RICHMOND, Va. (AP) â€”Â Virginia has settled a lawsuit filed by a Muslim inmate who claimed the prisons system violated his rights by refusing him an Islamic newspaper and religious programs. (NewsOK)
A Bonus Bonanza for Enemy Combatants
Britain’s war against radical Islam must be the first war in human history in which a country pays its enemies better than its own troops. If you fight the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan as a British soldier, you can expect to earn about Â£17,000. But if you are a U.K. citizen, or even a foreigner whose asylum request has been rejected, and train with Britain’s enemies, you can make your fortune courtesy of the new U.K. Bank of Jihad.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s government said last week that it was going to spend millions of pounds to compensate 16 terror suspects who were imprisoned by the U.S. in Guantanamo. All claim they were tortured or abused by the Americans and their allies. Their lawyers claim that by not preventing this, the U.K. government is complicit.
Earlier this year the new government ordered an inquiry into alleged British collusion in torture. Yet Prime Minister Cameron felt he first had to resolve civil cases brought against the government by detainees. While claiming it did not concede any guilt, the government did just that by trying to pay off the complainants. The damage to the government’s reputation and country’s security might be irreparable.
Although it may be hard to believe if you are a British newspaper reader, those Guantanamo inmates are not pillars of British rectitude. Take the case of Binyam Mohamed. He is not a British citizen but a rejected asylum seeker who left for Afghanistan in 2001 to receive paramilitary training, including in arms handling and explosives. Part of his training was from a senior al Qaida operative. And this is just what he admitted to his legal representative.
While under interrogation at Guantanamo, Mohamed said he had proposed attacks on U.S. subway trains to senior al Qaeda figures, trained with al Qaeda in Pakistan, received instructions to travel to the U.S. to carry out terror attacks and, along with Jose Padilla (who began a 17-year jail term in August 2007), planned a radioactive “dirty bomb” attack in the U.S. American intelligence officials suspect that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed himself, the 9/11 mastermind, directed Mohamed’s operations. Abu Zubaydah, an al-Qaeda recruiter for Osama bin Laden also detained at Guantanamo Bay, identified Mohamed as part of the “dirty bomb” plot.
Then there is Richard Belmar, who admits travelling to Afghanistan to attend a military training camp in July 2001. There he received basic weapons, war tactics, and navigation training. Belmar claims it was not until near the end of his training that he realized he was at a terrorist camp. He says he thought it was “just a military training camp for Muslims.”
Like Mohamed, he acknowledges training at al Qaeda’s notorious al Farouq camp, where at least seven of the 9/11 hijackers trained along with John Walker Lindh (the U.S. citizen convicted in 2002 for joining the Taliban). In the U.S., attendance at the al Farouq camp was enough for a federal court to sentence six Yemeni Americans to between seven and 10 years in prison for “providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.”
Nevertheless, in its wisdom, the British government will not prosecute any of the detainees. Instead it has decided that not only will it remain perfectly legal to train with our enemies, but that if you get picked up on the battlefield, there could be a cash bonanza to mark your service.
Other perfectly innocent Guantanamo residents who mysteriously found themselves firing weapons in terrorist training camps, and now expect a windfall, are a trio of British citizens known as the Tipton Three. They admitted going to a Taliban training camp “on many occasions to find out what was happening.” Questioned as to why they ended up firing AK-47s while there, one offered “you want to hold it. You want to see what it’s like.”
It is not only the state that is at fault here. Sections of our civil society are also in on this societal suicide pact. Take yet another British citizen receiving a large pay-out, Moazzam Begg. He admitted to the U.S. Combatant Status Review Board in 2004 that he visited a camp on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in 1993 that was “responsible for training Kashmiri refugees in small arms and mountain tactics,” as well as attending a training camp in Afghanistan in 1998. He also fought in Bosnia. A Special Immigration Appeals Commission document from October 2003 identifies him as an “extremist” who stored weapons at his home. Yet Begg is now proclaimed by so-called human-rights groups to be a hero. He is feted and toured around by the likes of Amnesty International. The head of another human-rights organization, Liberty, has praised Begg as a “wonderful advocate. . . for human rights and in particular for human liberty.”
Taking in the full enormity of what Britain is doing requires a moment of pause. Every day our troops are shot at, wounded, and killed, while being paid a pittance. But jihadis, wannabe-jihadis and assorted radicals are not only allowed to train to kill our troops and allies, they are now to be rewarded by the British taxpayer for doing so. The press remains cowed and the human-rights industry becomes their megaphone. This is not just how a country embarrasses itself. It is how democracies perish.
Mr. Simcox is research fellow and Mr. Murray director of the Centre for Social Cohesion.