Archive for February, 2014

Moazzam Begg Arrested in the UK

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

It is shocking to learn that former Guantanamo prisoner Moazzam Begg has been arrested in the UK.  Begg, who had gone to Afghanistan to do  humanitarian work,  fled to Pakistan with his family when the US invaded, and was rounded up in that indiscriminate arrest of people to populate Dick Cheney’s torture center in Guantanamo,

The Birmingham Mail of the UK said:

“He is being held on suspicion of attending a terrorist training camp and facilitating terrorism overseas.

“He had his passport confiscated in December [2013] and reportedly visited Syria in 2012.

“He claims he was told that it was ‘not in the public interest’ for him to keep his passport after returning from South Africa after commemorating the death of Nelson Mandela.

“The Home Office used Royal Prerogative power to seize the passport.

“Speaking after the confiscation Mr Begg said he believed the Home Office was trying to discredit him after he gave evidence to an inquiry into Britain’s alleged complicity in rendition and torture.”

Moazzam Begg_2014

 

Moazzam Begg, pictured above, has never done anything but humanitarian work for people in some of the most dangerous places in the world.  The perfectly ridiculous “attending a terrorist training camp” and “facilitating terrorism” charges came from US records extorted from other Guantanamo prisoners under torture and long discredited.  There are no facts to support this.  What is known is that Moazzam Begg has done and continues to do humanitarian work for people in dangerous and war torn places.

The Birmingham Mail also said:  “in recent years [Begg] has been a campaigner with the group Caged, which campaigns for those it says are unfairly targeted by the west’s war on terror.”

Here is a link to CAGE, the publication of the organization Begg works for with an article by him on this matter: http://www.cageuk.org/

Below is the complete text of the press release about the arrest from CAGE:

“(London) CAGE is outraged by the arrest of our Outreach Director, Moazzam Begg. A former Guantanamo Bay detainee, he has been campaigning for due process and the human rights of victims, despite suffering over three years of torture and abuse by the US government with the complicity of the British security services.

“This latest action is designed to ensure that any travel to Syria is deemed suspicious. It follows a concerted campaign of harassment against Muslim individuals and charities involved in providing humanitarian aid to the victims of the Syrian crisis.  Moazzam Begg is just the latest individual drawn by the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria who has been labelled a terrorist .The purpose is to intimidate and vilify the wider Muslim community so that they are prevented from delivering much needed aid to the Syrian people.

“Moazzam is an internationally recognised figure on issues relating to due process and human rights. His advocacy on behalf of the Guantanamo Bay detainees has been recognised across the world, resulting in various governments accepting detainees who could not be returned to their countries of origin.

“Cerie Bullivant, Media Officer of CAGE said:

‘“Moazzam has been very open about his international travel and his objectives, including importantly exposing British complicity in rendition and torture.  The timing of Moazzam‘s arrest given his travel to Syria took place in December 2012 requires a detailed explanation. The timing coincides with the planned release of a CAGE report on Syria and a major news piece that was due to be televised soon. As with David Miranda it seems those who are engaged in exposing abuse of powers are targeted and smeared to prevent disclosure of vital evidence.’

‘“We are also concerned that the Police and the security services are using the wide scope of terrorism laws, and applying them in Syria to set precedents that will make legitimate activity unlawful in future.’

“Asim Qureshi, Research Director of CAGE said:

‘“CAGE calls on all defenders of civil liberties and the rule of law to stand up and protest against the serious curtailment of yet another victim. The message may be unpalatable to those who wish to shroud their abuse in secrecy but that can never justify an attack on the messengers.’

“We are disgusted that Moazzam Begg is being retraumatised with the same guilt by association accusations that resulted in his unlawful incarceration in Guantanamo Bay.  We fully support our colleague and see his arrest as politically motivated and as part of a campaign to criminalise legitimate activism.”

See previous posts on this blog about Moazzam Begg here and here.

CARL DIX SAYS NO MORE

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Below is a statement by Carl Dix about actions on 26 February 2014.

A MESSAGE FROM CARL DIX ON FEBRUARY 26

Sisters and Brothers,

What we are doing today is critically important. The refusal of the system to convict Michael Dunn for the murder of Jordan Davis, on top of the exoneration of George Zimmerman, the vigilante murderer of Trayvon Martin, amounted to Amerikkka telling us, once again, that Black people have no rights that whites are bound to respect. It was critical that this be responded to powerfully. Gathering at the seats of power and influence in cities across the country, rocking our hoodies, holding targets and raising our fists in silent determination, we are declaring that we will not accept our youth being targeted in this way.

We are saying NO MORE to Black and Latino youth being treated like criminals, guilty until proven innocent, if they can survive to prove their innocence. This is unacceptable. It is illegitimate. It must be stopped, and we are acting to stop it!

And things don’t end with today’s action. We are just getting started. There needs to be a movement of determined resistance to the criminalization of our youth, to the warehousing of people in prison, to mass incarceration overall and all its consequences. We need to go from the hundreds who are acting today to thousands acting soon, to ultimately mobilizing a movement of millions of people saying no more to the slow genocide the criminal “injustice” system in this country enforces on Black and Brown people.

There is a lot of potential for doing this. Tens of millions of people in this country are living lives enmeshed in the criminal “injustice” system. People are suffering, and people are seething with rage. They want to know why these horrors keep happening and are looking for ways to resist. And it is up to US to give people a vision of what we can accomplish by resisting these horrors and saying NO MORE. And it is up to us to give them a way to participate that can organize and give direction to that seething anger, and to inspire and challenge them to act to END this.

We are committed to building this movement of millions, and we have a vision to make a leap toward doing that through a Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration in October, 2014. We envision a month of nationwide rallies and demonstrations, major concerts, symposiums and panels, well known people speaking out, people wearing armbands and ribbons, and more. A month that can change the way millions of people in this society look at mass incarceration.

Cornel West and I have developed a basic vision for October, but we can’t figure all this out alone. There is a whole lot to do to flesh out that vision, to give it life and to make it real. We need people to enlist in this effort now; to join and be a part of hammering out a vision for a Month of Resistance that can change everything around mass incarceration. We need all kinds of people to be part of developing the plans for building up to an October that can have this kind of impact.

We need to be reaching out to students in colleges and high schools, activating them now so that they are primed to act in the fall. We need to raise the funds needed to make this month one that has the power to impact all of society.

Cornel West and I are calling for a strategizing meeting in New York City to launch this effort on April 3rd and 4th. Hold the dates. Details will be announced.

Hoodies Up! Targets Up! Fists Up! Time’s Up! We’re standing

Up! No More Murders of Black Youth!

 We Are All Trayvon Martin; We Are All Jordan Davis—The Whole Damn System Is Guilty!

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Carl Dix, c/o Stop Mass Incarceration Network, P.O. Box 941 Knickerbocker Station, New York, New York 10002

www.facebook.com/carl.dix

See more here.