Thursday, May 21, 2009

Winning hearts and minds

In the "war on terror", intelligence is crucial. So how do the British intelligence services recruit informants? By persecuting innocent people, labelling them terrorists, and then saying it will all go away if they agree to become spies:

After they were sent back to the UK, they were interviewed by MI5 officers who, they say, falsely accused them of links to Islamic extremism. On each occasion the agents said they would lift the travel restrictions and threat of detention in return for their co-operation. When the men refused some of them received what they say were intimidating phone calls and threats.

Two other Muslim men say they were approached by MI5 at their homes after police officers posed as postmen. Each of the five men, aged between 19 and 25, was warned that if he did not help the security services he would be considered a terror suspect. A sixth man was held by MI5 for three hours after returning from his honeymoon in Saudi Arabia. He too claims he was threatened with travel restrictions if he tried to leave the UK.

As with so much else in the war on terror, its not just wrong, it's stupid. There is no better way to recruit people to terrorism than persecute the innocent. MI5's thuggish tactics may come back to bite innocents in the future. But I guess they'll just see that as another excuse to demand more money and more power to pursue the war they themselves seem to be doing their utmost to provoke.