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“We know that the nation requires more from our Intelligence Community than ever before because America confronts a greater diversity of threats and challenges than ever before. Globalization…does facilitate the terrorist threat, heightens the danger of WMD proliferation, and contributes to regional instability and reconfigurations of power and influence.”
The Honorable John D. Negroponte, Former Director of National Intelligence, Statement for the Record to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, January 11, 2007
CONTENTS Terrorism................................................... 1 Money Laundering.................................... 3 Drug Trafficking ........................................ 3 Arms Trafficking ....................................... 4 Cyber Crime .............................................. 5 Maritime Security...................................... 5 Organized Crime ....................................... 5 Nuclear Threat........................................... 6
North-West Frontier Province, and Islamabad to employ emergency precautionary measures. In Punjab alone, more than 2,500 special branch personnel were dispatched in response to the warning. Most of these 2,500 officers were undercover female operatives working in select areas, such as madrasahs for women. Despite these measures, a burqa-clad suicide bomber managed to kill 16 people on October 1 at a police checkpoint in Bannu. Although initial reports suggested that the bomber was a woman, the perpetrator was in fact a man disguised as a woman. The bomber was riding a motorized rickshaw and had been stopped at the checkpoint when the bomb exploded. (Combined dispatches) Fatah al-Islam Leader and Militants at Large Following Refugee Camp Raid Contrary to earlier reports, Lebanese officials confirmed that Shaker al-Absi, the leader of the jihadist group Fatah al-Islam, remains alive. Al-Absi, who was among the militants fighting Lebanese forces during the bitter siege of the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, was reported to have fled the camp during a mass breakout. Mohammed Yahya Shiba, a Yemeni Fatah al-Islam militant arrested by Lebanese troops in the Miyeh region on September 8, testified that he had seen alAbsi leave the camp shortly before midnight on September 1. Although more than 50 militants were
Pakistani Authorities on the Lookout for BurqaClad Suicide Bombers During the last week of September, Pakistani intelligence services released reports warning against suicide attacks carried out by burqa-clad bombers. The reports advised senior law enforcement officials to issue instructions for increased scrutiny of suspicious women and youths roaming near key installations, law enforcement personnel, and important public and commercial buildings. Former male and female students of Jamia Hafsa and Lal Masjid, two neighboring madrasahs shut down by the Pakistani government during Operation Silence, were singled out as potential attackers. In response to these reports, the Interior Ministry disseminated special letters to senior security and administrative officials. The Ministry also directed law enforcement officials in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan,
2 killed and dozens were arrested during the mass breakout that marked the end of the 15-week standoff, many militants managed to escape alongside al-Absi. Despite the collapse of its stronghold at Nahr alBared, Fatah al-Islam remains a security risk. The group is suspected by some of having links to al Qaeda. Al-Absi personally knew the late leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and was tried in absentia alongside him for the 2002 killing of a U.S. diplomat in Jordan. In July of 2006, Fatah alIslam unsuccessfully attempted an operation in Europe when two of its suspected members planted bombs on German commuter trains that failed to explode. (Combined dispatches) Al Qaeda Terrorist Extradited to the United States Oussama Abdullah Kassir, a Swedish citizen of Lebanese descent, was extradited to New York from the Czech Republic on the morning of September 25. Kassir had been in Czech custody since December of 2005, when he was arrested pursuant to an Interpol warrant. At the time of his arrest, he was on a layover at the Prague-Ruzyne airport on the way to Beirut from his home in Stockholm. He subsequently remained in Czech custody, during which time he made a request for political asylum. The request was ultimately denied after the Prague High Court upheld a lower court decision that the extradition was admissible. Following the ruling, the Czech Republic granted custody of Kassir to the FBI on the condition that he would only be detained in civilian facilities. The allegations against Kassir were set forth in a criminal complaint and superceding indictment returned by a New York grand jury in February of 2006. The superseding indictment named Kassir as a defendant in 12 of its 19 counts. Mustafa Kamel Mustafa and Haroon Rashid Aswat, both of whom are presently detained in England awaiting extradition to the United States, were also named in the indictment. All three men were charged for their efforts to establish a training camp at Bly, Oregon, in 1999. Kassir was also charged with operating several jihadist Web Sites between 2001 and 2005 on which he posted instructions on how to make bombs and mix poisons. (Combined dispatches)
Spiritual Leader Warns of Danger from Fighters Returning from Abroad Hersi Hilole, the chairman of the Somali Council of Australia, has warned that Australian Muslims returning from combat in Somalia might be prone to carry out terrorist activities. Fighting between Ethiopianbacked Somali forces and the Islamic Courts Union, a loose coalition suspected of having ties with al Qaeda, has mobilized Somali men living in Australia to join the conflict. While the exact number of Australians who have traveled to fight in Somalia remains unknown, Hilole was quoted in April as saying this number exceeded 20. In the same warning, Hilole also accused hard-line Wahabi clerics in Melbourne of radicalizing young Somali men, which in turn encourages them to travel abroad and fight. Wahabism is popular in Somalia, making its fundamentalist interpretation of Islam palatable among young men of Somali extraction, even those living in westernized nations such as Australia. A striking example of this phenomenon can be seen in Ahmed Ali, a young Somali man living in Australia who traveled to fight alongside the Islamic Courts Union. In an interview, Ali’s mother insisted that he worked as an interpreter with al Qaeda. She also claimed that Sheik Mohammed Omran, a Jordanian religious leader living in Melbourne, was entirely responsible for her son’s radicalization. The migration of jihadists returning to their native lands after fighting in religiously motivated conflicts has historically led to increased terrorism. From fundraising and weapons procurement to the sharpening and development of ideologies, such conflicts fully prepare radical fighters to wage war at home. Jihadist campaigns in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iraq, and Somalia have emboldened extremists and provided practical training that is otherwise unavailable. Fighters returning from abroad also assist the wider movement by leveraging their status as role models to bolster recruitment among disenfranchised Muslims prone to radicalization. (Combined dispatches)
Federal Grand Jury Indicts 39 in International Money Laundering Scheme According to an FBI press release, four separate money laundering schemes involving 46 defendants in the United States, Canada, Belgium, and Spain were broken up this month as a result of Operation Cash-Out. The four-year undercover operation involved local and state law enforcement agencies working in tandem with foreign agencies and led to the indictment of 39 individuals. Three of the four disrupted schemes eschewed traditional financial networks in favor of a monetary exchange system known as hawala. The United States district attorney responsible for the case described the hawala system as a crude form of Western Union. Though not technically illegal, the hawala system is more informal than traditional networks and thus is harder for authorities to track and regulate. This in turn opens the door for unlicensed and unreported illicit transactions. For the most part, witnesses cooperating with law enforcement agents told the defendants that the money they were laundering came from drug trafficking and cigarette smuggling. One of the defendants in the case, however, Saifullah Ranjha, was told he was laundering money for al Qaeda. All told, the government sought the ownership of two convenience stores and $5,148,000 in criminal forfeitures from the defendants. (Combined dispatches)
During the weeklong blitz, extra personnel were stationed along major transportation hubs such as airports, border crossings, and railroad stations. In addition to CSTO law enforcement officers, observers from Azerbaijan, the United States, China, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Poland, Ukraine, and Finland took part in the operation. States of the CSTO have faced an ever-increasing influx of narcotics since Afghanistan surpassed the Golden Triangle in opium production. Thirty years ago, the Golden Triangle produced more than 70 percent of the opium sold worldwide. This figure is now down to 5 percent due to economic pressure from China, among other factors. This precipitous decline created a worldwide scarcity of supply, which incentivized Afghan poppy farmers to increase production. With fertile soil that yields on average four times more opium than crops grown in the Golden Triangle, Afghanistan now produces about 92 percent of the world’s opium. This explosive growth has thrust Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan into the front line of the CSTO’s war on drugs, necessitating innovative anti-drug initiatives such as the Kanal operation to stem the flow of Afghan heroin. (Combined dispatches) Cocaine Kingpin Arrested in Columbia On September 10, an elite Columbian unit arrested cocaine kingpin Diego Montoya, a senior leader in the brutal Norte del Valle cartel. Montoya, arrested in the rural town of Zarzal, was among the FBI’s top 10 most wanted fugitives and will be turned over to the bureau following questioning by Columbian authorities. During Montoya’s tenure, authorities estimate that the Norte del Valle cartel killed about 1,500 people and trafficked hundreds of tons of cocaine to the United States and Europe. Montoya was one of Columbia’s largest traffickers, and his arrest will likely cause a temporary disruption to Columbia’s cocaine trade as competitors vie to fill the vacuum left by his departure. The success of the large-scale operation that led to Montoya’s arrest was credited, in part, to a purge of high-ranking officers in the armed forces. Many of the purged officers, especially those in the army, were suspected of colluding with Montoya’s cartel. His infiltration of the armed forces provided Montoya with
Collective Security Treaty Organization Launches Drug Interdiction Operation Operation Kanal-2007, which involved 91,000 law enforcement officers hailing from seven nations of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), has led to the seizure of over 10 metric tons of narcotics, according to the Russian anti-drug agency. In addition to narcotics, CSTO operatives seized 223 metric tons of drug-making chemicals and raw materials, 687 firearms, 15,000 rounds of ammunition, and more than $1.7 million dollars worth of cash and valuables.
4 sensitive information that ultimately helped him and members of his organization elude capture. Last year, for example, the cartel purchased information that provided the positions of U.S. and British warships conducting drug interdiction operations in the Caribbean. (Combined dispatches)
Hi-Tech Chinese Weapons Seized in Afghanistan Britain and the United States have recently lodged complaints to Beijing about the appearance of sophisticated, newly manufactured Chinese weapons in Afghanistan. Though the Chinese manufacture of the weapons is undisputed, a foreign ministry spokesman from Beijing insisted that China’s arms exports conformed to its international obligations. The weapons in question, discovered with their serial numbers removed to obfuscate their intermediate source, included anti-aircraft guns, landmines, rocket-propelled grenades, IED components, and even the HN-5, a Chinese copy of the Soviet-manufactured SA-7 surface-to-air guided missile. While high-ranking U.S. officials have accused Iran of receiving the weapons from China and smuggling them into Afghanistan, Afghan president Hamid Karzai doubts this link, citing particularly strong ties with Iran. Others skeptical of Iran’s role in arming the Taliban point to residual animosity from the 1998 murder of Iranian diplomats and Shi’a civilians at the hands of the Taliban in the town of Mazar-e-Sharif. The incident caused so much furor at the time that Iran considered invading western Afghanistan. Whatever the source of the weapons, given the close operational ties between al Qaeda and the Taliban, the latter’s possession of such arms, especially the HN5s, is disturbing. Terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda, have tried several times in the past to use manportable missiles to target civilian and military aircraft. The December 2002 attack on an Israeli charter jet in Mombassa, Kenya, the June 2002 attempt on a military jet outside Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, and the 2001 plan to attack an El Al jet carrying Shimon Peres in the Czech Republic, though all unsuccessful, are indicative of this threat. According to some sources, the serial numbers on the launchers used in all three of the failed plots were close to one
another. This raises the possibility that they might have come from the same source. If that is the case, it indicates the ability of terrorists groups to transport shoulder-fired guided missile systems across borders to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Given the lethality of these weapons, the possible know-how of terrorists to transport them, and the close ties between al Qaeda and the Taliban, the appearance of sophisticated surface-to-air missiles in Afghanistan should be of concern to everybody. (Combined dispatches) Global Arms Trade: UN Members Call for Action In the end of September, over 100 nations submitted ideas to the United Nations for a treaty to regulate the global exchange of arms. Britain, one of the nations spearheading the effort, proposed a legally binding treaty that would authorize weapons sales only after exporting states ensured weapons would not exacerbate internal or external conflict, be used for terrorism, undermine economic development, or enable human rights abuses. The British proposal went on to recommend an enforcement and monitoring mechanism to ensure states live up to their treaty obligations. By closing existing loopholes in the international arms export regime, the British government would make it more difficult for black-market arms traders to operate. The catalyst for this development came in December of 2006, when 153 nations voted to begin work on the treaty. Despite overwhelming support for the measure, 24 countries, including Russia and China, abstained from the vote while 1 country, the United States, voted against it. On October 1, the Congressional Research Service released their most recent figures on the global arms trade. According to the figures, the United States was the largest exporter of arms, with $17 billion in sales and accounting for some 42 percent of the global market. Given this overwhelming market presence, the United States’ refusal to support the nascent treaty could severely undermine it. With annual sales of $3 billion, Britain is still among the top five largest exporters of arms in the world. This position makes Britain an important voice in the movement to reform the international arms export regime, a courageous move given the negative impact such a stance is likely to have on its defense industry.
5 According to a report released by the International Action Network on Small Arms, 1,000,000 people are wounded and 300,000 are killed by small arms alone every year. Though relatively innocuous when compared to the destructive power of nuclear arms, conventional weapons have decimated entire regions of the world and are the primary tools of empowerment for unscrupulous groups such as terrorists and criminal gangs. Increased international oversight of the global arms trade will prove an important tool in combating a host of transnational threats. (Combined dispatches) also speaking at the conference, echoed Patil’s remarks, stating that one of Interpol’s priorities was to assist police forces in combating cyber crime through the creation of a global operational network of national central reference points. (Combined dispatches)
Joint Training Exercise Held in Laem Chabang Over 50 different agencies participated in a four-day training exercise in the Thai port of Laem Chabang. The exercise, designed to improve the ability of Thai authorities to react to a wide variety of events, was inspired in part by similar exercises conducted in the Port of Tacoma and Seattle. Officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security flew to Thailand to participate in the event. This exchange of security-related expertise constitutes an import aspect of the ThailandWashington State Partnership Program. Laem Chabang is among the largest ports in the world and handles a sizeable percentage of Thailand’s exports. Currently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are stationed there as part of the agency’s Container Security Initiative. This initiative, launched in 2002, seeks to prevent terrorist groups from exploiting cargo containers to deliver weapons. (Combined dispatches)
India Strengthens Campaign against Cyber Crime Despite being at the cutting edge in software programming and information technology, India remains behind in creating laws and regulations governing cyberspace. These comments, made by Vijay Shanker, the director of the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), came amid a month that saw the Indian government taking several major steps, both unilateral and multilateral, toward addressing cyber crime. Domestically, India is taking a two-pronged approach toward combating this issue. The first prong consists of a 35 million-rupee grant to the CBI to provide funding for cutting-edge software and specialized training. The second prong involves a bottom-up revision of a series of laws created to regulate cyberspace known as the IT Act 2000. The parliamentary panel set up to review the first iteration of these revisions, called the Draft IT Act 2006, have sharply criticized it. Members of the panel accuse the IT Act of being a rehash of the original act rather than new legislation designed to comprehensibly address recent developments in cyber crime such as cyber terrorism. Speaking in New Delhi at the inauguration of the 7th International Conference on Cyber Crime, Interior Minister Shivraj Patil stated that domestic efforts to combat cyber crime would be useless unless buttressed by international cooperation. He cited international exchanges of forensic technology, training, and intelligence as examples of such cooperation that could harmonize efforts to combat cyber crime across borders. Ronald Noble, Interpol’s secretary general,
Czech Police Raid Organized Crime Group Officers from the Czech Republic’s elite organized crime unit detained 15 suspected members of the Luhansk Brigade during a coordinated series of raids in Prague, Brno, and Teplice. Though 2 of the 15 individuals originally seized were later released due to lack of evidence, money forgery charges were brought against the 13 remaining suspects. The suspects, who hail from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Syria, the former Soviet Union, and the former Yugoslavia, were thought to have circulated a quantity of counterfeit $100 bills valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to a spokesman for the Czech police, the forgeries were of a very high quality and were not produced in Europe. During
6 searches, police found both legal and illegal weapons, forged identification cards from various countries, and a large sum of cash. If convicted, the suspects face up to 15 years in prison. The Luhansk Brigade, a Russian-speaking organized crime outfit named after a city in Ukraine, is known to operate in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Spain. The group first attracted the attention of the Czech police in 1996. Four years later, Czech police arrested seven senior members of the organization who were counterfeiting money, blackmailing entrepreneurs, trafficking arms, and perpetrating several other violent crimes. A year ago, Czech police began shadowing the group of suspected counterfeiters, gathering enough evidence to carry out the most recent arrests. (Combined dispatches)
could be exploited. (Combined dispatches) German National Convicted for his Role in Nuclear Smuggling Ring On September 4, Gerhard Wisser was convicted of violating several counts of South Africa’s NonProliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction Act and Nuclear Energy Act. Wisser, the former managing director of the South African-based Krisch Engineering Firm, was a key player in the illicit nuclear smuggling network of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. In this capacity, Wisser facilitated the export of gas-centrifuge technology to Libya. Gas centrifuges are designed to convert uranium hexafluoride gas into highly enriched uranium that can be used in a nuclear warhead. Wisser admitted that he continued his activities even after determining that the materials he was exporting would likely allow Libya to construct a nuclear bomb. Wisser’s activities were discovered when the BBC China, a German-flagged vessel, was intercepted on its way to Tripoli carrying parts for the gas centrifuges. This seizure yielded a watershed of information on A.Q. Khan’s network, leading to the arrests of many of its participants. Additionally, revelations from the seizure contributed to Moammars Khaddifi’s decision to renounce his nuclear weapons program. In a plea bargain agreement with South African authorities, Wisser consented to 18 years in jail, which is to be suspended for 5 years pending his full cooperation with the ongoing investigation into A.Q. Khan’s network. Per the agreement, Wisser will also forfeit 2.8 million euros and 6 million rand he reaped from his illicit activities. In return for these penalties, all charges against Krisch Engineering have been dropped. Speaking before the IAEA at a briefing on Wisser’s activities and subsequent prosecution, a senior South African nonproliferation official described the matter as one of the first successful cases against those involved in A.Q. Khan’s network. (Combined dispatches)
International Atomic Energy Agency Releases Most Recent Statistics on Illicit Trafficking The United Nations nuclear watchdog released their latest dataset covering unauthorized acquisition, provision, possession, use, transfer, and disposal of nuclear and radioactive materials. This dataset, which covers all of 2006, lists 150 instances of such behavior as well as 102 instances that were reported in 2006 but took place previously. The dataset separates the reported incidents into three distinct categories: (1) unauthorized possession and illicit trafficking, (2) thefts and losses, and (3) other unauthorized activities. Fourteen of the incidents that occurred in 2006 fell under the first category. While the majority of the incidents in this category involved the possession and trafficking of relatively innocuous radionucleotides, a few cases involved natural uranium, depleted uranium, and thorium. In one case, Georgia reported that it had seized 79.5 grams of uranium enriched to 89 percent. The second category saw the most incidents in 2006, with 85 thefts or losses reported. Out of these 85 incidents, only 27 percent of the material in question was recovered. The final category, unauthorized activities, included the recovery and detection of improperly disposed-of sources and accounted for the remaining 51 incidents. Though this category does not involve patently criminal behavior, it does signal a control weakness that
This update is produced by the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and In-
ternational Studies (CSIS) and provides monthly news on terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, money laundering, and other transnational threats. The TNT Update draws primarily on international media sources, including the Associated Press, ITAR-TASS, Agence France Presse, Reuters, Xinhua News Agency, World Tribune, Afghan News, and others. CSIS does not take specific public policy positions; accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions in this publication should be understood to be solely those of the author(s). © 2007, Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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