Cage: I hate to say we told you so

Many who should know better have coddled Cage in recent years

 

Earlier this week I found myself in a debate with a volunteer from Amnesty International over the charity’s promotion of Cage and specifically the former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg. The discussion revolved around the suitability of Cage – a shady Salafi PR outfit – as a partner for Amnesty in the latter’s campaign for the right to a fair trial.

The argument was put to me that, whilst Amnesty might not agree with all of the views espoused by Cage, they do share common ground  on the right to justice and against the disgrace that is Guantanamo Bay.

My own argument was simply to ask whether it would be acceptable to partner with an organisation of the British far-right in a similar fashion. Would it really be kosher to share a platform with Nick Griffin simply because of ‘common ground’ over his and  our opposition to, say, the war in Iraq?

Of course not, and I suspect my interlocutor now realises this – ever since Cage’s unsavoury nature became undeniable yesterday afternoon, his tweets defending the group have mysteriously disappeared. Or not so mysteriously; for who really wants to be on the record publicly defending a group which referred to Mohammed Emwazi (aka Jihadi John) as a ‘beautiful man’?

Nor can yesterday’s Cage press conference be defended on the basis of putting Mohammed Emwazi’s actions in their proper ‘context’. Contemplate for a second how silly (and how sinister) it would have been to talk about the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik in a similar fashion – not as a ruthless killer but as a misunderstood victim of the system. As a friend put it this morning, the ‘MI5 made me do it’ narrative is also an insult to all of those who fall foul of the immigration system yet do not resort to beheading people.

Many who ought to have known better have coddled Cage in recent years and will no doubt feign surprise at news that the group isn’t so much a human rights group as an Islamist activist outfit. Well I’m sorry to say this but: we told you so. As Noor Elahi wrote on these pages back in October 2014:

“Even though CAGE say they knew Britons were being held hostage in Syria, at a time the wider public did not, they argued that the UK had nothing to fear from Muslims travelling to Syria to fight. As the crimes of Britons in ISIS and the Al-Nusra front became clear, this analysis was quietly dropped, replaced by the claim that British Muslims were being criminalised collectively, or that particular excesses of the Islamic State’s actions were incompatible with sharia.”

One hopes that after yesterday’s grim spectacle Amnesty will distance itself from Cage, just as it would any other group that was so closely aligned with (and so ready to make excuses for) dangerous extremists.

Similarly, the left should draw a clear line of separation between itself and groups like Cage when campaigning for human rights. As Noor put it in her piece:

“[While] It is entirely correct that the ethical abomination of Guantanamo Bay be campaigned against…What the left should never do is whitewash the ideas and beliefs of people like CAGE and Moazzam Begg. Their agenda is to be an advocacy group for Islamic fundamentalism in British society, and to use the left as the soap powder for that washing.”

After yesterday, that seems a fairly uncontroversial point. But what a shame it’s taken so long to get here; some of us have been cautioning against Cage for years.

James Bloodworth is the editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

99 Responses to “Cage: I hate to say we told you so”

  1. Guest

    Lord Blagger, you are talking to yourself, I see, as you once more demand Jews are morons.

  2. Guest

    It’s called “English”. The strange thing is your aversion to it, LB. Oh, and replying to yourself, that’s strange too.

  3. Leon Wolfeson

    And you’re the one who is appearing as “Matthew Blott”, Lord Blagger – you are lying again, I see, as you claim that making a lot of posts justifies your usage of multiple accounts.

    And you claim not to have the issues which you freely attribute to others – it’s all an excuse to you to find insults against me (and you evidently care deeply, hence you are lying again) for not holding your views as you call using English, being a Jew and being a left winger “Bizarre”, as you say there’s no reason to discuss your beliefs, which are you are demanding be held above criticism, unlike the left wing views you come here to disrupt and vilify.

    Keep screaming that as I am not just like you and don’t hold your hate, I am automagically “mad” – again, the same old Lord Blagger argument, one which is totalitarian, far right, social darwinist and indeed pro-censorship.

  4. Guest

    Ah, so now you’re trying to deny your other account’s posting.

    Facts don’t matter to you, I understand fully, keep those attacks rolling because I dare take a different political stance to you.

  5. Guest

    Not the case, not the facts! No, I am not as stupid as you want me to be.

    You *are* replying, you are constantly calling English “strange”, etc.
    The simple answer is you are not reading my posts, hence have no idea what I have posted – your content-free replies indicate this quite clearly, M’s/LB/whateverotherusernameoftoday

  6. Matthew Blott

    You are actually quite amusing.

  7. Matthew Blott

    Thanks me 🙂

  8. Guest

    Yea, I’m sure you routinely cackle at those idiots with other views, who bother with facts. So limiting!

  9. Matthew Blott

    Your fantasies are not facts.

  10. Guest

    So, another dig at both left wing views in general and my religion. *claps*

    The fantasy which isn’t fact, LB, is your demand not to pay pensions on spurious grounds.

  11. Matthew Blott

    Again, you lost me.

  12. KBPlayer

    That “Guest” comment was mine, which I tried to delete, when I realised it looked as if I was taking you to task. In fact I agreed with what you said. It looks like if you delete a comment it shows as “Guest” – which might explain the plethora of “Guests” on this thread.

  13. Leon Wolfeson

    Yea, np – I really do feel the article wasn’t really clear enough on it.

  14. Guest

    Take more ESOL lessons then.

    (Yes, your non-answers and refusal to read posts have lead me to a factual insult)

  15. Max

    I’m afraid I left Amnesty with a heavy heart at the time of the Gita Sahgal affair. In a conversation with an Amnesty employee I questioned their choosing to address me as a ‘supporter’ and not as previously, a member. I left with the impression of a very tyrannical top-down organisation. Sad really as I first joined in the sixties when we used to send 3 postcards a month to support real prisoners of conscience.

  16. GhostofJimMorisson

    Still foaming at the mouth I see Wolfey! Silly boy

  17. Guest

    Keep working those multiple accounts as you scream hate at the Leftists, LB.

    And yes, you are a Silly Boy, thanks for (again) signing your posts appropriately.
    You know it’s a giveaway to other people when you use the same phrases like that on different usernames, right?

  18. chimpanzoo

    Just “chimpanzoo” is fine, you conspiracist crank.

  19. chimpanzoo

    I am “chimpanzoo” you galloping loon. I’m not “demanding to control” anything, merely pointing out that Islamism and Islamists hold views diametrically opposed to those held by the left wing, hence it makes no sense for leftists to support them.

  20. Guest

    No, talking about your multiple usernames is extremely useful.
    Brings out your true views, I see.

    I’m a “crank” for mocking your insults, I see.

  21. Guest

    You want to suppress mentions of your other usernames, right.
    And now you’re backpeddling, or trying to.

    And YOU and Islamists are much the same in your ideology. I oppose both.

  22. chimpanzoo

    No, you’re a crank for assuming that everyone whose views you dislike must be a sock puppet. My views haven’t changed.

  23. chimpanzoo

    I don’t have any other usernames, my views are the same now as they ever were, and you’re still a crank.

  24. Guest

    So you’re saying I’m a crank because of your accusation of something I never said. Which you invented, for that matter.

    Unlike you, i don’t use PC generalisations.

    And right, you’re still Lord Blagger, still lying about your backpeddling and still an anti-pension fanatic in Monaco. RIght.

  25. Guest

    You keep saying that the truth makes people cranks, as you admit you’re Lord Blagger, again.

    Then lie about your usernames. You’re mock-annoyed because you have something to hide, of course.

    You’re using the same phrasing and insults. It’s a giveaway.

  26. Lesmond Nyjacks

    “Penny isn’t a Muslim name.”, but it is your name Laurie, you screeching hateful harpy.

    John neither stated or implied that he wanted people to “drop” or that anyone would “have to push them” off the “White Cliffs”.

    Your vile insinuation, or perhaps your vile projection, you hateful marxist.

  27. Lamia

    Ah, Leon Wolfeson trying to run cover for his misogynist, homophobic, violent, illiberal and anti-democratic Islamist heroes and their apologists.

  28. Lamia

    Very good post, James. Thanks.

    And this isn’t to take any credit away from LFF, but actually a number of blogs, activists and journalists have been saying this about Cage for a long time. JRCT and Amnesty were warned about this years ago. They persisted in their delusion – whether through simple boneheadness or something worse, I don’t know.

    But it is good that they are now being publicly held to inspection for their inexcusable behaviour. I doubt if they will apologise but I hope that they will learn: dubious tactics like supporting Cage and other Islamists despite the evidence of whom and what they support (which goes way beyond supporting detainees without trial) can only harm the credibility of human rights NGOs.

  29. Lamia

    Yes, John Rees, of the Stop the War (unless it’s Russians or Islamists waging it) Coalition, and formerly of the SWP. His partner Lindsey German was one of the people who helped set the ‘progressive’ left down this disastrous road when in 2004 she announced that she wouldn’t make a ‘shibboleth’ of gay rights because it could be construed as Islamophobic. Ever since then the ‘progressive’ left have been shoving all sorts of groups under the bus in order to support their Islamist friends.

    They are an odious minority who unfortunately occupy some very influential positions in our institutions, NGOs and media. They are a blight on the democratic left and on society as a whole.

  30. Lamia

    The article was perfectly clear, you moron.

  31. Lamia

    Fuck off, you insane troll.

  32. Alec

    Oscar Wilde at his best.

    ~alec

  33. Guest

    Keep screaming at random people you make up, as you **** in threads randomly, Lord Blagger.

    You keep making up nonsense, as you deny your clear intentions and spout off about invisible Marxists and the only projection here is your hate.

  34. Guest

    That’s right, Lord Blagger, you keep ****ing in threads completely randomly, screaming for silence and censorship, the same old “UR MENTALY ILL, JEW” line – your standard, far right, totalitarian, social darwinist line.

  35. Guest

    Lord Blagger, you’re demanding I’m you.
    A truly silly accusation, “YOU’RE AN ISLAMIST, JEW” and other crap – nope, you’re looking in the mirror.

    Really, using multiple usernames like “Lamia” and “Lesmond Nyjacks” is silly when you’re so obviously the same person here to troll.

  36. Guest

    yes yes Lord Blagger, you’re an anti-disabled bigot as well as a ****ing thread troll.

    Keep spewing the same old crap against me for being Jewish, as you blindly disagree with me for that single reason.

  37. Guest

    Yes, they’ve said it about CAGE, and of course it’s been said about you, who holds near-exact the same views.

  38. chimpanzoo

    Your arguments, if these meandering Gish Gallops and unsubstantiable ad hominem accusations can be dignified as such, read like the witterings of a crank, and you posit them with the misbegotten self-confidence possessed by many a rambling loon. I think in the specific case of you, “sock puppet army” is the least
    likely explanation for why people keep calling you a crank and a loon. I think maybe it’s because you are a crank and a loon.

  39. chimpanzoo

    Yes, it must be incredibly annoying having to defend positions you’ve never taken. You may want to think about that the next time you accuse someone of being a Neo Nazi because they disagree with you. The difference, of course, is that I can substantiate my accusations against you by simply pointing out the discrepancy between my responses and your replies.

    You won’t think about it, of course. You’re so dogmatic that you’re apparently still labouring under the illusion that I’m an “anti-pension fanatic” and that I live in Monaco, which is legitimately hilarious. Please continue.

  40. Guest

    You wouldn’t know, though, would you, as you – Lord Blagger, make up nonsense tyo try and stop discussion of your vierws again, as you say that you can substantiate the “fact” that Jews are cranks, blah blah.

    You *are* an anti-pension fanatic, Lord Blagger, your rants here on the subject are well known. You’re showing your basic dishonesty again.

  41. Guest

    So, fatcs to you are ” meandering Gish Gallops and unsubstantiable ad hominem accusations”, as you once more say Jews are cranks and try and blame me for your issues – as you frantically try and deny the facts of your authorship.

    Then you launch another 100% standard Lord Blagger “UR LOON” attack. Proving my point.

  42. ronmurp

    Mohammed Emwazi (aka Jihadi John) as a ‘beautiful man’?

    Well, if he was then this speaks volumes about how easy it is to turn beautiful and decent people to sinister murderers with a few passages from a holy book and its supporting texts.

    If he wasn’t then CAGE is an apologist organisation for murderers.

    Either way, none of this is painting a good picture for Islam.

  43. Lesmond Nyjacks

    Leon. you truly are a disgusting marxist.

  44. jools1986

    when britain becomes part of the caliphate, they will be pushing gays off the white cliffs, and you won’t hear a wimper from cage.

  45. jools1986

    moazzam begg’s wife is fat.

  46. Patrick Nelson

    Are we talking about UKIP, Scientology or Evangelical Christianity here?

  47. Patrick Nelson

    So you want to push Muslims off cliffs?

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