Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - The Netherlands
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||18 August 2011|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - The Netherlands, 18 August 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e524810c.html [accessed 14 March 2014]|
Overview: The Netherlands continued to show its commitment to counterterrorism cooperation in the areas of border and transportation security and terrorist financing. In its December 2010 quarterly terrorism threat analysis, the Dutch National Counterterrorism Coordinator (NCTb) maintained the national threat level at limited, meaning chances of an attack in the Netherlands or against Dutch interests were relatively small but could not be ruled out entirely. According to the report, there were few incidents in the Netherlands resulting from violent radicalization, although the conditions for radicalization remained present, particularly among the Somali community. However, the NCTb concluded that resistance against politically or ideologically motivated violence among the Dutch population remained high.
On May 31, the International Center for Counterterrorism, which received three years of seed money from the Foreign Ministry, was officially opened in The Hague.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: In 2009, the Dutch Justice Ministry and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security established the Fast Low Risk Universal Crossing (FLUX) system at some 20 U.S. airports enabling registered travelers that have submitted to a security assessment to go straight through U.S. immigration controls using iris scanners. U.S. citizens registered in the FLUX system enjoy this expedited travel at the Netherlands' Schiphol airport. In January 2010, the Netherlands began deploying full body scanners on flights from Schiphol airport to the United States, and by year's end the number of scanners in use expanded to a total of 75. These scanners were operated as an EU pilot program pending EU-legislation for the routine use of this technology.
In the appeal case against seven members of the Hofstad terrorist group, the appeals court in Amsterdam ruled on December 17 that the seven had indeed formed a criminal organization with terrorist intent. The court imposed prison sentences of between 15 months and 13 years against the seven defendants. The highest sentence was for Jason Walters, a dual U.S.-Dutch national, for having thrown a hand grenade at police officers in November 2004. Most members, except for Walters and his accomplice, have already served their sentences.
In addition to the arrest of six Tamils in late April, the National Crime Squad in June arrested four Tamils on suspicion of illegal activities in the Netherlands, including raising funds to support the struggle of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam movement. The investigation was ongoing at year's end.
At the request of Belgian justice authorities, the National Crime Squad in November arrested three Moroccan-Dutch nationals in Amsterdam suspected of engaging in international terrorism. The three reportedly had advanced plans to travel to Chechnya to join the Chechen terrorist group Caucasus Emirate. At year's end, the three were in custody pending a decision to extradite them to Belgium.
Following information supplied by the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD), the National Crime Squad on December 24 arrested 12 Somalis in Rotterdam on suspicion of being involved in terrorist activities. All 12 were subsequently released though three remained under investigation.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Dutch officials remained committed to active cooperation with the United States in designating known terrorist organizations and freezing their assets. The Dutch also supported the continued exchange of information on financial transactions. The Dutch government worked to emphasize the importance of balancing security and the effectiveness of the financial system. In July 2009, the Netherlands assumed Presidency of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for a one-year period. Together with the United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands organized the Middle East and North African FATF (MENA FATF) meeting in February 2010.
Regional and International Cooperation: The Netherlands played an active role in UN and EU counterterrorism discussions. During a summit of foreign ministers from the G8 and Middle East states in London in January, it was agreed that the Netherlands would take the lead in helping Yemen develop its judicial and legal system. The Netherlands has long been involved in development assistance programs in Yemen. The Dutch served as co-chair of the Friends of Yemen Justice and Rule of Law working group.
In November, the NCTb and INTERPOL organized a global exercise aimed at the prevention of biological terrorism (BIOSHIELD Global 2010), in which more than 80 representatives from 28 countries (including the United States) and international organizations participated.
The Netherlands currently has counterterrorism capacity building projects in Pakistan, Yemen, Morocco, and Algeria. The Netherlands also contributed to the counterterrorism work of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The Netherlands ratified the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism in 2010.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Justice Ministry's "Netherlands against Terrorism" campaign continued with a particular focus on preventing radicalization and polarization. The campaign has a local approach, in which police officers, social workers, and teachers are trained to recognize signs of radicalization and how to engage key figures/leaders in Muslim communities. A March study by the AIVD concluded that too much emphasis is placed on the effect of an "ideological counter message" in the battle against radicalization in the Netherlands. AIVD researchers noted that the conscious dissemination of "moderate Islam" or use of liberal imams hardly had any effect on the ideals of potential militants, but having a job, partner, and children are a much better remedy. The Netherlands played a leading role in countering terrorism on the Internet.