Pre-Emptive Murder 50

The lives of the latest fifteen Palestinian children to be murdered by Israel in Gaza, lives ripped from their small, terrified bodies with devastating violence, do not seem of much concern to the powerful in the West, or indeed anywhere.

The BBC repeated without question Israel’s claim that its latest launch of high explosive at the Gaza concentration camp was to prevent a terrorist attack on Israeli civilians – of which prospective attack no evidence has been produced. No western media has asked for any. Nor has it been explained why the attack would be stopped by Israel obliterating the alleged leader in Gaza of Islamic Jihad, and many innocents who chanced to be in his vicinity.

The scenarios in which the assassination of a leader prevent an attack which is in train are Hollywood.

The brave Daniel Hale sits in solitary confinement (euphemistically called a “Communications Management Unit) for blowing the whistle on the US drone assassination programme in Afghanistan. Hale, a drone operative, revealed that 90% of people killed by the drone assassination programme in Afghanistan were not the designated target, but that by default everybody killed by a drone strike was labeled an enemy combatant unless positive proof to the contrary were provided (which of course no effort was made to collect).

The extra-judicial execution of “Bad guys” with no legal process is not only carried out by Israel. The USA and the UK do it all the time, across the conflicts created by their own neo-imperial adventures and lust for hydrocarbons.

Nobody can tell you how many children have been killed by drone strikes or “targeted” missiles and bombings in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, Yemen or Libya.

The total across those countries is undoubtedly tens of thousands of dead children. We, however, are apparently the good guys. All those children have been killed in our self-defence, just like Israel killed those children in Gaza. I do hope that helps you sleep more soundly.


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50 thoughts on “Pre-Emptive Murder

  • John O'Dowd

    “I do hope that helps you sleep more soundly.”

    The stuff of nightmares. If anyone doubts the evil of those who control “Our Guys”, this concise, brilliant, simple, and devastatingly accurate analysis of the undoubted realities of the Anglo-American neo-imperialism, should disabuse you of your illusions.

    • Andrew Nichols

      Nothing exposes the banal blatant hypocrisy of our leaders and state/ Washington Empire friendly media than a comparison of their vulgar cringeworthy euphemistic response and coverage of the slow violent destruction of Gaza, the 21st C Warsaw Ghetto with their endless outrage at Russias war with Ukraine.9

  • Anthony

    Yes, nine out of ten of those killed by US drone strikes are civilians not military targets as the Pentagon claims. For exposing that truth in a land where “freedom of speech is enshrined as a Constitutional right” Daniel Hale is paying the Julian Assange price.

    • Blue Dotterel

      Apparently, Graham Phillips is now joining them in paying for exposing issues that the UK government would not like reported. A new twist, he has been sanctioned by the UK government despite being a UK citizen. He notes:

      “UK authorities have basically abolished British law to punish me. That is they’ve set a precedent that if the government don’t like your work, they can punish you as a criminal. Make no mistake, sanctions are a criminal punishment when applied to your own citizen – I’m in Donbass at the moment, but tell me, what to do when i get back to the UK with no access to any of my bank accounts, anything? How to even purchase food? How to defend myself in court against all the unpaid debts that i couldn’t pay because my accounts were frozen? How to even afford to travel to court? It’s the UK government doing away with the entire principles of Magna Carta, 1215, that every British subject has the right to trial, before punishment, and be presumed innocent, until proven guilty. They’ve just told me that i’m guilty of … doing reportage they don’t like, and for that, they’re attempting to make me destitute, destroy me.”

      Reminds me of the truckers’ demo in Canada where even those donating legally had their bank accounts frozen. So much for the Magna Carta and the rule of law.

        • Pears Morgaine

          Phillips is under investigation for a possible war crime having interviewed Aiden Aslin, one of three men sentenced to judicial murder by a kangaroo court in Donetsk, under duress. The man was in handcuffs.

          My heart bleeds for him.

          • Geoffrey

            Is The Ukraine also under investigation for possible war crimes for its interviewing of Russian soldiers too? If not why not?

          • Bayard

            “Aiden Aslin, one of three men sentenced to judicial murder by a kangaroo court in Donetsk, under duress. The man was in handcuffs.”

            So putting people in handcuffs is a war crime now, is it? Has anyone told the police?
            Come on Pears, this is stretching it a bit, even for you.

  • Anthony

    As regards Israel it is like the apartheid conclusion by Amnesty, HRW and Btselem never happened. On the rare occasions people like Biden and Starmer have been forced to acknowledge it they have just dismissed the finding. The media coverage of this latest atrocity has confirmed the A word is taboo in western media and political circles. Likewise any analysis of Gaza that neglects to mention that its people are survivors of Israel’s ethnic cleansing, expelled from their villages and corralled into a thin strip of land so that foreign settlers can take their place, is deliberately misleading.

  • Bob (original)

    I would accept drone strikes without question,

    only AFTER either the USA or UK has allowed a foreign power to use their own drones to ‘eliminate’ a target on either American or British soil.

    Never going to happen though.

    • mark golding

      Humbug! Quid pro quo is not the answer, not the quick fix. The controversial 1917 Espionage Act used as a legal instrument against so called miltants that annoy the Establishment should be foresaken as obsolete. By some estimates, U.S. drone operations abroad, conducted by both the military and the CIA, have killed between 9,000 and 17,000 people since 2004, including as many as 2,200 children and multiple U.S/UK. citizens.

      Receptive drone operators have to stifle part of their conscience to perform such judicial killing.with machines designated Predators, Reapers or Hunters, labels that hide the dumb fragidlity and cheapness of a susceptible flying game machine.

      It is of course the rulebook detailing how the U.S/UK. governments place individuals in a sprawling system of watchlists that is the vile and wicked entity that delivers proxy death by these drone stovepipes in true 1984 little games. Future pilotless strikes on those innocents starred as subversives in a watchlist will be murdered by AI control operations probably while they are gardening, walking the dog, pushing a pram. or driving a target vehicle.

  • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

    The Palestinians are positioned between a rock and a hard place.

    If they end all resistance Israel will simply more easily expand and continue with Apartheid walls to prevent the opportunity of having contiguous land to establish a Palestinian state.

    If they continue resistance Israel will simply expand with bloodshed and continue with Apartheid walls to prevent the opportunity of having contiguous land to establish a Palestinian state.

    Meanwhile countries such as the UK and US urge the Palestinians to seek a resolution through peaceful means. So, kind, considerate and helpful – indeed.

    • Bramble

      Instead of the self-appointed global “policeman” (that is, gangster boss) based in Washington DC, we need a genuine, impartial upholder (and enforcer) of international law (not self-serving rules). That should have been the UN, the only body more or less representing the whole global population. Of course the great powers rule it from the Security Council and ensure nothing is done to limit their freedom to do just as they like. The prospect of improvement is, I fear, very low to non-existent. Not even global warming has penetrated their dedication to violently pursuing self interest, more or less supported by their “patriotic” populations.

    • Laguerre

      Israel does not want to make peace. If the Palestinians did accept Israeli “conditions”, the Israelis would be back to failing to conform to the agreed conditions the day after the signature. That’s what happened with the Oslo accords. I’m sure it’s where Johnson got his idea of negotiating in bad faith over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

  • Goose

    Wrong kind of resistance fighters?

    Or just zero consistency from the collective West?

    Western MLRS / HIMARS + training, and endless $billions in military aid/support if you’re the right kind.

    Our western MSM talk about the risks of ‘all out war’ erupting between the ‘two sides,’ the implication being this is somehow a battle of equals, a fair fight, ‘Gaza vs Israel’ that occasionally erupts….and not a technologically advanced, western backed entity enforcing its rules and flattening Gaza, at will, militarily uncontested. Palestinian resistance being largely token; purely to remind the world they still exist and their suffering under blockades/restrictions on land, sea and air and other colonial impositions still continue. Even fuel for the power station there has been restricted by Israel, denying them electricity in the stifling summer ME heat.

  • Colin Sutherland

    And the justification offered makes no sense as it stands in any case. It never does. How does killing particular individuals prevent a military operation? Surely, if it were Islamic Jihad’s intention to carry out an attack against Israel, killing its members is only likely to galvanise it into making sure it makes good on that intention. The more likely truth is that the Israelis are seeking to provoke an attack, a standard procedure, not prevent one. They have an objective after all, despite their routine defensive posturing. That they also murdered children in the process is, of course, of no concern to them and may even serve to further ensure the result they are looking for. But if you think the progress of your career might depend on it, don’t dare say this or name them for all that they are.

    • John O'Dowd

      Absolutely correct Coiin:

      “The more likely truth is that the Israelis are seeking to provoke an attack, a standard procedure, not prevent one.”

      And given that they claim the sponsors of this target group is Iran – one can readily see the building of the ‘justification’ for the long-term ambition to go after that country (and its oil and its strategic location as a Eurasian pivot – not to metntion its command of the Gulph of Oman).

      It’s still the Halford MacKinder/ Grand Chessboard playbook in operation. Nor will it stop with Iran (even if we assume the mad proposition that that is a feasible plan)

  • El Dee

    The Bethlehem Doctrine ensures that no actual evidence is required that it will happen. The latest attack has done nothing except cause retaliation and deaths. This was what they knew would happen so I can only assume they are happy with the results. We are long past the point of accepting anything they say about ‘unintended consequences’ as they are full intended and anticipated. These are the actions of a rogue state and without the support of the US they would be far less comfortable acting this way..

  • Roger

    The USA and the UK do it all the time, across the conflicts created by their own neo-imperial adventures and lust for hydrocarbons.

    You are too kind to the USA and UK. If the US really needed hydrocarbons and killing children helped it to get them, there’d at least be a kind of sick logic to it. But the US is now a net exporter of hydrocarbons, as a result of fracking.
    As for “neo-imperial adventures”, the real imperialists at least administered the countries they took over, and even sometimes built infrastructure. But the Americans just destroy everything in sight, including (in the case of Libya) the irrigation infrastructure needed to keep the country inhabitable. Calling the US “neo-imperialist” is unfair to imperialists.
    I think that asking why a country like the USA or Israel kills civilians is a bit like asking why a psychopath murders people. Rational thought has nothing to do with it; it just seems to make them feel good.

    • Clark

      “If the US really needed hydrocarbons and killing children helped it to get them, there’d at least be a kind of sick logic to it. But the US is now a net exporter of hydrocarbons”

      But the US Empire spans the globe, and globally, the majority of liquid fuel still comes from the US’s allies the Gulf Monarchies:

      Plus, the shale oil / tight oil boom is unlikely to last:

      In particular, take a look at the graphic on that page, “horizontal well density in the Bakken core area,August 2021” – does it look to you like there’s another thirty years of oil under that ~3000 square miles of the US?

      You can’t control more liquid fuel without wars, and you can’t fight wars without liquid fuel. The financial-military system doesn’t merely require a supply of liquid fuel; it has to pay interest to secure investment, so it needs more and more liquid fuel each year. It’s killing civilisation and the very biosphere itself; a few children barely register against such stakes.

      Macrocosm dominates microcosm, ie. systems have logic and objectives all their own, independent of the humans which comprise them. So it’s the system itself that needs to be changed; deposing the current psychopaths would merely provoke the system to replace them with others.

      • Roger

        Clark, people have been predicting for the last century that the world is running out of oil. In 1939, the US Interior Department stated that US oil supplies would last only 13 years. In 1978, a CIA-sponsored report on oil said that “the world will have to depend on fields already discovered and not expect future exploration to yield any major new reserves”.

        All these estimates and predictions turned out to be rubbish; and there’s a reason for that. If an oil company has reserves good for the next 10 to 15 years, why would it waste money looking for new sources? Of course, it wouldn’t. Known reserves will never, except accidentally (as in the case of Saudi Arabia) exceed the time needed to explore and open up new fields. Whether the USA is wise to extract so much fuel is debatable in the context of climate change; that it has more than enough reserves for its own use for the foreseeable future is not.

        • Fat Jon

          The lust for occupying oil rich countries is not just about boosting supplies to a home or friendly ally market, but it is really about controlling global supplies. This is where they believe the real power lies.

          If Russian exports are sanctioned, that rules them out of the equation (or so the theory seems to go); and whoever has their hands on the taps of Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, etc., can certainly wield a lot of influence over many countries on the planet.

        • Clark

          Roger, natural resources don’t “run out” like the refined fuel in the carefully designed tank of a car; they deplete ie. they get more and more difficult to extract and make useable.

          Obviously, the most convenient, accessible resources get exploited first; it would never have occurred to anyone to drill kilometre-deep holes, use chemicals to fracture the underlying rock, and pump in water in the hope that some filthy, slightly flammable liquid might be displaced to the surface where it could be refined into useful fuel (ie. fracking). The first liquid fuels to be used were found oozing to the surface of their own accord, where they could be scooped up and burned. Such oil has long since been exhausted. Ever more such relatively clean oil was extracted by deeper and deeper drilling, but in the US, it went into decline (i.e. wells started drying up and had to be abandoned) in the 1970s.

          But by then the economic system was hopelessly addicted to liquid fuels; they had become a necessity. Other countries had more, but that left the world dependent upon those countries and their governments. Further reserves had been discovered in various more remote or offshore locations eg. the North Sea, but obviously, drilling from an ocean platform is more difficult, more expensive, and requires more fuel than drilling on land.

          This introduces the crucial concept of Energy Return On Energy Invested or EROEI. EROEI is a ratio: as a reserve is depleted, its EROEI falls. When, for any given reserve, it falls below 1:1, the reserve has become a liability rather than an asset and has to be abandoned – and that’s a physical liability; depleting reserves become financial liabilities long before this point.

          The EREOI for oil started out at about 100:1 for easily accessible, relatively clean oil. It fell to about 40:1 for the era of “conventional oil”, but production of conventional oil can no longer be increased; it has “peaked” and is now condemned to decline. This scarcity is what is making “unconventional” production financially viable – fracking, tar sands, shale oil and tight oil all have lower EREOI; they’re more demanding to extract and require far more refining. Natural liquid fuels have entered a death spiral:

      • Lapsed Agnostic

        At present, the Gulf Monarchies (Saudi, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman & Bahrain) account for less than 25% of global crude production, Clark.

        Global proven oil reserves (not including shale / tight oil or the Canadian oil sands) amount to over 1.5 trillion barrels – enough for over 50 years’ supply at current rates of use. However, most of those reserves are unlikely to ever be used as people throughout the world switch to electric cars powered (mostly) by photo-voltaic panels on their roofs – and not only for environmental and/or legal reasons. Assuming that panels last for 25 years, currently in southern Britain – one of the dullest countries in the world – it’s over *nine* times cheaper to run an electric car on solar than a petrol-driven one.

        • Clark

          “Global proven oil reserves (not including shale / tight oil or the Canadian oil sands) amount to over 1.5 trillion barrels”

          Thanks; I’m surprised there is as much as that. Are you sure that figure isn’t inflated, and how much of it is effectively under US control? Certainly OPEC seem to be having trouble increasing supply; see my link to Do The Math above. Shortages are widespread; lots of relevant links from this Twitter account:

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply, Clark. The state-owned (or state-controlled) oil companies in the Middle East, Russia, China etc are likely exaggerating their proven (90%+ chance of economic recovery with current technology) reserves somewhat, but any shortfall will be more than made up for by proven reserves of shale / tight oil and tar sands.

            Strictly speaking, the US only effectively controls the reserves on its territory (40-50 billion barrels conventional, 70-80 billion barrels shale / tight oil), i.e. 3-6% of global reserves. It may have been able to exert some influence on the Gulf States, but the main reason that they’ve kept pumping all these years, rather than restricting supply and watching prices rocket, is because they didn’t want the US and other net consumers switching to other forms of energy for transportation, e.g. bioethanol as is used in Brazil, or coal-to-liquids as was done in South Africa during apartheid. As the wily Saudi oil minister Sheikh Yamani (allegedly) said in the 70’s: the Stone Age didn’t end because people ran out of stones.

          • Natasha

            – “Global proven oil reserves (not including shale / tight oil or the Canadian oil sands) amount to over 1.5 trillion barrels”

            Such numbers are irrelevant in face of depletion on our pale blue dot, the only known planet in the universe to harbour life i.e. ‘peak everything’ i.e. we are now very close to the point in time where it takes too much energy and raw materials to support the investments needed to continue extracting such materials and energy to produce goods consumers can afford i.e. global collapse is beginning to happen now.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply Natasha. At the risk of repeating myself, you don’t need to use fossil fuels to make ‘solar (or wind) energy flow harvesting machines’ because you can use biofuels like biodiesel instead. In case you haven’t already seen it, I’ve replied to your reply to my comment about the land areas required for crops on the first page of comments on the ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ blogpost, and included a link to a YouTube video from George Monbiot which you may find interesting.

        • Clark

          Lapsed Agnostic (August 9, 12:21), “over 50 years’ supply at current rates of use” translates to how long, given constantly increasing extraction rates? –

          Also knock off the 10%, ie. 100% minus the “90%+ chance of economic recovery with current technology”. And the “likely exaggeration” you mentioned. And reserves outside the US sphere of influence.

          But most significantly, remember that without improvements in extraction technology, peak occurs when half the reserve has been extracted, after which follows terminal decline. And with technological improvement, we put off decline for a while, but then fall off the Seneca cliff:

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply Clark. Even though the last two years have been affected by the pandemic, I’d say that global oil consumption has probably peaked – and if it hasn’t, it almost certainly will have done in 5-10 years’ time.

            As regards oil in the ground: don’t forget that there’s not just proven reserves, but also ‘probable reserves’ and ‘possible reserves’ (which have a 50% and a 10% chance respectively of being economically recovered with current technology). I don’t have figures for this, but it must work out at several hundred billion barrels even after applying the percentage cut-offs. Then there’s giant fields which haven’t been discovered yet, mostly off-shore. But as I stated above, as the shift to renewables and nuclear accelerates, most of this is highly likely to be staying where it is.

          • Clark

            Lapsed Agnostic, yes ‘probable’ and ‘possible’ reserves are a good point. I hope you’re right that they’ll be left in the ground, but so far CO2 concentration is still rising faster every year. I doubt there are many supergiant fields left to be discovered seeing as even reserves under the Arctic have been known about for decades.

            But the question was: the US and its allies spend inordinate sums on subversion, military dominance and wars, apparently to control hydrocarbons. Why, if they could just buy it?

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply Clark. There’ll no doubt be a few undiscovered supergiant fields in ultra-deep water (> 2000 metres). Mostly US foreign policy isn’t about oil, especially since shale / tight oil has come on stream. It did form part of the reason for the invasion of Iraq – but only part. It’s more about how the US sees itself as the world’s policeperson. For example, consider the situation in South Korea (a rich country, with virtually no oil but millions of young men to call on in time of war) which has 50,000 US troops on its soil – all being paid for by the US taxpayer.

    • Wrong Russian

      It is not US as the country or the population that needs the hydrocarbons, but a small group making money using socialized cost / privatized profit scheme.

      Taxpayers pay for the army and weapons, some country gets destroyed and somebody with the right connections gets access to the resources for a low price, eventually selling it back to the taxpayers for a normal, or, if the destruction also creates scarcity, for a high price.

  • johnf

    A small chink of possible light.

    Moscow has invited a high level Palestinian delegation to next weeks Conference on International Security. Over a hundred other countries are attending.

    Recently Lavrov has been receiving pop star treatment from African, Middle Eastern, South Eastern Asian and Latin American countries, who feel freed as they watch the collective West sink impotently into the Sanctions and Ukraine quagmires.

    Israel has got itself diplomatically into a complete mess. Two months ago there was a huge internal debate on who they should support over Ukraine – Russia or America. Putin, among Russian Israelis (of which there are millions), is very popular. Israel wavered back and forth. Then I suspect, after immense pressure from the Jewish-American lobby – the guarantor of billions of aid to Israel – the decision was taken to back The West.

    Not only is the international power of The West visibly waning, but relations between Russia and Israel have become fraught. Over Syria, over Jewish organizations in Russia, over Israeli ‘volunteers’ fighting in the Ukrainian army. A lot of Israelis are regretting the decision to not remain neutral.

    Which means at last that the Palestinians could be gaining support from a lot of up-and-coming, economically powerful and newly self-confident nations – Russia, China, Brazil, Middle East, African – while Israel is stuck with the increasingly powerless and diplomatically impotent West.

    For years now Palestine has been the foremost symbol to the non-Western world of their impotence and helplessness. That all could be changing.

  • Mighty Drunken

    “Nobody can tell you how many children have been killed by drone strikes or “targeted” missiles and bombings in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, Yemen or Libya.”

    Well, we won’t ever run out of terrorists.

  • Barofsky

    Excellent essay Craig! Why, oh why are you one of the very, very few progressive voices to express your outrage at the actions of the Barbarians? Is the propaganda so complete as to mask even human emotions?

  • nevermind

    Thanks for this account of another atrocity in Gaza.
    Why now?
    Well Lapid Yair and Benny Ganz want to win the next election and this show of strength was well planned, imho, down to the prepared iron-dome readiness taking out the inevitable missiles after Israel’s blatant initial attack on Gaza.
    This is what this violence is about.
    ‘Look at us securing the lives of Israeli citizens against the murderous attacks with fire crackers. We taken out 2 of their Islamic Jihad leaders and killed 15 future terrorists/innocent children.’

    Watch their disgusting election slogans talking of security and try not to be sick.

  • Jack

    Yes, there were hardly any headlines and of course no condemnations against Israel by the west during the last assault by Israel. Where was EU leader Borell that he has time to criticize every move Russia makes in Ukraine? Where was Biden? Oh…

    Israel ‘Saved Countless Lives’, Biden Says

    How can these people believe they have any credibility concering condemnations of Russia? When they themselves have armed and supported Israel for decades, regardless if it is war, annexation or building nuclear weapons.

    How could it be that Western journalists do not cover and condemn Western leaders for their corrupt behavior?

  • JeremyT

    Pre-emptive murder indeed.
    As the international intrigue hots up over Israel’s negotiation to sell Gaza’s gas in a deal with the EU, Hezbollah’s threatening posture over Lebanon’s gas with its September deadline reveals these deaths to be just another symptom of hydrocarbon supply chaos.


    The energy supply complacency shown in comments above is certainly enough to keep one awake.

  • Lapsed Agnostic

    Bit late on this, but this was the response of the UK Foreign Secretary (and most likely its next prime minister) to an unprovoked attack by Israel on Gaza, in which several civilians (including children) were killed and many more injured:

    That’s really something else – kind of makes you nostalgic for the days when the UK government used to ‘both sides’ things to an extent re Israel – Palestine. Note: by ‘casualties on both sides’, I presume she’s referring to unconfirmed reports of Palestinian civilians being killed and injured by misfiring Hamas & Islamic Jihad rockets, as well as some Israeli citizens sustaining minor injuries running to bomb shelters, with others being treated for anxiety.

  • SleepingDog

    In the well-argued Kill Chain: Drones and the Rise High-Tech Assassins, author Andrew Cockburn also notes that past ‘leader-assassination’ programmes (possibly based on deeply-flawed hierarchical ideologies and ‘Great Man (Occasionally Woman) Views of History’) have been counterproductive. Targets are typically replaced by younger, hungrier, smarter (possibly more tech-savvy) and more aggressive guys out for revenge, in the sources quoted. I’ve still got a book on Israel’s assassination programme on my to-read list.