Archive for November, 2008

Loners to wannabe terrorists

Posted: November 26, 2008 in New Statesman
Tags: , ,

A new piece for the New Statesman which starts to explore converts, a project I have been trying to find time to work on myself separately. This is an off-shoot of a bigger thing looking at the phenomenon of converts in UK plots. Any thoughts or reactions on this topic, or pointers to others working on it would be very interesting and welcome.

Loners to wannabe terrorists

Raffaello Pantucci

Published 26 November 2008

In two separate cases, white British loners found acceptance online among Islamic extremists and then attempted to detonate bombs.

A block of flats in Plymouth where Nicky Reilly was thought to have lived.

Presiding Justice Calvert-Smith declared that a twelve month delay on sentencing requested by the defence in the sad case of wannabe suicide bomber Nicky Reilly would not be acceptable last Friday. For many, the conclusion in this case seems to be that it was a one-off situation where extremists took advantage of a person suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome who had a mental age of 10. But while Reilly’s case is the most prominent to have reached the public imagination, thanks to the advanced nature of his plot, there are similarities to be found in other cases in the year preceding Reilly’s attempt.


A rather more modest contribution today, in the form of a letter in today’s International Herald Tribune, also since they chose to cut my initial text down, I am using this opportunity to publish the whole thing after the jump for those interested in reading the whole thing.

(and here is the article I was referring to:

Elisa Massimino forgets to mention that many Guantánamo detainees cannot go home for fear of reprisals or punishment by their home government. The case of the Chinese Uighurs is the best example of this.

Furthermore, what about those who have been involved in terrorist activity, but have also been tortured in Guantánamo, rendering evidence collected against them or others they have implicated problematic in U.S. courts? Are they to be turned loose? Maybe yes – they have been punished enough – but where would they be released?

Raffaello Pantucci, London