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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
04PARIS8983 2004-12-16 08:08 2010-11-30 16:04 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Paris
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.O. 12958: N/A 

REF: STATE 245841 

ΒΆ1. (U) Post encloses the 2004 annual terrorism report for 
France. Per reftel, Word versions will be e-mailed to John 
Kincannon and Kiersten McCutchan at S/CT. Post POC is 
Political Officer Peter Kujawinski, x.2575. 

France ) 2004 


In 2004, France made progress in a number of areas that 
enhanced its already robust counter-terrorism capability. 
The Perben II law entered into force on October 1, ensuring 
domestic implementation of the European Arrest Warrant and 
expanding the tools police, security and judiciary officials 
can use to combat terrorism. In April, French authorities 
discovered and shut down a network of the Moroccan Islamic 
Combatant Group that was considered to be extremely 
dangerous. In July, it took custody of four former detainees 
at Guantanamo Bay and charged them with terrorist conspiracy. 
All four of the detainees remain in pretrial detention and 
trials are expected to begin in 2005. In October, French and 
Spanish authorities struck a significant blow to ETA 
terrorism in their arrest in France of two top ETA leaders 
and in the seizure of significant arms and materials caches. 
With these and a number of other high profile arrests and 
convictions in 2004, it is clear that France continues its 
aggressive and effective anti-terrorist policies. Despite 
robust U.S.-French cooperation on counter-terrorism, French 
officials continue to differ with the U.S. on the impact of 
Operation Iraqi Freedom on international terrorism, with 
French officials suggesting that Iraq,s liberation has made 
the world less safe and increased international terrorism. 
In 2004, four French nationals were identified as having been 
killed while fighting Coalition and Iraqi forces in Iraq. 


France continues to be an active and engaged participant in 
the international war against terrorism. On the military 
front, its special forces participate in counter-terrorist 
operations in Afghanistan and a French admiral commands Task 
Force 150, a multinational naval force that patrols the Red 
Sea and the Persian Gulf to interdict the movement of 
suspected terrorists from Afghanistan to the Arabian 
Peninsula. At the political and diplomatic level, France 
continues its engagement within the UN,s Counter-Terrorism 
Committee and the G-8,s Counter-Terrorism Action Group. 
France is a party to all 12 international conventions and 
protocols relating to terrorism. 

In 2004, France expanded its cooperation in international 
judicial cooperation. With the entry into force of the 
Perben II law, France incorporated into its domestic 
legislation the provisions of the European Arrest Warrant and 
strengthened its already extensive judicial and police powers 
to combat terrorism. For example, the law outlaws websites 
that post bomb-making instructions. In September, police 
shut down three such websites and arrested a computer science 
student for building one of them. In addition, France signed 
with the United States on September 2 two new agreements that 
updated a bilateral extradition treaty and improved overall 
counter-terrorism cooperation. France and the Netherlands 
were among the first European countries to sign such 
agreements with the United States. 

France and the United States continue to cooperate closely on 
border security issues, including airplane safety and the 
Container Security Initiative. Possible threats to airplane 
flights during the 2003-2004 holiday season were investigated 
jointly by US and French authorities. French police and 
security services have been very responsive to US requests. 
In addition, France is active internationally in proposing 
bioterrorism safeguards and nuclear facility safeguards. In 
March, the Paris Prefecture of Police announced the formation 
of a specialized, 90-person firefighting unit that would 
focus on combating nuclear, radiological, biological and 
chemical terrorist attacks. Also, in May, the French 
government simulated a bomb attack on the Paris metro to test 
the ability of emergency services to respond. 

On terrorism financing, France continues to develop the 
competencies and capabilities of TRACFIN, the Ministry of 
Finance,s terrorism financing coordination and investigation 
unit. TRACFIN has expanded the number of economic sectors it 
monitors within the French economy, with a particular 
emphasis on institutions, non-governmental organizations and 
small enterprises suspected of having ties to Islamic 
terrorism. At the level of the European Union, France plays 
an active role in the Clearinghouse, the Union,s terrorism 
financing coordination body. France has designated as 
terrorist groups those that appear on the EU list of 
terrorist organizations. As of yet, it has not designated 
Hamas-affiliated charities, arguing that they have no links 
to terrorism. It also, along with its EU partners, has not 
designated Lebanese Hizballah as a terrorist organization. 

French authorities consistently condemn terrorist acts and 
have made no public statements in support of a 
terrorist-supporting country on a terrorism issue. 
Nevertheless, France, along with its EU partners, retains 
diplomatic relations with all of the governments designated 
as state sponsors of terrorism, with the exception of North 
Korea. In 2004 it cosponsored with the United States UN 
Security Council Resolution 1559, which targeted Syrian 
domination of Lebanon and called for dismantlement of armed 
groups and militias in Lebanon and extension of Lebanese 
government control throughout Lebanese territory, to include 
areas under the de facto control of Hizballah. 


France is perhaps best known for its seasoned and aggressive 
counter-terrorism police forces and judiciary. Within the 
Ministry of Interior, the DST (internal security service), RG 
(police intelligence), DNAT (counter-terrorism brigade) and 
Brigade Criminelle (criminal investigations) all play 
important roles in French counter-terrorism work. In 2004, 
as part of a move to improve cooperation among France,s 
security services, a new terrorism coordination cell was 
created that will be based in the headquarters of the DGSE, 
France,s external intelligence service and part of the 
Ministry of Defense. Personnel from the RG and the DST will 
be part of the coordination unit. This new initiative adds 
another coordination body to an already crowded field. Other 
coordination mechanisms include UCLAT (a counter-terrorism 
coordination unit with the Ministry of Interior), the SGDN 
(attached to the office of the Prime Minister), the 
Intelligence Council and the Council for Internal Security 
(attached to the office of the President.) There is 
virtually no legislative oversight of intelligence and 
security agencies. 

Terrorism investigations that may lead to criminal charges 
are handled by the counter-terrorism section of the Paris 
Prosecutor,s office. Investigative judges, who in the 
French system combine prosecutorial and judicial powers, 
concentrate on Islamic/international terrorism, Basque/ETA 
terrorism and terrorism linked to Corsican separatist groups. 
Their mandate is extensive, and includes terrorist acts on 
French soil and acts abroad that affect French citizens. 
Their powers are substantial and they are given wide freedom 
to investigate. They cooperate closely with French police 
and security services. 

Under French law, terrorism suspects may be detained for up 
to 96 hours before charges are filed. In addition, suspects 
can be held for up to three and a half years in pretrial 
detention while the investigation against them continues. 
There is general public acceptance of these measures. 
Olivier Roy, a French terrorism expert, told the Associated 
Press on December 7 that &there,s a tradition in France of 
a strong state and people want to have a strong state.8 
Barring the revelation of serious abuses, there is little 
indication that French citizens would want to decrease the 
extensive powers given to French investigating judges, police 
and security services. 

French police and intelligence services within the Interior 
Ministry have extensive powers of surveillance, monitoring 
and administrative detention. These powers were enhanced 
with the March 9 passage of Perben II (with entry into force 
on October 1) and include expanded detention (up to four days 
before charges must be brought), more authority for police to 
go undercover, warrants for searches at night, more leeway in 
granting document searches, and increased authority to 
wiretap. These expanded powers are to be used only in cases 
that involve investigation of organizations &that imperil 
society,8 such as the mafia, drug traffickers and terrorist 
organizations. Even if government authorities are found to 
have misused their new powers, any evidence they have found 
would still be accepted in court. 

Judicial and police investigations following the high-profile 
arrests in 2003 of German national Christian Ganczarski and 
Moroccan national Karim Mehdi continued in 2004. Ganczarski 
and Mehdi, who are suspected of ties to al-Qaida, remain in 
pretrial detention in France. 

The investigation into the activities of suspected terrorist 
Djamel Beghal concluded in late 2004. His trial, as well as 
the trials of seven associates, will begin January 3, 2005. 
The Beghal network is suspected of planning to commit a 
number of terrorist acts, including an attack on the US 
Embassy in Paris. 

French police and judicial authorities arrested six suspected 
members of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM) on 
April 5. An investigation into their activities is ongoing. 
The six suspects are being held in pretrial detention. The 
GICM cell is thought to have provided logistical support to 
those who committed the attacks against Madrid trains on 
March 11. French authorities also arrested five individuals 
in mid-November on charges of stealing one million euros from 
a Brinks delivery truck that restocked ATM machines. These 
individuals are suspected of having links with the GICM cell. 

Judicial and police investigations are also continuing in the 
&Chechen network,8 a loose grouping that is reported to 
have links with the Beghal network and the Frankfurt network 
(which attempted in 2000 to attack cultural sites in 
Strasbourg, including the cathedral). Members of the Chechen 
network reportedly were interested in using chemical agents 
to commit terrorist attacks. French authorities arrested 
Zinnedine Khalid on June 14, one of the suspected members of 
the Chechen network. They also suspect that the Chechen 
network may have links with a possible Asian network that 
included Lionel Dumont, a French citizen in custody who had 
lived previously in Japan. The trial of ten suspected 
members of the Frankfurt network began in Paris on September 
29 and is expected to last three months. 

In May, a Paris court convicted two French citizens, Ahmed 
Laidouni and David Courtailler, and an Algerian citizen, 
Mohamed Baadache, for organizing recruitment networks for 
terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. Baadache received 
the maximum sentence of 10 years under terrorist conspiracy 
laws. Laidouni was given 7 years, while Courtailler was 
given two years in jail along with a suspended two-year 

Following the July 27 transfer of four French citizens 
detained at Guantanamo Bay, French authorities successfully 
argued in favor of their pretrial detention while judicial 
authorities are preparing cases that charge them with 
terrorist conspiracy. These arguments have withstood 
multiple appeals by defense lawyers and the detainees remain 
in pretrial detention. France has been one of the most 
aggressive and proactive countries in prosecuting its 
citizens formerly held by the U.S. at Guantanamo. 

The French government publicly condemned acts of terrorism 
targeting civilians in Iraq on multiple occasions in 2004. 
Nevertheless, throughout the year, French government 
officials, including President Chirac, continued to assert 
publicly that the liberation of Iraq had made the world less 
safe and increased international terrorism. These criticisms 
reflect broader U.S.-French divergences on Iraq policy in 

Four French citizens have been identified in 2004 as killed 
while fighting in Iraq. Amidst concerns that radical 
Islamists with French citizenship were beginning to enter 
Iraq to fight Multinational and Iraqi forces and commit 
terrorist acts in Iraq, the Paris Prosecutor,s office opened 
an investigation into a possible network of Islamists 
recruiting French citizens to fight in Iraq. That 
investigation is ongoing. 

On October 8, an early morning bomb exploded in front of the 
Indonesian Embassy in Paris. No one was killed, although the 
bomb caused significant damage. French authorities continue 
to investigate the bombing. However, responsibility for the 
investigation was transferred to the counter-terrorism 
section of the Paris Prosecutor,s office, signifying that 
the French government suspects terrorism as a motive. 

French and Spanish authorities have jointly made significant 
progress in combating Basque separatist groups, including the 
ETA. In early October, French police arrested Mikel Albizu 
Iriarte and Soledad Iparraguirre, two suspected ETA leaders. 
They also arrested at least sixteen other suspects, and 
seized money and hundreds of pounds of explosives. In 2004, 
the French and Spanish governments have formed two joint 
investigative teams, one focusing on al-Qaida-related groups 
and the second focusing on Basque separatist groups. 

Despite a truce announced in November 2003 by the main 
Corsican separatist movements ) the FLNC Union of Combatants 
) the island continues to experience low-level terrorist 
activities. Examples include the bombing of selected 
commercial and symbolic sites, the machine-gunning of a local 
gendarmerie post in October, and a rocket attack against 
another gendarmerie post in May. No one was killed in these 
attacks, most of which occurred at night. According to 
French authorities, there have been 76 explosions at police 
stations in Corsica over the last three years. French police 
arrested in November twelve of 14 suspected members of the 
&Clandestini Corsi8 group, which claimed responsibility for 
seven recent attacks targeting Corsican residents of north 
African ancestry. 

At the administrative level, France continued its policy of 
expulsions for non-French citizens engaged in what the French 
government considered activities that promote hate. In 
response to sermons from several Muslim clerics determined to 
have threatened public order by calling for jihad, Parliament 
passed a law in July stating that a foreigner can be deported 
for publicly supporting acts of hatred, discrimination or 
violence against any specific person or group of persons. 
The highest profile expulsion in 2004 was that of Muslim 
prayer leader Abdelkader Bouziane, who was first expelled to 
Algeria in April, then returned to France after an 
administrative court suspended that ruling. Bouziane, who 
had made widely publicized statements condoning wife beating, 
was expelled a second time on October 5. In addition, Midhat 
Guler, a Turkish mosque leader and accused leader of the 
extremist group &Kaplan,8 was expelled on April 29. 
Although expulsions have long been a favorite tool used by 
French authorities, in 2004 they gained more prominence. 
Interior Minister de Villepin publicly stated he would make 
expulsion procedures faster and easier. 

In June, following the passage of a law giving new regulatory 
powers to the Conseil Superieur d,Audiovisuel (CSA), 
France,s FCC-equivalent, the CSA began sanctions proceedings 
against al-Manar, a Hezbollah-affiliated satellite television 
station, and al-Alam, a satellite television station based in 
Iran. The CSA accused both stations of anti-Semitic 
programming, propaganda in favor of suicide bombings, and the 
diffusion of hate. The subsequent granting of a limited 
broadcast license to al-Manar on November 19 was 
controversial, and prompted Prime Minister Raffarin to 
declare that al-Manar was &incompatible with French 
values.8 After reviewing al-Manar programming after it 
received its broadcast license, the CSA again petitioned the 
Conseil d,Etat, France,s highest administrative court, to 
ban the station. On December 13, the Conseil d,Etat agreed 
with the CSA, and ordered al-Manar off French airwaves. In 
addition, Raffarin has asked the European Union to weigh in 
on the issue of &non-European8 media and their broadcasting 
of programs that are incompatible with European values 
concerning hate and anti-Semitism. It is clear that for many 
inside and outside the government, stations such as al-Manar 
and al-Alam pose a direct threat to French values, and in 
addition, serve as a rear-guard action fighting the 
government,s efforts to disseminate these values. 

In February, the French government banned satellite 
television station Medya TV from broadcasting in France. 
Medya TV is affiliated with PKK/Kongra Gel, which is listed 
as a terrorist organization by the European Union. 

Worries over the rise of radical Islam in France have 
prompted Interior Minister Sarkozy, followed by his 
successor, Interior Minister de Villepin, to propose a number 
of steps to combat this threat. Some, mentioned earlier, 
focus on better coordination between the many French services 
that deal with terrorism. Other steps focus on the need to 
better integrate France,s minority Muslim population. 
Villepin stated December 7 that it was unacceptable that &of 
the 1200 imams who practice in our country, 75 percent are 
not French and one-third do not speak our language.8 He 
proposed, among other things, the creation of a foundation to 
manage money destined for Muslim groups in France and offer 
greater transparency and oversight of overseas fundraising 
for Muslim institutions in France. According to the Ministry 
of Interior, approximately 50 of 1,685 Muslim places of 
worship are considered to have ties to radical Islam.