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Portal:Terrorism

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Terrorism is the main systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. At present, there is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism. Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a "lone wolf" attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants. Some definitions also include acts of unlawful violence and war. The history of terrorist organizations suggests that they do not select terrorism for its political effectiveness. Individual terrorists tend to be motivated more by a desire for social solidarity with other members of their organization than by political platforms or strategic objectives, which are often murky and undefined. The word "terrorism" is politically and emotionally charged, and this greatly compounds the difficulty of providing a precise definition. Studies have found over 100 definitions of “terrorism”. The concept of terrorism is itself controversial because it is often used by states to delegitimize political or foreign opponents, and potentially legitimize the state's own use of terror against them. A less politically and emotionally charged, and better defined, term (used not only for terrorists, and not including all those who have been described as terrorists) is violent non-state actor. Terrorism has been practiced by a broad array of political organizations for furthering their objectives. It has been practiced by both right-wing and left-wing political parties, nationalistic groups, religious groups, revolutionaries, and ruling governments. One form is the use of violence against noncombatants for the purpose of gaining publicity for a group, cause, or individual.

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Flight 93 crash site
United Airlines Flight 93 was a scheduled U.S. domestic passenger flight from Newark International Airport, in Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco International Airport. It was hijacked in 2001 by four men as part of the September 11 attacks. Over 40 minutes into the flight the hijackers breached the cockpit, overpowered the pilots and took over control of the aircraft, diverting it toward Washington, D.C. Several passengers and crew members made telephone calls aboard the flight and learned about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As a result, the passengers decided to mount an assault against the hijackers and wrest control of the aircraft. The plane crashed in a field just outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, about 150 miles (240 km) northwest of Washington, D.C., killing all 44 people aboard, including the hijackers. The plane fragmented upon impact, leaving a crater, and some debris was blown miles from the crash site. The remains of everyone on board the aircraft were later identified. Subsequent analysis of the flight recorders revealed how the actions taken by the passengers prevented the aircraft from reaching either the White House or United States Capitol. A permanent memorial is planned for construction on the crash site. The chosen design has been the subject of criticism and is scheduled to be dedicated in 2011.

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A plaque at the Antelope post office commemorates local resistance to the Rajneeshee "invasion".
Credit: TravisL

The 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack was the first bioterrorism attack in the United States, and the single largest bioterrorist attack in United States history. The attack is one of only two confirmed terrorist uses of biological weapons to harm humans.

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1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack

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Zarqawi
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Zarqawi took responsibility, on several audiotapes, for numerous acts of terrorism in Iraq and Jordan. These acts include suicide bombings, and the killing of soldiers, police officers, and civilians. As an Islamist identified with the Salafi movement, Zarqawi opposed the presence of United States and Western military forces in the Islamic world and opposed the West's support for and the existence of Israel. In September 2005, he reportedly declared "all-out war" on Shia Muslims in Iraq and is believed responsible for dispatching numerous Al-Qaeda suicide bombers throughout Iraq, especially to areas with large concentrations of Shia civilians. As the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq he is suspected of responsibility for thousands of deaths. Zarqawi was killed in a US airstrike in June 2006.

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Donald Rumsfeld
"No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq."
Donald Rumsfeld, (September 19, 2002)
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