thesis paper


Terrorism is the use of violence and threatens to obtain political demands. Terrorist have struck in just about every country across the world. Terrorism in an advanced stage of a failed political process that begans with inequalities and injustice. This process moves from frustrated attempts of reform, to political confrontation that erupts in violence, which can be exploited to rationalize the use of any form of violence against any target. In this paper i will go into detail about terrorism, terrorist leaders (past and present), statistics, and many facts about terrorism, but more importantly i will share my views on the subject as well.

Some experts suggest that modern-day terrorist most often represented by Al-Qaeda, do not have the same political agendas as thier ancestors, and causing mass casualties is not a fear of theirs.  particularly, weapons of mass destruction are not off limits for them. The 21st-century terrorist are as likely to welcome the possibility of mass casualties and suffering as be limited by it. None the less, this is not a universal position, as other experts maintain that WMD’s, while possible, are improbable. Although, of course, devastating if successful.

Current global terrorism is widely looked upon as a solely malicious threat currently focused on attacking the United States, its allies, and its interests on many international fronts. These terrorist activities threaten to bring the problem of weapons of mass destruction into an entirely new and highly destructive arena. Global terrorist networks such as Al-Qaeda do not raise money from taxes or operate under the control of a government that can be defeated or bargained with. To raise funds, they often engage in criminal acts or ally with criminal organizations.

Al-Qaeda is a global militant Islamic group founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989.  He was a member of the wealthy Saudi bin Laden family, and an ethnic Yemeni Kindite. Al-Qaeda is the terrorist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets. Osama was on the FBI’s ten most wanted fugitives and the most wanted terrorist list for his invlovment in the 1988 U.S. embassy bombings.  From 2001 to 2011, Bin Laden was a major target of the War on Terror. Al-Qaeda operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad. Al-Qaeda has attacked civilian and military targets in various countries, such as the September 11 attacks, Beslan school hostage crisis, US embassy bombings in Bali, Indonesia. The U.S. government responded by launching the War on Terror. Al-Qaeda has continued to exist and grow through the decade from 2001 to 2011.

They are bolstered by religious fervor that can accommodate many different agendas.  They strategically align themselves with real grievances or strong perceptions of real grievances. They artfully manipulate mass media to promote sympathy and support, for their "courageous" struggle against a vast, wealthy enemy. They draw recruits from the angry, terrified, poor, and from the well-educated, privileged youth of middle class suburbs around the world. To both they offer a sense of meaning as well as a sense of identity from membership or affiliation with the terrorist group.

Al-Qaeda reaches people by assuming the disguise of a nongovernmental organization (NGO) or by radicalizing the curriculum of an elementary school. They utilize both highly sophisticated technologies as well as crude but destructive weapons cobbled together from hardware stores and rental agencies. They frequently utilize the Internet to enlist recruits, communicate among themselves, and train in techniques.  

After being placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list, bin Laden remained in hiding during three U.S. presidential administrations. On May 2, 2011, bin Laden was shot and killed inside a private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by U.S. Navy SEALs and CIA operatives in a covert operation ordered by U.S. President Barack Obama. Shortly after his death, bin Laden's body was buried at sea. Al-Qaeda acknowledged his death on May 6, 2011, vowing to retaliate.

While the catastrophic global terrorism associated with Islamic extremism is not the only form of terrorism evident in the world today, because of its open-ended agenda, its desire to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction, and its hostility toward the United States and its allies, it is the most alarming contemporary form of terrorism. Other extremists such as the Pakistani Taliban target more localized grievances and have more limited aims and are primarily focused on attacks within Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Understanding the motivations and operations of terrorism demands simultaneous investigation of the impact terrorism has on individuals, communities, and whole societies. In addition to targeting the physical well being of the populace, the ultimate goal of terrorism is often to instill fear and create ongoing anxiety.

In this regard, terrorism is often remarkably effective.. Studies conducted in the United States following the 9/11 terrorist attacks demonstrated that fear and anxiety were widespread--and not merely on the direct targets of the actions. Indeed, widespread media and press coverage of major terrorist attacks has expanded the psychological impact of these events and turned the psychological impact of localized attacks into a global issue that can ripple beyond the immediately affected communities. For example, perhaps more than 100,000 individuals directly witnessed the events of September 11, but millions of others across the world viewed the attacks and their aftermath via the media.

When framed within this context, these attacks did far more than destroy buildings and kill thousands of innocent people. They shattered a sense of security and perceptions of invulnerability among residents of the United States and the Western world. They interrupted the rhythm and social fabric across the entire United States, not simply in New York City, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.  Terrorists, governments, see the

function roles and responsibilities of the media when covering terrorist events from differing and often competing perspectives. Such perspectives drive behavior during terrorist incidents often resulting in both tactical and strategic gains to the terrorist operation and the overall terrorist cause.

The challenge to both the governmental and press communities is to understand the dynamics of terrorist enterprise and to develop policy options designed to serve the interests of government, the media, and the society.   Terrorists must have publicity in some form if they are to gain attention, inspire fear and respect, and secure favorable understanding of their cause, if not their act. Governments need public understanding, cooperation, restraint, and loyalty in efforts to limit terrorist harm to society and in efforts to punish or apprehend those responsible for terrorist acts. Journalists and the media in general pursue the freedom to cover events and issues without restraint, especially governmental restraint.  



Terrorists need publicity, usually free publicity that a group could normally not afford or buy. Any publicity surrounding a terrorist act alerts the world that a problem exists that cannot be ignored and must be addressed. From a terrorist perspective, an unedited interview with a major figure is a treasured prize, such as the May 1997 CNN interview with Saudi dissident, terrorist recruiter and financier Osama Bin Ladin. For news networks, access to a terrorist is a hot story and is usually treated as such.

They seek a favorable understanding of their cause, if not their act. One may not agree with their act but this does not preclude being sympathetic to their plight and their cause. Terrorists believe the public "needs help" in understanding that their cause is just and terrorist violence is the only course of action available to them against the superior evil forces of state and establishment. Good relationships with the press are important here and they are often cultivated and nurtured over a period of years. Terrorist organizations may also seek to court, or place, sympathetic personnel in press positions-particularly in wire services-and in some instances may even seek to control smaller news organizations through funding.

Terrorist causes want the press to give legitimacy to what is often portrayed as ideological or personality feuds or divisions between armed groups and political wings. For the military, tacticial war is the continuation of politics by other means. For the sophisticated terrorist, politics is the continuation of terror by other means. In hostage situations terrorists need to have details on identity, number and value of hostages, as well as details about pending rescue attempts, and details on the public exposure of their operation. Particularly where state sponsors are involved, the terrorist want details about any plans for military retaliation.  

Terrorist organizations seek media coverage that causes damage to their enemy. This is particularly noticeable when the perpetrators of the act and the rationale for their act remain unclear. They want the media to amplify panic, to spread fear, to facilitate economic loss (like scaring away investment and tourism), to make populations lose faith in their governments' ability to protect them, and to trigger government and popular overreaction to specific incidents and the overall threat of terrorism.  

Terrorism has caused lots of heart ache, wars in countries, money loss, and states of emergency. I believe that terrorism is completely uncalled for. Terrorism is the scum of this world if you asked me. I am glad one of the biggest leaders of terrorism this world has ever encountered is dead, the world should and can be more safe knowing that monster is gone. Terrorism will never stop due to idiots in 3rd world countries but with America in control i feel everything will be ok.