Terrorism and Border Security
There different governments counter terrorism groups, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has its own counter terrorism wing, Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A) has its own counter intelligence unit and even the United States Customs and Border Protection are usually involved in counter terrorism operations. To my understanding counter terrorism is an offensive strategy which helps in preventing broader conflicts by the successful use of terrorism tactic (Ishmael, 2010). This should be differentiated from anti-terrorism which is "Defensive measures used to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and property to terrorist acts, to include limited response and containment by local military and civilian forces "while at the same time counter terrorism is simply "a set of techniques used to deny an opponent mostly an enemy the use of terrorism based tactics ". The long Israeli-Palestine conflict is a good example of conflict where participants have used "anti-and counter-terrorism in order to limit the opponents use of terror tactics (Kuriansky, & Judy, 2006).
Counter terrorism Systems
In terms of dimensions, the capacity of counter terrorism systems is very large since it involves covering long range borders which have to be patrolled plus high volumes of traffic in the cities. In creating these counter terrorism systems other factors like terrorism threats, legal issues, and political plus diplomatic channels have to be considered. With these factors in mind, creating this system is a very hard and challenging task. Correct continuous intelligence and surveillance will be needed thus creating such a system should be a major "Technological project" which should be able to detect and protect against such threats and also play by the rule (Kuriansky, & Judy, 2006). The hardest part of this system is predicting where, when and what type of terrorism will be taking place and this been the case the threat levels may increase or decrease. With new requirements either technical or legal arising every day, creating a counter terrorism system that work perfectly is very hard. Hence this system has to be able to plan, detect and neutralize any possible threat (James, 2009).
Counter Terrorism Measures
In order to make counter terrorism a working mechanism, different measurement have to be put in place to ensure that counter terrorism is a success and not a failure. Some of these measurements have been a huge success in the fight against terrorism while some of the measurements have come under a lot of criticisms and backlash especially from the human rights groups around the globe (James, 2009). For this fight against terror to be a success we will realizes how cooperation and sharing of information between agencies is vital in making the counter terrorism mechanisms work. Below we will be looking unto how these measurement have been put in place and have aided the governments agencies involved in the fight against terrorism do their work efficiently.
The Patriot Act and Related Laws
Even before the September 11 attacks, the United States federal law supported sanctions of any persons or organization who had been found to have provided any form of support 'either material or financial' to terrorism. By signing of the Patriot Act by President George Bush into law it granted the federal government more power to fight terrorism and terrorist sponsoring organizations. Through the Patriot act the federal law now has the power to impose fines and even imprison any persons who has provided support to terrorism intentionally or knowingly. Material support can be, weapons: this involves guns, missiles, bombs and grenades, tactical and technical support (James, 2009). If any of these materials are to be used by any Foreign Terrorist Organization or individuals performing terrorist activities one shall be deemed to have supported terrorism.
With the passing of the Patriot act into law the federal law got a major boost in that "financing of terrorism" was criminalized. These new provisions has the power to punish any persons who provide funds that knowingly were or are used to support Foreign Terrorist Organizations to carry out their terrorist activities. One failure of this counter terrorism measure is that grant makers may be faced with legal suits since they are not accountable for the funds they decide to provide to organizations. By the Patriot act providing "a civil cause of action against those who provide material or financial support for terrorism" organizations that depended on grants to run their activities have had to run out of funds due to the fear of accountability when it comes to terrorism. Other related Laws involve the Executive Order which aid the Federal government in its fight against terrorism function properly.
Embargoes and Trade Sanctions
Even before the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States soil, trade sanctions has been the greatest weapon available to the United States in its fight against terrorism. With specific provisions varying embargoes have been extensive enough encompassing grants to non-profit organizations that can provide the transfer of goods and services to the "embargoed countries". At the same time enforcements have been increased to an extent that those who violate these set sanctions cannot be overlooked. Any persons who violate these set U.S embargoes shall be subjected to criminal penalties that are unless the activities felled under emergency relief and the transaction of information materials. During special situations or circumstances one is required to get a license from the Department of Commerce or the Treasury (James, 2009).
The IRS is the main organization in the US that is allowed to collect taxes from the country's citizens. Any diversion of "charitable assets to any charitable purpose inform of materials or finance in support of terrorism" is prohibited under the US tax laws. When this law is violated the charity organization risks its tax exemption status been revoked. After the Tax Code was amended in 2003 by the congress, any charity organization used to sponsor terrorism can be automatically suspended and face Civil and Criminal suits (Marc, 2004). The only failure of this form of counter terrorism measurement has not been changed or amended to meet the new measures aimed at fighting terrorism.
Treasury Guidelines - "Voluntary Best Practices"
These guidelines were set by the US Treasury Department in order to assist the nonprofit organization plus the grant makers comply with the Patriot Act and the Executive Order. These guideline help set out how internationally foundations are organized and must have an anti terrorism financing structure. The major setback with these guidelines does not have the power of law and the Department of Treasury can do nothing to those organizations which do not comply. Unlike the IRS rules and the Patriot Act where persons and organization can lose their assets, lose tax exemption and even face criminal liability the Treasury Guidelines cannot guarantee to this form of action against violators (Marc, 2004).
However, they do offer insightful info into government's interpretation of other Rules of Law provided in the constitution and its fight against terrorism regardless of parties involved. These guidelines have four sections which mainly deal with financing procedures and dealing with counter terrorism though they have proved to be more controversial and challenging (Marc, 2004). These guidelines propose that international active foundations and nonprofit organizations should attempt to comply with these programs which meet the set Federal laws.
Border Security and Counter Terrorism
Physical materials like drugs and diamonds have generated a lot of finance for Foreign Terrorist Organizations which in turn have been used in sponsoring terrorism. The country's borders have been used as an entry point to smuggle these drugs and blood diamonds which have been for a long time find their way to the black markets thus posing a great danger to the country's internal security. The Mexico United States border has been the major entry point of the terrorist groups who have been using drug money to fund their activities (Marc, 2004). The war against terrorism and its connection to the Mexico drug lords has cost the government more than $115 million in the year 2009-2010 in order to combat these activities.
Through these borders, government agencies have had to take strong measures in order to prevent movement of individuals thought to be terrorists. Different mechanisms have been employed to strengthen border controls; this involves frequent and continuous border patrols, controls on how identification papers and travelling document are been issued to. This has seen a reduction in the rate at which forgery and counterfeit papers are been produced and used by illegal immigrants some who are thought to be terrorist. At the same time while ensuring that asylum seekers and refugees are not denied their legitimate right to cross in to the US, government agencies are under high alert to ensure such individuals with intention to participate in any act of terrorism do not take advantage of such international laws granting refugees right to enter the US.
Border Security and Counter Terrorism Measures
There several reasons as to why the war against terrorism has a long a way to go before the government can say it has won the war against terrorism (Amy, 2007). Below is a list of reason as to why the government agencies have not been able to effectively implement the counter terrorism measures and border security;
Lack of Cooperation From Other Agencies
The CIA Counter Terrorism Intelligence organization is mandated with duty and responsibilities of providing sufficient intelligence as to when terrorist attacks may take place. Due to jurisdiction and technicalities difference between these two agencies it has created no good working environment for both teams, leading to the intelligence organ denying the other intelligence support about terrorism (Ishmael, 2010). This un-harmonized working relationship has made it hard for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to implement most important counter terrorism measures thus failing to guarantee the nations safety against terror attacks. Without strengthened internal cooperation among the government agencies and services the counter terrorism units cannot win the war against terrorism (Ishmael, 2010).
Availability of Sophisticated Technology
Foreign terrorist organizations with the use of latest available technologies have been able to know their anti terrorism counterpart's logistics thus making them capable of beating the traps set for them. Terrorist groups have been able to scan military and police scanner thus giving them an edge in determining their where bouts and what they are planning (James, 2009). Only by cutting the terrorist link with the availability of sophisticated technologies to them then and thus can the counter terrorism measurement undertaken be able to function properly (Diana, 2002).
Human Rights Laws
This is the major reason why counter terrorism measurements cannot be easily implemented by the F.B.I. The constitution fifth and fourth amendment's guarantees every civilian whether a citizen or not of the United States a protection of his rights. Measures created by the Counter Terrorism unit to tighten security have been seen as a violation of human rights and abuse of power (Judith, 2010). Examples of these measures are the detention of persons without judicial review, extraditions of people from their countries, subjection to torture and including prolonged detention. In 2003 a lot of human rights alarms rang after Mr. Maher Arar a Syrian claimed to be tortured by in the Syrian prisons after been handed over by the US authorities (Ishmael, 2010). The Malaysian human rights claimed that the 100 alleged militants were been hold unfairly without trials. Further example is when "China used the war on terror to justify its policies in the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang Uighur Region to stifle Uighur identity". These examples of measurements undertaken have been under a lot of scrutiny thus making the implementation of anti terror measures by the FBI to be hard job for them.
Most people will argue that violation of such magnitude can aggravate terror rather than counter terrorist threats. With suggestions by the Amnesty International that respecting human security can help the government to gain security. With combating terrorism international efforts and resources have been used to enhance cooperation and human rights activists 'wanting the inclusion of human rights protection as a crucial element in that cooperation'. As they argue that failing to respect human rights in one state may lead in undermining the fight against terrorism in another state. Thus it should be noted that human rights have no borders or boundary (James, 2009).
The advance in technology has provided terrorist networks with new electronic and wire communication systems to carry out their activities without been detected by the governments counter terrorism agency(Ishmael, 2010). This lead to the responsible government agencies finding means which play by the national laws and human rights laws to counteract such form of criminal activity. The counter terrorism agencies need to assume efficient domestic laws and regulations that can govern illegal manufacture, trade and transportation of firepower and explosives that can cause aggressive injuries and damages on innocent civilians when used in terrorist activities. At the same time a need to review and amend homeland counter terrorism laws in order any one found to be involved in such activities can be well punished.
Persons involved in participation, planning and preparation of terror activities should be able to be brought to justice. These agencies should be allowed to be capable to place sanctions on organizations found to providing any form of support to the terrorist groups. The truth been that terrorist pose a great danger against today's world's peace and without terrorism been properly counteracted a peacefully world shall never be witnessed in the coming years. Lastly, in order to win the war against terrorism consultations, cooperation's among different nation's agencies should be ensured. With this the government will be well capable of accessing important data and communication linked to terrorist while at the same time protecting all legitimate form of communications (Marc, 2004).