Surveillance State UK: Radicalization, who is monitoring the monitors?

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Is British govt promoting Stasi type spying on citizens

(Image from film, “The Lives of Others”)

On 25th June 2015, ITV reported on one of the British government initiatives to tackle radicalization, which is defined in the Prevent Strategy as “the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism.” ITV highlighted that, preventing young people from being groomed into terrorism – will become the responsibility of schools and colleges for the first time next week”. They went on to report,

“The subject has become more prominent after a Yorkshire family left their home on a pilgrimage and then fled to Syria.

Today, the counter terrorism and extremism team from Humberside Police has been briefing teachers and lecturers about their new responsibilities, and how to spot the signs of those being radicalised.”

See following video ITV video link,

http://www.itv.com/news/calendar/update/2015-06-25/police-brief-teachers-how-to-spot-signs-of-radicalisation/

However though as Humberside police point out, their biggest problem is far-right extremism,

There have been mixed reactions to the increased power of the “surveillance state” and moral, legal, social implications have been widely debated. Initiatives appear more aimed at spying on Muslims than anyone else in society. Parents reacted angrily to Waltham Forest Council when it was discovered that they were piloting a scheme to circulate questionnaires to children as young as 9 to try to detect radicalization. As the BBC highlighted this included questions on “how much they trust the police and people from another race or religion” and they were also asked “whether they agree that it is acceptable to marry someone from outside their race or religion and whether women are just as good as men at work.”

Male GP in patient consultation, looking up digital medical records

Will GPs be expected to spy on their patients? (Image Guardian)

There have also been moves for GPs to monitor patients for signs of radicalization. As Paul Joseph Watson reported for InfoWars in 2014,

“doctors in Britain are being forced to become state snitches and spot “radical” patients under an NHS initiative that threatens to cut funding if a GP practice fails to take part in the program.

Under the new NHS England policy, every GP practice must send a member of staff on the “Prevent” counter terrorism course, during which they are trained to detect patients who are ” vulnerable to radicalization,” before notifying authorities.”

One question not discussed so often is who will monitor the monitors, the doctors, the teachers and other professions? Should pupils be monitoring those that guide their learning asking if they have read Anders Breivik’s manifesto or partake in jihadi forums? Should patients be checking out their doctors’ views to assess whether they are sympathetic to Pegida or Al Qaeda whilst having their blood pressure monitored? Where does surveillance start and end?

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Ryan McGee owned terrorist literature, made a bomb in his bedroom (image, Daily Mail)

It is not only students and young pupils in danger of developing extreme views… what about radicalized professionals? I pointed this out in an earlier article where I highlighted the case of former soldiers such as Ryan McGee, 20, who previously served with 5th Battalion The Rifles at a UK Base in Germany now jailed for 2 years for constructing a nail bomb containing shrapnel in his bedroom. The Guardian identified James Hughes, from Reading, Berkshire and Jamie Read from Newmains, north Lanarkshire allegedly working as mercenaries in Rojavs, Syria fighting alongside the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, the YPG defending Kobani. To add to concerns, Channel 4 had earlier raised the question in a report, “are British soldiers joining the English Defence League?”

https://activist1.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/terrorism-radicalized-soldiers-what-are-the-dangers-at-home-and-abroad/

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Mohammad Siddique Khan worked in a school (image Telegraph)

There are a number of well documented cases where those working in our schools and NHS had become radicalized themselves. Mohammad Siddique Khan one of the 7/7 bombers worked as a primary school teaching assistant and youth worker. As  the BBC reported,

“his role at the school was that of “learning mentor”, working with children who were struggling with their work, as well as those with behavioural problems.

He was highly regarded by both teachers and parents, showing a real talent for encouraging difficult children, many of whom viewed him as a role model.”

If we reflect back to 2007, Bilal Abdulla one of the men involved in the Glasgow bomb plot was an NHS doctor born in Buckinghamshire who was brought up in Iraq. As the BBC notes, Abdulla was later found guilty of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions.

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Former NHS doctor, Tariq Ali joined Taliban

Then there was British surgeon Tariq Ali who was struck off by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) fled abroad and joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (TTP JA). He later died in a US drone strike, see following link,

“Anjem Choudary writes obituary for former NHS doctor who joined Taliban”

https://activist1.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/anjem-choudary-writes-obituary-for-former-nhs-doctor-who-joined-taliban/

Let us not forget Tareq Kamleh, (also known as  Abu Yusuf) an Australian doctor who appeared in promotional video urging western doctors to join the Islamic State (IS) equivalent of the NHS. Back in April, the Guardian ran a story of how nine British medics, born and raised in UK that had studied in Sudan, had entered the territory of IS illegally and were believed to be working in hospitals in the region. In June, the Mail reported that one of these medics believed to be Tamer Ahmed Ebu Sebah (nom de guerre Abu Amir al-Muhajir) also appeared in an IS video representing doctors and medical council in wilayat al-Kheir (Deir Ezzor province) in the Islamic State.

So who should be monitored and how far should monitoring go? Will Britain morph into a Stasi-like state so chillingly portrayed in the 2006 German film, “The Lives of Others” see following clip,

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Should teachers be under permanent surveillance? (Image Birmingham Mail)

If teachers are to spy on pupils, should students also shop their teachers? It appears that teachers are already being subjected to “permanent surveillance”, with school leaders monitoring CCTV footage” in relation to performance according to the NASUWT teaching union. Should students join in the surveillance and check out their teachers’ behaviour?

Will we have another Mao-like system where professionals will be sent to away for “re-education”. There is a balance between preventing terrorism and over the top surveillance. Even as I am speaking measures are being put in place to tackle extremist radicalization within British universities, prisons, councils and public health trusts. RT details the government thinking,

“using divisive and hawkish language, the guidance says radicalized Islamic extremists view “western intervention” in Muslim-majority states as a “war with Islam.” It says this reasoning creates “a narrative of ‘them’ and ‘us.’”

See following link,

“Counter-terror law forces prisons, councils, universities to tackle radicalization”

http://rt.com/uk/270724-counter-terror-act-2015/

Except it isn’t just extremists that think this way, thousands upon thousands marched against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, realizing the problems that could follow, but were ignored. Where is the government accountability for war in Iraq, no sign of Chilcott report. What mess have foreign forces left behind in Afghanistan. It seems everyone must be accountable but those who actually govern us.

Now it seems the government wants a war with its own people, as well as a war with Islam. Those in power fear the truth therefore they must crush questioning voices. There is only one narrative and that is the government narrative, this is what so called “democracy” and “human rights” has come to in the UK.

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Britain’s Home Secretary Theresa May among politicians that are blind, deaf and dumb in failing to adequately address what radicalizes individuals (Image, Mirror) 

The irony is, despite all these plans for monitoring ordinary citizens, the Government is reluctant in the extreme to look at the extent to which foreign and domestic policy have radicalized individuals. It seems our parliament is increasingly obsessed with checking civilian communications, watching and listening in on the population however the area where THEY frequently fail to listen is to those at a grassroots level that have monitored “extremism” interviewed “terrorists” and gained some understanding of the process of  radicalization. Who is monitoring the government?

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

 

About Carol Anne Grayson

Blogging for Humanity.... Campaigner/researcher global health/human rights/drones/WOT/insurgency http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/PO/experts/Health_and_Wellbeing.aspx Exec Producer of Oscar nominated documentary Incident in New Baghdad, currently filming on drones.
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