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.


934 thoughts on “Terrorism and Nuance

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  • Daniel

    Freedom of unconditional expression is negated by the limits democracy places upon it. To paraphrase Isiah Berlin, “One has the right to move ones fist in the direction of my nose, but that right ends at the point at which the fist in question makes contact with it.” Did Charlie Hebdo cross the line? Yes, I think they did.

    It’s also relevant to point out the role France has played as part of the NATO-led coalition in arming, funding, aiding, and otherwise perpetuating Al Qaeda terrorists for years, beginning, on record in Libya and continuing until today with NATO’s arming, harboring, and backing of Al Qaeda terrorists including ISIS within and along Syria’s borders.

    The manner in which heavily armed militants expertly handling their military-grade weapons with precision and discipline – clearly the recipients of military training – suggests the attack in Paris is likely the work of the very terrorists France has been arming and backing across North Africa and the Middle East.

    Was this another of NATO’s ‘Operation Gladio’ style attacks on the European people in an insidious bid to manipulate public perception as well as the regional political landscape?

    Was France, or its partners among the vast network of state sponsored global terror, really unable to prevent this attack and the anticipation of ‘blowback’ upon which this implies? In other words, was this a attack a classic false flag? Moreover, could it have been undertaken not by AlQaeda or it’s offshoots, but by Mossad predicated on French support of Palestinians joining the ICC?

  • mike

    RT saying one of the attackers’ ID has been found; the Telegraph says they showed “advanced military skills”.

    Shades of Atta, I guess, plus France wants a rapprochement with Russia. Perhaps this is to remind them not to stray too far from the path.

    A false flag? No idea. But nothing surprises me anymore.

  • Mary

    When you have Nick Robinson on the BBC 10pm news tonight reminding the viewers (with footage) of 7/7 and the Boston Marathon bombing, speaking in a special solemn voice, you begin to wonder what’s going on. Gardner preceded him. Huw Edwards was live in Paris with some excitable female reporter. Not one of them knew whether their scripts contained the truth or not.

  • Resident Dissident

    Pussy Riot did not copulate on the church altar – they didn’t even go anywhere near the chuch altar which is in the sanctuary behind the iconstasis in a Russian Orthodox Church. I agree that there should be penalties for breaches of the peace on other’s property – but 21 months in a Russian prison is not a proportionate punishment.

    “In response to the second offense they were horse whipped by Cossacks and have never been heard of since.” so Canspeccy clearly approves of legally unsanctioned beatings of those with whom he disagrees. As for Pussy Riot not being heard of since …..
    http://www.channel4.com/news/russian-opposition-leader-alexei-oleg-navalny-sentenced-pussy-riot

    If Salman Rushdie is entirely obnoxious in Craig’s view – perhaps he might wish to express his view on the Iranian State and the mullahs, many of who are in positions of power even today, who supported the fatwa.

  • Resident Dissident

    “To paraphrase Isiah Berlin, “One has the right to move ones fist in the direction of my nose, but that right ends at the point at which the fist in question makes contact with it.” Did Charlie Hebdo cross the line? Yes, I think they did.”

    So who did they harm physically???

    “It’s also relevant to point out the role France has played as part etc. etc.”

    Why – does that behaviour justify an attack on satirical journalists known for being critical of the French Government?

    “In other words, was this a attack a classic false flag? Moreover, could it have been undertaken not by AlQaeda or it’s offshoots, but by Mossad predicated on French support of Palestinians joining the ICC?”

    What can be put forward without evidence can be dismissed with evidence.

  • Resident Dissident

    “Not one of them knew whether their scripts contained the truth or not.”

    Perhaps unlike Mary they saw the filmed footage.

  • CanSpeccy

    @Res Dis

    21 months in a Russian prison is not a proportionate punishment.

    No, I agree. They wer acting as agents of the US project for regime change in Russia: traitors, in other words. Under the Commies it would have been a bullet or the gulag. And as was made clear by their subsequent behavior, a mere 21 months incarceration failed to undermine there timerity.

    “In response to the second offense they were horse whipped by Cossacks and have never been heard of since.” so Canspeccy clearly approves of legally unsanctioned beatings of those with whom he disagrees

    Unsanctioned? Who says it was unsanctioned? I assumed the Cossacks were acting as agents of the Russian state. But if that is not so I stand corrected. My conclusion, however, is the same. namely, that a short period of incarceration followed by a pardon by the head of state is not an appropriate way to deal with traitors.

  • technicolour

    From that link above : “Were they arrested for having naked anal sex in a public museum, which one of them did at eight months pregnant? No.”

    No facts, no links a total smear piece (published in the media that’s supposed to be supporting them) – and still gives the lie to Canspeccy. Stop it.

  • Fool

    Steve Bell on news night: sometimes there is a joy in offending…. there is a need to offend…….the world is full of idiots.

  • CanSpeccy

    @ Techie (always to be relied upon to obscure the truth and swear black’s white in the interests of the genocide of the European peoples).

    No facts, no links, total smear, blah, blah, blah.

    Contradicted by the comments immediately above your own. LOL.

  • CanSpeccy

    The trouble with liberals is that, having labelled themselves “liberal,” they feel entitled to be as intolerant and narrow minded and oblivious of facts and reason as they like, while condemning their critics as narrow minded bigots, racists and any other term of abuse that occurs to them.

    It’s a kind of insanity, really, and we should begin to give serious consideration to the certification of liberals who become a danger either to themselves or others with their craze for hate speech and their lust for global conquest in the name of the West’s totally bogus democracy.

    The recent mass murder in Paris confirms the insanity of liberalism as a state religion. First you swamp you own people with people of an alien and hostile culture, then you incite your own people to insult the aliens, then you hold up you hands aghast when the aliens blow the brains out of those who are tormenting them.

    Then liberal commentators come along and say we need more of this freedom to the incitement to violence!

  • technicolour

    Back to Craig’s “It is impossible to stop evil from happening.”. Well, we here in the UK didn’t manage to stop the attacks on Iraq or Afghanistan, although we were in the majority. We didn’t stop the devastating carnage, or the mass flood of refugees. We in the West haven’t stopped the drone killings; the majority in Israel haven’t stopped the assaults on Gaza…the Russians haven’t stopped the devastation of Chechnya…

    Is it really impossible for the people to stop evil from happening?

  • Hague

    Out of curiosity, who or what is likely to benefit from this incident? Could it be Islam or Muslims or Arabs or “ISIS” or “Al-Qaeda”? If so, how? If the actual beneficiaries are identified, then identifying the actual perpetrators is naturally more straightforward.

  • Mary

    The Boxing Day Massacre.

    Posted on January 7, 2015 by afghanistanwatch

    At least that’s what it would have been called had the victims been white Europeans rather than nameless, faceless Afghan civilians.

    Allow Agence France-Presse to elaborate:

    Afghan officials said that a Nato air strike on Friday killed five civilians and wounded six others, just days before the US-led military coalition ends combat operations in the country.

    Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) did not immediately confirm the strike on Logar province, south of the capital Kabul, but always stresses that it tries to avoid civilian casualties.

    “At around 3:30 am, US forces conducted an air strike in Aab Josh village of Baraki Barak district,” said the district governor Mohammad Amin.

    “The air strike hit a residential house killing five and wounding six civilians,” he told AFP.

    http://news.yahoo.com/afghan-officials-nato-air-strike-kills-five-civilians-151040718.html

    And now a couple of images to sum up the reaction of the corporate news media, commentariat, Twittersphere and blogosphere in the U.S. and U.K.:

    /..
    http://interventionswatch.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/the-boxing-day-massacre/

  • Anon

    Thanks for bringing “white rightwing nationalists” into this, Komodo, because when, from time to time, such groups carry out terrorist atrocities, the false-flaggers and truth seekers on here suddenly dispense with their tortuous conspiracy theories and immediately and unquestioningly parrot the exact same line as the government as relayed to them by the mainstream media.

    Funny that.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Craig,

    I think – an excellent analysis by you.

    But,one point:-

    “But that doesn’t make the unfortunate deceased heroes, and President Hollande was wrong to characterise them as such”

    No – Hollande has his own political problems. This gives him an excellent chance for redemption by being projected as the nation’s champion.

    Courtenay said that.

  • Daniel

    “So who did they harm physically???

    Why – does that behaviour justify an attack on satirical journalists known for being critical of the French Government?

    What can be put forward without evidence can be dismissed with evidence.”

    Each point in turn:

    Berlin’s point was a metaphor used to highlight the limitations within democracy of unconditional notions of freedom.

    No, it doesn’t justify it. Nuance is clearly something that is beyond your grasp.

    Then let’s see the evidence. I’m not saying it is the case but I’m not discounting it altogether at this stage.

  • Anon

    Mary, Tony M, John Goss, Node etc, etc,

    You’d have to be either evil, or quite extraordinarily thick not to acknowledge that there is a deeply intolerant and violent tendency within Islam that has a sizeable minority of support amongst Muslims. That is not to say that all Muslims display such a tendency, but to completely deny that it exists by way of automatically resorting to increasingly deluded conspiracy theories to explain away what you can’t bring yourself to admit is really very worrying and surely the mark of some sort of mental sickness.

  • technicolour

    “ou’d have to be either evil, or quite extraordinarily thick not to acknowledge that there is a deeply intolerant and violent tendency within the UK establishment which has resulted in an almost permanent state of war for the last ten years, the deaths of at least a million people, and the forced displacement of at least 4 million”

    there, fixed that for you.

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