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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77542 Find in a Library
Title: Terrorist Tactics and the Executive Target (From Political Terrorism and Business - The Threat and Response, P 66-75, 1979, Yonah Alexander and Robert A Kilmarx, ed. - See NCJ-77538)
Author(s): C A Russell; B H Miller
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Praeger Publishers
Westport, CT 06881
Sale Source: Praeger Publishers
88 Post Road West
Westport, CT 06881
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The growth of terrorist targeting of corporate executives is examined, and some of the more significant tactics involved are considered.
Abstract: During the early 1970's, terrorist groups in Europe and Latin America as well as in most other areas of the world focused their efforts on attacking police and government facilities and personnel. The failure of this strategy was quickly evident, since governments did not collapse, and the police shot back. By 1973, terrorist targeting had shifted to assaults against diplomatic establishments and the abduction of foreign diplomats and ranking government personnel. This led governments to increase security measures and strengthen counterterrorist programs. By 1975, another targeting shift occurred, as corporations and their personnel became a top terrorist priority. Between 1976 and 1978, 54 percent of terrorist operations were directed against business targets. The kidnapping of executives has become particularly popular as a means of gaining ransom money. Another reason for such targeting is that the executive is a symbol of capitalism, whereas most terrorist groups are radical socialists. Other reasons are that there are many targets from which to choose and that target security is relatively vulnerable. Although pioneered by Latin American terrorists, kidnapping businessmen for ransom quickly spread to Western Europe. In both of these areas, this tactic has been used almost exclusively by terrorist organizations active within a limited region or single nation. The scenario for most of the kidnappings is to intercept targets in their cars while between the home and the workplace. Once taken, the victim has a minimal chance of rescue or escape. At the same time, the odds of being killed by terrorist kidnappers are relatively low. Another tactic against corporate executives confined almost exclusively to Italy is the shooting of victims in the legs. Until methods for countering terrorist targeting of executives are devised, the practice is likely to continue and grow, spurred primarily by the financial rewards. Case studies of some kidnappings are described, and four notes are listed.
Index Term(s): Case studies; Citizen/business terrorism prevention; Diplomat security; Personal Security/Self Protection; Terrorist kidnapping; Terrorist tactics; Victims of terrorism
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