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 You are in: Bureaus/Offices Reporting Directly to the Secretary > Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism > Releases > Remarks > 2002

Building Institutional and Regional Cooperation for Combating Terrorism

Ambassador Francis X. Taylor, Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Remarks at the International Conference on Terrorism and Tourism Recovery
Makati Shangri-la Hotel, Manila, Philippines
November 8, 2002

I was delighted when Adviser Golez called me in Washington, and asked me to come to participate in this conference. Conferences are important in the exchange of ideas, but what is more important is what happens after those ideas are exchanged and action is taken. So I would hope that once this conference is concluded and weíve shared ideas that those ideas go home and those ideas get implemented in real, practical ways.

The threat we face is a threat that is global. With our first speaker, we heard about terrorists operating from one country on one side of the world, plotting attacks on the other side of the world, and joining with people from another part of the world to execute those attacks.

We are a global system, living in a global world; interconnected to each other. And the thing that joins us all together is the Internet. Someone sitting in Timbuktu, indeed, can have a conversation in Toledo with someone who shares like ideas that he has never known, never seen, and never will see.

That is the environment that we operate in, and that is why the six cardinal rules of counter terrorism have to be reinforced today. And those six cardinal rules are pretty simple to remember: it takes coordination, coordination, coordination, and it takes cooperation, cooperation, and cooperation. The threat that we face is a global threat, and it takes global coordination and global cooperation to close the seams in which terrorists operate against our countries, our people and, based upon the subject of this conference, our economies.

Let me first focus on the global war on terrorism. President Bush on September 20, 2001, called on the world to join the United States of America in a unique campaign against terrorism. And the President said that this campaign would be unique, not only because of its world-wide scope, but because we would synchronize the use of diplomacy, military power, economic power, law enforcement, and intelligence capability from the United States and among our coalition partners to take on this world-wide threat.

And indeed, to date we have been quite successful, our coalition. Afghanistan is no longer a haven for terrorist criminals to plot against the world. A government that has been selected by the people, and is moving toward independence and a government that does not threaten its neighbors, or provide a sanctuary for terrorism now rules it. Al Qaeda no longer has a base of operations. Its training infrastructure in Afghanistan has been destroyed. Its leaders are on the run, not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan but also throughout the world. Weíve arrested, along with our law enforcement partners, more than 2,700 al Qaeda operatives and members in more than 90 countries around the world. Indeed, Mr. Aysu had mentioned the fact that law enforcement had been surprised by the scope of al Qaeda operations. And weíre surprised every day where we find al Qaeda and al Qaeda adherents throughout the world. After September 11, we spoke about al Qaeda existing in more than 50 countries, and as I mentioned, one year later, we now have arrested, with our law enforcement partners, in more than 90 countries. And indeed, I predict, that before this campaign is over, we will have arrested al Qaeda members, al Qaeda associates in every country throughout the world.

But thatís not the end of the global war on terrorism. Al Qaeda, indeed, is on the run. But regional terrorist groups, such as Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya, present an even more immediate threat, most especially to Southeast Asia. We must work together to prevent al Qaeda from taking even deeper roots through JI or Abu Sayyaf, or MILF or the other groups within the region, while working harder to root out other, regional terrorist groups.

One need only think about October 12 in Bali. And I am pleased that General Pastika is here to talk about that very, very important investigation which he is so ably and professionally leading; an international team to unravel the events of October 12, and to bring those individuals to justice. But that attack shows that terrorism threatens us all, and it can happen anywhere. It is also an example of the connection between the global economy and international terrorists. Bali thrived on international tourism. It was a soft target, and the repercussions of that attack, I would submit, not only impacted Indonesia but also tourism throughout ASEAN. According to the World Bank, over 360,000 jobs in Indonesia were effectively lost because of that one attack. And an Indonesian official stated to the press that the economic impact of that attack, in Indonesia alone, was 5.6 billion rupiah. The cost of terrorism, as devastating as it is to individual loss of life, has tremendous economic impact on our countries and our governments. Those jobs that were lost in Indonesia were connected to a global economy that enables tourists from Australia, Europe, the United States, Japan and many other countries around the world to go to beautiful beaches and resorts, and the resorts of Bali, and to vacation spots here in the Philippines and in many other nations around the world.

This global economy is supported by global institutions: transportation systems and security standards, which allow millions of travelers to travel globally every year. International banking and financial institutions are the lifeblood of our tourist industry as well as our financial organizations. Information systems allow advertising communications to go worldwide to attract the global travelers that I spoke about earlier. More fundamentally, political institutions, democracy, and the rule of law create the stability that allows our economies to prosper in this global environment that we operate in. These global institutions are key to our prosperity, but they can also be exploited by terrorists who use them to move money, manpower, and materials -- such as explosives or weapons -- across borders and through our banks.

Now, those of you who have heard me speak know that I am a sports nut, and when I am in America, I talk about American football, but since I am talking internationally, Iím going to talk about international football. Terrorists exploit seams, seams that are created when nation-states do not communicate and coordinate with each other. Now, if you play soccer, and my daughter is a pretty good soccer player, sheís a striker on her team. If she goes toward the goal, she has one objective, and that objective is to confuse the defense. To get two defenders not talking and thinking together, so that the ball can go through and the other striker can get to the ball and get it into the goal one-on-one with the goalie.

Thatís how terrorists operate. They exploit the same seams of defenders that do not cooperate, do not think in unison, and do not apply tools in a synchronized way against their activities. Thatís how our global institutions become threatened. In the global world, small cells of terrorists have become the true transnational threats without the need for a state sponsor or a single home base. They support themselves through global networks of crime, complex fund-raising operations -- both legal and illicit Ė charities, and business operations. As 9/11 taught us all too well, we live in a world where events in a small, land-locked South Asian country can have life or death implications on the citizens of more than 90 countries who died on 9/11 in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Bali brought that same message home to us here in Asia. An attack in Bali can have implications on an entire industry of tourism within this region. Our challenge, therefore, is to increase security while maintaining the free flow of goods, services, people, and information that builds economic prosperity in our global world. The key is institution building. I submit to you that we are all up to the challenge, if we take the lessons from conferences like this, and take them home and apply them.

In the world already there are many guides to help us enhance security while promoting prosperity. The UNís 12 conventions on countering terrorism outline key areas for improvement. I have to congratulate our host, the Philippines, for being party to 11 of the 12 conventions. My nation has ratified all 12 conventions. I would ask you, as you go home, if itís not been done, to make sure itís done, because it provides the legal framework for taking on terrorists. The Financial Action Task Force, called the FATF, has 40 recommendations for creating an anti-money laundering regime, and eight special recommendations on countering terrorist financing. Indeed, as we implement those recommendations, as we build our financial intelligence units, we attack the lifeblood of terrorists. No terrorist organization can exist and operate without money, and it is through those cooperative, international efforts that we shut that money off. We also do it by building cooperative, or comprehensive, anti-money-laundering regimes and anti-terrorist financing regimes.

All that takes time, but without it, terrorists will continue to exploit the seams that are created by the lack of nations having compatible financial intelligence capabilities. Many of these steps will require legislative support. As I mentioned, the United States has passed all of the CT conventions in our legislation and has also passed laws that increase the tools that are at the disposal of our law enforcement and intelligence and other authorities. The Philippines has an anti-terrorism legislative package before its congress now that would criminalize terrorism and expand authorities for CT action. I would commend the Philippines on that, and I know that weíre all looking forward to its passage of those measures.

Some states suffer from weak or corrupt law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Some have lack of effective legal instruments to prosecute terrorists. Others have porous borders, easily exploited by terrorists, drug traffickers and those who traffic in persons. Some simply need better administrative organization to its resources to bear against terrorism. It is through cooperative conferences, like the one today, where we share with our colleagues our needs, and our colleagues respond. The United States of America stands ready to assist any country in helping to build its institutions, write its laws, and improve its capability to fight against terrorism. Indeed, without that commitment this global war on terrorism will be lost, because we will not have the capacity to work together as a global community against this threat.

As we move forward on building our CT capacity, we must continue to work together. We must exchange information, share best practices, collaborate on operations, and synchronize our efforts against our enemies. The United States has recently designated Jemaah Islamiya as an al Qaeda-related terrorist group, and an unprecedented -- unprecedented -- 50 nations around the world joined the United States and ASEAN in asking the UN to designate JI. That kind of solidarity will cause us to win this war against terrorism.

All ASEAN nations have also supported the U.S. in our ASEAN declaration on counter- terrorism cooperation, which we signed at the Asia Regional Forum in August. The United States will support this process with training for police, with assistance for border security, financial training, and assistance in drafting CT legislation. We will work closely with our partners in the region, sharing intelligence and consulting on CT actions and policies.

This conference today, and others planned in the coming months, also clearly shows the commitment of the Southeast Asian nations to working together to fight terror. Our task is to translate that commitment into action, and to take actions that build strong, democratic institutions that respect human rights and the rule of law; institutions that increase security, protect our prosperity; institutions that are part of a society in which terrorism can find no place to root.

That task is already begun, and it is up to us to maintain our resolve to finish what we have started. The war on terror will not be won today, nor will it be won tomorrow, but it will be won over time with long and dedicated commitment by all of us. We must remain committed, we must cooperate, and if we do so, we will prevail.

Now I know that there are many who believe that this global war on terrorism is a war against Islam, a war against people from the Muslim world, a war against people who donít agree with the United States of America. This war against terrorism is a war against one thing: that is against criminals who would use indiscriminate violence against innocent human beings for political purpose. Those criminals know no religion. They know no allegiance to any nation. They only know one thing: and that is to harm human beings for political purpose. The world stands against that. That is what this campaign is about. That is what our President asks the world to join us to fight against. And indeed, that is what we will sustain this campaign against until that behavior is no longer acceptable in our global community.

Roy, again, thank you for the opportunity to come and share these ideas and thoughts with you and the people assembled here. We have much work to be done. We are committed to working with you to ensure that it gets done, and that we all can protect our people, our nations and, indeed, our global system from this kind of tyranny.

Thank you very much.

 


Released on November 8, 2002

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