By EMERSON VERMAAT
December 18, 2013 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - “A serious threat emanates from individuals who are clandestinely active on jihadist websites and belong to jihadist organizations, such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Al-Shabab, the Islamic Jihad Union. The online presence of this extremely small group is virtually undectable. The ‘virtual’ threat emanating from members of jihadist organizations particularly lies in the fact that they can use the Internet to get in touch with Western jihadists and help them to participate in jihad or to mount an attack. The AIVD has identified a few such cases.”
This quote is from an alarming report on “Jihadism on the Web” from the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) in the Netherlands. “Western jihadists” usually refers to Muslim immigrants or radicalized converts to Islam in Europe, North America and Australia. Faical Errai, a Moroccan immigrant in Spain and a Spanish citizen as well, was convicted by a Spanish court last July for running websites that recruited Islamic terrorists for the Al-Qaeda linked group Ansar Al-Mujahideen. The AIVD report “Jihadism on the Web” says that Errai was arrested on August 27, 2010, “on suspicion of working as a core forum administrator and of virtually recruiting jihadists for the struggle in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Chechnya.” ‘By virtue of their online influence, such Western jihadists are able to introduce other Western jihadists to experienced jihadist Internet contacts.”
The AIVD distinguishes between “jihadist producers” and ‘jihadist consumers.” Faical Errai was one of the jihadist producers. They hold, the AIVD report claims, “considerable informal power on jihadist websites. Such a position is highly coveted and sought after by the large group of remaining users, the so-called consumers.”
“Consumers regularly stand out because of their eager contributions to and threats posted on core forums. They publicly state they want to die and become martyrs for ‘the cause’, ask how they can participate in jihad, propose all kinds of possible targets and incite other forum members to violence. In 2008 a consumer named Abu Omar wrote on a core forum about the urge he felt to make such calls and threats: ‘From the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep, this is what I go throughout the day… My thoughts are limited to the following questions: How can I terrorize the enemy, at this time and with this machine (his computer)? Can this thing be adjusted to be used against the enemies of Allah? Frankly, I do not watch TV… In my spare time I occupy myself by thinking about a new terrorist idea…” “Abu Omar managed to reach Iraq a year later, where he was killed in an air raid even before he was able to carry out his planned suicide attack. Particularly in the past five years the AIVD has identified many cases of jihadist comsumers who eventually make the leap to use violent action.’
The AIVD’s “Annual Report 2012” points to the real terrorist threat posed by jihadists who return from conflict areas: “The AIVD is seeing a sharp increase in the number of jihadists traveling from the Netherlands to conflict areas. This is a source of concern, especially because when abroad these jihadists acquire combat and other skills and contacts, and may also return in a traumatized condition. The attacks by Mohamed Merah in Toulouse show that a combination of focused training by an organization and personally chosen actions and targets can lead to violent actions in the West.” “Dutch jihadists who travel to conflict areas abroad constitute a risk on their return to the Netherlands.”
Ex-soldiers from Holland join jihadists in Syria
More than one hundred radical Muslims from Holland have now joined Al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria. Several of them died as so-called martyrs. One of them is Murat Öfkeli, a Turkish immigrant in Holland who has been involved in terrorist causes ever since 2001. (Although Dutch judges failed to convict him.) Another example is the Moroccan immigrant Saddik Sbaa. Four years ago, in the summer of 2009, Sbaa and three other Muslim immigrants from Holland tried to enter Somalia but they were arrested in Kenia and deported to Amsterdam. Dutch authorities tried to deport Sbaa to Morocco but some lenient judge intervened. However, after Sbaa decided to go back to Morocco himself he was arrested there. Moroccan authorities released him two years later. He then left for Syria to join the Al-Qaeda
Among the jihadists from Holland who are not yet dead are at least three ex-soldiers of the Dutch army. One of those ex-soldiers is a Dutch-Turkish immigrant.
In its Annual Report over 2012 the AIVD finds:
“The large numbers of jihadist fighters that have traveled from the Netherlands to Syria are explained by the extensive media and internet attention to the conflict in Syria, and the easy accessibility of the country. In addition, some members of activist radical Islamist movements, such as Sharia4Holland and Behind Bars, have departed to Syria to participate in the jihad. It is clear that the dividing line between radicalism and jihadism is blurred. These movements have created an environment in which people of like mind can meet each other and in which radical ideas have been able to develop into jihadist views.” “Based on information provided by the AIVD, the National Investigation Service arrested three young men who were about to leave for Syria in November 2012.”
Jihadists from Holland who are currently fighting in Syria are reportedly involved in war crimes and atrocities such as beheadings and summary executions. They boast about their atrocities on Islamist websites. Syrian soldiers who had been captured were subsequently killed in a brutal manner. A Dutch-Morrocan jihadist named Choukri Massali (Abu Walae) gave a captured Syrian soldier something to drink but that drink was “a one way ticket to hell.” (In other words, it contained deadly poison.)
Jihadists from Ceuta, Britain, France, United States, Canada and Australia
The Spanish enclave of Ceuta is located in Northern Morocco. Spanish authorities in Ceuta recently discovered that at least twelve Moroccan immigrants traveled to Syria to join the jihadists. One of them was a 33-year old taxi driver in Ceuta named Rachid Wahbi, father of two sons. The Spanish newspaper “El Pais” published an extensive article on Rachid Wahbi who drove a truck loaded with explosives into the Syrian army barracks in Idlib causing the death of 130 people (“130 muertos”). The suicide attack occurred on June 1, 2013, just half a year ago, that is. There is a “martyrs video” about Rachid Wahbi who is smiling and is praising Allah as he looks into the camera. When Rachid traveled to Syria he was accompanied by two other Moroccan immigrants from Ceuta who also died a so-called martyr’s death. The Spanish-Moroccan Al-Qaeda branch operates from Ceuta but its leader managed to escape from the enclave.
So far, two Muslim jihadists from Britain have been killed in Syria. They are Ibrahim Al-Mazwagi, a 21-year old British raised Libyan and Mohamed el-Araj from West London. About two dozen Americans may be fighting with Al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria, Associated Press reported recently. “FBI officials worry they may become radicalized and carry out attacks in the U.S.” “This year, at least three Americans have been charged with planning to fight beside Jabhat Al-Nusrah – a radical Islamic organization that the U.S. considers a foreign terrorist group – against Assad. The most recent case involves a Pakistan-born North Carolina man arrested on his way to Lebanon.” Basit Sheikh was a legal resident of the United States. “At a Senate homeland security committee hearing this month (November, V.), Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., said: ‘We know that American citizens as well as Canadian and European nationals have taken up arms in Syria, in Yemen and in Somalia. The threat that these individuals could return home to carry out attacks is real and troubling.’”
Steven Emerson from the Washington based “Investigative Project on Terrorism” estimates that “there are probably at least 100 Canadians of Islamic origin or converts that have volunteered for the jihad in Syria over the past two years. And the reason that there is concern is that these jihadists not only acquire training overseas and engage in jihad, but are liable, are likely to become radicalized even more than they have been in terms of going over there when they return back to Canada, as we have seen in dozens of terrorist plots that have occurred in the last decade in Canada.”
“Jihadists returning home to Europe from Syria pose new terror threat,” the “Wall Street Journal” reported earlier this month. “Police in France are also following French nationals who return from Syria to try to identify jihadists, an official at the French antiterrorism prosecutor’s office said. About 20 of them, many with dual Middle Eastern or North African citizenship, are under formal investigation.”
From Australia about 100 Australian nationals have joined the jihad in Syria, “The Times of Israel” reported. “Many are from Lebanese backgrounds. Security officials fear that many will become radicalized by the war and could pose a terrorist threat when they return to Australia.”
The threats from within and the threats from outside merge into one
In its Annual Report over 2012 the Dutch Intelligence and Security Service also discusses other “jihadist conflict areas,” notably Afghanistan-Pakistan, Mali, Sahara/Sahel and Yemen. “In the spring of 2012 plans were frustrated for an attack outside Yemen with an improved version of the ‘underwear bomb’ attack that had occurred in 2009.” “There is still interest among radical Muslims in Europe to participate in jihadist activities in Yemen.” Last November, 24-year old Ibrahim el-Bay from Amsterdam was killed in Yemen. Many second-generation Moroccan immigrants in Holland are susceptible to the calls of radical Islam. Many of them become “Salafists”, an extremely conservative Sunni branch of Islam.
In its report “Local Jihadist Networks in the Netherlands” (2010), the Dutch Intelligence and Security Service points out that “in the 1980s and 1990s veterans of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Bosnia remained active in transnational networks after the fighting there had ended. In that capacity, they were involved in facilitating jihad in other parts of the world and in preparing terrorist attacks in Europe. If the same happens with the current generation of fighters hailing from Western Europe, then new transnational networks will eventually form, made up at least in part of persons drawn from local ones. This may have the effect of increasing the level of threat, since such networks might facilitate plans or carry out attacks. In this situation, the fact that the Netherlands and its interests are regarded as legitimate targets by the transnational networks could lead them to direct local elements to commit acts of terrorism here. The endogenous threat (from within) and the exogenous one (from outside) thus merge into one.”
Germany: 100,000 asylum seekers in 2013
In its annual report over 2012 the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) or Federal Security Service refers to the growing threat posed by radicalized Muslim immigrants in Germany. The number of “Salafist” Muslims is rapidly increasing, and they are willing to use violence. There were a number of violent clashes between Salafist demonstrators and German neo-Nazis. The Salafists, the German Security Service reported, attacked neo-Nazis and the police. (Anti-Semitic neo-Nazis pose another serious security threat.) During these violent clashes some 31 policemen were injured. On May 5, 2012, a Turkish national living in Germany stabbed two policemen who barely survived. This man was sentenced to six years in prison, but he did not show any remorse during the trial. He justified the attack by saying: “Whoever offends the prophet deserves to die.” Salafist preachers in Germany intimidate the authorities, saying that German citizens in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and other Muslim countries will be killed if there are anti-Muslim “provocations” in the West.
The Salafist organization Millatu Ibrahim was prohibited by the German Interior Minister at the end of May 2012. This organization of Muslims in Germany called for violent action against the authorities. The German Security Service also reports on the nefarious role of the Internet as a tool to make Muslim converts or recruit Muslims for the jihad. Muslim jihadists from Germany are currently fighting in Syria, too, and created their own website “Sham-Center” (“Sham” means “Greater Syria”). Referring to what they call “Social Jihad” the German jihadists in Syria make extensive use of the social media (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter). These radical Muslims are quite happy about Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA, calling on their followers to better protect themselves on the Internet. (In the past the CIA and the NSA provided German authorities with correct information on several terror plots linked to Al-Qaeda, thus preventing deadly terror attacks on German territory.) “Sham-Center” does not want to reveal how many members they have, because this, they say, is secret.
The number of non-Western asylum seekers has drastically increased in Germany in 2013. At the end of November the number of asylum seekers had increased to 99,989 (nearly 100,000), the Federal Interior Ministry reported last week. Most asylum seekers originate from Muslim countries and Africa. Moreover, the German government announced that Germany will also allow 10,000 Syrian refugees (originally it was only 5000, but the number was doubled this month.)
In the past two decades it proved very difficult indeed to integrate non-Western immigrants into society and this will not change in the future. Many African and Muslim immigrants have a criminal record in Germany. Juvenile crime in the Muslim immigrant community is rampant. Most Muslim immigrants also tend to hate Jews. Synagogues are protected day and night, and for good reason.
In 2010, Kirsten Heisig, a juvenile judge in Berlin, published an alarming book on the criminal record of Turkish and Arab juvenile offenders. They resort to rape, robbery or violence against native Germans. “Many Turkish and Arab youngsters do not show respect for the rules and the laws in Germany,” Kirsten Heisig writes. They see themselves as “little princes.” There are huge Lebanese families in Berlin, Bremen and in the Ruhr area who do not care about German laws and rules and who apply their own rules, the well-informed juvenile judge writes.
An interesting trial began in Berlin at the end of November (2013). On trial was a large Arab family (“arabische Grossfamilie”) who had an extremely violent reputation. Both young and old members of family “O” nearly killed members of another large Arab family (“referred to as “H”), possibly because their so-called “honor” was at stake.
Germany is a paradise for immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Most of them are economic migrants. The problem is that local law enforcement simply cannot cope with the resurgence of drug crime, juvenile crime and prostitution. If you visit Berlin’s Gorlitzer Metro Station and adjoining streets, you will see lots of African and North African drug dealers. (I witnessed this myself recently.) These people are also very active in the nearby Gorlitzer Park, where they are harassing others. Not so far away, at Oranienburger Platz, you will see African illegal immigrants who live in tents and simply refuse to leave. Many of these immigrants first arrived at the Italian island of Lampedusa, but refused to apply for asylum there. Italy is not good enough for them. They prefer Germany instead. Once in Germany, they cause tremdendous problems. The ‘Lampedusa migrants’ in Berlin-Kreuzberg even intimidated local authorities.
The Dutch Intelligence and Security Service also reporte on “opponents to the asylum and immigration polciy”, usually left-wing activists. “Regional groups were especially active in the organization and maintenance of various tent camps belonging to Somali and Iraqi asylum seekers who have exhausted all legal procedures,’ the AIVDs Annual Report (2012) says.
Egbert Bülles, a former public prosecutor in Berlin, published a fascinating book on organized crime (“Organisierte Kriminalität”) in Germany. He focusses on African, Albanian, East European and Turkish criminals. One of the Turkish criminals he describes operated in Cologne. Once in jail, “Mehmed” prepared a plan to kill the prosecutor who had so successfully prosecuted him and his prostitution gang. The prosecutor, Benno Walter, suddenly needed bodyguards for 24 hours a day. When Turkish criminal Mehmed was finally deported to Turkey he continued to threaten Benno Walter who had to go into hiding. Walter eventually decided to take early retirement. Meanwhile, Mehmet is a free man and a leading member of the Hell’s Angels branch in Turkey.
Bülles further describes how Tuncay Torun, another notorious Turkish gangster in Cologne, infiltrated the local police. One of Torun’s friends was a policeman with Turkish roots. This policeman shared police computer data with Torun.
Bülles complains about “crime without borders” (“Verbrechen ohne Grenzen”) and law enforcement being unable to really cope with the multicultural underworld.
Allowing ever more refugees from Muslim countries and from Africa and Asia is not a wise policy. In the end it is law enforcement, the police and the courts which will have to cope with the results of such policies. Moreover, European tax payers already paid huge amounts of money since too many poorly educated immigrants are on welfare and will be so in the future. Additional immigrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East will only serve to aggregate the problem. Anti-semitic neo-Nazis and other right-wing extremists will gain popularity. Therefore, border controls must be much tougher, criminal aliens must be deported and the Dublin rules on asylum (applying for asylum in the country the migrants arrive first) must be enforced effectively. Criminal migrant traffickers must be severely punished, their networks must be dismantled.
Certainly not all non-Western immigrants are criminals or terrorists, but most of today’s terrorists are indeed Muslims. And non-Western immigrants are over-represented in crime statistics in Holland, Germany, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy and Greece.
Many radicalized Muslims are second-generation immigrants in Europe who clash with their parents. There is no guarantee at all that children of moderate Muslims will not some day become jihadists and stage deadly terror attacks. There are thousands of examples by now. A striking example of a radicalized second-generation Muslim immigrant is Mohamed Bouyeri who killed Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam on November 2, 2004.
Emerson Vermaat is an investigative reporter in the Netherlands specialized in crime and terrorism. Website: www.emersonvermaat.com.
General Intelligence and Security Service/Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst (AIVD), Jihadism on the Web: A Breeding Ground for Jihad in the Modern Age (The Hague: AIVD, 2012), p. 17, 19 (Faical Errai, Abu Omar), 20 (Abu Omar planned a suicide attack in Iraq).
Spain Court gives Moroccan man 6 Years for recruiting jihadists, UPI, July 3, 2013.
General Intelligence and Security Service, Annual Report 2012 (The Hague: AIVD, 2013), p. 21-23 (“Traveling jihadists and jihadist conflict areas”), p. 28, 29 (“Tent camps belonging to Somali and Iraqi asylum seekers who have exhausted all legal procedures.”)
Elsevier (Amsterdam), October 2013, p. 13 (“Liever aan een lijntje”). On Saddik Sbaa and others
Algemeen Dagblad (the Netherlands), December 14, 2013, p. 3 (“Zeker drie ex-soldaten vechten in Syrië”).
El País (Madrid), June 23, 2013, p. 28 (“Interior atribuye una matanza de 130 personas en Siria a un yihadista ceutí”).
De Telegraaf (Amsterdam), October 26, 2013, p. 1, 5 (“Polderjihadi’s als beesten tekeer”).
The Guardian, November 20, 2013 (“Briton killed fighting in Syria civil war”).
Christian Science Monitor/Associated Press, November 30, 2013 (“FBI warns about Americans joining Islamic fighters in Syria”).
Wall Street Journal, December 4, 2013 (“Jihadists returning home to Europe from Syria pose new terror threat”).
The Times of Israel, December 3, 2013 (“Australian suspected of sending fighters to Syria arrested”).
Sun News Canada/IPT, November 20, 2013 (“Steven Emerson interviewed on Sun News – Canadians leaving for jihad, Sun News Canada”).
Het Parool (Amsterdam), November 5, 2013, p. 3 (“Amsterdammer in Jemen gedood”).
General Intelligence and Security Service, Local Jihadist Networks in the Netherlands: An Evolving Threat (The Hague: AIVD, 2010), p. 14 (3.2, “Outlook”). Dutch printed version: Lokale Jihadistische Netwerken in Nederland, p. 20.
Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), Verfassungsschutzbericht 2012 (Berlin/Cologne: Federal Interior Ministry/BfV, 2013), p. 113 (“…dabei wurde u.a. zwei 31 Polizeibeamte verletzt, zwei davon schwer.”), p. 268-271 (The Salafist threat in Germany).
Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz Baden-Württemberg, Neue Internetpräsenz von deutschen Jihadisten in Syrien zeigt die Nutzung aktueller Möglichkeiten von Propaganda und Kommunikation auf (2013/10). “Ebenfalls im Fokus der Betreiber von ‘Shamm-Center’ stehen im Zuge der NSA-Diskussion die technische Absicherung und Abtarnung von Kommunikation.”
Kirsten Heisig, Das Ende der Geduld. Konsequent gegen jugendliche Gewalttäter (Freiburg im Breisgau: Verlag Herder, 2010), p. 72-83, p. 88, 89 (Lebanese immigrants in Germany).
Berliner Morgenpost (Berlin), November 29, 2013, p. 11 (“Familienbesuch mit Axt, Messern und Baseballschlägern”). Landgericht verhandelt über Konflikte zwischen zwei verfeindeten arabischen Grossfamilien.
Berliner Morgenpost and Berliner Zeitung (Berlin), 25-30 November 2013 (Articles on African asylum seekers in Berlin and African drug criminals in Berlin’s Gorlitzer Park). Also personal observation by the author at the end of November 2013. A young North African man asked me if I wanted “marihuana.” There are also lots of sub-Saharan cocaine dealers in this dangerous part of Berlin.
Egbert Bülles, Deutschland Verbrecherland? Mein Einsatz gegen die Organisierte Kriminalität (Berlin: Ullstein Buchverlage/Econ, 2013), p. 23 (Polish, Lithuanian, Turkish, and Albanian criminals), p. 29 (“Auch bei uns nimmt die Zahl der Armutsflüchtlinge rapide zu”), p. 224 (“etnisch geschlossene Netzwerke”), p. 225 (African and East European criminals), p. 226, 227 (Bulgarian, Turkish, Kovovo-Albanian, Arab and Russian criminals) p. 230-234 (Rumanian, Bulgarian, Turkish and African criminals and so-called “Juju priests”), p. 237 (Turkish gangster in Cologne who infiltrated the local police), p. 238, 239 (Law enforcement unable to cope with foreign gangsters operating in Germany), p. 243 (“Verbrechen ohne Grenzen”), p. 257-261 (Convicted Turkish criminal in Cologne planned to murder German public prosecutor).