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Alan Henning, Cage and Moazzam Begg

In the wake of Alan Henning’s brutal murder it is indicative of the way that the organization Cage feels about the action by the Islamic State by their retweeting of this:

Sky News has done an excellent job of explaining both why Cage founder and former Guantanamo Bay inmate inmate Moazzam Begg was arrested and released. Watch the video embedded in this article from 1:19 in where Cage employee Cerie Bullivant explains that Begg’s argument was that he was teaching civilians at risk of genocide how to defend themselves.

Begg’s lawyer, Ben Emmerson QC, said:

“He has never made any secret of his visits to Syria and on two occasions informed authorities of his travel plans.

“Mr Begg did not train anyone for the purposes of terrorism as defined in the 2001 act.

“Mr Begg says he was involved in training young men to defend civilians against war crimes by the Assad regime.”

It seems that Begg actually confessed to doing precisely what he was charged of while saying to the British justice system; “prove the difference between what I call freedom fighting and what you call terrorism.”

In the end it seems that the justice system was unwilling to get into a debate over the difference between training Syrians in terror and training them in self defence. I imagine it would be a particularly hard argument to make at a time when the British Prime Minister is talking about training the Free Syrian Army to take on IS.

Interestingly enough this means that now Begg has been fighting for Islamic terrorists in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Syria. One would imagine that he is a pretty experienced, battle hardened veteran by now. He seems to enjoy flaunting this in the face of the British government, on the one hand decrying the actions of the British military, on the other exacerbating the very reasons the British and other governments have needed to act against al Qaeda, Is and other groups around the world.

I suppose Cage will continue to tweet attacks against Britain and the US while throwing some lip service criticism of Islamic State.

According to the Independent Henning travelled to Syria as part of a convoy organised by the group al Fatiha Global. The group denies responsibility for him in a statement on their Facebook page:

“Whilst Alan was not under the direct responsibility of the charity Al Fatiha Global – as has been suggested widely in the media – he was a valued fellow convoy member, volunteer and friend to us for the duration of the journey until we reached the Turkey-Syria border, where he continued his journey into Syria with his group. He was amongst the first to enter Syria. He was detained shortly after.”

The Telegraph reported in September that;

“Mr Henning was driving an ambulance on behalf of Rochdale Aid 4 Syria, which raised money on behalf of Al-Fatiha Global, a registered charity currently under investigation by the Charity Commission after one of its leaders was photographed with his arms around two hooded fighters carrying machine guns.”

It seems pretty disingenuous to me for al-Fatiha Global to be disassociating itself from Henning when he was a part of their convoy volunteering for a group raising money for them. On the ground it is quite clear that the al-Fatiha Global people were responsible for this convoy and therefore should bear responsibility for all who travelled with it.

Henning was one of only 8 who continued on into Syria. He was arrested by ISIS half an hour after crossing the Turkish border. The Telegraph article paints a damning picture of Al-Fatiha Global and Aid 4 Syria saying;

Aid 4 Syria has also used its Facebook page to promote an event called O’Ummah Wake Up And Rise! at which the guest speakers were Zahir Mahmood and Moazzam Begg. Mr Mahmood describes the proscribed terrorist group Hamas as “freedom fighters” while Mr Begg, a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, has admitted to fighting in Bosnia.

The team leader of the convoy was Kasim Jameel, who was arrested in July on child pornography and sexual assault charges before being released on police bail. The investigation remains active.”