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On Brits fighting abroad

This article is over 9 years, 11 months old
Issue 2411

With new security at airports and the scare over people who train to fight in Syria the Tories are ramping up fear of Muslim terrorists.

An Intelligence and Security Committee report this week is likely to say further powers to spy could have prevented soldier Lee Rigby’s murder last year. But this is about stirring a moral panic and stopping MI5 or the government looking incompetent. 

Both are embarrassed because Rigby’s killers were known to them and MI5 had previously attempted to recruit one of them.

The report could be an excuse for the Tories to pass even more draconian laws. In practice that would mean more Islamophobic snooping on Muslims in Britain. 

In May Mashudur Choudhury from Portsmouth was the first convicted under anti-terror laws for planning to fight abroad. He had arranged to go to a training camp in Syria. The 500 British citizens claimed to be fighting in Syria are far from the only Brits fighting abroad. 

After serving Britain’s imperial interests, some ex- soldiers join the French Foreign Legion as a step up to the world of mercenaries.

Also 100 British citizens serve at any given time in the Israeli army, whose propaganda boasts that they fight “shoulder to shoulder” with regular troops. 

So they are taking part in the latest battering of Palestinian civilians on the streets of Gaza. 

But neither are a cause for panic from the British government.

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