“Taliban Compounds” and the Great Gladstone 94

There is an article in the Sunday Times about yet more pressure being brought to bear on Wikileaks as they prepare to release another damning video of American massacre, this time in Afghanistan.

But what caught my eye was yet another example of the propaganda doublespeak with which our wars of occupation are justified.

American aircraft dropped 500lb and 1,000lb bombs on a suspected militant compound


People in Central Asia live in traditional courtyard houses, with rooms opening onto a central yard and an enclosing wall. This is because of the extreme heat of summer, and livestock are sometimes brought in to the yard in winter. Their homes do not look like our homes. But they are not “Compounds”. They are HOUSES.

I have lost track of the number of times I have seen television footage of somebody’s home being sprayed with bullets that pierce the mud and straw walls as if they did not exist, or obliterated by a bomb, while that disgusting servile MI6 propagandist Frank Goebbels Gardner or another of his ilk tells us it was a “Militant compound”, with all the James Bond fantasies that evokes. It is not a compound you fascist bastard, I scream in rage at the TV. It is a family home.

Time for more of the great William Ewart Gladstone:

Remember the rights of the savage, as we call him. Remember that the happiness of his humble home, remember that the sanctity of life in the hill villages of Afghanistan, among the winter snows, is as inviolable in the eye of Almighty God as can be your own.

Those hill tribes had committed no real offence against us. We, in the pursuit of our political objects, chose to establish military positions in their country. If they resisted, would not you have done the same? … The meaning of the burning of the village is, that the women and the children were driven forth to perish in the snows of winter … Is that not a fact ?” for such, I fear, it must be reckoned to be ?” which does appeal to your hearts as women … which does rouse in you a sentiment of horror and grief, to think that the name of England, under no political necessity, but for a war as frivolous as ever was waged in the history of man, should be associated with consequences such as these?

For those of you who ask why I rejoined the Liberal Democrats, the answer is it is my political home. I stand in the tradition of Gladstone, John Bright and John Stuart Mill. It is my

earnest desire to remind the party of that great tradition.

Please let me know every time you see an incident of the “compound” propagande trick.

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94 thoughts on ““Taliban Compounds” and the Great Gladstone

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  • glenn

    Anno – you write: “The po-faced, artificial regret we get from the media chattering classes about our genocides is deeply chilling. Abscence of chatter is supposed to indicate sincerity?”

    I get to think about this a lot, particularly when I have to stare at myself in the mirror, such as when shaving. I’m looking directly into the eyes at someone with a comfortable life, while my country is making life simple not survivable for people in another country. They’ve done nothing to me, but I’m killing them – I’m letting it happen, and paying for it to happen. If I met these people, I’d probably find them a lot more interesting than the people in my street, and get on with them fine. But instead, my country’s forces are dropping bombs through their roofs, occupying their country, and killing huge numbers with impunity while pretending it’s all in defence of poor, frightened innocent little-old us.

    What am I doing about it? Well, too damned little, obviously, and I find that hard to live with. I’m not doing anything really, nor are most of the people – the vast majority – involved one way or another (armed forces, families thereof, taxpaying enablers, etc.).

    But was it ever different? Strewth… when did any people demand a war against another people? And how recent is it, that we can say we don’t support our people’s fight against their people because they did [fill in the blank], and not be thrown in prison or shot for our lack of patriotism? Serious dissent with something as serious as your very own country’s war, while still living unabused there, is a very recent luxury.


    Craig Murray’s decision to get behind the Lib Dems has given me a lot of pause for thought. I’ve abandoned them not just because Clegg was not my vote in the LD leadership contest, but because of the utterly gutless, Mail – driven approval cravings with which he has comported himself since.

    This Blair-wannabe faint-hearted go-along to get-along Clegg who has no actual principles that I can discern, no fire in the belly, no wish for anything but power, seems more interested in positioning himself BETWEEN “new” Labour and the Tories than offering any serious alternative. “I’m a safe alternative to these comprised parties” – perhaps that could be the Lib Dem slogan. Just a touch more money for education, perhaps, and a insignificant change in tax policy – don’t worry about voting for us, we won’t be radical. A safe choice for the status quo.

    So maybe it’s wise to get involved, as Mr. Murray has done – not because of a sudden approval in the party’s position, but because it’s the only way to affect real change. The only hope of a change is through an alternative, and we need people like Craig Murray to make change a voteable alternative, by making a party realise that offering something most people want (instead of just the monied classes) really can prove popular. After all, it’s only the interests of about 98% of the electorate you’re appealing to.


    The most incredible and persistent con in human history, besides religion, is that the majority believe their interests coincide with those of the richest and most powerful.

  • Courtenay Barnett


    Being quite sure that President depends on your blog to receive regular updates from an informed source – just thought I would use this medium to share with him my views on the delusinal American pursuit of global Empire:-


    America must have an external enemy to make war with, because at the core of the US economy is a war machine. The system itself must have a base of justification for spending the largest segment of the US budget on armaments and wars. There is no longer any Soviet Union to justify to the American taxpayer, the reason for the excessive spending on armaments, increasing each year ( even in periods of recession). What is the sustained and increased military expenditure budget’s justification? :- “We need to protect our freedoms”, “we must go over there to get them before they come over here to get us”, “they do not believe in our God and are bad and evil people” ?” but their feelings about being free from occupation, not wanting foreign troops on their soil, or any realisation that it is the reverse of peace-making when “good” is manifested in illegal invasions and “bad” is to be labeled as the resistance to such invasions, must not enter the channels of our minds. To promote thought on the issue of the justification for the “War on terror” the simple question might be posed:-

    If any state in the Union were invaded by foreign troops ?” what would the world expect the US citizenry to do, accept the occupation, or fight by any means necessary to see the backs of the foreign troops out of the US?

    Of course the answer must be that if the US were invaded with a view to long term occupation, the citizenry would have every right to defend the homeland. So ?” then ?” why doesn’t every other citizenry in the eyes of the American people have that same right when their homeland is invaded and occupied? A good question. A fair question. A question that, unfortunately, will not be asked by the average Joe or Jane. The mainstream media in the US, simply does not raise the premise of such considerations for advancing any serious debate and/or questioning the logic and reasoning behind the official rationale and of advancing global perpetual warfare.

    When “good” and “evil” are represented in the kind of narrative that permits one country to invade and occupy others, while delimiting or negating the right of “others” to resist occupation, then this kind of asymmetrical global aggression is given an assumed justification for free reign in the world, or more accurately put ?” given free reign in the minds of the majority of the American people, so that US global military projections can be justified in US citizens minds when military aggression so projected into the world is to be embraced as “right”. The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) started with this ridiculous premise. The kinds of probing questions; the kinds of honest analysis ; or, any honest process of reasoned exchange that questions the imposed dominate military narrative is to be labeled “unpatriotic”, “un-American”, “anti-American”. Any thoughts of global peace, become the nemesis, the counterpoint, the peaceful Omega far removed from the primary Alpha of war. When the average American citizen is conditioned simply to blank from his/her mind any questioning of the war machine’s agenda, then the Alpha of war prevails over the long-term objective of projecting schemas for peace in our world. The logic of sustaining ( or attempting to sustain for eons) this whole process of war and more war and increased military spending, is not to be questioned. Official encouragement is given in the use of language, the media’s dominant themes, the resonant sound of the President’s voice that woes and supports blind patriotism or projected assumptions of a single country’s “exceptionalism” and absolute “right” to do as one country likes ?” unquestioned. Actually ?” why? ?” that is the question. Is the entire world to be prohibited from so questioning? Why doesn’t the average American so question? Because so-called “patriotism” , in effect answers and says in a most unreasoned manner that ‘country and flag ‘ equates to perpetual war ?” and heavy infusions of blind emotions then become a substitute for any process of analytic thought. What rationale? What end? What logical justification? But the citizen ought not to ask ?” ought not to think ?” ought not to question. The logic al steps taken into this state of global perpetual war, ought not to be analysed nor explained. But “Terrorists” had existed throughout the “cold war” and far back in human history. And now the military-industrial complex, directing the elected government, must once again dupe the people:-

    1. There is no state that is going to attack the US ?” that is a fact. If any did, they would, to use Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s words, be “obliterated”. So, no state actor is setting out to go to war with the US ?”that is a fact. Why then the increased and sustained military expenditures?

    2. There being nothing new in the terror bombing of civilians ?” what then makes “terrorism” a new phenomenon? The French facing the resistance in Algeria, have ample instances of the “Black widow” blowing up French civilians. This is a historical instance ( but there are more) of precisely the types of terror attacks that are being hyped as some form of new phenomenon directed against America.

    3. When a US drone drops bombs on an Afghan wedding party and kills off the better part of a village or kills a man’s entire family and if the man survives – be he Christian, Muslim, or any religion ( if you were that man):- a) would you have love or resentment in your heart? b) would you have a sense of vengeance or warm and welcoming feelings towards the occupation forces? c) would you violently retaliate against the ones who caused the death of your family and loved ones – or – would you be more inclined peacefully to embrace the occupier – or would you reject their culture, their soldiers occupying your country, their explanation of why they had to bomb your village and your family. The ridiculous aspect of the psych-ops pitch of this whole “War on Terror” ruse, is that the world is to be made to believe that by invading Iraq and Afghanistan, there is some magic war mechanism by which the very cycle of war, violence, vengeance that the invasions and occupations perpetuate, are by way of its own illogic of promoting more wars and resentments going to stop the cycle it started with the illegal invasions and occupations. The great threat to the world of this “terrorism” is supposedly to be stopped by the Guantanamos and drone village bombings, and a sane world, sane people, peace-loving people are to accept this as a rational, an effective, a cost-effective manner in the trillions of dollars and rising ?” of addressing “the enemy” of a nebulous “terrorism”?

    It was no less a person than General Eisenhower who correctly stated that “War is a racket”. President Eisenhower had said, ” I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who …. War is a racket.” He was absolutely correct then. Trouble is, not too many people take time out to think or question ?” just how big a racket war still is.

    “I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.”

    ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

    And Ike’s farewell speech, connected the economic mechanisms of the post-Word War 11 era with the military-industrial complex’s motivations and trajectory when he said:-

    “Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.” ( view: http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/04/the_goebbels_te.html#comments)

    The problem is that the effectiveness of the modern mass media has gotten to the American people to the extent that the peace that they ought to want, is so much disguised in war rhetoric and the logic of blind belligerence, that the peaceful trees can’t now so readily be discerned from the war forest.

    The more I think about why the big boys want to fight – the more I come in my mind to a greater understanding of just how fucked up a world we live in. Not because there are not good, peace-loving people in it, but because the ones who sell the arms and have the money, set out to stir up the troubles to sell more arms, to perpetuate more wars and keep the cycle going. To accomplish that end, the war-mongers need to convince the ordinary citizens that their war machine and global wars have justification. The justification must be projected into people’s minds as “love of Queen and country”, “love of country”, “love of flag”, “love of our freedoms and the Constitution” ?” while every step of the way projecting hate, war, death and destruction into the world. The end game actually is a perpetuation of the wars the power brokers claim they need to fight (see: UK Guardian – 12th April, 2010). By all means take the steps to prevent the modern day “Black widows”, but don’t pretend that by producing the hatreds that perpetuate war, and make the recruiting grounds for more bombers, that any peace-keeping mission is being advanced. Keep producing the conditions for the recruitment of more bombers, give reasons to them for fighting their “just war” in retaliation to the “injustices” visited upon them, and the war machine is primed to continue the death dealing cycle ( see the UK Guardian of the 15h February, 2006 to get a better understanding of just how it is done).

    Pentagon review

    America’s Long War

    Last week US defence chiefs unveiled their plan for battling global Islamist extremism. They envisage a conflict fought in dozens of countries and for decades to come. Today we look in detail at this seismic shift in strategic thinking, and what it will mean for Britain

  • Doug Allanson

    In respect of Courtenay Barnett’s interesting piece, interested readers might want to check out a book by George Friedman published about five years ago called ‘America’s Secret War’. Friedman is or was the leader of a right wing and private Texan think tank. His book is a fantastic piece of geopolitical analysis however. It is very frank and its fundamental thesis is that the USA invaded Iraq not because of wmd, not even for oil but because they needed a permanent military base in the near east because the Saudis were split between their Americaphilia and fundamentalism and therefore could not be relied upon. Friedman goes on to look from this imperialist perspective at many things the USA have done in recent decades to ensure that they control all nations, mostly Asian ones at this time, especially in terms of their nuclear capability to ensure US influence is globally unimpeded.

    At some UN conference a year or two after the Iraq invasion someone accused the US ambassador of ’empire building’ and the ambassador was so angry he stormed out of the room.

  • Chris, Glasgow


    That’s very interesting and something to consider. However, the oil companies are diving in to plunder Iraq now that it is a little safer. In the next couple of years you will see the likes of BP, Shell, Exxon Mobil, Chevron etc setting up huge bases in Iraq. Most of them will be based in Basra which they’re planning to turn into the new oil capital of the middle east.

    You’ll probably find that was more than one reason for the Iraq invasion all of which were not for the benefit of the Iraqi people.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “You’ll probably find that was more than one reason for the Iraq invasion”

    Chris from Glasgow

    That’s the key.

    Big Oil didn’t really want the invasion of Iraq; too unstable a scenario, they prefer other means of imperial leverage; on this, Big Oil was contemptuously over-ruled by the neocons/ Zionist lobby, for the reasons to which Doug Allanson alludes, and for some of the subtextual reasons to which Arsalan Goldberg in other threads has alluded as well. Mearsheimer and Walt write well on this area. But now that it’s happened they most certainly will take advantage of it.

  • tony_opmoc

    Only part of the reason why this Bastard Pleb will not be voting Liberal…Nor for any of the Other Bastards…



    “Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg (b.1967) started his life in politics physically as well as politically cut off from the British masses, in that oligarchical palace where they openly refer to the mass of the population as ‘plebians’ and ‘bastards’ ?” the European Commission and the European Parliament”


  • technicolour

    Doesn’t mean Clegg did, though. Tony, is your current Lib Dem candidate anti-war?

  • angrysoba

    “Frank Gardner is biased. His lower limb paralysis at the hands of angry Muslims in Saudi Arabia has not been met with humility and understanding in his heart”


    You mean he didn’t take it well when he was shot?

    “Only the British public still believe that British citizens working abroad are there for anything but neo-colonialism.”

    That’s just silly.

    “The issues in this election are … 1/Usury banking has to end.”

    Good luck with that.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Obviously, angrysoba, the guy got blown-up and paralysed, he’s hardly likely to be objective. But the… shall we say, unease with Frank Gardner goes deeper than that and also pre-dates his horrendous injury.

    It has been alleged that apart from the systemic problems with the MSM, certain journalists in the MSM actively function as knowing conduits for disinformation peddled by the SIS. David Rose admitted that he was indeed one of those. But his admission, while a welcome glimpse into a murky world, would not have undone the damage that his function during those years may have caused.


    This is merely a small part of the way in which state intelligence agencies manipulate the media. See next post, please.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    There are also ‘journalists’ who are not really journalists, but SIS Officers working undercover. Dominic Lawson (brother of ‘Yum-Yum’ Nigella and brother-in-law of SIS Officer, Anthony Monckton) admitted sending spies into the Balkans as ‘journalists’ for The Spectator.


    Then as is self-evident, there are many journalists who are not spies but who simply accept and support the Establishment line on most things and are happy to promulgate it. These are not paid but can be used as ‘agents of influence’. One thinks of the repulsive Max Hastings, but of course there are many, many more of these.

    Incidentally, on another note entirely, Hastings reportedly recently was unhappy about venturing to Glasgow to take part in Question Time but always seems very happy to visit the Edinburgh Book Festival to plug whatever pack of elegant lies he’s been scribbling lately! These guys get away with a craven vacuousness that would make the Zeppelin airships seem like 24-carat solid gold.

  • NeedsBeSaid

    And when you vote in a few weeks time, you’ll have endorsed and will be endorsing many more 500lb and 1,000lb bombs on a suspected militant “compounds”

  • lwtc247

    I suspect MI5/6 Liason officer “Frank Goebbels Gardner” was not only spying but trying to recruit patsies or even commanding a false-flag ops (Oh Larry…) unit cell in the country.

    “Investing the Khobar towers bombing” indeed!

    I think he got found out. If the above is true, then it’s understandable that he was shot. His story, a bit like him, was full of holes.

  • technicolour

    Mmm. I think the problem really, Suhayl, is that many ‘journalists’ are not journalists. They do not research, they do not travel, they do not originate ideas, they do not seek out stories, they do not, when faced with a politician think ‘Why is this lying bastard lying to me’, as Claude Cockburn so succinctly put it. They do not uphold the tradition of ‘speaking truth to power’.

    As for acting as a conduit for disinformation; I should think it happens all the time if you’re a hack on the tabloids, especially the beauty pages. But if a journalist knowingly acts as a source of disinformation for the people in power – the government, they are not a journalist. They are lost.

    It’s quite wrong that most journalists these days are stuck behind desks churning out press releases. Some are intellectually lazy too, I agree. But as with the Lib Dems, there’s a grand tradition stretching back to Defoe and still here with ‘To Shoot an Elephant’. There are the Express journalists who a few years to ago took their own paper to the IPCC. There are freelance photographers like Marc Vallee. There are any number of bravish people out there, many young, many unpaid, witnessing, and reporting. In other countries, many are getting killed for it.

    Otherwise, I thought it sounded a pretty silly for Dominic Lawson to admit to. Your link doesn’t work, and there’s no summary available on the website, so I looked up the original story and found this in the Guardian:

    “Mr Lawson yesterday strongly denied both allegations. “It is complete rubbish that I gave journalistic cover to an MI6 officer who wanted to go to Tallin,” he added.”

    I’m interested as to why you find Max Hastings so repulsive. I haven’t read his war reporting, or most articles, and don’t know much about him, in fact. Except that he supported the Newbury bypass protests, and a couple of years ago called for more young people to protest about civil liberties on the streets.

  • Brian R

    Anti-Americanism like anti-semitism is a term used only by scumbags.

    It really means nothing more than to disagree with the people who run the American empire building project, as many Americans do disagree. Just as anti-semitism now means nothing more than to disagree with the people who run the Israeli racist policy of ethnic cleansing, illegal annexation of occupied territory and sundry slaughter. Many Israelis and indeed Jews more generally disagree with this too.

    There’s nothing anti-American or anti-semitic about it.

    It’s anti-scumbag, pure and simple.

    I wish someone would remind the repulsive Justin Webb of that simple fact the next time he’s given to dribbling on the matter, and indeed any of the rest of the scumbags who seek to corrupt the language to their own evil ends.

  • Neil Craig

    This is the same “Liberal Democrats” who support war crimes & bombing of hospitals to assist their obscene KLA friends (appoinmted as our police) in massacres, ethnic cleansing, genocide, the sexual enslavement of children & as we now know, the dissection of 1300 innocent human beings, while alive, to steal their organs for our hospitals. The “LibDems, alone of all parties, have made it a requirement of membership that one must support such atrocities, unmatched even by the late Adolf Hitler.

    I do not believe, Craig, that you can deny that this is indeed true. That being the case it is clearly impossible for any true liberal to support thse obscene monsterous Nazis.

  • technicolour

    “The LibDems, alone of all parties, have made it a requirement of membership that one must support such atrocities, unmatched even by the late Adolf Hitler.”


  • Suhayl Saadi


    You’re right, techicolour, Lawson didn’t admit it. I stand corrected.

    Con Coughlin is allegedly another one.

    Oh, Hastings… somewhat tubular and pompous, a sort of Uber-Englishman as designed in antique wax by Madame Tussauds, an aural caricature of his thematic progenitor, William Rees-Mogg. A spitting, Spitting Image, as it were.

    He also reportedly recently expressed the view (I paraphrase) that the universe, God and everything important was in London, he didn’t see why anything had to be devolved to the provinces, not even an episode of ‘Question Time’.

    This seems to me to be one of the major problems with this country – the lack of real decentralisation of power, in fact, in spite of political devolution to Scotland and Wales, the deliberate erosion of local government over the past three decades, the increased level of concentration of capital, media and arts/ cultural power at the centre, etc.

    The BBC is a good example of this. The regions are just there to do ‘regional’ stuff. Anything important has to be commissioned in London by the commissioners who are all based in London. So, in his support for this process of ever-increasing centralisation, Hasting at present for me epitomises that arrogance.

    He seems to reek of the men who sounds eminent, critical and reasonable but who back-up hard-power on all important matters, when it really matters.

    But I don’t want to make this a personal attack. He’s just one of many, emblematic perhaps.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Here’s another link of import in this area:


    Of course, many journalists do excellent work and as you say, in some places, pay with their lives. This is not an attack on journalists, God, no, it’s a reminder about tainted journalists who’ve sold their souls to the secret state (or those who are not journalists in the first place) and an attack on the warmongering corporate state that instrumentalises (my word-of-the-week) some journalists in these manifold ways.

    As you suggest, I too sense that there’s also been a decline in the rigour of standards adhered to by some.

  • Vronsky

    “it is the astounding levels of disengage and disinterest and lack of knowledge in the general US population about global issues”

    One finds the same thing in the UK of course – in spite of the disaster engulfing the country and its victim nations, in a few weeks time most of those voting will give their support to one branch or other of the three-headed neo-con monster.

    A difference I find in America is the extent to which any criticism of their foreign policy is intensely personalised and viewed as an intimate attack, much as if one had questioned their religion or ‘most deeply cherished beliefs’ as the old fraud is called over there. Disapproval of their government’s actions is genuinely shocking to the average American, and likely to be received as gross personal abuse at best, but more often as damnable heresy.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Neil Craig, your website is very interesting to read. Are you a rightist libertarian…?

    I’m convinced that the UK and USA were/ are up to no good in the former Yugoslavia. It does seem a tad odd, and somewhat overly convenient perhaps, that Mr M died while in the middle of his trial.

    The Oort Cloud fascinates me, too. How about the Bow Shock?

  • technicolour

    Neil, could you expand and explain your post? In what way were the Lib Dems responsible for Kosovo, for example?

  • technicolour

    ‘He also reportedly recently expressed the view (I paraphrase) that the universe, God and everything important was in London’,

    So did Samuel Johnson! But I agree. Even calling them ‘the provinces’ seems wrong. More feedback badly needed from all over. I think people in London are secretly scared by ‘the outside’, actually.

  • Roderick Russell

    SUHAYL – With your statement at April 13, 2010 6.52 PM “This seems to me to be one of the major problems with this country – the lack of real decentralization of power” I think you have just hit the nail on the head.

    The fact is that Great Britain once had a reputation for decentralization of power ?” to its counties, to its cities and to its institutions. Not particularly democratic it had a worldwide reputation for adherence to rule of law, and to civil liberties and was the most decentralized large State in Europe.

    And yet there has been radical change. Today, as you so correctly write, the United Kingdom is the most centralized State in the first world.

    It is almost as if the highly decentralized Great Britain of yesteryear and the excessively over-centralized United Kingdom of today were two different countries, sharing the same language and geography, but otherwise hardly related. I sometimes wonder if this over centralization of power in London will not in time prove to be the leaver that breaks this country up.

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