web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > terrorism

David Gauke: Whatever briefings from Downing Street may claim, an election fought on a No Deal platform would be disastrous

David Gauke is a former Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, and is MP for South West Hertfordshire.

How much has the Conservative Party changed? To what extent has it moved from being a mainstream, centre-right party containing a broad range of views to being a party overwhelmingly focused on delivering an uncompromising Brexit?

It is a question I have asked myself a lot in recent months. Having fought off a deselection attempt because I opposed a No Deal Brexit, and having lost the Conservative whip because I continued to oppose a No Deal Brexit, it is hard to escape the conclusion that quite a lot of Conservatives disapprove of people who oppose a No Deal Brexit. Has the debate become so rancorous and intolerant that there is no longer a place for the likes of me in the Conservative Party?

The answer to that question is uncertain, but I took some encouragement from the Manchester Party conference.
I admit to attending with some trepidation. My position on Brexit is evidently a minority one within the Party. I have not sought to hide my criticisms of the substance and tone of the Government’s approach to Brexit. And I have not ruled out standing in my constituency as an independent if the whip is not returned. If ever I was going to get a hard time from Party activists, now would be the time.

And yet, at fringe event after fringe event, Party members were courteous and polite. Andrew Gimson generously wrote up my appearance at the ConservativeHome event, but a similar report could have been written for those I did with the Daily Telegraph and the Spectator. Don’t get me wrong: I am not claiming that I won the audiences over to my position – the occasional eye-roll, sigh and shake of the head was detectable – but nor was there anything like the hostility one might expect if, for example, you ever read the comments below one of my ConHome articles.

In truth, the Conservative Party felt – in those fringe meetings, at least – very similar to the party of which I have been a member for 29 years. Sensible, practical, well-meaning and decent.

I also take some encouragement from the apparent, new-found enthusiasm within the Government to reach a deal on Brexit. In previous columns, I have argued that seeking a deal and being willing to compromise is the right approach. That view would appear to be in the ascendant at the time of writing.

Until recently, an alternative approach appeared to be prevailing which seemed determined to crash us out on  October 31 at any cost. I have previously acknowledged the electoral case for this strategy, but in terms of the outcome for the country, it is thoroughly irresponsible. As such, it is also a huge departure from the modern traditions of the Conservative Party.

Let me give seven examples of principles that most Conservatives would support. I would happily sign up to each and every one of them but I struggle to reconcile them with those pursuing a No Deal Brexit at any cost.

  • We believe that living standards can only be raised and public services properly funded if you have a strong economy.

It is the argument that we have to fight at every election when our opponents make great promises but we respond by pointing out that we have to create the wealth in the first place if we properly want to fund the NHS, for example. Yet the overwhelming economic consensus is that No Deal Brexit would result in a sharp contraction in GDP. And before anyone rushes to claim that this is all a re-run of 2016’s ‘Project Fear’, remember our economy is 2.5-3 per cent smaller than it would have been had Remain won.

  • We believe in free trade.

Open markets benefit both our exporters but also our consumers. This has not always been the Conservative position but, thankfully, it has been for some time. And I know that there are plenty of Brexiteers who are sincere free traders and think that Brexit provides great new opportunities for bringing down trade barriers.

Unfortunately, it is simply not true. The Government’s analysis shows the benefit of getting trade deals with all the English-speaking nations and the major emerging economies will be just 0.2 to 0.6 per cent of GDP whereas the loss of access to European markets of a Canada-style free trade agreement (let alone a no deal Brexit) will be 4 to 7 per cent of GDP. The net effect of a No Deal Brexit or even a Canada style FTA will be to make our economy less open and more protectionist.

  • We believe in fiscal responsibility.

This was the battleground of British politics from 2009 to 2015 when we made the case for getting the deficit down. The contraction of the British economy will inevitably result in deteriorating public finances. Add to that a political strategy which focuses on winning the support of traditional Labour voters which has meant that we are almost certainly already breaking our fiscal rules.  Remember when we criticised Labour for more borrowing and more debt?

  • We don’t believe that the Government should bail-out unviable industries or businesses.

As a statement, this sounds like a bit of a throw-back to the 1980s when Margaret Thatcher weaned the country off supporting lame-duck businesses. But what do we think would happen when businesses no longer became viable because of the impact of No Deal? The pressure to provide support ‘in order to deal with the temporary disruption’ will be immense. The Government has already prepared for this with Operation Kingfisher but removing that support will be very difficult politically. There is a risk that our economy will become much more corporatist than any time since the 1970s.

  • We believe in our national institutions – Parliament, the monarchy and the independent judiciary.

This should go without saying but when Number Ten briefs that the next election will be people versus Parliament, that the Prime Minister will ‘dare the Queen to sack him’, that the judiciary is biased and that the Government will not comply with the law, we don’t sound very conservative (to put it mildly).

  • We believe in national security and ensuring that we do all we can to protect our citizens from terrorism.

And yet a ‘source in No 10’ says we will withhold security co-operation from those countries that fail to block an extension. Meanwhile, the former head of MI6 says that our security depends upon co-operation with the EU and that leaving without a deal means we will have to ‘start again with a blank sheet of paper’. In addition, it is hard to see how any ‘no deal’ outcome doesn’t destabilise the Good Friday Agreement one way or another. The Prime Minister, it is reported, is increasingly concerned about the risk of an upsurge in terrorist activities by dissident republican groups.

  • We believe in the United Kingdom.

It is obvious that Brexit is placing a strain on the union. A No Deal Brexit would be likely to result in a border poll in Northern Ireland, especially with Stormont not sitting and some form of direct rule being necessary. As for Scotland, the chaos of a No Deal Brexit provides plenty of ammunition for the separatists.

Not every Conservative voter will agree with every single one of those principles, or my criticisms of a No Deal Brexit. But a Conservative Party that fights a general election with No Deal at its heart must know that it will be pursuing an approach that is such a radical departure from the traditions of the Conservative Party and that it is vulnerable to losing the support of millions of our longstanding supporters.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained

Westlake Legal Group merlin_152756715_bd9018d1-830d-4448-95f1-568d8c4a39e6-facebookJumbo The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syrian Democratic Forces Refugees and Displaced Persons Kurds Kotey, Alexanda Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Elsheikh, El Shafee Detainees Assad, Bashar al-

WASHINGTON — The escalating chaos in northern Syria as Turkey presses forward with its attack on the United States’ erstwhile Kurdish allies is raising fears about the fate of thousands of Islamic State detainees that the Kurds have been holding in makeshift wartime prisons.

When announcing that he had cleared the way for the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, President Trump insisted that Turkey must assume responsibility for the captured ISIS fighters and their families — then said the United States was taking custody of the most dangerous ones. But with the Pentagon preparing to withdraw American forces from northern Syria, it is far from clear that either aspiration will happen.

The situation is deeply complicated. Turkey has launched an invasion against Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who were the primary American ally in Syria against the Islamic State and who control northern Syria. Turkey has been fighting separatist Kurds inside its borders and considers the Syrian Kurds terrorists.

The presence of American troops alongside the Kurds had helped to maintain a fragile peace. But after Mr. Trump told Turkey that it could begin an operation into Syria and that the United States would pull its forces back from a zone along the border, Turkey and an Arab Syrian militia have killed many Kurds — and may have deliberately fired near American forces, too. On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that Mr. Trump had ordered American forces out of northern Syria.

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, backed by Russia, controls the southern part of the country and wants to retake it all. On Sunday, the Kurds apparently struck a deal with the Syrian government, but its details — and what it would mean for detainees — were not yet clear.

The Syrian Democratic Forces has operated an archipelago of about half a dozen ad hoc wartime detention sites for captive ISIS fighters, ranging from former schoolhouses in towns like Ain Issa and Kobani to a former Syrian government prison at Hasaka.

The prisons hold about 11,000 men, of whom about 9,000 are locals — Syrians or Iraqis — and about 2,000 come from 50 other nations whose home governments have been reluctant to repatriate them. Scores of those men are Europeans, from countries like Belgium, Britain, France and Germany, but far more come from other nations that are part of the Muslim world, like Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

The Kurds also operate more than a dozen camps for families displaced by the conflict that hold tens of thousands of people, many of them non-Syrian wives and children of Islamic State fighters. These include the giant Al Hol camp about 25 miles southeast of Hasaka, where some 70,000 people have been living in increasingly dire conditions, and a camp in Ain Issa.

One fear was that the Kurds are redeploying guards out of the prisons and camps to help fight the Turks, making it easier for ISIS members to break out. On Sunday, hundreds of ISIS women and children apparently were permitted to leave a section of the displaced-persons camp in Ain Issa where they had been detained, amid Turkish airstrikes that threatened their safety. It is not clear whether any male fighters have yet escaped the prisons.

The “worst-case scenario” is that the Kurds are so frustrated and angered by the United States’ action that “they decide to release wholesale some of the detainees,” said Christopher P. Costa, a former senior director for counterterrorism on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council who now heads the International Spy Museum.

The White House said Turkey would “now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.” But Turkey has given no public sign that it has agreed to take over that headache.

“It’s hard to imagine Turkey has the capacity to handle securely and appropriately the detainees long held by the Syrian Kurds — and that’s if Turkey even genuinely intends to try,” said Joshua A. Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the Obama administration.

It is also possible that the Syrian government could end up taking over some of the prisons as a result of a deal between the Kurds and the Assad regime. But it was not clear whether there was any plan for a controlled transfer of authority and responsibility amid the fast-moving events.

Yes, but that was largely untrue.

On Wednesday, as the chaos was intensifying in northern Syria, Mr. Trump made reassuring remarks to reporters, disclosing that the United States was taking custody of the worst ISIS detainees to ensure that they would not escape.

“We are taking some of the most dangerous ISIS fighters out,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve taken them out and we’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure. In addition, the Kurds are watching. And if the Kurds don’t watch, then Turkey is going to watch because they don’t want those people out any more than we do.”

He added: “But we have taken a certain number of ISIS fighters that are particularly bad. And we’ve wanted to make sure that nothing happened with them, with respect to getting out. And I think we’re doing a great job.”

But even though Mr. Trump spoke in the past tense, as if that operation had been carried out, it was instead largely aspirational — and now appears increasingly unlikely.

The United States got only two high-value detainees out — far short of its goal.

The military had been making contingency plans to get a list of about five dozen of the highest-priority detainees from that group out of northern Syria since December, when Mr. Trump first announced that he would withdraw troops from the country before his administration slowed down that plan, one official said.

After Mr. Trump’s abrupt green light to Turkey, the military tried to carry out that aspiration. And special forces operators on Wednesday managed to take custody of two British men believed to be half of an ISIS cell that tortured and killed Western hostages, and who are now being held at an American base in Iraq.

But after the Kurds acquiesced to those two transfers, they stopped cooperating with the United States in anger at what they saw as Mr. Trump’s betrayal, according to American officials. The Pentagon’s decision on Sunday to pull American forces out of northern Syria means the opportunity to take custody of additional ISIS prisoners — even if the Kurds were to decide to start cooperating again — is rapidly evaporating, the officials said.

They are El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of the so-called Beatles, a four-member cell of British ISIS members who abused Western hostages, including James Foley, the American journalist beheaded in August 2014 for an ISIS propaganda video. Another cell member, who was later killed in a drone strike, is believed to have killed Mr. Foley.

The Justice Department intends to eventually bring the two to the Eastern District of Virginia for trial, but a court fight in Britain has delayed that transfer. The lawsuit is over whether the British government may share evidence with the United States without an assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained

Westlake Legal Group merlin_152756715_bd9018d1-830d-4448-95f1-568d8c4a39e6-facebookJumbo The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syrian Democratic Forces Refugees and Displaced Persons Kurds Kotey, Alexanda Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Elsheikh, El Shafee Detainees Assad, Bashar al-

WASHINGTON — The escalating chaos in northern Syria as Turkey presses forward with its attack on the United States’ erstwhile Kurdish allies is raising fears about the fate of thousands of Islamic State detainees that the Kurds have been holding in makeshift wartime prisons.

When announcing that he had cleared the way for the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, President Trump insisted that Turkey must assume responsibility for the captured ISIS fighters and their families — then said the United States was taking custody of the most dangerous ones. But with the Pentagon preparing to withdraw American forces from northern Syria, it is far from clear that either aspiration will happen.

The situation is deeply complicated. Turkey has launched an invasion against Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who were the primary American ally in Syria against the Islamic State and who control northern Syria. Turkey has been fighting separatist Kurds inside its borders and considers the Syrian Kurds terrorists.

The presence of American troops alongside the Kurds had helped to maintain a fragile peace. But after Mr. Trump told Turkey that it could begin an operation into Syria and that the United States would pull its forces back from a zone along the border, Turkey and an Arab Syrian militia have killed many Kurds — and may have deliberately fired near American forces, too. On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that Mr. Trump had ordered American forces out of northern Syria.

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, backed by Russia, controls the southern part of the country and wants to retake it all. On Sunday, the Kurds apparently struck a deal with the Syrian government, but its details — and what it would mean for detainees — were not yet clear.

The Syrian Democratic Forces has operated an archipelago of about half a dozen ad hoc wartime detention sites for captive ISIS fighters, ranging from former schoolhouses in towns like Ain Issa and Kobani to a former Syrian government prison at Hasaka.

The prisons hold about 11,000 men, of whom about 9,000 are locals — Syrians or Iraqis — and about 2,000 come from 50 other nations whose home governments have been reluctant to repatriate them. Scores of those men are Europeans, from countries like Belgium, Britain, France and Germany, but far more come from other nations that are part of the Muslim world, like Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

The Kurds also operate more than a dozen camps for families displaced by the conflict that hold tens of thousands of people, many of them non-Syrian wives and children of Islamic State fighters. These include the giant Al Hol camp about 25 miles southeast of Hasaka, where some 70,000 people have been living in increasingly dire conditions, and a camp in Ain Issa.

One fear was that the Kurds are redeploying guards out of the prisons and camps to help fight the Turks, making it easier for ISIS members to break out. On Sunday, hundreds of ISIS women and children apparently were permitted to leave a section of the displaced-persons camp in Ain Issa where they had been detained, amid Turkish airstrikes that threatened their safety. It is not clear whether any male fighters have yet escaped the prisons.

The “worst-case scenario” is that the Kurds are so frustrated and angered by the United States’ action that “they decide to release wholesale some of the detainees,” said Christopher P. Costa, a former senior director for counterterrorism on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council who now heads the International Spy Museum.

The White House said Turkey would “now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.” But Turkey has given no public sign that it has agreed to take over that headache.

“It’s hard to imagine Turkey has the capacity to handle securely and appropriately the detainees long held by the Syrian Kurds — and that’s if Turkey even genuinely intends to try,” said Joshua A. Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the Obama administration.

It is also possible that the Syrian government could end up taking over some of the prisons as a result of a deal between the Kurds and the Assad regime. But it was not clear whether there was any plan for a controlled transfer of authority and responsibility amid the fast-moving events.

Yes, but that was largely untrue.

On Wednesday, as the chaos was intensifying in northern Syria, Mr. Trump made reassuring remarks to reporters, disclosing that the United States was taking custody of the worst ISIS detainees to ensure that they would not escape.

“We are taking some of the most dangerous ISIS fighters out,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve taken them out and we’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure. In addition, the Kurds are watching. And if the Kurds don’t watch, then Turkey is going to watch because they don’t want those people out any more than we do.”

He added: “But we have taken a certain number of ISIS fighters that are particularly bad. And we’ve wanted to make sure that nothing happened with them, with respect to getting out. And I think we’re doing a great job.”

But even though Mr. Trump spoke in the past tense, as if that operation had been carried out, it was instead largely aspirational — and now appears increasingly unlikely.

The United States got only two high-value detainees out — far short of its goal.

The military had been making contingency plans to get a list of about five dozen of the highest-priority detainees from that group out of northern Syria since December, when Mr. Trump first announced that he would withdraw troops from the country before his administration slowed down that plan, one official said.

After Mr. Trump’s abrupt green light to Turkey, the military tried to carry out that aspiration. And special forces operators on Wednesday managed to take custody of two British men believed to be half of an ISIS cell that tortured and killed Western hostages, and who are now being held at an American base in Iraq.

But after the Kurds acquiesced to those two transfers, they stopped cooperating with the United States in anger at what they saw as Mr. Trump’s betrayal, according to American officials. The Pentagon’s decision on Sunday to pull American forces out of northern Syria means the opportunity to take custody of additional ISIS prisoners — even if the Kurds were to decide to start cooperating again — is rapidly evaporating, the officials said.

They are El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of the so-called Beatles, a four-member cell of British ISIS members who abused Western hostages, including James Foley, the American journalist beheaded in August 2014 for an ISIS propaganda video. Another cell member, who was later killed in a drone strike, is believed to have killed Mr. Foley.

The Justice Department intends to eventually bring the two to the Eastern District of Virginia for trial, but a court fight in Britain has delayed that transfer. The lawsuit is over whether the British government may share evidence with the United States without an assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained

Westlake Legal Group merlin_152756715_bd9018d1-830d-4448-95f1-568d8c4a39e6-facebookJumbo The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syrian Democratic Forces Refugees and Displaced Persons Kurds Kotey, Alexanda Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Elsheikh, El Shafee Detainees Assad, Bashar al-

WASHINGTON — The escalating chaos in northern Syria as Turkey presses forward with its attack on the United States’ erstwhile Kurdish allies is raising fears about the fate of thousands of Islamic State detainees that the Kurds have been holding in makeshift wartime prisons.

When announcing that he had cleared the way for the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, President Trump insisted that Turkey must assume responsibility for the captured ISIS fighters and their families — then said the United States was taking custody of the most dangerous ones. But with the Pentagon preparing to withdraw American forces from northern Syria, it is far from clear that either aspiration will happen.

The situation is deeply complicated. Turkey has launched an invasion against Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who were the primary American ally in Syria against the Islamic State and who control northern Syria. Turkey has been fighting separatist Kurds inside its borders and considers the Syrian Kurds terrorists.

The presence of American troops alongside the Kurds had helped to maintain a fragile peace. But after Mr. Trump told Turkey that it could begin an operation into Syria and that the United States would pull its forces back from a zone along the border, Turkey and an Arab Syrian militia have killed many Kurds — and may have deliberately fired near American forces, too. On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that Mr. Trump had ordered American forces out of northern Syria.

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, backed by Russia, controls the southern part of the country and wants to retake it all. On Sunday, the Kurds apparently struck a deal with the Syrian government, but its details — and what it would mean for detainees — were not yet clear.

The Syrian Democratic Forces has operated an archipelago of about half a dozen ad hoc wartime detention sites for captive ISIS fighters, ranging from former schoolhouses in towns like Ain Issa and Kobani to a former Syrian government prison at Hasaka.

The prisons hold about 11,000 men, of whom about 9,000 are locals — Syrians or Iraqis — and about 2,000 come from 50 other nations whose home governments have been reluctant to repatriate them. Scores of those men are Europeans, from countries like Belgium, Britain, France and Germany, but far more come from other nations that are part of the Muslim world, like Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

The Kurds also operate more than a dozen camps for families displaced by the conflict that hold tens of thousands of people, many of them non-Syrian wives and children of Islamic State fighters. These include the giant Al Hol camp about 25 miles southeast of Hasaka, where some 70,000 people have been living in increasingly dire conditions, and a camp in Ain Issa.

One fear was that the Kurds are redeploying guards out of the prisons and camps to help fight the Turks, making it easier for ISIS members to break out. On Sunday, hundreds of ISIS women and children apparently were permitted to leave a section of the displaced-persons camp in Ain Issa where they had been detained, amid Turkish airstrikes that threatened their safety. It is not clear whether any male fighters have yet escaped the prisons.

The “worst-case scenario” is that the Kurds are so frustrated and angered by the United States’ action that “they decide to release wholesale some of the detainees,” said Christopher P. Costa, a former senior director for counterterrorism on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council who now heads the International Spy Museum.

The White House said Turkey would “now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.” But Turkey has given no public sign that it has agreed to take over that headache.

“It’s hard to imagine Turkey has the capacity to handle securely and appropriately the detainees long held by the Syrian Kurds — and that’s if Turkey even genuinely intends to try,” said Joshua A. Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the Obama administration.

It is also possible that the Syrian government could end up taking over some of the prisons as a result of a deal between the Kurds and the Assad regime. But it was not clear whether there was any plan for a controlled transfer of authority and responsibility amid the fast-moving events.

Yes, but that was largely untrue.

On Wednesday, as the chaos was intensifying in northern Syria, Mr. Trump made reassuring remarks to reporters, disclosing that the United States was taking custody of the worst ISIS detainees to ensure that they would not escape.

“We are taking some of the most dangerous ISIS fighters out,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve taken them out and we’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure. In addition, the Kurds are watching. And if the Kurds don’t watch, then Turkey is going to watch because they don’t want those people out any more than we do.”

He added: “But we have taken a certain number of ISIS fighters that are particularly bad. And we’ve wanted to make sure that nothing happened with them, with respect to getting out. And I think we’re doing a great job.”

But even though Mr. Trump spoke in the past tense, as if that operation had been carried out, it was instead largely aspirational — and now appears increasingly unlikely.

The United States got only two high-value detainees out — far short of its goal.

The military had been making contingency plans to get a list of about five dozen of the highest-priority detainees from that group out of northern Syria since December, when Mr. Trump first announced that he would withdraw troops from the country before his administration slowed down that plan, one official said.

After Mr. Trump’s abrupt green light to Turkey, the military tried to carry out that aspiration. And special forces operators on Wednesday managed to take custody of two British men believed to be half of an ISIS cell that tortured and killed Western hostages, and who are now being held at an American base in Iraq.

But after the Kurds acquiesced to those two transfers, they stopped cooperating with the United States in anger at what they saw as Mr. Trump’s betrayal, according to American officials. The Pentagon’s decision on Sunday to pull American forces out of northern Syria means the opportunity to take custody of additional ISIS prisoners — even if the Kurds were to decide to start cooperating again — is rapidly evaporating, the officials said.

They are El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of the so-called Beatles, a four-member cell of British ISIS members who abused Western hostages, including James Foley, the American journalist beheaded in August 2014 for an ISIS propaganda video. Another cell member, who was later killed in a drone strike, is believed to have killed Mr. Foley.

The Justice Department intends to eventually bring the two to the Eastern District of Virginia for trial, but a court fight in Britain has delayed that transfer. The lawsuit is over whether the British government may share evidence with the United States without an assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained

Westlake Legal Group merlin_152756715_bd9018d1-830d-4448-95f1-568d8c4a39e6-facebookJumbo The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Syrian Democratic Forces Refugees and Displaced Persons Kurds Kotey, Alexanda Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Elsheikh, El Shafee Detainees Assad, Bashar al-

WASHINGTON — The escalating chaos in northern Syria as Turkey presses forward with its attack on the United States’ erstwhile Kurdish allies is raising fears about the fate of thousands of Islamic State detainees that the Kurds have been holding in makeshift wartime prisons.

When announcing that he had cleared the way for the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, President Trump insisted that Turkey must assume responsibility for the captured ISIS fighters and their families — then said the United States was taking custody of the most dangerous ones. But with the Pentagon preparing to withdraw American forces from northern Syria, it is far from clear that either aspiration will happen.

The situation is deeply complicated. Turkey has launched an invasion against Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who were the primary American ally in Syria against the Islamic State and who control northern Syria. Turkey has been fighting separatist Kurds inside its borders and considers the Syrian Kurds terrorists.

The presence of American troops alongside the Kurds had helped to maintain a fragile peace. But after Mr. Trump told Turkey that it could begin an operation into Syria and that the United States would pull its forces back from a zone along the border, Turkey and an Arab Syrian militia have killed many Kurds — and may have deliberately fired near American forces, too. On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that Mr. Trump had ordered American forces out of northern Syria.

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, backed by Russia, controls the southern part of the country and wants to retake it all. On Sunday, the Kurds apparently struck a deal with the Syrian government, but its details — and what it would mean for detainees — were not yet clear.

The Syrian Democratic Forces has operated an archipelago of about half a dozen ad hoc wartime detention sites for captive ISIS fighters, ranging from former schoolhouses in towns like Ain Issa and Kobani to a former Syrian government prison at Hasaka.

The prisons hold about 11,000 men, of whom about 9,000 are locals — Syrians or Iraqis — and about 2,000 come from 50 other nations whose home governments have been reluctant to repatriate them. Scores of those men are Europeans, from countries like Belgium, Britain, France and Germany, but far more come from other nations that are part of the Muslim world, like Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

The Kurds also operate more than a dozen camps for families displaced by the conflict that hold tens of thousands of people, many of them non-Syrian wives and children of Islamic State fighters. These include the giant Al Hol camp about 25 miles southeast of Hasaka, where some 70,000 people have been living in increasingly dire conditions, and a camp in Ain Issa.

One fear was that the Kurds are redeploying guards out of the prisons and camps to help fight the Turks, making it easier for ISIS members to break out. On Sunday, hundreds of ISIS women and children apparently were permitted to leave a section of the displaced-persons camp in Ain Issa where they had been detained, amid Turkish airstrikes that threatened their safety. It is not clear whether any male fighters have yet escaped the prisons.

The “worst-case scenario” is that the Kurds are so frustrated and angered by the United States’ action that “they decide to release wholesale some of the detainees,” said Christopher P. Costa, a former senior director for counterterrorism on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council who now heads the International Spy Museum.

The White House said Turkey would “now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.” But Turkey has given no public sign that it has agreed to take over that headache.

“It’s hard to imagine Turkey has the capacity to handle securely and appropriately the detainees long held by the Syrian Kurds — and that’s if Turkey even genuinely intends to try,” said Joshua A. Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the Obama administration.

It is also possible that the Syrian government could end up taking over some of the prisons as a result of a deal between the Kurds and the Assad regime. But it was not clear whether there was any plan for a controlled transfer of authority and responsibility amid the fast-moving events.

Yes, but that was largely untrue.

On Wednesday, as the chaos was intensifying in northern Syria, Mr. Trump made reassuring remarks to reporters, disclosing that the United States was taking custody of the worst ISIS detainees to ensure that they would not escape.

“We are taking some of the most dangerous ISIS fighters out,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve taken them out and we’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure. In addition, the Kurds are watching. And if the Kurds don’t watch, then Turkey is going to watch because they don’t want those people out any more than we do.”

He added: “But we have taken a certain number of ISIS fighters that are particularly bad. And we’ve wanted to make sure that nothing happened with them, with respect to getting out. And I think we’re doing a great job.”

But even though Mr. Trump spoke in the past tense, as if that operation had been carried out, it was instead largely aspirational — and now appears increasingly unlikely.

The United States got only two high-value detainees out — far short of its goal.

The military had been making contingency plans to get a list of about five dozen of the highest-priority detainees from that group out of northern Syria since December, when Mr. Trump first announced that he would withdraw troops from the country before his administration slowed down that plan, one official said.

After Mr. Trump’s abrupt green light to Turkey, the military tried to carry out that aspiration. And special forces operators on Wednesday managed to take custody of two British men believed to be half of an ISIS cell that tortured and killed Western hostages, and who are now being held at an American base in Iraq.

But after the Kurds acquiesced to those two transfers, they stopped cooperating with the United States in anger at what they saw as Mr. Trump’s betrayal, according to American officials. The Pentagon’s decision on Sunday to pull American forces out of northern Syria means the opportunity to take custody of additional ISIS prisoners — even if the Kurds were to decide to start cooperating again — is rapidly evaporating, the officials said.

They are El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of the so-called Beatles, a four-member cell of British ISIS members who abused Western hostages, including James Foley, the American journalist beheaded in August 2014 for an ISIS propaganda video. Another cell member, who was later killed in a drone strike, is believed to have killed Mr. Foley.

The Justice Department intends to eventually bring the two to the Eastern District of Virginia for trial, but a court fight in Britain has delayed that transfer. The lawsuit is over whether the British government may share evidence with the United States without an assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Suspect arrested on suspicion of terrorism in Manchester stabbing spree

Westlake Legal Group Manchester-attack Suspect arrested on suspicion of terrorism in Manchester stabbing spree United Kingdom The Blog Terrorism Manchester

There was an apparently random stabbing spree inside a mall in Manchester, England earlier today. Video showed the suspect being arrested just outside the mall by two police officers. As you can see, one of the officers had fired a taser at the suspect:

The BBC describes the scene inside the mall:

One witness said they saw a man “running around with a knife lunging at multiple people”, while another described people “screaming and running”.

The centre was put on lockdown as officers confronted the attacker, with some shoppers taking refuge in stores.

A shop worker, who only gave his name as Jordan, 23, said: “A man was running around with a knife lunging at multiple people, one of which came into my store visibly shaken with a small graze…

Freddie Holder, 22, from Market Drayton, Shropshire, said he heard “a load of screams just outside” the shop he was in.

He said a woman then came into the shop and told others “a guy just ran past the shop and tried to stab me”.

He added: “I’m still kind of in shock from it, I’m shaking a little bit… all shops had been locked down just for safety.

Three people were transported to the hospital with serious injuries and are expected to live. Police gave an update in which they said that almost immediately after the attack began the man was confronted by two unarmed officers. The suspect began chasing them and they radioed for help. Other officers arrived and the suspect was arrested. Police are still saying they don’t know the motive for the attack but the suspect was arrested on suspicion of terrorism:

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson told a press conference that while the suspect was initially arrested for serious assault, he has now been arrested on “suspicion of the preparation, commission and instigation of an act of terrorism.”

There was a similar knife attack in Paris last week when a long-time employee of the police department killed four of his colleagues inside police headquarters. In that case the suspect was killed. Police were initially downplaying terror as a motive, but after a search of the suspects computer and phone they announced that terrorism investigators were taking over the case. A short while later, we learned the suspect had recently adopted more conservative Islamic views and had “expressed his support for the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks.”

We’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out what motivated the Manchester suspect. In most cases, people carrying out these attacks are not trying to go unnoticed. On the contrary, they usually announce the motive in some way. Since he’s still alive, maybe he’s also talking. Here’s a video of the police press conference.

The post Suspect arrested on suspicion of terrorism in Manchester stabbing spree appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group Manchester-attack-300x159 Suspect arrested on suspicion of terrorism in Manchester stabbing spree United Kingdom The Blog Terrorism Manchester   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Martin Parsons: What is the point of the Commission for Countering Extremism?

Last year, the Government set up the Commission for Countering Extremism with a remit to “identify and challenge extremism in all its forms and provide the government with advice on the policies needed to tackle it.  And a few days ago, the Commission duly published its first major report: Challenging Hateful Extremism.

‘Extremism’ is a word that was little used in either the UK or USA prior to the 9/11 attacks. Look at political biographies of the post-war era, and you will see it occasionally used to refer to those at one of end of the mainstream political spectrum. In the pre-Thatcher era, it was actually used to describe those with the temerity to challenge the so-called ‘post-war consensus’ of a partly nationalised economy.

After 9/11, first in the USA, and then in the UK under Tony Blair, it primarily came to refer to Islamist extremism, meaning those holding more extreme views than what was sometimes called ‘mainstream Islam’. However, not only did this approach ignore non-Islamist extremism, but there were two more fundamental problems with it.

First, it became clear that Blair’s government had little understanding of the potential points of conflict between the legal and political aspects of what had been historically taught in classical Islam and the values of a free democratic society.

Second, this definition of extremism allowed the then Labour government to engage with a range of Islamist groups who were demanding, for example, a partial implementation of sharia law as a legal system in the UK. Blair’s government simply pointed to other Islamist groups which were even more extreme than those they were working with. Its policy even led to extremists being allowed to join the security services.

That is why during those years a number of us argued, including on ConservativeHome, that if ‘extremism’ was to be a useful term at all – it had to be defined as meaning extreme in relation to historic British values such as parliamentary democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and one law applying equally to all people.

That paradigm shift was enacted when David Cameron’s Conservative led government came to power in 2010 – and some of the credit for that must go to ConservativeHome’s editor, Paul Goodman, who was shadow Communities minister for the period leading up to that. To some extent, however, determining what those ‘British values’ actually are remains contested territory, not least because of attempts by some social liberals to hijack them as the Casey Review did in 2016 (Casey incidentally is now part of the Commission’s expert group).

It is worth reflecting quite how much progress we have made in understanding and tackling extremism since 9/11. The official report into the 7/7 London bus and tube bombings concluded that we did not understand what motivated the bombers. Politicians and public figures went out of their way to blame various social factors such as deprivation. As someone who had just returned to the UK after several years living as an aid worker in Afghanistan, including under the Taliban, I was astonished at the lack of understanding of Islamist ideology.

That is why I find this first report from the new Commission for Countering Extremism so troubling. In one sense, it ignores the very substantial progress that has been made since 9/11. It provides no significant analytical framework for understanding extremism, contains a whole section on ‘drivers of extremism’ which describes five social factors – but ignores ideology.

Although one cannot adequately summarise a 139 page report in a few words, one of the key thrusts of the report is that it is critical of the Government’s current counter-extremism strategy because, among other reasons, its definition of extremism is too broad and not well understood.  The basis for this claim and for much of the report is a survey of just under 3,000 people undertaken by the Commission. At best, this was a questionable basis on which to base public policy recommendations, risking being little more than a large-scale focus group or simply reflecting the views of lobby groups.

In case you missed it, the Government’s definition of extremism set out at the beginning of the 2015 Counter Extremism Strategy is:

Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values…Life in our country is based on fundamental values that have evolved over centuries, values that are supported and shared by the overwhelming majority of the population and are underpinned by our most important local and national institutions. These values include the rule of law, democracy, individual liberty, and the mutual respect, tolerance and understanding of different faiths and beliefs.

What the Commission found was that just over half of ‘practitioners’ who responded to its survey thought the government’s definition of extremism was helpful, but three quarters of the members of the public who responded did not. That may well mean that the Government needs to do more to promote it, help people to comprehend it – and, crucially, help people to understand the story of how these fundamental British values developed over the centuries.

However, what the Commission proposes is that instead the Government should replace the definition with something that they claim will be clearer and easier to understand: a focus on ‘hate’.

“We currently summarise this hateful extremism as:

Behaviours that can incite and amplify hate, or engage in persistent hatred, or equivocate about and make the moral case for violence;

And that draw on hateful, hostile or supremacist beliefs directed at an out-group who are perceived as a threat to the well-being, survival or success of an in-group;

And that cause, or are likely to cause, harm to individuals, communities or wider society.”

I am probably not alone in thinking that is a good deal less clear than the government’s definition. Not only that, it simply ignores the hugely problematic nature of ‘hate speech’ – particularly in English law, whereby any third party can, however unrelated to the event, claim that something is motivated by hate.

This has affectively allowed hate speech to be weaponised by various groups intent on censoring any public disagreement with their own ideological beliefs, which incidentally includes those intent on imposing an Islamic blasphemy law by the backdoor.

Yes, the Government’s definition of extremism could be tightened up a bit. For example, ‘equal treatment of all by the law’ would be better than ‘the rule of law’: after all, Islamists also believe in the latter – it just happens to be sharia.  However, Ministers have rightly shied away from including certain types of speech in the definition of extremism for fear of creating a sedition law. Free speech is after all one of our historic British values.

What this report admits we need – but fails to provide – is a counter-narrative.

In the eighteenth century, Edmund Burke, in his Reflections on the Revolution in France, provided a counter narrative to the extremism of the French revolution. In twentieth century, Winston Churchill, who had begun writing his History of the English Speaking Peoples prior to the Second World War, saw the narrative of how our democracy and freedoms had been established over the centuries as a counter narrative to Nazi ideology. During the Cold War those such as Roger Scruton and Margaret Thatcher actively sought to develop a counter narrative to Communist ideology.

That too should be a central role for the Commission for Countering Extremism.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.S. Moves to Take ‘High Value’ ISIS Detainees, Including Britons Who Abused Hostages

Westlake Legal Group 09dc-beatles-facebookJumbo U.S. Moves to Take ‘High Value’ ISIS Detainees, Including Britons Who Abused Hostages United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Torture Terrorism Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Kotey, Alexanda Kidnapping and Hostages Justice Department Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Iraq Foley, James (1973-2014) Emwazi, Mohammed Elsheikh, El Shafee Defense and Military Forces

The American military is moving to take as many as several dozen Islamic State detainees out of Kurdish-run wartime prisons in northern Syria, including two British men already in custody who are notorious for their roles in the torture and killing of Western hostages, according to United States officials.

The decision comes as the Turkish military moved into northern Syria after getting a green light from President Trump. Turkey is targeting the American-backed Kurds — known as the Syrian Democratic Forces — who were the primary allies of the United States in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria. The Turkish invasion called into question the militia’s ability to continue securely holding some 11,000 captured ISIS fighters.

Mr. Trump has said that Islamic State detainees will become Turkey’s responsibility, and it is not clear what his administration’s long-term plan will be for those who would instead come into the American military’s custody.

For now, the military was taking at least some of the men to Iraq, where the United States has a base where it has held a handful of Islamic State detainees with American citizenship before transferring them to domestic soil — or, in one case, releasing a detainee in Bahrain.

But their home countries have resisted repatriating them, Iraq has been reluctant to take many ISIS members captured in Syria, and there are legal challenges to taking them to the American wartime prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

However, the government does have an eventual plan for the two British men, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey: The Justice Department wants to bring them to trial in Virginia. They were part of a four-member British cell that the Islamic State put in charge of Western hostages, who nicknamed them the “Beatles” because of their accents.

Among their victims was James Foley, the American journalist who was beheaded in August 2014 for an ISIS propaganda video. Another member of the cell, Mohammed Emwazi, or “Jihadi John,” is believed to have killed Mr. Foley. Mr. Emwazi was later killed in a drone strike.

But a court fight in Britain has delayed their transfer. The lawsuit is over whether the British government may share evidence with the United States without an assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.

The British government has shown witness statements about the two men to the Justice Department, but testimony from British government officials would also probably be necessary at any trial. Mr. Elsheikh’s mother has filed a lawsuit seeking to block such cooperation because the United States government has not promised it will not seek to execute her son. Britain has abolished the death penalty.

The American military had been making contingency plans to get a list of about five dozen of the highest-priority detainees from that group out of northern Syria since December, when Mr. Trump first announced that he would withdraw troops from the country before his administration slowed down that plan, one official said.

Mr. Trump’s decision to let Turkey proceed prompted the military to start getting those prisoners out, lest they escape amid the chaos and as the Kurds pull guards out of the prisons to help fight. But the detainees were scattered among numerous makeshift prisons, and it was not clear how many on the list would ultimately be taken, the official said.

The Washington Post earlier reported on the move to transfer custody of detainees, including the two British men.

Mr. Trump’s decision to clear the way for Turkey to launch its operation into northern Syria is bringing to an abrupt crisis a long-simmering problem: About 50 countries have citizens in the Kurds’ prisons for ISIS fighters — and in the displaced persons camps where tens of thousands of ISIS women and children are held — and have been reluctant to repatriate them, instead leaving them in the Kurds’ hands indefinitely.

The male fighters the Kurds are holding include about 9,000 local Syrians and Iraqis, as well as 2,000 foreign fighters — including scores from Western Europe. Many European law enforcement officials fear that if they repatriate their extremist citizens, they would be unable to convict them or keep them locked up for a long time.

After Britain declined to bring Mr. Elsheikh and Mr. Kotey home for prosecution, instead stripping them of their citizenship, the United States government weighed various options for handling them itself before deciding to prosecute them in civilian court once it obtained all of the evidence it needed.

A person familiar with the exchange said that Attorney General William P. Barr has asked Mr. Trump to make keeping the two British men detained a priority so they could eventually face prosecution in the United States. The president agreed to do so, the person said.

The Trump administration had also toyed with sending the two British men to the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for a period of indefinite wartime detention without trial. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who is a close ally of Mr. Trump’s but has criticized his Syria policy, has advocated that step.

But the military opposes becoming more deeply involved in long-term detention operations, and there are steep legal obstacles to taking the men to Cuba.

Among those challenges, transfer restrictions Congress imposed to block President Barack Obama from carrying out his plan to close the Guantánamo prison would make it illegal to transfer the men, once at the base, to domestic American soil for an eventual trial before a civilian court, and the military commissions system at Guantánamo is widely seen as dysfunctional.

It is also not clear whether legal authority exists to hold Islamic State members — as opposed to members of Al Qaeda — in indefinite wartime detention. Once in Guantánamo, the detainees would have the right to file habeas corpus lawsuits challenging the legality of their detention, raising the risk of a ruling that the larger war effort against ISIS has been illegal.

Eric Schmitt and Katie Benner contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.S. Takes Custody of British ISIS Detainees Who Abused Hostages

Westlake Legal Group 09dc-beatles-facebookJumbo U.S. Takes Custody of British ISIS Detainees Who Abused Hostages United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Torture Terrorism Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Kotey, Alexanda Kidnapping and Hostages Justice Department Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Iraq Foley, James (1973-2014) Emwazi, Mohammed Elsheikh, El Shafee Defense and Military Forces

The American military has taken custody of two British detainees notorious for their roles in an Islamic State cell that tortured and killed Western hostages, removing them from a wartime prison in northern Syria run by a Kurdish-led militia, according to United States officials.

The abrupt move came as the Turkish military moved into northern Syria after getting a green light from President Trump. Turkey is targeting the American-backed Kurds — known as the Syrian Democratic Forces — who were the primary allies of the United States in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria. The Turkish invasion called into question the militia’s ability to continue securely holding some 11,000 captured ISIS fighters.

The two British men, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, were part of a four-member British cell that the Islamic State put in charge of Western hostages, who nicknamed them the “Beatles” because of their accents. Among their victims was James Foley, the American journalist who was beheaded in August 2014 for an ISIS propaganda video.

Another member of the cell, Mohammed Emwazi, or “Jihadi John,” is believed to have killed Mr. Foley. Mr. Emwazi was later killed in a drone strike.

The Justice Department has intended to eventually bring Mr. Elsheikh and Mr. Kotey to the United States for trial in Virginia, but a court fight in Britain has delayed that transfer. The lawsuit is over whether the British government may share evidence with the United States without an assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.

The American military was taking the men to Iraq, where the United States has a base where it has held Islamic State detainees with American citizenship before transferring them to domestic soil — or, in one case, releasing a detainee in Bahrain.

It is not clear how long the two British men will stay at that base. The Justice Department has been reluctant to take custody of them and enter them into the criminal justice system — where, among other things, they will have a right to a speedy trial — until it secures the evidence still in British hands that can help support their eventual prosecution.

The British government has shared witness statements about the two men with the Justice Department, but testimony from British government officials would also probably be necessary at any trial. Mr. Elsheikh’s mother has filed a lawsuit seeking to block such cooperation because the United States government has not promised it will not seek to execute her son. Britain has abolished the death penalty.

Because of their role in abusing Americans, the two British men were at the top of a list of ISIS detainees of concern for the American government, officials said. But that list has more than five dozen names on it, including a dozen or so other Islamic State prisoners in Kurdish hands who are considered particularly dangerous.

It remains unclear whether the Trump administration will seek to take any additional detainees from the Syrian Democratic Forces as the situation in northern Syria continues to rapidly deteriorate after Mr. Trump’s decision to clear the way for Turkey to launch its operation into northern Syria.

The move is bringing to an abrupt crisis a long-simmering problem: About 50 countries have citizens in the Kurds’ prisons for ISIS fighters — and in the displaced persons camps where tens of thousands of ISIS women and children are held — and have been reluctant to repatriate them, instead leaving them in the Kurds’ hands indefinitely.

The male fighters the Kurds are holding include about 9,000 local Syrians and Iraqis, as well as 2,000 foreign fighters — including scores from Western Europe. Many European law enforcement officials fear that if they repatriate their extremist citizens, they would be unable to convict them or keep them locked up for a long time.

After Britain declined to bring Mr. Elsheikh and Mr. Kotey home for prosecution, instead stripping them of their citizenship, the United States government weighed various options for handling them itself before deciding to prosecute them in civilian court once it obtained all of the evidence it needed.

The Trump administration also weighed sending the two British men to the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for a period of indefinite wartime detention without trial. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who is a close ally of Mr. Trump’s but has criticized his Syria policy, has advocated that step.

But the military opposes getting more deeply involved in long-term detention operations, and there are steep legal obstacles to bringing the men to Cuba.

Among those challenges, transfer restrictions Congress imposed to block President Barack Obama from carrying out his plan to close the Guantánamo prison would make it illegal to transfer the men, once at the base, to domestic American soil for an eventual trial before a civilian court, and the military commissions system at Guantánamo is widely seen as too dysfunctional.

It is also not clear whether legal authority exists to hold Islamic State members — as opposed to members of Al Qaeda — in indefinite wartime detention. Once in Guantánamo, the two men would have the right to file habeas corpus lawsuits challenging the legality of their detention, raising the prospect of a ruling that the larger war effort against ISIS has been illegal.

The Washington Post earlier reported on the transfer of the detainees’ custody.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.S. Takes Custody of British ISIS Detainees Who Abused Hostages

Westlake Legal Group 09dc-beatles-facebookJumbo U.S. Takes Custody of British ISIS Detainees Who Abused Hostages United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Torture Terrorism Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Kotey, Alexanda Kidnapping and Hostages Justice Department Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Iraq Foley, James (1973-2014) Emwazi, Mohammed Elsheikh, El Shafee Defense and Military Forces

WASHINGTON — The American military has taken custody of two British detainees notorious for their roles in an Islamic State cell that tortured and killed Western hostages, removing them from a wartime prison in northern Syria run by a Kurdish-led militia, according to United States officials.

The abrupt move came as the Turkish military moved into northern Syria after getting a green light from President Trump. Turkey is targeting the American-backed Kurds — known as the Syrian Democratic Forces — who were the primary allies of the United States in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria. The Turkish invasion called into question the militia’s ability to continue securely holding some 11,000 captured ISIS fighters.

The two British men, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, were part of a four-member British cell that ISIS put in charge of Western hostages, who nicknamed them the “Beatles” because of their accents. Among their victims was James Foley, the American journalist who was beheaded in August 2014 for an ISIS propaganda video.

Another member of the cell, Mohammed Emwazi, or “Jihadi John,” is believed to have killed Mr. Foley. Mr. Emwazi was later killed in a drone strike.

The Justice Department has intended to eventually bring Mr. Elsheikh and Mr. Kotay to the United States for trial in Virginia, but a court fight in Britain has delayed that transfer. The lawsuit is over whether the British government may share evidence with the United States without an assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.

The American military was taking the men to Iraq, where the United States has a base where it has held Islamic State detainees with American citizenship before transferring them to domestic soil — or, in one case, releasing him in Bahrain.

Because of their role in abusing Americans, the two British men were at the top of a list of ISIS detainees of concern for the American government, officials said. But that list has more than five dozen names on it, including a dozen or so other ISIS prisoners in Kurdish hands who are considered particularly dangerous.

It remains unclear whether the Trump administration will seek to take any additional detainees out of the Syrian Democratic Forces’ hands as the situation in northern Syria continues to rapidly deteriorate after Mr. Trump’s decision to clear the way for Turkey to launch its operation into northern Syria.

The Washington Post first reported on the transfer of the detainees’ custody.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com