Armed Hostilities

Terrorist Organizations: Key Concepts

Important Definitions

Material support or resources can be defined as the available tangible assets that can be used for assisting specific organizations by funding them or enabling them to engage in any kind of activity (18 United States Code § 2339A, 2012).

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Training is typically defined as the activity that educates target audiences and allows them to acquire specific abilities and skills. Military-type training, in turn, can be viewed as the type of training that may lead to the deaths of civilians (18 United States Code § 2339A, 2012).

Expert advice or assistance, in turn, implies the provision of consulting services to a particular organization or individual. The identified process is not linked to the delivery of financial or any other form of material assets to the organization or individual in questions. Expert advice may include the provision of information regarding technological issues, scientific knowledge, or any other details that may help terrorists (18 United States Code § 2339A, 2012).

The notion of the critical infrastructure embraces all assets and elements of the state economy that can be used to maintain the well-being of its members. The critical infrastructure may imply the use of either physical, or virtual supplies, or both (18 United States Code § 2339B, 2012).

A terrorist organization is a group of people that engage in destructive acts of terror as the means of achieving their goals. Put differently, a terrorist organization takes the actions that jeopardize the security, safety, and well-being of the residents of the United States (18 United States Code § 2339D, 2012).

“Mens Rea” Elements

Implying the presence of knowledge about one’s actions or inactions leading to a crime, the mens rea of 18 United States Code § 2339 and especially 18 United States Code § 2339B, 2012 can be described as intentional provision of support for terrorist organizations. The identified regulation addresses the possibility of a person deliberately providing consultations or disclosing essential information to terrorist organizations, thus, entailing a steep rise in the levels of threat to U.S. citizens’ well-being (18 United States Code § 2339B, 2012). Among the key elements of the mens rea in the specified regulation, one must mention the description of prohibited activities, the list of financial institutions, the civil penalty for committing the specified crime, an injunction, extraterritorial jurisdiction, investigations, and classified information. The specified elements allow determining the scope of an offense and, thus, defining the harm that has been done in a particular case. It is worth noting that the 18 United States Code § 2339B views the provision of personnel as the alleviating circumstances that prevent the further accusation of a person unless there was an intent of providing advice, assistance, or material support to terrorists (18 United States Code § 2339B, 2012).

The judicial review process that occurs when an organization challenges, in court, the designation of “terrorist organization.”

The process of designating a particular organization as a terrorist one in court is fraught with numerous challenges. The process starts with identifying an organization in question as foreign (Decker, 2014). Afterward, the type of activity in which the said organization engages needs to be defined as a terrorist one. The specified definition will have to align with the concept of a terrorist organization as it is interpreted in the 18 United States Code § 2339B. The final step of designating an organization as a terrorist one requires proving that the actions taken by the organization jeopardize the well-being of American citizens (18 United States Code § 2339B, 2012). The creation of an administrative record should be viewed as a necessity after an organization under consideration is identified as a terrorist one and, therefore, is deemed as unacceptable. Further steps must be taken to block its transaction and activities to ensure public safety.

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Decker, E. M. (2014). The enemies list: The foreign terrorist organization list and its role in defining terrorism. Monterey, CA: Dudley Knox Library.

Providing material support to terrorists, 18 United States Code § 2339A (2012).

Providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations, 18 United States Code § 2339B (2012).

Receiving military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization, 18 United States Code § 2339D (2012).

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