Thrashing Not Swimming 254

David Cameron relies on the complicity of mainstream media and the gullibility and disinterest of the British public to get away with an extraordinary switch. Two years ago he was strongly urging military action in Syria against the forces of President Assad. Now he urges military action against the enemies of President Assad. That includes against groups and individuals who were initially armed and financed by western intelligence agencies, and are still being financed by our Saudi “allies”.

Indeed one of the many extraordinary features of this fervid political period is that the neo-cons (be they Tory or Blairite) who are so actively beating the drum for war, are the ones who absolutely refuse to acknowledge that the source of the poison is Saudi Arabia. Cameron today told Westminster that the head of the snake is in Raqqa. That is plainly untrue. The head of the snake is in Riyadh. But if your God is Mammon, that is blasphemy.

It is also fascinating that the same people who triumphantly warned Putin he would get blowback from bombing the Islamists in Syria, deny that our invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and bombing of Libya have any blowback effect or in any way cause terrorism in the West. The hypocrisy would be hilarious were it not so serious.

The French are pounding the city of Raqqa as I write and the truth is, whatever the propaganda, that they have already killed more entirely innocent civilians in their bombing than were killed in the horrible atrocity in Paris. The killing on both sides is mindless. The majority of those the French are bombing into oblivion in Raqqa are people horrified at being occupied by ISIL, just as the people killed by ISIL in Paris were ordinary people as powerless as the rest of us to affect the way the elite run our foreign policy. Those who believe that the random killing of bombing is the solution to random killing are crazy.

I was terribly, terribly sad for the victims of Paris and their loved ones. But I could not help but note that we did not fly flags at half mast or illuminate buildings in the rather lighter tones of red white and blue that could have marked Russia losing nearly twice as many dead in a related terrorist atrocity just a few weeks before.

For the terrorists themselves, I have no sympathy. To kill entirely innocent people is indefensible in any circumstances. To believe that religious kudos can be gained from killing the innocent is incredibly sick.

I have often argued that it is actually not difficult to commit a terrorist attack. If I wanted to kill people next week, did not care who I killed, and was prepared to die myself, I could most certainly do so successfully. The key point is of course that in reality there are very, very few people deranged enough to carry out such atrocious acts. Any rational analysis shows this is not an existential threat. Terrible as these attacks were, they killed 0.01% – that’s one in ten thousand – of the population of Paris. They increased the tiny chance of being murdered in France by only 20%. There are over 600 murders a year in France. Many more people die every year in traffic accidents in Paris than were killed in this atrocity.

I am not trying to mitigate the evil or atrocity, I am trying to put it in context. The drama of the incident is used vastly to exaggerate its impact and to justify those moves which the Establishment had up their sleeve anyway as the vast and growing disparity between rich and poor calls for more weapons of social control. These include massive surveillance of the population, larger and more intrusive security services, aggressive policing, an institutional system of informers in education, a new crime of “non-violent extremism”, and of course yet more wars in the Middle East –

The sad thing is of course that the terrorists are so stupid as to increase the powers of the very forces in society whose policies they purport to be fighting, while the only people they kill are also those getting the short straw of society’s gross inequality. I suspect the leadership knows this. Of course, if you are a Saudi prince, then right wing, highly authoritarian western governments hostile to economic equality are exactly what you want too. It makes your lifestyle in London, Paris and Monte Carlo so much easier.

Meanwhile David Cameron thrashes about. The only way he can see to look credible is to go and bomb someone, even if it is the opposite side he wanted to bomb last time. It won’t stop terrorism, but it will be good for the arms manufacturers and security industry. It will help stoke the jingoism that is so useful in enabling the wealthy to maintain their firm grip on political power.

Actually stopping terrorism would of course do none of those useful things for the Establishment. I do not claim that the Establishment deliberately employs a Middle Eastern policy that promotes and exacerbates terrorism. But their policy has that effect, and they use its consequence in their own interest in retaining a firm grip on political power. It helps further ensure that political power will not be employed to reorder society upon more egalitarian lines.

254 thoughts on “Thrashing Not Swimming

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  • Salford Lad

    We will probably never know the real reasons behind the the Paris atrocities. There has been an unprecended upswelling of emotion across Europe.No such emotions were seen after the bombing of the Russian airliner over Egypt or the Beirut and Ankara bombings in which many more people were killed.
    What we do know is that the French ,British and German media vultures have jumped on this and created hysteria, panic and fear among the European peoples.
    It is all too organised for my sensitive probuscence. European Governments are now attempting to force thru’draconian surveillance and restrictive Laws on their citizens .as expected.
    They are also on the path to bomb Syria, without legal authority or invitation from the Sovereign Govt of Syria and without a mandate from the UN.
    Cameron has committed to increasing the military and security service budget by £ 2 billion and is seeking Parliamentary approval to bomb.
    The only person who comes out of this circus with any credit is Jeremy Corbyn, who has correctly stated that it will be illegal to go to war in Syria without invitation from Assad or UN approval. But Jeremy has been subject to wholesale demonization and ridicule from the MSM for weeks ,since his election as Leader of Labour.
    The overthrow of Assad has been incubating since 2011 with the Western Powers and is another arrow in their toolbox to degrade Russia. Assad prevents the Saudi and Qataris from their ambition of a gas pipeline to Europe in competition with Russia.There are other agenda from the US ,Turkey and Israel to satisfy their ambitions of control.
    Have the population forgotten the chaos that is Iraq and Libya already, can they not connect the dots and realise that reducing a nation state to rubble creates refugees,who head for Europe.
    ISIS is the mercenary army of the West and its Gulf State allies, financed and armed by them. ISIS have failed in their job to overthrow Assad,but have had some success in breaking up the State of Iraq into Shia,Sunni.and Kurdish enclaves.They are expendable and have become an embarrassment to their controllers,especially since Russia became involved.
    The Paris atrocity gives the West the excuse to invade Syria, initially with air warfare and later possibly with ground troops.
    The plan is to remove the initiative from Russia and continue with the removal of Assad.

  • fedup

    Craig reflects the rational and sane obvious, as Corbyn tried to and none of the Oligarch owned Media picked up on his questions. In fact the OOM went so far as denouncing Corybn for not being murderously angry and his “shameful” rational stance!

    We all know that the City is big on laundering money, and we all know that Daeush* is the tireless handy work of ex Blackwater CEO Erik Prince financed by Saudi and Qatari billions. The painfully obvious Wahhabi roots of this murderous group of ex prison inmates of Saudi et al jails, and other misfits in search of jolly are willfully ignored and discounted by all and sundry.

    Further ignored are the presence of copious amounts of drugs for the benefit of the “freedom fighters” of yesterday come “terrorists of today” that are flowing freely anywhere this group is found. Syringes left in hotel rooms, and the tonnes of methamphetamines caught on board a Saudi princeling’s private plane in Beirut, are only a matter of fact points that are routinely ignored and not explored. For exploring any such avenues suddenly will rip off the mask of “religious” zeal that has been marketing the terror groups of various guises and rubbishing the Muslims to boot will fall apart.

    These “sophisticated” terrorists whose idea of a good time is to go buy an eight year slave girl as a “concubine” (ie a stable of more than one slave) to use and abuse in their drug fuelled marathon sex sessions and to go back to fighting to uphold the values of free sex, free drugs and free markets principles!!!! Did I say free markets? Yeah! I did, for slaves have more than one use they can be abused, and then sold for their organs too!

    The troglodytes whose sudden found power of life and death over the lesser mortals has these drunk and compels them to fight tooth and nail to protect their little fiefdoms, have in common the same aim that is pursued by the likes of Cameron et al, in a more sneaky way (civilised fashion) hence the almost comical about turn on targets of bombings that nonetheless promotes bombing anyway! So long as the market forces are at work and the shareholders of the killing industry are kept in the lifestyles they are accustomed to is the only thing that matters to Cameron ans his ilk. For his sponsors and backer were the same bunch of free loading fat cats who own the said shares and expect their products to be used as often as possible under the statesmanship of their bought and paid for agents.

    Fact that who finance these drug fuelled murderous group, who trains, them who supplies them with weapons and brand new Toyota cars, and who is laundering the money from the deserts in Saudi, to the banks in Tokyo, New York, London, Paris, …… are not in question, but what matters; let’s go bomb the shit of some place or other, we are angry and best kick some arse before the feeling wears off.

  • giyane

    Pheww! Welcome back Craig to a united chorus of trolls, bigots, weirdos (myself), and truthseekers that USUKIS are the instigators of Islamic State. My Kurdish friend told me during the Arab Spring that they (USUKIS) were going to give us (Muslims) a caliphah.

    It’s therefore very unlikely that key players will still be in Raqqa or in the IS territory. They are probably in London, Turkey or if Russian, moving towards their eventual goal.

    The head of the snake is David Cameron. if you squeeze him as it were just behind the ears you will see that nothing he ever says about the EU, Syria, Russia or China is what he actually believes.

    He hates Russia and China for retaining what mentor Maggie destroyed in the UK an industrial manufacturing base. He hates Europe because it has retained some semblance of banking integrity.

    The Tories lost the intellectual argument which Mrs Thatcher proposed of total reliance on market forces when the banks round the world collapsed in 2008. Islamic State is just a diversion from the complete failure of a plan for a plan for anything. I genuinely believe that Tory nihilism is attracted to political Islam’s nihilism. why don’t they both just carry on bombing eachother into submission. It’s not my vision of my purpose in life.

  • giyane

    Nor is it my vision to spy on what other people are doing. god wakes us up to another day and new opportunities. People who spy are trying to catch other people out and their only reason for doing it is that they cannot convince any of the rest of us of the logic of their ideas.

    If they can’t wing the argument by reasonable discussion, they put themselves up by undermining everyone else.

  • Pan

    Good post, Craig. Not a wrong word (IMHO).

    @Vincenzo Vinciguerra
    18 Nov, 2015 – 3:39 am

    “Was Operation Gladio real?”

    A rhetorical question, of course.

    Sibel Edmonds talks a lot about ‘Gladio B’ while others say we are currently enjoying the fruits of ‘Gladio C’. Whatever name one might give this current tumultuous phase in European history, it would appear (when one looks at who, and which industries actually benefit enormously from these attrocities) to involve some kind of Gladio 2.0, at least in part.


    “Speaking of 1984, did it ever occur to anyone whilst reading it that the war with Eastasia was in all likelihood a lie and that there was in fact no war, no enemy, and that they’d made it all up?”

    I believe it was suggested in the book itself, by the character Julia while speaking to Winston about the bombs falling on London.

  • giyane

    Salford Lad:

    “The plan is to remove the initiative from Russia and continue with the removal of Assad.”

    And to replace him with a nihilistic spy freak from the Muslim Brotherhood.
    If Conservatives have no vision, no ideas and no imagination, they at least want an Islamic world with no vision, ideas, or imagination so that the whole world can stagnate and create methane at the same pace.

  • Pan

    Craig – “The head of the snake is in Riyadh.”

    And yet there appears to be almost complete blanket censorship in the corporate media of any suggestion (let alone recognition) of Saudi involvement (or indeed of virtually any kind of wrong doing).

  • Geoffrey

    Good post,Craig, I was waiting for someone to point out that two years ago we tried to bomb Assad and were supplying his enemies-and now we want to bomb his enemies.
    It is a 100% about turn.

  • Mochyn69

    Excellent piece, Craig, as ever, all the more so as it appears an almost lone voice of reason crying in the wilderness.

    I despair of the UK with its dead-pig-fucking tory politicians,the servile corporate media with their trolling commenters inexorably beating the drums for yet another futile war, but most execrable of all are the louts of the Labour party, trying to drown out another voice of reason counselling caution, that of Jeremy Corbyn, cheered on by the same baying corporatist press.

    And I despair for our continent and all the peoples of our world, caught up in suffering the intense pain of ‘permanent war’ caused when, call them what you will, ‘the elite’ allowed the peace dividend of the ending of the Cold War to be frittered away.

    There is now an urgent need, more and greater than ever before, for people like you, Craig, people like many of us who follow you on this blog, for the Pilgers and Corbyns of this world to join together, to stand up and make the case to Stop All War!

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The sad thing is of course that the terrorists are so stupid as to increase the powers of the very forces in society whose policies they purport to be fighting, while the only people they kill are also those getting the short straw of society’s gross inequality. I suspect the leadership knows this.

    Sure it does. It also knows that the appeal of a free and democratic society (whether or not this exists in fact) is reduced in proportion to the antidemocratic, unfree measures it can be induced to adopt.

    Of course, if you are a Saudi prince, then right wing, highly authoritarian western governments hostile to economic equality are exactly what you want too. It makes your lifestyle in London, Paris and Monte Carlo so much easier.

    OTOH if London, Paris and Monte Carlo become no-go areas thanks to the jihadis you are clandestinely supporting, and Londoners, Parisians and the rest become iffy about buying your oil, where are you then, Mr ibn Saud? Perhaps better to argue that Saudi, and other Arab, support for Daesh has the beneficial result of strangling other oil suppliers in the region. As it does.

    More later, perhaps.

  • Pan

    Ba’al Zevul
    18 Nov, 2015 – 10:30 am

    “Londoners, Parisians and the rest [becoming] iffy about buying [Saudi] oil”

    Can’t see that happening.

    Anyway, if you’re talking about the general populace of London, Paris “and the rest” it’s not as if they even have a say in the matter of where their oil (and all its myriad derivatives) come from.

    On top of that (especially with Winter drawing near) most people, let’s face it, don’t give a flying fig or even a passing thought to where their motor vehicle and central heating fuels come from, as long as it’s there to be had.

  • Fredi

    Makes sense what the west and Gulf states give they can take away as just as easily.

    Kurdish intelligence chief: IS ‘could be defeated in weeks’

    5 hours ago

    The intelligence and security chief in Iraqi Kurdistan has said that Islamic State could be defeated in “months perhaps even weeks” if Western powers engaged fully in the fight against the extremists.

    Masrour Barzani said the militant group are “weaker than they used to be”.

    He said that he hoped the Paris attacks would lead to “more engagement and more commitment to eradicate” the Islamic State group.

  • Mark Golding

    Excellent points Craig – thank-you


    I think Agent Cameron will hook up with British intelligence MI5/MI6 shortly with his political barometer examination of the payoff from the “comprehensive strategy” to win MPs’ backing for bombing Islamic State militants in Syria as well as Iraq.

    The prime minister told the Commons the Paris attacks had strengthened the case for air strikes, suggesting there could be a fresh vote on the issue.

    He wanted to “do the right thing for our country”, and hit the “head of the snake” of IS in Raqqa, Syria, he said.

    MPs rejected strikes against Syrian government forces in a 2013 vote.

    If the barometer points to another rejection then another OPERATION STRONG TOWER -PRE PLANNED COUNTER TERRORISM EXERCISE will go live on a strategic date pulled from history, this in consonance with several loose whispers.

  • Pan

    18 Nov, 2015 – 10:55 am

    “Makes sense what the west and Gulf states give they can take away as just as easily.”

    Does it?

    Frankenstein turned out to have a mind of his own.

  • Alcyone

    Well said Pan at 10.13. We had to be 36 comments deep and 10 hours in before anyone reiterated the truth about Saudi Arabia being the head of the Snake.

    Perhaps Habby’s observation about people here dragging their pet hobby horse of Israel into everything has something to do with their stupor? Which is why I call them one-trick ponies, blinkered brains. If this is what you see from so called well-meaning folk concerned about the state of our planet, what chance do we have?

    A kick up the arses of the Mary’s, Rosy’s, Tony-come-latelely’s, Neverminds, and other Fedup’s of this blog and a compliment to Giyane for a change.

  • Silvio

    A Reserve US Army special operations officer, Scott Bennett, turned whistle blower worked for a while as a financial analyst for a US government contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, as an analyst responsible for tracking terrorists’ funding. In an interview linked below he explains what he found out as to the major sources of terrorism financing both before and after he was fired by BAH. He explains that he and a Swiss banker (who also provided the material to whistle blower Edward Snowden) were able to confirm that much of the money for ISIS and similar groups is funneled through the Swiss bank UBS and from UBS accounts held by wealthy Arabs living in countries supposedly allied to the US or from accounts held by the CIA itself.

    He says he reported his finding as a US Army reserve officer up the military chain of command and to US politicians but no one wants to acknowledge his letters or follow up on his information. He claims its impossible that they don’t already know this stuff and therefore they must ignore it knowing that it won’t do their careers any good to rock the boat by taking any action on it. He charges many US politicians and members of the upper level US military hierarchy should be tried for treason.

    Bennett also alleges it was admitted to him by members of US intelligence services that the US does create, support and use terrorist groups like ISIS for its own ends – mainly to destabilize and destroy any country in the Middle East with a strong military that could possibly stand up to the US or threaten Israel and also to destabilize and weaken Russia.

    Another claim made in the video is that the investigative reporter Michael Hastings, who died a gruesome death when his car inexplicably went out of control, speeded up and crashed and burned after it drove at high speed head first into a tree, had all of this information as well and was intent on following it up and reporting on it. Bennett claims he feels safe to talk about this because none of what he discusses in interviews etc. was obtained from official classified sources, and he has also taken steps to ensure that the material he knows will be distributed to multiple parties should he suffer an untimely death.

    First 20 minutes of the video is background material on his work for the US military, as a financial analyst at Booz Allen Hamilton, and also an account of his arrest and imprisonment on what he claims are trumped up charges to get him to shut up. The juicier revelations come in the remaining 30 minutes including some closing thoughts in which he admits that after all he has witnessed, he is of the opinion that 9/11 was definitely another false flag event used to ramp up the war on terror.

  • Alcyone

    Good insightful piece Craig — as good as the long time it took coming!

    DavidH +1

    Agree with everything you say. Over the heads of most people here, obviously.

  • Peter

    Hallo Craig

    Shouldn’t be the focus on Saudi Arabia and its nuclear ambition. Correct me if I am wrong but I remember reading that they had been recently to Russia discussing the purchase of 16 nuclear reactors! What would an oil rich nation need nuclear reactors for? Also Saudi Arabia’s financing of the military and science in Pakistan throw up a number of questions. Some very worrying thoughts.

  • Silvio

    Seems that Israel and Saudi Arabia decided that, alleged differences notwithstanding, teaming up is the way to go.

    Did Money Seal Israeli-Saudi Alliance?
    By Robert Parry

    Indeed, Americans who did take Saudi money – including academic institutions and non-governmental organizations – were often pilloried as tools of the Arabs, with the Israel Lobby and its propagandists raising the political cost of accepting Saudi largesse so high that many people and institutions shied away.

    But Saudi Arabia may have found another way to buy influence inside the United States – by giving money to Israel and currying favor with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Over the past several years, as both Saudi Arabia and Israel have identified Iran and the so-called “Shiite crescent” as their principal enemies, this once-unthinkable alliance has become possible – and the Saudis, as they are wont to do, may have thrown lots of money into the deal.

    According to a source briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts, the Saudis have given Israel at least $16 billion over the past 2 ½ years, funneling the money through a third-country Arab state and into an Israeli “development” account in Europe to help finance infrastructure inside Israel. The source first called the account “a Netanyahu slush fund,” but later refined that characterization, saying the money was used for public projects such as building settlements in the West Bank.

    In other words, according to this information, the Saudis concluded that if you can’t beat the Israel Lobby, try buying it. And, if that is the case, the Saudis have found their behind-the-scenes collaboration with Israel extremely valuable. Netanyahu has played a key role in lining up the U.S. Congress to fight an international agreement to resolve a long-running dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.

  • Lance Vance

    Funny, I didn’t see any candle lit vigils for the victims of the Russian airliner that was blown up. That was never discussed as a “tragedy” in our ring wing. Neo- con echo chamber that calls itself “the media”.

    We grieve for the Paris victims because we’re told to. To qualify as a tragedy in our media’s eyes you have to be:

    1. A US puppet
    2. Rich
    3. Dead

    Any death in such horrible circumstances no matter where the victims are from is a tragedy. All life is precious. But in these wretched times we live some lives are deemed more precious than others. And THAT is a tragedy!!

  • Pan

    18 Nov, 2015 – 11:11 am

    Good youtube link. Sean Stone’s a cool presenter.

    And yes, the Israeli-Saudi alliance is indeed an interesting topic – completely absent from MSM, naturally. (Patrick Cockburn has touched on it, but I think that was either in the latest revision of his book on ISIS, or the London Review of Books, rather than his column in The Independent).

  • fred

    “On the Russian plane – that again raises the question of why deaths from terrorism are more terrible. It was precisely the same tragedy to the dead and bereaved whether a simple plane crash or a bomb.”

    People are driven by emotion as well as logic which makes them easy to manipulate if you can get them to use the one when they ought to be using the other.

    You know that.

  • Pan

    18 Nov, 2015 – 11:52 am

    People are driven by emotion as well as logic which makes them easy to manipulate if you can get them to use the one when they ought to be using the other.

    Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow” is terrific on that subject.

  • Mary

    Habbabkuk and Alcyone have obviously not heard of Oden Yinon’s tract, translated by Israel Shamir.

    All planned and falling into place as we can easily see. Iraq. Libya. Eqypt, Yemen. Lebanon. Syria…..

    The Jewish Plan For The Middle East and Beyond
    June 13, 2014 / Gilad Atzmon

    The Zionist Plan for the Middle East
    Translated and edited by Israel Shahak
    February 1982: Article in Israeli Journal Says Israel Should Exploit Internal Tensions of Arab States

    The winter issue of Kivunim, a “A Journal for Judaism and Zionism,” publishes “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties” by Oded Yinon. The paper, published in Hebrew, rejects the idea that Israel should carry through with the Camp David accords and seek peace. Instead, Yinon suggests that the Arab States should be destroyed from within by exploiting their internal religious and ethnic tensions: “Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon.”

    The Zionist Plan for the Middle East
    Translated and edited by Israel Shahak
    from Oded Yinon’s

    “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”

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