Jeremiah Adebolajo, brother of Michael Adebolajo spoke to CAGE about the parliamentary report on the 2013 Woolwich attack. He said:
“In the immediate aftermath of the Woolwich attack on the 22nd May 2013 it was widely reported that the security services had no idea that any form of attack was imminent or that my brother was an immediate threat. In fact, I know this to be the case due to my own interaction with the security services. I had been approached by MI5/6 numerous times, both within the United Kingdom and outside. They had expressed to me their dismay at the fact that my brother left little in the way of a digital footprint and had no consistent social media account to his name and no regular phone number.
It therefore came as no surprise that as reports of the attack in Woolwich began to surface, and the names of the men involved became known publicly, nothing in the way of social media postings or Twitter comments from my brother were available to broadcast as is so often the case in an increasingly connected world.
“Despite the public not being unaware of any form of social media interaction of my brothers before the events of Woolwich, Parliament’s intelligence committee is set to justify the expansion of the UK government’s spying powers by suggesting that my brother was posting extremist material online in the months preceding the attack.
It seems opportunistic that such a report will allow the expansion of a policy that is proving unpopular in all spheres of British society. It is sinister, to say the least, that emergency government policy will be drafted to allow the security services easier access to our social media and internet activities. But most of all it is disingenuous to lead the public to believe that a ‘lone wolf’ attack, such as the one seen in May 2013, might have been prevented by closer monitoring of our online activities.
“Speaking as somebody very close to my brother I can only offer, to those willing to listen, the facts. My brother was constantly and closely monitored by the security services. He had almost no online presence at all, a fact that even caused the security services to request me to keep a closer eye on him. I think the facts of the case, the lack of publicly available evidence to support the report and the convenience with which the government will now be able to expand unpopular spying laws are all testimony to the fact that this report is nothing more than a distraction from the motives behind the attack and a way to put a particular segment of British society under further pressure and surveillance.
The result: To alienate young Muslims, further ghettoising the Muslim community, to make lone wolf attacks even harder to detect as those contemplating such action will refrain from using social media to express their views and, most importantly, to restrict our freedom of movement and expression the government so hypocritically claims to uphold.”
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)