12 July 2006

Template of Terror

In this day after the bombings in Mumbai and the Kashmiri grenade attacks just before it, I take pause to look back on the history of Terrorism so as to place all of this in context. As we went through the late 1960's and early 1970's the world began to truly face the trickling in of Terrorism on a large scale. Not mere disaffected organizations sitting within one Nation to try and change it, these organizations looked outside of their Nation to bring about pressure and change to their situation to their benefit. Their methodology was one of two ways: the large scale single attack or the high value target attack, or both.

March 8, 1966 - IRA bombing of Nelson's Pillar. Note a latter day claim of help with Basque Separatists in the explosives, which would be ETA .
June 26, 1966 -
Ulster Volunteer Force commits three sectarian murders against the IRA.
Strategy of Tension" in Italy across multiple events:
1) December 12, 1969 -
Piazza Fontana bombing.
2) August 4, 1974 - Bombing of
Italicus train.
3) August 2, 1980 - Bologna railway bombing, the
Bologne Massacre.
4) December 3, 1982 - Assassination of General Dalla Chiesa, the lead man in Italy in counter-terrorism.
February 21, 1970 -
SwissAir Flight 330 bombing claimed by Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
May 8, 1970 -
Avivim School Bus Massacre by the PLO.
September 6, 1970 - Coordinated takeover of 6 airliners. One
Sandanista and a member of the PFLP over a plane in mid-air, but were stopped after his grenade failed to go off and she could not get her gun free from her bra. The scheme attributed to the PFLP.
December 4, 1971 -
McGurk's Bar bombing by the UVF.
February 22, 1972 -
Aldershot Bombing by the IRA.
May 30, 1972 -
Lod Airport Massacre in Israel carried out by the Japanese Red Army on behalf of the PFLP.
July 21, 1972 -
Bloody Friday carried out by the Provisional IRA.
July 31, 1972 -
Claudy bombings carried out by the Provisional IRA.
September 5, 1972 -
Munich Massacre carried out by Black September.
March 1, 1973 -
Khartoum diplomatic assassinations of Saudi Embassy by Black September demanding release of West German Baader-Meinhof Group members and Sirhan Sirhan.
December 17, 1973 -
Pan Am Flight 110 bombing on the ground carried out by Palestinians, possibly from the PLO.
January 31, 1974 -
Laju incident at the Shell oil refinery near Singapore. Carried out by the Japanese Red Army and PFLP.
February 4, 1974 -
M62 Coach Bombing carried out by the IRA.
April 11, 1974 -
Kiryat Shmona massacre carried out by the PFLP.
May 15, 1974 -
Ma'alot massacre carried out by the PFLP.
May 17, 1974 -
Dublin and Monaghan Bombings carried out by the UVF.
September 8, 1974 -
TWA Flight 841 suspected to be by Abu Nidal's group.
September 13, 1974 - Basque
ETA group bombs the "Rolando" cafeteria in Madrid.
October 5, 1974 -
Guildford pub bombing by the IRA.
November 21, 1974 -
Birmingham pub bombing by the IRA.

This litany goes on and on, doesn't it? But there is an emerging pattern in all of this as can be seen by the beginnings of interconnections between various groups that have *no* commonality of goal, but conspire to achieve awful ends. Just so you can get an idea of what this finally starts to grow into, here is a larger, though asynchronous list:

(A listing of ALL the IRA's)
Provisional IRA: ETA, George Harrison gun runner purchasing guns from George de Meo, Libya, PLO, Estonian Defense Force Kaitseliit, East German Stasi (alleged), Cuban General Intelligence Directorate, Hezbollah, Sandanistas, ANC, FARC (conviction overturned, but the use of false passports from FARC is indicated).

Official IRA contacts list: KGB (alleged).

Black September contacts list: Fatah, PFLP, As-Sa'iqa, PLO, Syrian Ba'ath Party

PFLP contacts list: Sandanistas, Black September, Red Army Faction/Baader-Meinhof Group, Japanese Red Army

PLO contacts list: Fatah, PFLP, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Palestine Liberation Front (PLF, Abu Abbas faction), As-Sa'iqa, Fatah al-Intifada, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, Provisional IRA, Black September, Sandanistas, Red Army Faction, Japanese Red Army, Syrian Ba'ath Party.

Red Army Faction contacts list: J2M, Socialist Patients' Collective ("illness as a weapon" is their motto), Red Brigades, The CCC, PFLP, Action Directe, Provisional IRA, and PLO.

This is only a partial picture and needs be extended somewhat. But even with this, one gets the picture that there is a web of interconnection between Terrorist organizations that lead to some state sponsors of regimes that were or are Communist or Totalitarian: Libya, Cuba, East Germany, USSR. The interconnectedness reaches to the PLO offering to train the IRA in weapons and tactics and the IRA actually training with ETA and the ANC for bombmaking and use. How *this* cross-fertilizes is seen by a standardization of weapons and explosives both because of need (low cost) and because of ease of procurement (typical small arms). But there are very few incidents of which we are used to as the 9/11 al Qaeda type: large scale, well planned, well executed. Indeed, the 06 SEPT 1970 multi-hijack attempt appears to be a stand-alone and so complex that it could not be well executed. So time to go down the list and I will pick out high points:

March 9, 1977 - A dozen armed Hanafi Muslims take 130 people hostages in three buildings in Washington, DC.
July 29, 1977 - Basque ETA members bomb two railway stations in Madrid.
October 3, 1980 - Copernic Synagogue bombing in Paris carried out by PLO.
October 6, 1981 - Assassination of Egyptian President
Anwar Sadat by Islamic Jihad.
March 29, 1982 - French train bombing carried out by
Carlos the Jackal.
July 20, 1982 -
Hyde Park and Regents Park bombings carried out by the IRA.
August 9, 1982 - Goldenburg restaurant gunning and bombing in Paris by Fatah.
April 18, 1983 -
US Embassy bombing in Beirut carried out by Hezbollah.
October 23,1983 -
US Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut by Hezbollah (or possibly Abu Mazen's group).
December 31, 1983 - French TGV train station bombing carried out by Carlos the Jackal.
June 14, 1985 -
TWA Fight 847 hijacking by (Hezbolla suspected).
November 16, 1985 -
Palace of Justice siege carried out by M-19 (Mafia).
December 7, 1985 - Paris shops bombings by Hezbollah.
December 27, 1985 -
Rome and Vienna Airport Attacks carried out by Fatah.
April 6, 1986 -
Berlin Disco Bombing carried out by Libya.
December 25, 1986 -
Iraqi Airways Flight 163 carried out by Hezbollah (Iran).
July 19, 1989 - Two bombs explode in Mecca (cannot find a claimant for this).
December 6, 1989 - Truck bombing in Bogota, Columbia by drug lord
Pablo Escobar.
February 26, 1993 -
World Trade Center bombing claimed by by coalition of five groups: Jamaat Al-Fuqra'/Gamaat Islamiya/Hamas/Islamic Jihad/National Islamic Front.
March 12, 1993 -
Mumbai car bombings carried out by Jaish-e-Mohammed or Lashkar-e-Toiba.
June 1993 - Failed
New York City landmark bomb plot backed by Omar Abdel-Rahman.
July 5, 1993 - Newtownlands 1500lb car bomb attack carried out by IRA.
July 18, 1994 - Bombing of Jewish center in Buenos Aires, Argentina by Hezbollah.
July 19, 1994 -
Alas Chiricanas Flight 00901 in Panama carried out by Hezbollah.
December 11, 1994 -
Philippine Airlines Flight 434 bombing by Ramzi Yousef.
January 6, 1995 -
Operation Bojinka thwarted. Groups meeting to carry it out include Jemaah Islamiyah/Konsojaya/Abu Sayyaf Group/Ramzi Yousef/Khalid Shaikh Mohammed funding by Osama bin Laden and Hambali with Wali Khan Amin Shah.
March 20, 1995 -
Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway by AUM Shinrikyo.

Again the myriad of single event/single bomb types have been left out of this, unless they were from a different player or set of players or in an unlikely area. The metastasization of terrorism happened when Iran moved to instate Hezbollah as its de facto terrorist organization to carry out foreign policy goals. The Beirut bombings are a clear shift from tacitly known small groups only loosely affiliated with a Nation to having a few that have stronger affiliation, like Hezbollah, Hamas and Black September. That early 1980's move changed the face of terrorism and gave rise to Libya and some Communist States to sponsor terrorists, although mostly through arms and armaments, but sometimes through training. A better organizing of forces began to appear and was, itself, a template for a stronger methodology for inter-terrorist organization support. The early Red affiliations with Islamic based organizations were being drowned out as the actual Communist States could supply more than mere western sympathizers.

With that increase in funding and support Hezbollah, and other Islamic terrorist groups spread terror to previously unknown areas, like South America. Here the joining up with Narcotics Crime Organizations gave the terrorists clandestine sources for documents and support that they often had problems doing on their own or getting from a National sponsor. South American drug lords became a touchstone for terrorism to go Transnational, having the full suite of documents and covert operational methods being supplied by drug lords and State sponsors. The coalescing of this was in the 1980's with the Afghan war to throw out the USSR which finally brought distributed Islamic organizations together in one place at one time and were *not* tied to older and less capable groups like the PLO. That said they *used* those contacts to broaden their capabilities and widen the contacts network amongst themselves, which now stretched to all continents save Antarctica.

Iraq enters the scene for the 1993 WTC bombing, being fingered as the one Nation giving logistical support to the broad umbrella of groups necessary to carry out a targeted attack on a State it could not reach normally and remain able to wash its hands clean of the deed. In point of fact if Iraq had done that openly, even under the Clinton Administration, the possibility for sudden dawn in Baghdad was a reality. By being able to offer up training, some supplies and methodology, as well as technology for Vx, Sarin, Anthrax, Smallpox, Ricin and Botulinin toxin production on a small scale, Baghdad was becoming a one-stop training center outside of Afghanistan for the top graduates of al Qaeda and anyone who was willing to pay to take such courses. The one thing that Iraq gave, conceptually, was the well timed single attack, so as to make a pointed operation of a one-place, one-target scheme that would have low to no visibility. The 1993 WTC bombing was the prime example of that.

What this single operation also did was demonstrate how to put multiple organizations that could not, usually, work together, on the same side for a single operation. That was of paramount importance as most Islamic terrorist organizations, and all previous terrorist groups, were geographically isolated for their goals. By using modern travel and communications, geography no longer became a limitation to associated terrorist organizations staging a complex attack *together* each bringing separate expertise to the table and sharing it. By doing this, Iraq not only gained communications with the nascent al Qaeda, but also the connections with the FARC to supply them with forgery experts and expertise beyond even what they could afford locally.

Osama bin Laden saw this and the need for a separate Islamic "base" via al Qaeda: a network of networks. By moving money and his contracting and construction expertise into terrorism, along with his contacts lists, he was able to establish a non-State based way of gaining all of the training provided by the State sponsors of *many* groups. And while Iraq would still do well for getting specialized expertise and regular expertise in old style terrorism, al Qaeda would be the producer of a new kind of terrorism: mass attacks. And their first attempt was a reach beyond their grasp to do a large scale, multi-airline hijacking from the Pacific Rim nations. By the sheer reach of a first timer it was bound to fail and only did due to bad luck. That was a hard blow to take, to see one's dreams brought down so quickly.

Unfortunately another madman had just the thing and the group to do something larger than the WTC bombing, but smaller than the mass multi-hijacking. Just about three months after the big al Qaeda plan went up in smoke, the Sarin attack on the Tokyo subways gave Osama bin Laden the *perfect* template for large scale terror attacks. And it was supplied by a group that is seemingly independent, but has shadowy links and possibilities aplenty.

That is AUM Shinrikyo. Starting out as any pleasant doomsday cult in Japan, it had a practice of yoga and sex that made it appealing, for all of its doom and gloom. This simple path to purification of the soul became twisted when its founder became unstable: both Messianic and trying to bring Doomsday about. This was no ordinary cult: it attracted disaffected Japanese with university education and from industry and at its peak had 13 million followers in Japan alone. Its founder believed that doomsday could not be prevented but that by killing off folks early, their souls would have more time to be cleansed... or something along those lines. Basically, all doomsday cults get to a reductio ad absurdum point that ends with death today instead of tomorrow or the next day. Because of its finances, investments and backing, AUM Shinrikyo had money to spare. First it had 300 stores selling computers and making a tidy profit which they hid under various guises. Second, due to land speculation before the Japanese boom of the 1980's, they sold at the top of the market and were flush with cash to buy anything and everything their leader wanted. And their leader wanted worldwide expansion and started just that.

Russia was a large area for AUM to head into, daunting for the lack of a peace between Japan and the USSR, but still necessary since their leader wanted expertise in advanced weapon and gas production for his organization. They got that along with designs for advanced helicopters and the latest generation of AK assault rifle, the AK-74. AUM planned to create at least 1,000 of these, if not more, for use in the mid-1990's and had a factory facility that they set up to actually start that work. Now the KGB did have an inkling of what is going on, but in one of those deals where you 'don't know which side anyone you sent to infiltrate the enemy is on' sort of things, that operation looks to have been compromised by the charismatic AUMians. And when the USSR disintegrated those AUM followers split off from Moscow and went in different directions (ca. 1991). So what and who was exactly exchanged and which members of what part of the KGB may have turned or been subverted is hard to say at this juncture. The head of the Russian biochemical defense forces said that the folks in AUM have "a very rich imagination". Doomsday cultists with rich imaginations is *not* a pleasant thought to me...

Be that as it may, AUM sent folks to the US, Sri Lanka, East Germany/Germany, and Australia in search of WMD capability and research. Having a number of very good academics in chemistry and biochemistry, plus some folks from the Japanese industrial sector was a big boost. Also, AUM (not being from a restricted sales nation) could legitimately get its hands on dual-use technology for its needs. By being inside a respected and industrialized Nation they had all the world open to them and the markets to purchase what they wanted. The means came through their computer software and hardware sales stores, investments and other legitimate businesses that they put to doomsday ends. Needless to say followers *also* contributed a LOT of money to their cause and they underwent a form of 'brainwashing' to make them more amenable to the cult's needs.

Out of this they got a bevy of information and capabilities of which Sarin proved to be the one of choice, due to the easy manufacture and distribution of its payload. That said the organization also found the methodology to weaponize Anthrax fully and only lacked in the fact that it had used an animal spreading form and not the human contagious form. They had also test-run Botulinin toxin, but botched the delivery of that and had no good means readily available for delivering the synthesized product *before* the Sarin production and delivery overtook it. Also they had synthesized Vx Nerve gas and were working out methods for dispersal just before the Sarin attack and to be carried out soon after that. Last, but not least, is their procurement of land in Australia that just happens to sit on uranium rich ore deposits. They did realize the problems of actually making their own nuclear device and, instead, may have approached their Russian contacts for something. Of that we shall never know for sure. What is known is that the Australian property served as their animal testing ground for their terror weapons and only by having a mistaken animal anthrax strain did Japan escape *that* nearly undetectable problem.

Once one combines the likely underworld contacts by AUM for some equipment and the contacts via the KGB and possible Sri Lankan contacts with Islamic fundamentalists, does one begin to appreciate the true threat of this cult. Luckily, they were skilled amateurs short of being able to pull off their attacks due to simple oversights that good contacts in the criminal underworld would have given them if they had sought them out for such. Probably those 'businessmen' knew a crazy man when they saw him and wanted no part of a scheme in which 13 million people could easily get angry at them.

Their Tokyo subway attack proved to be the Perfect Template for what Osama bin Laden was looking to do: a small group dedicated to do a few things together, stage simultaneous attacks and not live to tell the tale. AUM cultists had anti-toxins and medications to take so they could survive, but Osama had people willing to sacrifice themselves to do destruction and terror, so the Tokyo subway attack became their touchstone for all future large scale operations. This would take time to build up to and get individuals away from the 'one bomb/one event' mindset. That internetworking begun in the 1970's has born fruit and now is an interlocking whole in which arms and armament and expertise easily crosses organizational lines. With that Osama bin Laden could now quickly reinforce a small group of individuals with willing compatriots and set up a revolutionary cell system for security and add in internet security methods to that. Osama would give up on a Grand Attack for now and start working this new methodology into place and get the various members of the network into that same mindset for performing larger operations that are distributed and disruptive and have little chance of being stopped as they are small at start and only come together for the day of action.

By melding AUM's targeting and methodology with his own communication and training regimens, provided by al Qaeda in Afghanistan and supplemented by Iraq under Saddam, Osama was going to make the small, solid and distributed terror operation a hallmark of al Qaeda. And many inside the network would begin to implement these same things for themselves on lesser attacks. And a demonstration of destruction was given by US Terrorists to point out the lack of security in the US: Oklahoma City bombing 19 April 1995. Less than a month after the Tokyo subway attack. But to prepare the first distributed attack would be tested closer to home.

In Africa.

U.S. embassy bombings of August 7, 1998.

And al Qaeda had its successful template.

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