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The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes: On Agamben

By Vikki Bell


With the bombings in London on 7th July last year and the attempted bombings that followed soon afterwards (on 21st July and the arrest of the young men in connection with these), the figure of the terrorist altered or expanded from that which it had recently become to include not a threat to the nation from outside but also the fear of the ‘terrorist within’. The Anti Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 and The Terrorism Act 2000 before it had mainly worked with an image of the ‘foreign threat’; but the impact of these events (like the British shoe-bombers and the suicide bombers in Tel Aviv) was such that this image already altering, was firmly established in the public imagination. Our ‘own’ ‘home grown’ terrorists are not only those who joined attacks elsewhere, but are prepared to stage attacks on British soil. The language of the home-grown terrorist who has undergone rapid ‘radicalisation’ is used in the recently published Intelligence and Security Committee’s Report into the London Terrorist Attacks on 7 July 2005’ (May 2006) The Terrorism Act 2006, which the Home Office is keen to point out was already being planned and is not to be seen as a response to the July attacks (see government website, attempts to address this through the criminalisation of encouragement, glorification and involvement in the preparation of terrorist activity. (Excerpt, opening paragraph)

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