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Assassins, Fake News, and Asymmetric War

By On

The man who assassinated the Russian ambassador to Turkey was a twenty-two year-old policemen who had lost his job in the riot police in a purge of political enemies in the public service ordered by Turkish President Erdogan after a failed coup. Reportedly he was a member of the Gulen movement, which Erdogan blamed for the coup. The Gulen movement was once an ally of Erdogan’s Muslim Brotherhood, but they fell out over an anti-corruption campaign and now Erdogan has fired almost all members of the movement who have government jobs, notably in the police, military, and in education.

So this young man, well-trained in the police arts, had nothing to lose and legitimate grievances - and was clearly a fertile field for an assassination project such as this. And look at the photo - he is proud of his accomplishment and does not fear his certain death. He was able to get close enough to kill the ambassador by subterfuge - he dressed and acted like a member of the Turkish security detail. The ideal assassin - or Fedayeen - the expendable footsoldiers, invisible, unnoticed, hiding in plain sight until assigned to his last duty.

Assassination as a political tactic has a long history in the middle east. Assassin - Arabic: حشاشين‎‎ Hashashin; from Assassiyun: “those faithful to the foundation”) is a name used to refer to the medieval Nizari Ismailis, a small sect that used assassination to maintain and protect its polity. From the Wiki article:

“While “Assassins” typically refers to the entire medieval Nizari sect, in fact only a class of acolytes known as the fida’i actually engaged in assassination work. Lacking their own army, the Nizari relied on these warriors to carry out espionage and assassinations of key enemy figures, and over the course of 300 years successfully killed two caliphs, and many viziers, sultans, and Crusader leaders.”

So assassination, like other forms of asymmetric warfare, is generally a tactic of the weak against the strong. It’s how the Irish fought their war of independence against the British empire - they targeted not British troops, but rather Irish working for the British as policemen or tax collectors. And in this case, the Russians are kicking jihadi ass on the battlefield - and so the weakened jihadis strike back asymmetrically with an assassination.

But don’t count on getting any useful information from the media disinformation and propaganda machine. That these propaganda outlets, the New York Times and the Washington Post, for example, which were the prime cheerleaders for the Iraq invasion, publishing utter falsehoods (WMD’s! Mushroom cloud!), are now decrying “fake news” is so blatantly ironic, so shamelessly disingenuous, it just boggles the mind. Donald Trump, in disrespecting and exposing the media for the liars they are, is speaking the truth. Now his conclusions and policies are terrible - his tax policy basically results in Donald Trump paying less taxes, for example - but he is right that the media is controlled and is anything but a “free” press. So to hear Robert Reich on Democracy Now decrying Trump’s disrespect for the media is rich. Beyond rich - pathetic. His candidate, supported by the entire propaganda machine and the billionaires, Wall Street and the military-industrial complex, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and caused the Trump presidency. She had one job, and she screwed it up - for the second time! All the weeping and gnashing of teeth and seeking people to blame (deplorables! bernie bros! Comey!) can’t hide the simple fact that Clinton was a terrible candidate who epitomised the corruption and lack of leadership, the self-dealing and duplicity of the political class. If the fix had not been in, we could have had President Sanders. But this was not acceptable to the Wall St owners of the Clinton campaign - they would rather lose with Clinton than win with Sanders. Thanks to them, we now have President Trump. Nice work.


About David Camp

Citizen Journalist • Member since Jul 12, 2009

David Camp is a cpa (Canada'86; USA'96) and MBA (Schulich'88) who toiled thirty years in the corporate salt mines, counting beans and telling stories to the auditors and whatnot. Now [...]