CONGRESSMAN BENJAMIN A. GILMAN ON THE NEED FOR EUROPEAN-AMERICAN COOPERATION IN THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM AND DRUGS
- Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, a number of our colleagues and I recently returned from the 32d semiannual meeting between Members of the European Parliament and Members of the U.S. Congress. During these important meetings, the cochairman of our delegation, our distinguished colleague from New York, Mr. Gilman, presented papers on terrorism and the international narcotics problem.
- Few of our colleagues are as well-qualified as Ben Gilman to deal with these difficult and complex topics, Mr. Speaker. Congressman Gilman has a long and distinguished career in this body. He is the ranking minority member of the Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East and for the last several Congresses he served as the ranking minority member of the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control.
- Mr. Speaker, in order to share these insightful views with our colleagues, I insert Ben Gilman's statements on these two critical issues at this point in the Record.
Chairman Hansch, Chairman Lantos, and my dear colleagues: It is once again a pleasure to meet with you. The topic of our discussion, however, continues to be a source of mutual anguish and frustration. International terrorism continues unabated. Rooted in the Mediterranean basin, and inspired by a raging tide of Islamic fundamentalism, Middle Eastern terrorists continue to operate in Europe with western targets as their prey.
The terrorist acts we face today are not based on some type of misguided nationalism, nor are they merely physical manifestations of a class struggle directed against those vague forces called `oppression' and `imperialism'. The acts terrorists perpetrate today are acts of violence directed at the innocent. Men, women, the elderly, the young, rich or poor, there are no segments of society safe from bullets, explosives and hijackings.
Not too long ago, many usually responsible nations granted terrorists dispensation for their crimes, as well as a safe haven from prosecution. In some circles, terrorists were perceived as romantic adventurers whose actions must be indulged. In the late 1970's, however, as the sphere of terrorists' targets widened, sympathy and support were replaced by shock and revulsion.
If it is our goal to establish an effective counter-terrorism policy, then it is incumbent that the European Community and the United States work together to establish a unified program. According to statistics compiled by the United States Department of State, 1987 was the bloodiest year for terrorist incidents since such records have been kept. This year, terrorist incidents are runnign about 4 percent above 1987. It is obvious that more effective action must be taken.
There is no respite in sight. The Abu Nidal Organization and the Japenese Red Army members, both backed by Libya have recently displayed their handiwork in Europe. A Saudi diplomat was assassinated in Turkey on October 26, 1988. In another recent case, the Turkish government expelled two Iranian diplomats and arrested four other Iranians for suspected involvement in the kidnapping of an anti-Khomeini activist.
The hijackers of Kuwaiti airlines flight 422 were apparently members of the Lebanese-Shiite Hizballah group. The hijackers slipped away from Algeria after murdering two Kuwaiti passengers on April 5, 1988.
Hostage taking continues in Lebanon. It is possible concessions may have been made in connection with some releases, which, if true, may encourage more kidnappings. Iran continues to provide support and inspiration to the Hizballah groups. Information suggests these groups are holding at least 18 persons, including 9 Americans in Lebanon.
The British Aviation Authority announced that the destruction of Pan Am flight 103 was the result of sabotage. Intense heat damage to the plastic lining of the cargo hold of the aircraft, along with evidence uncovered during autopsies performed on the passengers indicate an explosive device was responsible for the tragedy.
The loss of so many innocent lives because of human malice is unacceptable. Although it is not yet known if the culprit was an individual, or a terrorist organization, this tragedy underscores the need to reevaluate airport security procedures and place renewed importance on sharing and evaluating threat assessment reports.
Cooperation Among the Allies
Terrorist groups such as the Abu Nidal Organization are increasingly trying to use front companies to generate revenue and launder money. The European Community must work to curtail the transfer of funds to terrorist groups through these pseudo-legitimate companies. The United Kingdom recently passed a law aimed at doing exactly that. Like-minded countries must share copies of legislation and regulations. This could help to avoid problems over extraditions before they occur.
The recent case of the Greek Minister of Justice's refusal to deport convinced Palestinian terrorist Osama Al-Zomar to Italy underscores the need to establish uniform extradition procedures among the European nations, and the United States. The argument that Al-Zomar's actions were political and not criminal in nature are counter-productive to our joint efforts and offensive to the sensibilities of anyone familiar with Fatah's violent and vicious tactics. We in the United States Congress sincerely hope the same terrible mistake is not made in the case of Mohammed Rashid. Rashid is wanted in the United States for the 1982 bombing of a Pan Am aircraft over Honolulu, Hawaii.
As 1992 approaches, and the diminution of physical borders within the European Community is being discussed, it behooves us to remember there is reason to be concerned about terrorists transiting through Eastern European nations. With the relaxation of internal border controls due attention must be paid to security concerns. When border controls diminish, the entire European Community is only as strong as its weakest link.
United States cooperation with the European countries is becoming more
effective, both in bilateral consultations with the Federal
Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and others, and through multilateral meetings with organizations such as Europe's Trevi group.
The Toronto Economic Summit meeting in June addressed the terrorism issue. It welcomed the statement adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council which specified that countries which permit hijacked planes to land should not allow them to take off again. The proposal is now being circulated to ICAO members for review. The European Civil Aviation Conference agrees with this position.
Cooperation among the Allies also facilitated new anti-terrorism conventions drafted in 1988 by ICAO against terrorist attacks at airports and by the International Maritime Organization convention against ship hijackings.
Terrorism in Western Europe was cut in half after the April 1986 bombing of Libyan facilities, the explusion of more than 100 Libyan `diplomats' and the EC sanctions against Syria after the attempt to place a bomb on an Israeli airliner at Heathrow airport. Libya and Syria have reduced their direct support of terrorism. This is a clear indication that cooperation can bring results.
The United States Congress feels strongly about the airport security issue. Transit lounges must be made more secure to preclude the possibility of passengers leaving an airport during a layover. The issue of securing aircraft on the ground must be dealt with as well. Structural configurations at many of the world's airports permit terrorists to actually storm aircraft while the aircraft are resting on the runway.
A coordinated counter-terrorism policy must rest upon a consistently implemented tripartie program. First, we must not accede to any terrorist demands. Second, we must coordinate efforts to pressure states which use or support terrorism as part of their foreign policy. Third, we must impose the rule of law on terrorists for their criminal actions.
These three pillars of a coordinated and comprehensive policy may not force offender states to cease entirely their support for terrorist groups. Such nations as Libya and Syria will continue to provide such support. A concerted, vigorous western strategy will, however, make them more circumspect.
As we look toward the future, we must examine the apocalyptic projections of terrorists utilizing nuclear weapons. Most experts agree, however that nuclear terrorism presents less of a danger than the cheaper but no less potent chemical weapons arsenal that is proliferating in the Persian Gulf States.
It is clear that Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria have chemical
weapon capabilities. Terrorists have realized that the Soviets' use of chemical weapons in Afghanistan and the use of these weapons during the course of the Iran-Iraq war were met with little public outrage.
The advent of `high-tech terrorism' must be dealt with through expanded research and development. Progress in miniaturization has permitted the development of more accurate sensors, better able to detect explosives and hazardous gases. Refinements in computer software are enhancing our ability to gather and analyze information.
Suppressing terrorism will not be easy. We have a difficult struggle before us. Through heightened vigilance, and a highly coordinated effort, I am confident we can win the battle.
Mr. Chairman, my colleagues, I am pleased, once again, to have the opportunity to address the European Parliament. Since our last meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota in June, 1988, there has been significant progress in the United States' effort to combat narcotics. As we all know, drug trafficking and drug abuse is a growing worldwide problem which is not readily resolved. In communities throughout the world, too many families have been impacted by the tragedy of drug abuse and drug related violent crime. In the United States there is an increasing spread of AIDS through intravenous drug use, as well as greater drug gang violence and the explosive growth in crack cocaine consumption.
In Europe, over the last few months, there have been signs of a significant increase in drug trafficking. In France, 175 Kilos of cocaine (packed in pineapple cans) was seized outside of Pairs. In Denmark, Colombians were caught trying to smuggle 1,200 grams of cocaine through Copenhagen Aiport. In Portugal, Brazilians were captured with 7.8 kilos of cocaine and in Spain 4 tons of hashish were seized. In the U.K., drugs were found on board a Honduran-registered vessel and over 200 kilos of cocaine were seized in the summer of 1988 and in Italy, just last month, 100 kilos of heroin were seized and there have been similar incidents throughout all of Europe.
There are some U.S. analysts who believe that the Colombian cartels, having saturated the American market, are beginning to establish Colombian distribution organizations and are focusing their efforts on developing the European market. In Europe we must bear in mind that the drug traffickers will perceive a relaxation of intra-European border crossing requirements in 1992 as an important opportunity for exploitation.
It is our hope that Europe does not develop a drug problem as dreadful and extensive as America's. To this end, once again I urge the European Parliament to establish a permanent committee or commission to monitor drug trafficking and drug abuse within Europe. It is essential that a European regional anti-drug strategy by developed as part of a global effort to combat drugs. This body should encourage such a high level anti-drug regional strategy conference.
The European Parliament has demonstrated its commitment to combat drugs
and to stay on top of this difficult issue.
The `Committee of Enquiry into the drug problem in the member states of the Community' played an important role in defining the parameters of the problem and pointing towards some real solutions. This kind of positive work should continue.
In October 1988, the Congress passed the `Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988.' President Reagan signed the bill into law in November. This comprehensive legislation simultaneously addresses the need to dramatically cut the demand in addition to the supply of drugs. For fiscal year 1989, $2.8 billion in additional funding has been authorized, with nearly $1 billion included in the bill as supplemental appropriations. (I have several copies of our new bill with me.)
With respect to international cooperation, the new Omnibus Anti-Drug Act underscores our Nation's interest in working closely, both bilaterally and multilaterally, with our allies around the world. The Congress has called for negotiations to establish an international drug force to pursue and apprehend major drug traffickers as well as for a Western Hemisphere drug summit and an international criminal court to expedite the prosecution of international drug criminals.
We all know that drug trafficking is a global problem which can only be effectively addressed through joint action and cooperation. The recent joint undercover probe by U.S. and Italian authorities of a cocaine and heroin trafficking organization, which resulted in arrests in 11 American and Italian cities, is a prime example of the benefits of cooperation.
The legislation also calls upon our Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics Matters to seek the establishment of a regional anti-narcotics training center in the Caribbean. Our House Select Committee on Narcotics just returned from an eight-nation study mission of the Caribbean and Central America where we found that those countries are fully aware of the threat which drug abuse and drug trafficking pose to their citizens and their institutions and they are prepared to fight this threat.
There are some other parts of the Omnibus Anti-Drug Abuse Act that could dramatically impact on international drug trafficking. Strict new controls have been placed on chemicals produced in the United States which are used in processing illegal drugs. This aspect of our anti-drug action is particularly important. In addition, there are new regulations governing currency transcations reporting to prevent money laundering.
The United States has pledged to contribute $2 million to the United Nations fund for drug abuse control (UNFDAC), and I hope we will end up providing more than that. We encourage all nations to contribute to this very useful and effective program.
International organizations such as the European Parliament, the International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (ICDAIT), and the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control (UNFDAC) play an important role both in educating our citizens to the threat posed by drugs and in combating this difficult global problem.
Mr. Chairman, we look forward to working closely with our colleagues in the European Parliament in helping to create a world where our citizens are no longer endangered by drugs and the crime, violence, and tragedy that always follows in their wake.
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