What Criteria Does MI5 use to Monitor would-be Jihadis?

In the aftermath of the murderous rampage on Wednesday 22nd March on Westminster Bridge, the media has once again informed us there are between 2000-3000 suspected would be jihadists under surveillance by MI5, the British intelligence security agency. Yet somehow, Khalid Masood aka Adrian Ajao, somehow slipped off their radar.

Mr. Masood is the prime suspect behind the killing of four people as he careered his hired vehicle over Westminster Bridge and then stabbing a police officer to death. The assailant was then seen to be neutralised by an armed officer.

In light of two factors about Mr.Masood that were quickly established, it is perfectly natural to ask what criteria are the intelligence services using to justify surveillance of potential jihadis? Continue reading

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Has the Jihadi War on Syria turned Boris Johnson into a Leon Trotsky?

The zenith of all political naivety must be to expect a politician to be consistent in his or her supposed beliefs or positions. Quite formulaically, politicians reach for awe inspiring moral heights of propriety, rhetoric and common sense when they are far removed from the levers of political power. But as soon as the levers fall into their lap, by some weird political alchemy these same politicians suddenly begin to espouse opinions they had seemingly opposed before their ascension to power. In layman’s terms, they say one thing out of office and do another when in office.

Within a timeframe of a mere nine months as Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for the United Kingdom i.e. Foreign Secretary, Mr. Boris Johnson has provided a text book case of a politician adopting two diametrically opposed positions on each side of the variable of political power. Continue reading

British Parliamentarians pay Homage to Dick Cheney

On 3rd December 2015 at the United States Capitol in Washington a statue was unveiled in honour of Richard “Dick” Cheney, former vice President to George W. Bush. In line with all other past vice-presidents a marble bust will now rest alongside all other United States vice-Presidents.

Coincidentally, the previous day witnessed the British parliament, specifically the House of Commons, inadvertently honour Cheney in the debate on whether to extend the military intervention aimed at ISIS in Iraq into ISIS’s supposed heartland in Syria.

In August 2002 to what is now the run-up to the British-American invasion of Iraq, Dick Cheney addressed the Veteran of Foreign Wars organisation wherein he premiered the “risk of inaction” argument. He first claimed that “there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction” before adding the coup de grace:

“Deliverable weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terror network, or a murderous dictator, or the two working together, constitutes as grave a threat as can be imagined. The risks of inaction are far greater than the risk of action.”

Opening the debate in the House of Commons Continue reading

Fluid Alliances: War on Terror, Yesterday and Today

Within a month of al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11th 2001, a so-called ‘War on Terror’ was declared to combat the source of this outrage. Invasions and occupations of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) were promptly executed because the rulers of these countries were considered to be providing support to terrorism.

In the case of Afghanistan, it was obvious the Taliban rulers were providing a refuge for the al-Qaeda leader, bin Laden, and arguably making itself complicit in the attacks on the United States. Whereas Iraq was a supposedly rogue state which potentially could enter an alliance with terrorists like al-Qaeda and supply them with its alleged supply, of what transpired to be, its phantom weapons of destruction.

The United States-British invasion of Iraq in 2003 based on bogus arguments eventually destroyed the Iraqi state, killed hundreds of thousands, created millions of refugees and led to a proliferation of Islamist terrorism. Only nuclear war could have created a better Armageddon. Under the pretext of fighting al-Qaeda and its supporters, the decisions taken by George Bush and Tony Blair within the first two years of the ‘War on Terror’ led to more manifestations of Islamist extremism of the al-Qaeda variety, the most recent being ISIS.

Fast-forward fourteen years and the ‘War on Terror’ has dumbfoundingly been turned on its head. Continue reading

Did Moazzam Begg meet and/or train ‘Jihadi John’ in Syria with the collusion of British Intelligence?

One important episode that further ties Cage UK, the human rights advocacy group, with British jihadis such as Mohammed Emwazi a.k.a ‘Jihadi John’ is what we know of Moazzam Begg’s journey to Syria in the summer of 2012. Moazzam Begg is Cage’s ‘Outreach Director’ and by far its most famous and leading public advocate largely because he endured a cruel and unjust incarceration at both Baghram air base and Guantanamo detention camp only to be freed many years later uncharged.

Not only was Mr. Begg freed uncharged by George W. Bush but also “as a favour to” then British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s support for the invasion and destruction of Iraq. Needless to say if Blair had not joined Bush’s Iraq invasion Mr.Begg may well and truly be still incarcerated especially as the Pentagon, CIA and FBI objected to his release. On the back of the destruction of Iraq, Blair got one his compatriots freed.

On the other hand, Emwazi had been known to the security authorities for several years, even placed on watch list, but still seemed to have found a way to join the western backed uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria. According to the Defence Editor of the London Times, Deborah Hayes, Emwazi entered Syria in late 2012 or early 2013 and then specifically joined Katiba al-Muhajireen “a 700-strong brigade of foreign fighters thought to have included up to 80 Britons.” Continue reading