Netherlands: 2004 Annual Terrorism Report

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¶1. The 2004 terrorism report for the Netherlands follows.
Responses are keyed as much as possible to reftel A’s
requirements.

A. SUPPORT TO GLOBAL COALITION AGAINST TERRORISM
——————————————— —

¶2. The Dutch have responded to the global terrorist threat
with leadership and energy in the areas of border and
shipping security, terrorist financing, and Alliance efforts
in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2004, the Netherlands took over
leadership of a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in
Baghlan province, Afghanistan as part of the NATO ISAF
Mission. In addition, the Netherlands contributed six F-16s
fighters and a K/DC-10 tanker/transport aircraft to provide
air support during the Afghan presidential election as well
as a frigate to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom.
Dutch reconstruction and humanitarian assistance to
Afghanistan in 2004 totaled 51.3 million euros. The
Netherlands provided naval assets to the NATO-led naval
antiterrorism campaign, Operation Active Endeavor, in the
Mediterranean. The Dutch have approximately 1,400 personnel
in Iraq, which are due to remain until March 2005. In
addition, the Dutch have committed to providing personnel
for the NATO Training Mission in Iraq. The Dutch have
pledged 21 million euros for Iraqi reconstruction.

B. BILATERAL COOPERATION
————————-

¶3. The Government made CT a priority issue for its EU
presidency during the second half of 2004. Many high level
meetings on CT and law enforcement issues occurred during
Dutch presidency. At the invitation of the Dutch, DHS Sec.
Ridge met with the US/EU JHA Troika in mid September to
highlight US/EU cooperation on CT issues, and Attorney
General Ashcroft and Homeland Security Under Secretary
Hutchinson attended the informal Justice and Home Affairs
(JHA) Ministerial in The Hague on September 29/30. The
Dutch also invited US participation in EU meetings on
biometrics and terrorist financing. In 2004, the
Netherlands continued its commitment to shipping and port
security by increasing cooperation with the United States.
Under the DOE Megaport/Second Line of Defense Initiative,
four radiological monitors (provided by DOE) became
operational in the port of Rotterdam in Feb. 2004. An
estimated 31 additional monitors (funded by the Dutch) will
be installed by the end of 2006. Improved CSI targeting and
operations at the port resulted from bilateral discussions.
The Dutch Port Security Act became effective on July 9,
2004, complying with the IMO’s ISPS Code, and all Dutch
seaports have security plans as required by the ISPS. In
July 2004, the Government approved an experiment with air
marshals on certain KLM and Martinair flights. The Dutch
also permitted U.S. CBP Immigration Liaison Officers to
return to Schiphol airport to assist with US-bound passenger
screening (the program is now known as the Immigration
Assistance Program).

¶4. The Netherlands has signed and ratified all 12
international conventions and protocols relating to
terrorism.

C. LAW ENFORCEMENT
——————-

¶5. In June 2004, the Dutch for the first time successfully
convicted two individuals of terrorist activity (ref H).
The Hague Appeal Court reversed the December 2002 Rotterdam
lower court’s acquittal of Jerome Courtailler and
Abedelghani Rabia, suspected of plotting to bomb the U.S.
Embassy in Paris, and sentenced them to six and four-year
jail terms, respectively. The appeal court convicted them
for their involvement in an international criminal
organization that was planning an attack, and for their role
in trading forged passports. The appeals court ruled that
information by the AIVD intelligence service served as a
good base for starting criminal investigations, thereby
allowing use of intelligence of the General Intelligence and
Security Service (AIVD) as evidence. Meanwhile, Justice
Minister Donner submitted legislation codifying the court’s
ruling to allow the use of intelligence information in
criminal proceedings. The bill is still awaiting
parliamentary action.

¶6. Dutch officials remain committed to establishing
financial protocols to combat terrorism and have cooperated
with the United States in freezing the assets of known
terrorist organizations. Using national authority to
identify, freeze and seize terrorist finance assets, the
Dutch blocked the accounts and financial transactions of a
HAMAS fundraiser, the al-Aqsa Foundation, and al-Qaida-
affiliated Benevolence International Nederland. In July
2004, the Netherlands froze all financial assets of the
Dutch branch of Al-Haramain. Although neither the Dutch nor
their EU partners have designated Lebanese Hizballah as a
terrorist group, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Bot informed
the Second Chamber on November 11 of the Dutch Government’s
intention to support a EU designation of Hizballah. The
Dutch Financial Expertise Center (FEC) announced in November
a selection of 3,500 religious foundations, both Christian
and Islamic, was being screened for possible financial ties
with terrorist networks.

D. EXTRADITIONS
—————-

¶7. On November 8, 2004, the Supreme Court denied
extradition to Turkey of PKK official Nuriye Kesbir, because
of insufficient guarantees about her safety. Minister
Donner decided to appeal to the verdict.

E. LAW ENFORCEMENT CAPABILITIES
——————————–

¶8. Law enforcement authorities have the authority to
intercept wire, oral and electronic communications. They
can initiate surveillance and investigation of suspected
terrorists or their facilitators. Intelligence information
can be used in courts (see para 5).

F. TERRORIST INCIDENT
———————-

¶9. On November 3, the Netherlands was rocked by the murder
of prominent Dutch film director Theo van Gogh by Dutch
Moroccan Mohammed Bouyeri. Letters pinned to Van Gogh’s
dead body confirmed the assassin had acted out of radical
Islamic convictions and, in coordination with others,
planned similar attacks on two politicians and other
“enemies” of Islam. Immediately following the assassin’s
arrest, about a dozen other Islamic radicals were arrested.
Bouyeri has been linked to the fundamentalist Takfir Wal
Hijra group. Another member of this group appears to be a
Syrian, known as Abu Khaled, who reportedly is being sought
by Dutch authorities, who believe he played a crucial role
in the murder of Van Gogh, threats made against a Dutch MP,
and preparations for attacks on the Second Chamber, Schiphol
Airport and the Borssele nuclear plant. 18 year-old
Amsterdammer Samir Azzouz was arrested in June 2004 as a
suspect in those possible attacks. His arrest was the
reason for a major state of alarm in the Netherlands. Abu
Khaled reportedly had been Koran teacher of the group of
radicals, in which Mohammed Bouyeri and Azzouz participated.

¶10. There were no international terrorist attacks in the
Netherlands in 2004.

G. DUTCH COUNTERTERRORISM EFFORTS
———————————-

¶11. The following counter-terrorism legislation was
enacted/proposed in 2004:

– The Act on Terrorist Crimes, implementing the 2002 EU
framework decision on combating terrorism, became effective
in August 2004. The Act makes recruitment for the Jihad and
conspiracy with the aim of committing a serious terrorist
crime separate criminal offenses. The maximum prison
sentences for crimes such as homicide, gross maltreatment,
hijacking or kidnapping will be higher if committed with a
“terrorist purpose.”

– On December 7, the Government approved a bill submitted by
the Justice and Foreign Affairs Ministers banning
organizations appearing on the EU terror list. The Cabinet
also wants to penalize participation in these organizations’
activities. The ban will apply to organizations such as
PKK, Hamas, Al-Aqsa Netherlands, Al-Takfir and the New
Peoples Army. The ban doesn’t mean the terror organization
must be dissolved, but continuation of its activities within
the country could be penalized with a one-year prison term.
The bill also makes it possible to act against foreign
organizations not appearing on the EU terror list, but whose
activities are considered illegal in the Netherlands. A
civil court makes the determination at the request of a
public prosecutor. The sanction is also a one-year prison
term. Under current legislation, only bank accounts of
organizations on the EU terror list can be frozen. The bill
has been submitted to the Second Chamber for consideration

– In September 2004, Justice Minister Donner and Interior
Minister Remkes submitted a plan to Parliament streamlining
Dutch CT policies (ref G). The plan, drawn up by CT
Coordinator Joustra, establishes an office of the National
CT Coordinator (NCTb) by January 1, 2005, under the joint
authority of the two Ministers. Under the plan, the Justice
Minister has been given primary responsibility in handling
situations of “acute” threat, while the Interior Minister
will be in charge of crisis control operations. Further
legislative proposals include lowering the threshold for
granting use of special investigation methods, such phone
taps, infiltration and surveillance, extended custody of
suspects, increased opportunities for preventive search of
persons, cars and packages, and expanded power for
prosecutors to request data from private organizations. On
November 11, Minister Donner circulated a proposed bill
implementing Joustra’s plan to various organizations for
their review.

– In the aftermath of the Van Gogh murder, the Cabinet
proposed additional CT measures, which received wide
parliamentary support on November 11 (ref B). They include:
– doubling AIVD’s budget;
– having the AIVD intelligence service share its information
more widely;
– providing more resources to protect public persons and
property;
– setting up a special terrorism unit within the National
Crime Squad;
– expanding the circle of people under surveillance;
– requesting the court to ban and dissolve mosques acting
contrary to the public order; and
– improving employment and anti-discrimination programs for
young Muslims.

– On November 26, the Government adopted a proposal by
Immigration Minister Verdonk enabling authorities to rescind
the Dutch nationality of individuals possessing dual
nationality who pose a threat to the vital interests of the
State. The proposal was sent to the Council of State for
recommendation, after which it will be submitted to the
Second Chamber of Parliament.

– During a Second Chamber CT debate on December 8, Interior
Minister Remkes and Justice Minister Donner promised tougher
measures on the approximately 10 to 25 radical mosques in
the Netherlands. Remkes told Parliament if the mosques
could not be prosecuted on criminal charges, other options,
such as stopping their state subsidy or expelling Imans,
would be used. He noted the Cabinet would not tolerate
sermons identifying the West as the big enemy of Islam and
in which the authority of the Dutch government was
questioned. The Second Chamber asked the Government to take
action against Muslim websites which provoke hatred.
According to the Chamber, the AIVD intelligence service
should cooperate with other countries, “including the U.S.”
to close such sites. The Cabinet considered setting up a
national notification point for hate mails. Remkes also
said the AIVD would be given more authority to counter
violence, for instance by preventing actions through
infiltration. After a Chamber majority demanded the results
of the government’s fight against terrorism, Donner and
Remkes promised a survey of all CT measures.

H. NEW CT ORGANIZATION
———————-

¶12. As stated above, the Government proposed to merge the
CT activities of the Justice and Interior Ministries into
one organization, the NCTb, led by the National CT
Coordinator (currently Tjibbe Joustra). In addition to its
main task of preventing terrorist attacks, the NCTb will
also act as “process director” in areas indirectly related
to CT, such as critical infrastructure protection and
alerting projects, and in areas where other departments have
primary responsibility, such terrorist financing and NBC
terrorism. An expertise and analysis center will be created
within the NCTb, in which the AIVD (general) and MIVD
(military) intelligence services, the Immigration and
Naturalization Service (IND), the Kmar military police, the
fiscal and economic control services (FIOD/ECD), Customs and
Foreign Affairs will participate. The NCTb, which should be
operational in early 2005, will also be responsible for
communicating information to the public. A color-coded
alerting system is being developed and expected to be in
place in 2005.

K. GOVERNMENTAL ATTITUDE
————————-

¶13. The attack on Van Gogh has had an enormous impact on
the Netherlands, particularly because of the irreversible
conclusion that some individuals in Dutch society have
become extremely radicalized, and the implications this has
on the interrelationships between different groups of the
population. The murder has forced the Government to face
the reality the Dutch tradition of tolerance does not make
society immune from Islamic extremist violence. The events
have prompted the Government to announce additional measures
to combat radicalization (Ref E and F).

L. CONSTRAINTS ON CT PERFORMANCE
———————————

¶14. An important impediment to Dutch CT operation is the
cumbersome bureaucratic structure, particularly overlap and
ambiguity between the Justice and Interior Ministry. This
was recently illustrated in a critical report about the
AIVD’s functioning (ref D). The report particularly
highlighted AIVD’s reluctance to share information either
with domestic or international partners. Operations are
expected to improve, however, through increased resources
and the establishment of the national CT bureau (NCTb).

M. SUPPORT FOR TERROR
———————

¶15. The Dutch Government does not support any terrorist
groups, neither financially nor politically. A number of
foreign political groups, including Kurdish (PKK/KADEK),
Filipino (New People’s Army), Sri Lankan (LTTE/Tamil Tigers)
and Sikh organizations have established offices in the
Netherlands, but they are monitored by the police and
intelligence services and tolerated as long as they do not
commit terrorist acts or other crimes in the Netherlands.
On November 12, 2004, the National Crime Squad raided a
camping farm suspected of housing a PKK training center (ref
C) arresting more than 20 persons. The PKK, now called
Kongre-Gel, is not banned in the Netherlands, although it
has been put on the EU list of terrorist organizations.

N. PUBLIC STATEMENTS IN SUPPORT OF TERRORISM
——————————————–

¶16. The Dutch Government has issued no public statements in
support of a terrorist-supporting country on terrorism
issues.

O. TERRORIST ACTIVITY
———————

¶17. The AIVD intelligence service repeatedly warned about
an ongoing radicalization process among Muslims in the
Netherlands and the threat of terrorism. The national CT
coordinator has set up a national data system, the “Contra
Terrorism Infobox (CTI), containing information on a core
group of about 170 radical Muslims who have been put under
24-hour surveillance. Although Van Gogh’s assassin Mohammed
Bouyeri did not belong to this core group, he was related to
the so-called Hofstad group, a network of individuals mainly
residing in Amsterdam. Samir Azzouz (see para 9 above) was
part of this network. The Dutch press reported in September
confidential AIVD information about the group had been

SIPDIS
leaked to a suspect. The national criminal investigation
service is still investigating the case, in which an AIVD
employee was arrested. The press also reported the Spanish
police was investigating possible ties between Bouyeri and
the radical Muslim group suspected of preparing new attacks
in Madrid. The link appeared to be the fundamentalist
Takfir wal Hijra movement. On November 10, The Hague police
arrested two other members of the “Hofstad” group, Jason W.
and Ismail A., on suspicion of planning attacks on two
parliamentarians, Amsterdam Mayor Cohen and Amsterdam
Alderman Aboutaleb. The National Prosecutor’s Office in
Rotterdam reported on December 3, 2004, that 12 people were
being detained on suspicion of belonging to a terrorist
organization, including six of Bouyeri’s co-suspects.

SOBEL