UK Terror attacks: The difficult questions

Last night, there was another terrorist attack on the streets of London. This follows the Manchester bombing, and the Westminster attack before that.

The man responsible for the Westminster attack was described as being, ‘known to the security services’.
The man responsible for the Manchester bomb was described as being, ‘known to the security services’.

Although it is too early to speculate at the moment, there is a good chance that the men responsible for last night’s attack will be described as being, ‘known to the security services’.

The head of the counter-terrorism command has stated that it takes thirty officers to maintain constant surveillance on one individual. There are currently some 20,000 individuals in the UK who are described as ‘Subjects of Interest’, regarding terrorism. Keeping tabs on all of these is obviously logistically impossible. So, the attacks will continue, as those responsible for trying to stop them are too few in number to make it possible to stop them all.

Should radicalised Islamist citizens be allowed to continue to spread their words of hate, encourage others to kill innocent people, and go about their business unmolested?
Do we have to wait for them to kill and injure large numbers of people before bringing them to justice for conspiracy in those events? It doesn’t relate to the individuals who carry them out, as they want to die, either by being shot by police, or blowing themselves up.

But those carrying out the attacks are only a small part of a huge organisation of terrorists operating in the UK. Many are well-known to the authorities, but are still allowed to travel freely between the UK and countries like Syria and Libya. Some receive benefit payments as they do not work, and others live normal lives with no apparent source of income. Remote surveillance of their computers, emails, mobile phones, and social media use shows that they are conspiring with others to promote terrorism, and to try to get men to carry out these suicidal attacks on innocent members of the public.

Do these people still deserve their rights in modern Britain? Should free speech and freedom of movement extend to them? Should they be issued with passports, and allowed to travel? Should they be allowed to hire vehicles to use to run over and kill people?

I have no definite answers. But I am beginning to believe that if these attacks are to be stopped, or at least reduced in number, we are going to have to seriously re-examine the tolerance in our society that allows them to happen.
And it is a dark day when I feel compelled to write such words.

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26 comments

  1. Eddy Winko

    It occurred to me the other day that it would be no bad thing to actually let these 20,000 people of interest know that they are people of interest. Make sure they are put through the mill every time they travel and generally give them a tap on the shoulder every now and again. It may, just may, make them think twice if they believe that they might be under surveillance.
    Of course the problems run much deeper and as with most solutions, if we found them, it would take at least a generation to implement them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      They say they don’t have the resources, yet they manage to keep up with the sex offender’s register, all those who have skipped bail, and so on. It will indeed take a long time to change things. I doubt I will be around to see it.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  2. Autumn Cote

    Would you be OK if I cross-posted this article to WriterBeat.com? I’ll be sure to give you complete credit as the author. There iws no fee; I’m simply trying to add more content diversity for our community and I liked what you wrote. If “OK” please let me know via email.

    Autumn
    AutumnCote@WriterBeat.com

    Like

    • beetleypete

      Feel free to re-blog. I have sent a reply saying why I am no longer interested in engaging with your site. However, I am happy for you to ‘spread the word’.
      Regards, Pete.

      Like

  3. arlene

    Same question here Pete, what is happening to the world? A few days ago, a lone man entered brandishing a baby armalite. Authorities said, he was not a terrorist but one who was deranged and stole those chips in millions worth. 36 died of suffocation because he set fire to himself and the gaming room.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. By Hook Or By Book ~ Book Reviews, News, & Other Stuff

    I’m so sorry Pete for what your country is going through right now, and I’m not even going to pretend that I have an answer. Like Doug, I do reflect upon our own shameful history of locking up thousands of Japanese-Americans during WWII, while many of their fathers, sons, grandsons fought for this country. It’s a shaky line between being too PC and infringing on people’s rights. I do think that we’re all failing at keeping up with the technology that these terror groups are using to connect with one another. I don’t know how things are in Britain, but I know our “Watch List” has had more than a few stumbles. We’ve had people getting in (or back in) that shouldn’t be, but we’ve also had innocents targeted. Like I said, I just don’t have an answer.😞

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      Thanks, Kim. It seems that the only answer would be to fight extremism with similar extremism, or unacceptable repression. I don’t want to go down that route, but would support a lot more restrictions on certain people. It is a offence to instigate hate crime by speech here, against religions, national groups, or genders. Yet it is ignored when that hate crime is perpetrated by radical Muslim clerics. The balance is all wrong.
      As my cousin commented below, these are people who throw gay men from tall buildings, and stone rape victims to death in some of their home countries. We should be more wary of the path that this country is taking.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. 2581john

    Hi Pete, terrible but predictable events in London last night. Like many, I watched from the safety of my couch as people ran in fear from pubs I have enjoyed and streets I use frequently. As expected, the media and politicians and police ask the same questions and make the same comments as they have for all the previous attacks. My own pet hate is the nonsense phrase ‘Radical Islam’. I agree with the old adage “Don’t judge a religion on its behaviour when it is weak, judge it on its behaviour when it is strong”. Where Islam can stone to death victims of rape, they do. Where they can throw gay men from rooftops, they do. Floggings? Yep, amputations, yep. Oppression of women, additional taxation for persons of other faiths? Banning non Muslims from holy cities? Yep. Islamic countries are free to choose a more liberal path but they often choose all of the above. These attacks are not the acts of a misguided few, but part of a sliding scale of an hideous religion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      Thanks for your thoughts, Keith. Nicely outlined indeed. We can only hope that such practices never become the norm in this country.
      Take care, and love to all. Pete. x

      Like

      • 2581john

        Further to my first comment Pete, I would say that the correct response (by Gov’t)) to this will be almost impossible to deliver. Much has been made on social media about the reintroduction of internment. This clearly didn’t work the first time and won’t work now. Abu Graib very quickly became a place where various Islamic terrorists could network and plan for the future.
        Stop and search has already been greatly reduced as the British public felt that it was being greatly overused/misused and in some areas campaigned hard to get it stopped. S 44 Terrorism Act 2000 was repealed thus preventing the ‘immediate’ use of search powers and its replacement, which requires much higher level of authorization, has almost been forgotten as a tool. Schedule 7 of the act can allow you to be detained for up to 9 hours on entering and airport. I doubt that will be popular with anyone if it happened to them.
        Legislating against the ‘internet’ is often mentioned but seems to be impossible to enforce due to its global complexity. Alas, low rent ideas in response to low level attacks seems most likely: more bollards, vehicle barriers, more CCTV, more armed police etc. Finding enough police willing to carry guns will be easy. Finding enough police willing to engage with ‘hard to reach’ communities will be much less so. The winning of hearts and minds with the British sense of reasonableness and tolerance is far harder to achieve.
        My worry is that huge areas of our cities will start to look like Israel and when that happens, the terrorist will have effected a cultural change that will be hard to reverse. K

        Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      You make more good points. Internment would be welcomed by these people, as it would create ‘heroes’ in their community, as well as likely sweeping up many ordinary people too. Bollards and barriers will not help either, as we saw at Westminster. Making life difficult for those who live in cities goes a long way to assisting the terrorist’s aims.
      Cheers mate, Pete.

      Like

  6. fragglerocking

    So difficult to know how that could come about. If you’re working behind the counter at rent-a-van, on minimum wage, are you going to want to be held responsible if you hand over the keys to someone who then goes on to run down some pedestrians, how would you even check they were going to do that? Would the ‘persons of interest’ list be given to all van-hire places? Impossible too to inter 20,000 persons of interest, impossible to track them all, we are between a rock and a hard place, with no end in sight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      That’s why I have no real answers, FR. Perhaps a list of all van hirers could be accessed by the Police? Maybe those spouting hatred and murder should be arrested for ‘incitement’ more often? ‘Threats to Kill’ is a criminal offence, after all, and could be used more often than it is. If people are travelling to war-torn Syria, then maybe they should not be allowed back? It is all just fingers in the hole in the dam though, unless the situation changes drastically.
      I fear that political correctness has overwhelmed common sense, and the freedoms that the politicians go on about are being exploited at the cost of innocent lives. I just don’t ever want to read again that someone who has done this was ‘known to the security services’ but allowed to continue with their plans.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Doug (FindingPoliticalSanity.com)

    It’s a tough call, Pete. All societies have social and/or political “holes” in them that can allow stuff like this to happen. What you are feeling now is what we felt when we isolated the Japanese-Americans in WW2. There’s a natural instinct to want to just lock up the bastards causing all the trouble. It’s the old moral question, “What price freedom?”. The only one’s who can answer that are the citizenry of that particular country.
    At the moment over here these events that happen are generally lone wolf mentally whacked persons.. and not coordinated efforts by a disgruntled and disenfranchised Muslim demographic, as seems to be the case over by you. One good thing both our countries have… an intel and law enforcement community that is pretty sharp and very prepared in the followup to quickly evaluate forensic evidence to make arrests very quickly.

    I truly hate to admit this… John Liming and I have very little we agree on, but there might be some merit to engage politically to restrict taking in immigrants, if for no other reason than the fact that geographically there’s not a lot of room in the British Isles. In fact, most of the European countries are severely limited by the geography created by political borders in absorbing a lot of people. The more people bumping elbows tends to lead to more social conflict.

    But here’s an additional sad part to all this. Just when you think the latest savage event is going to be the tipping point “last straw” before public outcry demands action… nothing will happen. It’s almost a forgone “who cares” because the social and political outcomes of doing anything radical is too much to bear. A bunch of terrorists, mostly from Saudi Arabia, take out two skyscrapers and damage the Pentagon.. killing thousands. What do we do? We invade Iraq and Afghanistan… we are stuck there for over a decade putzing around, losing more lives.. and it takes us ten years to kill the mastermind of that attack. What exactly did anyone gain by all that? History isn’t done yet interpreting that question.
    The amazing thing to me is that some clown can go into an elementary school here, shoot up the place and kill 20 children, and absolutely nothing is done to address some level of gun control… or even mental health issues. The shock & awe of those tragedies meant nothing in the prevention of it happening again.

    That’s why I decided some years back, Pete… I certainly don’t have a death wish but if I am ever involved in some incident or event like this… even if it’s some idiot trying to hold up a local Walmart… I’m not running for the door, I will be heading to the action to try and stop the clown(s).. and more likely than not, I will end up dead myself, if for no other reason than I am not young and agile like I used to be. But I will have died trying to defend the peace. In the end, what else is there to do.

    Liked by 3 people

    • beetleypete

      Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Doug. As I said, I don’t have the answers. Invading foreign countries, or more restrictions on immigration, is mainly pointless, as the culprits here are not foreigners or immigrants, but British-born or those who have gained citizenship. My issue is mainly with the security services allowing free reign to these people, held back either by lack of resources, or poor intelligence. Also the reluctance of the communities to supply information about the activities of those in their midst.

      I am not advocating just locking up all undesirables without charge, as that would only create more antagonism from those remaining. But there must be more checks on things like who hires vans, who preaches radicalisation, and who is allowed to freely come and go from hot-spots like Syria and Afghanistan.

      Otherwise, we might just as well hand over the country to them now, and raise their black and white flag over Westminster.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

      • Doug (FindingPoliticalSanity.com)

        Regardless what our idiot president says or does, Pete… you go down then we go down with you. On the other hand… like that last unpleasantness with the Germans, we can work together to pull through. Our Cowboy/John Wayne/Rambo attitude and your stiff upper lip can work again. Trump is not going to last forever.

        Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy

      The last paragraphs in your main comment, Doug, are full of so much truth and wisdom. For the most part, Saudis carried out the 9/11 attacks, and then Iraq and Afghanistan copped the punishment. It was a recipe for creating new fanatics—mostly those who are young, vulnerable and feeling disenfranchised. The challenge is to figure out how to engage these youths (who are already here, there and everywhere) and try to get them on the right side of civilisation and to feel valued in their communities.

      I saw a documentary last week about a woman in Africa who is teaching kids to knit to keep them out of street gangs. She’s taught more than 100 and the kids are thrilled to be gaining a skill and enjoying companionship. We need some lateral thinkers on the job.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Doug (FindingPoliticalSanity.com)

        Thx, Peggy. You hit it on the head. To echo another… “it takes a village.” I can’t help but wonder what exactly the Muslim community is doing that matches the example being set by the Good Samaritan in Africa you just cited.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. John Liming

    I have studied the following question you posed on “Red Flag Flying” —- “Do these people still deserve their rights in modern Britain? Should free speech and freedom of movement extend to them? Should they be issued with passports, and allowed to travel? Should they be allowed to hire vehicles to use to run over and kill people?” —- and I will answer it with a question of my own: “Should the government issue guns, ammunition and permits to carry a weapon top every known felon, gangster and ne’er do well” under the pretext of protecting Liberty for all?” If the government knows about these things and continues to allow them to happen then the government becomes complicit in every act of terror the suspects carry out.

    Liked by 2 people

    • beetleypete

      Thanks for your thoughts, John. Gun ownership is not really an issue in the UK, but very relevant in America of course.
      Attacks here rarely involve guns, rather domestic kitchen knives, easily available to all.
      I was addressing the issue of restricting freedoms, and imprisonment on suspicion, things the government here will undoubtedly shy away from. Difficult times indeed, giving me conflicting thoughts.
      Regards, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      • John Liming

        The more migrants and immigrants the government allows to come in the greater the terrorist problem will become. Mark my words.

        Liked by 1 person

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