Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights

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Ritualised responses to ‘new’ terror threats post 9/11

By Rumyana Grozdanova, University of Liverpool

News flash: Deadly terrorism existed before 9/11

A hijacker points his pistol from the cockpit of TWA Flight 847 as an ABC news crew approaches the jet for an interview at Beirut International Airport on June 19, 1985. Image:

Terrorism is not a new phenomenon, but since the attacks of 11 September 2001 it has been characterised as an unprecedented transnational challenge requiring new laws and international collaboration to combat it. The adoption of UN Security Council Resolutions supporting expansive counter-terror measures, and within some regional organisations and states, the rush to support and implement these measures – all under the rubric of the right of states to individual and collective self-defence – now has the appearance of a well-rehearsed ritual in the aftermath of any particular act of terrorism.

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