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Saturday, September 02, 2006 

More raids. More surveillance. More lies.

Peter Clarke, the head of Scotland Yard's anti-terror unit, has been speaking out again. This time, talking to Peter Taylor for part of his investigation into Islamic extremism and its roots, he said that police are watching "thousands of people". He expanded:

"Not just terrorists not just attackers but the people who might be tempted to support or encourage," he said.

It seems then that the police and security services are openly acknowledging that they are returning to the bad old days of the 70s and 80s. This time, instead of targeting vaguely leftist campaigning groups and various Trots and commies (such as err, Peter Mandelson and Jack Straw), they'll no doubt be going after any Muslim grouping (and other sympathetic political organisations), of which there are plenty springing up. MI5 claims that it only has around 3,000 active files on individuals in the UK, which seems a suspiciously low figure. As a whole, the organisation claims that it has files on 272,000 people, of which about half it says are considered closed.

Paranoia? Maybe. Then again, you perhaps ought to take the words of a man who has been awarded the OBE for his part in the response to the 7/7 attacks with a pinch of salt. After all, he said the following about the "ricin plot":

This was a hugely serious plot because what it had the potential to do was to cause real panic, fear, disruption and possibly even death. This was no more, no less than a plot to poison the public."

Err, yes. Just a few problems: there was no ricin. Bourgass's plans to smear the ricin they didn't have (which wouldn't have been strong enough even if he had managed to manufacture it) on doorknobs and car door handles would have failed because ricin needs to pierce the skin. Potential panic? Yes. Hugely serious? No. Plot to poison the public? The idea was there, but would have been next to impossible to achieve. When even the police are wildly exaggerating the actual threat posed by terror, you know that something's going wrong.

Last night's raids, which have so far triggered no hysterical statements from politicians or police, ought to be seen in this light.

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You know, it's as if these things are times to get bad news about the governemnt out of the meedjja...

PS. You've been memed!

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