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    We need a dedicated department / advisor on terrorism

    by Sunny on 3rd February, 2010 at 9:49 AM    

    Alternatively titled ‘Keith Vaz makes a sensible suggestion shock!’, this article in the Washington Post makes interesting reading:

    Britain needs a U.S.-style national security adviser to report to Prime Minister Gordon Brown on terrorist threats, a committee of lawmakers said Tuesday in a report that made unusually sharp criticisms of the country’s approach to security. Parliament’s Home Affairs select committee said Britain’s government had been too slow to adapt to an evolving threat from terrorism and complained that key strategic decisions are often made in informal meetings, rather than by a publicly accountable security panel.

    The bizarre thing is that I’ve not seen any of this coverage here. But yes, I think that’s a good idea. The committee is led by Keith Vaz, believe it or not. He’s not just sitting around looking for the next video game to ban.

    In its report, the committee said it had until recently been unaware of the weekly security meeting. “The lack of public awareness of its existence is troubling,” the lawmakers said. “The public have a right to know who is protecting them from terrorist threats and in turn, those protecting the public should expect to be accountable.”

    Britain’s system of control orders, a system of curfews used to curtail the movements of terror suspects who can’t be brought to trial without revealing sensitive intelligence, is no longer appropriate, the committee said. “It is fundamentally wrong to deprive individuals of their liberty without revealing why,” the panel’s report added.

    In fact I can’t disagree with any of those recommendations. Interestingly, the Tories plan to set up a US style department of Homeland Security here - which may be the only useful idea in their manifesto. There are several reasons, mentioned above, why such a specific dept would be useful. Now. Any thoughts on why it may not be a good idea?

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    Filed in: Terrorism

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    1. Chris — on 3rd February, 2010 at 10:35 AM  

      Where’s the sense in this? It’s just more climate of fear bullshit. We don’t need a special anything to cope with the absolutely minute threat from terrorism. One British aircraft has been attacked by terrorists in our entire history and that was 40 years ago. Nutters armed withe exploding pants are not a terrorist threat. They’re funny. Now stop taking this nasty authoritarian government’s ridiculous scaremongering at all seriously. It doesn’t deserve it.

    2. Cauldron — on 3rd February, 2010 at 10:40 AM  

      Is this the same Keith Vaz who once turned up at an event that had distinct pro-LTTE overtones?


    3. platinum786 — on 3rd February, 2010 at 11:26 AM  

      What difference would a chief advisor make? Apart from the BS rather than coming from all directions would come from him specifically.

      There are endless examples of why this government firstly will not work to reduce terrorism, and secondly even if it wanted to, wouldn’t know where to begin.

      A few issues;

      1. Causes of terrorism. More often than not the terrorists themselves state British foreign policy. I accept that you can’t change foreign policy at gunpoint, unless your a Muslim country and the person weilding the gun is WASP.

      However if you ask the groups the terrorists originate from they’ll say the same thing. The Irish didn’t like British foreign policy in Ireland, the Muslim world is not a fan of it either. It’s all good and proper pointing at the puppet dictators installed and supported across the Muslim world (from the Kings to Karzai to Cairo), however even the stupidest people know, not all the ffuzzy wuzzy’s appreciate the British/american influence in the Muslim world. What has been done to even affect the perception of this, let alone the reality? Instead we got the Iraq war.

      Identifying terrorists. The government can spend resources putting away morons with placards, sad emo-esque girls writing poor quality poetry on the back of till recpeits, internet warriors who came across Jihadi forums, Brummie Junkies who thought when stoned (probably) it’d be a quick cash raiser to behead a soldier, but lo and behold, every time a real plot is being worked on, they fail. look at 7/7, the Glasgow airport attacks, intelligence services claim they were aware of the attacks, but never prevented them. Instead they shot a Brazillian fella, “your brown enough, take that!”.

      Perhaps we have a problem with because of the amount of clutter in the intelligence services and their pool of suspects. I have a cousin who travelled to Pakistan for his sisters wedding, went to spain later on the same year, Pakistani intelligence services turned up at the door at his family home in Pakistan, to investigate his background. If your going to investigate every Paki who goes back home, your never going to catch terrorists. The irony of the matter is he’s more likely to be sent to prison for fighting in a night club that for JEEEEEHad.

      Look at the latest genius scheme, to install fully body scanners in airports, apparently Al queda have conveneintly announced they’ll be installing bombs surgically into bodies of terrorists, so where next? Post Mortems before we get on planes? Maybe we’ll all have to swallow cameras etc? Stronger Xrays?

      Also check how they get their information nowadays, by browsing jihadi forums. If you and me know, do you think they don’t know that? Do you think it’s unlikely they’re posting disinformation? Or using private message functions to send mission plans rather than posting them on public forums?!

      I’ve posted stuff on this very blog that idiots in government would probably think makes me a terrorist suspect at least, let me assure you, i’ve got better things to do than blowing myself up, like wanking for example, or scratching my arse.

      The government truly is inept when it comes to terrorism, i don’t see how having a head honcho will help.

    4. soru — on 3rd February, 2010 at 4:39 PM  

      The Irish didn’t like British foreign policy in Ireland

      I think you’ll find it was more that they _wanted_ it to be a matter of foreign policy…

      The reality of the situation is that the threat of serious terrorism in the UK largely comes from it being sponsored, as a matter of foreign policy, by certain factions of the ruling classes in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Some of that is done covertly, some by factions currently in exile, like bin Laden.

      Given those two countries are nominally our allies, you will search long and hard for someone official admitting that obvious truth.

      It will reduce further (it’s really not that high) if and when those elites come to a collective decision it is not in their self-interest to sponsor violent intervention over here.

      Something similar happened in NI in the early 1970s: the rulers of the Republic came to a collective decision that taking over the north was a bit of a stupid plan. It took a few decades for their proxies to die off once abandoned, but you can hardly run a successful military campaign off donations in a pub.

    5. AsifB — on 3rd February, 2010 at 8:22 PM  

      Soru - interesting link to Irish gov papers, but you’re seriously misrepresenting Irish nationalism by describing the Prov IRA (or Officials for that matter) as ‘proxies of the republic.’ They were no such thing, theres a civil war and 50 years of history to prove that fact - plus any reading of the papers suggests if anything a “leave it to the Brits to keep the peace view” - dictated if for no other reason by the small size of the Irish Army.

      As for your statement that “you can hardly run a successful military campaign from donations in a pub,”
      I’d suggest that by making Sinn Fein essential to any peacemaking process and killing hundreds of British soldiers, donations to a few hundred men from pubs from Boston to Kilburn - were actually partially successful - I’m with Paul McCartney that “Giving Ireland back to the Irish” and protesting abuses of civil rights was always a good thing but terrorism and violence against British occupation was morally unjustified - given the always free movement across borders and dual voting rights enjoyed by UK and Irish citizens which never came under any threat throughout the 20th century there wasn’t sufficient reason - which helps explainswhy during the Troubles most Irish nationalists (Catholics) rejected Sinn Fein and largely voted SDLP - might have been different of course if the UK had adopted an Israeli response by sending the RAF to Dublin in the 70s…

      Will agree with Soru that elements in the ‘allied’ states of Saudi and Pakistan are sponsors of jihadi terrosim, but even if they disappeared, there is as Platinum explains already enough on the internet and in the news for (a few deluded) individual UK citizens to brainwash themsleves into terrorist acts.

      And no amount of verbiage from Keith Vaz will change that - as I mentioned above the PIRA was on many indicators rather successful in its violence and some British attiudes and actions (like Bloody Sunday/Internment) contributed to their coffers BUT because (the occasional SAS hit squad aside,) the UK was largely lawful and did not take an Israeli style response approach (closing borders/ bombing Dublin/Kilburn/Liverpool/Glasgow….) to Irish terrorists, the vast majority of Irish nationalist people in both John Bull’s islands did not support the IRA.

      Anyhoo - as for Sunny’s original question asking for reasons why a US style Dept of Homeland of National Security, I don’t have space/time but can offer:
      1) There’s already a lot of money spent on security services and the “Prevent Violent Extremism” pork barrel trough - some of what the security services achieve is no doubt essential to safeguarding British citizens (eg; spooks and Wire intercepts) - but the throwing of money around community organisations is self evidently wasteful/divisive and pointless in that it won’t change the minds of the already brainwashed - just because a lot of highly paid managers and consultants may say some half baked PVE ideas (like getting teachers to ‘identify’ 11 year old potential Jihadis in Waltham Forest) are worth trying, does not mean they are worth trying. It only proves there is budget line and funds to be applied for and spent.

      2)In Children of Men, Clive Owen goes to a British Department of Homeland Security camp in Bexhill. Do you really want that on your conscience?

      As I’ve suggested above, part of the UK’s success in mainataining community cohesion (to use the poncey noughties term) when IRA terrorists were polarising opinion, was a large dose of common sense and “carrying on usual” (the odd miscarriage of justice excepted) - An Orwellian programme with vague goals of changing thoughts or unmeasurable targets is a departure from what’s worked in the past - and still lest we forget largely serves us well.

      3) Suicide bombers of the apocalyptic bent that people may fear on the tube are hardly likley to inspire imitators provided society remains calm and orderly - which is surely way in the UK post 7/7 attempts seem largely to be limited to the self deluded (Detroit nigerian) and incompetent (Glasgow airport, Exeter etc)

      - PS SUNNY Isn’t journalism suppossed to be about telling ‘truth to power’?
      Opining that Mr Vaz might have had an idea doesn’t really do it for me, I’m afraid. Goodbye.

    6. Rumbold — on 3rd February, 2010 at 8:29 PM  

      A department of terrorism wouldn’t really do anything though. It would duplicate functions (e.g. Mi5), and would result in more officials and more bureaucracy. In truth, there isn’t enough terrorism in this country (whether foiled or carried out) to justify a separate department. In terms of foiling attacks, the present system works pretty well. In rooting out longer-term causes, a new department wouldn’t do any better.

    7. joe90 — on 3rd February, 2010 at 10:18 PM  

      F**k keith vaz the fraudster who was selling dodgy visas and passports only few years ago. Why copy the americans the most bloodthirsty terror nation in history.

    8. Martin Sullivan — on 6th February, 2010 at 3:11 PM  

      Anyone remeber Vaz and ‘Satanic VErses’ cos i do/

      The Aden-born Vaz wants some front page coverage and camera time.

      His clever idea amounts to this:

      A big quango consuming lots of money to suck up to implacable people who detest Western values and who think that the spiritual culture of Waziristan is immeasurably superior to that of Britain and that it is only some odd and quite inexplicable oversight on the part of Big Al upstairs that has made kuffar countries far better places to live than all the Trashkanistans put together.

    9. Martin Sullivan — on 6th February, 2010 at 3:14 PM  

      There are bigoted people who seem to think Vaz is an unscrupulous piece of pooh, including the people who wrote this:


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