Archive for the ‘Historical Cases’ Category

Bloody Sunday Reflection

Paul Greengrass’ Bloody Sunday, the highly acclaimed ‘mockumentary’ of the massacre in Derry on January 30, 1972 is recognized not only for its unique filming style but also for its unique stance on the British side of the conflict. In an attempt to avoid being subjective, the film goes beyond the typical portrayal of the British as heartless murderers and gives them a voice during this conflict. Although the film is not seen as a “fair” portrayal by all, it stands as an exceptional view on the massacre that allows the viewers to be personally affected by the film. Read more

WTC 93: Failed or Successful

While discussing 9 11 again the other day, Jaron and myself began to discuss other terrorist attacks that we remember others discussing.  It’s interesting to see how people our age associate certain terrorist attacks when they don’t remember.  One of the terrorist attacks that Jaron brought up was another attack that was profiled by our classmates:

Read more

Conversation over Oklahoma City Bombing

While skyping the other day Jaron mentioned to me that he had been watching our blog, and had noticed that there had been a post regarding the Oklahoma City bombing.  Coming from out of the country, I was very surprised to hear that he recognized the events.  I quickly learned that this was a ridiculous assumption for me to make.  Even though he was younger and want clash of clans hacks, and didn’t remember as much, he had still heard a lot about the incident and recognized the names, and events that occurred.  His response:

Read more

An hour with Aaron Brown

Aaron Brown’s visit to the Terrorism and the Press “think-tank” on Thursday, April 22, was nothing short of captivating. Although I was not aware of the extra credit assignment regarding guest speakers in the course, I was compelled to start writing down what Brown was saying.

Former CNN anchor Aaron Brown sat down with the class to discuss his views on terrorism and the press

As if it was a press conference or a one-on-one interview, I knew he was going to say things I would regret missing if I didn’t have them down on paper. Throughout the course of the conversation, the class developed a relationship with Brown, and as the class became more comfortable asking questions, he began to answer is a frank, candid manner.

Brown’s opinions on terrorism and the “War on Terror” are what dominated the conversation from the beginning. Being that it is a course dedicated to the topic of terrorism, almost ever question he faced was related to terrorism in some way.

The sound bites he provided were, in some cases, remarkable. At one point, when asked about how he fell about Timothy McVey’s execution and subsequent request to have it nationally televised, Brown said, “I would have shown McVey’s execution at the IMAX theatre complete with the 3-D goggles.”

Read more

Munich Essay: It is difficult to argue against counter-terrorism compaigns that do not kill civilians.

I realized as of late that I have forgotten to post some of my essays from the past year after the first one.  I won’t bother putting up the one that wasn’t as good, but this one was received rather warmly.  It took a lot of work for this essay, finding the sources that approximate what I have been trying to show was difficult.

The following essay below the fold is about the nature of counter-terrorism campaigns and their morality.  The fundamental difficulty is determine the difference in morality based on intent and actual result.  A terrorist can support at its core a worthy cause, but be deemed by supporting such a cause with utmost horrifying actions.  By the same token, this is true of counter-terrorist organizations who must separate terrorists from civilians when they are deliberately trying to avoid being found.

Intelligence Agencies: A Necessary Agent of Destruction and their Perception in Media

They are letters that are anthropomorphic personification of fear itself, CIA, KGB, MI6, ISI, Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and Mossad (tran. The Institute).  All of the above organizations have been involved in what they have deemed to be counterterrorism campaigns.  Their methods of operation are similar too, intelligence gathering leading infiltration, military strikes, and assassination.  All of the organizations represented above disallow extrajudicial killings except in the case of counterterrorism campaigns – a breakdown of traditional values.  In many cases the overall casualties of counterterrorism operations can exceed that of the terrorist’s initialization incident.  The application of a counterterrorism campaigns requires public perception to internalize an ideological separation between counterterrorism and terrorism that is partly created by media and journalists.

Read more

Ilias’s view of Munich

This is the conversation Ilias Kiritsis and I had concerning the bombing of the Munich Olympics in 1972

Read more

Bloody Sunday

Bloody Sunday Movie Reflection

The movie “Bloody Sunday” was a ‘mockumentary’ (fiction-documentary) film depicting the events of January 30, 1972. In the film, British Paramilitary troops attack civilians participating in a march for civil rights in the Northern Ireland town of Londonderry. The film was written and directed by a Paul Greengrass. “John Kelly, whose brother was shot and killed in the incident, said he (Mr. Greengrass) consulted many families who were present there on that day. The families trusted the film makers to ‘tell the truth.’ We already know the truth. Our people’s right to life was taken by the British military.” Mr. Kelly also added that he “believed they will portray the film as it should be portrayed. Paul Greengrass and Mark Redhead (the producer) are people of integrity” (BBC News). This leads to discussing how Mr. Greengrass was able to re-create the events of Bloody Sunday and certain film techniques he used to give the film its documentary feel. Read more

Clothing and Commemoration of Bloody Sunday

A Mockumentary, Bloody Sunday

The movie Bloody Sunday was written and produced well after the actual events took place in 2002.  Unlike most films that approach the subject, either dramas or documentaries; Bloody Sunday is a mockumentary.  In a mockumentary parts of the event covered is restructured by the artistic direction of the director and thereby often reveals the biases thereof.  The bias was significant part of the movie, for nearly all the players in the actual event have conflicting stories.  Some reported the truth, some were lies, and others were the result of faulty memory.  Barbara Tversky, Professor of Psychology of Stanford University describes the way fault memories work:

we might hear garbled words like “next,” “transfer,” and “train.” Building on our assumptions    and knowledge, we may put together the actual statement… we may even remember having           heard the full statement.

As a result, the director making a movie of a controversial event has a colossal degree of leeway since no eyewitness account will be perfect.

Read more

Luck of the Irish Republican Army

The Northern Ireland conflict is an extremely complex situation that has blurred the line between political activist and terrorist for decades. During this time, the media has had an important role in shaping the public’s perception of the events and what to make of the many factions in play. Read more

World Trade Center ’93

Team 3: Wilford Eiteman-Pang, Jacqueline Ekama, Janessa Hilliard, Thao Trieu, Alex Wallace
WTC ’93 – Wilford, Jacqueline & Janessa
What Happened?

– The 1993 Worl d Trade Center bombing occurred on February 26, 1993, when a car bomb was detonated below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. It was intended to knock the North Tower (Tower One) into the South Tower (Tower Two), bringing both towers down and killing thousands of people.[2][3] It failed to do so, but did kill six people and injured 1042.

– “As part of the plot to strike at the United States, these international terrorists intended to disrupt the dynamics of daily life, commerce, and finance in one of the most heavily populated cities in the United States. The suspect and his associates had hoped to kill upwards of 35,000 innocent people.” [3] “The site of the blast became one of the largest crime scenes in NYPD history.” [3]
– It was reported that “The World Trade Center bombing will be remembered as the gravest attack of international terrorism to occur directly on American soil,” [3] which was true… until 9/11.
– “700 FBI agents worldwide ultimately joining in—quickly uncovered a key bit of evidence. In the rubble investigators uncovered a vehicle identification number on a piece of wreckage that seemed suspiciously obliterated. A search of our crime records returned a match: the number belonged to a rented van reported stolen the day before the attack. An Islamic fundamentalist named Mohammad Salameh had rented

The parking garage after the bomb went off.

the vehicle, we learned, and on March 4, an FBI SWAT team arrested him as he tried in vain to get his $400 deposit back.” [1]

In Context: a couple key points
– September 16, 1920: a horse-drawn wagon exploded by the JP Morgan & Co building. More than 30 died instantly. The attackers were never caught; their motive remains unknown. Anarchy?[2]
– January 4th, 1984: The New York Port Authority realizes that the WTC is vulnerable to attack, so it creates the Terrorist Intelligence Unit within the Police Department to gather information about terrorist groups. They gather that the WTC is targeted for a terrorist attack several times during the 1980’s. The NYPA later creates the Office of Special Planning (OSP) to assess security of facilities. The OSP continues research and finds vulnerability after vulnerability. The OSP gets shut down in 1987 for unknown reasons. In 19
91, because of the Gulf War, the New York Port Authority hires private security company Burns and Roe Securacom to prepare a further risk of terrorism reports. Unlike previous investigators, Burns and Roe Securacom finds that the center’s shopping and pedestrian areas are the most likely targets. [6]
– January 17th, 1984: the four-page report “Terrorist Threat and Targeting Assessment: World Trade Center” identifies three main areas that are particularly
vulnerable to attack, including the submerged parking garage. Later reports call the WTC the “most attractive terrorist target.” [6]
– 1986: ’Blind Sheikh’ secretly met with Al Taqwa Bank Leader, Yousef Nada. Shortly after 9/11, a document called “The Project” written in 1982 will be found in Nada’s house. It outlines a secret Muslim Brotherhood plan to infiltrate and defeat Western countries. [6]

– November 5, 1990: The first Bin Laden-Related Terror Attack in US ocured. “Egyptian-American El Sayyid Nosair assassinates controversial right-wing Zio
nist leader Rabbi Meir Kahane. Kahane’s organization, the Jewish Defense League, was linked to dozens of bombings and is ranked by the FBI as the most lethal domestic militant group in the US at the time.” [6]
– 1992: Al-Qaeda bomber Ramzi Yousef plans the 1993 World Trade Center bombing at an Abu Sayyaf base in the Philippines. [6]

April – June 23, 1993: “Militants plan a series of near simultaneous bombings in New York. Among the targets were prominent New York monuments: The Lincoln and Holland tunnels linking New York to New Jersey, the George Washington Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations, the last to be planted with the help of diplomats fromthe Sudanese mission, the Federal Building at 26 Federal Plaza, and finally, one in the Diamond District along 47th Street, populated by mostly Jewish diamond dealers. On June 23, as terrorists mix chemicals for the bombs, FBI agents raid their warehouse and arrest twelve.” [5]
– On June 24, 1994, FBI agents stormed a warehouse in Queens and caught several members of a terrorist cell in the act of assembling bombs.[1] [5]

– Ramzi Yousef.  Leader and nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
– Mohammad Salameh.  Rented Ryder truck, later arrested when trying to reclaim deposit.
– Abdul Yasin.  Managed to flee, last seen in Iraqi custody in 2002.
– Mahmoud Abouhalima.  Bought smokeless powder for detonators.
– Ahmed Ajaj.  Detained upon illegal immigration, unable to help his co-conspirators.
– Nidal Ayyad.  Bought hydrogen gas for enhancement.
– Eyad Ismoil.  Drove Ryder van with Yousef.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed–later mastermind of the failed Bojinka plot, and it’s successor, 9/11 provided funding of some 600 dollars.

According to the 9/11 Commission report, this plot was not directly connected to al-Qaeda, save through both the conspirators and al-Quaeda being in contact with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed[8].


Mohammad Salameh, Mahmoud Abouhalima, Ahmed Ajaj, and Nidal Ayyad were all arrested shortly after the bombing – part of the Ryder truck was identifiable, and when Salameh tried to reclaim security desposit (having claimed the truck as stolen), he was arrested, leading to the other arrests.

Ramzi Yousef escaped the country, and went on to participate in the failed Bojinka Plot, and was arrested in 1995 in Pakistan.
Eyad Ismoil escaped the country, but was arrested in 1995 by Jordanian authorities.

Copious amounts of evidence lead to convictions of all of the above, resulting in imprisonment.

Abdul Yasin traveled to Iraq, and was arrested by authorities there, but no extradition deal was made between Iraq and the US.  His whereabouts after the start of the 2003 Iraqi war are unknown.


According to a letter sent to the New York Times shortly after the attack, along with testimony from the conspirators, the attack was in response to US s

One of the more famous images from the WTC '93 bombing.

upport of Israel, along with other US tampering in the Middle East.

Media Coverage (timeline):

March 28, 1993 –
The New York Times receives a letter of explanation regarding the bombing of the WTC.
October 28, 1993 –
CBS News (hosted by Dan Rather) exclusively reports that there is conclusive evidence to suggest that the FBI may have previously known about the attack. The informer, Emad A. Salem, had been secretly taping agents and handed over the transcripts to law enforcement as a result. This indicated the early beginnings of conspiracy theory, which would plague both this and the September 11 attacks in its aftermath.
October 2001 – In an interview with PBS, former CIA Director James Woolsey claims Iraqi involvement in the ’93 bombing, due to Ramzi Yousef’s connections and prior history with Iraqi intelligence. Eventually, CNN terrorism analyst Peter L. Bergen reported that, “by the mid-’90s, the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York, the F.B.I., the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, the C.I.A., the N.S.C., and the State Department had all found no evidence implicating the Iraqi government in the first Trade Center attack.”
February 26, 2004 – In the midst of discussions for a 9/11 memorial, an interim memorial is discussed for the victims of 2/26 as well.
“Lives and innocence were lost 11 years ago today, when the World Trade Center was attacked for the first time,” the NY Times wrote. “Then the survivors lost again”
October 27, 2005 –
The Port Authority of New York is found negligent in “safeguarding the World Trade Center”
February 26, 2008 – The 15th Anniversary of the attacks. Enough time has passed so that now publications, like the New York Times, are actively discussing how the attack of 9/11 have overshadowed 2/26, and what can be done in remembrance for those victims. (The original memorial to the six who died was destroyed in 9/11.)


[6]; [Caram, 2001, pp. 4-5; New York County Supreme Court, 1/20/2004]


Mid-term Questions:
(t/f) Nobody suspected that anybody would the World Trade Center as an act of terrorism before the attack.
2) (t/f) All the main conspirators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing were arrested by 2001.
3) (t/f) The conspirators’ main reason for attacking the US was the US’s support of Israel.

4) Which publication received the letter of explanation?
a. The Wall Street Journal
b. The New York Post
c. The New York Times
d. The Arizona Republic

5) Who was the informant who tried to alert the FBI to the attack?
a. Mohammad Salameh
b. Dan Rather
c. Emad A. Salem
d. Khalid Sheik Mohammed

Return top

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.