Terrorist Children

‘Police identify 200 children as potential terrorists’, the Independent reports. Orwell could not have imagined this. This is Labour Party’s Britain, where a child can be criminalized for adopting “bad attitudes towards ‘the West'”! Soon enough, even infancy won’t protect you from the long hands of the state. Blair was more forthright. He had once told an interviewer that criminal behavior should be monitored even before birth (implying it is genetic). And now we got the bovine home secretary giving the most imaginative dystopians a run for their money. Notice the tone of the reporter (Mark Hughes, Crime correspondent). He treats this news as if he were reporting on a lost umbrella. Pathetic.

Drastic new tactics to prevent school pupils as young as 13 falling into extremism

Two hundred schoolchildren in Britain, some as young as 13, have been identified as potential terrorists by a police scheme that aims to spot youngsters who are “vulnerable” to Islamic radicalisation.

The number was revealed to The Independent by Sir Norman Bettison, the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police and Britain’s most senior officer in charge of terror prevention.

He said the “Channel project” had intervened in the cases of at least 200 children who were thought to be at risk of extremism, since it began 18 months ago. The number has leapt from 10 children identified by June 2008.

The programme, run by the Association of Chief Police Officers, asks teachers, parents and other community figures to be vigilant for signs that may indicate an attraction to extreme views or susceptibility to being “groomed” by radicalisers. Sir Norman, whose force covers the area in which all four 7 July 2005 bombers grew up, said: “What will often manifest itself is what might be regarded as racism and the adoption of bad attitudes towards ‘the West’.

“One of the four bombers of 7 July was, on the face of it, a model student. He had never been in trouble with the police, was the son of a well-established family and was employed and integrated into society.

“But when we went back to his teachers they remarked on the things he used to write. In his exercise books he had written comments praising al-Qa’ida. That was not seen at the time as being substantive. Now we would hope that teachers might intervene, speak to the child’s family or perhaps the local imam who could then speak to the young man.”

The Channel project was originally piloted in Lancashire and the Metropolitan Police borough of Lambeth in 2007, but in February last year it was extended to West Yorkshire, the Midlands, Bedfordshire and South Wales. Due to its success there are now plans to roll it out to the rest of London, Thames Valley, South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, and West Sussex.

The scheme, funded by the Home Office, involves officers working alongside Muslim communities to identify impressionable children who are at risk of radicalisation or who have shown an interest in extremist material – on the internet or in books.

Once identified the children are subject to a “programme of intervention tailored to the needs of the individual”. Sir Norman said this could involve discussions with family, outreach workers or the local imam, but he added that “a handful have had intervention directly by the police”.

He stressed that the system was not being used to target the Muslim community. “The whole ethos is to build a relationship, on the basis of trust and confidence, with those communities,” said Sir Norman.

“With the help of these communities we can identify the kids who are vulnerable to the message and influenced by the message. The challenge is to intervene and offer guidance, not necessarily to prosecute them, but to address their grievance, their growing sense of hate and potential to do something violent in the name of some misinterpretation of a faith.

“We are targeting criminals and would-be terrorists who happen to be cloaking themselves in Islamic rhetoric. That is not the same as targeting the Muslim community.”

Nor was it criminalising children, he added. “The analogy I use is that it is similar to our well-established drugs intervention programmes. Teachers in schools are trained to identify pupils who might be experimenting with drugs, take them to one side and talk to them. That does not automatically mean that these kids are going to become crack cocaine or heroin addicts. The same is true around this issue.”

But Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain said the police ran the risk of infringing on children’s privacy. He warned: “There is a difference between the police being concerned or believing a person may be at risk of recruitment and a person actually engaging in unlawful, terrorist activity.

“That said, clearly in recent years some people have been lured by terrorist propaganda emanating from al-Qa’ida-inspired groups. It would seem that a number of Muslim youngsters have been seduced by that narrative and all of us, including the Government, have a role to play in making sure that narrative is seen for what it is: a nihilistic one which offers no hope, only death and destruction.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “We are committed to stopping people becoming or supporting terrorists or violent extremists. The aim of the Channel project is to directly support vulnerable people by providing supportive interventions when families, communities and networks raise concerns about their behaviour.”

Author: Idrees Ahmad

I am a Lecturer in Digital Journalism at the University of Stirling and a former research fellow at the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies. I am the author of The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War (Edinburgh University Press, 2014). I write for The Observer, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Al Jazeera, Dissent, The National, VICE News, Huffington Post, In These Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), Adbusters, Guernica, London Review of Books (Blog), The New Arab, Bella Caledonia, Asia Times, IPS News, Medium, Political Insight, The Drouth, Canadian Dimension, Tanqeed, Variant, etc. I have appeared as an on-air analyst on Al Jazeera, the BBC, TRT World, RAI TV, Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon, Alternative Radio with David Barsamian and several Pacifica Radio channels.

6 thoughts on “Terrorist Children”

  1. I had just read this story in the Independent before I zoomed over to PULSE.
    I know it’s a cliche, but after reading the article, words fail me. It’s mindboggling.

  2. Funny how Muhammad Siddiq Khan,the supposed ring-leader of the 7/7 bombers was part of a family noted for its extensive connections to the British state.

    Khan’s mother-in-law Farida Patel,aside from having been invited to two Buckingham Palace Garden parties,in recognition of her community work in Dewsbury,W.Yorks.,was also between 1996 and 2000 a member on Blair’s sinisterly named Inner Religious Council.She was honoured by Blair himself at Downing St.in 1999 for this work.

    Simultaneously with his mother-in-law’s second Palace Gdn. party in July 2004 Khan himself was a guest of his local MP,John Trickett on a House of Commons Tour.

    Trickett’s wife was Head at the school where Khan was a TA.

    Now who was doing the grooming that culminated in the carnage of 7/7 in this instance?

    False-flag terror ops. always require a team of patsies.Khan was the ring-leader of the team that had been groomed to participate in what they were led to believe was a security exercise simulating a terror attack on the London Underground.In fact it was the real terror attack in which,had they arived on time in London,they would have died as the designated “suicide bombers”.

    In fact they are far more likely to have been shot dead by police at Canary Wharf to which they had repaired after when arriving in London too late to die on the trains they realised they had been set up.In desperation they hoped they would be able to sell their stories to the newspapers.

    Visit the J7 website or antagonize blogspot for the latest.

  3. Kia ora (greetings and Lifeforce Wellbeing) I am delighted to have found these voices and multiple eyes, thank you. In this wierd chaotic schema of the Mind me thinks going outside the usual hyperanaylses to explain the ordinary has perhaps come of age. I am thinking here that ‘power and control’ are all resting outside of the analyses being offered today regardless of left, right, wrong or indifferent. The human condition is indeed multi-faceted but…it is all explained quite perfectly in nature.

    I mean nature in the cosmogonic sense as in cycles of nature, day and night must follow predictability. The same logos being used to undermine the over entertained, hyper neon sensitized brothers and sisters who have never experienced life in the raw of forest, ocean or riverside living no electricity, growing food to live and bonding with family and friends because it grows hearts, minds and Spriits all at once. Sometimes these over developed issues are not really ‘outside’. They are the mutterings of lives authored from ‘outside’ deposited in our own false consciousness me thinks. Could be so totally wrong here. Just a thought (oh and thats very contingent from that blunt instrument when used on its own).

    Just kidding guys. Well kinda. As a mum of 6 and a grandson it is important to know I am the totality of my truth (existence). That I am the creator and decider of my own destiny and ‘existence’ (reality). Of course that does not occur in isolation from my brothers and sisters, I am mindful of this. The Human family is a typical family. It has its tensions and break ups, its highs and lows. We all want everyone to get along, so we have different leaders in the family who mediate and settle the tensions. Today the Human family is being gathered in ways it has actually denied need to. The pretext for it is irrelevant. Old family squabbles aside, there is an imbalance of power somewhere. In a Family what happens to resolve this. What restorative justice lifeways in us reminds us how to go next? We all have the answers within ourselves. The present Human family crisis is asking us to ‘go within’ and find these today.

    The mirror for our lives (our relationships) actually are pushing our own learning buttons. Our emotions apparently are the songs of our souls. So what songs are you singing? Mr President, Mr Police officer and ordinary Jenny and Joe Bloggs American? If we build our future in every today that has ever been, what future are we building today? First the lesson was; America get your own house in order before you go terrorising the neighbourhood. Of course ordinary Americans on Kool Aid parenting, social conditioning (literally) and nation state citizenship have been ‘cultivated’ into the imagined spiral which was always there on accelerated today. When the Red World was foreclosed and there futures mortgaged to bankroll the Wild West settlers and so forth and Black bodies were the langua franca of economic exchange in the South and North, hegemonic America became accomplices to its own demise. Many within tried to escape its necrophiliac logos. A logos still evident in this story of the stolen futures of Our kids. Yes they are all of the kids of the Human Family on Earth. Not merely those constructed and redefined as materially poor and therefore justifiably closed off from our own humanity. This act is redefining our humanity because the fate of One is the fate of All. This has been true since time began. We really are all One Family with every other Lifeform on the planet… our Great Mother Earth. Now where was this going?

    Brothers and sisters unite. Close off all false divisions because I am You everywhere on this beautiful planet our Earth Home. Refuse to be divided on any matter related to basic human respect. Give of everything you are disregard the old paradigm of Having at any cost…look where it has got America today. I have a humble action. To invite brothers and sisters across the globe to join together in circles of conversation as friends and families supporting with practical information packs, sharing and caring and reaching out to each other in Heartfelt thanks for our existence. The NWO is sterile in the face of the human condition to overcome any and every obstacle by coming together in One Mind, One heart and One purpose. Unify brothers and sisters. The type of society is irrelevant without uncondtional Love and Respect for ourselves and our fellow ones. Know that All is Well and It is so.

    Have and amazing graceful day
    Light be your constant companion
    Rivers of hope ease you
    Blessings of our ancients are dancing
    welcoming You home
    In Loving respect
    Mereana

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