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Amnesty International Stands by Jihadist

Will more from the human rights group speak out for the victims of jihad?

8:42 PM, Feb 16, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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I’ve written about Begg before (see hereherehereherehere and here), so I won’t repeat all of the details again. In short, Begg was detained and shipped to Gitmo after compiling an extensive dossier. While in American custody, Begg signed an eight-page single-spaced confession in which he admitted to a whole host of nefarious activities including both training at and funding terrorist camps in Afghanistan. Later, Begg would claim that he was coerced by the FBI (which, of course, isn’t known for its coercive tactics) into signing the confession. But an investigation by the DOJ’s inspector general turned up no evidence to support Begg’s claims. Three other investigations by the DOD also did not find any evidence to buttress Begg’s claims of abuse.

Here is what the Inspector General concluded that Begg admitted to (in part):

Begg’s signed statement indicates, among other things, that Begg sympathized with the cause of al-Qaeda, attended terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and England so that he could assist in waging global jihad against enemies of Islam, including Russia and India, associated with and assisted several prominent terrorists and supporters of terrorists and discussed potential terrorist acts with them; recruited young operatives for the global jihad; and provided financial support for terrorist training camps.

Any doubts about Begg’s ideology should have been dispelled with the publication of his book, Enemy Combatant. In the book, Begg admits that he supports the Taliban (thus Saghal’s comments referenced above) and that he believes in waging offensive jihad, among other damning admissions.

Despite Begg’s transparent nature, he has been embraced by the global Left, including Amnesty International and the ACLU.   

The current controversy over Amnesty’s ties to Begg was, no doubt, spurred on by all of the public attention al Qaeda cleric Anwar al Awlaki has received. Awlaki was the “spiritual advisor” for at least two of the 9/11 hijackers and, in more recent months, the Fort Hood shooter and the Christmas Day bomber.

Begg and his organization, Cage Prisoners, have longed backed Awlaki by publishing Awlaki’s sermons, hosting him via satellite and audio at Cage Prisoners’ events in the UK, and agitating for Awlaki’s release when he was briefly detained in Yemen. (For more on the ties between Begg’s Cage Prisoners and Awlaki, see this PDF by Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens of The Centre for Social Cohesion.)

The Christmas Day bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, invited Begg to speak at a “War On Terror Week” conference, which was really an anti-American hate fest, while Abdulmutallab was the head of the Islamic Society at the University College of London. Begg attended. Abdulmutallab would later travel to Yemen, where he would meet with Awlaki – Begg’s long-time ally.

Because of all of this, and much more, it is good to see that an Amnesty official like Saghal is intellectually honest enough to stand up in protest. (According to the Times, a third official objected to the group’s dealings with Begg in 2008, but “was overruled.”) These officials deserve kudos for going against the herd.   

However, even Saghal pretends that Begg has something important to say about his time at Gitmo, claiming that “[a]s a former Guantanamo detainee it was legitimate to hear his experiences…” Amnesty defends Begg’s role as a supposed witness to abuse as well.

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