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  • Translator: Joseph Geni Reviewer: Morton Bast

  • We most certainly do talk to terrorists, no question about it.

  • We are at war with a new form of terrorism.

  • It's sort of the good old, traditional form of terrorism,

  • but it's sort of been packaged for the 21st century.

  • One of the big things about countering terrorism

  • is, how do you perceive it?

  • Because perception leads to your response to it.

  • So if you have a traditional perception of terrorism,

  • it would be that it's one of criminality, one of war.

  • So how are you going to respond to it?

  • Naturally, it would follow that you meet kind with kind.

  • You fight it. If you have a more modernist approach,

  • and your perception of terrorism is almost cause-and-effect,

  • then naturally from that, the responses that come out of it

  • are much more asymmetrical.

  • We live in a modern, global world.

  • Terrorists have actually adapted to it.

  • It's something we have to, too, and that means the people

  • who are working on counterterrorism responses

  • have to start, in effect, putting on

  • their Google-tinted glasses, or whatever.

  • For my part, what I wanted us to do was just to look at

  • terrorism as though it was a global brand,

  • say, Coca-Cola.

  • Both are fairly bad for your health. (Laughter)

  • If you look at it as a brand in those ways,

  • what you'll come to realize is, it's a pretty flawed product.

  • As we've said, it's pretty bad for your health,

  • it's bad for those who it affects,

  • and it's not actually good if you're a suicide bomber either.

  • It doesn't actually do what it says on the tin.

  • You're not really going to get 72 virgins in heaven.

  • It's not going to happen, I don't think.

  • And you're not really going to, in the '80s, end capitalism

  • by supporting one of these groups. It's a load of nonsense.

  • But what you realize, it's got an Achilles' heel.

  • The brand has an Achilles' heel.

  • We've mentioned the health,

  • but it needs consumers to buy into it.

  • The consumers it needs are the terrorist constituency.

  • They're the people who buy into the brand, support them,

  • facilitate them, and they're the people

  • we've got to reach out to.

  • We've got to attack that brand in front of them.

  • There's two essential ways of doing that, if we carry on this brand theme.

  • One is reducing their market. What I mean is,

  • it's their brand against our brand. We've got to compete.

  • We've got to show we're a better product.

  • If I'm trying to show we're a better product,

  • I probably wouldn't do things like Guantanamo Bay.

  • We've talked there about curtailing the underlying need

  • for the product itself. You could be looking there at

  • poverty, injustice, all those sorts of things

  • which feed terrorism.

  • The other thing to do is to knock the product,

  • attack the brand myth, as we've said.

  • You know, there's nothing heroic about killing a young kid.

  • Perhaps we need to focus on that and get that message back across.

  • We've got to reveal the dangers in the product.

  • Our target audience, it's not just the producers of terrorism,

  • as I've said, the terrorists.

  • It's not just the marketeers of terrorism,

  • which is those who finance, those who facilitate it,

  • but it's the consumers of terrorism.

  • We've got to get in to those homelands.

  • That's where they recruit from. That's where they get their power and strength.

  • That's where their consumers come from.

  • And we have to get our messaging in there.

  • So the essentials are, we've got to have interaction

  • in those areas, with the terrorists, the facilitators, etc.

  • We've got to engage, we've got to educate,

  • and we've got to have dialogue.

  • Now, staying on this brand thing for just a few more seconds,

  • think about delivery mechanisms.

  • How are we going to do these attacks?

  • Well, reducing the market is really one for governments

  • and civil society. We've got to show we're better.

  • We've got to show our values.

  • We've got to practice what we preach.

  • But when it comes to knocking the brand,

  • if the terrorists are Coca-Cola and we're Pepsi,

  • I don't think, being Pepsi, anything we say about Coca-Cola,

  • anyone's going to believe us.

  • So we've got to find a different mechanism,

  • and one of the best mechanisms I've ever come across

  • is the victims of terrorism.

  • They are somebody who can actually stand there and say,

  • "This product's crap. I had it and I was sick for days.

  • It burnt my hand, whatever." You believe them.

  • You can see their scars. You trust them.

  • But whether it's victims, whether it's governments,

  • NGOs, or even the Queen yesterday, in Northern Ireland,

  • we have to interact and engage with those different

  • layers of terrorism, and, in effect,

  • we do have to have a little dance with the devil.

  • This is my favorite part of my speech.

  • I wanted to blow you all up to try and make a point,

  • but — (Laughter) —

  • TED, for health and safety reasons, have told me

  • I've got to do a countdown, so

  • I feel like a bit of an Irish or Jewish terrorist,

  • sort of a health and safety terrorist, and I — (Laughter) —

  • I've got to count 3, 2, 1, and

  • it's a bit alarming, so thinking of what my motto would be,

  • and it would be, "Body parts, not heart attacks."

  • So 3, 2, 1. (Explosion sound)

  • Very good. (Laughter)

  • Now, lady in 15J was a suicide bomber amongst us all.

  • We're all victims of terrorism.

  • There's 625 of us in this room. We're going to be scarred for life.

  • There was a father and a son who sat in that seat over there.

  • The son's dead. The father lives.

  • The father will probably kick himself for years to come

  • that he didn't take that seat instead of his kid.

  • He's going to take to alcohol, and he's probably

  • going to kill himself in three years. That's the stats.

  • There's a very young, attractive lady over here,

  • and she has something which I think's the worst form

  • of psychological, physical injury I've ever seen

  • out of a suicide bombing: It's human shrapnel.

  • What it means is, when she sat in a restaurant

  • in years to come, 10 years to come, 15 years to come,

  • or she's on the beach, every so often she's going to start

  • rubbing her skin, and out of there will come

  • a piece of that shrapnel.

  • And that is a hard thing for the head to take.

  • There's a lady over there as well who lost her legs

  • in this bombing.

  • She's going to find out that she gets a pitiful amount

  • of money off our government

  • for looking after what's happened to her.

  • She had a daughter who was going to go to one of the best

  • universities. She's going to give up university

  • to look after Mum.

  • We're all here, and all of those who watch it

  • are going to be traumatized by this event,

  • but all of you here who are victims are going to learn

  • some hard truths.

  • That is, our society, we sympathize, but after a while,

  • we start to ignore. We don't do enough as a society.

  • We do not look after our victims, and we do not enable them,

  • and what I'm going to try and show is that actually,

  • victims are the best weapon we have

  • against more terrorism.

  • How would the government at the turn of the millennium

  • approach today? Well, we all know.

  • What they'd have done then is an invasion.

  • If the suicide bomber was from Wales,

  • good luck to Wales, I'd say.

  • Knee-jerk legislation, emergency provision legislation --

  • which hits at the very basis of our society, as we all know --

  • it's a mistake.

  • We're going to drive prejudice throughout Edinburgh,

  • throughout the U.K., for Welsh people.

  • Today's approach, governments have learned from their mistakes.

  • They are looking at what I've started off on,

  • on these more asymmetrical approaches to it,

  • more modernist views, cause and effect.

  • But mistakes of the past are inevitable.

  • It's human nature.

  • The fear and the pressure to do something on them

  • is going to be immense. They are going to make mistakes.

  • They're not just going to be smart.

  • There was a famous Irish terrorist who once summed up

  • the point very beautifully. He said,

  • "The thing is, about the British government, is, is that it's got

  • to be lucky all the time, and we only have to be lucky once."

  • So what we need to do is we have to effect it.

  • We've got to start thinking about being more proactive.

  • We need to build an arsenal of noncombative weapons

  • in this war on terrorism.

  • But of course, it's ideas -- is not something that governments do very well.

  • I want to go back just to before the bang, to this idea of

  • brand, and I was talking about Coke and Pepsi, etc.

  • We see it as terrorism versus democracy in that brand war.

  • They'll see it as freedom fighters and truth

  • against injustice, imperialism, etc.

  • We do have to see this as a deadly battlefield.

  • It's not just [our] flesh and blood they want.

  • They actually want our cultural souls, and that's why

  • the brand analogy is a very interesting way of looking at this.

  • If we look at al Qaeda. Al Qaeda was essentially

  • a product on a shelf in a souk somewhere

  • which not many people had heard of.

  • 9/11 launched it. It was its big marketing day,

  • and it was packaged for the 21st century. They knew what they were doing.

  • They were effectively [doing] something in this brand image

  • of creating a brand which can be franchised around

  • the world, where there's poverty, ignorance and injustice.

  • We, as I've said, have got to hit that market,

  • but we've got to use our heads rather than our might.

  • If we perceive it in this way as a brand, or other ways of thinking at it like this,

  • we will not resolve or counter terrorism.

  • What I'd like to do is just briefly go through a few examples

  • from my work on areas where we try and approach these things differently.

  • The first one has been dubbed "lawfare,"

  • for want of a better word.

  • When we originally looked at bringing civil actions against terrorists,

  • everyone thought we were a bit mad and mavericks

  • and crackpots. Now it's got a title. Everyone's doing it.

  • There's a bomb, people start suing.

  • But one of the first early cases on this was the Omagh Bombing.

  • A civil action was brought from 1998.

  • In Omagh, bomb went off, Real IRA,

  • middle of a peace process.

  • That meant that the culprits couldn't really be prosecuted

  • for lots of reasons, mostly to do with the peace process

  • and what was going on, the greater good.

  • It also meant, then, if you can imagine this,

  • that the people who bombed your children

  • and your husbands were walking around the supermarket

  • that you lived in.

  • Some of those victims said enough is enough.

  • We brought a private action, and thank God, 10 years later,

  • we actually won it. There is a slight appeal on

  • at the moment so I have to be a bit careful,

  • but I'm fairly confident.

  • Why was it effective?

  • It was effective not just because justice was seen to be done

  • where there was a huge void.

  • It was because the Real IRA and other terrorist groups,

  • their whole strength is from the fact that they are

  • an underdog. When we put the victims as the underdog

  • and flipped it, they didn't know what to do.

  • They were embarrassed. Their recruitment went down.

  • The bombs actually stopped -- fact -- because of this action.

  • We became, or those victims became, more importantly,

  • a ghost that haunted the terrorist organization.

  • There's other examples. We have a case called Almog

  • which is to do with a bank that was,

  • allegedly, from our point of view,

  • giving rewards to suicide bombers.

  • Just by bringing the very action,

  • that bank has stopped doing it, and indeed,

  • the powers that be around the world, which for real politic

  • reasons before, couldn't actually deal with this issue,

  • because there was lots of competing interests,

  • have actually closed down those loopholes in the banking system.

  • There's another case called the McDonald case,

  • where some victims of Semtex, of the Provisional IRA bombings,

  • which were supplied by Gaddafi, sued,