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There were 271 results from your search for keyword(s): 'Terror'.
- "A series of outrages," Mr. Vladimir continued calmly, "executed here in this country; not only planned here -- that would not do -- they would not mind. Your friends could set half the Continent on fire without influencing the public opinion here in favour of a universal repressive legislation. They will not look outside their backyard here."
Source: The Secret Agent, p. 21
- "But what is one to say to an act of destructive ferocity so absurd as to be incomprehensible, inexplicable, almost unthinkable; in fact, mad? Madness alone is truly terrifying, inasmuch as you cannot placate it either by threats, persuasion, or bribes...The attack must have all the shocking senselessness of gratuitous blasphemy. Since bombs are your means of expression, it would be really telling if one could throw a bomb into pure mathematics. But that is impossible."
Source: The Secret Agent, p. 23
- "Disgrace," he said [speaking of the terrorists], "isn't the right word for them, they know no such thing as disgrace, no such thing as limits. Incidentally, do we know such a thing as disgrace?"
Source: The Safety Net, p. 108
- "England must be brought into line...I suppose you agree that the middle classes are stupid?...They have no imagination. They are blinded by an idiotic vanity. What they want just now is a jolly good scare. This is the psychological moment to set your friends to work. I have had you called here to develop to you my idea."
Source: The Secret Agent, p. 20
- "I am waiting for you to prosecute me!" I shout. "When are you going to do it? When are you going to bring me to trial? When am I going to have a chance to defend myself?" I am in a fury. None of the speechlessness I felt in front of the crowd afflicts me. If I were to confront these men now, in public, in a fair trial, I would find the words to shame them. It is a matter of health and strength: I feel my hot words swell in my breast. But they will never bring a man to trial while he is healthy and strong enough to confound them. They will shut me away in the dark till I am a muttering idiot, a ghost of myself; then they will haul me before a closed court and in five minutes dispose of the legalities they find so tiresome.
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 113
- "I mean to say, first, that there's but poor comfort in being able to declare that any given act of violence -- damaging property or destroying life -- is not the work of anarchism at all, but of something else altogether -- some species of authorized scoundrelism. This, I fancy, is much more frequent than we suppose...[T]he existence of these spies amongst the revolutionary groups which we are reproached for harboring here, does away with all certitude."
Source: The Secret Agent, p. 93
- "I should like," Huddleberry was saying, "I should like to write a detective story -- a mystery story...But one in which no one should know what crime had been committed -- nor who had committed it..."
"That's true of all crimes, isn't it, rather?" asked Charles and watched himself inject a careless laugh, like a hypodermic, into the man's mind. But:
"No one...There should be a dream quality about it all..." His eye lighted; a rising enthusiasm informed his customarily level tones and he waved his long thin hands in wider gestures -- "A dream quality, yes; a brooding sense of Something -- no one quite knowing what -- but Something dread, and menacing, and terrible. A Something that sets all the boasted power of civilization at naught --," he raised his hand as Charles gave evidence of being about to speak, "--at naught, and mocks the puny strength of men..."
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 142
- "I wasn't trying to paint his soul or anything: I just wanted to get him done well enough to please Betty's mother. And when I'd done it I stared at it and I thought: 'Either I don't know what he is or he doesn't know where he is.' But a fellow who's put it over all America and bits of England is likely to know where he is, I suppose, so I must just have got him completely wrong. It's odd, all the same. I generally manage to make something more or less definite. This man looks as if he were being frightfully definite and completely indefinite at the same moment -- an absolute master and a lost loony at once."
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 21
- "In other words, we have to say to our owner: this is how Domani would have been had it appeared yesterday. Understood? And, if we wanted to, even if no one had actually thrown the bomb, we could easily do an issue as if."
"Or throw the bomb ourselves if we felt like it," sneered Braggadocio.
"Let's not be silly," cautioned Simei. Then, almost as an afterthought, "And if you really want to do that, don't come telling me."
Source: Numero Zero, p. 32
- "It's the era of nice monsters, Käthe, and we must count ourselves among them. They're all nice, Veronica's nice too, Beverloh was nice, he was a regular paragon of niceness..."
Source: The Safety Net, p. 114
- "Men, women, statesmen, courtesans, plotters...and yet, in the mind of each the dread questions are constantly impending -- 'What is it that threatens?' -- 'And for whom?' -- 'If Death, then who shall be the victim?' -- 'Who the murderer?' -- 'Where the scene of the tragedy?' -- 'Shall it be I who will strike the fatal blow?' -- 'Or shall I receive it?' ..."
He paused again, staring dramatically at the corner of the ceiling. "And the end -- dramatic, inevitable, but veiled in mystery....'Was there a murder?' -- 'Who was the victim?' -- they shall ask, my characters. And as each sinks shudderingly to sleep -- 'Was it I who killed, last night as I thought I slept?' -- 'Am I, even now, am I dead?'... Ah! Yes! It shall be my greatest work, that. It would go well in the American Mercury, don't you think?"
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 144-145
- "No, Sir Ethelred. In principle, I should lay it down that the existence of secret agents should not be tolerated, as tending to augment the positive dangers of the evil against which they are used. That the spy will fabricate his information is a mere commonplace. But in the sphere of political and revolutionary action, relying partly on violence, the professional spy has every facility to fabricate the very facts themselves, and will spread the double evil of emulation in one direction, and of panic, hasty legislation, unreflecting hate, on the other. However, this is an imperfect world -- " [The Assistant Commissioner to the Secretary of State]
Source: The Secret Agent, p. 92
- "The vigilance of the police -- and the severity of the magistrates. The general leniency of the judicial procedure here, and the utter absence of all repressive measures, are a scandal to Europe. What is wished for just now is the accentuation of the unrest..."
Source: The Secret Agent, p. 12
- "There's a curious knot that binds novelists and terrorists. In the West we become famous effigies as our books lose the power to shape and influence...Years ago I used to think it was possible for a novelist to alter the inner life of the culture. Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken that territory. They make raids on human consciousness. What writers used to do before we were all incorporated."
Source: Mao II, p. 41
- "They stink, you just can't smell it anymore."...Things became quite awkward when she began to sniff at people and wrinkle her nose, saying laconically: "Stinks" or "Doesn't stink," and it was quite clear that she didn't only mean this morally, toward the end she spoke openly of a "stinking German cleanliness." He had to let her go...
Source: The Safety Net, p. 256
- "Wait here till I get the morning editions," said the stranger. They were full of all the details about the Nine Prominent Critics Die By X-Ray Bullet, and it went on to relate how reason shuddered when the city waked up today to find that such men as Harry Hansen, William Soskin, Heywood Broun, Bruce Gould, Waldo Frank, Henry Seidl Canby, Asa Huddleberry and James Thurber and George Jean Nathan were made the victims of a dastardly attack late last night and the police were hopelessly at sea because no motive could be imagined for the murders unless by the Communists from Moscow. The stranger looked worried. Then his brow cleared.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 165-166
- "What is desired," said the man of papers, "is the occurrence of something definite which should stimulate their vigilance. That is within your province -- is it not so?"
Source: The Secret Agent, p. 12
- "What terrorists gain, novelists lose. The degree to which they influence mass consciousness is the extent of our decline as shapers of sensibility and thought. The danger they represent equals our own failure to be dangerous...Beckett is the last writer to shape the way we think and see. After him, the major work involves midair explosions and crumbled buildings. This is the new tragic narrative.
Source: Mao II, p. 157
- "What we want is to administer a tonic to the Conference in Milan," he said airily. "Its deliberations upon international action for the suppression of political crime don't seem to get anywhere. England lags. This country is absurd with its sentimental regard for individual liberty."
Source: The Secret Agent, p. 20
- 'I wonder,' said Stewart, 'why there's been so little in the press about Nathan Fox. I only heard on the radio that he'd disappeared suddenly from your house. And they don't include him in the gang. Maybe they couldn't find a photograph of him. A photo makes a gangster real.'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 431
- 'What are the connections between technological innovations and Western imperialism?' asks Headrick in his latest book. His answer is 'the desire to conquer and control other peoples; a technological advantage is itself a motive for imperialism' (Headrick, 2010:5). 'The Great American Mission', to borrow a phrase from the title of a book about America's global modernization effort -- 9/11 and its aftermath -- has given the US a pretext to shape the world to suit its own geo-strategic agenda (Ekbladh, 2009).
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 4
- How German Is It is certainly not a terrorist attack. What it does do is present an effective engagement with issues of postmodernism, history, and culture that are implicated in terrorism's impact. As Sadie Plant has argued, the postmodern writings of Baudrillard and Lyotard in particular are 'underwritten by situationist theory and the social and cultural agitations in which it is placed'. Moreover, Baudrillard, Lyotard, and Jameson all invoke terrorism when characterizing dominant tendencies of contemporary culture.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 233
- The Good Terrorist is an exemplary novel about terrorism. Factually inaccurate or at least radically selective about its facts, despairing about public action, reactionary in its implied politics of quietism and complicity with power, the novel faithfully follows its more prestigious models -- Demons, The Secret Agent, The Princess Casamassima...Yet the novel's meaning does not really depend on its accuracy about the IRA or contemporary terrorism, about which it in fact seems to care very little. What attracts the novelist to her subject is a fascination with the inaudibility of personal voices, with the fragility of printed books in a world where the electronic media accent our speech and feed our violence.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 90-91
- The Good Terrorist [by Doris Lessing], in short, is an object lesson in the problematic relationship between realistic novels and terrorism, a relationship grounded in the author's anxiety about the efficacy, the power and clarity, of language. Terrorists, she implies, can teach us a great deal about the failures of novelists.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 75
- More ethical than utopian, surrealist writing and art are at once endlessly playful -- dismembered, self-reflexive, allusive -- and deadly serious. Dislodged from its rationalist claim to define and describe existing appearances, surrealist verbal and visual language constitutes a new form of materialism that entered instead into the more contested realm of thinking. That is, as language described by Maurice Blanchot as "rhetoric become matter," it does not so much state as refract, rearrange, delve, and surpass its own claims...[T]he rifts, disagreements, and exclusions through which surrealism consistently reinvented itself reflect the volatility of a movement bent on challenging the silent pacts that guarantee reality as a verifiable set of givens. At the same time, the outbursts of crime and terror animating surrealist work draw attention to the ways in which violent historical phenomena likewise throw into relief the conflicting systems of representation and understanding used to make sense of them. As a lens for political analysis, the varied public and institutional responses to crime -- from the measurement systems of Bertillon cards to the splashy sensationalism of the penny press -- could certainly be used to problematize the limits and excesses of the immediate cultural order...Approached in this way, crime discourse could do more than reflect contemporary social and political systems; it could form the very language through which the historical forces governing these systems might be rendered concrete.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 12-13
- A belief in the deterrent effect of 'smart' munitions (quicker and simpler than intelligence work, certainly) has survived a surprising amount of contrary evidence.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 135
- A further boost for terrorist finances came with the expansion of the drug trade...Many terrorist organizations of the left and the right have become to a greater or lesser degree involved in the drug trade, and this has made an enormous difference as far as their opportunities are concerned.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 98
- A good deal of academic ink has also been spilled studying 9/11 as a "conspiracy theory" phenomenon. The scholars who author this literature -- many of whom practice in the social sciences, but there are a few lawyers as well -- regard those who question the official version of 9/11 as "conspiracy theorists" who should not under any circumstances be engaged on their evidentiary claims but rather objectified and studied in an effort to ascertain the cause of their distemper.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 6
- A second secret element is the clandestine headquarters, which should consist of a 'tiny number of men' who were willing and prepared to undertake 'more or less concerted action' (Mariën, 1989: 67). As a first task, the group should produce a basic liquid capital required for initiating the campaign. To this purpose, Mariën’s (1989) envisages 'real' terrorist acts:
"[T]he single opportunity to procure that money obviously consists in getting it there, where it is. [...] A blade against the throat, the threat of some Asian torture as well as hostage-taking would make each bank manager a precious and entirely compliant auxiliary tool. [...] Employees and customers [...] are not at all prepared to resist the onslaught of machine pistols, hand grenades, teargas or, if necessary, flamethrowers." (pp.122, 127)
Source: Surrealistic communication as symbolic terrorism: The example of Marcel Mariën’s theory of political campaigning, p. 197
- A study of violence in eighty-four countries reached the conclusion that a little repression increases instability whereas a great deal of it has the opposite effect.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 154
- Accepting the disturbing fact that effective dictatorships are immune to terror, but that even the most just and permissive democratic countries are not, it would still be of interest to know why certain democratic societies (Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland and a few others) have witnessed relatively little terrorism. It will be noted that the population of these countries is small, that these states are predominantly Protestant in character, and that their political culture in recent history has been generally peaceful.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 172
- According to a recent Italian study, terrorists of the left have shown, by and large, fairly normal personality patterns whereas those of the extreme right were more frequently psychopathological.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 79
- After 9/11, we found ourselves in an apparently open-ended and permanent state of emergency, a 'war against terror', whose ramifications are as inscrutable as terrorism itself...When society feels under threat, attempts at rational analysis are often openly resisted as giving aid and comfort to, or even sympathizing with, the enemy.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 1-2
- All of this [multiple interpretation] is simultaneously true. It is the secret of a discourse that is no longer simply ambiguous, as political discourses can be, but that conveys the impossibility of a determined position of power, the impossibility of a determined discursive position. And this logic is neither that of one party nor of another. It traverses all discourses without them wanting it to.
Who will unravel this imbroglio? The Gordian knot can at least be cut. The Möbius strip, if one divides it, results in a supplementary spiral without the reversibility of surfaces being resolved (here the reversible continuity of hypotheses). Hell of simulation, which is no longer one of torture, but of the subtle, maleficent, elusive twisting of meaning -- where even the condemned at Burgos are still a gift from Franco to Western democracy, which seizes the occasion to regenerate its own flagging humanism and whose indignant protest in turn consolidates Franco's regime by uniting the Spanish masses against this foreign intervention? Where is the truth of all that, when such collusions admirably knot themselves together without the knowledge of their authors?
Source: Simulacra and Simulation, p. 17-18
- Although Stone [in Damascus Gate] analyzes the psychology of the true believer, he seems much less interested in those traditional subjects of the realistic novel, middle-class people who live in families and go to work. As a result, the novel's politics are also skewed toward extremism...Stone's Israel itself seems more of an idea, or a system, than a country where real people live.
This derealization of so much of Israel makes it rather too easy for the novel to espouse a conspiratorial view of Israeli politics. In The Mandelbaum Gate, the discovery of a spy is still a major plot development; our inability, in Operation Shylock, to be sure of having penetrated the spy's last disguise, is still a source of mystery. But Damascus Gate starts out with the assumption that Mossad routinely encourages Palestinian terrorist factions; even Hamas is an Israeli operation that got out of control. It is an easy assumption that "Palestinians" beating up informers are really Israeli soldiers beating up their more effective opponents, or that the government encourages gunrunning and drug running in the Occupied Territories. On the political plane, distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate force are not just obscured -- they have ceased to exist. The novel suggests that believing in an apocalyptic cult or a revolutionary underground is quite understandable but hardly imagines anyone delusional enough to take electoral politics seriously.
Having lived with Watergate, the Iran-Contra scandal, and Monica Lewinsky, a contemporary American can hardly find this cynicism strange...
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 135
- An act of terrorism in the name of government; a work of destruction so expressive it is incomprehensible; an event so strategic that it appears to be insane. It is a matter of a phantom event. This paradoxical state of affairs is precisely what Privy Councillor Wurmt, the Chancelier d'Ambassade at the London embassy of a 'great power', invokes as a means of sorting out the affairs of state within England in his meeting with Adolf Verloc, agent provocateur: 'What is required at present is not writing, but the bringing to light of a distinct, a significant fact', in order to exacerbate national 'unrest'. The central terrorist action of [Joseph Conrad's] The Secret Agent (1907), based on the actual self-detonation of the Anarchist Martial Bourdin in Greenwich in 1894, is thus prefigured as state 'propagande par le fait' -- 'propaganda by deed', as it is translated in English, though it could equally be rendered 'propaganda by fact'. The term was officially introduced in 1876 at the Anarchist International to inaugurate a policy of political violence that would assert a radical materiality for overturning metaphysics and the state in one blow. Yet in The Secret Agent it is to be put to wholly different ends. Provocation is necessary, Verloc is told by Wurmt, because of the 'general leniency of the judicial procedure' in Britain, a point Mr Vladimir, the First Secretary of the embassy, reiterates: 'This country is absurd with its regard for individual liberty'.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 34
- Anarchism was a riddle as far as Western European public opinion at the time was concerned. The newspapers reported the existence of a mysterious society of ruthless men, who had as their watchword the murder of monarchs and the overthrow of governments. About the origin of these wild men there was, at best, speculation. Were they socialists or nihilists (whatever that meant), misguided idealists, criminals or madmen? Henry James could not make up his mind...Hyacinth is a mere fellow traveller, 'divided to the point of torture' by sympathies pulling him in different directions.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 176
- And isn't it the novelist, Bill, above all people, above all writers, who understands this rage, who knows in his soul what the terrorist thinks and feels? Through history it's the novelist who has felt affinity for the violent man who lives in the dark.
Source: Mao II, p. 130
- And it is no secret that , during the initial period of their mandate, Ronald Reagan, Alexander Haig, William Casey, and other high officials read and praised Claire Sterling's book The Terror Network, only to later discover to their embarrassment that it was based essentially on CIA disinformation "blown back."
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 14
- And that he suspected these two across the way of responsibility for the Electric Murders that had terrorized the city, there was no doubt.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 189
- And to his own amazement, Harvey found himself half-hoping she was wrong. Only half-hoping; but still, the thought was there: he would rather think of Effie as a terrorist than laughing with Nathan, naked, in a mountain commune in California.
Source: The Only Problem, p. 473
- Anthony Kubiak, in Stages of Terror (1991), does endeavour to offer a theory of how terrorism's violence and mediation become entangled. Like Zulaika and Douglass, he prefaces his investigation by foregrounding the role played by the media: 'Terrorism first appears in culture as a media event. The terrorist, consequently, does not exist before the media image, and only exists subsequently as a media image in culture.' In light of this, Kubiak argues that we need to 'reverse' the usual emphasis on the 'symbiosis' of the two: 'the media do not merely need and support terrorism, they construct it mimetically as a phenomenon'. As I have already shown, such a view is not uncommon in terrorism studies more generally, and not without its critics.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 17
- Any definition of political terrorism which ventures beyond noting the systematic use of murder, injury and destruction, or the threat of such acts aimed at achieving political ends, is bound to lead to endless controversies. Some terrorist groups have been indiscriminate and their victims 'symbolic', others have acted differently. Some merely wanted to create a climate of fear, others aimed at the physical destruction of their opponents tout court. Purists will argue that one is not even entitled to stress the systematic character of terrorism because in some cases the execution of a single act did have the desired effect (Sarajevo 1914). It can be predicted with confidence that the disputes about a comprehensive, detailed definition of terrorism will continue for a long time, that they will not result in a consensus, and that they will make no notable contribution towards the understanding of terrorism. These observations, made ten years ago, still apply today.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 72
- Apart from the official framing of news, the US entertainment industry too plays an important role in shaping global perceptions about terrorism. The Hollywood-dominated 'Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment Network' has a major contribution in making the 'war on terror' an entertainment genre (Der Derian, 2009). As Shaheen has argued, the representation of Islam, and especially of Arabs, in most Hollywood films is deeply problematic in terms of racist stereotypes which contribute to a discourse where Muslims are projected as a threat to Western ways of life (Shaheen, 2008...). Terrorism is also the prime subject of several popular American television series like 24, The Unit and Sleeper Cell, which are all examples of intersections between popular entertainment and politics (Kellner, 2009)...This 'militainment' has redefined terrorism as an object of consumer play, deployed by the Pentagon in association with the gaming industry.
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 13
- As a premise, terrorism tends to be about the Other; i.e., one's country, one's class, one's creed, one's president, oneself can hardly be a terrorist...Accordingly, a cursory examination of how news is produced reveals the decisive import of one's own government's perspective in journalistic reporting. The example Cooper adduces is the bombing of La Belle Disco Club in West Berlin on April 5, 1986, which Soviet media described as engineered by the CIA and the Mossad, whereas the U.S. media attributed it to Libyan-sponsored terrorists. The counterposed stories ignored the other side's version, did not grant equal time to neutral spokespersons, and failed to reveal their sources. Rather, they constituted mutually irreconcilable "accounts" of the same events.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 13
- As Breton writes, Soupault too had explored such ways of instigating a "conversation with the unknown" through a similarly decided strategy of random strikes. Breton continues: "Similarly, in 1919 Soupault went into any number of impossible buildings to ask the concierge whether Philippe Soupault did in fact live there. He would not have been surprised, I suspect, by an affirmative reply. He would have gone and knocked on his door." The results of this investigation are irrelevant, except insofar as they produce the opportunities that create an environment whereby, in Walter Benjamin's words, "every square inch of our cities" is a crime scene and "every passer-by a culprit."
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 48
- As early as 1919 the surrealist group began to follow contemporary murder cases with a growing attention to the ways in which such crimes challenged accepted categories of public order, motive, and criminal taxonomy. Throughout the movement's history, items from the back pages of popular newspapers played a critical role in shaping the group's strategy for assessing how and why certain forms of violence tended to elude public scrutiny. The surrealists also unearthed a then-overlooked corpus of European literature and thought; they recognized in the works of figures such as the marquis de Sade, the comte de Lautréamont, Arthur Rimbaud, Alphonse Allais, Anne Radcliffe, Eugene Sue, Sigmund Freud, and the German Romantics an intellectual genealogy that presented crime as an event through which systems of law, science, morality, and speculative thought suddenly came into relief. The surrealists' interest in crime encompassed both the specificity of individual criminal cases and the broader register of political violence in modern life.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 2
- As early as 1923 Louis Aragon had begun to define, in anarchist and individualist terms, the ethical position toward violence that he would later maintain in "Red Front." He writes that "if an individual becomes conscious of the monstrous inequality, of the vanity of all speech in the face of the growing strength of a certain faction, I hold this individual to be authorized, moreover, to resort to terrorist means."
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 184
- As heirs to the revolutionaries of 1776 and 1789 and 1848, terrorists retain their traditional affinity to writers. However, as a special case of the old alliance between romantic writer and revolutionary, the relation of writers with terrorists does not "go without saying"; it is no longer assumed, but contested. Since terrorist has negative connotations, to figure the writer as terrorist is quite different from figuring him or her as revolutionary. Far from being a ritual acknowledgment of originality and power, it is an imputation of violence or underhandedness. Thus within contemporary fiction, we find terrorists both as rivals and as doubles of the novelist.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 6
- As part of the movement's broader practices of experiment and play, however, these creative practices tended to nominate other, non-surrealist objects -- flea market finds, trinkets, newspaper articles, artifacts, totems, or so-called primitive art objects - for consideration as art. I argue that the surrealists studied crime in precisely this manner: without ignoring the cruelty of criminal violence itself, they understood that at the moment it becomes subject to representation, the historical event of crime begins to obey the characteristics of art as a proliferation of objects and artifacts that bear the paradoxical relation of art to the empirical world.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 10
- As terrorists grew more savvy about television, they threatened to take control away from broadcasters. A German television journalist noted that during the Baader-Meinhoff organization's kidnapping of Peter Lorenz in 1975, "We lost control of the medium. We shifted shows to meet their timetable..." Terrorist acts, argues N.C. Livingstone, are custom-made for the medium; they are relatively concise, dramatic, and "not so complex as to be unintelligible to those who tune in only briefly...terrorism is so ideally suited to television that the medium would have invented the phenomenon if it had not already existed".
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 12-13
- As we know from personal experience, "terrorism" possesses such great power that the terrorism writer must be prepared to "be written" by the discourse. Any claim of neutrality for one's own writing appears most illusory when dealing with a topic that evokes such apocalyptic fears. The author's original context cannot be but a distant reference lost within the discourse's own phantasmagoria.
The very act of describing in any fashion those communities plagued with "terrorism," or writing about events that can be construed in "terrorist" terms, runs the risks of intellectual and moral contamination. Far from being a passive agent, terrorism discourse casts its powerful rhetoric of "contagion" over those who get too close to it. Its mutational powers transform academicians and journalists into experts, experts into novelists, and novelists into journalists.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 61
- Ask today for the legal basis of fighting a global "War on Terror" against groups that were not even in existence in 2001, and you will be handed a copy of the law passed just seven days after 9/11 authorizing the President to use force against the perpetrators and abettors of 9/11 (i.e., Al-Qaeda and the Taliban). Challenge the wisdom of fighting a "War on Terror" to the end of a second decade, and you will likely be chided for inviting a terror attack on par with, or even worse than, 9/11. From the standpoint of international law and international political morality, then, 9/11 presumes to shoulder the heaviest of loads: A monumental amount of war to date, with apparently a good deal of war still to come. We would do well to remind ourselves, however, that this shouldering is only as strong and effective as the claim of self-defense on which it is based.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 3
- At its simplest level, [The Assignment] complicates the terrorist myth by making the identities of the victims as problematic as those of the killers. Nothing is what it seems...Surely few readers can have the moral certainty to decide whether a brain-damaged Vietnam veteran-turned-rapist is a victim or a terrorizer.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 111
- Better than any political analyst, Dürrenmatt draws us close to understanding the emotional and intellectual costs of living in the late twentieth century, when even terrorism cannot be counted on to correspond to our conceptions of it. Otto von Lambert's insight that "Auschwitz...was not the work of terrorists but of state employees" is well supported in this novel. Terrorists serve the need to believe that there are centers of resistance against a well-established order, yet as the novel amply demonstrates, the very notion of a center is illusory. The new physical terror of computerized bombing and the old one of rape correspond to a condition in which contemporary human beings live and move, their identity fragmented by new philosophical conceptions of memory and the self but also by new technologies that violate their privacy or reduce their importance in traditional roles, such as that of the warrior. Surveillance and observation, intended to reduce the likelihood of nuclear war or successful terrorist attacks, are oppressive but desired.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 119
- Blackmail is worse than interdiction. Dissuasion is worse than sanctions. In dissuasion it is no longer, "Don't do that," but rather, "If you don't do it..." And it stop there -- the threatening eventuality is left in suspense. The whole art of blackmail and manipulation lies in this suspense -- the "suspense" peculiar to terror (just as in hostage-taking the hostage is suspended, not condemned: suspended over an outcome that escapes him). Needless to say, we all live collectively under nuclear blackmail -- not under the direct threat, but under the blackmail of the nuclear, which is strictly speaking not a system of destruction, but of planetary manipulation.
This institutes a wholly different type of relation to power than that based on the violence of interdiction. The latter had a specific referent and object, and therefore transgression of it was a possibility. Blackmail, however, is allusive, and is no longer based either on an imperative or on the utterance of a law (we should invent the dissuasive mode, based on the non-utterance of the law and on floating retorsion) but plays on the enigmatic form of terror.
Terror is obscene, in that it puts an end to the scene of interdiction and violence, which at least was familiar to us.
Blackmail is obscene, in that it puts an end to the scene of exchange.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 42
- Both temporally and geographically, the phenomena of taboo and transgression can be considered omnipresent, that is existent in all societies or cultures and at all times. If the ubiquity of taboos and their influence on social structures is generally accepted with regard to the past, which a narcissistic and supposedly enlightened present all too often views with condescension if not outright derision, what is remarkable is the fact that taboos not only continue to exist but that they can actually be said to be flourishing. A brief reference to the recent debates on political correctness, to shibboleths in relation to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, or to the ongoing question of how to deal with topics such as the Holocaust, should suffice to make this point clear. Specifically with reference to the British literary scene, one could, of course, also mention the more than thirty years of censorship imposed on D.H. Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover, the uproar surrounding the staging of Howard Berton's The Romans in Britain and Edward Bond's Saved, or the outburst of violence following the publication of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses, so brilliantly portrayed in Hanif Kureishi's novel The Black Album. Thus, even in modern or postmodern and supposedly enlightened Western societies, taboos are still pervasive, the controversies just mentioned being only the tip of the iceberg of an ongoing cultural struggle with, against and in favor of taboos; a struggle which, as the above examples demonstrate, is especially well reflected, documented and hard fought in literature and the arts.
From chapter: Stefan Horlacher, Taboo, Transgression, and Literature: An Introduction
Source: Taboo and Transgression in British Literature from the Renaissance to the Present, p. 3
- Breton...raises the stakes of Nadja's momentary recourse to cold-blooded murder in stating that "the simplest surrealist act consists of dashing down into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd."...The difficult part of revolution is not its violence; indeed, Breton suggests that violence is all too simple. What is difficult is the full realization of a project of emancipation that extends to all facets of life, and that places the most extreme demands on its practitioners. Revolution, Breton writes in the Second Manifesto, requires the kind of commitment to the overthrow of bourgeois capitalism that can be experienced only as a despair so strong as to render extremism imaginable...Breton's most notorious statement, in other words, invokes murder not as an extension of surrealism's alleged methodism into the field of political violence, but as the hypothetical extreme that Breton claims to be the measure of surrealism's refusal to operate simply as a method, whether aesthetic, epistemological, or political.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 149-150
- Breton...writes: "The simplest Surrealist act consists of dashing down into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd. Anyone who, at least once in his life, has not dreamed of thus putting an end to the petty system of debasement and cretinization in effect has a well-defined place in that crowd, with his belly at barrel level." Interpretations of these lines from the Second Manifesto have fueled attacks against surrealism in general, most notably Jean-Paul Sartre's charge that the movement, like Breton's statement, represented a feeble attempt to organize "revolution" around the inner dictates of the individual -- a vulgar and politically bankrupt fusion of Leninist and Freudian rhetoric. Yet Breton is not invoking the "inner dictates of the individual," nor is he simply mobilizing this act of terror as a rhetorical flourish. He means it literally, but stresses that "my intention is not to recommend it above every other because it is simple, and to try and pick a quarrel with me on this point is tantamount to asking, in bourgeois fashion, any nonconformist why he doesn't commit suicide, or any revolutionary why he doesn't pack up and go live in the USSR." Surrealism's struggle lay in reconciling its radical break from the "ideology of continuity" with its awareness that even radicalism tends toward the continuous and the familiar whenever it expresses itself in forms, such as gunshots, that are merely extensions of preexisting violence...
The group's analyses and debates about the status of violence in the modern world extended to the very question of using revolutionary violence as a political strategy. To what extent could political violence ever be distinguished from crime? How did anti colonial violence differ from terrorism, from ethnic cleansing, or from colonial wars of invasion? Such questions, central to the activities of the surrealist group throughout the movement's history, show the surrealists' dedication to a public intellectualism that confronted the most fundamental principles of revolution and avant-gardism.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 7
- Brute facts in their speechless horror are the very substance of serious terrorism discourse...As if to dispel any doubts regarding terrorism's compelling reality, it is routine for writers to begin their journalistic reports or scholarly papers with...dreadful statistics about the innocent victims. These are indeed the hardest of facts, and who can doubt their validity?
It is difficult to transcend the initial shock over such numbers in order to contemplate the reality behind them. The reporting of innocent travelers killed in the bombing of an airplane is so brutally factual that no possible explanation makes sense; indeed it is so "real" that it requires no frame, so "true" that no interpretation is necessary, so "concrete" that no meaning need be inferred. Its reality appears to belong more to nature than to society. This is discourse so overwhelmed by the "reality effect" of the facts that the very suggestion that it authenticate itself appears ridiculous.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 5
- But 'no one pities men who cling wilfully to their sufferings.' (Philoctetes -- speech of Neoptolemus)....I'm analyzing the God of Job, as I say. We are back to the Inscrutable. If the answers are valid then it is the questions that are all cock-eyed.
Source: The Only Problem, p. 477
- But being seen to 'do something' is not easy when the opponent is invisible. Governments soon develop, as Adam Roberts says, 'a powerful thirst for intelligence' which can quickly lead to bending or breaking legal constraints in the search for information. It can lead to increased police powers, detention without trial, far-reaching changes in legal procedures, and the use of torture, or its milder relation 'inhuman and degrading treatment'.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 120
- But if all these points instinctively feel right to a professor of English [e.g. that Conrad's work is ironic and not a blueprint for terror], they may simply show how far we have accepted as fact what for James and Conrad was a nightmarish possibility, that the serious novel has no power in the social world. It is true that media stories about Timothy McVeigh and Theodore Kaczynski and their reading suggest that the romantic view of literature as dangerous remains alive in some attenuated form: the popular press is willing to pay that much tribute to art. The strange case of Conrad and the Unabomber, however, in giving us a rare opportunity to see network television reading a serious terrorist novel, points to their radical incompatibility...It is cold comfort, indeed, for those who care about serious fiction to realize that it can be said to have social influence only when it is seriously misunderstood.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 161
- But if the language of public discourse is debased, Lessing seems to find no consolation in the language of literature and political theory. True, Alice is the image of a person in part created by the mass media who will read nothing but newspapers because she cannot face the "risky equivocal" contents of books, fearing to be "lost without maps" (73). But Pat, who reads Nabokov's Laughter in the Dark and then joins the KGB, and Faye, who is "particularly well up on Althusser" and then dies because she mistimes a car bomb, are worse, not better, models (318). Perhaps the point is not that Althusser and Nabokov somehow breed terrorism, but that the small personal voice of printed books is drowned out by the loud impersonal voices of the mass media, with their affiliations to power and consumers' interest in violence.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 80
- But while the history of terrorism suggests that terrorist acts emanate from a range of both state and non-state actors, contemporary definitions increasingly limit the agents of terrorism to the latter...Conceived in this way, terrorism refers to acts of indiscriminate violence carried out against those with the power to define it in this way.
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 8
- But, above all, terrorism came into its own in mass literature. It had figured in popular novels from time to time even before 1970, but after that date it became a veritable avalanche. many hundreds of such books were written on every level of sophistication, from the quasi-highbrow psychology of a Le Carré to the primitive actions of the pulp novel. Indeed, so much was written about so little that in the early 1980s a certain decline could be observed. All the dramatic possibilities had been exhausted. The number of basic situations was limited; they could be counted, broadly speaking, on the fingers o two hands. most popular was the nuclear theme: a group of terrorists -- Arab, Israeli or other -- searching for the ultimate weapon, by theft (James Rowe) or frontal attack on a nuclear arsenal, or by abducting a scientist or a group of scientists who could build a weapon of this sort (Nicholas Freeling). Alternatively, the terrorists already have the weapon (twenty-four of them in Lawrence Delaney's case), and they are about to detonate it in London (G. Household, Anthony Trew) or in New York (Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, Ian Todd). Fortunately, it is only a question of time before they are caught, or until one of them feels some last-minute pangs of conscience...Frequently, the political intentions of the terrorists are sweeping but obscure, and in at least one case they want to kill all the world's leading statesmen (Ludlum's The Matarese Circle), but are prevented by the CIA and KGB who, for once, co-operate.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 199
- But, more importantly, the arrested suspects had been under close police surveillance since 1989...As extensively documented by Robert Friedman in his article "The CIA's Jihad," the CIA's involvement with the World Trade Bombers "is far greater than previously known." The CIA campaigned to set up several jihad (holy war) offices across the United States. The most important was called Alkifah -- Arabic for "the struggle" -- and was established in Brooklyn where the sheik had settled. One of the visitors to Alkifah was a Green Beret from the US Special forces at Fort Bragg, Ali Mohammed. He came regularly from North Carolina to train the sheik's followers in the use of weapons, as well as tactical, reconnaissance, and survival techniques. The sheik's followers fought in a war that cost the United States $10 billion.
After examining the evidence it is hard not to conclude that "the CIA has inadvertently managed to do something that America's enemies have been unable to: give terrorism a foothold in the United States." [emphasis added]
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 26-27
- By now we have been sensitized by the media to accept the existence of a bizarre club of nations, the so-called sponsors of terrorism. What is most striking about the blacklisted is not their sinister vocation but rather the shiftiness in club membership. A country which is today an "evil empire" tomorrow becomes a close partner, or a ruler with whom we have been doing business as usual commits an act of bloody aggression and is suddenly a new Hitler, a nation such as Syria, catalogued for years as a supporter of terrorism, becomes a friendly ally by siding with the West against Iraq, which in turn had been removed from the blacklist for fighting against Iran...A cursory look at the ways that Iraq, Iran, and Syria were dropped from or included in the State Department's list of terrorism's sponsors (depending on the U.S. Administration's policy interests) demonstrates the extent to which blacklisting is indeed a "terrorism spectacle."...
Academics may object to the erratic changes and other inconsistencies, but they do so in vain since once the Secretary of State decides who is or is not a "terrorist," that becomes an established fact in the U.S. media and its political discourse. Thus, a Pentagon report in 1988 listed Mandela's African National Congress as one of the world's "more notorious terrorist groups," whereas pro-South African government RENAMO, which the same reports admits killed over 100,000 civilians in Mozambique between 1986 and 1988, is identified merely as an "indigenous insurgent group."
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 12
- Can terrorism liberate? Or might the process of terror have 'corrupting consequences that reverberate for decades'? Certainly the apocalyptic dreams which have animated many terrorist groups have never materialized. In this sense, those, like the distinguished historian Walter Laqueur, who argue that terrorism has always failed are right. Shock and horror have their limits.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 27
- Clausewitz made the apparently simple point that 'the first of all strategic questions and the most comprehensive' is for decision-makers to be clear about what a situation is and what it is not. Any illusion of simplicity here dissolves when terrorism is at issue, since we are driven back to the fundamental problem of defining the nature of terrorism and the threat it represents.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 121
- Connoisseurs of images, we have long ago learned to recognize the image of desire hidden behind the simulacra of terror.
Source: The Rotting Donkey, p. 257
- Considering the growing debates and expanding legislative definitions of terrorism, it is little wonder that 'terrorism studies' has burgeoned so dramatically over the last three decades. In addition to the increasing number of government-funded institutes, 'terrorology' has taken root in a range of academic fields, including political science, history, sociology, social anthropology, and international relations. The explosion of interest has not resulted in greater consensus, though. As Guelke has argued, 'By the 1990s, the concept of terrorism had become so elastic that there seemed to be virtually no limit to what could be described as terrorism.' This general vagueness of the term is precisely what has led commentators such as the social-anthropologists Zulaika and Douglass to assert that terrorism is 'first and foremost discourse', and that this discourse is largely a matter of 'fictionalization'. As I have argued, though, such a view becomes problematic if the focus on the fictional and the figurative obscures the physical effects of terrorist violence.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 9
- Crevel, as we have seen, was in fact deeply suspicious the avant-garde's tendency to aestheticize the explosiveness of historical acts of violence. As he argues in his pointedly titled essay "Which Way?," published in a 1923-24 issue of The Little Review, "many a person has manufactured a bomb to destroy detestable monuments and has then been content simply to place his bomb on the mantelpiece, make a thousand copies of it which he puts on sale like the Venus de Milo in cheap plaster." Revel's complaint invokes the bomb-throwing turn-of-the-century anarchists such as Ravachol, Emile Henry, and the Bonnot gang, whose notoriety and terrorist tactics fascinated many of the early surrealists. Such anarchist attacks provided spectacles of revolt, but beyond their initial impact, there wasn't much to prevent them from becoming little more than spectacles in the end, aestheticized in spite of their violence. Yet whereas Crevel's essay advocates transforming such plaster casts back into bombs, it does not do so to embrace their return to deadly force...For Crevel, as would become the case for the surrealists more broadly, aesthetic relations [a substitute for actual violence] were a conduit for ethical relations.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 75
- Crime itself is hardly a modern phenomenon. What is modern, though, are the institutions of police detection and legal psychiatry invented to diagnose it, as well as the public eye of the media that frames it as a spectacle. This spectacle presents a disorienting array of cultural extremes: private suffering and public sensation, destruction and production, reason and unreason...Each crime scene, illuminated by flashbulbs and searchlights, becomes a site of contested meanings; each corpse sets in motion waves of public sentiment, popular imagery, and civic action that oscillate between fascination and outrage, between sensationalism and the social process of restoring order.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 7-8
- Dürrenmatt shares...a wish to expose the myths and explore the realities of terrorism. An experimental fiction, The Assignment points to the complex reality that lies behind the too-familiar story and suggests as well the actual experience of human beings caught up in terrorist activities. Fragmentation of identity in the novel's unstable world leads to a longing for order that asserts itself in totalitarian politics, fundamentalist religion, and documentary realism, all disciplines, in Foucault's sense, that depend on observation. Suggesting the difficulty of distinguishing between the victims and practitioners of terror, Dürrenmatt undermines the usual story of sinister Islamic terrorists...His manipulations of the myth present terror both as an understandable private response to the conditions of late-twentieth-century life and as a public practice that intensifies and conditions panic.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 110
- Despite its obvious improbabilities, not to say absurdities, the terror network idea was subjected to surprisingly little criticism until the end of the Cold War eviscerated it.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 28-29
- Despite systematic and largely successful attempts to manage 'official' representations of terrorism, dissonances keep appearing...The 'war on terror' frame is hardly convincing when significant parts of the Arab world are spilling onto the streets demanding democracy and not jihad. Additionally, in the new digital media landscape where alternative messages travel globally and instantaneously...the mediation of terrorism is likely to become more multi-layered and multi-lingual...However, a word of caution is in order. Apart from global media conglomerates such as Google and Facebook, with their formidable power over the aggregation and distribution of information, governments are determined to ensure that they control the global commons.
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 14
- Dime novels were the products of a kin of automatic writing, Soupault claimed, composed almost mechanically and characterized by a near-absolute degree of spontaneity.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 103
- Dostoevsky, James, and Conrad pressure the commonsense distinction between writers and terrorists, between stories and violence, without entirely accepting some view, deconstructive avant la lettre, that they are indistinguishable. Their novels anticipate many of the questions about representing violence that late-twentieth-century theorists have pressed -- the alliance between storytelling and power, the tendency of art to convert violence into an enthralling spectacle, and even, in the case of Conrad's Peter Mikulin, the distortions of the victim's narrative-become-bestseller. They issue an invitation to see in insurgent terrorism an occasion for exploring the romantic idea of the writer as rebel and for questioning romanticism's optimism about literature's social power.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 10
- Each [pursuer of Sunday in Chesterton's Thursday] is stunned and enraged by the message he receives, because the messages implicate the detective-receiver in what appear to be stories at once bewildering and precise. For example, one message to a pursuer reads 'Fly at once. The truth about you trouser-stretchers is known -- A FRIEND'; another reads, 'The word, I fancy, should be "pink"'; a third, from Sunday to a male pursuer: 'Your beauty has not left me indifferent.--From LITTLE SNOWDROP' (157, 161, 163). Now these surreal messages, these tender buttons of notes, are God's improvisations; they exhibit the bravado of meaningful meaningless. But they are also meaning-full. The precise specificity of the notes makes them feel as if they are intelligible particulars dropped from a comprehensive and intelligible tale no less certain than the note of certainty characteristically struck by each folded wad. It is the ability of ambiguity to strike certain notes, to issue in certainty, that enrages Sunday's pursuers. But, most significantly, it is the same ability of ambiguity to strike a certain note that leads Syme, two chapters later, to grasp the sight of everything, to know that the dynamiter is as blessed as the detective. Double-writing has its consummation here. Improvisation and ambiguity unveil a definitive apocalypse.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 164
- Even if it is obvious that U.S. administrations have "played politics with the fight against terrorism," ideology and politics per se are not our main concerns but rather what Hayden White has labeled the "fictions of factual representation." [Note: see White's Tropics of Discourse] When we examine the epistemic status of the category itself and the shifting meanings that it holds for various audiences, we realize the radical extent to which terrorism discourse constitutes its object. This is also true of the position of some critics who, on the basis of the obvious double standard concerning the definitions and rhetorics of terrorism, simply redirect the term to argue that Washington inflicts a deliberate policy of wholesale terrorism on Third World countries, which are subsequently demonized for their own retail brand. There is certainly ample evidence of terror inflicted by Washington, but we object to rendering it as discourse that further recreates and reifies the terrorism paradigm instead of undermining its fictions.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 16
- Even literal acts such as the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 are surrounded by vast doses of nonfactual guesswork, scholarly interpretation, political manipulation, and judicial indictments. As a result, when, on November 14, 1991, the U.S. accused two Libyan officials of the Lockerbie massacre, most family members and journalists who had followed the three-year investigation remained skeptical. Experts were quick to dispute, on various technical grounds, the theory that a simple microchip timer recovered from the wreckage set off the explosion, and reiterated the existence of contradictions and evidence pointing to other culprits now exculpated in a clear case of skewing raw data for political ends...Whether "blood feud" or "international terrorism" means little to the victims of Lockerbie, the difference in political rhetorics is critical for the rest of us. The monster is there, but what are its qualities?
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 11
- Fiction cannot offer a master key to the soul of the terrorist; the most one can hope for is to detect certain common patterns in the character and mental make-up of the dramatis personae, who acted as a group at a certain time and place. To accomplish even this modest task a great deal of empathy, psychological understanding and creative mastery is needed. Once this has been accepted a great deal can be learned about terrorism from contemporary fiction, provided these books, plays and films are not regarded as manuals for the study of terrorism, aspiring to photographic exactitude and universal applicability.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 195-196
- Fiction holds some promise for the understanding of the terrorist phenomenon but some words of caution are nevertheless called for. Terrorism has figured prominently in works of modern literature, but the novels, plays, poems and films are of unequal value in providing historical evidence and psychological explanation -- some are of no value at all, at least for our purpose.
It is easy to point to certain common patterns in the study of terrorism as practiced by political scientists, for there are only a few basic schools of thought, with only minor variations within each trend. The conclusions may not be true, but they are certainly stated in an orderly, unequivocal fashion as befitting a scientific discipline. With the transition from the sciences to the arts we move from the level of relative certainties to the realm of impression. To provide a coherent framework of orderly and lucid argument, to single out common patterns becomes well nigh impossible. It can be done, but only by singling out certain themes in certain books (or plays or films) at the expense of others. Literature as a source for the study of terrorism is still virtually terra incognita.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 174
- For all but the immediate participants and witnesses, the experience of any such event is overwhelmingly secondhand. Sensationalized by the press, gawked at by passers-by, whispered about i hushed and horrified tones, or cited as an example for public outrage, safety, or moral benefit, murder is already subject to representation and details of "design...grouping, light and shade, poetry, sentiment." Maria Tatar has proposed that contemporary avant-garde depictions of sexual murder in Weimar Germany compensated for this distance or alienation between the spectator and the event through exploitative and violent relations of fantasy: identification, voyeurism, catharsis, and the experience of sublimity. I contend, however, that surrealist and porto-surrealist writings like Peret's, i spite of their callous rhetoric and ironic distance, derive their "aesthetic" approach from an ethical commitment to dislodging judgment -- moral and aesthetic alike -- from the formalism of national myths and institutions...In doing so...they offer the beginnings of a surrealist intellectual program, a critical aesthetics with its own inherent imperative for judgment.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 56-57
- For Crevel, Lacan's thesis was promising to the left for its understanding of paranoia as a psychotic structure that systematically accuses the very ideological forces signified by Freud's notion of "culture." This culture was repressive not simply because it beat back the death drive but because it represented the full force of bourgeois social conditioning which in the France of the early 1930s, was beginning to take on a frighteningly discernible shape: an attachment to so-called family values that sanctioned patriarchal privilege and a rampant homophobia; and an ever-present xenophobia and anti-Semitism whose deep roots in twentieth-century French culture only strengthened what Crevel and the surrealists considered to be a growing fascist sympathy among the French bourgeoisie.
The "accusation" performed by murderous exhibitionism thus does not canonize the psychotic as a revolutionary figure; insofar as the physical illness represents the moral illness that produces it, Crevel's structuralist notion of behavior as a representation allows his further ideas about political illness and oppression to be a matter of extension...Yet Crevel's version of political and psychological causality structured as a "fortuitous encounter" is particularly useful to surrealism insofar as it rethinks the causality not only of presumably legitimate revolution but of the most inexplicable, brutal, and regressive of events as well -- whether domestic murder or the growing domestic appeal of fascism.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 189
- For the core of nearly all definitions of terrorism -- the use of violence for political ends -- is too similar to the definition of war to be of much use.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 6
- For the majority of people who are not directly subject to its violence or intimidation, terrorism has to be 'made to mean' and the media are crucial ideological vehicles in systematizing and organizing disparate 'acts of terror'. Indeed, media are not simply external actors passively bringing the news of terrorist incidents to global audiences but are increasingly seen as active agents in the actual conceptualization of terrorist events. They are credited, in other words, not simply with definitional but constitutive power: we now have 'mediated terrorism' (Cottle, 2006), 'media-oriented terrorism' (Surette et al., 2009), 'media-ized warfare' (Louw, 2003) and 'mass-mediated terrorism' (Nacos, 2007)
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 9-10
- From the start of the Cold War through to the present day, international political and legal bodies have had to deal with many dodgy claims of self-defense. However, almost all such claims have involved acts of either anticipatory self-defense or collective self-defense/counter-intervention. This can obscure the fact that during a more distant time period -- namely, the twenty-year interregnum of the inter-war period and the immediate aftermath of World War II -- international concern was focused to a large extent on pretextual claims of self-defense based on false flag attacks.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 10
- From Timerman's chronicle and texts like Miguel Angel Asturias's El señor presidente it is abundantly clear that cultures of terror are based on and nourished by silence and myth in which the fanatical stress on the mysterious side of the mysterious flourishes by means of rumor and fantasy woven in a dense web of magical realism. It is also clear that the victimizer needs the victim for the purpose of making truth, objectifying the victimizer's fantasies in the discourse of the other. To be sure, the torturer's desire is also prosaic: to acquire information, to act in concert with large-scale economic strategies elaborated by the masters and exigencies of production. Yet equally if not more important is the need to control massive populations through the cultural elaboration of fear.
Source: Culture of Terror/Space of Death, p. 469
- Furthermore, the terrorist has a far greater capacity to garner public attention than does the soldier. It is a particularly salient confirmation of the common perception in postmodern discourse that reality is being shattered into images and that everyday life is becoming confused with TV's hyperreal world.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 6-7
- G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday (1908) purports to differentiate modernist insiders and anti-modernist outsiders; and to expound the difference in terms of religious belief, art and politics. According to the book's spokesman for modernism, Lucian Gregory, modernists are anarchist-terrorists, whose priority involves 'the lawlessness of art and the art of lawlessness'...Opposed to these claims, which Chesterton calls the product of 'dirty modern thinkers' is Chesterton's protagonist Gabriel Syme, who apparently is outside modernism. He is 'a poet of law' and order and respectability -- a detective, in other words! -- and he becomes an undercover agent in order to hunt down 'Sunday', the secret head of a powerful international modernist-anarchist-terrorist group.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 151-152
- Germany in [How German Is It] is not simply a 'human invention', then, nor is it reducible to terrors of the past or present. Similarly, the terrorism depicted in [the novel] cannot simply be reduced to a media construction, or a state fabrication, or the detonation of a bomb by a group of radicals, for all these things are implicated in a more general topography. Inhabiting an ironic space in this topography of everyday life, Abish has stated that he endeavours to stake out a utopic field of resistance in his fiction.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 231-232
- Grant Allen had already seen the potential for linking terrorism to the unconscious in his popular novel For Maimie's Sake: A Tale of Love and Dynamite (1886). The main terrorist group in the text is ruled over by a power called 'the Unconscious', which the Polish revolutionary Benyowski describes after having been chosen to carry out an assassination: 'The old fashioned mind would have seen in this the finger of providence. We see in it rather the working of the Unconscious. Both are immutable, divine, mysterious.'
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 47-48
- harvey was a rich man; he was in his mid-thirties. He had started writing a monograph about the Book of Job and the problem it deals with. For he could not face that a benevolent Creator, one whose charming and delicious light descended and spread over the world, and being powerful everywhere, could condone the unspeakable sufferings of the world; that God did permit all suffering and was therefore, by logic of his omnipotence, the actual author of it, he was at a loss how to square with the existence of God, given the premise that God is good.
'It is the only problem,' Harvey had always said. Now, Harvey believed in God, and this was what tormented him. 'It's the only problem, in fact, worth discussing.'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 341
- Harvey wondered again if in real life Job would be satisfied with this plump reward, and doubted it. His tragedy was that of the happy ending.
Source: The Only Problem, p. 481
- He pressed the button. With a dull roar the building swaying, swept up in a spraying fan of light and Pragman: the old gentleman and: as the explosion shattered: McDowell tap-tapping smiling and: it settled in a crumpled steaming dusty pile of rock and masonry.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 223
- Henry James and Joseph Conrad were attracted by certain specific facets of terrorism, the most dramatic, grotesque or fascinating ones for the student of the human soul They also used it, as did Dostoevski, to juxtapose destructive terrorism and their own philosophy. Among the most dramatic (and politically most interesting) aspects of terrorism is of course the Judas motive...Betrayal is the main motive in Joseph Conrad's Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes and countless other novels. It is of course true that few, if any, terrorist groups escaped defectors and traitors in their ranks. However, the heavy emphasis on treason to the detriment of other motives is bound to distort the general picture. It may result in a brilliant work of fiction, but then the novelist is preoccupied with the fate of the individual, whereas the historian pays more attention to social and political movements. Robert Louis Stevenson and G.K. Chesterton were attracted by the grotesque element in terrorism...Mr Conrad clearly did not love Russians; nor did he like anarchists, who, without exception, are depicted as degenerates of ludicrous physique or madmen like the 'Professor' in The Secret Agent, who always left home with a bomb in his pocket so that at a moment's notice he could blow himself up as well as the policeman trying to arrest him.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 175-176
- Hitler...felt he needed to create a veneer of self-defensive indignation before sending his already-primed army over international borders. Thus ensued what has come to be known as the "Gleiwitz Incident." To create the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany, Hitler's lieutenants had German troops dress up as Poles and attack German installations along the German-Polish border...The Gleiwitz Incident was not forgotten by the United States or its allies during the course of World War II. In fact, after the war they specifically included it in the bill of particulars on the conspiracy charge levied against the major Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, and the Nuremberg Tribunal heard affidavit testimony regarding it.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 13
- I believe that the complex of attraction and repulsion in the violence [of torture] displayed is so well defended against the frontal attack of reason and sympathy that, perchance, a "poetic" or imagefull response is in order -- the glancing blow, with the left hand, the hand of improvisation, as Walter Benjamin would say. We could just as well inquire, What do these images want? [the photographs from Abu Ghraib]
Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S101
- I call this surrealist understanding of political and psychological reality "noir" because the noir genres studied by the surrealists throughout the movement's history, and with increasing rigor during the 1930s, represented what I argue is a paranoiac response to contemporary historical and political events. Participants as well as observers in a period of developing historical emergency, the surrealists were acutely aware of the danger of remaining unconscious protagonists in the historical drama of the 1930s...Whereas the characters in noir fiction struggle in vain to make sense of the forces to which their actions are subject, the stylistic universe of the noir aesthetic itself makes possible the analysis it denies its characters. Through this analytical access, the noir aesthetic becomes theory, itself a speculative means for investigating the structure of reality -- exterior to the aesthetic form itself -- that made action possible...Indeed, what seems progressive about noir and gothic fictions is precisely their configuration of political, psychological, and historical questions as a problem of representation, or, more accurately, as a problem of style...Could not the standard noir plot twist be described as the uncanny realization that an evil "out there," against which the protagonists so gallantly attempt to safeguard themselves, is suddenly revealed to have been in their midst all along?...The possibility that the most abjectly alien acts of terror were themselves already both interpretations and representations of lived reality suggested a method for interpreting the historical present. For the surrealists such acts were legible as motifs not only within the narrative framework of gothic fiction but within the contemporary world as well...[I]t was surrealism's efforts to account structurally for otherwise invisible, unconscious forces determining the course of history -- just as it had once been the group's original claim to "photograph" the unconscious through automatic writing -- that lent its noir period a political use-value.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 193-195
- I see both writers and terrorists in these novels as remnants of a romantic belief in the power of marginalized persons to transform history...such fictions elucidate the process that allows militants, journalists, and politicians to construct terrorism as a political reality.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 2
- I take Sun Tzu's wise words regarding war on pretty much the same level as a fortune cookie, but when it comes to the war on terror, then Sun Tzu here catches my breath. For it seems that the art of deception in this particular war is organic and built in to what is by necessity a war of error, a deliberate and compulsive lying, tied up with the fact that in the name of defending the people, which is to say democracy, the war is now against the people. We the public have become the enemy, and that is how I read Sun Tau on the art of war today.
Yet would it were that simple because the power of the art of deceit does not -- I repeat not -- necessarily weaken with exposure. Sometimes the very opposite occurs; sometimes deceit seems to thrive on exposure, as in the conjuring tricks of shamanism and in the conjuring now exercised on a global scale by the world's only superpower. This global conjuring rests on a sea change in the way truth and language work in what Carl Schmitt called "the exception," meaning the state of emergency. The curious thing is despite the tremendous concentration of power such a state of emergency implies, which should allow the leaders to tell the truth without fear of the consequences, the opposite is more likely to occur.
Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S100
- I would like to pursue another hypothesis: namely, that Chesterton in 1908 as well as in 1936 wants his definite reading of his own book to mean that the path of definiteness can only be arrived at through double or multiple ambiguous and equivocal meanings, which are the necessary detour whereby a sure direction or aim, and a certain belief, are discovered and achieved. A hierarchy is intended: the means to certainty is equivocal, but only equivocation can clear a path for certainty, which then subordinates equivocation...It is necessary to be lost in order to be found might be another formula for this process.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 153-154
- If anything, the text [in Volodine] increasingly persuades the reader of the futility of resistance, of its identity with that which it opposes: the revolutionary's identification with the state, the writer's with the police. The text finally fails not because it is too readable or because it is unreadable or subject to misreading, but because it cannot occupy an uncontaminated pure space from which to offer a critique of power. Writer and critic, terrorist and police officer, are not only at the last margins of Europe but also at the last margins of the printed text, in a novel that suggests that a revolutionary impulse that has driven Western art and politics for two centuries has, at last, perished.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 153-154
- If terrorism is propaganda by deed, the success of a terrorist campaign depends decisively on the amount of publicity it receives. Seen in this perspective, the journalist and the television camera are the terrorists' best friends.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 121
- If terrorists are 'fanatics of simplicity', so are all too many good citizens. Most terrorists, like all too many of those who have taken part in mass murder, are disturbingly normal.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 17
- If we look for precise evaluation of the effectiveness of antiterrorist policies we find it is surprisingly thin on the ground...none of the many official reviews of the British antiterrorist legislation carried out over the last 40 years has adduced any concrete evidence on its effectiveness -- or apparently seen the need to do so.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 136
- In a sense, the greatest masterpiece, Helen's beloved Vermeer Girl, corrupts this terrorist and sways him from the purity of his design. He falls in love with it, as the Palestinian Ahmed says, "like a bride," spending hours staring at it obsessively. And when Henk produces his reasonable argument for negotiating with the government, Jeroen chooses to blow himself up with the painting in a classic murder-suicide that Ahmed calls "le geste sublime d'un grand révolutionnaire" (358); although he does not mean to, he also kills ten other people.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 73
- In an extreme way, Britain's paradoxical stance on political violence is what Mr Vladimir is attempting to match with his plan of creating a terrorist 'outrage' in order to elicit more stringent policing. His idea takes on an absurdist tone, though, when he explains to Verloc his 'philosophy of the bomb': 'A bomb outrage to have any influence on public opinion must go beyond the intention of vengeance or terrorism', he argues: 'it must be purely destructive. It must be that, and only that...'. Attacks on property, religion, and churches fail to disturb the quiescence of the everyday, he states, for insurrection has become a mere media phenomenon: 'Every newspaper has ready-made phrases to explain such manifestations away'. An act without authorship is thus required, he argues, an epiphanous devastation irreducible to the familiar: 'what is one to say to an act of destructive ferocity so absurd as to be incomprehensible, inexplicable, almost unthinkable; in fact, mad?' [emphasis added by Houen]
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 36-37
- In combining issues of terrorism, Holocaust memory, and narrative, Abish's How German Is It certainly educes the salient antagonisms of the period. Yet I would argue that it also engages directly in the entwining of discourse and violence, memory and performance, that I have been discussing to produce its own image of fiction's potential for intervention. Towards the end of the fourth and penultimate part of the novel, 'Sweet truth', the narrator raises the question: 'Can only revolutions undermine the tyranny of the familiar day-to-day events?'
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 222-223
- In his paper, "Fearing Fictions," Kendall Walton proposes the notion of "quasi-fear" for that fright experienced when contemplating on a movie or TV screen agents (such as a terrible green slime or the creature from the Black Lagoon) that the viewer knows for certain are only fictional. Then there is the fear of a person afraid of a nonexistent ghost or burglar who are nonetheless "real" since the person believes that they are present. Fear of terrorism is never solely fictional, as in the first case, but is rather of the second type. Still, faced with the extraordinary fact that during one single month 10 million Americans decided to stay at home rather than take an airplane reportedly because of a terrorist threat issued several thousands miles away by a beleaguered dictator, one questions whether they were dissuaded by real feelings of terror or were engaging in some sort of make-believe in which they acted "as if" the threats posed real danger to their lives...
Terrorism discourse is characterized by the confusion of sign and context provoked by the deadly atrocity of apparently random acts, the impossibility of discriminating reality from make-believe, and text from reader. These strange processes and their mix make terrorism a queer phenomenon. Emptying the sign of its deadly messages seem to be, following Barthes's advice, the best antidote to the experience of terror. And nothing appears to be more damaging to the ghosts and myths of terrorism (for audience and actors alike) than fictionalizing them further to the point that fear dissolves into "as-if" terror.
The discourse's victory, then, derives from imposing a literal frame of "this is real war," "this is global threat," "this is total terror." Its defeat derives from writing "this is an as-if war," "this is an as-if global threat," "this is make-believe total terror."
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 28-29
- In our view, terrorism's "reality" is intrinsic to certain kinds of behavior -- play, threat, ritual, dreaming, art -- characterized by a radical semantic gap between concrete action and that which it would ordinarily denote...Moreover, the capacity of terroristic activities to have an impact is largely contingent upon their being played out on the hyperreal screens of the electronic mass media. Hence, the quest for some definitive distinction between the real and the unreal is futile.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 16-17
- In refusing the mantle of humanism, surrealism opened itself to the discomfiting possibility that its work would be overshadowed by the allure of terrorist action or of political expediency. Yet as the group's long-standing fascination with crime reveals, the movement was dedicated less to destroying al laws than to thwarting the tendency for experimental thought to become law. The surrealist experiment, then, might be understood as the attempt to mobilize art to "suppress the exploitation of man by man" by causing an insurrection within thought. Herein lies surrealism's essential contribution to twentieth-century thought: not, as Jean Clair claimed, in "preparing the mind" for the atrocities of terrorism and the Holocaust, but in preparing the mind to defend itself against the forms of ideological closure that ensure the continuation of such atrocities.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 276
- In such fashion there is blurring of the line between fact and fiction in ostensibly objective journalistic reporting, particularly since it is the very nature of covert operations and intergovernmental confidentiality to place a premium more upon "deniability" -- a fancy expression for mendacity -- than upon veracity. Hence the novel's plot of intrigue and the journalist's political discourse collapse into the monolithic frame that we have labeled contemporary terrorism discourse.
This blurring of genres is further exacerbated by the propensity of some journalists and counterterrorism specialists to author terrorism novels (e.g., Robert Moss, Arnaud de Borchgrave, William Buckley Jr., Brian Crozier). Thus, at terrorism conferences it is not uncommon for the experts to discuss their next fiction project!
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 48
- In their perverse and anarchistic isolation of practical reason from aesthetic judgment, Peret and De Quincey each suggest that morality's very promise of sustaining a social order was itself a fantasy; morality -- what Kant called "practical reason" -- was instead a set of conventions that eclipsed the degree to which this social order was already collapsed, or, more precisely, to which the social order reproduced its own collapse as the necessary condition for its existence. For Peret and De Quincey alike, this phenomenon became especially visible in the contemporary rise in "great" murders of an exceptionally unmotivated, culturally symptomatic nature.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 56
- In this chapter we have considered various ways of writing "Basque terrorism" -- whether as "patriotic cause" (ETA's Documentos), "ethnography" (Douglass), "entertainment" (Shed and Trevanian), "news" (the Basque and Spanish presses), counterterrorist "intelligence" and "expertise" (Sterling, Post, the panel of international specialists), and "sociology" (Wieviorka). Each, as we have seen, is more than simply a different perspective of the same reality; rather each produces its own separate reality. Terrorism writing aims at constituting these various texts into a single field of discourse.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 60-61
- Is any given bombing in Italy the work of leftist extremists, or extreme-right provocation, or a centrist mise-en-scène to discredit all extreme terrorists and to shore up its own failing power, or again, is it a police-inspired scenario and a form of blackmail to public security? All of this is simultaneously true, and the search for proof, indeed the objectivity of the facts does not put an end to this vertigo of interpretation. That is, we are in a logic of simulation, which no longer has anything to do with a logic of facts and an order of reason.
Source: Simulacra and Simulation, p. 16
- It appeared to be unanimous: unless you were one of the victims, the terrifying reality of the events could only be experienced and expressed as hyperbole -- as surpassing the normal limits of experience and expression. All of a sudden, then, the figurative, if not the fictional, was at the very heart of the disaster.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 2
- It has always been clear that antiterrorist action needed to be international as well as domestic if it were to be effective. (Conrad's Secret Agent, Verloc, was employed on just such a design, on the part of an illiberal central European state, to lever Britain into an antiterrorist coalition)...But the whole problem -- as acute in 1937 as during Tony Blair's visit to Syria in October 2001 -- was that no usable common definition of terrorism, least of all 'as criminal behaviour', could be reached.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 130
- It is criminography -- the notion of crime as an art, as a form of inscription -- that provides the epistemological basis for the surrealist analysis of historical transformation. In its composite nature and paradoxical relationship to science and the empirical world, criminography, like surrealism itself, tends toward the discontinuous, at once demanding and producing analysis.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 9
- It is difficult to disagree with the observations of the historian of US imperialism Richard Immerman:
"The empire that America constructed in the twentieth century is the most powerful empire in world history...It has assembled institutions -- the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, the Organization of American States, the World Trade Organization, and more -- that provide potent mechanisms for global management." (Immerman, 2010:12)
The majority of mainstream media enthusiastically take part in this global management process.
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 4
- It is important to grasp how far state terror has dwarfed the puny efforts of rebels in the 20th century.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 46
- It is less often registered that the main contribution of the media is to 'the perception more than the reality of the terrorist threat', as Simon notes, and that it tends to widen and dramatize the public notion of the threat. More commonly and intemperately, analysts and politicians have asserted that publicity is the 'oxygen' of terrorism.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 138-139
- It is one of the tenets of counterterrorism that any interaction with the terrorist "Other" is violation of a taboo...Yet it is the very strategy of "tabooing" subjects one has never spoken with or contemplated face-to-face that we will question on both intellectual and moral grounds. Besides, if talking to a terrorist is so contaminating, how is it that governments readily do so? What can we make of the fact that terrorism has become such a shifty category that yesterday's terrorists are today's Nobel Peace Prize winners. Sean McBride, Menachem Begin, Yassir Arafat, and Nelson Mandela have all been so honored...How do we manage to produce apocalyptic madmen who are later considered to be paragons of peace and virtue.?
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. x
- It is one thing for an undertaking to be possible and another for it to be just. Knowledge is no longer the subject, but in the service of the subject: its only legitimacy (though it is formidable) is the fact that it allows morality to become reality. This introduces a relation of knowledge to society and the State which is in principle a relation of the means to the end. But scientists must cooperate only if they judge that the politics of the State, in other words the sum of its prescriptions, is just. If they feel that the civil society of which they are members is badly represented by the State, they may reject its prescriptions. This type of legitimation grants them the authority, as practical human beings, to refuse their scholarly support to a political power they judge to be unjust, in other words, not grounded in a real autonomy. They can even go so far as to use their expertise to demonstrate that such autonomy is not in fact realized in society and the State. This reintroduces the critical function of knowledge. But the fact remains that knowledge has no final legitimacy outside of serving the goals envisioned by the practical subject, the autonomous collectivity.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 36
- It is sobering to recall that the first major crisis to strike the U.N.'s predecessor organization, the League of Nations, was an international invasion by one state of another based on a highly dubious claim of having been attacked. In 1931, Japan invaded the northeastern Chinese province of Manchuria, claiming that Chinese nationalists had sabotaged portions of a railway line controlled and operated by it near the city of Mukden. Though the explosion was so weak that it failed to destroy the track, the Japanese Army immediately accused Chinese dissidents of the attack and responded with a full-scale invasion that led to the occupation of Manchuria, and the installation of a puppet regime, within six months. Historian Walter LaFeber makes short work of any doubts as to what actually occurred:
"[Japanese]...officers claimed that the bomb had been set by the Chinese and even conveniently spread several Chinese bodies around the explosion site. But authorities in Tokyo and other world capitals quickly concluded that the army had blown up its own railway tracks as an excuse to conquer Manchuria."
Upon China's complaint of illegal aggression by Japan, the League of Nations seized itself of the matter and sent a commission to Manchuria to investigate. [T]he Lytton Commission left no doubt, despite its gentlemanly language, that the Japan's [sic] claim of having had its railroad attacked was false.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 11
- It is this link to the mass media that leads most scholars to conclude that the insurgent terrorism that evolved in the second half of the nineteenth century was something new and not merely a repetition of the violent conspiracies that marked political history long before Brutus stabbed Caesar. Scorned by Lenin and Trotsky alike as representative action undertaken by the intelligentsia on behalf of a distrustful proletariat, terrorism is more a violent means of communication than a direct strike at militarily significant targets.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 5
- It is worth noting that the reality effect in terms of terrorism's costs has been staggering to the American taxpayer...Yet such expenditures failed to prevent either the World Trade Center or the Oklahoma City bombing.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 9
- It isn't just in physics that it's impossible to calculate the momentum and the position of a particle simultaneously. It's the same where the possibility of calculating both the reality and the meaning of an event in news coverage is concerned, the imputation of causes and effects in a particular complex process, the relationship between terrorist and hostage, between virus and cell...Uncertainty has filtered into all areas of life...And this is not an effect of the complexity of the parameters...It is a radical uncertainty, because it is linked to the extreme character of phenomena and not just to their complexity.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 57
- It was a bulletin from FLE issued to a Paris news agency, vindicating its latest activities. The gang was going to liberate Europe from its errors. 'Errors of society, errors of the system.' Most of all, liberation from the diabolical institution of the gendarmerie and the brutality of the Brigade Criminelle. It was much the same as every other terrorist announcement Harvey had ever read.
Source: The Only Problem, p. 413
- Jim Garrison, the New Orleans prosecutor who for years tried to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy, once remarked, "I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security." He was, perhaps, closer to the truth than he realized, for it was during the Kennedy Administration that senior U.S. military officials proposed a false-flag terror operation...called Operation Northwoods...Northwoods included proposals for false-flag acts of sabotage of the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; the sinking of a U.S. Navy ship in the Guantanamo Bay harbor (casualty lists for which, it was hoped, "would help cause a helpful wave of national indignation"); the blowing up of John Glenn's rocket ship during his historic space flight; and a highly elaborate deception for simulating the shooting-down of civilian airplanes which involved the retrofitting of aircraft by the CIA, secret landings and disembarkation of passengers, and the surreptitious substitution of drones for aircraft. On behalf of the Joint Chiefs, Lemnitzer submitted the Northwoods plan to President Kennedy's Seret of Defense, Robert McNamara, whereupon it was summarily quashed.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 16-17
- Job's problem was partly a lack of knowledge. He was without access to any system of study which would point to the reason for his afflictions. He said specifically, "I desire to reason with God," and expected God to come out like a man and state his case...Everybody talked but nobody told him anything about the reason for his sufferings. Not even God when he appeared. Our limitations of knowledge make us puzzle over the cause of suffering, maybe it is the cause of suffering itself...As I say, we are plonked here in the world and nobody but our own kind can tell us anything. It isn't enough. As for the rest, God doesn't tell.'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 418-419
- Modernism tends to stand for the cultivation of equivocal and multiple meanings, not for 'double-writing'. If modernism rightly stands for a cultural breakthrough of a new emphasis on indefiniteness...then Chesterton's double-writing is outside modernism. But I have found myself wondering, thanks to Chesterton, if modernism is not also outside of itself....Chesterton wouldn't be an outsider at all, if the supposition were tenable. To be tenable, we should have to discover two sides or simultaneous structures in notable modernist works: a side that is multiple and ambiguous in meaning, and a side in which there is a contrasting unequivocal resolution of multiplicity and ambiguity. I think the more we look for these simultaneously present structures the more we will find them; we tend not to find them, I suggest, because we insist that one side is modernist, and the other is outside modernism. In modern narratives about anarchist-terrorism these two sides are most prominent; indeed, this particular political thematics, I suggest, magnetizes narrative artists because it makes vivid the tense conflict and collaboration of ambiguous meaning and disambiguating resolution.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 155
- More telling still is the way that the radical revolutionaries defined -- or invented -- their enemies in relation to their special vision of the revolution. The men who dominated the Committee of Public Safety, Robespierre and Saint-Just, like the editor of L'ami du peuple Jean-Paul Marat, invested the people with a republican virtue that was often too sublime for the real world. They framed issues in absolutes and opposites: Robespierre's rhetoric invoked 'all the virtues and all the miracles of the Republic' against 'the vices and the absurdities of the monarchy'. Counter-revolutionaries were labelled monsters, ferocious beasts, vultures, leeches, or -- if allowed human status at all -- brigands, and were found even more frequently amongst the lower orders than amongst the aristocracy. There might be a monarchist or a 'non-juring' priest (one who refused to accept the Civil Constitution of the Clergy) under every bed. Along with these negative or visceral identifications went the positive identification of revolutionary justice, in the form of lynching. Marat argued from the outset that such killing was an imprescriptible right of the sovereign people: the natural violence required to resist oppression and preserve liberty against tyranny. Altogether this provided an ideological charter for the most extreme action, without compunction or remorse.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 39
- Most contemporary terrorists are fanatics. They, and only they, know the truth, they are the moralists, and ordinary law does not, therefore, apply to them any longer. The subject has preoccupied Western thinkers since the days of the enlightenment -- above all, of course, Voltaire. Voltaire wavered between the belief that scorn and ridicule were the only remedy for fanaticism and the sad conclusion that, once fanaticism had gangrened the brain of any man, the disease should be regarded as nearly incurable. He made another observation which is true to this day, namely that the entire species of fanatics is divided into two classes, those who do nothing but pray and die and those who want to reign and massacre.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 86
- Most of the reporters were younger than Harvey. One, a bearded Swede, was old, paunchy. He alone seemed to know what the Book of Job was. He asked Harvey, 'Would you say that you yourself are in the position of Job, in so far as you are a suspicious character in the eyes of the world, yet feel yourself to be perfectly innocent?'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 417
- My analysis of terrorism through literature is also intended as a contribution to debates about terrorism's figurative aspects more generally. For while many literary and critical theorists contend that we have moved from modernity to postmodernity, from capitalism to 'late-capitalism', from structuralism to poststructuralism -- and, moreover, that these shifts have had profound influences on socio-political practices generally -- it is rare to see these terms or debates being filtered into terrorism studies, despite its frequent references to fictionalization and theories of discourse.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 20
- My main contention is that, however long Americans might domestically be prepared to live with a no-decision regarding the official 9/11 account, international law can no longer tolerate it. The core mission of the premier public international body -- the United Nations -- is to perform its "jury" function of determining whether an act of aggression has occurred...I will argue that officialdom and scholars appear to be in the grip of an intellectual formalism every bit as vise-like as the "Lochner-era Formalism" American law students are taught to frown upon and deride from the very first moment of their studies. This formalism functions in the nature of a gate-keeper, letting some ideas, issues and facts into our minds and (from there) into the public domain, whilst sternly barring others. As for what lies back of this formalism, lending it its terrible strength, two sadly plausible guesses emerge: fear and its handmaiden, corruption.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 8-9
- News of disaster is the only narrative people need. The darker the news, the grander the narrative.
Source: Mao II, p. 42
- Nice? Yes. The terms "nice" and "niceness" said nothing, nothing whatever, about what a person was capable of. It was just that one shouldn't trust nice people too much.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 37
- No bombs, no machine pistols, no "hot" birthday cakes -- just an accident in the bathtub -- what would they get out of that? What good would it do them to prove their power without being able to demonstrate that power publicly?
Source: The Safety Net, p. 98
- No longer an autonomous political reactionary [i.e., in the famous Berton-with-surrealists collage], Berton has been made into an object to which others react. As I have suggested, this transformation is critical to surrealist praxis more broadly: such an objectified, aestheticized figure becomes a spur for the derangement of systematic thought rather than a model for imitation. This, I propose, is how it became possible for Germaine Berton to serve as both an object and an influence for the surrealist group.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 93
- Now that the Russian bureaucracy has finally succeeded in doing away with the remains of bourgeois property which hampered its rule over the economy...it wants to enjoy its world calmly and to suppress the arbitrary element which had been exerted over it: it denounces the Stalinism of its origin. But the denunciation remains Stalinist, arbitrary, unexplained and continually corrected, because the ideological lie at its origin can never ben revealed...The ideology has no doubt lost the passion of its positive affirmation, but the indifferent triviality which survives still has the repressive function of prohibiting the slightest competition of holding captive the totality of thought. Thus the bureaucracy is bound to an ideology which is no longer believed by anyone. What used to be terrorist has become a laughing matter, but this laughing matter can maintain itself only by preserving, as a last resort, the terrorism it would like to be rid of.
Source: Society of the Spectacle, p. 110
- Once published by an "expert," such findings become part of the scientific discourse and recur throughout the terrorism literature. Nor are such conclusions devoid of political significance when they are recycled as unquestionable dogma by counterterrorism officials. This was the case with Paul Bremer III, Ambassador at Large for Counterterrorism, who recapitulated Post's skewed data about the Basques before the Norwegian Atlantic Committee in Oslo, Norway, February 4, 1988. Thus, the highest-ranking US counterterrorism official, in an address ironically entitled "Terrorism: Myths and Reality," employed data that anyone familiar with the Basque case knew to be utterly erroneous. Such a deceptive metaterrorism game, by which experts are allegedly capable of sorting out "reality" from "myth," is an integral part of the entire discourse's strategy of self-authorization.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 55
- Osama bin Laden...offered similar interpretations:
'...America has been filled with horror from north to south and east to west, and thanks be to God that what America is tasting now is only a copy of what we have tasted.' [quote from Audrey Gillan, 'Bin Laden Appears on Video to Threaten US', The Guardian, 8 October 2001; emphasis added by Houen]
...The attacks are thus simultaneously hyperbolized and diminished through being explained as figurative events. As imitations, the effects, in reality, are nothing compared to American precedents; as iconic attacks their material impact extends to more than the destruction of the buildings and people involved.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 3
- Our conceptual strategy is to dissolve the phenomenon into its ritual and imaginative bases, which are poles apart from the ongoing academic and governmental efforts to constitute it further. In our view, nothing feeds the growth of the phenomenon itself more than the inability of terrorism discourse to distinguish actual combat from ritual bluff, real violence from imaginary terror. By questioning the conceptual grounds of the discourse of "terrorism" itself and neutralizing the taboo surrounding it, we seek to gain ironic distance. Instead of staging a frontal campaign against the mills of terrorism, it is our purpose, by concentrating on what has been labeled "the politics of epistemic murk and the fiction of the real," to subvert terrorism discourse by undermining its credibility and efficacy for actors, victims, and witnesses alike. Our text is therefore intended as exorcism. We further demand, by questioning not only others but ourselves, that it have a redemptive quality.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. xi
- Our paradoxical situation is this: because nothing any longer has meaning, everything should work perfectly. Because there is no longer a responsible subject, each event, even a minimal one, must be desperately imputed to someone or something -- everyone is responsible, some maximal floating responsibility is there, waiting to be invested in any kind of incident. Every anomaly must be justified and every irregularity must find its guilty party, its criminal link. This too is terror and terrorism: this hunt for responsibility without any common measure with the event -- this hysteria of responsibility that is itself a consequence of the disappearance of causes and the almighty power of effects.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 36-37
- Our text is a mythography of Terror, particularly as experienced by the American and European publics through images of both near and distant terrorists. We treat this terrorism discourse as an enabling fiction -- the monster is there, but what are its features?
We write not as terrorism experts producing a "study," but rather as essayists perplexed by the terrorist phantasmagoria. We have elsewhere described the evolution of "terrorism" within the specific political context of Basque society. Although our locus standi is the ethnographic encounter, this essay is not intended as an ethnography. Rather, it deals centrally with the academic fashioning, media consumption, and political manipulation of terrorism discourse.
Do we perhaps, beyond its fables and follies, pretend to know what terrorism is? No. Indeed, we question the very possibility of defining, and thereby giving a satisfactory account of, the facts categorized as terrorism. Our goal is not to elaborate yet another typology, but rather to redirect the study of terrorism into an examination of the very discourse in which it is couched. As is the case with other discourses of the postmodern world we inhabit, the terrorist signifiers are free-floating, and their meanings derive from language itself. The connections between discourse and reality therefore become open to question. The challenge is not to learn the ultimate "truth" about terrorism, but to delve into the rhetorical bases of its powerful representations; not to insist that myths are often used to "fool" audiences, but rather to scrutinize the concrete discursive practices whereby this transpires.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. x-xi
- Perhaps one reason why no one believed Hitler at the time regarding his claim of Polish aggression, and why after the war some statesmen seemed preoccupied with the issue of false flags justifying aggression, was because people remembered the occurrence of a notorious false-flag event early in the Nazi reign, to wit, the Reichstag Fire of 1933. The story is relatively straightforward: The Nazis set fire to the German Parliament (the Reichstag) but blamed the crime on a group of communists in order to justify a mass political witch hunt of the German left, the termination of political and civil liberties for the citizenry at large, and the seizure of totalitarian political control over Germany. What is important about this false flag for our purposes is the extent to which it was viewed (both at the time and years later at Nuremberg) as an act of state terror having international ramifications...The feeling was ripe that the international community -- in some way, shape or form -- had to become involved in litigating the facts of the Reichstag Fire.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 14-15
- Perversely, Clair's absurdist condensation of historical causality insists upon the contemporary significance of avant-garde movements. In the case of surrealism, the group's violent rhetorical and poetic practices are no longer relegated to a quaint corner of literary and aesthetic history (as they often are in the U.S.), but are instead implicated in a much greater contemporary crisis in humanism. Indeed, Clair insists upon surrealism's genealogical ties to more recent anti-humanist thinkers, from Lacan and Debord to Deleuze and Baudrillard, who likewise refused to keep their radical ideas out of everyday affairs. This is consistent, Clair reminds us, with the nature of avant-gardism, whose cultural position is based on collapsing the distinction between "art" and "life." This collapse bears ethical as well as aesthetic consequences: what is at stake, for instance, when avant-garde rhetoric is spiked with appeals to violence, as well as with practices that tend toward the dissolution of humanistic ideals? How, and to what extent, do the more incendiary tactics of a movement like surrealism "prepare the mind?" And for what do they prepare it?
Source: Object Lessons: Surrealist Art, Surrealist Politics, p. 178
- Politics and fabulation overlap further towards the end of Part Five of How German Is It in a section entitled 'The purpose of an antiterrorist film'. According to Wurtenhberg's chief of police, the purpose of such a film amounts to constructing a complete terrorist profile that identifies 'their slang, their gestures, their preferences, their way of dressing...their weapons, their techniques, their political rhetoric...' in order to 'Depict as accurately as possible the threat they pose to the stability of this society'. However, as the narrative voice points out, presenting an authentic picture of the threat is fundamentally a matter of deciding how to 'minimize' or 'exaggerate' the terrorists' 'strength' and 'callousness'. Determining a special-effect of realism appears to be the only way the desired political effects can be realized: 'In order to clarify, to make evident a terrorist threat, the film has to distort, fabricate and often lie. But no matter how great these flaws are, the need for the film is self evident'...That this whole procedure requires that the distinctions between events and representations, facts and fictions, 'terrorism' and counter-terrorism, become totally unclear in order to manipulate the public is no doubt why there is 'always a possibility' that it will not succeed.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 227-228
- Rather than uncritically reproduce propaganda rhetoric from politicians, we suggest that journalists carry out their own investigations of the legal basis for warfare in cases like Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflicts. The first step could be to listen to what the juridical experts say about the legal issues...Humanitarian rhetoric applied in selective or biased interpretations of international law...needs to be scrutinized by public media.
From chapter: Wikileaks and War Laws by Stig A. Nohrstedt and Rune Ottosen
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 216-217
- Recent developments in literary criticism and historiography have made it easier for us to assume that, rather than viewing fiction as the antithesis of fact, they share a porous boundary. A perspective closer to Vico's philosophy [e.g. mythology as the first science] would argue that there is a generic consciousness that combines both the literally true and the fictive; such a view regards "the true and the fabulous as simply different ways of signifying the relationship of the human consciousness to the world." Yet the discourse on terrorism is so traumatized by brutal events that any postulation of continuity between fact and fable regarding it may appear frivolously scandalous. Is the attempt to do so a denial of atrocity? Hardly. Nevertheless, to our minds the really challenging issues have more to do with the ways in which the popular media, scholarly treatises, and official reports employ narrative strategies to anticipate, relate, and interpret such events. Once having contemplated the horror of the mute fact, whether real or anticipated, it is essential to realize that its true impact, far beyond the shattered bodies or buildings, resonates in the halls of the collective imagination.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 10-11
- Revel became disgusted with what he considered the porto-surrealists' enchantment with unconscious (or mediumistic) imagery as imagery, and not as a true conduit for self-exploration, which would demand the anxiety and discomfort that lay in the expression of the "subterranean work of thoughts"...[T]he surrealist exploration of psychoanalysis, automatic writing and mediumistic activity should not, Crevel argued, simply highlight the beauty and intrigue of psychoanalytic symptoms, the products and projections of unconscious processes; these practices should rather demand an encounter, however difficult or traumatic, with the desires and motives that guide them...Crevel's attacks against what he considered surrealism's tendencies toward abstraction and aestheticism stressed that the unconscious is not a treasure trove but a dangerous mechanism; its recourse to the absolute is made possible only by its terrifying and terroristic intimacy with desire and death.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 70,71
- Running through any account of state terror is the tension between 'terror' as a semi-random by-product of massive repressive violence, and terrorism as a deliberately focused product of demonstrative violence. One notable authority suggests that 'rule by violence and intimidation by those already in power against their own citizenry' is 'generally termed "terror" in order to distinguish that phenomenon from "terrorism", which is understood to be violence committed by non-state entities'. Oddly, it seems that the former -- vastly more murderous and widespread over the last century -- has raised less public alarm than the latter. There was perhaps some consistency in the Soviet view in the early 1980s (inevitably dismissed as ludicrous special pleading by most Western writers at that time) that while communists embraced revolutionary violence, they 'reject terrorism as a means of obtaining political objectives'; and that the main perpetrators of terrorism in Afghanistan were the US-backed guerrilla forces.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 51-53
- Scholars specializing in international law or international relations, for example, have generated hundreds, if not thousands, of articles and books on 9/11, but almost all such studies assume the correctness of the core U.S. claim of self-defense and then proceed to nibble on issues that lie around its perimeter. Do the Laws of War apply to a "War on Terror" that features (on one side) non-state actors? Can the 9/11 attacks support a paradigm shift away from anticipatory self-defense to preventative self-defense? Can the torture of terror suspects be justified on a "warfare" approach to counterterrorism as opposed to a "crime" approach (and vice versa)? All good questions these, but they uniformly assume a (U.S.-Government-friendly) answer to the most pressing question of all: Was the United States the victim of attacks by others, or was 9/11 a false flag? If the latter, then these scholars are not merely feeding on downstream phenomenon; they are boxing at shadows projected onto the cave wall by a calculating and highly dangerous criminal elite.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 6
- Seen in historical perspective, terrorism has been effective only in very specific circumstances. It has not succeeded against effective dictatorships, let alone modern totalitarian regimes. In democratic societies or against ineffective totalitarian regimes, it has on occasion been more successful, but it is doubtful whether the Tupamaros have felt altogether happy, in retrospect, about their victory over the liberal system. There have been, broadly speaking, three kinds of results of terrorist action. In most cases, terrorism, in the longer run, made no political difference one way or another -- in some, it caused the exact opposite of what the terrorists hoped and intended to achieve. And in a few cases terrorism was successful. These exceptions have usually occurred whenever terrorism appears as part of a wider political strategy -- for instance, against Machado in Cuba in 1933. The systematic assassinations of village headmen by the Vietcong in the early 1960s also served a purpose within a wider strategy. Past experience shows that terrorism frequently occurs where there are other, non-violent, political alternatives. Where terrorism might be justified as the ultima ratio, such as against totalitarian rule, it has no chance, and where it seemingly succeeds, the political results are in the long run often self-defeating. Terrorism always attracts great publicity, but its political impact is usually inversely proportional to the attention it receives in the media. Terrorists are usually driven by thirst for action rather than by the rational consideration of consequences; past failures will not in any way act, therefore, as a deterrent in the future.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 141
- Since the incident with Kortschede, the last vestiges of irony had vanished from their comments on security surveillance; only Bleibl occasionally permitted himself a passing shot. Their relations with the guards had changed too, since Kortschede's fit their friendly but sometimes patronizing manner was no longer possible, and since the affair of Pliefger's birthday cake joking wasn't possible either -- there was work for Kiernter the psychologist, there were long conferences with Holzpuke (in charge of security), who asked for forbearance, after all the guards were only doing their duty, and as for themselves, surely they wanted to safeguard their lives, so they must accept apparent pedantries -- such as a guard inspecting the toilet before one of them used it, or "lady visitors" being closely scrutinized -- and, please, escapades such as those occasionally indulged in by Käthe should be avoided. Yet they should have realized that there was no such thing as security, either internal or external; he knew that all these measures hd to be yet would prevent nothing.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 32
- Since [the French Revolution], governments have been on any quantitative measure the most prolific users of terroristic violence. Yet there is no hint of this in the dominant official discourse, whether of national or international law. In that discourse, terrorism is used by extremists -- rebels -- against the established order -- the state.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 24
- Six months after the 9/11 attacks, the American jurist Ronald Dworkin warned that the biggest damage resulting from the counterterrorist reaction had been to the long-cherished American legal defences of individual freedom. Though nobody would dare to suggest publicly that such damage was greater than the masse killing in the Twin Towers, it may have a more pernicious long-term effect on the quality of our life.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 36
- Still, was the post-Gulf War terrorist threat real or hocus-pocus? That we cannot know; that is the very essence of the phenomenon, call it threat, play, bluff, or terrorism. It is, of course, in the very nature of such behavior that one wishes to keep one's opponent guessing and that success in doing so translates into leverage/power. The perception of threat, in particular, is notoriously subjective. Once again, the very absence of concrete denotation turns into the most doom-ridden foreboding -- if we at least knew their intentions; if there was perhaps an explanation for their villainy, a clear grievance that could be redressed; if they would show themselves and fight face-to-face, if only...There is the news -- later proven to be false -- that terrorists have placed a bomb somewhere. This time, but only this time, the public is spared the burden of contemplating an orchestrated atrocity. However, the reasons for being terrified were, after all, "real."
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 8
- Striving less, for the time being, to 'change life' or to 'change the world' than to understand the nature of causality itself, the Surrealists attempted to read the cultural universe of the early 1930s in terms of the forces which threatened it: its dark motives, its ritualized patterns of behaviour, its terrifying outbursts of violence...I wish to argue that Surrealism's noir period is nonetheless driven by serious political concerns insofar as this dystopian theme actually performs analytical work in the service of the group's political philosophy. Increasingly suspicious of the dangers of stylizing actual terrorist violence, the Surrealists instead make style itself the terrain for better understanding the 'superior reality' of the historical, unconscious, sexual and social facts whose complex structure conditions lived experience and determines political change.
From chapter: Surrealism Noir by Jonathan Eburne
Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 95
- Studies of mainstream religious culture in Egypt and elsewhere are demonstrating a world where the natural and supernatural are inextricably interlaced.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 103
- Such scepticism [i.e., about terrorism] is exemplified in Walter Laqueur's The Age of Terrorism (1987). In spite of naming an era of terrorism, Laqueur uses his book to reduce 'the age' to something like a figment of collective imagination. Under his scrutiny, the meaning of terrorism is decentred -- even exploded. So detached is he from respect for, or from belief in, his terrorists subjects that he seems curiously anarchistic himself -- that is, when he is not appearing to be as certain as any terrorist in his judgment that terrorism is only contemporary nonsense, however lethal.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 160
- Suicide attacks have multiplied dramatically -- there have been three times as many since 2000 as in the previous twenty years -- and some have produced visible strategic results. For instance, the hugely destructive suicidal attacks on American and French installations in Lebanon contributed to the withdrawal of those countries' forces from Lebanon, with significant medium-term political effects. But thinking about this issue is fraught with difficulty, not least because in the nature of things there is often no conclusive evidence whether the incidents were simply high-risk operations rather than deliberate sacrifices. Even the 9/11 hijackers may not all have been told of the finality of their mission. In some attempted car and truck bomb attacks in Lebanon in the 1980s, it appears that the drivers did not know that they had been chosen to become martyrs by remote control.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 108
- Surrealism and its impact on literature and art count as a kind of cultural or aesthetic terrorism (Eburne, 2006), and its psychologically shocking methods of activating the unconscious evoke certain parallels to shock doctrines of paramilitary terrorist attacks (Lindemann, 2001). Surrealism as a theoretical design also evokes some parallels with military terror practices such as gas attacks or with terrorist attacks against social infra- structure, civil society and psychic health, because both are indirect, 'contextual' attacks not directly targeting the adversary's military body but its living environment (Sloterdijk, 2006, 2009). Quasi-surrealistic communication practices of camouflage and disorienting attention are also used for military concerns, for example, in the so-called war on terror (Taussig, 2008). In the eyes of certain controversial observers, surrealism thus represents a relevant inspiration or a decisive cultural element responsible to a certain degree ideologically for terrorist occurrences throughout and beyond the 20th century, up to the suicide attacks on 11 September 2001 in the United States (Clair, 2001). But there also exist clear arguments against this interpretation, claiming that the rhetoric of violence and terror as cultural phenomena does not necessarily mean or imply terrorism in the sense of physical violence (Eburne, 2006; Hecken, 2006; Lindemann, 2001). There is no necessary link, and, in any case, several intermediate steps lie between symbolic destruction by surrealism and physical violence by terrorists. Nevertheless, surrealism obviously represents a kind of 'war within and in particular against the public sphere' (Lindemann, 2001: 21).
Source: Surrealistic communication as symbolic terrorism: The example of Marcel Mariën’s theory of political campaigning, p. 195
- Surrealist political thought of this period [mid to late 20s] derived much of its polemical energy from its discussions and arguments about collective action, which invoked dime novel villains and other fictional criminals. The resistance of these figures to discipline and co-optation might have seemed to make them anathema to any viable political understanding. Such pulp criminal figures were central to surrealist political thought, however, rather than exceptions to it -- whether Desnos's fascination with Fantomas and Jack the Ripper; Soupault's interest in Edgar Manning, the black criminal dandy of his novel Le Negre (1927); Breton's obsession with real and fictional deranged women in Nadja (1928); or Crevel's tragic pursuit of the elusive Arthur Bruggle in La Mort difficile (1926). The appeal of such characters was in part their privileged access to urban underworlds, as well as their ambiguous status as figures of "absolute liberty."...Indeed, even as its leftist turn demanded a greater call to order, the movement continued to summon the convulsive forces of dissent and discussion around which the group had come into being.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 98
- Taking into account the well-known 'revolutionary' spirit of surrealism and its reputation as a kind of 'cultural terrorism' or even as a kind of catalytic converter to establish a culture favourable to 'real' terrorism, the question arises, whether Marcel Mariën’s surrealistic campaigning concept represents a kind of terrorist communication theory.
Source: Surrealistic communication as symbolic terrorism: The example of Marcel Mariën’s theory of political campaigning, p. 194
- Terrorism insists that everyday randomness shall be transformed, shall be made to express overwhelming political certainty: the personal is the political, terrorism declares with a vengeance. The insistence makes everything which is casual and random, everything which is indefinite, speak the univocal definiteness of political conviction, or religious conviction too. Like writing that uses multiple meanings to disclose a new single determination of thought or reality, terrorism's disruption of what is quotidian insists that we grasp reality in the shocking light of a novel all-unifying determination.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 157
- Terrorism [in Mary McCarthy's Cannibals and Missionaries] is a pretext for the exploration of the relationship of artists and intellectuals to violence...[with] grave reservations about the competence of writers and intellectuals to understand and act in public history.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 60
- Terrorism, however defined, is certainly a calculated assault on the culture of reasonableness. It is also, surely, liberalism rather than democracy that is threatened, not so much by violence itself as by the state's reactions to it -- often, as Schmid notes propelled by popular demands...It is here that the problem of defining terrorism and evaluating the threat it poses becomes acute; the very imprecision of the concept and its operation leads to loose definition of the powers taken to oppose it, while (as in war) the blanket of national security smothers the interrogative powers on which public accountability depends. Without the effective interrogation of legislation and executive action there is no liberal democracy.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 140
- Terrorists succeed when they seize headlines. Yet this very success means that they and their causes are understood in terms set by popular journalism. If television "coproduced" the Palestinian hijacker of the 1970s, it also ensured that for a global audience a few images and sound bites would constitute Palestinian history.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 5
- That the murder of political opponents has altered, or could have altered, the course of history in certain circumstances goes without saying. If Pichegru or Cadoudal had killed Napoleon, if Lenin had met with an accident on the road to the Finland Station, if Hitler had been shot in front of the Munich Feldherrnhalle in 1923, the map of Europe would look different today. But these are the exceptions; in democratic and many undemocratic societies, statesmen are usually expendable...These examples refer to individual assassinations, but the results of systematic terrorist campaigns have not been very different. If there was an impact at all, it was usually negative; unlike King Midas, everything that was touched by the propagandists of the deed turned to ashes. Their actions usually produced violent repression and a polarization which precluded political progress.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 137
- The "great constructions of the intellect" -- whether concepts such as Revolution, Justice, "Decency and Integrity," or movements such as surrealism and communism -- are never truly revolutionary or shocking because their aim of imposing a conceptual order fails to indulge the "desire to see" that resurrects L'Oeil de la Police, and even X Marks the Spot, from their idealism. Whereas human life, Bataille claims, "always more or less conforms to the image of a soldier obeying commands in his drill," the inverse is true of spectacles of horror. The "sudden cataclysms, great popular manifestations of madness, riots, enormous revolutionary slaughters" all manifest an inevitable backlash against this image.
In this context Sade becomes the true revolutionary to the extent that the "desire to see" which is exercised in his works is as cataclysmic and as unredeemable as the madness of crowds...[T]he Revolution was not the product of rhetoric or intentional political speech but the consequence of a collective desire to participate in Sade's scream...The screamer, according to Bataille, had truly stared into the darkest recesses of horror without seeking refuge in a "prison" of intellect, and this scream was itself seductive in turn.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 153
- The advocates of military action were not required to demonstrate that 9/11 was the opening of a new kind of conflict, rather than an old-style terrorist act on a larger scale. The idea that terrorist organizations could be located and destroyed in the manner of conventional targets was hardly subjected to any public dispute at the outset. (Rare objections came from the distinguished military historian Sir Michael Howard, who urged more painstaking, less cathartic methods, and the former Monty Python star Terry Jones, who first raised the question whether it was possible to make war on an abstract noun.)
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 122-123
- The attempt to transfer the notion of 'innocent civilians' from the international law of war to the study of terrorism has foundered on the realization that innocence is another relative, unstable quality. It was, for instance, impossible for people fighting against Germany in the Second World War to accept that most German civilians...bore no responsibility at all for the existence and conduct of the Nazi regime...But of course the Germans themselves felt, if not entirely, then substantially (and increasingly) innocent: this amplified their sense of unfairness when they were deliberately targeted by the British bombers. And in politics, as distinct from courts of law, subjective belief and feeling are supreme.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 7-8
- The bomb-maker [in Lessing's The Good Terrorist], Jocelyn, imitates the IRA gunrunners' Irish accents so perfectly that Alice judges that she may actually be Irish: "Does it matter? Here is another of us with a false voice!" (416)
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 79
- The books on the Russian terrorists of 1905 were the first to raise some of the issues that were to recur ever after. They showed how difficult it was to separate real heroism and the lust for adventure, steadfastness and routine, how in certain conditions the borderline between loyalty to the cause and betrayal becomes almost invisible. They showed that most terrorists were bound to ask themselves sooner or later whether the game was worth the candle, and not merely because of the many losses in their ranks. Above all, they raised the moral question of the right to kill.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 194
- The catastrophic results of such discursive connections -- i.e., the tragic clash between the apocalyptic philosophy of the Branch Davidians and the apocalyptic response of the law enforcement authorities, followed by a commemorative reenactment of Waco in Oklahoma City, mediated by a Hollywood movie and Pierce's paranoid, antigovernment tale that in turn was informed by earlier anti-Communist narratives -- lend special urgency to Vico's dictum that mythology is the first science.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 10
- The Clerk sat and spoke...A curious flatness was in his voice. He was practicing and increasing this, denying accents and stresses to his speech. Wise readers of verse do their best to submit their voices to the verse, letting the words have their own proper value, and endeavour to leave to them their precise proportion and rhythm. The Clerk was going farther yet. He was removing meaning itself from the words...he turned, or sought to turn, words into mere vibrations.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 62
- The Committees of Public Safety and General Security, even more than the Convention from which they sprang, represented the progressive avant-garde of the French Revolution. They pioneered representative democracy and equality before the law. It was their adoption of terror that first imprinted the word 'terrorist' in the political lexicon, and transformed the Revolution in the eyes of many outsiders from a liberating to a destructive force. At the same time, their rationalism itself drove them to rework the justification of political violence. They had to find justifications for violent killing, especially lynching -- the most problematic kind of violence because the most threatening to an ordered society.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 38
- The day seems long past when a sorcerer could use art to confuse and destroy the enemy. Even when Brecht evokes the "house of Tar" to take on the Third Reich, we take it as mere metaphor. Poet at work, we say.
But what if this distinction between art and war is fatuous, that all along the science of war has been a misnomer, just like the distinction between metaphor and reality? How else to explain the frisson we feel when we come across an ancient Chinese manual of war such as that of Sun Tau, reeking of the magic of antiquity and Orientalism, and nod our heads in respect? For one of the strangest things about war whether ancient or postmodern is that as a pumped-out, puffed-up "science," it reeks of craft and witchcraft, accident and chance, as much as planning. Indeed the more "scientific" or "technological" it appears, the more arcane and mysterious, also. Guerrilla warfare makes this doubly so. Clausewitz is known on account of his equation of politics with war, but is not politics merely the tip of a submerged continent of power whose outlines we dimly discern and whose uncanny force we feel?
To combine a magician, a surrealist painter, and a zoologist, as in the British War Office, is pretty much the mind-set that any of us interested in brushing history against the grain might espouse. So how might one out-camouflage their camouflage? That was John Heartfield's strategy with photomontage in Berlin around the tie Brecht wrote his poem about the anxieties of the regime. Heartfelt was a pioneer in the art of photomontage, cutting up images, rearranging the parts, and adding some new ones and a caption so as to reverse the message or expose its hidden meanings. This would be to counteract the macabre artistry of "love beads," [note: on soldiers] themselves a sardonic transgression of transgression. It is also what Delouse and Guattari ["Treatise on Nomadology: The War Machine" from A Thousand Plateaus] were getting at with their labored notion of the war machine, a machine they saw as the anarchic special ops built into any army, yet antithetical to it....
Camouflaged soldiers bring into being a most curious amalgam of the allegedly utilitarian and the unacknowledged exotic. Blending with the animal world and the love of imitation therein, together with the aesthetic pleasure of theatrical disguise, the coloration we call camouflage illustrates how narrow is the view of the practical, workaday world if it does not admit that the most practical is also the most aesthetic when transplanted from the field to the battlefield.
To date the field of aesthetics has paid scant attention to its affinity with the animal and with war, just as it has fought shy of magic and conjuring. So-called primitive societies knew better. To open this doorway, as with the war machine, or with Tom Mitchell's pointed question, "What do pictures want?" is to recast the division between the aesthetic and the practical, a first step to understanding how truth now functions in the Terror of the war against terror.
Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S116
- The effectiveness of terrorism in achieving national liberation also appeared to be demonstrated in the Algerian war of independence. The Front de Libération nationale (FLN; National Liberation front) launched its rebellion in 1954 but was making little progress until it adopted in 1966 the terrorist logic advocated by Ramdane Abane. Abane urged that a single killing in Algiers -- where the US press would report it -- was more effective than ten in the remote countryside, and he insisted that the morality of terrorism simply paralleled that of government repression.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 94
- The French Revolution's ruthless and systematic use of violence created a model for the application of terrorizing force by the holders of state power over the next couple of centuries.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 41
- The global reach and influence of American media are well documented...The US vision and version of terrorism is therefore extended to reach a global audience. In Russia, the government has tried to link its Chechen problem with international terrorism, with the former Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov claiming that 'the war in Chechnya is against international terrorism -- not Chechens, but international bandits and terrorists' (cited in Gilligan, 2009: 6). The suppression of Muslim minorities in China's northwestern Xinjiang region was also framed as China's war on terrorism (Wayne, 2009). In India -- one of the countries worst affected by terrorism-related violence -- large sections of the media and intelligentsia have bought into the US 'war on terror' discourse.
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 5
- The imbrication of 'state' molarity with 'collective' or 'mass' molecularity made by Deleuze and Guattari is evident throughout The Secret Agent, producing a vision of what we might term entropolitics that disrupts the opposition between a revolutionary and a conservative ethos. For example, the phantasmic transformation of energy problematizes Michaelis's idea of pure materiality, but turns texts and images themselves into quasi-corporeal events, and so facilitates precisely the type of contagion frequently associated with the Anarchist threat: 'it has become a disease which is transmitted from one mad dog to another as hydrophobia is transmitted from one mad dog to another', declared the Saturday Review.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 53
- The Kuma War game includes online missions entitled 'Fallujah: Operation al Fajr', 'Battle in Sadr City' and 'Uday and Qusay's Last Stand'. Its legitimacy and realism are underwritten by the fact that the firm is run by retired military officers and used as a recruiting tool by their former colleagues...Such ideological work became vital because the military-diplomatic-fiscal disasters of the 2001-07 period jeopardized a steady supply of new troops. So at the same time as neophytes were hard to attract to the military due to the perils of war, recruits to militaristic game design stepped forward -- nationalistic designers volunteering for service. Their mission, which they appeared to accept with alacrity, was to interpellate the country's youth by situating their bodies and minds to fire the same weapons and face the same issues as on the battle field.
From chapter: Terrorism and Global Popular Culture by Toby Miller
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 106-107
- The less clear the political purpose in terrorism, the greater its appeal to unbalanced persons.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 87
- The manipulation of frames for purposes of creating collective terror has to be directed to the imagination. There is no sense of the "untrue" or "unreal" when one is submerged in dream or fantasy.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 30
- The military or military-controlled regimes in Chile, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, and elsewhere, taking the socialist threat as justification, unleashed full-blown systems of terror designed to paralyse all left-wing activity. The keynotes of these systems, in which whole armies and police forces seem to have participated enthusiastically, were not only killing, but a perhaps more sinister and subversive structure of arbitrary imprisonment, torture, and 'disappearance'. Though these must be described as 'systems' of terror, they were not comprehensible as such -- rather the apparently uncontrolled action of variegated and overlapping security forces created a nightmarish situation that may perhaps be called Kafkaesque.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 47
- The most typical mode of terrorism discourse in the United States has been, indeed, one of Waiting for Terror...Now that we are told "nothing happened" during the period, Beckett's drama of aborted metaphysics and absurdity, with its intolerable emphasis on waiting turned into a kind of art, becomes an apt parable. That which captivates every mind is something so meaningless that it may never happen, yet we are forced to compulsively talk about it while awaiting its arrival. In the theater of the absurd, "non significance" becomes the only significance...When something does happen, after decades during which the absent horror has been omnipresent through the theater of waiting, the event becomes anecdotal evidence to corroborate what was intuited all along -- the by-now permanent catastrophe of autonomous Terror consisting of the waiting for terror.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 26
- The mystical element has been noted in Russian terrorism, but it is also found in Ireland, in Rumania and among Japanese, Indian and Arab terrorists.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 85
- The narrative [of Thursday] intends to argue that terrorists and anarchists do not exist, that only the fear of the existence of anarchy and terrorism exists; even so, the narrative itself, despite its intentional argumentation, makes God still look like a terrorist. It thereby makes the anti-modernist poet of law and order also look like his opposite.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 153
- The only revolution in things is today no longer in their dialectical transcendence (Aufhebung), but in their potentialization, in their elevation to the second power, in their elevation to the nth power, whether that of terrorism, irony, or simulation. It is no longer dialectics, but ecstasy that is in process. Thus terrorism is the ecstatic form of violence; thus the state is the ecstatic form of society; thus porn is the ecstatic form of sex, the obscene the ecstatic form of the scene, etc. It seems that things, having lost their critical and dialectical determination, can only redouble themselves in their exacerbated and transparent form, as in Virgilio's "pure war": the ecstasy of unreal war, contingent and present everywhere. Spatial exploration likewise is a mise en abyme of this world. Everywhere the virus of potentialization and mise en abyme carries the day, carries us towards an ecstasy which is also that of indifference.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 41
- The only way to look at Man is as the victim of his mirrors.
Source: A Wave of Dreams, p. 43
- The overall effect of the symbiotic relationship between the media and terrorism has been the exaggeration of the importance of terrorism, and its embellishment. This stems from the inclination towards sensationalism by the media and their bias towards violence. They have also contributed to the spread of terrorism, though it is difficult to assess with any certainty to what degree they have done so.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 126
- The path of surrealism through the twentieth century is littered with corpses...[T]he writers and artists of the surrealist movement dedicated themselves to experimental intellectual practices that responded directly to the violence of twentieth-century history. And while this violence erupted most conspicuously during the mass upheavals of war and revolution, it could be confronted most explicitly, according to the surrealists, in the immediate and vulgar realm of everyday crime...[T]he group's interest in crime was fundamental to its responses to pressing political and intellectual events of the twentieth century.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 1
- The political mockery of dismissing entire countries as "terrorists" or "terrorist sympathizers" -- by abolishing their long and rich histories, by debasing their languages, by stigmatizing their representatives, by sheer self-deception -- is premised on the intellectual banality of constructing a discourse around a word that inevitably imposes conceptual reification within a tabooed context.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 23-24
- The possible thoughts of the security guards killed all spontaneity in him...It wasn't only the security measures that deterred him from simply walking to the village: it was also his legs, which no longer behaved as well as they used to, and he couldn't have said which deterred him more: his legs or that inescapable surveillance.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 23
- The Reign of Terror was informed by the Enlightenment assumption that the social order can be changed by human agency. For a long time, those who were prepared to defend the terrorists did so on the grounds that their action was rational, because inevitable, in the circumstances. Certainly the Revolution as the Jacobin elite saw it was under threat in 1972-3, confronted with both external and internal enemies. But this argument is weakened by the fact that the Terror reached its height, with the truly terrifying law of 22 prairial Year II (1794) -- depriving the accused of the right to counsel or to call witnesses, and empowering the revolutionary tribunal to execute suspects on the basis of moral conviction -- at a time when both of these threats were receding.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 38-39
- The report does not render the bloody room legible; rather it catalogues the impressions left by objects in the room in a way that isolates empirical detail from analysis and inductive reasoning. The elements of empirical reality may all be present, but their arrangement is not subject to logical reconstruction, nor does it obey the continuities of naturalist description; the details instead form a meticulous yet blindly taxonomic inventory. This primal scene of murder may know something, but it does not necessarily make any sense.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 29
- The Spanish government tried to pin responsibility for the Madrid train bombing in March 2004 on ETA; (unusually) it suffered electoral defeat for its perceived deception.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 10
- The supposition that modernism as we have known it is inside out, so that we haven't known it much; that it has the two-sided structure just proposed gains in credibility once the proposal is brought to bear on literary history. Terrorism (which Chesterton conflates, rightly or wrongly, with anarchism) is a central formal inspiration and a central thematics of Anglo-American and international fiction, throughout the century. Ignorance of the continuity has helped create another outside to modernism, our so-called postmodernism; but the continuity and the impact of anarchist terrorism on literary culture suggests that we have only various modernisms to contemplate, and not a divide between one modernism and another, of course, because Chesterton identifies, as the original terrorist, the god who blows up Job, Chesterton thinks there is more to modernism than modernity.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 155-156
- The surrealists, in effect, heeded Sade's critique of the French Revolution in Philosophy in the Boudoir: the Revolution's descent into Terror meant not that the Revolution had gone too far but that it had not gone far enough; it let unchallenged presumptions about the sovereignty of law, the family, God, the Catholic church, and, most broadly, the bourgeoisie. Bataille's review of X Marks the Spot makes a similar claim in its impatience with the residual idealism of the pamphlet's hard-boiled images of dead gangsters.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 143
- The terrorist despairs of "mere words" in an age of mass journalism, arguing that speech can only be heard when it is supplemented with dynamite. More literary figures rejected ordinary language, the socially agreed-upon links between words and things, in large part because it had become the language of journalism. Stéphone Mallarmé, claims Jean-Paul Sartre, practices a "terrorism of politeness": "Since man cannot create, but does have the power to destroy...the poem will be a work of destruction"...[T]o a realistic novelist these experiments are, precisely, a work of destruction, exploding assumptions about the power of language to appeal to a large audience, to speak with anything like directness about a shared public life. One can argue that the fascination of so many serious realists with terrorism lies precisely in their too vivid understanding of -- and need to defend themselves against -- the absolute disillusion with language that terrorists embody.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 77-78
- The theoretical conception of my topic -- that terrorism is both actual killing and a fictional construct, that fiction embodies an acute critique of the power of discourse as opposed to the power of the individual's self-assertion -- owes a great deal to deconstruction and neo-Marxism and will be familiar to readers with a grounding in the New Historicism and cultural studies.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 2
- The ties between surrealism's politics and the problem of terrorist violence briefly became a public issue once more in 2001, in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Recalling the surrealist movement's anti colonial and anti-Western rhetoric, which had been especially visible during the 1920s and 1930s, the prominent French curator Jean Clair excoriated the movement for its resemblance to al-Qaeda. In a newspaper editorial published in December 2001, Clair juxtaposed the destruction of the World Trade Center with Louis Aragon's 1925 rant against the "white buildings" of New York City, suggesting a causal (rather than merely analogical) relationship between fundamentalist terrorism and the interwar European avant-garde. In making this juxtaposition, Clair contends that "the surrealist ideology never stopped hoping for the death of an America it saw as materialist and sterile, and for the triumph of an Orient that served as the repository for the values of the mind." ore than simply a historical coincidence, Clair argues, surrealism's anti-Western and pro-"Oriental" ideology helped "prepare the minds" of European civilization -- yet prepared them not for revolution but for an anti humanism complicit with the forms of totalitarianism and state terror that would follow, from Stalinist purges to the Holocaust.
Clair's polemic was an attack on avant-garde rhetoric, though, rather than a critique of the surrealist movement's actual political thinking, as represented in the many tracts, pamphlets, and speeches the surrealists produced throughout the movement's history. Indeed, Clair's own charge of surrealism's complicity in 9/11 -- a rhetorical gesture par excellence -- is a reaction, he claims, against the ideological stakes of surrealism's own intensified rhetoric, whose insults and violent polemics "are no different from those found in the fiery attacks of the fascist leagues or, on the other side of the political spectrum, those soon to be addressed to the 'mad dogs' in the Moscow trials. They signal an era." Violent rhetoric produces violent action, Clair maintains; and because surrealism spoke, and because its rhetoric thus served as the conduit between its artistic practices and the political sphere, surrealist appeals to violence and to the dissolution of Western humanistic ideals cannot safely be viewed as autonomous artistic utterances. In "seeking to conflate vita contemplativa and vita politica," Clair argues, the movements members become as subject to judgment and condemnation as any member of a political party.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 268
- The UK Defence Minister went as far as to declare in October 2010 that 'the world is more dangerous than at any time in recent memory'. He was not asked to justify this proposition. In political terms, the option of ignoring terrorism, however rational, is unprofitable.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 119
- The unconscious itself is a secret agent, for the traumatic event already exists as a memory but never ceases to happen again, forming links with other times: 'traumatic scenes do not form a simple view, like a string of pearls, but ramify and are interconnected like genealogical trees' [Freud and Breuer]. In this sense, Freud's and Breuer's early psychoanalytic writings on hysteria and trauma are particularly pertinent to the issue of terrorism at the time -- particularly in so far as they posit transferences between the body and mind, violence and terror...In Conrad's novel, though, the image of a political unconscious begins to develop around transferences between subjects, such that interconnections of terror and violence are more actively involved in a wider social field.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 47
- The victims, the martyrs, only served to enhance the power of the media: it was a kind of sorcery, an irrationalism, enough to drive one into total paralysis.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 133
- The view that terrorism and the media form a 'symbiotic relationship' is certainly commonplace, although there is significant disagreement about what form the symbiosis takes. For commentators such as Russell F. Farnen, the media is the dominant partner: 'what we know as terrorism is actually a media creation: mass media define, delimit, delegitimize, and discredit events that we have not actually seen...' Those like H.H.A. Cooper are more cautious: 'The media certainly does not create the terrorist, but like a skilful make-up artist, can assuredly make of him either a Saint or a Frankenstein's monster.' In contrast to these views, other commentators assert that it is the terrorists who direct the show. J. Bowyer Bell, for example, argues that 'To be free means that the media are open to capture by spectacular events. And the media have been captured, have proven totally defenseless, absolutely vulnerable.' This has certainly been a view held by governments in the past, the UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, for example, famously declaring that the media provides 'the oxygen of publicity on which [terrorists] depend'. Accordingly, the UK government at one time placed a Broadcast Ban preventing members of proscribed organizations in Northern Ireland from talking on UK television or radio.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 11
- The vision of the writer as revolutionary, Byron in Greece or Lamartine on the barricades in 1848, is too compelling to be abandoned easily, even or especially when it is accompanied by the expectation that the writer in old age will be a hoary sage, a Victor Hugo living in the comfort a grateful nation bestows on its benefactors. Such grand and hopeful views of the writer's authority are the lighted backdrop that accentuates the dark outlines of terrorist fiction, that most pessimistic of genres, and supplies it with its deeper ironies. From James to Coetzee, novelists who imagine a bond between terrorist and writer assume that both are isolated and marginal, incapable of gaining a hearing in the ordinary language of civic life.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 155
- The [surrealist] group's aesthetic self-consciousness, I argue, recognized murder as a form of cultural production that generated corpses...Rather than projecting a fixed set of formal aesthetic principles upon the social world, surrealism's aesthetic judgments were proprioceptive, under the aegis of aesthetics, they brought about a scrutiny and analysis of this discursive and specular realm of social relations that extended to contemporary politics...[T]he group's transition from a rebellious faction within Parisian Dada to a surrealist collective hinged on disagreements over the role of murder in the surrealist imagination, especially in differentiating the aesthetic treatment of crime from an aestheticization of crime itself.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 51
- There are certainly grounds for caution. A recent skeptical assessment of the threat suggested three major reasons why it might be exaggerated: sloppy thinking, vested interests, and morbid fascination.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 34
- There is a point at which the lives of madmen and murderers become so bizarre that we question whether the discourse about them "starts to function in a field where it qualifies as literature." Oedipus with his crimes or Faust with his devilish pact remain as emblematic literary figures of their times; "The Terrorist" and his apocalyptic threat might perhaps endure as an archetype of the late twentieth century's postmodern military simulacrum. [Quoted part is from Alexander Neill's 1991 "Fear, Fiction, and Make-Believe", The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 49:47-56.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 63
- There is a problem that I have only hinted at in all of the accounts of the atrocities of the Putumayo rubber boom. While the immensity of the cruelty is beyond question, most of the evidence comes through stories. The meticulous historian would seize upon this fact as a challenge to winnow out truth from exaggeration or understatement. But the more basic implication, it seems to me, is that the narratives are in themselves evidence of the process whereby a culture of terror was created and sustained.
Source: Culture of Terror/Space of Death, p. 482
- There is no need to deny or diminish by one iota the atrociousness of these chilling events. What we call into question here, however, is the apocalyptic and absolutist framework within which terrorism discourse casts its characters and networks, i.e., its assumptions of all-encompassing discursive coherence. The exaggerated and conspiratorial style of terrorism rhetoric itself should be a warning that we are dealing with political pathology. As Richard Hofstadter noted, "What distinguishes the paranoid style is not...the absence of verifiable facts...but rather the curious leap in imagination that is always made at some critical point in the recital of events." We believe that regarding terrorism, the brandishing of stark facts goes hand in hand with great leaps into discursive fantasy. The present intellectual world is, after all, one of self-referential illusions and postmodern self-parodies, of crimes perpetrated in real life whose public significance is far greater in terms of their commercial value for increasing TV ratings, a world in which the boundaries between the real and the make-believe are increasingly blurred. We therefore question to what extent all discourse on terrorism must conform to and borrow from some form of fictionalization. By "fictional" we "do not mean their feigned elements, but rather, using the other and broader sense of the root word fingere, their forming, shaping, and molding elements: the crafting of a narrative." [latter quote is from Natalie Davis, Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales and their Tellers in Sixteenth-Century France, Stanford University Press]
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 4
- There was at least room for suspicion that the threat of terrorism was being used as a pretext for striking down disagreeable regimes.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 135
- These and other attentions and courtesies had long been accepted by him as indications of his increasingly rigorous imprisonment, in which everything, every courteous gestures, was transformed into both surveillance and threat.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 29
- Thinking about the terror process leads to the conclusion that the essential distinction between war and terrorism lies in their operational logic; war is ultimately coercive, terrorism is persuasive. War is in essence physical, terrorism is mental.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 14
- This is an extreme and caricatured form of responsibility: an anonymous, statistical, formal and aleatory one that plays on the terrorist act of the taking of hostages. But if you think about it, terrorism is only the executioner for a system which itself also seeks both total anonymity and, at the same time and contradictorily, total responsibility for each of us. With the death of anyone, it executes the sentence of anonymity that is henceforth ours, that of the anonymous system, anonymous power, the anonymous terror of our real lives. The principle behind extermination is not death, but rather statistical indifference.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 36
- This is where definitions matter and where the influence of the media in making things 'obvious' is particularly stark. By privileging certain associations -- for example, of Islam as a 'violent' religion, of the West as a 'victim' of terrorist attacks, of terrorism itself as a form of violence carried out against 'democratic' states -- the media assist in the naturalization of particular interpretations of terrorism and thus legitimize specific strategies used to confront terrorist actions. Such strategies might include passing domestic anti-terror legislation, curbing civil liberties in order to reduce the threat of terrorism and invading, occupying and bombing countries that are said to host terrorist elements -- all in the name of a 'war on terror' conducted by a 'civilized' West against a less civilized 'other'.
The problem is that there is no single, commonly accepted definition of terrorism on which to base such associations and therefore no independent and reliable way of assessing what constitutes a terrorist act; hence the old adage that 'one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter'. There are instead interpretations: socially constructed understandings of events based on 'conscious efforts to manipulate perceptions to promote certain interests at the expense of others' (Turk, 2004: 490).
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 6-7
- Though the US at first claimed [bin Laden] had been killed resisting arrest, it became clear that he was unarmed. If this was 'justice', as President Obama asserted, it was far removed from due process. Bin Laden was killed not because he could not be captured, but because (as with the Guantanamo detainees) it was impossible to convict him in court.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 127
- Thriller writers, who are ever searching for plots of intrigue and characters worthy of the trumpeted New World Order, increasingly invoke terrorism as a substitute for espionage...This is all fiction, we know, but what about that other discourse on terrorism, the starkly factual one, the one invoked by politicians, journalists, and scholars, the one we hear and read about daily in the media? The credibility of the political thriller would imply that the non-fictional discourse must be deadly real. The definitive evidence of its truth has been presumably provided by the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City explosions; terrorism experts have never been so firmly on the side of seemingly unquestionable "reality."
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 3
- Throughout the twentieth century, most terrorist fiction, even that critical of popular beliefs about terrorism, continued to follow the conventions of nineteenth-century realism For their part, government officials and the press still construct terrorism much as popular fiction does, and terrorists continue to stage their spectacles with an eye to what is now a global stage. Recognizing how often revolutionaries, politicians, and journalists draw on the familiar terrorist story inevitably leads to wondering how it might be disrupted, and Friedrich Dürrenmatt's The Assignment offers an extended response to that question. In this 1986 novella, Dürrenmatt links the inadequacy of familiar representations to the limitations of realism itself, blending an absurdist critique of contemporary politics with a postmodern conception of terrorism.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 108
- Throughout this study, we have noted variations on the terrorist as the writer's rival, double, and secret sharer, tracing their origins from the romantic conviction of the writer's originality and power through a century of political, social, and technological developments that undermine that belief. But it seems safe to say that Antoine Volodine's Lisbonne dernière marge takes this theme to its logical extreme. In this 1990 novel, the terrorist is a novelist. Volodine reconstructs the whole romantic literary scene as a scene of subversion against a violent state and then deconstructs it, suggesting that not only the novel, but more fundamentally the revolutionary impulse, might be dead.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 139
- Two months they had been together now and their crimes had been many and foul enough, as they wielded the x-ray bullet.
But it had been (or Charles had thought it so) lighthearted and young. He had quieted his soul -- the old, old story! -- with a list of his misfortunes, with a tale of the world's misdeeds. He pictured himself a latter-day cavalier, a modern Robin Hood, astride the machine as the others bestrode their horses. He had told himself that he had robbed the rich to feed the poor. He had -- ah! now, with a sickened courage he looked back at it all; he knew now the hideous brain that had urged him on; he saw himself for the fool that he had been.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 154-155
- Unfortunately...a comprehensive and universally accepted definition [of terrorism] does not exist...This is not altogether surprising. Even now, four decades after the end of the Fascist era, the controversies about its character continue and there is no generally accepted definition. But its contemporaries had to confront Fascism in any case, on both the theoretical and practical level. There is no agreement to this day about what socialism is, and the same is true with regard to most other movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. historians do not agree to this day about the French Revolution, Napoleon, imperialism or the outbreak of the First World War -- let alone about more recent events...
The author of a recent excellent research guide to the concepts, theories and literature on political terrorism has collected 109 different definitions provided by various writers between 1936 and 1981, and there is every reason to assume that there have been more since. Most authors agree that terrorism is the use or the threat of the use of violence, a method of combat, or a strategy to achieve certain targets, that it aims to induce a state of fear in the victim, that it is ruthless and does not conform with humanitarian rules, and that publicity is an essential factor in the terrorist strategy. Beyond this point definitions diverge, often sharply.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 142-143
- Virtual or real, national or transnational, state-sponsored or executed by small groups, terrorism in all its forms remains a central concern for contemporary societies.
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 1
- Visibly, it was as if a snake of fire had wriggled out from the hooded orifice of the machine. Swift beyond sight, it had run down the thin and unswerving cylinder that marked the path of the x-ray bullet. The man's head -- the brain Charles Dograr watched -- jerked backward, as if the snake had struck...it trembled a little...then fell slowly sidewise out of the disk of Charles' vision.
The old gentleman, unconcernedly, began to reverse the focus.
"I'm tired of practicing on flies," he remarked.
Charles Dograr's breast deflated on his terror as on a ball of iron. One by one, the objects through which their gaze had passed reappeared for a moment (as the x-ray eye of the machine retrieved its path) then vanished irretrievably in the night.
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 34-35
- We are all hostages, and we are all terrorists. This circuit has replaced that other one of masters and slaves, the dominating and the dominated, the exploiters and the exploited. Gone is the constellation of the slave and the proletarian: from now on it is the hostage and the terrorist. Gone is the constellation of alienation; from now on it is that of terror. It is worse than the one it replaces, but at least it liberates us from liberal nostalgia and the ruses of history. It is the era of the transpolitical that is beginning.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 39
- We are baffled by the use and abuse of terrorism discourse; we voice our skepticism. After many years of writing on the issues of political violence, our misgivings about the intellectual and moral values of the concept of terrorism have only increased. We are bothered by the referential invalidity, the rhetorical circularity that is all too characteristic of much that goes on under the rubric of "terrorism." It is the reality-making power of the discourse itself that most concerns us -- its capacity to blend the media's sensational stories, old mythical stereotypes, and a burning sense of moral wrath. Once something that is called "terrorism" -- no matter how loosely it is defined -- becomes established in the public mind, "counterterrorism" is seemingly the only prudent course of action. Indeed, at present there is a veritable counterterrorism industry that encompasses the media, the arts, academia, and to be sure, the policy makers of most of the world's governments.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. ix
- We don't need the novel. Quoting Bill. We don't even need catastrophes, necessarily. We only need the reports and predictions and warnings.
Source: Mao II, p. 72
- We have entered the constellation of blackmail not only in the "political" sphere, but everywhere. Everywhere the insane multiplication of responsibility operates as dissuasion...But do political events themselves ever offer anything but a false continuity? It is the solution of continuity that is interesting. Once it seemed to present itself as revolution; today it ends up as special effects. And terrorism itself is only a gigantic special effect. However, this is not because no meaning is intended. Against the general transparence, terrorism wishes to call on things to regain their meaning again, but does no more than accelerate this sentence of death and indifference.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 39,40-41
- What goes into the newspaper is what most people will accept as the chronicle of their public life; the mass newspaper normalizes certain behaviors and stigmatizes others; even its silences...signify. While some nineteenth-century novelists served an apprenticeship in popular journalism, most saw it as a competitor, a threat to their own sales, cheapening language and shortening the reader's attention span. Revolutionaries, on the other hand, gradually learned how to use the mass media to disseminate their message.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 4-5
- What Syme sees now [in Chesterton's Thursday] is not indeterminacy, but new certainty. The anarchist and the ruler are alike, not because they are each other's doubles, but because each of them separately doubles a third -- and very surprising -- figure: the figure of a besieged but fierce and also generous justice, itself the product of obedience to law. Justice is the law-serving energy, the passion and force which we miseries by the names anarchism and terrorism. We are wrong to think terrorism is the opposite of justice. The character of the latter is for Chesterton -- and for Syme in his moment of 'seeing' -- unambiguously the same as the character of the former. But the 'one burst of blazing light', the ultimate revelation (digging deeper and blowing higher) -- that this is what there is to see, that justice too is terror -- arrives only thanks to the proliferation of double or multiple meanings...the product of strayed meanings is new meaning.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 162
- What, after all, do I stand for besides an archaic code of gentlemanly behaviour towards captured foes, and what do I stand against except the new science of degradation that kills people on their knees, confused and disgraced in their own eyes?
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 108
- When (presumed) 'terrorist' acts are left 'unsigned' -- like PanAm 103 or the 9/11 attacks -- it is up to the onlookers to fill in the blanks. The results can be varied.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 9
- When you inflict punishment on someone who is not guilty, when you fill rooms with innocent victims, you begin to empty the world of meaning and erect a separate mental state, the mind consuming what's outside itself, replacing real things with plots and fictions. One fiction taking the world narrowly into itself, the other fiction pushing out toward the social order, trying to unfold into it.
Source: Mao II, p. 200
- Where terrorism has been successful its aims have usually been limited and clearly defined. The daily wage of American iron workers (AFL) went up from $2.00 to $4.30 (for shorter hours) between 1905 and 1910, as the result of the bombing of some one hundred buildings and bridges. Spanish workers, using similar methods, improved their wages during the First World War
Terrorist groups that were more successful in attaining their objectives can be divided, broadly speaking, into three groups. First of all, there were some that had narrow, clearly defined aims, for instance in an industrial dispute. Second, there were those with powerful outside protectors...Lastly, there were the terrorist groups facing imperial powers that were no longer able or willing to hold on to their colonies or protectorates.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 75,138-139
- While experience and factual knowledge is not necessarily a precondition for a great work of art, terrorists who are the product of a fertile imagination alone are of greater interest to the student of literature than to the student of terrorism. Böll dealt primarily neither with the Meinhofs and Baaders nor with the innocent bystanders, but with the vague sympathizers, those affected by the anti-terrorist backlash, brutal police practices and a yellow press operating without inhibitions and conscience.
Source: The Age of Terrorism, p. 196-197
- While we can all agree that we must try to prevent bombings, what is lacking is a serious investigation of the extent to which the discourse itself might be partly responsible for them.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. x
- With the predominance of information technology and global networks of power, war has become both 'postmodern' and 'discursive', [Chris Hables Gray] argues: 'its unity is rhetorical'. What characterizes it are 'the metaphors and symbols that structure it, not...any direct continuity of weapons, tactics, or strategy between its various manifestations...'...Any survey of statements made by politicians in the aftermath of 11 September would certainly suggest that rhetoric and the figurative did play a major part in the event and the responses to it...The attacks on the buildings were declared to be not just an attack on the US as a whole, as bin Laden suggested; for US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 'It wasn't an assault on America. It was an assault on civilization, it was an assault on democracy', and on 'the twenty first century' itself.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 4
- Without itself offering a positive model or ideology for truthful understanding (the detective genre is, like the photographic black box, a blind instrument), surrealism's recourse to the locked room mystery establishes the intellectual conditions of surrealism as conditions of epistemological violence rather than of ideological certainty or heady discovery, characterized by the genre's blind and ostensibly impartial assassination of old forms of thought.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 27
- Yet despite its primacy in contemporary politics there is a distinct lack of agreement on how to define terrorism...When Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the main suspect in the 2009 shooting of 13 army personnel at Fort Hood, Texas, was featured on the cover of Time magazine (23 November 2009), the word 'TERRORIST?' was emblazoned over his eyes. Jared Lee Loughner, accused of critically wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing six others in Tucson, Arizona, also made it to the cover (24 January 2011) but this time the headline focused on 'Guns. Speech. Madness'. The Wall Street Journal also treated the two incidents in very different ways: '[Sen. Joe] Lieberman Suggests Army Shooter Was "Home-Grown Terrorist" was how it covered the Fort Hood story on 9 November 2009 while on 10 January 2011 the WSJ's headline was 'Suspect Fixated on Giffords'. The line between acts of terror and insanity was drawn very tightly. It seems so obvious, after all, that a Muslim targeting American soldiers must be a terrorist while a 22-year-old white native of Tucson must simply be disturbed.
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 6
- [Argentinian] General Videla defined as a terrorist 'not just someone with a gun or a bomb, but also someone who spreads ideas that are contrary to Western and Christian civilization'.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 48
- [D]espite the impressive body of serious literature that has emerged since 9/11 challenging the official version of the attacks and strongly suggesting that they were either perpetrated by elements of the U.S. Government or allowed by them to happen, neither the U.N. nor NATO has ever bestirred itself to re-visit the crucial issue of responsibility/authorship. This reluctance to ask hard questions in the halls of international institutions that are charged with the duty to "go there" and vet claims of national self-defense has unfortunately been matched -- non-discourse for non-discourse -- by the silence of scholars.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 5
- [Following fascism and Communism] Now it is terrorists who lurk in every shadow, images of terrorist attacks that fill our television screens, and fears of new varieties -- nuclear, biological, cyber-terrorism -- that drive calls for increased surveillance and larger defense budgets. If such Orwellian transformations in the identity of the enemy do not make us skeptical, an element of construction in political and journalistic rhetoric about terrorism, even in terrorist acts themselves, seems inescapable. Bombings and hijackings begin with a few people plotting violence for maximum exposure, come to us on television, where distinctions between news and entertainment are ever more tortuous, and quickly pass into the popular imagination, into blockbuster movies and paperback thrillers.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 1
- [From the introduction by Salman Rushdie:] Boll's message, for this is certainly a message-novel, is that this security system is as destructive a force as the terrorists it seeks to resist. If Beverloh and Veronica are the novel's devils, the security police are its deep blue sea.
Source: The Safety Net, p. viii
- [Holzpuke] "No, but I have a few more questions for you -- about your friends. What you were saying just now -- that pride, that stubbornness, that being excluded -- or sense of being excluded -- those conclusions -- those ideas -- how big do you suppose it is, the group you have defined in this way?"
[Rolf] "You could figure that out very easily from your own files and those of other authorities working with you: we are all listed, aren't we -- it's not that we have a list of ourselves -- we don't know how many we are, but you should know, just take a look at this army, this phantom army -- review it -- let those hundreds of thousands of young women and men and their children parade before you, if only in your mind's eye, and ask yourself whether all their education, their potential intelligence, their strength and glory, exist merely to be kept under surveillance."
Source: The Safety Net, p. 239-240
- [H]e had read von Lambert's book on terrorism, there were two pages devoted to the Arab resistance movement, von Lambert refused to call them terrorists, which didn't preclude, and he had emphasized this, that nonterrorists were also capable of atrocities, Auschwitz, for instance, was not the work of terrorists but of state employees...
Source: The Assignment, p. 58
- [In Dürrenmatt's The Assignment] Horribly brain damaged in the war, Achilles is locked in a VA hospital, from which he occasionally escapes to rape and murder women, and since it is the only pleasure he is able to feel, Polypheme feels obliged to procure it for him after he liberates his friend and installs him at the observation center. In his case, "terror as usual" takes the form suggested by Robin Morgan, who argues for a direct link between the old classical heroes and modern terrorism, the "sexuality of violence," the capture and rape of women that is, in fact, taken for granted in the Iliad. By suggesting that terrorism has affinity with beautiful and durable monuments of Western, not Islamic, culture, Dürrenmatt reminds us of Walter Benjamin's famous observation that there is "no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism".
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 119
- [I]n our time, since 9/11, the anxieties of the regime seem quite able to accommodate revelation of deceit. To date the war on terror traces a curve from the phoney allegation of weapons of mass destruction to the surprising admission in late 2006 of "extraordinary rendition" and hence of torture by the president of the United States. This pattern of lying and admission, or of lying followed by a breezy dismissal of one's "mistake," plus a raft of neologisms sufficient to keep William Safire busy for another lifetime, is to my mind a marked feature of this new war. I am especially moved to remark on how easily admissions of deceit are made by the White House, as when the president did a comic routine for the Radio and Television Association Dinner in 2004 in Washington, during which slides of him looking under Oval Office furniture for weapons of mass destruction were shown.
Now admittedly this was one of those occasions that anthropologists like to call rites of reversal, like carnival, in which for a brief period of time the king is the butt of scandalous humor. Nevertheless, something has changed. It is difficult to imagine Nixon joking about Watergate or Clinton about Monica Lewinsky. Meanwhile the Republican-dominated Congress decriminalized violations of the U.S. War Crimes Act as well as the Geneva conventions and retroactively absolved U.S. officials, including the president, of culpability under their provisions. We are living, in other words, in a new regime of truth in which a peekaboo pattern -- now you see it, now you don't -- is intimately associated with torture itself. And isn't torture itself a ritual of reversal?
Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S100-S101
- [I]n the post-Cold War, post 9/11 world a particular version of terrorism has come to dominate policy and media discourse internationally. The Kremlinologists have been replaced by the proliferation of 'jihadi studies', one leading exponent of which has baldly suggested that the 'war on terror' is going to be a generational event: The Longest War (Bergen, 2011). For the US, dealing with terrorism has become a major post-Cold War strategic priority. Given the primacy of the US as the world's largest economy and its formidable media, military and technological power, this strategic priority seems to have become a global political priority. By virtue of its unprecedented capacity for global surveillance, as well as its domination of global communication hardware and software (from satellites to telecommunication networks; from cyberspace to 'total spectrum dominance' of real space, and the messages which travel through these), the US is able to disseminate its image of terrorism to the world at large.
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 4
- [Jean] Clair, the director of the Picasso museum in Paris and a national representative of French patrimony, first launched his attack in the form of a newspaper editorial published in Le Monde in November 2001, barely two months after the 9/11 attacks. In this editorial, as in the expanded book, Clair excoriates the surrealist movement for its complicity in the twentieth century's bloody history of terror and totalitarianism, from fascism and Stalinism to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In direct opposition to the group's own stridently leftist and anti-fascist political engagement, Clair's essay makes its baldest claim in condemning surrealism for its uncanny anticipation of the World Trade Center attacks, as well as for its violently anti-Western ideological platform that "prepared the minds" of Europe for such disasters. As Clair writes:
"Surrealist ideology never stopped calling for the death of an America that was, in its eyes, materialist and sterile, as well as for the triumph of the Orient as a repository of spiritual values. Text after text, between 1924 and 1930, underlines this destructive imaginary. Here's Aragon, in 1925: '[...] We are Europe's defeatists . . . May the Orient you droad finally respond to our voice [... ] And may the drug traffickers hurl themselves at our terrified countries. May faraway America collapse from all its white buildings ...' On September 11, 2001, Aragon's reverie left the surreal in order to take place in reality. The 'white buildings' of the Twin Towers collapsed in flames, while the incredulous West discovered a somewhat forgotten country on the world map: Afghanistan. The outrageousness of the surrealists was not only verbal." (118-9, my translation)
By collapsing the historical distance between Aragon's 1925 statements and the attacks upon the World Trade Center, Clair's essay engages -- perhaps unwittingly -- in the grand tradition of scandalizing rhetoric that characterized a large part of French intellectual debate between the wars. The irony here is that Clair employs such rhetoric as a reaction against what he considers the ideological stakes of surrealism's own intensified rhetoric, whose insults and scatological tones "are no different than those found in the fiery attacks of the fascist leagues or, on the other side of the political spectrum, those soon to be addressed to the 'mad dogs' in the Moscow trials. They signal an era" (124-5). Violent rhetoric produces violent action, Clair insists, even adding later that to use false or incorrect speech [mal dire or mal nommer] -- a tendency he extends toward "the grand illusion of modern language theory" (94) -- is tantamount to cursing [maudire], and to speaking evil [dire mal] (186). Surrealism, like other avant-garde movements before and since, refused to separate their artistic practice from the political sphere; in "seeking to conflate vita contemplativa, and vita politica," Clair argues, the movement's members become as subject to judgment and condemnation as any member of a political party (195 and 65).
Source: Object Lessons: Surrealist Art, Surrealist Politics, p. 177-178
- [M]any, indeed most, people could not stand themselves if they were not observed by someone, and would flee either into the fantasy of a personal god or into an equally metaphysically conceived political party that (or who) would observe them, a condition from which they in turn would derive the right to observe whether the world was heeding the laws of the all-observing god or party -- except for the terrorists, their case was a bit more complex, their goal being not an observed but an unobserved child's paradise, but because they experienced the world in which they lived as a prison where they were not only unjustly locked up but were left unattended and unobserved in one of the dungeons, they desperately sought to force themselves on the attention of their guards and thus step out of their unobserved condition into the limelight of public notice, which, however, they could achieve only by, paradoxically, drawing back into unobserved obscurity again and again, from the dungeon into the dungeon, unable, ever, to come out and be free...
Source: The Assignment, p. 21-22
- [Offered in support of the notion of a continuous, central tradition around anarcho-terrorism from modernist to postmodernist literature], excerpted from postmodern remarks made to a novelist by a spokesman for terrorism...:
"The only possible heroes for our time...live willingly with death...Terror is the only meaningful act... Who do we take seriously? Only the lethal believer... Everything else is absorbed... Only the terrorist stands outside. The culture hasn't figured out how to assimilate him. It's confusing when [terrorists] kill the innocent. But this is...the language of being noticed, the only language the West understands... It's the novelist who understands the secret life, the rage that underlies obscurity and neglect. You're half murderers, most of you [novelists]."
These remarks from Don DeLillo's Mao II (1991) hark back to Chesterton's anarchist-terrorist poet Gregy, whose personal atmosphere is 'violent secrecy. The very empyrean [over his] head seemed to be a secret' , and who speaks on behalf of pairing 'the lawless of art and the art of lawlessness'. Chesterton calls what Gregy speaks up for as 'old cant' perhaps because in 1908 it was already a while since Alfred Jarry had taken to brandishing guns at literary banquets, where he put on an act as a terrorist.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 156
- [Peret's] appeal to aesthetic judgment aims to shift the object of outrage from the horror of the crime to its banality...Peret argues that the sexual killing should be grasped by what De Quincey calls its aesthetic "handle." For Peret, this aesthetic treatment offers a means for rendering the virtually overlooked crime observable and subject to analysis in ways that avoid simply fixating on the innocence of the victim or the guilt of the murderer.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 54
- [S]he experienced with certainty that freedom was the trap into which she was expected to flee...
Source: The Assignment, p. 89
- [T]error is a sort of convex and deforming mirror of order and the political scene: the mirror of its disappearance. It too seems to come from some other set of connections, aleatory and vertiginous, from a panic by contiguity, and no longer seems to respond to the determinations of mere violence. More violent than the violent -- such is terrorism, whose transpolitical spiral corresponds to the same ascension to the limits in the absence of any rules for the game.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 34
- [T]he enemy had become more and more abstract, a barely perceptible target for the marksman aiming through a telescopic sight, a subject of pure surmise for the artillery, and as a bomber pilot, he could, if pressed, indicate how many cities and villages he had bombarded, but not how many people he had killed, nor how he had killed and mangled and squashed and burned them, he didn't know...and after the attack he did not feel himself a hero but a coward, there was a dark suspicion in him sometimes that an SS henchman at Auschwitz had behaved more morally than he, because he had been confronted with his victims...
Source: The Assignment, p. 113-114
- [T]he growing impact of electronic and, more recently, digital media has intensified the spectacular capacities of terrorism so that it has come to be described not simply in relation to media but, in itself, as a 'communicative act' (Hoskins and O'Loughlin, 2007: 9) and a 'symbolically organized event' (Blain, 2009: 24).
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 10
- [T]here is a significant danger in focusing too much on the mediated nature of terrorism and, in particular, on the idea of terrorism as the most spectacular form of modern political struggle: that we pay attention to only one, highly visible, form of modern terrorism, such as the attacks on the Twin Towers...'While insurgent terrorists and the media often seek each other out, state terrorists generally avoid publicity and attempt to conceal the regimes' repressive activities by media censorship and/or disinformation' (Schmid and Jungian, 2005: 164).
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 11
- [T]his constant surveillance was causing mental distress leading to psychic damage, and that anyway it was futile, for if they were going to strike at all it would be somewhere quite different.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 66
- [With reference to Eoin McNamee's Resurrection Man] In 1971, William McGrath -- the figure on whom Billy McClure is loosely modeled -- was hired as a social worker at Kincora, where he molested "perhaps dozens of school-aged boys"; in spite of numerous complaints filed by the residents of the home, he was not arrested until 2 April 1980...
What has caused endless speculation about this all-too-familiar story of abuse, however, is that McGrath was also the founder of a right-wing Protestant organization called Tara, whose members saw themselves as a shadow government preparing to take over in the event of a "doomsday" scenario...More spectacular allegations followed: Chris Moore, author of a book on McGrath and Kincora, interviewed several intelligence agents and civil servants who claimed that McGrath had actively worked for MI5, the British Security Service, and that Tara had been conceived by British intelligence as a means of gathering information about, and then manipulating, Protestant extremists...Evidence that British intelligence, or at least what the Irish Times story characterizes as its "rogue right-wing agents," worked hand in hand with a Protestant extremist organization certainly confirms the worst fears of Northern Ireland's Catholics, who have often suspected the British Army and Unionist politicians of abetting Protestant violence.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 40-41
- [With reference to McNamee's Resurrection Man] Coppinger and Ryan feel "obsolete, abandoned on the perimeter of a sprawling technology of ruin"; print journalists in an electronic age, they must cope with a "new species of information" coming out of paramilitary organizations operating under cover names, or from politicians who condemn violence ambiguously, or from courts where unidentified witnesses give their evidence from behind screens...Television news already incorporates this understanding about the marginality of fact. Even Victor recognizes the "narrative devices" it uses...we easily assume that when their reports diverge from fact, they serve some obscure political interest..."Atrocity reports" eschew detail and "achieve the pure level of a chant. It was no longer about conveying information. It was about focusing the mind inwards, attending to the durable rhythms of violence".
When journalism is no longer about conveying information, journalists like Ryan and Coppinger disintegrate, and even the terrorists whose actions form the ostensible subject of media stories feel disoriented, experience a loss of self.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 48-49
- [With reference to Stone's Damascus Gate] For a long time, in politics and literature, it was plausible to believe in the rebel, the creative genius, the powerful individual imposing a personal vision on the collective. But when the terrorist plot is conceived in the government office, when the prophet is as useful to the bureaucrat as the soldier, we cannot be surprised that the writer's heroics lead only to the end of a maze where a bogus bomb goes up in chemical smoke.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 138
- [With reference to The Eater of Darkness] As the narrative unfolds, as if to intermit and oppose the unambiguous certainty of knowledge and power encoded in the weapon and its artist-inventor, the form of the unfolding ambiguities the tale's elements. The identity of the terrorist and of the narrator both lose outline and coherence; the inventor is frustrated by the narrator, and the attempt to capture the inventor and to bring him to justice fissions into multiple indeterminate plots. But there is a final surprise, one that exhibits the way Coates's typically modernist experimentation resolves itself into a double-writing. The ambiguation of the narrative reverses itself. We become more and more certain that the narrator's involvement with the terrorist and his invention has displaced the narrator's aggressions towards the beloved woman he's left behind in Paris. The resolution of the displacement brings the narrative elements out of the realm of ambiguous and uncertain impressions. In this result the machine is destroyed. But in a sense it is re-built: as the new sureness of knowledge the narrator has reached concerning his desires, with which he now is directly in touch, and in which he now fully trusts. The machine was the wrong model of this certain knowledge, but it was and remains a model, nevertheless. The light of sure knowledge not surprisingly is an eater of darkness.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 167-168
- [With reference to the Reign of Terror] But what was such terror intended to achieve? And what did it achieve? Extirpation is different from intimidation or persuasion. Were the dead simply to be eliminated, or to serve as an awful warning pour encourager les autres? Were the terrorists just too pressed for time to attempt to convert the counter-revolutionaries, or did they think them beyond saving by force of argument? In trying to unpick this issue, we can begin to establish a basic repertoire of the functions of terror. Three key motives may be identified: vengeance, intimidation, and purification...The function of violence as moral agency -- very clearly enunciated by Marat, for instance -- was the Revolution's most distinctive translation of premodern into modern political logic.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 40-41
- [W]ithout agreement on what terrorism refers to as well as the identity of its protagonists and victims, the use of such a slippery term is likely to have serious policy consequences. As Edward Said remarked following the events of 9/11, terrorism
"has become synonymous now with anti-Americanism, which, in turn, has become synonymous with being critical of the United States, which, in turn, has become synonymous with being unpatriotic. That's an unacceptable series of equations."
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 9