A Swede was a secret agent working for three different countries

June 11, 2012

Spying against Sweden is increasing according to the Swedish Intelligence Agency (SÄPO). The Agency also suspects that at least 15 states are doing illegal surveillance in the country. The Daily News has reported that a Swedish man have been a secret informer for Libyan, British and Swedish intelligence services simultaneously. His code name is “Joseph” and he has on the regular basis reported Muslims as suspected terrorists.

Usually foreign spies target large Swedish firms and sensitive information on Swedish policies/politics. Another focus is given to spying on recent immigrant communities, and usually those who are political activists seeking asylum in Sweden. Regime critics and opposition activists who live in Sweden have regularly been threatened and their movements and activities traced.

 

The information about Joseph’s activities today is uncertain – he lives in a city in Sweden, he has children and officially his financial circumstances are highly limited. Despite that, he is regularly traveling across the world. AS recently as couple of weeks ago, he had visited his former homeland, Libya. This we his second trip since the fall of the regime. Moreover, according from the information from DN he had met with one of the rebel leaders Abdel Hakim Belhaj on his last trip.

 

Joseph claims that he is not an informant working for any of the mentioned states. “You are talking to the wrong guy here. Alright. You know nothing what this is all about,” he was reported to have said to a DN’s reporter. Howoever, a fax message from the British intelligence agency MI6 from 2003 is contradicting his claims. The message is a part of a set of documents gathered by Human Rights Watch in Libya in the wake of administrative vacuum followed by the fall of Qaddafi regime.

 

The MI6 document starts with the words, “Greetings from MI6 in London” and it is a four pages long document describing a meeting with “Joseph” in Manchester. It is dated December 11, 2003 with an address of the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The fax message gives details about Joseph and how he was recruited by MI6. He had names of 11 Muslims from Sweden who he described as possible terrorists and accomplices. He also had a list of names of individual board members in a Muslim association in Sweden. The document further shows that Joseph had contacts with Qaddafi’s intelligence services (ESO) and the Swedish security agency (SÄPO). The document further hints that his first step has been to hand over the list of names to (MI6). The names of people he suspected to be “jihad sympathizers” in Sweden. MI6 in turn sent the list to Libya.

 

The DN had investigated the list and, at least, two individuals from the list more closely. The two persons have been in Joseph’s immediate closeness. Another individual was now deceased Muhammad Moumou (Abu Qaswarah) listed as a terrorist by both the United Nations and the European Union in 2006.

 

One of the most important question Joseph had posed is how is he to handle his contacts with the Swedish SÄPO. Joseph further wanted to inform MI6 about his contacts (with SÄPO), something MI6 was not interested in him doing. The Libyan ESO has, according to the document, been deeply aware of his informant status and work. Joseph had also been firmly instructed not to reveal his cooperation with other agencies to SÄPO. ESO and MI6 agreed that Joseph shall cancel his meetings with Swedes and inform them that he was ill.

 

”Joseph” is protected as a source by DN, however the newspaper’s reporters investigated into his real identity and could establish it after some time.  He is a 45-year old male who immigrated to Sweden in the end of 1980s from Libya. A few years later be became a citizen. He is registered to reside in a two-room apartment in a well-kept residential building. During some periods he worked as a store assistant. People familiar with Joseph describe him as secretive and suspicious of others. He could disappear without any explanation despite his limited funds on long expensive trips. He has even been convicted of domestic violence for beating up two of his earlier girlfriends. He has also been sentenced for theft and for making threats. Most recently he has been convicted of shoplifting.

 

Despite all of these issues he has established himself as a known figure in the Muslim community. “He knows people everywhere, in Stockholm, Malmö, Göteborg,” one of his acquaintances comments.

 

SÄPO never comments any individual cases, however, according to their annual rapport for 2011 Libya is one of the countries which has conducted intelligence gathering in Sweden during several years. On several occasions the Swedish authorities have deported Libyan spies. Furthermore, according to SÄPO persons as information sources are tremendously important in intelligence gathering (counterterrorism etc.)

 

According to Magnus Ranstrorp (researcher at the Swedish Defense College) it is unusual to be an agent for three separate intelligence agencies. “It is unusual since there are so many states involved, that is, that the Libyan regime and the British agency and even the Swedish (SÄPO) seem to have bilateral relationships to him (Joseph).”

Signed: Mattias Carlsson

Tribute to Stockholm Suicide Bomber

17 Feb 2011

In its latest issue the jihadist magazine “Inspire” pays tribute to the Stockholm suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab. “That he lived a comfortable life and had a wife and children did not stop Taimour Abdulwahab from responding to the call to jihad (holy war),” Inspire wrote, adding, “We need more like him.”

“We are following this closely. It is a threat on an inspiration level,” says Malena Rembe of the Swedish Security Service (SÄPO), and states that it could be “an impetus for individuals who have already crossed the line between word and deed.”

The article continues, “the Swedes seem to have set out to show its dislike of Muslims and are eager to join the league of nations that are hostile to Islam and Muslims. This operation can serve as a reminder to the Swedish government and people to reconsider their position before their list of crimes against us are too long and it is too late.” According to Svenska dagbladet (SvD) revenge for the drawing by artist Lars Vilks of Muhammad as a roundabout dog has become the common denominator of violent Islamic extremism in Sweden.

Magnus Ranstorp, Research Director of the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defense College, says it’s not the first time that Sweden appears in Inspire, which has previously referenced Vilks and Nerikes Allehanda’s editor Ulf Johansson.

To be mentioned in this context is never good, Ranstorp added. “It is an important magazine with direct links to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Whatever pops up in it is serious,” he said. Such an article can “provide individuals with a extremist bent a push onto the path. Young people think this is cool, it is the ultimate form of rebellion against Western society,” he added.

Swedes arrested for planning terrorist crime in Denmark

Three out of four men arrested in Denmark December 29, suspected of planning an attack on the newspaper JyllandsPosten in Copenhagen, came from Sweden. And later a fifth man connected to the plot against the Danish newspaper, which published the Muhammad cartoons five years back, was arrested in Stockholm.

The arrest was preceded by intelligence work by as well the Swedish (SÄPO) and the Danish (PET) Secret Police. According to Jacob Scharf at PET, Several of the suspects could be described “as militant Islamists with connections to international terror networks.” Danish justice minister Lars Barfoed said in a comment that the arrest prevented what could have been the most serious attack to ever occur in Denmark. One suspects that the plan was to try to gain access to JyllandsPosten’s office building and to try to shot as many as possible, and maybe also take hostages.

The arrested men are a 37-year-old Swede of Tunisian background, a 44-year-old Tunisian, a 29-year-old Swede born in Lebanon, a 30-year-old Swede and a 26-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker. The first three were all living in Sweden and travelled to Denmark overnight in a rented car. SÄPO had the men under surveillance and followed them all the way to Copenhagen, where they were arrested as soon as they connected to the man living there.

“We learned that people in Sweden were planning a terror crime in Denmark. We’ve known about it for several months. These people are known to the police in Sweden. We contacted our Danish colleagues. We’ve had people under intense surveillance,” SÄPO head Anders Danielsson said on Wednesday.

One of the men arrested in Denmark, a 29-year-old Swede of Lebanese decent, have been arrested two times earlier. In 2007 he was arrested in Somalia together with several other Swedes, including his then 17-year-old fiancée, on suspicions of having fought on the side of Islamic forces in the ongoing battle in Somalia. He was also arrested once in Pakistan two years later. Also detained were, again, his fiancé and the couple’s toddler son, and Mehdi Ghezali. Ghezali is a former inmate of the US-operated Guantánamo Bay prison, who was released in 2004.

Also the man arrested in Stockholm in connection to the plot against JyllandsPosten in Copenhagen has a previous record. He was arrested in Pakistan last year and spent 10 days in a Pakistani prison for having entered the country illegally. According to Säpo, the man was involved in the planning of the Copenhagen attack, but decided to remain in Stockholm for reasons as yet unknown.

Helena Benaouda, head of Swedens Muslim Council and mother of the former fiancé of one of the now arrested men commented Friday 31 December on the arrests as follows:

“My attitude is and has always been that crime, all kind of extremism and use of violence or undemocratic means are unacceptable. I believe in an open society where individuals have both rights and responsibilities, where everyone – regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and age are equal and where all should participate. Violent criminal activity and terrorism is an attack against such a society, and against everything I believe in, including my religious faith, Islam. Myself, like everyone else, must take the threat of extremism – including Islamic extremism – in earnest to protect what I believe in. The police investigation will show who is to be held accountable, and the guilty will be punished. My daughter and her children are safe with me – and that is what is most important to me.”

The Swedish Suicide Bomber might have had a Collaborator

23 December, 2010

The recording sent out to police and media 10 minutes before the Suicide bombing in Stockholm December 11 suggests that the perpetrator was not alone. After analyzing the tape, Swedish media have reported that what might be a second man can be heard in the background. Pictures from the crime scene also show what some speculate to be a walkie-talkie next to the body.

The Swedish Secret Police (SÄPO) – according to the paper edition of Dagens nyheter 231210 – won’t, as for now, disclose anything about their investigation.

Swedish Secret Police Publishes Report on Islamism in Sweden

December 15, 2010

In the beginning of 2010, the Swedish Secret Police (SÄPO) was assigned by the Swedish government to investigate and describe “violence inclined Islamist extremism in Sweden, discernable processes of radicalization in violence inclined Islamist environments in Sweden, and tools and strategies to be used in obstructing radicalization.”

The report was finally published December 15, just four days after the suicide bombing – classed as a terrorist crime – in downtown Stockholm. In the report “violence inclined Islamist extremism” is defined as “activities threatening security which are Islamistically motivated, and which aims at changing the society in a non-democratic direction by the use of violence or threat of violence.” Radicalization, further, is defined as: “the process leading to a person, or a group, supporting or exercising, ideologically motivated violence to support a case.”

The report is the result of a systematic adaptation and analysis of already existing material gathered by Säpo, and it is focusing on last year (2009). But one has also made use of other publically available sources, such as other authority reports and research articles.

According to the report there are approximately 200 individuals engaged in violence inclined Islamist extremism in Sweden – even though this activity mainly pursue to support or aid terrorism in other countries, such as Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and North Africa. The only somewhat common denominator for radicalization amongst these individuals seems to be that the majority consists of men in between 15-30 years of age. Out of these 200 individuals SÄPO estimates 80 percent to have friendly bonds or other connections to each other. Not surprisingly Internet seems to be the common ground for these individuals and groups.

In the report SÄPO states that “the threat from violence inclined Islamist extremism in Sweden is currently not a threat against fundamental societal structures or the Swedish form of government.” The greatest potential threat towards Sweden, SÄPO concludes, is the long term effects of individuals travelling abroad to affiliate with violence inclined Islamist organizations.

The general conclusions of the report are that violence inclined Islamist extremism and radicalization is a reality in Sweden and must be seen as a potential threat. Presently, however, this is to be considered a limited phenomenon which is to be met with general crime preventive measures, already conducted in Sweden.

Stockholm Suicide Bombing

On the afternoon of December 11, 2010, a suicide bomber blew himself up in downtown Stockholm. The fatal blast occurred 10 minutes after a car exploded and injured two persons on a nearby street. The bombing has been defined as a terror crime by Swedish Secret Police (SÄPO).

The Suicide bomber was later identified as Taimour Abdulwahab, a 29-year old Swede of Iraqi origin who was raised in the little town of Tranås in the south of Sweden. He is married and a father of three children and had been living with his wife and three children in a house in Luton, just north of London, as recently as three weeks ago. Abdulwahab came to Sweden in 1992 and became a citizen in 1998. Since 2001 he was living in Luton, UK where he had studied to become a physical therapist and some reports suggests he became radicalized through contacts with Hizb ut-Tahrir representatives in a local mosque there. Lately he also seems to have spent some time in the Middle East – possibly Jordan – where he, according to a letter he sent out before the suicide attack – was engaged in Jihad.

He had been in Sweden for about four weeks before the bombing. The first explosion, sending two people to the hospital was set of in a car, filled with canisters of liquefied petroleum gas and fireworks. Minutes later came the other explosion on a side street, parallel to one of the main shopping streets in Stockholm. Abdulwahab had straped six bombs to his body, and was carrying a backpack filled with nails. It seems one of the bombs went off prematurely, before he was able to reach his destination (which is unknown), killing Abdulwahab himself without setting the other bombs off or injuring anyone else.

Roughly ten minutes before the explosions, Abdulwahab is to have sent an e-mail to the Swedish news agency TT and the Security Service in which he referred to the presence of Swedish troops in Afghanistan and the Swedish artist Lars Vilks’ drawing of Muhammad as a roundabout dog. The letter furthermore said: “Now will your children, daughters and sisters die the same way our brothers and sisters die? Our actions will speak for themselves. As long as you don’t end your war against Islam and degradation against the prophet and your foolish support for the pig Vilks.” The message ended with a call to “all Muhajedin in Europe and Sweden. Now is the time to strike, wait no longer. Go forward with whatever you have, even if it is a knife, and I know you have more than a knife. Fear no one, don’t fear prison, and don’t fear death.”

Monday 13 SÄPO held a press conference where they reported that the police are interviewing witnesses, conducting forensic investigations of the explosives and collecting CCTV footage from businesses in the area and from roads leading into and out of the area. Police are also processing a substantial amount of information from the general public.

“We are working around the clock. The Stockholm County Police and the National Bureau of Investigation are assisting us in this work, and we are also cooperating with British police authorities” said Anders Thornberg, head of security measures at the Swedish Security Service.

According to Chief Public Prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand at the International Public Prosecution Office in Stockholm, Abdulwahab has not previously come to the attention of the Security Service.

Based on what the police currently know, SÄPO believes that the man acted alone. “That said, we know from previous experience that this type of crime usually involves more than one individual. The attack appears to have been well-planned, and we assume that the suicide bomber had accomplices,” said Tomas Lindstrand.
However, no one else is presently suspected of any involvement in the attack.

According to Anders Thornberg, warnings similar to that sent to the Security Service and the Swedish news agency TT shortly before the attack are received by the Service almost on a daily basis. Based on current circumstances, the Security Service is not making any changes to the present terrorist threat level, which remains elevated. Threat levels are assessed on an hourly basis.

Even so Magnus Ranstorp, a security expert from the Swedish National Defence College (Försvarshögskolan), says: “Based on my experience, it’s one thing if it’s just a car fire. But to go and put together pipe bombs and sacrifice your life – I’d be very surprised if he didn’t have contact with other individuals.” Ranstorp cautioned, however, that it was too early to say whether the man who apparently blew himself up in Stockholm on Saturday has ties to any established terrorist networks.

SÄPO has received help from FBI bomb experts in their investigations. Despite the suicide attack, SÄPO has no plans to heighten Sweden’s threat level.

A number of Muslim representatives in Sweden have condemned the attack in Media. For example Imam Abd al-Haww Kielan, chairman of the Swedish Islamic Communion, said this is an act totally against Islam. Also Hassan Moussa, Imam in the central Mosque in Stockholm, condemns it is as a criminal act of terror. The organization; Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice organized a demonstration against violence in Stockholm Sunday.

There were also reactions of another kind. Alexandra Brunell, secretary to the far-right wing Sweden Democrat wrote “Is it now one can say ‘what was it we said’’ on her twitter, ending the tweet with the word “Finally”.

Also the Sweden Democrat William Petzäll was tweeting on Sunday evening: “I hate to say this, but what was it that we said?”

Tuesday the Sweden Democrats demanded a debate in Sweden’s parliament on Islamic extremism. “There is today a large public interest in a debate around these questions. People want to know how we as politicians look at Islamic extremism and what the preventive work looks like,” Party leader Jimmie Åkesson said in a statement.

Wednesday December 15 SÄPO published a report on violence-promoting Islamist extremism in Sweden. The report was ordered by the government in 2010. On their homepage they conclude:
Violence-promoting Islamist extremism and radicalisation do exist in Sweden and should not be underestimated as potential threats. However, the currently limited occurrences of these phenomena should be countered mainly by an increased focus on preventive measures. These are the main conclusions of the report on violence-promoting Islamist extremism in Sweden presented to Government today.

In February 2010, the Security Service was commissioned by the Government to put together an official report on violence-promoting Islamist extremism. The report contains a description of violence-promoting Islamist extremism in Sweden, discernible radicalization processes and tools and strategies for use in countering radicalization. The overall purpose of the report is to facilitate a more balanced and informed debate on these issues.

Focus on other countries:
According to the report, there are a number of networks based on a violence-promoting Islamist extremist ideology that are currently active in Sweden. Most of these networks focus on action and propaganda against foreign troops in Muslim countries and against governments they see as corrupt and not representing what the networks consider to be the only true interpretation of Islam. Individual who are active in these networks engage in activities aiming to support and facilitate terrorist offenses mainly in other countries.
Relatively limited number of people.

The report also shows that the threat from violence-promoting Islamist extremism in Sweden is currently not a threat to the fundamental structures of society, Sweden´s democratic system or Central Government. This form of extremism may however constitute a threat to both individuals and groups.

Only a relatively limited number of people are involved in violence-promoting Islamist extremism, and the group of active members on whose actions the descriptions in this report are based consists of just under 200 individuals. There is nothing to indicate that the number of people radicalized in Sweden is growing.
The importance of preventive measures:

Violence-promoting Islamist extremism and radicalization should be countered mainly by an increasing focus on preventive measures. Given the substantial similarities in terms of how and why people radicalize, regardless of ideological affiliation, it should be possible to better coordinate preventive efforts and countermeasures targeting various extremist groups.

Experiences and knowledge gained from crime prevention initiatives in general should also play a more prominent role. Preventive work should be engaged in by actors on all levels of society — nationally, regionally as well as locally.

The whole report is possible to download (in Swedish, without an English summary) from SÄPO’s homepage: www.sapo.se

Dutch Sources for Al Qaeda Website

December 9 2010

Telegraaf reports that the Ansar Al Mujahideen website, a mouthpiece for al-Qaeda worldwide carefully monitored by security services, is run by a group of Dutch Muslims. The site, registered with a Brussels PO Box, also includes an Arabic and a German section in addition to primarily English and Dutch articles. According to the Telegraaf report, “intelligence sources confirm that the English part of the website is run by a dozen Dutch Muslim extremists” including women and those with ties to the Hofstad Group.

Dutch artist creates PO Box for Allah

Artist John van der Dong has created a Post Office Box to receive messages addressed to Allah in the Netherlands. The artist’s previous work includes establishing a hotline at which over 25,000 people left telephone messages to God. Van der Dong intends to keep the letters from his current project unopened and says he will use them in his oil paintings. “What is in the letters is between the writer of the letter and Allah,” he told Dutch news agency ANP.

Secret police asked to present a survey on Islamism in Sweden

Sweden’s minister for Integration and Gender Equality, Nyamko Sabuni (Fp – Liberal People’s Party), has ordered an investigation of Islamist extremist activity in Sweden by the secret police (SÄPO). Sabuni also calls for exploring ways to support young people who want to leave Islamist organizations.

Swedes in al-Shabaab training camps

According to the publication Dagens Nyheter, phone threats to artist Lars Vilks – who in 2007 drew a picture of Muhammad as a dog – came from al-Shabab in Somalia.

Representatives from al-Shabab have been in Sweden to recruit and collect money in mosques in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmoe. Swedish secret police (SÄPO) claim about twenty Swedish-Somalis have traveled to Somalia; some have died and at least ten are participating in al-Shabab camps and in military battles in Somalia.

Swedish-Somalia spokespersons say about 80 percent of Sweden’s Somali population is against al-Shabab, but are afraid to be open about their critique. Last week Swedish-Somali spokespersons asked for help to deal with extremist Islamist forces within the Somali group.