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subego May 22, 2013 09:28 PM
Crazy London Thread
Deadly London attack could be act of terror, Cameron says - The Washington Post

Quote
Two assailants hacked a man to death on a busy southeast London street Wednesday afternoon

WTF?
 
Doc HM May 23, 2013 03:43 AM
shocking stuff indeed, however I do hope that it's not taken to extremis by the government.

It looks and sounds very much like two disturbed "self starting" terrorists, however by the time it's over the government may well have us fearing for our very lives every time we step outdoors. Cue ID cards debate, again.

Very brave woman who tried to talk them down.
 
Spheric Harlot May 23, 2013 04:33 AM
This is the kind of inefficiency that happens when you can't buy assault guns and 30+ round magazines.
 
Shaddim May 23, 2013 05:53 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot (Post 4231817)
This is the kind of inefficiency that happens when you can't buy assault guns and 30+ round magazines.
I fear that post makes you as bad as the lot who will soon be screaming, "ban cleavers and hatchets!"
 
andi*pandi May 23, 2013 11:03 AM
They're calling this terrorist... what makes it more terrorist than any other random crazy person who kills someone?

Politically motivated attention whore crazy, sure, but not planned, they just drove around til they saw someone who looked ex-military.

Oh, and in before polwar.
 
The Final Dakar May 23, 2013 11:05 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot (Post 4231817)
This is the kind of inefficiency that happens when you can't buy assault guns and 30+ round magazines.
http://img.pandawhale.com/53813-Dis-...d-gif-wrFZ.gif
 
Spheric Harlot May 23, 2013 11:22 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Shaddim (Post 4231821)
I fear that post makes you as bad as the lot who will soon be screaming, "ban cleavers and hatchets!"
Nah, I'm *way* better than that, because I KNOW that I won't be watching the carnage as the thread goes down in flames — over in the political lounge, where I can't see it.

Trolling without the pain of feeling like you need to indefinitely defend your viewpoint against obstinate morons.

Actually, I was surprised to hear that one of the attackers had been shot. When did Bobbies start carrying guns?
 
Spheric Harlot May 23, 2013 11:23 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by andi*pandi (Post 4231857)
They're calling this terrorist... what makes it more terrorist than any other random crazy person who kills someone?

Politically motivated attention whore crazy
That is the definition of terrorism.
 
andi*pandi May 23, 2013 11:41 AM
I'm a little more scared of the crazy people who shoot up elementary schools and movie theaters. Would I be more scared of them if they shouted Allah while doing it? No.

Terrorism as an enemy, is organized, has a command structure, can be tracked. IRA, Al quaida.

There's no tracking crazy.
 
The Final Dakar May 23, 2013 11:44 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by andi*pandi (Post 4231875)
I'm a little more scared of the crazy people who shoot up elementary schools and movie theaters. Would I be more scared of them if they shouted Allah while doing it? No.

Terrorism as an enemy, is organized, has a command structure, can be tracked. IRA, Al quaida.

There's no tracking crazy.
Timothy McVeigh, andi.
 
andi*pandi May 23, 2013 11:54 AM
wasn't he part of some waco type anti gov't militia group?
 
Phileas May 23, 2013 11:55 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot (Post 4231869)
When did Bobbies start carrying guns?
Patrolling bobbies don't. The Sweeney, which arrived on scene almost immediately, has been armed for a long time.

----------------

Spheric makes a valid point, albeit in a pugnacious fashion. It's much harder for crazies to get their hands on guns in the UK than it is in the US.
 
ajprice May 23, 2013 11:57 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by andi*pandi (Post 4231875)
I'm a little more scared of the crazy people who shoot up elementary schools and movie theaters. Would I be more scared of them if they shouted Allah while doing it? No.
From watching a Top Gear repeat yesterday with Clarkson in the SLS soft top. "Over 70mph, it doesn't matter what open car you are in, is could be an SLS or an MX5, the main thing is the lack of a roof. Its like being attacked by a lion, it doesn't matter whether you're in a mansion or a bungalow, the main thing on your mind is the lion."

If you were being shot at or cut up by a crazy man, the main thing on your mind is the shooting and cutting, not what he's shouting.

Do I win the Obscure Clarkson Reference Award?
 
reader50 May 23, 2013 01:17 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by andi*pandi (Post 4231857)
They're calling this terrorist... what makes it more terrorist than any other random crazy person who kills someone?

Politically motivated attention whore crazy
Quote, Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot (Post 4231870)
That is the definition of terrorism.
"Terrorism" has been used as a catchall label recently. I'd define it as military-grade (or politically motivated) attacks on civilians. That would let off half the attacks in Afghanistan - checkpoint and base attacks directed at foreign military personnel. Who signed up for (possible) warfare duty.

As to our latest whackos in London, was the target a civilian or not? And was it planned, or did they get hopped on crank, then go looking for victims instead of beers?

There's too little info to settle the "terrorism" question. We need to know the motivation, and some background would help. I'd say let the police do their investigation, the courts too.
 
Shaddim May 23, 2013 02:13 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by andi*pandi (Post 4231875)
I'm a little more scared of the crazy people who shoot up elementary schools and movie theaters. Would I be more scared of them if they shouted Allah while doing it? No.

Terrorism as an enemy, is organized, has a command structure, can be tracked. IRA, Al quaida.

There's no tracking crazy.
This. What happened in GB wasn't terrorism, it was a couple of nutters wanting attention. It does prove that crazy is the problem, not the weapon. When the kooks learn they can just hijack a large vehicle and murder more people than any gun that's available, we'll be in trouble. A runaway truck through the middle of Manhattan, that's a potential body count numbering in the 100s.
 
Shaddim May 23, 2013 02:17 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Phileas (Post 4231880)
Spheric makes a valid point, albeit in a pugnacious fashion. It's much harder for crazies to get their hands on guns in the UK than it is in the US.
As I've mentioned here a few times. I could have purchased a 9mm Beretta within 30 minutes of landing in Heathrow (though I didn't, I kept the guy's info in case that changed). That counts for every big city in the world, don't kid yourself.
 
Phileas May 23, 2013 02:43 PM
The plural of anecdote isn't data. And a 9mm isn't an assault rifle.
 
Waragainstsleep May 23, 2013 02:59 PM
I'd say it was more a hate crime than terrorism but I suppose this is straddling the line however fine you think it may be.

The victim was a serving member of the armed forces from the nearby barracks and was was supposedly targeted because he was military.

The armed response team showed up within 14 minutes of the first emergency call and 10 minutes of being told the perps had a gun. I have to wonder if the gun was real as they clearly could have done a lot more damage if they'd started shooting people than they did with knives.

Given how quickly they jumped on the media attention, I'm half tempted to wonder if UKIP had something to do with it. It certainly isn't doing their profile any harm if Facebook is anything to go by. Thats probably me being overly cynical though.

The suspects were already on the radar of our security services, but had done nothing to indicate imminent threat of violence. Apparently.
 
mattyb May 23, 2013 04:53 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep (Post 4231916)
Given how quickly they jumped on the media attention, I'm half tempted to wonder if UKIP had something to do with it. It certainly isn't doing their profile any harm if Facebook is anything to go by. Thats probably me being overly cynical though.
Come on War, you're better than that. Farage has a big mouth, and is anti-Europe, but that's about it as far as organisation goes.
 
Spheric Harlot May 23, 2013 05:18 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by reader50 (Post 4231894)
"Terrorism" has been used as a catchall label recently. I'd define it as military-grade (or politically motivated) attacks on civilians.
So politically motivated attacks on state representatives are not terrorism?

You can certainly distinguish between civilian and non-civilian attacks, but terrorists do so only insofar as they judge worthiness of a victim by how effectively it works towards their goals.

The deliberate targetting of police or military personnel to create a climate of fear, and to declare your opposition to the state they represent is pretty much a textbook definition of terrorism. (See my post below)
 
Spheric Harlot May 23, 2013 05:23 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Shaddim (Post 4231902)
This. What happened in GB wasn't terrorism, it was a couple of nutters wanting attention. It does prove that crazy is the problem, not the weapon. When the kooks learn they can just hijack a large vehicle and murder more people than any gun that's available, we'll be in trouble. A runaway truck through the middle of Manhattan, that's a potential body count numbering in the 100s.
I don't think anybody has the slightest doubt as to whether or not the RAF, which operated from Germany for 25 years, was a terrorist organization. Their violence was targeted at specific individuals that they deemed representative of a political and economic system they despised and needed to destroy. Their entire death toll over those 25 years was 34 victims, many of them police officers, the rest heads of industry and finance and their bodyguards or drivers, very few innocent bystanders.
 
reader50 May 23, 2013 05:29 PM
Politically motivated attacks on state representatives would be acts of war. Especially if launched from another nation.

Civilians attacking civilians - I'd call that "crime".
 
andi*pandi May 23, 2013 05:39 PM
The Giffords shooter? Politically motivated, definitely crazy, but I don't recall anyone saying "terrorist."
 
Spheric Harlot May 23, 2013 06:09 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by reader50 (Post 4231956)
Politically motivated attacks on state representatives would be acts of war. Especially if launched from another nation.

Civilians attacking civilians - I'd call that "crime".
Civilians kidnapping industry magnates and threatening to kill them unless fellow organization members are released from jail don't count as terrorism?

Except neither history, nor the state, nor they themselves considered the members of RAF "civilians".

I'm afraid your definition excludes virtually all terrorism.


Also: "from another nation", or "BY another nation"?
 
reader50 May 23, 2013 06:24 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot (Post 4231973)
Civilians kidnapping industry magnates and threatening to kill them unless fellow organization members are released from jail don't count as terrorism?
Nope. Kidnapping, extortion, threatening murder. All illegal, BTW.
Quote
Except neither history, nor the state, nor they themselves considered the members of RAF "civilians".
Not sure of the reference here, I wouldn't call RAF members civilians either. Not until after mustering out.
Quote
I'm afraid your definition excludes virtually all terrorism.
Correct. "terrorism" has become a catchall commodity to justify anything our esteemed public servants want to do. We need to reign it in, and adopting a hard definition that tosses out most of their examples is a good starting point.
Quote
Also: "from another nation", or "BY another nation"?
I purposely left that vague. Depends on circumstance, and could be legit terrorism, or a covert op. Or some grey area, where a government subtly helped some of the citizens act. Preserving plausible deniability.
 
Spheric Harlot May 23, 2013 07:06 PM
Rote Armee Fraktion.

You're missing the reference. We've been dealing with terrorists for quite a few decades.
 
OAW May 23, 2013 08:08 PM
Depends on what one means by "terrorism" ...

A. terrorism - the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political, religious, or ideologic aims.

B. terrorism - the use of violence and intimidation intentionally against civilian targets in the pursuit of political, religious, or ideologic aims.

So with those options under definition A then this London attack was "terrorism". But US drone strikes overseas are as well. Whereas under definition B the London attack was NOT "terrorism" and neither are US drone strikes overseas. While the Boston Marathon attacks would be.

Now let's juxtapose this against the term "war" which is officially defined as ....

C. war - a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state.

The problem with definition A is that it's tantalizingly close to C. The only difference is that C identifies specific categories of combatants whereas A does not. The other problem is that definition C essentially renders the so-called "War on Terror" a misnomer because al-Qaeda is not a nation or state. However if you update the definition to include "non-state actor" then the fight against al-Qaeda is "war". But it's still virtually indistinguishable from A.

In any event, I generally go with definition B when it comes to "terrorism". It just seems a lot more consistent that way.

OAW
 
lpkmckenna May 23, 2013 09:39 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by OAW (Post 4232003)
A. terrorism - the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political, religious, or ideologic aims.
This definition is ridiculous nonsense, since every war in history was waged with violence for political aims.

Quote
B. terrorism - the use of violence and intimidation intentionally against civilian targets in the pursuit of political, religious, or ideologic aims.
This is the only sensible definition of terrorism.
 
reader50 May 23, 2013 09:50 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot (Post 4231990)
Rote Armee Fraktion.

You're missing the reference. We've been dealing with terrorists for quite a few decades.
I don't recall hearing of that group, and wondered what the Royal Air Force had been up to lately.

Rote Armee Fraktion (Red Army Faction) was a terrorist group under my definition. Organized enough to be a primarily military organization, violent attacks on mostly civilians, political aims. Also turned out to be state-supported. Or at least Stasi-supported. Which might make them covert operatives in an undeclared war on West Germany up until East Germany vanished.
 
Shaddim May 23, 2013 10:55 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Phileas (Post 4231909)
The plural of anecdote isn't data. And a 9mm isn't an assault rifle.
There is no data, only Zuul.

Such countries refuse to conduct accurate studies to track the availability of blackmarket firearms, for fear of the international backlash.
 
Spheric Harlot May 24, 2013 03:32 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by reader50 (Post 4232017)
Rote Armee Fraktion (Red Army Faction) was a terrorist group under my definition. Organized enough to be a primarily military organization, violent attacks on mostly civilians, political aims. Also turned out to be state-supported. Or at least Stasi-supported. Which might make them covert operatives in an undeclared war on West Germany up until East Germany vanished.
The RAF was not initially supported by any state. They aligned with the cause of Palestinians for a bit, and vice versa, but the Stasi connection to East Germany did not happen until the RAF had already existed for over a decade and some of them wanted out and needed a place to disappear to.

The RAF was a terrorist organization from the moment it was three people sitting in a kitchen plotting to bomb a department store (at night, after closing time, to minimize the chance of casualties) to make a political statement against capitalism. They were not a "primarily military organization", and their targets were explicitly not defined as civilians, by their own manifesto. They were a bunch of radicalized hippies, one of them with a penchant for fast cars, who used whatever means they had to get at guns and grenades, and financed their battle through bank robberies, where a number of police officers and guards were killed (justified by their being representatives of an oppressive capitalist state).

Your definition simply does not work for European terrorist groups (and there were others) beyond the IRA. Which makes sense, since that's generally the only one Americans have ever heard of. But the supposedly arrogant claims of "we've been dealing with terrorism a lot longer than you have" when the US went overboard after 9/11 are absolutely based in reality.

Your cookie-cutter approach allows you to claim that whatever happens in the near East is "war", and whatever happened on your own soil is "terrorism", unless it's committed by one of your own, which conveniently both supports US military action and eliminates any need to deal with home-grown terrorists, as those aren't "terrorists", but "random crazies with guns".

That's nice, and it's a valid image of the world, but reality as I was taught to see it is a little more differentiated in this regard.
 
Spheric Harlot May 24, 2013 03:49 AM
Note that the Boston bombings, the RAF murders, the 9/11 attacks, the Oklahoma bombings, and the bombings in London and Barcelona, as well as this machete attack on a soldier, and the Kenyan embassy bombings were committed by CIVILIANS.

That's the whole reason this legally shaky and completely nondescript fantasy category of "enemy combatant" had to be invented in the first place. What do you call somebody who's NOT military, but happens to have a weapon, and hates you?

"Terrorist" is (as this thread proves) WAY to hard to define to be able to justify killing somebody, or even just locking him away until it can be decided whatever the hell he actually is (Guantanamo is a definition limbo). Let's call them..."enemy combatants" on the interim.
 
P May 24, 2013 04:45 AM
IMO, terrorism is the use of deadly force to scare someone into changing their policies. In a democracy, that means that it is against civilians, as they are the ones that ultimately control who runs the state. The RAF wanted West Germany to be a communist state, and tried to scare people into making that happen, OBL wanted the US out of the middle east, IRA wanted Great Britain out, etc. This makes it about the motive rather than the action itself, which is always tricky (motives aren't always obvious) but I feel that it is the only way that works.
 
Shaddim May 24, 2013 04:48 AM
I thought we called them "insurgents"?
 
Spheric Harlot May 24, 2013 05:07 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Shaddim (Post 4232050)
I thought we called them "insurgents"?
"Insurgent" is what you can call anybody fighting against anything before you need some sort of excuse to be able to detain them.

The US is ostensibly still a democracy which requires legal constructs in order to infringe upon people's rights.
 
Phileas May 24, 2013 07:21 AM
The US is a Republic, not a democracy. Something the founding fathers were very specific about.

The same is true for Germany btw.
 
Spheric Harlot May 24, 2013 07:34 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Phileas (Post 4232057)
The US is a Republic, not a democracy. Something the founding fathers were very specific about.

The same is true for Germany btw.
The terms are not mutually exclusive. Both the United States and Germany, whose Grundgesetz is modelled largely after the US constitution, are designed as republics whose executive bodies are legitimized by popular suffrage. Codifying limits to majority rule to allow for the protection of minority interests does not disqualify a democracy, any more than limiting suffrage to land owners, or affluent white males, or citizens without a criminal record.

In any case, these technicalities do not really affect the fact that both guarantee certain rights that they cannot simply take away without some form of legal framework to justify doing so, which was my point.
 
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