Tuesday, May 10, 2016
To understand terrorism it is important to understand the difference between war and terrorism. It can be argued that war itself is a criminal act. That is a discussion for another time. Many people recognize the difference between war, terrorism and crime. Putting it into words can be difficult.
War is a conflict between nations. War is waged within the rules that have been established by treaties. These rules cover everything from how soldiers dress to how armies interact with civilian populations. War is a violent conflict, but it is controlled violence within bounds.
Terrorism is a method that uses violence to achieve societal change. The violence used is not constrained by the rules of War. The more horrible the act the more effective the result is the axiom of terrorism. It is important to remember no matter how noble the cause may seem, terrorism is not an accepted method of war.
When studying terrorism it is important to understand the history of terror as a weapon and why it is seen as an effective method. One of the earliest examples of terror as a method is found in the writings of Josephus (37-100 AD). It is important to note that Josephus, though a Jew, wrote for a Roman audience and sided with Rome. This article uses much of Josephus's The Jewish War and his observations of the conflict. There is a great deal of scholarly discussion concerning Josephus, but this article stays out of the political discussion and attempts to stay strictly on the methods used prior to, during, and the aftermath of the war.
The time period that this article is concerned with is from approximately 30 AD to 135 AD. During this time Rome was the only superpower controlling most of Europe and what is now known as the middle east.
At that time in what is now Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and part of Iraq the Romans referred to the area as Judea. Within Judea was a smaller region known as Galilee. The most important city within Galilee was Jerusalem.
Judea was a problem for the Romans. The Jewish population and Rome had very little in common. The Jews were monotheistic (one god) while the Romans were polytheistic (many gods). The methods of worship, and the degree of belief in one god was impossible for many Romans to understand. I will not delve into this issue. Suffice it to say, the Jews and Romans were bound to be at odds on everything.
Rome had developed a method of assimilation when it conquered a new area. Its first step was to subjugate the population. They did this by conducting a census. The census would include all properties owned and was used to tax the population. The idea of paying a tax to Rome was a form of slavery as far as the Jews were concerned. The census was the spark that ignited 200 years of revolt in Judea.
Following their formula of assimilation the Romans allowed the Jewish religious practices and its government to govern the people. The exception to this were any groups or individuals that the Romans felt were a threat to their control. The Romans left no doubt that even though the Jewish nobility could rule the Jewish population, the Romans were in control.
In response to the Roman census, and taxation a rebel group was formed to resist the Romans. Josephus refers to these rebels as the Zealots. The Zealots were violently opposed to everything Roman. It was due to their violent revolt that they came into conflict with the Rabbis. The Rabbis advocated peaceful treaties.
The Zealots operated as a guerrilla force at times, and other times they operated as larger military forces. This was most evident during the Jewish Roman war of 66-70 AD. The Zealots were not terrorists. They fought directly against Roman forces and sought to occupy territory like other armies. They did not target the general population.
A Study in the Strategy of Terrorism.
Judea was socially divided into three main classes. The Roman, Priests/Nobility, and the Poor classes. As discussed earlier the Romans used the Priests and Nobility as a buffer to deal with the Poor. However, within the Priests and Nobility there were still power plays at work, and this internal strife was used to manipulate the Roman rule. This is an environment ripe for terrorist strategies.
It had become known to the Romans that the High Priest Jonathon was conspiring against the Romans. To counter this the Romans hired Jewish assassins to kill Jonathon. These assassins would become known as the Sicarii.
Sicarii is the latin word for "dagger men". The term Sicarii was used in the same way as terrorist is used today. The Sicarii operated in a totally new way. They did not target the Romans. Instead the targeted the Jews. The assassination of Jonathon is an example of how they operated.
During one of the Jewish festivals Jonathon would be in attendance to give a blessing. As Jonathon pushed his way through the crowd a loud scream went up from the people closest to Jonathon. Men were screaming that the High Priest had been killed. The crowd saw many men covered in blood cradling the lifeless Jonathon. The men were crying and shouting for the people to find the assassins.
The people became frenzied in search of the mysterious murderers. Meanwhile the assassins joined the crowd in calling for the Romans to help. The call went unanswered.
This was the first recorded attack by the Sicarii. Over the next decade the Sicarii attacked Jewish nobility. They were experts at killing in plain sight, and slipping away as part of the crowd. These actions led to division among the Priest and Nobility class. Everyone was suspect.
Laws were passed by the Priests and Nobility that further burdened the poor. Of course this was used to by the Zealots to strengthen their forces. The Sicarii's actions also made it clear to the Priests and Nobility that the Romans were not able to protect them.
The Strategy of Terrorism is not for a terrorist to win in direct battle with an opponent. Terrorists attack the very fabric of a society. By creating an environment in which a society is unsure of its leaders ability to protect it, the society will be forced to change. Terrorism is a method that uses unbounded violence to achieve societal change.
At the end of the Jewish War, Rome maintained control of Judea. The Romans changed their tactic of gradual assimilation and took direct control of Judea. The renamed it to Syria/Palestine. They sent their most ruthless commanders to take control of the region. The outlawed many of the Jewish religious practices. The Sicarii eventually faded to a memory, but they proved the effectiveness to bring about social change. It may not have been the change the Sicarii wanted.
Terrorism is a method of violence to bring about social change. It is not bound by the rules of war and everyone is a valid target. This makes combating the strategy of terrorism a very difficult task. What would you do to combat terrorism, without affecting the social structure of America?
Thursday, March 31, 2016
The 1950's were an exciting and turbulent time in America. Things were changing and some of these changes would not be felt until the 1960's and beyond.
Elvis Presley was a superstar, this made him the heart throb of every girl and the bane of every parent. His sexually explicit performances and rebel persona was selling records. Then came the draft. In 1956 Elvis turned 21 making him eligible for the draft. On his 22nd birthday he was classified 1-A and would be drafted early in 1958. However, his movie contract with Paramount allowed him to defer his actual enlistment until late March 1958.
Elvis was offered the chance to serve in the Special Services. If he accepted he would have special housing, and his life would change very little. Col. Tom Parker, Elvis's manager had a better plan. He knew if Elvis performed for the Special Services he would not be paid, and all of his performances would be filmed and recorded, then sold all over the world. Col. Parker convinced Elvis that if he enlisted as a regular soldier he could gain the trust of the parents and end up a bigger star. And that is exactly what happened in 1958.
Orville and Wilbur Wright had proven that powered flight was possible in 1903. It was not until 1926 that the federal government created rules for flight under the Department of Commerce. In 1938 the Civil Aeronautics Authority was given the task of air safety, airports, and air traffic control. In 1940 president Roosevelt split the CAA into two parts. A new agency the Civil Aeronautics Board was tasked with accident investigation, and regulating the financial rules for airlines. This all changed in 1958.
After a series of mid-air collisions the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 created a single authority for all aspects of air travel. The Federal Aviation Agency was created in 1958.
America was stupid. Well at least according to the government. In 1958 the National Defense Education Act was passed. Its goal was to increase education in technological fields to counter the growing threat posed by the Soviet Unions launching of Sputnik. By issuing student loans and other aid to schools at all levels the government hoped to increase the brain power of America.
Of course that leads us to the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA was to have a civilian vs military leaning. NASA was intended to create a peaceful application of science and space exploration. Space, in 1958.
The Soviet Union ended its occupation of Romania in 1958. Having occupied Romania since 1944, the Romanians had gone through extensive “reeducation” and its political fate was tied to the Soviet Bloc.
In July 1958, Lebanon was threatened by a civil war between Maronite Christians and Muslims. Much of the crisis had to do with the Christians wanting to remain pro-western, and the Muslims wanting to join the United Arab Republic that had been formed by Egypt and Syria. U.S. Marines and Lebanese Army forces maintained control of the port and airport of Beirut. When the president of Lebanon completed his term the crisis ended.
It all happened in 1958.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
About the Author
CaptBlackEagle is a retired United States Air Force Security Specialist who worked with classified information up to and including Top Secret. He was responsible for creating many classified reports, the safekeeping of classified, and teaching others about how to handle classified information.
Information is one of the key factors in a nations power. This includes information they wish to keep from the other nations, and information they seek to obtain from other nations. One example is nuclear weapons design.
Classifications of United States Information.
Unclassified is not a designation as such, but includes data that is sensitive and not intended for public release. For instance a military base's telephone directory is not classified, but is considered For Official Use Only. Bulletins released by Homeland Security meant specifically for civilian law enforcement is released as Unclassified-Law Enforcement Sensitive. This type of information if released would not pose a danger to the United States.
Confidential is information that would damage national security if made public. This is the lowest level of classification.
Secret is information that would cause serious damage to national security.
Top Secret is information that would cause exceptionally grave damage to national security. This is the highest level of classified information.
Within the Secret and Top Secret classifications there is also a sub-set of information called Compartmentalized Information (CI). This information is normally associated with nuclear weapons.
Another control is the NOFORN designation. This means that the information may not be released to foreign nationals.
Access to Classified Information.
A security clearance is required for access to classified information. In addition, an individual must have a need to know. Just possessing the clearance is not enough to gain access.
Marking Classified Information.
All classified information is marked by the highest classification of information on the cover sheet. In addition the top and bottom of each page is marked, and each paragraph or graphic is also marked with its classification.
For instance, a Top Secret document may have paragraphs that are unclassified, or classified as secret.
Creating and Transmitting Classified Information.
Any means maybe used to create classified information, from a black crayon to a blackberry the information does not change and must be protected according to their classification.
Transmitting Top Secret information requires a courier, Secret may go by Registered Mail, and Confidential by certified mail.
The electronic transmission of classified information may only take place through the use of National Security Agency certified cryptosystems.
The protection of classified information is important to the security of the United States. It is not something you take lightly. It is a lifetime commitment. Your knowledge of classified information, and the commitment to protect it does not end when you retire.
Monday, November 10, 2014
16 May 1771
Battle of the War of
North Carolina Farmers vs The Colonial Government of North Carolina
Angered by excessive taxation and corrupt government officials,
citizens expressed "Grievances affecting the daily lives of the colonists
included excessive taxes, dishonest sheriffs, and illegal fees.”
Regulators: James Hunter, Rednap Howell, William Butler, and Herman Husband. Herman Husband was a follower of Benjamin Franklin.
Colonial Militia: Governor William Tryon, Gen. Hugh Waddell
Governor Tryon orders the Regulators to disband, after 1 hour the Regulators return their reply “Fire and be damned.” Governor Tryon orders the militia to fire, they hesitate and Governor Tryon stands orders them “Either fire on them, or fire on me!” The Militias fires its canon and after a short battle the Regulators retreat.
15 Regulators are captured and 7 are hung. “The executed men included James Few, Benjamin Merrell, James Pugh, Robert Matear, "Captain" Robert Messer, and two others. Six other convicted Regulators – Forrester Mercer, James Stewart, James Emmerson, Herman Cox, William Brown, and James Copeland – were pardoned by King George III and released by Tryon.”
Although this battle was not fought against the governments right to tax, or even the laws imposed by the British government, it did provide an example of how a small group of protestors could stand up to the government.
Aftermath: Governor Tyron would leave the North Carolina Colony and become Governor of New York in June of 1771. He would serve as Governor of New York until General Howe imposes martial law in 1776.
Herman Husband would return to
Pennsylvania and later be jailed by the
newly formed United States Government for the Whiskey Rebellion.
Monday, November 3, 2014
"Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand-and melting like a snowflake..."
One of these days is today. Sooner or later can become never. Sieze the Day.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
I was pondering some of life's great questions with my otter.
Questions like "Is a naval orange actually aquatic?"
We battled back and forth and finally my pondering otter said,
"Should crazy people diagnose their own brand of crazy?"
That is when I countered, "But only someone who has been through it can understand it."
That pondering otter got me good with "Really? So if you burn yourself are you saying only someone who has been burned can fix it? If you break your leg only someone who has broken their leg can fix you?"
Well he had me, but to at least score one point I said, "This is all true pondering otter, but only someone who has been where I have been should judge me?"
Pondering otter sat there for a moment and said, "Then only you can judge you. And we know you are nuts. Should you be trusted with that task?
Good point Pondering Otter....good point.