Law Suit reveals depth of Iraqi involvement in 1995 Oklahoma bomb
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A Terrifying Alliance

Speculation grows about cooperation between right-wing extremists in the West and fanatics in the Middle East - with links both to the anthrax letters and the Oklahoma bombing

By Yael Haran

14/01/2002

AHMED HUBER IS A HOLOCAUST denying Swiss convert to fundamentalist Islam. Closely linked to neo-Nazi groups, he may also be one of several key figures behind dangerous alliances between extreme right-wingers in the West and Islamic fundamentalists and Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

The Bern-based Huber was recently named by the U.S. Treasury Department as a provider of financial support to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qa'eda terrorist network via Nada Management, a European subsidiary of the international Al-Taqwa group all of whose asssets the Bush Administration has now frozen. But that may only be the tip of something much larger: There is a growing suspicion among hate-watch groups and terror experts that neo-Nazis and radical Arab elements may have cooperated in the post-September 11 anthrax attacks. Some analysts are even citing possible Iraqi involvement in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, which claimed 168 American lives. American right-winger


Timothy McVeigh was executed for planting the bomb, but  Iraq expert Laurie Mylroie told The Report that Saddam's fingerprints are all over the case. Huber - who was born Albert Friedrich Armand Huber 74 years ago, and converted to Islam in the 1960s - is  believed to be "some kind of go-between for militant Islamic and right-wing groups," says Simon Reeve, a British author of books on Islamic terror. Huber first reached prominence in 1989, when he  publicly supported the Iranian fatwa, calling for the death of writer Salman Rushdie. Last March, Huber was one of the organizers of an international Holocaust denial conference scheduled to take place in Beirut before international pressure forced the Lebanese government to cancel it. On speaking tours of the U.S., Huber has spoken of "evil Jews," and, according to Reeve, "has suggested the Nazis were victims of Zionist propaganda." Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, says Huber brags that his buddies are friends of Bin Laden, "and boasts about his support of the extreme right-wing National Democratic Party, which was recently banned in Germany." Huber was recently quoted in the Swiss press as calling the al-Qa'eda members he has met in Beirut several times  "very intelligent and nice guys."

THERE ARE TWO broad schools of thought on who carried out the attacks that have resulted in 22 confirmed cases of anthrax infection and four deaths. One blames Mideast extremists; the other revolves  around the FBI's profile of a kind of "biological unibomber" - a lone, possibly deranged American scientist.
In November testimony before a committee of Congress, Richard Spertzel, who was the first to uncover Baghdad's biological-warfare capabilities while serving on the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq in 1994-98, openly doubted that the anthrax spores were "made by some nut, some graduate student in microbiology." U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos has said it would be "un-believably naive" not to link the anthrax letters to the September 11 atrocities.  And Israel's ex-U.N. ambassador Dore Gold  - after speaking with former U.N. monitoring chief Richard Butler - has told The Report that Iraq is "by far the most likely suspect for the anthrax attacks."
Now the two, apparently mutually-exclusive schools of thought  appear to be merging. In the course of the widest investigation in its history, terror experts have told the Report, the FBI has begun investigating domestic groups with known sympathies for Middle Eastern causes as possible suspects behind the letters - which were sent out from a mailbox in Trenton, New Jersey. U.S. right-wing elements might not have the capability of producing weapons-grade anthrax, says Ely Karmon of the Herzliyah-based International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, but they would certainly not hesitate to use it. And no one doubts that Iraq has the motive for supplying it. Indeed, Reeve claims that "U.S. investigators and intelligence experts" told him, "that this anthrax most likely originated in Iraq, and is being used by supporters of al-Qa'eda. The speed of the attack in the aftermath of September 11, the sophistication of the anthrax, and the modus operandi - using the basic freedoms and functions of a Western democracy to deliver terror" are all consistent with Bin Laden." Mylroie, Washington, D.C.-based author of "Saddam's Unfinished War Against America," considers it possible that Iraqi agents provided the anthrax either to al-Qa'eda or to American far-rightists but, she adds firmly: "It doesn't matter who posted the envelopes: Iraq is behind it."

Iraq would have had no difficulty getting hold of the Ames strain of anthrax contained in the spore-bearing letters. Cultivated in the labs of Iowa State University in 1978, and reportedly identical to a strain used by the U.S. Army, it has been legally sold to, and informally shared by, research labs world-wide. One story which may shed light on the provenance of the spores is that of Larry Harris of Lancaster, Ohio, a microbiologist arrested in 1998 (and later released) for trying to obtain samples of anthrax and plague, which he boasted he could spread on the New York subway. In a handbook on biological warfare distributed on the Internet in the aftermath of September 11, Harris - who is affiliated with the white supremacist and pro-Iraq Aryan Nations Movement - claims that Saddam has planned biological war against the U.S. He says he learned this from a female Iraqi refugee, who told him Iraq "purchased all the dehydrated cultures from companies here in the U.S. They shipped them to Iraq. Those same vials are the ones Iraqi women have been bringing back." This appears to confirm a 1993 CIA report, cited in a paper by Dr. Danny Shoham of the BESA Center at Bar-Ilan University, that Iraqi women had smuggled anthrax into the U.S. "in cigarette lighters concealed inside their bodies."

THERE IS ALSO EVIDENCE,largely overlooked until now, of an Iraqi link to the Oklahoma City bombing. Simon Reeve notes that Terry Nichols, McVeigh's junior partner who is now serving a life term, visited the Philippines in 1994; Ramzi Youssef, later convicted as the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was there too. "Youssef and Nichols were in roughly the same place at around the same time, in suspicious circumstances," says Reeve. There are also indications, he adds, that Nichols "received training from pro-Bin Laden militants in the Far East" possibly from Abu Sayyef, a Filipino Muslim group with ties to al-Qa-eda and Iraq.
Mylroie is more specific. "Nichols maintained communications with individuals in the Philippines and made frequent trips there. The FBI never seriously investigated those links," she says, "but the phone records of the Oklahoma City bombers and Ramzi Youssef overlap, suggesting the same party was behind both. Since Youssef was an agent of Iraqi intelligence, that suggests Iraq was behind the Oklahoma bombing." For years, Oklahoma State Rep. Charles Key has maintained that Muslim fundamentalists in Oklahoma City were involved in the bombing - an angle which, he says, has been overlooked by FBI investigators. But why would Islamic militants, or Saddam Hussein, choose a target in Oklahoma? Says Reeve: "If someobody like McVeigh was going to attack Oklahoma, Las Vegas or San Francisco, it would not matter to them. The point was simply to strike at The Great Satan."

AHMED HUBER ISN�T THE ONLY man in Europe under suspicion of promoting the Islamic radical-rightist coalition. Another is Iraqi arms dealer Abdul Moneim Jebara, 60, whose plot to smuggle helicopters to Iraq was uncovered during a Swiss bribery investigation in 1998. Jebara now lives in Austria, where members of the ruling far-right Freedom Party recently established an Iraq-Austria Association to push ties with Baghdad. Another connection involves al-Taqwa group shareholder Alessandro Ghe, an Italian radical who has been questioned by his country's security forces about his links to Bin Laden. Ghe was a member of the Italian neo-fascist "Ordine Nuovo" that began coupling up with Moslem radicals in the 1970s, says Ely Karmon. In addition to Huber, the organizers of the scrapped Beirut Holocaust-denial conference included Jurgen Graf, director of Verite et Justice, a Swiss Holocaust-denial group, who now lives in Teheran. "Graf was coordinating the conference from Teheran," Rabbi Cooper told The Report, with the knowledge and cooperation of Iranian authorities. William Pierce, America's top neo-Nazi, was one of the scheduled speakers. Representatives of Hizballah were also going to attend."

Another figure cited is Ahmed Rami, who runs the Swedish-based multi-lingual Radio Islam website. The Anti-Defamation League says Radio Islam regularly links Israel's "crimes" against Palestinians to a world-wide Zionist conspiracy. And Moroccan-born Rami organized a 1998 Holocaust revisionist conference in Stockholm, with a guest list reflecting what Cooper calls "the who's who of anti-Semitism."

Rightist and Islamic radicals express a similar goal in different terms. The neo-Nazis' main target is what they call ZOG, the Zionist Occupied Goverment of the United States; the Islamists dream of destroying Israel and forcing America to withdraw from its current world leadership. Saddam made the point clearly in an open letter issued the day after September 11. He called America "a toy in the hands of criminal world Zionism and its accursed freak entity." And he concluded - ominously, considering that no anthrax had yet been mailed - "If it turns out to be a domestic affair, the Americans will know how to diagnose the disease."

The advantages of cooperation have become acceptable even to white supremacists. Billy Roper, of the U.S. neo-Nazi National Alliance, posted this post-September 11 message on the Internet: "The enemy of our enemy is, for now at least, our friend ... We may not want them marrying our daughter, just as they would not want us marrying theirs... But anyone willing to drive a plane into a building to kill Jews is all right by me."

Cooper thinks the cooperation already transcends shared rhetoric. "An international coalition of hate" has been created, he says. "Moving from theory to action would not be a giant leap, it would be baby steps." Have those steps yet to be taken? Or has the partnership been active since the Oklahoma bombing, with the anthrax letters merely its latest strike?

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