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Definition of Terrorists/Terrorism

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Member Elite
since 05-17-2003
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0 posted 10-23-2004 09:58 PM       View Profile for ice   Email ice   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for ice

­­Our president has engaged our armed forces in a war on terrorists/terrorism
It seems there are many definitions of those two   words..

The adopted (working) F.B.I. definition is as follows:

"Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."

If one takes this definition seriously, and believe them true, then every war in the world today can be called terrorism.
As far as I know, there are no "legal" wars going on in the world today, including Iraq...I know that will raise the eyebrows of many who read and participate in these forums, perhaps that subject would be better discussed in a thread of its own, but if it pops up here, lets go for it.....

Anyway, I would like to hear what others think is the definition of terrorism, and or terrorists...


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since 05-18-2001
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1 posted 10-23-2004 10:15 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

I'd start by taking out the word 'unlawful.'
Someone will find a way to deem it 'lawful' as long as it furthers his/her own agenda.

"Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."

I'll be back again later, with more thoughts.
Member Rara Avis
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2 posted 10-23-2004 11:26 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

The other side?
Member Rara Avis
since 11-18-2002
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3 posted 10-24-2004 04:09 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

The word initially comes to us from the French. Leaders of the French Revolution used a 'reign of terror' to submit citizens to their authority and therefore their methods, were acts of 'terrorism'. But the use of terrorist/guerilla tactics stretches well into our past. But as we're talking about terrorism as we've come to know it, it is important to note that 'modern day' terrorism, while often linked to the Arab world, was initially a Zionist phenomenon.

The first half of the 20th century is distinctly Zionist. It is here we find the creation and use of, now common, terrorist tactics deployed against the British Government and Palestineans. While the latter half of the century, with scattered IRA attacks, is distinctly Arab. Here is a timeline of terrorist attacks and the people behind them, in the 20th century.

1937: March 17 - Zionist launch hand grenade attacks on Palestinean cafes

1938: July 6 - Zionists use electircally timed mines in Palestinean markets

1944: November 6 - Lord Moyne, a British official, is assinated by the Stern gang

1946: June 18 - Hostages are taken by Zionists to pressure British government

1946: July 22 - The King David hotel is bombed by Zionists, 91 Britons are killed and 46 wounded

1946-1947 - Briefcase/car bombs/letter-bombs used against against Britons and British embassies in Sarrafand and Italy.

1947:July 29 - Hostages killed in reprisal of actions taken by the British government

1953: October 14 - Qibya massacre carried out under by Ariel Sharon's Unit 101. 42 houses, school and mosque blown up. 75 women and children killed

1954: The first aircraft hijacking by Isreal of a Syrian civilian airliner.

1968: July 23 – Members of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijack an El Al plane to Rome

1968: November 22 – 12 killed in bombing of Jerusalem market

1969 -  El Al aircraft in attackedin Zurich.
TWA 707 was hijacked by Palestinian terrorist to Damascus. TWA plane from Rome hijacked to Damascus. El Al office in Athens attacked.

1970- A bus carrying passengers attacked by Palestinian terrorist in Munich. A Swissair plane blown up in mid air by Palestinian terrorists. A bomb explodes aboard a Philippines airliners. 8 Israeli schoolchildren killed by Arab terrorist. 3 El Al planes hijacked.

1972 - Yugoslav plane destroyed. Japanese terrorist kills 24. 22 bombs detonated in Belfas, 11 killed. 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team killed by Black September in Munich

1973- Israel destorys Libyan plane over Sinai desert. IRA bombs explode in London killing 1 injuring 200. Libyan terrorist group attacks TWA plane. Libyan terrorists destory TWA plane from Athens to Rome. The IRA bomb Birmingham England, 21 killed.

1975:September 30 - A Hungarian airliner explodes

1976- Lebanese airliner destroyed. Air France plane hijacked to Uganda

1978:March 12 - 37 Israelis killed in a bus attack.

1981:April 1 - 13 killed, 177 injured in a attack in Philippines.

1982: August 6th- Kosher restaurant in Paris attacked, 8 killed

1983:83 killed at the US Embassy in Beirut. 241 US Marines killed in Beirut by the Islamic Jihad

1984:September 20- 15 killed in US embassy bombing in Beirut

1985: Sikh terrorist bombs Air India 747. Palestinian terrorists hijack cruise ship
1986- 22 Pan Am passengers killed in Palestinean hijacking.

1988- Pan Am flight destroyed over Scotland

1992- !4 killed in bombing of Israeli embassy in Buenes Aires

1993- World Trade Center bombed. 6 killed 1,000 injured. 5 killed in car bombing in Milan

1995 - 12 Killed Tokyo subway gas attack. Oklahoma City bombing kills 168 many children.

1998- US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania bombed.

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4 posted 10-24-2004 06:43 PM       View Profile for Marshalzu   Email Marshalzu   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marshalzu's Home Page   View IP for Marshalzu

First of all I think it’s worth clarifying the issue somewhat, whilst the definition that you give above in no way excludes governments it is not saying that war is a terrorist act. War is a legitimate political action (“War is a mere continuation of policy by other means” – Car Von Clausewitz in On War); it is conducted within a framework of rules (i.e. the articles of the Geneva Convention) and is directed at the military, governmental and support infrastructure of a country. Terrorism on the other hand is an illegitimate political action; it is conducted outside any framework of rules and is directed at the civilian population. A very simple example of this would to be to point out the fact that Soldiers are required to wear uniforms, whilst terrorists are not.

I’ve just found this definition on terrorism for one of my seminars at and I believe it to be a more explicit explanation of the terrorist phenomenon.

“Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby - in contrast to assassination - the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperilled) victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought" (Schmid, 1988).

That said I do not think that this gives us a balanced and objective view of terrorism. I recently watched “The Battle for Algiers” a very informative documentary style film about the FLN in Algeria. One quote sticks with me though:

Journalist: M. Ben M'Hidi, don't you think it's a bit cowardly to use women's baskets and handbags to carry explosive devices that kill so many innocent people?
Ben M'Hidi: And doesn't it seem to you even more cowardly to drop napalm bombs on defenseless villages, so that there are a thousand times more innocent victims? Of course, if we had your airplanes it would be a lot easier for us. Give us your bombers, and you can have our baskets.

This I think sums up the opposing argument, terrorism is the only methods that a lot of these people have left to resort to… and lets not forget both the US and Israel were founded upon the actions of terrorists.
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