Mahmoud al Mabhouh: the ethics of state-sponsored assassination


2:31 pm - February 18th 2010

by Dave Osler    


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There now seems little doubt that Mossad took out Hamas commander Mahmoud al Mabhouh, either with or without the complicity of other Palestinian elements. Yet astonishingly enough, the debate on the assassination somehow centres on alleged duplicitous use of British passports on the part of the Isrealis.

Effectively, the Israeli ambassador to London has been summoned to the Foreign Office for a bollocking, at which David Miliband will tell him: ‘Look, no problems with you lot bumping off that dodgy Pally bloke. But it’s just not on for your country’s hit squads to travel on fake UK papers, old chap. Don’t let us catch you doing it again.’

What is being missed here is the question of whether premeditated extrajudicial murder of specific individuals at the behest of a state can ever be morally legitimate, and whether or not it was morally legitimate in this instance.

Targeted killings – to use the currently fashionable euphemism – are by no means rare. States do it all the time. I’m certainly not ‘demonising Israel’ on this score.

It’s always impossible to provide proof on such matters, but it remains a reasonable surmise that the Russian government had a hand in poisoning Alexander Litvinenko with polonium-210. There’s ample evidence that Syria did for Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri, and that there was British Army involvement in the slaying of Irish republican solicitor Pat Finucane.

But Israel unquestionably resorts to targeted killings with infelicitous alacrity. One recalls the 2004 guided missile attack on Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Yassin, a wheelchair-bound and almost blind cleric. Nine bystanders died as a result of the incident. I could cite many other cases.

It does seem to me that the al Mabhouh murder breaches the principle of respect for human life. I sure that an excellent hypothetical moral case for targeted killings can be constructed in urgent situations where there are no other means to avoid given imminent harm. But the criteria do not appear to have been met on this occasion.

It may well be that Mossad has successfully eliminated one of the enemies of the country it exists to serve. But where was the clear and present danger? What the Israeli secret service has perpetrated was reprehensible and deserving of international reproach.

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About the author
Dave Osler is a regular contributor. He is a British journalist and author, ex-punk and ex-Trot. Also at: Dave's Part
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Reader comments


“wheelchair bound and almost blind cleric” – break out the violins

Why would anyone have any concern at Mossad bumping off a terrorist?

The passport thing is much more worrying, because it suggests that the tens of billions that Labour have spent on trying to improve passport security has been totally wasted.

Oh, and what is “principle of respect for human life”? When did it become law?

4. J Alfred Prufrock

@2

Why would anyone have any concern at Mossad bumping off a terrorist?

cos it’s deliberately done to provoke the Palestinians into chucking more stones at Israeli soldiers, which the Israelis can then use as a pretext for bombing the shit out of innocents (and committing war crimes: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5575070.ece).

Plus ça change.

“tens of billions that Labour have spent on trying to improve passport security has been totally wasted.”

So Mossad agents travel to dubai on fake passports, fakes which aren’t spotted by the dubai customs officers at the time, and this is the fault of labour?

Is there any incident in the news which you’re not going to try to turn into “labour’s crap immigration policy” meme? Next you’ll be saying Fabianski’s error last night is also the fault of Gordon Brown.

Planeshift,

I knew that Gordon Brown was bad news for Arsenal. That’s me voting Conservative for sure…

Seriously, Dubai are linked to the passport database so they should be able to pick up fakes. That is the concern, but I suspect most intelligence agencies would be able to work round the problem if they wanted.

Its hardly a flaw that one of the worlds best intelligence agencies, experts at covert operations, were able to bypass the security systems and produce a fake. You’d sort of expect it.

@5: “Is there any incident in the news which you’re not going to try to turn into ‘labour’s crap immigration policy’ meme?”

This is but one of many examples showing how desperate is the political spin of politicians desperate to garner votes. The turnout in the 2005 election was the second lowest since 1918.

“Public funds totalling £500 million a year are being spent on an army of at least 29,000 professional politicians in the UK, according to new figures.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/feedarticle/8605308

Compare that with the British electorate of more than 44 million.

Btw I couldn’t bring myself to vote at the last general elelction even though I’m a habitual floating voter.

9. Dick the Prick

So we can’t knock off terrorists on gun-running missions. I just love the fact that they had comedy disguises. Oh, and by the way – not that it matters – the Israeli ambassador was meeting the permanent under secretary not Banana Boy.

10. John Meredith

I suppose that Israel would claim that the man killed was member of an organisation that was at war with Israel an organisation that is itself dedicated to the extra-judicial murder of non-combatants. And all that would be true, wouldn’t it? Personally, I still think that this sort of action is wrong, but it is hard to care for the victim himself (the world is better off without him).

It is right that the UK government should get hot under the collar about the misuse of UK passports, though. Protecting UK citizens is a big part of the government’s job remit. Protecting Hamas militants less so.

I don’t have too much of a problem with people getting knocked off in this fashion.
And it’s really your own view on world issues as to who the good or bad guys may be in any particular case.
If Carlos the Jackal had been killed instead of captured in Sudan would anyone have cared about his human rights? (Not me).

But I think it’s out of order for these guys to go posing as tourists. Because then genuine tourists can come under suspicion too. In some parts of the world it’s already a bit risky to be a western tourist, and this doesn’t help.

And it’s going to be pretty obvious who they are very quickly isn’t it?
Their photos are all over the world’s media.

@5
An article in today’s Independent suggests that the passports were in fact real and were given with the support of the British government. Not sure how truthful that is though.

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-britains-explanation-is-riddled-with-inconsistencies-its-time-to-come-clean-1902994.html

13. FlyingRodent

I guess the appropriate test would be if, say, Tzipi Livni had been knocked off by some nutter at the height of Cast Lead, would your response have been

a) This is an unacceptable crime against democracy and basic human decency or

b) Well, all’s fair in love and war.

I’m aware that plenty will point out that there’s, like, no comparison because Hamas’s leadership are wanted criminals, but I reckon those people really don’t want to be going there.

14. John Meredith

“I guess the appropriate test would be if, say, Tzipi Livni had been knocked off by some nutter at the height of Cast Lead, would your response have been

a) This is an unacceptable crime against democracy and basic human decency or”

Only if you think both sides in a conflict are necessarily morally equivalent, nbut most people don’t (including most mebes of Hmas).

And Hamas do not abstain from targetted assasssination on principle, they don’t do it because they haven’t go t the resources. They do murder Jewish civilians when they can, though.

15. Luis Enrique

FR

that’s what I was wondering… and I just don’t know. Just because two sides are at war, it doesn’t mean that you have to regard them doing the same thing (assassinating each other’s leaders) as morally equivalent; if you think one side are good guys and the other bad guys, it makes sense to regard good guys assassinating bad guys as something different to bad guys assassinating good guys. So the question is how large the distinction between Hamas and the Israeli leadership is, in the good guys bad guys stakes.

Hey, I love debating that question let’s crack on! **creeps out door**

The problem with that argument luis, is it ends up into “we’re the goodies, so we can do anything!. They’re the baddies, so they aren’t even allowed to call us names!”

And no group in human history has ever considered themselves to be the baddies.

It is a bit of a moral maze. If British intelligence could have assassinated Hitler in the late 1930s, would that have been morally justified? In hindsight we know it would have probably have saved more lives than the one lost in assassination.

I am genuinely shocked by the debate on here. Not because it is bad or anything, but because it seems that there is not blind condemnation of the assasination. This will upset a few preconceptions of the site.

For what it is worth, if it had been a representative of a country murdered, it would be against all internationally accepted behaviour. A terrorist however is a difficult issue – if you will call for the murder of civilians, why should you be protected. That said, I do not think I could vote for a political party which allowed this sort of activity. Confusing moral maze isn’t it?

19. Luis Enrique

** creeps back in **

Planeshift. Quite So. Unfortunately throwing away your moral compass isn’t without problems either.

** creeps out **

20. John Meredith

Like most people on here (it seems to me) I think the world is a fractionally better place for every hamas operative who dies, but I do think the slippery slope argument against state-sponsored, extra-judicial killing is pretty strong.

“If British intelligence could have assassinated Hitler in the late 1930s, would that have been morally justified?”

Well in the late 30s he’d have just been replaced by someone else in the Nazis. Maybe with different outcomes, maybe not.

Now in the 1920s that is a different matter. With hindsight and a greater probability of a positive outcome most of us would probably think it was morally justified. But then consider a modern day equivelant – Pim Fortuyn.

Pim Fortuyn = Hitler?????

But then consider a modern day equivelant – Pim Fortuyn.

Just a teeny-tiny flaw in this parallel: Fortuyn was not a modern-day equivalent to Hitler.

On the whole I prefer to see Israel mounting targeted assassinations of known terrorists than pursuing full-scale military operations in Gaza, where innocent civilian casualties are inevitable – however hard the IDF try to avoid them.

25. John Meredith

“Well in the late 30s he’d have just been replaced by someone else in the Nazis. Maybe with different outcomes, maybe not.”

Almost certainly Goerin, no? He was certainly as ruthless as Hitler but much lazier and less likely to stir himself to try to slaughter an entire race. He would also have spent a lot of time dealing with power grabs from all sides within the Party, I should think.

I have no problem with this particular assassination but was the killing of the blind cleric in the wheelchair not disablist?

After all he was not given the same opportunity as others to see the guided missile coming and, even if alerted, he could not run away.

The important thing here is hindsight

Hitler in the 1920s was just another charismatic racist with authoritarian instincts. Like Pim Fortuyn.

Think about it another way – its 1970 and you have the chance to kill Harold Shipman. But you don’t have the gift of hindsight.

I think Richard W is right @ 17.

To what extent it should become universal is a bit debatable, I expect. But sometimes it is the right thing to do.

Could anyone please suggest the name of a nation which hasn’t carried out ‘state-sponsered assasinations’?

30. J Alfred Prufrock

@29 Wales.

New Zealand?

Hitler in the 1920s was just another charismatic racist with authoritarian instincts. Like Pim Fortuyn.

This comparison is truly ridiculous. Are you seriously equating Pim Fortuyn’s opinions about Islam with Mein Kampf?

You don’t mess with the Zohan!

Are political assassinations acceptable? In war time, quite probably. But that’s a declared war between states. I can’t see the death of one man aiding Israel much but the fact they carried out an assassination on foreign soil will win them no friends.

Going on what Watchman said, who defines what a terrorist is? Hamas are only our enemies as Israel doesn’t like them. There are plenty of dictatorship regimes around the world that the US supports but they aren’t classed as ‘terrorists’ as they serve the interests of the west. You could call the Israeli government a rogue state for their attacks on Palestine and their human rights records.

35. John Meredith

“Going on what Watchman said, who defines what a terrorist is? ”

It is anyone who militarily targets civilians for political reasons. Hamas fits the definition.

30:

Ok, I suppose I should have said state rather than nation – that way we wouldn’t have to consider Wales which doesn’t have direct responsibility for it’s own defence.

31:

New Zealand? Maybe – they are so physically isolated. However I wouldn’d be surprised if even ‘neutral’ states bump people off in trade wars.

37. J Alfred Prufrock

@35

In that case the US is “terrorist”, after all former secretary of state Madeline Albright once said that the deaths of half a million Iraqi innocents were “worth it” (politically, once assumes).

Or is the difference because she wasn’t talking militarily?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4PgpbQfxgo

“. Are you seriously equating Pim Fortuyn’s opinions about Islam with Mein Kampf?”

Are you seriously suggesting that the election of Pim Fortuyn wouldn’t have resulted in the civil liberties of muslims in Holland being curtailed?

The passport thing is much more worrying, because it suggests that the tens of billions that Labour have spent on trying to improve passport security has been totally wasted.

That’s rather a low opinion of Mossad you have there, Martin, if this was indeed a Mossad hit.

Do you really think that producing convincing forgeries and bribing immigration officials is beyond their capabilities, no matter how good a system of passport security has been put in place?

Are you seriously suggesting that the election of Pim Fortuyn wouldn’t have resulted in the civil liberties of muslims in Holland being curtailed?

Oh well he must have been just like Hitler then. Good job that nutjob shot him.

Hitler had set out his ideology more or less in full by 1924. There really, really is no comparison between a gay man who thought that Islam was an intolerant religion and had a bad impact on Dutch society and someone who wanted to kill all the Jews.

I can’t believe this argument is even happening.

41. FlyingRodent

@Luis: …if you think one side are good guys and the other bad guys, it makes sense to regard good guys assassinating bad guys as something different to bad guys assassinating good guys.

Well, this strikes me as a good reason why assassination is regarded as a bit of an international no-no, at least officially anyway. A lot of thought went into that decision, you know. After all, I doubt that any Palestinian civilians – or Chechen ones, or Whateverese – are going to regard the democratically elected politicians and virtuous generals of the other side who regularly bomb their homes and obliterate their kids as anything other than criminals.

As has been noted, nobody regards themselves as the bad guys. That’s why John Meredith’s lovely little formula of “the two sides are not morally equivalent” is a blatant rhetorical wriggle aimed at dicking off a whole load of difficult questions with the statement We’re the good guys, ergo we can do whatever we like. This is not, I would suggest, a formula that’s going to be well-received beyond the cheerleader demographic.

As a small thought experiment, here’s a brazen piece of Dyson-strength pro-military fellatio from today’s Times – an astonishing piece of naked grovelling to machismo to be appearing in the country’s paper of record… http://bit.ly/caAb3p

I suggest reading that and substituting every mention of “Israel” or “the Israelis” with the international demon of choice – China, say, or North Korea. If you’re okay with this kind of frantic leg-humping when Putin’s Russia is the subject, then that would suggest that assassination is all good from a moral standpoint.

If you (as a state) really think a guy is your mortal enemy, but is able to thumb his nose at you and seemingly move around parts of the world which your country has poor diplomatic relations with, then it’s easy to see why you might go for it.
The UAE doesn’t even let citizens of Israel visit the country, but they allow this Hamas arms dealer in, to (allegedly) make trips to Iran to stock up on weapons.
Would Tony Soprano have put up with such a senario from his rivals?

If Planeshift equates a gay libertarian like Fortyn with Hitler, what, I wonder, will he equate a Zionist with?

44. John Meredith

“This is not, I would suggest, a formula that’s going to be well-received beyond the cheerleader demographic. ”

It’s not a ‘formula’ my batty friend, it is a statement of fact. It is very rare for both sides in a conflict to be morally equivalent. Of course some of the bad guys will thinik they are on the side of the angels (quite literally in Hamas’s case) but that does not mean there is no right and wrong. And, as I have pointed out, Hamas do reserve to themselves the right to murder Israeli (and Jewish in general) civilians, so the criticism of Israel here is only that they are willing to engage in the tactics of their enemies.

45. The masked Hillman Avenger

Remind me who shot the Irish in Gibralter and why ? Ticking bombs need to be stopped.

46. FlyingRodent

Quite, John. I’ll note in passing that the civilian-killing in this conflict is in fact ridiculously one-sided in the opposite direction to that which your point suggests, but I don’t really see the need to re-hash this whole sorry subject. It’s been done to death here.

Instead, I’ll just say that the reason why assassination is frowned upon, and political assassination in particular will make you an international pariah*, is precisely because everybody regards their own behaviour, however insane and deranged, as entirely justified. Its use runs the risk of a race to the bottom, and is best avoided for the same reasons why most nations at least pretend not to use land mines… It’s easier to go about your business if nutters refrain from leaving bloody land mines lying about everywhere.

That strikes me as a good reason for all nations to not assassinate people and to show basic respect for international standards, tacit and legalistic, but I don’t really expect exceptionalists to agree with that idea.

*See also: Syria, international condemnation of.

Sam Bunby @ 34

who defines what a terrorist is?

It’s not that hard.
Try: someone who deliberately targets civilians in order to bring about political objectives through fear.

Hamas are only our enemies as Israel doesn’t like them.

Rubbish. Hamas is part of the same global Islamist movement that blew up 52 people on London’s public transport system. And don’t go believing that Jews are their only targets – all infidels/kuffar are fair game as far as they are concerned – Chritian, Atheist whatever.

There are plenty of dictatorship regimes around the world that the US supports but they aren’t classed as ‘terrorists’ as they serve the interests of the west.

True, up to a point. But whenever the US tries to replace them with a proper democracy (Panama, Iraq etc.) the Left complains that it’s outrageous to do so.

You could call the Israeli government a rogue state for their attacks on Palestine and their human rights records.

You could if you were a raving antisemite with no real knowledge of the history of the region.

While you are here – name one country bordering Israel with a better human rights record.

No, I thought not.

Remind me who shot the Irish in Gibralter and why ? Ticking bombs need to be stopped.

Errr there was no ticking bomb. It was a straightforward case of extra-judicial execution of unarmed IRA members who were given no opportunity to surrender. There was a lot of misinformation put out about the killings after the event. Clearly it duped you.

Hamas is part of the same global Islamist movement that blew up 52 people on London’s public transport system. And don’t go believing that Jews are their only targets – all infidels/kuffar are fair game as far as they are concerned – Chritian, Atheist whatever.

Nurse the screens!

50. Luis Enrique

FR

Well, this strikes me as a good reason why assassination is regarded as a bit of an international no-no, at least officially anyway.

agreed.

I doubt that any Palestinian civilians – or Chechen ones, or Whateverese – are going to regard the democratically elected politicians and virtuous generals of the other side who regularly bomb their homes and obliterate their kids as anything other than criminals.

agreed-ish. (quibble over “any”)

please don’t interpret me as thinking it’s OK to lazily assume “we” are the good guys.

(I’m not going to read that Times article – I’m sure your response to it is the right one)

Errr there was no ticking bomb.

No. The car bomb was due to be detonated the following day. The semtex was still in Marbella when the three terrorists were shot.

Hamas has murdered plenty of Al Fatah supporters , threw one to his death,from a roof top when they took over Gaza. Dubai supplied Iran during the war with Iraq and continue to have very close ties. Most of the other arab countries supported Iraq. It would be interesting to know whether Abu Dhabi, Al Fatah or any other sunni Muslims countries provided assistance to the assassins .

@47 You actually raise some good points, but on your point about the US, look at all the democracies they’ve overthrown/tried to overthrow to suit their interests, especially in South America.

Oh, and please get my name right next time, thanks.

No. The car bomb was due to be detonated the following day. The semtex was still in Marbella when the three terrorists were shot.

Exactly there was no ticking bomb. It was perfectly possible for the SAS to have arrested the three IRA members. But they decided to murder them in cold blood instead. That’s how states with no respect for human rights and international law behave. It is not how a liberal democracy should behave.

55. Golden Gordon

I wonder if it was the same MOSSAD agents that supported and armed HAMAS in the nineties to undermine the more secular FATAH.
Funny old world Eh

56. Golden Gordon

Rubbish. Hamas is part of the same global Islamist movement that blew up 52 people on London’s public transport system. And don’t go believing that Jews are their only targets – all infidels/kuffar are fair game as far as they are concerned – Chritian, Atheist whatever.

So the guys who ignited the Oklahoma bomb are the same as white rightists that hate big government on this site.
Explain a lot

But they decided to murder them in cold blood instead.

Not if we’re being going to be accurate about it. The inquest determined it to be a case of lawful killing, based on the fact that the SAS acted reasonably on the information that they had, which was that the IRA were planning to detonate a car bomb in Gibraltar – which was, of course, true.

COIN action is always messy, and only rarely meets accepted standards of how ‘civilised countries’ should behave.

I suppose you believe all the misinformation that was put out about the extra-judicial executions committed by the British in NI during the 1970s and 1980s as well.

59. Golden Gordon

Not if we’re being going to be accurate about it. The inquest determined it to be a case of lawful killing, based on the fact that the SAS acted reasonably on the information that they had, which was that the IRA were planning to detonate a car bomb in Gibraltar – which was, of course, true.

I love it. No conspiracy or political corruption there then.

60. FlyingRodent

COIN action is always messy, and only rarely meets accepted standards of how ‘civilised countries’ should behave.

This is also true, but is an argument of exactly the same species as We are the goodies, ergo bombs away! i.e. it could be used to justify pretty much anything.

I’d argue that assassination is one of the many keys to Pandora’s Box, and probably shouldn’t be used for exactly that reason. It’s certainly unlikely to increase the peace.

61. Golden Gordon

So Tim J and the boys
To you Gordon Brown is a bad guy. Which one of you is going to draw the short straw to carry out the grisly deed

Planeshift

Are you seriously suggesting that the election of Pim Fortuyn wouldn’t have resulted in the civil liberties of muslims in Holland being curtailed?

If Hitler’s policies had run to ending Jewish immigration, I suspect he wouldn’t occupy quite the same position in history.

60 Agreed – with the exception of wartime scenarios I think that targeted assassinations are beyond the pale. Saying that during wartime we should refrain from assassinations would seem a bit silly.

61 – talking of silly…

58 – hey, you were the one talking legal jargon. Since there was a legal inquest to determine whether it was murder or not, and it was found that it wasn’t (and another ECHR case where it was found that more than reasonable force was used, but that no sanctions were appropriate) I think that saying it wasn’t murder is reasonable enough. But as I said, messy times, messy measures. The IRA shot the wife of the Governor of Gibraltar in the face afterwards.

@2 Martin Coxall: “The passport thing is much more worrying, because it suggests that the tens of billions that Labour have spent on trying to improve passport security has been totally wasted.”

A technical correction. Biometric “smart” passports are being introduced as an international measure agreed between nations. This is a measure that is supposed to provide greater security in the future (ie when most passengers will have them) which is not in place today. My passport stores no biometric information and I will be renewing it at the last moment when it is possible to get a traditional one.

Unless there was corruption (unlikely given the number of separate entries into Dubai by the killers), we have to assume that the Dubai authorities inspected the passports in the normal way: face matching picture, passport not on banned list, passport looks authentic etc. Apparently somebody made fake conventional passports that fooled the inspectors in a visual inspection.

We also have to assume that the spoofing was 100% successful and that no passport was identified as a fake; identifying a counterfeit would have meant that other EU passports were examined more closely (ie looking up the passport number in the databases that are shared between passport authorities).

If my proposed inspection criteria are true, I would be aghast if Israel or any other developed country could not make a decent fake passport. North Korea creates fake currency that fools the inspectors employed by the printers of the genuine article. It also appears that the fake passports were tested on earlier occasions for admission to EU and non-EU countries.

Nor would I be surprised if Israel in particular produces fake biometric passports in the future. Israeli companies — privately owned and subsidiaries of multi-nationals — employ cryptographic experts. Other companies are good at chip design. The smart card that you or your neighbours use to authenticate to a satellite TV service was probably designed in Israel.

But as I said, messy times, messy measures. The IRA shot the wife of the Governor of Gibraltar in the face afterwards.

I’m not defending the IRA. What I am saying is that state-run extra-judicial executions are illegitimate. You appear to want to legitimate them in ‘messy times’.

In another thread, the idea of torture for utilitarian reasons (eg “ticking bomb”) was discussed. International law says that it is not sufficient reason and denies torture absolutely. International law exists in that case as a reminder to those who have no morals and also to people under pressure.

In this thread, the morality and legality of assassinating politicians is under question. From what I recall, assassinating a head of state is illegal under international law unless the countries are at war. And we might use the same argument for associates of the head of state. That is a vague consensus view; many argue that assassination is entirely forbidden. I assume that it is forbidden unless the countries are at war.

There is no agreed two state solution for Israel and Palestine. Hamas is not a state, but is trying to conduct war against Israel.

Thus we have to question whether the alleged acts of Mossad would be a war crime (it is certainly illegal to commit such a murder in Dubai) if a state of Hamas existed. And judge accordingly.

What’s novel about this latest atrocity?

How about the many previous atrocities?

– the bombing of SS Patria in Haifa habour in 1940?

– the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946?

– the massacre at Deir Yassin in 1948?

– the massacre at Qibya in 1953?

– the massacre in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in 1982?

– the Khiam Prison in South Lebanon when it was under occupation 1985-2000?

As someone who endured as a young boy being a target for V1 flying bombs and V2 rockets in 1944/5, I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. But then the V1s and V2s killed nearly 9,000 civilians in and around London over a nine month period and I see that the civilians in Israel killed by rockets from Gaza and Lebanon come to less than 100.

For a dispassionate assessment of the continuing conflict over Palestine, try Avi Shlaim: The Iron Wall (Penguin Books, 2001).

Avi Shlaim, who holds joint Israeli-British citizenships, is professor of international relations at St Anthony’s College, Oxford, which some dub the MI6 staff college. His book is a revelation for those unfamiliar with the history of the conflict.

A little Googling will retrieve details of the atrocities shown above.

@30

The Welsh killed JFK. FACT.

69. J Alfred Prufrock

@68

According to wiki, Lee Harvey Oswald was of English, German, French and Irish ancestry, which implicates pretty much everyone but the Welsh! zomgz :O

yeah, but we all know Oswald was just a patsy.

The real killer was behind the grassy knoll.

Two words for you there: Shirley Bassey.

Who defines what a terrorist is?
“It is anyone who militarily targets civilians for political reasons. Hamas fits the definition.”

And so, to a far greater degree, does the Israeli military. Not to mention the US & UK militaries, or NATO.

Two members of Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru managed to blow *themselves* up – do they count?

Actually, why just political reasons? Is it better to murder people for strategic reasons? Or economic reasons? Or for no clear reason at all?

Try Avi Shlaim on: How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/07/gaza-israel-palestine

His most recent book on the Palestine conflict is: Israel and Palestine – Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations (Verso Books, 2009), reviewed here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/oct/24/shlaim-israel-palestine-book-review

Bubby @65

What I am saying is that state-run extra-judicial executions are illegitimate.

Maybe illegitimate in law, but maybe justifiable in practice.
In 1985 the IRA’s East Tyrone Brigade started on a campaign of driving out the police from small rural police stations and barracks in a repeat attempt at what the IRA had done in some places in Ireland during the war of Independence.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provisional_IRA_East_Tyrone_Brigade

They meant business, and they had to be stopped. But even though the security services had a good idea who many of the people involved were, going through the judical process hindered the fight against the IRA.

They would blow up a police station, and then threaten with death, any civilian building contractor who went to make repairs and rebuild them.

When someone talked about ”a race to the bottom” – I think the IRA were already involved in it, and what was most important was not letting them win.

The BBC’s Mark Urban wrote a book about this period called ”Big boy’s rules”.

76. Golden Gordon

The trouble is damon , who makes that decision.
Who are the targets ?
So an informer (who may hate the intended victim) tells you he is an IRA commander. He may be innocent.
I served in NI in the seventies. Most of the informers were very, very dodgy. To end a man’s life on evidence that you decree is correct.
Isn’t that playing God.
As a service man the reason why we served in NI was to uphold the rule of law.
Also the Germans in world war 2 used the same philosophy.
They were told by informers that partisans acted out of that village and who were the Partisan leaders. Therefore they assassinated the men they were told who were in their mind “terrorists”.
Summary justice sounds good to a right wing armchair warrior like yourself. Carrying it out is a little different

There you go again Golden Gordon – ”right wing”.
Maybe that comment of yours should be a starting point in that new thread about ”Building a new Left Movement”.
And why a person throwing slurs like that about cheaply can’t be taken seriously.

Firstly I don’t think that Northen Ireland really applies in this thread, as, as far as I know the British didn’t go bumping off members of the IRA’s army council that were living in the Republic. Nor did they go about assassinating people in cold blood (well Gibraltar maybe). But they did take a deadly approach to people they had under surveillance who were in the process of carrying out IRA actions.

I just read peter Taylor’s excellent book ”Provos: The IRA and Sinn Fein” and I think that the IRA’s East Tyrone Brigade were a complete menace and danger to everyone around them.
This series of documentaries by Taylor is essential viewing in my opinion.
This part is about East Tyrone and ”shoot to kill”.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHW59EvGqKA&feature=related

78. Golden Gordon

There you go again Golden Gordon – ”right wing”.
Maybe that comment of yours should be a starting point in that new thread about ”Building a new Left Movement”.
And why a person throwing slurs like that about cheaply can’t be taken seriously.
What are you than Damon, you tend to take right of centre view of every issue. Also I am getting a little tired of “this I am free thinking leftie”
when you look inside your self well right
Firstly I don’t think that Northen Ireland really applies in this thread, as, as far as I know the British didn’t go bumping off members of the IRA’s army council that were living in the Republic. Nor did they go about assassinating people in cold blood (well Gibraltar maybe). But they did take a deadly approach to people they had under surveillance who were in the process of carrying out IRA actions.
Why not the same to the Protestants terror groups they were carrying out the same activities.

I just read peter Taylor’s excellent book ”Provos: The IRA and Sinn Fein” and I think that the IRA’s East Tyrone Brigade were a complete menace and danger to everyone around them.
This series of documentaries by Taylor is essential viewing in my opinion.
This part is about East Tyrone and ‘’shoot to kill”.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHW59EvGqKA&feature=related
Taylor is so far up the MI5 arse I wouldn’ trust a word he says

Anything, anything to divert attention from the historic realities of the conflict for Palestine territory.

The fact is that some significant percentage of the Israeli population believes that Israel has a divine right to all Palestine:

Try this video clip on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irIXIy6hNc8

And this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1su8m_d9xU&NR=1

Well Golden G, if you (one) is to call someone ”right wing” I’d say the person saying that should give the reason why. Maybe we just disagree what right and left actually are. There is nothing right wing about seeing the IRA as an organisation that had to be defeated – one way or another. And as it was happening in the UK and I’m from the UK, I’ve got every right to have an opinion on it.
Some people on here support the NATO campaign in Afghanistan (I don’t), does that make them right wing?

Was that last post I did on The hateful bile of Melanie Phillips thread right wing in your opinion?

If Peter Taylor was so biased, how come some many Republicans and former IRA men were willing to be interviewed by him?
And as for your comment about why not do the same to loyalists ….. that’s such a big subject in itself, that this is probably not the place for it.

81. Golden Gordon

Damon
I apologize if I have upset you with the right wing epitaph. Only your inner self knows the truth. But I will take you on your word.
As for The IRA I served against them. Of course I wanted to defeat them but NOT to become them. Which is what we did when we took the law into our own hands. The British Army in NI overall compared to many conflicts did play it by the book or should I say card. that is one of the reasons conflict stopped with NI still been part of the UK. When we did do a Bloody Sunday or shoot to kill, IRA numbers and dollars from the US grew.
Also were is your moral relativism. IRA were murderers under surveillance, so were the protestants killers. We didn’t shoot to kill them and I can tell you the actions such as groups as the resurrection men would have made your stomach churn.
Just because interviewed a few IRA men doesn’t mean he didn’t have his arse up the more right wing elements of the IRA

For info:

“Last November, a sharp-eyed Israeli woman named Niva Ben-Harush was alarmed to notice a young man attaching something that looked suspiciously like a bomb to the underside of a car in a quiet street near Tel Aviv port. When police arrested him, he claimed to be an agent of the Mossad secret service taking part in a training exercise: his story turned out to be true – though the bomb was a fake.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/19/ian-black-mossad-dubai

Now we know for sure who trains terrorists.

There seem to be two principles at work:

1. Israel cannot morally defend itself against Hamas by tanks, planes, and artillery — that’s too indiscriminate and injures innocent civilians.

2. Israel cannot morally defend itself by assassinating individual Hamas members — that’s too focused and is disrespectful of human life.


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