Rupert Sutton’s Neocon Spin of CAGE’s PREVENT Pre-Crime Report

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Additional Reading:

CAGE Report: The ‘Science’ of Pre-Crime: The Secret ‘Radicalisation’ Study Underpinning PREVENT

The Shoddy, Dark “Science” Behind PREVENT

Douglas Murray’s PREVENT Tantrum


The neocons and their enabler organisations have gathered themselves together and are dutifully churning out spin to discredit CAGE’s academically-supported report exposing the lack of basis for PREVENT and the CHANNEL deradicalisation programme.

In my last blog, I examined the arguments put forth to delegitimise the CAGE report by Henry Jackson Society (HJS) associate director Douglas Murray. In this blog, we will look at a HJS fellow’s attempt to do the same.

Rupert Sutton’s “Errors”

Two days ago, Ruper Sutton of Student Rights and HJS published piece titled, “Prevent isn’t perfect – but its critics should stick to the facts”.  Sutton’s methodology to divert attention from the PREVENT-debilitating findings of the report is to highlight “errors”.  The first “error” is that CAGE assumes ERG has gone beyond its remit by applying itself to public sector workers. This, Sutton argues, is based on a “misreading” by CAGE of a Home Office statement which states public servants can use concepts involved in safeguarding and adapt them to harm caused by terrorism. The Home Office statement then goes on to explain that CHANNEL, which is a part of PREVENT, employs a “comprehensive system of 22 different factors”. Sutton argues that ERG is effectively limited CHANNEL after a PREVENT referral, not before.

If Sutton had bothered to read the report properly he would have found that this was not what CAGE’s claims were solely based on.  CAGE’s report clearly states that the factors are applied in the circumstance of monitoring individuals and communities in the ‘pre-criminal’ space, as well as part of the government’s deradicalisation programme. This assertion is supported by comments found in the ERG study authored by Monica Lloyd and Christopher Dean:

The authors acknowledge from the beginning of the article that the ERG22+ has:

“…also informed approaches in the community with those in the “precriminal space” within the U.K. government’s PREVENT agenda (HM Government, 2007, 2011).”

Further, ERG-based indicators are found in PREVENT training material which is used to indoctrinate public sector workers. Footnote 11 of the report makes the following observation:

These factors are also apparent in the Home Office’s e-learning PREVENT online learning package for University lecturers that lasts 45 mins, and takes you through an interactive learning journey with 2 case studies based on true cases (a young woman ‘radicalised’ by ‘Islamists’ and a young man radicalised by the far-right). As you go through the package you have to spot the signs of radicalisation: https://www.elearning.prevent.homeoffice.gov.uk/home

Secretive Studies

Sutton’s second main complaint revolves around the claim that the government’s study has been thus far shrouded in secrecy. According to Sutton,

“The research the ERG draws on has actually been published in two publicly available academic journals.”

AbuAhmedDefendingPREVENT.pngThis seems to be incorrect.  A similar point was raised by Abu Ahmed, a “policy advisor on PREVENT OSCT”. His argument was thoroughly exposed by other Facebook users and supported by Asim Qureshi, the author of the CAGE report. One stated,

“I hope you understand that the research paper which was published in that journal WAS NOT the full study. Under the circumstances of transparency, the dataset from which the study was based on should have been made available to academics. Under any academic process, a study cannot be peer reviewed unless the full study including the dataset is made available to experts. Furthermore, the study in the BPS journal is a 4 page summary of the research paper contained in the Journal of Threat and Assessment Management, which is the document critiqued by CAGE. Unless the dataset is made available to academics within the field of forensic psychology, you are in no position to state that the study was peer reviewed.”

What is more damning is that, Monica Lloyd, one of the authors of the original study, has actually listed the “academic” study on her own Birmingham University profile as “classified”.  An incidental point to note is that Sutton refers to the original work behind ERG as “academic work”.  Exposing Sutton’s own “errors”, Lloyd, in a comment to the Guardian, stated that the study was “not an academic piece of work” but instead was an internal report by practitioners that was “done to the highest standard it could be done”.

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Screenshot of Lloyd’s “classified” studies

Sutton’s deceptive spin is on full display.  His post only serves to further expose the level of desperation being exhibited in these spin pieces. And it is getting embarrassing.   Sutton states that the “errors” are a “damning indictment of the credibility of those using these lines to attack Prevent.”

His post is damning indictment of the hate-financed Henry Jackson Society’s “experts”.

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