Monday, June 07, 2010

The History of Terror in One Easy Lesson

A friend in the Armed Forces sent me this list of terrorist incidents, allegedly taken from government anti-terrorism training.  With a few of my own additions:

Historical Example





Fort Hood Shooting 2009 Fort Hood, TX Nidal Malik Hasan Automatic Weapons Fire

M/V Maersk Alabama


Off the Coast of Somalia

Somali Pirates

Ship Boarding / Hostage Taking

Christmas Day Bomber 2009 Detroit, MI Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab PETN Explosives

Mumbai Terrorist Attacks


Mumbai, India


Assault Weapons / IEDs

Serena Hotel


Kabul, Afghanistan


Vehicle-Borne IED, Suicide Vest, Automatic Weapons Fire, Grenades

Islamabad Marriott Bombing


Islamabad, Pakistan

Harkatul Jehadul (Suspected)

Vehicle-Borne/Backpack IED (Suicide Bombing)

Fort Dix Plot


Fort Dix, NJ

Muslim Extremist Terrorist Cell

Automatic Weapons Fire

London Subway Bombing


London, England

Muslim Extremists
(possibly linked to Al-Qaeda)

Backpack IED
(Suicide Bombing)

Thomas Hamill


Balad, Iraq

Multiple Insurgent Groups

Hostage Holding

Madrid Subway Bombing


Madrid, Spain

Muslim Extremists
(possibly linked to Al-Qaeda)

Backpack IED

Camp Pennsylvania


Camp Pennsylvania Kuwait

Hasan Karim Akbar

Grenades, Weapons Fire

DC Sniper


Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C.

John Allen Muhammad, Lee Boyd Malvo

High-Powered Rifle/Sniper

Bali Nightclub Bombing


Bali, Indonesia

Jemaah Islamiyah

Vehicle-Borne/Backpack IED (Suicide Bombing)

Paradise Hotel and Civilian Airline Attack


Mombasa, Kenya

Al-Ittihad al Islamiya With Al-Qaeda Support

Vehicle-Borne IED, Surface-To-Air Missiles

Los Angeles Airport Shooting 2002 LAX, CA Hesham Mohamed Hadayet Small Arms Fire

Singapore Plot



Al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah, Moro Islamic Liberation Front

Explosives Comprised of Ammonia Nitrate

US Anthrax Attacks


New York, NY
Washington, D.C.
Boca Raton, FL


Biological Weapon

Shoe Bomber 2001 Paris, France Richard Reid C-4 Explosives

United Flight 93


Shanksville, PA


Skyjacking of passenger jet liner

USS Cole


Aden Harbor, Yemen


Vessel-Borne IED (Suicide Bombing)

African Embassy Bombings


Nairobi, Kenya
El Salaam, Tanzania


Vehicle-Borne IED (Suicide Bombing)

Deir el-Bahri


Luxor, Egypt

Al-Gamd'a al-Isamiyya &
Jihad Talaat al-Faith

Automatic Weapons Fire

Japanese Ambassador's Residence


Lima, Peru

Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA)

Hostage Holding

Khobar Towers


Dahran, Saudi Arabia

Dahran, Saudi Arabia

Vehicle-Borne IED

Tokyo Subway Attack


Tokyo, Japan

Aum Shinrikyo

Chemical Weapon

Oklahoma City Bombing


Oklahoma City, OK

Timothy McVeigh

Vehicle-Borne IED

World Trade Center Bombing 1993 New York City, NY Ramzi Yousef, et al. urea nitrate-hydrogen explosion
CIA HQ Shooting 1993 Langley, VA Mir Aimal Kasi Automatic Weapons Fire

CAPT Nordeen


Athens, Greece

November 17 (N-17)

Vehicle-Borne IED

Pan Am 103 1988 Lockerbie, Scotland Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi Explosives

La Belle Discotheque


Berlin, Germany

Libyan and Syrian

Suitcase IED

Edward Pimental


Rhein-Main, Germany

Red Army Faction

Vehicle-Borne IED

Zona Rosa


San Salvador, El Salvador

Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front

Small Arms Fire

TWA Flight 847


Athens, Greece

Lebanese Radicals

Skyjacking of
passenger jet liner

Achille Lauro 1985 Egypt Palestine Liberation Front Cruise ship hijacking

Terry Anderson


Beirut, Lebanon

Hezbollah (with
Iranian Support)

Hostage Holding

Marine Barracks Bombing


Beirut, Lebanon

Islamic Jihad
Organization (under
direction of Iran)

Vehicle-Borne IED
(Suicide Bombing)

CAPT Tsantes


Athens, Greece

November 17 (N-17)

Gunshot from
Passing Motorcycle

Albert Shaufelberger


San Salvador, El Salvador

Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion Nacional

Small Arms Fire

General Dozier (part 1)


Verona, Italy

Red Brigade


General Dozier (part 2)


Padua, Italy

Red Brigade

Hostage Holding

Stockholm Syndrome


Stockholm, Sweden

Jan Erik Olsson

Hostage Holding

For those of you keeping score at home, I count 29/42 perpetrated by Muslims, 9/42 by communists (the last being in 1996), and 4 miscellaneous. 

A few quibbles:  Dozier gets counted twice.  We can quibble about whether the insurgent attacks in Iraq (combined under “Thomas Hamill”) are appropriate on this list.  Finally, I’m not sure what Aum Shinrikyo is doing here.  If we’re going to count terrorism by foreigners against foreigners on foreign soil, the list would necessarily be a lot longer.

On the other hand, the original list neglected several:  the Christmas Day Bomber, the Fort Hood shooting, the Los Angeles Airport Shooting, the Shoe Bomber, the 1993 WTC bombing, the CIA HQ shooting, the Lockerbie bombing, and the Achille Lauro hijacking.  Weird.

Still, though, a pretty comprehensive look at who our enemies are.


Professor Hale said...

The Fort Hood shooter used semi-automatic pistols. Not automatics.

The Beltway "sniper" used a .223 cal semi-automatic AR-15. Calling it high-power is a bit of a stretch.

I notice you are also leaving off school shootings. Beslan would certainly qualify as terrorist, but the others were just psychopaths. Tim McVeigh was also a psychopath, not a terrorist. But it please most people to put him in this category as the token white guy.

Also absent from the list, the Russians have had several years of Chechan terrorist stuff. (chechans are moslem).

Iranian revolution didn't make the cut?

Professor Hale said...

Also, the beltway "sniper" was not really a terrorist. He started it as a cover the intended murder of his ex wife. When I got bigger, he figured out that if anything happened to his ex, he would become the prime suspect. So then he shifted his motive to profit.

But he was a moslem convert, if you count "black" Islam as Islam.

Φ said...

Prof Hale: Yeah, the list was kind of a hodge podge, with no obvious standard for what should go in or out. School shootings a la Columbine obviously don't count. Breslin would count if you're counting terrorism that's fully foreign, which I wasn't, but the original list had two instances. A closer call would be adding the Pentagon and Holocaust Museum shootings in the miscellaneous/"right wing" category.

The Iranian hostage crisis is another close call. Certainly it was a violation of international law and custom. On the other hand, it had several mitigating circumstances: nobody was killed (I think?); it was government sanctioned; it was on their home ground; it didn't have any obvious goal other than to humiliate the U.S. and bolster the revolutionary government.

Regarding the DC Sniper: according to Wikipedia, the ex-wife theory was presented by the prosecution, but ultimately rejected by the court. Muhammad himself claimed to be on a jihad. Sometimes we gotta take folks at their word.

Elusive Wapiti said...

Holy crap that's a long list.

Also missing is another token honkey...Joe Stack who flew his plane into the IRS building in Austin. Although that was property damage only and no deaths.

Where's the SPLC when you need 'em?

Professor Hale said...

Muhammad's claim is undercut by his concurrent claim for a few million dollars deposited to an offshore account. The Jihad thing just helps him sleep at night. (though I hear he is sleeping peacefuly either way right now).

The critical piece that distinguishes terrorist from psycopath is state sponsorship. Terrorism is just a tactic. When that tactic is used by an individual, no matter what he claims his motives are, he is just a psycopath. When the tactic is used by an organization, to further the groups goals, it is a criminal activity. When that organization has state sponsorship, it is a terrorist.

America has known plenty of serial killers and none were caller terrorists. The definition is not about how the victim feels (terrorized), but about how the offender will use that tactic to further his ends. Tim McVeigh was just more successfukl than Charles Manson and the Uni-Bomber but under the hood, they were the same.