The Spiral of Despair 189

If somebody wishes to be a ghazi, I should much prefer them to do it in Tikrit rather than in Peterborough or Penicuik. To that extent I agree with Bob Quick. The periodic media scares about Sunni families going to Syria to “join ISIS” are very peculiar. We appear, with no public debate, to have adopted a de facto system of exit visas. Ronald Reagan famously said to Mikhail Gorbachev that we never had to lock our people in. It seems that now in the UK we do.

We have companies that recruit and control active armies of mercenaries, which are responsible for thousands of deaths overseas. I detest the violence of “ISIS” but it is not morally different from Executive Outcomes machine gunning villages from helicopters in Angola or from Aegis killing random vehicle occupants in Iraq who happened to be near their convoys. Yet Tony Buckingham and Tim Spicer became extremely rich after founding their careers on the latter killings, and now are respected figures in the London establishment. Apparently killing for money is good; only killing for religion is bad.

Nor is there any official objection to the young Britons who go to Israel to fight with the IDF, and were involved in the war crimes that last year killed hundreds upon hundreds of little Palestinian children.

Terrorism is appalling. The desire by some of the inhabitants of the Middle East to establish a Caliphate run on what they interpret as theological lines is a legitimate desire, if that is the kind of society people want. We devastated Iraq: we bombed Iraq into a failed state. We we were part of the nexus of interests that conspired to arm and facilitate armed insurrection in Syria. In the Blairite creed, we apparently believed that unleashing death, devastation and destruction of physical infrastructure and social institutions, would result in an embrace of democracy and western values by the people.

You would have to be mad to believe that, but it appears to remain the guiding principle of western foreign policy.

Even the remotest claim to wisdom would lead to the embrace of two principles. The first is that we cannot dictate how societies very different to our own ought to organise themselves. We can try to encourage a dialogue leading to respect of universal human rights, and hope for gradual improvement in that direction. But the second lesson is stop bombing. It is plainly counter-productive.

Today the BBC is wall to wall 7/7 commemoration. The coverage keeps focusing on military uniforms, even though the military were in no capacity whatsoever involved in 7/7. It is inappropriate militarism, just as we saw with the return of the bodies of the Tunisian victims.

There is an elephant in the room. Nobody is mentioning the starkly obvious truth. If we had not invaded Iraq, 7/7 would never have happened. Let me say it again, because it is not sayable within the corporate media and establishment consensus. If we had not invaded Iraq, 7/7 would never have happened.

Our response to “Isis” illustrates that we have become no more sophisticated than the Victorian portrayal of the “Mad Mahdi”. The difference is that, due to globalisation, we cannot just pound foreign lands into submission without provoking the blowback of terrorism elsewhere. I detest terrorism and do not believe random killing of civilians can ever be justified. But it is not an inexplicable manifestation of evil. We are causing it.

It is a fact that ISIS was never implicated in any terrorist activity in the UK before we started bombing ISIS in Iraq. We created the appalling mess in Iraq and Syria. By bombing we continually make it worse. It will take some time for the Middle East to recover from the profound effects of the Western wars against Muslim countries at the beginning of the 21st Century. Our response to the provocation of Bin Laden has been so stupid as to attain most of his goals for him. We have of course also attained most of the goals of the armaments and security state industries, which have sucked wealth from the rest of us. A spiral of despair for us has made billions for them. When a policy is as obviously counter-productive as our continual Middle Eastern wars, then ask cui bono?

I am not claiming that if we stop bombing then terrorism will stop instantly. There will be a lag effect. And in even the most benign scenario, Iraq and Syria will take decades to normalise. That is our fault, but we can best now help by staying well away.

189 thoughts on “The Spiral of Despair

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  • fred

    “I don’t think “we” invaded Iraq. After all, Tony Blair made the unilateral decision to go to war without asking the permission of the electorate.”

    The electorate who returned him to power with an overwhelming majority in 2005.

    I know there was a big march in London but my memories of the time are of the vast majority of people being very much behind the invasion of Iraq.

  • KingOfWelshNoir

    Glenn 3.40am

    You are certainly right that we all had no doubts that it was the IRA planting the bombs, and didn’t cry out ‘False Flag!’ But equally there is no doubt that agents of the British state had infiltrated the IRA to the highest level and actively participated in the terrorism. As one of them, Kevin Fulton, said, ‘You can’t pretend to be a member of the IRA.’ Not only did they organise shootings and bombings but even the deaths of other British agents to maintain cover & credibility. In fact, the willingness to kill a suspected British agent convinced the IRA that you were not yourself an agent, and this was exploited. Read the Atlantic article here for the full story.

    At the time, the guy in charge was Brigadier General Frank Kitson who developed these tactics during the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya and wrote the classic military textbook on false flags and similar techniques.

    Now many would say these brutal tactics were necessary to defeat the IRA, a price that had to be paid, it’s not pretty but what do you expect? Fair enough. But in accepting that you tacitly accept that the British state has been willing to connive in the killing of its own citizens to achieve its aims.

    Now fast forward to July 7. The really intriguing thing about this episode is the presence among the alleged bombers of one Martin ‘Abdullah’ McDaid. A former Royal Marine SBS counter terrorist officer, who, we are asked to believe, had converted to Islam. He worked with and ‘radicalised’ two of the July 7 bombers at the Iqra bookshop.

    “Martin ‘Abdullah’ McDaid did most of the talking, most of the ranting and raving; and as an ex-Marine, he knew about matters military”

    Now seriously, does anyone really buy the narrative of the former SBS soldier who becomes a Jihadist? Isn’t it far more likely that he was still an army agent, in deep cover, pretending to be a Jihadist?

    (I can’t find the source for this but he also, I believe, arranged their outward bounds trips to North Wales where they conveniently acquired mobile footage of them all, helpful since the CCTV cameras on the trains and the platforms all ‘failed’ for the critical period on 7/7.)

    But the point here is the strange lack of reaction to the discovery that a former SBS officer radicalised the alleged bombers. Where is the outrage?

    It’s always the wrong response that gives the game away, the way a footballer who dives in the box and is booked only manages a token gesture of outrage, it’s the curious case of the dog that didn’t bark in the night. McDaid was mentioned quietly at the inquest and that was it.

    Why when there is so much concern about Muslim youth being radicalised and going off to Syria are the British authorities seemingly not concerned about a former special forces counter terrorist officer doing it?

    Agent provocateur anyone?

  • giyane


    ” my memories of the time are of the vast majority of people being very much behind the invasion of Iraq.”

    You, your dog and the postman

  • John D Monkey


    I fear your memory is playing tricks with you. Labour did not get an overwhelming majority in 2005.

    At the 2005 General Election, Labour got 35.2% of the vote, less than the Tories at the recent election and the lowest of any majority government in British history. They only got a substantial majority (66, compared to over 100 at the previous poll) through the unfairness of our electoral system and the
    their cunning in not doing anything to make the electorate reasonably similar in each constituency.

    It wasn’t the electorate that gave him a substantial majority but FPTP and the Boundary Commission.

    Your memory is also playing tricks with you if you think the “vast majority” of the British people supported the invasion. Opinion yo-yo’d at the time depending on what questions were asked and it’s true it was generally favourable for a while once the war started, but at best people wanted to show support for our armed forces rather than the war per se.

    Both before and after the actual invasion the majority opposed it.

    Google it if you don’t believe me.

  • Mary

    Perhaps Fred is referring to the Sun readers who were led to war by Murdoch.

    ‘How the Crock of Shit Gets to Your Breakfast Table

    Each morning Rupert Murdoch’s media delivers a warm, steaming crock of shit to the world’s people. How does it happen? To understand, let’s take a look at one particular crock of shit, from September 24, 2002.

    On that day, Murdoch’s tabloid The Sun (readership eight million) ran a giant front page headline about Saddam Hussein’s terrifying WMD:

    HE’S GOT ‘EM


    Then on the inside of the paper, the headline was:

    BRITS 45mins FROM DOOM

    The Sun stories were based on a dossier released by the British government about Saddam Hussein’s terrifying WMD. In it Tony Blair stated that “[Saddam’s] military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them.” This was so important the dossier repeated it three more times. That day Blair told parliament that the intelligence the dossier was based on was “extensive, detailed and authoritative.”

    Aaronovitch, Cohen and Rentoul (Rentatool) performed the same tasks in the broadsheets.

  • giyane


    The question is, how extensive does the infiltration of a society have to be? Do all military, government, police, corporate institutions have to be singing in tune from the same song sheet?

    In the context of IS, the army of Assad fighting Al Qaida are Muslims who refused to accept the brutality of that now mercenary organisation taking over their country. The signing of a deal between Obama and Tehran will now see the destruction and withdrawal of Al Qaida from Syria. A predictable turn of events which will leave Syria in the total control of USUKIS without having to send a man or woman of their own.

    It will also damage Al Qaida’s main logistical backers France and Turkey who had been drawn into the mess by atavistic leanings to past empires in Syria.

    Syria will now leave the grip of the Muslim Brotherhood, a decision similar to the one earlier taken by Egypt in throwing out Mursi.

    just because MB supporters thought they were voting for democracy doesn’t mean that democracy was ever on offer, just more and worse of the same old same military-dominated regime.

  • fred

    “You, your dog and the postman”

    You really are an obnoxious little shit aren’t you?

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Excellent analysis by King of Welsh Noir at 12.06pm.

  • Andrew

    Let’s not forget the revelations of Peter Power, Visor Consultants, who revealed his company was involved in terror exercises at precisely the same locations as the attacks happened. At odds of billios to one.

    Of course it’s true that if the military industrial complex isn’t involved in enough wars attacks will increase to provide the pretext to start the next one. It’s big business and the politicians work for those organisations, not for the people.

    I like Craig’s opinions on a lot of things but on many I feel he’s naive, almost to the point that I wonder sometimes if it’s the normal clever and deliberate misdirection and distraction from the true crimes of our western governments and bankers.

    As long as he continues to fight for Scottish independence I don’t mind though 🙂

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Your memory is also playing tricks with you if you think the “vast majority” of the British people supported the invasion. Opinion yo-yo’d at the time depending on what questions were asked and it’s true it was generally favourable for a while once the war started, but at best people wanted to show support for our armed forces rather than the war per se.

    Certainly true in my case, for what it’s worth. Had deep reservations about every aspect of the forthcoming invasion, in particular the contradiction between what Blix was saying and the official line. Would have voted against throughout the buildup if anyone had been democratic enough to offer a vote. But once in, our forces were committed, and it wasn’t their fault they’d been put there by lying neocons. And anything they did to the Iraqis, the Iraqis would cheerfully have done to them, given the chance, so that became something of a separate issue. I had, and still have, no beef with them doing their job and keeping their skins as intact as possible.

    Incidentally, our entry into Afghanistan was also propelled by a lie. What probably swung it for Parliament was Blair’s assertion, pretty well at the eleventh hour, that this would enable the destruction of the Afghan poppy industry. Although the US made some early sporadic attempts to spray it, realisation belatedly sank in that the conflict was unwinnable and the UK Army later received instructions not to interfere with the poppy crop, as doing so would alienate the farmers and drive them into the arms of the Taleban. Probably wise, but eminently foreseeable as an outcome. Our political leader, before WMD’s in Iraq, was honing his spin skills, and of course had not the ghost of a plan for crippling heroin production.

    O/T: “The Office of the Quartet Representative”, one of Blair’s many self-promoting websites, has become, since his departure from that flexible little sinecure, “The Office of the Quartet”. As Blair now has no connection with the Quartet, and the website is still a division of Tony Blair Associates, it seems that Blair’s tenuous connection with anything loosely mistakeable as the truth has now officially been severed.

  • lysias

    Why didn’t 9/11 figure in Wikileaks and Snowden documents? Very likely because knowledge of what really happened then was very tightly compartmented within the U.S. government. Mere diplomats and NSA employees below the highest level were just too low on the pecking order to be told the truth.

  • lysias

    Daish are fed high daily doses of Israeli amphetamines in order to fight.

    I have no idea if that is true of ISIS, but it is certainly true of the Wehrmacht in WWII (being fed amphetamines, I mean, obviously there was no Israel then). Der Spiegel: Hitler’s Drugged Soldiers.

  • Mary

    Whilst attention was elsewhere, ie Greece, terrorism, this was slipped through by the fascists in the EU.

    MEPs pass controversial TTIP resolution
    Uproar from some MEPs in today’s vote at what they perceived to be manipulation of voting procedures

    This vote in favour of the TTIP trade deal is an extremely serious development.

    EXCERPT: A debate held on Tuesday highlighted the divergences in the [European Parliament], with one MEP commenting that the choice in the vote was between the wishes of European people or vested corporate interests.

    Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) today voted to pass a resolution on the secretly negotiated EU-US trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

    The vote, which passed by 436 to 241, highlighted serious splits in the European Parliament (EP) on the issue, especially among the Socialist and Democrat (S&D) bloc which includes Labour MEPs.

    There was uproar from some MEPs in today’s vote, including among members of EP president Martin Schulz’s own S&D bloc, at what they perceived to be manipulation of voting procedures to ensure no anti-‘ISDS’ (investor-state dispute settlement) amendment would be voted on.

    The vote took place at the second time of asking: it was originally scheduled to take place in June, but was controversially postponed at the last minute at the request of Schulz, due to fears that the vote would be lost.


    Divided MEPs pass controversial TTIP resolution
    War on Want, 8 July 2015

  • glenn

    KoWN: You make some very good points, which would be foolish to dismiss. I don’t see the benefit to the state, however, in performing a FF operation like this. Alternatively, going along with the terrorists in order to infiltrate them seems implausible, considering the degree to which it happened. It’s not just about the direction of the step, it’s the size here.

    For a start, it proves that our adventurism in Iraq did not – in fact – “make us safe”, which is the keyword used by politicians to justify pretty much anything. Indeed, it can be taken that the Iraq invasion was the precise cause of the 7/7 bombings, if we take the official account at its word, and regard the suicide videos of the alleged bombers as giving their genuine reasons for the attack.

    Was this used as an excuse to ramp up our security state? We were doing this anyway. ID cards still didn’t get brought in (as if they would help), and surveillance increases as fast as technology will allow.

    The lack of attention to the SBS radical could be because it doesn’t fit the narrative. The armed services are all “Heroes”, every last one of them, who can pretty much do no wrong, and are constantly saving us from mad hoards. To suggest there are murderous traitors among the ranks just wouldn’t do.

  • Daniel

    “I know there was a big march in London but my memories of the time are of the vast majority of people being very much behind the invasion of Iraq.”

    I agree. It’s sometimes hard for people to be objective about such emotive matters. I have to say that although the demonstration was the biggest in UK history, it was only later on that the lies and duplicity that resulted in the invasion began to sink into the wider public consciousness. I say this as somebody who participated in the march. I remember at the time discussing Iraq with work colleagues and being very much in a minority in opposing the invasion.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Giyane, at 8:22am today: Absolutely fascinating – thanks. Now, it occurs to me that if you can report this here, and you are in Iraqi Kurdistan, why can’t the MSM, or even the other media, who also presumably have a presence there? Why are we not hearing these accounts? If you have any links, do please feel free to share them.

  • Kempe

    ” helpful since the CCTV cameras on the trains and the platforms all ‘failed’ for the critical period on 7/7. ”

    It didn’t take long for the loonies to take over the asylum once again.

    ” Why didn’t 9/11 figure in Wikileaks and Snowden documents? ”

    I suppose the idea that there’s nothing to reveal would never cross your mind?

  • Mary

    Scottish MEP Alyn Smith on the TTIP vote. We are being shafted by the EU.

    SNP reject messy TTIP compromise

    July 08, 2015

    Welcome to my latest TTIP update (the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), my previous updates can be found here.

    I am sorry to report that today the European parliament adopted the Lange TTIP report by 426 votes to 241. This is not the same as adopting TTIP itself but the report is important because it should lay out the clear red lines that are acceptable to MEPs.

    Unfortunately it is a messy, inadequate compromise that does little to protect our public services or European standards.

    Let me be clear, I have said from the very beginning that myself and the SNP are in favour of free trade but commerce and democracy are not mutually exclusive, nor should they ever be traded against each other. The SNP has always been clear about our position that was formally laid out and accepted by our members (more details can be seen here).


  • KingOfWelshNoir

    Kempe, if you are going to call me a loony at least have the courtesy to read what I wrote. I said the CCTV failed on the platforms and trains. What you refer to is a sighting on Thameslink.

    Here is a full accounting of the absence of CCTV footage, taken from the J7 blog:

    There exist no recorded sightings of three of the men, Khan Tanweer and Lindsay, after the footage from King’s Cross Thameslink, some way from the Underground tube network. Apparently, a temporary CCTV system was installed at King’s Cross underground and malfunctioned for the 20 crucial minutes between 8.30am and 8.50am. Additionally, there is no CCTV footage showing the three from any other cameras. This means that there is absolutely no CCTV evidence places three of the accused anywhere on the London Underground network on the morning of 7 July 2005.

    No CCTV from pre-incidence tube carriages has been released, despite this CCTV apparently existing, and despite it being crucial evidence which could confirm or deny that three of the men boarded the carriages they are alleged to have boarded. Why has it not been released? This CCTV should also have been made available to Colonel Mahoney when the expensive modelling of likely injuries sustained by the deceased was conducted to make up for the fact that no internal post mortems of the victims were conducted; the lack of post mortems itself being a jarring anomaly.

    No CCTV exists from McDonald’s showing whether Hussain actually used the premises to insert a new 9v battery into his apparently malfunctioning bomb. It was revealed during the inquests that the store manager can be seen on CCTV footage actually turning off the CCTV system before Hussain entered.

    No CCTV exists of Hasib Hussain on either of the two buses he is alleged to have boarded. There is no footage of Hussain aboard the number 91 bus, nor the number 30 bus he is alleged to have destroyed, nor is there any street or traffic camera footage showing him boarding either of the buses.

    I expect you will scoff at the source, but if you took a few minutes to read the site you would see that it is meticulously detailed and researched and light years away from what you term the work of loonies.

  • Mary

    Also shafted are the Pakistani cotton growers – by Monsanto and a corrupt government official.

    Cotton growers’ woes traced to ‘secret agreement’ on GM seeds
    Jamal Shahid — Updated 3 days ago

    Agriculture experts allege that the agreement “favoured the multinational company more than Pakistan and its farmers”.—AP/File

    ISLAMABAD: Cotton growers’ current woes with the genetically modified (GM) Bt seeds have been traced to an agreement that a national research institute signed with a multinational biotech seed producing company in 2006 over the head of Pakistan government, according to knowledgeable sources.

    “Dr Yousaf Zafar, the then director of the National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), signed the agreement with the US-based Monsanto multinational, keeping the ministries of foreign affairs, agriculture and environment and even the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission in the dark,” said a senior official of the Pakistan Agriculture and Research Council (PARC).


    This was sent on to me by GM Watch.

  • glenn

    KoWN: Anything the Kempes of this world do not like, has to – by definition – to have been the work of “loonies”. On the other hand, a whacked out conspiracy theory such as the 9/11 Commission Report is, like the Bible, the complete and utter truth – particularly all the parts which contradict each other.

  • Republicofscotland

    A letter from Yanis Varoufakis, to Alex Salmond.

    Dear Mr Salmond,

    I am writing to urge you to reconsider your strategy of binding the campaign for an independent Scotland to sterling’s mast. I do this in my twin capacity as a supporter of the Scottish people’s aspiration for statehood and a Greek economist with bitter experiences of an ill-conceived currency union.

    The vast majority of the English establishment that oppose Scotland’s bid for independence have also opposed Britain’s membership of the Eurozone on the basis of a simple argument: that there is no nation-state to back the euro up (correct) and that no European institutions can/should develop to play that role (incorrect).

    What England’s governing Euro-sceptics seem to miss is that, if no currency can serve the interests of a multi-national state, then either Scotland ought to issue its own currency forthwith or the Scots do not qualify as a bona fide nation.
    I recall Mr Varoufakis taught economics at Glasgow University, he left the UK as a whole citing Thatcher, as his reason for doing so.

  • Resident Dissident

    “I expect you will scoff at the source, but if you took a few minutes to read the site you would see that it is meticulously detailed and researched and light years away from what you term the work of loonies.”

    Well I spent 10 minutes and I confirm that they are loonies. The following statement really just demonstrates their unwillingness to take seriously the evidence that the State has already provided – so much for meticulous research. You may not like the evidence and think it weak – but it cannot be dismissed so easily I’m afraid.

    “Ten years on the State has provided no evidence, other than that which is purely circumstantial, speculative or presumed that would secure a successful conviction of the four accused. “

  • KingOfWelshNoir


    ‘…they were placed at the scenes of the explosions by personal effects and DNA.’

    They weren’t ‘placed at the scene of the explosions’, their I.D. was.

    I.D. belonging to Mohammad Sidique Khan was found at three separate bomb sites: Edgware Road, Aldgate and atTavistock Square. How did that happen?

    And on the eve of 9/11 some of the hijackers got pissed in a bar, shouted ‘Death to America’ and left a business card and a copy of the Koran on the counter before leaving. Yes, of course they did.

    And, as for you Resident Dissident, I’m still waiting after about three years to see you utter a single truly dissident thought. I’ve seen more iconoclastic taboo-busting intellectual dissidence from Prince Charles.

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