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Centenary College Professor Says New Era in Terrorism is Dawning

By: Sarah De George/The Express-Times
04/11/2014, 02:42 PM

A new age of terrorism has arisen with new tactics and greater technological capabilities, a Centenary College professor said this week.

"What needs to be discussed is what is realistic of this threat, and the ability to understand strategies of terrorist groups," said Shane Fitzpatrick, an associate professor of political science and international studies. "None of this is classified information and is strictly based on public source documents."

Centenary College this week hosted the Spring Gates-Ferry Lecture, featuring Fitzpatrick's presentation, "Terrorism: America at Risk," which featured information on the new age of worldwide terrorism.

Terrorists have traditionally used civilians as a means of gaining power and amplifying fear, which would lead to a government's willingness to give in to terroristic demands. The new era targets domestic and international police as a means of power by lessening people's belief in law enforcement and safety, said Fitzpatrick, a frequent briefing analyst for the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security.

"If terrorists find weakness in police, terrorists will aim at them," he said.

The original terror strategy has now changed with police troops, especially in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. Domestic police tactics are taught, and then terrorist groups will exploit the police forces.

"Police training has made it hard to find friend or foe within the force when the enemy is wearing a uniform domestic police have provided," he said.

Anja Niedringhaus, a photojournalist killed earlier this month, is an example of the police terrorism that is occurring across the globe. She was fatally shot April 4 by a policeman while on assignment in Afghanistan.

"Preparation and training within our police forces about these tactics is the only way to address these threats," Fitzpatrick said.

Another cause for concern with the domestic and global battle against terrorism is the technological advance in weapons, more specifically, sniping.

"Sniping is becoming a weapon of choice and some snipers are coming from law enforcement training," Fitzpatrick said. "Sniping videos also went viral across the Internet about what is being done to United States soldiers or other government soldiers."

Fitzpatrick explained that the use of mass media as a means for terrorists to look at publications available on sniping should stop.

One audience member asked whether the U.S.'s immigration and domestic travel procedures are good enough to weed out terrorists within the United States.

"The U.S. has two borders instead of multiple borders like many other countries," Fitzpatrick said. "We also have the advantage of the largest mix of people living peacefully together. Until recently we have had no homegrown terrorists, but the Internet is a way to get around the border and slowly break it down."

Another audience member asked whether any long-term answers exist in the attempts to eradicate terrorism.

"The long-term answer is really simple: We need follow the United Nations charter, which was a promise to create democratic societies," Fitzpatrick said. "This is overly ambitious, but democracy is the answer. It killed Nazism and destroyed Japanese imperialism. We will not defeat terrorism without global democracy."