The solution is not to look the other way
Neo-terrorism creates confusion, mobilizes and trains “tough guys” anywhere in the world
Blowing up and burning night clubs, liquor stores and places of entertainment are among their targets.
From rockers to salsa lovers. People of any sexual orientation. Hispanic descents, American or European. Rich or poor. Men or women. Concerned about the world that surrounds them or completely careless. Atheist or religious. Anyone could become a fatal victim of the young people enlisted in these terrorist acts that often consists in blowing up explosives in public places or shooting out innocent by-standers. Their moto is to redeem the world from good sense, justice and even freedom, and build up a better world without the stain of the infidels through a sacrifice that would lead them to heaven itself. Is this about criminality, ignorance, religious enthusiasm, political extremism, crisis of values, simple madness or a blend of all these factors?
From Paris to Orlando. From Orlando, where?
Let us remember the massacre at the Bataclan theatre, during a Death Metal concert at Paris. A building with the resemblance of a Chinese Pagoda that hosted a terrorist attack against 1.000 people that was described literally as a carnage, with dozens of dead bodies floating in a pool of blood, as described by the French diary Le Monde. What was planned to be a musical gathering on that night of November 13th, 2015, soon became the killing of 130 people by the hand of several gunmen that, previous to the shooting at the concert, had also attacked a stadium, a food establishment and a place of entertainment. There were also more than 350 wounded. The shooters were in their late 20s.
The attack started at 9:30 pm that night. Four men armed with assault rifles burst into the concert hall through the main entrance and started a shoot-out. At the beginning, the audience thought that the gunfire sound was part of the show. But then people realized that they were under attack, tells a 27-year-old man that attended the concert. “They had time to reload their firearms at least three times”, tells journalist Julien Pierce from the radio station Europe 1, who was at the concert hall when the mayhem began. Some of the survivors played dead in order the save their own lives, others heard the terrorists shooting the dying victims while they were trying to reach out for help.
“Still in Bataclan. First floor. Seriously wounded. Make the assault. There are survivors inside the building. They are killing everybody, one by one. First floor. Hurry.” Tweeted one of the wounded victims, still trapped with the attackers.
On June 12th, 2016 another massacre occurs on Pulse, a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. 49 people died in the shooting and half a hundred were wounded. The attacker was identified as 29-year-old Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, who opened fire against 300 people that were having a night out.
According to a source close to the employees and owners of the nightclub, one of the survivors was hiding on the bathroom and had to cover himself up with the dead bodies in order to protect his physical integrity. That is how he managed to survive.
The allegedly perpetrator was an Afghan-American descent who called 911 hours before the shooting to leave record of his loyalty to ISIS, as stated by the local authorities to the press.
However, there is no further evidence to confirm that the shooting was conducted by international terrorists or that it was part of a bigger scale plan, explained President Barack Obama. The attacker “was inspired on very extremist information found on internet”.
Agencies against terrorism are now talking about new ways terrorists attacks originated from within as well as worldwide.
Without victims to regret, authorities thwarted others plots with similar targets. The entertainment industry continues to be one of the primary targets of the terrorists and is under heavy attack as part of this macabre strategy of spreading terror.
Colombo-Venezuelan cooperation manages risks
Let us begin with September 2014, as in the Black September Organization and the 9/11 attack against the World Trade Center in New York.
Before leaving Colombia, Lorent Enrique Gómez Saleh, a Venezuelan young man from Palestinian descent, and Gabriel Valles Sguerzi yelled in front of the few cameras recording the event that they were merely students fighting for their human rights, and also claimed that those rights were being violated at the moment they were being turned to the repressive government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.
Shortly after, several documents were revealed and things did not turn out well for the two young men. First, there were photographs showing Saleh with a Galil rifle and Valles wearing a Colombian military uniform. The Venezuelan District Attorney accused Saleh of several crimes regarding his participation in violent protests at the state of Carabobo, Venezuela.
Footage from VTV (Venezolana de Televisión), the state-owned station from Venezuela, also became public and once again brought attention to Saleh and Valles. In this footage, both men are seen having a conversation with a third person.
“The heat is on, we will begin a full training in Bogotá. There is going to be ten people. From shooting, to explosives and military strategy, including self-defense and parachuting. We will begin right after the Election Day. We are doing a general training here, but the training we are going to take in Bogotá is more specialized” explains Saleh.
This plot, thwarted by the Colombian authorities with the detention of Saleh and his partner, included, as stated in the video, “blowing up and burning nightclubs and liquor stores”.
In Caracas, there were claims that during the days of intense protests against the government, there were organizations and sectors of civil society upset because of the apathy of the young people towards the political dispute going on between the government and the opposition parties. Members of the extreme opposition complained that the young people preferred having nightlife instead of actively participating in political action and thus had to be punished or intimidated through attacks that would empty the nightclubs and theaters. That would be the alleged strategy schemed by Saleh.
The third party on the video is someone who is asked to provide bulletproof vests, although the young men clarify that the ammunition and the rifles “will be safely provided by militaries in Bogotá, through the Army”. Let us remember that both Saleh and Valles had their photograph taken in front of the War College, where they underwent a training in security and defense and made contact with Colombian military officers.
But the Venezuelan government revealed new footage in which both men are shown describing plots to use C4 explosives obtained in Colombia for their attacks.
“We can affirm that these two young men are not innocent at all. Some would depict them as saints and not terrorists. They are supposed to have wings, but instead carry weapons”, pointed out Colombia’s Minister of Presidential and Public Affairs, Néstor Humberto Martínez.
Saleh, current member of the group Venezuela Freedom, talks in the footage about four targets in San Cristóbal, Venezuela and claims that is necessary to take down the heads of the pro-Chávez collectives to start a “social cleansing”.
On the alert for new attacks in the West
A few weeks ago, and for the first time, a statement in Spanish was issued by the terrorist group ISIS to threaten Spain along with all the Spanish-speaking countries.
Through a twelve-paragraph manuscript of two pages full of misspellings and grammar mistakes, spread by Wafa’ Media Foundation and signed by Abu Baraa Ibn Malik, the jihadists justified their terrorists attacks claiming them as a response to the recent bombings on Syria and Iraq on behalf of the western countries.
“The wise men among you must be wondering why we attacked you and perhaps you still wonder why our soldiers, our leaders and our members insists in taking your heads. Here is the answer: the governments that collects your taxes and your votes to represent you are sending armies to kill old people, women and children mercilessly, just because they’re Muslims that rely on the judge of Allah instead of the judgement of your governments that exists only to steal our wealth, kill and imprison our people”, states the manuscript.
Western countries have killed at least 300 innocent civilians from Syria and Iraq “by the use of bombs and chemical weapons fund by your own money and all of you carry on with your lives, celebrating at your parties, while our children slowly bleed for our country”, claim the terrorists.
This is the reason why they do not hesitate in threatening the Spanish people. “We are going to kill every innocent Spanish infidel we find in our Muslim lands, or else attack you on your own lands. Do not forget that our people is loyal to our message.”
“Our religion and our faith live among you and even though you do not know their names, how do they look like or even their nationalities, they will kill you anyway, in your own land as it has been planned, the same way you killed our families”, continues the thread.
The Head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), John Brennan, informed during an appearance before the USA Senate Intelligence Committee that the terrorist group ISIS is trying to implement operations for new attacks and has members and activists that are prepared to act by their own in the West.
“This group is probably exploring a variety of methods to infiltrate in the West, including refugee camps, smuggling routes and legitimate travel methods”, added Brennan.
Brennan assured that United States and their allies have not been able to diminish the capacity of this terrorist organization to attack different cities around the globe.
“Unfortunately, despite our actions against ISIS in the battlefield and in the financial ground, our efforts have not been enough to reduce their terrorist capacities within the global range”.
Fair pay for sinners
Taking actions to avoid possible acts of terrorism may lead to excess that has consequences and collateral effects sooner or later. Even a well-known and democratically elected Mayor in Venezuela is currently under house arrest. This public figure is imprisoned due to diffuse and distant relations with Saleh’s organization. At the same time, it is believed that this situation affects many other actors as accomplices, accusers and witnesses.
Several human rights organizations are following up these situations and have reported abuse of authority in the war against terrorism, even on Cuban soil, from the US forces at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.
The military retaliation against ISIS also has its consequences. The aerial bombing of targets has hit hospitals both unintendedly and intendedly, since some of those hospitals were also used as shelters to hide terrorist leaders.
But the complexity of the problem rely on a wide range of the public opinion that thinks that terrorists are only dangerous when their attacks are successful, and base their opinion on morally correct aspects.
Given this situation, special antiterrorist operations to neutralize this – now international – faceless enemy army must be based on a protocol of preference and selection in order to avoid that the end justifies the means.
There cannot be any doubts about the human right to live, grow and do recreational activities in peace. The human rights of the vast majority of the world citizens are not considered to be less important than the rights of those imprisoned and prosecuted as terrorists, those who must pay for their criminal actions against people and public properties before the proper authorities, not by violence or fear, wherever it comes from.
You are not safe, not even watching a movie
Last but not least, the audience of a movie theater at the German city of Viernheim passed through moments of terror on June 23rd, when a man armed with a rifle barricaded himself inside the theater after shooting people.
Although it was believed that there were many wounded and dead, a spokesperson indicated later that all the hostages were released unharmed. The kidnapper was shot, as informed by the Minister of the Interior, Peter Beuth. Local authorities discarded the possibility of a terrorist act, according to German news agency, DPA.
The imitation of terrorist behavior is spreading and becoming more dangerous as time goes by.
Being at the movies, nightclubs, parks, liquor stores, stadiums or restaurants, the solution is not to look the other way.