PW Español








Very usefull links



Petroleumworld
Bookstore



Institutional
links


OPEC



 


Petroleumworld
Business Partners

 



Blogspots
recomended

caracas chronicles

Gustavo Coronel

Iran-Watch.com

Venezuela Today

Le Blog des
Energies Nouvelles

 

 

 


Petroleumworld`s
Opinion Forum:
viewpoints on issues in energy, geopolitics and civilization

 

Saturday
Lagniappe

Norway's Terrorist Defied The Stereotype of a Terrorist
Extremism knows no racial, religious, or ethnic boundaries

By Tara McKelvey

Terrorist in Disguise

Anders Behring Breivik, 32, is handsome, green-eyed, and blond—in other words, not a stereotypical terrorist. His good looks worked to his advantage, helping him gain access to the island of Utoya and allowing him to kill scores of people in one of the bloodiest attacks in Norwegian history . The assault that he carried out on Friday was not only horrific; it also exposed a weakness in counterterrorism strategy in Europe and the United States. The commonly held notion of who a terrorist is means people may lower their guard around Breivik and others who look not Arab, but Western, and the results can be devastating.

“Terrorism is theater,” as security analyst Brian M. Jenkins wrote , and in popular lore the cast is made up of young Middle Easterners. Indeed, many Americans expect terrorists to look like the bearded thugs who made life difficult for Jack Bauer in Fox's show 24 . To be sure, the biggest threat to national security comes from radicals who are affiliated with organizations such as al Qaeda and the Africa-based Islamist group Al Shabab, and these individuals may in some ways look like the television thugs. Yet as the Norwegians found out this week, non–Arabic speakers who have no ties with an Islamist extremist group can also inflict damage on a colossal scale.

The United States has its own experiences with domestic terrorism, and yet stereotypes persist in this country, clouding the views of ordinary citizens and of law-enforcement officials. In February 2010, for example, a computer engineer, Andrew Joseph Stack III, flew an airplane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, killing one person. He left behind a note that showed he was unhappy with tax laws, and in this way he was attempting to use violence to achieve a political outcome. Yet FBI officials chose not to describe him as a terrorist; instead, they handled the case as a criminal matter .

Many experts believe that the FBI's assessment was based on the color of Stack's skin (white) and on his non-Arabic-sounding name, rather than on the facts of the case. In other words, he had carried out an act of political violence, but officials refused to recognize him in this way because he did not fit their idea of what a terrorist looks like.

Perhaps not surprisingly, leaders of international extremist groups are now looking for these types of individuals to carry out future attacks. Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric who lives in Yemen, and other writers for an English-language Qaeda magazine, Inspire , have been encouraging readers to act independently and to come up with terrorist plots in their own countries.

“He is saying, ‘Look, you may be sympathetic to the movement, but don't come to Yemen. Just do it on your own,'” says Jessica Stern , the author of Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill . “He and his henchmen have figured out that it's very hard to find a neo-Nazi, a lone Islamist terrorist, or any kind of lone wolf, because they're not talking to anyone.”

Unfortunately, popular notions about terrorism may blind people to what political violence is, as in the case of Stack in Austin, and may also make it harder to recognize someone who is preparing to carry out an act of violence. Author Ken Ballen interviewed more than 100 extremists in Indonesia, Pakistan, and other countries for his forthcoming book, Terrorists in Love: The Real Lives of Islamic Radicals , and he found that the vast majority “are not psychopaths or criminally insane.” Instead, as he discovered, “these people know exactly what they are doing, and they believe they're doing the right thing.”

It is easier to see terrorists as the Other, as someone who holds bizarre views, lives in a far-flung country, and is utterly alien. Yet real-life terrorists are not the shadowy figures of 24 ; they are just like us. They come from a variety of backgrounds and hold an array of views, but they are clear-headed about their actions and, however misguided, have the courage of their convictions. That, combined with their utterly savage behavior, is what makes them terrorists, not their faith, appearance, or ethnic background, and is also what makes them such an insidious threat.

Follow us in Twitter and post your comments in our Facebook site.

 

 

Tara McKelvey is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review, is the author of Monstering: Inside America's Policy of Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War (Basic Books). Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views.

Editor's Note: This commentary was originally published by The Daily Beast , on July 23, 2011 . Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers.


Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers.
All comments posted and published on Petroleumworld, do not reflect either for or against the opinion expressed in the comment as an endorsement of Petroleumworld. All comments expressed are private comments and do not necessary reflect the view of this website. All comments are posted and published without liability to Petroleumworld.

Fair use Notice: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues of environmental and humanitarian significance. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. All works published by Petroleumworld are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Petroleumworld has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Petroleumworld endorsed or sponsored by the originator. Petroleumworld encourages persons to reproduce, reprint, or broadcast Petroleumworld articles provided that any such reproduction identify the original source, http://www.petroleumworld.com or else and it is done within the fair use as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated Petroleumworld welcomes your feedback and comments, share your thoughts on this article, your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article. Write to editor@petroleumworld.com

By using this link, you agree to allow PW to publish your comments on our letters page.

Petroleumworld News 07/23/2011

Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated

Petroleumworld welcomes your feedback and comments,
share your thoughts on this article, your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us
their views and comments about this article.

Write to editor@petroleumworld.com

By using this link, you agree to allow E&P
to publish your comments on our letters page.

Copyright© 1999-2009 the respective author or news agency. All rights reserved.

We welcome the use of Petroleumworld™ stories by anyone provided it mentions Petroleumworld.com as the source. Other stories you have to get authorization by its authors.

Send this story to a friend

Any question or suggestions, please write to:
editor@petroleumworld.com

Best Viewed with IE 5.01+
Windows NT 4.0, '95, '98, ME,XP,WV, W7+/ 800x600 pixels

 


TOP

Contact: editor@petroleumworld.com/phone:(58 212) 635 7252, (58 412) 996 3730 or
(58  412) 952 5301

Editor:Elio C. Ohep A/Producer - Publisher:Elio Ohep /
Contact Email: editor@petroleumworld.com
CopyRight © 1999-2006, Elio Ohep - All Rights Reserved. Legal Information
- CCS office Tele
phone/Teléfonos Oficina: (ß58 212) 635 7252
PW in Top 100 Energy Sites

Technorati Profile

Fair use notice of copyrighted material:
This site is a public free site and it contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of business, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have chosen to view the included information for research, information, and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission fromPetroleumworld or the copyright owner of the material.