AIVD: Islamic terror threat remains
Novum Nieuws, Netherlands, 29 April 2003
AMSTERDAM — Despite recent successes in the battle against terrorism, Islamic terror networks are still capable of carrying out attacks all over the world, according to the 2002 annual report of the Dutch secret service AIVD.
Caretaker Interior Minister Johan Remkes presented the report to Parliament on Tuesday. The AIVD said radical Islamic networks are also active in the Netherlands and the groups generally play a supporting, rather than a front-line terrorist, role by giving financial, material and logistical assistance to terror cells.
The Dutch groups also recruit young men for the holy war, or jihad, against the "enemies of Islam," the AIVD alleged. This is a repeat of its claim, made in December 2002, that dozens of young Muslim men were in training.
But Dutch security authorities have not brought any alleged terrorists to justice since the September 11 attacks in the US.
Several men are in custody awaiting trial, but a court freed another group — arrested in Rotterdam — last year. The judges ruled that a tip-off from the AIVD was insufficient to justify the arrest of the men.
In addition, the court said there was no evidence to support the claim the men were part of a plot to bomb the US embassy in Paris, as the prosecution claimed.
In its latest report, the AIVD was keen to quash the long-held belief that the Dutch tolerate paramilitary groups as long as they do not carry out attacks in the Netherlands.
The AIVD emphasised that groups — such as the Arab European League (AEL) in the Netherlands and Belgium — which play on creating a Muslim identity and religious or ethnic sentiment, are a security risk.
In the aftermath of September 11, the AIVD has paid more attention to securing vital sectors in the Netherlands, including protecting drinking water, ports and airports from possible attacks.
Turning to the question of weapons of mass destruction (WDM), the AIVD report noted that "risk countries" such as Pakistan, India, North Korea, Syria and Iran are increasingly sharing information. This was happening to such an extent that international co-operation to stem the production of WMD was very necessary, the agency said.
As a consequence of the US-led war against Iraq, the AIVD also warned for a revival of violent anti-militarism. And the agency said violence against property and people carried out by some animal rights activists was on the increase. One of the main targets was the Biomedical Primate Research Centre in Rijswijk, which carries out testing on apes and monkeys.