Since 9/11, the world’s attention has increasingly been concentrated on the threat of terrorism and the mechanisms designed to uncover and combat it. Much of the focus has been on Al Qaeda; however, a recent British case suggests that this is not the only terrorist threat faced today.
On Wednesday, Neil Lewington was found guilty at the Old Bailey of terrorism and explosives offences. He was originally detained for public order offences after being drunk and abusive to railway staff, but an initial search of his luggage revealed two homemade bombs. Later examinations of his home revealed a fascination with right wing extremism, in particular neo-Nazism and the Ku Klux Klan. Although, all of the evidence under consideration suggests that Lewington acted alone, his refusal to offer any defence leaves many questions unanswered, not least where he obtained the technical information required to make explosive devices.
In spite of recent anti-terrorism legislation, it seems likely that without Lewington’s anti-social behaviour he would not have been apprehended. It is also possible that by exclusively focusing on newly identified threats, we run the risk of missing other older forms of extremism.