In the wake of recent terrorists’ attacks in Britain, claims have been made by members of the public that Salman Abedi, the Manchester Bomber and 27yr old Pakistan-born British citizen Khuram Butt, one of the three attackers on London Bridge were reported to the police anti-terror unit.
While the police have denied receiving any such report about Abedi, despite claims by Didsbury Mosque but Khuram Butt apparent brandishing and worshipping an ISIS flag in public, on camera, at a London park and featuring in a fly on the wall documentary “The Jihadi next door” by Channel 4, was enough evidence that the authorities were aware of him and this have not been denied either.
So what happened?
The issue, however, is that, even if the authorities were aware of these two individuals as potentially dangerous people, what can the authorities do? Apart from the fact that authorities are carrying out 500 ongoing investigations into 3000 individuals and having additional 23000 on the counter-terrorism watch, the sort of numbers that will stretch any police force, you cannot prosecute or lock someone up when they have not committed a crime.
The word “suspicion” of been radicalised is key.
The Government’s prevent programme designed to identify and help vulnerable individuals from radicalisation was criticised by some MPs and some Muslims, claiming it is counterproductive, intrusive, create a sense of isolation and even open people up to radicalisation. If a programme costing the
If a programme costing the taxpayers between £40-£46m per year with the primary aim of helping vulnerable individuals can be criticised, how much more opposition would any strategy to monitor and deter the 23000 current suspect have?
This figure of people under terror watch seems to be a conservative estimate. Rachid Redouane, another one of London Bridge attackers was not known to the authorities, or at least by the information we have so far. Thus how much more are not known, not under the authorities radar?
Several strategies have been proposed and amended from the year 2000 to current time, however, with several attacks recorded by these terrorists, particularly three in the space of 10 weeks, one can argue that these strategies have either not worked, or rather their concepts cannot match the current style of terrorism. While these various strategies are designed to stop well planned,
While these various strategies are designed to stop well planned, high-tech attacks, mainly by intercepting communications and high-level surveillances, the types of attacks we have witnessed does not have to be planned over a long time, does not require a lot of money and neither does it require a lot of communications over the phones and internet, it just requires a determined and sick individual or set of individuals with warped ideologies.
It is even worse because the whole process can be planned and executed within an extremely short amount of time. Furthermore, end to end encryption on different messaging applications such as Whatsapp and Telegram even makes interception difficult if not impossible
Furthermore, an end to end encryption on different messaging applications such as Whatsapp and Telegram even makes interception difficult if not impossible.
How Anti-terror laws have changed since the year 2000
Terrorism Act 2000, a legislation introduced by the then Labour government giving police the power to detain suspected terrorist for up to 7 days.
Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, a legislation passed following the 9/11 attack on New York giving authorities powers to indefinitely detain foreign terrorists.
Fourteen-day detention in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 allowing police to question suspected terrorist for 14day.
All the above have since oppositions.
however, the greatest opposition to Anti-terror law was against the Control order.
- Control order Places restrictions on what a person can use or possess, their place of work, place of residence, whom they speak to, and where they can travel.
- Furthermore, the person can be ordered to surrender their passport, let the police visit their home at any time, report to officials at a specific time and place, and allow themselves to be electronically tagged so their movements can be tracked.
- The current Anti-terror law TPims introduced by the then Home Secretary and now prime minister Theresa May, designed to replace the control order have been described as “control order lite” by civil right groups and not effective by others.
In order words, there is no measure that would have 100% consensus across the country, but I suspect, any measure that keeps the public safe even though may be criticised as hard-line or intrusive by some groups would be welcome right now
One thing, however, is certain, if civil rights, rights to privacy, freedom of expressions and all the various other values we so cherish are to be maintained, untouched and unchallenged by the authorities, we will continue to be vulnerable to these attacks, and NO, am not advocating for eradication of anyone of these rights, if anything, we should protect them with everything we have, but at the same time, we should have at the back of our minds that some of them weaken our defences, as they prevent the authorities to do no more than watch until the next lunatic strikes. It even appeared the police are better at reactive measures than preventive ones, which can be attested to by their
The police are better at reactive measures than preventive ones, which can be attested to by their quick-fire response to the London Bridge attack needing the only 8min from the initial 999 call to bringing down the assailants.
I will not end without sending out our condolences to everyone affected by recent atrocities and especially appreciate the police forces for an incredible work they continue to do, stories of foiled attacks are not lost on us! As the losers, to borrow President’s Trump word, only need to get lucky few times, we have to double down and be lucky all the time if possible, hence improve our preventive measures.
In conclusion, under the current situation, could the authority have done more to stop Salman Abedi and Khuram Butt? I don’t know, investigations are still ongoing but one of the outcomes of these events is that Things cannot remain the same and actually, maybe they should not.