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The droning of Jihadi John: another blockbuster for our delectation

by BlackCatte

many faces  alleged to be Mohammed Emwazi, who is alleged in turn  to be "Jihad John"

many faces alleged to be Mohammed Emwazi, who is alleged in turn to be “Jihad John”

The corporate media – that has been studiously ignoring all the reports of Syrian army victories in recent days – has put out the bunting today, because the Pentagon says it has launched a drone strike against “Jihadi John” and is 99% sure it has been successful.

The Telegraph has front page rolling coverage. As does the BBC and numerous other outlets, including the Guardian.

In the spirit of killing two birds with one stone, this day of media celebration is also being used as another handy opportunity for some Corbyn-mockery (haha, he believes in international law, the old fogey!), but mainly it’s about asserting control of the splintering official narrative.

You don’t have to be too much of a cynic to notice this is all dreadfully convenient. Just as with the alleged raid a month or so ago that came complete with heroic video footage of “our boys” running about somewhere firing guns, so this “drone strike” is a very easy and economic way to grab back some of that kudos and credibility that has been ebbing away since Russian entered the Syrian fray. The Empire has been standing on the sidelines, feeling foolish, its ISIS story exposed as a scam, forced to watch while Russia makes a mockery of its Grand Middle East Plan that has been the major focus of foreign policy for fifteen years. It needs an ego-boost. A distraction. A reassertion of its discredited storyline.

But at the same time, there’s not a whole lot it can do, now that Russia is a player. It can’t assert this no-fly zone that was supposed to be the death knell for Assad. It doesn’t want to attack ISIS or al Qaeda, because they are its own proxy forces out there. It can’t afford to tangle too close with Russia’s own campaign, and refuses to openly co-operate. The only thing left is theatre. Which indeed seems to be becoming the preferred option over reality anyway.

All you need is yet another drone strike, aimed at – something, somewhere.., doesn’t really matter what. Then attach the story thatthis drone was targeting the dread “Jihadi John” – and bingo, the media will do the rest for you. For the next few days you’re all heroes again, which will at least buy you a breathing space.

You don’t even need to prove you killed the man/ “media entity” in question. A “high degree of certainty” (whatever that means) is enough to start popping the champagne corks at Empire HQ.

But before we hang out the flags and start cheering even more illegality, it’s never a bad idea to remind ourselves of some of the facts and claims that get left behind in the frantic rush to stay on message.

Let’s just remind ourselves Jihadi John is a typically liminal scare-figure. His alleged real identity is 27-year old computer programmer, Mohammed Emwazi, though this has never been verified beyond repeat allegation. The media cites intelligence sources and “friends” of Emwazi’s for verification, but details generally lacking. There’s no evidence that Emwazi himself has admitted to being Jihadi John. There was a story in the Telegraph that alleged Emwazi’s father was confirming the claim, but this later turned out to be bogus when his father came forward to say there was no proof of the allegation.

To further muddy the waters the Daily Mail ran a story suggesting there was more than one Jihadi John, and the human rights group CAGE alleged Emwazi was repeatedly courted by MI5 as a possible agent (a good summary of all the anomalies and lacunae surrounding this issue can be found here).

Was/is Emwazi “the real Jihadi John”, or one of several “real Jihadi Johns.” Was/is he a vicious murderer, a frontman for faux snuff movies, both or neither? Is he dead or alive? Was a drone targeted at him, or someone else, or no one?

Frankly, your guess is as good as mine. All we have here, as in so much of the ISIS narrative, is images we can’t verify and stories we can’t prove. Alleged friend allegedly claiming things, alleged one-time hostages allegedly being quoted. The information is piled upon us, repeated, asserted, making it easy to confuse volume with quality. In fact we have no hard evidence here of anything. We barely even have a connected narrative that could be said to make coherent sense.

Refraining from conclusion or judgement is the only sane thing to do in these circumstances.

But the real lesson here and ongoing is how incidental reality has become to the media message. Not one outlet is reminding us of everything we don’t know about this issue. The uncertainties, the anomalies, the claims that contradict each other or just don’t fit.

They are non-issues, non-questions. They deal in a kind of real that no longer exists in popular culture and is firmly despised. No matter how loud they cry out for attention, they receive none.

The dogs bark, but the caravan just rolls by.


  1. Well since the putinator has put a few spanners in the MSM narrative they are working overtime in London and Washington these writers have to really get things spinning. I like how Putin has further exposed the west and how they are colluding with the GCC with all that money laundering all those new Toyota jeeps . Gee we in the west are so niave. Yesterdays news gets wrapped in todays fish.

  2. Pingback: Timing of 'Jihadi John' Death Couldn't Be More Convenient – Black Catte | Timber Exec

  3. Klaus says

    bu’s true – some fragments of ji-Jo’s baseball cap were discovered in a liquefied bucket of various human remains.

  4. Seamus Padraig says

    The Indispensable Empire is looking pretty shambolic right about now. Time to wag the dog, I guess.

  5. Brad Benson says

    Yet another murder for which we can all be proud. I’m glad I’m here in Oslo, Norway right now so I don’t have to hear the howling by the US Media. I couldn’t get away from it though. The only English Language News in this hotel is the BBC, which of course is howling about this wonderful new war crime itself. Cameron looks like he’s putting on weight. I guess getting to sit at the animal farm table with the Americans is really making him fat and happy.

    What a fucking loser!

  6. To their credit, the BBC has been running interviews with family members of Jihadi John’s victims. Some are surprisingly critical. Some lambaste the US refusal to negotiate with “terrorists” for their loved ones release – or to take military action to release them if they knew where JJ was. Others ask why he couldn’t have been arrested and brought to trial (if they knew where he was) instead of using a drone strike which killed innocent civilians.

    • Brad Benson says

      Yep, that one mother really surprised her interviewer whom I guess expected her to reveling in this newest murder. She really was articulate. My guess is that that interview was only shown on the BBC and not shown on American Media.

      • Marc Krizack says

        Correct, not shown on US TV. Do you have a link to the BBC interview?

    • Mick McNulty says

      They say they won’t negotiate for the release of a hostage but they most certainly would if the hostage was high profile. That’s why I think Princes William and Harry are never allowed anywhere near danger, not because they might be killed but because they might be kidnapped and the establishment would definitely negotiate for their release.

      • Seamus Padraig says

        In fairness, I believe Prince Harry served with the Royal Army somewhere in Afghanistan for a while. The media kept it hush-hush until his time was up–for security reasons, of course.

  7. unheilig says

    Oh do calm down BlackCatte. Our heroic lads have heroically droned another random anonymous brownish person somewhere in the random anonymous desert from a random anonymous location, without ever having to show their random anonymous faces. Did I say heroically! Jolly spiffing show chaps, gongs all round, keep up the splendid work, what?

  8. Amer Hudson says

    Nailed. And, yes, we’ve all been here before with this stuff and nonsense. Bread and circuses, accompanied by the usual gurning media narratives, bigging-up the old neo-con agenda.

    And, once again, the Guardian online as happy as a spad in shit, salivating wistfully whilst disseminating garbage to a tired and disappointed readership.

    Surely we deserve better than this?

  9. Cyril Wheat says

    Good piece. Cameron could not wait to rush out to the waiting (tame press) to trumpet the possible death of “Jihadi John”. Firstly to avoid the flack I have no time for anyone who beheads people whether it’s Tom, Dick or Jihadi John so his alleged loss will not trouble me. However Cameron’s jingoistic attitude is repulsive. It was obscene and I could not help but feel he was revelling not in the death but the posturing and pronouncing of the strike. His language and declaration of his everlasting love of America made me want to vomit and reminded me of Blair and his sucking up to Bush. He so wants to be in the gang that bombs Syria that he drools at the thought. No mention or thought to the civilians that have been murdered by drone strikes but a veritable orgasm of delight at this particular strike that may have killed this murderer. Better to have him dead than in a court explaining how MI5 tried to recruit him.

  10. Brilliant article. Don’t suppose you would mind telling me what WP theme you produced that on? Love the layout. Very easy on the eye.

    • The site is a custom design, based on an original WP theme. Can’t recall the name, but I think it appears in the footer.

      • Shatnersrug says

        Thanks off-G! Thank Christ you’re doing this. Now we’ve had a suicide attack on an American liberal band in liberal Paris the powers that be will be expecting these liberals to stop being pussies and get behind some good ole boots on the ground warring in that there Syria

        I’d like to add that I ain’t no liberal

  11. Pingback: The droning of Jihadi John: another blockbuster for our delectation | RevSoc

  12. Guest says

    Brilliant dissection of this story that the MSM are running with.

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