CROSSPOST: Alastair Sloan
Writer Francis Beckett has an interesting piece in the Guardian this morning regarding his fathers prominent role in Britain’s fascist movement. He reveals that from 1945 to 1955 his home was under MI5 surveillance, and states that he believes the government played a role in maintaining and even increasing his fathers radical beliefs.
My father came out of prison far more racist – and, in particular, antisemitic – than we went in: a phenomenon familiar to those who have studied wartime detention.
After the war, the constant surveillance, which he knew was there but could never pin down, made him just a little mad. He was noisy and entertaining, he could tell a good anecdote, but there was something strange about him. And sometimes he would say something about a race – about Jews or about black people – so gross and offensive that, even as a child in the 1950s, it made me start and stare.
The Home Affairs Select Committee report on counter extremism (“Radicalisation: the counter-narrative and identifying the tipping point”) was never meant to be more than a theatrical designed to stem the gaining momentum tearing apart Britain’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda. The momentum against PREVENT, constituted of Muslims on the ground, countless academics and a number of unions required arresting. The tactic was to take control of this spiralling situation through a “review” where there is token acceptance of issues that are then carefully spun away and the course set upon by neoconservatives in collectively punishing the Muslim psyche through the neo-imperialist CVE project is resumed.
The evidence for the effort to maintain the course of PREVENT is evident from the way the review was framed:
“Our concern was that families and communities were being deeply affected by recruitment of young men and women to fight in Iraq and Syria. We therefore decided to examine the Government’s strategy for tackling extremism to assess whether it is effective and reaches the members of society who are most vulnerable to radicalisation.”
Implicit within the above statement is the focus on the singular “pathway” to political violence: “extremism”. When the report’s author aver that they sought to examine the “major drivers of, and risk factors for recruitment to terrorist movements” – this analysis is firmly limited to the dominant pro-Israel/neoconservative-designed lens of ideology and extremism.
The below comments by CAGE on the Home Affairs Select committee report on PREVENT make for an imperative read. I will be posting my thoughts on this soon too.
The Home Affairs Select Committee report into radicalisation has rightly recognised the toxicity of PREVENT. Yet, instead of scrapping the failed policy, it only proposes a rebranded version of it, named ENGAGE. This programme seeks to implicate community organisations in order to gain a veneer of credibility, while the underpinning premises of PREVENT are left firmly intact.
It is an attempt to force the Muslim community to take ownership of the problem of political violence, while at the same time reinforcing the good Muslim, bad Muslim dichotomy, with the government’s overarching narrative as the determining factor. Ironically, the report refers to and quotes non-independent organisations who are state sponsored as outlined in our report “We are Completely Independent”, and gives them a semblance of legitimacy.
Image: Witness Against Torture/flickr
CROSSPOST: Asim Qureshi, Moazzam Begg and Arnaud Mafille
The Chilcot report must recognise that Britain went to war in Iraq based on falsified information and tortured confessions.
For those who have seen the use of orange jumpsuits and hoods on prisoners by Islamic State in Iraq, there is little doubt that the legacies of the “war on terror” have travelled beyond the illegality of the war on Iraq. It mirrored not only the abuse that was carried out on detainees around the world by the US, but also that which was specifically used against the leadership of IS while they were in US custody,
The story of torture in relation to Iraq is important and complicated, as it not only justified the war, but permitted an environment where torture was normalised. The DNA of the Iraq war was constructed through a story of torture for which there still has been no accountability.
Now, more than ever, following bombings carried out by IS in Baghdad, Istanbul and Dhaka – and Paris and Brussels before that – there is great need for a thorough examination of why the world is a far less safe place than before the invasion of Iraq.
CROSSPOST: Moazzam Begg
It’s now safe to call for abolishment of Prevent, after senior middle-class white politician has done so
The shadow home secretary, Andy Burnham, has joined the call to scrap Prevent, the UK’s anti-radicalisation programme. Using a term previously cited by senior police officers regarding the government programme to tackle extremism, the senior Labour politician described Prevent as “toxic”.
Last month, the police chief tasked with heading and implementing Prevent, Simon Cole, saidthat government plans to target non-violent “extremists” through the introduction of more legislation risked the creation of a British “thought police”.
The Cameron government has suffered a number of set-backs and U-turns in the past year in terms of policy. In most of these cases, the policies have been challenged by the public due to their adverse impact. What fiascos like the junior doctors pay have demonstrated is that a well-informed public, which has not pandered to the government’s fear mongering, or smoke-and-mirrors tactics, is one of the best checks on state excesses.
A further frontier is to be established with the Queen’s Speech setting out the Counter-Extremism Bill. With this area too, the public must stand up and see through the “terrorism” façade which is being used to justify spurious, draconian legislation.
The tranche of information provided by the Guardian and CAGE regarding the black propaganda network constituted of Home Office propaganda unit RICU, PR companies and ostensibly “independent” civil society organisations has certainly gotten the ball rolling. Information now, I suspect, will begin to percolate through various mediums and quarters exposing willing and unknowing partners in a distinctly totalitarian project.
In the past I have written extensively about Shaista Gohir’s Muslim Women’s Network (MWNUK), her links to PREVENT, her timely media interventions which propped the neoconservative government narrative against the Muslim minority, her positive association with sectarian neoconservative enablers Khalid Mahmood and her involvement with the persecutory, imperial globalised CVE agenda. The funding granted to her organisation from government after her public antics only served to represent the sour icing on a distinctly rotten cake.
MWNUK and Breaththrough Media Connection