This is the dictionary definition of ''failure''
.1.an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success: His effort ended in failure. The campaign was a failure.
2.nonperformance of something due, required, or expected: a failure to do what one has promised; a failure to appear
If you are charged with protecting the country, and your job is to watch for terrorists, and you have two of the July 7 bombers in your sights, and you record and film them consorting with other known terrorists, talking about jihad
, but you let them go, and they go on to kill, then that is a failure.
If your job is to know what to look out for with reference to the behaviour of self-styled jihadi
terrorists, and the men you have in your sights, whom you are following, display many if not all of those danger-behaviours, but you let them go, and they go on and they kill 52 and maim and wound hundreds, then that is a failure.
(You don't need to be a spook to know what to look for: even I can tell you
what the behaviours are likely to be, after researching and studying it: I have written
about it before
. The Spanish, after the Madrid bombing, could tell you, so could the French, who have years of experience in this area... I am sure M15 and M16 knew
, after years of covertly monitoring militant Islamic activity in London and elsewhere, what they were looking at, who
they were watching. Even if you didn't know their names at the time, they could have found out. For God's sake, you only need to research the profile and behaviour to get an idea. Anyone could see it, if they knew where to look. And the security services didn't have to look for a needle in a haystack
: they were looking right at them, listening to them
. Khan and Tanweer. They had them in their hands.)
What is the profile? What should they have been looking for?
First. A growing, pious interest in religion, regular praying and attendance of mosques which are not the barelwi
mosques frequented by the subject's family. Listening to the exhortations of extremist preachers talking of jihad,
on CD, on the net. He's distancing himself from his family and old friends, especially his non-Muslim friends, no longer participating in Western-style lesiure activities especially mixed-sex activities (though an interest in sport or cricket may remain). He has new company, new friends, dropping old, uncommitted ones unless they are a part of the gang: he's always hanging about with a close-knit cell or small group of 17-28 year old males.They regularly decry the corrupt West and are politically engaged, idealistic and angry, though nihilistic in outlook; have an interest in watching and distributing 'atrocity' videos and DVDs which show the suffering of Muslims in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Chechyna and other places of conflict. There's absences from work, a lack of interest in a career or future or study. There's talk of defending the Ummah,
of feeling the pain of fellow Muslims. So far, so normal , so'angry young man'
; newly-politicised, fired up by watching the news, identifying himself with a global cause of the suffering. But still, so far, not a terrorist
. ''So he's pious, these days; it gives him a channel for his youthful idealism, his young man's anger, and it is better that than he's using drugs or hanging about with dirty, bad women and getting into trouble, bringing shame on himself and his family...''Then
come the changes that mark this out as more
than youthful anger and idealism:
All the time, now, he is with his 'brothers'. There's an interest in taking part in outdoor bonding activities, white-water-rafting, paint-balling, training hard at the gym , and praying with his close friends. Looks normal? But it isn't, not any more, this is male bonding over all the wrong reasons. There's evidence of paranoia, anger, antisocial behaviour. Casual cruelty, disordered thinking, an inability to care any more about other people, an objectification of those who do not make the grade and who are not in the gang, if you listen, if you talk to him, but he doesn't want to talk. He's behaving like he's joined a cult. (Which he has.) He's right, everyone else is wrong
. Whispering phone calls on pay-as-you-go mobiles he doesn't keep for long, hours on the internet, emailing from email cafes: his behaviour is erratic and secretive now, he won't engage much, he's not really 'present' any more.
He's secretly proving his dedication to the 'cause' by taking part in fund-raising, often involving credit card fraud and other low level criminal activity. Then he's saying he's going on to study in a madrassa
abroad, usually in Pakistan; fasting, praying. He's returns, and he says he's getting married ( the families of a shahid
or martyr are also deemed eligible for a fast-track to the gardens of Paradise in this new warped ideaology, this perversion of Islam). He's different, angry, quieter, but he you can't get through to him anymore. He still prays. But not with us.
Finally, his loyalty proved to the extremists' cause, he's returning to a training camp in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Kashmir; on his return, he's dressing in Western clothes again, shaving off his beard. He's preparing for a mission. He's ready
.(With thanks to a well-respected journalist who has followed Crevice, and who has studied this subject, with whom I discussed radicalisation and the work of the intelligence services at length today.)
Right, so Khan and Tanweer fitted this later pattern.
They were consorting with known terrorists
, they were going abroad to study, going to training camps to learn how to use explosives
and to be further indoctrinated in the Struggle, losing interest in their futures, committing fraud, raising money for jihad
. They were taped and filmed talking about jihad
. The clues were all there
. The security services watched, and they listened, they bugged, they videoed - and for reasons I cannot understand, they let then them go.Tanweer's 'martyr' speech
, released on the anniversary of the 7/7 bombings makes his terrible beliefs and commitment clear. It was all there.
Reading the ISC report, published after the bombs, it seems that the intelligence officers wanted to carry on following them, even though the call was taken that Mohammed Siddique Kahan and Shehzad Tanweer were fraudsters, not terrorists - but the intelligence officers were moved to monitoring other threats. (Like this one.
) Since then MI5 and the Counter-Terrorism Command have substantially increased their regional presence - perhaps an admission that things were not as they should have been?I cannot imagine how hard it must be to work in the intelligence services. I know they tried; I am sure that nobody wanted to fail.
But I see a failure
, I know what happened, I was right there, when it happened, and it still breaks my heart that it was not stopped.
And then the Director of M15
stands up on the 6th July 2005...''The director-general of the security service MI5 told senior MPs there was no imminent terrorist threat to London or the rest of the country less than 24 hours before the July 7 suicide bombings.
Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller gave the assurance at a private meeting of Labour whips at the Commons on the morning of July 6 2005, the Guardian has learned from a number of those present.
The whips are said to have been confident, on leaving the meeting, that they could brief fellow MPs that the security situation was under control, and are said to have been deeply alarmed by the following day's events.''
That is failure,
by any dictionary's definition of the word. So Eliza, the Head of M15 has announced her resignation, and we are supposed to believe that she told Charles Clarke, two and a half years into her job, that she would retire in two years time. (Like Home Secretaries stay in their jobs that long
. Like you can see that far into the future
.) And the resignation of the Head of M15 was announced quietly, buried
on the busiest news day of the year. A few weeks before the news is supposed to break about the alleged links between the July 7 bombers and other, intercepted terror cells planning atrocities. Yeah, right.Nobody is perfect. Everybody fails
. It is only lying, and covering up failure, refusing to admit where things went wrong, and not learning from mistakes, that is unforgiveable.I go on and on about preserving civil liberties on this blog and elsewhere
. I hate using fear to take away ancient rights. I say, again and again, that our riding pillion on the US foreign policy and its bloody war has damaged us, made us less safe. I understand a little; I feel terrible despair when I see people bombed. Whoever
they are bombed by, for whatever
reason, a bomb is a bomb and blood spilled is a tragedy. I am a white non-Muslim woman, and I am angry. If I were a 20 year old Pakistani British Muslim man, I might well be angrier still. I do not condone the harrassment and criminialisation of communities, the creeping Islamophobia, this newspaper hysteria, this climate of suspicion and fear.
But I know that the only way we can protect ourselves is by good intelligence work. And an ethical social and foreign policy would help, but if we are talking about stopping terror cells, then yes, you have to keep watch
on those who are demonstrating all the signs of criminal, mass-murdering extremist jihadi
behaviour. Not all Muslims. Just those who disgrace their religion by criminally using it to justify murder
. Yes, it is difficult, it takes resources, and time and money. But it has to be done .Note: I've linked here before, but if you haven't read it, here is the story of Khaled al-Berry. His story gives me hope and helped me to understand.
So, here we are. There will probably be a Crevice appeal after the verdict. There will probably be any number of attempts to stop all the failures being known, even with a new head of M15, even with a new, less-compromised Prime Minister. It's still not good enough. And so I will keep pushing: not because I want people to lose their jobs, not to have a blame-game, not to have catharis - but because I simply do not see, knowing what I know, what the hell else I can do.The petition, again.Other voices
, Muslim voices
, asking for an inquiry too. And see side bar of this blog.
UPDATE: I went on about it again, in today's Mirror
who are supporting the campaign for an inquiry.
UPDATE 2: Ooh, thanks, Blairwatch.