News has emerged of a German police seizure of a large cache of Al-Qaeda’s internal documents disguised as pornography. They outline the terrorist network’s plans for possible attacks in Europe, including hijacking a cruise liner.
The documents were found by the German Federal Criminal Police in mid-March 2011 after they arrested a man called Maqsood Lodin. Investigators suspect that the Austrian received training in a terrorist camp in Pakistan and was planning to establish a sleeper cell in Germany.
The man had several memory cards hidden in his clothes, when he was being detained. Among the files on them was a pornographic movie called “Kick Ass” and a file named “Sexy Tanja” the German newspaper Die Zeit reports.
The files, however, had a massive amount of data hidden under their apparent content. There were more than 100 documents apparently used by Al-Qaeda terrorists in their activities. Of particular interest to German investigators were three text files, which outline the network’s assessment of its past operations and plans for future attacks.
The documents’ author remains unknown, but it is probably someone from Al-Qaeda’s inner circle of leadership. They were penned between 2008 and 2009, the Germans believe, but are still of great value to law enforcement agencies today.
Apparently the leadership of the terrorist network is unhappy with its inability to perform a major attack in the West over recent years. The documents indicate that the case of Lodin and another man, Yusuf Ocak, who allegedly received the same training in the same camp and was returning to Europe with Lodin, is part of a strategy to change that.
They and many others were to form a number of sleeper cells in Europe which would be available for eventual attacks. Al-Qaeda envisioned a twofold action plan, with a number of small terrorist attacks launched one after another to distract law enforcers and keep them pre-occupied. While this happened, a large-scale operation would be in the works unnoticed by the authorities.
The documents, called “Future Works”, outline a number of possible ways a major terrorist attacks could be carried out. One idea is to seize a cruise liner, take the crew and passengers hostage and start shooting prisoners in front of cameras unless the terrorists’ demands are met. The approach is referred to as “taking jihad to the sea” in the roadmap.
The exact value the intelligence has in fighting against Al-Qaeda is yet to be seen. It does not state any dates or targets of possible attacks. Nevertheless it provides a unique insight into the internal workings of Al-Qaeda.
The cache may be as precious a piece of evidence as the archive of Osama Bin Laden, captured by US Navy SEALs after the raid on his compound a year ago. The US announced that it will publish some of that booty soon.
It is unlikely that Bin Laden’s fabled porn collection would be among the data made public, but the news indicates that it may have had a sinister purpose behind it.