Crevice Revisited: Violent Extremism and the British Secret State
In April 2007, five British Muslims were sent to jail, in each case for at least twenty years under anti-terrorism legislation. Their crimes were said to be heinous – planning to set off explosive devices in packed nightclubs and shopping centres, plotting to poison burger vans at football matches and even contemplating the assassination of the Prime Minister. So wicked were their intentions that the presiding judge in the case warned them that they may never be released.
It seemed that the British public had dodged a bullet. Efficient intelligence and police work had quashed a plot that could have murdered hundreds. Justice had been served on a group of men who posed a pressing danger to society.
However, a closer examination of what was instantly labelled the “fertiliser bomb” case suggests that this is incorrect. Although the plotters may have been genuine, strong evidence suggests that at all stages of their activity, intelligence agencies monitored their progress. Not only were they monitored, but evidence also suggests that their training and preparation was facilitated by individuals who now enjoy protection by the British state. This raises serious questions about the relationship between the British government and terrorist networks.
It also raises questions about the extent of state surveillance, which has expanded under the cover of the “war on terror.” The intelligence agencies rarely have to justify their activities, but Operation Crevice exposes fundamental flaws in their internal workings. Hopefully, this report will provide ammunition for those who seek accountability, openness, honesty and reform.
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