The suggestion made by CAGE, that the security services may have contributed to the radicalisation of Mohammed Emwazi continues to be the subject of, well, not being the subject of mainstream corporate reporting. Instead, emotional questions are asked and statements are made: Our security services? Which protect us? They are just doing their job! The entire mood across the media spectrum seems to promulgate the view that the security services can do no wrong. This, despite the fact that just last month the discourse was critiquing the Intelligence and Security Committee for its toothless oversight of the security services. Clare Algar, executive director of legal charity Reprieve, said,
“From UK complicity in CIA torture to mass surveillance, the ISC has missed every major security-related scandal of the past 15 years”.
Incidentally, Reprieve’s Clive Stafford Smith in a statement of support said that CAGE’s work was “vital”, not that this would matter to papers hell-bent on deflecting from core issues.
CAGE’s argument has consistently been that Emwazi has responsibility for his actions, however the use of harassment, threats and psychological intimidation are aspects which require scrutiny. These aspects have been preposterously downplayed to the most diminutive act – “it was merely an interrogation” we have been repeatedly told. Even the Guardian’s Alan Travis called the “harassment” element a “potentially dangerous caricature”. The fact is, what ensued wasn’t just interrogation. Clearly something seems to have gone wrong. I would have had more respect for the establishment and the media if it had the fortitude to state that such occurrences are in fact possible, instead of issuing the blatant state of denial broadcasted across the airwaves and through internet pipes.
As it is, the government and their mouthpiece media looks plain idiotic.
David Cameron called the suggestion that security service excesses could contribute to radicalisation, “nonsense”. The Foreign Minister Phillip Hammond, recently continued this idiocy stating that,
“The exposure of the alleged identity of one of the most murderous ISIL terrorists over the last few weeks has seen some seeking to excuse the terrorists and point the finger of blame at the agencies themselves… We are absolutely clear: the responsibility for acts of terror rests with those who commit them. But a huge burden of responsibility also lies with those who act as apologists for them.”
The above deceptive bluster disguises the fact that CAGE has been saying the above points all along. No one has excused the horrific acts by Emwazi, and neither has anyone suggested he should not be responsible for the acts he has gone on to commit. Hammond continued his aberration from the evidence revealed and the questions raised by CAGE, by blaming “those who act as apologists”. CAGE have been labelled “apologists” for exposing the harassment by the security services and asserting that their mistreatment was a factor Emwazi’s radicalisation. In other words, explaining the process of radicalisation means one is an apologist for terror. Presumably studying criminal psychology would make one a “crime-apologist”. By this logic, Hammond’s shifting of the “burden of responsibility”, would make him a “terror apologist” too.
But then Hammond has a history of “fighting tooth and nail” to keep Britain’s shady policies secret. He was but merely backing the security services bluster.
The security services have sought to add to the fog by ensuring the focus is on the initial interrogation of Emwazi. They have diffused their narrative amongst journalists, just as I had stated they would in an earlier blog. “There was no harassment whatsoever”, said Stephen Glover for the Daily Fail. Going further, he said that the interrogators were “polite”. Former head of MI6, John Sawers, also stated the same, that,
“being spoken to by the Mi5 is a radicalising act, I think this is very false.”
The establishment, from the head of state to the former head of Mi6 and all the cogs in between have been at pains to hammer this point home.
A Government Contradicting Reality… and the Mi5
By continuing this line of reasoning, the government’s security services blind spot become increasingly apparent. The establishment/Mi6 narrative contradicts facts on the ground as well as Mi5’s own study.
It’s already established that Emwazi went through several incidents related to the security services, including the thwarting of his marriage and career opportunities twice. He was subject to threats, physical mistreatment, restriction of movement, and “disruption” tactics leading Emwazi to become suicidal. He felt paranoid, and in his own words like a “dead man walking”.
A recent article in the Guardian, depicts a similar picture in the context of left-wing student activists who have been harassed and intimidated by the police in attempts to recruit them as informers. The article notes that some had given up their activism as a result. A single mother was threatened with prosecution if she disclosed to anyone the attempt to recruit her as an informer. As a result of the harassment she was “feeling violated, isolated, vulnerable and paranoid”. Another activist was left “stressed” and “marked out” by the police. Others felt paranoid and left their activism.
The officers involved are now being investigated for misconduct.
More revealing is the Mi5’s own detailed research findings. Based on an analysis of several hundred individuals, Mi5’s behavioural science unit furnishes conclusions which completely tear apart the government’s terror strategy and the counter-extremism narrative pushed by quango cheerleaders like the Quilliam Foundation and the bigoted Henry Jackson Society. It concludes that, “there is a need for an attractive alternative to terrorism involvement”. Presumably this means not harassing, intimidating and threatening individuals. If it could not be clearer, the report also emphatically stated that,
“traditional law enforcement tactics could backfire if handled badly or used against people who are not seen as legitimate targets.”
In other words, the empirical evidence and conclusions from within the Mi5 articulate the possibility of exactly what CAGE have been saying.
So David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Phillip Hammond, John Sawers, and copy/paste media propagandists, are the Mi5 apologists for terror too?