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The Fag End of Hassan Butt

Belatedly, via Paul Stott’s blog I see that the latest issue of Lobster is available as a free pdf download. Among the goodies is a piece by Solomon Hughes that casts a sceptical eye over Prospect magazine – in particular, Prospect‘s use of material derived from Hassan Butt, the supposed “reformed jihadi” who turned out to be a fantasist. The piece includes quotes given to Hughes by Prospect editor David Goodhart:

Journalist Shiv Malik interviewed Hassan Butt for a long Prospect piece on the 7/7 bombing and editor Goodhart said that, ‘I did once hear that the services regard the Shiv Malik piece on 7/7 as essential reading inside the “security state”‘ and added: ‘a Pentagon official once said the same.’

Goodhart went on to say: ‘if Hassan Butt has now been “exposed” as a liar and fantasist we were certainly not the only ones taken in – there was a big Newsnight interview – and big pieces in several nationals.’

British journalists and security professionals taken in by a dodgy source on Islamic extremism? Surely not

Of course, Butt is not the only person to have made a career out of being a supposed former extremist – across the water there is Walid Shoebat, who regularly thrills church groups with tales of Muslim terrorist bloodlust mixed in with his bizarre re-interpretation of the Book of Revelation.

2 Responses

  1. Well some of us were casting doubt as to the honesty of Hassan Butt as far back as March 2007:
    http://www.fsmarchives.org/article.php?id=840561

    When you start invoking Walid Shoebat (who similarly seems dishonest) it should be pointed out that there are several former extremists who DO make living out of their move away from radicalism, and do so honestly.

    For example, former US al-Muhajiroun spokesman Kamran Bokhari who now makes a lucrative income as a consultant for Stratfor (Strategy Forecasting).

    Similarly, Quilliam does a fairly good job of identifying current mosques/universities where radical imams are encouraged.

    Fantasists like Butt do no-one any favours, but they are allowed to succeed because of the gullibility of others, and the willingness of journalists and bloggers to involve themselves in tittle-tattle and innuendo, rather than hard an verifiable facts.

  2. A liar says he is lying, and that everything he has said and done is a fantasy and a lie. And now, only now you believe he is telling the truth?

    It was very convenient that the troublesome Mr Butt should suddenly be found to be making it all up. It got him off some very serious charges, as he was the subject of a Manchester police investigation at the time. Indeed, his best friend was sent down for terror offences whilst Butt got away scott free.

    But was really he nothing more than a fantasist? Unlikely.

    If you go back over the last few years, Butt keeps cropping up over and over – In Pakistan, in the UK, alongside key extremist/jihadi figures. He was undoubtedly there, he knew people, they knew him.

    Yet he was never in trouble, whilst others around him went down.

    Hassan Butt was always a liar and exaggerator: first he was al Muhajiroun’s liar and exaggerator, then he was the security services’ liar and exaggerator.

    The media lapped it all up.

    When it all got too hot he pulled the plug and denied everything: if you think that was plausible deniability I urge to look at the facts of Mr Butt’s story carefully one more time.

    http://www.metro.co.uk/news/526821-taxi-driver-coaxed-into-becoming-al-qaida-spy

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