Denmark terror plan ‘destined to fail’: expert

A plot foiled this week to massacre staff at a Danish newspaper was destined to fail because the suspects' links to Islamic extremists were so well known, a terrorism expert was quoted saying Saturday.

Denmark terror plan 'destined to fail': expert

One of the five men arrested Wednesday was “so publicly exposed and known by the intelligence services that the plot against Jyllands-Posten was almost destined to fail,” Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the Swedish National Defence College, told the Politiken daily’s online edition.

Munir Awad, a 29-year-old Swede born in Lebanon, was one of five men arrested Wednesday for hatching what Danish officials called a plan to “kill as many people as possible” in an assault on the Jyllands-Posten daily.

The paper published in September 2005 a dozen cartoons of the Muslim prophet that triggered violent and sometimes deadly protests around the world, as well as threats against the daily.

Four men — including Awad and two other Stockholm-based men — were arrested in suburbs of Copenhagen and one was arrested at his home north of the Swedish capital.

The four Swedish residents had all been under surveillance for months, Swedish intelligence service Säpo said this week.

Sweden’s foreign ministry confirmed Friday that Awad had been arrested in Somalia in 2007 and in Pakistan in 2009 and that Swedish officials had intervened on his behalf.

Awad had publicly thanked Säpo for obtaining his release from Somalia when he was detained there three years ago with his then 17-year-old pregnant wife.

“We know Säpo brought us home and we are very grateful,” he told a Swedish newspaper at the time.

In Pakistan Awad, his wife and their two-year-old son were arrested in the company of Mehdi Ghezali, a Swede who had spent two years in the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, ministry spokesman Anders Jörle told AFP.

Swedish news reports also said he had on and off had shared a Stockholm apartment with two members of the Islamist movement Al-Shabaab who were sentenced to prison by a Swedish court in December for “planning terrorist crimes” in Somalia.

“He is probably about the last man professional terrorists would send off on a mission to Denmark,” Ranstorp said, adding he guessed the suspects in the foiled Danish plot were likely “semi-amateurs”.

Petter Nessar of the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment said meanwhile that while Awad and his suspected accomplices may not have been ideal picks to carry out a professional attack, “terror cells need to use the resources they can get hold of.”

“And even though the terrorists were not successful in carrying out the operation … it has had a clear effect. People are frightened and that is the core essence of terror,” he told Politiken.


Swedish politician condemns Denmark’s ‘shit sandwich’ sewage plan

Copenhagen's water utility has been asked to postpone a plan to dump 290,000 cubic meters of untreated raw sewage into the Øresund Strait in the face of outrage from citizens and politicians in both Sweden and Denmark.

Swedish politician condemns Denmark's 'shit sandwich' sewage plan
Swimmers taking part in the Øresund Challenge back in 2011. Photo: Dennis Lehmann/Ritzau Scanpix
After a meeting on Monday afternoon, Ninna Hedeager Olsen, Copenhagen's environmental mayor, said she had asked civil servants to ask Hofor postpone the release until the autumn. 
“There has been an opportunity for Hofor to postpone the test work they will be doing until October,” she told state broadcaster DR. “That is why I have asked the administration to demand it.” 
Politicians in both Denmark and Sweden were up in arms on Sunday when details of the plan became known, forcing the utility to first postpone the release by 24 hours, and now postpone it further. 
Niels Paarup-Petersen, a member of parliament for Sweden's Centre Party, told The Local that the plan was just the latest in a long list of insults Denmark had thrown at its Scandinavian neighbour. 
“We’ve been served shit sandwich after shit sandwich over the last couple of years, but we've never been served so much shit in one go as this,” he said.  
Jacob Næsager, a city politician with Denmark's Conservative party, said that it was astonishing that the plan had been approved. 
“Many people want to swim in the Øresund, and I think it is extremely disgusting that people literally have to swim in other people's shit,” he said. 
Finn Rudaizky, a city politician for the Danish People's Party on the city's environment committee, called the plan “completely crazy”.
After Olsen announced the decision to postpone the plan, Morten Østergaard leader of Denmark's Social Liberal party congratulated those who had spotted it and launched a protest. 
“Good God, that was hanging by a thread, but hats off for the action,” he said. “'Shit good', as Niels Paarup from our sister party wrote.” 

Paarup-Petersen told The Local that he recognised that the utility had to empty the sewer to allow construction to go ahead at Svanemølleholmen in Nordhavn.
But he said there was no need to dump so much sewage in one go right at the start of the summer swimming season.  
“They can spread it out over a longer period, they can do it in a better season when people won't be swimming and there might be better currents,” he said. “It would also be possible to plan it a bit better so it will be released over more days.” 
He said he planned to work together with the Danish Social Liberal party to put in place greater environmental protections around the Øresund. 
“In the long term we have to find solutions, because there are solutions that can mean that the Øresund no longer needs to be a sewer,” he said. 
In a memo to the mayor issued on Monday, city civil servants said that they could not withdraw the permit issued to Hofor, as it had been drawn up in accordance with the correct procedures. 
Hedeager Olsen said she would now launch ask a team of  external experts in law and the environment to investigate why the city's civil servants believed it was right to authorise the discharge. 
“When the administration today concludes in a note that they believe the case management has been correct, and at the same time you hear environmental professors and others say that it is not, it is important to get the case investigated at a fundamental level,” she told DR.