inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #0 of 65: Linda Castellani (castle) Fri 19 Oct 01 01:08
    
Recent events have given us an intense, somewhat narrow focus on the
impact of terrorism on American society. This is quite understandable:
we are still very much dealing with the personal impact of the events
of September 11, 2001 and are just beginning to see their long-term
economic, political and social effects. However as President Bush and
other leaders have stressed, terrorism is a global problem that
requires a global response.

Our next guest, Harry Henderson, is a professional writer specializing
in technical and reference works for adults as well as scientific,
biographical, and historical material for junior high and high school
readers. Among his numerous publications are works on the Internet,
computer careers and entrepreneurs, and biographies of scientists and
inventors. His contributions to the Library in a Book Series include
Privacy in the Information Age, Gun Control, and Capital Punishment,
Revised Edition.

Harry's book, _Library in a Book:  Terrorism_ is a global overview and
resource guide on world terrorism.  This comprehensive book includes:

- the paradigms or ways of thinking about terrorism, comparing it to
related phenomena such as conventional war, revolution, and guerilla
war 

- the emergence of terrorism as a tool for radical political
ideologies in the late 18th century and through the 19th century 

- a look at the psychology and organization of terrorist groups, the
changing face of terrorism (such as the predominance of religious-based
terrorism) and the potential for terrorist use of weapons of mass
destruction.

- the background of the conflicts in areas such as Northern Ireland
and the Middle East that have inspired so much terrorist activity, as
well as giving capsule summaries of dozens of terrorist organizations.
- summaries of laws relating to terrorist activity as well as court
cases that deal with important civil liberties issues relating to
terrorism and counter terrorism. These issues are likely to become
increasingly important as Congress debates new counter terrorism
legislation.

- a detailed chronology, capsule biographies, and a glossary of terms

- a research guide and an extensive bibliography including key Web
sites for government and academic organizations dealing with the study
of terrorism and counter terrorism.
        
Harry will be interviewed by long-time WELL member and host Fred
Heutte. Fred is a database engineer and political consultant in
Portland, Oregon.  He is a native of Washington, DC and has long
followed both domestic and international issues, particularly in the
areas where technology and the environment intersect.

Fred says, "The concept of "energy security" has been a focus over the
last 25 years as the world has become more dependent on depletable
energy supplies in politically unstable areas.  These concerns
are now extending to another key resource, fresh water.  My
work in energy advocacy has always started from the principle
that real security must come from diverse, renewable and efficient
resources.  After working over the years with local and regional
groups such as the Solar Oregon Lobby and Northwest Energy Coalition,
I am now the energy coordinator for the Oregon chapter of the
Sierra Club."

Harry and Fred will be joined by other WELL members who have various
political, biological, military and global perspectives on the issues
we face today.

Please join me in welcoming Harry, Fred, and their guests to
inkwell.vue.
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #1 of 65: Linda Castellani (castle) Fri 19 Oct 01 17:19
    

Harry, let me jump in here and ask you what inspired you to write this
book?  Was it written recently? And if it wasn't, how have things changed
in the world of terrorism since you first wrote it?
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #2 of 65: Harry Henderson (hrh) Fri 19 Oct 01 18:24
    
Hello everyone.

To start with "why I wrote this book" the answer is rather mundane.
The publisher, Facts on File, has a number of series of reference
books. This one, called "Library in a Book" is designed to provide an
overview, ready reference, and comprehensive bibliography for
controversial topics that are likely to be of high interest to 
teachers, students, high school and college debaters, journalists,
and other professionals who want to explore current events and
issues in depth.

My editor gives me (and my wife, who also writes these books) a 
list of topics for which they are seeking authors, and lets us
each pick a few. The topics I've done these books on so far
are Privacy in the Information Age, Gun Control, and Capital
Punishment, as well as Terrorism.

I tend to choose topics that I would find to be interesting
and challenging because they a) involve a number of different
disciplines or aspects and b) raise interesting and difficult
issues - you might say, topics that "stress test" our institutions
and bring important values into conflict. 

I wrote the book late last year and early this year. At the time,
the general consensus among terrorism experts seemed to be that 
there was a low likelihood of large-scale conventional terrorist
attacks on American soil from international sources, but that
the potential use of weapons of mass destruction (chemical,
biological, or nuclear) was increasingly worrisome because it
would give even a single individual or small group the ability
to cause large scale devastation.) No one, far as I can tell,
saw anything like the modus operandi of Sept. 11 coming. 

After the attack I was browsing back through the chronology
section of the book and found that in 1970 the Popular Front
for the Liberation of Palestine had hijacked four planes
simultaneously, though as with all hijackings of the time,
the objective was to secure hostages, not to destroy buildings.
Did whoever planned 9-11 recall that earlier operation? I don't
know, of course--maybe someday we'll find out. And of course
in addition to a new level of conventional terrorism we're
seeing low-level bioterrorism, so far from unknown sources.

Certainly there will be a lot of new material coming out over
the next few months and the book will have to be revised in the
light of recent events. But since the book is intended to be
an overview and general bibliography (including historical
and theoretical works), it will remain useful I think for people
who want to look at how terrorism has been analyzed by experts
in recent years.
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #3 of 65: Evan Hodgens (evan) Fri 19 Oct 01 19:46
    

Certainly no one foresaw 9/11, but I have to believe that weapons of
mass destruction (chemical, biological, or nuclear) are still on the
table.  I suspect that your book may get more readership than you
thought, even if it doesn't address 9/11.

Do you see 9/11 as (apologize because it's much overused, but the
right idea in this case) as a paradigm shift for civilian and military
thinking?
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #4 of 65: Harry Henderson (hrh) Sat 20 Oct 01 00:43
    
Well, it certainly transformed our assessment of our vulnerability
from theoretical to practical. One thing I cover in the introductory
chapter is comparing terrorism to a number of other phenomena such
as conventional war, revolution, guerrilla war, and organized crime.
Terrorism shares some characteristics with each of these but there
are also key differences (guerrillas, for example, sometimes engage 
in terrorist acts, but they see themselves as a military force with
a political objective, they usually have some relatively broad-
based support, and they tend to use conventional weapons even
if their tactics are unconventional.)

Since 9/11 our leaders have tried to apply the conventional war
paradigm, albeit with many often-stated qualifications. This is
a shift from the earlier reaction, which was to see terrorists
more as criminals. None of these paradigms really fit, and I
think we're in the process of fashioning a new one (if I knew
how to do this, I wouldn't be writing obscure reference books,
I'd be a highly paid consultant for the State Department ...)

Another thing I mention is "state terrorism" -- that is, the use
of extralegal violence by governments against dissidents. The
"official" definitions of terrorism get around this by including
as one of the characteristics of terrorists that they're not a 
government. Of course state terrorism isn't the same as 
state-supported terrorism, which is a government providing backing
to a separate terrorist group.

So a lot of the beginning of the book is just getting the terminology
straight while surveying how the experts characterize terrorism
and terrorists.
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #5 of 65: Linda Castellani (castle) Sat 20 Oct 01 00:55
    

What was the process that created terrorism as a tool for radical
political ideologists?  Hasn't terrorism been around for centuries?  
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #6 of 65: Fuzzy Logic (phred) Sat 20 Oct 01 02:58
    
I was just thinking of that, Linda, and the fact that Guy Fawkes Day
(November 5, "gunpowder, treason and plot") is coming up soon.

Hi everyone, and welcome to you Harry.  My first question is more about
the writing, or perhaps better said, the necessary editorial judgment
involved in a book like this.  Everyone involved in any given subject
has a point of view, and perhaps a position to protect, but here we
have a subject that by its very nature invites subterfuge, misdirection,
omission and outright lying.  This isn't ordinary police-and-thieves;
the organizations involved are in a very deadly game concerning not just
violence for ordinary reasons of greed or revenge, but violence for the
purpose of political and other ideology.  

So I'm wondering how you went about filtering the many sources for this
book and weighing which ones were reliable or at least basically credible,
and which ones simply had to be disputed or ignored.

As anyone who surfs around the Web knows, there are endless "conspiracy
theory" web sites that purport to explain all kinds of political and
social phenomena including terrorism.  So perhaps your very in-depth
experience in looking at this subject can help us sort out the 
overwhelming volume of stuff on this issue.
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #7 of 65: Daniel del Solar (dsolar) Sat 20 Oct 01 10:31
    
A very good question, that of values. On that very question hangs the
definition of "the enemy, aka, 'them.'"

To the native tribes, thought doubtless they had other names for them,
the invading "white man" was a terrorist.  Given their understandable
lack of a world historical vision, the invaders who came with gifts,
gunshots, and gunysacks with which to cart away the wealth of the land
they "discovered."

All which goes to the central questions raised when one observes: one
person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter.
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #8 of 65: Harry Henderson (hrh) Sat 20 Oct 01 10:42
    
Two excellent questions (and welcome, phred).
In my overview chapter I do look briefly at the historical context for
the idea of terrorism. Certainly "terrorist" acts go back as far
as recorded human history. For example, a conqueror might kill
everyone in a city and raze it, thus encouraging the next city
down the road to surrender immediately when the conqueror's army
arrives. Then there was the medieval Islamic society who became
known as "the Assassins" whose hashish-stoked warriors apparently
specialized in killing opposing leaders.

_Modern_ terrorism, though, is, you might say, the bastard
brother of the modern state. That is, the modern state 
embodied the idea of consciously reshaping society to
serve ideology, and terrorism emerged as a tool both for
enforcing and resisting such "social engineering."

The idea of using terror as an
explicit tool for transforming society begins, I think, with
the French Revolution. (While Guy Fawkes stands out earlier,
it was isolated.) During the 19th century terrorism
was developed as a tactic by fringe socialist and anarchist
groups. Particularly in late 19th century Russia terrorist
use of bombs became common.

In the 20th century the postcolonial period (following WW2)
and the Cold War encouraged the development of terrorism by
revolutionary movements (such as in Algeria in the 1950s).
Regional conflicts (such as Northern Ireland, which can be
loosely included in postcolonialist conflicts) tended to create
loci of terrorist activity. The Cold War saw the Soviets backing
some terrorist groups, while the U.S. often backed governments
that used state terrorism against dissidents.

Anyway, there's the capsule summary.
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #9 of 65: Harry Henderson (hrh) Sat 20 Oct 01 10:56
    
In response to phred:
The explosion of online information has been a boon to researchers for
books such as this because it's easier to find and process information
online. (I remember for the first of these books I did several years
ago I still had to dig through spools of microfilm in the Berkeley
library basement. I don't miss the "boiler room" at all.)

But of course as every netizen knows, there's a huge volume of 
unreliable or at least unverifiable information out there. For 
researching a controversial topic there's also going to be a 
need to consider the possible bias in different kinds of sources.

Usually for my first pass I start with sources that have some
prima facie reliability. For example, for information about
terrorist groups and activities such sources as the State
Department's annual "Patterns of of Global Terrorism"  and FBI
 statistics on domestic terror incidents are probably reliable
for factual matters. Then there are academic sources attached to
reputable universities, etc. Each of these sources have links to
other sources, and one can mentally "weight" a link from a reliable
source to other sources that in turn are likely to be reliable. But
having followed the link to a source, I must ask 1) who are its
sponsor(s)? 2) what is its apparent purpose? 3) what kinds of 
materials does it provide? 4) Is it kept up to date?  5) Is it
likely to be truly useful to researchers?

The purpose of the book however is not to declare whether sources
are reliable or not. It's to select a variety of sources that are 
likely to be reliable _and useful_. 

The "second pass" (though I don't necessarily do them that discretely)
is what you might call the "diversity pass." I look for contrary
points of view. For example, the work of Noam Chomsky offers a 
contrasting perspective based on state terrorism by the U.S. and
reaction to it in the Third World, as well as critiquing the 
definitions used by "the establishment." Also, in preparing the
introductory chapter I will have identified other main schools of
thought or perspectives. When compiling the bibliography I seek
accessible and useful books and articles espousing these points
of view.

The goal is to have a diverse and robust collection of fact-bases
and viewpoints. This doesn't mean that all will get equal coverage--
the "orthodox" viewpoint on terrorism has many more books and
articles supporting it than, for example, the Chomskian view. 
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #10 of 65: Harry Henderson (hrh) Sat 20 Oct 01 11:01
    
Answering dsolar:
The terrorism against native peoples is harder to categorize. I
suppose it fall roughly in the category of state terrorism (to
the extent a government deliberately used it by policy-- the Belgians
in the Congo are a particularly egregious example, though the
British and U.S. did it -- the Trail of Tears for example.

In general I tried to include the concept of state terrorism
and Chomskian perspective in the book. However most of the 
governmentmental and even academic sources take the "orthodox"
approach of terrorists being nongovernmental actors. Although
even within that ambit there is a variety of theories for
understanding terrorism, including psychological theories and
communications theories.
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #11 of 65: Ross Alan Stapleton-Gray (amicus) Sat 20 Oct 01 21:32
    
> I'd be a highly paid consultant for the State Department

Actually, I think we've greatly neglected the diplomatic arm of government,
in favor of the military (a pound of pounding is sexier than an ounce of
prevention...); you might be a highly-paid consultant for the State
Department, but far more likely you're getting your money from DOD, these
days.

I'd challenge the labeling of Fawkes, or any of those Russian bomb-throwing
anarchists, as terrorists... I think there's a significant distinction
between regicide and terrorism.  Yes, Alexander II may be terrified of
having a bomb thrown under his carriage, but what makes terrorism terrorism,
it seems to me, is that the aim is a more widespread panic, discord, and
social damage.  Right now, the U.S. is, as a policy, economy, and culture,
pretty damned terrified... a bunch of $1.95 box cutters wielded by a few
dozen individuals have produced a trillion dollars or so of economic
disruption, and now everybody and his brother wants a dose of Cipro to chase
down the sedatives their taking.  There's been a simultaneous upsurge in
patriotism, but the net effects of all of this have been extremely
disruptive and costly.
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #12 of 65: Harry Henderson (hrh) Sat 20 Oct 01 22:19
    
Fawkes seems to be primarily regicide, not an attempt to terrify the
population as a whole (although I'm not well-read on the Gunpowder
Plot). That's why I think terrorism in the modern sense was born
in the French Revolutionary era.
However the Russian anarchists weren't simply trying to off the
Czar. They and some other 19th century radical anarchists consciously
embraced terror as a tool to destabilize and destroy the state
itself, not just a particular ruler. 
(In the book I also make it clear that anarchism per se does not
equal violence or terrorism. There were many peaceful anarchists.)
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #13 of 65: Ross Alan Stapleton-Gray (amicus) Sat 20 Oct 01 22:40
    
> embraced terror as a tool to destabilize and destroy the state

Terror of the massed populace?  Terror of a class (e.g., boyars, or
nobility)?

I think terrorism has a lot to do with mass communication, as well, and the
ability of a population to spread information (which, I guess, aren't the
same things)... there have been enormous effects in the U.S. from the 9/11
attacks, that really couldn't happen in China, given the means (or lack of
it) for lateral information flows.
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #14 of 65: Harry Henderson (hrh) Sun 21 Oct 01 11:13
    
Yes indeed. I have a brief section on terrorism and communications
theory as well as terrorism and the media.
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #15 of 65: Fuzzy Logic (phred) Sun 21 Oct 01 15:15
    
I wonder if you could talk a little more about the psychological and
communications theories of the underlying origins or motivations for
terrorist activities.

It certainly seems worthwhile to sort out the root causes even if not
a whole lot can be done about them in individual cases.
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #16 of 65: Harry Henderson (hrh) Sun 21 Oct 01 22:58
    
Yes, I have trouble with the idea that we can _either_ try to
understand the motivations of terrorists and the people who support
them, _or_ "fight terrorism." I'd think the former, intelligently
pursued, could help with the latter, in both the short and longer
terms.

One perspective is group dynamics, some of which terrorist
groups share with cults, such as rigid, absolutist ideology,
the demand for total commitment, isolation from mainstream
society, and so on. On the other hand not all terrorist
groups depend on a single charismatic leader as a cult usually
does, and as we have seen, some terrorist group members can
more or less blend into our society for extended periods of 
time.

For terrorism as communication, it can be broken into components
such as the transmitter (terrorist), recipient (target), message,
and feedback (reaction of target) and the effectiveness of 
different actions in communicating messages can be analyzed.
(See the work of Philip Karber and others). The extent to which
the media emulates a) a filter b) a mirror or c) an amplifier
or feedback loop is also controversial.
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #17 of 65: "Is that a British publication?" (jdevoto) Sun 21 Oct 01 23:02
    
You mention group dynamics a la cults, Harry. I wonder, does the book
discuss the relation of terrorists with the larger society? It seems
to me that some terrorist groups have indeed been cultlike, isolated, while
others have been much better integrated into their society, have enjoyed
widespread support (both moral and material), and have had around them a lot
of people who, though not terrorists themselves, felt that the terrorists
spoke for them or represented them in various ways.

I think this also may get us into the definition of "terrorism" - whether
it's defined by its tactics or by the nature of the group doing it.
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #18 of 65: Harry Henderson (hrh) Mon 22 Oct 01 10:56
    
The book doesn't go into that topic explicitly in the overview, though
the bibliography cites various works relating to the sociology of
terrorism. Some cites include:

Alali, A. Oadasuo and Gary M. Byrd. Terrorism and the News Media: a
Selected, Annotated Bibliography. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1994.

Violence and Terrorism (an annual series of readers from
Dushkin/McGraw Hill).

Juergensmeyer, Mark. Terror in the Mind of God: the Globald Rise of
Religious Terrorism. Berkeley, UC Press, 2000.

Leeman, R. W. Rhetoric of Terrorism and Counterterrorism. Westport,
Conn.: Greenwood, 1991.

Nacos, Brigitte L. Terrorism and the Media. New York: Columbia
University Press, 1994.

Nordsrom, Carolyn and Joann Martin, eds. The Paths to Domination,
Resistance, and Terror. Berkeley, UC Press, 1992.
 
Sluka, Jeffrey A. Death Squad: the Anthropology of State Terror.
Philadelphia, Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.

Zulaika, Joseba and William A. Douglass. Terror and Taboo: The
Follies, Foibles, and Faces of Terrorism. New York: Routledge, 1996.

Some of the academic stuff is, not surprisingly, dense and uses
idiosyncratic language and special theories.  

But one thing I do make clear is that the definition and label
of "terrorist" is used differently by people with
different political and academic viewpoints. 

"State terrorism" obviously differs in some respects from what is
commonly called terrorism (that is, by nongovernment actors). State
terrorism is usually justified in terms of preserving the state
or society, though to the opposition it's a means for enforcing
a repressive status quo. State terrorism usually targets people
conceived to be opponents of the regime, though it often 
indiscriminately includes other parties. And, like nonstate
terrorism, it is usually intended to demoralize if not paralyze
its opponent. State terrorism usually uses death squads armed
with guns, while nonstate terrorism overwhelmingly favors bombs
(although there are some killings of individual targets).  

The Chomskyian view is basically that the U.S. has engaged in
or supported state terrorism for many years, and that nonstate
terrorism is a response to it that is understandable if not
justified. 

The "orthodox" view, expressed by Bush and others, is that 
terrorists are either a) crazy or b) "hate our freedom" While
it's true that what we call our freedom to spread our culture
globally _is_ perceived as a threat by many Muslims and others,
it's also pretty clear that the people who engage in anti-U.S.
terrorism (or support it) have many more specific issues. 

Most experts fall somewhere between the Chomskyian and Bush views.
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #19 of 65: Ross Alan Stapleton-Gray (amicus) Mon 22 Oct 01 14:57
    
Heh.  And most of America falls between Maine and Hawaii... :-)

Herb Meyer, who was on the National Intelligence Council, was applauding how
the 9/11 actions were leading to a new attitude toward the CIA, which would
presumably (according to Meyer) be given the rein to return to more its OSS
roots.  Meyer specifically cited its (the OSS's) war-time record, which was
more like a partisan/commando situation, and the CIA's subsequent
"successes," among which he included the mining of harbors in Nicaragua.
This last one really bugged the hell out of me, as, in addition to being
explicitly illegal (per the Bolland Amendment), it was about as obviously
terrorism (the aim was to frighten int'l transport, insurers, etc., away
from any commerce with Nicaragua, and crash the economy) as anything I can
imagine.  I think Meyer was on the NIC during the Reagan years, so his views
might be unsurprising, but how do we reconcile what he applauds with others'
desires for an ability to respond in kind?
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #20 of 65: Jo Simons (josparrow) Mon 22 Oct 01 15:49
    
Hi Harry
With respect to the "Fighting Terrorism" attempts of various
governments, what sort of effects do you think they have on the
terrorist groups themselves? For example the "war on terrorism"
response doesn't seem to really be impacting the groups themselves, and
the impression is that if anything, they could possibly recruit more
people to a cause. On the other hand, simply relying on diplomacy after
the fact doesn't seem to be useful either if the terrorist groups
involved are not directly linked with specific governments. What is
your take on this?
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #21 of 65: Harry Henderson (hrh) Mon 22 Oct 01 16:54
    
I think it's too early to say what the ultimate effect on the
terrorist groups of our "war on terrorism" will be. Roughly,
I would say that if the existing anti-terrorist coalition holds
(which means minimizing collateral damage and actions seen as
offensive to mainstream Muslims) al-Qaeda and related groups
may be either knocked down or marginalized by cutting off 
resources. But these groups are pretty fluid in nature and
the hydra can very well grow new heads after awhile.

If the war gets out of control and governments (particularly
Pakistan or Saudi Arabia) are destabilized, all bets are off. 

Historically, some terrorist groups have been pretty much wiped 
out. The leftist European terrorists of the 1970s (Red Brigades,
Red Army Faction, etc.) were knocked down by massive police
action and eventually marginalized by political shifts in
the host countries.

Similarly, right-wing terrorists in the U.S. have pretty much disappeared
(not that they were ever that extensive), again through  a 
combination of heavy FBI surveillance and raids and the lack
of a broad base of supporters.

Of course both left and right wing terrorists might return if
there's major economic dislocation or if a strongly right or left
wing government takes power. 

 But the Middle Eastern groups are fueled
by ongoing unresolved issues (particularly Israel-Palestine)
and they also have a lot more sympathy and indirect support
than the European leftists ever had. And with the relative decline
in importance of traditional right or left wing ideology, religion
and culture have emerged (again) as dominant forces.
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #22 of 65: Doubting Disappearance (dsolar) Tue 23 Oct 01 01:27
    
>Similarly, right-wing terrorists in the U.S. have pretty much
>disappeared (not that they were ever that extensive), again through
>a combination of heavy FBI surveillance and raids and the lack of a
>broad base of supporters.

Disappearance in terms ONLY of media mention. The groups, the tens of
thousands of heavily-armed right wing "cells," remain unabated. A few,
two or three or four, of the more public groups have been slowed down
and the more visible "freedom village" in Idaho has been effectively
closed, but we remain riddled by right-wing hate. Racism is alive and
well, and well-armed.  The media has a more pressing instance of
"terrorism" to deal with, and the Bush agenda has been fast-forwarded
by 911. National identity card anyone? Omnivore? 
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #23 of 65: Harry Henderson (hrh) Tue 23 Oct 01 11:39
    
Can you give me a cite for "tens of thousands of heavily armed right
wing cells"? Everything I've read suggests that membership in
militia groups (not all of which are right wing or racist by the
way) has declined ever since the Oklahoma City bombing (which was
not related to a militia, btw). And militias aren't organized
into cells, and many of them meet in public (and the bigger
ones no doubt have their own resident FBI informers.)

There's a small number of violent anti-abortion
terrorists. Some of those such as "Army of God" do have a 
cell-type structure.

The biggest white supremacy group, Aryan Nations, was put
out of business by civil action brought by the Southern
Poverty Law Center (Morris Dees' group)

There are certainly still survivalist types, many of whom hold
right-wing views, but most of them focus on self-sufficiency, being
"off the grid" and weathering some sort of apocalypse, not conducting
terrorist actions. I suspect in the weeks since 9/11 there has been
some upsurge in survivalist activities (though the leading economic
indicators for such sentiment, gold and silver prices, haven't gone up
that much.)
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #24 of 65: Bob 'rab' Bickford (rab) Tue 23 Oct 01 12:40
    

  It really sounds to me like the question in #22 above is blithely
assuming that *any* group with offensive right-wing and/or separatist
views is somehow automatically a terrorist group, especially if their
members are "heavily armed".  That sort of nearly blind reaction to
differences is what fosters and promotes divisions in society and is
just what real terrorists want: everyone suspicious and hateful of
everyone else.

  There aren't "tens of thousands" of any sort of "cell" in America.
Certainly there are an ample supply of people who are (justifiably)
somewhat paranoid about their rights to keep and bear arms being trampled
upon by the ignorance and fear of a minority of their fellow-citizens,
and among them there are certainly a few swaggering loud-mouths.  But
actual 'terrorists'?  No way, not unless the idiots in our government
actually cross the line and start acting totalitarian -- in which case
I'd argue that the terrorists would be in Wash. DC and not elsewhere.
Fortunately that's not too likely; Bush and company are not quite as
stupid as his critics claim (barely).
  
inkwell.vue.127 : Harry Henderson - Library in a Book: Terrorism
permalink #25 of 65: flash gordon md (flash) Wed 24 Oct 01 08:35
    
what resources do you cover on bioterrorism, harry?
 
  

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