The Failure of Western Intelligence
The Westminster Attack, the Berlin and Stockholm lorry attacks, the Paris Attacks, the Brussel Airport bombings… the list goes on and on.
It’s clear that Western intelligence has failed to prevent a number of terrorist attacks from taking place and while it is true that many are caught into European security nets every month, many more are able to slip through.
It is evident at this point that intelligence and security agencies are actually being prevented by their respective governments from performing effective strategies to erase the Islamist threat in Europe. This is simply a direct consequence of these agencies being put under the command of what are more often than not civil servants with no field experience. In addition to that, the hardening political climate in the West has led to the implementation of political correctness even in these agencies; without a doubt, German and French agents are prevented from actively monitoring Muslim communities as a whole rather than single individuals, and that’s exactly how it was possible for many ISIS-affiliated preachers to keep instigating impunely against the West right in the heart of Germany, France, and many other countries, for years. Only assuming this mutilated protocol of operations to be applied can we understand how countless Turkish imams in Germany were able to spy for Erdogan1 in front of the BND’s nose, and how Salah Abdeslam, responsible for the Bataclan massacre in Paris, was able to hide in Brussels for weeks.
Western intelligence/security agencies simply have neither eyes nor ears in Muslim communities around Europe, and that’s because they are not allowed by their civil overlords to plant them where they are needed.
What is also worrying is that in active operations expertise disappears with time, so Intelligence Agencies are going to get less and less competent in keeping Islamists under control unless a stark policy change is implemented.
On the other hand, what you are going to find is that countries with security/intelligence agencies that regularly elude “democratic” control fare significantly better in the same field (even when ruled by governments that are just as treachearous and anti-nationalist!).
Italy is indeed one of these countries; while it is true that Italy’s muslim population is numerically inferior (and less dispersed as well) when compared to other countries, it is also true that they have one of the most pro-immigration governments in Europe as of writing this article.
However, not a single high-profile Islamist attack has taken place on Italian soil in the last few decades – and this is exactly because of the consistent failure by multiple governments to establish their control over their intelligence agencies. In fact, Italy’s various secret services were disbanded, split, and/or shuffled around an incredible amount of times in the country’s 70 years of democratic history, which are only matched by the number of times the secret services were involved in the plotting and executing coups and putsches; a true testament to the struggle that bringing them under control was and still is. And while eluding civil control, Italian agents where out in the field fighting against the notorious Red Brigades and a number of other terrorist organisations during the years of Lead.
A similar case can be made with Spain, where years of Basque terrorism have forged Spanish Intelligence, which also remained fairly independent from post-Franco governments. The events surrounding the 23-F Putsch also point in that direction, i.e. a certain degree of autonomy from elected governments in the armed forces and in the police.
Of course, this lack of “democratic” control has historically meant a few characteristics that are unknown in Germany or the UK, such as a proverbial history of mysteries that have never been explained in Italy, and an unstable democratic history (both Italy and Spain).
In Italy especially, it is also notable that during the 2001 G8 in Genoa the police basically went to war2 3 4on thousands of protesters, including a full-scale night-time raid5. Interestingly, torture is not a felony6 in itself in Italy (realistically because the only ones torturing someone are likely to be policemen…?)7.
Make no mistake, the Italians executed the Berlin attacker in Milan, and they knew where to find him exactly – i do not believe that they where so lucky that they stopped him for a routine check and a shootout conveniently ensued. The policemen where most likely tipped off by the secret service (if not agents themselves, as is common for Intelligence agents to be police officers in Italy), and they executed him on the spot. And while Germany’s authorities refused to bestow and award on the officers because of their openly declared fascist sympathies8, nobody in Italy cared and they were hailed as heroes.
Yes, Germany’s BND is putting to good use the expertise in political repression9 they acquired after the remnants of the East-German Stasi merged into the West-German agency – but their skills in anti-terrorism operations seem to have significantly degraded since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
To each their own, but if you ask me, in order for my country to be safe I’d rather have an unfriendly agent using “enhanced interrogation techniques” and smashing terrorists’ teeth in in a dimly lit basement than a tie-wearing, nerd-face employee sitting in a desk and censoring rightwingers’ opinions on Facebook.
7It is also notable how none but a handful of policemen have been tried for the mentioned facts, with most receiving only light sentences – itself a proof of the independence the italian security apparatus enjoys.
9Especially if they are asked to repress right wing opposition.