MOCKINGBIRD MEDIA HYPES THE PLOT TO BLOW UP EUROPE
But the facts available aren't nearly as sensational as the reports suggest. The uncovered plot, which was based in Pakistan, was apparently so early in the planning stages, it might better be terms a "concept" or "project."
The author does not address the reason or reasons as to why the alleged plot should be hyped up so much and why now.
I still think there is more to this "leak" of the alleged terrorist plot and its alleged "foiling" by CIA drone attacks which kill women, children and old-aged civilians. Reasons include,
1. to hype up the terror threat before the elections later this year,
2. to continue support for such drone attacks that obviously kill civilians to fuel the jihad so that the military remains there to continue the opium trade
There may be other reasons, but as with any Mockingbird media blitz ;
Don't, don't, don't,
don't believe the hype!
don't believe the hype!
Has the European Terror Threat Been Overhyped?
By BRUCE CRUMLEY / PARIS Bruce Crumley / Paris – Thu Sep 30, 11:45 am ET
Okay, let's all calm down, take a deep breathe and try this again.
For two days straight this week, media outlets blared the alarming news that U.S. security forces uncovered al-Qaeda plans to stage a trio of terror attacks in European cities - some involving "Mumbai-style shooting sprees" modeled on the horrific three-day, multi-target siege in 2008 that killed 166 people. To add to the drama, reports of the plot suggested it was the reason for the current heightened terrorism concerns in France, which has experienced a spate of bomb alerts this month like the one that caused the Eiffel Tower to be evacuated Tuesday for the second time in as many weeks. (See TIME's cover on the London terror attacks.)
But the facts available aren't nearly as sensational as the reports suggest. The uncovered plot, which was based in Pakistan, was apparently so early in the planning stages, it might better be terms a "concept" or "project." Nor does it have any link to the French terror threat, with its roots in North Africa. What's more, the primary lesson in the news was all but ignored: that in discovering a Pakistan-based plot planned for export to Western countries early on, intelligence agencies once again successfully disrupted terror preparations long before they could evolve to dangerously operative stages. It seems effective counter-terrorism - like trains running on time - just doesn't make for catchy headlines.
So what is the reality of the plot that U.S. security forces uncovered? Based on reports detailing information from intelligence sources - and comments by French counter-terror officials to TIME - the "three-nation" plot was revealed by Ahmed Sidiqi, a 36-year-old German national captured in July in Afghanistan after receiving combat and explosive training with jihadists allied with Taliban forces. Sidiqi has reportedly given U.S. interrogators information that he knew of a multiple attack plan in Europe - specifically France, Germany and Britain - that al-Qaeda's Pakistan-based Haqqani network had decided to mount. At least one of those attacks was to involve a small group of well-armed militants laying siege to a "soft" public target, similar to the Mumbai attacks, which hit hotels, a hospital and a railway station, among other locations. Operatives were either to be dispatched to Europe for the strike or selected from jihadist loyalists already living there. (See pictures of terror in the U.K.)
Scary and serious as that is, the plan doesn't seem to have gotten much further than intention, security officials say. Little if any concrete steps appear to have been made toward putting it in motion. Given that, in an attempt to prevent the plot from moving ahead, U.S. forces have made it a priority to disrupt - or better yet, kill - the Haqqani leaders behind it. This, authorities say, is one reason why the U.S. has conducted an unprecedented (and, in Pakistan, controversial) number of drone strikes in the tribal areas of Pakistan that al-Qaeda networks like Haqqani use as headquarters. It's uncertain whether the U.S. operation has killed the chief plotters or would-be operatives, but experts say the raids have almost certainly thrown the project into real disarray.
"This is another example of an activity we're all focused and working together on: watching that region, looking for signs there that plans of attack for here are taking shape, and moving to prevent that before they can advance too far," says one French security official, adding that European nations have a rising stake in that activity, given the growing numbers of young Muslims heading for Afghanistan to wage jihad there or back home. "There are more successes in that effort than the public hears about." (See pictures of Pakistan subcultures.)
The world heard about it this week - even if many accounts tended to make the Haqqani plot sound like a near-miss rather than nipped-in-the-bud. Meanwhile, the French official says the terror alerts in France were provoked by closer enemies. Though France continues to monitor plots coming out of Pakistan carefully, its most immediate concern is the North Africa-based group al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, which has increased its threats against France in recent months, and on Sept. 15 kidnapped five French nationals. It is that menace that has led French authorities to warn of an increased terror risk - which, in turn, is the main reason for September's dozen or so false bomb alarms or out-right hoaxes in France. (Comment on this story.)
Security officials also note that independent experts and media accounts comparing the embryonic Haqqani plot with the Mumbai attacks are doubtlessly over-reaching. Unlike in Pakistan, where guns are rife, jihadists in Europe would have a hard time procuring large stocks of weapons for use in a siege. They'd also face greater challenges transporting them to targets in bustling European cities than the boat-borne Mumbai assailants did sneaking in from Pakistan.
Authorities also point out that this isn't the first time a multi-target plot has been thwarted. In July, Norwegian police arrested three extremists on the evidence that they were preparing bomb attacks - one as part of a scheme ordered up by a central al-Qaeda planner in Pakistan that also included strikes on a Manchester, England, shopping center and the New York City subway. When police progressively busted that trio of attacks, they apprehended operatives and, in two cases, bombing materials. Curiously, that story caused far less consternation in the media than this week's news that the nascent Haqqani plot had been identified, and apparently dealt with.