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Germany criticises terrorism travel warnings

The Local · 6 Oct 2010, 17:55

Published: 06 Oct 2010 17:55 GMT+02:00

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"We are taking things seriously. But public accompanying music is also something that terrorists use, because they want to spread fear," de Maiziere told radio station Deutschlandfunk. "We are working without talking a lot."

This week the United States, Britain, Japan and Sweden issued alert warnings of the "possible terrorist attack" by al-Qaida and affiliated groups against their citizens travelling in Europe.

This followed reports in British and US media that said that an Al-Qaeda plot to carry out attacks in Britain, France and Germany, similar to the assault in Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people, had been uncovered.

The source was a German citizen of Afghan descent being held in Afghanistan, the reports said, but a US official told news agency AFP this week that the updated travel advice was based on a "growing body of information" collected over time.

The captured man was one of a large number of Germans authorities say are travelling to Pakistan's tribal border region for Islamist training, either to fight NATO forces there or to return home and carry out attacks.

The man, Ahmed Siddiqui, is also reported to have known Mohamed Atta, one of the hijackers in the September 11, 2001 attacks, and to have visited the same Taiba mosque - known previously as al-Quds and closed in August - in Hamburg.

A US drone strike this week in North Waziristan, a purported hideout for foreign and homegrown militants linked to the Taliban and al-Qaida, killed at least five and possibly as many as eight Germans, Pakistani security sources said.

De Maiziere declined to confirm that those killed were German, saying he was "amazed" by reports that the men's passports had been found, even though it was an unmanned strike in a remote area.

Reports said some of those killed belonged to a group of Islamists from Hamburg, one of whom was arrested by Pakistani authorities in June together with the owner of the farmstead that was bombed.

German authorities in June put the number of people living in Germany who have attended such camps, or who intended to, at around 200 since the early 1990s, of whom 65 received training.

De Maiziere said that "no one should fool themselves that Germany is not also a target for terrorists," but that there were no "concrete indications of plans for any imminent attack."

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Germany, which has around 4,800 soldiers in Afghanistan and a four-million strong Muslim community, has never suffered a "terror" attack.

In 2006, suitcases with homemade bombs inside were placed on two German trains but they failed to detonate, and in 2007 three Islamists planning to attack US targets in Germany were caught with explosive chemicals.

Ingo Peters, an expert in international relations at Berlin's Free University, told AFP that Europeans and Americans had different assessments of the risks, partly because of the "trauma" of September 11, 2001.


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Your comments about this article

19:13 October 6, 2010 by auniquecorn
Germany, which has around 4,800 soldiers in Afghanistan and a four-million strong Muslim community, has never suffered a "terror" attack.

In 2006, suitcases with homemade bombs inside were placed on two German trains but they failed to detonate, and in 2007 three Islamists planning to attack US targets in Germany were caught with explosive chemicals.

OK, so this shows that people got off lucky this time.

BUT, And I say BUT!

Germany criticises terrorism travel warnings,,,,

In America we say, Better safe than Sorry
19:33 October 6, 2010 by mehta_p
Well said (criticsed) - Thomas de Maiziere.

That's the intension of terrorists to spread fear and become obstacle without spending a single penny and/or killing any person.

I don't think any terrorist group do attack here in Germany. If does, then terrorists have to pay much mre in return.
20:03 October 6, 2010 by xyz_79
I am sure their Allah and Mohammad will not be that stupid....Germany is untouchable....I wish the world was like that, but one day it will be a perfect world......

Although i have to admit Mohammad is a concern but RAAB is not, but yes parts of Allah are a problem...For they believe in a world which self deplete itself one day...But that is where they will be proved wrong......
21:35 October 6, 2010 by wood artist
There is, unfortunately, truth and reality on both sides of this discussion.

It is undoubtedly true that issuing warnings plays into the hands of the terrorists, creating a larger "threat" than they ever could directly. People will alter their plans, forgoe vacations, holidays, or trips, and otherwise feel more fearsome regarding others. All of that is a plus for terrorism.

On the other hand, if making announcements encourages people to be more vigilant, and that means even one potential act is thwarted, it's a win for the good guys.

Where is the balance point? Who knows? Who can say? We "know" that some potential plans have been foiled, partly because plotters have been arrested during the planning stages, and partly because it's likely that some things didn't happen because the opportunity wasn't there.

So, both sides in this debate have valid perspectives. Which applies in a given situation is up for discussion.

22:08 October 6, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Well, actually, Germany has a rich history of domestic terror attacks; just not from al-Queda, necessarily.

Which is why it's speaking from experience when it says that this is completely blown out of proportion.
22:13 October 6, 2010 by Helle
@Der Grenadier aus Aachen

Good Evening,

could you tell me, what you mean with "Germany has a rich history of domestic terror attacks",please!

Thanks in advance!

22:29 October 6, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen

Novemberists, Secessionists, Baader-Meinhof/RAF, Neo-Nazis, Hezbollah, et cetera.
23:29 October 6, 2010 by dankworth
"this is completely blown out of proportion".

famous last words
00:25 October 7, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Interior Minister de Maiziere is absolutely correct, in my view. It's counterproductive to create an atmosphere of panic by alerting the public to these vague "threats" that are so nonspecific as to be ludicrous. The counterintelligence people need to go about their business meticulously and with no fanfare. The fear-mongering only assures that the terrorists' objectives will succeed, and it proves to them that they don't have to do a damn thing to paralyze nations other than to talk on intercepted phone lines. We cower in terror and shut down our societies, and they've won. That's why it's called "terrorism."

And the Grenadier is right. Germany has a long history of dealing with this kind of disruption. It's nothing new and it's not going to go away. Learn to live with it.
09:29 October 7, 2010 by freechoice
(De Maiziere declined to confirm that those killed were German, saying he was "amazed" by reports that the men's passports had been found, even though it was an unmanned strike in a remote area.)

10:47 October 7, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Who'd you "get"? Relevance?
14:35 October 7, 2010 by moistvelvet
"Europeans and Americans had different assessments of the risks, partly because of the "trauma" of September 11, 2001"


I think this is what seperates the Europeans and Americans attitudes to terror threats, the US thought it was untouchable and got a bloody nose and so knee jerk whenever someone with a Q in their name ties a shoe lace, Europeans have had decades of terrorist attacks and are therefore a bit wiser about the reality of threats and above all not to panic and submit to terror.

September 11 was a wakeup call, US citizens learnt that no country is safe from terrorism, you can't ignore it yet you can't be afraid of it, and most certainly you can't financially support it. Yes people may say that they will fight the war on terror and won't ever submit, but by being too vigilant and limiting your own freedoms you are doing exactly what you claim you'll never do, submit!
23:28 October 7, 2010 by Frenemy
Exactly. Two ocean's width apart from everyone ain't exactly as isolated/detached as it once seemed, huh? :-/

C'est la vie!
14:23 October 8, 2010 by Wise Up!
It's election season in the US. Obama needs the votes.
18:42 October 8, 2010 by Beachrider
First of all, I hope that the Fatherland is NEVER hit with Al Qaeda violence. I want that to be clear.

There is NO doubt that Al Qaeda violence was PLANNED and CONSPIRED in Hamburg. To this point, only the USA, England, France and Spain have been impacted by that conspiracy. Perhaps Russia can also be included.

It would be vapid to assume that Germany is permanently exempt from this violence. It is certainly the choice of Germans about discussing it with their population.

If someone wants to fault the Americans, British, French or Spaniards for their discussions with their OWN populations, then those people need to stop talking.
22:45 October 8, 2010 by DrGideonPolya
Sensible comments from the German authorities.

While "terrorist atrocities" have been minor in scale in Germany (e.g. the Munich Massacre atrocity at the Olympics Games in which 11 Israeli athletes and coaches and 1 West German police officer were killed) spare a thought for the victims of US, UK and Israeli state terrorism around the world.

Thus ¦quot;avoidable deaths from deprivation¦quot; on just one day - e.g. the 10.10.10 One Day on Earth (10 October 2010) - in US- or US surrogate-violated territories are thus estimated to be 1,190 (Occupied Afghanistan), 74 (Occupied Haiti), 156 (Occupied Iraq), 16 (Occupied Palestinian Territory), 1,780 (US bombed Pakistan), and 290 (Occupied Somalia) (UNICEF data).

Clearly things would improve if the US and US-backed occupying and war-making forces withdrew and ceased active and passive mass murder in these sorely afflicted countries.

Only war crimes prosecutions before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and comprehensive intra-national and international Sanctions and Boycotts can bring a end to US , UK and Apartheid Israel state terrorism.

Google the anti-war chant "Hey. hey, USA, how many kids did you kill today?" and you will discover the answer under war criminal Obama: 1,000.
23:53 October 8, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Your incessant anti-American rants, with your unsupported "death toll" figures to bolster your hyperbolic claims of American "state terrorism" and "genocide," are so over-the-top as to discredit any legitimate criticism that you might advance regarding the conduct of the US and other western nations. Many Americans, including me, are critical of American military policy since the beginning of the Vietnam war, but your incendiary rhetoric serves no purpose other than to stoke hatred. The US has its faults, to be sure, but it also has its virtues. It would be helpful to try to put things in perspective.
13:10 October 9, 2010 by tallady
thank you for saving me the time to respond to Dr.GideonPolya's foreign policy remarks based on his long hours of research.. clear understanding .and grasp of present and past world events..
13:23 October 9, 2010 by raandy
I would assume that who ever placed the infer red beacon at the target sight,,gathered up all the intel after the drone hit and passports were most likely part of the intel.that has been the case in the past
15:20 October 9, 2010 by greattoucan
One can only cry "wolf !"so many times before fright fatigue sets in. And of course it would be THEN that the wolf comes.....

The intelligence services should be wary about broadcasting these warnings. A terrorist might want to use a fake warning to find informers within their ranks.

The best would be to just remind people that threats exist, which is always the truth. "Heightened security warnings" add nothing to this except panic and stress.
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