Shamima Begum, the British schoolgirl who left the UK to hitch the Islamic State group, was smuggled into Syria by a spy working for Canadian intelligence, and Britain later conspired to cowl up Canada’s function within the operation, a e-book has claimed.
Scotland Yard was allegedly informed that Begum, then 15, and her two college pals, 16-year-old Kadiza Sultana and 15-year-old Amira Abase, had been trafficked into Syria by a smuggler who was working as a double agent for Islamic State and Canadian intelligence.
Because the Metropolitan Police launched an enormous worldwide seek for the schoolgirls, Canada failed to tell the UK of its function within the affair. Canadian intelligence admitted its involvement solely after it feared being uncovered, after which requested the British to cowl up its function.
The alleged cover-up is detailed in a brand new e-book, The Secret Historical past of the 5 Eyes (a reference to the intelligence alliance comprised of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US), by Richard Kerbaj, a former safety correspondent at The Sunday Occasions.
What are the allegations?
The e-book claims that Canada, anxious about its personal younger individuals being urged to hitch IS, recruited IS human trafficker Mohammed al-Rashed as an intelligence agent when he utilized for asylum on the Canadian embassy in Jordan.
Al-Rashed is claimed to have helped organise the journey of dozens of jihadists and their brides into Syria from the UK. The double agent then “photographed their passports on the pretext that he wanted proof of identification to purchase home transport tickets after which forwarded the photographs to his handler with the Canadian Safety Intelligence Service (CSIS) on the Jordan embassy”, stated The Occasions.
Kerbaj’s e-book claims that the Canadians had been silent because the Metropolitan Police launched an pressing hunt for the women. However when al-Rashed was arrested in Turkey in 2015 and located to have journey paperwork in addition to bus tickets belonging to the British schoolgirls, the CSIS realised its cowl could possibly be blown.
In accordance with the e-book, one 5 Eyes supply stated: “The CSIS officers knew that Scotland Yard had a reside investigation into the three schoolgirls and in addition knew that ultimately the finger would level at them.”
CSIS officers then organized to fulfill Commander Richard Walton, then the Met’s head of counterterrorism, to confess their agent’s involvement. However Walton is claimed to have felt it was a “self-serving” go to designed to deflect blame or accountability from the CSIS, based on Kerbaj’s e-book.
The e-book claims that the Canadians couldn’t have stopped the women’ journey as a result of by the point al-Rashed’s handler was informed, they’d already crossed the border.
What does this imply for Begum?
The revelation “reopens the talk” over stripping Begum of her British citizenship because it “exhibits that an asset of Western intelligence gave sensible assist for her journey” to Syria and to changing into a jihadi bride, and finally undermines the federal government’s declare that Begum was not trafficked, stated The Occasions.
There was “no point out” that the British authorities knew how she was smuggled into Syria in final 12 months’s Supreme Courtroom judgement, which upheld the choice to bar her from returning to the UK. Begum, now 23, stays in a camp in northern Syria and is about to resume her case on the Particular Immigration Appeals Fee in November.
The revelations are additionally a “deep embarrassment” for the 5 Eyes, which is “alleged to be the closest intelligence-sharing community on the earth”, stated The Occasions’s diplomatic correspondent Catherine Philp.
“An ally as shut as Britain would count on to be trusted with such info, even when it weren’t brazenly pooled within the 5 Eyes community,” wrote Philp, but Canada solely revealed intelligence it had on the schoolgirls to keep away from publicity.
Requires an inquiry
Tasnime Akunjee, the legal defence lawyer for the Begum household, has referred to as for an inquiry into what the police and intelligence providers knew in regards to the actions of the Canadians.
Akunjee informed The Occasions: “Britain has lauded its efforts to cease Isis and the grooming of our youngsters by spending hundreds of thousands of kilos on the Forestall programme and on-line monitoring.
“Nonetheless, at the exact same time we’ve been co-operating with a Western ally, buying and selling delicate intelligence with them while they’ve successfully been nabbing British kids and trafficking them throughout the Syrian border for supply to Isis all within the identify of intelligence-gathering.”
He added that the revelations had been of “essential significance”, provided that Begum has argued that she was trafficked into Syria.