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Branding Terror at The Hague University
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Branding Terror at The Hague University


Presentation given to a BA Communications class at The Hague University in August 2012.

Presentation given to a BA Communications class at The Hague University in August 2012.

Published in News & Politics
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  • Lets look closer at two groups
  • Doesn’t mean that these means are not used today. ETA conference for instance.
  • Satellite network
  • But, not safe. Videos were delivered by the dead drop method. Hiding it somewhere, calling AJ and giving them the coordinates.
  • Not satellite any more


  • 1. Branding Terror Artur Beifuss
  • 2. Presentation 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Terrorism – Definition Communication Strategy Communication Infrastructure Branding Conclusion
  • 3. What is Terrorism?
  • 4. Terrorism • • • • • Crime Use of violence, threat of violence terrere (Latin): to frighten terror (Latin): great fear Subjective term, used against your opponents • “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”
  • 5. Terrorist Act "Criminal act intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes […].” (1994, UN General Assembly)
  • 6. Psychological warfare The essence of terrorism is “the actual or threatened use of violence against victims of symbolic importance in such a way as to gain psychological impact for the purpose of achieving political objectives” (WEIMANN & WINN, 1994, Communication scholars)
  • 7. Psychological Warfare terrorism is “the actual or threatened use of violence to gain psychological impact for achieving political objectives”
  • 8. • Terrorism is primarily audience-oriented and relies on carefully orchestrated, shocking events that would capture media attention (JENKINS, 1970, Analyst at RAND)
  • 9. Psychological Warfare Terrorist activities = messages influencing an audience wider than and other than the population from which the victims may be drawn.
  • 10. AL-QAEDA
  • 11. AL-QAEDA • Arabic for “the Base” • Created by Abdallah AZZAM and his protégé Osama bin LADEN in 1988 in Peshawar • Former anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan • Position(ed) themselves as the “pioneering vanguard” of jihad groups worldwide • Provided finance, training, weaponry, ideology to other groups in AFGH, became a network of groups • Currently terrorist cells in over 60 countries
  • 12. Abdullah AZZAM
  • 13. Osama bin LADEN
  • 14. Osama bin LADEN
  • 15. • AQ morphed from a group to a network, with the eloquent and at times poetic “Declaration of the World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders”, published in February 1998 in the London-based Arabic daily Al-Quds AlArabi.
  • 16. Ideology/Political Goals 1. Short term 2. Intermediate 3. Long term
  • 17. Short term goals • Enlargement of the supportive patronage • Persuasion of the receptive Muslim audience via the heightening of an Islamic identity in confrontation with the West • Produce antipathy towards the West • Produce antipathy towards coalition partners of the West (Saudi Arabia, Morocco)
  • 18. Intermediate goals • Removal of leaders of secular Muslim states • Removal of Israel • Install supportive regimes
  • 19. Long term goal • Caliphate rule world wide
  • 20. AL – QAEDA Ideology
  • 21. Jihad Communication Goals 1. Propagation and enlargement 2. Legitimization 3. Coercion and Intimidation
  • 22. 1. Propagation and enlargement • Propagation and enlargement of their movement through spreading of information among receptive Muslim audience • Restructuring of the political discourse and identity of the Islamic world
  • 23. 2. Legitimization • Establishing its social and religious viability • Violence is presented as a necessity • Portray their movement as one of freedom fighters
  • 24. 3. Coercion and Intimidation • Intimidate the enemy into a complete withdrawal from the Arab Peninsula • To stop supporting secular Muslim regimes
  • 25. Communication Infrastructure: 1990 • • • • Interviews Fax Face to face propaganda Press-conference
  • 26. 1998: AL JAZZERA
  • 27. AL JAZEERA • Unedited broadcast of messages • first point of contact for terrorist groups
  • 28. AL JAZEERA • Broadcast images of wounded or dead soldiers and civilians (unlike CNN/BBC) • Example: Execution video of Daniel PEARL
  • 29. AL JAZZERA effect • Viewers often incited with negative responses • Media as an active conflict participant
  • 30. 2001: AL SAHAB • Operational video tapes • Internet delivery of audio and video materials / documentaries • Completely relies on the internet • Since 2006: all known speeches carry the AL SAHAB logo • Increasingly English spoken/subtitles
  • 31. What have we covered so far? • Important aspect of Terrorist acts is PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE • Media and Communication used STRATEGICALLY • EVOLUTION of the communication infrastructure
  • 32. What is a brand?
  • 33. Coca Cola Product • • • • sweet carbonated brown liquid
  • 34. Coca Cola Brand • energetic and vibrant taste of life, youthfulness and fun
  • 35. Framework for Analysis 1. DIFFENTIATION “Customers must recognize that you stand for something” (Howard SCHULTZ, CEO Starbucks) 2. CREDIBILITY “A brand is the product of a thousand small gestures” (Michael EISNER, CEO Disney) 3. EMOTION “Emotion is the adhesive that, when mixed with trust, equals loyalty”
  • 36. Hezbollah • formed in 1982 as a reaction to the Israeli invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon • originally sought to bring the Islamic Revolution to Lebanon, seeking the transformation of Lebanon's multi- confessional state into an Iranian-style Islamic state • responsible for multiple kidnappings, murders, hijackings, and bombings against Israel • Political party since 1992 • Currently in Lebanese parliament
  • 37. Hezbollah • War Information Unit • Bureau of Information • Artistic Activities Unit
  • 38. Conclusion Terrorist actions are planned and organized in a manner that causes a strategically maximum communicative effect.
  • 39. • Terrorist strategy is rooted in extensive use of (the new) media • Underlined by the jihadist’s organizational structure incorporating communication and media functions
  • 40. Using strategic communication management can be on equal footing with conventional armed forces (Israel – Hezbollah)
  • 41. Thank You! Contact: