April 06, 2020
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Terrorism & Transnational Crime

Control of transnational crime and the war against terrorism: an Indian perspective

Terrorism & Transnational Crime
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OPINION
Control Of Transnational Crime And War Against Terrorism: An Indian Perspective

B. RAMAN

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
INTRODUCTION

TERRORISM & TRANSNATIONAL ORGANISED CRIME

THE INDIAN EXPERIENCE

POLITICAL/STATE COMPLICITY

THE DAWOOD IBRAHIM GANG

THE AFTAB ANSARI GANG

THE LTTE

THE ARMS BAZAAR

INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION--THE PLUS & THE MINUS


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Threats to national, regional and international security and peace from transnational crime groups arise due to the following factors:

  • Damage to economic security and well-being due to their activities such as smuggling, counterfeiting of currency, money-laundering, tax evasion etc. Economic security is now viewed all over the world as an essential component of national security. * Damage to ethics of governance and the health of democracy due to their activities such as the acquisition of political influence, corrupting public servants and distorting the governmental and regulatory processes through the use of their illegitimate power derived from the proceeds of their crime.

  • Damage to the integrity of the free market due to their activities such as organised violations of intellectual property rights in order to enhance their earnings through the sale of counterfeit music discs, video cassettes, computer software and other consumer articles on a large scale.

  • Damage to the health and future well-being of society through the production, smuggling and sale of narcotics.

  • Damage to law and order and political stability due to their nexus with domestic and international terrorist groups and the dangers of this nexus leading to the transnational crime groups making available to interested terrorist organisations the funds required by them for the clandestine acquisition of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

  • The sponsorship and use of transnational crime groups by certain States in order to achieve their strategic objectives against adversaries and to meet their own economic difficulties.

While the first four factors have received considerable attention from the international community, the last two have not received the attention they deserve. In this connection, the experience of India could be of interest. The transnational crime groups (TCGs), which are of concern to India, can be divided into the following two categories:

  • Cross-border TCGs , whose activities are confined to India and its immediate neighbours, mainly, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar,Nepal and Sri Lanka. These groups are essentially of professional smugglers, indulging in the smuggling of consumer articles, precious metals, chemicals used for heroin extraction, narcotics, and counterfeit currency. They operate either independently or as part of much larger multinational TCGs.

  • Multinational TCGs , whose activities are spread over a much wider geographic area covering not only India and its immediate neighbours, but also other countries of the region, particularly in the Gulf area and in South-East Asia (SEA). While the smuggling of the articles mentioned above continues to constitute an important, if not the most important, source of their revenue, they have been increasingly acquiring a foothold in legitimate sectors of the economy through their illegitimately acquired money power. Such legitimate sectors include the film and the music industry in Mumbai (Bombay), the travel industry in Nepal etc. There have also been suspicion and allegations of their penetration into the airline business.

Since the early 1980s, a nexus has developed between these two categories of TCGs and terrorist organisations operating against India due to the following reasons:

  • The dependence of the terrorist organisations on the cross-border TCGs for assistance in matters such as identification of safe areas and timings for clandestine border crossing without interception by the Indian security forces, transport of arms and ammunition across the border so that the terrorists do not have to carry them, couriers of messages, procurement of communication equipment, explosive material etc. * The dependence of the terrorist organisations on the multinational TCGs for assistance in matters such as procurement of genuine travel documents through their influence in the political leadership and security bureaucracy, conversion of currency and transmission of funds, transport of arms and ammunition by sea, clandestine travel to their training camps in Pakistan by air or sea through third countries, without their travel being recorded in their passports through the complicity of the immigration personnel of Pakistan etc

  • The dependence of the TCGs on the terrorist organisations for the procurement of narcotics from the heroin barons of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

  • The adoption by the TCGs and terrorist organisations of the kidnapping of businessmen and other rich people for ransom in order to augment their sources of revenue and particularly to meet their urgent/unanticipated requirements of money.

While a networked infrastructure for co-operation against terrorist groups has been evolving since September 11, 2001, the progress towards co-operation against transnational crime groups with nexus with terrorist organisations has been much slower. Similarly, the UN and other international organisations are yet to evolve a satisfactory mechanism for scrutinising the compliance reports submitted by the member-countries to the UN Monitoring Committee and to ensure compliance in letter and spirit, instead of merely proforma compliance, which defeats the very purpose of the UN Security Council Resolution No.1373 against terrorism, which also refers to the concern caused by the TCGs. The absence of provisions for punitive action against States, which co-operate only selectively ---that is, they co-operate against terrorism and TCGs endangering the US, but not against those threatening other States--- and which continue to use terrorist organisations and TCGs for achieving their strategic objectives against their State adversaries tends to render the war against terrorism ineffective.

INTRODUCTION

The credit for the recognition that organised crime should be treated with the same seriousness as any other threat to national security goes to the Commission on Organised Crime, headed by Federal Judge Irving Kaufman, which was appointed by the former US President, Mr. Ronald Reagan, in 1983 and which submitted its report in 1986.

In 1995,the then US President, Mr. Bill Clinton, broadened the definition of what constituted a national security threat to include international crime. Shortly thereafter, in October of that year, he signed Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) No. 42, directing a cooperative federal effort against international criminal organizations and money laundering. The U.S. Departments of Justice, State and the Treasury as well as the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Security Council, intelligence agencies and other federal entities were instructed to work together to confront and counter this threat to U.S. national security and international stability.

On October 15, 1998,the US Congress passed the Money Laundering and Financial Crimes Strategy Act of 1998. The Act called upon the President, acting through the Secretary of the Treasury and in consultation with the Attorney General, to develop a national strategy for combating money laundering and related financial crimes.

Another key element of the International Crime Control Strategy and PDD-42 was the imposition of sanctions under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) against narcotics traffickers, the entities they own or control, and those persons acting for them or supporting their narcotics trafficking activities. In December, 1999, Mr. Clinton signed the Kingpin Designation Act which empowers the President to impose sanctions against foreign drug kingpins so designated.

In 1994, the British Government too was reported to have accepted a recommendation of Mrs. Stella Rimington, the then Director-General of the Security Service (MI-5), that activities of organised crime groups should be brought within the definition of possible threats to national security in order to enable the MI-5 to monitor their activities and help the police and other law-enforcers in dealing with them. Her suggestion was that only strategic threats to national security arising from money-laundering, organised crime groups, Triads etc should be monitored by the MI-5. She did not want it to cover tactical financial intelligence relating to violations by individuals not associated with organised crime groups, which would continue to be the responsibility of the departments concerned with the MI-5 playing no role.

On December 9, 1999, the UN General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. It was opened for signature from January 10, 2000 to December 31, 2001. It came into force on April 10,2002, after 22 member-countries had ratified it. It requires the member-States to criminalize the provision or collection of funds with the intent that they be used, or in the knowledge that they are to be used, to conduct terrorist activity.

Article 18 of the Convention requires the member-States to cooperate in the prevention of terrorist financing by adapting their domestic legislation, if necessary, to prevent and counter preparations in their respective territories for the commission of offenses specified in Article 2.

Article 18 also encourages the implementation of numerous measures such as prohibiting accounts held by or benefiting people unidentified or unidentifiable; verifying the identity of the real parties to transactions; and requiring financial institutions to verify the existence and the structure of the customer by obtaining proof of incorporation; making it obligatory for financial institutions to report complex or large transactions and unusual patterns of transactions which have no apparent economic or lawful purpose, without incurring criminal or civil liability for good faith reporting; requiring financial institutions to maintain records for five years; supervising (for example, through licensing) money-transmission agencies; and monitoring the physical cross-border transportation of cash and bearer negotiable instruments.

The December 2000 signing of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in Palermo, Italy, was a recognition by the international community of the serious threat posed to international security by transnational organized crime and money laundering. The Convention was signed by over 125 countries and will enter into force after 40 have ratified it.

The UN Convention is the first legally binding multilateral treaty specifically targeting transnational organized crime. Its objective is to prevent and combat it through commonly-adopted criminal law techniques and international cooperation. It requires the member-States to enact laws criminalizing the most prevalent types of criminal conduct associated with organized crime groups, including money laundering, obstruction of justice, corruption of public officials and conspiracy. The Article on money laundering requires the member-States to institute a comprehensive domestic regulatory and supervisory regime for banks and financial institutions to deter and detect money laundering. The regime should focus on the need for customer identification, record keeping and reporting of suspicious transactions.

As a result of various international anti-money laundering measures taken in the late 1990s,53 countries have set up Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) to focus exclusively on the collection of financial intelligence.

To be effective, action against organised crime groups has to tackle not only the sources of their revenue , but also their ability to plough back the ill-gotten wealth into legitimate sectors of the economy through money-laundering. To promote a co-ordinated approach to this problem, the G-7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA) economic summit of 1989 set up a Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which functions as a wing of the Organisation For Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), Paris. In addition to the G-7, the members of the European Union, the Gulf Co-operation Council and certain other countries faced with serious money-laundering problems have also joined it. It had 29 members at the end of 2000. A number of regional FATFs has also come up.

The annual report for 2000 of the Bureau For International Narcotics And Law Enforcement Affairs of the US State Department says: "Money laundering has not only adverse economic and social consequences, but is also a serious threat to national security. It provides the fuel for drug dealers, terrorists, illegal arms dealers, corrupt public officials and other criminals to operate and expand their criminal enterprises.

"Crime has become increasingly international in scope, and the financial aspects of crime have become more complex, due to rapid advances in technology and the globalization of the financial services industry. Modern financial systems, in addition to facilitating legitimate commerce, permit criminals to order the transfer of millions of dollars instantly, using personal computers and satellite dishes.

"Money laundering is not only a law enforcement problem, but poses a serious national and international security threat as well.

"Money laundering is now being viewed as a central dilemma in dealing with all forms of international organized crime because financial gain means power. Fighting money launderers not only reduces financial crime; it also deprives criminals and terrorists of the means to commit other serious crimes," it added.

According to the US report, among new modus operandi which have come into vogue for laundering illegally-acquired money are:

  • The purchase of "economic citizenships" in order to escape arrest and extradition to a country where a crime had been committed. Such "economic citizenships", which can be bought by keeping a minimum deposit in the country/territory offering them, are now sold, often through the Internet.

     
  • Internet gaming executed via the use of credit cards and offshore banks. Virtual casinos can be extremely profitable for governments that sell the licenses and get a share of the operator’s profits.

To enforce a greater transparency and better oversight over the functioning of the offshore financial services industry is the objective of two recent international initiatives. The first is the Financial Stability Forum (FSF) set up in 1999 at the initiative of the G-7 Finance Ministers to promote international financial stability through information exchange and international cooperation in financial supervision and surveillance. At its first meeting in April 1999, the FSF established a Working Group on Offshore Financial Centers to consider the significance of OFCs in relation to global financial stability. In its report of April,2000, it placed the OFCs into the following three groups depending on the level of transparency and supervision to which they are subjected:

  • Group I: Cooperative OFCs with high quality supervision.
  • Group II: Potentially cooperative OFCs with low quality supervision.
  • Group III:Non-cooperative OFCs with low quality supervision.

The IMF agreed in July,2000, to a programme that contemplates three levels of assessment to review principally the supervisory and regulatory arrangements in place for banking, securities and insurance activities in countries placed in Groups II and III. The first level would be a self-assessment, the second an assessment led by the IMF and the third, a more complex assessment, also to be led by the IMF. Participation in the programme would be voluntary and no IMF assessment would be made public unless the assessed jurisdiction voluntarily agrees to its release. The second initiative was by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Money Laundering. Following the G-7 Finance Ministers 1998 Birmingham Summit, the FATF set up an Ad Hoc Group on Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories (NCCT). After a detailed review by the Ad Hoc Group, the FATF at its June 2000 Plenary identified 15 jurisdictions as non-cooperative in the international fight against money laundering. All but three of them are OFCs. Fourteen other jurisdictions, all OFCs, were identified as having deficiencies, but were not placed on the non-cooperative list.

At the July, 2000, G-7 Finance Ministers Summit held in Japan, the participating countries issued advisories to all their financial institutions to "give enhanced scrutiny" to financial and business transactions involving the above-mentioned 15 countries, which were declared as non-cooperative.

In October 2000, 11 world banks agreed to a set of anti-money laundering guidelines—known as the "Wolfsberg Anti-Money Laundering Principles"—for private banking activities. The guidelines state at the outset that "bank policy will be to prevent the use of its world-wide operations for criminal purposes." The participating banking organizations are hopeful that other banking organizations and financial institutions will adopt these anti-money laundering principles.

The FATF acts as a nodal agency for studying the experiences of the member-countries and others in tackling money-laundering , identifying legal and administrative loopholes and making recommendations on how to better deal with this problem. Initially, its charter covered only money-laundering by narcotics smugglers, but this was expanded in January, 1994, to cover money-laundering by all organised crime groups.

This expansion was due to an apprehension amongst the member-Governments that while narcotics smuggling "is still the single most important source of criminal proceeds, white collar crime is emerging as a problem of almost equal seriousness." Amongst examples of such white collar crime are invoice manipulation, counterfeiting of currency notes, bonds etc, manipulation of stock exchanges, futures and commodity markets, bank frauds, bankruptcies and so on.

There has also been concern over the fact that as Switzerland and other countries, with long traditions of secrecy of banking transactions, tighten their laws and procedures, money-launderers have started using banks of other countries where financial law enforcement is weak as well as non-banking methods for ploughing their criminal proceeds into legitimate sectors of the economy.

Suspicion has been voiced that money-launderers have been trying to subvert banks and other financial institutions by having their nominees placed at decision-making levels and through equity-participation in order to enable them to use them for their purposes. Amongst the non-banking channels reportedly being used by them are the commodity markets such as the coffee market in Latin America, car dealerships, leasing companies, insurance companies, construction companies etc.

There has also been concern amongst financial law-enforcers that organised crime groups may benefit from the trend towards rapid globalisation, introduction of information technology in the operation of financial institutions without adequate control and creation of new free trade groups.

In a reference to these concerns, the report on money-laundering during 1994 submitted by the Clinton Administration to the US Congress said: " There are few controls on electronic transfers and, compounding the problem, the bank (or non-bank) of origin is increasingly based in a non-major financial centre which does not adequately control money-laundering and other financial crimes….The implementation of free trade agreements/compacts and creation of trading/economic zones, especially cross-border agreements, could increase the use of international trade as a mechanism for laundering the proceeds of criminal enterprises. "Not so explicitly expressed in the report was the concern over the possibility of the simplification of customs, banking and other procedures and visa rules for businessmen in free trade areas being misused by organised crime group leaders masquerading as businessmen.

TERRORISM & TRANSNATIONAL ORGANISED CRIME

Before explaining the Indian experience, it would be useful to cite in detail the views of Neal A. Pollard, Director, Terrorism Research Centre of the USA, as expressed by him in a recent study on "Counter-terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime: Implications of Convergence". This study brings out lucidly why any nexus between the terrorist organisations and transnational crime groups should be of concern to counter-terrorism experts. He says as follows:

"For the foreseeable future there will probably remain significant differences between terrorist and other “common” (i.e., motivated by greed) criminal groups in objectives and methods. After all, terrorism is a political crime, and by definition differs from other crimes in that the beneficiary and the perpetrator are frequently different people. In addition, terrorist groups organize quite differently —in operations and logistics—than organized crime syndicates. However, there may be connections of efficacy that have a profound evolutionary effect on the way both terrorist groups and other criminal syndicates organize to do business. Such an evolution holds implications for governments constructing strategies to counter these phenomena.

"Terrorist groups are currently interacting with transnational organized crime syndicates, especially narcotics cartels. Peruvian Shining Path and Colombian FARC guerrillas have provided mercenary security support for narcotics production and trafficking lines in South America, and there is strong evidence that the Palestinian PFLP-GC has been using infrastructure in Lebanon to support drug trafficking. In return, these terrorist groups receive enormous amounts of money, more so than in “traditional” fund-raising operations such as kidnapping and bank robbery—operations that are far riskier than supporting narcotics trafficking. Furthermore, this interaction offers smuggling routes long established and tested by crime syndicates for drug and arms running, potentially providing terrorists with logistical infrastructure to clandestinely move people, arms and materiel.

"Taken to its logical end, there might be a natural partnership between some terrorist groups and transnational organized crime syndicates. Organized crime syndicates frequently have access to and influence with political leaders, making such syndicates beneficial to terrorist groups that would seek to influence and intimidate, rather than destroy, a government. In return, organized crime syndicates can exploit terrorist campaigns, for the power vacuum present in regional instability, as a paramilitary wing of the syndicate, or to further coerce a weak government to “look the other way.” As offshore banks and inner city laundromats were once notorious mob fronts, so may terrorist campaigns become operational fronts for organized crime. Such a trend would find a welcome home in many former Soviet republics whose governments are fertile grounds for corruption and organized crime—regimes which once depended upon the backing of the military for “legitimacy” and political survival will find themselves relying on warlords or crime lords for the same. Indeed, we may see the rise of superficial terrorist campaigns serving as “fronts” for regional organized crime syndicates, campaigns which do not truly seek a political objective save that of creating a climate of anarchy and fear in which it is impossible for local law enforcement to prosecute or even hinder organized crime operations.

"Currently, however, the objectives and methods of terrorist groups remain significantly different than those of transnational organized crime syndicates. Terrorist groups generally seek an overthrow of the status quo, using spectacular operations that seek to attract the attention of the world. Transnational criminal organizations derive their power through a low profile, working within the existing structure, seeking not to attract the attention of “legitimate” powers. However, criminal syndicates do work for money, and there is no clear reason, given the right price, that such syndicates would not lend their logistical, communications, and transportation infrastructures to support terrorist operations.

"This holds two important implications for US counter-terrorism strategy. Firstly, if terrorist groups increasingly interact with organized crime syndicates, they may evolve organizationally, to adapt to such interaction. Such an organizational evolution would require a re-thinking of infiltration and targeting strategies as terrorist organizations come to resemble more closely, for example, the narcotics cartels in South America.

"Secondly, there is a trend of increasing lethality of terrorist attacks. The logical end of this trend is, of course, terrorist use of WMD. If terrorist interaction with transnational crime syndicates is successful enough—especially with narcotics traffickers—the infrastructures of these interactions might be robust enough to provide terrorists with real opportunities for WMD proliferation, including the introduction of a weapon of mass destruction into the United States."

THE INDIAN EXPERIENCE

Threats to national, regional and international security and peace from transnational crime groups arise due to the following factors:

  • Damage to economic security and well-being due to their activities such as smuggling, counterfeiting of currency, money-laundering, tax evasion etc. Economic security is now viewed all over the world as an essential component of national security.

  • Damage to ethics of governance and the health of democracy due to their activities such as the acquisition of political influence, corrupting public servants and distorting the governmental and regulatory processes through the use of their illegitimate power derived from the proceeds of their crime.

  • Damage to the integrity of the free market due to their activities such as organised violations of intellectual property rights in order to enhance their earnings through the sale of counterfeit music discs, video cassettes, computer software and other consumer articles on a large scale.

  • Damage to the health and future well-being of society through the production, smuggling and sale of narcotics.

  • Damage to law and order and political stability due to their nexus with domestic and international terrorist groups and the dangers of this nexus leading to the transnational crime groups making available to interested terrorist organisations the funds required by them for the clandestine acquisition of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

  • The sponsorship and use of transnational crime groups by certain States in order to achieve their strategic objectives against adversaries and to meet their own economic difficulties.

While the first four factors have received considerable attention from the international community, the last two have not received the attention they deserve. In this connection, the experience of India could be of interest. The transnational crime groups (TCGs), which are of concern to India, can be divided into the following two categories:

  • Cross-border TCGs , whose activities are confined to India and its immediate neighbours, mainly, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka. These groups are essentially of professional smugglers, indulging in the smuggling of consumer articles, precious metals, chemicals used for heroin extraction, narcotics, and counterfeit currency. They operate either independently or as part of much larger multinational TCGs.

  • Multinational TCGs , whose activities are spread over a much wider geographic area covering not only India and its immediate neighbours, but also other countries of the region, particularly in the Gulf area and in South-East Asia (SEA). While the smuggling of the articles mentioned above continues to constitute an important, if not the most important, source of their revenue, they have been increasingly acquiring a foothold in legitimate sectors of the economy through their illegitimately acquired money power. Such legitimate sectors include the film and the music industry in Mumbai (Bombay), the travel industry in Nepal etc. There have also been suspicion and allegations of their penetration into the airline business.

Since the early 1980s, a nexus has developed between these two categories of TCGs and terrorist organisations operating against India due to the following reasons:

  • The dependence of the terrorist organisations on the cross-border TCGs for assistance in matters such as identification of safe areas and timings for clandestine border crossing without interception by the Indian security forces, transport of arms and ammunition across the border so that the terrorists do not have to carry them, couriers of messages, procurement of communication equipment, explosive material etc. * The dependence of the terrorist organisations on the multinational TCGs for assistance in matters such as procurement of genuine travel documents through their influence in the political leadership and security bureaucracy, conversion of currency and transmission of funds, transport of arms and ammunition by sea, clandestine travel to their training camps in Pakistan by air or sea through third countries, without their travel being recorded in their passports through the complicity of the immigration personnel of Pakistan etc

  • The dependence of the TCGs on the terrorist organisations for the procurement of narcotics from the heroin barons of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

  • The adoption by the TCGs and terrorist organisations of the kidnapping of businessmen and other rich people for ransom in order to augment their sources of revenue and particularly to meet their urgent/unanticipated requirements of money.

POLITICAL/STATE COMPLICITY

A matter of growing concern is political/ State complicity with organised crime groups, whether purely domestic or transnational, to achieve objectives which cannot be achieved without money power. The political complicity has taken the form of the suspected use of the ill-gotten proceeds of organised crime groups to meet the expenditure on election campaigns. The resulting obligation of political leaders to organised crime groups tends to soften action against such groups and aggravates threats to national security. While there is increasing awareness of this danger, there is need for meaningful efforts to eliminate it by limiting expenditure on elections and by strict controls over the flow of money for political purposes in order to identify the source of the flow and rule out a criminal origin. The democratic process is becoming increasingly prohibitive in cost and this has allegedly been driving sections of political leaders into the welcoming arms of organised crime groups to find money to sustain their political influence.

State complicity with TCGs takes two forms:

  • Consciously benefitting from the criminal earnings of the TCGs in order to meet the economic difficulties of the State through methods such as awarding economic citizenships, providing sanctuaries to evade arrest and extradition to other countries etc in return for the TCG leaders keeping a minimum deposit in foreign currency in the banks of the State-accomplice.

  • State-sponsorship and use of TCGs to achieve the strategic objectives of the State against national adversaries. Such use is in the form of using the TCGs to distort the economies of adversary-States through means such as counterfeiting and dissemination of the currency of the adversary-State and encouraging the TCGs given protection and sanctuary to act in tandem with terrorist organisations given similar protection and sanctuary.

The most dramatic examples of the State-sponsorship and use of TCGs for achieving strategic objectives were provided by the series of explosions in Mumbai (Bombay) in March,1993, and by the attack on the security personnel guarding the American Centre in Kolkata (Calcutta) on January 22, 2002. The notorious TCG headed by Dawood Ibrahim, an Indian national, was involved in the Mumbai explosions of 1993 and a newly-emerged group headed by Aftab Ansari, another Indian national, in the attack on the security personnel outside the American Centre in 2002. Aftab Ansari is linked to Omar Sheikh, a British national of Pakistani origin, closely allied to Osama bin Laden. Omar Sheikh is now being tried in Pakistan for allegedly masterminding the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist of the "Wall Street Journal".

THE DAWOOD IBRAHIM GANG

Before March 1993, the Dawood Ibrahim group, which indulges in large-scale smuggling, money-laundering and other criminal activities, was operating from Dubai. In March 1993, this group organised at the instance of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan a series of explosions directed at important economic targets in Mumbai---such as the local stock exchange, which is the biggest in India, a local hotel for tourists run by the Air India etc.

Subsequent investigation brought out that the perpetrators of these acts of terrorism, all Indian nationals, had been recruited, at the instance of the ISI, by Dawood Ibrahim in Mumbai, taken to Pakistan via Dubai for training in the use of arms and ammunition and explosives and then sent back to Mumbai via Dubai. The Pakistani Consulate in Dubai issued them plain paper visas so that their passports did not carry any entries of their visit to Pakistan for training. However, Indian investigators managed to get xerox copies of the passenger manifests of the flights by which they went to Pakistan via Dubai for training. After they returned to Mumbai from Pakistan after the training, the explosives and other arms and ammunition required by them for organising the terrorist attacks were sent by the ISI by boat with the help of Dawood Ibrahim and clandestinely landed on the Western coast of India.

After carrying out the explosions, the perpetrators escaped to Pakistan, some via Dubai and some via Kathmandu, and were given sanctuary in Karachi by the ISI. When the Govt. of India took up with the Dubai authorities the question of the involvement of Dawood Ibrahim, the Dubai authorities pressured him to leave their territory. He took shelter in Karachi and has been living there since then along with some of the perpetrators, who have been given Pakistani passports under different names. Repeated requests by the Govt. of India to Islamabad for arresting and extraditing/deporting them to India have been turned down by Pakistan, which denies their presence in Pakistani territory. Red-cornered notices of the INTERPOL for their arrest have not been honoured by Pakistan.

This matter was again taken up by the Govt. of India with President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan when he visited India in July last. He denied their presence in Pakistani territory. Subsequently, "Newsline", a presitigious Pakistani monthly, in its issue for September, 2001, carried a detailed article on their presence and activities in Karachi. The Pakistani media reported that the journalist who wrote this article (Ghulam Hasnain) was detained and harassed by the Pakistani authorities.

The article stated as follows:" Dawood Ibrahim and his team, Mumbai's notorious underworld clan, including his right hand man Chota Shakeel and Jamal Memon, are on India's most wanted list for a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai and other criminal activities. After the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, the gang have made Karachi their new home and operating base. Living under fake names and IDs (identities), and given protection by government agencies, they have built up their underworld operations in Karachi employing local talent like Shoaib and Bholoo.

" In Pakistan, Dawood managed to establish another huge empire, comprising both legitimate and illegitimate businesses. In fact, the last few years have witnessed Dawood emerge as the don of Karachi. Dawood and his men have made heavy investments in prime properties in Karachi and Islamabad and are major players in the Karachi bourse and in the parallel credit system business--hundi. Dawood is also said to have rescued Pakistan's Central Bank, which was in crisis at one point, by providing a huge dollar loan. His businesses include gold and drug smuggling. The gang is also allegedly heavily involved in (cricket) match-fixing. "

The article added: " Not only have the Pakistani authorities turned a blind eye to the gang's activities within Pakistan, but many in the corridors of power have partaken of Dawood's hospitality.....He is said to have the protection of assorted intelligence agencies. In fact, Dawood and his men move around the city guarded by heavy escorts of armed men in civies believed to be personnel of a top Pakistani security agency. A number of Government undercover agents, who came into contact with Dawood because of their official duties, are now, in fact, working for him. Nearly all the men, who surround him for security reasons, are either retired or serving officers, claims an MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement) activist."

The article further said: " According to informed sources, Dawood is Pakistan's number one espionage operative. His men in Mumbai help him get whatever information he needs for Pakistan. Rumour has it that sometimes his men in Karachi accompany Pakistani intelligence agents to the airports to scan arriving passengers and identify RAW (Indian external intelligence) agents." (End of citation from the article)

Though the laws of Pakistan do not provide for "economic citizenships", the Pakistan Government informally provides them to international criminals and terrorists, who maintain a minimum dollar deposit in Pakistani banks and help the Government. Dawood Ibrahim, who had reportedly lent money to Pakistan in the past for the clandestine procurement of missiles and connected technology from China and North Korea, has been given informal "economic citizenship" in order to protect him from the arms of the Indian law and provided with a Pakistani passport under a different name .

After the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001, the Govt. of India has given to Pakistan a list of 20 terrorists, wanted for trial in India, who have been given sanctuary in Pakistan. The list includes the names of Dawood Ibrahim and other members of his mafia group wanted for trial in connection with the explosions in Mumbai in March 1993 and other crimes. Pakistan continues to take up the stand that they are not in its territory.

It is alleged that Dawood Ibrahim played an active role in organising the recent referendum campaign of Musharraf in Karachi and in bringing voters to the polling booths in trucks to vote for Musharraf.

THE AFTAB ANSARI GANG

Aftab Ansari was a small-time mafia leader, as compared to Dawood Ibrahim, till he came into contact with Omar Sheikh in the Tihar jail of New Delhi in 1994. Omar Sheikh, along with Maulana Masood Azhar, now the leader of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), and another person was released by the Government of India in December,1999, in response to the demands of a group of terrorists belonging to the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the parent organisation of the JEM, who had hijacked an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar in Afghanistan .

They crossed over into Pakistan and resumed their terrorist activities -- Maulana Azhar as the leader of the JEM and Omar Sheikh as the head of an office of bin Laden set up in Lahore. Omar Sheikh frequently travelled to Kandahar to meet bin Laden.

Aftab Ansari, who also came out of jail, travelled to Pakistan via Dubai and resumed contact with Omar Sheikh. The two started acting in tandem---Aftab Ansari and his gang indulging in kidnapping for ransom and sharing the proceeds with Omar Sheikh and acting as surrogates for Omar Sheikh's terrorist operations in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and other parts of India and Omar helping Aftab Ansari in securing a Pakistani passport under a different name and in acquiring property in Pakistan with his share of the extortion/ransom proceeds.

One of the terrorist operations mounted by Aftab Ansari, at the instance of Omar Sheikh, in Indian territory was the attack on the security personnel guarding the American Centre in Kolkata (Calcutta) on January 22,2002. Aftab Ansari was subsequently arrested by the Dubai authorities while trying to fly to Karachi and deported to India, where he is presently under investigation. Omar Sheikh is presently under trial in Hyderabad, Sindh, in Pakistan, for his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl.

Describing the interrogation of Omar Sheikh by the Karachi Police, the "News", the prestigious daily of Islamabad, reported as follows on February 18, 2002: "Claiming that his "brothers" were making their presence felt and will continue to do so "on every inch of Indian landscape", Omar has shocked his investigators by narrating his role and that of his "Jihadi colleagues", in the bomb explosion outside state parliament building in Srinagar in October last and shooting incidents in the compound of Indian parliament in New Delhi and outside the American Centre building in Kolkata in December and January last.

"While speaking to various police officials here (Karachi) and in Lahore over the past one week, Sheikh Omar not only briefed his police interrogators on his role in the Pearl Kidnapping case and on the terrorist strikes in India, but also provided police officials specific details of his travel to Afghanistan a few days after September 11 to have a personal meeting with Osama bin Laden near Jalalabad.

"Omar doesn't hide, police officials said, his ties with several other Arab associates of Osama. Several independent reports and interrogation of two other suspects in Daniel Pearl Kidnapping case have independently confirmed Omar's deep connections in Taliban leadership and his status as a guerrilla warfare instructor in one of the key training facilities in Afghanistan.

"Salam Saqib and Sheikh Adil, two key suspects who had played the central role in sending two e-mails attached with the photographs of the kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter, have told the police that Sheikh Omar was widely respected in Afghanistan and was considered a role model even for the most famous warriors in the Pakistani Jihadi community.

"Sheikh Omar provided police with unsolicited specific details about his connections and relationship with Aftab Ansari — chief suspect in Kolkata shooting case. Giving details of his communications with Aftab Ansari to police investigators, just a few days before the shooting incident in Kolkata, Sheikh said he had cultivated Ansari, while they were both jailed in Tihar prison in New Delhi in late nineties.

"Discussing the shooting incident inside the Indian parliament building which had left 17 people including five unidentified attackers killed on December 13, Sheikh Omar is understood to have offered police officials the real identities of the Kashmiri militants who had stormed the Indian parliament with an aim at making Indian parliamentarians hostage to seek the release of all Kashmiri freedom fighters from Indian prisons.

"Sheikh Omar said the militant who gave his life while exploding a bomb-laden car just outside the state parliament building in Srinagar on October 2 was "more than a brother to me". Omar said the deceased suicide bomber was a Pakistani who had devoted his life to the freedom struggle in Kashmir.

"Throughout his interrogation Sheikh Omar continued to repeat that "thousands of people were now ready in India and Pakistan to sacrifice their lives to free Kashmir from India and to turn Pakistan into an ideal Islamic state."

The ISI exercised pressure on the Editor of the newspaper not to publish this , but he rejected their pressure and published it. The ISI then pressurised the owner of the newspaper to sack the Editor, who as run away to the US fearing a threat to his life from the ISI. It also forced the officers of the Karachi Police to deny that Omar had made any such confession.

Asif Reza Khan, a close associate of Aftab Ansari, told the Police in India during his interrogation: "Aftab confirmed to me that leaders of different militant outfits in Pakistan were trying to use his network for the purpose of jehad, whereas he (Ansari) was trying to use the militants' networks for underworld operations."

THE LTTE

Another terrorist organisation with strongly-suspected links to TCGs in Pakistan is the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eeelam (LTTE) of Sri Lanka. Narcotics smuggling is an important source of its revenue. It helps the Pakistan-based jehadi organisations and heroin barons in the smuggling of heroin in its ships in return for the supply of arms and ammunition. In its report for 2000 on the Patterns of Global Terrorism released to the public on April 30, 2001, the US State Department states as follows on the LTTE: " Information obtained since the mid 1980s indicates that some Tamil communities in Europe are also involved in narcotics smuggling. Tamils historically have served as drug couriers moving narcotics into Europe. "

THE ARMS BAZAAR

An important source of revenue for the Pakistan-based TCGs is the procurement and sale of arms and ammunition. The procurement is made from the Pakistani military stocks, with the complicity of the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment, as well as from a flourishing illegal arms producing industry, which has come up at Darra Adam Khel in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan since the days of the Afghan war of the 1980s.

A Task Force of the Pakistan Government headed by Lt. Gen. Imtiaz Shaheen , then Director-General of the Pakistan Rangers and who subsequently became the Corps Commander, 11 Corps, at Peshawar, had strongly recommended action against illegal manufacture of and trade in arms and ammunition. He strongly expressed the view that if Pakistan continued to tolerate these smugglers, who enjoyed the protection of the Islamic organisations, there could ultimately be a serious threat to Pakistan's own national security. However, this report has not been implemented so far due to opposition from the Jammat-e-Islami (JEI) and other religious organisations. The producers and smugglers of arms and ammunition are major contributors to the funds of the religious parties, which ensured, through pressure on the military intelligence establishment, that the report of the Task Force was not implemented.

When despite their pressure, Lt. Gen. Shaheen, as Corps Commander at Peshawar, tried to act against the producers and smugglers of arms and ammunition at Darra Adam Khel, the JEI managed to have him transferred out of Peshawar to the GHQ, Rawalpindi, as the Chief of the Logistics Staff in April 2001, within 14 months of his taking over as the Corps Commander.

INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION--THE PLUS & THE MINUS

The post-September 11, 2001, developments have had the following spin-off benefits for India and other victim States of terrorism sponsored by an external power:

  • It has come to be recognised by the international community that terrorism is an absolute evil, whatever be its objective, and has, therefore, to be combated as such. Even President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan had to say in his televised address of January 12,2002, that terrorism could not be justified even for promoting the so-called Kashmiri cause.

  • The purely legalitistic approach to the question of blocking terrorist funding has given way to a more pragmatic approach, with actions now being taken against suspected terrorist accounts even on the basis of strong suspicion instead of waiting, as in the past, till legally sustainable evidence was forthcoming.

  • Past reticences with regard to intelligence sharing, which restricted such sharing only to tactical or preventive intelligence, have given way to a greater willingness to share even strategic intelligence which might enable the recipient country to neutralise the infrastructure of the terrorist organisations.

  • Governmental and public opinion in the third world countries has come to accept that the US has to play the leadership role in the war against terrorism through international co-operation because of its vast manpower and financial resources, gadgetry and expertise. Whereas past co-operation with the US in counter-terrorism was discreet, informal and often paperless lest open knowledge of such co-operation create political controversies, the post-September 11 co-operation is increasingly open, formal and well-structured. Past concerns over the likely public fall-out if knowledge of such co-operation became public have either disappeared or are in the process of doing so.

At the same time, there are some uncomfortable aspects of the international co-operation as it has developed since September 11, 2001:

  • Perceived unilateralism of the US in deciding on the parameters of the co-operation and the ground action without any or adequate consultations with the other members of the international community. * Perceived selectivity of the US in sharing with the other nations the intelligence gathered by it through interrogation and other methods in Afghanistan and a relutance to give other nations free access to the documentary evidence gathered in Afghanistan.

  • The focus of the co-operation is mainly directed against terrorist organisations, which are allied with bin Laden's Al Qaeda and which are perceived to be posing a threat to US and other countries. Adequate attention has not been given to other terrorist organisations, with no known or suspected links to the Al Qaeda, which pose a threat to other countries but not to the USA.

The developing international co-operation has been at the political as well as the professional levels, at the multilateral as well as the bilateral levels. Regional organisations such as the Europrean Union (EU), the SAARC and the ASEAN have made counter-terrorism a principal point of their preoccupation. New organisations such as the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation have given the political guidance to the nuts and bolts professional co-operation the needed thrust.

At the multilateral level, the UN and other international organisations have been more active than in the past in giving shape to the developing international counter-terrorism co-operation. On September 12, 2001, the UN General Assembly , by consensus of the 189 member-states, had called for international cooperation to prevent and eradicate acts of terrorism and to hold accountable the perpetrators of terrorism and those who harbor or support them. The same day, the Security Council unanimously determined, for the first time ever, any act of international terrorism to be a threat to international peace and security. This determination laid the foundation for Security Council action to bring together the international community under a common set of obligations in the fight to end international terrorism.

On September 28, 2001, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1373 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. This established a body of legally binding obligations on all member-states. Its provisions require, among other things, that all member-states prevent the financing of terrorism and deny safe haven to terrorists. States will need to review and strengthen their border security operations, banking practices, customs and immigration procedures, law enforcement and intelligence cooperation, and arms transfer controls. All states are required to increase cooperation and share information with respect to these efforts.

The Resolution reaffirms the principle established by the UN General Assembly in its declaration of October 1970 (resolution 2625 (XXV)) and reiterated by the Security Council in its resolution 1189 (1998) of 13 August 1998, namely that every State has the duty to refrain from organizing, instigating, assisting or participating in terrorist acts in another State or acquiescing in organized activities within its territory directed towards the commission of such acts. It also notes with concern the close connection between international terrorism and transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money-laundering, illegal arms-trafficking, and illegal movement of nuclear, chemical, biological and other potentially deadly materials, and "in this regard emphasizes the need to enhance coordination of efforts on national, subregional, regional and international levels in order to strengthen a global response to this serious challenge and threat to international security."

It also established a Committee of the Security Council, consisting of all the members of the Council, to monitor the implementation of this resolution, with the assistance of appropriate expertise, and called upon all States to report to the Committee on the steps they have taken to implement the resolution. This Committee is assisted by a group of four experts drawn frm different member-countries

The INTERPOL’s role in the fight against international terrorism started from its 54th General Assembly in Washington DC in 1985 when Resolution AGN/54/RES/1 was passed calling for the creation of a specialized group within its then Police Division to '…co-ordinate and enhance co-operation in combating international terrorism…' The resolution also called for the preparation of an instruction manual 'outlining the practical possibilities that currently exist for co-operation in dealing with terrorist cases.'

Its Public Safety and Terrorism sub-directorate (PST), which consequently came into being, deals with matters relating to terrorism, firearms & explosives, attacks and threats against civil aviation, maritime piracy and weapons of mass destruction.

Subsequently, the INTERPOL adopted the Cairo Declaration Against Terrorism of 1998, the Resolution on the Financing of Terrorism of 1999 and the Budapest Resolution of September, 2001, on the September 11, 2001, terrorist strikes in the USA. While inaugurating the 6th annual INTERPOL symposium on terrorism at Lyon, France, held on October 22 and 23, 2001,Willy Deridder, Executive Director of the INTERPOL, explained the role of the INTERPOL as follows: "The events of September 11 have triggered the early creation of a permanence, or 24-hour duty, a new Interpol Command Center, and an internal Task Force. The General Secretariat is now able to handle all requests from our Member Countries on a 24-hour, 7 days a week basis. This illustrates the commitment of the organization to be a full-fledged police organization.

"Since the attacks of September 11, the General Secretariat has issued more than 55 Red Notices for terrorists who have committed, or were connected to, global terrorist attacks. These Red Notices, issued for terrorists, continue to be Interpol’s highest priority. The General Secretariat thinks that the issuance of Blue Notices should also become more important in the future. I am specifically referring here to the Blue Notices of the 19 presumed hijackers issued with the consent of the USNCB and placed on our improved web site. ( Writer's Comment: Red Notice: request for arrest and extradition Blue Notice: request for information, location )

"INTERPOL’s Criminal Analysis Sub-Directorate began a 24-hour coverage and prepared daily intelligence reports used to provide briefings to the Secretary General and the senior staff.

"Despite all of these activities however, important topics remain to be tackled in the fight against global terrorism. In this respect, I would like to challenge each of you to identify and to come to agreement on what Interpol should be doing to foster the increased police cooperation necessary to address the terrorism problem. We are hopeful that proposals regarding data bases, necessary forums, and international conventions fostering international cooperation will come out of this symposium.

"Let us focus on some of these topics:

"First, we need to prevent and dismantle the financing of global terrorism. This area provides a huge niche for Interpol to fill, namely the coordination of operational activities and the development of a more proactive role in combating the financial flows linked to terrorism. In addition, Interpol can also respond to needs such as determining structures and operations related to money laundering. In this regard, qualitative studies regarding alternative remittance systems can be carried out. Examples of this are: A report entitled The Hawala Alternative Remittance System and its Role in Money Laundering was disseminated in January 2000. Also, another study on Sub-Systems of Ethnic Money Laundering in Interpol Member Countries on the Asian Continent, is about to be released.

"International Organizations such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) have, in the area of financing of terrorism, a leading role to play in setting standards and effecting the necessary changes in legislation and the political outlook.

"Just as a reminder of how complicated this can be, global terrorism is now funded differently as compared to its funding mechanisms 25 years ago. Terrorists now use complicated networks that are not specific to them. Globalization and new technologies have created beneficial opportunities for them as well. In addition, completely legal donors can fund terrorist groups through perfectly legitimate-looking charity donations that ultimately end up in the hands of terrorists.

"Another most important topic is the exchange of information between the General Secretariat and our Member Countries. It cannot be over-emphasised that the support the General Secretariat can give to our Member Countries depends greatly upon the information it receives from them. In an area such as terrorism, just as it is in other criminal areas, the flow of information from our Member Countries to the General Secretariat is insufficient.

"At the General Secretariat, we are fully aware that the information supply of the General Secretariat depends on many different factors, amongst which is the cooperation between law enforcement agencies, between the latter and intelligence services, and on relations with magistrates. These are all issues that need to be treated at a national level. In the meantime, however, it would be useful if you could help us by providing guidance on how to organize our database to assist us in providing and managing improved terrorism-related data, including nominal data, and helping to determine exactly what our position should be on maintaining data not directly related to criminal activity, but which could be useful for prevention strategies against terrorism.

"In addition to looking at the financing of terrorism and information sharing, proposals for fostering police cooperation are expected. Without being exhaustive, I shall mention only a few:

"We need to improve and strengthen controls at external borders. As part of the already mentioned Budapest Resolution, the General Secretariat has been invited to establish a new international database of stolen, counterfeit, and forged identity documents. What are the thoughts of this symposium on this issue?

"Further, air safety and security need to be improved. Should Interpol create a special aviation safety database on our secure website, containing data useful to preventing future terrorist hijacking scenarios?"

On April 11, 2002, the INTERPOL launched a new terrorism initiative by establishing an Interpol Terrorism Watch List for immediate secure access by Interpol offices and authorized police agencies in its 179 member countries. This new Watch List will permit instant access by authorized police agencies to information on fugitive terrorists and suspected terrorists. The Interpol Watch List comprises an exhaustive centralized list of those persons who are subject to Interpol notices issued for arrest (red), location (blue) and information (green). In addition, the Terrorism Watch List will include over 5000 passports reported stolen and which are frequently used by terrorists to move around the world undetected. The Watch List is only available for scrutiny by police officers given specialized access codes.

On November 17, 2001, the International Monetary and Financial Committee of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called on each IMF member to freeze all terrorist assets within its jurisdiction and to implement fully UNSCR 1373. Members should publish monthly reports listing terrorist assets subject to freezing and the amount of assets frozen.

The networking at the professional level is even more important than that at the political level. Such professional networking has to be at the multilateral as well as bilateral levels. The multilateral networking would take care of development of appropriate concepts, technologies and data bases, mutual legal assistance in dealing with terrorism, exchange of training facilities etc. For this purpose, the creation of a separate International Counter-Terrorism Organisation (ICTO) is necessary, jointly funded, staffed and led by the members of the international coalition against terrorism.

Sensitive operational co-operation has to be at the bilateral levels and cannot be the subject of multilateral discussions since leakages could come in the way of the effectiveness of such co-operation, which may involve ideas such as the mounting of joint operations to penetrate terrorist organisations to improve the quality of available human intelligence (HUMINT).

While a networked infrastructure for international co-operation against terrorist groups has thus been evolving, the progress towards co-operation against transnational crime groups with nexus with terrorist organisations has been much slower. Similarly, the UN, the INTERPOL and other international organisations are yet to evolve a satisfactory mechanism for scrutinising the compliance reports submitted by the member-countries to the UN Monitoring Committee, the INTERPOL and others and to ensure compliance in letter and spirit, instead of merely proforma compliance, which defeats the very purpose of the UN Security Council Resolution No. 1373.

The absence of provisions for punitive action against States, which co-operate only selectively ---that is, they co-operate against terrorism and TCGs endangering the US, but not against those threatening other States--- and which continue to use terrorist organisations and TCGs for achieving their strategic objectives against their State adversaries tends to render the war against terrorism ineffective.


( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai)

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