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TV discussion: Britain raises terrorism threat assessment to “severe”


Transmitted 2 September 2014. Posted 6 December 2014.

“The Report” is the Islam Channel’s daily current affairs programme. On 2 September 2014 it featured a discussion regarding the news that the UK had raised the assessment of the threat of terrorism to “severe.”

The presenter was Jonathan Steele and the panel participants were:

The program can be watched below. Its topicality has not faded in the intervening three months.

The key points that I made were as follows:

  1. The threat of terrorism being committed by returnees from the conflict in Syria and Iraq is real. I mention as an example the killings at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.
  2. One of the other speakers had downplayed the risk relying upon the fact that of the 66 previous actual or attempted terrorists in the UK, only two had received experience in a combat zone. I pointed out that circumstances were different since at that time few Muslim Britons were actively going to such combat zones, unlike the situation today with Syria and Iraq.
  3. Any action the UK takes must comply with international law. For example we cannot make individuals stateless.
  4. TPIMs (Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures) are not working well enough. I supported the changes that David Anderson (independent reviewer of terrorism legislation) was reported as supporting.
  5. The threat level is set by the intelligence agencies based upon the information they have. The presenter and the other panellists were in no position to second-guess that any more than I was.


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