HomeNewsAnalysisWikiLeaks: US Worried About Islamic Militants In Tri-border Region

WikiLeaks: US Worried About Islamic Militants In Tri-border Region


In a cable sent to the US Embassy in Asunción, released by WikiLeaks, US officials outline the "need" to obtain information about Islamic militant activity, its connections to organized crime and its penetration of the Paraguayan state, especially along the tri-border area. 

The area borders Brazil and Argentina and is long known for its drugs, arms and contraband trafficking. Islamic militant groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas are also thought to use the area as a safe-haven and money laundering center. In the cable, and obtained via the Guardian newspaper, the US official asks its officers in Paraguay to search for "evidence of terrorists' or terrorist support networks' involvement with narcotrafficking, money laundering, human smuggling, and/or other criminal activities as a means of obtaining funding or other logistical support."

What follows is the cable, in full:


1. (S/NF) This cable reports the results of a recent Washington review of reporting and collection needs for Paraguay. The review produced a list of priorities (paragraph 5) intended to guide participating USG agencies as they allocate resources and update plans to collect information on Paraguay. The priorities also serve as a useful tool to help the Embassy manage reporting and collection, including formulation of Mission Strategic Plans (MSPs).

2. (S/NF) Important information often is available to non-State members of the Country Team whose agencies participated in the review of this National HUMINT Collection Directive. COMs, DCMs, and State reporting officers can assist by coordinating with other Country Team members to encourage relevant reporting through their own or State Department channels. 3. (S/NF) Please note that the community relies on State reporting officers for much of the biographical information collected worldwide. Informal biographic reporting by email and other means is vital to this effort. When it is available, reporting officers should include as much of the following information as possible: office and organizational titles; names, position titles and other information on business cards; numbers of telephones, cell phones, pagers and faxes; compendia of contact information, such as telephone directories (in compact disc or electronic format if available) and e-mail listings; internet and intranet "handles", internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent flyer account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information.

4. (S/NF) This National HUMINT Collection Directive (NHCD) is compliant with the National Intelligence Priorities Framework (NIPF), which was established in response to NSPD-26 of February 24, 2003. If needed, GRPO can provide further background on the NIPF and the use of NIPF abbreviations (shown in parentheses following each sub-issue below) in NHCDs.

5. (S/NF) Priority issues and issues outline:

A. Terrorism and Crime 1) Terrorist Threats and Activities (TERR-2) 2) Government Counterterrorist Response (TERR-2) 3) Impact of Corruption and Government Response (CRIM-3) 4) Narcotics Trafficking and Government Response (DRUG-3) 5) Money Laundering (MONY-3)

B. Political Dynamics and Democratization 1) Political Stability (DEPS-3) 2) Democratic Practice and the Rule of Law (DEPS-3) 3) Foreign Relations (FPOL-4) 4) Human Rights (HRWC-5)

C. Economy, Trade, and Investment 1) Economic Policies and Performance (ECFS-3) 2) Trade (TRAD-4) 3) Foreign Investment (TRAD-4)

D. Military and Security Issues 1) Critical Infrastructure Protection (INFR-4) 2) Military Structure and Capabilities (FMCC-4) 3) GRPO can provide text of this issue. 4) Health and Medical Developments (HLTH-4)

E. Information Infrastructure and Telecommunications (INFR-4)

6. (S/NF) Reporting and collection needs:

A. Terrorism and Crime

1) Terrorist Threats and Activities (TERR-2) - Information on the presence, intentions, plans and activities of terrorist groups, facilitators, and support networks - including, but not limited to, Hizballah, Hamas, al-Gama'at al-Islamiya, al-Qa'ida, jihadist media organizations, Iranian state agents or surrogates - in Paraguay, in particular in the Tri-Border Area (TBA). - Indications or evidence of terrorists' or terrorist support networks' involvement with narcotrafficking, money laundering, human smuggling, and/or other criminal activities as a means of obtaining funding or other logistical support; details on companies or organizations linked to terrorists or terrorist activity, to include financial transactions, shipping records, addresses, and associated companies/organizations. - Terrorist or terrorist support network plans and activities in the areas of recruitment, training, support, communications networks, local and regional command and control. - The arrival or expansion of Islamic NGOs or leaders with known or suspected radical affiliations. - Ties between and among terrorist organizations; evidence of terrorist links to government-including local/regional-officials, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) (such as Jama'at al-Tabligh, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, and the Muslim World League), front organizations (including companies providing logistical or financial support), and organized criminal groups. - Identities information of terrorist members to include fingerprints, arrest photos, DNA, and iris scans. - Modus Operandi of individuals and terrorist groups, their use and/or modification of passports, seals/caches, and travel documents. - Plans, intentions, and activities of domestic terrorist groups and regional terrorist groups that operate in Paraguay.

2) Government Counterterrorist Response (TERR-2) - Information on the government's policy, plans and intentions for addressing the terrorist threat, including support for or opposition to the United States in the war against terrorism; Paraguay's position in regional and international fora, including support for or objection to U.S. counterterrorism policies. - Security services' capabilities, at the national and local levels, to counter terrorist groups and their activities; government plans or intentions to further develop or expand those capabilities. - Details of police and security services' efforts and programs to identify, monitor, and disrupt terrorist activities throughout Paraguay, and particularly in the TBA. - Government plans and efforts to deploy biometric systems. - Willingness to cooperate with the U.S. Government and other governments on counterterrorism issues, including the sharing of terrorist data; challenges (political, economic, financial, or personal) the government or government officials face which may influence their cooperation. - The status of, and prospects for, counterterrorism-related legislation.

3) Impact of Corruption and Government Response (CRIM-3) - Details about organized crime groups, including leadership, links to government or foreign entities, drug and human trafficking and smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, illicit arms trafficking, money laundering, connections to other international organized crime or terrorist groups, movement of organized crime into legitimate business structures, their locations, support structures and means of coordinating operations, with particular emphasis on their efforts to influence, suborn or corrupt government, law enforcement or security officials. - Information on the involvement of government, military, or security services personnel in corrupt practices, including officials involved in narcotrafficking and arms smuggling, trafficking in persons, funds diversion, influence peddling, bribe solicitation, blackmail, fraud--especially of travel documents--and nepotism; the impact of government corruption on efforts to pursue, capture, and prosecute terrorists and the effect on popular confidence in the government. - Details of corruption in government offices, particularly in the attorney general's office, the judiciary, and the customs service; status of any government efforts to combat corruption. - National, regional, or international criminal activity, including economic distortions caused by criminal activity; the government's efforts to devise and implement plans and policies to combat criminal activity; the level of cooperation with foreign security services on detecting, monitoring, and intercepting illicit arms and other smuggled goods.

4) Narcotics Trafficking and Government Response (DRUG-3) - Details of narcotics trafficking and associated criminal activities, particularly in the TBA and other border regions; illicit drug shipments and trafficking nodes, modalities, and routes. - Details on drug trafficking organizations, including leadership (biographic information and biometric data), communications (types and sources of technologies used), and methods of operation, to include processing and storage sites, methods of laundering money, and activities of front companies (financial activities, shipping records, addresses, and associated companies). - Traffickers' subversion or coercion of political, economic and judicial officials and systems, including attempts to gain influence through campaign contributions; impact of corruption from drug traffickers on executive offices, legislatures, military and security organizations. - Connections between narcotics traffickers and international organized criminal or terrorist groups. - Government control and enforcement plans, organizations, capabilities, and activities; military and police roles in combating drug trafficking or contributing to the trafficking. - Government plans and efforts to interdict the movement of narcotics through the TBA and elsewhere. - Details of legislative initiatives to improve counternarcotics enforcement and prosecutions.

5) Money Laundering (MONY-3) - Evidence of international organized crime, terrorist networks, drug producers, people smugglers, arms traffickers, government officials, military, and security services involvement in money laundering. - Details on the methods used to conduct illicit financial transactions. - Identification of financial organizations and businesses (names of personnel and physical location/address of entities), including exchange houses and informal mechanisms such as hawalas, involved in money laundering, the means employed, and the amounts and frequency of activity. - Government willingness and ability to enforce current law, investigate, and prosecute money laundering and illegal financial activities, to include plans to tighten financial controls and strengthen its financial intelligence unit. - Information about the underground market for treasury notes, bearer bonds, and other financial instruments.

B. Political Dynamics and Democratization

1) Political Stability (DEPS-3) - Plans and intentions of the government and ruling party to prepare for, or influence the outcome of, the April 2008 election. - Leading candidates and emerging leaders -- to include their views of, and plans for relations with, the United States, Venezuela, Cuba, and other Latin American nations - especially for the 2008 election. - Political parties' and candidates' preparations for the 2008 election; electoral politics, party platforms, tactics, and strategies employed in the run-up to the election and plans for the post-election period. - Information-before and after the election-on governing and opposition parties' alliances, rifts, internal factions, and constituencies, including key people, tactics, and strengths. - Details of post-election internal politics and political maneuvering during the transition from one administration to another. - Information on financial or material support to candidates, parties, or interest groups from foreign governments, especially from Cuba or Venezuela; post-electoral aid commitments from foreign governments. - Details of corrupt, illegal, or unethical activities aimed at subverting the electoral process. - Biographic and financial information on all leading contenders, and especially on Minister of Education Blanca Ovelar, former Vice President Castiglioni, Lino Oviedo, and Fernando Lugo; and biometric data, to include fingerprints, facial images, iris scans, and DNA, on these individuals.

2) Democratic Practice and the Rule of Law (DEPS-3) - Evidence of commitment, or lack of commitment, on the part of the government, political parties, or special interest groups to democratic principles, rule of law, transparent, corruption-free governance practices, and free and fair elections. - Details of political deal making and bargains and the resulting impact on popular confidence in the elections and the political process; indications of government or political party bargaining over the candidacy of Lino Oviedo and his campaign.

3) Foreign Relations (FPOL-4) - Information on the government's foreign policy plans and intentions toward neighboring states, regional powers (including the United States), and key international actors. - Status of the government's relations with and views of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his domestic and foreign policies and actions; the Paraguayan government perspective on Venezuelan efforts to influence Paraguay's political process or leadership. - Information on Paraguay's relationship with Cuba and the Paraguayan government perspective on Cuban activities and influence in Paraguay; Paraguay's policy on Cuba in international and regional fora and the Paraguayan leadership's views of the United States' Cuba policy. - Student exchange programs and philanthropic activities in Paraguay sponsored by Cuba or Venezuela. - Paraguay's relations with the MERCOSUR organization and its member countries in that multilateral environment. - Details of Paraguay's position on U.S. policies and actions in the region and internationally, including Paraguay's views on, and participation in, multilateral sanctions endorsed by the United States and/or the United Nations. - Information on key bilateral regional relationships, especially for Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Bolivia. - Relations with Iran and information on Islamic facilities, including mosques, cultural centers, etc., supported by Iran. - Information on other key bilateral international relationships, especially for China, Taiwan, and Russia.

4) Human Rights (HRWC-5) - Government plans and intentions with regard to human rights issues, in particular willingness to crack down on - or disregard - violations by police, military or security services. - Performance of the police, military, and security services in upholding or violating human rights. - Government programs and efforts to prevent violence, trafficking in persons, prostitution, forced labor, slave labor, or vigilante activity.

C. Economy, Trade, and Investment

1) Economic Policies and Performance (ECFS-3) - Information on the state of the economy, the national budget, and internal and external debt; information on economic indicators, particularly for growth and inflation, including views of the government, political leaders, academics and other experts on Paraguay's economy and its future prospects. - Details on government efforts to improve economic performance by developing and implementing policies on taxes, investment, labor, or other resources. - Details of the effects on the general population of economic developments and programs. - Impact on the economy of the discovery of potentially large gas and oil deposits in the Chaco region. - Government willingness and capability to fairly and equitably enforce the law on economic, financial, and banking issues and uncover/prevent illegal activities. - Paraguay's interest and participation in the MCA Threshold Program.

2) Trade (TRAD-4) - Status of trade with Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and other countries in the region, including government positions on future opportunities, areas for expansion, and potential areas of conflict; the impact of MERCOSUR on Paraguay's trade and the Paraguayan government's assessment of its benefits, potential drawbacks, and future prospects. - Paraguay's intentions with regard to ratifying Venezuela's membership in MERCOSUR. - The Paraguayan government's policies and positions related to trade with the United States; indications of genuine Paraguayan interest in negotiating a trade agreement with the United States; developments in Paraguay's position on intellectual property rights legislation and enforcement. - Paraguayan plans and intentions to expand their requests for market access to the United States beyond their traditional commodities - beef, textiles, and sugar.

3) Foreign Investment (TRAD-4) - Government plans and intentions to attract additional foreign investment to Paraguay, including details of incentives and disincentives for foreign investment in Paraguay. - Government and business views on the impact of rising crime and concerns about the independence of the judiciary on foreign investment, and government plans to deal with these concerns. - Paraguay's plans, policies, motives, and intended actions on intellectual property rights issues. - The Paraguayan government position on or participation in the Venezuelan initiative to create a regional development bank, the Bank of the South.

D. Military and Security Issues

1) Critical Infrastructure Protection (INFR-4) - Paraguay's approach to critical infrastructure protection strategies and technologies; efforts to reduce the vulnerability of key systems, including energy (e.g., hydroelectric), telecommunications, and transportation. - Overtures to the United States and others for assistance in planning and implementing protective measures. - Legislation or executive actions undertaken to improve infrastructure security, especially the physical security of power generation and distribution systems.

2) Military Structure and Capabilities (FMCC-4) - Capabilities of the military, current and future, in light of recent decisions to downsize and re-organize; objectives and expectations for the budget and missions of this future force. - Evidence of denial and deception (D&D) programs, including: personnel, organizations, strategies, tactics, technologies, activity scheduling, or support by foreign countries; evidence of satellite tracking or a satellite warning program, especially any foreign involvement. - Capabilities, plans, and intentions for participation in international peacekeeping operations. - Intentions with respect to cooperation with U.S. military forces, including the potential for reinstatement of a Status of Forces Agreement. - Information on military cooperation, assistance received or provided, or interaction with others in the region, for example, the training provided by Argentina; status of international military cooperation or assistance programs, such as the kinds of military support that might be offered by China, Iran, Venezuela, Taiwan, or other countries. - Plans and intentions for weapons and equipment acquisitions, including details on suppliers. - Reactions to major arms acquisitions by countries in the region. - Paraguayan views on Venezuelan and Bolivian military actions and activities, in particular, Bolivian deployments near the border of Paraguay. - Indigenous R&D, production, repair, maintenance or upgrade of military material. - Details on joint cooperation or co-production arrangements. - Details on military command, control, communications, computer and intelligence (C4I) systems. - Biographic and financial information and biometric data on military leaders.

3) GRPO can provide text of this issue and related requirements.

4) Health and Medical Developments (HLTH-4) - Infectious disease outbreaks; national strategies for dealing with infectious disease, including detection and control. - Capabilities and quality of medical care in private, public, and military medical facilities. - Disaster planning and response capability. - Sources, locations and levels of environmental and chemical contamination of air, water, food, and soil that might affect health; content and location of toxic industrial chemical production and storage facilities.

E. Information Infrastructure and Telecommunications (INFR-4) - Details of telecommunications and information systems, networks, and technologies supporting Paraguayan national leadership, military, foreign intelligence and security services (FISS), and civil sector communications. - Define Paraguayan wireless infrastructure, cellular provider information, and makes/models of cellular phones and their operating systems. - Define Paraguayan satellite communications infrastructure, to include VSAT networks and use of point to point systems. - Information on communications practices of Paraguayan government and military leaders, key foreign officials in country (e.g., Cuban, Venezuelan, Bolivian, Iranian, or Chinese diplomats), and criminal entities or their surrogates, to include telephone and fax numbers and e-mail addresses, call activity (date, time, caller numbers, recipient numbers), phone books, cell phone numbers, telephone and fax user listings, internet protocol (IP) addresses, user accounts, and passwords. - Identify national and supranational telecommunications regulatory, administrative, and maintenance organizations. - Identify scope of Paraguayan telecommunications encryption efforts, details on the use of and efforts to acquire modern telecom technologies, regional and national telecommunications policies, programs and regulations. - Details on information repositories associated with RFID enabled systems increasingly used for passports, government badges, and transportation system. RICE

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