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Enforcement Terrorism

NCJ Number
Police Studies Volume: 3 Issue: 4 Dated: (Winter 1981) Pages: 45-54
J B Wolf
Date Published
10 pages
Forms of enforcement terrorism exercised in various countries and American countermeasures against terrorist activities of this type are described.
Enforcement terror involves violent actions used by states to maintain the status quo through imposition of social control measures. Such terrorism is more efficient than agitational terrorism, is primarily internal, and is generally government sponsored. Frequently such activity represents a counterterrorist response to left-wing violence. Right-wing terrorist organizations are common in Central and South America, as discussions of such organizations as the Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance, the Brazilian White Hand, El Salvador's White Warriors Union, and Chile's DINA (National Intelligence Directorate) illustrate. Operation Condor serves as the information gathering organization for monitoring the opposition activities to the military juntas of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. In the Soviet Union, the KGB has long functioned as a means of exterminating dissidents inside the country and opponents abroad. Iranian, Yugoslavian, and Libyan hit teams infiltrate exile settlements abroad, executing opponents of the respective regimes. Such hit teams consist of killers from an elite police or military unit, a backup and getaway unit, a logistical support unit, a target surveillance detail, and a communications unit. Information requirements for political kidnappings are extensive and predictable. The nine-millimeter semiautomatic handgun is the favored weapon of hit teams assigned to do close-in work; for car ambushes, assassination squads in Europe use tiny Czech-made machine pistols. In an attempt to discourage government-sponsored terrorism, the United States prohibited U.S. training of foreign police forces (1974), ordered assessment of the human rights conditions in countries aided by international security programs (1976), cancelled military assistance to a number of countries because of human rights violations (1977), and prohibited sale of small arms to several South and Central American countries (1977). Although some nations clearly use murder at home as a form of internal control and assassination abroad to eliminate enemies, most countries endure this situation in silence. A concerted international effort is needed to restore some semblance of legality to the official conduct of relations. Thirty notes are supplied.