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Causes of Domestic Terrorism
Advocates for political change and social concern are at the forefront of domestic terrorism in the United States. Domestic terrorism references groups and individuals based in and operate within the United States. Terrorism is noted as the oldest form of solving human conflict and was historically to declare war.
The Federal Code of Regulations defines terrorism, a relevant term, as "...the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives" (Federal Bureau of Investigation).
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) categorizes the types of domestic terrorism as right-wing, left-wing and special. Right-wing terrorist practice on the theory of free speech and constitutional rights. They adhere to a philosophy of racial supremacy and embrace anti-government and anti-regulatory beliefs. Left-wing terrorists are radical, in that they seek social change for people they consider are experiencing degrading effects of capitalism and imperialism. Special interest terrorist seek to force their political views through violence. Their issues have been associated with hate crimes like animal rights, pro-life and environmental movements. The FBI states that groups from this orientation pose potential threats to communities across the country.
According to Joe Navarro, former FBI Counterintelligence Agent and an author, "terrorist attacks usually come with warning; however, he claims the most notable characteristics are subscribing to an uncompromising ideology that uses violence to achieve its goals and isolation." Navarro claims that the combination of psychology and physical isolation is what causes harm; as is the case with the unabomber, Theoohn Kaczynski, Usama Bin Laden, founder of the Islamic extremist and Timothy McVeigh, who in the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City.
Navarro states that "once a terrorist isolates he has reached the final plateau, the springboard to terror. At this juncture the terrorist is at the mercy of his whims or the powerful effects of group dynamics (such as from Al Qaeda)."
Terrorist that entertain the thought of rebellious acts often isolate themselves from society, family, and friends. Terrorist are often consumed with fear and thoughts to fully embrace their beliefs. "The thoughts of the would-be terrorist percolate to the surface beginning the differentiation process from the rest of society. Social norms may be called into question, extremist views are nurtured, and violent action is ideated." (Navarro, 2009)
While in isolation, the terrorist are allowed to think and express ideas freely. Isolation allows a possible terrorist to indulge in thought without conforming to daily life routine. Navarro's analogy is that isolation transcends to terrorism when a warning sign is ignored.
There exists a consciousness of terrorism across the nation. The FBI refers to terrorism as domestic or international. Whether the act occurs within or outside of the United States, both are violent acts that intimidate the lives of civilians. The FBI considers international terrorism a criminal act in that the crime would be punishable by law if it occurs in the United States.
For decades the United States has continued to challenge terrorism threats. Between 1980 and 1999, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) documented 327 occurrences related to terrorism of which 239 were attributed to domestic terrorism.
During 1999 the Millennium Celebration became a target for terrorism threat by domestic extremists who allegedly planned to attack various locations in the United States. The alert created a worldwide concern that the extremist would plot millennial attacks in other countries. The Pakistan and Jordon security forces prevented the attack when they suspected a similar attack in their countries.
Government officials reported to CNN News (October 25, 2000) that they attribute the threats to "worldwide calls for jihad, or a holy war, against the United States over the last few weeks because of the escalation of violence in the Mideast and the recent bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Aden, Yemen. And it would be fair to say that it is from Islamic fundamentalists, or jihadists."
According to the FBI "Despite the fears of international plots in the United States, 1999 was, in fact, characterized by a sharp increase in domestic terrorism, driven by a troubling upswing in activity carried out by animal rights and environmental extremists." (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1999,-page 7) . It is noted that terrorists committed eight of 10 incidents in 1999, double the number that occurred in 1998.
With rising occurrences of terrorist incidents in 1999, the United States took an aggressive stand to confront terrorism. In developing a strategic plan, the FBI categorized terrorist actions by type. For example, a violent act punishable by law in the United States is a terrorist incident. A suspected terrorist is a potential to act and has no group affiliation. Terrorism prevention is use of information obtained as evidence to prevent a violent attack.
The following domestic terrorist incidents resulted in violence motivated by social and political views. Each incident involves a domestic terrorist under suspension and acts the government could prevent from happening.
In March 1999, a domestic terrorist incident occurred involving the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a group against the abuse of animals. Though the group took responsibility for their actions, two vehicles belonging to a circus were destroyed by fire with a flammable device planted behind the vehicles. The ALF admitted to supporting activist in Seattle, Washington, to release hundreds of mink from a fur farm.
In July 1999, Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, a member of the World Church of the Creator (WCOTC), and an associate participated in a shooting spree that span over a three-day period throughout four cities in the state of Illinois. The attack targeted religious and racial minorities. During the attack 32 people were shot, two killed, and eight wounded. The WCOTC supports the philosophy of its founder, Ben Klaussen that, "the white race represents the supreme act of creation. Ben Klaussen an author has published books sharing his white supremist views (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1999).
In August 1999, two adults and three children were injured in an attack on a Jewish community center in California. During the motion an Asian United States Postal Service was killed. Through investigative measures a former member of the Aryan Nations surrendered citing his antigovernment and anti-Semitic beliefs.
In a suspected incident that occurred in April 1999, two 500- pound bombs were accidently dropped by a U.S. Navy aircraft on a United Stated naval outpost. The attack killed a civilian security guard was killed and others. There is no evidence of a malicious act, records show that similar bombs had been used in another incident coerced by a Puerto Rican extremist group.
In another suspected incident in November 1999, three flammable devices were thrown into the Gap clothing store in Seattle, Washington. ALF symbols were sprayed on the inside and outside of the store. The group was in protest of the Gap's relationship with the World Trade Organization.
Toward the latter part of 1998, the FBI became informed of a planned attack on a propane storage facility in Elk Grove, California. The suspected parties were associated with an anti-government group that included a demolition expert. In December the associates were arrested by a Joint Terrorism Task Force in Sacramento, California. The parties were indicted on weapon and explosive violations.
The FBI through investigation prevented a domestic terrorism act that occurred in April 1999. The FBI received information that a member of the Aryan Nation had planned to attack a federal building and the chief defense counsel of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The FBI obtained evidence of the individuals' intent when law enforcement official searched his car after a prior offense. The defendant pleads guilty and sentenced to four years in prison.
In December 1999, the FBI prevented the attack of power lines in several states and federal law enforcement officers. Donald Beauregard, a Commander, and Brigadier of the Southeastern States Alliance (SSA) was arrested when the FBI gained information that he was planning to use stolen weapons and explosives from the national guard armories to carry out the attack. The SSA existed to create social and political chaos. Its members were guerrillas from southern states.
During the time of the Millennium celebrations, a would be terrorist was arrested for attempting to manipulate the oil financial market and cause havoc. The suspect, Alfred Heinz Reumayr was suspected of planting a bomb to destroy parts of the Alaskan Pipeline. A map detailing his plan to bomb the Alaskan Pipeline was found at the time of his arrest in Canada.
The United States Constitution provides for freedom of speech and expression, however; the "Strategy of terrorists is to commit acts of violence that draws the attention of the local populace, the government, and the world to their cause. The terrorists plan their attack to obtain the greatest publicity, choosing targets that symbolize what they oppose. The effectiveness of the terrorist act lies not in the act itself, but in the public's or government's reaction to the act" (International Terrorism and…[continue]
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