- State terrorism
State terrorism refers to acts of
terrorismconducted by governments.
definition of terrorismand the definition of state-sponsored terrorism, the definition of state terrorism remains controversial and without international consensus. [ [http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=29633 POLITICS: U.N. Member States Struggle to Define Terrorism ] ]
It is controversial whether the concept of terrorism can be applied to states. It is usually applied to non-state actors. [http://eprints.unimelb.edu.au/archive/00000137/01/Primorat.pdf] The Chairman of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee has stated that the Committee was conscious of the 12 international Conventions on the subject, and none of them referred to State terrorism, which was not an international legal concept. If States abused their power, they should be judged against international conventions dealing with
war crimes, international human rightsand international humanitarian law. [http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2002/SC7276.doc.htm] Kofi Annan. at the time United Nations Secretary-General, has said that it is "time to set aside debates on so-called 'state terrorism'. The use of force by statesis already thoroughly regulated under international law" [http://newamerica.net/publications/articles/2005/the_legal_debate_is_over_terrorism_is_a_war_crime] However, he also made clear that, "...regardless of the differences between governments on the question of definition of terrorism, what is clear and what we can all agree on is any deliberate attack on innocent civilians, regardless of one's cause, is unacceptable and fits into the definition of terrorism. And I think this we can all be clear on." [http://www.un.org/News/dh/latest/afghan/sg-teheran26.htm]
Various analysts have attempted to formulate definitions which are seen as neutral with respect to the perpetrators of the act, thus permitting, according to these analysts, a
logically consistentapplication of the definition to both non-state and state actors:
quote |Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby - in contrast to assassination - the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperiled) victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought.|
Alex P. Schmid| [cite web
title=Definitions of Terrorism
Edward S. Herman, described as pioneers in the concept of State Terrorism, have argued that the distinction between state and non-state terror is morally relativist, and distracts from or justifies state terrorism perpetrated by favored states, typically those of wealthy and developed nations (Chomsky and Herman, 1979).
The traditional approach views terrorism as a form of random behavior perpetrated by international criminals, treating it as a special type of deviant behavior (Helen Purkitt, "Dealing with Terrorism.," in Conflict in World Society, 1984, p. 162.) In contrast, a broader interpretation of the nature of terrorism has been increasingly discussed within the literature that establishes a meaning to account for the concept of state and state-sponsored terrorism. (Michael Stolhl, p. 14). The authors cite former US Secretary of State
George Shultzwho elaborates on this conceptual framework shift:
The term "Establishment" and "Structural terrorism" is sometimes used to describe state terrorism that posits the existence of 'a form of political violence" in the structure of contemporary international politics. This includes policies or actions by governments that encourage the use of fear and violence in pursuit of political ends. As such, state terrorism is conceived to have become an integral element of many state's foreign policies (Michael Stolhl, p. 15). Academic
Conor Cruise O'Brienargument is cited, as an example:
In this view terrorism emanates from legitimate political institutions intent upon creating a state of fear for political ends, and therefore includes the activities of sovereign states themselves.
Michael Stohlhas argued:
Prof. Stolhl and
George A. Lopezdesignate three particular forms of state terrorism exhibited in foreign policy behavior (p.207-208):
*1. Coercive terrorist diplomacy: (eg. discreet and controlled, and makes non-compliance intolerable)
*2. Covert state terrorism:
**a)"Clandestine state terrorism" (eg. direct participation of states, ex. to weaken a governments or intimidate government officials of another state etc)
**b)"State-sponsored terrorism" (eg. "states or private groups being employed to undertake terrorist actions on behalf of sponsoring state."
*3. Surrogate terrorism: (eg. assistance to another state or group that improves their capability to practice terrorism)
**a)"State-sponsored terrorism" (eg. as above)
**b)"State acquiescence to terrorism" (eg. group undertakes terrorism and is not explicitly backed by a state but not condemned either.)
Some scholars argue that a institutionalized form of terrorism carried out by states have occurred as a result of changes that took place following World War ll. In this analysis state terrorism as a form of foreign policy was shaped by the presence and use of weapons of mass destruction, and that the legitimizing of such violent behavior led to an increasingly accepted form of state behavior. The argument is discussed by Professor of Political Science
Micahel Stohland George A. Lopez, in their book "Terrible beyond Endurance? The Foreign Policy of State Terrorism." 1988.
The earliest use of the word "terrorism" identified by the "
Oxford English Dictionary" is a 1795 reference to what the author described as the "reign of terrorism" in France. ["Oxford English Dictionary" 2nd Edition, CD Version 3, 2002, Oxford University Press] During that part of the French revolutionary period that is now known as the Reign of Terror, or simply The Terror, the Jacobins and other factions used the apparatus of the state to execute and cow political opponents. The Oxford English Dictionary still has a definition of terrorism as "Government by intimidation carried out by the party in power in France between 1789-1794".cite journal|title=How to define terrorism|author=Jenny Teichman|journal=Philosophy|volume=64|issue=250|month=October|year=1989|pages=505–517]
The Encyclopedia Britannica Online defines terrorism as the "the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. Terrorism has been practiced by political organizations with both rightist and leftist objectives, by nationalistic and religious groups, by revolutionaries, and even by state institutions such as armies, intelligence services, and police". [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9071797/terrorism] The Encyclopedia Britannica also states that "Establishment terrorism, often called state or state-sponsored terrorism, is employed by governments—or more often by factions within governments—against that government's citizens, against factions within the government, or against foreign governments or groups. This type of terrorism is very common but difficult to identify, mainly because the state's support is always clandestine.." [http://www.wip.britannica.com/eb/article-217762/terrorism]
Linguistand US policy critic Noam Chomsky, described by some as a pioneer in the literature of state terrorism, ["Death Squad: The Anthropology of State Terror", Sluka, Jeffrey (ed), Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000, p.8] has equated low-intensity warfare with State Terrorism. He writes: "The U.S. is officially committed to what is called 'low-intensity warfare'.... If you read the definition of low-intensity conflict in army manuals and compare it with official definitions of 'terrorism' in army manuals, or the U.S. Code, you find they're almost the same." cite journal
authorlink =David Barsamian
title =The United States is a Leading Terrorist State An Interview with Noam Chomsky
url =http://www.monthlyreview.org/1101chomsky.htm] See
Low intensity conflictfor the army definition.
Scholars Emizet Kisangani and Wayne Nafziger argue that
democideis equivalent to state terrorism.cite journal | author = Kisangani, E. | year = 2007 | title = The Political Economy Of State Terror | journal = Defence and Peace Economics | volume = 18 | issue = 5 | pages = 405–414 | url = http://www.informaworld.com/index/781318312.pdf | accessdate = 2008-04-02 | doi = 10.1080/10242690701455433 ]
Philosopher Igor Primoratz provides four reasons why he believes that state terrorism is typically morally worse than non-state terrorism. First, because of the nature of the modern state and "the amount and variety of resources" available even for small states, the state mode of terrorism claims vastly more victims than does terrorism by non-state actors. Secondly, because "state terrorism is bound to be compounded by secrecy, deception and hypocrisy," terrorist states typically act with clandestine brutality while publicly professing adherence to "values and principles which rule it out." Thirdly, because unlike non-state actors, states are signatories in international laws and conventions prohibiting terrorism, when a state commits acts of terrorism it is "in breach of its own solemn international commitments." Finally, while there may be circumstances where non-state actors are in such an oppressed situation that there may be no alternative but terrorism, Primoratz argues that "it seems virtually impossible that a state should find itself in such circumstances where it has no alternative to resorting to terrorism." [Primoratz, Igor. State Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism, in Terrorism: The Philosophical Issues, Igor Primoratz, ed. Palgrave Macmillan, 2004,119-120]
In his university-level textbook, "Understanding Terrorism:Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues", Gus Martin argues that the work of organizations such as
Human Rights Watchand Amnesty Internationalare among the "approaches to the analyses of state terrorism [that] are useful for evaluating different types of state-sponsored violence" arguing further that during the late 1970s and 80's “in its annual global human rights reports Amnesty International has extensively documented the escalation in state terror… Amnesty Internationalidentified the main forms of state terror as arbitrary detention, unfair trial, torture, and political murderor extrajudicial execution." [Martin, Gus. Understanding Terrorism: Understanding Terrorism. Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues. Sage Publications,2006, 83]
The sinking of the "Rainbow Warrior", codenamed "Operation Satanic" is attributed to France.cite web|url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1689202,00.html|title=Mitterrand ordered bombing of Rainbow Warrior, spy chief says|accessdate=2006-11-16] While docked in
Auckland, New Zealand, the Greenpeaceship was bombed by the French foreign intelligence servicein order to prevent interference with a French nuclear testin the Pacific Ocean. The bombing has been described as an act of state terrorism. [Press Release: Auckland University of Technology[http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/ED0506/S00074.htm "Author condemns Rainbow Warrior bombing hypocrisy"] , Scoop.co.nz, Monday, 27 June 2005]
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
GAL (Antiterrorist Liberation Groups;
Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberaciónin spanish) is the State Terrorism of the Spanish governmentto fight ETAand the Basque people, which took place in the 80's both in Spainand France.
People's Republic of China
United States of America
Republic of Turkey
Allegations of Iranian state terrorism
Allegations of state terrorism by Israel
Allegations of state terrorism by Russia
Allegations of state terrorism in Sri Lanka
Allegations of state terrorism by the United States
Atomic bombings of Japan as a form of state terrorism
Monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force
* Sluka, Jeffrey A. (Ed.) (2000). "Death Squad: The Anthropology of State Terror". Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-1711-X.
* Chomsky, Noam and Herman, Edward S. (1979). "The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism: The Political Economy of Human Rights: Vol. 1". Boston: South End Press. ISBN 0-89608-090-0
*cite book|author=Alexander George | title=Western State Terrorism|publisher=Polity Press | year=1991 | id=ISBN 0-7456-0931-7
*cite book|author=Mark Curtis |title=Unpeople: Britain's Secret Human Rights Abuses |publisher=Vintage|year=2004 |id=ISBN 0-09-946972-3
* Lerner, Brenda Wilmoth & K. Lee Lerner, eds. "Terrorism : essential primary sources." Thomson Gale, 2006. ISBN 9781414406213 Library of Congress. Jefferson or Adams Bldg General or Area Studies Reading Rms LC Control Number: 2005024002.
* Tarpley, Webster G. "9/11 Synthetic Terror, Made in USA" -Progressive Press. ISBN 0-93085-231-1
* Chomsky, Noam. "The Culture of Terrorism" ISBN 0-89608-334-9
* Chomsky, Noam. "9/11" ISBN 1-58322-489-0
* George, Alexander. "Western State Terrorism", Polity Press. ISBN 0-7456-0931-7
Prevention of terrorism
* [http://www.tkb.org/Home.jsp The National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism]
* [http://www.antiwar.com/orig/pilger.php?articleid=3592 Recognizing State Terror]
* [http://eprints.unimelb.edu.au/archive/00000137/01/Primorat.pdf http://State Terrorism and Counterterrorism]
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