Cablegate: Brazil: 2004 Annual Terrorism Report

Published: Fri 17 Dec 2004 06:11 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
Ref: State 245841
1. (U) Triborder Area (Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay)
(Please review with submissions from other TBA posts.)
The Triborder area (TBA) -- where Argentina, Brazil, and
Paraguay converge -- has been characterized as a regional hub for
Hizballah and HAMAS fundraising activities. However, the region
more widely known as a center for arms and drug trafficking,
contraband smuggling, document and currency fraud, money
laundering, and the manufacture and movement of pirated goods.
Although there continued to be reports during 2004 of an al-Qaida
presence in the TBA, these reports remained uncorroborated by
intelligence and law-enforcement officials.
2. (U) In December 2004, senior level U.S. officials attended a
meeting in Asuncion, Paraguay, of the Tripartite Commission
of the Triple Frontier, a security mechanism established by
the three TBA countries in 1998. The "Three Plus One"
group (the three TBA countries plus the United States)
serves as a continuing forum for fostering cooperation and
terrorism prevention among the four countries. Participants
concluded that available information did not substantiate
allegations of operational activities by terrorist groups in the
TBA at the present time. International terrorist financing and
money laundering with roots in the TBA remain an area of
heightened concern. The parties agreed to conduct a concerted
effort to foster legitimate economic activity in the TBA.
3. (U) Brazil continues to extend practical and effective
support for US counter-terrorism efforts. For example, the
Government of Brazil diligently pursues investigative leads
provided by US intelligence, law enforcement, and financial
agencies regarding terrorist suspects.
4. (U) Although the Government of Brazil is committed to the
fight against terrorism, lack of resources and inadequately
trained personnel hampers its response. The United States
continues to work with Brazil in several bilateral, multilateral,
and international forums to identify groups and individuals
suspected of possible links to terrorist groups. Specialists
the United States work with elements of the Brazilian Government
responsible for combating terrorism, including the Federal Police
and the Brazilian Intelligence Service. Brazil is increasingly
capable of monitoring domestic financial operations and
effectively utilizes its Financial Activities Oversight Council
(COAF) to identify possible funding sources for terrorist groups.
Recent bilateral assistance and training provided by the USG to
COAF emphasized upgrades to its database and data collection
mechanism. In January 2005, the Brazilian Federal Police will
inaugurate a Regional Field Office in Foz do Iguacu, Parana, to
coordinate its intelligence and enforcement efforts in the TBA.
5. (U) Since taking office in January 2003, Brazilian President
Ignacio Lula da Silva has vigorously condemned terrorism. The
Lula administration, however, does not acknowledge the presence
terrorist groups on Brazilian soil and insists that no
identifiable terrorist incidents have occurred in the country.
2003, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies passed a bill on cyber-
crime aimed at preventing terrorist hack attacks, however the
continues to languish in the Brazilian Senate.
6. (U) There are no significant impediments to the prosecution
extradition of suspected terrorists by Brazil, although Brazil's
legal procedures are often tedious and protracted. Brazilian law
prohibits the extradition of Brazilian citizens and allows only
very measured and careful consideration for the extradition of
naturalized citizens (for previous crimes and drug trafficking
only) and foreigners (for all but ideological or political
7. (U) After extensive legal maneuverings, Brazil extradited
Assad Ahmad Barakat to Paraguay in November 2003. Throughout the
case, Brazilian extradition procedures were followed rigorously.
Barakat, a naturalized Paraguayan of Lebanese origin who had
in the TBA for approximately seven years, was suspected of
involvement in political and financial activities supporting
Hizballah organizations. He was arrested on a Paraguayan
extradition request in June 2002 by Brazilian authorities. In
2004, Barakat was convicted in Paraguay of tax evasion and
sentenced to 6 years of prison. However, given his time served
Brazil and anticipated early release for good behavior, Barakat
could be free within two years. He is currently appealing this
8. (U) In May 2004, the Government of Brazil at the
initiative of the Chief of the Presidency's Institutional
Security Office created a technical team composed of
representatives from five key ministries and the three branches
the Armed Forces to formulate a national policy to combat
terrorism. The group delivered to the President its
recommendations which will serve as the basis for a bill the Lula
administration intends to submit to the Brazilian Congress. This
bill will call for the establishment of a national authority for
combating terrorism.
9. (U) In November 2004, at the Sixth Conference of Defense
Ministers of the Americas, Brazil declined to support the
U.S. proposal to reorganize and restructure the Inter-American
Defense Board as a tool for coordinating regional counter-crime
and counter-terrorism efforts. Brazil is reluctant to tamper with
the mandate of the IADB.
10. (U) In November 2004, President Lula and Russian Federation
President Vladimir V. Putin issued a joint declaration calling
compliance with United Nations Resolutions 1540 and 1566. These
resolutions deal with the prevention of access to weapons of mass
destruction by non-state agents and with the threats to
international peace and security raised by terrorism.
President Lula also declared himself in favor of entering
negotiations on a Universal Convention on International
Terrorism and the International Convention to Fight Acts of
Nuclear Terrorism, all within the framework of the United
Nations. Brazil has signed all of the twelve current UN
conventions on terrorism and is a party to nine.
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