There is no mention of “terrorism” or “extremism”. Such is the reporting of a Royal Marine who is alleged to have sought to join the “Peshmerga/Kurdish Militia”– epithets which neatly omit a key point to support a disjointed, contradictory fight on terror- amongst the “militia” are PKK fighters and trainers. The PKK is a “terrorist organisation” proscribed by the UK, EU, NATO and the US. The US in 2007 considered (as usual) air strikes on bases run by the PKK whilst Gordon Brown, pledging full support to “suppress the PKK”, said that he condemned “absolutely and unequivocally the terrorist violence of the PKK”. The then Foreign Secretary stated,
“I call on the international community to be unequivocal in its condemnation of PKK terrorism”.
The police are reported to have investigated a 22 year old who was on a one way ticket to Turkey. To clear the air, the Daily Fail kindly informs its readers that the soldier is, “not Muslim”. The Muslim minority may breathe a sigh of relief, and withdraw their fingers about to type various apologies from their keyboards. According to the report in the Independent,
“US officials said the man was believed to have been in contact with a Kurdish group that had links in Turkey and the city of Irbil, where the headquarters of Peshmerga units fighting Isis are based.”
Will he be assessed for “extremism” for wanting to possibly assist a designated “terrorist” group fighting another designated terrorist group? If established that he did go to fight, will the houses of his friends and families on “suspicion” of failing to disclose information about him joining a fight alongside terrorists, be raided at the crack of dawn?
A consistent application of the terror laws would result in him being detained under the terror legislation for travelling to a country with a suspected intent of joining a non-state battle. At the very least he should be referred to the Channel deradicalisation programme to “deradicalise” him of his beliefs which led him travel to Turkey. A PREVENT team should also be formed for the army and trained to spot signs of radicalisation amongst soldiers. Research would need to be conducted into why a non-Muslim would want to join a terrorist group.
However, such force of the various weapons in the counter-terrorism armoury will not consistently applied. The Marine has been released without charge and it has already been confirmed that “no criminal offence has been committed”. Instead the focus is being given to the concern of military chiefs of the possibility of British soldiers being caught by ISIS.
Clearly only Muslims it seems, have the propensity for extremism and terrorism. The message is clear in this instance: sorry, wrong faith.