The Murder of Steven Sotloff


Lockheed Martin AC-130 Spectre gunship firing flares
Lockheed Martin AC-130 Spectre gunship firing flares

The Murder of Steven Sotloff

…  by  Michael Shrimpton


ISIL are not getting the point. Having seen the international reaction to the brutal murder of Jim Foley they have now gone on to murder Steven Sotloff, an Israeli-American. They had no idea that the man they were decapitating was Jewish.

Viciously anti-semitic as they are, it is inconceivable that, had they known he was Jewish and an Israeli Citizen to boot, they would not have crowed about it in their disgusting snuff video. Both he and James Foley will be avenged, hopefully soon. ‘Jihad John’, the dual UK national who claims to have murdered both, named by some as Abdel-Majed Abel Bary, thankfully will not have long to live.

I respectfully agree with Admiral Lord West of Spithead that Bary, or whoever he is, is a “dead man walking”.

This latest atrocity isn’t going to do the Palestinian occupiers of Gaza and the West Bank (i.e. Judea and Samaria) any good. I see from the some of the anti-semitic rants passed off as ‘comments’ in response to my column last week that many Moslems and Islamic sympathizers see the Jews as the occupiers of Palestine. That, with respect, is historically illiterate.

The Holy Hand Grenande – Monty Python

The Arabs were the invaders, in the early 7th century, although strictly the Holy Land was under Byzantine jurisdiction when they seized it. Great Britain, with our historic Balfour Declaration of 1917, sought to right this historic wrong.

Having smashed the Ottoman Empire we were in a position to deliver, and the State of Israel came about thirty years later. Israel is the ancient Jewish homeland. If you haven’t grasped that, drive along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The sense of history is almost overpowering.

To those who say I am taking too long a view, and that Arab aggression in the 7th century should be rewarded by pandering to Islamic terror in the 21st, I say ‘get real’. Any number of Islamic nutters, from bin Laden to al-Baghdadi, have looked back to the medieval caliphate. If the Islamic enemy can think historically, why can’t we? Why stop at the 7th century?

The Middle East was ancient even by then. The Jews were in Palestine centuries before the Moslems. As a prophet, Mohammed was a Johnny Come Lately, up there with Joseph Smith, in historic terms. Indeed Mohammed is closer on the timeline to L. Ron Hubbard than he is to Moses.

Trinity Chapel Salisbury

In fairness, bin Laden understood that the religion was a joke, the Koran having been written in the Vatican (in Latin, of course). He wasn’t actually a religious nut. He quite enjoyed a tipple, his women and the odd flutter. The jihadi outfits were strictly for the punters.

The last person I know to have met him told me that he had shaved off the beard and was wearing a business suit.

It kept the ISI boys happy, and the CIA confused (the CIA tended with respect to buy into his religious propaganda and saw him as a religious figure).

In case you haven’t gathered, by the way I am not religious – I’m an Anglican. I know there are some in the Church of England who are trying to turn it into a religious organisation, but thankfully they’re not getting anywhere.

Salisbury Cathedral


The British Hostage

ISIL have now threatened to murder their one and only British hostage, David Haines. Since he is an adopted Scot, this threat is probably helping the No campaign in the Scottish ‘independence’ referendum (of course the Scottish National Party don’t want an independent Scotland, but a German client state in the British Isles, in the EU). A Scottish client-state inside the EU would be powerless to rescue David Haines.

The UK has that capability, and if we acquire viable intelligence, it will be used. COREA (Correa) Group penetration of CIA, DIA and the Administration mean that, through no fault of their own, Delta Force is out, sadly, as we saw with the failed rescue attempt of Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.

We have the same problem, and if we do not learn the lessons of the failure to rescue Jim and Steven, an SAS rescue mission would also be compromised. David Cameron would be left looking as weak and powerless as President Obama, who if Alex Jones is right, is pretty much limited to whacking octogenarian comediennes.

Any rescue mission for David Haines MUST be kept away from MOD or the Cabinet Office, i.e. it must be launched outside the chain of command. Keeping operational details away from a compromised state bureaucracy or national leadership is acceptable. A British Citizen’s life is in danger.

Political authority to rescue him is no more needed than it is for a policeman to jump into a freezing lake and rescue a drowning child, although these days ‘our’ police tend to cite ‘elf and safety’ concerns, and just stand around and watch struggling children drown, sadly. (Fairly or not, the police in this country have acquired a reputation for rank cowardice.)

If the police want to know what to do in such a situation, by the way, they should ask my friend Margaret Purves GC, Britain’s only surviving woman holder of the George Cross, who jumped into a rough sea off Cardiff in 1949 at the tender age of 14, saving a man and a boy. Another boy tried to help her and tragically was drowned.

I entirely agree with that nice man Sir Menzies (pronounced ‘Mingies’, like the wartime head of MI6 and senior Abwehr double-agent in the agency) Campbell, and the Prime Minister, that ransom payments simply bankroll terrorism. Whitehall is slowly getting the point, made in Spyhunter, that Islamic terrorism is controlled from Germany and that ransom payments to terrorist organisations by Germany, France and Italy are simply a form of state sponsorship of terror.

If ISIL do murder David Haines then they, and their European backers, can expect massive British retaliation. It won’t come whilst Cameron, an appeaser in the mould of Neville Chamberlain, is in charge, but he’s going.

It is a legitimate point that the RAF with its current equipment, would struggle to take out large numbers of ISIL terrorists. Capability could be massively enhanced, however, with a couple of squadrons of the excellent Lockheed Martin AC-130 Spectre gunship, which could mount the British 105 mil gun (we don’t make a mini-gun, so some of the kinetic kit would have to be ordered from American defense manufacturers, who have a good reputation for delivering quality kit at fair prices). I suspect the boys down at Marietta GA have some spare capacity on the line.

We need to demonstrate to ISIL the meaning of the words Western Firepower. After this latest atrocity we need to hurt them, badly. Dear old Bomber Harris, who did a bit of strafing of Bad Guys in Iraq in the good old days, with Vickers Vernons, would have understood this. ISIL’s manners need improving, and a few Spectres would be just the ticket. The Arabs were a lot better behaved by the way, after Bomber Harris’s boys fanned them with a few 112 pounders.

We must avoid the mistakes made by the Israelis in Gaza and not be too soft. Only 2,100 enemy dead? Bomber Harris would have knocked over that number in a morning.


Additional Protocol 1 to the 1948 Geneva Conventions

The notion that the IDF’s perfectly proper operations in Gaza amounted to a war crime seems to derive from a misreading of Article 51 of Additional Protocol 1 of 1977 to the 1948 Geneva Conventions. This strengthens the protection of civilians, although how much further it took the existing Laws of War is a matter for debate.

Article 51(4) does not prohibit the taking of civilian life in military operations. It merely requires that the number of civilian casualties be proportionate to a legitimate military objective. Proportionality is a question of fact and degree. When terrorists, as in Gaza, are hiding amongst the civilian population and using them as a shield then of course there are going to be civilian casualties. It’s regrettable, but unavoidable, sadly.

I fail to see how the 2 to 1 ratio of civilian to terrorist dead in Operation Protective Edge could be said to be other than proportionate. It is obvious that the IDF took great care to limit civilian casualties as much as possible, e.g. by giving warnings, which went beyond their obligations under the Laws of War, including AP1.

If however it is seriously being said that Operation Protective Edge involved a violation of AP1, then the time has come for the Western Powers, including Israel, to withdraw from it. The 1949 Geneva Conventions 1-IV have effectively collapsed anyway, and may as well be abandoned.

They were badly drafted, giving scope to liberal judges to rewrite them in the Global War on Terror. Joke interpretations have significantly reduced their utility. Denunciation period in ‘peacetime’ is 12 months (see, e.g. Article 63 of Geneva Convention I of 1949). Withdrawal would not affect pre-existing obligations.



The UN

A very nice UN peacekeeper friend of mine was slightly startled by my call last week to withdraw from the UN. There is no doubt that many UN employees and peacekeepers have done good work, but the organization itself has been as much a failure as the League of Nations, for much the same reasons.

Like the League the UN has been hopelessly compromised by German intelligence, to the point where the effective conduct of military operations by UN forces has become impossible. No serious state could trust the UN with intelligence, and without accurate intelligence military operations are simply a means of throwing lives away.

Collective security has been a cruel deception of the peoples of the world from the time it was invented. It has never worked and it never will. Institutions, like the UN, which have allowed themselves to be corrupted by the DVD and then lied about it, have to pay the institutional price of failure. The UN’s humanitarian operations could be taken over by well-run charities like Save The Children, or MSF.

There has been some debate over the last week as to whether Kurt Waldheim was Wehrmacht or SD. Officially he was just an army officer, but then Herman Goering was officially just the chief of staff of the Luftwaffe. He was always intelligence – Abwehr, but inside the SD and reporting back. He was an Army officer as well, but it was just a cover story. He was however one of the nicest war criminals you could wish to meet.

I am told that his daughter was quite nice as well, and not nearly as bossy as the Cabinet Secretary, no offense intended. He, by the way, apparently models his leadership style on the Emperor Caligula, indeed the BBC showed Demetrius and the Gladiators again last week, probably to give him a few tips.


The Silly Summit in Newport

British army patrols at NATO summit

NATO have had another pointless gathering, in the agreeable surroundings of the Celtic Manor Resort hotel. The media think it’s in Cardiff, but it’s actually in Newport – you can see it from the M4, as you drive in to Newport.

They do rather a nice afternoon tea there, and will let you park your Bentley right in front of the hotel.

The ‘leaders’ are vaporing over Russian military activities inside Ukraine, but are missing the point. The dictator they’ve invited seized power at the point of a gun in a German-backed coup. He’s a ‘Jerry’ stooge, who should be ignored. There’s usually not much point talking to the monkey anyway, when the organ-grinder is at the same summit.

There has been a lot of dangerous and inflammatory talk over the Ukraine, which has failed as a state and should be formally divided, with Russia re-annexing the eastern, Russian-speaking half. The baseless accusations against President Putin and the Russian Government over the Chinese/Ukrainian shootdown of Flight MH17 (hasn’t that gone silent, now they’ve listened to the CVR?) were an absurd provocation.

Speaking of absurd provocations, it’s about time Whitehall abandoned its wild conspiracy theory about President Putin having sanctioned the ‘murder’ of Lt-Col Litvinenko. His death was his own fault, for agreeing to try and set up President Putin by swallowing polonium, and its antidote (Prussian Blue) at the same time. It was the antidote which got him.

If you’re ever asked to swallow anything even remotely radioactive and they tell you not to worry, always research the side-effects of the antidote, which in this case included peritonitis. If Litvinenko wanted to carry on living –and apparently he did – he should have spent 10 minutes online researching Prussian Blue.

A copy of this column is going into Moscow, and they can quote me if they wish. It’s time this Russian-bashing nonsense was brought to an end, before we start a war.


The King Case

Some of you will have seen the coverage of this nonsense. Two perfectly nice and harmless parents ended up being thrown into jail in Madrid, Spain, for a couple of days, for doing no more than trying to secure effective, i.e. non-NHS, medical treatment for their gravely-ill child.

Hampshire Police issued a European Arrest Warrant, for the non-crime of looking after your child. They should be wasted in damages and their idiot Chief Constable sacked, no offense intended. The NHS, which refused proton beam therapy, it would seem just to save money, were insisting on ‘treatments’ which sound worse than the cure.

Watching this musical comedy unfold, I was reminded of dear old Doctor McCoy’s reaction in Star Trek IV to the treatments being handed out by 20th century medicine! I suspect that the parents are right, and that the proposed treatment in Prague, which was not involve frying their little boy’s brain, is the best way forward.

Not the least concerning aspect of this affair is that NHS managers lied to the public. We were told that the father had ‘kidnapped’ his child from Southampton General Hospital. When the truth finally emerged it turned out that he had simply exercised his right to remove his child from a hospital which was unable or unwilling to treat him effectively, and had told the hospital what he was doing. That’s not kidnap.

The offensive allegation of not caring for their sick child was then compounded by a High Court judge, with respect, who made their child a ward of court, apparently ex parte. The child however was born in Spain, and was in the Kingdom of Spain when the purported wardship order, which was clearly ultra vires the learned judge, was made.

It is axiomatic that the judicial authorities of one state cannot exercise jurisdiction over a dual national on the territory of his or her second state of nationality. Whilst in Spain little Ashya King was under the protection of His Catholic Majesty the King of Spain. The wardship order should be discharged, and the impertinent applicants wasted in indemnity costs. If the applicant’s lawyers failed to alert to the court to the fact that Ashya King was a Spanish Subject, then consideration should be given to the making of wasted costs orders against them.

When applying ex parte you are expected to draw the court’s attention to materials facts of which you are aware, such as the fact that the court lacks jurisdiction. I am afraid that the Family Division of the High Court has been reduced to an international laughing stock. I doubt that the President, Sir James Munby (a nice chap, with respect, and a sound tribunal), is overly happy. Let’s hope he’s not been booked to speak at a legal conference in Madrid!


Bond Movie of the Week – You Only Live Twice (1967), dir. Lewis Gilbert

Donald Pleasence as Blofeld

This was the first Bond movie to depart substantially from the plot of the book on which it was nominally based. In the book, e.g. ‘Dikko’ Henderson, played superbly in the movie by Charles Gray, who went to play Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever, is an Aussie.

Blofeld in You Only Live Twice is played, with real menace, by Donald Pleasence, who played Heinrich Himmler (another baddie) to great effect in The Eagle Has Landed. (I am aware by the way, that I boo-booed in Spyhunter, where I suggested that the part of Admiral Canaris was played by James Mason –it was of course Anthony Quayle). Nobody did megalomaniacs better than Donald Pleasence. He could have been invited to a NATO summit.

Ian Fleming knew full well that Canaris had faked his death. For those not too proud to draw lessons from popular culture you should always bear in mind that faking your own death is an old intelligence ploy. In the movie it is very well done, with Commander Bond’s body seen disappearing over the side of HMS Tenby, one of Sir Victor Shepheard’s elegant Type 12 frigates.

One of her old skippers, who left her not long before they began shooting, Captain North Dalrymple-Hamilton, sadly passed last month (he had the rare distinction of watching the sinking of the Bismarck, from HMS King George V, whilst his father captained HMS Rodney in the same action).

The real star again was not one of the actors, fine though the cast was, but Wing Commander Ken Wallis’s autogyro. Ken, a friend of several friends, flew “Little Nellie” himself, and flew her very well too.

You Only Live Twice elaborate set

The soundtrack is wonderful and the sets astonishing, even now. The main set was built at Pinewood Studios and is still one of the largest ever made for a movie. In 1967 it was quite something.

So far as I know, no intelligence agency has tried the trick of flying a big magnet under a helo (a Boeing Vertol, I think, in the movie), picking up the Bad Guys in their automobile and dropping them in the sea, but it’s got to be worth a try. Perhaps we could try it, with a Chinook, for some of the ISIL bad boys in their Landcruisers!

September 5th 2014


Michael Shrimpton is a barrister, called to the Bar in London 1983. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counterterrorism.

Michael was formerly an Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies in what was then the Department of National Security, Intelligence and Space Studies at the American Military University.

Michael’s ground-breaking, 700-page intelligence text “Spyhunter: The Secret History of German Intelligence” is available on Kindle.

Editing: Erica P. Wissinger



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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. Read Articles from Michael Shrimpton; Read Michael Shrimptons' Full Complete Bio >>>