No Justice In The War on Terror 117

The Blackwater mercenaries who massacred 17 Iraqi civilians have been let off by a US judge because they gave evidence under duress – the threat of losing their jobs.

Yet evidence given by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed during hundreds of torture sessions, including over a hundred sessions of waterboarding, is admissible in the US, torture apparently not being duress like the threat of losing your job.

The US is at the same time going through more angst about the underpants bomber. Get this into your heads; people want to kill you because as a nation you behave in a murderous and arrogant way. That does not justify a terrorist in killing innocent civilians; but killing innocent civilians did not seem to bother the Blackwater boys, or the US armed forces who kill innocent civilians every single day.

117 thoughts on “No Justice In The War on Terror

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  • Carlyle Moulton


    The Star Trek Enterprise series was set in the time a generation before the original Captain Kirk, Spock Star Trek series.

    The episode I refer to was in a series of episodes when Enterprise was traveling through an anomolous area of space (the Delphic Expanse) where time traveling beings from another universe were trying to alter our spacetime to make it habitable for them. Enterprise was seeking out multiple races of Xindi who were building a terror weapon to wipe out earth humans because they had been convinced by the extra universals that if they did not do so Earth humans would wipe them out. (Not an unreasonable fear in my view, if we do get into space of course we will exterminate those no good aliens whose planets we covet).

    The convert a biological being into a bomb may also have been used in Voyager.

    There I have shown my own geekiness. I have watched Star Trek whenever it has been on but I have definitely not seen every episode of every series. I have not seen the Voyager episode you mentioned.

  • glenn

    Question: Why does “angry-soab” write far more to a site he supposedly doesn’t like, than on his own (doubtlessly vastly superior and more popular!) blog? The last first-hand update on stupid-soab’s blog was: “WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2009”. And that just talks about more successful blogs. in fact, Useless-soab’s blogs consist entirely of reference to more interesting material – almost nothing is original.

    Most of the feeble entries on arsey-soab’s blog go without comment. When they do attract comments, about half are from Ugly-soab himself.

    Does Miserable-soab troll around other, far more successful and interesting blogs than his own, in a desperate attempt to drum up some sort of popularity? Is that why he/she disrupts and pays more attention to successful blogs than his utterly irrelevant ramblings, which everyone would otherwise quite rightly ignore?

    Perhaps we should be told!

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Gee, Glenn, where’s your blog? How popular is it?

    Should Craig Murray be allowed to comment on a blog that is far more visited than his?

  • anno


    If my government misbehaves, and contrary to our proud history of protest here in the UK I march peacefully and go back home so I can go to work next day and pay back my bank loans, does that mean that I am condoning my government’s misdeeds?

    The logic of that argument ends in taking direct action, which is currently called terrorism by the colonising classes. The colonisers themselves are like the Star trek Kazes in so far as they keep their violent intentions and capabilities well concealed.

    If you admit personal blame for State failure leading to state bancruptcy or state terror, even in a democratic system, you are playing into the hands of a dictator who rules by fear. I am definitely NOT responsible for Mrs Thatcher’s Bank Robbery or Mr Blair’s Harold Shipman-like serial mass- murder of Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia … I trusted the properly appointed person not to exceed the limits of good governance, even though I was powerless to act upon my growing suspicions that my leaders were incompetent criminals.

    One is left to conclude that removing a ‘government’ or a leader will not solve the problem and that the Christian Western system is to blame. It would be so nice to be able to say: ‘Gordon Brown, You are the weakest link, stand down. If the system was playing by its own rules, it would be fine. Even if you live under the Taliban and they follow the rules ,it would be fine. The trouble is that in any system there are always individuals who gain trust but who abuse the trust that has been invested in them.

    All those people who for whatever reason want to maintain Christian Western democracy MUST insist that the above criminals, viz Thatcher and Blair are brought to justice for their respective crimes. For myself, I put no faith in this system, and it is my concern that the lessons of recent attempts at Islamic governance are learnt. Lesson no. 1 is that you cannot impose Islamic Law on a state governed by secular law, because people do not know where they stand. People will obey whom they fear most, and that is often secular power.

    Pious people are so scared of wealthy people of authority that they will condone injustice.

    It’s much harder to establish good governance than just to talk about it.

    But in my opinion Islam is more likely to find the way to achieve good governance than our own Western system even though that may not be what most people want to hear.

  • anno


    One of the bits of poisonous propaganda the UK and its Islamic vassals seeking the peanuts of this world against the treasures of the next life put into the prayer rooms of educational establishments argues;

    that you get the leaders you deserve and you have to obey the leaders you deserved;

    that you are therefore responsible for the shortcomings of your corrupt rulers, so you may as well work with them and their Western masters and give up trying to think about how to establish Islamic good governance.

    When I read this stuff, with its learned Arabic quotations and its accusations that those who disagree with its poison are ‘chawarij’, i.e. they have left Islam… that’s when I taste the bacon fat in the sandwich. There is extremely large slabs of bacon in what is currently presented to Westerners as Islam and the bread is saturated with lard.

    The people whoever they are who ‘got’ to the Western system, have also ‘got’ to Islam.

    Don’t know who they are, but Star-trek is definitely a good medium for exploring alien invasions.

    Beam me up, Scottie.I mean, Craig.

  • anonymouse

    Angry soba…

    go away.

    your trollhood is beyond all the trolls in the land of trollia. your trolling is sad, pathetic, and predictable.

    you’re a child who is screaming for attention, and it’s sad.

  • angrysoba

    In the words of Craig Murray: “Some people don’t seem to get the concept of open debate.”

    Anonymouse, I continuing to post because I am responding to people who have engaged me, one of whom is you. If you don’t like that then stop talking to me.

  • CheebaCow

    Multiple people are justifying killing civilians…… wow……

    If civilians are allowed to be targeted by ‘righteous’ fighters, then all civilians will be targeted in all wars. In virtually all conflicts, both sides claim the moral high ground, and therefore both can ‘legitimately’ target civilians.

    It’s beyond irony that people can argue the ‘righteousness’ of targeting civilians. By doing so, it is clear the individual is anything but morally pure. The bombing of Dresden was a war crime, as was the fire-bombing of Tokyo, as was the bombing of London. War sucks, and since WWI it has increasingly been targeting civilians, lets not pretend this is acceptable for any reason.

  • Vronsky

    Given the importance of precedent in US law, I can imagine this case becoming much cited – after all the threat of job loss applies in many offences, down to drunk driving. Some years ago there was a very nasty parallel in English law, when a guardsman escaped conviction for a brutal rape on the grounds that his career might be damaged.

    But like Craig, I know that these precedents are only rather selectively applied. I know of know case in Scotland which has had fingerprint evidence ruled inadmissible, as it logically should be following the McKie case.

  • CheebaCow

    Back on topic.

    The lack of justice for the Iraqi victims is disgusting, and can leave the Iraqi’s with no doubt how little the US values their lives. However I think in the long run such cases will actually hurt the mercenary industry far more than it helps.

    There seems to be a lot of discomfort within the US about the role of mercenaries in the ‘war on terror’. I’m surprised how often I see direct or indirect criticism of mercenaries in the US mainstream media, be it the news or in (more?) fictional TV shows. I think this is for three reasons. The first one being that despite a concerted effort to ‘re-brand’ them as contractors, people know a merc when they see one, and people do not think highly of killers to hire. The second reason is that mercenaries provide a good scapegoat for those that wish to offer ‘safe’ criticism of US policy. It’s politically much easier to criticise Blackwater (Xe if you prefer, but I think both names are cartoonishly evil) than it is to criticise the US military. The final reason being is that I think there is a large element of the US military establishment that is deeply unhappy with the use of mercenaries.

    With such blatant cases as the one that Craig blogged about, it is increasingly apparent how little control/over sight there is of the mercenary industry. I think it’s only a matter of time before the merc industry greatly shrinks as more and more people express their disgust towards it and the political leaders who support the industry. I hope so anyway.

  • Craig


    The Blackwater case did not collapse because there was no evidence against them other than the evidence that had been obtained “under duress”. It collapsed because SOME of the evidence against them had been obtained “inder duress”, and that was deemed sufficient violation of rights to end the case.

    We may, it is true, yet see a similar ruling applied and KSM released when he comes before a Federal court. And I will eat my hat.

    I would reiterate that Larry, angrysoba etc are very welcome – and I mean welcome, not just tolerated – to comment here.

  • Anon

    Free speech is all well and good and seems to be alive on the internet.

    Unfortunately when it descends into name silly and abusive calling often from people with little better to do in their pathetic lives, then maybe they should have the right to post removed. Certainly using words in any blog which you would not say to someone face to face is a form of cowardace. It should should be deleted and the user suspended for the benefit of the many who would prefer a reasoned debate and not a fist fight.

  • dreoilin

    “I think there is a large element of the US military establishment that is deeply unhappy with the use of mercenaries.”–CheebaCow

    It’s my understanding that Obama’s “surge” in Afghanistan includes about 56,000 ‘contractors’. It’s also my understanding that it’s against US law for the US to use mercenaries in the course of a war. Perhaps someone could clarify this second point — I thought I read it from Juan Cole, but now I can’t remember the source.

    “I would reiterate that Larry, angrysoba etc are very welcome” –Craig

    It’s your blog, of course, Craig. I don’t believe Larry has any interest in commenting here. Only in throwing out provocative questions and remarks, with the *sole* intention of being disruptive. Just my two cents. But I’ll follow your lead.

  • dreoilin

    I also think that “Larry” (or a buddy) is using about 3-6 names, including those of other posters (e.g. Jaded) — but that’s par for the course given where she’s coming from, IMHO.

  • CheebaCow

    dreoilin: I believe you are right about the increase in mercenaries under Obama. Last I heard was that more than 1 mercenary had replaced every official US military person that has been withdrawn from Iraq since Obama was elected. However I don’t that the mercenary issue is actually something that Obama wants to encourage as such, rather he must use mercenaries to achieve his goals. Obama probably feels he can’t seriously reduce the US presence in Iraq but at the same time he wants to be seen as at least starting the withdrawal. For all his faults, I genuinely believe that Obama does not want to wage war in the way that Bush did, and does not intend to start another major war. If this is the case then I think mercenaries will eventually be phased out. If however another large war is initiated then even more mercenaries will undoubtedly be needed. And the world will be a lot closer to completely going down the shitter.

    Personally I’m more concerned with the ever increasing use of remote controlled war machines. One of the evils of air power is just how removed the pilots are from the carnage they are committing. Using a remote controlled device to bomb villages that is just like playing a video game really make me shudder about where humanity is going. But I also feel compelled to say that I love playing violent video games =P

  • CheebaCow

    “However I don’t *think* that the mercenary issue is actually something that Obama wants to encourage as such”

    Correction to the above.

  • Carlyle Moulton


    The supposed ban on targeting civilians is

    (a) Silly.

    (b) Hypocritical.

    War is War and it makes no sense to wage it at all unless one wages it totally. This prohibition is never observed by the Nation at war with the more powerful military. Only the weak side is criticised. The powerful side can get away with killing as many civilians as they like by claiming that it is just inevitable collateral damage, even if they do deliberately target civilians as civilians they can say we thought there was a military target there. In any war strategy and tactics require that you try to strike where the enemies defenses are weakest and civilians are always less well defended than armed soldiers with tanks.

    This rule deprives those who are under enemy occupation from resisting by defining everything they do as terrorism because they target civilians.

  • CheebaCow


    So Israel should simply completely flatten the West Bank and Gaza according to your logic. No Palestinians left, problem solved. The US would never let Israel be ‘pushed into the sea’, so why don’t they just do it?

    I share your frustration with the unevenness of how laws are applied. But this just means we should fight for more justice not less. If there was no sense of decency in the world, and might justified anything, the poor of the world would be far worse off.

  • anno


    I gazed into the windows of Obama’s eyes and saw a peace-loving man who did not want to start any wars and definitely deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Then I woke up and realised it was all a beautiful dream. Sigh.

  • anno


    I read the disgust in the public’s mind about hired killers and the evasion of responsibility by the state who hires them. I thought about the penalty for those who hire killers for personal crimes. Then I thought,this disgusting thing is going to go away from the force of public opinion. Like the war on Iraq.

    If it stinks, UK US IS dogs will be rolling in it. I try to discipline my dog, but, i don’t know, it must have had a deprived childhood or something. Sigh.

  • CheebaCow


    These kinds of comments don’t really serve any purpose. You read things into what I write that I don’t actually say or mean.

    No where in my post did I say I think Obama is a moral or peace loving person. I only said that he didn’t want to wage wars in the same way Bush did.

    I think it is much more likely that Obama is similar to Bush and the general US political class that want to maintain US hegemony across the globe. However Obama is sophisticated enough that he realises that such blunt rhetoric and actions that Bush was famous for is not actually an effective way of achieving US goals. I still think its a little early to judge Obama, after all Bush and Co really did leave a massive mess after themselves, but I think Obama will be a relatively typical centre right US politician that is charismatic and probably has some vague liberal ideals such as less nukes which he will most likely scrap when they become inconvenient. Probably much like Clinton.

    Obama sure ain’t a liberal like many hoped, but he’s probably a little more palatable than Bush. When such high stakes are at risk, sometimes style does actually account for a little.

  • ingo

    Thank you for pointing this out again Cheebacow, thing is the priorities of remembering/celebrating war still comes before that of war crimes.

    “The bombing of Dresden was a war crime, as was the fire-bombing of Tokyo, as was the bombing of London. War sucks, and since WWI it has increasingly been targeting civilians, lets not pretend this is acceptable for any reason.”

    Then there are the war crimes nobody will ever cry about, i.e. those committed in vengance, for example, those 400.000 german soldiers that died after being shoved into holes, dug in fields in Flanders and northern France, left to die on starvation rations by allied soldiers, imho,the psychological glue of that ‘special realitionship’, a common criminality.

    They were emaciated and battle worn, hungry, coming back form the eastern fronts, after years of fighting, obeying the orders of a psychopath Hitler, they were at their wits end and died like flies, nobody ever cried for them, they were the evil nazis after all.

    Records of this particular mass murder, it does not qualify as war crime, because the war was over, have been destroyed, only the geneva red cross archive is holding on to this ‘secret’and is steadfastly refusing to let anybody research the subject, many have tried.

    Today ordering mass murder in Iraq will not be taken out on soldiers, indeed the lessons learned from the nazi’s, reagrds torture and deprivation, have been takern up hook line and sinker, refined and developed.

    The next few month will give us a chance to press our ‘predictive representatives’, vying for our votes on these issues, watch them wriggle.

    There is no justice in the war on terror, because all sides are using terror to control and support their side of the argument. Civilans, always the largest casulaties in any war, are kept in fear and ignorance, tribal confusions, entertained with white wash inquiries such as Chilcott, we are now encouraged to vote for the same shower again.

    I have never commented or engaged with angrysobas comments much, but running a blog and getting no responses to it must get boring after a while, hence his appearnces on other more assertive and relevant blogs, imho., just as Carlyle Moultons deliberate contributions, I regard them both as a compliment to Craigs openess and accessability here.

    Both have made more contributions here in two days than I have posted since I discovered this blog, that in itself speaks volumnes.

    So, how do we change things? Ruth has pointed to the obvious, engaging in active politics must be a way forward, despite the unfair voting system.

    That said, only a positive pro European party should really be our target, our history and future lies within Europe.

    I’m slightly worried that our ‘mongers’ will walk/talk us into another war, further obfusecating and confusing the most important issues facing us now, we must challenge Cameron/ Brown on Iran and Israel. The conservative party is governed by the conservative friends of Israel and friends of Israel such as Mr. Gode MP, already are dominating our news and cultural BBC programmes, power has been shifting since the autumn and the BBC has followed the Murdoch press in sucking up to this, another manipulated lot.

    enjoy the weekend.

  • Vronsky

    Following on a little from dreoilin’s comments, I also never engage trolls (trolling is like porn – difficult to define, but you know it when you see it). As I have mentioned in a previous post there are technologies to reduce the nuisance, and which stop short of the outright blocking that Craig doesn’t want.

    As well as posting under a variety of aliases, well-organised trollers will often conduct both sides of an argument, so that a wholly spurious and irrelevant debate (usually characterised by lots of use of words like ‘idiot’ and ‘moron’) can thrive like a weed, choking all other contributions. I suspect that the wildest vituperation is between trollers on the same team. The apparent stupidity of the trollers’ contributions should not lead one to believe that a fool is behind them. I have seen many a comment thread wasted by persistent and highly focussed inanity, so perhaps it was carefully calibrated to achieve its end – silence.

    Never attribute to malice what is adequately explained by stupidity, I suppose, but it is still worth watching out for malice. Or perhaps Larry and angrysoba just belong in General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord’s last and most dangerous category of officer:

    “I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!”

  • angrysoba

    “War is War and it makes no sense to wage it at all unless one wages it totally. This prohibition is never observed by the Nation at war with the more powerful military. Only the weak side is criticised. The powerful side can get away with killing as many civilians as they like by claiming that it is just inevitable collateral damage, even if they do deliberately target civilians as civilians they can say we thought there was a military target there. In any war strategy and tactics require that you try to strike where the enemies defenses are weakest and civilians are always less well defended than armed soldiers with tanks. ”

    That’s just wonderful!

    First of all, what “war” are we talking about? You’re not one of those that have swallowed the whole “war on terror” propaganda whole are you? If you’re suggesting as you have done, that September 11th and the Underwear Bombers actions were legitimate acts of war then you have basically ruled that all killings of civilians and all targettings of civilians are legitimate.

    So, when George Bush senior said he would never apologize for the shooting down of a civilian Iranian airliner then you, presumably, are fine with it. Hey! That’s war! Right?

    You’ve also justified the killings of Iraqi and Afghan civilians on the basis that, Hey! That’s war!

  • inncoent

    People. I am not happy to hear bastards from Blackwater to get away from justice. However, considering that american judicial system is based upon case law, I am happy for those who have been tortured and waiting trials for whatever charges. Now, their lawyers can refer to the above and build their case arguing that torture is more serious duress that loosing a job.

  • Anonymous

    In 2009 more 2040 civilians died in Afghanistan. 310 american soldiers and 106 british ones. Afghan civilians died as a result of miolitary action from both sides.

  • andy

    An interesting article by Jeremy Scahill here:

    He writes, Judge Ricardo Urbina, “In a memo defending his opinion… cited a similar rationale used in the dismissal of charges against Iran-Contra figure Oliver North?”namely that the government violated the rights of the Blackwater men by using statements they made to investigators in the immediate aftermath of the shooting to build a case against the guards, which Urbina said qualified for “derivative use immunity.” Urbina wrote that he agreed that “the government violated [the Blackwater guards’] constitutional rights by utilizing statements they made to Department of State investigators, which were compelled under a threat of job loss.” He added that the “government is prohibited from using such compelled statements or any evidence obtained as a result of those statements” to bring indictments.”

    Scahill has been reporting on Erik Prince and his Blackwater mercenaries for some time.


    Happy New Year Craig.


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