Official: Qaddafi spy chief in Mali; Son next?

October 28, 2011

CBS News on October 27, 2011 released the following:

“(CBS/AP) DAKAR, Senegal – Muammar Qaddafi’s intelligence chief, who is wanted by Interpol, fled to Mali overnight after making his way across Niger where he has been hiding for several days in the country’s northern desert, an adviser to the president of Niger said Thursday.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the matter, said that Abdullah al-Senoussi entered Mali late Wednesday night via the Kidal region, which shares a border with Niger. He is guarded by a unit of about a dozen people and arrived in a convoy that was piloted by ethnic Tuaregs from Mali.

The official said that Qaddafi’s hunted son, Saif al-Islam, is also on his way to Mali and is traveling across the invisible line separating Algeria from Niger. The area, an ungoverned expanse of dunes stretching for hundreds of miles, has been used for years by drug traffickers as well as by an offshoot of al Qaeda.

“Senoussi is in Mali … he arrived yesterday,” said the adviser, an influential elder in the ethnic Tuareg community which overwhelmingly supported Qaddafi and remained loyal to him despite Niger’s official stance backing the country’s new rulers.

“Saif is going to Mali too. He is right now between Niger and Algeria. He is in the territory at the frontier between the two, heading to Mali,” the adviser said. “For the moment, they do not plan to approach the government. They are protected by the Tuaregs … and they are choosing to stay in the desert.”

Speculation about Saif al-Islam’s whereabouts has been rampant in recent days, with Transitional National Council officials claiming he is planning to turn himself in to the ICC. On Thursday, Reuters reported on a TNC official’s claim that Saif al-Islam is looking to arrange for an aircraft to transport him to The Hague.

However, none of these claims have been confirmed.

U.N. votes to lift Libya no-fly zone on Oct. 31
Complete Coverage: Anger in the Arab World

Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council has voted unanimously to lift the no-fly zone over Libya on Oct. 31. NATO has been expected to announce the end of military operations in Libya but has not made an official statement.

The region through which al-Senoussi and Saif al-Islam are said to have traveled is the traditional home of the Tuaregs, the desert dwellers whose members live in the nations abutting the Sahara desert from Mauritania in the east, through Mali, Niger, Libya and Chad. The group felt a kinship with Qaddafi who elevated the nomadic life by pitching his tent in the courtyards of four-star hotels in Europe.

Hundreds of Malian and Nigerien Tuaregs were recruited by Qaddafi to fight as hired guns in Libya in the final months of the conflict. The video showing how Qaddafi was manhandled after he was caught has deeply offended Tuareg communities throughout Africa.

Starting at dinnertime Wednesday, Tuareg elders met in Agadez to discuss the conflict posed by the arrival of Qaddafi’s most trusted collaborators in light of the Niger’s government’s commitment to hand over anyone wanted by the world court. Both the son and the intelligence chief are wanted by the International Criminal Court which issued warrants for their arrest in May for crimes against humanity committed during the monthslong struggle for power in Libya.

About 30 other regime loyalists, including another Qaddafi son, al-Saadi, fled to Niger in September, but were apprehended by Niger’s government and placed under house arrest.

“We are hearing the same reports as you, that Saif is in our zone. But our security forces have not run into him,” said Massoudou Hassoumi, the chief of staff of Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou. “The day that we run into him we will arrest him. He is pursued by the ICC, and we will hand him over in keeping with our international obligations.”

In Mali, a tribal elder from the country’s north where the fugitives are believed to be hiding, said that he doesn’t think Mali will shield them from the ICC.

“People on the ground are saying that Senoussi is there,” said the elder who asked not to be named because of the delicate nature of the issue.

“I don’t know if Qaddafi’s son is there too. It’s a small group of vehicles which is to the northeast of Kidal Town. It’s possible that they are with other Tuaregs who have returned from Libya,” the elder said. “I think they know if they came here that Mali is going to hand them over to the ICC. In fact I think that’s why they came here because they want to be safely handed over.”

Niger’s government, which is heavily dependent on aid, has been put in an impossible spot, forced to choose between its obligations to the international community and its powerful Tuareg community. The problem is similar in Mali, but President Amadou Toumani Toure is at the tail-end of his second term and is not seeking re-election, making him possibly freer to choose a course of action without fear of political repercussions.”


Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at or at one of the offices listed above.

Preventing the Next 9/11

September 8, 2011

International Herald Tribune (The Global Edition of the New York Times) on September 5-6, 2011 released the following:

“Opinion Editorial article by RONALD K. NOBLE

As we approach the 10th anniversary of the murder of thousands of citizens from more than 90 countries, I keep asking myself whether we are finally safe from the global terror threat.

Since those shocking attacks of 9/11, the death of Osama bin Laden, the elimination of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and the concentrated international pressure on Al Qaeda have reshaped the nature of the threat confronting us.

We’ve seen terror attempts foiled by a combination of heightened security and awareness, improved intelligence gathering, robust enforcement by police and prosecutors, quick actions by an observant public and sheer luck: the “Detroit Christmas plot,” the “shoe bomber,” the Times Square bomber.

Yet we’ve also seen appalling carnage in Bali, Casablanca, Kampala, London, Madrid, Moscow and Mumbai and throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Tragically, this list is far from exhaustive.

In my official visits to 150 countries, I have witnessed first-hand the transformation from the post-9/11 single-minded focus by governments and law enforcement on Al Qaeda and foreign-born terrorists, to today’s concerns about foreign criminals generally, and cybercrime and security more specifically.

The question as we look forward, therefore, is how can we protect our countries from Al Qaeda’s remaining elements and from other emerging serious criminal threats on the horizon?

What has become clear to me is that unprecedented levels of physical and virtual mobility are both shaping and threatening our security landscape. With more people traveling by air than ever before — one billion international air arrivals last year with national and international air passenger figures estimated to reach around three billion by 2014 — I see the systematic screening of the passports and names of those crossing our borders as a top priority.

Citizens now submitted to stringent physical security checks in airports worldwide would be incredulous to learn that 10 years after 9/11, authorities today still allow one-out-of-two international airline passengers to cross their borders without checking whether they are carrying stolen or lost travel documents.

Yet all the evidence shows us that terrorists exploit travel to the fullest, often attempting to conceal their identity and their past by using aliases and fraudulent travel documents.

This global failure to properly screen travelers remains a clear security gap, all the more deplorable when the information and technology are readily available. Currently, less than a quarter of countries perform systematic passport checks against Interpol’s database, with details of 30 million stolen or lost travel documents. This failure puts lives at risk.

But preventing dangerous individuals from crossing borders at airports is only half the challenge. At a time when global migration is reaching record levels — there were an estimated 214 million migrants in 2010 — I see a need for migrants to be provided biometric e-identity documents that can be quickly verified against Interpol’s databases by any country, anytime and anywhere. Verification prior to the issuance of a work or residence permit would facilitate the efficient movement of migrants while enhancing the security of countries.

Virtual mobility also throws up its own security challenges. In 2000, less than 400 million individuals were connected to the Internet; an estimated 2.5 billion people will be able to access the net by 2015.

Extensive use of the Internet and freely accessible email accounts allowed Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the principal architect of 9/11, to communicate quickly and effectively with co-conspirators.

A decade later, we see the same power targeting new generations to radicalize and spawn “lone wolf” terrorists. The trial in Germany of a young man who blamed online jihadist propaganda for the double murder he committed is just one recent example.

I believe that the Internet has replaced Afghanistan as the terrorist training ground, and this should concern us the most.

Cyberspace can be both a means for, and a target of terrorism and crime, undermining the critical infrastructure of governments and businesses. Yet until now there has been no meaningful effort to prepare countries to tackle this global threat in the future.

This is why Interpol’s 188 member countries unanimously approved the creation in Singapore of a global complex to better prepare the world to fight cybercrime and enhance cybersecurity.

So as we honor the memories of those who perished 10 years ago, it is time to ask ourselves if we have done all that we can to prevent another 9/11 or other serious attack. A great deal has been done to make us all safer, but far too little to make sure that we are safe from the global terror and criminal threat.

If we act today, in 10 years’ time, we may not just be catching up after the latest attack, we may have prevented it.

Ronald K. Noble is Secretary General of INTERPOL.”

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at or at one of the offices listed above.

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