Boris Johnson is upset. From Facebook fulminations to Torygraph tirades, he clearly has been incensed by the release of information by CAGE about Mohammed Emwazi and the resultant impact on the normally plane-sailing, “blame ideology” narrative. In doing so, he repeats much of the same confused, irrational and emotionally charged rhetoric which clearly misrepresents what CAGE have been stating. I have addressed some of these misrepresentations in previous blogs (here and here).
Asim Qureshi yesterday called into an LBC interview with Johnson to clarify his position. Johnson, with a degree more calm, proceeded to repeat the same as the above: more irrationality and more irrelevant dictations. It must be emphasised that the interview was ridiculously biased, with Qureshi repeatedly muted, making way for Johnson to make his point.
I was planning on doing a point by point analysis of the discussion, however, many of the accusations made against Qureshi have been brilliantly batted back by himself in a BBC interview. It must be heard. See this link here. (Note that this is not the full interview, other accusations are dealt with in the full interview, here.) No doubt had Qureshi been given an equal opportunity to respond, he would have shown Johnson’s superficial cries to be unsubstantiated.
There were a couple of points I wanted to elaborate on regarding Johnson’s statements.
The reason for his anger became apparent in the LBC “discussion”:
“I have to say what moved me to anger is the thought you were claiming that the fault for the radicalisation of this young guy lay with the security services.”
The possibility for blame upon the Mi5 is inconceivable for the man. The fact that security services have systematically targeted the Muslim minority, as I have already addressed, making the lives of their targets unliveable to the point that they would consider committing suicide, is an unfathomable truth for the London Mayor. I do wonder what his take would be on the allegations that the Mi5 has been protecting paedophiles whilst special branch officers have been implicated in gagging a State paedophilia exposé. Bodies can go rogue. That is the purpose of accountability.
“The Beheaded Should be Your Concern!” It was, except…
The message from Johnson, though, translates as: all eyes should be on ISIS! Don’t worry your little minds about our government abuses, which may contribute to psychological instability and isolation forcing individuals to leave the country and join ISIS. In other words it tallies with the usual position of the British government – any actions of the government cannot form catalysts for “radicalisation”. He then concludes the monologue “discussion” stating that,
“If you are a human rights group funded by charity then you should be sticking up for the human rights of those being beheaded in Syria and Northern Iraq, that should be the focus of your concern.”
The proof as they say, is in the pudding. Human rights are for “humans”, among whom include suspects and yes, even criminals. There are human rights organisation out there which are documenting in detail the crimes of ISIS. Abuses resulting from the War on Terror, however is the focus for CAGE. Indeed a justice system which whitewashes some crimes whilst aggressively focussing on others suggests a broken justice system abused as tool by the political establishment.
Despite this, what Johnson and his partisans need to understand is that CAGE in fact did “stick up for the human rights of those being beheaded”. CAGE might have gone further than any other organisation in trying to free Alan Henning. As I have consistently argued in my pieces and in comments, CAGE’s position has always been founded in a true application of the rule of law, where everyone is to be subject to due process. CAGE campaigned for the release of Alan Henning throughout 2014. In one article, CAGE stated that,
“CAGE condemns the arbitrary arrest, detention and punishment of anyone without cause and without being afforded their right of due process. This is the case whether the denial of these rights takes place in Egypt or Iraq – as is the case of Alan Henning – or by Western forces around the world in prisons or through drone strikes.”
Alan Henning should not to be considered a prisoner of war: “Alan Henning went to Syria with Muslims and is known to have been helping the people of Syria. He is not involved in any hostility to Islam or Muslims. Therefore, he cannot be considered a prisoner of war under Islamic law and should be released immediately. We believe there are no grounds for holding Mr Henning prisoner or executing him.”
In a follow-up post, Qureshi called on the UK for the release of both Henning and journalist John Cantlie. Moazzam Begg, CAGE’s outreach director, had been trying to secure Alan Henning’s release since January 2014. CAGE also published an emotional letter from the wife of Dr Abbas Khan – a British doctor killed in the prisons of Bashar al-Assad and a name most likely not known to those lauding Johnson – calling for the release of Henning. At that time, Begg had offered the government help to secure his release. He was then arrested in February on fickle charges which were later dropped following intelligence from the security services. During his detention at Belmarsh, Begg wrote a letter to the leader of ISIS.
More significantly, however, it was the Johnson’s government which refused Begg’s assistance and potentially squandered a major opportunity to save Henning.
Does Johnson care to mention this? Of course not. It doesn’t fit the neocon narrative. What does fit the neocon narrative is the two-tier system of human rights propounded by Johnson. He has clearly made such suggestions in the past. Given human rights and rule of law are today’s “British values”, and an opposition to these values would constitute “extremism”, Johnson himself is an extremist. Perhaps CAGE should create a preparatory case file for him in the impossible scenario he is harangued and “disrupted” by the security services/PREVENT officers due to his “extremism”.
In an earlier piece on CAGE’s press conference, (again riddled with conflations and inaccuracies), Johnson refers to suspects as “vipers”. He has used this term in the past, advocating the vile, Zionist methods in “dealing” with terrorism, sickeningly whitewashing the Palestinian suffering:
“If we were Israelis, we would by now be doing a standard thing to that white semi-detached pebbledash house at 51 Colwyn Road, Beeston. Having given due warning, we would dispatch an American-built ground-assault helicopter and blow the place to bits. Then we would send in bulldozers to scrape over the remains, and we would do the same to all the other houses in the area thought to have been the temporary or permanent addresses of the suicide bombers and their families.”
And this man has the audacity to lecture others regarding human rights.