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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Terrorist Ideology Definitions and Alert System

Terrorist Ideology Definitions and Alert System

  1. What is the range of extremist ideology?
    1. Defining underlying terms

Before we can define ideologies in terms of a Left/Right paradigm, we must explain how we are defining the Left/Right continuum. In one evaluation of the scale, the Left is identified with progress and change ( and note the use of the term “Progressive” to identify with leftist thought in this sense), while the Right, the “Conservatives” are the defenders of the status quo. On the other hand, the Left/Right scale can be evaluated on the terms of reliance on State control in a society's government system. This extends into economic systems as well, with Communist/socialist models exercising State control over the economic life of the citizen. There are models for introducing other axes of orientation, such as rationality of government style (the Pournelle chart) and economic freedom (The Nolan chart or the “Political Compass”). Because the terms are not universally defined, some paradoxes emerge. Although conservatives have been accused of using the State to maintain the status quo, “Dislike of State intervention has long been a prominent theme...among conservatives” (Ray, 2004, p. 73). This confusion of terms is obvious when one sees that the Nazis ( National Socialists who maintained tight control of economic conditions), are often identified with the the Right. Finally, the use of these terms is often driven by political consideration, not by any need for accurate identification; “‘Left’ and ‘Right’ are discursive resources drawn upon, contested and resisted in political exchange” (White, 2011, p. 124). The only consistent definitions are on the Left side of the scale and relate to Statist control over society. There is a diffusion of identity as one moves to the Right; Patriot movements, Klansmen, secessionists are all bundled together as right-wing even when they have diametrically opposed views.

    1. Multiple Identification

Another issue in defining ideologies is that some groups belong to several of the categories that we explore shortly. Islam could be defined as a “Religious” movement and a “Right-Wing Reactionary” movement due to the goal of establishing a “returning to a golden past”...but considering the totalitarian nature of the creed could be defined as Leftist if we look at the label through the evaluation of level of State control. Anti-globalists often identify with environmental and anarchist philosophies. On the other side of the spectrum, The Army of God can be classified as religious, right-wing reactionary, and racist. A final factor is that different cultures often use political labels in a fashion that has an opposite many in another country. See “Liberal” both in Australia and America for one such example.

    1. Deceptive use of self-identification

Johann Most states that “Anarchists are socialists because they want the improvement of society, and they are communists because they are convinced that such a transformation of society can only result from the establishment of a commonwealth of property.” However, anarchy is specifically the lack of governance completely. How does a society enforce a commonwealth of property without the mechanism of State? How does a philosophy that claims that the lack of rule as it's moral purpose use rules to take away the right of private property? The answer lies in the concept of “front” groups. Although we briefly touched upon the use of multiple labels for anti-globalist, environmental, and anarchist groups, it becomes easier to identify a common underlying theme of their agenda...anti-capitalism under different flags.

    1. Ideological Definitions; presented from the perspective of American politics.

      1. Anarchist – The technical definition of anarchy refers to a system of governance in which there are no rules; however, in current usage anarchy refers to a different form of socialism. The Occupy Wall Street movement often used anarchist rhetoric.
      2. Anti-Globalization – This ideology is supposedly opposed to control of society by mutli-national corporations, yet their rhetoric indicates that they are opposed to capitalism in toto. Riots and vandalism accompany their “protests”, such as in Seattle, 1999.
      3. Communist/Socialist – This is a Leftist ideology which purports to share the fruits of everyone's labor with everyone else; in reality it is a totalitarian system in which the Party members control society. Russia and Cuba are just two examples of this ideology in operation.
      4. Environmental - This ideology claims to undertake violent action on behalf of the environment, but as with other Leftist front groups, it's purpose is to push anti-capitalist propaganda. Greenpeace is one such environmental group.
      5. Leftist Nationalist/Separatist - These groups use the front of identity politics to establish a socialist government. The Viet Minh was one example of such a group; The Baath Party is another.
      6. Racist – The dominant philosophy for racists is the inferiority of other ethnic groups to their own; they demand separation and often elimination of the groups they target. The Ku Klux Klan and it's mirror image, the New Black Panther Party, are examples of racist extremists.
      7. Religious - Religious extremists base their position on religious grounds. Islam is the prime example of this type of extremism.
      8. Right-Wing Conservative – Considering that maintaining the status quo and adherence to law are the major factors of this ideology; it is not so much that is extremist, as it is abhorred for it's opposition to Leftist politics. The Tea Party is an example of this movement.
      9. Right-Wing Reactionary – Reactionaries either take the idea of individual rights to a violent extreme (the Sovereign Citizen movement), or seek to establish a “pure” state (Army of God).

  1. Terrorist Alert System
    1. The problems with the existing alert system

Currently, the United States uses the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS). One issue with this system is that it does not have a worldwide reach; “NTAS Alerts apply only to threats in the United States and its possessions” (Department of Homeland Security,2011, p.5). Another issue is that the system only informs the public of a credible threat, it does not coordinate the full response of the nation's resources to deal with a possible attack. Adini and Peleg (2103) discuss the full range of responses a government should undertake to protect it's citizenry.

    1. The ways to check terrorist attacks

Terrorist attacks can be confirmed from military or law enforcement reports. Past experience has shown that the national media can not be trusted to leave politics and sensationalism out of their reporting. The slander of Richard Jewell and the attempt to label Jared Lee Loughner as a Right-wing actor are examples of this.

    1. The nations which are at most risk

Syria and Iraq are not only at risk, they are under attack from one of the largest terror groups in the world, ISIS.

    1. The terrorist groups that are most active at present

ISIS is the most active terror group; it's operations involve more than 30,000 terrorists and span two countries. The list of activities it undertakes includes public beheading, the s ale of slaves (including the sale of children for sexual abuse), oil smuggling, execution of civilians and prisoners, organ trafficking, and open military operations.

  1. Combined Threat Scale
With approximately 20% of the world's population under Communist rule, and 20% under Islamic rule, there is a floor level of 40% of the world's population that is subject to terror activities. Additional factors that raise the scale include tribal (racial/ethnic) terror in Africa, State terror in Latin America, and the thankfully small risk of becoming a terror victim in the Western countries. It can be estimated that approximately 50% of the world's population is subject to terror actions.


Adini, B., & Peleg, K. (2013). On constant alert: Lessons to be learned from Israel's emergency response to mass-casualty terrorism incidents. Health Affairs, 32(12), 2179-85. Retrieved January 22, 2015 from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1467750211?accountid=87314
National terrorism advisory system public guide. (2011). US Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved January 22, 2015 from http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/ntas/ntas-public-guide.pdf

Ray, J. (2004). Explaining the left/right divide. Society, 41(4), 70-78. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02690210
White, J. (2011). Left and Right as political resources. Journal Of Political Ideologies, 16(2), 123-144. doi:10.1080/13569317.2011.575681

Saturday, January 30, 2016

ISIS discussion (2/18/15)

I am going to deviate from the discussion question slightly; the terror group that I consider to pose the greatest threat within the United States has not stuck at this country internally. I am going to designate ISIS as the group most likely to cause security problems within the United States at present. There are two caveats to consider when making this designation; first, that narco-terror cartels probably have the greatest support structures and commit the most crime within this country but do not consider destruction of our “infidel” way of life as a goal, and secondly, that while I consider Islamist terror in general as the greatest terror threat to us, that the specific group with the most potential to cause mass damage is indeed ISIS. I also consider ISIS to be the greatest potential threat to the world as well; “...for Arab states, ISIS represents an insurgency without political boundaries that threatens the survival of countries [such as Iraq, Syria and Libya] in the midst of civil wars, puts at risk weak states desperately trying to avert civil war, like Lebanon and Jordan; and poses a challenge to the legitimacy of even stronger states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia.” (Harrison, 2014, p. 37). Although ISIS at one time could have beeen considered as a cadet branch of al Qaeda, two things make ISIS the greater threat; first, that while al Qaeda is a support and propaganda coordinator for Islamist terror, ISIS is a unified group that has recently acquired a great deal of economic and military power. Throughout this discussion, I will refer to the group as ISIS, although the group has been and is known by several names.

Terrill informs us that ISIS was formed as the group Jamaat al-Tawhid walJihad in Afghanistan and relocated to Iraq in 2003, where it's leader Abu Mus ab al-Zarqawi swore allegience to al Qaeda in 2004 (2014, p. 14). Terrill also notes that there was discord between the group and the al Qadea leadership from the onset.. Part of this discord was due to the nature of ISIS attacks and who they were targeted against; ISIS has been characterized as “more powerful and brutal than al-Qaeda” (Sprusansky, 2014, para. 1). The “continued targeting and repression of Sunni civilians caused a widespread backlash—known as the Sunni Awakening” (National Counterterrorism Center, 2013, p.32). Between the Sunni Awakening and The Surge in 2007, ISIS (AQI at the time) was defeated. Terrill states that ISIS “was marginalized in Iraq by 2011” at which point they again relocated to Syria and participated in that country's civil war (2014, p. 15). Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki disbanded the Sunni militias and ISIS again began conducting operations in Iraq in 2013. In addition, the US allegedly condcuted a policy that could be described, at best, bungling, in arming the group;“ISIS, an al Qaeda offshoot, has been collaborating with the Syrian rebels whom the Obama administration has been arming” (Shabad, 2014, para. 6). The revitalization of ISIS in Syria and Iraq provided the springboard for the successful takeover of parts of Iraq by the group in 2014. The current leader of ISIS is ”Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ...an Iraqi who professes to have more religious credentials than previous Al Qaeda leaders.  He claims to be a descendant of the prophet Muhammad and has proclaimed himself as Caliph”(“ISIS vs. Al Qaeda”, 2015, para. 6). al-Baghdadi was in US custody in 2004 (Greenburg, 2014, para. 10), highlighting the dangers of releasing Islamists from detention.

As to current ISIS capablilities and strengths, Terrill estimates that they currently have over 30,000 under arms(2014, p. 19). ISIS controls “nearly 33 percent of Iraq and 35 percent of Syria... It is believed that roughly four million Iraqis and Syrians currently live in ISIS-controlled cities.” (Sprusansky, 2014, para. 5). The number of casualties caused by ISIS is difficult to estimate because they have been conducting both military and terror operations against many foes for a long period of time. Their targets often include people under their own control, which further hinders the ability to estimate the harm they have done.

Counterterrorism 2014 calendar. (2013). United States National Counterterrorism Center. Retrieved January 21, 2015 from http://www.nctc.gov/site/pdfs/ct_calendar_2014.pdf

Greenburg, J. (2014, June 19). Fox's Pirro: Obama set ISIS leader free in 2009. Politifact. Retrieved January 21, 2015 from http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/jun/19/jeanine-pirro/foxs-pirro-obama-set-isis-leader-free-2009/

Harrison, R. (2014). Towards a Regional Strategy Contra ISIS. Parameters, 44(3), 37–46. Retrieved January 21, 2015 from http://search.proquest.com.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/docview/1628380483?pq-origsite=summon

Phillips, J. (2015, January 21). ISIS vs. Al Qaeda: The good news and the bad news. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved January 21, 2015 from http://www.heritage.org/research/commentary/2015/1/isis-vs-al-qaeda-the-good-news-and-the-bad-news

Shabad, R. (2014, June 22). Paul: ISIS emboldened after US armed its allies in Syria [Text]. Retrieved January 21, 2015, from http://thehill.com/policy/international/210168-us-has-been-arming-isis-in-syria-sen-paul-claims

Sprusansky, D. (2014). Understanding ISIS: Frequently Asked Questions. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, 33(7), 19–20. Retrieved January 21, 2015 from http://search.proquest.com.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/docview/1622107531?pq-origsite=summon

Terrill, W. A. (2014). Understanding the Strengths and Vulnerabilities of ISIS. Parameters, 44(3), 13–23. Retrieved January 21, 2015 from http://search.proquest.com.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/docview/1628380479?pq-origsite=summon

First, their motive is in establishing an Islamic state.  They consider not just an American presence in the area a military threat, but that the ideals of American civilization to be directly counter to sharia.  In addition, they consider the influence of American/Western culture to pollute Islamic ideal.

Second, this is a unified group.  While al Qadea was a coordinating agent for Islamist terror groups, they had little control over what the local groups actually did  Reference ISIS/AQI's activities in Iraq for instance. 

Third, there is a danger in religious potential w/ ISIS.  If al Baghdadi can make his claim to be a descendant of Mohammed popular enough, he may able to sway a number of Shi'ite to support his agenda.  There is enough violence in the Shia/Sunni split to direct at us if they were able to resolve the major difference, which is that the Shia believe that Islamic authority comes from the descendants of Mohammed.

Finally, they are financially self-sufficient and have the greatest availability of arms and manpower.

One of the issues in comparing the threats posed by different terrorist groups is the scope of the intended damage.  Although the claim can be heard that there are more incidents of right-wing terror, the intended targets of right wing terror are ususally law enforcement or politicians  (not forgetting OKC);  Islamic terrorists seek mass destruction.  This makes a threat comparison difficult to judge.

Some of the Islamist groups are racist; however, they bigger issue that they hold is that they consider Obama to be an apostate. Ayman al Zawahiri (al Qaeda) said "You were born to a Muslim father, but you chose to stand in the ranks of the enemies of the Muslims" (BBC, 2008, para. 14). 

http://news.bbc.co.uk. (2008, November 19). Al-Qaeda vows to hurt Obama's US. BBC. Retrieved January 22, 2015 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7737710.stm

Actually, al Qaeda was formed as an Islamist organization; "Al Qaeda launched the global struggle - no longer within the traditionally Muslim borders" (Berman, 2004, p.115).  Both Berman and Lewis note that Bin Laden referred to an Islamic "humiliation" some 80 years before the 9/11 attacks (Berman, 2004)(Lewis, 2003), and that this was reference to the Turkish dissolution of the calipha in 1922.

Although the Russian invasion was a priority to al Qaeda, their goal has been the establishment of an Islamic state uber alles.  "For the Islamists there can be no compromise or coexistence with Western civilization" (Bodansky, 1999, p. 388).

Berman, P. (2004). Terror and liberalism.  New York and London.  W.W. Norton and Company

Bodansky, Y. (1999). Bin Laden: The man who declared war on America.  Roseville. Prima Publishing

Lewis, B. (2003). The crisis of Islam: Holy war and unholy terror. New York.  Random House

Here is a point of contention:

How do you define what is an act of domestic terrorism? 

The Tsarnaev brothers (Boston bombing) were immigrants.  Do you count their act as homegrown terror, Islamist terror, or both.  If you count them as both, it makes comparisons harder to judge.

Former Major Hasan (Fort Hood shooting) was an American, but he was in communication with an Islamist mentor.  Is he a homegrown terrorist, or an Islamist terrorist, or both?

These are things that need to be considered when politicians try to use their "counts" of terror acts to justify focus on one group or another.  The sad fact is that the Tsarnaevs and Hasan had all been identified to our security community as threats, and that  our security community was more interested in spying on American' porn habits than in countering threats.

One of the issues in comparing the threats posed by different terrorist groups is the scope of the intended damage.  Although the claim can be heard that there are more incidents of right-wing terror, the intended targets of right wing terror are ususally law enforcement or politicians  (not forgetting OKC);  Islamic terrorists seek mass destruction.  This makes a threat comparison difficult to judge.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Political Factions In Iraq, Post-Invasion

  • Who were the significant factions and players in Iraq in 2006? Has the composition of these factions changed since then? Explain.

The influential factors involving post-Saddam Iraq were (in no particular order) the Iraqi government, Sunni Arab tribes, the Shia, the Kurds, Iran, al Qaeda, the USA, it's coalition allies, and finally the “American” Left. The Iraqi government, created by a balance of the internal factors and beset by violence and corruption from the start, was less effective then wished for. Sunni tribal politics became more of a factor after the Tikritis lost their dominant position with Saddam's fall. The Shia had been oppressed by Saddam's regime and now pushed for more power. Iran intervened both to support the Shia and to undermine the US. The Kurds were another historically oppressed group. Al Qaeda came to wage jihad; “These foreign fighters included a substantial number of jihadists affiliated with al Qaeda, and foreign fighters would come to play a key role in the insurgency”(Phillips, 2009, p. 69). We will discuss the US and allies shortly.

Many of the factors remain the same currently; the Iraqi government, the Sunni tribes, the Shia, the Kurds, Iran, ISIS taking over from al Qaeda, and the USA. The major differences are the following: that the Obama Administration's brilliant Nobel Peace Prize diplomacy had led to a weaker military position and a significant lesser presence of coalition allies; that ISIS has not only replaced al Qaeda as the Islamist power influence, but that ISIS has gained a great deal of power in governmental, military, popular, and economic power in contrast to al Qaeda; and that the “American” Left no longer contests the use of American power (when used by Leftists), which has been most obvious since the supposed “anti-war” protesters did not protest the Obama administration's violation of the War Powers Act in Libya.
  • What were the political and religious positions of these significant groups?
A simple summary of the internal players would discuss the Sunni/Shia religious split, the ethic conflict between the Kurds and Arabs, and the lack of consensus to support the Iraqi government resulting from these differences. However, there are additional political issues that exacerbate these issues; one such problem is the Sunni “region, unlike those dominated by the Kurds and the Shiites, has thus far lacks significant proven oil reserves and they depend on the central government for revenue” (Katzman, 2009, p.25). There have been many suggestions for the continued occupation and intervention by the US; responsibility for rebuilding the country, a “flypaper” strategy for attracting and killing Islamists, and the possibility that a long term emergence of Iraq as a democratic country would undermine Islamism.”Promoting democracy abroad was no longer viewed as a supplement to other core national security interests; it now became a key national security priority”(Kaye, 2008, P.13). On the other hand, the promotion of liberty has never been on the Left's agenda, “That makes it about as clear as it could be that the first priority is not to disarm rogues but to defang America.” (Rauch, 2003, para. 18); their influence on the war was to subvert the war effort via propaganda, as in Democratic Senator Durbin's slander of American soldiers as “Nazis”.
  • What commonalities did the groups share, and what differences existed? What were their basic political goals and objectives? What types of terrorism were effective for each group?
The greatest commonality of the terror groups is found in the religion of Islam. Whehter a specific terrorist was a member of al Sadr's Shiite militia, a Baathist of the Fedayeen Saddam, a foreign jihadist supported by al Qaeda, or an Iranian Quds operative, they all performed the salat, the daily affirmation of submission. However, because apostasy is punishable by death under Islamic law, and because Islam considers the Koran as the direct word of g*d, religious differences in Islam, especially of the magnitude of the Sunni/Shia split, make for the situation in which not all of these terrorists worked for a common cause. Once past religious difference, political and tribal goals, as discussed above, also played a part in the targets and methods used by the terrorists. One reason that al Qaeda failed in Iraq was due to their choosing of targets that caused Sunni tribal militias to turn against them. While “the initial alliance between Anbar’s rebels and foreign jihadists stemmed from their common interest in expelling the Coalition from Iraq and arresting the Shi’ites’ political ascendancy”(Phillips, 2009, p.71), the selection of al Qaeda targets eventually turned Sunni militias against them. Perhaps the most successful terrorist operations were those conducted against the rebuilding Iraqi army at the beginning of the new government; these attacks were directed at recruiting efforts, and weakened efforts at creating a unified and patriot force to create a successful, if unIslamic, government.
  • What, according to these significant groups, could be gained from acts of terrorism? Do you agree with the consequences that the identified significant terrorist groups aimed to achieve? Why?
Summarizing the goals across all terrorist groups, we could assert that these goals included the following; establishment of an Islamic state, supporting a pan-Islamic state, attain local power, expel the “Crusaders” (the Americans and their allies), and finally to punish the infidels (both non-Islamic, and Muslims of different Islamic creed). For the most part, the terrorists (like Saddam's government before them) targeted Iraqi civilians to achieve these goals. For my own part, due to my opposition to Islam as a totalitarian political philosophy as well as a disgust for the primary selection of civilian targets, I have nothing but contempt for these methods.

Katzman, K. (2009). Iraq : Post-Saddam governance and security. New York: Nova Science Publishers

Kaye, D. D. (2008). More freedom, less terror? liberalization and political violence in the Arab world. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corp. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=268369
Phillips, A. (2009). How al Qaeda lost Iraq. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 63(1), 64–84. doi:10.1080/10357710802649840

Rauch, J. (2003, May 24). After Iraq, the left has a new agenda: Contain America first. National Journal, 35, 1607-1608,1595. Retrieved September 10, 2014 from http://search.proquest.com/docview/200310156?accountid=87314

Most of the guys I served with back in the 90's (that were still in) were gunnys and staff sergeants who were leaving the service 2003-2005; all of them (that I spoke with) had the perception that the media wasn't being either objective or honest in their reporting.

Although this is anecdotal and not statistical,   I haven't met a single Iraq/Afganistan vet who had a different perception regarding media coverage.

By 2005, I was entirely getting my war news from the milblogs:
etc etc

I found that when compared to the major networks, the guys that were actually there, even if they weren't trained in journalism, were getting out better info than the "pros"

Islam means "submission";  the "just social order" that Islam aims to achieve is through submission to g*d's will.  The world is thus divided into two spheres; dar al Islam (the house of submission), and dar al harb (the house of war).  In the house of Islam, justice is derived from the word of g*d as dictated to Mohammed  directly by g*d and recorded in the Koran.  G*d's will is enforced though sharia, or government based on the Koran and interpreted by religious/political leaders known as sheiks or mullahs.

However, humans being humans, not all Muslims are "good" Muslims in the sense of jihad (which means more than "holy war", although this interpretation carries the most weight).  Many Muslims want nothing more than the rest of us in a safe and prosperous family.

Is it possible to fight Islam without fighting Muslims as a whole?  

My understanding at the time was that the Baathist holdouts became less active as contact with Saddam was lost ( a problem with strongman/charismatic leadership); the former Baathists returned to their tribes.
After Saddam was captured in 2003, former Baathists who were active in terrorist/insurgent activity did so via their respective tribal militias.
Hmmm, perhaps I should have added more information regarding the interplay between insurgency and terrorism in my original answer.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Defining Terrorism in Contexts of War and Ethics

Defining Terrorism in Contexts of War and Ethics

Terrorism can be defined on the following points; targeted attacks against non-combatants, the use of these attacks to intimidate or terrorize, the use of these attacks to force political OR cultural changes on a society.

Non-combatants must be defined carefully. A soldier, off duty and out of uniform, but still on a military base should not be considered a non-combatant, because the base is a military asset and should reasonably be protected by combat forces...even in times of peace. However, when that off-duty and out of uniform soldier steps off base, he becomes a non-combatant. He has neither arms to defend himself nor organizational support to use force. A dependent family on base should likewise be considered non-combatants; their function is not to serve as bearers of arms. Thus a bomb targeting dependent housing should be considered a terrorist attack. Politicians should be considered as legitimate combatants; they make decisions to use force or to exert government power, and while not directly bearing arms should be protected by those who do bear arms. A low-level bureaucrat should not be considered as a combatant, even if he is in an organization that supports use of force, as the bureaucrat does not make the decisions to exert force. Thus an assassination by sniper of a politician should not be considered a terrorist attack, but a bombing attack on the politician that harms his family or any targeted attacks on low-level bureaucrat, in contrast, should be considered such an attack.

The status of noncombatants is the prime reason for the creation and formulation of just war theory. Just war theory has roots in Roman political discussion, but is associated with the Catholic Church through Augustine and Aquinas (Hall, 2010, 78). Just war theory comprises of two components; just cause to go to war( jus ad bellum ), and just behavior within war( jus in bello ). Although there is discussion that the technicalities of just war theory are unsuited for the modern age (Patterson, 2005)(Hehir, 1992)(Costinescu, 2013), the underlying principle of just war theory remain the same; the preservation of innocent life, especially noncombatant life. This leads to the inclusion of targeting noncombatants as a primary definition of terrorism.

While terrorism violates all bounds of ethics save for those setting off the bombs themselves, it does share some ethical questions with the concept of war; Calhoun notes that even within just war theory that there is an inherent paradox; the theory “assumes absolutism while implying relativism” (2001, p.40) in that it sets some absolute values on life while permitting humans to change those values by decree. Walzer notes that pragmatism was a consideration of war making far more often then was the consideration of moral guidance for much of the modern age (2002, p.927). It could be argued that the tactic of terror is a tactic of pragmatism. Finally, it must be also noted that just war theory is a concept that has influenced the Western world, and carries much less weight with the balance of humanity.

Contrary to propaganda that suggests that terrorism is a tool of the “weak” and the “oppressed”, a quick perusal of the RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents (RDWTI, 2014) gives a rough estimate that 70% of terror acts are committed by Islamists and Leftists, both totalitarian philosophies whose direct control is at approximately 40% of the world population (20% of the world population being under Russian and Chinese control, and 19% of the world population is Muslim)(Official population clock, 2015)(Pew, 2012), while Leftist thought has undue influence within Western society. The use of terror is a pragmatic approach to gaining world power by these extremist groups.

The need to understand terrorism is one facet of a state entity's duty to protect it's citizenry. It is of the same nature of the duty to understand war and politics.

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.
John Adams
US diplomat & politician (1735 - 1826)


Calhoun, L. (2001). The Metaethical Paradox of Just War Theory. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 4(1), 41–58. doi:http://dx.doi.org.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/10.1023/A:1011440213213

Chinese official population clock (2015) Retrieved January 17, 2015 from http://data.stats.gov.cn/

Costinescu, R. A. (2013). Christian just war theory' reinterpreted from the perspective of the challenges brought by the 21st century. humanitarian intervention and war on terror. Annales Universitatis Mariae Curie-Sklodowska, 20(1), 117-n/a. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.2478/v10226-012-0025-7
Hehir, J. B. (1992). Just war theory in a post-cold war world. Journal of Religious Ethics, 20(2), 237. Retrieved January 17, 2015 from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=5757615&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Hill, H. (2010). Can just war theory survive the War on Terror? Journal of the Institute of Justice and International Studies, (10), 77–VII. Retrieved October 29, 2014 from http://search.proquest.com.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/docview/863854832?pq-origsite=summon

Patterson, E. (2005). Just war in the 21st century: Reconceptualizing just war theory after September 11. International Politics, 42(1), 116-134. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.ip.8800100
Pew Research Center. (2012). The global religious landscape. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Pew Research Center. Retrieved 18 March 2013 from http://www.pewforum.org/global-religious-landscape-exec.aspx
RAND database of worldwide terrorism incidents.(2014). RAND. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from http://www.rand.org/nsrd/projects/terrorism-incidents.html

Walzer, M. (2002). The triumph of just war theory (and the dangers of success). Social Research, 69(4), 925-0_3. Retrieved January 17, 2015 from http://search.proquest.com/docview/209668376?accountid=87314

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What is terrorism in Austin, Texas?

Overview of Terror Threats For Austin, Texas

Austin, although recently the site of a shooting spree portrayed as hate-crime terrorism and the site of an attack by airplane on the IRS in 2010, shares the same risk of terror attack as other Texas cities. The major threat to Austin is narco-terror activities.
A 2013 Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) report identifies the “Mexican cartels are the most significant organized crime threat” to Texas (DPS, 2013, p.2). This directly ties into terror activities; “The ambiguous definition of narco-terrorism does not actually imply a partnership between the drug trade organizations and terrorist organizations. It could simply mean the merger of the two phenomena”
(Björnehed, 2004, p. 308). The drug cartels have widely displayed their use of terror attacks in Mexico. This is borne out in the DPS assessment; “Another risk of international and domestic extremist activity in Texas occurs in the context of a growing convergence of terrorist networks and criminal networks” (DPS, 2013, p.40). One way this can be seen is in the affiliation of gangs with the cartels; “One of the most serious issues facing Texas is the fact that many gangs have developed
relationships with Mexican cartels. Gangs working with the Mexican cartels are involved in a
level of crime that affects the entire state”(DPS, 2013, p.20).
The DPS report further identifies the nature of the cartel threat:
Of particular concern from a public safety perspective is the evolution of cartel tactics in
Mexico, which now include the use of torture, beheading, intimidation, and terrorist tactics.
Cartel weapons now also include improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and conventional military
ordnance and weapons. Most recently, several cartels in Mexico have begun using vehicle-borne
improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) (DPS, 2013, p.15).

Potential targets for narco-terrorist activity differ from the norm of Leftist and Islamic terror of seeking property damage or mass casualties. The political nature of cartel crimes lies in destroying law enforcement capability through corruption and violent intimidation; “Mexican cartels are adept at corrupting law enforcement officers in Mexico, and they also seek to corrupt public officials in the
US” (DPS, 2013, p.34). In addition, the political nature of cartel attacks are also focused on destroying any public opposition to their activities, such as their assassination of journalists. Finally, the majority of targets chosen for cartel violence are involved with cartel business. Narco-terrorism is not comprised of a single attack intended to sway public opinion, but a constant series of crimes used to intimidate those that would interfere with their business. These attacks are brutal and beheading is a norm, as in the case of four men decapitated recently in Mexico (Borderland Beat, 2015).
Because these activities cover a wide range of crimes, many of which go unreported, any evaluation of impact must be done in general terms. Certainly the range of effects include a public in fear, the corruption of law enforcement and judicial officials, the sabotage of public expression, and the potential of cartel alliance with other terrorist organizations. The targets of these activities end up dead, or living under the yoke of intimidation.
Due to the economic motive of the cartels, it can be argued that the cartels do not meet the criterion of a terrorist organization. However, the use of violence as a tool is a major component of the terrorist definition. Attacks on the justice capability of the state, and attacks on symbols of free speech, do constitute a political factor. Martin contends that there is an “instinctive understanding” of the definition of terrorism which includes three factors; a political component, the targeting of easy to hit(or “soft”) targets, and the intent to terrify (2012, p.11). The cartels meet this criterion. In fact, any organization or individual can meet this criterion, including States. For example, Nicaragua, under the leadership of the Sandinistas, waged a war against the Miskito Indians; some specific charges against the Sandinistas include “49 Miskito villages along the Coco River were burned down by Sandinista soldiers; 65 bombs were dropped on six villages in 11 days” (Corry, 1986, para. 4).
In both the case of the Sandinista and the drug lords, violence is used as a tool of coercion. Is politic coercion always related to terrorism? Not necessarily. Martin ties the concept of terrorism to violent action (2012, p. 32). States often use nonviolent methods of political coercion. The use of taxes as a tool to discourage activity of a specific nature; cigarette and alcohol taxes are a prime example of this sort of activity. A specific example would be Operation Choke Point:
Operation Choke Point was created by the Justice Department to “choke out”companies the Administration considers a 'high risk' or otherwise objectionable, despite the fact that they are legal businesses. The goal of the initiative is to deny these merchants access to the banking and payments networks that every business needs to survive. (Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 2014, p.1)

Indeed, the concept of terrorism started as a study of State violence; “In its original definition in the eighteenth century, it described violent actions by those in control of a state” (Nacos, 2011,p. 19). As anti-State actors began to take action against States, the concept of terror began to be applied to their actions; Berman notes that a “fad for political assassination” starts in Russia in 1878 (2004, p.31).
Along the same lines of the question as to whether political coercion is tied to terrorism is the question of whether criminal acts of violence, including those committed for personal gain, can be considered to be terrorist acts. We return to Martin's discussion of an “instinctive understanding” of what terrorism consists of and find that there must be a political element, such as we find in the case of the cartels.
There can be no justification for terrorism based on this “instinctive understanding”. This ties into “just war” theory. Clausewitz states that “War is the continuation of politics by other means”; terrorism is partly defined by a political characteristic. “Just war” is based on the behavior of the combatants and just conduct in war is based on the protection of noncombatants. Terrorism by definition targets non-combatants. Terrorism cannot be morally justified.


Berman, P. (2004). Terror and liberalism. New York, London. W.W. Norton & Company

Björnehed, E. (2004). Narco-Terrorism: The Merger of the War on Drugs and the War on Terror. Global Crime, 6(3-4), 305–324. doi:10.1080/17440570500273440

Borderlandbeat.com (2015, January 14). 4 Decapitated in Atizapán, México State. Borderland Beat. Retrieved January 15, 2015 from http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2015/01/4-decapitated-in-atizapan-mexico-state.html

Corry, J. (1986, July 29). On 13, Sandinistas vs. Miskitos. The New York Times. Retrieved January 15, 2015 from http://www.nytimes.com/1986/07/29/movies/on-13-sandinistas-vs-miskitos.html

Martin, G. (2012). Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues, 4th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved January 15, 2015 from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9781452255699/id/ch2

Nacos, B. L. (2011). Terrorism and Counterterrorism, 4th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved January 12, 2015 from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9781256378334/id/ch02

Texas Public Safety Threat Overview 2013. (2013). Texas Departmrnt of Public Saftey. Retrieved January 15, 2015 from http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/director_staff/media_and_communications/threatOverview.pdf

The Department of Justice’s "Operation Choke Point": Illegally choking off legitimate businesses? (2014). Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Washington, D.C.: U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved January 15, 2015 from http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Staff-Report-Operation-Choke-Point1.pdf

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My Zotero Reference Library

My Zotero reference library

Primary focuses:
COINTELPO, domestic security, FBI history, leftism, Islamism, intelligence, liberty, criminal justice ethics, criminal justice education, on-line education, politics and security

What is terrorism? Discussion

  • Are hate crimes acts of terrorism? Why or why not? Provide examples to support your response.
Martin contends that it is the factor of political violence” that differentiates between hate crime, and hate crime as terrorism (2012, p.30). As an example, we can look to acts of racial violence in the United States. Acts of lynching or “polar bear hunting” can be seen as limited to racial hatred motives, but the cross burnings and and organized assaults committed by the various Klan groups, while racially motivated, also had political objectives and can be defined as terrorism. A report to the Illinois legislature specifies the political nature of the Klan's objective; “Another well-known purpose of the Klan is to foster racial purity and white supremacy” (1976, p.35). In a similar vein, we can liken the rhetoric of the New Black Panther Party to the terrorist rhetoric of the Klan.
  • How important is extremism in defining terrorism? Why? What are the characteristics of extremists that make it easy for them to resemble terrorists?
Although some terror researchers maintain that “political extremists pose a risk to the American community” (Chermak, Freilich, & Simone, 2010, p. 1020), it should be noted that while all terrorists are extremists, not all extremists are terrorists. Extremists share the base philosophy with terrorists that their ideology is superior to the existing order; “Behind each incident of terrorist violence is some deeply held belief system that has motivated the perpetrators. Such systems are, at their core, extremist systems characterized by intolerance” (Martin, 2012, p. 31). However, Martin goes on to further distinguish the difference; “Only persons who violently act out their extremist beliefs are labeled terrorists” (2012, p. 32).
  • How is the definition of terrorism in the United States different from terrorism in other parts of the world? Why is this so?
The short answer is yes; however, terrorism as a concept has no universally accepted definition. “In contrast to other countries, the United States has no legal definition of terrorism. There is no organized body of legislation one might call the law of terrorism, and there is no inherent crime of terrorism (terrorists are charged with other offenses)“ (O'Connor, 2006, para. 14). In addition, within the US government, the State Department, FBI, and Department of Defense all have different formal definitions of terrorism. This dilemma is not limited to the US, either; “A vexed question raised by proponents of both the 'wars' is how international lawyers and lawpersons may make sense of the relationship between 'terror' and human rights. ... This important question has not been fully addressed by either philosophers or international law persons” (Baxi, 2005, p.16). Chermak et al state that “Schmid and Jongman found that academics writing on this topic used over 100 different definitions
of terrorism in their work “ (2010, p. 1021). Nacos further discusses the changing nature of the definition of terrorism; historically moving from being defined by State actions to being defined by anti-State actions (2011, p.19). Finally, the definition of terror is often motivated by the politics of the actors defining terrorism; some people will only want to discuss terrorism as committed by the right-wing, some will only want to discuss terrorism as committed by Islamists, some will want to focus only on Leftist terror. One theme I will develop through this course is the steadfast refusal of the Obama administration to acknowledge Islamist terror as such.

  • Can terrorism ever be justified? Why or why not? What do you perceive as the problems with arriving at a universal definition of terrorism?
Terrorism can not be justified under my definition of terrorism, which is based on just war theory. In my own definition, terrorism is defined as including the deliberate targeting of noncombatants, and thus violates the principles of jus in bello. Under the Geneva Convention, those that do not abide by the laws and customs of war are considered illegal combatants, and have no protections as Prisoners of War (POWs), despite what the newspapers might have tried to say during the War on Terror.


Baxi, U. (2005, Spring/Summer). The "War on Terror" and the "War of Terror": Nomadic multitudes, aggressive incumbents, and the "new" international law: Prefactory remarks on two "wars”. Osgoode Hall Law Journal.Volume 43, Number 1/2. Retrieved June 16, 2006 from http://digitalcommons.osgoode.yorku.ca/ohlj/vol43/iss1/2

Chermak, S. M., Freilich, J. D., & Simone, J. (2010). Surveying American State Police Agencies About Lone Wolves, Far-Right Criminality, and Far-Right and Islamic Jihadist Criminal Collaboration. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 33(11), 1019–1041. doi:10.1080/1057610X.2010.514698

Illinois Legislative Investigating Commission. (1976). Ku Klux Klan: A Report to the Illinois General Assembly. Retrieved October 10, 2014 from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/46433NCJRS.pdf

Martin, G. (2012). Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues, 4th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved January 12, 2015 from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9781452255699/id/ch2

Nacos, B. L. (2011). Terrorism and Counterterrorism, 4th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved January 12, 2015 from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9781256378334/id/ch02

O'Connor, D. (2006, May 6). The criminology of terrorism: History, law, definitions, typologies. Cults and Terror. Retrieved June 16, 2006 from http://www.cultsandterror.org/sub-file/TOConnor%20Lecture.htm


You make an excellent point in that creating a formal definition of terrorism  would "officially" make some "allies" terrorists themselves.

These kind of relationships become tangled rapidly.  The US has been accused of funding ISIS...before having to bomb ISIS; "You cannot fight ISIS in Iraq, yet support it in Syria" (MEMRI, 2014).  Our supply of aid to Afghani rebels fighting the Soviet invasion was redirected by the ISI (Pakistan's intelligence service and heavily influenced by Islamists) to the Taliban.

The Middle East Media Research Institute. (2014, June 10). Iraqi politician Ayad Jamal Al-Din: Al-Maliki should be tried for high treason following ISIS capture of Mosul. Retrieved January 15, 2015 from http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/4301.htm

The Wilcox book is great;  I am using it in my thesis.  Another book (or series, actually) that you may be interested in is:

The Tree of Liberty: A Documentary History of Rebellion and Political Crime in America edited by Kittrie and Wedlock, and published by the John Hopkins University Press (1986)

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Effects Of Hoover's Bureaucratic Tactics On COINTELPRO Operations: A Comparison Between NEW LEFT and WHITE HATE

The Effects Of Hoover's Bureaucratic Tactics On COINTELPRO Operations: A Comparison Between NEW LEFT and WHITE HATE
Steve Durchin

Politics can have a negative impact on a nation's security.  This is applicable whether the harm is done by expediting the development of nuclear weapons for religious fanatics to the unsuccessful degradation of a subversive group.  By being able to analyze and how a subversive group was unsuccessfully confronted, the process of understanding how political interference can interfere with security can be extrapolated to explain how other factors can hinder national security as well. In the 1960s, the FBI continued a series of intelligence/harassment programs against violent and subversive groups within the United States against vastly different groups. How did  FBI Director Hoover's political direction of the agency affect the efficiency of COINTELPRO operations in dealing with the Ku Klux Klan versus those dealing with the New Left? A content analysis of the literature exploring COINTELPRO operations may possibly demonstrate if Hoover's personal application of the bureaucratic politics model hindered the success of these counter-subversive operations.

Section I: Introduction

Politics has been a driving force in the development and operations of the FBI throughout its history. The important question is how much effect has the influence of politics has on the efficiency of operations in protecting the United States. In the 1960s, the FBI continued a series of intelligence/harassment programs against violent and subversive groups within the United States. The programs were a continuation of COINTELPRO (an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program) operations in the FBI's long history of addressing the issue of subversion in the United States. Two specific programs were of note, as they were targeted at vastly different subversive movements. These specific programs were COINTELPRO: WHITE HATE, targeted at the Ku Klux Klan, and COINTELPRO: NEW LEFT, directed at the New Left.
COINTELPRO operations had a formal start in 1953 targeting the Communist party, but were a continuation of the FBI's anti-subversive mission. Jeffreys-Jones (2007) relates that the Justice Department, to which the FBI is subordinate, was founded as Congress passed the Enforcement Act of 1870 in part as a reaction to Ku Klux Klan subversion. Weiner (2012) adds that there was no policing agency assigned to the Justice Department, and Congress refused to establish such in fear of an "American secret police" though the early 20th Century. In 1908, Congress allowed the creation of what would eventually become the Bureau of Investigation, however, due to fears that the agency could be used as a "secret police" and enmeshed in politics, this new agency was not authorized to make arrests or to carry weapons (Kessler, 2003). Theoharis (2004) contends that two factors changed this state of affairs; the first was the growth of militant leftist groups and the second was the advent of World War I and German sabotage efforts within the United States.
It was during this period that J. Edgar Hoover joined the Department of Justice. The growth and the direction of the FBI can not be explored without understanding Hoover's central role and how his personality affected it. Powers (1987) explains that Hoover's work during this period allowed him to become "known to his superiors as someone who was reliable and efficient" (p. 54). After World War I, the Department of Justice continued its war against subversion after a series of bombings by Leftists included the Attorney General Mitchell Palmer as a target (Gentry, 1991). The Radical Division of the Bureau of Investigation, which Hoover was in charge of, was tasked with this responsibility.
Hoover's work as head of the Radical Division put him in good standing when Attorney General Harlan Stone sought to reform the Bureau of Investigation in 1924; Hoover was selected as Acing Director of the Bureau. Gentry (1991) contends that Hoover rebuilt the Bureau. In the era prior to World War II, Hoover's direction of the agency resulted in several changes, including the sanction to carry weapons, make arrests, and the new name of the agency...the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These changes, however, included involving the FBI in internal politics. O'Reilly (1982) discusses how FDR personally directed the FBI to target the subversive activities of Nazis and Communists and legitimized domestic intelligence operations; FDR also required the agency's use as a political police, and to solicit bureau reports on the president's critics. In the future, the FBI would provide political intelligence on political rivals for each and every President through Hoover's tenure at the FBI.
But it was not until Truman that a formal legally sanctioned role was for anti-subversion was designated for the FBI; Keller (1989) discusses how a Truman directive stated explicitly that the FBI should be responsible for matters relating to espionage and subversive activities. It was in this environment that the FBI initiated the first formal COINTELPRO operation, which was against the Communist Party in the United States, COINTELPRO: CPUSA. Powers (1987) explains how the FBI's success in this operation led to the use of these methods against other subversive groups.
In the 1960s, the political climate directed COINTELPRO operations against the Ku Klux Klan and the New Left. J. Edgar Hoover validated the danger of these groups, whose "verbal assaults are reinforced with violent acts: murder, assault, arson, bombings" (1969, pp. 289-290). While COINTELPRO: WHITE HATE and COINTELPRO: NEW LEFT were not public knowledge, Hoover's history of public relations suggests that he was aware of the possibility of disclose of the programs and wished to stress that operations against violent subversive groups was justified.
It is in examining the differences in operations between the two groups that the question of whether or not politics interferes with security operations arises.
Rationale For Study
Politics can have a negative impact on a nation's security.  This is applicable whether the harm is done by expediting the development of nuclear weapons for religious fanatics to the unsuccessful degradation of a subversive group.  By being able to analyze and explain why a subversive group was unsuccessfully confronted, the process of understanding how political interference can interfere with security can be extrapolated to explain how other factors can hinder national security as well.
Research Question
RQ: How did  FBI Director Hoover's political direction of the agency affect the efficiency of COINTELPRO operations?
IV = Hoover's use of bureaucratic politics
DV = The successful use of a COINTELPRO program to degrade a subversive group's ability to harm the United States.
The purpose of the methodology is to clarify what this thesis is asking by explaining how it is asking those questions. Accordingly, the theory which potentially explain the differences, the general approach to the study shall be discussed, the frames of reference will be explained, the rationale for using these methods will be given, and potential issues in the study will be highlighted.
The theory which best explains COINTELPRO operations is the bureaucratic politics model (also known in variation as growth complex theory, or Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy).
The primary method used is through content analysis of secondary material exploring both COINTELPRO operations and Hoover's direction of the Bureau. This includes some use of phenomenological research, as the viewpoints of Hoover assistants Sullivan and DeLoach will be examined.
Data will be obtained from secondary sources. These will include academic studies, historical studies, and biographical sources.
Frames of Reference
What is the mission of the FBI? The mission of the FBI, under the frame of reference for this study, is to protect the country from domestic threats.
Should New Left operations be counted as a subset as counter communist/leftist operations, or on its own merits? The term “New Left” should be interpreted as referring specifically to the New Left in America, unless otherwise stated. It is within reasonable interpretation to interpret COINTELPRO: NEW LEFT operations in aggregate with other anti-Communist/anti-socialist operations, but for the purposes of this thesis, COINTELPRO: NEW LEFT is being considered as a discrete set of data.
Rationale for Qualitative Methods
The qualitative approaches collect nonnumerical data to answer the research question in a
descriptive or exploratory manner. Tewksbury (2009) asserts that “Qualitative research methods provide more emphasis on interpretation and providing consumers with complete views, looking at contexts, environmental immersions and a depth of understanding of concepts” (p. 39)
Potential Issues in Study
The covert nature of COINTELPRO is the primary issue in this study. Although some material has been made publicly available through the Freedom of Information Act, it is likely that there is material that needs to be uncovered to fully explore the nature of the program. Theoharis (1990) contends that FBI documents released for Freedom of Information Act requests are often redacted and of limited research value.
Lost material due to time and destruction. There is an issue based on the passage of time. The Archives note that the material on hand is from the national FBI offices, and that most of the operational notes were kept at the field offices. It is likely that most of this material is now lost. In addition, Steinwall (1986) recounts that the FBI destroyed over 700,000 cubic feet of records between 1976 and 1978 although this material has not been specified to include documentation on COINTELPRO operations.
There may difficulty in assigning qualitative characteristics when comparing New Left operations against Leftist groups as a whole. SDS, for example, evolved from the Student League for Industrial Democracy (SLID), a group that the FBI had been monitoring under a different COINTELPRO program aimed at the Socialist Worker's Party.
Political bias is a serious issue for studies of this type. Most discussion of the COINTELPRO program is based on the contention that it was somehow “immoral” to investigate and harass violent groups that had the goal of breaking American law; in addition, the vast majority of this discussion has been conducted by leftists that focused on leftist groups as “victims” of this program, and ignored completely COINTELPRO operations against the Klan (not to mention the violent nature of the crimes committed by the New Left). The majority of the remainder often brushed off efforts against the Klan as an FBI front for public relations...in a secret program. There is also the question of my own personal bias.
While it would be nice if research was fundamentally unbiased, Sampson (2012) understands that bias is normal in research and explains how to mitigate it; “Qualitative researchers contend that bias is inherent, yet can be described clearly enough to allow the reader to judge if bias has inappropriately influenced the research” (p. 8). In my own case, I will be upfront about my hostility towards Leftist ideals, the reality in results from Leftist programs, the political methods that Leftists employ, the contempt of Leftists for liberty, and the lack of honesty in which Leftists engage in public discourse.
Section II: Literature Review
This review will provide a limited overview of of the current studies regarding Director Hoover's involvement in the direction of the FBI, moving on to a lens regarding Hoover's application of bureaucratic politics (in the general, not specifically theoretical sense of the term) in that direction, and finally narrowing down into more detail on Hoover's involvement in COINTELPRO operations,. Denney and Tewksbury (2013) describe different uses of focus in a literature review. The primary focus relates to the concepts surrounding the research question, and can take an integrative focus which synthesizes research based on conclusions, a theoretical focus which contrast the use of different theories to explain an event or set of events, or a methodological focus, which compares the methodological approaches used in completed research. As qualitative research explores how actions and situations relate to each other, the theoretical approach will be used for this study. In particular, the independent variable in this study relies on examination of the bureaucratic politics model, and Hoover's personal application of the model.
Gentry (1991) and Powers (1987) are in agreement that Hoover's personality played a large part in his success at the Attorney General's office which led to his appointment and early preeminence at the Bureau of Investigation, which soon became the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). They also agree that Hoover's perfectionism and autocratic leadership style were the key components in that success. Gibson (1994) reinforces this idea of Hoover as an autocratic leader in that all FBI information roads led to Hoover's office; Gibson's description of Hoover's use of margin comments in these memos in order to direct the agency supports this argument. Underhill (2012) argues that Hoover's manipulation of the media played a part in making Hoover, and thus the FBI, a national symbol of heroism. The public image of the FBI is a theme throughout the literature. Gage (2012) uses the case of Mark Felt to illustrate Hoover's managerial control of the agency in addition to his desire to protect and exalt the public image of the FBI, but most importantly though the prism of Felt's loyalty to Hoover the institutional culture that Hoover built in the FBI. The theme that this overview presents is one of Hoover's domination of the FBI, which comes into play as it ties Hoover individually to a role as a player in the bureaucratic politics game.
O'Reilly (1982) demonstrates Hoover's early use of bureaucratic politics to adapt to FDR's expansion of Federal power and to gain a sanction for the continued use of the FBI in addition to expanding the agencies responsibilities, especially in domestic security concerns. Bowornwathana and Poocharoen (2010) explain this in the context that administrative reform in government is a function of politics, not management direction; they also define the bureaucratic politics framework. In this framework, government is not a single agency, but a competing set of bureaus that seek to protect and advance their segregate agendas. Webb (2004) shows Hoover's impulse to protect the FBI in domestic security responsibilities while engaged in a turf battle over control of the FBI's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), a foreign intelligence service with responsibility for Latin America. Webb asserts that Hoover's desire to control the SIS went only as far as his absolute control of the agency, demonstrating not only Hoover's political infighting ability but reinforcing the idea of Hoover as an autocratic leader. Keller (1989) discusses Hoover's political alliances with liberals to formalize (thus protecting) the domestic security responsibilities that FDR had bestowed upon the agency. Stockham (2013) discusses Hoover's relationship with members of Congress and further explores Hoover's use of the media to advance the goals of the FBI. In concert with Underhill's assertion of media manipulation, it can be seen that Hoover used public media as an additional political tool. Keller advances the Liberal Theory of Internal Security to explain the liberal/Hoover alliance, but also to describe three levels of domestic security organization based upon a matrix including the level of autonomy. Keller argues that this alliance increased the FBI's level of autonomy. As Hoover's domination of the FBI has been demonstrated, it can be seen that Hoover's ability to succeed at bureaucratic politics advanced his own autonomy in directing the FBI, and in specific the FBI's domestic security responsibilities.
COINTELPRO operations were the epitome of the FBI response to these domestic responsibilities. Hoover (1969) presented a public case for the dangers presented by both the Ku Klux Klan (the targets of WHITE HATE) and the New Left (the targets of NEW LEFT). This also serves as an indicator of Hoover's motives in dealing with these subversive groups. However, it must be noted that both NEW LEFT and WHITE HATE were only initiated after direct requests from the White House to resolve specific domestic security concerns. Cunningham (2003) operationalizes data which allows direct comparison between the two programs. Sullivan (1979), in his autobiography, discusses the judgment of senior FBI officials regarding the success of the operations. The current research, however, does not take into account the relationship between Hoover's political maneuvers and the success of the operations. Ergo, Hoover's personality, and its resultant affects upon his bureaucratic infighting, must be analyzed in regards to whether or not these COINTELPRO actions were a success.
Section III: Data Collection Methods
This plan of inquiry discusses the method used to explore the relationship between Hoover's direction of bureaucratic politics and whether or not that direction had any affect on the success of COINTELPRO operations. A comparison between the COINTELPRO: WHITE HATE and COINTELPRO: NEW LEFT programs will be made on the basis of two variables: (1) How Hoover used bureaucratic politics regarding that specific program, and (2) whether that operation was considered a success or not.
Data Sources
The data sources chosen were selected for their applicability to the study in several criteria; a phenomenological approach in which those that participated in the operations subjectively judged both or either variable, the identification of themes used in text (used primarily in identifying the use of Hoover's political maneuvering), statistical information, and content analysis. The sources were located from a variety of origination, although most sources were located from cross-referencing bibliographies once a data source had been identified. Enough sources were selected to provide a balance between credibility and validation on one hand, and redundancy on the other.
Research Design
Data needs to be collected for both variables. As the bulk of the data collected will be narrative in nature, Creswell (2012) suggests coding for themes as a method of analysis. The application of coding for theme is most suited for the variable of Hoover's use of bureaucratic politics. The level of success in each program can be weighed on two basis; success against the Klan can be measured in membership levels and in the narrative of those that conducted the operations, while success against the New Left can be measured in the narrative of those that took part in New Left terror actions, and the narrative of those that conducted the operations against them.
Data Analysis Strategy
There are five steps in exploring the relationship between Hoover's use of bureaucratic politics and whether a given operation could be considered a success. Data should be analyzed with the purpose of identifying the methods of politics that Hoover used. Then which methods of political tactics Hoover used in regards specifically to each program (WHITE HATE, NEW LEFT) should be classified. At this point, an analysis must be made as to whether there was a significant difference in Hoover's maneuvering between the two programs. Both programs must be judged as to the level of success. Finally, the political method used must be evaluated against the success or failure of that operation.

The methodology used to explore the relationship between Hoover's direction of bureaucratic politics and whether or not that direction had any affect on the success of COINTELPRO operations. A comparison between the COINTELPRO: WHITE HATE and COINTELPRO: NEW LEFT programs is based upon the independent variable of Hoover's use of bureaucratic politics and a dependent vraiable of the level of that program's success. Data has been gathered from biographies, histories, interviews and studies regarding both Hoover and COINTELPRO. This data must be analyzed to identify the methods of politics used by Hoover, and the data must also be used to evaluate the success of the two COINTELPRO operations.
Section IV: Discussion and Conclusions
Answering the question, “What effect did Hoover's bureaucratic politics have on the success of COINTELPRO operations?”, requires a three step process. First, the tools of Hoover's maneuvering must be identified; second, which types of maneuvers affected which operation in the comparison between WHITE HATE and NEW LEFT must be stated; and finally, the success of those specific operations must be judged. These findings are based upon a content analysis of several histories of the FBI and of biographies of J. Edgar Hoover: Gentry,1991; Keller, 1989; O'Reilly, 1982; Powers,1987; and Weiner, 2013.
As the concept of bureaucratic politics is classified into types of tactic and identified via the percentage of literature in which use of the tactic is discussed, the usage of the types should be explained:
  • Acquiescence to a previously resisted policy: Hoover would oppose the use of the FBI in certain situations; as political pressure increased, Hoover would acquiesce to the policy to protect the Bureau's interests.
  • Alliance with a politician (i.e. Congressman or President) or a block of politicians: Hoover would provide public support, provide private information, or would consult with the politician in the creation of policy. These alliances would be conducted outside the normal chain of command. Examples include bypassing the Attorney General in dissemination of information.
  • Implied threat of media use to expose political opponent: Hoover would suggest to a political opponent that people close to the opponent were doing illegal or immoral things, and that the opponent should take steps to protect themselves.
  • Reducing operations or refusing to initiate operations: In contrast to the aforementioned acquiescence, Hoover often refused to take on certain responsibilities for the FBI or reduced operations that the Bureau was already conducting if he felt that the political situation required this to be done in order to protect the Bureau.
  • Retaliation against critics of the FBI: Hoover regarded the public image of the Bureau as necessary to its continued existence. Critics that “attacked” the FBI publicly were subject to retaliation.
  • Use of the media, either via a front or via FBI public affairs: The media was used in several ways; to establish the FBI's position on a policy, to discredit political opponents, to promote the FBI's image, and to bolster public support
  • Using collected data as intelligence rather than to justify criminal charges: Although this tactic was mainly used to perform the Bureau’s intelligence mission rather than as a bureaucratic maneuver, because the data had been collected, it was in the files to support the use of other types of bureaucratic politics.
Table 1 demonstrates the frequency in which these tactics are discussed in the literature; Appendix 1 lists the supporting reference material.

It should be noted that Table 1 is a breakdown of the types of bureaucratic politics that Hoover engaged in as a whole in the direction of the FBI, not simply those that he used in the guidance of COINTELPRO programs. The most striking difference in the use of these tactics in regards to COINTELPRO is that Hoover acquiesced to committing the FBI against the Klan (WHITE HATE) at the behest of LBJ, a reversal of Hoover's policy of withholding intervening in civil rights issues, with Hoover's decision to curtail operations after the break-in at the Media, Pennsylvania FBI office which could potentially (and later did in fact) expose extra-legal FBI operations including COINTELPRO. This reduction in domestic security operations had the greatest effect on NEW LEFT operations due to the timing of the decision.
How then, to measure the success of the COINTELPRO programs individually? Membership figures are available for the Klan, but not for the New Left. The ability of these groups to operate in public can be explored. Finally, the assessment by senior FBI officials of these operations can be looked into. Drabble's (2008) demonstration that Klan membership dropped significantly meshes with Assistant Director Sullivan's (1979) determination that COINTELPRO: WHITE HATE was a successful program. This is in contrast to Sullivan's judgment of the decision to end COINTELPRO: NEW LEFT (indeed, all COINTELPRO programs were ended at this time), which left Sullivan and other FBI agents upset that their most effective weapon against subversives had been removed (Weiner, 2013). Indeed, Varon (2004) notes that the FBI were simply unable to find the Weathermen.
For the most part, these findings confirm the established literature in describing Hoover's personality, his leadership of the FBI, and how these factors related to his use of bureaucratic politics. The interplay between political infighting tactics and selection of COINTELPRO targets adds some contradictory depth to the image of Hoover as an inflexible dictator. Hoover curtailed operations several times during his tenure at the FBI in order to protect the agency as a whole, and took on operations that he had previously resisted for the same reason. As the discussion moves into the conclusion, it will take into account the relationship between Hoover's political maneuvers and the success of the operations.
Ensuring domestic tranquility may have been the task set for the FBI, but Hoover sought to protect the Bureau politically before committing fully to that mission. The most glaring example of this lay in the comparison of political tactics that effectively began WHITE HATE to the tactics that effectively ended NEW LEFT. Hoover resisted using the FBI to prevent Klan terror on the grounds of federalism, although there are enough examples of his own racism to suggest that he did not hold the civil rights of black Americans as a priority. After the political desires of the President were made clear to Hoover, his compliance with this directive bolstered his alliance with the liberals and advanced the support of the liberals for the Bureau. In contrast, as Hoover became aware of changing popular and political support for the methods of the FBI, he limited covert operations. In response to revelations about FBI wiretapping methods, which were exposed in the Fred Black case heard before the Supreme Court in 1966, Hoover ended the FBI “black bag” method Bureau -wide. Once the FBI office in Media had been burglarized (in 1971) and FBI files at the office disseminated to the press, Hoover ordered an end to all COINTELPRO operations. Hoover was attempting to protect the public image of the FBI as opposed to its mission. Thus a full operational run at the Ku Klux Klan ended their effectiveness as a subversive group, but an abrupt end of NEW LEFT operations left the New Left room to run.
The Ku Klux Klan is an active organization today. How then, can WHITE HATE be portrayed as a success? The issue lay in human nature. As Durkheim suggests that crime is a normal function of human society, it can be safe to say that there is a normal urge to seek power in humans, either legally through the republican process, or illegally through subversion of that process. WHITE HATE ended, and the pressures that reduced the efficiency of the Klan and prevented its further recruitment of members ended as well. The history of the government's struggles against the Klan, in the 1870s, the 1920s, the 1960s, the 1980s, through today can testify to the constant need to fight subversion.
In part, this is why the study of effective methods of combating subversion is important. It is necessary to understand what can cause an effective campaign against a subversive operation and what can cause a failure of such operations. Hoover's use of bureaucratic politics can illuminate both how an agency can use such tactics to protect is organizational integrity, as well as how such tactics can prevent the agency from performing its mission. It should be emphasized that bureaucratic politics is only one possible factor that can hinder domestic security operations.
The selection of bureaucratic politics as a sole independent variable is just one of many limitations in this study. Since this is a highly complex research question that relies on interpreting data from conflicting and often partisan sources, there are many limitations to the study.
The first limitation is the context in which the research question was developed. Perhaps it would have been better to ask a quantitative question; “Was there a difference in the way that COINTELPRO programs were conducted against NEW LEFT and WHITE HATE targets?” This is a question that possibly should be resolved before investigating the relationship between Hoover's use of bureaucratic politics and the efficiency of COINTELPRO operations in the two programs.
A second contextual issue returns to the issue of the bureaucratic politics model, which as a variable is just one factor in several that may have affected COINTELPRO success; there is the possibility that the internal culture of the FBI interfered with the ability of agents to infiltrate the New Left, the possibility that Sullivan's attempt to replace Hoover as director and the resultant fall-out from that situation affected field operations, and the possibility that political liberals who had no problems in countering the right-wing terror of the Klan suddenly discovered “Constitutional” concerns when the terrorists of the Left were targeted, and thus abandoned the alliance with Hoover.
A possible limitation involving the sampling design is that the sample used to generate the content analysis is relatively small compared to the amount of literature that exists; the sources that also could have been used include the Church Committee (Intelligence activities, 1976), from Theoharis (2004), from Jeffreys-Jones (2007), from Elliff (1979), and from Cunningham (2003). Material from Churchill (1990) was excluded due to the extreme level of bias in that material. While Triola (2014) warns that a sample size can be too small in statistical sampling, Krippendorff (2013) explains that the content analysis method deviates from the representational mode of sampling theory in that the researcher is seeking to sample texts that can accurately answer the research question, not to seek to represent the textual population.
The research instrument used was a content analysis. The thoroughness of the manual process used in this content analysis may be questioned. It is worth the effort to redo this analysis with the addition of additional source material and a more efficient approach, perhaps using software designed for content analysis.
There is also the issue in data collection in estimating the effect that COINTELPRO had on the New Left. DeLoach (1995) notes this difficulty and briefly mentions possible factors for the subsequent decline in New Left activity which do include COINTELPRO.
Another data collection limitation is the difficulty in separating Hoover's personal identification with the agency from his direction of the agency for the Bureau's sake. For instance, Gentry (1991) notes an example in which Raymond Chandler, the writer, insulted Hoover personally, and was subjected to the collection of 250 pages of personal data in an FBI file.
The last data collection issue is in using data related to Assistant Director Sullivan's statements. The literature demonstrates that Sullivan had a pattern of telling his audience what they wanted to hear at any given time. This applies particularity to data regarding New Left activities; Sullivan enthusiastically took part in organizing the Huston plan directed at the New Left, yet in his autobiography claims that the New Left was not a threat...this, at a time Mark Felt was being prosecuted for covert FBI operations.
Finally, the theoretical underpinnings of the study may benefit from additional theoretical perspective. Bureaucratic politics is a good model to explain the basics of how Hoover used these particular tactics and why they succeeded on an organizational advancement basis. Keller's (1989) Liberal Theory of Internal Security explained the reasons that liberals allied with Hoover, but was too specific to apply to the research question, and was also excluded from the study. Finally, Loewenstein's (1937) “Militant Democracy” may explain a Republic's need to combat extremism, but is too general to apply to the research question, and was excluded.
Future Research
Finally, such a study leads to additional questions. How does a free society identify security threats? Is the ideology of socialism an inherent threat to a free society? Is the ideology of Islam an inherent threat to a free society? What methods of combating racism are effective and do not interfere with personal liberty? How does security law get written so that security operations are legally conducted, effective in nature, and attain balance between security and liberty?
Policy Implications
Recommendation 1: The first policy recommendation that springs to mind in regards to the study derives from Hoover's use of political tactics and his identification with the Bureau that resulted in a long tenure as Director; although there have been laws to prevent longevity in such offices, the political abuse that accompanies such offices does not occur solely with longevity (see Lerner's use of the IRS to attack opponents of the Obama administration for a current example). This abuse is more easily concealed in security agencies. Therefore an office needs to be established in the judiciary in which all communications between elected representatives and security officials are monitored. Of necessity, the monitors would need the appropriate security clearances. The responsibility of this office would be to ensure that such communications remain within the bounds of the respective office, and that breaches in this protocol are punished, and the nature of those breaches presented to the public when they do not present security risks.
Recommendation 2: Individual targets should be legally designated for enhanced security operations, whether for surveillance or neutralization. A security agency should be required to go before a security oriented court (similar to the FISA process, yet with the possibility of designating a citizen as a security risk), and present a solid case that the individual in question presents a risk to the security of the United States. The benefit of this policy is that members of criminal organizations could be designated as such when involved in actions that involve subversion of the judicial process such as intimidation of witnesses or bribery. The reason to focus on individuals as opposed to movements is based upon the due process principle. However, membership in organizations that are doctrinally hostile to America, or the public support of hostile ideologies should be prima facie reasons to focus on an individual.

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Appendix 1: Page References Used in Content Analysis