Why Do People Become Terrorists? Discussion Chapter

Pages: 5 (1450 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Terrorism


DeAngelis, T. (2009). Understanding terrorism. APA. 40 (10): 60. Retrieved from:


Moscoe, A. (2013). Why do people join terrorist groups? Graduate School of Public and International

Affairs. Retrieved from: http://www.academia.edu/5585121/Why_Do_People_Join_Terrorist_Groups

M3A1: Memorandum 1 on the Bojinka Plot

Sample memorandum

To: Department of Homeland Security

Re: Bojinka Plot

Prior to the attacks of 9/11, the so-called 'Bojinka Plot' was often called one of the greatest failures of intelligence on record, a plot only thwarted by accident, not by superior intelligence. Officials only uncovered the 1995 plot to hijack and bomb 11 planes and assassinate the Pope "when a fire broke out in a Manila apartment where, Yamzi Ahmed Yousef, "the alleged mastermind of the scheme, and two other defendants, Abdul Hakim Murad and Wali Khan Amin Shah" were mixing chemicals (Jenkins 1996). Before the revelation, the perpetrators tried out two 'test runs' in a mall, theater, and also on a plane, causing tremendous devastation. The plans were to "sneak bomb parts and liquid explosives onto planes and assemble the bombs while on board. They would get off at an intermediate stop and leave the bombs to explode via timers while en route to their final destination in the United States" (Project Bojinka, 2014, Global Security). This case highlights several critical issues which the Department of Homeland Security must continue to be mindful of.

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The threat of liquid explosives and airline security

Discussion Chapter on Why Do People Become Terrorists? Assignment

Project Bojinka highlights the longstanding problem of detecting threats posed by international terror organizations to international and domestic flights alike. "Liquid explosives are relatively easy to conceal given their close resemblance to benign liquids already carried by most passengers and some are powerful agents able to cause as much damage as military grade explosives" (Project Bojinka, 2014, Global Security). Given the difficulty of detecting such explosives, "restrictions on liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) carried in carry-on bags, while necessary to address the liquid explosive threat" were put into place (The role of technology, 2013, Aviation Security International Magazine). However, the onerous nature of these restrictions caused considerable push-back amongst the public. Also, logistically speaking they "have come with a high price tag. They created operational inefficiencies at security screening checkpoints by lowering overall throughput and increasing false alarm and bag search rates" (The role of technology, 2013, Aviation Security International Magazine). There has been a call for a comprehensive liquid explosive detection systems (LEDS) to more effectively screen for such devices: ultimately, this would improve traffic flow of passengers and hopefully reduce costs in the long run for the personnel required for enforcement. In Europe, there is currently a phasing-in plan to use LEDS and reduce restrictions: "Finally by January 2016 all LAGs restrictions will be lifted. Before those deadlines, airports must have deployed LEDS capable of adequately screening such LAGs (The role of technology, 2013, Aviation Security International Magazine). The feasibility of introducing such a plan in the United States must be entertained, given that the difficulty of detecting such devices continues to make them attractive to terrorist organizations.

International responses to terrorism

The Bojinka plot was an international effort, comprising a terror network beholden to no specific nation. Also, although the terrorists were based in Manila, the 'testing ground' of the plot cast a wide net. For example, to assess the feasibility of the plan, the organizers detonated a bomb in Japan and the 'lines were not drawn' between this attack, a small bomb on a Philippines Airlines Flight, and a bombing in a Manila theater. While the Homeland Security Department has made major efforts in increasing information-sharing between domestic agencies, the same efforts must be made to increase information-sharing between nations as well.

Unfortunately, the atmosphere of mistrust between nations affected by terrorism has hampered this, even when this seems to work against nations' best interests. Legally speaking, there is growing consensus internationally as to what constitutes terrorist actions as defined in the abstract. According to the UN, "there are currently 12 international conventions that criminalize some of the most significant acts of terror: offenses against aircraft and airports, attacks on internationally protected persons, hostage-taking, misuse of nuclear material, attacks on ships and offshore platforms, misuse of plastic explosives, bombings and financing of terrorist acts"( Multi-lateral responses to terrorism: The UN, 2004, Anti-defamation League). [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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