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Counter-terrorism refers to the practices, tactics, and strategies that governments, militaries, and other groups adopt in order to fight terrorism. Counter-terrorism is not specific to any one field or organization; rather, it involves entities from all levels of society. For instance, businesses have security plans and sometimes share commercial data with the government. Local police, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel (often called "first responders") have plans for dealing with terrorist attack. Armies conduct combat operations against terrorists, often using special forces. Building a counter-terrorism plan involves all segments of a society or many government agencies.

Counter-terrorist tactical units

Today, many of the western countries have special units, designated to handle terrorist threats. Besides various security agencies, there are elite tactical units whose role is to directly engage terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks. Such units perform both in preventive actions, hostage rescue and responding to on-going attacks.

These units are specially trained and equipped for CQB with emphasis on stealth and performing the mission with minimal casualties. The units include take-over force, snipers, EOD experts, dog operators and intelligence officers.

Examples for such units are the Israeli Sayeret Matkal (military) and YAMAM (civilian), the U.S. SWAT teams, the British SAS, the Austrian Cobra unit, and the German GSG-9.

Counter-terrorist units, by country

Afghanistan Afghan national army ?
Albania Special Operations and Counter terrorist Forces of Albania
Algeria BMPJ, DGSN
American Samoa Defense is the responsibility of the USA
Andorra defense is responsibility of France
Angola Angolan army ?
Anguilla Defense is responsibility of the UK
Antarctica Military action is expressly forbidden by the UN in this area
Antigua and Barbuda Royal Antigua and Barbuda defense force
Argentina Brigada Especial Operativa Halcon
Armenia ?
Australia SAS Australian Regiment
The Bahamas Royal Bahamas Defense Force
Bahrain Security and Intelligence Service
Bangladesh ?
Barbados Royal Barbados Defense Force
Belarus ?
Belgium Surete de l Etat, SGI - General Intelligence and Security Service
Belize Belize Defense Force
Benin ?
Bermuda defense is the responsibility of the UK
Bhutan Royal Bhutan Army
Bolivia Ejercito Boliviano (army) counter terrorism unit
Bosnia and Herzegovina ?
Botswana Botsawna Defense force
Brazil The Brazilian Army's 1st Special Forces Battalion
Brunei Receives support from Australia
Bulgaria National Service for Detecting and Preventing Terrorist Activities on the Territory of the Republic of Bulgaria
Burma ?
Cambodia Royal Cambodian Armed Forces' 911 Para-Commando Battalion
Cameroon ?
Canada Joint Task Force Two
Central African Republic ?
Chad currently being trained by USA
China Special Police Unit
Colombia AFEU
France GIGN
Germany GSG-9
Hong Kong SDU
India National Security Guard, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, Black Cats etc
Israel Sayeret Matkal
Italy GIS (Gruppo Intervento Speciale) from Carabinieri, NOCS (Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza) from Polizia di Stato
New Zealand Special Air Service of New Zealand
Saudi Arabia Special Emergency Forces
United Kingdom SAS, SBS, MI5, Special Branch (Metropolitan Police Service)
USA SWAT, FBI, SEAL Team SIX, Delta Force, various law enforcement agencies

Related SourceWatch Resources

External links

Government Sources & Reports

General Sources

Articles & Commentary

  • 15 June 2003: "Former Aide Takes Aim at War on Terror" by Laura Blumenfeld, The Washington Post: "Eight weeks after leaving the Bush White House, (Rand Beers) volunteered as national security adviser for Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), a Democratic candidate for president, in a campaign to oust his former boss. All of which points to a question: What does this intelligence insider know?" See article for counterterrorism info.
  • 17 June 2003: "Dereliction of Duty" by Paul Krugman: "Last Thursday a House subcommittee met to finalize next year's homeland security appropriation. The ranking Democrat announced that he would introduce an amendment adding roughly $1 billion for areas like port security and border security that, according to just about every expert, have been severely neglected since Sept. 11....The subcommittee's chairman promptly closed the meeting to the public, citing national security -- though no classified material was under discussion. And the bill that emerged from the closed meeting did not contain the extra funding."
  • 1 December 2003: "Supreme Court Intervenes in Kidnap Case" by Gina Holland, AP: "The Supreme Court said Monday it would decide if federal agents can sneak into foreign countries to arrest suspected criminals and bring them to America for trial, a case that tests the reach of the government's terrorism-fighting powers. .. The Bush administration said covert kidnappings of suspects overseas are rare, but the government needs that authority."

Wikipedia also has an article on Counter-terrorism. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.