Monday, 11 August 2008 00:00

August 2008

 

 

European Radicalisation Monitor
August 2008

 

EFD's European Radicalisation Monitor (ERM) provides an overview of ongoing terrorist and radicalisation activities, counter-terrorism measures and broad terrorism-related political debates throughout Europe. With the ERM we aim to provide an objective overview of how terrorist ideologies are spreading in Europe, and of the different forms they are taking. It is imperative that Europeans become aware of the threat of such movements to open societies and to universal human rights. The ERM is based on media sources from across Europe, and publications by non-governmental organisations, national governments and international institutions. Links to original sources and news articles are provided and are available by clicking on the underlined text of the articles below.

Analysis

Although terrorist activities have not dominated front-page headlines recently, plots are continuously being uncovered in Europe and terrorist cells are being broken up. Some of the most flagrant cases are being handled by the UK, Italy and Spain. Extremists, as described by the British intelligence analysts, are difficult to categorize as they are not the obvious "bad and mad". Instead, they include teenagers as young as 15, imams, cyber terrorists, bomb-makers and criminals who engage in illegal activities to raise funds for terrorism. Their alleged targets include members of the British Royal family and cabinet, NATO buildings, as well as European citizens on their way to work.

Terrorists are using a myriad of methods to achieve their aim for causing harm and destruction in Europe. European authorities recognize the threat, as acknowledged by British and German officials. Extremists who are trained in terrorist camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan return to Europe keen on carrying out attacks. The European response to such activities is multidimensional. It includes prevention and de-radicalisation activities through anti-terrorism propaganda and educational programs for the youth, as well as stronger collaboration between and among the EU nations and the United States. It is thus paramount that Europe and Europeans remain vigilant to the terrorist threat.

For a cross section of radical activities in Europe, cyber-terrorism, the present threat, and anti-terrorism responses from across Europe, please continue reading. To read the original articles in full, please click on the underlined text.


Terrorism in Europe

Radicalisation

British Muslims assist the Taliban in Afghanistan and together plot attacks against Britain - 02 August 2008

Brigadier Ed Butler, former chief of the UK forces who has served in Afghanistan, warns that British Muslim extremists plot with terror groups based in southern Afghanistan to carry out attacks in British soil.  In addition, he explains how British extremists aid the Taliban and Al-Qaeda attacks on coalition troops in Afghanistan.

 Internet & Terrorism

Online jihadist convicted on charges of terrorism - 18 August

Aabid Khan conspired withYounes Tsouli, another cyber terrorist, who used the internet to build links to al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq and a wider network around the world. Khan was allegedly plotting to set up a mini-Sharia state in a remote part of Scotland and had arranged training camps for recruits in Pakistan. He is linked to other terrorist cases around the world. He is thought to have plotted possible attacks on the Queen of England, members of the royal family and London landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament. Some of his other accomplices were planning to attack NATO targets and the Canadian Parliament, among others. 

Terrorist plans and radical activity

Three men questioned over an alleged threat to assassinate PM Gordon Brown charged with terror offences - 28 August

Three men were questioned by the British police over terrorism plots. Ishaq Kanmi, one of the suspects was charged with soliciting murder. In addition, he faces charges of belonging or professing to belong to al-Qaeda, inviting support for al-Qaeda, and disseminating terrorist publications. The other two were charged with possessing terrorist material. No actual plot against PM Brown was in place, but officers discovered a written threat on an extremist jihadi website.

Police crack down on crooks selling fake EU passports to potential terrorists near UK mosques - 27 August 2008

A Bangladeshi gang, operating near British mosques and selling fake Bulgarian passports to illegal immigrants and potential terrorists in return for GBP 2,500 has been arrested. The crooks allegedly chose the mosques so that police raids on mosques would cause political and religious tensions. The arrests were made amid a three-month undercover investigation by a UK tabloid.

Alleged extremist militants accused of planning bomb attacks in Denmark go on trial - 21 August

The two suspects are being tried on terrorism charges for testing explosive materials in their Copenhagen apartment building. According to the Danish PET intelligence service, one of the two men recently returned to Denmark from a terrorist training camp in Pakistan. The defendants have denied the terrorism charges, but admitted to making triacetone triperoxide (TATP) in their apartment, claiming it was going to be used for fireworks. The explosive material tested was the same used by the bombers in the 2005 terrorist attacks. Bomb manuals were found in both men's apartments.

Italian Police arrests the Imam of the Varese Mosque in northern Italy - 18 August

 

Imam Abdelmajid Zergout, known also as Abu al-Barâ , has been arrested on behalf of the Moroccan authorities that accuse him of links in the planning of terrorist attacks and terror financing, among others. Zergout was arrested three years ago on same charges. There is an extradition request from Morocco, which the Milan court will evaluate in the next few days.

 

The youngest terrorist in Britain arrested on terrorism charges - 18 August

Recruited a year ago, at the age of 15 byAabid Khan, Hammaad Munshi was arrested after a guide to explosives was found in his home. Brainwashed to kill "non-believers", he used the internet to distribute materials to terrorist sites and propaganda to "wipe out non-Muslims". His cell may have also plotted to attack the Queen of England or members of the Royal family. His involvement in terrorist activity at this particularly young age is especially worrying.

Italian police arrests five men accused of international terrorism - 10 August

The arrests broke up a suspected terror cell, including four Tunisians and a Moroccan in the northern Italian city of Bologna. Those arrested include the Tunisian alleged ringleader, Khalil Jarraya, a veteran of Bosnia's 1992-95 war, and four others he allegedly recruited to take part in suicide attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq. Police sources call the suspects "radicalised in the West and ready to become martyrs for jihad."

Spanish police discovers an internet handbook for an European al-Qaeda cell - 04 August

The eight-page manual instructs on the use of remote-controlled bombs against international troops in Afghanistan and Lebanon. The objective is "to attack military targets of "enemies of Islam" without the need to use suicidal techniques. It was the first time that Spanish police discovered such detailed instructions, including tips on how to avoid being detected.

Terrorism Financing

After 9/11, Al Qaeda began to use low-cost attacks. Money is raised through criminal activities -24 August 2008

Terrorist groups in Europe run low-cost operations and transfer cash discreetly bypassing the banking system and without being detected by Western money transfer watchdogs. A former senior anti-terrorism judge in France, who now works as an adviser to the European Union on terrorism financing, says they raise money through criminal scams and that they are not only skilled, but also very fast in obtaining the funds.

Present Threat

Germany may face a real terrorist threat from Hezbollah's operatives -13 August 2008

Leaked classified documents from German security agencies warn of future terrorist attacks by the pro-Iranian organisation, Hezbollah. According to the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hezbollah, (the "Party of God") has the "logistics to carry out large scale attacks against objects and individuals in Germany".

Germany may be a target of terrorist attacks -10 August 2008

In addition to the Hezbollah threat mentioned above, the head of the country's federal crime office, Bundeskriminalamt , Germany's FBI equivalent, Jörg Ziercke stated that Islamic extremists who are trained at terrorist camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan may be plotting attacks in Germany. According to him, there are 50 aspiring militants from Germany who have been trained in camps run by al-Qaeda, the Taliban or the Islamic Jihad Union and who have recently returned to Germany ready to carry out the attacks. Such individuals are under police's close watch.

 

Transport attack 'most likely threat to UK'- 08 August 2008

Of all the different malicious threats that Britain faces, the threat of "conventional attacks on transport systems are judged to be more likely to occur, according to the Cabinet Office's National Risk Register. The Office, which looked at a wide range of threats to the country, concluded that railways, including underground train systems in UK cities, are "more vulnerable to attack". These findings coincide with the previous reports issued by the secret services who ranked a terror attack on transport as the most likely risk faced by Britain.

US Counter-terrorism Chief Says Europe is Under Higher Terrorism Threat - 04 August

According to the top U.S. counter-terrorism official, Michael Leiter, homegrown Islamic militants put Europe, and particularly Britain, under a greater threat of terrorist attack than the United States. "It is very fair to say that the threat in Western Europe and the United Kingdom is different, and probably more serious today in Western Europe and U.K., than what we face in the United States", he stated. The threat to Europe seems to come from the so-called leaderless jihad - angry young European Muslims, who are sympathetic to al-Qaeda but not necessarily part of it.

 

Europe's Response

UK: Anti-terrorism authorities to use media channels and outlets to “taint the al-Qaida brand" - 26 August

To counter al-Qaeda propaganda and challenge violent extremist ideology, British officials are using UK media channels and other opinion-makers to reach overseas. Anti-terrorism propaganda is planned to reach first communicators and influencers with international audiences, such as embassies and consulates around the world, which will then be spread around by media channels and internet forums. To reach niche groups, the strategy is to use tailor-made media and non-media sources.

UK: Britain starts combating terrorism at school level - 19 August

The British police have initiated a terrorism prevention campaign among the youth that aims to expand to "all state-maintained educational establishments" by 2009. The initiative has been undertaken to stamp out Islamic extremism at the earliest opportunity, in response to the terrorists' strategy which aims to radicalise and indoctrinate young people to carry out acts of terrorism. Indeed, teenagers as young as 15 and 16 have been increasingly involved in terrorist activity in Britain.

EU should build closer collaboration with the US to combat terrorism - 07 August 2008

The blueprint drafted by the Future Group of interior and justice ministers from six EU member states - Germany, France, Sweden, Portugal, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic -argues Europe will need to build more links with Washington to beat terrorism and crime. If Europe is to succeed in its fight against terrorism and crime, an "Atlantic area of cooperation" should be created and much of its policing, intelligence-gathering, and policy-making should be done in an integrated effort with the United States, the report says.