Terrorism

Discussions, news, analysis and thoughts on terrorism.

Bush Administration first hides then releases terrorism report for 2004

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When news leaked that the U.S. State Department annual report on terrorism showed that terrorist incidents have in fact increased after the invasion of Iraq, the Bush Administration decided to scrap the report, since it shows that the world is not safer after this invasion.

Now, it seems that pressure has caused the administration to release the report with several interesting statistics facts in it. Here is a very telling summary:

PBS Documentary: Israel's Next War?

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PBS recently aired a documentary titled Israel's Next War. It is about the little heard of extremist Jews in settlement outposts.This documentary is eye opening in that it makes one aware that religious literalism, extremism, militancy and terrorism are all not confined to one religion or one people. One could easily make comparisons between these militant Jewish settlers, and certain factions of Muslim extremist ideologues (e.g. Takfir wa al-Hijra, Al-Qaeda, ...etc). For example:

    Conclusions

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    Here are some conclusions that one can make from the previous examples:

    • It is not easy to judge people and movements from a black and white absolutist view.
    • Onesociety may view a person as a hero, while another view the same personas a villain. This is specially true when the two societies come intoconflict (straight out military confrontation, or small guerillawarefare). Prejudices come into play most of the time.
    • Historyis written by the victor, only from the victorious point of view.Moreover, history is continually being reevaluated and rewritten as newfacts come to light, and old prejudices fade only to reveal new ones.

    Moral Ambiguity and Rationalization of Atrocities

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    Many issues that an individual or a society faces can be morally ambigious. Resistance and terrorism are often morally ambiguous.

    A comic book that will soon become a movie is V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. The comic book explores how oppression causes liberation and resistance movement to develop, and often the latter commit atrocities and abhorrent acts in the name of good causes. This is a fault both sides may fall in, and hence there is no moral high ground for one side over the other.

    It is sometimes ironic how one party in a conflict becomes exactly what they hate in the other side in the name of 'good', 'justice', 'freedom' or 'democracy'.

    Robin Hood and Bin Laden

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    RobinHood's story is too well known to retell here. This semi-mythicalfigure has been romanticized and idealized by ballads told by bards. Itis quite possible that there is some grain of truth from which thismyth sprung up. In any case, Robin was viewed by the authorities at thetime as an outlaw. In the strict sense of the law, he was indeed was.The ballads concede that he was also a thief, a highway robber, and anoutlaw.However, the bards and the public seem to justify theseactions by various means: for example, portraying Robin as a man ofnoble character, that he shared his loot with the poor, that hisactions were in response to injustices committed by Prince John and theSherrif of Nottingham, and that his thefts were aimed at those who gotwealthy out of others' toils.

    French Resistance to Nazis and the IRA

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    I sometimes saw people expressing the opinion that if the IRA are "terrorists", so were the French Resistance against the Nazis.

    I also came across a post titled: My grandfather was an IRA terrorist (and comments after it).

    Another pro Irish poster writes:"My grandparents were in Ulster during the Black and Tan war andsuffered Orange pogroms before that so this all is not such unexpectedbehavior from the English. They should stop whining about LordMountbatten and the Grand Hotel and Canary Wharf and mortars fired at10 Downing Street - if they want their problems with Ireland over withthey should just pack up and go back to their own god-damned country."

    From Outlaws to Heroes

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    Throughout history, views of certainpersonalities change from villains to heroes or fromterrorists/militants to freedom fighters.For example, both Menachem Begin, and Yitzhak Shamir, who later became prime ministers of Israel, were once wanted terrorists by the British.Ramush Haradinajof Kosovo also comes to mind. As an ex-rebel leader in Kosovo his actions were questioned.

    One People's Terrorist Is Another People's Freedom Fighter

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    This article explores how our assessment of certain figures and movements is subject to biases and prejudices. The notion of: "One people's terrorist is another people's freedom fighter", or as the saying goes: "One people's hero is another people's villain".Let us first start with examples of how some people are viewed differently, either from the dimension of time, or the dimension of society.

    The Lavon Affair Egyptian Jewish spies honored in Israel

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    Various Israeli media, such as Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz (citing Reuters as the source) report that the Israeli government has honored several Egyptian Jews who were involved in spying and sabotage in Egypt in the 1950s. This incident is known as the Lavon Affair, and extensive material on the incident can be found in Israel and Terror in Egypt.

    Beyond War: Terrorism: Its Causes and Remedies

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    In this post September 11 world we live in, terrorism is such an ill-defined, emotionally charged issue, that rarely gets discussed rationally anymore.In the early weeks after Septermber 11, the question of "Why they hate us" was systematically raised by U.S. media. As the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, this discourse all but died out, and has not been revisited since. At least not in the USA.There is a glimpse of hope elsewhere though. The International Summit of Democracy, Terrorism and Security is underway in Spain.

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