Monitoring

From the Chicago Tribune (and here):

In a documentary taped earlier but scheduled to be broadcast Sunday on the BBC, Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorism branch, said that “thousands” of British Muslims are now being monitored by police and intelligence agencies.

And from The Observer:

Police are investigating a network of terror training camps across Britain which they fear are nurturing a new wave of home-grown Islamic extremists. The investigation is linked to raids late on Friday in which anti-terrorism officers arrested 14 people.

Yesterday police also sealed off a school in East Sussex run by an Islamic charity, Jameah Islamiyah, in the grounds of which The Observer understands the jailed cleric Abu Hamza secretly ran terror camps, training young militant Muslim men to use firearms.

A counter-terrorism official described the arrests as part of a ‘new plank’ of attack against Islamic terrorists in Britain, one that targets their ‘upstream’ activities. ‘It is not just about disrupting specific plots,’ the source said. ‘It is about closing down their opportunities to plan these attacks. Those that set up terror training camps are very much in our sights.’

The source said they were not just talking about military-style camps, but bases where religious extremists ‘bonded’ and indoctrination took place preparing young extremists to become suicide bombers.

The source refused to quantify the number of camps they were investigating, but confirmed there were likely to be several around the UK, both in metropolitan areas and remote rural regions.

The Observer understands camps have operated in some of Britain’s most isolated areas including Scotland, Wales and the Lake District. There has long been speculation that Abu Hamza operated a training camp in the Brecon Beacons in Wales and an unknown location in Scotland. At least two of the 7/7 bombers were known to have gone on white water trips in North Wales before their lethal attacks in London, and the use of activity-based training camps are suspected of playing a pivotal role in preparing young extremists.

At first glance this might seem reasonable. But what of the precedent being set? What if it were Jews being monitored and their firearms training being investigated in Germany in 1938? For those that don’t pay that much attention the German Weapons Control Act of 1938 forbid Jews from owning firearms.

I am certain we must Destroy Their Culture. But unless there is some probable cause (does being Muslim constitute probable cause?) I’m uncomfortable with widespread monitoring. Yes, I realize this is the U.K. we are talking about in this case but in many cases restrictions on human rights in the U.K. are a predictor of things to come in the U.S.

2 thoughts on “Monitoring

  1. Two points; There were no official Jewish declarations, or unofficial ones for that matter, so far as I have ever heard, of intent to take over and establish a Jewish world government, and suppress all gentiles as vermin. Several Muslim groups, on the other hand, have openly declared war against Western cultures, to say nothing of their teaching of murderous hatred against all “infidels”. In my opinion it makes good sense to monitor official Muslim activities as much as it made sense to monitor Nazi activities in the U.S. and abroad during the ’30s and ’40s. In any case, I do not believe that there ever has been any presumption of privacy in a church or mosque. Anyone can walk into most any one of them, or so I assume, and find out what’s being preached. Certainly in any of the traditional Christian churches the motto has always been “come one, come all”. I’ve contemplated going into a local Mosque, to find out what’s going on in there during a service, purely out of curiosity. If there is a plan for infiltration of the U.S. by Muslim extremists, and in fact there is, then one never knows what one would see and hear in any mosque anywhere in the States—we are talking about an Islamic movement and mosques are central to it. That’s inescapable no matter how distasteful. Maybe more Brits should have done this a long time ago, and some of the homegrown hogwash might have been exposed sooner. Anyone can monitor what you post on your blog, for example, and that in itself would not be any sort of breach of your civil rights. A mosque is nearly as public as your blog– I don’t think you need a password, a key, or an ID, to get in during prayer time, but maybe I’m wrong. If we’re talking about wire tapping and such, that’s another matter, and should of course be subject to the warrant requirement.

    The jihadi firearms training issue immediately reminded me of Prohibition in the U.S. during the 1920s. Just as prohibition on alcohol created a massive incentive for organized criminals to enter the alcohol trade, prohibition of firearms in the U.K., or anywhere else, creates an incentive for armed criminals by ensuring that their victims will be less likely to resist effectively. Britts, with their firearm prohibitions, are by definition somewhat more vulnerable than we in the U.S..

    Lend-Lease may again become necessary at some stage. The good Britts will be more than welcome to my old, pot-metal .22 pistol when the time comes, assuming there are any Britts left who know what to do with one.

  2. Certainly there is the respected and established issue of confidentiality between a priest and the individual members of his church. Whether this extends to the entire congregation as a whole I have my doubts.

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