Posts Tagged ‘Jihadi John’

Drone Operators Called Children ‘Fun-Sized Terrorists’

November 23, 2015

This is disgusting on so many levels.

Earlier this evening I blogged about the Tory bloodlust applauding the killing of Mohamed ‘Jihadi John’ Emwazee, the brutal Islamist thug responsible for ‘executing’ al-Qaeda’s prisoners for the sick little propaganda videos by drone. I pointed out that, while Emwazee was a murderer and war criminal, who got pretty much exactly what he deserved, this does not mean that drone strikes are an effective weapon against terrorism. I pointed out in that article that critics of the drone programme have stated that their use tends to increase support for terrorists, like the Taliban in Pakistan. Also, drones themselves are not always accurate. The machines home in on cell phone signals, for example, so that most of their victims aren’t terrorists themselves, but may simply be their relatives or those, who happen to be there at the time. Moreover, The Young Turks reported that the programme had been criticised as an instrument of extra-judicial execution of American citizens, like the al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, by the American state. Awlaki was killed by a drone strike in the Yemen. He was an American citizen, but was effectively executed without trial.

The video below is from an American show, Democracy Now. It’s of an interview with a whistleblower, Michael Haas, who revealed the callous indifference to human life amongst the drone operators. Haas states that the operators called the children killed in drone strikes, ‘fun-sized terrorists’. They rationalised the murders by comparing them to grass. ‘You have to cut the grass before it gets too tall’ was the way the saw it. And everything was done to deny their humanity in order to make the killing of children easier.

There’s also a report on this by the atheist website, Secular Talk. They report that the drone operators also used to refer to children as TITs – Terrorists In Training. Haas himself was concerned about the way the drone operators seemed determined to kill indiscriminately, regarding everyone as a target. He was an instructor in the programme, and at one point pulled one of the men he was training off the console because he was upset at the man’s bloodlust. He told him that it wasn’t a video game, and that the people killed stayed dead.

If this is account is true, it was the action of a proper, good soldier. If you watched the programme on Sandhurst, the British military academy a year or so ago, you’ll have seen how the British army is concerned about the morality of warfare and killing. It’s part of their studies, and I’ve been told that the programme accurately reflected the course’s concern for the proper conduct of what is the brutal and horrific business of killing other human beings.

Haas was, unfortunately, not praised or commended for his moral concerns. He was instead punished. After he left the army, he states that he was hooked on ‘bath salts’ and cocaine. He also stated that for every four terrorists they killed, they created ten more.

From his evidence it appears that the use of drones is both deeply immoral, and having precisely the opposite effect of what is intended.

Now the insurgents in Iraq have used children as soldiers in combat with the occupying allied troops. There’s a horrifying description of a firefight in Iraq between the Americans and a group of insurgents in the first chapter of the book, Falling Off The Edge. During the battle, couple of insurgents took refuge in a nearby house, and threw outside a seven year old boy. Lying on the ground was an unexploded RPG round, which had been fired by one of the American troopers. The boy looked like he was planning to move towards and throw the grenade. The American soldiers told him to move away, and not pick up the round. The boy reached towards the grenade, and so was shot by the troopers.

A seven year old kid, killed because he was sent to do their job by ruthless, exploitative cowards. From the description, it doesn’t seem that the American troopers in this instance had a choice. If they had not shot the lad, he would have thrown the grenade, killing them.

The drone operators are in a different position. They aren’t personally threatened by the people they kill. They aren’t physically present, and they certainly don’t have to kill children or innocents. But about 990 per cent of the people killed in drone strikes aren’t terrorists.

Secular Talk concluded their piece by demanding that the drone programme be discontinued until the American forces clean it up. I don’t share their anti-religious views, but they’re right about that. It should come to an end now, before even more innocents are killed, and more people radicalised from it.

Tory Bloodlust, Corbyn, and the Drone Strike against ‘Jihadi John’

November 23, 2015

Okay, this is going to be another article commenting on the current situation in the Middle East. I’m sorry about this, if you’re bored with the subject, guys. Please stay with me. This stuff’s important. But I guess you already know that very well already.

Last week it was reported that the Americans had killed Mohamed Emwazee, aka ‘Jihadi John’, in a drone strike. Emwazee was the British ‘executioner’ with a London accent, shown murdering prisoners in ISIS’ propaganda videos. This was a subject of celebration, with David Cameron appearing on TV to praise the Americans for having done a good job well done, and make various comments about British-American co-operation, intelligence-sharing and so forth.

And then the right-wing press over here decided that they were going to attack Corbyn for not being sufficiently militaristic. The good blogger over at Zelo Street has written a very good piece about this at http://zelo-street.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/jihadi-john-bloodlust-exposed.html. Among the pack baying for Corbyn’s blood was the editor of the Sun, Tom Newton Dunn, Dan Hodges and Toby Young at the Torygraph, Paul Staines of Guido Fawkes and Andrew Neil, known to readers of Private Eye as ‘Brillo Pad’. They attacked Corbyn for saying that it would have been better if Emwazee had been tried in a court of law. This wasn’t enough for the above rightists, despite the fact that Corbyn had prefixed it with a statement that ‘Jihadi John’ had been held to account for his brutal and callous crimes’. Not quite the soft statement the Tories were making it out to be, but still not bloodthirsty enough for them.

The article in Zelo Street makes it clear that capturing ‘Jihadi John’ would have been exactly the right course, given the precedents for it. The Israelis captured and tried Adolf Eichmann, one of the Nazis responsible for the Holocaust. There’s a quote by Eichmann in which he states that he had absolutely no regrets about what he did. I can’t remember the exact wording, but it’s something on the lines that only weaklings regret what they have done. It’s one of those noxious statements that make you think that however the Israelis killed him, whether by firing squad or hanging or whatever, it was too good for the b*stard. The Israelis would have been justified shooting him out of hand. But they didn’t. They put him on trial and had him convicted according to the rule of law. Just as the Europeans and Americans did with Radovan Kardzic, one of the Serb generals responsible for horrendous war crimes in Bosnia. He was captured, and tried at the Hague for his crimes against humanity.

And in fact, there are a number of other, very good reasons why it is better to capture and try individuals like Emwazee, rather than killing them in drone strikes.

Firstly, as a way of gaining hearts and minds, drone strikes are counterproductive. Where they’re being used against Taliban enclaves in Pakistan, they’ve actually managed to increase support for the Islamists. Part of this, supposedly, is that the local people feel it’s a cowardly method of fighting. The drones are remotely operated by someone hundreds or even thousands of miles away from the battle field.

Secondly, as a matter of simple military precision, they aren’t very good. I’ve put up a report about them from The Young Turks, which showed that rather than precisely targeting their victims, they simply home in on their mobile phone signals. The result has been that the wrong people have often been killed, simply because they were holding the intended victim’s phone at the time of the attack. This has included the mother of the Jihadis. Those killed in the strikes have also been bystanders, who may not have had anything to do with the victims except having been standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The third argument against them is perhaps the most serious. Many liberal Americans have opposed drone strikes, such as that which killed Anwar Awlaki, on the grounds that are a form of extra-judicial execution. Or assassination, if you prefer. Anwar Awlaki was the Islamist preacher killed in a drone strike in Yemen. He was a deeply unpleasant piece of work, having preached murderous jihad and planned numerous terrorism offences. He was also an American citizens, and many Americans were upset about the way the president – in this case, Obama, had ordered his death without having him caught and tried.

All of this also applies to the drone strike against ‘Jihadi John’ Emwazee. And you don’t have to have any illusions about how brutal and thuggish Emwazee was to be concerned about the manner of his death, and the implications it has for global justice. Zelo Street states that he was scum. He was. Utterly. The man butchered innocents and boasted about it, with no remorse whatsoever. He pretty much got what he deserved, at least if his own low standards were applied to himself. But justice demanded that he be captured and tried.

As for Dunn, Brillo Pad, Young, Staines and the rest of them, don’t expect them to make reasoned, nuanced criticism of Corbyn. They aren’t. They’re frightened, and they’ve decided that the best way to destroy him is to make him out to be a dangerous subversive, who supports the IRA, ISIS and other terrorist organisations. Even if he doesn’t quite say what they want you to believe he said. That the ‘narrative’ they’re using, and they’re going to stick to it, according to Goebbels’ maxim that if you use a lie big enough for long enough, then it becomes the truth.

Vox Political Attacks Islamophobic Survey in The Sun

November 23, 2015

Murdoch’s leading populist paper has been living down to its reputation again. It’s published the results of a survey, which it claims shows that 20 per cent of British Muslims support ISIS.

This is nonsense, and highly dangerous, malicious nonsense at that. Mike’s written an excellent article taking the survey apart at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/11/23/no-one-in-five-british-muslims-do-not-support-isis/. The article shows how the questions are too vague for anyone to draw that conclusion. It appears that the survey asked people whether they sympathised with Muslims fighting in the Middle East.

Mike rightly points out that you can sympathise with someone, without approving of what they’re doing. General De Gaul famously said that he understood why the Algerians were fighting for their independence. In that sense, he sympathised with them, and many patriotic Algerians thought that meant that he would end the war and negotiate a peace. But he didn’t, he carried on fighting until Algeria was lost completely.

Furthermore, the Middle East is now a cockpit of groups, sects and nations, all fighting each other. ISIS are merely one, albeit the nastiest. Sympathy for those fighting in the Middle East can mean sympathy for ISIS and other Salafist groups, like al-Qaeda. Or it could mean sympathy for those fighting for their homelands against ISIS, like Hamas, Hizbollah, the Shi’ah in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, or the Kurds. There have been reports on the news of western blokes, who have gone to fight against ISIS and the like in the Middle East. One of these was a Kurd; another was a White guy, who was horrified at ISIS’ butchery. Now most of ISIS’ victims are Muslims, and I’d say that it was highly likely this fellow had Muslim friends. If he has, then they presumably would respond that they sympathised with someone fighting in the Middle East. This would not, however, mean that they supported ISIS: quite the opposite. They would sympathise with someone who was actively fighting ISIS.

The Long History of Racism at the Sun

Now let’s put this into some kind of perspective. Unfortunately, it’s just about proverbial that the Sun is a nasty, vile racist rag. It’s got a long, long history of complaints about racism, including judgement against it from the Press Complaints Commission. This includes not just Blacks, but also Arabs. A decade or so ago, they ran a cartoon with the caption that ‘even pigs are complaining about being compared to Arabs’. That got them prosecuted by the Commission and an entry in Private Eye, which noted the number of complaints of racism against the paper that have been upheld. It was something like 25, and that, as I said, was nearly a decade ago.

And this is not casual racism either. The hatred being peddled here is part of a carefully crafted, political strategy to produce a Conservative consensus. It looks like the old Neo-Con trick of finding an enemy, who can be presented as the enemy of the West and so produce social solidarity at home. And in the case of the Neo-Cons, this was first the USSR and Communism, and now Islam, according to the Huntingdon thesis of the clash of civilisations.

It’s the old Nazi strategy of finding an outgroup you can demonise, in order to gain maximum approval for your party and their plans for social cleansing. Last week, Zelo Street put up an article attacking some of the columnists over at the Telegraph blogs for criticising Corbyn for not being sufficiently bloodthirsty over the death of ‘Jihadi John’. These included the usual right-winger, including Mark Steyn. Steyn is almost quintessentially Neo-Con. He is bitterly critical of Islam, and pushes the ‘Eurabia’ nonsense. This forecasts that in a few decades, Europe will be overrun by Muslims, with the indigenous, non-Muslim population pushed into ghettos. He is also extremely right-wing in his domestic policies, a true low-taxation, small-government Conservative, who has consistently advocated cutting tax and welfare in order to lower the budget deficit.

To my mind, this is pretty much the same direction the Sun’s article today is coming from. And it’s not just nasty, it’s actively dangerous. Mike points out in his article that attacks on Muslims has escalated by about 300 per cent since the Paris attacks. Most of these assaults have been on women and girls wearing traditional Islamic clothing.

That would be bad enough, but it becomes even more chilling when you consider the horrifying anti-Muslim policies now being mouthed by Donald Trump. Trump has apparently decided that he wants all Muslims to be registered and carry some form of identification.

And you’re right. This is exactly like the Jews – and other political, racial and religious groups in Nazi Germany. Somebody from NBC asked Trump this exact question – how did his policy differ from that of the Nazis?

And chillingly, Trump didn’t have an answer. He just kept on repeating, ‘You tell me. You tell me.’

This bigot is the Republican front-runner.

And this is how Nazism started. Not by overtly persecuting the Jews, but by beginning the discrimination quietly. And when they were taken to the extermination camps, the German people were told that they were being ‘resettled in the east’.

And just as the Nazis did that to the Jews, so they rounded up their political opponents, and forced them to wear identifying badges. Communists, trade unionists, Socialists, Liberals, even Conservative non-Nazis, like Conrad Adenauer, who became post-War Germany’s first president, were ‘taken into protective custody’, as the pretext went. The Nazis claimed they weren’t persecuting them, but taking them under arrest for their own protection.

This is terrifying stuff. I hope Trump doesn’t get in, or if he does, that the vast majority of decent Americans won’t stand for that nonsense and block it. But if he did, I can’t see Cameron or Osbo doing anything but copying it over here. Of course, at first it’ll be entirely voluntary, you know, for the Muslims’ own protection.

I don’t know whether the Sun wants Muslim to be compulsorily registered. It might be too much for them, but considering how frothingly extreme they’ve always been, I wouldn’t put it past them.

This is a nasty, dangerous, disgusting piece of hate, and the Scum should be properly vilified for it.