onsdag, november 10, 2010

Infiltrerade GIA, såg kopplingarna till Sverige

Under en period på nittiotalet hade världens då blodigaste terroristgrupp GIA en kontaktadress i Haninge i Stockholm. En redaktör för deras propagandablad Al Ansar bodde där.

Fenomenet med att Sverige används som central för att sprida terroristpropaganda är alltså inget nytt. Colombianska kommunistgerillan Farc har haft sin propagandagren här, och på samma sätt sker liknande även idag, med somaliska Shabaabs forum Al Qimmah.

Vid tiden uppstod en viss kontrovers om detta, och som alltid var det Jan Guillou som skrev överslätande om verksamheten. Men långt senare blev Al Ansar-redaktören världsnyhet – han hette Mohamed Moumou, kallade sig för Abu Qaswarah, och dog som andreman för Al Qaida i Irak.

Men hur gick det till att göra GIA:s propaganda, och vad innehöll den?

I Inside the Jihad: My Life with Al Qaeda, A Spy's Story skriver pseudonymen Omar Nasiri om sin tid som infiltratör i GIA. Hans berättelse bekräftar den svenska kopplingen, och hans skildring av Al Ansar borde få Jan Guillou att skämmas. Det går att läsa utdrag i Google books.

Det börjar med att Omar Nasiri bor ihop med några meningsfränder i Bryssel.

During the day, Tarek and Kamal would use my bedroom as an office. Tarek was there most of every day, working on his laptop. There was a fax machine on the landing, and faxes were arriving hourly. One of the two men was always standing by the machine when the faxes came in, so I never saw what they were about or who they were from. The transmission confirmations were left lying around, though, and I'd look to see where the faxes were from. Every week on Wednesday or Thursday a fax would arrive from London or Sweden, or occasionally from France. Tarek, Amin, and Yasin were always anticipating this fax, and talking about someone named Elias, who lived abroad. I had no idea who he was. From comments the others made, I got hints of all sorts of things: Elias had lived in France, he had lived in Sweden, he was married to a European woman. I knew only one thing for certain: Elias lived in London now.

Tarek always waited by the machine when he expected a fax from Elias. One day I waited, too, and then followed him back to the bedroom once he had taken it from the machine. "What are you doing?" I asked him, pretending just to be curious.

He looked up briefly; clearly he was in a rush. "I'm finishing Al Ansar".

I knew about Al Ansar, of course. I had been stuffing envelopes every week since I arrived in Belgium. I knew it was the newsletter of the GIA and that the copies we sent out were going to addresses all over the world. Each copy we sent would be photocopied hundreds or even thousands of times to be distributed in mosques. I had also been reading more about Al Ansar in the newspapers at the Fnac. I knew from Le Monde and Le Figaro that the authorities considered it a terrorist publication, and that the police were trying to find out who was behind it.

From Al Ansar i learned more about what was happening in Algeria – the news of the civil war was coming straight from the front. Often it took a week or two for the European papers to catch up. The GIA was executing policemen and teachers an particularly members of rival opposition groups. They were targeting civilians, too; anyone who didn't accept their version of islam. Also journalists, intellectuals, all foreigners – the list went on and on.

Tarek's job, I learned, was to pull together all the faxes from London and Sweden, and to translate everything from French into Arabic and Arabic into French; Al Ansar was published in both. He would add his commentary as well. Kamal was always there to help him and was particularly good with the French translations. Tarek had a stamp that he would use on the final version before they photocopied it. It was a sketch of crossed Kalashnikovs, with a sword and a Ku'ran.

Sometimes, Tarek would talk about what he was writing or thinking about the GIA and Algeria. He blamed France for propping up the government in Algeria. He seemed to think the French were to blame for the civil war, that they were playing politics in the country their oil interests. I disagreed with him. ”Don't you think the Algerians are themselves at least partly to blame?” I asked him one day.

He was totally shocked, and asked me what I meant. I reminded him that Algeria, too, had sought a cozy relationship with France. Only a few months after Algeria proclaimed independence from France, Ben Bella, the first president of Algeria, had cut a deal allowing the French to continue their nuclear tests on Algerian soil – so long as they remained secret. Although I didn't say so to Tarek, the true scandal in my mind was not the way western governments exploited the Muslim world. It was that the Muslim world went along with it.

Tarek barely listened to what I was telling him, and I knew I wasn't going to convince him of anything. I was exasperated. ”If France is the problem,” I finally asked, ”then why aren't the GIA killing people there, instead of Algeria?”

”It isn't the right time now,” he said without a pause. ”But that time will come.”
Efter detta grips berättaren av tvivel, stjäl pengar av sina kumpaner, och går till franska konsulatet. Där får han sedermera kontakt med en DGSE-agent vid namn Gilles, som värvar honom för att infiltrera GIA.
I met with Gilles every two weeks. We used the same system every time. I'd call the number he gave me, and he'd name a spot where I could find him. I'd follow him, and eventually we would meet up at a fancy hotel, usually somewhere near the Place Rogier. Each time, at the end, he'd give me about eight thousand francs, sometimes slightly more, for the information I'd given him. On this he was totally reliable. I never had to remind him or ask him for money.

He was less reliable in other ways, and it was rough at first. Gilles had the temperament of a dictator: he always wanted to be in control. He wanted to tell me what to do, what to say to Amin, Yasin and Tarek. He was constantly pushing me to get into their ”inner circle” and telling me how to do it. But I had the power – I had the information he needed – and I didn't like him ordering me around. I told him so, again and again, and I knew he was frustrated.

I was angry, too. I knew that if I let him he would take everything I had. I would cease to be an asset to him and become a liability. He would need to dispose of me, and he could put me in jail, or maybe even something worse. I wasn't going to let that happen.

And so over time we came to a kind of rough compromise. He didn't ask for specifics, generally. He would just say ”What's going on?” and I'd tell him what I'd seen. Sometimes I gave him things, like the fax confirmations, or the files from the kitchen. He seemes particularly interested in the files, which surprised me. After I took them, I'd looked inside and it was just a long list of addresses, some in France, some in Tunisia. It didn't seem particularly exciting to me, but Gilles seemed very pleased. He told med I'd done good work.

Gilles was interested in Al Ansar. He wanted to know more about the stamp I'd seen Tarek use. He asked me if I'd seen anyone else use the stamp or another one like it, and I said no. He asked where we were sending the newsletters, and I told him that they were going all over the world. Not just Europe or Africa or the Middle East, but also the United States and Canada and Brazil and Argentina and Russia and South Africa and Australia – everywhere. Gilles tokk very careful notes on all of this, and I could tell he was concerned.

Mostly, though, Gilles and I would look at photographs. Thousands of photographs over the course of several months. He would lay batches down on the table and ask me who I recognised. At first, there were only a few I could identify: Amin, Yassin, Tarek, Hakim. But as time went on there were more: some of the men who came for dinner, others that came to pick up and drop off cars, and others who came through on the way to and from the fronts. Gilles seemed to know a lot about some of them already; he knew many of their names. Often he wanted something more from me: information about who talked to who, where each man was coming from and going to, what language they spoke, who was in charge. He wanted to know how the network functioned. My job was to fill in the gaps in the knowledge he already had.

The pictures were coming not only from Belgium. Many times he would show me photographs of some of the men I identified, particularly Tarek, in foreign countries. Pictures from France, Spain, Holland, England. I realized that each time I identified someone, the sevice would have that person followed.

From all this I gradually learned a bit more about the GIA. I learned that Amin was the head of political operations for the cell in Brussels. Yasin ran the military wing; he was in charge of acquiring the munitions and the logistics of getting them from place to place.

Sometimes I also spoke to Gilles about politics. He never asked me what I thought about these things, but once in a while I told him anyway.

”You know you've already lost,” I told him one day.
”Lost what?” he asked.
”Your battle against the terrorists. You've already lost your battle.”

Gilles was curious and asked me why I said that. I told him that Muslims everywhere were rebelleing against the dictators they lived under. In Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, and all over the Middle East, Muslims knew that their governments were being propped up by France, England, or the United States. It was bad enough to live under these repressive regimes, but far worse knowing that these regimes were just the playthings of Zionist and Christian nations. It enraged Muslims and made them hate the West. And it made them distrust democracy, because they saw how antidemocratic Western countries could be when it served their interests. There would always be violence, I told him, as long as Western powers continued to manipulate the Muslim world.

Gilles never said anything when I spoke to him about these things. He would just lean back and listen.

When something happened that was out of the ordinary, I would always tell Gilles. Gilles was particularly interested in Elias, the man in London with whom Tarek was in contact about Al Ansar. Gilles was always asking for mor informatiion about him, but since I'd never seen Elias all I could give Gilles were the confirmations from the fax machine.

So I was very interested when I overheard Yasin, Amin and Hakim talking about Elias one day. And when Hakim asked me the next morning to go to the airport with him to pick someone up, I jumped at the opportunity.

At the airport we picked up a man carrying a small suitcase. He was young – in his early twenties. Hakim never introduced us, so even though I assumed the man was Elias I had no way of knowing.

We took him back to the house and then, a few hours later, drove him to a car park north of Brussels. Yasin and Amin had come along, and when we got to the car park everyone got out except me.

”Can I come with you?” I asked.
”No,” said Amin. ”You stay in the car.”

So I watched them from the car. The four of them stood in a cluster for a few minutes, and then another man approached them. I didn't see where he'd come from. He was shorter than the man from the airport, and much older – in his late thirties, at least. His hair and his beard were both cut short. The others clearly looked up to him – even from the car I could see that they treated him with great respect.

The five of them talked for a few minutes, and then the younger man handed the older one the suitcase. Soon everyone except the older man got back into the car. Then we drove the young man back to the airport and dropped him off for a flight to Stockholm.

When I told Gilles all this, he was very excited and wanted to know more about the older man, the one I had seen from the car. I couldn't tell him very much but I was able to describe him.

Gilles was very excited. He smiled a lot and told me I had done great work. Gilles was nearly as excited on another occasion, when I learned that Tarek had another name. I found this out by accident. One day, I was at the house at the same time Tarek was there picking up some faxes. He stayed for dinner. Nabil was there also, along with his friend Ali; the three of us were planning to go to the cinema that night.

After he finished eating, Nabil went upstairs to get his coat. When he was halfway up the stairs he shouted out Ali's name — he had some sort of question — and Ali looked up and answered. But I noticed that Tarek looked up also, and that he opened his mouth to say something. He caught himself, and immediately went silent. He put his head down and focused on eating and pretended nothing had happened.

The next time I saw Gilles I told him that Tarek responded to the name Ali. He smiled broadly and leaned back in his chair. "That's very good information," he said. ”Very good.”
Förutom från kopplingarna till Sverige är bokens beskrivningar av själva nyhetsbladet Al Ansar också intressanta. När Jan Guillou skrev i Aftonbladet om ett till GIA relaterat rättsfall kallade han Al Ansar för ”en liten nyhetsbulletin” som ”kritiserade militärdiktaturen” i Algeriet. De som spred nyhetsbladet jämfördes av Guillou med ”vad tiotusentals svenska FNL-aktivister gjorde på 60- och 70-talen”.

Killen som själv stod vid kopiatorn gav en mindre ursäktande bild.
On december 24, 1994, everything changed for me. That was the day four members om the GIA hijacked an Air France flight on the runway in Algiers.

Throughout the year, I had been reading a lot about the escalation of the civil war in Algeria. The GIA had taken over huge swaths of the countryside. They killed indiscriminately – women, children, even the cattle. They attacked secular schools and killed teachers and headmistresses, even students sometimes. I knew most of this from reading Al Ansar, which not only reported on the attacks but also justified them theologically. It claimed that these attacks on civilians were legitimate because these people were supporting the enemy regime – which meant only that they didn't support tha GIA. All this made perfect sense, of course, to Amin, Yasin, and the others. But to me it all seemed very wrong.

Increasingly, the GIA was trying to draw France into the war. They were targeting French nationals in particular; earlier in the fall they had killed five employess of the french embassy.

Most of the people on the Air France flight were Muslims. The people who fly from Paris to Algiers and back again are mostly immigrants, going back to visit their families. But the GIA didn't care. They wanted to show the world that they were attacking France. It was nothing more than a symbol for them.

The hijacking began with a murder. The hijackers had smuggled Kalashnikovs onto the plane, and after a few hours they dumped the body of one of the passengers on the tarmac. He was an Algerian police officer. They had shot him in the head. The hijackers told the authorities they would kill more passengers if they weren't allowed to take off. But the Algerian authorities wouldn't let them, and soon the GIA killed another passenger and threw his body on the runway. This was all in the first few hours.

We had no television in the house. Television was taghut, of course. But events were unfolding so quickly that I couldn't keep the pace by reading the newspapers at the Fnac. So I bough myself a small television and snuck it up to my room. I stayed glued to it throughout the ordeal.

A day after the hijacking began, the plane was still on the tarmac in Algiers. The army still wouldn't let the hijackers take off. Late at night on december 25, the hijackers shot a third passanger in the head and dumped him on the runway, as they had with the others.

It was very strange watching all this on television. For months, I had been reading all the horrible stories in Al Ansar, and sometimes in the French papers as well. Stories of beheadings, mass killings, car bombings. But seeing it on television was different.