You might remember the piece we published at the beginning of February that reported that the British government has decided that more than 400 ISIS fighters who have returned to the UK are no longer of national security concern. It was strange at the time that so much attention was paid to Tommy Robinson's appearance on the BBC but none to this story.
At the time in Parliament, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism Victoria Atkins said:
“As we have stated previously in the House, we know that more than 850 UK-linked individuals of national security concern traveled to engage with the Syrian conflict.
We estimate that over 15% of those who traveled have been killed in fighting in the region and just under half have returned to the UK. A significant proportion of those individuals who have already returned are assessed as no longer being of national security concern.
The Government have been clear throughout the conflict that any British national who has traveled to Syria or Iraq and chosen to fight for Daesh has made themselves a legitimate target while in the conflict zone."
Well, my friends, it brings me no pleasure to tell you that we misjudged this matter completely. Britain is in a far worse state than we thought. Today saw terrorism charges brought in court against James Matthews, a former soldier who joined the Kurdish YPG militia to fight against ISIS. Can you comprehend it? I'm not sure that I can fathom why the state has decided that 400 ISIS fighters who attended terrorist training camps are good boys who didn't do anything. I cannot fathom why James Matthews has been charged for attending a "terrorist training camp" –according to the Turks- which was set up to fight ISIS while actual Jihadis who attended actual terrorist training camps are allowed to return to British civilian life.
THE LAW IS A ASS— Man in Black 🏴 (@69mib) February 11, 2018
James Matthews, a former British soldier who fought alongside Kurdish forces in Syria against Islamic State, will appear in a London court to face charges related to terrorism. Matthews fought men who would happily kill our children. He should be given a medal. pic.twitter.com/l6VgTGznHj
Mr. Matthews, from Stoke-on-Trent, joined the fight against Isis after seeing a photograph of a jihadi holding a woman’s severed head on Facebook.
“It seemed like one of the most evil single images I’ve ever seen in my life. We’ve got to take this territory back and we’ve got to do it by force, we’re fighting against a movement almost like it belongs to another age committing all these barbaric atrocities.”
In an open letter published following the terrorist attack in London in March 2017 that was signed by Matthews, the following passage stands out.
“ For all the sound and fury, we don’t remember seeing anyone from Britain First, EDL, UKIP, or their like, by our side in battle. Which is a good thing, because we wouldn’t have tolerated them. Our ranks are made up of Kurds, Arabs, Yezidis, Brits, Yanks, Canadians, Aussies, Asians, Europeans – Muslims, Christians, Alevis, atheists – too many faiths and races to list. A multi-ethnic, multi-faith entity, standing united against hate and extremism. The majority are, in fact, Muslims, and not only are we proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them – the truth is, we can’t do this without them. The only way to defeat the Islamic State, and groups like it, is with ordinary, moderate Muslims on-side. The only way to defeat hate and extremism is to not give in to it.”
This passage, in particular, must be kept in mind as Matthews is dragged before a judge and accused of being a terrorist. He's not politically motivated enough to be a terrorist by this evidence, co-signing a letter that is specific in its condemnation of right-wing political parties in the United Kingdom. We have published content in this magazine that Mr. Matthews no doubt disagrees with immensely. Yet, he is charged with;
"...attending a place or places in Iraq and Syria where instruction or training was provided for purposes connected to the commission or preparation of terrorism on or before February 15, 2016, under Section 8 of the Terrorism Act 2006." -Metropolitan Police Statement
A man whos motivation to join the fight against ISIS was to stop the beheadings, the rapings, the burning and pillaging of barbaric warlords is a terrorist now- or so the British state would have us believe. What about 400 returned ISIS terrorists who are on the streets of Britain right now? What about the 23,000 jihadis who live in Britain?
We are forced to live in a society with well over 20k Jihadists, unknown numbers of Isis terrorists returning from Syria, and the police pursue James Matthews as a priority of safety.— byron #FBPE Full Brexit, Pro Exit (@byronjamez) February 11, 2018
To say confidence in the Police is at all all time low would be an understatement. https://t.co/BdkJlwgq01
Should Matthews be found guilty of attending a terrorist training camp it will make a mockery of Britain's so-called justice system. So determined is the establishment to craft a narrative of the Islamophobic British that regardless of the outcome of this trial we will see articles in the press tarring Mr. Matthews as somehow racist for leaving a cushy job teaching English in Saudi Arabia to fight against genocidal lunatics with other volunteer fighters who proved their bravery.
Many of these volunteers died for what they believed in. What a disgrace it is then that a survivor of a war against Jihad is persecuted for doing what everyone else would not. Mr. Matthews should not be on trial for fighting ISIS- he should have been knighted. Once upon a time in our distant past, it was possible for soldiers to be raised to knighthood for valor on the battlefield, today we arrest any man who fights for his beliefs- any White British man, at any stretch.
https://t.co/J4TKvCj0Cn James Matthews has been arrested on terrorism charge for fighting with SDF against ISIS. Please write protest letters to Amber Rudd, as below @Hevallo @ATHE1STP0WER #Twitterkurds @debbiebookchin @davidgraeber pic.twitter.com/M8ZbO8hvDZ— Rahila Gupta (@RahilaG) February 8, 2018