People Are Made Radical, Not Born Radical

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Paul Beaver is a veteran British defence journalist and member of the ultra-conservative Henry Jackson Society who has been regularly sought out by the international news media for his analyses of various conflicts around the world, notably the 1966-2005 Long War in the north-east of Ireland. Here he is speaking to the German newspaper Deutsche Welle (DW) on the now infamous Islamic State propaganda-frontman Mohammed Emwazi or “Jihadi John”:

DW: Emails from Emwazi indicate that he may have become radicalized after being detained by authorities in Britain at an airport, having been accused of having links to terrorist organizations. Is there any risk that counter-intelligence operations in the West might be playing a role in the radicalization of individuals?

Paul Beaver: This is such rubbish. This is an excuse. In 20 years of fighting PIRA… and Real IRA operatives, not one to my recollection, ever said they had been radicalized as an Irish nationalist terrorist through the activities of the security services.”

Which of course is complete and utter nonsense. A significant minority in at least two generations of Irish people were “radicalised” by the actions of the British paramilitary and military forces in Ireland during the late 1960s and ’70s, and well into the 1980s and ’90s. Only someone with the most wilful ignorance of recent European history could argue otherwise. Or someone acting as little more than a propagandist mirror-image of “Jihadi John”.

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36 comments

  1. I would object to your use of the word “radical” here to mean “violent extremist”. Many people hold or have held radical views without resorting to violence or insurrection, and in any case one generation’s radicals are another’s conservatives. E.g. universal suffrage was pretty radical just a century ago. Then there’s freedom or religion, outlawing slavery, up to and including e.g. legally banning smoking in public buildings. The last would have seemed wildly radical just a generation ago.

    People are indeed often radicalised by cackhanded actions of the authorities, and in extreme cases a violent reaction may be the only course available. Fortunately this is not usually the case and most radical goals are achieved relatively peacefully.

    Not all anarchists throw bombs ;-

    1. it’s strange..in your past comments, you have basically protrayed Irish people as been addicted to violence.
      I mean to paraphrase one of your earlier comments you have basically said the Brits should get out of Ireland and leave the Irish to fight it out amongst themselves.
      Sorta like.that’s the Oirish way.
      Yet when the British state is in the dock..here you are leaping to their defence.
      Like you have been conditioned to do so.
      I’m afraid you have it backwards.
      It was the Brits who dumped high explosives on Egypt in 1956 in collusion with the French and the Zionists.
      It was the Brits who butchered the MAU MAu in kenya
      It was the Brits who butchered the people in Derry and armed trained Unionist dearth squads in their masterpiece in Dublin/Monaghan 1974!!!
      Not to mention the Brits addiction to arms spending with no real purpose ( Unless you plan joining the USA in going into Iraq..for the Fifth time???
      I’m sorry..You have a jaundiced view of the Irish and a real naive view of the British state.
      Quick question.
      What were the SAS doing driving around Basra with IED ( or bombs as they are known )
      components in their car in 2003?
      http://www.theinsider.org/news/article.asp?id=1556

      1. Just to be clear about this, I am opposed to imperialism, British, US, Russian … In the UK when both major political parties back an aggressive policy there is very little the ordinary citizen can do about it. Might as well be living in a one party state. I assume the political class and their backers benefit financially from war and insecurity, and will create such situations whenever it suits them. Divide and rule is probably their favourite ploy, which is probably what was going on in Basra. You should know, the tactic was used often enough in Ireland, I believe.

        Ireland does on the face of it seem to have a recent history of political violence greater than the remainder of the UK. Other parts of the Empire, especially the more ‘developed’ territories, generally managed to detach themselves fairly peacefully. IIRC the ‘troubles’ in 1969 began with a civil rights movement modelled on the American negro civil rights movement. Disorder broke out when its marches etc. were violently attacked by local ‘loyalist’ forces, obliging the UK government to send in troops to attempt to restore order. The average Brit knew little and cared even less about NI. The army included quite likely. After that it all got very very messy as more and more repressive tactics were used just to try and keep a lid on the situation, which was a constant embarrassment for Westminster.

        I suppose the UK government was ultimately responsible for tolerating Stormont’s sectarian apartite state, but as long as NI seemed to be under control no one really thought about it. At least that’s my take on it FWIW.

      2. There is a purpose.
        They have to be ready to fight the real enemy – Russia, which is far more dangerous than ISIS or Al Qaeda.
        ISIS are bastards, but they can’t do much outside of their local area.
        Russia, on the other hand, is a threat to all of Europe.

        1. I’m sorry but the Islamic State is a huge threat where Russia and the West have mutual interest in defeating a common enemy, then again you would be happy to help chechen baby killers murder helpless russia children to satisfy your bloodlust, hmmmm?

          1. Russia has killed far more western civilians (MH17) than the IS which doesn’t threaten Europe in any way.

            1. Evidence? Why don’t the west release the data of the black box just to try and confirm your allegation? Surely there must be some data on it to debunk Putin’s denials?

              1. What evidence do you need?
                Do you really believe that the terrorists bought their anti-air missile launcher at the nearest supermarket?

              2. I would just like to see the data of the black box first before bloodthirsty people decide to get a war going with a people who have given so much in defeating fascism in the last world war? It’s the Russians what won it, nach raibh fhios agat sin?
                I am sure if there was evidence to further blame Putin it would be revealed already, don’t ya think?😉

              3. The evidence has been revealed – Russia is still denying everything – only an idiot would believe that they’re not participating in the war in Ukraine and supplying terrorists with weapons.

                And defeating fascism lol.

                USSR’s “communism” in reality was thinly veiled Russian Nazism where non-Russians were 2nd class citizens.

            2. Just because you say the evidence is revealed doesn’t mean it has been revealed. If we were to rely on you word we would be a sorry mess. I will ask again,surely his opponents would present the evidence for all the world to judge rather than just say they have proof?

              I take it you are disappointed then that the Russian people broke the back of the nazis in ww2? Give credit where credit is due and stop being so bitter.

              1. Do you really believe the bullshit that comes from Russia?
                Or are you just trolling?

    2. Marconatrix, I was going to use “militant” but since “radicalization” was referenced in the original DW interview I thought it more appropriate. I take your point, though.

      1. As I have said before and will no doubt say again: Read “The Sword of the Prophet” by Sege Trifcovic.

        ISIS are merely doing what the founder of the cult told them to do: conquer, convert by the sword, rape non-Moslem women, kill non Moslem males. The Koran is basically a “how to” guide. This is how Moslems have always behaved, and always will. The idea that this is “unIslamic” or “unrepresentative” of the “Religion of Peace” ™ is just ludicrous

        1. john cronin – I don’t buy your argument. If it were accurate, it would mean at least 1.5 billion Muslims are asleep at the switch, failing in their “duty” to rape and kill non-believers.

        2. Read the Qu’ran, John. It is quite a good read and very enlightening. You will also find how much truth (there is that indeed), but also just how many lies are spread about it by its detractors.

          1. Read anything by Robert Spencer of the US (his family obviously changed their name – his folks were originally Greek Christians from what is now Turkey.

            The Prophet Mo was basically L Ron Hubbard with an army. It makes most sense to view Islam as the ideological wing of Arab imperialism. When they burst out of the Arabian peninsula, they conquered, massacred, and forcibly converted the people of Egypt, North Africa, Syria, Iraq etc, who up until then had been mainly Christian or Jewish. They will do the same to the peoples of western Europe and North America unless they are driven into the sea. If I was German, I’d definitely be joining Pegida.

            1. All true, but once the dust had settled they built a civilization that for several centuries surpassed the Christian West. Pity for them that they lost the plot and ended up effectively colonised by Europe and now the US. As for holy war, IIRC when all this kicked off Bush used the c-word …

              1. It’s always a little odd (sometimes humorous, sometimes tense) when Irish people and British people discuss the “British Empire”. We see it as an “evil empire”. The British do not. On the contrary they see it as some sort of “civilizing force” in the world, a bringer and doer of “good”. I was in at a business training weekend many years ago, attended by a British contingent of the company over from the UK. The issue of of WWII came up because some History Channel documentary was playing on the TV in the bar. The several British folk were astonished/outraged when the Irish group saw little difference between the evils of imperialism, fascism and communism. They insisted that the British Empire was not like the “other empires”. I actually remember a guy saying “But our’s was a good empire” and blaming our opinions on anti-British prejudice. They just couldn’t get the contrary view. They genuinely believed that the existence and present of Britain’s empire was morally virtuous and lacking in any immorality. It was an eye-opener.

                Needless to say all political/historical talk was strictly forbidden for the next day 😉

              2. At that time everyone who could were building their empires. Spain, Portugal, France, the Netherlands, Russia, etc.

                The Brits were no saints but they were far better than the rest – especially the Russians and their “Empire”.

              3. Which is pretty much what the British argue. But then so do the French, Spanish and Portuguese. As do the Russians. History judges them all otherwise. The three great crimes of the 20th century: imperialism, communism and fascism.

              4. They can argue, but the results speak for themselves.
                I’d rather live in the USA, Canada or Australia than Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil or Algeria.

            2. None of these acts actually have anything to do with Islam. That it was and is used just as Christianity was and is used to justify atrocity in the name of God is par for the course for religion (which I hold completely separate from faith and belief). Just like any major ideological work, it is something you need to read and interpret yourself to form an opinion, not read other people’s interpretations. That is the problem with religions, the people in them do not read and form their own opinion, but blindly follow what someone else spews out, be it truly in any way connected to what is written or not. To use Christianity as an example, how else do you explain the inquisition in light of the teachings attributed to Jesus? As for Pegida, just like in most European countries, the indigenous population in Germany is waning, as people are simply too enamored with themselves and too narcissistic to have children in a quantity to sustain their existence and culture. Someone will henceforth take their place, that is just how it goes. They, like Europe in general, have kept their doors open for decades now, and are still leaving them open. Those two factors have sealed their fate long ago. A little too late to worry about it now. Perhaps that should be a lesson for everyone else to only invite people to stay who you want to take over from where you left off, should you choose to die for the sake of selfish convenience.

          2. Would you want to live in any Muslim country?

            From what I’ve heard – they don’t really treat women as people.

        3. Of course, Jihadi John could also greatly benefit from reading it, he obviously has not. The kid-glove treatment the British extend to their citizenry, even when suspected of terrorism is in stark contrast to that extended to the Irish and Gael – Scots (even if they are accused of mere sympathy). Just imagine the folks rioting in London in 2011 had been Irish. They would have been shot in the streets by the police. As the people being dealt with were British citizens, the police even took shots from them without any meaningful intervention. So I do believe it is merely an excuse of a spoiled rich brat to exercise his Himmleresque power over the innocent and defenseless.

  2. ISIS – Israeli Secret Intelligence Service. Jihad John’s apparent murder porn-flicks are sham-videos designed to further wider military operations. Narratives versus histories . .

  3. Lenny Murphy and ginger baker would have loved the onset of the instant camera.

    I find it laughable anybody taking this jihadi John story serious. I recall when king rat was striking terror into the nationalist community, despite the gallant efforts of the security forces to nail him, he was so good he was always one step ahead etc. like a thief in the night he struck and then disappeared. Almost untouchable. Alas republicans at the time knew billy was an agent of the British state, just like a lot of other elusive vicious terrorists. The reason he got away with so much was because he was doing what the Brit state wanted.
    Fast forward to jihadi John and we are being told this clown is so elusive he is managing to avoid all the spying technology available to security agencies in the west when he and his so called colleagues are bombarding the Internet with their propaganda?
    His group is so brazen in public displays on t.v, etc but yet again when the allies mount sorties they don’t seem to have an effect, in fact they can’t seem to find them!
    His gang have made so much money by taking over oil refiners etc and selling the stuff, but the whole world doesn’t know who is buying this oil?
    This clown was first touted(pardon the pun) as being from Liverpool. They have now bent the story somewhat to claim he is a Londoner. Mi5 even claim they knew him yet they havnt released a photo other than an image of a school kid? Why release the story at all? Then we have the bbc following 6 plain clothes cops to his last known address and knocking it, even though we are told he isn’t there……..then why knock it at all? And surely the state security forces didn’t wait til the bbc caught up with them to continue their investigation? A pure photo stunt was all it was. But why?

    As long as jihadi John, the White widow lol,and other lucky terrorists continue to exist then plenty of jobs will be very secure in the security industry and more importantly other important investigations will be distracted out of sight of the general public eg Jimmy savile and his friends in high places.

    1. One thing that bothers me about ISIS.
      we are told that the most dangerous thing for Rebel Groups is to take and hold terrority.
      Like in Dublin 1916 or the Tet offensive.
      When guerilla groups come out in the open they are cut down..
      NOT ISIS though !!!!!!!
      How are they able to break the rules of the game ???

      1. The territory they hold is, in comparison to the cash they generate (for some) in Western countries by being the new “boogey-man” on the block, worthless (even though it is approaching the size of Britain). No one can tell me some well-placed fuel-airs will not take that whole rabble out. Their numbers go anywhere from 20,000 to 200,000. The larger the number, the more concentrated personnel and infrastructure targets get. In the worst case, a 100 day shock and awe campaign will do it. The recent three year involvement idea by the U.S., if approved, is like adding fuel to the fire. It will be the same half-baked, non-committal, and politically poorly supported venture they have been engaging in for the last couple of decades, and stretch that conflict out even longer, all for the sake of stealing American tax-payer money. If America, Europe, Russia, and Asia want ISIS gone, they should send 1/2 million troops along with all the hi-tech stuff they have, wipe them out completely – where nothing is left, return home, and be done with it. Otherwise, this will just keep on going.
        I do not think Vietnam is really a good comparative. The whole northern country had been held by the “extremists” from the get-go (also because no one wanted a really decisive military commitment). Tet was just the first real offensive to dislodge the Americans from the south, after they showed serious weaknesses in military and political strategy, military tactics and political resolve. in other words, all those things which caused them to lose the war in the end.

        1. Why would Russia want ISIS gone?

          They are good at drawing attention away from their war in Ukraine.

          1. My point exactly. No one wants them gone, albeit for different reasons, otherwise they would be.

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