British soldiers’ anti-Labour death threat, why?

This 4 April 2019 video says about itself:

U.K. Troops Used A Poster Of Corbyn For Target Practice

A video filmed on Snapchat shows four soldiers with handguns in Afghan capital Kabul firing at a large poster of the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

By Lucy Wood in Britain:

Friday, April 5, 2019

Happy with that? Who has fed our young soldiers a diet of hatred for the Labour leader?

A VIDEO circulates via social media of four soldiers firing guns at a shooting range with a banner stating “happy with that.” The camera then pans across to their target, a picture of Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition.

This has caused shock and outrage from many political commentators but it is no wonder that animosity has grown towards Corbyn since he became leader of the Labour Party.

The press he has received has gone from him being a bumbling “nice” man to terrorist sympathiser and traitor, among other accusations such as Czech spy, Russian stooge and anti-semite.

It has been an insidious attempt to undermine the leader of the opposition and becomes more absurd and heightened as he steps closer to government.

However, to see our own armed forces filming themselves shooting a target with Jeremy Corbyn’s face on it is chilling. An action like this legitimises violent action against politicians and perhaps even those that support them. Our military are meant to protect us, but this is the second time in only a few months that they have shown that young members of the armed forces are being drawn into the fascist right-wing propaganda spreading across our country.

Comments left by people watching this video showed the contempt in which they have for the Labour leader but also repeat the lies that they have been told by the mainstream media. …

[The Labour party manifesto says:] “Under the Conservatives, our armed forces have been hit by rent rises, pay restraint and changes to tax and benefits, putting real pressure on service personnel and their families. We will ensure they get the pay and living conditions that their service merits.”

It is obvious that these soldiers are not aware of the benefits that a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party offers them and their families and why would they be?

Mainstream media perpetually push any other narrative apart from an honest one regarding the leader of the opposition and the narrative that the Conservative Party supports. Theresa May herself shouted it last week at PMQs: “The biggest threat to our standing in the world, to our defence, to our economy is sitting on the Labour front bench.”

Jeremy Corbyn has already been attacked and yet even that assault has been trivialised by the mainstream media, making light of it by perpetuating the narrative that only an egg was thrown at him. To the point that some outlets are questioning the arrest and conviction of a man that physically attacked a 69-year-old man, unprovoked.

After the tragic murder of Labour MP Jo Cox and the story that came to light yesterday of a 22-year-old man plotting to murder his local Labour MP Rosie Cooper, this behaviour is beyond irresponsible.

The threat of murderous intent by people that have been inspired by a far-right narrative is growing and not enough is being done to challenge it. Last week Tommy Robinson was given a platform outside Parliament despite him being banned by Facebook and Twitter for encouraging hate speech.

Someone that has been continually proven to be lying about refugees and minority groups to incite hatred had a platform to speak outside the Houses of Parliament.

Although we may not always agree with our politicians, presenting them as a target for violent attack in any form is unacceptable, especially by our armed forces.

An army spokesperson says: “We are aware of a video circulating on social media, this behaviour is totally unacceptable and falls well below the high standards the army expects, a full investigation has been launched.”

Many will berate these soldiers for their actions and they would do so rightly. However, the investigation shouldn’t stop at these young men but also their direct superiors. Questions should be asked, what has influenced these soldiers to behave like this? Is itmainstream media or have they been influenced by hierarchy within the military?

Instances like this just make the case stronger for Leveson II. We must hold our media to account for the lies and stories they are promoting. The media should be a tool that holds democracy to account and it should be trusted by the people who consume it.

However, the fear of a leadership that would encourage a fairer tax system and rules that would ensure the media publish accurate information is enough for them to present continuous smears against the opposition leader.

British soldiers, corporate media incite anti-Labour violence

Screenshots from the video of British paratroopers shooting an image of Jeremy Corbyn circulating online today

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Corporate media’s ‘relentless’ attacks on Corbyn ‘to blame’ for army’s target practice outrage

CORPORATE media came under fire today over its constant smearing of Jeremy Corbyn after footage emerged of British troops using the Labour leader’s picture for target practice.

The army confirmed it was investigating the incident of soldiers shooting at his image in a video shared on social media, which was described by a Labour spokesman as “alarming and unacceptable”.

Footage captured this week in Kabul, Afghanistan, shows four soldiers from 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment using the Labour leader’s picture for target practice on a Simunition range.

Lined up in a row, they are seen firing handguns before the camera turns to show a large picture of Mr Corbyn with small coloured wax pellets targeted at his face.

It comes after John Murphy, 31, was jailed for 28 days last month for hitting Mr Corbyn on the back of his head with an egg while inside Finsbury Park Mosque.

Award-winning media watch group Media Lens said that the “entire mainstream media system has been waging a relentless, fanatical smear campaign demonising Corbyn.”

It referred to the Daily Mail having mocked up a picture of Mr Corbyn in a coffin with the headline: “Labour must KILL vampire Jezza.” It noted that after the newspaper received a backlash, it had changed the word “kill” to “dump” on the online version.

Media Lens warned that it was not just the right-wing press that were complicit, as the Independent and the BBC had also stoked the fire in portraying him as a security threat.

It pointed to Independent articles claiming that the British army could “stage [a] mutiny” under a Corbyn-led government and also noted an anonymous general’s comment that “generals would not allow a prime minister to jeopardise the security of the UK.”

Media Lens added that BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg was broadcast “wagging a finger at Corbyn” and saying “do you acknowledge there is a risk that it looks to voters like you would put your own principles ahead of the protection of this country?”

Sky News, in reporting the target practice, explicitly linked the footage of the soldiers shooting at Mr Corbyn’s picture to allegations from Tories that he would threaten national security.

The broadcaster also interviewed Tory MP Mark Harper who said that Mr Corbyn sided with Russia over the apparent attack on the Skripals in Salisbury – an allegation based on Mr Corbyn having asked for evidence before endorsing action against Russia.

Media Lens, which won the 2007 Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award, tweeted: “Let’s be clear, they learned this hatred of Corbyn from a single source – corporate media.

“It’s astonishing how journalists have turned this honest, compassionate, thoroughly decent politician into a hate figure.”

Commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade Nick Perry said the army was conducting a full investigation, is keen to get to the bottom of the incident and is “obviously taking this extremely seriously”.

However, media critic and journalist Jonathan Cook suggested that the investigation could be compromised as the army is being led by “a general who explained to the [Rupert Murdoch-owned] Times that he and his colleagues would make sure Corbyn was never allowed to reach No 10.”

This 3 April 2019 video from Britain says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn as target practice? What comes next could be worse | Owen Jones talks

As a video emerges of British soldiers firing rounds at a Jeremy Corbyn poster on an army base in Kabul we must remember that words have consequences. In the past four years we’ve seen an growing dangerous radicalisation on the right against the Labour leader who has been demonised as an “enemy within” and been accused of siding with terrorists and if we don’t continue to call it out we could see more violence ahead.

By the Socialist Equality Party (UK):

UK elite Parachute Regiment use Corbyn poster for target practice

4 April 2019

Footage of soldiers in the elite Parachute Regiment firing rounds into a poster of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is a grave warning of the climate of political violence being fomented by Britain’s ruling elite.

The video was posted on Snapchat, before being leaked yesterday onto Twitter. Four paratroopers are seen repeatedly firing at the Corbyn poster with handguns. The words “happy with that” are captioned on the video, before the camera pans to the poster of Corbyn, zooming in to show his head peppered with bullet holes. Some of the soldiers can be heard laughing.

The video was reportedly shot in recent days and its authenticity has been confirmed by the Army. Around 80 members of the 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) have been stationed in Kabul in Afghanistan since 2018 as part of the Resolute Support Mission. The footage was apparently shot in the loft of what Sky News reported is the “New Kabul Compound”.

Immediate efforts were made to downplay the seriousness of the event.

Ex-Colour Sergeant Trevor Coult told the Daily Mail, “It should never have gone online. But it was tomfoolery, nothing serious. There should not be an investigation.” Coult had shared the video with the comment, “Not looking good for a Labour leader” and a laughing emoji. Conservative MP and former soldier Johnny Mercer joined the defence effort, tweeting, “every organisation has good people who make serious misjudgements.”

The Ministry of Defence said an investigation would be undertaken, but Brigadier Nick Perry, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, also downplayed the incident as “a serious error of judgment.”

All attempts to portray this event as bad behaviour by a few individuals must be rejected. The Parachute Regiment is one of the most elite infantry regiments in the world. It strains credulity that no senior officers were aware of what was happening.

The use of Corbyn’s image for target practice takes place against a background in which the Labour leader has been repeatedly subjected to death threats by far-right forces. Only last month, as the politically toxic atmosphere over Brexit intensified, he was violently assaulted by a right-wing thug at Finsbury Park Mosque, who had threatened online that he would like to kill [Muslims and politicians].

Moreover, this latest attack on Corbyn comes from a unit specialising in counterinsurgency operations. In recent decades 3 PARA was stationed in Northern Ireland where it brutalised the Catholic population and fought in the Falklands/Malvinas War.

Decades of unrestrained militarism have forged a professional military caste, increasingly hostile to any form of civilian control or restraint. In response to the army video, former soldiers and their supporters have taken to social media issuing online threats to assassinate Corbyn. One, identifying as “Army Veteran Royal Signals”, tweeted, “I am an Ex soldier. I would shoot Corbyn for real for free.”

Such threats are made all the more significant as they come just one day after the fascist Jack Renshaw was found guilty of planning to kill Labour MP Rosie Cooper.

More fundamentally, the target practice against Corbyn by 3 PARA soldiers in Kabul gives expression to views widely held by the leadership of the Armed Forces.

For the last three years, senior military figures have repeatedly warned that a Corbyn government would be unacceptable because of Corbyn’s previous opposition to war, NATO and the use of nuclear weapons.

Within one week of his election as Labour leader in September 2015, the [Rupert Murdoch-owned] Sunday Times cited an anonymous “senior serving general” that in the event of Corbyn becoming prime minister “direct action” would be taken.

“There would be mass resignations at all levels and you would face the very real prospect of an event that would effectively be a mutiny… The general staff would not allow a prime minister to jeopardise the security of this country and I think people would use whatever means possible, fair or foul, to prevent that.”

Months later, in breach of the constitutional principle of the political neutrality of the Armed Forces, Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Nicholas Houghton told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that Corbyn’s statement that he would never authorise the use of nuclear weapons “would worry me if that thought was translated into power.”

The Tory government, the Labour Party’s Blairite faction and a frothing right-wing media have united to attack Corbyn as a threat to “national security”, a friend of terrorists, a stooge of Russia’s Putin government and an anti-Semite.

In 2016, a Daily Mail article by Blairite Dan Hodges was published under the headline, “Labour must kill vampire Jezza”, accompanied by a photo of Corbyn in a coffin. The article was published just 10 days after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox by a fascist. “Jezza’s jihadi comrades”, “Corbyn ‘the collaborator’,” “Corbyn and the commie spy” and “Blood on his hands” are among the countless headlines to have dominated the British press for the past three years.

After the video’s existence was widely reported yesterday, Tory MP David Jones asked Prime Minister Theresa May in parliament, “is it still the position of the prime minister that the leader of the opposition [Jeremy Corbyn] is not fit to govern the UK.” May replied, “When we suffered a chemical weapons attack on the streets of Salisbury… [Corbyn] said he preferred to believe Vladimir Putin than our own security agencies. That is not the place of somebody who should be prime minister.”

This was the cue for pro-Brexit Tories to denounce May for entering talks with Corbyn over Brexit. Caroline Johnson said May risked “ushering in a Marxist, anti-Semite led government.” Former international development minister Priti Patel tweeted, “A man who sides with terrorists and socialist dictators, would surrender our nuclear deterrent, has let anti-Semitism run rife in his Party and would bankrupt Britain has now been given the keys to Brexit.”

This follows apocalyptic newspaper headlines that a failure by the Tories to resolve the Brexit crisis risks allowing a Corbyn-led government, in the words of the Sun, to “force their Marxist agenda down our throats.”

Referring to Operation Yellowhammer being enacted in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said ministers were not “specifically” planning for martial law, “but did not rule it out as an option.” In such a situation the target practice using pictures of Corbyn would be revealed as preparation for gunning down demonstrators and striking workers.

This 3 April 2019 video from Britain says about itself:

Alleged neo-Nazi Jack Renshaw admits to plotting to kill MP | Matthew Wright

A man who plotted to kill his local MP with a 19-inch knife has avoided a retrial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict on whether he was a member of a neo-Nazi group. Jack Renshaw, 23, admitted making preparations to kill West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper and a female police officer …

Hope Not Hate‘s Matthew Collins joins the Matthew Wright show to talk about the story.

By Robert Stevens in Britain:

Neo-Nazi planned assassination of second UK Labour MP

4 April 2019

The plot by a neo-Nazi, Jack Renshaw, to murder Labour Party MP Rosie Cooper was finally revealed following the end of a seven-week trial at London’s Old Bailey.

Renshaw was on trial, accused of being a member of a fascist organisation, National Action, which was banned by the Conservative government in November 2016 and proscribed as a terrorist group. Last July, the leader of National Action, Christopher Lythgoe, was jailed for eight years after being found guilty of membership of the group. Another fascist, Matthew Hankinson, was jailed for six years for membership. They had been arrested by police who were investigating the plot to kill Cooper after a tip-off.

That court heard evidence that Lythgoe was aware that Renshaw, then aged 22, intended to kill Cooper, the MP for West Lancashire. At the beginning of that trial, Renshaw pleaded guilty to preparing to kill Cooper and admitted that he purchased a replica 19-inch Roman Gladius sword for that purpose.

He had spent just under a month planning to kill Cooper, explaining, “I wanted to send a message to the state that if you beat a dog long enough it bites—she [Cooper] just happened to be my local MP.”

He planned to “turn up at one of her social events” and then “hack” at her jugular vein with the knife. He also admitted planning to kill a police officer, Victoria Henderson, who was investigating him for sexual offences, including grooming children for sex.

The plot to kill Cooper was initiated just one year after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox by the fascist Thomas Mair, who stabbed and shot her to death outside a library in her west Yorkshire constituency of Batley and Spen. The killing took place on June 16, 2016 …

National Action, which was established in 2013, was banned after it hailed the murder of Cox.

At their trial, Lythgoe, Renshaw and four other defendants denied membership of National Action between December 2016 and September 2017. The court heard that just days before the ban, Lythgoe sent out an e-mail to National Action members as to how they would respond: “It’s going to be a piece of p**s. We discard the name and symbolism of National Action… The important thing is that what we’ve built up stays together… Secondly, at the regional level we should all split up into autonomous regional groups. Though behind the scenes it’ll still be run much the same. We’ll keep away from the proactive stuff for now… just focus on effective activism.”

The plot to murder Cooper came to light after a former National Action member, Robbie Mullen, contacted Matthew Collins, a member of the Hope not Hate anti-racist organisation in July 2017. Mullen became disillusioned with the fascist outfit and began to inform on its activities that April.

Collins said he received a message from Mullen while on holiday in Portugal, asking him to “call me ASAP”. When they spoke the following morning, Mullen told Collins that Renshaw had discussed killing Cooper during a meeting in a pub in Warrington.

The jury failed to reach a verdict on whether Renshaw was a member of National Action after it was banned, leading to a retrial, which began last month. At his latest trial, another jury were also not able to reach unanimous or majority verdicts on whether Renshaw was a member of National Action. He will be sentenced on May 17, in relation to his admission that he planned to kill Cooper.

Still in his early 20s, Renshaw has been heavily involved in fascist organisations since his youth. Aged 15, he joined the English Defence League (EDL), founded by Tommy Robinson before joining the British National Party (BNP). He met its then leader, Nick Griffin, and became a leading figure in BNP Youth. In October 2014, he stood as a candidate for the BNP in a Blackpool council ward by-election. As a BNP member he worked for a period at the European Parliament in Brussels. He was forced to leave a university course at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2015 after an investigation into his incitement of racial hatred.

By 2015, Renshaw was a member of National Action. At a “Yorkshire Forum for Nationalists” event of the group, he called for Jews to be “eradicated”. Described as a National Action “spokesman” he stated, “Hitler was right in many senses but you know where he was wrong? He showed mercy to people who did not deserve mercy… As nationalists we need to learn from the mistakes of the National Socialists and we need to realise that, no, you do not show the Jew mercy.”

Last July, Renshaw was charged by the Crown Prosecution Service for incitement to racial hatred related to statements made at a demonstration in 2016 in Blackpool of another fascist group, the North West Infidels (where he described Jews as “parasites”) and at a Yorkshire Forum for Nationalists event the previous month.

In January 2018, Renshaw was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for the offences.

Between this conviction and sentencing he was jailed, in June, after being found guilty of four counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, after grooming two boys online, aged 13 and 15.

The cases of Renshaw and Mair and the horrific massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers—carried out at two mosques in New Zealand by Australian fascist Brenton Tarrant last month—confirm the warnings made by the Socialist Equality Party that a significant layer of the far right are now engaged in the planning and carrying out of terrorist activity, including the killing of elected politicians.

Under conditions of a systemic crisis of the capitalist system and mounting social and political tensions in every country, fascist and other right-wing forces are targeting those they consider to be the “left” and “Marxists”. On March 3, while Renshaw was appearing in court, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was violently attacked by a pro-Brexit thug who had previously stated on a Facebook page that he would like to kill [Muslims and politicians].

The author recommends:

The assault on Jeremy Corbyn is a warning that must be heeded [6 March 2019]

Murdoch media support caging children for immigrating

This 21 March 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Fox Ghoul On Why Putting Kids In Cages Is Good, Actually

In this Majority Report clip, Betsy McCaughey

the ex-wife of billionaire Wilbur Ross, Donald Trump‘s Secretary of Commerce. Like Ross, Betsy McCaughey is a right-wing politician, sometimes in the Democratic party, now in the Republican party.

thinks fake asylum seekers are a problem big enough to require child prison camps.

Fox guest urges Trump to pay for border wall by ending “this asylum scam” of people fleeing to the United States. Betsy McCaughey says migrants crossing the border are “fake asylum seekers””.

Read more here.

Rupert Murdoch supports Brazilian Bolsonaro’s homophobia

This 20 March 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Fox News Desperately Tries To Defend Bolsonaro’s Homophobia

Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro recently visited the United States, and Fox News was quick to whitewash all of his flaws in an attempt to make him look as good as God Emperor. Sam Seder and the Majority Report crew discuss this.

Those who are fighting back are in danger. Brazilian feminist activist TALIRIA PETRONE talks to Sebastien Brulez about the struggle today against the reactionary government of Jair Bolsonaro and the political assassination of her comrade Marielle Franco last year.

‘Endless Afghan war, based on untruths’

This 22 August 2017 video from the USA says about itself:

Endless War In Afghanistan

Institute for Policy Studies’ Phyllis Bennis and Paul Jay discuss war without end in Afghanistan.

Translated from an interview in Belgian center right daily De Standaard by Corry Hancké, 21 February 2019:

‘The unnecessary war’

For eighteen years already, foreign troops have been in Afghanistan. They have invaded the country to catch Osama bin Laden and to topple the Taliban government. According to journalist Bette Dam, the Taliban had surrendered in 2001, but the Americans have never done anything with that. And the media are not blameless. ‘Leading American and European media based themselves for seventy to ninety percent on Western [establihment] sources.’ …

Today, her book In Search of the Enemy, the story of a terrorist who wanted to be a friend, appears. It is about Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban on whose head the US Americans had put a bounty of 10 million dollars. Dam has been conducting research for five years. She talked to his close associates, with ministers, with Omar bin Laden, who lived with his father in Afghanistan, and other key figures.

Bette Dam went to the Jamia Uloom-ul-Islamia Binori Town-madrassa in Karachi, where Mullah Omar supposedly had been radicalized. She spoke to the son of the founder of the school. ‘The people who have become famous in the media as students of this school have not studied here. I have never seen Mullah Omar here”, she says in her book, confirming what she had heard from many others.

Almost illiterate Koran teacher

During a conversation in Amsterdam, Dam gives her view of the man who is such a mystery. “Mullah Omar stayed in Afghanistan all the time, he was a simple, almost illiterate Koran teacher in a small school in Deh Rawod, in the southern province of Uruzgan.” In 1994, at the request of Haji Bashar, a local businessman, Mullah Omar became leader of an uprising that wanted to get rid of the tax collectors along the roads that cost the businessmen a lot of money. Omar hated the chaos and the lawlessness in his country. He felt that Pakistan was responsible for this because, in cooperation with the CIA and the new Afghan president Burhaniddin Rabbani, it had supported warlords to conquer the country against the Soviets. Because of their internecine conflicts they then landed the country in a civil war. …

For me, Mullah Omar is a stubborn villager who prefers not to go have to do much with unknown organizations. … He did not have an international jihad agenda‘, says Bette Dam. …

“At first the Americans were not so negative about the Taliban, because they brought order”, says the journalist. “But those [Taliban] courts sometimes decided that someone should be hanged. The image of the battered and hanged former president [pro-Soviet] Mohammad Najibullah was bad news for Mullah Omar. He had wanted Najibulllah to appear in a court of law. He was also against women being beaten. Yet a video appeared on which the religious police beat women. That was disastrous for the image of the Taliban. The criticism was hard on Mullah Omar. In 1994, the Americans had signed a blueprint for an Islamic state. “This is what you wanted, isn’t it?”, said Mullah Omar.”

‘The US American embassy in Pakistan got all its information from secondary sources. They had none among the leaders in Kandahar. Their information was determined by Afghans who had gone to the Pakistani city Quetta and by the people around the warlord Massoud. I find it amazing that they only relied on sources from one group’, Dam notes. …

According to American diplomatic notes that Dam could study, Mullah Omar had met Osama bin Laden every month in Quetta or in the villages on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. That is not true, the Dutch journalist discovered. She writes, under the authority of bin Laden’s son, that his father met Mullah Omar only a year after his arrival in Afghanistan, when he was summoned and was told that he had to keep a low profile. ‘Mullah Omar had indeed fought in the same fight against the Russians, but he had a different ideology than bin Laden. Mullah Omar had an Afghan agenda. Bin Laden had an Al-Qaeda agenda. …

But that made the situation more difficult for Mullah Omar, because he did not want to expel the Al Qaeda man from the country. If he were to surrender Bin Laden, he would, like those other fighters who had fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan, disappear or be shot in a foreign prison. Dam writes that Mullah Omar intended to have Bin Laden on trial in Afghanistan and that he had unsuccessfully asked the US to give evidence [about Al Qaeda attacks]. “There was no evidence”, a US diplomat said to Dam years later. …

Bette Dam is convinced, based on conversations with some former Taliban ministers, that Mullah Omar was not aware of the 9/11 attacks either. When Mullah Omar again refused to expel Osama bin Laden, the Americans invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. A few weeks later they had Kabul in their hands.

Furious Rumsfeld

Bette Dam describes in her book the last meeting of the Taliban leadership, in which Mullah Omar on December 5, 2001 hears that the Taliban commanders no longer want to fight. He hands over power to Mullah Obaidullah and disappears. Abdul Salam Rockety, a commander who was there, later told Dam: “We were so glad that the war would soon be over. Nobody wanted the Taliban to continue fighting, everyone wanted to focus on the future, on cooperation with future President Hamid Karzai. Maybe with the Americans.”

The next day Mullah Obaidullah drove to Kandahar, where he told Karzai that the Taliban were laying down their arms. After Karzai had told the good news to some international newspapers, he got a phone call from an angry Donald Rumsfeld. The US Secretary of Defense demanded that Karzai revoke his words. “The Taliban and Mullah Omar are as big enemies to the US as Al-Qaeda,” Rumsfeld had said. The Taliban, who had first received clemency, became hunted wildlife.

Mutasim Agha Jan, a close friend of Mullah Omar, and a few Taliban leaders with whom Bette Dam spoke, say that it was not until 2004, possibly even until 2006, that the Taliban started to carry out organized attacks. Let us recall that NATO, including Belgian army troops, has been present in Afghanistan since 2003. All the while, the Western mantra was that we were fighting the rebellious Taliban there.

Oil and weapons industry

‘After 9/11 fear has gripped us, and that has made us stupid. The Taliban and Al Qaeda were generalized about. After the towers had collapsed, we did not take time and think rationally to investigate who was really responsible for this’, says Dam. ‘The great steps taken at a rapid pace and the war strategy that was outlined at that time have never been corrected in the last 18 years.’

Some people claim that the US is going to continue this war for the oil and weapons industry, but the Dutch journalist thinks that the way of decision-making in Washington is decisive. “The team around Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton contains many military experts who constantly think about security issues: am I being attacked, yes or no? After 9/11, the diplomatic route was switched off. Eg, the State Department, responsible for foreign policy, did not know that the Taliban wanted to surrender. It has only been discovered years later. An unnecessary war has therefore been fought. “It’s a crusade“, George Bush said in 2001.”

Bette Dam is not pleased with the way in which the United States got away with this narrative. There were, with a few exceptions, no journalists who had an eye for the other side of the story. ‘Research shows that many American and European leading media have relied on anonymous officials, embedded reporting and seventy to ninety percent on Western [establishment] sources. We are actually talking about that conflict to ourselves.”

Dam believes that the media should take a good look in the mirror. ‘I think we should do a hard reset and evaluate our work. Maybe we should deploy as many people inside the war on terror areas as in Washington or Brussels. You must be able to cross check every story. If you can not invest in such journalists, then you should not write about it either. Then just say: we do not know.”