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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

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