Independent review of terrorism legislation points to government exaggeration of threat for political gain
Source: Steve Watson Prisonplanet.com
An independent review of terrorism legislation in the UK notes that government rhetoric regarding terrorism is “exaggerated for political or commercial purposes” and that many more people are killed each year by bee stings.
The report by barrister David Anderson QC, highlights the fact that the average number of annual deaths as a result of terrorism or at the hands of terrorists in the UK this century is just five.
“During the 21st century, terrorism has been an insignificant cause of mortality in the United Kingdom.” Anderson writes.
“The annualised average of five deaths caused by terrorism in England and Wales over this period compares with total accidental deaths in 2010 of 17,201, including 123 cyclists killed in traffic accidents, 102 personnel killed in Afghanistan, 29 people drowned in the bathtub and five killed by stings from hornets, wasps and bees.”
Anderson also points out that not a single person in Britain has even been injured by a terrorist for over two years.
The report notes that in the year to March 2011, arrests of individuals suspected of being terrorists numbered just 141, the lowest figure since 2001/2. In addition there was only one conviction in a UK court on charges related to terrorism.
“Those figures compare with a total number of arrests for recorded crime in England and Wales alone of almost 1.4 million in 2010/11, including some 431,000 for offences of violence against the person, 37,000 for sexual offences, 34,000 for robbery and 93,000 for burglary.” the report notes.
The report suggests that the threat from terrorism is hugely over exaggerated and that draconian terrorism related laws should be reassessed.
“Terrorists are first and foremost criminals. Where possible and as a general rule, they should be prosecuted under the ordinary criminal law, to underline the fact that no special laws are necessary for the purpose and to prevent them from glamorising or politicising their offences…” the report states.
“The values of a liberal democracy deserve support from laws against terrorism, but the same values require that those laws be subject to strict scrutiny.” Anderson writes.
The report comes in the same week as a rare keynote speech by MI5 head Jonathan Evans in which he stated that the ‘Arab Spring’ could radicalize British muslims and breed new terrorists, that a dirty bomb attack in the UK was a realistic possibility, that Iranian sponsored terror was a significant threat, and that economic hardship could see the rise of more “lone wolf” terrorists in the vein of Anders Breivik.
As we have previously noted, statistics show that more people die from intestinal illnesses, being struck by lightning, accidents involving deer, and allergic reactions to peanuts than they do from terrorism.
Despite these facts, billions is spent on “homeland security” while Americans are hit with crippling austerity measures. In addition, sweeping laws are undermining core liberties, all in the name of countering a monolithic terrorist threat. Furthermore, research has shown that more people are being killed or putting themselves in more danger owing to the heightened perceived threat of terrorism.
As reports such as Anderson’s continue to highlight, in reality the security industry cash cow is based on little more than hot air and fearmongering. The war on terror, and the onslaught of domestic repression that has accompanied it, is based on the completely phony pretext that terrorists pose any more threat than bowel complications, rare weather events, or wandering animals.