A terrorist bomber begins his deadly rampage

Federal Judge Robert Vance is instantly killed by a powerful explosion after opening a package mailed to his house near Birmingham, Alabama. Two days later, a mail bomb killed Robert Robinson, an attorney in Savannah, Georgia, in his office. Two other bomb packages, sent to the federal courthouse in Atlanta and to the Jacksonville, Florida office of the NAACP, were intercepted before their intended victims opened them.

The FBI immediately assigned a task force to find the terrorist, naming their operation VANPAC (for Vance package bomb). The investigators used nearly every forensic method available: DNA profiles were made from the saliva on the stamps, and both the paint on the boxes and the nails that acted as the bomb’s shrapnel were traced back to the manufacturer. Finally, an FBI agent remembered that Walter LeRoy Moody had been convicted in 1972 for setting off a pipe bomb with a similar design to that of the 1989 bombs. A search of Moody’s home failed to turn up evidence linking him to the VANPAC bombs, but bomb experts compared his 1972 bomb to the VANPAC explosives and determined that there was little doubt that the same man had made them all. Purportedly, Moody was upset by the judicial system.

In June 1991, a federal jury convicted Moody on charges related to the bombings and sentenced him to seven life terms plus 400 years in prison. In 1997, an Alabama judge sentenced Moody to die in the electric chair for Vance’s murder. Moody was executed in 2018.

'The Birthplace of the Suicide Belt.' Sri Lanka's Deadly History of Suicide Bombings

F or many years, Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war kept tourists at bay. When the 26-year conflict between the Tamil ethnic minority and the government ended in 2009, tourists flocked to the island nation’s tropical beaches, highland tea country and wildlife safaris. Hotels proliferated, among them the Shangri-La in the capital Colombo.

On Easter Sunday, the Shangri-La was one of several hotels targeted by suicide bombers in attacks that killed 359 people, and wounded 500 more. Suddenly, the nation’s hard-won peace evaporated, and civilians were once again plunged into the grip of terror.

The violence, believed to be carried out by a domestic Islamist militant group, was the deadliest to hit Sri Lanka since the civil war ended a decade ago. With the world’s gaze once again attuned to Sri Lanka for the wrong reasons, Sunday’s blasts served as a grim reminder of nation’s past as the birthplace of modern-day suicide bombing.

Here’s what to know about the scourge of bombings that has afflicted the country of 22.5 million where the suicide vest was invented.

Named and pictured: The London Bridge attacker was convicted terrorist

The London Bridge attacker has been named as convicted terrorist Usman Khan.

The 28-year-old killed a man and a woman before being shot dead by police after his deadly rampage on Friday afternoon.

Police said they are ‘not actively seeking anyone else’ over the attack and have raided a house in Staffordshire linked to Khan.

In 2012, Khan was ordered to serve at least eight years in jail over his part in an al Qaeda-inspired terror group that plotted to bomb the London Stock Exchange.

He was released in December 2018 and was still wearing a monitoring tag during the attack.

Khan had been a guest at a seminar in Fishmongers’ Hall, run by Cambridge University’s Criminology Department, to help offenders reintegrate into society following their release from jail.

He was wearing a fake suicide vest and had threatened to blow up the building in central London.

Police said his attack began inside the hall before he left the building and ran onto London Bridge.

There, he was confronted by brave onlookers who tackled him before he was shot dead by armed officers.

The identity of those killed has not yet been released and three other people are being treated in hospital for injuries sustained in the attack.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said that Khan ‘was known to authorities, having been convicted in 2012 for terrorism offences.

‘He was released from prison in December 2018 on licence and clearly a key line of enquiry now is to establish how he came to carry out this attack.’

Khan had been arrested in December 2010, four days before he and his nine-strong terror gang had planned to plant a bomb in the toilets of the London Stock Exchange.

Police also found a handwritten list of targets which included the US Embassy, the Houses of Parliament and homes of a number of religious and political figures.

The gang had carried out surveillance of other possible targets including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye.

They also wanted to create widespread panic in Stoke-on-Trent by planting bombs in pubs and club toilets.

Khan had also wanted to build a terrorist training camp on land in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir owned by his family.

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The plot was foiled after the security services bugged their homes and cars and heard talk of a ‘Mumbai’ atrocity on the streets of London to mirror the 2008 attacks in India.

Then aged 20, Khan was secretly recorded talking about his plans, adding there were only three possible outcomes for him and his fellow jihadists: victory, martyrdom or prison.

In February 2012 the nine men pleaded guilty to a variety of terror offences just before their trial was due to start.

Khan was originally given an indeterminate sentence for public protection but this was quashed at the Court of Appeal in April 2013 and he was given a determinate 16-year jail term.

Last night Prime Minister Boris Johnson chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee Cobra.

He said he had ‘long argued’ that it is ‘a mistake to allow serious and violent criminals to come out of prison early.’

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After Khan’s death, tales of heroism emerged from Londoners caught up in the attack.

One unnamed man inside Fishmongers’ Hall grabbed a narwhal tusk off the wall and went to confront the terrorist.

Another took a fire extinguisher to disarm the attacker.

Tour firm manager Thomas Gray said he stamped on the terrorist’s wrist to try to make him release one of two large knives he was carrying.

He added: ‘I was brought up on rugby and the rule is “one in, all in”.

‘I did what any Londoner would do and tried to put a stop to it.’

The University of Cambridge said it was ‘devastated’ that an event organised by them was targeted in the attack.

Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, added: ‘We are in touch with the Metropolitan Police, and awaiting further details of the victims.

‘We mourn the dead and we hope for a speedy recovery for the injured. Our thoughts are with all their families and friends.’

The bridge was the scene of a terror attack in 2017 – also during a general election campaign – when eight victims were killed along with the three terrorists, who were also wearing fake suicide vests and armed with knives.

The attack happened three weeks after the terror threat level was lowered from ‘severe’ to ‘substantial’ which means an attack is likely.


Though many have been proposed, there is no consensus definition of the term "terrorism." [5] [6] This in part derives from the fact that the term is politically and emotionally charged, "a word with intrinsically negative connotations that is generally applied to one's enemies and opponents." [7]

The term terrorist is believed to have originated during the Reign of Terror (September 5, 1793 – July 28, 1794) in France. It was a period of eleven months during the French Revolution when the ruling Jacobins employed violence, including mass executions by guillotine, in order to intimidate the regime's enemies and compel obedience to the state. [8] The Jacobins, most famously Robespierre, sometimes referred to themselves as "terrorists". [2] Some modern scholars, however, do not consider the Reign of Terror a form of terrorism, in part because it was carried out by the French state. [9] [10] French historian Sophie Wahnich [fr] distinguishes between the revolutionary terror of the French Revolution and the terrorists of the September 11 attacks:

Revolutionary terror is not terrorism. To make a moral equivalence between the Revolution's year II and September 2001 is historical and philosophical nonsense . The violence exercised on 11 September 2001 aimed neither at equality nor liberty. Nor did the preventive war announced by the president of the United States. [11] [12]

Scholars dispute whether the roots of terrorism date back to the 1st century and the Sicarii Zealots, to the 11th century and the Hashshashin, to the 19th century and the Fenian Brotherhood and Narodnaya Volya, or to other eras. [13] [14] The Sicarii and the Hashshashin are described below, while the Fenian Brotherhood and Narodnaya Volya are discussed in the 19th Century sub-section. Other pre-Reign of Terror historical events sometimes associated with terrorism include the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to destroy the English Parliament in 1605. [15]

During the 1st century CE, the Jewish Zealots in Judaea Province rebelled, killing prominent collaborators with Roman rule. [13] [16] [17] In 6 CE, according to contemporary historian Josephus, Judas of Galilee formed a small and more extreme offshoot of the Zealots, the Sicarii ("dagger men"). [18] Their efforts were also directed against Jewish "collaborators," including temple priests, Sadducees, Herodians, and other wealthy elites. [19] According to Josephus, the Sicarii would hide short daggers under their cloaks, mingle with crowds at large festivals, murder their victims, and then disappear into the panicked crowds. Their most successful assassination was of the High Priest of Israel Jonathan. [18]

In the late 11th century, the Hashshashin (a.k.a. the Assassins) arose, an offshoot of the Isma'ili sect of Shia Muslims. [20] Led by Hassan-i Sabbah and opposed to Fatimid and Seljuq rule, the Hashshashin militia seized Alamut and other fortress strongholds across Persia. [21] Hashshashin forces were too small to challenge enemies militarily, so they assassinated city governors and military commanders in order to create alliances with militarily powerful neighbors. For example, they killed Janah al-Dawla, ruler of Homs, to please Ridwan of Aleppo, and assassinated Mawdud, Seljuk emir of Mosul, as a favor to the regent of Damascus. [22] The Hashshashin also carried out assassinations as retribution. [23] Under some definitions of terrorism, such assassinations do not qualify as terrorism, since killing a political leader does not intimidate political enemies or inspire revolt. [13] [18] [24] (see also List of assassinations by the Assassins)

The Sons of Liberty was a clandestine group that formed in Boston and New York City in the 1770s. It had a political agenda of independence of Britain's American colonies. The groups engaged in several acts that could be considered terroristic and used the deeds for propaganda purposes. [25]

On November 5, 1605, a group of conspirators led by Robert Catesby attempted to destroy the English Parliament on its State Opening by King James I. They planned in secret to detonate a large quantity of gunpowder placed beneath the Palace of Westminster. The gunpowder was procured and placed by Guy Fawkes. The group intended to enact a coup by killing King James I and the members of both houses of Parliament. The conspirators planned to make one of the king's children a puppet monarch and then restore the Catholic faith to England. The conspirator leased a coal cellar beneath the House of Lords and began stockpiling gunpowder in 1604. As well as its primary targets, it would have killed hundreds, if not thousands, of Londoners – the most devastating act of terrorism in Britain's history, plunging the nation into a religious war. English spymasters uncovered the plot and caught Guy Fawkes with the gunpowder beneath Parliament. The other conspirators fled to Holbeach in Staffordshire. A shoot out on November 8 with authorities led to the deaths of Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy and the brothers Christopher and John Wright. The rest were captured. Fawkes and seven others were tried and executed in January 1606. [26] The planned attack has become known as the Gunpowder Plot and is commemorated in Britain every November 5 with fireworks displays and large bonfires with effigies of Guy Fawkes and the Pope are often burned. Comparisons are often drawn between gunpowder plot and modern religious terrorism, such as the attacks in the US by Islamic terrorists on 9/11 2001. [27] [28]

Terrorism was associated with state terror and the Reign of Terror in France, [29] until the mid-19th century when the term also began to be associated with non-governmental groups. [30] Anarchism, often in league with rising nationalism, was the most prominent ideology linked with terrorism. [31] Attacks by various anarchist groups led to the assassination of a Russian Tsar and a U.S. President. [32]

In the 19th century, powerful, stable, and affordable explosives were developed, global integration reached unprecedented levels and often radical political movements became widely influential. [30] [33] The use of dynamite, in particular, inspired anarchists and was central to their strategic thinking. [34]

Ireland Edit

One of the earliest groups to utilize modern terrorist techniques was arguably the Fenian Brotherhood and its offshoot the Irish Republican Brotherhood. [35] They were both founded in 1858 as revolutionary, militant nationalist and Catholic groups, both in Ireland and amongst the emigre community in the United States. [36] [37]

After centuries of continued British rule, and being influenced most recently from the devastating effects of the 1840s Great Famine, these revolutionary fraternal organisations were founded with the aim of establishing an independent republic in Ireland, and began carrying out frequent acts of violence in metropolitan Britain to achieve their aims through intimidation. [38]

In 1867, members of the movement's leadership were arrested and convicted for organizing an armed uprising. While being transferred to prison, the police van in which they were being transported was intercepted and a police sergeant was shot in the rescue. A bolder rescue attempt of another Irish radical incarcerated in Clerkenwell Prison, was made in the same year: an explosion to demolish the prison wall killed 12 people and caused many injuries. The bombing enraged the British public, causing a panic over the Fenian threat.

Although the Irish Republican Brotherhood condemned the Clerkenwell Outrage as a "dreadful and deplorable event", the organisation returned to bombings in Britain in 1881 to 1885, with the Fenian dynamite campaign, beginning one of the first modern terror campaigns. [39] Instead of earlier forms of terrorism based on political assassination, this campaign used modern, timed explosives with the express aim of sowing fear in the very heart of metropolitan Britain, in order to achieve political gains. [40] (Prime minister William Ewart Gladstone was partly influenced to disestablish the Anglican Church in Ireland as a gesture by the Clerkenwell bombing.) The campaign also took advantage of the greater global integration of the times, and the bombing was largely funded and organised by the Fenian Brotherhood in the United States.

The first police unit to combat terrorism was established in 1883 by the Metropolitan Police, initially as a small section of the Criminal Investigation Department. It was known as the Special Irish Branch, and was trained in counter terrorism techniques to combat the Irish Republican Brotherhood. The unit's name was changed to Special Branch as the unit's remit steadily widened over the years. [41]

Russia Edit

The concept of "propaganda of the deed" (or "propaganda by the deed", from the French propagande par le fait) advocated physical violence or other provocative public acts against political enemies in order to inspire mass rebellion or revolution. One of the first individuals associated with this concept, the Italian revolutionary Carlo Pisacane (1818–1857), wrote in his "Political Testament" (1857) that "ideas spring from deeds and not the other way around". Anarchist Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876), in his "Letters to a Frenchman on the Present Crisis" (1870) stated that "we must spread our principles, not with words but with deeds, for this is the most popular, the most potent, and the most irresistible form of propaganda". [42] [43] The French anarchist Paul Brousse (1844–1912) popularized the phrase "propaganda of the deed" in 1877 he cited as examples the 1871 Paris Commune and a workers' demonstration in Berne provocatively using the socialist red flag. [44] By the 1880s, the slogan had begun to be used [ by whom? ] to refer to bombings, regicides and tyrannicides. Reflecting this new understanding of the term, in 1895 Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta described "propaganda by the deed" (which he opposed the use of) as violent communal insurrections meant to ignite an imminent revolution. [45]

Founded in Russia in 1878, Narodnaya Volya (Народная Воля in Russian People's Will in English) was a revolutionary anarchist group inspired by Sergei Nechayev and by "propaganda by the deed" theorist Pisacane. [13] [46] The group developed ideas—such as targeted killing of the "leaders of oppression"—that would become the hallmark of subsequent violence by small non-state groups, and they were convinced that the developing technologies of the age—such as the invention of dynamite, which they were the first anarchist group to make widespread use of [47] —enabled them to strike directly and with discrimination. [30] Attempting to spark a popular revolt against Russian Tsardom, the group killed prominent political figures by gun and bomb, and on March 13, 1881, assassinated Russia's Tsar Alexander II. [13] [46] The assassination, by a bomb that also killed the Tsar's attacker, Ignacy Hryniewiecki, failed to spark the expected revolution, and an ensuing crackdown brought the group to an end. [48]

Individual Europeans also engaged in politically motivated violence. For example, in 1893, Auguste Vaillant, a French anarchist, threw a bomb in the French Chamber of Deputies in which one person was injured. [49] In reaction to Vaillant's bombing and other bombings and assassination attempts, the French government restricted freedom of the press by passing a set of laws that became pejoratively known as the lois scélérates ("villainous laws"). In the years 1894 to 1896 anarchists killed President of France Marie Francois Carnot, Prime Minister of Spain Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, and the Empress of Austria-Hungary, Elisabeth of Bavaria.

The United States Edit

Prior to the American Civil War, abolitionist John Brown (1800–1859) advocated and practiced armed opposition to slavery, leading several attacks between 1856 and 1859, the most famous attack was launched in 1859 against the armory at Harpers Ferry. Local forces soon recaptured the fort and Brown was tried and executed for treason. [50] A biographer of Brown has written that Brown's purpose was "to force the nation into a new political pattern by creating terror." [51] In 2009, the 150th anniversary of Brown's death, prominent news publications debated over whether or not Brown should be considered a terrorist. [52] [53] [54]

After the Civil War, on December 24, 1865, six Confederate veterans created the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). [55] The KKK used violence, lynching, murder and acts of intimidation such as cross burning to oppress African Americans in particular, and it created a sensation with its masked forays' dramatic nature. [56] [57] The group's politics were white supremacist, anti-Semitic, racist, anti-Catholic, and nativist. [56] A KKK founder boasted that it was a nationwide organization of 550,000 men and that it could muster 40,000 Klansmen within five days' notice, but as a secret or "invisible" group with no membership rosters, it was difficult to judge the Klan's actual size. The KKK has at times been politically powerful, and at various times it controlled the governments of Tennessee, Oklahoma, Indiana and South Carolina, as well as several legislatures in the South. [58] [59]

The Ottoman Empire Edit

Several nationalist groups used violence against an Ottoman Empire in apparent decline. One was the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (in Armenian Dashnaktsuthium, or "The Federation"), a revolutionary movement founded in Tiflis (Russian Transcaucasia) in 1890 by Christapor Mikaelian. Many members had been part of Narodnaya Volya or the Hunchakian Revolutionary Party. [60] The group published newsletters, smuggled arms, and hijacked buildings as it sought to bring in European intervention that would force the Ottoman Empire to surrender control of its Armenian territories. [61] On August 24, 1896, 17-year-old Babken Suni led twenty-six members in capturing the Imperial Ottoman Bank in Constantinople. The group demanded European intervention in order to stop the Hamidian massacres and the creation of an Armenian state, but backed down on a threat to blow up the bank. An ensuing security crackdown destroyed the group. [62]

Also inspired by Narodnaya Volya, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) was a revolutionary movement founded in 1893 by Hristo Tatarchev in the Ottoman-controlled Macedonian territories. [63] [64] [65] Through assassinations and by provoking uprisings, the group sought to coerce the Ottoman government into creating a Macedonian nation. [66] On July 20, 1903, the group incited the Ilinden uprising in the Ottoman villayet of Monastir. The IMRO declared the town's independence and sent demands to the European Powers that all of Macedonia be freed. [67] The demands were ignored and Turkish troops crushed the 27,000 rebels in the town two months later. [68]

Revolutionary nationalism continued to motivate political violence in the 20th century, much of it directed against Western powers. The Irish Republican Army campaigned against the British in the 1910s and their tactics inspired Zionist groups such as the Hagannah, Irgun and Lehi to in their guerilla war against the Palestine Mandate throughout the 1930s. [71] [72] [ need quotation to verify ] Like the IRA and the Zionist groups, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt used bombings and assassinations as part of their tactics. [73]

The women's suffrage movement in the UK also committed acts of violence prior to the First World War although whether constituted terrorism is a controversial issue. There were three phases of WSPU militancy in 1905, 1908, and, most significantly, between 1912 and 1914. These action ranged from civil disobedience and destruction of public property to arson and bombings. [74] Most notably, The WSPU bombed Government Minister and future Prime Minister David Lloyd George's house [75]

Political assassinations continued, resulting in the assassinations of King Umberto I of Italy, killed in July 1900 and US President William McKinley in September 1901. Political violence became especially widespread in Imperial Russia, and several ministers were killed in the opening years of the 20th century. The highest-ranking was prime minister Pyotr Stolypin, killed in 1911 by Dmitry Bogrov, a spy for the secret police in several anarchist, socialist and other revolutionary groups. [76]

On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six assassins, shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, in Sarajevo, the capital of the Condominion of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The assassinations produced widespread shock across Europe, [77] setting in motion a series of events which led to World War I. [78]

In the 1930s, the Nazi regime in Germany and Stalin's rule in the Soviet Union practiced state terror systematically and on a massive and unprecedented scale. [79] Meanwhile, the Stalin regime branded its opponents with the label "terrorist". [80]

Irish independence Edit

In an action called the Easter Rising or Easter Rebellion, on April 24, 1916, members of the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army seized the Dublin General Post Office and several other buildings, proclaiming an independent Irish Republic. [81] The rebellion failed militarily but was a success for physical force Irish republicanism, leaders of the uprising becoming heroes in Ireland after their eventual sentence of capital punishment by the British government. [82]

Shortly after the rebellion, Michael Collins and others founded the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which from 1916 to 1923 [ citation needed ] carried out numerous attacks against the British authorities. For example, it attacked over 300 police stations simultaneously just before Easter 1920, [83] and, in November 1920, publicly killed a dozen police officers and burned down the Liverpool docks and warehouses, an action that became known as Bloody Sunday. [84]

After years of warfare, London agreed to the 1921 Anglo-Irish treaty creating a free Irish state encompassing 26 of the island's 32 counties. [85] IRA tactics were an inspiration to other groups, including the Palestine Mandate's Zionists, [86] and to British special operations during World War II. [87] [88]

The IRA are considered by some the innovators of modern insurgency tactics as the British would replicate and build upon the tactics used against them in World War II against the Germans and Italians. Tony Geraghty in The Irish War: The Hidden Conflict Between the IRA and British Intelligence wrote:

The Irish [thanks to the example set by Collins and followed by the SOE] can thus claim that their resistance provide the originating impulse for resistance to tyrannies worse than any they had to endure themselves. And the Irish resistance as Collins led it, showed the rest of the world an economical way to fight wars the only sane way they can be fought in the age of the Nuclear bomb. [89]

From January 1939 to March 1940, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a campaign of bombing and sabotage against the civil, economic, and military infrastructure of Britain. It was known as the S-Plan or Sabotage Campaign. During the campaign, the IRA carried out almost 300 attacks and acts of sabotage in Britain, killing seven people and injuring 96. [90] Most of the casualties occurred in the Coventry bombing on 25 August 1939.

Mandatory Palestine Edit

Following the 1929 Hebron massacre of 67 Jews in the Mandate of Palestine, the Zionist militia Haganah transformed itself into a paramilitary force. In 1931, however, the more militant Irgun broke away from Haganah, objecting to Haganah's policy of restraint. [91] Founded by Avraham Tehomi, [92] [93] Irgun sought to aggressively defend Jews from Arab attacks. Its tactic of attacking Arab communities, including the bombing of a crowded Arab market, is considered [ by whom? ] among the first examples of terrorism directed against civilians. [94] After the British published the White Paper of 1939, which placed strict restrictions on Jewish immigration into Palestine (which was seen as unacceptable to Zionist groups), [95] the Irgun began a campaign against the British authorities by assassinating police, capturing British government buildings and arms, and sabotaging railways. [96] Irgun's best-known attack targeted the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, parts of which housed the headquarters of the British civil and military administrations. The bombing, in 1946, killed ninety-one people and injured forty-six, making it the most deadly attack during the Mandate era. This attack was sharply condemned by the organized leadership of the Yishuv, and further widened the gulf between David Ben-Gurion's Hagana and Begin's Irgun. Following the bombing, Ben-Gurion called Irgun an "enemy of the Jewish people". [97] [98] After the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, Menachem Begin (Irgun leader from 1943 to 1948) transformed the group into the political party Herut, which later became part of Likud in an alliance with the center-right Gahal, Liberal Party, Free Centre, National List, and Movement for Greater Israel. [99] [100] On the 60th anniversary of the bombing, a plaque was unveiled at the hotel. [101]

Operating in the Palestine Mandate in the 1930s, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam (1882–1935) organized and established the Black Hand, a Palestinian nationalist militia. He recruited and arranged military training for peasants, and by 1935 had enlisted between 200 and 800 men. Al-Qassam obtained a fatwa from Shaykh Badr al-Din al-Taji al-Hasani, the Mufti of Damascus, authorizing an armed insurgency against the British and against the Jews of Palestine. Black Hand cells were equipped with bombs and firearms, which they used to kill Jews. [102] [103] Although al-Qassam's revolt was unsuccessful in his lifetime, many organizations gained inspiration from his example. [102] He became a popular hero and an inspiration to subsequent Arab militants, who in the 1936–39 Arab revolt, called themselves Qassamiyun, followers of al-Qassam. The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, as well as the rockets they developed, take their names after Qassam.

Lehi (Lohamei Herut Yisrael, a.k.a. "Freedom Fighters for Israel", a.k.a. the Stern Gang) was a revisionist Zionist group that splintered off from Irgun in 1940. [94] Abraham Stern formed Lehi from disaffected Irgun members after Irgun agreed to a truce with Britain in 1940. [96] Lehi assassinated prominent politicians as a strategy. For example, on November 6, 1944, Lord Moyne, the British Minister of State for the Middle East, was assassinated. [104] The act was controversial among Zionist militant groups, Hagannah sympathizing with the British in this instance and launching a massive man-hunt against members of Lehi and Irgun. After Israel's 1948 founding, Lehi formally dissolved and its members became integrated into the Israeli Defense Forces. [105]

Resistance during WWII Edit

Some of the tactics of the guerrilla, partisan, and resistance movements organised and supplied by the Allies during World War II, according to historian M. R. D. Foot, can be considered terrorist. [106] [107] Colin Gubbins, a key leader within the Special Operations Executive (SOE), made sure the organization drew much of its inspiration from the IRA. [87] [88]

On the eve of D-Day, the SOE organised with the French Resistance the complete destruction of the rail [108] and communication infrastructure of western France [109] the largest coordinated attack of its kind in history [110] [ full citation needed ] Allied supreme commander Dwight Eisenhower later wrote that "the disruption of enemy rail communications, the harassing of German road moves and the continual and increasing strain placed on German security services throughout occupied Europe by the organised forces of Resistance, played a very considerable part in our complete and final victory". [111] The SOE also conducted operations in Africa, the Middle East and the Far East. [110] [ full citation needed ]

The work of the SOE received recognition in 2009 with a memorial in London, however there are differing views on the morality of the SOE's actions the British military historian John Keegan writing:

We must recognise that our response to the scourge of terrorism is compromised by what we did through SOE. The justification . That we had no other means of striking back at the enemy . is exactly the argument used by the Red Brigades, the Baader-Meinhoff gang, the PFLP, the IRA and every other half-articulate terrorist organisation on Earth. Futile to argue that we were a democracy and Hitler a tyrant. Means besmirch ends. SOE besmirched Britain. [112]

After World War II, largely successful campaigns for independence were launched against the collapsing European empires, as many World War II resistance groups became militantly nationalistic. The Viet Minh, for example, which had fought against the Japanese, now fought against the returning French colonists. In the Middle East, the Muslim Brotherhood used bombings and assassinations against the British in Egypt. [73] Also during the 1950s, the National Liberation Front (FLN) in French-controlled Algeria and the EOKA in British-controlled Cyprus waged guerrilla and open war against the authorities. [113]

In the 1960s, inspired by Mao's Chinese revolution of 1949 and Castro's Cuban revolution of 1959, national independence movements often fused nationalist and socialist impulses. This was the case with Spain's ETA, the Front de libération du Québec, and the Palestine Liberation Organization [ clarification needed ] . [114]

In the late 1960s and 1970s violent left wing and revolutionary groups were on the rise, sympathizing with Third World guerrilla movements and seeking to spark anti-capitalist revolts. Such groups included the PKK in Turkey [ citation needed ] , Armenia's ASALA, [114] the Japanese Red Army, the German Red Army Faction,the Montoneros,the Italian Red Brigades, and, in the United States, the Weather Underground. [115] Nationalist groups such as the Provisional IRA and the Tamil tigers also began operations at this time.

Throughout the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union made extensive use of violent nationalist organizations to carry on a war by proxy. For example, Soviet and Chinese military advisers provided training and support to the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. [116] The Soviet Union also provided military support to the PLO during the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, [117] and Fidel Castro during the Cuban Revolution. [118] The United States funded groups such as the Contras in Nicaragua. [119] The Mujahadeen of the late 20th and early 21st century had been funded in the 1980s by the United States and other Western powers because they were fighting the USSR in Afghanistan. [120] [121]

Middle East Edit

Founded in 1928 as a nationalist social-welfare and political movement in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood began to attack British soldiers and police stations in the late 1940s. [122] Founded and led by Hassan al-Banna, it also assassinated politicians seen as collaborating with British rule, [123] most prominently Egyptian Prime Minister Nuqrashi in 1948. [124] In 1952 a military coup overthrew British rule, and shortly thereafter the Muslim Brotherhood went underground in the face of a massive crackdown. [125] Though sometimes banned or otherwise oppressed by the Egyptian government, the group continues to exist in present-day Egypt.

The National Liberation Front (FLN) was a nationalist group founded in French-controlled Algeria in 1954. [126] The group became a large-scale resistance movement against French rule, with terrorism only part of its operations. The FLN leadership took inspiration from the Viet Minh rebels who had made French troops withdraw from Vietnam. [127] The FLN was one of the first anti-colonial groups to use large-scale compliance violence. The FLN would establish control over a rural village and coerce its peasants to execute any French loyalists among them. [113] On the night of October 31, 1954, in a coordinated wave of seventy bombings and shootings known as the Toussaint attacks, the FLN attacked French military installations and the homes of Algerian loyalists. [128] In the following year, the group gained significant support for an uprising against loyalists in Philippeville. This uprising, and the heavy-handed response by the French, convinced many Algerians to support the FLN and the independence movement. [129] The FLN eventually secured Algerian independence from France in 1962, and transformed itself into Algeria's ruling party. [130]

Fatah was organized as a Palestinian nationalist group in 1954, and exists today as a political party in Palestine. In 1967 it joined the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), an umbrella organization for secular Palestinian nationalist groups formed in 1964. The PLO began its own armed operations in 1965. [131] The PLO's membership comprises separate and possibly contending paramilitary and political factions, the largest of which include Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). [132] [133] Factions of the PLO have advocated or carried out acts of terrorism. [133] Abu Iyad organized the Fatah splinter group Black September in 1970 the group is arguably best known for seizing eleven Israeli athletes as hostages at the September 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. All the athletes and five Black September operatives died during a gun battle with the West German police in what later became known as the Munich massacre. [134] The PFLP, founded in 1967 by George Habash, [135] [ year missing ] on September 6, 1970 hijacked three international passenger planes, landing two of them in Jordan and blowing up the third. [136] Fatah leader and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat publicly renounced terrorism in December 1988 on behalf of the PLO, but Israel has stated that it has proof that Arafat continued to sponsor terrorism until his death in 2004. [133] [137]

In the 1974 Ma'alot massacre 22 Israeli high-school students, aged 14 to 16 from Safed were killed by three members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. [138] Before reaching the school, the trio shot and killed two Arab women, a Jewish man, his pregnant wife, and their 4-year-old son, and wounded several others. [139]

The People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI) or Mujahedin-e Khalq (founded in 1965), is a socialist Islamic group that has fought Iran's government since the Khomeini revolution. The group originated to oppose capitalism and what it perceived as western exploitation of Iran under the Shah. [140] [141] The group would go on to play an important role in the Shah's overthrow but was unable to capitalize on this in the following power-vacuum. The group is suspected [ by whom? ] of having a membership of between 10,000 and 30,000. The group renounced violence in 2001 but remains a proscribed terror-organization in Iran and in the United States. The EU, however, has removed the group from its terror list. The PMOI is accused of supporting other groups such as the Jundallah. [ citation needed ]

In 1975 Hagop Tarakchian and Hagop Hagopian, with the help of sympathetic Palestinians, founded the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War. At the time Turkey was in political turmoil, and Hagopian believed that the time was right to avenge the Armenians who died during the Armenian genocide and to force the Turkish government to cede the territory of Wilsonian Armenia to establish a nation state also incorporating the Armenian SSR. In its Esenboga airport attack, on 7 August 1982, two ASALA rebels opened fire on civilians in a waiting room at the Esenboga International Airport in Ankara. Nine people died and 82 were injured. By 1986, the ASALA had virtually ceased all attacks. [142]

The "Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan" (Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK) was established in Turkey in 1978 as a Kurdish nationalist party. Founder Abdullah Ocalan was inspired by the Maoist theory of people's war, and like Algeria's FLN he advocated the use of compliance terror. [ citation needed ] The group seeks to create an independent Kurdish state consisting of parts of south-eastern Turkey, north-eastern Iraq, north-eastern Syria and north-western Iran. In 1984 the PKK transformed itself into a paramilitary organisation and launched conventional attacks as well as bombings against Turkish governmental installations. In 1999 Turkish authorities captured Öcalan. He was tried in Turkey and sentenced to life imprisonment. The PKK has since gone through a series of name changes. [143]

Europe Edit

Founded in 1959 [144] and functioning until 2018, [145] the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (or ETA - Basque for "Basque Homeland and Freedom", pronounced [ˈeta] ) was an armed Basque nationalist separatist organization. [146] Formed in response to the suppression of the Basque language and culture under the régime of General Francisco Franco (in power 1939–1975) in Spain, ETA evolved from an advocacy group for traditional Basque culture into an armed Marxist group demanding Basque independence. [147] Many ETA victims were government officials the group's first known victim, a police chief, died in 1968. In 1973 ETA operatives killed Franco's apparent successor, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, by planting an underground bomb under his habitual parking-spot outside a Madrid church. [148] In 1995 an ETA car-bomb nearly killed José María Aznar, then the leader of the conservative Popular Party, and in the same year investigators disrupted a plot to assassinate King Juan Carlos. [149] Efforts by Spanish governments to negotiate with the ETA failed, and in 2003 the Spanish Supreme Court banned the Batasuna political party, which was determined [ by whom? ] to be the political arm of ETA. [150]

The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) was an Irish nationalist movement founded in December 1969 when several militants, including Seán Mac Stíofáin, broke off from the Official IRA and formed a new organization. [151] Led by Mac Stíofáin in the early 1970s and by a group around Gerry Adams since the late 1970s, the Provisional IRA sought to bring about an all-island Irish state. Between 1969 and 1997, during a period known as the Troubles, the group conducted an armed campaign, including bombings, gun attacks, assassinations and even a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street. [152] On July 21, 1972, in an attack later dubbed Bloody Friday, the group set off twenty-two bombs, killing nine and injuring 130. On July 28, 2005, the Provisional IRA Army Council announced an end to its armed campaign. [153] [154] The IRA is believed [ by whom? ] to have been a major exporter of arms and to have provided military training to groups such as the FARC in Colombia [155] and the PLO. [156] In the case of the latter there has been a long-standing solidarity movement, as evidenced by many murals around Belfast. [157] [ need quotation to verify ]

The Red Army Faction (RAF) was a New Left group founded in 1968 by Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof in West Germany. Inspired by Che Guevara, Maoist socialism, and the Vietcong, the group sought to raise awareness of the Vietnamese and Palestinian independence movements through kidnappings, taking embassies hostage, bank robberies, assassinations, bombings, and attacks on U.S. air bases. The group became arguably best known for 1977's "German Autumn". The buildup leading to German Autumn began on April 7, when the RAF shot Federal Prosecutor Siegfried Buback. On July 30, it shot Jürgen Ponto, then head of the Dresdner Bank, in a failed kidnapping attempt on September 5, the group kidnapped Hanns Martin Schleyer (a former SS officer and an important West German industrialist), executing him on October 19. [158] [159] The hijacking of the Lufthansa jetliner "Landshut" in October 1977 by the PFLP, a Palestinian group, is also considered [ by whom? ] to be part of German Autumn. [160]

The Red Brigades, a New Left group founded by Renato Curcio and Alberto Franceschini in 1970 and based in Italy, sought to create a revolutionary state. The group carried out a series of bombings and kidnappings until the arrests of Curcio and Franceschini in the mid-1970s. Their successor as leader, Mario Moretti, led the group toward more militarized and violent actions, including the kidnapping of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro on March 16, 1978. Moro was killed 56 days later. This led to an all-out assault on the group by Italian law-enforcement and security forces and condemnation from Italian left-wing radicals and even from imprisoned ex-leaders of the Brigades. [ citation needed ] The group lost most of its social support and public opinion turned strongly against it. In 1984 the group split, the majority faction becoming the Communist Combatant Party (Red Brigades-PCC) and the minority faction reconstituting itself as the Union of Combatant Communists (Red Brigades-UCC). Members of these groups carried out a handful of assassinations before almost all were arrested in 1989. [161]

The Americas Edit

The Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) was a Marxist nationalist group that sought to create an independent, socialist Quebec. [162] Georges Schoeters founded the group in 1963 and was inspired by Che Guevara and Algeria's FLN. [163] The group was accused of bombings, kidnappings, and assassinations of politicians, soldiers, and civilians. [164] On October 5, 1970, the FLQ kidnapped James Richard Cross, the British Trade Commissioner, and on October 10, the Minister of Labor and Vice-Premier of Quebec, Pierre Laporte. Laporte was killed a week later. After these events support for violence in order to attain Quebec's independence declined, and support increased for the Parti Québécois, which took power in Quebec in 1976. [165]

In Colombia several paramilitary and guerrilla groups formed during the 1960s and afterwards. In 1983, President Fernando Belaúnde Terry of Peru described armed attacks on his nation's anti-narcotics police as "narcoterrorism", i.e., which refers to "violence waged by drug producers to extract political concessions from the government." [166] Pablo Escobar's ruthless violence in his dealings with the Colombian and Peruvian governments has been probably two of the best known and best documented examples of narcoterrorism. [ citation needed ] Paramilitary groups associated with narcoterrorism include the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), and the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). While the ELN and FARC were originally left wing revolutionary groups and the AUC was originally a right-wing paramilitary, all have conducted numerous attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure and engaged in the drug trade. The U.S. and some European governments consider them terrorist organizations. [167] [168]

The Jewish Defense League (JDL) was founded in 1969 by Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York City, with its declared purpose being the protection of Jews from harassment and antisemitism. [169] Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics state that, from 1980 to 1985, 15 attacks which the FBI classified as acts of terrorism were attempted in the U.S. by members of the JDL. [170] The National Consortium for the Study of Terror and Responses to Terrorism states that, during the JDL's first two decades of activity, it was an "active terrorist organization.". [169] [171] Kahane later founded the far-right Israeli political party Kach, which was banned from elections in Israel on the ground of racism. [172] The JDL's present-day website condemns all forms of terrorism. [173]

The Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN, "Armed Forces of National Liberation") is a nationalist group founded in Puerto Rico in 1974. Over the decade that followed the group used bombings and targeted killings of civilians and police in pursuit of an independent Puerto Rico. The FALN in 1975 took responsibility for four nearly simultaneous bombings in New York City. [174] The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has classified the FALN as a terrorist organization. [175]

The Weather Underground (a.k.a. the Weathermen) began as a militant faction of the leftist Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) organization, and in 1969 took over the organization. Weathermen leaders, inspired by China's Maoists, the Black Panthers, and the 1968 student revolts in France, sought to raise awareness of its revolutionary anti-capitalist and anti-Vietnam War platform by destroying symbols of government power. From 1969 to 1974 the Weathermen bombed corporate offices, police stations, and Washington government sites such as the Pentagon. After the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, most of the group disbanded. [176]

Asia Edit

The Japanese Red Army was founded by Fusako Shigenobu in Japan in 1971 and attempted to overthrow the Japanese government and start a world revolution. Allied with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the group committed assassinations, hijacked a commercial Japanese aircraft, and sabotaged a Shell oil refinery in Singapore. On May 30, 1972, Kōzō Okamoto and other group members launched a machine gun and grenade attack at Israel's Lod Airport in Tel Aviv, killing 26 people and injuring 80 others. Two of the three attackers then killed themselves with grenades. [177]

Founded in 1976, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, (also called "LTTE" or Tamil Tigers) was a militant Tamil nationalist political and paramilitary organization based in northern Sri Lanka. [178] From its founding by Velupillai Prabhakaran, it waged a secessionist resistance campaign that sought to create an independent Tamil state in the northern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka. [179] The conflict originated in measures the majority Sinhalese took that were perceived as attempts to marginalize the Tamil minority. [180] The resistance campaign evolved into the Sri Lankan Civil War, one of the longest-running armed conflicts in Asia. [181] The group carried out many bombings, including an April 21, 1987, car bomb attack at a Colombo bus terminal that killed 110 people. [182] In 2009 the Sri Lankan military launched a major military offensive against the secessionist movement and claimed that it had effectively destroyed the LTTE.

Africa Edit

In Kenya, because of the seeming ongoing failure of the Kenyan African Union to obtain political reforms from the British government through peaceful means, radical activists within the KAU set up a splinter group and organised a more militant kind of nationalism. By 1952 The Mau Mau consisted of Kikuyu fighters, along with some Embu and Meru recruits. The Mau Mau carried out attacks on political opponents, loyalist villages, raiding white farms and destroying livestock. The colonial administration declared a state of emergency and British forces were sent to Kenya. [183] The majority of fighting was between loyalist and Mau Mau Kikuyu, so many scholars today now consider it a Kikuyu civil war. The Kenyan Government considers the Mau Mau Uprising a key step towards Kenya's eventual independence in the 1960s. [184] [185] Many Mau Mau members provided reports of torture and abuse suffered by them to foreign journalists, [186] though the British forces did have strict orders not to mistreat Mau Mau terrorists. [187]

Founded in 1961, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) was the military wing of the African National Congress it waged a guerrilla campaign against the South African apartheid regime and was responsible for many bombings. [188] MK launched its first guerrilla attacks against government installations on 16 December 1961. The South African government subsequently banned the group after classifying it as a terrorist organization. MK's first leader was Nelson Mandela, who was tried and imprisoned for the group's acts. [189] With the end of apartheid in South Africa, Umkhonto we Sizwe was incorporated into the South African armed forces.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Islamic militancy in pursuit of religious and political goals increased, [ citation needed ] many militants drawing inspiration from Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. [190] In the 1990s, well-known violent acts that targeted civilians were the World Trade Center bombing by Islamic terrorists on February 26, 1993, the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway by Aum Shinrikyo on March 20, 1995, and the bombing of Oklahoma City's Murrah Federal Building by Timothy McVeigh a month later that same year. This period also saw the rise of what is sometimes categorized as Single issue terrorism. If terrorism is the extension of domestic politics by other means, just as war is for diplomacy, then this represents the extension of pressure groups into violent action. Notable examples that grow in this period are Anti-abortion terrorism and Environmental terrorism.

The Americas Edit

The Contras were a counter-revolutionary militia formed in 1979 to oppose Nicaragua's Sandinista government. The Catholic Institute for International Relations asserted the following about contra operating procedures in 1987: "The record of the contras in the field. is one of consistent and bloody abuse of human rights, of murder, torture, mutilation, rape, arson, destruction and kidnapping." [191] Americas Watch‍—‌subsequently folded into Human Rights Watch‍—‌accused the Contras of targeting health care clinics and health care workers for assassination kidnapping civilians, torturing civilians executing civilians, including children, who were captured in combat raping women indiscriminately attacking civilians and civilian houses seizing civilian property and burning civilian houses in captured towns. [192] The contras disbanded after the election of Violetta Chamorro in 1990. [193]

The April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing was directed at the U.S. government, according to the prosecutor at the murder trial of Timothy McVeigh, who was convicted of carrying out the crime. [194] The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City claimed 168 lives and left over 800 people injured. [195] McVeigh, who was convicted of first degree murder and executed, said his motivation was revenge for U.S. government actions at Waco and Ruby Ridge. [196]

Pyroterrorism is an emerging threat for many areas of dry woodlands.

Middle East Edit

659 people died in Lebanon between 1982 and 1986 in 36 suicide attacks directed against American, French and Israeli forces, by 41 individuals with predominantly leftist political beliefs who were adherents of both the Christian and Muslim religions. [197] [ dubious – discuss ] The 1983 Beirut barracks bombing (by the Islamic Jihad Organization), which killed 241 U.S. and 58 French peacekeepers and six civilians at the peacekeeping barracks in Beirut, was particularly deadly. [198] [199] [200] [201] Hezbollah ("Party of God") is an Islamist movement and political party officially founded in Lebanon in 1985, ten years after the outbreak of that country's civil war. Inspired by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the Iranian revolution, the group originally sought an Islamic revolution in Lebanon [ citation needed ] and has long fought for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon. Led by Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah since 1992, the group has captured Israeli soldiers and carried out missile attacks and suicide bombings against Israeli targets. [202]

Egyptian Islamic Jihad (a.k.a. Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiyya) is a militant Egyptian Islamist movement dedicated to the establishment of an Islamic state in Egypt. The group was formed in 1980 as an umbrella organization for militant student groups which were formed after the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood renounced violence. It is led by Omar Abdel-Rahman, who has been accused of participation in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In 1981, the group assassinated Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. On November 17, 1997, in what became known as the Luxor massacre, it attacked tourists at the Temple of Hatshepsut (Deir el-Bahri) six men dressed as police officers machine-gunned 58 Japanese and European vacationers and four Egyptians. [203]

On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103, a Pan American World Airways flight from London's Heathrow International Airport to New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport, was destroyed mid flight over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 270 people, including 11 on the ground. On January 31, 2001, Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted by a panel of three Scottish judges of bombing the flight, and was sentenced to 27 years imprisonment. In 2002, Libya offered financial compensation to victims' families in exchange for lifting of UN and U.S. sanctions. In 2007 Megrahi was granted leave to appeal against his conviction, and in August 2009 was released on compassionate grounds by the Scottish executive due to his terminal cancer. [204]

The first Palestinian suicide attack took place in 1989 when a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad ignited a bomb onboard Tel Aviv bus, killing 16 people. [205] In the early 1990s another group, Hamas, also became well known for suicide bombings. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi and Mohammad Taha of the Palestinian wing of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood had created Hamas in 1987, at the beginning of the First Intifada, an uprising against Israeli rule in the Palestinian Territories which mostly consisted of civil disobedience but sometimes escalated into violence. [206] Hamas's militia, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, began its own suicide bombings against Israel in 1993, eventually accounting for about 40% of them. [207] Palestinian militant organizations have been responsible for rocket attacks on Israel, IED attacks, shootings, and stabbings. [208] After winning legislative elections, Hamas since June 2007 has governed the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union, [209] [210] Canada, [211] Israel, Japan, [212] [213] [214] [215] [216] and the United States. [217] Australia and the United Kingdom have designated the military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, as a terrorist organization. [218] [219] The organization is banned in Jordan.It is not regarded as a terrorist organization by Iran, Russia, [220] Norway, [221] Switzerland, [222] Brazil, [223] Turkey, [224] China, [225] [226] and Qatar. [227] As well as Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Palestine Liberation Front, PFLP-General Command, and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade were all listed as terrorist organizations by the US State Department in the 1990s. [228]

On February 25, 1994, Baruch Goldstein, an American-born Israeli physician, perpetrated the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron, Goldstein shot and killed between 30 and 54 Muslim worshippers inside the Ibrahimi Mosque (within the Cave of the Patriarchs), and wounded another 125 to 150. [229] Goldstein, who after the shooting was found beaten to death with iron bars in the mosque, [229] was a supporter of Kach, an Israeli political party founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane that advocated the expulsion of Arabs from Israel and the Palestinian Territories. [230] In the aftermath of the Goldstein attack and Kach statements praising it, Kach was outlawed in Israel. [230] Today, Kach and a breakaway group, Kahane Chai, are considered terrorist organisations by Israel, [231] Canada, [232] the European Union, [233] and the United States. [234] The far-right anti-miscegenation group Lehava, headed by former Kach member Bentzi Gopstein, is politically active inside Israel and its occupied territories. [235]

Asia Edit

Aum Shinrikyo, now known as Aleph, was a Japanese religious group founded by Shoko Asahara in 1984 as a yogic meditation group. Later, in 1990, Asahara and 24 other members campaigned for election to the House of Representatives under the banner of Shinri-tō (Supreme Truth Party). None were voted in, and the group began to militarize. Between 1990 and 1995, the group attempted several apparently unsuccessful violent attacks using the methods of biological warfare, using botulin toxin and anthrax spores. [236] On June 28, 1994, Aum Shinrikyo members released sarin gas from several sites in the Kaichi Heights neighborhood of Matsumoto, Japan, killing eight and injuring 200 in what became known as the Matsumoto incident. [236] Seven months later, on March 20, 1995, Aum Shinrikyo members released sarin gas in a coordinated attack on five trains in the Tokyo subway system, killing 12 commuters and damaging the health of about 5,000 others [237] in what became known as the subway sarin incident (地下鉄サリン事件, chikatetsu sarin jiken). In May 1995, Asahara and other senior leaders were arrested and the group's membership rapidly decreased.

In 1985, Air India Flight 182 flying from Canada was blown up by a bomb while in Irish airspace, killing 329 people, including 280 Canadian citizens, mostly of Indian birth or descent, and 22 Indians. [238] The incident was the deadliest act of air terrorism before 9/11, and the first bombing of a 747 Jumbo Jet which would set a pattern for future air terrorism plots. The crash occurred within an hour of the fatal Narita Airport Bombing which also originated from Canada without the passenger for the bag that exploded on the ground. Evidence from the explosions, witnesses and wiretaps of militants pointed to an attempt to actually blow up two airliners simultaneously by members of the Babbar Khalsa Khalistan movement militant group based in Canada to punish India for attacking the Golden Temple.

Europe Edit

The Iranian Embassy siege took place in 1980, after a group of six armed men stormed the Iranian embassy in South Kensington, London. The government ordered the Special Air Service (SAS), a special forces regiment of the British Army, to conduct an assault—Operation Nimrod—to rescue the remaining hostages. This response set the tone for how Western governments would respond to terrorism. Replacing an era of negotiation with one of military intervention. [239] [240]

Chechen separatists, led by Shamil Basayev, carried out several attacks on Russian targets between 1994 and 2006. [241] In the June 1995 Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis, Basayev-led separatists took over 1,000 civilians hostage in a hospital in the southern Russian city of Budyonnovsk. When Russian special forces attempted to free the hostages, 105 civilians and 25 Russian troops were killed. [242]

In the 21st century, most victims of terrorist attacks have been killed in Iraq, Afghanistan, [243] Nigeria, Syria, Pakistan, India, Somalia or Yemen.

Europe Edit

The Moscow theatre hostage crisis was the seizure of a crowded Moscow theatre on 23 October 2002 by some 40 to 50 armed Chechens who claimed allegiance to the Islamist militant separatist movement in Chechnya. They took 850 hostages and demanded the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya and an end to the Second Chechen War. The siege was officially led by Movsar Barayev. After a two-and-a-half-day siege, Russian Spetsnaz forces pumped an unknown chemical agent (thought to be fentanyl, 3-methylfentanyl), into the building's ventilation system and raided it. [244] Officially, 39 of the attackers were killed by Russian forces, along with at least 129 and possibly many more of the hostages (including nine foreigners). All but a few of the hostages who died were killed by the gas pumped into the theatre, [245] [246] and many condemned the use of the gas as heavy handed. [247] Roughly, 170 people died in all.

On September 1, 2004, in what became known as the Beslan school hostage crisis, 32 Chechen separatists took 1,300 children and adults hostage at Beslan's School Number One. When Russian authorities did not comply with the rebel demands that Russian forces withdraw from Chechnya, 20 adult male hostages were shot. After two days of stalled negotiations, Russian special forces stormed the building. In the ensuing melee, over 300 hostages died, along with 19 Russian servicemen and all but perhaps one of the rebels. Basayev is believed to have participated in organizing the attack. [248] [ clarification needed ] .

The 2004 Madrid train bombings (also known in Spain as 11-M) were nearly simultaneous, coordinated bombings against the Cercanías commuter train system of Madrid, Spain, on the morning of 11 March 2004‍—‌three days before Spain's general elections and two and a half years after the September 11 attacks in the United States. The explosions killed 191 people and wounded 1,800. It was concluded that the bombs were carried on the trains hidden in backpacks, While many went off three were found later that did not detonate. [249] The official investigation by the Spanish judiciary found that the attacks were directed by an al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist cell. ETA and al Qaeda were the original suspects cited by the Spanish government. [250]

The 7 July 2005 London bombings (often referred to as 7/7) were a series of coordinated suicide bomb attacks in central London which targeted civilians using the public transport system during the morning rush hour. On the morning of Thursday, 7 July 2005, four Islamist extremists separately detonated three bombs in quick succession aboard London Underground trains across the city and, later, a fourth on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. Fifty-two civilians were killed and over 700 more were injured in the attacks. Later a dozen unexploded bombs were found in a car located in North London. 3 out of the 4 suspects were identified Mohammed Silique Khan, Germaine Morris Lindsay, Shahzad Tawnier where they are found to be in cohorts with Osama Bin Laden and eventually documents are leaked showing that Osama bin laden and Rashid Ruff planned the London bombings. [251]

In Norway in 2011 two sequential lone wolf terrorist attacks by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik were carried out against the government, the civilian population, and a Workers' Youth League (AUF)-run summer camp in Norway on 22 July 2011. The attacks claimed a total of 77 lives. The first part of the attack was a van bomb in Oslo. The van was placed in front of the office block housing the office of Prime Minister and other government buildings. The explosion killed eight people and injured at least 209 people, twelve of them seriously. He followed this attack by impersonating a police officer to access the island on which the AUF summer camp was being held and proceeded to go on a shooting spree that killed 69 people. [252]

In 2013 the British government branded the killing of a serviceman in a Woolwich street, a terrorist attack. One of his attackers made political statements which were later broadcast with blood still on his hands from the attack. [253] The two men responsible for the attack remained on the scene until incapacitated by armed police. They were later tried and found guilty of murder.

From 7 January to 9 January 2015, a series of five terrorist attacks occurred across the Île-de-France region, particularly in Paris. The attacks killed a total of 17 people, in addition to the three perpetrators of the attack, [254] [255] and wounded 22 others, some of whom are in critical condition as of 16 January 2015 [update] . A fifth shooting attack did not result in any fatalities. Numerous other smaller incidents of attacks on mosques have been reported, but have not yet been directly linked to the attacks. The group that claims responsibility for the attacks, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, claimed that the attack had been planned for years ahead. [256]

On 7 January 2015, two Islamist gunmen [257] forced their way into and opened fire in the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo shooting, killing twelve: staff cartoonists Charb, Cabu, Honoré, Tignous and Wolinski, [258] economist Bernard Maris, editors Elsa Cayat and Mustapha Ourrad, guest Michel Renaud, maintenance worker Frédéric Boisseau and police officers Brinsolaro and Merabet, and wounding eleven, four of them seriously. [259] [260] [261] [262] [263] [264]

During the attack, the gunmen shouted "Allahu akbar" ("God is great" in Arabic) and also "the Prophet is avenged". [257] [265] President François Hollande described it as a "terrorist attack of the most extreme barbarity". [266] The two gunmen were identified as Saïd Kouachi and Chérif Kouachi, French Muslim brothers of Algerian descent. [267] [268] [269] [270] [271]

On 9 January, police tracked the assailants to an industrial estate in Dammartin-en-Goële, where they took a hostage. Another gunman also shot a police officer on 8 January and took hostages the next day, at a kosher supermarket near the Porte de Vincennes. [272] GIGN (a special operations unit of the French Armed Forces), combined with RAID and BRI (special operations units of the French Police), conducted simultaneous raids in Dammartin and at Porte de Vincennes. Three terrorists were killed, along with four hostages who died in the Vincennes supermarket before the intervention some other hostages were injured. [273] [274] [275]

On 13 November, 28 hours after the Beirut attack, three groups of ISIS terrorists performed mass killings in various places in Paris' Xe and XIe arrondissements. They killed a total of more than 130 citizens. Hostages were taken in the concert hall "Le Bataclan" for three hours, and ninety were killed before the special police entered. [276] The president immediately started the emergency threat procedure, for the first time on the entire French territory since the Algeria events in 1960.

On the morning of 22 March 2016, three coordinated suicide bombings occurred in Belgium: two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and one at Maalbeek metro station in central Brussels. [277] They are referred to as the 2016 Brussels attacks. Thirty-two civilians and three perpetrators were killed, and more than 300 people were injured. Another bomb was found during a search of the airport. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks. [278]

On 22 May 2017 a suicide bomber attacked Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande concert. Twenty-three people died, including the attacker, and 139 were wounded, more than half of them children.

Middle East Edit

Osama bin Laden, closely advised by Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, in 1988 founded Al-Qaeda (Arabic: القاعدة, meaning "The Base"), an Islamic jihadist movement to replace Western-controlled or dominated Muslim countries with Islamic fundamentalist regimes. [279] In pursuit of that goal, bin Laden issued a 1996 manifesto that vowed violent jihad against U.S. military forces based in Saudi Arabia. [280] On August 7, 1998, individuals associated with Al Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad carried out simultaneous bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa which resulted in 224 deaths. [281] On October 12, 2000, Al-Qaeda carried out the USS Cole bombing, a suicide bombing of the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole harbored in the Yemeni port of Aden. The bombing killed seventeen U.S. sailors. [282]

On September 11, 2001, nineteen men affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger jets all bound for California, crashing two of them into the World Trade Center in New York City, the third into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, and the fourth (originally intended to target Washington, D.C., either the White House or the U.S. Capitol) into an open field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after a revolt by the plane's passengers. [283] [284] As a result of the attacks, 2,996 people (including the 19 hijackers) perished and more than 6,000 others were injured. [283]

The United States responded to the attacks by launching the War on Terror. Specifically, on October 7, 2001, it invaded Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, which had harbored al-Qaeda terrorists. On October 26, 2001, the U.S. enacted the Patriot Act that expanded the powers of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Many countries followed with similar legislation. Under the Obama administration, the U.S. changed tactics moving away from ground combat with large numbers of troops, to the use of drones and special forces. This campaign eliminated much of al-Qaeda's most senior members, including a strike by Seal Team Six that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden in 2011.

On Israel's northern border, after its unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Hezbollah launched numerous Katyusha rocket attacks against non-civilian and civilian areas within northern Israel. [285] Within Israel, the 1993–2008 Second Intifada involved in part a series of suicide bombings against civilian and non-civilian targets. 1100 Israelis were killed in the Second Intifada, the majority being civilians. [286] [287] A 2007 study of Palestinian suicide bombings from September 2000 through August 2005 found that 40% percent were carried out by Hamas's Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and roughly 26% by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Fatah militias. [287] [288] Also, between 2001 and January 2009, over 8,600 rocket attacks were launched from the Gaza Strip were launched into civilian areas and non-civilian areas inside Israel, causing deaths, injuries, and psychological trauma. [289] [290] [291] Formed in 2003, Jundallah is a Sunni insurgent group from the Baloch region of Iran and neighboring Pakistan. It has committed numerous attacks within Iran, stating that it is fighting for the rights of the Sunni minority there. In 2005 the group attempted to assassinate Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. [292] The group takes credit for other bombings, including the 2007 Zahedan bombings. Iran and other sources accuse the group of being a front for or supported by other nations, in particular the U.S. and Pakistan. [293] [294]

As the Islamic state of Syria and Iraq increases in size and power their attacks are affecting all parts of the world even in their own back yard of Turkey. Taking place in Istanbul a suicide bomber once again detonated a car bomb killing 4 people and injuring 31. No extremist group took responsibility for the attack but the attacker Mehmet Ozturk was linked to have ties with ISIS. This was just days after the car bomb attack in Turkeys capital of Ankara killing 37 people. The U.S. security council asked for the repeated terror attacks on Turkey to stop, and that the War on Terror will just become stronger due actions like these killing innocent people. Since the attacks Israel has requested that its citizens not travel to Turkey unless its necessary. [295]

Asia Edit

On December 27, 2007 two time elected Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated during a gathering she was having with her supporters. A suicide bomber detonated a bomb along with other extremists against her shooting off guns killing the prime minister and 14 other people. She was immediately rushed to the hospital and was pronounced dead. [296] She was believed to be target because she was warning Pakistan along with the world of the uprising Jihadist groups and extremist groups gaining power. The responsibility of her death falls on the president of the time Pervez Musharraf who also was the ex- military chief, She had several conversations with Musharraf about upping her security due to the increase of death threats she was receiving and he denied her request. Although AL-Qaeda took responsibility for her death it is seen in the eye of the people as former President's Pervez Musharraf's fault for not taking her concerns seriously. However, during his trial he denies that no conversation happened between him and Benzair Bhutto about the security of her life. [297]

The 2008 Mumbai attacks were more than ten coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, India's largest city, by Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani Islamic terrorist organization with ties to ISI, Pakistan's secret service. The six main targets were

  1. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus – formerly known as Victoria Station
  2. The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel – six explosions were reported in the hotel,200 hostages were rescued from the burning building. A group of European Parliament committee members were staying at the hotel at the time but none were injured. Two attackers held hostages in the hotel.
  3. Leopold Café – a popular cafe and bar on the Causeway that was one of the first places to be attacked resulting in the death of 10 people
  4. The Trident-Oberoi Hotel – one explosion was heard here where the President of Madrid was eating, he was not injured
  5. Nariman House, a Jewish community center – had a hostage situation by two attackers eventually the hostages became freed when an aerial view of the building was displayed and NSG's stormed the building eventually killing the two attackers.
  6. Cama Hospital – the attacks were carried out by 10 gunman that arrived on speed boats boat from Pakistan, separating going building to building grabbing hostages, setting bombs up and mass murdering with guns. Eventually 9 out of the 10 gunman were killed. Pakistan denied that the men were a part of their country but eventually released documents that 3 of the men were from Pakistan and that cases would be opened against them [298]

[299] [300] [301] The attacks, which drew widespread condemnation across the world, began on 26 November 2008 and lasted until 29 November, killing at least 173 people and wounding at least 308. [302] [303] [304]

On January 14, 2016 a series of terrorist attacks took place in Jakarta, Indonesia resulting in 8 dead. The responsibility of these attacks were claimed by ISIS Counter terrorism has named this type of attack 'Marauding Terrorist Firearms Attack' because of the fast reaction needed by local policemen to stop the gunfire attack from the terrorists. [305] The attack on Jakarta is linked to a bigger picture of terror in the Indonesian country for those of ISIS. Indonesia is home of the "largest regional terror groups" housing seven Islamist extremist groups. Leaving the thoughts that ISIS is trying to establish a satellite city in Indonesia, due to the fact that it has the largest Muslim population. Although ISIS branches have not yet reached the land of Southeast Asia in big masses, there is the fear that it is only a matter of time until Indonesias small extremist groups grow in masses once direct contact with ISIS is made. Once contact is established local terror groups will quickly mobilize to carry out the tasks that ISIS asks of them. ISIS will turn to Southeast Asia because it is only evident that they will lose control of the middle east. [306]

Americas Edit

2001 also saw the second acknowledged act of bioterrorism with the 2001 anthrax attacks (the first being intentional food poisoning conducted in The Dalles, Oregon by Rajneeshee followers in 1984), when letters carrying anthrax spores were posted to several major American media outlets and two Democratic Party politicians. This resulted in several of the first fatalities attributed to a bioterror attack.

The more recent terrorist attack in the United States have included the 2015 San Bernardino attack, [307] the Bombing of Boston Marathon by Islamic terrorists, the shooting of police officers in sniper ambushes by members of Black Lives Matter movement, and the shooting of multiple black parishioners at church and car attack on anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville by right-wing extremists and white supremacists. There have been calls by some analysts to describe violence committed by incels as terrorism. [308] [309]

At Least 33 Killed In Va. Tech Massacre

A gunman opened fire in a Virginia Tech dorm and then, two hours later, in a classroom across campus Monday, killing at least 32 people in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history, government officials told The Associated Press. The gunman was killed, bringing the death toll to 33.

At least 26 others were injured in the shootings, police said.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives believe the gunman, described as a young Asian male, used two handguns in the shootings before taking his own life, sources tell CBS News. One official added that the gunman was "heavily armed and wearing a vest."

Investigators offered no motive for the attack but said they are trying to confirm if the gunman was looking for his girlfriend, CBS News reports. The gunman's name was not immediately released, and it was not known if he was a student.

"Today the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental proportions," said Virginia Tech president Charles Steger. "The university is shocked and indeed horrified."

Students complained that there were no public-address announcements or other warnings on campus after the first burst of gunfire. They said the first word they received from the university was an e-mail more than two hours into the rampage &mdash around the time the gunman struck again.

Trending News

Steger said authorities at first believed that the shooting at the dorm was a domestic dispute and that the gunman had fled the campus.

"We had no reason to suspect any other incident was going to occur," he said, adding, "We can only make decisions based on the information you had at the time," he said. "You don't have hours to reflect on it."

The shootings spread panic and confusion on campus. Witnesses reporting students jumping out the windows of a classroom building to escape the gunfire. SWAT team members with helmets, flak jackets and assault rifles swarmed over the campus. Students and faculty members carried out some of the wounded themselves, without waiting for ambulances to arrive.

Katie Couric will anchor The CBS Evening News from Blacksburg, Va., tonight at 6:30 p.m. and Harry Smith will co-anchor The Early Show from there Tuesday morning from 7 to 9 a.m. There will a one-hour special on the massacre on 48 Hours Tuesday night at 10 p.m.

Photo Essay: Virginia Tech Massacre

Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said one male and one female student were killed in the dormitory shooting. The rest were killed at Norris Hall.

Officials are confident there was one gunman and that the shootings were not part of a larger plot, CBS News reports. FBI spokesman Richard Kolko in Washington said there was no immediate evidence to suggest it was a terrorist attack, "but all avenues will be explored."

Some students bitterly questioned why the gunman was able to strike a second time, two hours after the bloodshed began.

"What happened today, this was ridiculous," student Jason Piatt told CNN. He said the first warning from the university of a shooting on campus came in an e-mail about two hours after the first deadly burst of gunfire. "While they're sending out that e-mail, 22 more people got killed," Piatt said.

Students and Laura Wedin, a student programs manager at Virginia Tech, said the first notification they got of the shootings came in an e-mail at 9:26 a.m., more than two hours after the first shooting.

The e-mail had few details. It said: "A shooting incident occurred at West Amber Johnston earlier this morning. Police are on the scene and are investigating." The message warned students to be cautious and contact police about anything suspicious.

Student Maurice Hiller said he went to a 9 a.m. class two buildings away from the engineering building, and no warnings were coming over the outdoor public address system on campus at the time.

Everett Good, junior, said of the lack of warning: "I'm trying to figure that out. Someone's head is definitely going to roll over that."

"We were kept in the dark a lot about exactly what was going on," said Andrew Capers Thompson, a 22-year-old graduate student from Walhalla, S.C.

At least 26 people were being treated at three area hospitals for gunshot wounds and other injuries, authorities said. Their exact conditions were not disclosed, but at least one was sent to a trauma center and six were in surgery, authorities said.

Up until Monday, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history was in Killeen, Texas, in 1991, when George Hennard plowed his pickup truck into a Luby's Cafeteria and shot 23 people to death, then himself.

The massacre Monday took place almost eight years to the day after the Columbine High bloodbath near Littleton, Colo. On April 20, 1999, two teenagers killed 12 fellow students and a teacher before taking their own lives.

Previously, the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history was a rampage that took place in 1966 at the University of Texas at Austin, where Charles Whitman climbed the clock tower and opened fire with a rifle from the 28th-floor observation deck. He killed 16 people before he was shot to death by police.

The rampage took place on a brisk spring day, with snow flurries swirling around the campus. The campus is centered around the Drill Field, a grassy field where military cadets &mdash who now represent a fraction of the student body &mdash once practiced. The dorm and the classroom building are on opposites sides of the Drill Field.

A gasp could be heard at a campus news conference when Virginia Tech Police Chief W.R. Flinchum said at least 20 people had been killed. Previously, only one person was thought to have been killed.

Investigators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives began marking and recovering the large number of shell casings and will trace the weapon used, authorities said.

After the shootings, all entrances to the campus were closed, and classes were canceled through Tuesday. The university set up a meeting place for families to reunite with their children. It also made counselors available and planned an assembly for Tuesday at the basketball arena.

After the shooting began, students were told to stay inside away from the windows.

Aimee Kanode, a freshman from Martinsville, said the shooting happened on the fourth floor of West Ambler Johnston dormitory, one floor above her room. Kanode's resident assistant knocked on her door about 8 a.m. to notify students to stay put.

Police said there had been bomb threats on campus over the past two weeks by authorities but said they have not determined a link to the shootings.

It was second time in less than a year that the campus was closed because of a shooting.

Last August, the opening day of classes was canceled and the campus closed when an escaped jail inmate allegedly killed a hospital guard off campus and fled to the Tech area. A sheriff's deputy involved in the manhunt was killed on a trail just off campus. The accused gunman, William Morva, faces capital murder charges.

President Bush said the mass shooting affects every student across the nation.

"Schools should be places of safety, sanctuary and learning," Bush said. "When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom in every American community."

Bush spoke with Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and Virginia Tech President Charles Steger.

"I told them that Laura and I and many across our nation are praying for the victims and all the members of university community that have been devastated by this terrible tragedy," Bush said in the Diplomatic Room of the White House.

In the House, which returned Monday from a two-week recess, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., interrupted the proceedings to lead a moment of silence in remembrance.

"As the Virginia Tech community struggles with the mourning and questioning that is certain to follow, the continued prayers from this Congress are with the students, their families, the faculty and the staff at Virginia Tech," Pelosi said.

First published on April 16, 2007 / 5:54 PM

© 2007 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Childhood Edit

Theodore John Kaczynski was born on May 22, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois, to working-class parents, Wanda Theresa (née Dombek) and Theodore Richard Kaczynski, a sausage maker. [12] The two were Polish Americans, and were raised as Catholics but later became atheists. [13] They married on April 11, 1939. [13]

Kaczynski's parents told his younger brother, David, that Ted had been a happy baby until severe hives forced him into hospital isolation with limited contact with others, after which he "showed little emotions for months". [13] Wanda recalled Ted recoiling from a picture of himself as an infant being held down by physicians examining his hives. She said he showed sympathy for animals who were in cages or otherwise helpless, which she speculated stemmed from his experience in hospital isolation. [14]

From first to fourth grade (ages six to nine), Kaczynski attended Sherman Elementary School in Chicago, where administrators described him as healthy and well-adjusted. [15] In 1952, three years after David was born, the family moved to suburban Evergreen Park, Illinois Ted transferred to Evergreen Park Central Junior High School. After testing scored his IQ at 167, [16] he skipped the sixth grade. Kaczynski later described this as a pivotal event: previously he had socialized with his peers and was even a leader, but after skipping ahead of them he felt he did not fit in with the older children, who bullied him. [17]

Neighbors in Evergreen Park later described the Kaczynski family as "civic-minded folks", one recalling the parents "sacrificed everything they had for their children". [13] Both Ted and David were intelligent, but Ted exceptionally so. Neighbors described him as a smart but lonely individual. [13] [18] His mother recalled Ted as a shy child who would become unresponsive if pressured into a social situation. [19] At one point she was so worried about his social development that she considered entering him in a study for autistic children led by Bruno Bettelheim. She decided against it after seeing Bettelheim's abrupt and cold manner. [20]

High school Edit

Kaczynski attended Evergreen Park Community High School, where he excelled academically. He played the trombone in the marching band and was a member of the mathematics, biology, coin, and German clubs. [21] [22] In 1996, a former classmate said: "He was never really seen as a person, as an individual personality . He was always regarded as a walking brain, so to speak." [13] During this period, Kaczynski became intensely interested in mathematics, spending hours studying and solving advanced problems. He became associated with a group of like-minded boys interested in science and mathematics, known as the "briefcase boys" for their penchant for carrying briefcases. [22]

Throughout high school, Kaczynski was ahead of his classmates academically. Placed in a more advanced mathematics class, he soon mastered the material. He skipped the eleventh grade, and by attending summer school he graduated at age 15. Kaczynski was one of his school's five National Merit finalists and was encouraged to apply to Harvard College. [21] He entered Harvard on a scholarship in 1958 at age 16. [23] A classmate later said Kaczynski was emotionally unprepared: "They packed him up and sent him to Harvard before he was ready . He didn't even have a driver's license." [13]

Harvard College Edit

During his first year at Harvard, Kaczynski lived at 8 Prescott Street, which was designed to accommodate the youngest, most precocious incoming students in a small, intimate living space. For the following three years, he lived at Eliot House. Housemates and other students at Harvard described Kaczynski as a very intelligent but socially reserved person. [24] Kaczynski earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from Harvard in 1962, finishing with a GPA of 3.12. [25] [26] [27]

Psychological study Edit

In his second year at Harvard, Kaczynski participated in a study described by author Alston Chase as a "purposely brutalizing psychological experiment" led by Harvard psychologist Henry Murray. Subjects were told they would debate personal philosophy with a fellow student and were asked to write essays detailing their personal beliefs and aspirations. The essays were turned over to an anonymous individual who would confront and belittle the subject in what Murray himself called "vehement, sweeping, and personally abusive" attacks, using the content of the essays as ammunition. [28] Electrodes monitored the subject's physiological reactions. These encounters were filmed, and subjects' expressions of anger and rage were later played back to them repeatedly. [28] The experiment lasted three years, with someone verbally abusing and humiliating Kaczynski each week. [29] [30] Kaczynski spent 200 hours as part of the study. [31]

Kaczynski's lawyers later attributed his hostility towards mind control techniques to his participation in Murray's study. [28] Some sources have suggested that Murray's experiments were part of Project MKUltra, the Central Intelligence Agency's research into mind control. [32] [33] Chase and others have also suggested that this experience may have motivated Kaczynski's criminal activities. [34] [35] Kaczynski stated he resented Murray and his co-workers, primarily because of the invasion of his privacy he perceived as a result of their experiments. Nevertheless, he said he was "quite confident that my experiences with Professor Murray had no significant effect on the course of my life". [36]

Mathematics career Edit

In 1962, Kaczynski enrolled at the University of Michigan, where he earned his master's and doctoral degrees in mathematics in 1964 and 1967, respectively. Michigan was not his first choice for postgraduate education he had applied to the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Chicago, both of which accepted him but offered him no teaching position or financial aid. Michigan offered him an annual grant of $2,310 (equivalent to $19,763 in 2020) and a teaching post. [27]

At Michigan, Kaczynski specialized in complex analysis, specifically geometric function theory. Professor Peter Duren said of Kaczynski, "He was an unusual person. He was not like the other graduate students. He was much more focused about his work. He had a drive to discover mathematical truth." George Piranian, another of his Michigan mathematics professors, said, "It is not enough to say he was smart". [37] Kaczynski received 1 F, 5 Bs and 12 As in his 18 courses at the university. In 2006, he said he had unpleasant memories of Michigan and felt the university had low standards for grading, as evidenced by his relatively high grades. [27]

For a period of several weeks in 1966, Kaczynski experienced intense sexual fantasies of being a female and decided to undergo gender transition. He arranged to meet with a psychiatrist, but changed his mind in the waiting room and did not disclose his reason for making the appointment. Afterwards, enraged, he considered killing the psychiatrist and other people whom he hated. Kaczynski described this episode as a "major turning point" in his life: [38] [39] [40] "I felt disgusted about what my uncontrolled sexual cravings had almost led me to do. And I felt humiliated, and I violently hated the psychiatrist. Just then there came a major turning point in my life. Like a Phoenix, I burst from the ashes of my despair to a glorious new hope." [39]

In 1967, Kaczynski's dissertation Boundary Functions [41] won the Sumner B. Myers Prize for Michigan's best mathematics dissertation of the year. [13] Allen Shields, his doctoral advisor, called it "the best I have ever directed", [27] and Maxwell Reade, a member of his dissertation committee, said, "I would guess that maybe 10 or 12 men in the country understood or appreciated it." [13] [37]

In late 1967, the 25-year-old Kaczynski became an acting assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught mathematics. By September 1968, Kaczynski was appointed assistant professor, a sign that he was on track for tenure. [13] His teaching evaluations suggest he was not well-liked by his students: he seemed uncomfortable teaching, taught straight from the textbook and refused to answer questions. [13] Without any explanation, Kaczynski resigned on June 30, 1969. [41] The chairman of the mathematics department, J. W. Addison, called this a "sudden and unexpected" resignation. [42] [43]

In 1996, reporters for the Los Angeles Times interviewed mathematicians about Kaczynski's work and concluded that Kaczynski's subfield effectively ceased to exist after the 1960s as most of its conjectures were proven. According to mathematician Donald Rung, if Kaczynski continued to work in mathematics he "probably would have gone on to some other area". [41]

After resigning from Berkeley, Kaczynski moved to his parents' home in Lombard, Illinois. Two years later, in 1971, he moved to a remote cabin he had built outside Lincoln, Montana, where he could live a simple life with little money and without electricity or running water, [44] working odd jobs and receiving significant financial support from his family. [13]

His original goal was to become self-sufficient so he could live autonomously. He used an old bicycle to get to town, and a volunteer at the local library said he visited frequently to read classic works in their original languages. Other Lincoln residents said later that such a lifestyle was not unusual in the area. [45] Kaczynski's cabin was described by a census taker in the 1990 census as containing a bed, two chairs, storage trunks, a gas stove, and lots of books. [21]

Starting in 1975, Kaczynski performed acts of sabotage including arson and booby trapping against developments near to his cabin. [46] He also dedicated himself to reading about sociology and political philosophy, including the works of Jacques Ellul. [28] Kaczynski's brother David later stated that Ellul's book The Technological Society "became Ted's Bible". [47] Kaczynski recounted in 1998, "When I read the book for the first time, I was delighted, because I thought, 'Here is someone who is saying what I have already been thinking.'" [28]

In an interview after his arrest, he recalled being shocked on a hike to one of his favorite wild spots: [48]

It's kind of rolling country, not flat, and when you get to the edge of it you find these ravines that cut very steeply in to cliff-like drop-offs and there was even a waterfall there. It was about a two days' hike from my cabin. That was the best spot until the summer of 1983. That summer there were too many people around my cabin so I decided I needed some peace. I went back to the plateau and when I got there I found they had put a road right through the middle of it . You just can't imagine how upset I was. It was from that point on I decided that, rather than trying to acquire further wilderness skills, I would work on getting back at the system. Revenge.

Kaczynski was visited multiple times in Montana by his father, who was impressed by Ted's wilderness skills. Kaczynski's father was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 1990 and held a family meeting without Kaczynski later that year to map out their future. [21] In October 1990, Kaczynski's father committed suicide. [49]

Between 1978 and 1995, Kaczynski mailed or hand-delivered a series of increasingly sophisticated bombs that cumulatively killed three people and injured 23 others. Sixteen bombs were attributed to Kaczynski. While the bombing devices varied widely through the years, many contained the initials "FC", which Kaczynski later said stood for "Freedom Club", [50] inscribed on parts inside. He purposely left misleading clues in the devices and took extreme care in preparing them to avoid leaving fingerprints fingerprints found on some of the devices did not match those found on letters attributed to Kaczynski. [51] [a]

Initial bombings Edit

Kaczynski's first mail bomb was directed at Buckley Crist, a professor of materials engineering at Northwestern University. On May 25, 1978, a package bearing Crist's return address was found in a parking lot at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The package was "returned" to Crist, who was suspicious because he had not sent it, so he contacted campus police. Officer Terry Marker opened the package, which exploded and caused minor injuries. [52] Kaczynski had returned to Chicago for the May 1978 bombing and stayed there for a time to work with his father and brother at a foam rubber factory. In August 1978, his brother fired him for writing insulting limericks about a female supervisor Ted had courted briefly. [53] [54] The supervisor later recalled Kaczynski as intelligent and quiet, but remembered little of their acquaintanceship and firmly denied they had had any romantic relationship. [55] Kaczynski's second bomb was sent nearly one year after the first one, again to Northwestern University. The bomb, concealed inside a cigar box and left on a table, caused minor injuries to graduate student John Harris when he opened it. [52]

FBI involvement Edit

In 1979, a bomb was placed in the cargo hold of American Airlines Flight 444, a Boeing 727 flying from Chicago to Washington, D.C. A faulty timing mechanism prevented the bomb from exploding, but it released smoke, which caused the pilots to carry out an emergency landing. Authorities said it had enough power to "obliterate the plane" had it exploded. [52] Kaczynski sent his next bomb to Percy Wood, the president of United Airlines. [56]

Kaczynski left false clues in most bombs, which he intentionally made hard to find to make them appear more legitimate. Clues included metal plates stamped with the initials "FC" hidden somewhere (usually in the pipe end cap) in bombs, a note left in a bomb that did not detonate reading "Wu—It works! I told you it would—RV," and the Eugene O'Neill one dollar stamps often used to send his boxes. [51] [57] [58] He sent one bomb embedded in a copy of Sloan Wilson's novel Ice Brothers. [52] The FBI theorized that Kaczynski's crimes involved a theme of nature, trees and wood. He often included bits of a tree branch and bark in his bombs. His selected targets included Percy Wood and Professor Leroy Wood. Crime writer Robert Graysmith noted his "obsession with wood" was "a large factor" in the bombings. [59]

Later bombings Edit

In 1981, a package that had been discovered in a hallway at the University of Utah was brought to the campus police, and was defused by a bomb squad. [52] In May of the following year, a bomb was sent to Patrick C. Fischer, a professor teaching at Vanderbilt University. Fischer was on vacation in Puerto Rico at the time and his secretary, Janet Smith, opened the bomb and received injuries to the face and arms. [52] [60]

Kaczynski's next two bombs targeted people at the University of California, Berkeley. The first, in July 1982, caused serious injuries to engineering professor Diogenes Angelakos. [52] Nearly three years later, in May 1985, John Hauser, a graduate student and captain in the United States Air Force, lost four fingers and vision in one eye. [61] Kaczynski handcrafted the bomb from wooden parts. [62] A bomb sent to the Boeing Company in Auburn, Washington, was defused by a bomb squad the following month. [61] In November 1985, professor James V. McConnell and research assistant Nicklaus Suino were both severely injured after Suino opened a mail bomb addressed to McConnell. [61]

In late 1985, a nail-and-splinter-loaded bomb placed in the parking lot of his store in Sacramento, California, killed 38-year-old computer store owner Hugh Scrutton. A similar attack against a computer store took place in Salt Lake City, Utah, on February 20, 1987. The bomb, disguised as a piece of lumber, injured Gary Wright when he attempted to remove it from the store's parking lot. The explosion severed nerves in Wright's left arm and propelled over 200 pieces of shrapnel into his body. [b] Kaczynski was spotted while planting the Salt Lake City bomb. This led to a widely distributed sketch of the suspect as a hooded man with a mustache and aviator sunglasses. [64] [65]

In 1993, after a six-year break, Kaczynski mailed a bomb to the home of Charles Epstein from the University of California, San Francisco. Epstein lost several fingers upon opening the package. In the same weekend, Kaczynski mailed a bomb to David Gelernter, a computer science professor at Yale University. Gelernter lost sight in one eye, hearing in one ear, and a portion of his right hand. [66]

In 1994, Burson-Marsteller executive Thomas Mosser was killed after opening a mail bomb sent to his home in New Jersey. In a letter to The New York Times, Kaczynski wrote he had sent the bomb because of Mosser's work repairing the public image of Exxon after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. [67] This was followed by the 1995 murder of Gilbert Brent Murray, president of the timber industry lobbying group California Forestry Association, by a mail bomb addressed to previous president William Dennison, who had retired. Geneticist Phillip Sharp at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology received a threatening letter shortly afterwards. [66]

Table of bombings Edit

Bombings carried out by Kaczynski
Date State Location Explosion Victim(s) Occupation of victim(s) Injuries
May 25, 1978 Illinois Northwestern University Yes Terry Marker University police officer Minor cuts and burns
May 9, 1979 Yes John Harris Graduate student Minor cuts and burns
November 15, 1979 American Airlines Flight 444 from Chicago to Washington, D.C. (explosion occurred midflight) Yes Twelve passengers Multiple Non-lethal smoke inhalation
June 10, 1980 Lake Forest Yes Percy Wood President of United Airlines Severe cuts and burns over most of body and face
October 8, 1981 Utah University of Utah Bomb defused N/A N/A N/A
May 5, 1982 Tennessee Vanderbilt University Yes Janet Smith University secretary Severe burns to hands shrapnel wounds to body
July 2, 1982 California University of California, Berkeley Yes Diogenes Angelakos Engineering professor Severe burns and shrapnel wounds to hand and face
May 15, 1985 Yes John Hauser Graduate student Loss of four fingers and severed artery in right arm partial loss of vision in left eye
June 13, 1985 Washington The Boeing Company in Auburn Bomb defused N/A N/A N/A
November 15, 1985 Michigan University of Michigan Yes James V. McConnell Psychology professor Temporary hearing loss
Yes Nicklaus Suino Research assistant Burns and shrapnel wounds
December 11, 1985 California Sacramento Yes Hugh Scrutton Computer store owner Death
February 20, 1987 Utah Salt Lake City Yes Gary Wright Computer store owner Severe nerve damage to left arm
June 22, 1993 California Tiburon Yes Charles Epstein Geneticist Severe damage to both eardrums with partial hearing loss, loss of three fingers
June 24, 1993 Connecticut Yale University Yes David Gelernter Computer science professor Severe burns and shrapnel wounds, damage to right eye, loss of right hand
December 10, 1994 New Jersey North Caldwell Yes Thomas J. Mosser Advertising executive Death
April 24, 1995 California Sacramento Yes Gilbert Brent Murray Timber industry lobbyist Death
References: [68] [69]

In 1995, Kaczynski mailed several letters to media outlets outlining his goals and demanding a major newspaper print his 35,000-word essay Industrial Society and Its Future (dubbed the "Unabomber manifesto" by the FBI) verbatim. [70] [71] He stated he would "desist from terrorism" if this demand was met. [10] [72] [73] There was controversy as to whether the essay should be published, but Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh recommended its publication out of concern for public safety and in the hope that a reader could identify the author. Bob Guccione of Penthouse volunteered to publish it. Kaczynski replied Penthouse was less "respectable" than The New York Times and The Washington Post, and said that, "to increase our chances of getting our stuff published in some 'respectable' periodical", he would "reserve the right to plant one (and only one) bomb intended to kill, after our manuscript has been published" if Penthouse published the document instead of The Times or The Post. [74] The Washington Post published the essay on September 19, 1995. [75] [76]

Kaczynski used a typewriter to write his manuscript, capitalizing entire words for emphasis in lieu of italics. He always referred to himself as either "we" or "FC" ("Freedom Club"), though there is no evidence that he worked with others. Donald Wayne Foster analyzed the writing at the request of Kaczynski's defense team in 1996 and noted that it contained irregular spelling and hyphenation, along with other linguistic idiosyncrasies. This led him to conclude that Kaczynski was its author. [77]

Summary Edit

Industrial Society and Its Future begins with Kaczynski's assertion: "The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race." [78] [79] He writes that technology has had a destabilizing effect on society, has made life unfulfilling, and has caused widespread psychological suffering. [80] Kaczynski argues that most people spend their time engaged in useless pursuits because of technological advances he calls these "surrogate activities" wherein people strive toward artificial goals, including scientific work, consumption of entertainment, political activism and following sports teams. [80] He predicts that further technological advances will lead to extensive human genetic engineering and that human beings will be adjusted to meet the needs of the social systems, rather than vice versa. [80] Kaczynski states that technological progress can be stopped, in contrast to the viewpoint of people who he says understand technology's negative effects yet passively accept it as inevitable. [81] He calls for a return to primitivist lifestyles. [80]

Kaczynski argues that the erosion of human freedom is a natural product of an industrial society because "the system has to regulate human behavior closely in order to function", and that reform of the system is impossible as drastic changes to it would not be implemented because of their disruption of the system. [82] He states that the system has not yet fully achieved control over all human behavior and is in the midst of a struggle to gain that control. Kaczynski predicts that the system will break down if it cannot achieve significant control, and that it is likely this issue will be decided within the next 40 to 100 years. [82] He states that the task of those who oppose industrial society is to promote stress within and upon the society and to propagate anti-technology ideology, one that offers the "counter-ideal" of nature. Kaczynski goes on to say that a revolution will only be possible when industrial society is sufficiently unstable. [83]

A significant portion of the document is dedicated to discussing left-wing politics, Kaczynski attributing many of society's issues to leftists. [82] He defines leftists as "mainly socialists, collectivists, 'politically correct' types, feminists, gay and disability activists, animal rights activists and the like". [84] He believes that oversocialization and feelings of inferiority primarily drive leftism, [80] and derides it as "one of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world". [84] Kaczynski adds that the type of movement he envisions must be anti-leftist and refrain from collaboration with leftists, as in his view "leftism is in the long run inconsistent with wild nature, with human freedom and with the elimination of modern technology". [78] He also criticizes conservatives, describing them as fools who "whine about the decay of traditional values, yet . enthusiastically support technological progress and economic growth". [84]

Other works Edit

University of Michigan–Dearborn philosophy professor David Skrbina helped to compile Kaczynski's work into the 2010 anthology Technological Slavery, including the original manifesto, letters between Skrbina and Kaczynski, and other essays. [85] Kaczynski updated his 1995 manifesto as Anti-Tech Revolution: Why and How to address advances in computers and the internet. He advocates practicing other types of protest and makes no mention of violence. [86]

According to a 2021 study, Kaczynski's manifesto "is a synthesis of ideas from three well known academics: French philosopher Jacques Ellul, British zoologist Desmond Morris, and American psychologist Martin Seligman." [87]

Because of the material used to make the mail bombs, U.S. postal inspectors, who initially had responsibility for the case, labeled the suspect the "Junkyard Bomber". [88] FBI Inspector Terry D. Turchie was appointed to run the UNABOM (University and Airline Bomber) investigation. [89] In 1979, an FBI-led task force that included 125 agents from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service was formed. [89] The task force grew to more than 150 full-time personnel, but minute analysis of recovered components of the bombs and the investigation into the lives of the victims proved of little use in identifying the suspect, who built the bombs primarily from scrap materials available almost anywhere. Investigators later learned that the victims were chosen indiscriminately from library research. [90]

In 1980, chief agent John Douglas, working with agents in the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit, issued a psychological profile of the unidentified bomber. It described the offender as a man with above-average intelligence and connections to academia. This profile was later refined to characterize the offender as a neo-Luddite holding an academic degree in the hard sciences, but this psychologically based profile was discarded in 1983. FBI analysts developed an alternative theory that concentrated on the physical evidence in recovered bomb fragments. In this rival profile, the suspect was characterized as a blue-collar airplane mechanic. [91] The UNABOMB Task Force set up a toll-free telephone hotline to take calls related to the investigation, with a $1 million reward for anyone who could provide information leading to the Unabomber's capture. [92]

Before the publication of Industrial Society and Its Future, Kaczynski's brother, David, was encouraged by his wife to follow up on suspicions that Ted was the Unabomber. [93] David was dismissive at first, but he took the likelihood more seriously after reading the manifesto a week after it was published in September 1995. He searched through old family papers and found letters dating to the 1970s that Ted had sent to newspapers to protest the abuses of technology using phrasing similar to that in the manifesto. [94]

Before the manifesto's publication, the FBI held many press conferences asking the public to help identify the Unabomber. They were convinced that the bomber was from the Chicago area where he began his bombings, had worked in or had some connection to Salt Lake City, and by the 1990s had some association with the San Francisco Bay Area. This geographical information and the wording in excerpts from the manifesto that were released before the entire text of the manifesto was published persuaded David's wife to urge him to read it. [95] [96]

After publication Edit

After the manifesto was published, the FBI received thousands of leads in response to its offer of a reward for information leading to the identification of the Unabomber. [96] While the FBI reviewed new leads, Kaczynski's brother David hired private investigator Susan Swanson in Chicago to investigate Ted's activities discreetly. [97] David later hired Washington, D.C. attorney Tony Bisceglie to organize the evidence acquired by Swanson and contact the FBI, given the presumed difficulty of attracting the FBI's attention. Kaczynski's family wanted to protect him from the danger of an FBI raid, such as those at Ruby Ridge or Waco, since they feared a violent outcome from any attempt by the FBI to contact Kaczynski. [98] [99]

In early 1996, an investigator working with Bisceglie contacted former FBI hostage negotiator and criminal profiler Clinton R. Van Zandt. Bisceglie asked him to compare the manifesto to typewritten copies of handwritten letters David had received from his brother. Van Zandt's initial analysis determined that there was better than a 60 percent chance that the same person had written the manifesto, which had been in public circulation for half a year. Van Zandt's second analytical team determined a higher likelihood. He recommended Bisceglie's client contact the FBI immediately. [98]

In February 1996, Bisceglie gave a copy of the 1971 essay written by Ted Kaczynski to Molly Flynn at the FBI. [89] She forwarded the essay to the San Francisco-based task force. FBI profiler James R. Fitzgerald [100] [101] recognized similarities in the writings using linguistic analysis and determined that the author of the essays and the manifesto was almost certainly the same person. Combined with facts gleaned from the bombings and Kaczynski's life, the analysis provided the basis for an affidavit signed by Terry Turchie, the head of the entire investigation, in support of the application for a search warrant. [89]

David Kaczynski had tried to remain anonymous, but he was soon identified. Within a few days an FBI agent team was dispatched to interview David and his wife with their attorney in Washington, D.C. At this and subsequent meetings, David provided letters written by his brother in their original envelopes, allowing the FBI task force to use the postmark dates to add more detail to their timeline of Ted's activities. David developed a respectful relationship with behavioral analysis Special Agent Kathleen M. Puckett, whom he met many times in Washington, D.C., Texas, Chicago, and Schenectady, New York, over the nearly two months before the federal search warrant was served on Kaczynski's cabin. [102]

David had once admired and emulated his older brother but had since left the survivalist lifestyle behind. [103] He had received assurances from the FBI that he would remain anonymous and that his brother would not learn who had turned him in, but his identity was leaked to CBS News in early April 1996. CBS anchorman Dan Rather called FBI director Louis Freeh, who requested 24 hours before CBS broke the story on the evening news. The FBI scrambled to finish the search warrant and have it issued by a federal judge in Montana afterwards, the FBI conducted an internal leak investigation, but the source of the leak was never identified. [103]

FBI officials were not unanimous in identifying Ted as the author of the manifesto. The search warrant noted that several experts believed the manifesto had been written by another individual. [51]

Arrest Edit

FBI agents arrested an unkempt Kaczynski at his cabin on April 3, 1996. A search revealed a cache of bomb components, 40,000 hand-written journal pages that included bomb-making experiments, descriptions of the Unabomber crimes and one live bomb, ready for mailing. They also found what appeared to be the original typed manuscript of Industrial Society and Its Future. [104] By this point, the Unabomber had been the target of the most expensive investigation in FBI history at the time. [11] [105] A 2000 report by the United States Commission on the Advancement of Federal Law Enforcement stated that the task force had spent over $50 million throughout the course of the investigation. [106]

After his capture, theories emerged naming Kaczynski as the Zodiac Killer, who murdered five people in Northern California from 1968 to 1969. Among the links that raised suspicion was the fact that Kaczynski lived in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1967 to 1969 (the same period that most of the Zodiac's confirmed killings occurred in California), that both individuals were highly intelligent with an interest in bombs and codes, and that both wrote letters to newspapers demanding the publication of their works with the threat of continued violence if the demand was not met. Yet Kaczynski's whereabouts could not be verified for all of the killings. Since the gun and knife murders committed by the Zodiac Killer differed from Kaczynski's bombings, authorities did not pursue him as a suspect. Robert Graysmith, author of the 1986 book Zodiac, said the similarities are "fascinating" but purely coincidental. [107]

The early hunt for the Unabomber portrayed a perpetrator far different from the eventual suspect. Kaczynski consistently uses "we" and "our" throughout Industrial Society and Its Future. At one point in 1993 investigators sought an individual whose first name was "Nathan" because the name was imprinted on the envelope of a letter sent to the media. [57] When authorities presented the case to the public, they denied that there was ever anyone other than Kaczynski involved in the crimes. [93]

Guilty plea Edit

A federal grand jury indicted Kaczynski in June 1996 on ten counts of illegally transporting, mailing, and using bombs. [108] Kaczynski's lawyers, headed by Montana federal public defenders Michael Donahoe and Judy Clarke, attempted to enter an insanity defense to avoid the death penalty, but Kaczynski rejected this strategy. On January 8, 1998, he asked to dismiss his lawyers and hire Tony Serra as his counsel Serra had agreed not to use an insanity defense and instead promised to base a defense on Kaczynski's anti-technology views. [109] [110] [111] After this request was unsuccessful, Kaczynski tried to kill himself on January 9. [112] Sally Johnson, the psychiatrist who examined Kaczynski, concluded that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. [113] Forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz said Kaczynski was not psychotic but had a schizoid or schizotypal personality disorder. [114] In his 2010 book Technological Slavery, Kaczynski said that two prison psychologists who visited him frequently for four years told him they saw no indication that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and the diagnosis was "ridiculous" and a "political diagnosis". [115]

On January 21, 1998, Kaczynski was declared competent to stand trial by federal prison psychiatrist Johnson, "despite the psychiatric diagnoses". [116] As he was fit to stand trial, prosecutors sought the death penalty, but Kaczynski avoided that by pleading guilty to all charges on January 22, 1998, and accepting life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. He later tried to withdraw this plea, arguing it was involuntary as he had been coerced to plead guilty by the judge. Judge Garland Ellis Burrell Jr. denied his request, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld that decision. [117] [118]

In 2006, Burrell ordered that items from Kaczynski's cabin be sold at a "reasonably advertised Internet auction". Items considered to be bomb-making materials, such as diagrams and "recipes" for bombs, were excluded. The net proceeds went towards the $15 million in restitution Burrell had awarded Kaczynski's victims. [119] Kaczynski's correspondence and other personal papers were also auctioned. [120] [121] [122] Burrell ordered the removal, before sale, of references in those documents to Kaczynski's victims Kaczynski unsuccessfully challenged those redactions as a violation of his freedom of speech. [123] [124] [125] The auction ran for two weeks in 2011, and raised over $232,000. [126]

Kaczynski is serving eight life sentences without the possibility of parole at ADX Florence, a supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. [123] [127] Early in his imprisonment, Kaczynski befriended Ramzi Yousef and Timothy McVeigh, the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, respectively. The trio discussed religion and politics and formed a friendship which lasted until McVeigh's execution in 2001. [128] In 2012, Kaczynski responded to the Harvard Alumni Association's directory inquiry for the fiftieth reunion of the class of 1962 he listed his occupation as "prisoner" and his eight life sentences as "awards". [129]

The U.S. government seized Kaczynski's cabin, which they put on display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., until it closed at the end of 2019. [130] In October 2005, Kaczynski offered to donate two rare books to the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies at Northwestern University's campus in Evanston, Illinois, the location of his first two attacks. The Library rejected the offer on the grounds that it already had copies of the works. [131] The Labadie Collection, part of the University of Michigan's Special Collections Library, houses Kaczynski's correspondence with over 400 people since his arrest, including replies, legal documents, publications, and clippings. [132] [133] His writings are among the most popular selections in the University of Michigan's special collections. [85] The identity of most correspondents will remain sealed until 2049. [132] [134]

Kaczynski has been portrayed in and inspired multiple artistic works in the realm of popular culture. [135] These include the 1996 television film Unabomber: The True Story, [136] the 2011 play P.O. Box Unabomber, [137] and Manhunt: Unabomber, the 2017 season of the television series Manhunt. [138] The moniker "Unabomber" was also applied to the Italian Unabomber, a terrorist who conducted attacks similar to Kaczynski's in Italy from 1994 to 2006. [139] Prior to the 1996 United States presidential election, a campaign called "Unabomber for President" was launched with the goal of electing Kaczynski as president through write-in votes. [140]

In his book The Age of Spiritual Machines (1999), futurist Ray Kurzweil quoted a passage from Kaczynski's manifesto Industrial Society and Its Future. [141] In turn, Kaczynski was referenced by Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, in the 2000 Wired article "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us". Joy stated Kaczynski "is clearly a Luddite, but simply saying this does not dismiss his argument". [142] [143] Professor Jean-Marie Apostolidès has raised questions surrounding the ethics of spreading Kaczynski's views. [144] Various radical movements and extremists have been influenced by Kaczynski. [87] People inspired by Kaczynski's ideas show up in unexpected places, from nihilist, anarchist and eco-extremist movements to conservative intellectuals. [50] Anders Behring Breivik, the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks, [145] published a manifesto which copied large portions from Industrial Society and Its Future, with certain terms substituted (e.g., replacing "leftists" with "cultural Marxists" and "multiculturalists"). [146] [147]

Over twenty years after Kaczynski's imprisonment, his views have inspired an online community of primitivists and neo-Luddites. One explanation for the renewal of interest in his views is the television series Manhunt: Unabomber, which aired in 2017. [148] Kaczynski is also frequently referred to by ecofascists online. [149] Although some militant fascist and neo-Nazi groups idolize him, Kaczynski described fascism in his manifesto as a "kook ideology" and Nazism as "evil", and never tried to align himself with the far right. [148]


In 1981, two people were killed and 18 injured during an attack by two Palestinians at the same Vienna synagogue. In 1985, a Palestinian extremist group killed three civilians in an attack at the airport.

In recent years, Austria has been spared the sort of large-scale attacks seen in Paris, Berlin and London.

In August, authorities arrested a 31-year-old Syrian refugee suspected of trying to attack a Jewish community leader in the country's second city Graz. The leader was unhurt.

The attack comes just four days after a knife-wielding Tunisian man beheaded a woman and killed two other people in Nice, France before being shot by police.

Brahim Aoussaoui, 21, allegedly beheaded Nadine Devillers, 60, slit the throat of sexton Vincent Loques, 55, and stabbed mother-of-three Simone Barreto Silva, 44, to death in the horrifying attack.

On October 16, h istory teacher Samuel Paty was decapitated for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a civics class discussion on free speech on October 16.

He became the subject of an online hate campaign over his choice of lesson material - the same images which unleashed a bloody assault by Islamist gunmen on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo five years ago.

The father of one of Paty's pupils, who started the social media campaign even though his daughter was not in class when the cartoons were shown, is among seven people charged over the attack.

He had exchanged messages with the killer, 18-year-old Chechnya-born Abdullakh Anzorov, via WhatsApp in the days leading up to the murder.

Ricard said two teenagers - aged 14 and 15 - were also among the those being prosecuted for their part in a group who shared €300-350 (£270-£315) offered by the killer to help identify Paty.

The pair stayed with Anzorov for more than two hours waiting for the 47-year-old father of one even after the killer told them he wanted to 'humiliate and strike' Paty over the Muhammad caricatures, seen as offensive by many Muslims.

Anzorov decapitated Paty with a knife and tweeted an image of the teacher's severed head on Twitter before he was shot dead by police.

Deadly rampage: Orlando hit by worst shooting in US history

ORLANDO: Up to 50 people were killed and 53 others injured early Sunday when a heavily-armed gunman opened fire and seized hostages at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, police said, in the worst mass shooting in US history.

Terrified survivors -- who moments before were laughing and dancing with friends -- described how the gunman named by media as a US citizen of Afghan descent raked the club with bullets, prompting a police SWAT team to storm the venue.

“We have cleared the building, and it is with great sadness that I share we have not 20, but 50 casualties in addition to the shooter,” Mayor Buddy Dyer told a mid-morning news briefing in Orlando, more than doubling the previously given death toll.

“There are another 53 that are hospitalised.”

President Barack Obama was kept up to date by his homeland security and counterterrorism aide on what Florida officials are investigating as a terrorist attack.

FBI official Ronald Hopper told reporters they were “confident” there was no immediate further threat to the area.

Because of the scale of the crime, however, Orlando’s mayor declared a city-wide state of emergency and has asked the Florida governor to take the same measure state-wide. The federal government has offered its full support with the probe.

While police have yet to officially identify the gunman, US television networks quoting law enforcement sources named him as Omar Mateen, who was born to Afghan parents in 1986 in the US.

CBS News reported that Mateen — who died in a shootout with police after the siege — has no apparent criminal history.

Mir Seddique, Mateen’s father told NBC News, “this [attack] has nothing to do with religion.” He added that his son got angry when he saw a gay couple engage in a public display of affection in Miami a couple of months ago and thinks it may be related to the shooting.

The chaotic events unfolded over a three hour period, beginning at around 2 am when shots rang out amid the throbbing music at the Pulse Orlando nightclub near closing time.

Police said the shots were fired by a gunman armed with an assault rifle and a handgun.

A police officer working ‘extra duties’ at the club responded, joined by two other officers, who engaged the suspect in a gun battle, Orlando police chief John Mina said.

“The suspect at some point went back inside the club where more shots were fired. This did turn into a hostage situation,” he told reporters.

“At approximately 0500 hours this morning, the decision was made to rescue hostages that were in there.”

Police teams stormed the venue, using explosives and breaking through a wall with a wheeled armoured vehicle known as a BearCat. Mina said about 30 people were rescued during the operation.

It was unclear whether all the victims were killed by the gunman or if some died in the ensuing shootout with police.

Attack an act of ‘terror’: Obama

A sombre-looking President Barack Obama expressed grief and outrage at the “horrific massacre” of 50 late-night revellers at an Orlando gay club, branding it an act of terror and hate. “We know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate,” Obama said.

Gunman pledged to IS

The gunman behind Sunday’s had previously been investigated for ties to an American suicide bomber, the FBI said Sunday.

Special Agent Ronald Hopper told reporters that Mateen had been cleared by the previous probe, but had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State before the massacre. Unnamed US officials told the media that the gunman had apparently called police emergency line 9-11 before the attack and swore allegiance to the IS.

Deadly rampage: Orlando hit by worst shooting in US history

ORLANDO: Up to 50 people were killed and 53 others injured early Sunday when a heavily-armed gunman opened fire and seized hostages at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, police said, in the worst mass shooting in US history.

Terrified survivors -- who moments before were laughing and dancing with friends -- described how the gunman named by media as a US citizen of Afghan descent raked the club with bullets, prompting a police SWAT team to storm the venue.

“We have cleared the building, and it is with great sadness that I share we have not 20, but 50 casualties in addition to the shooter,” Mayor Buddy Dyer told a mid-morning news briefing in Orlando, more than doubling the previously given death toll.

“There are another 53 that are hospitalised.”

President Barack Obama was kept up to date by his homeland security and counterterrorism aide on what Florida officials are investigating as a terrorist attack.

FBI official Ronald Hopper told reporters they were “confident” there was no immediate further threat to the area.

Because of the scale of the crime, however, Orlando’s mayor declared a city-wide state of emergency and has asked the Florida governor to take the same measure state-wide. The federal government has offered its full support with the probe.

While police have yet to officially identify the gunman, US television networks quoting law enforcement sources named him as Omar Mateen, who was born to Afghan parents in 1986 in the US.

CBS News reported that Mateen — who died in a shootout with police after the siege — has no apparent criminal history.

Mir Seddique, Mateen’s father told NBC News, “this [attack] has nothing to do with religion.” He added that his son got angry when he saw a gay couple engage in a public display of affection in Miami a couple of months ago and thinks it may be related to the shooting.

The chaotic events unfolded over a three hour period, beginning at around 2 am when shots rang out amid the throbbing music at the Pulse Orlando nightclub near closing time.

Police said the shots were fired by a gunman armed with an assault rifle and a handgun.

A police officer working ‘extra duties’ at the club responded, joined by two other officers, who engaged the suspect in a gun battle, Orlando police chief John Mina said.

“The suspect at some point went back inside the club where more shots were fired. This did turn into a hostage situation,” he told reporters.

“At approximately 0500 hours this morning, the decision was made to rescue hostages that were in there.”

Police teams stormed the venue, using explosives and breaking through a wall with a wheeled armoured vehicle known as a BearCat. Mina said about 30 people were rescued during the operation.

It was unclear whether all the victims were killed by the gunman or if some died in the ensuing shootout with police.

Attack an act of ‘terror’: Obama

A sombre-looking President Barack Obama expressed grief and outrage at the “horrific massacre” of 50 late-night revellers at an Orlando gay club, branding it an act of terror and hate. “We know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate,” Obama said.

Gunman pledged to IS

The gunman behind Sunday’s had previously been investigated for ties to an American suicide bomber, the FBI said Sunday.

Special Agent Ronald Hopper told reporters that Mateen had been cleared by the previous probe, but had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State before the massacre. Unnamed US officials told the media that the gunman had apparently called police emergency line 9-11 before the attack and swore allegiance to the IS.

The Difference Between a Killer and a Terrorist

Two mass murders reveal how difficult—and important—it is to correctly identify terrorism when it occurs.

Two mass murders took place within 48 hours this week. Both attackers were adherents of extremist ideologies. Both terrorized people. But one of these two attacks was clearly terrorism, and one was apparently not. What’s the difference?

Early Sunday morning, Travis Reinking walked into a Tennessee Waffle House wearing nothing but a jacket and started shooting, killing four and wounding several more. Early reporting indicates that Reinking had a history of apparent mental illness. But Reinking also identified himself as a sovereign citizen, an antigovernment movement associated with more than 100 acts of violence and dozens of deaths over the last decade and a half.

On Monday afternoon, 25-year-old Alek Minassian drove a rented van into dozens of Toronto pedestrians, killing 10 and wounding 13. It soon emerged that he was an adherent of the so-called “incel” movement, short for “involuntarily celibate,” a term co-opted by online adherents of an anti-woman ideology whose primary grievance is that women aren’t having sex with them. Minassian posted on Facebook moments before starting his rampage:

Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger.

(All signs point to the post being authentic, but the reference to 4chan, the origin point of many online hoaxes, has been a red flag for some analysts.)

The place to start, in distinguishing between these attacks, is by defining terrorism. The word has been politicized like few others, used as a rhetorical tool to demonize society’s villains du jour. Even within academic and policy circles, there is dispute over its precise meaning. Within the U.S. government, terrorism is a word usually, and improperly, reserved for jihadist extremists, due in part to the political proclivities of the moment and the statutory definition of terrorism, which is for the most part restricted to specifically designated foreign-terrorist organizations.

For most who deal with the issue day in and day out, though, terrorism is public violence to advance a political, social, or religious cause or ideology. Some variation remains as far as the details (many people distinguish between military and civilian targets, for instance, or stipulate that the perpetrator be a nonstate actor), but this broad definition has been widely adopted in the almost 17 years since September 11 and the launch of the Global War on … well, you know.

In the Waffle House shooting, no information has so far emerged to suggest that the attack was intended to advance an ideology, even though the perpetrator was apparently an extremist adherent. The investigation, of course, is still in its early days. Sometimes it takes years of investigation to gather enough information to make a correct assessment. But some details of the attack (the attacker’s nudity, the timing, and choice of target) seem to point in a different direction. Reinking’s involvement in sovereign citizenry may have contributed to his violent tendencies, but there is nothing to suggest his attack was meant to be instrumental.

The Toronto attack presents a very different situation. The driver posted a statement moments before the attack began. Although too brief to be considered a manifesto, that statement nevertheless contains all the elements necessary to deem this terrorism.

Minassian’s post announces that the revolution has begun, in the form of his attack, an extremely typical terrorist motive. Timothy McVeigh was very clear that this was the goal of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which is universally considered terrorism. Minassian’s ideology may be stupid or pathetic, but most terrorist ideologies are when examined closely enough. Stupidity and pathos are not disqualifying.

Furthermore, beneath Minassian’s ideological jargon (which could easily be mistaken for lunatic ramblings), the statement contains all the standard components of extremist belief, including an in-group (the group to which an extremist belongs, in this case, the sexually deprived incels) and an out-group (the group targeted by the extremist group, in this case, Chads and Stacys, which translates from incelspeak as people with normal sex lives).

The statement closes by referencing an incel extremist ideologue, Elliot Rodger, who penned a 141-page, 100,000-word manifesto about his sexual deprivation and the evils of women before embarking on his own violent spree in 2014, leaving six victims dead and more than a dozen wounded. Minassian’s statement may be brief, but it incorporates complexity from other sources.

A Facebook post that said “The ISIS Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the kaffir! All hail Abu Bakr al Baghdadi!” would have produced a very different conversation. For some people, terrorism can only be carried out by certain groups, such as Muslims. For others, disturbingly, hate and violence toward women is somehow a less important crime.

This is the soft bigotry in selective outrage. After I tweeted my view that the attack was terrorism, a number of people responded negatively, referring to Minassian dismissively as someone who was “simply” mentally ill or “an obviously troubled guy.” Some cited Minassian’s alleged autism, despite the fact autism is not credibly linked to violence.

Even if mental-health issues contributed to the attack, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t terrorism. While there are rare situations in which someone can be so unmoored from reality that their stated motive is irrelevant, there is little to suggest that is the case here (again, with the important caveat that the investigation remains in its early stages). The definition of terrorism does not contain an exemption for mental illness. In some cases, where the perpetrator is profoundly incapable of understanding the context of the act, it’s possible to mount an argument that a particular incident should be excluded. But such cases are extraordinarily rare.

This week’s bloodshed was certainly not the beginning of this debate. Recent years have seen a significant number of ambiguous mass killings, including shootings and vehicular attacks likely emulating ISIS and al Qaeda tactics. In many of these cases, the question of terrorism was unclear, or only became clear over time.

In 2012, a white-supremacist skinhead massacred six people at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin. He was clearly an extremist, but he left no clues or insights into the motive for his attack. It is probably correct to classify this incident as terrorism or a hate crime. But it’s difficult to be definitive, because he didn’t tell us in explicit terms. Terrorism is about sending messages, and if there’s no clear message, we are left with questions.

Some attacks raise questions that cannot be answered in the heat of a breaking-news cycle. In the case of the San Bernardino shooting, which killed 14 in 2015, it took weeks for elements of the attack to become clear. The initial shooting was carried out in the suspects’ workplace and targeted their coworkers, which is extremely abnormal for a terrorist attack. Their subsequent plans were foiled by law enforcement before they could be carried out. It took months to resolve whether or not Tashfeen Malik, one of the husband-wife shooters, had posted a pledge of allegiance to ISIS on Facebook around the time of the attack. It turned out that she had, and despite the unusual features of the attack, it is now considered terrorism.

Similarly, after the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, a number of stories emerged to suggest that Omar Mateen may have been motivated to attack the gay club by internal conflicts about his sexuality. Here, too, it became clear over time that his motive was traditionally terrorist. Mateen may have had personal issues that transcended his extremism, but it is now clear the attack was terrorism.

In contrast, a 2014 hostage-taking attack in Australia was explicitly carried out in the name of terrorism, but the facts of the case raised a lot of questions. The attacker had a history of bizarre practices and sexual assault, and he had suddenly taken an interest in ISIS just days before the attack, converting to Sunni Islam out of nowhere and declaring his allegiance in a sparse online posting. During the standoff, one of his demands was that authorities provide an ISIS flag for him to display in the window, because he had obtained the wrong one. ISIS later adopted the attack, and it is generally considered terrorism today despite these anomalies.

The involvement of a terrorist organization like ISIS is sufficient but not necessary to categorize an attack as terrorism. After Dylann Roof killed nine people in Charleston in 2015, he left a manifesto that clearly outlined his desire to advance a white-nationalist ideology, and reiterated his intent with additional writings while in prison. That attack met the definition of terrorism. Last year’s vehicular homicide of Heather Heyer at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was also unmistakably political, carried out as it was by a white-nationalist protestor against a counter-protestor during a political clash. This, too, was terrorism.

But many cases remain unresolved, and some may never be clearly categorized. The serial bombings in Austin, Texas, earlier this year were particularly controversial, because bombings as a tactic are so closely associated with terrorism, and because some (but not all) of the bomber’s targets were found in minority neighborhoods. As with Wade Page, the bomber left no clear clues about his motive. He was reportedly associated with a survivalist movement (as was Newtown shooter Adam Lanza). But survivalism in and of itself is almost never a motive for terrorism, although survivalist practices are often adopted by adherents of other extremist ideologies.

There are many more examples, within just the last few years, but these suffice to make some things clear. First, it is possible to define terrorism using reasonably objective criteria that minimize ambiguity. Second, it will not always be clear in the immediate aftermath whether or not an attack is terrorism. It takes time to uncover what lies behind an attack. Third, while we can minimize ambiguity, we can’t always eliminate it. Some cases, like the Wisconsin temple attack, will never be cleanly resolved.

It’s fair to ask why it matters so much. Murder is murder. Isn’t that enough? Or conversely, why not call all terrorizing violence terrorism? Why not expand the use of the term to address the imbalance in how attacks by white males are discussed, compared to attacks by Muslims? Why not shun the term altogether?

“Terrorism” is best understood as a term that helps us understand why violence happens, rather than as a pejorative or an amplifier. It’s useful to distinguish between attacks that are related to intentionally violent social movements, and those that emanate from a perpetrator’s personal circumstances. There isn’t a completely clear consensus about the extent to which extremist beliefs routinely produce violent outcomes, but there is no question that extremism shapes the kind of violence that adherents commit. This produces actionable insights for those who are responsible for protecting the public.

Importantly, terrorism is not better or worse than other crimes. Terrorism is not more repugnant than serial rape, and it is not more deadly than ordinary violence. Some critics of the term often focus, justifiably, on the disparate responses to incidents—from policymakers and media outlets—based on the identity of the victims or perpetrators. That dynamic was on display in the aftermath of the Toronto attack, as some rejected the specter of terrorism because Minassian’s ideology is directed against women, and society often sees violence against women differently—dismissing its significance. For others, the unfamiliar and juvenile beliefs of the incel movement speak more to sexual dysfunction than extremism.

Then there are those who hold violence committed by Muslims to be simply more important and more likely to be prioritized over other kinds of public violence and swiftly presumed to be terrorism—a corrosive assumption that undermines efforts to combat violence and extremism.

But these problems are not solved by reflexively categorizing all public violence as terrorism, nor by demanding that the term be applied to the actions of a particular identity group when it does not fit the criteria. We can’t solve the biased application of the term “terrorism” by insisting on an equal and opposite bias.

An objective definition of terrorism is both possible and useful—and needs to be applied in a fair, consistent, and color-blind way. That’s the path to placing violent extremism in context and appropriately prioritizing our response.


Initial 911 calls report shots fired at the Inland Regional Center, a state-run facility that serves people with developmental disabilities. Police say the shooting took place during a holiday party and lasted only a few minutes before the suspects fled. They had fired some 75 rifle rounds.

One of the suspects — later identified as county health inspector Syed Rizwan Farook, 28 — had attended the party that morning, according to reports, but reportedly left after a dispute. Police believe between 10 and 30 minutes went by between Farook's departure and the suspect's return to the conference room.