Belmont Club

Terror And The Sword of Justice

The after dinner entertainment at one Shi’ite leader’s home, according to Jacob Siegel of the Daily Beast, consisted a torture video taken by one of the new members of his militia, the so-called “Peace Brigades”.  Sheikh Raad al-Khafaji had invited Siegel to break the holy fast of the Ramadan and then showed the video around to let people know that Shi’ites mean business.  Brutality is apparently the coin of the realm in some parts of the world.

Western culture now regards torture as something underhand and shameful but apparently shiekh saw advantages in making it known he was one mean hombre.

Given ISIS’ emphasis on publicizing its own acts of torture, it wasn’t shocking to see young fighters from the other side doing the same. … The sheik seemed to keep his young fighter on hand for meetings with journalists. …

The video itself was clear enough but the message it was intended to convey never came entirely into focus. If the record of torture was being deliberately leaked it may have been to threaten ISIS supporters that the militia forces, even those working with the military, were capable of their own brutality.

Was ISIS into beheading? Greasy kid stuff. We slice you up with razor blades and put it on video. Anything ISIS can do I can do meaner. I can do anything meaner than ISIS.

This should be no surprise. During Operation Iraqi Freedom the coalition forces would routinely come across “slaughterhouses” and torture chambers.  Terrorism doesn’t win by defeating armies. It triumphs primarily by controlling populations through fear and coercion.  It’s a cheap method of control.  The Chinese have a saying: “strike the mountain to shock the tiger” and “kill the chicken to scare the monkey.” Both sayings can be summarized as follows:  fear works.

One of the most powerful weapons of the Luftwaffe Ju-87 Stuka was the Jericho-Trompete siren that spread panic every time it attacked. It’s actual bomb load was relatively modest. The Nazis let it be known that the Gestapo would torture you and that made it more potent than it was. Today the press claims that torture is useless, but in the 1940s it was axiomatic among Allied intelligence agents that you would break under torture. It was only a matter of how long you could hold out. The Czech Anthropoids were discovered by a combination of informants and torture.

Čurda betrayed several safe houses provided by the Jindra group, including that of the Moravec family in Žižkov. At 05:00 on 17 June, the Moravec flat was raided. The family was made to stand in the hallway while the Gestapo searched their flat. Mrs. Marie Moravec, after being allowed to go to the toilet, bit into a cyanide capsule and thereby killed herself. Mr. Moravec, unaware of his family’s involvement with the resistance, was taken to the Peček Palác together with his 17-year-old son Ata, who though interrogated with torture throughout the day, refused to talk. The youth was stupefied with brandy, shown his mother’s severed head in a fish tank and warned that if he did not reveal the information they were looking for, his father would be next. Ata’s strong willpower finally snapped and he told the Gestapo what they wanted to know.

People carried cyanide capsules for that reason. They would not be so stupid as to swallow cyanide if torture, as is now alleged, never worked. Of course it didn’t always work. Wing Commander Forest Frederick Edward “Tommy” Yeo-Thomas (The White Rabbit) one of the greatest heroes of the French Resistance held up. But it would be a bold man who would try and go Yeo-Thomas one better.

In February 1944, Yeo-Thomas was parachuted into France after flying from RAF Tempsford. However, he was betrayed and captured at the Passy metro station in Paris. In endeavouring to hide his true identity, Yeo-Thomas claimed he was a British pilot named Kenneth Dodkin. He was then taken by the Gestapo to their headquarters at Avenue Foch and subjected to brutal torture, including repeated submersion in ice-cold water (each time to the point that artificial respiration was required to bring him back to consciousness), innumerable physical beatings, and electric shocks applied to the genitals. Held in Fresnes prison, he made two failed attempts to escape and was transferred first to Compiègne prison and then to Buchenwald concentration camp. Within the camp, he began to organize resistance, and again made a brief escape.

When the Western Allies defeated the Nazis, they needed a replacement for Terror. So brandished over the ruins of Europe what might be called the ‘Sword of Justice’. Eisenhower’s forces might not torture you, but they vowed to find you, wherever you might hide, and after a proper trial hang you by the neck until dead. And even if a miscreant could evade human capture there was always God, who in that pre-post-Christian World would credibly bring you to book and send you to Hell.  Dashiell Hammett knew how it worked and captured it memorably in the Maltese Falcon.

Gutman: Well, sir, there are other means of persuasion besides killing and threatening to kill.
Spade: Yes, that’s, that’s true. But – they’re none of ’em any good unless the threat of death is behind them.

Today we live in a world shorn of the threat of Hell and bereft of even the Sword of Justice. When president Obama beats his breast in public over water- boarding and the playing of loud music at CIA facilities, he’s trying to impress a western audience with his PC piety.  But he’s not communicating to the bad guys, as Eisenhower did, that we’re going to hang you if you mess up. He’s basically telling the murderers of the world that you’ll receive a get out of jail card and maybe even receive compensation from the US taxpayer in return for killing thousands because we’re too guilt-ridden to judge anybody for anything.

Alas, in the absence of the Sword of Justice, terror rules.

The first target of terror is the police. Thus ISIS hits station houses and police academies first. Veteran defense reporter Bill Gertz says that ISIS is beginning to soften up Saudi Arabia by killing its intelligence personnel. “The ultra-violent al Qaeda offshoot group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) has targeted Saudi Arabian intelligence officers for a campaign of assassination as part of plans by the group to expand activities inside the oil-rich kingdom.”

ISIS is employing social media — ‘crowdsourcing’ — to identify Saudi agents. They’ve even got an Android app just for the purpose. “U.S. intelligence agencies monitoring ISIL’s social media communications identified the campaign as a crowd-sourced effort to gather names and other personal information about Saudi intelligence officials for the assassination campaign.”

Joseph Stalin had an idea.  “Death solves all problems – no man, no problems”. This notion is still in vogue. Patrick Cockburn of the Independent says that Prince Bandar, the long term Saudi ambassador to Washington, told the head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove that they were going to settle scores with the Shia. “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”

There is no doubt about the accuracy of the quote by Prince Bandar, secretary-general of the Saudi National Security Council from 2005 and head of General Intelligence between 2012 and 2014, the crucial two years when al-Qa’ida-type jihadis took over the Sunni-armed opposition in Iraq and Syria. Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute last week, Dearlove, who headed MI6 from 1999 to 2004, emphasised the significance of Prince Bandar’s words, saying that they constituted “a chilling comment that I remember very well indeed”.

He does not doubt that substantial and sustained funding from private donors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to which the authorities may have turned a blind eye, has played a central role in the Isis surge into Sunni areas of Iraq. He said: “Such things simply do not happen spontaneously.” …

Coverage of Dearlove’s speech focused instead on his main theme that the threat from Isis to the West is being exaggerated because, unlike Bin Laden’s al-Qa’ida, it is absorbed in a new conflict that “is essentially Muslim on Muslim”. Unfortunately, Christians in areas captured by Isis are finding this is not true, as their churches are desecrated and they are forced to flee. A difference between al-Qa’ida and Isis is that the latter is much better organised; if it does attack Western targets the results are likely to be devastating.

Murder and violence. “Such things simply do not happen spontaneously.”  But in the leftist narrative they happen spontaneously all the time as if the Hamas guys were just working peacefully in some tire repair shop or a baby-milk factory until American and Israel disrespect drove them one day into resistance.  The NYT has an article which describes how Israeli military action drove a man over the edge: In Fatal Flash, Gaza Psychologist Switches Roles, Turning Into a Trauma Victim.  But maybe all those years working in Hamas controlled territory added to it, unless he discovered Man’s Inhumanity to Man just then.

War turns people crazy. It breaks psyches. But it it would be less than accurate to claim it started just as some apartment buildings were built in Jerusalem. It happens, not spontaneously but via careful funding and planning. The roots of terror go deep, perhaps even to the beginnings of the human race. Ward Churchill famously said in connection with September 11 that the ‘chickens had come home to roost’. In a way he was right. The chickens are coming home to roost; it’s just that the barnyard was bigger than he thought.

The ISIS chickens are ready to take off the training wheels and spread their wings prior to roosting in Prince Bandar’s castle. What the Peace Brigades torture video may really want to convey is a sectarian version of Bandar’s rant. “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Jacob, when it will be literally ‘God help the Sunni’. More than a billion Shia have simply had enough of them.”  The Battle of Baghdad will be battle of hostages.  The militias are implicitly holding the Sunnis in Baghdad as security against an ISIS advance. ‘Come any closer and remember that your co-religionists will get to see a lot of Gillette blades’.

The world has been a ruthless place for a long time.  The politically correct narrative is for the benefit of the Leftist rubes — strictly from hunger. The terrorists just laugh at it.  If the world is ever to find peace, it needs the Sword of Justice back — that or God.  Leading from Behind, Transgender Armies, Global Warming, etc … well maybe not so much.

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