Terrorism


Notes
American Red Cross Website news, information
Bioterror: Nova history of biowarfare (flash), global guide to bioweapons (flash), vaccines, biowarriors
Bioterrorism Washington Post articles
Bioterrorism Resources large collection of links
Bioterrorism - September 11 Aftermath: Health Policy and Public Health Developments from the Kaiser Family Foundation
The Bioweaponeers "In the last few years, Russian scientists have invented the world's deadliest plagues. Have we learned about this too late to stop it?" - article by Richard Preston
"Cold War Leaves a Deadly Anthrax Legacy" article by Judith Miller
Criminal Enforcement Against Terrorists: A Special TRAC Report up-to-date and complete report on how the government is dealing with terrorism
Do You Feel Safer? articles and commentary on the War on Terrorism and other meaningless phrases
Documents on Terrorism from Yale Law School
The End of Privacy readings on surveillance technology
Get Your War On cartoons about terrorism
How to Talk to Children About the Threat of Biological Warfare or Terroris Attack article for parents and teachers
The Legacy of Theodore Shackley "Shackley's Chile coverup highlights one of the built-in quandaries of the intelligence business: congressional oversight. If the overseers of Congress do not know what to ask about, how can they keep track of what the cloak-and-dagger set is doing?"
Legislation Related to the Attack of Sept. 11, 2001 from Thomas
The Nature of Terrorism
Peacemakers Speak following Sept.11, statements from 17 Nobel Peace Prize winners
SEPTEMBER 11 DISASTER page of links
Terrorism.com "dedicated to informing the public of the phenomena of terrorism and information warfare. This site features essays and thought pieces on current issues, as well as links to other terrorism documents, research and resources"
Terrorism and Security Collection a collection of books the texts of which can be searched
Terrorism and Usama Bin Laden documents from the New York court trial of Usama Bin Laden and others for the August 7, 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar al-Salaam, Tanzania
Terrorism Annual Reports
Terrorism - Hunting Bin Laden a Frontline story
"Terrorism: Is Islam really a religion of peace?" from Understanding Islam
Terrorism Project: CDI Center for Defense Information - "designed to provide insights, in-depth analysis and facts on the military, security and foreign policy challenges as the United States, and the world, faces terrorism"
Terrorist Attacks and Organizations: Attack Map and Database from the Washington Post
What Now? answers to the question after Sept. 11
What to Tell Children About Terrorist Bombings excellent article from Northwestern University Medical School
Wider War Watch: The "War on Terrorism" and the Impetus to Widen It progressive news articles about the war
WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACK page of links


"This is an eternal war against terrorism. It's like a war against dandruff. There's no such thing as a war against terrorism. It's idiotic. These are slogans. These are lies. It's advertising, which is the only art form we ever invented and developed...

"...you can only have a war with another country. You can't have a war with bad temper... Nothing makes any sense, and the people are getting very confused. The people are not stupid, but they are totally misinformed" (David Barsamian. "Gore Vidal." The Progressive, August 2006: 34-5).


"More important than the futility of armed force, and ultimately more important, is the fact that war in our time always results in the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people. To put it more bluntly, war is terrorism. That is why a "war on terrorism" is a contradiction in terms...

More than a million civilians in Vietnam were killed by US bombs, presumably by "accident." Add up all the terrorist attacks throughout the world in the twentieth century and they do not equal that awful toll.

"If reacting to terrorism attacks by war is inevitably immoral, then we must look for ways other than war to end terrorism" (Howard Zinn. "Why War Fails." The Progressive, Nov. 2006: 14-15).


"Rumsfeld's plan to provoke terrorists.. the United States government is planning to use secret military operations in order to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people. In a strange twist of logic, it seems the plan is to somehow combat terrorism by causing it" (Phillips, Peter, and Project Censored. Censored 2004: The Top 25 Censored Stories. NY: Seven Stories Press, 2003: 44).


"All sensate observers agree that the war on Iraq has been a distraction from combating terrorism -- draining intelligence, resources and political attention" ("Dissing Dean." The Nation, Jan. 12, 2004: 3).


"Albert Camus, looking back on two world wars that had slaughtered more than 70 million people: When do we have the right to kill our fellow human beings or let them be killed?...

"What is overlooked by those who believe the benefits of the war outweigh the costs is that killing even one innocent person to benefit others violates the most basic human right -- the right to life...

"Terrorism is simply a criminal technique for coercing a political agenda by killing innocent people"(Paul Savoy. "The Moral Case Against the Iraq War." The Nation, May 31, 2004: 16-20).


"...Bush very quietly zeroed out a request by the IRS to increase by half the number of investigators it has to follow the money trail of terrorism" (Jim Hightower. "Hiding the Bad News." Texas Observer, 5/7/04: 15).


"...Wilcox wrote, "Armed force... while politically popular, is usually an ineffective and often counterproductive weapon against terror"...

""Embarking on a full-scale war to rid oneself of terrorists is analogous to hunting a hornet with a Sherman tank," wrote Norman Mailer" (Scott Sherman. "The Rebirth of the NYRB." The Nation, June 7, 2004: 16-20).


"Nobel Peace Prize-winner Shirin Ebadi... fifty-seven year-old lawyer and activist... One of the first female judges in Iran... "..we are born to suffer because we are born in the Third World," she wrote... she is the first Iranian to be awarded the Nobel...

"..she condemned governments that "hide behind the shield of Islam and continue to oppress their citizens"...

"When women protest and ask for their rights, they are silenced with the argument that the laws are justified under Islam. It is an unfounded argument. It is not Islam at fault, but rather the patriarchal culture that uses its own interpretations to justify whatever it wants...

"There is no "true Islam," just different interpretations. Since I brought up patriarchy, let me make one thing clear. I am not singling out men; I am addressing the issue of inequality of genders. A patriarchy does not only not accept the equality of the sexes, it also has a hard time understanding the principles of democracy and its essence. Women are the victims of this patriarchal culture, but they are also its carriers. Let us keep in mind that every oppressive man was raised in the confines of his mother's home. This is the culture we need to resist and fight...

"Q: What's your response to the argument that human rights is just a Western invention and are not applicable to the Middle East?

"Ebadi: The idea of cultural relativism is nothing but an excuse to violate human rights... I know of no civilization that tolerates or justifies violence, terrorism, or injustice. There is no civilization that justifies the killing of innocent people...

"Q:... If the United States is fighting the war on terrorism in the wrong way, then what is the right way...?

"Ebadi:...the United States and a few other governments have used the war on terrorism as a way of violating human rights... [for instance] the Guantanamo Bay prisoners...

"I also want to raise this important question of whether the punishment of terrorists has led to a decline in the acts of terrorism that we have witnessed. Unfortunately, the answer is a negative, since terrorism seems to be on a rise, not a decline.

"We need to do away with what is causing terrorism in the first place. Terrorism is based on two major pillars: One is injustice, and the other is a certainty of attitude, the notion that their version of the story is the correct one. This way of thinking --this self-certainty -- is based on not being educated. Once you get exposed to other cultures, civilizations, and ways of thinking, this self-certainty should evaporate. How do you do away with this? By promoting education throughout the world...

"We also have to acknowledge that certain groups and countries benefit from waging war. Instead of dealing with the causes of terrorism, they let terrorism serve as a justification for war... the countries with important military-industrial complexes that engage in producing arms, including the United States" (Amitabh Pal. "Shirin Ebadi: Interview." The Progressive, Sep. 2004: 35-39).


"It really is much more important to understand why we should not have invaded in the first place. Not just a case of bad information on the WMDs, or on the supposed ties to Al Qaeda. We need to get it through our heads that the real mistake was invading in the face of almost universal opposition from the rest of the world... The single most important weapon we have against terrorists is international cooperation, and that what we so stupidly blew in this case. Just threw it away in a miserable display of arrogant "diplomacy" -- a combination of threats, lies, and bribes that insulted our closest allies" (Molly Ivins. "The News Hens Get Teresa." The Progressive, Sep. 2004_ 50).


"...Osama bin Laden's actual (and perverse) motivations. As Anonymous (a CIA analyst...) noted in his new book, Imperial Hubris, bin Laden's "attacks are meant to advance bin Laden's clear, focused, limited, and widely popular foreign policy goals" -- which include ending U.S. support of Israel and apostate Muslim regimes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and Jordan. "Bin Laden," he writes, "is out to drastically alter U.S. and western policies toward the Islamic world, not necessarily to destroy America, much less its freedoms and liberties"" (David Corn. "Shh, Don't Tell the Swing Voters." The Nation, Sep. 13, 2004: 37).


"Since no one can rid the world of terrorists, a never-ending "war" on terrorism is a juvenile concept. Does anyone believe that a "war on drugs" or a "war on poverty" can be won? The vocabulary used to describe today's poor thinking is so absurd that no one should be surprised when tomorrow's adults (today's children) declare "war" on practically everything" ("Letters." The Nation, Sep. 13, 2004: 42).

"In military strategy "terrorism" is simply the use of the "indirect approach." The "direct approach" uses massive numbers of troops, planes, bombs, artillery and tanks. There is no way to defeat the indirect approach unless we depopulate the Muslim world... Greider writes of "fanatical terrorists" throughout the world. What is more fanatical than the "shock and awe" of dropping thousands of tons of depleted uranium on a civilian population?" ("Letters." The Nation, Sep. 13, 2004: 42).


"Osama bin Laden was already understood to be trying to spark a "clash of civilization" that would set the West against the whole House of Islam... apocalyptic conflict between irreconcilable cultures...

"...the primitive notion that violence can be a sacred act. The cult of martyrdom... was institutionalized in the Crusades...

"...the deeper significance of Bush's inadvertent reference to the Crusades: Instead of being a last recourse or a necessary evil, violence was established then as the perfectly appropriate, even chivalrous, first response to what is wrong in the world... Bush's savior is the Jesus whose cross is wielded as a sword. George W. Bush, having cheerfully accepted responsibility for the executions of 152 death-row inmates in Texas, had already shown himself to be entirely at home with divinely sanctioned violence. After 9/11, no wonder it defined his deepest urge...

"...Ariel Sharon's government took up the Bush "dead or alive" credo with unthusiasm and used the "war on terrorism" to fuel self-defeating over-reactions to Palestinian provocations...

"The odd and tragic thing is that the world before Bush was actually nearing consensus on how to manage the problem of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and had begun to put in place promising structures designed to prevent such spread... All of that has been trashed by Bush. "International law?" he smirked in December 2003. "I better call my lawyer"...

"Now indications are that nations all over the globe -- Japan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Brazil, Australia -- have begun re-evaluating their rejections of nukes, and some are positively rushing to acquire them... And the Bush Administration -- by declaring its own nuclear arsenal permanent, by threatening nuclear first-strikes against other nations, by "warehousing" treaty-defused warheads instead of destroying them, by developing a new line of "usable" nukes, by moving to weaponize the "high frontier" of outer space, by doing little to help Russia get rid of its rotting nuclear stockpile, by embracing "preventive war" -- is enabling this trend instead of discouraging it. How can this be?

"The problem has its roots in a long-term American forgetfulness, going back to the acid fog in which the United States ended World War II. There was never a complete moral reckoning with the harsh momentum of that conflict's denouement -- how American leaders embraced a strategy of terror bombing, slaughtering whole urban populations, and how, finally, they ushered in the atomic age with the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Scholars have debated those questions, but politicians have avoided them, and most citizens have pretended they aren't really question at all. America's enduring assumptions about its own moral supremacy, its own altruism, its own exceptionalism, have hardly been punctured by consideration of the possibility that we, too, are capable of grave mistakes, terrible crimes...

""The past is never dead," William Faulkner said. "It isn't even past." How Americans remember their country's use of terror bombing affects how they think of terrorism...

"Forgetfulness is the handmaiden of tyranny. The Bush Administration is fully committed to maintaining what historian Marc Trachtenberg calls our "nuclear amnesia"... As it pursues a world-threatening campaign against other people's weapons of mass destruction... the Bush Administration refuses to confront the moral meaning of America's own weapons of mass destruction, not to mention their viral character, as other nations seek smaller versions of the American arsenal, if only to deter Bush's next "preventive" war. The United States' own arsenal, in other words, remains the primordial cause of the WMD plague" (James Carroll. "The Bush Crusade." The Nation, Sep. 20, 2004: 14-22).


"Shortly after the 1973 Arab oil embargo sent oil prices soaring, Richard Nixon declared his plan for American "Energy independence." Nixon told the American people, "Let this be our national goal: At the end of this decade, in the year 1980, the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need to provide our jobs, to heat our homes, and to keep our transportation moving."

"When Nixon made that pronouncement, the U.S. imported about six million barrels of oil per day. Today, the U.S. is importing nearly twice that much oil. Imports from the Persian Gulf have nearly tripled. Overall oil consumption in America has jumped by 25 percent since 1973...

"The Saudies provide nearly 70 percent of the oil being imported by the U.S. from the Persian Gulf. Nearly 22 percent of all the 20 million barrels of crude oil consumed in America now comes from the Persian Gulf...

"The unfortunate truths about America's energy addiction are these: America's energy policy and its foreign policy have merged; and neither the U.S. nor any other country that consumes large amounts of energy will be independent of Arabian crude anytime over the next 50 years or so...

"...to reduce the amount of oil it imports from Arab countries that support terrorism... here's the key -- that effort will take decades of work and hundreds of billions of dollars in new investment. Unless or until those investments are made, the U.S. will continue to depend on the Saudis to maintain stability in the world oil market...

"...by depending on Arab states -- many of whom fund terrorism -- to fill our gas tanks, America dooms itself to fail in the war on terrorism" (Robert Bryce. "Kerry's Low-Watt Energy Policy." Texas Observer, 9/24/04: 12, 28).


"...Bush's war on terrorism, and.. Sharon's, and.. Putin's. What their wars have in common is that they are based on an enormous deception: persuading the people of their countries that you can deal with terrorism by war...

"Since war is itself the most extreme form of terrorism, a war on terrorism is profoundly self-contradictory...

"Even within their limited definition of terrorism, they--the governments of the United States, Israel, Russia--are clearly failing...

"I believe that the American people's natural compassion would come to the fore if they truly understood that we are terrorizing other people by our "war on terror"...

"...as soon as you suggest that it is important, to consider something other than violent retaliation, you are accused of sympathizing with the terrorists. It is a cheap way of ending a discussion without examining intelligent alternatives to present policy...

"What can account for the fact that these obviously ineffective, even counterproductive, responses have been supported by the people of Russia, Israel, the United States?... It is fear, a deep, paralyzing fear, a dread so profound that one's normal rational faculties are distorted, and so people rush to embrace policies that have only one thing in their favor: They make you feel that something is being done...

"The CIA senior terrorism analyst who has written a book signed "Anonymous" has said bluntly that U.S. policies -- supporting Sharon, making war on Afghanistan and Iraq -- "are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world"" (Howard Zinn. "Our War on Terrorism." The Progressive, Nov. 2004: 12-13).


"At Camp Pendleton last week, Dick Cheney stated that “terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength. They are invited by the perception of weakness.” Nonsense! If that were true, the 2001 attacks would have happened anywhere else but here. The US was and is the strongest nation militarily and financially; the targets were the very symbols of that strength. It is not weakness, but the heavy-handed misuse of strength that invites attacks.

"Strength can be used to empower others and build them up, inspiring partnership and mutuality. Or it can be used to bully others and control them, which inspires hatred and revenge. The first use of strength builds hope, the second, hopelessness. And hopeless people do desperate things...

"In the background are decades of US employment of puppet bullies (the Shah, Saddam), no matter what they did to their people, in order to control Mideast oil.

"The average US citizen has no grasp of what US actions and policies in the Middle East mean to those who suffer from them, and no grasp of the hatred they inspire. We need to know this: as long as our government uses strength in a heavy-handed, bullying way, that strength will continue to spread hatred and hopelessness. And it is hatred and hopelessness in response to a bully that breed vengeful suicidal attacks" (Virginia Hoffman. "Misuse of Strength." http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0810-05.htm. 8-12-04).


"So what or who nurtured bin Ladenism? The 9/11 Commission says "social and economic malaise." Other contributing factors? The report says: "a decade of conflict in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989 gave Islamist extremists a rallying point and training field... Young Muslims from around the world flocked to Afghanistan to join as volunteers in what was seen as a 'holy war' - jihad - against an invader."

"Conspicuously absent from the report, as Dreyfuss observes, there's no mention of the CIA's role in backing Osama bin Laden and his followers to fight the "evil empire's" incursions into Afghanistan.

"Now, when poor people talk about the institutional obstacles in their lives, social conservatives respond with policies that subject them to "market discipline" - welfare reform, for example - and do so in the name of "personal responsibility."

"But when it comes to talk of terrorism, they're the ones pointing to institutional failures, all the while side-stepping the issue of personal responsibility and accountability when it comes to individual missteps within the Bush administration" (Sean Gonsalves. "Shooting Mosquitoes on the Titanic." Published on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 by the Cape Cod Times).


"At Camp Pendleton last week, Dick Cheney stated that “terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength. They are invited by the perception of weakness.” Nonsense! If that were true, the 2001 attacks would have happened anywhere else but here. The US was and is the strongest nation militarily and financially; the targets were the very symbols of that strength. It is not weakness, but the heavy-handed misuse of strength that invites attacks.

"Strength can be used to empower others and build them up, inspiring partnership and mutuality. Or it can be used to bully others and control them, which inspires hatred and revenge. The first use of strength builds hope, the second, hopelessness. And hopeless people do desperate things...

"In the background are decades of US employment of puppet bullies (the Shah, Saddam), no matter what they did to their people, in order to control Mideast oil.

"The average US citizen has no grasp of what US actions and policies in the Middle East mean to those who suffer from them, and no grasp of the hatred they inspire. We need to know this: as long as our government uses strength in a heavy-handed, bullying way, that strength will continue to spread hatred and hopelessness. And it is hatred and hopelessness in response to a bully that breed vengeful suicidal attacks" (Virginia Hoffman. "Misuse of Strength." http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0810-05.htm. 8-12-04).


"So what or who nurtured bin Ladenism? The 9/11 Commission says "social and economic malaise." Other contributing factors? The report says: "a decade of conflict in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989 gave Islamist extremists a rallying point and training field... Young Muslims from around the world flocked to Afghanistan to join as volunteers in what was seen as a 'holy war' - jihad - against an invader."

"Conspicuously absent from the report, as Dreyfuss observes, there's no mention of the CIA's role in backing Osama bin Laden and his followers to fight the "evil empire's" incursions into Afghanistan.

"Now, when poor people talk about the institutional obstacles in their lives, social conservatives respond with policies that subject them to "market discipline" - welfare reform, for example - and do so in the name of "personal responsibility."

"But when it comes to talk of terrorism, they're the ones pointing to institutional failures, all the while side-stepping the issue of personal responsibility and accountability when it comes to individual missteps within the Bush administration" (Sean Gonsalves. "Shooting Mosquitoes on the Titanic." Published on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 by the Cape Cod Times).


"Los Angeles Times columnist Robert Scheer recently extolled a BBC film by Adam Curtis titled The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear. The three-hour documentary argues that the threat of international terrorism "is a fantasy htat has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians"--mainly [U.S.] Administration neocons seeking to consolidate their power. The documentary does not deny that there are radical Islamic terrorist groups; but Curtis told Katrina vanden Heuvel that "the terrify-sleeper cells across the world is largely a fantasy"... He said America "has become trapped by that fear." The film was well received in England, but US networks have turned it down" ("The Documentary They Won't Show." The Nation, Feb. 21, 2005: 8).


"...Ward Churchill, a prof at the University of Colorado... making the simple point... that "if U.S. foreign policy results in massive death and destruction abroad, we cannot feign innocence when some of that destruction is returned"

"That piece was developed into a book, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens... Churchill wrote recently, "it is not disputed that the Pentagon was a military target, or that a CIA office was situated in the World Trade Center... converted the Trade Center itself into a 'legitimate' target"...

"...infamous bombing of the Amariya civilian shelter in Baghdad in January 1991, with 400 deaths, almost all women and children, all subsequently identified and named by the Iraqis. To this day the US government says it was an OK target.

"Churchill concludes, "If the U.S. public is prepared to accept these 'standards' when they are routinely applied to other people, they should not be surprised when the same standards are applied to them... According to Pentagon logic, [they] were simply part of the collateral damage...

"Why should Churchill apologize for anything? Is it a crime to say that chickens can come home to roost and that the way to protect American lives from terrorism is to respect international law?" (Alexander Cockburn. "Ward Churchill and the Mad Dogs of the Right." The Nation, Feb. 21, 2005: 9).


"Halliburton, had garnered a $310 million drilling deal with Iran... The association with Iran's mullahs is being conducted by a Halliburton subsidiary based in the Cayman Islands to dodge federal laws that prohibit American companies from dealing with countries that sponsor terrorism... Ironically, Halliburton is already under investigation for its past dealings with Iran" ("Bidness Rules, But Don't Eat the Fish." Texas Observer, Feb. 4, 2005: 4).


"The twenty-five EU nations together devoted $155 billion in 2002 to defense-related spending. The US defense expenditures for this same year totaled $399 billion...

"... many Europeans argue that the US military is far bigger than warranted in a post-Cold War world... global terrorism... Europeans argue that these problems are best handled with a combination of police actions, soft diplomacy, and more sophisticated and generous development aid" (Jeremy Rifkin. The European Dream. p. 76-77)...


"The Power of Nightmares, a three-hour BBC documentary... asserts that Al Qaeda is largely a phantom of the imagination of the US national security apparatus... argue that neoconservatives in the American foreign policy establishment have vastly exaggerated those threats in their quest to remake the world in the image of the United States...

"...it raises important questions about the political manipulation of fear...

"American neoconservatives and radical Islamists... a history of tqacit alliance, and even some ideological resemblances... both groups view Western liberalism with distrust, fearing that it will erode traditional and especially martial values, thus weakening their societies from within" (Peter Bergen. "Beware of the holy war." The Nation, June 20, 2005: 25-34).

"In fact, the Islamist terrorist threat to the United States today largely emanates from Europe, not from domestic sleeper cells or, as is popularly imagined, the graduates of Middle Eastern madrasas, functional idiots who can do little more than read the Koran... the 9/11 pilots became militant in Hamburg. The attacks in Madrid last year that killed 191, and the assassination of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, demonstrate that men animated by Al Qaeda's worldview have recently conducted significant acts of terrorism in Europe, a trend that is likely to accelerate as continued havy Muslim immigration into Europe collides with widespread racism to create a population of alienated Muslims who often feel that no matter how much money they make, or how long their families have been in the country, as Pakistanis in London they are never quite British, or as Algerians in Paris they are not quite French" (Peter Bergen. "Beware of the holy war." The Nation, June 20, 2005: 25-34).


"The third world war has already started. It is not George Bush's rhetorical "war on terror", but terrorism itself. In other words, terrorism is the new war. A recent analysis of the casualty statistics of global terrorism shows that they follow the pattern previously observed for conventional conflicts ranging from small local skirmishes to the second world war...

"But how can a single simple statistic such as the number of people killed in attacks tell us anything meaningful about events and conflicts conducted in completely different places for what seem to be totally different reasons? Isn't this like expecting to understand a country's culture by counting its population?

"That depends on what you are looking for. When he first studied the statistics of "deadly quarrels" 80 years ago, the British physicist Lewis Fry Richardson wanted to understand why wars happen. Richardson, a Quaker who served as an ambulance driver in the first world war, hoped that such insight could promote world peace. He decided first to find out how wars were distributed according to their size.

"In the 1920s he plotted the fatality statistics for 82 wars fought since 1820 on a graph showing the size of the conflicts on one axis and the number of conflicts of that size on the other. He found that the data fitted onto a smooth curve which, when the numbers were plotted as logarithms, became a straight line. This sort of mathematical relationship is known as a power law. The line slopes "downwards" because there are progressively fewer conflicts of ever greater size: little wars are common, big ones are rare.

"The power law continued to hold as the data embraced conflicts such as the second world war and Vietnam. Richardson's discovery of power-law statistics of conflicts has been followed by the recognition that power laws govern all sorts of "social" statistics, from the sizes of towns to the fluctuations of economic markets and the structure of the world wide web.

"Power-law statistics of event sizes are also found for natural phenomena that occur close to points of instability, such as earthquakes...

"There are two different power laws--one that fits the figures for terrorist attacks in industrialised (G8) nations, and another for attacks in the rest of the world. The slope of the straight-line plot was steeper in the latter case, indicating that attacks in industrialized nations are more rare but more severe when they do occur. The attacks of September 11, 2001, indicate that, as do the London bombings...

"Johnson argues that while the conventional approach of political analysts is to look for micro-explanations of the course of a conflict in terms of the motivations of the groups concerned, that statistical analysis suggests that the outcomes are much more to do with "the mechanics of how people now do war"...

"The team's conclusion supports the assertion of Mary Kaldor, a political scientist at the London School of Economics, that "the ongoing war in Iraq is a new type of war." She says US military action in Iraq has been predicated on the assumption that they are fighting an "old war."...

""This is immensely dangerous," Kaldor says. That, it seems, must also be the message for any global "war on terror"--it is not one that can be won by military might, but by new strategies. In "new wars", she says, military forces should be deployed for law enforcement, and "forces are needed that combine soldiers, police and civilians with the capacity to undertake humanitarian and legal activities"

"But if, as Johnson's work suggests, these conflicts have indeed turned into a form of terrorism, they will not be over soon. According to Clauset, the power-law statistics of terrorism show that it "is an endemic feature of the modern world and is likely not something that can be completely eradicated. Instead it should be considered in a similar way to other endemic problems, such as crime and natural disasters"" (Philip Ball. "Statistically, this means war." Guardian Weekly, Aug. 12, 2005: 19).


Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS