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Technology and Knowledge in Relation with War and Terror Michal Okaj

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Technology and Knowledge

in Relation with

War and Terror

Michal Okaj

Philosophy Department

University of Aarhus, Denmark

Introduction 3

Definitions 3

Historical overview on terrorism
and developed technologies, knowledge, inventions, main ideas 6

Birth of modern terrorism 6

Proto-terrorism 7

1878-1914: Anarchist Wave -The First Wave 7

1920s-1960s: The National Liberation Wave – The Second Wave 8

1968-1980s: The New Left Wave – The Third Wave 9

1979 – now: The Religious Wave – The Fourth Wave 9

Technology’s role in terrorism – a short conclusion 10

The present and the future
Cyber-terrorism - terrorism in cyber-space and terrorism as a media event 11

TV news - propaganda and manipulation 11

A little survey about some of the latest biggest terrorist attack 14

Where is the place of technology? 14

The Internet and other media – not only propaganda 17

Conclusions 18


“The only aspect of modern age, that is interesting for terrorists – is technology.

They see in it a weapon, which they can use against the developers of that technology.”
Salman Rushdi1

for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung2

The main purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between technology and terrorism. The main assumption is that terrorism is inseparably linked with technology. I aim to validate this assumption by analyzing examples found in history and the present. Based on these findings, I aim to derive a theoretical prediction of the future of technology and terrorism.

From the above, I will attempt to answer the following research questions:

  1. What is the role of technology in military fights – war, terrorism?

  2. Are They actually using the technology?

  3. What is the role of democracy in the access level to the technology and knowledge?

To address the research questions, first I will present definitions of the key words operating in this research paper. Then in a short historical overview, I will try to find technology’s place and the role in terrorism. Next, I will consider the present and the future in the detailed case studies of the 2004 Madrid and 2005 London bombings as well as examining the roles of media and cyberspace in terrorism. The aim of all this is to prove the existence of technology and knowledge in war-terror machine and my conclusion will answer the research questions.


The following definitions are necessary to understand the functions of new kinds of inventions, technologies and the fields of activity in which they can be used . This foundation will make it possible to identify the presence of technology in terrorism in the short historical overview and further presented examples.

Terror3 is a pronounced state of fear, an overwhelming sense of imminent danger. It is often characterized by a lack of knowing what to do next.

Terrorism4 is a term used to describe certain violent or otherwise harmful acts or threats of such acts. Most definitions of terrorism include only those acts which are: intended to create fear or "terror", are perpetrated for a political goals (as opposed to a hate crime or "madman" attack), deliberately target "non-combatants", and are not conducted by a "legitimate" government. However, some definitions include state terrorism, and in many cases the determination of "legitimate" targets and the definition of "combatant" is disputed (especially by partisans to the conflict in question).

As a form of unconventional warfare, terrorism is sometimes used in attempting to force political change by: convincing a government or population to agree to demands to avoid future harm or fear of harm, destabilization of an existing government, motivating a disgruntled population to join an uprising, escalating a conflict in the hopes of disrupting the status quo, expressing the severity of a grievance, or drawing attention to a neglected cause.

Terrorism has been used by a broad array of political organizations in furthering their objectives; both right-wing and left-wing political parties, nationalistic, and religious groups, revolutionaries and ruling governments

Because of development of terrorism, there are several definitions of it.. In 2004 Weinberg has proposed a definition now termed the “new academic consensus definition”. I will accept it as the best available definition for the purposes of this research.

Terrorism is a politically motivated tactic involving the threat or use of force or violence in which the pursuit of publicity plays a significant role.”5

State-sponsored terrorism (SST)6 is a political term used to refer to finance/bounties, equipment and intelligence material given across international boundaries to terrorist organizations and the families of deceased militants for the purpose of conducting or rewarding attacks on civilians. States that sponsor terrorism may also provide a "safe-haven" for persons accused of terrorism and refuse to extradite them. As any form of terrorism, SST is used because it is believed to produce strategic results where the use of conventional armed forces is not practical or effective.

Cyber-terrorism7 is the leveraging of a target's computers and information technology, particularly via the Internet, to cause physical, real-world harm or severe disruption with the aim of advancing the attacker's own political or religious goals.

As the Internet becomes more pervasive in all areas of human endeavor. Individuals or groups can use the anonymity afforded by cyberspace to threaten citizens, certain specific groups (i.e. members of an ethnic group or belief), communities and entire countries, without inherent chance of being captured, injured, or killed to the attacker that being physically present at a terrorist event presents.

As the Internet continues to expand, and computer systems continue to be assigned more responsibility while becoming more and more complex and interdependent, sabotage or terrorism via cyberspace may become a more serious threat.

Propaganda8 is a type of message aimed at influencing the opinions or behavior of people. Instead of impartially providing information, propaganda is often deliberately misleading, using logical fallacies, that, while sometimes convincing, are not necessarily valid. Propaganda techniques include: patriotic flag-waving, glittering generalities, intentional vagueness, oversimplification of complex issues, rationalization, introducing unrelated red herring issues, using appealing, simple slogans, stereotyping, testimonials from authority figures or celebrities, unstated assumptions, and encouraging readers or viewers to "jump on the bandwagon" of a particular point of view.

Propaganda was often used to appeal influence opinion and beliefs on religious issues, particularly during the split between the Catholic Church and the Reformers. Propaganda has become more common in political contexts, in particular to refer to certain efforts sponsored by governments, political groups, but also often covert interests. In the early 20th century the term propaganda was also used by the founders of the nascent public relations industry to describe their activities. This usage died out around the time of World War II, as the industry started to avoid the word, given the pejorative connotation it had acquired.

Manipulation9 in a psychological context, means to influence a person or a group of people in such a way that the manipulator tries to get what he or she wants or makes a person believe something in a calculating, indirect and somewhat dishonest way. Like indoctrination, it is a form of psychological abuse.

For example, a manipulator will

  • use arguments that the manipulator does not believe in himself

  • use of false reasoning as with fallacies and paralogisms

  • withhold or distort relevant information,

  • provide false information (disinformation)

  • "play" on the emotions (fear, hope, love...) of the person.

  • physically move the person, like a puppet

Technology10 is a broad term dealing with the use and knowledge of humanity's tools and crafts.

Technology is the consequence of:

- Science (formal process of investigating natural phenomena. It produces information and knowledge about the world),

- Engineering (the goal-oriented process of designing and building tools and systems to exploit natural phenomena for a practical human means. Engineers work within the constraints of natural laws and societal needs to create technology),

- Societal requests.

Most commonly, the term technology is used as the name of all products of engineering.

Procedural knowledge or know-how11 is the knowledge of how to perform some tasks.

Know-how differentiates from other kinds of knowledge such as propositional knowledge in that it can be directly applied to a task. Procedural knowledge about solving problems differs from propositional knowledge about problem solving. For example, in some legal systems, this knowledge or know-how has been considered the intellectual property of a company, and can be transferred when that company is purchased. One limitation of procedural knowledge is its job-dependence; thus it tends to be less general than propositional knowledge.

Historical overview on terrorism
and developed technologies, knowledge, inventions, main ideas12

In this part I aim to provide a background on the development and usage of “terrorist” technology in the last two centuries. I will relate inventions to events and conclude with identifying technology’s place and role in terrorism.

Birth of modern terrorism

1793-95: French Revolution’s Reign of Terror (state-sponsored terrorism)

The Guillotine was the main symbol and tool of the policy.


In this time, bombing has been discovered as a tool for pressure generating.

In 1800 Time-bomb was used for the first time, against Napoleon – there were more than 20 people dead. Some time after, in 1858, Orsini’s bombs was against Napoleon III - 8 person were killed. There was developed “a state of fear” by “Red Specter” – network of secret societies. And in 1867 – Fenian bomb at Clerkenwell prison - more than 15 people has been killed.

The four waves of modern terrorism13:

1878-1914: Anarchist Wave -The First Wave

The main innovates was at this time was:

  • individual terrorism – killing individuals as a tool to topple governments .The first individual terrorist was Vera Zasulich – used a revolver to try to kill a Russian police commander.

  • propaganda of the dead – used to spread ideology through acts,

  • the Dynamite bomb – as a technological breakthrough.

In 1881 an International Revolutionary Congress in London took place. During this Congress an announcement and resolution was made:

Whereas the technical and chemical sciences has rendered services to the revolutionary cause and are bound to render still greater services in the future, the congress suggests that organizations and individual affiliated with the International Workingmen’s Association devote themselves to the study of these science.”

In 1885 Johann Most (German-born emigrant to the United States) published a book “Revolutionäre Kriegswissenschaft” - it was very special. The full title clarifies everything: “Revolutionary War Science: A Little Handbook of Instruction Regarding the Use and Manufacture of Nitroglycerine, Dynamite, Gun-cotton, Fulminating Mercury, Bombs, Arson, Poison, etc., etc.”

For the first time the knowledge about “war technologies” became a public knowledge. From my point of view, it could be called as the birthday of open “know-how” knowledge.

We have noted this, that today , the importance of explosives as an instrument for carrying out revolutions oriented to social justice is obvious. We can see that these materials will be a decisive factor in the next period of world history. Therefore, it makes sense for revolutionaries in all over the world to acquire explosives, and knowledge how to produce and use them in real life.

Of course, there were books on chemistry and physics in which everyone could find knowledge of this topics – but they were theoretical, and comprehensible only to experts. Moreover, they failed to provide practical knowledge. So there was need for one step further – arranged for popularized versions of technical papers on the production of explosives to be published. They, avoided scientific and technical jargon as well as specialized expressions that impede understanding by the layman. Besides, they did not discussed items of equipment which would be beyond the capability of the non-expert to use them in most cases. They recommend a technique that uses equipment that can be found only in any household. And they confirmed that the techniques were successfully tested.

Period between 1892-1901 was The Golden Age of Assassination. There were less than 50 people died in the Western World. First letter bomb has been developed by Swedish left-wing engineer in 1904. In time between 1906-1909 an electrical engineer Leonid Krasin, bomb-maker and gun smuggler was charging Bolshevik terror groups. And in 1914, in The shot in Sarajevo, terrorist used an new invention - early version of semi-automatic pistol.

1920s-1960s: The National Liberation Wave – The Second Wave

This was the time of Anti-Colonial terrorism.

Irish resistance made independent goal for terrorism.

Terrorism was crucial in establishing new states (Ireland, Israel, Cyprus, Algeria).

New less discriminate forms of terrorism:

  • Selective terrorism – state representatives of occupying government

  • Communal terrorism – Revolutionary Red and Fascist Brown Terror

Terrorist redefine themselves as “freedom fighters”:

  • Irgun “freedom fighters” struggling against “government terror”

  • Israeli group Stern last self-defined terrorist group

  • Governments started to describing all rebels as ‘terrorists’

During second world war there were, of course some “war technology” inventions:

In 1940 a Molotov cocktail has been used by Finnish soldiers for the first time. German engineering developed an assault rifle in 1941. 1942 was the year of developing of Plastic explosives and usage of Biological Weapons (used by Polish resistance)

After IIWW, in 1946 Zionist terrorists used a Car-bomb weapons.

1968-1980s: The New Left Wave – The Third Wave

1970s was the Decade of ‘air terrorism’. The goal was to bring attention to Palestinian cause. It was the time of developing Airplane hijacking as a tool of terror.

In 1973 a Heat-seeking anti-aircraft rockets has been developed and in 1978 – SAM-7 rocket was used against passenger jet. Rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) (1975) and Barometric pressure bomb (PLO) (1988), military inventions, has been next adopted by a terrorists.

In this time television was appropriated by terrorists. Every “terrorist event” was cause of breakthrough of direct-transmitted news TV.

Period between 1978-95was the time of activity ecoterrorist – first of them Unabomber. Ecoterrorism was a product of the 1960s Counterculture, it was a rebellion against technological society.

It was a time of leftist terrorism. Also in this time, terrorism gained an international aspect. Moreover, a development of new tactic took place – hostage taking. Also, terrorists learned the value of appropriating communication systems.

1979 – now: The Religious Wave – The Fourth Wave

At some level there is a degree of conflict between all the world’s leading religions – Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism.

Car bombing has become the “number one” tactic after the attack on US barracks in Beirut in 1983 where 241 marines died. It was also the first-time of use of the – “Suicide bomber”.

The “Suicide bomber” is now a symbol of modern terrorism – especially among Islamic radicals and extremists. Many inventions, such as the “suicide belt” has been linked to this terrorist tactic.

This method of terrorism reached its climax in 9/11 (11th of September 2001) where for the first time, a suicide attack against civilian targets utilizing a hijacked civilian airplane was used to great effect.

It seems that the inventiveness of terrorists allows them to use any kind of technology, adopt it as a part of weapon, and use it. The best example of this is the use of vibrating mechanism found in cellular phones as an explosive fuse.

The main inventions, that had change the terrorists tactic was:

  • Simultaneous attacks – coordinated multi attacks in different parts of city, for example, are generating chaos in public and rescue divisions. It is very hard to manage so complex crisis situation.

  • Biological weapons has been used use – anthrax terror in USA.

  • The era of the Internet and World Wide Web gives new possibilities for the terrorists. Internet is a place for propaganda, recruitment, training.

To conclude, it is blatantly obvious in this short overview that terrorism is inseparably linked with technology. However, it is noted that most of the technologies employed were initially created for military purposes.

Technology’s role in terrorism – a short conclusion

There are several methods of dichotomizing the use of technology in terrorism. First, the division into ‘Trival use’ and ‘Critical use’:

  1. Trivial – ‘normal’ use like for example: communication, transport, planning etc.

  2. Critical – ‘enabling’ use: as a weapon, propaganda. Enable previous impossible or unlikely deeds

Alternatively, it can be divided according to access to technology in terms of tools and expertise:

  1. The Hardware transfer - is related with machines, weapons, communication technologies.

  2. Software transfer - is a knowledge transfer – manuals, trainings, tactics, “know-how” knowledge.

A third dichotomy about terrorist use of technology should also be considered:

  1. Innovation of improvised technologies – improvised explosive devices (IEDs) – from the pipe bomb to the human bombs, and reconfigured devices: hijackings, airliner missiles.

  2. Appropriation of manufactured technologies – civilian and military: guns, RPGs, Camcorders, Internet.

Therefore, while various dichotomies can be made from differing angles, and the use of technology in terrorism appears of varying importance, it is clear that terrorism cannot function without technology. A point I will further elaborate in this paper.

The present and the future
Cyber-terrorism - terrorism in cyber-space and terrorism as a media event

In this part I will attempt to highlight the different ways of using technology in the war-terrorism machine with the specific examples. With knowledge gained from previous sections it will be easy to define the specific role of the technology, knowledge and inventions. We will discover that many inventions normally used in everyday life can be used as a tool in this machine.

TV news - propaganda and manipulation

This chapter is based on the account given by journalists, politicians and army leaders during Iraqi War in 2003 as presented in documentary movie “Control Room”. A chronicle based in CentCom which provides a unique look at the international perception of the Iraq War, as told by Al-Jazeera.

CentCom or Central Command is the United States military headquarters (and coalition media center) in the Middle East, located on the outskirts of Doha, Qatar. It is the United States’ main outlet for media information about the war in Iraq. All major news network have offices in Central Command including Al-Jazeera.

The Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel was launched in 1996. It has become the most controversial and popular news channel in Arab world. Several Arab governments have banned the channel for criticizing their regimes. The Bush administration has named it the “mouthpiece of Osama bin Laden”.

Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense on Al-Jazeera:

“We know that Al Jazeera has pattern of playing propaganda over and over and over again. What they do is – when a bomb goes down, they grab some children and women and pretend that the bomb hit the women and the children. (…) we have to recognize that we have to deal with people that are perfectly willing to lie to the world.”

Lt. Josh Rushing, Press Officer –Central Command:

“When they cut away to commercial they have 30-60 second to montage the video – American tanks, American warplanes, American trucks crossing the desert and then an Arab child with bandage on the head, crying. And they never show Iraqi troops – taking families hostage or forcing people to fight using “human shields”.(…) Saddam probably killed more Muslims then American soldiers so Al Jazeera should be reporting him rather then protecting him.”

Americans were accusing Al-Jazeera journalists for their lack of objectivity. But on the other hand, Americans were equally biased as indicated in the following short dialogue between American and Iraqi journalists:

American journalist: Your journalists have a position on this war, are they capable of being objective?

Iraqi journalist: I’m answering the question by asking another question – is any American journalist objective about this war? In this world, objectivity is a mirage…

Let’s see the other side.

Abdul Jabbar Al-Kubeishi, Iraqi dissident:

“The United States military gives information to the news agencies – and you and I treat it as unbiased reporting when in fact it is military propaganda.”

When American troops entered Baghdad there was total information blockade in CentCom. Tom Minter, CNN correspondent, commented that: “…seems like there is an effort to manage the news in an unmanageable situation. They tried it in the first Gulf War, and this time it was supposed to be different.”

But certainly, the last thing you want to do is broadcast to the world (including your enemies) exactly where your troops are, what they are doing and what they are planning to do. It is a challenge to provide a strategic overview of the situation, but without specific details. There is a danger of giving away so much information that you are handing a superb intelligence report to the enemy.

The Americans also know how to play the media card. On the 9th of April – American troops entered the main square in Baghdad. It was a media show. They showed happy people waving to the American troops, presumably Iraqis. However, according to Samir Khader – senior producer of Al Jazeera, himself an Iraqi, those people were brought in by the American media and were not native to Iraq. “I was born and raised in Iraq, I know the Iraqi accent, those people… were not Iraqis,” said Khader.

One female interviewee observed that there were no women amongst the people who brought down the statue of Saddam Hussein. She also noted that one of the men bringing down the statue was waving an Iraqi flag that hasn’t existed since 1991. Where did he get it? However, this scene broadcast by every TV station worldwide has become an icon of the American victory in Iraq. This great media show was precisely directed.

I think that Khader provides the best conclusion to this section:

“You cannot manage and win a war without rumors, without media, without propaganda. Any military planner who fails to place media and propaganda on the top of his agenda, is a bad military planner.”

History shows that human beings have short memories. Who in the United States remembers what happened in Somalia in 1993? Who in Europe thinks about what happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina? History is redefined by the victors.

Only by accessing a large quantity of varied news sources presenting alternative points of view can one obtained a relatively balanced view of presented problems. But who has the time and energy for this? So, from the news in TV or Internet we just get processed and prepared portion of information.

Propaganda mechanics is based on the mechanics of human perception, which can be manipulated. People easily accept and incorporate external statements on a subject – making it their own and unconsciously altering their personal opinions. This is why propaganda is one of the most important tools of conflict, and technology has provided an ideal medium for the spread of propaganda – cyber-space.


Here we will take a look at how terrorists have adopted the Internet and World Wide Web. According to the distinctions made above, the Internet can be utilized both as trivial and critical technology. It could also be used as a Software transfer but could also be a tool (weapon) or arena of attack and in this way became as a Hardware transfer.

When American forces landed in the Afghanistan, soon after the 9/11 attack, the Al-Qaeda fought with an AK-47 in one hand and a laptop in the other. They built a new base for themselves located in cyberspace.

In April, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi made his first online announcement. Seventeen days later, he broadcast for the first time a video of kidnapped American businessman, Nicolas Berg’s execution. The video’s impact brought into the equation the use of the Internet by the terrorists. Until then, the Western World regarded the only danger of terrorist attack via the Internet were cyber-crimes (hacking). Now they realize that the Internet is also a very effective propaganda tool.

On the summer of 2004 Al-Qaeda developed an innovative propaganda movie – a series. First reason was that it was just to big to publish it in the Internet, so they cut it on the pieces and make a series. On the other hand, they used every advantage of the series. They create a suspending show next part every week. The first part was only a propaganda. The main thread shows specific of the suicide bomber attack. The main character is an Iraqi Abu Harif al-Tazari. His triumphal goodbye was very carefully planned, the same as all attack. It was a way of building a pressure before of the scenes of attack – on this pictures we can see that peoples are blowing up themselves and they are happy with that – they are waving goodbye. For al-Tazari and for the other suicide bombers this is the trip to paradise. He showed a bomb and the trigger which he had used to detonate the explosives in his truck when he would be close to the target. The target is American convoy on Iraqi’s bridge. When American soldiers sighted the truck they starting to shot – but it was too late. Mission accomplished – two American soldiers were died. In Internet there is a lot of movie like this now. Their aim is to feed the state of fear and to glorify suicide bombers.

The movies with suicide bombers are more and more theatrical – using very symbolic and iconic visions. In the background there is a picture of paradise. Attacks are recorded from many perspectives using a few camcorders – now every attack became a medial event. After attack a pictures of suicide bombers are showed on the lighted stairs – the symbol of the way to paradise. Material is edited very fast and it is published during few hours in the Internet.

Ajman Al-Zawahiri attacks Western World on the ground and in the Internet by announcement like this:

“Peoples of the Crusader Alliance: Blair isn’t only taking lightly the blood of the Muslims in Iraq, Palestine, Chechnya and Afghanistan. He’s also taking lightly your blood because he’s taking you to the crematorium in Iraq and exposing you to death and killing in your own homeland because of his Crusade against Islam.“

The aim is to support the state of fear.

Web sites developed by terrorists are very well prepared – they are prepared for every kind of computer, operating system, transfer range of potential user. There are even version for cellular phones – including cellular version of the movies. Every day several announcement from Al-Qaeda are published in the Internet. It is not possible to track the source, because the some information appears at the different sites forums at the same time and even if someone will try to shut them down – there will be more other ones .

A little survey about some of the latest biggest terrorist attack

Where is the place of technology?

Madrid, 11th March of the 2004 – three days before public election’s for parliament.15

On the East side of Madrid four man with cellular phones and bags got into the four different trains. According to route plan of the trains they will meet on the Atocha Station. Everyone of them had a with SIM cards from Moroccan owner of the shop with mobile phones in Madrid. The cellular phones was used to detonate ten kilograms of miner explosives surrounded by nails in each bag. They adjusted an alarm for the same hour. They left the trains – leaving the bags with bombs under the benches in trains. At 7.39 vibra-mechanism start the ignition in the first train – it exploded in the station. To the station now were coming next three bombed trains. Due to traffic and wrong time adjustment in cellular phones – bombs in second train exploded 500m before it achieved a station, third one explode on El Poso station. The last one exploded at 7.42 in Santa Euchenia. During three minutes – ten bombs in four trains killed 191 peoples and another 2000 was wounded, center of the Madrid was completely paralyzed and mobile phones network has been overloaded. If simultaneous attack would be succeeded and lead to the all detonation at the same time – in Atocha Station – probably it would be so destructive that the building could be collapsed and the number of casualties would goes in to thousands . At 9:30 police has found in wracks two unexploded bombs. They could be used on the investigation, but during the disarming they’ve explode. ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna), a Basque paramilitary, nationalist organization was the first suspect. But cruelty and scale of attack is characteristic for Al-Qaeda. But one day after day find another bomb – that one has been disarmed. The mobile has not been damaged. So the police now have a SIM card - prepaid. Using technology and logs of the GSM provider company they find out where and when SIM card has been activated. A unique SIM card number has been used to identify the seller. He has been arrested and in his apartment police has found radicals movies. Twelve hours before the elections – on the entrance of the main mosque in Madrid video-tape has been found – Al-Qaeda declared that the attack was their work. There was also declaration that if the Spanish army do not leave the anti-terror coalition in Iraq – the attacks will be resumed.

The scoring of the government and prime minister José María Aznar Lópezis was going down – election’s has been won by the socialists because of their declaration of leaving Iraq. Day after election the announcement of new elected prime minister - José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero - says: “I am giving the order to do what is necessary to bring back the Spanish troops from Iraq. With the possible security they will be brought home as soon as possible.”

Finally, police found out where card had been activated – 40 km on the south-east from Madrid. Then police got anonymous information about a detonators buyer – 30 years old Jamal Amidan. They started to phone tapping of his calls. Tapping of mobile phones is source for making a digital image – there are information about where have we been, about every one we have spoke and every text that we exchange by SMS. Thanks to that, a former Spanish miner has been arrested – seller of the explosives material. Madrid terrorist give’s away their hiding place during a regular phone call and they have been traced by the police. On the 3rd of the March - special police units was searching block by block for hidden terrorist. They discover some Moroccan that was trying to warn somebody in one of the building. During the storm terrorist detonated a bomb and died. In the ruins video tape with announcement has been found: “ Do Your blood is more worth than ours? We show ours. We will attack. You will never stay in peace.”

Seven of the terrorist had been killed, fifteen had been arrested – but there is a lot of them somewhere – free.

Attack was effective – Spanish government left the anti-terror coalition and Spanish troops has been withdraw from Iraq.

London, 7th July of the 2005 – day after election London for the Olympic Games 2012.16

In King’s Cross direction goes four men’s – the terrorists. 650 km on the north there was an G-8 summit. Those four men’s had bags with home-made explosives – (made from high oxidize amine, citric acid – materials easy accessible in most hypermarkets, surrounded by metal pieces and nails for more deadly and destructive explosion effect). Bombs has been made according to prescription that can be find very easily in the Internet. Because of some train malfunction station was very crowded. Three of them get into the three different trains the fourth had a bad luck his train was delayed. At 8.50 am three explosions in short period has been reported in the metro. In next few minutes all trains was stopped. During next 15 minutes in Internet appears first photos from inside metro – made by a camera build in cellular phone – now it was clear that they had to deal with a terrorist attack. Thanks to cellular phone MMS technology and the Internet in next minutes discussion forums was starting to boil. About 9.47 - the fourth suicide bomber detonate his explosive bag near the British Medical Association. 14 passengers of the bus died - rest was wounded. In this time all public transport has been stopped in London- the city has been paralyzed. Thanks to mounted cameras in public places police identified the assassins very fast.

The realty was shocking – three of the assassins had a Pakistan roots but they were born and educated in the Great Britain. Lindsay was born in Jamaica and he was a converted. After the identification Police find out that all of them was living in Leeds. Information left by one of the terrorists in his laptop guide the police to the near house, where probably bombs were manufactured. The oldest one Mohammad Sadiq Khan the leader of the group was a teacher in school - his double life shocked everyone. Eight weeks after the attack there was published a movie in which Khan explains everything. It was recorded before the attack and displayed by As-Saha television. Caption says: “The Martyr Mohammed Sadiq: One of the knights of the blessed raids on London“ – he said – “Your democratic elected governments committing crimes against my people in all over the world. You are supporting them so You are directly responsible. Yes, I’m directly responsible for defense and vengeance of my Muslim brothers and sisters….”

The Internet and other media – not only propaganda

The Internet was developed by US Army. It was made because of need of fast communication – and this advantage is now used by terrorists against the developers.

But Internet is not only a place for propaganda – it is a storehouse of knowledge. Knowledge of tactics, recruitment and “know-how”. For example - there are tutorial movies showing step-by-step how to make suicide belt bomb, what materials has to be used, how the belt should be mounted – and even shows on the model in what conditions should be detonated to make more damages. These movies includes schema, examples, pictures instructions in very simple way and words. After an Afghan War and Iraq War there still remain a lot of explosives from unexploded bombs - this movies show how to disposal these bombs and how to use their elements to make own bombs.

The most terrifying is that this knowledge can be used by anyone. The same sites are used for example by Al Aqsa Brigade in Palestine. Zakariya Zbeide – the leader – says: “prescriptions are on the Internet everyone who wants can find it and make a bomb”.

Al-Qaeda was learning from others and now it makes this knowledge public. For example manual training called “Declaration of Jihad (Holly War), Against the country’s tyrants, Military series” has been found in Great Brittan. The Fifth lesson - “Means of communication” describing they way of using weapon, managing the cells of organization and invigilation technique. It includes specific clues about using cellular phones – phone numbers can not be write in the phones memory. “Communication is double-edged sword: It can be the advantage if we will use it well and it can be a knife dug into our back If we do not take necessary security” - the terrorist from Madrid did not follow the instructions and they has been traced by the police.

In America die to free information distribution – military handbooks are accessible on the Internet, they are used by a terrorists. The problem is that even after elimination of all leaders this knowledge will survive in the Internet and still be easy to get – and the trainings may be continued and the war can goes on .

More than 70% of the Al-Qaeda fighters is from Saudi Arabia 15% from Syria – Internet deliver information and contacts for them.

In every war, the control of the media is very important – because of support of the public. Because of technology – the terrorists are using an Internet to fight. On the Middle East Al-Qaeda is broadcasting thru their own on-line television – The Voice of Khalifat. They have their own medial industry, they are making their own movies, they have Internet.

The terrorists know the power of medial propaganda - they allow to journalists to be with them an document everything they are doing. Presented images of the great, heroic battles, smiling suicide bomber recruits are very danger manipulation.

Now terrorist can recruit their supporters in every place on the world.

The suicide bomber attack are very effective terrorist tactics – no matter who and where they will be committed. In October of the 1983 suicide bomber run with truck into the American headquarters in Beirut. 241 American marines has been killed. The highest number of causalities in one attack from the second world war. Three months later American forces are leaving Liban. From the 80s of the XX century, there was above 9.000 people killed in suicide bombers attack in around 20 countries.

The August 2003 suicide bomber truck explodes near the offices of the United Nations in the Baghdad – 22 official were killed. Soon after the representatives of the United Nations have left Iraq.

In the 90s Al-Qaeda developing their own “factory” of “human bombs” – the training camps in Afghanistan. Bin Laden success because he convinced the people that they will became saints martyrs and they will achieved a paradise. Bin Laden says “without the highest sacrifice the life in this world is worthless, sacrifice this life to have next, better one”.


In the 21st-century, technology allows terrorists to forward their ideology, tactics and state of fear worldwide. Today, Human bombs – suicide bombers – are recruited in cyberspace, and the global network provides an important political stage for terrorists. Among us, there are terrorists using everyday technologies against us to spread fear and destruction.

This new kind of terrorism uses all available tools and knowledge – not only a weapons and specific explosives. They use the Internet, television, computers, networks, cellular phones, and even easily accessible chemicals used in household cleaning products.

The commonly used mobile phone has proved to be one of terrorism’s most useful tools. The latest models have the computing power of a processor and more storage-memory then the deck-computer of a F-15 fighter jet. Mobile phones with cameras can be used for the marking and identification targets in the real time.

The profile of a terrorist is also changing thanks to technology. Potential terrorists are recruited now from Western countries – from the peoples born in the West, with western education. These terrorists are so deeply rooted in Western society that they are above suspicion, and their attacks are completely unpredictable.

The independent and self-sufficient cells of the Al-Qaeda organization can contact, plan and coordinated their attacks thanks to technology. They do not need to rely on leaders like Bin Laden (who function primarily as figureheads) to provide instruction and direction, so no noticeable link can be traced back.

From this we can deduce that the next logical step is cyber-terrorism – cyber-attacks on logical network infrastructures. Imagine what could happen if terrorists took control of, for example, the airport control-system. In this age, computers are everywhere they manage everything from traffic to the pricing of goods at the local department store. And they are all linked via networks – so attacks can be conducted from any location and on any computer that is connected. It is only matter of time, resources and knowledge.

At the beginning I quoted Salman Rushdi. His claim is interesting due to the “identity-involvement-dilemma” pointed out by several Western observers. The dilemma is presented as follows: Islamist terrorists criticize the West for its ‘decadent’ and imperialist life style, reigned by capitalism and technology. Technology is viewed as part of the materialism of Western culture, and interaction with technology—so goes the Islamist criticism—will per se involve one into Western materialism. The consistent reaction of Islamists should thus be to stay away from technology and retain the pre-industrial, pre-technological culture of Islamic societies in their pure fashion. The more Islamists involve themselves with Western technology, the more they endanger the identity of the Islam. Terrorists have become members of Western culture, one could argue, in so far as they use Western propaganda tools and techniques…

I am not sure where this distinction between faith, claims and the behavior derives from – does the end justify the means? Rushdie said that terrorism could be defeated only when the Islamic world will accept laic and humanistic values as their own fundamental thinking about modern world. This possibility though seems to be idealistic and impossible – at least in the near future.

The above conclusions lead to the question: Should access to technology and knowledge be controlled and limited? Free access to knowledge and information is one of the fundamental requirements of democracy. Technology is part and parcel of a culture that believes in free public access to knowledge. Thus, the employment of methods to safeguard technology against terrorist abuse would alter its democratic identity.

But ideal, utopian democracy does not and has never existed. To act as if perfect democracy existed worldwide would be foolish and idealistic, something all politicians are aware of – hence the existence laws and governments. So, why be foolish and idealistic in this one aspect? Access to some technologies have to be restricted because to not do so would be to leave the door wide-open for terrorism to take advantage of.

1 Salman Rushdi – British prosaic with Iranian roots, author of “The Satanic Verses”

2 ,



5 Mats Fridlund, State of Fear – Aarhus Seminar in the History of Ideas







12 based on: Mats Fridlund, State of Fear – Aarhus Seminar in the History of Ideas – Tools of Terror: A History of Technology of Terrorism from the Guillotine to the Qassam

13 formulated by David Rapoport (historian of terrorism)

14 based on: “Reign of Terror – Suicide Web”, National Geographic

15 based on:

“Reign of Terror – Al-Qaeda Calling”, National Geographic

Machnikowski Ryszard, Zamach w Madrycie 11 marca 2004 – wnioski dla Polski po zamachach w Londynie 7 lipca 2005

16 based on:

7/7 – Attack on London, National Geographic

Machnikowski Ryszard, Zamach w Madrycie 11 marca 2004 – wnioski dla Polski po zamachach w Londynie 7 lipca 2005

Machnikowski Ryszard, Zamachy w Londynie 7 i 21 lipca 2005 r.

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