Political Terrorism and Business: The Threat and Response

Political Terrorism and Business: The Threat and Response

Political Terrorism and Business: The Threat and Response

Political Terrorism and Business: The Threat and Response

Excerpt

On August 8, 1968, an underwater explosion from a bomb placed by El Ponder Cubano damaged a British vessel in Miami. Two Tupamaro terrorists dressed in police uniforms attacked a facility of General Motors Corporation in Montevideo on June 20 of the following year, causing damage estimated at $1 million. In a well-coordinated operation on September 6, 1970, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked four planes owned by TWA, BOAC, Swissair, and Pan Am, which were bound for New York from Europe, and directed them to the Middle East. All the passengers were released; however, the four jets were blown up.

On October 14 of the following year, members of the United Front for Guerrilla Action bombed a Sinclair pipeline in Colombia. In April 1972, Argentinian terrorists kidnapped the president of Fiat and demanded $1 million in ransom. The Argentine government refused to negotiate with the terrorists. Shortly thereafter, the executive was found dead. A powerful bomb blast damaged a branch of the Spanish Banco Popular in Paris on January 28, 1973. A letter-bomb exploded at the Daily Express in London in February 1974, injuring a guard.

Seven European and African tourists, who were taken hostage by Palestinian guerrillas at a Tel Aviv hotel on March 5, 1975, were killed during a shootout with the Israeli rescue team. Three U.S. civilian employees of Rockwell International were assassinated in Tehran on August 28, 1976, by Islamic-Marxist terrorists. Left-wing extremists attacked West German businesses and property in Italian and French cities on October 19, 1977, to avenge the deaths of three terrorist leaders in German jails. Finally, on February 2, 1978, it was reported that Israeli citrus fruit contaminated with liquid mercury was found in West Germany and Holland. The Arab Revolutionary Army Palestinian Commando indicated that the poisonings were designed to sabotage the Israeli economy. Subsequently, Israel had to cut back its exports by 40 percent.

The foregoing incidents, selected at random from over 5,000 cases recorded during the past decade, clearly illustrate that we have entered an "age of terrorism," with all its unique and formidable problems. To be sure, ideological and political violence is not a new form of conflict. Rather, there are only new aspects of terrorism in terms of motivation, technology, tactics, victimization, and security. Our complex modern society is extremely vulnerable to serious threats and intimidation, as well as to direct attacks, including arson and bombing, sabotage and hijacking, and kidnapping and murder. The very process of modernization can carry in its wake the virus of social, economic, and political upheaval, with the attendant vulnerability of nations to terrorist activity. The convulsion of Iran bears contemporary witness to this fact. Airports, harbors . . .

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