Chutzpah on Social Cohesion

Ian Fantom
RINF Alternative News

When government politicians talk of social cohesion I get worried. My own MP, Richard Benyon, tweeted recently, “Working with organisations who promote cohesion is vital: ‘good work should not be derailed by local or international events.'”. Fine. Who could disagree? But his party, the co-ruling Conservative Party, has been associated with two think tanks, Policy Exchange and the Centre for Social Cohesion, described by SpinWatch as “two of Britain’s most influential right-wing think-tanks”, which “have used the fear of terrorism and of Islam to push an authoritarian political agenda”. The Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, Douglas Murray, is known as a Neoconservative, who is critical of Islam. His think tank was subsequently absorbed into the Henry Jackson Society, a Neoconservative think tank that promotes a foreign policy of bringing democracy to the world by military interventionism.

So when Richard Benyon announced he was to chair a public meeting at Newbury Town Hall, on 8 October, alongside the All2gether (West Berkshire Minority Ethnic Forum), to promote greater cultural understanding amongst communities in West Berkshire, thought I’d go along.

There were 13 present, including for our five Muslims. There wasn’t a significant problem in community relations in the Newbury constituency, but two of the Muslims explained about press bias, saying that the press report the bad things but ignore the good things about Muslims. Richard Benyon suggested this is just the tabloids. The discussion continued for a while before I came into the discussion, pointing out that it’s not just the tabloids, but all the press. I talked about Policy Exchange and their stirring up of ethnic hatred. David Cameron’s rhetoric is based mainly on Policy Exchange’s publications. Then a local vicar entered the discussion, suggesting that this is peripheral, moving the discussion to community relations, holding meetings with each other. Richard Benyon raises the issue of talking to schools. Someone made the point that children are not fundamentally racist. Eventually the discussion returned to the press ignoring the good work that Muslims do, and the two Muslims each gave an example of this. I gave a third example, that of Sid Khan, who had no history of extremism, whether violent or non-violent, and was working on community relations with the police. On 5 July 2005 he disappeared. The government was to put out later that he had been travelling on a train from Luton to Kings Cross on 7 July; it was later discovered that that train had been cancelled, and it took a whole year for the government to change its story. The press didn’t report on Sid Khan’s community work, but made out that he was an Islamic extremist. Eventually I held up Nick Kollerstrom’s book ‘Terror on the Tube’, saying that it’s all documented there, together with much more, page after page. Richard Benyon defended the official version of 7/7, saying that he had been on the Underground on that day. That led to a little clash, as I questioned the relevance of that, and tried to make the point that this wasn’t about who perpetrated 7/7, but about the press coverage of Sid Khan.

I handed over to the MP a sheet that I had prepared for the meeting, showing how David Cameron’s UN Security Council speech of 24 September was based on reports by Policy Exchange and Demos. After the meeting I shook hands with him,

suggesting that he read the report carfully. He is the richest MP in the Commons, and can afford an independent mind. He is not a member of Conservative Friends of Israel, and is one of the 41 Conservative MPs who voted for the recognition of Palestine.

I handed my report to Richard Benyon during the meeting, and afterwards to the other participants, including the reporter from the Newbury Weekly News, which published a 600 word article of the meeting on 16 October, omitting any mention of the discussion on the role of influential think tanks, or the biased reporting by the national press. On the other hand, they did print a letter from me, held over from the previous week, under the heading “Newbury MP’s war explanation ‘is no explanation at all'”, which revealed things that would have been unprintable a year ago. Below is the report I had handed to them:

Promoting Community Integration and Understanding

Newbury’s MP, Richard Benyon, has called a public ‘Community Meeting promoting Integration and Greater Understanding’ for 8 October, 2014. This follows a speech by Prime Minister David Cameron to the UN Security Council on 25 September, in which he stated (

And we know what this worldview is—the peddling of lies: that 9/11 was a Jewish plot or the 7/7 London attacks were staged; the idea that Muslims are persecuted all over the world as a deliberate act of Western policy; the concept of an inevitable clash of civilisations. We must be clear: to defeat the ideology of extremism we need to deal with all forms of extremism — not just violent extremism. That means banning preachers of hate from coming to our countries. It means proscribing organisations that incite terrorism against people at home and abroad. It means stopping extremists whether violent or non-violent from inciting hatred and intolerance in our schools, in our universities and even sometimes in our prisons. In other words, firm, decisive action — to protect and uphold the values of our free and democratic societies”.

This statement makes it clear that those who do not believe what we are told by the government about 9/11 and 7/7 have an ‘ideology of extremism’, and that firm, decisive action will be taken to stop them and proscribe their organisations. Whatever happened to the idea of free speech? As Voltaire put it: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. The following Tuesday I accompanied a colleague, Nick Kollerstrom, to Scotland Yard, where he attempted to hand himself in as a ‘non-violent extremist’ ( Nick is the author of the research book ‘Terror on the Tube — Behind the Veil of 7/7: An Investigation’ (, which gives page after page of inconsistencies in the government’s version of events.

Tony Blair told the House of Commons that he had proof that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11, and that he would deposit that proof in the House of Commons Library. He didn’t. The FBI told journalists that they did not have the evidence. The Afghan government were willing to hand over Osama bin Laden to the Americans if they provided proof. They didn’t. Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth have been drawing public attention to a third tower that collapsed the same day, as if by controlled demolition (, and are now running an advertising campaign ‘Rethink 9/11’ ( Is disbelieving the government’s version of events now to be proscribed, as threatened by David Cameron at the UN Security Council?

On 5 February 2011 David Cameron told a Security Conference in Munich, “Multiculturalism has failed”. But he began by saying “Today I want to focus my remarks on terrorism”. Here he introduced to the public the idea of ‘non-violent extremists’, to link those who disagree with the government propaganda with terrorists, stating “The ideology of extremism is the problem”. This speech was clearly based on a report by his favourite think tank Policy Exchange, published on 29 January 2007, headed ‘Living Apart Together: British Muslims and the paradox of multiculturalism’. This was 90 pages of pseudoscience. The case was a fabrication.

In his speech to the Security Council, David Cameron repeated the case made by Policy Exchange: “But as the evidence emerges about the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist of offences, it is clear that many of them were initially influenced by preachers who claim not to encourage violence, but whose world view can be used as a justification for it”. What evidence? I could see no evidence of those named by Policy Exchange being influenced by preachers. Look at the wording, “convicted of terrorist offences”. That has to exclude all alleged suicide bombers, the most notorious of which would be the four alleged Muslim terrorists behind 7/7. They were declared guilty by the coroner before the inquest even opened. Were they fanatical Muslim extremists? Well, no. This is pure deception. Sid Khan was a community liaison officer working with the police.

On the 10th of December, 2007, Policy Exchange’s Research Director, Dean Godson, faced an interrogation by Jeremy Paxman, after they had provided BBC’s Newsnight with faked receipts in order to justify their claim that Mosques in Britain were harbouring terrorist literature, which they had claimed in their report ‘The hijacking of British Islam: how extremists literature is subverting mosques in the UK’. Yet Policy Exchange remains a respectably think tank for David Cameron’s Progressive Conservatives.

A report was published in September 2011 by SpinWatch headed ‘The Cold War on British Muslims: An examination of Policy Exchange and the Centre for Social Cohesion’ ( This has a wealth of information about the activities of these two think tanks, and about their funding. They conclude: “This report has described how two of Britain’s most influential right-wing think-tanks have used the fear of terrorism and of Islam to push an authoritarian political agenda. … Their modern targets are politically engaged

Muslims, liberals and leftists, as well as liberal institutions such as schools, universities and public libraries.” What comes across clearly is significant sponsors linked to the cause of present-day Zionism or the Israeli state. Amonst the sponsors has been Richard Benyon’s Englefied Trust.

There is a similar story concerning Tony Blair’s favourite think tank Demos, which now has links to all three major parties. They issued a report ‘The power of unreason: conspiracy theories, extremism and counter-terrorism’, in which they claimed to have found a correlation between ‘conspiracy theory groups’ and terrorism. I wrote a critical analysis of that report and sent it to ministers linked to Demos, and invited the authors to explain it to our Keep Talking group in London. They demonstrated that the report was a complete fabrication, and that no scientific or statistical analysis had taken place. They merely used the word ‘extremism’ to link the two groups.

Arun Kundani of the Institute for Race Relations published a report on 2 September 2008, ‘How are thinktanks shaping the political agenda on Muslims in Britain?’. He stated: “Policy Exchange, the Social Affairs Unit, and the Centre for Social Cohesion are driving the political agenda on Muslims in Britain while thinktanks on the left are largely silent. … the role of thinktanks would then not only be to supply political parties with policy suggestions but also to popularise the idea of ‘Islamism’ as an existential threat to the West that requires a hardline, Cold War-style response”.

Massoud Shadjareh of the Islamic Human Rights Commission stated: “unless something is done urgently at governmental level, Muslims in Britain face the same fate this century as Jews in the last”. Policy Exchange dismissed this as “hysterical”, but it’s true. It’s also true that non-Muslims who question the government on issues of terrorism could face the same fate. I think that David Cameron and his supporters should be made to answer some very serious questions. Don’t you?

Ian Fantom, 2014-10-08

Meetings coordinator, 9/11 Keep Talking, 92 Enborne Road, Newbury, RG14 6AN, Tel: 01635 38592, Mob: 07530 142609, .

Letter appearing in the Newbury Weekly News, 16 October 2014, page 25

Newbury MP’s war explanation ‘is no explanation at all’

The explanation given by Newbury’s MP, Mr Richard Benyon, for going to war is no explanation at all. You reported (NWN Oct2 p7), “Mr Benyon said that he did not approach the vote in a ‘gung-ho’ manner, owing to the wider implications surrounding the so-called ‘dodgy dossier’ in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq War”. I should like to point out that no-one should vote for going to war in a gung-ho manner in any circumstances; going to war is an extremely serious action, and should only be undertaken when there is a well-documented and convincing case. At least, Tony Blair did produce a dodgy dossier, more than David Cameron did. The whole case for war now seems to be based on the press hysteria based on unverified sources. There is growing doubt over the authenticity of those beheading videos; but supposing they are authentic, is that good cause for going to war? If so, Saudi Arabia should have been flattened by now. Then we have to ask who ISIS is. It is said to be an offshoot of Al Qaeda. It is now well known that ‘Al Qaeda’ is Arabic for ‘The (data) base’ and was a database in Washington of the resistance fighters in Afghanistan at the time of the Soviet invasion. We seem to be fighting invisible enemies. A report in a national newspaper was headed ‘Syrian air-strikes: Does the US have the foggiest idea who their enemy is?’. It reported on the recent bombing of a group called ‘Khorasan’. According to the report: “Andrew McCarthy, a former US federal terrorism prosecutor was blunt in the National Review magazine: ‘You haven’t heard of the Khorasan group because there isn’t one.'”. Voting for a war when no analytical case has been made out, when we haven’t checked the evidence, when we don’t know who the enemy is, and where there is no evident objective or sign of military strategy, is just irresponsible. Clearly, the objective of those beheading videos could only have been to give justification to the US and its allies for the invasion of Iraq and/or Syria. Who could have been behind that? It seems to me that as far as the UK is concerned, the real objective is exactly what they wanted to do a year ago and take over Syria.


Enborne Road