Subsequent to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the world did change. Prior to the attacks, the term 'terrorism' was not as frequently used by the media world over, the way we are used to it now. We have to bear in mind that it is the media that brings the world together, it is the Internet at best that allows us easy access to other areas of the globe, far from us -- and their peoples. Next, the television plays a chief role in spreading news, business reports, and propaganda.
Following the attacks on September 11 in New York City, the world got to learn of Al-Qaida, (the sole terrorist group) responsible with many other terrorist organizations to spread mischief across the globe. Osama Bin Laden was turned into a celebrity overnight because his videotapes detailing his agenda to fight the United States, were discovered. Videotapes kept coming and going, each time stirring the people of the world. Laden was not found, but there was a war in Afghanistan to fight the terrorism raised (so to say) by Laden's group and others. Recently there has been a war in Iraq too for similar reasons. Saddam Hussein was called a terrorist by countless in the media, and his domination was under attack.
Terrorism -- Then and Now Terrorism is an old issue that the world is now bent to abolish. Whether this would happen or not is a separate matter because throughout the history of mankind, there have been issues such as corruption, violence, and unlawful killings, and humans have engaged in battles to overcome the bad, in favor of the good. At present, the target is terrorist organizations. We ought to understand these associations and their use of media. Here, media comprises communication of the terrorist organization among its own members besides members of the general public. How does a terrorist organization propagate its mission?
Once we are knowledgeable of the above, we may attempt to successfully counter terrorism through the use of media at our end.
As discussed before, terrorism is an ages-old concern. It is now a well-known topic since the super powerful nation of the world, United States has been subjected to terrorism. The country is taking a stand against terrorist groups, and it is gaining support of other nations that are readily battling against terrorism with the U.S. Furthermore, the media of the United States is highly influential, there is no argument about it. The number of channels owned by the U.S., and the information going through the media globally by way of the American channels is tremendous. It is no surprise then that the war of terrorism has created such a noise. The whole world, especially our nation, utilizes the media to combat terrorism. By furnishing reports on how to oppose terrorism, for instance, or disseminating information about the actions of the terrorists (for us to remain cautious), the media can and does deter terrorist groups from taking many actions that bring humankind toward extinction. (Consider a terrorist group set to bomb a locality -- would it continue with its program if the media exposes the deed before it's done?)
Media today is of course more potent than media that was. In the nineties, for example, we hardly ever heard of an anti-terrorism bill debated in Greece that made it a crime for a newspaper to print communication from a group designated as terrorist organization. This violated the rights of a free press whereby common people could be informed of the doings of terrorist groups (Hoyt, 1991). Al-Jazeera television is famous for broadcasting Osama Bin Laden's infamous videos in which he is seen planning to wage war on America. The law in Greece in 1991 forbade such transmissions. Hence, any talk of revolution (on the part of the so-called terrorists) was curbed. This principle violated the foundations of democracy as well (Hoyt).
In spring 1991, rockets flew across Greece, damaging industrial and commercial venues. A group calling itself "November 17" took credit for these acts of terrorism and destruction. It sent "communiques to the media." Seven newspapers printed the communique in defiance of the new law. One of these -- Eleftherotypia -- explained its actions in an editorial: "We believe that all Greek citizens have the right to be informed, even if they completely disagree, about the deeds and the thinking of a group that remains untouched by the authorities, of all administrations, for 16 years.... And we should never forget: Darkness breeds legends. (Hoyt)"
To make the long story short, the people responsible for publishing the reports of the attack by November 17, were jailed and made to pay fines. Following this, there was another terrorist attack that same year, and another communique was sent, this time only to Eleftherotypia. The paper published a new report and was charged under the anti-terrorism law the following day (Hoyt).
This is no time for a boom of the Greek civilization in particular. The Greek media is not as strong as the American in the present time. Therefore did many of us not know about terrorism in Greece. It is worthwhile to learn about a Greek terrorist organization, however. Later can we turn to the media today in relation to terrorist groups.
Greek Terrorist Organization: Revolutionary Organization 17 November
Based in Greece, the Revolutionary Organization 17 November was one of the most active terrorist groups in Western Europe in the 1980's. The name of the group derives from a November 17, 1973 student uprising in Athens that was violently overwhelmed by the military junta ruling Greece at the time. This organization is a violent Marxist-Leninist one. Its ideology is anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, anti-United States and anti-NATO (Revolutionary Organization). The group, identified by the U.S. Department of State among 36 foreign terrorist organizations in April 2003, has been critical of the Greek government for not addressing issues such as the situation in Cyprus, the presence of U.S. bases in Greece, and Greek membership in NATO and the European Community (State Dept., 2003).
The first sensational act of November 17 was the assassination of Richard Welch, Chief of the CIA Station in Athens, in 1975. Since then, the terrorist group has made many attacks on Turkish Missions in Greece. A report of the U.S. Congress in 2000 on the subject of "Transnational Terrorism," proposed that Greece be added to a list of terrorist countries. The country was urged to introduce sanctions against terrorist organizations (Terrorist Organizations, 2000).
According to press claims, November 17 works in cooperation with Abu Nidal, the German Red Army Faction (RAF), and Combatant Cells in Belgium. Moreover, the terror group is said to have connections with the Greek Army since it steals weapons and supplies from Greek military depots (Terrorist Organizations).
Terror organizations make use of propaganda to raise domestic and international awareness of their organizations and their objectives. Many have a separate propaganda unit in their organizational structure. Based on Marxist-Leninist ideologies, separate staff is assigned to propaganda activities within the front activities. These staff members are evaluated separately from the armed units of the terrorist organizations. They carry out different kinds of both legal and illegal activities necessary to achieve political ends. Armed units carry out armed propaganda for the terror groups. This is because propaganda is crucial, and armed acts must be undertaken for the purpose of propaganda first rather than for the purpose of destroying enemies (Terror Organizations, 2000).
November 17 was founded in protest to the killings of students that engaged in armed combat with the security forces on 17 November 1973. Thus, the basis of this terror group was made armed propaganda. Not much is known otherwise about the inner dynamics of November 17 except that, as mentioned before, it used the newspapers to relay information about its terrorist activities. The organization is led by a group of twenty well-disciplined people including teachers, journalists, professors, doctors, and intellectuals. Their leader is most likely Michaelis Raptis, known as "Pablos" -- a writer for the Greek leftist newspaper, To Vima (Terrorist Organizations, 2000). Furthermore, no member of November 17 had ever been arrested until 2002 (Pike, 2003).
About November 17, we know that the organization receives external aid from unknown sources (Pike). It is made of assassins, it has adopted a cell system, and it seeks not an expansion strategy or new members/sympathizers. The group is involved in organized crime, in particular in the smuggling of weapons and explosives. It typically engages in armed attacks, car bombings, and rocket attacks, availing itself of military supplies. All in all, the group aims to establish a socialist system of government in Greece, to dismiss Greece from NATO, to close all American bases in Greece, and to end alleged Turkish occupation in Cyprus. Additionally, it seeks to severe Greece's ties with the U.S., NATO and the European Union (Terrorist Organizations).
November 17 utilizes armed propaganda, the commanding form of propaganda known…