“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

ISIS plays US - Almost no news organization covers the killing of American troops in Afghanistan - The Taliban can kill US troops without our headlining the fact - But the slaughter of an innocent captive by ISIS is front page news

Media, Politicians should stop Letting ISIL Manipulate them

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By Juan Cole
Ever since George W. Bush invaded Iraq and created the circumstances under which al-Qaeda could take root and flourish there from 2003 forward, al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia (which later styled itself the “Islamic State of Iraq”) has taken captives and has beheaded them on film. It was doing thisin 2004
These acts of public brutality against a helpless individual are intended in part to announce that despite their military superiority, Westerners are not 10 feet tall and can be cut down to size. They announce leadership and encourage angry young men to join ISIL rather than one of its many rivals. They also push Western publics to demand reprisals. Reprisals in turn can be used by the radical group as proof to its followers that it really is being unjustly targeted by the big bad superpower. It is a passive aggressive form of terrorism.
For these reasons, I don’t typically talk about kidnappings or beheadings of captives at this blog. It is an artificial phenomenon carried out precisely for people to talk about ISIL.
In the UK, the killing of the aid worker David Haines by ISIL comes at a time when the government is divided. Foreign Minister Philip Hammond had said last week that the UK army military would not be aerially bombing ISIL. The PM David Cameron heard about this and contradicted it publicly. This show of disunity on the part of a prominent America ally is the sort of thing the “Islamic State” group is going for. Syria could actually be bombed in part because of ISIL’s barbarous action.
It seems to me that editors should refuse to play along with this sick game.
The fact is that almost no news organization covers the killing of American troops in Afghanistan any more. If it happens it is on page 17, and this had been the case for years. So let’s get this straight. The Taliban can actually kill US troops without our headlining the fact. But the slaughter of an innocent captive is front page news. These are editorial decisions, not acts of nature.


  1. Unfortunately the dramatic beheadings, intended to provoke media coverage both for their grotesqueness and because they confirm the dominant media narrative of Muslims as barbarous savages, generate precisely the response ISIL seeks. Expansion of bombing campaigns inevitably generate an abundance of local victims ISIL, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or the villain of the moment can in turn use to generate recruits and support. Of course this facilitates expansion of conflict and assures there will be additional reporters or aid workers or aircrews in line for beheading. Both the victims of bombing and the victims of beheading thus play their sad, grisly parts in furthering a cycle of death and destruction assuring the continuance of conflict for the benefit of others.
    The same is true of Israel and Hamas. Generally forgotten is that at one time Israel supported Hamas as an alternative to the PLO. More recently, however, it has been useful to have Hamas as an enemy to be trotted out at Israel’s convenience. Three Israeli teenagers murdered? Must have been Hamas, a response generating hundreds of arrests, inevitable killings, and the certainty of retaliatory rocket fire. That in turn provides the rationale for a major attack on Gaza. That Prime Minister Netanyahu knew Hamas was not involved in the killings is beside the point. He sought an opportunity to mobilize domestic support for a confrontation providing cover and legitimacy for further expansion on the West Bank while generating pressure for collaboration by the United States. He got what he wanted on both fronts and now leaves a wounded but defiant Hamas to be used again in the future. The rest of us are pawns both parties of the conflict use to stir outrage and support against the barbarities of the other. American bombing of Syria will produce more recruits for ISIL and more advances and beheadings by ISIL will assure demands for expanded military operations in the Middle East.

    1. Jack: That Prime Minister Netanyahu knew Hamas was not involved in the killings is beside the point.

      Hamas Admits To Kidnapping And Killing Israeli Teens
      August 22, 201412:06 AM ET

      A senior Hamas leader has said the group carried out the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June — the first time anyone from the Islamic militant group has said it was behind an attack that helped spark the current war in the Gaza Strip.

      Saleh Arouri told a conference in Turkey on Wednesday that Hamas's military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, carried out what he described as a "heroic operation" with the broader goal of sparking a new Palestinian uprising.
      "It was an operation by your brothers from the al-Qassam Brigades," he said, saying Hamas hoped to exchange the youths for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
      Hamas has repeatedly praised the kidnappings, but Arouri, the group's exiled West Bank leader, is the first member to claim responsibility. Israel has accused Hamas of orchestrating the kidnappings and identified two operatives as the chief suspects. The two men remain on the loose.

      Arouri's admission shows "Hamas has no qualms whatsoever about targeting innocent civilians," said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev.

      Gaza War: Hamas Admits Kidnapping Three Israeli Teens (NBC News)
      Hamas admits kidnapping 3 Israeli teens in West Bank (CBS News)
      Mashaal admits Hamas members kidnapped and killed the 3 Israeli yeshiva students (JP)

    3. Who do we believe, Hamas the terrorist anarchists, or the Israeli police.

      I'll bet on the Israeli police, for delivering the 'straight' story. The story that is not spun by propagandists.
      Propagandists on the Hamas side who told us that the electrical generating plant was 'destroyed'.
      "O"rdure reported extensively that statements made by Hamas were not to be believed.
      That their statements were baseless propaganda and that Hamas could never be trusted to tell the truth.

      Which is it ...
      Who is to be believed, Hamas or the Israeli police.

    4. Jon Donnison

      Israeli police MickeyRosenfeld tells me men who killed 3 Israeli teens def lone cell, hamas affiliated but not operating under leadership

    5. The facts are clear to those who wish to see.

      Those that are haters of Israel? FUCK EM.

      But to those that come here and profess integrity? The facts speak loudly and clearly.

      Hamas kidnapped those 3 jews, 2 Israelis and one American... Butchered by Hamas Jihadists...

      It should piss off every loyal red blooded American that an American teenager was kidnapped and executed in cold blood, executed with a bullet to the back of the brain. Cold blooded murder, no excuses, no fog of war, no war at all...

      Just bang bang, blowing out the American teenager's brain. Screw the 2 Israeli kids they have no value here. But an American teenager had his brains blow out by Hamas. And they admit it..

      Why reprint, PROVABLE lies that are nothing but slander?

      Hmmm intent speaks loudly...

  2. Well, the fact is: there's an election coming up, and Americans like to see their military bombing Arabs.

    And, what the hell, there's no doubt the assholes Need killing; so . . . . . . . . . . . .



    Sunday 14 September 2014

    Islamic State: Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows across the Middle East

    In Iraq the Iranian controlled Shia militias, which used to specialise in killing American troops, have relieved the Shia town of Amerli, long besieged by Isis

    The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) is like an Islamic Khmer Rouge and deals with the rest of the world through violence.
    But a slogan of Isis is that “media is half of jihad”, so events like the ritual murder of David Haines are geared to show strength and dominate the headlines, obscuring any sense that Isis’s many enemies are making headway through American airstrikes.

    President Barack Obama was last week speaking about the plans of the US and its allies to combat Isis, saying they intended “to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group”.

    For the moment, they are long way from these ambitions and will be doing well if Isis can be contained within the confines of its Caliphate, which already stretches from the Iranian border to the outskirts of Aleppo.

    Fear of Isis is producing strange bed-fellows: in Iraq the Iranian controlled Shia militias, which used to specialise in killing American troops, have relieved the Shia town of Amerli, long besieged by Isis, the militia’s advance made possible by US airstrikes. Hundreds of officers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are embedded in the militias as leaders and advisers without Washington making any objection.


    1. {...}
      The line-up of opponents of Isis is strange and not at all what it appears to be. There is a core group of NATO members including Turkey that is a sort of supporters club for those opposing Isis. By highly publicised killings, Isis is showing that it will retaliate against any of these countries and make them pay a price. With Isis holding 49 hostages from the Turkish consulate in Mosul, Turkey says it dare not do too much, even if it wanted to do.

      Within the region, US Secretary of State John Kerry has been rushing from capital to capital putting together a coalition of Sunni states pledged to fight Isis. Some local observers are calling this “the coalition of the unwilling” since its members are cautious about confronting Isis.  Mr Kerry has been in Cairo and before that in Jeddah and Ankara, but he is receiving only vague promises of backing. Saudi Arabia has agreed to host a base to be used for training Syrian opposition fighters who are supposedly going to go to war with both Isis and Syrian government forces. Turkey will not allow the US to use its big base at Incirlik to launch air strikes. Jordan senses its vulnerability if it is in the frontline of opposition to Isis which has Jordanian sympathizers.

      If Mr Kerry has any sense he will be satisfied with this limp-wristed level of regional support. After all, Isis and the Sunni jihadi movement in Iraq and Syria could not have come to dominate the anti-government opposition in both countries without sustained backing from Saudi Arabia and the Sunni monarchies of the Gulf.

      The US will be pleased if these countries stop aiding Isis with money and propaganda. Having them on board may protect any anti-Isis campaign from being seen as an anti-Sunni crusade since the beneficiaries are likely to be Shia or Alawite governments. Turkey is being asked to close its 510-mile long border with Syria ending the free flow of personnel and equipment so important to the rise of Isis. Lastly, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf oil states and Jordan have tribal and financial links to the Sunni in Iraq and Syria whom they can seek to turn against Isis – though this will be not easy to do when dealing with movement specializing in ferocious retaliation.

      In addition to these cautious or reluctant allies the US has states and movements who are actively fighting Isis on the ground, but many are long-demonized enemies of America and the UK. One commentator calls this “the un-coalition of the willing” because those willing to oppose Isis in Iraq include the Iraqi army and the pesh merga of the Kurdistan regional government, but the most potent fighting force on the government side is the Shia militias, most though not all of  which are led or advised by Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers. Iran is crucial for the defence of the Baghdad government. Mr Kerry knows this but was grandly declaring at the weekend that Iran could not join his anti-Isis coalition.

      In Syria the situation is even messier since the most powerful opponent of Isis is the Syrian army of President Bashar al-Assad whom the US and its allies are supposedly trying to weaken and displace. Washington, London and Paris are publicly aghast at the idea of undertaking a public U-turn and allying themselves against Isis, but they may not have a choice but to cooperate with him covertly. “What do you think intelligence services are for?” commented one former diplomat.

      Other effective opponents of Isis in Syria include the PYD, the Syrian Kurdish movement which the US and Europe still regard as “terrorist”. Part of the Turkish Kurd PKK, these fighters were highly effective in fighting Isis in Iraq. Hezbollah of Lebanon have also been central in battling the Jihadis. If Mr Obama and David Cameron are serious about acquiring local partners to stop Isis then they must look to the members of “un-coalition” who will do most of the fighting. It is not going to be easy.
      ‘The Jihadis Return: Isis and the New Sunni Uprising’ by Patrick Cockburn, published by OR Books, is available at

  4. It is unbelievable how we can be so badly played by PC and youtube. We fought the Nazis with Stalin and his murderous Soviet forces as allies. The Iranians, Hezbollah, Kurds, Mahdi Armyi and the Syrian military are on the ground, have the experience and the cred to take on ISIS. Let them. Help them. Support them. There was not one Shiite that attacked WTC. They were Sunni and Saudis.

    We are told here often that the Israelis killed American troops for the greater good of Israel. If we are capable of swallowing that, then let’s be pragmatic and accept help where we can get it for the greater good of US interests. If killing ISIS is in US interests Then let’s kill them . Tell the Ass stabbers, Turks, Egyptians, Saudis and Israelis to politely fuck off and don’t fuck with us while we settle some scores.

    1. Create a safe haven and let the shits and the suns slug it out.

      Drill oil and natural gas and promise ukraine and europe stable supplies...

  5. The iconic line from Boardwalk Empire is, “You can’t be half a gangster”. Well, you can’t be half a superpower, if we want to play the game, play it and play it to win.

    1. Ah, Obama doesn't want to play "Empire." He, really, doesn't want to play at all. But, circumstances being what they are, he's almost forced to take some military action.

      So, he muddies up the water by bringing a bunch of other nations, more or less, haphazardly, or whatnot, into the game, and fuzzes up the "U.S. at war with Sunnis" picture.

      The job in Iraq, thankfully, is an easy peasy one, outside of Mosul, and Fallujah, anyway, and there is absolutely No pressure from the clock.

      So, he takes his time cleaning out the crazies in Iraq, and kills a few headcutters in Syria to appease the RW Nutjobs, and Media Genii, and turns the headache over to the next prez, who, for all he's now concerned, could be the queen of Egypt.

      It just t'isn't all that big a thang.

    2. Mr Obama's chief financial benefactor is Lester Crown, of General Dynamics, Crown Publishing along with being a leading American Zionist of some renown.

      Let's look at the realities on the ground, vis a vie Mr Crown's perspective.
      The manufacturing of M1 Abrams tanks in Egypt has not skip a beat.
      The Israeli "Yinon Plan" which has been in the works since 1982 is well implemented.
      Syria, Iraq, Libya and Lebanon are all fragmented along sectarian/ethnic lines in each of those countries.
      Egypt has become Israel's defacto ally, with the Muslim Brotherhood decapitated and the surviving stragglers driven underground. The US has stood by quietly while Israel and Saudi Arabia cemented an alliance.

      Mr Obama has played "Empire" quite well.
      From the perspective of Mr Crown.


    3. Everything is progressing pretty much according to the "Plan"...
      ... that is why the President can spend so much time on the golf course.

    4. Whether the US is winning or losing ....
      Depends upon who is keeping score.

      Where the "Goals" are and how points are scored.

      There is a more than viable case to be made that US interests have been advanced quite handily during the past six years.
      At a comparatively low cost in US blood and treasure. The perceived enemies of the US have not prospered, while the foreign allies of the US and its internal special interests have.

    5. When Jack rat can't add to the conversation, bring up: Israeli/Jewish apartheid, abortion, gay sex, Lester Crown, history, fakeness and what not.

    6. Jack the Rat passes endless gas.

    7. I think I shall start calling him Rat -o rooter.

      He is always in the sewage lagoon stirring up muck from the bottom.

  6. The "Media" is not being manipulated, it is part of the cabal doing the manipulating.

    The "Media" is not a faceless, mindless organism. It is the property of men, a tool to be utilized.
    And it is being used.

  7. Ah, wonderful.

    Lester The Molester has returned.

    I am glad of this. I have missed the old boy.

    It is about time.

    Say, take a look at Drudge right now.

    Hillary has chicken claws all over her face.

    She looks to be nearly ready for the rest home, not the White House.

    You mean to tell me she really is broke, and can't afford a simple facelift?

  8. >>>This slow unwinding has been the work of generations. For the most part, it has been understood — rightly in my view, and this is not really an argument I want to have right now — as a narrative of progress. A society that was exclusive and repressive is now freer and more open. But there may be other less unequivocally happy consequences. It seems that, in doing away with patriarchal authority, we have also, perhaps unwittingly, killed off all the grown-ups.

    A little over a week after the conclusion of the first half of the last “Mad Men” season, the journalist and critic Ruth Graham published a polemical essay in Slate lamenting the popularity of young-adult fiction among fully adult readers. Noting that nearly a third of Y.A. books were purchased by readers ages 30 to 44 (most of them presumably without teenage children of their own), Graham insisted that such grown-ups “should feel embarrassed about reading literature for children.” Instead, these readers were furious. The sentiment on Twitter could be summarized as “Don’t tell me what to do!” as if Graham were a bossy, uncomprehending parent warning the kids away from sugary snacks toward more nutritious, chewier stuff.<<<

    The Death of Adulthood in American Culture

    By A. O. SCOTTSEPT. 11, 2014

  9. The bag pipe concert turned out to be quite good.

  10. I've read Obama is on a search for moderate Moslems in Syria. Is this really true?

    He should spend time searching for Sasquatch instead.

    If he were to find one of these critters he would be remembered forever.

  11. Portugal too is on the ISIS must have list -

  12. Hamas has long record of kidnapping to free Palestinian prisoners
    Israeli security forces have foiled at least 48 kidnapping attempts since January 2013, according to one anti-terrorism think tank.

    The group has never made a secret of its intent to abduct Israelis; it has increasingly touted kidnapping as a strategy to win the release of its people behind bars.

    In Gaza, Hamas has practiced kidnapping in public to cheering crowds. Last year, the organization even distributed an 18-page “Field Manual for Kidnapping” to its Qassam Brigades, providing detailed explanations on how to target Israeli soldiers, when to kidnap (rainy days are best) and how to avoid being caught (don’t use the Internet or phone).

    If Hamas has not abducted anyone in the past eight years, it’s not for lack of trying. According to a study published this week by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Israeli security forces have foiled at least 48 kidnapping attempts since January 2013, 14 of them this year alone.

    1. Isn't that one major reason for the 'terrorist tunnels'?

      To get into Israel and kidnap Israelis, and shoot some up too in the process?

  13. "The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine."

    Ernest Hemingway

  14. It is my understanding that most of the people considered Palestinian were born in or to people born in Palestine and would be considered linguistically and perhaps culturally Semites. If this correct? So supporting Palestinians cannot be considered "anti-Semitic. At the same time most Israelis were born or born to people from Western and Central Europe, Russia, and the United States, i.e., people who heritage is not, or only marginally, Semitic. So if I am unhappy with them or the settler state they have created how does that make me anti-Semitic? They are not Semites but Russians or Poles or Americans. Does criticizing Israel for killing Palestinians therefore make me anti-American?
    Many Americans have been supportive of a romanticized notion of a settler population carving out homes under difficult circumstances, a somewhat rosy view of our own past. But what we are seeing in Gaza and the West Bank are those aspects of our own history largely repressed or sanitized, the destruction of the original population so our ancestors could take land and resources for their own. The tunnels and rockets are the raids on homesteads and wagon trains, tragic for those killed but ineffective against the lethal juggernaut destroying villages, spreading smallpox, and killing the buffalo. It should not surprise that some observers have little affection for the promoters of the juggernaut.

    1. Tell it to rat. He squats on rich American Indian bottom land.

    2. As far as the United States is concerned it is another example of basically hunter/gathering/fishing societies being displaced by agriculture.

      It has happened all over the earth.

      Tell it to the gods of history.

  15. You have permission to substitute the term anti-Judaic if you wish.

  16. >>Certainly, D'Souza has always had a hearty streak of American boosterism—derived, he says, from his own immigrant's story. He was born in Bombay to a middle-class Catholic family that hailed from the former Portuguese colony of Goa. Sans family, he immigrated in the late 1970s to Arizona, where he finished high school and earned a scholarship to Dartmouth. He quickly became disillusioned by the tendency of his fellow classmates to criticize the U.S. and romanticize South Asia. "I said, 'What do you find particularly liberating about India?' " he asked The Washington Post in 1991. "'Is it the caste system? Is it dowry? Is it arranged marriage?' " He tried to impress upon them what to him was an obvious insight: Life was far better here than it was there. Three decades later, that is the theme of America.<<

    One of my favorite guys, who may be doing some time soon. It is a political prosecution, though he did mess up.

    Dinesh D'Souza Is Winning

    Conservatism's former enfant terrible has been cast out of polite society and may soon face jail time. But business has never been better.

    By Simon van Zuylen-Wood

  17. Israel has sold itself internationally as a gay Mecca. This freedom is regularly cited by advocates for Israel in the west, making stark comparisons to Muslim societies that repress gays. Well here’s a new spin on that claim: reports that Israeli intelligence pried into Palestinians’ phone calls and internet activity so as to identify and blackmail Palestinian gays and turn them into informants against other Palestinians.

    Haaretz has a story up on 43 reservists in Israeli intelligence who are refusing to serve because of the “political persecution” of Palestinians. The reservists write that while surveillance of Israeli citizens is strictly limited, “the Palestinians are not afforded this protection.” They declare in a letter to the Israeli P.M.: “we refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to continue serving as tools in deepening the military control over the Occupied Territories.”

    An unsigned piece in the Guardian details testimonies from intelligence veterans and exposes practices reminiscent of totalitarian countries: “Any Palestinian is exposed to monitoring by the Israeli Big Brother.” Here are selections where the recovering spooks describe using Palestinians’ sexual practices to turn them into informants, or exploit the Palestinians’ need for medical care in Israel.

    No boundaries were set for us, for both passive activities such as gathering intelligence, and for active initiatives that had an impact on people’s lives.

    If anyone interests us, we’d collect information on his or her economic situation and mental state. Then we would plan how we can perform an operation around this individual, in order to turn them into a collaborator or something of the sort….

    Any information that might enable extortion of an individual is considered relevant information. Whether said individual is of a certain sexual orientation, cheating on his wife, or in need of treatment in Israel or the West Bank – he is a target for blackmail.

    Throughout the duration of my service no one in my unit ever asked, at least not out loud, if there is anything wrong with this well-oiled system – whether the transformation of any individual into a target is a legitimate act.


  18. {...}

    Notice the exploitation of gays and those needing life-or-death medical care:

    The period during which I collected information on people who were accused of attacking Israelis, trying to attack Israelis, the desire to harm Israelis, thinking of attacking Israelis, in addition to collecting information on completely innocent people, whose only crime was that they interested the Israeli defence establishment for various reasons. Reasons they have no way of knowing. If you’re homosexual and know someone who knows a wanted person – and we need to know about it – Israel will make your life miserable. If you need emergency medical treatment in Israel, the West Bank or abroad – we searched for you. The state of Israel will allow you to die before we let you leave for treatment without giving information on your wanted cousin.

    Any such case, in which you “fish out” an innocent person from whom information might be squeezed, or who could be recruited as a collaborator, was like striking gold for us and for Israel’s entire intelligence community. As such, Palestinians who are not related to or involved in fighting Israel are objectives…

    We also talked about what is done with information on a target’s sexual preferences. Here, too, there was some would-be deliberation, but the message was that there is no problem with this issue. As an instructor I said that one should apply one’s own judgment and not always pass on such information.

    Americans for Peace Now sent out the story today, and included translated statements from Hebrew media. One reservist makes a direct connection to the eastern European experience:

    For D., [the decision to refuse] happened after he was released from the military when he saw the movie, “The Lives of Others,” about Stasi agents from communist East Germany, who eavesdrop on people and invade their personal lives. “I was horrified,” he said. “On the one hand, I identified with the victims, with the oppressed side, whose basic rights were denied. On the other hand, I suddenly understood that in my military service, I was on the side of the oppressor, that we are doing the exact same thing, only in a much more efficient manner.”…

    For N. it happened during her military service, when she was present during a targeted killing operation, during which there was a mistake in the identification of the target. “I remember the picture on the screen. The suspect inside an orchard, an explosion, smoke and a mother running. The body was a small, of a child. We understood we screwed up. It was uncomfortable, but we needed to continue in our work.”

    “The pilots are not responsible for the killing, because they are carrying out orders, and also those in Unit 8200 are not responsible, because they are only transferring information. So who is supposed to not sleep at night?”

    - See more at:

  19. You need to relax and go to a bag pipe concert.

  20. I am betting Scotland will vote to go its own way.

    I am almost always wrong.

    1. I am almost always wrong.

      Of course you are.