Der Spiegel has been covering the recent arrests throughout Europe, including this week’s arrests of key Al Qaeda media reps in Austria. In a September 11th report on “Operation Alberich,” that resulted in recent arrests of a cell planning to attack American targets in Germany, Simone Kaiser describes the suspect’s methods of radicalization, training, and operational security, and the equally complex and sensitive methods Germany security forces used to keep track of them:
Early in the evening of Dec. 31, 2006, a car containing several passengers drove silently past the Hutier Barracks in Lamboy...The BfV's observation team later noted that the car drove back and forth in front of the barracks several times…
The presumed scouting expedition raised red flags with German intelligence. On Jan. 6, police officers in the state of Hesse searched “Abdullah” Gelowicz's [considered the plot mastermind –- MSJ] apartment in an effort to unearth the Islamists' true plans. Gelowicz lived in an unassuming, white, six-unit apartment on the outskirts of Ulm. White shades blocked the view through the windows of Gelowicz's ground-floor apartment.
Where was he radicalized? Germany, his home, and Saudi Arabia. Where was he (and the other cell members) trained? Pakistan.
Gelowicz must have begun losing interest in his studies, even though he was almost finished with the industrial engineering program. He passed his last examination in corporate management in the 2003/2004 winter semester with a mediocre grade, and then took a leave of absence for 18 months…
The core of the group must have formed during this period. German investigators and prosecutors believe that it was in Saudi Arabia that the men must have begun to acquire their belief in violence, a belief that eventually turned into a scheme to kill as many Westerners as possible.
The report includes this interested note on their online operational security:
While at the Pakistani camp in the spring of 2006, Adem Y. and Gelowicz probably discussed ways to secretly deliver messages from Pakistan to Germany. They used a Yahoo mailbox, but instead of sending messages directly, they would store them in a draft folder through which their fellow Islamists could then access the messages. But it turned out that the method they hit upon had long been known as an al-Qaida ploy. The CIA, NSA and BKA had no trouble monitoring the group's communications. Two men who went by the aliases "Sule" or "Suley" and "Jaf" kept up the contact from the IJU side.
And their methods of collecting the chemicals they needed in order to build the bombs:
The Islamists were searching for hydrogen peroxide, a chemical that is readily available in concentrations of less than 50 percent. One of its uses is as a hair bleaching solution. In one of his earlier forays, Gelowicz attempted to purchase more highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide, but he was unable to provide the chemicals dealer with the required permit. After this failed attempt Gelowicz bought supplies of the chemical at a concentration of 35 percent, which is available without a permit, in rectangular blue canisters.
An IJU manual describes how to enrich commercially available hydrogen peroxide to concentrations of up to 65 or 70 percent by adding starch, which can be derived from flour. "Abdul Malik" and Adem Y. were apparently familiar with the recipe. The authorities noticed that they were buying flour in large quantities.
Read the whole thing…