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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  • Daniel


    No more so, using your twisted logic, then to assume there is a deeply intolerant and violent tendency within “Christianity”.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node


    Reports that disgraced former diplomat Craig Murray has admitted supporting terrorism were sensationally confirmed earlier today by a correspondent on Mr Murray’s blog. The well placed source, who for the time being wishes to be known only as ‘Paul’, quoted directly from an opinion piece written by Murray earlier this evening where he brazenly declared “I support terrorism.”


  • Anon

    In fairness to you, Technicolour, you do not, as far as I know, resort to the usual conspiracy theories we see around here, but your claim of “the deaths of at least a million people” is far-fetched to say the least.

  • bevin

    Just to put things into perspective: a couple of dozen shia were killed today in a suicide bombing in sa’ana. It is very likely that the bombing was carried out by wahhabi terrorists, financed by saudi arabia, trained, armed and mobilised by one of the NATO powers.
    The UK has been subsidising terrorists to fight Nasserites, secular democrats and socialists, in Yemen since at least 1966. It was their success which prompted the CIA to arm mujahideen in Afghanistan. And later in Bosnia, Serbia, Chechnya, throughout Soviet and Chinese Central Asia. Most recently they have been set to work in Libya, Iraq and Syria, as well as Iran.
    The NATO countries have trained, armed and led into battle hundreds of thousands of “jihadists’ indoctrinated in the official neo-wahhabism of Saudi Arabia, not merely an ally of the USA but a pillar of the western system of finance.
    Almost certainly these attacks were carried out by such auxiliaries of US foreign policy. And so long as NATO continues to arm, train, and send into battle these people it is inevitable, not a bug but a feature of these strategies, that there will be attacks such as that today. They are far from frequent, far more deadly and far more to be feared than any ‘lone wolf’ attacks by angry individuals or informal clubs.
    They are also far more easily stopped: ultimately they obey Prince Bandar, the local Intelligence agent or NATO.
    It really doesn’t make much difference whether or not cartoonists make fun of prophets or artistes urinate over relics the root problem is that the state wants to keep the people in fear, ready to sanction war and happy to go along with tyrannical policing. This involves, inter alia, keeping islamophobic mouths frothing and wahhabi fundamentalists ready for suicidal missions.
    The anger people feel at this massacre should be directed at those who mobilised it, trained its perpetrators and indoctrinated them in the wahhabist cult, an idolatrous celebration of utter submission to temporal power offensive to muslims.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    @ Anon

    You presumably included me in your 12.46am comment because I posted this on the previous thread:

    “None of us know whether or not Charlie Hebdo is a false flag, but anyone who ridicules that possibility is ignorant, duplicitous, or a FOOL.”

    I am assuming nothing, but judging by the level of mockery in your comments, you are assuming that it isn’t a false flag. On what basis?

  • Clark

    Two comments on this thread are probably particularly important: Suhayl Saadi, 7 Jan, 9:10 pm and bevin, 8 Jan, 1:09 am:



    I wrote “probably” because the we do not yet know all the connections of these killers, and probably never will. But we have this; Google translation from the quote by lysias, 7 Jan, 9:13 pm:

    One of the alleged assailants, K. Sherif, is already well known to the police. He was tried in 2005 for being part of a chain of sending jihadists in Iraq, nicknamed “the Iraqi chain of the 19th district of Paris.” With a dozen cronies, he would have led a dozen young people from fighting in Iraq between 2003 and 2005. He was arrested in 2005, when he was preparing himself from Iraq. At the time, he was justified before the presiding judge said: “Over the departure approached, I wanted to go back. But if I dégonflais me, I might pass for a coward. ” He was sentenced to three years in prison, including eighteen months suspended.

    This is not “false flag” because such jihadists fly only the Flag of Death, to which these killers were true. But the entities that fund, train, arm and use such jihadists are Saudi Arabia, the US, the UK, France, Israel etc., ie. “our side”.

    Suhayl, I’m very sorry about your friend Raza Rumi and the murder of his driver. Thank you for your testimony.

  • Clark

    Many theories developed around the July 7 bombings in London; there was some evidence that some of the bombers were known to the UK secret services.

    An important phrase was mentioned at the time but seems to have become more obscure since then. It may still produce informative results in a web search:

    “Covenant of Security”

    This was, and may still be, an understanding between certain extremists and UK secret services that the extremists would be safe from arrest in the UK, so long as they committed violence only in other countries.

  • angrysoba

    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.

    Oh, Canspeccy, it’s really very simple. You are free to write your bigoted tosh and everyone else is free to call you on it. Why do you think freedom of speech only applies to you?

  • Gary

    Newspapers are strictly black and white. This is why we so desperately need bloggers like yourself. Like Charlie Hebdo, BNP have a right to exist, as offensive as they are I would not wish harm to them. Today’s outrage came hot on the heels of the marches in Germany. Perfect timing for anyone who wishes to cause unrest in Europe and divide Christians from Moslems. Of course unrest and war ARE the aims of theses extremists. Thus there is no effective way to fight against them other than to play down rather than exaggerate the threat…

  • Suqami template

    Hooded men dropping an ID is as intriguing as the 911 passport, but the synced sayanim at the Beeb, nickrobinson,gavinesler,markurban trying to draw out Islamophobic responses from interviewees was eye-opening. There must be a secret room at the Beeb where yentobs chosen reporters meet to formulate their sync, or is it the sos communicating without any apparatus yet again?

  • Ангрысоба

    Hooded men dropping an ID is as intriguing as the 911 passport, but the synced sayanim at the Beeb, nickrobinson,gavinesler,markurban trying to draw out Islamophobic responses from interviewees was eye-opening. There must be a secret room at the Beeb where yentobs chosen reporters meet to formulate their sync, or is it the sos communicating without any apparatus yet again?

    Yeah, that’s right. Blame the Jews. It beats actually thinking.

  • Resident Dissident

    “This is not “false flag” because such jihadists fly only the Flag of Death, to which these killers were true. But the entities that fund, train, arm and use such jihadists are Saudi Arabia, the US, the UK, France, Israel etc., ie. “our side”.”

    Clark where is your evidence that the UK funded, trained, and armed jihadists sent to Iraq in 2005 – put up or shut up.

  • giyane


    “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”

    You’d have to be either evil, or quite extraordinarily thick not to acknowledge that there is a deeply intolerant and violent tendency within Judaism.

    You’d have to be either evil, or quite extraordinarily thick not to acknowledge that there is a deeply intolerant and violent tendency within Christianity.

    You’d have to be either evil, or quite extraordinarily thick not to acknowledge that there is a deeply intolerant and violent tendency within Hinduism.


  • Jemand

    Craig firmly states – “It is impossible to stop evil from happening.”

    Really? So for what purpose is all this activism against our respective enemies who we label “evil”?

    If we are able to conceive of cause and effect, action and outcome, then can we not predict to some extent the likely outcomes of various agents? And if those outcomes are bad, are we not morally obligated to act to prevent such outcomes?

    The problem here is, you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t.

    Many Islamist criminals are known to police and yet police work aimed at preventing foreseeable tragedies is being hampered by liberal extremists who cast Islamists as misunderstood victims of state terror. When police fail to act, the false-flaggers come out with their crackpot accusations that the police were in on the terrorist plots.

    Damned either way.

  • Mary

    BiBiCee Breakfast

    ‘The two brothers were known to the French police and were being followed by the police’.



    Ms Lyse Doucet is now added to the cast. She is giving it full welly in that tragic style she adopts.

  • Anon

    Yes, Giyane, and the bombings, beheadings, suicide attacks, massacres of schoolchildren, etc, we hear about on a daily basis are pretty evenly distributed amongst adherents of the world’s major religions, aren’t they. One looks at the newspapers and reads about yet another senseless terrorist attack and it’s really anyone’s guess who was responsible, isn’t it. “Krishna is Great!”, they often cry before detonating themselves, not to put any unfair emphasis on the Hindu element, which of course makes up a quarter of such attacks. No, there is no particular violent and intolerent tendency within Islam at all.

  • Mary

    FRENCH SATIRE With Slow Motion from Mark Malone on Vimeo.

    Paris Shooting Appears To Be a FALSE FLAG
    Guy runs up to cop on ground and shoots him in the head, point blank.

    Don’t worry, no blood..

    Notice, the camera pans past the police officer on the ground, still no blood.

    Now, this is what happens when you shoot a watermelon from 10 ft away Video

    You can see, a point blank shot with an AK-47 would make an awful mess..this alone is enough to call the event a false flag..there are also other problems, like they reportedly spoke perfect French with no accents, and entered the wrong building, before being told where the right building was, all while the police never responded..


  • Mary

    This person was brought on to BBC Breakfast. Transatlantic accent. We were told that she will around all morning if there are any developments. The BiBiCee are so helpful at times like this.

    Dr Brooke Rogers – Terrorism Studies, King’s College London

    Dr Brooke Rogers is a Senior Lecturer in Risk and Terror in the Department of War Studies, and a co-Director of the MA in Terrorism, Security and Society at King’s College London. She is a social psychologist by training, specialising in the study of social groups, group interaction, attitude formation and change, and belief systems. Specifically, she is interested in public and expert perceptions of risk and risk communication, having applied these concepts to several areas including doctor-patient communication, the future of nuclear power in Europe, the study of NGO partnership potential, pharmaceuticals and the psychology of terrorism. Dr Brooke Rogers holds honorary associations with a number of organisations including the Public Health England (PHE) (formerly the HPA) the US based Global Futures Partnership and its Global Futures Forum, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), and has membership on a Home Office steering group, the Community Resilience Programme Steering Group for the Cabinet Office (CCS) and the Royal Society Advisory Committee on Scientific Aspects of International Security (SAIS). She has been involved in teaching and training for the Home Office, MOD, Metropolitan Police, Police National CBRN Centre, Redline Aviation and others. Dr Brooke Rogers currently lectures on NATO courses in five countries, and has held advisory positions with a number of government organisations on a national and international level, enjoying membership on the editorial board

    CENTRIC Advisory Board
    Dr Brooke Rogers – Terrorism Studies, King’s College London



    A sales pitch for the War Studies Dept at KCL. Note the provenance of the speaker. Think tanks in Europe and in Jerusalem.

    What evil.

  • farrukh

    As always you speak volumes brilliantly and concisely Craig, here is my own take on things:
    ISLAM AND FRANCE- The Cartoonist saga and the struggle for equalityWhen Muslims first arrived in France
    France is not in a battle with Muslims or Islam, but since the battle of Poitiers France sees itself as the defender of European civilisation. At Poitiers the Armies of the Caliph were defeated by the French because the army foolishly brought with them their women and kids who were in the rear of the army. The French spies discovered that the Muslim soldiers feared for their families in the rear. So of course they fell upon the women and kids with sword in hand. The Soldiers of the Caliph turned in disarray to defend their women and kids and in that chaotic rush to save their families, they too were attacked and defeated as a military force. However, this was not the end of Islam in France. Islam continued to exist for a couple of hundred years in the south of France (See Muslim colonies in France, Switzerland and Northern Italy by Joseph Toussaint Renaud (an English translation was published in India).
    Why do French Muslims matter?
    The fact that there are some 5 million Muslims in France today, the largest Muslim population in Europe makes what happens in France of interest to all. France believes in an assimilation policy for migrants who come to France. Not in multiculturalism. France however does not want to practice assimilation. The Arabs in France live in poor sink estates on the outskirts of Paris. Girls cannot wear head scarves in school. Wearing head scarves in State buildings is not permitted. Jobs are hard to come by for North African Arabs/Berbers. Recently the European Court of Justice has found that the head scarf ban does not violate the right to practise your beliefs. Now if that is not a judgement which is irrational, then pigs can fly. In this climate of tension, just as in the USA, police brutality frequently rears its head and North African kids get killed.
    The crusades Legacy and how it effects France today:
    The writer and thinker Mohammed Asad has said in his books Islam at the Crossroads and the Road to Mecca that the European man never considers Islam rationally, like they would Hinduism or Buddhism and for that reason there is a barrier to reflecting upon Islam with objectivity. This is because Europeans see Islam throughout the eyes of European cultural history and ensnare Islam with the reservoir of deep dislike dating from the crusades. One can understand that the French with their historical celebration of Poitiers as a great victory over the ‘Moors’ have a big hang up over Islam. In this context there is frequently little sympathy by the French state for why riots by minority youths have happened.
    The Cartoonists and their role in rubbing salt in the wounds of Muslims:
    If in Ferguson today, a cartoonist vilified Martin Luther King or Malcolm X as deranged black fanatics with bombs in their turbans can we predict what will happen? These French cartoonists were waving a red flag to a sorely discriminated against community. While violence is never justified and loss of life is a cause of deep regret, I do consider the deaths of the four cartoonists to amount to an occupational hazard akin to that suffered by a Bull Ring fighter who is gored, or some deranged terrorist who is making a bomb and succeeds in blowing his/herself to the smithereens. Yes you may say but there are successful North African females who have managed to climb the ladder into French ministerial positions. Indeed, they have not kept much of their cultural Islamic culture, are often attractive and thoroughly assimilated with nothing but a Muslim name and dark face to show their immigrant origins.
    The Wests journey from Omarska to Guantanamo
    We in our times have drifted from Omarska to Guantanamo in the so called war against terror that really stirs up all sorts of hatred against Muslim communities and leads to Muslim baiting. Lets be honest and agree that this is what those cartoonists were doing, they were on a fools errand and the social bomb they were making blew up in their faces. I regret the loss of lives of those four fools. I regret even more then loss of lives of the 8 others. Particularly the Police officers who have to look after and protect such cartoonists. This issue has nothing to do with egality, fraternity and free speech but about how France treats its minorities. This issue is an issue not for France alone or those countries with a Muslim minority but for all countries with any type of disenfranchised minority. Writers seek not power like a politician, but a writers power comes from the written word of the truth, al haq. The greatest jihad is to speak the truth in front of a dictator. Sadly in the world that we live in, even with the window dressing of democracy, inequality, racism and the ugliness of fascists marches against Muslims in Germany presage an era of new intolerance.
    My admiration for Altruists of faith or no faith and British Society:
    I admire all those altruistic people who stand by Minorities whether they be ordinary members of the public, who support Muslim women wearing head scarves as per the Australian example or brave lawyers like those in reprieve who support the persecuted. I take my hats off to all those, in this brave new world of ours, who recognise that living together involves a bit of give and take and mutual respect. That is why I love Britain. We have a slightly better society than France where it is not all rosy but certainly we can practise Islam unlike in France.
    France used and abused its minorities
    The French welcomed the Muslims to join their armies during the first and second world war. At the battle of Monte Cassino when the German paratroops upon the mount could not be shifted. A French officer suggested that the best people to do the job would be Berber troops. And yes the Berbers put the Germans to flight where all the other allied forces could not. Let France with its bloody violent campaigns in the 1960s during the war of independence remember the sacrifices made for French freedom during the 1940s and give its Muslim citizens their due.
    The path forward?
    Let the writers and thinkers and Professionals rise up and speak out in the audience chambers of the oppressors which would surely be more in line with the noble teachings of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). Social media, the newspapers and email all allow us to do this with ease. Let us all work together Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Gay, Atheist for our common good and for the good of the planet in a true spirit of fraternity and egality of our common humanity.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    “I condemn, you condemn, we all condemn”

    Are you sure of that, Craig?

    In the comments so far I have seen a spot of nuancing and rather more frequent references to “false flags” but no condemnation.


    Incidentally: you express the hope that “a more realistic assessment of whether Charlie Hebdo was entirely admirable or not may be possible.”.

    Let’s suppose that that “assessment” does take place.

    And then?

  • craig Post author


    And then we can have a calm debate about freedom of speech, and the inconsistencies between to whom it is extended and to whom it is not.

    You are quite wrong. I see nobody who does not condemn these murders. You conflate doubts about who carried out the heinous act, with doubts about the evil of the act. There are no such doubts I can see.

  • John Goss

    “In the comments so far I have seen a spot of nuancing and rather more frequent references to “false flags” but no condemnation.”

    I condemn whoever did whatever was done. But I don’t know the facts. I don’t know who did whatever was done. So who would you like me to condemn Habbabkuk?

  • Mark Golding

    Please nota bene my YouTube link has been sanitised as “shocking and disgusting content.” when so many so called beheading videos and suicide bombers blowing themselves up remain.


    The so called ‘Shocking video’ convincingly detailed chapter and verse a blowup snapshot of an automatic weapon firing blank cartridges at a stooge on the ground.

    Notice the hired van; an essential on-scene communications component essential to this type of operation.

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