Breivik killed 92 people. And that is a horrible, terribly sad atrocity. But what is coming could even be worse and that is that Breivik is about to get a global platform to promote hatred: his trial.

What we know about terrorism is that terrorists don’t need to win elections. They don’t need to form a coalition governments or win by a majority. Terrorists win when they recruit an incredibly small amount of like minded people to commit similar atrocities. Think of how few people it took to undertake the mass murders of 9/11, of March 11 in Madrid, of July 7 in London. So while the vast majority of the population of Europe will be horrified by Breivik, Breivik is not targeting them. He is targeting the tiny minority who thinks like him, who thinks that the socialists governments of Europe are destroying the ethnic purity of Europe and whatever other neonazi theories that he has. And if we give him a global media platform he will get those few new terrorist recruits. Breivik’s trial itself is a bigger danger than Breivik. It is the trial Bin Laden did not get.

Breivik deserves a fair trial. But not the publicity he seeks. I hope the whole procedures take place without TV cameras in the court house.

I don’t understand why the Obama administration had to say that Osama Bin Laden was unarmed when he was killed, that he was not threatening the life of the soldiers who were in the compound. Why feed the terrorists with stories that they can use for recruitment purposes? Why not just say that he died in the operation without giving more details than that?

Terrorism is an industry and its main input is angry young men. USA has to realize that certain moves, like Abu Gharb publicized pictures, Guantanamo tortures, air bombings in Fallujah, killing of thousands of innocent civilians in the search terrorists in Afghanistan, and now saying that Osama Bin Laden was unarmed, all these are the stories that feed the terrorists at their key moment, recruitment.

If the purpose is to disengage with terrorism USA should not make it easier for terrorist recruiters to get new people who hate USA.  Al Qaeda’s life used to be much harder when all they had to say was “The infidels are in the holy land so let’s go and murder thousands of them when they go to work”.  Let’s fight them without giving them arguments to multiply and grow.  USA should study the many terrorist movements in Latin America and Europe that ended up completely extinguished.  It was not revenge that did it.  It was careful management of public opinion combined with effective police and judicial efforts.  While my preference would have been to put Osama Bin Laden on trial I can also agree with those who said that capturing him would have made terrorists do all sorts of hijackings and threats to public safety.  But if that is what drove the administration to decide to kill him, then why decrease public safety by confessing that he was murdered and making terrorists even more angry?.

This morning I read that most Muslims believe that 9/11 was a conspiracy created by the US government to justify the invasion of Iraq. This worried me. How could the majority of Muslims be so wrong?

But then I thought that the US government and some EU countries did lie to invade Iraq. They lied about the weapons of mass destruction conspiracy and the connections between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.

So if I were debating with any of those Muslims who believe that 9/11 was an excuse to invade Iraq, I would have to say “9/11 was not a US/Israeli conspiracy, there is tremendous irrefutable evidence that it was a terrorist attack perpetrated by Saudi terrorists and led by Osama Bin Laden”. And that part is true.

But then I would have to explain other painful truths. I would have to admit that we invaded Iraq despite knowing that neither the 9/11 terrorists nor the WMD where there. That in our countries we created the false impression that Saddam was behind 9/11 and that many believe this lie now. And this is one weak side of the debate.

If we can create conspiracies  about WMD and “muslim terrorism” as if all Muslims act together (Saddam=Osama=Ahmadinejad), attack and destroy the wrong country (Iraq), torture their citizens, post pictures of how we torture them in Abu Ghraib, take some to Guantanamo and approve their torture, share the blame in the killing of 25 times more innocent civilians than those who died in 9/11 and admit to use white phosphorous (chemical weapon) attacking Fallujah; if we can commit such human right atrocities, why is it so far fetched that most Muslims believe that 9/11 was perpetrated by US and Israel in order to invade Iraq and control the second largest oil reserves in the world?

Moreover, in this Wikipedia entry you will be surprised to find out that one third of Americans actually AGREE with the majority of Muslims. They also believe in 9/11 conspiracy theories even though 2% of Americans are Muslims.

Can our argument just be “yes, we do horrible things but not precisely the horrible things you believe we do”? My hope is that, during this decade, we will truly gain the high moral ground against terrorism and cooperate with moderate Muslims to erradicate Muslim extremism without violating human rights in the region. In the end, terrorism is an industry that feeds on angry young men. We have to make it much harder for Muslim terrorists to recruit. As we have been behaving over the last 10 years, it is not surprising that terrorism has greatly increased since 9/11.

The Spanish papers dedicate about 3 pages everyday to the Basque Country debate, and some days, even more. The Spanish people are obsessed by the situation in the Basque Country, in part because of terrorism. However, just the other day I found out that every year in Spain more people die in car accidents than have died in the entire history of ETA, yet, I don’t see as much ink spilled to cover that story.
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Eleven Rules for Preventing and Combating Terrorism

1. Prevent radical individuals and groups from becoming terrorist extremists, by confronting them with a mix of “carrot and stick” – tactics and search for effective counter-motivation measures.

2. Stimulate and encourage defection and conversion of free and imprisoned terrorists and find ways to alienate the terrorist organization from its constituency.
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While at the Summit, the Internet Group worked for two days producing this document. I was part of the group led by Joichi Ito and Marko Ahtissari. We were around 20 people. Everyone did an amazing job tackling the very difficult issue of what to do or not to do with the internet to reduce the threat of terrorism.
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Well, here´s the answer. We lived with it when I was growing up in Argentina. Left and right wing terrorism. My cousin was never found, nor his body. There´s a memorial for him now in Alcobendas: The Polideportivo David Varsavsky

Case 2735 – David Horacio VARSAVSKY

The IACHR received the following denunciation:

David Horacio VARSAVSKY, C.I. 6.879, 027, DNI 12.549.136, Maure 2239 6p. A, Federal Capital, an Argentine citizen, 18 years of age (9.18.58), single, a student with secondary school training as an electronic technician; he was preparing to enroll in the school of engineering. He worked on radio and television repair. At 9 o’clock on 2.17.77, he was to be inducted into military service.
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Spanish Muslims issue fatwa on bin Laden.

Here is the link to A Global Strategy for Fighting Terrorism, the fantastic speech given today by Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations.

What are, in your opinion, the leading causes of international Islamic terrorism?
Terrorists are power entrepreneurs who believe in using violence to achieve political objectives. This is true of all terrorists.

In general terrorism is defeated by providing an alternative way for thse power entrepreneurs to join the political scene. In Latin America many former terrorists or terrorist sympathizers of the 70s and 80s have become elected officials in the 90s as dictatorships gave way to democracy. I believe that the same will be true of the Islamic World. Once the Islamic world becomes democratic and terrorist leaders are offered less costly ways to gain power they will choose them and the problem will die out.
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