Ricin and Chechnya?

Lorenzo Vidino in How Chechnya Became a Breeding Ground for Terror (Middle East Quarterly Summer 2005) indicated that in 2002 a cadre of Islamic fundamentalists made camp in Pankisi Gorge in Georgia to plan and train. “According to Georgian officials, in early 2002, some sixty Arab computer, communications, and financial specialists, military trainers, chemists, and bomb-makers settled in the gorge. The group used sophisticated satellite and encrypted communications to support both operations in Chechnya and terrorists planning attacks against Western targets. The Pankisi Arabs later tried to buy explosives for what Georgian security officials believe was to have been a major attack on U.S. or other Western installations in Russia.”

Vidino also claimed that in 2003 there was an effort by the Pankisi Arabs to use Ricin to kill. “A 2003 plot involving ricin, a virulent and deadly toxin, demonstrated the Islamist co-option of the Chechen nationalist conflict and its transformation into a global jihadist training ground. According to U.S. intelligence sources cited in an Italian indictment, Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi (the Jordanian terrorist alleged to mastermind much of the Iraqi insurgency) dispatched Adnan Muhammad Sadiq (Abu Atiya), a former Al-Qaeda instructor at a Herat, Afghanistan training camp, to Pankisi [Georgia]. In the gorge, Abu Atiya, a Palestinian who had lost a leg during the Chechen War, trained terrorists in the use of toxic gases. He also was behind a 2002 scheme to stage biological and chemical attacks against Russian or American interests in Turkey.”

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