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Chapter 17 - Defining Terrorism

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  1. Chapter 17 - Defining Terrorism

  2. Terrorism in the US prior to 9/11 • Bombings with the Union movement - Haymarket Square • Have any presidential assassinations been terrorism? • Abortion clinic bombings and shootings? • Oklahoma City • The earlier bombing of the World Trade Center • Were the Black Panthers a terrorist group? • PETA? • The Unibomber?

  3. What are We Fighting? • Is terrorism the problem, or is terrorism just a technique, like the blitzkrieg? • Can we fight terrorism or do we have to fight the groups that sponsor it? • Why is this harder for NGO terrorists? • What about individuals with personal agendas? • Is terrorism a natural part of the modern world? • Asymmetric warfare?

  4. What makes a Crime a Terrorist Act? • Can you tell from the act itself? • Blowing up a city market as part of a protection racket? • Murder of a politician because of her views? • Drive by shootings in a drug war? • How is this like the definition of hate crimes?

  5. Terrorists v. Freedom Fighters? • How does the frame of reference determine whether an act is terrorism or freedom fighting? • Is killing civilians the key? • Does it have to be intentionally killing civilians? • Do we give violent antiabortion groups the same attention as Islamic extremist groups? • How does the characterization of the acts change in history when the terrorists win the conflict and become the legitimate government?

  6. Why does the Legal Definition of Terrorism Matter? • The designation by the Secretary results in blocking any funds which the organization has on deposit with any financial institution in the United States. • Representatives and certain members of the organization are barred from entry into the United States. • Perhaps most importantly, all persons within or subject to jurisdiction of the United States are forbidden from ‘‘knowingly providing material support or resources’’ to the organization. • Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, 8 U.S.C. §1189

  7. Definitions of Terrorism

  8. NSDD-207 • that terrorists use or threaten violence against innocents ‘‘to achieve a political objective through coercion or intimidation of an audience beyond the immediate victims.’’

  9. State Department • ‘‘premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.’’

  10. 8 U.S.C. §1182(a)(3)(B)(iii) • (I) The hijacking or sabotage of any conveyance. . . . • (II) The seizing or detaining, and threatening to kill, injure, or continue to detain, another individual in order to compel a third person (including a governmental organization) to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the individual seized or detained. • (III) A violent attack upon an internationally protected person . . . or upon the liberty of such a person. • (IV) An assassination. • (V) The use of any— • (a) biological agent, chemical agent, or nuclear weapon or device, or • (b) explosive, firearm, or other weapons or dangerous device (other than for mere personal monetary gain), with intent to endanger, directly or indirectly, the safety of one or more individuals or to cause substantial damage to property. • (VI) A threat, attempt, or conspiracy to do any of the foregoing.

  11. Must there be One Definition? • It is estimated that there are more than 150 slightly different definitions of terrorism in the USC • What is the legal significance of multiple definitions of terrorism? • Does this pose constitutional problems for vagueness?

  12. First Trade Center Bombing - U.S. v. Yousef, 327 F.3d 56 (2nd Cir.(N.Y.) 2003) • Is terrorism banned by jus cogens? • Are there acts that do violate jus cogens that could also be terrorism? • Were the Nazi death camps terrorism? • Rounding up people in towns and shooting them? • What did Justice Bork say about the definition of terrorism in customary international law?

  13. Why did Justice Robb say it was non-justiciable? • [I]nternational ‘‘law’’, or the absence thereof, renders even the search for the least common denominators of civilized conduct in this area [defining and punishing acts of terrorism] an impossible-to-accomplish judicial task. Courts ought not to engage in it when that search takes us towards a consideration of terrorism’s place in the international order. Indeed, when such a review forces us to dignify by judicial notice the most outrageous of the diplomatic charades that attempt to dignify the violence of terrorist atrocities, we corrupt our own understanding of evil.

  14. People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran v. Department of State, 327 F.3d 1238 (D.C.Cir. , 2003) - cite is wrong in the book • What are the plaintiffs contesting? • What happens if they lose? • What did the court require the secretary to do for due process? • We held that the Constitution requires the Secretary in designating foreign terrorist organizations to provide to the potential designees, ‘‘notice that the designation is impending.’’ We further required that the Secretary must afford the potential designee an ‘‘opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.’’

  15. Did the Secretary Comply? • Why did plaintiffs say the notice of charges did not comply with the due process requirements? • What did plaintiffs admit they have done that the court thinks justifies the classification? (475) • Plaintiffs claim this law interferes with their 1st Amendment right of free speech. How does the court answer this?