Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

Penpal Conversations

I’ll add some of the additional things my penpal George and I have been talking about that hasn’t been covered by the blog.  Some of the stuff back and forth was not related to terrorism and I will mostly avoid that.  I’ll start with the Tea Party/Milita movement conversation we had.  Here is an excerpt:

I would like to state that I am a big fan of Robert Gates and if I were t vote in the US I would vote Republicans . If you have read Brave New World you should know that men are born and educated unequal but under the right management and leadership they can equally contribute to their society for the greater good. As long as Tea Party crazies do not not try to steal the only state monopoly [ use of violence ] they are OK with me . I currentl live under a socialist government under Papanedreou the 3rd , a US citizen from both parents so I can feel the Irony of socialism. Even if Tea Party Crazies are morons , they can become ‘useful fools” under a liberal organized society . Their urges for violence and militancy can be focused towards the graveyard of Empires , Afghanistan , where they can fight in order to make sure the rest of us enjoy a free , secular , liberal democracy.

I find it interesting that he considers it ok to manipulate Tea Party people toward the greater good.  Within the US, the discovery of that would be a major scandal.  I was also surprised at how much my penpal, George, knows about the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates.  My traditional knowledge of the way Europeans notice American politics has generally exclusively focused on the office of the president and occasionally the Congress as a whole.   Though he does fit standard patterns to know very few American legislators, but then I do not know any Greek ones so knowing any is significantly better than me.    George has repeatedly expressed strong feelings against socialism, personally, I tend not to be instantiating about my opposition to socialism as a form of governance.  On the other hand, the history of Greece and various socialist based movement does justify such strong feelings.

Among other articles he sent to me was one by Greek newspapers about the US Secret Service and their duties abroad.  One of the more interesting articles was an article from STRATFOR where the police had arrested six members of the communist militant group Revolutionary Struggle which had apparently attacked the US embassy in Greece with rockets at one point.  I wonder how that failed to make the US media, other embassy terrorist attacks have repeatedly been front page news.

Other topics include like the history and culture of the US as well.  My penpal saw the documentary Guns, Germs, and Steel.  I’ve already seen it, did a mostly good job, though I outlined to my penpal where I thought it had incomplete knowledge.

The title belong to a documentary that I will see next week about european industrial revolution that made the white people more fortunate than others who were unlucky enough to be born on the rest . I think the documentary is trying to show that geography is more important than race

Most recently of course has been discussing the new Arizona immigration law and the New York City car bombing.  We have repeatedly discussed immigration issues.  One of the things that come up regularly is how much more stringent Greek law is regarding identification compared to the US.  Arizona actually trends towards European countries with the new law rather than unethical.

In Athens , Greece were I live immigrants are asked by police to provide identification again and again. Prison time and routine police checks work like aspirine in illegal immigration issues. Cancer is not cured by aspirine , illegal immigration is not stopped by road block/arrests/ID checks….This is happenig to Greece as long as I remember. What might be controversial to me is not controvercial to you and vice-versa.  News are transferred  faster than ever , but remember that there are diferent audiences that interpret the news in various ways.

One of the more striking things was George’s response to a automatic weapon carrying officer after the attempted car bombing in New York that really speaks to how much more comfortable Americans are around guns that is common.  According to Geroge:

I liked your comments on the pictures. I see them as a proof of how differert you and I  “diggest” any given Informartion. That does not mean that I disagree with you , it means that I understand events in a another perspetive. For example  , A while ago I saw in a documentary that inside NY centrar metro station , armed men that were affilited with the military [not police] were patorling the site. In Greece that would have been unacceptable because there is a mistrudt between Police-Army.

I do not think there is anyone in the United States who believes there is mistrust between the police and army in the United States.  Yet, I guess that has been issue in a number of places.

The “360 Degree Threat” – A response to Hurt Locker

The 360 Degree Threat

“Sarver, 33, in wraparound shooting shades that make his baby face look even younger, takes a second to consider the possibilities: Is it real or a decoy to lure him into the kill zone of a second bomb? Is it a hoax designed only to pull him into the shooting range of a sniper? Is it wired to a mine or daisy-chained to a series of IEDs? Is it wired at all or remote-controlled? Is it on a mechanical timer ticking down? Wired in a collapsible circuit that will trigger the explosion when he cuts it? He runs back to his truck, a few inches of bellyfat moving under his uniform. He keeps his time on the ground to a minimum because it is impossible to tell whether that Iraqi in the dark suit with the cell phone is calling his wife or transmitting Sarver’s position to a sniper team. This is a job so dangerous that bomb techs in Iraq are five times more likely to die than all other soldiers in the theater.” (Tapley, 2010)

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Cyber-terrorism a threat?

As anyone who knows me knows, I am a huge fan of computers.  I build them, I break them down, I use them on a daily basis and as I walk around campus its hard to find someone who doesn’t at least browse the web once a day.  So as computers permeate our lives, they are perfect targets for terrorists to gain and share information.  Is this really terrorism?  It isn’t violent and most of the time it doesn’t harm people physically or mentally because they are completely unaware it has even occurred.   How about starting viral videos of beatings, attacks or even worse, decapitations.  Does this count as terrorism? Read more

Humanity is the Price of Vengeance

Humanity is the Price of Vengeance

The beginning of Munich is filmed in quick, jumpy shots.  The rhythm of the shots mimics that of a frightened heartbeat.  It represents the fear and danger of what is about to happen.  It is compelling in all its gruesome glory.  “This is a film that harks back to the great, gritty thrillers of that decade–for many, the heyday of the genre–with its all-pervasive paranoia and palette of steely colors,” (Yomiuri Shimbun). Read more

Fear Mongering and Terrorism – Where’s the Line?

In many of our definitions of terrorism, fear and the spread of fear takes a major role.  While I believe that fear, terror if you will, is a key element to the definition of terrorism, I think that other aspects of the definition are just as important.  What would distinguish a bully, a director of a horror film and other such normal people from the extremism of a terrorist using terrorist tactics?  I guess a better question could be: Are all people that employ terroristic tactics terrorists?  Do all terrorists use terroristic tactics?   Read more

“Munich” – Bias and the counterproductive view of counterterrorism

Bias. The judgements that an individual carries with them that influence his or her outlook on a subject, idea, or issue. Everybody has them, from teachers, to politicians, to the Pope and the President. As a journalist, perhaps the most important skill that comes into play involving bias is when to recognize it. Whether looking at a source or using a quote, journalism instinct tends to look for possible bias. Because movies present the viewpoint or vision of the director and writers, they also contain these same types of bias and they should be viewed with skepticism. Steven Spielberg’s film “Munich”, despite providing an honest historical context in which it is set, pushes the director’s framing of counterterrorism as counterproductive and opens up room for criticism due to it’s “un-patriotic” viewpoints.

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9/11 Reflection: BBC News – “America’s Day of Terror”

It’s a scared, scared world. Post 9/11-society has brought with it an amazing abundance of changes. From the way news outlets around the world cover terrorist attacks – or perceived terrorist attacks – to the cautionary reactions of international governments one thing it clear: the world has moved toward a direction we never perceived possible on that clear September day. To Americans, it was the day that everything changed, that seemed impossible. To the world, it was a day that rocked a stable nation to its core, and shocked countries big and small. On a global scale the terrorist attacks of September 11 were met with equal bewilderment as a nation panicked, and the world watched.

One way to truly comprehend the world’s reaction is to look at one of the largest international platforms for news. The British Broadcasting Corporation, henceforth known under its familiar title “BBC”, not only has a monopoly in Britain, but is responsible for providing the world with its news as well. Today millions globally turn to the BBC for its breaking news and reporting, including countries where international coverage is considered a luxury. Though the BBC operates primarily via television and radio, the following examination focuses on the presentation of 9/11 from an online media perspective. Read more

Why Editorials Make Bad Sources

This post is mainly a deconstruction of an article that appeared on the twitter feed as a source, and was an editorial. The editorial itself contained a number of factual errors that even five seconds of research could have fixed. This is in no way a criticism of the person who believed this was a decent source, ignorance is to be corrected, not criticized.

The article in particular is located on Al-Jazeera here: http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/02/2010225111933403649.html “Israel’s New War Against Islamic Sites”

This is extremely relevant to terrorism and the press because of the idea that incitements promote violence and the press spreads these allegation thereby hurting or helping the creation of demonstrations, riots, and violence.  Read more

9/11 Coverage: Filling the News Hole and the Idea of “Media Flow”

With the attacks of September 11th, news media around the world was given a unique platform from which to inform the public about the dramatic events unfolding in the heart of New York City, the fields of Pennsylvania and the Pentagon. The normal daily news cycle was interrupted, giving television audiences 24-hour, wall-to-wall coverage in which normal programming and advertising restraints were lifted. (McDonald, 2004) With this increasingly large ‘news hole’, Americans and people around the world saw images of disaster, eyewitness testimonies, and government officials along with countless other stories intended to fill the information void. Given the unusually large amount of time alloted for media coverage immediately following 9/11, the American media response became increasingly focused on giving reports that limited the scope to just the disaster, leaving out a larger context in which the events could be viewed through. American media also tended to promote a government-supported framing of the events, which in turn was either challenged or reflected in countries around the world.

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Terrorism and the Press

This blog is an integral part of a special section of Honors 394 Spring 2010, Arizona State University. Rather than a routine history course this dynamic, interactive seminar explores the interplay between terrorism and television, and other media sources on-line and in print. 26 students and their global pen pals comprise the bloggers. We welcome all to share their opinions, pertinent observations, insights, comments, feedback. Please post in a responsible manner.