The Psychology of Terrorism


Definition ‡ Typologies ‡ Goal ‡ Tactics ‡ Effectiveness ‡ Ineffectiveness ‡ Predisposing Conditions ‡ Characteristics ‡ History ‡ Psychology ‡ Fighting Back



What comes to mind?

Terrorism Defined
Webster¶s: the use of force or threats to demoralize, intimidate and subjugate, especially as a political weapon

World Book: the use or threat of violence to create fear and alarm

What Is Terrorism?
‡A complicated

phenomenon ‡Specialized form of political violence ‡Viscous species of psychological warfare ‡The target is different from the intended audience ‡The goal is not to kill, but to make an impact on another ‡The goal is symbolism

-Dr. Jerrold Post

4 Targets:
. I ce t icti s: T , e le la es

2. The class: terr r f a iati

i dustry, NY

3. The c erced: u less y u d this, we¶ll . . . 4. Target f i flue ce: the est r establish e t


Q: How is terrorism different from other movements that have gained national control? (e.g.. Nazis, Stalin, Italian fascists) A: We need to think of terrorism as a spectrum.

The Spectrum of Terrorism

The Spectrum of Terrorism
There are different ways to group them:

International v. domestic ommon goal v. lone offender


Religious, political, socioeconomic, criminal or psychopathological

(There is cross-over)

Dr. Post¶s Classification System:
1. Political terrorists* 2. Criminal terrorists 3. Psychopathological terrorists

Political Terrorism:
1. State: The state uses weapons of the state against its own people. (Hitler, Saddam Hussein) 2. State-supported: The state uses its weapons to attack another country. 3. Sub-state:* A small group within the state is trying to use violence to accomplish its own goal. (6 kinds)

Classifications of Terrorism:
Criminal Political Psychopathological




1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Social revolutionary National separatist Religious Fundamental New Religious Right wing Single issue

Sub-state Terrorism
(Loyalty of family to regime) Loyalty (L) Disloyalty (D)

LL: (Loyalty -at one with regime of youth L -no terrorism
to family)

LD: National separatists: -loyalty to disloyalty -family mission

DD: ? DL: D Social revolutionaries: -rebellious children of -disloyalty to loyalty liberal parents -rebel against old way

Sub-state Terrorism:
1. Social revolutionaries: rebel against corrupt old ways (e.g. Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany)
-"Our youth is turning on us!" -In 1971, German authorities printed millions of these wanted posters.

Sub-state Terrorism:
2. National separatists: trying to carry on the family mission (e.g. Palestinian terrorists, Northern Irelanders)

Sub-state Terrorism:
3. Religious Fundamentalists: They kill in the name of God. (e.g. Usama Bin Laden, abortion clinic bombers)
" You shall not stand aside while your fellow's blood is shed.'' -Leviticus 19:16

" You shall not stand aside while your fellow's blood is shed.''
-Leviticus 19:16

Sub-state Terrorism:
4. New Religion: cults defending new religions, e.g. Shinrikyo in Japan (sarin gas in subway)

Thousands were injured in the gas attack.

Sub-state Terrorism:
5. Right Wing: They see the government as the enemy and illegitimate. (e.g. Neo-Nazis, Timothy McVeigh, Klu Klux Klan)

Sub-state Terrorism:
6. Single Issue: e.g. animal rights, ecologic terrorism (Usually single people willing to kill.)

South Korean animal rights activists protest in Seoul .


What is the goal of terrorism?
³ ‡

The cause is not the cause´

They are convinced that they¶re acting on behalf of the moral character of their group. They are ³agents of righteousness´ in the battle between darkness and ³truth.´ The cause is the justification for violence. The cause is an outlet for anger.




Psychological Goals:
Outlet for anger ‡ Convenient vehicle for change ‡ Stirs up enthusiasm & excitement ‡ Source of hope for the future ‡ Provides a sense of power ‡ A sense importance & purpose by an identification with a holy cause ‡ Overcoming feelings of incompetence: feeling potent/ strong.

Psychological Goals:
Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves.´

- Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

When we lose faith in ourselves, we give ourselves over to the group.

This ³Self = bad, Group =good´ thinking gives way to self-sacrifice.

The Goal of Jihad:

³jihad:´ "holy war," "righteous struggle" against the
- To endeavor, to strive, to struggle

Western world.


Fundamentalist Islamic hatred for the West

They see Western civilization as the greatest challenge to the way of life that they wish to retain or restore for their people.
‡ ‡

Islamic fundamentalists are ultimately struggling against the dramatic changes brought about by secularism and modernism

The Goal of Jihad:

And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allah, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: µOur Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help.¶ " [Soorah an-Nisaa'(4): 75]

The Goal of Jihad:

Bin Laden: ³The mission is to fight the Pagans all together, and fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression.´ Bin Laden, 1998: ³In compliance with God¶s order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims: The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies - civilians and military - is an individual duty for every Muslim . . . This is in accordance with the words of the Almighty God.´


Islam Shuns Suicide-Bombing:

Whoever kills himself with an iron weapon, then the iron weapon will remain in his hand, and he will continuously stab himself in his belly with it in the Fire of Hell eternally, forever and ever.´
-from a sacred Muslim commentary

Thus, suicide bombers would blow themselves up through eternity.


How do they accomplish this goal?

They call attention to their cause. eapon of the wea . nyone can e a terrorist.


One could say that the violence of the Palestinians is helping them to move closer to their own state.
‡ ‡

Question: Is it random violence and stri ing out, or a directed movement towards a cause?


What makes terrorism so effective?

Captures our attention

‡ A small

group is able to throw our nation into a recession

Violence as communication

Viscous species, a virus


What makes terrorism ineffective?

Virus analogy: eventually burn themselves out
- The WTC center attack is even more so a virus analogy. - The terrorists literally used our own technology against us. [New York Times analogy]

They can¶t win militarily, so they try to win by calling attention to self/ scaring/ wounding.


Predisposing Conditions:

³There are NO mass movements of hatred in prosperity.´ -Dr. Post

Factors that generate groups striking out:

- Low economic progress - Controlling government - No equal opportunity - Oppression, humiliation

Imagine . . .
brought up from childhood in a culture where there is total poverty, a medieval set of surroundings with not even a decent toilet, repression of your racial and religious group, and all the adults around you filled with hatred of those whom they are convinced are the oppressors, riots, lack of proper schooling, nothing to do, no hope and observing your older brothers brutalized, beaten, seriously injured, and incarcerated by the police or occupying soldiers. Immersed in that milieu will you not begin viewing the world as consisting of ³we´ and ³they´ in which ³they´ are no longer thought of as human but as monsters who should be destroyed? Remember µzap the Jap¶ from WWII? Did this not lead to the bombing of Hiroshima? . . . Are you then not ready for a µholy war¶ even if it costs your life?´ -Richard Chessick, Archaic Sadism
³You are

Is there another solution?

³ he ir s of


- his was a henomenon in 1971. - From 1963-1968 the Green riots force the urks in ress to live in Ghettos, a 5- ear im risonment.

S mbolic, non-violent, inanimate object Peaceful, sublimate means of ealing with o ression, humiliation an olitical stress



Small, with seldom more than 100 members. ‡ Tight-knit, radical organizations. ‡ Today, we see more loosely knit groups with branches in other countries (Taliban). ‡ Ethnically and politically homogenous. ‡ Often made up of friends & relatives, thus difficult to infiltrate. ‡ Seldom operate from one location. ‡ Relatively little training and use of unsophisticated equipment. ‡ Funded by crime and/or drugs.


A Bloody History:

1800s: Terrorism emerged in Europe. Early anarchists zeroed in on symbols of state power by throwing bombs at czars. 1901: An anarchist killed Pres. McKinley in NY, leading to the swearing in of Theodore Roosevelt. 1914: A Serbian terrorist killed Austrian Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, resulting in WWI. Since the 1960s and 1970s: terrorism re-emerged in 3 waves: - 1960s and 1970s: IRA, Focus on a single nation. - 1970s and 1980s: International, sponsored by Libya, Iran, Syria. Took hostages for demands (1972 Munich Olympics massacre). - 1990s to present: Private organizations (bin Laden), international. Unlike predecessors, use suicide bombers, not hostages. Seldom claim responsibility. The audience is Allah.





Psychology of Terrorism:
1. Theories on Aggression 2. Terrorist Profile


Homo homini lupus´


There is a powerful instinctual aggressiveness in humans. ³The satisfaction of the instinct is accompanied by an extraordinarily high degree of narcissistic enjoyment.´


‡ All

humans are born with a primal biological archaic aggressive-destructive drive, the gratification of which gives satisfaction just like the sexual drive.


Freud (1930): Civilization is charged with helping the individual sublimate this drive.


Spengler (1962): Faustian projects, such as building skyscrapers or sending men to Mars.


Our society encourages hostile control fantasies.


Why do torturers often have orgasms and ejaculations while torturing their victims? The victim is an ³object´ of sexual sadism. This sadism, sexual or otherwise, is present in us all. War is a socially accepted form of discharging it.




Volkan (1985):
Man¶s need to identify some people as allies and others as enemies
‡ ‡

A need to protect the individual¶s sense of self


his is intert ined ith his e periences of ethnicity, nationality and reli ion

Radical Islam: Terrorist Profile

Are they crazed psychotics?

Could a normal person do this?

The Al Queda terrorists were all psychologically ³normal.´

Terrorist groups expel emotionally disturbed people - they are a security risk. (Dr. Post)

Are they crazed psychotics?

When asked how they could justify killing innocent victims, one interviewed terrorist said:


³I am not a murderer. A murderer is someone with a psychological problem; our actions have a goal. Even if civilians are killed it is not because we like it or are blood thirsty. It is a fact of life in a people¶s struggle. The group doesn¶t do it because it wants to kill civilians, but because the jihad must go on.´

What draws them in?
‡ ³It¶s

not a phenomenon of individual psychology, it¶s an organizational phenomenon.´
-Ariel Merari, professor


What we need to understand is not why bombers do it but how they are recruited and trained. Bottom Line: A meaningful death is better than a pointless life. ³His life is not cheap because he is fearless and brave. He offers the only thing he has.´
-Muslim Engineering student



e s to ara ise ‡ Direct ath to heaven ‡ Promise of no ain ‡ Rewar s to famil ‡ Fame an glor ‡ Mart r om

72 Black-Eyed Virgins

Await the martyrs in paradise.

The Wedding:
The death of a martyr is routinely announce in the Palestinian press not as an obituary but as a wedding: ³The Wedding of the Martyr Ali Khadr Al-Yassini to the Black-Eyed in Eternal Paradise.´

-Palestinian Press


³You should feel complete tranquility because the time between you and your marriage in heaven is very short.´
-Mohammed Atta, eve of battle instructions for Sept. 11


Istis a ´


T is is not suici e. Suici e is selfis , reflects mental weakness. T is is ³istis a ´ (martyr om or self-sacrifice in t e service of Alla .´
-Interviewe terrorist

Terrorist Profile: Old vs. New

Israel Bombers
- 17-22 yrs old - Male, single, young - Uneducated - Unemployed - Unmarried - Dispirited youth - Bleak future - Recruited hours before - ³Brainwashed´ for honor and family status - Not left alone until act complete


New Terrorists
- 28-35 yrs old - Male, married, older - Had higher education - Financially comfortable - From middle class families - Lived in West (sometimes for years) exposed to opportunity - Blended in with society - Ignored the dress, customs and grooming of traditional Muslims - Left alone, far away, for years. Not ³brainwashed,´ but rather ³true believers´

What makes them kill after they have tasted the American life?

³Necessity permits the forbidden.´


Al Queda operations manual says: Allah will forgive you for not living the good life of a Muslim if it is in the service of Jihad.


Thus, once they have tasted the American good life, and ³bitten from the forbidden fruit´ so to speak, they are bound to carry out the mission their only salvation for paradise.


Fighting Back:
What can we, as psychiatrists, and more generally, as a society do to counter the psychological weapons of the terrorists?

Fighting Back:
1. Group psychology: inhibit joiners in the first place. Give people a space/ place to voice frustrations. . ro uce istention ithin the group.

3. Facilitate exit from the group 4. Discre it group: marginalize people out of it

³ ‡

Breaking the Triangle´

The media provides the international, dramatic stage for terrorism. It becomes a sensational media event.



Thus, it facilitates a triangle between the terrorists, the media and us. The terrorist¶s threat is broadcast into our living room. Terrifying fantasies and ³what if´ scenarios add to their power.



Breaking the Triangle´

By participating in the media frenzy, we become part of the triangle.
‡ ‡

We become a tool used by the terrorists to promote themselves. The terrorized as the terrorist: The terrorized paradoxically functions as a terrorist when he/she joins the triangle, propagating fear.


y Discuss issues regarding professionalism in computer

forensics y Take into consideration legal and ethical issues y Indicate implications for practitioners y Discuss what professionalism means for you as students

Cont xt for Prof ssionalism in Comput r Forensics
y Computing is a new discipline y Computer forensics is a new discipline y Principles of forensic science have been in public

domain for over 100 years

Context for Professionalism in Computer Forensics
y Computer forensics does not yet have a central

body which will only admit members when they have reached a certain skill level although register of practitioners in CRFP is moving in this direction y There is no disciplinary board which can stop transgressors from practising y There is no accepted framework for ethical principles or professional standards

Fo r Hallmarks of a rofession
y A durable domain of human concerns y A codified body of principles (conceptual knowledge) y A codified body of practices (embodied knowledge

including competence) y Standards for competence, ethics and practice

from Denning , P., (2001) µThe profession of IT¶ in Communications of the ACM, Vol 44,

Components of rofessionalism in Computer Forensics
y Competence relevant up to date skills; relevant

experience, knowledge and understanding; relevant qualifications; CPD y Personal integrity code of ethics, responsibility and accountability beyond contractual obligation to employer

Components of rofessionalism in Computer Forensics
y Public obligation public good, social responsibility,

contribution to the profession y Part of a recognised professional body being part of that community is an essential part of being a professional

Computer Forensics as a Profession?
y To be a professional one needs to be aware that

the rest of the world is not part of that profession ! y Majority of the general public are excluded from computer forensics y Majority of computer professionals are not skilled in computer forensics y Many computer forensics practitioners come from other disciplines (of computing and from other areas, eg audit)

Computer Forensics as a Profession?
y Attitudes to computer forensics y Academic y Application of computer science y Application of forensic science y Narrow specialism y Aligned to computer security y Core discipline

Ethical Behaviour in Computer Forensics
y There is a very fine line between what is acceptable

and what is deemed to be malpractice y Computer Forensics exists in an ethical grey area y Often need to balance self motivation versus legal constraints and procedural considerations

Ethical Behaviour in Computer Forensics
y Need to understand the ethical responsibility

in Computer Forensics work is to:
y Self y Profession y Clients y Subjects y Courts y Society

Computer Forensics Ethical Standards
y What is worse?
y Failing to convict the guilty y Convicting the innocent

y The role of the investigator is to expose the

evidence from a neutral point of view y The Auld Report states that

y It is the duty of an expert to help the court on the

matters within his expertise. The duty overrides any obligation to the person from whom he has received instruction or by whom he is paid

Psyc ology of Investigation
y Evaluate the allegation y Who made it ? y Is there a hidden agenda ? y Avoid presumption of guilt y Avoid desire to win y Show all the evidence both contrary and supporting

the accusation

Psyc ology of Investigation
y Ask yourself the questions y Could the person be innocent ? y Could someone else have done it ? y Keep an open mind y Be impartial y Be rigorous and professional

Computer Forensics Practitioners Require Awareness
y To help in making decisions about doing the right

thing . y To provide material in defending or justifying a particular position. y To protect you as a practitioner. y To consider in terms of practitioner and system liability. y To maintain evidential integrity.

Questioning t e Law
y Is the law always ethical ? y Is the law good and just ? y Was apartheid legislation ethical ? y Just because an act or set of circumstances is

permitted in computing does not mean that it is ethical.

Areas of Knowledge
y What laws to consider ? y What impact the laws might have on a particular

activity y Critical analysis
y Are the laws appropriate ? y Are there contradictions in legal provision? y Can the laws be applied to computer forensics ? y Should the laws be challenged ?

Example of egulations to Consider
y Data Protection Act 1998 y Right of access, Right to prevent processing, Right to compensation y Computer Misuse Act 1990 and Computer Misuse

(Amendment) Act 2002 y Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

Example of egulations to Consider
y Human Rights Act 1998 y Disability Discrimination Act (1995) and Special

Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001

Example of egulations to Consider
y Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 y ISPs (Internet Service Providers) keep track of their customers activities over a period of 12 months y Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Freedom of

Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Example of egulations to Consider
y Theft Act 1968, 1978 y Protection from Harassment Act 1997 y Obscene Publications Act 1959 y Protection of Children Act 1978 y Criminal Justice Act 1988

Example of egulations to Consider
y Sexual Offences Act 2003 y Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 y Patents Act 1977 and the Copyright, Designs and

Patents Act 1988
y Intellectual Property, Copyright Law, Patent Law,

Trademarks and Passing-off

y Design Right (Semiconductor Regulations) 1989

Professional Behaviour in Computer Forensics
y Enhance the resolution of crime involving computers

and reduce cyber crime y Ensure robust, reliable, valid and safe processes and procedures y Comply with ethical and legal expectations

Professional Behaviour in Computer Forensics
y Enhance public confidence in computer forensics y Enhance computer security y Promote awareness and understanding y Requires the ability and competence to make

appropriate decisions

Areas of Professional esponsi ility
y Litigation and Liability y Certification and Licence to practice y Compliance
y For example web sites with Disability Discrimination Act

y y y y

Audit Dealing with contradictions Professional and ethical responsibility Organisational regulation and policy
y computing action may be legal but against company policy,

e.g. Internet transactions on work computers, e-mail language

Certification and Licence to Practice
y Should computer forensics practitioners be certified

or accredited through a licence to practice?
y What does accreditation mean ? y Who would benefit from certification ?

y What would be the impact of a statutory computer

forensics licence y What is the role of experience ? y Should an accrediting body have power of licence y Attempts have been made in the State of Texas
y (see Bagert 2002)

Bagert, D. J. (2002) µTexas licensing of software engineers: all¶s quiet for now¶, in Communications of the ACM, Vol 45, No. 11

Accreditation 1
y Who should accredit ?
y Existing Computing Professional Bodies y British Computer Society (BCS), Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) y Forensic Science Body y Council for Registration of Forensics Practitioners (digital evidence practitioners) y Computer Forensic Body y International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS) y High Technology Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA) y Institute for Computer Forensic Practitioners (ICFP)

Accreditation 2
y What
y University courses y Training courses y Practice

y How
y y y y

Review Professional exam Portfolio Ongoing evidence of CPD

Continuous Professional Development
y Certification an registration with professional body only the first step y Responsibility to maintain up to date technical knowledge and expertise
y y y y y

Computer forensics issues Digital forensics Technical developments Cyber crime Law

y Reflection (audit?) on ethical conduct and standards of behaviour ? y Annual report to professional body ?

Professional uties for a Computer Forensics Professional
y Professional Skills y Technical evolving all the time y Maintaining evidential integrity and evidential continuity y Problem solving y Case building y Ethical considerations y Management and Leadership Skills

Professional uties for a Computer Forensics Professional
y Personal duties y Work toward self-improvement

technical, inter-personal

y Develop professional relationships

y Position skills y Such as confidentiality and impartiality y Raising awareness and promoting the discipline

Post Traumatic Stress isorder
y Potentially an issue in computer forensics
y So far little research has been done in this area

y Emotive and horrendous cases y Difficult to switch off from work y Need to have mechanism of support
y Peer support y External counselling

y Constant exposure potentially leading to

desensitising ?

y Computer forensics is in a state of development as a

profession y There is a need to formalise the role and the profession y There are a complex set of issues and challenges which face computer forensics practitioners

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