Threat Posed By Twenty First Century Terrorism Criminology Essay

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Terrorism is not unique to the modern era and dates back to the late eighteenth century however most terrorist activity prior to the 1960s was localised with much of it being confined to certain areas or regions. Globalisation increased worldwide social relations by connecting distant localities bringing about a shift in the patterns; scale; threat and perceptions of terrorism [1] . Global or international terrorism has become a major threat to numerous countries and has led to complimentary and developing legal regimes both nationally and internationally which are designed and intended to counteract terrorism [2] . In order to establish how useful national responses have being in tackling 21st century terrorism this essay is going to look at the United Kingdom's (UK) response to national and international terrorist threats evaluating any shortfalls or advantages of these responses and comparing that to a combined approach.

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In 1920 under the Government of Ireland Act, Northern Ireland (NI) was constituted by the British Parliament as one of the four parts of the UK. The population in NI is around 2 million with 45% of those been Protestant and 40% been Catholic, the other 15% are mostly undeclared to a particular religion [3] . There are serious ethnic, political and religious problems in NI which date back to the 16th century and King Henry VIII's split from the Catholic Church. Many Irish Catholics rejected the split and prefer to be part of the Republic of Ireland whilst the Irish Protestants who identify themselves as similar to the British feel a kinship to the UK these differences have led to considerable political unrest over the years [4] .

During the years of 1969 and 1997 the NI political disharmony created terrorist activities known as the "troubles", militant Irish Catholics began fighting as paramilitary groups under the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) whose aim was to remove Ireland from the UK and form a united Ireland through force and persuasion. The UK government responded by professing to be neutral however anti-terror strategies were been formulated with the British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary [5] . "Bloody Sunday" (January 30 1972) is said to be the event that betrayed this neutrality when British police killed 13 Irish demonstrators in Londonderry this is reported to have boosted the IRA's recruitment process (ibid).

It has been argued that Britain has become accustomed to terrorism as a result of their involvement with the IRA, Combs (1997) [1] proposes that the IRA has shaped the UK's response to terrorism since 1968. During the 1970s and 1980s there was a rise in political terrorism in NI as a number of violent groups emerged from Loyalist and Republican communities, they are political militant groups that are based in NI. For a number of years the IRA launched violent terrorist attacks against the British not only in NI but in Britain and eventually in Europe [2] .

In order to deal with the terrorist activity in NI during the 1970s the UK and NI governments working together launched new strategies to deal with the IRA, their focus was no longer to deal with them as part of a political problem but rather defeating them in the criminal courts. In 1971 the NI government introduced internment without trial and the abolition of trial by jury in an attempt to stop the escalating violence. By 1972 it is reported that there were roughly 900 people imprisoned under this strategy. This caused outrage amongst Catholic communities who believed that their own people were been unnecessarily criminalised this allowed the IRA to gain support and recruit from within the Catholic community, illustrating how a measure put in to place by the UK and NI governments led to an increase in support for the IRA [3] . A ceasefire in 1975 lasted for approximately a year however the IRA believed that the British were not offering them any assurances on their aims but attempting to draw them into politics as a result "long war" was declared by the IRA.

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In 1979 the UK government developed a new strategy in an attempt to beat the IRA and began denying republican inmates at Maze Prison their special status similar to that of a prisoner of war (POW), this status meant they did not have to wear prison clothes or do prison work, this led to the 1980-81 hunger strikes [4] . Thatcher who was UK prime minister at the time maintained the strategy even after the death of the hunger strike leader Sands who had won a Westminster by-election, this death and the UK's approach to the prisoners led to violence erupting across nationalist areas of NI with membership of the IRA rapidly increasing [1] . Violence escalated and there were attacks on the police and army; attacks on shops and pubs and an attempted assassination of Thatcher at the 1984 conservative party conference in Brighton where the Grand Hotel was bombed. In response to the troubles in NI a broad range of counter-insurgency tactics and legislation were used in an attempt to gain control and deal with the IRA [2] .

Brutal methods of interrogation were adopted with many IRA members been tortured and tormented for their confessions and information. Police abused their arrest, stop and search powers and some critics have argued that many arrests made in England, Wales and NI could have been made under normal police provisions without special powers been granted. An alleged "shoot to kill" [3] policy was adopted to maintain order and control and in an attempt to minimise the escalating violence however these policies fuelled anger amongst IRA members and led to further demonstrations and acts of violence [4] .

Emergency legislation was passed to deal with the escalating issues in NI and in 1985 The Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed this gave a consultative role to the Republic of Ireland in the governing of NI. In 1993 a formal peace process was launched and the Northern Ireland Act was passed this laid out conditions of partial martial law. By the end of that year a joint declaration of peace was made, four years of negotiations between the UK, Republic of Ireland and political parties of NI such as Sinn Fein followed and on April 10 1998 the British and Irish Republic signed the Good Friday Agreement, this was later endorsed in a referendum by a majority of NI voters, this it has been argued would not of been possible unless negotiations had taken place, Sinn Fein was the key negotiator here and through negotiation were able to secure a place in any future political negotiations about NI. Hayes (2004) [5] believes that negotiating is the key element to winning the war on terror (WOT) and through the combined efforts of the NI and UK governments and Sinn Fein the peace process has continued. It is important to note that since this report was written by Hayes (2004) there have been more attacks in NI by groups claiming to be part of the real IRA however the response from NI; the UK and Sinn Fein have been that these radical groups will not break down the peace process (ibid).

Britain began to see NI as a place to develop various anti-terrorism technologies, including night vision cameras; helicopters fitted with surveillance; telephone taps; vehicle tracking systems and advanced communication systems. After the 1992 bombing in the city of London the Home Office and the police began to promote private responsibility and defensible space amongst the public. Not only were technological advancements such as surveillance been used but also "human intelligence" began to be relied upon for infiltration into political groups and encouragement of informants within them, this tactic has proved successful against certain terrorist groups like Combat 18 [1] .

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During this time in addition to Irish terrorism the UK also experienced international terrorism Warner (1994 as cited in [2] ) calculated that between 1970 and 1994 there were 250 international terrorist incidents occurring on UK soil however none of these were specifically directed at the UK. Although some of these attacks were horrendous such as the bombing of flight Pam Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland (1988) which killed 270 people the international threat of terrorism to the UK had been relatively minor prior to September 11, 2001. The 1990s saw a growth in religious militant groups like Al Qaeda (AQ), these terrorists work anonymously and for themselves as many splinter groups are created around the world that share the same ideologies, communication; information and propaganda are shared with relative ease through the internet and technological advancements. As the internet is extremely difficult to monitor groups like AQ exploit this, over the past year AQ propaganda on the internet has claimed responsibility for the financial crises been experienced by the western world, although this is untrue it may be believed by some of their followers as it resonates with AQs aims and goes further to destroy the relationship between the west and AQ [3] . Their religious ideologies and extremist views increases the violence and lethality of their activities this is illustrated in the worst attack carried out by the IRA known as "Bloody Friday" which killed 9 and injured 130 in comparison to AQs attacks on the United States (US) which killed 3000 and left 6000 injured. The September 11 attacks on the US opened the new millennium with extreme violence against non-militant individuals and were carried out by individuals outside of state authority, this created worldwide fear and incomprehensibility, after these attacks the US declared WOT with the support of the UK and NATO, the main objective is to eliminate international terrorism.

The use of suicide bombers as a tactic for terrorist groups has been used since ancient times however the scale of the attack on the US on 9/11 created waves of shock and fear across the world. It has been argued that the emergence of the suicide bomber as a popular tactic for achieving political objectives is the most devastating legacy of the latter half of the twentieth century. For some terrorist groups suicide bombing is a way to restore collective justice; martyrdom and an alternative to remaining in a state of hopelessness however Forst (2009) [1] argued that there is no evidence to support the claim that suicide bombers restore hope. The US experienced the most devastating act of suicide bombing in 2001 when members of AQ brought down both towers of the World Trade Centre (WTC) in New York (NY). Hoffman (2006) [2] reported that 80% of suicide bombings that have taken place since 1968 occurred after the September 11 attack by AQ, Forst (2009) reports that this figure had increased to 95% by the end of 2008.

Suicide bombing as a tactic can be very effective as the target can be precisely aimed for with the physical location and timing of the explosive device been under full human control. Changes to target locations can be made at the discretion of the bomber if circumstances change, been able to have such control on the ground can have devastating effects far more than conventional weapons may have. Conventional weapons are extremely expensive and difficult to get and move around, for AQ the use of suicide bombers is easier as they may go unnoticed and in some cases may even be residents of the country they are attacking (home-grown terrorism), this is illustrated in the bombings that took place in London (2005) where all the bombers were residents of the UK. Hoffman (2004 as cited in [3] ) argues that prosecuting home-grown terrorists is not nearly as challenging as prosecuting international terrorism the primary reason being there is currently no agreed universal definition of terrorism as "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" [4] .

Finding common ground and room for negotiation with AQ has proved difficult for a number of reasons: they are a radically extremist group that refuses to coexist with the west even if some of their demands are met. They condone the use of violence in any way against the west and use exploitation and fear to gain followers. AQ regards the west as threat to the religious ideologies and aim their attacks on innocent civilians who live there. The AQ leader Bin Laden declared Jihad (holy war) on the west this has seriously hampered any possibility of a negotiation process, it has been suggested that just as Sinn Fein was used as a negotiator between the IRA and the NI and UK governments perhaps the Taliban could be used as negotiators between the west and AQ however Scanlan (2004) [1] argued that the Taliban ideologies are more closely related to AQ than they are to the west therefore this could be an issue in any negotiation process.

AQ is currently seeking out and demobilizing lawless areas as this provides them with an opportunity to gain followers this is illustrated in the recent activity in Yemen [2] . Levi (2007) [3] suggests that AQ seeks followers in people that are deprived; segregated and marginalised within societies this creates another problem as home grown terrorism is increasingly becoming an issue. Countries are finding it difficult to implement strategies that are able to catch and deal with home grown terrorists as they are part of the society they live in therefore they may go unnoticed until a attack takes place. Many of these individuals either work alone or as part of splinter groups that have linked themselves to AQs ideologies, the internet has become a tool for people to discover and share information; listen to propaganda and coordinate activities. Policing the internet has proved to be difficult however has been made somewhat possible by the introduction of certain legislation. After the 9/11 attacks the US immediately began processing new legislation to incorporate the change in tactics and mechanisms been used by terrorists in an attempt to reduce the threat of global terrorism. The US PATRIOT Act (Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism, 2001) extends US law enforcement agencies' powers to monitor internet use; to conduct physical searches and to access financial records through a variety of measures, agencies can use wiretaps on individuals that are in close proximity to the primary individual been tapped or conduct secret searches for evidence that constitutes a criminal offence no longer been limited to just those in connection with terrorism, these policing powers and tactics were extended to seize assets as a way of disrupting terrorist activities this idea stemmed largely from the FBI's success with the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organisations (RICO) legislation passed in 1970 [4] .

Since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States (US) international terrorism has become a major priority on both the UK and US agendas of national security. International terrorism now constitutes the main threat to national security and this threat has shaped both countries response to international terrorism [1] . Prior to 9/11 the main anti-terrorism legislation in the UK was The Terrorism Act (2000) this broadened the UK's definition of terrorism; replaced all temporary legislation in NI to combat terrorism and gave the police stop and search powers. These powers have come under serious criticism and The European Court of Human Rights ruled against these powers in 2010 stating that they were an interference with the right to privacy under Article 8(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the House of Lords stated that although these powers contradict the ECHR they were necessary to reduce the risk and threat of terrorism both in the UK and abroad [2] .

After the attacks of 9/11 the UK implemented new legislation, The Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act (2001) amended the previous Act of 2000 to make further provisions about terrorism and security, this provided for the freezing and seizing of assets (which had been a success in the US under RICO, 1970); provisions on immigration and asylum seeking; allows the home secretary to indefinitely detain without trial or charge foreign nationals that are suspected of terrorism; provision for various agencies to provide personal details on individuals during criminal and terrorism investigations [3] . Prior to the 9/11 attacks not many countries had considered the link between crimes for economic gain and terrorism however after these attacks according to the Cabinet Office (2002, as cited in [4] ) the National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit which is based within the Metropolitan Police Special Branch in the UK trebled its resources and staff with more than £100 million pounds worth of assets been frozen since 9/11 [5] . Other legislation has been introduced in an attempt to curb terrorism and their financing, for instance The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA, 2002) [6] , this Act provided for confiscation orders in relation to people who benefit from criminal conduct, it also established the Assets Recovery Agency now known as Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). The Terrorism Act (2006) extended the detainment period from 14 days to 28 days and the Counter-Terrorism Act (2008) was passed this made further provisions for the detention and questioning of terrorist suspects and to obtain DNA and finger prints from those been held on control orders. .

Recently the UK's counter terrorism strategy was thrown into turmoil when a judge in a special immigration court ruled that two terrorist suspects could not be deported as they could suffer torture and even death should they return to their home countries. The decision by Justice Mitting came after the police and MI5 operation was full of failings which triggered the resignation of the country's most senior counter-terrorism detective. The Home Secretary Theresa May expressed disappointment in the decision and assured the public that that they would do all they could to ensure that these two men did not engage in terrorist activity [1] .

In conclusion having assessed how useful national responses have being in tackling the threat posed by 21st century terrorism it is clear that a combined approach is beneficial however globalisation and the issues surrounding home grown terrorism are increasingly becoming an issue for governments and law enforcement officials. It is also clear that the threat of terrorism has changed over time with new tactics been used by radically extremist groups whose mission is to destroy what they consider to be their enemies. New emerging radical ideologies are making the chances og negotiation more difficult which in turn leads to a greater threat and risk of terrorist activities taking place around the world. It is clear that unless the world is able to interrupt and intercept the flow of misinformation from the various terrorist groups to their followers and eradicate enemies without creating new ones the WOT cannot be won.

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