Germany participated in counterterrorism military operations overseas, provided leadership in multilateral settings, and fought terrorism within its borders. Although no terrorist attacks took place in Germany, a major terrorist plot was disrupted on September 4. The three individuals arrested in the plot included two ethnic Germans and a Turkish citizen resident in Germany. The group had acquired large amounts of hydrogen peroxide for possible use in multiple car bomb attacks. German officials said that the suspects were connected to the designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, the Islamic Jihad Group (IJG).
Concerned about the threat from radicalization, the government reached out to at-risk communities, in particular youth, through programs designed to foster integration, including German language classes, after school sports, etc. The government also made efforts to work with Muslim organizations to encourage and motivate opinion leaders within the Muslim community to counter extremist messages. The Ministry of Interior continued the Islam Conference that it began in 2006. The conference is made up of several working groups that meet on a regular basis, one of which discussed issues related to radicalization.
Germany was the third largest troop contributor to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, with more than 3,000 troops deployed. Germany led the ISAF Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) in Kunduz and Feyzabad, provided a forward support base in Mazar-e-Sharif, and commanded ISAF’s northern region, which encompassed nine provinces and five PRTs. Germany was the top European contributor to the EU police training mission in Afghanistan, EUPOL; and made available 100 Special Forces to operate in Afghanistan under Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The German Navy participated in OEF off the Horn of Africa and Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean Sea. Germany’s contribution to these naval operations included fast patrol boats that sought to prevent the movement of terrorists and weapons of mass destruction.
Germany was especially active in multilateral fora to promote counterterrorism cooperation; Germany held the EU Presidency during the first half of the year and the G8 Presidency for all of 2007. In January, German Federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble pushed for EU-wide adoption of the main provisions of the Pruem Treaty, an agreement signed in 2005 by seven European states that provides for greater cross-border law enforcement and judicial cooperation. Germany also used its EU Presidency to establish the "Check the Web" initiative that allows EU member states to submit and retrieve information from a central Europol-managed facility on Internet sites used by terrorist and extremist groups for radicalization, recruitment, and training purposes. As EU President, Germany took the initiative to hold EU troika meetings with Pakistan and Indonesia to expand EU counterterrorism cooperation with these two nations.
During its G8 Presidency, Germany placed a particular emphasis on supporting UN counterterrorism activities and topics such as terrorist use of the Internet, protecting critical energy infrastructure, and countering radicalization and recruitment to terrorism. These priorities were reflected in the G8 Heiligendamm Summit Statement on Counterterrorism and the Report on the G8 Support to the UN Counterterrorism Efforts. Germany’s chairmanship of the G8 Roma-Lyon Anti-Crime and Counterterrorism Subgroup saw a record number of project proposals being addressed and new initiatives being agreed upon to tackle issues such as bulk cash smuggling used to finance terrorism.
In September, Germany’s Foreign Office co-organized an international seminar in Berlin with key negotiating parties to discuss outstanding issues related to the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and ways that the negotiations might be advanced. The Germans remained steadfast advocates of the UNSCR 1267 sanctions regime and played an active role in suggesting the development of mechanisms to ensure due process in the regime. The United States works actively and cooperatively with the Germans on UN Security Council 1267 Committee listing and de-listing issues.
The German government implemented legislation and established new facilities to strengthen its ability to fight terrorism. On January 11, an extension of the 2002 Terrorism Prevention Law came into effect which extended for another five years the counterterrorism provisions contained in the 2002 law. The legislation also better defined the role of intelligence services in counterterrorism activities and broadened and simplified the ability of German security agencies to obtain travel, financial, and telephone data. In January, a Joint Internet Center was established in Berlin to monitor Islamic terrorist and extremist websites that are used for radicalization, recruitment, and training purposes. The center was staffed by representatives from domestic and foreign intelligence offices, law enforcement agencies, and the office of the public prosecutor. On March 30, a unified terrorism database was established and came into operation which combines information on members and supporters of terrorist and violence-prone groups from nearly 40 federal and state law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
During the year, German law enforcement authorities arrested a number of individuals suspected of involvement in terrorism. Prominent new actions and arrests included:
The September 4 arrests of three individuals suspected of planning large-scale terrorist attacks. The suspects are alleged to have attended terrorism training camps in Pakistan.
The August 14 arrest of German-Turkish citizen Tolga Duerbin who was deported from Pakistan to Germany by Pakistani security forces following his arrest there. Duerbin is alleged to have attended a terrorist training camp in Pakistan. After nearly four months incarceration, Duerbin was released on December 10 following a plea agreement.
German courts began trials or reached verdicts in some notable counterterrorism cases:
In December, the trial of Youssef Mohammad El-Hajdib began at the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court. Lebanese national El-Hajdib is charged with attempted murder and attempting to cause an explosion by placing bombs hidden in suitcases on commuter trains in Cologne in July 2006.
On December 5, the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court convicted Syrian national Ibrahim Mohamed Khalil and two Palestinian defendants (brothers Yasser Abu Shaweesh and Ismail Abu Shaweesh) of membership in and/or support of AQ, insurance fraud, and attempted procurement of enriched uranium for a "dirty bomb." The defendants received prison sentences of seven, six, and three and one half years, respectively.
In September, the trial of Ibrahim Rashid started at the Celle Higher Regional Court. This was Germany’s first trial in which the defendant’s actions were carried out solely on the Internet. Rashid was charged with 28 counts of having promoted membership in, and support of, al-Qa’ida.
The Bavarian Supreme Court sentenced two individuals to prison for supporting a foreign terrorist organization (Ansar al-Islam) and violating Germany’s foreign trade law (for transferring money to Ansar al-Islam members in Iraq). Dieman Abdulkadir Izzat was sentenced on June 25 to three years and three months in prison and Farhad Kanabi Ahmad was sentenced on July 9 to five years and six months in prison. Izzat was also found guilty of fraud for having illegally obtained payments from the Nuremberg welfare office.
In July, the trial of suspected AQ supporter Redouane El-Habhab began. El-Habhab, a dual German-Moroccan national, is accused of supporting al-Qa’ida, violating the German Foreign Trade Law, and assisting in the founding of a terrorist organization abroad.
On January 8, the Hamburg Regional Court convicted Mounir el-Motassadeq of membership in a terrorist organization and of 246 counts of accessory to murder in connection with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The court sentenced Motassadeq to a 15-year prison sentence, which is the maximum sentence that can be imposed under the German Penal Code for this crime. Motassadeq’s lawyers appealed the sentence, but on May 11, the German Federal High Court in Karlsruhe rejected the appeal.
The trial of three Iraqi alleged members of Ansar al-Islam, Ata Abdoulaziz Rashid, Rafik Mohamad Yousef, and Mazen al-Hussein, continued. German prosecutors have charged the three, who have been in detention since December 2004, with a plot to assassinate former Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi during his visit to Berlin. Prosecutors also charged them with financial crimes and membership in, financing, and recruiting for a foreign terrorist organization. The trial started in 2006.
German–U.S. bilateral counterterrorism cooperation is strong. Germany participated in several USG programs to combat terrorism, including the Customs and Border Protection’s Container Security Initiative in the ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven. The Transportation Security Administration’s presence in Frankfurt, together with U.S. and German air marshals, formed key parts of bilateral efforts to provide air transport security for the seven German airports with flights to the United States.
With improved counterterrorism infrastructure in place following the 2004 summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece continued to fight international and domestic terrorism. There was concern that Greece, because of its long coast line and proximity to the Middle East, could be used as a transit route for terrorists traveling to Europe and the United States. Greek authorities cooperated with U.S. officials to address the problem. Cooperative efforts included information sharing, training of Greek security and customs officials, training of judicial personnel, and improving border and cargo-container security through such programs as the Container Security Initiative (CSI). Greece was also an active participant in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). A bilateral PSI ship boarding agreement was under consideration at year’s end. Greece sustained its participation in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan by providing engineers and ISAF Headquarters personnel totaling about 130 troops. Greek forces were limited to operating in the Kabul region. Greece has also offered to provide an embedded Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team to train the Afghan Army.
From the mid-1970s until earlier this decade, the domestic Marxist terrorist group November 17 (N17) targeted Greek officials, as well as officials from NATO countries residing in Greece. During that period, five employees of the U.S. Embassy were murdered by N17, which was responsible for 23 killings altogether. Many of the N17 terrorists were apprehended by Greek authorities in 2002 and tried for their crimes. In 2003, Greek courts handed down multiple life sentences to key N17 members. A group appeals trial for the N17 convicts and two previously acquitted individuals opened in December 2005. The appeals trial essentially represented a new trial for the convicts, since the Greek judicial system allows new facts and evidence to be introduced in the appeals phase. The appeals trial lasted far longer than the original trial, in part due to the defense team’s tactics and the court’s decisions allowing defendants great leeway to make statements and interrupt witnesses.
On May 14, the Athens Court of Appeals issued consolidated sentences in the N17 appeals trial. There were 226 counts of major felonies (murder, attempted murder, attacks with explosives) in the original trial, resulting in convictions on 224 counts. The appeal proceedings involved de novo review of 225 counts (the public prosecutor appealed one acquittal on behalf of the United States). During the appeal proceedings, six counts became time-barred under Greek law. Of the 219 counts remaining, convictions were sustained on 218. The six members of the operational core of N17 received a total of 44 life sentences. Seven members received various prison terms. Six of those originally charged were either acquitted or prosecutions were time-barred under Greek law.
During the original N17 trial, a new domestic terrorism group calling itself Revolutionary Struggle (RS) emerged. RS is a radical leftist group, which aligned itself with the ideology of N17 and may have incorporated some previous members of N17. RS was believed responsible for nine violent terrorist attacks since 2003, including the 2004 murder of a Greek guard outside the British Defense Attaché’s residence. In 2006, RS claimed responsibility for triggering a remote-controlled explosive device placed along the vehicle route of the Greek Minister of Culture (formerly the Greek Minister of Public Order). The Minister was not injured in the attack. RS claimed responsibility for the rocket propelled grenade attack against the U.S. Embassy on January 12, 2007. The attack took place before normal working hours and no Embassy personnel were injured. The Hellenic National Police and the Embassy continued to work together on the investigation. No arrests were made.
Throughout the year, self-styled “anarchists” attacked banks, police stations, and other "imperialist-capitalist targets" with tools such as firebombs and Molotov cocktails. Since these attacks usually occurred at night, few persons were seriously injured and there were no deaths. Several U.S. businesses were targeted. Police officials pursued a more proactive approach to deterring these violent attacks and arrested perpetrators. No damage to the Embassy or injuries to personnel were noted in the last several years.
Hungary made a long-term commitment to continue its leadership of a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan and proceeded with plans to increase its deployments there to more than 200. The Hungarian government continued to implement fully domestic legislation to ensure compliance with EU norms regarding financial transactions and money laundering. Cooperation on border security issues remained excellent in both the bilateral and regional context. Hungary assumed responsibility for its part of the EU’s Schengen border in December. Its preparations for this responsibility, including the merger of the Border Guards into the National Police, should further enhance its ability to monitor the border for individuals and items of concern.
The Government of Iceland worked to strengthen domestic border security and counterterrorism capabilities and increased links with neighboring states and in international bodies. The government signed bilateral security agreements in April with Norway and Denmark pledging to increase regional counterterrorism cooperation. The Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG) continued its capacity-building efforts with contracts for the purchase of new air and sea assets and was a founding member of the North Atlantic Coast Guard Forum in October.
In August and September, Iceland hosted two NATO exercises, each involving a counterterrorism component: NORTHERN VIKING 2007 featured separate air defense and ground-based counterterrorism elements; NORTHERN CHALLENGE 2007 was an ICG-hosted event focusing on Explosive Ordnance Disposal and counterterrorism scenarios.
The United States and Iceland held the first post-Naval Air Station Keflovik (NASKEF) round of high level security dialogue talks in June. Iceland-U.S. counterterrorism cooperation increased through the establishment of a formal linkage between the ICG and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) First District in Boston. In April, Iceland hosted a USCG International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Program assessment visit.
The Icelandic government supported multilateral counterterrorism efforts. In May, Iceland joined the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. Support for the NATO mission in Afghanistan remained strong. While Iceland withdrew its Mobile Liaison and Observation Team from a NATO Provincial Reconstruction Team in May, it continued its deployment at Kabul International Airport and supported NATO/ISAF operations through funding for airlift and other means.
In July, the FATF released an assessment of Iceland’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regime.
Strong counterterrorism measures implemented in previous years were sustained and relations between USG and Irish law enforcement officials continued to be positive. The Irish government permitted the transit of U.S. military personnel and materiel though Irish airspace and airports for deployment to theaters in Iraq, the broader Middle East, and elsewhere. Ireland has continued a modest troop commitment to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
In July, the European Commission criticized Ireland for failing to implement properly the European Arrest Warrant, which enables EU states to ask other member states to arrest and surrender criminal suspects and is a useful instrument for fighting terrorism. The European Commission alleged that Ireland often takes more than the specified 90 days to execute the warrants.
Italy aggressively investigated and prosecuted terrorism suspects, dismantled terrorist-related cells within its borders and maintained high-level professional cooperation with its international partners. In December 2007, Italy and the United States signed an Aide Memoire for the exchange of terrorist screening information. Italy’s law enforcement and judicial authorities continued counterterrorism efforts with several noteworthy cases during the reporting period. In June, authorities issued arrest warrants in Milan for nine Tunisian nationals, including Ben Khemais Essid Sami, for recruiting militants for training in Afghanistan and providing logistical and financial support for a Milan-based Salafist terror cell from 1997 to 2001. In July, police arrested three Moroccan nationals in Perugia on terrorism charges, the culmination of a two-year investigation. The individuals, who included the Imam of the local mosque, were in possession of terrorist training items and chemicals used in explosives making.
In October, police arrested Iraqi national Saber Fadhil Hussein on charges of leading a cell that sought to procure ultra light aircraft and anti-tank rockets from Italian and other sources for use in attacks against coalition forces in Iraq. Also in October, a Milan court resentenced Mohammed Daki, a Moroccan immigrant accused in 2003 of recruiting suicide bombers for Iraq, to four years imprisonment in absentia.3 Maher Bouyahia and Ali Ben Saffi Toumi, both Tunisian, were sentenced in the same ruling to six years imprisonment, overturning a January 2005 decision by a Milan judge that acquitted Daki and the others on the grounds that they were "guerilla fighters" and not terrorists.
In October, a Spanish court acquitted Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, an Egyptian national currently serving an eight-year prison term in Milan, of involvement in the Madrid train
bombings. This verdict did not affect his sentence in Italy, where he was found guilty in 2006 of subversive association with international terrorism for having recruited suicide bombers in Italy for Iraq. In November, as part of an international sweep involving British, French, and Portuguese authorities, police arrested 11 suspects (primarily Tunisians and Algerians) across Northern Italy and charged them with having been members of a Milan-based cell that recruited and sent suicide bombers to Iraq and Afghanistan. In December, a Milan court convicted Egyptian-born Imam Abu Imad and ten others of promoting jihad and recruiting potential suicide bombers. The members of the group received sentences ranging from two to ten years.
Domestic anarchist-inspired and extreme-left terrorist groups presented a continued (albeit small-scale) threat despite Italian authorities‘ continued efforts to dismantle their organizations. In February, in a string of simultaneous raids across northern Italy, police arrested 15 people suspected of membership in the operational wing of the Red Brigades. Police found arms caches during searches and determined that the cells were planning attacks on leading political figures, including former Prime Minister Berlusconi.
Italian authorities have stated publicly that many radical Islamist groups in Italy were inspired by or connected to al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other terrorist groups, and used Italy as a logistical and financial base. KGK/PKK affiliated organizations maintained a presence in Italy and were thought to have links with affiliated charitable organizations that maintained Italian branches. Italy worked closely with the United States on money laundering matters and information sharing.
Italy aggressively identified and blocked financial resources destined for suspected terrorist individuals and groups. Italy was one of the most active countries in the world with regard to the number of individuals and organizations submitted for designation to the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee against al-Qa’ida (AQ) and the Taliban (73 individuals and 15 organizations). Since 2001, Italian authorities have frozen Euro 500,000 (ca. 720,000 USD) in assets belonging to individuals or entities in Italy suspected of financing terror activities. Italy worked closely with the United States on money laundering matters and information sharing. As an active member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Egmont Group, Italy cooperated actively with other foreign governments.
As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Italy played an active role in the UNSC Counterterrorism Committee and in UNSCR 1267 Committee deliberations and was a strong proponent of multilateral cooperation in countering terrorism. Italy was also a leading financial contributor to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Counterterrorism Prevention Branch.
Italy was an important partner in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and the Container Security Initiative (CSI), and was an initial partner nation of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. On December 4, The United States and Italy concluded initial negotiations on an HSPD-6 data sharing agreement and signed an Aide Memoire on data sharing.
Italy was a vital participant in NATO’s Active Endeavour naval mission against terrorism in the Mediterranean, and contributed to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, where it held Regional Command-West and rotating command of the Kabul Region, and in Iraq, where it played a lead role in the NATO Training Mission. Italy contributed training personnel to various regional counterterrorism training centers such as the South East Asia Regional Centre on Counterterrorism (SEARCCT) in Malaysia, the Joint Centre on Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) in Indonesia, and the African Union’s Anti-Terrorism Centre in Algeria.
The United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) continued to monitor suspected terrorist activity with the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG). Officials believed that a few of the more than 400 NGOs operating in Kosovo were involved in suspicious activities, and sought to prevent extremists from using NGOs to gain a foothold in Kosovo. Consequently, municipalities authorized NGO use of public facilities for religious gatherings only if the relevant religious community consented.
The Kosovo Police Service (KPS) and UNMIK Police Counterterrorism Units (CTUs) were primarily responsible for Kosovo’s counterterrorism efforts, but were small and lacked resources. They received information and analysis support from the UNMIK Central Intelligence Unit (CIU) and the UNMIK Police Intelligence Liaison Unit (ILU), but also relied on the KPS CTU’s intelligence, surveillance, and investigations units. The KPS established its CTU in October 2006 and incorporated it into UNMIK Police’s CTU in January 2007. Consequently, it focused on building up its unit, training and equipping its officers, and collecting information on potential terrorist threats. UNMIK Police CTU monitored, mentored, and advised their KPS CTU counterparts, and exercised executive authority over them.
Porous boundary lines that were easily crossed by individuals trafficking in people, weapons, and narcotics hampered Kosovo’s counterterrorism efforts. The Kosovo border police service lacked basic equipment, and only had a mandate to patrol the green border (areas that lack official, manned border, or administrative boundary line gates) from two to three kilometers beyond the actual border and boundary lines. NATO-KFOR roving teams patrolled the green border right up to the actual border and administrative boundary lines, but numerous passable roads and trails that lead to Kosovo lack border or boundary gates. Moreover, poorly paid border and customs officials were susceptible to corruption.
Witness intimidation was also an obstacle to combating terrorism in Kosovo. UNMIK’s Department of Justice reported that it created a Witness Protection Task Force to address this issue. The Task Force reportedly worked on constructing a new safe house in Kosovo, encouraged the use of video conferencing equipment now in place in Kosovo’s district courts, and increased efforts to secure relocation agreements with other jurisdictions.
According to the UNMIK Department of Justice (DOJ), there were three terrorism-related convictions, and seven terrorism cases underway with local judges and prosecutors. International prosecutors and the Kosovo Special Prosecutor’s Office (KSPO) also initiated four terrorism-related investigations and filed two indictments, which were pending confirmation at year’s end. One of the indictments was related to Albanian National Army (AKSH) activity, and one of the investigations involved the Front for Albanian National Unification (FBKSH), the AKSH’s political wing.
The AKSH, which UNMIK designated as a terrorist organization in 2003, continued to intimidate Kosovo citizens. In June, its Tirana-based spokesman, Gafurr Adili, told Kosovo media that AKSH members in several Kosovo towns had distributed leaflets threatening violence if the Serbian paramilitary group Tsar Lazar Guard ventured into Kosovo for the annual June 28th commemoration of the 1389 Battle of Kosovo. Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) war veteran leader Abdyl Mushkolaj also made similar threats, adding to concerns over the commemoration. As a result, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG) issued an executive decision prohibiting the Tsar Lazar Guard or any paramilitary group from carrying out activities in Kosovo. The commemoration passed without incident.
In an October interview on Radio Television Kosovo (RTK), heavily armed, masked individuals in black uniforms bearing the AKSH insignia appeared from an undisclosed location described as an AKSH training facility near the administrative boundary line with Serbia. One of them told viewers the “boys of former wars” wanted to show they were ready to counter the threat of Serbian paramilitaries. Adili later claimed that the people RTK featured were AKSH and that they were “filling a void” created by KFOR’s alleged abandonment of several villages near Serbia proper in the municipalities of Podujevo and Kamenica. AKSH had long claimed to operate only in areas outside of KFOR or Kosovo Protection Corps control, and was reportedly also active in southern Serbia and western Macedonia.
Latvia’s Financial Intelligence Unit continued to maintain a terrorist financing database that it shared with local banks. Since the May 2005 U.S. Treasury designation of two Latvian banks as institutions of "primary money laundering concern" under Section 311 of the Patriot Act, Latvian government and regulatory agencies have worked very closely with the United States to enhance their legislative and regulatory framework. There have been no further sanctions on Latvian banks. In 2006, Treasury lifted the proposed sanction against one bank. In the case of the second bank, the issue is specific to the bank and its ownership structure, and does not reflect Latvian regulatory efforts.
On May 15-16, the counterterrorism exercise "Seajack" was conducted within the NATO international search and rescue exercise "Bold Mercy". Seajack was organized by the Coast Guard Service of the Latvian Naval Force together with the Counterterrorism Center of the Security Police. On October 25, a national exercise was conducted at the International Airport Riga, organized by the Security Police and International Airport Riga in cooperation with the Counterterrorism Unit OMEGA and other Latvian governmental agencies.
Latvia contributed 98 soldiers to support the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. In October, the team’s mandate was renewed for one year and is now scheduled to expire the same day that the UNSCR mission mandate expires (October 23, 2008). In Iraq, Latvia had two officers under Polish command. In December, the Latvian Parliament renewed the authority for Iraq deployment until December 31, 2008.
President Adamkus introduced a Lithuanian-Belarusian intergovernmental agreement to combat organized crime and trafficking in narcotics and psychotropic substances, terrorism, and other crimes (Decree No. 616), which came into force in February. In May, Lithuania ratified the International Convention on the Fight Against Nuclear Terrorism. The Lithuanian military was an active participant in multinational operations against terrorist and insurgent elements. At year’s end, Lithuania had approximately 50 troops in Iraq, including an infantry platoon serving in Multinational Division Center (MND-C) near Al Kut and trainers in the NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I). In Afghanistan, Lithuania led a provincial reconstruction team in remote Ghor Province. This element consisted of approximately 150 Lithuanian troops and civilians responsible for maintaining a stable environment throughout the province to enable reconstruction efforts. An additional 50 Lithuanian Special Forces troops operated under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Southern Afghanistan.
Macedonia passed legislation on nuclear security and terrorism, chemical weapons, and entered into bilateral law enforcement, security, and extradition agreements. Macedonia supported troop rotations to Afghanistan and Iraq. The government trained several hundred police and military personnel in counterterrorism techniques, technologies, and methods. The commitment of Macedonia in Iraq was increased by an additional platoon.
Macedonia provided adequate security on potential terrorist weapons with annual inventories and worked to improve security on its weapons facilities. With USG assistance, the Macedonian government destroyed 156 shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles (SA-7’s), an important counterterrorism achievement. The Macedonian Ministry of Defense provided support to the Ministry of Interior for actions against domestic and regional terrorist groups.
The Government of Macedonia continued its close coordination with the United States on counterterrorism matters, which included intelligence sharing on potential terrorist groups operating in or transiting the country. The government also cooperated with its regional and European Union partners, and worked closely with INTERPOL and other international law enforcement agencies. Macedonia’s efforts were hampered by the porous nature of the Kosovo border.
The Government of Malta continued to freeze assets of organizations on the consolidated list promulgated by the UNSCR 1267 Committee. Since its accession to the EU in 2004, Malta has actively participated in the EU Clearing House and cooperates with other Member States and third states to prevent and suppress terrorist acts, including the preparation and financing of any acts of terrorism, denying safe havens to terrorists, and exchanging information in order to prevent the commission of terrorist acts.
Some of the most significant Maltese contributions to international counterterrorism efforts were in support of U.S. military operations, including approval of requests for overflight and emergency landing for all military aircraft including those with hazardous material, use of the Malta Shipyards for repairs of U.S. Navy ships, and full security support for visiting U.S. Navy ships. Malta also demonstrated a commitment to interdiction operations and compliance with international requests.
While the Government of Malta was responsive to requests for action in support of the War on Terror, a lack of financial resources, dedicated training, and specialist staff sometimes hampered their efforts. Malta made significant progress in the area of customs inspection and border security procedures, however. Improvements included establishment of both the authority for Maltese Customs to inspect goods transiting the container port (Malta Freeport) and the necessary procedures to prevent the transshipment of WMD material through the Freeport. Maltese police and intelligence service officials have provided timely assistance to the Embassy’s requests for investigation of potential suspects or groups within or transiting Malta as well as other terrorism related intelligence.
The United States affirmed its commitment to developing Malta’s counterterrorism efforts by committing a 2005 earmark of $2,976,000 in the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) budget toward the purchase of a helicopter to enhance Malta’s ability to control its borders and deter terrorists. Final acquisition will require the Government of Malta to more than match the U.S. contribution.
The Maltese criminal code included specific provisions on terrorism. The law addressed "acts of terror" and "terrorism" and enumerated actions that constitute the offense. Malta criminalized terrorist financing. Recently, Malta’s Prevention of Money Laundering Act was expanded to include provisions on the "funding of terrorism." In addition, the Act broadened the money laundering mission of Malta’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and gave it the authority to focus on terrorism funding. In February 2006, the Prevention of Money Laundering Regulations was extended to include “financing of terrorism,” which criminalized terrorist financing and imposed additional obligations, namely customer due diligence, record keeping, reporting, and training procedures.
With Malta’s entry into the EU in 2004, and its geographic location between northern Africa and the European mainland, Malta could become increasingly attractive to terrorist organizations seeking entry into Europe. The Government of Malta has become increasingly concerned about migrant discontent and the possibility of radicalization within the detention centers. Maltese government officials received training last summer from the EU on recognizing the signs of radicalization, and from the FBI on the radicalization process, indicators, and infiltration.
U.S. State Department
30 Arpil 2008