Introduction In the early hours of the morning on 26 November 1988, the managing director of Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) received a phone call. Militant landowners, he was told, had begun a campaign of industrial sabotage directed towards shutting BCL’s lucrative copper and gold mine in the Panguna region of central Bougainville, an island province over 500 km off the Papua New Guinea (PNG) mainland. Over the coming months, the mine would become the focus of a complex struggle in which the PNG state would undertake the first major counterinsurgency campaign in the nation’s history, sponsored and encouraged by BCL and the regional hegemon Australia. PNG security force tactics included the burning of villages, extra-judicial killings, the harassment and torture of villagers, journalists and politicians, as well as the progressive installation of a blockade around Bougainville that was ‘tighter than that placed around Saddam Hussein’s Iraq’ (Spriggs 1992: 13). When this war formally ceased in 1998, between 5,000 and 20,000 people had died, the majority of whom were civilians. Since the military tactics employed in this counterinsurgency campaign fit within the rubric of state terrorism – that is they involved the state directing extreme violence at particular categories of civilians, in order to communicate a general message to the civilian population as a whole – this chapter will focus on identifying and defining the basic social conditions in which state terrorism became a cogent political practice for state actors in PNG. To begin this task, I will provide a brief overview of PNG’s historical development before shifting to a more condensed narrative that plots the key moments of the counterinsurgency campaign during 1988-90.