 by British anti-terrorism agents and subsequently turned over to the FBI's Nanette Schumaker later that month and contains sections on poisons. Its ricin recipe is clearly taken from Hutchkinson and Saxon and although it is of similar nature to the recipe in the Kamel Bourgass trial, it is not identical.
In the manner of details, the "Manual of Afghan Jihad" calls for the use of lye in the treatment of castor seeds. The use of lye was subsequently dropped for many methods found in terrorist literature and it also does not appear in the Bourgass recipe. Other portions of the "Jihad" recipe straighforwardly descend from Hutchkinson, including the reference to DMSO. And still other fine details separate it from the Kamel Bourgass formulation.
A further knock on the "Manual of Afghan Jihad" as an al Qaida source comes from its apparent origin in the first jihad against the Communist occupation of Afghanistan, prior to al Qaida. The "Manual of Afghan Jihad" was the property of Nazib al Raghie, also known as Anas Al Liby to the US government. At the time the manual was taken off al Raghie in Britain, UK authorities were not interested in him. Neither, apparently, was the FBI and he was not arrested. These days, al Raghie, as Al Liby, is on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists.
The "Manual of Afghan Jihad's" ricin recipe was fairly obviously not the same as the one presented as evidence in the trial and a representative of the defense added that its appellation as an "al Qaida manual" was and is an invention of the United States government. More to the point, it was the work of the Department of Justice because nowhere in the manual is the word "al Qaida" mentioned although one could find it entitled as such on the DoJ website copy.
Summary: Anas al Libi (or Anas al Liby) was once, perhaps accurately, described privately by an expert for the defense in the London ricin trial as a pensioner from the Afghan wars.
He owned the copy of the so-called "al Qaeda manual" that used to be famous.
Anas al Libi has probably not been doing much of anything for years. He finally returned home, his capture partly the result of the turning of Libya into a failed state.
Go team. We expect nothing less than the description of great victories and legerdemain in the cause of global poverty-stricken fly dirt removal.
The capture of Anas al Libi illustrates the working policy of the US government in open-ended military operations.
American special forces can roam the world, easily finding permission to snatch or kill any relative nobody as long as they are deemed problematical, in any failed or failing state, almost always those with warring tribes of Muslims.
Originally published at Dick Destiny blog. About the author.