Saturday 15 May 2021

Coronavirus is boosting the breeding ground for extremism: AIVD

The AIVD’s headquarters in Zoetermeer. Photo: Wikipedia

National and foreign threats against Dutch society took on different and often complex forms in 2020, partly due to coronavirus, the national security service AIVD said in its annual report.

Part of this came in the form of anti-government protests against the coronavirus measures, in which a small group endorsed or showed willing to use intimidation, threats and violence, the AIVD said.

In particular, right-wing extremist groups began ‘emerging from the shadows’ and going public, presenting their ideas as respectable. These groups, the AIVD said, are gradually gaining a foothold in public protests.

Nevertheless, the agency said, jihadi terrorism remains the biggest direct threat facing the Netherlands, because of the influence of international developments. ‘An ISIS revival or an attack, or a new conflict zone can mobilise jihadists in the Netherlands, increasing the threat,’ the AIVD said.

The report also said industrial espionage is remains a serious threat to Dutch economic security and prosperity and the AIVD is focusing more on identifying, preventing and combating it.

For example, in December 2020, the AIVD dismantled an extensive network of people who shared high-quality technological knowledge with two Russian spies.

In order to guarantee national security, more needs to be invested in the security service, particularly in its capacity to tackle cyber crime, the AIVD said.

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