Examining the Prospective Terror Threats Toward Global Seaports: A Socio-Historical Assessment of Prior Engagements and Application of Social Learning Theory:
Series Part I: Historical Terrorist Events
After more than fifteen since the terrorist events on September 11, 2001, the scope and focus to prevent or diminish terror activities has shifted from the simplified ideologies of domestic and international terrorism to a more finite representation. Defining terrorism has become complex due to the copious typologies and sub-sets. The standard however, is often based on a clinical law enforcement perspective centered on a specific intended goal. Pomerantz (1987) identified the FBI definition of terrorism as the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, a civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives. This nevertheless, is a pre-911 description and has become more inclusive by spotlighting on both the potential hard targets to include critical infrastructures as well as a multitude of soft targets which are vulnerable and often unprotected. Critical infrastructures are key elements to the American society. If critical infrastructures are targeted, it could devastating and long-standing effects on the national security and, economy, public health, and safety of society. Examples of hard targets according to the Department of Homeland Security (2017) include: chemical sector; commercial facilities sector, communications sector; dams sector; critical manufacturing sector; defense industrial base sector; emergency services sector; financial services sector; government facilities sector; energy sector; food and agriculture sector; healthcare and public health sector; information technology sector; transportation systems sector; nuclear reactors, materials, and waste sector; water sector; and the wastewater sector. To date, there is not a universal definition of terrorism, and each federal and state government agency has its own interpretation. Fleming (2008) states that terrorism is now viewed as an ever-present threat in the contemporary world in which we live, work, and travel. The threat of terrorism exists both at the national and international level, and no community, nation, or organization is immune from acts of terrorism and it is imperative to understand that terrorism is no longer an independent domestic issue, and that the threat of terrorism is global and well beyond the borders of the United States. The FBI (2016) and 18 U.S.C. § 2331 states that international terrorism contains three different characteristics to include (a) violent acts that are harmful to human life and violate state and federal laws; (b) attacks that occur outside the domestic United States into other nations by which the individual’s’ motives are to intimate and cause mass harm to a population; (c) and acts that intend to intimidate citizens, government policies, and to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction assassination.
Bennett (2007) recognizes soft targets as those infrastructures or key resources that usually lack proper security, resources, and funding which make it difficult to protect and defend because they are open to the general public by design. Examples include restaurants, shopping centers, and transportation systems such as trains and buses. Conversely, hard targets are those with security measures that provide a higher degree of protection. Critical infrastructures such as military installations, public utilities, and data centers, etc. are examples of hard targets that have the resources and funding to be considered a hard target in today’s era. Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in October 2001 and the amplification of protective measures, government buildings at the local, state, and federal levels and airports would be included in this grouping as well. Based on the potential vulnerabilities, our nation’s commercial and non-commercial seaports may be included in either of these categories. There are several noted measures to include the Evaluation of Maritime Policy in Meeting the Commercial and Security Needs of the United States (2009) created by IHS Global Insight for the United States Department of Transportation Maritime Administration to protect the nation’s seaports. The evaluation plan and policy proposed by IHS Global Insight not only looks at physical risks, but it also evaluates the global economy, the United States economy, trade markets, transportation markets, policy reform, obstacles to implementing reform, and comprehensive reform requirements. However, there remain probable breaches that could result in mass devastation and destruction to the infrastructure, impede the safety of food products, and infiltrate water supplies, import WMD’s, and create critical damage the U.S. and global financial system. Additionally, it could lead to the entire destruction of an entire facility and structure. The global financial system would include the United States, the European Union, Central America, South America, Asia, and other areas around the globe. The United States financial system is comprised of multiple levels of investing that affects the global community as well. Furthermore, any impact to these issues domestically could result in concerns and other major issues internationally. As Crook (2006) contends, maritime security is a global issue. The United States cannot safeguard the maritime domain on its own and requires collaborative support from other countries and nations. There is a need for cooperative partnerships and alliances with other nations and private stakeholders. Private stakeholders can range from effective and efficient relationships with private law enforcement, harbormaster’s, boat captains, international private agencies responsible for securing international waterways, and other law enforcement and responders that secure domestic waterways. Further, establishing relationships with private law enforcement form a global perspective and creates collaboration and an open channel for communication as well Moreover, it is essential to fully comprehend the extent in which the threat of terrorism has been developed and employed in the past and how violence and intimidation can cripple industry and a populace. Further, understanding the theoretical foundations for terror activity will provide additional groundwork in securing methodologies to prevent such actions.
Jenkins (1975) viewed terrorist activity as simply not wanting a lot of people dead, but having a lot of people watching and listening. A credible threat; a demonstration of the capacity to strike, maybe from the terrorists’ point of view, and is often preferable to actually carrying out the threatened deed. This may explain why terrorists have not done some of the things they could do, such as poisoning a city’s water supply, spreading biological agents, disrupting seaports, or engaging in measures that could result in mass casualties. Historically, there have been noted events that have influenced governments’ methods of increasing security measures and in developing more effective response mechanisms to counter these types of events.
Since the mid-1960s there was a measurable increase in social and civil unrest both domestically and internationally. While the war in Vietnam was taking place, the United States was witnessing civil rights marches, protests on college campuses, and political assassinations. The free-spirited movement was having an impact on the increased use of marijuana and psychedelic drugs, and there was a shift in the lyrics of contemporary music. The trend in music composition changed toward a more aggressive protest-style with libretto aimed at the government. According to Morgan (2000) the antiwar movement addressed national policy concerns with international repercussions. Moreover, the media coverage during this period was influential in creating the media culture that relays the terrorist events in our contemporary society.
One particular phenomenon of the 1960s was the hijacking of airplanes within the United States to the country of Cuba. Beginning with the hijacking of a National Airlines plane in 1961, during a trip from Miami to Key West, seven other planes were commandeered to Cuba between 1961 and 1967 and 124 hijackings occurred between 1968 and 1972 (Evans, 1973; Landes, 1978). These incidents formulated a national inquiry suggesting that hijacking had become an epidemic (Landes, 1978; Holden,1986) and the motivation to hijack aircraft spread from one individual to another as a result of the intense media coverage (Holden, 1986).
The decade of the 1970s introduced the world to international terrorism with the hostage crisis at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. In September, 1972, Palestinian guerillas penetrated the residence of the Israeli Olympic team and killed two of its members and took nine hostages (McAlister, 2002). After intense all day negotiations, there was a failed attempt to capture the hostage takers, resulting in the assassination of each of the nine Israeli hostages (McAlister, 2002). As Selliaas (2012) contends, the Munich Games attracted terrorists due to the extensive media coverage, especially throughout Europe and the United States. This incident introduced American viewers to terrorism on a global level and led to changes in safety and security at the Olympics and other notable sporting events such as the World Cup, Le Mans, and the Super Bowl. While other subsequent Olympic Games endured terrorist threats and terror activity, perhaps the most recognized occurred 24 years later during the 1996 Games in Atlanta when a bomb was detonated at Centennial Olympic Park, killing two and injuring over 100 people. The decade concluded in 1979 with the taking of American hostages at the US Embassy in Iran by those devoted to the Ayatollah Khomeini. Evening television news depicted Iranians protesting against Americans while chant hatred and burning US flags (McAlister, 2002). The crisis ended after 444 days, on the day Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th President of the United States.
The utilization of bombing by terrorists spread throughout the decade of the 1980s. The terror objective during this decade appeared to focus primarily on domestic and international airlines. As Elias (2010) indicates, although there were more physical aircraft bombings in the 1970s, there were significantly more fatalities in the 1980s. The 24 airplanes that were attacked between 1981 and 1989 by radical combatants resulted in nearly 1,000 fatalities.
In 1985, the Achille Lauro, an Italian ocean liner was boarded while off the coast of Egypt by members of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF). The terrorist group demanded the release of 50 Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel. During the siege, a vacationing American, Leon Klinghoffer, bound in a wheelchair, was shot and killed and his body was thrown overboard. The terrorists abandoned their objective and were provided a flight to Tunisia in exchange for the ship and her passengers. The flight was intercepted by F-14 fighter jets under orders from President Ronald Reagan, and forced to land in Sicily. The four hostage takers were apprehended and tried in an Italian Court (Halberstam, 1988; Joyner, 2009). This incident was one of the most noted contraventions against the maritime trade during the decade and exposed the world to acts of violence against cruise ships and other crimes at sea. It also led to the adoption of the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation in 1988 (Halberstam, 1988). The Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation is a treaty made up of 22 articles that participants agree to punish illicit and illegal behavior that may threaten or harm the safety of maritime navigation. The convention was created based on the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft. The most important part of The Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation is that it outlines that each participant of the treaty must prosecute the individuals who commit offenses. If the participants cannot prosecute, the treaty states that the individual must be extradited to another country that participates in the treaty for prosecution.
During the early 1990s, bombs continued to be the weapon of choice by subversive terror groups and were also being utilized by crime organizations throughout South America, India, and Great Britain. The U.S. was brought into the framework when the World Trade Center was bombed on February 26, 1993 in New York City. However, the world was also experiencing attacks on transportation facilities such as rail terminals, bus terminals, and seaports. This was evident in 1993 with an explosion at the Sealdah rail terminus in Calcutta, India, and two bombings at the Baku Metro in Azerbaijan in 1994, killing 27 and injuring 91 others. Terror organizations expanded their arsenal to include biological pathogens and chemical weaponry through a variety of sources. The Japanese subway system in Matsumoto was attacked with anthrax and botulinum toxin in 1994 and sarin nerve gas in Tokyo a year later. These attacks were attributed to the terrorist cult organization Aum Shinrikyo (Kortepeter, Cieslak, & Eitzen, 2001). The sarin gas attacks of 1995 proved that a chemical weapons attack could occur on any subway system or mass transit system in the international community. If the sarin gas was dispersed in a different way, tens of thousands could have been killed in a very short period of time. Aum Shinrikyo taught the global community that terrorist organizations do not have any fear using weapons of mass destruction to create a CBRNE type of event.
URL to Part II of mini-series publication: Examining the Prospective Terror Threats Toward Global Seaports: A Socio-Historical Assessment of Prior Engagements and Application of Social Learning Theory-Series Part II: Maritime Safety & Security
URL to Part III of mini-series publication: Examining the Prospective Terror Threats Toward Global Seaports: A Socio-Historical Assessment of Prior Engagements and Application of Social Learning Theory-Series Part III: Maritime Global Legislation, Conclusion, & Recommendations
18 U.S.C. § 2331 defines “international terrorism” and “domestic terrorism” for purposes of Chapter 113B of the U.S. Code, entitled “Terrorism.” Retrieved from: https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/terrorism
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Professor Darren Stocker
Darren K. Stocker is a tenured professor of criminal justice at Cape Cod Community College and is the Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Department. He is a member of the Academy of Criminal Justice Science and the American Society of Criminology, and is a Charter Member of the BioPsySoc Division, established in 2017. He has spoken extensively throughout the U.S. and The Netherlands. Professor Stocker has authored or coauthored more than 50 peer journals, trade journals, and book chapters. He does research on policing, vicarious trauma, and in other areas of criminal justice. He is currently serving as a Grant funded Research Fellow studying drug courts. He is a recognized consultant and expert witness on policing and corrections.
Professor Stocker is an honors graduate of West Chester University. He earned graduate degrees from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and from the University of Massachusetts – Boston, where his studies included Adult Education theory and Instructional Design. Darren has designed multiple courses at each academic level on multiple learning management systems. He is completing his doctoral dissertation at Northeastern University in Boston.
Darren travels extensively and enjoys exploring obscure areas and uncommon international destinations, learning language and cultures.
Dr. Thomas Rzemyk
Dr. Thomas J. Rzemyk serves as a university professor, researcher, and subject matter expert (SME) in criminal justice, homeland security, counterterrorism, and cyber security. Thomas is a renowned international speaker, educational researcher, college instructor, and academic writer. Dr. Rzemyk has presented research at several prestigious academic and industry level conferences across the globe over the past several years. (i.e. Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences-ACJS, The American Society of Criminology-ASC, Eastern Sociological Society-ESS, Northeastern Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences-NEACJS, Midwestern Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences-MWACJS, and many more). He has written several articles, scholarly papers, book chapters, and other published works in the areas of: cyber security, public policy, school safety and security, education, criminal justice, homeland security, counter terrorism, post war reconstruction, and many other areas. He has worked in both public and private education for almost 15 years and serves on numerous boards and committees.
Dr. Rzemyk also holds industry level certifications such as the CHPP-Certified Homeland Security Professional certification and the CAS-Certified Anti-terrorism Specialist certification. In 2018 he was certified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the New Mexico Tech Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center as a training instructor for the Incident Response to Terrorist bombings-IRTB course which trains first responders and public/private security personnel to respond to IED’s, bombs, and other terrorist devices through resiliency and reactionary-based planning tactics and strategies.
Dr. Rzemyk resides in Blair, Nebraska with his two children and Australian Shepard/Poodle. (Aussiedoodle) He enjoys traveling internationally, fishing, camping, skydiving, scuba diving, writing, and aviation.
Dr. Charles Kocher
Charles J. Kocher is a retired police Deputy Chief from Camden, New Jersey. During his law enforcement career, he was responsible for implementing many innovative programs including a paper-less reporting system, four city-wide community police sub-stations and founded the Camden Police Historic Museum. Other assignments included but not limited to serving as the Academic Director for the Police Academy, Planning/Research and Grant Unit, Budget Unit and Administrative Assistant to the Chief of police.
Upon retirement, Kocher pursued a second career in higher education and served as Coordinator for the Criminal Justice Program at Cumberland County College, New Jersey and as Dean for the Business, Education and Social Sciences Division of the College. Presently, he teaches Criminal Justice related courses at Columbia Southern University and Saint Joseph’s University for graduate level courses.
Formal education includes studies at Villanova University, Rowan University and Saint Joseph’s University. Charles has earned a Master of Arts from Rowan University and a Master of Science from Saint Joseph’s University. His doctorate’s studies were conducted at Saint Joseph’s University for Higher Education Administration and a Ph.D. from California Coast University. In addition, he has several certificates from Rutgers University and Harvard University. He is an active member of the Wilmington University and Holy Family University Advisory Boards.
Areas: Criminal Justice, Emergency Management, Homeland Security
Categories: Criminal Justice, General, Terrorism
Tagged: Criminal Justice, Homeland Security, Lone Offender, Maritime Legislation, Maritime Safety, Maritime Security, Terrorism