Cablegate: Brazil: 2008 Country Report On Terrorism

Published: Mon 29 Dec 2008 10:39 AM
DE RUEHBR #1664/01 3641039
R 291039Z DEC 08
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Brazil: 2008 Country Report on Terrorism
Ref: STATE 120019
1. (U) The Brazilian government continues to be a cooperative
partner in countering terrorism and related activities that could
contribute to the facilitation of attacks in the region or
elsewhere--to include investigating potential terrorism financing,
and document forgery networks and other illicit activity.
Operationally, elements of the Brazilian Government responsible for
combating terrorism, such as the Federal Police, Customs, and the
Brazilian Intelligence Agency, effectively work with their U.S.
counterparts and diligently pursue investigative leads provided by
U.S. intelligence, law enforcement and financial agencies regarding
terrorist suspects.
2. (U) Brazil's intelligence and law enforcement services are
concerned that terrorists could exploit Brazilian territory to
support and facilitate terrorist attacks, whether domestically or
abroad, and have focused their efforts in the areas of Sao Paulo,
the tri-border areas of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay; Brazil,
Peru and Colombia; and the Colombian and Venezuelan borders.
Brazil's recognition of the potential threat from terrorism prompted
a reform of the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN) that raised the
profile of the issue by upgrading the counterterrorism division to
the department level.
3. (U) Brazil's intelligence and law enforcement forces work closely
with regional and international partners. In 2008, ABIN hosted a
multilateral conference on counterterrorism involving the security
services of several South American countries. Also in 2008, the
Federal Police and ABIN, together with the United Nations
Organization for Crime and Drugs, co-hosted an international
conference on terrorism finance. In addition, Brazil actively
participates in international counterterrorism fora such as the 3+1
Mechanism on Security in the Triborder Area, Mercosul's Working
Group on Terrorism and the Sub-working Group on Financial Issues,
the latter of which discusses terrorism financing and money
laundering among the Mercosul countries.
4. (U) Bilaterally, the USG provided a variety of training courses
throughout Brazil in counterterrorism, combating money laundering,
detection of travel document fraud, container security, and
international organized crime. In 2008, Brazil and the United
States began exchanging information on critical infrastructure
protection issues.
5. (U) Although Brazil has no official list of terrorist groups and
does not recognize the FARC as one, President Luiz Inacio Lula da
Silva has been more critical of the FARC's use of violence and has
publicly called on the group to desist in the armed struggle against
the Colombian government. President Lula also signaled a renewed
commitment to cooperate with the Colombian government that, if
implemented in 2009, could help curtail the FARC's activities along
the border with Brazil. In July, Lula and Colombian President
Alvaro Uribe signed bilateral accords to cooperate on combating the
illicit trafficking of weapons and munitions, enhance defense
cooperation, and, together with Peru, combat transnational criminal
active, particularly the trafficking of drugs, weapons, munitions,
by increasing intelligence sharing and joint patrolling of border
river ways.
6. (U) Brazil is capable of monitoring domestic financial operations
and effectively utilizes its financial intelligence unit, the
Financial Activities Oversight Council (COAF), to identify possible
funding sources for terrorist groups. Through the COAF, Brazil has
carried out name checks for persons and entities on the UNSCR 1267
and 1373 terror finance lists, but has so far not found any assets,
accounts or property in the names of persons or entities on the UN
terror-finance lists.
7. (U) Brazil also continues to undertake steps to enhance its
capabilities to combat money laundering. Since 2003, fifteen
specialized money laundering courts have been established, including
two in Sao Paulo, with each court headed by a judge who receives
specialized training in national money laundering legislation. In
addition, in 2008, the United States and Brazil established a
working group with money laundering judges to share best practices
and training needs.
8. (U) A 2006 national anti-money laundering strategy goal was
formed aimed to build on the success of the specialized courts by
creating complementary specialized federal police financial crimes
units in the same jurisdictions. In 2008, the Federal Police
established such units in the Federal District (Brasilia), and the
states of Rio de Janeiro and Sco Paulo. In addition, the Ministry
of Justice funded the creation of technology centers to combat money
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laundering in the Federal District and Rio de Janeiro, the latter of
which received two such centers, one embedded with the Public
Ministry and one with the state Civil Police. In 2008, the Ministry
signed accords to establish additional centers in Bahia, Goias, and
Rio Grande do Sul.
9. (U) Although the Government of Brazil vigorously condemns
terrorism, it does not acknowledge the presence of terrorist groups
on Brazilian soil and insists that no identifiable terrorist
incidents have occurred in the country. The Government of Brazil's
counterterrorism strategy consists of deterring terrorists from
using Brazilian territory to facilitate attacks or raise funds, by
aggressively monitoring and suppressing transnational criminal
activities that could support terrorist actions. It accomplishes
this through increasing effective actions between its law
enforcement entities and through cooperation with the United States
and other partners in the region.
10. (U) In 2008, the GOB and the USG continued to work together
through the Container Security Initiative in Santos, Brazil to
promote secure containerized cargo to the United States and through
the establishment of a Trade Transparency Unit to detect money
laundering through trade transactions.
11. (U) The Brazilian government is achieving visible results from
recent investments in border and law enforcement infrastructure that
were executed with a view to gradually control the flow of goods --
legal and illegal -- through the Tri-border Area (TBA) of Brazil,
Argentina and Paraguay, the proceeds of which could be diverted to
support terror groups. The inspection station at the Friendship
Bridge in the TBA that was completed by Brazilian Customs (Receita
Federal) in 2007 has continued to take effective action to suppress
the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and contraband goods along the
border with Paraguay. According to Brazilian Customs (Receita
Federal) in 2008 the agency interdicted more than $76 million in
smuggled goods, including drugs, weapons, and munitions, an increase
of eight percent from 2007. As a result of the effective crackdown
on the Friendship Bridge, most smuggling operations now take place
through the Parana River and Lago Itaipu and some have migrated to
other sections of the border such as the towns of Guiara and Ponta
Pora. The Federal Police has Special Maritime Police Units in both
Foz de Iguacu and Guaira that aggressively patrol the maritime
border areas but because of the scale and complexity of the endeavor
to curtail smuggling and trafficking activities through the
waterways, Brazil is currently considering using an Unmanned Aerial
Vehicle to assist law enforcement in monitoring the border, a
development that could further improve border security.
12. (U) Brazil's overall commitment to combating terrorism and the
illicit activities that could be exploited to facilitate terrorism
is undermined by the GOB's failure to significantly strengthen its
legal counterterrorism framework. Two key CT-related legislative
initiatives continued to languish in 2008. An anti-terrorism bill
that would have established the crime of terrorism and other
associated crimes was drafted but shelved before its introduction in
Congress and a long-delayed anti-money laundering bill has not been
approved by Congress. If passed, the latter bill would facilitate
greater law enforcement access to financial and banking records
during investigations, criminalize illicit enrichment, allow
administrative freezing of assets, and facilitate prosecutions of
money laundering cases by amending the legal definition of money
laundering and making it an autonomous offense.
13. (U) Post POC Javier A. Gonzalez can be reached at or (55-61) 3312-7509.
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