Wednesday, September 29, 2010

FBI agents cheated in terrorism test

A US government investigation has uncovered proof of widespread cheating by FBI agents in an internal test.
The exam was designed to test their knowledge of terrorism investigations and foreign intelligence meeting.
The Department of Justice found that FBI field agents had cheated by conferring and using crib sheets and computers to look up responds.
The report found that "an important number of FBI employees engaged in some form of improper conduct or cheating" on the test. Suspicions were increased after 200 FBI staff finished the 90-minute exam in less than 20 minutes.
All employees were required to take the 51-question computerized exam after undergoing 16 and a half hour of tuition about controversial new guidelines for domestic terrorism investigations.
After interviewing staff, investigators found that a lot of people taking the exam had conferred; workers in one office exploited a programming error to call up the answers and in another office, of 11 workers interviewed, three supervisors and four agents said that they had used answer sheets.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kabul warns of rising terrorism threat

Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul concerns about the growing terrorist threats in the region despite the deployment of 150,000 foreign troops across Afghanistan.

"Terrorism in our region is a rising threat to world peace and security. The audacity and geographic scope of radical and terrorist groups harbored in our region continues to enlarge," Rassoul told the UN General Assembly on Monday.

According to the Afghan official, greater international cooperation is desired to defeat terrorism in the region.

"Terrorism remains a global challenge which can be defeated only through a rigorous international effort," he went on to say.

"If our international partners and allies wish to win the global war on terrorism, they must look beyond villages in Afghanistan, and engage in a plan that will effectively and decisively dismantle organizations and networks that carry on with immunity to support terrorist and radical militants," Reuters quoted Rassoul as saying.

Violence has increased to its highest level across Afghanistan since the Taliban were ousted by US-led forces in 2001.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Money transfers could face anti-terrorism inspection

The Obama administration wants to involve U.S. banks to report all electronic money transfers into and out of the country, a theatrical expansion in efforts to counter terrorist financing and money laundering.
Officials say the information would assist those spot the sort of transfers that helped finance the al-Qaeda hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They say the expanded financial data would allow anti-terrorist agencies to better understand normal money-flow patterns so they can spot irregular activity.
Financial institutions are now required to report to the Treasury Department transactions in surplus of $10,000 and others they deem doubtful. The new rule would require banks to reveal even the smallest transfers.
Treasury officials plan to post the future regulation on their Web site Monday and in the Federal Register this week. The public could comment before a final rule is published and the schedule takes effect, which officials say will probably not be until 2012.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Need to know about terror

How should usual notions of terrorism be modified to accommodate the new phenomena of cyberterrorism? definition of terror: "a symbolic act designed to influence political behavior by extra normal means, entailing the use or threat of violence."

a. Symbolic Violence - Terrorism, it is frequently noted, is the weapon of the weak against the strong. Terror is utilized to overcome apparently insurmountable odds facing terrorists if they were to pursue their cause with conventional military means.

b. Influence on political behavior – It is an "act designed to power political behavior." This portion of the definition focuses on political terrorism vice other forms, such as illegal or pathological terrorism.

c. Extranormality - The extranormality of terrorist means and targets is grave to understanding the effectiveness of terrorist violence.

d. Violence - The final element of terror, "entailing the use or threat of violence" deserves close attention as the ability to intimidate or use physical violence in cyberspace is nonexistent.

[V]iolence is defined as the illegal use or threatened use of coercion resulting, or intended to result in, the death, injury, restraint or intimidation of persons or the destruction or attack of property.

Objectives of terrorism

The first goal is morale-building within the terrorist group. The second goal is advertising, in which the group attempts to announce its existence and place its concerns before the target audience. Terrorists have traditionally used this "propaganda of the deed" to force debate on their goals.

When attempting to change the government through an insurgency, becomes grave to the terrorist:

Disorientation is the objective par excellence of the terrorist, removing the underpinnings of the order in which his targets live out their everyday lives. The primary responsibility of any incumbent group is to guarantee order to its population, and the terrorist will attempt to disorient the population by demonstrating that the incumbent's structure cannot give adequate support.

The demonstration is, however, but one feature of the disorientation process. On a much deeper level, the goal is the isolation of the individual from his social context.

A final objective of a terrorist organization is provoking a response by the incumbent group. Terrorists cannot directly control the government response to an act of symbolic aggression.

Conceptual of terrorism

The growing ubiquity of computers and their related networks is propelling the worked into the information age. Computers may revolutionize terrorism in the same manner that they have revolutionized everyday life.

Terrorism in the information age will consist of conventional terrorism, in which classic weapons (explosives, guns, etc.) will be used to demolish property and kill victims in the physical world; technoterrorism, in which classic weapons will be used to destroy communications targets and cause a disruption in cyberspace; and cyberterrorism, where new weapons (malicious software, electromagnetic and microwave weapons) will function to destroy data in cyberspace to cause a disruption in the physical world.

The advent of cyberterrorism may force a shift in the definition of terrorism to include both disruption and violence in cyberspace in the equal manner as physical destruction and violence. Through the use of new technology, terrorist groups may have fewer members, yet still have a worldwide reach, the increasing power of computers may lower the threshold of state sponsorship to a point where poor states can become sponsors and rich states are no longer essential for terrorist groups to carry out complex attacks.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Different types of terrorism

As in the case of a definition of terrorism, there is no single classification of terrorism.
There are five types of terrorism:

  • state terrorism
  • religious terrorism
  • criminal terrorism
  • political terrorism, and
  • Oppositional terrorism.
“State terrorism” is as contentious a concept as that of terrorism itself. Terrorism is often, though not always, defined in terms of four characteristics:
  • The threat or use of violence;
  • A political purpose; the desire to change the status quo;
  • The intention to spread fear by commits spectacular public acts;
  • The intentional target of civilians. This last element - targeting innocent civilians - is difficult when one tries to distinguish state terrorism from other forms of state violence.
Nationalist terrorists seeks to form a separate state for their own national group, repeatedly by drawing attention to a fight for ‘national liberation’ that they think the world has ignored. This sort of terrorism has been among the most successful at winning international consideration and concessions.
Religious terrorists seek to use fighting to further what they see as divinely commanded purposes, often targeting broad categories of foes in an attempt to bring about extensive changes. Religious terrorists come from all major trusts, as well as from small cults. Because religious terrorists are concerned not with rallying a electorate of fellow nationalists or ideologues but with pursuing their own vision of the divine will, they lack one of the major Constraints that traditionally has limited the scope of terror attacks.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The brief history of world terrorism

The word terrorism was first used in 1795, a grim spawn of the heady era that brought the American War of Independence and the French Revolution. The word was born with the Reign of Terror, which makes use of of the guillotine by the French revolutionaries to consolidate their regime by killing their enemies and intimidating the potential opposition.
To start with history of terrorism (however brief) without first defining what the term means might appear to be putting the cart before the horse.  Despite this, no such clarity shall be proffered here.  Partly, this is for reasons of brevity, but mainly because any effort to first define terrorism would mean restricting any ensuing narrative to this definition.  As such, this is not so much a brief history of terrorism as much as a brief history of examples of that which has been (or arguably could be) usually accepted to constitute terrorism.  Not everyone will agree that all these examples do so, and there are other instance that might be so construed that are not mentioned at all.
One point is less dubious: terrorism is not new.  Indeed, in some respects, that what is today known as terrorism predates by millennia the modern term used to explain it.  This is not to say that the act of terrorism has remained static.  Rather, as the difficulties involved in defining it reflect, terrorism has evolved significantly over the years, even if retaining some of the same characteristics that have in history typified it.
While it is impossible to definitively establish when it was first used, that which we today call terrorism traces its roots back at least some 2,000 years.  Moreover, today’s terrorism has, in some respects come full circle, with many of its contemporary practitioners motivated by religious conviction – something which drove many of their initial predecessors.  It has also, in the normally accepted usage of the word, often possessed a political dimension.