International Terrorism: The Global War on Terror
The terrorist is by no means a new actor on the world stage. However, thanks to startling developments in military and communications technology, this perennial threat to freedom and security has taken a quantum leap forward during the past thirty years. In many cases, these vicious and determined men and women have supplanted nation states on the globe's "most wanted" list! This extraordinary 26-episode series provides a comprehensive look at these modern masters of political murder and extortion. From the I.R.A. to al-Qaeda, Global Terror runs the gamut of groups that have pledged themselves to destroy the stability that we cling to so tenuously?examining their goals, their methods and their terrifying prospects for success!
Part 1: Early Israeli Terrorism
Early Israeli Terrorism starts by looking at the events of 22 July 1946, when a massive explosion ripped through the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, headquarters of the British administration in Palestine. It killed 91 people in the latest and most shocking attack to be mounted by a deadly group of Jewish terrorists as they fought to drive the British out of Palestine and establish a homeland of their own ? Israel. Although the King David Hotel was one of the worst Israeli terrorist attacks, it was still just one of many. Other targets included bridges, military bases, public buildings and railways as well as politicians and soldiers marked for assassination. Ironically, several leading Israeli terrorists would eventually emerge as internationally respected leaders of their countries
Part 2: The Al Qaeda Menace (Bin Laden)
After the First Gulf War, Islamic Fundamentalism in Saudi Arabia was handed a gift by the extended presence of coalition troops close to the Holy sites of Mecca and Medina. The Wahabi sect from the West of Saudi were particularly incensed and devised a plan to strike back at Western interests and the USA in particular. They were led by a wealthy Arab graduate named Osama Bin Laden, whose knowledge of architecture gave rise to a plan to destroy one of the most potent symbols of American power. With colossal funds supplied by wealthy Arab benefactors, The Al-Qaeda Menace looks at how Bin Laden built an international network of trained terrorists.
Part 3: The IRA
Ireland was Britain?s oldest colony and, for hundreds of years, ideas of Irish Nationalism simmered under the surface of the Empire?s calm. After the Easter Rising and the establishment of Home Rule for the Republic of Eire, discontent continued in the Northern provinces, where the Catholics were in a minority and discriminated against both politically and in ordinary life. In the mid-1960s, discontent erupted into violence and the Irish Republican Army began a terror campaign which finally resulted in the British Army being called out onto the streets of Belfast. The ?Troubles?, as they became known, gave rise to a savage form of urban warfare, typified by indiscriminate car bombings, tit-for-tat sectarian shootings and spectacular bomb outrages on the British mainland.
Part 4: Fata Hamas
Founded in the late 1950s, Fatah is the Arab organisation which provides part of the present-day government for the Palestinian lands of Gaza and the West Bank. Currently locked in a violent struggle with Hamas, its Muslim rival party founded 30 years later, it has sought to represent the interests of the Palestinian people on the world stage by standing up to Israel, sponsoring terrorism and attempting to win back lands, which it claims belongs to the Palestinian people. It has committed a number of significant outrages since its inception and has been an unrelenting adversary towards Israel and the West generally. After the establishment of Israel in 1948, its history has been one of continuing harassment and conflict in order to win what it sees as its rightful territory. This BBC programme Fatah / Hamas looks at these events through history.
Part 5: PLO
Founded by the Egyptian President Colonel Nasser in 1964, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation has become one of the most effective terrorist organisations the world has ever known, championing a violent form of protest against Israel and the West since World War II. Dominated by Yasser Arafat for 35 years, the PLO and its affiliates were responsible for a long list of shocking acts of terror, including, kidnapping, murder, bombing and plane hijacks.
Part 6: ETA
Between Spain and France on the Atlantic coast is the Basque region of Spain, which has for centuries been a unique culture and people bearing allegiance to neither of its large neighbours. In 1937, General Franco occupied the Basque country, abolished their existing degree of autonomy and ruthlessly repressed their aspirations for independence. ETA (short for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna which means Basque fatherland and freedom) was founded in 1959. Initially peaceful, it quickly evolved into the terrorist branch of the Basque separatist movement and to date has caused upwards of 800 deaths. Since the death of General Franco in particular, ETA has bombed its way into the headlines by committing outrage after outrage designed to weaken Spanish resolve and grant regional independence to its distinctive population.
Part 7: The Baader Meinhof Gang
Terrorised West Germany throughout the 1970s and 1980s with a brutal campaign of bombing, kidnapping and murder. Born from the radical student movement of the late 1960s and self-styled as the Red Army Faction (RAF), it comprised mainly middle-class youngsters who saw themselves as urban guerrillas engaged in an armed struggle against the State, rather than as a gang of terrorists.
Part 8: EOKA
Following the Ottoman Empire?s defeat in World War I, Cyprus was annexed by Britain in 1925 to protect its sea route to India via the Suez Canal. The terror group EOKA (Ethnik Organosis Kipriaku Agonos) was an underground organization formed by the former Greek army officer George Grivas in 1955 to force the British out of Cyprus and unite the Mediterranean island with Greece.
Part 9: Nasser and Egyptian Terrorism
As President of Egypt, Gamal Abdul Nasser wanted to be regarded as a distinguished international statesman. He was also the man who founded the Palestine Liberation Organisation, one of the world's greatest ever terrorist movements. But once he handed the PLO over to Yasser Arafat, Nasser ceased to have any real influence over the organisation.
Part 10: Colonel Gaddafi and Libya
Early on the evening of 21 December 1988, Boeing 747 Pam Am flight 103, en route from London Heathrow to New York, was torn apart by a massive mid-air explosion above the town of Lockerbie in Scotland. There were no survivors ? 243 passengers and the crew of 16 all died. But the tragedy did not end there. Eleven people on the ground also died and 21 houses were completely destroyed in the carnage. As crash investigators rushed to the scene early the following day, it soon became apparent that this was no accident and the CIA reported that a number of international terrorist organisations were already claiming responsibility. At the time, it was the worst terrorist attack in USA history and a grim warning to American citizens that they could no longer regard themselves as immune from the forces of international terrorism.
Part 11: The OAS
In 1961, the French colony of Algeria in North Africa began moving towards independence with the full support of President Charles de Gaulle. This outraged a group of hardline ex-French Army officers and they formed an organisation known as the OAS (Organisation de l?armee secrete). Determined to keep Algeria in French hands, the OAS embarked on a terror campaign which left hundreds dead, both in Algeria and mainland France.
Part 12: The SLA and Patty Hearst
On 4 February 1974, Patty Hearst, the 19-year-old student heiress and granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped from her residence in Berkeley, California. For the next two months, by her account, she was kept in a closet, sexually and physically abused, and ?brainwashed? by the small group of radicals called the SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army) who targeted wealthy capitalists as the ultimate enemy. The Hearst family agreed to the initial demands, which included the distribution of millions of dollars worth of food, but negotiations reached a stalemate. Then the SLA publicized a photo of Patty, machine gun in hand, apparently a willing convert to revolution. She took the name ?Tania? (a tribute to the wife of Che Guevara).
Part 13: The Weathermen
During the 1970s, a terror gang known as The Weathermen embarked on a bombing campaign across the USA as they sought to overthrow the government through violent revolution. Their targets included banks, universities, police and government buildings and the offices of multi-national corporations. Born out of the anti-Vietnam war protest movement, the Weathermen were, for the most part, well-educated young men and women from comfortable middle-class backgrounds. However, their violence failed to attract a significant number of recruits and, by the early 1980s, the organisation had more or less run its course.
Part 14: The Oklahoma Bomber
The Oklahoma Bomber looks at the events on the morning of 19 April 1995, when a massive bomb exploded outside a US government building in Oklahoma City. The blast, which could be heard and felt up to 55 miles away, reduced the building to rubble and killed 168 people, 19 of whom were children. In addition, more than 800 people were injured in the worst domestic attack in American history.
Part 15: The Ku Klux Klan
On 12 June 1963, the renowned black civil rights campaigner Medgar Evers was killed with a single rifle shot to the back as he walked towards his front door in Jackson, Mississippi. His murderer, Byron De La Beckwith, was arrested a short time later, but he was acquitted at his subsequent trial in front of an all-white jury. It would take nearly 30 years before he was finally brought to justice. Beckwith was a member of the U Klux Klan, one of the world?s oldest and deadliest terrorist organisations. Founded in Texas in the mid-19th century, the Klan was ruthlessly dedicated to white supremacy over Black American citizens, particularly in the Southern States.
Part 16: Japanese Sarin Cult
On 20 March 1995, a group of terrorists released a deadly nerve gas called Sarin (developed by the Nazis in World War II) into the Tokyo subway system. It was the height of rush hour, so it caused the maximum panic and chaos. It also killed 12 people and resulted in another 50 falling seriously ill. Thousands more suffered from the after-effects. Just two days after the Tokyo subway attack, more than 1,000 Japanese police stormed the Aum headquarters. Here they discovered a huge stockpile of deadly chemical and biological warfare agents, including enough Sarin ingredients to kill four million people.
Part 17: The Mahdi Army
On 25 March 2008, some 15,000 Iraqi troops moved in Basra. Their aim was to drive out the terrorists who had held the city in a murderous grip since the fall of Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. But, even though the troops were backed up with US and British airpower, it still took them about three weeks to regain control of Basra. Fortunately, it ended in failure. The once-seemingly invincible Mahdi Army is now in complete disarray and al-Sadr has gone into hiding in neighbouring Iran. It?s been a long time coming, but for now, at least, peace of a kind is slowly returning to Iraq after years of death and destruction.
Part 18: Che Guevara
During his short life, Ernesto (Che) Guevara became the world?s best known and most charismatic revolutionary, revered as a great hero for his part in the Cuban revolution. In reality, however, he was a cold-blooded killer who played a central role in sending thousands of Cuban citizens to their death in the aftermath of the revolution during the early 1960s. But, since he met his own end while trying to start a revolution in Bolivia, many of the less-palatable aspects of his life have been airbrushed from history and he has become a popular, worldwide, cultural revolutionary icon. This is thanks in no small part to a famous photograph of him, taken at the height of his fame, which continues to adorn countless bedroom walls the world over.
Part 19: Fidel Castro
When Fidel Castro stepped down as president of Cuba in February 2008, he was the world?s longest-serving political leader. He was also the man who, in October 1962, together with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev, brought the world to the brink of all-out nuclear war during what became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis., Fidel Castro is revered by many as a great revolutionary. But in winning his reputation he brought death, destruction and misery to countless numbers of people.
Part 20: Somali Warlords
Somali Warlords looks at the events on the afternoon of 03 October 1993. A team of crack US troops abseiled down from helicopters onto the roof of a house in the centre of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, in the east horn of Africa. Their mission: to snatch two notorious terrorists and bring them to justice. But it all went horribly wrong. The troops ? outnumbered 20 to one ? were pinned down in a 17-hour gun-battle which left 18 of them dead and 80 wounded. Then in a daring rescue mission with ground troops and helicopters, US Marines paid a terrible price. During the fire-fight, two US Blackhawk helicopters were brought down with rockets and crashed into the narrow streets.
Part 21: The Taliban
Until 11 September 2001 when 3,000 people died in New York?s Twin Towers during the world?s worst terrorist attack, most people in the West had scant knowledge about what was going on in Afghanistan. Shortly after, the US Government declared that Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader behind the outrage, was holed up in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban, and President Bush vowed to go after them with a vengeance.
Part 22: The Tamil Tigers
The Tamil Tigers are one of the deadliest and most ruthless terrorist?s organisations the world has ever known. Since embarking on their campaign of violence in the early 1980s, they have killed almost 60,000 people ? more than the rest of the world?s terrorist organisations put together ? and displaced hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans.
Part 23: Chechen Extremism
Chechen Extremist examines the events on 22 October 2002, a large gang of heavily armed terrorists seized a theatre in the heart of Moscow, holding more than 800 people hostage, as they demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya, their homeland. Four days later, the siege ended in a tragedy that shocked the world as 130 of the hostages died when the Russian security forces pumped a powerful knockout gas into the theatre. All 42 of the terrorists were shot dead when the security forces stormed the building.
Part 24: The Moluccan Separatists
On 23 May 1977, in North-East Holland, nine ruthless and fanatical South Moluccan terrorists hijacked a train en route from Utrecht to Groningen ? their second train hijacking in two years ? and demanded independence for their distant homeland in the western Pacific. At the same time, four more terrorists had seized a primary school in the nearby village of Bovensmilde. The lives of 55 train passengers, 105 schoolchildren and four teachers now hung in the balance.
Part 25: The Mau Mau
The Mau Mau was one of the world?s shortest-lived terrorist organisations, but it was also one of the most violent. Formed in the early 1950s to force the British to grant independence to Kenya in East Africa, the Mau Mau consisted mainly of dissident Kikuyu tribesmen who carried out a number of shocking atrocities as they targeted white settlers on their remote farms. But the Mau Mau also attacked native black Kenyans too, especially those whom they regarded as traitors for supporting the British administration. Whole villages were wiped out.
Part 26: The Red Brigade
Formed in 1970, the Brigate Rosse (Red Brigades) sought to create a revolutionary state through armed struggle and to separate Italy from the Western Alliance (NATO). The Red Brigades? main aim was the overthrow of the Italian government, the weakening of NATO and the creation of a Marxist state. On 16 March 1978, the former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro was kidnapped in a violent ambush, which left five men dead at the scene. Two days later, his kidnappers revealed themselves as the Red Brigades, a notorious terrorist group which had bombed and shot its way across Italy since the early 1970s. Eight weeks later, Moro?s dead body was dumped in downtown Rome. In December 1981, the Red Brigades kidnapped another high profile victim: a senior NATO staff officer, US Brigadier-General James Dozier. He was freed 42 days later in a daring raid by Italian commandos.
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Number of Parts: 26
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