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MI6 Chief speaks about AQ & the terrorist threat to the UK

MI6 Chief speaks about AQ & the terrorist threat to the UK

Categories: Latest News

Thursday October 28 2010

Sir John Sawers (pictured), head of security agency MI6, gave an unprecedented public speech by a serving chief at the Society of Editors yesterday. Addressing allegations of UK agents’ complicity in torture Sir John said:

“If we know or believe action by us will lead to torture taking place, we’re required by UK and international law to avoid that action. And we do, even though that allows the terrorist activity to go ahead.

“Some may question this, but we are clear that it’s the right thing to do. It makes us strive all the harder to find different ways, consistent with human rights, to get the outcome that we want.”

And on threats to UK security from terrorists who use Islam to justify their reprehensible actions he said:

“Many of the reports I read describe the workings of the al-Qaida network, rooted in a nihilistic version of Islam.

“Al-Qaida have ambitious goals. Weakening the power of the west. Toppling moderate Islamic regimes. Seizing the holy places of Islam to give them moral authority. Taking control of the Arab world’s oil reserves. They’re unlikely to achieve these goals, but they remain set on trying, and are ready to use extreme violence.”

“Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, recently described how the threat is intensifying. Precisely because we are having some success in closing down the space for terrorist recruitment and planning in the UK, the extremists are increasingly preparing their attacks against British targets from abroad.

“It’s not just the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Al-Qaida affiliates in Yemen, Somalia and North Africa pose real threats to the UK.

“From his remote base in Yemen, Al-Qaida leader and US national Anwar al-Awlaki broadcasts propaganda and terrorist instruction in fluent English over the internet.

“There is no one reason for the terrorist phenomenon. Some blame political issues like Palestine or Kashmir or Iraq. Others cite economic disadvantage. Distortions of the Islamic faith. Male supremacy. The lack of the normal checks and balances in some countries. There are many theories.”

Read his speech in full here.

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