Thursday, September 26, 2019

Dissent Terrorism

Punctured by bullet holes, oil spews under high pressure from the Trans-Alaska pipeline.

Terrorism is not a modern problem. Terror tactics characterize many ancient conflicts. Judges 16:21 recounts how the Philistines gouged out Samson's eyes. The city of Bam, Iran was abandoned in 1722 due to an Afghan invasion during which the Afghans gouged out the eyes of many of the citizens. Jihadists behead, crucify, and burn people alive to strike terror in the hearts of perceived enemies.

Today terrorism receives intense investigation and has become a subject of academic interest, especially at universities that offer degree programs in security. Scholars classify acts of terrorism into five categories: 1) State sponsored terrorism; 2) Dissent terrorism; 3) Ideological terrorism; 4) Religious terrorism; and 5) Criminal terrorism.

An example of state sponsored terrorism was the recent attack on the Saudi oil production facilities. In this post we will examine dissent terrorism.

Dissent terrorism involves groups that have rebelled against their governments or government policies. Recent dissent movements include Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Phoenix, and cyber and physical attacks on oil pipelines.

Dissent terrorism involves acts intended to draw attention to a cause, though the original cause often becomes lost or obfuscated by competing agendas. The acts are symbolic and limited, but violent enough to focus a great deal of attention on the incident. Such dissidents tend to go underground and isolate themselves from their previous social contacts, restricting their contact to a small nucleus of dissidents (Della Porta; Diani, 1999).

The strategies are designed to have consequences for the country through Media broadcasts that stir speculation and fear and thereby influence policies. The marches, sit-ins, building take-overs, and other events of dissenters usually do not involve terrorist acts. It is easier to involve large numbers of people if the venues are promoted as peaceful.

Causes to which dissidents commit include poverty, perceived injustices, climate, environment, and women's and gay rights.

Since the terrorists attacks of September 11, US government agencies have doubled down on monitoring potential security risks. Civil rights groups claim that this threatens the constitutional rights of citizens to speak against corporate and government policies and practices. On the other hand, it is impossible to know how many violent acts of dissent terrorists have been averted due to surveillance.

Related reading: Jacques Derrida on Terrorism; Terrorists Target African Christians; Boko Haram Terrorism Spreads; Aramco Attack Likely State Sponsored Terrorism

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