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  • Lawrence of Arabia rides again
    Middle East no easy task The Zionists were preparing to hold Britain to its promise of a national home for Jews in Palestine But the Arabs understood that Palestine had been promised to them so a campaign was mounted with Lawrence to the fore to persuade the Arabs to accept this new situation In 1919 Lawrence went with Feisal to Paris for the Peace Conference where Britain and France began to divide the spoils of victory As a member of the Colonial Office team he accompanied Churchill to the Cairo Conference in 1921 where the Middle Eastern question was finally settled France was to have Syria Britain Mesopotamia Iraq Palestine was to remain a British mandate Feisal was elected King of Iraq the chief opposition candidate having been kidnapped by the British All the promises to the Arabs had taken second place to the Britain s hunger for oil Although Lawrence said publicly that all promises to the Arabs had been fulfilled he was depressed by his failure and wrote to a friend saying T he balance after all is in being quit of things and as soon as I can get the nomad out of me and be quite peaceful I shall not want to hear of the East again There was no chance of that happening For while Lawrence had been fighting a tenacious rearguard action to implement his plan for the Middle East the American journalist Lowell Thomas was turning Lieutenant Colonel T E Lawrence a soldier most people had never heard of into the Prince of Mecca the Deliverer of Damascus Almost overnight the newly elected Fellow of All Souls Oxford University a saddened recluse at work on his manuscript Seven Pillars of Wisdom became as Lawrence of Arabia the centre of a great fashion the first modern celebrity When the United States had entered the First World War in April 1917 it was not with the whole hearted approval of he American people Historically reluctant to be drawn into Europe s troubles most Americans wanted to remain neutral Even after the United States had declared war enlistments were so poor that the government had to raise a conscript army To inspire the nation to fight a propaganda campaign was needed to inspire what President Wilson s private secretary called the people s righteous wrath So in the summer of 1917 the Administration approached Lowell Thomas a Chicago reporter and asked him to go to Europe find material there that would that would encourage the American people to support the war and hurry back with it Thomas was well known for his talent for writing simple but exciting stories and Washington thought stories of war heroes would change the national mood Thomas liked the idea but had bigger plans He was intrigued by the possibilities provided by the rapidly developing art of documentary film and dreamed of not only writing about the glamour of war but filming it as well An indication of his ambition is that he budgeted his expedition at 75 000 nearly a million dollars in today s money This was too much even for the American government so Thomas turned to a group of eighteen wealthy Chicago meat packers It seems that these businessmen owed him a favour because he had exposed in his newspaper a confidence trickster who had been trying to blackmail them without publishing the damaging blackmail material Grateful for Thomas s discretion they readily agreed to finance him and he rewarded them with his enigmatic dedication in his book With Lawrence in Arabia To eighteen gentlemen of Chicago this narrative of a modern Arabian knight is gratefully dedicated Thomas arrived in France in the summer of 1917 accompanied by his recently acquired wife Fran and a skilled cameraman called Harry Chase It did not take Thomas long to realise that he had come to the wrong war The mechanised slaughter of the Western Front did not offer the sort of propaganda images the American government had in mind He moved to Italy hoping to find something better and it was there that he first heard about General Edmund Allenby and his campaign against Turkey in the Middle East Thomas wrote later that he decided that Allenby s war was what he wanted to cover and that he had immediately sent off a letter to the Foreign Office in London asking that he be allowed to go there By chance Thomas wrote the letter came to the attention of John Buchan Director of Intelligence in the British Ministry of Information Buchan realised that the then untold story of Allenby s fight to drive the Turks out of the Holy Land aided by Arab tribes revolting against centuries of Turkish oppression was just the sort of material Thomas was seeking and although Buchan himself did not meet Lawrence until after the war he had heard of him and his guerrilla campaign He quickly arranged for Thomas to be accredited as a war correspondent to Allenby s army Thomas and Chase filmed Allenby s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and it was there in the spring of 1918 that Thomas first met Lawrence The story of the meeting is almost too good to be true and readers will have to make up their own mind whether Thomas might have allowed his talent for journalistic exaggeration to get the better of him He says he saw a mysterious blue eyed Arab in the garb of a Prince wandering in the street and later asked the Governor Ronald Storrs who this might have been Without a word Storrs opened the door to an adjoining room where Lawrence sat reading a book on archaeology Storrs then said I want you to meet the Uncrowned King of Arabia Thomas soon learnt that Lawrence could provide him with exactly the sort of story he had been looking for a slight blue eyed Englishman who wore Arab costume lived with Bedouins and directed their guerrilla warfare against the

    Original URL path: http://phillipknightley.com/2005/10/lawrence-of-arabia-rides-again/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Four years in, how is the war on terror going?
    failed bombings of 21 July there were a spate of arrests and charges which gave the illusion that the authorities were on top of the problem But the official investigation seems to have undergone some less publicised changes that have left important questions unanswered Theories and leads that were at first vigorously followed up quietly fizzled out and have been dropped Sir Ian Blair the Metropolitcan Police Commissioner initilally told the media that the 21 July attacks had some resonance with the earlier bombings Both were aimed at public transport in London both involved young Muslim men with bags or packpacks laden with homemade explosives capable of causing carnage Investigators now admit that the two groups had important differences The 7 July suicide bombers were of Pakistani descent and were efficient and deadly The 21 July group were mainly of African origin and failed so miserably in their mission that there may even be some truth in their claim that their aim was to frighten rather than kill Most important of all investigators now believe that the two groups were not linked Nor is there any evidence of a connection with al Qaeda although the attackers might have taken their inspiration from it In short what was originally thought to be an attack planned by a mastermind in al Qaeda perhaps by Osama bin Laden himself now looks more like being a spot of home grown terrorism by a group of young Muslim men so angry with Britain and its policies they were prepared to sacrifice themselves and murder innocent civilians as a protest The security services having learnt a lesson from the 21 July attacks namely that you cannot be criticised for exaggerating the risk of terrorist attack have been doing just that aided by a fear mongering media A recent headline in a British newspaper read BOMBERS PLAN LONDON SUICIDE TANKER ATTACKS Alert as US warns of fuel blast tactic to cause mass casualties The thrust of the story was that American intelligence chiefs had warned that al Qaeda suicide bombers were plotting to hijack petrol tankers and drive them into petrol stations to cause a mass casualty atrocity They warned that London could be hit to mark the fourth anniversary of 9 11 But after four columns of lurid detail the final paragraph of the story read However a spokeswoman for the Department for Homeland Security said that the warning was uncorroborated from a single unreliable source and did not single out London specifically The unpalatable fact is that the Coalition is fighting an unwinnable war against an unidentifiable enemy How can the USA Britain and Australia fight terrorism when they cannot even agree what terrorism is A definition is hopeless says Professor Richard Rubenstein of the Centre for Conflict Analysis and Resolution Terrorism is just violence you don t like This failure to to define terrorism and terrorist can be used to legitimise military action because it portrays the challenge as such a loosely defined threat

    Original URL path: http://phillipknightley.com/2005/09/four-years-in-how-is-the-war-on-terror-going/ (2016-02-13)
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  • How frightened are you?
    agriculture department of terrorism We have always coped We got through the Irish troubles without being afraid all the time But governments although they will not admit it believe that a bit of fear in the community makes for an country that is easier to control easier to govern They can always argue as the Prime Minister did in the Commons that it would be irresponsible not to act on warnings of terrorism even if they turn out to be wrong because what if they turn out to be right In the United States the American intelligence community has just emerged from a televised grilling by Congress over its humiliating failure to notice the warning signs of 9 11 and is now determined not to repeat that mistake In short we can expect more warnings not fewer And yet we stubbornly refuse to be moved by them Why is this One answer is that we have seen previous threats crumble away Since 9 11 there have been 600 arrests in Britain to do with terrorism matters Of these 600 only 100 were charged and even with new harsh legislation that human rights campaigners label undemocratic only 14 were eventually convicted It is hard to escape the conclusion that the intelligence services the security services and the police all with increased staffing levels and better funding since 9 11 want to be seen to be doing their job Lots of raids and arrests generate good publicity Who remembers when months later the suspects have all been released But this does not mean that we should allow our government to stampede us into accepting greater restrictions on our liberty and democratic processes in the name of protecting us If that happens then the terrorists have won As Terry Eagleton professor of cultural theory at the University of Manchester has pointed out the risk is that in a curious duo of strangers and brothers your enemy conquers by persuading you to turn yourself into a monstrous mirror image of himself Perhaps one answer to striking the right balance between being wary and alert and being fearful all the time would be better intelligence about the terrorist threat This will not be easy Western intelligence services are still in transition from their Cold War role to their anti terrorist role It takes many years to switch roles recruit and test new agents and build up a reliable picture of what your enemy may be planning When the US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was seeking to shake up the CIA politicise it and turn it into just another government department whose job it would be to help implement administration policy he called for a more intuitive or feminine if you like approach to intelligence He described it as trying to put yourself into the other guy s shoes and thinking like him If the Rumsfeld theory were to be applied to Osama bin Laden or whoever runs al Qaeda these days our intelligence chiefs should

    Original URL path: http://phillipknightley.com/2004/08/how-frightened-are-you/ (2016-02-13)
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  • To be gripped by fear is to lose the battle
    the rest of the world there has been a perception over the past say 25 years that in Britain we went around terrified of IRA bombs race riots car hi jackers train crashes rapists and child murderers In fact most of us were getting on with the reality of our everyday lives The fact is that more people die on our roads every year than were killed during the entire history of the Irish troubles More people were killed in one recent car pile up in the fog in Wisconsin than by the sniper but we didn t see that on the news As the Qantas pilot told his passengers as he approached Sydney airport Folks the safest part of your journey is over The most dangerous is about to begin Drive carefully People have an amazing ability to cope with the direst of threats by finding comfort in the banal On that night 40 years ago this weekend when President Kennedy was waiting for the Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev to decide whether there was going to be a nuclear holocaust over the Cuban missile crisis how did Kennedy spend what could have been his last hours on this earth He watched Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday If you look closely at the television footage of many violent incidents you will almost certainly see in the background behind the burning cars or off to the side from the stone throwing youths someone going about their business bringing home the bread hanging out the washing Life goes on The point of terrorism is to interrupt this normality to convey the impression that evil is everywhere that it is capable of striking us at our most vulnerable point The aim of a terrorist act is to produce a public reaction disproportionate to the actual injury caused The sad truth is that because of the modern hunger for excitement such a reaction can almost be guaranteed The Chechen terrorists in Moscow need not have killed anyone to have grabbed the world s attention The dramatic nature of their initial act ensured that Once the world was watching and listening the Chechens were able to put their case and people begun to ask Well what is Russia doing in Chechnya Why is the war still going on Governments have a divided attitude to terrorism Some leaders feel that a little fear out there in the streets is not necessarily a bad thing It can help enforce discipline keep citizens alert and patriotic and when properly directed it makes governing an easier task Intelligence services certainly believe that every country needs a monster to confront For the West communism filled the role admirably for many years Its demise left services such as the CIA FBI MI6 and MI5 floundering until terrorism came up on their screens as George W Bush put it He knew there was an enemy out there somewhere for America to confront but until al Qa ida came along he did not

    Original URL path: http://phillipknightley.com/2002/10/to-be-gripped-by-fear-is-to-lose-the-battle/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Assange
    we are ruled and the information we are entitled to expect about how decisions about our 7 comments Recent Comments Monica Weller on Turning the Philby Case on Its Head First casualty of war on The First Casualty 2004 Weekend Reads The MASTER CHEF that made modern restaurants possible Know Q Out on Why Wikileaks has changed journalism forever Gross comments Malcolm Redfellow s Home Service on The First Casualty 2004 John Knowlman on Turning the Philby Case on Its Head Categories Articles 62 Australia 7 journalism 22 miscellaneous 5 propaganda 15 review 10 spying 20 terrorism 8 war 2 Books 12 General 4 Tags 9 11 al Jazeera al Qaeda australia bbc bin Laden blair blunt burgess Bush campbell cia england evatt foundation FBI GCHQ hutton inquiry independent iraq james bond JIC John Reid journalism journalist kgb kim philby labour lawrence of arabia london maclean MI5 mi6 NSA pentagon rugby rumsfeld saddam hussein scarlett sis spy spying sunday times terrorism thalidomide war Amazon co uk Widgets Archives May 2012 December 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 January 2010 December 2008 November 2008 April 2007 November 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005

    Original URL path: http://phillipknightley.com/tag/assange/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Hillary Clinton
    way we are ruled and the information we are entitled to expect about how decisions about our 7 comments Recent Comments Monica Weller on Turning the Philby Case on Its Head First casualty of war on The First Casualty 2004 Weekend Reads The MASTER CHEF that made modern restaurants possible Know Q Out on Why Wikileaks has changed journalism forever Gross comments Malcolm Redfellow s Home Service on The First Casualty 2004 John Knowlman on Turning the Philby Case on Its Head Categories Articles 62 Australia 7 journalism 22 miscellaneous 5 propaganda 15 review 10 spying 20 terrorism 8 war 2 Books 12 General 4 Tags 9 11 al Jazeera al Qaeda australia bbc bin Laden blair blunt burgess Bush campbell cia england evatt foundation FBI GCHQ hutton inquiry independent iraq james bond JIC John Reid journalism journalist kgb kim philby labour lawrence of arabia london maclean MI5 mi6 NSA pentagon rugby rumsfeld saddam hussein scarlett sis spy spying sunday times terrorism thalidomide war Amazon co uk Widgets Archives May 2012 December 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 January 2010 December 2008 November 2008 April 2007 November 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October

    Original URL path: http://phillipknightley.com/tag/hillary-clinton/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Jay Near
    way we are ruled and the information we are entitled to expect about how decisions about our 7 comments Recent Comments Monica Weller on Turning the Philby Case on Its Head First casualty of war on The First Casualty 2004 Weekend Reads The MASTER CHEF that made modern restaurants possible Know Q Out on Why Wikileaks has changed journalism forever Gross comments Malcolm Redfellow s Home Service on The First Casualty 2004 John Knowlman on Turning the Philby Case on Its Head Categories Articles 62 Australia 7 journalism 22 miscellaneous 5 propaganda 15 review 10 spying 20 terrorism 8 war 2 Books 12 General 4 Tags 9 11 al Jazeera al Qaeda australia bbc bin Laden blair blunt burgess Bush campbell cia england evatt foundation FBI GCHQ hutton inquiry independent iraq james bond JIC John Reid journalism journalist kgb kim philby labour lawrence of arabia london maclean MI5 mi6 NSA pentagon rugby rumsfeld saddam hussein scarlett sis spy spying sunday times terrorism thalidomide war Amazon co uk Widgets Archives May 2012 December 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 January 2010 December 2008 November 2008 April 2007 November 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October

    Original URL path: http://phillipknightley.com/tag/jay-near/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Wikileaks
    we are ruled and the information we are entitled to expect about how decisions about our 7 comments Recent Comments Monica Weller on Turning the Philby Case on Its Head First casualty of war on The First Casualty 2004 Weekend Reads The MASTER CHEF that made modern restaurants possible Know Q Out on Why Wikileaks has changed journalism forever Gross comments Malcolm Redfellow s Home Service on The First Casualty 2004 John Knowlman on Turning the Philby Case on Its Head Categories Articles 62 Australia 7 journalism 22 miscellaneous 5 propaganda 15 review 10 spying 20 terrorism 8 war 2 Books 12 General 4 Tags 9 11 al Jazeera al Qaeda australia bbc bin Laden blair blunt burgess Bush campbell cia england evatt foundation FBI GCHQ hutton inquiry independent iraq james bond JIC John Reid journalism journalist kgb kim philby labour lawrence of arabia london maclean MI5 mi6 NSA pentagon rugby rumsfeld saddam hussein scarlett sis spy spying sunday times terrorism thalidomide war Amazon co uk Widgets Archives May 2012 December 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 January 2010 December 2008 November 2008 April 2007 November 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005

    Original URL path: http://phillipknightley.com/tag/wikileaks/ (2016-02-13)
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