Anatomy of the Red Brigades: The Religious Mind-set of Modern Terrorists

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Although it can be hard going at times, with dollops of pedantic sociology, the book is sustained throughout by stark and candid quotes from past members of the Red Brigades, an Italian terrorist group active in the s.

Revolutionary Violence

The Red Brigades were animated by a simplistic Marxism, and Orsini is at pains to stress the importance of ideology in legitimating terrorism. It is not hard to recognize similar tendencies in other groups: the conviction that the group has a vanguard role that enables its members to see the struggle with unmatched clarity, the belief that unswerving devotion to the cause creates a right to do anything for it, and a readiness to deny the humanity of all opponents. Although Orsini does not compare his leftist terrorists with Islamists, he does show elements of the same mindset in past Marxist groups and also in contemporary neofascists.

Whereas Orsini manages to paint a disturbing portrait of a vicious group, Miniter looks at one of the key figures in al Qaeda, Khalid Sheik Mohammed. That might be because Mohammed himself is shallow; his motivations appear more secular than spiritual, bound up with a sense of the injustice faced by his native Baluchistan in Pakistan and by the Palestinians.

Miniter uses Mohammed, who was waterboarded, to attempt to assess the pros and cons of extreme interrogation techniques.

VICTIMS OF TERRORISM ON THE BOOK “ANATOMY OF THE RED BRIGADES”

The United States might gain valuable intelligence from it, he concludes, but in doing so abandons the moral high ground. This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more. In-depth analysis delivered weekly - Subscribe to our newsletter, featuring our editors' top picks from the past week. Sign in Subscribe. These considerations lead us to say that we would like to see Anatomy of the Red Brigades by Alessandro Orsini used profitably in Italian schools.

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The book has at least two further merits. The first is that of showing the killing power of Red Brigade ideology based on the dehumanization of the Red Brigades political enemies, a process which occurs within a psychological power, an emotional force field, called the revolutionary sect. The second is its timeliness. The book closes with a chapter devoted to the right-wing "Black Brigades" of the Seventies, but we are sure it can facilitate the understanding of terrorism as a cultural phenomenon even in its new modern forms, namely those that stretch their tragic and criminal reach into our daily lives.

VICTIMS OF TERRORISM ON THE BOOK “ANATOMY OF THE RED BRIGADES” | Violence | Human Rights Abuses

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