• "Terrorism" has existed throughout recorded history. It is important to recognize that there are two forms of terrorism: - Terrorist actions carried out by individuals or groups to further their own agenda. - Terrorist actions carried out by a government (Rwanda and Darfur genocides) or its agents (e.g., El Salvadoran right-wing death squads) to further the goals of the government or individuals in power. This is known as state terrorism. The roots of terorism are two-fold: - Individual or group terrorism: chaos to achieve power or simply chaos. - State terrorism: power. Terrorism is a very effective tool to spread fear among populations. Its use by governments is as old as humanity's records. During military campaigns, for example, civilian populations were frequently threatened with death for resisting invading armies. A town or city that surrendered could receive reasonable treatment, for its day. However, if it resisted, a large percentage of the population could be subjected to slavery, rape, or death. This was a very effective military tactic, because the citizens of the next town over would be sure to know of the fate of their neighbours - a fate few desired. Another example occurred during the slave revolt under Spartacus in the Roman Empire. After several military encounteres were lost by the Romans military, the the Senate turned the campaign over to a different commander, who also received permission to decimate any unit that lost a battle or sortie against the slave army - every tenth member of the unit would be executed. This is an example of state terrorism.directed against its own supporters for disciplinary purposes. In fact, state terrorism is far more common than the activities that we normally class as terrorism. They seem to almost pale in comparison. These actions have also been around for as long as state terrorism, but are usually much smaller in scope than state terrorism. The damage a dozen individuals can do is much less than the damage an army can inflict on a subject population. Terrorist actions by individuals or groups are limited in scale by their very nature. There is only so much damage that a single individual or small group of individuals can manage. The result is often considerably out of proportion to the amount of damage or injuries that are actually caused. The recent case of the Unibomber in the US, for example, is an example of the widespread fear that small-scale actions can engender. These acts are simply designed to instil fear in others. This is why they are also sometimes random in nature: keep the other side reacting to every small action that might be misconstrued as terrorism, until they jump at the sight of their own shadow. The Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) organization, for example, has been terrorizing Spain for several decades. Estimates have placed the numbers of active terrorists at under 25. There are, of course, sympathizers who provide food, shelter, and supplies to them, but their numbers are also relatively small. This is not a large group, but it has caused substantial disruption over course of its existence. It will never achieve its goals, because it is too small to be effective. Examining the recent history of the Middle East that is now part of the state of Israel is an example of another phenomenon: individual / group terrorism evolving into state terrorism. Israel was founded with the aid of terrorist organizations, such as Irgun and Lehi, that carried out attacks against the government of the British protectorate of Palestine and elements within the Arab population. Some of these individuals landed senior government posts after the founding of the Israeli state. Continued actions against Palestinian civilian populations during the 1950s demonstrated how revolutionary terrorism can morph into state terrorism. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) grew in response to these Jewish terrorist activities and out of groups that were involved in violent anti-Jewish activities in the 1920s and 1930s. These problems continue - only the names have changed. Stalin's government in the USSR is another prime example of this phenomenon. Stalin was not able to consolidate power into his own hands until the early 1930s. From this point forward, his programs sharply increased in both scope and severity. Many of these were directed internally at members of the Communist party who did not show sufficient loyalty or were perceived to be a personal threat to Stalin himself. Entire sectors of Soviet society were purged. An example can be found in the purges carried out against the Red Army, beginning in 1937. So many officers were executed and so many skills were lost that the military's ability to stave off Nazi Germany at the start of the Great Patriotic War was severely hampered, almost leading to the military defeat of the USSR. One revolution that did not immediately consume itself was the American revolution. It was not, however, viewed in the same light by all American citizens. The response of many within the US was lukewarm at the onset of the revolution, particularly in New England where trade with the UK was an issue. Many were opposed to the revolution. Groups of revolutionaries, or terrorists as they would be called today, helped swing public opinion by physically attacking those who were either neutral or opposed to the revolution. Families were attacked and forcibly evicted from the homes, some losing their lives in the process. An estimated quarter-million United Empire Loyalists, a group strongly opposed to the revolution, lived in the US at the onset of the revolution. Many, Loyalists and others who became the target of extremists, left the US during the revolution. It is estimated that some 80,000 of the remaining Loyalists left after the revolution was over, some 50,000 of them moving to Canada. Small groups of terrorists rarely accomplish anything. Most are too small to achieve anything, other than mayhem. Unfortunately, some terrorists are interested in little more than the mayhem aspect. Larger and more organized groups can evolve into new governments, which have a distressing habit of turning on their own leaders and populations. Revolutionaries are often consumed by the revolution.
  • Ignoring injustice and corruption and the suffering that results. A poem i wrote after attack on WTC. "May we hear the whispers before they become cries "May we hear the cries before they become shouts "May we hear the shouts before they become screams "May we hear the screams before thy become...........acts......."
  • The forming of 'established' definitions of 'terrorism' by established Governments and entities..

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