Monday, April 19, 2004

Al-Qaeda attack soon and it will be chemical!

The clock is ticking here in the UK and in the US for a chemical attack by Al-Qaeda.

The US elections are barely seven months away and UK elections in about twelve months time. Al-Qaeda will want to be quick to capitalize on their success in influencing the Spanish election.

The Spanish election victory coupled with this announcement that Spain's new prime minister confirmed on Sunday that he wanted Spain's troops out of Iraq "as soon as possible", have given Al-Qaeda a major confidence boost.

Bin Laden knew his recent "truce" offer would be rejected out of hand. The truce was more likely a message for autonomous groups to stand down so as not to inadvertently draw attention to on going Al-Qaeda plots.

Where is the proof for these planned attacks and how do we know they will be chemical in nature?

First we have this Financial Times article detailing how far and how sophisticated terrorists have become in developing chemical weapons and methods. The link is to an earlier post of mine quoting the FT since the FT is now a subscription site.

Small groups of chemicals experts have been detected in several European countries and have developed ways of communicating with each other that allowed them to avoid being exposed.

In January French anti-terrorist police arrested five people in the Lyons suburb of Venisseux - three of them from the same family - on suspicion of involvement in planning terrorist attacks. Nicolas Sarkozy, then interior minister, said that one of the detainees, Menad Benchallali, "was trained to produce chemical substances".

Two of the detainees admitted a plan had been devised to attack Russian targets in France using ricin poison and botulinum bacteria. French officials say Mr Benchellali received chemical weapons training in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge, a haven for Chechen fighters.

"The Pakistani element [in developing these weapons] was also totally underestimated, as was the experience developed in Chechnya," said the French official. He added that militants within the Pakistani Islamist group Lashkar-i-Toiba, which has close links to al-Qaeda, had helped develop chemical weapons skills now dispersed to several parts of the al-Qaeda network.

"The thing that is most clear is that the people with the knowledge of chemicals are very organised," the French official said. "There are links between the groups that have chemical expertise. These groups are not present everywhere, though Chechnya is where they learned this skill."

According to this report in USA Today, Britain recently foiled just such an attack.

British and U.S. intelligence agencies and police foiled a plot to create a chemical vapor bomb in Britain, the British Broadcasting Corp. said on Tuesday.

The alleged plot involved osmium tetroxide, a catalyst used in industry, but there was no indication that the suspected plotters had obtained any of the substance, the BBC said, citing security sources.

And then we get a report from The BBC that Jordan 'was chemical bomb target'.

Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists planned a chemical attack on Jordan's spy headquarters that could have killed 20,000 people, officials have said.

Earlier this week King Abdullah said a massive attack had been thwarted by a series of arrests, but named no target.

Now unnamed officials say the suspects have confessed to plotting to detonate a chemical bomb on the Amman HQ of the Intelligence Services.

Today World Net Daily is reporting Dirty bomb plot on Sears Tower - British discover plan to use deadly chemical in attacks

A plot by terrorists to use dirty bombs laced with the deadly chemical osmium tetroxide to attack U.S. targets including the Sears Tower in Chicago was uncovered by British intelligence and law enforcement authorities, according to a report in Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

British police and military bomb experts passed on information to their U.S. counterparts.

Traces of the chemical, as well as manuals for its use, were discovered by the British intelligence community during raids following the March Madrid attack.

Finally, we are getting reports of imminent attacks both in the US and the UK.

ABC is reporting Report Suggests Terror Operatives In Place, Possibly in America

The intelligence, received a week ago but secret until now, is from known Muslim extremists who suggested an attack possibly in the U.S. was imminent, and that operatives were already "in place," sources tell ABCNEWS.

On Friday, April 9, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security held a rare secure conference call with police in dozens of major cities.

By Saturday, April 10, a classified bulletin was sent out warning that groups affiliated with al Qaeda might be planning attacks in the U.S. on the scale seen in Madrid last month.

Al-Qaeda's hallmark is large scale multiple attacks at once and they may be planning to hit the US and UK simultaneously. The The Sydney Morning Hearld is reporting today that Various groups sympathetic to al-Qaeda are preparing large-scale attacks against London, the leader of an Islamic group suspected of having ties to the extremist network said in remarks published in Portugal.

Sheik Omar Bakri Mohammed, the head of the London-based group al-Muhajiroun, added in an interview with the Portuguese daily Publico on Sunday that last month's deadly Madrid train bombings were carried out by a group of independent actors who back Osama bin Laden's organisation.

This report suggest groups independent of Al-Qaeda are planning attacks on London but Al-Qaeda could easily order the attack at a time of their choosing. Possibly a time to coincide with an attack on the US. Such a "global" attack would increase Al-Qaeda's standing in the Muslim world immensely.

There is no doubt that Al-Qaeda's next attack will be chemical and soon. It has to be. Why?

The US election is very close maybe even a dead heat. In order to have an effect on US elections an attack would have to be on a scale similar to 911. America is a much larger country, in terms of population, than Spain and while several hundred dead would be horrible, it might not be enough to swing the election. Another 911 on Bush's watch most certainly would.

Likewise in the UK the attack will have to be on a 911 scale. While the 311 attack happened in Spain it was close enough to the UK to be felt on a personal level. Spain is the UK's number one tourist destination and many Brits retire there. The UK has also lived through the IRA bombings; something the US has never experienced. Again, several hundred dead would be horrible but might not be enough to bring down Tony Blair. An attack similar to 911 or at least chemical in nature probably would.

Some would suggest that we have had these warnings before, that the information is too vague.

The foiled attack in Britain was real. The foiled attack in Jordan was real. Both were chemical.

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