TERRORISM, definition of

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Let’s see… the UN says that terrorism is defined as:

criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other nature that may be invoked to justify them”. (GA Res. 51/210 Measures to eliminate international terrorism)

and says that the academic definition is:

“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).


While the CIA defines it as:

The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.
CIA Terrorism FAQ

And terrorism according to ONE Muslim source, is:

If we consider the meaning of the word “terrorism” on the one hand, and its fallout and traces left on human life on the other, we note that terrorism may be carried out on different levels. There is a terrorism which threatens security, honour, property and the like; there is a cultural terrorism which tears human identity apart, and leads to the abyss of perdition and aimlessness; there is an information terrorism which deprives man of his freedom to breathe in an unpolluted atmosphere. We can cite other types of terrorism such as economic terrorism, scientific terrorism, diplomatic terrorism, military terrorism, etc.

BUT (yes, there is always a but):

There exists, however, a division based on the type of perpetrators, which must be taken into account. It is the division into official and unofficial terrorism. Official terrorism – which is the more dangerous – consists of all acts that are supported by an internationally recognized quarter or State, whether by the army of that State or individual elements or in the form of an operation for the benefit of the said quarter. Opposing this type of terrorism is unofficial terrorism.
Fifth Islamic Summit

In Wikipedia, it’s defined as:

Terrorism refers to a strategy of using violence, or threat of violence to generate fear, cause disruption, and ultimately, to bring about compliance with specific political, religious, ideological, or personal demands[1]. The targets of terrorist attacks typically are not the individuals who are killed, injured, or taken hostage, but rather the societies to which these individuals belong. Terrorism is a type of unconventional warfare designed to weaken or supplant existing political landscapes through capitulation or acquiescence, as opposed to subversion or direct military action. The broader influence of terrorism in the modern world is often attributed to the dramatic focus of mass media in amplifying feelings of intense fear and anger.

See how disparate these definitions are? Is it any wonder that our own parliamentarians, bless their effervescent souls, should find it quite difficult to agree what it should be defined as? Well, in that case, as is usual to that malleable body, they lump everything together – like taking a pot-shot with a cannon at a tied and trussed bird – and call it intelligent:

According to the law, people who deal with foreign terrorist organisations receive a life sentence and if they carry out operations with their backing get the death penalty.

MPs also disagreed on the government’s definition of terrorism, which stipulates that anyone who uses violence or threatens others, whatever the reason or objective, to execute an act, whether alone or for a group, to terrorise people, or scare them, is considered a terrorist.

It also says that any threat to people’s lives, property, freedom, rights or security, or damage to the environment, public or private utilities or national resources and international facilities, is considered as a terrorist act.

The definition of a terrorist act also includes threats to regional stability and safety or the countries’ leaderships and politicians.

Some MPs are calling for the adoption of the definition of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to Combat International Terrorism, which was used in the money laundering law passed by parliament.

The definition specifically exclude armed struggle for liberation and self-determination.

Others believe that the foreign affairs, defence and national security committee, which studied the proposed law, did not cover all terrorist activities in its amendments.

Meanwhile, Al Wefaq National Islamic Society expressed its concern that the law was being pushed by the government.
GDN :: 12 July, ’06

Which, naturally, by utilising this froufrou definition includes anyone who farts in my presence, let alone someone who vociferously advocates sending the Bahrain Defence Forces to jihad to help our Palestinian brothers and sisters against a country which we accepted to have the right to exist!

And this hurts: that last call was done by someone whom I have heretofore regarded as a “good” force in parliament, and one whom I had held in high regard. What’s this brain fart then? It must have been released whilst thinking of re-election, at least I hope that is the case.

No matter. The essence is, if the Bahrain government definition is actually taken to be true and laws are based on that definition, then with my writings, and that of everyone else on the island, we are died in the wool terrorists and don’t be surprised too much if we are summarily executed while our brain-dead MPs stuff their faces with crisps while giving aiming instructions to our executioners!

The Bahrain parliament is capable of defining terrorism, while they still can’t decide whether to install “efrenji” or eastern “hole-in-the-ground” toilets in parliament! Hah!

  • Steve The American
    13 July 2006

    Eight bombs on Mumbai commuter trains have so far killed 183 human beings and wounded in excess of 660 more. Now, we don’t know who did it yet. Some suspect Muslims but it could be Quakers. While we are waiting for the verdict, I can’t help but notice that there are certain stages in the Muslim response to Islamic terror that have presented themselves over the last couple dozen major attacks. I present them here. You can see if they match the progress of the Mumbai bombings.

    Steve’s Stages of Muslim Response To Terror Attacks

    Stage 1: Denial
    The Muslim community makes strident denials that the atrocity of the moment was perpetrated by Muslims: “It is impossible for this attack to have been committed by Muslims because terrorism is against Islam. This is a bigoted and racist slander of Islam by Western Islamophobes.” In the Middle East, the response does not progress past Denial.

    Stage 2: Fingering The Muslim Suspects
    The police make tentative identifications of the perpetrators, who are all young Muslim men. This prompts howls of outrage from the perpetrators’ community, who counter that they are good, devout Muslims. The perpetrators’ families strongly protest their arrests/identification, demonstrating outside the courtroom in full hijab. Local Muslim clergy claim there is no proof of their guilt.

    Stage 3: Damning Evidence
    Damning evidence is publicly presented which leaves no doubt of the guilt of the accused Muslim men. Security camera video of the perpetrators shows them carrying their bombs to their targets. A mountain of evidence is collected from suicide bombers who made no effort to cover their tracks: email, documents, fingerprints, jihad videos, trips to Pakistan, bomb components, receipts.

    Family and friends of the perpetrators go into taqqiya mode in public: “We had no idea. They must have been brainwashed by extremists against their will.” Privately, they celebrate the martyrdom of their noble jihad warrior.

    Stage 4: Backlash
    Once guilt is established too firmly to fight it, Muslims warn of a backlash against the “peaceful moderate Muslim community.” The backlash never quite materializes. A hundred dead infidels might prompt a yahoo or two to toss a rock through a mosque window. However, Muslims then harp about living in a climate of fear. Any insult to the Muslim community trumps the terror. No matter how many innocent lives are snuffed out for Islam, the Muslims always believe themselves to be the true victims.

    Stage 5: Conspiracy Theory
    Once the facts fade from the public memory, the conspiracy theorists begin manufacturing an alternate reality which exonerates the Muslim perpetrators and implicates the true villains behind the scenes, usually the CIA and/or Mossad, maybe the Pentagon or Illuminati. Ultimately, George Bush is to blame.

    Stage 6: Martyr Video
    On the anniversary of the attack a year later, one or more martyr videos pops up on the Internet and Al Jazeera in which the dead perpetrators confess from the grave to their role in the martyrdom operation, proclaim its justice, and threaten more. Allah Akbar!

  • jc
    13 July 2006

    Steve the American needs to cite his sources, because lord knows I dont spend that much time on my own (crappy) livejournal, much less a tangental response to someone elses post. And, oh yeah, the fact that if you believe all blacks are lazy, its amazing how many lazy blacks you see (this is called metaphor, Steve — spare me the diatribe).

    As for the definitions of terrorism, I like the CIA definition (of course I would, with my imperialist American ways). Advantages:
    1) Concise: It makes fairly clear three points — one, that terrorism can only be perpetrated by nonstate actors or clandestine agents, two — to achieve political goals and infleuence people, and three — against any non-military target.
    2) Unlike the word “is”, there are generally accepted definitions of “clandestine agents”, “noncombatant”, and “subnational groups”.
    3) Makes fairly clear that all three prerequisites must be fulfilled in order to qualify as terrorism.

    Also exludes guerilla movements that target military infrastructure (tanks, barracks, the French in Algeria, etc.), war crimes (i.e. Mai Lai, Abu Gharib, and that whole “execution of POWs” the Nazis were so fond of), genocide (the Nazis again), but includes indicents like bombings such as Locherbie (conducted by Libyan clandestine agents), and the seemingly random indiscriminate bombings of Shi’a shrines in Iraq (and the synagogue attack in Tunisia a few years ago, a country whose Jewish population is been there longer than Christianity has exsited).

    Some of the other definitions are rather fuzzy, or unnecessarily broad (enviornmental terrorism? No, thats called pollution. Military Terrorism? No, these are called War Crimes by the Geneva Conventions; “honor” terrorism?) Then there is the language being considered: construting terrorism to be any “threat to peoples lives”? Does that include global warming? “Property” — eminent domain is now a terrorist financing mechanism? “Damage to private utilities”? The economists definition of “utility” is far broader than in the colloquial lexicon. But imagine the apoplexy of the Saudi royal family when they discover that driving drunk in Bahrain means they could be charged with an act of terrorism; so maybe not so bad.

    In the end, its all about case law.

  • jc
    13 July 2006

    Oh, forgot to mention, that a terrorist action perpetrated by a state clandestine entity may be construed to constitute an act of war. (hence more or less international acquiescence after Reagen bombed Qadaffhi’s house after the Berlin Disco bombing). This is why I was disappointed, but not devastated by, Hamas’s victory in the recent Palestinian elections. A political party (and sundry enterprises) defined by their “outsider” status suddenly thrust into the halls of power where they actually have to figure out how to govern in an environment where any Hamas bombing in Israel is not only terrorist but may be construed as being the official foreign policy of the Palestinian state and consequently an act of war. I use the metaphor of the hard left Communist parties in Europe, whose ideological purity is untainted by any sort of responsibility to make their ideology work on a practical governmental level.

  • Johnster
    13 July 2006

    But what I would like to see is a force composed entirely of Arab soldiers bringing peace to the Labanese border and to Iraq.

    Has this been suggested by the leaders of the Middle East?

  • Steve The American
    13 July 2006

    Mumbai Bombings, Stage 1: Denial

    From an article on MyWay, “350 Detained In Bombay Train Bombings“:

    “Investigators were looking into a possible link with Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, an Islamic militant group based in Kashmir, said P.S. Pasricha, police chief of Maharashtra state. Lashkar has in the past employed near-simultaneous explosions to attack Indian cities.

    A spokesman for Lashkar, Abdullah Ghaznavi, denied the group was involved.

    In an interview with The Associated Press in Washington, Pakistan’s foreign minister bristled at suggestions that his country bore responsibility for the attacks. “You can’t really blame everything on Pakistan; it’s very unfair,” Khurshid Kasuri said. “India is a vast country. There are lots of people who have their own agendas, not just in Kashmir.””

    The Indians have found and defused an eighth bomb that failed to detonate, which undoubtedly will lead to a cascading series of leads to the perpetrators. That’s how the Spanish police worked their way back to the Muslim terrorist cell responsible for Madrid.

    We will probably progress on to the next stage within a week:
    Stage 2: Fingering The Muslim Suspects


  • Steve The American
    13 July 2006

    Welcome to the second stage of the Mumbai atrocities.

    Stage 2: Fingering the Muslim Suspects

    From the Associated Press:

    “BOMBAY, India – Authorities named two suspects Thursday in the Bombay commuter train bombings that killed at least 200 people. The government’s Anti-Terror Squad released photos of two young, bearded men it identified as Sayyad Zabiuddin and Zulfeqar Fayyaz. Their nationalities were not provided.”


    Hmmm. Looks like it wasn’t Quakers after all. Let’s call this Stage 2a since the suspects have only been tentatively identified. Stage 2b will be the protestations of innocence by the Muslim community.


  • jc
    14 July 2006

    Denials of responsibility is proof of guilt. Obviously.

  • Steve The American
    14 July 2006


    Thanks for escorting us into Stage 2b, ie that Muslims are being unfairly singled out for blame in (enter atrocity here). Your comment is an indirect way of saying there is no proof of Muslim guilt, as defined above in Stage 2.

    I look forward to your comments in the future. Thanks for being predictable.


  • Anonymous
    21 May 2007

    🙂 totallt one of the great explanation to students : ❗ ❗ ❗

How much you pay?