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Thread: Counter Terrorism (merged thread)

  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Counter Terrorism (merged thread)

    Now a little dated having been published in 2007, 'The Lessons of Policing in Iraq', from the Oxford Journal Of Policing, still at least it is here: http://policing.oxfordjournals.org/c...t/full/1/1/102

    Taken from a special issue on Policing and Terrorism: http://policing.oxfordjournals.org/content/vol1/issue1/

    I have only skimmed two articles and enjoyed William Bratton's short piece.

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  2. #2
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Terrorism is rare: Beyond Security Theater

    A thoughtful short article from an outsider on the responses to terrorism:http://www.schneier.com/essay-292.html

    The opening paragraph:
    Terrorism is rare, far rarer than many people think. It's rare because very few people want to commit acts of terrorism, and executing a terrorist plot is much harder than television makes it appear. The best defences against terrorism are largely invisible: investigation, intelligence, and emergency response. But even these are less effective at keeping us safe than our social and political policies, both at home and abroad. However, our elected leaders don't think this way: they are far more likely to implement security theater against movie-plot threats.
    Scattered later on:
    it's not the target and tactics of the last attack that are important, but the next attack....the security measures that work are largely invisible.....Certainly intelligence and investigation successes have made it harder, but mostly it's because terrorist attacks are actually hard. It's hard to find willing recruits, to co-ordinate plans, and to execute those plans -- and it's easy to make mistakes.
    Each time I travel by air and find at UK airports barriers to stop cars getting close to the terminal I just shake my head - what a waste. Yes, it is theatre and an attempt to show the public the state is doing something.

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    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Each time I travel by air and find at UK airports barriers to stop cars getting close to the terminal I just shake my head - what a waste. Yes, it is theatre and an attempt to show the public the state is doing something.
    Well said, David. Patraeus had it right, "sometimes the more you try to protect yourself, the less secure you are." I shake my head at all the money we've thrown into different bureaucracies since 9/11.

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    I rather like this one (from the No.1 posted article).

    They do not include expansive new police or spying laws. Our police don't need any new laws to deal with terrorism; rather, they need apolitical funding. These security measures don't make good television, and they don't help, come re-election time. But they work, addressing the reality of security instead of the feeling.
    Thank You, Sir
    Last edited by slapout9; 11-13-2009 at 05:25 PM. Reason: Add quote marks

  5. #5
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Lessons of the Counter Terrorism Campaign

    The original article's title was: Lessons of the Counterterror Campaign in the Digital Age (Opinion):http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/0...l-age-opinion/

    The author being:
    Philip Mudd served as the FBI’s deputy director for national security and, prior to that, spent most of his career at the CIA. He held various positions and was eventually named the deputy director of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center. Mudd is now a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation.
    His opinion is markedly upbeat:
    The lessons of how U.S. military, intelligence and law enforcement developed tactics during this long campaign, though, likely will be more enduring. Like international terror groups, emerging threats - organized crime, drug cartels, human trafficking groups, and child pornography rings - have common characteristics. All are led by a central cadre (a leadership network) of criminals who communicate, travel, and manage finances. Increasingly, each of these elements that make up organized networks is trackable through the digital trails that we all leave behind during everyday life, from bank transactions to e-mail and other messaging traffic on the Internet.
    I would argue that organized crime and drug cartels have been around for a very long time. They both show remarkable resilience to modern methods, notably in the so called, failing 'drug war'. Let alone the billions in 'dirty money' floating around despite all the "spin". Human trafficking groups and child pornography rings maybe somewhat newer. I assume 'trafficking' is not the same as illegal migration; the later is evidently nowhere near state control.

    Even starker IMO when Mudd writes:
    Adversaries cannot beat the digital supremacy of America’s national security agencies, if that supremacy supports interdiction...
    That is not supremacy, that is a capability that may give an operational edge.

    Mudd ends with:
    we should consider it as a template for how to look at this new age of global, networked, non-state actors and how similar they are to the adversary that we so effectively crippled after 9/11, using intelligence fusion to devastating effect. The wars of the past should be consigned to the past; the lessons of those wars remain relevant.
    Well that really opens up a lot of the debate SWC has had over the years, including asking how effective is this, let alone the political, moral and cost aspects.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Lessons with free book!

    From SWJ 'A Review: Ten Years Later: Insights on al-Qaida’s Past and Future through Captured Records', which contains these lessons:
    Dr. Mark Stout of John Hopkins University, discusses the evolution of intelligence assessments of al-Qaida to 2011, and perhaps the most insightful aspects of his remarks are is the identification of hysteria that detracts from the real business of counter-terrorism, which is the blaming of Islam itself and 1.5 billion adherents, thereby allowing al-Qaida to hide within Islam, and not recognize that al-Qaida ideology and actions have been harmful to Muslims and non-Muslims alike....While Islam is relevant in threat analysis, Stout discusses how intelligence analysts fought back these ideas needing a more refined and realistic definition of the threat in a real world in which Muslims play an integral part in assisting in countering al-Qaida.
    On that aspect of campaigning, document exploitation which gets little coverage:
    Ms. Jessica Huckabey of the Institute for Defense Analysis...she eloquently warns that captured documents are a time capsule and should be contrasted with current events, more importantly Huckabey reminds us that AQ evolves based on failures and pressures.
    I am sure others will find stimulation in the variety of articles within.

    SWJ article link:http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...ptured-records

    The free book, 218 pgs:http://issuu.com/johnshopkinsaap/doc...ode=doublePage
    davidbfpo

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    Default Twelve Rules for Preventing and Countering Terrorism

    Alex P. Schmid is the author in Perspectives on Terrorism of this one page rulebook:
    1. Try to address the underlying conflict issues exploited by the terrorists and work towards a peaceful solution while not making substantive concessions to the terrorists themselves;
    2. Prevent radical individuals and groups from becoming terrorist extremists by confronting them with a mix of 'carrot and stick' –tactics and search for effective counter-motivation measures;
    3. Stimulate and encourage defection and conversion of free and imprisoned terrorists and find ways to reduce the support of aggrieved constituencies for terrorist organizations;
    4. Deny terrorists access to arms, explosives, false identification documents, safe communication, safe travel and sanctuaries; disrupt and incapacitate their preparations and operations through infiltration, communication intercept, espionage and by limiting their criminal - and other fund-raising capabilities;
    5. Reduce low-risk/high-gain opportunities for terrorists to strike by enhancing
    communications, energy and transportation-security, by hardening critical infrastructures and potential sites where mass casualties could occur and apply principles of situational crime prevention to the prevention of terrorism;
    6. Keep in mind that terrorists seek publicity and exploit the media and the Internet to propagate their cause, glorify their attacks, win recruits, solicit donations, gather intelligence, disseminate terrorist know-how and communicate with their target audiences. Try to devise communication strategies to counter them in each of these areas.
    7. Prepare for crisis- and consequence-management for both 'regular' and ‘catastrophic' acts of terrorism in coordinated simulation exercises and educate first responders and the public on how to cope with terrorism.
    8. Establish an Early Detection and Early Warning intelligence system against terrorism and other violent crimes on the interface between organized crime and political conflict;
    9. Strengthen coordination of efforts against terrorism both within and between states; enhance international police and intelligence cooperation, and offer technical assistance to those countries lacking the know-how and means to upgrade their counter-terrorism instruments.
    10. Show solidarity with, and offer support to, victims of terrorism at home and abroad.
    11. Maintain the moral high-ground in the struggle with terrorists by defending and strengthening the rule of law, good governance, democracy and social justice and by matching your deeds with your words;
    12. Last but not least: counter the ideologies, indoctrination and propaganda of secular and non-secular terrorists and try to get the upper hand in the war of ideas – the battle for the hearts and minds of those terrorists claim to speak and fight for.
    Link:http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/...-terrorism/411
    davidbfpo

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    Default A timely addition by CWOT

    Clint Watts aka CWOT (SWC Member) has authored 'Radicalization in the U.S. Beyond al Qaeda: Treating the Disease of the Disconnection', published by FPRI and is a timely addition to this thread:
    Completed in December 2011, the report explores the efficacy and future threat of al Qaeda’s ideology in radicalizing Americans but concludes with a broader call for examining the variety of domestic ideologies inspiring violence in the United States. Watts discusses potential trends in future U.S. radicalization and outlines several recommendations for preparing the U.S. to detect and interdict violence from a host of extremist ideologies, of which al Qaeda represents only one.
    Caveats aside Clint offers five steps for countering homegrown (US) extremism:
    A more appropriate blend of effort and resources for countering homegrown extremism might follow a spectrum of key tasks:

    1- Identify and remove extremist content from U.S. and partner nation servers through established legal processes and cooperation with the private sector.
    2- Detect online extremist radicalization through electronic surveillance and rapidly share this information with law enforcement and homeland security officials to initiate physical engagement with advocates of extremism.
    3- Expand community engagement across all communities for additional detection capability and further means of extremist interdiction.
    4- Directly and physically engage those being radicalized. Law enforcement and their local community partners should physically preempt those demonstrating extremist sympathies. This engagement could use a combination of intermediaries to include family, community leaders, law enforcement, social workers, and reformed extremists who are particularly effective in deescalating extremists moving down the path of radicalization.
    5- Monitor and interdict those committed to extremism through informants, surveillance and preemptive law enforcement. For some radicalized in the U.S., there is no de-escalating their intent to commit violence. Law enforcement at all levels should continue their proactive policing when direct intervention with extremists is infeasible or insufficient to deter.A timely addition by CWOT
    Link:http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=722

    Link to FPRI report:http://www.fpri.org/pubs/2012/201208...calization.pdf
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-13-2012 at 09:38 PM.
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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Germany has corrupted its far right wing (aka Neonazis) to the degree of ridiculousness. All their organisations appear to be compromised by informants well into the top of the hierarchies.

    A recent project to support those who want to leave the far right subculture already appears to take a toll on their numbers.

    Other than that, civil society does a lot to remind everyone that the far right is a bunch of loudmouths, and a minority at every occasion. Every far right demonstration is being countered by a larger anti-fascist demonstration usually including dedicated Antifa groups, churches, labour unions, Asta (university student organisations), local mainsteam politicians, greens, leftists and the likes.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Fuchs,

    I often wonder where the balance is between the actions of the state and non-state participants in CT and counter-radicalisation (CVE in the USA and PE now in the UK, it was PVE). In my reading and listening at conferences, with Spanish and Ulster voices in mind especially; what was the impact of the massive public protests against ETA - after kidnapping and murders?

    Nearer to home in Northern Ireland we had the 'Women for Peace' and a short-lived cross-communal protest about violence, way-back in 1976. It was to take a long time for the 'men of violence' to find their operating space was diminishing; a mixture of exhaustion and compromise led to peace with the Good Friday Agreement.

    No surprise then that Alex Schmid's last two points resonate with me:
    11. Maintain the moral high-ground in the struggle with terrorists by defending and strengthening the rule of law, good governance, democracy and social justice and by matching your deeds with your words;
    12. Last but not least: counter the ideologies, indoctrination and propaganda of secular and non-secular terrorists and try to get the upper hand in the war of ideas – the battle for the hearts and minds of those terrorists claim to speak and fight for.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-14-2012 at 07:22 AM.
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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Point 12 is ill-aimed. there's no need to engage millions since the support base for terrorists is usually only in the range of thousands. they're the ones who aren't resolute enough to not give up, who didn't go too far to return to civil society and who are indispensable for the morale and actions of the terrorists.

    The RAF in Germany crumbled when its supporter base got disillusioned.


    There's an interesting parallel with Mao's teachings about guerilla logistics (unless I mixed something up in my memory).

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    Default Defining Terrorism: A Strategic Imperative

    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-25-2016 at 04:13 PM.

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    Default B. Mobley "How Terrorist Groups Elude Detection"

    Search "Mobley" gave 0 replies and I 'd like to suggest his book.

    Terrorism and Counterintelligence: How Terrorist Groups Elude Detection
    Blake W. Mobley

    August, 2012.

    Protecting information, identifying undercover agents, and operating clandestinely—efforts known as counterintelligence—are the primary objectives of terrorist groups evading detection by intelligence and law enforcement officials. Some strategies work well, some fail, and those tasked with tracking these groups are deeply invested in the difference.

    Discussing the challenges terrorist groups face as they multiply and plot international attacks, while at the same time providing a framework for decoding the strengths and weaknesses of their counterintelligence, Blake W. Mobley provides an indispensable text for the intelligence, military, homeland security, and law enforcement fields. He outlines concrete steps for improving the monitoring, disruption, and elimination of terrorist cells, primarily by exploiting their mistakes in counterintelligence.

    A key component of Mobley’s approach is to identify and keep close watch on areas that often exhibit weakness. While some counterintelligence pathologies occur more frequently among certain terrorist groups, destructive bureaucratic tendencies, such as mistrust and paranoia, pervade all organizations. Through detailed case studies, Mobley shows how to recognize and capitalize on these shortcomings within a group’s organizational structure, popular support, and controlled territory, and he describes the tradeoffs terrorist leaders make to maintain cohesion and power. He ultimately shows that no group can achieve perfect secrecy while functioning effectively and that every adaptation or new advantage supposedly attained by these groups also produces new vulnerabilities.
    http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-2...erintelligence

    http://books.google.ee/books?id=Tloq...Dw&redir_esc=y

    Dr. Mobley's CV

    Dr. Mobley is the co-founder of Threat Pattern, LLC, a firm that collects and analyzes “big data” and intelligence from over 100 million online sources to support intelligence, counterintelligence, due diligence, public relations, and security operations for corporate and government clients. He previously worked at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as a counterintelligence analyst, serving tours in the Middle East and Langley, VA. At the CIA he served as a targeter, supporting clandestine operations and producing analytic reports for senior U.S. policymakers, including two Presidents and their cabinets, the National Security Council, and senior intelligence and military officials. After the CIA, he worked at the RAND Corporation as a political scientist, where he studied open source intelligence strategies and the counterintelligence methods and vulnerabilities of governments, corporations, organized crime groups, illicit trafficking groups, and large street gangs.
    Dr. Mobley continues to provide training and analytic support to the U.S. Army Special Forces and various police department gang units. He previously worked with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University and the Center for Tactical Counter Terrorism on projects for the New York City Police Department. He is the author of Terrorism and Counterintelligence: How Terrorist Groups Elude Detection (Columbia University Press, 2012), which develops and tests a methodology for assessing the counterintelligence strengths and weaknesses of violent, clandestine groups. Dr. Mobley received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Georgetown University, M.P.P. from Harvard University, and B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University.
    http://www.sdasis.org/keynote-speake...lake-w-mobley/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-17-2013 at 12:13 PM. Reason: Cited text in quotes

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Kaur,

    Good catch. Oddly the book has only one review on Amazon.com:http://www.amazon.com/Terrorism-Coun...owViewpoints=1
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-29-2016 at 03:06 PM. Reason: 8575v. Was a stand alone thread.
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    Default Is the War on Terrorism Over? Long Live Unconventional Warfare

    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-25-2016 at 04:14 PM.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Top five myths about terrorism

    An intriguing, short analysis using the START Global Terrorism Database (GTD):
    First, the tremendous impact of 9/11 encourages us to think about terrorism as being mostly about dissatisfied individuals from one country attacking innocent civilians from another country. Based on the data in the GTD we found that more than 90% of the 17,000 attacks carried out by 52 foreign terrorist groups were actually domestic attacks.

    Second...it is easy to lose sight of the fact that a large number of terrorist attacks involve fairly rational political disputes over territory.

    Third...we find that more than half of all terrorist attacks since 1970 involved no fatalities.

    Fourth...the vast majority of terrorist attacks rely on unsophisticated, readily accessible weapons.

    And finally, the advance planning, originality and destructiveness of 9/11 contributed to the notion that terrorist groups are infallible.
    Link:http://forumblog.org/2013/07/top-fiv...out-terrorism/
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A Frightening Thought: When Terrorism 'Works'

    Not a great shock here I would venture, but this academic article makes interesting reading - even if ISIS comes to dominate:http://nationalinterest.org/feature/...sm-works-13279
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Do Terrorists Win? Rebels' Use of Terrorism and Civil War Outcomes

    Thanks to a "lurker" for the pointer to this open access article in a journal I rarely see, 'International Organisation' by Virginia Page Fortna:http://journals.cambridge.org/action...000089#cjotab_

    The Abstract states:
    How effective is terrorism? This question has generated lively scholarly debate and is of obvious importance to policy-makers. However, most existing studies of terrorism are not well equipped to answer this question because they lack an appropriate comparison. This article compares the outcomes of civil wars to assess whether rebel groups that use terrorism fare better than those who eschew this tactic. I evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of terrorism relative to other tactics used in civil war. Because terrorism is not a tactic employed at random, I first briefly explore empirically which groups use terrorism. Controlling for factors that may affect both the use of terrorism and war outcomes, I find that although civil wars involving terrorism last longer than other wars, terrorist rebel groups are generally less likely to achieve their larger political objectives than are nonterrorist groups. Terrorism may be less ineffective against democracies, but even in this context, terrorists do not win
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default So, if terrorism does not work, why do certain groups practice it?

    There has been criticism that little has been learnt about terrorism from those who study it. This a thread refers (there maybe others):http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=18024

    Max Abrahams, an Asst. Professor @ NE University, has been interviewed and his responses include this thread's subject. Here is a taster:
    Q: So, if terrorism does not work, why do certain groups practice it?

    A:In a recent study in International Organization, Phil Potter and I propose and test a new theory that can accurately predict why certain groups use terrorism, while others do not. It turns out that only some groups tend to engage in terrorism by attacking civilians – groups suffering from leadership deficits in which lower level members are calling the shots. Leadership deficits promote terrorism by empowering lower level members of the organization, who have stronger incentives to harm civilians.
    Link:http://www.e-ir.info/2015/07/12/inte...IfGUHl.twitter

    The article cited is available free on:https://www.academia.edu/5365151/Exp...h_Phil_Potter_
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-13-2015 at 01:39 PM.
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Our ignorance is magnifying the terror threat

    An excellent overview by Jason Burke, a journalist and author with The Guardian:http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...mistakes-9-11?

    The full title:
    There is no silver bullet': Isis, al-Qaida and the myths of terrorism (Sub-title)The west’s response to 9/11 was the catastrophic ‘war on terror’. Have we learned from our mistakes with al-Qaida, or is history repeating itself with Isis?
    He ends with:
    To be afraid of terrorism is normal; to be concerned is natural. But it is better to be so in measure and in reason, not in panicked ignorance, and thus win one immediate and important victory.
    The author does not provide what to do now.
    davidbfpo

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