Intelligence Repots — Terrorism Recognition and Law applicable and No-Law application possibilities

The weapons of choice for earlier terrorists were the dagger, the noose, the sword, and the poison elixir. The introduction of the hand-thrown bomb and the pistol, and more recently the machine gun and plastic explosives, enabled terrorists to kill much more efficiently. Now weapons of mass, or ‘wholesale,’ destruction allow terrorists to ‘leverage’ their personnel, as proved by the events of September 11, 2001, in which a relatively small number of highly trained individuals armed with primitive box cutters and prepared to give up their own lives were able to use passenger jets as weapons of mass murder. In this post we explain the latest diverse recognized tactics of terrorism, we can list as follow methods of terrorism activities:

  1. Religious Terrorism;
  2. Conventional Terrorism;
  3. Cyber Terrorism;
  4. Financial Terrorism;
  5. Chemical Terrorism;
  6. Psycho Terrorism.

The primary weapon of terrorism is fear, destruction and killing are not an end in and of itself, but a tool to create fear and terror in the minds of the enemy. In an asymmetric situation an enemy who cannot be defeated militarily may be defeated psychologically, that they may come to fear attack and its consequences so much they may become willing to forgo a superior military position in order to be free of the cause of that fear. If a terrorist group can carry out enough credible attacks then “coded warnings” or planted electronic chatter, designed to be intercepted, can cause as much disruption as a genuine attack or bomb. As long as the supposed attacks are plausible and they are supported by the occasional genuine attack, the authorities will be forced to expend resources to combat non-existent devices, dummy bombs and plain fictions, disrupting the lives of citizens, and feeding the public’s fear. Usually, the mass or individual threats of a person or a group with political ideas, are unpunished if a weapons attacks aren’t been done. We really have difficulties with our current law to report or punish direct terrorism. I want to introduce you the most common ways of terrorism used on the threaten, kill people or harm the individual, business or government economy.

Religious Terrorism

Religious terrorism is a type of religious violence where terrorism is used as a tactic to achieve religious goals or which are influenced by religious identity. In the modern age, after the decline of ideas such as the divine right of kings and with the rise of nationalism, terrorism has more often been based on anarchism, and revolutionary politics. Since 1980, however, there has been an increase in terrorist activity motivated by religion.

Former United States Secretary of State Warren Christopher has said that terrorist acts in the name of religion and ethnic identity have become “one of the most important security challenges we face in the wake of the Cold War.” However, the political scientists Robert Pape and Terry Nardin, the social psychologists M. Brooke Rogers and colleagues, and the sociologist and religious studies scholar Mark Juergensmeyer have all argued that religion should only be considered one incidental factor and that such terrorism is primarily geopolitical.

According to Juergensmeyer, religion and violence have had a symbiotic relationship since before the Crusades and even since before the Bible. He defines religious terrorism as consisting of acts that terrify, the definition of which is provided by the witnesses — the ones terrified — and not by the party committing the act; accompanied by either a religious motivation, justification, organization, or world view. Religion is sometimes used in combination with other factors, and sometimes as the primary motivation. Religious terrorism is intimately connected to current forces of geopolitics. Bruce Hoffman has characterized modern religious terrorism as having three traits:

The perpetrators must use religious scriptures to justify or explain their violent acts or to gain recruits. Clerical figures must be involved in leadership roles. Perpetrators use apocalyptic images of destruction to justify the acts. Religious terrorism is a type of religious violence where terrorism is used as a tactic to achieve religious goals or which are influenced by religious identity. Tactics are focused on induct the religion believer to threat the non-believer, in order to obtain a religious authoritarian environment. This is usually practiced in the North Africa and Middle-East but really efficient in Europe, and Asia. Practicing religious terrorism, usually end up in a conventional environment religious terrorism.

Conventional Terrorism

As important as the actual attacks is the cultivation in the target population of the fear of such attacks, so that the threat of violence becomes as effective as actual violence. While advancements in technology, modernization, and globalization have helped many states prosper over the course of history, they have also opened terrorist groups to new tactics and weaponry. The different tactics that terrorist groups utilize can be very simple to extremely complex. In his book, Why Terrorism Works: Understanding the Threat, Responding to the Challenge, Harvard Law Professor Alan M. Dershowitz states that before the dawn of dynamite and automatic weapons, killings conducted by terrorists had to be done on a one-on-one basis. Dershowitz also describes how the introduction of new weapons and technology has enabled terrorists to kill more efficiently and in greater numbers; usually people, groups or government’s employees (mostly weapons owners) suffering a particular conduct of politics because of different political ideas. Those people are involved in a progressive nationalism fundamentalism like Nazism, Fascism, White People fundamentalism, Americanism, etc…; Terrorist tactics tend to favor attacks that avoid effective countermeasures and exploit vulnerabilities. As such, terrorist groups have the potential to utilize many different types of terrorism tactics depending on the circumstances and the perceived likelihood of success. Some tactics are more conventional and widely used in the operations of many terrorist groups. These tactics include shootings, hijackings, kidnappings, bombings, and suicide attacks. Other tactics are seen more unconventional and have only been used in a few instances, if at all. However, these unconventional tactics are perceived by government officials and experts alike as serious potential threats. Some types of unconventional terrorism tactics commonly recognized by terrorism experts are bioterrorism, agroterrorism, nuclear terrorism, and cyberterrorism. Those people rarely threaten people and usually getting arrest because of the police presence in the country, usually when the badge authority is threatening people it is harder to proof also with evidence of it. A constant monitoring of the activity must increase, the fact is that governments getting lower quality year by year and those authority feeling hate for it.

Cyber Terrorism

Cyber Terrorism way different by the cyber criminality, usually the criminal stealing data with illegal cyber attacks, or doing bank robberies and money stealing. In the developing age Information Technology, many political scientists and prominent government officials have become increasingly concerned about the ability of terrorist groups to execute cyber attacks and states’ vulnerabilities to these attacks. Cyberterrorism could potentially become an increasingly desirable tactic for terrorist groups given that they can be executed thousands of miles away from the target and are difficult to trace back to the perpetrator. In an October 2012 speech, United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta described the seriousness of a cyber attack on the United States: ( A cyber attack perpetrated by nation states or violent extremists groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack of 9/11. Such a destructive cyber terrorist attack could paralyze the nation. ) The term “cyberterrorism” was first coined by Barry Collin, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Security and Intelligence in California, in the 1980s. The Center for Strategic and International Studies defines cyberterrorism as “the use of computer network tools to shut down critical national infrastructures (such as energy, transportation, government operations) or to coerce or intimidate a government or civilian population.” Many experts believe that new vulnerabilities will be created as nations and their critical infrastructures become more dependent on computer networks for their operation. While concern is growing, cyberterrorism attacks still largely remain hypothetical, especially in the United States. In his report for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, James A Lewis writes that so far cyberterrorism has meant little more than propaganda and intelligence collection, and that no critical infrastructures have ever been shut down by cyber terrorist attacks. Lewis also describes how terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda have made significant use of the Internet, but only as a tool for intra-group relations, fundraising, and public relations. An Al-Qaeda training manual entitled “Military Studies in the Jihad Against the Tyrants” explicates that explosives are the preferred weapon of terrorists because “explosives strike the enemy with sheer terror and fright.” While explosions are dramatic, strike fear into the hearts of opponents, and do lasting damage, cyber attacks, like some other types of terrorism tactics, simply do not have the same dramatic and political effect that terrorists seek. Some political scientists, like Lewis, argue that terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda might use cyber attacks to disrupt emergency services in order to reinforce and multiply the effect of a physical attack. Because hacker-terrorists have political ideas, the person, the group or the government employees, threatening with marketing methods, mobile hacking and server based tracking and persecution, basically stalking with the intent of damage the victims; in the last decade the possibilities of nuclear weapons hacking has been increased and technology is in danger, governments not really investing in protection and anonymity, and risks quite high to get kill by the hacker.

Financial Terrorism

The term economic terrorism or financial terrorism is strictly defined to indicate an attempt at economic destabilization by a group. Economic terrorism is defined in the terms of contrary to “economic warfare” which is undertaken by states against other states, “economic terrorism” would be undertaken by transnational or non-state actors. This could entail varied, coordinated and sophisticated or massive destabilizing actions in order to disrupt the economic and financial stability of a state, a group of states or a society (such as market oriented western societies or economies) or a trading exchange for ideological, monetary or religious motives. These actions, if undertaken, may be violent or not. They could have either immediate effects or carry psychological effects which in turn have economic consequences. Usually referred to the commercial or economy terrorism, person, group or government using several methods to damage country or companies economy because of political ideas.

Financial terrorism (also known as economic terrorism) has been a common tactic used, usually by secretly manipulating of a nation’s economy by state or non-state actors. However, economic sanctions can be named as the unconcealed examples of economic terrorism in the last decades, economic terrorism targets civilians of nations or groups in the pursuit of political aims.

Terroristic attacks against ports and land borders cause extra measures to be implemented to ensure the safe arrival of the product. These measures force the cost of exporting and importing goods to increase. Emerging economies are the most affected, because the slowing of exports and imports will affect the country’s ability to combat poverty. An increase in poverty can cause revolts among the population and possible political destabilization, forcing an even greater increase in poverty. To counter piracy, governments and maritime industries must take preventative measures. The United States Maritime Administration says “These actions may include a larger military presence in high-risk areas, rerouting ships to bypass the Gulf of Aden, paying higher insurance premiums, hiring private security guards, and installing non-lethal deterrent equipment.” The cost of these preventative measures is passed on to consumers and tax payers, ultimately directing money away from other areas of the economy.

We consider also corporate warfare refers to attacks on individuals or companies by other individuals or companies. Such warfare may be part of economic warfare and cyberwarfare; but can involve espionage, ‘dirty’ PR tactics, or physical theft. The intention is largely to destabilise or sink the value of the opposing company for financial gain, or to steal trade secrets from them. For example, civil engineers using city halls permission and the roadblock, to force the local businesses to close buying plots. For example, hacking an airline fly or an helicopter to damage government indices and companies stocks. For Example a direct bomb line attack to an high building. Technically a direct financial terrorism attack is difficult to block with law, and economy loss aren’t reimbursed.

In 2016 a digital illustration series by the German Foreal design studio called “Corporate Warfare” visualized the power and impact of big brand corporations by branded torpedoes and atomic bombs. Dirk Schuster, cofounder of Foreal states that “big corporations can have more power than governments, so we put them in a military context”. Sam Esmail, creator of the television series Mr. Robot, states that “the next world war won’t be fought with nukes, but with information, economics and corporate warfare.

Chemical Terrorism

Bioterrorism is the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, or other germs (agents) used to cause illness or death in people, animals, or plants. Biological agents are typically found in nature, but it is possible that they can be changed to increase their ability to cause disease, make them resistant to current medicines, or to increase their ability to be spread into the environment. Biological agents in the hands of terrorists pose serious threats to states’ security because they can be easily spread through the air, through water, and through food. Biological agents can also be difficult to detect and often do not cause illness for several hours to several days. A prominent example of a bioterrorist attack on the United States is the September 2001 anthrax attacks. On September 18, 2001, several letters containing anthrax were sent to media outlets and the U.S. Congressional offices of Senator Thomas Daschle and Senator Patrick Leahy. Five Americans died from anthrax inhalation as a result of contact with the contaminated mail. While the 2001 anthrax attacks were relatively small-scale, the United States government has taken several steps since to 2001 to pass legislation and initiatives aimed at better protecting the United States against biological attacks, improving the United States’ public health system, and improving the United States ability to respond to biological attacks.

The use of chemical weapons includes that by Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese “new religious movement”, which in 1995 carried out the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. Ian Davison, a British white supremacist and neo-Nazi who was arrested in 2009 for planning terrorist attacks involving ricin poison. In 2011 the United States government discovered information that terrorist groups were attempting to obtain large amounts of castor beans for weaponized ricin use. Usually referent to chemicals companies with medicine distribution, usually attacking African countries, spraying viruses with airplanes, or direct distribution in water supplies and food supplies to sell medications and treatments. Or it is referring to doctors forcing people to death with fake treatments including mental hospital forced medications authority abuses.

A subset of bioterrorism, agroterrorism refers to the deliberate introduction of an animal or plant disease for the purposes of generating fear, causing economic losses, or undermining social stability. The ultimate goal of agroterrorism in killing livestock and plants and contaminating food is to cause economic crises in the agricultural and food industries, social unrest, and loss of confidence in the government. Many experts believe that the United States’ agricultural sector and food supply are among the most vulnerable and least protected of all potential targets of attack, and they believe that terrorists have taken note of this. After American and allied forces overran some Al-Qaeda’s refuges in caves in eastern Afghanistan in 2002, they found U.S. agricultural documents and Al-Qaeda training manuals on targeting agriculture among thousands of other documents. Analysts have identified a number of characteristics of the United States’ agricultural system that make it very vulnerable to agroterrorism. Given that agriculture generally demands large expanses of land, farms are geographically dispersed in environments that are difficult to secure. Also, livestock are usually concentrated in confined locations, which allows diseases to infect more animals quickly. Although many experts believe the United States is susceptible to agroterrorism, they have never suffered from a large scale agroterrorism related attack. Many political scientists have identified the 1984 salmonella attack in The Dalles, Oregon as a small-scale example of an agroterrorism attack in the United States. A religious cult intentionally contaminated ten restaurant salad bars with salmonella in an attempt to influence a local election, sickening more than 750 people. Even though the United States has not experienced a large-scale agroterrorism attack to date, similar to its anti-bioterrorism initiatives, the United States government has passed several pieces of legislation and started initiatives over the past few decades to better secure its agricultural system and prepare for potential attacks.

Concerns have also been raised regarding attacks involving nuclear weapons. It is considered plausible that terrorists could acquire a nuclear weapon. In 2011, the British news agency, the Telegraph, received leaked documents regarding the Guantanamo Bay interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The documents cited Khalid saying that, if Osama Bin Laden is captured or killed by the Coalition of the Willing, an Al-Qaeda sleeper cell will detonate a “weapon of mass destruction” in a “secret location” in Europe, and promised it would be “a nuclear hellstorm”.

While no terrorist group has ever successfully acquired and used a nuclear weapon, many political scientists and prominent government officials consider nuclear terrorism to be one of the single greatest threats in global security. There is strong evidence that terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda are actively seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, and the plutonium or highly enriched uranium (HEU) needed to produce them. Another serious concern is that weaknesses in many states’ nuclear security apparatuses have left them susceptible to theft or loss of HEU or plutonium. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Illicit Trafficking Database (ITDB), there have been 18 incidents of theft or loss of HEU and plutonium reported in ITDB’s participating states. Given these serious concerns, the United States, its allies, and international organizations like the United Nations have established several international agreements and initiatives to ensure that all states’ nuclear security standards are adequate and effective, and to secure all vulnerable and unprotected nuclear stockpiles around the world over the next few years.

Psycho Terrorism

Psychological powerful mind attacks is usually referred to mental tactics and strategies threatening people, groups or governments trying to force people to the suicide, or to intimidate and force people to receive illegitimacy in political processes or political documentation. Or the opposite, politicians trying to refuse your civil rights using intimidation strategies. Suicide terrorism is the most aggressive form of terrorism, pursuing coercion even at the expense of losing support among terrorists’ own community. What distinguishes a suicide terrorist is that the attacker does not expect to survive a mission and often employs a method of attack that requires the attacker’s death in order to succeed (such as planting a car bomb, wearing a suicide vest, or ramming an airplane into a building). In essence, a suicide terrorist kills others at the same time that he kills himself. Usually these tactics are used for a demonstrative purposes or to targeted assassinations. In most cases though, they target to kill a large number of people. Thus, while coercion is an element in all terrorism, coercion is the paramount objective of suicide terrorism. The number of attacks using suicide tactics has grown from an average of fewer than five per year during the 1980s to 180 per year between 2000 and 2005, and from 81 suicide attacks in 2001 to 460 in 2005. These attacks have been aimed at diverse military and civilian targets, including in Sri Lanka, in Israel since July 6, 1989, in Iraq since the US-led invasion of that country in 2003, and in Pakistan and Afghanistan since 2005.

Between 1980 and 2000, the largest number of suicide attacks was carried out by separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam of Sri Lanka. The number of attacks conducted by LTTE was almoust double that of nine other major extremist organizations. In Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, suicide bombings are an anti-Israel strategy perpetrated generally by Islamist and occasionally by secular Palestinian groups including the PFLP. India has also been the victim of suicide attacks by groups based in Pakistan, a recent example taking place in February 2019. An attack by the Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed group on Indian security forces Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, India, resulted in the loss of 40 security personnel of the CRPF. This eventually resulted in the India — Pakistan border skirmishes of 2019.

In Conclusion

According to Schwartau in corporate information warfare companies are targeted, typically by their competitors. Such warfare may include methods of industrial espionage, spreading disinformation, leaking confidential information and damaging a company’s information systems. Chris Rouland of the cybersecurity & cyberarms company Endgame, Inc. controversially advocated that private companies should be allowed to “hack back” against nations or criminals trying to steal their data. After a wave of high-profile attacks against US companies and government databases a panel of experts assembled by the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security said policies should be eased to allow “active defense” measures to deter hackers and did not recommend hacking back “because they don’t want the cure to be worse than the disease”. Relevantly on the February 2017 RSA Conference Microsoft President Brad Smith stated that technology companies need to preserve trust and stability online by pledging neutrality in cyber conflict. The dramatic increase in the use of the Internet for business purposes has exposed private entities to greater risks for cyber-attacks. Garcia and Horowitz propose a game theoretic approach which considers economic motivations for investment in Internet security and investigate a scenario in which firms plan for long-term security investment by considering the likelihood of cyber-attacks. Botnets may be used to knock business competitors off line. They can be hired by corporations to disrupt the operation of competitors on the networks. Low-grade corporate warfare is constantly being waged between technology giants by “patent trolls, insider blogs and corporate talking points”. Supply chain attacks in corporate warfare can be called supply chain interdiction. The term may also refer to the privatization of warfare mainly by the involvement of private military companies. It has been speculated that the concept of “non-international armed conflict within the meaning of Article 3 GC I to IV” of the Fourth Geneva Convention would be wide enough to allow for covering “a renaissance of corporate warfare”.



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Dr Francesco Dergano

Dr Francesco Dergano

Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SkyDataSol