Woolwich, Boston and the New Terror – Dispatches – TV Review


Fear and Loathing in Boston and London – the New Terror

Matt Frei is one of the best reporters working in television today – his reportage combines a sense of ‘history as first draft’ and a fine style that makes him an authoritative voice on America and other news hot spots. His ‘Dispatches’ (Channel 4) ‘Woolwich, Boston and the New Terror’ lived up to the mark as an excellent piece of journalism asking if the home-grown, ‘bedroom planned’, recent unpredictable attacks in Boston and Woolwich denote a new Islamic terrorist strategy. In interviews with the parents of the Boston Bombers (who are still vigorously protesting their sons’ innocence), academics, former Islamic radicals and victims of the Boston Marathon attack, Frei and ‘Dispatches’ provided a comprehensive overview of both atrocities and tried to put them in context; there was no Al Qaeda-type video recorded in advance in either instant, the attacks were just too random for security forces to anticipate. Those involved or suspected in the ‘new wave’ of terrorism were all shown to be alienated from ‘mainstream’ society.

The programme makers exercised considerable caution when profiling the Woolwich suspects due to pending prosecutions but were able to highlight previous criminal activity by one of those currently under arrest. ‘Dispatches’ noted attempts by the intelligence services to recruit or ‘turn’ radicals. Frei could offer no solutions but posited that without losing even more shared liberties or becoming more of a security-stated World, such events are almost impossible to prevent. When instructions on how to build a ‘pressure cooker bomb’ can be found after a few mouse-clicks, we live in a potentially more insecure environment.

By Dan O’Neill – Dan writes on TV at and on Politics at

Categories: TV

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