independence – self-determination – autonomy

Judge Dredd has a Typewriter

The civil war being waged in the Labour Party this week looks like the carnage of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. The abuse Corbyn is taking as the Blair Toddlers throw the dummy out the pram is astonishing. Those who have spent the week mewing about the need for a Shoot to Kill policy and berating him for not wanting to invade Syria, have been emboldened by the cascade of stupidity spewing out of the right-wing commentariat. From our local STV scribe advocating torture, to Iain Martin, John Rentoul and a gang more. The race to pronounce has been relentlessly macho and astonishingly forgetful. The rush to suggest ever wilder responses suggests a rootless media class, with pundits tumbling over themselves to prove their wild-eyed bravery. These are dangerous times where the failure of the corporate media become painfully obvious.

This isn’t a petty new media v old media debate. In desperate times some leadership is required. As political discourse  becomes unhinged and people fearful, commentators have a responsibility. As Gary Younge points out (‘Shoot-to-kill won’t make us safe from terror – just sorry’): “Fascism is once again a mainstream ideology in Europe, and Muslims are among its principal targets”.

A media with better recall would reflect on the awful brutality of Jean Charles de Menezes state murder, the keystone cops futility of Harry Stanley’s death and the entire lesson of the John Stalker Affair. For those who are tempted to imbibe such drivel as Daisley & co pump out, here’s a quick reminder of Britain’s dreadful record.

As Gabrielle Cox wrote in 1988:

“John Stalker had been Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police for only two months when he was asked to conduct an investigation into matters arising out of three incidents in Northern Ireland, where Royal Ulster Constabulary officers had shot and killed six men, five of whom were undoubtedly unarmed. The incidents, happening as they did within the space of a month, led to widespread concern that the RUC was operating a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy. In two of the cases police officers were charged with murder, though in one case Sir John Hermon, Chief Constable of the RUC, had personally thrown out the recommendation of the investigating officer that a murder charge should be brought. It was pressure from Sir Barry Shaw, Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland, which brought the cases to court. In the course of the two murder trials and the trial of a survivor of the third incident, it emerged that in each case the police officers involved had been instructed by senior officers to conceal the true nature of the operations on which they had been engaged. They were given cover stories which made it look as if they were on routine patrols when in fact they were all on special operations mounted as a result of tip-offs by two informers. These stories were apparently intended to protect the informers, whose lives were deemed to be at risk. All the police officers charged with murder were acquitted.”

John Stalker was ordered to investigate the circumstances surrounding the cover stories and the way in which the CID had conducted their investigations; and to look into the way in which RUC officers had crossed the border into the Republic. His findings took him to the heart of the British State. He was sacked and smeared for seeking the truth.  When it was established that a tape had been made of one of the shootings, via a bugging device, the Chief Constable began a long-winded, devious attempt to prevent John Stalker hearing the tape.

Britain had a shoot-to-kill policy for years. It was a disaster they were so ashamed of they had to smear one of their own top policemen.

Neither is the conduct of the armed police force something to be proud of. Watch the award-winning film The Strange Death of Harry Stanley for an overview of this tragedy below and read his Inquest Report here (PDF):

For those castigating Jeremy Corbyn for not embracing their reactionary knee-jerk solutions for want of exercising a bloodlust: a war that could engage Russia, a policing policy that’s proven disastrous, and a foreign policy built on rubble and dead civilians, they should think again.The moral sewer that is the Westminster polity is not the right place for sanctifying extra judicial killings. The crisis of the terrorist threat is multi-layered and complex. It deserves a better response than the macho posturing of a few Judge Dredd with typewriters and a Labour Old Guard with a generational failure of imagination.

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22 Comments

  • bringiton 1 year ago

    Never mind,once England's Tory government strip us of our human rights,we won't have to worry about what's legal and what isn't,it will be whatever they say it is.

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  • Drew Campbell 1 year ago

    Read Daisley's piece via your link. The suggestion of tougher "interrogation techniques" was pure deniable Dubya double-speak; when the going gets tough Daisley will be able to wring his hands and say "I didn't mean THAT far." If you're going to advocate torture, the least you can do is be fucking honest. Daisley's another armchair warrior who wants everyone to do his dirty work for him while wilfully ignoring the historical and political responsibilities of his mealy-mouthed "stance".

    I'm not one who blames this all on the West, though we've certainly contributed hugely to the current crisis through more than a century of exploitation of the tribalism, theology and tyrants for our own venal ends. Notwithstanding, we'd do well to remember that we're not even ISIS' main focus of hate. Loathing of Shia Muslims has its own special frothing madness, and any deviation from their fundamentalist, absolutist reading of Islam amongst Sunnis and its sub-divisions and/or failure to acknowledge their proclamation of the Caliphate with all that implies for complete compliance to the letter of Shariah Law is, in their minds, apostasy and punishable by death - including by crucifixion, if circumstances allow.

    Defeating ISIS is essential and will require a concerted effort to do so. Defeating its ideology is the real challenge and, I'd suggest, to have any chance of success will require a paradigm shift in policy. To put it in the braodest, simplest terms: rapidly reduce our reliance on oil, stop indulging Saudi Arabia, and stop supporting Israel's subjugation of the Palestinians.

    And whoever they are and whatever they've done - don't torture people.

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    • Illy 1 year ago

      Also going to point out that torture has not provided reliable intelligence, ever.

      It doesn't work for it's stated goal, so all it provides is revenge.

      And I think we can all agree that revenge doesn't work. (I can expand on that if someone needs me to/disagrees)

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      • John B Dick 1 year ago

        No need to expand on the ethics of torture (or Blue Streak, Trident Trident 2) I got it all 60 years ago in the Glasgow Academy Literature and Debating Society with Donald Dewar, Douglas Crawford and Bobby Maclenann (then LAB). We did hanging, race too. We never discussed gays because they wern't invented then. Homosexuals were blackmailer's victims driven to murder and suicide.

        By the Iraq war I realised that not everyone understood the arguments above and thse you offer to list.

        Amazing. I had just assumed every educated person knew or could work it out for himself. I couldn't fathom how MPs and other leaders could be so thick.

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        • Illy 1 year ago

          I wasn't even getting into the ethics of it, I was getting into the effectiveness of it.

          Ethics is far more fluid than most people like to believe, but almost everyone cares about effectiveness.

          I try to make utilitarian arguments, rather than ethical ones, as ethical ones require some common ground with your opponent, utilitarian ones just need them to be vaguely rational.

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          • John B Dick 1 year ago

            Very much both in alignment here in Rothesay regarding refugees. The minister, second generation islamic immigrant himself, and a fine looking man in a kilt, says it isn't him driving the response, its 'people'.

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      • Jane wilson 1 year ago

        Yes please expand .

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        • Illy 1 year ago

          @Jane Wilson: Simplest form:

          Take two people who have the same basic instincts:

          "If you punch me, I'll punch you in revenge."

          Then one of them punches the other for some other reason.

          When do they stop punching each other?

          There are two ways for them to stop: One of them dies, or one of them *changes* so that they stop going after revenge.

          Expand to claiming revenge for injuries inflicted on friends and family, and "one of them dies" changes to "him, all his friends and family, all *their* friends and family, recursive, all die".

          Since, again, you can't change anyone's behaviour but your own, I see two solutions to the situation in the middle east:

          1) We stop hitting them back.

          2) We nuke the whole area, and then send execution squads after the (recursive) friends and family of those who just died. Which probably ends up being the whole population of the planet after about 8-10 cycles. (Look up "Six Degrees of Separation" for why it's so few cycles. If you believe in the story of Adam and Eve then only family is needed to exterminate the whole population of the planet)

          Still unsure why revenge doesn't work?

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          • John B Dick 1 year ago

            "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" is a big advance on that.

            Just the one eye for an eye, and just the one tooth for a tooth means that the whole world isn't blind and toothless.

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          • Illy 1 year ago

            No, it's really not.

            Because the guy who just had his eye taken will want to take the eye of the guy who took his.

            Doesn't matter if the guy taking it thought it was justified, the guy who just lost an eye will *not* think it's justified, and will want to take an eye for the one he just lost.

            Repeat until everyone is dead.

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          • dunderheid 1 year ago

            And what about the scenario where one person is thinking "if you punch me I will punch you back" and the other is thinking "I am going to punch this person until he dies or I die"

            Also you need to differentiate between revenge and retribution. Revenge is personal, retribution be it divine or secular is not. As a society we do not allow the victims of what we deem crimes to enact revenge personally but we do our best to ensure that state sanctioned retribution is swift and appropriately severe.

            For me the acts of ISIS are nothing more than appalling and heinous acts of base criminality and are more than deserving of swift and severe retribution

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          • Illy 1 year ago

            Your imbalanced example is not generally applicable, as there's normally a *reason* for the person saying "my revenge is that you die" rather than "my revenge is to punch you". Normally it's that you killed their friend, or something similarly important *to them*.

            "Also you need to differentiate between revenge and retribution. Revenge is personal, retribution be it divine or secular is not."

            So you're saying that there's a difference between revenge carried out personally, and revenge carried out by a hired hand? (The state is just an employee of the collective people that pay taxes to it, so it's essentially a hired hand) That means that you're saying that hiring a hit-man to enact your revenge is somehow better than killing the guy personally.

            If you really want to get into the difference between justice and revenge (and if there's actually a difference at all), I'm more than willing to have that discussion, but you're not starting out well.

            "For me the acts of ISIS are nothing more than appalling and heinous acts of base criminality and are more than deserving of swift and severe retribution"

            You seem to have missed the bit where "The West" has been invading and destroying their countries for over two *thousand* years, and still hasn't achieved their stated objectives. *And* we currently have a crusader state occupying on of their countries. What good do you think another invasion will do?

            If the Russians had been invading the UK for the last two thousand years, and claiming the moral high ground while destroying our cultures and wiping out our infrastructure, do you think them invading *again* would convince us to stop fighting back?

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  • Illy 1 year ago

    Just going to point out that various *someones* from the west has been invading "that little slip of land between the river and the sea" since the time of Alexander. (That's approximately the last 2400 years, for those wanting some harder numbers)

    None of them have managed to hold it particularly long, so much so that it's become known as "The Graveyard of Empires" and them the butt of jokes about land wars in Asia.

    How about, just for a change, we collectively butt out and leave them to sort things out amongst themselves? That would involve cancelling the military aid and sales we currently give them, *not* picking one side or the other as "our friends" (since past experience shows that we're *really bad* at picking the right side) and not giving them a convenient enemy to ally against.

    Then we'd probably see them ignoring us back, and we could stop all this crap about being scared, being pointed at an enemy and being told "it's for your protection" (There's a quote from a 1930's German PR guy along those lines, but I can't find it just now) and we could maybe start diverting money from the military to things like getting everyone fed and not dying of exposure?

    How's that for a thought?

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    • leavergirl 1 year ago

      Illy, I like it. But the arms merchants won't. They supply all sides, and wars are "good business." So what do you propose we do about that?

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      • Illy 1 year ago

        My best idea? Get the TV to promote target shooting and paintball as much as it currently promotes football and other sports.

        That changes the arms merchants target market (or at least adds a new one for them) and simultaneously removes the need for as large a standing army, if half your population practice target shooting and have the gear for it in their homes. See Switzerland for an example of that working rather well.

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        • leavergirl 1 year ago

          Been thinking Switzerland meself. After all, it's worked out rather well for them.

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  • john young 1 year ago

    Most of if not all of these advocates of violence are where? in Syria fighting? NO,in Iraq?NO,in Libya NO,a common thread running through this,you would think.How many world wide "holy warriors" regime liberators from the west would be in these poor countries building hospitals/schools/roads e.t.c. a gaurantee NONE.

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    • john young 1 year ago

      Illy are you fcuking kidding,that is far far too sensible an Idea,I read somewhere a group in USA drafted a concept to the senate that they the the USA stopped invading/arming foreign governments/terrorists and instead used the trillions to upgrade Americas infrastructure,this would guarantee work for most of the citizens and create something sustainable for their future,no kudos for getting the answer correct.

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    • Illy 1 year ago

      There's a quote from a veteran from WW2 that went along the lines of "We should have handed those calling for war the guns, sent them to the front lines, and let them sort it out between themselves, instead of following them to war"

      For some reason, Google is having a hard time finding it.

      Here's another really good explanation from Channel 4 about 15 years ago:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0yTyoPt_iI#t=19m47s

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  • Andy Nimmo 1 year ago

    Of course, instead of forgetting the 'good' from history and repeaing the bad' we could try the reverse.

    Anyone up for reforming 'the Knights of the Round Table'... Get one representative from each warring faction, lock them in a room with a round table and tell them they're not getting oot until a solution is reached''

    Seemples tsk!!

    Especially apt now that there appears to be evidence that Camelot was actually in Scotland.

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    • leavergirl 1 year ago

      Really? I haven't heard. Camelot in Scotland? I thought it was Tintagel...

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  • Allan Thomson 1 year ago

    Two quotes spring to mind.

    The philosopher George Santayana - "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

    The author Kurt Vonnegut - "I've got news for Mr Santayana: we're doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That's what it is to be alive"

    I've got news for Mr Vonnegut. He omitted the last two words of his quote i.e. "and thick"

    Thank you for this excellent article. Keep naming the cascaders of stupidity (Daisley et al). It will provide a handy reference point when it all goes to pot!

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