ITSTIME – Italian Team for Security, Terroristic Issues & Managing Emergencies, is a research center of Department of Sociology of the Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Milan. Our multidisciplinary approach allows us to develop and conduct research focused on security issues from different perspectives. ITSTIME addresses both theoretically and empirically the new challenges in the post 9/11 world.
The missions of the project are threefold:

  • To address Security , intended as a condition that results from the establishment and maintenance of protective measures able to promote citizens’ wellness and democratic vitality of the institutions
  • To deal with Terrorism, as a long term threat that must be addressed through preventive and well-constructed measures
  • To Manage Emergencies in order to develop helpful practices both for citizens and institutions.

Security, terrorism and emergencies management are considered key elements of Homeland Security.

Thanks to studies, prevention activities and detailed analyses of terrorist threats, we address crises from a new perspective in order to manage crisis situations in a proactive way.

ITSTIME collaborates with public and private subjects interested in monitoring different types of threats, elaborating potential risk scenarios, planning prevention strategies, developing plans for responding to emergency situations, including natural disaster and anthropic events.

Over the last years, thanks to sophisticated software, approximately 100.000 files have been collected, stored and analyzed. In particular, our research has been focused on multimedia materials distributed by the terrorists through the Internet.

The editorial choice of ITSTIME is to publish only part of the findings of the research projects that have been carried out. In addiction, we share links, information and articles. There is no reference to the monitored web sites, or to the multimedia materials collected and studied, or to the strategic plans.

Our motto is: THINK TERRORIST!

Briefly, the activities and researchers of ITSTIME draw on a basic assumption that the organizational structure of terrorist groups is complex and involve many networks. This structure implies a constant need for resources in order t to survive and be effective. In particular, two main needs seem to be crucial:

• the communication of terrorism and
• the financing of terrorism.

These two needs are primary and necessary for any organization, including terrorist groups. ITSTIME researchers focus specifically on these two needs.
The project’s background has its roots in the knowledge of terrorist culture. The essential principle of our group is that if we are interested in understanding and fighting terrorism, we have to “think as terrorists do”. The outcomes of our research include the elaboration of potential risk scenarios and managing emergency practices.

Specific background Culture of terrorism
Culture of Islam and Jihad
Strategies and Modus Operandi
Linguistic knowledge
Theoretical dimensions Terrorism Financing Terrorism Communication
Operational tools Countering of the financial flows Prevention of sensitive targets Counter-terrorism communication strategies
Results Scenario making
Emergencies managing

In particular, ITSTIME research activity aims at analyzing the communication process of terrorism. We monitor the jihad communication, directed by the statement that “terrorism is communication”. The main difference between a terrorist and a criminal is that the latter seeks a symbolic acknowledgement of his action. This means that he is aware of the media system where he proposes himself as the main character. Therefore a study that attempts to understand terrorist actions has to adopt both an integrated and a very direct approach, using communication as an important interpretive filter and framework.
Terrorism is a “communication phenomenon” because terrorists seek out and manage communication. It is therefore imperative to analyze the communication through media research tools. This is even more crucial in a world in which “public opinion”, thanks to real-time updated technologies, plays a key role in orienting political and strategic actions.
In addition, the terrorist attacks in London on July 2005, although could be described as an expected scenario, marked a progressive “palestinisation” or “baghdanisation” of the terrorist question. In the coming years, we will have to respond to this development, throughout the world. As a matter of fact, after July 2005, the risk of terrorism has become a reality for both the local governments and its citizens throughout the world.

ITSTIME experts and researchers have been involved for five years on “missions” in North America, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia and the complex perspective that they have developed deal with the three missions of security, terrorism and crisis. All have led to studies focussed on web-based communication.

ITSTIME for Research, Training and Consulting.