| by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

( February 6, 2014, Ontario, Sri Lanka Guardian) According to the London Evening Standard, a top British prosecutor has “warned that Britons who travel to join the Syrian conflict will face prosecution and potential life sentences on their return.”

Sue Hemming said it was a crime to fight in another country even if it was to topple a “loathsome” dictator such as president Bashar Assad.

The head of counter-terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service said Britons could also face charges for attending rebel training camps.

Her comments, in an interview with the Evening Standard, come as seven British residents including two London women await trial over charges connected to the Syrian conflict.

They follow a recent surge in arrests by police and a warning by the Met’s counter-terrorism chief about the growing number of young Britons either traveling to Syria or attempting to go.” (Brits who fight in Syria face life in jail, London Evening Standard, February 3, 2014)

What the British prosecutor fails to address is that the British “freedom fighters” are being recruited with the full support of the British government of Prime Minister David Cameron in defiance of UK laws.

Does this mean that those who finance and recruit terrorists at the highest levels of the British government also “potentially face life sentences” as suggested by Crown Prosecutor Hemming? Or is Her Majesty’s Government immune from prosecution?

Are we dealing with double standards in the application of British law?

There is ample evidence that the training camps are set up by the Western military alliance.

The important question for the British Crown prosecutor: who should be sent to jail? The British mercenaries or the British government?

Amply documented, the Ministry of Defense and MI6 in liaison with US-NATO-Israel are behind the recruitment and training of terrorists.

The report points to the fact that “Some observers have expressed surprise” that British “freedom fighters” ” seeking to oust Assad” should be subject to prosecution. After all its all for a “good cause”, namely “regime change” and “democracy”.

But Ms Hemming is categorical: participation in an overseas conflict is illegal.

“It is a crime for people from this country to go out and get into a conflict or go out for terrorist training,” she said, adding: “We will look at the facts in each case, but ultimately it is potentially an offence and if it’s right to prosecute then we will.

Ms Hemming refers to Section 5 of the UK Terrorism Act 2006, which “outlaws acts preparatory to terrorism and assisting another person in such activities. The maximum penalty is life.” “Sections 6 and 8 of the legislation also make it illegal to train as a terrorist or to attend a training camp. Both offences carry up to 10 years in prison.”

What this interpretation of the 2006 Act (which was adopted during the Tony Blair government) indelibly suggests is that the British “state entities” including the MoD and the British Secret Service which are directly or indirectly behind the recruitment, training and financing of the British terrorists should also be prosecuted under sections 5 which outlaws ” acts preparatory to terrorism and assisting another person in such activities.”

While Prosecutor Hemming does not address the broader issue of government responsibility, she nonetheless intimates that participation in attempts to implement regime change in Syria are illegal under the Terrorism Act of 2006.

Ms Hemming said that terrorism was defined in law as any action driven by political, ideological, religious or racial motive which seeks to influence a government or intimidate a section of the public. This meant that attempting to topple Assad was covered. She added: “Potentially it’s an offence to go out and get involved in a conflict, however loathsome you think the people on the other side are. (emphasis added)

The London Evening Standard confirms that the al-Nusra Front has been outlawed by the British Government “for its links to al Qaeda”. Yet a the same time, US-NATO-Israel (namely the Western military alliance) has been covertly financing and supporting Al Nusra.

The recruitment of Brits would not be possible without the covert support of the British Military and Secret Service, often operating through private military contractors which are put in charge with the recruitment of British jihadists.

The role of the Western military alliance in the recruitment of terrorists has been confirmed by several sources including Israeli intelligence. NATO in liaison with the Turkish High command established in 2011 a recruitment program reminiscent of the enlistment of Mujahideen in the CIA’s jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war:

Also discussed in Brussels [NATO headquarters] and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (http://www.debka.com/article/21255/ Debkafile, August 31, 2011, emphasis added).

From the outset of the conflict, NATO Special Forces from Britain, France, Qatar and Turkey have been on the ground inside Syria involved in the training of rebels:

“British Special forces have met up with members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA)… The apparent goal of this initial contact was to establish the rebel forces’ strength and to pave the way for any future training operations. … More recent reports have stated that British and French Special Forces have been actively training members of the FSA, from a base in Turkey. Some reports indicate that training is also taking place in locations in Libya and Northern Lebanon. British MI6 operatives and UKSF (SAS/SBS) personnel have reportedly been training the rebels in urban warfare as well as supplying them with arms and equipment. US CIA operatives and special forces are believed to be providing communications assistance to the rebels.” Elite Forces UK, January 5, 2012 (emphasis added)

How Many Brits in Al Qaeda Ranks in Syria?

According to data provided by Scotland Yard “the total number of British participants in the conflict is estimated to be in the “hundreds”, with as many as 20 thought to have died in the fighting.”

What these official figures suggest is a well organized recruitment process in the U.K.

The British government of Prime Minister David Cameron has blood on its hands. It is acting in defiance of its own legislation.

Let’s use this timely and courageous initiative of Crown Prosecutor Hemming to prosecute those responsible within Her Majesty’s government under section 5 of the 2006 Act.

Rest assured David Cameron, under Article 5, “the maximum penalty is life”.

The legal provisions of the 2006 Act are amply sufficient to build a strong case for the prosecution of the British government on charges of “preparation of terrorist acts and terrorist training.”

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