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Of such examples, the concept of ‘lone-wolf’ terrorism has re-emerged as what is perceived to be a relatively contemporary yet effective tactic, causing particular concern among counter-terrorism institutes. Moreover, it has incited claims by noted authorities reiterating its status as a threat, including a statement given by US President Barack Obama claiming that lone-wolf terrorism is the primary threat to US security.
This essay seeks to discern the unique dynamics of lone-wolf terrorism, focusing on five particular aspects of the concept; first, its definition and how this distinguishes It from other forms of terrorism; second, the lack of a definitive background and how this makes terrorist profiling a difficult task; third, the notion of self-reticulations and the challenge the Internet creates for counter- dislocation forces; fourth, the absence of connections with larger terrorist organizations and how this adversely affects terrorist Identification and preventative action; and fifth, the potential lethality of attacks and how this provokes government authorities. The essay consequently argues that lone-wolf terrorism’s presence as a challenge to counter-terrorism organizations has been a direct product of the unique dynamics encompassed by the concept.
Defining lone-wolf terrorism In an attempt to establish a context from which to analyses the dynamics of lone-wolf errors, various strategic scholars have offered their own educated definitions of the concept. While this may allow for a broadened understanding of the identity of lone-wolf terrorists, It has also caused the term to be confused with other similar notions, In particular that of ‘sleeper operatives’; this has posed a dilemma to counter-terrorist and law enforcement agencies along to distinguish the lone-wolf terrorist from other operatives, primarily due to the fact that excessively generalized definitions of lone-wolf terrorism inadvertently encompass traits that incorporate there tactics. As a result. The distinctive nature of lone-wolf terrorism tends to be disregarded through a loss of clarity on the issue.
To avoid the aforementioned ambiguities, the following discussion considers the definition suggested by Stratford Fred Burton and Scott Stewart, who state that, “a lone wolf Is a standalone operative who by his very nature is embedded in the targeted society and is capable of self- activation at any time”. While this definition exemplifies attributes that are often associated with similar types of terrorism, it is the particular reference to ‘self- activation’ that differentiates lone-wolf terrorism from such other types; for example, sleeper operatives also act alone and embed themselves In the given target society, yet they are activated through communication with extended organizations.
Lone- wolf terrorists, however, are predisposed to self-activation ensuing from their own construction of motives and the strategies designed to achieve them. While this identification exist as equally significant challenges to countering lone-wolf terrorism. No distinct background It is evident that the myriad of profiles under which lone-wolf terrorists construct heir plans and attacks presents an arduous task to counter-terrorism groups. The variation in the types of background from which these radicalized individuals appear prevents such security units from fabricating any datasets relating to recurrent patterns or correlations between the individual and their methodology.
While the general processes exhibited by various lone-wolf terrorists are reflective of pre- existing extremist characteristics, the objectives and driving factors vary greatly; individuals represent a multitude of divergent ideological, religious and political backgrounds ranging from white supremacy to environmental extremism. This diversity can be elucidated by examining two dissimilar cases of lone-wolf terrorism; the example of Eric Roberts Rudolph, known most commonly for his bombings in Atlanta in the sass, epitomizes a religiously motivated case that contrasts with that of Theodore John Sacking, whose comparatively ideological motives led him to carry out a sequence of attacks over several years and earned him his title as the Nonmember. While both were considered right-wing extremists, the differences between their radical foundations confine them to their own respective classifications as lone-wolf terrorists.
In his teenage years, Eric Rudolph had been exposed to anti- Semitic and white supremacist views introduced to him through immersion in the Church of Israel. The combination of his mother’s imperious nature regarding the church, and his Juvenile age, served as prime catalysts for a mentality susceptible to extremist influences. Furthermore, the notion of the “Christian Identity’ movement, advocated by the majority of churches attended by Rudolph at the time, functioned as the foremost source of his ratifications and encouraged his intense views; the system maintained that concepts and practices including miscegenation, abortion ND homosexuality were evil, stimulating Rudolph characteristic attacks. Between 1996 and 1998, Rudolph carried out four bomb attacks.
The first occurred at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, killing one person and injuring 111, while the remaining three attacks took place at an abortion clinic in Atlanta, a gay/lesbian nightclub in the same city, and an abortion clinic in Alabama respectively. In total, two people died and more than 150 sustained injuries as result of the four incidents. Despite the relatively low number of deaths, the Rudolph case demonstrates how an embedded story of religious influence contributed to his development as a terrorist. In contrast to the radical religious elements exhibited by Rudolph, Theodore Sacking’s case depicts an ideological foundation illustrated by his strong anti-industrial sentiments. As a proficient student, Sacking entered Harvard University in 1958 at the age of sixteen, where he pursued mathematical studies.
Already predisposed to social seclusion due to factors including but not limited to the age difference he faced at university, his beliefs became amalgamated into a more tangible conviction; n intense preoccupation with studies inspired him to question the purpose of his education. As noted by Nathan R. Springer in his thesis on the patterns of ratifications, Sacking ‘began to recognize his feelings of loathing toward his personal situation and hate toward society. Such notions gradually developed into manifesto, Industrial Society and Its Future, in which he writes, The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.
They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in “advanced” countries, but they have destabilize society… There is no way of reforming or modifying the system so as to prevent it from depriving people of dignity and autonomy. The bombings carried out by Sacking between 1978 and 1995 reflected his political direction in the same way that Rudolph attacks displayed his religious views; various airline companies, namely Boeing, United Airlines and American Airlines were targeted, while universities including Vanderbilt University and the University of Illinois also experienced attacks. Comparing the casualties to Rudolph case, only three people were killed alongside 23 injuries.
In Sacking’s circumstance, however, it was his Neo-Latitude antics that posed an equivalent challenge to law enforcement authorities attempting to comprehend his developmental process and the motives it involved. Each of the presented cases offers an insight into the expanse of motivations and ideological influences encompassed by lone-wolf terrorism. As a counter-terrorism issue, the concern caused by a lack of any specific profile is entrenched in the task of establishing a comprehensive background from which to analyses underlying factors responsible for extremist inspiration; much of he process of terrorist identification relies on a deeper understanding of personal influences, which is increasingly difficult to achieve with a growth in the number of different ideologies encouraging lone-wolf terrorism.
The Rudolph and Sacking cases, for example, followed two tremendously different developmental patterns, offering few consistent correlations other than the similar nature of their isolationist habits following their attacks. Moreover, the problem of this scarce knowledge regarding social and developmental influences on personal motivation is exacerbated y closely related key dynamics of lone-wolf terrorism, in particular when approaching the issue of self-ratifications. Self-ratifications online The characteristic of self-activation proposed by Burton and Stewart is essentially the secondary outcome of another challenging facet of lone-wolf terrorism that stems from the fundamental procedure of ratifications.
While previous examples of extremist individuals have revealed prolonged ratifications processes and demarcated ideological exposure, the modernization of technology and communication capabilities has allowed self-ratifications to occur throughout a regressively expanding network. The internet, in particular, poses an unquestionable problem to counter-terrorism groups; its anonymity, accessibility and generally detached nature are significant issues that have characterized its predisposition to promoting lone-wolf terrorism. In a self-ratifications case study on Abdul Basher Abdul Sadder, Kumar Ramekins notes that individuals exposed to radical ideas on the internet cultivate ‘deeply diminished notions about their enemies’, such that they Will not necessarily shy away from mass-casualty terrorist attacks on civilian populations’.
The destinations associated with online content is a crucial factor employed by terrorist groups including AH Qaeda, whose promotion of lone-wolf terrorism is prominent in their online English magazine Inspire. In the autumn 2011 issue of the magazine, one article encourages the extremist individual secrecy and alone’; this blatant enforcement of lone-wolf traits is an indicator of the path that AH Qaeda and many other terrorist groups have taken in virtually ‘recruiting individuals. Other radical material, including that expressing Jihads connotations, exists online in copious quantities, enforcing the same ideals and beliefs that restricts in the past have been exposed to primarily through more physically-based interaction.
Despite the presence of clear and unrestricted content on such extremist websites, distinguishing material with a potential for violent individual ratifications from material that is radical yet innocuous presents a significant challenge for counter- ratifications. As stated by former GOGH senior official John Bassett, the challenge… Is to produce good intelligence that gives advanced warning of attacks without either suffocating in huge masses of irrelevant material or intruding unduly into civil liberties. To identify and regulate each individual website, blob, or link pertaining to lone-wolf terrorism would therefore be inconceivable, if not counter-productive. However, insufficient scrutiny of accessible terrorist propaganda would have detrimental effects and verify a lack of thoroughness on the behalf of intelligence organizations.
To demonstrate the effortlessness with which stimulus material can be distributed online, the ‘manifesto’ of Norwegian lone-wolf Enders Bearing Freebie is commonly used as an example. Freebie, who killed a total of 77 people in both Oslo and Utёyea urine a bombing and mass shooting attack on July 22, 2011, electronically distributed his script on the morning of the events. Titled 2083 – A European Declaration of Independence, the 1 518 page compendium of his ideologies was designed as a foundation for expressing and sharing his radically patriotic European perspectives. In it, he provides numerous methods for further circulation of the text, recommending links and explaining in detail how to utilities various websites in order to fulfill his ambition of imposing radical views upon the European population.
It is inevitable that counter-terrorism is hindered by the expanse of social content inline, dramatically offsetting the balance between existing problems and the efficiency of approaches taken towards confronting them. Terrorist organizations have acknowledged and exploited this weakness, relying increasingly on their inspiration of individuals and then allowing the resulting ratifications to yield a functioning product of their terrorist ideals; principally, an individual capable of engaging in violence without any direct link to the initial terrorist organization. Absence of links to organizations A core component of the self-radicalized extremist’s modus operandi is the entirely loyalty nature of conduct exhibited by the individual.
By lacking any external links to primary organizations, lone-wolves possess comparative immunity against the foremost basis of this is the absence of communication with other groups or even individuals; the success of counter-terrorism operations relies heavily on effective interception of communication lines and the detection of suspicious material, including information transmitted via emails and mobile phone messages. In contrast, lone-wolf terrorists depend on evasive tactics by ensuring that such material does not exist in any traceable form. Lone-wolves have naturally acknowledged the risk associated with communication of procedures, locations and objectives; in Beriberi declaration, he insists, you will increase your chance of being apprehended by 100% for every person you involve. Don’t trust anyone unless you absolutely need to (which should never be the case). Do absolutely everything yourself.
Considering the surreptitious and autonomous nature of lone-wolf operations, intelligence agencies are consequently troubled by the inevitable shift towards clandestine individual procedures as a means of avoiding exposure. However, to escalate the problem of identification, there is also a general degree of ambiguity created when successfully apprehended lone-wolves proclaim direct affiliation with a given terrorist group. For example, Toulouse terrorist Mohammed Emmer was already recognized as a criminal by French authorities before instigating three attacks that killed seven people in total. However, it was only during a standoff, in which he was eventually shot dead, that he made allusions to a connection with AH Qaeda.
While French intelligence had initially dismissed Emmer as a relatively low threat, prior knowledge of his alleged association with AH Qaeda could have facilitated his monitoring and possibly prevented his attacks. Nevertheless, by limiting communication and distinguished links to organizations, lone-wolf terrorists like Emmer have adequate time to execute their plans before being captured. Lethality of attacks Numerous scholars and intelligence experts have argued that lone-wolf terrorist attacks do not pose a significant threat because the number of casualties resulting from such incidents is relatively low. However, these claims are influenced by the piccalilli’s perceived definition of lone-wolf terrorism.
For example a 2010 in the journal Studies in Conflict ; Terrorism asserts that, The largest numbers of casualties associated with attacks that correspond to the proposed definition of lone wolf terrorism are eighteen Joseph Paul Franklin, 1977- 80) and ten (Mark Essex, 1972-73), both in the United States. Although the information presented is accurate according to the definition applied in the given article, it is also limited by this factor. Other definitions would comprise lone-wolves including Enders Freebie and Timothy McVeigh, whose attacks killed 77 ND 168 respectively, greatly exceeding the killings of both Franklin and Essex. Examining the Freebie case merely in terms of its lethality offers a new perspective on including content propagated by AH Qaeda, Freebie was capable of independently procuring the necessary equipment, weaponry and information that he needed to successfully target his victims.
While his intent was to kill all 600 people in Utёyea, the effectiveness of his attacks gained international recognition and has since been used as a pivotal reference point for security statements regarding lone-wolf terrorism. On August 16, 2011, President Barack Obama nationally announced that lone-wolf terrorism is the primary security concern for the US. Affirming his apprehension towards the possibility of another attack ‘of the sort that we saw in Norway recently, he acknowledged the dire consequences that such a terrorist incident would entail. This augmented recognition has resulted in a shift of counter-terrorism priorities towards lone-wolf terrorism. Organizations have, as a result, begun to display a greater degree of awareness where individuals demonstrating radical behavior show a potential for violent action.
Security planning for London 2012 Olympics in particular has seen previously unanticipated measures being implemented to prevent a lone-wolf attack; at least 500 MOM agents have already been deployed by the British government to monitor the games, focusing solely on information and insights pertinent to the event itself. Essentially, the varying lethality of individual terrorist attacks, including the potential damage of such inexpert and often improvised incidents, has directly impacted upon the counter-terrorism strategies of several governments. Many continue to reshape their terrorist policy systems in order to accommodate for this changing threat. Conclusion Ultimately, the mutually constitutive nature in which the five proposed dynamics influence each other is a critical aspect of the predicament lone-wolf terrorism presents for counter-terrorism institutions.
While the subject remains relatively understudied in comparison to the extensive evaluations of other terrorist methodologies, there exists a corpus of incidents and evidence to suggest its prominence as a security threat. Furthermore, an expanding array of manifestos and case studies confirms the extent to which lone-wolf terrorism impedes upon counter- errors. The political, religious and ideological objectives pursued by lone-wolves, and their modus operandi for achieving them, have effectively instilled a renewed fear in governments that has not been so prominent since the months following the September 11 attacks. As a concept that has experienced reformation in recent years, lone-wolf terrorism is recognized as an effective and considerably dangerous tactic distinguished by its unique factors.