TITLE:15-12-95 U.S. WANTS UNIVERSAL ADHERENCE TO ANTI-TERRORISM CONVENTIONS
(Also increased international cooperation) (660)
By David Pitts
USIA Staff Writer
Washington -- The United States is seeking "universal adherence" by
the nations of the world to "eleven anti-terrorism conventions," says
Mark Kennon, director of the regional affairs office in the State
Department's Office of the Coordinator for Counter-terrorism.
Speaking at a conference on terrorism at George Washington University
December 15, Kennon said the G-7 nations at their recent Ottawa
Ministerial "discussed steps to increase cooperation" against
international terrorism. He said the ministers agreed on steps "to
enhance evidence and intelligence exchanges, as well as law
"The trend is positive," as indicated by the fact that governments are
much more inclined to extradite those accused of terrorism than was
previously the case, Kennon remarked. "There is increasing agreement
internationally," he said, but the "bad news" is that "some nations
are still holding out in the fight against terrorism." He cited Cuba,
Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Libya and Syria.
"International cooperation is essential" to defeat terrorism, Kennon
continued. The United States is assisting other countries in
developing the kind of inter-agency cooperation that is occurring at
the federal level and between the federal and local levels in this
country, he noted.
According to a recently updated publication of the Congressional
Research Service titled, "Terrorism, the Future and U.S. Foreign
Policy," the State Department's anti-terrorism assistance program
provides training and equipment to 83 countries. Training is provided
in such skills as crisis management, VIP protection, airport security,
and bomb deactivation and detection.
"One significant change over the last decade is that terrorism" is
increasingly seen as a law enforcement problem, Kennon said. "We have
depoliticized the argument" by successfully combating the view of some
that terrorists are freedom fighters if their cause finds favor, he
Asked about so-called narco-terrorism, Kennon said the United States
"does not see that as a trend. The scale of drug smuggling from
terrorist groups is relatively minor," although the drug problem
caused by drug cartels as distinct from terrorist groups persists.
Kevin Giblin, chief of the terrorism and research and analytical
center at the FBI, said that although the number of terrorist attacks
overall "is down, they are becoming more deadly," and there is an
increasing danger of non-conventional weapons being used. As far as
the United States is concerned, "from 1982 to 1992 there were no
incidents of international terrorism. Now that has changed," he added.
He cited a list of incidents in 1995, most notably the Oklahoma
bombing, which allegedly was orchestrated by domestic terrorists.
"It is very important to concentrate on prevention, and not just
reaction capability," Giblin remarked. He indicated a number of steps
the FBI is taking to increase preparation:
-- improving the ability to warn potential targets through acquiring
better intelligence more quickly. "Minimum response time is being
increased since intelligence is perishable."
-- providing greater protection for "key assets" such as electrical
and power systems, bridges and other infrastructure, and
-- hiring 50 analysts for the Domestic Counter Terrorism Center
"mandated by President Clinton." FBI agents also are being assigned to
Giblin pointed out that the FBI also is assisting in the investigation
of terrorist incidents outside the United States, even when American
citizens are not among the victims. For example, he said, at the
request of the government of Pakistan the FBI assisted with the
investigation of a terrorist incident in Islamabad which involved the
targeting of Egyptian citizens.
William Rosenau, an aide to Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania),
said that a congressional subcommittee on terrorism is studying the
capability of different levels of government to deal with a terrorist
attack that might involve "weapons of mass destruction." State and
local governments all have disaster plans, but it is necessary to
examine whether those plans take account of the new threats to
security, he added.
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