You must be the right type of Muslim with the right type of mindset to be allowed into the political arena. A Sajid Javid/Maajid Nawaz-type whose practice of Islam is non-existent and politically kow-tows to the neocons and pro-Israel lobby, would be ideal.
Are you a confident Muslim who asserts mainstream Islamic and political views that do not pander to the aforementioned circles? Forget democracy and all that British Values nonsense and prepare to have the weight of the establishment bear down on you and your livelihood targeted.
A recent orchestrated furore exemplifies this.
The discussion amongst securocrats on how to move beyond PREVENT is like a dog’s tail – despite attempts to straighten it by highlighting flaws, theoretical considerations and so forth, it has a tendency to bend back towards an ideology-only solution of dealing with “extremism”.
Moazzam Begg issues an interesting set of proposals. Last month, I too outlined an approach for the likes of MCB to take if it is sincere in contributing to concrete ideas on how to tackle terrorism.
This can be read here: Countering Terrorism with the MCB
CROSSPOST: Moazzam Begg
Last month, my colleagues at CAGE published a damning report on the classified research that the UK government is using to identify potential extremists. Incredibly, as the report reveals, the government’s programme, called the Extremism Risk Guidance 22+ (ERG22+), was based on nothing more than research conducted by two psychologists working for the National Offenders Management Service (NOMS) and collated based on interviews with a handful of British Muslim convicts. From this study, 22 “risk-assessment factors” were extracted that would go on to form the template for how the UK government would now seek to define the undefinable ‘extremists’ residing in our midst.
In July of this year, I posted a blog asking the question in relation to the revelation that PREVENT was underpinned by a theory (Extremist Risk Guidance – ERG22+) formulated by British psychiatrists, What would these US psychologists make of Britain’s PREVENT Strategy? The American professors bluntly stated that the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda was “at best misguided, and at worst, vicious.”
The Pseudo-Science of PREVENT
CAGE’s devastating expose – The Science of Pre-Crime: The ‘Secret’ radicalisation study underpinning Prevent’– proves that Britain’s CVE – PREVENT – really is indeed, misguided, resulting in decisions which are vicious. The report exposes a 2010 study authored by two psychologists who are linked to the national security industry, Monica Lloyd and Christopher Dean, and used to formulate the pre-crime intervention model ERG22+. Shockingly the authors themselves admitted that the research was lacking. Below are key quotes taken from the study:
“The current lack of demonstrated reliability and validity remains the main limitation of the ERG at this time. It remains essentially a qualitative tool that requires a level of professional judgment and experience to be effectively used.”
““The ERG is work in progress…”
“There remain important questions to be explored, most notably around reliability and validity,”
Crosspost: Media Lens
The sudden cancellation of an academic conference on Israel, as well as the lack of outcry from ‘mainstream’ media, demonstrates once again the skewed limits to ‘free speech’ in ‘advanced’ Western democracies. ‘Je suis Charlie’ already feels like ancient history. It certainly does not apply when it comes to scrutiny of the state of Israel.
The conference, titled ‘International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism’, was to be held at the University of Southampton from 15-17 April 2015. Planned speakers included Richard Falk, the former UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, Gabi Piterberg, a historian at the University of California at Los Angeles, Israeli academic Ilan Pappé and Palestinian historian Nur Musalha.
The meeting was billed as the ‘first of its kind and constitutes a ground-breaking historical event on the road towards justice and enduring peace in historic Palestine.’ The approach would be scholarly with ‘multidisciplinary debate reflecting diverse perspectives, and thus genuine disagreements’. Rather than being a coven of political extremists and violent hotheads, this was to be a serious gathering of respected and authoritative academics with in-depth knowledge of Israel and Palestine.
But intense pressure from the Israel lobby about the airing of ‘anti-Semitic views’ has torpedoed the University of Southampton’s earlier stated commitment to uphold ‘freedom of speech within the law’. In a classic piece of bureaucratic hand-wringing, the university issued a corporate-style statement on 1 April that leaned heavily on the pretext of ‘health and safety’ to kill off the conference. This happened a mere two weeks before the conference, planned months earlier in consultation with the university, was due to begin.
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.
This is the second piece in the series exploring the neocon “mode of thinking” based upon Tony Blair’s essay which outlines dangerous policies and provides for a blueprint for perpetual war. The first part can be accessed here.
Deflecting Foreign Policy
For Blair, the elephant in the room, Western foreign policy, has little to do with the violence in Iraq. The previously peacefully coexisting Sunnis and Shia, are now, post-Iraq war, at each other’s throats. Perhaps the incident of 19th September 2005 can shed some light on this. On this day two undercover British SAS operatives, dressed in traditional Arab garb who were planning to set off bombs in the main square in Basra coinciding with a religious event, were caught in the act, imprisoned and then broken out of the police station by the British army.
The leading thinker and linguist, Noam Chomsky, writes,
“By now, Shiites and Sunnis are the bitterest enemies, thanks to the sledgehammer wielded by Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney… and others like them who understand nothing beyond violence and terror and have helped to create conflicts that are now tearing the region to shreds.”