Monday, July 14, 2014

Assets Frozen of UK Human Rights NGO

June 2, 2014 by  

Due to its association with Moazzam Begg, the former Guantanamo prisoner who was re-arrested in March on dubious charges of aiding terrorists in Syria, the UK organization, CAGE, formerly known as Cageprisoners, is paralyzed because their bank account has been frozen. The effects of this political targeting have been severe, including: loss of all of standing order donations, denial of access to funds, and inability to open a bank account elsewhere. What is very curious is that CAGE received a letter from Her Majesty’s Treasury denying government involvement.
“We are sorry to hear that Barclays has frozen the accounts of CAGE and understand the difficulties this presents.” The letter also confirmed that “CAGE is not and has never been subject to financial restriction imposed by the Treasury” and that CAGE should share the letter with Barclays.
CAGE then received a letter from Barclays saying it had received a letter from HM Treasury informing it that Moazzam had been made a Designated Person, and therefore had transferred the CAGE account to a specially designated sanctioned/blocked branch. Barclays stated that this was because Moazzam was an authorized signatory on the account. Barclays confirmed that it had closed the CAGE account.
Simultaneous to the freezing of organizational funds, members of its governing board have also been dealing with personal attacks on their professional integrity. For the first time in their long careers, two of CAGE’s board members are being investigated for fraud and tax evasion. Shortly after the CAGE account was closed, Barclays also closed the personal accounts of CAGE’s Treasurer and a senior CAGE volunteer. CAGE’s Treasurer had been banking with Barclays for over 18 years. No explanation has been provided for the closure of any of those accounts.
“When the timing of these investigations coincides with the treatment of CAGE by HM Treasury, the banks and the Charity Commission, it is evident that there is a more sinister agenda at play,” states a CAGE press release dated May 7, 2014.
“CAGE is compelled to take the view that a concerted effort has been launched to shut the organization down or to severely disrupt its activities to render it operationally ineffective.”
Muslims in American know all too well how charity founders have been accused of fraud  by the neocons behind the government and imprisoned, in order to seize the charity’s assets and prevent the victims of US or Israeli military campaigns from receiving help. CAGE is now being treated as a “designated entity” by the UK despite no wrongdoing.
CAGE is a not-for-profit group which includes seasoned activists, lawyers, doctors and former detainees that “advocates for Muslim political prisoners, specifically those interned as a result of the War on Terror and its peripheral campaigns, by raising awareness of the illegality and the global consequences of their detention. By promoting due process, the vision of the organization is to see a return to the respect of those fundamental norms which transcend religion, societies and political theories.”
It is believed that the main reason CAGE has been targeted by the UK government is because they have been educating people about the UK involvement in kidnapping and torture, known as “rendition,” and documenting abuses of due process. Begg, while imprisoned in Guantanamo, was threatened by the US that if he did not confess to things he never did, he might be sent to Syria for torture. This made him interested in researching how western governments send people to Syria to be tortured. He traveled twice to Syria and interviewed people who had been imprisoned by the Assad regime and wrote several very interesting reports on the current situation there.
Moazzam has not even faced trial yet, so he is innocent until proven guilty. Despite not being convicted of any crime, he is being penalized in a manner in which prospective jurors are likely to perceive his designation as evidence of his guilt. CAGE has written to HM Treasury and the Home Affairs Select Committee. It will be complaining to The Investigatory Powers Tribunal for disruption to its work and also seek assurances from Head of Scotland Yard that it is not being targeted by the Disruption Unit.
CAGE has never solicited personal funds for Moazzam on its website or provided assistance to other designated persons. Had CAGE done so, it would have committed a criminal offense and presumably its directors would have been arrested. The decisions of the banks are even more difficult to fathom as CAGE has been provided with oral and written confirmation from HM Treasury that “CAGE is not and has never been subject to financial restriction imposed by the Treasury” which therefore confirms that we are not a suspect organization. So either the banks are making arbitrary decisions separate from the government, or the government, knowing that its actions are extra-legal, is blaming the banks as a convenience so that it doesn’t have to back up its actions with some kind of explanation.
With a limited pool of money rapidly diminishing with the expected outgoings of rates, bills, salaries and expenses, CAGE is currently surviving largely on the goodwill of staff and supporters, but has been unable to actively engage in its investigative work with most of its resources being invested in dealing with the wave of attacks on its name and reputation. CAGE states that “the irony of an organization, that has for over ten years documented the abuse of due process and the rule of law in the War on Terror, having its bank accounts arbitrarily closed is not lost on us our supporters and will only increase its members motivation to continue its work to hold governments to account for their crimes.”

1 comment:

  1. the arrest of Moazzam after all he's been thru is a crime against humanity. So is freezing Cage and Karin. u.k. is a pitiful lackey of u.s.