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Terrorism in 2013: Spain and the world

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Country Reports on Terrorism 2013

Overview: Spain was an active partner with the United States in efforts to track and disrupt transnational terrorism. Spain deepened its cooperation with Algeria, Mali, and Mauritania to combat and contain the threat posed by al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The domestic terrorist group Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) has not launched any attacks since it announced a “definitive cessation of armed activity” in October 2011, although the group had not formally disbanded or given up its weapons arsenal by the end of 2013.

No terrorist attacks occurred in Spain in 2013, but three Spanish journalists were kidnapped in Syria and remained in captivity at year’s end. Marc Marginedas was kidnapped by violent extremists on September 4, and Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova were kidnapped by the al-Qa’ida in Iraq/Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, on September 16. The Government of Spain is working to secure their release.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Spanish Criminal Code specifically punishes any act of collaboration with the activities or purposes of a terrorist organization. Spain’s law enforcement units focused on counterterrorism have effectively demonstrated their capacity to detect, deter, and respond to terrorist incidents. Specialized law enforcement units possess the necessary and clear chain of command to effectively carry out their mission.

Spain’s counterterrorism capabilities, coordinated by the National Counter-Terrorism Coordination Center (CNCA), have proven effective. The National Police and Civil Guard share responsibility for counterterrorism and cooperate well, with strong information sharing and joint threat assessments. On December 5, Spain approved a national cyber security strategy to safeguard its critical information systems, and created the Cyber Defense Committee to coordinate its cyber security across the various government departments.

Spain continued to focus on improved security and the detection of false documents at its borders. Spain participated in the U.S. Immigration Advisory Program, which maintains staff at Madrid-Barajas International Airport. The program allows for coordination between Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, airline security personnel, and police regarding high risk passengers traveling to the United States. Spain continued to roll out an automated system to read EU passports with biometric data.

Explosive trace detection equipment was also deployed at Spain’s five largest airports at passenger checkpoints. Spain continued to use a network of radar stations, known as the Integrated External Surveillance System, along its maritime borders. Spain maintained its participation in the Megaports and Container Security Initiatives.

In September 2012, the Civil Guard began integrating Europol information in its fight against terrorism and organized crime. Previously, only the Spanish National Police had access to the Europol data.

In a joint operation on June 21 in Ceuta, the Spanish National Police and Civil Guard detained eight members of a network recruiting, indoctrinating, facilitating travel, and funding violent extremists being sent to fight in Syria. The network, which operates in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta and across the border in Fnideq, Morocco, is believed to have links to AQ.

A number of ETA members were apprehended in 2013, both in Spain and abroad:

• On January 11, Andoni Lariz Bustinduy and Urtzi Etxeberria Aierdi were arrested in France.
• On April 18, in the Basque Country, six members of Segi, the youth branch of ETA, were apprehended by the regional police.
• On June 11, the Civil Guard arrested ETA members Jon Lazarribar Lasarte and Rubén Geldent González.
• On September 20, Asier Guridi was apprehended in Venezuela with the support of Venezuelan and French security forces.
• On October 8, Belgian police arrested Natividad Jáuregui Espina.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: A longtime member of the Financial Action Task Force, Spain continued to demonstrate leadership in the area of anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance. Spain enacted its current law on Preventing Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism in 2010; the law entered into force immediately. However, implementation of regulations remained underway in 2013.

The regulations will greatly enhance authorities’ capacity to counter terrorist financing by placing greater requirements on financial institutions and other businesses, with stiffer penalties for non-compliance; and, by strengthening monitoring and oversight. The government diligently implemented relevant UNSCRs and had the legal authority to impose autonomous designations. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes:

Regional and International Cooperation: Spain is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), and on October 29-30, hosted a workshop on de-radicalization in prisons. Spain formed the G-4 in January, composed of France, Morocco, Portugal, and Spain, which synchronizes efforts to jointly combat terrorism, drug trafficking, and illegal immigration, with a focus on their shared maritime borders. Spain also continued its leadership role in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and served as Coordinator of its Implementation and Assessment Group, a working group of technical experts.

Spain signed several bilateral counterterrorism agreements. In June, Spain announced plans to create a network to exchange information with Ameripol, the Community of Police of America, to efficiently fight terrorism and organized crime. On September 30, Spain and France signed a declaration to strengthen the countries’ bilateral judicial cooperation to fight terrorism. The agreement will promote information sharing as well as exchanges and joint training of judges and prosecutors from both countries. On December 1, Spain also announced plans to create a joint police panel with Morocco to help fight terrorism and organized crime.

Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: Spain participated in several international meetings focused on countering violent extremism (CVE) and provided funding for CVE programs in countries such as Mali and Mauritania. On October 29-30, Spain hosted the GCTF Ministerial meeting in Madrid on the role of religious scholars in rehabilitation and reintegration programs for violent extremists. Spanish efforts to counter radicalization to violence were tied closely to the fight against illegal immigration and the integration of existing immigrant communities.

Through grants offered by the Foundation for Pluralism and Co-existence, a public office created to support the integration of minority religious communities in Spain, NGOs received funds to develop programs and activities aimed at social cohesion and the integration of minorities.



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