Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Secret Services

George Galloway, Aisha Ali-Khan and a Very Curious Story of the Met.

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This story in the Guardian today is not at all a sign  of the British state’s rude democratic health.

People may have missed it – it’s not a large article and not everybody reads the Guardian – so it’s worth extracting and commenting upon.

George Galloway‘s former secretary has been arrested, along with a Metropolitan police officer, on suspicion of data protection offences.

Afiz Khan, an officer with the Met’s SO15 anti-terrorism branch, was arrested on Wednesday, along with Aisha Ali-Khan, who until recently worked as a PA for the Respect MP for Bradford West.

Ali-Khan was suspended by Galloway in October when he publicly accused her of being a Met police “agent” running an undercover operation from his constituency office. He demanded an investigation by the home secretary, Theresa May, into what he called a “dirty tricks” campaign orchestrated by Khan. The arrests are unrelated to these allegations, which are the subject of an investigation.

Police are trying to ascertain how Galloway got hold of private emails between Ali-Khan and Khan, which he showed to journalists as “incontrovertible evidence” that there was a plot against him. Ali-Khan insists her Hotmail address was hacked and accuses Galloway of sanctioning the hacking, a charge Galloway has always denied.

Ali-Khan told the Guardian in October that Khan was her husband, producing the Muslim nikah marriage certificate to prove the two wed in 2009. She has always claimed the emails merely showed a husband counselling his wife in how to deal with bullying and misogyny in Respect’s Bradford office. Both Khan and Ali-Khan have been bailed to return pending further inquiries in early March 2013.

He is suspected of misusing Met police databases and abusing his position as a police officer, and has been on restricted duties since October.

The background is this  “Galloway to demand Home Secretary acts on police ‘dirty tricks’

Galloway stated in October.

“A very senior officer in SO15 has been feeding disinformation aimed at damaging me to a national newspaper and to others, aided by a member of staff in Bradford who has now been suspended,’ Galloway said. ‘This involved him using the Met email as well as creating at least two false email addresses to spread the deceit. I have incontrovertible evidence. He either did this a freelance or it was sanctioned by his superiors. I will be asking the Home Secretary tomorrow (Monday) to act on this and also bringing it to the attention of the Speaker of the House of Commons.’ ”

The Daily Mail (not known to favour Galloway) published this on the 18th of October,

Galloway’s spokesman and associate for the last 36 years, Ron McKay, said: ‘Aisha Ali Khan had become George’s aide after turning up at the Respect headquarters in Bradford before his election campaign. I think she used to be a teacher.

‘There was some concern that she had been involved with the Labour Party. She worked for George in Bradford and in London – and while he was away in Indonesia in June he gave her the keys to his house in Streatham..

‘A short while after George came back there was a break-in at his house when he, his wife and Aisha were in, and the burglars made off with a parliamentary computer.

‘Local police were investigating – but it was then that Aisha introduced Afiz Khan to George as a police officer and security expert who could help him beef up his home security.

‘It transpired a few hours later that Insp Khan had declared to the cops investigating the burglary that they would find his fingerprints in the house because he had been sleeping in the house with Aisha while George was away.

‘That was George’s rude introduction to what had been going on.

 The Guardian continues,

“Among the ‘allegations’ made by Officer K through the Met police email was that he had evidence that there was voter fraud in the Bradford by-election – which Galloway won with a majority of more than 10,000.

The officer also slept in George’s house in Streatham, London, along with the female agent on Galloway’s staff, Ms A, when the MP was away, and he had to confess this when investigation of a break-in to the home would have discovered his fingerprints and DNA.Galloway said: “I understand inquiries are still ongoing so for that reason I cannot comment.” Ali-Khan faces a disciplinary hearing on Monday about the reasons for her suspension.”

Without in any way backing Galloway, and with all the comments we could make about him,  we have to say that the  police’s role whole story stinks.


Written by Andrew Coates

December 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Secret Affairs, Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam. Mark Curtis. Review.

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Secret Affairs. Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam Mark Curtis. 2010. Serpent’s Tail.

Hat-tip to Paul Flewers who suggested I read this book.

“Egypt’s future is uncertain after the death or fall of Mubarak and, whether there is a revolution or not, the Brotherhood could play a role in government or in the transition….Britain is the largest foreign investor in the country, amounting to around $20 billion. British elites want to be in a better position than after the fall of the shah of Iran in 1979 in 1979, and cultivating the Islamists is likely regarded as critical.”

“Britain likely sees the Brotherhood – as it did from the 1950s to the 1970s – as counter to the secular, nationalist forces opposition in Egypt and the region….” Pages 308 – 9. Secret Affairs. Mark Curtis. 2010.

Secret Affairs is a pioneering and unsettling study. It unravels how British officials have worked with apparently ‘anti-imperialist’ Islamists that they have found “useful at specific moments.” It sheds light on one of the less publicly acknowledged sides of British global policy – its “collusions” with Islamist groups and parties. Mark Curtis writes, “With some of these radical Islamic forces, Britain has been in a permanent, strategic alliance to secure fundamental long-term policy goals; with others, it has been a temporary marriage of convenience to achieve specific short-term outcomes.” (Page xi) Two geo-political aims have guided this policy, to keep control over energy sources in the Middle East and maintain the City’s place in a stable international financial system. More than out of sheer delight in the undercover world British intelligence agencies have pursued these rational, foreign policy, objectives.

For many it will be a mental wrench to consider that the British State could be complicit with Islamism. Islamists, in all their heterogeneous forms, are, according to a refrain that tends to drown out all others, a real or exaggerated threat. To the right they are from a civilisation out to clash with the West; to most of the left, a riposte to its imperial, Crusader, ambitions. After digesting Secret Affairs the claim that the West has declared a no-holds barred ‘war’ on Islam, sounds hollow. On occasion even the most extreme Salafist inspired Islamists have been in the loop of the secret services, though more public state policy has been to nurture “moderate” Muslims, a moderation that exists sometimes only in comparison with the most violent Jihadists. If one turns the study’s conclusions upside down, one can also see some interesting aspects of Islamist politics: why, and how, they expect to use their contacts, half-hostile, half-respectful, with countries like Britain. Mark Curtis equally offers important signposts to the future direction Whitehall policy will take towards a key Islamist actor in post-Mubarak Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood.

State Islamist Sponsors.

The thread tying together Secret Affairs is an account of its relations with “the two most significant sponsors of radical Islam” – Pakistan, which promoted “the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the terrorist cause in Kashmir and its surge in central Asia” and Saudi Arabia, “the largest financier of the Islamist cause worldwide. “(Page 223 – 4) Mark Curtis is a master of weighing up what governments have considered to be the national interest beyond alliances with these states. He enters the murky intelligence world without his vision becoming darkened by the complexity of the dealings involved. The author argues that Britain has “long connived with Islamist forces and their Pakistani state sponsors.” (Page 293) He cites Martin Bright, “it is depressing that so few of the left have been prepared to engage with the issue of the Foreign Office appeasement of radical Islam except to minimise its significance.” (Page 307) He comments, that this is not so much appeasement, as an effort to “achieve key British foreign policy goals” (Ibid).

In 2011 the arguments of Secret Affairs are extremely important.  The euphoria surrounding the popular uprisings against the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes, and the demonstrations unrolling from Algeria and Tunisia to Libya, Jordan, Yemen, and the Gulf States with its waves reaching Tehran, has spread across the world. It is more than welcome. Liberals and the left have greeted the democratic aspirations and secular demands of the protesters.

Some ‘anti-imperialists’ consider the unrest to be the much-waited-for blowback to a Western ‘crusade’ against Islam that carries social opposition in its train. Its client dictators, Mubarak and Ben Ali, gone, they hope for a more radical moves, revolutions with wider ambitions, social and international. They may even be, it is often whispered, occasionally said out loud, radical forces, potential allies in a push for deeper change. Comforting stories, about veiled women involved in the struggle, have circulated, sometimes designed to demonstrate the irrelevance of religion, other times to indicate its ‘progressive’ role. Islamist groups, swathes of which have, on Curtis’s evidence, had ambiguous contacts in the past with Western states, are now held to be potential allies of the left. In the Iranian revolution, and its aftermath, such a common front has functioned to political Islam’s advantage and has not benefited any popular interest. If some Islamist groups have been prepared to work with Britain in the past, one wonders what kind of present-day agreements rival leftist suitors will reach, and what will be the result.

Divide et Impera.

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Written by Andrew Coates

February 18, 2011 at 11:33 am