There are only a few decent sources of information through which I can learn something just, trustworthy and intelligent about Syria/Iraq, the troubled resistance movements there and the unfolding ISIS nightmare. The Black American journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem is one of them, VICE magazine sometimes ( Ghosts of Aleppo), then there is CAGE.
CAGE are a pretty inspiring and courageous UK research and advocacy organisation who work to protect the rights of those caught at the bum end of the war on terror, in particular salafi-orientated Muslim males and their families but by extension all of us. They are supported by the wider community of Muslims as well as non Muslims and represent a trajectory that evolved from Stop Police Terror to Stop Political Terror campaigns which grew into Caged Prisoners. It is significant that far sighted people in the community ( and a few institutional funders) have established and supported institution like CAGE to protect a vulnerable community, despite the government clamping down on its bank accounts and personnel, cynically detaining them and preventing them from intervening to try and assist Alan Henning.
Following a press conference earlier this week on the official unveiling of Jihadi John, of ISIS execution video infamy, as Westminster University alumnus Mohammad Emwazi, the knives are out for CAGE again. And surprise surprise, its not objective critique based on a holistic view of what they presented. The establishment refuses to take responsibility for a problem which belongs to the whole of us and despite their heads in the sand, we are in a moment where we can think through alienation in the UK more broadly than the narrow interests of securocrats dictate.
Insulating White Supremacism from its recent history
The course determining contribution of the United Kingdom to creating the conditions of possibility for ISIS was the brazen disregard for decency and rule of law demonstrated by its participation in the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars involved a lot of killing of innocents, creating new instabilities and grizzly videos of death and destruction on a mass scale. As anti-war protesters and activists, we failed to stop this rain of white supremacist state terrorism and have to live in its consequences. Those responsible for promoting these wars insulate themselves from their complicity when they go on the offensive against organisations defending the legitimate rights of people caught up in forces greater than all of us. It is only decent to remind them of the blood on their hands every time they feign and moral high ground.
A lot of the anger at CAGE is because they do not play the emotional condemnation game ttry to force on them. Although it is cringeworthy to watch people apologise for acts for which they have no responsibility, it makes sense to reassure alarmed publics, and some are better than others at it. To me, progress looks like connecting to root causes and producing epistemically autonomously framed research and guidance on the matter, whilst putting in its rightful place vis-a-vis other matters. If we look at the national risk register, its communicable diseases, not terrorism thats on top. If I look at near history, the consumer zombie riots following the extrajudicial killing of Mark Duggan are actually more scary. If I look to the future, its petroindustrial capitalism that is destroying life on this earth.
And these are all interlinked.
Rattling the CAGE
CAGE's enemies in the establishment are many and evidently dislike their evidence based analysis of the UK intelligence community's contribution to the production of terrorism. But then, what else would you expect when you try and hold 'intelligence' services accountable for their contributions to ruining the life of someone Muhammad Emwazi / Jihadi John who would later become a poster boy for ISIS video executions? A bit of public relations perhaps?
I worry for the physical safety of the CAGE people on the ground as there are psychopaths in charge at the charity commission, the gutter press and hand in glove with the ultra right groups.
Embedded below is video of the recent CAGE press conference about their contact with Emzawi/Jihadi Jon. It has set the cat amongst the pigeons and inspired a wave of whiteous indignation. Newspapers, especially on the right, but also on the liberal-left, are blubbering on about CAGE as ISIS apologists. Usama Hasan and the Quilliam Foundation's handlers are firing of commands on their remote controls; and NATO-backed human rights groups like Amnesty International have been taking repetitional risk avoidance measures. However, heroes like the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust have backed the groups right to ask legitimate questions.
The CAGE-Emwazi email trail has been put online here, for those of us prone to travelling whilst Muslim, activism or both, it makes for depressing but necessary reading.
Russell Brands Trews analysis looks at the bigger picture and is worth taking in also, but we are still left without public exploration of the spiritual wisdom and analysis that these transformations cry out for.