Annual report 2004 published
The General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) is conducting an investigation into several radical Islamic networks in the Netherlands. In addition to branches of international terrorist networks, local cells have also formed in the Netherlands. There are no definite indications that these cells are controlled internationally. The investigation of terrorist networks has the highest priority for the AIVD. This is stated in the AIVD annual report for 2004, which has been sent to the Lower House today by the Minister of Justice, Johan Remkes.
Events in the past year have shown that is not only ‘soft targets’, such as the terrorist assaults in Madrid on 11 March, which can fall prey to terrorist attack. The murder of the Dutch film producer Theo van Gogh on 2 November 2004 shows that attacks can also be prepared and committed by individuals, making their timely discovery extremely difficult. The AIVD points out that the movement to Europe of radicalised Muslims, who have had training and experience in carrying out attacks, represents a threat which the AIVD compares with the role played by veterans from Afghanistan in the 1990s.
The AIVD signals an increase in the religious radicalisation of young Muslims, pointing out that young people, under the influence of an ultra-orthodox interpretation of Islam, are cutting themselves off from Dutch society and in extreme cases become susceptible to recruitment for the jihad. A recent phenomenon is that young people are radicalising themselves through images and texts they see on radical websites and through contacts made in Internet chat rooms. The phenomenon of radicalisation is not limited to the Moroccan community; a trend can also be observed in the Turkish community suggesting that a radicalisation process is taking place. According to the AIVD, a small number of people embrace the radical Islamic ideology of salafism. The AIVD believes that both the government and civil-society organisations have a role to play in combating radicalisation.
The events following the murder of Van Gogh exposed a degree of tension and lack of understanding in Dutch society. The violent reprisals, such as arson attacks on Islamic institutions, were largely attributable to younger persons, including the group known as ‘Lonsdalers’. According to the AIVD, these young persons could provide a fruitful recruiting ground for right-wing extremist movements, though there is so far virtually no evidence of any successful recruitment. Left-wing (violent) activism is currently at a low ebb, and animal rights activism also showed its more moderate side in 2004 by engaging in mainly peaceful actions.
The changing AIVD
The AIVD stands on the verge of a radical process of change. Not only will the Service be enlarged by several hundred staff in the coming years, but the quality of its investigations and use of data will also be increased. A number of key initiatives were already taken last year, such as the forging of an alliance involving the AIVD, Netherlands National Police Agency (KLPD), the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), the Public Prosecution Service (OM) and the Military Intelligence and Security Service(MIVD) in order to pool information on individuals who are associated with radicalisation and terrorism.