≡ Menu

Death by Droning: the World isn’t changing, it is changed

george-orwell-6This article was written by CJCL and was publised here off-guardian.org

Yesterday David Cameron admitted to murder. He did it loudly, in public, with self-justications primed and a self-important look plastered across his quivering jowls. The repurcussions? He faces applause from some sectors…and “scrutiny” from others. Is that all the outrage our atrophied imaginations can offer?

The metaphor of the boiling frogs has long been over used. It takes its place alongside the “smoking gun” and “ticking all the boxes” in the pantheon of phrases that declare a lack of imagination. And it is no longer apt. The unthinkable is no longer being “normalised”…it is normal. It happens every day, and we shrug it off. The frogs have been simmering for hours, they’re nearly done.

Just for a moment, let us compare the world of today to the world of fifteen years ago…

Doing terrible things in an organized and systematic way rests on “normalization.” This is the process whereby ugly, degrading, murderous, and
unspeakable acts become routine and are accepted as “the way things are done.” Edward S. Herman – THE BANALITY OF EVIL

In 2000, before 9/11 and all the subsequent horror that mental trauma caused a psychotic American Empire to loose upon the world, can we even imagine that a “civilised” government would claim the power to seize people without charge? detain people indefinitely without trial? Would a watching public have stood for that? But nevertheless, that is the world we live in now.

Ten years ago would an American President blithely admitting to torture have passed off the public conciousness with so little notice? Would CIA black sites, extraordinary rendtions and all the stuff – likely worse – we don’t get to hear about be cause for a “debate” about its efficacy? Does a civilised culture ban torture, or simply worry about whether or not it works? Nevertheless, that is the world we live in now.

Five years ago anybody claiming that the Western intelligence agencies were recording the data from millions and millions of people – Were spying on civilians and foreign heads of state and practically the whole world – would have have been met with snorts of derision. “Go find your tin-foil hat!” we would have said, “they can’t do that, it’s illegal” we would have said, “You’re crazy” we would have said. But Edward Snowden is real, and he’s not crazy. And now we know – was there a revolution? Were there speeches railing against the NSA on the floor of the UN? Not even close. “It’s necessary” they said. “OK”, we said. And then the “free press” that reported the goverment’s illegal activities voluntarily smashed up their computers. Since those times Cameron’s government has handed over even greater powers to GCHQ and their brothers. We don’t want to a be spied on. We don’t want a digital panopticon keeping us all inline. But nevertheless, that’s the world we live now.

…and yesterday David Cameron admitted to murder – today he faces scrutiny. Just last week anybody accusing the government of carrying out extra-judicial executions on foreign soil would have been laughed at. Called paranoid. But here we are. Apparently there was a “legal justification”, but we’re not allowed to see it. Apparently it was done at a time and place that “minimised risk to civilians”…minimised, you understand, not removed. We still don’t know if there any civilian casualties – it doesn’t really matter. It was still murder. Apparently he was “planning attacks” and it was “self defence” – there’s plenty of evidence for this, but we’re not allowed to see that either. That’s the world we live in now.

Currently we live in a society where the government claims the right to:

  • Arrest and detain any individual, indefintely, without charge or trial.
  • Extradite any civilian overseas to any foreign power, even those who use torture.
  • Observe and record the internet, email and phone communications of anybody in the world without warning or warrant.
  • Execute, by drone strike or other means, anybody anywhere in the world – regardless of whether or not they have been convicted of a crime

Read those back to yourself – out loud if it helps. There’s a word for that kind of society, and it’s not “democratic”. It’s not “civilised”.

It’s tempting, and easy, to always view yourself as the good guy. Nobody watches a movie and thinks “Man, that villain is just like me!”. But no villains ever realise they are villains. The trick is in mental reversal, to imagine your actions as if someone had done them to you.

Russia currently stands accused of “assassinating” Alexander Litvinenko – the inquiry into his death is being held just down the road from the room where Cameron signed off on the execution of Reyaad Khan. If the story had broken that Putin or Assad or Kim Jong Un had wiped out a “security threat” by setting off a bomb on the streets of Cairo or Mexico City…how would we react? How would our press react? What if Xi Jinping ordered the execution, by drone, of a Chinese national living in Washington DC? Would we shrug it off as “neccesary” or “understandable”? We wouldn’t have time – it would be World War III.

The danger, as Orwell wrote, is in the language. The sterilization of words. Meanings are cleaned and refined and sanded down. Torture is what other people do, we use “enhanced interrogation techniques”. Propaganda is what other people do we “promote democracy”. War is what other people do we “pre-emptively defend ourselves”. Assassination is what other people do….we “carry out targeted strikes to remove threats.” When we eventually declare war on Syria, when NATO bombs start dropping on the only even remotely stable areas left in the country, they won’t be bombing raids they’ll be “humanitarian missions”.

The double-think is everywhere, practically every story in the press. Syria is fighting a civil war against zealots and insurgents, but Assad’s regime is “brutal”. Israel shelling a walled off ghetto because some kids threw stones at them…that is “self defence”. The totally bloodless referendum in Crimea is an “invasion”, but the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were “spreading democracy”. People like Huey Long, Castro, Chavez and Putin – who redistribute wealth to the poorer sections of society – they are “corrupt”. Whilst the politicians on our side, forever breaking expenses scandals and taking jobs on the boards of banks, pharmaceutical firms and arms manufacturers – they are just trying to make the world a better place, a free place.

Now, to talk specifcally about the RAF and their new toys, the defensive perimeter has already set up, the “justifications” have been deployed. He revoked his citizenship. He joined a terrorist organisation. He declared war on Britain. I don’t know if all that’s true, but I do know it doesn’t matter. The point of a society governed by law is that there are no exceptions. If pyschopaths and murderers aren’t protected by laws, then no one is. If a terrorist can be summarily executed…then anyone can.

I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.Robert Bolt – A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

One can’t fall into the trap of separating oneself from ethereal “other”. You can’t sit back, comfortable in the knowledge these laws only apply to them, but never to us. First they came for the Jews and all that. Don’t pretend to yourself that they would never use these tools on you. They are making a machine that will chew us all up and spit us all out eventually. That’s the world we live in now, it’s time to engage with it.

A frog that doesn’t realise it’s boiling still dies just the same.

This article was written by CJCL and was publised here off-guardian.org

  • Peter 09/09/2015, 13:58

    I agree with the comments in this article, and well done for making the points so forcefully. However, it’s worth remembering that extra-judicial execution is nothing new for the British government. The Colin Wallace / Fred Holroyd revelations indicated that it happened regularly in Northern Ireland in the 1970s / 80. The SAS execution of IRA members in Gibraltar in 1988 is another example.

  • David Marchesi 09/09/2015, 16:21

    One should point out that Corbyn has been criticised for questioning how the brave, even glamorous SEALS murdered bin Laden.There are still some decent men in public life, if just a few . It is pitiful how the churchmen generally remain silent on these matters, which ought to arouse revulsion and (righteous) anger among “Christian ” people. Perhaps too many are distracted by the childish mush about Her Gracious Majesty ?
    The potential for murderous morons in military and political positions of power is immensely greater than when the Fascists, Nazis and Stalinists were around. In fact.,of course, the mindset which produced those morons is still with us, in a “British” way. The media have an awful lot to answer for, with their trivialisation of such events and distortion of language.

  • Garry Harriman 09/09/2015, 16:47

    One of Two:

    It is difficult to take in the way the world really operates today, those who really hold power and serve a hidden, shared agenda. It is difficult not to give thinking about it too much as it seems hardly likely that anything can change, A protest song, an action group, then life goes as before as we return to our own issues (careers, mortgages, holidays., retirement, should I but that car) and the likes. I left the RAF in 2006 ashamed that a supposedly Labour Prime Minster, a religious man, had connected the UK to an utterly abhorrent illegal act of aggression by a group of people so repulsive and so unashamed of their actions. I felt ashamed at the recent western adventurism in the oil rich nations of the world where we install brutal regimes, and the double standards as we allow such `allied rulers to terrorize at will just as long as we get what we want, Where is the democrat and justice in Saudi Arabia and Israel? The former a brutal regime that we arm and support for the oil they offer, the OPEC control they offer and the pegging of the USD to oil tariffs. The latter, a terrorist state, but a nuclear armed US foot solider in the region. In recent times, we forget at how we provided arms and intelligence, to both Iraq and Iran in an effort for them to wage war against each other for our mutual interest. We forget the 1963 coup that installed the Baath Party in modern Iraq, or the 1952 coup in Iran that ousted the democratically elected PM of Iran

  • Garry Harriman 09/09/2015, 17:31

    I have tired, on 4 occasions, to send in my concluding, accompanying comment, but it got bounced out on each occasion:

    I`m apathetic at any real change being enacted in my life time. Oil and gas will run out eventually and it will really rock our world when it does and the Middle East and, indeed, all the major producers of oil and gas will of no consideration to us……life will go on there as they see fit long before colonialist changed boarders, divided tribes and influenced their life.

    We all need to be aware that cheap energy comes at a price and should be receptive to how we get it. We need to be insured by politicians like Jeremy Corbin and be less interested in `celebrity` and material goods and more interested in our common man and how we will all need each other, We need alternative energy and end to the current domination of the big oil and gas consortiums and the power and monopoly they have on global energy.

    I could go on, bur it might get bounded off…..I think we are all waiting fir the world to change as this great song (enclosed in this link) illustrates very well!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAyhnyrbCKw

    Garry H
    Ga, USA
    RAF, 1987-2006

  • radfax 09/09/2015, 23:13

    It is imperative that people on mass demand that the laws, both domestic and international are enforced.
    The message is to stop violence not to promote it.
    http://peoplesassemblyofjustice.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/the-main-message.html

    Also see
    https://youtu.be/wu4ApKmoP4E

  • kenny williams 10/09/2015, 20:49

    Snowden and Assange are part of their plan… NO ONE gets Main Stream coverage unless they are in on it.
    Whistle Blowers…. My Arse

    Kenny Williams Veterans For Peace UK

    • Ben Griffin 10/09/2015, 21:43

      I can confirm, after providing close support to Julian Assange for many years, that he is most definitely not part of their plan…

    • Garry Harriman 11/09/2015, 12:35

      Kenny:

      I suppose `imprisonment` in the Peruvian Embassy for 3 years and fear of arrest is also part of that plan, is it?