Coffee House

Britain doesn’t need a Snooping Act, or another new terrorism committee

26 May 2013

9:18 PM

26 May 2013

9:18 PM

I would have loved to have been in the room when David Cameron’s advisers were thinking of an acronym for the new anti-terror committee. Something that sounded scary enough, but not too Monty Python. They eventually went for TERFOR, according to the Mail on Sunday, although it’s still unclear what the T will stand for. But there’s still time. It reminds me of an old New Statesman competition where readers were invited to invent a committee whose acronym mocked its existence. The great Robert Conquest won, teasing the mag for its sympathetic approach to the Soviets: his proposal was Institute for New Statesman Editors and Contributors for Underwriting the Russian Experiment – INSECURE.

But insecure is something that the Prime Minister ought not to be after last week. The Woolwich murder, for all its savagery, has not exposed scandalous failings in our national security apparatus. After 9/11 and 7/7 there was, quite rightly, focus on our unpreparedness and lack of understanding.  But this time, things developed precisely along the lines that Douglas Murray and others have been describing for years. The knifemen were black British-born Muslim converts and one had been off to Nigeria to sign up to another country’s jihad. It’s textbook behaviour: the book in question being Olivier Roy’s 2004 Globalized Islam which identified the ‘jihadi jet-set’. The journey from Christian schoolboy to jihadi nutjob conforms perfectly to what Matthew d’Ancona described seven years ago. His words are worth repeating:

You have young Muslim youth growing up in the club scene, the drug scene, in British inner-city life but also exposed to the most militant form of Islam… The clash of civilisations is not between civilisations but within people themselves.

The fact that the knifemen were known to MI5 is more cause for reassurance than alarm. You’d hope that all Islamist psychos were on their radar, and it’s unclear that they had a chance to swoop earlier. There are some 2,000 suspects who creep in and out of MI5 terror investigations, and only round-the-clock surveillance could stop two of them conspiring to murder with kitchen knives.

Reports that MI5 tried to turn one of the knifemen are encouraging (if true) – it’s precisely what you’d want to happen. The RUSI terrorism database records every Jihadi plot/incident carried out in the UK since the year 2000. It has identified 41 failed, aborted or foiled attacks in the UK since 9/11 – a pretty good record, which hardly suggests MI5 hamstrung by lack of powers. Instead, it seems we have a whole bunch of people doing a very good job for us, being in possession of the tools they need to do that job. As The Spectator said in our leader after the Boston bombing:

Some of the interceptions, such as the thwarting of the Heathrow airport plot, have been nothing short of spectacular, but they never seem that way, because the end result is that nothing happens.


I wonder if this explains why the knifemen did not make a video. They knew the spooks were on to them, and knew that a 2007 Birmingham plot to

Banality of Evilbehead a solider was busted by MI5 with five imprisoned. Perhaps they thought that, if they so much nipped to Dixons to buy a camcorder, they’d probably be lifted on the way home. So the improvised, and the world saw their mess of Islamist clichés, rap patois and non-sequiteurs. What kind of Islamist quotes Exodus 21:24 (‘an eye for an eye’) rather than the Koran? It reminded me of Hannah Arendt’s book, The Banality of Evil, which (spookily enough) was published 50 years ago this month. The Woolwich murder makes her point anew.

Crucially, we have seen nothing in the last few days to suggest we need a Snooping Act. And although power-hungry ministers never admit it, MI5 and MI6 already have full legal powers to intercept anything that can be described as a ‘communication’- from smoke signals to SMS.  The Snooping Bill was more about granting espionage powers to the taxman and other nosy government agencies.

Nor is there a glaring need for yet another committee reporting to the Prime Minister (there must be about 20 of them by now – is anyone in Whitehall keeping count?). On Friday, I was thinking how lucky we are not to have Tony Blair anymore. Had he been still in power, there would be about 12 new laws being rammed through parliament by now. So we can forgive Cameron the creation of Terrahawks, or whatever he’s calling his new committee. He’s a politician, they feel the need to do something in a crisis, a new committee is something, therefore it must be done.

Last week reminded us that there are still jihadis, intent on murder, roaming our streets. What we have learned in the days after the murder reminds us that we have brave men and women keeping us safe, using powers to good effect, foiling one major plot a year since 9/11.

Nothing we have learned  since the murder  suggests that the government, the police or the spies need more powers. And I rather hope that David Cameron does not feel the need to claim otherwise.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Glenn Church

    Why didn’t the government do
    anything if the MI5 knew about all this? What’s the use of the government at

  • James

    MI5 was a credible security service before it became subjected to liberalism and political correctness. The same could be said of Great Britain, but then you are wacist if you say anything. We’ve got to face up to the facts: islam is destructive in our society and funding mosques and paying extremists is a failure of leadership. The only way to deal with this threat is to get tough – MI5 seem to think treating them differently and being a soft touch is the answer, even if that has caused EDL extremism and hasn’t achieved anything. Frankly, the idiot in our security services who enforced muslims should be treated different in law should be sacked without pay. Talk about loonies running the asylum.

  • margaret benjamin


    • Tom Tom

      Butcombe Man at Disqus is having you investigated

      • margaret benjamin

        Very funny

  • echo34

    Where is hookey with his masturbatory fervour for all things Cameron, or has he no excuse for the hand-sitting going on.

  • JP

    Olivier Roy: “The clash of civilisations is not between civilisations but within people themselves.”
    So why import more people who are (at the very least) more susceptible to this process?

  • Mynydd

    How about “COBRA” Cameron On Beach Relaxing Again.

  • Eyesee

    It is absolutely disgusting that government’s first response to the brutal killing of a man in the street , was to use the situation to try and convince the public that the public sector needs access to everything we say and do. It doesn’t need these powers in relation to state security, it wants them for the same old reason every centralised state does; control. Does this demand ultimately come from the EU? So much of the rules for central control do come from our ultimate, Marxist government overseas.

  • David Lindsay

    It is good to see you agreeing with the Morning Star

    Seriously. Left and Right must unite and fight on this one. Among many, many, many others.

  • Alan Scott Ponsford

    So let me get this right. MI5 knew about these men and did nothing? But if we had a snooper bill where the government could see civilian internet usage. we will all be saved? so let’s say the government has found 2 extremists with this snooping bill. they are aware if them now. like they where already aware of these men. What’s the difference of them knowing through that bill. then them knowing through other means? they are still not going to do nothing about them anyway. as when they find out these people they just do nothing. so the whole bill is a Joke!! Yet if I where to go on the street with a tannoy screaming my hatred towards muslims for example. I would be arrested within minutes, and facing Jail sentence. yet somebody screaming to murder Caucasians is acceptable? don’t let the government take away your freedoms. this is all a conspiracy, you are being brainwashed into believing you need this to protect you. where in fact government agencies do nothing upon stumbling up on extremists preaching hate in our country. It’s governments fault we are in this situation. Through their Illegal wars. And illegal policies. This bill is very dangerous, and you would be fools to allow the government to pass it. Wake up people before it’s too late. My granddad didn’t risk his life in ww2, so we would have our freedom suppressed. don’t let the government turn us into east Germany.

    Don’t let them waste your tax money 2 Billion for this bill.
    where the money could be better spent in hospitals schools and so forth

  • gscott

    More legislation not required, just politicians with the onions to do something about it !! I ,d give them all a starter for 10.Extradite all the Muslim males over 14 easy. .

  • Colonel Mustard

    An integral part of the police response to this murder appears to have been to scour the internet for inappropriate comments and to arrest the perpetrators, as though the lid can be kept on by prosecuting the angry and intemperate. I never thought to live in an England where police arrest people because of what they write or say.

    • Tom Tom

      Much easier than getting anywhere near a man with a cleaver. How many times have the police hung back in situations letting the public take the strain ….whether Bristol riots 1981 or Woolwich 2011 ?

      • crosscop

        The most shameful was when the Met actually ran away from jeering Muslim and left-wing demonstrators at the Gaza demo a couple of years back. They seem to be adopting the Swedish police’s attitude –

        ‘Swedish police have adopted a tactic of non-interference. ”Our ambition is really to do as little as possible,” Stockholm Chief of Police Mats Löfving explained to the Swedish newspaper Expressen on Tuesday.

        ”We go to the crime scenes, but when we get there we stand and wait,” elaborated Lars Byström, the media relations officer of the Stockholm Police Department. ”If we see a burning car, we let it burn if there is no risk of the fire spreading to other cars or buildings nearby. By doing so we minimize the risk of having rocks thrown at us.”’

  • MJ

    “His words are worth repeating:

    You have young Muslim youth growing up in the club scene, the drug scene, in British inner-city life but also exposed to the most militant form of Islam… The clash of civilisations is not between civilisations but within people themselves.”

    You really believe ethics which enable terror are constructed on a disco floor and/or in a drug den?

    I smiled when I read this. Given the gravity of the situation and the fact terrorist acts are occurring elsewhere in much larger numbers everyday against Other where the disco club scene simply does not exist the absurdity of this position is beyond belief.

    I just have to wonder what the mother of the catholic schoolgirl whose head was thrown on the steps of the local church in Indonesia thinks of such a statement. ‘Oh dear the decadent Western disco and drug dens are responsible.’ Or the children of the Indonesian teachers gunned down, The… You have got to be living on another planet.

    These words are only worth repeating to support a view which is rationally unsustainable, to use as a textual authorisation like any tawdry religious text to keep your ego intact. Your argument is based on fiction. Though you are right any more committees are a waste of time.

    Fact is the security forces cannot protect you in time and space – because there is no way when push comes to shove they can tell the difference between the liberal moderate extremist terrorist – have you not asked yourself why?

    The nature of the Islamic foundation codex genetic and textual authorisation if you care to check enables Other to be anyone, adherent or nonadherent. Each adherent has been given the power not only to determine who Other are but authorised to act on their own God given conviction of certainty to deliver grievous harm or severest penalty. This is detailed in the Islamic textual authorisation the Quran.

    Such a tragic waste in so many ways as we see everyday. Class necessarily informs a homogeneous state.

    • Tom Tom

      When you wear a uniform you are allowed to use violence sanctioned by The State. When you spout the Koran you are allowed to use violence sanctioned by Allah. You are now equal to the armies of the West

  • Magnolia

    I agree with Fraser here.
    All the politicians and the police chiefs are making a case for strengthening the power of the state to watch over us, to record everything that we do, in response to this atrocity.
    Lord Blair of Boughton made an eloquent and persuasive case for internet surveillance being needed to replace telephone records in the modern technological era. He said that it was all about looking at the map of connections rather than the content.
    That is a powerfully logical point but it is also an argument for the state acting as a great protector, strengthening society by watching its every move, ready to pounce on those who might be ‘going wrong’.
    What none of our elites are saying is that things might have got to such a sorry pass because of the trashing of traditional family life. The liberal lefties are turning out very authoritarian because they recognise that with the loss of the family, they need a massively powerful state to keep control. Children, young people and the elderly need strong families to keep them healthy in body and mind.
    The coalition to date has supported individualism, prioritised attacking families financially and it has set up strife and discord between the generations.
    No one has been saying that terrorism will be stopped by strengthening the family.
    I am saying it now.

    • Tom Tom

      Lord Blair of Boughton……was he the Blairite Commissioner of the Met with an English degree ?

  • Reconstruct

    A classic case for:
    ‘Don’t just do something – stand there’.

  • Denis_Cooper

    “And although power-hungry ministers never admit it, MI5 and MI6 already have full legal powers to intercept anything that can be described as a ‘communication’- from smoke signals to SMS.”

    Two questions.

    If you do not object to MI5 and MI6 having full legal powers to intercept an email you send today, in real or near-real time, why should you object to MI5 and MI6 being able to investigate what emails you sent to whom last week, or last year?

    And if MI5 and MI6 already have these full legal powers to intercept anything that can be described as a ‘communication’, have there been any known cases where those powers given to those bodies for defined purposes have instead been used by others for other purposes?

    It must be possible to frame legislation so that these powers are restricted to only those who need them for stated purposes, and can only be exercised under tight control, and with criminal sanctions for any abuse.

    So instead of dismissing the Bill as a “Snooper’s Charter”, why not suggest how it could be amended to ensure that the only “snoopers” would be those specifically entrusted with the task of protecting us from terrorism, not other tasks such as collecting taxes or allocating school places or increasing recycling rates, etc?

    • Tom Tom

      IT is not MI5 or MI6 but GCHQ and Menwith Hill the NSA base near Harrogate. they intercept emails but want a LEGAL basis to do so which is what this is about – a CYA exercise

      • Denis_Cooper

        Then Fraser Nelson is incorrect to write:

        “MI5 and MI6 already have full legal powers to intercept anything that can be described as a ‘communication’”

        and if indeed he starts off with a gross misunderstanding of the present legal position then that hardly lends credence to his arguments about proposed changes to the present legal position.

        • Tom Tom

          Quite so. Fraser is apparently ignorant of ECHELON

        • ButcombeMan

          The Agencies do not have full legal powers to intercept “anything”, the bill is also not about a CYA exercise. Tom Tom is fundamentally wrong.

          Tom Tom spouts some sense but also a lot of crap about ELINT. He is typical of a bread of hysterical outsiders who like to think they understand the practicalities, methods and use, but do not.

          The real problem with electronic contact data is that there is much more of it and many more methods now. Contact data is generally used for target evaluation though of course there has been some use as actual evidence, especially of mobile phone records and mobile cell site analysis.

          But the problem for all of the agencies that might legitimately use contact data for target evaluation (and which sensible people would WANT to have that capability) is that some of the data exists only fleetingly or in very inaccessible ways. So the capability to analyze and target subjects is degrading. It will continue to degrade if nothing is done,

          Lord Carlisle QC has it right. Clegg and fellow travelers have it dangerously wrong

          The real problem for opponents of the bill is that “insiders” who understand capabilities and have been fully instructed in capabilities, methods and difficulties, generally come to agree with the bill, from whatever part of the political spectrum they come. Those outside, like Tom Tom, think they know and intuitively oppose.

          To persuade opponents is tricky because it would involve detailed discussion of the system weakness & capability and, through disclosure, make the system even weaker. One of the reasons, in the UK, intercept data obtained in the UK under warrant, is not used in Court.

          Of course some people are never going to be persuadable despite the fact that abuse of ELINT in the UK is historically not a real issue

          • Denis_Cooper


            I’m far from casual about civil liberties but actually I’m not too concerned about a tightly defined group of vetted and trained investigators being allowed to check up on my cyber-activities if they really think it’s necessary to unravel terrorist networks or otherwise forestall terrorism. Needless to say they’d be wasting their time, as they would quickly discover. Provided however that the law was tightly framed to keep that power within those narrow circles to be used only for those essential purposes, with strict safeguards to prevent and punish its abuse.

    • Tom Tom
  • LewisDuckworth

    Last week reminded us that there are still jihadis, intent on murder, roaming our streets.

    Speak for yourself, if you needed reminding. I didn’t. I will also predict that “the Muslim communities that give so much to our country” [Cameron’s very words to the nation in response to Woolwich] will give them very many more jihadis – although their number will be dwarfed for some time by muslim defendants in grooming trials.

  • Andy

    Problem is we have a useless, self-serving and limp Political Class that will do nothing at all. Setting up yet another f****** committee makes you want to scream. A classic way to do bugger all. We all know this. Nor do we really need any new law.

    What we need is for the Government, the Police and the Security Services to actually get a grip on this problem. They can start with Mosques, Clerics and bookshops. Most Mosques are Trusts and we saw in the case of Hooky Hamza how he ‘took over’ the Finsbury Park Mosque. The local people were powerless to dislodge him and they regained the property only when it was raided by the police. If the Mosque operated under a licence this could have been revoked.

    As with Clerics. Far too many of them are not British born and have no understanding of our country and our society. We should be far more restrictive in allowing foreign born and educated clerics to come here. If they do they should be here on a licence. If they preach hate and bile then they are on the next plane out. No ifs, no buts, no appeals, no lawyers, and no ‘Human Rights’. You’re out.

    And then there are bookshops. Perhaps the Police and MI5 need to raid a few of these and actually look at the type of books on sale. We could also go one step further: have an Authorised Version of the Koran. Having read one of these Saudi versions this is probably a long over due development.

  • Richard Thomas

    There are two somewhat obvious points to be made against the snoopers’ charter – firstly if the Home Office wish something so badly it is certainly destructive of liberty and the freedom of the citizen; secondly the system to grab and review the data will not work after the expenditure of billions on it.

  • echo34

    If this so easy, how about concentrating on the ones we know about (Qatada, Choudhary,etc.) and repealing the human rights act which affords them so much protection.

    Absolute PC idiocy from the government and home secretary again.

  • anneallan

    The knowledge and powers to act on that knowledge already exist. What is lacking is the political will.

  • Tom Tom

    The Secularism of Western Apparatchiki with their Marxist view of religion makes them vulnerable to self-delusion. The absence of faith in any overarching value or deity makes them pragmatic and unable to grasp the strength these footloose jihadis gain from absolutism. The cleaver killer did not mind being killed, he waited for the police to kill him. The police watching on CCTV and observing the women interceding were afraid…..that is the victory for the jihadi. Cameron is big on gay marriage – which as Christopher Booker explained on Sunday – is a stitch-up with the ECHR being involved in the Council of Ministers. It did not impress the jihadis. It is Cameron who is afraid, afraid of Physical Violence. That is the interesting feature to the jihadi. Westerners let their killing machines – drones, rockets – loose in other countries but are frightened to confront violence in their own societies.

    It is asymmetric warfare at both ends and in Western society the terrorist succeeds – he gets media attention, shows the police are afraid, gets politicians chattering reflecting impotence, and the public increasingly sceptical about their system.

    MI5 does not have a grasp on these people and never will. MI6 uses these people and works hand in glove with the CIA destabilising regimes and sponsoring the Muslim Brotherhood. Under Labour a Conference was held in Turkey by Britain to show support for the Brotherhood. British foreign policy is aligned to the US in seeking a new proxy to control Arab countries, but the Brotherhood knows how to blow back.

  • Ron Todd

    Or how about the Chicken Little committee

  • Ron Todd

    What we need is equal enforcement of existing laws. Make it clear that we will have one set of secular laws applied to everybody. If it is illegal to take a girl out of school that law would be applied to 14 year old girls being sent to Pakistan to be married. If it is illegal to marry more than once that law would be applied to all religions, if it is illegal to mutilate little girls that law would apply to people from Africa. Make a clear statement of what our values are and if people want to live as a free citizen then they can follow our laws.

    I would favour the Look at me I am pretending to be a real grown up politician committe.

    • Tom Tom

      Reciprocal Recognition of Marriage is recognised in treaty which is why people do not need to re-marry when they move to Britain or leave Britain

  • evad666

    The silencing of comment in the media helps no one and assuredly moves the nation to extremes. The authorities would do well to consider the reported statistics at
    which suggest we indigenous folk are being a lot calmer than many would expect even with our speakers corners deliberately silenced.
    How long this will continue remains to be seen.

    • Tom Tom

      Still waters run deep

  • Jimmy R

    Whenever our National Politicians persist in returning time after time to attempt to force a contentious piece of restrictive legislation on us, especially when by different Parties when in Government, I get the distinct stench of the EUSSR being involved.

    When it comes to what the politicians keep trying furiously to impose upon us claiming it is for our own protection from terror or catching drug barons or money launderers or paedophiles (always a good one to throw in to raise the emotional levels) or any number of other illegal activities being given a great deal of publicity at the time, I start to what they are hiding. There are already laws which allow the proper checking of information being passed around by people engaged in such activities, as is proved by the fact that such people are already frequently being found and prosecuted.

    If you want to know the real reason why politicians are so determined to push through legislation enabling them to spy on the public to a greater extent than the Stazi could only dream of take a look at Directive 2002/58/EC which requires all Member States

    • Tom Tom

      However it is Britain that is obsessed and pushes this agenda inside the EU. Sweden and to some extent Germany are more sceptical. It is Britain that is gung-ho – go read Statewatch blog

      • FrenchNewsonlin

        Denmark is reportedly the main driver behind the Directive and implemented the most draconian version to date.

        • Tom Tom

          What Neil Kinnock’s daughter-in-law ?

  • Victor168

    Committee Opposing Callous Kuffars

  • chan chan

    They don’t need a terror committee, they just need to read Islamic doctrine. Everything that happened in Woolwich is in it. One of the Muslim savages helpfully cited the relevant chapter 9, and additional verses. He also said “the Koran forces us” to do this. He even remained at the scene, with the fondest hope he would be “slain” after slaying an infidel, just like the Koran says should ideally happen.

    How much more confirmation that Islam is responsible do we need?

    • Andy

      I’m sure I read somewhere recently that in 19th Century Sudan Muslim terrorist would be buried in shrouds made from Pig Skin. As such they didn’t get to Heaven and the however many it is Virgins. Word soon got around and the terrorists melted away.

  • itdoesntaddup

    Taskforce On Terror And Large Internet Tapping And Repression Initiative Against Normal Society.

    • Tim Reed

      itdoesntaddup – Win!

      National Agency for Zero Internet Secrecy.

  • ButcombeMan

    Yet another post that is plain rubbish based on a wrong understanding of how electronic contact data is used.

    Yes interception of some communications is possible under existing legal provisions (subject to technical feasibility & complexity). That is not the point.

    Contact (not content) data is vitally necessary to sift the wheat from the chaff, to identify those worthy of further attention of (perhaps) much more attention and full interception and surveillance.

    For contact data to be used in the way it is needs a structured accessible retention system.

    Clegg is in the grip of his nutters. He risks our freedoms. He is a disgrace, unfit for public office.

    • Tom Tom

      It is so easy to by-pass that they will be reduced to the East German system of needing a 1:1 ratio of spies to population. The sheer volume of electronic data and chaff would cure the unemployment problem if they could find enough Maths graduates anyway

      • Ron Todd

        They would have to employ a quota from muslim countries to avoid charges of discrimination.

      • ButcombeMan

        You have misunderstood the point. Retention of contact data for a definite period in accessible form. means better identification of threats using LESS resources with LESS intrusion into the affairs of the innocent, LESS speculation, LESS mistakes and better targeting.

        Without improvements, capability is being eroded, month by month.
        Lord Carlile QC is the LibDem who has this issue understood. Of course he is a LibDem with a brain.

        • Tom Tom

          The fact is we only have these problems BECAUSE of the Government. It was John Major that took in Jihadis expelled from France because MI6 wanted to recruit them. It is why so many Arabic and Opposition groups are based in London, bank in London, and transmit satellite TV from London. The Eu is sacrificing banking confidentiality this week, it won’t be long before any Council Officer will have access to encrypted bank details and NHS records to add to Emails and other data.

          Eric Holder, AG in the USA ordered tapping of a Fox TV reporter using the Espionage Act and he was tailed electronically simply for being opposed to Obama. Holder also had AP journalists wiretapped so now no Sources will speak to journalists. It has worked in controlling opposition to Obama

          • ButcombeMan

            You make my case for me. They are based here because our society is still tolerant, it is still fair, it is still somewhere that anyone could envisage being prepared to live with their freedom of expression intact.

            Of course they are based here because in world terms London remains a more important city than any other city in broadly the same time zone and because of the power of our language.

            I would argue, that is because we have the balance of power state versus citizen, broadly correct.

            • Tom Tom

              No it was MI6 that uses them to destabilise other countries and you think we too should become subject to a Secret Police to cover their own ineptitude. Why not go the whole hog and have a Dictatorship with Internment without Trial and Paramilitary Police ? I think the society you seem to yearn for is akin to that in Central Europe up to 1990 and Western Europe 1940-45

    • Baron

      ButcombeMan, when you have the time, sit down, listen to this, think for a while, then come back talk to Baron again.

      What was it that has prevented us to ship out the handless hate cleric Abu Hamza, is still preventing us getting rid of the other Abu, the other hate spewing mullahs? Was it the absence of yet another freedom restricting piece of law, or was it a piece of law that already sits on the statute books, ha?

      And don’t even think of telling Baron it wasn’t either of the two mullahs who butchered the young man at Woolwich. Of course, they didn’t. They did worse than that. They, the other preachers of hate like them, have helped to install hatred, enmity, venom in the hearts of not only the two who did, but the many others who who’re still walking our streets.

      We get rid of those who manufacture mediaeval savages, we get rid of mediaeval savagery on our streets. Perhaps not fully, but noticeably, and without the need for yet another piece of freedom curbing legislation.

      • ButcombeMan

        Your argument is almost entirely irrelevant to the data retention issue. Your freedoms are not impacted by proposals for brief data retention. Your land line phone records and your mobile phone data has been retained for periods-since they ever existed, without any relevance to your “freedom” except to ensure it.

        You probably never even thought about it.

        Your freedom is retained by giving those who protect you, the tools to do the job. If the tools are not there or are wearing out (as they are), the situation and your freedoms will suffer far more.

        There is a ferocity to the debate against electronic data retention by those who oppose it, which is not justified by the history-in the UK anyway. Those who oppose, opine in almost total ignorance of how the data is used, they play on (reasonable ) fears and caution. They are wrong.

        • Tom Tom

          We know how data is used. We know how much it costs to buy DVLA data, NHS data, HMRC data, Bank data. we know how corrupt police officers are and how the PNC is used. We know how incompetent and corrupt the political system is and how Phalangist Police Superintendents are.

          • Baron

            Spot on, Tom Tom.

          • ButcombeMan

            Well if you know, maybe you can tell us? You seem hysterical. Very plainly you have no idea at all how contact data is used.

            There have been some abuses of the PNC but given the size of the population not all that many. Yes some Police Officers have been corrupt but key stroke analysis flushes it out, that is possible in any system.

            DVLA data is certainly sold to parking organisations legally.
            NHS data generally has to be got by theft or bribery, similarly with HMRC, not much in the way of cases there. Maybe you will provide a list of such cases.

            The real point is some of the data exists anyway and can be got through bribery and technical means now. British companies even make the software.

            None of this changes the need to stop erosion of contact data availability for law enforcement and anti terrorism. The consequences will be dire if nothing is done.

            • Tom Tom

              You are ardent in your belief which suggests you are financially interested. Personally I favour DEATH as the penalty for corrupt police officers and real Data protection Laws which bankrupt transgressors. NHS data is available without bribery, it is simply not secure. I don’t need to produce a ist of such cases unless you wish to contract for time on a professional basis.

              This “contact data” is BS. It is so easily screened. You know little about steganography or PGP or trojans. It will be simply routed through third party IP addresses much as Indian call centres masquerade telephone numbers of law firms in Birmingham for their cold calling

            • Baron

              ButcombeMan, you should be careful whom you pick a fight with, Tom Tom seems to have more than just an outsider knowledge of the technological wizardry and its unintended consequences in a few domains, of which this is one. Baron often suspects he either was, still is in it himself.

              • ButcombeMan

                Is it a”fight”?

                i thought it was the sort of debate that should happen around such issues in a free society. I am very confident that Tom Tom has no real inside knowledge and his “death” to all corrupt cops rather tends to show he is some sort of nutter. Proportional? Hardly..

                He is certainly a crank. He has been provoked into showing his irrationality. He should take more water with it and calm down. He should not believe everything he reads written by similar nutters.

                I have done my best to explain the issue without offending any Official secrets. I have done that because reasonable people here should get an explanation if one can be given.

                Lord Blair is of course correct. He gives the same explanation as me. It is about network connections not actual content . It would enable better analysis of suspects preparatory to full targeting. and there ARE good grounds for linking the issue with the recent killing.

                All intelligence organizations, general crime or terrorism, get masses of “leads” for evaluation, a key tool in that evaluation is electronic contact data. For including targets for further work and for excluding others and the innocent.

                Just part of the jigsaw.

                Remove many crucial pieces of the jigsaw and building a fuller picture becomes more.difficult, more time consuming, uses more resources and is less effective.

                Result, we are all less safe.

                • Baron

                  Hard to disagree with you on either double Tom, or the logic of your argument re the contact data.

                  One is naturally cautious giving the State more powers, in the past some of such well intentioned empowering didn’t live up to what it said on the can before it got opened. Still, Baron will get more interested in the subject, if only because of the calm with which you argue in favor of it.

        • Tom Tom
  • Daniel Maris

    I think you need to engage in more study of Islam Fraser. Muslims do not disparage the Bible as such, though they consider the text corrupted. That is the reason why the “people of the book” are offered special treatment (ie their lives are spared – no such offer for polytheists) if they submit to Isalmic hegemony. In talking to non-Muslims, which that guy was clearly doing, they will pick on parallels. So there is nothing odd, or outlandish, or bizarre in that guy (not an Islamist – no such thing exists) referencing the eye for an eye concept – because it is (in essence) found in the Koran:

    “O you who have believed, prescribed for you is legal retribution for those murdered – the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female.”

    So he was claiming Muslims had been murdered in Muslim lands by British soldiers and this was a justified act of revenge according to both the Koran and the Bible – the killing of a British soldier in this land.

    It is really absurd for you to make out this guy’s actions were illogical, psychopathic or unrelated to Islamic doctrine.

    • Tom Tom

      Good posting and insight

    • filthykafur

      “It is really absurd for you to make out this guy’s actions were illogical, psychopathic or unrelated to Islamic doctrine.”…..
      .Daniel I agree that this WAS related to Islamic Dogma, but for you to deny that is wasn’t in some way psychopathic us equally wrong.
      Only a psychopath could butcher another human being like this, in cold blood…They ARE psychopaths without a doubt as was their so called “prophet”.

    • asdasda

      fighting foreign occupiers is a universal belief nothing to do with only islam

  • Shlomo

    Instead, we had the rambling recording of Islamist clichés and
    non-sequiteurs – quoting Exodus (‘an eye for an eye’) rather than the

    There was nothing rambling about ‘Mujahid’s soliloquy. It was quite concise and to the point.

    Although the phrase comes from Exodus, or, given his background, more likely Matthew 5:38, the phrase is also found in the Koran as one of the 2 key proof texts prescribing lex talionis or qisas in Islam:

    Koran [5:45]: “And We ordained therein for them: ‘Life for life, eye
    for eye
    , nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds
    equal for equal.’ But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity,
    it shall be for him an expiation. And whosoever does not judge by that which
    Allah has revealed, such are the Wrong-doers.”

    He also explicitly referred to Sura al-Tawba, a particularly violent chapter of the Koran:

    “But, we are forced by the Koran in Sura al-Tawba [and] through many, many ayat throughout the Koran that we must fight them as they fight us.”

    He is clearly referring to verse 36 of that chapter:

    “Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of
    Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him].”

    But there are also ‘many, many ayat [verses] throughout the Koran’ that exhort Muslims to retaliate:

    fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you … And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for fitna (oppression, persecution) is worse than slaughter; … if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith. ” (2:190-9)

    Permission to fight (against disbelievers) is given to those
    (believers) who are fought against
    , because they have been wronged and
    surely, Allah is Able to give them (believers) victory” (22:39)

    The alleged murderer also dedicated the murder to Muhammad, a portion of his speech that was initially edited out of early videos but reinstated in the more complete version published by The Sun:

    “That’s all I have to say. Amin. Allah’s peace and blessings be upon Muhammad sall’Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam [an honorific that means ‘peace and blessings be upon him’].”

    Most news reports now state that he justified the alleged murder because of the killing of Muslims by British soldiers. That might be factually correct, but that isn’t his real justification, as he makes clear. It’s the numerous passages in the Koran that prescribe retaliation that ‘command’ him to carry out an unspeakable act.

    Far from his speech consisting of ‘Islamist clichés and non-sequiteurs’, the speech is one of cold logic: he killed the soldier because the Koran told him to ‘fight them as they fight us’. And that’s the worrying thing and something that all the kum-ba-yah’ing and sophistry from the MSM and politicians don’t want ‘us’ to consider. They don’t want us to think about the fact that ‘Mujahid’ reach this conclusion with recourse to passages of Islam’s holy book; a book that all Muslims should nominally hold as flawless and heaven-sent; a book, the orthodox hermeneutics of which back-up the conclusion reached by ‘Mujahid’.

    What would be interesting would be to see the rest of the footage that
    has been snaffled; you know, after he went back to consult his younger
    accomplice and returned. I wonder what else he had to say.

    • Tom Tom

      Lex Talionis is from the Babylonian Hammurabi in the literal sense. The Jewish version restricted the compensation to the actual loss and no more.

    • Baron

      Shiomo, it’s not often one comes across a posting that oozes deep knowledge of a subject. Yours does, you should offer your services to the Spectator as an advisor.

      • echo34

        The spectator are not interested as the above does not fit in with the “push” notifications sent from their masters in Westminster.

        Knowledge is still power, the less joe public gets, the better.

  • Baron

    Fraser, you should be applauded for your stance. We don’t need another piece of legislation, nor do we need another layer of bureaucracy. Instead, scrapping the Uman Rights Act, few other laws that underpin the idiocy of PC would do nicely.

    If another atrocity happens what will the politicians propose then? Are we all going to get tagged, monitored 24/7? The cradle of democracy is turning bit by bit into a coffin of it.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Bureau of Reclaimed Operational Mendicants Independently Demanding Earnings

    • UlyssesReturns

      War Against Nasties Keeping Everyone Really Safe.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …and who wouldn’t feel safer knowing they were on the job?

        • Tim Reed

          …you never know…they might just pull it off.

          • Wessex Man

            you’ve all just helped my hangover to start slipping away, thank you.

  • telemachus

    Crucially, we have seen nothing in the last few days to suggest we need a Snooping Bill. The spooks seem to do well with the tools ..
    But what if they had put the two identified as dangerous radicals on full Internet surveillance.
    Who is to know that their email traffic would not have alerted the security services to an impending act out and led to their apprehension before they rammed the car into the soldier
    Cameron, on this, as on gay marriage needs to enlist the offered Labour help

    • ButcombeMan

      If Labour would help get this bill through, they would be doing us all a great service.

      • Tom Tom

        They would be paddling up the wrong creek. It will be so funny. The final days of this Ancien Regime preoccupied with diversionary tactics

        • ButcombeMan

          If you check the history out, you will see that the push for this began way back in Labour’s time. Just one reason Alan Johnson & John Reid agree with the current Home Secretary.

          • Colonel Mustard

            That would be the time of New Labour with its 4,000+ new laws to criminalise the population, its ID cards and its detention without trial for 90 days.


    • Tom Tom

      Their Spam Folders would have been full of recruiting details from MI5

    • Andy

      If Labour had got off their fat arses and actually started to do something about radical Islam we would all be a lot better off.

      • 2trueblue

        13yrs., and as you say what did they do? They had a great majority in the house and did ……

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Major Organization to Rally Oafish Numpties

    • UlyssesReturns

      Fraser Articulates Coalition Thinking.

  • UlyssesReturns

    Tackling War Against Terror Suspects. I could do this all day.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Ok, that one’s going into the Top 10 list.

    • Tim Reed

      It’ll end up more like…

      Department for Handling the Integration of Maniacal Muslim Immigrants.

      • chan chan


      • Matthew Blott

        Michael Adebolajo was born in Lambeth and came from a Christian family.

        • 2trueblue

          As you say, it is not where he came from, it is where he traveled to, and who he was involved with. That is where our focus should be. Also sort out our law to rid ourselves of the long list of those who we do not need to house.

        • Tim Reed

          Yes, but who radicalised him?

          • Matthew Blott

            Who knows? But I’m reading Ed Hussain’s The Islamist at the moment and there are some white English converts who play a part in his radicalisation. Obviously they are in the minority but they do exist and I don’t think the problem should be viewed along racial lines. I have brown skinned family members and they aren’t Wahhabi nutcases.

            • Tim Reed

              Naughty. I never mention race, as it’s not the issue.
              I think we’re viewing the issue along religious lines, not racial. The progenitors of Islamic radicalism in this country are an imported product. The race or national heritage of those individuals is incidental. It’s the accompanying cultural/religious ideology that is the primary concern.

            • fantasy_island

              At least not as far as you know.

        • FrenchNewsonlin

          Makes the conversion into a barbaric, blood-lusting, butchering primitive worse.

          • Matthew Blott

            That’s as me be but my point was to challenge bigoted misconceptions about Muslims and immigrants.

            • chan chan

              I still don’t understand your point. What are you saying?

    • Andy

      Very good. 10/10.

    • fantasy_island

      Intrinsic National Emergency Planning Team

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Department of International Peacekeeping and Sisterly Tovaritches Involved Correctly and Kindly

  • UlyssesReturns

    Committee Against Muslims Entering Rely On Newspeak. If you want to stop change or to appear active, form a committee. Cameron is Blair’s pupil in using this hideous modern force for getting nothing done.