MIGLIAIA DI LAVORATORI ADDESTRATI CONTRO IL TERRORISMO
Direttori di negozi, guardie di sicurezza e dipendenti di hotels, sono parte di un ‘esercito’ di circa 60.000 lavoratori addestrati in strategie anti terrorismo.
Il programma denominato ‘Contest Two’, presentato 2 settimane dopo gli attentati dissidenti dello scorso marzo, è rivolto alla formazione di coloro che svolgono mansioni a diretto contattato con grandi folle, tra cui i terroristici usualmente si nascondono con molta facilità.
Secondo fonti di sicurezza è emerso che il progetto, anche se il regime è volto principalmente a combattere al-Qaeda in tutto il Regno Unito, è di vitale importanza che entri in vigore in Irlanda del Nord dove la minaccia dissidente ha dimostrato di essere ancora ad alti livelli.
I funzionari governativi hanno salutato il progetto come una delle più ampie strategie contro il terrorismo mai intrapresa prima da alcun governo al mondo.
Secondo le valutazioni del Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, il livelo di allerta terroristica è stato innalzato dal luglio 2007, nonostante non siano previsti attacchi imminenti.
Il Primo Ministro britannico Gordon Brown, ha definito ‘un obbligo di tutti noi’ l’insorgere contro le persone che propugnano la violenza e predicano l’odio.
Il programma Contest Two è stato però oggetto di forti critiche da parte delle associazioni per la tutela dei diritti umani, perchè temono possa ledere le libertà civili, autorizzando ‘controlli’ al di fuori delle norme di legge.
Contest Two potrebbe anche veder tagliate le sovvenzioni da parte di quei partiti simpatizzanti dell’estremismo, pure operando nella legalità.
Entro il 2011 la Gran Bretagna spenderà 3,5 bilioni di sterline all’anno, per la lotta contro il terrorismo.
Il numero di poliziotti, dal 2003, è aumentato da 1.700 a 3.000, mentre il servizio di sicurezza MI5, nello stesso periodo, ha raddoppiato il numero degli agenti . Tra il 2001 e il 2008, quasi 200 persone sono state condannate per reati connessi al terrorismo.
Contest Two: La strategia del Regno Unito per contrastare il terrorismo internazionale (testo completo – pdf 2,2 mb)
Thousands of workers in Northern Ireland have been trained in anti-terror techniques to battle the threat from al-Qaeda and dissident killers. They include shop managers, security guards and hotel employees — meaning anyone from the Europa Hotel to Victoria Square could be on the hunt for Islamic extremists and rogue republicans. Spooks picked them out because they are in front-line jobs dealing with large crowds where terrorists conceal themselves as they scout high-profile venues for gun and bomb attacks. The workers are among 60,000 staff across Britain who have been taught how to monitor suspicious behaviour in what the National Counter Terrorism Security Office warns are “mass-casualty” businesses. A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Thousands of employees in Northern Ireland have been trained as part of the strategy. We will not put an exact number on it for security reasons, but it is in the thousands.” Security sources revealed that even though the scheme was aimed mainly at combating al-Qaeda across the UK, it was vital it was in place in Northern Ireland in the wake of the dissident outrages in March. “The dissident threat is mentioned in the new report as one of the elements that makes monitoring terrorism key to public safety today,” one said. “It is more important than ever now that everyone, including the public, keeps their ear to the ground and can give tips to help stop future atrocities.” “Spy” training for the workers was at the centre of a Government anti-terror strategy unveiled earlier this year. The initiative — called Contest Two — updates the Contest strategy developed by the Home Office in 2003. Contest Two warns that a “dirty bomb” attack on Britain is highly likely and names the biggest threat to the UK as al-Qaeda-linked groups. Government officials hailed the project as one of the most comprehensive approaches to tackling the threat issued by any government in the world. The Contest report was released in March — two weeks after the Massereene army barracks massacre in Antrim when sappers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey were gunned down by rogue republicans. Forty-eight hours later, PC Stephen Carroll was blasted to death by a Continuity IRA sniper while answering a distress call from a terrified woman. The terrorism threat level, set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, has been “severe” since July 2007, which means that future terrorist attacks are highly likely but not thought to be imminent. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the “widest range” of people had been enlisted to battle terror because police, security and intelligence agencies could not be “solely” relied upon to tackle the threat. She identified “shopping centre managers, store managers, people who were responsible for the security in those areas” as being key in fighting terrorism. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said when Contest Two was released: “Tens of thousands of men and women throughout Britain — from security guards to store managers — have now been trained and equipped to deal with an incident. “They know what to watch for as people go about their daily business in crowded places such as stations, airports, shopping centres and sports grounds.” He added there was a “duty on all of us” to stand up to people who advocate violence and preach hate. Human rights groups have hit out at the move, saying it could encroach on civil liberties. One source said: “Does this mean that shop managers can now get a GNVQ in anti-terrorism? It’s ridiculous. Putting the power to monitor the public like this is very dangerous when placed outside the hands of the law.” Contest Two could also see official funding withdrawn from organisations that flirt with extremism — even if they remain within the letter of the law. By 2011, Britain will be spending £3.5bn a year on counter-terrorism. The number of police deployed on counter-terror work has risen since 2003 from 1,700 to 3,000, while the security service MI5 has doubled in size over the same period. Between 2001 and 2008, almost 200 people have been convicted of terror-related offences.