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Chapter 13 Terrorism & Terrorists. Chapter Summary. Chapter Thirteen is an overview of domestic and international terrorism. The Chapter begins with a definition of terrorism and the extent of terrorism worldwide.

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Chapter 13 Terrorism & Terrorists

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Chapter 13 Terrorism & Terrorists

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Chapter Summary

  • Chapter Thirteen is an overview of domestic and international terrorism.

  • The Chapter begins with a definition of terrorism and the extent of terrorism worldwide.

  • Chapter Thirteen then outlines three major terrorist groups throughout the world.

  • This is followed with a discussion of terrorist groups within the borders of the United States.

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Chapter Summary

  • The Chapter concludes with possible causes of terrorism and how law enforcement is attempting to combat terrorism.

    After reading this chapter, students should be able to:

  • Define terrorism

  • Explain the difference between terrorists and freedom fighters

  • Discuss the extent of terrorism

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Chapter Summary

  • Understand Al-Qaeda, the PLO, and Hizballah

  • Discuss terrorism in the United States

  • Explain the causes of terrorism

  • Discuss law enforcement’s policy for combating terrorism

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  • Terrorism has a long history

  • The term terrorism itself is believed to have originated with the French Revolution.

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Terrorism Defined

  • Terrorism is highly organized and conducted primarily for political or religious reasons.

  • The FBI defines terrorism as: The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social goals.

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Why Terrorism?

  • Terrorism is a tactic used to influence the behavior of others through intimidation.

  • Terrorists typically appeal to a higher moral good.

  • Terrorists strike at innocents because the very essence of terrorism is public intimidation.

  • Terrorism has an ultimate purpose.

  • Every time terrorists gain an objective they have sought, the rationality of terrorism in demonstrated along with its immorality.

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Is there a Difference between Terrorists & Freedom Fighters?

  • Freedom fighters are fighters in wars of national liberation against foreign occupiers or against oppressive domestic regimes they seek to overthrow.

  • Freedom fighter activity is typically confined to third-world dictatorships or one-party states, while terrorists operate mostly against liberal Western democracies.

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Figure 13.1

International Terrorist Attacks, 1982–2003

Source: U.S. Department of State (2004). Patterns of Global Terrorism, 2003.

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The Extent of Terrorism

  • Although terrorism has ancient roots, it became far more prevalent, deadly, and destructive from the late 1960s onward, because:

  • The instability experienced by many countries following WWII

  • The high point of conflict between the superpowers

  • Modern transportation

  • Modern technology

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The Extent of Terrorism

  • Of the 74 terrorist groups listed by the U.S. Department of State (2003), only three of the groups still active originated before 1960.

  • We are seeing fewer terrorists incidents as counter terrorism becomes more sophisticated.

  • Although deaths and injuries caused by terrorists are matters of grave concern, the damage to a society as a whole is more psychological than physical.

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Terrorism & Common Crime

  • Terrorist organizations must be financed.

    Funding may come from:

  • Governments sympathetic to the cause.

  • Private sympathizers

  • Common criminal activities

  • Nongovernmental organizations

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Table 13.1

International Terrorist Attacks, 1982–2003

Sources: 2000 - 2003 terrorism figures from U.S. Department of State (2004); the 2004 figure from the National Counterterrorism Center. Homicide figures from the 2001 through 2005 UCRs.

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  • Al-Qaeda is not a single terrorist group but rather the base organization for a number of Sunni Muslim terrorist groups.

  • Al-Qaeda got its start under Osama bin Laden in the late 1980s.

  • Bin Laden and his organization are virulently anti-West in general, and anti-American in particular.

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Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

  • The PLO serves as an umbrella organization for several groups serving a variety of ideologies and agendas united by Palestinian nationalism.

  • The PLO was created at the first Arab Summit meeting in Egypt in 1964 with the aim of liberating Palestine from the Israelis.

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Hizballah: Party of God

  • Hizballah is the best contemporary example of a state-sponsored terrorist organization.

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  • It was organized by the Shi’ite religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini to fight the secular rule of the Shah of Iran.

  • The more radical among modern Shi’ites view the existence of a Jewish state in an area they also consider holy to be an affront to Islam.

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Table 13.2 Some Major Terrorist Groups

Source: Department of State (2004). Patterns of Global Terrorism.

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Table 13.2 Some Major Terrorist Groups

Source: Department of State (2004). Patterns of Global Terrorism.

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Table 13.2 Some Major Terrorist Groups

Source: Department of State (2004). Patterns of Global Terrorism.

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Terrorism in the United States

  • Left-wing terrorism in the United States became active during the turmoil of the 1960s.

  • Some left-wing terrorist groups in the United States:

  • Weather Underground

  • May 19 Communist Organization

  • Revolutionary Armed Task Force

  • Black Liberation Army

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Ideological: Right-Wing

  • Most right-wing American groups characterized as terrorist are extremist rather than terrorist groups in that they hold views that are to the extreme right of mainstream.

  • Some right-wing terrorist groups in the United States: Aryan Nations

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There are a number of groups in the United States that employ terrorist tactics that have no grand sociopolitical agenda but rather seek to resolve special issues:

Animal Liberation Front

Earth Liberation Front

Anti-Abortion Groups

Special-Issue Domestic Terrorism

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Theories about the Causes of Terrorism

  • Terrorism cannot be understood without understanding the specific historical, social, political, and economic conditions behind the emergence of each terrorist group.

  • The groups originated in response to some perceived injustice.

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Theories about the Causes of Terrorism

Many Islamic terrorists are recruited from religious schools known as madrasas.

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Is there a Terrorist Personality?

  • No study of terrorist psychology has ever produced a psychological profile leading the majority of terrorist experts to suspect that there is any such thing as a terrorist personality.

  • Terrorist groups live on the fringes of the host society & espouse a violently radical vision of reality.

  • We should look at what terrorist groups have to offer if we want to understand why individuals join them.

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Is there a Terrorist Personality?

  • The terrorist group is made up of three types of individuals.

  • The charismatic leader is socially alienated, narcissistic, arrogant, and intelligent.

  • Antisocial individuals have opportunities in terrorist groups to use force and violence to further their own personal goals.

  • The majority of terrorists are simple followers who see the world purely in black and white and have deep needs for acceptance.

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Becoming a Terrorist

  • The bulk of terrorists are probably better characterized as crusaders convinced of the moral rightness of their cause.

  • The willingness to perform terrorist acts may reflect a process of moral disengagement more than a manifestation of pathological and/or criminal traits the individual brings to the terrorist group.

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Law Enforcement Response & Government Policy

  • There are a number of ways a democracy can respond to terrorism, ranging from making concessions to military intervention.

  • Concessions are only likely when there is moral substance to the terrorist cause, or when such concessions are reasonable.

  • Military intervention may be used when the terrorist threat is too big for civilian authorities to handle.

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Law Enforcement Response & Government Policy

  • The principle of international law obliges countries to either extradite terrorists to the country where their crimes were committed or to punish them themselves.

  • The mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to detect, prevent, prepare for, and recover from terrorist attacks within the United States.

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Law Enforcement Response & Government Policy

  • The US Patriot Act grants federal agencies greater authority to track & intercept private communications, greater powers to the treasury Department to combat corruption & prevent money laundering, & creates new crimes, penalties, and procedures for use against domestic & foreign terrorists.

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