The London Bridge terror attack saw a repeat of a now familiar narrative in which every suspect involved had been long-known to both British security and intelligence agencies.
The London Telegraph in an article titled, “Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba named: Everything we know about the London Bridge terrorists,” would reveal:
The ringleader of the London Bridge massacre never bothered to hide his violent, extremist views. Khuram Butt was so brazen that he openly posed with the black flag of the so-called Islamic State in Regent’s Park in the centre of London for a Channel 4 documentary, entitled The Jihadis Next Door.
Butt and other extremists linked to the banned terror group al-Muhajiroun were even detained by police for an hour over the stunt in 2015 but were released without being arrested.
The al-Muhajiroun terror group is headed by British-based extremist, Anjem Choudary, who for years helped fill the ranks of militant groups fighting governments the US and UK sought to overthrow in Libya, Syria and beyond. Choudary inexplicably escaped the consequences of his open advocacy and material support for known terrorist organizations for years, with the London Guardian in an article titled, “Anjem Choudary: a hate preacher who spread terror in UK and Europe,” going as far as speculating he did so because he was actually an informant or operative working for the British government.
The article would also admit that Butt was under investigation by British intelligence up to the day of the attack:
MI5 and counter-terrorism officers began an investigation into Butt, which remained ongoing even as the 27-year-old launched his terror attack on London Bridge. Butt, who was wearing an Arsenal shirt and a fake bomb strapped to his chest, was shot dead by police on Saturday night.
A second suspect, Rachid Redouane, was repeatedly brought to the attention of police who ignored warnings he was an extremist and a member of the so-called “Islamic State.”
The Telegraph reports that a third suspect, Youssef Zaghba, was also known to police:
He was reportedly arrested at Bologna airport in March 2016 trying to get to Syria and was also understood to be on an Italian anti-terror watch list.
The fact that these three suspects evaded capture and were able to carry out their attack despite being known and even monitored actively by British security and intelligence agencies lends even further credibility to the notion that they and others like them work for the British government, not against it.
Unable to Reach Syria, West’s Dogs of War Bite Local Population
Networks like al-Muhajiroun and the extremists they cultivate help fill the ranks of “moderate rebel” groups the US, UK, other European nations including France, as well as regional allies like Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar are arming, funding and providing direct military support for in Libya, Syria, Yemen and beyond.
This fact goes far in explaining why extremists are allowed – for years – to openly advocate violence and recruit members into what is essentially a terrorist organization operating under the nose of British security and intelligence agencies – if not with their collective and eager complicity.
While these terrorists are labeled “moderate rebels” when fighting abroad, they are only labeled as such by the Western media out of necessity in an attempt to differentiate them from the extremists that are in fact fighting the West’s proxy war for it in places like Syria.
Suspects like Youssef Zaghba even attempted to travel to Syria to fight among the ranks of Western-backed militant groups – and failing to do so – participated in armed violence in the UK instead. Had he traveled onward to Syria, it would have been innocent Syrians instead of innocent British civilians terrorized, attacked, maimed and killed.
A Strategy of Terror and Tension
And despite the reality of the US and UK along with other European and Persian Gulf allies openly fueling terrorism at home and abroad, in the wake of tragic events like in London, Manchester, Paris, or Brussels, the very government organizations clearly responsible for presiding over these terrorists and their networks, sometimes for months and even years before an attack, are granted even more power to address a problem of their own intentional creation.
These organizations are able to do so in plain sight of the public specifically because of another conflict they openly orchestrate, pitting the general public against one another along lines of “anti-Islamic” fervor versus social justice advocates.
What both sides of this manufactured and intentionally perpetuated divide fail to realize is that Muslims are dying by the tens of thousands in places like Syria actively fighting against extremism springing not from Islam or the Qu’ran, but from the Pentagon, Westminster, Paris, Brussels, Riyadh, Ankara and Doha. It is not a clash of civilizations, but a manufactured conflict designed to perpetually fill the ranks of mercenaries abroad while exploiting their violence at home to procure more power and wealth through fear, anger and hysteria.
With wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and beyond adding up to trillions for defense contractors and including weapon systems designed to fight them, with the F-35 joint strike fighter alone topping one trillion US dollars and as the West continues to openly act with impunity when and where it pleases despite violating the very international law it claims it is upholding globally, it is clear that, for now, this strategy is working.
If and when the general public understands the truth of why their lives are put in danger and their nation’s resources are being squandered abroad instead of at home for building their own futures, this strategy will be less successful. Until then, it appears that simplistic propaganda still works in convincing the public that governments like in London are simply incapable of arresting terrorists who appear regularly on TV, in the media and who openly operate in public with apparent and otherwise inexplicable impunity.
Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”