Title: Understanding Lone Actor Terrorism
Subtitle: Past Experience, Future Outlook, and Response Strategies
Date: 2016
SKU: I26

    Front Matter

      Contemporary Terrorism Studies

      Editor

      Contributors

      Contributors

    Preface

      Notes

    Acknowledgments

    Introduction; Lone actor and autonomous cell terrorism

      Lone actors in the annals of terrorism

      Definitions

      Psychological versus ideological factors

      Addressing the threat

      Notes

      Bibliography

    1 Historical lessons

      Anarchist assassins and agents provocateurs

      Indiscriminate violence

      Motivational factors

      Notes

      Bibliography

    2 World War A

      Twenty-first century anarchism

      Anarchists of the praxis

      Black is the color

      The war rages

      Concluding remarks—on the trail of the lone actor

      Notes

      Bibliography

    3 Extreme right perpetrators

      Strategic implications of extreme right lone actor terrorism

      United States

      Western Europe

      Eastern Europe

      Israel

      Concluding remarks

      Notes

      Bibliography

    4 Environmental extremist and animal rights single issue perpetrators

      Lone actors on the ecoterrorist and animal rights terrorist scene

      Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber

      Volkert van der Graaf

      Ladislav Kuc

      Marco Camenisch

      Concluding remarks

      Notes

      Bibliography

    5 Jihadists, Al-Qaida, and the Islamic State

      The jihadist narrative

      Anger and injustice

      Lone actors in the context of jihadist terrorism

      Lone actors within the jihadist movement

      Mir Aimal Kasi

      Ali Hassan Abu Ali Kamal

      Charles J. Bishop

      Hesham Mohamed Hadayet

      Yehya Kadouri

      Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar

      Naveed Afzal Haq

      Kamel Bouchentouf

      Andrew Ibrahim

      Nicky Reilly

      Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad

      Nidal Malik Hasan

      Roshonara Choudhry

      Lors Doukaiev

      Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly

      Arid Uka

      Mohamed Merah

      Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnayev

      Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale

      Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi

      Concluding remarks

      Notes

      Bibliography

    6 Targeting herself

      Roshonara Choudhry

      Colleen LaRose also known as Jihad Jane also known as Fatima LaRose

      Women commit fewer violent crimes than men

      Radicalization

      The media effect—the way people are seen affects the way they act

      Women in terrorist organizations—one step forth?

      Woman’s role in jihadism

      The shaming effect, a pragmatic way to explain women’s participation

      Concluding remarks

      Notes

      Bibliography

    7 Fixated individuals and the state’s response

      Fixated individuals

      The Fortuyn and Van Gogh assassinations

      Queen’s Day, 30 April 2009—City of Apeldoorn

      Remembrance Day, 4 May 2010—Amsterdam

      Shooting spree at Alphen aan den Rijn, April 2011

      Day of the Queen’s Speech (Prinsjesdag), September 2011

      Counter measures

      Threat management pilot project

      Regional approaches

      Cause

      Analysis

      Approach

      Security networks and responsibilization

      Securitization and society

      Notes

      Bibliography

    8 School shootings and lone actor terrorism

      School shootings as an historical phenomenon

      The Columbine shooting and the virtual community of school shooters

      Explanations of the school rampage shootings in the research literature

      Gun availability

      Shooter’s social position

      Personal problems and lack of help

      Cultural scripts and the impact of the wider cultural and social context

      Lessons for research on lone actor terrorism

      Notes

      Bibliography

    9 The active shooter threat

      Defining the active shooter

      Profiling active shooters

      Active shooters in the United States

      Active shooters in Israel

      Active shooters in Switzerland

      Preventing active shooter events

      Notes

      Bibliography

      News sources

    10 Lone actor terrorism and CBRN weapons

      Terrorist interest in CBRN weapons

      Chemical weapons

      Biological weapons

      Radiological weapons

      Nuclear weapons

      Concluding remarks

      Notes

      Bibliography

    11 Inside the mind of the lone actor

      The odd offender

      Breivik and his manifesto

      Notes

      Bibliography

    12 Countering lone actor terrorism

      Countering lone actor terrorism

      Hunters and hot spots

      Focus on deeds, not thoughts

      Preempting lone actors

      Notes

      Bibliography

    13 Countering lone actor terrorism

      Internet and lone actor terrorists

      Social media monitoring and analysis

      Weak signals

      Analyzing weak signals

      Multiple aliases

      Targeted relation extraction and automated profiling

      Privacy

      Social media monitoring and the future

      Notes

      Bibliography

    14 The nonviolent lone actor

      Defining the insider threat

      Types of insider threats

      Identifying the mindset-based and behavioral indicators that produce insider threats

      Mindset-based indicators

      Behavioral indicators

      Identifying the risk factors associated with the insider threat for preemptive countermeasures

      Profiling the characteristics of insider threat cases

      Anat Kamm

      Bradley Manning

      Edward Snowden

      Jofi Joseph

      Preemptively preventing information technology insider threats

      Notes

      Bibliography

    15 Future outlook and response strategies

      Notes

      Bibliography

    Appendix - Lone actor terrorism, a lifestyle phenomenon? A research essay

      Notes

    Bibliography

Front Matter

This volume examines the lone actor terrorist phenomenon, including the larger societal trends which may or may not have led to their acts of terrorism.

With lone actor terrorism becoming an increasingly common threat, the contributors to this volume aim to answer the following questions: What drives the actions of individuals who become lone actor terrorists? Are ideological and cultural issues key factors, or are personal psychological motives more useful in assessing the threat? Do lone actors evolve in a broader social context or are they primarily fixated loners? What response strategies are available to security services and law enforcement? What is the future outlook for this particular terrorist threat? Although these issues are frequently discussed, few books have taken a global perspective as their primary focus. While many books focus on lone actor terrorists in relation to terrorist groups, such as Al-Qaida and the Islamic State, few, if any, cover lone actors of all ideological backgrounds, including the variants of active shooters and malicious insiders in information security, such as Edward Snowden—with both of these latter categories constituting an important variant of lone actors. Utilizing the expertise of academics and practitioners, the volume offers a valuable multidisciplinary perspective.

This book will be of much interest to students of terrorism and counterterrorism, political violence, criminology, security studies and IR.

Michael Fredholm is an Historian and Military Analyst, currently affiliated to the Stockholm International Program for Central Asian Studies (SIPCAS), Sweden. He is author of several books, including, most recently, The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Eurasian Geopolitics (2012).

Contemporary Terrorism Studies

Understanding Terrorist Innovation

Technology, tactics and global trends

Adam Dolnik

The Strategy of Terrorism

How it works, why it fails

Peter Neumann and M.L.R. Smith

Female Terrorism and Militancy Agency, utility, and organization Edited by Cindy D. Ness

Women and Terrorism

Female activity in domestic and international terror groups Margaret Gonzalez-Perez

The Psychology of Strategic Terrorism

Public and government responses to attack

Ben Sheppard

The De-Radicalization of Jihadists Transforming armed Islamist movements

Omar Ashour

Targeting Terrorist Financing International cooperation and new regimes

Arabinda Acharya

Managing Terrorism and Insurgency

Regeneration, recruitment and attrition

Cameron I. Crouch

Religion and Political Violence Sacred protest in the modern world Jennifer L. Jefferis

International Terrorism Post-9/11 Comparative dynamics and responses

Edited by Asaf Siniver

Talking to Terrorists

Concessions and the renunciation of violence

Carolin Goerzig

Freedom and Terror

Reason and unreason in politics Abraham Kaplan and Gabriel Weimann

Evaluating Counterterrorism Performance

A comparative study

Beatrice de Graaf

The EU and Counter-Terrorism Politics, polity and policies after 9/11 Javier Argomaniz

The Evolution of EU Counter- Terrorism

European security policy after 9/11

Raphael Bossong

Conducting Terrorism Field Research

A guide

Edited by Adam Dolnik

US–UK Counter-Terrorism after 9/11

A qualitative approach

Edgar B. Tembo

Transforming Violent Political Movements

Rebels today, what tomorrow?

Kevin Grisham

Radicalization in Western Europe Integration, public discourse and loss of identity among Muslim communities

Carolin Goerzig and Khaled Al-Hashimi

Putting Terrorism in Context Lessons from the Global Terrorism Database

Gary LaFree, Laura Dugan and Erin Miller

Al Qaeda’s Global Crisis

The Islamic State, takfir, and the genocide of Muslims

V. G. Julie Rajan

Social Networks, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism

Radical and connected

Edited by Martin Bouchard

Understanding Lone Actor Terrorism

Past experience, future outlook, and response strategies

Edited by Michael Fredholm

Hamas, Popular Support and War in the Middle East

Insurgency in the Holy Land

Richard Davis

Publisher notes

First published 2016 by Routledge

2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge

711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business

© 2016 selection and editorial matter, Michael Fredholm; individual chapters, the contributors

The right of the editor to be identified as the author of the editorial matter, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.

Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe.

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Fredholm, Michael, editor.

Title: Understanding lone actor terrorism : past experience, future outlook, and response strategies / edited by Michael Fredholm.

Description: Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2016. | Series: Contemporary terrorism studies | Includes bibliographical references and index.

Identifiers: LCCN 2015035493| ISBN 9781138100510 (hardback) | ISBN 9781315657622 (ebook)

Subjects: LCSH: Terrorism. | Terrorists–Psychology. | Crime– Sociological aspects.

Classification: LCC HV6431 .U34744 2016 | DDC 363.325–dc23 LC record available at http://lccn.loc.gov/2015035493

ISBN: 978-1-138-10051-0 (hbk)

ISBN: 978-1-315-65762-2 (ebk)

Typeset in Baskerville by Wearset Ltd, Boldon, Tyne and Wear

Notes on contributors ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction: lone actor and autonomous cell terrorism 1

M ICHAEL F REDHOLM

1 Historical lessons: an overview of early anarchism and lone

actor terrorism 29

R ICHARD B ACH J ENSEN

2 World War A: contemporary anarchists and extreme left

perpetrators 46

J OS É P EDRO ZÚ QUETE

3 Extreme right perpetrators 66

M IROSLA V M ARE Š AND R ICHARD S TOJAR

4 Environmental extremist and animal rights single issue

perpetrators 87

E L ż BIETA P OS Ł USZNA AND M IROSLA V M ARE Š

5 Jihadists, Al-Qaida, and the Islamic State 107

M ICHAEL F REDHOLM

6 Targeting herself: female lone actors 136

H ANNA R UNEBORG

7 Fixated individuals and the state’s response: networked

security 160

J ELLE V AN B UUREN

viii Contents

8 School shootings and lone actor terrorism 182

L EENA M AL KK I

9 The active shooter threat: profiling perpetrators for

preemptive prevention 206

J OSHUA S INAI

10 Lone actor terrorism and CBRN weapons 220

M ICHAEL F REDHOLM

11 Inside the mind of the lone actor 235

KNUT S TURIDSSON

12 Countering lone actor terrorism: networked security

focused on deeds, not thoughts 249

M ICHAEL F REDHOLM

13 Countering lone actor terrorism: weak signals and online

activities 266

L ISA KAATI AND F REDRI K J OHANSSON

14 The nonviolent lone actor: the insider threat in

information security 280

J OSHUA S INAI

15 Future outlook and response strategies 295

M ICHAEL F REDHOLM

Appendix: lone actor terrorism, a lifestyle phenomenon?

A research essay 303

M ICHAEL F REDHOLM AND H ANNA R UNEBORG

Index 307

Editor

Michael Fredholm is an Historian and Military Analyst, currently affiliated to the Stockholm International Program for Central Asian Studies (SIPCAS), Sweden. He is the author of several books, including, most recently, The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Eurasian Geopolitics (2012), and has trained intelligence and counterterrorism practitioners in, among others, the NATO Centre of Excellence Defence against Terrorism Academy in Ankara. He also led the team which developed a lone actor counter-strategy and training program for the Swedish National Bureau of Investigation and Swedish Police Authority, implemented in 2014–2015.

Contributors

Richard Bach Jensen is a Professor of Modern European history at the Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern State University.

José Pedro Zúquete is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences, at the University of Lisbon.

Miroslav Mareš is a Professor of the Department of Political Science of the Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.

Richard Stojar is a graduate from the Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University in Brno.

Elżbieta Posłuszna is a Professor at the Faculty of National Security and Logistics at the Polish Air Force Academy.

Hanna Runeborg is a Journalist and Political Scientist. Most recently, she has been a strategic analyst for the European Union in Libya, and worked as a counterterrorism practitioner at the Swedish National Police.

Contributors

Jelle van Buuren is a Researcher and Lecturer at the Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Leiden University.

Leena Malkki is a Research Director of the Network for European Studies at the University of Helsinki and a visiting fellow at the Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Leiden University.

Joshua Sinai is a Director of Analytics & Business Intelligence at CRA (www.cra-usa.net), a Vienna, Virginia, firm specializing in homeland security and counterterrorism.

Knut Sturidsson is a Director of Studies at the Division of Psychology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

Lisa Kaati is a Senior Researcher at the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) and a researcher at the department of Information Technology, Uppsala University.

Fredrik Johansson is a Senior Scientist at the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI).

Preface

Which terrorist presents the most serious threat, the one who is known and perhaps under surveillance, or the one who strikes out of nowhere, without warning? The member of an identified terrorist group, or the homegrown lone actor?

Incidents from several countries show that lone actor terrorists are difficult to detect before they strike. Since they seldom are connected to established terrorist networks, they are often unknown to police and security services prior to their acts of terrorism. Being homegrown, many are selftasked. When lone actors strike, their actions often take the authorities by surprise. Before the actual attack, there was typically no reason to suspect that they harbored violent intentions—since there was no evidence to suggest that an act of violence was imminent, or even might be expected. Yet, results can be devastating with regard to the loss of life, as was demonstrated in July 2011 by the Norwegian national Anders Behring Breivik who first killed eight people through the explosion of a car bomb in the central government district of his country, then randomly shot 69 youngsters at a youth camp.

What response strategies to lone actor terrorists are available to security and law enforcement services? Which factors drive their actions? Can lessons be drawn from past incidents? What is the future outlook for this particular type of terrorist threat? Are ideological and cultural issues key factors in lone actor terrorism, or can personal psychological motives be more useful in assessing the threat? Do lone actors evolve in a social context or are they primarily fixated loners? What about homegrown autonomous cells without links to other terrorist groups?

These questions have been addressed in a multidisciplinary research project, with participants from a variety of countries and academic institutions. Both academics and counterterrorism and law enforcement practitioners took part in the project, so as to ensure the practical and academic relevance of the results. The project originated in an international seminar organized by the editor in Stockholm, Sweden, for the National Center for Terrorist Threat Assessment (NCT), a permanent working group consisting of representatives of the Swedish Security Service, Military Intelligence and Security Directorate, and National Defence Radio Establishment.[1] Research then continued as an academic project on lone actor terrorism, with seminars and ongoing discussions among the participants and other experts in the field.

Simultaneously with the research project, the editor led the team which developed a lone actor counter-strategy and training program for the Swedish National Bureau of Investigation and Swedish Police Authority, implemented in 2014–2015. As a result, this is probably the first edited book on lone actor terrorism which, in draft form, was used in the training of a national police force.

The decision to involve both academics and practitioners was a deliberate one. Despite the explosion of research on international and domestic terrorism since the 9/11 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, and the publication of an abundant literature on various aspects of terrorism, we are not that much closer to any genuine understanding of what drives young men and women to adopt extremist views and translate these views into acts of violent terrorism. What triggers the process? Who is at risk? Are there signals that can be used to identify those who will turn to violence? Can the process be preempted, and if so, how? What is the role of the Internet and social media? Or, for that matter, the traditional media?

There are as yet no real answers to these questions, despite the proliferation of research. As Marc Sageman aptly put it in his essay “The Stagnation of Research on Terrorism,”[2] “[t]he decision to separate the academic and intelligence study of terrorism [was] crucial to the stagnation of the field.” Unlike during the Cold War, when there was, in most Western and many Asian countries, an active dialogue and exchange in Soviet studies between academics and practitioners (incidentally, an interchange in which the editor of this book took part), the research climate following the 9/11 2001 attacks became quite the reverse. As a result, the academic world aims to make statements about terrorism largely based on data from secondary mass-media accounts which in turn are based on often anonymous sources the information from which cannot be verified. Meanwhile, the practitioners do have access to classified data in the form of interrogation reports, transcripts from monitored terrorist communications, and information from informers, to mention just a few of their types of sources—but they often have little formal methodological training in how to analyze the data and in any case are prevented from sharing it because of legal restrictions. To compound the problem, many Western intelligence and security services discourage rather than encourage engagement with the academic world, since they all too often are forced, by circumstances or by the government to which they are accountable, to jump from topic to topic, without having the time to analyze any single topic thoroughly or indeed to search for and assess refuting evidence. This situation is unfortunate. As a result, analysts, whether in academe or the intelligence community, sometimes lose track of one key reason for researching and investigating terrorism, that is, to save lives. When terrorists kill, lives are lost and innocents suffer. Preempting a terrorist would save those lives.

For this reason, the present research project on lone actor terrorism from the outset involved both academics and practitioners. There was also an emphasis on qualitative case studies, to the extent that such are possible based on available information. This volume is the result of the project. We set out to investigate past incidents and the future outlook of the lone actor terrorist threat. The participating researchers each focused on his or her specialties, yet without losing sight of the overall task of providing an understanding of the lone actor terrorism phenomenon and on what lessons can be learned from past incidents to assist in formulating response strategies for the future. Recognizing that lone actor terrorism remains a comparatively small part of the total number of terrorism incidents, but one which has the potential to result in large-scale and indiscriminate loss of life, the project argues that response strategies can be formulated. An assumption of this book is that lone actor terrorism can be countered and that potential lone actor terrorists in many cases can be identified and preempted before they strike. Counterterrorism has to be fundamentally based on intelligence. Methods to counter lone actor terrorism can be devised from an intelligence perspective, since there are warning signs, among them Internet usage, which suggest violent radicalization which may result in an attack. Evidence suggests that most lone actor terrorists were radicalized in a social context, often with the Internet as a medium. This context is what makes them vulnerable to detection and, thus, preemption. Privacy issues must play a major role in this discussion and will have to be addressed, yet terrorism is such a lethal phenomenon that it would be foolhardy to ignore a thorough discussion on how to counter it. At some point, a choice must always be made. What do we value most, life or privacy? There are good arguments on both sides of the debate, and this book will not presume to resolve the issue. Yet, any discussion of counterterrorism versus privacy needs to be well informed, and our hope is that this book will be able to contribute some conclusions on what motivates terrorists, and what can be done to counter them.

The editor would like to thank all contributors to the project. The scholars and practitioners who took part in the book project provided consistent and significant input into the final work. Without such a distinguished list of participants, the project would not have been a success. Substantial support and important contributions to discussions came from a large number of seminar participants, some of whom were unable to provide written contributions to the resulting book and some who prefer not to be named since they remain serving intelligence officers. The editor would like to express his thanks to each, acknowledging their participation as vital to the project. Finally, the editor reserves a special thanks to Professor Yonah Alexander, who participated in the original Stockholm

Lone Wolf Seminar and whose encouragement tipped the scale in persuading the editor to undertake the additional work to transform the conference proceedings into a book.

Michael Fredholm Editor and project leader

Notes

1 This was the November 2011 Stockholm Seminar on Lone Wolf Terrorism. The NCT head, Lieutenant Colonel Bertil Höckerdahl, took the initiative to organize the seminar as a response to the December 2010 suicide bombing by Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly in Stockholm, Sweden. The seminar formed part of the cooperation of the European Counter Terrorism Coordination and Fusion Centres and was agreed upon during the European Union’s Meeting of National Counter Terrorism Coordinators and Heads of Fusion Centres (Madrid Group) at The Hague, Netherlands, on 28–29 June 2011. Soon after the meeting at The Hague, Anders Behring Breivik carried out his lone actor attack in Oslo and Utøya, Norway, which focused attention on the threat from lone actor terrorism as well as the need for response strategies, which was one topic subsequently discussed during the Stockholm Seminar.

2 Marc Sageman, “The Stagnation of Research on Terrorism,” 30 April 2013, available at http://chronicle.com/blogs/conversation/2013/04/30/the-stagnation- of-research-on-terrorism/.

Acknowledgments

European legal materials © European Union, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/. Only European Union legislation printed in the paper edition of the Offi- cial Journal of the European Union is deemed authentic.

Extracts from The Terrorism Acts in 2011 and The Terrorism Acts in 2012, © David Anderson Q.C., Britain’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, and are used with permission.

Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe.

Introduction; Lone actor and autonomous cell terrorism

Michael Fredholm

An increasing share of terrorist suspects arrested in the United States are identified in sting operations. Not having access to explosives or the required expertise on his own, the wannabe terrorist eventually contacts individuals whom he believes to be likeminded, bona fide terrorist facilitators. In reality, these are Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) undercover officers. The wannabe terrorist fails, because he confides in others.

But what happens if the aspiring terrorist realizes the danger of FBI agents provocateurs and instead decides to take the extra time to prepare the act of terrorism on his or her own?

The result can be catastrophic, with an attack seemingly coming out of nowhere. On 22 July 2011, the Norwegian national Anders Behring Breivik first killed eight people through the explosion of a car bomb in the central government district in Oslo, the capital of his country, then followed up his bomb attack by randomly shooting 69 youngsters at a youth camp operated by the ruling Labor Party. Breivik had prepared and funded his attack for years, all by himself, and only carried it out when all preparations were successfully concluded. The loss of life was bad enough, but because Breivik’s attack was all the more shocking since it was completely unexpected and unconnected to known political terrorist groups, it also caused massive political fallout. In many ways, Breivik was the archetypical catastrophic lone actor. But even those aspiring terrorists who maintain contacts with others of their kind in small autonomous cells can strike without warning. In a series of shootings in March 2012, Mohamed Merah, a French Muslim of Algerian origin who was a known jihadist supporter, first shot three French Muslim soldiers to death, then three children and an adult in a Jewish school in Toulouse. Merah was eventually killed by police, after a 32-hour armed siege at his flat, but not before he had claimed a (probably imaginary) affiliation to Al-Qaida and made a video of his killings, set to music and verses of the Koran. Merah’s actions shocked France, caused sharp political debates on how the security services had failed to protect the nation, and led to changes in counterterrorism legislation.

Then, on 15 April 2013, the two brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnayev detonated bombs at the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 260. Of Chechen origin, they had lived in the United States for about a decade, and not even when the FBI had received information from Russia that there were indications that Tamerlan was an Islamic extremist had there seemed to be reason for concern.

Counterterrorism officers from several countries are unanimous in the view that lone actor terrorists are difficult to detect before they strike. Since they seldom are connected to established terrorist networks, they are often unknown to the security services prior to their acts of terrorism. Being homegrown, many are self-tasked. When lone actors strike, their actions often take the security services by surprise. Before the actual attack, there was typically no reason to suspect that they harbored violent intentions—since there was no evidence to suggest that an act of violence was imminent, or even might be expected.

Some attacks are seemingly spontaneous acts of terrorism. Lone actor attacks against civilian targets in particular are easy to carry out, cost little, and cause significant media interest after the event. Lone actors are not always completely alone. Some operate in small, homegrown, autonomous cells of likeminded people. Yet, without contacts with established groups and without attempts to solicit the assistance of FBI undercover officers, the autonomous cells are as hard to detect as the true lone actor.

Although lone actor terrorism has a long history, this is also the type of terrorism increasingly advocated by Al-Qaida and the Islamic State. This is logical, since these groups, because of constant pressure from the security services, have significantly fewer opportunities to prepare large-scale terrorist attacks than they used to have. Indeed, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula even publishes an English-language online magazine, Inspire, which is devoted to teaching wannabe terrorists in the West how to commit acts of terrorism. On 7 March 2010, the American convert to Islam and AlQaida spokesman, Adam Gadahn, in his English-language video A Call to Arms, urged jihadists to strike targets that were close to them. Gadahn in particular emphasized the “historic and trend-setting operation” carried out the previous year by Nidal Hasan. On 5 November 2009, Major Nidal Hasan, a Muslim U.S. Army officer, opened fire on his colleagues at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 people and injuring 32.

Gadahn described Nidal Hasan as “a pioneer, trailblazer, and a rolemodel. . . for every Muslim who finds himself among the unbelievers.” Gadahn also emphasized the difficulty faced by the security services in preempting such attacks:

Brother Nidal didn’t . . . discuss his plans over government-monitored and -controlled telephone and computer systems, nor did he confide his secrets to recent acquaintances . . . Brother Nidal wasn’t taken in by the provocateurs who infiltrate the Masjids [mosques] and Muslim communities of America with hidden microphones in order to entrap Muslims eager to perform the duty of Jihad. And Brother Nidal didn’t unnecessarily raise his security profile or waste money better spent on the operation itself by traveling abroad to acquire skills and instructions which could easily be acquired at home, or indeed, deduced by using one’s own powers of logic and reasoning.

Gadahn also explained the many benefits of employing lone actor terrorism as a strategic choice. He advised Western Muslims that you shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that military bases are the only high-value targets in America and the West. On the contrary, there are countless other strategic places, institutions and installations which, by striking, the Muslim can do major damage to the Crusader West and further our global agenda and long-range strategic objectives. We must look to further undermine the West’s already-struggling economies with carefully timed and targeted attacks on symbols of capitalism which will again shake consumer confidence and stifle spending. We must keep in mind how even apparently unsuccessful attacks on Western mass transportation systems can bring major cities to a halt, cost the enemy billions and send his corporations into bankruptcy. We must erode our cowardly enemy’s will to fight by killing and capturing leading Crusaders and Zionists in government, industry, and media who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk and are only interested in prosecuting their profitable wars as long as it’s other people who are in the line of fire and not them.[1]

While many lone actor terrorist attacks remain amateur in their planning and execution, Breivik proved that a diligently planned and executed lone actor attack can be devastating. Yet, guns and explosives are not the only dangers from lone actors. The ultimate lone actor would not be Breivik but the insider with knowledge of and access to hazardous chemical, biological, or radiological materials. Real and alleged anthrax letters have turned up in many countries. The half-dozen letters containing anthrax spores that turned up in the United States soon after the 9/11 2001 attacks were mailed to journalists and politicians, including Tom Brokaw at NBC-TV, the editor of the New York Post, and Senators Thomas Daschle and Patrick Leahy. Dozens of people tested positive for anthrax exposure, five of whom died. No less than 30,000 people were deemed at risk and required prophylactic antibiotics. Eventually, suspicions were directed against a scientist who for decades had worked on anthrax at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. In this particular case, only a handful of anthrax letters were sent. It takes little imagination to guess what a more dedicated lone actor insider could have achieved, had he access to such dangerous substances.

Lone actor terrorism is not a choice of tactics. The lone actor approach in terrorism is not limited to improvised explosive devices, nor to any other particular type of weapon. As will be shown, lone actor terrorists have attacked with weapons as easy to acquire as ordinary knives. Akin to the lone actor terrorist are two other types of lone actors: active shooters and insider threats in information technology. While the active shooter can be devastating, the nonviolent lone actor, the insider threat, can cause damage that in the present information age may be less lethal but will yet make a substantial impact on society.

Lone actors in the annals of terrorism

Lone actor terrorism is not a matter of ideology. The concept of lone actor terrorism can be compared to the concept of “propaganda by the deed” (propagande par le fait) as emphasized by several nineteenth-century anarchists. While the origin of this term and concept is murky, there are important similarities in modus operandi between the early anarchists and modern lone actor terrorists, regardless of their professed ideology.

Two key anarchist ideologues were Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876), who, at the age of 26, renounced his noble heritage for that of the professional revolutionary, and—to an even higher degree—Peter Kropotkin (1842–1921), another, even more highly elevated, scion of a noble house who also abandoned his heritage for that of the revolution. Bakunin inspired revolutionaries by his deeds and passion; Kropotkin inspired by his idealistic theories and writings.[2] Others assumed a more hands-on leadership style. Errico Malatesta (1853–1932), at an international congress in Bern in 1876, launched “the continuous war against established institutions, this is what we call the permanent revolution!”[3]—then became one of the leaders of the 1877 Benevento insurrection in Italy. Paul Brousse (1844–1912) popularized the concept of propagande par le fait from December 1876 onwards in several anarchist publications.[4] On 9 June 1877, the Italian anarchist and socialist Andrea Costa (1851–1910) organized a conference in Geneva on propagande par le fait. Three years later, Peter Kropotkin, in his newspaper, advocated “the permanent revolt by talking, by writing, by the dagger, the rifle, the dynamite.”[5] Such a policy was also adopted six months later by the London Congress of the International Workingmen’s Association, also known as the First International, which was attended by various anarchist delegations. The Congress announced that “the time has come to . . . act, and to add propaganda by deed and insurrectionary actions to oral and written propaganda, which have proven ineffective.”[6]

These anarchist ideologues inspired targeted terrorist attacks against officials and heads of states throughout the Western world, including the French President Sadi Carnot in 1894, Empress Elisabeth of Austria in 1898, King Umberto I of Italy in 1900, and U.S. President William McKinley in 1901. However, they also inspired indiscriminate terrorism, such as the attack on the Paris Stock Exchange in 1886 (effectively a failure since no one was killed) and the two bombs aimed at the audience at the Grand Lyceum (in Spanish ‘Liceo’; in Catalan ‘Liceu’) Theater in Barcelona in 1893. From the point of view of the perpetrators, all members of the bourgeoisie were enemies of the working people. Since all members of the bourgeoisie thus deserved nothing but death, not one of them could be regarded as an innocent victim if killed in an act of terrorism. Promoters of the anarchist movement made information on the handling of explosives, manufacture of bombs, and use of other weapons widely available through newspapers and publications such as the do-it-yourself guide to the use of dynamite, L’Indicateur Anarchiste (“Anarchist Manual”), published in 1887 and translated into English, Italian, Spanish, and German. While many anarchists were organized into and took action as groups, others chose to act on their own as autonomous cells or loners, self-tasked and self-activated.[7]

Then, two world wars later, an American colonel named Ulius L. Amoss (1895–1961), a former operative of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), introduced the concept of Leaderless Resistance. Amoss developed this concept in 1953 as a means to encourage resistance to Soviet rule in Eastern Europe. Frustrated by the frequent penetration by Soviet intelligence organs of the existing resistance cells in Eastern Europe, Amoss proposed that American support be shifted from the classic Second World War-era, hierarchical model of underground resistance organizations to what he termed Leaderless Resistance, that is, independent and autonomous cells guided only by common strategic objectives. Amoss noted: we do not need “leaders”; we need leading ideas. These ideas would produce leaders. The masses would produce them and the ideas would be their inspiration. Therefore, we must create these ideas and convey them to the restless peoples concerned with them.

The Amoss concept was first used in 1961, probably without any involvement by Amoss himself, when leaflets were airdropped over Cuba by anticommunist Cuban exiles and, presumably, their allies within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The leaflets called for the creation of a “Phantom Cell” (Celula fantasma) movement, a mode of organization which consisted of autonomous cells with no central control or direction.[8] Thirty years after the Amoss plan, in 1983, the concept was taken over by another American, Louis Beam, a white supremacist. Beam regarded the late Amoss as having been concerned with communist takeover not in Eastern Europe—but in the United States. Inspired by the Committees of Correspondence of the American War of Independence, groups appointed in 1772 by the legislature in the 13 British American colonies to provide colonial leadership, Beam saw the Leaderless Resistance concept as a means to prevent the federal government of the United States from expanding into what he perceived to be state tyranny. Beam envisaged a program of independent phantom cell or individual action, guided by no more than an identical outlook and philosophy. The philosophy, in Beam’s case a will to defeat state tyranny which would cause all members of phantom cells and concerned individuals to react in the same way and through common tactics of resistance, would be disseminated by newspapers, leaflets, and electronic media.[9] Leaderless Resistance emphasized small, self-sustaining, autonomous cells, or individuals, without any formalized leadership. Driven by ideology, the elements involved would take independent action.

But the concept of lone actors and autonomous cells did not remain the intellectual property of either extreme left wing or extreme right wing organizations. Even before Beam popularized the idea of Leaderless Resistance, the environmental extremist and animal rights extremist movements had taken note of this concept—and mobilized to use it. And from the early twenty-first century, as noted above, the idea of lone actors and autonomous cells also became the choice of necessity of Al-Qaida, the Islamic State, and the global jihadist movement. Besides, there is a psychological factor at play as well. Staging a spectacular act of violence alone allows an individual to attract the attention of the world and may, in some cases, to some extent be intended for this very purpose. As Jelle van Buuren has noted, performative violence is not so much directed against the world as it is a construction of identity through a spectacular act of violence.[10] The classicists among us will immediately recognize the motivation of Herostratus, who in 356 bc set fire to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus for no other reason than to gain eternal fame. There is thus no shortage of ideologies and motivations for those who are prepared to take up arms against society and their fellow man by choosing the path of the lone actor.

Definitions

To publish a book on such a controversial subject as terrorism would be foolhardy without first defining the subject of the study. In this particular case, there is first a need to define what we mean when we discuss ‘terrorism’ as a concept. Are we concerned with national or international law, a social construct, or the nature of a particular policy chosen by individuals for a variety of reasons?

The problem of defining terrorism is aptly put in the well-known statement that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” which has been around almost since the beginning of modern terrorism. Yet, terrorism can be defined, as a phenomenon and principle if perhaps not yet as an international judicial term. Since 2000, the United Nations General Assembly has been negotiating a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which defines terrorism as follows:

1 Any person commits an offence within the meaning of this Convention if that person, by any means, unlawfully and intentionally, causes: a Death or serious bodily injury to any person; or b Serious damage to public or private property, including a place of public use, a State or government facility, a public transportation system, an infrastructure facility or the environment; or c Damage to property, places, facilities, or systems referred to in paragraph 1 (b) of this article, resulting or likely to result in major economic loss, when the purpose of the conduct, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a Government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act.

2 Any person also commits an offence if that person makes a credible and serious threat to commit an offence as set forth in paragraph 1 of this article.

3 Any person also commits an offence if that person attempts to commit an offence as set forth in paragraph 1 of this article.[11]

Unfortunately, agreement could not be reached within the General Assembly since the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and others wished to reserve the right to use terrorism for Palestinians against Israel, and also because of difficulties in how to assess state terrorism. The OIC proposed the following exceptions to solve these issues, neither of which would change the offered definition of the nature of terrorism (numbers refer to paragraphs):

2 The activities of the parties during an armed conflict, including in situations of foreign occupation, as those terms are understood under international humanitarian law, which are governed by that law, are not governed by this Convention.

3 The activities undertaken by the military forces of a State in the exercise of their official duties, inasmuch as they are in conformity with international law, are not governed by this Convention.[12]

In the United States, the Code of Federal Regulations from 1969 defines terrorism in a few brief but well-chosen words on the duties of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation: “Terrorism includes the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”[13]

The European Union defines terrorism in Article 1 of the Council Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism of 13 June 2002. This provides that terrorist offenses are certain criminal offenses set out in a list consisting of serious offenses against persons and property.

1 Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that the intentional acts referred to below in points (a) to (i), as defined as offences under national law, which, given their nature or context, may seriously damage a country or an international organisation where committed with the aim of:

• seriously intimidating a population, or

• unduly compelling a Government or international organisation to perform or abstain from performing any act, or

• seriously destabilising or destroying the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country or an international organisation, shall be deemed to be terrorist offences: a attacks upon a person’s life which may cause death; b attacks upon the physical integrity of a person; c kidnapping or hostage taking; d causing extensive destruction to a Government or public facility, a transport system, an infrastructure facility, including an information system, a fixed platform located on the continental shelf, a public place or private property likely to endanger human life or result in major economic loss; e seizure of aircraft, ships or other means of public or goods transport; f manufacture, possession, acquisition, transport, supply or use of weapons, explosives or of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, as well as research into, and development of, biological and chemical weapons; g release of dangerous substances, or causing fires, floods or explosions the effect of which is to endanger human life; h interfering with or disrupting the supply of water, power or any other fundamental natural resource the effect of which is to endanger human life; i threatening to commit any of the acts listed in (a) to (h).[14]

What all these definitions agree on is that terrorism is the unlawful use of violence, or the threat thereof, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or an international organization, to perform or abstain from performing any act. This will be the definition followed in this work, since it does not address the question of what goal motivated the act of terrorism. Of the definitions cited above, the United States Code of Federal Regulations, which, incidentally but not without relevance, is the oldest of the definitions cited, is the only one which insists on the “political or social objectives” of terrorists. However, as will be shown, it is by no means certain that political or social motivations form the key motivational factors for many terrorists, and this applies to lone actor terrorists as well. Besides, goals can be personal as well as political or social, yet be an attempt to coerce society. Furthermore, the mere fact that the perpetrator’s demands are incoherently formulated or do not make much sense to us is insufficient reason to dismiss their importance to the perpetrator.

Having defined what we mean by terrorism, it is time to define the lone actor terrorist so as to distinguish this particular creature from the more common, group-based terrorist. Some refer to lone actor terrorists as lone wolves, a choice of terminology which arguably is more common in the media and scholarly works. The term lone wolf is, as will be shown, also used by some terrorists and supporters of terrorism for this particular phenomenon. We consider lone actor terrorist a better, and certainly more neutral, term, in analogy with the term lone offender which is used by many law enforcement organizations including the FBI. Among practitioners, there is an understanding that the popular media use of the term ‘lone wolf’ to some might suggest a daring, even admirable perpetrator— grounds for martyr or hero status.[15] To glorify the perpetrator of an act of terrorism, endowing him or her with admirable qualities such as initiative, courage, and skill, might easily encourage others to emulate the deed. The research collective behind the present volume shares this assessment, and during the original Stockholm Lone Wolf Terrorism seminar, the participants suggested that the term lone actor be used instead of lone wolf.[16]

Those popularly known as ‘lone wolf’ or lone actor terrorists comprise two distinct categories: those who are self-activated and take action alone, and those who act alone but are activated by a leader or a group. In this work, we will refer to the first category as lone actor terrorists and the second category, when referred to at all, as solo terrorists.[17] The two categories are not always easy to tell apart, in particular when evidence is lacking in the immediate aftermath of an act of terrorism. Besides, as Jelle van Buuren reminds us later in this book, the definition of lone actor terrorism is not only a technical issue but also by definition a highly social and political one, since it is often deemed less troublesome for media and politics to view acts of political violence as the work of loners instead of acts of organized networks.

From the practitioner’s point of view, an early definition of the lone actor terrorist was an individual who is inspired by a terrorist ideology or organization to conduct independent attacks. They may receive support from friends, but plan and conduct the attack alone.. . . Non-ideological factors, such as personal revenge, greed or coercion, do not appear to be motivators.[18]

However, while this description of the perpetrator defines the phenomenon, and notes the potential for support from the perpetrator’s friends, the description does not, as will be shown, encompass the full range of what can, in our assessment, only be referred to as lone actor and autonomous cell terrorism. Non-ideological factors do play a role, and often a significant one.

Based on many of the best-known cases of lone actor terrorism, most of which will be described below, it can be argued that lone actor terrorists are those who operate individually, do not belong to any organized terrorist group or network, act on their own behalf without having been instructed to do so by any outside leader, and conceive of tactics and methods without any immediate outside direction. They may sympathize with a terrorist group or a given ideology but pursue their political, social, or religious aims through the use of violence independently of existing terrorist groups or networks.

Yet, not all lone actors act alone. Some took action alone, but with the assistance of one or a few helpers—an autonomous cell. Evidence suggests that most lone actors were radicalized in a social context, often with the Internet as a medium. Although genuine lone actor terrorism is the result of solitary action during which the direct influence, advice, or support of others is absent, such action and its justification do not take place in a vacuum. There are interactions between even the most isolated of lone actor terrorists and their environment. Group dynamics may also, at least to some extent, influence an individual who operates autonomously. At the same time, the actions of lone actors may also inspire extremist and terrorist organizations, in particular those dependent on group dynamics and organized as loose networks instead of tight-knit, hierarchical groups.[19]

Lone actor terrorists are not those who establish contact with organized terrorist groups and travel to conflict zones in search of training and the hope of joining a group. Lone actors are those who seldom if ever have any real-world contact with terrorist groups or other radicalized individuals and who do not receive any support beyond what can be had by passive consumption of materials on the Internet. They are thus selftasked, self-activated, and typically, homegrown. Indeed, converts, and those formerly irreligious who suddenly find and embrace religious extremism, and who choose to engage in religiously motivated violence, may form a particularly significant subgroup of potential lone actor terrorists. Certainly a number of jihadists can be found within this category.

Lone actor terrorists are also not the same as operatives of established terrorist groups, or sleepers, nor do they form sleeper cells. A sleeper is an operative who, after infiltrating the society he or she is tasked to target, remains dormant until ordered into action. Whether terrorists in fact use sleepers is debatable. Foreign intelligence services use sleepers but their strategic choices and reasons for doing so are quite different from those of terrorist groups—even if the ultimate objective may be to engage in terrorism against the host country in case of a future international crisis.

Finally, lone actors are also not the same as solo terrorists, who carry out their acts of terrorism on their own but have previously been in contact with terrorist groups or radicalized individuals and carry out attacks on their behalf. It may at times be difficult to distinguish between lone actors, who carry out acts of terrorism on their own behalf but inspired by extremist ideologues, and solo terrorists, who carry out attacks on behalf of the very same ideologues and do so either under instructions or on their own initiative. A solo terrorist may be self-tasked but is typically not self-activated. As will be shown, there is another, practical difference between lone actors and solo terrorists, which in particular concerns jihadist terrorists. Among them, solo terrorists appear more likely than lone actor terrorists to travel to other countries to commit acts of terrorism.[20] The lone actor, on the other hand, tends to strike at or at least close to home, as the cases presented below will demonstrate.

Solo terrorists may well be a greater threat than lone actors, since they tend to have been trained and accordingly in most (but not necessarily all) cases have a greater capability to inflict damage. Available statistics do suggest that lone actor terrorism accounts for only a marginal, yet growing, proportion of all terrorist incidents—with lone actor terrorism increasing significantly in Europe although remaining a small part of total terrorist incidents.[21] However, while lone actors capable of causing mass casualties may be rare, they do exist.[22] They can under certain circumstances have a large impact on the society in which they take action. Besides, the unpredictability of lone actor terrorists makes them a greater challenge to the security services. Their unpredictability also means that somewhat different methods may be needed to identify and to counter lone actors as compared to group-based terrorists.

In addition, there are a number of varieties of lone actors. Ongoing research has noted characteristics in common between lone actors previously regarded as unrelated: terrorists, assassins, school shooters, and active shooters.[23] For this reason, school shooters and active shooters will be regarded as subcategories of lone actor terrorism. Similar characteristics are also at play for nonviolent lone actors, such as the insider threat in information security, which will be regarded as another subcategory of the phenomenon.

Findings from several studies suggest that lone actor terrorists are relatively more likely than group-based terrorists to suffer from some kind of psychological disturbance. Others, as will be shown, may have a history of family-related or social problems. Many are loners who seem to find it difficult to be accepted in established groups. Some may want to prove themselves to family and friends, and choose to do so by engaging in political violence.[24] As will be shown, the present study supports this finding, yet it cannot be said that psychological or social problems form a major factor in all cases of lone actor terrorism.

Besides, many loners are only loners offline. Most are part of online forums.[25] This particularly holds true for those loners who actually go on to carry out an act of terrorism. A key reason for the continuing popularity of movements as different as the Earth Liberation Front and Al-Qaida was their credible and appealing anti-establishment narrative and ideology with transnational fascination, together with easily accessible support, and, at times, even potentially operational support via the Internet. The assumption can therefore be made that lone actors do exist in a social context, even though this may be a mere online milieu.

In recent years, a number of studies have been based on data on demographic and background characteristics of lone actor terrorists of various kinds. In 1999, Robert Fein and Bryan Vossekuil analyzed a dataset of all 83 persons known to have attacked, or approached to attack, a prominent public person in the United States since 1949.[26] Then, Vossekuil et al. compiled a dataset of 37 incidents of targeted school shootings from 1974 to June 2000.[27] The New York City Police Department (NYPD) published an analysis of 324 active shooter incidents (including some unsuccessful ones) between 1966 and 2012, taken primarily from the United States but including incidents from a total of 27 countries.[28] Ramón Spaaij worked with a dataset of 88 lone actors across 15 countries who carried out successful attacks in the period between 1968 and 2010, the dataset then being the most comprehensive sample of lone actor terrorism.[29] Charles Eby collected and analyzed data from 53 cases of lone actor terrorism in the United States since 9/11 2001.[30] Jeff Gruenewald et al. worked with a dataset of ideologically motivated right wing extremists, taken from 139 fatal attacks in the United States between 1990 and 2010.[31] The FBI identified and analyzed 160 active shooter incidents in the United States between 2000 and 2013.32Paul Gill, John Horgan, and Paige Deckert analyzed a sample of 119 individuals, the sample being taken from those who were either convicted of an offense or died in the commission of their offense in the United States and Europe since 1990.[33] Gill continued his work with a dataset of 111 lone actors, apparently the same as in the previous study but excluding autonomous cells and those who acted alone but in facilitative roles.[34] Michael Becker analyzed a set of 84 attempted and perpetrated lone actor terrorist attacks in the United States between 1940 and 2012 (autonomous cells were excluded).[35] Spaaij, Eby, Becker, the FBI, and NYPD published lists of the individuals selected, while others did not. Vossekuil et al. published their list of school shooter incidents, but without naming the perpetrators. Since all studies used different definitions of what constitutes a lone actor (or assassin, or school shooter, and so on), the results are not easily comparable, even though they do suggest a number of common findings. However, there are other major obstacles in analyzing the results of the studies with regard to demographic and background characteristics of lone actor terrorists. First, most studies focused on, and in some cases only included, successful attacks. Second, Gill et al. have already pointed out that the sample only includes information on individuals who planned or conducted incidents reported in the media. It is possible incidents were missed that either (i) led to convictions but did not register any national media interest. . . or (ii) were intercepted or disrupted by security forces without a conviction being made.[36]

That this certainly is so can be confirmed by the present editor, who, in his work for the Swedish police, encountered cases which never went to court and were never noted by the media, for the simple reason that by acting on available intelligence and seizing weapons, the police disrupted the plot. With weapons and/or explosives taken into custody, the perpetrator could not carry out a lethal attack. However, since no attack had yet taken place and there was no confession, no prosecution for terrorism was possible. This is a well-known intelligence dilemma; if intelligence is used to disrupt a plot, then the outcome suggested by intelligence does not take place, hence the intelligence cannot be proven to have been correct. Yet, the alternative would have been to allow a suspect to continue what seemed to be preparation for a deadly attack—hardly an ideal outcome.

The data on perpetrators whose plots were disrupted without subsequent prosecution are not likely to be released to researchers, since to do so would infringe upon the personal privacy of the suspects. As a result, even the excellent work on consolidated datasets which has taken place by eminent scholars remains incomplete, and is likely to remain so. Statistical studies are only as reliable and valid as the data relied upon.[37] The present study makes use of some statistical data, yet relies more on a qualitative than quantitative analysis of the lone actor phenomenon.

Nonetheless, an analysis of demographic and background characteristics of lone actor terrorists is necessary to fully understand the phenomenon. We agree with Randy Borum, Fein, and Vossekuil that any classification scheme or typology will be most useful if it supports investigators and analysts “to think and make decisions about the case” from an operational perspective.[38] Borum et al. suggest that the multiple dimensions are best viewed along a continuum, instead of through what might be false dichotomies. They suggest that dimensions of lone actor terrorism might include loneness, direction, and motivation.[39] To regard these dimensions along a continuum may certainly assist practitioners in understanding an ongoing case, and there is little doubt that our understanding of characteristics such as loneness, motivation, and the degree of influence of ideology relative to psychological and social factors would benefit from such an analysis. However, it would not easily accommodate any system of taxonomy of lone actor terrorists such as would facilitate an analysis of the phenomenon as a whole.

For this reason, there have been few attempts to suggest typologies of lone actor terrorists based on their particular characteristics. Raffaello Pantucci made an early and major attempt to do so focused on a framework of three different typologies: the Loner, the Lone Wolf, and the Lone Wolf Pack.[40] Although these typologies will not be used in the present study, describing them may well assist in understanding the different varieties of lone actor terrorists.

In this framework, the loner is an isolated individual who seeks to carry out an act of terrorism using extremist ideology as his or her justification, despite never having had any actual or virtual connection or contact with other extremists beyond passive consumption of materials on the Internet. This seems to be the rarest type of lone actor.[41]

The lone wolf is an individual who seeks to carry out an act of terrorism using extremist ideology as his or her justification, appears to operate alone, in particular in the real world as opposed to online, but demonstrates some level of contact with operational extremists and terrorist instigators.[42]

The lone wolf pack is a group of individuals—an autonomous cell—who seek to carry out an act of terrorism using extremist ideology as their justification, and appears to operate alone, in particular in the real world as opposed to online. The Lone Wolf Pack, which might be the proverbial “bunch of guys,”[43] may or may not have had some level of contact with operational terrorists, yet demonstrates no particular command and control features. Like other lone actors, they are self-activated and selftasked.[44] Law enforcement and security services tasked to preempt the attack of an autonomous cell face much the same challenges as with regard to other lone actors.

While these distinctions are of interest, a difficulty for the practitioner is that evidence of actual or virtual connection or contact with other extremists or terrorists beyond passive consumption of materials on the Internet often is lacking, or only surfaces after a considerable period of investigation. It is often not immediately obvious whether an act of terrorism was carried out by a lone actor or a group. To clarify this might in certain cases take years of investigation, and the same goes for determining which were the motivating factors. New evidence might become available at a later date which overturns previous conclusions, or which confirms them.[45] Such information is seldom available in the news reporting on which the information in most terrorism databases relies. It is accordingly difficult to draw a distinction, with any certainty, between the Loner and the Lone Wolf, and when further evidence is unearthed, it sometimes becomes clear that what at first looked like the act of a Loner or a Lone Wolf in fact was that of a Lone Wolf Pack.[46] Besides, there remains the issue of defining what we mean by group membership. Gill has offered four different interpretations: (1) membership in a “social movement,” (2) membership in an “ideological support network,” (3) membership in an “operational support network,” and (4) membership in an “operational cell.”[47] Most lone actors can be seen as members of a social movement (even school shooters can be regarded as constituting a social movement, as can suicide cults) and in addition some were members of an online ideological support network. An autonomous cell would here be defined as an operational cell, but one without links to any organized terrorist group beyond a shared belief in the values of a particular social movement. Consequently, the definitions of lone actor and autonomous cell terrorism adopted in this work are as follows:

Lone actors operate individually, do not belong to or have direct links to any organized terrorist group or network, engage in solitary and autonomous violence independent of that of existing terrorist groups or networks, act on their own behalf without having been instructed to do so by any outside leader, and conceive of tactics and methods without any immediate outside direction. They may sympathize with a terrorist group or a given ideology but pursue their political, social, or religious aims through the use of violence independently of existing terrorist groups or networks. Lone actors may constitute an autonomous cell of a few friends, but if so, they nevertheless operate on their own without orders from—or even connections to—an organization. The four key characteristics of lone actors and autonomous cells are that they are self-activated, self-tasked, operate alone, and engage in violence against persons or property.

Psychological versus ideological factors

We are not going to enter the popular debate concerned with identifying and addressing the so-called ‘root causes’ of terrorism. As Horgan has noted, the belief in root causes assumes “a naïve and simplistic cause and effect relationship, which in reality does not exist.”[48] However, as the following chapters will show, psychology seems to play a major explanatory role in most or all forms of lone actor terrorism. This has been found by previous research as well.[49] However, this conclusion brings certain implications. On the one hand, it becomes easier to analyze the similarities between the disparate types of lone actors. On the other, however, it becomes harder fully to understand what it is that drives a given individual eventually to carry out a lone actor attack. It is not only a matter of psychiatric or social problems, which help to explain some lone actor terrorists, or individual or collective grievances, which form part of the explanation of others. In fact, many terrorists—not only lone actors—can be better understood in terms of the individual wishing to satisfy a need for validation and self-esteem, or even a need to create a new identity as a hero for himself, rather than in terms of any strong ideological underpinnings. Indeed, the constructed identity as a hero often goes hand in hand with a feeling of belonging to a struggling, righteous out-group, a counterculture. In the words of Ed Husain, a British one-time promoter of jihad who never entered the path of terrorism: “Now I was not a mere Muslim, like all the others I knew; I was better, superior.”[50] When asked why she stabbed a member of parliament, British lone actor Roshonara Choudhry replied: “I think I’ve fulfilled my obligation, my Islamic duty to stand up for the people of lraq and to punish someone who wanted to make war with them.”[51] Compare this state of mind with that of the early anarchist Auguste Vaillant who wrote: “I have done my duty [by throwing the bomb], I have done all I could to hasten the demolition of the society which kills us, and its substitution by a better one.”[52] The sense of superiority and fulfillment can be a powerful motivator. A further similarity between Choudhry and Vaillant is that both found and became enthusiasts for their chosen ideology in a comparatively short time. Indeed, many of the lone actors described in the following chapters, including Choudhry and Vaillant, will be shown to have turned to violent acts quite soon after becoming enthusiasts for their chosen ideology.

As Knut Sturidsson argues (in Chapter 11), it is common to attribute behavior, be it criminal or less dramatic behavior, to motives such as an ambition to change the world to make it a better place (that is, ideological motives). Yet, behavior is arguably more often driven by forces more proximal to the individual, such as the need for a sense of coherence, a need for validation, or a need for self-esteem (that is, psychological motives). For individuals with a distorted view of the world and others, these proximal driving forces may very well be expressed in a similarly distorted fashion, even including the killing of others to fulfill psychological needs of the perpetrator. When examining cases of lone actor terrorism, it does indeed turn out that many perpetrators are more driven by psychological than by ideological motives. This does not mean that there are no ideological motives, only that psychological (or indeed socio-psychological) ones in many cases are more important drivers. As argued above, dimensions such as psychological and ideological motives are best analyzed along a continuum, not as rigid ‘either/ or’ dichotomies. A similar argument is made by Emily Corner and Gill, who also draw other pertinent conclusions with regard to lone actors.[53] Ideological and psychological motives are not mutually exclusive and it might be that it is their combination, with each other and with social factors, that propels an individual into lone actor or any other form of terrorism.

There is indeed evidence that the rate of mental illness is higher among lone actor terrorists than among group-based terrorists. The same goes for social isolation.[54] These two findings may be linked but this is not necessarily so. However, there is also evidence that terrorists diagnosed with mental illness frequently displayed rational motives despite this.[55] In fact, perhaps the most intriguing conclusion drawn by Corner and Gill is that lone actors with a history of mental illness are more likely to be associated with single-issue ideologies than with jihadism or right wing extremism.[56] This could go some way toward explaining the persistence of many environmental extremist and animal rights extremist actors, the activities of whom may span decades (see Chapter 4).

Both ideological and psychological motives will show up repeatedly as drivers in the various lone actor cases described in the coming chapters.

Yet, it will only seldom be possible to identify with any level of certainty which drivers were the dominant ones. In the following chapter, dealing with the early anarchist lone actors, Richard Bach Jensen will demonstrate that although many political figures and newspapers, and some experts, were eager to write off the acts of terrorism of the early anarchists as the product of mental imbalance, such attribution aimed to reassure the public that national leaders and institutions were benevolent and sound, targets that no sane person would wish to attack. Even so, the anarchist perpetrators, in a striking similarity to modern cases such as that of Breivik, sought to seize control of the narrative by not only denying mental illness but also affirming their courage, character, and virtue. Although this makes it hard to reach definitive conclusions as to what drove them to violence—some appear to have been mentally balanced, others not—in no case did ideology alone motivate the early anarchists to carry out acts of indiscriminate terrorism. Many did so in reaction to real injustices, such as unjust executions, the killing of women and children, or personal traumas. As Jensen argues, these injustices and emotions provided the motive power, while the ideology, often very crudely and superficially understood, suggested the targets. This pattern has endured into the present, regardless of professed ideology, with real or perceived injustices and emotions remaining the driver, while ideologies indicate targets for terrorists to take action against. José Pedro Zúquete will describe (in Chapter 2) how the ideology of contemporary anarchists and the extreme left wing drives some, while Miroslav Mareš and Richard Stojar will do the same (in Chapter 3) with regard to the extreme right wing. Even within the environmental extremist and animal rights extremist movements, as Elżbieta Posłuszna and Miroslav Mareš will explain (in Chapter 4), some individuals combine a professed ideology with a sense of real or perceived grievance into a powerful force for action. The same, as will become clear, can also be concluded about jihadist terrorists.

It has indeed been demonstrated in previous studies that ideological formation cannot be excluded from social and psychological processes and mechanisms, and that terrorists are heterogeneous and display a variety of traits. There is no consistent profile for terrorists.[57] However, recent research indicates that there are indeed differences between subgroups of lone actor terrorists, specifically, those distinguished by differing ideologies. Differences have been shown to exist with regard to average age, level of education, likelihood of seeking legitimization from religious, political, social, or civic leaders, likelihood of living in a small town as opposed to a major city, likelihood of a previous criminal record, and so on.[58] For this reason, it makes sense for practitioners in law enforcement and security services tasked with the anticipation and prevention of terrorist acts of violence to be aware of the ideological characteristics of the subgroups of lone actors. This is also the principal idea for the organization of the present work.

Jeffrey Simon has argued that there may indeed be yet another subgroup of lone actor, the one motivated by monetary gain. The effect on government and society, he argues, would be identical to the effects of lone actor terrorist attacks driven by other motivations. As examples, Simon offered John Gilbert Graham (1932–1957), who in 1955 carried out the first major mid-air airliner bombing in the United States, and Panos Koupparis (b. 1951), who in 1987 threatened to release a toxic chemical in Cyprus unless the government paid him a substantial amount of money. Graham’s criminal act caused outrage, resulted in harsher legislation, and led to an increased number of bomb threats to airlines. Koupparis’ blackmail was kept secret until after he was arrested, but his threat had the potential to cause considerable panic had it become known to the public.[59] The difficulty with Simon’s arguments in favor of classifying these lone offenders as lone actor terrorists is that then almost any type of crime committed by a loner or a small group would have to be included. Besides, crime for monetary gain, including blackmail, is customarily not categorized as terrorism. It goes without saying that criminal acts may cause outrage and fear, and result in harsher legislation regardless of the number, or motivations, of perpetrators. For these reasons, the theme of monetary gain as a motive in lone actor terrorism will not be further pursued in this volume.

However, Simon was no doubt right when he attributed a creative and innovative nature to many lone actor terrorists. As an example, he noted that the first vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in the United States, the devastating Wall Street bombing in 1920, was perpetrated by an anarchist lone actor, Mario Buda (1884–1963), who had hidden a large bomb in a horse-drawn wagon. Simon argued that since lone actors and autonomous cells are unburdened by the decision-making process of organized terrorist groups and accountable only to themselves, they are free to think up any plot, however unusual, without suffering the ridicule or veto of others, and then act on it. In addition, lone actors are usually unconcerned about whether the government will crackdown on a group or movement after the attack and, having no need to rely on others for financial, logistical, or political support, they are often equally unconcerned about negative reactions by the public to an attack.[60]

Addressing the threat

Are there methods to identify and counter the lone actor before he strikes? As already mentioned, the use of police informers and agents provocateurs who offer to assist wannabe terrorists with weapons and explosives in sting operations is one method which will ensnare some potential lone actor terrorists. However, the use of agents provocateurs may, if handled irresponsibly, cause more harm than good. Richard Bach Jensen will demonstrate (Chapter 1) that police action in fact directly contributed to early lone actor anarchist terrorism, through the use of agents provocateurs who encouraged anarchists to engage in violent action with the excuse that this would allow the police to monitor the anarchist extremists and eventually arrest them. Besides, police cruelty to anarchists fueled the survivors’ lust for revenge and new acts of terrorism.

There are other means of identifying persons at risk of becoming sufficiently radicalized so as to engage in violence. Jelle van Buuren will describe (in Chapter 7) the response to terrorism referred to as networked security, in effect a strategy of responsibilization which involves actors outside the traditional security field. A comprehensive network of institutions ranging from law enforcement to social services to mental health care will be expected to cooperate to identify those at risk of taking up violence. The key will be to focus on actual behavior understood in the light of personality characteristics. If combined with the monitoring of weak signals, for instance online activity as described in the chapter by Lisa Kaati and Fredrik Johansson (Chapter 13), or when a person who is known to have a preoccupation with xenophobic ideas and be prone to monomania starts to show an interest in weapons and acquires guns and other potentially dangerous items, there is a very real chance to gather intelligence that can be used to detect a potential lone actor. If detected, there is also the possibility of preempting the individual at risk, by offering counseling or, in extreme cases, taking the person into custody. From a technical point of view, this is likely to prevent some terrorist attacks and save some lives. Yet, while networked security has resulted in successes, there are a number of concerns over how to set up a system with such wideranging powers and responsibilities, and what results this might have for society as a whole (see Chapters 7 and [15]). Networked security will have to address privacy issues and the right to free expression, something which is not always easy to distinguish from the advocacy of violence. Terrorists and potential terrorists of many ideologies form part of social movements that also include noncriminal organizations, groups, and individuals who carry out legal actions such as protests, rallies, propaganda, and charitable work in support of both jailed terrorists and innocent bystanders. Some terrorists described below will be shown to have participated in both legal and illegal activities. The challenge for law enforcement and the judicial system is that some of their illegal activities can only be understood in the light of these individuals’ legal advocacy and exercise of free speech.[61] Even if we could create a terrorist-proof society, would we want to live in it?

Our attempts to protect society from terrorists by means of intelligence gathering have already resulted in an entirely new problem, which shows intriguing similarities with the lone actor terrorist threat. This is the threat from the nonviolent lone actor, better known as the insider threat in information security. As will be explained by Joshua Sinai (Chapter 14), the insider threat in many ways shares the combination of psychological and ideological motives that acts as the driver for the violent type of lone actor, including a desire to construct oneself as a hero, and commitment to the ideologies that information must be free, that privacy must be restored, and that the very idea of the kind of Internet monitoring needed for an intelligence-driven system of networked security is repugnant. Will the time come when technology-minded insiders in industries beyond information security will use their skills to sabotage society from within? If so, and if critical infrastructure such as nuclear power plants becomes their target, terrorists may no longer need to search for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons to unleash massive destruction—such means would already be available to them (see Chapter 10).

The problem is further compounded by the fact that terrorists can also carry out acts of violence with any potentially dangerous items—for instance ordinary knives. In one of the few extraordinary cases of female lone actor terrorists, as Hanna Runeborg will show (Chapter 6), a young British woman, Roshonara Choudhry, went from quiet student to committed killer within a period of only a few months, and the knife became her chosen weapon. Could any system of security, networked or otherwise, have preempted this? Her primary motivation appears to have been ideological and religious, yet her case is possibly better compared to school shootings, which have increased in frequency over the years. Leena Malkki will show (Chapter 8) that there are indeed ideological factors at play here as well, even though psychological and social drivers may be more important. The related problem of active shooters, in some ways the grown-up variety of school shooters, will be covered by Joshua Sinai (Chapter 9).

As if these difficulties were not enough, one further issue needs to be addressed. At the time when an act of terrorism is carried out, first responders will usually not have information as to whether it was an act of lone actor terrorism, solo terrorism, or indeed any other case of violence. Besides, it will often not be immediately obvious which ideology motivated the act of terrorism, or indeed whether ideology was a motivating factor. As will be shown in the following chapters, lone actor terrorism is not something that can be explained by a single motivational factor. It accordingly behooves first responders within law enforcement and security forces to deal with the situation at hand without entertaining prejudices as to the identity, motivations, and possible demands of the perpetrators. Some lone actors were motivated by ideology (see Chapters 1 to [5]), while others wished to harm society for other reasons (Chapters 7 to [9]). Some terrorists at first gave the impression of being lone actors but, after thorough investigation, were assessed or confirmed to have been members of an organized network. Since it is difficult in the immediate aftermath of an act of terrorism to identify who is a genuine lone actor, any counter-strategy should ideally be able deal with all these types of violent individuals. In lone actor terrorism, it is in the final assessment the act of violence that counts, not the ideology or any possible psychological, family-related, or social problems behind it. A broad definition and an open mind will thus be helpful in countering the problem.

There have been calls for more analytical rigor in lone actor terrorism research. Specifically, this has concerned the definition of lone actor, and whether one, two, or three perpetrators, or an autonomous cell, might be defined as such.[62] However, for the reasons described above, to the practitioner this is of less importance than the difficulties involved in actually detecting and preventing a lone actor attack. Of arguably higher importance is the limited availability of reliable data on lone actor attacks. It is unfortunate, but sadly understandable—because of legislation on legal procedures and personal privacy—that much knowledge in relation to lone actor terrorism, and in particular unsuccessful lone actor terrorism, remains under lock and key in the form of data restricted to law enforcement and security services. We thus return to the issue raised by Marc Sageman in his essay “The Stagnation of Research on Terrorism,”[63] already referred to. Despite arguments to the contrary in the academic literature, we contend that “[t]he decision to separate the academic and intelligence study of terrorism [has been] crucial to the stagnation of the field.”[64]

Nonetheless, we now have considerable data on lone actor terrorism at our disposal, including case studies from a variety of ideological backgrounds. Effective prevention strategies can accordingly be developed, indeed have been developed in a number of countries. We will return to the questions of how to address the threat and the introduction of response strategies in the final chapters.

Notes

1 Adam Gadahn, A Call to Arms (As-Sahab, 7 March 2010), transcript, Public Intelligence web site (http://publicintelligence.net), 17 March 2010, with link to video.

2 On Bakunin and Kropotkin, see, e.g., Paul Avrich, The Russian Anarchists

(Oakland: AK Press, 2005).

3 In Malatesta’s words, “la guerre continuelle aux institutions établies, voilà ce que nous appelons la révolution en permanence!”

4 Paul Brousse, Arbeiter Zeitung, 16 December 1876; Paul Brousse, “La propagande par le fait,” Bulletin de la Fédération jurassiene, 5 August 1877.

5 Le Révolté, 25 December 1880. Kropotkin wrote: “La révolte permanent par la parole, par l’écrit, par le poignard, le fusil, la dynamite.”

6 The congress, on 14 July 1881, became better known as the London Anarchist Congress, or in French, the Congrés international anarchiste de Londres.

7 On the early anarchists, see, e.g., Olivier Hubac-Occhipinti, “Anarchist Terrorists of the Nineteenth Century,” Gérard Chaliand and Arnaud Blin (eds), The History of Terrorism from Antiquity to Al Qaeda (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 113–31; Yves Ternon, “Russian Terrorism, 1878–1908,” Chaliand and Blin, History of Terrorism, 132–74. See also Richard Bach Jensen, The Battle against Anarchist Terrorism: An International History, 1878–1934 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

8 Political Research Associates web site, www.publiceye.org, which also reprints the cover of Ulius Louis Amoss’ book Leaderless Resistance: An Analysis (Baltimore,

Maryland: International Services of Information Foundation, 3 July 1953), the 1961 Celula fantasma air-drop leaflet, and other documents.

9 Louis Beam, “Leaderless Resistance,” The Seditionist 12, February 1992.

10 Jelle van Buuren, “Performative Violence? The Multitude of Lone Wolf Terrorism,” Terrorism: An Electronic Journal and Knowledge Base 1 (2012), 1–25.

11 Draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, Article 2, in United Nations, Report of the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, Sixth session (28 January–1 February 2002), General Assembly, Official Records, Fifty-seventh Session, Supplement No. 37 (A/57/37).

12 Draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, Annex IV, Texts relating to article 18 of the draft comprehensive convention, in United Nations, Report of the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, Sixth session (28 January–1 February 2002), General Assembly, Official Records, Fifty-seventh Session, Supplement No. 37 (A/57/37).

13 Code of Federal Regulations (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85; Order No. 423–69, 34 FR

20388, 31 Dec. 1969). Accessed on 19 May 2013 from: www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/ CFR-2001-title28-vol. 1/pdf/CFR-2001-title28-vol. 1-sec0–88.pdf.

14 Article 1, Council Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism of 13 June 2002.

15 B. M. Jenkins, Stray Dogs and Virtual Armies: Radicalization and Recruitment to Jihadist Terrorism in the United States since 9/11 (Santa Monica: RAND Corporation, 2011).

16 However, the use of the term lone wolf is so pervasive that even during the Stockholm seminar most participants in the discussions soon reverted to using the term lone wolf, even though they had just argued against its use.

17 The term solo terrorist is used by, among others, the Danish security service, PET, which uses it for an individual who “carries out an act of terror on his own” but “is or has previously been related to a terror group, has participated in radical networks or has been in a conflict area, e.g., in a training camp.” PET, The Threat from Solo Terrorism and Lone Wolf Terrorism, Center for Terroranalyse (CTA), 5 April 2011.

18 Integrated Threat Assessment Centre (ITAC), “Lone-Wolf” Attacks: A Developing Islamist Extremist Strategy? (ITAC, 29 June 2007), 2. ITAC forms part of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). The document was to a large extent declassified and has in this form since been widely disseminated.

19 Marc Sageman pioneered the concept of terrorists as a “bunch of guys” and has argued for an emphasis on group dynamics. See, e.g., Marc Sageman, Under- standing Terror Networks (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 107–113, 152–8, 178; Marc Sageman, Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 66–70, 138. On radicalization, see Randy Borum, “Radicalization into Violent Extremism I: A Review of Social Science Theories,” Journal of Strategic Security 4: 4 (2011), 7–36; Randy Borum, “Radicalization into Violent Extremism II: A Review of Conceptual Models and Empirical Research,” Journal of Strategic Security 4: 4 (2011), 37–62. On the role of group dynamics, see also Sophia Moskalenko and Clark McCauley, “The Psychology of Lone-Wolf Terrorism,” Counselling Psychology Quarterly 24: 2 (2011), 115–26; Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko, Friction: How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). Moskalenko and McCauley tend to view all forms of terrorism, including lone actor terrorism, as based in group dynamics, a conclusion which may excessively downplay some characteristics of key importance to understanding lone actors.

20 A clear example of terrorists traveling to another country to carry out an act of terrorism was the 2008 Barcelona plot, with involvement by a Pakistani group, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, “Movement of Pakistani Taliban”). In January 2008, more than a dozen men of Pakistani origin were arrested in Barcelona, Spain, as they were preparing suicide attacks. The men, 11 of whom were subsequently convicted, had trained in Pakistan and were sent to Europe by TTP leader Baitullah Mehsud with instructions to commit acts of terrorism. They were thus not self-activated. The TTP claimed responsibility for the plot, justifying it because of Spain’s involvement in Afghanistan. Even so, there were no signs that the TTP directed the operation, or did much in support beyond training and dispatching men. The terrorists were thus self-tasked. The designated suicide bombers were flown in to carry out the attack. Of the eleven convicted for the plot, only six were legal residents in Spain. All four designated suicide bombers arrived a few months before the planned attacks, from Sweden, Germany, Portugal, and the Netherlands. The fifth designated suicide bomber, unbeknownst to the others an informant to the French intelligence services and the one who alerted the security forces, arrived from France. Fernando Reinares, A New Composite Global Terrorism Threat to Western Societies from Pakistan? Making Sense of the January 2008 Suicide Bomb Plot in Barcelona (Elcano Royal Institute, Working Paper 28, 2010).

21 See, e.g., COT, Lone-Wolf Terrorism (n.p.: Instituut voor Veiligheidsen Crisismanagement, 2007), 85; Ramón Spaaij, “The Enigma of Lone Wolf Terrorism: An Assessment,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 33: 9 (2010), 854–70, on 859. Both were produced by Spaaij, rely on the same data, and accordingly produce similar conclusions. Spaaij updated the data and reached the same results, with the added conclusions on Europe, in Ramón Spaaij, Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism: Global Patterns, Motivations and Prevention (Dordrecht: Springer, 2012), 30–3.

22 E.g., Anders Behring Breivik. Aftenposten (Norway), 23 July 2011.

23 Clark McCauley, Sophia Moskalenko, and Benjamin Van Son, “Characteristics of Lone-Wolf Violent Offenders: A Comparison of Assassins and School Attackers,” Perspectives on Terrorism 7: 1 (2013), 4–24; Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko, “Toward a Profile of Lone Wolf Terrorists: What Moves an Individual from Radical Opinion to Radical Action,” Terrorism and Political Violence 26: 1 (2014), 69–85. See also Robert A. Fein and Bryan Vossekuil, “Assassination in the United States: An Operational Study of Recent Assassins, Attackers, and Near-Lethal Approachers,” Journal of Forensic Sciences 44: 2 (1999), 321–33; Bryan Vossekuil et al., The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attack in the United States (Washington, D.C.: United States Secret Service and United States Department of Education, 2002).

24 Paul Gill, John Horgan, and Paige Deckert, “Bombing Alone: Tracing the Motivations and Antecedent Behaviors of Lone-Actor Terrorists,” Journal of Forensic Sciences 59: 2 (2014), 425–35, on 433; Emily Corner and Paul Gill, “A False Dichotomy? Mental Illness and Lone-Actor Terrorism,” Law and Human Behav- ior 39: 1 (2015), 23–34, on 24, 27, 30–1; Jeff Gruenewald, Steven Chermak, and Joshua D. Freilich, “Distinguishing ‘Loner’ Attacks from Other Domestic Extremist Violence: A Comparison of Far-Right Homicide Incident and Offender Characteristics,” Criminology & Public Policy 12: 1 (2013), 65–91, on 77–9; Fein and Vossekuil, “Assassination in the United States,” 326.

25 Sageman, Leaderless Jihad, 122–3.

26 Fein and Vossekuil, “Assassination in the United States.”

27 Vossekuil et al., Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative.

28 New York City Police Department (NYPD), Active Shooter: Recommendations and Analysis for Risk Mitigation (NYPD, 2012). A first edition of the report was published in 2010.

29 Spaaij, Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism. Spaaij noted the likelihood of there being a “hidden figure” of lone actor terrorism unreported to/by the police or media but still seems to have considered only successful attacks, not those that were disrupted or failed for other reasons. Ibid. 98.

30 Charles A. Eby, The Nation that Cried Lone Wolf: A Data-Driven Analysis of Individual Terrorists in the United States since 9/11, dissertation, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, 2012.

31 Gruenewald, Chermak, and Freilich, “Distinguishing ‘Loner’ Attacks.”

32 J. Pete Blair and Katherine W. Schweit, A Study of Active Shooter Incidents between 2000 and 2013 (Washington, D.C.: Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, 2014).

33 Gill, Horgan, and Deckert, “Bombing Alone.” Sample as described in Corner and Gill, “A False Dichotomy?” 26.

34 Paul Gill, Lone-Actor Terrorists: A Behavioural Analysis (London: Routledge, 2015).

35 Michael Becker, “Explaining Lone Wolf Target Selection in the United States,”

Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 37: 11 (2014), 959–78. [36] Gill, Horgan, and Deckert, “Bombing Alone,” 426.

37 See, e.g., Joshua D. Freilich, Steven M. Chermak, and Jeff Gruenewald, “The Future of Terrorism Research: A Review Essay,” International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice (2014), 1–17, on 11.

38 Randy Borum, Robert Fein, and Bryan Vossekuil, “A Dimensional Approach to Analyzing Lone Offender Terrorism,” Aggression and Violent Behavior 17 (2012), 389–96, on 395–6.

40 Raffaello Pantucci, A Typology of Lone Wolves: Preliminary Analysis of Lone Islamist Terrorists (London: International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR), 2011). Pantucci includes a fourth category, the Lone Attacker, which is identical to the solo attacker as described here and already referred to, with clear command and control links with operational terrorist groups.

41 See, e.g., the Roshonara Choudhry case (below). [42] See, e.g., the Nidal Malik Hasan case.

43 The concept pioneered in Sageman, Understanding Terror Networks; Sageman,

Leaderless Jihad.

44 Lone Wolf Pack cases appear to be plentiful in jihadist terrorism. A relevant case may be that of the two brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnayev. For several additional possible examples, see Petter Nesser, Chronology of Jihadism in Western Europe Update 2008–2010 (Kjeller: FFI, 2010). For instance, the 2003 Virginia “paintball” jihad network saw eleven Muslim men in the United States charged with terrorism-related crimes in June 2003, nine of whom were eventually convicted—Washington Post, 26 August 2006. They may qualify as a Lone Wolf Pack. So may the participants in the February 2008 plot by several individuals from Muslim backgrounds in Denmark suspected of planning to assassinate Kurt Westergaard, one of the artists behind the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper on 30 September 2005. See, e.g., Jyllands-Posten (Denmark), 12 February 2008. The main difficulty is to determine whether the individuals involved were under the operational control or direction of terrorist groups abroad or, possibly following training provided by such groups, whether they operated on their own as a self-activated and self-tasked team.

45 A case in point might be the search for a possible second, unknown perpetrator (“John Doe #2”) of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. It took considerable effort before it could be ascertained that the person known as John Doe

#2 was unconnected to the bombing. Jon Hersley, Larry Tongate, and Bob

Burke, Simple Truths: The Real Story of the Oklahoma City Bombing Investigation (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Heritage Association, 2004), 235–40. Hersley and Tongate were FBI agents who participated in the investigation.

46 Or even an organized terrorist group. Pantucci, A Typology of Lone Wolves, 10. [47] See, e.g., Gill, Lone-Actor Terrorists, 12.

48 John Horgan, “Understanding Terrorist Motivation: A Socio-psychological Perspective,” Magnus Ranstorp (ed.), Mapping Terrorism Research: State of the Art, Gaps and Future Direction (London: Routledge, 2007), 106–26, on 113.

49 Psychological factors range from mental illness and/or depression to a lack of social relationships. Gruenewald, Chermak, and Freilich, “Distinguishing ‘Loner’ Attacks,” 77–9; McCauley, Moskalenko, and Van Son, “Characteristics of Lone-Wolf Violent Offenders,” 11.

50 Ed Husain, The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left (London: Penguin, 2007), 36.

51 Vikram Dodd, “Roshonara Choudhry: Police interview extracts,” The Guardian, 3 November 2010.

52 Joseph Claude Longoni, Four Patients of Dr. Deibler: A Study in Anarchy (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1970), 94.

53 Corner and Gill, “A False Dichotomy?”

54 Gill, Horgan, and Deckert, “Bombing Alone,” 433, 434; Corner and Gill, “A False Dichotomy?” 24, 27, 30–1; Gruenewald, Chermak, and Freilich, “Distinguishing ‘Loner’ Attacks,” 77–9; Fein and Vossekuil, “Assassination in the United States,” 326.

55 Corner and Gill, “A False Dichotomy?” 24; Gill, Horgan, and Deckert, “Bombing Alone,” 433; Fein and Vossekuil, “Assassination in the United States,” 331.

56 Corner and Gill, “A False Dichotomy?” 31.

57 See, e.g., Jeff Victoroff, “The Mind of the Terrorist: A Review and Critique of Psychological Approaches,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 49: 1 (2005), 3–42. Victoroff reviews the state of the art of available theories regarding the psychology of terrorism and concludes that, while more research is needed, terrorist behavior is probably always determined by a combination of factors, including psychological and cognitive factors as well as group dynamics.

58 Gill, Horgan, and Deckert, “Bombing Alone,” 431–2. See also Gill, Lone-Actor Terrorists, 122–4, which takes the research further. It is striking that the 2011 Stockholm Seminar on Lone Wolf Terrorism concluded, based on the intuitive knowledge of the participating practitioners, that there were indeed differences between the various ideological subgroups of lone actors, and that an examination of these would likely advance our understanding of the phenomenon; however, no data was available at the time and systematic research had not yet taken place.

59 Jeffrey D. Simon, Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understanding the Growing Threat (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2013), 67–74, 263–4.

61 Comparatively little research has been carried out on the interplay between terrorism and legal social movements, as noted by Freilich, Chermak, and Gruenewald, “Future of Terrorism Research,” 9.

62 See, e.g., Ramón Spaaij and Mark S. Hamm, “Key Issues and Research Agendas in Lone Wolf Terrorism,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 38: 3 (2015), 167–78.

63 Marc Sageman, “The Stagnation of Research on Terrorism,” 30 April 2013, available at http://chronicle.com/blogs/conversation/2013/04/30/the-stagnation- of-research-on-terrorism/.

64 See the debate between Sageman and, among others, Jessica Stern, David H. Schanzer, Alex P. Schmid, and Max Taylor in Terrorism and Political Violence (2014), initiated by Marc Sageman, “The Stagnation in Terrorism Research,”

Terrorism and Political Violence (2014). One of the conclusions of this debate was that the intelligence and academic communities have different agendas. However, this does not preclude an increased level of cooperation and exchange of data, which indeed was the purpose of the Stockholm seminar which eventually resulted in the present volume.

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Gruenewald, Jeff, Steven Chermak, and Joshua D. Freilich. “Distinguishing ‘Loner’ Attacks from Other Domestic Extremist Violence: A Comparison of Far-Right Homicide Incident and Offender Characteristics.” Criminology & Public Policy 12: 1 (2013): 65–91.

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1 Historical lessons

An overview of early anarchism and lone actor terrorism

Richard Bach Jensen

Anarchist bomb throwers and assassins appear to be history’s archetypical lone actor terrorists, since, in their heyday (1880s–1920s), they normally carried out their violent deeds alone or with the assistance of very few other people. Substantial conspiracies, while often alleged by the press and authorities, were rare. This first chapter will look at the origins of the anarchist propensity to act as leaderless terrorists and at their motivations, including the role of ideology, analyzing these issues in terms of broad categories of terrorist acts. I will particularly focus on the controversial question as to what extent the anarchists acted absolutely alone, or with the help of or at the instigation of other people or larger groups. Finally, in selected cases, I will examine the impact of their deeds on both the authorities and the anarchists themselves.

Before discussing individual acts, let me say a few words about the history of anarchism and its shifting relationship to terrorism. During the nineteenth century, anarchist thinking evolved from advocating combined actions to change society to emphasizing, by the late 1870s, a more individualist approach, including individual acts of violence. Around 1900, another shift took place in response to the failure of repeated individual attentats (violent attacks) to spark a revolution, massive government repression, an improving economy, and some progressive changes in the political arena. While lone actor anarchists never ceased to carry out terrorist deeds, many anarchists turned once again to more coordinated approaches, especially involvement in the labor movement through anarcho-syndicalist unions.[1] Moreso than in the past, violence-prone anarchists carried out their actions through the vehicle of gangs or groups and, in a few cases, relatively extensive conspiracies to assassinate hated political and religious figures.

Joseph-Pierre Proudhon and Mikhail Bakunin, the key figures in founding nineteenth-century anarchism as a social and political movement, did not advocate terrorism, except for a very brief period in the case of Bakunin.[2] Instead they called for more organized approaches to changing society, such as the creation of small, mutually supportive economic groups, and a People’s Bank, as advocated by Proudhon, or in the case of both Proudhon and Bakunin, involvement in the working-class movement. Bakunin was never averse to using violent means to obtain his anarchist ends, but hoped to do this through inspiring and orchestrating insurrections. The dismal failure of Bakunin’s insurrections and the ferocious repression of organized labor in the mid and later decades of the nineteenth century led anarchists to look for new ways to fight for their vision of social justice. Inspired in addition by the stunning 1881 assassination of Tsar Alexander II by the Russian populists, or “nihilists” as they were often, if somewhat inaccurately, termed, at the end of the 1870s and the beginning of the 1880s the anarchists decisively turned away from a focus on verbal and written propaganda and toward a policy of individual acts of illegality and violence.

In a sense, the anarchist debates at this time emphasizing the crucial role of small groups and the individual in violent revolutionary struggle marks the birth in modern times of the lone actor terrorist, at least in theoretical terms. While a long European tradition of tyrannicide existed, this was perhaps the first time that a rationale for all sorts of violent revolutionary actions by individual secular revolutionaries, rather than groups, had come into being or become widely known.[3] Paul Brousse, a French anarchist, was apparently the first person to popularize the phrase “propaganda by the deed” (although Carlo Pisacane had propounded the concept almost twenty years before).[4] In an article published in 1876 he suggested that the tactic could be employed not only by small bands of conspirators, but also by individuals.[5] In May 1881, in a widely distributed newspaper article and pamphlet, the prominent anarchist thinker and activist Peter Kropotkin exalted “acts of illegal protest, of revolt, of vengeance” carried out by “lonely sentinels.”[6] In 1881 this more individualist approach (as opposed to Bakunin’s collectivism) was codified at an anarchist congress in London where the anarchists—spurred on by several police agents provocateurs—adopted the policy of “propaganda by the deed,” that is, propaganda by illegal acts. Ironically, many at the congress who supported this policy, such as Kropotkin, thought that it should be used in the service of mass revolution, rather than of random deeds of terror. Despite the conference’s adoption of “propaganda by the deed” and a resolution calling for the study of the technical sciences in order to make bombs “for offensive and defensive purposes,” no organized effort that we know of was made to instigate a terrorist campaign. There was some talk of creating a secret conspiratorial group to coordinate revolutionary efforts, but this came to nothing.[7] The proposal to organize a military school to train anarchists, among other things, in the use of dynamite was rejected.[8] Even the proposed correspondence bureau did not come into existence. Many historians write off the London congress as a failure, especially in charting any kind of coordinated future for the anarchist movement.[9]

The congress’s failure meant that the implementation of “propaganda by the deed” was left up to individuals. This fit in well with the general preference of anarchists for spontaneity and individual initiative over control by hierarchical and authoritarian organizations. It also meant that anarchist terrorist deeds during the next three decades were highly eccentric, ranging from comic and quixotic acts to bloodbaths and purely criminal attacks, from tyrannicides to assaults on powerless symbols. Some bombings were intimately connected with labor disputes, as with the eighthour day movement in the United States, and in protest against the police firing on striking or demonstrating workers.

Anarchist assassins and agents provocateurs

An example of a quixotic and almost comic terrorist deed occurred in October 1881 when Émile Florion tried to carry out the first French anarchist assassination. The 23-year-old French anarchist came to Paris intending to assassinate the famous republican leader Léon Gambetta. After failing to locate his intended victim, Florion, an unemployed weaver, decided to shoot the first bourgeois gentleman he came across. Seeing the little-known Dr. Meymar, he fired at him twice, but missed. He then turned the gun on himself, causing a slight wound. This act as well as the regrets that he expressed at his trial suggest a degree of mental instability.[10] No one has ever suggested that Florion acted as part of a conspiracy and it would be tempting to generalize that the quixotic anarchist attentats were almost all due to lone actors, since organizations would have nixed such useless efforts. But such a generalization is problematic because of the suspicion that some of these anarchist Don Quixotes were put up to their deeds by others, as with Martial Bourdin’s attempted bombing of the Greenwich Observatory in 1894. A fair amount of evidence suggests that Bourdin was urged on by an agent provocateur.[11] A similarly quixotic deed was the failed attempt in 1881 to blow up a statue of Adolphe Thiers in Paris (Thiers was hated by the left for crushing the Paris Commune of 1871). This had a comparable police connection, although a much better documented one, since, in his memoirs, the police prefect of Paris himself boasted about it.[12]

Many anarchist attacks were aimed at largely symbolic targets, rather than at real and immediate enemies such as the police, the military, and government leaders. These killed few if any people and were directed against churches, stock exchanges, government buildings, parliaments, monuments, and symbolically important, but powerless, people like the Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary. Interestingly, the anarchists did not bomb schools–not even religious schools, despite the strong strain of anticlericalism among anarchists from Catholic countries. Perhaps this forbearance can be attributed to the anarchists’ great belief in education as a force for human liberation and their sympathy with teachers and students. Regarding the general category of largely symbolic attacks (and, of course, all terrorists attacks are symbolic to some extent), it is hard to make any generalizations. Some of these attacks were carried out by mentally unstable people or those who wanted to become famous, but others by those with clearly articulated political reasons.

For an example of the latter, on 9 December 1893, Auguste Vaillant threw a weak bomb full of nails into the French Chamber of Deputies. Vaillant claimed that it was not intended to kill anyone, and in this sense it was essentially a symbolic gesture. It was meant to land at the feet of the prime minister and the president of the chamber, but hit a column and exploded in mid-air with a loud noise, harming more spectators in the galleries than deputies on the floor. A Paris newspaper reported the names of nine deputies who were hurt, none seriously, and of thirty-five members of the public (although there were also dozens of additional unnamed casualties).[13] While most of these injuries were mere scratches, four people in the galleries, including the bomb thrower, were listed as severely injured, some with broken bones and one person with a thigh pierced by a bomb fragment.[14] Because of his injuries (Vaillant was apparently the one with the pierced thigh), the bomb thrower himself could not walk for some time.

Unlike Florion, Vaillant appears to have been mentally balanced. A gentle, pensive man, he was typical of many prospective anarchists who, because of very difficult economic and life circumstances, turned to anarchism because it gave voice to their discontent and meaning to their lives. The illegitimate son of a domestic servant, at twelve he traveled to Paris alone. As a youth, he got into repeated scrapes with the law: for journeying on the train without a ticket, for begging, and for minor thefts, including stealing a pair of boots.[15] Despite his lack of formal education, Vaillant was an avid reader of works on astronomy, natural history, and philosophy. He worked at a variety of jobs, including as a shoemaker and a librarian, and at a bakery, a grocery, a sugar refinery, and a thermometer factory. He was therefore typical of most anarchist terrorists, who were from the working and artisan classes. Vaillant even emigrated to Argentina for a few years and worked on the land, but instead of finding his fortune, suffered from the same starvation wages as in France.[16]

Around 1887, Vaillant began participating in socialist groups. Toward 1889 he drifted into anarchist circles, soon became an enthusiastic propagandist for the anarchist “idea,” and even took on the job of secretary for the group Les Révoltés.[17] Vaillant was typical of many anarchist terrorists who turned to violent acts only a few years (one to four) after becoming enthusiasts for anarchist ideas. Frustrated in his efforts to make a decent living for himself and his family (he was separated from his wife, but lived with a faithful companion and his daughter), Vaillant decided to end his suffering by undertaking a heroic act. Just prior to his infamous attentat, he wrote in his journal that he harbored no hatred toward those who would fall on the morrow, but that he would die “with the satisfaction of having done what he could to hasten the advent of the new era.”[18] At his trial Vaillant famously proclaimed that his act would be “the cry of an entire class that demands its rights and that some day will join its acts to words.”[19]

Vaillant essentially acted alone although he did receive some mysterious help. By the time of the attentat he had left his anarchist group, but he received significant financial assistance from an anarchist robber. This enabled him to acquire the materials for building his bomb and stay at a hotel. Rumors circulated that this “burglar” was actually a police agent who encouraged Valliant to carry out his violent, but not lethal, deed. The argument is that the police wished to manipulate the innocent anarchist into creating an incident that would rally support around the government and, with little opposition, allow passage of draconian anti-anarchist laws (and new anti-anarchist legislation was in fact presented and passed within three days of Vaillant’s bombing). It is odd that at Vaillant’s trial neither the investigating judge nor the prosecution apparently made any effort to investigate the role of the anarchist burglar.[20] Cause for additional suspicion about the authorities’ behavior is that we now know that, ahead of time, the police had received reports that the anarchists were fixated on the idea of blowing up the parliament building while in full session. Due to the recent scandal involving the Panama Canal company, which revealed massive corruption including bribe taking by over a hundred deputies and some government ministers, not only the anarchists but also many others had come to loathe the French parliament as a rotten institution. Also suspicious is that Vaillant had long been under surveillance, yet the police did nothing to prevent him from entering the parliament building and throwing his bomb.[21] Despite all this, the only concrete evidence that Vaillant’s case was the product of police provocation is the testimony of a single source, who seems to have been an anarchist that the police pressured into becoming an informer. Therefore, the provocation theory must remain conjecture.[22] Jean Maitron, the foremost historian of French anarchism, concludes that while the police exhibited carelessness and incompetence to an almost unbelievable degree, we lack proof of their direct involvement in Vaillant’s deed.[23]

At his trial, Vaillant displayed a seeming honesty and idealism and went to his execution with serenity and bravery. All this, together with his atten- tat’s lack of fatalities, made him a much admired anarchist martyr.[24] It also inspired subsequent acts of revenge, including, in June 1894, the assassination of the president of France, who had refused to commute Vaillant’s death sentence.

Indiscriminate violence

Although his motivations were similar to Vaillant’s, the Spaniard Salvador Franch’s horrific act of mass killing in 1893 disturbed even many anarchists.[25] While the initial intentions of both Vaillant and Florion had looked backward to the ancient tradition of tyrannicide, Salvador’s deed pointed ominously toward the future since it targeted innocent civilians uninvolved with politics. Cold-bloodedly planned to punish the “bourgeoisie,” Salvador’s bombing of an opera house arguably became history’s first great terrorist bloodbath. While it would not be the last such incident, the anarchists carried out relatively few such attacks. If one defines a bloodbath as at least one person dead and ten injured, there were only five other comparable bombings before 1914: at the Chicago Haymarket, 1886 (between 11 and 23 killed and 70 to 90 injured, although most of the casualties were due to panicky firing by the police rather than the anarchist bomb); in Barcelona, aimed at General Martínez Campos, September 1893 (2 killed and 13 wounded); at the Parisian Café Terminus in February 1894 (1 killed and 20 wounded); during a Barcelona Corpus Christi procession, June 1896 (12 killed and 37 to 45 injured); and during Alfonso XIII’s wedding procession, Madrid, May 1906 (23 to 30 killed and 108 wounded). In other words, four of the six great pre-war anarchist bloodbaths took place in Spain. Of these six, only three—two of them Spanish—were aimed at innocent civilians, rather than at the police or government figures (although the 1906 bombing—an attempted assassination—resulted in horrifying “collateral damage”).[26] With the possible exception of the last-mentioned, all of the six bombings were essentially the work of lone individuals rather than larger conspiracies. In several cases, however, evidence suggests that the terrorists had help in obtaining bombs from other anarchists. To this day the identity of those who threw the Haymarket and Corpus Christi bombs is uncertain.

The travails of Spanish history in the nineteenth century provide the general context for understanding the origins of so many terrorist acts on Spanish soil. After the traumatic events of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic occupation of the country, Spain became one of the most unstable countries in Europe, with its political history punctuated by frequent revolts and military coups d’etats, and changes from monarchy to republic and back again. By the 1820s the loss of most of its great empire in the Americas confirmed its political and economic decline. The restoration of a constitutional Bourbon monarchy in 1874 brought a fragile stability but no general legitimacy to the system. Poverty and illiteracy rates were among the highest in Western Europe. The introduction in 1890 of universal male suffrage for those over twenty-five years of age did little to endear the regime to the mass of the Spanish population because elections were often manipulated by party bosses or corrupted in other ways. In both Spain and France, therefore, the façade of democracy was not an effective shield against terrorist attacks, even by those countries’ own citizens. Another factor contributing to discontent in Spain and throughout the entire world was that the economy suffered a period of severe economic depression in the mid-1890s.

Although the evidence is somewhat contradictory, apparently Santiago Salvador Franch’s bombing of the Barcelona opera house on 9 November

1893 was due both to personal anger at bourgeois society and a desire to avenge the execution of an anarchist friend. These factors were more important than his anarchist ideology.

Like Vaillant, from an early age Salvador had a hard time fitting into (Spanish) society. He was born in a small town in the interior of Aragon, about half way between Barcelona and Valencia. Due to family disputes he left home at fourteen.[27] He never had a fixed job but made money through dealing in contraband wine and salt. Until about the age of 29 he was a fervent Catholic and a Carlist, supporting the claim to the throne of an alternative branch of the Bourbon family and holding very conservative, traditionalist views of society. The contemporary criminologist Cesare Lombroso thought Salvador’s religious fanaticism was later replaced by anarchist fanaticism.[28] In his late twenties he married, and had one child, a daughter.

Two bouts with the law were probably crucial in turning him into an embittered terrorist. Accused of robbery, he was jailed for four months, although it was later shown that he had been innocent. Shortly before he threw his bombs, he apparently suffered a severe beating at the hands of the municipal police of Valencia for having failed to pay for a couple of meals at the boarding house where he was staying. Following this trauma he decided that “each blow that he received would cost tears of blood.”[29]

In the meantime, after moving to Barcelona, Salvador had become an anarchist. He began to read anarchist periodicals furnished by an employee in charge of a kiosk on the Ramblas, one of the city’s major streets. Hearing that Paulino Pallás was one of the best speakers, Salvador went to hear him, very much enjoyed what he heard, and became friends with Pallás. Afterwards he stopped reading anarchist literature but constantly went to meetings of those who held the anarchist “idea.” According to a statement made after Salvador’s arrest, the execution of Pallás, who, in September 1893, had thrown a bomb at Martínez Campos, the Captain General of Catalonia, left a terrible impression on him. He wanted to avenge the death of his friend in order “to terrorize those who had enjoyed killing him and who believed that they had nothing to fear.”[30] In August 1894, after being imprisoned for six months, Salvador changed his story, saying that this version was “inaccurate” and that his terrible deed was not done in order to avenge Pallás but rather to realize “a plan exclusively [my] own,” that is, “making society pay for its injustices and exploitations.” He said he had developed this plan after his severe beating in Valencia.[31] Confidence in this statement, however, is somewhat undermined by the fact that while he was saying this he was also affirming his conversion (or reconversion) to Christianity (with, as it was subsequently revealed, hopes of being spared torture as well as the death penalty). In the end, when he learned that he would not be pardoned, Salvador threw off his mask and rejected his alleged conversion. These rapid reversals, as well as other statements made regarding his motivations (for example, crediting Kropotkin’s The Conquest of Bread as the inspiration for his terrorist deed), caused some anarchists to harbor doubts about the validity of his anarchist beliefs and even his mental state.[32] The Conquest of Bread is no terrorist tract and Kropotkin had been condemning anarchist terrorism since 1892.

Whatever the exact motivations for Salvador’s actions, he carried out his murderous deed with great cunning. He chose as the object of his revenge on society Barcelona’s Grand Lyceum (in Spanish ‘Liceo’; in Catalan ‘Liceu’) Theater. Rebuilt in 1862 on a scale to rival that of Milan’s La Scala and the Paris Opera, the privately owned Liceo held room for 3,600 spectators.[33] Directly attached to it was a luxurious, beautifully appointed private club, the Círculo del Liceo, where members could dine before walking a few steps to enter the opera house. The Liceo served therefore as the center of Barcelona high society, as on the occasion of the gala opening-night performance of Rossini’s William Tell on 9 November 1893, when city officials were in attendance. The opera’s depiction of the assassination of a tyrannical governor in the name of liberty should have given pause to some in the audience. The theater was packed that night, but Salvador was able to get a ticket for a cheap seat in the fifth tier. From there, at the beginning of the second act, he threw two Orsini bombs onto the audience below, one of which exploded with horrifying results. At least 20 and, according to several sources, possibly as many as 30 people eventually died from their wounds, and an additional 27 to 50 were injured but survived.[34] The terrible panic that followed the blast led to a number of people being trampled. In the confusion Salvador was able to escape undetected. The bombing was the bloodiest act of anarchist terrorism in history and would remain so for more than a decade.

The response of the authorities was immediate, bumbling, and excessive. It took months for them to locate the real bomb thrower. This may have been due in part to the fact that Salvador acted in secret and alone, although that factor might not have mattered given the notorious backwardness and incompetence of the Spanish police at this time. Nonetheless, given the public outrage, the police and authorities felt under great pressure to find the perpetrators. The very night of the explosion, two anarchists in the theater were arrested. The next day all constitutional guarantees were suspended in Barcelona, allowing for many arbitrary arrests and imprisonments. Up to 260 were arrested in the two months after the bombing and 128 remained in jail as of the middle of December.[35] Some of the arrested testified to being tortured. Mauricio Cerezuela, who was ultimately executed for his alleged role as a terrorist, wrote a letter to the newspapers asserting that he had been subjected to simulated executions, to being fed only “bread and dried cod, without a drop of water,” to the twisting of his genitals, and to whipping for days on end.[36] While cases of torture are sometimes hard to verify, Spanish historians are in agreement that the evidence from several sources strongly suggests that torture was indeed used against Cerezuela and other anarchists.[37]

Having used such cruel means to force confessions out of six anarchists, the authorities were loath to free them even after Salvador was apprehended in Zaragoza on 2 February 1894, and confessed to his crime. Instead, the earlier case of Pallás was reopened and the tortured anarchists were declared to have been his accomplices, since they were all allegedly members of an anarchist “action group” named “Benvenuto” that met in a café. Tried before a military court without the rights normally given the accused, they were convicted and executed in May 1894. Four others were sentenced to life imprisonment.[38] Most historians today believe the anarchists were innocent. One comment by Salvador, however, suggests that, while there may have been no real conspiracy, he received the bombs he used from other anarchists. This is logical, since it took some technical skill to make an Orsini bomb and Salvador was no engineer. After his arrest, Salvador is quoted as saying that while watching the funeral procession for the victims of the Liceo explosion, he had thought of throwing more bombs, but that he could not obtain them from the “comrades.” Núñez Florencio asks: “Who were these comrades that provided the bombs the first time and refused them on the second occasion?”[39]

Soon after the Liceo bombing, and indicative of its impact, the Spanish government called for an international conference of the European states to concert on common measures against anarchism. This came to nothing, however, due to French and British opposition.[40] Internally, the Spanish government ordered the expulsion of all foreign anarchists and parliament passed an anti-anarchist law in July 1894. This law imposed the death penalty or life imprisonment for those guilty of using bombs that resulted in explosions in public places or led to casualties. Also subject to penalty were those implicated in the fabrication, selling, or placement of explosives. In addition, those guilty of conspiracy and threatening to cause any of the aforementioned evils and those who apologized for them by word or in writing were to be punished. Associations that encouraged or facilitated these crimes were declared illegal.[41] This law was applied to Salvador in order to convict him, although this action was ex post facto and highly irregular. The authorities’ inept and excessive reaction to the Liceo tragedy temporarily halted most further anarchist acts of violence, but so embittered the anarchists that new attentats were practically bound to occur (as they did from June 1896).

While the carnage of the Liceo bombing was almost without precedent and exercised a huge impact on public opinion and governmental action, as already mentioned it was not typical of anarchist terrorist deeds. More common were bombings or assassinations involving the police, attacks on largely symbolic targets like buildings (but with few casualties), and assassinations or attempted assassinations of military and political figures of high rank. The anarchists are perhaps best remembered for assassinating nine monarchs and heads of government or state between 1894 and 1921.

Motivational factors

A brief analysis of the assassins demonstrates how widely they differed in their motivations and in the extent to which they were influenced by anarchist ideology. At least five of the assassins were very devoted to and knowledgeable about anarchist ideas. These were Santo (or Sante) Caserio, who stabbed French President Carnot to death in 1894; Michele Angiolillo, who shot Spanish Prime Minister Canovas del Castillo in 1897; Gaetano Bresci, who assassinated King Umberto of Italy in 1900; Manuel Pardiñas y Serrato, who shot down Spanish Prime Minister Canalejas in 1912; and probably the three anarchists who murdered Spanish Prime Minister Dato in 1921. Since the anarchist gang that killed Dato does not fall under the category of “lone actor” terrorists (although a case could be argued for categorizing it as an autonomous cell) and indeed is an example of the evolution of anarchist terrorism toward more organized forms, it will not be discussed here. Perhaps Alexandros Schinas, who became the assassin of King George I of Greece in 1913, should also fall into the category of a convinced anarchist who acted because of ideologically formed views, although information on him is patchy. If newspaper accounts are correct, he had read everything on “the subject of socialism” and had been a fervent anarchist for years. He started an anarchist school in his hometown—which the Greek government closed down—and frequently expressed his dislike for the Greek monarchy. Other reports have tried to write him off as simply a neurasthenic.[42] As for the remaining assassins, Luigi Lucheni, who assassinated the Empress Elisabeth of Austria in 1898, had in all likelihood only briefly become involved with anarchists in Switzerland before he decided to carry out his deed and glory in the name of “dangerous anarchist.” Leon Czolgosz, who killed American President McKinley in 1901, claimed that he had been a member of an unnamed anarchist circle (although several prominent anarchists disputed this and said they knew nothing about him), had heard the anarchist Emma Goldman speak, and had read anarchist periodicals.[43] The book that most influenced him, however, was not an anarchist classic but Looking Backward, Edward Bellamy’s utopian, socialistic novel. In five of the cases, the assassins acted out of a desire to avenge perceived acts of political or social injustice for which they blamed their victims. Perhaps Schinas acted more to revenge a personal, rather than a political, slight— the king had refused his petition for assistance—although this was in the context of a generalized hatred for the Greek monarchy. Lucheni wanted to become famous as well as take revenge on all aristocrats for the personal slights that he had suffered.

One issue clarified by comparing the testimonies of the different lone actor assassins is the meaning of the rather enigmatic statement made twice by Czolgosz after his arrest. He told his interrogator and his brother: “I killed President McKinley because I done my duty. I didn’t believe one man should have so much service and another man should have none.”[44] Both Vaillant and Angiolillo made similar statements. In a letter to his companion Marie Marchal, Vaillant wrote that “I have done my duty [by throwing the bomb], I have done all I could to hasten the demolition of the society which kills us, and its substitution by a better one.”[45] As for Angiolillo, after shooting her husband he told Canovas’s wife: “I have fulfilled [cumplido] my duty and am at peace; I have avenged my brothers of Montjuich [the fortress prison where many innocent anarchists were tortured].”[46] Czolgosz may have been aware of both these statements, and especially Angiolillo’s, since he was an indefatigable reader of newspapers and Angiolillo’s statement was widely publicized.[47] In his mind, Czolgosz was simply doing his duty, as part of a long line of anarchists who were protesting against and trying to end the injustices of society.

If ideology was usually not the main cause of leaderless anarchist terrorism, was it the product of mental illness? Is there a higher proportion of lone actor terrorists who are mentally unbalanced than terrorists who form part of organizations? As regards the anarchists, many political figures and newspapers, and some experts, were eager to write off their violent deeds as the product of mental imbalance.[48] Such attribution aimed to reassure the public that national leaders and institutions were benevolent and sound, targets that no sane person would wish to attack violently. On the other hand, the anarchists sought to seize control of the narrative by not only denying mental illness but also affirming the courage, character, and even saintliness of the anarchist assassins. Given the dearth of knowledge about the motivations of many anarchists or even about who actually carried out many probable acts of anarchist violence, it is hard to reach definitive conclusions. For example, what were the mental state and motivations of Jean Girault when in June 1896 he allegedly—we still do not know for sure—threw a bomb at a Corpus Christi procession in Barcelona, one of the most infamous of all anarchist attentats? Little has been written about Girault, since after his bloody deed he disappeared into the vastness of Argentina never to be heard from again.[49] Of 14 relatively well-documented French anarchist terrorists, three—about 20 percent—might be labeled unbalanced.[50] For Spain, the comparative figure might be one out of eight, or 12.5 percent.[51] For Italy, the numbers are much larger: seven out of twelve, or 58 percent.[52] But these statistics conceal as much as they illuminate. Of the deeds carried out by unbalanced anarchists, only two led to serious injuries and another two to fatalities. The Belgian Philibert Pauwels, who was living in Paris, bombed a hotel, leading to the death of an elderly woman concierge. The littleknown Augusto DeSantis killed a priest in Rome in June 1906.53 Neither entered the Pantheon of famous anarchist martyrs for their pointless deeds. None of the nine famous anarchist assassins of monarchs and heads of state and government—with the possible exception of Schinas—were mentally deranged. This makes entire sense, since a mentally ill person usually, although not always, lacks the patience and capacity for the careful planning needed to pull off a major act of terror. Mad or uncontrollably violent people, such as DeSantis, tend to act on impulse rather than in a calculated way.

To what extent did the anarchist assassins act absolutely alone? All of the famous assassinations were carried out with daggers and guns, which made it easier to act alone, since striking with bombs often required help in constructing the bomb or obtaining dynamite. Moreover, all the assassins insisted that they had indeed acted without accomplices, and this is certainly true of Lucheni, Czolgosz, and Schinas. As far as the others are concerned, the only one who may have had an immediate accomplice was Bresci, who rendezvoused in Monza, site of the assassination, with an anarchist friend named Luigi Granotti. Whether Granotti was actually at the stadium when the king was shot is unknown. Rumors circulated that Errico Malatesta, the foremost Italian anarchist, had encouraged Bresci to assassinate King Umberto, but this has never been proven.[54] There is also a degree of uncertainty regarding the other assassins. Caserio, Angiolillo, Bresci, and Pardiñas all presumably had some interaction with anarchist comrades or other friends and received some assistance from them on their way to their murderous destinations. But this assistance was minimal and these men could all be described as loners who were presumably little interested in carefully collaborating with others in their plots.[55] Caserio’s interrogation by a French judge suggests that he had some sort of relations with French anarchists in Lyon and elsewhere prior to his attentat.[56] Someone gave Angiolillo the handcrafted gun that he used, and a republican newspaper editor in Madrid gave the penniless Angiolillo five pesetas, a meager sum, shortly before his deed.[57] Much controversy has surrounded the question of whether Angiolillo received money and suggestions from the Cuban rebels, who were in revolt against the Spanish empire, and who maintained an office in Paris. While Angiolillo met with them repeatedly, historians have discounted (or denied) both the amount of money and the influence that he received from the Cubans.[58]

According to the definition of lone actor terrorism adopted in this book—that lone actors operate individually, do not belong to or have direct links to any organized terrorist group or network, engage in solitary and autonomous violence independent of that of existing terrorist groups or networks, act on their own behalf without having been instructed to do so by any outside leader, and conceive of tactics and methods without any immediate outside direction—almost all of the anarchist assassins and bomb throwers mentioned in this chapter, at least before 1914, would have qualified as lone actors or leaderless terrorists. While the bomb throwers seem to have received help in procuring their bombs, those who relied on more traditional weapons—daggers, sharpened files, and revolvers—acted alone or with limited material and personal assistance from others. Except possibly in the case of Bresci, the famous assassins all carried out their deeds without accomplices that might have provided help in locating the victim or acting as backups. Certainly none of the assassins and bomb throwers acted on the orders of an organization. Does a group of stubbornly egalitarian anarchists who call themselves “Benvenuto” and meet in a café qualify as an organization? In any case, no convincing evidence—that is, not extorted by torture—exists that this group plotted any bomb throwing.

As far as motivation is concerned, the influence of anarchist ideology ranged from quite significant in the cases of idealistic anarchists like Caserio, Angiolillo, and Vaillant, to mere window dressing, as in the case of Lucheni. In no case, however, did ideology alone determine the anarchists’ deeds. These were as much or more the result of reactions to real and immediate injustices, such as unjust executions or the killing of unarmed women and children,[59] personal traumas, such as being savagely beaten by the police, or being in an economically hopeless situation. These injustices and emotions provided the motive power, while anarchism, often very crudely and superficially understood, suggested the targets. In the following chapters, this pattern will be seen to endure in later periods and other settings—with emotions and real or perceived injustices remaining the driver while ideologies indicate targets for terrorists to take action against. Finally, police action contributed to early lone actor anarchist terrorism both directly and indirectly: directly, through the use of agents provocateurs who encouraged anarchists to engage in violent action on the grounds that this would allow the police to monitor the anarchist extremists and eventually arrest them; indirectly, through the failure to prevent foreseeable violent acts and through the cruel treatment of innocent anarchists. Police cruelty fueled the anarchist lust for revenge and new attentats.

Notes

1 Ramón Spaaij, Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism: Global Patterns, Motivations and Prevention (Dordrecht: Springer, 2012), 23, is incorrect in suggesting that individual anarchist terrorism ceased in the twentieth century. While important anarchists like Peter Kropotkin and Errico Malatesta had rejected “propaganda by deed” in the early 1890s, this did not prevent individual anarchists from continuing to carry out assassinations and bombings. For example, individual anarchists without any known connection to larger groups assassinated the police chief of Buenos Aires in 1909 and the prime minister of Spain in 1912. Of the three anarchists that tried to kill Mussolini in the mid-1920s and early 1930s, at least one and perhaps two were acting on their own and not as part of a larger plot.

2 Richard Bach Jensen, “Daggers, Rifles and Dynamite: Anarchism Terrorism in 19th Century Europe,” Terrorism and Political Violence 16: 1 (Spring 2004), 116–53, especially 122–3.

3 Timothy Messer-Kruse, The Haymarket Conspiracy: Transatlantic Anarchist Networks

(Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield: University of Illinois Press, 2012), 39.

4 Nunzio Pernicone, Italian Anarchism, 1864–1892 (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1993), 13.

5 Caroline Cahm, Kropotkin and the Rise of Revolutionary Anarchism, 1872–1886 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 80, 302 n.1; George R. Esenwein, Anarchist Ideology and the Working-Class Movement in Spain, 1868–1898 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), 62.

6 Emile Capouya and Keitha Tompkins (eds), The Essential Kropotkin (New York: Liveright, 1975), 6–7.

7 Messer-Kruse speculates that, off the record, the congress hatched dark plots and was connected to a decade of subsequent violent acts, but provides little evidence to support these claims. Messer-Kruse, Haymarket Conspiracy, 82–6.

8 Cahm, Kropotkin, 156–7.

9 George Woodcock, Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements (New York: World Publishing Co., 1962), 260; Pernicone, Italian Anarchism, 195; G.

M. Stekloff, History of the First International, trans. Eden and Cedar Paul (New York: International Publishers, 1928), 361.

10 Jean Maitron, Histoire du Mouvement Anarchiste en France (1880–1914) (Paris: Société universitaire d’éditions et de librairie, 2nd edn 1955), 198; Woodcock, Anarchism, 300–1, apparently relying on Maitron, repeats this story but misconstrues the details, including the assassin’s name.

11 Alex Butterworth, The World that Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists and Secret Agents (New York: Pantheon, 2010), 331–4.

12 Louis Andrieux, Souvenirs d’un Prefect de Police (Paris: Memoire Du Livre, [1885] 2002), 261–6.

13 Joseph Claude Longoni, Four Patients of Dr. Deibler: A Study in Anarchy (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1970), 187, gives a figure of about 80 injured. The Reuters news agency (Paris, 11 December 1893), gave the injured as 63.

14 Petit parisien, 10 December 1893; Longoni, Four Patients, 101.

15 Maitron, Histoire, 218; Longoni, Four Patients, 85.

16 Maitron, Histoire, 219; Longoni, Four Patients, 86–7.

17 Jean Maitron et al. (eds), Dictionnaire biographique du mouvement ouvrier française, s.v. “Vaillant, Auguste” (Paris: Editions ouvrières), 1976–1977), 14: 265; Charles Malato, “Some Anarchist Portraits,” Fortnightly Review, New Series, No. 33 (1 September 1894), 315–33.

18 Dictionnaire biographique, 14: 266.

19 Maitron, Histoire, 219; Malato, “Some Anarchist Portraits,” 327.

20 Longoni, Four Patients, 105–7.

21 Maitron, Histoire, 224–5.

22 Testimony of Charles Jacot to Police Commissioner Ernest Raynaud, La vie intime des commissariats (Paris: Payot 1926), 42–4 and especially 43 n.1; Henri Rollin, L’Apocalypse de notre temps (Paris: Allia, [1939] 1991), 537–8; Butterworth, World that Never Was, 325.

23 Maitron, Histoire, 225.

25 Rafael Núñez Florencio, El terrorismo anarquista (1888–1909) (Madrid: Siglo veintiuno, 1983), 155.

26 Three anarchist bloodbaths took place after the First World War: the bombing of the San Francisco preparedness parade in 1916 (10 killed and 40 injured); the Diana Theater bombing, Milan, March 1920 (21 killed, 172 wounded), and the bombing of the Italian consulate in Buenos Aires, May 1928 (7 dead and 41 injured). For additional information on these terrorist acts, see Richard Bach Jensen, The Battle against Anarchist Terrorism: An International History, 1878–1934 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

27 Núñez Florencio, El terrorismo anarquista, 144; New York Times, 20 November 1894. Núñez Florencio’s analysis is our best source for Salvador.

28 Cesare Lombroso, Gli anarchici (Turin: Bocca, 1894), 59. [29] Núñez Florencio, El terrorismo anarquista, 145.

30 Esenwein, Anarchist Ideology, 186.

31 Núñez Florencio, El terrorismo anarquista, 145; 204–5.

33 Karl Baedeker, Spain and Portugal (Leipzig: Karl Baedeker, 1908), 231.

34 Esenwein, Anarchist Ideology, 186; Times (London), 9 November 1893, 3; New York Times, 20 December 1893, 8; Ángel Herrerin, “España: La propaganda por la repression. 1892–1900,” Juan Avilés and Ángel Herrerin (eds), El nacimiento del terrorismo en occidente (Madrid: Siglo XII, 2008), 111.

35 Herrerin, “España,” 112.

40 Jensen, The Battle against Anarchist Terrorism, 80–4.

41 Eduardo González Calleja, La razón de la fuerza: orden publico, subversión y violen- cia política en la España de la Restauración (1875–1917) (Madrid: Consejo superior de investigaciones científicas, 1998), 274.

42 New York Times, 19–20 March 1913, especially, “King’s Murderer is Educated Anarchist,” 20 March 1913.

43 See chapter seven of Jensen, The Battle against Anarchist Terrorism.

44 He made the same statement to his brother Waldeck. Quackenbush, Trial transcript, Supreme Court, Erie County, People of the State of New York against Leon F. Czolgosz, September 23, 1901. Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society library, 64. Waldeck quotes Czolgosz’s words in Vernon L. Briggs, The Manner of Man that Kills (Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1921), 309.

45 Longoni, Four Patients, 94.

46 Francesco Tamburini, “Michele Angiolillo e l’assassinio di Cánovas del Castillo,” Spagna contemporanea 4: 9 (1996), 120.

47 New York Times, 10 August 1897.

48 Briggs, Manner of Man that Kills, 332, following a Dr. William A. White, suggests that Czolgosz suffered from “the paranoid forms of dementia precox.” Avanti!, 2 August 1900, the official Italian socialist newspaper, categorized Bresci as a “criminal madman.” Italian Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti characterized Bresci’s mind as “deranged” [squilibrato] in Memorie della mia vita (Milan, 1922), 162–3. In neither case was the diagnosis correct. For an assessment of Czolgosz’s sanity, see Eric Rauchway, Murdering McKinley: The Making of Theodore Roo- sevelt’s America (New York: Hill and Wang, 2003), 39–43, especially 114–16, 204–6. For Bresci, the statement of the Italian Procurator General at his trial, “I would have liked to find [in Bresci] a lunatic [demente], in the hope of seeing, in this way, the gravity of the crime committed diminished in front of our Country. But I have found nothing of this in him.” Arrigo Petacco, L’Anarchico che venne dall’America (Milan: Mondadori, 1974), 101.

49 Esenwein, Anarchist Ideology, 192.

50 Émile Florion, Charles Gallo, and Philibert Pauwels.

51 Juan Oliva y Moncasi, who shot at King Alfonso XII, was said to have injured his head in a fall when ten years old and was thereafter subject to “frenzies of ambition and a desire for a Quixotic exploit.” John McGovern, An Empire of Informa- tion (Chicago: R. M. Van Arsdale, 1880).

52 Augusto Masetti, Giuseppe Corengia, Antonio D’Alba, Giuseppe Alia, Carlo Machetto, Augusto DeSantis (or DeSanctis), and Paolo Schicchi.

53 Corriere della Sera (Milan), June 26, 1906.

54 The following forthcoming books should provide a definitive discussion of this issue: Carl Levy, The Rooted Cosmopolitan: An Anarchist in Exile, The Life and Times of Errico Malatesta and Nunzio Pernicone, Propaganda of the Deed: Italian Anarchist Violence in the 19th Century.

55 Carl Levy, “The Anarchist Assassin and Italian History, 1870s to 1930s,” Stephen Gundle and Lucia Rinaldi (eds), Assassinations and Murder in Modern Italy: Transformations in Society and Culture, 207–22 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 211.

56 Pierre Truche, L’anarchiste et son juge: à propos de l’assassinat de Sadi Carnot (Paris: Fayard, 1994), 122, 124.

57 Tamburini, “Michele Angiolillo,” 101–30.

58 Ibid., 110–18, 129; Levy, “Anarchist Assassin,” 215.

59 Bresci repeatedly claimed that he shot Umberto because in 1898 a general ordered troops to fire upon unarmed protesters in Milan. The King awarded the general a medal for his efforts. Petacco, L’Anarchico che venne dall’America, 91.

Bibliography

Andrieux, Louis. Souvenirs d’un Prefect de Police. Paris: Memoire Du Livre, [1885] 2002.

Baedeker, Karl. Spain and Portugal. Leipzig: Karl Baedeker, 1908.

Briggs, Vernon L. The Manner of Man That Kills. Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1921. Butterworth, Alex. The World that Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anar-

chists and Secret Agents. New York: Pantheon, 2010.

Cahm, Caroline. Kropotkin and the Rise of Revolutionary Anarchism, 1872–1886. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Capouya, Emile, and Keitha Tompkins (eds). The Essential Kropotkin. New York: Liveright, 1975.

Esenwein, George R. Anarchist Ideology and the Working-Class Movement in Spain, 1868–1898. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.

Giolitti, Giovanni. Memorie della mia vita. Milan: Fratelli Treves, 1922.

González Calleja, Eduardo. La razón de la fuerza: orden publico, subversión y violencia política en la España de la Restauración (1875–1917). Madrid: Consejo superior de investigaciones científicas, 1998.

Herrerin, Ángel. “España: La propaganda por la repression, 1892–1900.” Juan Avilés and Ángel Herrerin (eds). El nacimiento del terrorismo en occidente. Madrid: Siglo XII, 2008.

Jensen, Richard Bach. “Daggers, Rifles and Dynamite: Anarchism Terrorism in 19th Century Europe.” Terrorism and Political Violence 16: 1 (Spring 2004): 116–53.

Jensen, Richard Bach. The Battle against Anarchist Terrorism: An International History, 1878–1934. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Levy, Carl. “The Anarchist Assassin and Italian History, 1870s to 1930s.” Stephen Gundle and Lucia Rinaldi (eds). Assassinations and Murder in Modern Italy: Transformations in Society and Culture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007: 207–22.

Levy, Carl. The Rooted Cosmopolitan: An Anarchist in Exile, The Life and Times of Errico Malatesta. Forthcoming.

Lombroso, Cesare. Gli anarchici. Turin: Bocca, 1894.

Longoni, Joseph Claude. Four Patients of Dr. Deibler: A Study in Anarchy. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1970.

Maitron, Jean. Histoire du Mouvement Anarchiste en France (1880–1914). Paris: Société universitaire d’éditions et de librairie, 2nd edn 1955.

Maitron, Jean, et al. (eds). Dictionnaire biographique du mouvement ouvrier française.

Paris: Editions ouvrières, 1976–1977.

Malato, Charles. “Some Anarchist Portraits.” Fortnightly Review. New Series. No. 33 (1 September 1894): 315–33.

McGovern, John. An Empire of Information. Chicago: R. M. Van Arsdale, 1880. Messer-Kruse, Timothy. The Haymarket Conspiracy: Transatlantic Anarchist Networks.

Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield: University of Illinois Press, 2012.

Núñez Florencio, Rafael. El terrorismo anarquista (1888–1909). Madrid: Siglo veintiuno, 1983.

Pernicone, Nunzio. Italian Anarchism, 1864–1892. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1993.

Petacco, Arrigo. L’Anarchico che venne dall’America. Milan: Mondadori, 1974. Quackenbush. Trial transcript, Supreme Court, Erie County. People of the State of

New York against Leon F. Czolgosz, 23 September 1901. Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society library.

Rauchway, Eric. Murdering McKinley: The Making of Theodore Roosevelt’s America. New York: Hill and Wang, 2003.

Rollin, Henri. L’Apocalypse de notre temps. Paris: Allia, [1939] 1991.

Spaaij, Ramón. Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism: Global Patterns, Motivations and Prevention. Dordrecht: Springer, 2012.

Stekloff, G. M. History of the First International. Translated by Eden and Cedar Paul. New York: International Publishers, 1928.

Tamburini, Francesco. “Michele Angiolillo e l’assassinio di Cánovas del Castillo.”

Spagna contemporanea 4: 9 (1996).

Truche, Pierre. L’anarchiste et son juge: à propos de l’assassinat de Sadi Carnot. Paris: Fayard, 1994.

Woodcock, George. Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. New York: World Publishing Co., 1962.

2 World War A

Contemporary anarchists and extreme left perpetrators

José Pedro Zúquete

While there are currently very few lone actor terrorists among modern anarchists and within the contemporary extreme left, the present lack of extreme left wing lone actor terrorists does not signify a lack of interest in violent solutions within this particular milieu. As the author will show, twenty-first century anarchism has considerable potential for lone actor terrorism. It would be imprudent to conclude that this once important ideological source of lone actor terrorism will not reappear again.

Twenty-first century anarchism

Anarchism has a long history of existential and practical struggle against the putative forces of domination and oppression that rule society. Its historical trajectory obeys cycles of expansion and contraction. There are three main periods of such expansion: a classical phase (which emerged in the mid-nineteenth century, especially after the failed experiment of the Paris Commune), a mid-level period (roughly the 1960s and 1970s, characterized by a mix of movements and causes aimed at collective and individual emancipation from the status quo), and the first quarter of the twenty-first century (inextricable from the alter-globalization movements and networks, and the search for new ways of doing politics and organizing human affairs).[1]

The focus here is on twenty-first century anarchism. More precisely— and in tune with the title given to this study—it is centered on the role that political violence, in all its forms, plays in the theory and praxis of contemporary anarchism. The mapping and analysis of such dynamics entail that other nonviolent forms of anarchist behaviors and practices will not be discussed, insofar as they are unrelated to an understanding of anarchist violence. Although there is no consensus definition of “political violence,” owing to class-based perspectives and for ideological reasons, the operational definition that runs throughout the chapter is that of political violence as the use of physical coercion to confront, intimidate, silence, and eventually eliminate chosen enemies. In this way violence is viewed as an “instrument of coercion by force” in order to attain a political goal or goals.[2] In the case of anarchists, whether violent or nonviolent, this entails nothing less than the abolition of the State and the establishment of an alternative, autonomous, and non-hierarchical society.

The anarchism that has taken upon itself the task of physically confronting the State and sees political violence as a legitimate weapon against domination, hierarchy, and authoritarianism, is often called revolutionary or insurrectionary. These anarchists are, on the whole, staunch supporters of a “diversity of tactics” approach in the combat against the status quo, supporting also the use of means that can be peaceful, such as protests, civil disobedience, or occupations. However, their chosen option is different, and it is one of confrontation and violence. Such violent tactics can take many forms. In the last regard, insurrectionist anarchism expresses itself in two ways. One is public, involving the radicalization of collective protests against Capital and the State, and symbolized by the tactic of Black Blocs. Often under media spotlight, the status quo and the forces that support it are confronted head-on, and the symbols of oppression (government agencies, banks, corporations) are damaged. The other form that this anarchism of insurrection takes is private, if not outright secret. It lies hidden, and operates through acts of subversion and sabotage, and through bombing campaigns and the targeting of individuals. The Informal Anarchist Federation (also known as the International Revolutionary Front) is such an empirical example of a diffuse net of anarchist militants and cells that have sworn a global war against the “tyranny” of State and Capital. There is of course no clear-cut distinction between these two types of insurrectionary activism. They are both committed to perform acts deemed illegal by the dominant/hegemonic culture. They are not rivals; they complement each other in their antisystemic war. At the same time they have a global scope. Black Blocs have expanded from Europe and North America into the Middle East (Egypt, for example, where they constitute an anti-Islamist front) and South America (Brazil, for example, where they were the culprits for much of the urban destruction during the 2013 popular revolts). Also, as the name implies, the same expansive character is present in the International Revolutionary Front of insurrectionaries from Europe to South America and Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, because the means employed are different, for the purpose of an analysis of the variety of revolutionary anarchism, the distinction holds.

The empirical analysis of this dual dimension of insurrectionary anarchism—ideology, tactics, and acts—will be followed by a discussion of whether the political radicalization of these types of militancy harbors potential for localized or widespread campaigns of terrorism, either by autonomous cells or lone actors. In order to reach tentative answers, or at least posit likely scenarios, it is paramount to penetrate deeper into the minds of those who dedicate themselves to revolutionary anarchism. Thus, the sources for this qualitative study are mostly taken from internal literature, which is often available in the vibrant anarchist virtual community and anarchist forums, as well as manifestos, interviews, court statements, and first-hand accounts of militants.

Anarchists of the praxis

Although anarchism has always favored action over theory, insurrectionary anarchists are particularly inclined toward the action part of the equation, calling it “practical” anarchy. Above all, they see themselves as “anarchists of the praxis” who stand in opposition to the other (often nonviolent) “civil” anarchists who are oriented toward and concerned with the customs and laws of the land. Within the framework of this anarchism of insurrection, violence is not mindless, pointless, or nihilistic. There is a decisionmaking process that makes their violence, ultimately, a matter of choice. In the same way that there are anarchists who choose nonviolence, insurrectionary anarchists choose a violent path in order to inaugurate the idealized society. The insight that the use of violence “remains a choice” (that is, an action following from a reasoned decision) and that it constitutes one form taken by contentious politics, is pointed out in scholarly literature.[3] It is true that this proposition (violence as choice) is not entirely untroubled. In situations of physical or existential despair there are impulsive, psychological, emotional, and even survival factors or mechanisms that make the individual believe that there is no other way but violence against the perceived enemy. In the mindset of such individuals, there seem to be no other options available. This caveat is helpful, because while these anarchists deliberately choose the use of violence as a weapon of destruction of the status quo, they nevertheless adhere to a belief system that makes violence against the system the only real, and, according to their logic, the inevitable, answer. The sense that, in the end, all things considered, there is no other way but the violent way, pervades their ideology, their conceptualization of the political and social world.

Above all things, the catalyst for militant violent mobilization is the belief that the anarchists are living in a time of catastrophe; the crisis is not situational (or depending on good or bad policies, or cosmetic changes), but structural (the evil itself is an authoritarian and exploitive system, that has as its highest symbols the State and Capital). The belief that militants live in the Endtimes, when social and existential misery are widespread and dehumanization has been internalized and routinized as the everyday norm, gives an apocalyptic flavor to their rejection of the world in which they live. At the same time, it justifies their permanent state of rebellion.

All movements, whether of an insurrectional variety or not, that aim at a total transformation of society have texts that epitomize the mental map of militants. Such is the case with the prolific activity of the North American collective CrimethInc (even though they profess an “anarchism without adjectives,” their ethos is truly insurrectionary), whose diagnosis of the status quo and prescription for overcoming it is translated into many languages and disseminated via the Internet. Here the catastrophism of the modern world assumes matter-of-factness. As they say in one of its tracts, “It’s after the end of the world, whispers the homeless man on the corner—don’t you know that yet?” They continue, “We don’t live in the disaster, but in encampments at its edge—yes, in a state of ongoing disasters and difficulties. But nothing compared to the misery of life in the disaster area proper.”[4] Because the crisis is everywhere, society as a whole is the fighting ground for the militants of insurrection. The French collective Invisible Committee, in a widely circulated manifesto called The Coming Insurrection, defends a similar idea: “It’s useless to wait—for a breakthrough, for the revolution, the nuclear apocalypse or a social movement. To go on waiting is madness. The catastrophe is not coming, it is here.” Thus, militants should know that “We are already situated within the collapse of a civilization. It is within this reality that we must choose sides.” Simply by not being passive the militant acquires a new rebel identity, because “To no longer wait is, in one way or another, to enter into the logic of insurrection.”[5] This “logic of insurrection” finds its justification in the daily life of a “wretched” society.

The readiness of anarchists to fight by any means necessary finds its legitimacy in the wider evil they confront. If anarchists consider violence to be an evil at all, it is a necessary evil against a far greater, generalized, and structural violence by the State. The definition of violence to which they adhere is a maximum one, in the sense that it encompasses all violations of social and human rights (instead of a minimum definition that treats violence as acts of physical coercion deemed illegal or illegitimate by the system). This framework of the greater violence that justifies violence against it is of course not a novelty. It goes back to early anarchists such as the Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta, for whom anarchist violence was a “necessary evil” against a “far greater, and permanent violence which keeps the majority of violence in servitude.” When Malatesta wrote that “for us the oppressed are always in a state of legitimate defense,” the condition of “oppression” became the criteria for violence, not legality or a constitutional order.[6] This reconceptualization of violence was furthered by mid-twentieth-century existentialists, such as Jean-Paul Sartre, and anticolonialists, particularly Frantz Fanon.[7] It persisted in radical (and in some cases terrorist) left wing quarters in the 1970s and 1980s. For example, the underground French group Cangaceiros sustained a view of violence as a “daily destiny” that could be subscribed to by present-day insurrectionists of every stripe: “Violence is first of all the conditions that are imposed on us. Then there is the violence of the police who defend these conditions. And, unfortunately more rarely, there is the violence that we throw back in their faces.”[8] As stated by CrimethInc, “The challenge is to legitimize concrete forms of resistance: not on the grounds that they are non-violent, but on the grounds that they are liberating, that they fulfill real needs and desires.”[9] As a consequence, violence is transformed into a tool for emancipation; it is no longer repressive (as top-down violence is) but rather is liberating because it is employed by the oppressed (which, in this manner, is always counter-violence).

The nemesis of this philosophy of violence is pacifism and nonviolence. This vision of a liberating violence is of course not exclusive to insurrectionary anarchism. There is a line of thought, that goes back to Ward Churchill and Derrick Jensen, that sees pacifism as a “pathology,” an “obsession, a monomania, a brittle religion or cult that like other brittle obsessions can brook no heresy.” The reference to “heresies” here suggests that not all violence is the same, that violence can work for liberation or subjugation, and that the use of violence works, both for good or evil.[10] A similar argument is made by Peter Gelderoos, for whom nonviolence, ultimately, “protects” the State because “the tactics of pacifism, like many of the tactics of modern crowd control policing, are designed to de-escalate potentially insurrectionary situations.”[11] The interpretative key to understanding the role that the true radical must play in the world is the idea of a “war” that was waged against “the people of the planet.” Hence, “they [capitalism, the State, imperialism] have declared war on us, and we need to take it back to them. . . because we have weighed the possibility of freedom against the certainty of shame from living under whatever form of domination we are faced with.”[12] Accordingly, the question that matters is “whose violence frightens us most, and on whose side we will stand.”[13] Nonviolence is nothing short of collaboration with the enemy.

Reformism, or the hope of changing the system, making it more responsive to popular needs and demands, is not only pointless (power holders will not give away their power voluntarily) but also runs contrary to a revolutionary logic aimed not at influencing but at abolishing the State. This lasting goal is of course closer to the original goal of anarchism, which has always been the substitution of the State by a new society based on autonomy, self-governance, and mutual aid.[14] Anti-reformism entails the refusal of mediation, “civilized” dialogue, and the “respectable” search for common platforms where piecemeal changes can be implemented while leaving the overall authoritarian and repressive infrastructure intact. This uncompromising mental disposition is well reflected in the following words from CrimethInc: “Say you want an insurrection. So do we. A total break with domination and hierarchy in all their forms, involving an armed uprising if need be. Until that’s possible, we’ll settle for recurring clashes in which to develop our skills, find comrades, and emphasize the gulf between our oppressors and ourselves.”[15] The struggle is never rationalized in terms of a dispute between those who govern and those who are governed (which could be settled politically or electorally) but always in terms of oppressors versus oppressed, or masters against slaves (which must be settled outside of “normal,” “liberal,” or “civilized” politics). The rules of the game in a liberal democracy (and the constitutional order that upholds them) are rejected out of hand. Representative democracy is disparaged as nothing but a tool used by a ruling minority to perpetuate control over the majority that lives under subjugation. Worse still, it gives such domination a false image of popular legitimacy in the process. If direct action is viewed by anarchists in general as a way to empower individuals to take back control over their lives by showing them that it is possible to resist and eventually defeat an oppressive system, for insurrectionary anarchists, buoyed both by the belief that theirs is a warlike condition and by a philosophy of violence that self-justifies any action for the cause, direct action, using any means necessary, is the weapon of choice whereby the State and Capital, and their symbols and representatives, are fought in a war to the end.

Black is the color

The sight of individuals wearing masks and black clothing while confronting the police and engaging in property destruction has become conspicuous in many twenty-first century collective actions of contestation and street protest. The Black Bloc tactic is relatively old, having emerged in the 1970s as a form of collective defense of occupied spaces (squatting) in West Germany. The tactic was subsequently used in all sort of protests against authoritarianism and imperialism (against nuclear sites, or against wars, for example), and expanded to other European countries and to North America, where Black Blocs became the physical and confrontational part of global activism against capitalist globalization. Today popular revolts in places such as Egypt, and especially Brazil, have also included the actions of Black Blocs, where they have assumed the role of enemies of the established order.[16]

What the Black Blocs do is undertake direct action that consists in physically facing up to the State and confronting its institutions—the symbols of capitalist oppression—and the police (the “attack dogs,” as they are described, of the rich and powerful). Not surprisingly, practice outweighs ideology in the narratives that emerge from the Black Bloc. It is action that transforms anarchists into an insurrectionary army against the powers that be. Hence, activists invest with great importance “experience” (of combating, street fighting, destruction, and so on) and the rewarding emotional and psychological benefits that come from it. One of such actions leads one militant to confess, “I am irreparably transformed.”[17] It is as if the riotous battles with the authoritarian and hegemonic powers create a Durkheimian “collective effervescence” during which the occupation of streets and buildings, the destruction of property, and the fighting back of the police are the reversal of normal power relations, where militants enter an upside-down world.[18] In those moments a sense of euphoria and exhilaration, even if only briefly, are widespread, and they constitute moments of individual and collective self-empowerment. Although there is a rationale for the battles (why and what to attack) and rational preparation (Black Blocs are organized and follow strategies for action), this reinvigorating and contagious aspect of urban combat shows that there is a power of will, an emotional catalyst, that furthers, amplifies, and gives meaning to the actions of militants.[19]

Even the Black Blocs violence is thought out and rationalized as if it was a theatrical representation with a high level of cosmic symbolism. Violence is reconceptualized in order to justify the militant Black Bloc actions against the system. The main target of Black Blocs is property, especially corporate, financial, or government property (particularly including police equipment, even though police personnel may also be attacked). Most militants do not see the destruction of property as violence; those who do see property destruction as violence claim that it is only a tiny fraction of the far greater violence that the State and corporations launch at people all over the world on a daily basis. This stance places them at odds with pacifist activists, and at mass protests there are clashes between the two sides, with Black Bloc participants accusing adversaries of constituting a “peace police” that effectively collaborates with authorities in repression while spreading the “lie” that Black Blocs are police infiltrators, thus only further marginalizing them. A web site for Black Bloc sympathizers, Violent Anarchists, was created to “counteract the manipulation and stop the pacifist ideologues who are working with the cops to get people arrested.”[20] The truth, according to those who participate in or justify the operations of Black Blocs, is that “nonviolence doesn’t work.”[21] Gelderoos puts it thus: “Sitting down and locking arms is not fighting, it is recalcitrant capitulation.”[22]

This is an important point. These anarchists of insurrection engage in combat with the status quo because they want to escape the sorrowful image of “capitulation” to it. By fighting, they want to become a lasting symbol of insubmission to and defiance of an order that they see as evil. When the CrimethInc collective writes that the Black Bloc tactics “ha[ve] won some famous victories in the past two decades, and failed utterly more times than anyone can count too,”[23] it is confirming that, more important than winning or losing battles, in the long run, what matters is the example of a force of insurrection that shows that it is possible to confront the State and that it is possible to contest its monopoly on violence. Underlying the physical actions of Black Blocs lies a symbolic dimension. It is only with this in mind that one can understand a Brazilian Black Bloc participant’s words that “the strategy of a Black Bloc is above all a performance. . . . It is not destroying for the pleasure or joy of destruction. It is about attacking the symbol that is represented in that specific local or physical object.”[24] Hence the centrality given to aesthetics in Black Bloc narratives: the battle is also fought at a visual and graphic level, and the Internet helps in the wide circulation of images and videos of Black Blocs smashing windows of banks or torching police cars as symbolic, “victorious” moments in the war against the system.

This symbolic force of defiance with their acts of destruction and insurrection gives visibility to the social unrest that courses throughout society, shattering the myth of social peace, and undermining the “dominant narrative of tranquility.”[25] It plays a social cognitive function. As the manifesto Can’t Stop Kaos! puts it, taking a cue from Paulo Freire’s suggestions for the “oppressed”[26]: “If the people do not see a chance of victory or success, they will not participate in a resistance movement. The illusion of the allpowerful state must be broken.”[27] Because the State has a full understanding of the subversive potential that Black Blocs may have for its absolute rule, it attempts to discredit them in the eyes of public opinion by labeling them as violent and dangerous, in order both to discourage popular participation and also to facilitate their repression. The intensification of surveillance, group infiltration, and arrests of anarchists are signs that the State has declared an all-out war against competitors to its hegemony. The conviction that “Our rulers do not fear anarchists—they fear that anarchist values and practices will spread” is widespread.[28] As a CrimethInc militant wrote, the State’s purpose is clear:

In the Facebook age (when every opinion is effectively entered on one’s public record, for potential employers and law enforcement to see), the possibility for participatory anonymous action offers the only real point of departure that could lead us out of a control-oriented social framework.

In order to eliminate such possibility of emancipation from a controlled environment, “The black bloc is being framed as the enemy (and, incidentally, misrepresented as a fixed-membership ‘armed group’ a la the 1970s) to terrorize people away from recognizing their own potential in such configurations.”[29] For militants, the disruption of the “there is no alternative to the current society” paradigm and the opening of new possibilities and imaginations (what some label “ruptural politics”[30]) together constitute the most revolutionary potential of Black Bloc insurrectionary actions. The war is ongoing and, importantly, spreading globally. As a letter from Black Bloc participants to their Egyptian comrades states, “First and foremost: you are not alone. You are part of a struggle against oppressive power that is taking place all over the world.” The ties that bind the struggles against the “Globalitarian Empire”[31] are thus transnational, demand solidarity, and are shaded in black.

The war rages

The International Revolutionary Front (IRF) or, as the anarchists that profess to act under the IRF also call it, the Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI), embodies the second type of revolutionary anarchism in today’s world. It is a horizontal network with no central command and is constituted by a diffuse group of individuals and cells dedicated to clandestine urban guerrilla tactics and calling out for a revolutionary war against Power and Capital. Instead of sporadic, restricted, battles against the enemy, the revolutionary front commits itself to daily acts of war that include sabotage, bombings, and targeting individuals. It is an embryo of a potential Black International of Anarchists, dedicated to “global sabotage and direct action.”32As stated by one of its proponents, “FAI/IRF is an international conspiracy of anarchists of praxis that sets fire on the defensive positions of reformist society-ist anarchists.” Accordingly, “It gets rid of the smell of mold that has settled in anarchy seen at amphitheatres, and fills the air with the smell of gunpowder, black anarchy, night-time, explosions, gunshots, sabotages.”[33] Its members follow a strategy of leaderless resistance, a shared ethos of action that drives militants’ activities, rather than those activities being driven by hierarchies or leaders. The informal front is “a temporary meeting point for acts of solidarity, an act of revenge on the enemy, simultaneous attacks, which are not intended to embrace ‘a better future’ but to see the collapse of the hypocritical society: Today.”34The FAI/IRF is a network of support—in the sense of sharing of beliefs, solidarity, and even skills for better harming the enemy infrastructure—but each individual, or cell, chooses its target of choice according to each local or national political rationale. Thus, “Our spreading to dozens of countries transfers us to an asymmetric threat for the interior of the states.”[35] At the midway point of the first quarter of the twenty-first century, a variety of attacks have been perpetrated under the aegis of the FAI/IRF network, in European countries (such as Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain, Britain), in South America (Chile and Mexico, for example), and in Southeast Asia (Indonesia).

A major inspiration for the development of the FAI/IRF network has come from the activities of the Greek anarchist group Conspiracy of Cells of Fire (CCF) which, since 2008, has engaged in an ongoing (despite the fact that many members have been put in jail) campaign of coordinated attacks against the Greek State and capitalist society, targeting initially symbols but also gradually human beings.[36] The communiqués released by the group after action, distributed and translated all over the Internet, reveal a mindset that is widely shared within the FAI/IRF.

CCF members have called themselves “anarcho-individualists” and “nihilists” committed to total, continuous “anarchist insurrection” that does not wait for a “social class” (the key is not to rely on social classes but on autonomous individuals) or the “awakening of the masses” (the apathetic, sheep-like masses) in order to strike blows against the system. Ultimately the choice of revolutionary violence belongs to each individual: “Insurrection finds a base only in the individual selection and consciousness, in the determination to no longer wait for anyone and for anything, to attack here and now everything that represses us.” Setting themselves apart from (and above) the slumbering masses, who are anesthetized by spectacle and consumerism (languishing in a void and empty life), CCF assumes the role of “those who cannot fit in your shiny buildings’ world, with its neon lights, the disgusting social conformity, fast cars, commercial centers, surveillance and control cameras, police forces of occupation in the metropolis.” In revolutionary fashion they are comforted by the knowledge that “history is written when the silent crowd leaves and the silence’s drop-outs advance.”[37] This spiritual and ethical stance of anti-conformism is at the basis of their choice for a “violent and subversive” revolution.[38]

A successful guerilla campaign of continuous insurrection needs to sharpen and spread its weapons of attack. CCF members have been explicit about the need to disseminate how-to manuals for engaging in asymmetric wars inside states. In an open call written from prison, and published in an anarchist zine, members have remarked on the importance of transmitting “technical knowledge and experiences for the construction of explosive and incendiary devices and for the spreading of other forms of sabotage.” The goal should always be “to make our theory [into] practice.” Such manuals must describe the way to construct an explosive mechanism, the wiring of a time bomb, the assembling of a parcel bomb. . . also our ‘work’ in the chaotic arts of sabotage can open its thematology from the destruction of cameras, the blocking of ATMs and the construction of home-made smoke bombs up to burgling and stealing cars and motorbikes and the conservation and use of weapons.[39]

Even in prison, CCF members are some of the most vocal supporters of the FAI/IRF. Writing from prison they state that

Our home is FAI-IRF and we will never abandon it, neither in the easy moments nor the tough times.. . . FAI-IRF is the lost Atlantis of the practical theory. It is the meeting point of thought and action, imagination and the present, violence with poetry, desire with decision, the ‘I’ with the us.

Within the FAI/IRF “There is no protocol or rules. Our only compass is our values: direct action, anarchist critique towards the social silence, international solidarity, constant insurrection.”[40] After being charged with terrorism (accused of 250 attacks) by Greece, CCF members, in a statement to the court, gave a rationale for including human targets in their road of “constant insurrection”:

The choices of each one of us, define their life. There are options that are hostile and their exponents are targets for us. The acts and thoughts of an anarchist urban guerrilla aim to multiply the risk to the life of the enemies of anarchy and of state officials.

Therefore, “It is clear that the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire contributed to the proliferation of this risk and we will continue to do so.”[41] Other FAI/ IRF members have not forgotten this lesson—that humans are legitimate targets of attack. For example, the Italian “Olga Cell” (after Olga Ikonomidou, a CCF prisoner) of the FAI/IRF claimed the shooting of an Italian CEO of a nuclear agency. “We have crippled Roberto Adinolfi, one of so many sorcerers of the atom with a candid spirit and a clean conscience,” they announced. “State and science, capitalism and technology are only one thing, one single Moloch,” they continued. Against an indefinite wait for a “perfect” timeline of revolution, stands the urgency of action.

If we were realists we would not have armed our hands. If we were realists we would not take on such risks, we would live our existence producing and consuming, maybe being indignant. By holding a stupid pistol, we have only taken one step in many for escaping from the alienation of ‘Now is not the moment . . .’ ‘The times are not ripe . . .’[42]

The “revolutionary” action was, in the words of a supporter writing against passive and rhetorical “civil anarchists,” not “particularly ‘violent’,” but was “more an anarchist act of free will and liberty. These acts are sadly rare and do not happen with enough frequency; it’s a challenge to try harder. Certainly I consider such actions should be one of the constitutive parts of any anarchic insurgency.”[43] Therefore, together with the sabotage of capitalist infrastructures (particularly, as defended by The Coming Insurrection, by arresting the flow of its circulation and distribution, such as railways), the philosophy of retaliatory and liberating violence includes arson attacks against agents of the State (such as police officers, prison officials, magistrates, or intelligence officials), including their property (destroying their offices or vehicles), as well as campaigns of parcel bombs against governmental, financial, and corporate officials.

In order to increase its efficiency as a counterpower force, the FAI/IRF has developed a wide communication network among its members and sympathizers. This network is seen as a crucial factor in counteracting the hegemonic power of “corporate” or “capitalist” media that serves global Power. (News agencies and media conglomerates—even Microsoft as a company of the “techno-industrial complex” at the service of Power[44]—are also the targets of attacks by FAI/IRF.) The Internet is the favorite medium for dissemination of their alternative views on society, as well as a way of linking the different geographical struggles of permanent insurrection. Strategic manifestos, post-attack communiqués, and the dissemination of news about police repression (including reports of the arrest of comrades, court trials, and life in prison (hunger strikes, for example)), as well as statements from imprisoned revolutionary “brothers” and “sisters,” constitute a heavy part of this anarchist network of rebellion. And because the territory of struggle is global, there is a plethora of web sites dedicated to the translation of the words of all anarchist combatants. “We want our fire to be written in all languages,”[45] says the CCF. The statements of purpose of the North American ‘War on Society,’ one of such sites, is representative of the ethos of the entire movement:

War on Society is proud to be part of the growing anarchist counterinformation network for the translation and dissemination of anarchist action, counter-information, analysis, appeals for actions in solidarity with fallen and imprisoned comrades, and letters between individuals who are in many cases separated by oceans, prison walls, language barriers, and the life of the fugitive, yet wish to communicate with each other in the universal language of anarchy.[46]

A substantial component that facilitates solidarity among members of this international network is martyrology, or the role played by anarchist martyrs as an example of revolutionary virtue; these martyrs provide a model of conduct and also an inspiration for anarchist insurgents. Each militant attack is usually dedicated to “comrades of the praxis” behind bars (solidarity with “prisoners of war” and “political prisoners”). The FAI/IRF network, particularly through the activism of imprisoned CCF members, is behind the creation of a “Black International” as a way of keeping open the exchanges between anarchists both inside and outside prison walls. The first pamphlet of Black International editions contained a myriad of letters from militants in jail—as well as their addresses for further correspondence—from a variety of countries. According to CCF, these letters are an open invitation of constant battling against authority, proving that our body even if still hostage behind the prison bars, has the memory of our anarchic life and our heart is full of passion for new attacks, for new vandalisms, for new conspiracies of fire which burn the restrictions and liberates us.[47]

“We can’t describe the joy and strength we feel when we get news of some action of attack, when we hear the echo of the dynamite trying to tear up the greyness of social peace,” wrote Alfredo Cospito, the attacker of the Italian CEO, in Dark Nights, a “news sheet of anarchist prisoner solidarity and direct action reports.”[48] For these anarchists of the praxis and their embryonary but growing Black International, asymmetric warfare is both a way of living and a joyful fusion of theory and practice that gives meaning to life itself.

Concluding remarks—on the trail of the lone actor

If the definition of lone actor terrorism, such as in the present work, includes the use of violence (whether against property or persons) for a political cause by individuals or very small groups, autonomously, and not attached to a central command and well-established organizations, it is fair to say that such a strategic approach has already been put into practice by the anarchists of praxis. Both types of insurrectionary anarchism constitute networks that are decentralized and transnational and also are ultimately informed by the same philosophy of violence that shapes and justifies their war against the “totalitarian” power of State and Capital.

A distinction, however, must be made between these strands of the anarchism of insurrection. The operations of Black Blocs are tied up with mass protests and with the potential for riotous activity that may emerge from such street manifestations; the violent behavior is developed within the framework of protests and as part of a collective contestation of the ruling powers. Black Blocs are seen as part of a diversity of tactics against the system, not an exclusive and enlightened one, and they see the benefit of establishing links between their fury and society as a whole, particularly with the most downtrodden and socially excluded elements (who in fact often join them in street combats). The success of their activities will depend on the joining of such efforts, and not on further alienating the masses.[49] The International Revolutionary Front obeys a more elitist, and indeed vanguard-like, model of political violence, in which asymmetric warfare is the one and only acceptable method; the overriding priority is to further the righteous cause of individuals and cells that “know” that history will prove them right regardless of what society as a whole (including the most socially excluded) thinks of their actions as urban guerrillas. Further, unlike the case of Black Blocs, political violence does not stop at harm to individuals (police officers may be hurt in clashes but that is the farthest that Black Blocs go) but becomes a totalizing (because there are no innocents), destructive affair. Hence the self-description of “nihilist” that many militants give themselves. The ideology of revolutionary struggle may be similar to that of (and is generally shared by) Black Blocs, but the strategy of insurgency is distinct and has different practical consequences.

The phenomenon of lone actor terrorism is bound up with a process of individual radicalization that may or may not lead to political violence and terrorism. Radicalization is seen as a socialization process, or a gradual developing of extremist ideas and attitudes about the sociocultural environment.[50] It is akin to the learning process of a career, in this case a “career in violence.”[51] There is a psychological trajectory at work within mechanisms of radicalization. Ideology has commonly been identified as one of such mechanisms. There are broad ideological causes that in the last regard validate the actions of lone actor terrorists by reinforcing the individual self-perception and self-importance (selfaggrandizement[52]) of someone involved in a zero-sum conflict with historical repercussions (what is known as “ideologies of validation”[53]). Extremist ideologies may offer both a way out of uncertainty and a sense of closure through the embrace of an unambiguous and Manichean worldview.[54] However, ideology is not a sufficient condition to explain lone actor terrorism; one may have radical beliefs without engaging in violent or terrorist acts.

Ultimately, violent radicalization is a process that by its own nature is individual and dependent on the characteristics and idiosyncrasies of each individual involved. Social psychologists have written about the importance of an X-factor (“something must happen”) in the individual trajectory that transforms the political (rejection of the established political system or of capitalism) into the personal (it aggravates the individual in such a manner that he feels he has the moral obligation to act).55It should be pointed out, however, that militants do not make such a clear-cut distinction, and the rejection of the status quo is more than political—it is existential (the evils of Power and Capital affect human beings to their very core, dehumanizing them). In any case, psychological factors such as excessive empathy with a group,[56] or even extreme narcissism[57] (which would introduce a trait of abnormal psychology), may reinforce or serve as catalysts of the “emotional pull”58to take upon one’s shoulders the mission of dealing violently with the evil that afflicts the group or community. Especially in autonomous cells, one cannot disregard the role played by peer pressure, as well as in-group competition for risk and status (a battle-hardened combatant carries more “street cred”—more leverage and respect), in the decision to engage in violent actions against the enemies of the group.[59]

Mechanisms of radicalization (in this case violent radicalization) are also reactive—they exist and develop in a dynamic opposition to another pole, which in the case of the anarchists of praxis is represented by the State. Victimization (real or perceived) also furthers the comrades’ commitment to the path of radicalization. Individuals have the perception that they, or the group that they belong to, are marginalized by and under attack from the State. Evidently, the existence of martyrs (either fallen or imprisoned) constitutes proof of such persecution; martyrs give a physical dimension to the dynamics of victimization and may help in closing the circle of individual violent radicalization. Particularly in the first decade of the twenty-first century, the State has undoubtedly intensified its repression—and the police and legal tools to carry out such repression—of groups labeled extremist. Anarchists have been at the receiving end of the State’s heavier hand. The FBI defines anarchists as “criminals seeking an ideology to justify their activities”[60] (this, incidentally, parallels Cesare Lombroso, one of the founders of modern criminology, who viewed anarchists as belonging mostly to a “criminal type”[61]). Intelligence-led operations comprising intense surveillance, and even infiltration of anarchist groups, have become a widely used strategy of threat prevention. This approach has been complemented, particularly in the United States and Europe,62as part of the overall counterterrorism effort, with an increased reliance on partnerships between law enforcement and local communities in the reporting of behavior deemed suspicious (which will be described further in the chapters on networked security).[63]

It is true that what has been called the new “technological wave” of terrorism,[64] particularly through the role of the Internet, helps both individual radicalization (extremist ideologies are easily available as well as the means to find likeminded people) and strategies of leaderless resistance (the means to wage war on the system are disseminated and attacks can be planned and carried out without the need for a central command). However, this new wave of technology has also increased the State’s ability to monitor closely the activities of individuals and groups deemed potentially subversive or dangerous to society. This has consequences especially for terrorist autonomous cells. This all-seeing State may strengthen the need of individuals and radical groups for clandestinity (as well as the need for increased security measures in order to avoid detection, infiltration, and subsequent elimination). It can be assumed then that in those underground enclaves the speed of individual and collective radicalization is accelerated, especially because such isolation disconnects even more the individual from previous social networks and routines, making the ‘under siege’ mentality a daily reality. And, of course, in such an environment the urgency to act against the all-powerful enemy—with rage and righteousness—is decisively intensified. In any case, this dynamic interaction between the violent radicalization of individuals and groups—whether of an insurrectionary anarchist variety or not—and the State must be taken into account whenever one looks at the dynamics and prospects of lone actor terrorism—and the strategy of leaderless resistance—in the twentyfirst century.

Notes

1 There is a growing number of authors for whom anarchism is going through a phase of revival. See Saul Newman, “Anarchism,” Jonathan Pugh (ed.), What is Radical Politics Today? (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 223–9; Randall Amster, Anarchism Today (Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, 2012), xix–xxviii; see also José Pedro Zúquete, “ ‘This is what Democracy looks like’: Is Representation under Siege?” Cas Mudde (ed.), Political Extremism. Volume Four: Left- Wing Extremism (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 2013).

2 The “coercion by force” dimension is present in early studies of political violence. See, e.g., Ernest van den Haag, Political Violence and Civil Disobedience (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), 60–3.

3 Jeff Goodwin, “Introduction to a Special Issue on Political Violence and Terrorism: Political Violence As Contentious Politics,” Mobilization: An International Journal, 17: 1 (2012), 3.

4 CrimethInc, “Harbinger—Fifth Communiqué,” available at www.crimethinc. com/tools/downloads/pdfs/harbinger5.pdf, accessed on 9 August 2013.

5 The Invisible Committee, The Coming Insurrection (Los Angeles: Semiotext (e), 2010).

6 See Errico Malatesta, Anarchism and Violence (Johannesburg, South Africa: Zabalaza Books, 2008).

7 See Alan Ryan, The Making of Modern Liberalism (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2012), 123–5.

8 A Crime Called Freedom: The Writings of Os Cangaceiros (Volume One), trans. Wolfi Landstreicher (Portland: Eberhardt Press, 2006), 7.

9 CrimethInc, “The Illegitimacy of Violence, the Violence of Legitimacy” (2012), 9.

10 See Derrick Jensen, “Preface,” Ward Churchill, Pacifism as Pathology: Reflections on the Role of Armed Struggle in North America (Oakland: AK Press, 2007), 3–30.

11 Peter Gelderoos, How Nonviolence Protects the State (New York: South End Press 2004), 73.

14 Dana M. Williams and Matthew T. Lee, “Aiming to Overthrow the State Without Using It: Political Opportunities for the Anarchist Movement,” Com- parative Sociology 11: 4 (September 2012), 558–93.

15 CrimethInc, “Say you want an insurrection” (2009), 1.

16 For a more complete analysis of Black Blocs (which is beyond the scope of this work) see José Pedro Zúquete, “ ‘Hell yes we’re fighting!’ Revolutionary Anarchism’s Call for Destruction and Creation,” George Michael (ed.) Extremism in America (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2013).

17 The Institute for Experimental Freedom Blog, “God Only Knows What Devils We Are” (20 February 2012).

18 See Nathan L. Clough, “Emotion at the Center of Radical Politics: On the Affective Structures of Rebellion and Control” Antipode 44: 5 (2012), 1676–7.

19 See Francis Dupuis-Déri “The Black Blocs Ten Years after Seattle: Anarchism, Direct Action, and Deliberative Practices,” Journal for the Study of Radicalism 4: 2 (2010), 55–6; Tadzio Mueller and Sian Sullivan, Making Other Worlds Possible? Riots, Movement, and Counter-globalization (n.d.: unpublished).

20 Violent Anarchists—blog, “About,” web site http://violentanarchists.wordpress. com/about/, accessed on 30 August 2013.

21 Ibid.

22 Gelderoos, How Nonviolence Protects the State, 87.

23 CrimethInc, Recipes for Disaster (Olympia, Washington: CrimethInc, 2004), 128. [24] “Não há violência no Black Bloc. Há performance,” Carta Capital, 2 August 2013. [25] Gelderoos, How Nonviolence Protects the State, 64.

26 Paulo Freire wrote that “the oppressed must see examples of the vulnerability of the oppressor. . . . Until this occurs, they will continue to be disheartened, fearful and beaten.” See Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, trans. Myra Bergman Ramos (New York: Continuum, 1970), 64.

27 AutonomousResistance, Can’t Stop Kaos! zine (Vancouver: AutonomousResistance, 2010), 6.

28 CrimethInc, “A Letter to the Egyptian Black Bloc,” 9 February 2013. [29] Email communication with “B” from CrimethInc, 2 July 2012.

30 Mueller and Sullivan, Making Other Worlds Possible?

31 CrimethInc, “The June 2013 Uprisings in Brazil,” 27 June 2013.

32 325, “FIRE AND DYNAMITE From Indonesia to Chile . . . A proposition for FAI/IRF” (n.d.), 7–8.

33 The Anarchist Library, “Fragment: Violence” by L, 24 June 2013.

34 325, “ ‘A Contribution for the FAI-IRF’: Letter from Anger Unit/ICR-FAI-IRF (Indonesia),” 30 June 2013.

36 For an overview of the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire, see George Kassimeris, “Greece’s New Generation of Terrorists, Part 2: The Conspiracy of Cells of Fire (CCF),” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 35 (2012), 634–49.

37 Conspiracy of Cells of Fire (CCF), “Communiqué—Why we set your nights on fire,” (2008),CCFwebsite,http://conspiracycellsoffire.espivblogs.net/2013/03/26/2008s-

communiques-of-conspiracy-of-cells-of-fire-english/#more-137, accessed on 30 August 2013.

38 Ibid.

39 325, Issue 10, November 2012 (web site http://325.nostate.net/library/325–10.

pdf), 42–3, accessed on 30 August 2013.

41 325, “Statement by Conspiracy of Cells of Fire about being charged with 250 attacks,” 2 August 2013 (http://325.nostate.net/?p=8428), accessed on 30 August 2013. On another occasion a CCF member said during trial that “Life on its own is not dignity on its own. Life is a value based on the choices made by everyone. Thus, whichever comrades chose to arm themselves and expose themselves by executing officers of authority, we are next to them.” See 325, “Updates on the trial of the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire in Athens (Greece)” 4 January 2013 (http://325.nostate.net/?p=6835), accessed on 30 August 2013.

42 325, “Armed attack against CEO Roberto Adinolfi of Ansaldo Nucleare by Nucleo Olga FAI/FRI (Italy),” 7 May 2012 (http://325.nostate.net/?p=5259), accessed on 30 August 2013.

43 The Anarchist Library, “Fragment: Violence” by L, 24 June 2013.

44 The communiqué of 26 June 2012, signed by the “Deviant Behaviors for the Spread of Revolutionary Terrorism—International Revolutionary Front” quoted Theodore Kaczynski, and accused the “techno-industrial complex” of being at the service of “domination, of Power, and the imposition of totalitarian control.” See 325, “Athens: 27/6/12—Full communiqué for the highprofile vehicle-bomb against Microsoft” (2012).

46 War on Society—blog (http://waronsociety.noblogs.org/?page_id=2), accessed on 30 August 2013.

47 Mapping the Fire: International Words of Solidarity with the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire

(Athens: Black International Editions, 2012), 3.

48 325. Dark Nights # 32 (April 2013).

49 For this argument see CrimethInc, “The Illegitimacy of Violence,” p. 8. See also Miroslav Mareš, “Strategies for Creating Insurgencies and Civil Wars in Europe: From Violent Extremism to Paramilitary Conflicts?” Jindal Journal of International Affairs 2: 1 (2012), 90–119, on 99. I think, however, that the strategy of the extreme left (at least some parts of it) go beyond appealing to “riots and communes,” as the example of permanent clandestine asymmetric warfare of the FAI/IRF shows.

50 See Jeremy G. Carter and David L. Carter, “Law Enforcement Intelligence: Implications for Self-radicalized Terrorism,” Police Practice and Research: An Inter- national Journal 13: 2 (April 2012), 140.

51 See Xavier Crettiez, “Penser la violence politique,” Les violences politiques en Europe: un état des lieux (Paris: Éditions La Découverte, 2010), 19–21.

52 Roger Griffin, Terrorist’s Creed: Fanatical Violence and the Human Need for Meaning

(New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 92–5.

53 Ramón Spaaij, “The Enigma of Lone Wolf Terrorism: An Assessment,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 33: 9 (2010), 854–70, on 863.

54 Studies on the psychology of extremism have showed the link between “uncertainty-reduction” and extremism. See, e.g., Arie W. Kruglanski and Edward Orehek, “The Need for Certainty as a Psychological Nexus for Individuals and Society,” Michael A. Hogg and Danielle L. Blaylock (eds), Extremism and the Psychology of Uncertainty (Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell, 2012), 32–47.

55 Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko, Friction: How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 33.

57 Tom Fahy, “Do Cases Like that of Anders Breivik Show that Fanaticism Is a Form of Madness? No,” BMJ (July 2012), 2.

58 Jamie Bartlett and Carl Miller, “The Edge of Violence: Towards Telling the Difference Between Violent and Non-Violent Radicalization,” Terrorism and Polit- ical Violence 24: 1 (2012), 13.

59 Ibid., 14–15; also McCauley and Moskalenko, Friction, 58–74.

60 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Anarchist Extremism: A Decade after the ‘Battle of Seattle’ (FBI, 2010).

61 Cesare Lombroso, The Cesare Lombroso Handbook, ed. Paul Knepper and Per Jørgen Ystehede (New York: Routledge, 2013), 52.

62 See, e.g., Europol, Counter Terrorism Working Group Conclusions (2011); U.S. Department of Homeland Security, If You See Something, Say Something (2010).

63 Carter and Carter, “Law Enforcement Intelligence,” 141.

64 Jeffrey D. Simon, Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understanding the Growing Threat (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2013), 27; see also George Michael, “Leaderless Resistance: The New Face of Terrorism,” Defence Studies 12: 2 (June 2012), 259–60.

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3 Extreme right perpetrators

Miroslav Mareš and Richard Stojar

On the militant extreme right scene, lone actor terrorism is a very popular concept, interconnected with the concept of “leaderless” resistance. There are many famous cases of right wing extremist lone actors, such as Joseph Paul Franklin, Franz Fuchs, Anders Behring Breivik, and so on, and these are important for understanding the lone actor phenomenon as a whole. In this chapter, we first attempt to analyze the strategic implications of lone actor terrorism in the various ideological streams of the extreme right and then we describe the most important cases of this phenomenon in selected regions—in the United States of America, in Western Europe, in Central and Eastern Europe and, as a specific case, in Israel.

Strategic implications of extreme right lone actor terrorism

Individual lone actor perpetrators were exceptional in the era of historical racism, fascism, and Nazism in the pre-war period. Individual perpetrators of right wing terrorist attacks were members of clandestine societies or hierarchical terrorist groups. Terrorism was also organized by paramilitary units (such as the Squadristi or the Sturmabteilung, SA) or governmental secret agencies (Abwehr, Sicherheitsdienst, and others).

Paul Gorguloff can be mentioned as an example of an exceptional right wing extremist lone actor, a Russian white emigrant and president of the socalled Russian Nationalist Fascist Party.[1] Gorguloff, probably the only member of this “party,” was a former soldier of the Russian Tsarist army. He was dissatisfied with the Bolshevik revolution and with the fact that Western countries were not able to defeat Bolshevism. He had some psychological problems. Gorguloff lived in Czechoslovakia in the 1920s. In 1930, he prepared the unsuccessful assassination of the Czechoslovak president, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk. In 1932, Gorguloff assassinated the French president, Paul Doumer, for which he was sentenced to death.[2] From a strategic point of view, his act is more comparable with the anarchist strategy of propaganda by deed than with later concepts of extreme right lone actors.

The first decades of the post-war period too were characterized by hierarchical clandestine right wing groups, sometimes even linked to military structures, such as the Organisation de l’armée secrète (OAS, Organisation of Secret Army) in France. Some have suggested that a large part of right wing terrorism during the Cold War was supported by the secret services of NATO countries, with the aim of countering the extreme left and creating a basis for insurgency in the case of communist occupation.[3] The ideas of elitist skinhead groups (the Hammerskins, for example) or small hierarchical clandestine groups (inspired by historical Nazi structures and/or by leftist terrorist groups such as the Red Army Faction (RAF), including the strategic pamphlet Werwolf from Germany) were propagated in the right wing extremist milieu in the second half of the 1980s and at the beginning of the 1990s.[4]

However, at the same time new impulses influenced the strategic thinking of the militant extreme right, mostly from the United States. William Pierce, the leader of the neo-Nazi organization National Alliance, published the novel Hunter under the pen name Andrew Macdonald in 1989. The novel describes the fight of a white supremacist against the system. Beginning as a lone actor, he built a network of supporters. Pierce was partially inspired by the case of Joseph Paul Franklin (see below) and this book (together with Pierce’s earlier novel The Turner Diaries) inspired Timothy McVeigh (see below)[5] and many others. On the back cover of this book we read:

Oscar Yeager, a former combat pilot in Vietnam, now a comfortable yuppie working as a Defense Department consultant in the Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital, faces this choice. He surveys the race mixing, the open homosexuality, the growing influence of drugs, the darkening complexion of the population as the tide of non-White immigration swells. He finds that for him it really is no choice at all: he is compelled to fight the evil which afflicts America in the 1990s; his conscience will not let him ignore it, and joining it is inconceivable. He declares war on the corrupt and irresponsible politicians who are presiding over the destruction of his race and his country, the scheming media masters who are the principal architects of that destruction, and the spiritually sick adherents of “diversity” who are their willing collaborators. And when Oscar Yeager is on the warpath, you’d better not be in his way![6]

In 1992, Louis Beam, another important strategist of the American extreme right, published “Leaderless Resistance,” in which he enhanced the ideas of Colonel Ulius Louis Amoss from the 1960s about the possibilities of insurgency against Soviet occupation. In contrast, in Beam’s concept the main enemy was the contemporary “federal tyranny” in the United States. Beam advocated not only lone actors, but also small cells of fighters. However, lone actors do play an important role in his concept. Beam writes:

phantom cells or individuals will tend to react to objective events in the same way. . . . No one need issue an order to anyone. Those idealists truly committed. . . will act when they feel the time is ripe, or will take their cue from others who precede them.[7]

Beam’s ideas spread into right wing extremist movements in many countries and they were probably also an inspiration for other ideological streams. Within the American extreme right, Tom Metzger became a major supporter of lone actors (Metzger had in the 1980s founded the organization White Aryan Resistance which followed hierarchical and collective principles, in contrast to Metzger’s ideas in the 1990s).[8] Beam and Metzger also inspired Californian activist Alex Curtiss (b. 1975), who enhanced the lone actor concept (although only on a theoretical level; he himself operated in a small cell group at the turn of the century).[9]

In Europe too, partially under American influence, the concepts of lone actors and leaderless resistance were for the most part embraced during the 1990s. For example, the neo-Nazi organization Combat 18, built as an elitist militant arm of the network Blood & Honour, changed its identity in several countries to a formula which could be used by anybody who accepted the general goals of the neo-Nazi struggle. In addition, the Anti-Antifa concept, created in Germany in the 1990s, is partially interconnected with this phenomenon. “Blacklists” of enemies of the extreme right have been compiled and anybody can attack people on the list. However, Anti-Antifa also had a broader dimension, including small cell squads for street battles against the extreme left and similar opponents.[10]

According to some European extreme right thinkers, it is important to combine the lone actor strategy with other political forms. A strict division between the lone actor scene and other forms is necessary according to the Scandinavian neo-Nazi activist publishing under the pen name Max Hammer. He recommends the lone actor strategy only in some countries. He writes:

In some countries Leaderless Resistance is highly recommendable. In others, like Germany, it has through the dictatorial excesses of ZOG, become a must for the die-hard National Socialist. (Rote Armee Fraktion is turning into Braune Armee Fraktion right in front of the frustrated STASI officers!) In Scandinavia—especially Sweden and Denmark—there now exist well-organized NS movements which actually know the score. They are prepared to work legally if “democracy” lets them. But they are also willing to change their modus operandi if that should become necessary. Unity does mean strength, and a wellorganized movement of strong individuals multiplies that strength by its number of members. On the other hand, some comrades work best on their own, and their actions are of such a nature that total anonymity is needed and no organization can take responsibility without forever leaving their legal status. Last year the Washington Post reported that the anonymous loners who show up at meetings but not as members, listen but do not make themselves heard—and then go about their own subversive and violent business, are the biggest threat to society according to FBI. These lone white wolves must be respected and left alone to stalk the worst enemies of our race. They expect no support and assistance but they deserve acknowledgement and understanding.[11]

Discussions about the lone actor concept are intensive within the right wing extremist scene. Many activists reject this approach and prefer a stepby-step creation of revolutionary conditions and/or vigilante activities aimed at winning public sympathy. Another possibility is paramilitary training in preparation for a race war. And it is also important to mention that several lone actors were probably acting without any deeper strategic influence than the above-mentioned ideologues (Franz Fuchs, for example). In addition, other lone actors tried to develop new directions within this concept (such as Anders Behring Breivik).

United States

The modern concept of extreme right lone actors has its roots not only in the strategic thinking of the white supremacist and neo-Nazi scene in the United States, but also in the “terrorist praxis” in this country. Joseph Paul Franklin can be mentioned as a pioneer of this approach. He was born in 1950, originally called James Clayton Vaughn, Jr. He grew up in Mobile, Alabama. His father was an alcoholic and he was physically abusive to his children.[12] Young Vaughn injured his head in a bicycle accident in 1957. In 1968 he was briefly married; divorce came only four months after the wedding. He read books about Nazism and he became a fan of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels. He became involved in crime. In 1970, he began insulting racially mixed couples. Several years later he joined the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party, and the National States Rights Party. When he was 26, he changed his name to Joseph Paul Franklin. The reason for this was his attempt to join the Rhodesian army, which was made difficult by his criminal record in the name Vaughn. Joseph Paul was chosen after Joseph Paul Goebbels and Franklin after Benjamin Franklin.[13]

In 1977, Franklin began a campaign of racially motivated hate attacks interconnected with a series of bank robberies and arson attacks. He is suspected of killing 21 victims, has confessed to 17 murders, and was convicted of having carried out 8 murders. Several other victims were injured. In 1980, Franklin was captured and later sentenced to death. He is currently on death row. According to an expert witness, he is a paranoid schizophrenic. In 1978, during the murder campaign, he met his second wife. They married in 1979, but separated after one year.[14]

Franklin’s targets included Jews (he carried out a bomb attack against the synagogue in Chattanooga in 1977), biracial couples, and important personalities such as human rights activist Vernon Jordan, an AfroAmerican lawyer who was wounded by Franklin in 1980, and Larry Flynt, publisher of the pornographic Hustler magazine, who was seriously wounded and paralyzed by Franklin in 1978.[15]

As mentioned above, Franklin inspired a major part of the American militant extreme right, including William Pierce. And Pierce was probably the source of inspiration for Timothy McVeigh, who is often mentioned as an example of a lone actor. McVeigh was the main perpetrator of the socalled Oklahoma City bombing on 19 April 1995, an attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building with a huge volume of explosives in a truck. The death toll was 168 people, including 9 children, and 853 people were wounded. McVeigh was sentenced to death and executed in 2001. However, McVeigh did not act alone; he had at least two accomplices (Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier, both of whom were active in the logistical background of the attack).[16] The McVeigh case is accordingly better described as an example of leaderless resistance, rather than as a typical lone actor attack.[17]

Timothy McVeigh was born in 1968. He served in the army from 1988 to 1992 and was a veteran of the First Gulf War. He had prejudices against federal government, and two cases radicalized him—the killing of the family members of white supremacist Randy Weaver by federal agents in 1992 (the so-called Ruby Ridge incident) and the FBI attack on the headquarter of the Branch Davidians cult in Waco in 1993.[18] With his friends, McVeigh then prepared and carried out the attack in Oklahoma City.

McVeigh is an idol for many white supremacists and a part of the neoNazi scene. The acronym 168: 1 serves as a symbol of sympathy for McVeigh, carrying the meaning of the number of victims to one perpetrator.[19] Some neo-Nazi activists (among others Tom Metzger) have doubts about whether McVeigh really was a white supremacist, because his best friend had close contacts with native Americans and the wife of one of his co-perpetrators (Nichols) was a Filipina.[20]

Some scholars have also analyzed Eric Robert Rudolph in the context of lone actor terrorism.[21] While Rudolph was affiliated with the freestructured Army of God, this “army” embraced the concept of individual fighters. Rudolph is well known as the perpetrator of the bomb attack on the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta during the Olympic games in 1996, in which two died and more than a hundred were wounded, and several attacks against targets connected with abortion and homosexuality. He was captured in 2003 in the mountains of North Carolina and was in 2005 sentenced to life imprisonment.[22]

Rudolph was born in 1965 in Merit Island, Florida. In the second half of the 1980s, he served a short time in the U.S. army. He was against the spread of “socialist” norms into traditional American society, assessing primarily abortion and homosexuality as dangerous elements. Rudolph was part of the anti-abortion militant movement, yet his ideological beliefs and scope of activities were broader, and were connected with extreme right beliefs. Rudolph explained his goals and motives in a 2005 statement which he called “Confession.”[23]

A typical lone actor attack with an atypical perpetrator (due to his age) was the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting, carried out in 2009. The perpetrator, James von Brunn, was born in 1920. During the Second World War, he served in the navy. Von Brunn was a white supremacist, holocaust denier, anti-Semite, and, among others, the author of the anti-Semitic book Kill the Best Gentiles. He was in contact with several leaders of the extreme right scene. Von Brunn started shooting in the museum building, killing Stephen T. Johns, an African American security guard, shortly after which he was himself shot and wounded by another guard. Von Brunn died in federal prison in 2010.[24]

On 5 August 2012, another white supremacist shooter shocked the United States and the world. Former army veteran Michael Page (b. 1971), with known contacts to the white supremacist scene, started shooting in the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. He killed six people, and wounded several others. After this act and a short gunfight with the police, he committed suicide. Page did not publish any statement or give any explanation of his motives. According to some interpretations, Page may have sought to kill people whom he thought were Muslims. However, his real motives remain unclear.[25]

Western Europe

The phenomenon of lone actors carrying out terrorist actions is, in Western Europe, an occurrence which can be linked mainly to the extremist right wing environment. In the present and recent past, of course, we also meet with jihadist lone actors; however, in the European context, these can still be considered an imported influence. When we compare the terrorist activities and terrorist groups, we find that in contrast to the active extreme left wing groups over the past few decades, in the Western European environment there have been few if any similarly sophisticated organizations motivated by extreme right wing ideals. There has been nothing analagous to the Italian Brigate Rosse, German Rote Armee Fraktion, French Action Directe, or Greek Revolutionary Organization November 17 and Revolutionary People’s Struggle based on right wing foundations.

There are other organizations using terrorist attacks to fight for their goals, however, and, being motivated by ethnic separatism, they can in many cases be viewed as close to the extreme right wing point of view. In most cases, however, they also draw from leftist ideals, at least at some stages of their operation. The Irish IRA or Basque ETA are probably the most illustrative cases, but, for separatist movements or organizations, ideology is often not an obstacle to cooperation by individuals or groups with different positions, since the fundamental idea of their struggle is that of national emancipation and liberation from foreign domination. For this reason, certain factions inside larger separatist terrorist groups could cooperate despite very different ideological backgrounds. The Macedonian VMRO in the interwar period ranged from extreme right wing fascist tendencies to those of the far left, and similarly, the Kosovo Albanian KLA was formed by groups ranging in ideology from Maoism to extreme nationalism and specific anti-Serbian racism. Among the separatist groups carrying out terrorist campaigns, the closest evidence of extreme right wing ideals can be found in the movement of South Tyrolean separatists, or irredentists; nevertheless, these do not represent the dominant element of this particular movement.

In Western Europe, we might perhaps mention two terrorist formations which in many ways coincided with the extreme right wing environment— the French–Algerian OAS and European Gladio. These organizations, however, arose under very specific conditions, as they were formed by the military and intelligence community, and their inclusion in the category of extreme right wing groups would be very problematic in this respect. In the context of Gladio, neo-fascist Italian groups are often mentioned, which are probably the only adequate counterpoint to their leftist counterparts. An organization sometimes described as an extreme right wing terrorist group is Combat 18, which was founded in England in the 1990s; however, despite its almost global expansion in the world of white supremacism, it is more a brand that has acquired certain popularity among right wing extremists but whose activists never constituted any serious threat, in comparison to the above-mentioned organizations. In fact, only a few acts of vandalism took place under the name C18, in some cases not even directed against the system or non-European immigrants.[26] Thus, terrorist actions in an extreme right wing environment have become primarily the domain of individuals or only very limited groups of people. The reasons for this phenomenon are several. The activities of right wing extremists in the Western European environment are relatively well monitored, which makes it rather difficult to form a more organized group that could execute serious terrorist attacks. Monitoring and infiltration by security authorities, as well as the actual problematic cooperation of individual radicals are factors that prevent the occurrence of a group or organization of a terrorist nature, such as those that are generated on the basis of ethnic principles or left wing radicalism.

Right wing lone actors encounter a number of constraints which complicate the effectiveness of these otherwise motivated terrorists. Potential activists could plausibly find enough likeminded people in their struggle against the system, a system that they see as a threat to their ethnic group or civilization; however, the reality is different. Many right wing extremists begin their active career in an environment of subcultures, which focuses more on street violence or vandalism (similar to the desire to take action, which will frequently appear in later chapters), and they hardly ever reach the level of sophistication necessary to execute more severe attacks. On the other hand, owing to their activities, they often become a target of police attention, which makes it more difficult or even impossible for them to carry out terrorist actions. Thus, many lone actors who represented serious threats in Western Europe never went through this environment, even though for a certain period they might have been looking for contacts or support inside the extremist social networks. Neither is it possible to find a common psychological or social profile of a terrorist activist of such a type; individuals differ from each other significantly, and Anders Behring Breivik, Kai Diesner, Franz Fuchs, and David Copeland would probably have found it hard to cooperate, or rather, they might have despised each other, owing to different views or different social status, education, and intellect. Significantly different also is the modus operandi of individual lone actors. We encounter those who used simple explosive devices as well as those who accomplished sophisticated traps, single actions, and long-term activity.

A Western European lone actor terrorist, due to this isolation and lack of contacts within a wider organized group, will remain an unclear and often surprising actor for the security forces; on the other hand, his activities or plans are often limited by a lack of access to certain weapon systems, and currently also by the relatively advanced tracking system that facilitates identification of persons or monitoring of their movement. Western European states that face terrorism in the long term have betterprepared security mechanisms that can be applied even in the case of terrorist lone actors, but even such mechanisms, of course, cannot be completely perfect. In fact, the longest enduring or most destructive terrorist attacks of that type were carried out in states with an otherwise high level of internal security: Sweden, Norway, and Austria.

John Ausonius (b. 1953), known in the media as Lasermannen (“the Laser Man”) because he initially used a rifle with a laser sight, was active in Sweden in the early 1990s. Between August 1991 and January 1992, Ausonius attacked a total of eleven people, one of whom did not survive the injuries. Ausonius chose his targets predominantly by darker complexion; they were mostly immigrants from non-European states. There is no evidence that he was involved in far right activities or organizations before he began his series of shootings, although his history was relatively wild and included a criminal record. His motives were, among others, built on personal frustrations. Ausonius was himself a second-generation immigrant, although with Western European roots; however, he had allegedly been bullied during his childhood for his non-Swedish appearance, which he tried to compensate for as an adult by dying his dark hair and wearing light color contact lenses, as well as changing his name to sound Swedish. His views were in line with the profile of a far right radical, including a strong aversion to foreigners and leftist parties. Still, in many respects he was more a serial killer than a radical. Ausonius was arrested less than two years after his first attack, in June 1992, during an attempted bank robbery. The low efficiency of his murderous attacks was mainly caused by the low-quality weaponry he had, which was probably taken into account by the court that sentenced Ausonius to life imprisonment.

Ausonius had a follower almost two decades later in Peter Mangs (b. 1972), who, between December 2009 and October 2010 in Malmö, Sweden, shot specifically at dark-skinned immigrants. Despite an intensive police search, Mangs too managed to escape for a long time. His modus operandi was similar to that of Ausonius; he used a short firearm at more or less random targets, and his actions too resulted in a comparatively low number of casualties. Mangs was not active in far right organizations, although he posted comments on anti-immigrant web sites and expressed racist views to co-workers.[27]

Neither Ausonius nor Mangs can be said to have been entirely typical of far right terrorists. While their motivation was strongly pervaded by xenophobia and racism, their profiles corresponded more with serial killers, with the selection of victims based on more than one set of circumstances. In Britain, where the security forces have gained extensive experience due to the long-term activity of organizations such as the IRA and Ulster loyalists, actions by lone individuals formed a relatively atypical form of terrorist attack until the end of the 1990s. The extreme right wing milieu gave birth to David Copeland (b. 1976), who carried out a 13-day bombing campaign in April 1999. He was a neo-Nazi militant and was for some time a member of two far right political groups, the British National Party and the National Socialist Movement. Copeland became known in the media as the “London Nail Bomber,” because nails formed one of the main components of his homemade explosive systems. The targets of his attacks were ethnic groups of non-European origin and homosexual communities. In the second half of April 1999, Copeland placed three explosive systems in different parts of London; the explosions claimed the lives of three people and injured 139. Although the locations of the attacks were selected in order to match Copeland’s target group preferences—namely places with mainly black and Bangladeshi populations, and in the third case, a club attended by the gay community—the locations were not strictly selective and the victims reflected the diverse London population, that is, they were not representative of any particular color or sexual orientation. In terms of targeting, Copeland’s bombing campaign can be deemed to be a rather unsuccessful individual action. Copeland also lacked a sophisticated approach in the deployment of the bombs, and was identified relatively soon after the first attack based on the analysis of camera recordings. Shortly after the third explosion he was arrested by the security forces. After his arrest, Copeland confirmed that he had acted on his own and was not a member of any organized terrorist group. As a reason for his actions he stated:

My main intent was to spread fear, resentment and hatred throughout this country, it was to cause a racial war.. . . If you’ve read The Turner Diaries you know the year 2000 there’ll be the uprising and all that, racial violence on the streets. My aim was political. It was to cause a racial war in this country. There’d be a backlash from the ethnic minorities, then all the white people will go out and vote BNP.[28]

As with many a terrorist lone actor, in the case of Copeland the explanation for his activities could be sought in psychological problems and/or mental illness. A group of psychiatrists concluded that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, therefore, in this case it may be said that this was not purely an ad hoc claim of the defense in the lawsuit. Still, many psychiatrists stated that while Copeland had a personality disorder, it did not diminish his responsibility. Copeland himself denied that he had schizophrenia in a statement he sent to the BBC following his arrest. In many ways, Copeland was the embodied stereotype of an extreme right wing bully, and his personal life and social status were not satisfactory. He did not achieve higher education and his career was typical for a social “loser”—he switched jobs several times and had difficulty finding a new job after he lost one. Copeland blamed immigrants for the lack of employment opportunities, and got into conflict with the law because of petty crime.[29] All of this probably helped strengthen his radical position and the normal engagement of a right wing radical became insufficient for him. A year before his terrorist campaign he left the British National Party (BNP), as he started to consider it an inefficient and moderate political formation. Copeland then joined the more radical neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, in which he became a regional leader, and to which he also attracted media attention through his attacks. Copeland’s active terrorist career did not last long and in terms of numbers of victims it did not shock the world to the extent that some of the later terrorist attacks did. However, in the context of development in Western Europe, it was a signal of a new dimension of far right violence. Copeland was convicted of murder in June 2000, given six life sentences, and, in 2007, the High Court ruled that he must serve at least 50 years.

German neo-Nazi Kai Diesner (b. 1972) was almost the same age as Copeland. Diesner did not execute a large-scale terrorist attack; however, his willingness to use a weapon also claimed a human life and his subsequent arrest probably prevented the escalation of violent activities. Diesner came from Berlin in former East Germany, and in the last months of East Germany’s existence, in the summer of 1989, he managed to escape through the Iron Curtain to West Germany. Here, however, he was not inspired by the democratic nature of the state system, nor by the growing multicultural variety of West German society; rather, he soon established contacts with neo-Nazi groups. After the unification of Germany, Diesner became active in Berlin as a neo-Nazi activist. This did not escape the attention of the security forces. In 1994 he was arrested and fined for some of his actions. This did not diminish his determination, and he continued to be very active on the German neo-Nazi scene. In February 1997, Diesner decided to move toward armed violence and he shot and seriously injured an ideological opponent of the neo-Nazis. Diesner defended his actions as an act of revenge against the German radical left for its actions aimed at combating neo-Nazi manifestations. Because the police had identified him, he tried to escape from Germany. On his way, however, he was stopped by police, which resulted in a shootout, leaving one police officer dead and one wounded. Diesner tried to avoid arrest with the use of weapons two more times, but eventually he surrendered. At the trial, it was established that Diesner was a lone actor terrorist, responsible for his own actions, for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment.[30]

It is to a certain extent problematic to categorize Diesner as the same type of terrorist as Breivik or Copeland, since, unlike in their cases, his actions did not involve indiscriminate attacks against completely uninvolved individuals and he did not use weapons with mass effect. In his case, we can probably describe his actions as impulsive vengeance, with his decision to use a weapon probably a result of the personal frustration and humiliation he and his friends felt after they had been defeated and beaten in a street conflict by opponents from a radical left wing anarchist group known as the Autonome. Diesner’s acts were hastily prepared and essentially lacked an ideological motive, except for the already mentioned feeling of impulsive vengeance. His subsequent escape from the police and armed resistance can clearly be explained by psychological stress and impulsive acting, and the lost human life meant a personal tragedy for Diesner.[31] On the other hand, it can be said that Diesner may constitute a certain type of lone actor terrorist, the trigger for whose actions may be a relatively trivial event and whose behavior is not affected by long-term planning, but by immediate stress. This type of individual can thus become a threat to his surroundings, despite at the same time being an entirely normal member of society over time. It is possible that Diesner would later have left the extreme right wing scene as his youthful enthusiasm faded and disillusion approached, as was the case with several of his friends. Use of a firearm, however, meant that he passed the threshold between street bully and lone actor terrorist. He would possibly become the predecessor of the slightly younger German far right terrorists Uwe Mundlos, Uwe Böhnhardt, and Beate Zschäpe from the terror cell Nationalsozialistische Untergrund (“National Socialist Underground”).

Of a very different type from most lone actor terrorists was the Austrian, Franz Fuchs. He started his active terrorist activities relatively late, his first documented action taking place at age 44 (in 1993). In the previous period of his life he had not associated with individuals significantly engaged in the far right scene, neither had his social profile corresponded to that of a typical radical. Psychologists described him as a highly intelligent loner without traditional social ties. It may be argued as to what extent the terrorist actions of this sociopath were motivated by his extreme right wing views and to what extent they were motivated by his isolation from society and the psychological impact this had on him. Fuchs himself explained his actions by an extremely xenophobic attitude toward foreigners and ethnic minorities, while he led his campaign on behalf of the Bajuvarian Liberation Army (BLA; in German Bajuwarische Befreiungsarmee, BBA) and tried to create the impression that the actions were those of a larger, organized group. The selection of the name of the alleged organization is itself indicative of Fuchs’s atypical case, since far right movements and individuals typically do not find inspiration in the early Middle Ages, but rather in ideological sources from the nineteenth and, more often, the twentieth centuries. The southern Bajuvarian cause is not commonly heard of even in the German or German-speaking environment, with the singular exception of Fuchs. The selection of Fuchs’s targets was not entirely standard either. The first attacks were not targeted at other ethnic groups; instead, Fuchs found his victims in the political and media spheres which he viewed as too favorably disposed toward foreigners. His most well-known victim at this stage was the Mayor of Vienna, Zilk, who was wounded by a letter bomb explosion. The relatively sophisticated letter bombs became Fuchs’s most famous and most frequently used weapon. One letter bomb was sent outside the Austrian borders to the foreign minister of Slovenia (in 1994), in this case in the name of the Salzburg Confederation BLA (Salzburger Eidgenossenschaft BBA). In a number of similar letters and attacks, Fuchs repeatedly tried to give the impression of a larger organization with different units. The most deadly attack, however, was not carried out by letter bomb but by an explosive device hidden inside a sign reading “Roma back to India” located near a Roma community. When attempts were made to remove the sign, there was an explosion which claimed the lives of four people from this community (in 1995). After this action, however, Fuchs returned to sending letter bombs. Compared to the previous attacks, however, this campaign was not as successful as previously and some of the letter bombs were intercepted by the police without reaching their addressees.

Although Fuchs’s terrorist campaign received a lot of attention in Austria, along with an adequate response from the security forces, the police anti-terrorist and investigation teams did not succeed in finding relevant clues to the perpetrator for a long time, and even the arrest of Fuchs nearly four years after his first attack was rather accidental. He was eventually revealed due to his paranoiac behavior at a regular security check, and during the attempt to identify him, Fuchs tried to commit suicide using explosives. The suicide attempt was not successful but Fuchs lost both hands; however, he was able to undergo further investigation as well as a trial. Fuchs still insisted on the existence of BLA, but the court ruled that Fuchs acted entirely on his own without any external aid or cooperation from other persons, even though the investigation failed to map Fuchs’s full activities and the resources from which he obtained materials for his explosive devices. His direct responsibility for all BLA’s attacks was confirmed with more evidence, including an in-depth graphological and lexical analysis of his letters.[32] Although Fuchs was identified as a very intelligent individual, he did not attempt to present his view of the world and his motives in the form of a coherent propaganda text or manifesto like Breivik. In this respect, his actions were closer to the impulsive messages intended for the public of Copeland, or Maxime Brunerie (b. 1977) who in 2002 attempted but failed to assassinate French President Jacques Chirac. In his speech to the court Fuchs declared his aversion to the godless decadent world, feminist chaos, Austrian Jewry, and anti-German racism and anti-germanism.[33] Fuchs ended his life through suicide in an Austrian prison in 2000.

The most notorious individual extreme right terrorist, given the scope and deadly consequences of his actions, was Anders Behring Breivik. Unlike Fuchs or Copeland, he carried out a single action, to a large extent undertaken as a suicide mission, and he was not concerned with what would happen after its execution, or interested in further continuing his struggle. Breivik did not live at a low social level like Copeland, nor was he a socially isolated loner like Fuchs, and during his earlier life Breivik was not even significantly involved in the far right movement, even though he had been active on several anti-Islamic and nationalist blogs. The main aim of his armed performance was, according to his own explanation, the promotion of an extensive manifesto titled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. He sent this out to more than a thousand email addresses in conjunction with the first phase of his terrorist attack, that is, the IED explosion in the Norwegian capital Oslo. Breivik’s manifesto introduces the views and vision of its author, primarily aimed at combating the decline of Europe and European nations owing to multiculturalism, which he considers the biggest threat, together with Islam. Breivik cites quite different authors and directions, including neoconservatism, neopaganism, Euroscepticism, racism, and Christian fundamentalism. Compared to other far right terrorists, such as Copeland, Fuchs, or Brunerie, Breivik, probably due to his significant Islamophobia, had a very positive view of Zionism, Jews, and the State of Israel.[34] In other ways too, Breivik did not follow traditional Anglo-Saxon white supremacism or the ideologies of German national socialism or European fascism, while, like Fuchs, he found inspiration in the more distant past and claimed membership in a medieval international Christian military order, the Knights Templar, and initially tried to present himself as a member of a larger organization. Similarly to other lone actor terrorists, Breivik was subjected to a thorough examination of his mental state, and, as in the cases of Copeland and Fuchs, one of the diagnoses was paranoid schizophrenia. However, his responsibility for his actions was not disputed. Breivik’s action was a wellprepared operation, to which, along with the writing of the manifesto, he devoted several years of his life. Its successful execution was probably aided by the Norwegian security forces’ lack of experience of threats of this magnitude.

Eastern Europe

In postcommunist Eastern Europe we can find only a very limited number of incidents which can be assessed as lone actor terrorism. Instead, violence by skinhead gangs, and racial riots with strong involvement of extreme right militants, extreme right paramilitaries, or clandestine terrorist groups are more typical examples of extreme right violence.[35] However, the idea of lone actors and leaderless resistance was frequently propagated within the right wing extremist scene, mostly in the neo-Nazi spectrum.

Several violent, psychopathological individuals, for example, in the Czech Republic, have declared that they were inspired by Breivik. However, these cases were not connected with Breivik’s ideological beliefs but with the violent ethos of his act. Besides, in some reported cases the inspiration remained unclear, as in the case of the Estonian national of Armenian origin, Karen Drambjan, who attacked the Estonian defense ministry in 2011.[36] Clear ideological sympathies with Breivik were expressed in some cases, mostly in various Internet discussions and web sites, for example, in Russia, and by the Czech-Slovak collective White Media.[37]

The case of the so-called Polish Breivik, Brunon Kwiecien, has not been completed to date. According to Polish investigators, a professor at the Agricultural University in Krakow planned an attack against the lower house (Sejm) of the Polish parliament in 2012. He was arrested before the attack, and explosives and weapons were found in his home. He allegedly declared himself to have been in part inspired by Breivik. However, his main goal was to hit the Polish government as an instrument of tyranny of the European Union. Kwiecien also protested against the AntiCounterfeiting Trade Agreement.[38] At the time of writing, no sentence has been passed in his case, so all information remains unconfirmed.

Cases of individual brutal revenge and disproportionate self-defense against Roma might be more important drivers of the possible development of lone actor terrorism in Central and Eastern Europe. Such cases are celebrated on the right wing extremist scene, which recommends them as a model for the “right” behavior of racist activists. These cases may thus, in time, inspire future lone actors. The following cases are representative:

In Slovakia in 2010, Lubomír Harman, a 48-year-old member of a gun club, killed 7 and injured 15 with a rifle in Devinska Nova Ves, a suburb of Bratislava. Most victims were members of a family in the neighborhood, which was partly Roma in origin. Harman had been involved in continuing disputes with this particular family. Harman was killed after a gunfight with the police. He was later celebrated in neo-Nazi chat rooms and in street graffiti.[39]

Another case in Slovakia occurred in 2012 in the town of Hurbanovo. Milan Juhász, a 51-year-old municipal police officer, after a clash with a local Roma family with which he had had disputes, killed three members of this family with his handgun. He was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2013. He was supported by, among others, the right wing extremist political organization Ĺudová strana—Naše Slovensko (“People’s Party—Our Slovakia”).[40]

In the Czech Republic, the case of Jaromír Šebesta displays similarities with the Slovak cases. In 2012, Šebesta killed a man from a Roma group on his land in Chotebuz using a crossbow. He suspected that the group were preparing to steal his property. However, no such planned crime was confirmed during the court process, and Šebesta was in 2013 sentenced to ten years in prison for causing bodily harm resulting in death. The Šebesta case subsequently gained fame on the Czech right wing extremist scene.[41]

Israel

The Israeli extreme right is not part of the extreme right wing mainstream in a global context, since the traditional North American, Western European, and Eastern European extreme right was anti-Semitic in character and to a large extent still declares anti-Jewish prejudices. Certain new trends within the Western extreme right, such as anti-Muslim hatred leading to pro-Israeli support (an example may be found in the English Defence League (EDL)),[42] may change this, although these trends remain unconnected to the previous and current development of Jewish terrorism in Israel, including its concept of lone actors. On the other hand, some regard Jewish terrorism as forming part of general right wing extremist terrorism.[43]

Jewish terrorism in Israel has its modern roots in the anti-British and anti-Arab struggle of the 1940s. This type of terrorism was carried out by hierarchically organized groups, in fact, militias, such as the Irgun and the Stern Gang. At the end of the 1960s, the Jewish Defense League (JDL) was founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane as a vengeance group to counter antiJewish attacks in Western countries. Later he also founded the Kach party in Israel. Other groups operated in the Israeli and Palestinian territories, especially the Jewish Underground or the network around the movement Gush Emunim.[44]

This militant environment produced two important lone actor cases in the 1990s. The first was a massacre carried out on 25 February 1994 by

Baruch Kappel Goldstein. Goldstein was a Jewish military physician, born in the United States in 1955. He killed 29 Palestinians in the Cave of Patriarchs in Hebron, which served as a mosque. Goldstein was killed by Palestinians during the attack. Although Goldstein was an orthodox Jewish believer and supporter of the JDL and the Kach, he acted independently. His main goal was to stop the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, and his attack led to riots and vengeance acts. Goldstein remains celebrated among Jewish extremists.[45]

The second lone actor attack was the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by the militant Jewish extremist Yigal Amir on 4 November 1995. Amir, born in 1970, had graduated with law and computer science qualifications. He became a member of the Fighting Jewish Organization (EYAL). However, he took his action independently, following condemnation of Prime Minister Rabin by orthodox rabbis from the occupied territories. Amir’s goal was also to stop the peace process and to cancel the Oslo Accords. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.[46] Amir has supporters within the militant Jewish scene in Israel, as well as abroad.[47]

Both cases of lone actor terrorism in Israel were connected with the strong opposition of the perpetrators to the peace process of the 1990s. Both perpetrators were members of militant Jewish groups and both were influenced by the hate rhetoric of this environment. However, according to established evidence, the final attacks were prepared and carried out independently. Goldstein and Amir are glorified on the militant Jewish scene, which suggests that similar Jewish right wing extremist lone actors may appear during any escalation of the Middle Eastern conflict.

Concluding remarks

Lone actors form an important part of right wing extremist terrorism in some areas. The strategic background of this phenomenon was elaborated within the North American extreme right. It was accepted and further developed mostly by the Western European extreme right. In the United States, several important attacks were realized within the strategic direction of extremist thought, mostly by white supremacists under neo-Nazi ideological influence. A new ideological and strategic impulse was given by the terrorist act of Anders Behring Breivik and his manifesto.

The concept of lone actors is popular primarily on the neo-Nazi scene. It was also used in the context of anti-abortion terrorism. Yet, several acts of extreme right lone actor terrorism were not connected with the mainstream of the extreme right and its strategic direction. An example was the campaign of Franz Fuchs. A specific case is Jewish lone actor terrorism.

It is impossible to identify any general or common right wing extremist lone actor personality. All known perpetrators were male. However, they were of different age (James von Brunn was 88 years old at the time of his attack) and social background. The majority were members or supporters of radical or extremist organizations; however, they aimed to find a more effective solution to societal problems through their acts of terrorism than the means proposed by their organizations. The majority of right wing perpetrators carried out a single “propaganda by the deed” act in the sense that the terrorist act itself included a clear message. The others (Fuchs, Breivik, and in a certain way, Rudolph) published statements which expressed their goals and ideological background.

Lone actor extreme right terrorism was, is, and will be a challenge for anti-terrorist forces in the world. Its definition and its boundary with other forms of violence are sometimes not clear, especially with regard to serial mass murders, individual vigilantes, and those who carry out acts of vengeance or disproportionate acts of self-defense. Sometimes the act can be an imitation of a violent ethos displayed, rather than ideologically reasoned, for example, among the several psychopathological so-called Breivik followers. Due to the above-mentioned popularization within the extreme right and due to the many (in)famous cases of extreme right lone actors, this form of terrorism remains a significant threat in the contemporary world.

Notes

1 Eugen Weber, Action Française: Royalism and Reaction in Twentieth Century France (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1962), 304; Katherine Foshko, “The Paul Doumer Assassination and the Russian Diaspora in Interwar France,” French History 23: 3 (2003), 383–404.

2 Přemysl Liška, Osudné výstřely: Atentáty v našich dějinách (Praha: Víkend, 1992), 79–82.

3 Daniele Ganser, NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio in Western Europe

(London: Frank Cass, 2005), 1–2.

4 Miroslav Mareš, “Strategies for Creating Insurgencies and Civil Wars in Europe: From Violent Extremism to Paramilitary Conflicts?” Jindal Journal of International Affairs 2: 1 (2012), 90–119, on 105–6.

5 Walter Laqueur, The New Terrorism. Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction

(London: Phoenix Books, 1999), 115.

6 Andrew Macdonald, Hunter (Hillsboro: National Vanguard Books, 1989), back cover.

7 Louis Beam, “Leaderless Resistance,” The Seditionist 12 (1992), web site, www. louisbeam.com/leaderless.htm.

8 Betty A. Dobratz and Stephanie L. Shanks-Meile, The White Separatist Movement in the United States (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000), 171.

9 Anti Defamation League, Alex Curtiss (2002), web site, http://archive.adl.org/ learn/ext_us/curtis.asp?LEARN_Cat=Extremism&LEARN_SubCat=Extremism_ in_America&xpicked=2&item=curtis.

10 Miroslav Mareš, Terorismus v ČR (Brno: Centrum strategických studií, 2005), 136–7.

11 Max Hammer, Blood & Honour, The Field Manual (2000).

12 Mel Ayton, “Pulling the Trigger: How Hate Groups Influence Racist Killer Joseph Paul Franklin,” Crime Magazine, 27 April 2011, web site, www.crime magazine.com/pulling-trigger-%E2%80%93-how-hate-groups-influence-racist- killer-joseph-paul-franklin.

13 Charles Montaldo, “Profile of Serial Killer Joseph Paul Franklin,” About Crime, 2011, web site, http://crime.about.com/od/hatecrimecriminalcases/a/joseph- franklin.htm.

14 Sam Brauer, Ryan A. Bruch, and Ashleigh Benois, James Clayton Vaughn Jr. AKA Joseph Paul Franklin (Radford: Radford University, 2011), 1–5. Web site, http:// maamodt.asp.radford.edu/Psyc%20405/serial%20killers/Franklin,%20Joseph% 20Paul.pdf.

15 John Andrews, “Case Study: The Lone Wolf Killer,” The Counter Terrorism Maga- zine (August–September 2012), 11–12, web site, www.thecounterterroristmag. com/pdf/AugSep09.Andrews.LoneWolfKiller.pdf.

16 Wilhelm Dietl, Kai Hirschmann, and Rolf Tophoven, Das Terrorismus-Lexikon: Täter, Opfer, Hintergrunde (Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn, 2006), 264.

17 COT, Lone-Wolf Terrorism (n.p.: Instituut voor Veiligheidsen Crisismanagement, 2007), 4.

18 Jonathan R. White, Terrorism and Homeland Security (Wadsworth: Cengage Learning, 7th edn 2012), 451–2.

19 Thomas Grumke, “Die transnationale Infrastruktur der extremistischen Rechten,” Thomas Greven and Thomas Grumke (eds), Globalisierter Rechtsex- tremismus? Die extremistische Rechte in der Ära der Globalisierung (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2006), 153.

20 Dobratz and Shanks-Meile, White Separatist Movement, 152.

21 Maryanne Vollers, Lone Wolf: Eric Rudolph and the Legacy of American Terror (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006), 1–14.

22 Gus Martin, Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives and Issues (Los Angeles: Sage, 4th edn 2013), 418–19.

23 Eric Rudolph, Confession (NPR, 14 April 2005), web site, www.npr.org/tem- plates/story/story.php?storyId=4600480.

24 Anti Defamation League, James von Brunn, An ADL backgrounder (ADL, 2010), web site, www.adl.org/assets/pdf/combating-hate/James-Von-Brunn-An-Adl- Backgrounder.pdf.

25 Darwinder S. Sidhu, “Lessons on Terrorism and ‘Mistaken Identity’ From Oak Creek, With a Coda on the Boston Marathon Bombings,” Columbia Law Review Sidebar 76: 113 (2013), 79, web site, www.columbialawreview.org/lessons-on- terrorism-and-mistaken-identity-from-oak-creek_SidhuS.

26 For example, graffiti with Combat 18 symbols disfigured a Catholic church and the graves of Irish patriots in Northern Ireland. Maxime Brunerie (b. 1977), who in 2002 attempted but failed to assassinate French President Jacques Chirac, also claimed his affiliation with C18 in an Internet forum.

27 Cristina Anderson, “A Murder Trail in Sweden, With Echoes in Norway,” New York Times, 15 May 2012, web site, www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/world/ europe/peter-mangs-trial-in-sweden-has-echoes-of-breivik-case.html?_r=0.

28 Graeme McLagan, “The Nailbomber,” BBC Panorama, 30 June 2000, web site, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/panorama/archive/811720.stm.

29 Nick Ryan, Into a World of Hate: A Journey among the Extreme Right (London: Routledge, 2004), 83.

30 Der Spiegel, “Rechtsextremist Diesner: Es bleibt bei lebenslanger Haft,” Der Spiegel, 8 December 1999, web site, www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/ rechtsextremist-diesner-es-bleibt-bei-lebenslanger-haft-a-55794.html.

31 Diesner’s case can be compared to the case of the French radical Maxime Brunerie, who in 2002 attempted to assassinate President Chirac using a firearm, for which he was sentenced to ten years in prison.

32 “Die Handschrift, eine direkte Spur zum Täter,” Öffentliche Sicherheit, 5–6/2006, 37.

33 Antifa, Die Geschichte der “Bajuwarischen Befreiungsarmee” des Franz Fuchs (n.d.), 20.

34 Andrew Berwick [Anders Behring Breivik], 2083: A European Declaration of Inde- pendence (2011), 650.

35 Martin Larys and Miroslav Mareš, “Right-Wing Extremist Violence in the Russian Federation,” Europe-Asia Studies 63: 1 (2011), 129–54; Miroslav Mareš, “Terrorism-Free Zone in East Central Europe? Strategic Environment, Risk Tendencies, and Causes of Limited Terrorist Activities in the Visegrad Group Countries,” Terrorism and Political Violence 23: 2 (2011), 243–4.

36 Deathman Esmaspäev, Itching for Eestimaa, 15 August 2011, web site, http:// palun.blogspot.cz/2011/08/deathman.html.

37 Martin Janku and Miroslav Mareš, “Pripad Andrese Breivika ve středoevropském kontextu,” Kriminalistika 46: 3 (2013).

38 Ben West, Mimicking Breivik in Poland, Stratfor, 29 November 2012, web site, www.stratfor.com/weekly/mimicking-breivik-poland.

39 “ČTK, V Devínskej sa objavili nápisy, ktoré velebia vraha Harmana,” Pravda.sk, 20 September 2010, web site, http://spravy.pravda.sk/domace/clanok/167804- v-devinskej-sa-objavili-napisy-ktore-velebia-vraha-harmana/.

40 Ľudová strana—Naše Slovensko, Vyhlásenie Ľudovej strany—Naše Slovensko ku incidentu v Hurbanove, (2012), web site, www.naseslovensko.net/dokumenty/ hurbanovo2012_vyhlasenie.pdf.

41 Romea, Czech Republic: Crossbow shooter gets 10 years for manslaughter of Romani man, 31 May 2013, web site, www.romea.cz/en/news/czech/czech-republic- crossbow-shooter-gets-10-years-for-manslaughter-of-romani-man.

42 Nigel Copsey, The English Defence League: Challenging Our Country and Our Values of Social Inclusion, Fairness and Equality (London: Faith Matters, 2010), 12.

43 Ehud Sprinzak, “Right-Wing Terrorism in a Comparative Perspective: The Case of Split Delegitimization,” Terror from the Extreme Right, Tore Bjørgo (ed.) (London: Frank Cass, 1995), 30.

44 Ibid.

45 Marek Čejka, Encyklopedie blízkovýchodního terorismu (Brno: Barrister & Principal, 2007), 65.

Bibliography

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Antifa. Die Geschichte der “Bajuwarischen Befreiungsarmee” des Franz Fuchs. Web site, www.antifa.co.at/antifa/bba.PDF.

Ayton, Mel. “Pulling the Trigger: How Hate Groups Influence Racist Killer Joseph Paul Franklin.” Crime Magazine, 27 April 2011. Web site, www.crimemagazine.

com/pulling-trigger-%E2%80%93-how-hate-groups-influence-racist-killer- joseph-paul-franklin. Accessed on 23 June 2013.

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Berwick, Andrew [Anders Behring Breivik]. 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. London [in reality Oslo], 2011.

Brauer, Sam, Ryan A. Bruch, and Ashleigh Benois. James Clayton Vaughn Jr. AKA Joseph Paul Franklin. Radford: Radford University, 2011.

Čejka, Marek. Encyklopedie blízkovýchodního terorismu. Brno: Barrister & Principal, 2007.

Copsey, Nigel. The English Defence League: Challenging Cur Country and Cur Values of Social Inclusion, Fairness and Equality. London: Faith Matters, 2010. Web site, http://faith-matters.org/images/stories/fm-reports/english-defense-league- report.pdf. Accessed on 1 July 2013.

COT, Lone-Wolf Terrorism. n.p.: Instituut voor Veiligheidsen Crisismanagement, 2007. Prepared by Ramón Spaaij.

ČTK. “V Devínskej sa objavili nápisy, ktoré velebia vraha Harmana.” Pravda.sk, 20 September 2010. Web site, http://spravy.pravda.sk/domace/clanok/167804-v- devinskej-sa-objavili-napisy-ktore-velebia-vraha-harmana/. Accessed on 22 June 2013.

Dietl, Wilhelm, Kai Hirschmann, and Rolf Tophoven. Das Terrorismus-Lexikon: Täter, Opfer, Hintergrunde. Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn, 2006.

Dobratz, Betty A., and Stephanie L. Shanks-Meile. The White Separatist Movement in the United States. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.

Esmaspäev, Deathman. Itching for Eestimaa. 15 August 2011. Web site, http://palun. blogspot.cz/2011/08/deathman.html.

Foshko, Katherine. “The Paul Doumer Assassination and the Russian Diaspora in Interwar France.” French History 23: 3 (2003): 383–404.

Ganser, Daniele. NATO’s Secret Armies. Operation Gladio in Western Europe. London: Frank Cass, 2005.

Grumke, Thomas. “Die transnationale Infrastruktur der extremistischen Rechten.” Thomas Greven and Thomas Grumke (eds). Globalisierter Rechtsextremismus? Die extremistische Rechte in der Ära der Globalisierung. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2006: 130–58.

Hammer, Max. Blood & Honour, The Field Manual. n.p.: 2000.

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Larys, Martin, and Miroslav Mareš. “Right-Wing Extremist Violence in the Russian Federation.” Europe-Asia Studies 63: 1 (2011): 129–54.

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Mareš, Miroslav. “Strategies for Creating Insurgencies and Civil Wars in Europe: From Violent Extremism to Paramilitary Conflicts?” Jindal Journal of International Affairs 2: 1 (2012): 90–119.

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McLagan, Graeme. “The Nailbomber.” BBC Panorama, 30 June 2000. Web site, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/panorama/archive/811720.stm.

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Romea. Czech Republic: Crossbow Shooter Gets 10 Years for Manslaughter of Romani Man. Romea, 31 May 2013. Web site, www.romea.cz/en/news/czech/czech-republic- crossbow-shooter-gets-10-years-for-manslaughter-of-romani-man.

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Ryan, Nick. Into a World of Hate: A Journey among the Extreme Right. London: Routledge, 2004.

Sidhu, Darwinder S. “Lessons on Terrorism and ‘Mistaken Identity’ From Oak Creek, With a Coda on the Boston Marathon Bombings.” Columbia Law Review Sidebar 76: 113 (2013): 76–87. Web site, www.columbialawreview.org/lessons-on- terrorism-and-mistaken-identity-from-oak-creek_SidhuS. Accessed on 23 June 2013.

Spiegel, Der. “Rechtsextremist Diesner: Es bleibt bei lebenslanger Haft.” Der Spiegel, 8 December 1999. Web site, www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/rechtsextremist- diesner-es-bleibt-bei-lebenslanger-haft-a-55794.html.

Sprinzak, Ehud. “Right-Wing Terrorism in a Comparative Perspective: The Case of Split Delegitimization.” Tore Bjørgo (ed.). Terror from the Extreme Right. London: Frank Cass, 1995: 17–43.

Vollers, Maryanne. Lone Wolf: Eric Rudolph and the Legacy of American Terror. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006.

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White, Jonathan R. Terrorism and Homeland Security. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning, 7th edn 2012.

4 Environmental extremist and animal rights single issue perpetrators

Elżbieta Posłuszna and Miroslav Mareš

The development of ecoterrorism and terrorism in the name of animal rights was strongly influenced by the activities of several lone actors and other individual perpetrators. The concept of leaderless resistance was accepted within a large part of the eco-anarchist militant scene.[1] In contrast to mainstream militancy within this scene, famous eco-anarchist and ecoterrorist lone actors attacked human targets and not only property. The so-called Unabomber case is a significant representative of the whole concept of lone actor terrorism. In this chapter, four important cases will be analyzed.

Lone actors on the ecoterrorist and animal rights terrorist scene

Ecoterrorism is a phenomenon which appeared in the mid-1970s. There is no doubt that there are many reasons for its occurrence, among which one may name the process of undermining anthropocentrism and a growing awareness of the possibility of ecological crisis. Several different terms are used in the subject literature while referring to groups fighting for animal rights and natural environment protection. Sean Eagan, for example, interchangeably uses the three following terms: environmental terrorism, ecoterrorism, and ecological terrorism, which he defines (not being entirely consequent[2]) as “the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against innocent victims or property by an environmentally oriented subnational group for environmental-political reasons.”[3] Other authors, such as Laqueur, White, Liddick, Griset, and Mahan, but also the FBI, instead use the term ecoterrorism to denote the activity of both animal rights and environmental radical groups.[4]

Using a common term for the actions of natural environment and animal rights protectors is justified by the fact that many environmental and animal rights organizations closely cooperate with each other because the goals they strive for are in many respects convergent. The cooperation between the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF) taking place since 1993 may be a good example here. These groups have undertaken many common actions, for instance, arson at a horse farm belonging to the Bureau of Land Management in Oregon in 1997, at the Animal Damage Control buildings, U.S. Department of Agriculture in Olympia in 1998, and at the McDonald’s building in Tucson in 2001. However, in spite of concurrence in the scope of goals and a similar intraorganizational structure, there are significant differences between radical animal rights defenders and natural environment defenders in tactics and ideology that make total organizational convergence impossible. Moreover, these differences probably incline many researchers (for example Mullins, Kushner, Bolz, Dudonis, and Schulz[5]) to distinguish between ecoterrorism—conceived as violence for the protection of nature—and animal rights terrorism—understood as violence for the protection of animals.[6]

It should be noted that the most important of the ideological differences (which, at the same time, forms the division criterion between environmental and animal rights extremism) consists in different placing of values. Animal rights defenders see value only in living individuals capable of feeling, while environment defenders place value on the natural world perceived as a whole. This difference brings important practical consequences. For animal defenders, every animal has an unalienable right to life, a right which should be respected by humans. Environment defenders, on the other hand, allow the killing of animals by humans as long as it serves to satisfy vital needs (understood more or less broadly) and does not disrupt the ecological balance. The differences between the two types of groups are to be found also in the attitude towards violence and tactics. Paradoxically, environmental groups (taking into account the fact that they accept the possibility of killing), in their fight to “[reestablish] the ecological balance” use, almost solely, indirect violence (mainly acts of ecological sabotage). Animal rights groups, however, apart from using indirect violence, also use, although in a limited way, direct violence targeting humans (who, as sentient beings, have a right to life, but due to their “vile deeds” may be excluded from it in certain situations).

Of course, the division based on the approach to violence is an oversimplification. First, nowadays we do not any longer face centralized groups with a clear management system and unequivocal membership definition, but a decentralized movement. Second, due to “rickety frames of membership” that do not allow any leadership to control particular activists’ actions, and in spite of the focus on one ideological goal, ideological coherence no longer exists. A significant number of activists indeed act under the influence of many, not always fully interlocking, ideologies, which allow the use of violence to different degrees. Third, environmental and animal rights ideologies are also sometimes referred to by lone actors such as, for example, the Unabomber and Volkert van der Graaf, or by self-appointed extremist groups like R.I.S.E.,[7] who ignore the ideological declarations of the two types of group and fervently resort to violence targeting humans.

On the margin of the above qualifications, it is noteworthy that in both environmental and animal rights movements, voices that reject the nonviolence principle have been heard increasingly often. In 2003, during a conference on animal rights, an American surgeon, Jerry Vlasak, who was also a spokesperson of the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, stated that violence motivated by animal rights was justified both ethically and pragmatically. Ethical justification of violence is based, in his opinion, on the necessity to acknowledge that the suffering of defenseless creatures is in its essence something vile and offensive, and the inability to prevent it by the means sanctioned by the law forces the real animal rights defenders to resort to radical methods, including violence in the form of assault or murder. However, animal rights-motivated violence may, according to Vlasak, also be justified due to its pragmatic dimension, since violence is one of the most efficient ways of stopping those who, motivated by economic reasons, contribute to animal exploitation (vivisectors and entrepreneurs), as well as those who do it unconsciously (regular consumers)—usually because the dominant anthropocentric worldview has exempted them from responsibility for the suffering of non-human beings. He explained: “And I don’t think you’d have to kill—assassinate— too many vivisectors before you would see a marked decrease in the amount of vivisection going on. And I think for 5 lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human animals.”[8] In a similar tone spoke Craig Rosebraugh, a former ELF spokesperson, who in one of his interviews claimed that “terrorism can be OK, can be justified” and that the planting of bombs and assaults may in certain circumstances be a form of self-defense in the fight against political oppression.[9]

In spite of the fact that many more similar opinions have been expressed, it cannot be denied that, so far, sabotage has been used in the majority of actions carried out by environmental and animal rights groups. This is the reason why many are willing to question the validity of using the term “terrorism” to describe those actions. One of the researchers who share this view is Christopher Harmon. He justifies his opinion by the fact that activists of neither movement strive for the destruction of the democratic order and that they are against both killing and any form of assault and battery. Although they kindle fear by destroying property, they do not aim at arousing collective fear but rather to “disturb activities” of certain classes of people (foresters, lumberjacks, entrepreneurs) and in such a way bring about a change in governmental policy.[10] A similar opinion is expressed by Leonard Weinberg and Paul Davis who state: “an act of terrorism is not, as is sometimes believed, the same as. . . the sabotage of public or private property.”[11] Bron Taylor also points to the inadequacy of the term terrorism for the activities of radical environmental and animal rights movements, since, in his opinion “despite the frequent use of revolutionary and martial rhetoric by participants of these movements, they have not, as yet, intended to inflict great bodily harm or death.”[12]

Obviously, those who protest most strongly against using the term terrorism are activists of ecological groups. In their opinion, using this term to describe actions not aimed at natural beings but at inanimate artifacts which are harmful to such beings is a misuse that comes from an anthropocentric moral perspective. This perspective creates the wrong perception of violence and terrorism as something that may occur only in reference to humans and their property and not as pertinent to non-human beings. According to animal rights and environmental radicals, the rejection of anthropocentrism must necessarily lead to accepting that the “real terrorists” are not those who protect the “oppressed and persecuted beings” (animals and nature) but those who benefit from their “exploitation.”[13]

Furthermore, labeling the activity of environmental and animal rights groups as terrorism may be controversial for another reason. Some terrorism researchers argue that violence, in order to qualify as terrorism, must be carried out by an organizational unit that has a conspiratorial structure and an identifiable chain of command.[14]

However, such an understanding of terrorism seems rather anachronistic. As was argued earlier in this work and is reflected in current international definitions of terrorism, the changes which have occurred in organizational structures should induce a change in ways of looking at terrorism, especially the broadening of the scope of the term in such a way that it would include a wider spectrum of phenomena than mere conspiratorial structures and identifiable chains of command. Due to the development of new communications technologies and the Internet, the majority of underground groups (both terrorist and extremist) have, for reasons of security, since the mid-1980s begun to depart from hierarchical and centrally managed structures towards looser, much less centralized, often horizontal structures without clear management or control centers. Obviously such a transition did not happen immediately. It was always a process that was carried out differently by various movements. The traditional, hierarchical pyramid structure has many advantages. The most important are the high operational effectiveness attainable on account of specialization (intelligence, finances, logistics, recruitment, and so on) and the capability to gain a coherent long-term strategy. But the hierarchical pyramid also has many serious faults, such as: the tendency to internal rivalry and to place responsibility on others for defeats; rigidity of initiative (if the motivating strength of the top-down authority is weak); slow circulation of information and reaction to it; organizational dependency on funds; and the chance that in time ideas recede into the background and are replaced by loyalty to bureaucratic structures.

In the 1980s and 1990s, many extremist animal rights and environmental organizations, including the biggest ones—the Animal Liberation Front, Earth First!, and the Earth Liberation Front—accordingly gave up stable organizational structures and replaced them with a network structure—a loose configuration of small, autonomous cells (individuals or small groups) that are not managed by any governing or activity-inspiring decision center. Sometimes they totally abandoned any form of governance and introduced so-called leaderless resistance (of the same type as described in the chapter on extreme right perpetrators, above).

Leaderless resistance is a strategy but also a form of organization. Its network structure consists of either egalitarian-oriented groups of activists (which often meet only in order to carry out an individual action), or independent individuals operating alone who do not communicate with other proponents of their cause. In the reality of leaderless resistance the ideology becomes the basic unifying element, and from that ideology the members of the movement will derive knowledge of suitable (that is, effective and morally legitimate) fighting methods and tactics.

The transfer of the leaderless resistance principle to the ecological domain took place even earlier within the extremist animal rights and environmental organizations than in the extreme right milieu—it had occurred by 1972, thanks to the manual known as Ecotage!, edited by Sam Love and David Obst. In this book we read: “The movement’s strength is that it is not formally organized and it cannot be stopped by elimination of key leaders. Though not rigidly structured, it is unified by a philosophy of respect for life.”[15] Earth First! is a good example of an organization giving up a formal structure. The organization was, from 4 July 1980, managed by two governing bodies, Circle of Darkness and La Manta Mojada,[16] but in the mid-1980s it transformed into a loose network of scattered cells, the affiliation of which to the organization was based solely on the avowed ideals and readiness to carry out acts determined by those ideals. The organization’s web site states: “Earth First! is a priority, not an organization. The only ‘leaders’ are those working the most effectively. New ideas, strategies and crucial initiative come from individuals, and all decisions are made within affinity groups based on preferred tactics.”[17] The cause of decentralization was twofold: programmatic anti-hierarchism (Earth First! activists believe, for example, that any established hierarchy sooner or later leads to spiritual ossification) and tactical reasons. Radical animal rights organizations have undergone similar transitions. Moreover, they are not organizations in the classic sense of the word any more. They are, rather, decentralized, loosely interconnected and anti-hierarchically oriented groups of activists who are prepared, in the name of defending animal rights, to carry out sabotage and relatively “mild” violent acts. Such a way of conceiving organization is clearly seen in the program declarations of the largest extremist animal rights organization, the Animal Liberation Front, according to which:

It is a nonviolent campaign, activists taking all precautions not to harm any animal (human or otherwise). Because ALF actions may be against the law, activists work anonymously, either in small groups or individually, and do not have any centralized organization or coordination. The

Animal Liberation Front consists of small autonomous groups of people all over the world who carry out direct action according to the ALF guidelines. Any group of people who are vegetarians or vegans and who carry out actions according to ALF guidelines have the right to regard themselves as part of the ALF (emphasis in the original text).[18]

Giving up formal organizational structures in favor of leaderless resistance has many advantages. One of them is the possibility of distancing the organization from unpopular or otherwise undesirable actions under the pretext that they do not meet the ideological criteria, for instance, the requirement for nonviolent actions. Within such an approach, acts of violence, activists may argue, cannot be considered the responsibility of the organization. Leaderless resistance also allows its proponents to consider any actions that match the pattern of the adopted direct actions as their own (although in fact they may have been carried out for quite different reasons). As a result, it is the type of action which determines whether the particular action is claimed for the organization or not. Of course, this amorphic character, which in some cases can be an asset, also carries certain risks. The lack of a central, structuralized authority means that organizations such as the ALF, ELF, or Earth First! have little control over the actions of those activists who claim to be members of the organization or whose actions reflect the organizations’ ideological frameworks. Activists may be inclined to interpret the ideological guidelines (recommending, for example, nonviolent actions) according to their own ideals and preferences. It should be added that some guidelines and ideological declarations sound at the very least ambiguous. The nonviolence principle that ecological activists are so proud of is a good example. Gary Ackerman rightly observed that this principle does not command the activist not to destroy or hurt life under any circumstances, but only to take all possible measures to avoid this.[19] It seems that what the term “all possible means” implies depends on the risk assessment of particular activists.

However, the existence of the leaderless resistance strategy may become a problem not only for the movement itself but also for the authorities responsible for contending with it. New questions arise: How to control the “fighting ideas” that play a major role in governing the actions of terrorist networks that operate according to the leaderless resistance scheme? and How to eliminate the leaderless resistance, if there are no formal bonds between groups? That disadvantageous state of affairs is worsened by the fact that lone actors try to bring the “fighting ideas” concept to life. Lone actors who are fully independent individuals do not communicate with other followers of the idea they fight for, and some are willing to deny all limitations regarding violence.

In the ecological movement there have been several cases which can be classified as lone actor terrorism.[20] The most famous cases are those of Theodore Kaczynski (the Unabomber) and Volkert van der Graaf. Even though these cases are different in many respects, they have one thing in common—in both the perpetrator acted alone and, as far as is known, they did not coordinate their plans with any organization or even with other members of the movement.

Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber

Theodore John Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, was the perpetrator of a series of bomb attacks carried out between 1978 and 1995 which resulted in the deaths of three, with 23 injured. Kaczynski was born on 22 May 1942 in Chicago into a working-class family of Polish descent. After high school he received a scholarship to Harvard University, from where he graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts. Shortly thereafter he moved to the University of Michigan, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation in mathematics entitled Boundary Function (which reportedly solved a problem on which one of his professors had worked fruitlessly). In 1967, at the age of 25, Kaczynski was hired as an assistant professor of mathematics at the University of California in Berkeley. However, his academic career did not last long. In autumn 1969, Kaczynski unexpectedly handed in his resignation from work without giving any reasons for the termination.

Kaczynski began his terrorist activities on 25 May 1978. He planted a package containing a bomb of his own design in the parking lot near the building of the Department of Science and Technology of the University of Illinois. A stamped package addressed to Professor E. Smith of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, was found by Mary Gutierrez, who first took it home and then contacted the computer science professor, Buckley Crist of Northwestern University, whose name was on the back of the package. Crist did not recognize the package and gave it to the security officer, Terry Marker. When Marker tried to open it, the bomb (based on matchheads) exploded, fortunately causing only superficial injuries. Immediately after, Kaczynski wrote in his diary:

I took the bomb over to the U of Chicago Circle Campus and surreptitiously dropped it between two parked cars in the lot near the Science and Technology Buildings. I hoped that a student—preferably one in a science or technology field—would pick it up and would either be a good citizen and take the package to a post office to be sent to Rensselaer, or would open the package himself and blow his hands off, or get killed.[21]

A year after the event, on 9 May 1979, on the premises of the Institute of Technology of Northwestern University, Kaczynski planted another explosive device, which he had hidden in a taped cigar box. The box was found by a student of civil engineering, John Harris, who opened it but suffered only superficial injuries and minimal harm in the explosion.[22]

Until then the police were not inclined to attribute the attacks to the same offender. This happened only after the third attack, which occurred on 15 November 1979. This time Kaczynski hid the explosives in a package he had sent from Chicago to Washington via airmail. The explosive device was equipped with a running altimeter and it went off when the plane reached the height of 2,000 feet. The explosion caused a fire on the plane and the cabin filled with smoke. None of the passengers was seriously hurt (only 12 people were hospitalized due to smoke inhalation), but the airplane had to make an emergency landing. After this event, the FBI gave him the nickname “Unabomber” (based on the words “UNiversity,” “Airlines,” and “BOMbings”), and Kaczynski wrote: “In some of my notes I mentioned a plan for revenge on society. Plan was to blow airliner in flight. . . . Unfortunately plane not destroyed, bomb too weak.”[23] Over the next five years, the Unabomber sent or planted another seven bombs attacking airlines and higher education facilities (mainly the latter). These bombs wounded, in total, five people. The first of the Unabomber’s deadly bombings occurred on 11 December 1985. His victim was Hugh Campbell Scrutton, the owner of a computer store in Sacramento, California, who found a piece of wood with nails jammed into it at the door of his shop. When he picked it up, the bomb containing nails exploded. The explosion tore open his chest and broke his right arm. Scrutton died 30 minutes later.

A two-year break followed the murder, but on 20 February 1987, another attack took place. It was also aimed at a computer store, this time in Salt Lake City, Utah. The store owner, Gary Wright, suffered serious facial and left arm injuries from the blast. This time there was a witness who saw the Unabomber. The FBI drew up a sketch but its publication did not contribute to solving the case. The victims of two further attacks on 22 and 24 June 1993 were two academics—the world-renowned genetics professor, Charles Epstein of the University of California, and a computer science professor of the University of Yale, David Gelernter. Both suffered from severe arm injuries. After these attacks Kaczynski wrote: “I sent these devices during June 1993. They detonated as they should have. The effect of both of them was adequate but no more than adequate.”[24]

Before his arrest in 1996, Kaczynski carried out two more bombings— on 10 December 1994 and 24 April 1995. Both were lethal. The victim of the former was Thomas Mosser, a manager of the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, who, as it turned out, was blamed by Kaczynski, as well as activists from Earth First!, for vindicating the oil company Exxon’s image following the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The second victim was Gilbert Murray, the President of the California Forestry Association. In this case, the explosion was so powerful that the team biologist, Bob Taylor, who had left the room 30 seconds earlier, was not able to find Murray’s body.

Volkert van der Graaf

Volkert van der Graaf, who killed Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, was born in 1969 into the family of a provincial teacher in Middelburg, the Netherlands. He was a good student in high school but at the same time somewhat introverted. However, he was not perceived as a loner. Animals were always very dear to him. In childhood he stopped fishing because, he said, he had suffered at the sight of worms studded on the hook. At age 15 he started working at a shelter for birds, which he abandoned, being unable to bear the staff’s indifference to the suffering of birds dying as a result of oil pollution and the practice of setting traps for mice there. At age 19 van der Graaf began studying environmental hygiene at the Agricultural University in Wageningen but did not graduate. During this period he went from vegetarian to vegan, and also began activities with a view to eliminating all forms of animal oppression, since he considered animals to be equal in value to humans:

People think it normal that you eat animals and that you let fish suffocate in nets when you catch them. But inside me arose a sense of injustice—such things shouldn’t be happening in a civilized country, I thought, but there is no one to stand up for them.[25]

Shortly after he began his studies, he joined the Dutch Federation of AntiVivisection (the Spirit Federation against Vivisection) and the environmental Vereniging Milieudefensie (“Environmental Defense Assocation”).[26] In 1992, van der Graaf and his friend van de Wouw founded the Vereniging Milieu-Offensief (VMO, “Environmental Offensive Association”). The organization established closer contact with other animal rights organizations like Bont voor Dieren (“Fur for Animals”), Vereniging Milieudefensie, The Lekker Dier Foundation, and Animal Freedom.[27] The aim of the VMO was to reduce intensive livestock farming. The tactics of the organization consisted of filing lawsuits against farmers who applied for the environmental license which gave them the right to expand their existing farms. Even when the suit was rejected and the case did not show much hope of being won, the organization filed appeals to prolong the procedure as much as possible. The organization also sued certain officials on charges that they favored the farmers. The farmers believed, however, that the activities of the organization not only harmed their interests, but also undermined democratic procedures.

Volkert van der Graaf was one of the most engaged members of the organization. He often worked more than 80 hours a week. Some farmers described him as a fanatic. A former friend of van der Graaf concluded:

In my opinion, Volkert devoted all his time in doing stuff for VMO and animals. His life was all about that. Whenever a person like

Fortuyn comes along and says fur animals can be bred again, I can imagine Volkert losing his temper. Volkert is a rational person, who thinks always carefully over the purpose of his actions and consequences.[28]

In 1996, the VMO sued the authorities of the town of Haderwijk because they believed that their decision to allow a farmer to extend breeding was illegal. On behalf of the VMO, van der Graaf appeared in court. He came into conflict with the environmental officer Chris van der Werken, since he came to the conclusion that the officer favored the farmers. In the same year, three days before Christmas, van der Werken was killed by a firearm at close range (as later Fortuyn was) by an unknown individual. The bullets found by the police in van der Werken’s body were of a type which was unusual in the Netherlands. The same bullets were later found in Fortuyn’s body. Van der Graaf was suspected of the murder but due to lack of evidence the investigation was discontinued.

Volkert van der Graaf’s victim, the politician and former university professor Pim Fortuyn, was a colorful character, who did not hesitate to act against the principles of political correctness. He did not hide his homosexuality either. Fortuyn gained fame and popularity from leading a campaign in which one of the slogans was a call to reduce the number of immigrants living in the Netherlands. These slogans were classified by the media as far right and racist, and their author was equated with Austrian politician Jörg Haider and even Adolf Hitler in the media. Fortuyn himself urged against throwing out the immigrants living in the Netherlands, but he wanted to prevent the welcoming of new ones, especially Muslims, whom he considered to be less culturally developed than Europeans. Fortuyn spoke very rarely on environmental issues. However, the newspapers often quoted his opinions on the environmental movement: “The whole environmental policy in the Netherlands has no substance anymore. And I’m sick to death of your environmental movement.”[29] Information circulating in the media claimed that after winning the elections, Fortuyn wanted to lift the ban on fur farming.

Van der Graaf had planned the killing of Pim Fortuyn for a long time, including gathering information from the Internet on the possible whereabouts of the victim. Fortuyn was attacked on 6 May 2002, in front of the 3FM radio station in Hilversum. Fortuyn was leaving the building and went to the parking lot where Volkert van der Graaf fired six bullets into his back, and then tried to flee the scene. Soon, however, he was captured. Initially van der Graaf said that he had killed Fortuyn because Fortuyn wanted to abolish the law against breeding nutrias. During the trial, however, he testified that his purpose was to protect Muslims who might suffer if Fortuyn won the election. In his final declaration, van der Graaf said that the killing was intended to protect “the weakest parts of society, animals included.”[30] After the arrest of van der Graaf, the police found in his house evidence of his possible involvement in a series of attacks on poultry establishments and the illegal release of kept minks, including arson of the facilities in which they were kept. They also found detailed information on breeding farms, anarchist literature, and pictures of three members of Fortuyn’s party, which suggested that van der Graaf had planned other attacks as well. Calcium chlorate and sulphuric acid were also found in his garage, which, according to experts, could have been used to create incendiary bombs and explosives.

Ladislav Kuc

On 28 December 2011, a small improvised explosive device exploded in a trash can outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Slovakia.[31] Nobody was injured or killed; however, the explosion was dangerous and the bomb contained nails. Damaged property was reported. After a short investigation, Slovak police identified Ladislav Kuc, born in 1979, as the perpetrator. He was charged with terrorism offenses according to Slovak law and on 10 September 2014 he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.[32]

According to investigators, between 2008 and 2011 Kuc was also responsible for fire bomb attacks against hunting towers near Košice and Svidnik, for attacks with letter bombs against veterinary doctor Martin Král (who was authorized to kill animals) and against the company Tesco Stores, and for sending threatening letters to the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy and to the newspaper Sme. The letters demanded that this newspaper inform the public about the activities of the Animals Rights Army (ARA, the plural form of the word “Animals” is in the original), which was a fictitious organization established to cover Kuc’s individual activities. He was inspired by networks such as the Animal Liberation Front or Animal Rights Militia, and he also created his own logotype for the ARA. Kuc planned further attacks as well, and was ready to die during them. The police found explosives, guns, poisons, and detonators in his house.[33]

Kuc grew up in a family with both parents and one sister in the countryside near Košice. He had only an elementary school education. His attempts to study at high school were unsuccessful. According to his mother’s testimony, he had been a loner since childhood. He was bullied and laughed at by other children, so he liked animals more than people. He had good relations with his father, but typical behaviors for him were to be verbally hostile to his mother and to ignore his sister. Kuc was conditionally sentenced after he committed an armed robbery in 2002. For a short time he was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward. However, according to the psychiatric court expert, Kuc was responsible for his behavior during his terrorist campaign.[34]

One of the most important drivers for his campaign in the field of animal rights was the killing of his beloved dog by the veterinary warden service. He was unemployed for a long time, and the activities in support of animal rights were his main goal in life. Kuc began to communicate with radical environmental and animal rights activists on the Internet, where he also tried to find inspiration for the preparation of explosive materials and weapons as well as for militant tactics. This inspiration Kuc found not only in the eco-extremist environment, but also on jihadist web sites and those of the Basque group ETA, as well as from communication with pyrotechnical experts and tradesmen (which eventually led to his detection).[35] His fanaticism grew and he was ready to die as a martyr. He even contacted the Slovak Islamic Community with a demand to help him to construct a terrorist or martyr’s suicide vest with explosives, but for obvious reasons received no response.[36]

Shortly after his detention, the Slovak branch of the Animal Liberation Front rejected the form of attacks committed by Kuc, yet expressed understanding of his motives. No other reactions from the environmentalist scene are known, and the lone actor campaign was an isolated phenomenon. Although “monkey wrenching”[37] propaganda by the ALF and some eco-anarchist groups was found in Slovakia from the middle of the 1990s, only some small-scale actions were realized. Lone actor environmental and animal rights terrorist activism remains an infrequently used concept in the postcommunist area. A possible exception was the fire bomb attack near the Czech town of Blansko against the funicular railway station, which was thought to be damaging the environment; however, the perpetrator was not discovered. Even so, the ALF claimed responsibility.[38]

The case of Ladislav Kuc shows the possibility of individual selfradicalization even outside the main structures of animal rights and environmental extremism and terrorism. In this case, individual frustration interconnected with pro-animal opinions led to an interest in militant activities. The Internet played a very important role in providing ideological and technical support. The choice of targets was rationalized and adapted to local conditions.

Marco Camenisch

The case of Marco Camenisch is not a typical case of lone actor activity, at least in comparison with the previously described cases of Theodore Kaczynski, Volkert van der Graaf, or Ladislav Kuc. In the case of Marco Camenisch, we find a strong personality who is active within the eco-anarchist movement, interconnected with other persons from this environment, and acting sometimes in a group, sometimes individually. The last point in particular justifies the inclusion of Camenisch in this chapter. In addition, Camenisch had some links with regular violent crime.

Camenisch was born in 1952 in Schiers in the Swiss canton of Graubünden. He had a problem with “elites” and according to his contemporary supporters he grew up in a “petit bourgeois” environment. The same source stated:

Marco started to develop his radical thinking at an early age and in high school Marco began to reject the careerist conceit and elitist thinking that prevailed within the school. He left school to start an apprenticeship as a farmer at “plantahof” school. Here he opposed the notion that fertilizing must be done with chemicals. To escape the society he found himself within, Marco went to the Alps becoming a free spirit. However, soon after rejecting modern society, by going into the Alps, Marco realized that the conditions he opposed would not change as long as people were not actively resisting them.[39]

In the second half of the 1970s, Camenisch became active within the militant movement against the nuclear power plants Ilanz I and II. He committed his first criminal act in 1979, an attack with explosives against electricity pylons. He became the perpetrator of several acts of sabotage against nuclear energy facilities and threatened people from the nuclear energy industry. A group of activists, including Camenisch, attacked a pylon and a Nordostschweizer Kraftwerke (NOK) power station in Bad Ragatz with explosives. The perpetrators were arrested in January 1980 and one year later Camenisch was sentenced to ten years in prison. He rejected the court’s authority and expressed anti-capitalist, environmentalist, and antinuclear views.[40]

However, in December 1981, Camenisch, together with a group of five other convicts, escaped from the prison in Regensdorf. These prisoners were members of the so-called Alfa-Gang, which mainly consisted of Italian gangsters and was responsible for several brutal bank robberies in the 1970s, most of them in Italy.[41] During the escape, the convicts killed one prison guard and seriously injured another. Camenisch, according to his own words, did not participate in these violent events. He escaped to Italy where he lived within the clandestine anarchist underground and was responsible for several small-scale attacks, again mostly against nuclear electricity pylons. According to Swiss authorities, he also killed border guard official Kurt Moser in 1989 in Brusio, shortly after visiting his father’s grave in this town (his father, another border official, had died two months before).[42]

Camenisch escaped to Italy where he was arrested in 1991 after a short gunfight with Carabinieri police in Tuscany. One Italian anarchist was with him in the car at the time. In Italy, Camenisch was sentenced in 1993 to 12 years in prison for the attacks against pylons and the injury of one Carab- iniere in the above-mentioned gunfight. In 2002, Camenisch was extradited to Switzerland.[43] There he was found guilty of the murder of the border official in 1989, but not of the murder of the prison guard in 1981, and sentenced to 17 years in prison.[44] Camenisch denied his guilt in the Moser case.

A great worldwide support campaign for Camenisch started during the legal process and it continues to the present day. On the anarchist scene,[45] he is called a “mountain man and antiauthoritarian, rebel from the Rhaetian Alps, antinuclear warrior.”[46] The main demand of his supporters is the release of Camenisch, but various eco-anarchist demands are declared as well. The most important campaign structures and activities are found in Italy and Switzerland; however, in other parts of the world too demonstrations are organized and acts of sabotage and arson and bomb attacks are carried out.[47]

Camenisch described himself as a revolutionary, insurgent, and antipatriarchal green anarchist in opposition to civilization. He supports the fight of indigenous people for their soil and the activities of the ALF and the ELF. He professed himself to be a “solitary part of the anti-nuclear power plants resistance, the social-ecologist resistance, and the revolutionary freedom fight against class rule and against exploitation of people and nature.”[48]

Based on Camenisch’s writings, expert Giuseppe Gaglianio drew the following conclusions about his concept of ecoterrorism:

First of all, the writer emphatically refuses capitalism and the justice of the bourgeoisie; secondly, he shares an ecocentric and animalistic vision and considers the destruction of hydroelectric power stations, nuclear plants and all university and scientific facilities to promote breeding and vivisection necessary. Thirdly, the author condemns American and European colonialism and refuses patriarchy and monogamy; lastly, in addition to seconding the ideas of native peoples regarding lifestyle and conception of reality (those of nomadic people with little hierarchy), the author refuses parliamentary democracy, and national and international political and economic oligarchies, and defends liberation struggles.[49]

As mentioned above, Camenisch’s story is not typical of the career of a lone actor terrorist. Camenisch was radicalized within a broader antinuclear movement and he committed many acts against targets to do with nuclear energy with other perpetrators; he lived in the clandestine anarchist underground; and he has a strong international network of supporters. However, several attacks, including using explosives against electricity pylons and similar targets as well as the murder of the border guard official, he carried out alone. Camenisch was able to mobilize a generation of supporters and followers, mostly in Italy and Switzerland but in other countries as well.

Concluding remarks

The cases described of environmentalist and animal rights lone actor terrorists have several common characteristic features. At least some of the attacks carried out by Kaczynski, van der Graaf, Kuc, and Camenisch were aimed against people. This is in contrast to the mainstream of environmental and animal rights militancy, which accepts attacks against property, but not people. While Kuc denied his guilt in the case of the attack against civilians outside McDonald’s, he confessed to the letter bombs against veterinarians, the threatening letters, and the property damage. Camenisch also denied his guilt in the murder of the border guard official.

All four cases involve perpetrators who share a strong rejection of authorities, an issue which may have its origin in the childhood experiences of the perpetrators. All perpetrators were frustrated by the exploitation of nature or the killing of animals and by the inability of mainstream politics (including moderate environmental and animal rights groups) to solve this problem. While Kaczynski and Kuc were loners, van der Graaf and Camenisch were active in political structures. In the case of Kuc, the Internet played an important role in his radicalization and terrorist training. As for Kaczynski and Camenisch, their active periods preceded the growth of the Internet.

The impact of these lone actors on the militant environmentalist and animal rights scene is limited. Kaczynski’s ideas from his manifesto are discussed, yet he is more of a strategic inspiration for lone actors from different ideological streams (Breivik, for example) than for environmentalists and animal rights activists. Kuc’s case is not well known and it serves mostly as a warning of how to discredit animal rights activities. On the other hand, Camenisch was able to a mobilize a strong international movement of supporters and followers.

Notes

1 In this chapter I discuss a few ideas that I have developed in my recent book: Elżbieta Posłuszna, Environmental and Animal Rights Extremism, Terrorism, and National Security (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2015).

2 Eagan, for instance, mistakenly classifies the case of Fran Trutt as an example of environmental action, although Trutt carried out her actions only for animal rights reasons. Sean P. Eagan, “From Spikes to Bombs: The Rise of Ecoterrorism,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 19 (1996), 1–18, on 2.

3 Ibid.

4 Walter Laqueur, The New Terrorism: Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 199–204; Donald R. Liddick, Eco- Terrorism: Radical Environmental and Animal Liberation Movements (Westport: Praeger, 2006); Pamala L. Griset and Sue Mahan (eds), Terrorism in Perspective (Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2003), 88; Jonathan R. White, Terrorism: An Introduction (Wadsworth: Thomson Learning, 2002), 232; James F. Jarboe, “The Threat of Eco-Terrorism: A Testimony before the House Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health,” The Federal Bureau of Investigation, web site, www.fbi.gov/news/testimony/the-threat-of-eco-terrorism.

5 However, none of the listed authors specifies what serves as the criterion for that distinction.

6 Wayman C. Mullins, A Sourcebook on Domestic and International Terrorism: An Ana- lysis of Issues, Organizations, Tactics and Responses (Springfield: Thomas, 1997), 229, 232; Harvey W. Kushner, Encyclopedia of Terrorism (Thousand Oaks: Sage,

2003), 32–5, 116–18; Frank Bolz, Kenneth J. Dudonis, and David P. Schulz, The Counterterrorism Handbook: Tactics, Procedures, and Techniques (Boca Raton: Taylor

& Francis, 2005), 157, 164.

7 R.I.S.E. was a small group of ecological extremists established in 1972 in the hope of the destruction of the human species which, in their opinion, constituted a lethal danger to the ecosystem of the planet. The group decided to resort to what they believed to be the most unfailing means—infective pathogens. Seth Carus, “R.I.S.E. (1972),” Jonathan B. Tucker (ed.), Toxic Terror: Assessing Terrorist Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons (London: The MIT Press, 2001), 55–70.

8 Cited in Steve Best, “Who’s Afraid of Jerry Vlasak?” North America Animal Liberation Press Office, web site, www.animalliberationpressoffice.org/Writings_ Speeches/whos_afraid_of_jerry_vlasak.html.

9 Amy Roe, “He Says He Wants a Revolution: A Former ELF Figure Defends the Historic Role of Violence in Social Change,” Willamette Week, 8 January 2003; cited in Gary A. Ackerman, “Beyond Arson? A Threat Assessment of the Earth Liberation Front,” Terrorism and Political Violence 15: 4 (2003), 143–70, on 149.

10 Christopher C. Harmon, Terrorism Today (London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2000), 8.

11 Leonard B. Weinberg and Paul B. Davis, Introduction to Political Terrorism (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989), 7; cited in Sean P. Eagan, “From Spikes to Bombs,” 9.

12 Bron Taylor, “Religion, Violence and Radical Environmentalism: From Earth First! to the Unabomber to the Earth Liberation Front,” Terrorism and Political Violence 10: 4 (1998), 1–42, on 1.

13 See, e.g., Steven Best, “Behind the Mask: Uncovering the Animal Liberation Front,” Steven Best and Anthony J. Nocella II (eds), Terrorist or Freedom Fighters? Reflections on the Liberation of Animals (New York: Lantern Books, 2004), 9–64, on 31; “The A.L.F. UNMASKED: Interview with David Barbarash,” The Animal Liberation Front, web site, www.animalliberationfront.com/ALFront/Inter- views/Interview%20with%20David%20Barbarash.htm.

14 Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006), 38; Nehemia Friedland, “Becoming a Terrorist: Social and Individual Antecedents,” Howard Lawrence (ed.), Terrorism: Roots, Impact, Response (New York: Praeger, 1992), 82; James Lodge, Terrorism: A Challenge to the State (Oxford: Martin Robertson, 1981), 5.

15 Sam Love and David Obst (eds), Ecotage! (New York: Pocket Books, 1972), 145–6; cited in Ron Arnold, Eco-Terror: The Violent Agenda to Save Nature: The World of the Unabomber (Bellevue: Free Enterprise Press, 1997), 125.

16 Circle of Darkness was a kind of a coordination committee responsible for, among other issues, accepting new members, collecting funds from outside of the organization, collecting membership fees, and publishing the organization’s journal. La Manta Mojada (“The Wet Blanket”) was a secret advisory body to the Circle.

17 “About Earth First!” Worldwide Earth First! Web site, www.earthfirst.org/about. htm.

18 “The ALF Credo and Guidelines,” The Animal Liberation Front, web site, www. animalliberationfront.com/ALFront/alf_credo.htm; see also Rachel Monaghan, “Terrorism in the Name of Animal Rights,” Terrorism and Political Violence 11: 4 (1999), 159–69, on 163. As practice shows, decentralization does not always mean the lack of an ability to coordinate actions. Many organizations carry out simultaneous attacks on targets located far from one another. As an example, in the early morning of 21 May 2001 the ELF attacked, at the same time, the Jefferson Poplar Farms in Clatskanie in Oregon and the Horticulture

Center at the University of Washington in Seattle. “2001 Year-End Direct Action Report,” North American Animal Liberation Front Press Office, web site, www. elfpressoffice.org/2001.pdf.

19 Gary A. Ackerman, “Beyond Arson?” 146.

20 There are many more cases than those mentioned here, although the vast majority of perpetrators were never found out. One noteworthy case was that of Fran Stephanie Trutt who, in November 1988, was apprehended on the site of the United States Surgical Corporation, a company using dogs for testing surgical clasps, while planting an explosive device equipped with a radio detonator on the parking space of the facility director, Leon Hirch.

21 Theodore Kaczynski; cited in Alston Chase, Harvard and the Unabomber: The Education of an American Terrorist (New York: Norton & Company, 2003), 51–2.

22 John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Unabomber: On the Trial of America’s MostWanted Serial Killer (New York: Pocket Books, 1996), 160.

23 Kaczynski; cited in Chase, Harvard and the Unabomber, 52. [24] Kaczynski; cited in Chase, Harvard and the Unabomber, 72.

25 Volkert van der Graaf; cited in The Independent, 8 May 2002; cited in COT, Lone- Wolf Terrorism (n.p.: Instituut voor Veiligheidsen Crisismanagement, 2007), 44.

26 Apparently, in March of 1990, a photo of van der Graaf, standing with a knife and wearing a shirt dripping with blood in front of a butcher store appeared in the animal rights magazine The Tasty Animal. COT, Lone-Wolf Terrorism. The web site of Vereniging Milieudefensie is www.milieudefensie.nl.

27 Janet Louise Parker, “Jihad Vegan,” New Criminologist: The Online Journal of Crim- inology, 20 June 2005, web site, http://web.archive.org/web/20110714172735/ www.newcriminologist.com/article.asp?nid=870.

28 Public Prosecution of the Netherlands, “Closing Speech Public Prosecutor,” 1 April 2003; cited in COT, Lone-Wolf Terrorism, 46.

[29] The Independent, 8 May 2002; cited in COT, Lone-Wolf Terrorism, 23.

30 “Volkert van der Graaf in Court,” Animal Rights Net, web site, www.animal- rights.net/articles/2003/volkert-van-der-graaf-in-court.

31 Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), “The Slovak Republic 2013 Crime and Safety Report,” OSAC, 26 February 2013, web site, www.osac.gov/Pages/ ContentReportDetails.aspx?cid=13663.

32 Krajský súd v Košiciach, „Uznesenie 7 To 89/2014–30–85, 10 September 2014. [33] Peter Húska, “Súčasný politický extrémizmus na východnom Slovensku.” Presentation at the workshop Politický extremismus a terorismus ve střední Evropě: soudobý stav a perspektivy, Prague: Ministry of Interior, 2012.

34 SITA, “Ekoterorista Ladislav K. nie je duševne chorý, tvrdí znalec,” Parameter, 13 June 2013, web site, www.parameter.sk/sk/sekcia/z-domova/2013/06/13/ ekoterorista-ladislav-k-nie-je-dusevne-chory-tvrdi-znalec, accessed on 16 June 2013.

35 Peter Evinic, “Ľavicový extrémizmus na Slovensku.” Presentation at the conference Left Wing Extremism in the Visegrad Countries, Prague: Ministry of Interior, 2012.

36 Korzár, “Košický terorista chcel zomrieť mučeníckou smrťou,” Sme, 23 December 2012, web site, http://kosice.korzar.sme.sk/c/6644904/kosicky-terorista- chcel-zomriet-mucenickou-smrtou.html.

37 From the influential novel The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey (New York: Avon Books, 1975), which functioned as a call to action for these groups and advocated the targeting of bulldozers, tractors, and so on.

38 Miroslav Mareš, “Environmental Radicalism and Extremism in Postcommunist Europe,” Journal for the Study of Radicalism 2 (2008), 91–107, on 99–100.

39 Friends & Supporters of Marco Cemenisch, “Who is Marco Kamenisch?” Act For Freedom Now!, 15 January 2010, web site, http://actforfreedomnow.blogspot. cz/2010/01/who-is-marco-camenisch.html.

40 Ibid.

41 “Mordprozess gegen Marco Camenisch,” Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 7 May 2004, web site, www.nzz.ch/aktuell/startseite/article9KSWQ-1.250857.

42 Ibid.

43 Ibid.

44 Friends & Supporters of Marco Cemenisch, “Who is Marco Kamenisch?” Act For Freedom Now!, 15 January 2010, web site, http://actforfreedomnow.blogspot. cz/2010/01/who-is-marco-camenisch.html.

45 A poem was even written about Camenisch by an anonymous anarchist in Italy (here translated to English by Giulia Pace):

A pylon bends over itself,

In the woods a guard falls down and loses his handgun, Streets barricaded against the police,

A handgun shoots against a manager of the atom, An antenna tower goes up in flames,

Everyone chooses how to lighten the dark, With the impatience that distinguishes us, The best defense is a good offence, Dynamite the existing (order),

Freedom for Marco Camenisch.

46 Randomizer, “Making Sense of Switzerland,” Souciant, 9 January 2013, web site, http://souciant.com/2013/01/making-sense-of-switzerland.

47 Free Camenisch, “Freedom for Marco Camenisch,” 325, web site, http://325. nostate.net/?p=639.

48 Marco Camenisch, Prozesserklärung, Geschworenengericht ZH 10. 5. 2004, web site, www.augenauf.ch/bs/archiv/mc/pe0405.htm.

49 Giuseppe Gagliano, Green Utopia between Radical Ecology and Eco-Terrorism (Como: Centro Studi Strategici Carlo de Cristoforis, 2011), web site, http://centrostud- istrategicicarlodecristoforis.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/green-utopia-11.pdf.

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Arnold, Ron. Eco-Terror: The Violent Agenda to Save Nature: The World of the Unabomber. Bellevue: The Free Enterprise Press, 1997.

Best, Steve. “Who’s Afraid of Jerry Vlasak?” North America Animal Liberation Press Office. Web site, www.animalliberationpressoffice.org/Writings_Speeches/ whos_afraid_of_jerry_vlasak.html. Accessed on 30 January 2013.

Best, Steven. “Behind the Mask: Uncovering the Animal Liberation Front.” Steven Best and Anthony J. Nocella II (eds). Terrorist or Freedom Fighters? Reflections on the Liberation of Animals. New York: Lantern Books, 2004: 9–64.

Bolz, Frank, Kenneth J. Dudonis, and David P. Schulz. The Counterterrorism Hand- book: Tactics, Procedures, and Techniques. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis, 2005.

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Douglas, John, and Mark Olshaker. Unabomber: On the Trial of America’s Most-Wanted Serial Killer. New York: Pocket Books, 1996.

Eagan, Sean P. “From Spikes to Bombs: The Rise of Ecoterrorism.” Studies in Con- flict and Terrorism 19 (1996): 1–18.

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Friedland, Nehemia. “Becoming a Terrorist: Social and Individual Antecedents.” Howard Lawrence (ed.). Terrorism: Roots, Impact, Response. New York: Praeger, 1992: 81–94.

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5 Jihadists, Al-Qaida, and the Islamic State

Michael Fredholm

[E]verything our enemies are, we are not, and everything we are, they are not. We are people of courage, honor, decency, chivalry, and ethics who selflessly sacrifice themselves for the noblest cause on earth.

Adam Gadahn (b. 1978), American convert to Islam and Al-Qaida spokesman, 2010[1]

Not all acts of terrorism carried out by Muslims can be defined as jihadism. As an example, the Lebanese Shiite group Hizbullah has on several occasions engaged in terrorism, often with extremely lethal results, and frequently aimed its attacks indiscriminately at civilians, yet it was never jihadism which motivated Hizbullah. Jihadism is a Sunni Islamic phenomenon. All societies include extremists, and those which profess Sunni Islam are no exception. With globalization followed large-scale migration and the Internet revolution, which enabled extremist ideologies and narratives of all kinds to transcend national borders. Globalized Sunni Islam has thus become a source of narratives which has more to do with the dreams and nightmares of its various proponents and opponents than with any theological developments. As exemplified and inspired by Al-Qaida, Sunni Islamic extremism in the second half of the twentieth century became a threat to security in much of the world. Yet, substantial population groups in the Sunni Muslim world are Islamic extremists and support the ideology professed by Al-Qaida and its offshoot, the Islamic State.[2]

Sunni Islamic extremists can be defined as believers who (1) reject the basic Islamic traditions, that is, the four legal schools of Sunni Islam and Shia Islam, (2) claim the right to brand as “non-Muslims” traditional believers who happen to disagree with their interpretation of Islamic law, and (3) claim the right to kill “infidels,” including traditional Muslims who fail to side with them.[3] Closely linked to this religious view is Islamism, a radical political ideology based on the belief that Islam is the only solution to society’s shortcomings. Extremist religious views are not always translated into political actions—and even if they are, engaging in terrorism is not necessarily the automatic outcome. As long as somebody with religious inclinations sits at home thinking of the divine, his opinions, however extreme they might be, are a matter of theology, not political acts that affect the society in which he lives and the life of his fellow man. However, if the extremist turns to preaching hatred, incites others to take up arms, or himself grabs a gun or a suicide vest with the intention to kill, then his beliefs have been translated into political acts. His then becomes the cause of Islamist terrorism, which the Islamists refer to as armed jihad or global jihad. When jihad is waged in support of Islamism, it will in this volume be referred to as jihadism (or occasionally, armed or global jihad), with its proponents described as jihadists, in order to distinguish the activity from the Islamic theological concept of jihad which has other meanings as well.

Al-Qaida constitutes a prime example of jihadism. Since Usamah bin Ladin (1957–2011) established Al-Qaida as an organization in Peshawar, Pakistan, at some point between August 1988 and late 1989, it has grown into something more than a mere terrorist group. Al-Qaida can presently be defined as no less than four quite different phenomena. These are:

• A formal organization, in which members swear loyalty (bayah)

• An ideology, with religious leaders advocating global jihad

• An idea and inspiration for those who want to take action, particularly since 2001

• A loose network of sympathizers and self-professed members.

On 23 August 1996, Usamah bin Ladin issued his first fatwa, a declaration “to His Muslim Brothers in the Whole World and Especially in the Arabian Peninsula: Declaration of Jihad Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Mosques; Expel the Heretics from the Arabian Peninsula.” This has since been regarded as Usamah bin Ladin’s formal declaration of war against the United States. In this, he also outlined the means he wished to use to defeat the superpower: “fast-moving light forces that work under complete secrecy. In other words to initiate a guerrilla warfare, where the sons of the nation, and not the military forces, take part in it.”[4] What Usamah bin Ladin did was not only to issue a declaration of war; he also stated his intention to use civilian terrorists, not formal military forces. The eventual result was the terror attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, which in turn led to wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere.

In late 2001, Al-Qaida escaped into Pakistan, where Usamah bin Ladin rebuilt his organization. It has since acquired affiliates in many countries. Formal affiliates were or are Al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), the North African AlQaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Al-Shabaab in Somalia and East Africa, and Al-Nusrah Front in Syria.[5] For years, numerous other jihadist groups looked up to Al-Qaida and wished to join its growing rank of affiliates. At the time of writing, the AQI offshoot the Islamic State enjoys more street credibility and is regarded as the ‘jihadi cool’ by wannabe jihadists. Nonetheless, Al-Qaida is approaching its 30-year anniversary, a mature age for any terrorist group, and remains a lasting and exceedingly brutal source of influence in world affairs.

The jihadist narrative

For the jihadist, the idea of a re-established Caliphate is a potent source of inspiration. It reminds him or her of the time when Muslim society was strong, not weak, fragmented, and often backward as today. However, the contemporary jihadist as often as not lives outside mainstream Muslim culture and society, in fairly secular environments such as those which exist in the European Union, the Russian Federation, and many parts of Central Asia. Many are second-generation immigrants or converts who feel culturally more tied to an imagined, “pure” Islamic society elsewhere. For those who dream of the Caliphate, a key principle is the refusal to assimilate with mainstream culture and society, unless the mainstream first sided with them. For if once assimilated into mainstream society, the extremists correctly conclude that their cause is irrevocably lost. Yet, the contemporary jihadist often knows little or no Arabic, and is not an Islamic scholar. For him, ideology—and thus religion—could more accurately be referred to as an effect rather than a cause of violent jihadism. In a number of terrorist cases, indignation over perceived injustice and the decision to engage in armed jihad preceded both ideological awareness and ideological or religious justification for those who wished to take action.[6] Few jihadists felt individual deprivation or humiliation because of their faith, yet they wished to take action on behalf of their deprived and humiliated brothers and sisters—no doubt more of an after-the-fact justification for terrorism than a before-the-fact motivating factor.[7]

In fact, ideology was something that was used rather than followed. It did not cause actions or decisions, it was merely drawn upon when convenient. If one Islamic scholar refused a fatwa (religious verdict, a formal legal opinion or decision of traditional religious scholars (ulama) on a matter of Islamic law) to justify a desired action, the jihadist would merely go to another, until he received the desired justification. So, for instance, jihadists in the North Caucasus, when they did not get the desired fatwa from traditional ulama in the Caucasus, instead turned to extremist ulama in the Middle East. If the desired fatwa was still not forthcoming, the jihadists might instead refer to a refuted fatwa for theological justification, if one existed.[8] While this selective use of religious verdicts is not quite the same as a copy–paste ideology, the difference is arguably not a major one.

The jihadist has the tools for the job. For centuries, a key concept in the Islamic vocabulary of modernism was the right to independent analysis (ijtihad) of the Koran and Sunnah (custom or norm of conduct, the normative custom of the Prophet or the early Islamic community) instead of having to rely on the opinions of preceding generations of ulama. Although most ulama indeed regard the door of ijtihad to have closed after the formulation of the four common legal schools of Islam, the mujtahid (rightful practitioner of ijtihad) refuses to be bound by earlier views and rulings and former interpreters of Islam. The mujtahid indeed sees a need to undermine their authority so that Islam can be restored to what he believes it was, and always should be.[9]

For the modern jihadist, whether or not he is aware of the Islamic scholarship involved, ijtihad is a key to how he understands the world. It is not, in actual fact, the Koran, Prophetic Tradition, Sunnah, or any other idea or ideology which guides him or her. What is significant is the individ- ual’s reading and interpretation of these various sources of knowledge.

This implies that the sources do not determine the individual’s analyses of them neither do they influence how the individual acts on the sources. The individual’s reading and the analyses of the sources are what guide the individual’s actions. . . . The attribution of credibility to oneself is a substantial attraction because of the circular line of reasoning which appears from it: what feels right to the individual is right because the individual is right and has Allah on his or her side.[10]

In the words of the American convert to Islam and Al-Qaida member, Adam Gadahn (b. 1978), when he, in his 2010 English-language video A Call to Arms, urged jihadists to strike targets that were close to them and praised the November 2009 attack on his fellow soldiers by the U.S. Army Muslim officer Nidal Malik Hasan:

Brother Nidal. . . knew that on the day of Judgment, all the Ulama, Mullas, Muftis and Imams of this world put together would be incapable of saving him from divine retribution were he to have blindly followed their permissions and prohibitions in contravention of what he knew—in his heart of hearts and through honest research and careful study—to be Allah’s ruling and decree.[11]

This logic of applied ijtihad even determines why modern tools and weapons such as the Internet and the assault rifle are permissible, despite the general need felt by Islamic extremists to discard innovation. The jihadists do not need to feel that they are compromising, since they “saw themselves as being fully capable of judging how to use such innovations in a good way—because of the circular line of reasoning.”[12] Or, to put it in Islamic terms, because of the individual’s right to ijtihad.

Jihadists with some level of religious training know and refer to the term ijtihad. Those without such training may be unfamiliar with the Arabic term but have been taught how the concept works. To the terrorist, his or her mind is infallible. The terrorist considers his or her actions right because the terrorist considers himself or herself righteous and therefore right.

Even so, far more important than theology, and the glue that held the jihadists together, was the narrative: a conviction that a worldwide struggle between good and evil, between justice and injustice, between truth and lies, and between true Muslims and enemies of Islam was taking place. The world was hanging in the balance, and heroes were needed to upheld the doctrine of God. The struggle was more important than any political–religious goals they pretended to want to achieve. The details of the proposed, ideal Islamic state were unimportant. The struggle was the key, since it united individuals who came from different and sometimes difficult to reconcile ideological and cultural backgrounds or even, in some cases, an incoherent (copy– paste) ideology. The fight was the idea from which the participants derived a collective identity. They all perceived themselves as being part of a grand narrative of a cataclysmic struggle against a common enemy.13To belong to the vanguard of resistance against evil—being part of the prohibited outgroup—was the key, and in the end, it was the struggle in the name of God that counted, since God would approve of everything that served this struggle.[14] The feeling of belonging to the struggling, righteous outgroup—a counterculture—was a powerful one. In the words of the British Islamist, referred to earlier: “Now I was not a mere Muslim, like all the others I knew; I was better, superior.”[15]

The narrative was thus the key. The narrative was what gave life meaning. The narrative enabled a life on a heroic scale. In the words of Adam Gadahn:

We must always remember that we are different than the Zionists and Crusaders with whom we are locked in combat: We are not outlaws. We are not gangsters. We are not hypocrites. We are not barbarians. We are not opportunists and mercenaries. We are not enemies of freedom and civilization. We are not cowards who wage wars from behind the controls of pilotless aircraft. In other words, everything our enemies are, we are not, and everything we are, they are not. We are people of courage, honor, decency, chivalry, and ethics who selflessly sacrifice themselves for the noblest cause on earth, and that is why every Muslim and every Mujahid must continue to take the high road and protect the moral high ground which we have fought so long and hard to secure.[16]

It has been remarked upon that many jihadist lone actor terrorists before they turned to violence at one time or another were involved in charity work.[17] In the light of Gadahn’s statement above, this may be unsurprising. A hero will help the needy.

Anger and injustice

Islamic extremists used the two weapons of dawa (preaching) and jihad

(battle). However, the narrative became the dawa, not the other way round. While the narrative and its associated counterculture formed the glue that held groups together, righteous anger constituted the key that would push a group into action. The anger was often fueled by a sense of injustice. The dawa caused anger, not enlightenment. The German convert and Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) recruit Eric Breininger (1987–2010) explained in his memoirs that through listening to dawa, “hate” against the infidels was growing in him.[18]

Such sentiments can be found in quite different secular countries. For instance, in Russia in February 2011, an “Appeal to the Youth of Idel’Ural” by one Yagafar Tangauri was posted on the Kavkaz Center web site, the main web site of the Caucasus Emirate terrorist group, calling Bashkir and Tatar youth to jihad.[19] By then, the Kavkaz Center web site had already published several statements on the southern Ural mountains region, with particular emphasis on Bashkortostan and Tatarstan where an Idel’-Ural Vilaiyat (province) of the Caucasus Emirate had been proclaimed, encompassing both Tatars and Bashkirs.[20] After a few mandatory statements about God and the Prophet Muhammad, Tangauri told his audience that the region’s “factories produce nothing but stink and radiation and belong to Moscow Jewish oligarchs” and that “you are forced to travel to Russia to work as slaves.”[21] He continued with a call for action:

Therefore it is up to you. Will you humiliatingly accept facts or will you yourself humiliate the non-believers and put truth in its place. Return the stolen. Undermine their economy in our territory. Do not let them remove oil and gas, do not let them refine it here and poison our villages, do not let them conduct underground nuclear explosions, and do not let tax collectors move undisturbed on our roads.... Burn down their drinking halls and bordellos, in which they pervert our children. Shoot the traitors from our people, the occupation officials, corrupt cops, street prostitutes, criminals and sinners, murderers, and maniacs who do not let peaceful people be. There is no longer any thought that the police protect us. No, they are watching us! Guarding against another revolt against Moscow and its satraps.... They need managed chaos. They need the people to be drunk and direct its anger in other directions. They are making out of us a stupid herd whose God is its own passions. Today a group of Muslims will take the initiative to go out to fight against these non-people. It is your choice.[22]

Tangauri ended his call thus:

It is said in the hadiths [Prophetic Tradition]: The best life is that of him who holds firmly on to the reins of the horse and hurries to where he hears the cry for help. Bursting into the thick of the enemy hoping to meet one’s Ruler. And remember, no matter how much you may want to, you will never become a Russian, as long as you still remember the name of Allah. And in conclusion, Glory of our Ruler of the worlds! Peace and Blessing upon the Prophet and upon all those who follow him until the Day of Resurrection![23]

Tangauri thus combined Islamic zeal and separatist sentiments with a call for action against the financial system and polluting industries. He invoked religion, nationalism, environmentalism, and anti-capitalism all in one go.

In fact, Christianne de Poot and Anne Sonnenschein’s survey of jihadists in the Netherlands concluded that many actors within the jihadist groups did not have any coherent extremist views yet remained receptive to such sentiments. Virtually all of them were converts without Islamic backgrounds, second-generation Muslims, or Muslims who had recently immigrated and in their countries of birth had not had much, or any, contact with extremist influences.[24]

The importance of the narrative was further emphasized by Olivier Roy, who, in a study on individual biographies and trajectories of jihadist terrorists in and from the West, noted that the achievement of Al-Qaida was not the establishment of an organization but “to have invented a narrative that could allow rebels without a cause to connect with a cause.” Indeed, ideology played little role in the radicalization of the jihadist internationalist youth, since they were “attracted by a narrative not an ideology.”[25] The narrative was based on, first, the suffering of Muslims worldwide. The stories of suffering were never contextualized. Whether the suffering took place in Norway, Kashmir, or Palestine, Muslims were presented as persistent victims and an undifferentiated whole. In effect, all Muslims were victims, always and everywhere. Second, the narrative included the hero who avenged the sufferings of Muslims. Religious terminology was invoked to emphasize that taking action was a personal responsibility. The hero, upon sacrificing his or her life for the community, redeemed all previous shortcomings. The hero’s death, which was invariably carefully staged with video, declaration, will, and so on, irrevocably turned him or her into a permanent icon and resulted in ultimate fame and star-quality. It mattered not what the hero did before the act, and it mattered even less if the act of martyrdom actually achieved anything. Third, and this may be the key contribution to the narrative by formerly irreligious Western Muslims and others not specifically motivated by religion, the struggle was a fight to the death against the global order.[26] This struggle was based, or so it was claimed, upon the need for courageous rebels to combat the evil West’s domination of the world’s poor, and therefore ultimately more righteous, inhabitants.

Indeed, Roy found it more productive to understand jihadism in Europe as a youth movement which shared many factors with other forms of dissent. The fascination for sudden suicidal violence could be compared to the paradigm of school shootings (described in a later chapter).

School shooters and jihadists indeed share many traits, including a possible history of drug addiction, a lack of social life, the fabrication of a narrative through the Internet, the recording of a video before taking action, search for fame, and so on.[27] The violence of young jihadists in Europe did not depend on any notions of Islamic intellectual legacy but instead could be connected to “the general phenomena of radical violence among youth.” First, Roy noted that most jihadists were young men who had broken with their families. Second, they deliberately chose to define for themselves what should be the guiding principles of their lives. They rejected traditional Islam and never referred to fatawi (religious verdicts) from traditional clerics. Third, modern jihadist discourse in Europe was the recasting of already deep-rooted, ultra-leftist anti-imperialism into Islamic terminology. Indeed, jihadists and left wing extremists shared a hatred for the United States, imperialism, and globalization. Fourth, jihadist radicalization was closely connected with petty crime.[28]

The importance of the narrative was also emphasized by Ann-Sophie Hemmingsen’s study of Islamic extremists and terrorists in Denmark, based on three terrorism cases that were tried in five trials, and interviews with both those prosecuted and their supporters who participated at the trials as spectators.[29] The narrative certainly attracted one type of wannabe jihadist: those who were driven by a wish for action. For them, action was the key. Hemmingsen cited several jihadists who, while interested in religious justification, claimed not to be very interested in ideological and religious discussions. For them, the decision to engage in combat appeared to have come before any subsequent interest in the religious justification for doing so.[30]

Since many jihadists know little or no Arabic and many lack theological knowledge, it is thus not the Koran or Islamic theology which is the source of their dream, but the narrative. And this narrative is eloquently described in jihadist publications such as Inspire, distributed online by AQAP since 30 June 2010, and Dabiq, the corresponding publication of the Islamic State, distributed online since the group’s proclamation of the Caliphate on the first night of the holy month of Ramadan (29 June 2014). As a source of propagandistic knowledge of religion and international affairs, heavily biased in favor of jihadist struggle against Western and any other non-Muslim civilization, indeed any civilization beyond the desire to fight and die in the global jihad, such publications disseminate simplistic solutions and easy-to-digest knowledge for those idealists who wish to take action in the name of God. And the solutions presented are exceedingly attractive. Indeed, as many of these publications readily affirm to their readers, the Caliphate, once re-established, will immediately solve all problems and bring a new world—paradise on Earth. But to achieve this, the West and the rest of the world must first be soundly defeated. So far, all efforts have failed. The answer, some would argue, is to engage in lone actor jihad.

Lone actors in the context of jihadist terrorism

As early as 2003, an article on the Islamic extremist web site Sada al-Jihad (Echo of Jihad) encouraged Al-Qaida sympathizers to take action without waiting for instructions.[31]

Then, in December 2004, a Syrian with Spanish citizenship calling himself Abu Mus’ab al-Suri published an Arabic-language book, The Military Theory of the Global Islamic Resistance Call. This book was the first to advocate lone actor terrorism in a jihadist context. Abu Mus’ab al-Suri, whose real name was Mustafa bin Abd al-Qadir Setmariam Nasar (b. 1958), then began to disseminate his many books, articles, and audio and video lectures from his own dedicated web site, until in 2005 he was jailed in Pakistan and spent some time in prison.[32]

Was Abu Mus’ab al-Suri inspired by either the European anarchist or the American leaderless resistance tradition of lone actor terrorism? This remains unknown, but there are indications that Abu Mus’ab al-Suri at least was aware of them. First, he had been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement at first widely influenced by Western political thought. Borrowing the organizational structure from Western, clandestine, Marxist-Leninist organizations, the members were organized into cells, in later times typically clandestine, which were then assembled into higher-level units.[33] Second, Abu Mus’ab al-Suri lived for several years in Spain, where in 1987 he married a woman who, before her conversion to Islam, was described as “leftist” in her political orientation.[34] Abu Mus’ab al-Suri’s marriage may be irrelevant in this context, yet Spain retained popular memories of the early anarchists and violent revolutionary action. More importantly, in his book The Military Theory of the Global Islamic Resist- ance Call, Abu Mus’ab al-Suri referred to the written works of an earlier generation of leftist military practitioners and theoreticians such as Mao Zedong, Ernesto Che Guevara, Vo Nguyen Giap, and Fidel Castro.[35] The early Islamic examples selected by Abu Mus’ab al-Suri as representative of his “school of individual jihad and small cells” were all individuals who— like the early anarchists—had carried out targeted assassinations, not indiscriminate terrorism, such as Suleyman al-Halabi who in 1800 in Cairo stabbed to death the French general, Jean-Baptiste Kléber. He even found religious references which confirmed that the Prophet Muhammad himself dispatched assassins to murder individual enemy leaders.[36] On the other hand, the operational method of the global Islamic resistance that Abu Mus’ab al-Suri advocated was almost identical to the method promoted by Amoss: a “system of action, not a centralized, secret organization for action” the central idea of which was based on the concept that the bonds between the entire spectrum of Resistance fighters—individuals, cells, units and small groups—are limited to three centralized bonds only. . . (1) a common name and a personal oath to God the Supreme on adhering to him, (2) a politico-judicial programme, a common doctrine, and an oath to God on committing to it, (3) a common goal, which is to resist the invaders and their allies, and an oath to God on jihad in His way to defeat them, then to work on establishing His rule.[37]

Amoss could not have expressed it better, with his call for leading ideas, not leaders, as the bond that would hold the resistance movement together. By coincidence or inspiration, Abu Mus’ab al-Suri thus combined the two concepts of anarchist violence and leaderless resistance.

The Military Theory of the Global Islamic Resistance Call was followed in February 2007 by an Arabic-language article by Muhammad Khalil Hasan alHukaymah (also known as Abu Jihad al-Masri; killed in a drone attack in October 2009). This article, “How to Fight Alone: Proposed Ideas and Methods,” advocated the use of simple weapons, poisons, and explosives, and fundamentally copied concepts written by Abu Mus’ab al-Suri.[38]

On 29 October 2009, Nasir al-Wuhayshi (1976–2015; killed in a drone attack), then head of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), published an article in AQAP’s online Arabic-language publication Sada al- Malahim (Echo of Epic Battles) which encouraged jihadists to conduct simple attacks with readily available weapons including household items and knives.[39]

In February 2010, yet another article in AQAP’s Arabic-language publication Sada al-Malahim called for jihadists in all parts of the world to engage in lone actor operations: “Individual operations are the most difficult to detect and the easiest to carry out. We call on our brothers in the West to injure the enemy by inflicting economic and human losses on them.”[40]

On 7 March 2010, the aforementioned American convert to Islam and Al-Qaida spokesman, Adam Gadahn, in his English-language video A Call to Arms urged jihadists to strike targets that were close to them. The video was released by the media wing of Al-Qaida, As-Sahab. Gadahn in particular emphasized the “historic and trend-setting operation” carried out in November the previous year by Nidal Malik Hasan, whom Gadahn described as “a pioneer, trailblazer, and a role-model. . . for every Muslim who finds himself among the unbelievers.” Gadahn also emphasized the difficulty faced by the security services in preempting such attacks:

Brother Nidal didn’t. . . discuss his plans over government-monitored and -controlled telephone and computer systems, nor did he confide his secrets to recent acquaintances. . . Brother Nidal wasn’t taken in by the provocateurs who infiltrate the Masjids and Muslim communities of America with hidden microphones in order to entrap Muslims eager to perform the duty of Jihad. And Brother Nidal didn’t unnecessarily raise his security profile or waste money better spent on the operation itself by traveling abroad to acquire skills and instructions which could easily be acquired at home, or indeed, deduced by using one’s own powers of logic and reasoning.[41]

Indeed, Gadahn’s video was a complete manifesto of lone actor terrorism as a strategic choice. He advised Western Muslims that you shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that military bases are the only high-value targets in America and the West. On the contrary, there are countless other strategic places, institutions and installations which, by striking, the Muslim can do major damage to the Crusader West and further our global agenda and long-range strategic objectives. We must look to further undermine the West’s already-struggling economies with carefully timed and targeted attacks on symbols of capitalism which will again shake consumer confidence and stifle spending. We must keep in mind how even apparently unsuccessful attacks on Western mass transportation systems can bring major cities to a halt, cost the enemy billions and send his corporations into bankruptcy. We must erode our cowardly enemy’s will to fight by killing and capturing leading Crusaders and Zionists in government, industry, and media who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk and are only interested in prosecuting their profitable wars as long as it’s other people who are in the line of fire and not them. We should look for targets which epitomize Western decadence, depravity, immorality, and atheism, targets which the enemy and his mouthpieces will have trouble trying to pass off to the conservative Muslim majority as illegitimate targets full of innocent people. And finally, we mustn’t allow our lawless enemies to provoke us with their evil, sadistic, and murderous crimes into crossing the boundaries laid down by Allah and His Prophet or doing anything which may have negative repercussions on the image of the Jihad and reputation of the Mujahideen.[42]

Gadahn concluded:

This is a war which knows no international borders and no single battleground, and that’s why I am calling on every honest and vigilant Muslim in the countries of the Zionist-Crusader alliance in general and America, Britain, and Israel in particular to prepare to play his due role in responding to and repelling the aggression of the enemies of Islam.[43]

Twelve days later, on 19 March 2010, an American imam of Yemeni origin, Anwar al-Awlaki (1971–2011) echoed Adam Gadahn in his Englishlanguage statement Western Jihad Is Here to Stay when he noted:

Men and women in the West who were born in the West, raised in the West, educated in the West, whose culture is that of the West, who have never studied or met with any “radicalized” Imams, and never attended any radical mosques are embracing the path of Jihad.[44]

The next day, 20 March 2010, Anwar al-Awlaki released an Englishlanguage audio statement, A Call to Jihad, in which he explained how he had reached the conclusion that “jihad against America” was binding on every able Muslim including the Muslims in America. He also advised Muslims in the West to remember the destruction of Muslim Granada and not to be deceived by Western governments which, he predicted, eventually “will turn against [their] Muslim citizens.”[45]

On 1 April 2010, a translation into Russian of A Call to Jihad by Anwar al-Awlaki appeared on a web site used by jihadists in Russia’s North Caucasus.[46] The message was the same as in the original, and emphasized the need for Russian-speaking Muslims too to engage in lone actor jihad.

On 30 June 2010, the first issue of Inspire was published. This was the English-language online publication of AQAP, founded by Samir Khan (1986–2011), an American of Saudi origin. The first issue reprinted “The Jihadi Experiences: The Schools of Jihad” from Abu Mus’ab al-Suri’s 2004 book The Military Theory of the Global Islamic Resistance Call and, under “Open Source Jihad,” included materials on how to “make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom” and how to send and receive encrypted messages.[47] Similar materials including extracts from the work of Abu Mus’ab al-Suri were used in subsequent issues of the publication. Inspire provided explicit advice to the wannabe jihadist, including advice on the reasons why (ideology) and the methods to be employed (instructions in operational security, selection of targets, and weapon construction). There were also articles and analyses of successful acts of terrorism. In effect, Inspire aimed to teach and inspire copycats by explaining how real attacks had taken place, and how new ones could be planned.

On 3 June 2011, the media wing of Al-Qaida, As-Sahab, released the English-language Adam Gadahn video Take the Task Upon Yourself which urged American and Western Muslims to buy guns and carry out lone actor attacks in their countries of residence.[48] Inspire too continues to be issued, even following the death on 30 September 2011 of Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan in a drone attack.[49] The eleventh issue of Inspire, published in 2013, celebrated the Boston Marathon bombings and again advocated lone actor terrorism: “The Boston Bombings have uncovered the capabilities of the Muslim youth, they have revealed the power of a Lone Jihad operation.”[50] The publication also referred to the Boston attack as the “Blessed Boston Bombings (BBB)” and offered details on how the attack had been carried out.[51] Soon after, the Islamic State too urged lone actor attacks in the West, against civilians as well as police and military, beginning to emphasize this aspect of jihad with the fifth issue of Dabiq, issued in fall 2014.[52]

Lone actors within the jihadist movement

To illustrate the wide range of jihadist lone actors, 20 examples will be presented to allow comparison in order to identify any common features of these cases. These are not intended as a full sample, and no particular scientific method was used to select the individual cases, beyond a need to include cases which, according to available information, involved lone actors and autonomous cells, not organized terrorist groups. They are not necessarily a representative selection. In addition, the information available on these individuals often remains incomplete. In a few cases, as will be shown, it could even be argued that they were not lone actors after all, nor even perhaps inspired by jihadist ideology.[53]

Besides, even in cases which seem to involve definite acts of lone actor terrorism, it is at times hard or impossible to distinguish between (1) lone actors who commit acts of terrorism inspired by Islamic extremist ideology and global jihadism; (2) individuals who are Muslims but whose main motivation is anti-Zionism or anti-Israel sentiments; and (3) individuals who for personal reasons seek to express their rage through mass murder. After all, any attention-seeking terrorist will for sure receive more attention if he or she leaves a note behind with references to Al-Qaida or the Islamic State.[54] The cases selected will illustrate this ambiguity as well.

A further problem, not to be disregarded in the analysis of specific cases of terrorist activities, is the fact that in clandestine activities such as terrorism, a full dataset may not be available. This is the eternal dilemma of intelligence and security services. Faced with a sudden terrorist attack carried out by what appears to be a lone actor, a security service may conclude that since no accomplices were evident, the attacker was a lone actor, so it would be a waste of time and resources to investigate the matter further. This may indeed be the proper decision; scarce resources would certainly be far better used for the monitoring of known violence-prone individuals than for engaging in wild-goose chases. On the other hand, cases abound in which time and exhaustive investigation eventually revealed links to previously unknown networks of terrorists—and thus previously unexpected threats.

Thus, even cases presented here may in time be proven not to have been lone actor attacks after all, should evidence of accomplices eventually become available.

Mir Aimal Kasi

On 25 January 1993, Mir Aimal Kasi, a probably 29-year-old Pakistani who lived in the United States with the help of forged documents, gunned down six people, including five CIA employees, two of whom died, outside the main gate of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Mir Aimal Kasi was arrested in Pakistan in June 1997, extradited to the United States, and subsequently executed. In court, he claimed that he had suffered brain damage in his childhood but this defense was not regarded as sufficiently credible to save him from execution. His explanation for the killings was to say that it was to avenge the American bombing of Iraq and American foreign policy which, he said, had harmed Islamic nations. He used an assault rifle purchased in the United States.[55]

Perpetrator’s age: 29 Weapon used: Firearm

Previous criminal activities: Forged documents Internet radicalization: Unlikely in 1993

Ali Hassan Abu Ali Kamal

On 24 February 1997, Ali Hassan Abu Ali Kamal, a 69-year-old Palestinian, opened fire on tourists on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, New York, killing one and injuring six. He then killed himself. Ali Hassan Abu Ali Kamal left a note which listed various enemies that had to be exterminated, including Americans, Britons, French, and Zionists, and which suggested a less than sane state of mind. He had purchased the handgun in the United States.[56]

Perpetrator’s age: 69 Weapon used: Firearm

Previous criminal activities: Unknown Internet radicalization: Unknown

Charles J. Bishop

On 5 January 2002, Charles John Bishop, a 15-year-old American citizen, flew a small Cessna 172 aircraft into the 42-story Bank of America Plaza building in downtown Tampa, Florida. A handwritten message was found on his body which expressed admiration for Usamah bin Ladin. In his suicide note, Bishop made the unlikely claim that he had met Al-Qaida and other terrorist groups several times. Reportedly a loner, there is little to suggest that he harbored genuine jihadist sympathies.[57] Yet, somebody who, apparently inspired by the 11 September 2001 attacks, deliberately flies his aircraft into a tall office building will at least need to be considered for inclusion in the category of lone actors.

Perpetrator’s age: 15 Weapon used: Aircraft

Previous criminal activities: None Internet radicalization: Unknown

Hesham Mohamed Hadayet

On 4 July 2002, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, a 41-year-old American resident of Egyptian origin, attacked the El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport. He killed two and injured four others, before he was killed by an airline security agent. Investigators later concluded that he was driven by a number of factors. He espoused anti-Israeli views and was opposed to American policy in the Middle East. In addition, his limousine business in California was failing, his marriage was suffering, and after his wife and children left for Egypt, he was alone and depressed on his birthday—the day of the attack. He had two handguns in his possession during the attack.[58]

Perpetrator’s age: 41 Weapon used: Firearm

Previous criminal activities: Unknown Internet radicalization: Unknown

Yehya Kadouri

In September 2004, Yehya Kadouri, a 17-year-old Dutch citizen of Moroccan origin, published online death threats towards Dutch politicians and tried to make a bomb in his home. He used the online name AIVDkiller (AIVD being the abbreviation of the Algemene Inlichtingenen Veiligheidsdi- enst, the General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands), but had apparently never met any other wannabe or real terrorist. In February 2005, he was sentenced to 140 days in prison and forced admission to a psychiatric institution.[59]

Perpetrator’s age: 17

Weapon used: Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Previous criminal activities: None

Internet radicalization: Yes

Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar

On 3 March 2006, Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, a 22-year-old American of Iranian origin, drove a rented Jeep Grand Cherokee into a crowd of students on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, injuring nine. His purpose was to “avenge the deaths of Muslims” worldwide and to “punish” the United States, according to a letter that he had written before the attack. Then he gave himself up to the police, later explaining that he was “thankful for the opportunity to spread the will of Allah.”[60]

Perpetrator’s age: 22 Weapon used: Car

Previous criminal activities: None Internet radicalization: Unknown

Naveed Afzal Haq

On 28 June 2006, Naveed Afzal Haq, a 30-year-old American of Pakistani origin, went on a shooting spree inside the building of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, Washington, killing one and injuring five. He explained that “These are Jews and I’m tired of getting pushed around and our people getting pushed around by the situation in the Middle East.” Later he also said that as a Muslim, he was angered by the war in Iraq and American military cooperation with Israel. He had earlier been charged with lewd conduct (flashing) and had a history of mental illness.[61]

Perpetrator’s age: 30 Weapon used: Firearm

Previous criminal activities: Lewd conduct Internet radicalization: Unknown

Kamel Bouchentouf

In May 2007, Kamel Bouchentouf, a 33-year-old Frenchman of Algerian origin, planned to attack the French 13th Regiment (paratroopers) facilities at Dieuze, France, and the United States consulate in Luxembourg. He reportedly suffered from emotional instability and his first wife left him in 2004, denouncing him as an Islamic extremist. Bouchentouf remarried in 2006. He was arrested on 2 May 2007, having a few days earlier sent an email to Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) with a video attachment in which he mentioned that he was building a bomb with which he wanted to show France that Al-Qaida could hit at any moment. Bouchentouf may also have met an AQIM leader in Algeria but was not a member of the group.[62] One could accordingly perhaps argue that he was not a lone actor. However, by all accounts he was self-activated and self-tasked.

Perpetrator’s age: 33

Weapon used: Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Previous criminal activities: None

Internet radicalization: Yes

Andrew Ibrahim

In April 2008, Andrew Philip Michael Ibrahim (also known as Isa Ibrahim), a 19-year-old British Muslim convert, planned a suicide attack against a shopping center in or near Bristol, United Kingdom. He found techniques to manufacture explosives online. Ibrahim had boasted in his local mosque that he would carry out an act of terrorism, which led to the police being informed. He was perhaps not the typical jihadist. He was interested in computer games, used to dye his hair, had several piercings, and used drugs. Ibrahim converted in 2006, dropped out of school, and lived for a while in a hostel for homeless people. The sentencing judge described Ibrahim as “a lonely and angry young person at the time of these events, with a craving for attention.”[63]

Perpetrator’s age: 19

Weapon used: Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Previous criminal activities: Drug abuse

Internet radicalization: Yes

Nicky Reilly

On 22 May 2008, Nicky Raymond Reilly (also known as Mohammad Abdulaziz Rashid Saeed-Alim), a 22-year-old British Muslim convert, attempted to detonate a bomb in a restaurant in Exeter, United Kingdom, with a simple explosive device that he apparently had built following instructions found on YouTube. Reilly was diagnosed as suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. He attempted suicide twice, first at the age of 16. Soon afterwards he converted to Islam. At some point after his conversion, he was inspired to commit an act of terrorism by several online discussions and email exchanges with extremists and decided to become a suicide bomber.[64]

Perpetrator’s age: 22

Weapon used: Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Previous criminal activities: None

Internet radicalization: Yes

Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad

On 1 June 2009, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, a 24-year-old African American Muslim convert formerly known as Carlos Bledsoe, loaded up his car with guns after which he carried out a drive-by shooting at an Army recruitment center in Little Rock, Arkansas, killing one person and injuring another. He had converted to Islam in 2004, and by 2007 wore Arabic clothing. In the same year, he moved to Yemen where he stayed for 16 months and married a Yemeni woman. Apparently he also met Islamic extremists who may have inspired him to carry out a suicide operation in the United States. However, he was then deported back to the United States. On 23 April 2009, he changed his name. His choice of middle-name, Mujahid (“Holy Warrior”), was in itself a sign of radicalization. He legally bought firearms. Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad first pleaded not guilty, then claimed to belong to Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).[65] Neither claim seemed credible.

Perpetrator’s age: 24 Weapon used: Firearm

Previous criminal activities: Immigration offences Internet radicalization: Yes

Nidal Malik Hasan

On 5 November 2009, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a 39-year-old Muslim U.S. Army officer born to Palestinian parents who had settled in the United States, opened fire on his colleagues at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 people and injuring 32. An army psychiatrist, he had repeatedly noted that he was a Muslim first and an American second. He was a devout Muslim and worried that he would be deployed to Afghanistan. Hasan was unable to find a suitably devout wife, so reportedly frequented strip clubs. He did not communicate his plans to anyone in person, by telephone, or email. Yet, there had been signs. Hasan had attended the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, where Anwar al-Awlaki had preached, was a returning participant in Awlaki’s web site, and also corresponded directly with Awlaki. He posted web messages under the name NidalHasan.[66] The email exchanges with Awlaki could have identified his interest in extremist ideology.

Perpetrator’s age: 39 Weapon used: Firearm

Previous criminal activities: None Internet radicalization: Yes

Roshonara Choudhry

On 14 May 2010, Roshonara Choudhry, a 21-year-old British citizen of Bangladeshi origin, stabbed a member of parliament, Stephen Timms, in London with a knife, having specifically bought two knives for the murder attempt. She claimed to have acted alone, inspired by a YouTube video of the (late) jihad ideologue Abdullah Azzam (1941–1989) and video lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki, and in response to a vote by Parliament in favor of the Iraq invasion. She had collected more than a hundred hours of speeches by Anwar al-Awlaki and visited extremist web sites. She did not admit to any direct contacts with terrorists and none seemed likely to have taken place. In April 2010, she dropped out of her studies, despite being an excellent student.[67]

Perpetrator’s age: 21 Weapon used: Knife

Previous criminal activities: None Internet radicalization: Yes

Lors Doukaiev

On 10 September 2010, Lors Doukaiev (Dukayev), a probably 24-year-old Belgian citizen of Chechen origin, accidentally detonated a bomb in a Copenhagen hotel. The bomb was believed to have been intended for the Jyllands-Posten newspaper offices in an attack planned for the next day, the anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks against the United States. Doukaiev had arrived in Belgium with his family as a refugee. He was believed to have been radicalized in martial arts or boxing clubs. Doukaiev may possibly have received some level of support in preparation for the planned act of terrorism, although none is known, but he apparently expected to carry out the attack alone.[68] There is no known explanation why Lors Doukaiev traveled to another country to carry out his attack. His may therefore be a case of solo terrorism instead of lone actor terrorism, even though his affiliation remains unknown.

Perpetrator’s age: 24

Weapon used: Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Previous criminal activities: None

Internet radicalization: Likely

Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly

On 11 December 2010, Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, a 28-year-old Swedish citizen of Iraqi origin, carried out a suicide bombing in Stockholm, Sweden. He lived in Luton, United Kingdom, with his wife and children. He detonated the bomb on the day before his twenty-ninth birthday. Before his death, he claimed in a statement that he wanted to punish the Swedish people for a drawing of Muhammad by the Swedish artist Lars Vilks and for Sweden’s participation in the war in Afghanistan.[69]

Perpetrator’s age: 28

Weapon used: Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Previous criminal activities: None

Internet radicalization: Yes

Arid Uka

On 2 March 2011, Arid Uka, a 21-year-old ethnic Kosovo Albanian living in Germany, opened fire with a handgun in a bus carrying American soldiers in civilian dress at Frankfurt international airport, killing two and injuring two others. He knew their location since he worked for the airport post office and had noticed the travel activities of American soldiers transiting through the airport. He claimed to have been radicalized by Islamic extremist web sites. Judging from his Facebook profile, he was interested in guns, enjoyed shooter-type computer games, and had many Islamic extremist friends.[70] In 2005, he was involved in a group which won a government prize for a school project on how to prevent violence in society.[71]

Perpetrator’s age: 21 Weapon used: Firearm

Previous criminal activities: None Internet radicalization: Yes

Mohamed Merah

On 11 March 2012, Mohamed Merah, a 23-year-old French Muslim of Algerian origin, shot and killed a paratrooper in the French city of Toulouse. What made the case unusual was that in his first attacks Merah targeted his coreligionists, French Muslims of North African origin in military service. In a second attack, on 15 March, Merah shot and killed two other paratroopers, both of North African origin, and wounded another in Montauban. Merah did not target only Muslims. His third attack occurred on 19 March, when he killed three children and one adult, and wounded several others, in a shooting spree at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school.[72] On 21 March, police began to lay siege to Merah’s apartment. Merah called the French television station France 24 and claimed the killings for the honor of Islam. He also claimed a (probably imaginary) affiliation to AlQaida and said that he had been trained by the Pakistani Taliban.[73] In addition, he had made a video of his killings, set to music and verses of the Koran, which he sent to Al Jazeera.[74] On 22 March, Merah was killed by police, after a 32-hour armed siege at his flat in Toulouse.[75] Merah’s actions shocked France and caused political debates on how the security services had failed to protect the nation, which eventually resulted in new anti-terrorism legislation giving increased powers to law enforcement agencies. While Merah, as far as can be ascertained, acted alone and on his own initiative, he had a history of involvement in crime and had maintained links with jihadist groups since 2006.[76] By 22 March, just hours after Merah was killed, the Jund al-Khilafah (“Army of the Caliphate”), a Kazakh-led terrorist group with a leadership based in Pakistan, released a statement in which the group claimed Merah as a member and took responsibility for his acts of terrorism.[77]

Perpetrator’s age: 23 Weapon used: Firearm

Previous criminal activities: Various Internet radicalization: Yes

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnayev

On 15 April 2013, the two brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnayev detonated bombs at the Boston Marathon, killing 3 and injuring more than 260. The two brothers were of Chechen origin but had lived in the United States for about a decade. Tamerlan was a boxer, his brother Dzhokhar a wrestler, so both had a background in sports clubs. Tamerlan died in a shootout with police while Dzhokhar was wounded and arrested.[78] Tamerlan had a history of at least some violence, a domestic assault that involved his first girlfriend.[79] It is unclear when and how the Tsarnayev brothers developed extremist views. In March 2011, the FBI received information from Russia that there were indications that Tamerlan was an Islamic extremist. The Russian information said that Tamerlan “had changed drastically since 2010” and was preparing to travel to a part of Russia “to join unspecified underground groups.” Clearly, there were indicators, perhaps in the form of contacts with extremists, online activities, or perhaps personal behavior, that worried the Russian counterterrorism officers. However, the FBI may have distrusted the Russian information, so took no substantial action. Six months later, the CIA too received fundamentally the same information from Russia. The CIA accordingly asked the FBI and other federal agencies to put Tamerlan on the terrorism watch list in October 2011. However, while his name was circulated to various intelligence and domestic security agencies, it was not placed on a no-fly list, so Tamerlan faced no difficulties in flying to Russia in early 2012.[80] Tamerlan spent the first half of 2012 in Russia, visiting his parents in Daghestan and also visiting Chechnya. By then he had already acquired the trappings of a devout Muslim, or, more likely when seen in hindsight, an Islamic extremist. He had grown a beard, prayed five times a day, and had given up drinking. Having returned to the United States, in August 2012 Tamerlan reportedly created a YouTube account in which he posted two jihadist videos from the Caucasus Emirate terrorist group, as well as religious materials, some of it extremist in nature.[81] It is likely that soon afterwards the two brothers began to plan their attack.

Perpetrators’ ages: 26 and 19

Weapon used: Improvised Explosive Device (IED)

Previous criminal activities: Domestic violence, charges dropped Internet radicalization: Yes

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale

On 22 May 2013, Michael Olumide Adebolajo and Michael Oluwatobi Adebowale, two British Muslim converts of Nigerian origin, attacked and killed a British Army soldier near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, southeast London. They first ran the soldier down with a car, then used knives and a cleaver to stab and hack him to death. Remaining at the scene, Adebolajo and Adebowale told passers-by that they had killed the soldier to avenge the killing of Muslims by the British armed forces. They then attacked arriving police officers with a gun and cleaver, but were shot, wounded, and arrested. The older attacker, Adebolajo, had a long history of involvement in Islamic extremism.[82]

Perpetrators’ ages: 28 and 22

Weapon used: Car, knives, and firearm

Previous criminal activities: Adebolajo had been arrested on several occasions, including in Kenya

Internet radicalization: Yes, but not exclusively so

Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi

On 3 May 2015, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, the former an Americanborn convert and the latter an American born to a Pakistani father and American mother, opened fire with assault rifles outside an event featuring cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in Garland, Texas. A security officer was wounded before the two assailants were killed by police. Simpson had previously been sentenced to three years of probation for seeking to join Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Soofi, who had grown up in Garland, had been arrested on numerous occasions for minor offenses including the unlawful possession of drugs. He had also stayed for a while in Pakistan and reportedly expressed admiration for various hardline Islamic leaders on his Facebook page. Within days, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. The duo was likely inspired, not directed, by the Islamic State.[83]

Perpetrators’ ages: 31 and 34 Weapon used: Firearms

Previous criminal activities: Various

Internet radicalization: Yes, but not exclusively so

Concluding remarks

As becomes clear from the brief case studies of jihadism-inspired lone actor terrorists, the perpetrators are a very diverse lot. This raises questions on what really motivated them to carry out their attacks. There are somewhat surprising similarities between jihadist terrorism outside the Muslim majority regions and terrorism inspired by other ideologies. Any inspiration derived from the extreme left wing may, as was noted, result from Abu Mus’ab al-Suri and his extended stay in Spain. However, there are also similarities between the modus operandi adopted by Al-Qaida and the Islamic State and the environmental extremist and animal rights extremist movements. For instance, Al-Qaida has been generally recognized for its emphasis on simultaneous terrorist attacks in different locations. While such tactics did evolve within Al-Qaida by the 1990s, it is striking that the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) on 21 May 2001—several months before the 9/11 attacks—carried out its own simultaneous attacks on targets in Oregon and Washington (as described in the previous chapter).[84] While this may be the effect of both ELF and Al-Qaida being quite successful in the development of terrorist tactics, there are intriguing similarities in how the two groups regard lone actor terrorism. As the brief case studies of jihadist lone actors showed, several of them claimed membership in Al-Qaida or the Islamic State even though there was no evidence even to suspect any such genuine affiliation. Yet, the two groups assume their respective actions as their own, in ideology if not in organizational affiliation. Likewise, organizations such as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), ELF, or Earth First! have little control over the actions of their potential activists, who indeed often are not so much members as individuals who claim membership in the organization based on their support for the organization’s goals. As was mentioned in the previous chapter, the Credo and Guidelines of the ALF reflect this ambiguity and umbrella status in its statement that

[t]he Animal Liberation Front consists of small autonomous groups of people all over the world who carry out direct action according to the ALF guidelines. Any group of people who are vegetarians or vegans and who carry out actions according to ALF guidelines have the right to regard themselves as part of the ALF (emphasis in the original text).[85]

This corresponds in spirit if not exact words to statements frequently found in Inspire, typical samples being that “it is an obligation upon every muslim [sic] to fight in the Way of Allah as per his capability” and that “[t] he responsibility for fighting America and allies is not limited to Al-Qaeda, it is also the duty of every Muslim.”[86] This, expectedly, is also a common view among the sympathizers of Al-Qaida, one of whom commented on the attack of the Tsarnayev brothers against the Boston Marathon in the following way: “They say the bros arent AlQaeda, they are lone wolves. That z wat ALQ wants, the #jihad project to be da ummah’s [Islamic community’s] prjct, I blve we are winning.”[87] In other words, since Al-Qaida claims to act on behalf of all ‘real’ Muslims, it follows that any Muslim who carries out an attack against Al-Qaida’s enemies must be part of the project.

The feeling of acting on behalf of all Muslims frequently appears in jihadist web sites. In one such site, in response to an enthusiastic proposal to engage in large-scale ricin poisoning of infidels, a more experienced sympathizer, aware of the technical difficulties in such an endeavor, replied, with presumably unintended irony: “My brother, don’t get carried away. . . my suggestion to you is to select a target, find its mailing address and write a threatening letter, then you put rat poison in the envelope and send it. A small step for you, but a large step for the Muslims.”[88]

Moreover, as has been shown, there have been cases in which violent jihadists have expressed a motivation which, as well as jihadism, certainly included very strong references to environmentalism and even anticapitalism. These similarities between the professed ideologies should not be taken as a suggestion that their adherents and supporters cooperate in terrorist activities. Yet, the similarities cast additional doubt on whether ideology is the real guiding factor, and not instead proximal factors and pragmatic choices in strategies and tactics.

Notes

1 Adam Gadahn, A Call to Arms (As-Sahab, 7 March 2010).

2 For an attempt to calculate the share of extremists, and in particular jihadists, in a given population, see Michael Fredholm, “Daydreams and Nightmares: Dreaming of Al-Qaeda and the Once and Future Caliphate—Extremist Narratives on Globalised Islam,” Anita Sengupta and Suchandana Chatterjee (eds), Globalizing Geographies: Perspectives from Eurasia (New Delhi: KW Publishers, 2015), 131–56.

3 Definition of Islamic extremism by the Council of the Muftis (Islamic religious leaders) of Russia, 30 June 2000. See also Michael Fredholm, Islamic Extremism as a Political Force in Central Asia: A Comparative Study of Central Asian Extremist Movements (Stockholm: Stockholm University, Asian Cultures and Modernity 12, 2006), 5; Michael Fredholm, “Pustyye dushi: ziyaniye, kotoroye dolzhno byt’ zapolneno,” Idei i idealy 3 (13), 2012, 74–91, on 75.

4 Declaration of holy war against the United States and the West, 23 August 1996. Statement by the London-based Saudi dissident organization, the Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights (CDLR), posted at http://msanews. mynet.net. Published in Yonah Alexander and Michael Swetnam, Usama bin Laden’s al-Qaida: Profile of a Terrorist Network (Ardsley, New York: Transnational Publishers, 2001).

5 See, e.g., Yonah Alexander and Michael S. Swetnam, Al-Qa’ida: Ten Years After 9/11 and Beyond (Arlington, Virginia: Potomac Institute Press, 2012).

6 See, e.g., Ann-Sophie Hemmingsen, The Attractions of Jihadism: An Identity Approach to Three Danish Terrorism Cases and the Gallery of Characters around Them (Dissertation, University of Copenhagen, 2008), 170. Hemmingsen notes several such cases: Slimane Hadj Abderrahmane, Hammad Khurshid, and a convert, Eric Breininger. All three, on separate occasions, went in search of a group that could take them into armed jihad. The geographical location of the jihad (Algeria, Chechnya, or Afghanistan) mattered not, only the access to combat mattered.

7 Marc Sageman, Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 73.

8 For example, the Caucasus Emirate web site, www.islamdin.com, on 9 January 2010 published the May 2003 fatwa by the Saudi sheikh Nasir al-Fahd (b. 1968) on legal justifications for the use of weapons of mass destruction against infidels. As far as is known, no Islamic scholar in the Caucasus ever justified the use of weapons of mass destruction. The use of the fatwa in justification of such weapons is all the more interesting since Nasir al-Fahd by then, under pressure from the Saudi political authorities, had rejected this and other fatawi in support of violence. Islam, Islamism and Politics in Eurasia Report 23 (Monterey Institute for International Studies, 2010). This did not prevent the Caucasus Emirate from using his refuted fatwa as theological justification. Besides, and despite the long tradition of Islamic scholarship, particularly in Daghestan, the then amir of the Caucasus Emirate, Doku Umarov (1964–2013), has tended to seek support from Middle Eastern religious scholars such as the Jordanian sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and the Syrian sheikh Abu Baseer at-Tartusi instead of from local ones. See, e.g., Islam, Islamism and Politics in Eurasia Report 24 (Monterey Institute for International Studies, 2010).

9 Michael Fredholm, Islam and Modernity in Contemporary Central Asia: Religious Faith versus Way of Life (Stockholm: Stockholm University, Asian Cultures and Modernity 14, 2007), 23–4.

10 Hemmingsen, Attractions of Jihadism, 230.

11 Adam Gadahn, A Call to Arms (As-Sahab, 7 March 2010), transcript, Public Intelligence web site (http://publicintelligence.net), 17 March 2010; with link to video.

12 Hemmingsen, Attractions of Jihadism, 230.

13 Michael Fredholm, “A Narrative of Heroes: In the Head of the Contemporary Jihadist,” Terrorism: An Electronic Journal and Knowledge Base 1 (2012); Michael Fredholm, “Pustyye dushi;” Michael Fredholm, “Ausgehöhlte Seelen – eine Leere, die es zu füllen gilt: Wie wird man als US-Amerikaner oder Europäer ein Dschihadist?” Das Gespräch aus der Ferne 407 (2014). McCauley and Moskalenko instead refer to what they term the caring-consistency profile of terrorists. See, e.g., Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko, “Toward a Profile of Lone Wolf Terrorists: What Moves an Individual from Radical Opinion to Radical Action,” Terrorism and Political Violence 26: 1 (2014), 69–85, on 83. The heroic narrative may better explain this behavior than the psychological profile suggested by McCauley and Moskalenko.

14 Christianne J. de Poot and Anne Sonnenschein, Jihadi Terrorism in the Nether- lands: A Description Based on Closed Criminal Investigations (The Hague: WODC, 2011), 64, 152–3. See also Sageman, Leaderless Jihad, 32–3.

15 Ed Husain, The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left (London: Penguin, 2007), 36.

16 Adam Gadahn, A Call to Arms (As-Sahab, 7 March 2010).

17 Raffaello Pantucci, “Categorizing Lone Wolves: Defining the Trend and Seeing What Lessons Can Be Learned,” Terrorism: An Electronic Journal and Knowledge Base 1: 2 (2012), 24.

18 Abdul Ghaffar El Almani [Eric Breininger], Mein Weg nach Jannah (ElifMedya, posted online on 5 May 2010), 56.

19 Kavkazcenter web site, 12 February 2011 (www.kavkazcenter.com).

20 Kavkazcenter web site, 26 January 2011, 1 February 2011 (www.kavkazcenter. com).

21 Kavkazcenter web site, 12 February 2011 (www.kavkazcenter.com).

22 Ibid.

23 Ibid.

24 de Poot and Sonnenschein, Jihadi Terrorism in the Netherlands, 57.

25 Olivier Roy, “Al-Qaeda in the West as a Youth Movement: The Power of a Narrative,” Michael Emerson (ed.), Ethno-Religious Conflict in Europe: Typologies of Radicalisation in Europe’s Muslim Communities (Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies, 2009), 11–26, on 12, 14.

31 Integrated Threat Assessment Centre (ITAC), “Lone-Wolf” Attacks: A Developing Islamist Extremist Strategy? (ITAC, 29 June 2007). ITAC forms part of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). The document was to a large extent declassified and has in this form since been widely disseminated.

32 Brynjar Lia, Architect of Global Jihad: The Life of al-Qaida Strategist Abu Mus’ab alSuri (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008). This work includes excerpts from The Military Theory of the Global Islamic Resistance Call. On pp 351 and 363–5, al-Suri lists several successful lone actor operations, which he describes as “individual jihad and small cell terrorism.”

33 See, e.g., Richard P. Mitchell, The Society of Muslim Brothers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969); Christina Phelps Harris, Nationalism and Revolution in Egypt: The Role of the Muslim Brotherhood (The Hague: Mouton & Co., 1964).

34 Lia, Architect of Global Jihad, 56–7. [35] Ibid., 373.

39 Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), “Concerns Grow over Shifting Terror Targets,” IPT News, 7 May 2010 (www.investigativeproject.org). The IPT was founded by Steven Emerson in 1995.

40 Ibid.

41 Adam Gadahn, A Call to Arms (As-Sahab, 7 March 2010), transcript, Public Intelligence web site (http://publicintelligence.net), 17 March 2010; with link to video.

42 Ibid.

43 Ibid.

44 Anwar al-Awlaki, Western Jihad Is Here to Stay (Ansar Al-Mujahideen web site, www.ansar1.info, 19 March 2010).

45 Anwar al-Awlaki, A Call to Jihad, 20 March 2010, transcript, WorldAnalysis.net. [46] Caucasus Emirate web site, www.islamdin.com, 1 April 2010.

47 Inspire 1 (Summer 2010). The al-Suri article in this issue includes his list of successful lone actor operations, which he describes as “individual jihad and small cell terrorism.”

48 Take the Task upon Yourself (As-Sahab, 3 June 2011); cited in Mail Online, 4 June 2011 (www.dailymail.co.uk), with link to YouTube video.

49 On the background to the drone attack, see, e.g., New York Times, 9 March 2013. [50] Inspire 11 (Spring 2013), 17. The issue was published online on 30 May 2013.

53 Most of the case studies first appeared in Michael Fredholm, Hunting Lone Wolves: Finding Islamist Lone Actors before They Strike (Stockholm Seminar on Lone Wolf Terrorism, 1 November 2011).

54 As shown by the case studies (below), and as argued in Raffaello Pantucci, A Typology of Lone Wolves: Preliminary Analysis of Lone Islamist Terrorists (London: International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR), 2011), 21.

55 New York Times, 18 June 1997; BBC News, 15 November 2002; U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service (www.dssrewards.net).

56 CNN, 24 February 1997; Washington Post, 25 February 1997; New York Daily News, 20 February 2007. The note is available from the IPT web site, www.investiga- tiveproject.org.

57 CNN, 6 January 2002. The suicide note is reprinted in Paul Gill, Lone-Actor Ter- rorists: A Behavioural Analysis (London: Routledge, 2015), 82. Charles John Bishop was born in 1986.

58 CNN, 4 July 2002, 4 September 2002.

59 Sageman, Leaderless Jihad, 122; AllBusiness market information web site, www. allbusiness.com, n.d.; Tinka Veldhuis and Edwin Bakker, Muslims in the Nether- lands: Tensions and Violent Conflict (Brighton: MICROCON Policy Working Paper 6, 2009), 18.

60 Los Angeles Times, 7 March 2006. See also Gill, Lone-Actor Terrorists, 138–40.

Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar was born in 1983.

61 Associated Press, 29 July 2006; Seattle Times, 30 July 2006.

62 Le Figaro, 11 May 2007; Rue 89, 5 January 2008; France 24, 23 January 2009.

63 BBC News, 29 April 2008, 17 July 2009; The Telegraph, 18 July 2009.

64 The Times, 24 May 2008, 31 January 2009.

65 CNN, 1 June 2009, 2 June 2009; New York Times, 16 February 2010. See also Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, “Lone Wolf Islamic Terrorism: Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (Carlos Bledsoe) Case Study,” Terrorism and Political Violence 26: 1 (2014), 110–28. Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad was born in 1985.

66 Associated Press, 6 November 2009; Time, 11 November 2009. Nidal Malik Hasan was born on 8 September 1970.

67 The Guardian, 2 November 2010, 3 November 2010. Roshonara Choudhry specifically mentioned Abdullah Azzam and Anwar al-Awlaki as her sources of inspiration, and there are YouTube videos of their speeches. Another prominent YouTube speaker is Azzam al-Amriki, the first YouTube name used by Adam Gadahn, who also related the story of Abdullah Azzam.

68 BT, 15 September 2010, 21 September 2010 (www.bt.dk). Doukaiev’s age remains unclear; he claimed to have been born in 1986, which according to some reports was possibly a ruse to facilitate the acquisition of refugee status.

69 Aftonbladet, 13 December 2010, 2 January 2011. Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly was born on 12 December 1981. He reportedly named one of his children Usamah in honor of the Al-Qaida leader.

70 Der Spiegel, 3 March 2011; Daily Mail (U.K.), 2 March 2011, 4 March 2011.

71 New York Times, 8 March 2011. In connection with the government prize, Arid Uka posed for a photograph with the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder.

72 See, e.g., BBC News, 19 March 2012; Washington Post, 23 March 2012.

73 See, e.g., Lisa Lundquist, “Toulouse Shooter’s al Qaeda Ties Played Down by Officials,” The Long War Journal, 12 August 2012 (www.longwarjournal.org).

74 See, e.g., BBC News, 27 March 2012.

75 See. e.g., Connexion France, 9 August 2012 (www.connexionfrance.com/french- intelligence-knew-mohamed-merah-for-two-years-13982-view-article.html).

76 Jerusalem Post, 1 April 2012 (www.jpost.com), citing French TV station M6, 30

March 2012.

77 Statement of Jund Al-Khilafah regarding the operations in France, Ansar alMujahideen web site, 22 March 2012, available at http://ansar1.info/show- thread.php?t=39797.

78 See, e.g., RFE/RL, 19 April 2013; The Independent, 23 April 2013 (www.inde- pendent.co.uk).

79 The Independent, 20 April 2013 (www.independent.co.uk), citing the father of the brothers.

80 New York Times, 24 April 2013; McClatchy DC web site (http://m.mcclatchydc. com), 26 April 2013.

81 The Guardian, 22 April 2013 (www.guardian.co.uk).

82 BBC News, 23 May 2013; 26 February 2014.

83 BBC News, 5 May 2015; Washington Times, 6 May 2015.

84 In the early morning of 21 May 2001 the ELF attacked, simultaneously, the Jefferson Poplar Farms in Clatskanie in Oregon and the Horticulture Center at the University of Washington in Seattle. “2001 Year-End Direct Action Report,” North American Animal Liberation Front Press Office, web site, www.elfpres- soffice.org/2001.pdf.

85 “The ALF Credo and Guidelines,” The Animal Liberation Front, web site, www. animalliberationfront.com/ALFront/alf_credo.htm.

87 Inspire 11 (Spring 2013), 32.

88 Muntadayat al-firdaws al-jihadiyya (www.alfirdaws.org), 9 July 2006, cited in Anne Stenersen, Al-Qaida’s Quest for Weapons of Mass Destruction (Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, 2008), 68.

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6 Targeting herself

Female lone actors

Hanna Runeborg

A long list of examples throughout history show nothing to suggest that women are less able to carry out acts of terrorism than men. Studies show that there is no evidence suggesting that women are less aggressive or become radicalized in different ways than men. Women commit serious, violent, and premeditated crimes. Not as often as men, but they do. Still, women perform fewer acts of terrorism than men. And even fewer when you look at the statistics on lone actors. Why is that? And can women’s special conditions, in certain cases, affect their potential willingness and ability to carry out lone actor terrorist attacks?

This chapter examines the thesis that terrorist organizations’ views on the participation of women in terror-related activities is characterized by pragmatism and the organization’s values. In certain types of terrorist organizations, women are, for different reasons, excluded from the possibility of using violence. This in itself is nothing unique. It has been shown in different studies that the threshold for women to commit violent crimes is generally higher than for men, mainly due to the social patterns applied to women.

Women’s participation in terror-related activities are guided by the organization’s values but, when needed, women are allowed to participate in acts of terror even though it is contradictory to the organization’s fundamental values. When this is the case, the organization finds alternative explanations to appropriate the inconsistency.

Examples of this can be seen in different terrorist organizations, for example, in jihadism, but also to some extent in right wing organizations, where women are expected to act according to a more conservative lifestyle. Explanatory models are applied to describe why women should abstain from taking part in violent acts. On the other hand, when women do participate in terrorist attacks, the organizations apply a pragmatic reconstruction to the existing explanatory model to make the acts valid. Regardless, within terrorist organizations, female participation is dependent on the will of men.

Thus, as an antithesis, lone actor terrorism can be seen as one of the few ways for women to independently carry out violent acts under the above-mentioned ideological values. Ironically, women carrying out attacks on their own is contradictory to the radical and conservative ideology that such organizations stand for. Just to act independently is contrary to how women are expected to behave within the framework of these ideologies. As will be shown in this chapter, terrorist organizations have chosen to deal with both female suicide bombers and upcoming cases of female lone actor acts of terrorism by commenting on them with a pragmatic model of explanation, here presented as shaming.

In this chapter, two cases of female lone actors will be presented, both of which were performed in the context of jihadist terrorism. To understand the way women commit violent crimes in these environments, an understanding of the expectations and realities of women in jihadist terrorism is needed. A major part of this chapter will address this question, with some examples taken from other types of violent ideologies.

Since lone actor terrorists are a rarity, and female lone actor terrorism is even more rare, choosing case studies of female lone actor terrorism is relatively simple. In fact, there have been so few over the last decade that the two cases that are presented are those documented.[1] Though felonies committed by lone women have been carried out both before and after these two cases, no other cases, at the time of writing, can be classified as lone actor terrorism. There are examples of lone women who committed serial killings, or cases of extreme violence performed by lone women, yet in those cases the offender did not have any clear political motive for the act.

In the known terrorist cases that have been reported outside the Western world in which women were involved, organizations or groups were behind most or all. For example, increasingly over the past 15 years, women in South Asia, the Caucasus, and the Middle East have participated in suicide attacks. However, these cases all seem to have had other people, that is, men, involved to some degree.

At the same time, the phenomenon of jihadist lone actor terrorism has developed in Europe and North America. The two cases examined in this chapter differ in a number of ways, but are alike in the sense that they involve women who lived and grew up in Western society, one in the United Kingdom and the other in the United States. They each radicalized themselves through the Internet and they both resolved to carry out violent acts. One of the women expressed how she chose to act alone because “nobody would understand.”[2] The other reportedly did not even mention her conversion to her boyfriend.

On the other hand, the two cases are different. The first case, in which Roshonara Choudhry, a young British woman, planned and carried out a violent assault on her victim, is more easily described as a lone actor attack. The second, involving an American woman called Colleen LaRose, is much more complicated in the sense that it is difficult to define to what extent she was a lone actor. Also, the case of Colleen LaRose never led to an actual attack.

Thus, it seems that the threshold for a woman to engage in violent activities within terrorist organizations generally is higher and the sacrifice she makes is greater than that of her male equivalent. And it seems in particular that some lone women have gone against all conventional images of women’s behavior, both in general and in comparison to other female felons.

Roshonara Choudhry

Roshonara Choudhry was born in 1989 and lived in London. She grew up with her parents as the eldest of five children. At the age of 21, Choudhry was studying English and Communications at King’s College, London. She later told the police that she was a top student in school.[3] Despite her good grades, she dropped out of school on 27 April 2010, in her third year. On 14 May 2010, she approached the British Member of Parliament Stephen Timms during a political meeting and held out her hand as if to greet him. The two had met already a couple of years earlier, at a school gathering in which a group of students, which included Choudhry, had visited him to discuss political issues. One of the students started to ask questions about Timms’ attitude towards the British involvement in the Iraq war. At the time, Choudhry did not ask a single question and she later stated in the interrogations that she felt uncomfortable when the other young woman did this.[4] Prior to 14 May 2010, Choudhry had not been significantly interested in politics, although she stated, according to the interrogation report, that she had always been religiously interested.[5] Six months earlier she had started listening to the radical jihadist ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki on the Internet. She downloaded the audio speeches she could find until the end of April 2010, without openly discussing these matters with other people.[6] Shortly after, she decided to contact Stephen Timms by telephone to obtain an appointment. On 14 May, she approached Timms during the political meeting and stabbed him repeatedly with a knife in an attempt to kill him. Timms was badly wounded but survived the attack.[7]

In the first interview that was held by the police on the same day, Choudhry responded clearly to questions about why she had stabbed Timms and what her goals were:[8]

Question – Well, tell me about that then [the stabbing of the M.P.]. Tell me what happened today.

Answer – I stabbed Stephen Timms. Q – You stabbed Stephen Timms.

A – Yep.

. . .

Q – Why did you make that appointment? A – So I can do what I did.

Q – So tell me what thought process you went through before you made that phone call?

A – I thought that it’s not right that he voted for the declaration of war in Iraq.

Q – When did you start thinking about that? A – Over the last few months.

Q – What’s led you to start thinking about that? A – I’ve been learning more about Islam.

Q – Where have you been learning that? A – Internet.

Q – What websites have you been looking at?

A – I’ve been listening to lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki.

. . .

Q – Anwar? A – al-Awlaki.

Q – Who’s he?

A – He’s an Islamic scholar. He lives in Yemen.

Q – And where have you been listening to these lectures?

A – I downloaded it off of the Internet. . . Explaining stories from the

Qur’an and explaining about jihad [struggle].

Q – And that has contributed to your decision to leave King’s [College]?

A – Yes.

Q – And where was the link there then?

A – I thought that I should have loyalty to my Muslim brothers and sisters in Palestine and so I should leave King’s and that would show my loyalty to them.

Q – Who have you been watching these lectures with? A – I listen to them on my own.

Q – So when did you decide: ‘from what I’ve learned, I’m now gonna go and stab Stephen Timms?’

A – A couple of weeks ago. It’s three weeks ago, four weeks ago. Q – So it’s quite recent?

A – Yep.

Q – Before you finished college? After? A – Before.

Q – And that was April 27, if I remember rightly, was it? A – Yep.

Q – How do you feel now about what you’ve done today? A – I feel like I did what I’d planned to do.

Choudhry was arrested immediately. She chose to speak out in interrogations. On the other hand, Choudhry chose not to attend her trial for attempted murder, saying that she did not recognize the court’s jurisdiction. The prosecutor ruled out any suggestion that she suffered from a mental illness. The judge, Mr. Justice Cooke, stated: “You said you ruined the rest of your life. You said it was worth it. You said you wanted to be a martyr.”[9] He added: “You do not suffer from any mental disease. You have simply committed evil acts coolly and deliberately.”[10]

On 3 November 2010, Choudhry was found guilty of attempted murder. She was subsequently given a life sentence, with a recommended minimum jail term of 15 years.[11] As we will see, Choudhry would later become one of the few females mentioned in the jihadist publication Inspire.

Colleen LaRose also known as Jihad Jane also known as Fatima LaRose

A more complex example is the so-called Jihad Jane case. Colleen LaRose was born in 1963 and lived in Pennsylvania. LaRose’s upbringing was reportedly affected by various family-related problems, but during the time before her radicalization she lived a relatively ordinary life.[12] In 2008, she lived with her boyfriend and spent the time nursing his sick father while her boyfriend worked elsewhere. It was during this period that she began to search for video clips on the Internet that showed suffering people in conflict zones such as Palestine. There and then she created the nickname Jihad Jane[13]—perhaps loosely built on the Hollywood film character G.I. Jane, which may indicate some of LaRose’s references. LaRose’s boyfriend later participated in a radio documentary and stated that he had not seen any indication that LaRose had converted or radicalized. On the contrary, “she was a normal person,” and he noticed “nothing out of the ordinary.”[14]

Around 20 June 2008, she posted a comment on YouTube under the user name “Jihad Jane,” stating that she was “desperate to do something, somehow to help the suffering Muslim people.”[15] This became the beginning of a complex series of contacts with different individuals across the globe. About half a year later she came into contact, and started a communication in a chat room, with a man with the user name Eagle Eye. He seemed to be located somewhere in Pakistan.[16] LaRose announced in the chat that she desired to become a martyr. In January 2009, she was in contact with a Europe-based man who in communication with her stated that he would be martyred and then she responded with the same wish. In February of the same year she announced that her physical appearance would allow her to “blend in with many people,”[17] which “may be a way to achieve what is in my heart.”[18] In March 2009, the communication continued with Eagle Eye who told her to “marry me to get me inside Europe.”[19] On 9 March 2009, she decided to marry him in Europe whereupon she contacted the Swedish Embassy in the United States and asked for instructions on how to obtain a residence permit in Sweden. The reason why she wanted to obtain a permit for Sweden was that the by now world-renowned artist Lars Vilks was located there. Because of a cartoon drawing of the Prophet Muhammad as a dog, Vilks had received a number of death threats from various jihadist organizations.[20] Eagle Eye invited her to travel to Sweden to find the artist and assassinate him.

At an early stage in her intense chatroom involvement, the FBI found out about LaRose and visited her in her house in Pennsylvania. The visit did not, however, change her plans.[21]

On 22 March 2009, LaRose wrote to her Internet contacts that she agreed to kill and stated “I will make this my goal until I achieve it or die trying.”[22] During the period that followed, she organized, among other things, to send money to organizations she believed were related to AlQaida, and prepared for her trip to Europe. She managed also via the Internet to come in contact with, among others, another American convert, Jamie Ramirez, who also was engaged in traveling to Europe. This whole time she lived with her boyfriend, who later claimed he did not experience any changes in her behavior.

It is at this point that one could argue that LaRose was not a lone actor terrorist since she in various ways was in contact with a number of other people. At the same time, she seems to have become radicalized from her home, with no physical contact with others. For example, at the time she is said to never have visited a mosque.

In late August 2009, LaRose traveled to Ireland with the intent of living and training with people she had never met in order to find and kill the Swedish artist. She brought her boyfriend’s passport with her, without his permission or knowledge.[23] While in Ireland in September 2009, LaRose joined an online community hosted by the Swedish artist. Later [referring to her Pakistan-based contact] she claimed in a chat conversation that it was “an honor and great pleasure to die or kill for you.”[24] However, somewhere along the way she changed her mind and left Europe. Arriving in her home country, she was arrested by the FBI.

On 9 March 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice released the indictment of Colleen LaRose to the press. The indictment stated, inter alia, that “Colleen LaRose, and five other individuals scattered across the globe, are alleged to have used the Internet to form a conspiracy to provide professional material support to terrorism, culminating in a direct order to LaRose to commit murder overseas.” The indictment further said that LaRose and five unindicted co-conspirators (located in South Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and the United States) recruited men on the Internet to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe, and recruited women on the Internet who had passports and the availability to travel to and around Europe in support of violent jihad.

Further, the indictment charged that LaRose and her unindicted coconspirators used the Internet to “establish relationships with one another and to communicate regarding their plans, which included martyring themselves, soliciting funds for terrorists, soliciting passports and avoiding travel restrictions (through the collection of passports and through marriage) in order to wage violent jihad.” The indictment charged further that LaRose stole another individual’s U.S. passport and transferred or attempted to transfer it in an effort to facilitate an act of international terrorism. In addition, according to the indictment, LaRose received a direct order to kill a citizen and resident of Sweden, and to do so in a way that would frighten “the whole Kufar [non-believer] world.”[25] U.S. Attorney Michael L. Levy commented on the case in a press release saying “this case shows the use terrorists can and do make of the Internet.”[26]

LaRose was later mentioned on one occasion in the radical jihadist publication Inspire. She appeared along with another convicted female terrorist, Aafia Siddiqi,[27] on a list of Muslim prisoners whom the magazine demanded should be released immediately. On the list were 24 men and the two women.[28] LaRose pleaded guilty to all charges against her on 1 February 2011.

Women commit fewer violent crimes than men

There is nothing that suggests that female terrorists, including lone actors, should have different motives than those of male equivalents. Therefore, it is reasonable to ask not why there are female terrorists but rather why there are no more of them? When comparing statistics on violent crimes, women are always in a minority of reported crimes. This is true for all types of violence, including terrorist crimes.[29] The statistics can be explained by a number of reasons, for example, that women’s crimes are more seldom reported than those of men. Also, women’s violent crimes more seldom lead to casualties.

Regarding women committing violent crimes, the statistics look more or less the same in a number of Western countries. In both the United States and Britain, women account for approximately 6 percent of the inmates in prisons, and for approximately 10 percent of violent offenders.[30] Statistics on the number of suspects for violent crimes in Sweden show that around a fifth of cases of abuse reported to the police included women offenders. Women are suspected to be involved in 15 percent of reported assaults in Sweden. Thus, the majority of perpetrators are male. Men are also in the absolute majority of the victims.[31]

Despite the statistics, it has been found in studies that women are as aggressive as men.[32] However, women’s aggressiveness has more frequent expression in so-called non-physical aggression. A number of researchers have shown that, in order not to be excluded from various social contexts, women are socialized to be conciliatory so as not to get into disputes in any form. That is, men and boys being aggressive tends to be more accepted in a social context.[33] Some varieties of female violence are nonetheless, to some extent, socially accepted, such as self-defense (especially against assault and rape), defense of (their own) children, defending against aggression from a partner (if a man), certain types of sporting activities, and in some situations where women are involved as professionals in which violence is an element (police, military, and so on).[34] When women do commit violent criminal acts, they are also generally less violent than men.[35] Because of lesser physical strength in comparison to men, their violence also generally results in less severe effects.36Statistically, women more often use knives and blunt force trauma than firearms and explosives in comparison with men.[37] This is despite the fact that weapons such as firearms and explosives do not require the same physical strength as handheld weapons.

Radicalization

So far, researchers have not been able convincingly to conclude that women with certain personality traits or backgrounds would be more likely to commit violent crimes than others.[38] Women appear to be radicalized for the same reasons as men.[39]

In 1967, three years before her arrest, Ulrike Meinhof, one of the pioneers and leaders of the Red Army Faction (RAF), was at a juncture between her previous well-ordered life and what would follow, including various types of criminal acts. Just before the Vietnam congress in Berlin in 1968, Meinhof expressed a sense of aspiration for belonging like this:

Sometimes I have the feeling that everything could get out of control. The relationship with Klaus [her then husband, author’s comment], my entry into the establishment, the cooperation with the students— three things that seem to be inconsistent in life—pulling me, tearing me apart. The house, the parties, the Struggle, everything is only partly fun, but those things are only, beside other things, the base for me to be able to be a subversive element, the TV appearance, for contacts. Being acknowledged is part of my profession as a journalist and socialist. Via radio and TV I do make myself heard far beyond The Con- crete [the newspaper where she was working, author’s comment]. From a human perspective, it is even satisfying, but it does not cover my need for warmth, for solidarity, for group affiliation. The role that has opened these doors for me corresponds only partly with my being and my needs, because my character has been occupied by a Punch doll, that compels me to say things, smiling, that are by me and all of us considered deadly serious: thus grinning, thus disguised.[40]

A survey of women in modern white supremacist groups in the United States shows that “most of the women were educated, most were not poor nor did most grow up poor, most were not raised in abusive families, and not all women were blindly following a man into organized racism.”[41]

Palestinian expert Khalil Shikaki puts it like this:

The presupposition that the attackers consist solely of fanatical, single uneducated men from the slums is simply wrong; women and secular people are just as likely to blow themselves up. Neither is the unchanging misery of their living conditions a crucial factor: if it were half the Somali population would already have blown itself up.[42]

Radicalized women from Europe, the United States, and other secular democracies would most likely not prefer to be assigned the role of support characters once they decide to participate in an extreme environment. “Emily,” who has previously been involved in right wing circles in Sweden, describes the expectations of women like this: “It becomes conflict all the time. There are many girls who say—we do not just want to make sandwiches. And that is after all something the others have to accept. The party program is more rigorous than the reality.”[43]

From the few cases of European and American female jihadist lone actor terrorists, it is clear that they chose to become radicalized on their own, to a large extent through the aid of the Internet. In a world of seven billion souls, where about 30 percent to various degrees expect to have access to the Internet,[44] it seems that there is always someone who shares a particular view, or is willing to share their own. The Internet is not the answer to a person’s questions, but the means by which the answer can be delivered.

Roshonara Choudhry describes her willingness to engage in battle in her first interview:[45]

A – Like, erm, after like listening to the lectures, I realized my obligation but I didn’t wanna like fight myself and just thought other people should fight, like men, but then I found out that even women are supposed to fight as well so I thought I should join in.

Q – Where did you find that out from?

A – A YouTube video by Sheikh Abdullah Azzam. Q – And what was he saying?

A – He was saying that when a Muslim land is attacked it becomes obligatory on every man, woman and child and even slave to go out and fight and defend the land and the Muslims and if they can’t handle like the forces they are facing, then it becomes obligatory on the people who live in. . . closest to that country and if those people refuse to fulfill their duty then it, then it becomes to the next closest people and the next closest until it goes all the way round the whole world and it’s obligatory on everyone to defend that land.

Q – OK, and when did you watch that YouTube video?

A – That probably would have been a couple of weeks ago like some point in April.

Q – Was that before you bought the knives or after you bought the knives?

A – That would not have been before I think . . .

Q – . . . how soon after watching that video did you decide to put things into action? Or to make plans?

A – It would probably would not have been like a few days or something.

The media effect—the way people are seen affects the way they act

A fundamental difference between female and male acts of violence is not in the violence itself but rather in the way the perpetrator is perceived by the surrounding society. A common image, in the media, regarding the role men and women have in violence suggests that men are violent perpetrators and women are victims of male violence. The classic image of men and women suggests that men are violent and women are victims of male violence. That is, in war situations women are described as victims of rape (committed by men), refugees (hounded by men), and left behind (by men).[46] When women deliberately carry out crimes, the notion of what a woman is, or what she should do, brings matters to a head. In a study of the events in the prison of Abu Ghraib, where female American soldiers reportedly were participating in the torture of male Iraqi prisoners of war, this question was posed:

How could women, who are supposed to be the gentler sex, have participated in these degrading and sadistic actions?. . . What’s more, the photos depict them not just participating, but seemingly enjoying themselves while doing so. . . . In fact, the photos and the events they depict reinforce what most feminist scholars have been arguing for decades—that there is little difference in the essential makeup between men and women. . . . Yet, the question of women’s involvement in inhumane and degrading treatment demands analysis.[47]

The Swedish researcher Pernilla Ouis puts the question like this in an article after the arrest of Colleen LaRose in March 2010: “How should we understand that our mothers, daughters and sisters—women who will stand for security in a scary world, suddenly turned into monsters that are opposed to everything Western society stands for?”[48] Examples like these show that while scholars and academics argue that women are no different from men when participating in violence, they nevertheless approach women’s violence as something incomprehensible.

Reacting to the news of Jihad Jane’s arrest, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) cleric Anwar al-Awlaki said in an audio speech titled Western Jihad Is Here to Stay: “the West has been profiling until ‘Jihad Jane’ shattered whatever trust was left in the value of profiling. A blonde, blue-eyed, small framed, middle-aged female. It could not get any further from your typical ‘terrorist’ profile.”[49] The U.S. Department of Justice concurred: “This case demonstrates that terrorists are looking for Americans to join them in their cause, and it shatters any lingering thought that we can spot a terrorist based on appearance.”[50]

One major difference between men and women is how they are described in reporting, which becomes obvious in the media. Felonies, especially terrorist crimes committed by female offenders, also result in a more extensive and detailed level of media reporting. In the media, women’s violence and crimes are often regarded as less rational and more emotionally triggered than men’s violence. Examples of approved violent behavior are cases of domestic violence or self-defense. What women do is attributed to emotional causes, self-defense related to abusive situations, or in reaction to childhood trauma.[51] Male violence is described more often as rational,[52] that is, in the way that men commit premeditated crimes, such as robbery. This is despite the fact that, for example, a large proportion of all violent crimes in Sweden are related to alcohol abuse and occur in public places, usually involving people who do not previously know each other.[53]

In an interview with the U.S. edition of the newspaper The Guardian titled “Jihad Jane Explains Her Strange Journey From Victim [sic] to Radical Muslim,” Colleen LaRose explains her commitment like this: “That I was finally going to be someplace where I belonged [speaking of conversion]. I’ve survived through a lot of things that rightfully should have killed me. . . . The abuse of my father had destroyed my life. . . . I have done all kinds of bad things. I was rebelling because of what he did and because my mother did nothing to help us.”[54]

The media and LaRose herself tried, as the above example shows, to explain her radicalization and desire to become a martyr with her background: she had a difficult childhood and had been subjected to abuse. In 2011 there were 46.2 million people in the United States who were poor,[55] and in 2010 in the United States, 270,000 females were reported to have been raped or sexually assaulted, although this figure in reality is likely to be much higher.[56] That is, poverty and abuse may not be sufficient to explain LaRose’s behavior, since the vast majority of individuals have not planned terrorist attacks, whatever their background.

Female offenders are described as victims of circumstances they cannot influence. Brigitte L. Nacos writes in a report on media coverage of female terrorists that when women behave in a way that is “unladylike,” that is, that falls outside the norm of how a woman should behave, the media will largely aim to provide different types of gender-stereotypical explanations for why she did what she did.[57]

A popular way to portray women who have carried out violent crimes is to describe them as being insane or mad. When Belgian Malika el Aroud, who after ten years of alleged involvement in Al-Qaida’s operations, as a recruiter, propagandist, and participant in activities on the ground in Afghanistan, was finally convicted in a Belgian court, the judge Pierre Hendrix expressed to the media that she was “trapped in a sickening logic that did not concern her in any way” and asked if she really was sane.[58]

This has been the established way to relate to female terrorists for a long time. During the long period from the first terrorist-related activities and detention of the leftist extremist Ulrike Meinhof in the early 1970s until her death, Meinhof was a number of times presented in the German media as a person who was mentally damaged. This did not happen nearly as often with her fellow prisoner Andreas Baader, even though they had committed the same type of crimes. Instead the media continued to ask whether Meinhof was, for example, sexually obsessed with her partner Baader.[59] During the detention, several investigations were made to find out whether she was mentally ill.[60] The psychiatric examinations of Meinhof showed that she was badly affected by the difficult conditions of detention, but nothing showed that she had any type of psychiatric disorder.[61] The fact that her actions would have been premeditated and self-tasked has since then generated great interest in her character.

These assumptions and generalizations in the media regarding female perpetrators’ mental well-being seem to be augmented in cases where women perform suicide attacks. When the first cases of suicide attacks carried out by Palestinian women occurred, the women were described by the media as affected by personal suffering, such as inability to bear children or abandonment by a man, and therefore as more likely to commit terrorist offenses. The more examples that emerged showed that this stereotype was not valid, as subsequent attackers turned out to be married, well educated, or pregnant.[62] In fact, later studies have confirmed that while female perpetrators vary considerably in sociodemographic characteristics, those characteristics often do not conform to the media stereotypes. In fact, some studies suggest that in comparison to male terrorists, women more often reflect individual rather than collective (group) circumstances for their engagement in terrorism.[63]

Portraying the woman as a victim and incapable of committing serious crimes has in some cases been used by the defense at trial.[64] Studies have shown that the perception of female criminality is of importance both as regards the opportunity to detect the criminal and as regards the legal sanctions imposed on female delinquents.[65]

Women in terrorist organizations—one step forth?

A comparison of the participation of women in 22 terrorist organizations of various ideological backgrounds[66] since 1968 ranks the tasks performed by women in descending order:[67]

• Logisticians (in 21 of the organizations)

• Political vanguard (in 12)

• Operational leaders (in 8)

• Martyrs (in 8)[68]

• Recruiters (in 7)

• Guerilla fighters (in 6)

The organizations where women seem to have had the greatest opportunities to participate in various types of tasks, including violence and as leaders, were the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso).[69] These organizations are all normally primarily described as separatist (or nationalist), a form of terrorism motivated by nationalism or secession. Separatist terrorists seek self-determination in some form, for example, by establishing an independent, sovereign state. Separatist terrorism is most often linked to national, religious, or ethnic motives identifying the group. Particularly in left wing groups, but also in some separatist terrorist organizations, change in the existing social order is part of the ideological agenda. In these terrorist organizations, women are often involved in the same activities as men. Examples were the Red Army Faction (RAF), Japanese Red Army (JRA), Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), LTTE, and IRA. On the other hand, based on the aforementioned statistics, women in terrorist organizations that have a more conservative set of values, such as right wing and jihadist organizations, have less opportunities to choose among different tasks.[70] In both the right wing and jihadist environments, woman is primarily seen as a carrier of conservative ideals. She will give birth to children, support her family, and pass the ideology on to future generations. The fact that women more often act as logisticians, regardless of organization, can probably be explained by a number of reasons, including the fact that the role of logistician to men’s struggle does not contradict prevailing ideals in any context.

A number of researchers have, however, concluded that the involvement of women in significant positions does not necessarily mean that the organization is otherwise completely equal or seeks total equality, or that the organization itself has an egalitarian gender context. Although women can have well-developed roles in such terrorist organizations, this usually does not transform to the community in a broader context.[71] As early as 1983, scholar Deborah Galvin noted that:

Female terrorism has no autonomy. It is part of a male engineered, male dominated activity and even the most ardent feminist must recognize both the fact and the remote likelihood of it changing. Terrorism is all about power. The male terrorist struggling for power is not about to share it with a female, though he welcomes her aid and actively seeks to co-opt it. The thinking female terrorist must take terrorism on these terms or leave it.[72]

Woman’s role in jihadism

Women’s participation in armed jihad has been discussed almost since the birth of Islam. Already in the writings of the ninth century, the problems related to women’s participation in conflicts side by side with men were mentioned, for the reason that men may become distracted by women’s beauty while fighting.[73] The discussion also focused on the woman’s potential participation in jihad as fard ‘ayn [individually obligatory jihad]. Even under extreme circumstances, however, the woman’s participation in armed jihad has ever since been described as optional, not obligatory.[74]

The top leadership of Al-Qaida has to date never stated that women should participate in armed jihad, except for the mentor of Usamah bin Ladin, the late Abdullah Azzam, who argued for women’s participation. He said that when the land of Islam is invaded, armed jihad is required for every Muslim and the need to seek permission becomes void. According to him, “a son is permitted to go out and fight without his father’s permission, a wife without her husband’s and he who is in debt without his creditors’.”[75] During the 1990s in Afghanistan, Usamah bin Ladin’s wives and other jihadists’ wives reportedly only participated in housework and in supporting the Afghan and foreign fighters. Bin Ladin’s first wife Najwa describes in her autobiography how hard it was trying to maintain a household in the mountains of Tora Bora, and how she and her daughters hardly saw anything of the conflict or the combatants training in Afghanistan, unlike her elder sons and male relatives who fully participated in the military activities.[76]

In the first ten issues of the online jihadist publication Inspire, published between 2010 and 2013, women[77] are mentioned between zero and fifteen times per issue.[78] In more than half of the cases, women are referred to in the same sentence as children, and they are either described as victims or as in need of protection:

Will history really forget the stand of the amir, of martyrdom seekers Abu Mus’ab Az-Zarqawy (may Allah accept him) when he heard the yell of the Iraqi women who were raped by the US backed up by the Rafidhah [rejecters]? He stood up and said, “here I am, O sister! O mother! O chaste pure woman! I swear by Allah, life will never be comfortable, the eyelid won’t shut and the sword won’t be sheathed till we revenge for your honor and grace.[79]

In addition, women are mainly mentioned in the ongoing discussion about the wearing of the veil, and how women should deal with men’s jihad. Inspire 10 published the poem “My Wish If Only I Was a Mujahid [a struggler for Islam]” describing a woman’s longing to go out into the armed struggle. The poem begins: “Since childhood, in my heart, I have had this wish, this desire, this longing, Oh! If only I was a Mujahid!” And it ends: “And then. . . fighting Jihad, I would’ve become shaheed [martyr]. . . . But alas! This cannot be! For a lion-hearted Mujahid warrior I am not, in fact. . . I am a fragile woman . . .”[80]

In the same issue, there is a three-page article that appears to be written by a woman: “Women of the Glorious Ummah [the Islamic community].” For the first time the magazine speaks directly to the women who read it. Initially it is describing how women in dunya [the temporal world] live with averted gaze from the suffering: “The question is: I know you might ask, what am I to do? I am just but a fragile woman.”[81] The article continues: “We struggle with inability to understand who we are, and surely that comes from our lack of faith.”[82]

The solution to women’s wanting to struggle is faith. By believing, women put themselves in a position where they think for themselves, and thus they are “not like everyone else,” that is, “robots whose only goal is to be exactly like everyone else.”[83]

So, how is she asked to take part? To begin with, she will get educated and then spread the word to others: “So my sister, don’t just attend a lecture, be the speaker. Don’t wait for the author to write. Be the author. Don’t just be part of the Ummah, improve it.”[84]

Furthermore, she will encourage the men to join the fight. “You have to push your loved ones to the battlefield”[85] and when they do, she will stand aside patiently without questioning their devotion. Finally, she is to encourage her children and raise them properly. “Teach them about Islam and give them its history so that they can learn to love their deen [religion] and get ready to fight for it.”[86]

Finally, she has to put sense in the mind of her family and the community as a whole.[87] Nowhere is it mentioned that she should take up arms. To invite her husband and her children to do it is, however, part of her task.

The fact that women in countries in, for example, Europe would be content to stand in the background and not participate themselves in all aspects of radical Islam is also reflected in statements by various leaders and members of terrorist organizations. In his memoirs, the late Eric Breininger, a German citizen, writes on his life in Afghanistan with the terrorist organizations Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) and Deutsche Taliban in Afghanistan. Women’s participation is mentioned: “It would be good if unmarried sisters would make the hijra [migration] here, because there are many unmarried brothers who want to start a family. I also hope to find a German or Arabic-speaking woman.” Then he adds: “The sisters learn here, as well as the Mujahideen [those who fight] themselves, to deal with firearms. So you need not be concerned about being helpless.”[88] He obviously suggests that there is room for women who aim for more than marriage, although he does not comment on why the women should learn how to handle firearms.

At the same time, the number of female suicide bombers has increased over the last 15 years. The early ones were not jihadists. The first known female suicide bombing took place in Lebanon in 1985, when a female member of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) detonated an explosive-laden vehicle, killing five people, including herself. In 1991, a female suicide bomber from the LTTE assassinated the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Between 1985 and 2000, all suicide attacks carried out by women were linked with separatist terrorist organizations. Since 2000, due to the Iraq War, two-thirds of female suicide attacks were carried out by jihadist organizations.[89] During the war in Iraq alone, where Al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) used this modus operandi from 2003 onwards, female suicide bombers were counted by the dozen every year,[90] although statistics are somewhat uncertain. That Iraq experienced this unusual rate can probably be traced back to the late leader of AQI, Abu Mus’ab alZarqawi, who did not see any obstacles to female attackers. In an audio speech in July 2005 he asked, referring to Muslim women: “What have you done for this nation? Don’t you see that men get astride their horses and take up arms for the Jihad? Why do you not incite your husbands to fight in the Jihad against the infidels?”[91]

There are probably a number of driving forces when the decision to use female suicide bombers is taken by a terrorist organization that is based on conservative values. In the past, terrorist groups that had been subject to monitoring by authorities, such as in Palestine, began to exploit women due to several tactical advantages. Female suicide bombers were not used in Palestine or Chechnya during the first Intifada or the First Chechen War, respectively, but only in subsequent conflicts.[92] This can be interpreted as the use of women in suicide attacks being yet another tactic not to be used until it is deemed absolutely necessary to achieve political goals. Generally, women are not paid as much attention by security and intelligence services as men.[93] It has been found easier for women to hide explosives under traditional costumes or by pretending to be pregnant. In conflict areas, this modus has been used to bypass roadblocks that are often staffed by men, who by tradition would not strip-search women, as was the case in Iraq. Alternatively they paid passing females less attention, which was earlier the case in Israel/Palestine.[94] Even though women in the above-mentioned conflicts have carried out a number of suicide attacks in the last 15 years, several analyses have shown that they appeared to be entirely directed by men.[95]

The shaming effect, a pragmatic way to explain women’s participation

The woman has therefore clear tasks that are all linked to more conservative family values. This seems to be the case in all forms of radical conservative group. That women get involved at all in violent crimes in conservative, extreme environments provides a form of shaming effect on men.[96] “Maria,” engaged in right wing extremist environments in Sweden, puts it like this: “I want to be involved in all activities so as not to give anyone an excuse to stay away. I mean, if I, as a woman get involved without whining, men must do at least the same.”[97] The same applies when women commit terrorist offenses in such environments. In Sri Lanka, posters with images of female suicide bombers were regularly displayed to highlight not only women’s courage and to challenge Tamil families to send their daughters to fight, but also to encourage men to dare to do the same.[98] Doing less than a woman is regarded as doing nothing for the fight.

Following the first suicide bombing carried out by a Palestinian woman, in an editorial from 1 February 2002 titled “It’s a Woman!” the Egyptian Islamist weekly Al-Sha’ab wrote: “It is a woman who teaches you today a lesson in heroism, who teaches you the meaning of Jihad, and the way to die a martyr’s death. It is a woman who has inscribed, in letters of fire, the battle of martyrdom that horrified the heart of the enemy’s entity. It is a woman who has shocked the enemy, with her thin, meager, and weak body. . . . It is a woman who blew herself up, and with her exploded all the myths about women’s weakness, submissiveness, and enslavement.”[99]

In her martyr video, 18-year-old Ayat al-Akhras, a Palestinian woman who carried out a suicide bombing at an Israeli supermarket in 2002, commented, “I say to the Arab leaders, stop sleeping. Stop failing to fulfill your duty. Shame on the Arab armies who are sitting and watching the girls of Palestine while fighting. They are asleep.”[100]

In Inspire 4 from 2011, an article named “Roshonara & Taimour:[101] Followers of the Borderless Loyalty” was published. In the article, Roshonara’s acts are described not only as a good deed, rather, she has fulfilled a deed that is fard ‘ayn [individually obligatory]:

Only a few brave people get to fulfill that special deed. A woman my brothers! Shame on all the men for sitting on their hands while one of our women has taken up the individual jihad! She felt the need to do it simply because our men gave all too many excuses to refrain from it. . . . To the men of the Ummah: Take the example of this woman and you will find success in the afterlife.[102]

The Swedish suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, however, is mentioned in another way:

In Sweden, the hero Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, may Allah accept him as a shahid, has fulfilled his individual duty towards Allah in an operation that was long overdue to remind Sweden that its blasphemy against the Messenger of Allah and its participation in the occupation of Afghanistan will not go unpunished.[103]

What the Swedish suicide bomber did was therefore entirely according to the rules, something he was supposed to do and did.

The phenomenon of female lone actors are, in Inspire, explained practically by the aspect of obligatory, individual jihad, and thus more equivalent to male lone actors. In the following issue of Inspire, issue 5, several questions were directed to the magazine, including by an anonymous subscriber who called himself Jazakamullâhu Khayran and who asked for advice on how he should perform jihad in countries like Afghanistan and Yemen, although he lacked contacts. In response, Inspire instead recommended “that you focus on planning attacks in the West.”[104] “With lone operations, nobody in the world would know what you’re thinking and planning. That’s why individuals like Taimour, Roshonara, Nidal[105] and others have been successful, even if they were ultimately arrested. The fact that they were able to pull off their operations without being halted by authorities is a great success.”[106]

As mentioned above, articles on females such as Roshonara are exceptions in the magazine. On another occasion, a list of 26 people convicted of terrorist-related crimes was presented. The list included a number of American prisoners, and two women were mentioned, one of whom was Colleen LaRose.[107] In addition, women were never mentioned as potential assassins in spite of the fact that most of the articles urge the reader to take up arms.[108]

Concluding remarks

As this chapter has shown, there is no evidence that women are less aggressive than men, and women seem equally ideologically motivated, and for the same reasons as men. In most terrorist organizations, however, women are assigned different roles than men are. Often this relates to how conservative the ideology of the organization’s values is. In jihadist organizations, women usually do not have a role that involves violence.

Since 11 September 2001, there have been numerous academic discussions on the extent to which female jihadist-motivated suicide bombers will attack in Western countries. It has also been highlighted that European and American women, in terms of profiling, are the least likely jihadist bombers, and that they therefore will be used by Al-Qaida and others for tactical reasons. So far this has hardly happened. That women in, for example, Europe, regardless of origin, would be easily persuaded or selfmotivated to perform suicide attacks will continue to be rare, partly because women are less prone to take part in violent acts in general.

Performing acts of terrorism in Western countries must be considered optional for those women who are either part of an extremist group or who act on their own. The conventional image of the woman as a caregiver, wife, and mother in conservative, radical environments, combined with the image of her as an opponent to violence make the threshold for a woman to carry out an attack higher than that for a man. Since it takes more from a woman to challenge this inflicted image, she is likely to be all the more motivated when she does perform a terrorist act.

In conflict areas, such as Iraq, carrying out suicide attacks is usually the only way for women to exercise violence within the framework of jihadist terrorist organizations, and using women as aggressors is deemed to have several tactical advantages. On the other hand, in Western countries there are no such tactical needs for women to participate in terrorist attacks. There is no obvious way for women living outside of conflict areas to take part in violent acts on behalf of terrorist organizations. Thus, committing a terrorist attack on her own is likely to be one of the few ways for a woman to take part in the perceived armed struggle. As a potential side effect, since she is an unlikely perpetrator, this could become a tactical advantage when performing a terrorist attack.

On the other hand, acting alone as a radicalized woman is a shortcut to the same fame and attention as a man. Acting on their own, they do not have to be logisticians for those on the battlefield or stand behind those who carry out, and receive the attention for, attacks. As a lone actor terrorist they do not need to feel that they need anyone’s approval for their actions. One could view it as lifting themselves out of the imposed role of victim. They can thereby choose to step into the role of both logistician and performer. By acting alone they contribute to the struggle based on their own ability. For a radicalized woman, carrying out a lone actor attack is a way to get the attention all for herself, without intermediaries.

Ironically, women in jihadist terrorist organizations who carry out attacks on their own contradict the conservative worldview that they, through their engagement and efforts, try to establish. Since women in these environments are not supposed either to take up arms or act independently, they put themselves in a category of their own. Regarding the actors in the cases described above, the fact that they happened to be women did not stop them from planning and committing terrorist attacks. Instead of being victims, the way violent female offenders are often portrayed, one should rather emphasize that these are women who have chosen to plan and carry out violent crimes within their own agenda. The image of a woman performing an attack on her own is unique and likely to provide fuel for those women who are radicalized and who want to contribute to the struggle. In carrying out an attack, she becomes for a moment not only coequal to the men in the struggle, but also a forerunner and representative. Because female terrorists are so unusual, she also becomes something of an icon, in the same way that Ulrike Meinhof is still perceived.

Within a jihadist movement, the call for individual jihad is at times interpreted as being applicable to women, and when a woman performs an attack, either within an organization or alone, in Europe or elsewhere, it has a form of shaming effect on others. Women’s deeds are highlighted within terrorist organizations to demonstrate that the men have not fulfilled their obligation and therefore should be ashamed. The phenomenon of female lone actors takes this, the concept of shaming, even further and serves as fuel for the men who are thus challenged to become involved themselves.

Statistically, women’s violent crimes tend to be less deadly and women generally account for no more than 5 to 10 percent of reported violent crimes in Western countries. During the last decade there have been no jihadist-motivated terrorist attacks in Europe or North America by a female lone actor that has led to deaths. Given these numbers, the risk of female lone actor terrorist attacks will remain low. Yet, for radicalized women in Western countries, it is plausibly still tempting to be seen as the ultimate salvation of a world order that is perceived by them as wrong. We can thus expect female lone actors to be a continuous threat, although an uncommon one.

Notes

1 Another possible case study would be that of Rachelle Shannon, an American anti-abortion activist who in 1992–1993 set fire to several abortion clinics and shot and wounded a doctor providing abortions. However, this case took place more than two decades ago.

2 Vikram Dodd, “Roshonara Choudhry: Police interview extracts,” The Guardian, 3 November 2010, www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/03/roshonara-choudhry- police-interview, accessed on 10 March 2013.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Tom Rawstorne, “The Remote-controlled Al Qaeda Assassin,” Daily Mail, 6 November 2010, www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1327096/Roshonara- Choudhry-brainwashed-Al-Qaeda-stabbing-MP-Stephen-Timms.html?ito= feeds-newsxml, accessed on 6 July 2013.

6 Dodd, “Roshonara Choudhry.”

7 MP Stephen Timms Discharged from London Hospital, BBC News, 19 May 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/8692562.stm, accessed on 6 July 2013.

8 Dodd, “Roshonara Choudhry.”

9 Case number T20107212 2010–11–03, Central Criminal Court Old Bailey, to be found at www.thelawpages.com/court-cases/Roshonara-Choudhry-5755–3. law, accessed on 9 May 2013.

10 Michael Seamark, “Curse the Judge, Shout Fanatics as the Muslim Girl Who Knifed MP Smiles as She Gets Life,” Daily Mail, 5 November 2010, www.daily- mail.co.uk/news/article-1326208/Roshonara-Choudhry-knifed-MP-Stephen- Timms-smiles-gets-life.html.

11 Case number T20107212 2010–11–03, Central Criminal Court Old Bailey.

12 Swedish Radio P1 Documentary by Martin Johansson, Jihad Jane och rondellhunden (“Jihad Jane and the Roundabout Dog”) (Stockholm: Sveriges Radio P1, 30 September 2012, at 4 pm), at 16–17 min.

13 Ibid., at 17–18 min.

14 Ibid., at 18–19 min.

15 United States of America v. Colleen R. LaRose, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 4 March 2010, to be found at http://media. nbcphiladelphia.com/documents/JihadJane.pdf, accessed on 10 March 2013.

16 John Shiffman, “Special Report: A Vow Is Confirmed; A Jihad Grows—Jane’s Jihad,” The Guardian (U.S. Edition), 8 December 2012, www.reuters.com/

article/2012/12/08/us-usa-jihadjane-idUSBRE8B706N20121208, accessed on 10 March 2013.

17 United States of America v. Colleen R. LaRose, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 4 March 2010.

18 Ibid.

19 Ibid.

20 Among others, the late leader of Al-Qaida in Iraq had put a price on his head.

21 John Shiffman, “Special Report: The FBI Visits; The Jihad Begins—Jane’s Jihad,” The Guardian (U.S. Edition), 9 December 2012, www.reuters.com/ article/2012/12/09/us-usa-jihadjane-three-idUSBRE8B804620121209, accessed on 20 March 2013.

22 United States of America v. Colleen R. LaRose, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 4 March 2010.

23 Johansson, Jihad Jane och rondellhunden.

24 United States of America v. Colleen R. LaRose, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 4 March 2010.

25 U.S. Department of Justice Press release, www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2010/ March/10-ag-238.html, accessed on 10 March 2013.

26 Ibid.

27 Aafia Siddiqi was sentenced to 86 years in prison on 3 September 2008 on two accounts of attempted murder of U.S. nationals, officers, and employees, assault with a deadly weapon, carrying and using a firearm and three counts of assault on U.S. officers and employees: Indictment in U.S. v. Siddiqi, 3 September 2008.

28 Inspire 2 (Al-Malahem Media, 11 October 2010), 73.

29 Ann Magma, Female Terror (London: Virgin Books, 2002), 9; Merry Morash, Understanding Gender, Crime and Justice (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 2006), 158.

30 Magma, Female Terror, 10.

31 Statistics from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå), 2012, www.bra.se/bra/brott–statistik/vald-och-misshandel.html, accessed on 8 July 2013; Suzanne Kordon and Anna Wetterqvist, Gärningsmannen är en kvinna (“The Perpetrator Is a Woman”) (Falun: Blue Publishing, 2010), 25.

32 Kordon and Wetterqvist, Gärningsmannen är en kvinna, 29.

33 See, e.g., Morash, Understanding Gender, 158.

34 Paige Whaley Eager, From Freedom Fighters to Terrorists (Hampshire: Ashgate, 2008), 3.

35 Morash, Understanding Gender, 157.

36 Dorit Naaman, in Karen Alexander and Mary E. Hawkesworth (eds), War & Terror Feminist Perspectives (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), 114–15.

37 Kordon and Wetterqvist, Gärningsmannen är en kvinna, 27. [38] Ibid., 28.

39 R. Kim Cragin and Sara A. Daly, Women as Terrorists (Santa Barbara: Praeger Security International, 2009), 59.

40 Jutta Ditfurth, Ulrike Meinhof, en biografi (Berlin: Ullstein, 2007), 218 (author’s translation).

41 Eager, From Freedom Fighters to Terrorists, 88.

42 Debra Zedalis, in Cindy D. Ness (ed.), Female Terrorism and Militancy (New York: Routledge, 2008), 53–4.

43 Maria Blomquist and Lisa Bjurwald, God dag Kampsyster! Kvinnorna i extremhögern (“Good day Fighting Sister: Women in the extreme right movement”) (Stockholm: Atlas, 2009), 286 (author’s translation).

44 Internet World Stats, www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm, accessed on 15 May 2013.

45 Dodd, “Roshonara Choudhry.”

46 Naaman, in Alexander and Hawkesworth, War & Terror Feminist Perspectives, 114–15.

47 Barbara Finlay, in Tara McKelvey (ed.), One of the Guys: Women as Aggressors and Torturers (Emeryville: Seal Press, 2007), 199, 200.

48 Pernilla Ouis, “Jihad Jane” farligare än vi tror (“Jihad Jane Is More Dangerous than We Think”), Newsmill, 12 March 2010, www.newsmill.se/artikel/2010/ 03/12/jihad-jane-farligare-n-vi-tror, accessed on 12 May 2013.

49 Anwar al-Awlaki, Western Jihad Is Here to Stay (Ansar al-Mujahideen web site, 19 March 2010), http://ansar1.info/showthread.php?t=36494, accessed on 6 July 2013.

50 U.S. Department of Justice Press release, www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2010/ March/10-ag-238.html, accessed on 10 March 2013.

51 Zedalis, in Ness, Female Terrorism and Militancy, 57; Kordon and Wetterqvist,

Gärningsmannen är en kvinna, 188–9.

52 Kordon and Wetterqvist, Gärningsmannen är en kvinna, 27.

53 Statistics from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå), www.bra.se/bra/brott–statistik/vald-och-misshandel.html, accessed on 11 May 2013.

54 Ed Pilkington, “‘Jihad Jane’ Explains Her Strange Journey from Victim to Radical Muslim,” The Guardian (U.S. Edition), www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/ dec/08/jihad-jane-journey-victim-radical,accessed on 12 May 2013.

55 United States Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), 2012 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/ about/overview/, accessed on 2 July 2013.

56 American Bureau of Justice Statistics, Over 60 Percent Decline in Sexual Violence against Females from 1995 to 2010, American Bureau of Justice Statistics, 7 March 2013, www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/fvsv9410pr.cfm, accessed on 7 March 2013.

57 Brigitte L. Nacos, in Ness, Female Terrorism and Militancy, 220–1.

58 Mia Bloom, Bombshell (London: Hurst, 2011), 206.

59 Ditfurth, Ulrike Meinhof, 317. [60] Ibid., 378, 380–3, 386–7.

62 Naaman, in Alexander and Hawkesworth, War & Terror Feminist Perspectives, 116.

63 Karen Jacques and Paul J. Taylor, “Myths and Realities of Female-Perpetrated Terrorism,” Law and Human Behavior 37: 1 (2013), 35–44, on 42; Karen Jacques and Paul J. Taylor, “Male and Female Suicide Bombers: Different Sexes, Different Reasons?” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 31: 4 (2008), 304–26, on 321. However, the latter study also reached the conclusion that females were no more likely than males to proactively seek recruitment. Ibid., 322.

65 Kordon and Wetterqvist, Gärningsmannen är en kvinna, 142–3, 214.

66 Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, Al-Qaida Core, Al-Qaida in Iraq, Red Army Faction, Chechen separatists, Groupe Islamique Armé, Hizbullah, Hamas, Jemaah Islamiyyah, Japanese Red Army, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Zapatista Revolutionary Army, Sandinista National Liberation Front, Irish Republican Army, Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, Sendero Luminoso, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Primea Linea, Red Brigades, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

67 Cragin and Daly, Women as Terrorists, 106.

68 The modus operandi of martyrdom operations such as suicide attacks is not used by all the 22 organizations examined.

69 Cragin and Daly, Women as Terrorists, 106.

70 Ibid.

71 Margaret Gonzales-Perez, in Ness, Female Terrorism and Militancy, 185.

72 Deborah Galvin, cited in Eager, From Freedom Fighters to Terrorists, 193.

73 David Cook, in Ness, Female Terrorism and Militancy, 40. [74] Ibid., 41.

75 Bloom, Bombshell, 20–1.

76 Najwa Bin Laden, Omar Bin Laden, and Jean Sasson, Growing Up Bin Laden

(New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2009), chapters 19–26.

77 Searched for as woma/en, girl/s, female/s, mother/s, wife/ves.

78 With the first number as an exception since it includes a major article on the wearing of the veil, which mentions women 40 times.

79 Shaykh Abu Mus’ab al-Awlaki, “Why Did I Choose al Qaeda?” Inspire 10 (AlMalahem Media, 2013), 34–5.

80 Talel Haya, “My Wish If Only I Was a Mujahid,” Inspire 10 (Al-Malahem Media, 2013), 30.

81 Umm Yahya, “Women of the Glorious Ummah,” Inspire 10 (Al-Malahem Media, 2013), 32.

88 Abdul Ghaffar El Almani [Eric Breininger], Mein Weg nach Jannah (ElifMedya, posted online on 5 May 2010), 103. Author’s translation.

89 Eager, From Freedom Fighters to Terrorists, 172.

90 Bloom, Bombshell, 216; U.S. Army TRADOC, http://info.publicintelligence. net/USArmy-FemaleSuicideBombers.pdf.

91 Gary R. Bunt, IMuslims: Rewiring the House of Islam (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009), 256.

92 Eager, From Freedom Fighters to Terrorists, 188.

93 Gérard Chaliand and Arnaud Blin (eds), The History of Terrorism from Antiquity to Al Qaeda (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 389.

94 Bloom, Bombshell, 21, 210–11.

95 Zedalis, in Ness, Female Terrorism and Militancy, 55.

96 Ness, Female Terrorism and Militancy, 19.

97 Blomquist and Bjurwald, God dag Kampsyster! 26.

98 Eager, From Freedom Fighters to Terrorists, 141. [99] Ibid., 141.

100 Naaman, in Alexander and Hawkesworth, War & Terror Feminist Perspectives, 130.

101 Taimour Abdulwahab carried out a suicide attack in Stockholm, Sweden, on 11 December 2010. Only the perpetrator himself died in the attack.

102 Muhammad al-Sana’ani, “Roshonara & Taimour: Followers of the Borderless Loyalty,” Inspire 4 (Al-Malahem Media, 2011), 24.

104 “Response from the Brothers in the al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula,” Inspire

5 (Al-Malahem Media, 2011), 11.

105 Nidal Malik Hasan carried out a lone actor attack, a shooting at the American military base at Fort Hood in Texas on 5 November 2009, killing 13 people and wounding 32.

106 “Response from the Brothers in the al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula,” Inspire

5 (Al-Malahem Media, 2011), 12.

107 “O Allah, Free the Muslim Prisoners,” Inspire 2 (Al-Malahem Media, 2010), 73. [108] Yet, several texts could be interpreted ambiguously, that is, it is not mentioned what gender the potential assassins should have.

Bibliography

Abdul Ghaffar El Almani [Eric Breininger]. Mein Weg nach Jannah. ElifMedya, posted online on 5 May 2010.

Alexander, Karen, and Mary E. Hawksworth (eds). War & Terror: Feminist Perspectives. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008. al-Awlaki, Anwar. Western Jihad Is Here to Stay. Ansar Al-Mujahideen web site, www. ansar1.info, 19 March 2010.

Bin Laden, Najwa, Omar Bin Laden, and Jean Sasson. Growing up Bin Laden. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2009.

Blomquist, Maria, and Lisa Bjurwald. God dag kampsyster! Kvinnorna i extremhögern.

Stockholm: Atlas, 2009.

Bloom, Mia. Bombshell: The Many Faces of Women Terrorists. London: Hurst, 2011. Bunt, Gary. IMuslims: Rewiring the House of Islam. Chapel Hill: University of North

Carolina Press, 2009.

Case number T20107212 2010–11–03, Central Criminal Court Old Bailey. Web site www.thelawpages.com/court-cases/Roshonara-Choudhry-5755-3.law. Accessed on 9 May 2013.

Chaliand, Gérard, and Arnaud Blin (eds). The History of Terrorism from Antiquity to Al Qaeda. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.

Cragin, Kim R., and Sara A. Daly. Women as Terrorists: Mothers, Recruiters and Martyrs.

Santa Barbara: Praeger Security International, 2009.

Ditfurth, Jutta. Ulrike Meinhof: En biografi. Stockholm: Albert Bonnier, 2008.

Dodd, Vikram. “Roshonara Choudhry: Police Interview Extracts.” The Guardian (U.K. Edition), 3 November 2010. Web site, www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/ nov/03/roshonara-choudhry-police-interview. Accessed on 10 March 2013.

Eager, Paige Whaley. From Freedom Fighters to Terrorists: Women and Political Violence. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing, 2008.

Jacques, Karen, and Paul J. Taylor. “Male and Female Suicide Bombers: Different Sexes, Different Reasons?” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 31: 4 (2008): 304–26.

Jacques, Karen, and Paul J. Taylor. “Myths and Realities of Female-Perpetrated Terrorism.” Law and Human Behavior 37: 1 (2013): 35–44.

Kordon, Suzanne, and Anna Wetterqvist. Gärningsmannen är en kvinna: En bok om kvinnlig brottslighet. Falun: Blue Publishing, 2010.

Magma, Ann. Female Terror: Scary Women, Modern Crimes. London: Virgin Books, 2002.

McKelvey, Tara. One of the Guys. Women as Aggressors and Torturers. Emeryville: Seal Press, 2007.

Morash, Merry. Understanding Gender, Crime and Justice. London, Sage Publications, 2006.

Ness, Cindy D. Female Terrorism and Militancy: Agency, Utility and Organization. New York: Routledge, 2008.

United States of America v. Colleen R. LaRose, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 4 March 2010. http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/ documents/JihadJane.pdf. Accessed on 10 March 2013.

7 Fixated individuals and the state’s response

Networked security

Jelle van Buuren

So far, the varieties of lone actor terrorism that have been described can be labeled in ideological terms. Left wing, right wing, environmental extremist, animal rights, and jihadist terrorism can all be framed in terms of political movements which profess some kind of ideology. But how to understand those lone actors who operate seemingly outside any known or even professed ideology? How to handle the fixated individuals who attack out of a combination of personal grievances, socio-economic problems, and psychiatric disorders, possibly without even a conscious wish to coerce any response beyond the wish for attention or a better life? Without even a semblance of an ideology in which to frame these individuals and their activities, how can security forces respond? This chapter will describe first the difficulties in understanding fixated individuals, then describe the approaches taken by the Dutch government and security apparatus to contain the problem. The Dutch experiences are important when it comes to formulating possible response strategies to lone actor terrorism, since the current model has been quite successful. In the Netherlands, the primary lone actor threat is deemed to be attacks by fixated individuals, or menacing loners as they are also called. The Dutch response has been to establish a system of networked security in which regional and central authorities within the security sector as well as the health and social sectors work together to identify potential security threats among fixated individuals. Having identified individuals at risk, the Dutch state will intervene in an early stage, often by calling in the social or mental health services. The Netherlands is not alone in this stance. As will be described in subsequent chapters, there are signals that can be observed and assessed to identify potential lone actor terrorists before they strike, whether they profess an ideology or not. However, the networked security model also faces vulnerabilities and privacy issues, which will become clear when assessing the Dutch system. These issues, introduced by Jelle van Buuren in this chapter, should be kept in mind when responses to lone actor terrorism are discussed in the final chapters of this book.

Fixated individuals

During what was labeled the biggest security operation ever conducted in the Netherlands, more than 12,000 police officers, Royal Military Police, and special units were employed on 30 April 2013 in the city of Amsterdam in order to safeguard the abdication of Queen Beatrix and the accession to the throne of King Willem Alexander. Unlike the occasion of the abdication of former Queen Juliana more than 30 years previously, on 30 April 1980, when Amsterdam formed the scene of large-scale riots involving police and thousands of left wing activists, this time the possible security threat was believed to originate mainly from ‘fixated individuals.’ Police officers employed in the operation received a card with the photographs of 20 individuals, of whom 11 were deemed so risky that they were not allowed to pass the outer security perimeter. This focus on fixated individuals mirrors the importance the Dutch security apparatus currently attaches to this relatively new security risk. The so-called fixated individuals combine grievances with socio-economic problems and psychiatric disorders, and project their anger on persons or institutions. Grievances and frustration are mostly connected with governmental actions, such as feelings that one is not being heard or respected by local authorities, the loss of a court case, complaints not dealt with by the authorities, and so forth. Trigger events are believed to play an important role in an escalation of frustration and anger which may turn violent.

Both from a political perspective as well as a policy and operational perspective, most attention is focused on those lone actors who show the combination of social grievances, social problems, and psychiatric disorders which might result in violence. By now Dutch authorities are using the umbrella label of ‘menacing individuals’ or ‘potential violent individuals’ for persons “who out of a form of isolation are preparing an action that could constitute a danger for public order and security and/or for the person himor herself,”[1] whereas the subcategory of individuals with sociopsychological problems are referred to as ‘fixated individuals.’

Why is the threat of fixated individuals of such high concern to Dutch authorities? Which policy measures and operational networks have been established in order to counter the threat of fixated individuals, and what are the potential weak spots in this form of networked security? What are the effects of the concomitant securitization of psychiatry that follows from the approach chosen by the Dutch authorities? These are the topics of this chapter.

The Fortuyn and Van Gogh assassinations

The Dutch focus on fixated individuals can be explained by the historical trajectory of incidents connected to individuals. Although Dutch society was shocked to its foundations by two political murders in the early 2000s that in fact could be attributed to ‘genuine’ lone actors, the label never made its way to the headlines. Both the 2002 murder of the right-populist politician Pim Fortuyn by environmental activist Volkert van der Graaf, described in a previous chapter, as well as the 2004 murder of movie director and opinion maker Theo van Gogh by homegrown jihadist Mohammed Bouyeri in fact sparked a public and political discussion on the question whether these perpetrators really acted alone. Before Pim Fortuyn was murdered, his political opponents had already been accused of ‘demonizing’ Fortuyn. Critical questions were raised concerning his security and lack of protection and the political elite was held responsible in advance for anything that might happen to Fortuyn. When he indeed was murdered, the interpretation that this was not the act of a (disturbed) loner was ready for use: the bullet came from the Left. This scenario was subsequently instrumentalized for political purposes. To this day, the reproach of ‘demonizing’ political opponents has a strong connotation and effect in the heavily polarized Dutch political debate on immigration, integration, Islam, freedom of speech, and the role of the ‘leftist’ establishment.

Likewise, the murder of Theo van Gogh by Mohammed Bouyeri sparked fierce debates about the threat of homegrown jihadist-inspired terrorism in the Netherlands, as the murder occurred in a societal context of fear of jihadist terrorism. When van Gogh was murdered, the scenario that interpreted the act as proof of the serious risk the Netherlands was facing, instead of the interpretation that the act was that of a disturbed individual, was already written. This not only underlines that there are academic differences in conceptualizing and defining lone actor terrorism, but also that the way in which lone actor terrorism is defined is not just a technical issue but by definition highly social and political. While the prevailing societal and political context in the Netherlands concerning the murders of Fortuyn and van Gogh made it almost impossible to ascribe the murders to loners, in other cases it might instead be less troublesome for media and politics to view violent political or terrorist attacks as the work of loners than as the work of organized networks—for instance in order to avoid being accused of having failed to notice the rise of organized terrorism or in order to downplay the threat emerging from politically organized groupings.[2]

The hunt for other possible homegrown terrorists in the Netherlands as a result of the murder of van Gogh, combined with the terrorist attacks in Madrid (2004) and London (2005), led to an increased fear of terrorism in Dutch society, heated debates on counterterrorist policies, and a broad package of counterterrorist legislation and measures.[3] Further, the personal protection of national politicians and other public figures was enhanced. Geert Wilders, the leader of the Freedom Party PVV, which can be considered to be one of the heirs of Pim Fortuyn’s political legacy, became one of the most heavily guarded politicians, as a result of the steady number of death threats directed against him. But Wilders was not the only threatened politician. Since the upheavals of 2002, death threats, hate mail, and otherwise threatening or hateful communications surfaced on an unprecedented scale. In the period 2005–2010, no less than 1,234 death threats against national politicians were reported to the police.[4] The greater part of these threats have been categorized as ‘street language threats’—threats by youngsters who threaten a politician by email without any intention to follow up. A very small part of the death threats could be attributed to ideologically motivated persons, while the largest part was attributed to ‘confused’ individuals who combine grievances with social or mental problems.[5] This was a first sign of the possible security risks originating from disturbed ‘menacing loners.’

Queen’s Day, 30 April 2009—City of Apeldoorn

The threat emerging from menacing loners only entered the Dutch political and public stage in full magnitude in April 2009. Queen’s Day 2009 changed from the usual celebratory happening into a disaster when a car broke through the police cordons and crashed into a monument just before hitting the bus which carried the Royal Family. The death-defying ride cost the lives of seven spectators; nine others were seriously injured. The incident was broadcast live on national television.[6] The driver, Karst Tates, was fatally injured and died on his way to hospital. Police officers at the scene were able to ask Tates some questions before he lost consciousness. According to the officers, Tates admitted that he had deliberately attempted to hit the Royal Family. He stated that he hated the monarchy and that Prince Willem Alexander was a racist and fascist. A popular television station that focused on pressing social problems broadcast a special program on the events. The program gave room to the stories of people who felt hurt, offended, and frustrated for reasons of sickness, handicaps, personal losses, unemployment, financial problems, and quarrels with official institutions. The program producers concluded: “Our program proved to be an outlet for Dutch citizens who feel dejected and who identified themselves with the despair of Karst Tates.”[7]

The government launched several investigations into the events. The government labeled the events formally as an “attack on the Royal Family that has left deep marks in society.”[8] Although the responsible authorities had made an inventory of all intelligence and information on “potential disturbers, be it known critics of monarchy or fixated and disturbed persons,” no information was available on Tates. The government stated that it would like to preserve the open and celebratory aspect of Queen’s Day but that security measures would be tightened. Further, the government announced that risk assessments should no longer begin from ‘most probable scenarios’ but from ‘imaginable scenarios.’ The investigation into Tates led to the conclusion that he had acted alone and that it was “unlikely” that Tates was informed by any ideology or philosophy of life.

He seemed to be “against everything,” had some possible affinity with extreme right ideas and old Nordic cultures and rituals, but no clear political engagement. Police concluded that it “was the individual act of a disturbed person, not inspired by any ideology and carried out without any significant preparations.”[9]

The Dutch parliament discussed the findings in January 2010. According to the Christian-Democratic Party, the attack was “a wake-up call.” “The fact that Karst Tates was able to drive through the cordons and the public and came that close to the Royal Family should open our eyes. This should not have been possible.” Other parties stated that Queen’s Day was “branded for ever.” The Minister of Justice, Hirsch Ballin, declared that government would invest in knowledge development concerning ‘radicalized individuals.’ With help from the British authorities,[10] policies and investigation techniques would be developed in which police, intelligence services, prosecutors, and mental health care organizations would collaborate in detecting and monitoring “disturbed individuals with a fixation on persons, society or the government.”[11] A few months later a first study was published on the threat emerging from individuals sending death threats, henceforth labeled ‘menacing individuals.’ The Dutch government decided, based on this report, to concentrate its efforts on the so-called frustrated and fixated persons. Cooperation arrangements between law enforcement, intelligence services, and mental health authorities should enhance the monitoring of these individuals. Further, law enforcement and intelligence services should enhance their efforts in signaling “unknown menacing individuals.”[12]

Remembrance Day, 4 May 2010—Amsterdam

During Remembrance Day 2010, with Queen Beatrix and other members of the Royal Family, the Prime Minister, and the acting mayor of Amsterdam in attendance, another incident occurred. Just before the two minutes of silence came to an end, a man dressed somewhat like an orthodox Jew started mumbling and then shouting. Plainclothes police officers immediately arrested the man and removed him. However, a member of the public shouted “bomb, bomb, run for your life!” This caused a huge panic among the public. A person lost his briefcase, resulting in even more panic. Mounted police removed the suspicious briefcase (later it turned out the briefcase was totally harmless). People tried to escape the square, but were caught in the enclosures. In total, 63 persons were injured. The Queen and the other public figures were immediately brought to safety, but returned within minutes to the square to carry on with the ceremonies.[13] The authorities emphasized that all the security measures were in place and had functioned well. The disturber was immediately arrested, the injured were well cared for and within minutes the Queen had returned to the square. The press, however, emphasized the risks and asked how it was possible that a “known criminal” (by that time it was clear that the disturber had been previously convicted of a range of minor offenses) and someone with a briefcase could have been part of the crowd. “That briefcase could have contained anything,” as one reporter stated. The authorities, however, dismissed calls for stronger security measures, including the vetting of the audience and the introduction of metal and explosives detectors at the square.

The disturber turned out to be a man with a history of drunkenness, drug addiction, and mental health problems. He declared that he had shouted because he was angry he could not reach his favorite pub at the other end of the square. When the authorities invented some judicial novelties to keep the man—who by then was publicly known as the ‘Damshouter’—in custody for as long as possible, criticism arose from judicial experts. They rejected the claim of the authorities that the man should be prosecuted for an attempt to “attack the Queen” and suggested this was merely proposed to serve as a deterrent and some kind of a “public revenge” for the incident at Queen’s Day 2009. Later, the ‘Dam-shouter’ was convicted to eight months in prison; he also was banned from attending Remembrance Day for a period of five years.

Shooting spree at Alphen aan den Rijn, April 2011

On 9 April 2011, the Netherlands was shocked by the first shooting spree in its history. A 24-year-old man, Tristan van der Vlis, opened fire at his local mall killing six random bystanders and wounding another 16. After the shootings, van der Vlis killed himself. According to a police reconstruction of the incident,[14] van der Vlis suffered from depression and schizophrenia. Raised as a Christian, van der Vlis began to hear the voice of God and claimed to be “touched” by God. He developed an interest in the paranormal and occult and bought special voice recording equipment in order to be able to speak with ghosts. Van der Vlis developed a strong antipathy against God, whom he held responsible for both the psychological pain he suffered in his life as well as misery around the world. “I’ve prayed many times but none of my prayers were answered. Therefore I lost my faith,” van der Vlis declared to friends. Van der Vlis even wrote a “counter Bible.” Further, van der Vlis was fascinated by weapons and shooting sprees, especially the Columbine High School shootings. He was a frequent visitor to web sites devoted to shooting sprees abroad. As a legitimate member of a gun club, he was able to acquire weapons and ammunition. In September 2006, his parents found a farewell letter from their son. They warned the mental health authorities, leading to a short period of hospitalization for van der Vlis. After 2006, van der Vlis tried on two occasions to kill himself. Police hypothesized that two trigger events were of key importance. Van der Vlis lost his job during 2011 and also lost his electronic voice recorder. In addition, he suffered from chronic insomnia.

There is some evidence that van der Vlis prepared his act carefully. According to the Public Attorney, van der Vlis grew more angry with God and the world during 2011 and saw no other solution than taking his own life after “punishing God” by making innocent bystanders suffer. As van der Vlis understood human beings to be “God’s children,” he believed that he could hurt God by killing people.

Day of the Queen’s Speech (Prinsjesdag), September 2011

The next incident took place on the day of the Queen’s Speech (Prinsjesdag) in September 2011. On Prinsjesdag (the third Tuesday of September), the parliamentary year is opened with a joint session of the two houses. On this occasion the Queen addresses the joint States in a speech in which she sets forth the outline of the government’s policies for the coming year. The Queen travels from her palace to the parliament in a Golden Coach. Every year, tens of thousands of spectators witness the procession of the Golden Coach. This time, a 29-year-old man, Erwin Lensink, suddenly threw an object (a tea light candle) at the Golden Coach while shouting “swindlers, thieves, Nazis, fascists, and traitors!” The object hit the Coach, but nobody was injured. The man was immediately arrested by police officers on suspicion of an attempt to inflict severe personal injury. It turned out that the man had a history of mental health problems. Police already knew the man, because he had testified, after the attack of Karst Tates, that he, not Tates, was responsible for the attack. Lensink was held in custody month after month. His treatment caused a lot of criticism, especially on the Internet. The opinion circulated that the authorities were overreacting, considering the relative harmlessness of the incident. Discussions peaked when the public prosecutor wanted Lensink certified as insane and filed a petition for detention under a hospital order. Lensink stated in court and open letters that he contested the birth rights of the Royal Family, the line of Orange. Therefore he wanted a court order to investigate the DNA of the remains of King Willem III (who died in 1702). Further, he accused the monarchy of undemocratic and authoritarian behavior and conspiring with international banking and financial institutions, planning for a New World Order.

Counter measures

In the course of 2011, policies and measures concerning the phenomenon of menacing individuals were being discussed and implemented by the authorities. The incidents on Queen’s Day, Remembrance Day, and Prinsjesdag, and in Alphen aan den Rijn had by then become prime examples of the security risks originating from potential violent and confused individuals. The alleged disturbed state of mind of these perpetrators was being emphasized in policy documents and paved the way for an approach in which police and justice were working closely with mental health agencies.[15] The National Counterterrorism Strategy for 2011–2015 defined “menacing loners” as “people who (without any cooperation from others) constitute a threat through deed or word, as a consequence of an individually completed process towards violence.”[16] Within this group a difference was made between “radicalized individuals” and “lone actors” (defined as individuals who are inspired, motivated, and sometimes directed by (virtual) networks of a more or less known ideology or religion) and “fixated persons” (who have no clear ideological motivation for their deeds). Within the group of “fixated persons” a differentiation was made between “confused persons” and individuals who are driven by “hatred of the system” and presumed conspiracy theories. The authorities pointed at the fact that in public discourse some doubt about the “intellectual capacities” of these perpetrators existed and consequently there was a tendency to dismiss their acts as isolated incidents. The Dutch government, however, underlined that the targets of these menaces often had an actual or symbolic function as representatives of a social system which the menacing individuals despised.

With the newly introduced concept of “hatred of the system,” the Dutch government hinted at a “general tendency” in Dutch society to hold the government or politicians responsible for any form of setback. Some “unfortunate individuals” believed that this justified their decision to take the law into their own hands. An attack was therefore not only a form of retribution, but also a form of self-realization. This was the case when a loner intended to carry out an ultimate deed in the presence of a large audience and thereby reveal himself to be someone who has the power to make life and death decisions. Due to the motivation, the symbolism of the selected target, and the corresponding effects, an act of violence like this against the political and social system had “all the characteristics of a terrorist act.” Further, the government stated that it is often impossible to make a distinction in advance between radicalized individuals and confused or fixated people. “Often it is important to filter the confused people out of this group where possible, and to neutralise the (potential) danger they represent as much as possible.” In a parliamentary letter concerning national security policies, the Dutch government in 2012 underlined that countering the threat of “potential violent individuals” was considered to be one of the priorities of governmental security policies.[17]

Threat management pilot project

In order to detect and monitor fixated persons before they can do any harm, different approaches were implemented. The Division of Open Source Intelligence of the national police agency KLPD monitors the Internet around the clock, every day of the week, looking for threats against persons, objects, services, and events. Using software capable of detecting, analyzing, and interpreting words, combinations of words, and connections between specific language and Internet users, the team is trying to detect any future risks. For instance, at the time of writing, more than 35,000 tweets with some kind of threatening language are detected on a daily basis, and special software is being developed in order to distinguish between harmless and serious threats.[18] Furthermore, a Threat Management pilot project was established in 2011 at the national level, also headed by the national police agency KLPD.[19] The pilot phase initially concentrates on threats against members of the Royal House and the Prime Minister.[20] Although the Threat Management pilot focuses on known threats and known individuals who issue threats, the hope is that unknown perpetrators will also be discovered in this way. The Threat Management pilot focuses on “marginalized, troubled and fixated” individuals. Fixation is here defined as “societal dysfunction combined with a preoccupation with a person or a topic, which came into being from a personal motive originating in frustration, confusion, a longing for intimacy, a cry for help, or demand for attention.”[21] In the absence of a scientifically validated risk assessment instrument tailored towards fixated individuals, Dutch police use risk assessments derived from experiences with stalkers and violent psychiatric patients. In the near future a tailor-made risk assessment survey is expected to be introduced to the project.[22] A central idea within the risk assessment process is the eight “warning behaviors” developed by Meloy et al.[23] These warning behaviors—like fixation, aggressive behavior and expressing violent ideas—can be assessed in order to determine whether an individual is actually slipping into violent actions.

Central to the Threat Management pilot experiment is the concept of a ‘person-oriented approach.’ Acknowledging that criminal prosecution is not always the best solution, other approaches were being sought. Experience showed that sometimes a criminal prosecution turned out to be an escalator for the menacing individual. Furthermore, not every threat is punishable under criminal law, yet can have an effect by causing feelings of danger or nuisance. Therefore, other strategies were sought to remove the threat in an early stage with a lasting effect. Based on signals and information gathered and analyzed from different sources, the national Threat Management pilot team has to come up with proposals for personoriented approaches. Criminal law as well as social or medical care can be used as instruments, although there is a preference for ‘soft’, care-oriented solutions. Insights and experiences already acquired in specific customcare programs can be used, such as the Assertive Community Treatment program (ACT). This integrated approach is aimed at helping individuals with severe mental illnesses to achieve some fundamental objectives in life, such as housing, work, and social contacts. Multidisciplinary teams consisting of psychiatrists, nursing officers, social workers, and experts on addiction monitor and counsel the patient closely.

In addition to the person-oriented approach aiming at long-term and sustainable results, there is also a short-term-oriented strategy which has as its main objective to prevent fixated individuals from causing problems on special occasions, for instance, during large-scale events in which the King or members of cabinet are present. During such potential crisis situations, creative methods are being employed in order to keep any possible threat under control. Sometimes the fixated individual is being confronted by police who tell him that they know what he is perhaps planning and that they are keeping a close eye on him; sometimes the fixated individual is summoned to report that day to the police station or the care institution. Other options include posting police officers outside the home of the fixated individual, or arresting him because of unpaid fines (which have been collected by police and deliberately saved for such an occasion), or even ‘imagined’ violations of rules, in effect, whatever creative police officers can come up with. Whether or not these creative methods stay within the limits of the law does not seem to be the most important question the police are considering. At present, some 100 individuals are part of the nationally monitored group; 14 of them are being monitored around the clock.[24]

Regional approaches

As the national Threat Management pilot team is extremely dependent on risk signals collected by front-line workers at local and regional level, since these are often the first to spot fixated individuals, not only is cooperation with regional police forces important, but so also is the knowledge and capacity of these regional police forces to recognize the signals of fixated individuals. Within the Dutch police, the Rotterdam–Rijnmond unit is one of the forerunners in the field of detecting and monitoring potential violent individuals.[25] Although their main responsibility is to spot fixated individuals who pose a risk to public figures in the so-called ‘decentralized domain’—for instance mayors, aldermen, administrators, police officers, or civilian officials—their methodology is believed to be important also for spotting fixated individuals who could pose a risk to national public figures that are the responsibility of the KLPD Threat Management pilot team. The Threat Assessment Team of the Rotterdam–Rijnmond unit already had some experience with confused and menacing individuals. However, these individuals only came to the attention of the Threat Assessment Team after an investigation was launched against the individual on the basis of threats that were, according to the Prosecutor, liable to punishment. During the investigations it turned out that the vast majority of those menacing individuals were already known by a range of institutions and that they had given some warning signals before they really began to threaten officials. Therefore, the team decided to develop a more preventive approach in order to detect menacing individuals before they actually do any harm. In order to overcome the ad hoc approach previously used, a structured methodology was developed consisting of a step-by-step approach known as the 3A methodology:

Cause (Aanleiding)—Signals passed on by a range of actors, which are assessed by the Threat Assessment Team;

Analysis (Analyse)—Analysis of the signals by the team and behavioral specialists;

Approach (Aanpak)—Personalized approach.

The three steps can be described in further detail as follows:

Cause

The first signals which indicate a menacing individual can be detected by a range of so-called front-line actors, some of them in the security sector (community police officers, probation and after-care service officers, police call centers); others in the municipality (security coordinators, local security and safety teams, complaints departments); yet others in the health and social sector (mental health care authorities, youth workers, social workers, family doctors); and some outside the governmental domain (schools, sport clubs). After a first assessment, a decision is made whether to label the individual a fixated individual. There are no fixed criteria for decisions; every case is unique. After someone is labeled a fixated individual, a personal file is created in a special monitoring system. In order to monitor a fixated individual, information originating from the basic information systems of the police is constantly added to the personal file and analyzed. In addition, a special information system is used which enables the team to instruct any police officer that comes in contact with the subject to add specific information to the monitoring system. Police officers must answer factual questions (location, vehicles, other persons, time and date), but must also give more subjective observations: whether the subject takes care of himself (clothing, hair, smell, etc.), behavior and attitude (emotional, angry, depressed, sad, stressed, desperate, frustrated), psychiatric features (paranoia, suspicious, anxious, suicidal, confused), work and home (does the subject have work, does he have a place to live). The idea is that by constantly adding new information, a better understanding is created of the subject and possible changes in behavior can be detected in an early stage, possibly leading to an adjustment of the threat assessment.

Analysis

Based on the personal file and constantly added information and signals, the team makes an assessment in which close attention is paid to specific risk signals, such as unemployment and/or labor disputes; absence of stable relationship or divorce; avoidance of care institutions; lack of contact with family; financial problems; bereavement in the family; uncontrolled anger; fixation on a person or institution; alcohol or drug addiction; sudden behavioral changes; post-traumatic stress syndrome; or other psychiatric complaints. When one or more of these risk factors are included, the team decides which personalized approach seems to best fit the subject.

Approach

Depending on the risk assessment, a simple or more intensive approach will be followed. When the subject is not considered to be an urgent risk, neighborhood police teams and/or teams from the municipality are asked to monitor the subject and pass their findings on to the Threat Assessment Team. When the risk is considered to be more urgent, a ‘case meeting’ is held in which all actors that could possibly contribute to de-escalation are invited to decide on a personalized approach. This can vary from the appointment of a mediator to resolve conflicts between the subject and institutions, the offer of (mental) health care, the temporary suspension of a pending eviction, or debt assistance. When the risk is deemed to be imminent, the mayor is asked to approve a forced admission to hospital. As a last resort, standing local and national procedures to counter an imminent threat—be it a terrorist attack or another high-level violent incident—can be called upon.

Security networks and responsibilization

The national Threat Management pilot and regional approaches like that of the Rotterdam–Rijnmond police unit are an exemplary model for a network-based approach towards security risks. By using the strategy of ‘responsibilization,’[26] the Dutch government tries to actively involve actors outside the traditional security field in their policies and strategies towards fixated individuals. These security networks transcend both different governmental levels and organizational boundaries. There are clear potential benefits of such a networked approach, yet the literature on security networks and governance signals some potential problems and challenges.[27] First, the national level is heavily dependent on input from regional and local levels. Without bottom-up information collection, analysis, and dissemination, the national level cannot fulfill its monitoring role. For instance, it is imperative that all actors engaged share the same understanding of the subject group, otherwise confusion or a net cast too widely is a likely result. It is also imperative that local police officers, especially community police officers, and other front-line workers are able to identify and recognize fixated individuals. However, relatives and others are important signaling actors too. Analysis has shown that first risk signals have been transmitted to the police by relatives, friends, family doctors, psychiatrists, schools, fellow students, and even the owner of a driving school.[28] Besides concerns about the actual behavior of the person, including any threatening language, signals were noticed by the fact that the subject had access to guns or was fascinated by weapons and violence. Furthermore, the analysis showed that the collection of different signals from different actors is of huge importance, as ‘one signal is no signal.’ Only when signals can be combined with other signals and contextualized is it possible to analyze and understand any possible risks. Risk assessment is of course heavily dependent on the reliability and completeness of the information on which the analysis is based.

Second, the implementation of the person-oriented approach falls under the responsibility of the regional and local authorities. This means that local authorities should have at their disposal the necessary information and network structures as well as the political and administrative will to execute the tasks delegated to them. The intensive monitoring of fixated individuals and the personalized approach is a demanding job and the assumption is that police forces will prioritize (and keep prioritizing) potential security problems deriving from fixated individuals. The consequences of current cutbacks in health care may also affect the pilot Threat Management project, especially if plans are implemented to ask psychiatric patients for a financial contribution to cover the costs. More generally, actors engaged in the pilot Threat Management project report that it is very difficult to supply proof of exactly what intervention by police and other authorities have helped to prevent incidents.[29] This is not only a problem from a financial perspective—police units have to satisfy performance indicators and have to show that they use their budgets effectively and efficiently—but it is also a problem in terms of the commitment of all the actors involved. A complicating factor at the moment is that the Dutch police force was recently transformed from a decentralized organization into a national police force, while important parts of the (mental) health care and welfare sector are currently being decentralized and thus become the responsibility of municipalities, accompanied, however, by severe financial cutbacks. Whether or not the expensive personalized approach will survive these cutbacks remains to be seen; whether or not the ‘soft approach’ towards fixated individuals will remain a police priority remains to be seen, as the expectation is that one of the consequences of the centralization of the Dutch police will be a more imperative focus on ‘crime fighting’ as opposed to ‘soft’ approaches.

Third, organizations with different cultures, powers, interests, and objectives have to cooperate closely. In particular, law enforcement and care institutions form two different worlds. Whereas the police are inclined to see fixated individuals foremost as possible suspects, mental health care professionals will perceive them primarily as patients in need of care. Since information from mental health care institutions, but also family doctors and other professionals, is of extreme importance to the project, the willingness of these organizations to work with law enforcement will be a decisive factor. In addition to trust issues that may arise, the exchange of medical information is subject to both legal and professional boundaries, for instance, doctor–patient confidentiality. It is plausible that health care professionals will mostly pay lip service to the collaboration instead of putting it into practice.

Fourth, and partly connected with the trust issues already mentioned, it is of relevance whether the Threat Management pilot is being experienced as a common project of law enforcement and health care, or as a top-down project enforced by national government. In general, top-down, enforced cooperation runs the risk that not all actors involved understand and appreciate that both organizational and common interests are at stake.[30] Security networks commonly have to balance the needs of a lead organization model of governance, in which one actor coordinates the decisions and activities of all the actors involved, and a shared model of governance, in which all actors are involved in the internal network governance. As the existence of a leading network actor has the benefit of ensuring that decisions are made and agreements are followed up, the downside is that other actors are not really involved and committed to the shared objectives of the security network. The autonomy and adaptability of networks are hampered if too much external control is exercised and local partners get the idea that it is not their project. Cooperation will then be more reluctant. From the perspective of the organizational and financial restructuring of both the Dutch police and the (mental) health care and welfare sector, one might suppose that flexible adaptation to these new circumstances will be important for the future success of the security networks established to counter the threat of fixated individuals.

Securitization and society

Based on the experiences of the last decade, Dutch authorities currently focus mainly on the threat emerging from fixated individuals. Although acknowledging that the effect of attacks by fixated individuals can have all the characteristics of a terrorist attack, authorities are careful in not labeling fixated individuals as terrorists. This is reflected in an approach that, although written in a security discourse and led by law enforcement agencies, emphasizes a personalized approach to fixated individuals in which mental health care is the favored solution. By sensitizing local security networks consisting both of security actors and non-security actors to the problem of fixated individuals and the warning signals that could indicate a person deteriorating into a potential violent individual, a preventive policing paradigm has been established aimed at early warning and early intervention. Dutch policies therefore can be analyzed as the securitization of individuals with a combination of grievances from socio-economic problems to mental disorders. The question of how to deal with people who are, in one way or another, confused or disturbed is increasingly being framed in terms of security and public order. Although the main objective of the approach is not to lock people away as criminals, the Dutch state is intervening at an early stage quite intrusively in the personal lives of individuals deemed to be a potential risk to public figures.

This securitization meets with relatively weak opposition, although there have been some discussions in media outlets. The leading Dutch liberal newspaper NRC Handelsblad announced in an article the “emergence of the Age of the Confused Individual.” The newspaper was critical of the Dutch practice of preventive arrests and long custodial sentences which signaled the end of tolerance. But it also applauded the trend towards forcing confused individuals into mental health care paths. “Psychiatry seems to be ahead of criminal law. This is a positive development. Shouters, throwers and ‘preachers’ can be considered to be the forerunners of a growing part of the population which is in need of care. Wanted or not.”[31] The newspaper Trouw, however, concluded that zerotolerance policies were being implemented against confused persons, and criticized the long periods of custody and forced hospitalization:

It should be a cause of concern that the drive for absolute security has these harsh consequences for a group of vulnerable persons; their behavior results from their illness. Although they can create inconvenience to others, they are not necessarily a danger to society.[32]

Other media outlets viewed the issue from a more culturally pessimistic perspective in which loss of social bonds, loss of trust, the decline of social welfare, and a general distrust of politics and political authority figures were indicators of a society adrift. In the Dutch parliament, the social– liberal party D66 expressed concern that fixated persons would be labeled terrorists under this approach, leading to an “inflation” of the term terrorism. The Minister for Security and Justice, Ivo Opstelten, promised the members of parliament to exercise restraint in labeling individuals as terrorists, but emphasized that the government had to take this “new phenomenon in the world of terrorism” seriously.[33] Only some fringe digital communities in which hatred of the system and conspiracy theories flourish turned against the government policies and put the treatment of fixated individuals into an historical perspective by pointing at the treatment of political dissidents in the former communist countries. The Dutch system was depicted as a police state, a dictatorship, a politically correct regime, and a province of the “EUSSR,”[34] and its representatives as “modern Mengeles” and “Bilderberg Babes.”[35]

The fact that the securitization of fixated individuals meets with little opposition can probably be explained by more general trends in Dutch society. In the emerging Dutch meritocracy[36], individual responsibility for success or failure is being emphasized; tolerance for ‘losers’ and deviant behavior has declined and approaches that counter deviance and disturbances of public order are broadly supported. Further, mental illnesses are primarily interpreted as objective illnesses which can be treated by medication. This mirrors the fact that psychiatric treatment appears to be viewed as part of an admirable scheme to assist patients in need of help. At a minimum, the view accords with society’s general admiration for things scientific.[37] Critical approaches towards mental illnesses and psychiatry, in which attention is aimed at the underlying social and economic structures that could be seen as causes of the mental problems which individuals face, have almost disappeared from public and professional discourse.[38] Few psychiatrists are currently willing to recognize that they are also “agents of state sanctioned coercion.”[39]

The strength of the security discourse is also shown in the tactical responses of mental health care institutions towards imminent cutbacks. For instance, mental health organizations and client organizations reacted furiously to plans to ask clients for a contribution to costs, and frequently pointed to the attacks by confused individuals to illustrate the potential consequences of the cuts. “The Netherlands will become less safe,” the head of the interest group for mental health professionals stated. “We will lose sight of people like Karst Tates and Erwin Lensink.”[40] Although it is understandable that these organizations use the security argument—be it out of genuine concern for their patients and society or be it out of organizational interest—the net result is a further securitization of psychiatry. The Chief Commissioner of the regional police force of Amsterdam– Amstelland also expressed concerns. He predicted more disturbances of public order as a result of the budget cuts. The State Secretary of Security and Justice, Fred Teeven, supported this appeal, stating his worries that confused persons would slip out of treatment and end up in the judicial system. In addition to expecting problems with security and public order, Teeven feared the financial consequences of this development.[41] The incidents with fixated individuals were politicized when the ChristianDemocratic Party (CDA) linked them to coming budget cuts in mental health care. “These cuts will make the Netherlands more unsafe,” the CDA stated. “Remember the incident at Remembrance Day. If these budget cuts are passed, other people in need will be left alone on the streets.”[42]

The psychiatric security apparatus that has been constructed around the threat of fixated individuals seems for now rather successful in terms of performative power.[43] Dutch authorities seem to have been successful in playing down the threat and represent the threat in primarily psychiatric terms. Without creating any moral panic, authorities are responsibilizing a range of actors to signal and detect possible fixated individuals and push them into mental health care institutions or remove them temporarily from the streets. The ‘cultural script’[44] is therefore written in a language dominated by a psychiatric lexicon. According to Rose,[45] these new rationales and techniques of government—all those strategies, forms of thought and action, that seek to conduct the conduct of others—can be termed “advanced liberal.” Within this governmental approach, those who profess specialist knowledge have come to acquire a crucial role in helping to shape the problems that must be governed, and in making up the relays that link programs of government to the “multitude of dispersed sites” where conduct is to be judged, assessed, evaluated, understood, and acted upon. Psychiatry has, since the nineteenth century at least, been intrinsically bound to perceived problems of governing the population.[46] According to Rose, a “new grid of perception” has been established in which the “borderlands between sanity and madness” that were previously considered virtually deserted are now occupied by a huge population of petty criminals, delinquent juveniles, prostitutes, political agitators, unemployables, mentally disturbed people, and the like.[47] Within psychiatry, a shift from dangerousness to risk can be witnessed.[48] Risk is the key word in this governmental approach. Failures of management of the self, lack of skills for coping with family, with work, with money, with housing, are now all, potentially, criteria for qualification as a psychiatric subject. Even dangerousness is now recast; no longer is it construed as an “essentially anti-social pathology lurking in the heart and soul of the individual,” but rather it is the calculation of a combination of evidence about past conduct and professional judgments bearing upon the likelihood of failures to exercise the capacities of self-control and self-mastery over one’s impulses towards others or feelings towards oneself. The level of risk has become the key criterion for intervention. Within this rationale, the medical institution is redefined—no longer a place of cure, it becomes little more than a container for the most risky until their level of risk can be fully assessed and controlled. Psychiatry nowadays divides the “prudent from the imprudent self, the self able to manage itself from the self who must be managed by others.”[49] The preventive personalized approach by the Dutch authorities to the potential risk that fixated individuals constitute towards public figures seems to fit quite nicely in this analysis.

However, as discourse is by definition open-ended and open to counter discourse and alternative perceptions of the technologies of rule,50some vulnerabilities can be detected. First, there is the smouldering discussion of the securitization of mental health care, and some potentially radical opposition within Internet audiences to the ‘Gulag’ approach of the Dutch government, and the accusation of silencing political dissent. Second, when the current trend of ‘blaming the loser’ is turned into a discourse with more attention to the social and economic structures that cause people to fall through the sieve of society, the ‘threat’ of loners could be articulated in another direction. Third, when a terrorist attack by a lone actor affiliated with more or less known ideologies or religions (attacks like Breivik in Norway or Mohamed Merah in Toulouse) eventually takes place in the Netherlands, the Dutch approach could be seriously tested and challenged.

Finally, and cynically, it matters that Karst Tates, the ‘Dam-shouter,’ and Erwin Lensink all were Dutch-born white citizens. If the perpetrators had been Muslims or immigrants, public and political debates might have had a radically different character.

Notes

1 Algemene inlichtingen-en Veiligheidsdienst, Jaarverslag 2011 (The Hague: Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties, 2011).

2 P. Jackson and G. Gable, Lone Wolves: Myth or Reality? (London: Search Light, 2011), 14, 80; Spaaij, Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism, 38–9; COT, Lone Wolf Terrorism; Frank Furedi, Who Is Afraid of the Big Bad Lone Wolf? July 5 2013, web site, www.frankfuredi.com/index.php/site/article/537/2012; Scott Stewart, Cutting Through the Lone Wolf Hype (www.stratfor.com/weekly/20110921-cutting-through- lone-wolf-hype); Bob de Graaf and Beatrice de Graaf, “Bringing Politics Back In: The Introduction of the ‘Performative Power’ of Counterterrorism,” Critical Studies on Terrorism, 3 (2010), 261–75, on 267.

3 Fiona Geelhoed, Purification and Resistance: Glocal Meanings of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Netherlands (Rotterdam: Erasmus University, 2012), 13–17. For an oversight of Dutch counterterrorism policies, see policy paper on http://english. nctb.nl/themes/Counterterrorism/.

4 Figures from the period 2004–2008 were retrieved from National Coordinator for Counterterrorism (NCTb, Netherlands), Individuele bedreigers van publieke personen in Nederland: Fenomeenanalyse en een beleidsverkenning (The Hague: NCTB, 2010); figures from the period 2009–2010 were retrieved from press statements of the Public Prosecutor; see the web site, www.om.nl/onderwer- pen/bedreigingen/@155307/lichte-stijging/. The real figure is unknown. Some politicians, like Geert Wilders, report every threat to police. Other politicians are far more reluctant in reporting threatening messages. Further, the figures only count for threats against national politicians; local politicians and administrators are also the object of death threats but no reliable figures currently exist.

5 NCTb, Individuele bedreigers van publieke personen.

6 For video footage, see www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8–WuxDBA8. [7] Web site, www.rondom10.nl.

8 Kamerstukken, Koninginnedag 2009: 32054 nr. 1, 4 September 2009 (The Hague, 2008–2009); NCTb, Onderzoek functioneren Stelsel Bewaken en Beveiligen Koninginnedag 2009 (The Hague: NCTb, 2009). Note that the NCTb subsequently speaks of an “incident” rather than an “attack.”

9 KLPD, Onderzoeksrapportage Koninginnedag 2009: Bevindingen Recherche Onderzoek Dienst Nationale Recherche (Driebergen: KLPD, 2009).

10 In Britain, the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre was established in 2006 for police and mental health professionals to work together to analyze ‘disturbing’ messages sent to public figures and decide on which approach to follow in order to reduce the risk.

11 Kamerstukken, Koninginnedag 2009: Verslag van een algemeen overleg, 32054 nr. 2

(The Hague, 2009–2010).

12 Letter from the Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs to the parliament concerning the research into menacing individuals, 5657710/10/NCTb, 1 July 2010.

13 For video footings of the incident, see the web site, www.novatv.nl/page/ detail/uitzendingen/7798/Persconferentie+naar+aanleiding+incident+tijdens

+dodenherdenking#.

14 Openbaar Ministerie (OM), Samenvatting TGO onderzoek Komeet naar schietpartij Alphen a/d Rijn op 9 april 2011 (The Hague: OM, 2011).

15 The disturbed mind of individuals attacking public figures also prominently figures in some of the academic work on menacing individuals; see, e.g., Robert

A. Fein and Bryan Vossekuil, “Assassination in the United States: An Operational Study of Recent Assassins, Attackers, and Near-Lethal Approachers,” Journal of Forensic Sciences 44: 2 (1999), on 321–33; P. Mullen et al., “The Role of Psychotic Illnesses in Attacks on Public Figures” (not officially published, 2007); J. Reid Meloy, Jens Hoffmann, Angela Guldimann, and David James, “The Role of Warning Behaviors in Threat Assessment: An Exploration and Suggested Typology,” Behavioral Sciences and the Law 30: 3 (2012), 256–79; D.V. James et al., “The Role of Mental Disorder in Attacks on European Politicians 1990–2004,” Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 116 (2007), 334–44; Ramón Spaaij, “The Enigma of Lone Wolf Terrorism: An Assessment,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 33: 9 (2010), 854–70, on 867.

16 NCTb, National Counterterrorism Strategy 2011–2015 (The Hague: NCTb, 2011); available at http://english.nctb.nl/current_topics/reports/.

17 Ministerie van Veiligheid en Justitie, Voortgangsbrief Nationale Veiligheid, 2012–0000234613, 5 June 2012, on 5.

18 Thea van der Geest, “Opsporen via Internet. Interpreteren en voorspellen van dreigingen,” Opportuun 2 (2013), 28–30.

19 The most important promoter and producer of the Threat Management pilot project is the Netherlands Police Agency (KLPD), in collaboration with the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV). Other parties involved include the Royal Netherlands Military Constabulary (KMar), the Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Department (DKDB), the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD), regional police forces, the Public Prosecution Service (OM), the Dutch Mental Healthcare Association (GGZ), the Netherlands Institute of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology (NIFP), as well as the Ministries of Security and Justice, the Interior, and Health, Welfare, and Sport.

20 Hans Nelen, Bastiaan Leeuw, Floor Bakker, and Tom Herrenberg, Pilot Dreigingsmanagement: Een ex ante evaluatie (Maastricht: Maastricht University, 2012).

21 NCTb, Projectinitiatiedocument Pilot Dreigingsmanagement (The Hague: NCTb, 2010).

22 Stefan Bogaerts, Pinar Okur, Michelle Willems, and Leontien van der Knaap, Solistische dreigers: Ontwikkeling van een instrument voor risicotaxatie van solistische dreigers (Tilburg: Tilburg University, 2013).

23 Meloy et al., “Role of Warning Behaviors in Threat Assessment.”

24 Ursula de Vries, Soms moet je ergens van uitgaan! Een onderzoek naar de rol van de politie bij vroegtijdige signalering van de potentieel gewelddadige eenling (Apeldoorn/ Canterbury: Dutch Police Academy/Canterbury Christ Church University, 2012).

25 T. P. W. van Neerbos and F. A. M. van Riet, Vroegsignalering & Persoonsgerichte Aanpak VERWARDE DREI GERS volgens de 3A-methodiek (Rotterdam: Korpsregio Rotterdam-Rijnmond, 2012).

26 David Garland, “The Limits of the Sovereign State: Strategies of Crime Control in Contemporary Society,” British Journal of Criminology, 36 (1996), 445–71, on 452.

27 See, e.g., Chad Whelan, Networks and National Security: Dynamics, Effectiveness and Organisation (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012).

28 De Vries, Soms moet je ergens van uitgaan!

29 Ibid.

30 Whelan, Networks and National Security, 15.

31 “Gevraagd of niet: De opkomst van het verwarde individu in Europa,” NRC Handelsblad, 8 September 2011.

32 “Ook bij beveiliging van koningshuis kan het veiligheidsdenken doorslaan,”

Trouw, 7 September 2011.

33 Kamerstukken, Contra terrorisme: Verslag van een algemeen overleg, 29754 nr. 198, 25 January 2011 (The Hague, 2010–2011).

34 Eurosceptics use the term EUSSR to connect the ‘tyranny’ of the European Union with the tyranny of the former USSR.

35 Web sites, www.krapuul.nl/nieuws/51060/overheid-helpt-erwin-lensink-in-de- vernieling-in-naam-; http://archief.artikel7.nu/?p=52897.

36 Mark Bovens and Annegrit Wille, Diploma Democracy: On the Tensions between Meritocracy and Democracy (Utrecht/Leiden, Preliminary Investigation for the NWO programme Contested Democracies, 2009).

37 G. J. Alexander, “International Human Rights Protection against Psychiatric Political Abuses,” Santa Clara Law Review 37 (1996–1997), 387–426, on 388.

38 Alexander, “International Human Rights Protection Against Psychiatric Political Abuses,” 388; see also T. Szasz, Coercion as Cure: A Critical History of Psychiatry (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2007); for recommendations from the Council of Europe, see D. Kingdon, R. Jones, and J. Lönnqvist, “Protecting the Human Rights of People with Mental Disorder: New Recommendations Emerging from the Council of Europe,” British Journal of Psychiatry 185 (2004), 277–9.

39 Szasz, Coercion as Cure, 135.

40 “GGZ waarschuwt voor meer Tristans,” Leeuwarder Courant, 15 September 2011; “Mensen met psychische problemen moeten zich niet aanstellen—Zijn ze gek geworden?” Brabants Dagblad, 28 January 2012; “Te gek om los te lopen,” De Telegraaf, 25 September 2010.

41 Web site, www.depers.nl/binnenland/632510/Teeven-stelt-bijdrage-GGZ-ter- discussie.html.

42 AD/Algemeen Dagblad, 27 May 2010.

43 De Graaf and de Graaf, “Bringing Politics Back In,” 267. [44] Furedi, Who Is Afraid of the Big Bad Lone Wolf?

45 N. Rose, “Psychiatry as a Political Science: Advanced Liberalism and the Administration of Risk,” History of the Human Sciences 9 (1996), 1–23.

46 Ibid., 3.

47 Ibid., 9.

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Geest, T. van der. “Opsporen via Internet. Interpreteren en voorspellen van dreigingen.” Opportuun 2 (2013): 28–30.

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8 School shootings and lone actor terrorism

Leena Malkki

We must rise against the enslaving, corrupted and totalitarian regimes and overthrow the tyrants, gangsters and the rule of idiocracy. I can’t alone change much but hopefully my actions will inspire all the intelligent people of the world and start some sort of revolution against the current systems.

Pekka-Eric Auvinen (1989–2007), Natural Selector’s Manifesto (2007)[1]

Indeed, society may spend too much time focusing on the idiosyncratic features of individual mass homicide perpetrators (such as video games, radical Islam, or the tenure system) and too little time looking for commonalities between them.

Christopher J. Ferguson, Mark Coulson, and Jane Barnett, “Psychological

Profiles of School Shooters” (2011)[2]

Terrorism and school shootings have traditionally been seen as two separate phenomena that have little in common. Both have been identified as important social problems and security threats, but they have been framed differently in the public debate as well as in policy-making. While a key feature of terrorism is political or religious motivation, school shootings have been interpreted as acts springing mainly from the perpetrator’s personal problems. The school shooting debate has typically revolved around questions of youth, delinquency, mental health, and gun control, and terrorism is more often placed in the context of internal security, foreign policy, immigration and integration, and radical politics.

Also in the realm of academic research, these two topics have rarely been discussed together. The search term “Columbine” (the site of and short-hand term for the most famous school shooting, which occurred in 1999) in issues of Terrorism and Political Violence for the period 1999–2011 returns only one book review. However, this seems to be slowly changing. One of the emerging themes in lone actor terrorist research is exploration of the similarities and differences between lone actors and other violent lone offenders.[3] Similarly, the school shooting researchers have paid attention to the political dimensions of recent shootings and the sense of community among the shooters and their admirers.[4]

This chapter sets out to contribute to this debate by discussing how school shootings have been explained in the research literature and what this line of research may have to offer for studies in lone actor terrorism. This body of research is potentially of high interest in this context for several reasons. First, it largely draws from disciplines other than studies in lone actor terrorism. Second, even if the school shootings are very rare acts of lone individuals, the ‘loneliness’ of the perpetrator has never been an issue in research. It has not prevented researchers from analyzing the perpetrators in a wider social and cultural context—something that hitherto has not been sufficiently carried out in studies on lone actor terrorism. Finally, even though several school shooters have explained their acts in political terms,[5] politics do not play a prominent role in any of the explanations given for the school shootings by researchers. Therefore, school shooting literature offers an example of how acts of violent lone operators can be meaningfully analyzed in a wider social and cultural context in a way that sets the ideology and political view of the perpetrator aside.

The chapter starts with a general overview of school shootings and the development of the phenomenon. I will then introduce the explanations given for the school shootings, focusing especially on the seminal study conducted by Katherine S. Newman, Cybelle Fox, David J. Harding, and Wendy Roth. The chapter ends with a discussion on how the school shooting literature can contribute to research on lone actor terrorism.

School shootings as an historical phenomenon

Literally speaking, the term ‘school shooting’ refers to a wide spectrum of violent incidents that take place in educational institutions.[6] Among these incidents, there are cases that can comfortably be classified as terrorist attacks according to most definitions, such as the Beslan hostage taking perpetrated in 2004 by Chechen separatists, or, more recently, the shooting incident in the Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school in Toulouse, France, perpetrated by French–Algerian Mohamed Merah, who allegedly had contacts with jihadist networks. Sometimes it is the security forces that are responsible for the shootings. The Kent State shooting in 1970 is one famous example of this kind of government shooting. Some of the shooting incidents are targeted attacks linked to gangs and personal feuds that, more or less incidentally, take place on school premises.

However, when researchers discuss school shootings, they are not thinking about these kinds of incidents. Most research focuses on a specific type of shooting incident, called a school rampage shooting. These are cases where the perpetrator is a current or former student of the school who opens fire on the school premises, choosing his victims at least in part indiscriminately. Such shootings are highly symbolic and performative acts of violence in which the actual target is the entire school as an institution. The act is designed to convey a message to an audience larger than the immediate victims. Sometimes, the shooter leaves behind writings or videos in which he explicitly explains his act. This kind of shooting is the main focus of this chapter.

Finally, while school rampage shootings are perpetrated by former or current students, there have also been similar kinds of attacks targeting a school as an institution that have been perpetrated by an outsider. These incidents have been called mass murders in the school shooting typologies. A well-known incident of this kind was the Dunblane school attack in Scotland in 1996.[7] These attacks have sometimes had political flavors too. A case in point was the Montréal massacre in 1989 when engineering student Marc Lépine entered the École Polytechnique and started shooting, specifically targeting women. He killed fourteen women and four men, injured ten more women, and finally shot himself. He had a note in his pocket which explained that he had committed the act for political reasons, and that he hated feminists. His note also indicated that he felt depressed and out of hope.[8] Even though I do not discuss these incidents here, it is worth pointing out that some of them may be useful case studies in the context of lone actor terrorism.

School rampage shootings are very rare events. The chronologies of school rampage shootings give somewhat different numbers, depending on their geographical scope and the exact definition used to identify the cases. In all chronologies, the number of incidents is measured in dozens rather than in hundreds. Böckler, Seeger, Sitzer, and Heitmeyer, for example, found 120 such incidents globally in the years 1925–2011.[9] The cases are far from evenly spread across the decades. From the 1920s to the 1980s, there were altogether only 33 cases, while in the 1990s there were 36 cases and in the 2000s 57 cases.

Almost all perpetrators have been male, and the majority of them have been white. Most school shootings have taken place in middle schools or high schools, but there are also cases in which institutions of higher education have been targeted. The age range of the perpetrators spans from 11 to the mid-20s, with a few rare cases where the perpetrator has been older. The statistics also suggest a geographical pattern: most incidents have taken place in rural or suburban settings, while they are rare in urban areas.[10] Worth noting is that contrary to the common image, not all school shooters committed suicide at the end of the rampage, even though this has been the case in most shootings.

The school rampage shootings are in many ways a phenomenon of the 1990s and 2000s. Statistics show that the majority of this type of school shooting took place after the beginning of the 1990s. It is also the period when school shootings entered the public debate in the United States as a social problem and the first significant research projects focusing specifically on school rampage shootings started.

One of those incidents that led to increased alarm about school shootings happened in 1997 at the Heath High School in West Paducah, Kentucky. Michael Carneal, a 14-year-old student at the school, started to shoot in the main lobby of the school, eventually killing three and injuring five. While he had several friends and was doing relatively well at school, the psychiatric evaluation and research on Carneal portrayed him as a young man who couldn’t function socially, who attracted aggressive bullies because he was awkward and never fought back, who tried to curry favor with kids whose attention he craved, and who imploded in school because these social failures deepened his clinical depression.[11]

His social problems were highlighted by his having an academically and socially highly successful older sister. Carneal had tried several ways to find his place within the peer structure. Most recently, he had tried to win the approval of the ‘Goths’ group in the school. To win their appreciation, he began to do things that would make him seem notorious and dangerous, including stealing money from his father and shoplifting, and giving what he stole to the group.

The shooting can be seen as a continuation of Carneal’s quest for approval. During the months before the shooting, the boys in the Goths group had discussed the scenario of taking over the school using guns. Carneal volunteered to get guns for the boys and the leader of the group accepted the offer. While all this was a joke for the other boys, Carneal took it seriously and evidently saw his chance to win their respect. On the morning of the shooting, he showed the guns to the other Goths, yet nobody seemed very interested. This may have pushed him into finally acting out the shooting spree.[12]

The Columbine shooting and the virtual community of school shooters

The Heath High School shooting described above was a typical school rampage shooting of the 1990s. However, since the late 1990s, the school rampage shooting phenomenon has acquired new dimensions.

If there is one school shooting that is recognized above all others, it was the Columbine shooting in Littleton, carried out in April 1999 by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. The attack was actually not planned to be a mere school shooting, nor to be seen as such. Harris and Klebold had built several bombs, which they placed inside the school and in vehicles they had parked outside. When the bombs in the school exploded, they were planning to be in front of the school entrance, shooting the students and staff escaping from the building. The bombs in the cars were meant to go off when first responders and rescue workers had arrived. However, when all the bombs failed to explode, Harris and Klebold entered the school and started shooting, finally turning their guns on themselves. The shooting spree cost the lives of 13 people, and over 20 were injured.

Harris and Klebold left behind several videos and writings that give an idea of their plans and thinking.[13] What appears as the primary motivation for the act from these videos and writings is the desire to take revenge on their peers and teachers at school. They talk about how they had been bullied, humiliated, ridiculed, and teased by their peers. “You made me what I am,” Klebold says in one of the tapes, “I am going to kill you all. You’ve been giving us sh— for years.”[14]

Revenge was a very typical motivation for the school rampage shootings of the 1990s and earlier. However, this shooting was different, since it went beyond mere revenge on their peers and teachers. Harris and Klebold did not perform their act only against their peers. As Larkin writes, “their primary target was the peer structure, the secondary target was the community at large, and the tertiary target was American society.”[15] What they were planning was a mass-casualty bomb attack that would make all previous violent incidents in U.S. history pale in comparison. They reveled in the thought that the attack would make them famous and that movies would be made about them and their deed. Not only did Harris and Klebold expect to become famous—they also expected to gain followers. They said that with their act, they wanted to inspire others to join them in the struggle and start a revolution of the dispossessed.

The Columbine shooting has acquired an iconic status among school shootings. It has captured the imagination of both the general public and subsequent school shooters to the degree that it is legitimate to talk about a pre-Columbine and post-Columbine period. The significance of the Columbine shooting lies especially in the way that it has influenced subsequent school shootings. As Ralph W. Larkin has argued, it has provided a model to follow on how to commit a spectacular school shooting, as well as a feat to be surpassed. The majority of school rampage shootings since 1999 were clearly influenced by the Columbine shooting. Since then, school shooters have mimicked several aspects of the shooting, including the perpetrators’ clothing and musical taste, what they say during the shooting, and how they portray themselves in their own videos and writings.[16] Furthermore, school rampage shootings no longer appeared always to be only about revenge on a specific community. Larkin has claimed that Columbine transformed school rampage shootings into global media events and that the “motivation is no longer merely to exact revenge for perceived injustices, but to send a message to the world.”[17]

The huge international media attention that the Columbine shooting received arguably led to the globalization of the phenomenon. After ‘Columbine,’ school rampage shootings evolved from a mainly U.S. phenomenon into an international phenomenon, both in terms of the public attention they got and where the shootings took place. While almost all of the 50 school rampage shootings before 1999 that are included in the chronology of Böckler et al. happened in the United States, 34 of the 70 school rampage shootings in the years 1999–2011 took place in other countries.[18]

‘Columbine’ as a common reference point has also changed the social dynamics of school rampage shootings. It has created a sense of virtual community and continuity between the school shooters that did not exist before. The Internet has allowed a relatively free circulation of school shooting-related material, including the writings and videos produced by school shooters. Some school shooters, like Pekka-Eric Auvinen and Matti Saari, both in Finland, circumscribed the traditional media and posted their “media kit” directly on the Internet. The online fan community is populated by young people who feel that they can relate to the school shooter’s position or are otherwise interested in the phenomenon. Many future school shooters are known to have frequented these forums prior to their attack.[19]

Besides the Columbine shooting, there have been three other shootings in which the shooter left behind writings and videos where they explain their act in politically loaded terms that transcend their personal situation. These shootings were the Emsdetten shooting by Sebastian Bosse in Germany in 2006, the Virginia Tech shooting by Seung Hui Cho in the United States in April 2007, and the Jokela High School shooting by Pekka-Eric Auvinen in Finland in November 2007.[20] The political elements were clearest in the communication of Pekka-Eric Auvinen. He wrote a three-page document called Natural Selector’s Manifesto to explain his motivation for his act, which he called an act of political terrorism. All these shooters made numerous references to the Columbine shooting in terms of their clothing, writings, videos, and the design of the shootings. In their communication, Harris and Klebold emerged as martyrs and heroes of the revolution of the dispossessed that the shooters themselves wanted to continue. Besides these shootings, there were a number of other school rampage shootings in which the shooter did not leave behind a similar communication, but nevertheless made extensive references to Columbine. It can be argued that with these references, they too wanted to connect their act to the Columbine tradition.

What is noteworthy is that the explanations that the aforementioned three shooters gave for their deeds are essentially variations of the same narrative and arguments that were visible in the writings and videos of the Columbine shooters.[21] The shooters saw their own situation as a manifestation of much bigger issues that were wrong in society. They described how they had tried to fit into society and been rejected time and again.

At some point, they realized that the whole of society was an illusion, a fake, and that they did not even want to fit in. They criticized others for being brainless sheep, not thinking for themselves but following what they were told by the media, school, or politicians. The shooters, on the other hand, felt different because they had self-awareness—they understood what was going on and could see where it would lead. They expressed their contempt for the values and norms of prevailing society and called for anarchy and/or the law of natural selection to be allowed to take its natural course, allowing the survival of the fittest.

The shooters described themselves as lone heroes fighting against the enemy and declared that the only ones to blame for their acts were they themselves. However, like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the other shooters too called for others to join in their vision. The attack emerges not only as an attempt to escape the shooter’s own desperate situation, but also as a chance to die for an important cause.

Explanations of the school rampage shootings in the research literature

The late 1990s and early 2000s also saw the publication of the first hallmark studies on the school shootings.[22] Since then, several studies have been published, using a plethora of disciplinary and methodological approaches. The school shootings have been studied, in particular, within the fields of sociology, (social) psychology, pedagogy, youth research, and communication studies.

Even though school rampage shootings are rare acts perpetrated by a single individual (or in rare cases by a dyad), the researchers broadly agree that they cannot be explained by individual-level factors only. Several studies have looked far beyond the individual level, all the way to the macro-level cultural context to identify conditions that may have contributed to the shootings. There is a broad consensus among researchers that understanding of the school rampage shooting phenomenon requires multidisciplinary and multidimensional approaches.[23]

Perhaps the most authoritative multilevel explanations are provided by Katherine Newman and her research group in their study Rampage: Social Roots of School Shootings (2004). They identify five necessary but insufficient conditions for rampage shootings to occur (meaning that all these conditions need to be there but their presence does not automatically lead to a rampage shooting):

• The shooter perceives himself “as extremely marginal in the social worlds that matter to him.”

• He suffers “from psychosocial problems that magnify the impact of marginality.”

• There are cultural scripts available that make a school shooting appear as a viable solution to the situation.

• The troubles the shooter faces are not identified by surveillance systems before they become extreme.

• The shooter has access to guns.

I will use this synthesis as a roadmap for discussing the explanations given for school rampage shootings in the literature.

Before moving on, it is good to point out that when explaining why school rampage shootings happen, the researchers have not felt any need to distinguish between pre-Columbine and post-Columbine shootings in general, or between “politically motivated” and other school rampage shootings. The common understanding about the factors and processes leading to school rampage shootings builds upon the studies published in the early 2000s that deal with primarily pre-Columbine shootings. Without reservations, the researchers have generalized the findings of these studies to school rampage shootings of all decades, including the last 15 years.[24] This state of affairs suggests that even if the Columbine shooting has changed the dynamics and manifestations of school rampage shootings, the researchers broadly agree that it has not significantly changed the social and psychological roots of the phenomenon.

Gun availability

Newman and her team’s last point can be dealt with very shortly. Committing a school rampage shooting obviously requires that the perpetrator manages to acquire a weapon. This is the only necessary condition for school rampage shootings identified so far. To be sure, acts of violence can be committed with other weapons too. Stabbings, for example, have taken place in schools. Limiting the discussion to shooting incidents only is admittedly somewhat arbitrary.[25] On the other hand, it is also evident that the same level of indiscriminate, multiple-victim killing spree is much more difficult to achieve with a knife than with a gun.

Gun availability refers not only to the lenience of gun laws, but also to the availability of guns more generally—how many guns there are in the community, and how easy it is for adolescents and young adults to get them, for example, from home, if they want to.

Researchers and commentators have often linked school rampage shootings with easy access to weapons, although it is hard to show statistical evidence that would verify or falsify this claim. Guns are widely available in the United States and youths have relatively easy access to weapons. The underage American school rampage shooters typically acquired the gun(s) by stealing them from their own homes or those of friends.[26] Seung Hui Cho, who perpetrated the Virginia Tech shooting, was able to buy two pistols and almost 400 bullets from gun retail shops and the Internet despite a mental health history that disqualified him from purchasing such items under federal law (the legal status of his purchases under state law is less clear).[27]

While guns are clearly required for a school shooting, their availability does not in itself explain why school shootings take place. As Newman et al. point out, “hunting communities have always kept guns at the ready, but school shootings began to occur fairly recently.”[28]

Shooter’s social position

The studies solidly suggest that the majority of the shooters felt that they had been teased, marginalized, or persecuted by their peers.[29] Frustration about how they have been treated features prominently in the shooters’ writings. Eric Harris recalled in one of the videos how he had moved several times and always had to start over again from the bottom and how people made fun of him. Klebold complained about how his brother was popular and how the brother and his friends were constantly teasing him.[30] Sebastian Bosse told in his video how he tried to make friends for years but was only bullied and laughed at.[31] An overarching theme of Seung Hui Cho’s manifesto was how he had tried to fit in and how others had destroyed his life.[32]

There is a broad consensus among researchers that even if the school shootings cannot be connected to wider social tensions in the same way as some other forms of violent youth crime, they are still closely connected to the social structures in the school and surrounding community. The study conducted by Katherine Newman et al. has been very influential in understanding these aspects of school rampage shootings. Newman et al. link the shootings with the shooter’s social standing in the peer structure. In particular, the topic of bullying has featured strongly in media reports and is also elaborately discussed in the research literature. It has been common to portray the shooters as marginalized loners or failed joiners who were bullied by others. While it is clear that the school shooters themselves felt like this, there is somewhat conflicting evidence as to how teachers and peers interpreted their situation. Views about the social standing of the shooter within the peer group have been contradictory, even within one single case—some friends and school mates of the shooter said that the shooter was bullied, while others denied that. It is not uncommon that fellow students have claimed that the shooter was just as much a bully himself. The same goes for evidence as to whether the shooter was a loner or not; views about the shooter’s social networks accordingly vary quite a lot.[33]

Some researchers have argued that in order to understand why school shootings take place, one should also pay attention to the social structures in the school and surrounding community in general. Katherine Newman and her research group have underlined the significance of the “stranglehold of adolescent culture.” Adolescent social structure is typically a hierarchy. At the top are popular kids like preps, jocks, cheerleaders, and high achievers. Beauty, athletic prowess, money, and gender conformity are qualities that are admired and that help the achievement of status in the hierarchy. It is not easy for everyone to find his place in the adolescent social world, especially those who have difficulties in meeting the criteria that make people “cool” in the eyes of other youths. The situation of failing to live up to these expectations is particularly difficult for those young people who also lack a likeminded group of peers. While being in a marginal social position does not make one a school shooter, many school shooters fit into this category. As Newman et al. argue, this adolescent culture is not isolated from the values and ideals of the wider society, but rather reflects them. Sometimes, school staff and parents reinforce the adolescent pecking order, turning a blind eye to how those at the top of the hierarchy bully and tease youths that are more marginal.[34]

The pecking orders and hierarchies are not always limited to the school setting. One of the uncontested research results in the field is that the great majority of school rampage shootings have taken place in suburban or rural settings, and that this is not a coincidence. As Newman et al. point out, in small communities the school is not only a focal point of the adolescent’s life, but of everyone’s life. What happens in the school does not stay at school. Moreover, for young people who do not find a comfortable place in the social hierarchy at school and who live in a small community, it is difficult to escape the reputation they have gained at school and find alternative social environments where they might find acceptance and understanding.[35]

Personal problems and lack of help

Another widely discussed topic in the context of school rampage shootings is the role of personal problems, and especially mental health problems. Attempts to form an overview of the mental health of the shooters are plagued by the same problem as affects research on terrorists: the individuals are difficult to get access to. There are few cases to start with and many shooters shot themselves or were shot by the police during the incident. Mental health evaluations of those who survived the shooting have often been declared confidential, and getting interviews with the individuals is difficult.

What seems to be clear is that school shooters do not have mental illnesses of such severity that they would prevent them from acting coherently. School rampage shootings are premeditated acts that have often been in planning for months; these were clearly not sudden acts of insanity. At the same time, practically all researchers agree that personal psychological problems of some kind are an important part of the explanation for why school rampage shootings take place.

The available data indicate that a significant minority of the shooters was diagnosed with mental health problems prior to the shooting.[36] This does not necessarily mean that the remaining school shooters did not have any mental health problems. The lack of diagnosis may also indicate that the perpetrator never received proper help for his problems.[37] The fourth necessary condition listed by Newman et al. is related to this: a key ingredient here may be that the troubles went unnoticed for a long time. Furthermore, the mental health problems may have been still at early onset at the time prior to the shooting, lacking the common symptoms that may have made them easier for others to notice.[38]

Some researchers have brought in the family background in this context as a potential explanation for mental health problems. A commonly presented hypothesis is that the shooters come from dysfunctional families and perhaps have been victims of some type of abuse themselves. It seems indeed that some shooters may have been traumatized by a troubled family background. A closer look at the empirical data suggests, however, that there is no uniform profile. Instead, there is a lot of variance in the family background. Some of the shooters have grown up in a far from optimal setting, yet others come from apparently intact and loving families.[39]

While some kind of psychological problem arguably has been common among school shooters, there seems to be no uniform profile of mental problems. The severity and nature of the problems seem to vary. In some cases, the shooter had shown symptoms that point towards mental illness, such as schizophrenia, psychopathy, suicidal thoughts, or depression. In other cases, the shooter had a history of what may be described as psychosocial problems, such as fear of social situations, or anxiety.[40]

While most researchers acknowledge that both psychological problems and social conditions form an important part of the explanation, there are differences in emphasis. The study by Newman et al. puts a lot of emphasis on the social context. They suggest that personal problems can best be seen as a condition that magnifies the impact of the shooter’s marginality in the social world because it weakens his capability for coping with the situation.[41] These problems do not push towards a school shooting in themselves, but may well act as a significant contributing condition, together with other contributing factors.

Other researchers have pointed out that the school rampage shootings differ significantly from the usual patterns of violent youth crime.[42] It has been a long standing tradition in sociology and criminology to argue that “violence occurs among those in social positions who are disadvantaged relative to others in society, or who are excluded and alienated from the dominant culture, or who are victims of oppression and injustice.”[43] This line of explanation does not seem to fare too well in the case of school shootings, because an overwhelming majority of them takes place in relatively privileged rural and suburban communities. Without denying that such communities too may have tensions within them, this line of explanation suggests that individual-level factors may play a more prominent role in the case of school shootings than, for example, in inner-city youth violence in the United States.

Cultural scripts and the impact of the wider cultural and social context

While the aforementioned conditions throw light on the perpetrator’s personal problems and social situation, as well as how he may have obtained guns, it does not yet explain why committing a school rampage shooting appears as an attractive option for such people. It is here that the cultural scripts come into play. The cultural script in this case means “the wider cultural background which makes school shootings appear as a meaningful act,”[44] and provides prescriptions for behavior and models for problem solving.[45]

Almost all school shooters since at least the 1990s showed interest in violent movies, video games, or song lyrics, and often referred to the same products. Barry Loukaitis, who perpetrated a school rampage shooting in Moses Lake, Washington, in 1996, mimicked a scene from Stephen King’s novel Rage.[46] The Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold referred to their action plan as NBK, referring to Natural Born Killers, an action movie about a man and a woman with troubled backgrounds who become celebrity mass murderers.[47] The movie was idolized by other school shooters as well. Pekka-Eric Auvinen listed KMFDM, an industrial rock/metal band known for its subversive lyrics, among his favorite bands in his YouTube profile. Harris and Klebold too were known as ardent fans of the band. It was also noted that the clothing and weaponry that the German school shooter Robert Steinhäuser wore during the Erfurt school shooting in 2002 were very similar to those worn by one of the characters in the movie Killers.[48] The aforementioned Michael Carneal had played violent video games for years, including Mortal Kombat and MechWarrior.[49] The Heath High School shooting actually led to a lawsuit when the parents of students killed during the shooting sued the entertainment industry on the basis that media violence gave Michael Carneal inspiration for his deed.[50] And so forth.

Until the late 1990s, the school shooters arguably received inspiration on how to conduct a school shooting mostly from movies or novels such as those mentioned above. Since the Columbine shooting, it has been essentially this shooting, and to a lesser degree other previous shootings, that became the cultural script.[51]

Besides the school shooting-specific cultural scripts, the shootings are also strongly influenced by more general cultural scripts. School rampage shootings may be rare and extreme events, yet they are strongly connected to the cultural norms and values that are widely present in popular culture.[52] In particular, researchers have linked school shootings to general cultural models relating to masculinity and violence. Researchers agree widely that school rampage shootings are a strongly gendered phenomenon. The shooters have been particularly influenced by movies, music, and games that involve violence, guns, domination, rage, and masculinity. These products carry a message about how ‘real men’ are supposed to act and to solve their problems. Going to an adult to seek help is not among the options, because that is what ‘wimps’ do.[53] Appearing as a wimp is the last thing that these school shooters want. Their inability to show athletic prowess, be successful with girls, or otherwise appear as a cool guy in the eyes of their peers brings into question their ability to live up to the expectations set by the prevailing cultural models of masculinity. In some cases, the challenge to masculinity was explicit: Michael Kimmel and Matthew Mahler, for example, have pointed out that several of the shooters not only felt bullied and marginalized by their peers, but they were also called gay. This was not because they were gay—there is no evidence that any of them would have been—but because they were somehow different from other boys. A widespread phenomenon among adolescents has been to use words such as ‘gay’ or ‘faggot’ for anything that seems weird or does not fit into cultural expectations. Being called a gay is the worst insult there can be for an adolescent boy.[54]

A school shooting here enters the picture as a manly exit from the situation. The current cultural models of masculinity portray violence as a way to solve problems. Examples of this code of conduct abound in popular culture which, as Kiilakoski and Oksanen point out, “offers exciting role models who use violence as a solution and sometimes glorifies powerful and destructive performances.”[55] Real men do not complain or cry for help—they get even, they are tough and daring. With the shooting, the shooters send a message to the social system that marginalized them, reinforce their masculinity, and create a new social identity and standing for themselves.[56] On the cultural level, there is an inherent tension here: they voice their protest against the social hierarchy and its values, which they strongly despise, in a way that essentially represents a radicalization of prevailing cultural norms and values and overconformance to the prevailing models of masculinity.[57]

Ralph Larkin has also pointed out that the Columbine shooters were enamored of U.S. paramilitary culture. The Columbine shooting was planned as a “strategic military assault,”[58] designed to kill as many people as possible and offering the shooters the possibility of dying in a blaze of glory. The ideas and images that feature in the written and visual communications of the school shooters indeed bear many similarities with the cultural narratives of the U.S. paramilitary culture of the 1980s and 1990s: a hypermasculine hero, fighting against the system.[59]

Part of the project of constructing a new social identity is that the shooting will transform the perpetrator from an insignificant nobody to a notorious celebrity. School rampage shootings form a good example of the media spectacles typical of our time, and of how notorious killers can become celebrities. It is evident in many school rampage shootings that the perpetrator desired to join this cast of characters.[60]

School shootings also draw from the cultural understandings of revolutionary violence. Kiilakoski and Oksanen point out how “the theme of revolutionary violence—violence that is needed to set new standards and establish a new way of living—is part of the cultural heritage of western political philosophy.”[61] In the case of school shootings, revolutionary violence is regarded as a means to change the power relations so that those who have been bullied gain power over others.

Also noteworthy in this context is that the hypermasculine anti-hero who rises up to exact revenge is a loner. The school shooters’ communications typically underline their autonomy and that they alone are responsible for their deed. Sebastian Bosse opens his farewell video by emphasizing that “this is my plan, my work. I did this alone, completely alone.” Similarly, Auvinen declares in his manifesto that, “this is my war: one man war against humanity, governments and weak-minded masses of the world!” Therefore, the school rampage shooter identity is not only the identity of a hypermasculine (anti)hero, but also distinctly that of a lone actor. “Rambo goes to school,” the title of one of the subchapters in Ralph Larkin’s book on Columbine,[62] is perhaps witty but definitely not off the mark.

Lessons for research on lone actor terrorism

Even though lone actor terrorism and school rampage shootings are seldom discussed together, they actually have several features in common: they are symbolic, performative, and premeditated acts, often involving indiscriminate violence. They are perpetrated by a ‘loner’ who is almost always a male. Research also indicates that while the acts cannot be explained as acts of temporary insanity, the personally troubled situation of the individual often seems to play a role in both cases.

What arguably sets school rampage shootings apart from (lone actor) terrorism is above all the lack of political motivation.[63] As the discussion of the post-Columbine school rampage shootings above illustrates, the line between school shootings and terrorism is no longer that clear-cut in this respect as well. An obvious question is what we should think about the political elements in the school rampage shooters’ communications. While school shooting researchers have carefully analyzed the writings and videos produced by the shooters, hardly anyone appears to take their arguments about political motivation at face value. Words like ‘quasi-ideology’ or ‘quasi-political’ are often used when describing the writings. One rather common position in the field has been to interpret the manifestos and calls for revolution as manifestations of teenage hyperbole or, at most, post-hoc rationalizations of aggression that has its roots in the individual’s personal problems.[64] In the light of the explanations given for school rampage shootings in the academic literature, this seems to be a fair argument. At the same time, it is also possible to argue, as Ralph Larkin has done, that school rampage shootings are distinctly acts of communication and have the structure of acts of propaganda by the deed, and that as such they “fall into the same category as suicide bombings, the Oklahoma City massacre, murders of abortion providers, al-Qaeda attacks on the Madrid and London transportation system, and the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.”[65]

The comparison with school rampage shootings unavoidably challenges some of the common criteria applied when including and excluding cases in the research on lone actor terrorism. Several school shooters have elaborated on their allegedly political motivation much more lengthily and in more detail than many so-called lone actor terrorists. Is it legitimate to label their statements as quasi-political merely on the grounds that they do not seem to make much sense to us and that the perpetrator had personal problems? After all, several individuals that are labeled lone actor terrorists without reservation (such as Ted Kaczynski and Anders Behring Breivik) are known to have significant mental health problems. Ramón Spaaij notes in his study on lone actor terrorism that it is often extremely difficult to determine the “real motivation” for the act. What seems to be typical for those lone actors whom he studied was a mix of personal grievances and political ideologies.[66] Quite similarly, Böckler et al. have pointed out that “more recent empirical research shows that (rampage) school shootings frequently mingle individual motives.. . with ideological and political motivations, creating a complex set of motives that is not always clear-cut.”[67]

Drawing the line between lone actor terrorism and other forms of lone operator violence, and the issue of what makes a violent act political, are two important questions that deserve much more attention than they have received so far. They are also beyond the scope of this chapter and maybe even of this book. The goal here is to discuss what the school rampage shooting literature may have to offer to the studies on lone actor terrorism.

The first way in which the school rampage shooting literature may turn out to be useful is by providing another kind of approach to explaining lone operator violence—an approach that focuses strongly on the social and cultural context. It is telling that, to my knowledge, not one school shooting researcher has made an issue out of the loneliness of the perpetrator. Concepts such as self-radicalization do not make any sense for them. Every school rampage shooter, no matter how few friends he may have, is constantly involved in social interaction of some kind. These interactions play a major role in how he sees himself and the world around him. Understanding this social context is a crucial part of the explanation, and researchers have invested heavily in analyzing it. Katherine Newman’s research group, for example, spent several weeks in the communities in which the school shootings took place, interviewing dozens of people. The studies in lone actor terrorism have, so far, not been very good at taking the meso-level conditions into account. Rather, there has been a tendency to assume that there is no relevant social context to investigate, since there is no terrorist group. The social context is not always as clear in the case of lone actor terrorism as it is in the case of school rampage shootings, but it would still be worth the effort to search for ways to analyze the social context in which the lone actor terrorist has lived.[68]

Another underrepresented avenue in lone actor terrorism research concerns the cultural dimensions of the phenomenon. There are some contributions which discuss the development of the idea of leaderless resistance that come close to a cultural approach.[69] It seems as though discussion about political motivation and ideological influences dominate the macro-level analyses. While these are important topics, a more culturally oriented analysis could complement it very well. The previous discussion of the cultural scripts of school rampage shootings highlight that there are, in Western culture, strong cultural scripts of lone violent antiheroes who become notorious celebrities. These cultural scripts play an important role in the school rampage shootings. Several school rampage shootings have clearly been inspired by terrorist attacks such as the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11, and the perpetrators seem to see a similarity between these attacks and their projects. The Jokela school shooter Auvinen explicitly called his act ‘political terrorism’. The Virginia Tech shooter Seung Hui Cho declared himself the “Anti-Terrorist of America.” Steven Kazmierczak, who in February 2008 carried out a rampage shooting on the campus of Northern Illinois University, wore a T-shirt with the text “Terrorist.” It does not seem far-fetched to hypothesize that the same cultural scripts that make school rampage shootings attractive can make an act of terrorism a fascinating option for those who become lone actor terrorists in Western countries.

Lastly, it does not seem unfeasible to think that the model presented by Katherine Newman for explaining school rampage shootings could have explanatory power in some cases of lone actor terrorism. There are indications that many lone actor terrorists have had a troubled personal situation prior to the shooting, including psychological problems and challenges in social relationships. Committing a terrorist attack can be understood at least partly as an attempt to create a new social identity and to empower oneself, or as a manly exit from a difficult situation. Anders Behring Breivik, who nowadays presents a paradigmatic case of a dangerous lone actor, may be a case in point—a youngish white male with a history of mental health issues, a dysfunctional family background, and problems fitting in socially created himself anew as a Knight Templar, wishing to inspire others to join him in the struggle against Islam and the multiculturalist regime.[70]

However, it is very likely that not all cases labeled lone actor terrorism fit this pattern. Based on what we know, the Dutch animal rights activist Volkert van der Graaf seems to be a case in point. Nothing that we know about him suggests that he would have been looking for social prestige or notoriety, nor for an exit. It is highly unlikely that all cases of lone actor terrorism fit into any single pattern. ‘Terrorist attack by loner’ is hardly any more specific a term than ‘school shooting,’ and it may just be too heterogeneous for generalization. Instead, it may well be that it would be feasible to explore whether we can sensibly divide the phenomenon into different categories, as has been done in the case of school shootings.

Finally, it is also noteworthy that there are temporal and spatial parallels in the development of lone actor terrorism and school rampage shootings. Both were originally perceived as mostly a North American phenomenon. While cases like these can be found in previous decades, both phenomena came to be assessed as important social or security concerns during the 1990s. The available statistical evidence suggests that, over time, and especially during the 2000s, the number of both lone actor terrorist attacks and school rampage shootings has risen significantly in Europe.[71] While the similarities in these developments could be a coincidence, it may nevertheless be worthwhile pondering whether there is a wider trend in play.

Notes

1 Pekka-Eric Auvinen, Natural Selector’s Manifesto (2007).

2 Christopher J. Ferguson, Mark Coulson, and Jane Barnett, “Psychological Profiles of School Shooters: Positive Directions and One Big Wrong Turn,” Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations 11: 1 (2011), 1–17.

3 See, e.g., Clark McCauley, Sophia Moskalenko, and Benjamin Van Son, “Characteristics of Lone-Wolf Violent Offenders: A Comparison of Assassins and School Attackers,” Perspectives on Terrorism 7: 1 (2013), 4–24. See also Adam Lankford’s studies that discuss the differences between suicide bombers and murder–suicide rampage shooters, including school shooters and office shooters. Adam Lankford, “A Comparative Analysis of Suicide Terrorists and Rampage, Workplace, and School Shooters in the United States from 1990 to 2010,” Homicide Studies 17: 3 (2012), 255–74; Adam Lankford and Nayab Hakim, “From Columbine to Palestine: A Comparative Analysis of Rampage Shooters in the United States and Volunteer Suicide Bombers in the Middle East,” Aggression and Violent Behavior 16 (2011), 98–107.

4 See the articles published in Glenn W. Muschert and Johanna Sumiala (eds), School Shootings: Mediatized Violence in a Global Age (Bingley, U.K.: Emerald Books, Studies in Media and Communications, vol. 7, 2012) and Nils Böckler et al. (eds), School Shootings: International Research, Case Studies and Concepts of Prevention (New York: Springer, 2012).

5 Leena Malkki, “Political Elements in Post-Columbine School Shootings in Europe and North America,” Terrorism and Political Violence 26: 1 (2014).

6 The following discussion of types of school shootings is inspired by the typology presented by prominent school shooting researcher Glenn W. Muschert in “Research in School Shootings,” Sociology Compass 1: 1 (2007), 60–80.

7 Thomas Hamilton, aged 43, entered the Dunblane primary school and killed 16 children, one teacher, and finally himself. Hamilton did not leave behind any writings to explain his deed. He had led several boys’ clubs but was increasingly rejected in this role because of his strange behavior. He had filed complaints of several instances where he accused people of spreading false rumors about him. Public Inquiry into the Shootings at Dunblane Primary School on 13 March 1996. Available online at www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/ scottish/dunblane/dunblane.htm, accessed on 7 August 2012.

8 See, e.g., Karen L. Tonso, “Violent Masculinities as Tropes for School Shooters: The Montréal Massacre, the Columbine Attack, and Rethinking Schools,” American Behavioral Scientist 52: 9 (2009), 1266–85; Katherine Ramsland, “Marc Lépine’s Gendercide: The Montreal Massacre,” Crime Library, available at www. trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/mass/marc_lepine/8.html.

9 Nils Böckler, Thorsten Seeger, Peter Sitzer, and Wilhelm Heitmeyer, “School Shootings: Conceptual Framework and International Empirical Trends,” Böckler et al., School Shootings. For other chronologies of school (rampage) shootings, see, e.g., Katherine Newman, Cybelle Fox, David J. Harding, Jal Mehta, Wendy Roth et al., Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings (New York: Basic Books, 2004); Mark H. Moore, Carol V. Petrie, Anthony A. Brage, and Brenda L. McLaughlin, Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence (Washington D.C.: The National Academies Press, 2003); Jessie Klein, The Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America’s Schools (New York: NYU Press, 2012). The school shooting data for Klein’s book can be found at http://jessieklein.com/images/resources/resources-dataonschoolshootings. pdf.

10 See e.g., Muschert, “Research in School Shootings;” Newman et al., Rampage; Katherine Newman and Cybelle Fox, “Repeat Tragedy: Rampage Shootings in American High School and College Settings, 2002–2008,” American Behavioral Scientist 52: 9 (2009), 1286–1308; Bryan Vossekuil et al., The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attack in the United States (Washington, D.C.: United States Secret Service and United States Department of Education, 2002).

11 Newman et al., Rampage, 26. The case of Michael Carneal is explored in great detail in this study.

13 Most of these videos, known as basement tapes, have never been made public, but they have been shown to selected journalists, and their reporting gives an idea about the content. Especially helpful is Nancy Gibbs and Timothy Roche, “The Columbine Tapes,” Time, 20 December 1999. Besides these videos, Harris and Klebold also wrote diaries that they left for others to find. These were not available to the public immediately after the incident but have been made public over the years.

14 Ibid.

15 Ralph W. Larkin, Comprehending Columbine (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2007), 153–4.

16 Ralph W. Larkin, “The Columbine Legacy: Rampage Shootings as Political Acts,” American Behavioral Scientist 52: 9 (2009), 1309–26, on 1314.

17 Ralph W. Larkin, “Afterword: Media and School Shootings: A Sociological Perspective,” Muschert and Sumiala, School Shootings, 348.

18 Böckler et al., “School Shootings.”

19 Nathalie E. Paton, “Media Participation of School Shooters and Their Fans: Navigating between Self-distinction and Imitation to Achieve Individuation;” Muschert and Sumiala, School Shootings.

20 For a more detailed description of these incidents and the communication left behind by the shooters, see Malkki, “Political Elements in Post-Columbine School Shootings.”

21 See, e.g., Seung Hui Cho’s manifesto (text available at www.schoolshooters. info/PL/Original_Documents_files/Cho%20manifesto.pdf); Pekka-Eric Auvinen’s Natural Selector’s Manifesto (available at www.schoolshooters.info/PL/Ori- ginal_Documents_files/Pekka-Eric%20Auvinen%20Online.pdf); and Sebastian Bosse’s diary (available at http://staydifferent.st.ohost.de/diary/) and video (available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZrAiQMzkDY&feature=related). The similarities in the communication of school shooters is also pointed out in, e.g., Nils Böckler and Thorsten Seeger, Schulamokläufer: Eine Analyse medialer TäterEigendarstellungen und deren Aneignung durch jugendliche Rezipienten (Weinheim and München: Juventa, 2009) and Paton, “Media Participation of School Shooters and Their Fans.”

22 See, e.g., Vossekuil et al., Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative; Mary Ellen O’Toole, The School Shooter: A Threat Assessment Perspective (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1999); Newman et al., Rampage.

23 Muschert provides a good overview of research on these different levels in his “Research in School Shootings.” The need for multilevel analyses is repeated in numerous studies, including, e.g., Newman et al., Rampage; Stuart Henry, “School Violence Beyond Columbine: A Complex Problem in Need of an Interdisciplinary Analysis,” American Behavioral Scientist 52: 9 (2009), 1246–65; Rebecca Bondü, H. Scheithauer, V. Leuschner, and D. Cornell, “International Perspectives on Prevention and Intervention in School Shootings;” Böckler et al., School Shootings.

24 This is explicitly stated in Newman and Fox, “Repeat Tragedy.” They do note that the recent cases of shootings in institutions of higher education may be different in certain respects. It seems that in those cases, the personal problems of the perpetrator are more advanced (possibly because the perpetrators tend to be older) and that the perpetrator is more clearly a loner.

25 It also has to be acknowledged that if the perpetrator faces difficulties in getting a gun, he or she may choose another weapon. The stabbing in a vocational school in Oulu, Finland, in October 2013 may be a case in point. The perpetrator had been questioned by the police due to the threats he had posted against his old school. This encounter made it very unlikely that he could have obtained a gun license (see “Oulu Suspect Reportedly Threatened Previous School,” YLE News, 11 October 2013, web site, http://yle.fi/uutiset/ oulu_suspect_reportedly_threatened_previous_school/6877207).

26 Newman et al., Rampage, 259–61.

27 Mass Shootings at Virginia Tech April 16, 2007: Report of the Review Panel—Presented to Governor Kaine, Commonwealth of Virginia (2007), 71–4.

28 Newman et al., Rampage, 70.

29 See, e.g., Vossekuil et al., Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative, 21. [30] Gibbs and Roche, “Columbine Tapes.”

ginal_Documents_files/Cho%20manifesto.pdf).

33 The Columbine shooting is a good example. Different researchers have diverging opinions about the issue of bullying. While Ralph Larkin argues that Harris and Klebold were indeed bullied and that they were strongly influenced by the merciless pecking order within the school, supported by the teachers, Dave Cullen instead argues that Harris was rather a psychopathic bully who talked the impressionable and troubled Klebold into joining him. Larkin, Comprehending Columbine; Dave Cullen, Columbine (London: Old St Publishing, 2009); Dave Cullen, “The Depressive and the Psychopath: At Last We Know Why the Columbine Killers Did It,” Slate, 20 April 2004. Available at www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/ assessment/2004/04/the_depressive_and_the_psychopath.html.

34 Newman et al., Rampage, 126–54; Larkin, Comprehending Columbine. [35] Newman et al., Rampage.

38 Newman et al., Rampage. In the follow-up study concerning U.S. school rampage shootings in 2002–2008, Newman and Fox found that the major share of shooters in those years had a documented history of mental health problems. This may suggest that troubled youths in need of help are now identified more often than before. Newman and Fox, “Repeat Tragedy,” 1286–1308.

39 Vossekuil et al., Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative; Newman et al., Rampage.

40 See, e.g., Peter Langman, “Rampage School Shooters: A Typology,” Aggression and Violent Behavior 14 (2009), 79–86. Langman suggests, based on an explorative study of ten school shooters, that in terms of individual psychological factors, there may be three types of school shooters: the traumatized, the psychotic, and the psychopathic. Traumatized shooters had a troubled family background, including physical and/or sexual abuse, parents who had substance abuse problems, and a criminal history. They typically had “fatherfigures who engaged in criminal behavior involving the misuse of firearms.” They were also influenced by encouragement from their peers for conducting the shooting. Psychotic shooters usually had an apparently intact family background, but showed schizophrenia-type symptoms prior to the incident, including paranoia, delusions, and impaired social functioning. They tended to be misfits in their own family, typically younger siblings from families with highperforming older siblings. Psychopathic shooters, for their part, also came from apparently solid families. The evidence about their behavior prior to the incident indicates a lack of empathy, skill in impression management, contempt for others, a sense of superiority, and sadistic behavior. They typically came from families with a long history of law-abiding firearms use. The shooter himself had a fascination with firearms. They were also sometimes able to recruit others to join them in the shooting.

41 Newman et al., Rampage, 229–30.

42 Moore et al., Deadly Lessons, 252, 256; Ferguson et al., “Psychological Profiles of School Shooters,” 12.

43 Moore et al., Deadly Lessons, 252.

44 Tomi Kiilakoski and Atte Oksanen, “Soundtrack for the School Shootings: Cultural Script, Music and Male Rage,” Young 19: 3, 250.

45 Newman et al., Rampage, 230.

47 E.g. Eric Harris’ diary, available at http://acolumbinesite.com/eric/writing/ journal/journal.html.

48 Böckler et al., “School Shootings,” 34.

49 Newman et al., Rampage, 71. Later, when interrogated, Carneal mentioned the movie Basketball Diaries as an example of a shooting spree like the one he committed. This has been widely mentioned as evidence of how popular culture products have influenced school shooters even though Carneal himself denied that the movie made any particular impression on him. He says he mentioned it only because he was asked to give an example by the interrogators.

50 “Media Companies Are Sued in Kentucky Shooting,” New York Times, 13 April 1999, available at www.nytimes.com/1999/04/13/us/media-companies-are- sued-in-kentucky-shooting.html?ref=michaelcarneal. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed (see Adam Liptak, “National Briefing-South: Kentucky: Rejecting Video Games-Massacre Link,” New York Times, 17 August 2002, available at www. nytimes.com/2002/08/17/us/national-briefing-south-kentucky-rejecting-video- games-massacre-link.html?ref=michaelcarneal.

51 Newman et al., Rampage, 252–3; Kiilakoski and Oksanen, “Soundtrack for the School Shootings,” 247–69.

52 See, e.g., Newman et al., Rampage; Henry, “School Violence Beyond Columbine,” 1246–65; Douglas Kellner, Guys and Guns Amok: Domestic Terrorism and School Shootings from the Oklahoma City Bombing to the Virginia Tech Massacre (Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2008); Rachel Kalish and Michael Kimmel, “Suicide by Mass Murder: Masculinity, Aggrieved Entitlement, and Rampage School Shootings,” Health Sociology Review 19: 4 (2010), 451–64.

53 Newman et al., Rampage, 247.

54 Michael Kimmel and Matthew Mahler, “Adolescent Masculinity, Homophobia, and Violence: Random School Shootings, 1982–2001,” American Behavioral Scientist 46 (2003), 1439–58; Kalish and Kimmel, “Suicide by Mass Murder,” 451–64. A similar kind of argument is put forward also in Newman et al., Rampage.

55 Kiilakoski and Oksanen, “Soundtrack for the School Shootings,” 251.

56 Newman et al., Rampage, 245–50. See also e.g., Kalish and Kimmel, “Suicide by Mass Murder, 451–64; Glenn W. Muschert and Massimo Ragnedda, “Media and Control of Violence: Communication in School Shootings;” Wilhelm Heitmeyer, Heinz-Gerhard Haupt, Stefan Malthaner, and Andrea Kirschner (eds), Control of Violence: Historical and International Perspectives on Violence in Modern Societies (New York: Springer, 2011).

57 Böckler et al., “School Shootings,” 35–6.

58 Gibbs and Roche, “Columbine Tapes;” see also Larkin, Comprehending Columbine, 155.

59 See e.g., Kellner, Guys and Guns Amok; Klein, Bully Society; Ralph W. Larkin, “Columbine: The School Shooting as a Postmodern Phenomenon,” in Michael Flynn and David C. Brotherton (eds), Globalising the Streets: Crosscultural Perspectives on Youth, Social Control and Empowerment (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), 203–15.

60 See especially Kellner, Guys and Guns Amok. See also Muschert and Sumiala, School Shootings, which explores the media dynamics of the school rampage shooting phenomenon.

61 Kiilakoski and Oksanen, “Soundtrack for the School Shootings,” 265. [62] Larkin, Comprehending Columbine.

63 Ramón Spaaij, for example, states that the Virginia Tech shooting should not be considered as a case of lone actor terrorism even if it is sometimes classified as such because the shooter through his communication “revealed himself as a deeply disturbed individual obsessed with violence and harboring profound and unexplained grievances, apparently against his fellow students.” Ramón Spaaij, Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism: Global Patterns, Motivations and Prevention (Dordrecht: Springer, 2012), 11.

64 See, e.g., Rebecca Bondü, School Shootings in Deutschland: Internationaler Vergleich, Warnsignale, Risikofaktoren, Entwicklungsverläufe. Dissertation, Freien Universität Berlin, 2012.

65 Larkin, “Afterword: Media and School Shootings,” 348. Elsewhere Larkin has called school shootings political acts (Larkin, “Columbine Legacy”) and a form of cultural terrorism (Larkin, “Columbine”).

66 Spaaij, Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism. [67] Böckler et al., “School Shootings,” 4.

68 This is attempted, although in a much smaller scale than in the study by Newman et al., in the analysis of the case of Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross (“Lone Wolf Islamic Terrorism: Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (Carlos Bledsoe) Case Study,” Terrorism and Political Violence 26: 1 (2014), 110–28.

69 In particular, Jeffrey Kaplan’s article on leaderless resistance comes to mind. Jeffrey Kaplan, “Leaderless Resistance,” Terrorism and Political Violence 9: 3 (1995), 80–95.

70 Cf. the conclusions in Mattias Gardell, “Crusader Dreams: Oslo 22/7, Islamophobia, and the Quest for a Monocultural Europe,” Terrorism and Political Violence 26: 1 (2014). See also Ritva Liisa Snellman, “. . . ja yksinäinen susi,” Helsingin Sanomat (Finland), 31 July 2011, in which it is explicitly discussed whether the synthesis explanation presented by Katherine Newman et al. may have explanatory power over the case. See also Sveinung Sandberg, Atte Oksanen, Lars Erik

Berntzen, and Tomi Kiilakoski, “Stories in Action: The Cultural Influences of School Shootings on Terrorist Attacks in Norway,” Critical Studies on Terrorism 7: 2 (2014), 277–96.

71 For lone actor terrorism, see Spaaij, Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism. For school rampage shootings, see Böckler et al., “School Shootings.”

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9 The active shooter threat

Profiling perpetrators for preemptive prevention

Joshua Sinai

As the previous chapter showed, school rampage shootings, such as 20-year-old Adam Lanza’s shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in mid-December 2012, have been followed by extensive public discussion about the need to preemptively identify the personality profiles and risk activities of such perpetrators during the formative pre-incident phases in order to prevent such horrific attacks from future occurrence. Yet, not all active shooter incidents take place at schools, with many occurring in places of employment and public venues such as shopping malls. With active shooter incidents occurring so frequently in America and around the world, it appears that new and more effective analytical methodologies and empirical data are still required to assist those involved, particularly in law enforcement and public health, to enable them to bring about a substantial decline in the rate and lethality of such incidents.

It is this chapter’s objective to contribute to the formulation of such new analytical frameworks by applying the comparative case study method to profile representative cases of active shooters across different countries and cultures—in this case, the United States, Israel, and Switzerland— which will make it possible to generate findings about their potentially common characteristics that will assist in the development of universally applicable preemptive and preventive strategies and policies.

This will be followed by a framework for preemptively preventing potential active shooter perpetrators during the four phases that typically precede such incidents, in which early-warning risk signals, in terms of susceptible mindsets and behaviors, that such attacks may be imminent can be observed. It includes examples of several such risky individuals who were reported to the authorities during their early pre-incident phases as illustrations of best practices in active shooter preemptive prevention.

Defining the active shooter

What is an “active shooter”? The term “active shooter” can be defined several ways. In its basic definition, an active shooter is an individual or a small group actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined space or populated area. The “active” component refers to the shooter’s continuing use of violent physical force while having unrestricted access to as many additional victims as possible. The shooter controls life and death until he or she stops of his or her own choosing, or is stopped by law enforcement. Active shooters usually do not take hostages (although a minority of cases do become hostage-taking incidents) or intend to negotiate; many take their own lives in the course of their acts (although some give themselves up); and while attempts at escape are unlikely, some shooters do surrender when confronted by law enforcement personnel as they are about to kill them.

Interestingly, while most active shooter events do not generate the sensationalist international headlines that were achieved by the shooting massacres by such figures as Major Nidal Hasan (5 November 2009: Fort Hood, Killeen, Texas, 12 killed and 32 wounded); Jared Lee Loughner (8 January 2011: Tucson, Arizona, 6 killed and 14 injured); Anders Behring Breivik (22 July 2011: Oslo, Norway, 8 killed; Utøya, Norway, 69 killed and

40 injured); James Holmes (30 July 2012: Aurora, Colorado, 12 killed and

58 wounded); Adam Lanza (14 December 2012: Newtown, Connecticut, 27 killed, and several injured); and Aaron Alexis (16 September 2013: Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., 13 killed and 8 injured), in all these cases the perpetrators displayed worrisome signs of potential risk of violence during their pre-incident phases, with such warning signs not reported to the appropriate authorities to allow preventive courses of action to be taken.

Some of these active shooter perpetrators, such as Nidal Hasan and Anders Behring Breivik, could easily be considered as terrorists, since their rage was also motivated by political objectives. Some terrorist attacks— such as the 26–29 November 2008 shooting and bombing attacks in Mumbai, India, as well as the 21–22 September 2013 attacks by Al-Shabaab against the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi, Kenya—could also be considered “active shooter” incidents. In the Mumbai attacks, like in many active shooter events, civilians in hotels, a train station, and a Jewish community center were deliberately and continuously targeted by the attackers, with 164 people killed and more than 300 injured. In the Nairobi attacks, the perpetrators continuously shot at their victims, as well as taking several of them hostage.

An active shooter differs from a barricaded gunman (or one possessing a bomb set to detonate), who poses a potential threat of injury or death to hostages, but is not in the process of actively causing death or injury. However, barricaded events still need to be considered potential active shooter threats because, as demonstrated by the Mumbai and Nairobi incidents, as well as two of the incidents discussed in the case studies, they may evolve into such incidents if the barricaded situation gets out of hand and the hostage taker begins to shoot (or threatens to shoot) his victims.

Although a hostage taker may quickly evolve into an active shooter, other types of intentional violence are excluded from this discussion. Thus, gang-related shootings, shootings that solely occur in domestic settings, and armed robberies, are excluded from this definition.

Profiling active shooters

In order to formulate generalizable profiles of the individuals who are susceptible to becoming active shooters (since most active shooter events involve few casualties and do not receive sensationalist international media coverage, despite their relatively frequent occurrence), the following profiles focus on six individuals from three different countries who are deemed to be representative of most active shooter perpetrators. Each profile begins with a concise account of the incident, followed by a section on the perpetrator’s pre-incident early-warning risk observables.

Active shooters in the United States

Andrew Engeldinger

On 27 September 2012, on a Thursday afternoon around 4:30 pm, an employee who had just been fired returned to his former place of employment, Accent Signage Systems, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and fatally shot four people, injuring four others, before killing himself. One of those injured later died. The other people in the office building fled in panic. Among the victims was Reuven Rahamim, aged 61, the company’s Israeliborn founder and owner, Rami Cooks (also Israeli-born), aged 62, and Keith Basinski, a 50-year-old UPS driver who was making a pickup at the signage company when he was fatally shot.

The shooter, Andrew Engeldinger, aged 36, who had worked on a signengraving machine at the company since the late 1990s, had been reprimanded for chronic tardiness and poor performance a week earlier. The day of the shooting, he was called to a meeting with the company’s top managers to be held later in the afternoon. Suspecting that he was about to be fired, prior to the meeting he went to his car to retrieve a Glock 9 mm semi-automatic handgun. Once he had been fired, Engeldinger pulled out his gun and proceeded to shoot the two managers, and then moved through the building where he proceeded to select additional employees as his victims.

Later, police officers who searched his South Minneapolis home found another loaded 9 mm Glock handgun, packaging for 10,000 rounds of ammunition, and other gun supplies. Engeldinger reportedly had practised shooting at a nearby rifle and pistol range.

PREINCIDENT EARLYWARNING RISK OBSERVABLES

According to newspaper reports, Engeldinger was considered very smart, although “odd,” “very quiet,” and a loner who generally “kept to himself.”[1] His parents told journalists that after being a high achiever in high school, their son stopped getting good grades. He “just didn’t have a lot of ambition anymore. He just dwindled,” they said.[2] One of the reasons for such psychological decline, according to his parents, was their son’s “growing paranoia” over the years.[3] Judging him to suffer from schizophrenia, in 2010 his parents sought to help him by enrolling him in a 12-week class for families of the mentally ill, which he refused to attend.[4] He also reportedly spurned their attempts at any contact with him. His parents said they were legally powerless to have him committed to a psychiatric institution because he was an adult and had never physically exhibited violent behavior.

As he continued to work at the signage company, however, his psychological disorder would manifest itself on numerous occasions in the years preceding his attack. According to a manager at his company, he would become “belligerent,” then, following some guidance by his manager, would “straighten up for a while,” with such patterns continuously recurring.[5] As explained by a mental health professional who served as a spokeswoman for his family following the shootings, “It’s not unusual when you’re isolating yourself, which we know that he did, that eventually the only people you have left [are] your family and your co-workers, and often your paranoia translates to them,” which helps to explain his periodic belligerency towards his co-workers.[6]

Such belligerency was also accompanied, according to his mother, by delusions and hallucinations of “a giant conspiracy that involved the government, the FBI, the police, people at work, people on the street. . . . It involved everybody.”[7]

All of this came to a violent head when Engeldinger was reprimanded and later fired.

John Zawahri

On 7 June 2013, 23-year-old John Zawahri, wearing battle fatigues, went on a violent rampage in Santa Monica, California, killing five people and injuring four others. The rampage had started with a domestic dispute involving his family, with Zawahri setting fire to the home of his father, whom he killed, where he also killed his older brother, who was living with his father at the time. These killings were followed by a series of shootings by Zawahri near and on the campus of Santa Monica College. To get there, Zawahri had carjacked a woman, directing her to the college and forcing her to stop so he could fire at vehicles and passers-by. Zawahri was killed by police officers when he began exchanging gunfire with them at the Santa Monica College library.

To carry out his shooting spree, Zawahri had reportedly built his own

.223-caliber assault rifle and had also modified a .44 revolver so that it could hold .45-caliber ammunition. The revolver was loaded during the shooting and was placed in his duffel bag. Although Zawahri fired about 100 rounds during the rampage, he reportedly carried 1,300 rounds of ammunition in magazines that were capable of holding 30 rounds each.[8]

Following the attacks, investigations uncovered additional weapons in Zawahri’s bedroom, such as illegal zip guns, as well as items that demonstrated his fascination with weapons, including four replica airsoft pellet guns, knives, and gun magazines.[9] Investigators also found materials that indicated he had likely assembled the weapon himself.

PREINCIDENT EARLYWARNING RISK OBSERVABLES

Zawahri’s shooting rampage was premeditated, given his extensive collection of armaments and his preparation for his attacks. While it is not known why Zawahri chose Santa Monica College as his targeted destination, why he targeted those killed, or why he chose that specific day for his operation, his violent rampage allegedly started over a bitter, years-long family dispute. Zawahri’s parents, who were originally from Lebanon and had married in 1985, had moved into the house on Yorkshire Avenue (where Zawahri had killed his father and brother) in 1996, but the mother had shortly thereafter (in 1998) separated from her husband and moved to an apartment in nearby Mar Vista, Los Angeles with her two sons. Attesting to bitter animosity between the parents, a short time later the mother had sought a restraining order against the father, but the case was dismissed when the mother failed to appear in court. Subsequently, Zawahri’s elder brother lived with the father at his residence on Yorkshire Avenue, while Zawahri lived in the apartment with his mother. At the time of the shooting, Zawahri’s mother was out of the country visiting her relatives in Lebanon.

He had left a handwritten note to say goodbye to friends, and expressed hope that his mother would be taken care of and receive recompense from his father’s estate.

Mental illness reportedly played a role in the killings. According to Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks, “We know his was a troubled life and that he experienced mental health challenges,” and,

We believe that his mental health challenges likely played a role in his decisions to shoot and kill both his father and his brother, to set fire to the family home, and to go on a 13-minute shooting spree spanning roughly 1.5 miles and which left five innocent people dead and three people injured.[10]

Zawahri had a long history of encounters with law enforcement. In 2006, bomb-making materials were found at his house during a police search prompted by repeated threats made against other students, teachers, and campus police officers at Olympic High in Santa Monica, a school for students with academic or disciplinary issues.[11] At the time, a teacher saw him surfing the Internet for information on assault weapons and instructions on making explosive devices. Zawahri was subsequently admitted to UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, where he was hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation. Following this examination, Zawahri was prohibited from accessing or possessing firearms for five years (which would have expired in 2011).

Following his graduation from Santa Monica High School, Zawahri enrolled at Santa Monica College in 2009. At the time, Zawahri had no disciplinary problems, but dropped out of the college in the fall of 2010.

It is reported that Zawahri had attempted to purchase a weapon in 2011 but was denied by the California Department of Justice, likely due to the 2006 incident. Despite that denial, however, Zawahri succeeded in purchasing the component parts to construct his own weapon, including obtaining an array of magazines.

At the time this paper was written, it was not known (at least outside Los Angeles police department and public health circles) what other earlywarning risk signs were exhibited by Zawahri during the period from 2011 to June 2013 that could have been picked up and notified to the Los Angeles police authorities in an attempt to preempt him from carrying out his attacks.

Active shooters in Israel

William Hershkowitz

On 5 October 2012, 23-year-old William Hershkowitz fired four shots at 33-year-old Abed Armando Shukhallah, his former supervisor, after a fight broke out between the men following the termination of Hershkowitz’s employment at the Leonardo Club Hotel in the southern Israeli resort city of Eilat. Shukhallah, an Arab Israeli from a Christian village in the northern Galilee region, worked as the hotel restaurant’s assistant chef. After a brief standoff in the hotel kitchen in which Hershkowitz had barricaded himself, repeatedly shooting at Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) counterterrorism commandos who had attempted to apprehend him, he was killed at the scene (although according to another report, he had actually killed himself[12]).

PREINCIDENT EARLYWARNING RISK OBSERVABLES

Hershkowitz had arrived in Israel on 27 August 2012, and was enrolled in an internship program called Oranim for American Jews interested in working in the hospitality industry. He was supposed to be in Israel for five months, with other program members, to travel around the country and learn Hebrew. He had worked in several positions at the hotel and took a course in hotel management. According to Oranim, Hershkowitz had lost his job as a trainee sous-chef at the hotel for disciplinary reasons, a day prior to his shooting rampage. “The HR manager of the hotel received several complaints [about Hershkowitz] and they decided that he would leave the hotel, and would leave the project,” said program spokesman Yuval Arad.[13] Reportedly, Hershkowitz had blamed Shukhallah for having him fired from his job.

Hershkowitz’s criminal and medical records revealed no early-warning risk signs for a potential active shooter, only that he was a “young disenfranchised Jew trying to find himself.” However, rather than this incident being simply a work-related dispute, other program participants had complained in the past about Hershkowitz’s violent tendencies, including the issuing of death threats against other participants.[14] “He would talk to himself, share dreams that he’d had about random killings and mutilations that he did, he would have statements against Arabs or Nazis or terrorist type movements,” one participant added.[15] Hershkowitz’s roommate had reported that he would wake up in the middle of the night and punch walls. Another program participant said that there “was something strange in his smile.”[16]

However, the Oranim program’s coordinators had ignored the repeated complaints from the other participants.

In the days leading up to his violent rampage, Hershkowitz was described as “nervous.”[17] The hotel’s security footage showed that he ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant immediately before grabbing the security guard’s gun.[18]

Itamar Alon

On 20 May 2013, at around 9:30 am, Itamar Alon entered a Bank Hapoalim branch in Beersheva, Israel, but left after the bank’s clerks rejected his request to withdraw money from his already depleted account. Reportedly, it was during this time that he went to his nearby apartment (he was living with his parents), and picked up his gun and three magazines of ammunition. At around 11:30 am he returned to the bank branch, but sat at its entrance for some 90 minutes. At around 1:00 pm, he proceeded to start firing a Glock semi-automatic handgun, killing Cohen, the branch manager, and Zeitoun, the loan officer, as well as two customers, and seriously wounding another customer.

This active shooter incident soon turned into a hostage-taking event when Alon held Miriam Cohen, one of the female bank employees, hostage. When a police SWAT and hostage negotiating team arrived at the bank, Alon refused to respond to police negotiators who called out to him from the other side of the door. The negotiation attempts continued for almost an hour, with a police spokesman explaining that “We tried to negotiate and we couldn’t—he did not communicate with us.”[19] Then a single shot was heard—with Alon shooting himself, in an apparent suicide. His hostage, fortunately, remained alive.

PREINCIDENT EARLYWARNING RISK OBSERVABLES

Alon was 40 years old, unemployed, and single (he had never married). He had lived with his parents near the bank. He was a former captain in the Israeli border police and had previously worked as a security coordinator for his city’s local educational institutions. He had a permit for his gun, but it was not clear at the time why that permit had been extended, since he had not been working in security for over a decade.[20] In 2002, following a reserve stint, Alon’s battalion commander had decided to dismiss him from army service due to his aggressive conduct and concern over his performance in the army, which one of his commanders considered to be rash and dangerous.[21] His erratic behavior also alarmed his commanders who were worried he would unnecessarily endanger his own troops. Alon later served in a battalion in the Home Front Command, but was released from reserve duty—for reasons the IDF had not divulged.[22]

Alon started working as a security guard in Beersheva after he was discharged from military service. Although he was awarded a medal in 2002 for helping to disrupt a terrorist attack, a year later complaints were lodged against him for poor interpersonal behavior in his workplace. A coworker said he showed little consideration for his colleagues, was extremely inflexible in his positions, and given to aggressive outbursts. He was fired from his position after he appeared at a local school holiday celebration wearing a faux suicide belt. A school teacher had complained to him about the costume, with Alon responding with threats. Following his firing, he remained unemployed. Although he filed an appeal against what he felt was his unlawful termination, the judge ruled that his poor people skills warranted his dismissal.

While living with his parents, Alon’s neighbors described him as “strange” and “a dangerous man,” who spent hours pacing his balcony.[23] A neighbor added that Alon “was a strange person, a real weirdo. You never knew what to expect of him.” It was also reported that Alon had been briefly detained by police for fiddling with the apartment building’s air-conditioning.

Despite Alon’s troubled personality, however, he was permitted to hold on to the weapon he was issued as a security guard because of his concern for his personal safety following his 2002 thwarting of the terrorist attack.

While Alon’s shooting rampage at the bank branch may have been a revenge attack against the bank over his financial dispute, other factors are likely to have come into play, since many customers feel some sort of disgruntlement against their financial institutions. According to Yaakov Rofe, an Israeli psychologist, his behavior likely stemmed from a state of stress and depression combined with a difficult financial situation and a history of previous failures. In such situations, people who are angry and have violent inclinations tend to express their anger and frustration through violence, particularly when they possess a weapon.[24]

Active shooters in Switzerland

Florian Berthouzoz

On 3 January 2013, 33-year-old Florian Berthouzoz leaned out of his apartment window in the village of Daillon, about 50 miles southeast of Lausanne, and in a drunken rampage opened fire with an old military carbine and a 12-gauge shotgun, killing three women, apparently at random, and wounding two men. He later came out into the street, police said, adding that he appeared to have fired more than 20 shots. After threatening police when they tried to arrest him, he was shot by a police officer in the chest, and placed under armed guard in a Swiss hospital.

PREINCIDENT EARLYWARNING RISK OBSERVABLES

According to published reports, Berthouzoz was expelled from the Swiss army for threatening people with guns, and had his weapons confiscated in 2005. He was also considered mentally ill. He had been in psychiatric care in 2005, following intervention by his family and the police.[25] Although his legally held guns were seized and destroyed at that time, he apparently still retained several firearms. He was unemployed, and, as a ward of the court, lived on his welfare and disability benefits. He had a history of drug abuse and had been convicted of marijuana use.

Friedrich Heinz Leibacher

On 28 September 2001, 57-year-old Friedrich Leibacher made his way into the parliament building of the Swiss canton of Zug and unleashed a shooting rampage, killing 14 members of the parliament and injuring 18 others, before committing suicide. Two journalists were also seriously injured in the shootings. Leibacher had entered the government building disguised as a police officer, and armed with a combat rifle and a SIG-Sauer pistol, as well as Remington and Smith & Wesson revolvers. Running upstairs to the council chamber, he cried, “Attention! This is a police operation,” before opening fire for about four minutes, firing more than 90 shots in all.[26] Finally Leibacher left the hall, but turned back to throw an explosive device into the room. According to reports, while in one of the corridors, he then shot himself.[27]

In his car, he had left a letter justifying his attack, entitled “Day of Reckoning for the Zug Mafia.”[28] The letter contained wild accusations against the authorities, denouncing the “whole Mafia judiciary of Zug” for adopting “illegal and criminal means” to victimize him.[29]

PREINCIDENT EARLYWARNING RISK OBSERVABLES

Leibacher was born in the canton of Zug in 1944, spending much of his life drifting restlessly around the world. He worked for a while as a clerical assistant in Zurich.

Prior to his shooting rampage, numerous early-warning risky behaviors were evident. Leibacher’s first criminal offense occurred in 1970, when he was 26, and he was sentenced by the Zug criminal court to 18 months’ detention for “repeated participation in organized theft, receipt of stolen goods, business fraud and a sexual offence against children.”[30] He served his sentence in a detention facility. After leaving the detention center, he was diagnosed with the personality disorder of a criminal psychopath who was obsessed with weapons.[31]

In the 1970s and 1980s, Leibacher was accused of a variety of criminal offenses, including illegally importing handguns into Switzerland. He was also sued for an assault in September 1982 against street pedestrians. He had also repeatedly engaged in violent threats against others, including workers at a regional employment agency.

In what was considered a precursor to his 2001 violent rampage, in 1998, while at a bar, he got into a heated argument with a bus driver employed by the Zug transport company, threatening him with a revolver. This quickly escalated into various legal proceedings against him. Believing he was the target of a government conspiracy, Leibacher proceeded to file complaints against officials from the Zug canton, including a council member. In September 2001 his complaints were dismissed by a court, which likely triggered his vengeful rampage against the parliament building later that month.

Preventing active shooter events

With the understanding that these profiles of six active shooters are preliminary and sketchy—as opposed to fully fledged forensic psychiatric autopsies of the shooters’ “mental” state—what is striking about the profiles is that all of the perpetrators exhibited the common pre-incident early-warning risk signs. While known to those who associated with them, these signs were not always reported to the appropriate authorities, whether law enforcement or mental health, with the aim of long-term prevention. Thus, even though Engeldinger, Zawahri, Alon, Berthouzoz, and Leibacher were known to be highly troubled individuals, somehow their susceptibility to becoming active shooters did not raise the level of concern that would have preemptively stopped their risky behaviors during the formative pre-incident phases that preceded their attacks.

How can potential active shooters be identified and stopped prior to their intended attacks? It is possible for those who come into contact with such violence-prone individuals in the early pre-incident phases to identify and preempt such incidents. The pre-incident phase may be said to consist of four distinct phases. Although these phases are discussed sequentially, this is not intended to suggest that active shooter attacks play out in a sequential or linear fashion. It is possible, in fact, for some active shooters to bypass some of the phases or combine them into a single phase. The time frames may vary, as well, with some attacks planned within hours, while others will be planned over days, weeks, or months in advance.

The first phase (“Cognitive Opening”) is the most significant phase for early intervention because those who are susceptible to becoming active shooters invariably begin to exhibit signs of worsening changes in their “mindsets,” such as intensification of their animosity, sense of grievance, and blame towards others for their own misfortunes. Those who might suffer from psychological and psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, may become increasingly delusional, paranoid, or hallucinatory, while losing touch with reality. They may also exhibit severe mood swings that are visible to those around them.

Behaviorally, early-warning signs are generally manifested by increasing social withdrawal and isolation, and reduced levels of functioning and productivity, leading to, for example, dropping out of school or poor job performance. In other situations, there might be especially aggressive outbursts of anger against those dealing with them.

It is during this formative pre-incident phase that the potential active shooter usually begins the process of viewing violence against others as an acceptable and desirable way to solve his or her problems. They also begin to imagine taking revenge against their perceived adversaries, including actually beginning to imagine the violent event at which the revenge will take place.

While a majority of individuals exhibiting such risky mindsets and behaviors are not likely to carry out vengeful killings, some might. To distinguish such violence-prone individuals in the first phase, their personality characteristics and their activities need, at this stage, to be identified and assessed by those who come into contact with them. These are likely to have a high predictive value in determining potential violent intent.

It must be pointed out, however, that such cognitive and behavioral risk indicators apply to numerous individuals with troubled personalities who are not likely to embark on active shooter-type violence, and that appropriate preemptive counseling, including psychological and psychiatric therapies, are generally sufficient to treat their symptoms and enable them to lead normal and peaceful lives.

Carrying out a shooting spree is something that the perpetrator fantasizes about, plans, and rehearses in advance of an attack. It is during the second phase (“Planning”) that their tactical planning takes place, although some may do little or no planning, and may attack spontaneously, while others engage in extensive planning, including pre-operational surveillance of their intended targets. Intervention is possible at this phase because some might write out their plans in a notebook, on their computer, or on an Internet social media web site, or even discuss it with others.

It is during the third phase (“Preparation”) that the individual will attempt to obtain the weapons, ammunition, and supplies necessary to carry out the planned incident. They will attempt to obtain the weapons, whether legally or by theft, will hide them in a designated place, and attempt to become proficient in using them. Intervention is possible at this phase. For example, if an individual is known to have a personality disorder, those around him or her may wonder why the individual is acquiring weapons and training to be proficient in firing them.

The following is an example of successful intervention at this phase. On 27 July 2011, a potential active shooter, Private First Class Nasser Jason Abdo, absent without leave (AWOL) from his army base at the time, allegedly bent on carrying out an attack similar to Major Nidal Hasan’s against

U.S. military servicemen, returned to a gun store in Killeen, Texas, to make purchases of ammunition that appeared suspicious to the store’s salesmen. The alert salesmen immediately contacted the Killeen Police Department, who tracked Abdo to his hotel, where they proceeded to arrest him.

In another example of successful intervention at this phase, in November 2012 a mother decided to turn her 20-year-old son in to police authorities after discovering that he had purchased a pair of assault rifles and 400 rounds of ammunition.[32] The son, Blaec Lammers, had reportedly become so infatuated with the Aurora, Colorado shootings that he began to collect weapons and ammunition in order to carry out a similar mass shooting at the showing of The Twilight Saga 2: Breaking Dawn at a movie theater in Bolivar, Missouri. Lammers shared a similar psychological profile to other active shooters. As explained by his mother, he was “very quiet,” “very much a loner,” “had a hard time making friends,” and “felt like he was a failure.”[33]

The fourth phase (“Approaching the Target”) is the closest and most dangerous time prior to the planned attack. Here, the shooter has already developed his attack plan, obtained the weapons and ammunition, and is beginning to act on his plan for the attack. In this phase the shooter will attempt to travel to the target location, armed with his weapons. This phase, nevertheless, also presents an opportunity for intervention. Although the shooter will attempt to avoid any outward behavior that might arouse suspicion, he may nevertheless act furtively and suspiciously, for instance, by trying not to be noticed or by acting nervously.

In conclusion, with more information being disseminated about the early-warning risk signs that are exhibited by potential active shooters, hopefully such risky mindsets and behaviors will be noticed by those close to them at the earliest pre-incident phases in order to prevent the fifth and final phase—“Implementing the Attack”—from actually taking place. When it comes to early-warning risk signs, there are clear similarities between potential active shooters and other types of lone actor terrorists. This will be the subject of the final chapters.

Notes

1 Daily Mail Reporter and Associated Press, “Minneapolis Office Gunman Had Packaging for 10,000 ROUNDS of Ammo at His Home When He Killed His Boss and Four Others. . . Just Hours after He Was Laid Off from Sign Shop Job,” Mail Online, 27 September 2012.

2 Cathy Wurzer, “Engeldinger Parents Describe Their Son’s Struggles with Mental Illness,” MPR News, 16 October 2012.

3 Abby Simons, Paul Walsh, Matt McKenney and Randy Furst, “Andrew Engeldinger Lost His Job, then Opened Fire, Killing 5,” Star Tribune, 29 September 2012.

4 Patrick Condon, “Minneapolis Workplace Shootings: Gunman Had Been ‘Mouthy’ for Months,” Associated Press, 29 September 2012.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Wurzer, “Engeldinger Parents Describe Their Son’s Struggles with Mental Illness.”

8 Michael Martinez, “Santa Monica Gunman Left Farewell Note Apologizing for Killing Father, Brother,” CNN, 16 June 2013.

9 Tami Abdollah, “Police: Santa Monica Gunman Left Farewell Note,” Associated Press, 14 June 2013.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

12 Marci Oster, “American Who Shot Eilat Hotel Employee Killed Himself, Police Probe Finds,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 7 November 2012.

13 Oron Dan, “NYer shot dead after killing boss at Israel hotel: cops,” New York Post, 6 October 2012.

14 Ben Sales, “Eilat Shooting Raises Questions about Recruitment for Israel Programs,” JTA, 10 October 2012.

15 Allison Kaplan Sommer, “An American Jew Goes Postal in Eilat: Who’s to Blame for William Hershkowitz?” Ha’aretz, 11 October 2012.

16 Oron Dan, “NYer shot dead after killing boss at Israel hotel: cops.” [17] Ibid.

18 Ibid.

19 Times of Israel Staff, “Disgruntled Customer Kills Four in Beersheba Bank Rampage,” Times of Israel, 20 May 2013.

20 Ibid.

21 Gili Cohen, Amos Harel, and Dan Even, “IDF Doesn’t Tell When It Boots Soldiers for Aggressive Behavior,” Ha’aretz, 24 May 2013.

22 Amos Harel and Yanir Yagna, “Be’er Sheva Bank Shooter Dismissed from IDF Post for Attacking Palestinians, Released from Reserve Duty,” Ha’aretz, 23 May 2013.

23 Times of Israel Staff, “Disgruntled Customer Kills Four in Beersheba Bank Rampage.”

24 Yaakov Rofe, “The Psychology of a Murderer,” Israel Hayom, 23 May 2013.

25 Emily Alpert, “Three Women Killed in Swiss Village Shooting,” Los Angeles Times, 3 January 2013.

26 Peter Schwarz, “Mass Shooting Reveals Dark Side of Swiss Society,” World Socialist Web Site, 9 October 2001.

27 Ibid.

28 “Fifteen Dead after Shootings in Zug Parliament,” SwissInfo, Ch, 27 September 2001.

29 Schwarz, “Mass Shooting Reveals Dark Side of Swiss Society.” [30] Ibid.

31 Ibid.

32 Michelle Castillo, “Police Arrest Mo. Man Planning Mass Shooting at ‘Breaking Dawn’ Screening, Walmart,” CBS News, 16 November 2012.

33 “Mom Turns In Son to Prevent a Massacre,” Inside Edition, 21 November 2012.

Bibliography

Blair, J. Pete, and Katherine W. Schweit. A Study of Active Shooter Incidents between 2000 and 2013. Washington, D.C.: Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, 2014.

New York City Police Department (NYPD). Active Shooter: Recommendations and Analysis for Risk Mitigation. NYPD, 2012.

News sources

Associated Press CNN

Ha’aretz Inside Edition Israel Hayom

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Los Angeles Times Mail Online MPR News

New York Post Star Tribune Times of Israel

World Socialist Web Site

10 Lone actor terrorism and CBRN weapons

Michael Fredholm

[A] hand grenade that explodes in one of New York’s streets, is better than a nuclear bomb capable of destroying half of New York that does not explode!

Ibn al-Tanzim (pseud.), jihadist sympathizer, 2007[1]

A persistent nightmare is the potential use by terrorists of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Since the technical means for creating such weapons are more readily available than in the past, the argument goes that the likelihood of terrorists using such weapons is greater as well. And even if the likelihood remains slim, the apocalyptic effects of a successful masscasualty WMD attack by terrorists would be so great that the need to preempt such an attack no doubt outweighs the cost of doing so. There is a lone actor scenario here as well. The ‘super-empowered individual’ with potential to wreak unprecedented damage is a powerful image which in the past was confined to James Bond movies. Yet, he has also been a feature of academic debate for more than a decade.[2]

The possible outcome of a mass-casualty WMD attack is certainly sufficiently severe that there is a need to follow developments in the field and be vigilant in case early-warning signs appear that indicate terrorist plans for such an attack. However, careful analysis of the threat indicates that the terrorist focus on such weapons may not be quite as obvious as is commonly believed. This chapter will attempt to explain what is known about terrorists and weapons of mass destruction, with a particular emphasis on how a lone actor terrorist might become involved.

First, a clarification. The term WMD will not be further used in this volume, since this term is seldom defined in a way that has a bearing on terrorism. Yes, the detonation of a nuclear bomb by a terrorist group would constitute terrorist use of a weapon of mass destruction, but so was, in judicial terms, the use of the passenger airliners which were flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 11 September 2001. Although the latter event caused almost three thousand fatalities, there is still a magnitude of difference which makes it unhelpful to compare the two events, the one real and the other imagined, from an analytical point of view. So, this work will instead use the term chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons, which is more easily defined since it differentiates between the different weapons included under the name. The term CBRN is a replacement for the term NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical), which in turn replaced the obsolete term ABC (atomic, biological, and chemical) which was used early in the Cold War.[3] CBRN weapons can be used to cause mass casualties, but they can, and are more commonly designed to, fulfill tactical demands, to disrupt or prevent activities or disrupt defense systems. So, for instance, chemical weapons have been used to reduce the capacity of a military opponent by forcing him to use protective clothing, which reduces mobility, visibility, and so on. Likewise, police use of tear gas is an attempt to use a non-lethal chemical weapon to reduce the ability of rioters or criminals to operate. Criminals can adopt similar methods to immobilize an hostage or subdue civilians during, for instance, a bank robbery. Terrorists could employ the same tactics to disrupt an unwanted activity, without causing a large number of fatalities. This would still qualify as terrorist use of CBRN weapons—but not weapons of mass destruction.

Terrorist interest in CBRN weapons

Terrorists of various professed ideologies have long had an interest in CBRN weapons, and expressions of the intent to acquire a CBRN capacity have been fairly common. White supremacist and extreme right wing movements have considered the use of CBRN weapons for some time, and a few have tried, although with little success.[4] Plenty of manuals, particularly on the production of poisons, can be found on the Internet, but most are of doubtful value for those who would actually set out to build a CBRN device. A considerable amount of such information was also included in the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik.[5] Neither Breivik’s manifesto nor many of the earlier ones offer much genuinely useful information for the prospective CBRN terrorist, yet these works can certainly inspire others to research the matter more thoroughly.

The most outspoken expressions of terrorist intent to acquire and use CBRN weapons derive from the jihadist movement. Al-Qaida leader Usamah bin Ladin reportedly declared his intention to acquire weapons of mass destruction on or about 29 May 1998, when he issued a statement entitled “The Nuclear Bomb of Islam” under the banner of the International Islamic Front for Fighting the Jews and the Crusaders, in which he stated that “it is the duty of the Muslims to prepare as much force as possible to terrorize the enemies of God.”[6] Usamah bin Ladin reiterated his view in an interview in December 1998. “We don’t consider it a crime if we tried to have nuclear, chemical, biological weapons,” he said. “Our holy land is occupied by Israeli and American forces. We have the right to defend ourselves and to liberate our holy land.” He added: acquiring weapons for the defence of Muslims is a religious duty. If I have indeed acquired these weapons, then I thank God for enabling me to do so. And if I seek to acquire these weapons, I am carrying out a duty. It would be a sin for Muslims not to try to possess the weapons that would prevent the infidels from inflicting harm on Muslims.[7]

In late 2001, Usamah bin Ladin in another interview even claimed to have a CBRN capability: “we have chemical and nuclear weapons as a deterrent and if America used them against us we reserve the right to use them.”[8] This was presumably an empty threat, at least as far as nuclear weapons were concerned. Yet, as will be shown, experiments with various kinds of chemical and biological compounds took place in Afghanistan among both Al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Among jihadists, serious discussion on nuclear weapons in particular only got underway around the time of, and no doubt inspired by, the subsequent U.S. plans for an invasion of Iraq. The first known statement on a jihadist web site to the effect that Muslims needed nuclear weapons to combat the United States was published in December 2002.[9] In May 2003, the Saudi sheikh Nasir al-Fahd (b. 1968) published a fatwa on legal justifications for the use of weapons of mass destruction against infidels. He concluded that Muslims are allowed the use of weapons of mass destruction against enemies who cannot be defeated by other means.[10] His fatwa has since been republished by various web sites and in various languages, including Arabic, English, and Russian. So, for instance, the Caucasus Emirate published the fatwa in January 2010.[11] The online publication of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Inspire, soon afterwards devoted some efforts to encourage the use of CBRN weapons. In issue 2, published in fall 2010, it argued its case for the destruction of the United States from a moral perspective: “If there were a nation today that deserves to be destroyed by a nuclear blast, which one would it be? Shouldn’t it be the one that has used nuclear weapons on innocent and helpless people?”[12] The same issue of Inspire also went on to discuss other, in its view more realistic, CBRN weapons:

For those mujahid brothers with degrees in microbiology or chemistry lays the greatest opportunity and responsibility. For such brothers we encourage them to develop a weapon of mass destruction, i.e., an effective poison with the proper method of delivery. Poisonous gases such as nerve gas are not out of reach for the chemist and require simple equipment. A microbiologist would be capable of developing the most effective strains of Clostridium botulinum and thus develop the most lethal toxin of all: botulin. An effective botulin attack administered properly could lead to hundreds if not thousands of casualties. For such brothers we would ask them to take the utmost security precautions and take their time even if that means years. Such an operation is worth the wait. Brothers with less experience in the fields of microbiology or chemistry as long as they posses [sic] basic scientific knowledge would be able to develop other poisons such as ricin or cyanide.[13]

The noted need for a “proper method of delivery” means that the editors of Inspire had considered the problem seriously, since this is otherwise an often forgotten aspect of CBRN weapons. A CBRN weapon consists of two entities, the CBRN agent or material and the accompanying delivery or dispersal system. Without the latter, the CBRN agent or material may, although terrorizing, be of only limited, or without, lethality. Even so, the context of this appeal was a long list of more or less inventive ideas to kill perceived enemies, in which the suggestion to employ poisons was only one among many, and the one mentioned last. It cannot be compared in gravity to, for instance, Nasir al-Fahd’s fatwa. The publication focused far more on conventional weapons, and mainly recommended simple and easily available ones such as knives and guns.

More than a year later, issue 8 of Inspire contained a posthumously published article by the late Anwar al-Awlaki, another influential sheikh who had the authority to issue a fatwa on the subject. It explained the legality of targeting non-combatants in countries that are at war with Muslims, justifying this through references to Islamic law and with fundamentally the same arguments that al-Fahd had used. The article concluded, based on theological arguments: “The use of poisons or chemical and biological weapons against population centers is allowed and is strongly recommended due to its great effect on the enemy.”[14]

Later in the year, in August 2012, another jihadist web publication, issue 3 of the oddly named Al Qaeda Airlines, contained a comprehensive description of two poisonous substances: ricin and nicotine.[15] The two previous issues of the publication had recycled old, already published information on topics such as explosives, poisons, and tactics. Issue 3, however, contained apparently new information, which shows that the intention to develop new CBRN weapons was there.

Chemical weapons

Chemical weapons have a history that goes back centuries in conventional military warfare.[16] In 1974, the Yugoslavian-born engineer Muharem Kurbegovic (the Alphabet Bomber) experimented with chemicals and threatened to release sarin gas in populated areas in the United States on behalf of the fictitious group Aliens of America.[17] However, the only full-scale terrorist attack so far which involved chemical weapons took place in 1995, when the Japanese religious group Aum Shinrikyô carried out a sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway, killing 13 and injuring some six thousand people. If the method of delivery had been handled more efficiently, it is likely that the result would have been additional fatalities. Lesser attacks which involved the release of poison gas of various kinds in the period 1993–1995 were also eventually connected to the cult.[18]

In 2003, it seems likely that Al-Qaida aimed for something similar to the Tokyo subway gas attack. Information found in a computer in Saudi Arabia suggests that the group planned to spread cyanide gas in the New York subway. However, the operation was never carried out. Besides, a technical analysis of the scheme suggests that most cyanide would have been destroyed, not dispersed, if the plan had been attempted.[19] Neither explosives nor chemicals were ever found, so the plan may have been aborted. It may not be a coincidence that this plan seems to have been prepared in Saudi Arabia, in the same year as the aforementioned Saudi sheikh Nasir al-Fahd issued his fatwa on the use of weapons of mass destruction against infidels.

In 2006 and 2007, Al-Qaida in Iraq carried out multiple attacks using chlorine tanker trucks. The tanker trucks were fitted with conventional explosives. When detonated, the chlorine gas was released. The chlorine exposure caused considerable interest in the media, and a total of several hundred people sought medical treatment for chlorine exposure in the multiple attacks, but, as far as is known, the chlorine gas caused less damage than the explosives.[20]

Furthermore, there have been repeated reports that the Afghan Taliban carried out attacks on girls’ schools during which some chemical substance was used. This resulted in people seeking medical treatment but, as far as is known, no fatalities.[21]

As these events show, terrorists have used crude chemical weapons on several occasions. Even so, a lesser known but almost greater danger than terrorist use of chemical weapons is posed by chemical industries, oil refineries, and other hazardous-materials plants or transportation facilities, should terrorists choose to target such installations in order to release hazardous chemicals and cause contamination. The scale of disaster in case of a terrorist attack would depend on wind speed, direction, and the ambient temperature. However, compared to nuclear power plants, which are comparatively few and often heavily guarded, chemical plants are far more numerous and usually without adequate protection. Being in most cases commercial entities, they have less incentive to spend large amounts on security aimed at protecting against an attack that might, after all, never come. They are often located in close proximity to major residential areas. Even worse, dangerous chemicals are often transported by rail or road without any form of protection, leaving them vulnerable to attack as they are passing through major population centers.[22]

Biological weapons

Biological warfare too has a long history in conventional military warfare, ever since its first uses in the form of poisoned arrows or for the poisoning of wells and water supply.[23]

However, the first successful biological warfare attack attributed to terrorists took place only in 1984. A religious group based in the United States and led by an Indian guru known as Baghwan Shree Rajneesh by simple means spread salmonella bacteria in the salad bars in a number of restaurants, a grocery store, a public building, and at a political rally. The background was that the group settlement, called Rajneeshpuram after the guru, could not get along with neighbors and local authorities. At least 751 people fell ill in the ensuing salmonella outbreak, but there were no fatalities, and it took some time before it was even realized that an outbreak had taken place.[24]

In June 1993, the aforementioned Japanese religious group Aum Shinrikyô sprayed aerosolized anthrax spores from, oddly enough, their headquarters building in Kameido, a part of Tokyo. The cult had constructed a delivery system that involved the pumping of a liquid bacterial solution up eight floors of their headquarters building to an aerosol dispersal device on the roof. The spraying resulted in numerous public complaints to the health authorities concerning odors emanating from the building but no other effects. The group had by mischance (for them) acquired a veterinary vaccine strain of anthrax which had little possibility of endangering human life. It was only the later testimony of cult members and a retrospective investigation which eventually revealed that there had been an anthrax release.[25]

In September 2001, a series of letters which contained anthrax spores were sent through the U.S. postal system to a number of journalists, government offices and senators, including Tom Brokaw at NBC-TV, the editor of the New York Post, and Senators Thomas Daschle and Patrick Leahy. On 5 October, an editor at a Florida tabloid newspaper died of inhaled anthrax infection, being the first of five Americans, including two postal workers, who eventually died in the 18 confirmed cases of anthrax infection. By mid-October, 31 U.S. Senate staff tested positive for anthrax exposure, and much of the U.S. Capitol closed until further notice.[26] In 2008, the FBI named Bruce Ivins as the perpetrator of the anthrax attacks. Ivins was a respected veteran scientist who had worked on anthrax at the

U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. However, Ivins had committed suicide shortly before the allegations were made, so he was never prosecuted. Hence, questions remain about the case, which seems to have depended on circumstantial evidence. According to the FBI, Ivins had displayed aberrational behavior, including alcoholism, depression, and self-described bouts of paranoia.[27] Although questions remain with regard to the case, it does indeed give the impression of having involved a lone actor terrorist.

In November 2001, that is, soon after the U.S. anthrax cases, suspicious letters containing anthrax spores were sent to three private businesses in Pakistan, including to the country’s largest Urdu-language daily, Jang, in the city of Karachi. Neither perpetrator nor motive was, as far is known, ever identified.[28]

In fall 2011, a letter containing anthrax spores was sent to Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani. The letter was subsequently tracked to a small post office on the Jamshoro University campus in the southern province of Sindh. As in the U.S. case a decade earlier, suspicions were directed against what might have been a lone actor within the academic scientific community.[29] If so, this was the second identified lone actor terrorist who employed letters containing anthrax spores.

The Afghan Taliban too displayed an interest in acquiring and using anthrax as a form of biological warfare. Following the invasion of Afghanistan, American forces discovered a half-finished laboratory near Kandahar, which they believe was ultimately intended to produce anthrax. No biological agents were found, however.[30] There may have been a link with the Pakistani non-governmental organization called Ummah Tamir-e Nau (“Foundation for Reconstruction,” UTN) which, until the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, had offices in Taliban-controlled Kabul. The president of UTN, Bashiruddin Mahmood, one of Pakistan’s leading nuclear scientists as well as a radical Muslim, was held in detention for some time in Pakistan due to his links with the Taliban. Although the UTN officially assisted the Taliban government with flourmills, school textbooks, and road repair, evidence left in the organization’s Kabul office when its personnel fled together with the Taliban seems to indicate that it was involved in various biological weapons projects, including the use of anthrax.[31]

The interest among the Afghan Taliban and allied jihadist groups such as Al-Qaida in biological weapons did not end with the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. There have been reports of multiple small-scale attacks in which cooks working for the international military forces in Afghanistan but with sympathies for jihadism attempted to poison food. The effect, if any, was limited. Most of what is known about these attempts, which in reality is very little, derives from Taliban propaganda. Besides, it is usually unknown whether these poisons were chemical or biological in origin. A typical example was a Taliban communiqué in February 2012 which claimed than an Afghan cook had poisoned the food of American soldiers at a military base in Nangarhar province, killing five.[32] As with other Taliban reports of this kind, there is no corroborating evidence.

Even so, it is known that in the late 1990s and the early 2000s Al-Qaida on multiple occasions attempted to produce poisons of various kinds.[33] Some were chemical in origin, others biological. The group was apparently particularly interested in the biological agent ricin, formulas for which were found in abandoned Al-Qaida buildings in Kabul.[34] In a cache of 64 video tapes, spanning more than a decade, several were found to be recordings of poison tests on animals.[35]

Then there was the Al-Qaida international poison cell network which

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell brought to light in his presentation to the United Nations in February 2003.[36] The network, with links to northern Iraq, Georgia, and Afghanistan, was directed by Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, a

Jordanian jihadist who played a prominent role among jihadists in Iraq until he was killed in 2006.[37] However, the primary leader of the poison network was Abu Atiya who, from his base in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge, “plotted terrorist actions against countries including France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany and Russia.” Abu Atiya, who had been trained in Afghanistan, “tasked at least nine North African extremists in 2001 to travel to Europe to conduct poison and explosive attacks.”[38] Among them was Menad Benchellali, who was known among his Arab friends as the chemist because of the special skills he learned in the late 1990s at Al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan. When Benchellali returned to his native France in late 2001, he set up a laboratory in his parents’ home to manufacture ricin. Benchellali was arrested in France in December 2002 along with three others in connection with a plot to bomb the Russian Embassy in Paris with conventional explosives. Benchellali’s arrest led to the discovery of other terrorist cells in Europe, including in Britain and Spain.[39]

In 2004, Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi planned an attack against several targets in Jordan’s capital Amman. Among the targets was the headquarters of the General Intelligence Department. The plan consisted of a forced-entry attack by suicide bombers, accompanied by the toxic release of chemical agents with the aim of causing mass casualties.[40]

The Spanish jihadist network remained active. As late as in 2011, an AlQaida sympathizer in Spain named Abdellatif Aoulad Chiba was arrested because of a plan to poison water reservoirs at tourist camp sites.[41]

Radiological weapons

The first known incident with a radiological device took place in 1995, when Chechen separatists placed a limited amount of Cesium-137 in the Izmailovo Park in Moscow. They then informed the media where the radioactive material could be found, to prove their capability to use radiological weapons in central Moscow.[42] The incident has been connected to the Chechen leader Shamil Basayev, who gave information on the incident in television interviews. In 1996, a Chechen group, this time led by Aslambek Abdukhadyev, again threatened to spread radioactive materials in Moscow.[43] Since the Chechen separatists, during the First Chechen War of 1994–1996, controlled a significant share of the state infrastructure in Chechnya, they had access to radioactive materials to an extent usually not found among terrorists.[44] Whether the Chechen leaders, including Shamil Basayev who subsequently developed into a ruthless terrorist leader, in fact lacked a radiological warfare capability, or whether this early in the conflict they did not wish to engage in indiscriminate terrorism, is unknown.

Abdukhadyev’s 1996 threat involved a radiological dispersal device (RDD), commonly known as a “dirty bomb.” This is a contraption that would scatter radioactive materials over an area by using conventional explosives. A “dirty bomb” is built by packing radioactive materials around conventional explosives. A terrorist could, for instance, use materials such as Cesium-137 or Cobalt-60. These materials are dangerous to handle and more radioactive than enriched uranium, but are widely used for medical and industrial purposes. These and other suitable radioactive materials can be found in many laboratories, food irradiation plants, medical centers, and oil-drilling operations, including those under the control of terrorists such as in 1990s Chechnya and Afghanistan and present-day Islamic State. The radioactive materials per se would be unlikely to cause immediate fatalities, although they likely would cause cancer in the long term. However, the area affected would need to be decontaminated, or demolished and abandoned, as radioactive materials can bind to concrete or asphalt. This might result in the total abandonment of a major city center, with all that this would entail in financial and material losses.

In June 2002 it was announced that American-born Jose Padilla, also known as Abdullah al-Muhajir, was arrested in a terrorist plot to detonate a “dirty bomb” in the United States. He had been arrested in Pakistan, then released and returned to the United States, where, upon arrival in May from Pakistan, he was re-arrested. However, the prosecution was unable to build a case against Padilla and it is unlikely that the plans had gone very far.[45] One may also question whether Padilla had the required technical skills for such a plot.

By November 2004, another jihadist plan for a “dirty bomb” was exposed. Dhiren Barot, arrested on 3 August 2004, an Indian Hindu who had converted to Islam, together with several young Britons of Pakistani origin (the so-called Anglo-Pakistan network) planned to commit acts of terrorism in New York, Washington, D.C., and London. The “dirty bomb” was only one of his many plans, and Barot apparently never built the device nor acquired the radioactive materials. He planned to use a vast number of commercially available smoke detectors, which contained Americium-241. This substance was mildly radioactive, would be unlikely to cause casualties, but would require a costly clean-up. Barot was an experienced terrorist operative; the court judged him capable of carrying out his plans and so convicted him of the planned acts of terrorism.[46]

In early 2011, a Saudi student in the United States named Khalid Aldawsari was arrested on charges of attempting to build a bomb and targeting sites including nuclear power plants. Aldawsari was studying in Texas on a student visa and had a background in chemical engineering.[47] However, there seems to be no evidence that he had the capability to attack a nuclear plant, nor to spread radioactive materials in this way.

Nuclear weapons

There are no known cases of terrorist use of nuclear weapons. The storage, transportation, and employment of a nuclear device is a complex process and, because of the possibility of radiation leaks, potentially lethal to a user. Specialists would be needed for the successful employment of a nuclear weapon, even if one could be acquired. A lone actor insider might, in theory, be able to bypass safeguards and detonate a nuclear weapon; however, he is unlikely to be able to move and deploy it in another location.

This does not necessarily mean that a terrorist group could not build a functioning, although primitive, nuclear bomb. Research has indicated that possession of a sufficient amount of fissile material, for instance, plutonium or highly enriched uranium, would enable the critical step towards the accomplishment of a crude but functioning device. A small group of terrorists would almost certainly be incapable of clandestine production, by themselves, of sufficient quantities of fissile material starting from raw materials, so, most likely, the fissile material would have to be acquired by illegal means. The primitive nuclear device could then be deployed and detonated.[48] The members of the terrorist group may well be exposed to lethal radiation while doing so, but for a suicide terrorist, this price might be considered a worthwhile investment.

Yet, even a primitive nuclear device would most likely be an insurmountable challenge for a lone actor terrorist.

Concluding remarks

While a number of terrorist groups and sympathizers remained fascinated by CBRN weapons, and a peak of interest occurred at the time of the U.S.led 2003 invasion of Iraq, the outcome of their activities in this regard, if any, are usually small in scale or of low quality. The same assessment can be made of the many manuals on the Internet which describe crude CBRN devices of various kinds, primarily poisons. Some contain useful formulas, others do not. The latest terror attack with CBRN weapons which resulted in mass casualties was Aum Shinrikyô’s sarin gas attack in Tokyo which took place in 1995. At the time, Aum Shinrikyô had not yet gained the attention of security services, so was quite free to operate with impunity. No comparable attack has taken place since, anywhere, despite terrorist interest in and attempts to acquire CBRN weapons. The obvious conclusion is that known terrorist groups, such as Al-Qaida, lack the freedom of action to acquire a CBRN capability without security services noticing the fact.

Besides, most terrorist groups seem to prefer conventional weapons. Even those might be difficult to acquire, so Al-Qaida, as was shown above, has advocated lone actor terrorism and the use of easily obtainable weapons such as guns and knives.

This places prospective lone actor CBRN terrorists in a delicate situation. On the one hand, an insider with sufficient knowledge and resources might be able to complete a CBRN attack without attracting the notice of the authorities. On the other, any prospective lone actor who lacks the necessary knowledge and access to materials will find it increasingly hard to escape their attention—since so many security services, worldwide, keep an eye out for any terrorist attempts to acquire CBRN weapons.

The present brief survey of terrorist use of CBRN weapons highlights the fact that, so far, and disregarding unsubstantiated threats, there are very few cases of genuine lone actor CBRN terrorists. Yet, some have taken place. The U.S. and Pakistani cases of letters containing anthrax spores in 2001 and 2011 were, as far as can be ascertained, the result of lone actor insiders. While they caused media attention and succeeded in killing several people, the perpetrators did not succeed in causing mass casualties, if that was their intention. In effect, the same results—except possibly the scare factor—could have been achieved by ordinary parcel bombs. Even so, the U.S. perpetrator did manage to shut down important institutions of the U.S. government, which highlights the potential of CBRN weapons to disrupt or halt government, military, or commercial activities. This fact should be emphasized: although by no means the most damaging with regard to loss of life, the lone actor terrorist who was most damaging to state and society (and the one who, incidentally, caused most copycat behavior) may well have been the 2001 U.S. anthrax letter perpetrator. No other lone actor perpetrator mentioned in this volume came close to shutting down important government institutions in his or her capital city for an extended period.

The only other presumed CBRN lone actor, Khalid Aldawsari, of whom we know little if anything with regard to his background in Saudi Arabia, may be of interest since he fancied attacks on nuclear power plants. However, without the necessary skills and opportunity actually to strike against a nuclear plant, his case can to some extent be dismissed as wishful thinking rather than a genuine CBRN terrorism plot.

This leaves our discussion on CBRN weapons more or less where we started. The likelihood of a successful lone actor CBRN attack remains slim, except for small-scale attacks such as poison incidents. Yet, the apocalyptic effects of a successful mass-casualty CBRN attack by terrorists would be so great that the need to preempt such an attack no doubt outweighs the cost of doing so.

Notes

1 Ibn al-Tanzim (pseud.), Shabakat al-al-Ekhlaas al-Islamiyya (www.alekhlaas.net), 1 July 2007, cited in Anne Stenersen, Al-Qaida’s Quest for Weapons of Mass Destruction (Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, 2008), 68.

2 The expression “super-empowered individual” apparently first appeared in Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (New York: Anchor, 2000).

3 Since the early twenty-first century, a new term, CBRNE, has been introduced as a replacement term for CBRN. The final “E” in this term stands for “explosives,” i.e., improvised explosive devices (IED).

4 An early incident took place in 1970, when the Ku Klux Klan reportedly poisoned the water supply of a farm owned by black Muslims in Ashville, Alabama, with cyanide. Thirty cows died. Jason Pate and Gavin Cameron, Covert Biological Weapons Attacks against Agricultural Targets: Assessing the Impact against U.S. Agriculture (BCSIA Discussion Paper 2001–9, ESDP Discussion Paper ESDP2001–05, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, August 2001), 7. In 1984, white supremacists began to stockpile cyanide, which they reportedly planned to dump into water reservoirs in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Illinois, to poison the inhabitants of these areas. Bruce Hoffman, “Viewpoint: Terrorism and WMD: Some Preliminary Hypotheses,” The Nonproliferation Review, Spring–Summer 1997, pp. 45–53, on 49.

5 Andrew Berwick [Anders Behring Breivik], 2083: A European Declaration of Independence (2011), in particular chapter 3.53, “Obtaining and using WMDs against the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist elites.”

6 United States District Court, Southern District of New York, United States of America v. Usama Bin Laden, Indictment S(9) 98 Cr. 1023.

7 Newsweek, 11 January 1999; Time, 11 January 1999. The interview took place on 23 December 1998. PBS web site, http://pbs.org/frontline/.

8 Dawn (Pakistan), 10 November 2001. The interview reportedly took place on 7

November 2001.

9 By one Abu Shihab al-Kandahari, web site, al-mojahedoon.net, 26 December 2002.

10 Nasir bin Hamd al-Fahd, A Treatise on the Legal Status of Using Weapons of Mass Destruction against Infidels (May 2003). The sheikh’s personal web site, www. al-fhd.com. Under pressure from the Saudi political authorities, Nasir al-Fahd later rejected this and other fatawi in support of violence, but this has not prevented jihadists from citing it as religious justification for their activities.

11 Caucasus Emirate web site, www.islamdin.com, 9 January 2010.

12 Inspire 2 (Fall 2010), 8.

14 Inspire 8 (dated Fall 2011 but published in 2012), 41–7, on 46.

15 Al Qaeda Airlines 3 (August 2012). Al Qaeda Airlines was a web magazine first published on 7 April 2012 by Abdullah Dhu Al-Bajadin, who previously had supplied online training in the use of chemicals.

16 In the fourth century bc, the Chinese already used toxic smoke made from dried mustard in siege warfare, with special bellows as the delivery system. Joseph Needham, with Wang Ling, Science and Civilisation in China 4: 2: Physics and Physical Technology—Mechanical Engineering (Taipei: Caves Books, 1986), 137–8. For early European chemical warfare, see Michael Fredholm, “Early Eighteenth Century Naval Chemical Warfare in Scandinavia: A Study in the Introduction of New Weapon Technologies in Early Modern Navies,” Baltic Security and Defence Review 13: 1 (2011).

17 Ramón Spaaij, Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism: Global Patterns, Motivations and Prevention (Dordrecht: Springer, 2012), 72–3, 104.

18 See, e.g., David E. Kaplan and Andrew Marshall, The Cult at the End of the World: The Terrifying Story of the Aum Doomsday Cult, from the Subways of Tokyo to the Nuclear Arsenals of Russia (New York: Crown, 1996); Richard Danzig, Marc Sageman, Terrance Leighton, Lloyd Hough, Hidemi Yuki, Rui Kotani, and Zachary M. Hosford, Aum Shinrikyo: Insights Into How Terrorists Develop Biological and Chemical Weapons (Washington, D.C.: Center for a New American Security, 2011).

19 Sammy Salama, Special Report: Manual for Producing Chemical Weapon to Be Used in New York Subway Plot Available on Al-Qaeda Websites since Late 2005 (Monterey: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, 2006); NEFA Foundation, The New York City Subway Poison Gas Plot (NEFA Foundation, 2007).

20 U.S. Department of Defense, press release, 6 June 2007 (www.defense.gov); Robert Jones, Brandon Wills, and Christopher Kang, “Chlorine Gas: An Evolving

Hazardous Material Threat and Unconventional Weapon,” Western Journal of Emergency Medicine 11: 2 (May 2010), 151–6.

21 See, e.g., The Guardian, 25 August 2010; Animesh Roul, “News Analysis: Chemical Substance Attacks in Afghan Schools,” Journal on Chemical and Biological Weapons 5: 1 (2012), 7–8.

22 Washington Post, 16 December 2001, which contains further details cited from an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) analysis.

23 Sextus Julius Frontinus, Strategematicon 3.7.6 (ad 84), which describes the sixthcentury bc siege of Kirrha, Greece, during which hellebores were used as a biological agent to poison the city’s water supply.

24 See, e.g., W. Seth Carus, “The Rajneeshees (1984),” Jonathan B. Tucker (ed.), Toxic Terror: Assessing Terrorist Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 2000), 115–37. For background, see The Oregonian, 14 April 2011 (http://impact.oregonlive.com).

25 Paul Keim, Kimothy L. Smith, Christine Keys, Hiroshi Takahashi, Takeshi Kurata, and Arnold Kaufmann, “Molecular Investigation of the Aum Shinrikyo Anthrax Release in Kameido, Japan,” Journal of Clinical Microbiology 39: 12 (2001), 4566–7.

26 See, e.g., Reuters, 5 October 2001, 17 October 2001; Andy Oppenheimer, “All Quiet on the Anthrax Front?” Jane’s Chem-Bio Web, 5 June 2002.

27 United States Department of Justice, Amerithrax Investigative Summary: Released Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 19 February 2010; Leonard A. Cole, “Bioterrorism: Still a Threat to the United States,” CTC Sentinel 5: 1 (2012), 8–12.

28 New York Times, 1 February 2012 (www.nytimes.com).

29 Ibid.; see also, e.g., Gunjan Singh, “Anthrax Threat in Pakistan, Global Context and Regional Consequences,” Journal on Chemical and Biological Weapons 5: 1 (2012), 23–5.

30 Economist, 30 March 2002.

31 Economist, 24 November 2001. On Mahmood, see also Washington Post, 23

November 2001.

32 Afghan Taliban communiqué, 27 February 2012.

33 For brief summaries of these experiments, see Adam Dolnik, “Die and Let Die: Exploring Links between Suicide Terrorism and Terrorist Use of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Weapons,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 26: 1 (2003), 17–35, on 28; Anne Stenersen, Al-Qaida’s Quest for Weapons of Mass Destruction (Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, 2008), 35–7.

34 Two Al-Qaida operatives, Muhammad Said Umar (or Midhat Mursi Umar), known as Abu Khabab, and Nasr Fahmi Hasanayn, known as Muhammad Salah, were responsible for several experiments in these fields. Al-Wasat (U.K.), 22 October 2001; Times (London), 16 November 2001; Roland Jacquard, Les archives secrètes d’Al-Qaida: Révélations sur les héritiers de Ben Laden (Paris: Jean Picollec, 2002), 75, 116–17, 122, 196, 281, 291. See also Time, 29 October 2001, in which Jacquard described some Al-Qaida experiments in Afghanistan. On Abu Khabab, see Al- Hayah (London), 20 March 2001. Abu Khabab was killed in a 2008 drone attack.

35 AFP, 19 August 2002.

36 U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Address to the United Nations Security Council, New York, Transcript, 5 February 2003.

37 Al-Ra’y (Amman), 16 May 2001; Yonah Alexander and Michael S. Swetnam, AlQa’ida: Ten Years After 9/11 and Beyond (Arlington, Virginia: Potomac Institute Press, 2012), 60–3.

38 U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Address to the United Nations Security Council, New York, Transcript, 5 February 2003.

39 Washington Post, 5 May 2004.

40 Baltimore Sun, 27 April 2004, citing AFP.

41 BBC News, 17 August 2011; AFP, 20 August 2011.

42 Newsday, 25 November 1995.

43 AFP, 16 April 1996.

44 See, e.g., ITAR-TASS, 9 January 1998, on industrial sites where radioactive materials were stored in Chechnya during the First Chechen War.

45 Washington Post, 11 June 2002; Newsweek (Asia edn), 19 August 2002. See also Jacquard, Archives secrètes, 97–8.

46 Barot had traveled to Pakistan in 1995, where he participated in terrorist campaigns against Indian forces in Kashmir. Using the pseudonym Esa Al-Hindi, in 1999 he wrote a book, The Army of Madinah in Kashmir, about his experience and on how to kill Indian soldiers. The book was commissioned and published by Maktabah al-Ansar. See, e.g., BBC News, 7 November 2006, 15 June 2007. For more information, see Stenersen, Al-Qaida’s Quest for Weapons of Mass Destruction, 50–2.

47 ABC News, 24 February 2011. See also Paul Gill, Lone-Actor Terrorists: A Behavioural Analysis (London: Routledge, 2015), 53–5.

48 Gunnar Arbman, Anders Axelsson, Ronny Bergman, Lena Melin, Anders Ringbom, Lena Oliver, Lennart Widlund, Lars Wigg, and Göran Ågren, Primitiva kärnladdningar: Ett realistiskt hot? (n.p.: FOI, 2002).

Bibliography

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Berwick, Andrew [Anders Behring Breivik]. 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. London [in reality Oslo], 2011.

Carus, W. Seth. “The Rajneeshees (1984).” Jonathan B. Tucker (ed.), Toxic Terror: Assessing Terrorist Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 2000: 115–37.

Cole, Leonard A. “Bioterrorism: Still a Threat to the United States.” CTC Sentinel 5: 1 (2012): 8–12.

Danzig, Richard, Marc Sageman, Terrance Leighton, Lloyd Hough, Hidemi Yuki, Rui Kotani, and Zachary M. Hosford. Aum Shinrikyo: Insights Into How Terrorists Develop Biological and Chemical Weapons. Washington, D.C.: Center for a New American Security, 2011.

Dolnik, Adam. “Die and Let Die: Exploring Links between Suicide Terrorism and Terrorist Use of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Weapons.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 26: 1 (2003): 17–35. al-Fahd, Nasir bin Hamd. A Treatise on the Legal Status of Using Weapons of Mass Destruction against Infidels. May 2003.

Fredholm, Michael. “Early Eighteenth Century Naval Chemical Warfare in Scandinavia: A Study in the Introduction of New Weapon Technologies in Early Modern Navies.” Baltic Security and Defence Review 13: 1 (2011).

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Hoffman, Bruce. “Viewpoint: Terrorism and WMD: Some Preliminary Hypotheses.” The Nonproliferation Review, Spring–Summer 1997: 45–53.

Jacquard, Roland. Les archives secrètes d’Al-Qaida: Révélations sur les héritiers de Ben Laden. Paris: Jean Picollec, 2002.

Jones, Robert, Brandon Wills, and Christopher Kang. “Chlorine Gas: An Evolving Hazardous Material Threat and Unconventional Weapon.” Western Journal of Emergency Medicine 11: 2 (May 2010): 151–6.

Kaplan, David E., and Andrew Marshall. The Cult at the End of the World: The Terrifying Story of the Aum Doomsday Cult, from the Subways of Tokyo to the Nuclear Arsenals of Russia. New York: Crown, 1996.

Keim, Paul, Kimothy L. Smith, Christine Keys, Hiroshi Takahashi, Takeshi Kurata, and Arnold Kaufmann. “Molecular Investigation of the Aum Shinrikyo Anthrax Release in Kameido, Japan.” Journal of Clinical Microbiology 39: 12 (2001): 4566–7. Needham, Joseph, with Wang Ling. Science and Civilisation in China 4: 2: Physics and

Physical Technology—Mechanical Engineering. Taipei: Caves Books, 1986.

NEFA Foundation. The New York City Subway Poison Gas Plot. NEFA Foundation, 2007.

Oppenheimer, Andy. “All Quiet on the Anthrax Front?” Jane’s Chem-Bio Web, 5 June 2002.

Pate, Jason, and Gavin Cameron. Covert Biological Weapons Attacks against Agricultural Targets: Assessing the Impact against U.S. Agriculture. BCSIA Discussion Paper 2001–9, ESDP Discussion Paper ESDP-2001–05, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, August 2001.

Roul, Animesh. “News Analysis: Chemical Substance Attacks in Afghan Schools.”

Journal on Chemical and Biological Weapons 5: 1 (2012): 7–8.

Salama, Sammy. Special Report: Manual for Producing Chemical Weapon to Be Used in New York Subway Plot Available on Al-Qaeda Websites since Late 2005. Monterey: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, 2006.

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Spaaij, Ramón. Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism: Global Patterns, Motivations and Prevention. Dordrecht: Springer, 2012.

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United States Department of Justice. Amerithrax Investigative Summary: Released Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. 19 February 2010.

11 Inside the mind of the lone actor

Knut Sturidsson

In his account of how he came to be tasked with mapping the mind of Adolf Hitler, psychologist and psychoanalyst Walter Langer describes a conversation with General Bill Donovan, head of the then U.S. intelligence organization OSS. The General asked Langer for a realistic appraisal of the German situation. If Hitler is running the show, what kind of a person is he? What are his ambitions? How does he appear to the German people? What is he like with his associates? What is his background? And most of all, we want to know as much as possible about his psychological make-up—the things that make him tick. In addition, we ought to know what he might do if things begin to go against him. Do you suppose you could come up with something along these lines?[1]

This was in early 1943, and Langer, rather promptly considering the substantial effort involved in collecting and analyzing data, delivered his report comprising 281 pages, together with some thousand pages of what later became known as the OSS Source Book.[2]

Much can be, and has been, said about the findings of Langer and others.[3] However, it is an early and systematic psychological profile, an attempt at getting inside the mind of a given individual. According to Jerrold Post, psychological profiling of political leaders has been commonplace within the U.S. government in general and the CIA in particular since at least the late 1960s. This is when the CIA formed the Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior.[4]

Psychological profiling is related to but not synonymous with the concept of criminal profiling.[5] Criminal profiling has gained widespread attention, both among professionals (in psychology and law enforcement) and the general public. This is mainly through extensive portrayals in nonacademic literature and popular media. Criminal profiling is, in brief, (informed) speculation about the characteristics of an unknown perpetrator based on crime scene information and, when available, victim or witness reports about the perpetrator’s behavior. Criminal profiling rests on two fundamental assumptions (the homology assumption): (a) that individual offenders exhibit similar and stable behavioral patterns during a crime (or a series of crimes) that are different from those of other offenders; and (b) that there are stable and at least moderate statistical associations between such patterns and offender sociodemographic and/ or personality characteristics. If correct, these assumptions imply that the correct interpretation of perpetrator behaviors from a crime scene could assist in the investigation of the offense and the assessment of possible suspects.[6] However, a sound skepticism towards the concept of criminal profiling should be raised, since the empirical foundation of criminal profiling is somewhat unsteady.[7]

What would be the reason for introducing and applying the concepts of psychological and criminal profiling to individuals labeled lone actor terrorists? In the case of a known lone actor it would further our understanding of, and possibly unveil patterns and characteristics common to, other lone actors. Over time, this in turn could help researchers gather data in order to establish valid risk factors to assess the risk of lone actor offenders committing violent crimes. In the best of worlds it would also make it possible to identify as yet unknown lone actors, but at present this seems an unrealistic ambition. In the immediate wake of the bombing in Oslo, Norway, and the subsequent mass killings on nearby Utøya in 2011, questions about how to detect unknown lone actors before they commit their crimes were abundant in the media as well as in security organizations.[8] At present, it seems that a focus on describing (the mind of) known individual lone actors can help further our knowledge on possible avenues towards a more robust structure for risk assessments of possible future lone actors.

Accessing and assessing the inside of the mind of the lone actor is a formidable task, no less difficult than psychological and criminal profiling of offenders perpetrating common violence.[9] First of all, what is a lone actor? According to the definition of lone actor terrorism adopted in this book, lone actors operate individually, do not belong to or have direct links to any organized terrorist group or network, engage in solitary and autonomous violence independent of that of existing terrorist groups or networks, act on their own behalf without having been instructed to do so by any outside leader, and conceive of tactics and methods without any immediate outside direction. He (in the present text the male pronoun is used throughout even though females, to a much lesser degree, also commit the kind of violent crimes discussed here) may sympathize with a terrorist group or a given ideology but he pursues his aims through the use of violence independently of existing terrorist groups or networks.

What are his crimes? Is he an assassin attacking public figures attributing the violent crimes to politics and ideology?[10] Or is he targeting the general public in order “to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives”?[11] High-profile examples of the former would be Sirhan Sirhan who in June 1968 assassinated Robert F. Kennedy, or more recently Jared Lee Loughner who in January 2011 killed six people while trying to assassinate

U.S. congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. A high-profile example of the latter is of course Anders Behring Breivik who on 22 July 2011 placed an improvised explosive device next to a government building in Oslo, Norway, resulting in the deaths of eight people and massive destruction of buildings, and then went on to kill 69 more, mostly teenagers. Breivik himself clearly states that the motives for his crimes are ideological. In his rather lengthy compendium he spares no effort to convince the reader of the political rationality of his deeds.[12] Then again, one could argue that the driving forces, or motivation if you like, are not first and foremost ideological, but are, rather, forces that are highly individual and that are better explained and understood in terms of “certain preexisting personality characteristics,” as proposed by John Monahan in a seminal paper on individual risk assessment of terrorism.[13] Certainly, Breivik’s act of terrorism, heinous as it is, bears proof of a person that can be characterized by “boldness” and “fearlessness.”[14]

What do we know about perpetrators of “common violence” (the term “common violence” is introduced by Monahan in his paper)[15] in general? Violent offenders do often have a criminal lifestyle, including associating with other criminals. They often enter their criminal career early on in life, and exhibit criminal versatility, meaning that they commit a whole range of crimes and not only violent crime. Psychopathic traits are more often found in this group, as compared to the general population. You will also find more substance use problems and impulsivity. However, the crimes are characterized by having an everyday or “rational” motive. The crimes are committed to fulfill demands for money, drugs, expenses, social life, and so on. Sometimes crimes are committed to establish reputation. Many times the violence used is instrumental, meaning that it is used as a means to an end. Many violent offenders are well known by the police and hence rather uncomplicated to identify and locate even though prosecuting and convicting them might be more difficult.

Over the years there has been a lot of research regarding the risk of reoffending by perpetrators of common violence. As mentioned above, there are some salient factors to point out. Previous violence, perhaps not very surprisingly, is such a risk factor that it has a predictive value in assessing risk of future violence. We also know that a young age at the first violent incident is a risk factor for re-offending. Also, early maladjustment is a risk factor. This includes not only being a problematic young child, but also includes being exposed to violence in childhood. Substance use problems are also a robust risk factor according to research. And ending this brief list, psychopathy has been shown to be the most robust risk factor known to research. This is probably so because it is a measure that contains many factors such as impulsivity, prior criminal record, lack of remorse, and so on.

Monahan presents an overview of ten putative risk factors for terrorism and comes to the conclusion that

[i]ndeed, the strongest empirical findings are entirely negative: terrorists in general tend not to be impoverished or mentally ill or substance abusers or psychopaths or otherwise criminal; suicidal terrorists tend not to be clinically suicidal. In no society studied to date have personality traits been found to distinguish those who engage in terrorism from those who refrain from it.[16]

The odd offender

The above is discouraging, but there is another category of violent offender—the ‘odd offender’—that differs significantly from perpetrators of common violence. I argue that experience gained from investigating cases of odd offenders might shed some light on the phenomenon of lone actors.[17]

In what ways does the odd offender differ from other violent criminals?[18] In comparison with the perpetrator of common violence, the odd offender is motivated to criminal behavior by inner driving forces that are not as transparent as the motives driving the former group. These driving forces may consist of fantasies, ruminations on revenge and justice, or a sense of entitlement, just to mention a few. The odd offender often perceives that others do not correctly understand him and that he has to resort to violence to make his point. A precursor to resorting to violence is sometimes social exclusion and/or other painful experiences that have the function of triggering an actual acting out of fantasies and ruminations. Thus, an indicator of the ‘odd’ offender is often a lack of an obvious and rational motivation for the crime.

The odd offender is often characterized by being somewhat of a loner, living alone or with an elderly parent. Often becoming increasingly absorbed in one preoccupation or another, he withdraws even more from whatever social context he might have. The Internet, being especially suitable for socially withdrawn individuals, provides an arena, or rather a plethora of arenas fueling a wide variety of conspiracy theories.[19] Some odd offenders also display politically extreme views and attitudes— opinions that are extreme to the degree that they are marginalized even in extreme groups.

This also has an impact on the choice of victim. Who becomes a victim may be totally irrelevant to the odd offender; it is the meaning of the violent act that is important and not the victim. There is also experience of odd offenders having a fixation with guns, a gun being more than just a gun. It carries the symbolic meaning of the rule of power, the power over life and death.

Most odd offenders are not known to the police before their crime, in contrast to perpetrators of common violence. Also, many odd offenders have psychiatric disorders ranging from personality disorders to neuropsychiatric disorders to psychotic disorders. In addition, obsessiveness and compulsiveness are sometimes observed.

Given the candidate risk factors listed for odd offenders, a further understanding of the phenomenon might at first look promising.[20] But there are problems with the list. First, it is built in part on experiences from the few cases that we have, and in part on clinical intuition. Second, all of the factors can be found in one or the other constellation in many people who will never commit crimes.

Turning back to the actual cases where we think we have a clear picture of the offender and his modus operandi and motive, it is clear that these vary a lot from one offender to another. Thus, it is not possible to make a meaningful psychological profile if it (1) does not exclude the majority of persons who will not commit crimes; and (2) cannot capture the variance shown by the offenders.

One alternate route that could be pursued in trying to detect future lone actors is focusing on actual behavior understood in the light of personality characteristics. For example, in the best of worlds warning lights should flash red when a person who is known to have preoccupations with xenophobic ideas and is prone to monomania starts to show an interest in weapons and acquires guns.

Monahan describes some central challenges that have to be overcome regarding structured methods for assessing risk in relation to (known) individual terrorists.[21] The first critical issue Monahan discusses is the heterogeneity of the outcome, that is, what is the risk that we are trying to assess? Is it the risk of various violent outcomes? Or is it the risk of an individual embarking on different pathways leading to terrorist crimes? Monahan raises in particular the question of whether risk factors for lone actor terrorism differ significantly from risk factors for group-based terrorism.[22] He further discusses whether it is the event of a terrorist act that we would like to assess the risk of, or the process over time and in different contexts.[23]

The second critical issue is the need to structure the risk assessment of terrorism. In this context there has been some recent work done (cf. the research on Violent Extremist Risk Assessment, VERA, and Multi-Level Guidelines, MLG)[24] in using the approach found in structured professional judgment for the assessment of risk of common violence. However, many of the risk factors used for the assessment of common violence are not risk factors for terrorism.[25]

The third critical issue that Monahan raises is the need for valid and non-trivial risk factors for terrorism. Here Monahan points to some recently proposed variables,[26] and proposes four categories of variable worthy of further examination, of which more below.[27]

The last critical issue raised by Monahan is the problem of validation. Even in research regarding risk assessment for common violence, it is commonplace to have methodological problems in getting sufficiently large study populations. Compared to violent crime in general, terrorism is a scant phenomenon. Monahan comes to the conclusion that “in no realworld national security context can an instrument to assess the risk of terrorism be prospectively validated in the same manner that risk assessment instruments for common violence are prospectively validated” (emphasis in the original text).[28]

As noted, Monahan singled out four categories of variables and proposed them as “auspicious candidates for terrorism risk factors.”[29] Ideology is one such category, but as is pointed out, a significantly larger number of people sympathizes with or justifies terrorist attacks than the actual number of people engaging in terrorist activities. Monahan thus points to personality characteristics that might differentiate between those who do not commit terrorist crimes and those who do, such as “boldness” or “fearlessness.”[30] When it comes to the category of affiliation, Monahan concludes that if “kinship, friendship, and romantic affiliation often play a crucial role in the development of terrorist ideology and in the transformation of that ideology into terrorist actions, risk assessment must focus not just on the individual being assessed, but must also incorporate information on the behavior of those with whom the individual closely affiliates.”[31] Grievances are the third category of variable that Monahan points to. This can be a personal grievance such as the loss of a loved one, but it can also include grievances on a group level made more personal through involvement in conflicts. Monahan posits that “[g]rievances, particularly in the form of the loss of loved ones due to military actions by those perceived to be enemies, may be an undervalued individual risk factor for terrorism.”[32] Finally, ‘moral emotions’ is introduced as a category, one that a large number of scholars posit as important in understanding the mechanisms driving terrorism.[33] Moral emotions are the feelings evoked by having one’s “sacred values” violated.[34]

Breivik and his manifesto

Turning back to Breivik and looking for examples of the variables proposed by Monahan provides an interesting way of structuring the reading of Breivik’s compendium. To a psychologist, the most interesting parts of the compendium are pages 1351 through 1414, which contain questions and answers (to and by Breivik), and pages 1415 through 1472 which is described as a log interspersed with detailed descriptions of his preparations leading up to the bombing and mass murder on 22 July 2011.

Breivik’s compendium abounds with references to ideology. Eerie as it is, it is almost as if he has used most of the 16 themes outlined by Saucier et al. to structure and form the contents of his compendium.[35] Saucier and his colleagues formulate the themes of a narrative as follows:

We (i.e., our group, however defined) have a glorious past, but modernity has been disastrous, bringing on a great catastrophe in which we are tragically obstructed from reaching our rightful place, obstructed by an illegitimate civil government and/or by an enemy so evil that it does not even deserve to be called human. This intolerable situation calls for vengeance. Extreme measures are required; indeed, any means will be justified for realizing our sacred end. We must think in military terms to annihilate this evil and purify the world of it. It is a duty to kill the perpetrators of evil, and we cannot be blamed for carrying out this violence. Those who sacrifice themselves in our cause will attain glory, and supernatural powers should come to our aid in this struggle. In the end, we will bring our people to a new world that is a paradise.[36]

Saucier et al. remark that the above narrative may seem like a “dramatic comic-book plot,” but for “psychological reasons, the plot sells” and that it “may be profoundly motivating to many individuals, although it has deadly real-life consequences.”[37] Obviously the narrative by Breivik is his rationale for his deeds, of which the section labeled “Interview with a Justiciar Knight Commander of the PCCTS, Knights Templar” provides ample evidence.[38]

The PCCTS, Knights Templar is a European indigenous rights movement and a Crusader movement (anti-Jihad movement), a part of the pan-European and national resistance movement. In a way it is a conservative revolutionary movement.

By propagating and defending Christendom we simply mean that we want to halt the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist attacks and systematic deconstruction on our Christian cultures and the Church itself and to reverse the de-Christianisation of Europe. The biggest threat to Europe is the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist political doctrine of “extreme egalitarian emotionalism”. This type of political stance involves destroying Christendom, the Church, our European cultures and identities and opening up our borders to Islamic colonisation. The Islamisation of Europe is merely a “secondary infection”. Western Europe has grown weak and decadent and will be completely annihilated culturally unless we succeed to implement a second European renaissance and reverse the damage done.[39]

Breivik goes on to justify the killing of innocent people, even in the thousands.

Unfortunately, spectacular operations like these [Breivik refers to his bombing in Oslo and mass murder on Utøya] are the only way to be heard. Everything else we have tried has failed and yielded nothing. The Muslims showed us that deadly shock attacks are the only tool we have at the moment which will guarantee that our voice is heard. By forcing them to acknowledge our presence and explaining our agenda to everyone we are making it very hard for the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist media establishment to ignore the call of the free people of Europe. The message is simple: “WE DO NOT WANT AND WILL NOT TOLERATE ISLAM IN EUROPE!” Any individual or organisation that actively supports or are participating (directly or indirectly as silent bystanders) in the Islamisation of Europe are flagged as valid targets, starting with the MA 100 political parties and media organisations themselves.[40]

Breivik creates[41] his own affiliation, stating that he is a Knight Templar. Most likely, this is done by his compiling and expanding on material that he has found via the Internet. Breivik states that he has a pragmatic reason for choosing his (fabricated) affiliation.

My choice was based purely pragmatism. All Europeans are in this boat together so we must choose a more moderate platform that can appeal to a great number of Europeans—preferably up to 50% (realistically up to 35%). Choosing a local/national group would be counterproductive as all the groups I am familiar with are Odinist orientated and not Christian identity groups. It is essential that we choose a banner that has the potential to appeal towards central and southern Europeans as well.[42]

In his compendium Breivik states what “tipped the scales” for him.[43] According to him it was the Norwegian government’s involvement in the 1999 conflict in Serbia that led him to the path that eventually would end with the mass murder of 77 people. This might be a case of group grievance that Breivik in some way turned very personal.

Breivik asks himself “You know that a large majority of people will end up viewing you as a complete nut right, despite your own and others efforts to justify violence?” to which his answer is:

I am fully aware that the media will attempt to label me as a nut. This is the most common strategy of combating political dissidents. I know that the cultural Marxists and the full force of the European multiculturalist mainstream media will do everything within their power to portray people like me as nothing more than delusional nut jobs. After all it’s their job to protect their interests. And they will succeed to a certain degree (we are currently too disorganised to counter their powerful propaganda machinery). I am fully aware that our current views are considered extreme.[44]

In the same section he foresees that his actions will be met with remorse and disgust, but rationalizes this with:

It’s human nature to be selfish, to seek admiration, love and affection. This is why very few people will have the self insight, the ideological and moral confidence and strength to act selflessly on behalf of their own countrymen on their own initiative without a solid hierarchical organisation or country supporting and encouraging them. We have taken these thankless tasks upon ourselves because we possess these traits; the self insight, the ideological and moral confidence and strength and we are willing to sacrifice our lives for our brothers and sisters, even though they will openly detest us. It can be illustrated like a parent spanking their ignorant child. The child will hate their parents there and then but in time they will understand that their only intention is to protect them.[45]

When it comes to moral emotions Breivik’s compendium is filled (to the brim) with references to what he perceives as systematic atrocities directed at Christianity in general and western Europe in particular by proponents of Islam. These atrocities, Breivik argues, are supported or made possible by the “multicultural” stance of (European) governments, and the multicultural influence of many, not to say most, of the political parties throughout Europe.[46]

However, being a clinical psychologist, it is not very bold to propose that there are circumstances more personal to Breivik that informed his behavior and activities leading up to the bombing in Oslo and the massacre at Utøya. In a section of the compendium under the heading “Paying the price for multiculturalism—My personal experiences—8 unprovoked assaults and multiple threats and attempted robberies by Muslims in Oslo, Norway,” Breivik provides us with an account of events that he experienced during his adolescence and young adulthood.[47]

I’ve “only” experienced 8 assaults, attempted robberies and multiple threats. I’ve never actually been severely ravaged, robbed or beaten my [sic] Muslims (a broken nose is the worst thing that occurred) but I know more than 20 people who have. I know at least 2 girls that have been raped my [sic] Muslims and I am familiar with two more cases in my broader network (1 gang rape). One girl though was cut badly in the face by Muslims. As such, I guess I should feel lucky or privileged. [. . .] In addition to the above, I’ve been threatened on 10 occasions with beatings etc. but it has never materialised due to diplomacy/counter threats. I’ve had dozens of friends and acquaintances experience the same thing (threats, beatings). I suspect that a couple of girls I know have been raped by Muslims although this is extremely taboo so people rarely hear about it (and they refused to admit). I originally didn’t plan to reveal any of these details due to the fact that people might insinuate I had become prejudice in any way. I don’t feel anger at all towards Muslims, or so called Jihadi youth, as a result of this. In fact, I completely understand why they act in this manner. It is perfectly normal for many Muslims to behave this way as it is the Islamic way. Anyone with a basic understanding of Islam and Middle Eastern cultures, and who has lived in Muslim communities as a kafr/dhimmi can attest to this. The problem isn’t the individuals but the Islamic doctrines and culture. The problem can only be solved if we completely remove those who follow Islam. In order to do this all Muslims must “submit” and convert to Christianity. If they refuse to do this voluntarily prior to Jan. 1st 2020, they will be removed from European soil and deported back to the Islamic world.[48]

Breivik then goes on to ask himself whether this has shaped his view on Islam to which his answer is an ambiguous “[y]es and no.” He states that his “friendship with Muslims triggered an interest for Islam and politics in general.”[49] This seems like a gross understatement, since most of his adult life until then bears clear proof of an extreme preoccupation with the (perceived) dangers of the “demographic war” on Europe by Muslims.[50] The reading of his compendium indeed suggests a personality characterized by traits of narcissism and a feeling of omnipotence:

I know I will die fighting the overwhelming cultural Marxists/multiculturalist forces in phase 1 and that’s not a problem for me at all. I have prepared mentally for a very long time and I will gladly sacrifice my life for the benefit of my European brothers and sisters. My love for them exceeds my own self serving interests. That’s not the kind of person I used to be, but it’s the type of person I have become. My hate and contempt for the cultural Marxists/multiculturalist doctrines is definitely there. However, as with most individuals, love and hate fuels us. Passion and motivation is converted into action. Some people are overwhelmed with hate or love. It’s essential that we don’t allow the passion to control us. It’s critical that we are cool and act rationally with a long term perspective.[51]

To conclude, I firmly believe that using personality characteristics best explains violent criminal behavior in odd offenders and lone actors alike. I think that a common phenomenon is to attribute behavior, be it criminal behavior or less dramatic behavior, to motives such as an ambition to change the world to make it a better place (that is, ideological motives). Yet, I would like to argue that behavior is more often driven by forces more proximal to the individual, such as the need for a sense of coherence, a need for validation, and a need for self-esteem (that is, psychological motives). For individuals with a distorted view of the world, and others, these proximal driving forces may very well be expressed in a clearly distorted fashion, even including killing other people to fulfill psychological needs of the perpetrator. Whether this holds to be true or not will perhaps be demonstrated through future research. However, while explaining the behavior is perhaps interesting, it will not help us to detect a future lone actor before he kills. A future lone actor is hiding among the many odd people who will never commit crimes. Another course that could be pursued in trying to detect future lone actors, which will be further discussed in a later chapter, is focusing on actual behavior understood in the light of personality characteristics. This includes finding opportunities to determine when a person with pathological fixations52 on an individual, activity, or idea, particularly preoccupations with xenophobic ideas, begins to show an interest in weapons and attempts to acquire guns and other potentially dangerous items. Since the Internet evidently has become a playground for violent extremists, including odd offenders and lone actors, it is logical that the very same arena should offer opportunities to gather intelligence and identify those at risk of becoming a lone actor/ odd offender terrorist.

Notes

1 Walter C. Langer, The Mind of Adolf Hitler: The Secret Wartime Report (New York: Basic Books, 1972), 19.

2 Daniel Pick, The Pursuit of the Nazi Mind: Hitler, Hess, and the Analysts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 131.

Langer was not the only specialist who was asked to assess the Führer for the OSS during the Second World War, and by no means the only psychoanalyst working for American intelligence at this time. The OSS commissioned, simultaneously, another secret report about Hitler’s mind, which arrived at rather similar findings.

[as Langer]

4 Jerrold Post, The Psychological Assessment of Political Leaders: With Profiles of Saddam Hussein and Bill Clinton (Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 2006), 64.

5 Also labeled criminal investigative analysis, crime scene profiling, or offender profiling. [6] Knut Sturidsson, Niklas Långström, Martin Grann, Gabrielle Sjöstedt, Ulf Åsgård, and Ewa-Marie Aghede, “Using Multidimensional Scaling for the Analysis of Sexual Offence Behaviour: A Replication and Some Cautionary Notes,”

Psychology, Crime & Law 12 (2006), 221–30.

7 Brandy Doan and Brent Snook, “A Failure to Find Empirical Support for the Homology Assumption in Criminal Profiling,” Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 23 (2008), 61–70; Andreas Mokros and Laurence J. Alison, “Is Offender Profiling Possible? Testing the Predicted Homology of Crime Scene Actions and Background Characteristics in a Sample of Rapists,” Legal and Criminological Psychology 7 (2002), 25–43; Brent Snook, Richard M. Cullen, Craig Bennel, Paul J. Taylor, and Paul Gendreau, “The Criminal Profiling Illusion: What’s Behind the Smoke and Mirrors?” Criminal Justice and Behavior 35 (2008), 1257–76.

8 Edwin Bakker and Beatrice de Graaf, “Preventing Lone Wolf terrorism: Some CT Approaches Addressed,” Perspectives on Terrorism 5 (2011), 43–50; Randy

Borum, Robert Fein, and Bryan Vossekuil, “A Dimensional Approach to Analyzing Lone Offender Terrorism,” Aggression and Violent Behavior 17 (2012), 389–96.

9 And perhaps also more scientifically questionable.

10 James Biesterfeld and J. Reid Meloy, “The Public Figure Assassin as Terrorist,”

J. R. Meloy, L. Sheridan, and J. Hoffmann (eds), Stalking, Threatening and Attacking Public Figures: A Psychological and Behavioral Analysis (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 143–62.

11 Code of Federal Regulation (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85), accessed on 19 May 2013 from: www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2001-title28-vol. 1/pdf/CFR-2001-title28- vol. 1-sec0–88.pdf.

12 Anders Behring Breivik’s 1,516-page compendium was e-mailed to a large number of recipients in the form of a word file just hours before the bombing in the city center of Oslo, Norway. It is labeled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence by Andrew Berwick.

13 John Monahan, “The Individual Risk Assessment of Terrorism,” Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 18 (2012), 167–205.

17 In my eyes the label “odd offender” is much more appropriate than, in particular, the label “lone wolf.” In an article published on the Internet (www.strat- for.com/weekly/20110921-cutting-through-lone-wolf-hype), Scott Stewart proposes yet another label, “stray mutts,” which contrasts in a vivid manner the image that is evoked by using the label “lone wolf.”

18 The following paragraphs build on experiences gained from working with the Profiling Unit at the Swedish National Bureau of Investigation.

19 For an overview of conspiracy theories see Jamie Bartlett and Carl Miller, The Power of Unreason: Conspiracy Theories, Extremism and Counter-terrorism (Demos, 2010; www.demos.co.uk/publications/thepowerofunreason).

20 Risk factors include a lack of obvious rational motivation, social withdrawal, politically extreme views and attitudes, an inclination towards guns and violence, psychiatric disorders, victims who appear to have no relation to the offender, and the perpetrator being unknown to the police.

21 Monahan, “Individual Risk Assessment of Terrorism,” 179. [22] Ibid., 181.

24 D. Elaine Pressman, Risk Assessment Decisions for Violent Political Extremism (2009), retrieved from www.publicsafety.gc.ca/res/cor/rep/_fl/2009–02-rdv-eng.pdf; Alana N. Cook, Stephen D. Hart, and Randall P. Kropp, Multi-Level Guidelines for the Assessment and Management of Group-based Violence (Burnaby, Canada: Mental Health, Law, and Policy Institute, Simon Fraser University, 2013).

25 Monahan, “Individual Risk Assessment of Terrorism,” 179.

26 John Horgan, “From Profiles to Pathways and Roots to Routes: Perspective from Psychology on Radicalization into Terrorism,” Annals of the American Association of Political and Social Sciences 618 (2008), 80–94, on 84–5; Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko, Friction: How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 12.

27 Monahan, “Individual Risk Assessment of Terrorism,” 186. [28] Ibid., 193.

34 Jeremy Ginges, Scott Atran, Sonia Sachadeva, and Douglas Medin, “Psychology out of the Laboratory: The Challenge of Violent Extremism,” American Psychologist, 8 August 2011, 6.

35 Gerard Saucier, Laura Geuy Akers, Seraphine Shen-Miller, Goran Knežević, and Lazar Stankov, “Patterns of Thinking in Militant Extremism,” Perspectives on Psychological Science 4 (2009), 256–71.

40 Ibid., 1361. The reference to MA 100 is Breivik’s list of 100 political parties in Europe that he labels part of the “Marxist/Multiculturalist Alliance.”

41 Literally so, since there is no proof of Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici (PCCTS) being an existing organization, although there are extensive descriptions of it in Breivik’s compendium and elsewhere on the Internet.

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Mullen, Paul E., David V. James, J. Reid Meloy, Michele T. Pathé, Frank R. Farnham, Lulu Preston, Brian Darnley, and Jeremy Berman. “The Fixated and the Pursuit of Public Figures.” The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology 20 (2009): 33–47.

Pick, Daniel. The Pursuit of the Nazi Mind: Hitler, Hess, and the Analysts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Post, Jerrold. The Psychological Assessment of Political Leaders: With Profiles of Saddam Hussein and Bill Clinton. Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 2006.

Pressman, D. Elaine. Risk Assessment Decisions for Violent Political Extremism. 2009. Web site, www.publicsafety.gc.ca/res/cor/rep/_fl/2009-02-rdv-eng.pdf.

Saucier, Gerard, Laura Geuy Akers, Seraphine Shen-Miller, Goran Knežević, and Lazar Stankov. “Patterns of Thinking in Militant Extremism.” Perspectives on Psychological Science 4 (2009): 256–71.

Snook, Brent, Richard M. Cullen, Craig Bennel, Paul J. Taylor, and Paul Gendreau. “The Criminal Profiling Illusion: What’s Behind the Smoke and Mirrors?” Criminal Justice and Behavior 35 (2008): 1257–76.

Stewart, Scott. Cutting Through the Lone Wolf Hype. Stratfor, 2011. Web site, www. stratfor.com/weekly/20110921-cutting-through-lone-wolf-hype.

Sturidsson, Knut, Niklas Långström, Martin Grann, Gabrielle Sjöstedt, Ulf Åsgård, and Ewa-Marie Aghede. “Using Multidimensional Scaling for the Analysis of Sexual Offence Behaviour: A Replication and Some Cautionary Notes.” Psychology, Crime & Law 12 (2006): 221–30.

12 Countering lone actor terrorism

Networked security focused on deeds, not thoughts

Michael Fredholm

As will have become clear from the previous chapters, researchers have searched in vain for any consistent profile of lone actors, or indeed of any kind of terrorist.[1] The examples of lone actor terrorism presented in this volume only illustrate this difficulty. The FBI in 2009 formed a Lone Offender Task Force which would review behavioral traits of, and develop measures to identify, such perpetrators.[2] The establishment of a new task force in itself showed that a consistent profile had not yet been found. MI5, the British security service, in a 2008 report had already concluded that “[i]ndividuals who become involved in violent extremism in the UK have varied characteristics and backgrounds and are, on the whole, demographically unremarkable.”[3]

The lack of consistent profile is also evident for the examples of lone actor terrorism presented here. Most, but not all, lone actors are young. Most, but not all, are men. Some, but not all, have a history of social or family-related problems. Some, but far from all, suffer from mental disturbances. Some have a socio-psychological condition that includes identity issues or even mental illness or suicidal tendencies. Indeed, the borderline between politically motivated attackers and those who are mentally disturbed may be a blurred one. Such individuals may find it difficult to be accepted in established groups, even if they find them. On the other hand, others revel in their group identity. A significant number, but still a minority, of jihadist lone actors are converts, and it is likely that such individuals want to prove their new-found beliefs to themselves and other believers.

Yet, certain conclusions can be drawn. Not with regard to the lone actor’s mind, but concerning his or her activities. Based on the 20 jihadist samples presented above (excluding Colleen LaRose who displayed a number of odd traits and never came close to her intended target), it can be noted that:

• In eight[4] out of twenty cases, the actors in this sample had been involved in criminal activities which were or could have been noted by the police prior to the act of terrorism. This means that 40 percent of the lone actors may already have had criminal records—which means that they were not unknown, even if demographically unremarkable. Incidentally, this pattern shows up in other surveys as well. In a sample of 242 jihadist terrorists in Europe, almost a quarter were found to have criminal records before their arrest for terrorist offenses—a high percentage compared to national averages.[5] The same goes for lone actor terrorism based on other ideologies. Gill et al. reached the conclusion that almost half had previous criminal convictions.[6]

• In ten out of twenty cases, the actors owned legal or illegal firearms. Again, this means that half of this sample of lone actors may have had records accessible to law enforcement.

• In fourteen out of twenty cases, the actors were confirmed to have been or likely to have been radicalized online, including in all cases after 2006. Clearly, their online activities would have left tracks that could have been followed up.

• In eighteen7 out of twenty cases, the actors carried out their act of terrorism at or near their home.

Indeed, it appears that lone actors, like many criminals, strike near home, against targets with which they are familiar because of their daily routines.[8] Lors Doukaiev and Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly did not. It is thus possible that these two, in fact, may not have been lone actors, even though their associates, if any, have not yet been found. It is striking that Taimour Abdulwahab, at least, eventually was found to have had accomplices, even though the level of assistance which they provided may not yet be identified.[9] Less is known about Lors Doukaiev, but it has subsequently become confirmed that he had connections to extremists in other countries as well, including to a mosque in Bremen, Germany, and that he took several security precautions during this visit to Denmark.[10] A similar conclusion can be drawn with regard to Colleen LaRose who certainly was guided by associates, even if she may have expected to carry out the operation on her own.

Neither of these conclusions regarding activities will explain why some individuals become terrorists, and others do not. We can use conclusions such as these to determine indicators which may suggest individuals who are at risk of becoming lone actor terrorists, but what pushes them across the edge is more likely a complex mixture of psychological, social, and ideological drivers that, because of a certain trigger event, pushes the individual into taking violent action. The individual’s chosen ideology then determines who or what will be targeted.

Countering lone actor terrorism

Under these circumstances, is it possible to counter lone actor terrorism? Or is there no other option for police and security services but to work to reduce the vulnerability of possible targets?

It may be that the first line of defense against lone actors always will be vigilant police officers. This is not an argument against networked security, since police officers are first responders and certainly form part of any security network. The police officer is often the first to notice suspicious behavior, or weapons, or suspect goods. The latter can be bomb-making supplies, including large volumes of certain chemicals, found in a car, or for that matter terrorist training manuals and manifestos, or inspirational books, if written in a language understood by the officer. As a first line of defense, police officers and other first responders (firemen, security guards, and so on) need to know how to recognize indicators of possible terrorist activity.[11] If the police officer recognizes such indicators, he should have the tools to look into the suspect individual’s records with regard to other indicators as well. This includes access to criminal records and records of gun ownership or massive purchases of artificial fertilizers (routinely used by farmers but also commonly used for the manufacture of explosives). This of course necessitates a database of such information, that police officers have access to from their patrol cars.

Apart from vigilant police officers, the only other tool of the state able to counter lone actor terrorism is an efficient counterterrorism effort. However, the task is not an easy one. It is a challenge for security and intelligence services to understand and, if possible, identify those loners, sympathizers, converts, and others who choose to engage in terrorism. The challenge extends not merely to those who suddenly embrace a radical ideology or extremist theology, but to those who, from such a foundation, go on to engage in acts of violence. How can Western security services deal with this situation without violating the right to freedom of speech or conscience?

In the fight against terrorism, democracies are at a disadvantage and face problems. This is not a new lesson, nor an original conclusion. The question had already been asked by James Berry Motley in the very first issue of the International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, published in 1986.

How are questions resolved having to do with the possible infringements of civil liberties in striking a balance between the private rights of citizens and the need of the American population to be freed from fear, injury and even death at the hands of terrorists?

He continued: “There are no simple answers to these questions.”[12] Motley listed the eternal questions in counterterrorism: “Who are the terrorists? Where are they and what is the nature, composition and patterns of behavior of their organization? When and what targets will they attack?”[13] However, he also noted the key problem in the response of the democracies. Writing about the United States in the 1980s, but in a conclusion that still remains valid for many Western countries, he noted that

“antiterrorist policy is declaratory and its strategic thinking reactive.”[14] Why is this so?

There is a fundamental difference between intelligence and security services. Paraphrasing the title and thesis of a once-popular book, one could argue that intelligence services are from Mars and security services from Saturn.[15] Their respective ways of thinking, rather than the methods employed, are quite different. While intelligence services tend to focus on distant threats in foreign countries, security services focus inwards, into their own societies. Security services, except in the most authoritarian societies, tend to be reactive instead of proactive, presumably because of their customary origin within the law enforcement community. A crime must take place before it can be investigated.

The opposite applies to successful intelligence services, since they must actively go out to seek information.[16] An intelligence service cannot, in the manner of most investigative police and security organizations, be content merely to await the move of the opponent. When the opponent has made its move, it may already be too late to collect information about it, or to take preventive measures.

It is striking that while the intelligence services have inspired an academic discipline, intelligence studies, no academic discipline has been inspired by the security services. Much earlier, policing inspired the academic discipline of criminology, yet little of a similar nature can be seen in support of the security services.

Why do the two services act so differently? One reason is the natural habitat of the security service within the justice sector, with all the legal demands and constraints implied thereby. Another is the genuine difficulty in identifying the few real security threats in the constant information static and among all the honest citizens and bona fide foreign visitors.

However, passive and reactive work is not the way forward in counterterrorism. The security service will have to adopt the means and mindset of its intelligence counterpart. It will actively have to go out to seek intelligence. And it will, in many situations, have to do so abroad, since the contemporary terrorist typically is a transnational phenomenon.

In a democratic society, terrorism is one of several methods used by networks of individuals who simultaneously exploit and combat the society in which they live. Jihadists, to give one example, use the two weapons of dawa (preaching) and jihad (battle). In most democratic societies, only the latter is regarded as illegal. The situation is in most cases comparable with other extreme movements, whether left wing, right wing, or environmental extremist. Leaders preach, while followers act. Yet, among Muslims, the stimulation of hatred through preaching, in the religious idiom used for the purposes of theology by a majority of Muslims, is a key means to win new supporters who are willing to kill and be killed for the ideals espoused by extremists. Through no fault of its own, the Muslim community in its entirety thus becomes the contested battleground in the struggle between terrorists and security services.

Can we devise methods to counter lone actor terrorism from an intelligence perspective? Are there any warning signs, for instance Internet usage, which suggest violent radicalization which may result in an attack by lone actors? Counterterrorism has to be fundamentally based on intelligence. Intelligence-led investigations are needed to identify lone actor terrorists. Evidence suggests that most lone actor terrorists were radicalized in a social context, sometimes with the Internet as a medium. Although they may take action alone, or with the assistance of one or a few helpers, their very identification with radical ideologies signifies that there is a social context. This context is what makes them vulnerable to detection.

Hunters and hot spots

In practical terms, those engaged in counterterrorism work will have to enlist the support of three disciplines: intelligence studies, criminology— and the big game hunter.

The big game hunter knows that it is a waste of time and effort to track his prey through the wilderness, since he already knows where to find it: at the animal’s drinking-place. Alternatively, a less glorious but also efficient means to find big game is to set up feeding stations, decoys, or even small artificial islands in the case of duck-shooting. The prey will then come to the hunter instead of the other way round.[17] In intelligence parlance, especially among those with experience from the Cold War, such places are known as honey traps.[18] In information security, where practitioners tend to be younger and thus less cynical, the term honey pot is used instead.

The criminologist employs the term ‘hot spot’ for those locations where crime, and thus criminals, tend to gather.[19] Water-hole, honey trap, honey pot; all these concepts are identical in meaning and serve the same purpose. Go there, and you will find your prey. As an example, noted hot spots for jihadists have been certain web sites, but also a number of mosques—hardly surprising since the mosque is central to Muslim community life. Examples include the Finsbury Park and the Baker Street Mosques in London, the Al-Faruq Mosque in New York, the Al-Quds Mosque in Hamburg, and the Islamic Cultural Centre in Milan; in one sample of 172 jihadist terrorists, about half were connected to just 12 Islamic institutions worldwide.[20] However, hot spots could also be call shops, Internet cafés, welcome centers for asylum seekers, prisons, and Islamic cultural centers. They could even be sports centers, mixed martial arts (MMA) clubs, and camp sites. In particular, Internet cafés and call shops function as meeting places for legal and illegal immigrants, secondgeneration immigrants, and others who frequently need to contact friends and family abroad relatively cheaply—or under conditions of anonymity.

Asylum centers provide food and accommodation when needed. All were used by extremist preachers to find willing recruits.[21] A survey of 12 criminal investigations into jihadist groups in the Netherlands showed that the same names, places, and actors turned up again and again. All cases were found to be directly or indirectly connected with one another. There were both geographical and often very close social connections.

Actors from different cases visited the same mosques, obtained their propaganda material and documents from the same providers, met one another in chat rooms or on MSN sites, visited the same websites, or met one another during lectures or at people’s homes.

This conclusion also held true at the transnational level. The survey concluded that “all actors who were part of the jihadi movement were hardly ever more than a few social connections removed from one another.”[22]

While one may suspect that to some extent the nature of the criminal investigations affected the sample, by leaving some stones unturned and thus remaining unaware of other potentially more isolated jihadist groups, it remains striking that all jihadists in these separate networks frequented the same hot spots. Besides, a study of criminal cases involving jihadists noted that over the course of three terrorism trials in Denmark, it became evident that the defendants in all three cases knew each other and, yet more importantly, shared acquaintances.[23]

The solution will then be to monitor the hot spots, the physical ones with surveillance and the web sites through technical means. If monitored in this way, the extremist web site in effect becomes a honey trap for the budding extremist. Those who show initial curiosity can be expected to display limited security awareness and are thus more easily monitored. Although an extremist web site can be expected to see lots of Internet traffic and inquiries, few individuals would deliberately and repeatedly surf to it unless already at a preliminary stage of radicalization. For instance, not every Muslim Internet user would surf to a jihadist web site; its audience would be those wishing to access extremist literature and videos and thus those who are seriously at risk of further radicalization towards violence.

A logical development of the use of existing jihadist web sites as honey traps would of course have to be the setting up, under the control of the intelligence services, of supposedly jihadist web sites that are in reality honey traps. The monitoring of such a web site by trained individuals, including imams under the full control of the intelligence services, would be even more efficient in identifying violence-prone extremists than the use of bona fide jihadist web sites advocated here—so in certain countries this would be regarded as illegal entrapment.[24] The CIA already set up at least one honey pot web site in the mid-2000s, an online forum covertly monitored by intelligence agencies to identify attackers and gain information. This web site was primarily aimed at Saudi extremists.[25] Jihadists are, for this and other reasons, including sheer paranoia, prone to believe that the sudden disappearance of a favorite web site has to do with infiltration by intelligence services. When the prominent jihadist web site al-Ekhlaas disappeared on 11 September 2008, only to appear in a new version later in the month, online jihadists believed that the return of the site was an intelligence operation intended to betray the jihadists who visited it.[26] Nonetheless, the CIA example shows that reliable counterterrorism intelligence can be gained through the use of web site monitoring.

Will the monitoring of hot spots result in an intrusive penetration of the larger community in which lone actors may hide? Will everyone in that community be a suspect until his or her innocence has been proven? Will proactive counterterrorism policies necessarily entail working with profiles? And if so, what kind of profiles? Civil rights advocates prefer the idea of monitoring known terrorists rather than conducting sweeps of potential terrorists.[27] In other words, they advocate the reactive policy traditionally associated with security services involved in counterterrorism. However, proactive counterterrorism policies do not really need to regard an entire community as suspect. A number of sociological surveys, when taken together, suggest that some 5–15 percent of any given population hold extremist views. These individuals will voice opposition to mainstream society, and in some cases promote violence, including terrorism, but most will not themselves actively engage in violent acts.[28] It is far more difficult to estimate the number of extremists who will engage in ideologically motivated criminal activities, including terrorism. However, on the basis of population-based studies of violent crime, Örjan Falk et al. have concluded that the majority of violent crimes are perpetrated by a small number of persistent violent offenders. In the nationwide study carried out by Falk and his team, 3.9 percent of the population was found to have had at least one violent conviction, while 1.0 percent of the total accounted for a majority of convictions.[29] These results can be used to formulate a hypothesis on the number of a given population which takes active part in terrorism. Yet, the hypothesis, even if proven, will not explain how this 1.0 percent of the population is to be identified. Even so, there is a way to avoid the problems associated with profiles.

Focus on deeds, not thoughts

What early-warning risk signs make it possible to discover a potential lone actor terrorist? Some researchers focus on the radicalization process of the terrorist, but since no two individuals seem to radicalize in identical ways, and since not every radical becomes a terrorist, it appears more worthwhile to focus on the concrete and linked actions taken by an individual, that is, activities which, although not necessarily illegal as such, when viewed in context indicate an interest in carrying out an act of terrorism.[30] In the vocabulary of Kropotkin and the early anarchists, to focus on deeds, not thoughts. For this purpose, evidence-based studies are required. Declaratory policies and strategies based on nothing more than a hunch will be insufficient. If individuals are to be profiled, they should be profiled based on their behavior rather than factors such as nationality, ethnicity, or level of intellectual radicalization.

This makes particular sense in the prevention of terrorism. Lone actor terrorist attacks are rarely sudden and impulsive, and research shows that at least half of the perpetrators undertook training before the attack.[31] The attack cycle of a lone actor by necessity will consist of several different stages, each characterized by different, concrete activities. The attack cycle of a lone actor can be summarized as follows, with implications for activities and behavior:

1 Interest in extremist ideology emerges.

• Activity: The individual searches out hot spots, both physical and virtual.

• Security awareness: Limited security awareness and limited conspiratorial behavior.

2 Interest in explosives and/or weapons emerges.

• Activity: The individual searches out information, such as through gun clubs and online sources.

• Security awareness: Limited security awareness and limited conspiratorial behavior.

3 Identification and reconnaissance of targets phase begins.

• Activity: The individual searches for and documents targets.

• Security awareness: Actor gradually becomes security aware, displays conspiratorial behavior.

4 Explosive materials and/or weapons acquisition and storage phase begins.

• Activity: The individual acquires and stores explosives and/or weapons.

• Security awareness: Actor is security aware, displays conspiratorial behavior.

5 Bomb-making and/or weapons training phase begins.

• Activity: The individual begins to use the acquired materials.

• Security awareness: Actor is security aware, displays conspiratorial behavior.

6 Terror operation begins.

• Activity: The individual carries out an attack.

• Security awareness: Actor is security aware, displays conspiratorial behavior.

This is not intended as a phase model. Not every individual who displays an interest in extremist ideology progresses to terrorism. Besides, some lone actors skip phases 4–6 and instead rely on the use of a knife, possibly in an impulsive attack.[32] Since phase 4 is also the first phase in which the lone actors can be expected to be fully security aware, the emphasis must accordingly be to identify behavior in phases 1–3, before full security awareness kicks in to make the task more difficult for the counterterrorism effort. It should be remembered that the activities undertaken in these phases remain legal in most Western countries. However, a lone actor due to his or her very nature will have to conduct each phase alone or with but a few friends. The lone actor will therefore leave a trail which to some extent makes him or her vulnerable to the attention of the security services.

To follow this trail, it will be necessary to compare indicators from different known hot spots, and different types of known hot spots. The counterterrorism effort will need fused intelligence. This is where the concept of networked security enters the picture. A comprehensive network of institutions ranging from law enforcement to social services to mental health care will be expected to cooperate to identify those at risk of taking up violence. The key will be to focus on actual behavior understood in the light of personality characteristics. If the person is active online in extremist forums, is he or she also registered as a gunowner or as owner of chemicals useful for bomb-making? Does this particular actor have a criminal record? Has he fallen under the notice of the social or mental health services, perhaps because of signs of emerging violent fantasies or actions?

Not all types of behaviors can be treated as indicators. An indicator is a sign of the presence or absence of the concept being studied, so must be observable. An indicator must also be unique, so that it is not present in too large a share of the total population. From a law enforcement intelligence perspective, indicators can generally be divided into three areas: capability indicators, intention indicators, and trigger event indicators. Capability indicators deal with the individual’s capacity for carrying out an attack, such as (but not limited to) the acquisition of and training with weapons or explosives. Intention indicators encompass a broad range, including indicators of an ideological, personal grievance, or mental health nature. Trigger event indicators, finally, are those which might trigger an individual into taking action. Although trigger event (also known as unfreezing) indicators come in different forms, they have been aptly summarized by McCauley et al. as a change in circumstances, especially a sudden change, that leaves an individual in some kind of personal crisis. Examples include financial problems, physical threat, and loss of connection with loved ones. . . . Unfreezing is thus an opening in an individual’s life that decreases the perceived cost of acting on a grievance and increases the value of acting to gain or regain status and respect.[33]

Gill et al. have concluded that a significant share of lone actors lost their jobs, experienced financial problems, suffered elevated stress, and/or converted to a religion within months before carrying out an attack.[34]

While indicators can be used to detect potential lone actors before they strike, the work is not easy and it would be unrealistic to expect that every lone actor could be identified. Yet, such work is meaningful, and when the Swedish National Bureau of Investigation (currently the Swedish Police Authority) in early 2014 set up a special intelligence team tasked with investigating lone actors, the examination of indicators of the types presented above soon led to a case in which illegal weapons were seized and a potentially lethal attack probably forestalled.[35]

To work with indicators, it will be necessary to combine (fuse) intelligence from various sources, including law enforcement agencies and local communities such as gun clubs, churches, and mosques, from all of which vital tip-offs can be gained—if the local community supports the counterterrorism effort and not the terrorists, which often is a sensitive yet vital question. Gill et al. have shown that in the time leading up to a lone actor attack, in as many as 83 percent of cases, others knew about the perpetrator’s grievances, extremist ideology, views, and/or intent to carry out an act of violence.[36] Even radical communities may be of assistance. Several cases of lone actor terrorism show that the individuals approached radical groups, but were rejected by them, before they became committed lone actor terrorists.[37] Gill et al. found that lone actor terrorists regularly engaged in activities with movements or organizations that engaged in radical politics, and that these activities were detectable.[38] Regional and central authorities within the security sector as well as within the health and social sectors need to work together to identify potential security threats among individuals at risk of turning to violence. Civil society, and some commercial enterprises (for instance arms dealers and suppliers of certain chemicals), should be included as well, as is already taking place within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security If You See Something, Say Something public awareness campaign; this campaign was introduced to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper local law enforcement authorities.[39]

The need for fused intelligence has been noted by many. To quote a well-known law enforcement organization:

The subtle and non-criminal nature of the behaviors involved in the process of radicalization makes it difficult to identify or even monitor from a law enforcement standpoint. Taken in isolation, individual behaviors can be seen as innocuous; however, when seen as part of the continuum of the radicalization process, their significance becomes more important. Considering the sequencing of these behaviors and the need to identify those entering this process at the earliest possible stage makes intelligence the critical tool in helping to thwart an attack or even prevent the planning of future plots.[40]

Yet, with radicalization processes being what they are, it would seem far more constructive for the counterterrorism effort to focus on the concrete and linked actions taken by an individual than on his or her level of radical beliefs. The actions, not the beliefs, form the key to identifying an act of terrorism in the making.

Preempting lone actors

Even if a wannabe lone actor can be identified through his or her preparatory actions, what then? What can the security service do to preempt his or her engaging in terrorism? To await a terrorist attack is not an option: still, the prospective lone actor has not yet done anything illegal which can be used as grounds for prosecution on charges of terrorism. Despite this, action can be taken.

To take a wannabe lone actor out of circulation before he or she attacks, several means are in fact available. If the individual is identified at an early stage of interest in and fascination for terrorism, it may be possible to counter further developments by early intervention, for instance, voluntary talks or the use of social or mental health services. If this does not work, it will be necessary to prosecute the individual for each and every minor offense committed (such as petty crime, use of false documents, drug dealing), even if unrelated to terrorism, simply to keep him or her away from further terrorist planning. This might not be as hard as it sounds; evidence shows that many of the activities engaged in by terrorists to support their cause are criminal in nature. Document fraud, forgery of documents, burglary, robbery, and to a lesser extent drug trafficking, drug production, and credit card fraud are common criminal activities among terrorists, in particular among jihadists but also among those of other ideological backgrounds, as was proven by the case of the environmental extremist Marco Camenisch who forged non-ideological yet real links to bank robbers. While most such activities are engaged in to generate funds, among jihadists some are engaged in to sustain the illegal presence of jihadist leaders in a country. Besides, it is not unheard of for born-again Muslims to revert to crime for personal profit, even while they carry out financial activities on behalf of the holy war effort.[41] Extremist ideology may even encourage jihadists to engage in petty crime simply because of their beliefs; for example, if they believe that Islam prohibits them from purchasing, for instance, mandatory car insurance, they are thus forced to drive uninsured or to insure the car in the name of a proxy—both of which may show up if the jihadist is caught speeding.[42] In fact, criminal records may well be a key tool in the finding of terrorists. When an FBI team was sent to Afghanistan in 2001 to fingerprint all foreign fighters detained there, that is, men from the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan, to their surprise they discovered that about one percent of the total were already in the FBI’s database for arrests in the United States, for crimes such as drunken driving, passing bad checks, and traffic violations.[43]

In this context, it is noteworthy that the actors in eight out of the twenty sample cases presented above had engaged in criminal activities before turning to lone actor terrorism, and that half owned legal or illegal firearms which were or should have been listed in police records. The percentage of lone actor terrorists with previous criminal records, even if these records are non-terror-related, is thus high compared to national averages.

There is accordingly a definite potential in employing the concept of networked security to detect individuals at risk of turning to violence. Moreover, since all noted lone actor terrorists since 2006 radicalized online, the Internet may well be the arena of first response when it comes to identifying individuals at risk. This will be the subject of the next chapter.

Notes

1 See also, e.g., Petter Nesser, Jihad in Europe: A Survey of the Motivations for Sunni Islamist Terrorism in Post-Millennium Europe (Kjeller: FFI, 2004), 70–1; Mitchell D. Silber and Arvin Bhatt, Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat (New York: New York City Police Department, 2007), 8; Tinka Veldhuis and Jorgen Staun, Islamist Radicalisation: A Root Cause Model (The Hague: Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael, 2009), 61–3; Christianne J. de Poot and Anne Sonnenschein, Jihadi Terrorism in the Netherlands: A Description Based on Closed Criminal Investigations (The Hague: WODC, 2011), 18–19.

2 Robert S. Muller (Director of the FBI), Testimony to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 30 September 2009.

3 Security Service MI5, Understanding Radicalisation and Violent Extremism in the UK (MI5 Behavioural Science Unit Operational Briefing Note BSU 02/2008, 12 June 2008); reproduced in Alan Travis, “MI5 Report Challenges Views on Terrorism in Britain,” The Guardian, 20 August 2008.

4 Tamerlan Tsarnayev had been reported to the police for domestic violence but charges were dropped. On the other hand, his name appeared on terrorist watch lists.

5 Edwin Bakker, Jihadi Terrorists in Europe: Their Characteristics and the Circumstances in Which They Joined the Jihad—An Explanatory Study (The Hague: Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael, 2006), 40.

6 In total, 41.2 percent of the 119 lone actors and members of autonomous cells in Paul Gill, John Horgan, and Paige Deckert, “Bombing Alone: Tracing the Motivations and Antecedent Behaviors of Lone-Actor Terrorists,” Journal of Forensic Sciences 59: 2 (2014), 425–35, on 428; and 49 percent of the 111 lone actors in Paul Gill, Lone-Actor Terrorists: A Behavioural Analysis (London: Routledge, 2015), 48. Of the latter sample, an unusually high percentage also displayed a history of violent behavior and/or mental illness, which would also be reflected in available records. Ibid., 51, 107.

7 Nadir Soofi had grown up in Garland, Texas, where he and Elton Simpson carried out their attack. BBC News, 5 May 2015.

8 David Weisburd, Cody W. Telep, and Anthony A. Braga, The Importance of Place in Policing: Empirical Evidence and Policy Recommendations (Stockholm: Brå, 2010), 45; Michael Fredholm, Hunting Lone Wolves: Finding Islamist Lone Actors Before They Strike (Stockholm Seminar on Lone Wolf Terrorism, 1 November 2011), 13; Michael Becker, “Explaining Lone Wolf Target Selection in the United States,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 37: 11 (2014), 959–78, on 971. However, we disagree with Becker’s assertion that since lone actors are predominantly locally focused, the chance to disrupt their plots is limited. As will be shown, lone actors leave signs and exhibit behavioral characteristics which can be identified before they strike.

9 See, e.g., BBC News, 20 July 2012, on Nasserdine Menni who was found guilty of supplying money to help fund the attack.

10 See, e.g., Danmarks Radio, 23 May 2011; comments during the Terrorism Innovation and Learning Workshop, Stockholm, 25–26 June 2013. This was a closed expert seminar for leading academics and practitioners, hosted by the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies (CATS) and operating under strict Chatham House rules which state that “participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”

11 See, e.g., Vic Artiga, Lone Wolf Terrorism: What We Need to Know and What We Need to Do (Homeland Security News, TakResponse web site, www.takresponse.com, n.d.).

12 James Berry Motley, “International Terrorism: A Challenge for U.S. Intelligence,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 1: 1 (1986), 83–96, on 89.

15 Saturn, Chronos to the Greeks, can be regarded as the father of security services since he, out of fear that one of his sons would change the status quo by overthrowing him, devoured them all as soon as they were born, except one, Zeus, who got away. Zeus then overthrew his father and took his place. In astrological terms, Saturn is the symbol of social order, conformity, and inertia. My apologies to those within security services who find this comparison less than flattering; however, the reactive outlook of many security services, regardless of the reasons therefor, needs to be addressed.

16 Note the chosen adjective, “successful.” The purpose of this comparison is to find solutions, not to annoy those many security and intelligence officers who work hard and do their very best within whatever regulatory framework governs them and their activities. History contains numerous examples of reactive intelligence services as well.

17 See, e.g., Francis Galton, The Art of Travel; or, Shifts and Contrivances Available in Wild Countries (London: John Murray, 1872), 255–6. Galton was an old Africa hand whose explorations earned him the Royal Geographical Society’s Founder Medal for 1854.

18 For those who may be unfamiliar with the Cold War concept, an amusing case study can be found in Markus Wolf with Anne McElvoy, Memoirs of a Spymaster (London: Pimlico, 1998), 71–2. Markus Wolf was chief of the foreign intelligence service of the Ministry of State Security in East Germany and claims to have perfected the use of sex in spying.

19 Weisburd, Telep, and Braga, Importance of Place in Policing.

20 On the role of extremist mosques and the sample of 172 jihadists, see Marc Sageman, Understanding Terror Networks (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 114–15; Marc Sageman, Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 86.

See also Rachel Briggs and Jonathan Birdwell, “Radicalisation among Muslims in the UK,” Michael Emerson (ed.), Ethno-Religious Conflict in Europe: Typologies of Radicalisation in Europe’s Muslim Communities (Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies, 2009), 109–35, on 122; de Poot and Sonnenschein, Jihadi Terrorism in the Netherlands, 122–4.

21 De Poot and Sonnenschein, Jihadi Terrorism in the Netherlands, 18, 75–6, 122–5.

23 Ann-Sophie Hemmingsen, The Attractions of Jihadism: An Identity Approach to Three Danish Terrorism Cases and the Gallery of Characters around Them (Dissertation, University of Copenhagen, 2008), 75.

24 Of course, if entrapment along these lines is permitted, and jihadists search for facilitators who can take them abroad for training, a logical and somewhat more drastic development of the scheme would be the implementation of something like the plan presented in Cyril M. Kornbluth’s short science fiction story The Marching Morons (1951).

25 Ellen Nakashima, “Dismantling of Saudi-CIA Web Site Illustrates Need for Clearer Cyberwar Policies,” Washington Post, 19 March 2010. Despite the web site’s usefulness for intelligence collection, it was eventually taken down, not by the CIA but by the Joint Functional Component Command-Network Warfare (JFCC-NW) at Fort Meade, under the command of the director of the National Security Agency, which carried out operations under a program called Countering Adversary Use of the Internet, established to blunt jihadists’ use of online forums and chat groups for propaganda and for the recruitment and mobilization of members.

26 National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Jihadists and the Internet: 2009 Update, 49; citing a communiqué on the Shabakat Shumukh al-Islam web site, 22 September 2009.

27 See, e.g., Chip Berlet, “The ‘War on Terror,’ Civil Liberties, and Flawed Scholarship,” Public Eye Magazine 23: 3 (2008; web site, www.publiceye.org); which not only raises these issues but also condemns in particular Sageman’s works on Leaderless Jihad and the implications thereof.

28 Michael Fredholm, “Daydreams and Nightmares: Dreaming of Al-Qaeda and the Once and Future Caliphate—Extremist Narratives on Globalised Islam,” Anita Sengupta and Suchandana Chatterjee (eds), Globalizing Geographies: Perspectives from Eurasia (New Delhi: KW Publishers, 2015), 131–56.

29 Örjan Falk, Märta Wallinius, Sebastian Lundström, Thomas Frisell, Henrik Anckarsäter, and Nóra Kerekes, “The 1% of the Population Accountable for 63% of All Violent Crime Convictions,” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 49: 4 (2014), 559–71.

30 Fredholm, Hunting Lone Wolves. The importance of focusing on the individual’s behavior rather than who he or she is was subsequently also the conclusion of Gill, Horgan, and Deckert, “Bombing Alone,” 435.

31 Gill, Horgan, and Deckert, “Bombing Alone,” 434. [32] E.g., Roshonara Choudhry (see above).

33 Clark McCauley, Sophia Moskalenko, and Benjamin Van Son, “Characteristics of Lone-Wolf Violent Offenders: A Comparison of Assassins and School Attackers,” Perspectives on Terrorism 7: 1 (2013), 4–24, on 11. See also Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko, “Individual and Group Mechanisms of Radicalization,” Laurie Fenstermacher, Larry Kuznar, Tom Rieger, and Anne Speckhard (eds), Protecting the Homeland from International and Domestic Terrorism Threats (2010), 82–91, on 85; Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko, Friction: How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 79, 80.

34 Gill, Horgan, and Deckert, “Bombing Alone,” 433–4.

35 Dagens Nyheter, 22 February 2015. The case also illustrates a well-known intelligence dilemma. By acting on available intelligence and seizing weapons, the police thwarted any plan to carry out a lethal attack. However, since the attack had not yet taken place and there was no confession, no prosecution for terrorism became possible. Yet, the alternative would have been to allow a suspect to continue what seemed to be the preparation for a deadly attack, hardly an ideal outcome.

36 Gill, Horgan, and Deckert, “Bombing Alone,” 433.

37 See, e.g., Raffaello Pantucci, “Categorizing Lone Wolves: Defining the Trend and Seeing What Lessons Can Be Learned,” Terrorism: An Electronic Journal and Knowledge Base 1: 2 (2012), 27. Others could be added to the list mentioned by Pantucci, for instance Ladislav Kuc, the animal rights terrorist, who contacted the Slovak Islamic Community with a demand to help him construct a terrorist suicide vest with explosives, or David Copeland, the neo-Nazi militant who for some time was a member of a far right political group, the British National Party (BNP), but left a year before his terrorist campaign began, since he came to consider it an inefficient and altogether too moderate political formation.

38 Gill, Horgan, and Deckert, “Bombing Alone,” 434.

39 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, If You See Something, Say Something

(2010).

40 Silber and Bhatt, Radicalization in the West, 10.

41 De Poot and Sonnenschein, Jihadi Terrorism in the Netherlands, 126, 136–7, 138–9. [42] Ed Husain, The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside

and Why I Left (London: Penguin, 2007), 101.

Bibliography

Artiga, Vic. Lone Wolf Terrorism: What We Need to Know and What We Need to Do.

Homeland Security News, TakResponse web site, www.takresponse.com, n.d. Bakker, Edwin. Jihadi Terrorists in Europe: Their Characteristics and the Circumstances in

Which They Joined the Jihad—An Explanatory Study. The Hague: The Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael, 2006.

Becker, Michael. “Explaining Lone Wolf Target Selection in the United States.”

Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 37: 11 (2014): 959–78.

Berlet, Chip. “The ‘War on Terror,’ Civil Liberties, and Flawed Scholarship.” Public Eye Magazine 23: 3 (2008; web site, www.publiceye.org).

Briggs, Rachel, and Jonathan Birdwell. “Radicalisation among Muslims in the UK” Michael Emerson (ed.). Ethno-Religious Conflict in Europe: Typologies of Radicalisation in Europe’s Muslim Communities. Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies, 2009: 109–35.

Emerson, Michael (ed.). Ethno-Religious Conflict in Europe: Typologies of Radicalisation in Europe’s Muslim Communities. Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies, 2009.

Falk, Örjan, Märta Wallinius, Sebastian Lundström, Thomas Frisell, Henrik Anckarsäter, and Nóra Kerekes. “The 1% of the Population Accountable for 63% of All Violent Crime Convictions.” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 49: 4 (2014): 559–71.

Fredholm, Michael. Hunting Lone Wolves: Finding Islamist Lone Actors before They Strike. Stockholm Seminar on Lone Wolf Terrorism, 1 November 2011.

Fredholm, Michael. “Daydreams and Nightmares: Dreaming of Al-Qaeda and the Once and Future Caliphate—Extremist Narratives on Globalised Islam.” Anita Sengupta and Suchandana Chatterjee (eds). Globalizing Geographies: Perspectives from Eurasia. New Delhi: KW Publishers, 2015: 131–56.

Galton, Francis. The Art of Travel; or, Shifts and Contrivances Available in Wild Countries. London: John Murray, 1872.

Gill, Paul. Lone-Actor Terrorists: A Behavioural Analysis. London: Routledge, 2015. Gill, Paul, John Horgan, and Paige Deckert. “Bombing Alone: Tracing the Motivations and Antecedent Behaviors of Lone-Actor Terrorists.” Journal of Forensic Sciences 59: 2 (2014): 425–35.

Hemmingsen, Ann-Sophie. The Attractions of Jihadism: An Identity Approach to Three Danish Terrorism Cases and the Gallery of Characters around Them. Dissertation, University of Copenhagen, 2008.

Husain, Ed. The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left. London: Penguin, 2007.

McCauley, Clark, and Sophia Moskalenko. “Individual and Group Mechanisms of Radicalization.” Laurie Fenstermacher, Larry Kuznar, Tom Rieger, and Anne Speckhard (eds). Protecting the Homeland from International and Domestic Terrorism Threats (2010): 82–91.

McCauley, Clark, and Sophia Moskalenko. Friction: How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

McCauley, Clark, Sophia Moskalenko, and Benjamin Van Son. “Characteristics of Lone-Wolf Violent Offenders: A Comparison of Assassins and School Attackers.” Perspectives on Terrorism 7: 1 (2013): 4–24.

Motley, James Berry. “International Terrorism: A Challenge for U.S. Intelligence.”

International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 1: 1 (1986): 83–96.

National Coordinator for Counterterrorism (NCTb, the Netherlands). Jihadists and the Internet: 2009 Update. The Hague: NCTb, 2010.

Nesser, Petter. Jihad in Europe: A Survey of the Motivations for Sunni Islamist Terrorism in Post-Millennium Europe. Kjeller: FFI, 2004.

Pantucci, Raffaello. “Categorizing Lone Wolves: Defining the Trend and Seeing What Lessons Can Be Learned.” Terrorism: An Electronic Journal and Knowledge Base 1: 2 (2012).

Poot, Christianne J. de, Anne Sonnenschein, M. Soudijn, J. Bijen, and M. Verkuylen. Jihadi Terrorism in the Netherlands: A Description Based on Closed Criminal Investigations. The Hague: WODC, 2011.

Sageman, Marc. Understanding Terror Networks. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.

Sageman, Marc. Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008.

Security Service MI5. Understanding Radicalisation and Violent Extremism in the UK. MI5 Behavioural Science Unit Operational Briefing Note BSU 02/2008, 12 June 2008. Reproduced in Alan Travis. “MI5 Report Challenges Views on Terrorism in Britain.” The Guardian, 20 August 2008.

Silber, Mitchell D., and Arvin Bhatt. Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat. New York: New York City Police Department, 2007.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. If You See Something, Say Something. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2010. Web site, www.dhs.gov/if-you-see- something-say-something™-campaign. Accessed on 30 August 2013.

Veldhuis, Tinka, and Jorgen Staun. Islamist Radicalisation: A Root Cause Model. The Hague: the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael, 2009. Weisburd, David, Cody W. Telep, and Anthony A. Braga. The Importance of Place in

Policing: Empirical Evidence and Policy Recommendations. Stockholm: Brå, 2010. Wolf, Markus, with Anne McElvoy. Memoirs of a Spymaster. London: Pimlico, 1998.

13 Countering lone actor terrorism

Weak signals and online activities

Lisa Kaati and Fredrik Johansson

As has been made clear in the previous chapters of this book, lone actor terrorists can come in a variety of shapes and with a range of backgrounds and they are generally very hard to detect before they attack. As argued by Cohen[1] and in this volume, there are no clear profiles for lone actor terrorists since they have a large variation in factors such as social status, ideology, and personality type. Even though intelligence agencies do their best to keep track of individuals who are violence-prone and have radical ideas and thoughts, it has repeatedly been shown that attacks often come from directions that are not expected beforehand, for example, the attacks carried out by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway or the various attacks by born-and-raised Americans in the United States.

In the search for potential lone actor terrorists, it is important to have an open mind. Wilhelm Agrell[2] refers to the black swan theory, a metaphor introduced by Nassim Nicholas Taleb[3] for describing events that have major effects and that come as a surprise to the observer. The black swan theory is, according to Agrell, an explanation as to why the Norwegian security service could not stop Breivik before his attack, and the same argument can be used for explaining the successful execution of many other terrorist attacks. Humans are generally quite bad at coping with black swans and other kinds of low-probability events, since we have many cognitive biases towards trying to confirm what we already suspect, rather than looking for alternative hypotheses. Such cognitive biases hold true also for intelligence analysts, making it important to provide them with support for evidence-based reasoning and methodologies that encourage the search for alternative hypotheses.

In this chapter, we will discuss how computerized decision support systems and various computational techniques can be used to analyze and understand weak signals of an upcoming terrorist attack by a lone actor.[4] More specifically, we will focus on how various kinds of social media monitoring and analysis techniques can help in this process. Before discussing this in further detail, we would like to point out that technological solutions alone are no golden bullet that will stop terrorist attacks from happening. What technical solutions potentially can accomplish or add is to support intelligence analysts in their work of protecting society by detecting potential lone actor terrorists and thus attempting to stop terrorist attacks before they take place.

Technology nearly always comes at a price and technological solutions for making society more secure are a double-edged sword that may have implications for people’s privacy. More or less the same techniques that can be used in attempts to protect society against terrorism in a democratic country may be used to monitor the opposition in a more repressive regime. It is therefore of fundamental importance that legal and ethical considerations are taken into account before using technological means for fighting lone actor terrorism. The techniques we will discuss or suggest here are intended to have as low an impact as possible on the privacy of individuals, but all kinds of social media monitoring analysis do affect people’s privacy, no matter whether the purpose is to discover potential lone actors or to market a new product.

Internet and lone actor terrorists

The Internet and social media have an enormous effect on modern society. People can search for and find information fast on nearly any topic, and it is easy to communicate and keep in touch with relatives and friends living far away. It is also easy to discuss and communicate political views and opinions using various forms of social media. Today there exist many different kinds of social media services and new services are constantly being developed.

Several terrorist organizations have a presence on the Internet and are spreading their propaganda through micro-blogs such as Twitter, social networking sites such as Facebook, and various discussion forums. According to many reports, several of the recent examples of homegrown terrorists have been influenced and encouraged by recruiters and motivators such as Anwar al-Awlaki (including Nidal Malik Hasan who carried out the Fort Hood shootings in the United States). The online magazine Inspire, produced by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), is disseminated worldwide using various social networks, blogs, jihadist forums, and filesharing web sites.[5] Inspire, to a large degree, focuses on the recruitment and training of young Western Muslims to fight unbelievers by carrying out lone actor attacks. Likewise, videos encouraging terrorism are spread via various social media services such as YouTube and discussion forums. The development of Internet and social media shrinks the world so that it becomes easier to communicate with the likeminded, no matter whether the topic for discussion is modern art or how to make a bomb in your mother’s kitchen using household items, as described by Inspire.

There are many examples of how lone actor terrorists have been using various forms of social media for communication and inspiration. This is of course unsurprising since very many people make use of social media.

What is of interest is that the use of social media and the Internet in many cases leaves digital traces that can be gathered and analyzed. The use of encryption techniques and password-secured sites may be used for exchanging sensitive information, but in most circumstances, the actual aim for the individuals or terror organizations is to reach a wider audience, making it likely that those who want to encourage violent extremism will continue to use social media services that are accessible by everyone, including the intelligence services.

One example of a lone actor terrorist who used social media is Anders Behring Breivik. Breivik made use of several different social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter. He also posted the manifesto 2083: A European Declaration of Independence on the Internet before he carried out his terror attacks in Norway. An analysis of the content posted by Breivik reveals that many of his postings indicated that he had radical beliefs. It should be noted that radical belief is not a crime, but, in combination with other activities (such as the acquisition of chemicals that can be used for bomb-making), the expression of radical beliefs could have worked as a warning sign. Another example is Mohamed Merah who in 2012 killed several Jewish schoolchildren and a Rabbi. Merah used a camera strapped to his chest to record the killing of all his victims and posted the footage online before he was shot to death by a police sniper.[6] Although the posting of Breivik’s manifesto and Merah’s footage were too late to be useful for predicting or revealing the attacks, there are many examples of how people who have carried out lone actor attacks or school shootings have posted revealing content online long before their attacks.[7] If it had been possible to detect these postings before the actual attacks, the material could have served as a weak signal of an upcoming attack. Purely manual means are highly unlikely to find such content, but semiautomated or automated methods for searching for this kind of material increases the possibility of detecting such material before an actual attack. Keeping track of what individuals are sending terrorism propaganda and who their followers are is, at least in theory, a valuable tool for finding potential lone actors, since, even though lone actors carry out their attacks in isolation, this does not mean they are not communicating with or influencing each other. In fact, according to Sageman,[8] most lone actors are part of online forums, making digital traces of the utmost importance when trying to identify threats to society. As stated by Weimann,[9] “In nature, wolves do not hunt alone: they hunt in packs. So, too, with the lone-wolf terrorists: there is a virtual pack, a social network, behind them. They may operate alone, but they are recruited, radicalized, taught, trained and directed by others.” Hence, even though they carry out their attacks on their own, this does not mean that they are not communicating with others. In fact, it is often claimed that nearly all radicalization of lone actor terrorists takes place on the Internet.

Social media monitoring and analysis

Monitoring and analyzing various social media sites has become an important task for many different reasons. Using a variety of state-of-theart techniques, online content from social media services can be gathered and analyzed. The goal of the analysis can, for example, be to get information about public opinion on a certain topic or to get information about the members and subgroups of a social network. When using social media monitoring and analysis to detect threats towards society posed by individuals, the goal is to identify weak signals indicating that someone is planning a terrorist attack. A weak signal can be seen as an early warning for an upcoming event. There are few events that do not have any prior warning signs; the problem is to find the right signals and to analyze them properly.

The ability to identify weak signals present on the Internet requires tools for the monitoring of extremist web sites and social media accounts belonging to or associated with known terrorist groups. Similar tools exist and are currently being used by companies for marketing purposes. We will not go into any technical detail here on how such tools can be utilized, but rather briefly describe various functionalities that can be of importance when searching for weak signals that can be used to detect potential lone actor terrorists in social media.

We will only discuss methods that can be used on publicly available web data or social media data accessible by anyone interested in the data. Recent research suggests that this kind of publicly available data can be used for many purposes, including predicting the winner of elections,[10] estimating private attributes such as ethnicity or political views,[11] or predicting the stock market.[12] Although claims that the mood people express in tweets can be used to predict the stock market should be taken with a pinch of salt, it is quite uncontroversial to state that it is possible to find useful and actionable information from social media.

The main challenges when it comes to social media monitoring and analysis are (1) to collect data or information that may be of potential interest and (2) to carry out further analysis of the collected information. While human analysts are much better at analyzing the actual content of text than machines are, the amount of user-generated content on the Internet grows so quickly that it is impossible for humans to read and process all data. Various degrees of automatic processing are therefore necessary, although the final assessments and judgments should always be performed by an analyst.

When analyzing social media, there are at least two aspects that can be highly relevant. First, the actual content of the posts is of fundamental importance. Various keyword searches can be used for finding social media posts that contain the specific terms, but there are more sophisticated techniques available for analyzing the content. With topic extraction algorithms, it becomes possible to search for posts relating to specific topics (for instance, terrorism), without having to manually specify what keywords to look for. Furthermore, by using affect analysis algorithms,[13] it is possible to identify posts that contain strongly expressed negative emotions such as hatred or anger.[14] Second, in addition to looking at the content, it can be of interest to analyze the structure of the social network. If we have knowledge about a few potential terrorists or influencers, their friends, followers, and so on, can be identified, in order to analyze who is communicating with whom. Moreover, various social network analysis techniques can be applied to find the most central individuals in the network, making it possible to focus the available resources on those individuals.

Weak signals

It is possible to detect many different kinds of weak signals that might precede a terror attack. For example, it might be feasible to detect weak signals indicating that someone has the intent to carry out an attack, that someone has the capability to carry out an attack, or that someone has the opportunity to carry out an attack. Typically, it is of interest to identify weak signals that identify an individual with radical beliefs and professing extreme hatred who has knowledge of how to produce homemade explosives, an interest in firearms, and who shows signs of rehearsal (with explosives or shooting). Apart from these kinds of quite concrete signals, it is also possible to search for more complex signals that represent certain warning behaviors.

Available literature on lone actors and school shooters shows that there are various warning behaviors that have been empirically proven to precede terrorist attacks and school shootings.[15] Meloy et al. propose the following list of warning behaviors that precede acts of targeted violence, relate to targeted violence, or may predict it:[16]

• Pathway warning behavior

• Fixation warning behavior

• Identification warning behavior

• Novel aggression warning behavior

• Energy burst warning behavior

• Leakage warning behavior

• Directly communicated warning behavior

• Last resort warning behavior

Pathway warning behaviors include the planning, preparation, and implementation of an attack. Part of the planning and preparation can be the acquisition of the required knowledge and material to carry out the attack, for instance, by searching for and downloading material in order to learn how to build a pipe bomb, or ordering fertilizers with which to make explosives. Fixation behavior is described by Meloy et al. as behavior indicating an increasingly pathological preoccupation with a person or a cause, which, for instance, can be recognized as an increasingly negative characterization of the object of fixation, coupled with an angry emotional undertone. Identification warning behavior can, for instance, be expressed as having a warrior mentality, associating closely with weapons, or identifying with previous attackers or assassins. Novel aggression warning behavior relates to behavior that shows the capacity for violence, while energy burst warning behavior relates to an increase in the frequency or variety of activities related to the target when the day of attack is approaching. Leakage warning behavior is expressed when the intent to carry out an attack is communicated to a third party, which is similar to directly communicated warning behavior, except that in the second case this is a direct threat. Finally, last resort warning behavior can be seen as an expression of increasing desperation or distress, in which the individual sees no way out except by taking violent action.

While some of these behaviors are most likely to be detected using physical interaction, many of the behaviors can also be identified in social media posts or other kinds of Internet-related activities. Some of the behaviors relate to the capability to carry out an attack, some of them relate to the intent to carry out an attack, and some relate to the opportunity to carry out an attack. It is most likely that some of the warning behaviors can be identified by using various automated analysis techniques. More specifically, natural language processing can be used to find concepts on which the author seems to be fixated, or on which the author expresses a very negative or positive sentiment. In the same manner, by looking for word patterns containing auxiliary verbs signaling intent together with words expressing violent actions, leakage or directly communicated warning behavior may be detected. While text analysis may be very useful, it is also common that images or videos contain clues as to whether someone shows warning behaviors. As an example, it is not uncommon that attackers post images or videos where they pose with weapons long before they carry out their attacks. For detecting such information, various content-based image retrieval algorithms can be applied, even though so far their accuracy has been too low to be used with high precision in large-scale environments.

Analyzing weak signals

The ability to separate weak warning signals from the usual noise is a complex task and requires that information be interpreted and evaluated with respect to the context. In order to be able to analyze weak signals, several components are necessary. First, a suitable analysis model is needed. A classic approach to addressing complex problems is to break them down into more manageable sub-problems, to solve these separately and then to aggregate the results into a solution for the overall problem. This approach is well suited for the analysis of weak signals. The aggregation of sub-problems can be done using several computational approaches, such as different kinds of weighted averaging or probabilistic methods. The concept of breaking down a problem into smaller pieces is generally referred to as decomposition. This approach is a suitable solution for gathering, combining, and analyzing information about possible lone actor terrorists.

Figure 13.1 illustrates a (simplified) example representing a decomposition of the problem of determining whether there is an increased risk that actor X is planning an act of terror. In this example, the original hypothesis (the top node) is broken down into the sub-hypotheses: (1) if actor X has intent to commit an act of terror, (2) if actor X has the capability to commit an act of terror, and (3) if actor X has opportunity to commit an act of terror. Each sub-problem can be decomposed further. In this example, the sub-problem intent is decomposed into (1) if actor X is active on radical Internet forums and (2) if actor X is making radical postings. The sub-problem capability is broken down into (1) if actor X is making postings that reveal certain capabilities, (2) if actor X is obtaining materiel that can be used for carrying out terrorist acts, and (3) if actor X is active on capability-related Internet forums.

When the original problem has been broken down to a level that is detailed enough for the current purpose, information that supports each sub-problem can be gathered. The result of each sub-problem can be fused and used to assess whether there is an increased likelihood that someone is planning an act of terrorism. The results can be used to identify potentially dangerous actors that should be subject to further analysis.

By utilizing an analysis model that allows for fusing information from several different sources, a more adequate picture of the problem can be provided. The information that can be included in such an analysis model may come from various information sources such as intelligence reports, data from the Internet, medical journals, police reports, and so on.

Actor X

####

Capability

Figure 13.1 Decomposition of the overall problem.

One example of when such ability to combine information from different sources could have been useful was when Anders Behring Breivik was planning his attacks. Breivik ordered a chemical (aluminum powder) that was listed on the Global Shield[17] list and the Customs Service also had information that he had ordered firing fuse from a company in Poland.[18] Combining this information with the fact that Breivik was the registered owner of three rifles and a gun, and was active on a number of radical discussion forums, could have increased the possibility of detecting Breivik before his attack.

Multiple aliases

A potential problem when trying to fuse various signals collected from social media is that the same individual may use several social media accounts. If an individual uses an account on a discussion forum for expressing radical opinions and a YouTube account for posting videos in which he is firing weapons, this may cause problems for assessing the overall level of threat posed by the individual. For this reason, it can be of interest to use alias matching techniques to find out whether several accounts belong to one and the same individual. Such techniques can make use of similarities in user names, similarities in writing style, and similarities in time profiles when trying to match postings written by several aliases.[19] While similarities in user names only can be used if the author is not deliberately attempting to hide the fact that the various accounts belong to the same individual, the stylometric and time-based profiles can be used in most cases. By combining the results from several techniques, surprisingly good accuracy can be achieved with alias matching techniques. So far, most experiments have been made on synthetic datasets in controlled settings, but there are indications that at least stylometric techniques can be used on a larger scale in more uncontrolled environments.[20]

Targeted relation extraction and automated profiling

The fact that we have the possibility of identifying an alias active on the Internet and can use various text analysis techniques for obtaining indications that this person may be planning an attack does not mean that we can say anything about the physical identity of the person behind the alias. In some cases authorities may be able to get information about the IP address that has been used in the communication. However, the IP address may not reveal any information since it is possible to use anonymization techniques such as TOR, or to use computers at public places, or mobile devices with limited tracing opportunities.

One approach to learning more about an Internet user’s physical identity is to use what we refer to as targeted relation extraction. The idea is to use natural language processing to detect relations that have an impact on, or give clues about, someone’s physical life. Examples of such relational expressions are: “my wife . . .,” “I live in . . .,” “I went to . . .,” and so on. By extracting such relations, it becomes automatically possible to reason about them and to obtain clues that might indicate who the physical person behind the alias is. This kind of technique can be useful if a larger amount of text is available such as a blog that has been active over a long period of time.

The ability to automatically profile the author of text documents may in theory be useful if we have collected a number of social media posts written by an unknown author, such as when an anonymous alias has been used for publishing the posts. There are many examples in the research literature where researchers try to do various kinds of profiling of individuals based on their writing. Many examples concern classification of the gender or age of the author, but there are also attempts to predict, for instance, the demographics, academic background, cultural background, or psychological profile based on the words used, the richness of the language used, word lengths, syntactical patterns most frequently used, and so on. Similar features can also be used for authorship attribution, where one tries to identify the author of a piece of text, given a set of potential authors and their previous known writings. What is common for these kinds of problems is that the less text material that is available, the harder they tend to be to solve. To distinguish between various authors based on their writing style is generally much easier when there are just a few potential authors and there is a lot of text available, such as whole books. If instead there are many potential authors and we have access to only a few short blog posts, it becomes much more difficult to discriminate between various authors.

In theory, one can expect gender to be most easily classified since there are only two classes, male and female. However, although there are only two classes to distinguish between, it is hardly obvious that there is a significant difference in how women generally write, compared to how men write. Some have argued that no difference between male and female writing styles can be expected in many contexts, but results reported by Koppel et al. show that algorithms for gender classification are reaching an accuracy of approximately 80 percent, meaning that around 80 out of

100 randomly selected persons are classified correctly in attempts to estimate the gender of the author.[21] The experiments presented by Argamon et al. indicate that the most useful style features for gender discrimination are the use of determiners, prepositions, and pronouns.[22] Although it may be useful to know the gender of the author of, say, a series of radical postings, this remains insufficient information for the intelligence analyst. When it comes to classification of age, results presented by Peersman et al. suggest that somewhat higher accuracy can be achieved for age than for gender if one tries to discriminate only between adults and adolescents. However, if the number of classes (that is, the number of age groups) is increased, this accuracy can be expected to decrease.[23] In the experiments presented by Argamon et al., the most useful style features for discriminating between age groups are contractions with apostrophes (indicating younger writing), and prepositions and determiners (more often used among older persons).[24]

The use of stylistic text features for determining an author’s native language is studied for texts written in English in Koppel et al. [25] That paper shows how language patterns used in an author’s native language influence spelling mistakes, function word selection, and grammar usage in a second language. When trying to classify whether certain English texts have been written by someone with Czech, French, Bulgarian, Russian, or Spanish as mother-tongue, an accuracy of approximately 80 percent was reported. Once again, this accuracy can be expected to decrease as the number of potential classes is increased (that is, if perhaps Swedish and Finnish are added as possible classes). In general one can expect quite good accuracy when determining to which language family the native language of the author belongs, while it might be harder to decide the exact country from which the author originates.

There are also attempts to classify a writer’s personality based on his or her writing. As an example, in Argamon et al., psychology undergraduates were asked to fill in a questionnaire testing for the personality dimensions of neuroticism, extroversion, openness, conscientiousness, and agreeableness. In the next step they were asked to write an essay in 20 minutes concerning their thoughts and feelings. The reported results are significantly better than chance, but still too low to be very usable in practice.[26] Moreover, it is to be expected that it is even harder to classify an individual’s personality from text if he or she is allowed to write about any topic, rather than from essays regarding his or her thoughts and feelings.

To summarize, there are many ways in which text analysis techniques can help in determining the author of social media postings, or at least in determining from which category of people the author stems. However, many of the techniques are language dependent and are often better developed for major languages such as English than for other languages with fewer speakers.

Privacy

Searching for and collecting digital traces on the Internet obviously raise privacy concerns. There is nearly always an ongoing debate about privacy issues when it comes to surveillance (whether it is about surveillance cameras, wiretapping, or looking into bank account data). The surveillance issue usually divides people into two groups: those in favor and those against. Those who are in favor of surveillance usually have arguments such as “if you aren’t doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?”

People who are against surveillance reply with comments such as: “If I’m not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me” or “Because you might do something wrong with my information.”

Such concerns were, for instance, voiced when information about the

U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) computer program PRISM (Planning Tool for Resource Integration, Synchronization, and Management) was leaked to the press in 2013.[27] PRISM had been used for surveillance purposes and had, according to the leaked information, given access to content held by some of the largest Internet companies. The exposure of PRISM led to a debate about privacy and the extent to which the U.S. and other governments should be allowed to monitor Internet exchanges.

One could argue that the question of surveillance of any kind is a fine balance between the security of society and the privacy of individuals. Everybody agrees that it is necessary to take measures to prevent and stop terrorist attacks, but at what price? Security expert Bruce Schneier argues that “[p]rivacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.”[28] If surveillance and monitoring of people is excessive, the democratic society that we attempt to protect may lose its value. On the other hand, many would argue that governments cannot stand by and wait until criminal acts are carried out, and that they must have the tools and rights to be able to stop attacks before they are carried out.

Just because something is possible or doable, it does not necessarily mean it is a good idea. Social media monitoring is associated with several privacy concerns, and we can expect this debate to continue in the future. We are not attempting to present any solutions to the question of how to find the right balance between privacy and security. Rather, we are here only attempting to present techniques that may be efficient for finding lone actor terrorists. Before such techniques are implemented, it is vital to carefully investigate issues regarding privacy versus security, to make sure that all aspects of this problem are considered, as well to look at the problem from a legal and ethical point of view.

Social media monitoring and the future

In this chapter, we have argued that it is common for terrorist organizations to use social media in order to spread information and propaganda. Even though lone actor terrorists by definition are not members of terror networks, we have in previous chapters noted that they become inspired and radicalized through the Internet and social media, and use them for communication with others and for planning their attacks. Tools for monitoring and analyzing the followers of known terrorist organizations on social media and what they are writing about can therefore be an important capability for intelligence agencies whose mission it is to protect society against attacks. The development of natural language processing techniques makes it possible, at least in theory, to extract various weak signals and warning behaviors such as occur when someone is planning and preparing an attack, identifies himself with previous attackers, or expresses very negative or hateful sentiments toward certain groups of people. However, the maturity of automatic text processing today is insufficient to, with certainty, separate serious threats from ironic statements or bad jokes, due to the ambiguity inherent in text analysis. Nevertheless, automatic processing may still be very useful for sifting through large quantities of text, although human analysts always have to be part of the loop in order to avoid false positives, that is, classifying innocent persons as potential lone actor terrorists. Even though it is likely that natural language processing capabilities will increase further in the future, it is not necessarily the case that social media monitoring is the way to go to fight lone actor terrorism. If such techniques should be used, it is important that they are designed so as to keep the impact on ordinary citizens’ privacy to a minimum.

Notes

1 Katie Cohen, Who Will Be a Lone Wolf Terrorist? (Stockholm: FOI Technical report: FOI-R–3531–SE, 2012).

2 Wilhelm Agrell, Den svarta svanen och dess motståndare: Förvarningsaspekter på attentaten i Oslo och på Utøya 22 juli 2011 (Stockholm: National Defence College, 2013).

3 Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

(London: Penguin, 2nd edn 2007).

4 The technical discussions in this chapter are on a comprehensive and nondetailed level. For more technical details, we refer the interested reader to our previous work: Joel Brynielsson, Andreas Horndahl, Fredrik Johansson, Lisa Kaati, Christian Mårtenson, Pontus Svenson, “Harvesting and Analysis of Weak Signals for Detecting Lone Wolf Terrorists,” Security Informatics 2: 11 (2013).

5 Edan Landau, And Inspire the Believers (Herzliya, Israel: International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, IDC, 2012).

6 Gabriel Weimann, “Lone Wolves in Cyberspace,” Journal of Terrorism Research 3: 2 (2012).

7 Alexander Semenov, Jari Veijalainen, and Jorma Kyppö, “Analysing the Presence of School-shooting Related Communities at Social Media Sites,” International Journal of Multimedia Intelligence and Security 1: 3 (2010).

8 Marc Sageman, Understanding Terror Networks (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004).

9 Weimann, “Lone Wolves in Cyberspace.”

10 Andranik Tumasjan, Timm O. Sprenger, Philipp G. Sandner, and Isabell M. Welpe, “Predicting Elections with Twitter: What 140 Characters Reveal about Political Sentiment,” Proceedings of the Fourth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (2010), 178–85.

12 Johan Bollen and Huina Mao, “Twitter Mood as a Stock Market Predictor,”

Computer 44: 10 (2011), 91–4.

13 Fredrik Johansson, Joel Brynielsson, and Maribel Narganes Quijano, “Estimating Citizen Alertness in Crises Using Social Media Monitoring and Analysis,” Proceedings of EISIC 2012 (2012), 189–96.

14 Ahmed Abbasi, Hsinchun Chen, Sven Thoms, and Tianjun Fu, “Affect Analysis of Web Forums and Blogs Using Correlation Ensembles,” IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering 20: 9 (2008).

15 Cohen, Who Will Be a Lone Wolf Terrorist?

17 Jeffrey T. Wickett, From Project to a Programme: The Evolution of Global Shield

(World Customs Organization, 2012).

18 Agrell, Den svarta svanen och dess motståndare.

20 Arvind Narayanan, Hristo Paskov, Neil Gong, John Bethencourt, Emil Stefanov, Richard Shin, and Dawn Song, “On the Feasibility of Internet-Scale Author Identification,” IEEE Security and Privacy, 2012.

21 Moshe Koppel, Shlomo Aragmon, and Anat Shimoni, “Automatically Categorizing Written Texts by Author Gender,” Literary and Linguistic Computing 17: 4 (2002), 401–12.

22 Shlomo Aragmon, Moshe Koppel, James W. Pennebaker, and Jonathan Schler, “Automatically Profiling the Author of an Anonymous Text,” Communications of the ACM 52: 2 (2009), 119–23.

26 Aragmon et al., “Automatically Profiling the Author,” 119–23.

27 See, e.g., Barton Gellman and Laura Poitras, “U.S., British Intelligence Mining Data from Nine U.S. Internet Companies in Broad Secret Program,” Washington Post, 7 June 2013; Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, “NSA Prism Program Taps in to User Data of Apple, Google and Others,” The Guardian, 7 June 2013.

28 Bruce Schneier, “The Eternal Value of Privacy,” www.wired.com/politics/security/ commentary/securitymatters/2006/05/70886, accessed on 30 May 2013.

Bibliography

Abbasi, Ahmed, Hsinchun Chen, Sven Thoms, and Tianjun Fu. “Affect Analysis of Web Forums and Blogs Using Correlation Ensembles.” IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering 20: 9 (2008).

Agrell, Wilhelm. Den svarta svanen och dess motståndare: Förvarningsaspekter på attentaten i Oslo och på Utøya 22 juli 2011. Stockholm: National Defence College, 2013. Aragmon, Shlomo, Moshe Koppel, James W. Pennebaker, and Jonathan Schler. “Automatically Profiling the Author of an Anonymous Text.” Communications of

the ACM 52: 2 (2009): 119–23.

Bollen, Johan, and Huina Mao. “Twitter Mood as a Stock Market Predictor.” Computer 44: 10 (2011): 91–4.

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Narayanan, Arvind, Hristo Paskov, Neil Gong, John Bethencourt, Emil Stefanov, Richard Shin, and Dawn Song. “On the Feasibility of Internet-Scale Author Identification.” IEEE Security and Privacy, 2012.

Peersman, Claudia, Walter Daelemans, and Leona van Vaerenbergh. “Predicting Age and Gender in Online Social Networks.” Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Search and Mining User-generated Contents (2011): 37–44.

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Semenov, Alexander, Jari Veijalainen, and Jorma Kyppö. “Analysing the Presence of School-shooting Related Communities at Social Media Sites.” International Journal of Multimedia Intelligence and Security 1: 3 (2010).

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Tumasjan, Andranik, Timm O. Sprenger, Philipp G. Sandner, and Isabell M. Welpe. “Predicting Elections with Twitter: What 140 Characters Reveal about Political Sentiment.” Proceedings of the Fourth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (2010): 178–85.

Weimann, Gabriel. “Lone Wolves in Cyberspace.” Journal of Terrorism Research 3: 2 (2012).

Wickett, Jeffrey T. From Project to a Programme: The Evolution of Global Shield. World Customs Organization, 2012.

14 The nonviolent lone actor

The insider threat in information security

Joshua Sinai

In the twenty-first century, the threat from ‘insiders’ in a position of trust with access to critical aspects of an organization’s Information Technology (IT) infrastructure, whether in government, the military, or the private sector, who intentionally compromise and sabotage secrets or proprietary information has become one of the paramount threats facing a nation’s security and critical infrastructure since the modern Internet came into being around the mid-1980s. One reason for the increase in this threat is the massive and exponential explosion in the availability of proprietary or classified information within organizations, and its relative ease of access by what are presumed to be “trusted” IT professionals, ranging from data entry clerks to IT network administrators.

Similar to the process of radicalization into extremism and terrorism, such risky insiders in IT—who are mostly lone actors (although many belong to extremist hacktivist groups)—are also radicalized—and selfradicalized—by their own version of extremist ideologies. In fact, just as jihadism became the new ideological fad of the 1980s, replacing, in its mass popularity, the previous far left radicalism of the 1960s and 1970s, this new IT-based extremist ideology that promotes the notion that all information (including fee-based subscriptions to information ‘carriers’ such as newspapers and music companies) should be free and accessible to everyone (including an organization’s most secret and proprietary information), has become the latest ideology to gain widespread adherents. Julian Assange, the most prominent exponent of this ideological mantra, is considered a genius software programmer and cryptographer.[1] For him, even during periods of national emergency when states are threatened by terrorist groups intent on launching catastrophic attacks against infrastructure and populations, not only should countermeasures by governmental authorities be questioned and complete civil liberties and transparency be maintained at all levels of society, including by military and intelligence organizations, but he also believes that perpetuating these organizations’ “secrets sustain[s] corruption.”[2] This was his motivation for creating WikiLeaks in 2006—to be the recipient of governments’ and corporations’ secret and proprietary information, with the senders’ identities encrypted to protect them from potential disclosure and prosecution. It should be pointed out that while some of the secret and proprietary documents posted on sites such as WikiLeaks may be generated by insiders, much of the material is generated by hacktivists belonging to groups such as LulzSec and Anonymous, who surreptitiously penetrate their targeted organizations to obtain such sensitive documents in order to advance their own political agendas. Certain government programs—notably China’s offensive cyber-espionage program—have long engaged in Internet espionage against their Western adversaries in order to exploit their IT systems for secret and proprietary information.[3]

This new development, termed the “Insider Threat in Information Technology” (ITIT), also parallels the emergence of homegrown violent ideological extremism in the realm of terrorism. What are often self-radicalized individuals within Western countries contribute to the illegal activities of militant web sites such as WikiLeaks. These web sites intentionally expose Western governments’ secret documents (while not exposing any potentially damaging Chinese or Russian government official documents, even though these are highly authoritarian and surveillance-intensive regimes). Hacktivist groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec engage in cyber-warfare operations against Western targets (although on occasion they also attack foreign targets, including North Korea and Mexican drug cartels).[4] In fact, it could be argued that like their terrorist counterparts—although unlike terrorists they do not employ physical violence—they aim to cause worldwide IT damage, disruption and exposure of sensitive proprietary information to their adversary governments or private sector corporations in pursuit of their extremist ideological objectives.

In another type of lone actor insider threat in information security, a trusted official in a national security organization might engage in harmful activities against the organization on social networking web sites during his or her off-hours on a home-based personal computer, smart phone, or tablet. An example of such an insider threat was Jofi Joseph, a junior staff member in the U.S. National Security Council, who allegedly used the pseudonym @NatSecWonk to post numerous invective tweets over a twoyear period to disparage American public figures as well as his colleagues.[5] Although his postings may not have divulged any national security secrets, they violated the non-disclosure agreement he had signed with his government employer, leading to his immediate dismissal once these activities were uncovered.[6]

Defining the insider threat

An insider threat relates to a betrayal of trust by individuals employed by organizations who are granted access to those organizations’ critical IT components and who intentionally compromise them in order to sabotage the organizations’ ability to accomplish their mission. Such acts of betrayal include, but are not limited to, espionage on behalf of a foreign government or business competitor, unauthorized disclosure of secret or proprietary information to a media organization, and any other activity that would degrade an organization’s resources, capabilities, or reputation. An insider might be an individual acting alone or in collusion with others, whether those others are located inside or outside the organization (for example, Anonymous, LulzSec, or WikiLeaks).

In this framework, the insider threat is categorized as distinct from a whistleblower threat. Within a government organization or a corporation, for example, a whistleblower may complain about activities that he or she considers unjust, corrupt, or inefficient, but the complaint would be transmitted to ‘proper’ bureaucratic channels, with the overall intent to reform, but not to destroy, the organization. This type of activity would not involve the release of proprietary or secret information that might, particularly in the case of a government, endanger an intelligence agency’s covert agents, or reveal national security-type sensitive information about its covert programs or the location of its covert facilities.

Types of insider threats

In the realm of information technology, three general types of insider threats are possible. These involve, first, the theft of secrets or intellectual property, which can go unnoticed for months or even years; second, the surreptitious removal and transfer of proprietary information from an organization to a business competitor; and, third, the immediate, unauthorized, widespread dissemination of an organization’s secret information to a third party, such as a media organization or militant web site, for worldwide dissemination, in order to severely damage the organization’s integrity, reputation, and well-being.

Identifying the mindset-based and behavioral indicators that produce insider threats

Based on the published profiles of individuals who have become insider threats to their countries or organizations, several crucial risk indicators stand out. These risk indicators can be broken down into those that are mindset-based and those that are behavioral in nature. While the mindsetbased risk indicators relate to an individual’s predisposing psychological characteristics, the behavioral risk indicators characterize such individuals’ worrisome activities that coalesce to form a warning signal that an insider may be engaged in methodical theft against an organization or treasonous activities against a country.

The following mindset-based and behavioral risk indicators are adapted and revised from publicly available checklists[7] produced by U.S. government agencies:

Mindset-based indicators

• Overwhelming disgruntlement and anger (for instance, by perceived lack of recognition of their job performance by managers) leading to the need to take revenge and to retaliate against their organization or country, even when legitimate courses of corrective action are available.

• A narcissistic and inflated sense of self and an attitude that they are “above the rules” (that any moral or ethical rules or organizational sanctions that constrain others do not apply to them).

• A strong sense of disgruntlement and a sense that they are smarter than everyone else and deserving of sought-after professional advancement in an organization, even though their supervisors may believe otherwise.

• A strong narcissistic desire to draw worldwide attention to themselves and to see their name in print by the carrying out of a grandiose act of defiance against their organization.

• A high level of arrogance in believing that only they are justified to determine what should constitute a national secret.

• Strong ideological identification with an extremist cause (e.g.,

WikiLeaks).

• A strongly paranoid worldview in which if a government’s national security activities against adversaries who intend to do it harm are left unchecked, these will “exponentially abuse people’s rights until [they] reach the point of turnkey tyranny.”[8]

• Symptoms of mental illness, such as emotional instability or paranoia.

• A strong desire for adventure and thrill, including being intrigued by clandestine activities.

• A strong desire to please or to win the approval of others, including charismatic extremist leaders who would benefit from their insider information, enabling them to feel like important “warriors” for a “noble” cause.

• Repeated compulsive and self-destructive behavior towards themselves and others.

Behavioral indicators

• Downloads an unusually large number of sensitive files on a work computer beyond authorized limits.

• In the absence of management authorization, takes an organization’s proprietary or classified materials home (whether as printed documents, on USB drives or disks, or via email transmission).

• Inappropriately seeks or obtains sensitive proprietary or classified information on subjects outside their job assignments that might be of special interest to foreign entities, extremist groups, or business competitors.

• Appears increasingly isolated and alienated from co-workers.

• Makes unusual requests to work in ‘quiet’ places rather than locations where they are surrounded by other employees.

• Gives unreported, vague or evasive explanations for suspicious foreign contacts (particularly with foreign government officials or intelligence officials) or engages in unreported suspicious foreign travel.

• Has unexplained recent affluence.

• Has suspicious personal contacts with extremist individuals, including the frequenting of extremist web sites (such as WikiLeaks-supporting hacktivist sites).

• Repeatedly expresses hatred, outrage, or intolerance of society or government.

Identifying the risk factors associated with the insider threat for preemptive countermeasures

As demonstrated by the checklist of risky mindset-based and behavioral indicators, no single risk indicator is determinative in identifying a potential insider threat within an organization. An apt comparison can be made with the assessment of weak signals and online activities, as discussed in the previous chapter. This means that the risk indicators need to be considered in combination with each other, all the while recognizing that each of them might shift in one direction or another, decrease in their intensity, or escalate and become more worrisome over time. Moreover, a large number of individuals within an organization might exhibit some of these risk indicators at any given time, but will not necessarily cross the threshold to becoming an information technology insider threat. Nevertheless, as demonstrated in the following section, most of the individuals who betrayed their organizations’ or countries’ trust were later discovered to have displayed many of these mindset-based and behavioral risk indicators during their formative pre-incident phases.

Profiling the characteristics of insider threat cases

As discussed previously, the insider threat to an organization’s or nation’s sensitive proprietary or classified information technology systems persists, especially due to the militant nature of some of the activists within the computer programming community that service many of these IT networks. While this chapter’s first part focused on the general characteristics of those who are likely to become such insider threats, this section focuses on several high-profile cases as exemplified by Anat Kamm, Bradley Manning, and Edward Snowden, who represent archetypes of the individuals likely to become betrayers of trust to their organizations and governments, with the fourth, Jofi Joseph, appearing more intent on disparaging his colleagues in government than harming his organization, with no classified materials released by his actions. The information used in this assessment is based on published articles, with the understanding that such information is likely to be incomplete and that much fuller profiles are likely being created by government agencies based on detailed information and expert judgment about these individuals and their associates.

Anat Kamm

In early 2007, 20-year-old Anat Kamm, who was in the final phase of completing her compulsory two-year military service as assistant to the head of the bureau of Major General Yair Naveh, then head of the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) Central Command (which has responsibility for military operations in the West Bank), proceeded to download and copy onto a USB storage device an estimated 2,000 classified documents from several computers in the bureau, of which an estimated 700 were “classified” or “top secret.”[9] In addition to the classified documents that covered the issue of targeted killings by Israel of suspected Palestinian terrorists— reportedly the focus of Kamm’s ‘outrage’ as a self-perceived whistleblower—the copied documents also included an indiscriminate collection of documents on numerous other subjects, such as details of a planned invasion of Gaza (which was eventually launched in December 2008).[10] The head of the General Security Service (also known as Shin Bet), Yuval Diskin, said at the time that the case “had the potential to cause grave damage to state security,” and defined the documents as “the kind that any intelligence agency would be delighted to get its hands on.”[11]

In August, after completing her military service in June 2007,[12] Kamm, who had a background in youth journalism, began working for Walla!, an Internet news portal, for which she continued working until she was placed under house arrest upon her indictment in January 2010. In November 2008, Kamm began studying history and philosophy as an undergraduate at Tel Aviv University.

It is reported that in summer 2008, following her military service, Kamm initially attempted to provide her classified documents to Yossi Yehoshua, a Yediot Aharonot newspaper reporter, who turned her down.[13] When this failed, in September of that year Kamm set out to meet Uri Blau (an investigative journalist at the Ha’aretz newspaper, who specialized in military affairs) at a meeting in Tel Aviv of Ha’aretz journalists who were in the process of organizing a trade union, which she knew he would be attending.[14] They met and Blau gave her a ride home in his car to Jerusalem. As they approached the capital, Kamm handed him the USB thumb drive and told him “I hope you’ll know what to do with this.”[15] After reviewing the classified documents, Blau proceeded to publish two articles in Ha’aretz in November and December 2008, detailing the secret IDF meetings in which targeted killings—but not deliberate killings—were authorized for operations that were supposed to be arrest-based raids of Palestinian suspects, thereby loosening the rules of engagement set out by the Israeli High Court of Justice regarding how suspected terrorists were to be marked for assassination. One of the articles also included a photo of the actual IDF documents Kamm had provided. In accordance with Israeli law, Blau had submitted the article to the military censor, who cleared it for publication.

Following the articles’ publication, Kamm and Blau had no further conversations. In early 2009, IDF investigators initiated an inquiry into the documents’ leaking. After obtaining Kamm and Blau’s telephone records and determining that they had been in contact, since the case had now come under civilian jurisdiction, the General Security Service (known as Shin Bet), Israel’s domestic security agency, took over the investigation from the IDF.[16] When Kamm was interrogated, she reportedly confessed to leaking the documents, such leaking being considered an act of treason, since, under Israeli law, providing classified documents to a journalist is as treasonous as providing them to a terrorist group or foreign government.[17]

In December 2009, Kamm was arrested and indicted on two counts of “serious espionage”—one for “gathering” and the other for “divulging” classified information, “with the intent to damage the security of the state.”[18] In response, Eitan Lehman, one of Kamm’s two attorneys, argued that “She is a mainstream Israeli in every way. . . . She’s a Zionist. [And she] denies that any damage was done to the security of the State of Israel or that it was ever her intention to do so.”[19]

At the beginning of her trial, in February 2011, Kamm agreed to a plea deal in which she admitted to gathering and storing the documents during her military service, with the more serious charge of espionage, which carries a life sentence, dropped. As a result, in October of that year she was sentenced to four and a half years in jail on charges of leaking classified material—although without an express aim to damage national security. In November, she began her period of imprisonment.

As for Blau, following a series of interrogations by the Shin Bet, in May 2012 he was charged with committing “aggravated espionage,” punishable by seven years in prison. He avoided imprisonment, however, by agreeing to a plea deal under which he admitted to illegally possessing classified information and returned the documents to the government. In return, in September that year he was sentenced to six months’ community service.

The Israeli Supreme Court subsequently reduced Kamm’s sentence from four and a half to three and a half years, with a parole board cutting it by a further third, reducing her total time served to two years and two months.

Meanwhile, in April 2013, Kamm’s new attorney, Ilan Baumbach, filed a lawsuit against Ha’aretz and Blau for monetary damages (reportedly between US$600,000 and US$716,000, including lawyers’ fees) for publishing photos of the documents she had provided and for failing to protect her identity as a confidential source.[20]

Kamm’s motivation

Kamm’s actions were motivated by several factors, according to various published reports. First, although she was not considered a member of the country’s “anti-Zionist left,” her acquaintances had stated that throughout her life she demonstrated an “acute concern with social and political justice” and had the makings of a future political leader,[21] thus, hypothetically, making her susceptible to take on causes she felt strongly about regardless of the legal consequences.

Second, in a legal procedure in early 2010, she stated that “It was important for me to bring the IDF’s policy [of targeted assassinations] to public knowledge,” describing the Israeli military’s actions as “war crimes” and a violation of an Israeli Supreme Court order not to kill suspected terrorists without first attempting to apprehend them.[22]

Third, Kamm claimed that transferring the documents to a trusted Israeli journalist would not necessarily endanger the country’s security, as such a journalist “would [not] focus on the details of the military actions, but rather on the principles and the policies that were behind the top officers’ decisions.”[23] Other commentators, however, have disputed this contention because, if this were the case, they ask, why did she copy so many other unrelated documents, which allegedly contained sensitive information that could have put at risk future Israeli military operations against its adversaries.[24]

Finally, as explained by Kamm’s father, who served as a character witness prior to her sentencing, his daughter had not actually intended to harm state security, but was merely being, in his words, “foolish, stupid, idiotic, and vapid.”[25]

Interestingly, following Kamm’s release from prison on 26 January 2014, when asked in an interview if she had regretted her actions, she said: “Of course. Even before I went in I knew what a mistake it was. Edward Snowden who leaked secret information from the NSA will be haunted for the rest of his life, and Chelsea Manning, who gave documents to WikiLeaks will now spend 35 years in prison—but they changed the world. In my case, it was not a good way to change the world, and it was quite unsuccessful.”[26]

Bradley Manning

In 2010 and early 2011, WikiLeaks caused an international sensation by publishing classified information about U.S. government activities, based on more than 150,000 diplomatic cables, 90,000 intelligence reports on the war in Afghanistan, and a video of a military helicopter attack.[27] This disclosure was considered a significant threat to national security. This classified material was provided to WikiLeaks by Bradley Manning, a 25-year-old army junior intelligence specialist. He was arrested in May 2010.

In terms of his mindset-based indicators, it is reported that Manning had a troubled upbringing as the child of a severed home, who was bullied as a teenager for his conflicted sexuality.[28]

His trajectory to becoming an ITIT began in his teenage years when he preferred hacking computer games to playing them, and was highly opinionated about politics. He was also highly intolerant of others’ opinions, and if those around him disagreed with his point of view, “[h]e would get really mad”—something that would recur frequently throughout his life.[29]

Manning enlisted in the army in 2007 to “give his life some direction,” as well as to provide him with technical skills and fund a college education. However, once in the army, he began feeling isolated—also as a result of having to conceal his sexuality. His troubled personality persisted into his military service, with his colleagues considering him a “loose cannon,” who was “mentally unstable, immature and potentially dangerous to himself and others.” He was reprimanded for his errant behavior, including altercations with members of his unit in which he would fly into a rage and scream at them, and an incident in which he assaulted an officer.[30]

Around 2008, Manning joined an online social circle that included politically militant computer hackers. It was to this militant subculture that Manning would turn for “moral support.”

Manning’s motivation

What were Manning’s motivations? Reportedly, he felt “like an outsider,

. . . powerless, . . . weak” which drove him to sympathize with those that were [supposedly] unjustly “targeted” by powerful U.S. organizations such as the State Department and the military. As the solution to all his problems, now “everything had to come out. Secrets were corrosive at all levels.”[31]

As a result, in 2009 Manning began to make contact with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. The charismatic Assange appealed to Manning as the top “celebrity” in the militant hacker world. With Assange keen on receiving Manning’s classified documents, his close attentions flattered Manning, who felt he was now a prominent “soldier” in a “noble” cause. It was during this year that Manning became WikiLeaks’ highestprofile insider source.

Aside from his arrogant and inflated sense of “self-importance,” Manning also displayed certain vulnerabilities that ultimately led to his downfall and arrest. During this latter period, Manning also began communicating on the Internet with Adrian Lamo, a “celebrity” figure in the hacking community (and, unbeknownst to Manning, by now an “exhacker” who was covertly cooperating with the FBI). This communication included boasting of providing materials to WikiLeaks.[32]

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old “computer whiz,” had worked as a network administrator for a contracting firm on behalf of the National Security Agency (NSA). In May 2013, he proceeded to take what he claimed was sick leave for treatment of epilepsy, and eventually made his way under suspicious circumstances to Hong Kong, where he proceeded to leak to several media organizations details of U.S. and British government secret surveillance programs. These disclosures were considered among the most significant NSA security breaches in United States history (with British covert surveillance programs damaged as well). Interestingly, his stay in Hong Kong was apparently facilitated by a supporting network, the full details of which had not been published as of fall 2013.[33]

Snowden’s motivation

Snowden, who had worked in one capacity or another for the U.S. intelligence community since he first enlisted in the army in 2003, was reportedly motivated by strong opinions regarding rights to privacy and government surveillance of online activity to protect “basic liberties for people around the world,” after becoming disenchanted with the Obama administration, which he said, was continuing the [supposedly unjust] policies of former president George W. Bush.[34]

According to various published reports, Snowden’s biography reveals numerous warning signs of an individual who was susceptible to embarking along the trajectory of an ITIT. Aside from his erratic schooling (he dropped out of high school in tenth grade and never finished other educational programs), like Manning he was also a product of a broken family (although this may have been less traumatic than his later upbringing). He was reported to be a loner (although he lived with his girlfriend), but full details about his interactions with co-workers have not been published. Over the years he had dropped various hints in militant online chat rooms, such as one in 2006 that a whirring sound emanating from an Xbox game console was the “NSA’s new surveillance program. That’s the sound of freedom, citizen!” In 2010, he reportedly wrote that “[i]t really concerns me how little this sort of corporate behavior bothers those outside of technology circles. . . . Society really seems to have developed an unquestioning obedience towards spooky types.”[35] Such thinking, combined with his self-inflated psychological disposition and belief that he was uniquely entitled to make unilateral decisions about what should be exposed about U.S. government secrets—despite having signed binding non-disclosure agreements—ultimately led him to put his own preferences above the well-being of his organization and country.

Snowden’s surreptitious leaking of his classified documents was also enabled by Glenn Greenwald, a prominent anti-secrecy activist and columnist for the London-based Guardian newspaper.

Jofi Joseph

In late October 2013, 40-year-old Jofi Joseph, the director of nuclear nonproliferation issues on the U.S. government’s National Security Council staff, was fired after he was exposed as the author of a stream of invectiveladen tweets that, over more than two years, had demeaned and disparaged public figures, as well as his colleagues.[36] Although his postings, written under the pseudonym “@NatSecWonk,” reportedly did not divulge national security secrets, and “tended to be less substantive than sophomoric, skewering people in both parties,”[37] the fact that he had also disparaged his colleagues and written about them with such careless abandon in a social media site without his organization’s official consent meant that he had violated the signed non-disclosure agreement, which was required, along with security clearance, for his continued employment.

Joseph’s motivation

What had motivated Joseph to engage in such insider threat activities? According to his former colleagues, he was “generally well respected and popular, so his secret life took colleagues by surprise.”[38] Nevertheless, as explained by a former colleague, “Joseph could be sarcastic and bitter, especially in regard to colleagues who were given higher-level positions that he did not think they were qualified for.”[39]

Preemptively preventing information technology insider threats

As these profiles attempt to demonstrate (with the understanding that these assessments are based on such incomplete information as is available from published media sources), Anat Kamm, Bradley Manning, and Edward Snowden—and even Jofi Joseph—appeared to exhibit many of the risky mindset-based and behavioral indicators that characterize those who become information technology insider threats (ITIT). In terms of their risky mindset-based indicators, they felt an overwhelming disgruntlement and anger towards their governments and their national security programs, they appeared to have had a highly narcissistic and inflated sense of themselves as being “above the rules” of their respective organizations, and they had a strong desire to draw worldwide attention to themselves by carrying out a grandiose act of defiance against their employers. In terms of risky behavioral indicators, they appeared to be isolated and alienated from their co-workers (although, due to the sensitive nature of her employment, relations between Kamm and her military service co-workers are not publicly known). While Manning and Snowden surreptitiously downloaded classified documents, and engaged in suspicious foreign contacts with extremist activist leaders, Kamm was more discreet and only contacted people she believed were trusted and responsible Israeli newspaper reporters. These—and, surely, numerous other—mindset-based and behavioral risk indicators appeared to drive all three of them to take revenge and to act in retaliation by leaking classified information about their governments’ covert national security programs. In the case of Joseph, while it is reported that no classified documents were leaked, his invective-laden tweets served to damage the reputation of his organization.

To preemptively identify a susceptible individual in an organization who appears to be on a trajectory to becoming an ITIT, it is crucial for security professionals to develop a situational awareness of the potentially risky mindset-based and behavioral characteristics that such individuals possess and exhibit in their daily activities. Such situational awareness also requires understanding the psychological and behavioral profiles of individuals—such as Kamm, Manning, Snowden, and Joseph—who progress along such ITIT trajectories.

To prevent an insider threat incident against an organization or government, security professionals must, in response, develop this comprehensive and detailed situational awareness of all the risk indicators that might affect their employees. First, appropriate screening processes must be instituted for the selection of new employees, to ensure organizations do not hire, in the words of Jim van Allen, a criminal-profile expert, “the wrong guy in the wrong place,”[40] someone who should not be granted access to sensitive information that would “put him in areas where he sees this data collection in such a large scale and he feels affronted by it.”[41] It must be pointed out, nevertheless, that numerous individuals who misappropriate an organization’s proprietary or classified information may have originally joined these organizations without a malicious intent to cause harm at a later stage, so supervisors need to be watchful for warning signs of potentially impending problematic behaviors and activities.

Second, an organization’s information technology networks must be routinely monitored for suspicious activity by employees, such as attempts to gain access to data and systems outside the immediate “data tree” or organizational structure.

Third, colleagu