Cuban American Veterans Association
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30 April 1999


(State Department issues "Patterns of Global Terrorism") (1280)

By Susan Ellis

USIA Staff Writer

Washington -- The State Department issued its annual report on
"Patterns of Global Terrorism" April 30, containing a list of state
sponsors of terror that has not changed since August of 1993.

The seven countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism are:
Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. In addition,
the U.S. government certified an eighth country -- Afghanistan -- as
not fully cooperating with U.S. antiterrorism efforts.

In an April 30 statement issued by the State Department, Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright noted two trends -- fewer incidents of terror
but more deaths caused by those incidents.

"Fewer international terrorist incidents were reported in 1998 than in
any year since 1971. But more people were killed in the attacks that
did occur than in any year on record," she said. This demonstrates
that the United States "has done much to make it harder for terrorists
to operate and that we must do more because terrorists now have access
to technology that is incredibly destructive."

Albright emphasized that direct government involvement in committing
terrorist acts continues to decline, but that "this progress has been
countered by the rise of terrorist groups that are less directly
dependent on states.

"Some have broad geographical reach and have found ways to support
themselves through criminal enterprises such as drug smuggling,
kidnapping and extortion," she noted.

"Our response has been to launch a full court press against terror,"
Albright said, adding that the United States will use a wide range of
foreign policy tools, from military force to "vigorous diplomacy, the
negotiation of treaties, the enforcement of laws, the sharing of
information, the offering of rewards, the development of new
technology and the improvement of our security."

In the latter regard, protection of U.S. diplomatic posts is being
strengthened as the significance of this year's report is heightened
by the bombing August 7, 1998 of U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es
Salaam, with a heavy loss of life and many injuries.

A senior State Department official who briefed reporters on April 30
noted that two Presidential Decision Directives of the past year, PDD
62 and PDD 63, address the threat of international terrorism from
weapons of mass destruction and other potential threats posed against
critical (information) infrastructure both in the United States and
abroad by organizing the entire U.S. government against such threats.

Asked about the impact of the terrorism designation on countries
named, the official said the primary impact is the political pressure
brought to bear by "calling them the pariahs they are. We're then able
to isolate them and bring political pressure on them to try to change
their behavior," he said, adding "It worked." There has been a clear
and continuing downward trend in the amount of direct state-sponsored
terrorism, he said.

In addition, the official said, the designation "blocks financial
transactions, prevents fundraising on their behalf... (and blocks) the
ability of their people to operate in the United States."

The official added that there is a new threat today from " non-state
sponsored terrorist groups like the (Usama) Bin Ladin organization
....These organizations do not have as tight links to government or
states, although they have some. They have independent means of
raising financing, of recruiting people, of finding areas to train,
plan and launch their operations."

The United States is "designing strategies to bring pressure to bear
on them as we have in the past with those organizations that were more
directly supported by state sponsors," he said.

Asked why Cuba is designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, he said
that "Cuba, quite bluntly, continues to provide safe haven for
terrorists. And they will remain on the list while they continue to
provide safe haven for a number of terrorist organizations."

He said that Cuba and several other states on the list "could take
what we consider not difficult steps to move them off the list of
state sponsorship. But they haven't done so to this day," even though
the United States encourages them to do so.

Asked why North Korea and Libya, charged with no international
terrorist acts in several years, are listed,while Afghanistan, with
several incidents reported, is not, the official said that though the
traditional state sponsors have "moved away clearly from the direct
sponsorship of terrorist organizations...that does not absolve them
from their state sponsorship. They are harboring groups that are still
conducting terrorist acts."

Terrorism continues to be "a major problem around the world today,"
the official said, "to a large extent because countries are allowing
groups to operate and give haven, and so (while) their
direct linkage is less, the combination of allowing groups to operate
within their borders and providing them direct and indirect support
prevents us from closing the chapters on these terrorist acts. And
that's why they remain on (the list)."

He added that the United States has "laid out a roadmap for North
Korea on what they need to do" to be removed from the state
sponsorship list, but so far they have refused to do it.

For all seven designated states "it is a very clear path for them" to
follow in order to have their names removed from the list, he noted.

Afghanistan is omitted because the United States does not recognize it
as a state, he said. "Bin Ladin, whose organization wraps around the
world, with many of his headquarters in Afghanistan, was designated
with an executive order. We are putting tremendous pressure on the
Taliban right now regarding the presence of Bin Ladin within areas of
their control," but as a non-state, Afghanistan has no seat in the
United Nations, "and that's why they are not on (the list)." He
declined to comment on whether Afghanistan would be "number eight" on
the list if it were a state, saying that the question is hypothetical.

The officials said that many international terrorist organizations
continue to operate within the United States, and that the FBI "acts
vigorously" against them. "The FBI has made...great progress against
many (terrorist) organizations in arresting people...and clamping down
on their activity. If you notice again this year, there were no acts
of international terrorism conducted in the United States and I
commend the efforts of the FBI and other law enforcement communities
for continuing to put pressure on organizations that reside within the
United States."

Regarding paramilitary groups, the official said the State Department
is "beginning to take a see whether they fall into any
category. But I'm aware of those organizations and the violence they
represent and I'm looking at it."

Asked whether the State Department has considered putting the Kosovo
Liberation Army (KLA) on the list, he said, "The KLA has not fallen
into the category of a foreign terrorist organization.";

Asked whether fostering political change by targeting civilians is not
sufficient reason to be labeled a terrorist group, the official
responded: "We have a definition agreed upon for our purposes with(in)
the State Department, the Justice Department and others involved in
this. And it's fairly specific. It doesn't mean we don't condemn other
types of violent behavior...but we are restricted by the laws that
we're required to report on. But that doesn't limit our government
from criticizing other types of behavior."

The complete April 1999 report by the U.S. Department of State on
Patterns of Global Terrorism, 1998, may be found on the State
Department's Internet website (