Counter-Terrorism: Fight The Power


April 17, 2010:  On April 10th, Greek police arrested six civilians and charged them with belonging to a leftist terrorist organization " Revolutionary Struggle". This outfit has been around for seven years, and showed up a year after police had destroyed a similar group ("November 17"). Groups like Revolutionary Struggle and November 17 mainly carry out street violence, and set off small bombs. Occasionally they will murder people. These groups have long been active in Greece, while they have died out in most of Europe. These outfits are trying to get media attention, and thus seek to pull off spectacular operations. Three years ago, Revolutionary Struggle fired a rocket at the U.S. embassy, but did not hurt anyone. Got plenty of ink, though. The U.S. subsequently offered a million dollar reward for information leading to the capture of the terrorists responsible. Police have not revealed if the reward had anything to do with the recent arrests.

The widespread use of violence by Islamic terrorists has masked the revival of leftist terrorist groups in the West. Some of them are older groups trying to make a comeback. Three years ago, Italian police arrested fifteen members of the 1970s era "Red Brigades", and charged them with plotting the murder of people who did not agree with their revolutionary goals. The Red Brigades were part of an wave of small, violent, leftist revolutionary groups that emerged in the 1960s and 70s, and were largely gone by the 1990s. Actually, the groups never died out completely, but, except in Greece and Latin America, they were much less violent after the Cold War ended.

The Soviet Union had provided some support for these groups, but mostly they were sustained by disaffected middle class kids out to change the world. A new generation of disaffected, politically motivated murderers are now signing up. Many Western leftists still see the United States as the enemy of the people, and capitalism as something that must be destroyed at all costs. In an odd confluence, many of these leftists are marching (literally) shoulder to shoulder with Islamic radicals. This despite the fact that the two groups (one anti-religious, and the other very pro one religion) are natural enemies.

More enthusiastic adoption of socialist, and anti-capitalist policies in Western Europe over the last century has led to a high unemployment rate for people coming out of school, and this has made radical politics a more attractive proposition to some. But compared to the poverty and desperation in the Islamic world, the Western terrorists have a far smaller recruiting pool. But like the Islamic terrorists, the Western groups share the same basic myth. That is, if the world would only unite under a benevolent despotism, everything would be better. Like the Islamic radicals, the Western terrorists find it more comfortable to blame foreigners for their trouble. In this case, the Evil Empire is the United States, and local officials who have "sold out" to those evil Americans.

Some Western governments have gotten behind the anti-American movement, because it's easy to sell to voters, and the object of their scorn is not likely to hit back. But their homegrown radicals are not so civilized. So now Europe has another group of terrorists to worry about. No doubt, they'll find a way of blaming it on the Americans.



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