Counter-Terrorism: Inventing New Lies


July 24, 2007: One of the largely unspoken grudges Europe has against the United States is how the American reaction to September 11, 2001 (the invasion of Afghanistan, followed by going into Iraq) caused their informal, but quite effective, truce with terrorists to be broken. Ever since the first wave of Palestinian terrorism in the 1960s and 70s, European nations worked out deals where they would provide safe haven for terrorist organizations, and welfare benefits for terrorists and their families, as long as there were no attacks on the host countries. This was largely successful, despite complaints from the United States, and the nations the terrorists were operating against. Even the United States was guilty of this, as was revealed when the perpetrators of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center were found to be led by a Moslem cleric wanted in Egypt for terrorism. The Egyptians had been complaining for years that the United States was granting political asylum to terrorists, but American officials insisted the men were victims of religious persecution in Egypt.

The U.S. never completely agreed with the European attitude towards terrorists, and this made the United States a primary target of al Qaeda. The Islamic terrorists believed that their refuge in Europe would eventually be turned into a base for attacking their hosts. That was speeded up by the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and European support for the United States in the wake of the 2001 attacks. Many Europeans believe that if the United States had shown more restraint after 2001, the terrorist threat in Europe could have been much reduced. The European belief is that, while the invasion of Afghanistan angered many Moslems, the invasion of Iraq really enraged them.

In any event, as Islamic terrorists went active in Europe, there was a great burst of cooperation. European counter-terrorism agencies had long been asking for reforms. Mainly, these reforms consisted of three things;

- Arrest warrants for terrorists in another country that would be executed immediately, without interference, and delays, from local courts.

- Sharing of information on terrorists, to include tracking movements through different European countries.

- Coordination of efforts, which included an official who presided over a pan-European organization that had access to all (or at least most) terrorist information all nations possessed, and kept all European Union nations aware of what everyone else was up to.

These three actions made it much more difficult for Islamic terrorists to operate in Europe. Before, a terrorist could just cross a border, and effectively disappear from the police radar, but still be in Europe. The coordination effort also made it clear that Islamic terrorists were far more numerous and better organized than any European police or intelligence agency realized. For decades, it had been official policy in most European nations to let Moslem migrants do pretty much what they wanted, and to not even collect much information on what was going on inside those communities.

Despite the European intelligence agencies now realizing that they had a serious Islamic terror threat even before 2001, European politicians and media still cling to the old ideas that negotiation and understanding would have kept Europe safe, were it not for those reckless Americans. Politicians and journalists would rather invent new lies, to justify the old ones, than admit that they had made a mistake.


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