A Two-Edged Sword 72

There is a superficial attraction to resorting to assassination to prevent the development of a nuclear weapon. To take the heat of Israel/Iran out of the subject, it is tempting to think it would have been good if North Korea’s nuclear programme had been disrupted by such means.

But once you abandon the framework of legality, you have no grounds to complain if your opponent reacts in the same manner. The notion of “good terrorism” and “bad terrorism” is foolish. It reminds me that the media are very anxious actively to spread the idea that bombs in Syria are false flag operations by President Assad, but were scoffing when my on the spot investigation of the actual evidence immediately on the scene revealed that the so called Islamic Jihad Union bombings in Uzbekistan were almost certainly a false flag operation of President Karimov – very probably with the connivance of the CIA.

To start a competition in assassinating scientists seems to me an extraordinarily foolish thing for Israel, with its large and widespread scientific community. There are reasons to worry about Iran’s nuclear intentions, though nuclear armed and militarily aggressive Israel has no moral standing to be the country asking the questions. But street assassinations are not going to do anything but make the problems worse.

Of course, if war is the intention, these murders are entirely rational.

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72 thoughts on “A Two-Edged Sword

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  • Quelcrime

    I disagree strongly with the first paragraph. The one thing that justifies the mourning of the crowds of North Koreans, to my mind, is that Kim Jong-il managed to secure the country’s defences, where Saddam, Gadaffi etc failed. Of course, it’s a pity NK is in such a mess, and so friendless, but at least the people aren’t dodging Yankee helicopters, washing DU out of their hair and picking up the dismembered corpses of their children.

  • Shunra

    The oxymoronic phrase, “good terrorism”, powerfully reminds me of another Israeli invention: “enlightened occupation” or “כיבוש נאור” (kibush na’or).

    I’ve been arguing with otherwise rational Israelis about the stability of this concept since the early 1980s, through two Intifadas, the purported “end of history”, and what seems a whole lot like the beginning of WWIII. The people who still use that word are adamant that this “enlightened occupation” can be done, and that Israel should try harder and harder to do it.

    People are strange.

  • Roger

    Who is inthe best position to put motorcycles alongside cars and attach bombs to them in the centre of a crowded and geavily-policed city but the Iranian government? The Iranian government claims that the people killed were nuclear physicists is no more reliable than any of the Iranian government’s other claims.

  • CanSpeccy

    “if war is the intention, these murders are entirely rational.”
    How so?
    Murdering civilians prior to the launch of war hardly gains one the moral high ground.
    To assume the character of an international terrorist can do little for the morale of one’s own side, while it turns millions of the uncommitted against you.
    A dozen years ago, the United States was among the most popular and influential countries in the World, today, because of its own actions and those actions of Israel that it has enabled and supported, the United States is surely the most hated countries in the World.
    This transformation has surely greatly undermined American influence in the World, while it has led to the creation of the BRIC block that is consolidating into a powerful adversary.
    America’s use of terror abroad and descent into tyranny at home is surely confirms that those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.

  • Dick the Prick

    Meh! How valid is any of the info? All these recent coalition politicians, that you have no time for Craig! had to go under the banner of economic binary. A good race row passes time. How many ways can you spell Presbyterian? Wankers

  • crab

    If the Israelis won’t say a word in their own defense against the Iranians accusations – of killing them! (While being threatened ,sanctioned and surrounded by threatening armies) What does that silence MEAN?
    In the case that the Iranian government are faking this, Israeli silence would assist the deception. But the Iranians don’t need to kill their own people to make them believe they are under attack -they are under attack.

  • Hydraargyrum

    Nuclear weapons cannot be magiced out of thin air. This takes supreme scientific, engineering and industrial effort. Iranians scientists and engineers, certainly the ones I have interacted with over the years, have no love for their regime. But by assassinating them it becomes “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. So, if you are suspected of being an Iranian nuclear scientist you are liable to be murdered. If you foot drag on the work you could also be set up, thus making you immensely useful is a deceased propaganda object. Shamefully, Newt Gingrich advocated murdering Iranian scientists on the campaign trail. This is a very foolish policy.

    There is one easily attainable, tangible measure that could be done that could facilitate degrading Iranian scientific capabilities – even without opening formal links with the Iranian government. Make it easier for Iranian scientists and engineers to get out, particularly to pursue PhDs as well as work as post-doctoral researchers or visiting faculty at our universities. Maybe children of key Iranian nuclear scientists, even these individuals themselves, could be tempted to come. In analogy, Germany losing many of its best scientists in the 1930s deprived the Nazis of their ability to develop nuclear weapons. So why not offer Iranian scientists, and their families, a route out? Play this right and you could do this for a fraction of the cost of the Tomahawk cruise missiles that would be used in any attack. But such a policy would require actual intelligent thinking, that seems to be in incredibly short supply.

  • crab

    “But such a policy would require actual intelligent thinking”
    Like what you have there? Or are you missing the clue? – that Irans enemies dont mind its nuclear research, in the slightest – Irans enemies are armed to the Nuclear TEETH with every kind of death and destruction machine, and they are praying for the day when they get to let rip and send yet another foreign country “back to the stoneage”

  • crab

    Appreciated’ It is a big idea that the deathmongers are stupid, it must be true on some moral levels but rarely so for ruthless efficiency, i fear.

  • lwtc247

    “But once you abandon the framework of legality, you have no grounds to complain if your opponent reacts in the same manner.” – It depends.
    If the whale behaves badly and afterwards the minnow does, the whale can complain by dominance of its size. It won’t sit idly by and tolerate reciprocal behavior. It will simply use it’s weight to crush the minnow. This is what International law does. It puts lesser countries in chains while the big boys only pretend to wear such chains, and then the fancy takes it uses its free hands to do whatever the hell it likes.

    International law is a sham. The prominence of its effect should lie with the greatest offenders, the big bad counties, before anyone else – IF its intent was actually serious.

    It isn’t.

  • Mary

    Roger who implies that the murder yesterday was an Iranian inside jopb needs to wake up from his slumber.
    In Haaretz
    10.01.12 UN nuclear inspectors to visit Iran ‘soon,’ IAEA official says
    Western diplomats see Iran initiatives for dialogue with UN as a means to buy time for its nuclear program, without heeding demands to curb activity that could be put to making atomic bombs.
    By Reuters
    There is also the matter of two unexplained deaths in Vienna for which there was no resolution as far as I have been able to see. There are links to the cases in the comments.

  • Mary

    O/T Another cover up is imminent.

    MI5 and MI6 ‘cleared’ over torture claims
    Binyam Mohamed accused MI5 of complicity in his torture.
    British spies will be cleared in a number of cases of alleged complicity in the torture of detainees abroad, the BBC understands.
    Scotland Yard and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) are to issue a joint statement on Thursday.
    It follows an investigation into the conduct of officers from MI5 and MI6.

  • JimmyGiro

    If you want to destroy Iranian science, just introduce feminism to their university departments. It worked for Britain and America, just ask the KGB.

  • ingo

    Israeli scientists all over the world must now be worried about reciproke actions of this three year cam,paign of assassinations. Israel has form in this, breaching sovereign territories to kidnap, bomb or assassinate.

    That Iran as yet has not responded in kind says a lot abouit its brevity and civility. Tell us again Mr. Panetta, IRAN IS NOT DEVELOPING NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

  • John Goss

    Israel has a terrible record of human rights. Mordechai Vanunu, who served an 18 year prison sentence for telling the truth about Israeli’s nuclear weapons is still under virtual house arrest.
    As for murdered scientists most people are not convinced that Dr David Kelly’s death was suicide. Which brings me to the point that the epetition calling for the resignation of Dominic Grieve has now reached 415 about 400 more than those calling for the resignation of Nick Clegg.

  • Dale Martin

    I greatly wish that nuclear weapons had never been invented at all, but they have and so be it. As far as who we should fear possessing them, well, the USA is the only country so far that has shown the willingness to and has deployed them, in the instances it did at Hiroshima and Nagasaki it is highly questionable that they ever needed to at all given that the Japanese air force and navy was crippled, the Japanese had nowhere to go but surrender and there is good reason to believe were making steps in that direction through Russia, so the USA dropped those bombs as little more than an experiment and grand gesture of their superiority. So if track records are anything to go by, the USA is one country I pretty much wish did not possess them because they exhibited such desire to use them before. But in all sincerity how on earth can anyone expect the smaller countries not to want to possess them, they are out gunned by all those that have and ultimately through that imbalance are susceptible and vulnerable to being bullied and abused. The Middle East looked on and saw in Iraq what happens when the big bully boy US and coalition forces decides it wants to invade another country, the CIA itself reported that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction to be found and they could not after serious investigation link him to any terrorist organising, funding or activities even remotely connected with 9/11, the reality is that had Saddam had weapons of mass destruction it probably would have been the only thing that would have prevented the US and coalition from bombing his country back into the stone age. The only way to remove the threat of a nuclear holocaust is for a worldwide removal of them from all countries and it is absurd for those countries that possess them to continue to whilst forbidding all others, save those they choose to sanction, to have them at all. If a very large man stands at my door in a threatening manner, making demands of what I have and declaring I should comply whilst brandishing a large piece of wood, then should I open the door and wiggle my finger at him whilst saying no its unlikely to be much of a deterrent, my only possible defensive response is to wield a large piece of wood myself,,,,, but,,,,,, whose fault is it that pieces of wood are being brandished in the first place, mine because I felt compelled to answer like with like for defence, or the big guy who was brandishing the piece of wood in the first place? You either remove nuclear weapons total, or you have to be kidding if you think that those without them will be content to continue being prone to obliteration without the ability to respond in kind.

  • anno

    Whatever the Zionist controlled media say, or the UK government say about military matters, is definitely falsification.
    So we have a double negative, i.e. false, false flag terrorism.
    It is my opinion that the sniping in Syria is being done by UK special forces, and that Iraq-style market-place bombs are placed by US special forces. These are the well-known specialist techniques of these two countries.
    Mr Assad appears not to understand that the UK in London is one thing, and in the Middle East is another thing. The UK and US are sponsoring an insurrection like the one in Libya by indigenous rebels and so-called Al Qaida forces in order to place Syria under a known and controllable entity, the Muslim Brotherhood.
    If Syria was left to Assad there is a danger that it would lead to genuine Islamic reform. What a no-no to neighbouring Israel.
    Nobody is doubting that the Muslim Brotherhood are Muslim. It’s just that they have drunk so much political poison under the expiring 40 year old Middle Eastern dictatorships that they are now immune. They spy, they lie, they punish and imprison. Politics is the antithesis of Islam, and the antithesis of freedom in my vision of the religion.

  • Azra

    JimmyGiro, I did not understand what you meant?? All I know
    In Iran, the number of Female science graduates/engineers are almost as high as the number of male graduates, and some of heavy industries in Iran employ engineers of the fairer sex.
    Craig : your blog today reminded me of what went on in Iran at the time of revolution. There was a cinema in Abadan, and a fire started , every door was locked and no-one of the 400 0r so viewer survived. The people called it Kebab House of Pahlavi. It became clear later on that it was the work of revolutionaries, causing 400 deaths for the good of revolution and blaming the regime. So to sum it up, I think right now is difficult to ascertain who is responsible for bombing, it could be either side blaming the other. Sad thing is that as usual the innocents are the victims.

  • conjunction

    Regarding Binyan Mohammed

    If there is any guilt it will of course be a few rogue officers

  • Uzbek in the UK

    It is not just about ‘good terrorists’ and ‘bad terrorists’. It is still pretty much about ‘sons of a bitches’ ours and theirs.

    It is unlikely that Iran will kill its own nuclear scientist especially the supervisor in the Busher. It is most likely comes from Israel as despite its cold relationship with Iran it has penetrated Iranian intelligence deeply. It might have been done with the assistance of the CIA or even MI6. But we will not know about it for a while.
    This looks like provocative action that aimed on Iran’s response which if happens could result in more broadly offence from US/UK/Israel.

  • Richard

    The bombings in Uzbekistan, blamed on Jihadists; the bombings in Syria, blamed on the “USA-Al-Qaeda alliance”; the bombing of the Iranian scientist, blamed on Mossad; the Moscow Theatre massacre, blamed on Chechens. Could they ALL be done by murderous governments to support their own case? Could be.

  • Jay

    How long has the West/Israel been threatening Iran? Could all of these ‘assassinations’ and sabre rattling be theatrically staged WITH the cooperation of Iran to keep the price of oil high during the recession????

  • Uzbek in the UK

    @ Canspessy,
    I would not bid all my money on BRIC.
    BRIC is certainly interesting conglomerate. First two nations B and R are acting as natural recourses suppliers to the last two nations I and C that are rich with human resources. Whereas it look like very impressive combination for a successful cooperation that should certainly benefit all BRIC participants, however; one key element is still missing. The key element is actually a market where goods produced by I and C from natural recourses of B and R are to be sold. Looking at the history of economy one thing is certain that successful economic development is only possible when both resources and markets are secured.
    And this is not to mention a wide range of problems and quite strained relationship amongst some of the BRIC nations.

  • ingo

    Tosatfortea, thanks for that, but should we have not expected this, the US annual contribution, some 400 million dollar, is solely spent on undermining Iran.

    lets go back three decades, then it was our stooge Osama that was trained in black op arts, time and time again we see intelligence agencies train people who then eventually turn against their trainers. Who says Iran has not sent out a few chaps to join those to be trained?
    This will reflect badly on the Kurds.
    Once again the last two days have been punctured with tarining in the skies, it does not look like Hague’s has changed his mind.
    If we go to war, whilst cutting benefits to the disabled and cancer sufferers, dare I speak about provisions for our OAP’, then this country deserves a revolt.

  • Jon

    @Quelcrime – I concur with your thought process, but not sure if I agree – if that makes any sense? It has occurred to me most strongly that North Korea is a “good” example of how acquiring nuclear weapons technology will keep aggressors (U.S.) at bay. But how can I (we?) square this with our left/liberal attachment to disarmament and non-proliferation?

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