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British Pay Jihadists to Tell Tall Tales of Torture

“Never surrender”— unless you are sued by jihadists.

12:01 PM, Nov 16, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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Mr. Mohamed explained in his original allegations three years ago that he was cut with a razor – and any person who shaves will understand that this is a torturer’s weapon of choice because cuts heal relatively quickly, and leave little obvious evidence in the long term (else every shaver would have the face of Frankenstein).

To compare shaving one’s beard to 18 months of genital mutilation is absurd on its face. A nick on the face is one thing. Deliberate cuts on one’s most sensitive parts over the span of a year and a half are quite another. But that is what Reprieve argued. The reason is straightforward. When Binyam Mohamed arrived at Guantanamo after being held at other detention facilities (including in Morocco), there was no physical evidence to back up his outrageous claim. His story, when compared to the actual evidence, falls apart. In fact, the only publicly available evidence suggests that Binyam was subjected to treatment that was far less severe, such as sleep deprivation, while he was detained abroad.

Binyam Mohamed stands to receive a big payday regardless.

And on it goes. The UK government has decided that it is not worth fighting these false claims. That is the wrong decision and to see why we only need to look at the warnings of another British prime minister, Tony Blair.

In his autobiography (A Journey: My Political Life), Blair warned that the West has failed to combat the jihadists’ “narrative.” That is, the West is not fighting the information war, which requires the UK and U.S. to dispute the jihadists’ propaganda. The jihadists portray the West as being at war with Muslims in general. As part of this supposed religiously bigoted war, the jihadists claim that America routinely abuses and tortures innocent Muslims. In the jihadists’ anti-American, anti-British propaganda, Binyam Mohamed (who plotted with senior al Qaeda terrorists to strike the American Homeland in 2002), and Moazzam Begg (who is an avowed jihadist and admitted to the FBI that he conspired with the Taliban and al Qaeda in a variety of ways) become victims.

Now the British government has added additional grist for the jihadists’ propaganda mill. David Cameron and other senior UK officials may not want to fight a lengthy and costly lawsuit. But they have, in many respects, taken a far more costly route. They have allowed jihadists to frame the narrative through which this war is viewed.

They are not alone in this regard. The U.S. has failed, too. But at least the American government has not rewarded the jihadists for spreading their propaganda.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.  

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