Friday, March 05, 2010

GERMANY: SENTENCING HANDED DOWN FOR THE ‘SAUERLAND” GROUP

SENTENCING HANDED DOWN FOR THE ‘SAUERLAND” GROUP

By Kevin Stoda, Germany

Judgment was handed down today in Dusseldorf in the biggest terrorist case in Germany’s post-WWII history. The group four Germans had threatened and had planned to undertake the largest series of mass murders in recent memory and had also certainly posed a great threat to German society. The group of four members has been nicknamed the Sauerland Group because that was where the were from and where they were found planning their horrendous activities in 2006 and 2007.

http://www.n-tv.de/politik/dossier/Sauerland-Gruppe-war-operative-Spitze-article759798.html


The four were tried for being members of the Terror Union for Islamic Jihad (IJU) and for being responsible for the planning of multiple murderous rampages. These attacks would have involved many American military bases, personnel, and even children as intended targets within German borders. The group was arrested in 2007 as three of the members were starting to load 700 liters of hydrogen peroxide into an auto-bomb and preparing for an attack near Ramstein Air Force Base. [The fourth member was later captured in Turkey and returned to Germany.]

http://www.ramstein.af.mil/


Many of Germany’s terrorist experts claim that the thoroughness of the recent investigation and the crackdown on the “Sauerland Group” has taken away most jihadist footholds for violence in the country. Nonetheless, videos to the contrary, i.e. with threats from other German-born jihadists still are noted in the news as each month passes by.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4f-T5gG2GY



SAUERLAND GROUP

The group consisted of Fritz Gelowicz, Adem Yilmaz, Daniel Schneider, and Atilla Selek. However, early on the anti-terror agents in Germany had identified the group and had quickly put together the largest surveillance force in Germany in decades ( i.e. since the 1970s, during the time of the RAF and the kidnapping and murdering of a bank president) in order to keep track of what the foursome was up to.

The four was most intensively followed on their return from training with the IJU in Pakistan just after New Years 2006. This was because Gelowicz and Selek were soon observed spying on the comings and goings at the large U.S. Air Base Ramstein. [Ramstein is the largest U.S. air force base outside the USA.]

http://www.n-tv.de/politik/dossier/Die-Sauerland-Zelle-article294961.html



In February 2007 Selek traveled to Turkey to purchase detonation devises. Then, between February and July, Gelowizc purchased 12 canisters (with a total of 730 liters) of hydrogen peroxide from a chemical distributer in Lower Saxony. At this point the German surveillance team moved in and quietly and deftly replaced the dangerous substances with a much lower grade mixture containing significantly less peroxide, so that there would be less chance of the fluids ever igniting properly.

By early August 2007, Gelowizc was able to get detonators from Bulgaria and Serbia. By the end of the same month, he had acquired Czech-made ones, which had arrived in Germany via Turkey (and with Selek’s assistance). On September 2, Gelowicz, Schneider, and Selek moved into a vacation home in Sauerland, even as nearly every conversation they made in their cars were being overheard by surveillance teams. Finally, on September 4 the German special anti-terrorist units moved in and arrested the three as they worked on finishing their first car bomb. (In November, Selek was arrested in Turkey.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alleged_2007_bomb_plot_in_Germany


The trial of the Sauerland Group began in Dusseldorf this last Spring 2009 and within a few weeks, all four had begun admitting to and confessing to the crimes as the overwhelming amount of detail on their activities was revealed week after week. First, in August, Gelowizc came forward to tell his story and to answer questions in the courtroom. Soon the other three came forward.


OBJECTIVES OF JIHADISTS AND THEIR SENTENCES

The sentences handed down today seem meek by US standards, Fritz Gelowizc and Daniel Schneider received 12 year sentences while Adem Yilmaz received 11 years. Selek, who had been in Turkey most of 2007 received 5 years. Selek had also denied becoming a member of the IJU in Pakistan, which the other three had done. Because all four had confessed to their crimes and intended crimes, the German state had not asked for more than 13 years further detention at the time of the sentencing. [This is quite a contrast to America’s draconian guidelines, such as 3-strikes rules which keep small time addicted drug addicts for the rest of their lives.]

The objective of the planned mass-murderous attacks by the foursome was intended to force Germany to pull its NATO military forces out of Afghanistan. The judge, Ottmar Breidling, noted that groups’ confusing beliefs and blinding ideology had guided their conspiracy. There had certainly been talk amongst them time-and-again of wanting to kill the “unbelievers” by the foursome over the years. The four had thought that the best way to achieve their objectives was to attack Americans in openly public places, like at discothèques or at airports, where native Germans would also become victims of their intended carnage.

It is quite possible that the intended acts of the Sauerland Group against innocent civilians in Germany has actually encouraged Germany and Germans to stay the course in Germany’s continued allegiance to NATO and to staying in Afghanistan. I have noticed elsewhere that although nearly 70% of all Germans support a pull-out of German forces from NATO, the government has not backed down and is even increasing troop levels this year. In short, following the publicizing of their arrest and their plans, the hopes of the Sauerland group (and other jihadists in the region and in Germany) may have totally backfired. It looks like the Germans will stay as long as the Americans in the Hindu-Kush.

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5287629,00.html?maca=en-rss-en-top-1022-rdf

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