Jun 11, 2014

Why white terrorism isn’t terrorism

Terrorism by white people isn't framed as terrorism because it undermines the real benefits of the War on Terror for western governments.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

What is terrorism?

It’s not an idle question. Since 9/11, Australia more than any other country has compiled voluminous laws designed to combat it, many of which remove basic rights long taken for granted. And in the name of fighting terrorism, we have established, as a cog in the intelligence machinery of the United States, a surveillance state in which telephone and internet communications are monitored, stored, analysed by governments without our consent, and up until recently, without our knowledge.

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19 thoughts on “Why white terrorism isn’t terrorism

  1. Justin Mackenzie

    … whom it is claimed had been “brainwashed” by her husband…

    Should read: “who it is claimed had been brainwashed by her husband” as the sentence “it is claimed” is parenthetical and “who” is the subject of a subordinate clause. Hence, “who, it is claimed, had been brainwashed by her husband”…

  2. AR

    Mr & Mrs Pooter will always submit to being protected from the Other, until the day they meet the enemy, like Pogo.

  3. Dez Paul

    I’d be very wary of anything Abbott praises. Terrorism is as terrorism does. Superficialites like race, religion, culture are distractions used by the unprincipled. Bin Laden was no more a true Muslim than Abbott is a true Catholic. Bush, Obama, Howard, Blair, Rudd, Gillard, Abbott are all pathetically shameless on this front. They have undermined national security in the name of national security, arguably willfully so.

    An interesting aside – it took one Blair (Eric) to prophesise this state of affairs, and it took another Blair (Tony) to commission it. Maybe Eric foresaw this as well, leading him to change his name…

  4. Gail

    The IRA were the “terrorists” in the UK for 30 years from 1969. A period now referred to as “The Troubles”. Brief summary on Wikipedia

    It tied up the British Army in Belfast for a very long time.

    However, all involved were white and christian so it seems to have been forgotten that people were being murdered and bombings were not unusual. They were terrorists then, what would they be now?

  5. gerry meehan

    funny how after 9/11 the ira suddenly made peace all of a sudden. boston supporters got pressured as it was hard to be anti terrorist when the usa was supporting white terrorists in ireland.

  6. DiddyWrote

    The early Italian militant Errico Malatesta called terrorism “propaganda of the deed”.

    For an act of violence or disruption to be described as terrorism, the people committing it must believe (rightly or wrongly) that their actions will influence the way a society or a government will behave.

    A lot of the mass killings are carried out by mentally disturbed people without any political manifesto underpinning their actions, so they aren’t committing terrorism, although they are still deadly.

    The Unabomber and Anders Breivik however are terrorists, as in their minds at least, they were trying to force their respective governments to change policy.

    In the same way the Millers are terrorists as their neo-nazism was their motivation.

    As Bernard correctly points out reserving the term “terrorism” solely for acts committed by Islamic Fundamentalists is cynically narrowing the definition in order to justify the “War on Terror” in or at Muslim countries.

  7. David Howe

    Berbard the problem with asking questions like “why white terrorism isn’t terrorism” is readers tend to assume you have something definitive to say on the subject. Unfortunately none of your observations are particularly new or insightful. For example the MSM narrative around Breivik was and remains remarkable for its avoidance of the term terrorism yet in deed his actions were typical of any so-called terrorist.

  8. mikeb

    @diddywrote. Agree with most of what you write although I would class lone wolves as delusional rather than true terrorists. But then I’m no expert.
    @Gail. The IRA would no doube be classed as terrorists if time-shifted from those times to the present. Their supporters would obviously class them as “freedom fighters” however.

  9. Ken Dally

    The National Rifle Association (NRA) is the largest, best funded and most active terrorist organisation operating against the USA. Its activities lead to more deaths of American citizens per year than all other terrorist organisations in the world combined.

  10. DiddyWrote

    @mikeb. My attempt at a definition is probably a bit too broad so it does become a grey area when discussing individuals.

    Did their ideology make them commit these acts or did they create an ideology in order to excuse their insane actions?

    It’s difficult as a number of “terrorist” groups often only had a very small number of members with a charismatic leader (who may or may not have been nuts). The seventies in particular were fertile time for such groups, the Red Brigades, the Red Army Faction, the Japanese Red Army, the Weathermen for instance.

    I would even be tempted to label the Manson Family as a terrorist organisation as Charlie hoped that their notorious murders would be the catalyst for a racial war. It’s barking mad but its coherent.

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