Essays on jails and prisons

Asymmetric terrorism reaches out not merely through the use of physical violence but through the symbolic transgression of social morality and national security. Terrorism, as Townshend, (2000); Laqueur, (1999); Chomsky, (2001) have suggested, goes right to heart of what makes us safe; it forces us to pay attention to it whether we want to nor not. The proliferation of video taped messages from leaders of suspected terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda is a testament to the symbol over the actual act of physical violent; there is nothing violent in the images of Osama bin Laden addressing the world through the Aljazeera television networks but it has symbolic presence - in a world that is dominated by media and communication technology, as Van der Veer and Munshi (2004) suggest, one of the major successes of modern terrorist organisations is their ability to use the resources of their enemies: the Internet, satellite television, mobile phones and the mass media. Even the condemnation of terrorists in the media, can aid the cause of terrorist organizations; by describing physical acts of violence through the duality of good and evil or right and wrong, the Western media merely serve to elevate and obfuscate the real nature of terrorism which, as research has shown[1], is far more fractured and complex. In this sense, much of the terrorist organizations' aim, of seizing attention, is actually carried out by the opposing media; eager for a story and for a simple answer. Suicide terrorism has become a relatively successful military and political strategy; the 9/11 attackers commanded the attention of the world not only through their own efforts but through their target's media; the American television companies, the European press and the global media conglomerates all shared in the process of captivating the public's imagination that, as Towshend(2000) notes; "dramatically amplifies the anxiety about security which is never far from the surface of society." (Townshend, 2000: 8), the communication of the message and the success of this are inextricably linked to the terrorist organisation itself. A highly ordered group with distinct political aims is likely to be more successful in delivering its message than a disparate, non-focused organisation whose aim is to spread confusion and fear. Douglass McFerran(1997) details that many of the IRA campaigns of the 1970s and 80s had distinct short term as well as long term political aims, very often terrorist attacks on mainland Britain were specifically concerned with achieving a specific political target such as protesting over the widespread imprisonment of suspected terrorists or the treatment of those all ready in prison.

Pretending to be democratic takes a lot of effort. This harsh political reality has required the constant managing of the “public” mind to assure mass “democratic” compliance with the un democratic oligarchic economic and political structures. Edward L. Bernays, the premier pioneer of US public relations, argued that the ability to shape and direct public opinion had become indispensable to the maintenance of order. President Woodrow Wilson was re-elected in 1916 on the promise that he would keep the US neutral, and would not send “American” boys to war in Europe. Once elected, however, ongoing pressures from US banking and other economic interests to enter the war on the side of England required Wilson to develop a strategy to convince a public overwhelmingly against the war to change their minds. With Bernays’ coaching, Wilson created the first modern de facto Minister for Propaganda, selecting liberal newspaperman George Creel to head up The Committee for Public Information (CPI). Creel launched an intense advertising campaign using catch phrases and fear-inducing language with 75,000 traveling speakers (the famous Four Minute Men), ads, and essays reaching every nook and cranny of the United States.

Essays on jails and prisons

essays on jails and prisons

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