Keeping Cheerful in a Difficult World 121


It has been a difficult couple of days at the end of a difficult year. Individual lone wolf terrorism is impossible to stop completely. Fortunately, although it commands the headlines when it occurs, it is quite incredibly rare. Terrorism remains almost the least likely of freak deaths you could suffer, and everywhere in Europe is thousands of times less likely than the comparatively mundane event of dying in an ordinary traffic accident. Yet the perception of the terrorism risk is entirely wrong – for precisely the same reason that recent surveys show that people massively overestimate the number of Muslims in the population. Relentless media propaganda takes its toll.

Just as in the case of Anders Breivik, the media have jumped to the conclusion that the Berlin Christmas market terror was an act of Islamic terrorism, with no evidence whatsoever at this point. It is indeed very likely, probably most likely. But it could also have been a right wing group seeking to exacerbate anti-immigrant feeling. The disappearance of the killer makes this more likely. Perhaps people weren’t looking for a Breivik type slinking away because they were too busy in a racially motivated vigilante chase after a perfectly innocent Baloch muslim? I do not say it was not a Muslim – I don’t know – but the arrest of that young Baloch shows the problem of false assumptions. Amidst the terrible sorrow and anguish in Berlin – and let us not forget in Poland – I hope Germans find the grace to apologise properly and humbly to that racially stigmatised young man.

Even if the attacker was motivated by Islamic terrorism, the ISIS claim of control and organisation is very probably false. Let us await real progress in identifying what kind of attack this was before we start to address conclusions.

The murder of Ambassador Andrey Karlov was awful. Again, it is very hard to understand the precise situation. I remain sceptical that the Gulenists were really behind the coup attempt in Turkey. I am therefore reluctant to address theories about the policeman murderer’s links to the coup or Gulen, both of which seem improbable.

The Turkish/Russian relationship is extremely complex. There is no doubt that Erdogan remains strongly sympathetic to elements of the Sunni insurgency in Syria, and the profit-making of his family members from relationships with the jihadists was very real. So there is real conflict beneath the attempts at détente. But I cannot conceive Erdogan sanctioning the murder of an Ambassador, nor see how it benefits him. Russian bombing has hit ethnic Turkish communities on Syria’s northern border, and this seems the assassin’s most probable motivation, perhaps from family loss. I do not have high expectations we will get the truth, particularly from the official Russo/Turkish investigation.

Finally. the government has now at last admitted that British cluster bombs have been raining down on civilians in Yemen, a full two years after evidence should have made it undeniable. But there is still no chance that the hobbling of British foreign policy by its strange thraldom to Saudi Arabia is going to change. So long as the arms manufacturers, security industry and owners of high end London property control the British establishment, unquestioning support for Saudi Arabia remains the fulcrum around which the FCO revolves.


121 thoughts on “Keeping Cheerful in a Difficult World

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  • kashmiri

    You got it well, Craig. I think if that’s correct that the ambassador’s assassin shouted words in Arabic, his motivation could have been something more than just revenge for the death of his compatriots (the Turkish anthem would be more appropriate) or the death of his dear ones.

  • michael norton

    State rescue looms for Monte dei Paschi
    Ministry of Truth
    There has been further volatile trading in shares in Italy’s third largest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which looks increasingly likely to be bailed out by the government.

    Shares fell initially amid fading hopes for a private rescue bid.

    But they then rose again after media reports said a state bailout plan would take two to three months.

    The bank’s shares fell by more than 12% on Wednesday ahead of a deadline for recapitalisation.

    It is expected to announce later that it has failed to raise the money it needs.

    The Italian parliament has authorised the government to use more than $20bn (£16.8bn) to intervene.

    The rescue fund will be used to prop up other banks as well. However, a state bailout could be in breach of European Union rules.
    —–
    A lot of fairly ordinary Italians had been encouraged to invest in this very old bank, they will be stiffed.

    Eurozone in Crisis

  • michael norton

    Donald Trump has said Monday’s attacks in Berlin and Ankara proved he was right to propose curbing Muslim immigration in the US.

    When asked if the attacks had changed his stance on a “complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US, the President-elect said he was “100% correct” over the proposal.

    He said: “You know my plans. All along, I’ve been proven to be right. What’s happening is disgraceful.”

    Mr Trump added that the Berlin Christmas market lorry crash “was an attack on humanity and it’s got to be stopped”.

    sky news

  • michael norton

    The 54,000 residents of Augsburg, Bavaria, will not spend Christmas at home, but as evacuees, while sappers defuse an unexploded 1.8-ton bomb dropped by the British in WWII. It will be the biggest evacuation in post-war German history.

    The bomb dropped by the British Air Force back in the 1940s was found during construction work, Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper reported, citing a spokesman from the city council.

    The evacuation and defusing of the device will take place during Christmas, which falls on the weekend this year. Authorities say the hazardous area has a radius of 1.5km, meaning that about 54,000 people from 32,000 households will have to spend Christmas away from home.
    https://www.rt.com/news/371372-germany-bomb-ww2-evacuation/
    i did not know we made / dropped bombs that big in the war.

  • michael norton

    Assassination of Russian ambassador was not killer’s ‘own initiative’ – Turkish Interior Minister
    https://www.rt.com/news/371619-karlov-assassination-premeditated-murder/

    The assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Ankara, Andrey Karlov, was a well-planned and premeditated murder,
    Turkey’s interior minister told journalists. He said it did not happen at the initiative of the killer or out of personal vengeance.
    Karlov was shot dead as he was delivering a speech at the opening of an exhibition called ‘Russia in the Eyes of Turks’ at an art gallery in Ankara on Monday. The gunman, who was killed at the scene, was identified as 22-year-old Mevlut Altintas, a member of Ankara’s riot police force. Russian and Turkish teams are now working in Ankara in attempts to figure out the details of Karlov’s assassination.
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/08/turkey-gulenist-purge-shows-hysteria-symptoms.html
    Well, he was a serving police officer, he got in by showing his badge.
    If he had been a Gulenist, surely he would have been purged.
    so who were his order-givers?

    • michael norton

      Theresa May is enjoying an unusual post-referendum honeymoon, Old Labour is well adrift in national polls, and Copeland is a constituency that voted about 60 per cent for BREXIT MEANS BREXIT, according to an estimate by Chris Hanretty of the University of East Anglia.

      The by-election is further complicated by Ukip, seeking to relaunch itself as a working-class HARD BREXIT NOW party of northern England, who came third last time.

      So a New Labour fanatic who resigned from the front bench within one minute of the sainted JC taking the tiller,
      leaves a firm vote leave constituency ripe for the plucking.

      • Paul Barbara

        For all those desperately anxious of Assange’s state of health, and even whether he is even alive or if so where he is (I want to make it crystal clear I am not among them: I trust Craig’s account):
        Next vigils, starting today:
        Saturday, 31 December
        16:30
         Vigil for Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London

        Tuesday, 3 January 2017
        16:00
         Vigil for Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London

        Wednesday, 4 January 2017
        16:00
         Vigil for Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London

        Thursday, 5 January 2017
        16:00
         Vigil for Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London

        Saturday, 7 January 2017
        16:30
         Vigil for Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London

        Tuesday, 10 January 2017
        16:00
         Vigil for Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London

        Wednesday, 11 January 2017
        16:00
         Vigil for Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London

        Thursday, 12 January 2017
        16:00
         Vigil for Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London

        Saturday, 14 January 2017
        16:30
         Vigil for Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London

        Tuesday, 17 January 2017
        16:00
         Vigil for Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London

        Wednesday, 18 January 2017
        16:00
         Vigil for Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London

        Thursday, 19 January 2017
        16:00
         Vigil for Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London

        Saturday, 21 January 2017
        16:30
         Vigil for Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London

        Who knows, you could become an ‘Alternative Media Star’ overnight, if you catch him at the window waving today’s copy of Pravda!

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