Basically, a group of terrorists who are mostly from the West (Europe or North America, although groups from South America, Australia, or even Oceania could qualify), and who are mainly influenced by cultural, political or religious ideas of Western origin. The trope may also cover a single individual. What makes someone "Western" can be rather hazy and difficult to define, since it's not simply a matter of where the person was born or grew up (many Islamic terrorists, generally regarded as non-Western, lived the majority of their lives in the West, and for that matter many elements of Islamic culture - coffee and yogurt, for instance, were originally Arabic and Turkish foods, respectively - have profoundly influenced Western society and vice versa, making it tough to ascertain who's "Western" and who's not).
Generally, a "Western terrorist" is a terrorist fighting for something that has been an issue in the West for a long time - an ideological offshoot, for better or worse, of the legacies of the European feudal system, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, or the scientific revolution launched in the seventeenth century, like anarchism, communism, Christian religion, environmentalism, nationalism, or racism, as opposed to an issue most strongly associated with another culture (like non-Christian religion, which of course raises the fascinating question of whether to classify Israeli terrorists
as Middle Eastern or Western). Bear in mind that an apparently non-Western terrorist group may be secretly led by Western terrorists acting as The Man Behind the Man
. For example, this would be the case if an apparent Islamic terrorist group turned out to be part of a secret neo-Nazi plot to provoke World War III (unlikely, yes, but stranger things have happened).
may opt to draw from Real Life
terrorism cases from Anders Breivik to the Oklahoma City bombing to the civilian mass-murders orchestrated in Northern Ireland
, instead of the arguably more topical example of Middle Eastern terrorists. They may find Western terrorism more interesting than its counterparts in the rest of the world, simply because it is much more multidimensional in scope. Additionally, using Western villains often seems like an easy way of skirting any racial or ethnic Unfortunate Implications
(though many Middle Easterners are
of Caucasian descent, or at least look it). However, there is also danger with this approach: if used in improbable contexts, or to replace non-Western terrorists in an adaptation or update, the use of Western terrorists can start to look like a cheap case of Acceptable Targets
Some groups of Western Terrorists that have appeared in media and news are various Animal Wrongs Group
, whose actions have been dubbed eco-terrorism. There are also militia groups
. Other examples include extreme Nationalists and radical extremists. The Troubles
in Northern Ireland is also notable - a definitely European dispute, with white Christians involved in sectarian violence which included riots and violence. (On the other hand, the Irish Republican terrorist/resistance movement is definitely anti-colonialist, and anti-colonialism is usually thought to be a non-Western theme.) In recent years, there are those who commit terrorism in the West as lone wolves without being affiliated with known established terrorist organizations; often they are psychopathic young people
subscribing to some nihilistic ideology that makes sense only to them (Jared Loughner and James Holmes being two high-profile examples).
Another good source of Euro-villainy is the post-Soviet weaponmonger. This person may be a fascist, but usually they serve no cause other than the creation of chaos
, a self-sustaining market
for their endless supplies of nukes, viruses, and other deadly toys for their more ideologically minded customers to use on each other
. In series where such black-market dealers and Corrupt Corporate Executives
exist, they inevitably prove to be more
dangerous than the Islamists/neo-Nazis/revolucionistas
/etc. to whom they're selling weaponry. Newer ones however prefer to reinstall the old Soviet Regime
without the communist ideals and instead aim for a rule resembling more that of Ivan the Terrible.
This trope should not be confused with Partisans
- resistance groups who fight regular military forces (in other words, guerrillas). Unlike Terrorists, Partisans are perfectly legal under international law - if and only if
they have a chain of command, some means of identification from a distance, and carry their weapons openly. Otherwise, they are unlawful combatants. Note, this doesn't prevent characters from calling their attacks terrorism
despite their legal legitimacy. Partisans are covered here on TV Tropes
as La Résistance
. To be a true terrorist, one must both be ideologically motivated and engage in what is widely recognized as violent criminal behavior.
Some Western Terrorists are also Terrorists Without a Cause
. Often overlaps with Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters
, especially when the Western Terrorists are portrayed as Irish or white supremacist. See also White Gang-Bangers
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- Captain America deals with a lot of these groups. The most prominent was HYDRA, led by Cap's Arch-Enemy, the Red Skull, which was bent on tyrannical world domination. He also tangled with the likes of AIM (dedicated to establishing a global technocracy), ULTIMATUM (dedicated on establishing a world without national borders of any kind), and the Secret Empire (modern-day fascists revealed to be led by none other than Richard Nixon though this was later retconned).
- Flightplan: Part of the reason that no one was surprised at who the real villain was. Casting Sean Bean made for a much more successful Red Herring; thanks to this trope, everyone already knew the Middle Eastern fellow was going to be innocent.
- In John Woo's second American Heroic Bloodshed movie Face/Off, Castor Troy seems to fit this trope.
- In Batman Begins, the villain Ra's al-Ghul, an Arab in the source material, is shown first to be East Asian, later revealed as a decoy for a Caucasian. His ninja students, however, are pretty diverse. And in The Dark Knight, the Joker (who, unlike other incarnations of the character, is a "normal" man in clown makeup, so his Caucasian skin tone is often visible) is repeatedly referred to as a terrorist, which is half-true. While he mostly does needlessly destructive things for his own amusement, he does have some ideas and beliefs (albeit ones spawned from a definitely psychotic, apolitical mind) about chaos and anarchy. Likewise, in The Dark Knight Rises, Bane (who comes off as something of a follower of French-style neo-Jacobinism) seems to be European, but born in India and his followers are diverse; and he was a light-skinned South American mestizo (or maybe even a Spaniard) in both his original comics incarnation (where he was motivated solely by a campaign of revenge against a "giant bat" that terrified him as a child, a quest which led him straight to Batman) and in Batman & Robin. Lastly, Talia al-Ghul is French, or at least partly French (and played by a French actress).
- The Die Hard series (though in all the terrorists are actually thieves), with the villains being German in the first and third, and American in the other two (in the second, with the help of Banana Republic dictator).
- Iron Man:
- In Iron Man, Tony Stark is imprisoned by Afghan terrorists hiding in caves inspired by Al Qaeda, but not explicitly Islamic or even entirely Middle Eastern (the terrorist group actually has different cells of different races). It turns out that his capture was orchestrated by his white business partner Obadiah Stane, who later has the Afghan terrorists brutally murdered.
- In Iron Man 3, Ben Kingsley's "Mandarin" turns out to be a totally stoned stage actor playing an in-universe caricature. The real mastermind is the (white) Aldrich Killian, who wants to run both sides of the War on Terror from behind the scenes. It's suggested he might have been behind Tony's abduction in the first place.
- The movie versions of Resident Evil has the Umbrella Corp. dedicated to causing a massive zombie epidemic for no particular reason.
- Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
- The Rocco Dylan gang are terrorists, but they are all Americans of northern European descent (except for Papshmir, a man of vaguely Eurasian descent, who serves as the liaison to their bosses) and do not appear to be particularly religious. They talk like characters from a 1940s Film Noir story and are concerned first and foremost with making money - though their bosses, who are explicitly mentioned to be "Arab terrorists", want Dylan and his posse to detonate a nuclear device inside the pavilion in Hollywood where the Academy Awards ceremony is being held for the purpose of "embarrassing the United States."
- There's also a humorous example at the beginning set in a train station (and inspired by The Untouchables, believe it or not), where President Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II get caught in a crossfire involving The Mafia, Islamic terrorists, and "deranged postal workers." It's obviously supposed to be a Thirty Xanatos Pileup - and anyway, it turns out to be just a nightmare that Frank Drebin soon wakes up from.
- Played with in True Lies. The film's antagonists from the get-go are the Crimson Jihad, a partly Islamic, partly anti-colonialist terrorist organization led by Salim Abu Aziz, the "Sand Spider." The Crimson Jihad threaten to detonate a nuclear bomb in Florida if their demands are not met. The terrorists are all of Middle Eastern or North African descent - but they're receiving their marching orders from Juno Skinner, a female American millionaire art collector. While Skinner obviously has nonwhite ancestry note , her features are not Hamito-Semitic at all. And she's not a Moslem; indeed, her face is always visible and she shows quite a bit of leg throughout the movie. Furthermore, when the film's hero, Harry Tasker, demands to know why Skinner is scheming against her own country, she assures him she doesn't care at all about the Crimson Jihad's cause; she's just doing this because she's getting paid an awful lot of money for it. Skinner's role is to help the terrorists smuggle the bomb into the U.S. by concealing it within a hollowed-out ancient Persian relief that is (or was) part of her antiquities collection.
- Though not the main villain, the very Middle Eastern character The Hassassin of Angels & Demons is replaced in the movie by a generic (though very creepy) Caucasian villain for hire in the movie version.
- The villains of 24's Day 2 were a conglomerate of Corrupt Corporate Executives in the oil business, as well as a German arms dealer called Max, all of whom hired Peter Kingsley to give a nuclear device to Islamic terrorists and frame three Middle Eastern countries for the act so the United States could invade these countries and secure a steady supply of oil in the Caspian Sea.
- To quote this handy article, "But Bauer'ss ass-kicking takes place in a landscape straight out of the '70s, in which America's terrorist enemies are enabled by (in no particular order) a cabal of businessmen hoping to foment a Middle Eastern war and benefit from skyrocketing oil prices; a group of hawkish Cabinet officials who plot to remove from office (or assassinate) their dovish superiors; a Nixonian chief executive who permits terrorist attacks on American soil as a pretext for U.S. military intervention in Central Asia; and an endless host of traitors inside America's antiterrorism outfit."
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine used this trope (together with the Trek cliche of evil admirals) in "Homefront", in which a Changeling attack on Earth turns out to have been orchestrated by Admiral Leyton, the head of Starfleet Operations, as an excuse to tighten security for when the real attack inevitably comes. Sisko foils his plans — learning in the process that there are Changeling infiltrators on Earth (but only 3), watching all this with amusement.
- The TV-movie Meltdown. Former US soldiers faking an attempt to blow up a nuclear powerplant to make a statement. "Our terrorist is GI Joe."
- The unaired pilot for Heroes gave Ted's radioactive power to an Arab terrorist character. This plotline was dropped for the actual pilot and given to Ted, a white American. One result is that connected events (the train derailment, some of Isaac's paintings) become disconnected and random, while in the original pilot, they were all connected by the terrorist story.
- Fan favorite Sark from Alias
- A particularly Anvilicious episode of Without a Trace featured a precocious young boy who built a bomb to make a point that the country wasn't protected enough after his mother was killed in 9/11 (similar to one theory behind the anthrax letter guy's motivation). Additionally, the boy's only friend tortures him in his basement to make him reveal where he hid the bomb.
- The irony being that there was no bomb (the kid made the whole thing up, as kids are apt to do), but the torture session embittered him so much that afterward he built a real one.
- Kyle Hobbes in V (2009).
- Charlie's Angels: The Patriots for a Free Society in the "Terror on Skis" episode seem to fit this trope. Their motivations seem to be muddled.
- It's difficult to confirm, but the narrators of the 1984 Iron Maiden song "2 Minutes to Midnight" appear to be this kind of terrorist; they sing "Kill for gain or shoot to maim / But we don't need a reason." The album art for this song portrays Eddie (the band's skull-faced mascot) as an Arab terrorist, which paradoxically both makes the possibility more likely and muddies it a great deal.
- End War has Russian forces disguising themselves as "The Forgotten Army", who "are" a band of soldiers from various nations misused by the US and Europe.
- The main antagonists in the Light Gun Game Time Crisis 4 are at first presumed to be the European terrorist organization W.O.L.F., or Western Order Liberation Front, but later the terrorists are revealed to be a group of disgruntled US soldiers called the Hamlin Battalion, but their reason for trying to destroy the US is unknown, other than the fact that the Big Bad Gregory Barrows was given poor treatment in the military.
- Like with the movie example, Resident Evil's Umbrella Corporation, when they weren't screwing up on their own causing accidental biological disasters, tended to have rogue dissatisfied or just plain crazy researchers cause these problems. Resident Evil 5 and 6 have since seen Umbrella become "Neo-Umbrella", which isn't so much a revival of the multinational biotech corporation as much as it is a terrorist organization trying to destroy the world For the Evulz.
- The Nostra corporation in the reboot of Spy Hunter.
- Spoofed in the South Park episode "The Snuke", a parody of 24 where Cartman (playing the role of Jack Bauer) is convinced the new Muslim kid in school is a terrorist, and tips off the government. Turns out there is a terrorist plot going on in South Park, but it involves Russian mercenaries trying to distract the government with a nuclear device planted in Hillary Clinton's crotch while America's oldest enemies (the British) stage a naval assault.
- In G.I. Joe, COBRA was always referred to as a "terrorist" organization, even though it was closer in every way to James Bond's SPECTRE or Nick Fury's HYDRA than anything resembling modern terrorism (western or otherwise). The comic version of the franchise portrayed COBRA as tapping into the frustrations of lower to middle-class white Americans, even making Cobra Commander into a former used car salesman. COBRA also tended to use ordinary, all-American small towns named Springfield as secret headquarters.
- The Eco-Villains of Captain Planet and the Planeteers are this. One, such as Looten Plunder, crossing over into the realm of White Collar Crime. Three—Plunder, Greedly and Sly Sludge—are just rich, myopic pricks who only really care about money (though they occasionally make quips about loving to pollute.) and Dr. Blight was out-and-out insane and wanted to cash in on dangerous, experimental technology. Exceptions were Verminous Skumm and Duke Nukem, both mutants, and Zarm, a God of Evil. Verminous Skumm wants humanity to live in miserable and chaotic conditions, Duke Nukem wants humanity to be mutated like himself, and Zarm wants to destroy the world.
Right Wing Militia Fanatics
Note, the trope does not cover all reactionary militias. Only those who conduct violent, illegal actions to further their ideology count as examples.
Anime and Manga
- La Eden of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, a ultra-conservative political group within the AEU. They attempt to stop Celestial Being through random public attacks. One of the few groups in season one to be considered outright evil.
- The villains in the Danger.com book "Firestorm" were whites with a revolutionary war motif who wanted to rid the US of foreigners.
- NCIS must deal with a radical faction of Military At Home (MAH), a group of nationalists who wanted America to focus on internal affairs (fighting crime and illiteracy) instead of foreign affairs. Interestingly, the members of the group were rich, well-to-do people living in a gated community.
- The John Brown Army, headed by Emile Dufraisne, from Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent.
- The NSF of Deus Ex fame started out as those.
- The Anarchiste Libertaire Armee in Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain.
- Rudy Brewer, one of Max's neighbors back in Hoboken in Max Payne 3, stocked his apartment with what appears to be nothing but the ingredients for home-made fertilizer bombs. One interactive item in his apartment is a manifesto. His appearance and mannerisms imply that he's a Vietnam vet with PTSD.
- MECH from Transformers Prime, a military black ops group who are aware of the Autobots' presence on Earth and hate them, seeking to develop weapons to exterminate all Cybertronians on Earth.
Anime and Manga
- Most of Captain America's terrorist enemies are Conspiracy-type organizations, but the Sons of the Serpent fit more into this category. Think Archie Bunker if he were a murderous and genuinely bigoted psychopath, and you have a good idea of what the organization stands for.
- Any comic by Frank Miller will inevitably have Nazi henchmen. Oddly enough, they rarely, if ever, make racist remarks. In fact, a Neo-Nazi in Sin City is shown working for Big Scary Blackman Manute and alongside a dwarf with no trouble.
- The film adaptation of Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears replaced the Muslim terrorists of the novel with Neo-Nazis. According to the production staff, this was because shooting had actually wrapped on the film before 9/11, and, at the time, they felt the idea of a successful Muslim attack of that scale on the U.S. was far-fetched. It was apparently less farfetched to have the said Neo-Nazis be a bunch of wealthy businessmen, led by an Austrian billionaire, who hope to provoke a nuclear war between the USA and the Russian Federation in order to pave way for their takeover.
- In the film The Peacemaker, a white Bosnian Serb tries to suicide bomb New York City with a backpack nuke.
- The Nicolas Cage movie Next did this, with the bad guys being a group of apparently Francophone Europeans.
- In the UK, Channel 4 aired an original drama called Gas Attack about a Neo-Nazi organizing an anthrax attack on a council estate full of Kurdish asylum seekers (highly ironic, as Kurds are considered by most ethnographers to be "Aryans"), as part of the Neo-Nazis' plan to force the government to deport all immigrants, homosexuals and non-white British people from the country.
- The neo-Confederate survivalist faction in Blues Brothers 2000 (obviously a counterpart to the Nazi faction in the original Blues Brothers movie) appear to be more anticommunist and anti-Jewish than racially supremacist. However, they do display a banner that reads: "White Power."
- Tom Clancy has quite a few examples, most of the Net Force series.
- In the Harry Potter series, the Death Eaters are essentially a terrorist organization. Their main goals are based on their very Nazi-esque Fantastic Racism.
- The Western half of the two terrorist factions engaging in Evil Versus Evil in The Oregon Files book Sacred Stone want to use a nuclear weapon to blow up Mecca and destroy Islam. It is a rather unique set-up of this, since the head of the organization is not stated to believe in the superiority of any one religion or race, he just really really hates Islam and Muslims.
- In a Doctor Who spin-off audio adventure, the villain (who desires to remove non-British from Britain) uses mind control to get people to blow themselves up shouting "THIS IS FOR MY PEOPLE!" Regardless of the nationality, he gets the press to cover it as a Muslim extremist (In the first instance, a Scot blew himself up, and was said on the news to be a Muslim student) or other non-British to cause riots and swell public support for his anti-foreigner agenda.
- A bunch of skinheads came damn close to assassinating the president in The West Wing. Although they weren't actually trying to assassinate President Bartlett, but rather his bodyman, Charlie Young. Though technically they were trying to kill him for political reasons (he was black and was dating the president's white daughter).
- An episode of Crossing Jordan had a terrorist bombing committed by a Westerner upset that the U.S. was not "protecting against terrorism enough" and wanted to prove it.
- There's an element of Ripped from the Headlines to this: the anthrax case shortly after 9/11 remains unsolved, but the only major suspect has been an American virologist who would have had similar motives.
- The Drazens, the employers of Ira Gaines in 24's Day 1, consisted of Slobodan Milosevic's lieutenant Victor Drazen and his two sons.
- In "The Big Explosion" episode of Dragnet, a white supremacist steals dynamite from a construction site and plans to use it to blow up an integrated elementary school during school hours. Sgt. Friday and Officer Gannon must use trickery to find the TNT.
- Both WWE and TNA have featured some nonwhite (but still Western-inspired) racial supremacist gangs over the years, including The Nation Of Domination (Black, although there were some Latino and Anglo token members) and Mexican America (Chicano). Tatanka became something of a militant American Indian extremist (very) late in his career, although he acted alone and never spouted rhetoric against non-Indians (just for Indians).
- Alamos 20,000 from Shadowrun is the umbrella organization that controls the Humanis Policlub, Human Nation, the Ministry of Mankind, the Free Human Brotherhood, and the Sapient Army, among other less-notable groups. Their first public act was to firebomb a church with napalm. They also bombed the Sears Tower and blamed metahumans for it. They want to eliminate metahumanity and the Awakened and retake North America for white heterosexual Anglo-Saxon humanity. One of A20K's Central Executive is a self-hating troll.
Western religious terrorists
Usually radical Christians, but converted Islamic terrorists of Western origin also qualify
- Joseph, who destroys the Machine in Contact.
- In Unthinkable, Steven Arthur Younger is a nuclear weapons expert and ex-military man who has converted to Islam and changed his named to Mohammed Yusuf Atta. He planted three nuclear bombs in three different US cities. The FBI and other agencies must get him to tell them where the bombs are - they achieve this by relying on a lot of Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique.
- An episode of Law And Order: Criminal Intent dealt with two Western, non-Arab converts to Islam who decided to become suicide bombers. Which may, in turn, have been inspired by the Real Life case of John Walker Lindh, the "American Taliban".
- Also a plot point in episodes of NCIS and Criminal Minds, where an Arab-born leader recruits Americans to carry out suicide missions.
- An Eleventh Hour episode had a group attacking the Philadelphia transit system. In this case our bad guys are... Belgian? Though in this case, they are Islamic converts after the pattern of Lindh, mentioned above.
- The Angelican Sons of Phineas from Spooks.
- Season 2 of 24 used this for an actual, solid twist. The sister of a woman marrying a Muslim boy she met at college in London starts to suspect that he may have ties to a terrorist group. Turns out he's innocent; it's her sister the bride who's been converted and embraced radical Islam.
- Trying to figure out if a U.S. Marine captured in Afghanistan has been converted/brainwashed into one or not is at the center of Homeland's plot.
- Winternight from Shadowrun was a Norse apocalypse cult that tried to bring about The End of the World as We Know It several times. Their last kick at the can contributed to Crash 2.0, which involved EMP bombs (to cripple the Matrix) and conventional nuclear weapons (to crack open major fault lines). Although the cult's leadership was all killed and most of their activities terminated with extreme prejudice, Winternight continues to taint people's views of Norse magical traditions.
Left Wing Radical Terrorism
Typically Soviet-supported Dirty Communists, but other Left-wing radicals are also possible
Anime and Manga
- A bonus comic (Cross Fire) in Hellsing features a communist group (hinted to consist of former Soviet officials), having brutally attacked a Catholic meeting and stolen millions from the Vatican, trying to buy weapons in a Berlin hotel (presumably to continue their anticlerical campaign). They are dealt with efficiently.
- The Enforcer pits Dirty Harry against the fictional People's Revolutionary Strike Force, a Marxist terrorist cell (that turns out to be a ploy for extorting ransom from people; "they don't actually believe in any of that shit") supposedly inspired by the real-life Symbionese Liberation Army.
- Implied in Red Eye, where the villain's terrorist employers all speak Russian amongst each other.
- The German film The Baader Meinhof Complex is about the Red Army Faction, a real-life far-left terrorist group that was active in Germany in the 1970s.
- Jack Ryan:
- Patriot Games featured the fictional Ulster Liberation Army, a Marxist splinter faction of the Provisional IRA, who were assisted in the US by Alex Dobbins and his group of terrorists (who roughly resemble the Black Panthers in general purpose), and assist the ULA in an attack on Ryan's house, where the Prince Charles Expy and his wife are visiting.
- The Sum of All Fears features Marvin Russel, a member of the American Indian Movement, that assists the Arab terrorists in setting up for their attack in the US, detonating a nuclear weapon at the Super Bowl. He wasn't aware of the plan, however, and was killed when he was of no further use to the Arabs.
- Also the Arabs themselves, who're mentioned as members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (a left-wing radical group that operated in the 1970s and 1980s). And who are also helped by German terrorists from the Red Army Faction. The whole plot of the book is about the terrorists the Soviet Union used to support finding themselves cut adrift by The Great Politics Mess-Up, and reacting by trying to destroy the Soviet-American detente.
- An episode of the U.S. version of Life On Mars featured the 1970s student-radical group the Weathermen claiming responsibility for (fictional) bomb attacks on former colleagues of Gene Hunt. Though they were a real left-wing terrorist group, they never attacked New York police in this manner.
- The fictional Citizen's Liberation Order for a Democratic Society (CLODS) in MAD magazine. The CLODS' leader, Field Marshall Arnold Marighella was named MAD's "Underground Revolutionary" of The Year.
- In Rainbow Six: Patriots, the antagonists are a terrorist group called "True Patriots", who judging by their methods and motivations are a militarized, fanatic version of Occupy Wall Street.
Also includes Animal Wrongs Groups who engage in terrorism. Generally thought to be on the Left, but usually not socialist or communist.
- A superpowered eco-terrorist group fought the New Warriors a lot in the early days of their original series.
- This is the basic modus operandi of Ras al'Ghul and Poison Ivy in Batman. Ras al'Ghul wants to wipe out the majority of the human race and eradicate most, if not all, human technology in order to let the world recover from the harms humanity has inflicted upon it, vowing he and his family will then rule over the "reborn" Earth as god-emperors and make a new Eden from it. Poison Ivy's entire character revolves around her vendetta against humans harming nature, swinging back and forth between committing "standard" eco-terrorist strikes against polluting corporations and the like and attempting to commit genocide on the entire human race, with occasional dabbling in things like feeding humans to Man Eating Plants for her own sick pleasure.
- Subverted in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. The three hot chicks claim to be from an extreme animal rights group and recruit Jay and Silent Bob to liberate an animal research facility, but the mission is really a cover for a jewel heist.
- The Phoenix group in Rainbow Six, along with Corrupt Corporate Executive John Brightling.
- An animal-rights activist group schemes against a genetic-engineering experiment involving a mouse at the climax of Zadie Smith's White Teeth. While they are hardly violent (they plan on disrupting the presentation by standing up and spewing eco-propaganda), they do end up inadvertently cooperating with a radical fundamentalist Islamic group (really a glorified street gang of South Asians and some Blacks with vague ties to Islam) who also do not want the mouse to be genetically upgraded, and are willing to commit murder to see this is so. Absurdly, these two would have been (again inadvertently) joined by a third radical group - a completely non-violent sect of Jehovah's Witnesses of West Indian descent - but they were unable to get into the pavilion where the presentation was being held, so instead they protest outside the building by loudly singing hymns.
- As an excuse to quit the Scenery Censor around Mariska Hargitay's pregnancy, an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit had Benson going undercover with eco-terrorists for an off-screen arc.
- An episode of the British medical drama Casualty which would have begun with a Muslim carrying out a suicide bombing was rewritten so that the bombing was committed by animal rights extremists.
- The Criminal Minds episode "Empty Planet" has an anti-technology bomber who believes that the world is going to be overtaken by robots if we don't do something about it. Really, though, he was just trying to live out the plot of a novel because he believed the book's author was his mother and that somehow his crimes would serve to unite them.
- We're led to think an eco-terrorist group are the villains of Flashpoint's second season premiere, "One Wrong Move". Turns out to be a remnant of said group and the brainwashed daughter of two former members.
- A save-the-whales extremist tried to destroy a submarine on NCIS, believing that naval sonar and other signaling was disrupting whales' migration and breeding.
- An environmental group is suspected of planting a bomb on an oil drilling platform. While they turn out to be eco-terrorists responsible for a number of arsons, they did not bomb the oil platform. The bombing could have resulted in a massive environmental disaster which is the last thing they want.
- In the JAG episode "Surface Warfare" environmental activists sabotage naval exercises off the shores of Florida.
- Minimum Security has the main characters committing acts of eco-terrorism but it is treated in a heroic manner.
- In Aberrant, one of the minor Nova teams in the Player's Guide is Greenwar, which sits between here and Animal Wrongs Group, since it's not shy in the slightest about using its nova members to commit acts of murder and Mind Rape.
- On Archer, Lana and Archer must defend a pipeline from an eco-terrorist plotting to blow it up.
Anime and Manga
- The three Titan Shifter spies from Attack on Titan are definitely terrorists from a pseudo-Germanic nation, engaging in organized attacks to destabilize their enemy while infiltrating the ranks of the military. However, the exact nature of their motivations and cause remain unknown other than the fact it went from a campaign of extermination to attempting to kidnap the Living MacGuffin once they learned of his existence.
- Day Night Day Night deliberately cuts out the section where the propaganda video is produced (we just see the preparation for it). The composition of the group is practically a lampshade-hanging: it contains not only whites (apparently of American origin), but blacks, asians, even a deaf terrorist with a sign-language interpreter! The initial backdrop for the video is a bunch of dudes with AK-47s mostly covered in black, somewhat like a niqab with only part of the face showing. That backdrop is switched for an even more generic black fist. The protagonist often speaks quietly (subtitles are necessary for viewing) addressed to "you", presumably God, but we get no information about the actual religious beliefs of any characters. No exposition or context is given in the film, the viewer is thrown into the deep end with characters who've already decided on a course of action and don't waste time discussing their motivation.
- The Fishes from Children of Men are dedicated to ensuring England is open to immigrants, as opposed to the government's fascist but well-meaning policies. They have committed terrorist bombings in the past, but claim to have stopped after a bombing in Liverpool. It's left ambiguous whether they still bomb or if the government is framing them, though they are still willing to kill law-enforcement and even assassinate their own leader in exchange for a more radical one to advance their goals. Would qualify for Left-Wing terrorists, however since the film takes place in a Childless Dystopia it falls more into the Unique category.
- The Red Triangle Gang - the band of terrorist scum (one of whom resorts to the stereotypically Arab technique of strapping dynamite to his chest) working for The Penguin in Batman Returns - are an interesting case. Though on the surface they appear to be just a bunch of costumed psychopaths, there are a number of clues in the film suggesting they just might be communists or communist sympathizers. Most obviously, there is their gang symbol (which some of them even have painted or tattooed on their faces), which strongly evokes the red triangle used by anti-fascist groups in Europe. note But they also are never shown stealing anything, they love using mindless violence to cow bourgeois society into submission (a key belief of the more perverted incarnations of Marxism-Leninism), they dress as circus performers (a form of entertainment strongly identified with Russia), and the Penguin makes them live in the most spartan, anti-bourgeois settings possible (first a bitterly cold Arctic zoo exhibit, then an abandoned and nearly empty office building, and then the zoo exhibit again). And to top it all off, in the movie's original script a character outright calls them "carny Bolsheviks." On the other hand, they do end up being used as pawns in a political scheme launched by a very capitalist millionaire department-store owner who has slowly gained influence over the Penguin; and the Penguin himself increasingly grows fond of the finer things of Gotham City life as he becomes complicit in the political scheme, wearing a fine suit and sipping champagne.
- RIFT from Transcendence. We're introduced to them organizing a country-wide attack on labs working on artificial intelligence, using means such as poisoned cakes, bombs, and Will getting shot by a poisoned bullet. They are an Evil Luddite group that believe that A.I. Is a Crapshoot and are willing to commit wanton murder and mass destruction to prevent A.I. research from getting any results, and later to prevent Will Caster's Virtual Ghost from helping mankind. They even consider kicking the planet back to the middle ages technology-wise (regardless of how many people died because of this) as an acceptable sacrifice to destroy the Caster A.I. The movie ends without us finding out if they became a Karma Houdini or not (although it was hinted that they wouldn't).
- The Big Bad in some of the Rogue Warrior books (Marcinko claims they are based on real life but one novel has Portland torn apart, so it's safely fictional) has ties to Muslim terrorists (allowing for a scene in which Dick Marcinko blows away Arabs) but completely unrelated goals. Red Cell and Task Force Blue were domestic traitors, SEAL Team Alpha was government insiders for the Chinese, Violence of Action was Neo-Nazis, Vengeance was the children of a soldier who died under Marcinko in Vietnam. Green Team was global terrorism with the Big Bad an Islamist sympathizer, and Designation Gold was the Russian mafiya and American traitors in a plot to boost the Russians in Israel and Syria.
- The Trigger by Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Kube-McDowell uses fictional examples of Conspiracy / Terrorists Without a Cause and Reactionary Militas, and an apparently real-life but rather obscure one, Los Macheteros (terrorists for Puerto Rican independence.) Wouldn't be so noticeable if Eastern and Middle Eastern terrorists weren't absent.
- Ernst von Salomon's It Cannot Be Stormed, released in 1932, makes an early and unusual example. The peasant movement in the novel does not have its own political agenda, protesting against unjust taxes and economic exploitation instead of thinking to overthrow the government, although they seek support among political opposition, including the National Socialists and Communist party. Beside peaceful methods of resistance, like tax boycott, some members of the movement plant bombs in public buildings, but even then they make sure that the explosives are harmless to people. One of their demonstrations turns violent only after a policeman attacks one of the peasants carrying the movement's flag.
- The villains of most episodes of the short lived television show Threat Matrix were Western Terrorists.
- The Sci-Fi Channel Original Series The Invisible Man frequently used Western terrorists, including Swiss and Canadian terrorists.
- Various episodes of Criminal Minds:
- The unnamed terrorist cell in the "Lo-Fi/Mayhem" two-parter is given no real background, with its members being of various races and ethnicities. It attempts to pull off an overly complex plot to kill a single politician who has Secret Service protection, and may have been the US President or Vice President. However, all of the terrorists commit suicide to evade capture, and one says that since they don't fear death, they'll win in the end, thus implying they were Islamic extremists.
- In "Amplification" the assistant of an eccentric scientist (who had created a new, more powerful strain of anthrax) kills his mentor in an argument and plans to unleash the anthrax to show how unprepared America really would be in the face of a terrorist attack (though in actuality he was just a spiteful little man who wanted to take revenge on places where he was rejected, one of which was a military research facility).
- Several of the disruptive events of the Pattern, on Fringe would technically rank as state-sponsored terrorism against the United States by the alternate United States.
- The IRA in Sons of Anarchy. This is an interesting example since, while the UK and US governments consider the IRA terrorists, they are usually depicted as La Résistance in American pop culture.
- By their own admission, the protagonists of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Hunted by law enforcement as such, though their goal is to prevent the creation of Skynet, their means are still attacks on private and federal property, kidnapping, sabotage and even outright murder.
- In first season episode "Shadow", a civilian contractor onboard an nuclear attack submarine (SSN) holds the sub ransom, through his lap top computer, with which he supposedly can activate charges or to have them explode automatically unless he stays online.
- Doubly subverted in "Rogue" where the Rogue Warrior Expy and his men, not only captures a nuclear attack submarine (SSN), as per orders, but also takes it to sea and threatens to attack New York unless a ransom is paid. Turns at that the end that the intentions were honorable: a wakeup call to make officials aware of the threats posed by terrorists such as Osama bin Laden...
- Starting in season three Person of Interest has Vigilance, a group violently opposed to government surveillance that likes to dramatically quote the Founding Fathers. In one episode they end up in a Mêlée à Trois with the heroes and the government agency that commissioned the Machine to analyze illegal ELINT and identify threats to national security.
- Over the course of the series, Law & Order had episodes involving a number of these. They ran the gauntlet from radical anti-abortion bombers, a right-wing militia based out of the suburbs committing armored car robberies to fund their activities and once instance of a murder committed by a young white American-born man who wanted to become a radical Islamic terrorist.
- Richard Thompson's song about terrorism, "Guns are the Tongues," seems to be about the IRA (he's said the organization is meant to be generic, but the checkpoint they blow up is in Glengary and there are other hints). Who the terrorists are, though, is really incidental - the point of the song is that there are other reasons besides ideological fervor one might become a terrorist (in this case, being seduced and rather mentally unbalanced to begin with) and that the freedom fighter/ brutal terrorist line is really very subjective if it exists at all.
- However, he does have a song sung from the perspective of a Muslim extremist suicide bomber, "Outside of the Inside".
- The Modesty Blaise story "The Vampire of Malvescu" featured Europe's Fist, a terrorist group dedicated to striking back by committing a retaliatory act of terrorism for every act of Middle Eastern terrorism committed against Europe.
- While the specific nationalities of the members of Danya's terrorists in Survival of the Fittest has so far remained unknown (though judging by the names, at least one is Swedish), most of the terrorists look distinctly Western and have Western names. So far we've only seen one Asian terrorist, a Vietnamese woman.
- The first Darwins Soldiers RP features homegrown terrorists who invade Pelvanida with the express goal of stealing some supplies to build an Einstein-Rosen Bridge.
- The Act of War series uses a Russian with a vendetta and various groups of Marxist/eco-terrorist groups out of Latin America and Mexico. Ironically, they're used by a bunch of Oil Corporations to take over the Earth. There also appear to be corporate security and Islamic terrorists among them, too.
- In the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series, most of the characters of the Brotherhood of Nod, a mysterious terrorist organization, are Westerners. Their only Middle Eastern character, Hassan, turns out to be a double agent working for the GDI, and is later defeated and executed by the Brotherhood. They combine Radical, Religious, and arguably Ecological terrorism.
The second and third give most of them Eastern European or Oriental names: Anton Slavik, Oxana Cristos, Killian Quatar, Ajay, Marcion, etc. The Eastern overtones are quite obvious in their peculiar brand of architecture (a sort of uber-modernist meld of Islamic and Orthodox Christian), their religious views, and the fact that they're most active in Eastern Europe (Kane has a thing for Sarajevo).
- Cordis Die, Raul Menendez's terrorist organization from Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is rather difficult to classify. On the surface, they make themselves out to be a populist faction that seeks justice for the oppressed 99%, taking several cues from the Occupy Wall Street movement, but in reality, they serve simply as a means for their Nicaraguan narco-terrorist leader to take revenge on the West for the devastation of his country and the death of his sister. It has members all around the world, and they do indeed include insurgent groups in Yemen and Afghanistan, but the vast majority of their armed forces consist of Cuban mercenaries, who are, in turn, commanded by a white British guy.
- In Rainbow Six Vegas, the terrorists of that game consist largely of Americans, though led by a Mexican and Mexicans and other Latin-Americans are involved. The reason for their assault on Las Vegas is a complete mystery. At first. Later on, it is revealed their attack on Las Vegas is nothing more than a diversion to steal an experimental weapon from a hidden base located under a Hoover Dam expy. The terrorist leader is revealed to be a member of Rainbow, who is seeking revenge for perceived slights and trying to make a lot of money selling the weapon off.
- From XCOM: Enemy Within, EXALT is a terrorist organistion/conspiracy that has chosen to oppose your elite alien-hunting organisation, taking advantage of the alien invasion to steal secrets, weapons, and technology in order to fulfill their aim to conquer the world and bring it under their control. They are primarily European/American-looking terrorists dressed sharply with scarves osbcuring their faces, and are armed with modern and advanced weapons comparable to what XCOM fields.
- Cyrus Temple in Saints Row IV. The events of the previous game cause him to become disillusioned with the United States and he joins an anti-American terrorist group bent on launching a nuke at Washington, DC.
- Group 9 of Gallahad's Watch in Streets of SimCity. Little is known about them, beyond John Gallahad being the only thing standing between them and victory, and they're about to piss him off.
- A Dutch fireworks safety campaign portrayed a stereotypical, ostensibly Islamist terrorist group who commit atrocities with the use of fireworks as explosives. Because of concerns over racism and offense, the campaign was re-branded to make the characters extremist Flemish separatists who now operate in Belgium where they can easily obtain illegal fireworks.