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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  • Lance Vance

    And as for the US and French aerial blood- letting. Don’t get too hung up about that- US bombs are so precise they are always guaranteed to hit the ground.

    So all good there then?!

  • Fredi

    Pan, the Kurdish guy was speaking militarily on the ground I think. Once defeated Daesh will then turn into a underground terror organisation, like the present day Taliban, which I sadly suspect will be problematic for decades.

  • fedup

    The Oligarch Owned Media were besides themselves to bring you the news of yet another indestructible passport; a Syrian passport belonging to a terrorist.

    I and other did not buy that story and how wrong we ere?

    A Syrian passport found next to a suicide bomber in the Paris terror attacks may have been planted, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.

    Reports that the identity in the passport may have been registered in several countries along the so-called Balkan route raise the suspicion that it could be a deliberate attempt to implicate refugees and “make people feel unsafe,” de Maiziere said.

    Also of note is the reference to Kalashnikov that are in fact US made weapons systems, but the OOM care not one jot for actualities, they can reflect their own “realties” they don’t need no stinking actualities!

    Meanwhile back at the ranch, the Saudi are now supporting zionistan by paying no less than $16.5 billion that is 1650 million dollars into a bank account belonging to that war criminal a yahoo! Clearly Saudi are a democratic country supporting the only other democracy in the mid east!

  • Johnstone

    I’d like to see you confront the elephant in the room, Craig.

    It is individuality that’s really dead when denial has become a no no and expressions of grief for virtual tragedies the norm, those seen on the TV.. deaths for which you have no proof and for which I have no proof. Must we really be sad and terrified by yet another so called ‘terrorist atrocity’? And must we also be outraged and seek and support revenge? Round and round the cycle of fakery and retribution goes. What is really shocking and terrifying is just how gullible people are.

  • Mary

    Mochyn69, Mark and Brian You spoke for me earlier.

    We are missing Robert Crawford and John Spencer-Davis. John Goss had had enough of it. All those insults and taunting. Referring to him as Gross.


    The BBC keep having the blue tory MP John Woodcock on to keep knocking Jeremy Corbyn for not being bloodthirsty enough. Woodcock wants war just like Murphy who regrets not voting for attacking Assad in August 2013. The latter now writes a monthly column for the New Statesman, once a decent journal but now pretty much a rag. For instance they no longer publish John Pilger, childishly referred to as Pukeup on the previous thread by one of the visitors.

    Culture !LOL

    21 October 2015
    Conscientious objection isn’t a legitimate posture for Britain in the face of Isis ferocity
    After Iraq and Afghanistan, Britain has re-entered a period of unresolved purpose.

    His voting record. Reminder.

    How Jim Murphy voted on Foreign Policy and Defence
    Generally voted for use of UK military forces in combat operations overseas
    Consistently voted for the Iraq war
    We don’t have enough information to calculate Jim Murphy’s position on an investigation into the Iraq war
    Generally voted for replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system
    Generally voted for more EU integration
    Generally voted against a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU
    Generally voted for strengthening the Military Covenant

  • RobG

    I thought that Corbyn did well today at PMQs (honing in on large budget cuts for the police), but as often happens, Angus Robertson did better. In his first question Robertson asked Cameron if the UK would take military action in Syria without a UN mandate. Cameron replied with his usual bluster and bullshit and ended-up saying that what the UK does “will be legal”.

    In his second question, Robertson mentioned the latest Survation opinion poll, which shows that only 15% of the public are in favour of military action without a UN mandate, while 52% are in favour of military action with a UN mandate…

    It seems that even with the barrage of pro-war propaganda coming from the media since last Friday, the public are not going to be easily swayed.

  • Mary

    The usual excellence from John Hilley. Several kinds of ‘truth’.

    18 November 2015
    France’s state violence – 10 key truths behind attacks on Paris

    There’s been widespread grief and sympathy over the terrible killings in Paris. All very human and commendable.

    But, as Jonathan Cook asks, why the selective coverage, outrage and empathy? Were those innocents blown up a day before in Beirut by the, apparently, same Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) not worthy of the same humanity, the same demonstrations of global support?


  • Alcyone

    [ Mod: Caught in spam-filter ] Thanks v much Mods. I am copy-pasting it here in order for it to be in the ‘current’ converstion, given the criticality of the ‘Kingdom’ of Saudia Arabia being the Fountain of Evil.

    Count Saudi Arabia in as a member of the Nuclear Club. They aided, abetted and financed Pakistan’s nuclear programme.

    It is very likely that Saudi is in possession of some of Pakistan’s nuclear warheads. If not, assume they can have them in 45 minutes and launch within a couple of days.

    Pakistan is de facto a rogue state with its headquarters in the Fountain of Evil that is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    Peaceful India lives with this monster on a daily basis.

  • twoleftfeet

    alcyone, why do you lower yourself to debate with such ignorant buffoons who are so stupid they barely know what day it is? May I suggest you fuck off and find people with a similar IQ to yourself and your Israeli apologists. In case you didn’t know Saudi and Israel are strong allies, so much so that the latter is using it’s own medical services to patch up those ‘innocent’ Al Nusra (Saudi foot soldiers)chaps as well as giving them aerial cover. No amount of tears for those poor Israelis will change the reality that they are heavily involved in terrorism and with provoking it.

  • Alcyone

    “The usual excellence from John Hilley. Several kinds of ‘truth’.”

    A very novel way learning ‘several kinds of trith’. Didn’t ever know that there were ‘kinds’ of truth’, but we live and learn, some of us who have alife beyond quote, quote, quote all day long!

    So again Mary our different approaches to meet Truth aside, what are please your views on the KSA?

  • Alcyone

    A key reason why Israel and Saudi Arabia are close ‘friends’ is that Israel is fully aware that the KSA has (ready access to) nuclear weapons. So, they are not stupid to disrespect that very HARD FACT.

    So, Twolefttesticles, I’ll decline your invitation and thank you neverteless.

  • Anon1


    “Must we really be sad and terrified by yet another so called ‘terrorist atrocity’?”

    Ah yes, the false-flag conspiracy theories!

  • Loony

    Ah yes terrorists and the great mystery of where they come from and why they do what they do. Fear not for the Pentagon can solve all mysteries. This from a 2012 declassified Pentagon report and obtaind by Judicial Watch:

    “…there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

    Perhaps the US/EU/Wahabbist cabal are fans of Bob Dylan

    “I was thinkin’ about turquoise, I was thinkin’ about gold
    I was thinkin’ about diamonds and the world’s biggest necklace
    As we rode through the canyons, through the devilish cold
    I was thinkin’ about Isis, how she thought I was so reckless”

  • Johnstone

    Yes, Paris why not..At least one individual remains thank heavens for Vincenzo Vinciguerra.

  • fedup

    It is verboten to mention the unmentionable! Cue the cybersettlers start throwing around their customary buckets of urine and feces all over the blog.

  • Mochyn69

    @Bunny La Roche aka Anon1,18 Nov, 2015 – 1:34 pm


    In what precisely is your quarrel with the words of Gilad Atzmon?

    Come on, let’s have some substance from you for a change!


  • Johnstone

    I can not know what really happened in Paris and choose not believe what I hear on RT or the BBC or what I read in German newspapers, as I no longer consider these news outlets reliable.

  • Habbabkuk (You may well be a person of interest)

    “What do you believe really happened in Paris that night, Johnstone?”

    I second that question from Anon1.

    Let all the Eminences and Old Trolls on here who are claiming (or more usually, hinting) that the attacks in Paris were NOT the work of Islamic terrorists tell us what they believe those attacks really were.

    I doubt, however, that anyone will come out and be specific – it’s much easier to mutter away darkly and introduce pert little hints with hypocritical sentences like “we will probably never know the real reasons behind the the Paris atrocities ” (that was “Salford Lad, by the way).

    They are not very courageous, are they. If the reason for their caution is that they are worried about becoming persons of interest, I would say to them “relax, you already are”.

  • Monteverdi

    So what did the former Supreme Head of NATO in Europe , 4 Star US General Wesley Clark in this short CNN interview mean when he said ” Our friends and allies fund ISIS to destroy Hezbollah ” .
    Who we ask see’s Hezbollah as its biggest enemy after we count in Saudi Arabia ?

  • twoleftfeet

    I’ll tell you what happened habba, the very people the hapless Hollande was giving weapons to not so long ago decided they wanted a bit of fun in Europe and brought him his weapons back.

  • Loony

    Habbakuk… You pose a ludicrous question. What does it matter what any uninformed person “believes” about anything?

    The overarching facts are clear and are uncontested. ISIS are a creation of western intelligence agencies and are necessarily provided with general support by those agencies.

    Enquiring as to specifics is not likely to prove rewarding. However, and by way of analogy: If you were to sponsor drunk driving then you know with reasonable certainty that eventually the recipient of your sponsorship will likely kill someone. It may be that as sponsor you do not know exactly when this will happen or be able to identify the victim(s) ahead of time.

  • twoleftfeet

    A simple fact for you anon1, if I were to go to visit Gaza (if I could get in, of course) there is far more chance of me being killed by one of the chosen people than one of the un-chosen ones. Oh, and the IRA weren’t cuddly terrorists because they gave a two minute warning and neither are your heroes squatting in their present location.

  • Ben-Outraged by the Cannabigots

    Abooaud was handled by Security Services….

    I think, at this point, the possibility that the terrorists may have had state support has to be considered. The near simultaneous attacks on multiple targets, the timing and planning involved, and at least circumstantial evidence that Abaaoud has been shielded in some way – perhaps by supporting players – all point to a level of tradecraft a bit higher than what is achievable by former Ba’athist officers in Saddam Hussein’s intelligence service.

    The “Islamic State” didn’t spring up all by itself out of nowhere. Yes, sure, it was empowered by the US invasion of Iraq and the subsequent break up of that state, and surely the Americans bear a lot of the responsibility, and yet some outside force had to fund what was to become the self-proclaimed “Caliphate,” and turn it into the wealthiest terrorist group in the world. Someone had to succor it, shield it, and provide the ideological and strategic guidance that culminated in such a high level of organization and demonstrated success.

  • Ben-Outraged by the Cannabigots

    Lavrov directly accuses US of not being serious about fighting ISIS.

    “The problem around the U.S.-led coalition is that despite the fact that they declared its goal in fighting exclusively the Islamic State and other terrorists and pledged not to take any action against the Syrian army (…), analysis of the strikes delivered by the United States and its coalition at terrorist positions over the past year drives us to a conclusion that these were selective, I would say sparing, strikes and in the majority of cases spared those Islamic State groups that were capable of pressing the Syrian army,” he said.
    “It looks like a cat that wants to eat a fish but doesn’t want to wet its feet. They want the Islamic State to weaken Assad as soon as possible to force him to step down this or that way but they don’t want to see Islamic State strong enough to take power.”

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