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Viewing cable 09BRASILIA1206, BRAZIL: POLICE PUBLICLY ADMIT AL QAEDA'S PRESENCE;

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BRASILIA1206 2009-10-01 15:03 2010-12-05 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Brasilia
VZCZCXRO9250
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #1206/01 2741515
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 011515Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5163
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 0018
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 6366
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 7828
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 0343
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 9985
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 8248
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 4607
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC//DI//
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 BRASILIA 001206

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR S/CT SHARI VILLAROSA AND WHA.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/29/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER PINR BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL: POLICE PUBLICLY ADMIT AL QAEDA'S PRESENCE;
GOB DENIES TERRORISM A THREAT

Classified By: Charge d' Affaires, a.i. Lisa Kubiske, reason: 1.4 (b) a
nd (d)

1. (U) Summary: The head of the Brazilian Federal Police,s
(DPF) intelligence division admitted publicly during a
Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, hearing on terrorism July 7
that an individual arrested in April on hate crimes-related
charges was in fact linked to al Qaeda (AQ), the first time a
Brazilian government official has gone on record admitting
this link. The admission followed earlier denials by non-DPF
Brazilian government officials responding to press reports
that the individual was linked to the terrorist group.
During the hearing, Minister Jorge Felix, head of the Office
of the Presidency,s Institutional Security Cabinet (a
combination DNI, ONDCP, with some NSC-like attributes), stuck
to the usual script, despite the admission, and denied there
was any evidence that terrorists had or would be interested
in establishing a presence in Brazil, even as he asserted
that Brazil remained vigilant to the threat. As part of this
vigilance, Felix reported during the hearing that GSI had
created a new counter-terrorism (CT)-focused entity within
its structure as well as an interagency working group to
draft a new national security law, which could end up
addressing Brazil,s single biggest inadequacy when it comes
to its CT efforts: lack of CT legislation. While Felix, the
DPF, and members of Congress agreed on the need for CT
legislation, there is a lack of will in the GOB to expend the
political capital to do push it, as a result of ideological
and historical concerns that such legislation might be used
against legitimate opposition and social movements. Concerned
to maintain Brazil,s position as a racially, ethnically, and
religiously harmonious society, the GOB is hesitant to engage
in what it thinks might be perceived as provocative foreign
and domestic policy. Nonetheless, post believes that the good
operational cooperation on CT between our law enforcement
agencies enjoy and Brazil,s general commitment to
international counterterrorism norms provide a basis to
engage the GOB and spur gradual change in Brazil,s mindset.
In light of Brazil,s growing global clout, this could pay
dividends well beyond Brazil. End summary.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
We have and have had Al Qaeda in Brazil
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (SBU) During a 7 July hearing of the Chamber of Deputies
Organized Crime and Public Security Committee, Daniel Lorenz
de Azevedo, head of the DPF,s intelligence division publicly
admitted for the first time that the DPF believed the
individual arrested on April 26 for hate crimes in Sao Paulo,
Khaled Hussein Ali was, in fact, believed by the DPF to be
closely linked to al Qaeda. As global head of the Jihad
Media Battalion, Lorenz noted during the hearing that Ali had
performed duties for the terrorist group, from propaganda to
logistics, recruitment, and other activities. (Note: In late
May, the press started reporting on the 26 April arrest of
the then unidentified Ali,s links to AQ, which were followed
by quick statements by the prosecutor denying that the
individual had any ties to terrorism. That same week, during
a meeting with CODEL Thompson, General Felix categorically
denied the terrorism and AQ connection, even as he noted that
it was a DPF matter. End note.)

3. (U) Lorenz further stated that Ali was not the first or
only AQ-linked individual to have lived in or transited
through Brazil. He mentioned Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,s trip
to Foz de Iguacu in 1995 (subject of a cover story in Veja
magazine several years ago). He further noted that the DPF
has monitored several other "extremists" that have transited
through Brazil or had taken up residence in the country.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
General Felix: We will never admit anything
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4. (U) During the hearing, Felix testified that it was the
government,s belief that terrorists could potentially use
Brazilian territory for transit, to exploit its resources, or
for safehaven. He further added that, even as Brazil has
maintained an aggressive posture to prevent such activity

BRASILIA 00001206 002 OF 005


from taking place, "we haven,t seen any confirmation that
such activity has ever taken place, even if the media claims
otherwise."

5. (U) Faced with questions from Members of Congress who were
keying off of Lorenz testimony, Felix added that Brazil,s
public stance regarding the presence of terrorism is part of
a deliberate strategy on the part of GSI and an assessment of
what is in Brazil,s best long-term interest. Felix noted
that over the years he has had the opportunity to meet with
officials from various countries at all levels, including
those who affirm that there may be terrorists in Foz de
Iguacu and Sao Paulo, and to date none of these countries
that make these statements, going back to the AMIA bombing,
have ever provided Brazil with evidence that this is the
case. He further added, with emphasis, that "even if a
problem were to appear, we won,t admit that the problem
exists." According to Felix, this "denialism" is a posture
that he believes will "protect" Brazil. He observed that
modifying this language could provoke actions by unwelcome
elements and could set back a policy that, while it
repudiates terrorism, seeks to avoid inviting or importing
threats.

- - - - - - - - - -
Yet, Threats Abound
- - - - - - - - - -

6. (U) Felix characterized the theoretical risks Brazil faces
as pretty low. He added that, "because of our external
policy, our domestic characteristics, our international
projection, our image of a positive peaceful country with
various ethnicities and religions interacting peacefully in
harmony" there is little risk of attacks against Brazil. At
the same time, Felix recognized that the risks are not the
same when discussing foreign structures within Brazil. The
situation in those cases is different, particularly when it
comes to ideological or religious terrorism, which does not
respect frontiers. He cited Argentina,s experience, which
suffered two attacks in the 1990,s against its Jewish
community. It shows, according to Felix, that even in a
country that faces reduced risks against its own interests,
it can suffer attacks against foreign interests in that
country. Felix also added that, because of Brazil,s vast
territory and porous borders, it can be difficult to monitor
the movement or activities of terrorists within Brazilian
territory.

7. (U) Lorenz disagreed with Felix,s characterization of the
level of risk Brazil faces. He noted that the DPF has
followed terrorism since 1995, a year after the AMIA bombing.
In that time, DPF has seen several phases in the evolution
of the terrorist threat in Brazil. First, DPF began with the
notion that terrorists could be transiting or hiding in
Brazil, but that there was no threat of attacks in Brazil.
Lorenz used KSM,s travel through Foz de Iguacu in December
of 1995 to illustrate this phase. Then the DPF started
noticing that some of those who were transiting or hiding
were beginning to establish residency in Brazil by marrying
Brazilian women and adopting Brazilian children. In a third
stage, DPF began seeing that some Brazilians began to be
captivated by extremist ideology and the idea of martyrdom.
Some Brazilians have left Brazil for what the DPF believes is
extremist religious instruction in Iran and other places in
the Middle East. Finally, the DPF has begun to see some of
those foreigners that achieved permanent residency start
preparations for acts outside the country and helping
terrorist groups with recruitment, training, logistics
support, and reconnaissance for terrorist actions not in
Brazil. This last stage, added Lorenz, was what the DPF saw
in Ali,s case. He added that the DPF,s perception is that
things are evolving and that in this continuing evolution of
activity, which still remains outwardly focused, could
perhaps evolve in a different direction eventually.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Consensus on one thing: TBA not a problem
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


BRASILIA 00001206 003 OF 005


8. (U) While offering differing views in some areas, both
Lorenz and Felix agreed that the Triborder Area (TBA) is not
a problem anymore. According to Lorenz, the question of
financing for groups for Islamic groups out of the TBA is a
non-issue, adding that "we have found that Zakat is a normal
thing." He criticized attacks on Brazil from foreign
countries, including the United States, that accuse Brazil of
ignoring this fundraising, especially after the DPF has found
that most of the money that goes from the TBA passes through
the United States on its way to Lebanon. "We have told the
Americans, I can guarantee that this money that goes to
Lebanon passes through the United States, I can prove it"if
you think this money is for terrorism, why won,t you stop it
yourselves," adding, we can give you the names and bank
accounts.," Lorenz continued, "people who know TBA in the
1990s, like I did, know that it is not now what it once was.
It is now the Chinese criminal networks who are the most
active there, not the Arabs."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Lack of Legislation a Problem
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

9. (U) Federal Deputy Raul Jungmann (PPS, Socialist People's
Party, opposition; of Pernambuco) questioned Felix on
Brazil,s failure to pass terrorism legislation. He told the
story of talking to an advisor to Minister of Justice Tarso
Genro who told Jungmann that passing anti-terrorism
legislation could actually invite terrorism into Brazil. He
finally asked Felix if Brazil could condemn terrorism in its
constitution and various other laws, sign all 13
international conventions against terrorism, have
anti-terrorism divisions in the DPF and ABIN, why couldn,t
it have it legislation dealing with terrorism? Without
directly answering Jungmann, both Felix and Lorenz
acknowledged that the lack of terrorism legislation is a
limitation for Brazil. The DPF acts, noted Lorenz, via
connected crimes. Lorenz stated that the DPF looks to see if
terrorists are committing crimes related to terrorism, such
as preparatory acts. For example, he noted, a terrorist
could enter the country to commit a terrorist act and the DPF
would look at whether he used fraudulent documents or had
immigration violations; if he were to use a car bomb, they
would see if he stole a car. In some cases, he added, the
DPF has already used this approach to neutralize people with
Islamic extremist leanings.

10. (U) In the case of Ali, he used the LAN house (or
cybercafe) he ran to lead and coordinate the activities of
Jihad Media Battalion. At the beginning, noted Lorenz, he
used it for to perform propaganda on behalf of AQ,s cause.
Later it turned ito a space for recruitment, support,
training, communications, operational security, and battle
orers for actions outside Brazil. The DPF started te
investigation after the FBI passed them an IP ddress used by
a person in Brazil. But, Lorenz dded, we arrested him not
because of these activities, and not because of the battle
orders to case places for actions outside Brazil, but through
technical surveillance to decipher and break encryption his
messages, which allowed us to find instances of hate crime,
such as anti-Semitism and preaching hate against West. Ali
was not just engaging in hate crimes, Lorenz hastened to add,
but that was enough to charge him for a crime, even if it was
a lesser crime with low penalties.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Building new structures
- - - - - - - - - - - -

11. (U) Responding to Congressional questions of what
measures Brazil has taken to prevent terrorist activities in
Brazil, Felix responded that in addition to signing all 13 UN
and OAS conventions on the topic, which require actions by
GOB, Brazil has cooperative relations with police and
intelligence units with many countries. In addition, he
added, Brazil has been active in monitoring entry points and
has progressively improved capabilities in this area. Brazil
has also focused on of military, federal police, and state
police forces focused on combating terrorism. Brazil,

BRASILIA 00001206 004 OF 005


according to Felix, has closely studied the Spanish model,
particularly in the area of responding to attacks. Felix
noted that the Spanish response to the Madrid train bombings
was very effective, as the trains were running shortly after
the attacks.

12. (U) Brazil is also, according to Felix, currently
elaborating a bill for the "defense of sovereignty", which
will update the old national security law. The GSI-chaired
Council on Foreign Relations and National Defense is working
with MoJ on this proposal. (Note: the Council on Foreign
Relations and National Defense, or CREDN, is a National
Security Council-like body not to be confused with the
Foreign Relations and National Defense Committees in Congress
which also use CREDN for their initials. End Note.).
According to Felix, the CREDN working group is going to try
to come up with a list of crimes that constitute terrorism,
and noted that "eventual punishments are less important; more
tricky is which crimes should be included." He added that
there were still some weeks to go before the working group
finishes up its work, but that they would soon submit the
proposal to the ministries and after that to the President
for approval before being introduced before Congress.

13. (U) Felix also discussed the newly created Nucleus of the
Center for the Coordination of Activities for the Prevention
and Combat of Terrorism, to be housed within GSI. According
to Felix, this nucleus emerged from discussions the GOB had
in 2004-05 as part of a project to create a national
counterterrorism authority, which would have created a
national agency to prevent and combat terrorism. In the end,
noted Felix, they concluded that the attributes of an
anti-terrorism "agency" would render it unworkable within the
Brazilian system, so GSI decided on creating a "center."
However, because of bureaucratic difficulties in creating
such a center, GSI went ahead and proposed the creation of
this nucleus.

14. (U) The problem for GSI in creating a "center" is that it
does not have its own personnel. GSI officials are all
seconded from other agencies. According to Felix, GSI will
be sending proposal to Congress to allow GSI to have its own
personnel. It will be staffed on a part-time basis by the
officers that are detailed to GSI. The nucleus will follow
actions related to terrorism; promote threat assessment
studies; and provide coordination among the various
ministries. (Comment: The "center" Felix referred to does
not exist. GSI needs statutory authority to be able to
create a center that will have its own staff. The newly
created "nucleus" is in essence a proto-center, similar to
the U.S. Terrorist Threat Integration Center, that could,
after gaining statutory authority, eventually morph into a
"center", or something somewhat equivalent to the U.S.,s
National Counterterrorism Center. End comment.)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Comment: Long-Term Engagement Needed
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

15. (C) Lorenz,s admission represented a rare instance in
which a Brazilian public official admits that AQ-linked
individuals are either in, or have transited through, Brazil.
That it was admitted publicly by one of Brazil,s top
authorities on the subject of terrorism should give the
United States some cover when engaging in
counterterrorism-related dialogues with Brazil, including at
the 3 Plus 1. It will also be helpful as we engage Brazilian
audiences on the issue of passing CT legislation. In a
surprising public admission, Felix, Lorenz, and members of
Congress present at the hearing all agreed on the need to
pass anti-terrorism legislation, with Lorenz stating point
blank that the reason the Jihad Media Battalion,s Ali could
not be charged with a more serious crime was inadequacy of
current laws.

16. (C) Unfortunately, the admission appears unlikely to
change Brazil,s public posture. While there appears to be
an agreement in the GOB on the need to pass CT legislation,
there is a lack of will to expend the political capital to do
so. General Felix stuck to the script even as he was being

BRASILIA 00001206 005 OF 005


contradicted, a script we have also heard from interlocutors
at Brazil,s foreign ministry. Revealingly, Felix admitted
that no matter what evidence is presented Brazil,s posture
is deliberate and will not change. The argument boils down
to this: Brazil is a racially, ethnically, and religiously
harmonious society that engages in a correct and
un-provocative foreign policy. As a result, Brazil is not a
target of terrorists. In order to maintain this position,
Brazil must do nothing that will make it a target, such as
taking a higher-profile or more confrontational approach to
counterterrorism efforts or actively looking to pass
anti-terrorism legislation.

17. (C) To further complicate matters, many senior officials
in both the government and the opposition were labeled
terrorists and suffered exile, prison, or in some cases
torture, under the military regime that ended in 1985. This
is the case, for example, of the two most prominent
presidential candidates to replace Lula in 2011, Lula,s
minister of the Civil Household Dilma Rousseff and Sao
Paulo,s opposition governor Jose Serra. In addition, many
in the current government fear that members of what they
consider to be legitimate social movements fighting for a
more just society might be branded terrorists. Finally,
Brazilians express concern that anti-terrorism legislation
would be viewed as directed at Arab-Brazilians or Foz do
Iguacu, and thus would become a divisive issues. As a
result, many Brazilian officials are uncomfortable with
giving the state greater authority to fight terrorism.

18. (C) This mindset presents serious challenges to our
efforts to enhance counterterrorism cooperation or promote
passage of anti-terrorism legislation. At the same time, with
good operational cooperation on the issue between our law
enforcement agencies, Brazil,s stated commitment to
international anti-terrorism regimes, and work underway to
draft a new national security law, there is every reason to
enhance our engagement with the Brazilian government on this
issue. Although there is little chance of an immediate
change in posture or that a new national security law will be
seriously considered in Congress before the 2010 presidential
elections, we should begin engaging the GOB now on this
issue. Securing passage of anti-terrorism legislation,
changing the mindset of senior officials with regard to the
threat that terrorism poses, and finding acceptable ways to
cooperate on terrorism will be a long-term effort requiring
commitment and creativity on our part. In light of Brazil,s
role as a regional leader and its growing role as a global
power, the investment will likely pay dividends well beyond
Brazil.
KUBISKE