(London, UK) The well-publicised and cynically-timed police raids today against a group that is well known for its outspoken views on UK foreign policy is only another strand of a coordinated campaign orchestrated by the government to influence public opinion and parliamentarians to support its hawkish stance in relation to events in the Syria/Iraq region. CAGE [1] has learnt from survivors that there have been dozens if not more unreported raids by various police forces across the country which have led to no charges but which have contributed toward fueling a climate of fear in communities that feel under siege [2].
Cerie Bullivant, spokesperson for CAGE, said:
1. "Questions must be asked about the timing, given the make-or-break vote on yet another attempt to join a US intervention in the Middle East. Today's arrest are of high profile individuals, who have been active for many years – no doubt a source of irritation for politicians – but engaged in lawful activity. It is clear the arrests are politically driven and not intelligence led."
2. "A similar strategy in Australia for the same reasons has led to one fatal shooting of  a suspect in a police station. Like government spokesmen here, Tony Abbot Prime Minister of Australia called for a shift in the 'delicate balance between freedom and security’ [3]. However such calls are a SOP to populism and a cynical attempt to garner public support by creating a “common enemy” by isolating and targeting a minority community."
3. "By establishing a climate of fear and repeating without any evidence the ludicrous claims of an domestic IS threat, the government is confident that the public debate will go in its favour and thus will prevent any scrutiny of its foreign policy objectives or the dire consequences for British society. The fall out from a manipulation of the public mood may give short term gains but we will all have to live with the long term damage to the rule of law and community cohesion."
4. The arrests today are just the latest in a long series: "CAGE knows of at least eleven other police raids, using the pretext of counter-terrorism, that have taken place in London alone over the past two weeks. As has become common practice over the last year, none of those raided were charged with any terrorism offence."
'Andrew', whose home in West London was raided last week, spoke to CAGE giving an insight into how damaging raids can be:
"I'm a White British-born Muslim who grew up in the UK. In the 90s the UK was a cool place to live, but when I became a Muslim 6 years ago, I noticed a deterioration in how the British government treats the Muslims. Even though I haven't been charged, the raid has traumatised my children, my wife and my in-laws; all of them needed medical attention after. Me and my family now intend to leave the UK as a direct result of the raids, because we don't feel we can live a normal life here any more."
1. CAGE (formerly known as CagePrisoners) is an independent advocacy organisation that works to empower communities affected by the War on Terror and to highlight abuses of due process.
2. CAGE has spokespeople available for interview on this topic
Contact:            Mr Amandla Thomas-Johnson
Phone:              +(44) 207 377 6700
27 Old Gloucester Street
(CC image courtesy of Gideon on Flickr)

(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.)