Four serving members of the British Armed Forces have been arrested on suspicion of terror offences. Specifically, the military men are accused of being members of proscribed nationalist group National Action.
The group was banned by Home Secretary Amber Rudd on 16th December last year, who used provisions under the Terrorism Act 2000 to make it a criminal offence to publicly support or be a member of National Action.
At the time, the government cited National Action’s apparent support for Thomas Mair, the man jailed for life after murdering Labour MP Jo Cox a week before last years’ EU referendum. Mair himself was neither a member or supporter of the group.
Those arrested this morning included a 22-year-old from Birmingham, a 34-year-old from Powys, a 24-year-old from Ipswich and a 24-year-old from Northampton. 2 were arrested at the RAF Akrotiri, Britain’s Cypriot defence outpost, while the other 2 men were arrested at separate locations in England.
The men potentially face an unlimited fine, as well as a lengthy custodial sentence. Under the Terrorism Act 2000, membership of a proscribed organisation is punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
The act was introduced by Tony Blair’s Labour government 17 years’ ago in response to the growing threat from Islamist terrorism. It contains provisions to allow the authorities to arrest without a warrant those suspected of terrorist activities, to stop and search without reasonable grounds for suspicion as well as to hold suspects for 28 days without charge (increased from 14 days by the Terrorism Act 2006).
Whilst it is absolutely not appropriate to condone the activities of National Action or sympathise with its soon-to-be incarcerated members, it must be noted that a serious double standard is being displayed by the authorities.
Recently it was revealed that there are as many as 23,000 Islamic jihadists living in Britain, 3,000 of whom pose an “imminent threat” according to the authorities. However, it is very rare that we hear of these people being thrown in prison where they belong.
Indeed, there has been a scarcity of arrests and visible investigations into Islamic terrorism of late, despite the flurry of terrorist attacks that took place in England earlier this year.
Yet we have witnessed 4 high profile arrests of serving military men who, in the police’s own words, posed no immediate threat to the public. Of course they should be investigated if they have broken the law, but surely it is more prudent to expend precious police resources on those who are actively trying to kill us and destroy our way of life.
Just this week the Metropolitan Police Chief admitted that Islamic terror attacks are the “new norm” in Britain, as he revealed there are over 600 active investigations into terror plots. In the first two months of 2017 alone, no less than 5 active terror plots were foiled by the security forces.
It is also worth noting that “Antifa”, the self-styled anti-fascist group, is not proscribed by the British government despite being involved in many violent rallies around the world, in which they have instigated and displayed terrorist-like behaviour and intimidation tactics against political opponents.