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Cablegate: Stepped-Up Security in North Rhine-Westphalia; Taking The

VZCZCXRO4538
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHDF #0038 2681408
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251408Z SEP 09
FM AMCONSUL DUSSELDORF
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0236
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHDF/AMCONSUL DUSSELDORF 0252

UNCLAS DUSSELDORF 000038

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER ASEC GM
SUBJECT: STEPPED-UP SECURITY IN NORTH RHINE-WESTPHALIA; TAKING THE
THREAT SERIOUSLY

REF: A. A. BERLIN 862
B. B. BERLIN 1172

1. (U) Security has been further ratcheted up in North
Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) as a result of the pre- and
post-Bundestag election alerts. Armored personnel carriers and
stepped up armed police presence are in evidence at airports,
and there is a visible increase in police presence at the
Duesseldorf main train station as well. The combination of the
Al Qa'eda videos and the U.S. travel alert have caught people's
attention, though contacts in NRW government and out, including
in the Muslim community, tell us the clear attempt to manipulate
the vote will not work. They take it seriously - even if the
overt security presence makes them uncomfortable - saying that
to date, Germany has been fortunate; that good luck may not last
forever.

2. (SBU) Police contacts in NRW have confirmed to us the ramped
up security. As of Thursday evening, September 24, they have
placed 24-hour surveillance on all those who had previously been
under general surveillance, using a variety of means. They told
us on September 25 that, at this point, this would likely
continue indefinitely. Many squad cars are now making their
rounds with machine guns on the inside, though not visible to
the public. Leave plans for a variety of police agencies have
been cancelled or postponed. Their sense - because of our
travel alert - is that the "U.S. knows more than we do."

3. (U) The story grabbed headlines in major NRW dailies.
Duesseldorf's Rheinische Post's front page story, "Terror
Warning for Germany," quoted NRW Interior Minister Wolf as
saying they were taking the threat very seriously, that security
forces were working very professionally on heightened alert. He
referred to the videos as an attempt to sow fear in advance of
Sunday's Bundestag elections and influence the vote, adding that
"We will not allow ourselves to be intimidated." Cologne's
Kvlner Stadt-Anzeiger article noted that one couldn't post APCs
and armed security personnel at airports and train stations and
then describe the U.S. travel alert as inappropriate. The piece
recalled the 2004 Madrid bombings, which killed 191, came
shortly before Spain's parliamentary election, contributing to
the defeat of the conservatives and the accelerated pullout of
Spain's troops from Iraq. The paper also carried a chilling
expose on Bekkay Harrach, the speaker in the Al Qa'eda videos,
who spent years in Bonn.

4. (U) This message was coordinated with Embassy Berlin.

WEINER

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