The ABC’s style guide instructs:

Remember, one person’s “terrorist” is usually someone else’s “freedom fighter”.

Posted by Tim B. on 06/29/2005 at 12:36 AM
    1. Where did that saying come from originally? I’ve run into a few claims here and there saying that it was actually “traitor” vs “freedom fighter” which makes a lot more sense.

      Posted by Patrick Chester on 06/29 at 12:50 AM • #


    1. So what are people that try to blow up hospitals for the reason of killing lots of people?

      Posted by Aging Gamer on 06/29 at 12:53 AM • #


    1. Our dear PM was calling one Nelson Mandela a terrorist some time ago and now it appears he was a freedom fighter.

      Begin was a terrorist in Palestine in 1949 but is called a freedom fighter.

      Posted by Homer Paxton on 06/29 at 01:00 AM • #


    1. One person’s sneer quoted word is another person’s sneer quoted phrase!

      Our dear PM was calling one Nelson Mandela a terrorist some time ago and now it appears he was a freedom fighter.

      Begin was a terrorist in Palestine in 1949 but is called a freedom fighter.

      Hyperlinks please, Homer?

      Posted by Andjam on 06/29 at 01:07 AM • #


    1. ter·ror·ism (n). The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

      What part of that doesn’t the ABC understand?

      Posted by lingus4 on 06/29 at 01:12 AM • #


    1. andjam,

      you are perhaps to young to know of how much the Libs/Nats disliked the ANC.
      personally I was never a fan but I could never understand why they felt so strongly against Mandela.
      This before windows letalone the internet.

      I’m sorry but is someone going to disagree that Begin and his ilk were not terrorists in 49 but are now seen in a better light.

      Posted by Homer Paxton on 06/29 at 01:15 AM • #


    1. Funny. No comment from Homer on the previous post.

      Now why is that, I wonder.

      Posted by Quentin George on 06/29 at 01:20 AM • #


    1. What say we swing by ABC and freedomize them?

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 06/29 at 01:23 AM • #


    1. Remember, one person’s “luvvy” is usually someone else’s “wanker”.

      Posted by Nic on 06/29 at 01:31 AM • #


    1. The Terrorist/Freedom fighter argument is an old one. It is all a matter of perspective.

      Just like from within the ABC is a balanced respected media organisation ….

      Posted by lingus4 on 06/29 at 01:41 AM • #


    1. How about:

      Remember, one person’s “freedom fighter” is usually someone else’s “a–hole”.

      Posted by ArtVandelay on 06/29 at 01:43 AM • #


    1. “Remember, one person’s “terrorist” is usually someone else’s “freedom fighter”.”

      Why exactly ABC! Thanks for finally putting the left’s problem in words!

      Posted by Richard on 06/29 at 01:48 AM • #


    1. I think Reuters came up with this stricture first.

      Homer said, “I could never understand why they felt so strongly against Mandela.”

      The ANC and Mandela were Marxists. Nasty crowd in the past. One supposes they have improved lately.

      Posted by walterplinge on 06/29 at 01:53 AM • #


    1. I nominate the “one man’s terrorist” line as the stupidest comment in history.

      Terrorism refers to a means; freedom-fighting refers to an end.  It doesn’t matter what you are or claim to be fighting for – you are a terrorist if you use terrorism as a means, regardless of the end.

      A terrorist fighting for freedom is a terrorist; a terrorist fighting for slavery is a terrorist; a terrorist fighting for donuts is a terrorist.

      One man’s terrorist is every man’s terrorist, and anyone who claims otherwise is simply trying to apologize for terrorism.

      Posted by TimShell on 06/29 at 01:53 AM • #


    1. I didnt realise that the terrorists we were refering to were actually fighting for freedom. Did anyone else realise that?

      I thought they were fighting a holy war, and all their efforts are targetted at bringing the whole world under their religious law.

      Ah, I see, the confusion isnt over the word “terrorist” at all. It is over the word “freedom”.

      Posted by Kimble on 06/29 at 02:03 AM • #


    1. Remember, one person’s “terrorist” is usually someone else’s “freedom fighter”.

      This sentence just serves as a throwaway reminder that both ‘terrorist’ and ‘freedom fighter’ are partisan labels.

      I think I know the answer I’m going to get here, but is ‘terrorist’ still indicative of a political perspective? Or is it a moral judgement?

      Posted by Flashman on 06/29 at 02:05 AM • #


    1. #15 – Kimble “Freedom Fighter” is the correct description for a Jihadist.

      Fire fighters fight fire
      Crime fighters fight crime
      Freedom fighters fight freedom

      Posted by lingus4 on 06/29 at 02:15 AM • #


    1. A freedom fighter does not have to be a terrorist.  To pretend otherwise is moral equivalence.  We are not talking Robin Hood here.  Terrorism, as has already been pointed out, is a means.  A despicable method, true.  A terrorist may claim to be a freedom fighter, but really all they are is a murderous thug.
      A freedom fighter does not have to stoop to terrorist activities, which in the end usually don’t work.(I said usually because a successful example of terrorism did not immediately spring to mind – then I thought of the Spanish and Arrayo – OTOH, you could argue that those are mere skirmishes and the terrorists’ true goals have not been achieved even in iraq).

      Posted by entropy on 06/29 at 02:19 AM • #


    1. Bah, I say we get rid of the saying because its cliched and daft.

      Posted by Quentin George on 06/29 at 02:24 AM • #


    1. When reporting a conflict, such as in the Middle East, we avoid partisanship, or the perception of it, by not adopting for ourselves the preferred labels of one side or the other – instead confining their use mostly to when giving one side’s assessment of the other (e.g. “what the Israeli Government calls a terrorist cell”)
      Great. Except that they are still choosing which bits to report, or getting it completely wrong. We have been treated to the media’s false story of The Jenin Massacre. Then there was the media’s version (fed to them by the palestinians) of the kid shot in the street (virtually in his father’s arms) by Israelis .. again fake. Now we have the Anglican Church’s decision to completely rewrite Israeli/Palestinian history and condemn the Israelis.

      Posted by blogstrop on 06/29 at 02:24 AM • #


    1. One man’s outlaw is another man’s local hero – Robin Hood

      One man’s Roman rebel is another man’s Celtic king – Caradoc

      The concept goes back a long way.  But reaching back forty years or so, I seem to recall this particular literary arrangement was made by an Arab League spokesman or some such.  So, naturally the ABC gives the catchphrase its imprimatur.

      Posted by Anabel on 06/29 at 02:40 AM • #


    1. Also: I heard The ABC News at 5 today and the report of Bush’s speech struck an odd note. The ABC had Bush saying that there was a need for ongoing “daily sacrificial killings” in Iraq. As far as I am aware he said nothing of the sort, and it looks like a writer “having a go”. They should be disciplined – better still – disbanded. Our National Shitcaster has become a danger to all Australians.

      Posted by blogstrop on 06/29 at 02:45 AM • #


    1. As the old story goes, a million monkeys banging on typewritters will eventually reproduce the complete works of William Shakespear.  But I have to wonder if Homer Paxton can provide the same quality product as those million monkeys.

      Menachem Begin did start out as an anti-British guerilla, and was labeled as a terrorist by some.  I suppose he was, in some ways.  At least he eventually embraced the politics, instead of continuing to butcher people.

      Still, the quote from the ABC is nothing more than moral equivalency, giving them the means to weaselword their articles to support their biased premises.  Michael The Moor was at least honest when voicing his opinion by calling Iraqi terrorists “Minutemen”.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 06/29 at 02:50 AM • #


    1. If fire fighters fight fire, and crime fighters fight crime, then what do freedom fighters do?

      Posted by Aaron – Freewill on 06/29 at 03:03 AM • #


    1. “This before windows letalone the internet.”

      If it was on the new last week you wouldn’t resipricate. Your lameist excuse to date Homer.

      Posted by Gary on 06/29 at 03:09 AM • #


    1. Begin and Mandela were terrorists, without question. They later embraced political solutions, unlike the former head of the PLO who made a pretence of seeking political resolution while being in cahoots with Hamas, El Aqsa etc. I’ve little respect for any of them- once a murderous arsehole, always a murderous arsehole.

      Posted by Habib on 06/29 at 03:24 AM • #


    1. Has Homer ever posted a link to support his assertions? I don’t mean just this thread – ever.

      Posted by PW on 06/29 at 03:27 AM • #


    1. Good post Habib. I would’ve said something similar if I had your brain skillz and I wasnt so schickered on cheap beer.

      Posted by Deo Vindice on 06/29 at 03:49 AM • #


    1. PW, the only link I have ever seen on Homer’s posts is the one to his e-mail address under “Posted by Homer Paxton”.  And that one is generated by the blogging software. 

      So the answer is probably “No”.  Not that I am going to search all of his posts for a final answer.  But that’s the way to bet.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 06/29 at 03:56 AM • #


    1. Well said, Habib.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 06/29 at 03:57 AM • #


    1. I don’t want to sound like a bleeding heart liberal but I wonder whether Nelson Mandela should be called a terrorist.  He certainly admitted organising sabotage but I think I would accept his argument that does not amount to the same thing.

      At the same time, I have great difficulty in seeing the bombing of Dresden as anything but a terrorist attrocity.

      Posted by rexie on 06/29 at 04:46 AM • #


    1. I think it’s called whatever maximizes advertising revenue, the moonbat audience being the most reliable and profitable.

      Posted by rhhardin on 06/29 at 04:47 AM • #


    1. Agreed Habib, but I believe people can change. Those murderous bastards of whom you write would have to commit one hellava act of contrition to convince me. From what I recall I didn’t see it.

      I remember almost being thrown out of a class in high school, in the seventies, simply for pointing out to my teacher that despite the injustices Mandela had suffered we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that he and the ANC advocated terrorism. Is that another inconvenienthistorical fact?

      Posted by Dean McAskil on 06/29 at 04:48 AM • #


    1. err…inconvenient historical

      preview, preview, preview…

      Posted by Dean McAskil on 06/29 at 04:49 AM • #


    1. There is a lot of playing with words going on here, when it really just comes down to right and wrong. People use whatever means they have to redress an injustice and if they are successful and retain their sense of justice, can then implement change for good, politically.

      I enjoy this site but some of the bias on show is unbelievable and no better than that being criticised.

      Posted by you bet on 06/29 at 04:52 AM • #


    1. ..what, emotive words and phrases like “discriminatory, racist, fascist, Nazi, Bushism, Neocon, Hansonism, nucular, trumpeting, corporate greed, OIL, fishnets, the rat, ratty, SO CALLED, alleged, SOME say, BUT, the Feds, trashy, trashed, emploYERS, common, dregs, asylum seeker, the poor, you don’t underSTAND, IGnorant, dumb down, bushie, cocky,
      COMMERCIAL, PRIVATE, STRAIGHT, DEFIANT, IMPLACABLE, NARROW MINDED, CENSORED, PAID, SEALED, UNACCESSABLE, BLINKERED, MONITORED, IMMOVEABLE, UNMOVED, STUPID, WAR MONGERING, SUCKHOLE, downmarket, NGOs, U.N., CHEMICAL, HAZARD, anti depressant DRUGS, weed, decriminalize, parole, uninvited, TANKS, ROLL IN, SMASH, CHECKPOINT, SOLDIERS, TROOPS, DEFENCE forces, ASIO, INTELLIGENCE, WALL, BOMB, HARRASS, INFILTRATE, GULAG, GHETTO, hopeless, useless, dispirited, depression, poverty trap, desperation, concentration camp, limbo, waiting list, cover up, duck, enquiry, authoritarian, closed minded, sad, relentless, regrettable, toll, third world, low life, harsh, abrasive, sweeping, isolation, miserable, culpable, BLAME, GUILT, volatility, diaspora, fraternity, miasma, gross, dross, ratbag, riot, armed, dangerous, diabolical, value, moral, christian, conservative, evangelical, vapid, venomous, whining, whinger, point the finger at.

      Posted by crash on 06/29 at 04:54 AM • #


    1. Homer (3)

      Begin WAS a terrorist, and admitted it. Then he spent the rest of his life lifting himself out of that category, to eventually become a statesman.

      Arafat was also a terrorist, and never admitted it, and stayed one until the day he died.

      One man was basically a civilised human, who did something dreadful under the pressure of dire circumstances and who then worked hard to redeem himself and others to atone for what he had done.

      The other was a barbarian, who never acted like anything else.

      A terrorist is NEVER a freedom fighter. Yes, the WWII resistance people were terrorists. It is just that they were on our side, and their opponent was infinitely more vile than any terrorist organisation as they existed at that time.


      Posted by MarkL on 06/29 at 05:08 AM • #


    1. The Terrorists we are up against at present are not about Injustice, or Religion, or even US Foreign Policy. They are about Power, and all discussions of the other words are smoke screens.
      Use words how you will. The facts remain unchanged.

      Posted by blogstrop on 06/29 at 05:08 AM • #


    1. I wonder what dilemma it puts the Al-jazeera Broadcasing Corporation in, when a terrorist says “I am a terrorist”?

      Then again, what can one expect from the ABC’s moral compass when the head comrade responds like this in a Senate Committee hearing:

      Senator Santoro: Mr Balding, could you describe the difference between killing children in cold blood in a school in southern Russia and killing children in cold blood on a school bus in Jerusalem?

      Russell Balding (ABC MD): I am not in a position to describe the difference between those horrific, tragic circumstances.

      Posted by groister on 06/29 at 05:19 AM • #


    1. 1) Words to be avoided: “defended” or “forced to defend” or “put on the defensive”, when someone or some organization including the government/ministers, actually “deny” a negative claim by a reporter or on the MSM generally, usually made on the basis of unamed “confidential sources”.

      2) How come a “freedom fighter” or a “militant” suddenly becomes a terrorist when he takes a holiday from attacking “western” or “conservative” interests and attacks, kidnaps, threatens, disrupts or generally makes life difficult for left wing interests, particularly their members in the media?. It’s the same people/organization fighting for the same objectives .

      When they are try to be consistent and maintain the facade of “militants” even when their interests or persons are harmed, we get the ludicrous situation of Robert Fisk accepting that his bashing in Afghanistan by militants was understandable and well desreved in his part given the “nasty” things western powers and people had done to the Afghans.

      Posted by LaVallette on 06/29 at 05:39 AM • #


    1. Even the BBC uses the term with an understanding that there are those who are not for the British freedom fighters
      The BBC, which is faced with the challenge of covering stories about sectarian violence in Northern Ireland for a local audience, says “members of illegal organizations who bomb and shoot civilians are unquestionably terrorists – they use terror to achieve their objectives.” Its 1996 News and Current Affairs Stylebook and Editorial Guide adds: “If there are occasions when the term is not appropriate, there are always other words available,” including bombers, gunmen killers, and murderers.
      When Reuter’s put out a memo the reaction to the memo inside and outside the news service was so strong, the company issued a public clarification on Oct. 2. It defended its philosophy of avoiding the term “terrorist” in stories, but apologized if anyone was offended by the way the argument was presented:
      Reuters has a reason for their position. It has staff in 160 countries and believes this approach is vital because it offers accurate and impartial accounts of events in many parts of the world where governments might want to pressure reporters to portray foes as “terrorists”This is The AUSTRALIAN Broadcasting Corporation, not the World Broadcasting Corporation peopled by global citizens with no loyalties to any nation.

      They clearly haven’t read the 1999 UN resolution defining terrorism, “reiterates that criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other nature that may be invoked to justify them.”

      They won’t refer to our troops as “our” either. Instructions from on high or so they say.

      Posted by Ros on 06/29 at 05:52 AM • #


    1. Remember, one person’s “journalist” is usually someone else’s “major league asshole”.

      Just ask Dick Cheney.

      Posted by R C Dean on 06/29 at 05:59 AM • #


    1. Crash, next time you leave a comment here with no spaces between words I’ll just delete it. When you did that the program thought you typed one long word in and it broke the page.

      You bet: if you want to read something unbiased I suggest you stop reading web sites. And newspapers. And the backs of cereal boxes. And billboards… Well, I guess you’ll just have to stop reading altogether.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 06/29 at 06:23 AM • #


    1. When reporting a conflict, such as in the Middle East, we avoid partisanship, or the perception of it, by not adopting for ourselves the preferred labels of one side or the other

      OK, so which is more prevalent on the ABC website:
      – “disputed territories” or “occupied territories”?
      – “Judea and Samaria” or “West Bank”?
      – “residents” or “settlers”?
      – “Qassam missiles” or “makeshift rockets”?

      Posted by groister on 06/29 at 06:26 AM • #


    1. Effective antiterrorist action has also been thwarted by the claim that–as the quip goes–“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” That’s a catchy phrase, but also misleading. Freedom fighters do not need to terrorize a population into submission. Freedom fighters target the military forces and the organized instruments of repression keeping dictatorial regimes in power. Freedom fighters struggle to liberate their citizens from oppression and to establish a form of government that reflects the will of the people…. Terrorists intentionally kill or maim unarmed civilians, often women and children, often third parties who are not in any way part of a dictatorial regime. Terrorists are always the enemies of democracy. Luckily, the world is shaking free from its lethargy and moving forward to stop the bloodshed. – President Ronald Reagan, Radio Address to the Nation on Terrorism, May 31, 1986.

      Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 06/29 at 06:40 AM • #


    1. I should add that the term, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” is credited to Yasser Arafat from his speech to the UN General Assembly on November 13, 1974—the one in which he spoke while wearing fatigues and a pistol.

      Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 06/29 at 06:51 AM • #


    1. Some thoughts on the word “terrorist”:

      A. If you go by the strict literal definition, as in post #5, then technically the US was guilty of terrorism with its shock and awe campaign. However, I think the turning point in actually becoming a terrorist is when terror activities are your primary or only method of attacking your enemies (not counting empty promises on the political field). The Palestinians definitely met this requirement years ago.

      B. Activities that would normally be considered terrorist in nature can be excused, for lack of a better word, when those activities have a clear and defining goal. When the US bombs a target, we do what’s reasonable to prevent civilian casualties. This policy was effectively ignored during the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII, but these are generally not considered terrorist activities (by sane people) because of the nature of the war we were in at the time—an enemy that we could not consider rational (by our standards), one that refused to quit.

      In the end, it’s like pornography—most (decent) people know it when they see it.

      P.S. I definitely don’t think that the US or Israel are terrorist agencies. I just feel that the current definition is too broad.

      Oh, and I’m not an expert on this by any means. These are just my personal feelings on the subject.

      Posted by david on 06/29 at 09:06 AM • #


    1. David (47);

      “technically the US was guilty of terrorism with its shock and awe campaign”. Your assertion might have been true had the campaign been aimed at civilians, rather than at the Iraqi military and national command and control system.

      The intent was to affect the will of the military to resist Coalition forces, and it was successful.

      A terrorist campaign it was not.

      Posted by steveH on 06/29 at 02:21 PM • #


    1. I suppose that it was inevitable that someone would repeat the charge that the Allied stategic bombing missions of World War II were acts of terrorism. Some wish to argue that any bombing mission undertaken with the technology of the time would result in “unnecessary civilian casualties” or that any mission aimed at a city is an act of terrorism. What’s forgotten is that the Allied powers declared that they would not refrain from striking against enemy war making ability, particularly industrial sites located within or near population centers. Dresden was on the list of official targets of both RAF Bomber Command and the USAAF 8th Air Force, though it was low on the list. Dresden wasn’t bombed after the Germans surrendered, nor were Hiroshima or Nagasaki. That they were bombed when both foes were in their last months, weeks or hours doesn’t make them automatically off limits. That’s as ludicrous as the complaints about the airstrikes against the Iraqis retreating from Kuwait City in stolen cars and fire trucks. This isn’t a sporting event where it’s ungentlemanly to ‘run up the score’. This is an official use of force against an aggressor that does not hesitate to deliberately cause civilian casualties or hide among civilians.
      As for Mandela, he and Desmond Tutu refused to speak against acts of violence against teachers and civil servants, many of whom were tortured, or stuffed into tires, doused with gasoline and then set alight.

      Posted by Blue Hen on 06/29 at 02:31 PM • #


    1. steveH: I know that, and I agree with what you’re saying 100%. The problem is that in my opinion the literal definition of terrorism is much too vague.

      Posted by david on 06/29 at 02:51 PM • #


    1. #48 steveH,

      While I agree with you that Shock & Awe was not terrorism, I also agree with david (#47) that it could qualify as such under the definition in post #5.  That definition speaks only of ‘unlawful’ use or threatened use of force against persons or property.  It’s a poor definition not only in that it doesn’t distinguish between civilian and military targets, but that it doesn’t indicate what legal system supposedly determines ‘unlawful.’

      Posted by Achillea on 06/29 at 03:16 PM • #


    1. The reference to persons and property usually pertains to civilian, rather than military targets. Attacks upon military targets have a different significance, since they often are a de facto declaration of war. A force that targets primarily persons or property rather than military targets is considered to be employing terroistic tactics. Not unlike the ANC murdering people for the crime of being teachers. airstrikes aimed at command and control centers, particularly against sites that are deliberately placed within population centers, are considered to be military in nature. It can be proven that planning was undertaken to minimize casualties, through training, rules of engagement, and the types of forces, weapons/munitions employed. Dropping a ‘smart’ bomb on a known site is a military strike. Dropping cluster bombs would be at the least, negligence, and at the worst, a crime, which can and has been prosecuted.

      Posted by Blue Hen on 06/29 at 03:31 PM • #


    1. Blue Hen: The reference to persons and property usually pertains to civilian, rather than military targets.

      ‘Persons and property’ usually means ‘persons and property.’ Beyond that, they’re entirely up to individual interpretation.  Words like ‘civilian’ and ‘non-military’ are what you use when indicating persons and/or property that are civilian, rather than military targets.

      Posted by Achillea on 06/29 at 04:01 PM • #


    1. The reason why there are so many islamic terrorists is because if they die in their jihad ( known as the lesser jihad) it is their only guaranted way to Paradise.
      It is also important to note that in Paradise they can mediate for their family to get their ticket to Paradise whilst enjoying their 72 wives.Of course if one points this out in Victoria you will be taken to court and be found guilty!

      Posted by Homer Paxton on 06/29 at 05:45 PM • #


    1. The Council on Foreign Relations has a good Q&A piece on terrorism, which includes a discussion of what defines terrorism. 

      The State Department’s definition is, “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”

      Another definition they cite has four elements:

      1.  It is premeditated—planned in advance, rather than an impulsive act of rage.

      2. It is political—not criminal, like the violence that groups such as the mafia use to get money, but designed to change the existing political order.

      3. It is aimed at civilians—not at military targets or combat-ready troops.

      4. It is carried out by subnational groups—not by the army of a country.

      While it is possible to obfuscate true acts of terror by reference to Allied bombing during WWII, or the Shock and Awe campaign in the opening phase of the recent war to oust Iraq’s Baathist government, that is not what is commonly understood by the term and serves to create a false moral equivalency.

      Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 06/29 at 06:47 PM • #


    1. Re Shock and Awe and whether or not it was “unlawful” – I was worried about it till I heard Peter Costello’s speech of March 18th 2003.


      Definitely lawful.

      Posted by Janice on 06/29 at 07:07 PM • #


    1. “One man’s Militant is another man’s Mufti” perhaps?

      But seriously:
      1) Menachem Begin was a terrorist? Why? I often hear the example of the bombing of the King David Hotel touted as examples of “Zionist terrorism”. This completely (or deliberately) misses the point that at the time, the King David Hotel was the British MILITARY headquarters, so wouldn’t fit any reasonable definition of terrorist target.

      2) Hamas is listed by the Australian govt. as a terrorist organisation. I’m unsure then why the ABC, as a Government body can’t call it as such.

      3) Unsurprisingly, after thirty or forty years, the UN cannot or will not come up with a definition of terror (given that many of its members have a large role to play in this regard).

      For me, a simple definition of terror is this:
      Any act of violence specifically designed to instill fear or political change perpetrated against a civilian or non-combatant target.

      This exludes legitimate collateral damage and there is a difference between women/children being accidentally killed (as a result of combatants hiding amidst them) versus them being deliberately targeted (e.g. an attack against a kindergarten).

      here are three perspectives of terrorism: the terrorist’s, the victim’s, and the general public’s. The phrase “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” is a view terrorists themselves would accept. Terrorists do not see themselves as evil. They believe they are legitimate combatants, fighting for what they believe in, by whatever means possible. A victim of a terrorist act sees the terrorist as a criminal with no regard for human life. The general public’s view is the most unstable. The terrorists take great pains to foster a “Robin Hood” image in hope of swaying the general public’s point of view toward their cause. This sympathetic view of terrorism has become an integral part of their psychological warfare and needs to be countered vigorously.


      Posted by Dan Lewis on 06/29 at 07:31 PM • #


    1. 1) Menachem Begin was a terrorist? Why? I often hear the example of the bombing of the King David Hotel touted as examples of “Zionist terrorism”. This completely (or deliberately) misses the point that at the time, the King David Hotel was the British MILITARY headquarters, so wouldn’t fit any reasonable definition of terrorist target.

      Correct Dan.  The King David Hotel was a legitimate military target.  It’s for this reason that the assault on the Pentagon was an act of war within the norms of war, whereas the attack on the WTC was a war crime.

      Posted by murph on 06/29 at 08:33 PM • #


    1. #58 They did use a plane packed with civillians to attack the pentagon. Still a war crime in my book no matter what the target.

      Posted by lingus4 on 06/29 at 08:42 PM • #


    1. Re;Begin

      Irgun, the Stern Gang and the Haganah launched many offensives to remove villagers.
      The most infamous was at Deir Yassin where over 250 peole were slaughtered and led to over 50,000 Arabs fleeing Haifa and Jaffa.

      This gets in any definition of terrorism thst has already been mentioned.

      Posted by Homer Paxton on 06/29 at 08:42 PM • #


    1. Homer, I don’t want to derail this topic as I’m sure we both agree the ABC needs some ‘therapy’. However, you’ll find the story of Deir Yassin is disputed. Additionally, Sabra and Shatilla are cited by propagandists of damning evidence against Ariel Sharon when the fact themselves are frequently different.

      Worst case however, I’ll concede that whatever they might have been (and we can agree to disagree) they can’t be compared to Arafat et. al.


      Posted by Dan Lewis on 06/29 at 09:11 PM • #


    1. So if this was 1942, I suppose the ABC would argue:

      “one man’s anti-semitic, genocidial maniac is another man’s Aryan hero”

      Posted by Richard_of_Oz on 06/29 at 09:24 PM • #


    1. I wonder which one blew up geeky Eric Campbell in Northern Iraq in 2003???

      Posted by Brian on 06/29 at 09:35 PM • #


    1. Richard of Oz,

      Bear in mind also that Hitler was a Communist Vegetarian. You can imagine the types of people who might support such humanitarian ideals today…

      Meanwhile, This is amusing reading – If the story of Passover was reported by the New York Times or CNN (or you might say the ABC).

      Posted by Dan Lewis on 06/29 at 09:40 PM • #


    1. Perhaps the ABC will be forced to update its deluded little rule book when this starts to happen in Australia:

      Posted by blogstrop on 06/29 at 09:51 PM • #


    1. #59

      Agreed.  That part is a war crime.

      The target was a legitimate military target.  The weapon of choice constituted a war crime.

      Posted by murph on 06/29 at 10:36 PM • #


    1. David (50);

      Got it. Agreed, vague definitions can be less than useless.

      Posted by steveH on 06/29 at 11:07 PM • #


    1. #14 Tim Shell,

      Well said.

      Posted by The Sanity Inspector on 06/29 at 11:12 PM • #


    1. Very sorry Andrea.
      Coventry (U.K.)was fire-bombed first during WW2.
      Wasn’t Winnie Mandela charged with torturing kids?

      Posted by crash on 06/30 at 03:03 AM • #


    1. Just to clarify, the Dresden bombing is a confused story. First, Dresden was full of military targets especially optics manufactures and similar intricate assemblies. Second, it was a major transport hub north-south and east-west where it was funnelling material to the nearby east-front. But ALL British strategic nightbombing was “area bombing” for the simple reason that it was so inaccurate it couldn’t normally hit within about 5km of any specific target, so it just blasted entire areas.
      But again, Churchill memoed his chief of staff, 28/3/45: “ It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed…”{for practical, not ethical reasons}. He went on to criticise the RAF’s “mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive.”
      Source: Frederick Taylor, Dresden. p375-76.
      So where does that leave the ethicists?
      tony thomas

      Posted by tthomas2 on 06/30 at 04:48 AM • #


    1. The definition of terrorsism shold be treated to acts not ideology.  There are plenty of definitions of government sponsored acts of violence. The following definition of terrism is a good start –

      -When a politically motivated group attacks civilians – irrespective of country, nationality and cause – the only proper response is uncompromising condemnation.  Those who kill or maim defenseless people should never be entitled to the honour of being regarded as freedom fighters.  Irrespective of the legitimacy of the struggle, the politically motivated killing of civilians is terrorism.
      Rohan Gunaratna, 2002

      Posted by davod on 06/30 at 07:04 AM • #


    1. I heard on PM tonight a correspondents talking about thugs.

      While the call was an accurate one, you’d think such a label would be even more precarious than the t-word, if I can call it that. It makes you wonder about the motives of the ABC.

      Posted by Andjam on 06/30 at 07:45 AM • #


    1. Re, comment #46:  The ABC is using the philosphy of Yasser Arafat to guide it’s “journalists”.  They just admitted just which direct they lean in.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 06/30 at 07:52 AM • #


    1. to tthomas: This is especially interesting, since it was Churchill’s support that helped expand and sustain Britain’s strategic bombing campaign. That a country’s policy makers would choose to weigh the efficacy of such a campaign, albeit in the last hours, underscores yet another fundamental difference between a government that represents the people who empowered them, and a terrorist group. You noted that Bomber Command was acting to the extent of its technological ability. It was also trying to improve its accuracy throughout the war, and switching back to daylight bombing when loss rates were deemed acceptable. It’s also telling that 60 years on, people would rather dwell on Dresden or Hiroshima than upon Warsaw or Rotterdam or Nanking. Then again, some would rather dwell upon Guantanamo then the remains of Kuwaitis who were abducted 15 years ago. Or even upon the other end of Cuba for that matter.

      Posted by Blue Hen on 06/30 at 08:11 AM • #


    1. re blue hen,
      the Dresden/Hiroshima parallel is somewhat invalid, casualties in Dresden were in fact in the range 25,000-40,000 not the 100,000+ which was put out as Nazi and E. German propaganda. tony thomas (source: same book)

      Posted by tthomas2 on 06/30 at 08:17 AM • #


    1. I agree on that level. A reference to Hiroshima had been made by someone else in an earlier post. My purpose for mentioning both is that we have (and should) question ourselves and our actions. Such questioning should not serve to ignore, downplay or create a ficticious moral eqivalence between such actions and hijacking airliners, pushing wheelchair bound passengers off of ships at sea or deliberately blowing up children by targeting schools.

      Posted by Blue Hen on 06/30 at 08:24 AM • #


    1. Terrism is only one word – lest get back to what the ABC definition means.

      Posted by davod on 06/30 at 08:53 AM • #


    1. I will start again –
      Terrorism is only one word. Lets get back to what the ABC definition means.

      Posted by davod on 06/30 at 08:54 AM • #


  1. I totally agree with the formulation, but I would stipulate that in fact the former person is a decent, civilized, human being and the latter a contemptible savage.

    Posted by DrZin on 06/30 at 07:26 PM • #