Shamima Begum: Spy smuggled schoolgirl to Syria where she joined Isis, new book claims

Book claims Canada hired human trafficker to gain insight into recruitment of its own citizens by Isis

Maroosha Muzaffar
Wednesday 31 August 2022 08:09 BST
Related video: Shamima Begum says she would ‘rather die’ than go back to Isis

A spy working for Canadian intelligence had smuggled Shamima Begum and two of her other friends into Syria from the UK, a new book has claimed in an explosive revelation.

Ms Begum was 15 in 2015 when she and two other schoolgirls from London – 16-year-old Kadiza Sultana and 15-year-old Amira Abase – went to Syria to join Isis.

Ms Begum has claimed she was trafficked into Syria.

Investigators were told that the teenagers were trafficked into Syria by double agent who was working for Isis and Canadian intelligence, according to excerpts from the upcoming book, The Secret History of the Five Eyes, published by several media outlets.

The book is authored by Richard Kerbaj, a former security correspondent for The Sunday Times. Its title refers to the Five Eyes western alliance of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The book claims Canada kept silent even as Scotland Yard ran a frenetic international search and had asked the UK to cover up its role. Canada had allegedly hired a human trafficker to gain insight into the recruitment of its own citizens by the terrorist group.

The book by Mr Kerbaj is based on interviews with world leaders and more than 100 intelligence officials.

The BBC also reported that a senior intelligence officer had confirmed that double agent Mohammed Al Rasheed was providing information to Canadian intelligence while smuggling people to Isis.

He claimed the information he had gathered on the people who wanted to go to Syria was passed along to the Canadian embassy in Jordon.

The book also said the UK conspired with Canada to cover up its role in the disappearance of the girls.

Canada hired Mr Rasheed as an agent when he was applying for asylum at the Canadian embassy, according to the book.

The book quotes an unidentified source as saying: “The CSIS [Canadian Security Intelligence Service] officers knew that Scotland Yard had a live investigation into the three schoolgirls and also knew that sooner or later the finger would point at them.”

“CSIS remained silent about the explosive allegations, taking refuge in the one thing that protects all intelligence agencies, including those within the Five Eyes, against potential embarrassment: secrecy,” the book claims.

“CSIS largely succeeded in covering up the role it had played in the recruitment and running of Rasheed, and the agency’s deputy director was deployed to Ankara to beg forgiveness for failing to inform the Turkish authorities that they had been running a counterintelligence operation in their territory,” the book further states.

Meanwhile, Tasnime Akunjee, the Begum family lawyer, has called for an inquiry.

He said: “Britain has lauded its efforts to stop Isis and the grooming of our children by spending millions of pounds on the Prevent programme and online monitoring. However, at the very same time we have been co-operating with a western ally, trading sensitive intelligence with them whilst they have effectively been nabbing British children and trafficking them across the Syrian border for delivery to Isis all in the name of intelligence-gathering.

“The calculation here is that the lives of British children, and the risk of their death, is part of the algorithm of acceptable risk our western allies have taken.”

He said the revelations in the book were of “crucial importance”, given that Ms Begum has argued she was trafficked into Syria.

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