US seizes Benghazi raid ‘ringleader’ Ahmed Abu Khattala
(BBC) The suspected ringleader of the September 2012 raid on a US diplomatic post in the Libyan city of Benghazi, which left four Americans dead, has been captured, the Pentagon says.
Ahmed Abu Khattala was taken into custody in a secret US military raid in Libya on 15 June.
He is now being held in a secure location outside the country, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed.
US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed in the attack.
Suicide bomber killed in Iraq part of wider jihadi base in Calgary
Salman Ashrafi, killed in 2013 suicide attack, lived in same building as 4 other extremist fighter
(CBC) Homegrown extremism abroad has a new face, and CBC News has learned it belongs to yet another Calgary man, a development that points to the West as a hotbed for exporting jihadis.
His name is Salman Ashrafi, and when the Al-Qaeda splinter group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) released images of him last month following a double suicide bombing in Iraq in November that killed 46 people, he was celebrated in a martryrdom notice.
… [Syed Soharwardy, the prominent Calgary imam.] … “It is impossible for me to think the intelligence people do not know who is radicalizing Muslim youth. It is going on undercover; it is going on openly sometimes,” … “What is the Canadian government doing? Nothing.” … he has told police and university administrators, warning them about lecturers who might be preying on vulnerable young minds and that he believes he knows which organizations may be radicalizing young men. So far, he said, there has been no response.d.
U.S. Training Elite Antiterror Troops in Four African Nations
(NYT) United States Special Operations troops are forming elite counterterrorism units in four countries in North and West Africa that American officials say are pivotal in the widening war against Al Qaeda’s affiliates and associates on the continent, even as they acknowledge the difficulties of working with weak allies.
The secretive program, financed in part with millions of dollars in classified Pentagon spending and carried out by trainers, including members of the Army’s Green Berets and Delta Force, was begun last year to instruct and equip hundreds of handpicked commandos in Libya, Niger, Mauritania and Mali.
In a cautionary note about operating in that part of Africa, troubled by a chronic shortage of resources and weak regional partners, the effort in Mali has yet to get off the ground as a new civilian government recovers from a military coup last year. In Libya, the most ambitious initial training ended ignominiously last August after a group of armed militia fighters overpowered a small Libyan guard force at a training base outside Tripoli and stole hundreds of American-supplied automatic weapons, night-vision goggles, vehicles and other equipment.
Nigeria’s Military Knows Location Of Girls Kidnapped By Boko Haram: Defense Official
(AP) — Nigeria’s military has located nearly 300 school girls abducted by Islamic extremists but fears using force to try to free them could get them killed, the country’s chief of defense said Monday.
… a human rights activist close to negotiators said a deal to swap the girls for detained Boko Haram members was agreed last week and then scuttled at the last minute by President Goodluck Jonathan.
… Jonathan’s reluctance to accept offered help for weeks is seen as unwillingness to have outsiders looking in on what is considered a very corrupt force.
Soldiers have told The Associated Press that they are not properly paid, are dumped in dangerous bush with no supplies and that the Boko Haram extremists holding the girls are better equipped than they are.
Some soldiers have said officers enriching themselves off the defense budget have no interest in halting the five-year-old uprising that has killed thousands.
African countries declare war on Boko Haram
West African leaders vow to tighten borders, share intelligence and strengthen cooperation against armed group.
(Al Jazeera) Countries neighbouring Nigeria are ready to wage war against the Nigeria-based, al-Qaeda-linked group, Boko Haram, Chad’s president says.
Idriss Deby made the statement after a summit in Paris on Saturday that also included Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and representatives from West African countries Cameroon, Benin, Niger plus the United States, the European Union, Britain and France.
The army seems incapable – or incompetent – so good for the villagers!
Nigerian village vigilantes ‘repel Boko Haram attack’
(BBC) Residents of three villages in northern Nigeria have repelled an attack by suspected Boko Haram Islamist fighters, an eyewitness has told the BBC.
About 200 of the militants were killed during the fighting in the Kala-Balge district of Borno state, he said.
The witness said the residents had formed a vigilante group.
Video emerges of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan will attend the African security summit on Saturday in Paris, which is being organized by French President Francois Hollande. Separately, a video has been released in which Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau says he’ll release schoolgirls his group kidnapped after Nigeria frees all militants it has in custody. The Associated Press (5/12), BBC (5/12), Leadership Nigeria (5/12)
Who are Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists?
Nigeria’s militant Islamist group Boko Haram – which has caused havoc in Africa’s most populous country through a wave of bombings, assassinations and now abductions – is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.
Its followers are said to be influenced by the Koranic phrase which says: “Anyone who is not governed by what Allah has revealed is among the transgressors”.
Boko Haram promotes a version of Islam which makes it “haram”, or forbidden, for Muslims to take part in any political or social activity associated with Western society.
This includes voting in elections, wearing shirts and trousers or receiving a secular education.
Boko Haram regards the Nigerian state as being run by non-believers, even when the country had a Muslim president.
France remands ‘top al-Qaeda man’ Naamen Meziche
A Frenchman believed to have had links to a German al-Qaeda cell behind the 11 September attacks on the US has been remanded in custody in Paris
Pakistan Taliban commander ‘seized in US operation’
He was reportedly returning from talks over a mooted prisoner-swap deal, and the capture is said to have angered Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Nigeria attack: Students shot dead as they slept
(BBC) Suspected Islamist gunmen have attacked a college in north-eastern Nigeria, killing up to 50 students.
The students were shot dead as they slept in their dormitory at the College of Agriculture in Yobe state.
North-eastern Nigeria is under a state of emergency amid an Islamist insurgency by the Boko Haram group. [Boko Haram regards schools as a symbol of Western culture. The group's name translates as "Western education is forbidden".]
Jian Ghomeshi: The Kenya mall attack brings home the deeper meaning of globalisation
Nairobi’s horror has transfixed us. But maybe it can break our inhumane habit of distancing ourselves from trouble ‘over there’
(CBC via The Guardian) It’s an attack that has been difficult to look away from, and it has dominated news coverage of the past few days. Over that time, it must be said, terrorist activity in other parts of the world has also claimed many lives. There was a bombing on Sunday at an Anglican Church in Peshawar, Pakistan, that killed 85 people. And a rash of attacks at funerals in Iraq, killing dozens in a country where more than 5,000 people have died this year in similar acts of violence.
These events are an all-too-common occurrence in many places. And that is not to mention natural disasters, like the devastating earthquake that hit Pakistan Tuesday, killing at least 300 people, with the death toll rising. But the mall siege in Nairobi in particular captured our collective attention. Did you notice that?
Is it because we recognize the target – a shopping mall – as a place we, too, have gone with friends and family, and tried on clothes, and eaten fast food? A kind of “western” environment, and as much a symbol of freedom as the football stadium, or the office building? Maybe. (26 September)
Critical opinion of Islam ignores the fundamental truths
On Terrorists, Canada and Montreal– Beryl Wajsman (selection of clips)
How Terrorist Groups End
How do terrorist groups end? The evidence since 1968 indicates that terrorist groups rarely cease to exist as a result of winning or losing a military campaign. Rather, most groups end because of operations carried out by local police or intelligence agencies or because they join the political process. This suggests that the United States should pursue a counter-terrorism strategy against al Qa’ida that emphasizes policing and intelligence gathering rather than a “war on terrorism” approach that relies heavily on military force.
Age of Terror Q&A ; The Changing Faces of Terrorism ; UN Global anti-terrorism strategy; Al Qaeda; U.S. Arms Feed Yemen’s Gun Culture
A Dagger to the CIA – a devastating view of the causes of the December 30 suicide bombing of the CIA base in Khost.
C-MUSIC to Protect Israeli Airlines from Missile Attacks (watch video)
C-MUSIC is designed to protect large jet aircraft against man-portable heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles known as MANPADS. Based on MUSIC systems currently in use on helicopters and medium turbo prop fixed wing aircraft, C-MUSIC’s fiber-laser directed IR countermeasure (DIRCM) technology creates a laser beam that is directed towards the tracked missile, effectively defeating the incoming threat. Modified specifically for the stringent demands of commercial aviation, C-MUSIC can be tailored to jet aircraft of all sizes and its fully automatic operation has no impact the flight crew workload. An airline can prepare all its aircraft to carry the system and rotate C-MUSIC through specific aircraft according to relevant threat assessment. (June 2011)
Was the White Widow in Westgate mall? The evidence is scant
(The Independent) As official accounts unravel, it’s best to exercise caution on this sensational link
Al-Shabaab will emerge stronger after Nairobi mall attack, warns analyst
Islamists want to provoke Kenyan security forces in order to win Somalis’ support in city, suggests counter-insurgency adviser
(The Guardian) Al-Shabaab’s message is that it is “down but not out”, it is “losing territory but not people”, said David Kilcullen, a former adviser to David Petraeus, then US commander in Iraq, and of Nato forces in Afghanistan.
He suggested that al-Shabaab wanted to provoke over-reaction by the Kenyan security forces and thereby gain more support, especially in Eastleigh, the eastern district of Nairobi where most of the 250,000 Somalis in the Kenyan capital live. Many in that area are already being radicalised, analysts say.
Kenya shopping mall attack: Who are al-Shabaab, the multinational force of terror at the heart of the Nairobi shopping centre massacre?
International jihad emerges from terrorist ‘spectacular’ with which al-Shabaab sought to demonstrate that it was not confined to Somalia
(The Independent) As the Kenyan government declared that its forces were close to achieving success after three days of carnage which has left 62 dead and more than 100 injured, a lethal and grim threat was emerging from the fires of the Westland shopping complex – that of international jihad.
See also Somalia’s al-Shabaab militant group: 7 things to know — Al-Qaeda-affiliated group claims responsibility for attack on shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya
What The Deadly Attack On A Kenya Mall Was Really About
This is ultimately a Somali problem, and requires a Somali solution that is swift and unequivocal. If that happens, the terrible attack of September 21 will go down as the day Shabaab dug its own grave.
By Ken Menkhaus, professor at Davidson College and a fellow at the Enough Project.
(Think Progress) The bloody Shabaab attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall on September 21 was an act of desperation by a jihadi group beset by internal power struggles and plummeting support. It is intended to provoke a violent backlash against ethnic Somalis by the Kenyan government and Kenyan citizens. Angry and frustrated Kenyans must resist the urge to play into Shabaab’s hands.
Ally of world’s most wanted woman the White Widow is shot dead in Somalia raid: Briton killed by rival Islamic militants
British bomb-maker Habib Ghani was ambushed in a raid by a rival group
- He had been on the run with 7/7 bomber’s wife, Samantha Lewthwaite
- al-Shabab gunmen lay in wait posing as camel herders outside village
- The group had been hunting rival members following a split
European Jihadists: The Continuation of a Historical Trend European Jihadists: The Continuation of a Historical Trend
(Stratfor) The threat of experienced militants returning to Europe from combat in North Africa and the Middle East is fueling debate about immigration and integration in Europe and strengthening xenophobic and nationalist sentiments. It is not a new phenomenon for Europeans to travel abroad to fight. Reports have circulated for months about the growing number of foreigners fighting alongside Islamists in places such as Libya and Syria. Most recently, Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported Aug. 5 that leaks by unspecified European intelligence services warned that terrorist organizations in Syria could be preparing international attacks, particularly in Europe.
As new intelligence emerges — whether the threats are legitimate or not — European authorities will intensify counterterrorism efforts and immigration controls in an effort to thwart possible attacks. But given the large and growing Muslim population in Europe and the ease of travel throughout the Continent, preventing all attacks will not be easy.
Deadly blast near Hezbollah complex in Beirut
At least 20 people killed in southern suburbs of Lebanese capital, near complex used by Shia movement.
An unknown Syrian Sunni group called Aisha Umm-al Mouemeneen claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Without wishing in any way to demean the importance of this story, there is more than the kernel of a wickedly funny routine by Nichols & May or Lily Tomlin in the idea of setting up a conference call for the 20 operatives. Query: would they have to enter all the numbers from right to left?
Exclusive: Al Qaeda Conference Call Intercepted by U.S. Officials Sparked Alerts
(The Daily Beast) It wasn’t just any terrorist message that triggered U.S. terror alerts and embassy closures—but a conference call of more than 20 far-flung al Qaeda operatives, Eli Lake and Josh Rogin report.
Yemeni Government Claims To Have Foiled Terror Plot
(RTT) A day after Americans in Yemen were warned to leave the country due to a possible terrorist threat, Yemen’s government said Wednesday it has foiled an al Qaeda plot to attack two key southern ports as well as oil and gas facilities.
Rajeh Badi, a spokesman for Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Basindwa, said the plot included plans for dozens of al Qaeda militants disguised as Yemeni soldiers to storm the facilities and kill or kidnap any foreign workers.
“The Yemeni government ended an al Qaeda plot to attack strategic locations in Mukalla and Shabwa,” Badi told CNN, referring to a Yemeni port city and a southern province.
Yemen on ‘high alert’ over warning of imminent al-Qaida attack
US and British diplomatic personnel evacuated from Sana’a as Washington warns of ‘specific and immediate threat’
(The Guardian) Dozens of al-Qaida operatives are said to have streamed into Sana’a in the last few days, apparently to take part in a terrorist attack, the BBC said. The Yemeni claim could not be confirmed but it appeared consistent with US statements.
“Sana’a has been literally inundated with armed personnel and armoured vehicles to ensure that the military maintains a tight grip over all state and foreign interests,” the Yemen Post reported.
US closes embassies, issues global travel alert over Al Qaeda threat
The State Department ordered a precautionary closing on Sunday of 21 US embassies and consulates, mainly in the Middle East, without citing a specific threat. But its global travel alert says Al Qaeda may attack ‘between now and the end of August.
Al-Qaeda rips into prima donna terrorist for failing to deliver
(AP via Globe & Mail) After years of trying to discipline him, the leaders of al-Qaeda’s North African branch sent one final letter to their most difficult employee. In page after scathing page, they described how he didn’t answer his phone when they called, failed to turn in his expense reports, ignored meetings and refused time and again to carry out orders. …
The al-Qaeda letter, found by The Associated Press inside a building formerly occupied by their fighters in Mali, is an intimate window into the ascent of an extremely ambitious terrorist leader, who split off from regional command because he wanted to be directly in touch with al-Qaeda central. It’s a glimpse into both the inner workings of a highly structured terrorist organization that requires its commanders to file monthly expense reports, and the internal dissent that led to his rise. And it foreshadows a terrorism landscape where charismatic jihadists can carry out attacks directly in al-Qaeda’s name, regardless of whether they are under its command.
IoS exclusive: MI5 ‘tried to recruit’ Woolwich attack suspect Michael Adebolajo
(The Independent) Terror suspect was among group arrested in Kenya en route to Somalia two years ago. Family say torture there ‘pushed him over the edge’
Evidence emerged last night that one of the suspects involved in the killing of the British soldier Lee Rigby was well known to anti-terror police and the security services for at least three years before the brutal Woolwich attack.
Carlos the Jackal appeals against life term in France
(BBC) Self-styled revolutionary “Carlos the Jackal” has returned to court in Paris to appeal against his life sentence for deadly attacks in France in the 1980s.
The Venezuelan, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, has always denied playing any role in the bomb attacks that killed 11 people.
Maureen Dowd: Obama’s Benghazi Decisions ‘Unworthy of Greatest Power on Earth’
(Newsmax) The Obama administration’s decisions during and after the deadly terror attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi last Sept. 11 were “unworthy of the greatest power on earth,” writes New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, in a scathing Sunday column.
“In this hottest of hot spots, the State Department’s minimum security requirements were not met, requests for more security were rejected, and contingency plans were not drawn up, despite the portentous date of 9/11 and cascading warnings from the C.I.A.,” Dowd writes. “Hillary Clinton and Ambassador Chris Stevens (who was killed in the attack) were rushing to make the flimsy Benghazi post permanent as a sign of good faith with Libyans, even as it sat ringed by enemies.”
Benghazi Whistleblower: I Reported Attack Was Terrorism ‘From the Get-go’
(Newsmax) The second-ranking U.S. official in Libya during last year’s deadly attack on the mission in Benghazi immediately considered it a terrorist attack rather than a spontaneous event, according to a transcript of his interview with congressional investigators.
“I thought it was a terrorist attack from the get-go,” Gregory Hicks, a foreign service officer and former deputy chief of Libyan operations, told investigators … “I never reported a demonstration, I reported an attack on the consulate.”
Pierre Poilievre: ‘The Root Cause Of Terrorism Is Terrorists’
(HuffPost) Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre has apparently taken the memo from his boss not to “commit sociology” or think too hard about what causes terrorism.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed the foiled terror plot to attack a Via Rail train and the connected arrests of Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser.
Harper said he wouldn’t want to convey any view to the Canadian public other than “utter condemnation” of violence.
“This is not a time to commit sociology, if I can use an expression,” Harper said.
CBC host Evan Solomon asked Poilievre to elaborate on Harper’s position and seemed taken aback by Poilievre’s jibe.
Boston Bombing Suspects: Grassroots Militants from Chechnya | Stratfor
The identities of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing — Chechen brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26 — appear tentatively to confirm several of Stratfor’s suspicions. From this profile, the simple nature of the attack, their efforts to rob a convenience store and their lack of an escape plan, we can at least say at this point in time that they were what we refer to as grassroots militants. Despite being amateurs, such militants clearly still pose a significant threat.
Keep Calm and Shut the Bleep Up
Dear Americans, stop patting yourselves on the back for ‘not letting the terrorists win.’
At Foreign Policy, we get all the scoops, so I’ll let you in on some secret inside information. It’s hot stuff — the kind of information CNN and Fox don’t want you to have. Here it is:
Someone planted two homemade bombs near the Boston Marathon’s finish line. Three people are dead, and many more are injured, some gravely. The police and the FBI are working hard to figure out who did it, but they don’t know for sure yet.
And there you have it. That’s all I know, that’s all the media know, that’s all the “security experts” on TV know, and that’s all anyone knows, unless they happen to be among a small number of senior law enforcement officials, or unless they happen to be the bomber(s).
(Boston Globe) Two bomb blasts, 12 seconds apart, rocked the finish line of the 117th running of the Boston Marathon Monday, killing at least three people, including an 8-year-old Dorchester boy, wounding more than 140, and leaving the sidewalks of Boylston Street covered in blood.
Medical professionals on hand to care for blisters and sore knees in Copley Square suddenly found themselves treating life-threatening lacerations and lost limbs, as a high holiday in Boston, Patriots Day, turned into an epic tragedy. Emergency workers rushed to the scene, despite the very real possibility of more blasts.
The explosions blew out windows, sent plumes of smoke into the sky, and left victims piled on each other in a scene far more reminiscent of a battlefield than a celebrated day in Boston’s Back Bay. The blasts occurred at 2:50 p.m., several hours after the elite runners had finished the race.
Covering the ‘war on terror’: In conversation with Robert Fisk
(rabble,ca) Fisk’s beat, when it comes down to it, is the collateral damage of what he calls “the unnecessary” war on terror, waged in Washington, Ottawa, London, Paris, Moscow, etc.
Mali, Fisk notes, is the latest manifestation of how a toxic brew of lingering internal ethnic and regional disputes and lucrative mining and oil resources in a developing country can get conflated by powerful elites in the west to fit a simple narrative of virtuous versus evil narrative– the later being a small group of maniacal Islamists. “We have this solution in the west that if we identify the bad guys, the good guys are going to win.”
The problem happens when our supposed allies turn nasty and are just as capable of performing awful acts, the journalist points out, be it the ethnic cleansing by the French assisted local army in Mali or the no negotiations with hostage takers approach, the Algerian army displayed in the massacre at the Amenas gas plant. “In the fighting against terror, everybody gets killed,” says Fisk.
“It is all Hollywood,” says the British born journalist, speaking of the war on terror story that gets “reinforced” night after night in the daily news and major broadcast outlets and in the end, he notes, justified disastrous military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan — where countless lives have been lost.
How privilege-blindness stops us understanding the roots of terrorism
From Cameron’s ‘Indian dance’ remark to the discussion of Breivik’s motives, the invisibility of whiteness distorts debate
(The Guardian) While mass killing always has a madness to its method, white supremacists are all too often declared to be psychopathic loners, where others are seen as part of organised ideological networks.
Following the massacre of Sikh worshippers by another white supremacist in Wisconsin last week, little was made of the similarities between this apparently “senseless killing” and the recent firebombing of a Missouri mosque. Had Wade Page been Wadi Pervez and his victims predominantly white, talking heads would have debated the relationship between his religion and violent inclinations while “moderate Muslims” would distance “the community” from him.
Instead, there were suggestions that Page had targeted Sikhs “unfairly”, alongside irrelevant discussions about Sikhism. Chances are that Representative Peter King will not hold hearings, as he did for Muslims, on the “extent of radicalisation in the American white Christian community and that community’s response”.
An Iranian bomb plot in America?
A shocking atrocity averted—or maybe not
(The Economist) Many questions remain unanswered. Which, if any, bit of Iran’s hydra-headed government was Mr Shakuri acting for? Why all the clumsy tradecraft? And what was the motive? There are reports that the Israeli and Saudi embassies were to be targets later. But why would Iran incur the fury of America simply to kill a Saudi diplomat? Iran and Saudi Arabia are age-old rivals for influence in the Gulf, but there is no obvious reason why relations might have suddenly deteriorated to that extent.
Two very different views of the same story
Iran’s Terror Plot: An assassination attempt on U.S. soil is a sobering wake-up call.
One month to the day after the 10th anniversary of 9/11 comes a sobering moment in the history of the U.S. war on terror: (WSJ) The Department of Justice has charged that “factions of the Iranian government” plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States by blowing him up inside a Washington, D.C., restaurant.
Had it succeeded, this would have constituted an act of terror by the Islamic Republic of Iran on U.S. soil, and arguably an act of war. To those, notably an emerging isolationist wing in the Republican party, who’ve argued lately that the U.S. should pull its efforts back from a waning international terrorist threat to focus on domestic concerns, this event is a wake-up call.
The “very scary” Iranian Terror plot
(Salon) The most difficult challenge in writing about the Iranian Terror Plot unveiled yesterday is to take it seriously enough to analyze it. Iranian Muslims in the Quds Force sending marauding bands of Mexican drug cartel assassins onto sacred American soil to commit Terrorism — against Saudi Arabia and possibly Israel — is what Bill Kristol and John Bolton would feverishly dream up while dropping acid and madly cackling at the possibility that they could get someone to believe it.
Obama’s Death Panel
The killing of an American citizen without due process is a national scandal.
(Foreign Policy) It has been a week since a drone attack rubbed out Anwar al-Awlaki, whose copious English-language sermons, YouTube videos, and anti-Western screeds served as a powerful vehicle for radical jihadism on the Internet. But a steady flow of leaks is only now revealing the scandalous way in which Awlaki, a U.S. citizen, was targeted for assassination.
UN’s Ban renews call for counterterrorism treaty
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday made the case, again, for a global counterterrorism treaty “dealing with the whole of international terrorism,” despite more than 13 separate UN treaties covering related issues. Over the past decade since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., talks on such a legally binding treaty have been derailed by disagreements over definitions of what constitutes terrorism and who is a terrorist. Reuters (9/9), Google/The Associated Press (9/8)
Al Qaeda After Atiyya
What the Death of al Qaeda’s Number Two Means for the Jihadists
(Foreign Affairs) Summary: Atiyya’s death robs al Qaeda — already staggering after the loss of bin Laden — of its key strategist exactly when it needed him most.
Abuja attack: Car bomb hits Nigeria UN building
(BBC) At least 18 people have been killed in an apparent suicide car bombing at the United Nations headquarters in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
The powerful blast destroyed the lower floors of the building. Dozens have been injured, some critically.
A spokesman for the Islamist group Boko Haram told the BBC in a phone call that it had carried out the attack.
What — and Who — Inspired Anders Behring Breivik’s Violence?
(Foreign Affairs) Like many of the violent jihadists he so feared, the man responsible for last week’s attacks in Norway seems to have been radicalized via the Internet. … It is crucial that law-enforcement authorities and intelligence agencies better understand the true relationship between the words and ideas of Internet-based counter-jihadists and the real-world violence they seem to have inspired.
Norwegian killer probably insane, his lawyer says
(Reuters) The lawyer said it was too early to say if Breivik would plead insanity at his trial, adding that his client might oppose this as he felt that only he “understands the truth”.
Toby Archer*: Breivik’s Swamp: Was the Oslo killer radicalized by what he read online?
(Foreign Policy) We hope, and perhaps need, a man who would gun down teenagers in cold blood to be mad. How could a man who is not insane carry out such heinous acts? What possible justification could make anyone act so barbarously? And yet all around the world when others have carried out atrocities of similar horror — from the genocidaires of Rwanda to the al Qaeda butchers of Baghdad — those of us lucky enough to live in the safe and comfortable global north have asked — what made them do it? Their political ideology? Their interpretation of their religion? Calling them mad is not enough. *Toby Archer is a freelance researcher and writer. Previously, he researched terrorism, political extremism, and immigration politics for the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.
Norwegians rally around victims as Breivik appears in court
(CSM) Anders Behring Breivik appeared in court today, charged with terrorism for his attacks in Oslo and at an island youth camp. In the evening, Norwegians held mass rallies in memory of the 76 people who were killed.
Killer personifies rise of new far-right
Experts are uncertain if the attacks are part of, or could trigger, a wider phenomenon of right-wing violence in Europe
Seeing ‘Islamic Terror’ in Norway: Learning No Lessons From Oklahoma City Mistakes
(FAIR via Common Dreams) … Anders Behring Breivik reportedly killed 76 people in Norway on Friday, by all accounts driven by far-right anti-immigrant politics and fervent Islamophobia. But many early media accounts assumed that the perpetrator of the attacks was Muslim.
Far-right faces scrutiny after Norway attack
Intelligence agencies are likely to increase surveillance of far-right parties in the wake of Norway’s deadly terrorist attack last week over concerns their anti-immigration, anti-Muslim platforms may inspire more violence. Across Europe, far-right political leaders have denounced the alleged terrorist spree of Anders Behring Breivik as contrary to their political goals. The Christian Science Monitor (7/25)
Suspect wanted to ‘change Norwegian society’
Death toll rises to 93 in attacks that lawyer says Anders Breivik undertook as a “warning” to Labour Party.
(Al Jazeera) Breivik, who is alleged to have carried out the attacks over several hours on Friday, wanted to give a “warning” to the ruling Labour Party that “doomsday would be imminent,” said Geir Lippestad, Breivik’s lawyer, in an interview with the Verdens Gang newspaper published on Sunday.
Breivik has been arrested under Norway’s terrorism laws and will likely face a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison when he is formally charged on Monday.
In a radio interview with the public broadcaster NRK later, Lippestad said that Breivik belongs to an international network of right-wing extremists and would like his hearing on Monday to be open to the media so he can “reveal all”
(Al Jazeera|Opinion) Norway’s attacks reveal world of hatred
Initial reactions to the attacks in Norway showed a “clash of civilisations” exists, but not in the way many understood.
The Norwegian terrorist who murdered more than ninety innocent civilians – many of whom were teenagers – did not act alone. Or rather, he acted within a cultural and political context that legitimises his fearful and hate-infested worldview. It is now clear that Anders Behring Breivik was exposed to large amounts of right-wing propaganda. This tragedy underlines the urgency with which normal people around the world must combat fundamentalist nationalists and chauvinists wherever they may be. But it also demonstrates the extent to which reactionary bigotry has infected mainstream thought.
Many reacted to the news from Oslo with wide eyes and a pointed finger. The most animated reactionaries took to the pages of the New York Times comment section to issue sweeping proclamations about the Clash of Civilisations and something called “the cult of death”. In many ways, readers were merely reinforcing the paper’s woefully editorialised reportage. As Glenn Greenwald helpfully pointed out, the editors of the NYT – America’s allegedly liberal newspaper – reserve the word “terrorist” solely for use in conjunction with the word “Muslim”.
When news emerged that the perpetrator of the murders – the terrorist – was a man whose religion and skin pigmentation closely resembled those of the editors of the NYT, the story changed. The terrorist became a deranged “Christian extremist” whose tactics clearly mirrored “Al Qaeda’s brutality and multiple attacks”. In that way, the paper linked the terrorist with Muslims, despite his strong antipathy for them.
Blame for the Western media’s panting pursuit of a non-existent Muslim triggerman quickly focused on the feckless, credulous, overeager and inept source of the NYT’s journalistic failure. Will McCants – proclaimed by one of his acolytes to be at the top of a “list of five terrorism experts you can trust” – was quickly discredited. In his defence, he only sought to affirm the confirmation bias that he and the editors of the NYT suffer from. The meme that underpins their worldview goes something like this: “Muslims are bad. When bad things happen, Muslims are responsible.”
Syed Saleem Shahzad ‘s Book Says US-NATO War Served Al-Qaeda Strategy
(IPS) – Al-Qaeda strategists have been assisting the Taliban fight against U.S.-NATO forces in Afghanistan because they believe that foreign occupation has been the biggest factor in generating Muslim support for uprisings against their governments
Terrorism After the Revolutions — How Secular Uprisings Could Help (or Hurt) Jihadists
(Foreign Affairs May/June 2011) Although last winter’s peaceful popular uprisings damaged the jihadist brand, they also gave terrorist groups greater operational freedom. To prevent those groups from seizing the opportunities now open to them, Washington should keep the pressure on al Qaeda and work closely with any newly installed regimes.
Blackwater founder builds foreign force in UAE: report
(Reuters) – The crown prince of Abu Dhabi has hired the founder of private security firm Blackwater Worldwide to set up an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the United Arab Emirates, the New York Times said Sunday.
The Times said it obtained documents that showed the unit being formed by Erik Prince’s new company Reflex Responses with $529 million from the UAE would be used to thwart internal revolt, conduct special operations and defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from attack.
Safe as mouses
(The Economist) MICE are coming to an airport near you. An Israeli start-up company, BioExplorers, has harnessed the rodents’ olfactory abilities to develop an explosive-detecting system that could have applications in the aviation industry.
U.S. Had Warnings on Plotter of Mumbai Attack
Less than a year before terrorists killed at least 163 people in Mumbai, India, a young Moroccan woman went to American authorities in Pakistan to warn them that she believed her husband, David C. Headley, was plotting an attack.
Iraq uncovers al-Qaida plot against World Cup
Authorities in Baghdad announced that Iraqi security forces detained an officer in the Saudi army who is suspected of several of attacks in Iraq on behalf of al-Qaida since 2004 — and who was plotting an attack on the upcoming World Cup. The Boston Globe/The Associated Press (5/17)
Nicholas Kristof: Pakistan and Times Sq.
People with links to Pakistan have been behind a hugely disproportionate share of international terror incidents over the last two decades: the 1993 and 2001 World Trade Center attacks; Richard Reid’s failed shoe bombing in 2001; the so-called Bojinka plot in 1995 to blow up 12 planes simultaneously; the 2005 London train and bus bombings; the 2001 attacks on the Indian Parliament; and attacks on two luxury hotels and a Jewish center in Mumbai in 2008.
US drone kills 14 Pakistani militants from group linked to Faizal Shahzad
(CSM) A major drone strike Tuesday in North Waziristan against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan killed 14 militants from the group suspected of training accused Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.
Obama Seeks to Ease Rules on Questioning Terror Suspects
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. proposed carving a broad new exception to Miranda rights as he asserted that the suspect in the Times Square bomb attempt trained in Pakistan.
Pakistan Taliban behind Times Square bomb plot, says Attorney General
(Telegraph UK) The Pakistan Taliban was “intimately involved” in last week’s attempted Times Square car bombing, according to Eric Holder, the US Attorney General. … Washington’s response signals a wider determination to force Pakistan to expand its war on Taliban groups to include those in North Waziristan which are pro-Islamabad but mount regular attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan. (NYT) U.S. Urges Swift Action in Pakistan After Failed Bombing
Uncomfortable Truths and the Times Square Attack
The tactical reality is that the government simply cannot identify all potential attackers in advance and thwart every attack. Some suspects will inevitably fly under the radar.
Links arise between Times Square bomb plot, Pakistani militants
Intelligence has emerged linking the failed Times-Square car-bomb plot with the Pakistan-based militant organization Jaish-e-Muhammad — a group thought not to have the capacity to strike at the U.S. Authorities in Pakistan arrested a suspect in the city of Karachi with ties to Jaish-e-Muhammad as well as to Faisal Shahzad, the suspect charged with attempting to blow up the car bomb. While it is believed that Shahzad received some level of training in Pakistan, it is not certain that Jaish-e-Muhammad directed the attack against the U.S. The Pakistani Taliban has claimed credit for the strike. Los Angeles Times (5/6) , The New York Times (free registration) (5/5)
Arrests in Pakistan Widen Bombing Case
An investigation into a failed car bombing in Times Square widened rapidly on two continents on Tuesday as Pakistani authorities arrested several people just hours after a jet bound for Dubai was called back from the runway at Kennedy Airport in New York City and boarded by federal officers, who seized a Connecticut man accused of carrying out the attempted attack.
Pakistan Taliban claims Times Square bomb, threatens more. How credible?
(CSM) Experts cast doubt on the Pakistan Taliban’s apparent claim to have planned the Times Square bombing and its threat to attack US cities. The videos do not convince experts of the Taliban’s ability to strike inside America. But the audacious claims, and the mystery surrounding Mehsud’s months of silence, suggest divisions within the group.
New York City Police Discover Car Bomb in Times Square
(NYT) A crude car bomb of propane, gasoline and fireworks was discovered in a smoking Nissan Pathfinder in the heart of Times Square on Saturday evening, prompting the evacuation of thousands of tourists and theatergoers on a warm and busy night. Although the device had apparently started to detonate, there was no explosion, and early on Sunday the authorities were still seeking a suspect and motive.
The Caucasus Emirate
(Stratfor) … Such incidents are regular occurrences in Russia’s southernmost republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia. These five republics are home to fundamentalist separatist insurgencies that carry out regular attacks against security forces and government officials through the use of suicide bombers, vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), armed assaults and targeted assassinations. However, we have noted a change in the operational tempo of militants in the region. So far in 2010, militants have carried out 23 attacks in the Caucasus, killing at least 34 people
Doug Bandow, Cato Institute Senior Fellow: Blowback: The Lessons of the Moscow Bombings for America
The horrid attacks of 9/11 led to the cry: Why do they hate us? The recent bombings in the Moscow subway remind us that terrorism is most often a political tool used to advance political ends
Terrorism cannot be justified, whether committed by Russian anarchists, Tamil Tigers, Basque separatists, the Irish Republican Army, Chechen militants, al-Qaeda, Palestinians, or Afghan and Iraqi insurgents. But terrorism can be understood and explained. And we should use that knowledge in making policy.
Baghdad is still reeling from three suicide car bombings on Sunday, which killed at least 41 people and injured 237. The bombings targeted the Iranian, German, and Egyptian embassies. Iraqi authorities believe that al Qaeda in Iraq is responsible for the attack. Most of those killed were motorists and pedestrians near the buildings.
Chechen Rebel Says He Planned Attacks
(NYT) A former Chechen separatist who reinvented himself as a proponent of global jihad stepped out of the shadows on Wednesday to take responsibility for two suicide bombings on Moscow’s subway, and to offer himself as the face of an increasingly lethal pan-Caucasus insurgency.
Week of violence continues in Russia with Dagestan bombing
(LA Times) A double suicide bombing targeting police in Russia’s southern province of Dagestan killed at least 12 people, just two days after suicide bombings which killed 39 in the Moscow Metro, and stirred fresh fears that volatility in Russia’s mostly Muslim Caucasus region is seeping deep into the rest of the country.
(FP Morning Brief) More than 500 terrorist acts were carried out in the North Caucasus in 2009 according to the Russian prosecutor general’s office. The latest attacks come at a moment when President Dmitry Medvedev appeared to be shifting toward a focus on poverty and unemployment as root causes of the violence in the region. Medvedev took the unusual step of discussing these matters in the wake of this week’s subway bombings, saying, “people want a normal and decent life, no matter where they live,” but this week’s deadly violence may herald a return to the harder-edged military tactics favored by Putin.
General Aviation: A Reminder of Vulnerability
For many years now, STRATFOR has discussed the security vulnerability posed by general aviation and cargo aircraft. [Joseph] Stack’s attack against the IRS building using his private plane provides a vivid reminder of this vulnerability.
Lonely Trek to Radicalism for Terror Suspect
Undressing the Terror Threat
(WSJ) Running the numbers on the conflict with terrorists suggests that the rules of the game should change
A little intelligence and a few drops of courage remind us that life is full of risk, and that of all the risks we confront in America every day, terrorism is a very minor one. Taking prudent steps to reasonably minimize the tiny threat we face from a few fanatic criminals need not grant them the attention they crave. Continuing to play Terrorball, on the other hand, guarantees that the terrorists will always win, since it places the bar for what counts as success for them practically on the ground.
Jihadism in 2010: The Threat Continues
(Stratfor) The past year proved to be very busy in terms of attacks and thwarted plots emanating from jihadist actors. But, as forecast, the primary militants involved in carrying out these terrorist plots were almost exclusively from regional jihadist groups and grassroots operatives, and not militants dispatched by the al Qaeda core. We anticipate that this dynamic will continue, and if anything, the trend will be for some regional franchise groups to become even more involved in transnational attacks, thus further usurping the position of al Qaeda prime at the vanguard of jihadism on the physical battlefield.
The plane took off – and then they realised who was in seat 19A
New details reveal the moment US analysts finally managed to ‘join the dots
US screening ‘risks Nigeria ties’
The US is risking its ties with Nigeria by asking travellers from the country to undergo stiffer airport security, Nigeria’s information minister says.
Attacker in Afghanistan Was a Double Agent
The suicide bomber who killed seven C.I.A. officers and a Jordanian spy last week was a double agent who was taken onto the base in Afghanistan because the Americans hoped he might be able to deliver top members of Al Qaeda’s network, according to Western government officials. 30/12 Suicide Bomber Killed C.I.A. Operatives
1 January 2010
Scores killed in Pakistan attack
(Al Jazeera) A suicide car bomber has attacked a site where a volleyball game was being played in northwest Pakistan, killing at least 88 people and wounding scores more. The incident took place in Lakki Marwat in the North West Frontier Province, which lies close to North and South Waziristan, two tribal regions where Pakistani Taliban fighters are active.
Pressure rises on CIA after bomb plot
(FT) US intelligence agencies defended their information sharing practices after being accused of multiple lapses that allowed a Nigerian man to board a Detroit-bound flight allegedly with explosives on Christmas day (NYT) Shadow of 9/11 Is Cast Again
U.S., U.K. investigate factors behind would-be terrorist attack
The U.S. possessed intelligence weeks before the attempted attack on a trans-Atlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit that a Nigerian-born terrorist was being groomed in Yemen — intelligence that the U.S. was unable to exploit owing to what U.S. President Barack Obama calls a systemic security failure. While the U.S. is investigating the network of security watch lists that failed to stop Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, U.K. officials are investigating his apparent radicalization in London. The New York Times (12/29) , BBC (12/30)Yemen says may harbor up to 300 Qaeda suspects
(Reuters) – Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi said on Tuesday there could be up to 300 al Qaeda militants in his country, some of whom may be planning attacks on Western targets.
U.S. Widens Terror War to Yemen, a Qaeda Bastion
(NYT) American officials said Yemen could become Al Qaeda’s next operational and training hub, rivaling the tribal areas of Pakistan.
Al-Qaida group says it was behind jetliner attack
(WaPost) Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula on Monday claimed responsibility for the attack on a U.S. airliner bound for Detroit on Christmas Day, saying it was retaliation for a U.S. operation against the group in Yemen.
Federal authorities met Monday to reassess the U.S. system of terror watchlists to determine how to avoid the type of lapse that allowed a man with explosives to board the flight in Amsterdam even though he was flagged as a possible terrorist.
Somali pirates free Singapore-flagged ship
(BBC) The Kota Wajar was seized on 15 October 300 nautical miles north of Seychelles while it was sailing to the Kenyan port of Mombasa. The [EU] force provided no details about the release, but said a Canadian warship was providing it with medical and logistical assistance.
Earlier, China said it had rescued 25 crew kidnapped by Somali pirates. Beijing made no mention of a ransom payment, despite reports that $4m (£2.5m) was delivered to pirates on Sunday. Also on Monday, Yemen’s defence ministry announced that a Yemeni cargo vessel with at least 15 people on board had been seized by Somali pirates.
Nigerian Charged With Trying to Blow Up U.S. Jet
The suspect, who was being treated for burns at a Michigan hospital, was overpowered by passengers and crew on the Delta Air Lines plane from Amsterdam on Christmas Day. The Justice Department identified the suspect as a 23-year-old Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and charged him with attempting to blow up the plane by setting alight an explosive device attached to his body.
(Reuters) – A Yemeni air raid may have killed the top two leaders of al Qaeda’s regional branch on Thursday, and an American Muslim preacher linked to the man who shot dead 13 people at a U.S. army base may also have died, a Yemeni security official said. More
Blackwater Guards Tied to Secret C.I.A. Raids
Private security guards from Blackwater Worldwide participated in some of the C.I.A.’s most sensitive activities — clandestine raids with agency officers against people suspected of being insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and the transporting of detainees, according to former company employees and intelligence officials. Vanity Fair profile of Erik Prince and Blackwater Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier, Spy
George Jonas: What jihadists oppose most
(National Post) Sure, radical Islamists are upset by infidels and the existence of a Jewish state. But their biggest gripe of all? Feminism
Muslim supremacists might have coped with modernity relegating their culture to second place behind the runaway success of Western civilization, but couldn’t tolerate a challenge to their status as patriarchs in their homes. Their chauvinistic strings, wound tight by the territorial, technological, military, geographic and economic reduction of Islam over the last 400 years, snapped when plucked under their own roofs by their own wives and daughters.
Central Baghdad hit by string of bombings
The attacks show the ease with which militants continue to evade checkpoints to carry out bombings in central Baghdad. They also mar a week of political progress that included the passage of an election law and an upcoming oil field option. Today’s bombings are Iraq’s worst since the attacks on city administration building’s in October that killed 155. While those attacks were blamed on loyalists to Saddam Hussein’s Baath party, there are increasing fears of a resurgence of Sunni militants led by al Qaeda in Iraq, who could be trying to discredit authorities before the upcoming parliamentary elections.
The Jihadist Strategic Dilemma
(Stratfor) … the primary U.S. interest in this region is twofold. The first aspect is to prevent the organization of further major terrorist attacks on the United States. The second is to prevent al Qaeda and other radical Islamist groups from taking control of any significant countries.
U.S. operations in this region mainly consist of spoiling attacks aimed at frustrating the jihadists’ plans rather than at imposing Washington’s will in the region. The United States lacks the resources to impose its will, and ultimately doesn’t need to. Rather, it needs to wreck its adversaries’ plans.
U.S. Man Accused of Helping Plot Mumbai Attack
An American at the center of an international terrorism investigation has been charged with helping plot the 2008 rampage in Mumbai, India. The suspect, David C. Headley of Chicago, is accused of helping identify targets for a Pakistan-based terrorist group called Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Arrests in Philippine Province
The military arrested dozens of people and seized caches of weapons after martial law was imposed over the weekend in a southern Philippine province where 57 people were killed in a massacre two weeks ago, officials said Sunday.
Thomas Friedman: America vs. The Narrative
The Narrative is the cocktail of half-truths, propaganda and outright lies about America that have taken hold in the Arab-Muslim world since 9/11. Propagated by jihadist Web sites, mosque preachers, Arab intellectuals, satellite news stations and books — and tacitly endorsed by some Arab regimes — this narrative posits that America has declared war on Islam, as part of a grand “American-Crusader-Zionist conspiracy” to keep Muslims down.
UN plots approach to piracy
Paying ransoms and patrols by naval fleets are insufficient to tackle the piracy threat off the Somali coast, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the United Nations special envoy for Somalia, told the Security Council. Instead, a regional strategy that builds effective governance, promotes the rule of law and provides alternatives for Somalis is needed. Google/Agence France-Presse (11/18)
A Terrorist Trial in New York City
(Stratfor) U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Nov. 13 that the U.S. Justice Department had decided to try five suspected terrorists currently being held at Guantanamo Bay in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, located in lower Manhattan. The five suspects — Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarek bin Attash, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Ali Abdul-Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi — are all accused of being involved in the 9/11 plot, with Mohammed describing himself as the mastermind in a 2003 confession.
Why We Should Put Jihad on Trial
(NYT Op-Ed)) THE Justice Department’s decision to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, in a federal court in New York City has elicited several criticisms. Most are pointless, but one — the idea that it will give a terrorist a platform from which he could stir up support in the Muslim world for his radical views — is well taken.
A reporter talks on her cell phone outside the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower on November 27, 2008, hours after the terrorists struck. By Arko Datta/Reuters/Landov.
Anatomy of a Siege
(Vanity Fair November 2009) A year ago, terrorists took over the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, India’s fabled five-star hotel, in an attack that left 172 dead across the city. As India still seethes over the bungled rescue efforts, those who survived the 60-hour ordeal reveal the full horror of what happened.
Police watched the plot unfold, then pounced
(The Independent) The preparations were meticulous, the bombs potentially deadly. But the conspiracy was doomed from the start
Equipped with technology bought from corner shops, electrical wholesalers and a street stall in Pakistan selling a brand of AAA-sized Toshiba batteries, Sarwar, Ali and his right-hand man, Tanvir Hussain, had brought together a sophisticated and well-financed mission to cause death and destruction with an ingenious tool previously unknown to law enforcement agencies across the world.
12 May 2005
The film US TV networks dare not show
Adam Curtis has recut his explosive war on terror documentary The Power of Nightmares into a feature film – and is taking it to the festival. But he’s no Michael Moore, he tells Stuart Jeffries
26 April 2005
Power of Nightmares re-awakened
The Power of Nightmares is to be turned into a feature film to be screened at the Cannes film festival. It was first screened on BBC Two in Autumn 2004 as a series of three one hour documentaries questioning whether the threat of terrorism to the West is a politically driven fantasy and if al-Qaeda really is an organised network.
9 July 2004
Wrong to call terrorists ‘madmen’
Terrorist is a political not a psychiatric diagnosis, says Dr Andrew Silke, a UN advisor and forensic psychologist at Leicester University
Terrorists are sane and not paranoid madmen, a leading expert says.