What actually is terrorism? Part 2

As we discovered in part one of a definition of terrorism, the violence inherent in an act of terrorism is a means to an end – the result of the violence is the primary concern of the terrorist. Arthur H. Garrison in ‘Terrorism: The nature of its history’ details 7 components of terrorism and I think his guide is rather brilliant. He states that terrorism is a tool and the seven components are as follows; Terrorism is

a) an intentional

b) rational

c) act of violence

d) to achieve a political goal

e) by causing fear

f) in the target audience/society

g) in order to change behaviour in that audience/society

The terrorist hopes that the panic and fear that comes after an attack will influence decision making. For example, a terrorist might be highlighting the plight and disadvantage of a region overseas due to the power of other more wealthy states have. If a wealthy state goes to war against a state/s which do not have the military might to succeed in a traditional war and propels the state/s into more disadvantage and poverty, this may actually work in favour of the terrorists propaganda. This is just one example of many. The terrorist may also have more than one political goal or agenda. It is a very multifaceted tool.

I hope that this adds another dimension to your understanding of terrorism 🙂

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Until next time! Miss S. 

https://www.facebook.com/missworldsec

What actually is terrorism?

Terrorism has got to be one of the most misconstrued terms out there. Both in the media and in our heads – after all, how many times have you read or  heard a proper definition? And yet it’s pasted next to conflicts and acts of violence all the time… Like with almost every definition in academia, there is no one definition accepted by all. BUT there definitely are  attributes that can be agreed on. Terrorism is a tactic used in asymmetric warfare (as in – not a war that is ‘equal’ – where both sides are representing a a state and are part of official armed forces). Regardless of the reason behind the action, terrorism is a method used for changing behaviour through intimidation and fear. This fear and intimidation is often a result of violence or the threat of violence. Intimidation and fear is used to facilitate change in the wider audience and/or state. The victims of the violent acts are not the focal point for the terrorist- and hence why the victims are picked by random or chance – the violence is less important than the result of violence. As it is a tactic used in asymmetrical warfare, states as well as other groups can use and be charged with using terrorism, hence the term state sponsored terrorism

I hope this clears some things up. I will probably go into further detail about this soon. Until then! Miss S. https://www.facebook.com/missworldsec

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Thirsty for freedom?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I came across this graffiti whilst browsing the web, and it looks very much like the wall dividing the West Bank and Israel. Many of us don’t think about the way that basic supplies like food and water can be used as bargaining tools in conflict zones. The West Bank depends on water deliveries made by the Israelis. It seems rather bizarre doesn’t it, that the palestinians would have to depend on their ‘oppressors’ for water… Water is most definitely a symbol of life and in this case, freedom.While many agencies and NGO’s would be monitoring Israels deliveries of water into the west bank in order to ensure that they are ensuring the basic human rights of water and food for thousands of people, Israel can still strategically benefit from this in numerous ways. For instance, by not allowing the Palestinians to build their own water infrastructure  and by not allowing them to reach the source of the water so that they continue to be dependant on the Israelis (and this way they also don’t build ‘permanent’ infrastructure which cements their presence in the West Bank). For more information and an overview on this complex topic visit http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/israel-rations-palestinians-trickle-water-20091027. With more conflict currently unfolding, it is another sad example in which people who hold a position of power over others, exploit this position and hurt other human beings. I do believe that consequently both sides suffer. I thought that it might also be beneficial to include a map of Israel and the West Bank so you can get an idea of the geography and picture how the West Bank is enclosed by Israel (and how far away they are to water sources). Also, if anyone knows what the Arabic writing says, I’d be interested to know! Until next time Miss S.

Image below taken from http://lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com/photos/maps/un_westbankmap_2007.html.

What’s the deal with this Wikileaks saga???

I realized a few weeks ago that many people were seriously confused by this wikileaks drama. It’s been going on for a while now, but the background information to the case and the organization isn’t given in news reports. So who is and what does Wikileaks do? Why is Julian Assange in ‘trouble’ with the U.S. and other states such as Sweden and the UK?

 

So lets begin with the question: Who is Wikileaks? And what does Wikileaks actually do?

 

Wikileaks is a self professed non-profit organization which employs a few individuals full time, and has a host of other people around the world who contribute to the running and management of the organisation (like an umbrealla organization – a large group of people who sometimes contribute to the organisation in different ways on a non-permanent basis). In 2010 the organisation admitted that they had 5 fulltime employees working for the organisation. It’s servers are spread around the world, but are based in Sweden. Wikileaks has suggested that they may move its main servers to Iceland or Switzerland. Julian Assange is the founder of the organisation and its ‘front man’ but he is by no means the whole organisation.

 

What do they do and what is their purpose? According to the organization itself, their purpose is “to bring important news and information to the public… One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth.” Wikileaks acts as a ‘whistle blower’, as in, they keep the identity of its sources (usually the general public) anonymous and it is these sources that provide documentation that Wikileaks can then publish (usually confidential or secret information pertaining to governments).

It is a ‘media’ outlet which is not restricted to the laws of one land, working in cyber space. Julian Assange became a target when U.S. Bradley Manning provided Wikileaks with what is known as the ‘Afghan War Logs’ and the ‘Iraqi War Logs’ as well as U.S. diplomatic cables. Many argue that the release of the war logs which show videos of U.S. marines killing Iraqi militants and a journalist, helped stir the Arab spring uprisings. The U.S. would also without a doubt claim that it’s national security was compromised. Whistle blowing in many states is protected by law, so that governments are held accountable to its citizens. This is intrinsically linked to a free press which should not be controlled by the government in democratic nations. Hacking in order to steal confidential documents however, is usually punishable by state’s laws. As Wikileaks was not the original leaker of the cables (they were given the cables) it’s important to ask why the U.S. wishes to charge or accuse Julian Assange with an offence – after all, Bradley Manning is being held (he has not been charged yet – but has been held for over two years now) on charges of espionage.

The fact is, many media outlets have also been extremely critical of Assange and Wikileaks as they are essentially competition for traditional media outlets. Wikileaks is a new form of news publication. Traditionally it is newspapers that cover whistle blowers and their stories. If we look back at history, it was the Washington Post that covered Watergate – A team from the Washington Post received documents from Deep Throat in a garage. Funnily enough this is why the press and media outlets are usually protected by law in democratic states. Does the U.S. then see Wikileaks as fair game because they are not tied to any one state by law? The U.S. is the hegemonic power in this world, and I for one believe that the U.S. government is feeling threatened by Wikileaks. It is going after Assange so that they look like they are doing something about it, and perhaps it is a warning for other internet whistle blowers. I can understand why Wikileaks has so many supporters around the world. Is the UK really that outraged by the accusations of Assange’s illegal sexual assaults? I doubt it. Sweden’s prosecutor could also interview Assange via video link if it was the primary reason and concern for his extradition to Sweden. Since when have all sexual assault cases been taken to this extreme? Yes, perhaps Sweden wants to be seen as doing the right thing in this case in regards to the accused sexual assault since Assange is a public figure, however, as I mentioned there are other ways for Assange to be interviewed without him physically being moved to Sweden. If there is enough evidence in this case to try Assange, of course he should stand trial for his actions in Sweden. This however has not been yet proven to be the case. Assange is correct for thinking that it is mainly a ploy to have him extradited to Sweden and then the U.S. The U.S. has said that Assange is only trying to escape charges of sexual assault, however any logical human being would be concerned as the U.S. has arrested and kidnapped numerous persons for which it considered a threat to its national security.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the publishing of the cables by Wikileaks is a ‘terrorist act’, does this imply that strong nation’s such as the U.S. are not to be accountable for their actions? Of course the U.S. believes that its national security trumps the rights of Wikileaks. However, if this was Australia instead of the U.S., I as an Australian citizen would want my country’s leaders to be held accountable for their actions, even in war and especially at war.  Wikileaks have published other documents which reveal the actions of leaders or war lords in other states, such as the authorization of assassination of government officials given by a former Somali Colonel, however of course the releasing of this information has not come under such scrutiny. I’m also not that surprised that Ecuador is trying to ‘get back’ at the U.S. by granting asylum to Assange. How will this story end? It’s hard to say. I don’t believe that anyone expects this story to go away anytime soon. Would the UK or the U.S. be prepared to storm the Ecuadorian embassy if they get desperate? Maybe, however I would think that they would play the waiting game as long as possible in order to try and not cause more damage, after all Assange has many supporters. If they did storm the embassy, I am sure that many other smaller nations would also feel threatened by this action, therefore this decision would not be taken lightly by the UK or the U.S.

 

What are your thoughts on the Wikileaks saga? Please remember to be respectful and no derogatory comments will be allowed. They will be annihilated.

 

Until next time!

Miss S.