In December 2016, Europol released a statement warning that ISIS was likely to soon enact plans to stage large scale terror attacks in multiple states across the EU. The operations have been planned since 2013 but are now being accelerated due to ISIS’ territorial losses in the Middle East to coalition forces.

Research by Disobedient Media indicates that ISIS maintains a massive network of operatives throughout the EU. This network is primarily comprised of combat veterans and command figures from Syria and Iraq in addition to organized criminal networks controlled by recruits of the terror group. ISIS maintains established control over many impoverished neighborhoods throughout Europe and has access to a large number of weapons and equipment provided by criminal enterprises in Southern and Eastern Europe. If confirmed, the research indicates that ISIS may in fact be planning to commit a high casualty terror event within the next one to two years, possibly attempting to capture ground in Europe while doing so.

I. ISIS Uses The Migrant Crisis Created In North Africa To Move Assets Into The EU, Recruit From Millions of Migrants in Europe

The fall of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya created a fertile ground for a migrant crisis. The influx has left thousands of individuals seeking entry to the EU at the mercy of trafficking groups. Reports now indicate that ISIS not only controls these routes as a means of generating income, but is also actively recruiting from among the migrant population. In some cases, it appears that NGO groups are creating a risk of aiding ISIS operatives by assisting in efforts to bus migrants from North Africa into the European Union.

A. ISIS Controls Human Trafficking Operations In North Africa And Recruits Refugees

As the war in Syria has begun to turn against ISIS and coalition forces squeeze them in their strongholds of Mosul and Raqqa, a redeployment and re-allocation of assets has begun to take place. This deployment to the West is consistent with their belief that they are causing the fulfillment of the Islamic prophecy of Dabiq. ISIS recruits from Europe, hardened by combat in the Middle East, are now being sent back to their homelands with instructions to embed themselves and carry out attacks over time. In November 2016, Austrian Interior Ministry spokesperson Karl-Heinz Grundböck told Austrian newspaper Kurier that 40% 0f ISIS operatives in the countries entered as refugees.

ISIS members are able to move from the Syrian war theater to European states with great ease due to the migrant crisis. Wherever ISIS moves, they quickly consolidate control of drug and human trafficking networks to both create revenue for the transnational terrorist group as well as give them the control necessary to move their assets from continent to continent with great ease. The head of Austria’s anti-human trafficking force Gerald Tatzgern confirmed these reports, telling Kurier that ISIS is profiting in multiple ways by protracting the migrant crisis. On February 6th, 2017, The Express revealed research by counter-extremism group Quilliam that ISIS recruiters were exploiting young, desperate migrants in North Africa by offering them $1000 and free passage into the EU in return for joining the organization.

More concerning are revelations in Quilliam’s study that ISIS operatives were infiltrating refugee centers and mosques in Germany in a bid to radicalize disillusioned new arrivals already suffering from “a lack of belief in the host country”. Reports from early 2016 indicated that of the over one million migrants who had entered the EU, up to 70% were male and many were unaccompanied minors, the demographic most likely to be targeted by ISIS for recruitment. The amount of migrants in the EU has only increased since the time of these reports over a year ago.

Even a few hundred ISIS operatives moving unchecked throughout is incredibly concerning when one considers how just a handful of different cells were able to wreak heavy damage and cause high casualty rates in attacks like those which occurred in Paris and Maelbeek, Belgium. A force of this size, swelling their numbers from among the massive refugee population and training them with know-how learned in Syria represents the possibility of the worst crisis Europe has experienced since the end of the Second World War.

B. NGO Groups Funded By George Soros And Other Pro-Immigrant Donors Aid And Abet ISIS Operatives And Migrants

There are increasing indications that ISIS operatives and migrants may be receiving assistance, whether intentional or accidental, from various pro-refugee NGOs who have launched efforts to bus migrants from North Africa into the EU via Italy. The NGO run fleets engaging in these illegal efforts were uncovered in November 2016 by European news source GEFIRA. Supplementary research by Disobedient Media has revealed that many of these organizations receive funding from George Soros’ affiliated groups and donors to Hillary Clinton.

Despite the purported good intentions behind their efforts, the NGO groups have no means of guaranteeing that they are not moving ISIS recruits or operatives as Libya is currently a failed state and there is zero vetting of those trying to move across the Mediterranean. Soros’ financial involvement with the groups operating ships in the fleet raises significant concerns about the role that various pro-globalism, open border groups are playing in facilitating the migrant crisis and wave of terror in the EU.

II. ISIS Now Has An Established Presence In The EU

ISIS now maintains a disturbingly large network of fighters with combat experience from the Middle East in Europe, complete with command figures and bases of operations within poverty stricken neighborhoods across Europe. ISIS’ control over drug and human trafficking networks in Africa, as well as their recruitment drives targeting individuals with criminal histories has allowed them to consolidate control over much of the crime world in Europe. This new marriage of terror and organized crime has allowed them to obtain a disturbing level of control within the EU.

A. Networks of Veterans And Command Figures

It is impossible to quantify exactly how many ISIS operatives are inside the European Union. Reports are increasingly emerging that jihadists are now embedded in many different European countries such as the UK planning attacks. Intelligence agencies in states like France have stated that a veritable army of 700 veterans from Syria is expected to imminently return to France and engage in terrorism, raising questions about exactly how many soldiers are returning to other areas in the EU. ISIS for their part has claimed that more than 4,000 of their operatives have been smuggled into Europe. Returning members appear to include not only veterans but also command figures, who have been historically known to sneak in and out of Europe in past years. “VIP” terrorists with specific technical skills have also been picked up by security forces from among the refugee population. In 2016 a Pakistani man involved with the Mumbai terror attacks which killed 164 was arrested in Austria, creating doubt about the effectiveness of the vetting processes used by EU officials to screen migrants entering through Greece. German newspaper Die Welt has warned that veterans are now distributed to networks throughout Europe, a concerning development given that ISIS has publicly stated they wish to control areas of Europe by 2020.

B. ISIS Increasingly Partners With Organized Crime In Europe

In January 2017, Disobedient Media highlighted reports from Judicial Watch indicating a shocking new nexus between narco terror cartels and ISIS operatives seeking to move from the Syrian theater of war into the Western Hemisphere. In some cases the terror group was found to be actively working with narco groups to run criminal enterprises in the United States, trafficking drugs, weapons and human beings. An increasing number of studies indicate that a similarly concerning trend has also emerged within the European Union.

ISIS works with narco terror gangs to traffic drugs from Central and South America across the Atlantic. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Financial Action Task Force have both documented the extensive role that terror groups affiliated with ISIS play in moving drugs from the Western Hemisphere into the EU. As ISIS already controls the human trafficking trade in North Africa, there is no reason to believe that they are not also responsible for the trafficking of drugs into Europe as well.

ISIS has not limited itself to running trafficking networks and has now involved itself with nearly every conceivable kind of criminal enterprise in Europe. The French anti-counterfeiting agency Union des Fabricants (UNIFAB) released a study in 2016 highlighting the growing involvement of ISIS in petty crime such as counterfeiting. In addition to running counterfeiting rackets, The International Centre For The Study Of Radicalisation And Political Violence reported last year that “up to 40 per cent of terrorist plots in Europe are at least part-financed through ‘petty crime,’ especially drug-dealing, theft, robberies, the sale of counterfeit goods, loan fraud, and burglaries.” Within a few years most, if not all organized crime in Europe will be controlled by ISIS networks or feature the groups involvement in some shape or form.

ISIS solidifies their control of Europe’s criminal world by recruiting large numbers of members with criminal histories. A March 23, 2016 report by the Washington Post indicated many foot soldiers in ISIS have prior convictions grand theft auto, murder, armed bank robbery, burglary, drug-dealing, larceny and assault. The Brussels Times reported that half of all Belgian jihadists in Syria had a criminal history before departing to the Middle East. These recruits generally come from poor, predominantly Muslim neighborhoods in Europe. New members of ISIS with criminal pasts are drawn to the group with promises of forgiveness for past crimes but are allowed to continue engaging in criminal acts since they are living in “apostate” countries and doing so ostensibly for the sake of jihad. The Charlie Hebdo and 2015 ISIS Paris attacks both involved perpetrators with histories of petty crime, as did the Brussels airport attacks.

ISIS’ consolidation of the crime world in Europe combined with their concerted recruiting drives among the criminal population represents a terrifying new chapter in organized crime where the line between terrorism and criminal activity is increasingly nonexistent.

C. No Go Zones As Bases Of Operation

As migrants have flooded into Europe, authorities have lost control over many low income areas affected by poverty where immigrants inevitably gravitate to. ISIS’ increased recruiting drives targeting young individuals in these poor, largely Muslim neighborhoods have allowed them to effectively take control over various areas of European cities. The Hungarian government has published data identifying a staggering list of areas throughout the EU which are considered “no go zones” which police no longer can access safely. The high number of these neighborhoods throughout Europe raises questions about how much actual territory ISIS might be in de facto control of, a major coup for the organization which has pledged to take and hold ground in Europe. Some reports from police in London and other areas of the UK state that law enforcement has to first receive permission from local imams before sending units into certain neighborhoods.

No go zones have facilitated the rise of out control crime waves which have left police forces unable to cope. On January 28, 2017 the Swedish Police in the city of Malmö issued an open letter begging the public to help them stop dozens of attempted murders, beatings, rapes and other offenses, admitting that they were too overwhelmed to properly police the city. A few days prior, an article in Swedish publication Sydsvenskan revealed that citizens in Malmö have taken to wearing bulletproof vests due to the uncontrollable spike in crime. The out of control crime in Sweden is not a recent phenomena from the past few months either. In March 2016, the crew of Australian television show 60 Minutes were attacked by masked men while reporting on the refugee crisis in Stockholm.

Uncontrollable no go zones are hardly limited to Sweden and can be found all over Europe. On February 16th, 2017, police in Hamburg, Germany were surrounded by a crowd of 80 to 100 Somalian men while they were attempting to arrest an 18 year old Somalian for making death threats at a betting shop. Some no go zones have existed, uncovered by media and ignored by national governments for years. The Belgian government admitted in 2015  that it had totally lost control of the neighborhood of Molenbeek in Brussels, a no go zone described by the Guardian as “Europe’s jihadi central.”

While most media sources in Europe and the United States refuse to show their viewers the big picture of ISIS operations in the EU, their increased control over most aspects of the crime world in Europe, their drives to recruit high numbers of individuals with past or active ties to the criminal world and the increasing inability of European authorities to control no go zones in Europe’s impoverished and crime ridden neighborhoods represents a startling change of strategy by the terror group. ISIS has used their increasing control of crime to establish veritable military bases right in the heart of many EU nations. The strategy represents a shift of focus to move beyond mere attempts to engage in acts of terror. It represents a prioritization of taking and holding ground in Europe, which is likely to be accelerated as ISIS continues to lose ground in Syria and Iraq.

III. ISIS Is Using Its Ties To Organized Crime To Equip A Small Army Within The European Union

With a network comprised of both combat veterans and criminals, ISIS is easily able to acquire weapons and equipment from organized crime groups in Southern and Eastern Europe. The militant network’s strength has finally reached such a critical mass that authorities have been forced to crack down in order to prevent a large scale terror event.

A. ISIS Partners With Crime Groups To Equip Their Networks With Weapons And Equipment

ISIS’ networks in Europe have used their criminal connections to work with mafia groups in Italy and Eastern Europe running guns into the EU which are used to equip their operatives. Wikileaks diplomatic cables reveal that the United States government has been aware of collaboration between the Italian mafia and terror groups since at least 2008. Yet no major action appears to have been taken to stop it.

A March 2016 report by the Daily Beast revealed that mafia groups have actively been assisting ISIS and other terror groups with moving operatives and equipping networks with military weapons and equipment. Other reports indicate that ISIS is also purchasing weapons from mob organizations in Romania and other areas of the Balkans. Once smuggled into the EU, weapons can be moved into any European state with ease since the Schengen zone’s open border policy ensures that vehicles carrying arms will never be searched. After Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri was shot by police in Turkey, the Daily Mail reported that over six million illegal weapons are flowing into the EU from various states in the Balkans. In addition to relying on mob groups to provide weapons, terror groups are also relying on their own established networks within the Middle East to supply themselves with guns. On October 6th, 2016, News World India reported that Karachi police had recovered the largest ever cache of NATO weapons in the hands of Islamic jihadists in the city’s history. Karachi’s police chief stated that the weapons were scheduled to be shipped to militant groups in London for a major operation they were planning. How the militants were able to acquire the massive supply of NATO arms is unclear. ISIS has apparently also been utilizing black market gun sellers who supplement the supply of illegal guns in the EU by converting non-lethal weapons into real ones.

European authorities have introduced a number of measures strengthening gun control across the EU. But because ISIS acquires its guns from mafia smugglers and black market dealers, these laws are likely to not only have no effect on the group’s access to weapons but leave European citizens with fewer ways to defend themselves from crime.

B. As ISIS Has Begun To Equip A Fighting Force In The EU, Authorities  Have Begun To Crack Down

European officials have historically failed properly deal with the terror threats posed by ISIS operatives. Disobedient Media has in the past reported a string of intelligence failures on the part of German counter terror organizations where officials ignored multiple tips warning about Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri’s radicalization and allowed domestic intelligence agency the Bundesverfassungsschutz (BfV) to be infiltrated by ISIS operatives.

The ease with which ISIS is able to arm their now extensive networks in Europe appears to have finally frightened European authorities into taking action, however. Over the past year, national law enforcement agencies in multiple European countries have engaged in clean ups of extensive jihadi networks. In January 2017, Spanish police confirmed that they had arrested 181 members of ISIS cells in France and Spain which had been seeking to establish a caliphate in Europe. Austrian newspaper Die Press also reported in January that over 800 police officers participated in a major cleanup operation of a jihadist network attempting to establish a caliphate in Austria. German police have also raided dozens of mosques and rounded up known ISIS recruiters. Mosques in Europe have traditionally been targeted for raids by police since extremist groups commonly use them as safe houses to store weapons and equipment.

IV. The European Media Has Covered Up ISIS Attacks To Prevent Public Backlash Against Pro-Migrant Policies

The Western media has for some time engaged in campaigns to minimize rising levels of crime in Europe and collaborated in efforts to cover up evidence of jihadist terror attacks occurring in Europe, likely to avoid public backlash against pro-migrant policies and to prevent embarrassment for governments who advocated for those policies and failed to prevent attacks. Whistleblowers in Sweden have highlighted a concerted effort by the Swedish government to suppress evidence of rising crime rates in the country caused by incoming migrant populations that has been in place for years. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also been caught on a hot mic telling Angela Merkel that the social media giant was working to censor anti-migrant posts online.

A. The Supplement Narrative

Media coverups are not limited to the rise in civil unrest and jihadi involvement with the crime world. European media also misreports actual terror incidents to prevent creating embarrassing situations for authorities who have advocated for pro-migrant policies and seek to minimize jihadist involvement in terror. These cover ups are known as “supplement narratives,” or explanations for events which the public is more likely to accept than the truth. Supplement narratives often follow a number of common excuses for events such as “transformer blowouts,” “electrical fires,” and explosions caused by “gas leaks.” The goal of this tactic is to dissuade the public from connecting various incidents and to condition them to think of each attack as isolated rather than connected to a more broad terror plot. The “gas leak” supplement narrative was very popular over the past year, and was used by European media to explain a number of explosions (some of them high casualty) in Europe:

April 1st, 2016: ZeroHedge reports a large explosion in the 6th District of Paris, France, a week after large scale bombings by ISIS operatives in Belgium. The authorities blamed the explosion on a gas leak.

July 25th, 2016: Daily Mail reported that a suicide bomb attack by an ISIS operative in Ansbach, Germany was at first incorrectly reported by authorities as being an “accidental gas explosion.”

October 2nd, 2016BBC News reported a blast which injured over 70 people in Malaga, Spain which was blamed on a gas leak.

January 20th, 2017: The Daily Express reported a massive explosion in Paris which destroyed an entire block of apartments. The incredibly violent explosion was blamed on a gas leak.

February 3rd, 2017: The Daily Express reported a second explosion in Paris just days after a prior one which had destroyed an apartment block. A 45 year old man was injured in the blast, which was blamed on a gas canister. ISIS operatives have used gas canisters in the past while attempting to attack the Notre Dame and other targets in Paris. On February 21st, 2017, police in Barcelona shot a lorry driver with a load of butane gas canisters when he refused to stop at their command.

February 8th, 2017: The Daily Mirror reported an explosion on the Paris metro injured eight passengers and forced dozens to evacuate. The media immediately reported that the blast was caused by an “electrical fire” despite also reporting that it was unclear what caused the explosion.

The same day as the incident in Paris, Metro reported an explosion on an East London train where several were injured and passengers jumped onto the track in panic. The explosion was blamed on an “overheating battery.”

February 9th, 2017: Occurring in a suspiciously short timeframe from the explosions on the Paris and London metros, the Independent reported an explosion at the Flamanville nuclear power plant in France. The explosion affected a turbine room of the plant and authorities stated that there was no risk of radioactive material leaking. The same day, the city of Brussels experienced a widespread blackout which plunged the city into darkness.

B. Western Media Has Covered Up Evidence Of Chemical Attacks In The EU

Anti-terror chiefs have been warning for some time now that ISIS would actively plot to commit chemical weapons attacks targeting citizens in the EU. On April 4th, 2016, Morocco’s head of counter terrorism Abdelhak Khiame warned that his agency had smashed over 25 attempted chemical attacks by ISIS operatives and the group would soon target Britain and other states in the European Union. The announcement came on the day that security forces disrupted a chemical attack that had sought to target European tourists in the Mediterranean 24 hours before it was launched. Like many ISIS attacks, Khiame warned that the chemical plots were “dry runs” for larger, more extreme attacks within the EU. Khiame’s warnings have been echoed more recently by European security officials concerned that ISIS’ territorial losses in the Middle East mean there will be an increase in terror events across the West, specifically in the UK.

Despite these warnings, no major chemical attacks have been reported in Europe. The reason for this appears to not be the result of a lack of attacks, but the media’s complicity on working with European governments to cover up and minimize actual instances of chemical attacks to prevent public panic. Over the past year there have been a number of instances which appear to in fact, be terror incidents involving chemical weapons:

October 21st, 2016: BBC News reported a “chemical scare” at London City Airport. Paramedics treated 26 people at the scene and took two to hospital. The cause was claimed to be a CS gas spray which was “accidentally” released. The incident came several days after an explosion at facilities belonging to German chemical manufacturer BASF left two dead.

January 11th, 2017: The Daily Express reported that a gas attack on a school in Hamburg, Germany left dozens of students unable to breathe and prompted mass evacuations. Police did not rule out that the attack may have been terror related.

February 12th, 2017: The Guardian reported a gas attack on Hamburg airport and the connected subway system. More than 50 people were injured in the attack and hundreds were evacuated. Authorities stated that the irritant appeared to be some form of pepper spray.

February 21st, 2017: Swedish publication Expressen reported that a masked attacker threw a bag containing liquid onto a train in Stockholm. The liquid caused breathing problems for passengers on the train and prompted an evacuation.

It is already abundantly clear that the media either covers up or ignores rising crime rates and civil unrest in Europe caused by the influx of migrants over the past decade. The constant stream of “gas leaks” or other common explanations for explosion incidents raises questions about the European and American media’s complicity in failing to ask hard questions about these attacks and question the explanations given by authorities.

Europol’s warning is a wake up call to European intelligence agencies. Given the severity of the migrant crisis in Europe, the effect that poverty and unemployment has played in aggravating the situation and the presence of a large network of ISIS operatives with deep ties to organized crime it is odd that authorities would only in the past year begin to make concerted efforts to crack down on ISIS networks throughout the EU. Should Europe’s intelligence agencies fail to properly appreciate the terror threat posed by ISIS, it will be the European people who pay for the incompetence and corruption of their governments.

Writer, Editor-in-Chief, and founder of Disobedient Media.