The Conservative government gave more than £80,000 to the neocon lobby group the Henry Jackson Society, an investigation by Declassified UK has revealed.
The Henry Jackson Society (HJS), which regularly targets Muslim organisations, received £83,452.32 from the UK Home Office in four payments during 2015-2017 to produce a report on UK connections to “Islamist” terrorism.
The Home Office spent nearly a year blocking the release of the new information, according to Declassified UK, which came from a freedom of information request, because of exemptions related to “safeguarding national security.”
The first Home Office payment to the HJS, of £12,517.85 in May 2015, was invoiced when Theresa May was the Home Secretary and the following three payments of £70,934 were made when the Home Secretary was Amber Rudd.
Sam Armstrong, a spokesperson for the HJS, told Declassified: “We’re proud the British government recognised the value and integrity of our research and were generous enough to make a contribution towards creating the UK’s most in-depth and comprehensive study of Islamist Terrorism, which continues to be the gold standard in the field today.”
A Home Office spokesperson told Declassified: “We work with a wide range of organisations to understand the threats we face and to protect the public. Funding was agreed in 2014 for a third edition of a report by the Henry Jackson Society titled ‘Islamist Terrorism: The British Connections’. Given that the organisation had produced the previous two editions, they had the necessary expertise to update the report effectively.”
The HJS promotes itself as “working across borders and party lines to combat extremism, advance democracy and real human rights – and make a stand in an increasingly uncertain world.”
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But a 2015 report by Spinwatch claimed that HJS “is the leading exponent of neoconservatism in the UK today grounded in a transatlantic tradition deeply influenced by Islamophobia and an open embrace of the ‘War on Terror’.”
The report said that over time HJS had “adopted a more conservative political agenda, especially in relation to its unflinching support for Israel and the promotion of increasingly Islamophobic policies, both domestically and internationally.”