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Star Comment: A US-made barbarism

Anybody with an ounce of humanity would be revolted by the apparently cold-blooded murder in Syria of US photojournalist James Foley. No cause can justify such barbaric inhumanity and, indeed, is besmirched by it.

His death at the hands of a deranged psychopath should remind of us of the courageous efforts of Mr Foley and other journalists who seek to inform us of what they witness on the front line of conflicts around the world.

As the National Union of Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists and Unesco point out, this can be a very dangerous profession. Almost 70 journalists have been killed so far this year from Colombia to Yemen and Gaza. 

The NUJ is right to demand that governments there and everywhere else investigate all such killings, recognising the importance of free press and broadcasting media to any society which claims to be civilised.

The Morning Star holds no brief for Isis and other Islamic fundamentalist groups. 

We know that they are opposed to even the most basic democratic rights for women, workers and people in general. Their first victims are often communists and socialists which is why, in the past, they have received support and even sponsorship from Western governments. 

Last year, the British government wanted us to intervene militarily in Syria to topple President Bashar al-Assad’s secular regime, although even the dogs in the Damascus street understood that the most likely beneficiaries would be Islamic jihadists rather than some Western-backed “moderate” sock puppet.

But this is not the only reason why British, US and other condemnations of Isis barbarism will cut no ice in Iraq, Syria or in extreme Islamist circles in Britain. 

Nobody will be dissuaded by Prime Minister David Cameron, President Barack Obama or the the likes of Tony Blair from signing up for “holy war” against secularism and the West.

It is the sheer hypocrisy and double standards of Western imperialism which render their condemnations utterly ineffective.

After all, Israeli killers have just murdered more than 2,000 defenceless Palestinian civilians in Gaza with no condemnation worth the name from the British or US governments. 

True, Israeli soldiers didn’t individually cut the throats of all these women, children and men, but is it fundamentally less barbaric to blast people to pieces in their own homes by fighter plane rocket or artillery shell?

Moreover, it is almost grotesquely comic to see the countries which plunged Afghanistan and Iraq into bloody chaos, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of their citizens in the process, now wringing their hands over a single death — however vile and tragic — in Syria. 

In Iraq and Yugoslavia, US and British forces attacked television stations and killed journalists and other media personnel. 

In truth, it must fall to ordinary decent people around the world to uphold civilised and democratic values. 

We must continue to demand that our governments stop trying to shape the world in their own image by military force. We must insist that arms shipments to terrorists and terrorist states such as Israel cease. We must call for all war criminals to be brought to justice — including the US, British and Israeli ones.

And we must not allow hand-wringing hypocrites to erode our civil and democratic liberties at home in the name of the “war on terror” which they wage against super-exploited peoples and non-compliant governments around the world.


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