More global terrorism stats for 2014

Steve Killelea’s Vision for Humanity has released its 2014 report on Global Terrorism. Their PR campaign around this release is certainly in full force as there are tens if not hundreds of articles, blog entries and multiples more tweets and shares pushing some of their main points:

  • Number of terrorist attacks is through the roof
  • Terrorism is now global and killed almost 18,000 people last year
  • Top terrorist groups are all fundamentalist Islamic – Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIL/ISIS, and Al Qa’ida
  • Most victims of terrorism were from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria (so they are likely also Muslim)

Similar to a post we had last week, not much media attention to how rare terrorism related deaths still are. There are 40 times more more deaths by homicide than terrorism and 75 countries in the world had no incidents of terrorism.

Vision of Humanity released its 2014 Global Terrorism Index report

The Global Terrorism Index, produced by Institute for Economics & Peace, ranks countries according the impact of terrorist activities as well as analysing the economic and social dimensions associated with terrorism.

The index scores 162 countries, covering 99.6% of the world’s population, and examines trends from 2000 to 2013. The indicators used include the number of terrorist incidents, fatalities, injuries and property damage.



Cyber terrorism threat not well understood

Cyber terrorism, cyber crime, malware, hacking – this arena has come of age with the threat to critical infrastructure like power plants, traffic systems, electrical grid, water, pipelines, hospitals, air traffic control systems, financial institutions, etc. now being a reality. We have written briefly about this very complicated, and emerging medium for both terrorism and crime. One may consider giving a bit more weight to the propagandist theory because what we are seeing is that while there is much media coverage that blames Russia or China; there doesn’t seem to be a lot of disclosure of the fact that the real hub of shady cyber criminals and money laundering has been Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, etc). The other aspect that is being ignored is the extremely poor state of security of these critical systems. There is no need to connect every system to the “Internet”. This recent crop of designation heavy IT professionals seem to only be capable of checking off the basic vendor recommended security settings and are no match to the craftier hackers who are often an amalgamation of technologists, criminals, soldiers and intelligence operatives.

The line between cyber terrorism and cyber crime

The blurred line between cyber terrorism and cyber crime

Tribune-Review reporter Andrew Conte joins us to discuss how the lines between online thefts and all-out warfare continue to blur as hackers become more effective at attacks that threaten to cause serious economic damage. (90.5 WESA)


Empirical analysis: The risk of terrorism

Our main site has as section dedicated to the fact that terrorism was a phenomenon long before the 9/11 attacks, but media climate, politics and the psyche of the people have brought terrorism to the forefront. So it is healthy to step back and see whether the risks of terrorism, which most people in the post 9/11 world probably perceive as having grown, actually warrant the state of fear we live under. As per Max Roser’s analysis on Our World in Data, the answer is NO. That is, if you do not live in Iraq – whose population has suffered greatly from the increase of terrorism on their home turf thanks to the war on terrorism.

Max Roser examines some real world risks of terrorism and the odds of being affected by it

Max Roser examines some real world risks of terrorism and the odds of being affected by it

Some takeaways:

  • Terrorism incidents in Latin America have decreased significantly between 2001 – 2008 (vs 1970 – 2001)
  • Iraq has shot up to the top of the list as having suffered the most terrorist attacks
  • India has seen an increase in terrorist attacks post 9/11, moving to the second spot
  • Global deaths from suicide are 59x those from terrorism; 179x for diarrhea related diseases
  • Airline hijackings peaked in the late 1960s to early 1970s

Suicide bombing rocks Nigerian high school

A suicide bomber dressed as a student has killed nearly 50 actual students and teachers in Potiskum, located in northern Nigeria. The suicide bomber got into the all boys high school that teaches a so-called Western curriculum and detonated a bomb housed in his backpack. We recall the hue and cry a few months ago when Boko Haram terrorists kidnapped hundreds of girls but things had been relatively quiet in Nigeria since then with even word of cease fires and release of the kidnapped girls. The regional (African) hub of worldwide attention had shifted to Liberia and Sierra Leone with the Ebola crisis. But in the last few weeks, Boko Haram was getting back in the news cycle with a suicide bombing in Niger, another bombing in Potiskum last week, renaming the town of Mubi to Madinatul Islam and inflammatory comments about the kidnapped girls having been converted to Islam and married off. So why the sudden resurgence of Boko Haram? The African conspiracists point to an upcoming election in 2015 but is there fire, where there seems to be some smoke?

A suicide bomber killed 50 kids and teachers in a Nigerian high school

A suicide bomber killed 50 kids and teachers in a Nigerian high school

“The bombing was one of the bloodiest attacks in months. Government forces rushed to the school, in the town of Potiskum in Yobe State, but angry residents throwing stones prevented them from reaching the site of the blast. A bomb killed almost 30 people in the same town last week. Many Nigerians are incensed at the military’s seeming inability to curb Boko Haram, which earlier this year kidnapped more than 200 girls from the town of Chibok in nearby Borno State.” (New York Times)



War on terror and its unintended consequences

Let’s wage a war on <fill in the blank>. What could possibly go wrong? The War on Terror has been waged, at least in the United States and several other Western nations, since the start of the 21st century. Researchers and reporters continue to unearth sad stories of innocent people that keep getting caught in the many dragnets with ruinous effects on their lives. Suspicious Activity Reports, No Fly Lists, cancelled passports/travel restrictions, National Security Letters, warrants, detentions, surveillance, etc. can and are happening to innocent people.

War on Terrorism has many consequences for innocent citizens

War on Terrorism has had many negative consequences for innocent citizens

“The SAR database is part of an ever-expanding domestic surveillance system established after 9/11 to gather intelligence on potential terrorism threats. At an abstract level, such a system may seem sensible: far better to prevent terrorism before it happens than to investigate and prosecute after a tragedy. Based on that reasoning, the government exhorts Americans to “see something, say something” — the SAR program’s slogan.”

“As of August 2013, there were approximately 47,000 people, including 800 U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents like Mashal, on that secretive no-fly list, all branded as “known or suspected terrorists.” All were barred from flying to, from, or over the United States without ever being given a reason why. On 9/11, just 16 names had been on the predecessor “no transport” list. The resulting increase of 293,650% — perhaps more since 2013 — isn’t an accurate gauge of danger, especially given that names are added to the list based on vague, broad, and error-prone standards. The harm of being stigmatized as a suspected terrorist and barred from flying is further compounded when innocent people try to get their names removed from the list.” (