CIA: UK Terror problem home-grown

It should come as no surprise that Islamist extremists are a great threat to US homeland security. But, according to The Telegraph, there’s a twist. The most likely source, the CIA has identified, of another 9/11-scale terrorist atrocity is from terrorists entering the US on the visa-waiver programme offered to British citizens.

Yes, the Islamist terrorists will most likely have been born and raised in Britain.

Now, before we write this off as a bit of American paranoia, consider this: Three of the four 7/7 bombers were born in the UK and the 4th lived here all his life. Three of the four copycat bombers on 21/7  grew up in the UK and were naturalised British citizens.

But here’s the scary part:

A British intelligence source revealed that a staggering four out of 10 CIA operations designed to thwart direct attacks on the US are now conducted against targets in Britain.

Actually, scrap that… this is even scarier:

Information gleaned by CIA spies in Britain has already helped thwart several terrorist attacks in the UK and was instrumental in locating Rashid Rauf, a British-born al-Qaeda operative implicated in a plot to explode airliners over the Atlantic…

Indeed, there is so much plotting going on in the UK that British intelligence services are unable to keep tabs on the “swamp” of jihadis because they simply don’t have the resources or manpower.

Jonathan Evans, the director general of MI5, admitted in January that the Security Service alone does not have the resources to maintain surveillance on all its targets. “We don’t have anything approaching comprehensive coverage,” he said…. The British intelligence official revealed that CIA chiefs sent more resources to the UK because they were not prepared to see American citizens die as a result of MI5’s inability to keep tabs on all suspects, even though the Security Service successfully uncovered the plot.

So the obvious question is why? America is supposedly the Great Satan, while Britain is a paragon of multicultural tolerance. However, as reported in The Guardian in 2007, a survey revealed that American Muslims are far more prosperous, integrated and content than their British counterparts:

Muslims in the United States are much more assimilated into society than Muslims in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, according to a poll published yesterday.

The detailed survey, conducted by the Washington-based Pew Research Centre, found that American Muslims tended to have a better standard of living than their counterparts in Europe and were more comfortable with a society in which a majority believed in God compared with secular Europe.

Farid Senzai, an adviser on the survey and director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, said: “The news overall is overwhelmingly positive. The Muslim community here is less ghettoised than in Europe.”

The poll’s finding were confirmed by another poll conducted in the UK by Channel4. According to a report in Ekklesia:

An opinion poll commissioned and released by Channel 4 TV news, a respected current affairs programme in the UK, has revealed alarming levels of disaffection among Muslims in Britain – including distrust for the authorities and doubts over the official version of the 7/7 bombings.

If the findings of the random sample are accurate, some 24 per cent of Britain’s two million Muslims believe that the government may have had a role in staging the 7 July 2005 suicide attacks on a bus and underground trains.

A quarter think that the four men named as the killers of 52 passengers on the London transport system were not necessarily responsible for the attacks, drawing on conspiracy theories doing the rounds on the web – in a fashion similar to those concerning the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

So why are we a breeding ground for conspiracy-obsessed, paranoid, malcontents with murder in their hearts?

Of course, the obvious retrort is to cite “foreign policy”. But this theory has two weaknesses. Firstly, there are many ethnic communities in the UK and they must all be pissed off from time to time with the UK Government’s foreign policy, but they don’t blow up their neighbours during rush hour. Secondly – and more obviously – the US has a more aggressive foreign policy than we do, but much less dissatisfaction among its domestic Muslim community.

I’ll throw in a provocative theory to get the debate started: It’s a lethal cocktail of three elements: (1) The UK is a boring nanny state where all risk and excitement is drained from life; (2) The UK fosters a victim culture where even spats between airhead celebrities dominate news headlines for weeks; (3) Religious fundamentalism is the new escapism. Mixed together, the tedium and trivia of modern urban life evaporate in an intoxicating ether of adventure: Quran Quest V2.0 begins.

But I think perhaps a less glib explanation is hinted at in The Guardian’s report: Secularism. The US, despite its constitutional separation of Church and State, is friendlier to faith. So maybe it’s the UK and Europe’s (perceived) secular liberalism itself that is the spark to the fuse. Perhaps those who say “it’s foreign policy, stoopid” are very wrong and the answer is: “it’s domestic policy, stoopid”.

It’s something to consider.