Image for post
Image for post
Photo by King’s Church International on Unsplash

In the wake of violent attacks such as Christchurch, Gilroy and El Paso, security services worldwide have refocused their counter-terrorism efforts. The UK is set to include the risks posed by violent far right extremists in its terror threat level system from now on. Previously, the system only assessed the threat from international terrorism and Northern Ireland.

Since the system’s introduction, the terror threat level in the UK has never fallen below substantial [see Fig. 1]. …


Image for post
Image for post
Katie Passey

A reaction is generally understood to be something done, felt, or thought in response to a situation, and it can vary depending on the context. When it comes to terrorism, it can be very difficult to judge what reaction is proportional; by its nature, terrorism engenders anger and quick responses that do not necessarily consider all the available options.

One week after the terror attack at Westminster in 2017, Thames Valley Police commissioned additional security measures into Windsor to protect the ‘Changing of the Guard’ ceremony; an iconic parade carried out by soldiers on active duty, accompanied by a full…


Image for post
Image for post
Emiliano Bar | Unsplash

Throughout history, prisons have served as recruitment centres and headquarters for ideological extremists across the globe. Famous individuals from Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, to less known but equally influential Sayyid Qutb and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, used their time behind bars to develop extremist philosophies and recruit others into their mode of thinking. As such, it is no surprise that prisons are places of vulnerability and that prisoners are inviting recruitment targets for criminal vanguards of religious Islamist extremists. …


Image for post
Image for post
The Climate Reality Project | Unsplash

The wave of protests throughout the Middle East and North Africa commonly referred to as the Arab Spring revealed a new kind of revolution: a networked form of protest which saw social media platforms and digital communications leveraged to organise mass protests and challenge authoritarian governments’ censorship. …


Image for post
Image for post
Magda Ehlers | Pexels

Despite gender’s increasing role in a number of research fields, it has lacked prominence in security theory almost entirely. However, gender is significant for theorising security because it directs attention to a broader set of concerns otherwise overlooked by traditional, gender-neutral perspectives.

One predominant concept for theorising security is the idea of militarism; an ideology which stresses aggressiveness, the use of force and glorification of military power, weaponry and technology, as the means to solve problems.


Image for post
Image for post
Dominique A. Pineiro | US Department of Defense

Iraq’s ability to become a sustainable state has been accused of being intractable; a problem for which no solution exists. As ISIS lost its last stronghold in Syria, guerrilla cells have begun cropping up in Iraq, and controversy is growing about Iraq’s need for foreign forces, especially US ones.

The country has a long history of instability, placed historically in a state of chronic sectarianism. Iraq as a state was fashioned from three pre-existing Ottoman provinces after World War I, combining three different regions that had no shared history; the Sunni Arab centre around Baghdad; a majority Shi’a south; and…


Image for post
Image for post
Icons8 team | Unsplash

In certain circumstances the responsibility of managing risk is thrown back upon the individual. Margaret Thatcher famously blamed a large proportion of Britain’s record level crime rates on the victims’ carelessness: ‘we have to be careful that we ourselves don’t make it easy for the criminal’. Another example is when women are blamed for sexual assault: ‘women need to protect themselves against the threat of being raped while drunk’, Judge Lindsey Kushner controversially declared in 2017. Unsurprisingly, victim displacement has also moved into the realm of cybersecurity, with security departments treating users as a security risk to be controlled.

The…


Image for post
Image for post
sl wong | Pexels

Two weeks ago, counterterrorism police were called to Heathrow Airport after a suspicious package burst into flames upon opening (luckily, no one was injured). Since then, similarly suspicious packages were reported at Waterloo Station, City Airport, Glasgow University, and now Limerick postal depot. A group called the ‘IRA’ has claimed responsibility, the Met Police has confirmed. Although the group call themselves the ‘IRA’, it is not the same Irish Republican Army of the past, but actually an organisation referred to as the New IRA. …


Image for post
Image for post
André François McKenzie | Unsplash

Cryptocurrencies trace their origins back to the 2008 Financial Crisis when Satoshi Nakamoto, the entity that invented Bitcoin, declared that conventional currency lost ‘all the trust that’s required to make it work’. Consequently, the founding principles of cryptocurrency relate to an anti-establishment, anarchist ideology from a perceived governmental inability to protect its citizens through market management. As such, cryptocurrency possesses a number of features that were expressly designed to minimise the degree of trust that participants placed in any third party; making it popular among its users, and unpopular within governmental institutes. However, these features, which include decentralisation and pseudonymity…


Image for post
Image for post
Aidan Bartos | Unsplash

The debate over whether terrorism fits into the conventional constructs of war or crime became particularly contentious after 9/11. Eighteen years on, there remain multiple problems categorising terrorism into these terms which has ultimately played a key role in dictating a government’s response to modern terrorist threats.

The case of Shamima Begum, a British-citizen who joined ISIS in 2015 and is now asking to return home, is a prime example of how Britain’s response will be dictated by its understanding of terrorism within these constructs.

The main reason why modern terrorism characteristically does not conform to our conventional understanding of…

Katie Passey

Researcher | Postgraduate in International Security and Risk from Southampton University | Counterterrorism, extremism, radicalisation, technology

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store