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  #1  
Old October 16th, 2008, 6:32 pm
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Domestic terrorism

As this threatens to take another thread into the tangled forests of OT-land (and with the indulgence of the lovely mods) we might talk about domestic terrorism.

Much attention has been paid to international terrorism. But acts of domestic terrorism rarely rate more than a few lines (if that) outside of the area where they are committed.

To hopefully avoid tedious debates about legitimacy (the old freedom fighter/terrorist cliche) we can try to stick by the FBI definition (sightly paraphrased): "The unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual...without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives".

It's a pretty broad remit which has been used to describe elements as far-reaching as Tim McVeigh, anti-abortionists, the Unabomber, the Weather Undrground, environmental activists, ultra-nationalists and race haters of all stripes (and colours).

A couple of questions:

Do you think the FBI definition is to broad?

Do you think that enough attention is paid to dmoestic terrorism?

Have you been affected directly or indirectly by an act of domestic terrorism?


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  #2  
Old October 19th, 2008, 5:08 am
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Re: Domestic terrorism

I don't think the definition is too broad, Wab, no. I think it pretty much fits the description of every act of domestic terrorism I've noticed. And, in general, I do not think domestic terrorism is noticed as much as it should be. I suppose I would ask if you've heard of the Tamil Tigers, GRAPO, Kach or the Black Widows? These are actually marginally large ones that we seem to forget in today's world, depending on where we are and why.

Historically, I would question the Black Panthers, the Interhamwe, Ku Klux Klan, God's Army- and what they stood for. These are just some older examples.

I suppose that within this realm, I place the IRA, its operatives and all of its operations, which I will always condemn. My country is not to be used and abused to fervently further the views of a minority existing from dreams that have turned to nightmares because they themselves have made it that way. Nor is this a bitter thought, but a statement of my own views.

In terms of whether I have ever been affected, I would say yes. I was never involved in an actual attack, but in 1998, I clearly remember the Omagh bombing. It was a shocking waste of human life and it disgraced us all. We thought the bad times had gone, and then it escalated into something we had tried to cast out for so long. I was so, so ashamed, aged eight, to know that I had survived in my safe home when those in another city, may age and only eight hours from me- had died.

I promised on that day that I would be more involved in state affairs and that I would never be so selfish as to believe myself above the political movements of the day. I'm about as politically active as a person can be, and I trace it back to that day. So in that sense, domestic terror has spurned me on and made me more aware of my surroundings.

I think domestic terror presents a huge threat. It's an assurance, as though we needed one, that all is not well in the world, and that if anything, there is even more now for us to fix than there ever was before. What about you Wab? Feel like answering your own questions? And, incidentally, wonderful thread.


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  #3  
Old October 19th, 2008, 6:49 am
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Re: Domestic terrorism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wab View Post
To hopefully avoid tedious debates about legitimacy (the old freedom fighter/terrorist cliche) we can try to stick by the FBI definition (sightly paraphrased): "The unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual...without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives".

Do you think the FBI definition is to broad?
No. Only, I would include "with or without foreign direction". Because I think domestic terrorism is linked to international terrorism in certain cases.

Quote:
Do you think that enough attention is paid to dmoestic terrorism?
Not really. Speaking about my country, people seem to find it very easy to plant bombs and kill others. There is the mafia, which is very strong and many are controlled by political parties which makes it difficult to track down such criminals and punish them. And domestic acts of terror and intimidation are condutcted by the Mafia most of which have the blessing of one political party or other and in certain cases, political parties themselves use certain issues to create chaos, threaten people and commit acts of vioelnce and intimidation against others IMO.

Quote:
Have you been affected directly or indirectly by an act of domestic terrorism?
I live in Bombay, where I have seen a lot of terror attacks that ripped my city apart; I have lived through a curfew scared, alone with my baby daughter and no communication for I did not have a phone at that time, (my husband was travelling and could not return immediately to Bombay, flights were cancelled he did come as sson as he could, paying the taxi some 10 times the normal fare as the taxi made the journey from airport to home in 10 minutes; usually it'd take about half an hour without traffic and about 2 hours during peak times).

My husband also lost a colleague in one of the recent blasts on the Mumbai trains; he was a newly married guy who had just fixed an apartment to bring his wife to live with him.

Governments al over the world can do so much if only they take the right initiative, but sadly they don't seen to care and I really would like to see political persons punished for their negligence as much as I would like to see those who indulge in such horrible acts punished and preferably with their lives, so that they cannot harm others ever again.


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  #4  
Old October 19th, 2008, 3:33 pm
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Re: Domestic terrorism

I understand what you mean, TGW, and though I don't know the situation in your country so well, I'm shocked to hear that it seems your government doesn't care enough.

It's one of the reasons I'm so proud of my own leaders- they worked so hard to try to stop the IRA's actions, to the extent that now we live in relative peace- but they also make sure that we never forget the old times.

I do wonder whether we're too obsessed with the external terror groups- such as the really famous Al Qaeda- and whether we leave ourselves down by trusting to hope that those inside our boundaries will act better. It seems redundant to me that any person would choose to attack their own country, and I think it is reasonably above my level of comprehension. I almost prefer it that way. If I sympathised, I would scare myself.


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Old October 19th, 2008, 7:02 pm
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Re: Domestic terrorism

Quote:
Originally Posted by vampiricduck View Post
I understand what you mean, TGW, and though I don't know the situation in your country so well, I'm shocked to hear that it seems your government doesn't care enough.
Well it's pretty pathetic! India is a wonderful country with so much in her; only she is raped by her own people, who have assumed the position of leaders, while in reality do nothing much for the rest. Education is still not 100% all over the country and corruption is rampant everywhere, from the lowest to tyhe highest levels. And yet despite all this we have have achieved quite a bit. Only, this is too little IMO, with the amount of resources we have. If we had the will, I think we could have done so much more. I live in hope.

Domestic terrorism is a huge problem in India, where today bombs both crude and sophisticated seem to explode everywhere almost on a regular basis that it is plain scary.


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  #6  
Old November 2nd, 2008, 3:25 am
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Re: Domestic terrorism

I think were just still seeing the effects of 9/11. We focus more on international terrorism because it has been responsible for more damaging attacks. If domestic terrorists had done something that major, they would get more attention. I'm not trying to say that domestic terrorists shouldn't get the same attention as international ones, which they should, thats just why I think they don't get that attention.


  #7  
Old November 2nd, 2008, 4:05 am
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Re: Domestic terrorism

I agree with you, WitchHunter we focus on what causes damage we all associate with.

I had a refresher course tonight. Let me explain. I attended the Setanta Sports Cup Final (soccer) between Glentoran (In East Belfast, Northern Ireland) and Cork City FC (In Cork City, Republic of Ireland). In the past, Northern Ireland and the Republic have been at loggerheads as a result of the Republic laying claim to the six counties that make up the North. In recent times (since about 1998), we have stopped this claim holding and now we are essentially separated- it looks to be permanent. In past generations, this has led to huge IRA action, attacking any idea of this one island being separated. Such animosity led to "The Troubles", a series of anti Ulster (and anti Ulster-cooperative) actions by the IRA that resulted in too many deaths to count. It was a sad time, for both Republic and Northern quarters.

Allow me to here put a disclaimer. I in no way support the extremist movements of my fellow countrymen- Northern or Republic. In my generation, times have changed a bit. The question over who owns what land is not as blatant, thankfully, and what I post here is merely one persons perspective of a sporting event- and I have tried to be as un biased as I can be. No offence is meant, nor do I intend any harm to any place, person, club or association I mention.

Prior to the beginning of the match, the Glentoran supporters waved a flag in the air which read "East Belfast Behind Enemy Lines". The flag bore the symbol of the Red Hand of Ulster- which can be interpreted many ways, most of them benign. When collaborated with the slogan however, it seemed to infer that the people of East Belfast had come "behind Enemy lines" to Cork for the match- as though the Republic were an enemy. The hand symbol inferred to some of my own supporters (I first noticed it when the people behind me mentioned it) to be a symbol of past times come back to haunt us.

Allow me to clarify- I spoke with more than one Glentoran supporter after the match (which Cork City won), and they were honestly so much fun and so wonderful to chat to. It just seemed, earlier on, that the banner was somewhat unhelpful and had no place at a soccer match which had nothing to do with national pride and in fact was part of a competition to foster cross border relations in Soccer. It just appeared to be too militant in its words- which was unhelpful, given the fact that riot police and members of the national Police were also in attendance- and that a publican in the locality was assaulted earlier on, resulting in the closure of two pubs for the evening (though I am unsure who was responsible for the assault and in no way infer that it had anything to do with either club. It was just contributory to unease).

I'm unsure what to think overall (having heard only the doubts of the people behind me)- but there's no denying that the tension was evident between North and South during the match- it was a bit more vindictive than the usual Cup Final.

Personally, it was a very sad experience- I had thought we were over this, and I welcomed the flying of the Union Jack over my stadium in my own city. It was such a shame that such sad times were mentioned during Glentoran's visit with such wonderful supporters. I was ashamed that some of my fellow supporters could feel ill at ease with the Union Jack flying in my city- and I was further ashamed that those same supporters (however few in total numbers) chose to read a bad meaning into a banner that was likely meant with nothing but good intentions and sportsmanship.

I wrote this only to show that domestic terrorism, even in the past, can have the saddest effects on the future.

Yet again, I refer to my disclaimer, because this is a very fresh observation of past times. I put this post here because it shows clearly a long term effect of domestic terrorism.


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  #8  
Old April 21st, 2009, 4:36 pm
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Re: Domestic terrorism

FBI's Newest 'Most Wanted' Terrorist Is American

Quote:
Originally Posted by Associated Press
The move to add a domestic, left-wing terrorist to the list comes only days after the Obama administration was criticized for internal reports suggesting some military veterans could be susceptible to right-wing extremist recruiters or commit lone acts of violence. That prompted angry reactions from some lawmakers and veterans groups.
In the wake of Sec Napolitano's one-sided memo, and the timing of same, I can't help but wonder if this move was made to put an objective façade on DHS and the Obama Administration domestic anti-terrorist efforts. Granted, Andreas is dangerous in his own right and deserves to be on the Most Wanted list. Hopefully DHS will not introduce politics into future efforts.


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  #9  
Old April 21st, 2009, 5:02 pm
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Re: Domestic terrorism

Interestingly, a similar report about right-wing extremism drew no notice in 2008. And in no way was the current admin involved in that report. So, I think it was poor phrasing combined with the natural tendency to distrust a report issued under a liberal administration that warns of right-wing shenanigans that made this issue explode, when the previous memos attracted zero attention.

I think the footnote that the veterans were objecting to should have been rephrased. Even Nancy Pelosi's daughter thinks so. If I were to word it, I'd phrase it as a warning to veterans that some may try to take advantage of them. That way, it empowers the vets to fight back against the very small percentage of bad apples who decide to become extremists.


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  #10  
Old April 21st, 2009, 5:53 pm
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Re: Domestic terrorism

Do you think the FBI definition is to broad?

No, I think it is about right as it directs the acts as not sanctioned by a government, but the acts are used to further a political agenda.

Do you think that enough attention is paid to domestic terrorism?

If I were to compare the issues, then I would say yes. The acts of terrorism serve two fronts: garner attention from the public and media, and to further a political objective. However it depends on the scale of the terrorism as well. For example, fur activists throwing paint on a fur-coat wearing lady vs. blowing up an abortion clinic. I think the government focuses heavily on attacks that cause actual harm rather than damage to property. But, both acts are terroristic in basis.

Have you been affected directly or indirectly by an act of domestic terrorism?

Having worked EMS in Chicagoland for 10 years I have encountered victims of violent protests, many of which didn't make the news or only got an obscure line the paper. But, no, I have never been a direct victim.


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  #11  
Old April 21st, 2009, 5:57 pm
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Re: Domestic terrorism

I should add to my earlier comments that it's a very good thing that they put an animal-rights extremists on the most-wanted list. It sends a clear message that animal-rights extremism is a crime which in no way is excused by it being for "a good cause" (put in quotes because bombing is never a good cause).


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  #12  
Old April 21st, 2009, 6:04 pm
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Re: Domestic terrorism

Quote:
Originally Posted by chparadise View Post
Interestingly, a similar report about right-wing extremism drew no notice in 2008. And in no way was the current admin involved in that report. So, I think it was poor phrasing combined with the natural tendency to distrust a report issued under a liberal administration that warns of right-wing shenanigans that made this issue explode, when the previous memos attracted zero attention.
I'm glad you brought that up. It's pretty hypocritical to complain about the release of a report written by Republicans, but released under a Democratic administration - particularly when essentially the same report was issued one year earlier, by a Republican president, without a peep of controversy.

The report does a fairly accurate job of assessing the triggers that are fueling such a rise in the numbers of people gravitating toward these terrorist groups, or "hate groups" as they are politely referred to.

[staff edit]


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Last edited by Alastor; April 21st, 2009 at 8:16 pm.
  #13  
Old April 21st, 2009, 6:22 pm
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Re: Domestic terrorism

Interestingly, hate groups do always seem to spring up more during tougher times. The Nazi Party didn't come about until Germans needed a direction in which to point the finger for their troubles. Why not the Jews? And, funny enough, they always think that one particular group is the root cause of all the troubles in the world.


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Old April 22nd, 2009, 5:14 am
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Re: Domestic terrorism

I think any person or group that feels it has something to say will do what is necessry to get heard. Does it have to cause death to be terrorism or does destruction count. If the twin towers had been empty would we have referred to it as terrorism?

The only terrorism I've experienced is babysitting for 3 small grandchildren at the same time! Talk abut wanting to be heard.


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Old April 22nd, 2009, 6:43 am
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Re: Domestic terrorism

Quote:
Originally Posted by grams View Post
Does it have to cause death to be terrorism or does destruction count. If the twin towers had been empty would we have referred to it as terrorism?
Destruction is quite enough as most statutes only require an act of violence.


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Old April 24th, 2009, 3:24 am
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Re: Domestic terrorism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wab
To hopefully avoid tedious debates about legitimacy (the old freedom fighter/terrorist cliche) we can try to stick by the FBI definition (sightly paraphrased): "The unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual...without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives".
The definition is fairly good, but perhaps too broad. If property damage doesn't harm anyone and isn't done in a manner that is likely to harm anyone, it maybe shouldn't be included. At the least, I see a distinction between people who intend to kill as a means to a political end, and people who attack property but make strong efforts to avoid physically harming anyone. And protests that are intended to be peaceful demonstrations but end up attracting some people who go around breaking windows and stuff are in a whole different class altogether, and definitely not terrorism.

Another definitional issue is that the difference between "domestic" and "international" terrorism may be becoming very blurry. If domestic extremists are inspired and influenced by Al Qaeda, but don't travel outside the country for training, is it domestic or international terrorism? They may not be receiving orders from the group, but still consider themselves affiliated with them. Is it useful to bother differentiating them from international terrorists? But if we clump them all the groups together as "terrorists," it can lead to overreacting to groups that, while misguided, are nowhere near as dangerous or malign as Al Qaeda.

Do you think that enough attention is paid to domestic terrorism?
I don't pay much attention to it, but I live in Canada and I don't think we've had any serious incidents since the FLQ decades ago.


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Old April 24th, 2009, 6:23 am
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Re: Domestic terrorism

Warrior, Read over what you wrote several times about the property damage and I don't know about that. What if someone blows up say a sports arena knowing for sure it would be empty. Without saying anything people would think gee that could have been last Saturday when it was full. I'm having a hard time coming up with any property damage that couldn't possibly cause loss of life. In fact seems to me like it doesn't need to cause either (death or property damage). The purpose is to cause fear and just a threat can do that. Guess the punishment level might change between just a threat and actual action but either one is terrorism. Your run of the mill riot is all together different. The part about defining "foreign direction" would be a lot harder to separate and prove. Hmmm, I think I just pretty much agreed with you without being quiet as eloquent.


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  #18  
Old April 24th, 2009, 7:46 am
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Re: Domestic terrorism

Do you think the FBI definition is to broad?

I think it's a good definition. It covers the main aspects of the thing. People sometimes thinks terrorism is a bomb that provokes a lot of dead, but terrorism is also burning the shop of someone who refuses to pay the terrorists' blackmails (where do you think they get their money from?) or a grafitti with a person's name inside a target.

Do you think that enough attention is paid to dmoestic terrorism?

Here in Spain, yes. Unfortunately, the domestic terrorism of ETA (of nationalistic base; they claim the secession from Spain of the region of the Basque Country) has left almost 900 dead in the last 40 years, besides about 250,000 exiled. When there's no economical recession, terrorism is the main concern of citizens, or so statistics say. However, I'm disappointed at how little my countrymen know about the matter, unless that, like me, live close enough to the problem.

Have you been affected directly or indirectly by an act of domestic terrorism?

Yes. Last year, on March 21st, ETA placed a bomb car in my town. Thanks God, it was Good Friday and most of the neighbours were at the other side of the town attending a procession, because there was no time to evacuate the zone (ETA sometimes calls the police warning they've placed a bomb. The problem is that very often either the place or the time of explosion are wrong, so the police has little margin at the time of evacuating). Had it not been for it, I'm sure there would have been a lot of dead, because the bomb was at the downtown, in everyone's way, almost at lunch time. Things as they were, we were very lucky, and only a policeman was slightly injured; but about 60 families had their homes destroyed.

Apart of that, I was very shocked with the murder of Miguel Ángel Blanco, in 1997. ETA kidnapped him and theatened with killing him if the Government didn't transfer ETA prisoners to Basque prisons in 48 hours. Of course, the Government couldn't do that and he was killed, but the ultimatum provoked a wave of repulsion as I had never seen. There were massive demonstrations all across the country demanding his freedom, and for once, it was ETA sympathizers who were afraid of going out home. Unfortunately, that spirit faded away a few years later.


Quote:
Posted by WarriorEowyn:
If property damage doesn't harm anyone and isn't done in a manner that is likely to harm anyone, it maybe shouldn't be included.
I can't agree. It harms the proprietor. Someone above has mentioned an empty arena, or the empty Twin Towers; that's quite impersonal. Now think of a shop, ot a small business; it's someone's living what you're destroying. A highway or a railway? People can't travel. A bomb in a rubbish bin in a touristic place? Tourists will stop travelling there and the town wil loose... There are lots of ways of harming people without need of killing them.

Quote:
Posted by grams:
Does it have to cause death to be terrorism or does destruction count.

Posted by Wab:
Destruction is quite enough as most statutes only require an act of violence.
You can make terrorism without need of destruction and actually little violence. The essence of terrorism is fear. You can make people so afraid that nobody dares to oppose you. Of course, you will need some act of violence (and impunity) now and then to keep the atmosphere, but when people is already frightened you don't need to put a bomb every day. I'm not sure I'm explaining myself very well... Have you read The Valley of Fear, by Arthur Conan Doyle? The first half is a Sherlock Holmes story, but the second one is the story behind the mystery. The way the Scowrers are the masters of Vermissa is a good example of what I mean.


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  #19  
Old April 24th, 2009, 10:44 pm
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Re: Domestic terrorism

Do you think the FBI definition is to broad?
I think it's fine. And it's not bad to be broad either

Do you think that enough attention is paid to dmoestic terrorism?
I see a lot of attention is paid to domestic terrorists like the KKK in history and there is definitely a lot of talk about gang violnece, but there is no where near as muc habout the war in iraq. for example, in the recent US 2008 presidential debates and platforms, they keep talking about the war in Iraq but not too much about stopping domestic terrorism in our own country.

Have you been affected directly or indirectly by an act of domestic terrorism?
I know for a fact that there was literally a gang fight (not guns, fist fight/wrestling really) in our school cafeteria. It didn't get out of control and i didn't get to witness it, but it definitely happened


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  #20  
Old June 1st, 2009, 2:23 pm
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Re: Domestic terrorism

It will be interesting to see if the Tiller murder is treated as an act of terrorism as it fits the bill perfectly.


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