Another shoe drops: “Massive” terror attack thwarted in Germany; Update: New background from Spiegel; Update: Suspects received unemployment benefits; Update: Intercepted e-mails?

posted at 8:24 am on September 5, 2007 by Allahpundit

As predicted in the update to yesterday’s post about the Danish terror busts. I’ll be shocked if these three aren’t connected in some way to the eight pinched in Copenhagen. Both groups are alleged to have connections to Al Qaeda in Pakistan and, per the L.A. Times’s report on the arrests in Copenhagen, “[police chief Jakob] Sharf pointedly avoided confirming whether the attack would have been carried out in Denmark, thereby leaving open the scenario of a plot staged for execution in a neighboring country.” Like Germany, maybe? CNN:

Three terror suspects held in Germany planned to carry out “imminent” and “massive” bombs attacks on a U.S. air base and Frankfurt’s international airport, according to officials.

“They were planning massive attacks,” Federal Prosecutor Monika Harms said.

“As possible targets … the suspects named discotheques and pubs and airports frequented by Americans with a view to detonating explosives loaded in cars and killing or injuring many people,” Harms told a news conference on Wednesday.

The suspects, two Germans aged 22 and 29 and a 29-year-old Turk, received terrorist training in Pakistan and had close ties to al Qaeda, according to Jorg Ziercke, president of Germany’s Federal Criminal Investigation Office.

Ziercke said the group was united by a “hatred against American citizens” as it planned attacks against Frankfurt airport, a popular international travel hub, and Ramstein air base, a major transit point for the U.S. military into the Middle East and Central Asia.

Harms said the group had amassed 680 kg (1,500 pounds) of hydrogen peroxide to make bombs that would have been among the biggest yet on German soil. Possible scenarios would have been car bombings used in simultaneous attacks.

The arrests came not today but yesterday, the same day as the Copenhagen arrests, which is another reason to think they’re connected. The cops in both countries probably coordinated the timing to minimize the risk that one group would get spooked and run. HA readers hopefully will recall that warnings about a plot in Germany have been bubbling up since May, first in a report about a threat to the U.S.’s Patch Barracks base (possibly by the Iraqi group Ansar al-Sunna), then, five days later, in a story from the Blotter about U.S. air marshals “flooding” German flights for fear of an attack like the one planned for Britain last year, and then again in July in a Newsweek article about the growing threat from AQ. Quote:

The stepped-up movement of suspected Islamic militants between Iraq and Europe has proven so troubling that the German government recently set up a special interagency team to track the flow of suspected jihadi recruits to and from that war-torn country, two German sources told NEWSWEEK.

Over the past few months, U.S. officials said, the U.S. Embassy in Berlin has issued a number of warnings that Islamic militants associated with Al Qaeda may be plotting an attack on U.S. military facilities and personnel in Germany. The suspected plots are believed to be linked to an obscure terrorist network known as the Islamic Jihad Union. The group originated in Uzbekistan, but its German network has recently attracted recruits of other nationalities. Investigators also suspect it may have established contact with Al Qaeda’s high command

German sources, who agreed to discuss the matter in exchange for anonymity, said the number of suspects whose movements are being tracked by the [Iraq travel movement] project is classified; that figure is also the subject of some debate in government circles. But it is “more than a handful,” according to one source. Another source said German authorities know “for sure” that there have been movements from their country to areas in Iraq where jihadi groups like AQI are believed to hold sway. “A number” of jihadi suspects who have returned to Germany after spending some time in Iraq are on the travel project’s radar screen, the source says…

German authorities are taking few chances. Over the last few weeks, they have issued a series of increasingly anxious public warnings about growing intelligence indicating possible Islamic terror attacks inside Germany. At a press conference last month, August Hanning, a deputy Interior minister who previously headed the Federal Intelligence Service, said that the intelligence picture German agencies were seeing was reminiscent of what intelligence agencies saw in the months before 9/11.

The surprising part of today’s news is that they’re linking the three to AQ’s Pakistani camps, not to Iraq. Stay tuned to see if that changes, and if there are any more arrests. I bet MI5′s taking a hard look at its suspect list right now.

Update: According to Spiegel, the suspects include one Turk and two Germans who converted to Islam. There were converts among the suspects arrested in the British plot last year, too. Quote: “The investigators spontaneously made the arrests on Tuesday afternoon after the men were observed moving chemicals that could be used to make bombs from one storage location to another. Police believe that the men wanted to experiment in the coming days and weeks with the chemicals and possibly start building a bomb. They were, however, far away from making a bomb that could be detonated.” Shots were reportedly fired during the arrest.

Update: If you follow only one link here, follow this. Spiegel’s got the whole story, from the size of the planned bomb — as powerful as 1,200 lbs. of TNT, a blast bigger than London or Madrid — to the first suspicions — New Year’s Day 2006, when the ringleader was spotted doing surveillance on a U.S. base — to the fact that while they had all the components they needed to make a bomb onhand, including detonators, German cops had secretly swapped the potent brand of hydrogen peroxide they ordered for a weaker solution. Money:

All three of the men had intensive contacts with Pakistan, likely to the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) which is active there. According to authorities, Daniel S. visited a terrorist training camp in Pakistan in March 2006. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE, the other two were likewise in Pakistan at the end of 2006 and it is thought that they too spent some time in a training camp. Since then, investigators have intercepted numerous phone calls between the suspects and contacts in Pakistan. The IJU was responsible for a deadly 2006 attack in Uzbekistan but is now primarily active in Pakistan.

Does the Islamic Jihad Union appear anywhere else in this post? Scroll up.

Update: “American officials, who have spoken publicly about Al Qaeda’s growing abilities to attack western targets, also say that the group in Germany likely has ties to Al Qaeda operational figures in Pakistan.”

Update: CJ spots a familiar meme — the western welfare state bankrolling mass murderers while they plot.

Update: Via reader Niko K., here’s a photo set at Spiegel. And via Weasel Zippers, here’s the predictable reaction at HuffPo.

Update: The Daily Mail reports that German intel reportedly first broke the plot through intercepted e-mails. Supposedly the suspects have confessed, and cops are now looking for their associates to ensure there’s no second wave attack.


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Its blowback! I’ve studied history and its blowback I tell you. The Germans brought it on themselves when…um…they made all of those Egyptians dig for the Ark in Raiders.

/Bircheresque Crank

BohicaTwentyTwo on September 5, 2007 at 8:34 AM

Clearly a fiendish GOP plot to distract us from something e.g. Larry Craig. I wonder if the DailyKos crowd will now start to argue that Germany is in George Bush’s pocket, and that Angela Merkel is the feminine embodiment of evil?

Apeking on September 5, 2007 at 8:35 AM

Stopping this plot is FANTASTIC news!
Predicting this is FANTASTIC work on your part AP.

JiangxiDad on September 5, 2007 at 8:38 AM

From the AP story posted at Fox:

Three suspected Islamic terrorists from an Al Qaeda-influenced group

Has anyone else noticed that this term is being used quite frequently by the media lately?

They are not REAL AQ, they are just INSPIRED by AQ.

And here I thought they were all, AQ included, INSPIRED by the koran.

Would it not be nice to see, “Koran inspired terrorists” just once?

That’s right! I forgot about that whole “ROP” thing.

My bad.

Talon on September 5, 2007 at 8:39 AM

“Sounds like islamophobia to me.” – CAIR

Kevin M on September 5, 2007 at 8:39 AM

I question the timing. This is obviously another ploy by The Evil Karl Rove to distract from the Craig restroom scandal.

/SARCASM!

aunursa on September 5, 2007 at 8:43 AM

Interesting tidbit at SPIEGEL:

When it became apparent to investigators that the suspects planned to assemble a bomb they sneaked into the appartment and substituted the chemical compounds with placebos.

The names of the 3 suspects: Fritz G., Daniel S. and Adem Y. As the names indicate, the first two are of German descent and converted to Islam.

Also, investigators believe that the suspects were fully aware of the full-time surveillance but continued because “they were determined”, as one investigator put it.

And the Islamic Jihad Union is not “obscure” at all. They already conducted a terror strike in Uzbekistan in 2006.

Niko on September 5, 2007 at 8:43 AM

This is merely a bumper sticker event, cooked up by Chimperor McBushitlerburton, to keep the evil Neocons in power. I do question its timing.

Did I leave anything out?

rightside on September 5, 2007 at 8:58 AM

You don’t understand, these guys don’t have anything in common. Not at all. Especially religion. Never any religion. We do think they might be Christian or Jew though. Or Buddhist. Darn those crafty Buddhists. But definitely not any religion starting with an “M”.
/Media

I’m really glad they stopped this attack before anything tragic happened. I suppose there will be some paranoid theory about Rove going out with a bang or Pres. Bush causing this somehow. Because, well, you know.

mjk on September 5, 2007 at 9:08 AM

Did I leave anything out?

The Joos. You forgot the Joos. Something about the Zionist lobby, the Israelis, and the money the Joos have.

Otherwise, I think you’re good.

mjk on September 5, 2007 at 9:09 AM

I question the timing.
aunursa on September 5, 2007 at 8:43 AM

As do I.

Clearly, this is just another scheme by BUSHITLERMCHALIBURTON to perpetuate this MYTH that Islamic terrorism is an actual threat, just in time for Gen. Petraeus’ report to Congress in the next few weeks.

You know what would have REALLY taken down that U.S. base & German airport?

Global warming.

See through the lies, neocons.

Vyce on September 5, 2007 at 9:13 AM

The Joos. You forgot the Joos. Something about the Zionist lobby, the Israelis, and the money the Joos have.

Forgot that one, thanks! The evil Jooooooos!

Doesn’t it seem that the dhimmicrats just use a “magic 8 ball” for everything now? Something happens, shake it up, and wait for the “blame Bush somehow” answer.

rightside on September 5, 2007 at 9:15 AM

rightside on September 5, 2007 at 8:58 AM

I have a new computer. Just have to press F7

JiangxiDad on September 5, 2007 at 9:20 AM

German converts to Islam? Am I the only one who’s not real happy with that development? Islam Uberalles. Great, just freakin’ great.

German & Muslim – two terrible tastes that go terribly together.

Clearly Germany is a quagmire. We have to get out before the sectarian conflict gets any worse. Bring our boys home. US out of Germany now.

Thomas the Wraith on September 5, 2007 at 9:21 AM

With this and Larry Craig, Hillary must be doing pirouettes in her Hsus.

JiangxiDad on September 5, 2007 at 9:22 AM

German converts to Islam?
Thomas the Wraith on September 5, 2007 at 9:21 AM

I’m worried, imagine the shutting down of all those breweries? Ocktober fest, with islama fest…I don’t think so, we will fight to the death.

right2bright on September 5, 2007 at 9:28 AM

German converts to Islam?

Ulm and Neu Ulm (where these guys were from) have alot of mosques and muslims. The remaining native population succumb to pressure to fit in with the new order. Police have raided mosques there before I seem to remember.

JiangxiDad on September 5, 2007 at 9:34 AM

The Joos. You forgot the Joos. Something about the Zionist lobby, the Israelis, and the money the Joos have.

I believe the correct term is “New York moneymen”.

Vyce on September 5, 2007 at 9:36 AM

I believe the correct term is “New York moneymen”.

Vyce on September 5, 2007 at 9:36 AM

Ace readers are so easy to spot. :P

Bad Candy on September 5, 2007 at 9:46 AM

I’m guessing we’ll see more and more of these converts involved in terrorist plots, the terrorists get lots of advantages using them.

Bad Candy on September 5, 2007 at 9:57 AM

The MSM/Left won’t report it unless there is a note in the terrorists luggage from Osama Bin Ladin with explicit instructions.

Since he’s dead, these guys are just responding to colonialism and western imperialism and it’s nothing to worry about. Except, of course, the need for dialogue and a removal of the evil Bush.

Asher on September 5, 2007 at 10:02 AM

Thanks for the post, AP. There is a lot there to digest. It’s heartening to see the arrests made so ‘far away’ from the time when a bomb would be detonated.

Spirit of 1776 on September 5, 2007 at 10:02 AM

I think we should intensively interrogate them, and when we we’ve gotten all that can be had from the waterboard, behead them and drop their heads from an airplane over the tribal regions of Pakistan, with a note that says the next time, the flyover might contain something with a bang.

No, I am NOT in a merciful mood today. I’m also of the mind that it’s time to go after their Pakistani sanctuaries…..

georgej on September 5, 2007 at 10:13 AM

I’m not surprised about these German terrorists. Remember the ones who tried to take over that office building in LA and Bruce Willis stopped them cold. A great day in our history I’ll tell you! Seriously though everybody likes to think of Europe as some civillized and enlightened place but they were slaughtering each other for years prior to any Muslims showing up.

gator70 on September 5, 2007 at 10:32 AM

Germans who converted to Islam

Fascism has come full circle.

infidel4life on September 5, 2007 at 10:34 AM

Germans who converted to Islam

“Had Charles Martel not been victorious at Poitiers
-already, you see, the world had already fallen into
the hands of the Jews, so gutless a thing
Christianity! -then we should in all probability have
been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which
glorifies the heroism and which opens up the seventh
Heaven to the bold warrior alone.
Then the Germanic
races would have conquered the world. Christianity
alone prevented them from doing so.” ~Hitler

(August 28, 1942, midday)

p. 667 “Hitler’s Table Talk; 1941-1944″ translated by
N. Cameron and R.H. Stevens, Enigma Books (1953)

but then, very few Westerners know the full and accurate history of the “crusades” and about the battle of Poiters that Charles Martel won, and what that all means.

jp on September 5, 2007 at 10:41 AM

Since then, investigators have intercepted numerous phone calls between the suspects and contacts in Pakistan.

I call Civil Rights Violation!

/sarc off

KelliD on September 5, 2007 at 10:50 AM

I am not persuaded that this is an Al Qaeda plot. Journalists call every Muslim terror plot an Al Qaeda plot just like they call every gun an assault weapon. These are Muslim plots which are spawned spontaneously by Islamic doctrine.

Tantor on September 5, 2007 at 10:54 AM

THERE IS NO TERRORIST THREAT!

Michael Moore said it, so it must be true.

saint kansas on September 5, 2007 at 11:29 AM

…sneaked into the apartment and substituted the chemical compounds with placebos.

Placebos for Islam!

Now if only the clever Germans would sneak into the Koran and replace it dangerous contents with harmless placebos.

profitsbeard on September 5, 2007 at 11:51 AM

jp on September 5, 2007 at 10:41 AM

Thanks for that amazing quote. Strangely enough, a Junker friend of mine insisted the other night that I not underestimate the Germans if the threat becomes acute enough. I had counted them out, but will keep a closer eye on them now.

JiangxiDad on September 5, 2007 at 11:56 AM

It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes KO to describe this as a non-event. I say Friday.

German cops had secretly swapped the potent brand of hydrogen peroxide they ordered for a weaker solution.

Left’s reaction: There was never any real threat. The government is blowing this out of proportion to distract us.

Sane reaction: I’m glad they got these guys so far out. Maybe our intelligence capabilities have improved somewhat in recent years.

BadgerHawk on September 5, 2007 at 12:13 PM

I was slumming and didn’t see anything about this over at KOS. If it wasn’t for conservatives, we’d all be in a Kumbaya sing-a-long I guess.

Canadian Infidel on September 5, 2007 at 12:24 PM

CJ spots a familiar meme — the western welfare state bankrolling mass murderers while they plot.

To put this into perspective (and introduce some numbers that readers outside of Germany might not be aware of):

Germany has a population of 82 million. Only 35 million are employed. 4 million are unemployed and actively seeking employment, while another 7 million are either not registered as unemployed, or participate in various programs that keep them off the unemployment records.

So in other words, 25% of Germans who are physically and mentally able to work, don’t. The three unemployed suspects thus are nothing out of the extraordinary.

Niko on September 5, 2007 at 12:43 PM

More numbers:

* Germany’s FBI (called BKA) maintains a list of 890 jihadis on German soil who are potentially involved in terrorism activities,
* Germany’s Secret Service (called Verfassungsschutz) is keeping 200 to 300 suspect jihadis under surveillance in Germany,
* and Germany’s CIA (called BND) has additional intel on jihadis outside Germany who might plan attacks on German soil.

Niko on September 5, 2007 at 1:00 PM

They knew they were being watched 24/7? And then we have the stupid docs of the Scotts? I’m telling you, this is all smoke up the skirt by AQ for something bigger. And I mean real big. They can’t possibly be this stupid.

dingbat on September 5, 2007 at 1:07 PM

well…

dingbat on September 5, 2007 at 1:09 PM

HA readers hopefully will recall that warnings about a plot in Germany have been bubbling up since May,

(Ahem) April, actually.

see-dubya on September 5, 2007 at 1:33 PM

Didn’t the Germans outlaw Scientology?

If so, why can’t they outlaw Islam?

MB4 on September 5, 2007 at 2:35 PM

German converts to Islam? Am I the only one who’s not real happy with that development? Islam Uberalles. Great, just freakin’ great.

German & Muslim – two terrible tastes that go terribly together.

I thought that this morning too. That’s fabu.
Then I thought about Haj Amin al-Husseini and Hitler being buds. Maybe history does repeat itself.

mjk on September 5, 2007 at 2:44 PM

From my perspective, the failure of this attack is morally indifferent. Apparently, there will have to be a really successfully nasty attack before people will get their heads out of the sand. As long as the attacks fail, denial about Islam is the easy course.

Regardless of whether we evolved or were specially created, we have brains. Our refusal to use our brains to analyze the world situation is immoral in that it is allowing catastrophic evil to occur.

thuja on September 5, 2007 at 4:30 PM

According to Keith Olbermann, there is no terrorist threat. It’s all a Republican conspiracy he likes to call “The Nexus of Political Terror”.

SoulGlo on September 5, 2007 at 8:25 PM

I was slumming and didn’t see anything about this over at KOS. If it wasn’t for conservatives, we’d all be in a Kumbaya sing-a-long I guess.

Canadian Infidel on September 5, 2007 at 12:24 PM

Hey, as far as the “progressive” left is concerned, there is no real threat, 911 was a fluke, and all the attacks that happened against us before that didn’t happen. They’re trying real hard to forget 911 too.

4shoes on September 5, 2007 at 8:55 PM

It would seem that the danish guys in this case were attending the same mosque as other young men from one or two separate terror cases, already tried (I believe). Hmmm….not surprising and it will be interesting to see what happens next. One of my pet peeves at the moment are the parents of these men who, according to their interviews, notice radical changes in their sons but do nothing about it. Some things you can’t stop but if either of my sons started growing a beard, attending a mosque regularly, reading the Koran all the time, and so on, you better believe I’d step in and do everything in my power to stop it. Of course, hopefully neither of my sons would feel so needy that they would be susceptible to brain washing. I warned you all this was a pet peeve but rant off now and thanks for understanding (because I’m certain there are folks here that do get it).

Last I heard, the plan was to bomb one of the busiest train stations in Copenhagen. I am grateful they got caught and hope the rest of their buddies will following them soon.

yggdrasil on September 6, 2007 at 6:33 AM