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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  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Nutters corner (an occasional series brought to you courtesy of Habbabkuk).



    “Marche républicaine: Un média israélien efface les femmes de la photo officielle
    Laura Sengler Il y a 5 heures
    © Fournis par Metrotime (fr)

    Un moment historique qui se passera de femmes. Du moins dans le quotidien Hamevasser. Alors que la marche républicaine du 11 janvier dernier rassemblait plusieurs chefs d’Etats, c’est à gauche du président de la République que marchait Angela Merkel. Aux côté de personnalités comme David Cameron, Matteo Renzi, Mariano Rajoy, Matteo Renzi ou encore Benyamin Nétanyahou se tenait également, en première ligne, Anne Hidalgo. Bras dessus, bras dessous, cette scène à fait le tour des médias de la planète.

    Un journal a pourtant décidé d’effacer de l’histoire la présence de la chancelière allemande et de la maire de Paris sur la photo de sa Une. Alors que lundi matin paraissait le cliché de ce moment, les deux femmes y étaient bel et bien absentes. Une décision volontairement prise par le journal israélien ultra-orthodoxe qui considérerait la représentation des femmes comme indécente selon Rue89. Un comble, comme le rappelle Madame Figaro, alors que la manifestation était donnée en l’honneur de la liberté d’expression.

    hamevasser 1 © Fournis par Metrotime (fr) hamevasser 1

    Un choix rédactionnel qui a été directement moqué par le site satirique irlandais Waterford Whispers sur sa page Facebook. Il a ainsi reproduit la même photo en effaçant cette fois-ci les hommes tout en y laissant uniquement la chancelière allemande Angela Merkel, la maire de Paris Anne Hidalgo ainsi que la haute représentante de l’UE pour les affaires étrangères Frederica Mogherini.”

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Lysias (19h45)

    Info already posted by yours truly at 09h37 this morning (on a more recent thread).


    “Provocation met by provocation…..it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the courts (if it ever gets that far).

    “Le polémiste Dieudonné a été placé en garde à vue, mercredi 14 janvier, pour “apologie du terrorisme”, après avoir été interpellé, à 7 heures, à son domicile dans l’Eure-et-Loir, selon une source judiciaire citée par l’AFP, confirmant une information d’i-Télé. L’humoriste est entendu pour avoir dit, dimanche, sur Facebook, se sentir “Charlie Coulibaly”, en référence à Amedy Coulibaly, qui a tué une policière à Montrouge et quatre personnes dans une épicerie casher de Paris.

    Le parquet de Paris avait ouvert, lundi, une enquête pour apologie du terrorisme contre l’humoriste. Mardi, Manuel Valls a appelé la justice à être “implacable à l’égard de ces prédicateurs de la haine”, faisant référence à Dieudonné. “Quelle honte que de voir un récidiviste de la haine tenir son spectacle dans des salles bondées au moment même où, samedi soir, la Nation porte de Vincennes se recueillait”, après l’attaque contre la supérette casher, a lancé le Premier ministre.”

  • lysias


    Perhaps the most intellectually corrupted figure in this regard is, unsurprisingly, France’s most celebrated (and easily the world’s most overrated) public intellectual, the philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy. He demands criminal suppression of anything smacking of anti-Jewish views (he called for Dieudonné’s shows to be banned (“I don’t understand why anyone even sees the need for debate”) and supported the 2009 firing of the Charlie Hebdo writer for a speech offense against Jews), while shamelessly parading around all last week as the Churchillian champion of free expression when it comes to anti-Muslim cartoons.

    But that, inevitably, is precisely the goal, and the effect, of laws that criminalize certain ideas and those who support such laws: to codify a system where the views they like are sanctified and the groups to which they belong protected. The views and groups they most dislike – and only them – are fair game for oppression and degradation.

    The arrest of this French comedian so soon after the epic Paris free speech march underscores this point more powerfully than anything I could have written about the selectivity and fraud of this week’s “free speech” parade. It also shows – yet again – why those who want to criminalize the ideas they most dislike are at least as dangerous and tyrannical as the ideas they target: at least.

  • Dave

    [craigmurray.org.uk – delayed since 22:13]

    [email protected] 7:36pm
    “Can you imagine Christian radicals committing mass murder at The Onion offices because they’re upset about something they found on its website? Can you even fathom such a thing? Probably not, because it never happens. It just never happens. And it’s not like Christians don’t have plenty of provocation. .. ”

    Committing mass murder yes.

    Breivik 22 July 2011 Ring any bells?

  • lysias

    Kevin Fenton makes a strong case in Disconnecting the Dots: How 9/11 Was Allowed to Happen that the CIA was perfectly capable of stopping 9/11 but several high officials in the CIA stopped this from happening.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Hurray for David Ward’s heroic resistance in the face of ‘re-education.’

    The Israeli ambassador to Britain has written to the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, to express his abhorrence at “offensive and shocking” comments made by David Ward MP on the presence of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, at the solidarity march in Paris on Sunday.

    During the march, which followed last week’s terror attacks in the French capital that left 17 people dead, the Lib Dem MP for Bradford East tweeted: “#Netanyahu in Paris march – what!!! Makes me feel sick” and “Je suis #Palestinian.”


  • oddie

    2013: “Charlie Hebdo”, not racist? If you say so… by Olivier Cyran (former Charlie Hebdo staffer)
    Doubtless I would not have had the patience or the stoutness of heart to follow, week after week, the distressing transformation which took over your team after the events of September 11, 2001. I was no longer part of Charlie Hebdo when the suicide planes made their impact on your editorial line, but the Islamophobic neurosis which bit by bit took over your pages from that day on affected me personally, as it ruined the memory of the good moments I spent on the magazine during the 1990s…

  • Jemand

    [craigmurray,org,uk – approved promptly by the foul, censoring moderator. No need to say thanks. Have a nice day 🙂 ]

    What does it feel like to be a mischievous control freak and spiteful censor? Do you think that you do Craig any favours by acting as his cyber goon?

  • Jemand

    Dave — “Breivik 22 July 2011 Ring any bells?”

    Breivik didn’t commit his crimes in compliance with Christian instructions. He had his own manifesto like so many prophets do, and he followed his own course.

    Another Islamophile myth busted.

  • craigmurray.org.uk

    Jemand, moderation is best when its least demanding. All you were asked was to post on the right thread. You responded by spamming the ‘unionists – an apology’ thread with false complaints of ‘censorship’, further disrupting the discussion and creating unnecessary work – did you want the limelight of the front page?

    I contacted Craig about this matter. He said to “just delete”, so I’ve treated you better than Craig would have.

    Thank you mods? Got that in you? Thousands of people can see how your behaving.

    Update Jemand is now on premod for abusive comments towards another commenter and the moderators.


    Readers – none of Jemands political comment was removed, just his angry complaints.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    This is for everyone and especially for my good friend Lysias.

    Free speech à la française…..

    “Dieudonné sera jugé en correctionnelle
    Il y a 6 heures

    DIEUDONNÉ SERA JUGÉ EN CORRECTIONNELLE POUR APOLOGIE DU TERRORISME: Le polémiste Dieudonné répondra devant le tribunal correctionnel de faits d’apologie d’actes de terrorisme en raison d’un message sur les attentats qui ont fait 17 morts en France la semaine dernière, selon une source judiciaire. /Photo prise le 11 janvier 2014/ © REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes Le polémiste Dieudonné répondra devant le tribunal correctionnel de faits d’apologie d’actes de terrorisme en raison d’un message sur les attentats qui ont fait 17 morts en France la semaine dernière, selon une…

    Le polémiste Dieudonné répondra devant le tribunal correctionnel de faits d’apologie d’actes de terrorisme en raison d’un message sur les attentats qui ont fait 17 morts en France la semaine dernière, a-t-on appris mercredi de source judiciaire.

    Le parquet de Paris a décidé de le convoquer à une date qui n’a pas été encore communiquée à l’issue de sa garde à vue.

    Il avait été arrêté mercredi matin à son domicile d’Eure-et-Loir par la police judiciaire parisienne.

    Avant l’annonce de sa convocation devant le tribunal, l’un de ses avocats, Me Jacques Verdier, avait dénoncé un acte démesuré, réfutant que le polémiste ait pu inciter directement à des actes de terrorisme par ses propos.

    “Je pense qu’on est dans la démesure la plus totale, démesure qui conduit à diligenter pas moins de dix policiers à son domicile pour l’interpeller pour des actes qui seraient des actes d’apologie du terrorisme”, a-t-il dit sur BFM TV.

    “Je ne vois pas en quoi Dieudonné aurait directement provoqué des actes de terrorisme.”

    La peine encourue est de sept ans de prison et de 100.000 euros d’amende.

    Le parquet de Paris avait ouvert lundi une enquête contre Dieudonné, qui a écrit dimanche sur sa page Facebook qu’il se sentait “Charlie Coulibaly”, en référence à Amedy Coulibaly, qui a tué une policière et quatre personnes juives.

    Il caricaturait ainsi le slogan “Je suis Charlie”, devenu un cri d’indignation international, après le massacre de 12 personnes lors de l’attaque du journal satirique Charlie Hebdo mercredi dernier à Paris par deux frères, Saïd et Chérif Kouachi, en relation présumée avec Amedy Coulibaly.

    “Récidiviste de la haine”

    Le Premier ministre Manuel Valls a dénoncé mardi le “nouvel antisémitisme” sur fond de “détestation de l’Etat d’Israël” qui se développe en France et a fustigé Dieudonné.

    “Quelle terrible coïncidence, quel affront que de voir un récidiviste de la haine tenir son spectacle au moment même où, samedi soir, la Nation, porte de Vincennes, se recueillait”, a-t-il dit.

    Plusieurs milliers de personnes s’étaient rassemblées samedi soir pour rendre hommage aux quatre victimes de la supérette casher de la porte de Vincennes, à Paris.

    Plus de cinquante procédures pour apologie du terrorisme ont été ouvertes en France depuis l’attentat visant Charlie Hebdo, a-t-on appris auprès du ministère de la Justice. Seules cinq condamnations ont pour l’instant été prononcées.

    La peine la plus sévère concerne un homme condamné lundi à quatre ans de prison ferme par le tribunal de Valenciennes (Nord) pour avoir causé un accident de voiture et fait l’apologie des frères Kouachi, auteurs de l’attentat contre Charlie Hebdo.

    Dieudonné s’est rapproché au fil de sa carrière des milieux islamiques, des communautaristes noirs et des négationnistes de la Shoah, faisant notamment monter sur scène Robert Faurisson lors de l’un de ses spectacles. Il a conduit une liste antisioniste aux élections européennes de 2009.

    Célèbre pour sa “quenelle”, geste interprété comme un salut nazi inversé par des associations mais qu’il présente comme une manifestation “antisystème”, Dieudonné a été condamné à plusieurs reprises pour provocation à la haine raciale, en 2013 notamment pour la chanson Shoananas.

    Il a été mis en examen en octobre 2014 pour fraude fiscale et faisait déjà l’objet d’une enquête pour apologie d’actes de terrorisme après la diffusion d’une vidéo sur l’assassinat du journaliste américain James Foley.

    (Chine Labbé, avec Gérard Bon, édité par Yves Clarisse)”

    For the heinous crime of having responded to the hundreds of thousands of “Je suis Charlie” with a tweet saying he “il se sentait Charlie Coulibaly”.

  • Dave

    Jemand 3:34
    “Breivik didn’t commit his crimes in compliance with Christian instructions. He had his own manifesto like so many prophets do, and he followed his own course.”

    No Myth busted. Wake up Jemand he was inspired by Pamela Geller Arch Zionist.
    Stop being in denial.

  • Jemand

    “No Myth busted. Wake up Jemand he was inspired by Pamela Geller Arch Zionist.
    Stop being in denial.”

    There’s a world of difference between being inspired and being instructed. The former is something anybody can claim with no more evidence than a tenuous association between two people. While the latter is something that is printed in hardcopies of hundreds of millions of Qurans.

    But I guess you’re in the camp of hysterical anti-Zionism and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

  • Mary

    Charlie Hebdo founder says slain editor ‘dragged’ team to their deaths

    A founding member of Charlie Hebdo says slain editor Stéphane Charbonnier “dragged” team to their deaths by “overdoing” provocative cartoons

    ‘Henri Roussel, 80, who contributed to the first issue of the satirical weekly in 1970, wrote to the murdered editor, saying: “I really hold it against you.”

    In this week’s Left-leaning magazine Nouvel Obs, Mr Roussel, who publishes under the pen name Delfeil de Ton, wrote: “I know it’s not done”, but proceeds to criticise the former “boss” of the magazine.

    Calling Charb an “amazing lad”, he said he was also a stubborn “block head”.

    “What made him feel the need to drag the team into overdoing it,” he said, referring to Charb’s decision to post a Mohammed character on the magazine’s front page in 2011. Soon afterwards, the magazine’s offices were burned down by unknown arsonists. ‘

  • Mary

    Mark Steel
    15 January 2015

    What a perfect tribute to satire the Paris march turned out to be
    Perhaps “I don’t agree with what you say, but defend your right to say it” gets lost in translation to Arabic

    ‘To start with, we should congratulate the Prime Minister of Israel and ambassador for Saudi Arabia, for honouring satire in its time of need, by turning up to a march for free speech and against violence and murder.

    Across Gaza, people must have sat in the rubble that used to be their living room or local hospital and said: “Fair play to Netanyahu, at least he knows how to have a laugh.”’


    ‘Similarly, during one spate of bombing in Gaza, when this newspaper printed a cartoon of the Israeli leader Ariel Sharon eating babies, the Israeli embassy made an official objection to the Press Complaints Commission. The Israeli government appears more concerned than anyone with the right to publish cartoons, so I’m sure if you look back at the records, you’ll find their complaint was that the cartoon should have been much more vicious. Because you can’t put a price on the right to publish satire.’

  • Je

    “We face a poisonous and fanatical ideology that wants to pervert one of the world’s major religions, Islam, and create conflict, terror and death.”

    …David Cameron.


    He voted for the Iraq invasion. Continued the Afghan occupation. Helped create a Libyan conflict. Stoked the fire of the civil war in Syria. Talking about creating conflict, terror and death.

    The complete inability to appreciate anything because western victimhood is galling.

    The context in which the Charlie Hebdo attack took place is the actions of the west since 2003 (and before). Remove those and Charlie Hebdo could probably have got away with his cartoons. The murderers wouldn’t have gone abroad, got weapons training, and been affronted by the murderous actions of the West.

    That context, like the ten thousand times the number who’ve died in Syria, escapes the coverage completely. The middle east is a whole region on fire. But only Westerners dying is big news.

    Wouldn’t those millions who bought Charlie Hebdo this week have been better donating to one of the many charities trying to mitigate the misery in Syria, or Iraq, or Gaza? Instead of queuing to add more fuel to the fire…

  • Mary

    There have been large demonstrations against the depiction of Mohammed in the new version of CH in Algeria, Pakistan, Jordan, Senegal, Mauritania, Qatar, Bahrain, Eqypt, the Phillipines and Niger.

    Four Killed In Anti-Charlie Hebdo Protests
    Dozens more are wounded in violent demonstrations in Niger and Pakistan, as protests against the magazine erupt around the world.


    ‘Charlie’ can dish it out, but can he take it?

    Middle East cartoonists take on Israeli, Arab leaders in #CharlieHebdo response

  • Mary

    Ruin Is Our Future
    by Paul Craig Roberts / January 16th, 2015

    Neoconservatives arrayed in their Washington offices are congratulating themselves on their success in using the Charlie Hebdo affair to reunite Europe with Washington’s foreign policy. No more French votes with the Palestinians against the Washington-Israeli position. No more growing European sympathy with the Palestinians. No more growing European opposition to launching new wars in the Middle East. No more calls from the French president to end the sanctions against Russia.



  • Dave

    @Jemand 3:43am “But I guess you’re in the camp of hysterical anti-Zionism and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.”

    Your Statements are Static and Gather Dust.
    Hiding behind that old Chestnut “anti-zionist and conspiracy theorist”
    is pathetic. Rummage around in your tool box and try and find something original

  • arsalan

    I haven’t been on here for a while.
    Anyone missed me?

    What do I want to say about all this?

    Freedom of speech?
    It doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist anywhere. It is the opium of the masses. It is what white people like to say to think of themselves as superior to brown people. It is an excuse to invade brown nations, to impose white laws on lesser men. It is just some countries ban you from saying some things that you may be allowed to say in some other countries and vis versa.
    But when it comes to comparing how much freedom of speech countries have against each other, France comes near the bottom. Yes it might compare favourably against Karimov’s Uzbekistan, North Korea and a few other military dictatorships but not many other countries.
    France allows people to swear at the Prophets of God peace be upon them all, that isn’t allowed in other countries. But in those other countries we can discus how many people died in the holocaust or the Armenian conflict without being arrested.
    It is true France allows people to go in to public Naked to express their freedom, but does not allow women to cover up Islamicly.
    Naked women are arrested in some countries, but veiled women are arrested in France.

    I condemn the insults used against the Prophet’s of God PBH. Their insults were not a manifestation of freedom of speech. It wasn’t a discussion on whether there is a God, or whether the Quran is the word of God. it was just insults.
    Some white people like to tell Muslims that the right to insult the Prophet of God is just part of all the freedoms available in France. We might have seen that as worth discussing if Muslims were free to express themselves in France. But they are not. France is a place where Muslim girls are expelled from schools for covering their hair, but non-Muslims girls who wear the same are not. Where Muslim women are beaten and arrested for covering their face. Where Muslims are arrested for calling for boycotts of produce from illegal Israeli settlements. So what they call freedom of expression, we call hypocrisy.

  • Je

    Thanks Macky. That last article is a good one.

    The BBC’s billing of the deaths is Niger is extraordinary. 150 servicemen deployed in Belgium for anti-terrorism gets top billing. Deaths in Niger a bare report buried near the tail of the news.

    Certainly fits the one westerner being more newsworthy than 10,000 others. The mindset of the newsteams who explicitly make that decision is beyond me.

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