Monday, May 29, 2006

Europe has "Thrown a Blanket Of Surveillance" Over Terrorist Cells

Sometime last week the FBI and the Justice Department announced that they have launched "urgent new probes" against terrorist cells in New York City, and other parts of the United States.

My comments with regards to this announcement included the following:

We have to assume that the fact that such news has been released means things really are urgent. If they weren't the FBI and the Justice Dept. would have slowly, but surely, formed an airtight ring around these guys, in order to build a case, and catch them in the act.

I'm guessing the FBI and the Justice released this information because they are not sure whether they have been able to detect and monitor all the cells. Therefore, perhaps, they have concluded that it is better at this juncture to keep the terrorist cells worrying that they are being monitored.

Well, well, well, today it is coming out that "Senior security officials across Europe" are announcing that they have thrown a "blanket of surveillance" over terrorist cells.

Ok, yes, I'm sure they have. Let's look at a bit of the AP article:

MADRID, Spain - European intelligence networks have thrown a blanket of surveillance over a small but fiercely violent cast of Islamic militants, many homegrown with no direct links to al-Qaida, whose fingerprints they expect to find on the Continent's next big terrorist attack.

Senior security officials across Europe warned in interviews with The Associated Press that the relative ease and low cost of an attack, combined with the anger and isolation felt by Muslim populations, mean more bloodshed is almost inevitable.

The officials painted a picture of a diverse group of militants with competing agendas, vastly different social and educational backgrounds and a litany of gripes that makes it difficult to predict their next move. While they may be motivated by Osama bin Laden's call for worldwide jihad, they mostly operate independently of al-Qaida's leadership, the officials said.

"There is no profile; they come from everywhere," said Manfred Murck, deputy director of the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which tracks extremist activity in the northern city of Hamburg, home to three of the four Sept. 11 suicide pilots. "You can't concentrate on certain targets, you can't concentrate on certain persons ... Everything is possible, anything goes, and you just have to try and be as close as you can to the whole group."

The two deadliest recent attacks in Europe — the London bombings of last July 7 and the Madrid blasts of March 11, 2004 — dramatically illustrate the problem.

Two of the London bombers had shown up on the periphery of another terror investigation, but authorities did not deem them dangerous enough to merit closer surveillance.

Spanish authorities say they were also monitoring several of the bombers in the months before the Madrid attack — and actually stopped a car carrying the group's military planner in late February, unaware he was leading a caravan of other terrorists transporting explosives. They thought they were dealing with drug traffickers and let them go.

Armed partially with the lessons learned from those bombings, intelligence services throughout Europe are ramping up surveillance, even at the risk of provoking protests from civil liberties groups.

• In Spain, where 191 people died in the bombing of four trains, authorities have tripled the number of agents concentrating on terrorism and are watching some 250 suspected radicals, according to a senior intelligence chief at the heart of the country's counterterrorism operations, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

• In London, where four suicide attackers killed 52 bus and subway passengers, senior police officers say they are concerned about 40 to 60 people living in Britain who have received training at camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan, and who are believed intent on carrying out attacks. Another 400 are believed to be sympathizers.

• In Italy, authorities are watching 74 people on suspicion of financing terrorism, said Gen. Pasquale Debidda of the financial police. Germany's Murck said about 170 potentially violent radicals are under surveillance in Hamburg, and that they were believed to have another 2,000 sympathizers.

"We have recorded a significant increase in the number of threats" because of the cartoons, said Lars Findsen, the intelligence chief in Denmark.

The Internet is replacing militant mosques as the main meeting site for potential terrorists, said Sybrand van Hulst, the director of the Netherlands' CIA equivalent, the AIVD. It has also become their manual.

The Spanish intelligence chief said a search of the Madrid plotters' computers found they had often visited Global Islamic Media, the al-Qaida-linked Web site, before the attack and after, when they needed advice on making their getaway.

Authorities believe they learned how to rig their cell-phone bombs on the Web and even used the same brand of phones — Mitsubishi Trium T110s — as did the group behind the 2002 attacks in Bali.

The official said similarities between otherwise-unrelated attacks were evidence of the Web's power to spread terror information. The suicide attacks in London and those in Casablanca on May 16, 2003, were both carried out using the same peroxide-based explosives, which are easily made with common materials, but are extremely powerful.

The official said the terrorists don't know each other but chat a lot online, sharing their lessons and tactics. "They have recipes (for how to carry out an attack). It is the classic do-it-yourself handbook," he said.

As I said with regards to the FBI announcement, there is no good reason for European security officials to be releasing info on what they know about the enemy. Therefore, the release of such information is an attempt to intimidate the terrorists into not taking action.

This is a move of desparation, more than likely brought about by the fact that the intelligence organizations of both Europe and America know attacks are imminent, and feel as if they have lost control of the situation.

This does not bode well.


citizen_us said...

Repeat after me;

There are NO moderate muslims.

If they are moderate, they ARE NOT muslim.

Pastorius said...

I understand, Joe.