Chapter 2. Country Reports: Europe Overview
Terrorist incidents, including deadly attacks, continued to plague Europe in 2013. Some attacks were apparently perpetrated by “lone offender” assailants while others were organized by groups claiming a range of extremist ideological motivations, from nationalism to right-wing and left-wing political theories to various religious beliefs, including violent Islamist extremism. In some cases the boundaries between ideologies were blurred.
A major challenge to Europe was the increasing travel of European citizens – mostly young men – to and from Syria seeking to join forces opposing the Asad regime. Many of them ended up in the ranks of violent extremist groups such as al-Nusrah Front or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). These “foreign fighters” sparked increasing concerns, and actions to address them, by European countries worried about the growing number of their citizens traveling to the battlefield and possibly returning radicalized. European governments, in particular the EU and several member states affected by this phenomenon, took action to assess the problem and to devise an array of responses to discourage their citizens from going to Syria to take part in the conflict. These efforts ranged from new administrative procedures to prevent travel to Syria, to steps to counter recruitment and facilitation efforts, and programs to investigate and/or reintegrate persons returning from conflict zones. In the western Balkans, governments in EU candidate states and aspirants were also committed to responding effectively to the foreign fighter problem, and sought assistance to fill gaps in their capacity to do so from the United States, the EU, and others. European governments also worked with the United States and other international partners in various fora, including the Global Counterterrorism Forum, to respond to the foreign fighter problem and strengthen general counterterrorism cooperation.
The Bulgarian government continued its investigation of the July 2012 attack in Burgas which left five Israelis and one Bulgarian citizen dead. In February 2013, the government publicly implicated Hizballah in the bombing. A court in Cyprus convicted a Lebanese Hizballah operative of various criminal offenses after he was apprehended surveilling potential Israeli targets on the island. Recognizing the threat posed by Hizballah, the EU in July 2013 agreed to designate what it termed the “military wing” of Hizballah as a terrorist group, a notable step forward.
Europe was the scene of several significant terrorist attacks in 2013. In Turkey, the most significant such incident in the country’s modern history took place in May when 52 people died in a bombing in Reyhanli, on the border with Syria. In the Russian city of Volgograd, an attack on a city bus in October and two more attacks at the end of December claimed a total of 41 lives. The U.S. Embassy in Ankara was the target of a suicide bomb attack by a member of the Revolutionary Liberation People’s Party/Front in February, in which a Turkish citizen on the Embassy guard force was killed. In January, three Kurdish women activists were murdered in Paris, allegedly by a Turkish Kurd now in French police custody, in a crime linked to terrorism although the motive of the killer remains unclear.
Disclosures about alleged U.S. “spying” on European partners sparked concern but did not have a major effect on long-standing and close transatlantic cooperation in combating terrorist threats.
Overview: Albania held national elections in 2013, with the government changing from a coalition led by the center-right Democratic Party to one led by the center-left Socialist Party. The change in government did not affect Albania’s overall counterterrorism efforts, with the new administration continuing the country’s strong collaboration relationship with the United States.
Albanian government institutions have been aware since 2012 that a small group of Albanians have traveled to fight in Syria.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Albanian government has prioritized its counter-narcotics effort and directs its limited law enforcement and border security resources against this objective, rather than against terrorism, which it has seen as a less immediate threat. Albania criminalizes terrorist acts; recruiting and training persons to commit terrorist actions; incitement of terrorist actions; and establishing, leading, and participating in a terrorist organization. The Albanian State Police has established a counterterrorism sector within the Directorate for Serious Crimes of the Department of Criminal Investigations.
Overall, while Albania has the political will to cooperate with countries in the region on counterterrorism initiatives, it lacked the capacity to implement effective controls. Corruption coupled with a poorly functioning judicial system continued to hinder Albanian efforts in law enforcement. Albania does not have the capacity to collect biometric data other than that contained on biometric identity cards presented at border crossing points. Fingerprint data from clandestine migrants is collected, but not all border control points are equipped with live scanners, resulting in a delay in fingerprints being included in electronic databases or identification of individuals based on fingerprint data.
The Ministry of Interior maintained a name-based watchlist populated by an Albanian national wanted persons list and lost and stolen travel document information. The database is a component of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Total Information Management System (TIMS), and it is also linked to Interpol databases.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Albania is a member of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body; and the Albanian Financial Intelligence Unit is a member of the Egmont Group. Since June 2012, Albania has made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and Moneyval to address its strategic anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism deficiencies. Progress has been made but work remains to enhance the framework for international cooperation related to terrorist financing and to ensure and implement an adequate legal framework for identifying, tracing, and freezing terrorist assets.
Albania adopteda new law on measures against the financing of terrorism to comply with the FATF and Moneyval recommendations; final review of this law by the FATF and Moneyval will occur in 2014. Albania has adopted measures against UNSCR-listed individuals and organizations.
Based on Albanian legislation (the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism), Albanian non-profit organizations are not obliged to submit suspicious transaction reports. However, non-profit organizations may be considered “clients” of entities subject to the law, and as a result may be subject to extended due diligence if an associated bank or financial institution considers the organization a potential “high risk client” that would require such monitoring.For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Albania’s counterterrorism participation in multilateral and regional organizations includes the UN, OSCE, NATO, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The Government of Albania countered violent extremist narratives that attempted to exploit religious beliefs, and also actively engaged the Albanian Islamic Community, the official administrative body of the Albanian Sunni Muslim community.
Overview: Austria was vigilant in its counterterrorism efforts and U.S.-Austrian law enforcement cooperation was generally strong. Concerns over data privacy protection – amplified by public debate about suspected NSA locations and activities in Austria – slowed the implementation of counterterrorism legislation and agreements. A broad and continuing public perception that Austria is safe from terrorist attacks reduced the impetus for counterterrorism efforts. The Agency for State Protection and Counterterrorism (BVT) reported that the threat from transnational violent extremism remained a concern, due in part to a small number of individuals who train in terrorist camps abroad. In addition to violent domestic extremist groups from the right and the left, the BVT monitored Austrian Islamist fighters returning from the civil war in Syria, radicalized individuals among second and third-generation immigrants, and religious converts.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Austria has a broad legal framework to combat terrorism. Relevant statutes criminalize training in terrorist camps abroad and allow telephone surveillance of individual suspects or small groups with the permission of an independent judge or ombudsman. In July, the Austrian Parliament passed the country’s new National Security Strategy, which emphasizes international cooperation to fight terrorism and cybercrime. The document also identified “successful integration of immigrants” as a prerequisite to prevent radicalization.
Prosecutors are consulted during investigations and work in coordination with counterparts in other components of law enforcement. Specialized law enforcement units have advanced investigations, crisis response, and border security capacity. There is a streamlined response to terrorism, with a single agency – the BVT – that has jurisdiction over investigations and post incident response. Law enforcement units display clear and effective command and control. Specialized law enforcement units are properly equipped and supported with relevant training, but staffing and funding shortages could hamper their effectiveness. Demarcated missions exist between law enforcement and military units that have a counterterrorism mission, although coordination could be improved.
Border security forces make effective use of security measures including biographic and biometric screening capabilities at ports of entry, terrorist screening watchlists, information-sharing internally and with other EU countries, and collection of advance passenger name records on commercial flights.
Austrian counterterrorism authorities filed criminal charges against 10 Austrian violent extremists who returned from fighting in Syria, but charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. They remained under observation at year’s end.
Austrian Islamist extremist Mohammed Mahmoud al-Shawqi, who burned his Austrian passport and announced his intention to fight in Syria in a video distributed over the “Global Islamic Media Front” network, was arrested in March trying to enter Syria from Turkey. Subsequent to his arrest, Mahmoud applied for asylum. He was in detention in Turkey awaiting extradition at year’s end.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Austria is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and its Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is a member of the Egmont Group. The country’s banking and financial sector plays an important role within Europe. Legal amendments enacted over the past four years have sought to bring Austria's anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime into greater compliance with FATF standards. Those amendments have strengthened regulatory standards; given more power and responsibility to bank compliance officers, regulators, and Austria's FIU; eliminated bearer shares for domestic non-listed stock corporations; made asset seizure easier in AML/CFT cases; and provided for easier access to banking information.
Non-profit organizations are not required to file suspicious transaction reports as part of their license to operate or as a matter of law.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Austria maintains security partnerships with several countries in the region and the Ministry of the Interior has counterterrorism liaison officers in a number of Austria’s embassies in southeastern Europe. Austria participates in various regional security platforms, including the OSCE, the Central European Initiative, and the Salzburg Forum.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: In an effort to prevent radicalization and the emergence of parallel societies, the Interior Ministry released an educational handbook on the basic tenets of Austrian society, including social, political, and humanitarian values (Wertefibel) to serve as a guide for immigrants. Austria reported initiating a similar project with the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights.
Overview: Azerbaijan maintained its strong counterterrorism cooperation with the United States and actively opposed terrorist organizations seeking to move people, money, and material through the Caucasus. The country continued to strengthen its counterterrorism efforts, prosecuted numerous individuals under statutes related to terrorism, and confiscated sizeable quantities of illegal arms and munitions.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Azerbaijan continued to use counterterrorism legislation, first adopted in 1999, that governs the investigation and prosecution of individuals who have committed or plan to commit terrorist acts. The Ministry of National Security is primarily responsible for combating terrorism, although the Ministry of Internal Affairs also plays a role as the country’s primary law enforcement entity. Both ministries demonstrated the ability to detect and deter terrorist activities.
Officials from the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program met with Azerbaijani officials to discuss the country’s security needs and capacity to respond to terrorism-related events – including infrastructure security capabilities – and began developing a plan to resume the training of Azerbaijani security forces. In late October, ATA delivered a Tactical Management of Special Events course to the Azerbaijani Presidential Protective Service unit.
Significant law enforcement actions included:
- On September 20, a counterterrorism operation resulted in the confiscation of firearms sent from Iran to Azerbaijan.
- On October 31, authorities detained an Iranian national near the Israeli embassy in Baku, suspected of planning to carry out a series of attacks against diplomatic centers. The individual was released after 30 days in detention and returned to Iran.
- On November 23, the Ministry of National Security announced that it had arrested two Azerbaijani citizens suspected of planning to acquire firearms, ammunition, and explosives, as well as preparing terrorist acts aimed at killing a large number of people.
- On November 25 and December 10, 39 individuals accused of plotting terrorist attacks during the 2012 Eurovision contest in Baku received prison sentences ranging from nine years to life.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Azerbaijan is a member of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. Azerbaijan has increased its professionalism in anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) since 2009, when it adopted AML/CFT legislation. This legislation created a financial intelligence unit, the Financial Monitoring Service (FMS), and imposed the necessary obligations on financial institutions to conduct customer due diligence and to report suspicious transactions to the FMS. Institutions from outside the formal financial sector that conduct monetary operations, however, are often not required to report, which presents vulnerabilities.
In order to bring Azerbaijan’s legislative framework into conformity with international standards, including those of the UN, the EU, and the FATF, Azerbaijan continued to implement Moneyval recommendations to address AML/CFT issues. The U.S. government, primarily USAID and Treasury, has been one of the FMS’ leading partners since its formation, working with the Prosecutor General’s Office and others to provide technical assistance and training to improve enforcement capabilities. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: At the end of 2013, Azerbaijan concluded a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the UNSecurity Council, supporting various terrorism-related UNSCRs. Azerbaijan remained an active member of the OSCE, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and other regional organizations. Additionally, Azerbaijan took part in working group meetings of Caspian Sea littoral states to coordinate law enforcement efforts aimed at combating terrorism as well as smuggling, narcotics trafficking, and organized crime.
Overview: Belgium maintains an effective counterterrorism system, overseen by the Ministries of Interior and Justice. Belgium continued to investigate, arrest, and prosecute terrorist suspects and worked closely with U.S. authorities on counterterrorism matters.
Significant numbers of Belgian foreign fighters have travelled to Syria, and in response, the Belgian government formed a task force focused on countering radicalization, preventing prospective fighters from traveling to the region, monitoring returnees, and arresting and prosecuting recruiters, facilitators, and those returnees who represent a clear threat. Belgium has taken a lead role in in EU discussions on foreign fighters. A December study by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization estimated that Belgium had the highest per capita number of Syrian foreign fighters of any European country; Belgian government estimates ranged from 100 to more than 200.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Belgian counterterrorism legislation was reinforced in 2003 to enable authorities to investigate and prosecute terrorist suspects more effectively. In February the Parliament passed a modification to the penal code that broadened the definition of incitement to terrorism, enabling authorities to investigate and prosecute individuals who advocate terrorist actions directly or indirectly. This has given authorities broader powers to investigate and prosecute those who call for the violent overthrow of democratic regimes, incite others to hatred of non-Muslims, and recruit fighters for armed conflict abroad.
The primary actors in Belgium’s counterterrorism system are the Belgian Federal Police and its Counterterrorism Division, the Civilian and Military Intelligence Services, Office of the Federal Prosecutor, and the Crisis Unit. Their actions are coordinated and overseen by the inter-ministerial Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis (CUTA or OCAM/OCAD). The Ministry of Interior was in the process of overseeing a number of structural police reforms that, among other things, are designed to streamline information sharing on counterterrorism matters between jurisdictions and with other agencies.
Belgium has been working with other Schengen zone states and with Turkey to improve efforts to share information and interdict prospective foreign fighters en route to Syria. All new Belgian passports now contain biometric data.
Belgian police have made numerous arrests of individuals suspected of recruiting fighters to go to Syria, as well as returnees. Most returnees are connected to the radical Salafist group Sharia4Belgium, which formally disbanded in 2012, although its members remain active in Syria or as recruiters in Belgium. Some of the individuals arrested have been released on parole, subject to police monitoring, while others remained in detention at year’s end, pending trial. The most significant arrests included:
- On April 16, police arrested four suspects charged with directing the efforts of Sharia4Belgium to recruit foreign fighters for Syria: Hakim and Abdelouafi Elouassaki, Walid Lakdim, and former Sharia4Belgium spokesman Fouad Belkacem, who had been arrested in 2012 and was serving a sentence via electronic monitoring. Hakim Elouassaki was arrested after returning from Syria, where he was wounded.
- On October 19, Jejoen Bontinck, a Belgian convert and foreign fighter who returned to Antwerp after spending eight months in Syria, was arrested and charged with participation in a terrorist group. He was released under conditions on December 13.
- On December 9, the Belgian Federal Police arrested five individuals suspected of recruiting foreign fighters to go to Syria. The leader of the group, Jean-Louis Denis, a Belgian convert and former member of Sharia4Belgium, allegedly radicalized and recruited people in the course of his charitable activities distributing food to the poor in Brussels.
Other important law enforcement activities included:
- On April 25, convicted terrorist Lors Doukaev, a Belgian resident of Chechen origin, was sent back to Belgium by Danish authorities to serve the remaining nine years of his sentence for terrorism. In 2010, Doukaev was arrested in Copenhagen after he accidentally set off the bomb he was preparing, allegedly to send to the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which published controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in 2005.
- On September 11, the Antwerp Court of Appeals re-opened the court case against the 14 members of the so-called Hamdaoui cell accused of planning terrorist attacks in Belgium and seeking to fight in Chechnya. Many are being tried in absentia; it is believed that some members of the cell are fighting in Syria. In 2012, a lower court had thrown out the charges against all but one of the suspects (the suspected leader, Hassan Hamdaoui, a Belgian of Moroccan origin), but prosecutors successfully appealed the ruling. On October 19, police arrested Hamdaoui, who turned himself in after having been convicted in absentia in 2012 of violating the terms of his parole.
- On September 24, Belgian Federal police arrested Ismail Abdelatif Allal in Vilvoorde pursuant to an international arrest warrant. Allal was wanted in Spain for his suspected leadership of the so-called Ceuta recruiting and financing cell, which is allegedly linked to al-Qa’ida.
- On October 8, Belgian police in Ghent arrested Maria Natividad Jauregui Espina, aka “Pepona,” an alleged member of Basque Fatherland and Liberty’s Vizcaya commando unit wanted under two arrest warrants for attacks in Spain.
- On October 3, Belgium extradited convicted terrorist Nizar Trabelsi to the United States. Trabelsi, a Tunisian national, was arrested in Belgium on September 13, 2001, and later convicted for plotting to attack the Belgian Air Force base at Kleine Brogel, where U.S. military personnel are stationed. He served a 10-year sentence in Belgium prior to his extradition.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Belgium is a member of the Financial Action Task Force. Belgium’s financial intelligence unit, the Cellule de Traitement des Informations Financieres (CTIF) is a member of the Egmont Group. CTIF is tasked with tracking and investigating reports of financial crimes, including money laundering and terrorist financing, and has broad authorities under Belgian legislation to conduct inquiries and refer criminal cases to federal prosecutors. According to the most recent CTIF annual report – which covers 2012 – of the 1,506 financial crimes cases that CTIF referred to prosecutors, 20 (1.32 percent) were connected to possible terrorist or proliferation financing, a slight decrease from the previous year (1.63 percent). Of those 20, 17 were being investigated by police at year’s end, and three were dismissed. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Belgium participates in EU, NATO, OSCE, and Council of Europe counterterrorism efforts, and is a member of the advisory board of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre. In December 2013, Belgian Interior Minister Milquet hosted a ministerial meeting of EU member states affected by the foreign fighter problem, in an effort to develop additional areas of cooperation in border controls, radicalization prevention, and information sharing. (The United States participated in this meeting.)
As an EU member state, Belgium has contributed trainers and capacity-building expertise to EU counterterrorism assistance programs in Sahel countries, including the Collège Sahélien de Sécurité, and the Belgian Federal Police have provided training to counterparts in the Maghreb.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: In 2013, both the Ministry of the Interior and the Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis (OCAM) broadened their strategies to take into account the foreign fighter problem. The Interior Ministry plan contains measures to build community resilience against radicalization to violence, boost anti-discrimination and integration efforts, and counter prison radicalization. OCAM’s “Action Plan Radicalism,” which it coordinates, has been broadened to strengthen efforts to monitor the radicalization to violence and recruitment of young people to travel to Syria, and to develop measures to limit the impact of violent extremist messaging. OCAM and the Ministry of Interior coordinate and facilitate the flow of information between the national and the local level, including the dissemination of best practices and other measures that help to curb the activities of violent extremists.
Among the components of the government’s strategy on preventing radicalization is an effort to counter violent extremist messaging on the internet. The government’s strategy on preventing radicalization to violence also includes an interagency effort in support of local government actors who will work with returnees from Syria to monitor their reintegration into society and provide them with guidance and support.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Overview: Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) continued to make slow progress in increasing counterterrorism capacity and remained a cooperative counterterrorism partner with the United States. The BiH Court and Prosecutor's Office processed cases against perpetrators of acts of terrorism as well as against those who planned to conduct, or otherwise support, acts of terrorism that were carried out in previous years. Despite budgetary challenges, BiH’s Joint Terrorism Task Force continued to work toward improving coordination between BiH's many security and police agencies to better counter potential terrorist threats and to respond better to acts of terrorism. Violent Islamist extremist ideological influences and regional nationalist violent extremist groups represented sources of potential threats in BiH.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: BiH's criminal code and related legal framework is harmonized with UN and EU standards related to combating terrorism. BiH’s law enforcement capacity to detect, deter, and prevent acts of terrorism is hampered primarily by the problem of overlapping jurisdictions, particularly in Sarajevo, where at least three distinct police forces have a role in responding to terrorist incidents: the State Investigative and Protective Agency (SIPA),Bosnia's state-level police authority; Sarajevo cantonal police; and Federation entity police. In addition, the state-level Directorate for the Coordination of Police Bodies (DCPB) is charged with the protection of diplomatic and certain other public facilities. While state-level laws give DCPB the authority to coordinate the responses of all state-level police agencies, this organization remains underfunded and under-supported by both BiH government authorities and by international organizations, many of which have bilateral relationships with other state-level agencies. In practice, SIPA generally takes a lead role in responding to attacks and the BiH Prosecutor's Office has the authority to investigate and prosecute acts of terrorism. The Ministry of Security (MoS) continues to consult with state, entity, district, and cantonal police and security agencies to evaluate whether a better legal framework can be created to mandate more coordinated responses to attacks and actions to prevent attacks.
Responding to the relatively large numbers of Bosnian Muslims going to fight in Syria, Minister of Security Fahrudin Radoncic, introduced a bill in November that would punish BiH citizens who return to the country after having fought in a non-recognized militia abroad. The bill also sets forth punishments for those who organize and recruit people for these missions. The bill was making its way through the BiH Parliament at year’s end.
Bosnia's Joint Terrorism Task Force, led by BiH's Chief Prosecutor, began operations in January 2011. It includes members from BiH's state and entity law enforcement agencies and the Brcko District Police. The MoS funds the Joint Task Force, which operates out of SIPA headquarters. The Task Force remains in its formative stages nearly three years after its establishment and primarily acts as an intelligence-sharing mechanism.
Counterterrorism cooperation of local law enforcement with U.S. counterparts is generally good. State Department’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program training to BiH law enforcement included courses in conducting counterterrorism investigations, securing vital infrastructure from terrorism threats, and managing airport security.
To track entries into Bosnia, the BiH Border Police (BP) uses a computerized database and software system to support immigration and passenger information collection. The system, in place since March 2012, links all 55 border crossings and all four airport locations (Sarajevo, Tuzla, Mostar, and Banja Luka) via the State Police Information Network, a network developed and donated by the Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program. In 2013, Foreigners Affairs Service (FAS) field offices became connected to this system. It provides the BP and FAS with immediate access to other supporting databases (including Interpol) to run appropriate checks and cross-checks.
On terrorism-related prosecutions, Bosnia saw two convictions during 2013 in cases related to terrorist planning and acts carried out in previous years. In July, the BiH Appeals Court ordered a new trial for Mevlid Jasarevic, who was convicted of terrorism in December 2012 for the October 2011 U.S. Embassy shooting, on the ground that the original trial panel had committed procedural errors. On November 20, Jasarevic was re-convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Jasarevic’s original December 2012 18-year sentence was reduced after the court took into consideration that Jasarevic “has sincerely repented for the act he committed.”
On December 20, the BiH Court convicted Haris Causevic of a terrorist act for the June 2010 bombing of the Bugojno police station, which killed one police officer and injured six others. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison. His co-defendant, Naser Palislamovi������������������, was found not guilty and released. The other defendants were freed in January due to a lack of evidence.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: BiH is a member of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body; and its Financial Intelligence Unit is a member of the Egmont Group. The country’s geographic position and political structure make it difficult to police its borders and enforce anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance rules. BiH has implemented UNSCR 1267/1989 sanctions. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: BiH law enforcement agencies regularly interacted with their U.S. and European counterparts on counterterrorism investigations. Regional cooperation at the professional law enforcement level with Croatia and Serbia improved in 2013.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The main religious communities in BiH (Islamic, Orthodox, Catholic, and Jewish) worked together, through the Interreligious Council, to promote tolerance and to confront violent extremism. Some Muslim leaders were particularly active regarding their own congregants. On August 23, in response to reports that Bosnian Muslims were fighting in foreign conflicts, Reis Husein Kavazovic, the leader of the BiH Islamic community, delivered a widely published sermon in which he condemned “the shedding of innocent blood, any form of violence, and calls for threats, because that is not the path of believers.” At the same time, he encouraged believers to think critically and carefully about whose military they are joining and whose guns they are holding.
Overview: In 2013, Bulgaria continued its investigation into the 2012 airport bus bombing in Burgas. In September, Gauntlet Challenge, a large, Bulgaria-U.S. interagency counterterrorism exercise, expanded bilateral cooperation to respond to terrorist threats. An influx of asylum seekers from Syria has exacerbated border security challenges, raised interethnic tensions, and challenged underfunded state agencies. There are concerns that this flow of people could allow some foreign fighters to transit in and out of Bulgaria. Bulgaria is slated to receive more than US $7 million in aid from the EU specifically earmarked to assist with the influx of asylum seekers. The United States, in concert with other regional partners, has maintained a regular dialogue with the Bulgarian government to assess and manage this risk.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Bulgaria prosecutes suspected terrorists under several provisions of its Penal Code. The basic definition of terrorism is provided for in Article 108a of the code. Over the past several years, the Bulgarian government has attempted to fortify its ability to investigate and prosecute terrorists. The Ministry of Justice drafted a new Penal Code in 2012 to replace the outdated 1968 version; the draft code includes more detailed and specific counterterrorism provisions that implement the major international counterterrorism conventions. The draft Code was being debated in Parliament at the end of 2013.
Law enforcement cooperation between U.S. agencies and their Bulgarian counterparts has historically been strong. However, the government has reshuffled and reorganized key police units, with the resulting reassignment of personnel and imposition of new rules slowing joint casework.
The Interior Ministry continued to host operational units responsible for deterring, detecting, and responding to incidents, including the Specialized Unit for Combatting Terrorism, Security Police, and Special Police Forces. Specialized law enforcement units were properly equipped and supported with relevant training.
U.S. law enforcement and the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior have cooperated on the ongoing investigation into the 2012 bus bombing in Burgas, which – initial investigations indicate – was perpetrated by individuals affiliated with Lebanese Hizballah. In July, the Prosecutor General’s office invited Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) bomb technicians to Bulgaria to review the evidence, including photos, material, and a video re-creation of the event. The team, which arrived in October 2013, praised Bulgaria’s cooperation and the high quality of the re-creation.
The State Department provided Regional Strategic Initiative funding for training to Bulgarian law enforcement in a variety of areas including counterterrorism investigations and explosive countermeasures.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Bulgaria belongs to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval). Bulgaria is implementing its 2003 Law on Measures Against Terrorism Financing. In December 2012, Parliament adopted legal amendments to this law as well as to the Measures Against Money Laundering act. The changes expand on the definitions of terrorist funds to cover those controlled by designated persons and specify the different forms of control. The amendments also introduced a requirement for financial institutions to monitor complex and unusually large transactions. The country’s widescale smuggling and cross-border illicit criminal networks, combined with the free movement of goods and persons as a result of EU membership, present risks to Bulgaria’s financial sector. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Bulgaria is a member and active contributor to counterterrorism initiatives in the UN, EU, Council of Europe, OSCE, Organization for the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, and NATO. Law enforcement officials benefit from joint investigations and training opportunities with international partners.
Overview: The Government of the Republic of Cyprus collaborated closely with the United States, the EU, and other countries – bilaterally and multilaterally – in international counterterrorism efforts. The Cypriots successfully prosecuted Hossam Yaacoub Taleb, a Lebanese Hizballah operative, for conducting surveillance activities on Israeli targets in Cyprus. In issuing its opinion, the court declared that Hizballah was a criminal organization with regards to the defendant’s activities in Cyprus, and convicted Yaacoub of a range of criminal charges including participation in a criminal organization, participation and acceptance in committing a crime, and money laundering. This case played an instrumental role in EU designation of the military wing of Hizballah as a terrorist organization. The defense filed an appeal, and the appellate court held a hearing in October. The court’s decision was pending at year’s end. Cyprus' counterterrorism partnership with the United States included regular, routine protection for transiting U.S. military personnel, aircraft, and naval vessels throughout 2013;and participation in the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance and Regional Security Initiative programs, which strengthened the government's capacity to counter terrorism.
Since 1974, Cyprus has been divided de facto into the Republic of Cyprus government-controlled area, composed of the southern two-thirds of the island, and a northern third, administered by the Turkish Cypriots. The Republic of Cyprus government does not exercise effective control over the area administered by the Turkish Cypriots. In 1983, the Turkish Cypriots declared the northern part an independent “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).” The United States does not recognize the “TRNC,” nor does any country other than Turkey. The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus patrols the buffer zone separating the two sides, but people, narcotics, and other illicit goods routinely cross uncontrolled.
The division of the island has obstructed counterterrorism cooperation between the two communities, and between the Republics of Cyprus and Turkey. Turkish Cypriots lacked the legal and institutional framework necessary to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism effectively. Within these limitations, however, Turkish Cypriots cooperated in pursuing specific counterterrorism objectives.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Republic of Cyprus enacted a National Law on Combating Terrorism in 2010 that incorporates EU Council Framework Decisions. The criminal code has been used to prosecute terrorism-related offenses; for example, the prosecution pursued criminal charges against Yaacoub for his surveillance activities of Israeli tourist targets in Cyprus.
In 2013, the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Public Order, in his capacity as Cyprus' National Counterterrorism Coordinator, supervised an ad hoc interagency committee to draft a new National Counterterrorism Strategy for the Republic of Cyprus that will be based on the four pillars of the corresponding EU strategy: “Prevent, Pursue, Protect, and Respond.” The strategy’s aim is to reduce the terrorist threat in Cyprus while safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms. The committee consulted relevant government departments of the Republic of Cyprus and cooperated with similar authorities in the UK and the United States to prepare the strategy. The United States funded a seminar on Integrating Counterterrorism Strategies at the National Level. Other U.S. training programs have strengthened the capacity of Cypriot judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement to adjudicate terrorist cases and strengthen border protection.
Cyprus National Police (CNP) created and put into practice a screening watchlist mechanism. On the CNP’s Counterterrorism Office watchlist, among others, are all persons subject to travel bans and asset freezing sanctions by UNSCRs and EU decisions concerning terrorism. The Aliens and Immigration Unit of the Cyprus Police, in cooperation with FRONTEX, has also prepared a strategic plan to combat illegal immigration and relevant cross-border crime. The plan includes: information exchange with other EU member states and third countries; participation in FRONTEX operations; and activities to train border guards in passport control issues and profiling of immigrants, potential victims, and suspects involved in serious organized crime and terrorism.
Cypriot law enforcement received and examined some reports of suspected terrorist activities, but they found no evidence of terrorism. There was no noticeable activity of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in 2013. Based on threat information and assessments, proportionate security measures were put in place for the protection of western interests and soft targets.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Cyprus is a member of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Cyprus’ financial intelligence unit (FIU), the Unit for Combating Money Laundering (MOKAS), is a member of the Egmont Group. In April and May, Cyprus was reviewed by a special committee of experts from Moneyval and the IMF as part of a general bailout of the country’s banking sector. Cyprus has pledged to strengthen the regulation of its significant international business sector given the anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism(AML/CFT) risks this sector poses in its current structure.
Cyprus executed formal requests for legal assistance submitted by other countries (EU as well as third countries), including the recognition and enforcement by Cyprus’ courts of foreign freezing and confiscation orders. Cyprus has ratified and implements international and EU instruments in AML/CFT.
Cypriot authorities have taken legislative steps to counter and suppress AML/CFT activities. Section 8 of the Law on Combating Terrorism of 2010 criminalizes any form of support to terrorist groups, including financing. In 2013, the Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering Activities Law was amended, mainly to implement recommendations made in the Fourth Assessment of Moneyval. Those amendments do not address terrorist financing exclusively.
The Republic of Cyprus government timely implemented new UNSCR 1267/1989 and 1988 sanctions listings and informally tracked suspect names listed under U.S. Executive Orders. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs prepared, in cooperation with MOKAS, a draft bill imposing penalties in cases of violations or attempts to circumvent sanctions. At year’s end, the bill was pending approval first by the Council of Ministers and then by the Republic of Cyprus’ House of Representatives. The proposed legislation aims to criminalize infringements of UNSCRs and relevant sanctions adopted by the EU, as well as impose effective, proportionate, and dissuasive penalties.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Cyprus participated in counterterrorism initiatives of the UN, the OSCE, and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs attended meetings of the Working Group on the External Aspects of Terrorism of the Council of the EU (COTER), and is represented at the Global Counterterrorism Forum by the European External Action Service (EEAS), as the EU is a full member of the organization.
The Cypriot Police's Counterterrorism Office also participated regularly in various regional working groups, including the EU Police Working Group on Terrorism, the Working Group on Terrorism of the EU Council, Europol’s High-level Expert Meetings and First Response Network, and the European Expert Network on Terrorism.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: Cyprus, as a member of the Terrorism Working Party of the Council of the EU, participated in the recent revision of the EU’s Radicalization and Recruitment Action Plan. The Cyprus Police, as well as other services of the Republic of Cyprus, are implementing various measures of the Radicalization and Recruitment Action Plan and are participating in Radicalization Awareness Network (RAN) meetings. The Police’s Counterterrorism Office is focused on the ongoing training of first line police officers and prison employees about radicalization to violence. The Counterterrorism Office participated as a partner in the Community Policing and the Prevention of Radicalization (COPPRA) project. The COPPRA-produced training manuals are fully incorporated into the training programs on radicalization to violence that were created and implemented by the Cyprus Police’s Counterterrorism Office. The prevention of recruitment and radicalization to violence also falls under the first pillar of PREVENT of the National Counterterrorism Strategy of the Republic of Cyprus.
Overview: The Kingdom of Denmark (Denmark, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands) has devoted significant assets to counterterrorism programs, as well as to initiatives that seek to counter violent extremism in Denmark and abroad. Denmark remained a target of terrorist groups, including al-Qa’ida, due in part to the Jyllands-Posten cartoon crisis that began in 2005; however, no large-scale terrorist attacks have occurred within Denmark. In 2012 and 2013, a new trend arose of Danish citizens and residents of the Muslim faith voluntarily leaving Denmark to fight in Syria. Danish security services have focused on addressing this trend; there is concern that Danish fighters in Syria could be exposed to terrorist ideology and training before returning to Denmark.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Denmark continued to use its terrorism legislation from 2006, which allowed greater information sharing between the two agencies most involved in countering terrorist threats in Denmark –the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) and the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (DDIS).
Denmark’s law enforcement agencies are skilled in proactively detecting, deterring, and preventing acts of terrorism on Danish territory. Security and law enforcement organizations have adequate information sharing, thanks to the Danish government’s Center for Terror Analysis (CTA), which was established to share information between PET, DDIS, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Danish Emergency Management Agency. Denmark also has a national police force, to which all Danish police belong.
Denmark has a very competent and professional Customs and Tax Authority (SKAT). As a member of the Schengen Agreement, Denmark has open borders with its neighbors and there are no passport controls at the land borders or in the airport terminals servicing Schengen Visa area flights. As a member of the EU, Denmark abides by the EU’s April 2012 passage of Passenger Name Record (PNR) legislation, which allows passenger names and information to be passed to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, with regulations to protect the privacy of European passengers.
Significant law enforcement actions against terrorists and terrorist groups, including proactive disruptions, arrests, and prosecutions:
- On March 25, two Somali-Danish brothers, aged 19 and 24, were sentenced to three-and- a-half years in prison in Denmark after being found guilty of financing terrorism as well as receiving training at an al-Shabaab training camp in Somalia.
- On May 14, Moroccan-born Danish citizen Said Mansour, known as "the Bookseller from Bronshoj," was arrested and charged with violating Denmark's terrorism laws. The arrest was in connection with police raids on the London home of Abu Qatada. At year’s end, the case remained in the investigative stage and no trial date had been set. Mansour was previously sentenced in April 2007 to three-and- a-half years in prison for producing and distributing graphic videos encouraging participation in terrorist activities.
- On July 3, the Eastern Division of the Danish High Court (Ostre Landstret) found ROJ TV and Mesopotamia Broadcasting guilty of receiving support from the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), and fined the companies US $860,000 each for broadcasting terrorism-related material from 2007 through 2010. This verdict, in response to ROJ TV’s appeal of a 2012 conviction, also revoked the company’s broadcasting license in Denmark. On September 25, Denmark’s Supreme Court rejected ROJ TV’s request for an appeal hearing for its conviction for promoting PKK-related terrorism; the court agreed, however, to hear an appeal of revocation of its broadcasting license. In a related case, a trial began in September of 11 Danish citizens of Kurdish origin charged with raising over $23 million for the PKK in Denmark over five years.
As of the end of 2013, Danish authorities announced they had identified 90 Danes who left Denmark in 2013 to fight in Syria for opposition groups, including known terrorist groups. In February, Slimane Hadj Abderrahmane, a Danish citizen and a former Guantanamo detainee (2001-2004), was killed fighting in Syria. In March, a Danish convert to Islam, Kenneth Sorensen, aka Abdul Malik, was also killed fighting in Syria.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Denmark is a member of the Financial Action Task Force, and cooperates closely with other Nordic financial intelligence units (FIU). In September 2012, Nordic countries’ FIU representatives received training at PET’s Headquarters in Denmark from the U.S. FBI’s Terrorism and Financing Operations Section regarding disruption methods for terrorist financing; as a follow on, in June 2013, representatives from Denmark and other Nordic security services traveled to the United States to participate in additional terrorist financing training. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: The Danish government is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), and is committed to close cooperation with international organizations, particularly within the UN framework and through the EU, to ensure that it has both the capacity and the support to combat terrorism. Denmark actively participated in: the UN, the EU, the GCTF, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, NATO, Interpol, Europol, the Middle Europe Conference, the Bern Club, and the EU Counterterrorism Group.
- On April 18-19, Denmark and Burkina Faso co-hosted a two day workshop, under the auspices of the GCTF, on terrorism prevention and countering violent extremism in West Africa and the Sahel. Workshop participants created an official action plan with 20 recommendations for governments, civil society, and the media in the region; Denmark presented the action plan at the GCTF’s Sahel Region Capacity Building Working Group in Oran, Algeria on June 24–25.
- On September 23, the Danish government announced its new Peace and Stabilization Program for the Sahel, funded with $22 million. The fund targets projects where development and security interests overlap, such as in Mali and nearby countries. The program has three pillars: 1) support for dialogue and reconciliation; 2) security sector support; and 3) countering violent extremism and organized crime.
- The Danish government contributed to the French-led military intervention in Mali with limited personnel and air support.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: A government-funded mapping project, which seeks to map anti-democratic and violent extremist circles released the first of its working drafts to the public in September. In November, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration established a National Board for Social Affairs and Integration. The new board is a separate institution from the Ministry, but is under the guidance of the minister. It will focus solely on CVE issues through four structures: an advisory board of young adult volunteers to advise on and promote the board’s projects; a formal network between municipalities and the national board that will meet every six months; an office to review and disseminate best practices to the municipalities; and formal international cooperation.
Danish communications efforts to counter terrorist propaganda are in the nascent stages. In June, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration hosted a one-day conference on addressing online radicalization for government and civil society representatives from Northern Europe and the United States.
PET remains the most active Danish government agency engaged in CVE work. PET officers routinely meet with municipalities on specific violent extremism cases under the broad framework of Denmark’s SSP cooperation (a formal information sharing arrangement between schools, social workers, and police, formed in the 1970s as an anti-crime initiative). PET also continues to lead two CVE projects: prison mentoring and the “Dialogue Forum.” While figures are not available on how many prisoners have participated in PET’s prison mentoring program, PET has released a handbook for prison officials on how to spot violent extremism among prisoners. The PET’s Dialogue Forum, held four times a year, is a roundtable meeting between PET and Denmark’s Muslim community to discuss various issues related to violent extremism.
Overview: The United States and France maintained a strong counterterrorism relationship in 2013. U.S. government agencies worked closely with their French counterparts for the exchange and evaluation of terrorist-related information, and partnered in fostering closer regional and international cooperation. France’s security apparatus and legislation afford broad powers to security services to prevent terrorist attacks. The Government of France was concerned about the possibility of attacks against its interests inside and outside of Syria, Mali, and across the Sahel. France recognizes the potential threat posed by its nationals traveling abroad to join terrorist organizations or to fight in Syria. Early in 2013 President Hollande raised the “Vigipirate” level (France’s national security alert system) to “red” alert, the second highest level. This decision came after France intervened in Mali. Patrols of public transportation were strengthened country-wide.
The return of French nationals who joined groups fighting in the civil war in Syria is an increasing threat. There were reportedly 184 French nationals fighting among violent Islamist extremist groups in Syria in 2013; 14 were killed in combat there.
2013 Terrorist Incidents: In 2013, there were attacks related to terrorism:
- On January 9, in Western Paris, Ömer Güney, a 30-year-old ethnic Kurd, killed three Kurdish women activists. On January 21, the French police arrested Güney, and have since held him in solitary confinement.
- On May 26, 22-year-old Frenchman Alexandre Daussy stabbed and critically injured French soldier Cedric Cordiez at the La Défense shopping district in Paris.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In December 2012, the French government adopted counterterrorism legislation that allows authorities to prosecute French citizens who return to France after committing an act of terrorism abroad, or after training in terrorist camps (notably in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region) with the intention of returning to France to commit terrorist attacks. France passed legislation expanding the scope of the government’s domestic surveillance powers in December, which has raised data privacy concerns by some groups. This legislation, while expanding the scope of the government’s powers to collect data from electronic communications on national security grounds to include counter-espionage activities, is not expected to significantly change France’s already advanced law enforcement capacity or its cooperation with the United States.
France’s main counterterrorism apparatus is its Direction Centrale du Renseignement Interieur (DCRI), which was founded in 2008 and is tasked with counter-espionage, counterterrorism, and the surveillance of potential threats on French territory.
France works diligently to maintain strong border security and implements national and EU border security legislation. Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports as well as the Marseille-Provence airport use the Automated Fast Track Crossing at External Borders (PARAFE) system, which, combined with biometric authentication technology, simplifies border crossing and results in an average crossing time of 20 seconds.
France has a system of non-jury courts for terrorism trials and a broad definition of what is considered a terrorist offense – the so-called “association of wrongdoers” offense – which allows it to cast a wide net and imprison a broad range of suspects. Under French law, foreigners can be deported if they are believed to pose a serious threat to public order.
The following high profile arrests took place in 2013:
- In January, France deported three foreign Imams. Interior Minister Valls justified the action as an attempt to deport any foreign born preacher who stressed “…the need to fight against France.”
- On February 5, French police arrested four suspected Islamist militants near Paris as part of an investigation into the recruitment of al-Qa’ida fighters from France to the Sahel region. Three of the men are Franco-Congolese and one man is Malian. The investigation revealed that the men were planning to conduct sabotage in France.
- In late February, French police arrested three Chechens suspected of terrorist activity near Paris. The suspects were identified as Ali Dokaev, Elsy Issakov, and Mourad Idrissov.
- On March 13, French police arrested an additional three people in Marignane on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks after they found a number of weapons and explosives in a police raid on a house. The police said the three men were in their 20s, and they wished to emulate the March 2012 terrorist attacks carried out by 23-year-old Mohamed Merah.
- On June 24, French police arrested six members of an Islamist terrorist cell who were planning attacks on well-known French figures. The group included four French nationals, one from Benin, and another from Comoros. On June 25, French police arrested a 26-year-old webmaster known as Romain for his role as administrator of the Ansaw al Haqq website. Romain translates magazines published by al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
- On July 16, French police arrested Kristian “Varg” Vikernes, a 40-year-old Norwegian neo-nazi who sympathizes with Anders Breivik, the man who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.
- On August 7, French police arrested a 23-year-old French soldier who planned to open fire on the Minguettes mosque in Venissieux, a Lyon suburb, on August 15, at the end of Ramadan. The French soldier reportedly has ties to the “radical far-right”.
- On September 28, French police arrested a 21-year-old woman in Paris for her alleged connection to AQAP.
- On October 12, France filed charges against Naamen Meziche, age 43, a French-Algerian man who it suspects has links to the terrorist cell that planned the 9/11 attacks. Pakistani authorities deported Meziche to France, where he was arrested upon arrival. He had been arrested in Pakistan in May 2012, along with three other French fighters, all of whom were expelled to France separately.
- On November 16, the DCRI arrested four men aged 22 to 35 on suspicion of sending fighters to Syria.
- Throughout the year, France monitored French citizens wanting to go to Syria to fight against the regime of Bashar al-Asad. Several arrests were made.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: France is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and belongs to or is an observer in the following FATF-style regional bodies: Cooperating and Supporting Nation to the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, Observer to the Financial Action Task Force of South America, Observer to the Asia Pacific Group, Observer to the Eurasia Group, Observer to the Middle East and North Africa Financial Task Force. The FATF also designated France as a member of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval), for a period of two years beginning in the fall of 2012. France is a member of the Egmont Group and member of the Anti-Money Laundering Liaison Committee of the Franc Zone.
On January 8, a French court delivered an eight-year jail term to a 53-year-old Turkish-Dutch man named Irfan Demirtas, for helping fund the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Demirtas was also permanently banned from France. Eight others arrested in the same investigation were given jail sentences of up to three years. The group as a whole is said to have sent approximately $390,000 to the border region of Afghanistan-Pakistan.
The French financial intelligence unit Tracfin said that regular "1901 law" non-profit organizations are not obliged to file suspicious transactions reports and are not regulated and monitored. According to the French monetary and financial code only monetary and financial professions, government administrative structures and related non-profit associations are regulated and monitored. This presents a risk factor for those seeking to use non-profit organizations to fund illicit activities.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: France is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum. France’s Jean Paul Laborde was sworn in as Executive Director of the UN Counter-terrorism Committee (UNCTC) on July 22. Through the OSCE, France engaged in new measures to counter transnational threats, including terrorism. The French government undertook joint counterterrorism operations with countries including the UK, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Spain. France also plays an active role in efforts to support counterterrorism capacity building in other countries both bilaterally and within the EU.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The Government of France considers its integration programs for all French citizens and residents a major tool in countering radicalization to violence and violent extremism in France. Many of these programs target disenfranchised communities and new immigrants. For example, the Ministry of Education works to instill "universal values" in all French pupils, regardless of ethnic origin or country of birth. Ministry regulations mandate that all French public schools teach civic education, and that all students attend school until age 16. The French government also offers adult vocational training for older immigrants and minorities who never attended French schools. The Ministry of the Interior plays a significant role in countering radicalization by increased police presence in disenfranchised areas, neighborhoods, and regions with high criminality and juvenile delinquency rates.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) implements rehabilitation and reintegration programs for former criminals. According to the MoJ, as of January 1, 2013, there were 164 Muslim chaplains employed by the French penitentiary system, which the government is hoping will help limit the development of violent extremism in the prison system.
Overview: Georgia continued its close cooperation with the United States on a wide-range of counterterrorism-related issues. In October, Georgia held a presidential election solidifying the country’s trend of peaceful democratic progress. Cooperation on counterterrorism activities has remained steady following the change in power, and all signs indicate the new government will continue to work closely with the United States and other international partners in the fight against terrorism.
2013 Terrorist Attacks: On September 9, in Georgia’s separatist Abkhazia region, a Russian diplomat was shot and killed. Yusup Lakayev, a suspected violent Islamist extremist, was later apprehended by Georgian authorities in the city of Batumi in connection with the attack. While terrorism is one potential explanation for the attack, the investigation remained ongoing at year’s end.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Georgian counterterrorist legislation was enhanced in 2013. In November, the Chapter devoted to terrorism-related crimes was largely amended to criminalize terrorism-related offenses to a greater extent. The definition of a terrorist act was broadened and the threat of terrorism was criminalized. Liability for involvement in terrorism-related activities was established by law. As a result of the November amendments, a separate criminal code article addressed illegal purchase, storage, transportation, preparation, and sale of weapons for terrorism purposes or the threat of such. The new legislation introduced the concept of technological terrorism and made the illegal handling of biological and chemical weapons for terrorism purposes a criminal offense with severe penalties. The amendments also criminalized attacks against public officials and their families in relation to their official activities in public office. The crimes of theft, extortion, or falsification of documents in relation to supporting terrorist acts were made separately punishable under the terrorist chapter of the criminal code, with significant criminal penalties.
While the individual counterterrorism units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are capable of detecting, deterring, and responding to terrorist incidents, there is not an overarching strategy of a national coordinated and collaborative response. There is occasional interagency cooperation and limited information sharing, but the information is restricted to actionable intelligence for immediate prosecution by tactical or investigative units. The counterterrorism response and investigation mechanism is fragmented between several specialized law enforcement units and several Ministries. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has the primacy in the investigations, crisis response, and border security capacity, but there are other units within the Government of Georgia and the Ministry of Defense that have similar functions.
The Georgian government’s lack of control of the Russian-occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia limited its ability to investigate and counter terrorism and other serious crime in these regions and to secure its border with Russia.
The United States assisted Georgia in developing border security capabilities through the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program. Nearly 200 Georgian officers participated in ATA training programs in 2013, which also focused on the management of terrorism-related incidents and cases, formulation of national counterterrorism strategies, and improved Georgian institutionalization of ATA training through instructor development.
The State Department Office of Export Control and Related Border Security and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency continued its programs to strengthen Georgia’s border security and to detect and interdict weapons of mass destruction along Georgia’s maritime border. These activities included support for the establishment of modern export control law consistent with international standards, provision of all-terrain vehicles and related training, and upgrading Georgian Coast Guard facilities and coastal infrastructure.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Georgia is a member of the Council of Europe (COE) Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Georgia amended its legislation in 2013 to further bring it up-to-date with international standards. Lawyers were added to the list of the entities required to report suspicious and over threshold transactions. The Georgian Financial Monitoring Service adopted a decree that requires leasing companies and qualified credit institutions to ensure implementation and operation of an electronic data base containing identification details of clients and other relevant persons and information on transactions (operations) subject to monitoring, as well as implementation and operation of the relevant software for revealing suspicious and unusual transactions. On July 1, 2013, Georgia temporarily suspended the visa-free regime it previously maintained with Iran. The Financial Monitoring Service of Georgia signed Memoranda of Understanding with many countries.
The definitions of “terrorist” and “terrorist organization” in the Law of Georgia on the Fight Against Terrorism that were considered unsatisfactory according to Moneyval’s 2012 evaluation, were updated to bring them up to the international standards. The definition of a terrorist act was broadened and a threat of such was criminalized.
A Governmental Commission on the Matters related to the Enforcement of UNSCRs ensured the freezing of property owned by persons related to terrorism and individuals designated by relevant UNSCRs in order to prevent financing of terrorist or other illegal activities or its support in other forms. The Financial Monitoring Service of Georgia, based on relevant UNSCRs, systematically updated the list of individuals and legal entities associated with terrorist groups.
Regional and International Cooperation: Georgia is an active member of the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova) Organization for Democracy and Economic Development. Georgia is also a party to the COE Conventions on the Suppression of Terrorism and the amending protocol. Georgia signed the convention on “Laundering, Search, Seizure, and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on Financing of Terrorism” and the “Second Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters” with the COE in 2013.
Georgia concluded bilateral antiterrorism and law enforcement cooperation agreements with Israel and Lithuania, bringing the number of bilateral agreements on police cooperation and combatting crime Georgia has signed to 22.
Overview: The threat from violent extremism remained elevated in 2013. Germany investigated, arrested, and prosecuted numerous terrorist suspects and disrupted terrorist-related groups within its borders with connections to al-Qa’ida (AQ) and other violent Islamist extremists, Kurdish nationalist, and neo-Nazi terrorist organizations. Security authorities are concerned about the estimated 240 Islamists that have departed Germany for Syria – some with the intention to hand over donations collected in Germany, others to join violent Islamist extremist groups fighting the Asad regime – because they could be trained in Syria and return with the intent to commit terrorist acts. Bilateral counterterrorism cooperation with the United States remained excellent.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The German government continued to apply its comprehensive counterterrorism legislation, which criminalizes membership in or support for domestic and foreign terrorist associations. The Criminal Code also makes a range of terrorism-related preparatory actions illegal, such as participating in terrorist training or acquiring weapons or explosives with the intent to commit attacks that endanger the German state.
Germany’s centralized database against visa fraud became operational on June 1. The database is run by the Federal Administrative Office in Cologne and includes information on visa applicants, sponsors, and other persons involved in illegal activities relevant to visa applications. Separately, the Federal Administrative Office is authorized to cross-check the visa warning database with Germany’s counterterrorism database.
Germany’s law enforcement agencies worked effectively at state and federal levels and with international partners to detect, deter, and respond to terrorist incidents. The Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA) has primary responsibility for international counterterrorism investigations affecting more than one German state, where there is no connection to a particular state, or where one or more states have requested federal assistance. In practice, BKA cooperation with equivalent bodies at the state level is commonplace and works well. The Federal Police (Bundespolizei) are responsible for border security and aviation security, and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungschutz, BfV) is the domestic intelligence agency with responsibility for intelligence and analysis pertaining to counterterrorism and countering violent extremism. Counterpart agencies to the BKA and BfV exist at the state level and coordination between federal and state levels was good. There was good interagency cooperation and timely sharing of terrorism-related information. The Joint Terrorism and Defense Center (GTAZ) serves as the central coordination body for information sharing and interagency collaboration on AQ-inspired terrorism.
In November 2012, following the investigations into the right wing violent extremist National Socialist Union (NSU), the German government created a new center focused on right-wing, left-wing, and nationalist violent extremism (GETZ). Both GTAZ and GETZ include representatives of federal and state law enforcement and security agencies as well as those involved in migration and integration affairs. Prosecutors are consulted at early stages of investigations and work in coordination with counterparts in other components of law enforcement.
German border management data systems, equipment, and infrastructure are highly developed. Data on suspected terrorists is shared between federal and state law enforcement agencies. The German passport and other identity documents incorporate strong security features.
Arrests, prosecutions, and trials:
- In January, a Berlin court sentenced German citizen Yusuf Ocak to nine years and Austrian citizen Maqsood Lodin to six years-and-nine-months imprisonment for membership in a foreign terrorist association (AQ, and for Ocak only, the German Taliban Mujahedin). The court found them guilty of traveling to Waziristan, where leading AQ members instructed them to carry out AQ's mission in Europe.
- In February, the Frankfurt Regional Court sentenced Keramat G., a German of Afghan descent, to three years in prison under Section 89a of the German Criminal Code – “Preparation of a serious violent offense endangering the state” – for attempting to build a bomb.
- The trial against an AQ terrorist cell, which began in July 2012 in Düsseldorf, was ongoing at year’s end. The defendants were accused of conspiring to set off explosives in crowded areas.
- In May, the trial against alleged National Socialist Underground (NSU) member Beate Zschäpe and four accomplices began in Munich and remained ongoing at year’s end. The NSU terrorist cell is suspected of murdering one policewoman and nine people of non-German heritage for racist and xenophobic reasons between 2000 and 2007.
- In May, a Berlin court sentenced Turkish citizen Gülaferit Ü. to six-and-a-half years in prison for membership in a foreign terrorist organization (the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front of Turkey or DHKP-C). According to the court, Ü. led the DHKP-C in Europe from Berlin in August 2002 until November 2003.
- In June, the trial began against Emrah Erdogan for membership in terrorist organizations (AQ and al-Shabaab) and incitement of robbery. He also was accused of lying to German authorities in 2010 about three planned terrorist attacks, which led to alerts in Germany in 2010 and 2011. He was arrested on June 18, 2012 in Tanzania and extradited to Germany.
- In June, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office indicted German-Afghan citizen Mohammed Salim A. in Frankfurt on charges of support of and membership in the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). He was accused of recruiting members and raising funds for the IMU in 2010and 2011 and acting as the IMU’s chief representative in Germany since October 2011.
- In June, the Federal Prosecutor ordered the arrest of Turkish citizens Sonnur D. and Muzaffer D. in Lower Saxony as well as Turkish citizens Latife C. and Özkan G. in North Rhine-Westphalia, on suspicion of membership in the DHKP-C since 2002. Sonnur D. and Muzaffer D. are suspected of belonging to DHKP-C leadership, and all four allegedly collected money for the group.
- In September, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office filed an indictment against Josef D. in Düsseldorf for membership in a foreign terrorist organization. He is accused of traveling to the Afghan-Pakistan border region in 2009, where he then joined the German Taliban Mujahedin in 2010, intending to participate in the armed conflict in Afghanistan.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Germany is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and an observer to the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, and the Financial Action Task Force of South America against Money Laundering, all of which are FATF-style regional bodies. Germany’s Financial Intelligence Unit is a member of the Egmont Group. German agencies filed 14,361 suspicious transaction reports in 2012 (the latest figures available), designating 302 of them for suspected terrorist financing. Germany remained a strong advocate of the UNSCR 1267/1989 and 1988 Taliban and AQ sanctions regimes. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Germany is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum and continued to participate in various multilateral counterterrorism initiatives. German cooperation with regional and international organizations on counterterrorism includes the UN and UN Security Council, EU, OECD, OSCE, NATO, Council of Europe, G-8, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and Interpol.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: Germany has numerous programs to counter violent extremism at the state and federal levels. In North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state with 17 million residents, state authorities introduced the “Pathfinder” initiative to work with communities to engage individuals believed to be susceptible to radicalization to violence. In addition, North-Rhine Westphalia continued programs such as the “Ibrahim Meets Abraham” community relations initiative; the Information and Education Center against Right-Wing Extremism; the former National-Socialistic Center Vogelsang, which is now used for cultural and civic education; the “No Racism in Schools” and “Prevention of Extremism in Sports” efforts; and additional municipal programs. Dortmund has a “Prevention of Extremism in the City of Dortmund” program. The German Soccer Federation awards a prize to organizations and persons who use their positions to work for freedom, tolerance, and humanity and against intolerance, racism, and hatred. Other cities, such as Cologne, host street soccer tournaments to bring together NGOs and at-risk youths. In Berlin, the Violence Prevention Network runs a training program that serves ideologically motivated perpetrators both during and after detention.
At the national conference of state Ministers of Interior in December, Ministers agreed to increase efforts to analyze and counter the appeal of violent extremism, particularly with regard to individuals believed to be considering travel to Syria to fight in the conflict there.
The Federal Ministry of the Interior continued its counter-radicalization assistance center for parents and friends of violent extremists; the center was established in January 2012. Germany continued its HATIF (the Arabic word for telephone) program to assist violent extremists with reintegration. The Interior Ministry also continued a project, first launched in 2001, to prevent radicalization among young right-wing violent extremist offenders. The Ministry expanded the program in 2007 to cover eight states. In 2013, the Interior Ministry also continued a project in three states to counter radicalization of young delinquents influenced by violent extremist ideology.
Overview: In 2013, Greece continued to experience intermittent small-scale attacks like targeted package bombs or improvised explosive device detonation by domestic anarchist groups. Generally, these attacks did not appear to aim to inflict bodily harm but rather sought to make a political statement. Overall, Greek government cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism remained strong.
2013 Terrorist Incidents:
- On January 20, two homemade bombs exploded on the first floor of a shopping center near Athens injuring two private security guards. Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei claimed responsibility for the attack.
- On July 30, the Greek coast guard seized a boat near the island of Chios after a routine check revealed illegal arms and ammunition, including anti-tank mortar rounds, hand grenades, guns, bullets, and explosive devices. The Greek police confirmed that among those arrested in connection with the boat seizure was Hasan Bieber, wanted in Turkey for attacks claimed by the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front.
- On November 1, two unidentified persons shot and killed two members of the Golden Dawn political party and injured a third person in front of the party’s office in the Athens suburb Neo Heraklion. The “Militant People’s Revolutionary Forces” claimed responsibility for the attack; police were still investigating it at year’s end.
- On December 24, a group called Informal Anarchist Federation/International Revolutionary Front threatened to poison certain Coca-Cola products in Greece with hydrochloric acid, causing a recall of those products from store shelves.
- On December 30, an unknown group fired approximately 60 rounds at the German Ambassador’s residence in Athens. The attackers remained at large at year’s end.
Greece’s two largest cities, Athens and Thessaloniki, experienced frequent, relatively small-scale anarchist attacks that used inexpensive and unsophisticated incendiary devices against the properties of political figures, party offices, private bank ATMs, ministries and tax offices, and privately-owned vehicles.
One incident was reported against U.S. interests. On January 14, unidentified perpetrators used flammable liquid to attack the Citibank branch office in the Athens suburb Neo Heraklion. Minor property damage was sustained. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Article 187A of the Greek Penal Code codifies the terrorism statute. In addition, Article 28 (1) of the Greek Constitution subjects Greek citizens to applicable International Laws, to include terrorism. Article 28 (2) and (3) subjects Greek citizens to applicable EU Laws, including the EU law against terrorism. The Police Directorate for Countering Special Violent Crimes (DAEEV) is responsible for counterterrorism in Greece. DAEEV is extremely proactive and attracts highly motivated and educated young police officers. This unit has demonstrated a high capacity to collect information, but it lacks capacity to utilize the volume of data it collects and to share with other services within the Greek police and Coast Guard.
Greece has a weak border document system for its passports. The national ID card is extremely vulnerable to alteration and photo substitution, and it has not incorporated any new security features such as digitized photo and biometrics.
On April 3, five members of Revolutionary Struggle were convicted by an Athens appeals court; three of them received maximum prison sentences. Two of the lead members were convicted in absentia, as they have not been located since they disappeared in 2012, although press reports in October noted police suspicion of their involvement in a series of bank robberies throughout the country. Three other members were acquitted due to lack of sufficient evidence.
The trial of 19 suspected members of Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, which began in 2011, was repeatedly postponed due to work stoppages by judges and judicial postponements in 2012. The trial continued in 2013 with the last session taking place on October 25.
The porous nature of Greece’s borders is of concern. While Greek border authorities have had success in the past year stemming the flow of illegal migration at the land border with Turkey, their ability to control large-scale illegal migration via sea borders is limited. Recent regional upheavals have intensified illegal migration to and through Greece via the Greek Aegean islands. In June and July respectively, DHS/ICE provided computer security and border security training to Hellenic National Police and the Greek Coast Guard.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Greece is a member of the Financial Action Task Force. The Foreign Ministry’s Sanctions Monitoring Unit is tasked with ensuring that Greece meets its commitments to enforce international sanctions, including terrorism-related sanctions. The Financial Intelligence Unit inspected 3,318 suspicious transactions in 2013, but did not discover evidence of terrorist financing in Greece. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Greece engaged constructively on counterterrorism initiatives in international fora and regularly participated in regional information exchange and seminars through such bodies as the UN, the EU, the OSCE, the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center for Combating Trans-Border Crime, and the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation.
Overview: The United States and Ireland collaborated closely on our bilateral and regional counterterrorism, law enforcement, and information-sharing issues. An Garda Siochana (the local and national police service of Ireland, referred to as Garda in this report) has comprehensive law enforcement, immigration, investigative, and counterterrorism responsibilities and works closely with American counterparts. In 2013, there were incidents by dissident republican groups (also referred to as criminal terrorist groups by the Irish Department of Justice), that generally targeted intra-republican factions and often involved other criminal activity. Members of dissident groups living in Ireland provided support for some of the violent actions committed in neighboring Northern Ireland. The immediate targets of violence were law enforcement personnel and the security structures of Northern Ireland in an attempt to disrupt the ongoing post-peace process community rehabilitation efforts. Irish authorities handled these legacy issues stemming from “The Troubles,” and were actively involved in dealing with transnational terrorism issues.
On December 3, the report by the Smithwick Tribunal was published. The inquiry was set up in 2005 to examine claims that a member of the Garda had passed information to the IRA which allowed the IRA to ambush Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan – the two most senior Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers killed during the Troubles – after they left a meeting in a Garda station in March 1989. While unable to establish a “smoking gun” or firm evidence, Judge Smithwick assessed that collusion between someone in the Garda and the IRA had taken place. The Irish government issued immediate apologies about the role of the State in the killings.
2013 Terrorist Incidents: There were no significant terrorist attacks in 2013, but the Irish Minster for Justice has assessed the threat from criminal terrorist/dissident republican groups as “severe.” In 2013, there were 250 occasions when Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams were called in response to a report of an improvised explosive device (IED), which resulted in the discovery of 70 viable IEDs disarmed and analyzed by Ireland’s Army bomb disposal teams. On November 22, a car bomb exploded on a housing estate in County Donegal. There were no injuries and Garda sealed off the scene and evacuated a number of homes in the area.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: In 2013, no new legislation was passed exclusively pertaining to counterterrorism. However, on April 18, Minister for Justice, Equality, and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, presented the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offenses) (Amendment) Bill 2013 to the House.
The Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service works closely with UK immigration authorities on a series of joint data sharing initiatives. The aim of such cooperation is to enhance the protection of the external borders of the Common Travel Area (CTA) and detect and prevent illegal movement within the CTA by persons seeking to exploit the immigration, visa, and asylum systems of either country.
The development of improved biometric visa data sharing arrangements is being prioritized by both Ireland and the UK and work has commenced on a joint project to use the UK’s global network of visa application centers, technical infrastructure, and data network to capture biometrics (fingerprints) of Irish visa applicants on Ireland’s behalf. The project will enable the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS) to capture and process biometrics for all visa applications to Ireland – approximately 85,000 per annum - regardless of the geographical origin of the application.
Arrestsand law enforcement actions included:
- On February 9, two men from County Limerick appeared in court in Dublin charged with membership of an unlawful paramilitary organization. The two were arrested after police seized rocket launchers and explosives in County Tipperary.
- On March 9, three Dublin men were charged in connection with the fatal shooting of Peter Butterly in County Meath, and charged with membership in an illegal organization.
- On April 9, 50-year-old Rose Lynch pleaded guilty in Dublin to killing a man, David Darcy, in November 2011. She had also been accused of IRA membership. She had believed Darcy, an innocent man, had been responsible for the killing of Continuity IRA (CIRA) leader Liam Kenny.
- On July 11, Garda seized explosives, firearms, and ammunition in Dublin. The haul was believed to have been stolen from the Provisional IRA in 1998 when the Real IRA split from it. The capture included 15 kilograms of Semtex explosive.
- On September 22, Garda made one of the biggest seizures of dissident republican arms and explosives following a search in Meelick, in County Clare. The seizure consisted of a substantial amount of explosives, ammunition, recently manufactured bomb detonators, and a variety of firearms, tear gas containers, magazines, and balaclavas.
- On November 2, two men were arrested in County Monaghan in connection with suspected dissident republican activity. Garda stopped the van the men were driving and discovered 200 kg of fertilizer as well as other bomb-making material.
- On November 19, an individual who manufactured three mortar launch tubes on behalf of a criminal terrorist/dissident republican network was given a five-year jail sentence.
- On December 2, Garda arrested two men suspected of being dissident republicans over the murder of a prison officer in Northern Ireland.
- On December 18, a joint operation between PSNI and Garda foiled a plot by dissident republicans to launch a bomb attack. A device was found and two individuals were arrested.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Ireland is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). On June 12, the Irish government enacted the Criminal Justice Bill of 2013, which amends certain provisions of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010. These amendments make some technical improvements and are aimed to ensure a closer alignment of Irish law with the international standards set by the FATF. Assets worth approximately US $2,041,460 have been frozen in the State’s credit institutions pursuant to EU measures which implement UNSCR 1373 (2001).
The Charities Act, enacted in 2009, provides a comprehensive legislative framework for the regulation of the non-profit sector. Under the terms of the Act, a new independent regulatory agency – the Charities Regulatory Authority – is to be established to regulate the sector.
In June 2013, FATF recognized that Ireland had made significant progress in addressing the deficiencies identified in the 2006 mutual evaluation report and therefore removed Ireland from the regular follow-up process.
Regional and International Cooperation: Ireland held the Presidency of the Council of the EU during the first half of 2013. Ireland is a member of all relevant regional and international bodies to combat terrorism. This includes the Council of Europe, the OECD, the OSCE, and NATO’s Partnership for Peace. Garda routinely engages with regional and international entities for training and operational support.
In addition to counterterrorism capacity building in foreign states, it is important to mention counterterrorism efforts in a regional context with Northern Ireland. The Irish Defense Forces provided a robust EOD capability to the civil authority, routinely deploying to investigate and disarm ordnance around the country. The 2nd Brigade, which is responsible for the Dublin area and the northern half of the country, including the entire border with Northern Ireland, responded to over 150 reports of explosive devices in 2013.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The Government of Ireland continued its efforts to assist with the integration of minority groups in Ireland. These measures included providing social benefits, language training, and the proactive advocacy work of an Ombudsman’s office.
Overview: Italy aggressively investigated and prosecuted terrorist suspects, dismantled terrorist-related cells within its borders, and maintained a high level of professional cooperation with international partners in all areas. Terrorist activity by domestic anarchists and other violent extremists remained a threat.
2013 Terrorist Incidents:
- On May 14, NO TAV violent extremists protesting construction of the high-speed railway (TAV) attacked the TAV construction site in Val di Susa, Piedmont. A court later charged four with terrorism.
- On June 18, Giuliano Ibrahim Delnevo, an Italian convert to Islam who had joined a radical faction of the Syrian opposition, was killed in Syria by government forces, according to press reports. Delnevo allegedly had conducted terrorist training and recruiting before joining the Syrian opposition.
- On July 10, NO TAV violent extremists attacked the TAV construction site in Val di Susa, Piedmont, leaving 15 police officers injured. A court later charged 12 of the extremists with terrorism, the first time the Italian state had accused NO TAV protesters of that crime.
- On October 4, a letter bomb addressed to journalist Massimo Numa was delivered to the office of the daily La Stampa in Turin, but the bomb failed to explode. The envelope holding the bomb also contained a letter mentioning NO TAV activities undertaken in September in Val di Susa.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Italian government continued to make use of reinforced counterterrorism legislation enacted in 2005 that facilitates detention of suspects, mandates arrest for crimes involving terrorism, and expedites procedures for expelling persons suspected of terrorist activities. Italian law enforcement remained advanced in its capacity to detect, deter, and respond to terrorist incidents.
The Italian Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) continued to implement a Memorandum of Cooperation with the United States, allowing the Transportation Security Administration to conduct aviation security assessments at three Italian commercial airports.
Law enforcement actions in 2013 included:
- On April 30, police arrested four Tunisians in Milan, Catania, and Brussels accused of planning terrorist attacks in Italy and abroad as well as hate crimes. One of them, Hosni Hachemi Ben Hassen, was the imam of the Andria mosque in Puglia. Two other Moroccan and Tunisian suspects, identified in Tunisia, were put under investigation for the same crimes.
- On May 16, a Brescia court convicted Moroccan national Mohamed Jarmoun to five years and four months in prison for participating in training for terrorist activities in Italy and abroad.
- On May 19, the Ministry of Interior expelled Arman Ahmed El Hissini Helmy, alias Abu Imad, an Egyptian who had been imam of a Milan mosque until 2010. Helmy had already served a three-year sentence in a Benevento prison for recruiting and training violent extremists for terrorist activities abroad.
- On June 12, Brescia police arrested Moroccan national El Abboubi Anas and charged him with establishing an Italian subsidiary of the radical international network Sharia4, as well as terrorist training and hate crimes. On June 18, a Brescia court ordered Anas’ release because of insufficient evidence. Following his release Anas disappeared from Italy and in November posted pictures on Facebook revealing that he had joined the rebels fighting the Syrian government in Aleppo.
- On July 29, police arrested 12 NO TAV violent extremists and charged them with terrorism for attacking the TAV construction site at Val di Susa on July 10.
- On September 19, authorities arrested Gianluca Iacovacci and Adriano Antonacci, two affiliates of the Informal Anarchist Federation/International Revolutionary Front (IAF/IRF) near Rome. They were accused of terrorism for a series of 13 attacks against property committed between 2010 and 2013 in the province of Rome.
- On November 12, a Genoa court convicted Alfredo Cospito and Nicola Gai to 10 and nine years in prison, respectively, for the 2012 kneecapping attack against Roberto Adinolfi, chief executive officer of the Ansaldo nuclear engineering company. The IAF had claimed responsibility for the incident.
- On December 6, a Milan judge sentenced, in absentia, Egyptian national Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, to six years in prison for international terrorism. Formerly imam of a Milan mosque, he had established links with international terrorists with the aim of conducting terrorist attacks in Italy and abroad in 2000.
- On December 9, police arrested four NO TAV violent extremists and charged them with terrorism for attacking the TAV construction site at Val di Susa on May 14.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Italy is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF); the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval), a FATF-style regional body (FSRB); and has observer status with the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, an FSRB. Italy cooperated with foreign governments, including the United States, as an active member of the FATF and the Egmont Group. Italy also participated in the UNSCR 1267/1989 and 1988 designation process both as a sponsoring and co-sponsoring nation. There was no change in the approximately US $77,420 that the Government of Italy had frozen as part of its terrorist financing investigations.
Italy has several weaknesses that could make its system vulnerable to abuse by illicit actors. For example, Italy does not require that non-profit organizations send suspicious transaction reports according to the Italian Anti-Money Laundering Law. Reporting entities are, however, required to consider the specific Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing risks when entering in a relationship or carrying out transactions that involve non-profit organizations. In addition,
Italy does not routinely distribute the UN lists of designated terrorists or terrorist entities to financial institutions. Instead, the Italian FIU makes available the UN, EU, and OFAC lists of designated subjects and any subsequent amendments or additions by publishing it on its website.
Regional and International Cooperation: Italy is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum. Italy also supported counterterrorism efforts through the G-8 Roma-Lyon Group (including capacity building through the Counterterrorism Action Group), the OSCE, NATO, the UN, and the EU.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The Ministry of Justice Penitentiary Police continued financing counter-radicalization programs to train 120 agents working in the four prisons where persons convicted of international terrorism were incarcerated.
Overview: The Government of Kosovo continued to cooperate with the United States on counterterrorism-related issues in 2013, and demonstrated progress in improving its counterterrorism measures. Kosovo adopted amendments to legislation, including part of a new Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), and made strides in law-enforcement actions against terrorists. Because the security and political situation in northern Kosovo continued to limit the government’s ability to exercise its authority in that region, the cooperation of the NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR) and EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) with the Kosovo Police was particularly important to maintaining a safe and secure environment and strengthening the rule of law, including at the borders. Although Kosovo and neighboring Serbia did not directly cooperate on counterterrorism issues, in 2013, the governments implemented an Integrated Border Management (IBM) agreement with joint checkpoints. In April, Kosovo and Serbia signed an EU-facilitated agreement on normalizing relations, which should help address the security situation in the north and improve the ability of the government of Kosovo to exercise its authority there. Kosovo government institutions have been aware since 2012 that a small group of Kosovars have traveled to fight in Syria.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Kosovo’s Criminal Code (CC) allows for prosecution of terrorism crimes, including participation in terrorist groups. It defines a terrorist group as a structured group of more than two persons, established over a period of time and acting in concert to commit terrorism. Kosovo does not have a specific statute that criminalizes participation in or support for a military group that operates outside of Kosovo.
Kosovo’s parliament approved a new CC and Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) in December 2012 that took effect on January 1, 2013. The new CC preserves the UN model on counterterrorism criminal legislation established in the previous code. It raises the punishment for terrorism-related crimes and creates additional terrorism offenses, such as weapons offenses or intrusion into computer systems. In addition, the new CC permits prosecution for attempt to commit a terrorist act. The new CPC grants Kosovo authorities a greater flexibility to investigate criminal acts during the planning stage to prevent crimes and terrorist acts. Furthermore, the CPC includes an integrated confiscation process that should ensure the confiscation of instrumentalities of criminal acts, such as terrorist funds or weapons. Also in January, Kosovo passed the Law on Extended Powers of Confiscation, which gives even greater powers to confiscate property even if the defendant is deceased or a fugitive. Kosovo courts will admit evidence from other countries more easily, thus allowing prosecution of international counterterrorism investigations in Kosovo.
Kosovo Police (KP), the Kosovo Customs Authority, and the Kosovo Border Police (KBP) have received ample counterterrorism training and equipment from U.S. and European organizations. However, problems exist with communications and information sharing among police units, and KP faces resource constraints that can interfere with its ability to track suspected individuals. Prosecutors have received minimal training in prosecuting terrorism cases.
The KBP monitors entry and exit at all border crossing points (BCPs), including the airport, via the Border Management System (BMS). At the request of Police Directorates, KBP can track suspects’ movements in and out of Kosovo and inform the relevant authorities as necessary. However, BMS does not always function properly and is often offline. The KBP assisted the Directorate Against Terrorism in tracking potential suspects of terrorism activities, including five of seven arrested in November 2013, who were listed in the Kosovo Border System Watch List. (This Watch List contains approximately 200 persons considered to be potential suspects for terrorism.)
Since 2012, Kosovo has issued Biometric Passports. In December 2013, it also began issuing Biometric ID cards. These documents contain advanced biometric data. As of 2013, KBP at Pristina’s Adem Jashari Airport receives the Advanced Passenger Name Record (APNR) list from Turkish Airlines via e-mail. KBP is currently working with the Civil Aviation Agency to receive APNR through an automated database. The Law on Border Control that entered into force in January 2013 requires that air carriers submit the APNR. During 2013, KBP officers attended and completed a number of training events or courses related to detecting and combating terrorism.
Implementation of the 2012 Integrated Border Management (IBM) agreement, under which Kosovo and Serbia jointly manage four crossing points and exchange data related to preventing and detecting criminal activity, has helped strengthen Kosovo’s border security. Despite implementation of IBM, however, much of the traffic into northern Kosovo enters through illegal bypass roads that circumvent the official checkpoints. Despite KFOR, EULEX, and Government of Kosovo cooperation, weak rule of law in the north and a porous northern border limited counterterrorism efforts.
In November, the Government of Kosovo arrested seven people in Pristina and Gjilan/Gnjilane accused of plotting terrorist attacks in Kosovo. Two are believed to have participated in fighting alongside Syrian rebels. Two others are also suspected in an attack against two American missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Four of the suspects were arrested as they attempted to buy weapons from undercover KP. Weapons and explosives were found in the suspects’ houses.
In 2013, the Directorate against Terrorism opened 10 cases. Most were for terrorism-related offenses, and one was related to preparation of a terrorist act. In two cases, the Directorate filed criminal proceedings against six individuals, resulting in their detention. The Directorate also assisted with six cases in one EU country. Exchange of information with different countries has improved. In several cases, the Directorate assisted and cooperated well with U.S. authorities.
Problems that deter effective host-government law enforcement and border security efforts include the absence of legislation to prosecute foreign fighters. The KP’s Directorate against Terrorism experienced resource constraints and communications problems in investigating and tracking suspicious individuals.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Kosovo is not a member of a Financial Action Task Force-styled regional body. In December 2012, the Kosovo Parliament adopted revisions to the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, thus strengthening legislation passed in 2010. The amendments brought Kosovo closer to full compliance with international anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance standards, created enforcement mechanisms for the examination of reporting entities, and more narrowly defined terrorist financing. Kosovo still lacks an appropriate registration and monitoring system to track NGOs that receive funding from suspicious entities, however. The Central Bank of Kosovo (CBK) and Kosovo’s commercial banks have begun monitoring cross-border banking operations in order to adhere to international oversight requirements. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Kosovo’s membership in many regional and international organizations has been blocked because many countries do not recognize its independence, which impedes cooperation on many issues, including counterterrorism.
Overview: The Netherlands continued to respond effectively to the global terrorist threat in the areas of border and transportation security, terrorist financing, and bilateral and international counterterrorism cooperation. Cooperation with U.S. law enforcement remained excellent. In its March quarterly terrorism threat analysis, the Dutch National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV) raised the national threat level from “limited” to “substantial,” the second highest rank in the Dutch threat system. The main factor for elevating the threat level was the uptick in the number of Dutch nationals or residents travelling to conflict areas (especially Syria) that could constitute a threat when they return to the Netherlands. Other factors related to the threat level included: increased signs of radicalization in small groups of young Muslims domestically, the increase in scope of some terrorist networks in the Middle East and North Africa to operate freely, and that the Netherlands may have been elevated as a target in the eyes of violent extremists because of Dutch involvement in military missions in various Muslim countries, as well as alleged discrimination against Muslims in the Netherlands itself. Domestic lone wolves remained on the radar. Resilience by the Dutch population to terrorism remained high.
The Netherlands was a strong voice on Lebanese Hizballah for a decade, and in 2013 the Dutch Foreign Minister publicly highlighted the dangers the group posed and called on the EU to designate it as a terrorist organization. On July 22 the EU designated Hizballah’s military wing.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Netherlands continued to make use of counterterrorism legislation that facilitated arrests and convictions. The Netherlands’ law enforcement institutions demonstrated a capacity to detect, deter, and respond to terrorist threats. There is both good interagency cooperation and national-local municipality cooperation. The main partners in the national Counterterrorism Strategy include the Ministry of Security and Justice, under which the NCTV, Public Prosecutors Office, and National Police fall; local governments (the mayor being responsible for public order); and the Ministries of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (responsible for the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD)); Foreign Affairs, Social Affairs and Employment, and Defense. The reorganization of the police into one National Police structure came into effect on January 1, 2013. This multi-year, country-wide reorganization effort transitioned the 25 separate regional forces and one national bureau into one national organization overseeing 10 regions. The Central Criminal Investigations Service (formerly the National Crime Squad) of the National Police focuses on combatting terrorism. The Netherlands issued a new National Cyber Security Strategy on October 28.
The Netherlands continued to improve its border security. Dutch ports of entry have biographic and biometric screening capabilities. One of the country’s main points of entry is Schiphol Airport, where a camera monitoring system is in place. For the purpose of fighting illegal immigration, the Netherlands continued to use Advance Passenger Information (API) at airports to look at inbound passengers coming from some non-EU points of embarkation. The Dutch police continued to use a license plate recognition system to fight illegal immigration. The Netherlands is one of 14 EU member states to receive a European Commission grant to explore how travel information is best used in the fight against terrorism and serious crime, and is coordinating with other member states that received this funding.
The Netherlands remained strongly committed to effective cooperation with the United States on border security. The Port of Rotterdam was the first European port to participate in the Container Security Initiative. The Netherlands generally cooperates with the United States’ “no board” recommendations made regarding certain passengers bound for the United States. In 2012, the Netherlands signed a Letter of Intent with the United States on cyber-security cooperation as well as an agreement on cooperation in science and technology concerning homeland and civil security matters.
Significant law enforcement actions included:
- On July 17, police arrested a 19-year-old woman who allegedly served as a recruiter for the conflict in Syria. She was released two weeks after her arrest without restrictions and traveled to Syria. The investigation was ongoing at year’s end.
- In mid-August, German police arrested two Dutch men in Germany at the request of Dutch police. The two, Mohammed el A. and Hakim B., were traveling in a rental car allegedly en route to Syria. They were extradited to the Netherlands and in custody awaiting trial at year’s end.
- On September 6, convicted terrorist Samir Azzouz was released from prison after having served two-thirds of his sentence. He was arrested in 2004 and was convicted in two separate trials in 2007 and in 2008. In the 2007 case he was charged with preparing for an attack on government buildings and was sentenced to four years. In the 2008 case he was charged with preparing to commit a terrorist attack and for participation in a terrorist organization, and was sentenced to nine years. His release has several restrictions, including wearing an ankle monitor.
- On October 23, a Rotterdam court found Omar H. guilty of incitement and preparation for the criminal act of arson. He was arrested in 2012 while making preparations to depart for Syria. He received a sentence of 12 months, of which four were suspended.
- In May, convicted terrorist Jason Walters, member of the Hofstad group, was released for good behavior after having served two-thirds of his sentence. Walters was arrested in 2004. He was convicted and sentenced in 2010 to 13 years for participation in a terrorist organization and attempted murder of members of the arrest team.
- In 2012, police arrested 55 people at an alleged meeting of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by both the Netherlands and the EU. Those arrested came from Turkey, France, Germany, Syria, Switzerland, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Four of the participants will face trial. Others were released, with a handful handed over to immigration.
- On February 1, a suicide bomber attacked the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, for which the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) took responsibility. The media reported the DHKP-C leader had issued the order for the attack from the Netherlands. Due to the presence of DHKP-C in the Netherlands, Dutch law enforcement responded to U.S. concerns regarding the security of U.S. and Dutch interests in the Netherlands.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: The Netherlands has been a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) since 1990 and is one of the Cooperating and Supporting Nations of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), a FATF-style regional body. The European Commission sets many rules for countering terrorist finance in directives that EU member states then implement via national legislation. Dutch officials cooperated with the United States in designating terrorist organizations and individuals as well as interdicting and freezing assets.
On January 1, the government of the Netherlands amended the Act on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. The amended legislation includes the following: specific requirements for customer due diligence (CDD) related to legal arrangements; an exchange of information among supervisory authorities; good faith as a condition for protection from criminal liability; a requirement to immediately obtain information in case of reliance on third parties for CDD; and politically exposed person (PEP)-related requirements that include non-Dutch PEPs resident in the Netherlands. This amendment was in line with recommendations from the FATF.
On September 1, new legislation that made the financing of terrorism a separate criminal offense under the Dutch criminal code came into effect. Prior to this it had been punishable as preparation for a criminal act. The maximum penalty for financing terrorism is eight years in prison. This legislation is in line with FATF recommendations and EU directives.
Dutch citizens leaving to join foreign fighters has the potential to result in increased financial support for terrorist groups originating from the Netherlands. Dutch authorities are involved in monitoring this and have made changes to their anti-money laundering/counterterrorist finance framework to address it.
Regional and International Cooperation: The Netherlands is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). The Dutch cooperated with EU and OSCE counterterrorism efforts and contributed to the counterterrorism work of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The Netherlands continued to chair the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism's Nuclear Detection Working Group.
The Netherlands’ international approach is focused on countering radicalization and strengthening the counterterrorism capacity of other countries with special attention to human rights and the rule of law. In 2013, the Dutch focus increasingly turned to national security and the foreign fighter issue; the Netherlands sought bilateral, multilateral, and international opportunities for exchanging information and experiences. In September, the Netherlands and Morocco proposed a Foreign Terrorist Fighters Initiative working group under the GCTF, which will begin to meet in early 2014. The Dutch also cooperated in an informal, ad hoc basis with other EU member states interested in how EU systems could better manage the traveling foreign fighter problem. The Netherlands participated in the ad hoc European Policy Planners Network on Countering Polarization and Radicalization, which was occasionally attended by the United States. The Netherlands was one of the founding members and hosted the secretariat of the EU’s Radicalization Awareness Network (RAN), which issued a document on good practices on foreign fighters in 2013.
The Middle East, North Africa, and the Sahel are priority areas for the Netherlands. The Netherlands funded counterterrorism capacity building projects in Pakistan, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Kenya, and Indonesia in 2013. It supported the organization Free Press Unlimited in its project “Radio Life Link Somalia,” and also supported a program on rule of law and criminal justice capacity and cooperation in North Africa that was implemented by the Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation. Government support also went to the International Centre for Migration Policy Development and programs related to terrorism and countering terrorist finance carried out by the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate.
The government worked with the International Centre for Counterterrorism (ICCT) – an independent body established in The Hague in 2010 with Dutch government encouragement – on implementing programs related to the collection and use of evidence collected by the military in the criminal prosecution of terrorist cases, the role victims can play in counter-radicalization, and rule of law capacity building projects in the criminal justice sector. In 2011, the ICCT and the International Crime and Justice Research Institute organized an international conference on prison radicalization, rehabilitation, and reintegration of violent extremist offenders, which contributed to the adoption in 2012 of a document on rehabilitation and reintegration at the GCTF Ministerial in Istanbul. Related projects continued in 2013.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The resilience of the Dutch population to violent extremism is high. In general, efforts by political and religious leaders to promote violent extremism seemed to have little effect on Muslim communities or the general population as a whole. In 2013, however, there were indications of increasing radicalization, and some increasing radicalization to violence, among small groups of young Muslims and a sharp rise in the amount of propaganda on the internet – including social media – that openly promoted participation in the Syrian conflict. The government assessed that the open manifestation of pro-jihadist sentiments by young people suggested increased self-confidence and militancy.
After completing the 2007-2011 Action Plan: Polarization and Radicalization, the Netherlands shifted from a broad, general, catch-all effort on countering radicalization to violence to a more narrowly focused, localized method. There were no major communication efforts or public awareness campaigns. The main focus areas of countering violent extremism efforts were persons who travel to combat zones and identifying lone actors.
Under the localized approach, the national government serves in advisory and capacity-building roles. The NCTV develops tools and training and offers them to schools, social workers, and other stakeholders, both directly and through an online database. Local partners are expected to build upon the knowledge and experiences generated in the past. National support of the local approach is focused on: identifying high-priority areas that are of interest to, or might host, radicalized individuals; and developing specific plans and approaches. However, in 2013, the NCTV and AIVD stepped up support to local authorities and partners due to municipalities being less familiar with the problem of foreign terrorist fighter travel. The NCTV invests in information systems that combine reports and red flags from different parties in order to: distill signals about potential actions by violent extremists; and develop a tailored approach. The police extended and expanded a two-year pilot program from 2011, targeting potential lone wolves. The project, called “Threat Management,” mapped out all known potential lone wolves and included detailed profiles as well as individually tailored approaches. The approach is based on similar action plans from the UK, Sweden, and the United States.
Programs are tailored by local governments around individuals of concern and focus on identification, investigation, and prosecution. There are a handful of programs, administered to individuals, which focus on disengagement and rehabilitation. Multidisciplinary case conferences are held in relevant municipalities with a view to finding the best approach. Partners involved may include, but are not limited to: the municipal government, police, the public prosecutor's office, youth care, and child protection services. Interventions are case-specific and vary in intensity and design.
Overview: Norway’s internal security service continued to assess that violent Islamist extremism remained the primary threat to the security of Norway. A small but outspoken group of violent Islamist extremists were active in Oslo, although they were not responsible for any attacks. In 2013, a number of prominent cases raised concern about Norwegians radicalizing at home and traveling abroad to participate in terrorist activities. The Police Security Service (PST) publicly stated that approximately 30 to 40 Norwegian residents had traveled to Syria to fight. However, it was the 2011 attacks by right-wing lone offender terrorist Anders Behring Breivik that prompted a number of changes to Norway’s terrorism laws and emergency preparedness, many of which were implemented in 2013.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: In June, the Parliament passed a number of changes to Norway’s counterterrorism laws. These included provisions to close the “lone offender” loophole (which required proof of a large conspiracy for a terrorist conviction) and to criminalize the receipt of terrorist training.
The PST is responsible for domestic security, including counterterrorism activities. During the year, the government established a joint analysis cell with participants from the PST and the Norwegian Intelligence Service, the external security service.
Norway is a party to EU border control data sharing arrangements. In 2013, Norwegian immigration authorities began using biometric equipment for the fingerprinting of arrivals from outside the Schengen area.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Norway is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and held the FATF presidency for the first half of 2013. The Government of Norway adopted and incorporated FATF standards and recommendations, including the special recommendations on terrorist financing, into Norwegian law. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Norway continued its support for the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF)’s project to facilitate counterterrorism technical assistance in two pilot countries – Nigeria and Burkina Faso – and CTITF’s efforts to implement the regional counterterrorism strategy for Central Asia. Norway also provided US $80,300 to a joint project led by the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate and the Center on Global Counter-Terrorism Cooperation to promote regional counterterrorism cooperation in South Asia. Furthermore, Norway renewed its agreement with the University of Pretoria’s Institute for Strategic Studies to build counterterrorism capacity in the police and judiciary systems of African countries. Norway will provide US $1.1 million from 2013 to 2015 for the project. Norway agreed to provide US $150,000 through 2014 to the AU’s counterterrorism center, the African Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism, located in Algiers, for the project to strengthen controls over the cross-border movement of terrorists in spaces between official border posts. The project will focus on states in the Sahel and Maghreb.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The issue of radicalization became publicly prominent in late 2013, due in part to media attention to several Norwegians citizens or residents who had traveled to Syria or East Africa to fight in conflicts. The government established an interagency working group, led by the Ministry of Justice, to provide recommendations for a new national strategy to prevent violent extremism. The new strategy, to be drafted by the Ministry of Justice, with input from a range of government ministries, will replace Norway’s current strategy, drafted in 2010. The government announced that its priorities in the new plan would be to: improve knowledge and competence; strengthen existing preventative measures; prevent recruitment to violent extremist groups; prevent the internet from being used as an arena for recruitment and radicalization to violence; and strengthen international cooperation. The group will also study specific measures to prevent recruitment and radicalization to violence, including internet controls, travel bans, and confiscation of passports.
Norway remained a member of the EU's Radicalization Awareness Network, an umbrella network of practitioners and local actors involved in countering violent extremism that is designed to enable the members to share and discuss best practices in spotting and addressing radicalization and recruitment leading to acts of terrorism.
Overview: Russia was willing to work bilaterally with the United States and other governments within multilateral organizations on specific counterterrorism issues, but significant challenges remain. The Boston Marathon bombing led to an uptick in U.S. and Russia counterterrorism cooperation.
A number of terrorist attacks continued to be committed in the volatile North Caucasus region of Russia. Separatism, inter-ethnic rivalry, revenge, banditry, and violent extremist Islamist ideology were the primary motivating factors for terrorism-related violence. Occasionally, violence originating in the North Caucasus spilled into other areas of Russia, as seen most notably in October and December with the suicide bombings in Volgograd, a large city in southeastern Russia. Terrorists not directly related to events in the Caucasus also carried out attacks in 2013, including an unsuccessful rocket attack by separatists in Tatarstan on a Russian petrochemical plant. On December 20, President Putin reported that in 2013, Russian security services prevented 12 terrorist acts in Russia, killed 255 terrorists, and arrested 500terrorists and their supporters.
The level of cooperation and bilateral operations between the Governments of Russia and the United States showed some improvements in 2013. Specifically, relations between the Russian Federal Security Services (FSB) and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation saw an increase in both frequency and substance of information exchanges. After the Boston Marathon bombing, the FSB provided information aiding the FBI’s investigation and approved and facilitated the travel of FBI investigators to Dagestan to conduct follow-up interviews related to the Boston investigation. Russia also continued to cooperate in a yearly conference with the U.S. intelligence community. Additionally, some operational and intelligence information connected to terrorism-related threats was shared among the agencies on a regular basis, with senior leaders meeting in Moscow and in Washington.
The Counterterrorism Working Group (CTWG) of the Bilateral Presidential Commission (BPC) made progress on transportation security issues and law enforcement matters, as well as in other areas. The CTWG also contributed to the cooperation of Russia and the United States in multilateral fora such as the UN, the G-8, the OSCE, and the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF).
2013 Terrorist Incidents: The North Caucasus region remained Russia’s primary area of terrorist activity. The majority of terrorist attacks in the North Caucasus targeted law enforcement and security services with suicide bombing devices and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) placed in vehicles. The largest such attack in the region occurred on May 20, when two explosions struck the town of Makhachkala, Dagestan, killing four civilians and injuring 52. Incidents have also taken place in neighboring regions, and the Volga region, including Tatarstan. Indeed, three of Russia’s most significant terrorist incidents of 2013 occurred in Volgograd:
- On October 21 a female suicide bomber detonated a device on a public bus in Volgograd, killing seven civilians and injuring 32 others.
- On December 29-30, two suicide attacks occurred within the space of 24 hours, at Volgograd’s main railway station and on a city trolleybus, killing 34 and injuring at least 65. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the Volgograd attacks.
Terrorists unconnected to fighting in the Caucasus carried out attacks in 2013, as well. On November 16, unknown assailants launched four missiles with the presumed intention to hit an oil chemical plant in Nizhnekamsk, Tatarstan. One missile fell on a penal colony, while the other three missed their target. A Tatar separatist leader later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying his group wanted to attack Russian petrochemical interests as well as “infidels.”The same day, also in Nizhnekamsk, security forces found and defused two homemade bombs left by unknown assailants.
The Russian Ministry of the Interior reported 576 crimes of a “terrorist nature” (a reported drop of 1.4 percent from 2012) and 833 crimes of an “extremist nature” from January to November 2013.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The National Antiterrorism Coordinating Committee is the main government body coordinating the Russian government’s response to the terrorist threat. In November, Russia enacted the “Compensation for Terrorist Acts Law,” which is composed of amendments to counterterrorism legislation with the following provisions:
- Broadens investigations of suspects’ assets to include the assets of family members and an undefined circle of “close ones.”
- Assets determined to be derived from terrorist activities, including the assets of family members and “close ones,” can be forfeited as compensation for victims of terrorism. The legislation is intended to disrupt the ethnic clan system that continued to create problems for law enforcement, but has been criticized by human rights groups as a form of collective punishment.
- Makes punishable the acquisition of knowledge and skills for the sole purpose of committing terrorist acts with a 10-year prison sentence and a fine of approximately $15,000.
- Increases the prison sentence for the creation of terrorist networks from 10 to 15 years to 15 to 20 years and adds a US $30,000 fine.
- Introduces a six-year prison sentence for Russian nationals participating in anti-government militias abroad when the activities contradict the interests of the Russian Federation.
The Russian Federation uses a machine-readable passport for foreign travel, and citizens have the option of purchasing a more expensive biometric passport. The biometric passports contain robust security features and are valid for 10 years. Among Russian applicants for U.S. visas this year, an increasing number used the new Russian biometric passport.
Cooperative relationships continued to develop between the heads of the State Border Guard Service of the FSB and the U.S. Border Patrol. Similarly, the U.S. Coast Guard enjoyed a close working relationship with the Coast Guard of the FSB Border Guard Service. Discussions about the exchange of information and best practices between Russian border services and U.S. law enforcement with regard to counterterrorism and drug interdiction were ongoing at year’s end.
In the lead-up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russian media reported that federal and local security organs had intensified counterterrorism operations in the neighboring north Caucasus. These operations, although occurring throughout the Caucasus, were mostly focused in Dagestan, Chechnya, and Kabardino-Balkaria. Operations included roadblocks, raids of public venues such as cafes, and larger-scale military-style operations, especially in rural areas. There was an uptick in law enforcement operations in Tatarstan as well, with several convictions of alleged militants on terrorism charges.
Law enforcement actions and prosecutions included:
- On May 13, the trial of Ali Taziyev began in Rostov-on-Don. Taziyev is a former police officer who allegedly joined North Caucasus militants; he was charged with setting up an armed militant group, illegal arms trafficking, inciting a rebellion, attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, and 24 counts of terrorism.
- On May 21, the Russian National Antiterrorism Committee (NAC) announced that Dzhamaleil Mutaliev, believed to be a leading figure of the Imarat Kavkaz terrorist group, was killed by security forces in Ingushetia.
- On June 6, FSB forces arrested Yulay Davletbayev, alleged leader of a terrorist cell for plotting major attacks in Moscow.
- On July 8, NAC spokesmen announced that security forces had killed Rustam Saliyev, who served as a bodyguard for Imarat Kavkaz leader Doku Umarov, in Chechnya.
- On July 22, two homemade bombs were discovered near a mosque in Khasavyurt, Dagestan.
- On September 3, a cache with ammunition, an explosive device, and a schematic view of a school was found in the Dagestani city of Buinaksk.
- On September 26, the Supreme Court of Russia's Republic of Tatarstan sentenced Taufik Baibekov, 23, to nine-and-a-half years in jail on terrorism charges for an August 2012 incident in which four of Baibekov’s associates accidentally detonated explosives they were transporting and were killed.
- On October 4, a Tatarstan court sentenced two Islamist militants on charges of planning to detonate IEDs at a shop selling mobile phones and a local police station in the city of Chistopol, central Tatarstan. The court found that the principal defendant had trained in Pakistan, formed a terrorist network upon his return to Tatarstan, and then recruited his co-defendant.
- On October 15, Russian authorities arrested two men, identified as Islamist radicals from the North Caucasus, for allegedly planning an attack on the Maradykovsky chemical weapons storage and disposal facility in the Kirov region, 620 miles northeast of Moscow.
- On October 26, police in Dagestan destroyed a large bomb-making workshop containing homemade explosives and suicide belts.
- On November 16, the NAC announced security forces had killed Dmitry Sokolov, alleged partner of the female suicide bomber responsible for the October Volgograd bus bombing, and four of his alleged accomplices in Makhachkala.
- On December 31, the government increased police presence in public areas around the country, and police arrested 87 following the December 29-30 attacks in Volgograd. The detainees allegedly had resisted police or could not produce proper identification or registration documents.
Endemic corruption remained a problem that created vulnerabilities within law enforcement, border control officials, and the judiciary. Although Russia has taken some steps to reform its law enforcement structures and cooperates in a variety of international efforts to combat corruption – including being a State Party to the UN Convention Against Corruption and an aspirant to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention – much work remains to address these vulnerabilities.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Russia is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and is serving as FATF president from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. Russia also belongs to two FATF-style regional bodies: the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval) and the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG), where it is a leading member and primary funding source. Through the EAG, Russia provides technical assistance and other resources towards improving legislative and regulatory frameworks and operational capabilities.
Russian banks must report suspicious transactions to the Financial Monitoring Federal Service (Rosfinmonitoring), a financial intelligence unit whose head reports directly to the President. The Central Bank can access these transaction reports after requesting them from Rosfinmonitoring. Rosfinmonitoring is a member of the Egmont Group.
In 2013, Russia amended its primary anti-money laundering legislation and strengthened its counterterrorist finance framework. One element of this amendment created a system for freezing terrorist assets, bringing Russian legislation in-line with UNSCR 1373 (2001). Financial institutions are obliged to freeze any assets of individuals or entities designated through a newly established interagency system. Any financial institution freezing assets or funds must report their actions to Russia’s financial intelligence unit. The amendment also created a mechanism for adjudicating de-listing requests, for unfreezing funds of a non-designated individual or entity that inadvertently had their assets frozen, and for implementing freezing designations made in other countries.
Grey markets and the underground economy continued to thrive in Russia. Combined with a significant migrant worker population that sends remittances through a variety of licit and illicit means, there are risks that the country could be exploited by illicit actors. The presence of large-scale organized criminal groups and the large sums of money which they launder could also be vulnerable to exploitation by terrorist groups.
Regional and International Cooperation: Russia has been an active member of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) Ad-Hoc Working Group on the Terrorist Threat to the Euro-Atlantic Area. Russia also worked with other regional and multilateral groups to address terrorism, including with the EU, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, the GCTF, the G-8 Counterterrorism Action Group, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and the OSCE. Russia has also engaged with the “Istanbul Process” working group on combating terrorism in Afghanistan.
In July, CSTO member countries in Rostov conducted an exercise to practice skills in disarming and neutralizing criminal armed groups and terrorists. Approximately 500 regular and special police personnel attached to the CSTO's Collective Operational Reaction Force (CORF) practiced spotting and neutralizing terrorists in the interoperability drill. The CSTO also conducted the Interaction 2013 counterterrorism training exercise in Belarus from September 20-25, as part of a major bilateral Russia and Belarus military exercise, Zapad-2013. About 600 personnel from the CSTO’s CORF, coming from Belarus, Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, participated in the exercise, which focused on command and control and the use of aviation in special and joint operations.
At its October 30 Ambassadorial meeting, NATO and Russia assessed this year’s work on counterterrorism projects and looked at possible new areas of cooperation. Both the Stand-Off Detection of Explosives (STANDEX), an effort by NATO and Russian scientists to develop technology to detect concealed explosives on a suicide bomber from a distance and in a crowd, and the Cooperative Airspace Initiative (CAI), which allows nations to send air traffic information to each other across shared borders in the case of a suspected hijacking of a civilian aircraft, were successfully tested in live exercises this year.
The 2014 Sochi Olympics took place in proximity to the North Caucasus, where ongoing violence and extremist activity created a heightened concern over potential terrorist activity targeting the Games. In July 2013, Doku Umarov, leader of the Caucasus Emirate, called for attacks on the Olympic Games. In response, the Russian security services stated publicly that they would implement necessary security measures to ensure the safety of the Games. The security services have also held a series of working group meetings with foreign law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and with security representatives from Olympic sponsors and National Olympic Committees.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The Russian government continued constructive relations with established Muslim organizations that promote a non-violence dialogue. The United States and Russia continued ongoing dialogue through existing mechanisms to discuss and exchange best practices for combating domestic radicalization to violence and violent extremism issues.
Overview: Serbia continued its efforts to counter international terrorism and remained focused on harmonizing its law enforcement protocols with EU standards. The Serbian government continued to welcome U.S. government-provided counterterrorism training and assistance to police and security agency counterparts. Authorities confirmed that a small number of citizens from the country's Sandzak region had been recruited to join violent extremist movements in Syria, Libya, and other countries.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Changes to the Serbian criminal code in December 2012 criminalized a broader range of terrorist activities, including recruitment and training of future terrorists. Authorities remained vigilant against efforts by local terrorist groups and international terrorists seeking to establish a presence in, or transit through, the country. Counterterrorism police and prosecutors began preliminary investigations into several possible terrorist incidents during the year, including open gunfire at the border with Kosovo, and have acted upon reports received from foreign partners, including U.S. authorities.
The Criminal Procedure Code adopted in September 2011, which introduced prosecutor-led investigations and other innovations, such as plea agreements, took effect nationwide in all courts on October 1, 2013. In November, the Parliament passed a set of four structural laws reforming the nationwide court and prosecutor networks, which were intended to increase efficiency and improve the administration of justice.
Serbia's law enforcement and security agencies, particularly the Ministry of Finance's Customs Administration, the Ministry of Interior's Directorate of Police, and the Security Information Agency, continued bilateral counterterrorism cooperation. Serbia's two main specialized police organizations, the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit and the Counter-Terrorist Unit (PTJ), operate as counterterrorism tactical response units. Overall, Serbian law enforcement units have demonstrated their capacity to detect, deter, and respond to terrorist incidents. There was good interagency cooperation and timely sharing of terrorism-related information; prosecutors were consulted at early stages of investigations and worked in coordination with law enforcement counterparts.
Serbian points of entry are connected to a centralized system, with a majority connected to Interpol databases, and have biographic and biometric screening processes in place. Border Police also shared information with other countries via bilateral agreements. Although Serbian authorities do not receive passenger name records (PNR) on a regular basis, they requested PNR directly from airline companies if they deemed a flight to be of particular risk.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Serbia is a member of the Council of Europe (COE)Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Serbia's Administration for the Prevention of Money Laundering (APML) has developed a draft law on restricting property disposal, with the aim of preventing terrorist financing, which if passed would strengthen Serbia's legislative framework on freezing terrorist assets. According to the Prosecutor's Office for Organized Crime, Serbian police did not arrest anyone involved in terrorist finance activities, nor were any cases related to terrorist financing prosecuted in 2013.
As part of Serbia's efforts to meet EU standards and advance its EU accession effort, several conferences and workshops connected to the Project against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in Serbia (MOLI-Serbia Project) took place. MOLI-Serbia, which is co-sponsored and funded by the EU and the COE, principally benefitted APML and supported Serbian efforts to establish a more robust legislative and operational capacity to counter money laundering and terrorist financing systems in accordance with EU and international standards. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: S erbia is a member of the UN, the OSCE, and the COE. Serbia participated in the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Program to promote rule of law and human security in South East Europe (SEE), which focuses primarily on increasing member states' counterterrorism capacities. Serbia was the first country in the SEE region to adopt the National Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR 1540 (2004) and hosted the first Regional Workshop on its implementation. In April, Serbia became a full member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which controls the export of nuclear materials and dual-use goods that could be exploited by terrorist organizations.
Overview: Spain was an active partner with the United States in efforts to track and disrupt transnational terrorism. Spain deepened its cooperation with Algeria, Mali, and Mauritania to combat and contain the threat posed by al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
The domestic terrorist group Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) has not launched any attacks since it announced a “definitive cessation of armed activity” in October 2011, although the group had not formally disbanded or given up its weapons arsenal by the end of 2013.
No terrorist attacks occurred in Spain in 2013, but three Spanish journalists were kidnapped in Syria and remained in captivity at year’s end. Marc Marginedas was kidnapped by violent extremists on September 4, and Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova were kidnapped by the al-Qa’ida in Iraq/Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, on September 16. The Government of Spain is working to secure their release.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Spanish Criminal Code specifically punishes any act of collaboration with the activities or purposes of a terrorist organization. Spain’s law enforcement units focused on counterterrorism have effectively demonstrated their capacity to detect, deter, and respond to terrorist incidents. Specialized law enforcement units possess the necessary and clear chain of command to effectively carry out their mission.
Spain’s counterterrorism capabilities, coordinated by the National Counter-Terrorism Coordination Center (CNCA), have proven effective. The National Police and Civil Guard share responsibility for counterterrorism and cooperate well, with strong information sharing and joint threat assessments. On December 5, Spain approved a national cyber security strategy to safeguard its critical information systems, and created the Cyber Defense Committee to coordinate its cyber security across the various government departments.
Spain continued to focus on improved security and the detection of false documents at its borders. Spain participated in the U.S. Immigration Advisory Program, which maintains staff at Madrid-Barajas International Airport. The program allows for coordination between Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, airline security personnel, and police regarding high risk passengers traveling to the United States. Spain continued to roll out an automated system to read EU passports with biometric data. Explosive trace detection equipment was also deployed at Spain's five largest airports at passenger checkpoints. Spain continued to use a network of radar stations, known as the Integrated External Surveillance System, along its maritime borders. Spain maintained its participation in the Megaports and Container Security Initiatives. In September 2012, the Civil Guard began integrating Europol information in its fight against terrorism and organized crime. Previously, only the Spanish National Police had access to the Europol data.
In a joint operation on June 21 in Ceuta, the Spanish National Police and Civil Guard detained eight members of a network recruiting, indoctrinating, facilitating travel, and funding violent extremists being sent to fight in Syria. The network, which operates in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta and across the border in Fnideq, Morocco, is believed to have links to AQ.
A number of ETA members were apprehended in 2013, both in Spain and abroad:
- On January 11, Andoni Lariz Bustinduy and Urtzi Etxeberria Aierdi were arrested in France.
- On April 18, in the Basque Country, six members of Segi, the youth branch of ETA, were apprehended by the regional police.
- On June 11, the Civil Guard arrested ETA members Jon Lazarribar Lasarte and Rubén Geldent González.
- On September 20, Asier Guridi was apprehended in Venezuela with the support of Venezuelan and French security forces.
- On October 8, Belgian police arrested Natividad Jáuregui Espina.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: A longtime member of the Financial Action Task Force, Spain continued to demonstrate leadership in the area of anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance. Spain enacted its current law on Preventing Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism in 2010; the law entered into force immediately. However, implementation of regulations remained underway in 2013. The regulations will greatly enhance authorities' capacity to counter terrorist financing by placing greater requirements on financial institutions and other businesses, with stiffer penalties for non-compliance; and, by strengthening monitoring and oversight. The government diligently implemented relevant UNSCRs and had the legal authority to impose autonomous designations. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Spain is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), and on October 29-30, hosted a workshop on de-radicalization in prisons. Spain formed the G-4 in January, composed of France, Morocco, Portugal, and Spain, which synchronizes efforts to jointly combat terrorism, drug trafficking, and illegal immigration, with a focus on their shared maritime borders. Spain also continued its leadership role in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and served as Coordinator of its Implementation and Assessment Group, a working group of technical experts.
Spain signed several bilateral counterterrorism agreements. In June, Spain announced plans to create a network to exchange information with Ameripol, the Community of Police of America, to efficiently fight terrorism and organized crime. On September 30, Spain and France signed a declaration to strengthen the countries’ bilateral judicial cooperation to fight terrorism. The agreement will promote information sharing as well as exchanges and joint training of judges and prosecutors from both countries. On December 1, Spain also announced plans to create a joint police panel with Morocco to help fight terrorism and organized crime.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: Spain participated in several international meetings focused on countering violent extremism (CVE) and provided funding for CVE programs in countries such as Mali and Mauritania. On October 29-30, Spain hosted the GCTF Ministerial meeting in Madrid on the role of religious scholars in rehabilitation and reintegration programs for violent extremists. Spanish efforts to counter radicalization to violence were tied closely to the fight against illegal immigration and the integration of existing immigrant communities. Through grants offered by the Foundation for Pluralism and Co-existence, a public office created to support the integration of minority religious communities in Spain, NGOs received funds to develop programs and activities aimed at social cohesion and the integration of minorities.
Overview: According to the Swedish Security Service (SÄPO), the most significant threat to Sweden is al-Qa’ida (AQ)- inspired individuals or groups. AQ-inspired violent extremists in Sweden and abroad continued to see Sweden as a target for attacks. Perceived insults to Islam and Sweden’s military presence in Afghanistan remained motives. Individuals associated with AQ-inspired violent extremist groups in Sweden continued to have contacts with foreign terrorist networks. The contacts included financial and logistical support as well as recruitment of individuals to travel to conflict areas to attend terrorism-related training and combat. SÄPO is concerned by the numbers of foreign fighters who have left Sweden to join violent extremist groups in Syria and confirmed that at least 75 individuals have traveled to Syria, which is more than the combined travel to all other conflict zones, and saw no indication that the travel is decreasing. The Swedes view returnees as a particular concern as these individuals have the potential to plan an attack in Sweden or radicalize and recruit others for travel. The travelers are mostly men aged 18 to 30, but there also have been women who traveled to support the fight in Syria. The Swedish foreign fighters frequently use social media to circulate photos of “martyrs” and recruitment videos that target a Swedish audience.
The National Threat Advisory level in Sweden has remained “elevated” since it was first raised in October 2010. Since then, several plots have been disrupted, hence the reason for the elevated threat.
Swedish citizen Johan Gustafsson, who was kidnapped by al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) when visiting Mali in November 2011, remained in AQIM’s detention at year’s end. Gustafsson was last seen in a September 19 video released by the group.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) continued to carry out significant support activities such as recruitment and financing in Sweden.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Sweden’s original counterterrorism legislation was passed in 2003 and was supplemented in 2010 when incitement, recruitment, and providing terrorism training were criminalized. Sweden has a specialized division at the Prosecution Authority that deals with all terrorism-related cases.
SÄPO has the main responsibility to counter terrorism in Sweden and has demonstrated the capability to detect, deter, and respond to terrorist incidents. Sweden’s interagency counterterrorism cooperation takes place mainly within the Counterterrorism Cooperative Council that includes 13 government agencies, as well as in the National Center for Terrorism Threat Assessment that produces long- and short-term strategic assessments of the terrorist threat against Sweden and Swedish interests. There is timely sharing of terrorism-related information and prosecutors are consulted at early stages of investigations and work in coordination with counterparts in other components of law enforcement. Law enforcement units have a record of accountability and respect for human rights. Sweden continues to cooperate with the United States on terrorism-related cases.
Sweden is a participant of the EU’s Schengen cooperation and uses the Schengen Information System II for information sharing, port of entry screening, lost and stolen passport information, and watch listing. Under the auspices of the PNR agreement between the EU and the United States, Sweden collects and shares PNR information from commercial flights.
Sweden is facing challenges with foreign fighter travel since there is no legislation that criminalizes the travel, which makes it hard to put a stop to it. Sweden is working together with a group of likeminded EU member states to push for an EU PNR system that would enhance member states’ ability to keep track of when individuals travel and return.
Resolution and continuation of cases from 2011 and 2012 include:
- Swedish-Lebanese citizen Hussein Atris, arrested at Bangkok International Airport on January 12, 2012 for suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack, was convicted of illegal possession of explosive material and sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.
- Swedish-Lebanese citizen Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, arrested in Cyprus on July 7, 2012 for suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack for Lebanese Hizballah against Israeli tourists, pled not guilty but was convicted and sentenced by a Cypriot court to four years of prison for his criminal activities.
- Swedish-Somali citizens Ali Yassin Ahmed and Mohamed Yusuf, arrested in Djibouti in August 2012 while traveling from Somalia to Yemen and transferred to the United States in November 2012, were still facing charges for providing material support to al-Shabaab. Their trial was pending at year’s end.
- The pre-investigation related to the December 11, 2010 suicide bombing carried out by Taimour Abdulwahab in Stockholm was still being conducted in 2013 by the prosecutor for national security cases.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Sweden is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and was evaluated by the FATF in October 2012. Authorities believe that large scale currency movements occurred from Sweden to the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, and other potentially risky jurisdictions. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Sweden contributed to counterterrorism capacity-building projects through its development aid work carried out by the Swedish International Development Agency, and also via funding to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime-Terrorism Prevention Branch and the OSCE. Sweden also supported the EU’s work with capacity-building projects in Pakistan, Yemen, the Horn of Africa, Maghreb, and the Sahel. Sweden provided trainers to the EU Training Mission in Mali. Sweden was a large donor to the UN’s Counter-Terrorism International Task Force (CTITF), with special focus on the CTITF working group that works to strengthen human rights in counterterrorism work. Although not a member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), Sweden participated in its CVE working group.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: On December 16, an expert group presented its report that examined how Sweden’s work to prevent violent extremism could be carried out more efficiently. In June, the National Media Council presented its study on the presence of Swedish violent extremist groups on the internet, how youth are influenced by what they read, and how to improve internet literacy for youth. In March, the Swedish National Defense College delivered its report on the issue of foreign fighter travel, how Sweden is dealing with the challenge, and recommendations to enhance preventive work.
The Minister responsible for countering violent extremism (CVE) issues instructed the Dean of the Swedish National Police Academy to conduct a study to define the presence in Sweden of AQ-inspired and left- and right-wing violent extremism.
Under the auspices of the EU’s Community Policing Preventing Radicalization and Terrorism (COPPRA) project, the Swedish National Police Academy continued to work to increase its knowledge to detect radicalization. About 30 police officers from across Sweden went through the weeklong COPPRA training, which certifies officers to return to their home counties to “train the trainers.”
Overview: Turkey is a long-standing counterterrorism partner of the United States. It co-chairs the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) with the United States. It received U.S. assistance to address the terrorist threat posed by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 2013, although ongoing peace talks mitigated violence between the PKK and Turkish government forces in 2013. Largely because of the ongoing conflict in Syria, Turkey has voiced increasing concern about terrorist groups currently near its border. These groups include al-Qa’ida in Iraq/Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and al-Nusrah Front. Turkey was often used as a transit country for foreign fighters wishing to join these and other groups in Syria.
In 2013, Turkey continued to face significant internal terrorist threats and has taken strong action in response. Increased activity by the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), a terrorist Marxist-Leninist group with anti-U.S. and anti-NATO views that seeks the violent overthrow of the Turkish state, threatened the security of both U.S. and Turkish interests. A number of attacks occurred, including a suicide bombing of the U.S. Embassy in February that killed the bomber and a Turkish guard, while injuring a visiting Turkish journalist.
Also prominent among terrorist groups in Turkey is the PKK. Following three decades of conflict with the PKK terrorist organization, in late 2012 the government and PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan began talks for a peace process. In January and February, 28 PKK members were killed in clashes with the military, according to the Human Rights Association (HRA), but there were no conflict-related deaths after February. The PKK called for a ceasefire in March, which both sides largely observed, apart from small-scale PKK attacks in late 2013.
Another terrorist group in Turkey is Turkish Hizballah (unrelated to the similarly-named Hizballah that operates in Lebanon). The Government of Turkey also considers the Turkish Workers’ and Peasants’ Liberation Army (TKP-ML-TIKKO), although largely inactive, to be a threat.
Another Syria-based group, Mukaveme Suriyyi (Syrian Resistance), under the leadership of Mihrac Ural (formerly head of the Turkish Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front – DHKP/C), is believed by Turkish authorities to be behind the two largest terrorist attacks of 2013 in Turkey.
2013 Terrorist Incidents: Of the approximately 20 terrorist attacks that occurred in Turkey in 2013, the following five garnered particular attention and condemnation:
- On February 1, a DHKP/C operative exploded a suicide vest inside the employee entrance to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara. Aside from him, the explosion killed a Turkish guard and injured a visiting Turkish journalist.
- On February 11, a car bomb exploded at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing between Turkey and Syria, killing 13 people, including three Turkish citizens. At least 28 others were injured in the blast, which occurred after a Syrian-registered minivan was detonated close to a customs building on the Turkish side of the border. Mihrac Ural, an Alawite Turk from Hatay Province who has been an important pro-Damascus militia figure in the conflict in Syria, was widely blamed for the bombing.
- On March 19, three members of the DHKP/C coordinated hand grenade attacks on the Ministry of Justice and used a light anti-tank weapon (LAW) on the headquarters of the ruling party. There were no casualties.
- On May 11, Turkey suffered the deadliest terrorist attack in its modern history when 52 people were killed in twin car bombings in Reyhanli, a town in Hatay Province close to the Syrian border. Turkish authorities strongly believe that Mihrac Ural was behind the bombings.
- On September 20, two members of the DHKP/C attacked Turkish National Police (TNP) headquarters and a police guesthouse with LAWs. There were no casualties at the scene, but one of the attackers was killed while attempting to flee. The other attacker was wounded and arrested.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Counterterrorism law enforcement efforts in Turkey remained focused on the domestic threat posed by several terrorist groups, including the PKK. Turkey’s methodology and legislation are geared towards confronting this internal threat. Efforts to counter international terrorism are hampered by legislation that defines terrorism narrowly as a crime targeting the Turkish state or Turkish citizens. This definition of terrorism can be an impediment to operational and legal cooperation against global terrorist networks.
On April 11, Turkey’s Parliament approved amendments to the country’s counterterrorism legislation to bring the legislation more in line with EU freedom of expression standards. With these amendments, Turkey narrowed its definition of terrorism propaganda. Amendments to Article 6 outline punishment for people who propagate or publish declarations of an illegal organization only if the content legitimizes or encourages acts of violence, threats, or force. The amendments also clarify that publishers of such declarations are not automatically deemed members of the illegal organization making the declaration. Despite this improvement, Turkey continued to detain and prosecute thousands of politicians, reporters, and activists through its broad-reaching and broadly applied counterterrorism legislation.
The Government of Turkey compiles a “travel ban list” with a view to prevent travel into Turkey by individuals identified by foreign governments and internal security units. Although the Turkish government does not have an automated Advanced Passenger Information/Passenger Name Record (API/PNR) system, it has approached the Department of Homeland Security for technical assistance in developing an improved and automated system.
In 2013, the TNP conducted numerous investigations in which several cells of AQ-inspired individuals were arrested and detained. Likewise, there were large-scale investigations and detention of over 200 individuals thought to be associated with the DHKP/C.
In the aftermath of the 2011 TNP arrest of 15 people involved in an AQ cell who were likely targeting the U.S. Embassy in Ankara among other locations, U.S. Embassy officials have been denied any additional information regarding the conduct of the case. Similarly, although Turkish security forces provided a rapid and thorough response to the February 1 suicide bombing of the U.S. Embassy, U.S. investigators received limited access to evidence gathered at the crime scene.
Criminal procedure secrecy rules prevent TNP authorities from sharing investigative information once a prosecutor is assigned to the case, which occurs almost immediately. Article 157 of the Turkish Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) states: “Unless provided otherwise by the code and under the requirement to not harm the defense rights, procedural interactions during the investigation phase shall be kept a secret.” This language has been interpreted by Turkish prosecutors and police to require an investigation to remain secret once a prosecutor becomes involved in a criminal case. After the investigation, the evidence and files are transferred from the prosecutor to the court where they are also sealed. Only parties to a case may access court-held evidence. This legal interpretation has resulted in limited information sharing on criminal cases between U.S. and Turkish law enforcement officials.
The Department of State continued to provide counterterrorism assistance to the Turkish national police through the Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program. ATA assistance focused on institutionalizing advanced skills into Turkey’s law enforcement infrastructure, and included training in terrorist interdiction and crisis management. In addition, due to Turkish law enforcement’s considerable advancement in counterterrorism techniques, the ATA program provided training in instructor development to build police officers’ capacity to train their fellow officers in antiterrorism skills and methods.
The TNP has highly developed counterterrorism capabilities in a number of areas and is planning to expand its law enforcement training for other countries in the region.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Turkey is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and an observer of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, a FATF-style regional group. The Turkish Parliament passed countering terrorist finance (CFT) legislation in February and its implementing regulation came into force in May.
In October, FATF cited improvements in Turkey’s CFT regime but called for Turkey to take further steps to implement an adequate legal framework for identifying and freezing terrorist assets under UNSCRs 1267 (1999) and 1373 (2001) and ensure that terrorist financing has been adequately criminalized. The FATF encouraged Turkey to address the remaining strategic deficiencies and continue the process of implementing its action plan.
The nonprofit sector is not audited on a regular basis for counterterrorist finance vulnerabilities and does not receive adequate anti-money laundering/CFT outreach or guidance from the Turkish government. The General Director of Foundations issues licenses for charitable foundations and oversees them, but there are a limited number of auditors to cover the more than 70,000 institutions. It is likely that bulk cash is being smuggled across its borders helping to fund violent extremists in neighboring countries.
Regional and International Cooperation: Turkey is a founding member of the GCTF and is co-chair along with the United States. Foreign Minister Davutoglu co-chaired the fourth GCTF Ministerial in New York City in September. As co-chair, Turkey provided extensive secretariat support. Turkey also participated actively in the OSCE expert meetings on the Prevention of Violent Extremism and Radicalization that Lead to Terrorism organized by the OSCE/Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the OSCE Secretariat. Turkey is an active member of the UN, NATO, and the Council of Europe’s (COE) Committee of Experts on Terrorism (CODEXTER).
Turkey increased its cooperation with European countries regarding the status of members of the DHKP/C. It also worked closely with European, North African, and Middle East countries to interdict the travel of potential foreign fighters planning to travel through Turkey to Syria, although it remains a transit route for foreign fighters.
In 2011, the TNP created a multilateral training organization, the International Association of Police Academies, to increase sharing of policing research and best practices in the field of police education. The TNP offered 18 counterterrorism-related training programs in 2013 at its Antiterrorism Academy that are designed primarily for law enforcement officers from Central Asian countries.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: The Government of Turkey has two significant programs to counter radicalization to violence and violent extremism. The first, administered by the TNP, is a broad-based outreach program to affected communities, similar to anti-gang activities in the United States. Police work to reach vulnerable populations (before terrorists do) to alter the prevailing group dynamics and to prevent recruitment. Police use social science research to undertake social projects, activities with parents, and in-service training for officers and teachers. Programs prepare trainers, psychologists, coaches, and religious leaders to intervene to undermine violent extremist messages and to prevent recruitment.
The second program, administered by the Turkish government’s Religious Affairs Office (Diyanet), works to undercut violent extremist messaging. In Turkey, all Sunni imams are employees of the Diyanet. In support of its message of traditional religious values, more than 66,000 Diyanet imams throughout Turkey conducted individualized outreach to their congregations. The Diyanet similarly worked with religious associations among the Turkish diaspora, assisting them to establish umbrella organizations and providing them access to instruction. The Diyanet supported in-service training for religious leaders and lay-workers via a network of 19 centers throughout Turkey.
Overview: In 2013, the UK continued to play a leading role in countering international terrorism. The UK government continued to implement its updated counterterrorism strategy, CONTEST, which was released in 2011. This update of CONTEST set out the UK’s strategic framework for countering the terrorist threat at home and abroad for 2011-2015. In 2013, the conflict in Syria proved to be a galvanizing force for UK-based Muslim individuals and organizations. The threat of European fighters traveling to Syria and then returning home radicalized to violence and dangerous drew significant attention and resources.
Northern Ireland continued to experience a persistent level of security incidents, including attempted bombings, violent protests, and the placement of hoax explosive devices. Many of the devices were relatively crude but occasionally viable. Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officials reported an upsurge in dissident republican (Irish nationalist) attacks for 2013, as evidenced by letter bombs, under-car booby traps, blast bombs, and hijackings. While security forces and facilities continued to be the primary targets of violence, a few attempts were aimed at political officials and commercial centers within Belfast’s city center.
In October 2012, the British Security Service downgraded the threat to Great Britain from dissident Irish republicans from "substantial" to "moderate." The decrease shows the authorities regard an attack on London and other British cities from such groups as possible, but not likely. Previously it was deemed a strong possibility. The threat level in Northern Ireland has not changed. It remained "severe" with an attack still highly likely. On its website, MI5 said: "The threat level for Northern Ireland-related terrorism is separate from that for international terrorism. It is also set separately for Northern Ireland and Great Britain."
2013 Terrorist Incidents: While terrorist groups were active throughout the UK in 2013, the majority of attacks occurred in Northern Ireland. Dissident republican groups: the Real IRA (RIRA), Continuity IRA (CIRA), and Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH) remained actively opposed to the peace settlement in Northern Ireland. The UK's Northern Ireland Office recorded 30 national security attacks in Northern Ireland in 2013, "broadly comparable with previous years.”
- On March 3, police intercepted a van containing four live mortar bombs in Londonderry; police suspected the target was a Londonderry police station. The van had its roof cut back to allow the mortars to be fired. It was the first time dissidents attempted this type of mortar attack. Two men were arrested at the scene, the driver of the van and a motorcyclist travelling behind. Both men were charged with having explosives with intent to endanger life, conspiracy to cause an explosion, and possessing a van for terrorist purposes.
- On May 22, British Army Soldier, Drummer (Private) Lee Rigby was attacked and killed near Woolwich in southeast London. Two men of Nigerian descent were convicted for the murder by stabbing and hacking Rigby to death with knives and a meat cleaver. During the incident and trial the accused stated that they killed a British soldier to avenge the killing of Muslims by British Armed Forces.
- On October 29, a letter bomb addressed to Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers forced the closure and evacuation of Stormont Castle and nearby Parliamentary buildings. The Royal Mail sorting offices also intercepted devices addressed to Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland Matt Baggott and Chief Inspector John Burrows on October 25, while the Londonderry regional office of the Public Prosecution Service received a device on October 28.
- On November 8, a former policeman and his daughter escaped harm from a booby-trap placed on his car in Dundonald (near Belfast). The target discovered the device on the under carriage of his vehicle in a routine security check.
- On November 20, two masked men delivered a bag that contained a viable bomb on board a Translink bus and ordered the driver to take it to the Londonderry police headquarters. The bus driver instead called authorities to render it safe.
- On November 24, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device partially detonated near Victoria Square, the largest and busiest shopping mall in Belfast’s city center. A driver, carjacked by three masked men in the predominantly Catholic Ardoyne district, was forced to deliver the vehicle laden with 60 kg of explosives to the shopping center’s parking garage. He then abandoned the vehicle and notified authorities. The area was evacuated and cordoned off, but the detonator, which failed to trigger the actual device, went off before army experts could examine and render it safe. The vehicle sustained damage, but there were no casualties. On December 18, two men were arrested for questioning.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: UK laws allow the government to investigate and prosecute terrorists using a variety of tools. On April 25, a key piece of security legislation, the Justice and Security Act, was passed into law. The bill closed a significant legal loophole in the UK government’s ability to protect classified information; allowed “closed material proceedings” in civil courts, thus enabling the government’s use of classified information to defend itself in civil cases; and strengthened parliamentary oversight of the intelligence community.
The UK has a highly capable network of agencies involved in counterterrorism efforts. The Metropolitan (Met) police lead the UK’s national counterterrorism law enforcement effort. The Met police work closely with local police, MI5, and other agencies in terrorism investigation, prevention, and prosecution. On October 7, the National Crime Agency (NCA) launched and absorbed its predecessor, the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA). While the NCA is not the lead counterterrorism agency, its organized crime, cybercrime, and border policing remit involved it in some counterterrorism issues.
The UK has issued machine readable passports with an imbedded electronic chip since 2006. UK travel documents and visas contain a number of security features to prevent tampering and fraud. The UK has advanced biometric screening capabilities at some points of entry, but at others there is no screening at all. The UK has no statutory ability to collect advance passenger name records (PNR). It is against EU regulations for the UK to collect PNR information on commercial flights originating from within the EU.
2013 law enforcement actions included:
- On January 9-10, four men were arrested as part of an investigation into people traveling to Syria in support of alleged terrorist activity. A 33-year-old man was arrested at Gatwick Airport as he attempted to take a flight out of the UK. Three other men, aged 18, 22, and 31, were arrested at separate addresses in east London. The arrests were linked to a July investigation in which two other men were arrested and charged over the kidnapping of British photographer John Cantlie and his Dutch colleague Jeroen Orelemans in Syria.
- On July 7, Omar Mahmoud Othman, known as Abu Qatada, was extradited to Amman, Jordan, after almost a decade-long saga of efforts to transfer him to Jordan, where he faced terrorism charges that he was convicted of in absentia.
- Between September 16 and 18, four people were arrested as part of an investigation into suspected terrorism in Syria. A 27-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman were detained on September 18 in Essex, east of London. On September 16, two men, aged 29 and 22, were arrested just after entering the country at the southern English port of Dover, according to officials. The arrests were made in relation to what police called "the commission, preparation, or instigation of acts of terrorism" in Syria.
- On October 13, four people were arrested at three sites in an operation coordinated between Scotland Yard and the security service MI5. All four of the arrests were made “on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000 (Section 41- 1B).”
- On October 23, Anton Duffy, Martin Hughes, and Stacy McAllister, from Glasgow; Paul Sands from Ayr; and Edward McVeigh from Portpatrick, Dumfries, and Galloway, were arrested in an operation led by Police Scotland and involving the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the security service. The five suspects appeared in court and were charged with conspiring to commit acts of terrorism.
- On November 21, a court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to support the charges against Sharon Rafferty and Sean Kelly for directing the activities of a terrorist organization. Rafferty and Kelly were linked to an alleged dissident republican terrorist training camp, a secret firing range uncovered by police in County Tyrone on May 19, 2012.
- Also on November 21, Marian McGlinchey (aka Marian Price) pled guilty to providing property for the purposes of terrorism. McGlinchey purchased the mobile phone used by the Real IRA to claim responsibility for the attack on the Massereene Army barracks in March 2009, during which two soldiers died and four were injured. The attack marked the first British military fatalities in Northern Ireland since 1997.
- On December 2, a 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of Section 57 of the Terrorism Act after a device believed to be a nail bomb was found at a house in Salford.
- On December 18, Colin Duffy, Alex McCrory, and Henry Fitzsimmons were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder, possession of firearms and explosives with intent to endanger life or cause serious damage to property, and IRA membership. The charges were linked to events on December 6 and 7, when assailants fired shots at police vehicles patrolling in predominantly Catholic areas of Belfast. Police reported no injuries. The weapons used were military grade and police reported that that the chances of injury to police and innocent bystanders had been significant.
- Also on December 18, Keith McConnan, 19; and Orla O'Hanlon, 18; of Dundalk in the Republic of Ireland , were arrested by An Garda Siochána, the police service of the Republic of Ireland, and the PSNI at a house just north of the border in south Armagh. PSNI officers discovered a timer power unit, grinders, and fertilizer used for making an explosive mix for a car bomb at the property. The arrests were the result of a cross-border security operation involving surveillance of the house. Armed officers from the Garda later arrested a 43-year-old man at separate premises in Dundalk. The discovery of the bomb-making items was described as a “very significant” find by security sources in the Republic of Ireland.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: The UK is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and an active participant in FATF-style regional bodies to meet evolving money laundering and terrorist financing threats, and has a wide range of anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance laws. The UK has been a leader on pointing out the dangers of paying kidnappers’ ransom payments and developing the linkages of ransom payments to increased financial support for terrorist organizations and further kidnappings. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: The UK is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum and co-chairs its Countering Violent Extremism Working Group. The UK cooperates with other nations and international organizations on counterterrorism, including the UN and UN Security Council, EU, NATO, Council of Europe, G-8, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and Interpol. In 2013, the UK held the G-8 presidency and counterterrorism issues such as kidnapping for ransom and foreign fighters in Syria were included in the agenda.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: In 2007, the UK launched its Prevent strategy to counter radicalization. Prevent is part of the government’s overall national counterterrorism strategy, CONTEST. In 2011, Prevent was revised to correct several perceived problems. There had been complaints from members of Muslim organizations that UK government interaction with their communities was focused solely on security concerns. As a result, the UK divided the responsibilities for various strands of Prevent among different government organizations. The Department of Communities and Local Government took over responsibility for “integration” work, designed to ensure that Muslim communities received all the government services to which they were entitled and that immigrants were given assistance to integrate into British society. The Home Office focused on countering the ideology of violent extremism, including the identification of at-risk youth and their referral to counseling programs. The revised strategy called for a much more focused effort to target those most at risk of radicalization. Finally, the government decided that organizations that hold “extremist views,” even those that are non-violent, will not be eligible to receive government funding or participate in Prevent programs.
Following the May murder of soldier Lee Rigby, the UK government launched a taskforce to determine whether the government was doing all it could to confront violent extremism and radicalization to violence. The task force suggested further actions that could be taken to disrupt violent extremists, promote integration, and prevent radicalization, particularly in schools and prisons.
Under the Northern Ireland constitutional settlement, the UK government is responsible for Northern Ireland’s national security and is covered by CONTEST. Following the devolution of policing and justice matters in April 2010, the Northern Ireland Minister of Justice is responsible for policing and criminal justice policy matters.
As a society emerging from conflict, Northern Ireland contains many divisions and grievances, and is home to a significant number of ex-prisoners. At the grassroots level, much of the countering violent extremism work in Northern Ireland is implemented by local community organizations. The majority of youth organizations, community safety projects, restorative justice programs, and neighborhood renewal programs have partnership working arrangements with PSNI; some of these programs are directed and staffed by former combatants. Many NGOs, including some that work on a cross-border/all-Ireland basis, are engaged in efforts to prevent young people from becoming involved in “ordinary” crime, gang membership, and sectarianism. One such program, PEACE III (2007-2013), is a distinctive EU structural funds program with an emphasis on youth and unemployment, reinforcing progress toward a peaceful and stable society, and promoting reconciliation. The program has a total budget of approximately US $500 million, and covers Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland.