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The American Revolution Redefined---terrorism?

 
 
Lash
 
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2005 10:28 pm
Off in a galaxy a few mouse-clicks away, I am locked in a deathhold with one cretin, who says America was founded on terrorism.

It has raised interesting Qs. I have fleshed out my position, but would like to know others. I'm not all ideologically hunkered down. Hope we can enjoy some varied views on the subject.

Was the French Fronde the act of terrorists? The students in Tiannemen Square? Mandela? Paul Revere? The Bolsheviks?

Have you heard the British law that has deemed the founding fathers of the US terrorists?

Were the Revolutionaries terrorists in your opinion?
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Dookiestix
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2005 11:27 pm
Re: The American Revolution Redefined---terrorism?
Lash wrote:
Off in a galaxy a few mouse-clicks away, I am locked in a deathhold with one cretin, who says America was founded on terrorism.

It has raised interesting Qs. I have fleshed out my position, but would like to know others. I'm not all ideologically hunkered down. Hope we can enjoy some varied views on the subject.

Was the French Fronde the act of terrorists? The students in Tiannemen Square? Mandela? Paul Revere? The Bolsheviks?

Have you heard the British law that has deemed the founding fathers of the US terrorists?

Were the Revolutionaries terrorists in your opinion?


Lash:

It depends. Perhaps you should define the difference between a "terrorist" and a "freedom fighter" first, and then re-consider asking such a loaded and open ended question.

Why?

Because most of your examples take place within the boundaries of one's own country, and the social upheavals which dictated radical actions by those desperate for change.

But terrorism today HAS no country, no government, and exists as a very loose coalition of factions from different countries, but with unifying causes. (I.e., the destruction of America and American interests).

I haven't heard of the British law that deemed our founding fathers US terrorists. How is that a "law?"

Then there's the unfortunate comments from Ward Churchill, which enflamed many people (including me), but part of his comments were in relation to an entire people and nation who WERE terrorized in their OWN country, and eventually slaughtered by the millions.

The students in Tiannement square were entirely peaceful, and it was the Chinese government that performed the violent and murderous acts that are more closely related to terrorism. Do you think Martin Luthor King was a terrorist? Or Malcolm X?

An interesting start for a thread, and one in which will hopefully spawn a more productive and civil debate.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 02:37 am
I'm not sure, if people at those times had the same understanding of "terrosim" and "terrorists" as we have today.

Of course the founding fathers broke English law - a revolution seldom is leagel under the temporarily law :wink: - but to what British law (or all laws?) do you (or your source) refer especially?
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Community Card
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 05:19 am
I do not half the story behind the examples you mentioned Lash, but I will nevertheless answer on the question of terrorism.

This has become such a trendy word lately, that it all of a sudden became cool and distinguishing to be able to use it in a phrase. It just adds the element of sophistication to otherwise dull expressions.
I think you will agree with me on the fact that it is mainly due to the media, which explains everything. It has become a massive drive for propagansih vehiculation, justified by such a growing importance linked to the term.
Now seeing how media is by no means global and unified, and each is confronted to his or her version of "facts", different groups become perceived as terrorists. As long as you do not have a single soul which refers to itself as being a terrorist, this dilemma will prevail.
Examples are many, and yes "Do you think Martin Luther King was a terrorist? Or Malcolm X? ".
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 05:58 am
Jillian Becker, director of the 'Institute for the Study of Terrorism', London, describes (modern) terrorism in the Britannica as follows:

Quote:
Three broad categories of terrorist crime may be distinguished, not in legal terms, but by intention. Foremost is the use of violence and the threat of violence to create public fear. This may be done by making random attacks to injure or kill anyone who happens to be in the vicinity when an attack takes place. Because such crimes deny, by virtue of their being directed at innocent bystanders, the unique worth of the individual, terrorism is said to be a form of crime that runs counter to all morality and so undermines the foundations of civilization. Another tactic generating fear is the abduction and assassination of heads of state and members of governments in order to make others afraid of taking positions of leadership and so to spread a sense of insecurity. Persons in responsible positions may be abducted or assassinated on the grounds that they are "representatives" of some institution or system to which their assailants are opposed.

A second category of terrorist crime is actual rule by terror. It is common practice for leaders of terrorist organizations to enforce obedience and discipline by terrorizing their own members. A community whose collective interests the terrorist organization claims to serve may be terrorized so that their cooperation, loyalty, and support are ensured. Groups that come to power by this means usually continue to rule by terror.

Third, crimes are committed by terrorist organizations in order to gain the means for their own support. Bank robbery, kidnapping for ransom, extortion, gambling rake-offs (profit skimming), illegal arms dealing, and drug trafficking are among the principal crimes of this nature. In the Middle East, hostages are frequently sold as capital assets by one terrorist group to another.

source: Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service


Legally, it certainly depends on the (local) laws at the time, when those 'crimes' were comitted ( > nulla poena sine lege).
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 06:15 am
I just wanna know what 'propagandsih vehiculation' means.
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NeoGuin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 07:11 am
One needs to remember that one's "Terrorist" can be anothers "Patriot".

I'm sure the Crown saw our founding fathers as "Terrorists" or "Insurgents".

Much as Bush has used his media "Sheepdogs" to paint opponents of his empire as somehow "Unamerican"
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 10:13 am
Great responses! So far, this dicussion is taking a neat path. (Neo--let's try not to mention Bush or American politics in this thread--see how close we can get to a scholarly discussion..., but yes, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter--That is the crux of the issue, I think.)

What did Ovid say? Something about Terrorism (or something similar) never profitting, because if it succeeds, we don't call it terrorism...? (Apologies to Ovid,...I slaughtered that.)

My basic (preliminary) argument is along the lines of what Dookie said--a popular people's rebellion against tyranny on their own soil doesn't seem to meet the standards for terrorism to me.

Anyway, looking forward to further treatment of this issue.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 10:17 am
Since you are by sheer change here, Lash :wink:

- what do you know about the "British law" (would be an English law, I suppose, since there aren't any British laws at all).
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 10:21 am
I am pretty close to the definition brought by Walter, above.

I brought a bit of writing that some may find interesting. It is slanted--so I would welcome an article anyone may find, which is slanted in the opposing direction.

http://www.sangam.org/ANALYSIS/Sangam3_2_01.htm
-------------
Walter. It is icky to point out small errors. It gives one the impression that you deem yourself too superior to make small errors. Food for thought.

The article I link above brushes the law I refer to. I will try to find a good source for it, though.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 10:26 am
This has and had nothing to do with 'ickyness' - it's only difficult to find a law, when you don't know where to look for it, who passed and where it was concluded.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 10:39 am
Thanks for the link.

As far as I could find out, the "Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam" (LTTE) are considered as terrorists by most countries, including the USA.
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 02:12 pm
What was icky--was not your request for a link--but your need to point out that the law is Ainglish...not "British".

Anyhow-- the law passed after about 30 hours of deliberation in the Parliament is seen as so broad it would make a terrorist of nearly all dissenters.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 02:37 pm
Lash wrote:


Anyhow-- the law passed after about 30 hours of deliberation in the Parliament is seen as so broad it would make a terrorist of nearly all dissenters.


These are the noted terroristic groups:


Quote:

17 November Revolutionary Organisation (N17): N17 is a terrorist organisation that aims to highlight and protest at what it deems to be imperialist and corrupt actions, using violence. Formed in 1974 to oppose the Greek military Junta, its stance was initially anti-Junta and anti-US, which it blamed for supporting the Junta.

Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO): The principal aim of ANO is the destruction of the state of Israel. It is also hostile to "reactionary" Arab regimes and states supporting Israel.

Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG): The precise aims of the ASG are unclear, but its objectives appear to include the establishment of an autonomous Islamic state in the Southern Philippine island of Mindanao.

Al-Gama'at al-Islamiya (GI): The main aim of GI is through all means, including the use of violence, to overthrow the Egyptian Government and replace it with an Islamic state. Some members also want the removal of Western influence from the Arab world.

Al Qaida: Inspired and led by Osama Bin Laden, its aims are the expulsion of Western forces from Saudi Arabia, the destruction of Israel and the end of Western influence in the Muslim world.

Armed Islamic Group (Groupe Islamique Armée) (GIA): The aim of the GIA is to create an Islamic state in Algeria using all necessary means, including violence.

Asbat Al-Ansar ('League of Parisans' or 'Band of Helpers'): Sometimes going by the aliases of 'The Abu Muhjin' group/faction or the 'Jama'at Nour', this group aims to enforce its extremist interpretation of Islamic law within Lebanon, and increasingly further afield.

Babbar Khalsa (BK): BK is a Sikh movement that aims to establish an independent Khalistan within the Punjab region of India.

Basque Homeland and Liberty (Euskadi ta Askatasuna) (ETA): ETA seeks the creation of an independent state comprising the Basque regions of both Spain and France.

Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ): The main aim of the EIJ is to overthrow the Egyptian Government and replace it with an Islamic state. However, since September 1998, the leadership of the group has also allied itself to the 'global Jihad' ideology expounded by Osama Bin Laden and has threatened Western interests.

Hamas Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades: Hamas aims to end Israeli occupation in Palestine and establish an Islamic state.

Harakat Mujahideen (HM): HM, previously known as Harakat Ul Ansar (HuA), seeks independence for Indian-administered Kashmir. The HM leadership was also a signatory to Osama Bin Laden's 1998 fatwa, which called for worldwide attacks against US and Western interests.

Hizballah External Security Organisation: Hizballah is committed to armed resistance to the state of Israel itself and aims to liberate all Palestinian territories and Jerusalem from Israeli occupation. It maintains a terrorist wing, the External Security Organisation (ESO), to help it achieve this.

International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF): ISYF is an organisation committed to the creation of an independent state of Khalistan for Sikhs within India.

Islamic Army of Aden (IAA): The IAA's aims are the overthrow of the current Yemeni government and the establishment of an Islamic State following Sharia Law.

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU): The primary aim of IMU is to establish an Islamic state in the model of the Taleban in Uzbekistan. However, the IMU is reported to also seek to establish a broader state over the entire Turkestan area.

Jaish e Mohammed (JeM): JeM seeks the 'liberation' of Kashmir from Indian control as well as the 'destruction' of America and India. JeM has a stated objective of unifying the various Kashmiri militant groups.

Jeemah Islamiyah (JI): JI's aim is the creation of a unified Islamic state in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Southern Philippines.

Kurdistan Workers' Party (Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan) (PKK): The PKK is primarily a separatist movement that has sought an independent Kurdish state in southeast Turkey.

Lashkar e Tayyaba (LT): LT seeks independence for Kashmir and the creation of an Islamic state using violent means.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE): The LTTE is a terrorist group fighting for a separate Tamil state in the North and East of Sri Lanka.
Mujaheddin e Khalq (MeK): The MeK is an Iranian dissident organisation based in Iraq. It claims to be seeking the establishment of a democratic, socialist, Islamic republic in Iran.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad - Shaqaqi (PIJ): PIJ is a Shi'a group which aims to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and create an Islamic state similar to that in Iran. It opposes the existence of the state of Israel, the Middle East Peace Process and the Palestinian Authority.

Revolutionary Peoples' Liberation Party - Front (Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi - Cephesi) (DHKP-C): DHKP-C aims to establish a Marxist Leninist regime in Turkey by means of armed revolutionary struggle.

Salafist Group for Call and Combat (Groupe Salafiste pour la Predication et le Combat) (GSPC): Its aim is to create an Islamic state in Algeria using all necessary means, including violence.



Proscribed Irish groups
Continuity Army Council
Cumann na mBan
Fianna na hEireann
Irish National Liberation Army
Irish People's Liberation Organisation
Irish Republican Army
Loyalist Volunteer Force
Orange Volunteers
Red Hand Commando
Red Hand Defenders
Saor Eire
Ulster Defence Association
Ulster Freedom Fighters
Ulster Volunteer Force


Which of these would you like to be deleted - and why?
0 Replies
 
physgrad
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 03:40 pm
Hi

I think that one of the basic questions to attempt to answer here is the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter, in the absence of any standard guidelines. Thus the first step would be to establish objective guidelines, which are capable of dealing with various personal biases.

The first question that arises then is, when is it justifiable to break a law? As obviously, historically, not all human laws have been correct, however, the absence of any laws is not a tenable option.
In my opinion, this question needs to be answered on a case by case basis, subjecting each law to an objective standard, what follows is my standard:

1. Firstly one needs to analyse the intent of the law. This in general comes in 3 groups. A law which seeks to protect and safeguard basic human rights, A law which seeks to oppress individuals or groups within nations and finally the confusing majority which lies somewhere in between. The first case laws, protecting life, liberty and property, are according to my standard, non negotiable absolutes and it would be incorrect to break these laws. The second case would include oppressive practices like slavery, apartheid, imperialism etc. which if protected by law are still wrong and should be broken.

2. The third kind of laws, with multiple foreseeable intents, lead to muddy waters. They would include sovereignity laws, which are intrinsic to this debate, when does fighting for freedom become terrorism? In this case, I believe we need to consider the consequences of the action/inaction against this law. I believe that a freedom struggle which explicitly targets civilian populations, violates the first case law of right to life, and therby transforms the struggle into terrorism.

Specific applications of this standard give the following results:
1. The american, french and other revolutions were freedom struggles, as though their was an admitted loss of life, it was never the intended consequence of the revolution, the intention being to break the second case laws.

2. The events of Sept. 11, suicide attacks in Iraq and Israel, would fall under the terrorism category, given the targets are non combatants.

Note that this is my suggestion for what would be an objective standard, any further suggestions and questions/comments are welcome. Once we agree on a standard, the answer to freedom fighter or terrorist should be relatively easy.
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 06:46 pm
physgrad--

I really like your modus operandi.

I'm too lazy to give this the thought it deserves now--but I'll be back tomorrow. Thanks for your contributions.

Walter-- I don't quite get where you're coming from. We're not going to muck up this thread with personal parries. If you'd like to address someone else, or something I've actually said, that would be great.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 06:47 pm
Hi, physgrad. Welcome to a A2K. (I like your signature line.)

I'm not at all sure that I agree with you on the statement that a distinction between "terrorist" and "freedom fighter" can be predicated -- if only in part -- on the type of law that is being opposed. One has the right to object to any law that one finds abhorent (for whatever reason). This would include laws that are designed to protect private property. I see no objection to a dedicated Communist objecting to the very notion of the ownership of private property. I would vehemently disgaree with him/her but I would respect the right to object.

The crux is, in my opinion, the methods used to make one's displeasure felt. Signing a petition is an acceptable form of objection. That's basically what the American Declaration of Independence was, a petition to the Hanoverian ruler of Great Britain, expressing American displeasure at his rule. Blowing up the British warships in Boston harbor, on the other hand, would have been an act of terrorism, absent a formal declaration of war. In the final analysis, only civil disobedience as practiced by the likes of Mohandas Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King and others can be considered valid and legitimate acts of protest. And no more compelling proof of their efficacy is needed than the fact that today India is a free and independent nation and that there are more civil rights laws on the books of the Federal US government than even King probably envisioned in his lifetime.

My problem with the Chechin opposition to Russia is not with Chechin goals. I would support them, were it not for the fact they practice acts of undoubted terrorism to achieve them. Holding a theater audience captive at gunpoint is not the act of a freedom fighter. It is an unequivocal act of terrorism, regardless of the motive. Much the same can be said for the Palestinian methods in opposition to Israel. If their demands and complaints are, indeed, legitimate, I would be interested in hearing them. I will not even bother to raed them or listen to them as long as they are sending out people to blow things up. That is an act of terrorism, regardless of the goals.

Now, does that make "the answer to freedom fighter or terrorist...relatively easy"? I don't know.
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physgrad
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2005 08:47 pm
Quote:
I see no objection to a dedicated Communist objecting to the very notion of the ownership of private property.


I believe in this statement you are referring to the communists' right to dissent, and in that I agree with you.

However, I never question their right to dissent, I merely tried to answer the question regarding which laws can be broken, the operative word in the statement being 'broken', as that goes beyond protest into the realm of civil disobedience and violent means.

It is this realm within which freedom fighters and terrorists operate. For example, I, while being supportive of a communists right to his opinion, I would react very badly to communist action to separate me from my house, the difference lies between freedom to express and freedom to act on those expressions.

That being said, I agree with you on chechen rebels and palestinian terrorists, if you subject either of them to the standard I mentioned, they would be considered terrorists. The problem with your approach regarding any violence however is that it would classify a valid independence struggle as terrorism. The issue then becomes trading freedoms for peace and that in my opinion is unacceptable.

Quote:
Blowing up the British warships in Boston harbor, on the other hand, would have been an act of terrorism, absent a formal declaration of war. In the final analysis, only civil disobedience as practiced by the likes of Mohandas Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King and others can be considered valid and legitimate acts of protest


Being Indian, I can appreciate Gandhi's methods and applaud them, but they do assume a modicum of humanity in your oppressors, non-violence can only work if the oppressing country/group is subject to some kind of conscience, and that cannot be said of most dictators.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Mar, 2005 12:41 am
Lash wrote:

Walter-- I don't quite get where you're coming from. We're not going to muck up this thread with personal parries. If you'd like to address someone else, or something I've actually said, that would be great.


I really don't want at all to go into personalties.

I just want to clarify against what parts of this law you are. (First I've thaught, you spoke about history Embarrassed ).

I've this law as well, especially against the original one. But since it has now passed both houses ..
But those points are left out here, I suppose - the law is similar to the US laws, a bit 'weaker' perhaps.


My only point is and was that don't get the connection to Washington.

Sorry, Lash, I really didn't want to disturb your thread here at all.
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goodfielder
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Mar, 2005 05:10 am
Re: The American Revolution Redefined---terrorism?
Lash wrote:
Off in a galaxy a few mouse-clicks away, I am locked in a deathhold with one cretin, who says America was founded on terrorism.

It has raised interesting Qs. I have fleshed out my position, but would like to know others. I'm not all ideologically hunkered down. Hope we can enjoy some varied views on the subject.

Was the French Fronde the act of terrorists? The students in Tiannemen Square? Mandela? Paul Revere? The Bolsheviks?/quote]

I don't think it's terrorism to attack the state itself. That I think is revolution. Where a group attacks non-combatants simply to produce terror in the community and therefore to put pressure on the state to accede to the demands of those making the demands, that is terrorism.
And yes, I know that "terrorism" as I've indicated it might be covers such behaviour as the bombing of cities from the air in what we call "war". This might seem stupid but the objective of the attackers determines whether or not an act is strategic (bombing docks or factories) or terroristic (bombing civilian areas deliberately). So a properly formed state may also be said to indulge in "terrorism".


Quote:
Have you heard the British law that has deemed the founding fathers of the US terrorists?


No - but it's interesting and if there is a reference to it it would be good to find out more.

Quote:
Were the Revolutionaries terrorists in your opinion?


No. I think they attacked the English state's instrumentalities in the colonies but I don't think they actually attacked the civilian colonists.
I will be corrected on that of course. If they'd gone to England and bombed civilian targets in London, for example, that would for mine be terrorism.
0 Replies
 
 

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