Dispatch: Suspected Terrorists Arrested in Denmark
MIN READDec 29, 2010 | 21:30 GMT
Vice President of Tactical Intelligence Scott Stewart explains why a thwarted terrorism plot in Denmark — in which five suspected terrorists were arrested — appears to be a more credible threat than other recent terrorism plots. Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy. Authorities in Denmark and Sweden arrested five men today in connection with a plot to attack a Danish newspaper office in Copenhagen that was involved in the Muhammad cartoon controversy. Unlike some other recent cases in Europe involving the arrest of terrorism suspects, this case appears to be the real deal. Although we still have a lot of details unavailable to us concerning this case, several of those that have surfaced so far indicate to us that this cell was sincere, that it was dedicated and that is was the real deal. Probably the first indicator that leaps out to us is that this group was looking at a reasonable and reachable target. They were going to attack this newspaper office — it wasn't the fact that they were looking to attack every target in Copenhagen or Denmark, or even hard targets that would be difficult to attack. Recently we saw a cell taken down in the United Kingdom last week. That group of plotters was looking to hit everything in London, including hard targets like the U.S. Embassy. When we see plots like that, it indicates to us that those conducting them are inexperienced, and they are more fanciful than real threats. In addition to the fact that the target was reasonable, the means of attack was also reasonable and achievable. They weren't looking at some grandiose plot involving nuclear weapons or large explosive devices. They were going to conduct a simple armed assault on the newspaper office with the intent of killing the largest number of people possible. Second, the cell in Denmark had already obtained weapons to conduct their attack and had them in place, and three of the members had traveled from Sweden to Denmark in pursuit of the plot. So, this plot had gone beyond the theoretical stage, and the plotters had gotten to the stage of executing it. We saw a plot last week in The Netherlands where a group of Somalis was arrested, and that plot allegedly involved the desire of the Somalis to shoot down Danish helicopters. The only problem for them is that they didn't have any missiles to shoot down the helicopters. Again, the plot wasn't very far along and the people involved in it were more amateurish (whereas the group in Denmark appears to have not only obtained the weapons, but pre-positioned men to carry out the attack). Third, like past cases, including the case involving American David Headley, who went to Copenhagen to conduct surveillance of the Jyllands-Posten office, and an attack last year in January in which a Somali had attacked the home of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard armed with an axe and a knife, this case shows us that, Jyllands-Posten office remains a very serious target of terrorists. As al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said in 2010, they were not going to allow the dust to settle on the Muhammad cartoon controversy, and that those involved in the cartoons were going to continue to be targeted. This case is evidence that those threats were true.