The main threat to UK home security is presented by young alienated Muslims who are under constant surveillance and harassment by the government, but not those citizens who went to Syria or Iraq and came back, political commentator Chris Bambery told RT.
RT: MI5 is worried that extremists are plotting to kill a police officer on the streets of the UK. Is there really a way to prevent such an attack?
Chris Bambery: MI5, MI6 are among the most sophisticated security services in the world, working hand-in-hand with the CIA, the NSA and other American security agencies and they have a track record of stopping this. Britons spend millions of pounds on this and on surveillance. We are one of the most surveyed states in the world, the highest number of CCTV cameras in any country in the world. Yes, it can be stopped.
The question here is that for over a decade under the supported “war on terror” we have seen legislation being passed which simply makes things which were previously illegal, illegal again. It is if you murder someone anywhere in the world, it is murder. You don’t need extra legislation to make that murder again. What we have discovered is not that we just rushed through this legislation but sneaked inside it clauses which allow for instant surveillance on social media, telephone calls, and erosion of liberty.
And the police officers have said this has been going on, this is the price that has to be paid. Well, this has been going on for over a decade, and regards the so-called “war on terror,” and prior to that in terms of what was happening in Northern Ireland and the struggle against the republicans. So we have seen an erosion of civil liberties in this country.
The current scare is about supposed jihadists returning from Syria and Iraq to wage war on our streets. May I just ask this? These people went to Syria, they were under surveillance from MI5, MI6 since the moment they left their home and they are under surveillance from the Turkish secret intelligence at the moment they arrived in Turkey and travelled through it, British intelligence knows who they are, they are not just going to come up to Heathrow Airport and be welcomed back into the country. If they are guilty of war crimes, in they are guilty of murders, there are already laws to apply, and we don’t need new laws. What the threat here is, if there is any threat, is from alienated young Muslims in this country. Tony Blair was warned of this back in 2003 when he took us into the invasion of Iraq, that the domestic terrorism would be the blowback as a consequence of that. Therefore, you have to turn and see that it is the British policy which is to blame.
RT: What makes young Europeans convert to Islam, head to Iraq or Syria and join the jihadists there?
CB: No one defends that but at the same time you have to say that the young Muslims in Europe are very alienated from society, where they have been targeted as the enemy within for over a decade since 9/11. They are subjected to a level of harassment, for instance, in this country stop-and-search by the police. We see these charities being investigated. Ironically, an aid worker beheaded by ISIS was from one of the charities and no one was harassed from the British government. A sense of alienation and a dislike of British foreign policy which saw not just the invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan, but for instance the British are fully supporting the Netanyahu government and the most recent war against Gaza. There is a deep sense of alienation here. Really the question must be asked in Britain “Is it foreign policy that is creating hatred of Britain, and indeed of America, around the globe? Why don’t we pull back from invading different countries, why don’t we pull back from full-scale support of Israel?”, and that might address the question.