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Counter-terrorism (also spelled counterterrorism) is the practices, tactics, techniques, and strategies that governments, militaries, police departments and corporations adopt to attack terrorist threats and/or acts, both real and imputed.
The tactic of terrorism (used by terrorists) is available to insurgents and governments. Not all insurgents use terror as a tactic, and some choose not to use it because other tactics work better for them in a particular context. Individuals, such as Timothy McVeigh, may also engage in terrorist acts such as the Oklahoma City bombing.
If the terrorism is part of a broader insurgency, counter-terrorism may also form a part of a counter-insurgency doctrine, but political, economic, and other measures may focus more on the insurgency than the specific acts of terror. Foreign internal defense (FID) is a term used for programs either to suppress insurgency, or reduce the conditions under which insurgency could develop. Counter-terrorism includes both the detection of potential acts and the response to related events.
The concept of anti-terrorism emerges from a thorough examining of the concept of terrorism and includes those measures taken to protect society from terrorist acts. Terrorism is distinctly different from acts that are intended to terrorize. In military contexts, almost all acts are intended to create fear. But terrorism is the organized, premeditated use of violence by non-state groups against non-combatants on order to advance an ideological goal.
Counter-terrorism refers to offensive strategies intended to prevent, deter, preempt, and respond to terrorism." In other words, counter-terrorism is a set of techniques for denying an opponent the use of terrorism-based tactics, just as counter-air is a set of techniques for denying the opponent the use of attack aircraft.
Anti-terrorism is defensive, intended to reduce the chance of an attack using terrorist tactics at specific points, or to reduce the vulnerability of possible targets to such tactics. "Defensive measures used to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and property to terrorist acts, to include limited response and containment by local military and civilian forces."
To continue the analogy between air and terrorist capability, offensive anti-air missions attack the airfields of the opponent, while defensive anti-air uses anti-aircraft missiles to protect a point on one's own territory. The Sri Lankan Civil War,,Colombian Civil War and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, are examples of conflicts where terrorism is present, along with other tactics, so that participants use counter- and anti-terrorism to limit the opponent's use of terror tactics. Units engaged in counter-terrorism include the US Navy Seals and Delta Force.
Building a counter-terrorism plan involves all segments of a society or many government agencies. In dealing with foreign terrorists, the lead responsibility is usually at the national level. Because propaganda and indoctrination lie at the core of terrorism, understanding their profile and functions increases the ability to counter terrorism more effectively.
See the series of articles beginning with intelligence cycle management, and, in particular, intelligence analysis. HUMINT presents techniques of describing the social networks that make up terrorist groups. Also relevant are the motivations of the individual terrorist and the structure of cell systems used by recent non-national terrorist groups.
Most counter-terrorism strategies involve an increase in standard police and domestic intelligence. The central activities are traditional: interception of communications, and the tracing of persons. New technology has, however, expanded the range of military and law enforcement operations.
Domestic intelligence is often directed at specific groups, defined on the basis of origin or religion, which is a source of political controversy. Mass surveillance of an entire population raises objections on civil liberties grounds. homegrown terrorists, especially lone wolves are often harder to detect because of their citizenship or legal alien status and better ability to stay under the radar.
To select the effective action when terrorism appears to be more of an isolated event, the appropriate government organizations need to understand the source, motivation, methods of preparation, and tactics of terrorist groups. Good intelligence is at the heart of such preparation, as well as political and social understanding of any grievances that might be solved. Ideally, one gets information from inside the group, a very difficult challenge for HUMINT because operational terrorist cells are often small, with all members known to one another, perhaps even related.
Counterintelligence is a great challenge with the security of cell-based systems, since the ideal, but nearly impossible, goal is to obtain a clandestine source within the cell. Financial tracking can play a role, as can communications intercept, but both of these approaches need to be balanced against legitimate expectations of privacy.
In response to the growing legislation.
One of the primary difficulties of implementing effective counter-terrorist measures is the waning of civil liberties and individual privacy that such measures often entail, both for citizens of, and for those detained by states attempting to combat terror. At times, measures designed to tighten security have been seen as abuses of power or even violations of human rights.
Examples of these problems can include prolonged, incommunicado detention without judicial review; risk of subjecting to torture during the transfer, return and extradition of people between or within countries; and the adoption of security measures that restrain the rights or freedoms of citizens and breach principles of non-discrimination. Examples include:
Many would argue that such violations exacerbate rather than counter the terrorist threat. Human rights advocates argue for the crucial role of human rights protection as an intrinsic part to fight against terrorism. This suggests, as proponents of human security have long argued, that respecting human rights may indeed help us to incur security. Amnesty International included a section on confronting terrorism in the recommendations in the Madrid Agenda arising from the Madrid Summit on Democracy and Terrorism (Madrid 8–11 March 2005):
While international efforts to combat terrorism have focused on the need to enhance cooperation between states, proponents of human rights (as well as human security) have suggested that more effort needs to be given to the effective inclusion of human rights protection as a crucial element in that cooperation. They argue that international human rights obligations do not stop at borders and a failure to respect human rights in one state may undermine its effectiveness in the international effort to cooperate to combat terrorism.
Some countries see preemptive attacks as a legitimate strategy. This includes capturing, killing, or disabling suspected terrorists before they can mount an attack. Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Russia have taken this approach, while Western European states generally do not.
Another major method of preemptive neutralization is interrogation of known or suspected terrorists to obtain information about specific plots, targets, the identity of other terrorists, whether or not the interrogation subjects himself is guilty of terrorist involvement. Sometimes more extreme methods are used to increase suggestibility, such as sleep deprivation or drugs. Such methods may lead captives to offer false information in an attempt to stop the treatment, or due to the confusion brought on by it. These methods are not tolerated by European powers. In 1978 the European Court of Human Rights ruled in the Ireland v. United Kingdom case that such methods amounted to a practice of inhuman and degrading treatment, and that such practices were in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights Article 3 (art. 3).
The human security paradigm outlines a non-military approach which aims to address the enduring underlying inequalities which fuel terrorist activity. Causal factors need to be delineated and measures implemented which allow equal access to resources and sustainability for all people. Such activities empower citizens providing 'freedom from fear' and 'freedom from want'.
This can take many forms including the provision of clean drinking water, education, vaccination programs, provision of food and shelter and protection from violence, military or otherwise. Successful human security campaigns have been characterized by the participation of a diverse group of actors including governments, NGOs, and citizens.
Foreign internal defense programs provide outside expert assistance to a threatened government. FID can involve both non-military and military aspects of counter-terrorism.
Another preventative action that has been used is the threat of and use of pork and pork products against radical religious groups that feel that contact with pork will render them unclean. The bodies of killed terrorists are daubed with lard and buried wrapped in pigskin.
Terrorism has often been used to justify military intervention in countries like Pakistan and Iran where terrorists are said to be based. That was the main stated justification for the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. It was also a stated justification for the second Russian invasion of Chechnya.
History has shown that military intervention has rarely been successful in stopping or preventing terrorism.[dubious ] Although military action can disrupt a terrorist group's operations temporarily, it rarely ends the threat.
Thus repression by the military in itself (particularly if it is not accompanied by other measures) usually leads to short term victories, but tend to be unsuccessful in the long run (e.g. the French's doctrine described in Roger Trinquier's book Modern War used in Indochina and Algeria). However, new methods (see the new Counterinsurgency Field Manual) such as those taken in Iraq have yet to be seen as beneficial or ineffectual.
Police, fire, and emergency medical response organizations have obvious roles. Local firefighters and emergency medical personnel (often called "first responders") have plans for mitigating the effects of terrorist attacks, although police may deal with threats of such attacks.
Whatever the target of terrorists, there are multiple ways of hardening the targets to prevent the terrorists from hitting their mark, or reducing the damage of attacks. One method is to place Jersey barrier or other sturdy obstacles outside tall or politically sensitive buildings to prevent car and truck bombing.
Aircraft cockpits are kept locked during flights, and have reinforced doors, which only the pilots in the cabin are capable of opening. English train stations removed their garbage cans in response to the Provisional IRA threat, as convenient locations for depositing bombs.
Scottish stations removed theirs after the 7th of July bombing of London as a precautionary measure. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority purchased bomb-resistant barriers after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
A more sophisticated target-hardening approach must consider industrial and other critical industrial infrastructure that could be attacked. Terrorists need not import chemical weapons if they can cause a major industrial accident such as the Bhopal disaster or the Halifax explosion. Industrial chemicals in manufacturing, shipping, and storage need greater protection, and some efforts are in progress. To put this risk into perspective, the first major lethal chemical attack in WWI used 160 tons of chlorine. Industrial shipments of chlorine, widely used in water purification and the chemical industry, travel in 90 or 55 ton tank cars.
To give one more example, the North American electrical grid has already demonstrated, in the Northeast Blackout of 2003, its vulnerability to natural disasters coupled with inadequate, possibly insecure, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) networks. Part of the vulnerability is due to deregulation leading to much more interconnection in a grid designed for only occasional power-selling between utilities. A very few terrorists, attacking key power facilities when one or more engineers have infiltrated the power control centers, could wreak havoc.
Equipping likely targets with containers (i.e., bags) of pig lard has been utilized to discourage attacks by Islamist suicide bombers. The technique was apparently used on a limited scale by British authorities in the 1940s. The approach stems from the idea that Muslims perpetrating the attack would not want to be "soiled" by the lard in the moment prior to dying. The idea has been suggested more recently as a deterrent to suicide bombings in Israel. However, the actual effectiveness of this tactic is probably limited as it is possible that a sympathetic Islamic scholar could issue a fatwa proclaiming that a suicide bomber would not be polluted by the swine products.
In North America and other continents, for a threatened or completed terrorist attack, the Incident Command System (ICS) is apt to be invoked to control the various services that may need to be involved in the response. ICS has varied levels of escalation, such as might be needed for multiple incidents in a given area (e.g., the 2005 bombings in London or the 2004 Madrid train bombings, or all the way to a National Response Plan invocation if national-level resources are needed. National response, for example, might be needed for a nuclear, biological, radiological, or large chemical attack.
Fire departments, perhaps supplemented by public works agencies, utility providers (e.g., gas, water, electricity), and heavy construction contractors, are most apt to deal with the physical consequences of an attack.
Again under an incident command model, local police can isolate the incident area, reducing confusion, and specialized police units can conduct tactical operations against terrorists, often using specialized counter-terrorist tactical units. Bringing in such units will normally involve civil or military authority beyond the local level.
Emergency medical services will bring the more seriously affected victims to hospitals, which will need to have mass casualty and triage plans in place.
Public health agencies, from local to national level, may be designated to deal with identification, and sometimes mitigation, of possible biological attacks, and sometimes chemical or radiologic contamination.
Today, many countries have special units designated to handle terrorist threats. Besides various security agencies, there are elite tactical units, also known as special mission units, whose role is to directly engage terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks.
Such units perform both in preventive actions, hostage rescue and responding to on-going attacks. Countries of all sizes can have highly trained counter-terrorist teams. Tactics, techniques and procedures for manhunting are under constant development.
Most of these measures deal with terrorist attacks that affect an area, or threaten to do so. It is far harder to deal with assassination, or even reprisals on individuals, due to the short (if any) warning time and the quick exfiltration of the assassins.
These units are specially trained in tactics and are very well equipped for CQB with emphasis on stealth and performing the mission with minimal casualties. The units include take-over force (assault teams), snipers, EOD experts, dog handlers and intelligence officers. See Counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism organizations for national command, intelligence, and incident mitigation.
The majority of counter-terrorism operations at the tactical level, are conducted by state, federal and national law enforcement agencies or intelligence agencies. In some countries, the military may be called in as a last resort. Obviously, for countries whose military are legally permitted to conduct police operations, this is a non-issue, and such counter-terrorism operations are conducted by their military.
See Counter-intelligence for command, intelligence and warning, and incident mitigation aspects of counter-terror.
Some counterterrorist actions of the 20th century are listed below. See List of hostage crises for a more extended list, including hostage-taking that did not end violently.
|Incident||Main locale||Hostage nationality||Kidnappers/hijackers||Counter-terrorist force||Results|
|1972||Munich Massacre||Munich Olympics, Germany||Israeli||Black September||Israeli Mossad, German police||All hostages murdered, 5 kidnappers killed. 3 kidnappers captured and released.|
|1975||AIA Hostage Incident||AIA building, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||US, Swedish Embassies. Mixed||Japanese Red Army||Malaysian police||All hostages rescued, all kidnappers flew up to Libya.|
|1976||Entebbe raid||Entebbe, Uganda||Mixed. Israelis and Jews separated into a different room, non-Jewish hostages were released shortly after capture.||PFLP||Sayeret Matkal, Sayeret Tzanhanim, Sayeret Golani||All 6 hijackers, 45 Ugandan troops, 3 hostages and 1 Israeli soldier dead. 100 hostages rescued|
|1977||Hijacking of Lufthansa Flight 181||Spanish airspace and Mogadishu, Somalia||Mixed||PFLP||GSG 9, Special Air Service consultants||1 hostage, 3 hijackers dead, 1 captured. 90 hostages rescued.|
|1980||Iranian Embassy Siege||London, UK||Mostly Iranian but some British||Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan||Special Air Service||1 hostage, 5 kidnappers dead, 1 captured. 24 hostages rescued. 1 SAS operative received minor burns.|
|1981||Hijacking of "Woyla" Garuda Indonesia||Don Muang International Airport, Thailand||Indonesian||Jihad Commandos||Kopassus, RTAF mixed forces||1 hijacker killed himself, 4 hijackers and 1 Kopassus operative dead, 1 pilot wounded, all hostages rescued.|
|1983||Turkish embassy attack||Lisbon, Portugal||Turkish||Armenian Revolutionary Army||GOE||5 hijackers, 1 hostage and 1 policeman dead, 1 hostage and 1 policeman wounded.|
|1985||Capture of Achille Lauro hijackers||International airspace and Italy||Mixed||PLO||US military, turned over to Italy||1 dead in hijacking, 4 hijackers convicted in Italy|
|1993||Operation Ashwamedh||Amritsar,India||141 passengers||Islamic terrorist(Mohammed Yousuf Shah)||NSG commandos||1 hijacker killed,all hostages rescued|
|1996||Japanese embassy hostage crisis||Lima, Peru||Japanese and guests (800+)||Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement||Peruvian military & police mixed forces||1 hostage, 2 rescuers, all 14 kidnappers dead.|
|2000||Sauk Arms Heist||Perak, Malaysia||2 policemens, 1 army and 1 civilian||Al-Ma'unah||Grup Gerak Khas and 20 police Pasukan Gerakan Khas mixed forces||2 hostages dead, 2 rescuers, 1 kidnapper dead and all 28 kidnappers captured.|
|2002||Moscow theater hostage crisis||Moscow||Mixed, mostly Russian (900+)||Chechen||Russian spetsnaz||129-204 hostages dead, all 39 kidnappers dead. 600-700 hostages freed.|
|2004||Beslan school hostage crisis||Beslan, North Ossetia-Alania, (an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation).||Russian||Chechen||Mixed Russian||334 hostages dead and hundreds wounded. 10-21 rescuers dead. 31 kidnappers killed, 1 captured.|
|2007||Lal Masjid siege||Islamabad, Pakistan||Pakistani students||Lal Masjid students and militants||Pakistani Army and Rangers SSG commandos||61 militants killed, 50 militants captured, 23 students killed, 11 SSG killed,1 Ranger killed,33 SSG wounded,8 soldiers wounded,3 Rangers wounded, 14 civilians killed|
|2007||Kirkuk Hostage Rescue||Kirkuk, Iraq||Turkman Child Rescued by PUK's Kurdistan Regional Government's CTG Counter Terrorism Group in Kirkuk from Arab kidnappers||Islamic State of Iraq Al Qaeda||5 kidnappers arrested, 1 hostage rescued|
|2008||Operation Jaque||Colombia||Mixed||Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia||15 hostages released. 2 kidnappers captured|
|2008||Operations Dawn||Gulf of Aden, Somalia||Mixed||Somalian piracy and militants||PASKAL and international mixed forces||Negotiation finished. 80 hostages released. RMN including PASKAL navy commandos with international mixed forces patrolling the Gulf of Aden during this festive period.|
|2008||2008 Mumbai attacks||Multiple locations in Mumbai city||Indian Nationals, Foreign tourists||Ajmal Qasab and other Pakistani nationals affiliated to Laskar-e-taiba||300 NSG commandos, 36-100 Marine commandos and 400 army Para Commandos||141 Indian civilians, 30 foreigners, 15 policemen and two NSG commandos were killed.
9 attackers killed,1 attacker captured and 293 injured
|2009||2009 Lahore Attacks||Multiple locations in Lahore city||Pakistan||Laskar-e-taiba or LeT||Police Commandos, Army Rangers Battalion||fired upon by 12 gunmen, near the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan. The cricketers were on their way to play the third day of the second Test against the Pakistani cricket team. Six members of the Sri Lankan cricket team were injured. Six Pakistani policemen and two civilians killed.
30 March 2009, the Manawan Police Academy in Lahore, Pakistan attacked by an estimated 12 gunmen. The perpetrators were armed with automatic weapons and grenades or rockets and some were dressed as policemen. During the course of the attack and siege eight police personnel, two civilians and eight gunmen killed and 95 people injured. At least four of the gunmen captured alive by the security forces. The terrorist attacks took place at the offices of Rescue-15 and the (ISI) as well as the official residences of police officers at the Plaza Cinema Chowk at around 10:10am. At least three terrorists, Toyota Hiace van laden with high quality explosives. The toll of the explosion was heavy. No less than 70 vehicles and motorcycles and dozens of adjacent and nearby buildings, mostly used for shops and offices, were damaged. Among the dead were 16 policemen, an army officer and many civilians including a 12-year-old boy. More than 251 others were injured.
The scope for Anti-terrorism systems is very large in physical terms (long borders, vast areas, high traffic volumes in busy cities, etc.) as well as in other dimensions, such as type and degree of terrorism threat, political and diplomatic ramifications, and legal issues. In this environment, the development of a persistent Anti-terrorism protection system is a daunting task. Such a system should bring together diverse state-of-the-art technologies to enable persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, and enable potential actions. Designing such a system-of-systems comprises a major technological project.
A particular design problem for this system is that it will face many uncertainties in the future. The threat of terrorism may increase, decrease or remain the same, the type of terrorism and location are difficult to predict, and there are technological uncertainties. Yet we want to design a terrorism system conceived and designed today in order to prevent acts of terrorism for a decade or more. A potential solution is to incorporate flexibility into system design for the reason that the flexibility embedded can be exercised in future as uncertainty unfolds and updated information arrives. And the design and valuation of a protection system should not be based on a single scenario, but an array of scenarios. Flexibility can be incorporated in the design of the terrorism system in the form of options that can be exercised in the future when new information is available. Using these ‘real options’ will create a flexible Anti-terrorism system that is able to cope with new requirements that may arise.
+ indicates military organization allowed to operate domestically.
Given the nature of operational counter-terrorism tasks national military organizations do not generally have dedicated units whose sole responsibility is the prosecution of these tasks. Instead the counter-terrorism function is an element of the role, allowing flexibility in their employment, with operations being undertaken in the domestic or international context.
In some cases the legal framework within which they operate prohibits military units conducting operations in the domestic arena; United States Department of Defense policy, based on the Posse Comitatus Act, forbids domestic counter-terrorism operations by the U.S. military. Units allocated some operational counter-terrorism task are frequently Special Forces or similar assets.
In cases where military organisations do operate in the domestic context some form of formal handover from the law enforcement community is regularly required, to ensure adherence to the legislative framework and limitations. such as the Iranian Embassy Siege, the British police formally turned responsibility over to the Special Air Service when the situation went beyond police capabilities.
|Book: Counterterrorism Handbook|
|Wikipedia books are collections of articles that can be downloaded or ordered in print.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Counter-terrorism|
||This article's use of external links may not follow Wikipedia's policies or guidelines. Please improve this article by removing excessive or inappropriate external links, and converting useful links where appropriate into footnote references. (August 2010)|
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