Detain, deport, exclude: this is how Britain should respond to terror

Article published in The Daily Telegraph on 25 May 2017. © Richard Kemp

On Monday we saw something we have never before seen in the UK. We saw an attack that was specifically intended to kill, maim and permanently disfigure our children.

No self-respecting nation can tolerate such a barbaric assault on its youth and its future. If we fail to take decisive action now to protect our young people from such depredations, in the words of Admiral Leach when British sovereignty was violated in the Falklands: “we shall be living in a different country”.

The government must move beyond its well-rehearsed hand-wringing promises to increase police on the streets, tackle underlying causes and invest more cash in the “Prevent” agenda. We have heard this after every attack since July 2005 and we know it doesn’t work.

After every attack we have also heard that the attacker was known to the security services, yet somehow got through. How can this be, when we have the finest intelligence and police services in the world?

Because we have given them an impossible job. The head of MI5 says there are over 3,000 people at large in the UK today, known to be involved in terrorism. It is impossible to keep tabs on them all, which is why, despite hundreds of terrorist attacks disrupted by our security services, the Manchester bomb this week and the car ramming in Westminster two months ago succeeded.

The only answer is to reduce that 3,000. Of course those that can be prosecuted and imprisoned should be. But too often, while intelligence confirms their involvement in extremism, forensic evidence sufficient for conviction is either lacking or cannot be used for security reasons.

We have to take a harder line with those we cannot convict yet we know present a serious threat.

Non-British citizens involved in any type of terrorist activity in the UK should be deported. British citizens should be detained or placed under some other form of effective control. Those who leave the country to commit mass murder, rape and torture with the Islamic State or any other jihadist group should be banned from re-entry.

I am not suggesting we become a police state. These measures would apply only to individuals on whom we have intelligence that proves their involvement in terrorism. The decision to deport, detain or exclude would be made by a panel of senior judges cleared to review secret intelligence. Continue reading

Manchester bombing attack on the innocent MUST be the final straw in battle against terror

Article published in The Daily Express, 24 May 2017.  © Richard Kemp

London Mayor Sadiq Kahn says terrorist attacks are “part and parcel of living in a big city”. He is wrong.

While the stoical citizens of Manchester are returning to business as usual, the Government must not.

The horrific slaughter of our children enjoying a night out in a British city must be the last straw. The gloves must now come off.

Our police and security services do an outstanding job. They have successfully stopped hundreds of lethal Islamic terrorist attacks in this country since 9/11 and because of their painstaking work thousands of terrorists are behind bars.

But despite the skill and dedication of the officers of MI5, intelligence is not an exact science and never will be.

The killing of Drummer Lee Rigby four years to the day before Manchester and the ramming and knife attack in Westminster exactly two months before show that some attacks will get through.

Monday’s Manchester bombing was in a different league. It was the first serious explosive attack in Britain since July 2005, when I was a member of Cobra, the crisis committee chaired by the Prime Minister at the time.

Tony Blair wanted to take the gloves off then, but his advisers urged caution so they stayed on.

As with those attacks, I would be surprised if the Manchester bomber, and the terrorist network that almost certainly supported him, are unknown to MI5.

Continue reading

The Nazi monsters who murdered thousands in BRITISH camps

Article published in The Daily Mail, Monday 8 May 2017.

Part two of RICHARD KEMP and JOHN WEIGOLD’s account of how the Nazis turned Alderney into a secret base to fire V1 missiles with chemical warheads at Britain’s south coast. Here, they reveal how tens of thousands of slave workers died to fulfil Hitler’s evil plan.

The inmates of the slave labour camp lived their pitiful and short lives in constant fear.

One who against the odds survived recalled being marched to work and a fellow prisoner falling to his knees, unable to walk further.

‘The Germans shot him right there,’ he said. ‘Another man was crucified for stealing, hung by his hands. When I got up in the mornings I saw dead bodies in the bunks around me. Sometimes their lips, nose and ears had been eaten by rats.

‘There was a special hut where the corpses were piled. Later, they were taken away, loaded onto trucks and dumped in the sea.

‘We were fed just water with a few bits of turnip floating in it, so life was a constant struggle for food. I found a rubbish heap near to the construction site where I worked and was filling a bag with vegetable peelings and cabbage leaves when someone set a dog on me.

‘It attacked again and again, tearing all my clothing. When it let go, I was beaten with a stick by a German. I was very weak at the time. There were about 500 men in my camp, and at least 300 died while I was there.’

In all its gruesome detail, this recollection of the struggle to survive under the Nazis makes the blood run cold. What is even more chilling, though, is that the camp was not in some far-flung corner of the Third Reich. Continue reading

Hitler’s British death island

How the Nazis murdered 40,000 people in Channel Island concentration camps – and planned to blitz the South Coast with chemical weapons

Article published in The Daily Mail, Saturday 6 May 2017. © Richard Kemp and John Weigold

On a spring afternoon, the grassy headland is bursting with a joy that lifts the soul. Sunshine, blue sea and sky; splashes of golden gorse catch the light and bluebells sway in the breeze; larks float on air currents while gannets in their thousands swoop and screech on a rocky island below.

This is the southern tip of Alderney, smallest of the three main Channel Islands. Across the water, Guernsey, Sark and Jersey glisten. It has to be one of the most beautiful, tranquil and inspiring sights in the whole of Britain.Graphic showing details of Nazi plan

But close your eyes, take your mind back 75 years . . . and this idyll is a scene of sheer horror.

We are standing on the remains of a massive World War II gun emplacement — a German gun. To the left, a small valley leads down to the cliff top.

All those years ago it was known as the Valley of Death because down it were herded unknown numbers of slave workers, too exhausted to be of use any longer to their Nazi masters, to be thrown to their death on the rocks and swept away by the sea.

Behind us, lost in the undergrowth, are the chilling remains of a concentration camp, run by the SS as ruthlessly and inhumanely as any of its counterparts in the Third Reich, where men were whipped, bludgeoned, starved, hanged, shot, even crucified.

You have to pinch yourself to remember that this is British soil.

Unspeakable atrocities — which we will spell out in detail later — took place here. Not in distant territories on the other side of Europe, but just 60 miles from the coast of England, on an island that is British through and through and has owed its allegiance to the Crown since 1066.

That tiny Alderney — less than four miles long and a mile-and-a-half wide — was the site of slave labour camps during the war has been recognised for decades. But the scale of the operation and the number of deaths there have always been played down. After years of research, we are now in a position to reveal the grimmest truths. Continue reading

What the Conservative manifesto should pledge on defence

Article published by The Daily Telegraph, 5 May 2017.  © Richard Kemp

Decades of cuts have left the UK’s defences hollowed out, unfit for purpose and facing a £10 to £20 billion funding gap. Successive governments saw few votes in defence, reinforced by fear of using military force after Afghanistan and Iraq.

But today this country faces a range of worsening threats on a scale unprecedented since World War II. Global Islamic jihad will need to be countered by force for generations to come. Iran’s aggression across the Middle East is exacerbated by its nuclear ambitions that are beginning to trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. Russia’s intent to re-establish itself as a superpower represents increasing peril. The torrent of illegal immigration into Europe threatens our stability and will only worsen.

These are just some of the threats we know about today. Tomorrow, new and unexpected menaces will emerge. We lack the fighting power to confront them and the resolve to defeat them. History shows that such weakness encourages adversaries.

We need a full spectrum of military capabilities to proof against the uncertainties of tomorrow, ranging from nuclear deterrence to special forces strikes against individual terrorists. But we must also summon up the will to actually use them to deter powers such as Russia that seek to limit our freedom, prosperity and security; and to annihilate avowed enemies such as the Islamic State.

We cannot do this alone. We are the closest strategic ally of the US, a relationship that must be strengthened post-Brexit. NATO remains essential for the defence of the West, yet has opted out of the major strategic issue of our time – fighting Islamic terrorism – and has become increasingly moribund with lack of financial and political commitment among most of its members. The next government should lead reform of the alliance so it again becomes a guarantor of peace and security.

Increasing EU obsession with defence integration, including research and procurement, threatens to further undermine NATO by duplicating effort and diverting resources. We must not join this misguided venture, despite temptation to do so as a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations. Instead we should exert pressure against the EU’s mantra of defence decision-making autonomy from NATO.

Despite the success of our security services in preventing terrorist attacks at home, the threat from Islamic jihadists will increase. We must take bold action against them, including deporting terrorist suspects and excluding those seeking to return to the UK after fighting jihad overseas.

Continue reading

Where is world outrage over Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul?

Article published in The Jerusalem Post on 30 April 2017

by Richard Kemp, Jim Molan and Arsen Ostrovsky

Holding the bodies of soldiers killed in action and refusing their return to their next of kin for burial is a serious violation of the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law.

On May 1, Israelis will observe Remembrance Day, honouring soldiers who fell in defence of the Jewish state and victims of terrorism.

At an age when most teenagers are getting ready to go off to university or travel abroad, Israelis devote at least two to three years of their lives to defending and protecting their country, the only Jewish state, and by extension the West’s front line of defence in the global war against Islamic terrorism.

Two such soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of the State of Israel were Lt Hadar Goldin and Sgt Oron Shaul, who were killed in action by Hamas during Israel’s defensive 2014 war with the terrorist group, Operation Protective Edge.

On August 1 2014, hours after a United Nations- and US-brokered humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Hamas went into effect, Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel in Gaza, ambushed an IDF unit and killed Hadar, who was only 23 years old. Hamas then took his body and have been holding it hostage in Gaza since, treating it contemptuously as both a bargaining chip and an instrument to torment his family.

Shaul, who was only 20 years old at the time, was also killed by Hamas, when he left his armoured personnel carrier to repair the vehicle and Hamas fired on his unit, killing him, and likewise taking his body and malignly holding it in Gaza.

Holding the bodies of soldiers killed in action and refusing their return to their next of kin for burial is a serious violation of the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law. As is using the soldiers’ bodies as bargaining chips, which Hamas continues to do.

Only last week, the terrorist group released a morbid video including a song in Hebrew, taunting the families of Goldin and Shaul, again in breach of international law.

To this day, almost three years since their abduction, Hamas refuses even to grant the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access.

That Hamas, a fanatical Iran-funded Islamist terrorist organization, does not abide by even a modicum of international law and basic human decency is beyond dispute. But where is the international outcry? Only last week, the international community was up in arms Continue reading

Any lawyer who knowingly makes false accusations against our troops deserves to be in the dock

Article published in The Daily Mail on 26 April 2017. © Richard Kemp

There cannot be many more heinous crimes than helping to frame those who risk their lives for their country.

It takes a particularly warped mind to do such a thing — to assist our enemies in falsely accusing the bravest of soldiers of rape, murder and torture.

It takes an even more twisted mind to profit from drawing up such allegations to the tune of many millions of pounds.

But for the past decade, that’s exactly what some unscrupulous lawyers are accused of doing.

The one who’s been shamed, Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers (was ever a firm more grossly misnamed?), led a witch-hunt against British troops in Iraq, making false claims they brutally and, in some cases, fatally ill-treated civilians.

Earlier this year, following the closure of his firm last summer, Shiner was finally struck off after being convicted of a string of professional misconduct charges.

Now, Martyn Day of law firm Leigh Day is up against the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal — along with his colleagues Sapna Malik and Anna Crowther.

The firm faces 19 professional misconduct charges for the way it brought claims against British soldiers for supposed ‘war crimes’ in Iraq.

On Monday, the scale of its alleged wrongdoing was revealed by Tim Dutton QC, who is representing the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

‘Over a period of more than seven years, Martyn Day, Sapna Malik and Leigh Day made and maintained allegations that soldiers in the British Army had murdered, tortured and mutilated innocent Iraqi civilians,’ said Mr Dutton. Continue reading

Trump’s strike on Syria made the world safer. Now he must tackle the nuclear threat from Iran

A version of this article was published in The Sunday Post on 9th April 2017. © Richard Kemp

President Trump’s attack on the Al Shayrat airbase in Syria has made the world a safer place. It was a return to US global leadership and resolve that hasn’t been seen for eight years.

Thursday night’s Tomahawk cruise missile strike was made necessary by President Obama’s weakness, appeasement and poor judgement that destabilized the Middle East and signalled a free pass to despots everywhere. Russia received the green light for intervention in Syria and aggression in Ukraine.

President Assad previously used Sarin in August 2013 in an attack at Ghouta. Despite Obama’s declaration the previous year that use of chemical weapons by Assad was a red line he failed to respond, with far-reaching consequences for American credibility and authority. Instead, with Russia and Syria, he agreed the surrender and destruction of Assad’s chemical weapons under international supervision.

Ever since, Obama, his Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice have been bragging about how they ended Syria’s use of chemical weapons by diplomacy rather than force.

Tuesday’s Sarin attack on the town of Khan Sheikhun conclusively exposed their miscalculation and naivety.

The Chemical Weapons Convention bans production, stockpiling and use of these munitions worldwide. Whenever anyone attacks with chemical weapons without consequences their subsequent use becomes more likely and threatens us all. Because of that, not only was Trump’s counter-attack legitimate, lawful and proportionate — it was vital for global security.

Why did Assad attack with nerve agent? Support from Russia, Iran and Lebanese Hizballah prevented the total collapse of his regime but the war against his own people is far from won. Continue reading

Marine A was a man broken by combat. The courts are right to say he was no murderer

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 28 March 2017. © Richard Kemp

I strongly welcome the news that Sgt Alexander Blackman is to be released soon, after his conviction for killing a wounded Taliban terrorist in Afghanistan was downgraded from murder to manslaughter.

Blackman was the first British soldier ever convicted of murder on the battlefield. This is particularly striking given the millions who fought in both world wars, and in all other violent conflicts in modern history.

Thousands of British soldiers who served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Northern Ireland have been investigated for alleged murder, torture and rape. The scale of these proceedings is vastly greater than anything seen in all previous wars combined.

Have the British armed forces of the 21st Century suddenly descended into hitherto unknown savagery? Or have such horrors
previously been brushed under the carpet in a cover-up of unprecedented proportions?

Neither. The reality is that today, unlike in the past, the actions of our troops are measured by a society whose only understanding of combat is ‘Command and Conquer’ or ‘Call of Duty’; and judged by leaders who have never themselves faced enemy fire.

This includes senior military officers, civil servants, politicians and lawyers. These people not only permitted, and even welcomed, Sgt Blackman’s wrongful conviction for murder; they also encouraged and financed a large-scale legal vendetta against British soldiers, taking seriously hundreds of patently trumped-up accusations of criminal wrongdoing. Continue reading

Khalid Masood simply doesn’t fit profile for jihadists and reality is the police and MI5 can’t monitor everyone

Article published in The Mirror, 24 March 2017. © Richard Kemp

Britain sustained its first Islamic terrorist attack in July 2005 when I was responsible for coordinating the national intelligence agencies in support of COBRA.

Following COBRA’s meeting on the day of the London attack this week, the emergency committee will have met several times.

One of the key issues under discussion has been the profile of the terrorist, his known associates and whether he was working alone.

The members of COBRA would have quickly realized that 52-year-old Khalid Masood did not fit the usual profile for jihadists active in this country.

The average age is just 22 – often impressionable hotheads who are easy prey for radical preachers like Anjem Choudhray, himself now in prison for terror-related crimes.

Masood seems to come from a relatively well-to-do background. This is not uncommon, contrary to the popular misconception that most jihadists are from poor families, marginalized and cast aside by society.

He had been in several prisons, and it is very likely that the Christian convert was radicalized while inside. Disgracefully, our prisons remain a breeding ground for Islamic extremism.

His crimes, over 20 years, had involved violent assault, public order and possession of offensive weapons.

He had no terrorist convictions. But like many others who have launched attacks in Europe, Masood had previously come to the intelligence services’ attention on the margins of a terrorist investigation.

He was no longer a suspect and not under surveillance. The reality is MI5 and the police cannot monitor everyone they believe to be involved in Islamic terrorist activity.

There are just too many for them to cope with. The Head of MI5 says his service knows of 3,000 jihadists in the UK. Such a huge number cannot possibly be monitored.

On top of these, with the Islamic State under pressure in Syria and Iraq, hundreds of British citizens who have fought with this murder gang will return home.

Plus even known jihadists from European countries will continue to be free to travel to Britain until we leave the EU.

Allowing such freedom of movement in the name of the human rights of known terrorists puts all of our citizens in mortal danger.