“So the Quilliam Foundation has been closed down. Claims to have been the world's first counter-extremism think-tank. But it was actually established by the Office for Security and Counterterrorism (OSCT) at the UK governments's Home Office”. Er, WHAT? How could he be so sure? “How do I know? Simples. The OSCT told me”. And there was more.
“The initial plan was to fund it covertly, with money appearing to come in from a Middle Eastern benefactor, but actually channelled by MI6 … But a decision was taken to grant it acknowledged - but far-from-trumpeted - UK government funding. This was eventually judged within Whitehall to have been a mistake. ‘Should have run it from within the agencies. They do this sort of stuff all the time. And you never find out’”.
Miqdaad Versi from the Muslim Council of Britain heard that one loud and clear. "This is a really explosive allegation by the renowned investigative journalist (ex-Guardian) Ian Cobain”. But Sol Hughes was rather more relaxed about the revelation.
“The now defunct Quilliam's links to the security services seemed pretty open when it was founded : Early staff included former Special Forces Captain Ed Jagger, and 'journalist' ‘James Brandon’ (not his real name) : Both now work in ‘Private Security/Intelligence’ companies”. And he can be relaxed because this was all exposed six years ago.
Nafeez Ahmed, in an article for Middle East Eye titled “The circus: How British intelligence primed both sides of the ‘terror war’”, confirms it. “The Quilliam Foundation was set-up by [Ed] Husain and Nawaz in 2008 with significant British government financial support”.
And why Quilliam might have been less than totally effective in its objectives is also spelt out. “Perhaps the biggest problem with Husain’s and Nawaz’s claim to expertise on terrorism was that they were never jihadists. Hizb ut-Tahrir is a non-violent movement for the establishment of a global ‘caliphate’ through social struggle, focusing on the need for political activism in the Muslim world. Whatever the demerits of this rigid political ideology, it had no relationship to the phenomenon of al-Qaeda terrorism”.
As for HT’s less peaceable offshoot, “When [Omar] Bakri [Mohammed] left HT and set-up al-Muhajiroun in 1996, according to John Loftus, a former US Army intelligence officer and Justice Department prosecutor, Bakri was immediately recruited by MI6 to facilitate Islamist activities in the Balkans”. Nafeed Ahmed’s conclusion? You’ll love this one.
“If only we could round up the Quilliam and al-Muhajiroun fanatics together, shove them onto a boat, and send them all off cruising to the middle of nowhere, they could have all the fun they want ‘radicalising’ and ‘deradicalising’ each other to their hearts’ content. And we might get a little peace. And perhaps we could send their handlers with them, too”.
So it wasn’t such an explosive allegation after all. Quilliam was in bed with the spooks.
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