MI5 threat assessment does not match concrete terrorist activities

John Wight
John Wight has written for a variety of newspapers and websites, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal.
MI5 threat assessment does not match concrete terrorist activities
The MI5 latest assessment on the terrorist threat level in the UK does not match reality, political writer John Wight told RT. Instead Andrew Parker’s speech creates fear that is used as a basis for an attack on Edward Snowden.

RT:There has been no significant spike in violence in the UK recently. Why is he warning about it now?

John Wight: When I was a child my father used to tell me that if I was not in bed by a certain time of the night, the scary monster that lived under my bed would get me. And this scare monger is obvious. It is clearly tied to coincide with revelations from Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, to demonize him and to attack the Guardian newspaper which published the cables in this country. As John Adams, the second American president said – fear is the foundation of government – and this is early reminiscent of the reds under the bed, scare mongering that was prevalent in the US in regards to the fear of communism or the perceived threat of communism in the 1950s.

RT:Between the popularity of Islam and worries over Islamophobia in the UK - won't such warnings only stoke existing tensions?

JW: Indeed they will. This announcement, this speech by the head of MI5 Andrew Parker could not have been worst timed. We have the idiot march the far right anti-Muslim group planned for this Saturday in Bradford and they are already peddling the dangerous conflation between terrorism and Islam. It is very problematic with regards to community relations.   

Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett

RT: David Cameron said, at the time, that the Woolwich murder of a soldier in May had nothing to do with the UK's foreign policies. Does that still stand? 

 Absolutely not and it never stood. This government and the previous Labor government, beginning with the Blair government has done its utmost to deny this link which everybody knows exists. And it is interesting that the head of MI5, cited the role of British extremists in Syria, given that the British government is actually supporting al Qaeda in Syria effectively and came perilously close two weeks ago in engaging in an armed strike against the Syrian government on their behalf.  

RT: What are lawmakers doing about tackling this domestic "Islamist" threat? 

JW: Mr. Parker says that there’re thousands of Islamic extremists who are looking to strike against British people. That is arrant nonsense. Again, I’ll go back to my original statement about scare mongering. There is no overwhelming threat from Islamic terrorism in this country. There have been a few attacks, horrible attacks, grotesque attacks but the fear he is propagating no way matches the concrete terrorist activities that have taken place. I think most people in this country should fear their own government and security establishment in light of the revelations given to us by Edward Snowden in a heroic act for freedom and for people’s right to know what their government is doing in the cause of security.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.