The Government’s Counter Extremism strategy was published today following reports in the weekend papers about £5 million in funding being put aside to fund groups “to build a national coalition against extremism – in communities and online” and mention of the strategy including measures to ban “hate preachers from using the internet or working with children”.
The strategy published today is much the same in content as the report by the Prime Minister’s Extremism Taskforce which has laid much of the groundwork for what has since followed in policy announcements about tackling extremism. The criticisms levelled at the Taskforce report, about its lack of evidence base to validate assertions made and its overreliance on the notion of “ideology” being at the root of radicalisation are all repeated in the strategy published today.
The strategy also reiterates much of what we have already heard from the Home Secretary, Theresa May and the Prime Minister, David Cameron about the Government’s “crackdown” on extremism, with its conflation of integration policy, on “boosting opportunity and integration”, and racialised, essentialist assumptions about Muslims and “illegal cultural practices” such as forced marriage, honour killings and female genital mutilation.
The references to a review of shari’ah tribunals in the UK sits uneasily in a strategy supposedly about championing British values and celebrating the “vibrant, buoyant and diverse” British society that has been cultivated over the years.
More strange is a citation which presents evidence submitted to Baroness Caroline Cox as evidence of “extremism” – this is the same Baroness Cox who invited Geert Wilders to the UK and said of Muslims, “Islam is using the freedoms of democracy to destroy it”. There is a certain irony in making mention of individuals with extremist connections in a strategy about “counter-extremism”. Odd too that the Extremism Analysis Unit which is supposedly the holy grail in identifying “extremists” missed the likes of Baroness Cox and her association with the notoriously Islamophobic Gatestone Institute. A case of civil servants asleep on the job?
For a complete list of articles exposing Andrew Gilligan’s propaganda masquerading as journalism, please see the following archival link here.
As the conference season gets underway,Andrew Gilligan in the Sunday Telegraphprovides another demonstration of his obsession with undermining British Muslims who legitimately engage in politics and public life.
The Prime Minister in his ‘Munich 2’ speech singled out those who perpetuate lies about a “secret Muslim conspiracy to takeover Government”. You only need to look at the dubious links and nonsensical associations unearthed by Gilligan to understand the lengths ‘conspiracy theorists’ will go to in their efforts to tarnish the reputation of British Muslim organisations, such as the Muslim Charities Forum and MEND.
Gilligan rehearses the usual half-truths about the Muslim Charities Forum and its alleged links to Union for Good despite The Guardian revealing in an article published in July that the sources behind the unverified allegations were Israeli sources. Akin to the allegations levelled by the Israeli Defence Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, that Islamic Relief was funnelling funds to “Hamas-controlled organisations”, which were proven to be without foundation, Gilligan repeats accusations against the Muslim Charities Forum with no regard for the facts.
“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, it seems, is on a mission to prove to the world that Britain is rapidly losing its humanity. And I am not just referring to Cameron’s frankly abhorrent reluctance in responding to the mounting refugee crisis to which Britain has a hand in due its unethical and ill-conceived foreign policy.
Cameron, who is hypocritically jostling “British values” like human rights and democracy down the throats of Muslims, is also set to host the racist Benjamin Netanyahu for talks this month. A petition which has already reached 100,000 seeks his arrest for war crimes due to the Gaza massacre of 2014.
I have already given a brief response to Cameron’s speech in a prior piece exposing the original venue and those connected to the event. My detailed perspective on the speech will be drafted soon and it will convey dismay at the completely oblivious reaction of people (bar some) to what is happening. If people still do not realise that a closed-society is being formed courtesy of neoconservatism, then they will be like those who fell asleep in the Weimar Republic and woke up in the Third Reich. And before readers think this is hyperbole, read the philosophy of those running the country to understand what they aspire to.
For now, let us take a look at a couple of reports, one which is in direct response to David Cameron’s ideology-focussed Birmingham speech (in addition to an already growing body of academic thinking).
CAGE has published the PREVENT training DVD for public consumption, thus ensuring government transparency and therefore accountability. The dismal “training” video will turn teachers, for instance, into surveillance specialists fit to discern the “signs of radicalisation” “vulnerable individuals. Note that PREVENT has been heavily influenced and penetrated by GCHQ, which has encouraged “intelligence analysis” as part of the Strategy. Muslims have been discriminatorily bearing the brunt of this policy for many years.
Decades from now, when books are written about Britain’s, dark Stasi-esque era, I envisage a chapter on PREVENT and the accompanying miscarriages of justice. Who knows, perhaps it will be called the “MayCarthy” era after Theresa May the extremist.
A point to note is that some in the DVD may not hold the same views, having being exposed to the PREVENT policy. Jahan Mahmood, for instance, who features in the DVD, has now become a noted critic of the policy and has frequently raised the issue of neocons in power, and their duplicitous policies, both foreign and domestic in public interviews.
(London, UK) A source has leaked crucial elements of the PREVENT training module WRAP to CAGE and now for the first time, and in the interest of greater public debate and scrutiny, CAGE is publishing the material.
The DVD clips can be downloaded from these links (here, here, here, here, here, here and here.)
The training DVD makes several simplistic assumptions that are empirically untested, ineffective and raises more questions than it seeks to answer. This may increase the likelihood that ‘extremism’ will be over-reported contributing to growing islamophobia.
The neocon government wants the Muslim to be resilient from “extremism”. Over the years, despite the Muslim apologia, pronouncements of condemnations, Stasi-esque policies, government associations with anti-Islam organisations, rampant anti-Muslim hatred from the media to the intellectually challenged supremacist thug on the street, and judicial rulings relegating Muslims to second-class citizenry, Muslims have certainly developed a resilience. A resilience to neoconservatives and their blustering anti-Muslim doublespeak and a firm resilience to the designs of neoconservative extremism.
The script for the neocons is like clockwork. Governmentally pressure Muslims throughout the year, consorting with the media to demonise Muslims treating them as suspect communities. Use arms of the state to effectuate this goal by using ambiguous words like “extremist” which are only ever to be applied to Muslims and not Christians and Jews. Feed the Eurabia myth pedalled by the far-right and neocons that Muslims are “taking over Europe”, with unfounded Trojan Hoax plots and (discriminatory) Shari’ah courts fear mongering (and let’s not forget the dreaded halal meat!). Announce draconian security measures which discriminatorily target and profile the Muslim minority. If these measures face opposition, then await an atrocity to heavily spin and exploit. Make announcements that the Muslim community needs to “do more” to tackle radicalisation, ignore belligerent foreign policy and police-state actions and push through more measures, all the while profiling Muslims and eroding civil liberties for all.
This cyclical minority battering is really getting old.