The threat of terrorism has steadily increased over the last 30 years. With advances in technology, terrorist acts have become much more destructive and the perpetrators of those acts more elusive. Few parts of the world have remained untouched by the current wave of terrorism that began in the late 1960's. This site will explore aspects of both individual level and state terrorism. Individual level terrorism refers to acts of terrorism committed by a person or persons against a society or government to affect political change. State terrorism, or official terrorism, is a label applied to oppressive regimes which systematically commit acts of violence against their own people.
Before a discussion of terrorism is possible, one must first understand the meaning of the word "terrorism." For instance, what separates a terrorist from a freedom-fighter or revolutionary? And what exactly constitutes a government-by-terror? Defining terrorism is difficult and controversial, since tactics often overlap those of conventional militaries. Consequently the line between terrorism and other forms of violence tends to blur. Here are a few official US Government definitions of terrorism:
"Terrorism is the unlawful use or threat
of violence against persons or property to further political or social
objectives. It is usually intended to intimidate or coerce a government,
individuals or groups, or to modify their behavior or politics."
--Vice-President's Task Force, 1986
"The calculated use of violence or the
threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate
governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political,
religious or ideological."
--Department of Defense Definition
"Terrorism is the unlawful use of force
or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government,
the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political
or social objectives."
"The term "terrorism" means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience."
--Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d)
|Please proceed to the next section - Varieties and Distinctions of Terrorism; which discusses how terrorism differs from other forms of violence and includes an overview of state terrorism and state sponsored terrorism. You may also proceed to the index for this site's contents.|
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