Category: EDL


20121012-140436.jpg

Source

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.

Source

Key findings of the report include:

– EDL attempts to recruit among faith communities

– Christian leaders should publicly stand up to EDL

– UK government should examine group’s international funding

– Jewish Defence League should be banned

Christian organisations should be doing far more to combat the appeal of far-right groups such as the English Defence League (EDL), according to counter-extremism organisation, Faith Matters.

The comments from Faith Matters coincides with the launch of research into the appeal of the EDL among faith communities, particularly among a small element of Christian, Jewish, Sikh and Hindu figures.

“Christian institutions on a national level have not been robust in condemning the EDL,” said Faith Matters’ director, Fiyaz Mughal OBE. “There is no national voice from the Church of England for example, universally condemning the actions of the EDL despite the fact the EDL disrupts and attempts to divide Christian and Muslim communities. Why?”

Mughal also said that the UK authorities need to examine how hate groups such as the EDL, which have the capacity to cause huge disruption on our streets, receive international funding.

“Links with Pamella Geller’s Stop the Islamization of America campaign and the ability to raise funds from the US need to be put under the spotlight,” he said. “People in the US promoting street-based social unrest in the UK by donating to the EDL is simply not on.”

Main Findings

– The EDL uses mainly Christian symbolism in its promotion and publicity material,

– Some within faith communities believe that by allying with the EDL they can marginalise and stigmatise Muslims,

– Building community resilience against such hate is vital – anti-hate groups in other faith communities, such as the Luton Faiths Forum, Community Security Trust, the Turban Campaign and Sikhs Against the EDL, should be more fully supported,

– The UK government needs to look at how groups such as the EDL are financed internationally, via a network of supporters in the ‘counter jihadist’ network (particularly the USA),

– The Jewish Defence League needs to be effectively outlawed in the UK for inciting extreme hatred against Muslims.

EDL sympathiser the Christian Defence League reblogged a post from my blog on the arrest of EDL supporter Kenneth Holden who was charged with anti-Muslim rants. Holden sent public messages on Facebook inciting terrorism via pipe bombs and threatening to do the Muslim community ‘Oslo’ style. This is clear incitement but as you can see from the picture below

20120926-183737.jpg

According to the Christian Defence League, incitement with threats of terrorism and violence is basically free speech

20120926-174411.jpg

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.

My response to the EDL’s response

20120902-165415.jpg

The English Defence Leagues failure at Waltham Forest is a proof that anti-Muslim bigotry cannot be used as a scapegoat in an era where people are more concerned about the economy, climate change, the depletion of natural resources and any other issue that has risen due to the problems associated with capitalism.

However the image above from the EDL’s Wigan Division shows their inability to move passed their anti-Muslim hatred towards a direction that will be more beneficial towards solving the issues that are effecting many Britons today. In fact one of the comments from an EDL sympathiser goes to say

“The government is the problem and no way will they ever fix it until they ban Muslims from positions of power in the country”

Alluding to this conspiracy theory of an invasion and the belief that Muslims are responsible for the decline of English culture. Even though the decline in culture is due to the economy which continues to have a devastating Impact as crucial services such as libraries, which are important to the survival of any culture, are closing down due to cuts. This is an impact of politics, NOT Islam.

The English Defence League can actually play a vital role in Britain by channelling their anger towards the direction where it needs to be channeled (towards capitalism) and aid their disenfranchised youths in to education and employment BUT it seems as though they are embedded in the anti-jihad movement and ideology which strikes a bit of sadness and fear. Sadness because thousands of people are already swayed by the movements false beliefs about Islam in general.

It also strikes some fear in me as in an era where anti-Muslim hatred is narrowing in Europe, far right organisations in Europe such as the English Defence League probably, deep down in their psyche, are thinking about their need of the very thing that they claim to be protecting the west against, the only thing that can help garner some support for their lost cause, another terrorist attack. I just pray that no one delivers it to them on a silver platter.

Check out my poem on the EDL here

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.

EDL Exposed video

This is a short clip that exposes the racism within the English Defence League….more on them to come God willing