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NCJ Number: 76470 Find in a Library
Title: Terrorist Propaganda (From Clandestine Tactics and Technology A Technical and Background Intelligence Data Service, Volume 3 - See NCJ-77155)
Author(s): F M Watson
Corporate Author: International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
Research and Development Division
United States of America
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 56
Sponsoring Agency: International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
Alexandria, VA 22314
International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
Arlington, VA 22201
Sale Source: International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines how propaganda is used by political extremists and how it must be understood and dealt with by police and others who work against terrorist activities.
Abstract: The purpose, strategic significance, mechanics, and forms of propaganda activities are examined. Propaganda is the hallmark of political terrorism and is used to justify acts committed on the basis of the worthiness of a larger cause. Terrorist propaganda provides pervasive and continuous condemnation of the 'other side,' and proposes alternatives to propose, do have ideological alternatives which they know would not be generally acceptable if they were openly revealed. Yet, the study of such propaganda provides information about a terrorist group's developmental stage. For example, a two-level propaganda strategy in which a broad base of popular support is built from which to launch violent attacks is typical of more mature terrorist organizations. In addition, internal propaganda (written only for members of the terrorist group) presages the external propaganda written for the public and provides guidelines on the part violence is to play. An outline is presented of typical modern terrorist operations but is especially relevant to those groups following any of the several adaptations of Marxist-Leninist strategy. It examines the interconections among the people and institutions of the existing system, the 'alternative' system, the propaganda operation, and the deliberate physical and psychological attacks on the existing system and its institutions. The role of the leaflet writter and terrorists' methods of audience analysis are also reviewed. Any counterpropaganda efforts should be based on the study of media, issues, truth level maintained, relevancy of propaganda material to the real events of the day, level of audience participation sought and obtained, and the presence of ideologically identifiable rhetoric, among others. It is sometimes possible to identify one single feature which, if pulled loose, can cause an entire propaganda campaign to collapse. A means of continuous analysis of both counterpropaganda efforts and terrorist efforts must be built into any counterpropaganda program. An antiterrorist organization should ease out of the counterpropaganda role as soon as possible, by realigning relationships with the public, correcting inequities, or eliminating the causes of whatever friction allowed the terrorists to get attention in the first place. Propaganda material and a list of selected publications and presentations by the author are appended.
Index Term(s): Counter-terrorism tactics; Propaganda; Revolutionary or terrorist groups; Terrorist tactics
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