This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

When Loving a Son Becomes a Criminal Act

"We have to be serious about the fact these people [Britons who chose to travel abroad to support or fight alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] are a serious danger to us, and unfortunately the only way of dealing with them will be, in almost every case, to kill them."
British International Development Minister Rory Stewart

"Tell my mom I'm sorry. Tell my dad I'm sorry. Tell them if I ever get out of this place I'm going to try to be a better person."
"I want to come back to Canada."
"Please get me out of this place [Kurdish-run prison]. I don't mind if you put me in prison, just get me out of here as soon as possible."
"ISIS took my wife [and son] from me, I have more reason to hate them than anyone."
Jack Letts, 22, British-Canadian Muslim convert, ISIL supporter
Jack Letts went to Syria and Iraq in 2014. He is now in a jail in northern Syria. (Facebook)

"No one would tell us anything about what the hell was going on, despite police saying this was going to be a two-way communication. We said, 'Do you have information, any intel, anything on him [their son Jack] you can share with us?"
"And they said, 'No, we know nothing about him actually. No information other than the fact that he went there' [to Syria].
"That's not parents in denial, who don't want to believe this. We did our homework and we tried to understand the context and whenever Jack was online we grilled him and tried to figure out what was going on ... we did try, we weren't living in a bubble."
John Letts, British-Canadian citizen, Britain

"Why Canadian government don’t want help [their] citizen abroad?"
"When they give you passport of Canada, it says for example $25 fee for [consular] help abroad. But how come they collect millions of dollars and do nothing!?"
"[The case should become] public and big, otherwise you have to wait till American[s] decide."
"He is criminal but he is human [irrespective of charges laid against Letts by the Kurds when they liberated Raqqa and took prisoners there]."
Kurdish official, YPG’s WhatsApp account
This young man who at 16 converted to Islam and conceived a fascination with Islamic State, escaped Raqqa and is currently being held in a prison in Syria operated by the Kurdish YPG who are not known to be cruel and punishing, despite the now-22-year-old claiming he is being tortured there. It is far more likely that he considers prison in Syria to represent a kind of torture he is unprepared to countenance for himself.

He chose of his own free will to travel to Syria in 2014, one among many Western Muslims who found that the Islamic State message of jihad and a caliphate was personally appealing. The Kurds who maintain the prisons that former ISIL members of Western sourcing are kept in would far prefer to be rid of them and are more than willing to release them to their home countries. The trouble is, those home countries appear to have little interest in repatriating those who found jihad irresistible.

Canada, like European nations whose nationals chose to join ISIL appears unprepared to welcome them back, in effect either prosecuting and incarcerating them or allowing them to return to maintain surveillance in the hopes they don't plan to bring their jihadi weapons-training and conflict skills to bear on their return home. It is a dilemma, for there isn't enough intelligence personnel and police to maintain vigilance over the intentions and activities of such returnees. The idea seems to be to leave them where they've landed.

The Kurds operating the prison in Qamishli, near the border with Turkey, would far prefer to rid themselves of the burden these people represent among whom are also women and children. "A dead terrorist can't cause any harm to Britain", stated British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson. a statement leading some to theorize that Britain would actually authorize the killing of these ISIL members rather than accept their presence through a return from Syria.

Jack Letts, when 18, travelled to Jordan to visit a friend from Oxford. His parents expected his return but he decided to go on to Kuwait for an Arabic course with his friend, to last three months. The parents supported this plan and presumably paid for the travel and their son's maintenance. He was a college drop-out and worked for a while with Oxfam, finding himself attracted to helping refugees in the Middle East, according to his parents. There was a sudden call from their son announcing that he had arrived in Syria.

No one has any idea how this man fascinated with the Middle East and living in the ISIL-occupied (caliphate-capital) city of Raqqa spent his two years there, but he was dubbed Jihadi Jack by the British media. the ISIL-supporting rants on his Facebook accounts were not of his hand and mind, he assured his parents. Someone had hijacked his account. The photo of him holding up the one-finger ISIL salute in Syria was a misunderstanding.

When he communicated again with his parents he asked for money to help him 'escape' Islamic State. His parents attempted on two occasions to send money to their son in Syria, and failed on both occasions; the money transfers were intercepted by government agents since it was illegal to 'finance' a terrorist group. A charge was later brought against the parents in 2016 of "making property or money available to another person, knowing or having reasonable cause to suspect it would or might be used for the purposes of terrorism".

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