Terrorism and Nuance 934

There is no question to which the answer is to wander round killing people. It takes a few words or keystrokes for any right thinking person to condemn the killings in Paris today. But that really doesn’t take us very far.

It is impossible to stop evil from happening. Simple low tech attacks by individuals, a kind of DIY terrorism, cannot always be pre-empted. If you try to do so universally, you will end up even further down the line we have gone down in the UK, where people are continually arrested and harassed who have no connection to terrorism at all, often for bragging on websites. These non-existent foiled terrorist plots are a risible feature of British politics nowadays. Every now and then one hits the headlines, like the arrests just before Remembrance Day. Their defining characteristic is that none of those arrested have any means of terrorism – 99% of those arrested for terrorism in the UK in the last decade – possessed no weapon and no viable explosive device.

In fact the only terrorist in the last year convicted in the UK, who possessed an actual bomb – a very viable explosive device indeed, was not charged with terrorism. He was a fascist named Ryan McGee who had a swastika on his wall and hated Muslims. Hundreds of Muslims with no weapons are locked up for terrorism. A fanatical anti-Muslim with a bomb is by definition not a terrorist.

I am assuming that the narrative that Charlie Hebdo was attacked by Islamists is correct, though that remains to be proved. For argument, let us assume the official narrative is true and the killings were by Muslims outraged at the magazine’s depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.

It is essential to free speech that it includes the freedom to offend. That must include the freedom to offend religious belief. Without such freedoms, the values of societies would freeze. Much social progress has caused real anguish and offence to some people. To have stopped Charlie Hebdo by law would have been wrong. To stop them by bullets is beyond any mitigation.

But that doesn’t make the unfortunate deceased heroes, and President Hollande was wrong to characterise them as such. Being murdered does not make you a hero. And being offensive is not necessarily noble. People who are persistently and vociferously offensive are often neither noble nor well-motivated. Much of Charlie Hebdo‘s taunting of Muslims was really unpleasant. That they also had Christian and other targets did not make this any better. It is not Private Eye – it is a magazine with a much nastier edge. I defend the right of Charlie Hebdo to publish whatever it wants. But once the shock dies off, I do hope a more realistic assessment of whether Charlie Hebdo was entirely admirable or not may be possible. This in no way excuses the dreadful murders.

The ability to say things that offend is an important attribute of a free society. Richard Dawkins may offend believers. Peter Tatchell may offend homophobes. Pussy Riot offended Putin and the Orthodox Church. This must not be stopped.

But that must cut both ways. Abu Qatada broke no British laws in his lengthy stay in the UK, but was demonised for things he said (or even things newspapers invented he had said). Most of the French who are today in solidarity for freedom of expression, are against people being able to express themselves freely in what they wear. The security industry who are all over TV today want to respond to this attack on freedom of expression by more controls on the internet!

I condemn, you condemn, we all condemn, and so we should. But the amount of nuanced thought in the mainstream media is almost non-existent. What will now happen is that conservative commentators will rip individual phrases from this article and tweet them to show I support terrorism. The lack of nuanced thought is a reflection of a general atmosphere of anti-intellectualism which has poisoned public life in modern western society.

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934 thoughts on “Terrorism and Nuance

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  • lysias

    Remember the false flag anthrax letters of 2001: Letters of Note: We Have This Anthrax:











    Centre / Right:







  • CanSpeccy

    Pussy Riot offended Putin and the Orthodox Church. This must not be stopped.

    That is inane. You think it’s OK for anyone to copulate anywhere or piss on anything, or shout fire in a theatre?

    Of course it isn’t.

    That’s why there’s a law against conduct liable to cause a breach of the peace, and why there are specific laws against various obnoxious actions including blasphemy.

    Only Neocons intent on the destruction of all civilizations except America’s crap alleged civilization, which is no more than load of waste product of the commercial system, believe in the freedom to insult anyone and everything.

  • Resident Dissident


    Remember the mealy mouthed response when the Iranian state threatened Salman Rushdie’s freedom of speech and the attacks on Denmark for permitting free speech. Do the same this time and the same will happen again.

  • craig Post author

    Salman Rushdie is an excellent example – of somebody whose freedom of speech should be defended, but is an entirely obnoxious individual.

  • lysias

    RT reports French police have made three arrests, two of them French Algerians just returned from the fighting in Syria.

  • philw

    Excellent piece Craig.

    If this attack was indeed carried out by Islamic militants it is of a different order to any attack we have seen recently, being supremely efficient, lethal, and most notably, not a suicide attack. It will be interesting to see which group claims responsibility. (I would guess many groups will, once they have decided it was a good one to claim)

  • Suhayl Saadi

    These Jihadist fascists murdered 145 pupils and teachers in a school in Pakistan a couple of weeks ago. They burned alive the Headmistress, Tahira Qazi in front of her pupils. They killed the driver of my friend, journalist Raza Rumi, last year in an assassination attempt on the journalist and TV anchor. Raza has had to move to another continent to escape death. He simply had stood up to the Islamists, in print and on TV. They killed Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer simply because he stood up for the rights of a woman who happened to be Christian and who had been condemned to death for alleged ‘blasphemy’. Then they killed the lawyer who took on the case to prosecute Taseer’s Islamist murderer.

    We – the UK – must never support these fascists or their sponsors. Yet we continue to do so, when it suits.

  • Johnstone

    Puppet Hollandes clarion call ‘Let us unite, and we will win because we have all the capacity to believe in our destiny. Liberty will always be stronger than barbarism. Vive la France!’is a dead give away that this WAS a false flag aimed at gaining public support for whatever barbarous escalation is about to be delivered upon Middle East…
    We are all doomed

  • lysias

    INFO METRONEWS – Attentat à Charlie Hebdo : les trois suspects ont été identifiés:

    Leurs noms, prénoms et dates de naissance sont aux mains de la police. Ce mercredi soir, quelques heures après la terrible attaque contre le journal Charlie Hebdo, les identités des trois suspects étaient connues des forces de l’ordre.

    Il s’agirait de trois hommes âgés de 18, 32 et 34 ans. Les deux trentenaires, de nationalité française, sont des frères nés dans le 10e arrondissement de Paris. Ils se prénomment Saïd et Chérif K.. La nationalité du plus jeune, Hamyd M., SDF, n’est pas encore connue. On sait en revanche qu’il était inscrit l’an dernier en Terminale S dans un lycée de Charleville-Mézieres, dans l’académie de Reims (Champagne-Ardennes). Le journal local, L’Union en Ardennais, indiquait justement en fin d’après-midi que l’enquête s’orientait vers Reims.

    Des perquisitions y sont menées, et les forces spéciales du RAID ont été envoyées là-bas. Le quartier Croix-Rouge a été totalement bouclé et des hélicoptères de la police survolent la zone.

    L’un des assaillants présumés, Chérif K., serait déjà bien connu des services de police. Il avait été jugé en 2005 pour avoir fait partie d’une filière d’envoi de djihadistes en Irak, surnommée “la filière irakienne du 19e arrondissement de Paris”. Avec une dizaine de comparses, il aurait incité une dizaine de jeunes à partir combattre en Irak entre 2003 et 2005. Il avait été interpellé en 2005, au moment où il s’apprêtait lui-même à partir en Irak. À l’époque, il se justifiait devant la présidente du tribunal en ces termes : “Plus le départ approchait, plus je voulais revenir en arrière. Mais si je me dégonflais, je risquais de passer pour un lâche”. Il avait été condamné à trois ans de prison, dont dix-huit mois avec sursis.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Re: Salman Rushdie

    I know virtually nothing about Salman Rushdie except that he was sentenced to death for publishing a book. I would be interested in why Mr Murray characterises him as “obnoxious”.

    Kind regards,


  • CanSpeccy

    To all those kikes, dykes, queer buggers, wops, krauts and slime-bag neocons who agree with Craig Murray that copulation on the alter of a Russian cathedral is something that Pussy riot or any other agents of the US of Aggression should be free to do without let or hindrance, I shall look forward to insulting both you and your most cherished beliefs with complete impunity on this blog, where I have heretofore been subject to the usual gross liberal intolerance and called a racist merely for using the perfectly good old English contraction “Scotch” for things Scottish and on one occasion for referring to Japanese people as Japs.

  • KingOfWelshNoir

    I’m not willing to assume the official narrative is correct. It might be, but given the entirely predictable atom bomb of revulsion and anti-Islamic hysteria this has unleashed, fortified with acres of instant newspaper yadda yadda about this being an attack on freedom of speech, which so beautifully presses our buttons, I will withhold judgement for the time being. Anyone can shout Allahu Akbar.

  • technicolour

    Some poor idiots driven insane by the promulgation of mass murder in the mainstream and the narrative that this is ‘West v Muslims’. They’re on both sides.

  • lysias

    HOW can police lose all trace of people fleeing in a known car after such spectacular events, in the middle of a big city?

  • Macky

    @CanSpeccy, surely you haven’ forgotten Craig’s special prism relating to anything Russian ?!

  • technicolour

    Again, thanks to Canspeccy we see the charm of those willing to hold up the ‘hate’ side of the narrative. KOWN, agree, but murderers are murderers, and whichever way, they’ve been driven insane by this false dichotomy.

  • Tim

    Putin’s problem is that the heavy handed police reaction makes it seem like he’s terrified of a few foul mouthed women. In the West they would get performing arts subsidies to do what they do, and no one beyond a self regarding coterie of arts critics woul bother to turn up and watch.

  • giyane


    “RT reports French police have made three arrests, two of them French Algerians just returned from the fighting in Syria.”

    Definitely false flag then, especially with Hollande shedding crocodile tears for the liberte of citizens.

    “In the centre of Damascus, meanwhile, there is a monument in honour of the Syrian Defence Minister Yusuf al-’Azma, a hero of the Battle of Maysalun Pass. Here we have genuine insurgents who fought for a free Syria. Now, however, the word “insurgent” has been completely defiled and is used today to refer to all sorts of rubbish recruited from all corners of the world who are high on drugs and murdering Syrians for money.”

    “While the Syrian government and the Syrian people are placing monuments in honour of their heroes, the so-called “opposition members” are collaborating with the neocolonialists, making much of the colonialists’ flags while killing soldiers and civilians. France recognises these murderers and terrorists as “legitimate representatives of the Syrian people”. The only question is whether “representatives” like these are what the Syrian people really need.”


  • CanSpeccy


    I’m obviously not suggesting that Pussy Riot should be shot.

    On the other hand, if you insult intended to wound can produce disproportionate reactions for which those who cause the reaction are certainly largely to blame.

    As I recall from my childhood in England, it wasn’t smart to be caught looking at a fellow with greasy hair and a DA.

  • CanSpeccy

    Whoops, that last seems to have been syntactically defective.

    Try again, Re: Tim

    Putin’s problem is that the heavy handed police reaction

    I cannot see any reason to criticize the official response. First the state sent the sill bitches to prison for a while, then when Putin pardoned them, they started acting grossly during the Sochi Olympics. In response to the second offense they were horse whipped by Cossacks and have never been heard of since. Evidently the Cossacks had the right idea: a short painful and memorable punishment, no significant cost for incarceration and no repeat offense.

  • ash

    Craig, stop being stupid. There is no such thing as freedom of speech. Anyway we can’t go around offending people and say freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is supposed to be for holding people to account and stopping corruption. Not for insulting people.

  • Macky

    Craig; “That must include the freedom to offend religious belief”

    Wrong; only people without a clue as what religion is, can advocate such nonsense.

    For sure you can express criticism, but to gratuitously provoke, insult, ridicule & taunt religious people for their faith, is not only being despicable, but also being a mindless zealot of the pie in the sky Cult of Free Speech, which for a fact does not really exist.

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