Law Enforcement Technology

MAR 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 27 of 45

T here are many things about terrorism in the 21 st century that are different from terrorism in previous decades. Social media and internet recruitment, for example, have become new ways for terrorists to spread their toxic message as well as gain support and attention in recent years. But if you look back to the 1970s and early 1990s in Europe you will see similari- ties between then and now. Targeting these similarities will ultimately help you analyze, assess and plan counter terrorism operations and techniques in a time when the risk of home-grown terrorism is high. First, take a look at a few European groups who carried out terrorist attacks throughout the 1970s to 1990s: • In West Germany, the Red Army Faction (RAF) was founded in 1970. This group began as a left-wing terrorist group that fol- lowed the Marxist-Leninists, Maoism, Anti- Imperialism, Anti Fascism ideology and was supported by the East German Stasi (Ministry for Sate Security). • The Revolutionary Cells (RZ), a self- described "Urban Guerrilla" organization that followed the Anti-Imperialism, Anti- Racism, Anti-Zionism & Feminism ideol- ogy, was established and active from 1973 to 1995. During the early 1980s it was one of West Germany's most dangerous leftist terrorist groups and it claimed responsibil- ity for 186 attacks. The RZ's most famous international operation was the hijacking of the Air France flight on June 27, 1976—in cooperation with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)—and diverting it to Uganda's Entebbe Airport. • The 2 June Movement, a violent, anarchist terrorist group operating in West Germany active in the 1970s took responsibility for a bombing at the British Yacht Club in West Berlin. It was later found out to be an act of assistance for the IRA. A common theme for these European- based terrorist groups is that their member- ship wasn't poor, uneducated people. In OPINION Carl Hospedales Carl Hospedales' career spans over 30 years within the militar y, special operations and tactical law enforcement occupations. His experience includes counter-terrorist, operations and training, VIP protective security, firearms design, tactics and instruction, intelligence gathering and analysis. 26 reality they were from middle-class or even well-to-do families. Their members were well-educated and idealistic, guided by their ideology. Does this sound familiar? It should. Many of today's terrorists share the same traits. From then to now Fast for ward three decades, here in the West we are seeing converts to Islam con- ducting lone wolf/actor terrorist attacks. If the attack is not carried out with firearms, they will find easier alternatives such as knives, vehicles and crude homemade explosives like HMTD (Hexamethylene Triperoxide Diamine) or Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) as used in several ter- rorist attacks including the 2001 Richard Reid shoe bomb plot. In both Western and Eastern countries today, many in this new breed of terrorists are eager individuals from well-off families, educated and driven by a passion and/ or desire to prove themselves to their new faith and its radical ideals. Furthermore many seek meaning and order to their lives which they have found difficult to achieve in their relevant societies. Some are either bullied or picked on for various reasons, and find themselves marginalized. This is where Islamic extremists step in, offering order to these individuals if they embrace this form of Islam. Islamic extrem- ists provide them with the desire and meaning to their lives, so much so that they are prepared to murder and die for their new faith. Many blame the West for their situation and play the victim card, claiming they are not responsible for the poor state of their culture, country and the world. The Islamist extremists promise clear-cut solu- tions to every problem so long as the soon- to-be new fledged terrorist follows their rules. They provide a desire for change to the old corrupt order, which must be over- thrown, and this can only happen through violent action. Today's Terrorist

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Law Enforcement Technology - MAR 2017