Moazzam Begg spend a few years in Guantanamo accused of being a member of al Qaida and other affiliated terrorist organizations, which he denies. He has written a book about his Guantanamo experience claiming he was tortured. He also claims his innocence, despite the fact that there is evidence that he
- recruited individuals to attend al Qaida run terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.
- provided money and material support to al Qaida terrorist training camps.
- received extensive training at al Qaida run terrorist training camps since 1993. He has been trained on the AK-47, Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), handgun, ambush theory, detection of land mines and he manufacture of improvised grenades.
- provided support to al Qaida terrorists by providing shelter for their families while the al Qaida members committed terrorist acts.
- retreated to the Tora Bora Afghanistan along with other Taliban and al Qaida fighters.
- provided support to Usama Bin Laden’s al Qaida terrorist network with full knowledge that Bin Laden had issued a declaration of war against the United States and that the al Qaida network had committed numerous terrorist attacks against the United States and its citizens
In short, Begg is not the kind of person one would expect to be embraced by a “Human Rights organization. But the unrepentant terrorist has been embraced by Amnesty International.
Gita Sahgal, head of the gender unit at Amnesty’s international secretariat, believes that collaborating with Moazzam Begg, a former British inmate at Guantanamo Bay, “fundamentally damages” the organisation’s reputation.
In an email sent to Amnesty’s top bosses, she suggests the charity has mistakenly allied itself with Begg and his “jihadi” group, Cageprisoners, out of fear of being branded racist and Islamophobic.
Here I disagree, Amnesty aligns itself with terrorists because of the “liberal leanings” of its top bosses.
Sahgal describes Begg as “Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban”. He has championed the rights of jailed Al-Qaeda members and hate preachers, including Anwar al-Awlaki, the alleged spiritual mentor of the Christmas Day Detroit plane bomber.
Amnesty’s work with Cageprisoners took it to Downing Street last month to demand the closure of Guantanamo Bay. Begg has also embarked on a European tour, hosted by Amnesty, urging countries to offer safe haven to Guantanamo detainees. This is despite concerns about former inmates returning to terrorism.
Sahgal, who has researched religious fundamentalism for 20 years, has decided to go public because she feels Amnesty has ignored her warnings for the past two years about the involvement of Begg in the charity’s Counter Terror With Justice campaign.
“I believe the campaign fundamentally damages Amnesty International’s integrity and, more importantly, constitutes a threat to human rights,” Sahgal wrote in an email to the organisation’s leaders on January 30. “To be appearing on platforms with Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender, is a gross error of judgment.”
…..“As a former Guantanamo detainee it was legitimate to hear his experiences, but as a supporter of the Taliban it was absolutely wrong to legitimise him as a partner,” Sahgal told The Sunday Times.
Begg, 42, from Birmingham, was held at Guantanamo for three years until 2005 under suspicion of links to Al-Qaeda, which he denies. Prior to his arrest, Begg lived with his family in Kabul and praised the Taliban in his memoirs as “better than anything Afghanistan has had in 20 years”. After his release Begg became the figurehead for Cageprisoners, which describes itself as “a human rights organisation that exists solely to raise awareness of the plight of prisoners … held as part of the War On Terror”.
Among the Muslim inmates it highlights are Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Abu Hamza, the hook-handed cleric facing extradition from Britain to America on terror charges, and Abu Qatada, a preacher described as Osama Bin Laden’s “European ambassador”.
Sahgal, 53, is not the only critic of Begg at Amnesty. In 2008 a board member of its US arm opposed Begg’s appearance, via videolink, at its AGM, but was overruled.
When Begg appeared at Downing Street last month as part of a group delivering a letter to Gordon Brown calling for the release of the last British resident held at Guantanamo, he was accompanied by Kate Allen, head of Amnesty’s UK section since 2000. Allen is a leftwinger who was the girlfriend of Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, for almost 20 years.
Amnesty has a long history of partnering with, supporting, or providing comfort terrorists,especially in the middle east. For example during Second Lebanon War in 2006, Amnesty unjustifiably accused Israel of “war crimes” and “deliberate attacks on civilians,” and relied on Lebanese “eyewitnesses” to allege that Hezbollah did not operate in population centers.
A Great Overview Of Amnesty’s protection of terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas can be found HERE at NGO Monitor.