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Al Qaeda Linked To Europe Weather Woes
LONDON (CAP) - As the backlog of travelers stranded throughout Europe begins to clear, British investigators say they've found evidence linking al Qaeda to the wild winter weather that blanketed much of the region for the past week. If true, it would mean the most widespread, coordinated effort by the terrorist organization since the 9/11 attacks on U.S. soil.
"Our intelligence indicates this recent spate of snow was not so much the handiwork of Mother Nature as it was of Father Osama," said Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner John Yates. "Terror chatter indicates we could be facing more weather-related attacks over the next couple of months."
Acting on a tip, British anti-terrorism forces raided a flat just outside of London believed to be a rendezvous point for a sleeper terrorist cell operating in the area. While no suspects were apprehended, agents confiscated a multitude of weather instruments, including barometers, anemometers, psychrometers, a Nexrad Doppler weather radar system, and industrial-sized snow machines.
"Let's be candid here: we get reports about different kinds of attacks terrorists want to carry out that frankly are beyond their assessed capability," said U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. "Like their plans to disrupt 4th of July celebrations by introducing 10 million mosquitos into the population this past summer - yes, it was a credible threat, but we knew they could never pull it off.
"These are third world terrorists we're talking about, not Rhodes scholars," Napolitano added.
U.S. intelligence sources tell CAP News that while this latest attack appears to have caught Europe offguard, there were warning signs dating back weeks or even a couple of months that may have gone unheeded. Data collected at various locations since mid-October shows a surge in the sale of winter weather-related gear such as snow shoes, shovels, ice scrapers and heavy jackets.
"What we're seeing is a shift away from the in-your-face suicide bomber paradigm from earlier this decade to a more subtle effort that is the mark of today's terrorist," said independent terrorism consultant Omar McNalley. "If a terrorist organization is going to survive into the next decade, it will need to continually re-invent itself - and al Qaeda is doing just that."
McNalley and other pundits warn that if al Qaeda is moving away from the classic marketplace bombing style to a more discrete technique that emphasizes distress over dismemberment, their targets will be harder to detect and therefore harder to defend. McNalley calls it the "Death By A Thousand Papercuts" approach to terrorism.
"If it's our way of life that they hate and feel the need to attack, which is more disrupting: blowing yourself up and killing a handful of people on a busy Syrian street, or taking Facebook down for an hour?" noted McNalley. "They may not see immediate results, but no doubt this weather attack ruined the vacations of thousands of European travelers.
"As a terrorist, there has to be some self-satisfaction in that," added McNalley.
While experts believe this was an isolated event, British officials are asking residents to be extra vigilant in the face of more possible weather-related attacks this winter. A new public awareness campaign cautions residents that if they "See something, say something. A warm Muslim is a guilty Muslim."