Feile An Phobail Belfast

by craig on July 30, 2013 2:05 pm in Uncategorized

The Respectability of Torture

St Mary’s University College, Thurs 1st August, 7.30pm


Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, was a whistleblower who was removed from his ambassadorial post by Tony Blair for exposing the Tashkent regime‟s use of rape and systematic torture, including the boiling to death of political opponents. He has also spoken out against Central Asia‟s appalling dictatorships, regimes which are allies of the West, involved in torture and rendition, and was accused of threatening MI6‟s relationship with the CIA. Now a human rights activist, author and broadcaster, he outlines the dynamics of torture and the hypocrisy of incriminated Western governments.


My first public appearance for a while will be in Belfast on 1 August where I shall be giving a talk.  Long term readers of this blog will recall that, while my focus is largely on international affairs, the domestic political achievements I most hope to see are a united Ireland and an independent Scotland.

Tweet this post


  1. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324354704578633411523424342.html

    Tepco Under Increasing Fire Over Nuclear Accident Site
    Panel Appointed by Firm Criticize Slow Release of Information

    I’d like to say myself how disappointed and distressed I was when I arrived in Japan,” said Barbara Judge, a former chair of the British Atomic Energy Authority and deputy chair of the panel. “To find that communications with respect to the leak problem have been so difficult and so late was very devastating,” she said.

    That’s strong language indeed from Lady Barbara Judge

    ISON is interesting to watch (or not as we can’t see it for the sun right now).

  2. Will do AlcAnon – and no I won’t. 😉

    Meanwhile, have been reading Christian Christensen, professor of journalism at Stockholm University:

    “WikiLeaks and Anonymous respond to status quo journalism”

    ‘Wikileaks and Anonymous challenge global hegemonies of power and the popular narratives that underpin them.’


  3. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    31 Jul, 2013 - 10:16 pm

    I’ll be danged. Microwave ovens ARE an FC. It keeps it in, it keeps it out…simple solution, the best one I’ve seen. Thx AA.

  4. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    31 Jul, 2013 - 10:18 pm

    Well, that’s something anyway, AA. I suspect the Japanese government still has a problem with ‘losing face’, but I think other strong statements made by persons of import are needed.

  5. Ben,

    It’s not perfect and won’t block the very highest frequencies (because of the mesh width in the glass) but it is fairly good. You can try putting your phone in and ringing it. It normally won’t ring (mine doesn’t). If it still has 5 bars and rings then it may be time to get a new microwave before you cook yourself.

  6. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    31 Jul, 2013 - 10:32 pm

    Heh; We use our microwave to sterilize the kitchen sponge.

    ‘Free Radicals’ has a different meaning since the 60’s.

  7. Habby and Komodo argue:

    “And I wouldn’t expect the conservative press to do anything other than emphasise the fact that Manning, a US citizen and regarding himself solely as such, signed the US military’s version of the Official Secrets Act, was put in a position of trust, and betrayed it comprehensively. Which is the (uncomfortable, maybe) fact. He got the book thrown at him -predictably, since discipline needs to be maintained in anyone’s armed forces – and IMO got a reasonably fair disposal in the circumstances”

    Yeah, but what about his duty to expose war crimes. That’s a higher duty established at Nuremberg surely, or did the Nazis just creep back in and change the rules again.

    Marjorie Cohn, makes the srgument:


  8. Mary, Fedup, yes emotional stuff.. Well said Fedup,

    I can’t believe that i’m shocked at h’s response – in such a discussion the Life is good Mantra – Disgusting. Fucking revolting actually.

    It all reminds me of one of my Poems – if i may

    Ghost Upon Rainbows

    Drenching Heather And Bracken
    Brimming Brooding Lochs
    Nourishing Streams Rarely Slacken

    Of Unanswered Prayers
    Leaves Vast Famine Swathes
    Timeless Millions Without Trace

    Dust On Grieving Winds Blow
    Whirl Around Young Souls –
    Never Wondered Upon A Rainbow

    Ghostly Far Eyes Gaze
    Through Deep Dry Veils
    Of Cruel Shimmering Haze

    Water-Worlds Dream
    Privileged Beings Play
    Where White Yachts Gleam

    Gods On Jet-Skis Splash
    Spray Walls Of Water
    The Visions Crash

    The Mirage Folds And Drifts
    Through Warm Dust
    An Empty Child Sifts

    Those Helpless Little Fingers
    For Want Of A Morsel
    A Closer Death Lingers


  9. I see that there is some speculation of Judge Lind having received a promotion, during the course of Bradley Manning’s trial, to the court where appeals will be held.

    Anyone have anything on that?

  10. Herbie, I read that on at least Two separate Sites, i’ll try dig something up on it. it seem to be true though

  11. Cheers, Brian

    Looked myself, but haven’t find anything substantive yet.

    Obviously if true, it’s another dodgy thing to add to an exponentially growing list.

  12. Here this was one Source,

    If Manning is sentenced to more than one year of confinement or punitively discharged, his case is immediately appealed to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, WHERE LIND WAS RECENTLY PROMOTED, Legal experts I spoke with are eager to read Lind’s detailed findings (expected in the coming weeks) to try to understand how she could have reached the decision that the information released by Manning related to national defense. The charged documents did invite potential embarrassment. A confidential CIA report was titled “Afghanistan: Sustaining West European Support for the NATO-led Mission—Why Counting on Apathy Might Not Be Enough,” and another secret CIA report was titled “What If Foreigners See the United States as an ‘Exporter of


  13. Sofia Kibo Noh

    31 Jul, 2013 - 11:23 pm

    @Everyone Who Signed.

    DU petition filling fast. Over 1020 signatures already. Thanks All.


    Lift Eleven. LOL

  14. ‘Sir Walter Scott talked about in “The Lay of the Last Minstrel”’

    Scott was a Tory propaganda merchant. He did for the Highlander what the dime novel did for the Native American, portrayed them as primitive savages to justify their persecution.

    His romanticised historical lies have been used by several countries to brainwash their people into going out and killing and getting killed for their rich elites. Not least America, Mark Twain reckoned the civil war was largely down to him.

    It’s thanks to the likes of Scott Bradley Manning has been on trial for putting humanity before country.

  15. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    31 Jul, 2013 - 11:33 pm

    bad link sofia..

  16. Sofia Kibo Noh

    31 Jul, 2013 - 11:39 pm

  17. Michael Stephenson

    31 Jul, 2013 - 11:57 pm

    @Flaming June

    Craig I see you got a mention in Rusbridger’s Ask Me Anything today! LOL


    Nice to see news of my shenanigans with Rusbridger made it back here.
    Typical evasive BS from Rusbridger though.

  18. Here you go, Herbie – from the Washington Post last week:

    “Schenck said Lind has already been informed that she will take up a new position, as a judge on the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals, when the Manning trial ends. And she said Lind will not be swayed by the politics of the case.”


  19. Fred, some of what you say is right. Scott was a Tory. So were a lot of poets. Most of them in fact. That does not mean they could not write poetry. Kipling likewise was an establishment figure, and a freemason, as was Scott. The question people should be asking is why to be a successful poet or novelist you often need the help of spurious secret groups. T. S. Eliot was another. Cats, the musical, was based on Eliot’s poem Opossum’s Book of Practical Cats, and this poem was about members of Eliot’s lodge. I thought everybody knew that. But if not, why not? I write, with Dan Rodger, musicals. They have no chance in this playing field which is supposedly ‘on the level’ but in actual fact very biased towards favourites.

    The Lay of the Last Minstrel, we learnt at school, and that poem which I think was Canto 13 was presented as ‘Love of Country’. Scott knew his craft. I was being a bit contentious with the ‘doubly dying’ which quite clearly is aimed at those who are unpatriotic rather than those who are opposed to foreign influence on our government. I love my country. I depise my government. :)

  20. An even ‘despise’ it.

  21. whilst that is a ‘predictable affair’ according to our foul breathed child eater, well, its own offspring if needs must.

    But I can’t divulge, otherwise I will have to kill you….
    Now to Manning.
    Unlike William Caley of Charlie company, murdering women and children in My Lai, he was allowed to procriate after seven years and spread his genes, Bradley Manning has been said to face 126 years in prison, for publicising a massive war crime and some tell tale truth about diplomatic two facedness, big deal, the bulk of information was available to 4 million people and ‘over classified’.

    Bradley Manning has served his country more than dragons serve theirs, allegedly, and he should be freed after having served three years in military confinement for showing up some pretty paranoid roid’s in charge of a helicopter, not to speak of Roid command, coming down hard on journo’s.

    Fact is. This was a war crime and nobody is squaring up for it, except the messenger Bradley Manning. Non of these coward pilots have shit for brains or should be in charge of cloud 9 they seem to be sitting on.

  22. ‘And’ even despise it.

    I’m off to bed. Still up because it was Pub Quiz night.

  23. Nevermind. They are children who think they are men. They cannot separate war-games from reality. Some of them might never grow up. But the deaths they caused mean that others will never grow up. America is sick. It is the contents of a vomit bag. I have no adequate words to describe it. It needs to change drastically.

  24. BrianFujisan

    1 Aug, 2013 - 12:39 am

    Sofia. is that the Correct Link ? it wont let me through

  25. Habbabkuk,

    So,after almost 10 months of patronising,stalkerly and twisted behaviour towards Mary you now have the gall to berate her for misinterpreting the one post that you have agreed with her!

    You really are a nasty bit of work Habbabkuk.

    You must need Brasso for that neck of yours.

  26. Fred @ 11.27 pm.

    Excellent post.

  27. Sofia Kibo Noh

    1 Aug, 2013 - 12:58 am


    Sorry you’re having trouble with the petition link.

    Just checked. It works for me.


    If you still have trouble maybe someone with more computer know-how than me can help.

  28. Ben wrote, “Heh; We use our microwave to sterilize the kitchen sponge.”

    Hmm, not a bad idea. Incidentally, you can use your freezer to rid your pillow of bed-bugs, dust-mites and all kinds of pests. An hour or so in there a fortnight will do the job.

    And may I second the notion – an old u-Wave oven is ideal for shielding your disks for offline/offsite storage protection.

  29. “(I really wish I could be afforded five minutes alone with these two specimens, these fuckwits would soon understand the meaning of pain, and hopeless).”

    Angry? Possibly.
    Compassionate? Hardly.

    What is it that makes some people feel that the proper response to sadistic cruelty is to propose more of it?

    So far as Habba the troll’s comments on the Manning case are concerned please see Chris Floyd

    Which puts the notion that the US military was simply responding in a routine way to Manning’s actions, into some sort of perspective. At last we have a real American hero from the Iraq debacle. And, predictably, nobody wants anything to do with him.

  30. Flaming June

    1 Aug, 2013 - 5:54 am

    For once, she was correct.

    National archives: William Hague? He’d be embarrassing – when Margaret Thatcher vetoed the boy wonder
    The annual release of secret papers from the National Archive reveals Mrs Thatcher’s scornful response to a plan to put the precocious young Tory in the Treasury

    ‘But Mrs Thatcher, who was also advised that Hague’s appointment was largely a fait accompli, responded furiously to the request, scrawling across the memo “No” and then underlining it three times.’

  31. Flaming June

    1 Aug, 2013 - 6:26 am

    Craig wrote about Gulnara’s links to FC Barcelona.

    ‘Uzbekistan is perhaps the most brutal dictaotorship in the world, but Barcelona receive $10 million a year to promote the Karimov regime and the propaganda “Show club” owned by the President’s daughter.’

    I don’t know if those links still exist.

    Anyway FC Barcelona are off to Israel on a ‘Peace Tour’ which sounds like some PR initiative.

    Have they ever been to Uzbekistan?


    Latest on Gulnara
    Uzbekistan: Karimova Plots Life After Diplomacy

  32. @John Goss

    Yes, Scott wasn’t the only one, Kipling was at it too and the rest.

    So what was it that actually made torture respectable? It was a TV program called 24. They are still at it and people are still falling for it.

  33. Macky, 31 Jul, 6.39pm

    “I also noticed a debate about the nature of compassion, which is obviously an
    emotion that Jemand has never experienced, otherwise he/she would not have
    written the nonsense that was posted, and despite Dreoilin attempts to explain this
    most natural of human emotions, we can only conclude that unfortunately Jemand
    is one of those emotionally impaired individuals who are simply incapable of
    experiencing such basic human emotions.”
    . . . .

    A flaky comment from a flaky commentator.

    There was no “debate” about the nature of compassion, just a discussion about the pretensions of people (in particular, lefties) who purport to feel it more than others and the superiority they think that it confers upon them. I also made the observation, in other words, that compassion is of little or no value if it is absent of action. It is only an emotion, after all, and not an expression of commitment or effort to perform a moral duty. For that, I am accused of being incompassionate, of never having experienced compassion. Well, beat me up Scotty!

    And there was the usual misunderstanding that I often observe here, to no effect, that when one makes an unpopular observation, one is falsely accused of endorsing or embodying that thing that is observed – ie conflation of “is” with “ought”.

    But I shouldn’t expect so much from a bunch of ordinary people with limited perception and intelligence who routinely masturbate on this blog, stroking their own egos and other’s who pander to their very primitive need for emotional validation. How very good Macky must feel about himself. I guess that’s what this blog is all about – feeling better about yourself by attacking others.


  34. Flaming June

    1 Aug, 2013 - 8:12 am

    ‘“Pathetic and infantile responses from the Resident Invigilator…” sobs the Frequent Poster, who is too thick to see that I was agreeing with her.’

    Not ‘sobbing’ and not ‘too thick’ to see that the RI’s version of ‘agreement’ was an excuse to turn it into a rant against public servants who unlike their masters, the politicians, often do difficult jobs for not great rates of pay. The RI would not make the grade as a social worker.

    The child’s mother was obviously a plausible liar, describing the weight loss as an ‘eating disorder’ which was being treated. It sounds as if she was under the control of a psychopathic bully but I am not defending her. She could have left and taken the children with her. Daniel’s brother was also beaten.

    ‘Martin Daly and the late Margo Wilson, the two Deans of Modern Evolutionary Psychology, discovered, in their analysis of homicide data from Canada and Detroit, that stepchildren, those who live with a stepparent (usually, a stepfather), are anywhere from 40 to 100 times as likely to be murdered or maimed as those who live with two biological parents in the household.’

    The natural father knew that the mother was a violent drunk who had threatened to stab him so why didn’t he intervene? Probably weak and a coward. He had the prime responsibility to protect the child he had fathered.

  35. flower delivery

    1 Aug, 2013 - 8:19 am

    I wish all government secrets would come out in the open. Every nation is as bad as each other, it’s how they go about their business and how well they hide. Torture does not necessarily have to be physical. Unfortunately some countries still have not developed more modern techniques.

  36. Bradley Manning has served his country more than dragons serve theirs, allegedly

    By about six months as far as I can work out, N. Three years of which time has been in jail, and I readily concede that three years in jail awaiting trial is not acceptable at all. I’m pretty certain it wouldn’t happen in the UK. Although Colchester wasn’t reckoned by its ex-inmates* to be a soft option in my time.

    * not me, but I knew a couple…

  37. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    1 Aug, 2013 - 8:45 am

    @ Flaming June

    “that the RI’s version of ‘agreement’ was an excuse to turn it into a rant against public servants who unlike their masters, the politicians, often do difficult jobs..”

    I hardly think that three lines constitute a rant.

    We agreed that various people (the school, the social workers) weren’t up to the job in this particular case.

    And one has the impression that this holds in many areas of public life (including the geniuses of the banking world, lest someone should ask why I don’t mention them…). This high and seemingly generalized level of incompetence is why I incline to the cock-up interpretation of events rather than to the malevolent conspiracy interpretation which appears to find general favour on this blog.

    Back to the former Labour govt : I believe it is fact that a good deal of the employment growth under New Labour was due to hirings in the public sector. And I think it is also a fact – indeed, some of you have posted in this sense – that greater numbers do not seem to have resulted in an appreciable improvement on service and outcomes. But what these hirings did do was to increase the number of people who might reasonably be expected to vote Labour at subsequent elections.

    PS – for what it’s worth, I also happen to think that there are few if any crimes worse than the martyring of innocent, defenceless children as shown by the Daniel Pelka case.

  38. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    1 Aug, 2013 - 8:47 am

    @ Komodo :

    Colchester – was that a reference to the (in)famous glasshouse?

  39. Yeah, but what about his duty to expose war crimes. That’s a higher duty established at Nuremberg surely, or did the Nazis just creep back in and change the rules again.

    Good point. Conceded. However, he is not being punished (at least ostensibly) for exposing the crimes. He is being punished for the formal offence of revealing secret military information. Trouble is, when you’re in the forces, they’ve got you by the balls. And military law is quite separate from the civilian variety.

    It’s no accident that the entire German military apparatus had to be defeated before Nuremberg could happen…

  40. H – Yes.

  41. The US military is a guilty party.

    They failed to mitigate the risks of war crimes and of information security threats, both technical and human.

    They gave a person, who manifested emotional and behavioural problems, broad access to classified material that was easily copied to removable media and transported away from an ostensibly secured site.

    And they failed to provide a protocol by which Manning could discharge a *legal* duty to respond to what appeared, prima facie, to be war crimes committed by the US military.

    The US military also failed to adequately deal with those war crimes, making their efforts to prosecute Manning for exposing them grossly disproportionate when compared to their own malfeasance.

    Basically, Manning had conflicting obligations and was provided with no formal means to properly discharge all of those duties. 

    The US military failed and Manning is a scape goat.

  42. Re. Hague/Thatcher, in which:

    … Cabinet Secretary Robin Butler…wrote: “Promising though William Hague is, it is a bit difficult to see what a 21-year-old will contribute as a special adviser in the Treasury.” The message was then conveyed back across Whitehall to Nigel Lawson in only slightly more diplomatic language. A note of a meeting between Mrs Thatcher and her Chancellor said: “The appointment of someone so young and with so little experience would be an embarrassment to the Government and would be resented by more experienced people in the Conservative Research Department.”


    Those were the days. Compare George Osborne’s meteoric progress-

    After graduating in 1992, Osborne did a few part-time jobs including as a data entry clerk, typing the details of recently deceased into a NHS computer database.[13] He also briefly worked for a week at Selfridges, mainly re-folding towels.[13]

    In 1993, Osborne originally intended to pursue a career in journalism. He was shortlisted for but failed to gain a place on The Times trainee scheme, and instead did freelance work on the Peterborough diary column of The Daily Telegraph. Some time later, an Oxford friend of his, journalist George Bridges, alerted Osborne to a research vacancy at Conservative Central Office.[13]

    Osborne joined the Conservative Research Department in 1994 and became head of its Political Section. One of his first roles was to go to Blackpool and observe the October 1994 Labour Conference.[14]

    Between 1995 and 1997 he worked as special adviser to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Douglas Hogg (during the BSE crisis)

    Just like that: Head of the CRO’s Political Section. And next year, a spad. Bet Fourteen Pints wishes he’d done a week folding towels…

  43. Komodo, you scaly-backed lizard, I can’t take this. Agree you were talking about the military when you said: “Three years of which time has been in jail, and I readily concede that three years in jail awaiting trial is not acceptable at all. I’m pretty certain it wouldn’t happen in the UK.”

    Babar Ahmad (8 years in UK prison without charge) and Talha Ahsan (6 years in UK prison without charge) are both now in Supermax torture chambers in the US and still haven’t gone to trial. The Yanks are supposed to have evidence of their crimes but their trials have been put off for another six months (now March 2014) and they will probably put them off further unless these obviously innocent prisoners plea bargain. The Yanks are disgusting. Theresa May is disgusting. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is disgusting. They bring shame on my good name.

  44. The US military is a guilty party.

    Sure. Their security was, and probably still is, criminally lousy. But I say again, Manning is subject to military law, not civilian law. By that law he is guilty as charged. Manning signed the terms and conditions when he joined. The terms and conditions are designed with the intention of maintaining discipline and reasonably good order, with preserving the necessary secrecy involved in any kind of military operation, and making sure that the right backs are covered – from a drunken squaddie kicking a civilian in a pub to the general on whose watch a helicopter crew mows down three journalists and assorted brown civilians in a war zone. The army looks after its own.

    Not nice, but necessary.

  45. John, let me be clear, I was talking about the UK military, not the immigration fuckup. Your feet don’t touch in the UK forces. About turn, quick march, guardroom, Colchester, everything at the double and no quarter given.

  46. …sorry, immigration and terrorism fuckup.

  47. I guessed that Komodo. I’m going to quick march out of this discussion because I believe that what is wrong with the military is the inability for lower ranks to question orders especially when they are immoral. War is immoral. The military wage war. Professor Carlo Cipolla summed up my view. Man is still a savage: but the weapons at his disposal are more sophisticated.

  48. Flaming June

    1 Aug, 2013 - 10:24 am

    How about Ben Griffin and Ft Lt Malcol;m Kendall-Smith, war resisters?

    Ben did not get a jail sentence but Malcolm did.


    and a long list here

  49. As a truth teller goes to jail.

    “…If the UK FCA financial crime supervision team deals with around 100 cases a year of “ML risk &/or serious weaknesses in firms’ AML controls” why have there been so few enforcement actions..?”


  50. Flaming June

    1 Aug, 2013 - 10:51 am

    I often wondered why the term ‘glasshouse’.

    Now I know.

    Glasshouse (British Army)

    A Glasshouse, or The Glasshouse was the term for a military prison in the British Army. The first military prisons were established in 1844. The term Glasshouse originated at the military prison at Aldershot, which had a glazed roof. Over time, the sobriquet came to be applied to all British Army prisons. This prison, called the Detention Barracks, had begun as several barracks in 1856, before being replaced by a single, large building, modelled on civilian prisons, in 1870. This building was destroyed by fire in a riot of 1946.

    Glasshouses gained a reputation for brutality, as depicted in Allan Campbell McLean’s novel, The Glass House, and the Sean Connery film, The Hill. Today, the British Army has only one remaining prison, the Military Corrective Training Centre at Colchester. It has a special unit for convicts who are being transferred to HM Prison Service to serve their sentences, which is for anyone serving a sentence over three months.

    The Glasshouse at Colchester has been described in the ITV Anglia TV-documentary series, “The Real Red Caps”, (2003).

    External links
    Hampshire County Council. Aldershot Military Museum: The Glasshouse – The Aldershot Military Detention Barracks
    West Highland Free Press: Focus on Allan Campbell McLean, author of The Glasshouse

  51. Flaming June

    1 Aug, 2013 - 11:01 am

    10 years on

    News Briefing from the state broadcaster on Radio 4 this morning focussed on the ‘outing’ of Dr Kelly. A recording of the war mongering Menzies Campbell was played. There was no mention of the haste of Lord Falconer (B.Liar’s flatmate when they were pupil barristers) in appointing Hutton three hours after Dr Kelly’s body was found. Hutton’s ‘inquiry’ began 10 years ago today. Vile.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b037ddzs 11 minutes in.

    Falconer and Blair

    He became a flatmate of Tony Blair when they were both young barristers in London in the late 1970s in Wandsworth. They had first met as pupils at rival schools in the 1960s. At school, he dated Amanda Mackenzie Stuart, an ex-girlfriend of Blair’s, immediately after that relationship. While Blair went into politics, Falconer concentrated on his legal career. He practised from Fountain Court Chambers in London, and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1991.

  52. Thanks Sofia for the link to Iraq’s congenital defects. Interestingly a doctor engaged with Fallujah General Hospital provided important casualty information between 2004 – 2005.

    CAUTION DISTURBING – login required


    As a Cryptanalysis I appreciate your info AlcAnon
    31 Jul, 2013 – 4:32 pm thank-you

  53. Thanks Someone – I have reposted that report in UKC radio.

  54. Mark Golding,

    Here is another.


    A good site for information on many things.

  55. Flaming June

    1 Aug, 2013 - 12:18 pm

    “Exposing war crimes gets you 130 years. Committing them gets you a library.”
    Gary Younge, Twitter by Guardian columnist, 31st July 2013 re
    Bradley Manning


    No irony. Look at Obama grinning at Bush.
    George Bush library: US presidents gather for dedication

  56. John – I do know where you’re coming from, and I applaud the direction. But…the inability for lower ranks to question orders especially when they are immoral.
    That’s specifically built into the system, not because of any systematic disregard of morality, but simply because democracy doesn’t work when someone’s shooting at your unit.
    War is immoral. Yes. By and large.
    The military wage war. But, other than in countries with military juntas (and it comes to the same thing in the end) it is governments which initiate war. The military then does what it has agreed to be paid for. The moral turpitude is the government’s. Most servicemen I’ve known come across as starched Puritans compared with politicians…
    Man is still a savage: but the weapons at his disposal are more sophisticated.
    Never said a truer word. It’s in our DNA to kill rival tribesmonkeys.

  57. Komodo 1 Aug, 2013 – 12:30 pm
    “It’s in our DNA to kill rival tribesmonkeys.”

    Now that’s no lesson to be teaching young sophia. Old lizards should not misrepresent their pessimism as fact.

  58. Komodo, it reads like you are advocating for the correctness of both the charges and convictions against Manning. 

    Were they?

    A conviction does not confer upon itself correctness as demonstrated by the many successful appeals against convictions.

    Furthermore, contracts between an employer and employee are not automatically compliant with the law. And some laws do not automatically prevail, particularly if they do not conform with predominating laws such as the US Constitution.

    What we see with Manning’s conviction is a flagrant exercise in scapegoating of a young man who was placed in a legal Catch 22 about which others have correctly alluded to the Nuhremberg trials. Manning was supplying intelligence products that combat units were acting upon. He was therefore embedded in the military processes that often result in deadly outcomes and in doing so, was legally obligated to respond to perceived war crimes that he became aware of – and he did.

    If Manning failed to respond in the way that he did, could he have been held culpable of concealing a war crime? What would be his defence? “I was ordered to shut up and mind my own business – just followed orders”.

    Catch 22 – damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  59. Lol, Phil.

    In support of hypothesis H(0), I offer:

    Got H(1)?

    Pessimists tend to be realists…it worked for this guy:

  60. “It’s in our DNA to kill rival tribesmonkeys.”

    Evolution is a slow process, we might become intelligent and who knows, perhaps even sane at sometime in the future ?.

  61. Flaming June

    1 Aug, 2013 - 12:51 pm

    Sky are saying that Edward Snowden has been given papers by the Russian government that allowed him to leave Moscow airport. He has apparently left the airport.

  62. Komodo 1 Aug, 2013 – 12:30 pm
    “But…the inability for lower ranks to question orders especially when they are immoral.
    That’s specifically built into the system, not because of any systematic disregard of morality, but simply because democracy doesn’t work when someone’s shooting at your unit.”

    No it doesn’t work when someones shooting at your unit. But most of a soldiers life is spent not being shot at.

    It is provenly possible to have an army of politically engaged soldiers who are involved in the decision making process and encouraged to take moral positions. The great examples that I know are the anarchist armies in spain and ukraine. Although hotly contested it appears that these armies were also genuinely liberating in a way that most armies are not.

    It is likely these two facts, a democratic decision process within the army and the armys seemingly unique desire to not retain power, are not unrelated.

  63. Jemand:
    Catch 22 – damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Precisely. Catch-22 was about the USAF….

    No, seriously. What happened with Manning was that (a) US security was its usual abysmally lackadaisical self. (b) Someone with absolutely no “need to know” the contents of the material he was handling, got to know the contents and (b) distributed them far and wide, (c)severely compromising the organisation for which he worked. (d) A book of rules exists for the purpose, and it was thrown at him. He was found guilty of actual offences which he had actually committed, and sentenced according to existing guidelines. A miscarriage of justice: one or more senior officers in the security chain should have been summarily shot at dawn, but it doesn’t work that way.

    It occurs to me that what keeps an army functional is the near-certainty in the mind of its rank and file that what the army can do to you if you don’t conform is probably worse than what the enemy can do to you when you do.


    A conviction does not confer upon itself correctness as demonstrated by the many successful appeals against convictions.

    Precisely the reverse is demonstrated by the many unsuccessful appeals…

    If Manning failed to respond in the way that he did, could he have been held culpable of concealing a war crime? What would be his defence? “I was ordered to shut up and mind my own business – just followed orders”.

    I’d guess that 50% minumum of front-line troops in the US and UK armies have knowledge of war crimes under one definition or another. They happen quite a lot in war. Going to lock the lot up?

    Manning took a risk. He must surely have known that the shit would hit the fan. That’s not a secret. I hope he still thinks it was worth it: who knows, it may be.

  64. The great examples that I know are the anarchist armies in spain and ukraine.

    Both lost.

  65. Komodo
    “Both lost.”

    True. But their eventual defeat does not take away that they had some pretty amazing military success whilst encouraging debate and democracy.

    Indoctrination of soldiers is needed by those whose arguments are immoral. It doesn’t have to be that way.

  66. Sounds great, doesn’t work in practice, Phil. I’ve agreed with John, above, that war is immoral. Therefore any argument for war is immoral (if you like). Therefore all ‘those’ (define please,) requiring a war are permitted to think that indoctrination is acceptable.

    Counter-example for you: the Viet Cong. Indoctrinated and disciplined up to the hilt. Not only got the hearts and minds (and balls) of the population, but also won. What armies are for.

    Consider also a bunch of random lads off the dole queue in Liverpool. Touchy feely doesn’t work if you want them fighting someone else in three months. It’s sheer practicality, morality is an unaffordable luxury.

  67. Thanks Mary – Please spread far and wide…


  68. “Sounds great, doesn’t work in practice, Phil.”

    Well you already said that and I gave two examples where it did work. That conflict is ineviatable because competition drives evolution, you know all the dark hobsian stuff, is an ideology.

  69. At bloody last-


    Snowden has temporary asylum in Russia. How ironic.

    I think that this may have been the nugget he was concealing, and now he’s released it, he can undertake not to embarrass the Russians by continuing the leakage. It’s bad enough:


    Apologies for linking to MSM front page here but the implications merit it IMO

  70. it did work

    You already said that, and you’re wrong. They failed to achieve the objective for which they were formed. Nicely or otherwise. Now if you’d said AQ, I’d have had to listen…but they’re indoctrinated.


  71. Glenn_uk
    The bugs come from me, so what am I supposed to do with myself? Working for a boss that doesn’t see fit to pay me in a freezing week in February has sterilised my bugs. Blessings in disguise.


    Whatever blows yer skirt up mate. I’m going back to my Qur’an

  72. Flaming June

    1 Aug, 2013 - 2:35 pm

    I mentioned the FC Barcelona ‘Peace Tour’ to Israel earlier. This is John Hilley on the subject.


  73. That conflict is ineviatable because competition drives evolution, you know all the dark hobsian stuff, is an ideology.

    You mean competition doesn’t drive evolution? Oh, boy…Still, you might accept that dwindling resources will continue to drive competition (and conflict), even if evolution has too little time to respond.

  74. Edward Snowden leaving the airport to a secret location…


  75. technicolour

    1 Aug, 2013 - 3:02 pm

    “Only 15 to 20 percent of the American riflemen in combat during World War II would fire at the enemy. Those who would not fire did not run or hide—in many cases they were willing to risk greater danger to rescue comrades, get ammunition, or run messages. They simply would not fire their weapons at the enemy, even when faced with repeated waves of banzai charges”


  76. I recently underwent anti-bribery training at my workplace. UK citizens are forbidden to attempt or benefit from bribery anywhere in the world. Perhaps we could do with a similar law on torture, forbidding UK citizens to participate in it or willingly receive information obtained using it.

  77. “They failed to achieve the objective for which they were formed.”

    Yes they did. I just dont think that negates them as examples. Their eventual defeat does not mean they were an ineffective fighting force. They most certainly were not. These anarchist armies scored impressive victories and were a real force.

    They are examples of effective armies where debate was encouraged. That is all I am saying. All the examples of armies not like this in the world do not disappear these examples.

  78. Breaking – huge explosion in Homs – many government soldiers killed:


  79. Phil: I don’t doubt that a collection of motivated people with an agreed common purpose can form an effective fighting force even if they are allowed to debate their schedule on a democratic basis. I certainly don’t believe that the Republican Army in Spain was quite as democratic as you allege: command was still hierarchical. And there’s not much evidence that either side was any more moral than the other:

    Available information suggests that there were about 500,000 deaths from all causes during the Spanish Civil War. An estimated 200,000 died from combat-related causes. Of these, 110,000 fought for the Republicans and 90,000 for the Nationalists. This implies that 10 per cent of all soldiers who fought in the war were killed.

    It has been calculated that the Nationalist Army executed 75,000 people in the war whereas the Republican Army accounted for 55,000. These deaths takes into account the murders of members of rival political groups.

    It is estimated that about 5,300 foreign soldiers died while fighting for the Nationalists (4,000 Italians, 300 Germans, 1,000 others). The International Brigades also suffered heavy losses during the war. Approximately 4,900 soldiers died fighting for the Republicans (2,000 Germans, 1,000 French, 900 Americans, 500 British and 500 others).

    Around 10,000 Spanish people were killed in bombing raids. The vast majority of these were victims of the German Condor Legion.

    The economic blockade of Republican controlled areas caused malnutrition in the civilian population. It is believed that this caused the deaths of around 25,000 people. All told, about 3.3 per cent of the Spanish population died during the war with another 7.5 per cent being injured.

    After the war it is believed that the government of General Francisco Franco arranged the executions of 100,000 Republican prisoners. It is estimated that another 35,000 Republicans died in concentration camps in the years that followed the war.

    War is hell. This one would have been better avoided,

  80. Flaming June

    1 Aug, 2013 - 3:34 pm

    The head of SOCA Sir Ian Allen resigns. Declaration of interests incomplete. Directorship of management consultancy not revealed.


  81. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    1 Aug, 2013 - 3:35 pm

    Huge fireball. It looked about 150 ft in diameter. I would be surprised to learn there were fewer than 200 casualties.

  82. Flaming June

    1 Aug, 2013 - 3:37 pm

  83. Sofia Kibo Noh

    1 Aug, 2013 - 3:42 pm

    @Mark. 11 09am

    Thanks for the Fallujah clip. Sickening and heartbreaking. It makes one realise that the “Colateral Murder” video is just a tiny drop in an ocean of depravity being committed in our names.

    @Someone. 11 25am

    Thanks. Fukushima, as with the Fallujah, chilling and disgusting.

    Ignoring or denigrating evidence seems to be a consistent plank in the response of the elites and their servants, whether in WHO or corporate media.

    Doesn’t that show how much thee elites fear people really finding them out?

    @Komodo and Phil

    Isn’t the underlying question something along the lines of how do we, as social and military cultures, agree on a mix of these conflicting characteristics?

    At this stage in our social and technical evolution how best do we empower our (mainly) young men to fiercely defend their home-places and communities without tempting them to run the show and go off plundering for generals, royals and other kleptocrats?

    Where, on the spectrum, do we choose? On one end the spontanious networked militia of the Samburu, and Dinka and on the other, the total-obedience-demanding hierarchies of Us and Nazi military. Is a happy medium possible or do we have to accept that those with the biggest bombs and most obedient soldiers will always have the upper hand?

    Have we taken a turn down an evolutionary dead-end where our technical prowess fosters, for the elites, the delusion that they can get us to blast our way to their goals without destroying the ecological matrix where it’s all played out? Or will the horrors of these times be looked back on by our descendents as chapters in humanity’s painful journey out of barbarism?

    Mutiny has been a game-changer many a time from Herodotus’s time to the present.

    If “…only 15 to 20 percent of the American riflemen in combat during World War II would fire at the enemy”(Thanks Technicolour. 3 05pm), then how many can really be counted on to fire on their own people?

    What happens when military-trained individuals “go native”?

    I take heart from what is playing out at present in South America. It seems to me Venezuala for example would have long ago slid back into 1950s os 60s style military dictatorship were it not for the lower ranks of the military taking a stand for their communities before their commanding officers.

    Two films I find really encouraging are Oliver Stone’s “South of the Border” and the Irish documentary “Inside the Coup”.

    If it can happen there……….!

  84. Flaming June

    1 Aug, 2013 - 3:45 pm

    What a jumbled up table.

    Peter Clarke I assume was the one alongside Ian Blair at the time of 7/7 and Jean Charles Menezes.

  85. “You mean competition doesn’t drive evolution? ”

    No I didn’t say that. I am questioning the orthodoxy that competition is the driver of evolution. We are sold this idea constantly. It is an ideology that declares war and poverty to be natural jungle law.

    However, the science shows that cooperation is also a big driver of evolution.

  86. Flaming June

    1 Aug, 2013 - 3:54 pm

    Yes. It ia he. Also with Kellogg, Brown and Root of Iraq infamy. formerly a subsidiary of Halliburton. Cheney was once chairman and CEO of Halliburton.



    Murky old world isn’t it.

  87. Where, on the spectrum, do we choose?

    Ask me again when the oil runs out and the droughts spread. I don’t think we have the luxury of choice.

    But an interesting and thought-provoking interjection, nonetheless.

  88. Komodo 1 Aug, 2013 – 3:33 pm
    “I certainly don’t believe that the Republican Army in Spain was quite as democratic as you allege”

    Er, I am not talking about the spanish republican army. That was something quite different.

    May I suggest you look into the anarchist militias of spain and the ukranian insurrectionary army. It is fascinating.

  89. “…only 15 to 20 percent of the American riflemen in combat during World War II would fire at the enemy”(Thanks Technicolour. 3 05pm), then how many can really be counted on to fire on their own people?”

    I think there are various military histories which show that only a minority of soldiers actually do most of the killing. Arrows shot away from action. Swords not scratched.

    Unfortunately the military has long learnt this lesson. For example, changing the practise range target from a bull eyse to a human shadow had a huge impact on desensitising soldiers to kill. Now soldiers desensitise with computer games. Part of the training.

    Did you know the columbine boys had hit rates worthy of special forces. How could this be? It is speculated that their years of shoot em up games, which they obsessed about right up to the killings, desensitised them to be able to commit the act of murder.

    So we are in the area of violent films and games. Does violent stimulis encourage violent behaviour? Well the military seems to think so. Science seems to show so. But politics denys it.

  90. Flaming June

    1 Aug, 2013 - 4:22 pm

    Andrews’s wife Moira is a lawyer and works for G3 which according to Sky News just now were involved in the Liam Fox/Adam Werritty affair, paying for their flights I think I heard the Sky reporter say. Oh what a tangled web we weave…..


    She is Ex MI6 according to this

    Fox and Werritty just won’t lie down. So much jiggery pokery.

  91. Flaming June

    1 Aug, 2013 - 4:39 pm

    G3 (Good Governance Group) are connected to:
    http://www.proven.eu/ – Intelligent Investigations
    http://www.palmerlegaltech.com/ – Computer forensics
    http://www.c5capital.co.uk/team.php – Global investment company headed by CEO Christina McComb ex diplomatic service

  92. Sofia Kibo Noh

    1 Aug, 2013 - 4:57 pm

    @Komodo. 4 05pm

    “Ask me again…..”

    @Phil. 4 21pm

    “Does violent stimulis encourage violent behaviour?”

    Onle 3500 studies come to that conclusion so far. Desensitisation to violence is surely one of our culture’s defining characteristics, along with emphazising competition over co-operation.

    Going by our historical record I’d have to agree with your outlook K, but I don’t rule out some kind of epochal phase-change either, just like what happens in insect colonies when numbers, food supply or environment change beyond critical tipping-points. So many of our variables are totally unprecedented. Probably the only thing we can expect is that the future won’t look like we predict.

    If we have descendents to write history, maybe it will be because they have worked out how to be so powerful without destroying the game altogether, um I think.

    I feel it’s worthwhile committing to the best futures and the most thriving co-operative cultures we can envisage. The fat lady hasn’t sung, yet.

  93. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    1 Aug, 2013 - 5:03 pm

    If you talk to people who have actually killed someone, they say the first is the hardest. After that it gets easier. Desensitizing video games with violent content make that first kill easier, IMO.

  94. Sofia
    “Going by our historical record I’d have to agree with your outlook K”

    The official history of ineviatable war? Other perspectives are available. Conflict happens but the real law of the jungle is cooperation.

    There was an interesting traffic experiment undertaken in germany and holland a few years back. Called shared space, I am unsure of it’s current status. All traffic regulations were removed. All the lines, lights, one ways etc etc. Everything. Of course pessimists predicted chaos. There’ll be fights, jams, deaths. But in every town that tried do you know what happened? The accident count went down, the average journey time went down. Every time. Remarkable. Cooperation even rules the roads.

    And again my latest favourite example of real modern cooperation. I mean how far can cooperation progress? This is layer upon layer. And funny https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ri5cszSKEg

  95. BrianFujisan

    1 Aug, 2013 - 5:59 pm

    i got through with that second link, cheers it was at 1,560 signatures

    @Someone, thanks for that Japan link, and interesting post on whether or not we will become intelligent
    That point is actually a major part of the Drake Equation, the Last letter L = the lifetime a communicating Intelligence survives. – or as Carl Sagan wondered – do civilizations destroy themselves soon after developing technology

    It’s also mentioned as one of the factors in the Fermi Paradox – where are they.

    Back to Isreal

    Israel: Eviction of 1,300 Palestinians necessary to save IDF time, money

    The state wants to evict 1,300 Palestinians from their homes in an army firing zone in the West Bank in part because training there saves the Israel Defense Forces time and money, according to the state’s response to two petitions against the mass eviction


  96. “The majority of Spain’s bankrupt local councils are to be found along the Mediterranean coast, particularly in Andalusia and Valencia, which were badly hit by the collapse of the construction and property-development market.”


    “Vanishing Treasures: Tomb Raiders Exploit Chaos in Egypt”


  97. technicolour

    1 Aug, 2013 - 6:03 pm

    You’re v welcome, Sofia. I’m embracing along with you :) Sadly, as Phil points out, they have been working hard to come up with ways round our instinct not to kill each other – but they’re all still attempts to crush our nature. they don’t last.

    Btw has anyone come across these people? Apparently Chomsky wrote the preface to a book about them so they are less obscure than the design of their website would suggest. Too many slogans for me, but still:


  98. technicolour

    1 Aug, 2013 - 6:09 pm

    Phil, thanks, I loved that experiment


    and its happened in Bristol too – junctions with no lights or signs, and guess what?


    Trying hard not to think that the presence of signs and orders and controls and threats might be there for another reason, since they don’t seem to make roads actually safer….

Powered By Wordpress | Designed By Ridgey | Produced by Tim Ireland | Hosted In The Cloud