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Old 02-18-2010   #1
slapout9
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Default Domestic political violence (USA)

I just watched the news conference where the "Local Authorities" say there is no reason to believe it is terrorism,

Read the Manifesto/Suicide note left by the pilot. Sounds like Domestic Terrorism to me.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,586627,00.html
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Old 02-18-2010   #2
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Default Burgeoning tax code

While I certainly do not agree with his methods, his comments on the US tax code and Congress' conflict of interest vis-a-vis giant corporations (and their supporting lobbyists) are not wholly without merit.
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Old 02-19-2010   #3
Ken White
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Default I'm not sure it's terrorism

If you accept this (LINK) as a reaonable definition, the act barely qualifies under the third alternative. I think it's more this:

Last edited by Ken White; 10-27-2011 at 02:20 AM.
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Old 02-19-2010   #4
tequila
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So, if a Muslim piloted a plane into a Federal building, would anyone question if this was a terrorist incident or not?
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Old 02-19-2010   #5
J Wolfsberger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tequila View Post
So, if a Muslim piloted a plane into a Federal building, would anyone question if this was a terrorist incident or not?
If he left the same parting missive, omitted mention of practicing Islam, and omitted the phrase "Alahu ahkbar," I wouldn't call it terrorism. I agree with Ken, and I think this was a guy with employment and tax problems who decided to go out with a parting shot at the organization he blamed for his problems.
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Old 02-19-2010   #6
Schmedlap
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I guess he didn't get the tax refund he was expecting.

I'm with Ken and Wolf, but I would take it a step further. If this were a Muslim who slammed his plane into a government building because he was angry about our policies in the Mideast, I don't even think that would qualify as terrorism. Terrorism has a purpose of using fear and violence of achieve some political objective. If you're just lashing out at something that you hate, that's not terrorism. It's disenfranchisement, desperation, despair, anger, but not terrorism.
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Old 02-19-2010   #7
slapout9
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Have to go with Zenpundit on this one.

http://zenpundit.com/
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Old 02-19-2010   #8
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If this were a Muslim who slammed his plane into a government building because he was angry about our policies in the Mideast, I don't even think that would qualify as terrorism. Terrorism has a purpose of using fear and violence of achieve some political objective.
I think that very few people in the public sphere would share your definition IF this guy's name had been Abu Snuffy and he'd left a rant about Israel or Afghanistan on a Facebook page somewhere.

Given what we know, I'd put this guy, Abdulhakim Mohammad, MAJ Hasan, Richard Poplawski, and the Holocaust museum shooter in the same general category. All had major grievances that were based in political/religious ideology, but all also appear to have had significant personal dysfunctions. None appear to have acted as part of an organized group or had a realistic hope that their actions would achieve any kind of political objective, BUT their targets were clearly chosen for political/religious reasons.

I think choice of target + some political/religious motivation = a terrorist act. A different sort of terrorist than, say, KSM, but one nonetheless.
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Old 02-19-2010   #9
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Default You can certainly do that

Quote:
Originally Posted by tequila View Post
I think choice of target + some political/religious motivation = a terrorist act. A different sort of terrorist than, say, KSM, but one nonetheless.
but I believe you, slap and Zenpundit are giving nutcases more credit than they deserve. You may certainly call it terrorism but I doubt anyone other than the specific victims at the time were anywhere near terrorized...

As you say:
Quote:
...None appear to have acted as part of an organized group or had a realistic hope that their actions would achieve any kind of political objective...
Seems to me that is true and thus we're describing abberant actions that do not reach a threshold of inspiring terror.

I think the only reason to call those acts terroristic is for political purposes...
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Old 02-19-2010   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
I guess he didn't get the tax refund he was expecting.
And the irony is our taxes will only increase as they fix his mess

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
I'm with Ken and Wolf, but I would take it a step further. If this were a Muslim who slammed his plane into a government building because he was angry about our policies in the Mideast, I don't even think that would qualify as terrorism. Terrorism has a purpose of using fear and violence of achieve some political objective. If you're just lashing out at something that you hate, that's not terrorism. It's disenfranchisement, desperation, despair, anger, but not terrorism.
Concur. I'm a little worn out with how easily we come to use terms like terrorist and IED lately. Seems to fit and government financing is too easy.

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Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well. The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed. Joe Stack (1956-2010) 02/18/2010”
At 53 he just had enough. Should have gone after those rich weenies that manipulate instead of the finance ladies who couldn't change a light bulb.
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Old 02-19-2010   #11
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Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
You may certainly call it terrorism but I doubt anyone other than the specific victims at the time were anywhere near terrorized...
I think the IRS might disagree.
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Old 02-19-2010   #12
Stan
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Hey Slap !

Quote:
Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
I think the IRS might disagree.
According to the USA Patriot Act, Joe was a Domestic Terrorist (acts of terrorism in the United States carried out by American citizens). Joe apparently kept company with the KKK, Timothy McVeigh and the Unabomber to name a few.

Mike, legal aspects albeit post Morten ?
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Old 02-19-2010   #13
slapout9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan View Post
Hey Slap !



According to the USA Patriot Act, Joe was a Domestic Terrorist (acts of terrorism in the United States carried out by American citizens). Joe apparently kept company with the KKK, Timothy McVeigh and the Unabomber to name a few.

Mike, legal aspects albeit post Morten ?
Stan, you are correctomundo IMO.
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Old 02-19-2010   #14
tequila
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but I believe you, slap and Zenpundit are giving nutcases more credit than they deserve. You may certainly call it terrorism but I doubt anyone other than the specific victims at the time were anywhere near terrorized...
I think we give "terrorists" in general far more credit than they deserve. The cowardly hysteria that surrounds the 9/11 plotters' trial and the idea of moving Gitmo detainees into U.S. prisons is a perfect example.
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Old 02-19-2010   #15
Schmedlap
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tequila View Post
I think that very few people in the public sphere would share your definition IF this guy's name had been Abu Snuffy and he'd left a rant about Israel or Afghanistan on a Facebook page somewhere.
Well, that may be true, but I wasn't using the "most people" standard. Most people regard terrorism as some violent crime, committed by someone who doesn't look like me, for reasons rooted in political grievances that don't resonate with me. In other words, it's not a useful term because it is too broad, nebulous, and subjective.

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According to the USA Patriot Act, Joe was a Domestic Terrorist (acts of terrorism in the United States carried out by American citizens).
I don't think that is clear.

Section 802(a)(5) says that

the term `domestic terrorism' means activities that--
`(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
`(B) appear to be intended--
`(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
`(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
`(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
`(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.'.
I think a good argument can be made that this act appears to be intended as retribution against an agency that he was angry toward, rather than any of the three "appear to be intended" provisions of the act.

Besides, that's just a legal definition necessary for the operation of provisions in the Patriot Act. That doesn't make it a useful definition for anything not related to the Patriot Act.
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Old 02-19-2010   #16
Entropy
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Well, the issue here is clearly one of definition. Defining "terrorism" and fitting events into defnitions isn't often straightforward. In short, I think terrorism is a bit like beauty - in the eye of the beholder.
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Old 02-19-2010   #17
Ken White
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Default Multiple random shots...

Slapout9:
Quote:
I think the IRS might disagree.
Those in the building at the time; all others, not so much.

Stan:
Quote:
According to the USA Patriot Act, Joe was a Domestic Terrorist (acts of terrorism in the United States carried out by American citizens).
Well, if that poorly thought out Act says he is -- then he ain't! I rest my case...

I think Schmedlap sorted that out pretty well. Let the Legal Eagles play with it.

Tequila:
Quote:
I think we give "terrorists" in general far more credit than they deserve. The cowardly hysteria that surrounds the 9/11 plotters' trial and the idea of moving Gitmo detainees into U.S. prisons is a perfect example.
I agree with your principle point, we do give the acts more attention than they need. However, I also suggest that labeling the acts of certifiable nut jobs, no matter how terrifying to those on the scene at the time as 'acts of terrorism' lend them a cachet that leads people and lawmakers astray. Undeservedly adding to that "cowardly hysteria" thing.

I also believe that while it appears often as cowardly hysteria, it is actually dependency. The old "What is the government going to do about this..." routine. Most are not really terrified. They may say that but the reality is more often that it is simply uncomfortable and the government is supposed to fix it. If it is something the government cannot fix and both terrorism and random criminal acts by psychologically disturbed individuals generally fall in that category then many demand that it be fixed and castigate the government for 'failing.' Lot of politics involved...

It is quite possible that the two examples you cite are less cowardly hysteria in relation to objections and more making much noise for political purposes -- just as announcing the two actions in the first place was politically and not practically motivated. That is not to condemn the action either way, lots of alternatives and both selected will work reasonably well -- though the movement of folks from Gitmo will create as many problems as it solves. Gitmo should never have been used for that. It was.

Entropy:
Quote:
...In short, I think terrorism is a bit like beauty - in the eye of the beholder.
very true, I think -- there's also a very significant political quotient involved in what one wants to call a specific act...
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Old 02-19-2010   #18
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Default So far as Chapter 113b - Terrorism ....

of Title 18 U.S. Code, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, is concerned, you have to read the whole thing, together with some of its seemingly odd exceptions.

E.g., in 18 USC 2331, Definitions:

Quote:
(4) the term "act of war" means any act occurring in the course of - (A) declared war; (B) armed conflict, whether or not war has been declared, between two or more nations; or (C) armed conflict between military forces of any origin;
and 18 USC 2332f, Bombings of places of public use, government facilities, public transportation systems and infrastructure facilities:

Quote:
(d) Exemptions to Jurisdiction. - This section does not apply to - (1) the activities of armed forces during an armed conflict, as those terms are understood under the law of war, which are governed by that law, (2) activities undertaken by military forces of a state in the exercise of their official duties; ....
.....
(10) "military forces of a state" means the armed forces of a state which are organized, trained, and equipped under its internal law for the primary purpose of national defense or security, and persons acting in support of those armed forces who are under their formal command, control, and responsibility; (11) "armed conflict" does not include internal disturbances and tensions, such as riots, isolated and sporadic acts of violence, and other acts of a similar nature; and (12) "state" has the same meaning as that term has under international law, and includes all political subdivisions thereof.
Do those provisions exclude AQ, if that group is considered a military force (waging unconventional warfare vs the US and others?), from prosecution under the Terrorist Act in a civilian court for say 9/11 or its other bombings ?

Of course that does not mean that AQ members cannot be detained (and yes prosecuted for war crimes) under Military Law.

And, yes, you probably could fit the suicide pilot into the domestic terrorist category; but for what purpose ? The guy is dead; and there seems so far no larger conspiracy.

Regards

Mike
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Old 02-20-2010   #19
zenpundit
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Default Terrorism

This is really an argument regarding parameters. I think Ken is taking a far too narrow view of what constitutes "terrorism", historically speaking.

Certainly, well-organized, highly ideological, methodical and frequently state-sponsored groups that engage in assassinations, hijackings, bombings and murder of civilians to further political objectives should be considered terrorists. The Marxist and Left-revolutionary nationalist groups of the 1960's-1980's from the Baader-Meihoff Gang, FALN, IRA and the PLO factions fit this model but they are not the only kind of org that can engage in terrorism.

While terrorism as a tactic has a very long pedigree - ancient Athens celebrated Harmodius and Aristogeiton as democratic martyrs for assasinating the tyrant Hipparchus - the term's meaning has evolved. The first modern terrorists were Jacobin agents of the Committee of Public Safety like Joseph Fouche enforcing a revolutionary terror against hapless clergy and other "enemies".

Later 19th century terrorists were primarily anarchists, acting in small cells like the Russian People's Will or as solitary assassins and bombmakers. Their ideology was ill-defined, their strategy virtually absent as they advocated "the propaganda of the deed". This tradition continued well into the 20th century with the Left S.R's trying to kill Lenin and itinerant anarchists attempting to kill Mussolini, A. Mitchell Palmer and FDR. Ethnic criminal organizations such as the Sicilian Black Hand and the Irish Molly Maguires also made liberal use of terrorism to buttress their efforts at extortion and influence in their communities.

Using a narrow organizational definition of terrorism pretty much eliminates most of the historical examples on which the concept of terrorism itself is based. More often than not, terrorism reprsents an inarticulate but violent political gesture that is not connected to a methodical, sequential, plan to tople the state.
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Old 02-20-2010   #20
Rifleman
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Default I don't like the "terrorism" category:

I believe violent acts should be considered either criminal acts or acts of war regardless of motivation and aims. I don't see "terrorism" as a useful classification for violent acts either foreign or domestic. I see terrorism as a tactic, not a useful legal definition.

I don't think the US or our allies should be engaged in a so called "Global War on Terror." I think we should be engaged in a war on militant Islamic organizations.

After the Pearl Harbor attack, the US declared war on the nation of Japan. We didn't declare war on tactics and techniques like Japanese Naval Aviation or Japanese air raids.
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