UK Woolwich murder leaves unanswered questions

Michael Adebolajo

By Nureddin Sabir
Editor, Redress Information & Analysis

So far we have refrained from commenting on the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich by Essex boy Michael Adebolajo, lest our comments are misinterpreted as justifying or excusing in any way this appalling act.

Shocking murders

We share fully former British diplomat Craig Murray’s sentiment. Writing in his blog on 23 May, he said:

The shocking death of Lee Rigby quite naturally appals us all. The intention of the crazed little group who conceived this killing was to make it as horrible as possible in order to scare people.

Horrible, sociopathic violence happens to people from time to time. They have done since Cain killed Abel, metaphorically or literally as you choose. Here is another headline today, just as horrific: “A British soldier has been jailed for stabbing a 10-year-old boy after getting drunk on vodka while serving in Afghanistan.”

Both that obscene attack and Michael Adebolajo’s appalling actions are borne out of the same conflict. But it is reasonable to suppose that both these incidents involved people with, for whatever reason, a predisposition to murderous violence.

Religion as a driver

Michael Adebolajo, a Christian convert to Islam of Nigerian descent, was schooled by at least one banned Islamist organization, Al-Muhajiroun, which along with dozens of similar groups strewn across the Arab world and South Asia, has poisoned the minds and corrupted the thoughts of millions of people. Together with the sclerotic dictatorships of the likes of Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar Assad and the feudal Al Saud dynasty, they have destroyed and are destroying our countries and our societies, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arab Gulf and beyond.

To what extent Adebolajo committed murder because of his brainwashing by the Islamist groups he chose to associate with will remain a mystery, at least until his trial and probably beyond. But religion is at least a likely motive. As A.C. Grayling says:

“Faith,” someone once said, “is what I will die for; dogma is what I will kill for.” The border between preparedness to die and kill is so porous that it is easily crossed. As a result, history welters in the blood of religion-inspired mayhem. The problem is the complete and unshakeable assurance that religion gives its votaries that what they do in its name deserves praise. Agents of the Inquisition burned heretics to death to save them from the consequences of persisting in their sinfulness, so that they would spend less time in purgatory. So it was, they believed, an act of kindness to kill them. The current crop of terrorists do not bother to claim kindness towards their victims; hatred – or, at a poor best, revenge – is the frankly avowed motive. But here the justification is that unbelievers are worthless, deserving nothing but death.

Insanity, trauma and official harassment

Madness is also another possible driving force, although the line between insanity and religion is not always as clearcut as some would like it to appear. Many will remember the case of the British tourist who was attacked and beheaded at a supermarket on the island of Tenerife by a Christian man who claimed to be the “prophet of God”.

There are many reasons why people are or become mad, ranging from genetics to alcohol and substance abuse. But among the extraneous, or non-hereditary, causes of insanity trauma and persistent mistreatment must rank high.

Speaking on BBC TV’s “Newsnight” programme on 24 May, one of Adebolajo’s friends, Abu Nusaybah, alleged that Adebolajo had been traumatized while on a visit to Kenya and subsequently harassed by the British security service MI5. In the interview, reported by the Guardian newspaper,

Abu Nusaybah in part attributed Adebolajo’s radicalization to his alleged ill-treatment in Kenya.

Nusaybah alleged that Adebolajo was arrested while studying in a village in Kenya last year. After refusing to answer questions, Adebolajo was told that he was “not in the UK” and was then, he claimed, sexually assaulted. On his return, “he became more reclined [sic], less talkative. He wasn’t his bubbly self,” said Nusaybah, who said that the experience further radicalized Adebolajo.

Upon his return to the UK, according to Abu Nusaybah’s account, Adebolajo was targeted by MI5. As reported by the Guardian, Abu Nusaybah’s said:

“They were knocking and knocking on his door. He pretended not to be there, but then he spoke to the agent. They said, ‘We just want to speak to you.’ They wanted to ask him if he knew certain people,” he said.

“But after him saying that he didn’t know these individuals, he said they asked him if he would be interested in working for them. He was explicit in that he refused to work for them but he did confirm he didn’t know the individuals.”

“His word was, ‘They are bugging me,’” said Nusaybah.

Suspect police behaviour

Minutes after completing his recorded interview for “Newsnight”, Abu Nusaybah, who is understood to be connected to extremists formerly in the banned Al-Muhajiroun group, was arrested by the British police. According to the Guardian, “Counter-terrorism officers turned up at reception at the BBC’s central London headquarters as his interview was being recorded an hour before it was broadcast. The officers waited, then arrested Nusaybah as he left the BBC’s headquarters.” The Guardian adds:

Asked about the unusual sequence of events leading to the arrest, the Metropolitan police said: “He was not arrested because of his comments on Newsnight.”

The police would not say what led to his arrest, which BBC insiders said had left them shocked. Police also said he was not arrested in connection to the murder of Lee Rigby.

So, if Abu Nusaybah was not arrested because of his comments on “Newsnight” (which, by the way, he could not have been because the interview was in progress while the police were waiting for him at the BBC’s reception and they could not have known in advance what he was going to tell the BBC), and if he was not arrested in connection with the murder of the British soldier, then what was he arrested for?

Perhaps it was a good old British cock up. “Newsnight” is broadcast at 2230 UK time and some of the interviews on the programme are conducted live while others are pre-recorded. Abu Nusaybah’s interview was pre-recorded. The police turned up at the BBC shortly before 2130 hours and they arrested Abu Nusaybah at about 2130 as he was leaving the BBC’s premises, having completed the recording of the interview, one hour before the programme went on air.

Did they shut the door after the horse had bolted? Was their intention to arrest Abu Nusaybah on his way to the “Newsnight” studio before the interview, thinking that he was going to be interviewed live, to prevent him from saying what he said, rather than on his way out after the interview? What exactly is their – and MI5’s – relationship with him?

The Blair factor

Last but not least, let us not forget the broader context of this mess and the responsibility of one particular war crimes suspect who is still free and roaming the world, making loads of money: Tony Blair.

We do not normally quote from newspapers in China, the world’s most active imperialist power, but the Chinese press hit the nail on the head by reminding us that the UK had turned itself into a target of revenge by actively supporting US-led military actions abroad. In the words of Guangming Ribao: “The UK has been actively involved in the US-led regional conflicts and acted as a vanguard to become the second target of revenge after the US for Islamic extremists.”

Now everyone, except the chief culprit, is reaping the harvest.

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