The Murder of James Foley
… by Michael Shrimpton
Editor’s note: There are things written here that, by my estimation, represent material support for terrorism and war crimes as clearly defined. Thus, in no way does VT support what is written here.
Last week’s column provoked an outbreak of anti-semitic hysteria – odd, considering that I am not Jewish – and some frankly irrational criticism. Sadly, the brutal murder of James Foley surely proved my point.
We need to get back to Iraq. Jonas Alexis provided more reasoned criticism, with respect, to which I respond below. I am sure he will note my identifying his position as “standard Langley/State Department”, indeed I suspect Jonas would consider it a compliment.
Poor James Foley will not be the last hostage to be murdered. Hostage rescue won’t work until we get DVD assets out of the White House, Cabinet Office and intelligence agencies. The way I read it, NSA and the DIA boys did their stuff and Delta Force attacked the location where Jim Foley and other high-value hostages were being held 24 hours before.
That was the problem – that’s where they were 24 hours before. I would not be surprised to hear that the White House were in the loop, and Langley. Both are penetrated, the CIA by the COREA (should that read Correa?) Group in Frankfurt-am-Main, which was not bombed severely enough in World War II, sadly.
The Obama Administration do not listen to me, unlike some of the good folk in the Bush-Cheney Administration. This lot don’t seem to consult much with their worthy predecessors either. It’s a pity, because they might have told them how Saddam, a bad-ass Bad Guy, was nabbed. They told Langley one thing, and headed off in the other direction, after I filled them in on the shady lady in Beirut with the sat-phone.
Tight OP-SEC (Operational Security) was the only way Jim Foley and the other hostages were going to be rescued. Broadcasting the rescue to Dachau made sure the facility was empty when the Delta Boys got there. They were lucky to make it out alive and very nearly didn’t. Sounds to me like the Delta Force boys put up a good show.
Boots on the ground is the only way to defeat Islamic State, as they are now calling themselves. I am well aware that the West is war-weary, as the US and Australia were after Vietnam, but that was the whole point of the DVD Vietnamising the war. I never said I approved of the way the war was fought, with all its foul-ups and snafus. In fact it was no way to fight a war, but that’s what the DVD and their assets in CIA and State wanted, and that’s what they got.
Response to Comments
Responding only to the rational comments, with respect, I was sorry to see criticism of the late Major-General Sir Charles Vere Townshend. This gallant officer did good work against an earlier generation of mad Moslems in the Sudan Expedition of 1884 and participated in the pacification of the Hunza and Nagar tribes in northern India in 1891.
I am sorry to have to report that the chiefs of the Hunza and Nagar had offered a show of defiance to the British imperial will. Clearly their manners needed improving, and a few Hunza and Nagar needed shooting, nicely of course. A number of them were shot, and their manners improved considerably thereafter. The expedition was a great success.
Of course it was disappointing that Sir Charles did not press on to take Baghdad in World War I, but he only had the 6th Indian Division. He needed at least another division, plus the Imperial Camel Corps, the Somaliland Camel Corps and some horse cavalry. He was also a bit short of artillery. Shamefully, nothing was done to bomb Baghdad. Put shortly he could have done with a few camels, as in imperial war camels, on the ground, and some Camels, as in Sopwith Camels, in the air. ‘Johnny Turk’ could have done with a good strafing.
It is time to restore the reputation of this excellent officer, who came from a good family, went to a good school, and became a Tory MP. General Townshend would have known how to sort out Islamic State.
In answer to ‘Bill H’ whilst Su-27s could have shot down MH17 easily with AAMs it would not have been so easy to blame it on the nice pro-Russian rebels. The whole idea of using a SAM was to make patsies of the rebels, who had been allowed to capture a Buk. What was needed was a non-lethal attack, non-lethal that is for everybody except the poor pilots, to make sure that MH17 did not turn away from the dangerous course onto which it had been ordered by Kiev ATC.
People keep making the point that the Su-25’s ceiling is 10,000 feet below the interception altitude, as though the Russian Ministry of Defence had not already confirmed that the plane is capable of reaching FL330, i.e. 33,000 feet, for a limited period. As I pointed out last week, interpretation of published performance data for military aircraft requires care.
The published ceiling is almost certainly a sustainable figure, with full military equipment. The -25 would have been at combat power. The Russian Ministry of Defence figure almost certainly relates to performance at combat power. It is highly unlikely that the titanium armor was left in the plane. It’s pretty much as easy to remove as it is to put in. In the -25, the pilot sits in what is, in effect, a bath-like structure, providing excellent protection. You don’t need armor to attack an unarmed civilian airliner.
Operation Protective Edge
There was captious criticism of the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza, but they are doing good work against Hamas, and have eliminated four senior Hamas terrorist commanders in the past seven days. I was startled to see the nice IDF accused of genocide. There has been no genocide in Gaza.
Operation Protective Edge is a legitimate and proportionate counter-terrorism operation, prompted by the indiscriminate, terrorist, aerial bombardment of a democracy using rockets supplied by Iran. The civilian casualties are unfortunate, but an inevitable, collateral consequence of Hamas’s cowardly strategy of hiding behind the skirts of civilians.
The difference is that Hamas are aiming their rockets at civilians, whereas the IDF are aiming at terrorists. No one who knows the IDF could possibly suppose that they want to hit women and children, any more than Bomber Command wanted to hit women and children in World War II. I repeat – if you don’t want casualties, don’t start a war.
Some of the more radical Moslems and bits of the left are beginning to sound like those hysterical Germans whining after the perfectly proper bombing of Dresden by the RAF and USAAF in 1945. The Germans went in for mass slaughter in World War II, mostly of civilians. They even set up death camps.
Of course they were going to be hit, and hit hard, by the Good Guys. Of course it’s upsetting for the Bad Guys having to sweep up their dear old grannies with a dustpan and brush after a firestorm, just as it’s upsetting for parents in Gaza having to bury their innocent children. It’s upsetting for the Good Guys as well. No one ever said that war was pleasant, but that is no reason to cave into evil.
Just as the bombing of Dresden saved lives in the long run by hastening the defeat of Germany, so too will Operation Protective Edge hasten the defeat of Hamas. When the mighty Avro Lancasters of 83 Squadron RAF commenced the massive attack on the city of Dresden by laying down magnesium flares for the Main Force to aim on, they paved the way for a paralysing hammer blow against the most merciless regime in history, one even more evil than the European Union.
Yes the Germans reeled after Dresden, just as Hamas and their sympathisers are reeling now. Hamas and the Palestinians are making the same mistake as Hitler and the Nazis. Good does not necessarily mean weak.
Islamic State will learn that lesson too. The terrorists who executed James Foley will be hunted down like the dogs they are and terminated with extreme prejudice, with the same moral force Eighth Army Air Force Bomber Command and RAF Bomber Command showed when they tore the Nazi’s black heart out at Dresden.
Response to Jonas Alexis
Polls don’t mean much. Public opinion turned against the war in Iraq because no one in authority bothered to explain why we went in there, which is that Iraqi participation in 9-11 was confirmed, before the end of 2001 in fact. For 13 years, we have had a massive cover-up of both Iraqi and German support for 9-11, and it’s high time it stopped. So-called ‘truth-seekers’ have muddied the waters by blaming Mossad or the Bush-Cheney Administration, which is absurd.
We should never have used WMDs as the casus belli. I am not just saying it now. I have been saying it since before the war. And yes, I did agree to go to Baghdad to assist with the intelligence clean-up, if you’re interested, just as I tried to volunteer for the Gulf War and requested a hostilities-only commission (sadly, they weren’t being offered, as we chose to fight the war at peacetime manning levels).
IMHO, the best book about the links between Osama bin Laden, 9-11 and Saddam is “The Terrorism Game” (London: Al-Rafid, 2001), by H.E. Dr Hamid al-Bayati, later Deputy Foreign Minister of Iraq and Iraqi Ambassador to the UN. This well-informed book also reveals the links between the Iraqi Mukhabarat and the Oklahoma City bombing, and the attack on the USS Cole, for which Saddam supplied the shaped charge.
This book was so explosive the CIA ran interference on the US diplomatic bag and intercepted Ambassador Bolton’s copy, with which I had presented him, which he instructed be sent to Washington in the bag. None of the statements made in the book by Ambassador al-Bayati has ever been contradicted. His Excellency is a well-informed chap, if I may say so (we’ve never met, although his brother and I once met in London).
Nearly all the WMDs had been shipped out of Iraq before the war began. That does not mean they weren’t there beforehand. If you want to know more, listen to the Saddam Tapes, made public courtesy of that nice man John Loftus.
The civilian death toll figure Alexis gives (500,000) is way too high. The military casualties were real enough, and so is the pain for their families, but I never said I supported the way the war was fought. We should never have disbanded the Iraqi Army, nor for that matter taken de-Baathification to such absurd lengths.
I never supported Maliki. Had we had Chalabi, as I and a few others wanted, there would have been a lot fewer casualties. That includes Syria – I wanted to sort out Syria and Iran after our victory over Saddam. It was crazy just going on the defensive and waiting for them to come after us.
I entirely agree about the Islamic rebels in Syria. Had we supported the moderate, democratic opposition when they asked for it, we would have toppled Assad long before now. Now we have a choice between an Arab fascist and a bunch of crazy Islamo-fascists. Great. We are now going to need boots on the ground in Syria as well.
The US defense budget is too small, not too large. If you think deterrence is expensive, try war. If you think the Iraq War was expensive try the cost of another 9-11 style terrorist attack on the United States. For that matter, try the cost of the Global Financial Crisis, one of the consequences of not dealing with the DVD, after their existence was confirmed by the Administration, with much of the work being done off-campus. If you think global dominance is expensive, try the costs of global submission.
Of course the Iraq War came in way over budget, but that’s because it lasted way too long. That’s partly because the terrorist insurgency inside Iraq was sponsored by Germany, Syria and Iran.
The US social security budget, like Britain’s, is way over the top. Much of that is due to unemployment, which in turn is partly a factor of uncontrolled illegal immigration. If you want a true example of waste, try Obamacare. Like Britain’s pathetic NHS, it’s a colossal waste of money.
Figures like “46 million Americans … rely on food pantries …” are misleading. There may be 46 million people on food stamps etc. but how many of them are actually American? There could be as many as 40 million illegal immigrants from the Third World in the United States, and must be at least thirty million. Poverty figures which do not strip out illegals and dual nationals, who could return home, are meaningless. They are certainly not a sensible basis for the formulation of national policy.
With respect, I would hardly describe the American economy as “a dismal failure”. It’s actually the world’s greatest economic success story. Exports to the US are the key to Chinese economic growth, along with MTN trading programs. If you want the taxpayer to save a few trillion bucks, close the programs and go after the massive amounts of unpaid tax sitting offshore. One US corporation alone had $250 billion sitting offshore in 1999, and must have double that now, none of it taxed. Alexis’ figures refer only to the onshore economy and are therefore incomplete, to the point of being misleading.
Israel was quite right to block the left-wing NGOs Amnesty and HRW from entering Gaza. If HRW are independent, my great aunt’s a Dutchman, no offense intended. Amnesty are idiots, who are actually opposed to the death penalty.
In US terms, I am a Neocon. Alexis’ point is? A Neocon is simply a liberal who accept facts, i.e. a rational liberal. I became a conservative (I am now marginally to the right of center) because I found that left-wing and liberal arguments lacked intellectual rigor, like Amnesty’s pathetic arguments against the death penalty.
I do indeed congratulate myself for having known Ambassador Harvey Feldman. He was a fine man, and I was privileged to have known him. I still miss the old guy. So does the CIA. He had great taste in wine, which I do not. I remember having dinner with him one time, in my favorite DC restaurant, the Occidental, on 14th Street. I was paying, so I got to choose the wine, and I went for a bottle of white Zinfandel. Poor old Harvey was appalled, and exclaimed: “But Michael, in America only teenage girls drink white Zinfandel”. I remain partial to a refreshing drop of white Zinfandel, indeed I remain partial to most Californian wines. To that extent I was a great disappointment to Harvey.
I am proud to be associated with JINSA. They are very nice people, with sound opinions on defense and national security. And yes, they are Jewish. So what?
Ferguson Police Department
More I look at this, the more it looks like a clean shooting by the officer. We have a violent young black man, with priors, on drugs, who had just carried out a strong-arm robbery. He assaults the police, tries to steal a police firearm, and then runs away. I do not believe he was trying to surrender to police at all. Autopsy results to me indicate that he had his head down and was charging at the officers, presumably in a further attempt to seize their firearms. Time to move on.
This was a young man out of control. I feel sorry for his parents, but I also feel sorry for the officer who had to shoot him (it’s never easy) and has had to endure pointless criminal and federal investigations. He was only doing his job, which was to preserve the peace. He should not have been suspended.
It’s not like Ferguson PD are Thames Valley Police. FPD strikes me as a well-run, honest and competent police force. If black people think there should be more blacks in the police department, volunteer and go serve the community. Don’t loot stores and riot.
This episode, like the London riots in 2011, further demonstrates the need to shoot looters, nicely of course. If you don’t, you just get more looting, which usually leads to more violence. Much better to shoot a few looters at the outset. The rest will go home. Of course Jesse Jackson is going to cry ‘police brutality’, but he’s doing that anyway. If the police are worried about accusations of racism they could always shoot a couple of white looters as well. As a courtesy, I’ll send a link to this column to Colonel (Chief) Jackson, who’s doing a great job down there in Ferguson.
I apologise if all y’all feel that I have been sitting on the fence too much this week. Next week I’ll let you know what I really think! Good news for Kindle fans – Spyhunter should be out on Kindle next week. The work has all been done, and it went over to Kindle this afternoon. The publishers are trying to keep the price down, much easier when you don’t have over 700 pages to print. The postage will be less, too!
This week’s classic Bond – Goldfinger (1964), dir. Guy Hamilton
This was the first of Guy Hamilton’s four Bond movies and is one of the best ever made. It’s not my favorite, although it’s in my number 3 position. It’s a great intelligence movie.
Those who criticise it as glossy entertainment miss the point entirely. Both Ian Fleming, who wrote the book, and Eon Productions, who made the movie, were making a serious point. Always follow the money. Real world events are often shaped by huge movements of gold, or trading programs run off the back of gold.
Forget Connery. The real star of the movie is the car. When I was growing up, everybody wanted the Corgi 007 DB-5! The 5 is one of the classiest cars Aston Martin has ever made, even prettier than the DB-6 in my view. The ejector seat was a wonderful idea. They should get them in the shops for Christmas.
The Swiss scenery is stunning. Cec Linder was a credible replacement for Jack Lord (who got greedy), as Felix Leiter. He wasn’t as good, but Lord wasn’t missed that much. Gert Fröbe and Harold Sakata are excellent baddies (can you have a ‘good baddie’?). Sakata could have got a job with Thames Valley Police. They are some useful hints about what to do when you get a North Korean midget coming after you with a steel hat.
The supporting cast tends to get overlooked, apart from dear old Desmond Llewellyn of course, who was really starting to grow into the role by Goldfinger. Richard Vernon, as the security officer at the Bank of England, is very good indeed. I never tire of watching that scene.
August 23rd 2014
Magazine layout: Erica P. Wissinger
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence, and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.