Efforts at regulating terrorism so far illustrate one central fact: the lack of balance between our conception of terrorism as applied by the individual practitioner and our conception of terrorism as practiced by government officials. The balance seems weighted in favor of governments even in those pathological cases where the patients had been rather unceremoniously treated for their allergies to dictatorship. Government in some cases control, in others influence, the sources of information concerned with national security. Stigmatization of sometime legitimate resistance - labeling it as "terrorist" - deprived such protests of legitimacy and protection. The people in power, the governments of the day, then had a free hand to deal with domestic opposition as they wished.
Caleb M. Pilgrim, Terrorism in National and International Law, 8 Penn St. Int'l L. Rev. 147 (1990).