michael shawcross

Crosspost: Moazzam Begg

Following the recent court settlement in favour of CAGE, Outreach Director Moazzam Begg discusses the case and how it has revealed the shocking influence of those who support Guantanamo and torture within the Charity Commission.

This week CAGE appeared in the High Court against the Charity Commission in a landmark case to determine whether the latter acted beyond its powers in seeking assurances from charities that funded CAGE to agree to never do so again. The matter was deemed so serious that the case was adjudicated by the Lord Chief Justice, Britain’s highest judge.

CAGE advocates for accountability under law

To those of us on the inside, this action didn’t occur in a vacuum. Despite CAGE’s crucial achievements, which have included advocacy against rendition and torture; facilitating dialogue between former Guantanamo soldiers and prisoners; and, negotiating the release of hostages in Iraq and Syria, British governments have been rattled by CAGE for one reason: accountability.

We have facilitated important roles in the criminal investigation into MI5/6 torture complicity; we were important contributors to the now defunct Torture Inquiry and, we are regularly called upon by mainstream media to comment on these matters and others beyond them, such as the failed PREVENT policy that is now, astonishingly, law.

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The Consistency of CAGE and Hypocrisy of Boris Johnson


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.

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The Neocon War’s Vicious Circle and Mission Creep


I am still unable to believe that people can buy into the propaganda which has now led to the US strikes on Syria, with five Arab nations “participating” in the warmongery. The allied Arab autocratic regimes (oh the hypocrisy of Western democracy) are seen as nothing but puppets which stood idly by as Gaza was bombarded for over 50 days, and whose survivors are now picking up the remains of dismembered bodies of men, women children amongst rubble, trying to rebuild their lives.

Included amongst the “Allied” nations are those from which condemnations of the Zionist entity were slow to escape the oily throats of Arab princes and Saudi scholars, but were quick to brand non-violent democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood as terrorists, whilst funding the slaughter Muslims by Sisi’s men.

With the Western created borders melting before the eyes of hegemonists Barack Obama reiterated what his predecessor so proudly asserted,

“We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are,”  

Bush said the same towards the beginning of his is endless neocon war on terror when he said,

“Wherever they are, we will hunt them down, one by one”

Such statements were only precursors to the breakdown of borders and perpetual warfare which is central to neoconservative foreign policy and which has been normalised in the Obama years.

Tracking the Course of Events

Before any war is waged by the West there is a series of propaganda stories pumped through the media. The killing of Foley was comprehensively used as a pretext domestically (see here and here), as has been the case of Alan Henning, playing exactly into the hands of the neocon policy of perpetual warfare. ISIS tore up the Western-imposed borders as it progressed swiftly through from Syria to Iraq. The actions received daily, nay hourly coverage and these war drum-beating reports were sufficient to raise the terror threat in the UK, despite Theresa May admitting there was no actual intelligence to suggest an imminent attack. In all this, one fact has been conveniently ignored: whether the West like to accept this or not, the puppet Maliki regime in Iraq which was put in place by the West and is still backed by the US, is largely responsible for the growth of ISIS into Iraq as the Sunni population sought respite from minority oppression.

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How the Media is Abusing Alan Henning’s Ordeal to Push Neocon Policy

Source: Telegraph

Alan Henning’s capture and video, as intended by whoever is orchestrating these videos, has caused much shock.  Whilst I can labour on at how each child in Gaza who has been blown to smithereens using Western-supplied arms also had a mother, father and siblings, and how the death of British doctor Dr Abbas Khan in a Syrian prison was not met with vows by our Prime Minister to “hunt down” the “monster” that is Bashar al-Assad, the fact is that such hypocrisy will never make the mainstream news until there is goat that can be slaughtered to save face.

Despite this, Henning’s ordeal is indeed a truly sad one and I sincerely hope he comes out of this situation alive and well. Many are coming out in support of him, and even “Al-Qaeda” has tried to free him. He was indeed a gentle, loving and caring individual who had a genuine passion to assist the people of Syria.  I pray all those who have been unjustly captured like Henning, such as Aafia Siddiqui, Moazzam Begg and the prisoners of Guantanamo Bay are given due justice and freed from their oppressors.

The media however, take such opportunities to engage the neocon cold-war against the Muslim minority and those who resist neocon policies. Mixing facts with lies, distortions and exaggerations is a common method to flare emotions and achieve maximum demonization of the target. Such incidents are already being used by government officials as pretext for wars as well as reinforcement of domestic policies. Sadly, Henning’s ordeal has also been used as a tool to propagandise against key Muslim personalities.

In a report in the Torygraph by Bill Gardner (probably an apprentice of the neocon-propagandist Andrew Gilligan) made some notable remarks which blatantly skewed key facts and smeared renowned activist and a scholar of Islam.

In trying to prove the charity had linked with “extremists”, the article highlights that,

“Aid 4 Syria has also used its Facebook page to promote an event called O’Ummah Wake Up And Rise! at which the guest speakers were Zahir Mahmood and Moazzam Begg. Mr Mahmood describes the proscribed terrorist group Hamas as “freedom fighters” while Mr Begg, a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, has admitted to fighting in Bosnia.”

To those familiar with the neocon strategy of smearing key Muslim individuals who exert an influence over people, the above paragraphs will be recognised as textbook Harry’s Place material.  The allegation against a respected Islamic scholar, Shaykh Zahir Mahmood, has been regurgitated elsewhere by neocons (for instance, Raheem Kassam’s Student Rights organisation, which is front for the Henry Jackson Society, has also used it to smear the said scholar).

Firstly, the statement uses the neoconservative, ideological definition of “extremism”, which demarcates criticism of Israel and support for the resistance against the brutality of the Zionist entity as “extremism”. This was also seen as a marker for extremism by Peter Clarke, who regarded the Orthodox Jewish group, Neturei Karta as “extremists” for opposing Israel in his Trojan Hoax report. The resistance against the Zionist entity has attained worldwide support, with the BDS movement being supported by Western academics, including renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, whilst Jewish Auschwitz survivors have likened Israel to Nazi Germany.

Secondly, the “terrorism” card is dropped to ensure the criminality of those mentioned.  As explained in an earlier blog, in accordance with international law, Hamas is resisting an occupying power, thus any defence, or belligerent reprisals against an occupier is currently legal.  It is the occupying power which is forbidden from using violence to suppress a resistance.  In this regard, Hamas, who were democratically elected to represent the Palestinian people are freedom fighters; they are fighting for the freedom from Zionist state terrorism and economic, political and infrastructural destruction.  The extremists are those who label this resistance “terrorism”.

What further highlights the blatant neocon bias is the reference to Hamas as a “proscribed terrorist group”. Hamas categorically, under UK law, is not a proscribed group, and the paper has made a blatant error here.

Thirdly, the statement targets those who subject the neocon government to public scrutiny and accountability, something which the press should be doing but is instead acting as the mouthpiece of the government and covering its extremist policies and complicity to torture and war crimes.  Moazzam Begg may have fought in Bosnia, but was this a crime? Christian Serbs were ethnically cleansing the Muslim population, inflicting gruesome violence against civilians. With the UN stalling in producing a meaningful response countries, including Britain, eventually struck key targets without a Security Council authorisation. Thus, the fight in Bosnia was in-line with British foreign policy. And let’s not go into the blind eye given to British Zionists potentially committing war crimes against the Palestinian.

Moazzam Begg was the victim of US injustice. He dedicated his life as a humanitarian supporting those which society largely ignored, seeking justice for those who were voiceless.  His recent arrest signifies UK government’s continued decline into tyranny as Begg was about to release sensitive information which would show UK complicity to torture in Syria.

The extremely tenuous dragging-in of key personalities who are positively making a difference in the lives of people, to the dislike of the neocons, into emotionally-charged stories is indicative of the cold war on the Muslim minority today. The fact that the sensitive ordeal of a man hanging in between life and death is used to push this cold war is frankly disgusting.