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War on Terrorism (Politics)
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Mick Harper
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(Jeez, that would be awful.)

No, that's the problem. It makes us feel happy.
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Mick Harper
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It's obvious (now I've read it was possibly a 'shoot down') that the plane was shot down by nervous anti-aircraft gunners. Having fired off a bunch of missiles at the Americans they were braced for retaliation on Tehran and along came an aircraft. This accounts for time and place too exactly for any other scenario to be entertained.
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Mick Harper
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It will however be interesting to see how the Iranians treat this. When fifty people died in the overexuberant burial rites of Soleimani, they added these to the tally of American-caused deaths without skipping a beat. Now there's a hundred and seventy-six more. It has a grim logic.
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Mick Harper
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So I turn on the telly and we get their resident air crash expert chuntering on about striation patterns on the cowling wreckage clearly pointing to an engine problem blah blah no evidence of any explosive intervention blah blah mustn't jump to conclusions blah blah very safe plane blah blah never had an accident in a hundred billion trillion airmiles blah blah Boeing's had its problems blah blah. Not a word -- except to dismiss it as pure speculation -- about Tehran being at that very hour the absolute epicentre of world aviational mayhem.

We get this all the time. Experts in their well-worn groove stubbornly refusing to spot they're in the wrong groove. All of them together. But you wait, when the truth comes out they suspected as much at the time. All of them together. That's what makes them experts. All of them together.
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Mick Harper
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The Iranians are doubling down. They must have known within minutes that it was one of their own missile teams and while it was acceptable to obfuscate while Trump (and they) were working out who was going to do what to whom, they should be coming clean now. The Americans are in no position to crow given they did the same thing with the Vincennes, so it would be embarrassing rather than strategic.

Instead, Bellingcat is reporting, the Iranians are bulldozing the crash site. Outa sight, outa mind? Outa the question, Iran. You ain't no Russia.
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Mick Harper
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Congratulations are due to both Grant (for spotting the significance) and Wiley (for working out why) ahead of time. Rather too far ahead of time, one would be forgiven for thinking. If they are two different people. If they are people. We are plagued with what are called 'wisdom bots'. And congratulations too to Hatty for saving us from American domination. If baseball had turned out to be earlier than cricket we would never have heard the end of it. If it was Hatty.
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Mick Harper
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I have just watched (Conspiracy, History Channel) a theory that the CIA killed Aldo Moro, the Italian ex-prime minister. As opposed to the Red Brigade as was claimed (including by them) at the time. It was quite persuasive. Anybody got anything on this?
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Wile E. Coyote


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Not mentioned by Sciascia, but arguably, I guess you could make a case that because Moro was on the point of making a historic pact bringing the communists into government when kidnapped (this is the reason Sciascia thinks the Italian government were reluctant to negotiate a Moro release), the CIA would also not have been unhappy to see Moro killed by the Red Brigades.....It's a short step then to a CIA plot.
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Mick Harper
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That was broadly the case being made in the programme except that the Red Brigade (by this time) was itself a CIA operation. The Italian government seemed to have been a bemused bystander. And it is true -- as opposed to being a conspiracy theory -- that post-war Italian governments were to some extent a CIA operation.

I suppose we ought to add, since it can be forgotten, that all these shenanigans not only worked but, as it were, worked well for all of us, not excluding the Italians. The Americans might have been complete bastards but they were angels in comparison to the alternative(s).

I suppose we ought to add, since it can be forgotten, that this situation ceased to exist at a point sometime after the Moro killing.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Mick Harper wrote:
That was broadly the case being made in the programme except that the Red Brigade (by this time) was itself a CIA operation.


It's difficult to weigh this.

When spymaster William Stephenson, head of ahem, British Security Coordination, arrived in isolationist America, with strict instructions to get aid from the US, and the Yanks into the war, nobody realised he was setting up a chain of events that would do exactly that, and indeed set up with William Donovan the security of the western hemisphere under the CIA.

It was the Brits, with the help of a Canadian, that were the true originators.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Stephenson.

It really depends when you start.
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Mick Harper
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I wasn't going this far back, though I agree with your broad characterisation. Apparently (the programme argued, with some justification) the Red Brigade had been dispersed, mainly by imprisonment but also because, I think by this time, of changing fashions, and the CIA set up a Red Brigade Mark II under its own control. The programme-makers actually had some proof of this, over and above an obscure talking head saying so, which is why I thought it worth bringing to your attention.

It's an important AE principle to take heed of conspiracy theorists because, whatever else they are, they are indefatigable researchers.
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Mick Harper
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The hypocrisy of Britain, France and Germany triggering the fault clauses of the Iran Nuclear deal when it is Britain, France and Germany which are at fault -- for not taking up the slack left by America's departure -- is breathtaking. But Boris has gone one step beyond by recommending the 'Trump Deal' to replace the current one. I know they always say it takes two to make a deal, Boris, but they didn't mean two countries versus the other two hundred.
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Mick Harper
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Terrorists seek to divide us and destroy our way of life. Here in London we will never let them succeed Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

They might if one terrorist being shot dead and three Streatham shoppers getting injured requires this kind of apocalyptic language. Note to terrorists: that's all it takes to get you five minutes of world attention on Al-Jazeera.
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Mick Harper
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Yet again a clear success has been branded such a monumental failure that, yet again, we have to start changing everything. Let me remind you what really happened

1. A convicted terrorist is let out of gaol (as he has to be sooner or later)
2. The authorities correctly identify him as an ongoing threat
3. They put him under tight surveillance with armed backup
4. The terrorist is unable to do anything except snatch up a knife and stab some people
5. This cannot be prevented under any circumstances no matter what 'improvements' are made
6. Two people are wounded (one medium seriously)
7. Terrorist is immediately shot dead by armed back-up
8. One other person is hurt by flying glass caused by the shooting
9. Everything has worked exactly as it is supposed to work
10. Country goes into panic mode.
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Mick Harper
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This has become something of a fashion amongst terrorists, lone nutter not doing very much. I say 'nutter' because it must be obvious to any sane terrorist that giving up his own life (or liberty) in exchange for taking out one/two/three of 'theirs' is not very effective terrorism. If only he realised that by doing nothing he will be tying up counter-terrorism resources sine die to the great benefit of his fellow-terrorists.

But, on the other hand, there is a 'sane' rationale for being a lone nutter. We tend to forget that the AE rule 'what is is what was' applies i.e. terrorists are just like you and me. And you and me exist in a world where, however vaguely, Big Brother is watching us. Of course he isn't but we don't know that. How much worse then for terrorists for whom he is? In other words any sane terrorist knows as soon as he does anything of an 'organisational' nature, he will be back inside and his cause will not have been advanced one jot.

If that's the one thing he cannot do, the best he can do is do it on his own. But anything even halfway effective -- e.g. hire a car preparatory to driving it into a crowd -- will itself be 'organisational' and get red flagged. Whether it will or won't is immaterial (see 'Everyone is a bit paranoid about Big Brother' rule). It's a nightmare! The only thing to do is act entirely spontaneously. Which means not very effectively. Though as we have seen that is a very effective strategy.
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