United Nations even finds it difficult to define terrorism, speaker says.
By Evelyn Reyes
Violent activities by radical groups worldwide have led to a growing debate over what constitutes terrorism and an international backlash against one of the world’s most powerful countries — the U.S., criminal justice Professor Marshall Lloyd said Tuesday at the Methodist Student Center’s Hot Potato lecture.
“For what some people call freedom fighters, others call them terrorists,” Lloyd said to about 25 students and faculty.
The U.N. Security Council came up with a definition of terrorism in 2004, Lloyd said.
Resolution 1566 says terrorism includes committing criminal acts to hurt or kill civilians; taking hostages to incite terror; and intimidating a population, government or international group.
A “soft law,” the definition is not legally binding.
“They try to use resolutions there at times to get people to go along and it takes awhile,” Lloyd said.
He also explained why this definition became an important topic after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
When people remember the tragedy of 9/11, they remember the burning World Trade Center towers, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, he said.
What people don’t know is what happened within the United Nations and what they were doing to try to combat terrorism.
After the attack, the U.N. formed the Counter-Terrorism Committee, or CTC, overseen by the U.N.’s Security Council.
Lloyd explained the CTC is made up of 15 members including what he called the P5, the powerhouse nations of the U.S., Great Britain, Russia, France and China.
The other 10 members of the committee vary from other countries rotating out of the CTC.
“They give commands to other countries … ‘must,’ ‘shall,’ ‘will,’ ordering, directing other countries to do whatever,” Lloyd said.
He also said the Security Council wasn’t interested in pushing other countries to do things until 9/11.
To execute orders, the P5 must unanimously agree on the topic and then carry out the orders.
One of the CTC’s first actions — spurred largely by the U.S. — was dictating how and where countries spent money, Lloyd said.
“We’re the banking capital of the world. We’re what makes things move, so we can impose, right quickly, monetary sanctions and get others to go along because of the things we can impose on others as well that don’t cooperate,” Lloyd said.
Some feel like the U.S. is forcing other countries to change policies, he said.
“Within 18 months (of 9/11) it appears that the U.S. is trying to roll over people there in the U.N., getting them to go along during the Bush II administration,” Lloyd said. “You can already see resistance forming within the U.N. against the U.S.”
The U.N. consists of 192 countries, so trying to get everyone to go along with the same idea is difficult, he said.
“You’ve got to be able to convey and persuade people to get along and go along. If not, you begin to have to form these institutions among yourselves and then try to somehow have sanctions and force people to go along with what you want,” Lloyd said.
The U.S. is able to get other countries to comply simply because of money, he said, noting this country provides millions of dollars to other countries for weapons and aid.
Electrical engineering freshman Darryell Bass said students should have access to more lectures like Lloyd’s.
“These discussions are always good,” Bass said. “It brings the discussions out. Not everyone is going to agree … I think these things need to be discussed.”
Government Professor Asslan Khaligh said these conversations are “excellent.” “It’s important for young people to know about what’s going on in their country,” he said.
Khaligh has worked with the Methodist Student Center for the past 30 years to organize and often speak at Hot Potato lectures.
He discussed the Iran nuclear deal Oct. 6.
The next Hot Potato, “Religion and/in Politics,” is at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday at the center.