British Intelligence’s Unsettling Relationship With Islamic Fundamentalism

Dirty tricks, fake fronts and blatant criminal activity are nothing new to British imperialism. However, an article in the latest edition of Proletariat (the month paper of the CPGB-ML) revealed to what shocking (and somewhat bizarre) extent the imperialists’ efforts to hegemonise the Middle East have recently been pertained to.The article (entitled ‘The Unholy Alliance’) affirms the fact that British intelligence knowingly allowed terrorist suspects, on at least three occasions, to travel around the global, where they either received training in terrorist methods or participated in acts of terrorism. This, seemingly counterintuitive act, has a very clear and discernible basis; the destabilisation of other nations for the benefit of British imperialism.

One of the suspects was former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg. Begg was, until recent months, under prosecution on terror charges relating to his visit to Syria, however, the case was dropped when MI5 handed the Crown Court and police documents detailing meetings between Begg and British intelligence officers. In these meetings, Begg discussed his intention to travel to Syria in order to aid the opposition in their fight against Assad. An article in The Guardian article entitled ‘Moazzam Begg was in contact with MI5 about his Syria visits, papers show’ said, “After the Syrian civil war broke out in March 2011, Begg made several trips to the country, most recently in December 2012… However, he maintains that during this time he had been in close contact with the intelligence services, keeping them abreast of his plans.” This only servers to re-affirm the obvious; that that the ‘secret state’ within the British Government aids and abets the Syrian opposition, whilst openly avoiding military intervention.

Syria, the last rampart of independence in the Arab world, is the only nation in the region (with the exception of Iran) that does not cower to imperialism. It is for that reason the imperialists turn a blind eye (more or less) to Britons traveling to Syria to participate in terrorism. There is a double-standard within the ‘secret state’ when it comes to the matter of terrorism; when terrorists are acting on behalf of British interests in foreign countries it is an act of democracy, but when they are acting counter to British interests it is an act of terrorism.

The article continues, “In the meeting Begg said MI5 were concerned about “the possibility of Britons in Syria being radicalised and returning to pose a potential threat to national security. I told them that Britain had nothing to worry about, especially since British foreign policy, at the time, seemed in favour of the rebels.”

The fact that MI5 protected and worked with Begg exposes the bizarre relationship that Britain shares with Islamic extremism. This is not the first time British imperialists have supported Islamic extremists.

Another similar incidence involving British intelligence and Islamic fundamentalism is the case of Mohammed Emwazi aka ‘Jihad John’, the barbaric head-chopper of IS. An article from Russia Today entitled ‘Jihadi John’ known to MI5 since 2008, but they let him escape – report’ reveals that MI5 had Emwazi ‘on their radar’, yet allowed him escape to Syria. According to the article, “Emwazi was a “person of interest” for MI5 as he was a member of a London based jihadi cell that had been set up to recruit militants. Security services were aware that Emwazi had a telephone conversation with Hussein Osman on the day of the 21/7 planned attacks, who was later jailed for life for planting a bomb in a London underground station.”

This begs the question (without intending to sound too conspiratorial); did British intelligence allow Emwazi to travel to Syria knowing that he would commit acts of terrorism? Most probably, although, not in the way they imagined. British intelligence were likely inattentive at Emwazi’s visit to Syria because they (presumably) thought that he would join the rest Syrian opposition (a conglomeration which is itself largely composed of Islamic fundamentalist groups). The double-standard and hypocrisy within the ‘secret state’ has shot itself in foot, by playing with fire and allowing the likes of Emwazi to travel to Syria.

Writing in The Guardian, former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said, “Given the numbers who appear to have ‘slipped through the net’, it is legitimate to ask, how many more people must die before we start to look more closely at the strategy of our intelligence services?” This comment betrays the essence of the issue; it is not in strategy that the problem lies, but in policy. British imperialists have, in their rapacious alacrity for control of Syria, turned a blind eye to Islamic terrorism that supports British foreign policy and thereby incubated the growth of IS. Prior to the Iraqi insurgency, IS were only active in Iraq among the most Northern mountains that bordered Syria and within Syria. It is only now that IS run counter to Britain’s imperial interests in Iraq that the imperialists turn any attention to them. Again, when terrorists are acting on behalf of British interests within foreign countries it is an act of democracy, but when they are acting counter to British interests it is an act of terrorism.

The final incidence of British intelligence’s incompetence discussed in the Proletariat article was that of Micheal Adebolajo, one of the killers of fusilier Lee Rigby. According to the article, Adebolajo had ‘been on MI5’s radar for 10 years.’ An article in the Mail On Sunday entitled ‘MI5 tried to recruit Rigby’s killer: agents were courting islamic fanatic just weeks before Woolwich horror’ reported that, “MI5 let Adebolajo go to Kenya where he had terror training and its agents failed to monitor him properly when he returned … After Adebolajo was arrested for butchering Fusilier Rigby, he refused to tell counter-terrorism police where he lived. But in a telling remark, the Old Bailey was told he said ‘MI5 could provide the location because they had visited him earlier this year ‘ (2013).” In this incidence, however, does not appear to be related to British foreign policy, only sheer incompetence on behalf of MI5.

Britain has had a long history of aiding Islamic extremism for imperialist ends. It is only now that Britain is paying for a continually disastrous foreign policy that has ravaged, pillaged and decimated the Middle East.

In a lecture to the Heritage Foundation in 1997, with reference to the Reagan Doctrine (an imperialist strategy of interventionism), Margret Thatcher said that, “The West would henceforth regard no area of the world as destined to forego its liberty simply because the Soviets claimed it to be within their sphere of influence. We would fight a battle of ideas against communism, and we would give material support to those who fought to recover their nations from tyranny.” Of course, by ‘tyranny’ Thatcher meant any nation that did not bow to the interests of the imperialist class and accept the Western form of globalised neo-Liberalism.

According an article in The Telegraph (entitled ‘National Archives: Britain agreed secret deal to back Mujahideen), the British Government covertly agreed to a secret deal with Afghan Mujahideen – a group with later developed into both the Taliban and Al Qaeda – to aid their fight against the then socialist Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. When discussing a clandestine meeting that took place between Sir Robert Armstrong and senior foreign officials the article quotes Armstrong as saying, ”So long as they remained in forward positions, they would need some defensive equipment, possibly including surface to air missiles to defend themselves against air attack.” It goes on to say, “It was said at the meeting: “If one of the objectives of the West in this crisis was to keep the Islamic world aroused about the Soviet invasion, that would be served by encouraging a continuing guerrilla resistance.” The effect of the implementation of this meeting not only served to destablised the internal political stability of Afghanistan, but to create after effects that have since shook the Middle East and West in the modern era. It can be said without any hesitation that the backward, greed-fueled, logic of the imperialists subsequently lead to Iraq War and the invasion of Afghanistan.

It is of the most bitter irony that the imperialists have been bitten by the hand that feed them (or rather, that they feed). The problem of Britons traveling to the Middle East and becoming radicalised is not the result of an external and remote force, but is the result of Britain’s own imperialist endeavors in the Middle East (had the British ‘secret state’ not turned a blind eye to Briton joining the Syrian opposition then there would be Beggs or Emwarzis). So to, is the problem of Islamic terrorism a historical problem rooted in imperialist foreign policy. The fact that British intelligence allowed so many people to just ‘slip through the net’ shows a blatant complacency and double-standard within the ‘secret state’ when it come to terrorism.


An Unholy Alliance, Proletariat

Moazzam Begg was in contact with MI5 about his Syria visits, papers show, The Guardian

‘Jihadi John’ known to MI5 since 2008, but they let him escape – report, Russia Today

Outdated intelligence tactics allowing UK terror threat to grow – Davis

MI5 tried to recruit Rigby’s killer: agents were courting islamic fanatic just weeks before Woolwich horror, Daily Mail

Margret Thatcher; lecture to the Heritage Foundation, 1997

The Telegraph, National Archives: Britain agreed secret deal to back Mujahideen