[Pnews] UK - Is there a plot to shut down CAGE? This reeks of the police state!

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jul 15 15:22:25 EDT 2014

  /(Cage/ /sponsored the 2012 Cointelpro 101 tour of the UK - making the
  connection between government repression in the UK and the US/.

  Is there a plot to shut down CAGE?

Friday 11 July 2014
*Written By:* Fahad Ansari <http://www.cageuk.org/authors/fahad-ansari>

_*/UPDATE (14/07/14): Please read this piece from the Telegraph.
*See Below*

*CAGE has been under sustained pressure over the last few months since 
it's business bank accounts 
<http://www.cageuk.org/article/there-plot-shut-down-cage#> were closed 
down. Our work continues to go from strength to strength, but without 
your help we may not be able to keep our head above the water for very 
long.  Please read this article, circulate it, and join us for our 
fundraising event next week 
<http://cageuk.org/event/srebrenica-syria-aiding-time-fear> Thursday, so 
that we can continue 
<http://www.cageuk.org/article/there-plot-shut-down-cage#> to advocate 
for truth and justice in the War on Terror. *
/"Do people think that they will be left alone because they say, 'We 
believe', and will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were 
before them. And Allah will certainly make it known (the truth of) those 
who are true, and will certainly make it known (the falsehood of) those 
who are liars." (Quran 
<http://www.cageuk.org/article/there-plot-shut-down-cage#>: 29:2-3)/
Many of our supporters have recently had their regular standing orders 
to our bank accounts dishonoured with the answer "Account Closed". We 
sincerely apologise for the inconvenience and anxiety this has caused 
our supporters.
While the closure of our accounts has created a high level of 
operational inconvenience which has disrupted our projects and 
campaigns, we are in the process of applying for 
<http://www.cageuk.org/article/there-plot-shut-down-cage#> a new bank 
account <http://www.cageuk.org/article/there-plot-shut-down-cage#>. For 
those who wish to continue to donate to CAGE in the meantime, we are 
more than happy to receive cash donations and are willing to facilitate 
this through arranging to collect donations personally from supporters.
Following the arrest 
<http://www.cageuk.org/article/there-plot-shut-down-cage#> of our 
Outreach Director Moazzam Begg on 25 February 2014, we have noted with 
great concern that there appears to be a concerted effort to shut the 
organisation down or to at least render it operationally ineffective. 
This has recently taken place through the imposition of unwarranted 
pressure on some of our most significant donors as well as through the 
closure of our business bank accounts. The reason for the delay in 
announcing this to our supporters is that we wanted to first exhaust all 
means available to us to rectify the situation. We are only too aware of 
the climate of fear that exists in our community and we are conscious to 
avoid reinforcing that, but we have come to a point now where we simply 
cannot continue as we are, we urgently need your help.
Like any business, CAGE requires the use of bank accounts in order to 
function and had accounts open with Barclays and the Co-Operative Bank. 
In March this year, both banks closed CAGE's accounts without any prior 
notification. Direct Debits were cancelled and Standing Orders returned 
with no explanation other than the banks that the accounts had been 
closed. Shortly after the CAGE account was closed, Barclays also closed 
the personal accounts of CAGE's Treasurer and a senior CAGE volunteer. 
CAGE's Treasurer had been banking with Barclays for over 18 years. No 
explanation has been provided for the closure of any of those accounts.
For over a decade, CAGE has been at the forefront of exposing the role 
of the UK government in rendition and torture for over a decade and has 
been a persistent and vocal critic of its counter-terrorism laws and 
policies. CAGE has always carried out its activities within the remit of 
the law and the message that we are propagating is reaching an 
increasing number of people both in the UK and abroad. It is only to be 
expected that CAGE too would become a target of those measures as a 
result. All of this is happening despite the fact that we have never 
been implicated or involved in any wrongdoing, we are a legitimate 
organisation working transparently yet we are effectively being treated 
as a designated organisation even though we aren't. The Treasury has 
written to us on more than one occasion confirming that we are not 
Despite the setbacks, CAGE has continued its struggle for truth and 
justice. Since our accounts were closed, we have:

  * Exposed MI5's complicity in the detention and torture abroad of
    British resident Ahmed Diini
    and British Citizen Ali Adorus
    both featured on the front page of the Independent.
  * Published an information leaflet on people's rights
    during police home raids
  * Provided unique insight into the issue of foreign fighters in Syria
    through comments in the written and broadcast media, including
    appearances on BBC Newsnight
    <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IW3UstPM_TU> and Channel 4 News
  * Participated in the public consultation
    on the Schedule 7 officer's Code of Practice
  * Published an exclusive interview
    with Heba al-Dabbagh, the author of 'Just five Minutes', an account
    of her detention and tortured in Syria during the 1980s
    We provide support to dozens of people who visit us for advice and
    We have on going discussions and work with partners including
    Reprieve, Leigh Day Solicitors and other legal firms, International
    Committee of the Red Cross, Joseph Roundtree Charitable Trust, The
    Roddick Foundation, The American Civil Liberties Union, The Center
    for Constitutional Rights, Statewatch and major media organisations.

CAGE is not the first organisation of its kind to be targeted in this 
way, nor will it be the last. Civil rights groups around the world have 
historically been persecuted in this manner by the authorities precisely 
because they work to hold those governments to account for their crimes. 
When Islam first arrived in the Arabian Peninsula, it was the Prophet 
Muhammed (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) preaching and 
campaigning for a more just society free of oppression, in which the 
rights of Allah, the orphans, women, the elderly, the weak and the 
vulnerable, were protected, that resulted in the Muslims of that time 
being arbitrarily detained, tortured and executed. Indeed one of the 
most powerful weapons that the enemies of Islam used at that time was 
the complete social and economic boycott of the Muslims and those who 
supported them, i.e. the imposition of financial sanctions. Although 
these sanctions lasted for a torturous three years during which the 
Muslims suffered tremendously with many dying of starvation and 
malnutrition, this was a defining period in the nurturing of the 
companions of a strength and conviction that would help them not just 
overcome their enemies in Makkah but also the mighty superpowers of Rome 
and Persia in years to come.
CAGE has been operating for over a decade and we perceive these current 
events in a similar vein. We want to reassure our supporters that 
despite these setbacks, we intend to be here for another decade with the 
permission of Allah and even longer in our struggle for truth and 
justice to create a world free from oppression and injustice.
Finally, while it is natural to feel fear or anxiety, we remind 
ourselves and our supporters that we must not allow that fear to control 
our behaviour and actions.  Our position today is like that of the 
companions of the Prophet Muhammed (may the peace and blessings of Allah 
be upon him) on the day of the Battle of the Trench who initially felt 
petrified by the coalition forces that had surrounded Madinah, but on 
remembering Allah declared:
/"This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us, and Allah and 
His Messenger spoke the truth." (Quran: 33:22) /
As Allah says, this increased them, not in fear, but in faith and 


  If Cage has broken the law, let it be prosecuted; this reeks of the
  police state

By Peter Oborne <http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/author/peteroborne/> 
Politics <http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/category/politics/> Last 
updated: July 14th, 2014


/This piece is written by Alex Delmar-Morgan and Peter Oborne/

There is no doubt that terrorists are the most despised and hated 
section of society. Many people would like to lock them up and throw 
away the key.

However, even those suspected of being terrorists enjoy rights in a 
free, democratic society. They are entitled to a fair trial, to support 
and to legal protection. Indeed one of most important tests of a robust 
legal system is the way it defends unpopular minorities.

For the last ten years one organisation has done more than any other to 
stand up for alleged terrorists. Cage is a tiny organisation based in 
London, operating off a budget of less than £300,000 a year.

It has highlighted the cases of such controversial figures as Moazzam 
Begg, who was held without charge in Guantánamo Bay until 2005 and 
Shaker Aamer, the Saudi citizen who has the right to permanent residence 
in the United Kingdom and has been disgracefully held for more than 
twelve years without charge in Guantánamo, despite protest by the 
British government.

Cage has also worked with the victims of mistreatment and abuse to 
expose what it sees as British government participation 
in the secret world of rendition and torture. It also spoken out against 
the UK's anti-terrorism laws, saying they are draconian and target 
Muslims. But it insists it has always conducted its activities legally 
and clearly states it is opposed to the killing of innocent civilians.

Some commentators have called for its closure. Indeed, the group has 
been accused of being an apologist for terrorists, it has been labelled 
an extremist group, and it has come under constant fire from the media. 
Its director of research, Asim Qureshi, has even received death threats.

Lord Carlile QC, the government's former independent reviewer of 
anti-terrorism legislation is a critic, while Gita Sahgal resigned from 
Amnesty International in 2010 over claims the human rights group was too 
close to Begg, and branded Cage a "jihadi" group. Other respected 
figures -- such as Clive Stafford Smith at Reprieve -- have praised the 
work done by Cage. Stafford Smith queries, in particular, why the 
government continually alienates the very people who could most 
intelligently advise it on how to avoid provoking young people to extremism.

This was how matters stood in February this year. Since then a 
mysterious sequence of apparently unrelated events has brought Cage to 
its knees. Its bank accounts 
have been closed down, while the Charity Commission has opened cases 
into two of its most important donors. One Cage director and one former 
board member are facing investigation for financial irregularities.

Requests to open accounts have been refused by around ten banks the 
group has since approached, it can't afford to pay its staff and faces 
the prospect of being forced to close down.

Cage's troubles began when its director of outreach, Moazzam Begg, was 
arrested in February on suspicion of terrorism offences linked to Syria. 
(Begg, who was released without charge from Guantánamo in 2005, 
campaigned for Cage for the fair treatment and due process of terror 
suspects held in the military prison in Cuba.)

Following Begg's arrest 
the Treasury advised the group to remove Begg as a signatory to its 
accounts so as to ensure it was "not inconvenienced unduly as a result 
of your connection with him". That day Cage telephoned Barclays and 
asked for Begg to be removed, only to learn their direct debit with 
British Telecom had also been cancelled. Days later standing orders from 
private donors worth £3000 a month were also stopped.

Then the Co-operative Bank told Cage that its account had been shut, 
saying it had received a letter from one of the group's signatories 
requesting account closure. Cage deny any knowledge of such a letter and 
so far the bank has failed to produce any evidence to support their claim.

A spokesman for the bank said: "The Co-op Bank cannot comment on client 
issues, it's a breach of confidentiality."

Crucially on 11th April the Treasury told Cage that it "is not and has 
never been subject to financial restrictions."

This official version of events is contradictory. Barclays has written 
to Cage confirming its account had been closed because of its 
association with Begg. Barclays says it has "the right to close any 
account, when this happens these decisions are not taken lightly and are 
considered on a case-by-case basis."

So much for Cage's banking problem, which mean it cannot draw out money 
or pay its staff. Meanwhile the Charity Commission has launched 
inquiries into the group's two main backers, the Joseph Rowntree 
Charitable Trust and The Roddick Foundation, resulting in a suspension 
of their funding. The commission opened a case into The Roddick 
Foundation in March 2014, the same month the group's bank accounts were 
closed down, and into JRCT in December 2013.

The signs are that this investigation -- prompted by a complaint that 
Cage is a 'jihadi front that promotes bigotry and hatred'- is getting 
nowhere. A spokesman for JRCT told us that the Charity Commission 
informed the charity at the end of April that it had found 'no 
information to substantiate the complaint.'

Two senior Cage members have also been targeted, though in different 
ways. Saghir Hussain, a former board member and lawyer who has acted in 
high profile terrorism cases, is being investigated by HMRC for his tax 
affairs. "There are a number of things that have happened in a [short] 
space of time where we feel somebody may be coordinating this 
underhandedly," he told us.

In addition, Adnan Siddiqui, a Cage director and a doctor in Thornton 
Heath in south London received a letter from the NHS England's counter 
fraud department after Begg's arrest saying his medical practice is the 
subject of an inquiry.

Both HMRC and NHS Protect, which runs its counter-fraud unit, declined 
to comment.

The observer may well indeed ask: what is going on here? Is it mere 
coincidence that Cage has had bank accounts closed down, its staff 
targeted, and pressure heaped on its funders by the Charity Commission 
all the space of a few months since Begg's arrest? If this is a 
concerted effort to silence Cage, who is behind it and why?

It is true that Cage has made errors. In 2011 the group published an 
article about the fictional killing of Barack Obama, attracting a storm 
of controversy. Cage insisted it was a satire, used to highlight 
Washington's use of drone attacks. In 2008 and 2009 it invited the 
Islamic cleric Anwar Al Awlaki to talk via audiolink at two fundraising 
dinners. Awlaki, a US citizen who was accused of being a key figure in 
al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) by the Americans -- a claim 
Cage always denied -- was killed in Yemen in a US drone strike in 2011. 
Cage has distanced itself from the cleric's increasingly extreme views 
since 2010, but continues to question the legality of his death.

It is greatly to be hoped that Cage has simply become the victim of a 
most unlucky set of coincidences, which can in due course be remedied. 
The alternative suggests there is some kind of secret arrangement 
involving banks, state agencies, the Charity Commission and regulators, 
to close the organisation down. Abuse of process on this scale is normal 
in a police state- but is alien to the way we do things in Britain. If 
Cage has broken the law, it can and should be prosecuted. Otherwise it 
should be left alone to go about its business.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://freedomarchives.org/pipermail/ppnews_freedomarchives.org/attachments/20140715/c0d5870a/attachment.html>

More information about the PPnews mailing list