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Select an issue not currently on the security agenda of international policymakers and suggest how and why it should be securitized.

This essay makes a case for securitizing the capacity for actors to be convinced of threats and ideas, and suggests how this securitization might be achieved. In answering why the capacity to be convinced should be securitised an appeal to an ontology given by Foucault and two case studies are invoked. One case study looks at the attempt to convince members of parliament to go to war with Iraq. The other looks at the believed referent threats and beliefs of Osama Bin Laden, Sayyid Qutb and Bobby Sands in explaining their actions. Both of these examples aim to show the potential gravity, through truth-effects, that this human capacity brings to bear on security. In answering how this capacity could be securitized it is recognised that the issue is not a concrete threat. Instead, the capacity to be convinced should be securitised in the wake of an event that implicates actors who are convinced of threats or beliefs. Finally, securitising this capacity on the basis of threats to abstract concepts such as identity or national unity is examined. Securitization is the intersubjective process of an actor establishing for an audience an existential threat to a referent object to legitimize emergency measures or other steps that would not have been possible [without the discourse of existential threats] (Buzan et al 1998:25). To be convinced can be for one actor to make another actor believe in the truth of a matter, be it the salience of their ideas or of a threat. By invoking the term capacity, we are referring to the latent ability for actors to be convinced. It is a very broad and ubiquitous phenomenon, but in certain circumstances (often in the extremes) it can be constructed as an issue to be securitised. The capacity to be convinced relates to the phenomenon of believing in, or being convinced of, the truth of ones beliefs or ideas. It also relates to the phenomenon described by Buzan et al, of establishing in the minds of an audience that there is a threat (Buzan et al 1998:25). The effects that may flow from these phenomena can affect many aspects of human life and have far reaching implications. This may lead to the question, why should we securitize the capacity for people to be convinced? What is its significance? This is a concern at both the theoretical and practical levels. Foucault recognised the magnitude of believing in the truth of a matter and spent some time studying truth effects or, more aptly, the power of true discourses (Foucault 1997:25). It was not so much the truth of a matter that interested him, but the power of truth and its effects on bodies, institutions and ideas when something is deemed true (Foucault 1997: 10 and 25). He writes, we are judged, condemned, forced to perform tasks and
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destined to live and die in certain ways by discourses that are true (Foucault 1997: 25). These words bring to bear the focus of this essay. By using the concept of truth-effects we can draw attention to the magnitude of the issue. The intersubjective establishment of existential threats (Buzan et al 1998:25) and the intersubjective establishment of ideas, as the constituting true discourses, has effects upon bodies, behaviour, institutions and thought. Beliefs are not static, but make up, affect and animate life. From the theoretical to the practical, it was the manufacture of truth that led the United Kingdom (UK) to war with Iraq. Such an action was the culmination of several dossiers released to both to parliament and the public, attempting to gain their approval for invading Iraq. This essay focuses on the two dossiers released in the 6 months prior to the invasion. These dossiers are considered by the UK parliament to be the basis of the Government's case against the regime of Saddam Hussein and formative in the decision to go to war with Iraq (Foreign Affairs committee 2003:58). Following their language, the September dossier stated that Iraq has, beyond doubt chemical and biological weapons [and] he continues to develop nuclear weapons, and extend the range of his ballistic missile programme (Cabinet Office 2002). As no such weapons were found, the second document suggests how Saddam is able to conceal documents, equipment, and materials in his State infrastructure of fear (Cabinet Office 2003:1). It is unsurprising that the parliamentarians chose to go to war on this basis. The words were used for their political effect; they were constructed to establish a threat and gain the consent of the public and parliamentarians for war. The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (2003) used written evidence from Glen Rangwala (2003) that compared the January dossier with AlMarashis (2002) article that appeared in the Middle East review of international affairs, implicating the dossier in plagiarism. What is useful about this comparison is that it indicates the function of rhetoric for the purpose of convincing people, all the more clearly. The statement that Saddam was monitoring foreign embassies in Iraq (Al-Marashi 2003) became, spying on foreign embassies in Iraq (Cabinet Office 2003). Aiding opposition groups in hostile regimes (Al Marashi 2003) became, supporting terrorist organisations in hostile regimes (Cabinet Office 2003:9). Humorously, where the Cabinet Office plagiarise Boynes (1997) article, the Fedayeen Saddam (Sadsams Martyrs) go from 10,000-15,000 'bullies and country bumpkins (Boyne 1997) to, 10,000-15,000 bullies. (Cabinet Office 2003:16). Even Glen Rangwala (2003) felt that country bumpkins was not effective enough. These transformations indicate the persuasive intent of such a document. Its language enabled the government to accrue enough transient consent to allow them to go to war. This is what we might call the truth-effect of convincing the parliamentarians of an existential threat, the effect was war (and this macro-description misses the micro-effects: death,
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violence, destruction and post-war reconstruction). The decision to go to war with Iraq is indicative of this capacity to be convinced of something, in this example the treatment has been focused on the construction of a threat. Any regime has the potential ability to construct a foreign or domestic threat and legitimate actions of war on the basis of this; this procedure therefore represents a danger to other established regimes and people worldwide. In this example, it is not only the salience of ones own ideas that is drawn attention to, and how it motivates people but a repeat of the theme of constructing a threat and peoples capacity to believe this. This example focuses on people who are not of the state, but are militantly striving for self-determination, terrorists and freedom fighters (this essay does not address these onto-epistemological issues). They too are motivated by an intersubjective understanding of an existential threat and convinced of the truth of their beliefs (See, for instance, Bergesen 2008, Lawrence 2005, Sands 1981 and Blankley 2001). It is this that mobilises them. It is Osama Bin Laden, Al Quada and many Muslim Radicals who perceive America as a threat to their freedom, Islam and to Palestine (Bin Laden 2001:107-108). Bin Laden even considers convincing others of this threat a religious duty (Bin Laden 2001:108). The governments of the United States (US) and the UK appear to believe that Osama Bin Ladens words could convince others of the saliency of this threat and of his ideas. This explains why they strove and succeeded in getting major media outlets (BBC, NBC, ABC, ITV, CNN and FOX) to censor his footage (Phillips & Project Censored 2002: 243-244 and Bin Laden 2001). It is Sayid Qutb who first communicated the view that the whole charade of western democracy is a form of servitude of servants (Bergesen 2008:23). His views on this matter still live on (Calvert 2010) even after his death as a martyr. Most recently, three prominent Muslim Brotherhood members were arrested for the alleged membership to an organisation inspired by Sayyid Qutb, while they reject this claim they still upheld Qutb as the embodiment of the Islamist movement (Calvert 2010). His discourses have been very convincing within the radical and conservative wings of Muslim groups, and have motivated all kinds of behaviors, not least the actions of Osama Bin Laden (David 2003 and Irwin 2001) and many others. A member of the Irish Republican Army, selfmartyred Bobby Sands (1954-1981), believed in the right of the Irish nation to sovereign independence, and the right of any Irishman or woman to assert this right in armed revolution (Bobby Sands 1981). The intersubjective threat that focused his energies is the foreign, oppressive British presence (Sands 1981). This is the principle, his conviction, which he fought and died by. Any actor may be convinced of new ideas or of threats that carry with them truth-effects. They may challenge the prevailing order, or construct threats that justify violent actions. The decision to go to war with Iraq and the actors militantly fighting for self-determination both serve as illustrations of our capacity to be convinced of a
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threat and the power of true beliefs (truth-effects). These two phenomena on their own cannot be used to justify securitizing measures. However, it is their existence in the extreme that justifies and provides a platform for their securitization. This leads quite naturally to the question, how do we securitize the intersubjective establishment of existential threats and the capacity to be convinced more broadly? A securitized issue does necessarily encompass or ensure emergency measures (Buzan et al 1998:25). A securitized issue can be where the existential threat has enough salience to legitimate emergency measures, or other steps that would not have been possible had the discourse not taken the form of existential threat (Buzan et al 1998:25). For an issue to reach the status of securitized, it must be accepted by the audience (Buzan et al 1998:25) and flowing from this, justify or legitimate measures that otherwise could not have been taken (Buzan et al 1998:25). It is not the case that the audience is, necessarily, the voters; it may only be those elites who are responsible for political decisions, such as the US Congress or the UK Parliament. In any case, the capacity for actors to be convinced, of threats or salient beliefs does not represent any concrete threat in itself. However the form that this capacity takes shape may be construed as the threat. Perhaps when some event occurs that implicates the construction of a threat or a person acting at the behest of an idea, these ideas will appear more salient for their audience. The securitization of this issue would likely occur from one of its concrete forms. Take the example of terrorism. The UK government has attempted to secure the spread of these ideas by passing the Terrorism Act 2006 (Terrorism Act 2006). This makes it an offence to encourage, induce, glorify or disseminate information relating to terrorism. The act places quite clear limits on freedom of speech and association. Additionally, they have censored communications by Al-Quada to the mainstream media (Phillips & Project Censored 2002: 243-244). It is by invoking a specific rhetorical structure of survival [and a] priority of action that securitization is achieved. The measures imposed by the UK government would very likely hinge on the construction of terrorism as a threat with clear reference to the threat of convincing domestic terrorists. Here, the referent object would be the well-being of civilians. To secure the capacity for people to be convinced, the issue would need to be pushed on the back of some national atrocity, such as the 7/7 bombings, or the realization of the unsound basis of the Iraq war. It is by linking a concrete event with the notion that it is caused by beliefs in ideas or threats that the securitization procedure would begin. After events such as the 7/7 bombings, suggesting the threat is to individuals would be easily accepted by the audience. In the case of Iraq, the referent object could be democratic procedure or the lives of service men and women. In these examples, a securitizing actor can clearly point to the threat, the ease with which people can be tricked,
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or convinced of some matter. They can also easily point to the effects that flow from such beliefs, and therefore the effects of the existential threat: war, death, injuries and damage to property, etcetera. The actor can also clearly label who or what the threat is directed towards, such as individuals, democratic procedures or those in the armed service. In this way it is assumed that a platform would not be hard to construct. Additionally, the securitization of the capacity to be convinced and the securitization process generally can benefit from the use of abstract concepts. Notions such as identity or national unity are used by the British National Party and China. Here, the procedure for securitizing benefits from the open concepts. The referent objects that are threatened in these scenarios are immeasurable and therefore preclude thoughtful comparisons (this analysis relates to the work of Marcuse 1986:86-89). Take for instance the recent furor in China over allegations of a coup. Peoples Daily (PD), Chinas official newspaper, suggested lies and rumours have the potential to convince people and turn fiction into fact (Press association 2012 citing PD, PD article has been removed). They also described the allegations as able to potentially disrupt social order, affect social stability and harm social integrity (Press association 2012 citing PD, PD article has been removed). It is from these justifications (or arguments, Buzan et al 1998:25) that several websites were closed and several arrests were made. Similarly, the BNP cites threats to the abstract British culture andidentity from immigration (British National Party 2010:4). Through this rhetoric (and more) the BNP would limit immigration. The references to social order and British culture are difficult to pin down and measure, but fulfill the procedure of providing a referent object under threat. Notably, it create[s] a slogan no one is going to be against (Chomsky 1997:26). This particular function is very useful in securitizing issues, who could be against stopping terrorism, protecting British culture and maintaining social harmony? This line of thought benefits from an understanding of these words as empty signifiers. Empty signifiers can be filled with the meanings and ideas that the actor establishes for the audience, furthering rhetorical effect (see for instance, Ziai 2009:196). In this light we should understand that some abstract concepts preclude detailed analysis, comparison and thought by the consumptive audience. They can also be constructed in such a way that an audience would find it difficult to be against the issue that the actor is securitizing. In conclusion, the capacity for actors to be convinced of a threat or belief has been constructed as a threat on the basis of the magnitude of its effects. It is through being convinced of the truth of ones beliefs, or a threat, that the decision to go to war with Iraq was taken. This same phenomenon explains why certain actors fight or fought for selfdetermination, even killing themselves. Often they have a clear idea of the threat in their head, whether the British government or the American government, and they draw upon
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ideas that bring with them truth-effects. Those people who fight for self-determination are convinced of the truthfulness and the nobility of their cause, they believe what they are doing is right. The effect of believing these ideas has been the cause of armed struggle between groups. For these reasons, the capacity to be convinced should be securitized. In answering how, there is a clear recognition that capacity refers to a latent phenomenon, and would be difficult to use in a speech act. However, there are clear examples that implicate being convinced of an idea or a threat, such as separatism or a terrorist act, and violent trutheffects that flow from these. Under these sorts of circumstances, of concrete examples, it is possible to construct the threat as posing a danger to individuals, groups, the state or abstract and negotiable ideas such as national identity or social order. These would appear as salient justifications to the audience for securitizing measures to be made.

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