Category: United Kingdom


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Mahdi Hashi is thought to be in prison in the African state of Djibouti

While he was visiting Somalia, Theresa May deprived him of all his rights as a British national

He was accused of extremist activities but his parents say this is wrong

After landing at Heathrow, he was approached by MI5 who said his ‘suspect status’ would be cleared if he ‘co-operated’ with them

A British citizen whose family believe he is being tortured by American secret agents has suddenly had all his rights as a UK national removed by the Home Secretary.

Mahdi Hashi – who MI5 once tried to recruit as a spy – has been deprived of his British passport, denied access to consular assistance and may never return to Britain. He is thought to be being held in an African prison.

Mohamed and Kaltun Hashi, the parents of the 23-year-old care worker from Camden, North London, became concerned for his safety after being tipped off that in the summer he had been taken to a prison in the African state of Djibouti while visiting neighbouring Somalia.

The information was passed on by another prisoner who said Mr Hashi claimed he had been ‘mistreated’ and was being interrogated by men working for America.

The Mail on Sunday has established that while Mr Hashi was out of Britain, Home Secretary Theresa May used a little-known power – which does not require a court order – to deprive him of all his rights as a British national.

It can also be revealed that Mrs May has issued at least another nine orders against British nationals. The majority have been served on Muslim men, although the most public case is that of Russian spy Anna Chapman, who had been married to a UK national.

Mr Hashi and his family moved to the UK from Somalia when he was five. In late 2009 he returned to the capital Mogadishu where he had met his wife, whom he married last year and with whom he has a child.

His parents found out about his detention only after the other prisoner had been released and returned to Somalia where he made contact with Mr Hashi’s relatives.

In a desperate attempt to find Mr Hashi, his mother-in-law travelled from Mogadishu to Djibouti, but despite repeated requests prison staff refused to say if he was there. The family has also approached the Djibouti and US authorities but have been given no information about Mr Hashi.

The deprivation of citizenship order signed by Mrs May says Mr Hashi has lost his rights to live in the UK because of the ‘public good’.

A letter adds: ‘The Security Service assess that you have been involved in Islamicist extremism and present a risk to the national security of the United Kingdom due to your extremist activities.’

Mr Hashi has not been told of what he is accused, nor is it clear whether he knows he is no longer a British citizen.

Human rights lawyers said he may be the victim of a new Government policy in which Britain is denying British nationals citizenship when they find themselves in serious trouble in foreign countries.

Geoffrey Robertson, QC, prominent human rights barrister, said: ‘The increase in orders under this Government of depriving British people of their citizenship on non-conducive grounds is a matter of concern because it is always very difficult to challenge fairly. It means people are being deprived of their rights as a British citizen on the say-so of security officials who can’t be challenged in court.’

Cageprisoners, the human rights group that campaigns against secret detentions, believes Mr Hashi may be the victim of an American rendition programme in which suspects are unlawfully taken to third-party states where they are illegally detained and tortured.

The order issued by Mrs May can be used only against a UK national who has dual citizenship. It is not clear if Mr Hashi can still claim Somali nationality because he left Somalia for the UK when he was so young.

In 2009, Mr Hashi complained to his MP Frank Dobson (pictured)

Human rights group are concerned that he may now be held at Camp Lemmonier in Djibouti where the Americans have built a large base to combat terrorist groups across the continent. It is also where many of the US drone attacks in Africa are co-ordinated.

But in a legal Catch 22 the US Ambassador in London has written to the family, denying any involvement in Mr Hashi’s detention, stating that if Mr Hashi is a British citizen then he must contact the Foreign Office.

Last night his mother said: ‘We are very worried about him and just want to know what has happened.’

The only justification Mrs May has given for removing Mr Hashi’s citizenship is his alleged involvement in Islamic extremism. But his family say he has never been interested in any kind of extremist behaviour.

In 2009 Mr Hashi complained to his MP Frank Dobson and the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the body which oversees MI5, that he was being harassed by security officers because he had refused to work as a spy in his North London Muslim community.

In April that year, when he was working as a care worker for a very ill man in North London, Mr Hashi had gone to Gatwick to take a plane to visit his sick grandmother in Djibouti.

But as he was checking in he was stopped by two plainclothes officers. One identified himself as ‘Richard’ and said he was working for MI5, Mr Hashi said in his complaint to the tribunal.

Mr Hashi said: ‘He warned me not to get on the flight. He said, “Whatever happens to you outside the UK is not our responsibility.” I was shocked.’

Mr Hashi continued with his flight but at Djibouti airport he was stopped at passport control, held for 16 hours and then deported back to the UK. He claims Djibouti security officers told him their orders came from London.

After landing at Heathrow he was detained again and visited by ‘Richard’. ‘He said it was them who sent me back because I was a terror suspect.’

Mr Hashi alleged the officer made it clear his ‘suspect’ status and travel restrictions would be lifted only if he agreed to co-operate with MI5. ‘He said, “By co-operating with us we know you’re not guilty”’

Mr Hashi refused and complained to the tribunal and Mr Dobson.

His lawyers, solicitor Saghir Hussain and barrister Faisal Saifee, say Mr Hashi left for Somalia in December 2009 to visit his family and intended to return to the UK in the near future to study engineering.

Mr Hussain said: ‘It seems his imprisonment in Djibouti is the execution of a threat made in 2009 by MI5. What sort of country is this when you are spirited away to another state and your own Government’s response is to take away your citizenship?’

In a letter to the Home Office the Hashi family lawyers have asked for information that will help them provide legal representation to Mr Hashi during his detention.

The Home Office responded: ‘It has been the policy of successive governments neither to confirm or deny speculation, allegations or assertion in respect of intelligence matters.

This policy is maintained, and accordingly the Secretary of State can neither confirm nor deny the allegations made on behalf of your client.’

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Yesterday, CagePrisoners hosted an event called ‘Caged in the USA‘ which included discussions and talks from community activist Lee Jasper, former Guantanamo detainee Omar Deghayes, activist and brother of Talha Ahsan, Hamja Ahsan and ex-US political prisoner and black panther Robert King.

As an observer the event itself highlighted the similarities and the differences between the imprisonment of political prisoners due to the war on terror and the imprisonment of other political prisoners in earlier era’s.

All the speakers and panelists highlighted the same challenges that Muslim and non-Muslim communities face when it comes to the issue of terrorism and the police. Robert King spoke about how the black community were treated as slaves and this has evolved in to the American justice system and Omar Deghayes complimented what Robert King said when he mentioned the Guantanamo inmates are treated as sub-humans and as slaves. The input from Hamja Ahsan and Lee Jasper bought in to the Event the importance of the community to tackle social, economic and political issues and the hypocrisy of the UK government regarding the Extradition of Talha Ahsan.

But one thing that CagePrisoners mentioned was that the Home Office PREVENT department called them and the Karibu Centre to stop the event. Why?

Since there was no promotion of any radical ideology at the event and all that was discussed were issues pertaining to the War on Terror (which is what all CagePrisoner events are known for) it seems to me that the Home Office is acting on the findings by discredited think tanks such as the Quilliam Foundation and the Centre for Social Cohesion.

CagePrisoners act to give a voice to the voiceless and although they might represent some political prisoners who’s opinions I do not agree with, I stick with the principle that no one is above justice and that everyone is entitled to a fair hearing, whether that is Abu Hamza or (if he were to be arrested) the EDL’s Stephen Lennon.

This does not make CagePrisoners an inherently extremist organisation neither but what CagePrisoners have done via events like this is to help open a platform where political issues can be discussed, progressive ideas can be exchanged and civic participation and lawful activism can be encouraged. During these times where the UK governments double standards is plain for all to see organisations that give young activists the platform to air their views and get involved should be encouraged and supported.

But the Home Office PREVENT departments attempt to close the event shows to me a frightening reality that far from preventing violent extremism, it actually tried to prevent any form of political dissent.

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Here is the Speech by David Cameron yesterday, I’m going to do a critique on this.

This is a check against delivery version of the Prime Minister’s speech

“With me, you have a Prime Minister whose belief in Israel is unbreakable and whose commitment to Israel’s security is non-negotiable.

I will always stand by the Jewish people. And it is humbling to be here tonight and to be called a friend.

Here in this room, we have many of the people who are determined to build the strongest possible relationship between Britain and Israel.

The business leaders who have taken our trade to well over $8 billion a year and made Britain the second biggest export market for Israel in the world.

The scientists who are taking forward an ambitious programme of joint research as part of the UK-Israel Life Sciences Council, which includes no less than four Nobel Prize winners.

The leading academics who are helping to forge new partnerships between Manchester and the Weizmann Institute, Oxford and Ben Gurion, Cambridge and Tel Aviv.

The hi-tech specialists who are making a reality of the UK/Israel Tech Hub – the first of its kind in the world.

And, of course, our two ambassadors – Matthew Gould and Daniel Taub who are doing so much to help build this partnership between our countries.

UJIA

Mick, Doug – you have made an inspirational contribution and I am sure that everyone will want to join me in paying tribute to your leadership and hard work over these past few years.

I am a big admirer of what the UJIA does both here in Britain and in Israel. Let me explain why.

First, the Jewish community in Britain is a role model for successful integration because you understand that as well as being part of a community with a common faith you are also part of a wider community – that of our country.

You epitomise the philanthropic spirit that is so central to Jewish teaching and which sees so many Jewish people give generously – not just to Jewish charities but to all charitable causes.

And through your support for Jewish youth movements and educational programmes for young people at both Jewish and mainstream schools and through your Summer Tours to Israel for 16 year olds and gap year students you continue to show each new generation that it is possible to be both a proud Jew steeped in the values of the Jewish people and a proud British citizen.

Yes, you can love this country, take pride in its history, celebrate its Olympics, even cry with its football fans every other year. There is no contradiction between being a proud Jew, a committed Zionist and a loyal British citizen.

In the past, governments allowed a flawed state multiculturalism that said we should encourage different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream.

I don’t subscribe to that. And neither do you. I believe we have to end the passive tolerance of segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values.

Let’s be clear what that means. It means getting preachers of hate out of our country.
It means proscribing organisations that incite terrorism. And it means zero tolerance for any form of anti-Semitism, especially on our campuses.

And to those in Britain’s universities and trades unions who want to boycott Israel and consign it to an international ghetto, I say not only will this Government never allow you to shut down 60 years worth of vibrant exchange and partnership that does so much to make both our countries stronger but I also say this: we know what you are doing – trying to delegitimise the State of Israel – and we will not have it.

SECURING ISRAEL’S FUTURE

I’m a fan of what you do in Israel too. The focus you have given to the Galilee has ensured that UJIA’s funding reaches those communities that most need it.

And the projects you’ve supported touch the lives, not just of those directly involved, but of all Israel. The medical school in Safad which teaches Jews and Arabs alike. Western Galilee College, where more than 30 per cent of the intake is Arab, and almost half of that Arab women. Or, of course, the high school in Shlomi. There in the shadow of the hills from which Hezbollah launched its missiles you brought an army of teachers and the hope of a new generation.

That is the vision, strength and courage on which our future depends. And that is what the UJIA is all about. Now, tonight I want to talk about three key steps to secure Israel’s future.

Standing up to Iran.

Seizing the opportunities presented by the Arab Spring and the spread of democracy in the wider region. And making the hard choices needed to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians.

Let me take each in turn.

IRAN

First, Iran. Let’s be clear about the facts. Iran is flouting six United Nations resolutions. The Regime’s claim that its nuclear programme is intended purely for civilian purposes is not remotely credible.

And it has shown its violent agenda by exporting terror and violence to Iraq, to Syria, to Gaza, to Lebanon and to many peace-loving countries across the world.

Iran is not just a threat to Israel. It is a threat to the world. Now there are some who say nothing will work – and that we have to learn to live with a nuclear armed Iran.

I say we don’t and we shouldn’t.

But at the same time I also refuse to give in to those who say that the current policy is fatally flawed, and that we have no choice but military action. A negotiated settlement remains within Iran’s grasp.

But until they change course, we have a strategy of ever tougher sanctions. Just today, Britain has secured a further round of new sanctions through the EU Foreign Affairs Council. And these relentless sanctions are having an impact no-one expected a year ago.

They have slowed the nuclear programme. Iranian oil exports have fallen by 45 per cent. That’s 1 million fewer barrels a day and $8 billion in revenues lost every quarter.

The Rial has plummeted – losing around half its value between May and September.
Inflation is soaring – thought to be as much as 50 per cent. And the Iranian Regime has had to establish an economic austerity taskforce to manage the pressure they have brought on their own people.

Most significantly, there are signs that the Iranian people are beginning to question the Regime’s strategy with even pro-regime groups protesting at the actions of the Government.

It’s mind boggling that the leaders of a nation so rich in oil have succeeded in turning their country into a banana republic desperately trying to put rockets into space while their people suffer.

The Iranian regime is under unprecedented pressure and faces an acute dilemma. They are leading their people to global isolation and an economic collapse. And they know it.

They know too that there is a simple way to bring sanctions to an end. By giving the international community the confidence we need that they are not and will not develop a nuclear weapon.

I have said to Prime Minister Netanyahu that now is not the time for Israel to resort to military action. Beyond the unpredictable dangers inherent in any conflict, the other reason is this:

At the very moment when the Regime faces unprecedented pressure and the people are on the streets and when Iran’s only real ally in Syria is losing his grip on power a foreign military strike is exactly the chance the Regime would look for to unite his people against a foreign enemy.

We shouldn’t give them that chance. We need the courage to give these sanctions time to work. But let me also say this. In the long term, if Iran makes the wrong choice, nothing is off the table. A nuclear armed Iran is a threat to Israel. And a threat to the world. And this country will work unwaveringly to prevent that from happening

Open societies

Let me turn to the changing events in the wider region. I have no illusions about the dangers that political transition can bring in the Arab spring countries.

And I understand why instability can be a great cause for concern. I understand how dark things were for Israel when surrounded by enemies on every border. And I understand how Israelis feel when gas masks are handed out to families; and car parks are converted into bomb shelters.

But I passionately believe that what we are seeing through the Arab Spring need not be a new threat to Israel’s security. Democracy and open societies are not the problem – they can be a big part of the solution.

Yes, there are those who believe that in a volatile region only an authoritarian strong man can maintain stability and security. But when brutal dictators suppress their people in the name of stability, the end result is a region is that more dangerous – not less.

More dangerous because these regimes abuse the Palestinian cause to smother their own people’s hopes and aspirations, dealing with frustration at home by whipping up anger against their neighbours, Israel and the West. And more dangerous too, because people denied a job and a voice are given no alternative but a dead end choice between dictatorship or extremism.

Now, of course, many fear that elections can open the door to Islamist parties whose values are incompatible with truly open societies. But the answer is not to oppose elections. The answer is to respect the outcome of elections. And then judge governments by what they do.

For example, there are big questions facing President Mursi in Egypt. We want to know if he will live up to his commitments to protect the rule of law for all citizens, defend the rights of minorities and allow women to play a full in society. And I challenged him personally on these points when I met him in New York last month.

But when he re-launches Operation Eagle to try and do something about the lawlessness in the Sinai, we should welcome that. And when he goes to Tehran and speaks the truth to that regime about its despicable actions in Syria in support of Assad, we should welcome that too.

But if the Islamists attempt to undermine the stability of other countries or encourage terrorism instead of peace and conflict instead of partnership then we must and will oppose them. And that is why we will not waver from our insistence that Hamas gives up violence and that the rockets from Gaza must stop. Hamas must not be allowed to dictate the way forwards for Israelis and Palestinians.

Of course, the Arab Spring presents huge challenges. But if we can show the strength and courage to engage with new democratic governments, their chance to establish the building blocks of democracy, fair economies and open societies offers the greatest opportunity for stability and peace in a generation.

MEPP

That brings me to the Palestinian Territories and the peace process. We can’t advocate democracy and open societies in one breath and then cite the need for stability as an excuse for why the Palestinians shouldn’t renew their democracy too.

It’s now seven years since Palestinians voted for a President and six since parliamentary elections. The Palestinian leadership needs to refresh its mandate and show it has the consent of its people, starting with municipal elections later this month. And it needs to resolve the situation in Gaza and restore to Palestinians a unified, leadership able to deliver peaceful resolution of the conflict with Israel.

So Palestinian reconciliation and Palestinian elections are key points on the path to peace – because without consent there can never be credible negotiation.

It will require great strength and courage to take the hard choices needed to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians.

And let me say this: I know it takes two to negotiate. So let me tell President Abbas something very clearly there is no path to statehood except through talks with Israel.

So if the Palestinian plan is simply posturing with the UN rather than negotiating with Israel, Britain will never support it.

And let me say this to the Palestinians too. Britain will never support anyone who sponsors a football tournament named after a suicide bomber who killed 20 Israelis in a restaurant. We will not tolerate incitement to terrorism.

But in the search for peace both sides have to make hard choices. And just as President Abbas has followed through his commitment to non-violence with real progress on the West Bank so Israel needs a real drive to improve life for ordinary Palestinians.

That means more support for economic development in the West Bank, relaxing restrictions on Gaza, ending the demolition of Palestinian homes, and yes, it means meeting Israel’s obligations under the Roadmap and under international law to halt settlement building.

Britain’s position will not change. Settlements beyond the green line are illegal.

I know how hard the concessions needed for peace can be. But the truth is, time is running out for a two state solution – and with it Israel’s best chance to live in peace with its neighbours.

CONCLUSION

Brett, in your introduction you said that support for Israel was in the DNA of the political party I lead. It is. But I believe it is in the DNA of the country I lead too.

That is why Britain will always stand by Israel, protect Israel, and work with Israel on the path to peace.

I long for the day when I can come to a dinner like this and not have to talk about the threats to Israel. I long too for the day when making statements in support of Israel is as unnecessary as going to see President Obama and saying I support America’s right to exist.

For now, Israel will continue to face acute threats and a hard road to peace. But with strength and courage we can, together, stand up to Iran. We can, together, seize the opportunities presented by the spread of democracy in the wider region. And we can together take the hard choices needed to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians.

So let me conclude by wishing you all a slightly belated shana tova and let us hope that it will be a sweet year for the British Jewish community and the Jewish people in the State of Israel. And one which brings us closer to the peace and security for Israel that its people so richly deserve.”

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An Islamic Human Rights Commission press release

The decision not to extradite computer hacker Gary Mckinnon is welcomed by IHRC but this decision also highlights the hypocrisy and double standards of the government. Three British citizens were extradited to the US earlier this month.

Both Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad insisted on their innocence whereas Gary Mckinnon admitted his guilt. Gark Mckinnon has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome as has Talha Ahsan; Talha’s Asperger’s Syndrome was not taken into account when extraditing him. This decision sends a clear message to the Muslim community that there are two laws in this country; A law for British citizens and a separate law for Muslims.

It is convenient for the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to announce changes to Britain’s extradition arrangements. It will be good public relations to step in to save a ‘British citizen’ but the fact still remains that Theresa May remained silent over the extradition of five Muslims to the US.

British Muslim citizens have just as much rights as any other British citizen. This, however, is not how the government view it. The facts are clear, Muslims are extradited, non-Muslims are not. Muslims face detention without charge, non-Muslims do not. In light of government actions it is clear that Muslims are seen as second class citizens in Britain.

Chair of IHRC, Massoud Shadjareh said, “If you’re Muslim you will get extradited, if you are not, you get to stay. As Muslims we are second class citizens and we will not get the same level of protection from the British state as other citizens. It reeks of duplicity and hypocrisy. The UK operates a simple principle, ‘innocent until proven Muslim’ ”

For media enquiries please email media@ihrc.org or call 020 8904 4222

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By Liz Fekete

On 24 September, as part of a forty-strong delegation of observers, I was in Morocco at the appeal hearing in the Rabat-Salé court of the Belgian-Moroccan dual national, Ali Aarrass. Aarrass’ conviction and fifteen-year sentence on terrorism charges rested solely on evidence extracted under torture. No representatives of the Spanish or Belgian governments were in court that day to observe the appeal of a European citizen, despite both governments’ complicity in his subsequent torture. (Spain had extradited Ali, a resident in Melilla, to Morocco, in contravention of a UN request to stay his removal, while Belgium had done nothing to protect the basic human rights of its citizen.) In a statement after the verdict, which merely upheld the conviction (while reducing the sentence to twelve years), Aarrass’ lawyers pointed out that the judges had ‘failed to maintain even the appearance of a fair hearing. Two of the judges were obviously sleeping, while the presiding judge was consulting his mobile phone.’ Furthermore, Ali Aarrass’s evidence was cut short and he was not allowed to describe the torture he had been subjected to.[1]

Collusion with torture

No words can express the powerlessness I felt in that court, knowing that a man sitting in the same room, in a glass cage, had been tortured, brutalised by appalling acts to sign a confession into crimes he had consistently denied, and was locked in an inhumane system I can only describe as a nighmarish hell. I imagine what I felt was something akin to the sense of personal failure that US death penalty campaigners must feel every time they stand outside a prison, knowing that someone inside has been condemned. So that when I woke up on the morning of 6 October, and heard the news that both Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan had been extradited to the United States of America, after the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, had refused, once again, to bring a prosecution against them in the UK, my thoughts immediately turned to the families and legal team of these two British citizens and to the defenders of their basic rights. Like them, I was horrified that our government could send its own citizens to a country in the full knowledge of the living hell they would most probably endure, literally entombed in the special solitary confinement regime of a supermax prison. Here, incarceration is within a concrete single cell with remote-control solid-steel doors designed to cut off all sound and visual contact with others. And punishments are meted out via electric shock devices such as stun guns and cattle prods, restraint chairs and the ‘five-point restraint’ which leaves prisoners ‘strapped to a steel bed and lying in their own waste for up to 48 hours’.[2]

Whether Babar Ahmad, or Talha Ahsan (who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome and is gifted with a unique and surreal poetic mindscape – as recognised by, among others, the Koestler Trust) were guilty of providing material support for terrorism from 1997-2004 and other crimes of conspiracy through their website Azaam.com, should have been a matter for a British court to decide. For Britain is a country which, for as its prime minister now assuredly knows, prides itself on Magna Carta.

No Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseized of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the land.

The double standard

The sense of injustice grows when the cases of these three Muslim citizens are juxtaposed to cases of non-Muslim men who have not even been charged with providing material support for terrorism, despite compelling evidence. Many of the Muslims who have been rendered to torture states in the name of the war on terror appeared on the radar of the intelligence services because they were believed, prior to September 11, to have raised funds for or actively supported the ‘jihad’ in Afghanistan (during the Soviet Occupation, or subsequently worked alongside the Taliban), Chechnya (remember the devastating Russian offensive and siege of Grozny), or fought in Bosnia, or aided the resistance to Israeli occupation in the Palestinian Territories.

What of the white/indigenous soldier adventurers of Europe’s far Right, some of whom dabbled in exactly the same asymmetric wars (in their case, on the side of the military powerful), but are not considered pariahs, or extradited to legal black holes as ‘enemy combatants’?

Whilst researching the IRR report Pedlars of Hate: the violent impact of the European far Right I began to see a pattern amongst our intelligence services and police: failure to bring prosecutions against far-right extremists, and even, as is currently being exposed in the ongoing German parliamentary investigation into the National Socialist Underground, collusion with neo-nazis via totally inappropriate informer schemes. I began to ask myself why were there no prosecutions against those fascists who provided material support for Serbian terror in Bosnia or who ‘glorified’ the ethnic cleansing of Muslims at Srebrenica? Nowadays, EU apparatchiks are deeply concerned about the rise of Golden Dawn in Greece, especially now that the level of collusion between the police and the neo-Nazis is becoming so apparent. But where was the EU and intelligence services’ concern when neo-Nazis in Greece and elsewhere were glorifying the massacre of 8,000 men women and children in Srebrenica, the worst massacre in Europe since the second world war? Surely, our politicians and intelligence services were not unaware of claims that a 100-strong unit of Greek volunteers (the Greek Volunteer Guard, some of whom, it is alleged, were supporters of Golden Dawn) fought in Bosnia on the side of the Bosnian Serbs and that some may even have participated in the Srebrenica Massacre, reportedly, on Ratko Mladic’s instigation, hoisting a Greek flag over the town.[3] Today, Golden Dawn has eighteen seats in the Greek parliament; it is not unknown for members to carry out acts of violence, even in front of TV cameras – and yet somehow they avoid arrest and prosecution.[4]

But the story does not end with Golden Dawn. Mass murderer Anders Beiring Brevik declared himself inspired by the Serbian Christian cause, as does Roberto Fiore, another fascist who flies the flag of a ‘Greater Serbia’. He was notorious for fleeing Italy in the 1980s to avoid prosecution following the massacre at Bologna railway station which left eighty-five dead and two hundred wounded. After Fiore, who had fled to London, was convicted in absentia for subversive conspiracy and membership of an armed gang, Her Majesty’s Government repeatedly refused to countenance Italian extradition requests. (It is widely suspected that Fiore was recruited by MI6, and was given full rein to continue his ‘Third Position’ fascist activities, particularly in Libya, in exchange for information.) When in 1998 the Italian appeal court declared that Fiore’s sentence had expired under the statute of limitations, Fiore returned to Italy and resumed his fascist career, even enjoying a stint in the European Parliament as an MEP from 2008-2009 as a representative for the coalition Social Alternative (Alternativa Sociale). Now, he leads Forza Nuova, and hangs out with the Serbian Radical Party which subscribes to the idea of a Greater Serbia and glorifies Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić as ‘Serbian heroes’.[5]

It is hard to know where Europe’s complicity with human rights abuses starts and ends. We extradite one set of citizens to torture states, while we appear to shield another set of citizens from prosecution altogether. ‘After such knowledge, what forgiveness?’

RELATED LINKS

IRR report: Pedlars of Hate: the violent impact of the European far Right

Read an IRR News story: ‘Poetry prize for Talha Ahsan

Free Talha Ahsan

Free Babar Ahmad

[1] Press release, Cabinet D’Avocats Jus Cogens, 3 October 2012. [2] See Frances Webber, ‘The imminent extradiction of Khalid Al-Fawwaz: a lawyers reflections’, Cageprisoners, 2 October 2012; see also, SACC press release, ‘Extradition – Home Secretary must step in to prevent torture’, 4 October 2012 and CagePrisoners press release, ‘CagePrisoners hosts New York press conference in response to extradition cases’, 3 October 2012. [3] Johannes Jakobsson, ‘Valskrällen’, Expo, No. 3, 2012; Helena Smith, ‘Greece faces shame over role in Serb massacre’, Observer, 5 January 2003. [4] In June, Ilias Kasidiaris, who is Golden Dawn’s official spokesman, and a former commando in the Greek army, punched a female Communist MP during a live TV debate. There is speculation that the police protected Kasidiaris by failing to arrest him within the 48-hour time-frame needed to fast-track him through the courts on assault charges. (It is a peculiarity of the Greek system that an arrest warrant expires after 48 hours.) Kasidiaris also faces prosecution for complicity in a 2007 attack when he allegedly drove a car carrying several people who attacked a student. Veteran activist Petros Constantinou told the Guardian on 9 June that the police have facilitated Golden Dawn. ‘Without police cover and protection Golden Dawn would not have survived … And the proof of that is the failure to capture Kasidiaris.’ [5] ‘Roberto Fiore held a meeting with the “Russky Obraz” movement’, Right World. For a description of the Serbian Radical Party, see here.

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Court documents unearthed in the US reveal how senior detectives regularly carried out searches and enquiries on behalf of the FBI.

Metropolitan Police detectives agreed to nine separate requests from FBI agents to provide information on Babar Ahmad at a time when the case against the long-imprisoned terror suspect was collapsing because of a lack of evidence, The Independent can reveal.

Court documents unearthed in the United States reveal how senior detectives involved in the initial investigation of Mr Ahmad regularly carried out searches and enquiries on behalf of the FBI and even sent American agents two encrypted floppy disks that were found at the south Londoner’s home.

The data set, including the disks, forms part of a dossier of evidence that was sent across the Atlantic but was never seen by the Crown Prosecution Service which dropped the initial charges against Ahmad paving the way for is long battle against extradition to the United States.

Critics of Ahmad’s extradition say not enough was done to make sure that the 58-year-old was tried in a British court and that his prosecution has been effectively outsourced to the United States.

Both the Metropolitan Police and the Government have refused to be drawn on the exact nature of the cooperation between British and American detectives following Ahmad’s arrest in December 2003.

But documents filed in a Connecticut court reveal how multiple requests were made by an FBI agent under mutual legal assistance laws which allow foreign governments to ask British police to conduct investigations on their behalf.

The papers come from a trial four years ago in the city of New Haven in which Hassan Abu-Jihaad, a US navy sailor, was convicted of espionage charges. Abu-Jihaad, a convert to Islam, was found guilty of leaking classified ship movements to Azzam Publications – a series of pro-jihadi websites that American prosecutors allege was run by Babar Ahmad and another British man facing imminent extradition Syed Talha Ahsan. The alleged offences took place from late 2000 to late 2001.

At the trial Detective Sergeant Ian Vickers and Detective Sergeant Ian Elgeti, two Met Police officers involved in the original British investigation into Babar Ahmad, gave evidence. During his testimony DS Vickers stated that he was first alerted to the FBI’s interest in Ahmad in late December 2003, a few weeks after his arrest on 2 December. His first point of contact was special agent Craig Bowling, who spoke to him via teleconference and later made a trip to the UK around February 2004.

Asked to describe how the mutual legal assistance treaty system worked he explained that the United States needed to contact to Home Office and request help. “As a result of that,” he added, “If everything is correct and it’s being applied and asked for in the correct manner, then a letter of request goes through to a case officer, normally a detective, to make inquiries, seize exhibits on behalf of the United States.”

Asked how many times such requests were made he replied: “I think there were a total of nine”. He added: “I coordinated that and organized that myself.”

In the same testimony DS Vickers also confirmed that he personally oversaw the transfer of multiple exhibits to the United States including the floppy disks found on Babar Ahmad’s desk.

The decision by the Met Police to send evidence to detectives in the States has been both controversial and shrouded in secrecy. The Attorney General has refused to “confirm or deny” whether dossiers were passed abroad whilst the Metropolitan Police have declined to comment while Mr Ahmad is continuing to fight his extradition to the United States in the UK courts. Neither the Met Police nor the CPS were willing to comment on the new details uncovered in the American court documents when contacted by The Independent.

Mr Ahmad’s legal team had long argued that the CPS should have seen all the evidence against their client before deciding to drop the case. That decision not to press charges against Mr Ahmad was further complicated by the fact that he was viciously beaten by his arresting officers – an incident which the Metropolitan Police later admitted during civil proceedings.

It was only in November 2011 that the CPS admitted to Mr Ahmad’s legal team that they were never shown the entirely of all the evidence seized in the raid on their client’s house. After sending a team to the United States, Mr Ahmad’s lawyers forwarded a new dossier of evidence to the CPS in the spring of this year in the hopes that they might initiate a new prosecution that would keep him in Britain. At the same time a businessman from Newcastle who campaigns against Britain’s extradition laws tried to launch his own private prosecution of Mr Ahmad and Mr Ahsan. However the Director of Public Prosecutions has rejected both attempts citing a lack of evidence as the reason for his decision.

Green MP Caroline Lucas, who has campaigned for Babar Ahmad, called on the CPS and Met Police to provide a full account of the cooperation between American and British law enforcement following his arrest.

“Last year I exposed the fact that the CPS hadn’t even seen, let alone investigated properly, evidence against Babar Ahmad,” she said. “Now we have this extraordinary confirmation that, at a time when the CPS was arguing he couldn’t face trial in the UK because of an “absence of evidence”, British police were in thrall to the FBI and handing over that very evidence without even looking at it themselves. We urgently need to know who directed and authorised this scandalous circumvention of the CPS – and I reiterate my call for a full public inquiry into what has occurred.”

My thoughts on the hypocrisy of Babar Ahmads Case

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David Cameron is currently in Brazil trying to boost trade links between both countries.

Cameron is touring Brazil with a number of business delegates and believes that there are major opportunities for UK contractors to use the skills and expertise gained from the London Olympics to bid for work in Rio as it gears up to host the Olympics in 4 years.

According to The Guardian Mr Cameron said

“The visit is about British jobs, British growth and the British economy”

But is this trip really going to fulfil those objectives?

The Guardian article states that since Brazil launched a new defence strategy it is looking to procure a new aircraft carrier, surface ships and frigates. And this is something that the UK government is looking to capitalise on as within the governments business delegation lay BAE systems, General Dynamics and others.

Proponents constantly argue that investment in the arms industry creates jobs however according to Campaign Against the Arms Trade in 2010, only 0.2% of the UK workforce was involved in the arms trade, the arms trade only comprised of 1.2% of total exports, such a low percent was paid for by the tax payer to the tune of £700 million.

Arms companies like BAE systems have been known for supplying in undemocratic states such as Israel and participate in criminal acts such as bribery. The Governments continued support to such an organisation brings to question its sincerity against corruption.

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Source

A former soldier wrote anti-Islamic comments on his Facebook page he started supporting the English Defence League (EDL).

Kenneth Holden, 30, was arrested after police were alerted to two updates he posted on his personal page on the social network site, abusing Muslims.

Holden, of Winskell Road, South Shields, pleaded guilty to two counts of sending an offensive message by a public communication network at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Claire Wright, prosecuting, said: “On April 21, the two messages were brought to the attention of the police. Officers searched Facebook and found the defendant’s page and saw the religiously abusive comments. He was arrested, and asked the police if it was because he didn’t like Muslims.”

Kevin Smallcombe, defending, said: “He was in the Army, and has some fairly strong views about Muslims. He supports some of the beliefs of the English Defence League and believes that the group was started after some Muslims spat on soldiers who were returning from Afghanistan.

“The comments on Facebook were of a religious nature. Some people say it is part of free speech, but by his guilty plea Mr Holden accepts he crossed the line. Most of our country has fair and tolerant views but some are extremists, on both sides of this argument.” Mr Smallcombe added that while Holden supports the EDL, these posts were not in any way to do with the group.

Magistrates adjourned the case until Monday for the probation service to prepare a report about him. He was granted bail until then.

Shields Gazette, 26 September 2012

These abusive anti-Muslim posts “were not in any way to do with” the EDL, a group that specialises in abusing Muslims? Give us a break.

Holden’s comments included death threats against Muslims. He claimed to have a pipe bomb and added “GIVE ME A GUN AND AL DO U ALL OSLO STYLE”. Yet he was convicted only of sending an offensive message.

Even allowing for the fact that he was presumably charged with a religiously aggravated offence, this seems inexcusably lenient. You can imagine how much more harshly a Muslim would be dealt with if they posted terrorist threats on the internet.

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On the 24th September 2012 the European Court of Human Rights gave its final approval to legalise the extradition of Babar Ahmad and 4 others, under charges of terrorism, to the United States.

According to the BBC

“The US says that mr Ahmad and co-accused, Syed Talha Ahsan, ran a jihadist website in London that provided material support for terrorism”

The website in question, closed since 2002, was called Azzam.com which supported Chechen and Taliban fighters.

But when it comes to supporting groups like the Taliban, Azzam.com weren’t the only ones supporting the Taliban, The US has a history of supporting them too.

It is a known fact that during the soviet invasion of Afghanistan, The CIA were training the very fighters that would go on to form the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. In fact, some reports suggest that the CIA was in direct contact with Bin Laden. Mark Custis states in his book Secret Affairs: Britains Collusion with Radical Islam

“There is no evidence of direct British or US support to Bin Laden, but one CIA source has claimed that US emissaries met directly with Bin Laden and it was he who first suggested that the Mujahideen be supplied with Stinger Anti-Aircraft Missiles” pg 138

The United States continued its relationship with the Taliban after the soviets were defeated.

In 1997, according to the BBC News, a senior delegation from the Taliban were in Texas for talks with Unocal, an international energy company that wanted to construct a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan.

In 2001 the Bush regime resumed the talks with the Taliban, arguing the Taliban to widen their government and include members of the Northern Alliance and look more favourably at the US company’s attempts to install the gas pipeline.

The Talibans refusal to work with the Northern Alliance stalled the talks which forced a response from a bush representative to the Taliban in the form of a military reprisal

This represents the hypocrisy of it all. That Babar Ahmad is being extradited to the US for administering a site that was supporting the very same group of people that the US were trying to do business deals with.

Currently Babar Ahmad is being extradited to the US, The Home Secretary Theresa May has stated that the Home Office is working diligently to extradite him and the rest as fast as possible.

For more information on the case of Babar Ahmad and to find out how to help, please click here

If you want to find out more about western connections to extremist Muslim groups please read Mark Curtis’s Secret Affairs: Britains Collusion with Radical Islam

Source: Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/14/breivik-trial-norway-mass-murderer

The international network of counter-jihadist groups that inspired Anders Behring Breivik is growing in reach and influence, according to a report released on the eve of the Norwegian’s trial.

Far-right organisations are becoming more cohesive as they forge alliances throughout Europe and the US, says the study, with 190 groups now identified as promoting an Islamophobic agenda.

This week Breivik will appear on trial in Oslo after confessing to the murder of 77 people in Norway last July, killings that he justified as part of a “war” between the west and Islamists.

The report, by anti-racism group Hope Not Hate, states that since the 33-year-old’s killing spree, the counter-jihad movement – a network of foundations, bloggers, political activists and street gangs – has continued to proliferate.

Campaigners cite the formation three months ago of the Stop Islamization of Nations (Sion) group, designed to promote an umbrella network of counter-jihad groups across Europe and the US, as evidence of a global evolution.

An inaugural Sion summit is planned in New York this year to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11. Speakers are set to include Paul Weston, chairman of the anti-Islamic British Freedom Party (BFP), which recently announced a pact with the English Defence League. In the manifesto that Breivik published online 90 minutes before his attacks, he cited blog postings by Weston which discussed a “European civil war” between the west and Islam.

Researchers at Hope Not Hate name the UK as one of Europe’s most active countries in terms of counter-jihad extremism, with 22 anti-Islamic groups currently operating.

In Europe as a whole, 133 organisations were named in the report, including seven in Norway, and another 47 in the US, where a network of neo-conservative, evangelical and conservative organisations attempts to spread “negative perceptions of Islam, Muslim minorities and Islamic culture”.

Nick Lowles, director of Hope Not Hate said: “Breivik acted alone but it was the ‘counter-Jihadist’ ideology that inspired him and gave him the reasoning to carry out these atrocious attacks. All eyes this week will be on what Breivik did last July, but we ignore those people who inspired him at our peril.”

Andreas Mammone, a historian at Kingston University in London and an expert on European fascism, said broader factors had helped the counter-jihad movement to consolidate support. “The economic crisis continues to promote nationalism alongside the need for a common enemy. A fear of radical Islam is being developed, the idea that it presents a threat to our freedom,” he said.

The report also identifies the counter-jihad network’s most influential figures, including EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (known as Tommy Robinson), but also the more discreet London property tycoon Ann Marchini, whose details surfaced on a leaked list of EDL donors and who is understood to have attended counter-jihad conferences in Scandinavia, Brussels, Zurich and London. She attended a recent meeting where the EDL agreed its electoral pact with the BFP and is also understood to be involved with the UK wing of the Centre for Vigilant Freedom (CVF), and a well-funded US group renamed the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA), which is based in Fairfax, Virginia, and co-ordinates individuals and groups in 20 countries.

The ICLA also runs the Counter-Jihad Europa website, which acts as a “clearing house for national initiatives to oppose the Islamisation of Europe”. Three months after Breivik’s attacks the ICLA organised a counter-jihad conference in London with the help of its European co-ordinator, Christopher Knowles, another EDL co-founder and director of the UK branch of the CVF, which is registered in Wakefield.

New anti-Islamic groups continue to emerge. Two weeks ago in Denmark, Yaxley-Lennon held the inaugural meeting of a Europe-wide network of defence leagues. Another new group, founded in Belgium last month, is Women Against Islamisation, a pan-European network whose launch was addressed by Jackie Cook, the wife of Nick Griffin, chairman of the British National party (BNP).

In Greece, polls suggest the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn could pass the 3% threshold required to enter parliament in elections next month.

Another development concerns the hardening of links between European and US anti-Islamic organisations. US blogger Pamela Geller is a key figure driving closer transatlantic relations. Geller, who is president of Sion, was mentioned in Breivik’s manifesto and was a vociferous protester against the development of a mosque in Lower Manhattan in 2010.

The co-founder of Sion is Denmark’s Anders Gravers, organiser of Stop Islamisation of Europe. Gravers met Yaxley-Lennon in Denmark last month.

Campaigners are concerned that US neo-conservative and evangelical groups will begin sharing resources with the leagues. Images of EDL demonstrations are already used at Tea Party movement fundraising events, while officials from groups such as the Christian Action Network have met EDL activists. Other US and UK links include the Virginia-based anti-Islamic blog, the Gates Of Vienna, which counted Breivik as a contributor. As attention turns to Norway, experts are keen to stress that the country was not unusual in terms of the extent of its counter-jihadist movement. Among the online forums linked to Breivik are the nationalist blog Document.no, on which Breivik posted more than 100 comments.

Breivik – an admirer of the EDL – was also an online supporter of the Norwegian Defence League, which retains close links with its English counterpart.