The Department of State's diplomatic efforts help build the political will and operational skills of foreign governments to combat terror. Many countries are committed allies in the global war on terrorism. Some, however, need training and resources to develop stronger institutions and capabilities. The Department of State's counterterrorism efforts are an essential component in the success of US military, law enforcement, intelligence, and financial activities in the global fight against terrorism.
Multilateral and regional organizations are also a key platform for developing broad international support for the adoption and implementation of policies, strategies, and "best practices" in combating terrorism and financing of terrorist activities. The Department of State works actively with foreign governments to urge adoption of all 12 international counterterrorism conventions, as well as adherence to and implementation of UNSCR 1373, which imposes binding obligations on all states to suppress and prevent terrorist financing, improve their border controls, enhance information sharing and law enforcement cooperation, suppress terrorist recruitment, and deny terrorists safe haven.
Antiterrorism Assistance Program
Congress authorized the Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) Program in 1983 as part of a major initiative against international terrorism. Since that time, ATA has trained over 48,000 participants from 141 countries. The ATA Program provides training and related assistance to law enforcement and security services of selected partner nations. Assistance to qualified countries focuses on the following objectives:
ATA courses are tailored to the requirements of individual partner nations and are developed in response to terrorism trends. The training can be categorized into four functional areas: Crisis Prevention, Crisis Management, Crisis Resolution, and Investigation. Countries needing assistance are identified on the basis of the threat or actual level of terrorist activity they face.
Antiterrorism assistance and training may be conducted either in-country or within the United States. This arrangement provides flexibility to maximize the effectiveness of the program for countries of strategic importance in the global war on terrorism.
ATA programs may take the form of advisory assistance, such as the impact of counterterrorism activities on police administration and management of police departments, how to teach counterterrorism tactics to police instructors or develop counterterrorism curriculum for a police academy, and modern interview and investigative techniques. This approach enables the program to provide a narrow focus to solutions for country-specific problems that are not resolved in the classroom training environment. Equipment or explosive-detection trained dogs may also be included in the assistance package.
The ability of the United States to assist partner nations to master the detection and prevention of terrorist activities will clearly enhance the mutual security of all the participating countries. Detecting and eliminating terrorist cells at the root before their violence can cross borders and oceans will ensure a safer world for all nations.
ATA continues its efforts to familiarize ambassadors, US Embassy regional security officers, and other US officials with the program offerings. The success of these efforts is evidenced by the fact that every frontline nation has requested antiterrorist assistance in some form. US diplomats report that the ability of the United States to offer immediate, specific, and intensive training, along with technical tools and equipment, has succeeded in breaking down barriers and building trust.
Countering Terrorism on the Economic Front
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the US Government has acted to block funding of terrorists and their supporters and to promote international cooperation against them.
On September 23, 2001, the President signed Executive Order (EO) 13224, giving the United States Government (USG) a powerful tool to impede terrorist funding. In general terms, the EO provides a means to disrupt the financial-support network for terrorists and terrorist organizations by authorizing the US Government to designate and block the assets of foreign individuals and entities that commit, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism. In addition, because of the pervasiveness and expansiveness of the financial foundations of foreign terrorists, the order authorizes the US Government to block the assets of individuals and entities that provide support, offer assistance to, or otherwise associate with designated terrorists and terrorist organizations. The EO also covers their subsidiaries, front organizations, agents, and associates.
The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, continues to designate foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended. FTO designations play a critical role in the US fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business. Among other consequences of such a designation, it is unlawful for US persons or any persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to provide material support or resources to a designated FTO. US financial institutions are also required to freeze the funds of designated FTOs.
EO and FTO designations support US efforts to curb financing of terrorism and encourage other nations to do the same. They stigmatize and isolate designated terrorist entities and individuals internationally. They deter donations or contributions to, and economic transactions with, named entities and individuals. They heighten public awareness and knowledge of terrorist organizations and signal to other governments US concerns about named entities and individuals.
During 2004, the United States and other UN members designated a number of individuals and entities:
As of December 31, 2004, the United States had designated under EO 13224 a total of 397 individuals and entities as terrorists, their financiers, or facilitators. Since September 11, 2001, the global community has frozen over $146 million in terrorist-related assets.
Throughout the year, the United States also continued to work closely with multilateral partners in numerous counterterrorist financing tracks, including the Counterterrorism Committee of the United Nations, the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and the Counterterrorism Assistance Group (CTAG), as well as in international financial institutions. In addition, in June the United States agreed with the European Union on a Declaration on Combating Terrorism that ratified a wide-ranging set of counterterrorism initiatives, including a commitment to establish a regular dialogue on terrorism finance between the European Union and the United States. Since it was launched in September 2004, the dialogue has served as the framework for ongoing exchanges to promote information-sharing and cooperation on FATF and on technical assistance issues.
Multilateral and Regional Cooperation
Multilateral and regional organizations are crucial to building a seamless global counterterrorism web. Specialized multilateral organizations like the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) can set international counterterrorism standards and best practices. Regional groups around the world, including the European Union, the African Union, the Organization of American States and others, can, and do, encourage their member states to adopt these standards and best practices, and help in their implementation.
One example of how the United States is working with multilateral and regional organizations to improve counterterrorism capabilities involves different multilateral groups, each doing what it does best:
G8 actions in these areas can serve as a first step in further bolstering the security of travel. As with G8 document security and issuance standards, the next steps will be to export completed standards and practices to other organizations for broader adoption, and then to assist those lacking the means to implement them.
Role of the United Nations in Fighting Terrorism
There are 12 universal conventions and protocols currently in force against terrorism that have been developed under the auspices of the United Nations and its specialized agencies and are open to participation by all member states. Various UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 1373, have called upon all member states to become parties to these international instruments. However, many states are not yet parties to all 12 instruments (and thus have not yet implemented them), while still other states have not fully implemented them despite becoming parties. (A thirteenth instrument, the Nuclear Terrorism Convention, was adopted by the UN General Assembly on April 13, 2005, and will be opened for signature in September 2005.)
These conventions and protocols were negotiated from 1963 to 1999. Most are penal in nature with a common format. Typically, they define a particular type of terrorist conduct as an offense under the convention, such as seizure of an aircraft in flight by threat or force; require state parties to penalize that activity in their domestic law; identify certain bases upon which the relevant state parties are required to establish jurisdiction over the defined offense, such as registration, territoriality, or nationality; and create an obligation on the state party in which an accused offender is found to establish jurisdiction over the offense and to refer the offense for prosecution if the party does not extradite pursuant to other provisions of the convention. This last element gives effect to the principle of "no safe haven for terrorists." UN Security Council Resolution 1373 particularly stresses this principle and obligates all states to "deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts, or provide safe havens."
The 1991 Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection is regulatory in nature and contains no penal provisions. The 1963 Convention on Offenses and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft requires a state party to establish penal jurisdiction over offenses committed on board its registered aircraft in flight, without requiring how those offenses should be defined. The following matrix includes the 12 universal conventions and protocols against terrorism, which have been signed (S), and/or ratified/acceded to (P) through the end of 2004. Information is derived from notifications from the United Nations, listings placed on UN websites, other depositories, and through depositary notes received either by US posts abroad or at home.
April 27, 2005