Archive for April, 2011

Immigration Terrorism

Immigration Terrorism

Reporting and investigating in the crisis regions – Daniel Pearl Case

Stevo Pendarovski my Pen – Pal from University American College from Skopje has been skeptical about “the movie industry’s potentials to portray realistically event in the war-torn countries, simply because no movie has ever come close to life”.  He explains that “numerous articles have been written on the contradiction between the organizational cultures of military and journalism, sharpening in the times of crises”.

But, the look upon the third element, very potent on the battlefield – mentality of terrorists is often absent from the analytical triangle.  “My basic point of departure is that regardless of the known differences between the soldiers and journalists, their symbiosis is necessary for confronting the common opponent”, said Pendarovski.  According to him, “embedded journalism is a must for uncovering the truth in the war zones and for up-close and personal human stories, as well”.

Although, “for investigative journalist to be “embedded” in the hostile terrorist environment it certainly asks for securing back-up from military intelligence whose core is fundamentally different, but not hostile to journalists”.

Pendarovski believes “it is very difficult to imagine successful penetration of journalists up to the inner terrorist circles without overt/covert support by the intelligence agencies. In my view, the operational key is providing alignment by the so-called friendly services because they have the ownership over the processes on the local level”. Unfortunately, “loyalty to their ethic kin is often stronger then achieving strategic goals for their country or reaching out to liberty and democracy”, comments Pendarovski on the topic of the movie A Mighty Heart.

Despite the promises of the USA President Barack Obama to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center on Cuba on March this year, he signed new executive order to continue with the military trials at the Navy base. Number of detainees currently held in Guantanamo is 172, according the 28 February, 2011 fact sheet Guantanamo by numbers of the nonprofit organization Human Right First that works on implementation and promotion on universal human rights and freedoms.

Khalid Sheikh Mohhamed is a Kuwaiti in the USA custody in Guantanamo for alleged acts of terrorism, mass murder of civilians and he is among 172 prisoners of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. After his imprisonment at Guantanamo, Khalid Sheikh Mohhamed confessed that he organized and beheaded the Wall Street Journal, reporter Daniel Pearl in January 2002, Miami Herald published on their on line page Associated Press article Report faults Pakistan’s Pearl murder investigation by Ashraf Khan and Nahal Toosi.

They wrote that “he is held at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. military prison, and the confession is believed to have come during interrogation that included waterboarding”.  AP article posted on January 20, 2011 in Miami Herald online page brought the findings and results of the Pearl Project that “four men imprisoned for killing Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl were not present during his beheading but were convicted of murder because Pakistani authorities knowingly relied on perjured testimony and ignored other leads”.

The investigative effort called Pearl Project is joint result of the commitment of his former colleague Asra Q. Nomani, students and professors from George Town University and Washington D.C. and the Center for Pubic Integrity. The genuine idea to combine professional and academic work on serous journalism investigation of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Karachi in 2002 was modeled by the three decade ago old investigative reporting project into the murder of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles.

Nomani and Barbara Feiman Todd, the director of journalism at Georgetown University visited Phoenix in 2007 to attend annual conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors, the world’s largest association of investigative journalist and to copy from the Arizona project for Don Bolles. She recalls on the Web page of the project the conference was convenient because of the presence of Randall Bennet, formerly the regional security officer for the State Department at the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, was going to be stateside in Phoenix.

“Randall and I had gotten to know each other during the horrible weeks after Danny had been kipped. Randall was a compelling figure, straight out of central casting, the kind of guy who comes to mind when you hear words like “swagger,” and in fact, he had been portrayed in Hollywood’s version of Danny’s story. I wanted Barbara to meet him”, recalls Nomani.

In spite of the Hollywood emotional movie portraits of  the last days of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan before he was kidnapped – the investigative journalism in the Pearl Project discovers other elements important to what happened In Karachi with the former WSJ journalist and reporter.

The Pearl Project findings disclosure problems of criminal justice system in Pakistan and question, sometimes, the high level of trust that the USA officials have in Pakistan authorities. “From one isolated murder case”, Pearl’s friend and colleague, Nomani, admits the project grow up “to a study of various important issues”.

The truth left behind, inside the kidnaping and murder of Daniel Pearl Web page prepared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism brings key findings and continues the work on Pearl’s investigation in Pakistan before his kidnaping. Nomani gives the importance of the Pearl’s Project to “uncover and untangle militancy, Islamic extremism, and terrorism in Pakistan, with foreign policy implications much larger than we imagined when we first began”.

There is an important story in the case of Daniel Pearl investigative work in Pakistan. “Years later, Danny’s case offers important lessons to the Obama administration as it grapples with its policy toward Pakistan as a safe haven for Taliban, Al Qaeda, and militant fighters that U.S. forces face in the war in Afghanistan. Danny’s case was a harbinger of the issues U.S. national security officials are grappling to understand today”, emphasized Nomani.

Wall Street Journal online page dedicated to their former reporter and journalist kidnaped allegedly by the Al-Qaeda members in Pakistan gives the facts on the case. Daniel Pearl “ disappeared in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi on Jan. 23 after embarking for what he believed was an interview with a prominent figure in the country’s Islamic movement”.

After four days, a new group “The National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistan Sovereignty” introduced the requirements “for release of Pakistani nationals being held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the wake of the military campaign in Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan being detained in the U.S. as terrorism suspects”.  The group that was not known of the USA authorities asked “for the U.S. to turn over F-16 fighter jets purchased by Pakistan in the late 1980s but never delivered because of U.S. sanctions related to Islamabad’s nuclear-weapons program”.

The death of relevant journalist from the influential newspaper, his Jewish origin, politics, terrorism, Guantanamo, Taliban’s, dysfunctional judicial system in Pakistan – enough intrigues for Hollywood. A Mighty Heart movie from 2007, directed by the English director Michael Winterbottom with Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman and Irfan Kan in a manner of speaking tell us on franatic search of Mariane Pearl, to locate his husband Daniel Pearl. Winterbottom drives the movie with the emotions and portraits the Wall Street reporter through the eyes of his wife and her book on Pearl dedicated to their children.

However, one of the closest associates to Pearl, Nomani wrote an article in the Washington Post on June 24, 2007 titled A Mighty Shame. “For me, watching the movie was like having people enter my home, rearrange the furniture and reprogram my memory. I’d known it was a gamble when I agreed to help with a Hollywood version of Danny’s kidnapping, but I’d done it because I thought the movie had the potential to be meaningful”, admits Nomani in the Washington Post article.

This article was the reason Nomani to receive a call in late June 2007 from Marian Crompley from the Oklahoma City based Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation with the offer to support financially the Pearl Project.

Couple of years latter, the findings of this investigative journalism project reveals “serious issues that have relevance today to U.S. policy and America’s war in Afghanistan: the emergence of a “Punjabi Taliban, made up of militants from the Pakistani province of Punjab; the role of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, as a safe haven for militants; and the nexus between the Pakistani militancy and Al Qaeda”.

Work Cited:



3. A Mighty Shame. (2007, June 24). In The Washington Post. Retrieved April 20, 2011,from

4. MORE ON DANIEL PEARL Read the prepared statement from Wall Street Journal Publisher Peter Kann and Managing Editor Paul Steiger. • Read a chro. (2002, February 24). In The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 20, 2011, from

5. The truth left behind. (n.d.). In The Pearl Project. Retrieved April 20, 2011, from

6. The Pearl Project. (n.d.). In The Pearl Project George Town University. Retrieved April 20, 2011, from

Bloody Sunday

Northern Ireland: A Place of Beauty and Conflict

When you think of Ireland most likely you will imagine a beautiful green landscape, Irish pubs, and a cheerful redheaded man dancing to their traditional bagpipe music. However, just to the north lies Northern Ireland, which is apart of a much larger region, known as the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom consists of; England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.  Northern Ireland is a country known for its political and religious conflict between the Irish Catholics and the loyalist Protestants.  A major event that focused attention on the conflict between the two groups is known as “Bloody Sunday.”

Bloody Sunday occurred on January 30th, 1972 in Derry, Northern Ireland, whereas a Northern Ireland civil rights association held a march ending in twenty-six unarmed civilians being shot by British soldiers.  Many people were killed in this event including thirteen males seven of which were teenagers.  This event revealed the civil unrest the United Kingdom was facing and educated many people about the conflict between the British and the people of Northern Ireland. In 2002, a film by the title Bloody Sunday, directed by Paul Greengrass, produced by Granada Television (IMDb) about the 1972 shooting in Derry was released. The focus of this essay is to analyze the position of the film, how the genre of “mockumentary” achieves a feeling of utter reality, and press coverage of the Northern Ireland conflict.

The film, Bloody Sunday is a great depiction of the tragedy that unfolded on January 30th, 1972, but is the film really fair? Does it convey the truth as the events unfolded on both sides of the conflict?  According to a review of the film by The New York Times, Elvis Mitchell who critiques the film states, “it would be a mistake to say it has the even-handedness of a down-the-middle docudrama, because “Sunday” is clearly on the side of the 15,000 Irish-Catholic demonstrators who turned out to make a nonviolent point about their grievances at what they saw as discrimination by the Protestant majority in the Ulster Government.” Mitchell makes the claim that the film sides with that of the Irish-Catholics.  It is clear to see in the film that the director creates a sense of empathy for the audience towards the Catholic protesters and creates a villainous image towards the British soldiers.

The film also focuses on the main character Ivan Cooper, who is a Member of Parliament as he tries to maintain a peaceful march.  His good intentions were illustrated within the film and allows for viewers to emotionally connect with him creating a slight bias by the director.  Nevertheless, there are instances in the film where many mischievous teenagers engage in violent attacks against the British soldiers such as throwing rocks, which gives the audience a slight sense of compassion for the British soldiers that in a way may justify the shots fired from them. The film Bloody Sunday, is fair in the way the event unfolded and how it portrayed both sides of the conflict.

Bloody Sunday is a drama that gives a picture of exactly what occurred that day. Nonetheless, some may classify it as a mockumentary. A mockumentary is a type of film in which fictitious events are presented in a documentary format.  Furthermore, Webster defines mockumentary as a facetious or satirical work (as a film) presented in the style of a documentary. An example of a mockumentary is the Blair Witch Project.  When audiences first seen the film many of them thought the film was actual footage captured on video.  It was said that the three individuals in the film were never seen after they captured video of these horrific events; however, their footage was located a year later.  Mockumentaries achieve a sense of utter reality by producing films that seem to be real in the eyes of the audience, and the Blair Witch Project is a great example of that.  Many believed it to be real until it was later announced it was fictitious.  This was done by filming in real time that in turn eluded it to be perceived as reality.  In the case of Bloody Sunday, due to the events really occurring in 1972 in Derry, the film is more in the documentary genre rather than the mockumentary genre of film.

The Northern Ireland conflicts have been going on for many years and have sparked a lot of attention. How does the press cover the conflict? Is it fair or is one side supported more so than the other. This is a debate that is hard to solve.  The television stations of Britain and the Irish Republic are widely, if not patchily, available across Northern Ireland and many argue there are biases by the media from both the Nationalist and the Unionists sides (Herbert 5).  The media has been blamed for instigating and creating tension between the Catholics and the Protestants. The Irish and British governments have gone as far to ban voices of members of people named to be apart of terrorist organizations but this has been avoided by having actors simply say what they want.

It is mind boggling to understand why there is so much conflict between two groups of people whose religious views promote peace.  Whether it is a religious conflict or merely a political and social conflict in the name of civil rights is unclear. What is clear is that people from different religions have been in conflict with one another since the beginning of civilization; therefore it is not rational to make judgment against the conflict in Northern Ireland but to better understand the rational behind the Northern Irish and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Works Cited

“Blair Witch Project.” 2011.03/05 Web.

“Bloody Sunday.” 2011.3/6 Web.

Elvis Mitchell. The New York Times.Web. <>.

Herbert, David. “Shifting Securities in Northern Ireland.” European journal of cultural studies 10.3 (2007): 343-59. Print.

Merriam-Webster.Web. <>.

Mogensen, Kirsten. “Television Journalism during Terror Attacks.” Media, war & conflict 1.1 (2008): 31-49. Print.

Gordon Friedrichs Pen Pal

As for the last link, I have to get back to my outgoing quotation on terrorism. Considering this quotation while reading the Channel 5 news report, I believe the word terrorism does not fit well here. As far as I see it, the man who tried to turn of waste water treatment operating systems might be considered a “crazy” in a theoretical sense, who is neither part of an organisation nor had the goal to spread an ideology or revolt against the establishment.

I do believe that the term terrorism suffers from a lack of understanding and comprehensiveness about the theoretical concept of its very meaning. It seems to be that terrorism has been used to describe the intensity, lethality, cruelty or abnormality of a certain illegal behaviour of somebody or a group of people. Unfortunately, this leads to certain misperception among the society about what is actually terrorism. If a society has a misperception on certain things, it might cause wrong reactions, i.e. public policies.

Gordon Friedrichs Pen Pal

Although this article does not really stress the term „terrorism“ as the other articles do, it points to a quite important sub-term within the terrorism concept: state-sponsored terrorism. The question arises though: what to do and who to blame? State-sponsored terrorism can appear in basically two forms: intrinsically and extrinsically. Intrinsically means, that the state (government or regime) uses the method terrorism against its own people. This can be witnessed for example in Iraq prior to 2003, Libya over many decades, Afghanistan under Taliban rule or even partly in Burma. Unfortunately, this form of terrorism is hard to come by due to the recognition of every state’s sovereignty.

Extrinsically, means that a state funds, supports and supplements terrorist groups abroad in order to achieve political or military goals. Examples are numerous, i.e. Iran and Hamas, North Korea and Syria, Pakistan and Kashmir and Libya and Northern Ireland. The cases of actual terrorism are mostly deadlier, although less numerous. As can be seen in the case of Libya and Northern Ireland, the motivation for states to do so, is mainly economical nature (i.e. arms trades, export market etc.) and only secondary of ideological nature.

As hard as it might be to counter such form of terrorism, I believe it is the task of the whole international community to reduce arms trades to a minimum. Obama talks a lot about reducing nuclear weapons, although conventional weapons have proven to be far more lethal and devastating than anything else in the world. And if somebody paid attention to the latest news in and around Libya, this concern is strengthened: The German intelligence service raises concerns that Al-Qaeda becomes stronger in the Maghreb due to the ongoing war in Libya and the constant arms flow in the country.

Gordon Friedrichs Pen Pal Post

I raked a little bit in my older power point slides from a seminar I once participated in about Terrorism, and I found this quite interesting definition of the term “Terrorism”:

“Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group, or state actor, for idiosyncratic, criminal, or political reasons, whereby – in contrast to assassination – the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a larger population, and serve as message generators. Threat – and violence – based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperiled) victims, and main target (audiences(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought.”

(Schmid, Jongman et al. Political terrorism: a new guide to actors, authors, concepts, data bases, theories, and literature. Amsterdam: North Holland, Transaction Books, 1988)

Taking this into account while reading the first link you send me, led me to the conclusion that Mexican drug cartels are technically not a terrorist organization. I believe it is due to their criminal organization and purpose that they fall out of the definition of a classical terrorist group. They do not seek for public attention in order to change the state of mind of the population. They rather try to fight other drug cartels for their goal of supremacy within the drug market. Terrorist groups, as Schmid puts it, strive for an ideological goal and thus choose their targets randomly. As I understand the procedure of drug cartels, they choose their victims with precision (e.g. the FBI agent mentioned in the article) in order to iron out hindrances.

Pen Pal Three Cups of Tea

Hey Albert,

sorry for answering a little bit late, but I had some stuff to do for my

So here is my opinion:

First of all, I believe we have to distinguish between various forms of
terrorism when we try to incorporate terms like tolerance and understanding
into a discussion about terrorists and their characteristics.
As I have learned throughout my undergraduate and graduate years, terrorism
can take on different forms making it necessary to analyze and frame it
accordingly. When we look at national terrorism or state terrorism for
instance, we might have to abandon the perspective that terrorists are
irrational crazies. When we look at terrorism emerging after the
de-colonization period, i.e. in the 60s and 70s in Asia – but also for the
radical left terrorist groups in Italy and Germany in the 70s and 80s, we
can quite easily come to the conclusion that these terrorist act out of
their own interest. They strive to accomplish their goals through a
technique called terrorism. I would highly doubt that a society has any
chance but none to prevent terrorist groups as these to appear on the scene.
While de-colonization terrorist groups acted because of national pride
against foreign occupiers (what western society also termed as “freedom
fighters”), national terrorist such as the RAF in Germany or the Red Brigade
in Italy, simply had different – of course radical, extremist – views on how
a society should be run politically. Neither education – which by the way
was stated relatively high among the national terror groups (they were
pretty much al students) – nor a stable political infrastructure can prevent
such groups from emerging.

Religious terrorism has to be seen in a completely different light. I will
mark three reasons framing this argument.
First, religious extremist are motivated by completely different ideals,
norms and values as the society has inherent. Hence, there is no basis for
being tolerant in the first place since the reasons differ.
Second, religion is immanent, meaning that it is a state of mind which has
nothing to do with rationality or reflection. If somebody is fundamentally
religious, it means that his life cycle is based on this principle. In the
end, this means that the radical element might have to be tackled, but not
the religious one.
Third, religious extremist are most of the time highly nationalistic,
meaning that they are tremendously endemic. Therefore, outside attempts to
change their society for the better good might not be at all in their simple
interest. This makes it sometimes extremely difficult to fight terrorism at
the grass-roots level, as can be seen in Afghanistan (where aboriginals
weigh more value to a cow than for instance to a new cell phone) or also
Egypt (where the Muslim brotherhood has their own perspective on how a
society has to look like).

From these concerns, I would like to stress two – although humble – opinions
on how I believe tolerance can still be shown by western societies (and I
mainly speak of the US and German society):

First, respecting the sovereignty and national independence of each state
affected by terrorism (whether they bear terrorist groups or just suffering
from them) is an important first step. Actively and aggressively trying to
implement western thoughts, values and norms into a society in order to
“make them think like we do” can not be considered to be effective.
Fundamental extremists are highly sensitive to things like that, trying to
take advantage of every imperialism action undertaken by western societies
in order to strengthen their own position.
I believe the Cairo-speech of President Obama is a good example of how such
a step might look like. Winning the sympathy of a country, making the
society to believe that there are options for you can be truly promising.

Second, implementing organizations from other countries into our own society
can help to push the transatlantic dialogue on a lower level forward. I can
think of the Islamic Conference in Germany, were representatives of
Christian, Catholic and Islamic come together and discuss issues of societal
importance, whether they happen in our country or in any other country of
the world. This can also help to motivate people from other societies to be
curious about our own country.

Of course, those are really small steps and I particular emphasized a more
sociological solution than a political one. Maybe this can keep your
discussion flourishing.


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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.