Thursday, October 7, 2010

Terror Alert à la mode —Sweden Has Euro-Chic and Home-Grown Terror

In the last week we have seen an interesting phenomenon—European countries and the UK have been in selective denial mode regarding the current terror alert.  Following the publication of intelligence regarding a potential large-scale terror threats in Europe and the UK, the English have been pointing out the danger of visiting the Eiffel Tower. In retaliation, the French have been advising tourists that London public transportation is a prime terror target.  Germany has said that they are not really under threat. And so on…
…Which brings us to Sweden, where events are running in much the same way. The Local reports that Sweden ramped up its terror threat alert on Friday. It’s now at the highest it’s been in five years—at level 3 for “elevated” risk.
In addition, Swedes can also not worry about this bit of news—that there are Swedish citizens who have been away at terror camp in Pakistan:
-"We adjudge that it is a question of a handful of people who have travelled there to take part in training camps and to participate in illegal violent acts," said Patrik Peter at the Security Service.
In case anyone hasn’t been paying attention lately, terror organisations have been employing isolated individuals, either immigrants or of immigrant parentage, who carry out solo attacks. In the U.S. these include the Underwear Bomber (British/Nigerian), the Times Square Bomber (U.S. /Pakistani), and the Fort Hood Shooter (U.S./Palestinian descent). Therefore, describing a number of individuals as a mere “handful” is to miss the point completely. In fact, solo efforts slip under the security radar much more easily than group activities, making them less preventable.
Swedish citizens who travel to train as terrorists in an al-Qaeda hotbed cannot be described as successfully integrated into Swedish society. This is an issue which the Local article fails to discuss, and in fact, they even printed this quote from the Swedish Military Intelligence and Security Service:
-"It is a question of a number of individuals in Sweden who have the intention and capacity to carry out attacks against Swedish targets. It is too early to say what motivates these individuals."
What? The folks in the talkbacks section had a field day with this one. How is it possible to work at a governmental intelligence agency and be unable to discover Islamic extremism at Islamist terror training camps? The only possible answer is that the Swedes wish to be like other Europeans—and find terrorism anywhere but at home.
By: Chanah Shapira

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