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UK Police Chief hints at Internment for Muslims Following New "Act of Terror"

Abu Turab | 19.10.2006 13:49 | Analysis | Anti-racism | Repression | Terror War | London | Sheffield

Last July, Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said that another terrorist attack in London was inevitable. "I think there will be further attacks" he explained, "in fact I know there will be further attacks". (1)

His surety may be puzzling at first, but for those who believe that the attacks of 9/11 and 7/7 were 'Reichstag Fire' style events, essentially self-inflicted wounds designed to generate public outcry and allow the pursuit of political goals that would have otherwise been impossible to find widespread support for, his comments may be assessed in a much more troubling light. (2)

Last week, Commissioner Blair, speaking at a closed private meeting, reiterated his claims about future attacks and suggested that the British people should "brace themselves for a truly appalling act of terror". (3) According to details leaked by an shocked insider who was present at the meeting, Blair suggested that following this act of terorrism, "people would be talking quite openly about internment", also giving the impression that he would be leading the pro-internment lobby.

This helps put the puzzling front-page stories from the mainstream British media over the past few days into context. Frenzied rhetoric -- criticizing Muslim policemen, Muslim cabbies, and Muslim dress, to describe just a few of the stories circulating -- has served to raise anti-Muslim feeling among the public to such levels that MP George Galloway describes as "almost a pre-pogrom atmosphere". (4)

Coupled with the suspicious silence of the national press about the discovery by police of what is described as a record haul of chemical bomb-making components, together with rocket launchers, extremist literature and a nuclear biological suit (5) -- the story being confined mainly to small local papers -- serious questions can be raised about the underlying agenda of the press.

Unlike the other recent 'plots' involving chemical weapons, such as the fictional liquid-bomb plan, of which many of the accused didn't even have passports let alone tickets, and unlike the botched Forest Gate fiasco where over 200 men were involved in the police operation to raid a house, shooting a man in search of an imaginary chemical vest -- this operation actually did find a haul of chemicals and weapons. However, the culprits were white non-Muslims, which explains the lack of press conferences from Home Secretary John Reid, and the absence of front page headlines.

Something sinister seems afoot.

Back in 2002, the Detroit Free Press ran a story entitled "Arabs in US could be held, official warns". (6) The official referred to by the article is Peter Kirsanow, an appointee to the US Civil Rights Commission by President Bush, who claimed that in the event of another terrorist attack, there would be "a groundswell of public opinion to banish civil rights" since "the public would be less concerned about any perceived erosion of civil liberties than they are about protecting their own lives." Kiransaw warned about the possibility of internment camps for Arab Americans. Other sources have reported that FEMA (the US Federal Emergency Management Agency) has actually practised for such an occasion. (7)

This scenario then, is what Ian Blair may be pointing to. Following some new attack on British civilians (thereby providing maximum 'outrage potential'), possibly involving biological or chemical weapons, the media will be able to rouse the public to such an extent that talk of internment -- the imprisonment of innocent citizens without trial or charge -- will no longer be taboo among either the laity or the politicians

Journalist Peter Dale Scott reported in February of a little-known $385 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security to a Halliburton subsidiary, to provide "temporary detention and processing capabilities." (8) He cites Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. military's account of its activities in Vietnam, as suggesting that this is "almost certainly [a] preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters."

This background makes recent laws passed on both sides of the Atlantic all the more worrying. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 (9), recently passed by Congress, "authorizes the President to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States" according to Yale law Professor Bruce Ackerman (10). And "once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights."

Meanwhile, following the liquid-bomb plot (which ex-ambassador Craig Murray (11), and other experts (12) have exposed as a fictional but politically useful propaganada diversion) Tony Blair is again planning to push through legislation -- allowing detention without charge for 90 days -- that was rejected last November following a rebellion by his ministers.

Labour MP David Winnick has said that the move would be "totally unjustified", but conceded that he fully expected ministers to use the latest terror scare to push for a longer period. (13) "Going back only a few years ago, police had just two or three days to release or charge suspects and that figure has repeatedly been increased by Parliament with little opposition", he explained. "The danger is that by increasing it steadily, you get up to 90 days and then people will start saying 90 days isn't enough."

Following the terror scare, John Reid (an ex-Communist 'enforcer', according to Murray) also revealed that he is considering introducing powers to put suspects (including British citizens) under house arrest, without being charged or convicted of any offence. (14)

All this is in addition to the highly controversial Civil Contingencies Act, passed in 2004, that allows police to enforce evacuations, restrict travel, destroy private property without compensation and ban peaceful protests. Planned amendments to the Act have proposed that police be given the right to detain anyone in the ‘vicinity’ of a suspected bioterrorist attack (which some suggest may be the type of attack the UK is expecting next) and also the prospect of internment without trial for British citizens. (15)

There's still more. Leaked documents, outlining a plan known as 'Operation Sassoon', (16) have detailed how the Government intends to evacuate London in the event of a terrorist incident. (17) The plans describe how citizens could be herded into "rest and reception areas" in the Home Counties. Worryingly, mention is made of long term rehousing if an attack makes an area uninhabitable, again raising the possibility of internment. (18) The then minister for London, Nick Raynsford, told The Sunday Times it was possible that areas of London could be evacuated even before any attack had happened. (19)

If a strategy for the internment of citizens was in the offing, nearly all the cogs and gears necessary to achieve it are already in place. A new terror attack, conveniently generating a helpful wave of national indignation, would be the catalyst needed to accelerate and seal the plan, and would be used to sell the idea to the public. This is the kind of outrage that needs to take place before the public mood is altered to the extent that Commissioner Blair can come public with his ideas.

Internment is not something new in the history of Western democracy. During World War II, the US forcibly interned thousands of Japanese Americans, most of whom were citizens, into hastily constructed housing facilities called "War Relocation Camps". (20) The British, apart from the more recent and notorious policy of internment in Northern Ireland, also interned many aliens, refugees, and even suspected enemy-sympathisers who were British nationals during the war. (21)

Also interesting, are archived newspaper reports describing how Germany, under Hitler, began with the internment of Communists in separate camps, citing difficulties in finding enough available places in state prisons. (22) Of course, as time progressed, these 'innocent' and 'justified' internment camps became increasingly sinister, being converted into death camps in which many people perished. It might therefore be worrying to see many recent articles in the national media indicating that UK prisons are close to reaching capacity, with the press calling for novel solutions. (23)

History has a remarkable way of repeating itself. (24) The actors vary but the struggles are constant. Our age has already seen a new Reichstag Fire, followed by 'Enabling Acts' in both the US and the UK. It seriously seems as though concentration camps and full-blown fascism may be next on the agenda.

The head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad during the late 1980s and early 1990s, George Churchill-Coleman, is not the only one that can read the trends. "I have a horrible feeling that we are sinking into a police state" he suggested, "and that's not good for anybody". (25)

Especially for Muslims, who could be amongst the first victims of such nascent fascist police states, the first victims of a new open genocide in Europe (26) and the first occupants of the internment camps that Ian Blair might have in mind. But certainly not the last.

When the Nazis came for the communists,

I remained silent;

I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent;

I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,

I did not speak out;

I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for me,

there was no one left to speak out. (27)



(1) "Met chief warns of another attack"

(2) "London Bombings Data Page" -- see especially the excellent analysis of comments by Peter Power

(3) " EXCLUSIVE: Sir Ian Blair Says New Terror Attack Could Lead to Internment"

(4) "The jackboots of our time"

(5) "Chemicals Find: Two In Court"

(6) "Arabs in U.S. could be held, official warns"

(7) "Foundations are in place for martial law in the US"

(8) "Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps"

(9) "RIP, Bill of Rights, RIP"

(10) "Torture Bill States Non-Allegiance To Bush Is Terrorism"

(11) "The UK Terror plot: what's really going on?"

(12) "Ex-UK Intel Official says Liquid Explosive Claims 'Fiction'"

(13) "Terror alert: Blair to force through 90-day detention"

(14) "Reid wants to bypass human rights law and intern suspects"

(15) "Blunkett plans jail without trial"

(16) "Operation Sassoon"

(17) "More Order out of Chaos..."

(18) "Martial Law"

(19) "London could be evacuated if attacked"

(20) "Japanese American internment"

(21) "Internment"

(22) "Communists to be interned in Dachau" -- see date,,1735980,00.html

(23) "Jails are full – what do we do with criminals?"

(24) "When History Repeats..."

(25) "Britain 'sliding into police state'",1320,1400586,00.html

(26) "The next holocaust"

(27) "First they came", a poem attributed to Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

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Display the following 4 comments

  1. 'Reichstag Fire' — Paul Edwards
  2. 9/11 7/7 — inside jobs
  3. 'Paul Edwards'- paid to troll Indymedia UK — twilight
  4. 4 twilight especially — Puzzled Peter