Domestic Terrorism (Monkey Wrenching) | Scope of Risk

Add a note hereSpecialinterest extremists or domestic terror organizations present some unique challenges to companies operating at home, or less frequently abroad. Many of the threats faced through the criminal activities of such groups will apply to other risk areas, although domestic terrorism provides some peculiarities in the nature and impact of the threats posed. While many companies focus on the more common risk types, it is useful to consider the more significant domestic challenges typically overlooked within risk management considerations, but which can result in significant impacts upon commercial and government activities at home. Domestic terrorist groups represent challenges that span a broad spectrum of political, environmental, economic, and social issues.
Add a note hereDomestic terrorism is typically defined as the unlawful use, or threatened use, of violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within a defined country or its territories without foreign direction, and which is committed against persons or property with the intent of intimidating or coercing a government or its population in alignment with political or social objectives. Domestic terrorism might be classified in terms of specialinterest extremists, or right and leftwing extremist groups. Such groups have caused hundreds of millions of dollars of direct and indirect cost to government and commercial organizations worldwide, as well as contributing to social discord, which undermines business goals and market confidence. The IMP will play a key role in alerting the company to possible extremist activities, as well as managing responses to activists or groups targeting the company, its personnel, facilities, or interests.
Add a note hereSpecialinterest terrorism differs from traditional right and leftwing terrorism in that extremist specialinterest groups seek to resolve specific issues, rather than achieve a wider political change. Such groups focus on environmental, antiwar, animal rights, and antinuclear issues, attempting to bring about change through public focus or by creating economic risks that undermine a targeted business or project activity. Rightwing terrorist groups often adhere to the principles of racial supremacy and embrace antigovernment, antiregulatory beliefs. Often these groups will operate under a nation's laws of free speech, while creating social tensions based around race and religion. Rightwing extremism is of significant concern to governments and businesses, as issues can quickly become volatile and encompass broad sections of a populace or workforce. Leftwing groups are focused on revolutionary socialist doctrine and focus more on capitalism and imperialism issues. Their goals are typically to bring about change through revolutionary rather than political measures, focusing on major institutions or government programs.
Add a note hereDomestic terror or activist groups are often comprised of dedicated but often transient members who float between various activist organizations and who use a combination of crude and sophisticated methodologies to undermine commercial or government activities through the targeting of public image and reputation, as well as facilities, materials, and personnel. Such groups often seek to illicit public support through symbolic and highimpact activities, some of which are illegal and on occasion result in significant damage and financial loss. On rarer occasions, members might engage in violence against individuals or groups, whether psychological or physical. It is important for companies to understand the methodologies employed by domestic terrorist groups in order to protect personnel, facilities, resources, and activities. By determining the typical and atypical methodologies used by domestic terrorist groups, companies are better placed to develop risk management policies, procedures, and internal training programs, as well as leverage external government and commercial organizations and their capacities in order to protect the group's holistic business needs.
Add a note hereDomestic terrorist groups are often imaginative and will adapt their approach methodologies to suit each new campaign or event. Some groups are well organized and will conduct detailed planning in order to gain the most effective results from their activities, to the extent they may run training and education classes in order to maximize individual activists’ impacts. Groups can also be flexible and therefore unpredictable in nature, taking advantage of changing circumstances, or exploiting opportunistic gaps or weaknesses. While many events are designed to have a broad impact, some groups can be very selective and focused in their targeting, and may pursue a singular course of action with distinct focus in order to achieve their desired results. Many domestic terrorist groups will also seek to avoid obvious management structures and will have a degree of decentralized control, although all groups have a permanent or semipermanent leadership core. During events, ringleaders may be designated to incite or channel the larger protest group, and spokespeople may be preselected to ensure the message is imparted according to the strategic objectives of the campaign. Typically, groups are guarded and suspicious and will seek to retain operational secrecy to protect against government or commercial investigations. Small groups with wellestablished and proven members will typically retain control of key information, undermining the ability of law enforcement or companies to map all threat aspects as part of a strategic countermeasure plan.
Add a note hereIt is important for companies engaged in, or associated with, business activities that might attract attention from such groups to develop an IMP that deals with the common as well as unique risks such organizations or individuals present. The following section captures known approach methodologies used by domestic terrorist groups targeting commercial and government activities that illicit their campaign focus. Exhibit 1 illustrates some risk forms that are associated with domestic terrorist groups.

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Exhibit 1: Domestic Terrorist Methodologies
Add a note hereThe following provides a summation of typical operating practices by domestic terrorist groups:
§  Add a note hereIntelligence Gathering.: Domestic terrorist groups might engage in distinct intelligence gathering activities of project offices, project sites, and individual employees. Subversion of employees or subtle intelligence gathering techniques within social contexts may be employed in order to gather company or project information. Activists may join work crews or office staff in order to embed themselves within an organization and gain access to restricted information, be better able to support campaign planning, or be better placed to undertake acts of sabotage. Subterfuge may also be used to gather information through misrepresentation and deceit, with activists placing factfinding calls or posing as postal workers or sister office staff in order to seek addresses and other sensitive information. Subversion of employees may also occur with the leveraging of disgruntled former or current employees to gather strategic information for their activities, enable smear campaigns, or facilitate sabotage.
§  Add a note hereMedia Attention.: Some groups may seek to leverage local, national, and international media attention in order to undermine the principles and values of the target business activity, as well as tarnish the company's reputation and image. In addition, media attention enables activist groups to garner additional support from those supporting their specific causes. Media attention can be gained through articles, publications, radio, television, demonstrations, and more aggressive singular events. Media attention through staged or contrived incidents can also be used to create a situation where the target company or its employees respond to a situation in a manner that undermines their reputation, credibility, and objectives. Media attention provides an exponential multiplier to the group's activities.
§  Add a note hereDemonstrations.: Many extremist groups use public demonstrations through highprofile or project areas in order to gain exposure, as well as impede business activities. Demonstrations may be singular events lasting hours, or may be protracted, lasting days to months and evolving into site occupancy (e.g., tree sitting). Demonstrations are typically nonviolent and involve chanting, banners, and costumes. Media organizations will have been alerted by organizers to the event, and contrived situations may be arranged to embarrass or elicit reactive responses from the target group. Demonstrations may also involve the symbolic burning of items, or the activists leaving obstructive or unpleasant items such as manure and tree stumps at the target site.
§  Add a note hereFacility Targeting.: Individuals or groups may target project facilities or offices in order to harass employees, gain media attention, or impede business. Activists may attempt to seek covert or overt entry into facilities through deception or force, and may attempt to remove sensitive information or items from facilities. In addition, activists may deposit obstructive items, or resort to unpleasant pranks such as placing manure or prawns into air vents to create unpleasant odors. Fire alarms may be activated and hoax bomb threats placed to create tension and fear, and to undermine business activities. Air vents may be blocked and airconditioning units disabled to spoil working conditions. Convention centers may be targeted with helium balloons being released with activist slogans. Intruders may also seek to enter executive offices in order to deliver a psychological message. Damage to facilities may also be undertaken to create fear and tension in employees, as well as impede business and incur costs for the targeted group.
§  Add a note hereIntimidation.: Extremist groups may target individuals, their families, or residences in order to harass or intimidate employees. Activists may be highly focused and channel resources into a single target, rather than attempting to target multiple persons. The status of the targeted individual may also not be relevant, from an executive board member to a janitor, as the effects of intimidation will cascade through an entire organization. Employees may be followed overtly or covertly, and may be heckled, challenged, and subjected to physical and verbal abuse. Residences may be the object of demonstrations, harassment, and damage. Family members may be subjected to intimidating attention to the point of children being approached at school with inflammatory remarks being made regarding their parent's employment.
§  Add a note hereGeneral Harassment.: Activists may undertake a regime of pranks or general harassment in order to create tension, fear, embarrassment, and frustration. Mail may be redirected from homes to other addresses, black sheets of paper may be faxed to disrupt business communications, pornographic or homosexual materials or subscriptions may be forwarded to business addresses, and prank calls may be placed to disrupt communications. Paint may be smeared onto vehicles, oil placed onto the windscreens of cars, and fuels tampered with.
§  Add a note hereEvent Capture.: Activist groups may seek to gather information through video and photography, as well as voice recordings to be used either as part of their media campaign or in order to enable them to seek legal proceedings against their target or police authorities. Event capture also enables activists to defend themselves against prosecution.
§  Add a note hereNetworking.: Extremist groups may seek to leverage other groups that have similar ideals or goals in order to increase the impact of an organized event or campaign. The mapping of relationships against the interests of the activity will assist a potential target company in identifying other organizations that might become involved in a campaign or an event.
§  Add a note hereResource or Asset Targeting.: Sabotage or property destruction (monkey wrenching) is a tool used by some activists to damage or destroy highvalue materials or resources in order to slow or stop business, as well as undermine the profitability of a business venture. Psychologically, such activities also create fear and tension within a workforce and may result in inadvertent injuries. Sabotage is typically aimed at strategic or highvalue items, seeking longterm damage or impediments to the project goals. Psychological damage, even through inference, may also be an approach methodology that undermines a project's achievements.
§  Add a note hereObstructive Activities.: Extremist groups may seek to impede business goals by obstructing either company project or administrative activities. Individuals or groups may place themselves in the way of machinery or access points in order to create physical blockades, on occasion chaining themselves to fences, posts, cattle grids, or each other (blockades). Individuals may also climb trees to prevent felling of the trees within construction or logging areas (tree sitting), using simple to complex structures that might enable a longterm presence, which poses a difficult and dangerous challenge to police authorities seeking to safely evict protesters. Vehicles, barrels, concrete blocks, and tree stumps may also be used in order to restrict movement and access to areas or facilities in order to impede business. Activists may also seek to enter facilities, resulting in sitins in public areas, or the occupancy of boardrooms or other sensitive and symbolic areas.
Add a note hereCompanies should consider whether their business goals and activities, individual employees, or sections of their workforce might illicit the attention of such domestic terrorist groups, and how the approach methodologies of such groups might affect the company and its employees. While many of the approaches used by domestic terrorist or activist groups are relatively passive, some nonphysical activities can result in tension and fear, and on occasion aggressive attention focused on resources or people can result in substantial structural, resource, and reputational damage—or worse, injuries or fatalities to staff by extremist groups seeking more direct and robust techniques to further their sociopolitical objectives. The IMP should contain measures by which to mitigate the immediate effects of domestic terrorist groups as part of a wider risk management approach.

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