Only Lone Wolves Commit Terror?Submitted by kevink on Sat, 11/17/2012 - 18:24
Just before the opening of the London games, a former Olympic Committee executive declared in a New York Times interview that he had confidence in how this year’s spectacle would unfold:
“I think in the end London will more than hold its own against any previous Games. The only black cloud for me is the security agenda and whether there is some crazy, as they say, lone wolf out there.”
As they say…some lone wolf.
If that gives you chills, you aren’t alone. We’ve had enough experience to know that these statements shouldn’t be taken lightly. Nor should the underlying principle go unchallenged: that only deranged individuals provoke mayhem by design.
Media reports and government statements pretty much reduce terror sponsors to two types: the “lone wolf,” and countries and entities in current ill repute. To be sure, for many, the archetype of Olympic terror is the organized attack: Palestinian Black September members taking the Israeli team hostage at the 1972 Munich games, and the bloody climax. Since then, we’ve also had our share of lone (or allegedly lone) gunmen and bombers, and of (allegedly) sponsored terror by identified enemies.
Certainly, Western countries are quick to accuse disfavored regimes, with uneven levels of accuracy, of atrocities that those regimes quickly deny. Recently, Iran has been accused of fomenting numerous acts of terror, including bombing a bus full of Israelis on vacation in Bulgaria, and unverified allegations of planned massacres and mass rapes have been effective tools in building public support for war in Libya and Syria.
History has shown us, however, that acts of violence, with or without declared sponsorship, are not the exclusive province of crazy loners or renegade regimes. In fact, we know from experience that, as horrendous as it sounds, those in power have sometimes terrorized their own populace while blaming the violence on others. The reasons for this vary widely, but include justifying retributive acts abroad or domestic repression.
One classic technique of creating disorder to justify subsequent repression or military action is the “false flag” attack, so named to describe a ship’s flying an enemy flag while attacking one of its own country’s vessels. The cases in which such attacks were intended to become the basis for a severe reaction could fill a book. Here are a few:
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