The Slaying of the Dutch Filmmaker
In the introduction, it is stressed that the Norwegian report "surveys in depth the available open source information about the ritualistic murder of the filmmaker Theo Van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam on November 2, 2004". It does include, however, some information not from 'open sources', but provided by an unidentified 'Dutch intelligence official' in January 2005. Some of those remarks:
-It has (.....) been confirmed that three members of the network trained in Kashmiri jihad camps in Pakistan, and that two members attended a training facility in Afghanistan.
-Mohammed Bouyeri probably had a more important role in the group than was first perceived. The fact that the group regularly convened in his house is an indicator that he played an important role. In addition, his profile matches those of leading operatives and coordinators of planned attacks throughout Western Europe. There are indications that Bouyeri was the "communications coordinator" of the Hofstad Network.
-His current whereabouts is unknown, but according to a Dutch intelligence official there are indications that he might have headed back to Syria. (re. the Syrian preacher Ridwan al-Issar, the alleged ideological leader of the group.)
The members of the Hofstad Network:
Mohammed Bouyeri aka Abu Zubair
Mohammed Fahmi Boughabe aka Abu Mussab
Ismail Akhnikh aka Suheib
Jason Walters aka Abu Mujahied al-Amrikie
Mohamed Bassem al-Issa aka Radwan al-Issa aka Abu Khaled
Mohammed El Morabit
Nouredine El Fatmi
Mohammed El Bouklaoui
Conclusions from an unclassified Norvegian report on the Van Gogh killing:
The analysis (.....) indicates that the slaying of Theo Van Gogh should be considered a terrorist attack, not by a lone fanatic, but by a member of an al-Qaida inspired Sunni Islamist ad-hoc terrorist network. For example, the modus operandi of the attack was typical of al-Qaida and its associated groups waging global jihad against the US and its allies around the world. The radical Islamist milieu the killer belonged to, the Hofstad Network, was involved in the same type of activities and "organized" itself in the same way as other al-Qaida associated or inspired terrorist networks that have been detected in Western Europe recent years. In addition, the social profiles of Bouyeri, and other members of the Hofstad Network, resemble those of incarcerated militant Islamists who have been planning attacks in European countries.
Contextual analysis of the operation in Amsterdam indicates potential motivations related to multiple contexts that could be considered relevant for Muslim immigrants to Holland, such as Dutch immigration policy and counter-terrorism efforts, the "global war on terrorism" and the invasion of Iraq, as well as increased conflict-levels in areas of political grievance and symbolic value to Islamists and Muslims in general, such as in Palestine, Chechnya and Kashmir. In addition the Van Gogh case suggests that statements by high-profile persons that are exposed in the media might be interpreted as "insults against Islam", and thus serve as partial motivation for terrorism, or at least affect the target selection of the Islamist militants, who have chosen terrorism as a strategy in the battle against the US and its allies. The murder of the filmmaker also showed the effectiveness of an assassination of a public figure in spreading fear and escalating the levels of conflict between the Dutch and immigrants to Holland, adding to a growing xenophobia, which in turn might lead to increased problems of integration, and make alienated young Muslim immigrants receptive of al-Qaida's vision of global jihad.
From a counter terrorism perspective, the concept of complex motivations, or multiple social, political and religious motivations (related to different contexts), implies that the police and intelligence services working to prevent terrorist attacks should pay careful attention to political developments beyond the geographical area they police, and be aware that Islamist terrorism might occur as a response by developments in other countries, or faraway areas of the world. There is an urgent need for systematically mapping motivational factors and "triggers", as well as mapping the various types of targets that might be attacked, the timing and the operational patterns of the terrorist cells, in order to develop effective early warning systems. In this respect one has to find out more about who the terrorists are, and the social contexts that "produce" potential terrorists. In addition it seems important, in the prosecution of terrorist suspects, to strike a balance between being firm, on the one hand, and being prudent and just on the other. This in order not to stir unnecessary anger among broader segments of the Diaspora communities and create new incentives for joining militant groups. On the political level, as much as possible should be done to reduce social and political grievances locally and internationally, that might motivate Islamist terrorists, and might be interpreted in terms of al-Qaida's ideology that Islam is under a worldwide attack by the US and its allies.
Read full report here.
Source: Norwegian Defence Research Establishment FFI, 'The Slaying of the Dutch Filmmaker'.