June 08, 2008
To Qaeda or Not to Qaeda: Terror, Genesis & Reaction
With all apologies for the weak punditry, but with reference to Mathew's fine book review in our reviews section, an interesting article of tangential or no t so tangential relevance regarding American squabbling over whether Al Qaeda is dead or lone live Al Qaeda as a threat. One nexus point in the two discussions, radicalisation - and perhaps a certain purist ideological approach in the US as to 'real' sources.
Pulling out, an item that caught my eye.
Terrorism-weary prosecuting judges and police investigators in Europe listen to the debate on the other side of the Atlantic and tend to find it empty. They say it is hard to know where radicalization starts — among groups of friends, in an imam’s sermon in Europe or at home on the Internet — and when operational training by Al Qaeda is a factor. They prefer a blended approach.
France, Spain and Italy, for example, pour resources and manpower into investigations at home — from studying radicalization and wiretapping suspicious individuals to infiltrating mosques and community centers. These countries also track movements of suspicious individuals abroad and networks with both local and foreign connections. Terrorist-related cases fall under the authority of special investigative superjudges who have access to all classified intelligence, and can use much of the information in trials.
The Europeans say that for them, the argument is not theoretical. Somewhere in Europe, just about every week, a terrorist plot is uncovered and arrests are made.
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I think the article might be misreading the debate slightly.
From the beginning, there were folks, only slightly less crazy than the ones who think the towers came down via controlled demolition rather than the planes, who have claimed al Qaeda doesn't actually exist.
They're just out of their minds.
I'm sure there's a lot more homegrown folks now, and, for instance, the NYC police have been concentrating hard on breaking them up. But ignoring the international side is just dumb. The assassination of Massoud right before the attack on the towers (I recall a large photo in the Times just a day or two before), we now know, was a large warning sign that al Qaeda was preparing a new attack.
Posted by: pantom at June 8, 2008 03:45 PM