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Agent MattPosted: Dec 02, 2010 - 09:28

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MADRID — The police in Spain and Thailand arrested 10 people suspected of operating a counterfeiting network that provided fake European passports to terrorist groups linked to Al Qaeda in order to smooth their entry into Western countries, the Spanish Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

Seven people — six Pakistanis and one Nigerian — were arrested in Barcelona in raids late on Tuesday and early on Wednesday, and three more — two Pakistanis and one Thai — were arrested in Bangkok in the same period, the ministry said in a statement.

One of the Pakistanis arrested in Bangkok, a 42-year-old named Muhammad Athar Butt, known as Tony, directed the forging operation from Thailand, according to a Spanish security official. Mr. Butt was also in charge of cells in Brussels and London, the security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official was talking about a current investigation.

The arrests struck at “an important passport operation for Al Qaeda, weakening its international counterfeiting apparatus, and therefore, its capacity to operate,” the ministry statement said, adding that the raids came after a year-and-a-half-long international investigation, which is continuing.

The police said the network was linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based terrorist group behind attacks in Mumbai, India, in November 2008 that killed at least 163 people. The network also provided counterfeit passports and other documents to the Tamil Tigers, the Sri Lankan separatist group defeated last year by the government after decades of war, the police said.

The terrorist organizations would request forged passports from the network according to nationality and age, the authorities said. Members of the network would then steal passports from tourists, mainly in Barcelona, and send them to Thailand where they were forwarded to the terrorist groups, they said.

The ministry statement hinted at how the plot was discovered, saying that officials had “detected the transport to Thailand of numerous passports stolen from Spain.”

The raids come at a time of heightened concern among American and European officials over a possible terrorist strike in Europe. In October, the State Department in Washington issued an alert for American travelers to Europe to be vigilant about possible attacks.

The arrests in Spain and Thailand offer a window into the shadowy nexus between terrorist organizations and loose criminal networks in Europe and Asia that facilitate terrorist activities by helping provide militants with transportation, weapons or logistical support. Some terrorist groups use in-house facilitators — to raise money, for instance — while they outsource other needs for their illicit operations.

Counterterrorism specialists say that disrupting facilitators who provide militants valuable services can sharply disrupt terrorist groups, at least until they find replacements.

The police seized nine passports awaiting shipment to Thailand and another that had already been forged, along with a computer and 50 cellphones in raids on the suspects’ homes in Raval, a downtown neighborhood that is home to a large immigrant community. Spanish television showed images of one of the arrests, with a man taken away in handcuffs at dawn by the police. The man was heard repeatedly saying, “I’m not a terrorist, that is a lie.” An Interior Ministry official familiar with the case said further arrests could not be ruled out.

In January 2008, Spain’s military police arrested 14 men in Raval, who were accused of being part of a vast, coordinated suicide plot that officials said demonstrated the growing threat of terrorist activities migrating from Pakistan to Continental Europe.

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Edward L WinstonPosted: Dec 02, 2010 - 13:59

President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho: porn star and five-time ultimate smackdown wrestling champion!

Level: 150
CS Original

Do I have the be the first to say it? False-flag, duh.

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