The Woolrich Terrorist Attack
Once again questions are being asked about official and police protection of terrorists, following the outrageous murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, South-East London on Wednesday. It took 14 minutes for armed officers to respond to a terrorist attack in broad daylight, within a couple of miles of two police stations. You try pulling a gun or waving a machete on a street in London and see how long it is before the ‘rozzers’ roll up with guns of their own.
The two suspects, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, were both known to MI5. One of them, absurdly, was provided with consular assistance by the Foreign Office after being arrested on the border with Somalia. Since both are dual British/Federal Republic of Nigeria nationals the UK was not obliged to provide consular assistance at all, let alone to Islamic radicals. We need to put tough new rules in place permitting the deportation of dual nationals on national security grounds. Never mind where they were born. If they hold the nationality of another state and get involved in terrorism they should be deported to that other state.
Once again the Coalition Government and the media, neither of whom get terrorism, have obsessed on the motives of the individual terrorists, instead of asking who set up the attack and why. Clearly neither Adebolaja or Adebowale were able to give themselves a window of opportunity to complete their grisly task and make good their escape by delaying the police response.
Only G02 could do that. Every major terrorist incident in the UK since the 1950s has been sponsored by GO2, the covert German operation in London. I make no apology for hammering the point home. Until we shut GO2 down we are helpless. The only positive to emerge from this fiasco, apart from the fact that the suspects survived being shot, so there is some possibility of obtaining an intelligence yield from them, is that the assistance given by the Metropolitan Police to the terrorists was so obvious that even the media have started to ask questions.
GO2 assets in the Cabinet Office wasted no time in giving aid and comfort to the terrorists by pushing the ridiculous notion that the Armed Forces should cower in the face of the terrorist threat by not wearing uniform off base. Thankfully that notion appears to have been quashed by the Prime Minister, although it remains to be seen if he can impose his will on the Cabinet Office. Coalition police appears to be dictated to the government by the unpopular Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, not the other way round. Clearly we need a new Cabinet Secretary (no offense) as well as a new government.
We also need a new Metropolitan Police Commissioner, again no offense. Not only was this a spectacular failure, which happened on his watch, but he is closely associated with the risible CONTEST counter-terrorism ‘strategy.’ It’s an excuse for a policy, not a policy. Since the police and Home Office do not understand that terrorism is a state-sponsored phenomenon any ‘strategy’ they come up with is bound to be intelligence illiterate. The collapse of CONTEST was inevitable.
The Armed Forces should be allowed to go back to the World War II rules on wearing uniform off base. They have become almost invisible. They are a part of our society, indeed apart from the Royal Family, they are the part of which we are most proud. Not only should they be allowed to wear uniform they should also be permitted to carry side-arms. The ban on guns off-base betrayed Drummer Rigby. It meant that when he was confronted with an armed terrorist on London’s mean streets he could not fight back.
The same theme – protection of terrorists by law enforcement – can be seen across the Atlantic, in Boston. It has now emerged that Boston Police think the terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev was involved in a drugs-related treble murder in 2011, along with Ibragim Todashev, the guy who committed suicide by cop down in Florida. With respect I see where they’re coming from. So who blocked them from arresting Tsarnaev? Looks like those orders came from the top.
Obama’s weak prosecution of the War on Terror was reflected in his silly announcement this week on scaling back America’s commitment. The new rules on UCAV attacks are absurd. We’ll hardly have any dead terrorists at all. If they’d been applied during World War II the USAAF wouldn’t have been allowed to bomb Schweinfurt, never mind Berlin. Of course the fewer civilian casualties the better, but collateral casualties in war, sadly, are unavoidable.
It looks as though Obama backed drone attacks in his first term in order to win a second term. With the election won he has now pretty much dropped the policy. What he should be doing of course is going after Pakistan, which is sheltering the Taliban. The time to end the Global War on Terror is after the West has triumphed over the Forces of Evil.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence, and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.