Asim Qureshi Reviews Explosive New Book on ‘Jihadi John’

The Muhammad Emwazi I met in 2009 was indeed a polite and friendly young man as the author Robert Verkaik and man others attest to, but by the summer of 2014 he was executing innocent Muslims and non-Muslims in the name of the Islamic State and I could not recognise the man I had once known.

One year on from a difficult period my organisation and I encountered due to my inappropriate description of him once being a “beautiful young man” – one that I am regretful of due to the impact this insensitivity had on all families who were victims of his murders – we now finally have a book that is able to provide some balance to a story that must be understood.

When I introduced Verkaik, at the time a journalist at The Independent, to Emwazi, it was very much because I respected him – and still do – as someone who is balanced and fair-minded. Since before then, we had been orbiting around stories to do with security service harassment of young Muslim men and so developed a rapport where I knew that here was someone who would take the difficulties faced by these men seriously.

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CAGE COURT VICTORY EXPOSES CHARITY COMMISSION TORTURE LINKS

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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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Apologists for terror or defenders of human rights? The Cage controversy in context

Crosspost: Tom Mills, Narzanin Massoumi, and David Miller

Last week, in a widely trailed speech, the Prime Minister laid out the government’s counter-terrorism strategy for the next five years. It is necessary, Cameron explained, to challenge the idea that political violence is rooted in ‘historic injustices and recent wars, or… poverty and hardship’.  Terrorism, he said, is caused by ‘extremist ideology’, which his government is determined to confront.

There was little new in Cameron’s speech, which simply affirmed in strong terms the authoritarian drift of counter-terrorism policy. Influenced by the security apparatus and its supporters in Parliament, and by neoconservative think tanks, such as the Henry Jackson Society, and (partly) state funded propaganda outfits like Quilliam, policy makers have become increasingly preoccupied with ‘non-violent extremism’ rather than political violence. Officially this is portrayed as a political campaign against ‘intolerance’. Thus Cameron claims that his government will be facing down ‘terrorism’ and ‘extremism’ by asserting ‘basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality’.

‘For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society’

On the face of it this seems agreeable enough. But the actual policy is another matter. As was pointed out in a recent letter to which we were signatories, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 will ‘mean that individuals working within statutory organisations must report individuals suspected of being “potential terrorists” to external bodies for “de-radicalisation”‘. In effect, the government has drawn the entire public sector into its controversial counter-extremist agenda, meaning that public servants once responsible for the welfare of citizens – including children – must now monitor their behaviour, appearance and political views, feeding into the most unaccountable and repressive elements of the state. Since 2014, 400 children, even as young as three-years-old, have been referred to the government’s ‘Channel’ programme for ‘de-radicalisation’. The true political implications of the policy, which has now passed into law, were made clear in May when Cameron told the first meeting of the National Security Council: ‘For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone”.’  So much for liberalism.

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Are the Mi5 Terror-apologists?

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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.

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I am CAGE

IamCAGE

In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

-George Orwell

The words of Malcolm X could not be truer: The powers that be use the press to give the devil an angelic image and give the image of the devil to the one who’s really angelic.  In the context of CAGE, Mohammed Emwazi and the contribution toward radicalisation by the security services, the British media, as I had envisaged, completely trivialised and then steered the discussion way from the excesses of the security services. Echoing the experience of the journalist Gary Webb, the focus of the right-wing media has been to character assassinate those who have come out to share this evidence-supported narrative.

The attack on Asim Qureshi and CAGE has been insidiously appalling from the likes of the Daily Fail and other papers in cahoots with the neoconservative establishment.  This reached its zenith when, in a clear attempt to undermine the lucid arguments of Asim Qureshi Andrew Neil from the British Biased Corporation decided to question his personal theological opinions.

The only card that could be used was that of demonisation through a completely unrelated topic, invoking the presumptuous “do you believing in stoning women?” question, courtesy of a report which references a far-right bigot published by the bigoted Council of Ex-Muslims, such is the level of journalistic rigour at the British Biased Corporation.

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CAGE, Amnesty and the Discriminatory “Expert” Gita Sahgal

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The calumniations against CAGE have continued unabated to delegitimise their government-shaking statements and concerns through the right-wing, neoconservative and Zionist media outlets. Most of these articles, if not all have tried to construct a strawman portraying CAGE as the “supporters of terrorism”, but have been unable to provide legitimate academic refutation of core arguments posited by the organisation. The “experts” which have come forth to protect their failed theories are primarily the politicians, as well as cheap hacks climbing up their professions through the well-beaten, Muslim-bashing career tracks, and opportunist human rights “activists”.

“Experts”

One of these “experts” brought out against CAGE is fundamentalist, secularist, feminist, extremist, anti-Muslimist, (why not eh?) Gita Saghal, (formerly of Amnesty International), who’s claim to fame is slandering Moazzam Begg, Asim Qureshi and CAGE in 2010. By bandying her name, the media has been seeking to undermine the credentials of CAGE (see, inter alia, here, and more recently the “expert” in the Jewish Chroniclehere), whilst failing to address the claims against the security services.  Shamefully capitulating to media pressure, Amnesty have stated that they are “reconsidering their relationship with CAGE”, and that campaigning with CAGE will be “highly unlikely in the current circumstances of seeing the kind of public statements that are being made [by Cage].” Incidentally these “kinds of public statements” have been supported by leading intellectual, Noam Chomsky.

For an organisation which seeks to work with facts rather than smears, it really is a testimony to the pervasiveness of the anti-Muslim hysteria, where allegations, circulated en mass, can be treated as the truth if the subject of those allegations is Muslim.

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Democracy Now asks “Did U.K. Security Agencies Play a Role in ISIS Militant’s Radicalization?”

AsimQureshiDemocracyNow

After Noam Chomsky endorsing Asim Qureshi’s analysis of the radicalisation of Mohammed Emwazi, Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman called Qureshi onto their show to further explore the topic.

The video can be seen at the link here.


 

Crosspost: Democracy Now!

We look at the strange case of the man nicknamed Jihadi John, the Islamic State militant seen in the beheading videos of James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Last week, press accounts identified him as a Londoner named Mohammed Emwazi who was originally from Kuwait. Emwazi moved to Britain as a child and studied computer science at the University of Westminster. The story has touched off a debate in Britain over policing and monitoring of potential threats. How did Emwazi go from being a university student in Britain to being the face of the Islamic State? Did British security services play a role in his radicalization? We are joined by Asim Qureshi of the British prisoner group CAGE, who knew Emwazi until he left Britain for good in 2012.

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