Will the UK government’s counter-extremism programme criminalise dissent?

A post-election analysis of the UK government’s new proposals to tackle extremism.   From 1 July, a broad range of public bodies – from nursery schools to optometrists – will be legally obliged to participate in the government’s Prevent policy to identify would-be extremists. Under the fast-tracked Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, schools, universities and health service…

Britain’s Michael Browns and Eric Garners

Britons following the news of protests against police killings of black people in the US should not feel too smug about the situation in the UK.   Not for the first time, our outrage at American racism goes hand in hand with complacency about Britain’s own history of institutional racism and its manifestations in police…

Stop spying on Muslim-Americans

The U.S. government has been snooping on prominent members of the Muslim-American community, according to documents released by National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden and publicized in a story by Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain of the online publication Intercept. That story reveals that the NSA and FBI covertly monitored the emails of five Muslim-Americans who…

No NSA reform can fix the American Islamophobic surveillance complex

Muslim Americans likely make up the bulk of US domestic spy targets. This is what it’s like for innocent citizens to live in fear. Better oversight of the sprawling American national security apparatus may finally be coming: President Obama and the House Intelligence Committee unveiled plans this week to reduce bulk collection of telephone records.…

Boris Johnson’s radicalisation myth-making

London mayor Boris Johnson’s suggestion this week that children of Islamic extremists be taken into care to prevent their being radicalised illustrates perfectly our collective failure to understand the problem of terrorism. After 9/11, so-called terrorism experts funded by governments and neoconservative think-tanks invented the concept of radicalisation to try to explain the violence being…