“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? ~Muhammad Ali on his opposition to the 1967 US military induction for Vietnam.
“If you look close enough at these medals, you can see the reflections of dead Iraqis. You can see the embers of Libya. And you can see the faces of the men and women of the British armed forces who didn’t return and also those who did with lost limbs and shattered souls. I no longer require these medals.” ~ Daniel Denham, Former RAF, 2015
There has been a concerted effort to militarise Muslims. This has ranged from cultivating a militarist, state-worshipping mind-set in schools where the pupils are predominantly Muslim, to parading the Army in mosques, and now, using religion to encourage Muslims to join the army.
Times-assigned “leading Islamic scholars and imams” attended a conference with the military at Sandhurst to encourage Muslims to join the British Armed Forces. The article quotes Qari Asim, the Imam at Makkah Mosque in Leeds, as reportedly saying,
“The armed forces are seen as a noble profession and it follows there are no inherent tensions.”
The report further adds that he said scholars were agreed that Islam does not prohibit Muslims from serving in the British Army.
To better understand the validity of Qari Asim’s reported blanket proclamation, there is a need to understand the idea of violence from the perspective of a neocon state and its political domain.
The fostering of the Straussian neocon “closed society” continues to soldier on ahead. The main, but certainly not the only, conduit for this austere vision of society utilises the rhetoric of fear – “safeguarding”, “cohesion” and “counter-extremism”, augmented courtesy of puppets of the neoconservative malignancy within Government.
Despite being utterly baseless academically and broken as pre-crime tool, there has been effort to mainstream PREVENT into society. This normalisation of authoritarian PREVENT-thinking has led to the latest charade; anti-fascist group Hope not Hate (HnH) has been used to spread the tentacles of PREVENT further into civil society by using Sara Khan in its publication State of Hate 2017.
In doing so, HnH comprehensively debilitated its legitimacy.
The founder of HnH, Nick Lowles, has a history of confronting far-right racist individuals and groups. He has also campaigned for the banning of Pamella Geller and Robert Spencer for their anti-Muslim, hate filled rhetoric. The question is of course, how has such a campaign group been hoodwinked into co-opting PREVENT-thinking and allowed itself to be exploited by a cheerleader of discrimination?
The neoconservative effort to deform Islam, neuter Muslim thinking and create a repulsion of Islam in general has its basis in the clash of civilisations thesis. Premising this thesis is the assumption of one particular side – the Western side – being civilised. The permeation of this assumption has led to a “civilising” mission utilising the War on Terror paradigm and all its political and military machinery; globalised drone warfare programmes, extraordinary rendition, torture, perpetual wars, and collective punishment through targeting of Muslim minorities using policies which erode the liberties of all. Through political exploitation of fears about ISIS which exponentially increased no sooner did Britain, for instance decide to join the foray in Iraq and Syria, the impact on civil liberties in Western societies has continuously progressed.
To the neutral observer, the above can hardly be described as “civilised”.
Rethink Rebuild Society regrets the decision of the House of Commons to vote for airstrikes in Syria along with the US-led Coalition against ISIL.
Our involvement in the Coalition will not necessarily make the UK safer from the threat posed by terrorist groups, nor is it expected to have any significant impact in addressing radicalisation on the ground in Syria. Rather, it very much has the potential to fan the flames of radicalisation and therefore expose us to greater vulnerabilities.
We stress that any threat that ISIL poses to the UK is ultimately attributable to the Assad regime. Without first addressing the Assad regime’s indiscriminate use of force in Syria, which created the violence, chaos, and destruction that allowed for the emergence of terrorist groups in Syria, we cannot begin to tackle the threat posed by ISIL. In the current situation, even a successful military campaign against ISIL will lead to the emergence of similar groups to fill the void created by the Assad regime’s destruction.
In response to the massacres on the streets of Paris, those warmongering political opportunists known for supporting the underlying causes of this horrendous attack were quick off the line to make their views known. The fascist neoconservative Douglas Murray, called for a “proper response” which is “to have the same response at home as we do abroad”:
“So far we have pretended we can tackle these people only by engaging them on foreign battlefields. And by having a half-hearted talk about ‘radicalisation’ here at home. That is quite wrong.”
Given Murray’s colourful views about Muslims, and is neocon analysis of Islam (“Islam is not a peaceful religion. No religion is, but Islam is especially not”), the above sounds incredibly like a call for a “Final Solution” for Muslims. Are we to start using drone strikes inside Britain like we do abroad? We seem to have become experts at extrajudicial assassinations, and Murray is quite warm to the concept and realities too.
Crosspost: Craig Murray
This may be the most important article I ever post, because it reveals perfectly how the Establishment works and how the Red Tories and Blue Tories contrive to give a false impression of democracy. It is information I can only give you because of my experience as an insider.
It is a definitive proof of the validity of the Chomskian propaganda model. It needs a fair bit of detail to do this, but please try and read through it because it really is very, very important. After you have finished, if you agree with me about the significance, please repost, (you are free to copy), retweet, add to news aggregators (Reddit etc) and do anything you can to get other people to pay attention.
The government based its decision to execute by drone two British men in Syria on “Legal Opinion” from the Attorney-General for England and Wales, Jeremy Wright, a politician, MP and Cabinet Minister. But Wright’s legal knowledge comes from an undistinguished first degree from Exeter and a short career as a criminal defence barrister in Birmingham. His knowledge of public international law is virtually nil.
I pause briefly to note that there is no pretence of consulting the Scottish legal system. The only legal opinion is from the Attorney General for England and Wales who is also Honorary Advocate General for Northern Ireland.
So Jeremy Wright’s role is as a cypher. He performs a charade. The government employs in the FCO a dozen of the most distinguished public international lawyers in the world. When the Attorney-General’s office needs an Opinion on public international law, they ask the FCO to provide it for him to sign.
The only known occasion when this did not happen was the Iraq War. Then the FCO Legal Advisers – unanimously – advised the Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, that to invade Iraq was illegal. Jack Straw asked the Attorney General to dismiss the FCO chief Legal Adviser, Sir Michael Wood (Goldsmith refused). Blair sent Goldsmith to Washington where the Opinion was written for him to sign by George Bush’s lawyers. [I know this sounds incredible, but it is absolutely true]. Sir Michael Wood’s deputy, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, resigned in protest.
“The government’s power to kill must be carefully controlled – or it could turn into a tyranny worse than terror.” – Former CIA lawyer
“How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?” And: “How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?” – Heather Linebaugh, former UAV operator.
“In the absence of better of options, they [extrajudicial assassinations] are not only effective but moral as well.” – Douglas Murray, Associate Director of Henry Jackson Society.
If there was any further evidence required that neoconservatism – not democracy – is driving the policies of the present government, David Cameron’s recent defence of the assassination of Britons abroad is it.
For the Love of War
Before analysing the justificatory rhetoric, it is worth looking at the context in which Cameron revealed this unprecedented action. The use of emotions, which is a staple neocon technique to influence public opinion, was demonstrated in the speech in the most twisted manner. Whilst pouring over the refugee crisis, he called for a “comprehensive approach that tackles the causes of the problem as well as the consequences.” Predictably, this meant “stabilising” Syria and Libya; a euphemism for more military escapades in the Middle East as explained towards the end of the speech:
“I believe there is a strong case for the UK taking part in air strikes as part of the international coalition to target ISIL in Syria as well as Iraq.”
The pertinent absence of the cause of the present mayhem which has now triggered the displacement of populations is conspicuously absent: the West’s militarist, hegemonic foreign policy, resulting in a genocide of Muslims; bitter sectarian conflict; and hundreds and thousands of refugees.
David Cameron in his speech said that in order to defeat extremism, the extreme ideology which underpins it must be confronted head on. I will confront an ideology which is already in power in Britain, and perpetuates fascism and violence in the name of values it does not believe in.
Looking back over the past decade, we witness the damage wrought by neconservatism in the US; the War on Terror which bequeathed us endless violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, civilian causalities amounting to genocide, torture, and the steady attrition of civil liberties thanks to legislation like the unconstitutional PATRIOT Act, which paved the way for unchecked power and increased surveillance. Muslim communities became the target of counter-subversion strategies and, what Professor Arun Kundnani calls, “COUNTELPRO 2.0” tactics:
“…the extensive surveillance of Muslim-American populations; the deployment of informants; the use of agents provocateurs; the widening use of material support legislation to criminalize charitable or expressive activities; and the use of community engagement to gather intelligence and effect ideological self-policing of communities. Significantly, such practices have been encouraged, organized, and legitimized by the radicalization models that law enforcement agencies adopted in the first decade of the twenty-first century.”
Over a period of time, certainly in the US, the neocons have become almost taboo for the crimes they perpetrated, and the destruction they brought to civil liberties. As one American writer notes, “Neoconservative dreams of creating a hard-edged, neo-imperial American hegemony over the world died in the rubble of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Obama’s recent diplomatic agreement with Iran has further pained the neoconservatives, who have been consistently calling for a war against Iran.
Crosspost: Muhammad Idrees Khan
An esteemed war journalist wrote about Syrian jihadis slaughtering Christians—but did it ever actually occur?
Editor’s Note: After publication of this article, Patrick Cockburn responded to The Daily Beast to clarify an apparent discrepancy in his accounts of an alleged massacre in Adra. The author of this piece chose to respond to Cockburn’s rebuttal. That exchange is posted below after the end of the original text. We have also updated the dek of this article to reflect Cockburn’s clarifications.
Patrick Cockburn, the Irish foreign correspondent for The Independent, has an eclectic following. He is admired by Noam Chomsky and Rand Paul; and last December, when he won the British equivalent of a Pulitzer for his coverage of Syria and Iraq, the judges declared his journalism in a “league of its own” and wondered “whether the Government should [consider] pensioning off the whole of MI6 and [hire] Patrick Cockburn instead.”
Cockburn is conscious of his exalted position. He frequently admonishes his colleagues against the distortions born of “political bias and simple error.” In his recent book, The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution, he declares “There is no alternative to first-hand reporting.” He adds: “Journalists rarely fully admit to themselves or others the degree to which they rely on secondary and self-interested sources.”
Journalists rarely admit such things—even those as self-aware as Cockburn is. Consider this gripping, first-hand account of the slaughter of religious minorities by the al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra that appears on page 89 of his book: “In Adra on the northern outskirts of Damascus in early 2014, I witnessed [Nusra] forces storm a housing complex by advancing through a drainage pipe which came out behind government lines, where they proceeded to kill Alawites and Christians.” Cockburn was witnessing a war crime.
But there is a problem. The atrocity may or may not have happened, and it seems unlikely that Cockburn witnessed it.
Before Cockburn published the first edition of his book in August 2014 and promoted himself to the status of witness, he had devoted only two articles to Adra; neither mentions him witnessing a massacre. Indeed, according to the first—published in his January 28, 2014, column for The Independent —Cockburn arrived in Adra after the alleged incident and was told the story about rebels advancing through a drainage pipe and massacring civilians by “a Syrian [regime] soldier, who gave his name as Abu Ali.”
The sinking tanker that is the PREVENT Strategy seems to be sinking faster with a further series of setbacks. And as the conveyor-belt theory crew from Quilliam and the Henry Jackson Society, propagandists from establishment media and smearists à la Harry’s Place go into overdrive to wrest the inevitable, the tanker keeps on losing its ballast.
It was meant to be plain sailing, it seems. The “Jihadi John” unveiling would have provided a convenient pretext to introduce further exclusionary and discriminatory measures: a Londoner radicalised presumably by hate-preachers who went onto become the most hated-man on earth. The measures have been introduced as conveniently “leaked” to the anti-Muslim government mouthpiece Andrew Gilligan, with the details being published in the Telegraph. The PREVENT surveillance programme has now been extended to job centres, there is a call for an “independent review” of Sharia courts, as Jewish Beth Din courts remain untouched, a ban on “radicals” working unsupervised with children for fear of brainwashing, and a raft of other measures to “get tough” in enforcing radical nationalism that is the neoconservative antidote to liberal laxity: “British values”.
Of course, Jihadi John would have been the perfect narrative for the above set of Stasi measures, but for a CAGE-shaped rock shearing the underside of the PREVENT tanker. Since then, it hasn’t been a stable ride. CAGE’s position has practically demonstrated the inefficacy of the PREVENT Strategy and in doing so, it has proven the academic deconstruction of PREVENT.