When Students Turn to Terror: Terrorist and Extremist Activity on British Campuses



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Professor Anthony Glees is Director of the Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies (BCISS) at Brunel University.  He is one of the founding figures of the academic study of intelligence and security issues in the UK.  His books on intelligence include: (with Philip H. J. Davies & John N. L. Morrison) The Open Side of Secrecy: Ten Years of Britain’s Intelligence and Security Committee (London: Social Affairs Unit, forthcoming); (with Philip H. J. Davies) Spinning The Spies: Intelligence, Open Government and the Hutton Inquiry (London: Social Affairs Unit, 2004); The Stasi Files: East Germany's Secret Operations Against Britain (London: Free Press, 2003); and The Secrets of the Service: British Intelligence and Communist Subversion 1939-51 (London: Jonathan Cape, 1987).  Professor Glees’ current research is focussed on the study of intelligence and security matters on a national and European level.
Chris Pope is a former journalist, spending eight years working in the aerospace and defence sectors. He reported from Iraq during the 2003 war. He has recently completed a Masters Degree in Intelligence and Security Studies at Brunel University. He is the newly appointed editor of the Royal United Services Institute’s Monitor journal, which examines the areas of security and resilience.


1 See, for example, the Report of the Intelligence and Security Committee for 1997-8, para 47, at www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/publications/reports/intelligence/Intelligence.pdf

See Panorama BBC TV 21 August 2005 and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4681857.stm

2 Our report is based on open sources as well as on the record discussions, interviews and meetings with security and intelligence officers, held under Chatham House rules.

3 The Times 14 and 18 July 2005

4 Ibid

5 The Guardian 21 July 2005

6 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4178166.stm

7 It was left to an interviewee of the BBC, Michael Fabricant MP, the Member of Parliament for the farmers, to describe the ALF cell as ‘terrorists’ although the BBC did state that a judge trying some members of this cell had himself called them “terrorists”.

8 Young Muslims and Extremism 2004, a paper prepared for the Prime Minister published in part in The Sunday Times 10 July 2005

9 See the report of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee for 1989/90 www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/publications/reports/intelligence/Intelligence.pdf; meeting at Demos, Central London 20 June 2005

10 Interviewed in The Times 10 August 2005

11 See the annual reports of the Intelligence and Security Committee http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/intelligence/

12 e.g. in London on 22 February 2005

13 The comment was made by Patrick Mercer MP, an Opposition Front Bench spokesman

14 Shortened version published in The Times Higher Education Supplement 7 April 2005 and reported elsewhere.

15 At a meeting of Policy Exchange , London,14 March 2005

16 Anthony Glees Reinventing Germany Berg: Oxford 1996 pp 163-165; Stefan Aust The Baader-Meinhof Group, Bodley Head: London 1987 provides the classic account of the gang

17 Published in The Daily Telegraph 23 July 2005

18 Confidential information from a London school teacher 25 July 2005

19 On the record but anonymous interview with officers from the Metropolitan Police and Special Branch, Central London, 25 February 2005

20 See The Washington Post 20 August 2005

21 It was not, he said, about whether ‘intercept evidence’ was safe to use because the information identifying sources of danger came from individuals not from phone taps (a point apparently contradicted by a former Director General of MI5, Sir Stephen Lander, on the Today Programme who did appear to think that intercept evidence lay at the heart of the issue, the use of which he now opposed).

David Bickford, a former legal adviser to MI5, the Security Service, and MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, believes the ongoing objections to the use of such evidence ‘defy logic’ in the current climate. “The intelligence community abroad looks aghast at our position restricting the use of phone intercepts as evidence. It can’t understand it. I find it difficult to find any logical explanation. It just flows from an obsession in certain circles that we have to keep everything secret simply for the sake of secrecy.”

22 e.g. Professor Connor Gairty’s arguments put before an invited audience at RUSI at a pilot BBC Radio Four programme on 30 June 2005

23 Philip Webster: “9/11 wake-up call ignored, Blair says in swipe at obstructive judges” The Times 27 July 2005

24 Speaking in Central London 22 February 2005

25 www.mi5.gov.uk/output/Page26.html

26 Intelligence and Security Committee Report 1998-9, para 62.

27 The Guardian 19 July 2005

28 See The Butler Review into Weapons of Mass Destruction, 2004 pp 17-20. Interestingly, it has been suggested that the AQ Khan network was identified as the result of careful investigation by MI5 who noticed a number of students from Pakistan attending various universities where nuclear matters were taught. Whilst each individual student seemed to be engaged on quite harmless studies, when the group was analysed as a whole, it was found to have significant understanding of uranium enrichment techniques and weapons systems. Confidential information, June 2005.

29 Confidential information, July 2005. The University is situated in the London area.

30 On the record but non-attributable meeting, Central London 25 February 2005

31 Vikram Dodd: “Special Branch to track Muslims across the UK”. The Guardian 20 July 2005

32 “Communists ‘tried to infiltrate British school system’”, The Guardian 1 July 2005

33 Marc Sageman: Understanding terror networks. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004. p 55

34 Anthony Glees: The Stasi Files. Simon & Schuster p 350

35 Fears over CIA ‘university spies.’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4603271.stm

36 Yael Shahar: Islamic radicals in the UK. www.ict.org.il/ The full list of banned proscribed terrorist groups in the UK can be found on the Home Office website (www.homeoffice.gov.uk/terrorism/threat/groups/) and includes such organisations as Al Qaeda, Groupe Islamique Armee and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

37 Steve Coll and Susan B Glasser: “In London, Islamic radicals found a haven.” Washington Post 10 July 2005

38 David Leppard and Nick Fielding: “The hate”. The Sunday Times 10 July 2005

39 This refers to the famous scene in the film Star Wars where the lead characters enter a bar to be confronted by a myriad of different alien species, all with different skills, motives and services.

40 Coll and Glasser, Washington Post

41 Gordon Corera: “How militant Islam found a home in London”, Jane’s Intelligence Review, August 2002, p 16.

42 Shahar: Islamic radicals in the UK

43 Jimmy Burns and Stephen Fidler: “Different approach to tackling terrorism exposed.” The Financial Times, 12 July 2005

44 Ibid

45 Corera: Jane’s Intelligence Review, p 18

46 Project Contest was the Home Office report drawn up to examine the government’s relations with the Muslim community, in particular the younger generation.

47 Home Office: Relations with the Muslim Communit: Summary p 2. 10 May 2005

48 Youth and terrorism. www.teror.gen.tr

49 Charles Guthrie: “Taming terrorism.” Policy Exchange, London 14 March 2005

50 Paul Kelso: “Young Muslims ‘fall prey to extremists” The Guardian 27 December 2001

51 Corera: Jane’s Intelligence Review, p 17

52 Ed Blanche, “Al Qaeda recruitment targets the intelligent, disciplined and devout”, Jane’s Intelligence Review, January 2002, p 28

53 Sageman: p 76

54 Sageman: p 78

55 Sageman: p 92

56 Sageman: p 160

57 Religion, a personal matter. GfK Worldwide www.gfk.com

58 www.monitoring-group.co.uk/this%20week/racism_simmering_in_british_schools.htm

59 Muslim political activism in higher education presentation at
LSE Department of Anthropology 1 June 2005

60 Sebastian Rotella: “Europe’s boys of Jihad.” LA Times, 2 April 2005

61 Nick Fielding: “Al Qaeda lures middle classes to join its ranks.” Sunday Times, 3 April 2005

62 “MI5: We did not receive a warning.” Daily Telegraph, 17 July 2005

63 Suicide bombers ordinary lives. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4678837.stm

64 Daniel McGrory and Zahid Hussain: “Cousin listened to boasts about suicide mission.”
The Times 22 July 2005

65 Explosion plot of ‘walking angel’. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/gloucestershire/4305161.stm

66 Alex Sholem: Terror plot. www.totallyjewish.com/news/stories/?disp_type=0&disp_story=wrXuia

67 Mark Honigsbaum and Vikram Dodd: “From Gloucester to Afghanistan: the making of a shoe bomber.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1430964,00.html



68 Mike McGrath: “S013 halts suicide bomb plan.” The Job, 11 March 2005

69 Terror suspect admits plane plot. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/4304223.stm

70 British Muslims deplore decision to extradite Babar Ahmad to the US. www.mcb.org.uk/

71 British man ran terror websites. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4311795.stm

72 Terror suspect facing extradition. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4554829.stm

73 Rajeev Syal and Chris Hastings: “Al Qaeda terror trio linked to London School of ‘Extremists’” www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fnews%2F2002%2F01%2F27%2Fnlse27.xml

74 Corera: Jane’s Intelligence Review, p 15

75 Stephen McGinty: “The English Islamic terrorist”, The Scotsman http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=1204&id=763812002

76 Will Woodward: “Hijack suspect was South Bank student”, The Guardian www.guardian.co.uk/wtccrash/story/0,1300,564459,00.html

77 Blanche: Jane’s Intelligence Review, p. 27

78 http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/moussaoui/usmouss71602spind.pdf

79 http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/us/0207/moussoui.timeline/frameset.exclude.html

80 Time magazine, 27 October 2003

81 Chris Lamb: “Former Durham student blamed for terrorist attack on Israelis.”Palatinate http://palatinate.dsu.org.uk/News/328/

82 Uzi Mahnaimi and Christopher Lamb: “Ex-British student in hit squad threat.”
The Times, 6 March 2005

83 Sam Knight: “Diary of British jihadi unearthed in Pakistan” The Times 08 August 2005

84 “MI5: We did not receive a warning”. Daily Telegraph 17 July 2005

85 From student to terror suspect, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1773477.stm

86 Chris Johnston: “I did not pledge to bin Laden”, The Times 23 May 2005

87 Farhad Khosrokhavar: Suicide bombers, Allahs new martyrs, Pluto Press, 2005, p 192

88 http://news.scotsman.com/archive.cfm?id=172432005

89www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/04/01/nterr101.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/04/01/ixnewstop.html

90 “MI5: We did not receive a warning”, Daily Telegraph 17 July 2005

91 “MI5 admits: We let terrorists slip through nets.” Daily Telegraph 29 July 2004

92 Suicide bomber wife cleared, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3876759.stm

93 Musharraf targets hate preachers as arrests mount http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2005-07-21T175405Z_01_SCH164382_RTRUKOC_0_SECURITY-PAKISTAN.xml

Home Office: Young Muslims and extremism, p 10, 10 May 2005

94 www.hizb-ut-tahrir.org/english/english.html

95 Khosrokhavar: Suicide bombers, p 173.

96 The Netherlands General Intelligence and Security Service annual report 2004.

97 Interview with Community Security Trust, March 2005

98 Khosrokhavar: Suicide bombers, p 198.

99 Home Office: Young Muslims and extremism. p 27 10 May 2005

100 Hizb ut-Tahrir: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/3182271.stm

101 Ibid.

102 Michael Whine: Islamist organisations on the Internet. Taken from Terrorism and political violence Frank Cass, Spring 1999, p 127

103 Interview with Community Security Trust. March 2005.

104 Whine: Terrorism and Political Violence, p 129.

105 Uzbek embassy demonstrators held. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4555847.stm

106 Daniel McGrory: “Britain ‘is haven for terrorists’” The Times 21 May 2005.

107 www.standforislam.org.

108 Leaked British government dossier exposes plan to subvert Islam. www.1924.org/opinion/index.php?id=2002_0_34_0_M

109 www.hizb.org.uk/press/index.php?id=2130_0_45_0_M

110 Nick Craven, Beth Hale and James Chapman: “Cleric: bombs are your fault.”
Daily Mail 20 July 2005

Al Muhajiroun in the UK: an interview with Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, 23 March 2004 www.jamestown.org/news_details.php?news_id=38

111 Interview with Anjem Choudary, BBC Hardtalk 5 May 2003.

112 Nick Fielding: “Terror links of the Tottenham Ayatollah.” Sunday Times. 24 July 2005.

113 Al Muhajiroun in the UK: an interview with Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed.

114 Ibid

115 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Muhajiroun

116 Fielding: Sunday Times 24 July 2005

117 Mike Whine: Al Muhajiroun: The portal for Britain’s suicide terrorists. http://www.ict.org.il/articles/articledet.cfm?articleid=484

118 Interview with Union of Jewish Students. April 2005

119 Abul Taher: Higher call to arms, www.hvk.org/articles/0500/38.html Taken from The Guardian 16/05/00

120 Corera: Jane’s Intelligence Review, p 18

Lee Elliot Major: “Muslim student group linked to terror attacks”The Guardian http://education.guardian.co.uk/students/story/0,9860,554652,00.html

121 Fielding: Sunday Times 24 July 2005

122 Anjem Choudary. BBC Hardtalk 5 May 2003

123 www.al-ghurabaa.co.uk/

124 Sean O’Neill and Richard Ford: “Extremist cleric staged Al Qaeda recruiting rally,”
The Times, 19 January 2005

125. From election launch to PR panic http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/vote_2005/frontpage/4461695.stm

126 “Inside the sect that loves terror.” Sunday Times. 07 August 2005.

127 Abul Taher and Dipesh Gadher: “Radical cleric warned of a ‘big operation’.”
The Times 11 July 2005 www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1688184,00.html

128 http://forum.MPACUKuk.org/showthread.php?p=27774#post27774

129 www.nusonline.co.uk/news/270231.aspx

130 Operation Muslim Vote. Channel 4 16 May 2005.

131 Why Masroor must pay heavily: http://www.MPACUKuk.org/content/view/4/762/103/

132 Mosques to blame for rise of terror groups? www.MPACUKuk.org/content/view/4/777/103/

133 www.MPACUKuk.org/content/view/4/783/103/

134 Blanche, Jane’s Intelligence Review, p 27.

135 Sarah Greenberg, Former USF professor stands trial for funding terrorism. www.ict.org.il/spotlight/det.cfm?id=1053

136 Matthew Barakat: Muslim man convicted of urging holy war. Associated Press

137 Interview with former BNP member, 28 June 2005.

138 Interview with UJS April 2005.

139 BNP sees increase in total votes. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/vote_2005/frontpage/4519347.stm

140 Paul Waugh and Chris Millar: “Clarke blasts ‘cynical’ BNP bus bomb leaflet”,
Evening Standard 12 July 2005

141 Confidential interview 23 July 2005

142 BNP youth chief at centre of university row. www.salfordadvertiser.co.uk/news/index/articles/article_id=1989.html

143 Campus uproar over BNP student www.manchesteronline.co.uk/news/s/53/53217_campus_uproar_over_bnp_student.html

144 ibid

145 “Young, Nazi and Stupid!”, Searchlight Magazine www.searchlightmagazine.com/index.php?link=template&story=41

146 Abul Taher: “Call to expel BNP student recruiter.” The Observer 10 February 2002.

147 Stop the facist BNP www.naar.org.uk/saar/bnp%20briefing.pdf#search='Nick%20Griffin%20and%20universities'

148 Confidential interview 23 July 2005

149 Drive out the fascist infiltrators www.workerspower.com/index.php?id=26%2C101%2C1%2C0%2C1%2C0

150 www.bnp.org.uk/freedom/Vof57-15.pdf

151 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/BNP_uk_manifesto.pdf

152 http://historical-studies.ncl.ac.uk/postgrad_forum/edition_three/edition_three_AliA.htm

153 “Lessons in hatred.” The Independent 6 May 2004

154 Nick Fielding: “All quiet in the animal lab.” Sunday Times 29 May 2005

155 “Activists access university staff details.” Oxford Times 20 May 2005

156 www.directaction.info/news_july06_05.htm

157 “Clarke bars US animal activist.” Sunday Times 28 August 2005

158 Timetable - www.ar2005.info/index.php?module=htmlpages&func=display&pid=5

159 Interview with managing director resources and operations at a UK university

160 Ibid

161 Interview with Michael Wainwright, Brunel Socialist Society.

162 Interview with head of security at a UK university.

163 AFP The Peninsula Qatar 12 may 2005.

164 Interview with Brian Cumming, vice president: clubs and societies, Brunel University. 16 may 2005

165 Shaid Nabi. PhD student, Manchester University. “Muslim political activism in higher education.” presentation at LSE Department of Anthropology 1 June 2005.

166 Duncan Campbell, Richard Norton-Taylor and Vikram Dodd: “Words of warning backed by little clear evidence.” The Guardian 23 April 2005.

167 Mark Stollery: The threat of single issue groups to the UK. RUSI – 22 June 2005.

168 Police chief urges terror rethink: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/4451831.stm

169 Metropolitan Police press enquiry desk. 26 January 2005.

170 “Foiled UK plots – from sarin gas to hijackings.” The Times www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1697259,00.html

171 India jails ‘plane crash plotter’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4708615.stm

172 Confidential information 30 August 2005

173 Nick Fielding: Defending the realm – inside MI5 and the war on terror. 2004 p 12

174 Fielding: Defending the realm. p 313

175 Demos speech. June 2005

176 Ian Sample, Matthew Taylor and Polly Curtis: “Foreign scientists barred amid terror fears.”
The Guardian 19 July 2005

177 Phil Baty and Paul Hill: “Crackdown on campus.”
Times Higher Educational Supplement 22 July 2005

178 Interview with Special Branch. February 2005

179 Daniel McGrory: “Promise of martyrdom and fame lures Western recruits.” The Times 25 June 2005

180 Demos speech July 2005

Richard Norton-Taylor and Duncan Campbell: “Intelligence officials were braced for an offensive – but lowered threat levels.”The Guardian 8 July 2005

181 Shahar: Islamic radicals in the UK and www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/01/26/1043533954503.html?oneclick=true

182 Sir David Veness 22 February 2005

183 Campbell, Norton-Taylor and Dodd: The Guardian 23 April 2005.

184 Polly Curtis: “Minister urges action on campus extremists.” The Guardian. 20 July 2005

185 www.universitiesuk.ac.uk

186 Polly Curtis: “Blair’s ban provokes mixed reaction on campus.” The Guardian 8 August 2005.

187 Abu Taher: “A Call To Arms” The Guardian , 16 May 2005

188 From dawa to jihad. The various threats from radical Islam to the democratic legal order. Ministry of the Iinterior and Kingdom Relations p 51.

189 Sir David Veness, 22 February 2005.

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