London – Recent comments by the former head of MI5 Baroness Manningham-Buller claiming that radicalisation can happen “between breakfast and lunch” show that the counter-terrorism sector is making increasing shrill and sweeping statements that have little basis in fact, but which aim to ramp up fear to justify the draconian new Terrorism legislation.

These policies aim to further the wholescale securitisation of society and strengthen a two-tier legislative environment that criminalises Islam and other beliefs that challenge the government.

Moazzam Begg, outreach director for CAGE, said:

“Up until now, security services and pro-government think-tanks have argued that “radicalication” occurs over a period of time. In the past, they have said that people pass through “conveyor belts” that lead to extremism. Now, we’re being told that people pass through that process and can become terrorists within hours – literally before its time for tea. Her memory may not serve her well but, in 2010 Manningham-Buller told the Chilcot inquiry: “Our involvement in Iraq radicalised a whole generation of young people … who saw our involvement in Iraq on top of our involvement in Afghanistan as an attack on Islam.”

“We would also like to remind the former Mi5 head that she was in office when ‘false intelligence’ led to the Iraq invasion, and whose employees were complicit in the torture, rendition and interrogation of British citizens in many countries around the world. Perhaps taking a long, hard look in the mirror, amending unjust policies and holding torturers accountable, might be the best antidote for the ‘radicalisation’ the state claims is reason enough to springboard further oppressive legislation and policies.”

CC image courtesy of Flickr/Chatham House

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)