This typically witless Daily Mail piece claims that Ali Alosaimi was “radicalized” by viewing videos of the atrocities of the Assad regime. The Daily Mail and the rest of the Western media continue to view “radicalization” as if it were some sort of contagious disease that one might randomly catch, just by standing next to a carrier — or running into one on the Internet. Why other people who have been victims of atrocities have not become terrorists, and why the Internet’s version of Islam is so much more powerful than the supposedly benign version that we are told is taught in mosques in the West, remains unexplained.
And no one, least of all the Daily Mail, will draw the most obvious conclusion from this: that it is unwise, and a national security threat, to admit Muslims into the military of non-Muslim states without very careful screening. If the Daily Mail’s ridiculous scenario is to be believed, perhaps Muslim military officers should be barred from using the Internet, so that they don’t encounter material that will end up with their being “radicalized.” But even that would be “Islamophobic.”
“UK navy officer joins ISIS: Defence experts warn of terror attacks on ships as highly skilled sailor turns from playboy into jihadi after watching videos of Assad’s atrocities in Syria,” by Omar Wahid, Mark Nicol and Tahira Yaqoob, Mail On Sunday, May 8, 2016:
A navy officer who trained at one of Britain’s most prestigious maritime colleges has fled to Syria to join the Islamic State terror group.
Defence experts warned last night that 28-year-old Ali Alosaimi’s high-level skills and exhaustive knowledge of the nation’s shipping fleet represented a terrifying security threat.
Having already targeted passenger jets, there has long been concern that militants will try to bring terror to the seas by attacking ships and ferries.
‘This suddenly raises the spectre of IS damaging shipping,’ said former Royal Navy chief Admiral Lord West. ‘Someone with his knowledge opens up a whole new area where terrorism can take place.’
Kuwaiti-born Alosaimi’s personal details were found among a cache of IS documents leaked to The Mail on Sunday. They reveal that before leaving for Syria, Alosaimi lived in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, where he enrolled on a three-year Merchant Navy officer course in 2011. He had previously worked for a state-owned oil tanker company in Kuwait.
If he had pursued his naval career after gaining a Higher National Diploma in nautical science, he could have had access to vessels under charter to the Ministry of Defence. These are used to transport military supplies and other cargoes vital to national security.
Alosaimi studied at South Tyneside College’s Marine School, sharing a flat nearby with a Kuwati friend.
The college declined to comment last night, but part of his course, specifically for deck officers, involved serving on a ship, and he acquired an extensive insight into the UK’s maritime capability that would be invaluable to his future IS commanders.
Deck officers are responsible for the safety of the vessel, planning the ship’s passage, loading and discharging cargo, and all communications.
Gavin Simmonds, director of security at the UK Chamber of Shipping, said: ‘An individual with three years’ experience in this area with the Merchant Navy would be of use to a terror organisation intent upon targeting shipping. The idea of an insider with such knowledge joining the crew of, say, an oil tanker is unnerving.
‘There is a significant environmental risk should there be such a spectacular attempt by terrorists, and this is profoundly worrying. However, we must balance concerns against the ability of an individual to cause such an incident.’
Lord West added: ‘I think the most danger is posed by IS acquiring a Liquid Natural Gas container. These are highly flammable and could cause a very large explosion. Britain and the US have been worried about this for some time.’
The Merchant Navy, which now comprises about 1,500 vessels and 30,000 seamen, performed a key role during the Second World War and Falklands conflict.
While in the UK, Alosaimi posted nearly 100 pictures of himself on Facebook, where he called himself ‘Captain Take Care’. In one selfie, he wears dark aviator sunglasses, aping Tom Cruise from the 1986 film Top Gun. In another, posted in 2010, he wears a navy-style cap and writes: ‘I took my place among my crew to sail the seas as a capitano.’
Last night, Alosaimi’s former housemate in South Shields said that he was radicalised by watching videos of killings in Syria committed by President Bashar Assad’s troops. The friend, who does not want to be identified, said: ‘He went to Syria because he was angry about Assad. All Muslims are angry, but Ali acted on it. In this day and age, you don’t need people to radicalise you. The internet is enough.’
He added that Alosaimi finished his HND course, but was two exams away from obtaining his marine licence, which would have allowed him to captain any ship.
Alosaimi’s family in Kuwait said he became radicalised in the final year of his course. He grew a beard and began preaching to teenage relatives, urging them to join IS. Until then, they insisted, he was a typical student who ‘danced, smoked and had girlfriends’.
According to his uncle, it was the death of Alosaimi’s younger brother, Abdullah, killed while fighting with fanatics in Syria aged 19, that was the turning point. The uncle, also called Ali, said: ‘He seemed a changed man after his brother’s death.
‘He grew a beard and did not talk to anyone like he used to. He used to call his family every fortnight but he visited at the end of 2013 and that was the last we heard from him.’
He said Ali had been preparing for his final exams and was primed for a career with the Kuwait National Petroleum Company after he graduated. When he disappeared, the family contacted the company, which confirmed he passed his exams but never took up his post.
Instead, the family received an encrypted Whatsapp message in Arabic seven months later.
Mr Alosaimi said: ‘The message said he was in Syria with IS and he was going to go to heaven. We do not know if he is dead or alive….