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US Cries Wolf Against Travel to Europe

The US government has recently issued warnings for its citizens to “be vigilant travelling in Europe, amid fears of an al-Qaeda commando-style attack.” Really? Oh yeah, and the newspapers say that Bin-Laden is in on this one, too. Who else? Sources have been dotting the travel news sphere that international intelligence has collected data that [...]

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The US government has recently issued warnings for its citizens to “be vigilant travelling in Europe, amid fears of an al-Qaeda commando-style attack.”


Oh yeah, and the newspapers say that Bin-Laden is in on this one, too.

Who else?

Sources have been dotting the travel news sphere that international intelligence has collected data that some Pakistani Britishers and Afghani Germans are up to something.

“They may go commando on tourists!”

“Current information suggests that al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks,” it said. “European governments have taken action to guard against a terrorist attack and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions.” -US warns Americans against travel to Europe

We better be vigilant – a term which is thrown around the news with frequency without a follow up of what being vigilant really means. How, in this case, should we be vigilant:

Do we run and cower from anyone in Europe that looks Middle Eastern or Muslim?

Do we cancel our vacations to Europe?

Do we sit inside our homes out of fear that someday one of these myriad government travel warnings actually plays out in reality?

The government says that being vigilant means we should avoid crowded places, do the streets of Paris or London or any tourist site in the 47 countries of Europe count as crowded?

Europe, a continent perceived as a safe “white man’s land” has now been crowned with its very own US government travel warning. Welcome to the club, just about everywhere else in the world has a US given travel warning over its head as well.

How many times will the American public take these rampant travel warnings seriously before becoming completely dispassioned and use to them? How many times are we going to listen to our government cry wolf before these warnings no longer register as much other than a blimp of nonsense on the media radar?

There are terrorists in Europe, uh, somewhere . . . they may try to get you . . . commando style . . .

I am currently blogging from a country on the US government’s top list of travel warnings, I have traveled through five others on this list as well, and the only thing that I can say is that all countries can be dangerous in certain places in certain circumstances: the demarcation of an entire country as dangerous is often very far removed from the truth, it only shows ignorance of the true situation.

Though I am sure that tourists from the USA really will cancel their vacations to Europe in droves, they will choose to go to other destinations, they will decide to just stay home where it is safe rather than risk running through a gauntlet of terrorists in Europe.

Hey, nobody wants to be a “soft target,” right?

It is my impression that an act of economic sabotage against Europe has already been committed —  I am unsure if the “terrorists” can take full credit for it. Government warnings create a culture of fear towards other places on the globe, often without real explanation or instructions: they put up a gate against the international flow of people, information, understanding.

To warn a population against travel to 47 different countries spread across an entire continent is to dilute the purpose of such warnings to near nonsense.

“Something might happen, sometime, somewhere in Europe” they say, “you better stay at home, don’t go on vacation, don’t spend money in dangerous, heathen lands. Be vigilant.”

Sources: BBC world news | US travel warning to Europe | US top list of travel warnings

Related pages: Traveling safe means no fear mongering | Thailand travel warnings | Euro drops against dollar, travel to Europe now


Filed under: Current Events, Danger, Europe, Travel Problems

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3691 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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7 comments… add one

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  • Bob L October 6, 2010, 5:06 pm

    Hmmm, maybe rather than looking to go to Veitnam or some other place I should plan a vacation to europe. Might be some good prices.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com October 6, 2010, 5:36 pm

      Hello Bob,

      That would not be that bad of an idea, though the Euro looks as if it stabilized itself in relation to the dollar. But there will probably be some vacancies and good prices to be had. It is my impression that Americans are going to get real sick of these travel hassles, government warnings, and vacation in their own country a lot more this year than they have been recently.

      You hardly see an American anywhere in the south of Mexico these days, and I imagine this place was once crawling with them a few years ago.

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  • Dave from The Longest Way Home October 7, 2010, 1:04 am

    Do we not see a trend here? Last month USA issues increased visa fees for non-nationals.

    This month a terror warning against Europe, it’s biggest trading partner.

    The USA is shutting down it’s doors and going internal. Trying to increase revenue. In this tourism this year in the USA will increase due to this as it’s own people stay home to travel.

    Nothing wrong with promoting one’s own country. This is the cheapest option to do so.

    Europe is a sea of bureaucracy, France says London is due for a terrorist attack, London says Paris is due. Germany has sense and says don’t include us in this political rubbish.

    My bet that there will be executive “secure” tours to Europe popping up now. Run by ex SAS or Seals all promising the “safest trip to Europe ever”.

    I know a guy running one in Pakistan now. He gets a LOT of rich Euro, Arab, USA tourists booking him for trips to Afghanistan and truly staggering prices.

    The west is indeed in dire trouble. A facebook generation is doing what it’s told to do. And, the new leaders rising like this very much. Mr Orwell was indeed right.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com October 7, 2010, 12:54 pm

      This is very true. My country seems to be going broke and have deferred to the last resort cash cow: tourism. They are raising visa fees on everyone and trying to get Americans to stay at home. I fear that it is working. In relation to the population size and income of the country, there is not a proportional amount of USA people out there traveling. I am in Mexico, I expected this country to be crawling with my countrymen — it is not. The people of the USA are becoming so shit scared of the outside world and broke that they are staying home.

      I do believe that many first world countries are going to divert to drastic protectionist measures in the future to make up for the free trade free for all that they began last decade. Hmm . . . maybe there was a reason why countries began charging import tariffs to begin with?

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  • Chaya October 8, 2010, 2:46 pm

    New reports on terror warnings in Europe:

    “The new U.S. State Department travel alert about potential terrorist attacks in Europe is no help to travellers. It’s for law enforcement and to some extent, protection of governments.

    The alert is so vague as to be meaningless to those actually travelling.”
    -Travel alert so vague they are useless

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  • villas tossa de mar October 27, 2010, 3:35 am

    I also outright stated “Americans need to recognize this endgame and dump our corporate puppet politicians”

    and the very first comment for this video i was explaining how a current attack in Europe would be a false flag attack because the top AL queda leadership is working for the CIA. if i was pro war i would hardly expose this dirty laundry.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com October 28, 2010, 7:15 pm

      This is just silly political position jockeying.

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