By Humphrey Carter
THE High Court judge who tried to bring General Pinochet to Justice, Baltasar Garzón, said in Palma yesterday that an international organisation needs to be set up to tackle terrorism and drugs. Garzón, addressing some 1'500 experts on drug addiction attending the world federation of therapeutic communities' convention in the Majorcan capital, said there is a close link between terrorist organisations and international mafia. “They have similar objectives and structure, they also pose a threat to stable democracies and the basic institutions of all western states.” The judge said that the present level of international co-operation in the war on organised global crime is “insufficient.” He said that a single agency should be set up to wipe out international crime and terrorism and that, in turn, the new organisation should be able to rely on being fed all relevant information from all the international security forces. “Organised crime and terrorism are the two main threats to the stability of the countries we live in,” he said. “At the moment, the only saving grace is that no criminal organisations have managed to establish a global infrastructure so, if we act fast, we can permanently disrupt organised crime,” he told the convention. Using the March 11 attacks on Madrid as an example, he said the direct relations between drugs and terrorism is closer than we envisaged.
The explosives used in the March 11 railway bombings were exchanged for some 30 kilos of hashish bought by the Islamic terrorist suspect El Chino in Palma and Ibiza just a week before the blasts. But on a broader scale, he said that organised international drug smugglers and dealers often turn to terrorist methods to either defend or expand their business interests. Garzon highlighted the close links between the drugs cartels and the terrorist organisations in South America. “Terrorists and drug dealers may be different entities, but they're all working within the same world of organised crime. “But in order to effectively combat terrorism, we need a much greater level of co-ordination between the security services and a greater exchange of information. “Furthermore, any new government anti-terrorist policies and strategies have to account for organised criminal activity and the various associated criminal activities,” he said. Having tackled the Basque terrorist group ETA, spearheaded the campaign to extradite Pinochet from London to Spain to stand trial for human rights abuse, Garzon has taken action against the semi-official GAL death squads operating in the Basque country in the early 1980*s. He is also investigating Al Qaeda's operations in Spain and links to the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington which were partly planned in Spain. Garzon has so far indicted bin Laden and 34 others, many being held in Spain, in the attacks.


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