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Chapter 13: Domestic Terrorism


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Title: Chapter 13: Domestic Terrorism

Chapter 13Domestic Terrorism
Examining the History of Domestic Terrorism
  • Gurr
  • Terrorism is a tactic used by the weak to
    intimidate the strong and in turn can be used by
    the strong to repress the weak.
  • Terrorism in the 19th century was primarily aimed
    at protecting the status quo and economic
  • Labor movement of the late 19th century was
    filled with violence.
  • Frontier had its own form of violence.
  • Settlers developed their own brand of justice.
  • Character of domestic terrorism began to change
    in the 1960s
  • Rooted in radical politics, nationalism, and the
    international communitys experience with
  • Domestic terrorism defined as a radical

Examining the History of Domestic Terrorism
  • Bell Gurr Political revolutionary groups and
    nationalistic groups in the U.S. took their ideas
    from terrorists in the Middle East and Asia.
  • U.S. terrorist groups did not have the same
    impact as their foreign counterparts
  • American public rejected the violence of
    revolutionary groups.
  • Popularity never fully achieved.
  • Ended up as small bands of social misfits with
    little effect on the political system.

Examining the History of Domestic Terrorism
  • According to Bell Gurr Two caveats with their
  • Although U.S. has avoided significant domestic
    terrorism, criminals and political activists have
    used terrorist tactics bombing and hostage
  • Nationalistic terrorists from Puerto Rico were
    more successful than revolutionaries at launching
    terrorist campaigns.
  • They had Indigenous support
  • Gurr outlines three types of terrorism
  • Vigilante terrorism
  • Insurgent terrorism
  • Transnational terrorism

Examining the History of Domestic Terrorism
  • Vigilante Terrorism growth of right-wing
  • Ku Klux Klan, Christian Identity movement, and
    other white supremacy organizations
  • Insurgent Terrorism aims to change political
    policies through direct threats or action against
    the government
  • Black militants, white revolutionaries, Puerto
    Rican nationalists
  • Transnational Terrorism non-indigenous
    terrorists who cross national borders
  • Jihadist movement inside the U.S.

Problem of Understanding Terrorism in Law
  • American law enforcement is a localized affair
  • Chiefs and sheriffs report to local boards
  • State and federal agencies exercise law
    enforcement power
  • Agencies approach terrorism with their own

Problem of Understanding Terrorism in Law
  • Terrorism happens in other place
  • Terrorism does not exist in most jurisdictions
  • Police officers in the U.S. remain focused on
    local issues
  • Terrorism is too exotic for most agencies
  • Classifying Terrorism as Normal Crime
  • FBI labels the majority of domestic terrorist
    activities under the common titles of crime in
    the Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
  • FBI became the only agency coordinating thousands
    of U.S. police departments in a counterterrorist

Problem of Understanding Terrorism in Law
  • Uneven historical development
  • Terrorists did not routinely targeted the U.S.
    until 1982
  • previous forms of terrorism before 1982 died from
    lack of support
  • Confusing hate crime with terrorism
  • Hate crime is frequently used in conjunction with
    domestic terrorism
  • Hamm hate crime is an illegal act designed to
    target a particular social group.

Classifying Terrorism in Criminal Justice
  • A label appropriate for theoretical criminology
    does not always lead to a response that solves an
    immediate crime
  • Police officers routinely handle terrorism even
    though they call it by variety of names
  • Two issues that must be kept in mind
  • Patrol officers generally the first responder.
  • Investigation techniques used in large,
    sensationalized terrorist incidents are the same
    used to investigate routine crime.
  • Counterterrorism depends on the fundamentals
  • Good investigative skills
  • Good interviewing techniques
  • Understanding the context of the crimes
  • Increased intelligence, (long term surveillance
    and informant development.)

FBI Classification System
  • In 1980s, FBI developed a general classification
    system of domestic terrorism
  • Harris summarized the FBI view
  • White leftists
  • Puerto Rican leftists
  • Black militants
  • Right-wing extremists
  • Jewish extremists
  • Types of groups were defined by location, and
    since the terrorism tended to be geographically
    confined, it did not seem to affect all local
    police agencies in the same manner

FBI Classification System
  • Modernly, FBI categories terrorism on the basis
    of origin
  • Domestic Terrorism (DT)
  • Political extremism involves violent left and
    right-wing extremists.
  • Single Issues include violent activities
    associated with debates over abortion,
    eco-terrorism, animal rights, and genetic
  • Lone Wolves included in DT when actions are
    politically motivated.
  • International Terrorism (IT)
  • Composed of three subsets
  • State-sponsored terrorism
  • Clearly defined autonomous groups
  • Jihadists

Using the Classification System
  • Smith Roberts place terrorist groups into
    three broad categories
  • Right-wing extremists
  • Left-wing and single-issue terrorists
  • International terrorists
  • Factor separating the average criminal from the
    average terrorist is motivation.
  • Terrorists remain criminals
  • Motivated by ideology, religion, or a political
  • Engage in activities avoided by most criminals

Terrorist Profile
  • Smith
  • Characteristic of domestic terrorist
  • Native-born U.S. terrorists tend to be older than
    international terrorists
  • Foreign operatives working in the U.S. are also
  • Comparison of left-wing and right wing extremists
  • With the exceptions of financing themselves, left
    and right-wing terrorists are quite different

Left and Right-Wing Terrorists
  • Ideology and beliefs about human nature
  • Left-wing favor Marxism
  • Right-wing terrorists are vehemently anti-Marxist
    and very religious
  • Economic views
  • Left-wing target economic status quo
  • Right-wing support economic system
  • Geographic bases of support
  • Left-wing base themselves in urban environments
  • Right-wing base themselves in rural areas
  • Selection of targets
  • Left-wing select symbolic targets of capitalism
  • Right-wing focus attacks on governmental
  • Tactics
  • Both groups use similar terrorist tactics

Left-Wing Terrorists
  • Left-wing terrorists have remained the same from
    the 1960s to the present.
  • Left-wing groups tended to act in a coordinated
  • Evidence indicated they were linked internally.
  • U.S. left-wing terrorist groups include
  • May 19 Communist Organization (M19CO)
  • United Freedom Front (UFF)
  • Evan Mecham Eco-Terrorist International
    Conspiracy (EMETIC)
  • Animal Liberation Front (ALF)
  • Earth Liberation Front (ELF)

American Terrorism Study
  • Leaderless resistance
  • Several domestic extremists advocated the use of
    leaderless resistance.
  • Incorporated in umbrella organizations such as
    Hezbollah, Egyptian Islamic Jihad.
  • Purpose of leaderless resistance is to fight
    independent of other groups.
  • Harder for L.E. to infiltrate.

American Terrorism Study
  • Damphousse Smith three measurable ideas
  • If groups are truly leaderless, groups should be
  • (Federal criminal cases should indicate that the
    number of defendants per terrorist case
  • If individuals are truly alone, they should be
    committing more crimes as they can only rely on
  • If criminals are more committed, they should be
    less likely to cooperate with the government.

American Terrorism Study
  • Damphousse Smith found evidence that may
    indicate leaderless resistance has affected
    terrorist activity
  • Size of domestic terrorist groups has been
    decreasing since 1992
  • May also indicate that the federal government is
    prosecuting cases differently
  • Terrorists are committing more crimes
  • Found less plea bargaining among suspects
  • May be due to either a change in federal plea
    bargaining or
  • Lone wolves cannot make deals because they do no
    have fellow criminals they can testify against

American Terrorism Study
  • 48 of domestic terrorist attacks occur within 54
    miles of a suspects residence.
  • Domestic terrorists tend to operate close to
    their home base.
  • Most domestic terrorists are also recruited close
    to home.
  • Cells operate for an average of 470 days prior to
    an incident.
  • This provides a key for counterterrorist
  • When a group prepares for an attack, they commit
    about four crimes prior to the attack 3 4
    months before the actual attack.
  • If law enforcement is aware of the types of
    crimes terrorists commit they are in a better
    position to stop an attack.

Jihadists in America
  • Jihadists appeared in the U.S. prior to the 9-11
    attack and remain active today.
  • Two types of Jihadist terrorist groups
  • International Jihadists
  • Come to the U.S. to launch an attack or engage in
    criminal activities to support Jihadist terrorism
  • Began with a structure but shifted into
    umbrella-style networks.
  • Homegrown Jihadist group
  • Americans who adopt the Jihadist philosophy
  • Interaction of the two may create a third group
  • A hybrid combination of homegrown and foreign

International Jihadists
  • Emerson reports research supporting the
    existence of a Jihadist terrorist organization in
    the U.S.
  • Emersons research group, Investigative Project,
    has gathered an array of reports
  • Many of the reports point to a Jihadist network
    inside U.S. borders.
  • Homegrown Jihadists are appearing in the U.S.
  • Causes a concern for Islamophobia

Homegrown Jihadists
  • Wahhabi missionaries covertly preach religious
    militancy in Americas prisons.
  • (See Inmate Radicalization materials.)
  • Homegrown Jihadists appear in different areas.
  • (Groups with limited understanding of Islam or
    the Jihadist movement may become the a domestic
  • Self-recruited, self-motivated, and self-trained.
  • Only direct contact with the Jihadists is through
    the Internet.

Homegrown Jihadists
  • Homegrown terrorists are produced in various
  • Born in the U.S..
  • Immigrate and find themselves alone.
  • Gravitate to the Jihad to find a purpose in life.
  • Others leave the U.S. to join Jihadists overseas.
  • Hybrid form
  • U.S. citizens recruited to train overseas.
  • Black Muslims who were recruited away from their
    faith to a traditional form of Islam and further
    conversion to militancy.
  • Normative U.S. Muslims radicalized in their
  • Muslims radicalized in foreign countries and
    return to the U.S.

Nationalistic Separatism Puerto Rico
  • A number of revolutionary organizations in Puerto
    Rico embraced the nationalist terrorist campaign.
  • Puerto Rican terrorists have engaged in terrorist
    activities on U.S. soil since the 1950s.
  • Planned assassination of President Harry Truman.
  • Shooting at members of Congress in the House of
  • The most notorious groups
  • The Armed Forces of National Liberation (FANL)
  • The Macheteros
  • The Volunteers for the Puerto Rican Revolution
  • The Armed forces of Liberation (FARP)
  • The Guerilla forces of Liberation (GEL)
  • The Pedro Albizu Campos Revolutionary Forces

Right-Wing Violence
  • In the U.S. right-wing extremism has been around
    since the 1700s
  • Whiskey Rebellion (Boston Tea Party) .
  • Anti-federal attitudes were common in the early
  • Questioned the legitimacy of the federal
  • Anti-Catholic, anti-Irish, and anti-immigrant
  • Ku Klux Klan (KKK)
  • Nathan Bedford Forrest (founder)
  • Intended to create an anti-unionist organization
    to preserve Southern culture and traditions.
  • When KKK started terrorizing newly freed slaves,
    Forrest tried to disband organization, but it was
    too late.
  • KKK operated in three phases
  • Hooded Knight Riders - terrorized African
    Americans to frighten them into political and
    social submission.
  • 1920s sought political legitimacy - became
  • Collapsed in the wake of a criminal scandal.
  • Present day is dominated by hate-filled rhetoric.

Christian Identity
  • Blend of Jewish (Old Testament) and Christian
    (New Testament) biblical passages.
  • Based on premise God was white.
  • Identity theology is based on conflict and hate.
  • Christian Identity helped provide basis for
    violence among the extremists.
  • Demonize Jews
  • White people originated with God
  • Jews came from the devil

Contemporary Right-Wing Behavior, Belief, and
  • Right-wing extremism came to fruition around 1984
    and has remained active since.
  • Issues holding the movement together
  • Right-wing tends to follow one of the extremist
  • The Name of God is usually invoked
  • The movement is dominated by belief in conspiracy
    and conspiracy theories.
  • Followers feel they are losing economic status
    because of sinister forces.
  • Followers continue to embrace patriotism and
  • They want to arm themselves for a holy war.

Contemporary Right-Wing Behavior, Belief, and
  • Stern Three issues rejuvenated the extremist
  • The Brady Bill a law the limits the gun ownership
  • Ruby Ridge standoff between alleged survivalist
    and U.S. federal law enforcement officers.
  • Branch Davidian (founder David Koresh) siege near
    Waco, Texas.
  • Religious messages changed in the 1990s
  • Patriotism and anti-Semitism as strong as the
    Christian Identity message
  • Movement mutated after 9-11
  • Following the pattern of international terrorist
    groups members of right-wing groups organized
    chains or hubs.
  • Small groups operating autonomously engaging in
    more individual violence.

Right-Wing Conspiracies, Militias, and the Call
to Arms
  • 1990s Nordic Christianity took root in Michigan,
    Wisconsin, Montana, and Idaho.
  • Claim to worship the Triune Christian Deity.
  • Creatorism (World Church of the Creator)
    (Creativity Movement)
  • Rejects Judaism and Christianity.
  • Claims the Creator left each race to fend for
  • Call for a racial holy war (RAHOWA)
  • The White Mans Bible
  • White people must struggle to defeat Jews and
    non-white race
  • Embracing the urban Skinheads movement
  • Racial hatred and white supremacy
  • Free-Wheeling Fundamentalists include in its
    ranks a majority of right-wing extremists.
  • Federal and local governments are the enemy.
  • God will assist them in their confrontation of

Right-Wing Conspiracies, Militias, and the Call
to Arms
  • Militias thrive on conspiracy theories.
  • Believe the U.S. government is leading the
    country into a single world government.
  • New World Order
  • Militias are generally issue oriented
  • Groups gather around taxes, abortion, gun
    control, and/or Christian Identity.
  • Militias are almost always religious.
  • Rely on violent passages of Christian scripture
    as justification.
  • Many militia members unable to cope with changes
    in the modern world are frustrated.
  • May be extremists, - but not necessarily

Right-Wing Conspiracies, Militias, and the Call
to Arms
  • Paramilitary groups consist of armed civilian
    militias organized into a military manner.
  • Operate on different levels
  • i.e. Freemen of Montana
  • Paramilitary groups come in a variety of shapes
    and sizes.
  • Most of their action is rhetorical.
  • Third Position movement tried to unite left-wing
    radicals and right-wing reactionaries.
  • Both share hatred of government and large
    corporations as well as distrust of the media.
  • William Pierce as Andrew MacDonald Turner
    Diaries, Hunter

Decline of the Left and Rise of Single Issues
  • Left-wing terrorist groups dominated terrorism in
    the U.S. from 1967-1985.
  • Riley Hoffman left-wing groups engaged in
    symbolic violence
  • Intellectual elites controlled the movement .
  • Lost its base when student activism began to
    disappear from American academic life.
  • (May see a resurgence from the Occupy
  • Government actions, improved police tactics, and
    lack of toleration for violent activities may
    have contributed to the decline of left-wing
    terrorism in the U.S. and Europe.

Decline of the Left and Rise of Single Issues
  • Left-wing terrorism transformed
  • Ecological and animal-rights extremists have
  • Variety of names
  • Myriad of extremist causes
  • Focus on particular causes
  • Individual harassment and property destruction
  • Earth Liberation Front (ELF)
  • Monkey Wrench Gang
  • Ecoterrorists
  • From 1995-1999, damages totaled 28.8M
  • Destruction of animal research laboratories,
    sabotage against industrial equipment, raids
    against farms, damage at auto dealerships.
  • Ecology as surrogate religion
  • Positions are contradictory

Black Hebrew Israelism
  • Black Hebrew Israelism is an African American
    version of Christian Identity.
  • Claims black Africans were the original
  • Hulon Mitchell Jr., leader, changed the name into
    Hebrew Jahveh ben Jahveh
  • Nation of Yahweh
  • Demonized whites, called for their destruction
  • Internal group BROTHERHOOD required killing of
    the white person to obtain a membership
  • Death Angels selected members of the
    brotherhood, sent to kill whites in Miami area
  • Were ordered to bring victims severed body parts
    of a victim to Mitchell as proof that killing had
  • Beheaded members who tried to leave

  • Most pro-lifers denounce violence as
    contradictory to their beliefs.
  • Violent pro-lifers justify their actions in the
    same manner as other political extremists.
  • Manual of the Army of God
  • Nice abortion clinic bombings are related to
    several social factors
  • Most occurred in expanding areas of population
    (urban areas).
  • Abortion bombers feel compelled to act by social
    and political circumstances.
  • Individuals who kill abortion doctors felt
    murders were necessary to make a political
  • Abortion debate represents a political issue with
    positions identified by militant extremes.
  • (Perfect example of terrorism)

Critical Engagement Police Operations and the
  • Brian Jenkins
  • The most effective action in preventing terrorism
    is to gather local criminal intelligence through
    police agencies committed to community policing
  • Information sharing
  • Fusion centers and criminal intelligence units in
    large police agencies are able to analyze
    possible violent activities.
  • The effectiveness of crime analysis increases
    when officers are routinely gathering information
    and forwarding it to through intelligence
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