Terror Alert: 2009 Annual meetings of the Board of Governors
of the AfDB and the AFD in DAKAR
The AFDB’s mission statement, to help reduce poverty, improve living conditions for Africans and mobilize resources for the continent’s economic and social development is to be considered one of the unique instruments to bridge the poverty divide on the African Continent.
By using the AfDB’s most valuable and most significant assets, the Human Resources, as well as financial funding, the AfDB has achieved since 1964 tremendous results in fighting poverty and improving living conditions for Africans in Africa, the most promising and emerging continent at this time.
While operating from their temporary relocation Agency (TRA) in Tunis, the AfDB has establishment 23 field and country offices across the continent of Africa, with a staff of over 1000 professionals in several fields of interest.
By covering the Maghreb countries (Morocco, Algeria & Tunisia), Egypt, The WECA (West East Central Africa) as well as South Africa, the AfDB is to be considered the most important funding and consultant NGO for the African continent.
The continent of Africa has recently been a focus of several foreign affairs policies of Global and regional superpowers like the USA, China, and India. The recent Obama administration has pledged to invest more in the socio-economic development of Africa as well as in its capacity building, education & healthcare ecosystems.
This recent change of strategy is also inspired by China’s economic investment focus on Africa as well as India’s ICT outsourcing projects toward African countries and regions. Africa’s enormous natural resources (Oil & Minerals), as well as its growing population, need to be recognized as a triggering factor for any (economic) Superpower.
However, it is an undeniable fact that the fear of growing Muslim extremism, as well as the USA’s and UN’s ongoing efforts of containment policy of Muslim Extremism, has been one of the most important pillars on which the “Focus on Africa” Policy of the USA, UN and other NGO’s has been built on.
Poverty, bad living conditions, and a lack of proper education are traditionally ecosystems in which religious extremism is a fast-growing element.
Although not often recognized, Africa is a key continent for The Al Qaida terror network. In the past, we have observed several terror attacks in African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Kenya, and Egypt) as well as religious-related and inspired conflicts (Sudan/Darfur and Somalia). The CIA and other European Intelligence Agencies have mentioned Africa as a large center of “recruitment” for the Al Qaida terror network.
Al Qaida’s “mission statement” to establish an Islamic Khalifat reaching from Morocco to Afghanistan crosses a large part of the African continent.
Any obstacle that the Al Qaida network faces in its effort to achieve its mission statement, the Al Qaida terror network identifies as a threat. Several African regimes have been chosen as a prime target for the Al Qaida network.
One of the major “playing fields” for the Al Qaida network is Egypt, one of Africa’s and Arab’s most important and influential countries. While President Mubarak’s ruling era is coming towards an end, the political en social unrest is growing, especially now that are indications that the Egyptian ruling government and NDP (National Democratic Party) are preparing a (smooth) transition of power towards Mr. Gamal Mubarak, the son of President Hosni Mubarak, who is to be considered as one of the most loyal Arab/African presidents to the USA administration.
The above mentioned political and economic situation, as well as the leading role that Egypt plays in the region, has recently increased the focus of the Al Qaida network on Egypt.
The Egyptian Administration has been involved in decades of fierce battles with Muslim extremism. The Jamaat Islamiya, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood movement, can be considered as not only Egyptian but globally leading Islamic terror networks. Their operations expand outside Egypt, and they have “operations” in almost every Muslim nation on the globe.
Al Qaida’s second man and thought leader, Ayman Al Zawahiri, an Egyptian national related to the Muslim Brotherhood, has repeatedly mentioned Egypt and the all UN NGO’s in Egypt and Africa as a legitimate target for terror operations.
AfDB’s recent focus on Egypt and several economic development and infrastructure projects in Egypt have increased Al Qaida’s focus on the AfDB as an obstacle in achieving the network’s objectives in Egypt. By contributing to fighting poverty and improving the standard of living in Egypt, the AfDB is diminishing the conditions of the network’s expanding capabilities in Egypt.
Terror attacks are often portrayed as an incident with little preparations or coordination, the image of the Islamist group as a primitive militia, disenfranchised, marginalized, and estranged from society, holed up in the wilderness, jungle or backstreets of the cosmopolitan cities. Dreaming about the mission and vision but lacking the capabilities and skills to plan attacks that meet the requirements of a strategy and military doctrine.
Or professionals executing international plot
Only when more attackers seem to be able to cause carnage that claims the attention of international media for days in a row and murder people in plain sight. Only then one starts to wonder about the level and coordinated planning those attacks have, and if such scale of preparation can be detected and/or prevented.
Al Qaeda "The Base", detected but never eradicated
Al Qaeda "The Base", as in connections that go back to the 90's and developed into the past decade. Informal relationships and human networks, one of the most important of which was formed around bin Laden in the 1980s and 1990s.
Counter terrorism operations launched after 9/11 show that detection takes an immense investment in Techint and deep cycle undercover operations. Traditional mechanics of terror groups proved no longer effective due to the advanced monitoring possibilities of the intelligence services (NSA, Echelon) and widely infiltrated Mosques. The operations were quite successful but did not go unnoticed, forcing 'The Base' to change methods, minimize their use of infrastructure and move their leadership from Europe to less technologically advanced countries, thus staying under the radar of government agencies.
Al Qaeda "The Base" is 'seen as' currently led by Ayman al Zawahiri and was never eradicated because the WOT actually was the WOTF "War On Terror Figureheads" with a focus on thought leaders like Usama bin Laden and the AfPak region. Allowing unchecked growth of the international funding and support network.
Complexity of cross continent high profile attacks by Al Qaeda Affiliates
Anti money laundering investigations (Ultrascan-AGI, 2007-2013) links, the initial funding to the support for more complex cross continent attacks by Al Qaeda's affiliates. The new (re-) acquired organisations like LeT, Al Shabab , Al Nusra, Boko Haram, ISIS and groups that have not yet (re-) captured the eye of the global media today. For example the Mumbai attacks ending at the Taj Mahal hotel, the UN building in Abuja, the US embassy in Benghazi and the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi.
The complexity is then defined by (preparatory and coordinating) acts abroad, participation by foreigners and professional knowledge of security measures at the target.
What does that look like .... let's have a view to a kill and map the international communications in the days leading up to such a high profile terror attack in Dakar Senegal.
The information listed is declassified (for now). Merely an example of transnational criminal cooperation and coordination for a high profile terror attack.
Day 20 - Mid March 2009 the National Security Agency (NSA) has intercepted encrypted messages between members of the Al Qaida network mentioning the African Development Bank (AfDB) premises in Tunis as well as its subsidiaries and personnel as possible targets.
During an anti-moneylaundering and risk assessment operation in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East, Ultrascan investigators discovered, through human intelligence (HUMINT), that the 2009 Annual meetings of the Board of Governors of the AfDB and the AFD to be held in Dakar, Senegal on the 13-14 May 2009 is a prime target for the Al Qaida network.
Day 1 - The AML and risk assessment operation in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East. Ultrascan investigators discovered an imminent threat to African Development Bank in Africa, as a prime target for the Al Qaeda network.
Day 19 - Ongoing Ultrascan HUMINT and analysis, regarding the above mentioned Terror Alert, yielded that the target, African Development Bank, is hosting the 2009 Annual meetings of the Board of Governors of the AfDB and the AFD to be held in Dakar, Senegal on the 13‐14 May 2009, catering to thousands of guests mainly officials and their spouses from over 70 nations.
Reason for a 60-days terror alert (PDF)
Day 20 - Ongoing Humint, whispers of a terror cell from Al Qaeda launched and on the move in Algeria.
Day 25 - 5 suspects in vehicle arrived in border town with Mali and Humint reveals that two of the suspects meet with local criminal elements. Reason to launch a tactical team from Nouakchott , Mauritania to intercept if/when suspects cross the border, identify and disrupt.
Day 26 - The armed group was arrested after crossing in to Mali.
Day 27 - No evidence was found to establish a link with a planned terror attack nor our 60-days terror alert. It is not unusual for Al Qaeda to launch diversions.
Back to square one
Day 1 in Egypt
Day 1 - We identified mobile numbers, linked to the messages between members of the Al Qaida network as intercepted by the NSA mid-March, using Mobile phone transmission towers in Mansoura and Saeed, Cairo, Egypt.
The user of one phone/number revealed tradecraft, sufficient reason to initiate a low level of monitoring, collecting phone numbers, IMEI, IMSI, locations, time and duration of the call.
That phone A is in Egypt and makes calls to:
Day 1 - 8:57 | 67s The Netherlands Eindhoven
Day 1 - 9:18 | 202s The Netherlands Eindhoven
Day 1 - 15:26 | 13s Nigeria Port Harcourt
Day 1 15:35 | 517s Nigeria Port Harcourt
Day 2 the phone A is in Libya and calls with:
Day 2 - 11:07 | 426s Nigeria Abuja
Day 2 - 14:24 | 84s Senegal Dakar (Ouest Foire)
Day 2 - 15:44 | 156s Senegal Dakar (Ouest Foire)
Day 2 - 22:25 | 0s Receives SMS from Luxembourg Orange Internet SMS Service
Day 3 the phone A is still in Libya and calls with:
Day 3 - 9:27 | 347s Nigeria Port Harcourt
Day 3 - 9:34 | 322s Nigeria Abuja
Day 3 21:51 | 268s Senegal Dakar Grande Mosque (Nord Foire)
Day 4 the phone A is in Algeria and calls with:
Day 4 - 17:32 | 11s Senegal Dakar Marche Artisanal de Soumbedioune
Day 5 the phone A still is in Algeria and calls with:
Day 5 - 9:58 | 124s Monaco
Day 5 - 11:08 | 19s Serbia Kosovo Pristina
Day 5 - 12:23 | 150s Senegal Dakar (Ouest Foire)
Day 5 - 12:27 | 45s Received a call from Senegal Dakar (Mauritanian subscription)
Day 5 - 14:57 | 83s Senegal Dakar Marche Artisanal de Soumbedioune
Day 5 - The combination of calls to subscribers in Monaco and Kosovo signals a possible connection to our terror alert and is reason to switch to real-time monitoring and launch a special operations team to identify and disrupt. The first and only incoming call from a Mauritanian subscriber in Senegal reveals a connection to a 'Hotel resort in Dakar Senegal' mentioned in the 60-day terror alert on day one of month two.
Day 6 the phone A is in Mali and calls with:
Day 6 - 3:27 | 38s Australia Brisbane
Day 6 - 9:20 | 169s Australia Brisbane
Day 6 - 12:35 | 38s voicemail Senegal Dakar Marche Artisanal de Soumbedioune
Day 6 - 12:35 | 24s Senegal Dakar Marche Artisanal de Soumbedioune
Day 6 - 14:37 | 216s Senegal Dakar
Day 6 - The heavily armed terror cell composed of four nationalities - Algeria, Ghana, Mali, and Mauritania - was disrupted in a remote desert area of Mali which serves as a refuge for all kinds of traffickers, Tuareg rebels and Islamist activists.
Day 6 - Evidence immediately established intent and preparation for an imminent terror attack. The first analysis of the collected pocket litter traced one of the terrorist to the beachside at the Hotel resort as mentioned in our 60-days terror alert. It is not unusual for Al Qaeda to launch more cells. Reason to upgrade the security measures at the target and surrounding areas.
Day 6 - Further analysis identified another phone B possible from an insider and calls with:
Day 6 - 22:10 | 104s Nigeria Lagos
Around thirty Heads of State (Presidents, Prime Ministers), hundreds of finance Ministers, diplomats, leaders of financial institutions, NGOs, journalists, and other officials.
Even though some of the guests might have noticed the increased security, no one was aware they escaped a deadly massacre, an active terror threat by al Qaeda.
Every year there are hundreds of similar cases where the Intelligence Services and Counter-Terrorism efforts disrupt threats, but no one will ever know.
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