White supremacists at the heart of Whitehall

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Nafeez Ahmed's picture
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Behind the facade of concern about terrorism is a network of extremist neoconservative ideologues, hell-bent on promoting discrimination and violence against Muslims and political activists who criticise Israeli and Western government policies

As the “Islamic State” (IS) has racked up the body count in its brutal atrocities against Western hostages and local civilians, “terror experts” have been in high demand.

One of them, Douglas Murray, calls himself an “expert on Islamist extremism and UK foreign policy”.

An associate director of the Henry Jackson Society, a right-wing think tank in London, Murray recently dismissed the idea that British security services could have had any role in the radicalisation of IS front man Mohammad Emwazi, aka “Jihadi John”.

To be sure, the presumption that Emwazi was only radicalised due to the harassment of British security services is absurd. The role of perceived grievances, identity crises, and of course extremist Islamist networks in Britain must also be recognised. But as former shadow Home Secretary David Davis noted, the security services’ failure to stop Emwazi despite surveillance is part of a wider pattern of “ineffective” tactics where the intelligence agencies leave “known terrorists both to carry out evil deeds and to recruit more conspirators”.

Yet in his Daily Express op-ed, Murray scoffed at the notion that “the people who keep us safe are putting us in danger”. The main problem is that Jihadi John has “many friends in Britain,” including “radical Muslims” and “travelling sympathisers” who criticise MI5 and MI6. Those who criticise the intelligence services, he suggested, should be seen as “enemies of our societies”.

Nevermind that it is a matter of public record that the terrorist recruiters Murray rightly condemns, people like Omar Bakri Mohammed, Anjem Choudary, Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada are longtime MI6 and MI5 informants; that Emwazi, like Woolwich murderer Adebaljo, had been under high priority surveillance by British intelligence for years, his movements closely followed as he was on a terror watch list, barring him from leaving the UK without the authorities knowing.

Nevermind that the ability of Islamist extremists to operate on UK soil with such impunity is directly correlated with the British state’s alliances with extremists abroad in pursuit of dubious geopolitical gambits from the Balkans to Syria; that for the last decades our closest allies in the Middle East have funnelled billions of dollars to al-Qaeda affiliated militants in the region with US blessings to counter Iranian and Syrian influence.

Nevermind the facts. Let’s just blame Muslims and human rights activists.

Murray’s screed against the free speech of those asking questions about the intelligence services is ironic given that in a separate Wall Street Journal comment, he laments that the attacks in Paris and Copenhagen prove the West is losing the war on “free speech” being waged by Islamists. But Murray’s concerns about free speech are really just a ploy for far-right entryism.

Shilling for Israel

Before joining HJS in 2011, Murray was head of the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC), a counter-extremism outfit founded in 2007. CSC’s output on terrorism issues was widely used and cited in government counter-terrorism strategy and policy documents.

CSC company records show that one of its directors was Baroness Cox, a former deputy speaker of the House of Lords and special representative for the Foreign Office Freedom of Religion Panel.

Cox’s anti-Muslim views are no secret. In 2007, she told the Jerusalem Summit – an anti-Palestinian network where she has been co-president since 2005 – that “Britain has been deeply infiltrated” by Islamist extremists, who have converted the country into “a base for training and teaching militant Islam”.

“They are using our institutions to recruit young people, and preventing any critical analysis of Islam,” she added. “Britain’s cultural and spiritual heritage are under threat.”

Later that year, Cox told the Jerusalem Post she was concerned about “the disturbing alliance between the Islamists and the Left in the UK,” which is now “part of the present ethos and culture of political correctness which some of the media defer to.”

On the presidium of the Jerusalem Summit alongside Cox is well-known anti-Muslim hate-monger Daniel Pipes. The summit’s advisory board includes other leading notorious neoconservative ideologues like Rachel Ehrenfeld, Meyrav Wurmser (wife of David Wurmser, Middle East advisor to former vice-president Dick Cheney), and Dennis Prager, among others.

In May 2007, the Summit reprinted an analysis by Ted Belman, advocating that the United States can only “win” the "war on terror", by nurturing “moderate Islam”; “imprisoning or deporting” anyone who advocates “political Islam”; abandoning “the idea of getting the [Iranian] regime to change and instead getting Iranians to change the regime”; and strengthening Israel by abandoning efforts to establish a Palestinian state. Coincidentally, this was the year of the birth of the Quilliam Foundation, which was largely set up to do just that.

According to former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, Cox is “a prominent supporter of organisations which actively and openly promote the ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians from Gaza.” Apart from the Jerusalem Summit, he reports that she is a key member of the Israeli Institute for Strategic Studies, which also calls for “dismantling Gaza, humanitarian relocation of the non-belligerent Arab population, and extension of Israeli sovereignty over the region”.

At the 2007 Jerusalem Summit, Cox was joined by Dr John Marks, with whom she co-authored The West, Islam and Islamism. Company records show that Dr Marks was another director of Murray’s CSC alongside Cox.

In his book, Conservative Party Education Policies, 1976-1997, historian David Callaghan documents how in the 1980s, Cox and Marks operated a network of neocon ideologues known as the Hillgate Group, which coordinated various publications to influence government policy. Their focus was hyping up the threat of Marxist, leftwing or “radical” infiltration of British academia. Another Hillgate Group member, philosopher Roger Scruton, told Callaghan that these policy reports were in fact “quietly encouraged by 10 Downing Street to concoct an outside pressure group to influence policy.”

Cox and Marks also campaigned against peace groups, which they labeled as “subversive” organisations exploiting their charitable status to promote pro-Soviet propaganda. “Key institutions, particularly educational institutions” were being “infected” by “institutionalised leftism,” they opined, especially in the media, schools,and universities, undermining the “moral legitimacy of British society”.

Cox’s intelligence connections go back deeper. In 1977, Cox was part of a different study group that released a report on how leftwing “radical minorities” were subverting “capitalist, free market civilisation.” The report was published by the Institute for the Study of Conflict (ISC), a “think tank” created jointly by the British and American intelligence services, specifically the CIA and the Foreign Office.

The ISC’s point-man in the British intelligence establishment was Sir Peter Wilkinson, a former officer with the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War (an agency that was later subsumed into MI6), who later became Cabinet Office intelligence chief.

Cox appears to have extended this intelligence-sponsored xenophobic paranoia about leftism to fear-mongering about Muslims. In 2009, she and UKIP peer Lord Pearson notoriously invited the far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders to screen his widely criticised film, Fitna, in the House of Lords. The same film was later disowned by its own producer, Arnoud van Doorn, as hyperbolic nonsense. Wilders, of course, is the same fascist politician who, in the name of fighting Islam last year openly called for the expulsion of non-white ethnic groups from the Netherlands. But the very year that Cox invited Wilders to Britain, respected Dutch opposition leader Alexander Pechtold criticised Wilder’s “xenophobic and racist view of society,” and said: “I can be as blunt as that. He’s a racist.”

The year before inviting Wilders to Britain, Cox began hosting and attending events at the Henry Jackson Society. And a few years on, Cox’s protégé, Douglas Murray, had also shifted to HJS in a more formal capacity.

Too many brown people

HJS’ international patrons and supporters amount to a veritable “who’s who” of Anglo-American neocons. They include Paul Beaver, special advisor to the Parliamentary Defence Committee; Irwin Stelzer, Rupert Murdoch's former right-hand man; Col. Tim Collins, CEO of private defence contractor security, New Century; Sir Richard Dearlove, head of MI6 during the Iraq war WMD farce; former secretary of state for education Michael Gove; culture minister Ed Vaizey; minister for universities and science, David Willetts; Wall Street Journal chief editor Gerard Baker; NATO deputy assistant secretary general for emerging security challenges Jamie Shea; former US homeland security secretary Michael Chertoff; Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED); Robert Kagan and William Kristol, co-founders of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC); General Jack Sheehan, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic; Richard Perle, former chairman of the Pentagon's Defenxe Policy Board under Bush; and ex-CIA chief James Woolsey.

HJS thus has significant connections in Washington, and holds considerable weight in Whitehall. It has also regularly hosted “risk analysis” conferences on corporate and business interests in the Middle East, particularly around oil and gas investment potential, with the participation of senior British government officials.

But Murray’s 2011 move was less a step up the career ladder, than an effort to save himself. Earlier that year, as revealed by former Tory politician and commentator Paul Goodman, Murray had been sidelined by the Conservative Party front-bench over various inflammatory comments he had made about Muslims in Europe.

Early last year, for instance, Murray wrote an article on why he thinks "white British people" are "losing their country". London, Murray wrote, "has become a foreign country" in which "'white Britons' are now in a minority," and "there aren't enough white people around" to make its boroughs "diverse".

His chief concern was not “integration,” but “skin colour,” as James Bloodworth pointed out in the Guardian: “We long ago reached the point where the only thing white Britons can do is to remain silent about the change in their country. Ignored for a generation, they are expected to get on, silently but happily, with abolishing themselves, accepting the knocks and respecting the loss of their country. ‘Get over it. It’s nothing new. You’re terrible. You’re nothing.’”

The principal cause of the abolition of “white Britons,” Murray wrote elsewhere, is the “startling rise in Muslim infants”. Thus, it appears that for Murray, the principal threat to white supremacy in London is the astronomical birthrate of non-white Muslims.

In 2006, Murray told the Dutch parliament in an extraordinarily revealing speech, the full text of which Murray has now removed, the following fascistic prescription for targeting Muslims in Europe: “It is late in the day, but Europe still has time to turn around the demographic time-bomb which will soon see a number of our largest cities fall to Muslim majorities. It has to. All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop. In the case of a further genocide such as that in the Balkans, sanctuary would be given on a strictly temporary basis. This should also be enacted retrospectively. Those who are currently in Europe having fled tyrannies should be persuaded back to the countries which they fled from, once the tyrannies that were the cause of their flight have been removed. Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition. We in Europe owe - after all - no special dues to Islam. We owe them no religious holidays, special rights or privileges.”

Murray even said that European Muslims who “take part in, plot, assist or condone violence against the West must be forcibly deported to their place of origin.” Defining “the West” as including both Western countries and Western troops, he explained: “Where a person was born in the west, they should be deported to the country of origin of their parent or grandparent.”

As Paul Goodman pointed out: “A reasonable reading of his words is that any British Muslim who opposed whatever war an allied government was waging at the time should be expelled from his home country. I was later shown his speech by other members of the Conservative front bench, who were extremely concerned about it.”

In October 2011, Murray claimed to have disowned the Netherlands speech “some years ago,” as it “does not reflect my opinions” and was “poorly expressed” - yet this disavowal was simply untrue. Precisely a year beforehand, Murray had published a spirited defence of that inflammatory speech in the Spectator, justifying its contents and affirming his continued belief in his past statements: “What I advocated had been argued by members of the conservative party of Holland and was, and is, being argued by mainstream politicians across Europe… I refused to change my opinions.”

Murray’s rancid ideology had a profound impact on the HJS, according to one of its founding members, former director Dr Marko Attila Hoare, a historian at Kingston University, who complained that the Society: "… has become an abrasively right-wing forum with an anti-Muslim tinge, churning out polemical and superficial pieces by aspiring journalists and pundits that pander to a narrow readership of extreme Europhobic British Tories, hardline US Republicans and Israeli Likudniks."

Hoare points out that while HJS is obsessed with Islamist extremism, it has “shown no equivalent concern with white or Christian extremism,” it has done no work on groups like “the British National Party or EDL.” When Hoare himself published an article on the HJS website condemning the massacres by Anders Behring Breivik and his links to “the European anti-Islamic far-right,” that article was “immediately removed” and Hoare’s “right to post articles directly to the HJS website revoked.”

So much for free speech, eh Murray?

Courting fascists

Murray’s statements are not surprising when you consider the company he keeps. He once said: “I happen to know Robert Spencer” - yes, the notorious anti-Muslim racist of JihadWatch. “I respect him, he’s a very brilliant scholar and writer.” Spencer, whom Murray has proudly shared speaking platforms with several times, was banned from Britain by the Home Office (along with Pamela Geller) for promoting “anti-Muslim hate groups”.

“I have written on numerous occasions that there is no distinction in the American Muslim community between peaceful Muslims and jihadists,” wrote Murray’s idol. “While Americans prefer to imagine that the vast majority of American Muslims are civic-minded patriots who accept wholeheartedly the parameters of American pluralism, this proposition has actually never been proven.”

A few years later, Spencer also wrote: “I have maintained from the beginning of this site and before that that there is no reliable way to distinguish a ‘moderate’ Muslim who rejects the jihad ideology and Islamic supremacism from a ‘radical’ Muslim who holds such ideas, even if he isn’t acting upon them at the moment.”

Murray has never criticised such statements.

Currently, Murray is also a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Gatestone Institute, a necon think tank chaired by former Bush official, John Bolton. Gatestone’s board includes Murray’s longtime mentor Baroness Cox and longtime Conservative Party adviser, Times columnist Lord Daniel Finkelstein, former executive editor and chief leader writer of the paper, as well as previously chairman of the right-wing London think tank, Policy Exchange. Murray himself sat on Gatestone’s board of governors until as late as October last year.

On Gatestone’s largely neocon advisory board sits former CIA director James Woolsey – also an HJS patron. Woolsey is former vice president of giant US defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton (which employed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden) and chair of another neocon policy group, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. After Snowden’s revelations, Woolsey called for the whistleblower to be “hanged” for treason. He previously played a key role in the Bush-era think tank, PNAC, which promoted the drive for a war on Iraq irrespective of evidence for WMD.

Earlier this year, one of Murray’s colleagues at Gatestone, senior fellow Soeren Kern, attempted to justify the racist gaffes put out on Fox News by “terror expert” Steve Emerson and UKIP leader Nigel Farage, both of whom had claimed that Muslim “no-go zones” are proliferating across “big cities” in Europe, like Birmingham and Paris. Even Prime Minister David Cameron called Farage an “idiot” after news of the gaffes provoked widespread public derision. Paris is now suing Fox, but that clearly doesn’t bother Gatestone.

The Gatestone Institute’s founding president is Nina Rosenwald, whom journalist Max Blumenthal describes as the “sugar mama of anti-Muslim hate”. A report by the Center for American Progress found that through a philanthropic foundation, Rosenwald and her family have donated more than $2.8 million since 2000 to “organisations that fan the flames of Islamophobia”. Examples of fascists she has funded include: Brigitte Gabriel, who in 2006 declared that Muslims “have no souls - they are dead set on killing and destruction”; former Pentagon official Frank Gaffney’s neocon Center for Security Policy (CSP), which has published conspiratorial pamphlets warning that American Muslims are engaged in a “stealth jihad” to install "Shariah Law" in the country; and most prominently, Middle East Forum founding director Daniel Pipes, who once described Muslims in the Netherlands as “brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and not exactly maintaining Germanic standards of hygiene”.

Unsurprisingly, Murray’s Henry Jackson Society happens to be another grant beneficiary of the “Abstraction Fund” owned by Gatestone’s Rosenwald.

HJS and Quilliam sitting in a tree…

Despite the abhorrent remarks of the people Murray supports and considers his friends, despite the abhorrent activities of his own paymasters, and despite his own abhorrent remarks, Murray’s HJS has been increasingly courted by the so-called counter-extremists at the illustrious Quilliam Foundation.

In much the same way that Baroness Cox, Murray’s mentor at CSC and now his boss at Gatestone, has worked closely with British intelligence for decades to pressurise the government using scare-mongering about “leftists,” Quilliam seems to have followed a similar modus operandi.

Last week, I exposed how the core narrative adopted by Quilliam’s original founding directors, Maajid Nawaz and Ed Husain, was incubated at the highest levels of the British government even before the publication of Husain’s bestselling memoirs, The Islamist. To date, Husain and Nawaz have maintained a deafening silence in response to that story.

From 2009 to 2013, Quilliam employed Ghaffar Hussain as head of training and outreach, and later as managing director. Yet in roughly the same period, Ghaffar Hussain became an Associate Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society after Murray joined HJS as a director. He was also listed on the HJS website as a member of its “professional staff”. That page has now been removed.

Another person bridging the two organisations was Raheem Kassam, at that time HJS campaigns director. Kassam admitted, however, in September 2010 to having worked closely with Quilliam for the preceding year. Kassam also ran the “Students Rights” project out of HJS, in which capacity he criticised the London School of Economics students union for passing a “no platform” policy on fascist groups, including the British National Party (BNP). Incredibly, the rationale for this was that the BNP is a “legitimate political party,” and most of its members do not engage in “violence or hate-speech”.

Kassam later went on to land a job as managing editor of the London branch of the American right-wing news site Breitbart.com, one of whose columnists, Patrick Dullard, once tweeted: “If there is even one more act of Muslim terrorism, it is then time for Americans to start slaughtering Muslims in the street, all of them.”

After writing and publishing endless screeds on Breitbart.com promoting UKIP, Kassam ended up joining the party as Nigel Farage’s senior aide and election strategist.

Rehabilitating fascism

In the wake of Quilliam’s burgeoning underhand alliance with HJS, Quilliam suddenly turned its attention to supposedly rehabilitating far-right extremism. In late 2013, Paul Harris, aka Tommy Robinson (aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon), announced his resignation from the leadership of the English Defence League (EDL) at a Quilliam press conference. Maajid Nawaz and his colleagues took credit for having “deradicalised” Robinson.

Yet after his supposed conversion to normality, Robinson is on record as confirming that his views never actually changed. “I am not ashamed, no, I am proud that I started [the EDL],” he tweeted. When asked by the BBC if any of his views had altered, he said: “They’ve not changed.”

Presumably, then, Robinson still believes innocuous stuff like this: “And we are here today to tell you quite loud and clear, to every single Muslim watching this on Youtube, on 7/7 you got away with killing and maiming British citizens. You got away with it. You had better understand that we have built a network from one end of this country to the other end, and we will not tolerate it, and the Islamic community will feel the full force of the English Defence League if we see any of our citizens killed, maimed or hurt on British soil ever again.”

Or totally innocent stuff like this: “In the last 66 years we as a nation, as a race have had our national identity stolen from us… And unless we find our backbone and stand up to the ones who are committing crimes against the English people we shall continue to be subjected to slavery by a British elite aided by outside influences whose only intention is to destroy us from within and wipe us out as a race.”

Indeed, Robinson remains on the President’s Council for Stop the Islamisation Of America (SIOA) campaign run by Pam Geller and Robert Spencer, both of whom are banned from Britain. According to them, Robinson plans to work closely with SIOA – he does not deny this.

Unfortunately, Murray could not help but insert himself into this sordid mix. In the Spectator, he confesses that “a close Muslim friend of mine” at Quilliam “who had been guiding Robinson” through his non-conversion process, called Murray up to ask him to “hear Robinson out”. What follows is a truly fawning interview in which Murray misrepresents Robinson and the EDL as poor victims of Islamist violence that never had any racist or far-right sentiment.

Awww. Poor, victimised EDL-ers.

Thick-tanks

Perhaps the worst thing about all these co-opted “terror experts” that appear to be funded and embedded in a network of far-right ideologues sympathetic to white supremacism, is how stupid they really are.

At least Quilliam’s gullibility is more excusable than Murray’s. Overlooking the fact that the Quilliam narrative has itself been effectively “ghostwritten in Whitehall,” it is worth noting that not a single Quilliam employee has a meaningful peer-reviewed publication track record that might indicate some semblance of the interdisciplinary insight needed to understand the complex issues bound up with Islamist extremist groups and their relationships to the history, theology, culture and policies of both the Muslim and Western worlds.

Sadly, a perusal of Quilliam’s own publication archive reveals that the organisation is less a think tank than a “thick tank,” a great little vanity press for bog-standard reports that wouldn’t get published anywhere else.

So desperate is Quilliam to pad out the non-existent credentials of its staff, they use bios which point out trivial irrelevances as if they are sparkling symbols of academic prowess and policy wonkiness.

Consider the bio of recently minted Quilliam researcher Charlie Winter. This is a guy who regularly pops up on TV as a terrorism expert. His bio starts by flagging up that he “lived in Damascus for a year”. Perhaps someone needs to inform him that living somewhere for a year isn’t really a qualification. Winter studied Arabic for his bachelors, and also has a postgraduate degree in Middle East studies. This, Winter seems to think, allows him to refer glowingly to the “course of his academic career” and to even describe himself as a “specialist” in “historic and contemporary militant Islamism and US foreign policy in the MENA region”. But Winter never had an “academic career” – he was a student. All Winter’s writings (apart from his rather vacuous newspaper op-eds) are published by Quilliam, including what he describes as “two other long reports on Islamic State”. Please note the important adjective in this sentence is “long”. They are banal and rubbish, but at least they are “long”.

Exactly how rubbish they are can be illustrated by one recent stultifying report on the “Islamic State” that Winter co-authored with Dr Erin Marie Saltman. Saltman was a senior researcher at Quilliam, before joining the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, where she continues to be a sought-after pundit for Islamist terror commentary. Although she has built up a portfolio of policy papers, she has not authored a single peer-reviewed publication relating to Islamist terrorism, and her PhD thesis itself has nothing to with this subject, focusing instead on “the contemporary political socialisation of Hungarian youth”.

Hmm.

Among the “leading counter terrorism specialists” interviewed for the Saltman and Winter “long report” published by Quilliam, is a character by the name of Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, whose “expertise” is sought to help pinpoint the nuances of IS’s evolution and character. But al-Tamimi is, like Murray, a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the neocon Gatestone Institute. He is also yet another graduate-level “authority,” who worked his way up the “terror expert” rankings by starting out as an intern at Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum.

Al-Tamimi’s Gatestone output includes poorly researched pro-war rants, such as one where he calls Middle East expert Professor Juan Cole a “conspiracy theorist” for arguing that the Bush administration manufactured a pretext for the 2003 Iraq War. Last year, al-Tamimi was outed for embedding himself with online IS supporters, repeatedly expressing sympathy for them, and rallying them in Arabic to get renowned terrorism analyst JM Berger suspended from Twitter.

Other terrorism experts with actual track records accuse him of “being exploited and manipulated” by IS, and of lacking the “analytical depth or experience needed to exercise basic research judgement.” In one bizarre instance, al-Tamimi was so close to the people he referred to as his IS “bros,” he tweeted a horrifying photo of one of the first IS crucifixions, four minutes before it was even tweeted by a self-identified IS account.

This is a leading counter-terrorism specialist?

Quilliam’s credulity is unsurprising, though, given its own paucity of expertise. Winter, for instance, proudly describes himself as “a contributing member of the US-based counter-terrorism group, TRAC (Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium),” which reveals more than he obviously realises. This perhaps sounds impressive for someone who hasn’t the first clue about the field of terrorism and security studies, but for actual experts, it is hardly an affiliation one would add to one’s CV - unless you were really desperate.

TRAC is another bogus “terrorism monitoring” outfit regularly quoted in the press as an authority - the “consortium” was recently widely interviewed about the Nigeria-based terrorism group, Boko Haram.

According to Prof. Alex P Schmid, director of the Terrorism Research Initiative at the University of Massachusetts, TRAC’s online content is “very uneven” in quality, “quite often not up to scholarly standards,” and lacks “a solid peer-review system”.

Prof. Schmid was Officer-in-Charge of the UN’s Terrorism Prevention Branch before becoming director of terrorism studies at St Andrews University and a fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague. He points out that the TRAC database is replete with entries that are blatantly plagiarised from Wikipedia, US State Department reports and other open sources, but are still “poorly written and/or offer limited information.” Among the list of TRAC members “one finds, next to reputable scholars, many third rate contributors who have few credible claims to specialist status.” Despite this, TRAC is a commercial business, selling subscription access to its “specialist” information behind password-protection, and promoting itself successfully in the media as an authority.

Projection

One of the constantly recurring themes promoted by these neocon “terror experts” is the idea of evil Muslims everywhere secretly trying to infiltrate everything. Yet we now know that the supposed evidence for this has largely been concocted within the bowels of government itself.

The truth about all these “terror experts” is far more worrying. This trans-Atlantic nexus of bigoted “terror experts,” are not just anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and pro-white. Some of them even seem to harbour or sympathise with disturbingly racist and genocidal ideologies.

They represent a long-term effort, helped along the way by elements of the American and British intelligence services and shepherded by senior neocon government officials, to infiltrate the corridors of power and dominate the levers of policymaking, by exploiting not just fear of terrorism, but also fear of dissent and fear of the Other.

What is particularly worrying, though, is the extent to which this strategy of far-right entryism has succeeded in worming its way into the heart of Whitehall, right under the nose of a government that claims to be committed to defeating extremism.

Nafeez Ahmed PhD, is an investigative journalist, international security scholar and bestselling author who tracks what he calls the 'crisis of civilization.' He is a winner of the Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian reporting on the intersection of global ecological, energy and economic crises with regional geopolitics and conflicts. He has also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, New Internationalist. His work on the root causes and covert operations linked to international terrorism officially contributed to the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Photo: Demonstrators opposed to the far-right English Defence League (EDL) shout slogans during a march by the EDL in London on 20 September, 2014 (AFP)