Terrorism has many faces, causes, and impacts. It is
a premeditated international or homegrown attack on a group of people through
the use of force, thus resulting in causalities both civilian and combatants.

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The motive behind terrorism can be ideological or religious, but it is
inherently political. The goal of terrorism is to incite fear, anxiety or the
concern that the violence of the attack will return at any given time. The
terrorist will use violence in order to draw attention to themselves, or their
cause, which will generate publicity to their cause. The hope of the group is
to be able to manipulate, intimidate or coerce governments into granting the
terrorist group’s demands.

and its attacks have a social, psychological and economic impact on the
recipient of the attack.  The attack is deliberated,
specific, and is directed against symbolic targets. For example, the symbolic
target in the attacks on 9/11 was the World Trade Center and the pentagon. Both
structures are symbolic of America’s economic and military strength. Striking
down those two structures shows the world that America is not as strong in its
economics or military capabilities. This leaves the country having the
“illusion of vulnerability and powerlessness” ().  

of the deed is used by many groups and remains an inherent part of terrorism as
a form of communication. It is a way to inspire combatants while furthering
their cause. This is an important technique for acquiring home grown terrorists
and lone wolf terrorists. Propaganda of the deed is used by groups to inspire a
person to commit attacks on their own people. This is called lone wolf
terrorism and is defined as an individual who acts alone on behalf of the
organization without the organization being actively involved. Another theme of
terrorism is ethno-nationalism is an attack that has a symbolic character with
a message meant to communicate the existence and essence of ethnic identity
(Law, 2016). When a political leader goes after their own people, it is called
State Terrorism. A state terrorist can be anyone who is seen as a political
leader. Drug cartels in Latin America are teaming up with Islamic Extremists in
the Middle East. This lethal combination allows both groups to mutually benefit
off the other for each group’s survival.

Part 1: Drug Cartels and Gang Violence

            The United States and Mexico are
trying to find ways to decrease heroin consumption, thus dismantling the power
of drug cartels in the region.  The drug
cartels have control over political leaders in Mexico through fear and
coercion. Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNH) has become a powerful drug
cartel in Mexico and is blamed for violence throughout the country. They were
accused of leaving coolers with severed human heads and threatening messages to
judges and politicians.

            MS-13 is an extremely violent gang with
ties in El Salvador and the United States. The MS-13 gang was started in Los
Angeles, California after the ending of the El Salvador civil war in 1992.

Deportation of gang members from the United States expanded the gang into parts
of Central America. The gang’s calling card is its “propensity for ruthlessness
and violence” (Cuthbertson, 2017). The
president of the United States has called for a sweep of the gang in order to
end their brutal campaign. In the past, there was a gang sweep called Operation
Raging Bull, created by the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice
Department. The operation had two phases, one in El Salvador and the other in
the United States. The first phased produced 53 arrests of gang members and
leaders in El Salvador and the second phase resulted in 215 arrests of gang
members operating within the United States. “90% of the MS-13 members arrested
by immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) were living in the United States
illegally” (Fox News, 2017). This gang is especially problematic because it targets
youth and is linked with racketeering, drug trafficking, and human trafficking.

MS-13 uses extortion and prostitution as it main sources of income. American
citizens are being targeted by the gang, especially middle and high school aged
youth. The gang is known for recruiting youth and have violent and brutal gang
initiations. The punishment for not joining the gang or being an opponent of
the gang is even more violent often resulting in dismemberments by machete and

                  Reports indicate
that groups such as Hezbollah, ISIS and Boko Haram are now teaming up with drug
cartels in Latin America. United States Sentor, Robert Pittenger (R-NC) is the
chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional
Warfare. He believes that the organizations are teaming up with violent drug
cartels in order to get funding and higher recruitment numbers. The financing
comes from drug trafficking, human trafficking, gun smuggling, and money
laundering. The senator has also led a forum to explore the connection between
the groups and find ways to intervene.

John Kelly, who was the Commander of the U.S. Southern Command, warned congress
about these Islamic extremist groups moving into Latin America. He believes
that the groups plan on infiltrating the United States through its southern
border with the help of smuggling and drug trafficking networks. The General is
especially concerned since he believes that Latin American countries cannot
track these extremists, meaning that the groups can operate without
interruption. “Although the
Islamic State has lost most of its territory, the group can still provide
training for would-be jihadis” (). There is speculation that groups like ISIS are having
citizens in Latin American countries travel to the Middle East in order to be
trained by the group.

A faction of the Los Zetas cartel, Cartel Del
Noreste (CDN) has moved into the city of Mante in Mexico. The cartel uses
intimidation efforts to influence local people in the area. There was a recent
shootout with police officers and CDN, where seven cartel shooters were killed.

Los Zetas is a drug cartel located in Mexico and has made
their name as one of the most sadistic criminal organizations for their
gruesome executions involving beheading, dismemberment, and other tactics ().  

President of the United States plans to aggressively push back against the Iran
Threat Network (ITN), which is a subgroup of Hezbollah located in Latin
America.  In October, there was an arrest
of two individuals who were suspected of acting on behalf of Hezbollah’s
Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO). Once of the suspects, supposedly conducted
surveillance of military and law enforcement facilities in New York City. The
National Counterterrorism Center acknowledges that Hezbollah is “determined to
give itself a potential homeland option as a critical component of its
terrorism playbook and that is something that those of us in the
counterterrorism community take very seriously” ().  The
Trump administration has taken action against Hezbollah through indictments,
extraditions, public statements, and rewards for more information on wanted
Hezbollah leaders. Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama are all places in Latin
America with established Hezbollah networks. The President seeks to accomplish
two things concerning Hezbollah. For one, he wants to disrupt the group’s
access to money, its operations, and its logistics. The second is he wants to
disrupt the group’s attempt to legitimize itself as a political party.

Part 2:  State Terrorism

            Honduras is one of the united states
closest military and ideological allies in central America (Reuters, 2017). It is
currently undergoing a presidential election, which could end up problematic
for the United States. The U.S. State Department is urging Honduras to have a
quick conclusion to the recounting of votes from the election. One of the
candidates, current President Juan Orlando Hernandez is a United States
favorite because of his help in tackling the flow of immigrants to the north
and extraditing drug cartel leaders to the united states. Even though the
President denies it, there are accusations of his ties to illicit, drug related
financing. At present times, President Hernandez leads the vote recount, but
his challenger, Salvador Nasralla is alleging fraud in the vote. As the
votes are recounted from the presidential election in Honduras, the current
president is leading, which is the same results as the original account. The
opposition has presented a formal request to annul the election. The electoral
tribunal has until December 26 to declare a presidential winner, until then
opposition groups are going to protest the current results.

administration of President Donald Trump has certified Honduras’ progress in
protecting human rights and attacking corruption. The United States has trained
troops and police in Honduras to be able to combat this. But, the police and
troops are being accused of killing and wounding demonstrators. The President
of Honduras is also being accused of abusing the rights of his people. He
declared a dusk to dawn curfew and suspended constitutional rights to dismantle
protestors of the current president.  The
United States has a lot of stakes and power in Honduras. Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson is trying to give Honduras millions of dollars from United States
funds to help the country’s fight of the War on Drugs. It goes to help train
security forces so that they can be more influential in the war. The money is
conditional and will not be sent if Honduras does not make progress in its
fight against corruption and protection of human rights. This is important
because it shows that the United States will not help a country economically if
there is corruption and if there is an abuse of its people. There is
speculation if the government of Honduras is doing enough to satisfy the
conditions held by the United States.

United States and Colombia’s relationship is being strained by the actions of
drug cartels within Colombia.  Jeff
Sessions, the United States Attorney General, met with Chief Prosecutor Nestor
Martinez of Colombia to discuss President Trump’s recent declaration to
decertify Colombia as a partner in the war against drugs. They will lose this
certification if they do not reduce the amount of coca cultivation, money
laundering and human trafficking within Colombia. The United States spent ten
billion dollars in counter narcotics work within Colombia since the 1990s.

Since the declaration, Colombian officials have met half of their goal of
eradicating 50,000 hectares through the use of force. They hope to eradicate
the other 50,000 hectares of their goal through voluntary destruction of the

is part of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) State
terrorism is prevalent in Venezuela, its current president Nicolas Maduro is
accused of a breach of rights against his own people. The President’s way of
silencing his opposition through imprisonment and other means that are considered
a breach of rights. This led to American President Donald Trump to place
sanctions against President Maduro and other officials in the Venezuelan
government to end the silencing.  He
believes Maduro is “a bad leader who dreams of becoming a dictator” ().  Opposition leaders in Venezuela are calling
on the international community to end the sanctions in Venezuela so that food
and medicine can get to the country. The country is in desperate need of food,
water, and medicine.
            Opposition leader Antonio
Ledezma, fled to Colombia and then Spain as a result of his imprisonment by
Maduro.  He was welcomed into Colombia,
which could increase tensions between Venezuela and Colombia. Both countries
have policies with America in order to end drug cartel violence, drug
trafficking, human trafficking, and to limit abuses of power resulting in abuse
of the countries citizens. This will likely result in increased tension between
the United States, Venezuela, and Colombia. Because of this, there was
mediation talks held on December 1st and 2nd between
President Maduro and his opposition to find peace. There were 20 opposition
leaders, foreign ministers from Paraguay, Nicaragua, Mexico, Bolivia, Chile,
the Dominican Republic, and representatives from the business and human rights
sectors of Venezuela. The mediation failed, resulting in a second round on
being held later on in the month of December. Maduro is not likely to give in
to mediation unless both sides agree to include joint pressure on the United
States to back off and lift the sanctions, but it is believed that the United
States will continue to put pressure on Venezuela and President Maduro unless
he enacts democratic changes within the country. 

opposition Senators have proposed a constitutional reform. The reform would
allow a sitting president to face trial for corruption up to three years after
leaving office. It would allow a current president to be impeached and face
trial for crimes committed in office. In its constitution, there is no grounds
for impeachment of a sitting president. The strongest party in congress,
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) does not support the reform, which
makes the reform unlikely to pass leaving the president of Mexico free to
commit crimes without punishment. 

Part 3:  Lone Wolf Terrorism
            Manhattan terror bombing was carried out through the help of an online
ISIS playbook on vehicular assault. The attack was connected to ISIS through a
note left in the rented Home Depot truck with the slogan of ISIS written on it.

This note showed the suspect’s allegiance to the Islamic State. There was an
indictment by the Grand Jury on November 21 stating that the suspect “acted for
the purpose of gaining entrance to ISIS” (Wang, 2017). He was heard shouting “allahu akbar” as he exited
the vehicle and carried out a secondary attack only to be stopped by police
gunfire. Within the indictment was evidence found on the suspect’s cellphone.

The contents included videos and images of Islamic State fighters along with
instructions for making an explosive device. Even though the final decision rests
with the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, President Trump has called for Mr.

Saipov to receive the death penalty. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has
been tweeting about the trial of the suspected terrorist in the Manhattan
Terrorist attack that occurred on October 31st of this year.

Tweeting and voicing his opinion on an ongoing criminal case can lead to a
mistrial of the suspected terrorist of the attack. Defense lawyers can use the
President’s words from twitter on grounds of breach of rights or “trial of
influence”. This occurs because the president’s words can influence a jury to
give a verdict based on the opinion of the president and not on the basis of
the evidence. A mistrial can hinder the grieving process for families of
victims and the country. The United States’ President has also tweeted anti-Islamic videos on twitter
from a far-right group in England in December of 2017. It is problematic within
the United States because it is helping to spread fear of the Islamic people
which make up 3 million of the United States Population of 323 million people.

The tweets spread paranoia and fear of the group as a whole, instead of fear of
Islamic extremists. As the President, there is a power of influence over their
countries people and needs to be using this power to spread cohesion not
            During his campaign, President Donald Trump promised to
refill Guantanamo Bay with newly captured terrorists. The Republican party in
the United States has also spoken out about their desire to try terrorists in
military courts and detainee the suspects at Guantanamo Bay. This is
problematic for many reasons. The military court system has been found to not
be as effective as civilian courts. Attorney General Jeff Sessions who used to
oppose trying a suspected terrorist in civilian courts is now an advocate of
doing so and believes that military courts are not effective. Civilian
courts have been known to be more effective in bringing terrorists to justice
compared to military courts. Even so, civilian courts present a risk of
spilling classified information. The trial is also a risk for a second
terrorist attack. Nicholas J. Lewin, a former counterterrorism federal
prosecutor said, “Time and time
again, federal courts have proven to be more efficient and more effective than
military tribunals” (Savage, 2017). Millions of taxpayer dollars
are spent detaining each suspected terrorist in military prison, which is 100
times the cost of detaining the suspect in a civilian prison. Once a detainee
is brought to Guantanamo Bay, there is a law stating that they cannot be
brought back to domestic soil. The opposition to trying suspected terrorists in
federal civilian courts is based on politics and the fear of losing information
if interrogators had to read a suspect their Miranda rights.

            Some United States Senators are calling for the President
to declare the suspect an enemy combatant so that he can be interrogated for
useful intelligence. This interrogation would be held in Guantanamo Bay and
would have less restrictions than interrogators have in the United States.

Methods used by interrogators in Guantanamo Bay could lead to further problems
in the future for the United States. The methods, some linked to torture, can
lead to the rise of terrorist groups as seen in the rise of Al-Qaeda. Muslim
men were imprisoned in Afghanistan and were tortured until information was
given up on other suspects. After their release, their anger towards the United
States worsened since the country was blamed for the torture. Out of this anger
came the creation of Al-Qaeda and the belief that the United States was the
enemy. (Wright, 2011).         Terrorism is being used as a
political tool to gain support in elections. Recently President Donald Trump
has proposed a cut to domestic terrorism programs that fund research and
training to combat terrorist groups. The programs also prepare local
governments to respond and prevent domestic terrorism. The Diversity Visa Program was established
in 1990 by United State Senators, but some United States senators tried to
dismantle the program in the early 2000s believing that it was not appropriate.

More than 55,000 immigrants can enter the United States each year from
countries who have low rates of immigration to the United States. President
Donald Trump believes this is not a good program and wants it dismantled. He
has been tweeting about his anger towards the program and feels that terrorist
attacks would decrease if the program was not in existence. This has sparked
outrage for the program from American citizens and furthering the separation of
the political parties. In the United States, there is a separation and lack of
unity between the political parties, Democrat and Republican. It is causing a
rift in their politics and is hindering progress. 
                        On December 11, an
explosion went off in the subway station connecting the Port Authority bus
terminal and Times Square in New York City. The suspect was identified as
Akayed Ullah who is an immigrant from Bangladesh living in Brooklyn. There were
no deaths from the explosion but five people were injured including the
suspect.  (add info up to dec 18)
Aztec High School in New Mexico, there was a school shooting during which two
students and the suspected shooter were killed. The shooter, William Atchison,
disguised himself as a student and entered the school in the morning. He hid in
a bathroom to prepare for the shooting when the first victim walked into the
bathroom and subsequently was killed.  The shooter then exited the bathroom and shot
the second victim and then entered a computer lab where he continued shooting
trying to kill. He ended his own life shortly after police had entered the
building. The school has been shut down indefinitely following the shooting. Protests
have been occurring in New Mexico since the shooting and include individuals
holding signs demanding that teachers be allowed to carry guns in the schools.

The idea behind it is that if a teacher is carrying a gun, they would be able
to stop the shooter before any students or faculty are injured. In 2015, there
were 372 mass shootings, 64 were school shootings, in the United States that
killed 475 people and wounded 1,870 (BBC, 2016). The FBI released information
stating that the suspect had been on their radar and had asked on an online
video game about buying weapons for a mass shooting. The FBI interviewed him
and after determining no crime was committed he was released. He was then free
to buy a gun legally a few weeks before the shooting. After the attack, police
found a thumb drive on his body containing a message that he had was unhappy
with his life and had planned on attacking a school. (Reuters, 2017). School
shootings are becoming a reoccurring terrorist attack within the United States.

 States are beginning to create
legislation designed at stricter gun control. Virginia Democrats are trying to
implement universal background checks, ban assault weapons, and restrict
handgun purchases in their state (The Associated Press, 2017). The Defense
League, a pro-gun group, are urging individuals to boost ownership so that the
new legislation will not pass.  With the
increase in attacks many politicians in the United States are calling for new
gun control and safety policies to be passed in order to make the country safer
for families and children.

how America is impacted by terrorism discussed in
paper (summed up)






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