Desensitised to Tragedy 347

Islamophobia has become so insidious, so all-pervasive, and so powerful in media culture that there is virtually no concern expressed at the probable killing in a US drone strike of a 12 year old British child, Jojo Jones, whose short life was so spectacularly horrid through absolutely no fault of his own. Child soldiers in conflict are a dreadful problem. I tried in The Catholic Orangemen of Togo to convey the extremely powerful emotions I experienced when faced very directly with those who had seen atrocities and themselves been forced to kill at primary school age.

But nobody in their right mind thinks that the answer to child soldiers is to kill them. If it is correct young Jojo is killed, I mourn him, the childhood he hardly knew and the potential for realising the dreams of normality such children always have.

But Jojo is one of many thousands of children killed by the US in its “war on terror”, including the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. It is only the dehumanising of Muslims that causes the near total lack of visible western empathy for the nine young kids under 13 killed this year in one US raid in Yemen alone.

All the indications are that it is US doctrine that in targeting terrorists their immediate family are “fair game”. When US citizen, 16 year old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was killed by a drone in Yemen in 2011, the Obama administration claimed it was an accident. It as a peculiar “coincidence” that in another “accident” his eight year old sister Nawar was also killed by the Americans as one of the nine infants killed in the raid just referenced. To kill one young sibling may be a misfortune. To kill two begins to look like carelessness. It amazes me that anybody believes these actions in any way combat terrorism. Rather they inspire it.

The UK does not have the death penalty. We have now also become habituated to execution of citizens by drone with no judicial process. Sally Jones appears to have been a disturbed and deeply misguided individual, but that does not justify her planned and deliberate killing by the US government. There is no evidence she was when killed involved in an any act likely to cause the imminent death of others. But society has become so callous, there is almost no reaction to her death on human rights grounds.

Terrorism is not an existential threat to the UK. It remains the case that it is one of the least likely ways that you might die; far less probable than drowning in your own bath. Our perception of the threat is magnified by the horror of the act and the way the media portray it. Most certainly it is not a threat that justifies abandoning our respect for human rights and the process of law. The standards of society have slipped in terms of respect for the sanctity of life; or at least the sanctity of Muslim life.


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347 thoughts on “Desensitised to Tragedy

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  • Stu

    I commented on the previous article that the glossing over on the lunch time BBC News of a British child being killed by a drone strike was startling. The BBC is disgusting.

    Hopefully at least one MP will have the nerve to ask a question in parliament on behalf of this child.

    • Jo

      What about the child’s mother? IS were allowed to use her child with her full approval! SHE did this to him!
      Or ar you saying everyone has to stand off Daesh and let them have their way because selfish, lunatic women are happy to hand over their weans as fodder?

      Is there no condemnation of these females? Why? Women are meant to protect their young, not drag them into war zones! The heartless savage who gave birth to Jojo is wholly to blame for his death and her own. He is the innocent. She is a wicked monster for taking him to such a place.

      • Phil the ex-frog

        “She is a wicked monster”

        Kill the monster! Kill it! Evil monster!

        The monsters make me kill little monsters. Sad but not evil.

        • Phil the ex-frog

          WTF do you monster lovers want? I don’t like killing little baby monsters. But the monsters!

      • Hot Dog

        +1 Jo. Well said. Sanity is a scarce commodity indeed when even people like Murray appear like Cuckoos in their nest.

      • Jez

        Have you considered that the mother is a victim too. Who other than a vulnerable and manipulable person would behave like this and risk their child’s life? Your comment reeks of misogyny. In fact you sound like you are ravenous to condemn women for what is a situation created, led and controlled by fatally abusive men.

        • DtP

          That’s quite splendid whatabouterry – you should get today’s ‘way to purposefully miss the point’ award.

  • Martinned

    The UK does not have the death penalty. We have now also become habituated to execution of citizens by drone with no judicial process.

    Straw man. Killing enemy soldiers on the battlefield is not the same as some kind of extra-judicial execution. And I would have thought that targeting enemy soldiers with more precision is preferable to less. Any collateral damage is regrettable, but we’ve come a long way since Dresden.

      • Martinned

        Well, that’s the question. The BBC article suggests she was in the middle of ISIS-controlled territory when she was killed (“She was reportedly killed close to the border between Syria and Iraq”). That may well be some way away from any actual fighting on the ground. Whether that still counts as “battlefield” is anybody’s guess, at least until anyone is put on trial for a killing like this.

        Under art. 8 of the Rome Statute, the following is a war crime:
        Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities

        Under s. 51 of the ICC Act 2001 this is also an offence in the law of England and Wales (if committed by by a United Kingdom national, a United Kingdom resident or a person subject to UK service jurisdiction). Under s. 53 of the Act this offence can be tried in UK courts.

        Until such time as the courts go near this issue, the only people who can authoritatively speak to the definition of the battlefield in the laws of war are the people who are in charge of waging war. And, predictably, they have no incentive to define the concept narrowly.

        • craig Post author

          There is no evidence she has ever been a combatant, or armed. She might best be described as a propagandist. She was a woman fleeing the area with a child. She was apparently targeted.

          Your notion that the people waging the war are the only ones competent to decide the legality of their own actions negates the very notion of the law of armed conflict. You do not actually believe this; you are just straining for arguments to justify this killing.

          • craig Post author

            I would add it spears plain there may have been very good reason to imprison her. But not to execute her.

          • Martinned

            Your notion that the people waging the war are the only ones competent to decide the legality of their own actions negates the very notion of the law of armed conflict.

            That is literally the opposite of what I said in the comment you’re responding to. I set out exactly how this issue might come before the courts. But short of a court case, it is statements by the executive branch of each state, i.e. the people who do the warring, which defines international law. I did not mean to limit that to the states actually involved in a specific conflict. I apologise if I was inarticulate. I just meant that in general the foreign offices of states aren’t likely to advocate for a narrow definition of the battlefield.

            As for whether this lady was a combatant, I would simply point out that you don’t have to be armed to be a combatant. (Though it certainly helps clarify things.) Any army in the world has personnel in support functions – such as propaganda – who would certainly count as combatants in case of an international armed conflict. Whether Ms. Jones was is, at least to me, unclear in much the same way that the definition of the battlefield is. This, too, could quite conceivably be sorted out by a court at some point, but I’m not holding my breath.

          • Hot Dog

            craig will next tell us that she was amongst the ISIS just as a lap dancer? Wonderful stuff craig: The Return of the ex-Ambassadore as the Human Rights Activist. Stick to your independence stuff craig, or is that going nowhere?

    • Republicofscotland

      “Any collateral damage is regrettable, but we’ve come a long way since Dresden”

      Interesting how you refer to Dresden, as a way of justifying today’s casualties from western led drone bombing.

      No doubt you’ll go on to compare the seige of Leningrad with that of Mosul, as a marker of how far we’ve come.

      • Martinned

        To begin with, I’m not justifying anything because I have no way of knowing whether the kind of collateral damage that we end up with today is proportionate. It could be that the US and the UK aren’t being nearly as precise as they could be. All I’m saying is that the ratio of collateral damage to intended target damage is a lot better than it used to be, and that we would hardly want to develop legal rules that incentivise combatants to go back to dropping bombs on people from a hight.

        Not sure why the reference to Dresden displeases you.

    • Geordie Bordie

      “And I would have thought that targeting enemy soldiers with more precision is preferable to less.”

      Precision, my arse.

      “Documents detailing a special operations campaign in northeastern Afghanistan, Operation Haymaker, show that between January 2012 and February 2013, U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets. During one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. In Yemen and Somalia, where the U.S. has far more limited intelligence capabilities to confirm the people killed are the intended targets, the equivalent ratios may well be much worse.”

      • Martinned

        That looks like it confuses two reasons why you might end up not killing the person you wanted to kill: You could hit something you didn’t mean to hit, or you could hit the thing you were aiming at but the target simply isn’t there. When evaluating whether an attack is proportionate, only the former is relevant. The latter is a regrettable intelligence failure that should be weighed into the targeting decision in its own way, but it’s not really a proportionality issue.

  • Clark

    The Western states can’t send in ground forces because their deaths and injuries offend the voters. That leaves attack from the air, or exploiting proxy Jihadis, both of which are indiscriminate.

    • K Crosby

      No, that’s a myth to put the blame on squeamish civilians, rather than the monsters that order these crimes against humanity.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Terrorism is not an existential threat to the UK. It remains the case that it is one of the least likely ways that you might die; far less probable than drowning in your own bath.”

    If you listen to the media, they’ll tell, you that we’re on the brink of all out terrorism, and that’s why the security level is set at its highest level.

    The strategy of tension and fear is alive and well in Western Europe and North America.

    Of course this gives our armed forces carte blanche to drone bomb, virtually indiscriminately, based on intelligence similar, on occasion, to that of Russia hacked the POTUS campaign, and we all know that is nonsense.

    I’d go as far as to say that, industrial targets are also part of the drone bombing campaign targets. Taking out foreign industrial competitors, is good for business.

    • freddy

      I am assuming
      the Jordanian Government have given the Americans carte blanche
      but have the British Government given the Americans carte blanche?

      I am sure the Syrian Government have given the Americans no permission, whatsoever,
      to operate over Syrian land.

    • Martinned

      Did the Syrian Government, give them the legal right to do this?

      No, the Iraqis did. Legally, the government of Iraq is in a non-international armed conflict with ISIS, and it has asked the US and the UK for help, as it is entitled to do. (Probably.) The bombing in Syria is legally justified as self-defence on behalf of Iraq, presumably under the “unable or unwilling” doctrine. Certainly no one has asked Assad for permission to do any of this.

      • freddy

        I do not think The Syrian Government want anything to do with the Americans, they certainly do not want them arming Islamic State or protecting Islamic State, in Syria, they do not want the Americans “encouraging” Islamic State to leave Iraq and enter Syria.
        They do not want the Americans firing 30 Scottish Missiles from the Mediterannean into Syria air bases.
        They did not want the Americans killing Syrian Government troops.

        • Martinned

          they certainly do not want them arming Islamic State or protecting Islamic State, in Syria, they do not want the Americans “encouraging” Islamic State to leave Iraq and enter Syria.

          Wait, are you accusing the US of bombing ISIS and supporting them at the same time? With friends like those…

          They did not want the Americans killing Syrian Government troops.

          Well, no. But that’s the thing about being a brutal dictator: you get your way a lot of the time, but not quite always.

          • freddy

            The American Tanf Base, inside Syria,
            killing Syrian Government troops in Syria

            Damascus [Syria], September 1 : A Syrian rebel has revealed that U.S.troops based at the Al-Tanf base in Syria’s southeastern desert were not fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists and were selling weapons and ammunition to them to fight against the Bashar al-Assad forces.

            Asaad As-Salem, who defected from the U.S.-backed Maghawir al-Thawra group stationed at the Al-Tanf base in the southern Syria, said U.S. is engaged in pursuing the main aim of expanding the ISIS influence in Syria by assisting them with U.S. made weapons.

            Salem, who served as a chief security officer at the Al-Tanf base

          • freddy

            Speaking to reporters, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the U.S. will defend its troops in case of “aggressive” steps against them. He was asked if the airstrike increases the U.S. role in the Syrian war.

            “We are not increasing our role in the Syrian civil war, but we will defend our troops,” Mattis said. “And that is a coalition element made up of more than just U.S. troops, and so we will defend ourselves (if) people take aggressive steps against us.”

            How arethe Americans allowed to get away with setting up bases in Syria, without the agreement of the Syrian Government?

          • Martinned

            How arethe Americans allowed to get away with setting up bases in Syria, without the agreement of the Syrian Government?

            That depends on your definition of “get away with”. Certain people have been trying really hard to get the US out of Syria, I believe. They just haven’t been very successful. If you mean legally, it’s that “unable or unwilling” point I mentioned before, which is still some way away from being universally accepted in the international legal community.

            To the extent that “unable or unwilling” isn’t good law, US (and UK) action in Syria probably constitutes aggression under the Kampala/ICC definition of that crime. But since the UK hasn’t ratified that amendment to the ICC Statute yet, not even Mrs. May has to give a damn. Trump certainly doesn’t.


          • freddy

            Martinned, thank you for taking the trouble to try and answer my questions, you have done well.

            It would seem, that now the Syrian Government are winning the war, they are getting ever more anxious, that “some” do not want the war to end but would continue to envisage,
            the break-up of Syria.
            I understand that this would be an international crime.

          • Geordie Bordie

            “Certain people have been trying really hard to get the US out of Syria, I believe. They just haven’t been very successful.”

            Oh, I’d expect that will change rather sharpish the further Kurdish independence is pushed.

          • james

            the brutal dictator in this example being usa/uk with there destruction of iraq, libya and now syria – all the while claiming they are going after brutal dictators… i suppose you missed obama’s words about thinking isis could be a helpful tool in taking down assad? that my friend is an example of a brutal and hypocritical dictatorship, under the guise of a democracy… craigs story here is more proof of same…

      • Republicofscotland

        Article 51, as conceived in the UN Charter, refers to attacks between territorial states, not with non-state actors like ISIS or Al-Qaeda. Syria, after all, did not attack France or Iraq – or Turkey, Australia, Jordan or Saudi Arabia.

        Western leaders are employing two distinct strategies to obfuscate the lack of legal justification for intervention in Syria. The first is the use of propaganda to build narratives about Syria that support their legal argumentation. The second is a shrewd effort to cite legal “theory” as a means to ‘stretch’ existing law into a shape that supports their objectives.

      • K Crosby

        Does it follow that the Syrians can reciprocate by killing British state mercenaries based in Iraq?

        • Republicofscotland

          “Does it follow that the Syrians can reciprocate by killing British state mercenaries based in Iraq?”

          Have they? Citing the wests media as proof, if that’s what you intend to do, doesn’t add credence to your comment.

          UN Resolution, 2249 states.

          Member States that have the capacity to do so to take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law, in particular with the United Nations Charter…on the territory under the control of ISIL also known as Da’esh, in Syria and Iraq.

          The resolution demands compliance with international law, in particular with the UN Charter.

          The lack of Chapter 7 language in the resolution, pretty much means that use of force is not on the menu unless states have other means to wrangle compliance with international law.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    I can think of no more powerful symbol of the insanity of all this than the suggestion recently by Michael Fallon that our drone ‘pilots’ should get medals. Because of the ‘mental strain’ they had to endure. Presumably the strain of killing a child is pretty intense, so would you get a bigger medal?

  • Geordie Bordie


    “The second Scottish referendum is odds-on to take place after 2020, bookies said today, after first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced she will seek permission to hold another independence vote.”

    “Meanwhile, despite scepticism from analysts, Paddy Power put the referendum at 2/5 to pass, and 13/8 to fail, while William Hill gave the odds of a Leave vote 4/6, while Remain are 11/10.”

    And the reason it’s odds on to take place and pass after 2020 is that by that time the UK will be more deeply embedded within the EU.

    Europe of the Regions will then be all the rage.

    All can go free, within the EU.

  • freddy

    A ceasefire deal for a Syrian rebel enclave south of Damascus was reached on Thursday, brokered by Cairo and Moscow, Reuters said, citing Egyptian state media. The agreement, which includes the Jaish al-Islam rebel faction, went into effect at midday on Thursday (10:00 GMT). “We announced a preliminary agreement… to enter into a ceasefire and de-escalation deal for the area,” Jaish al-Islam political leader Mohammad Alloush said in televised comments. The announcement did not name the exact area or towns covered by the ceasefire. There was no immediate comment from the Syrian government.
    Russia Today

    It would be really great, if the Syrian “Civil” War
    could be over by Christmas.

  • freddy

    al-Tanf USA base in Syria
    Russia Today

    Moscow expects Washington to give a definite answer on the US-led coalition’s actions near Syria’s al-Tanf and the Iraqi-Syrian border, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday. “We often ask about these issues via the channels between the military, this is the main channel to clarify any doubts and suspicions,” TASS quoted Lavrov as saying. “I expect that the military, as people who are precise and business-minded, will get definite answers to their questions from the American partners.” On Wednesday, Russian military cited cases when Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists freely infiltrated the US-controlled zone and seized humanitarian aid intended for local people.

  • Shona

    I think you are judging other people very harshly. I don’t know anyone who is Islamophobic and just because people aren’t behaving as you would want, does not mean they don’t care about the tragic life and death of a young boy. Another tragedy from a very complicated conflict. Some people see all people as one and just look at the human tragedy, without the need to divide.

    I am not denying the existence of Islamophobia but it is most certainly not ingrained in everybody.

    It is tragic when political leanings are mistaken for empathy.

  • Laguerre

    Actually, as far as I can see, the only evidence that she is dead, along with her son, is that she’s not answered her phone for three months, and her twitter account is not active. Well, you know, in the middle of ISIS-land availability of internet is not really guaranteed, particularly with the increasing collapse of ISIS, and a lot of mobile phone masts have been destroyed. She may just have lost the phone, though knowing how much Arabs love their mobiles, you would have thought that even in the most difficult circumstances, mobiles could still be acquired.

    • John Goss

      Unfortunately not answering her phone could be responsible for her death. It is known that Theresa May, as Home Secretary, approved the supply of coordinates using a people’s mobile phones so the US could kill them in a drone strikes.

      I wrote this in March 2013.

      “There has been a blatant, sinister and creeping tirade on impoverished Muslims from successive UK governments, but Theresa May’s current personal “war on Islam” has hit rock bottom. Two men were divested of their English identities by Home Secretary Theresa May while out of the country and subsequently killed by US drone strikes. One of the men phoned his wife to learn that he had just become a father. Shortly afterwards, thanks to the cowards who remotely operate drone killings, his wife became a widow and his newborn child an orphan.”

      • Kempe

        I take it you’re talking about Rayeed Khan?

        ” He would often post graphic messages on Twitter, boasting of his murders and violent plans. These included: “Executed many prisoners yesterday”, “The brother that executed James Foley should be the new Batman,” and “Anyone want to sponsor my explosive belt? Gucci, give me a shout”. One post featured images of bloody corpses, which Khan said belonged to a group whom he and other militants had captured and executed. ”

        My heart bleeds….

        • John Goss

          No surprise “heart-bleeding” Kempe but you’re wrong again.

          “In June 2011 Mr Berjawi was wounded in the first known US drone strike in Somalia and last year he was killed by a drone strike – within hours of calling his wife in London to congratulate her on the birth of their first son.

          His family have claimed that US forces were able to pinpoint his location by monitoring the call he made to his wife in the UK. Mr Sakr, too, was killed in a US airstrike in February 2012, although his British origins have not been revealed until now.”

          • Kempe

            Berjawi was a member of Al Shabaab, responsible for the usual terrorist activities: murder, rapes, abductions etc, in Somalia and Kenya including the 2015 massacre at Garissa University when a total of 148 people were killed when gunmen stormed the university and targeted Christian students.

            What were you saying about the indefensible?

          • John Goss

            “Berjawi was a member of Al Shabaab, responsible for the usual terrorist activities: murder, rapes, abductions . . .”

            Just about your most stupid statement ever. It’s like saying all US armed forces personnel should be drone-killed without trial for being part of an organisation that tortures, rapes, murders, abducts, collaterally murders and abuses. You are daft! Really! The man was not tried. It seems you do not believe in the ‘antient’ tenet of habeas corpus.

          • Kempe

            If you join any army or terrorist group you must by inference be signing up to its beliefs and values. If serving that organisation in a battle-zone you must accept the risk of becoming a casualty.

      • John Goss

        The thing people like Kempe (always ready to defend the indefensible) ignore is that dead people cannot defend themselves against accusations once they are dead. Being found guilty is one thing, being accused is something entirely different. The erosion of protective laws due to the ‘war on terror’ has taken British justice to a new low. None of us has any protection any more.

        How anybody can justify that is incomprehensible to those, like Craig, who care when they see injustice. The callous throwaway lines like “My heart bleeds” for those of different ethnic origin might not be so indifferent if the person killed without trial was a close family member.

        • Kempe

          Ethnic origin is irrelevant. I’d disown any member of my family who’d become a rapist or serial killer.

          Your post tried to make it sound as if the men killed in the strike were innocent and attempted to garner sympathy by mentioning he’d just become a father. In reality he deserved as much sympathy as he and his organisation showed their victims many of whom may also have been new fathers or mothers. This is by any other name a war, Berjawi and his ilk have taken up arms against the rest of the world and have no grounds to complain if they killed in response. Martyrdom seems to be what many of them want anyway.

          Please tell us how you’d deal with them? Send plod to arrest them and give them a stern telling off?

          • John Goss

            You clearly never read the article about how their citizenship of the UK had been removed so there was nobody to appeal to. Yes I guess you’d want that for the disowned close member of your family who may have committed a crime – stranded abroad with no way of defending himself or herself.

            For your heart to bleed, first you would need to have one, and I’m not talking od the physical heart.

      • Laguerre

        In that case, JG, she may have thrown the phone away. I really find the evidence that she is actually dead doubtful, even though the BBC is repeating in every bulletin that she is dead, but failing to come up with any confirmation, or evidence.

    • John Goss

      I just clicked on your highlighted name to find the link does not work. As this may be one of the ways links ‘the powers that be” use to make sure articles they don’t want you to read are not read I wonder OW ABOUT if the link works for you.

  • j Arther Nast

    The sorrows of war and the futility of legal hair splitting regarding the death of a young boy.

  • Bert.

    There are so few decent and civilized people left in the UK that I doubt their concern would appear on any establishment RADAR.

    After all, if the people of this country had a microgram or two of decency between them how could they vote tory?

    Oh how we look back in awe at the days when a granny could take on margaret thatcher on live television and thoroughly mince the later for sinking the Belgrano.

    Of course, having just read Robert Burroughs’ latest piece at: I am reminded that the entire british population is ‘Soul Murdered’ in what is laughably referred to as the british education system. Why should we expect them to have the slightest concern; you have to recover what Burroughs would call your Self before you can feel for all the people so destroyed by the sick psychopathic selfishness of Western politicians.


  • glenn_nl

    I remember your writing about that young man who had been a child soldier in The Catholic Orangemen of Togo. He had been ordered to kill his parents, and spoke with you about it. That stayed with me a long time, probably more than anything in that book.

  • Jo

    I think your final paragraph is pretty shocking in light of all we’ve seen in the UK lately on the terrorism front. We’re more likely to drown in a bath than die in a terrorist attack? I can’t believe you committed that to print Craig. If you shouted the same words out in Manchester I doubt you’d get out alive. Tell them the media just exaggerated what happened there and all those deaths were no big deal.

    You’re really crossing lines now with claims like this.

    • Phil the ex-frog

      From a quick search the number of bath drownings by arbitrary year:
      2010 – 29 ref
      2011 – 14 ref
      2013 – 8 ref

      However, these figures seem to includes deaths in jacuzzis. Do they count?

      • Hot Dog

        craig should answer, he is the aspiring new Minister of Baths in the impending Cabinet of the New Independent Govt of Scotland.

  • freddy

    USA REAPER based in Jordan 33miles from Syria
    In February 2016, we reported that Jordan had quietly hosted a deployment of U.S. or Coalition MQ-9 Reapers, which were deployed to Jordan’s Muwaffaq airbase between February and March 2015. New satellite imagery released in Google Earth shows further developments at the airbase, located 33 miles south of the Syrian border. Newly erected clamshell shelters — often paired with U.S. drone deployments — can be seen in the March 2016 space snapshots, as well as new parking hardstands to support a greater numbers of unmanned aircraft.

  • K Crosby

    No, it is because we aren’t callous that these crimes against humanity are done by the Washington barbarians, with the connivance of the British state. The British people have no means of exerting democratic control over the executive so we can’t be blamed for its crimes against humanity, only for passivity.

    • OW ABOUT

      But, Brian, the more important bits you can’t see, like in the physical universe – i.e., what constitutes fascism, the corporatism, militarism, and autocracy, one has to put together the dots..

      • mickc

        Quite so…. In the UK, law, like taxes, only applies to the little people.

        Some may remember the Death on the Rock incident in which three IRA members, undoubtedly on their way to commit a crime, were shot and killed by undercover SAS officers. The general tenor of media coverage and indeed popular opinion was that such action was justified. A few people, such as Auberon Waugh, spoke out against the majority view pointing out that arrest and trial of the criminals would have been possible…but to no avail.

        Indeed once upon a time the Prevention of Terrorism Act had to be renewed annually… more; it is now basic law. Thus are our hard won freedoms lost….

  • fedup

    My! The usual suspects are jumping to justify and applaud the barbaric conduct that is always associated with the usual homilies of human rights etc. What are the motives of these operatives delivering the same memes over and again? Could it perhaps revolve around covering up the political dimensions of the current fiasco, by promoting the usual narrative of the mindless killers and zombies etc.

    Alas Murdoch employees and the rest of the oligarch press gaggle will have one less villain to wax lyrical about and deliver column inches of facile and inane narrative. However no doubt soon there will be another villain found to aid the delivery of the said column inches.

    Although those with a modicum of ability to analyse, would conclude; there is a rush to clean up and tie the loose ends so to speak of in the Syrian theatre. In the face of the new realities, now that Assad is winning! Fact that the same forces whom were purportedly fighting the IS/ISIS/DAESH/Alqaeda/etc, were in fact the benefactors of the same bunch. They were busy supplying the weapons, the money, and the intelligence to the aforementioned “terrorist” all the same. Furthermore it is clear that the said forces of “good and righteous/police/sheriff of the planet/universe/galaxy/etc” could hardly afford any witnesses left alive to blow the lid off their murderously duplicitous conduct, somehow is going missing on all and sundry. Six weeks ago the black hawk helicopters were breaking the siege and evacuating the leaders of the said terrorist and their “western” operatives. However, these days the same “evacuated” lot are getting bombed and droned.

    The tally of the dead children has been increased by yet another boy, whom evidently was unlucky enough to have fallen into the wrong womb, poor bastard if only he had found a royal womb, by now probably he was destined to luxuriate and enjoy the finest that life can offer, instead of having his shit and brains oozing out of his lifeless remains.

    On goes the charade of the cowboys and Indians who keep on fighting and dying. Who is profiting from turning the mid-east into the inferno it has become? Who is enjoying the tally of the dead that has now passed the single digit millions?

    Did I tell you there is terrorist under your bed ……………

    • Sharp Ears

      Thank you for your sanity and humanity fedup amongst the plethora of salivating warmongers on this thread.

      They have forgotten about the wars, the renditions, the waterboarding, the torture, that the West have perpetrated on the people of the region in the last few bloodied decades.

  • Walter Cairns

    The whole Sally Jones saga reeks strongly of taurine manure. We are asked to believe that the same brainboxes that allowed Osama bin Laden to elude them for a decade can now unerringly pinpoint the residence of an ISIS fighter who is (except in Britain/US) distinctly a minor player. They drop a bomb on that residence – of course she stays in just to oblige the drones – and they must have had an early copy of her death certificate, because they state with crystal-like clarity that both she and her progeny are no more. The entire episode is fake from start to finish, it is all about the West fearing that their terrorists are losing in Syria and Iraq and they need a spectacular coup to remind us that, well, we are still in there somehow. They must be splitting their sides at our gullibility in actually believing all this inimitable garbage.

      • Laguerre

        Well Baghdadi is supposed to have been confirmed killed multiple times, but apparently he’s still going. The Americans tend to be very optimistic, and economical with the actualité.

  • fwl

    Although Drones are beneficial if they save the lives of one’s own side they surely have a serious side effect on the psyche of a soldier because they allow him or her to kill without any or much remorse. Killing should always leave a feeling of remorse even if the soldier believes he was justified. and even if he is justified. Of course there will be a few who don’t have these feelings at all, but hopefully they are few and far between. In conscripted traditional forces many shoot to miss. What happens when everyone accepts death by drone as if it were something neutral like a rebuke or an abortion so that it becomes untainted and no longer bears the scent of death? I don’t know but it can’t be good. Yet another illusion as we become more and stupid and fail to take note of the obvious. Like letting a mouse die in a snap trap and pretending that it must have died quickly because its death was not observed.

    And also on an entirely practical level what happens when our enemies match our abilities to use drones.

    • fwl

      Drones and abortions are worth considering together. Both are somehow connected to the basic fact that something out of sight is out of mind and therefore apparently ok, or seemingly less objectionable than something which is more obvious to the senses. I am not opposed to abortion or drones automatically as both may at times be appropriate.

      Essentially conscience seeks to protect those more vulnerable than one’s self. When harming someone weaker and more vulnerable (*) one has to ask whether the means justify the end eg the hungry wolf killing the lamb for food is justified whereas the fox killing the chicken for sport or battery farming caged animals for cheap diseased meat is not; a lawful abortion intended to prevent an illegal abortion which may kill the woman may be justified, whereas an abortion of mere convenience in a context where all risk has been removed is more questionable.

      With drones the means may sometimes justify the end (if we can be bothered to consider this) because if the killing is moral then why is the technique immoral if it reduces home casulties unless it also increases civilian deaths, but at the same time there is this more elusive question as to what this type of remote killing does to the psyche of the soldier (or drone operator) and to those back home. It’s difficult to get away from the fact that no matter how intelligent we think we are we still primitive and responsive to sensory stimuli. Remove that and we are more likely to be indifferent numb and dumb.

      * as to when is it ok to harm one stronger than one’s self then that is another interesting question. The focus though should be on avoiding exploitation of the weaker but whether weaker or stronger one should (a) weigh up necessity and (b) stay alert to and reflect on the unpleasantness of what is being done so as to avoiding a hardening of the heart. Unfortunately armies would probably prefer troops not to reflect in such a way (although reflection may be permitted amongst some officers if they must).

  • Edward Andrews

    Sorry Craig, but this is rubbish.
    I don’t like killing by drones. I have a lot of problems about it, but not as many as I have about the alternative which is carpet bombing, which will cause a lot more problems.
    As for the child. you are overwrought. he did not miss out in his childhood, except by the actions of his Mother. She was so deeply disturbed that she acted in such a way that the put other people in harms way. I don’t think that was a particularly friendly or moral act.
    Of course the whole thing is an ethical nightmare. You can take the high ground as you do – which if may say so is the kind of FO crap which gets people on our side killed, or realise that there are nasty people out there who for the general health of the community are better dead.
    No I don’t support Capital Punishment. However I don’t believe that people who go willingly into danger and lead others into dangers should unconditionally be not so much rescued, but spirited away.
    It is bad. There are ethical problems, but she got herself and her son into the situation. do you not accept that she has she kind of personal responsibility.

    • mickc

      Yes, of course she had responsibility. However the point at issue is the killing of a UK citizen by a foreign power, without the benefit of a trial. The killing may, or may not, have been justifiable…but that is for a court of law to decide, not the “security services” of any country.
      Naturally, the media reports of her conduct may be wrong. She may well have had a defence of coercion by her husband, mental incapacity…..or how about a defence of her conduct actually being authorised by the US government as IS is a creation of the USA….

  • Hieroglyph

    I believe drones should be illegal under international law, unless used purely for surveillance. And even then …

    The fact that we accept these Terminator-like hunter-killers at all tells us a lot about how inured we have become to war-crimes. They happen daily, and we shrug. And it all stems from these appalling weapons of assassination, comptrolled by brain-washed men who don’t see themselves as SS Officers, but act like them nonetheless. The very idea that drones should be illegal seems to strike some people as odd, or fantastical, but given they are a means of waging war, without requiring the bother of actually declaring war, they are de-facto illegal under international law. Naturally, the POTUS or PM who even mentions such a concept, well bad things will soon happen to them …

    I’ve been vaguely supportive of Trump, on the grounds that he doesn’t appear to be a lunatic neocon. However, he doesn’t appear to have any ethical qualms about drone-from-above, though he doesn’t personally order them like Obama. I suspect Trump doesn’t truly know what he’s doing on foreign policy, so is happy to let the deep-state do the drone-kill for him. Still, rather him than Clinton.

    • Kempe

      What is the difference between a missile fired from a drone and one fired from a manned aircraft? In both cases the pilot is removed from the point of impact and the manned aircraft is not, in these instances, much less safe.

      • fwl

        The difference is distance and it is distance, which breeds indifference to the consequences of one’s acts.

        • freddy

          Ash Sha’irat
          US Missile Attack on Syrian Air Base

          In the early hours of April 7, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha’irat, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city of Homs. US President Donald Trump said the attack was a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Idlib on Tuesday, which Washington blames on the Syrian government.
          According to Homs Governor Talal Barazi, the attack killed five people and injured seven others.

          Apparently, this was because of gas bombs, dropped from Syrian Government helicopters.


          This was to de-grade the airforces/defence capabilities of Syria/Russia,
          almost, a last USA gasp,
          in Syria.

      • Hieroglyph

        A manned aircraft will be subject to some sort of legal boundary. A drone is not. So, an aircraft can patrol a no-fly zone legally, but it can’t do a sortie in ‘enemy’ territory, not without declaring war. Whereas, a drone can be sent pretty much anywhere the comptrollers say it can, on the sly, and into both enemy and ally territory. The US is using drones to bomb the fuck out of countries it’s not even at war with. Is the US at war with Yemen? Fuck knows. Congress clearly doesn’t.

        There is also the ‘assassination’ aspect. Drones are used to assassinate people – different thing from ‘strategic bombing’. I believe the US has a formal policy of not using assassination as a political tool. Ye may guffaw long and loud about that – it’s darkly funny, in a way – but I’m talking about their formal stance, clearly not their actions. Is political assassination really legal under international law? I guess it depends which lawyer you ask, but it’s certainly a curiosity.

        But mostly I loathe drones because they kinda look like the wet-dream of a serial killer. I bet some of them pleasure themselves as the death from above is going down. Some of these people are whack jobs, you see.

  • Hot Dog

    “Terrorism is not an existential threat to the UK. It remains the case that it is one of the least likely ways that you might die; far less probable than drowning in your own bath.”

    Have you as a self-declared ‘Human Rights Activist’ relayed that to the families and friends of the concert-goers in Manchester this summer? What an utter fraud you are.

    If you hadn’t behaved as such a jackass with Jake Simons, the money you’ve received as donations would’ve better served real causes than an arse in a mud bath of his own making. Your empathies are as confused as you. If i were the judge i’d give you a year’s community training to sift out the true Islam followers/practitioners from the trouble makers whom you seem to love to support. Meantime, start some self-study before you come out accusing people of being Islamophobics, racists, fascists etc. And you the virginal Johnnie Walker.

  • Eric Blair

    Canadian Omar Khadr spend over a decade in Gitmo after throwing a grenade at a US marine (killing Jim and injuring another) during the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2002. He was 15.

    The conservative government under Stephen Harper let him languish there and turned a blind eye to his being tortured. The current Canadian government recently paid him $10 million for his ordeal and Canada’s refusal to uphold international law.

    The majority of Canadians, from across the political spectrum, are opposed to this gesture. The American marine medic who saved his life has spoken out in support of Khadr (who was a child soldier) and said the people who are up in arms about the payment should ask themselves if they would go through what Khadr went through in exchange for $10 million.

    The widow of the dead marine is trying to sue Khadr for $134 million for killing her husband. On top of everything else, only the hubristic Americans would try to make fighting back against their invading forces a criminal offence.

  • Tony_0pmoc


    I have nearly finished reading your book “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo” I didn’t understand the title until about 3 hours ago during a long flight…but I would seriously recommend it to anyone who has the slightest interest in what Craig Murray actually did in Africa, and in London. It’s completely fascinating stuff, and even more personally cutting in naming lots of people, and lots of corruption, and explaining how “the system” works – with a few extremely bright and honest people of integrity (including himself of course) but surrounded sometimes literally alone, with some extremely evil people.

    I don’t claim any evil intent on the various government employed security people at airports…In fact outbound was breeze.

    Coming back, I wasn’t walking too well, and I was sweating a lot – simply because I do have a slight muscular problem and the airport was very hot.. So I was spotted during the massive long security queues – and because I am old, clumsy, and look very sweaty (nervous) – I thought I was being fast tracked…and my wife seemed very pleased, and I embarrassed -why am I being treated differently????

    So they scan my rucksack. I had already taken my laptop out – and put it in a seperate tray…They weren’t interested in that.

    I then get taken asside, and they go through all my stuff….what’s all these cables and electronic stuff etc etc…….

    I said well that is my fan. It’s really good for situations like this, when its really hot, and I sweat a lot…

    Otherwise it was a great holiday, and we will be going back next year.


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