by Ambassador Cofer Black
Coordinator for Counterterrorism
The evil of terrorism continued to plague the world throughout 2002, from Bali to Grozny to Mombasa. At the same time, the global war against the terrorist threat was waged intensively in all regions with encouraging results.
The year saw the liberation of Afghanistan by Coalition forces, the expulsion of al-Qaida and the oppressive Taliban regime, the destruction of their terrorist training infrastructure, and the installation of a transitional government committed to democracy and economic development.
Al-Qaida terrorists are on the run, and thousands of them have been detained. More than one third of al-Qaida's top leadership has been killed or captured, including some who conspired in the September 11 attacks, the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, and the 1998 bombings of two US Embassies in East Africa.
Moreover, the global antiterrorism coalition that was forged in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks in the United States remains united.
The world is fighting terrorism on five fronts: diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement, financial, and military.
The progress that has been achieved in the global war on terrorism would not have been possible without intense diplomatic engagement throughout the world. Diplomacy is the backbone of the campaign, building the political will, support, and mechanisms that enable our law-enforcement, intelligence, and military communities to act effectively.
The web of relationships we have cultivated has borne fruit in countless ways, from increasing security at home and abroad to bringing wanted terrorists to justice in the United States and elsewhere.
All our friends have stood with us multilaterally—at the United Nations, in NATO, ANZUS, EU, G-7, G-8, OAS, ASEAN, APEC, OIC, OECD, OSCE—and bilaterally in virtually every corner of the world.
New counterterrorism relationships with Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Central Asian republics, and others have shown results and hold promise for continued engagement in the future. Collaboration in combating terrorism has deepened with partners such as Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates.
The Coalition's objectives are clear: to eliminate the threat posed by international terrorism and to deter states from supporting or harboring international terrorist groups.
The gathering of intelligence about al-Qaida's infrastructure in Afghanistan helped enable us to dismantle or scatter much of its membership and organization.
Information gained from captured enemy combatants and imprisoned terrorists is being exploited effectively around the world.
The expansion of intelligence sharing and cooperation among nations since September 11 is preventing attacks, saving lives, and exposing the hiding places of terrorists.
An impressive global dragnet has tightened around al-Qaida. Since September 11 more than 3,000 al-Qaida operatives or associates have been detained in more than 100 countries, largely as a result of cooperation among law-enforcement agencies.
Entire cells have been wrapped up in nations such as Singapore, Italy, and elsewhere. In all these cells, deadly attacks on US interests or our allies were being planned.
In the United States, the rule of law is being applied relentlessly against terrorists. For example, US Attorney General John Ashcroft called 4 October "a defining day in America's war on terrorism." On that day, the United States convicted would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid; sentenced American Taliban John Walker Lindh; and neutralized a suspected al-Qaida terrorist cell in Portland, Oregon. Another alleged al-Qaida cell was uncovered and its members arrested in Lackawanna, New York, during the summer.
Since the previous Patterns of Global Terrorism report was issued, the United States designated several additional groups as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), including the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army, Jemaah Islamiya, and Lashkar I Jhangvi. The Lashkar I Jhangvi is responsible for the kidnapping and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. The FTO designation carries several legal consequences: it is unlawful for US persons to knowingly provide funds and other material support to designated groups; members of these groups are ineligible for US visas; and US financial institutions must block the funds of the groups.
More than 166 countries have issued orders freezing more than $121 million in terrorist-related financial assets.
Nearly all countries around the world have submitted reports to the United Nations on actions they have taken to comply with the requirements of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1373, which includes obligations to freeze the assets of terrorists and to prohibit anyone in the country from providing financial or other material assistance to terrorists or their supporters.
The Financial Action Task Force—a 29-nation experts' group dedicated to the establishment of legal and regulatory standards and policies to combat money laundering—is working to deny terrorists access to the world financial system.
The European Union (EU) and the United States have worked closely together to ensure that nearly every terrorist individual or group designated by one party is also designated by the other. The Netherlands took effective action to freeze the financial assets of Jose Maria Sison, leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army terrorist group, and then asked the EU to freeze the assets of Sison and his group; the EU did so. In August, Italy joined the United States in submitting to the UN the names of 25 individuals and companies linked to al-Qaida so that their assets could be frozen worldwide.
The G-8 nations have committed themselves to a range of measures aimed at seizing terrorist assets. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group, APEC, has adopted an ambitious antiterrorist finance action plan. The United States joined with Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, and China in including the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement on the UN's list of organizations affiliated with al-Qaida.
In the United States, the Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Center, Operation Green Quest, and the Terrorist Financing Task Force are facilitating information sharing between intelligence and law-enforcement agencies and helping other countries to improve their legal and regulatory systems so they can more effectively identify, disrupt, and defeat terrorist financing networks.
More than 250 terrorist groups and entities have been designated under Executive Order 13224, which freezes their US-based assets.
In November, the United States blocked the assets of the Benevolence International Foundation, which for years misused its status as a charity by funneling money to al-Qaida. Its CEO is closely associated with Usama Bin Ladin and has helped his cause financially.
Also in November, the State and Treasury Departments announced a $5-million rewards program that will pay for information leading to the disruption of any terrorism financing operation.
As a result of all these efforts, it is much harder today for terrorists to raise and move money. Many who formerly provided financial support for terrorism seem to have backed away. Some facilitators have been captured and arrested. The international banking system is no longer safe for terrorists to use.
Future progress will not be measured in millions of dollars worth of frozen assets, as the amount of such funding is finite, but rather in terms of nations' efforts to prevent terrorist financing. Fundamentally, terrorists must now look over their shoulders, wondering whether it is safe to move, raise funds, plan, and conduct operations.
Operation Enduring Freedom was launched on 7 October 2001. It comprises some 90 nations, nearly half of the world's countries. It is the largest military coalition ever assembled in all of human history. Its successes have also been historic. The bulk of Afghan territory was liberated from Taliban control within a matter of weeks. With our Coalition partners, the United States is helping to train the Afghan National Army so that Afghans can once again provide for their own security and the stability of the country. Schools have been rebuilt, teachers trained, and textbooks supplied. Landmines are being cleared. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have returned.
In Afghanistan and elsewhere, military action continues to be waged against terrorists with a global reach. More than 500 suspected terrorists are being detained at the US facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Despite solid progress, the danger persists.
Al-Qaida is still planning attacks. Every al-Qaida operations officer captured so far was involved in some stage of preparation for a terrorist attack at the time of capture. Recent audiotapes by al-Qaida leaders contain exhortations to further violence and threaten the United States and our Coalition allies.
These threats must be regarded with utmost seriousness. Additional attacks are likely.
I have focused on our many accomplishments—diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement, financial, and military. As significant as those have been, however, it is important not to think that victory is on the horizon. Far from it. Indeed, the ultimate success of this campaign will hinge in large part on two factors—sustained international political will and effective capacity building.
First, we must sustain and enhance the political will of states to fight terrorism. The secret of maintaining a coalition is demonstrating daily to its members that the fight is not over and that sustained effort is clearly in their long-term interests. My meetings with government officials in every region of the world have convinced me that we have made tremendous progress on that score.
Second, we have to bolster the capacity of all states to fight terrorism. Despite our unmatched power, we recognize that the United States will not be able to win without the help of others. The United States cannot investigate every lead, arrest every suspect, gather and analyze all the intelligence, effectively sanction every sponsor of terrorism, prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or find and fight every terrorist cell.
Simply put, this is a global fight that requires a global system to defeat it.
President Bush has stressed from the beginning that "the defeat of terror requires an international coalition of unprecedented scope and cooperation." So our effort must also be truly international.
One of our key goals is to assist countries in meeting their obligations under UNSCR 1373 and to strengthen the UN's counterterrorism capabilities. Our assistance runs the gamut from seminars in how to write, implement, and enforce anti-money-laundering laws, to specialized tactical training programs in counterterrorism (CT).
A number of powerful tools are at the disposal of governments that want to improve their counterterrorism capabilities. Some of these are available through the US Government; others are a product of the international community. Among them:
Around the world, we are working to build up the capability of nations' forces so that they can take the fight to the terrorists from the streets of Sanaa in Yemen to Pankisi Gorge in Georgia, from the island of Basilan in the Philippines to the jungles of Colombia.
Our goal is to assist governments to become full and self-sustaining partners in the fight against terrorism.
As President Bush said at the end of 2002: "In the new year, we will prosecute the war on terror with patience and focus and determination. With the help of a broad coalition, we will make certain that terrorists and their supporters are not safe in any cave or corner of the world."
President Bush has laid out the scope of the war on terrorism. Four enduring policy principles guide US counterterrorism strategy:
First, make no concessions to terrorists and strike no deals. The US Government will make no concessions to individuals or groups holding official or private US citizens hostage. The United States will use every appropriate resource to gain the safe return of US citizens who are held hostage. At the same time, it is US Government policy to deny hostage takers the benefits of ransom, prisoner releases, policy changes, or other acts of concession.
Second, bring terrorists to justice for their crimes. The United States will track down terrorists who attack Americans and their interests, no matter how long it takes.
Third, isolate and apply pressure on states that sponsor terrorism to force them to change their behavior. There are seven countries that have been designated state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.
Fourth, bolster the counterterrorist capabilities of those countries that work with the United States and require assistance. Under the Antiterrorism Assistance program, the United States provides training and related assistance to law-enforcement and security services of selected friendly foreign governments. Courses cover such areas as airport security, bomb detection, hostage rescue, and crisis management. A recent component of the training targets the financial underpinnings of terrorists and criminal money launderers. Counterterrorist training and technical-assistance teams are working with countries to identify vulnerabilities, enhance capacities, and provide targeted assistance to address the problem of terrorist financing.
At the same time special investigative teams are working with countries to identify and then dry up money used to support terrorism. We are also developing workshops to assist countries in drafting strong laws against terrorism, including terrorist financing. During the past 18 years, we have trained more than 35,000 officials from 152 countries in various aspects of counterterrorism.
A broad range of counterterrorism training resources from other US Government agencies, including military training by the Department of Defense, is being brought to bear to bolster international capabilities. We will continue to work with the world community and seek cooperation from other partner nations as well.
Our Terrorist Interdiction Program helps friendly countries stop terrorists from freely crossing
Our Rewards for Justice program offers rewards of up to $5 million for information that prevents or favorably resolves acts of international terrorism against US persons or property worldwide. Secretary Powell has authorized a reward of up to $25 million for information leading to the capture of Usama Bin Ladin and other key al-Qaida leaders.
Adverse mention in this report of individual members of any political, social, ethnic, religious, or national group is not meant to imply that all members of that group are terrorists. Indeed, terrorists represent a small minority of dedicated, often fanatical, individuals in most such groups. It is those small groups—and their actions—that are the subject of this report.
Furthermore, terrorist acts are part of a larger phenomenon of politically inspired violence, and at times the line between the two can become difficult to draw. To relate terrorist events to the larger context, and to give a feel for the conflicts that spawn violence, this report will discuss terrorist acts as well as other violent incidents that are not necessarily international terrorism.
This report is submitted in compliance with Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(a), which requires the Department of State to provide Congress a full and complete annual report on terrorism for those countries and groups meeting the criteria of Section (a)(1) and (2) of the Act. As required by legislation, the report includes detailed assessments of foreign countries where significant terrorist acts occurred, and countries about which Congress was notified during the preceding five years pursuant to Section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (the so-called terrorist-list countries that have repeatedly provided state support for international terrorism). In addition, the report includes all relevant information about the previous year's activities of individuals, terrorist organizations, or umbrella groups known to be responsible for the kidnapping or death of any US citizen during the preceding five years and groups known to be financed by state sponsors of terrorism.
In 1996 Congress amended the reporting requirements contained in the above-referenced law. The amended law requires the Department of State to report on the extent to which other countries cooperate with the United States in apprehending, convicting, and punishing terrorists responsible for attacking US citizens or interests. The law also requires that this report describe the extent to which foreign governments are cooperating, or have cooperated during the previous five years, in preventing future acts of terrorism. As permitted in the amended legislation, the Department may submit such information to Congress in a classified annex to this unclassified report.
No one definition of terrorism has gained universal acceptance. For the purposes of this report, however, we have chosen the definition of terrorism contained in Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d). That statute contains the following definitions:
The term "terrorism" means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant1targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.
The term "international terrorism" means terrorism involving citizens or the territory of more than one country.
The term "terrorist group" means any group practicing, or that has significant subgroups that practice, international terrorism.
The US Government has employed this definition of terrorism for statistical and analytical purposes since 1983.
Domestic terrorism is probably a more widespread phenomenon than international terrorism. Because international terrorism has a direct impact on US interests, it is the primary focus of this report. However, the report also describes, but does not provide statistics on, significant developments in domestic terrorism.
(1) For purposes of this definition, the term "noncombatant" is interpreted to include, in addition to civilians, military personnel who at the time of the incident are unarmed and/or not on duty. For example, in past reports we have listed as terrorist incidents the murders of the following US military personnel: Col. James Rowe, killed in Manila in April 1989; Capt. William Nordeen, US defense attache killed in Athens in June 1988; the two servicemen killed in the Labelle discotheque bombing in West Berlin in April 1986; and the four off-duty US Embassy Marine guards killed in a cafe in El Salvador in June 1985. We also consider as acts of terrorism attacks on military installations or on armed military personnel when a state of military hostilities does not exist at the site, such as bombings against US bases in Europe, the Philippines, or elsewhere.