"His age is surprising as most terrorists are radicalized at a much younger age. It would be my assessment that he has probably had quite a troubled past, with involvement in drink or drugs leading him into criminality."
"Then at some point, possibly in the last decade, he has converted to Islam and changed his name."
"Then it appears that he has fallen under the malign influence of others who have encouraged or persuaded him to carry out this attack, possibly for money for his family."
David Videcette, (former) Scotland Yard counter-terrorism officer, security expert
|Vigil in Trafalgar Square to remember the victims of the Westminster Terror attack. Credit Ben Cawthra/LNP|
Strange how readily semi-exonerating reasons can be advanced by those in the field of security and intelligence in assessing the behaviours and intentions of religiously-driven psychopaths. It is as though to even conceive of odious acts of vicious terrorism must have a basis in the pathology of victimhood somewhere back in the perpetrator's history. Not precisely exculpatory, but vaguely sympathetic, understanding, as though to say, yes he committed an atrocity but circumstances drove him to it.
The circumstances of hatred of absolute misanthropy leavened with the yeast of a religious dedication to conquest, a religion jealous of its status on a global scale of influence and following, restive at number two on the theological hit parade, aspiring by all and any conceivable -- and many none too conceivable but undertaken with purpose regardless -- to wrest top spot from the reigning world religion in scope and popularity. After all, is there any other world religion that can boast having complete control over all aspects of followers' lives?
A religion whose scriptures narrated by god himself to the Prophet Mohammad teaches the faithful in Islam to hate, to aspire to slaughter non-believers because they are less than human and the world has only enough space for faithful Muslims. A recent video of impromptu interviews with pedestrians in a popular Turkish shopping zone featured an interviewer with a succession of men, all of whom when asked their opinion of non-Muslims commented they should be slaughtered for the sin of atheism, they are not human, but living scum. And this is a country linking Europe to the Middle East. (via @OnlineMagazin).
The now-dead London jihadist attacker Khalid Masood had a reputation of "violent extremism", according to British police, but he was not on their intelligence radar as an Islamist fanatic until he rampaged in a vehicle at 80 kilometres an hour along Westminster Bridge in London, killing three pedestrians, and then knifing to death a British police officer who was guarding the Houses of Parliament. A fitness buff, he was no doubt in good physical shape to manage the feat that locked down Parliament.
|Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood has been called a hero as he tried to save the life of the policeman stabbed in the terror attack. Credit Stefan Rousseau, PA|
He had a number of convictions to his criminal discredit beginning at age 18, a social misfit who went on to commit a variety of criminal acts over the decades. Authorities believe that his 'radicalization' into fundamentalist Islam took place during his many incarcerations. And he was known to live with his wife and young children in areas well known as representing Islamist extremism. There is no shortage of testimonials from neighbours who viewed him as 'normal', however.
"He was always polite and would say 'hello, hello' to me. You could tell they were religious, his wife always wore traditional dress. I last saw them just over a month ago. They had three children", said Kaodi Campbell, 25. A neighbour in Luton saw him only at night: "He was like a shadow, you wouldn't often see him. He was often in Islamic dress, black clothes with a hat", described Monica. And that's fairly typical for comments made by people of those who have committed odious acts; they were 'nice', they were 'normal'. He was 'polite, shy', said neighbour Katie Garriques.
And his association with Anjem Choudary, finally imprisoned for terror offences, a despicable Islamist preacher promising that the final Islamification of Britain was not long in the future, influential among his large following, marked him out as just another Islamist among many. It makes some kind of grim sense that he was shot three times in the chest at close range by a bodyguard of the British minister of defence, as Masood was in the process of killing a police officer.
The United Kingdom is infused with a large Muslim immigrant population. Its largest, most populous city has a Muslim mayor. MI5 speaks of no fewer than ten thousand identified radical Islamists under suspicion, but not under surveillance, because no police or secret service or intelligence agency, or all combined with a common purpose to protect the common weal, has the infinite resources it would take to surveil them all. Masood was "known to MI5", and there the story stalled.
So, Britain, like Belgium, like Holland, like France, like Germany, trudges on. The modus operandi is an extremely popular one with Islamist terrorists; from the streets of Jerusalem to Germany and France, driving a vehicle with the intention of committing multiple homicides has succeeded and is incited by ISIL. The use of knives is hugely popular among Muslims wishing to inspire terror in others while committing themselves to violent murder against the unsuspecting.
The successful operation that just concluded on the Westminster Bridge and the corridors of British political power will inspire others to achieve similar fame. Canada too had a taste of vehicular homicide in the death of Warrant Office Patrice Vincent, mowed down by another Muslim convert who then attacked police with a knife before being shot dead. Another Islamist extremist shot dead Cpl.Nathan Cirillo, on duty at the National Cenotaph, then went on to storm Parliament before he too was shot dead, but not before locking down the Parliamentary Precinct and central Ottawa.
|Parliament Hill shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau is shown here in a Twitter photo posted by @ArmedResearch. The RCMP has released the full, unedited version of his cellphone manifesto. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)|
And the man, identified as 39-year-old Mohamed R., was intercepted and arrested, French President Francois Hollande remarking on its coincidence with Wednesday's attack in London, commenting that the French citizen was "trying to kill people or create a dramatic event"; an amazing leap of intuition, or perhaps even a logical deduction....