‘Barack Obama is dead’: A sick joke from Moazzam Begg’s Cageprisoners group


Cageprisoners is a UK-based “human rights” group that claims,according to its website, to“raise awareness of the plight of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other detainees held as part of the War on Terror.” It was founded by Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who denies having ever been a member of al-Qaeda except, asreported by the Telegraph’s Con Coughlin a fortnight ago, when allegedly confessing as much to the FBI. (He was never formally charged by the United States.)

Begg recently took to the pages of the Washington Post in a remarkable series on lives “shattered and transformed” by Osama bin Laden, more or less arguing that his was first shattered, then transformed for the better. Begg maintains in his piece that he didn’t come to admire the “pious man determined to strike the West” until he was detained by the Americans and started talking to fellow detainees. Begg also asks, quoting former CIA agent Michael Scheuer, why bin Laden’s attractive qualities – “generosity,” “bravery”, “charisma” – aren’t emphasized in the media’s portrayal of him as a mean old mass murderer.

This is something of a house style at Cageprisoners. Begg’s colleague, Asim Qureshi (who once told a Hizb ut-Tahrir rally in London that the “example” lies with jihadists in Chechnya, Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir and Afghanistan) has also adorned bin Laden with a gauzy posthumous halo. The al-Qaeda leader “served his cause”, we find Qureshi eulogising on the Cageprisoners website. “So we need to ask ourselves, is Osama bin Laden really dead or are has [sic] the shoot to kill policy merely created the grounds for spawning thousands more bin Ladens ready to take his mantle?”

It would appear that Cageprisoners is backing the latter, as it has recently posted this sick contribution to the debate about bin Laden’s death in Abbottabad: “BREAKING NEWS: BARACK OBAMA IS DEAD”.

I quote from the Islamist’s version of an Onion parody, authored by Cageprisoners member Fahad Ansari:

American War Criminal Barack Obama has been killed by Pakistani security forces in the UK, Prime Minister Hasan Abdullah of Pakistan has said.

Obama was shot dead at a compound near Camberley, in a ground operation based on Pakistani intelligence, the first lead for which emerged last August.

Mr Abdullah said Pakistan forces took possession of the body after “a firefight”.

Obama is believed to have ordered almost 200 attacks in North and South Waziristan between 2009 and 2011 in which almost 2000 people were killed, when he served as Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces. Obama is also believed to have ordered the continued bombardment of Afghanistan during the same period in which thousands of others were killed.

Interesting to note that this faux news story is dated 15 May 2021 and cites Obama’s imagined age of expiry as “60”. If it takes place in the future then is the depicted assassination of the American President supposed to be read as an exercise in moral equivalence or wish-fulfilment?

It is a Class D felony in the United States to threaten the life of the President, and while past examples have ranged from Groucho Marx hoping that Nixon would be assassinated to Hunter S. Thompson saying that he wanted to “stomp” on the face of George H.W. Bush, rarely has an executive death-wish by a mainstream party been accompanied by a Photoshopped image of the victim’s blood-spattered corpse, as the Cageprisoners example is. (Ansari, or his graphic designer, used a popular but fictitious image of a dead bin Laden as their template.)

I cannot be popular with Amnesty International given my recent blog posts, but they have only themselves to blame. What is the rationale behind Amnesty’s partnering with Cageprisoners and Moazzam Begg?


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