26.4.07

Terrorism

One good definition of Terrorism is the indiscriminate targeting of civilians to achieve political ends, whether it is conducted by states, individuals or groups, it is still terrorism. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami agreed with it, I agree with it and I believe it is clear enough.

No state or group should be allowed to use terrorism in any other sense, if it is targeting men (or women) in uniform, then it is not terrorism, if it targeting militias or fighting factions then it is not terrorism.

From Wikipedia:
Edward Peck, former U.S. Chief of Mission in Iraq and ambassador to Mauritania:

In 1985, when I was the Deputy Director of the Reagan White House Task Force on Terrorism, they asked us — this is a Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism; I was the Deputy Director of the working group — they asked us to come up with a definition of terrorism that could be used throughout the government. We produced about six, and each and every case, they were rejected, because careful reading would indicate that our own country had been involved in some of those activities. […] After the task force concluded its work, Congress got into it, and you can google into U.S. Code Title 18, Section 2331, and read the U.S. definition of terrorism. And one of them in here says — one of the terms, “international terrorism,” means “activities that,” I quote, “appear to be intended to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.” […] Yes, well, certainly, you can think of a number of countries that have been involved in such activities. Ours is one of them. Israel is another. And so, the terrorist, of course, is in the eye of the beholder.

The British Terrorism Act 2000 defines terrorism so as to include not only violent offences against persons and physical damage to property, but also acts "designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system".This latter consideration would include shutting down a website whose views one dislikes. However this, and any of the other acts covered by the definition would also need to be (a) designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, AND (b)be done for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.[the latter three terms are not defined in the Act]

So basically under the British definition some psycho can blow up a bus full of children, just for the fun of it and he wouldn't be a terrorist, but if someone hacks into a site that has a bad word about his religion (which I agree is wrong but come on) he would be terrorist.

Short legal definition proposed by A. P. Schmid to United Nations Crime Branch (1992):

Act of Terrorism = Peacetime Equivalent of War Crime

This last definition seems to me to be the best I could find, and therefore should be satisfactory until my brain finds something wrong with it.
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