how language is shaping social dynamics is important inquiry
your inquiry into the influence of language and definitions on public policy has the potential to deliver valuable insights. philosophical writings like those of Nietzsche in 'Twilight of the Idols' and related works can be very informing; e.g. on the issue of defining terrorism, as you have already pointed out;
"“an action in itself is quite devoid of value ; the whole question is this: who performed it? One and the same ” crime ” may, in one case, be the greatest privilege, in the other infamy. As a matter of fact, it is the selfishness of the judges which interprets an action (in regard to its author) according as to whether it was useful or harmful to themselves (or in relation to its degree of likeness or unlikeness to them).”— Nietzsche on ‘Morality’ and ‘Herd Behaviour’ in ‘The Will to Power’.
nietzsche's further analysis shows how this herd behaviour that comes from accepting the authority's definition of 'terrorism', runs deeper than this; i.e. the herd (the general public in an authoritarian system) is controlled by discursive reason built into the political rhetoric of the authorities (politicians).
many people 'buy in' to solid reasoning and the moral judgement that follows on from it, as with the forensic science that proves that a person 'did it' and 'is guilty of an offense' and the reasoning goes on to say that 'the guilty offender should be punished', implying that society that is doing the judging is the 'innocent victim' of the harm caused by the guilty offender. all of this is, everyday, swallowed and digested by the herd; i.e. by the good and moral citizens of democratic states.
if one studies the differences between native languages and english or the 'SAE' (standard average European) noun-and-verb languages, one discovers how we [the herd] can be fooled by the SAE belief in 'reason' and 'morality'. if we were putting intuition and restoring balance and harmony into their natural precedence over reason and morality, our society would be transforming, relationally, rather than standing its ground (maintaining its righteousness, goodness and innocence) under the press of change-agents/dissidents, rather than condemning them and incarcerating them and, in effect, 'scape-goating them' for the dissonance arising between citizens and citizens..
there are two important concepts that are used to construct a 'semantic reality'; ... a 'reality' agreed through reasoned discourse, that does not reconcile with the physical reality of our experience and that achieves this 'scape-goating'. these 'two important concepts are 'categories' and 'events'.
categories impute 'being' to 'activities'. for example, a terrorist is defined on the basis of 'terrorist activity'. so the author of a terrorist act is a 'terrorist human being'. but language goes even further; i.e. a group can be defined as a 'terrorist group' on the basis of a terrorist act that one or more members of the group were involved in. now, although the definition of 'terrorist' started from an activity, it now defines a category, terrorist, in terms of being a member of a terrorist group. this is sufficient for getting a surprise visit from a drone. its the same technique used by Al Qaida and ISIS, called 'takfiri' where you define a category whose members are evil and who deserve to be neutralized. the category of rebel or dissident was no good because it has a romantic and inspiring sense to it. the category of criminal or terrorist removes the notion that one is pushing back from being 'provoked' by the establishment and implies that the authorship of the violent action is jumpstart authored by the individual, a member of a category which is NOT the same category as that which good, innocent people, victims of unprovoked harmful action are included in.
[cultures that don't have categories in their language architecture do not have the categories offender and victim and do not set up their justice process as a win/lose exercise between 'state' (victim) VERSUS 'accused' (offender), but continue to include all parties as members of one and the same community, and the justice exercise is to restore balance and harmony in the relational social dynamic of community. aka 'restorative justice']
ok, in addition to categories being a bogus 'hidden convention' included in 'reasoned rhetoric' that the public buys into, there is the concept of an 'event'. there is no such thing in the physical reality of our natural experience as an 'event'. the event is a concept used in constructing a 'semantic reality' that is the 'operative reality' of Western authoritarian communities. the 'event' is local in space and time, meaning that it has a beginning and ending and transpires in a particular place. Western justice and law enforcement orients to 'events' such as 'criminal acts' and 'terrorist acts'. If the authoritarian regime is oppressive to minorities within it, those experiencing the oppression from the authoritarian regime/society, or who have friends and/or family who are, may endure it without 'push back' against the establishment. the pushing back may lead to an intensifying of the oppression which may lead to an intensifying of the pushing back which may lead to an intensifying of the oppression, which may, ... yada, yada, yada.
this pattern says that there is a physical phenomenon here that must be understood in terms of its progressive development, but the justice system investigates 'events' , so even if the terrorist events rise from 25 to 50 to 200 as the oppressive regime intensifies its oppression in response to pushback, the Western system of justice AND forensic science is based on the scientific notion of an 'event'. this is what differential calculus also uses to eliminate 'bias' as in steady pressure/oppression. here's how;
“Origin of Mathematical Physics. Let us go further and study more closely the conditions which have assisted the development of mathematical physics. We recognise at the outset the efforts of men of science have always tended to resolve the complex phenomenon given directly by experiment into a very large number of elementary phenomena, and that in three different ways.
First, with respect to time. Instead of embracing in its entirety the progressive development of a phenomenon, we simply try to connect each moment with the one immediately preceding. We admit that the present state of the world only depends on the immediate past, without being directly influenced, so to speak, by the recollection of a more distant past. Thanks to this postulate, instead of studying directly the whole succession of phenomena, we may confine ourselves to writing down its differential equation; for the laws of Kepler we substitute the law of Newton.
Next, we try to decompose the phenomena in space. What experiment gives us is a confused aggregate of facts spread over a scene of considerable extent. We must try to deduce the elementary phenomenon, which will still be localised in a very small region of space. — Henri Poincaré, ‘Science and Hypothesis’, Chapter IX, Hypotheses in Physics”
scientific reasoning [e.g. CSI] is very important to authoritarian regimes to focus attention on the 'author of disturbing events'. it promotes blindness to a regime's ongoing historical oppressive treatment of minorities, by using this concept of an 'event', as if it were physically real [IT IS NOT], together with the concept of 'category' as if it were physically real [IT IS NOT]. so, science will assume that the causal authorship of a violent event is local-in-space-and-time. of course oppressive regimes are oppressive in a manner that is dispersed over space and time kind of like applying the heat so that at some point people are popping off like popping corns. The 'event' is the local-in-space-and-time 'popping off' so it must be true that the individual 'corn' is responsible and no-one else.
both of these idealized [not-real] concepts of 'categories of being' and 'events in local space and time] arise in the constructing of a 'semantic reality' which authoritarian regimes employ as 'the operative reality' [which is NOT the physical reality of our actual experience; i.e. our experience intuition understands how physical phenomena have a progressive development that is not captured in 'events'].
the 'category' is a concept used to separate out a community member who is in a push-pull relation within his community so as to be able to analyze his actions in a non-relational manner; i.e. as actions that are fully and solely coming from him in his guise as a member of a 'category' rather than as a member of the community.
the 'event' is a concept that isolates actions to a small local-in-space-and-time window, which eliminates from consideration or view, a long-standing condition of oppression [relational tensions imposed by the regime which humiliate and disempower/suffocate minorities]. the 'event'. of course the physical reality of our actual, natural experience includes the long period of humiliating oppression, but Western 'semantic reality' puts 'events' before the continuous development of physical phenomena;
"Instead of embracing in its entirety the progressive development of a phenomenon, we simply try to connect each moment with the one immediately preceding. We admit that the present state of the world only depends on the immediate past, without being directly influenced, so to speak, by the recollection of a more distant past. "
so, your intuition to investigate 'language and context' is a good one. there are insights to be gained through such investigation which shed light on how authoritarian regimes use 'reason' and 'science' and 'moral judgement' to construct a 'semantic reality' wherein the authorship of 'the event' is seen as one-sided or 'zero baseline' as in differential calculus rather than 'relative' [rebel-regime coincidence of opposites]. That is, a regulatory system that searches for 'disturbing events' can't tell the difference between a truly zero baseline or a steady negative bias. this goes back to the fact that 'events' do not exist in the physical reality of our actual, natural experiencing of a transforming relational continuum. an event is a structure in 'semantic reality'.
you are right to question how language is being used to bamboozle the masses and scapegoat the dissidents; ... dissidents that we need to help bring about needed societal transformation.