Lies, the Bethlehem Doctrine & the Illegal Murder of Soleimani

Craig Murray condemns the U.S. assassination of the Iranian general as an illegal act.

(CNN video screenshot)

By Craig Murray

In one of the series of blatant lies the U.S. has told to justify the assassination of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Soleimani was killed because he was planning “imminent attacks” on U.S. citizens. It is a careful choice of word. Pompeo is specifically referring to the Bethlehem Doctrine of Pre-Emptive Self Defence.

Developed by Daniel Bethlehem when legal adviser to first Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and then U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Bethlehem Doctrine says states have a right of “pre-emptive self-defence” against “imminent” attack. That is something most people, and most international law experts and judges, would accept. Including me. 

What very few people, and almost no international lawyers, accept is the key to the Bethlehem Doctrine — that here “imminent,”the word used so carefully by Pompeo — does not need to have its normal meanings of either “soon” or “about to happen.” An attack may be deemed “imminent,” according to the Bethlehem Doctrine, even if you know no details of it or when it might occur. So you may be assassinated by a drone or bomb strike — and the doctrine was specifically developed to justify such strikes — because of “intelligence” that indicates you are engaged in a plot, when that intelligence neither says what the plot is nor when it might occur. Or even more tenuous, because there is intelligence saying you have engaged in a plot before, so it is reasonable to kill you in case you do so again.

Drone “pilots” launch an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle for a raid in the Middle East. (U.S. military)

I am not inventing the Bethlehem Doctrine. It has been the formal legal justification for drone strikes and targeted assassinations by the Israeli, U.S. and U.K. governments for a decade. Here it is in academic paper form, published by Bethlehem after he left government service (the form in which it is adopted by the U.S., U.K. and Israeli governments is classified information). 

Twisting the Meaning of ‘Imminent’

So, when Pompeo says attacks by Soleimani were “imminent” he is not using the word in the normal sense in the English language. It is no use asking him what, where or when these “imminent” attacks were planned to be. He is referencing the Bethlehem Doctrine under which you can kill people on the basis of a feeling that they may have been about to do something.

The idea that killing an individual who you have received information is going to attack you, but you do not know when, where or how, can be justified as self-defence, has not gained widespread acceptance — or indeed virtually any acceptance — in legal circles outside the ranks of the most extreme devoted neo-conservatives and Zionists. Daniel Bethlehem became the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s chief legal adviser, brought in by Jack Straw, precisely because every single one of the FCO’s existing legal advisers believed the Iraq War to be illegal. In 2004, when the House of Commons was considering the legality of the war on Iraq, Bethlehem produced a remarkable paper for consideration, which said that it was legal because the courts and existing law were wrong, a defense which has seldom succeeded in court.

“following this line, I am also of the view that the wider principles of the law on self-defence also require closer scrutiny. I am not persuaded that the approach of doctrinal purity reflected in the Judgments of the International Court of Justice in this area provide a helpful edifice on which a coherent legal regime, able to address the exigencies of contemporary international life and discourage resort to unilateral action, is easily crafted;” 

The key was that the concept of “imminent” was to change:

The concept of what constitutes an “imminent” armed attack will develop to meet new circumstances and new threats.

Secretary of State Colin Powell testifying before the UN’s Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003, presenting what turned out to be false claims about Iraq’s WMD.

In the absence of a respectable international lawyer willing to argue this kind of tosh, Blair brought in Bethlehem as chief legal adviser, the man who advised Netanyahu on Israel’s security wall and who was willing to say that attacking Iraq was legal on the basis of “imminent threat” to the U.K. by Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein, which proved to be non-existent. It says everything about Bethlehem’s eagerness for killing that the formulation of the Bethlehem Doctrine on extrajudicial execution by drone came after the Iraq War, and he still gave not one second’s thought to the fact that the intelligence on the “imminent threat” can be wrong. Assassinating people on the basis of faulty intelligence is not addressed by Bethlehem in setting out his doctrine. The bloodlust is strong in this one.

There are literally scores of academic articles, in every respected journal of international law, taking down the Bethlehem Doctrine for its obvious absurdities and revolting special pleading. My favorite is this one by Bethlehem’s predecessor as the FCO chief legal adviser, Sir Michael Wood and his ex-Deputy Elizabeth Wilmshurst. 

I addressed the Bethlehem Doctrine as part of my contribution to a book reflecting on Noam Chomsky‘s essay “On the Responsibility of Intellectuals”

“In the UK recently, the Attorney General gave a speech in defence of the UK’s drone policy, the assassination of people – including British nationals – abroad. This execution without a hearing is based on several criteria, he reassured us. His speech was repeated slavishly in the British media. In fact, the Guardian
newspaper simply republished the government press release absolutely verbatim, and stuck a reporter’s byline at the top.
The media have no interest in a critical appraisal of the process by which the British government regularly executes without trial. Yet in fact it is extremely interesting. The genesis of the policy lay in the appointment of Daniel Bethlehem as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Chief Legal Adviser. Jack Straw made the appointment, and for the first time ever it was external, and not from the Foreign Office’s own large team of world-renowned international lawyers. The reason for that is not in dispute. Every single one of the FCO’s legal advisers had advised that the invasion of Iraq was illegal, and Straw wished to find a new head of the department more in tune with the neo-conservative world view.
Straw went to extremes. He appointed Daniel Bethlehem, the legal ‘expert’ who provided the legal advice to Benjamin Netanyahu on the ‘legality’ of building the great wall hemming in the Palestinians away from their land and water resources. Bethlehem was an enthusiastic proponent of the invasion of Iraq. He was also the most enthusiastic proponent in the world of drone strikes.
Bethlehem provided an opinion on the legality of drone strikes which is, to say the least, controversial. To give one example, Bethlehem accepts that established principles of international law dictate that lethal force may be used only to prevent an attack which is ‘imminent’.
Bethlehem argues that for an attack to be ‘imminent’ does not require it to be ‘soon’. Indeed you can kill to avert an ‘imminent attack’ even if you have no information on when and where it will be. You can instead rely on your target’s ‘pattern of behaviour’; that is, if he has attacked before, it is reasonable to assume he will attack again and that such an attack is ‘imminent’.
There is a much deeper problem: that the evidence against the target is often extremely dubious. Yet even allowing the evidence to be perfect, it is beyond me that the state can kill in such circumstances without it being considered a death penalty imposed without trial for past crimes, rather than to frustrate another ‘imminent’ one.
You would think that background would make an interesting story. Yet the entire ‘serious’ British media published the government line, without a single journalist, not one, writing about the fact that Bethlehem’s proposed definition of ‘imminent’ has been widely rejected by the international law community. The public knows none of this. They just ‘know’ that drone strikes are keeping us safe from deadly attack by terrorists, because the government says so, and nobody has attempted to give them other information.”

Remember, this is not just academic argument, the Bethlehem Doctrine is the formal policy position on assassination of Israel, the U.S. and U.K. governments. So that is lie No. 1. When Pompeo says Soleimani was planning “imminent” attacks, he is using the Bethlehem definition under which “imminent” is a “concept” which means neither “soon” nor “definitely going to happen.” To twist a word that far from its normal English usage is to lie. To do so to justify killing people is obscene. That is why, if I finish up in the bottom-most pit of hell, the worst thing about the experience will be the company of Daniel Bethlehem.

‘The Death of Hundreds, if Not Thousands of Americans’

Let us now move on to the next lie, which is being widely repeated, this time originated by President Donald Trump, that Soleimani was responsible for the “deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans”. This lie has been parroted by everybody, Republicans and Democrats alike.

Really? Who were they? When and where? While the Bethlehem Doctrine allows you to kill somebody because they might be going to attack someone, sometime, but you don’t know who or when, there is a reasonable expectation that if you are claiming people have already been killed you should be able to say who and when.

The truth of the matter is that if you take every American killed including and since 9/11, in the resultant Middle East related wars, conflicts and terrorist acts, well over 90 percent of them have been killed by Sunni Muslims financed and supported out of Saudi Arabia and its Gulf satellites, and less than 10 percent of those Americans have been killed by Shia Muslims tied to Iran.

This is a horribly inconvenient fact for the U.S. administrations which, regardless of party, are beholden to Saudi Arabia and its money. It is, the U.S. affirms, the Sunnis who are the allies and the Shias who are the enemy. Yet every journalist or aid worker hostage who has been horribly beheaded or otherwise executed has been murdered by a Sunni, every jihadist terrorist attack in the U.S. itself, including 9/11, has been exclusively Sunni. The Benghazi attack was by Sunnis, Isil are Sunni, Al Nusra are Sunni, the Taliban are Sunni and the vast majority of U.S. troops killed in the region are killed by Sunnis. 

Precisely which are these hundreds of deaths for which the Shia forces of Soleimani were responsible? Is there a list? It is of course a simple lie. Its tenuous connection with truth relates to the Pentagon’s estimate — suspiciously upped repeatedly since Iran became the designated enemy — that back during the invasion of Iraq itself, 83 percent of U.S. troop deaths were at the hands of Sunni resistance and 17 percent of U.S. troop deaths were at the hands of Shia resistance, that is 603 troops. All the latter are now lain at the door of Soleimani, remarkably.

Those were U.S. troops killed in combat during an invasion. The Iraqi Shia militias — whether Iran backed or not — had every legal right to fight the U.S. invasion. The idea that the killing of invading American troops was somehow illegal or illegitimate is risible. Plainly the U.S. propaganda that Soleimani was “responsible for hundreds of American deaths” is intended, as part of the justification for his murder, to give the impression he was involved in terrorism, not legitimate combat against invading forces. The idea that the U.S. has the right to execute those who fight it when it invades is an absolutely stinking abnegation of the laws of war.

As I understand it, there is very little evidence that Soleimani had active operational command of Shia militias during the invasion, and in any case to credit him personally with every American soldier killed is plainly a nonsense. But even if Soleimani had personally supervised every combat success, these were legitimate acts of war. You cannot simply assassinate opposing generals who fought you, years after you invade.

Linking Soleimani to 9/11

The final, and perhaps silliest lie, is Vice President Mike Pence’s attempt to link Soleimani to 9/11. There is absolutely no link between Soleimani and 9/11, and the most strenuous efforts by the Bush regime to find evidence that would link either Iran or Iraq to 9/11 (and thus take the heat off their pals the al-Saud who were actually responsible) failed. Yes, it is true that some of the hijackers at one point transited Iran to Afghanistan. But there is zero evidence, as the 9/11 report specifically stated, that the Iranians knew what they were planning, or that Soleimani personally was involved. This is total bullshit. Sept. 11 was Sunni and Saudi led, nothing to do with Iran.

Soleimani actually was involved in intelligence and logistical cooperation with the United States in Afghanistan post 9/11 (the Taliban were his enemies too, the Shia Tajiks being a key part of the U.S.- aligned Northern Alliance). He was in Iraq to fight ISIL.

Accredited Combatant

The final aggravating factor in the Soleimani murder is that he was an accredited combatant general of a foreign state which the world — including the U.S. — recognizes. The Bethlehem Doctrine specifically applies to “non-state actors.” Unlike all of the foregoing, this next is speculation, but I suspect that the legal argument in the Pentagon ran that Soleimani is a non-state actor when in Iraq, where the Shia militias have a semi-official status. 

But that does not wash. Soleimani is a high official in Iran who was present in Iraq as a guest of the Iraqi government, to which the U.S. government is allied. This greatly exacerbates the illegality of his assassination still further.

The political world in the U.K. is so cowed by the power of the neo-conservative Establishment and media, that the assassination of Soleimani is not being called out for the act of blatant illegality that it is. It was an act of state terrorism by the U.S. pure and simple.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.

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The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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27 comments for “Lies, the Bethlehem Doctrine & the Illegal Murder of Soleimani

  1. Tim Jones
    January 14, 2020 at 11:53

    I just did two searches on Youtube for Bethlehem Doctrine or its author David Bethlehem and nothing came up for me. Most of the public has no idea that this lies behind the words of people like Pompeo. They really don’t want the public to understand its implications of murder. I was surprised that Colbert did not cover it. Maybe he doesn’t know either.

  2. dean 1000
    January 13, 2020 at 11:46

    I don’t know the first thing about international law, I do know the Bethlehem doctrine is exactly what Craig Murray calls it – a lie and bullshit. Daniel Bethlehem conflates the executive branch of government with the State. His argument is pure hogwash in countries with more than one branch of government where the separation of powers is meant to prevent executive outrage, violence, and unauthorized acts of war.

    There are no “new circumstances or threats” that would justify reconsideration of the imminence doctrine. Politicians have been killed since a non state actor killed a tribal chieftain with a rock. The invention of firearms did not prompt governments to adopt something like the Bethlehem doctrine simply because it was easier for non-state actors to kill politicians, diplomats or soldiers. And the whole world knows that General Soleimani was a state actor.
    The ultimate abuse of the easily abused doctrine that killed General Soleimani can be used to assassinate a president or Prime Minister who has control of launching nuclear weapons.

    Suppose: The geniuses who run country ‘A’ assassinate the president of Country ‘B’ because he can launch a nuclear attack on country ‘A’. The president of Country ‘A’ goes on TV and says ” Those of you still alive are dying from fallout because we didn’t think country ‘B’ would nuke us simply because we assassinated an unpopular president in his last term. Country ‘B’ really f*cked up. They thought the assassination of their president was a prelude to our launching a nuclear first strike on them. If you are cold, hungry, homeless, broke, or dying from radiation sickness blame country ‘B’. God bless you and God bless our country.”

  3. Robert
    January 12, 2020 at 18:48

    It can be added that after 9/11, Iran caught a small number of Al Qaeda forces and delivered them to the CIA for interrogation in Afghanistan.

  4. Eddie S
    January 12, 2020 at 10:23

    Excellent article and comments.

  5. January 11, 2020 at 17:03

    Nothing better speaks to the regrettable sense of our times than the need to explain that the murder of a high official, and one regarded as a national hero, is a criminal act.

    “He is referencing the Bethlehem Doctrine under which you can kill people on the basis of a feeling that they may have been about to do something.”

    Doesn’t that exactly describe what severe paranoid schizophrenics sometimes do?

  6. Robert Emmett
    January 10, 2020 at 22:11

    Kind of puts a new slant on the old phrase from the Yeats poem, Second Coming.

    “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

    Perhaps it’s the same old rough beast that ever was.

  7. lexx
    January 10, 2020 at 14:42

    the US is like a burglar you find in your house that claims he has the right to be there and take your belongings because he gave that right to himself

  8. rosemerry
    January 10, 2020 at 14:23

    Excellent article from Craig Murray. I have only just heard of the Bethlehem Doctrine, and took it to be an ironic name of a ruse used by “Christians” like Mikes Pence and Pompass.

    Reading Bethlehem’s words, I was struck by his use of the words “threat from Iraq”, which we know was not true, and the examples given in this statement which are definitely able to be shown to be controversial, not “true”:

    “And in situations of overwhelming human catastrophe, a consensus for collective military action has also begun to appear, as we saw, albeit retrospectively, in Kosovo in 1999. Ten years on from the horrific tragedy of the Rwandan genocide, I do not believe that the international community would today refuse to intervene.”
    Both of these,among others, appear in Edward Herman and David Peterson’s book “The Politics of Genocide”.

  9. jmg
    January 10, 2020 at 13:57

    Craig Murray wrote:
    > the act of blatant illegality that it is. It was an act of state terrorism by the U.S. pure and simple.

    It looks like some warmongering senators — among other murderous gangsters… I mean “advisers” — have just definitively lost the Middle East for the United States.

    A few excerpts from The Wall Street Journal:

    > The group, including new Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and new national security adviser Robert O’Brien, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, backed the president’s decision to kill the top Iranian military commander and moved swiftly to carry it out.

    > The new team was cohesive and less inclined than its predecessors to push back against the president’s wishes, according to administration officials and others consulted by the White House. They also were less likely to consult in advance with other administration, Pentagon or State Department officials, congressional leaders or foreign allies, some of these officials said. . . .

    > Mr. Esper is a West Point classmate of Mr. Pompeo’s and is in lockstep with him on his push to roll back Iranian power in the region. . . .

    > Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had challenged some of Mr. Trump’s policy inclinations, including withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord. . . .

    > Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), a Trump confidant who played golf with him when he was considering the strike, said the new advisers “understand the president. They have chemistry among themselves.” Gen. Milley, he said, “is the biggest surprise. He is much more willing to take a risk to achieve a goal.” . . .

    > Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said. . . .

    > “The operation was planned very quickly,” said another U.S. official.

    > The planners didn’t follow the same consultation process used in previous strikes, according to officials. . . .

    > In the strike on Gen. Soleimani, some high-ranking officials who ordinarily would be consulted in advance—and leaned on to later explain it publicly—said they learned of the action from news reports.

    – Michael Corleone: “My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.”
    – Kay Adams: “Do you know how naive you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don’t have men killed!”
    – Michael Corleone: “Oh. Who’s being naive, Kay?”

    (The Godfather)

    • irene
      January 11, 2020 at 11:31

      * Some interesting info recently posted on a NYT comment board :

      Recent Pentagon resignations include Tina Kaidanow, DOD senior advisor for international cooperation (12/18/19);
      Randall Schriver, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs (12-12-19); Jimmy Steward, Top official in charge of Personnel and Readiness (12/13/19); Steven Walker, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Leader (12/13/19); Kari Bingen, Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence (1/10/20); and Eric Chewning, Chief of Staff for Defense Secretary Mark Esper (1/6/20).

      Interesting, especially Esper’s Chief of Staff. But not as critical as who seems to be running the show now, and how closely allied they have been for decades, having all graduated from West Point in 1986 and informally known as the ‘West Point Mafia’ :

      Mike Pompeo, USMA Class of ’86; Secretary of State
      Mark Esper, USMA Class of ’86; Acting Secretary of Defense
      Brian Bulatao, USMA Class of ’86; Under Secretary of State for Management (Advisor to Pompeo)
      Ulrich Brechbuhl, USMA Class of ’86; US State Dept. Counselor (Attorney to Pompeo)
      David Urban, USMA Class of ’86; 2016 RNC Coordinator, Trump Presidential Campaign Senior Advisor, Member, Trump 2020 Advisory Committee

      * With thanks to the anonymous commenter who originally posted this !

  10. Skip Edwards
    January 10, 2020 at 13:07

    Why is this article by Craig Murray not being broadcast and printed in the MSM? Why? Because the USA is controlled by a cartel of a few very rich individuals who are intent on controlling the world and all of us included. What lies ahead for us can be gathered from the history of what came before us; stolen lands, genocide and a belief in a superior race. Israel and Palestine are a glaring, easy to understand current example if you don’t want to face and understand US history!

  11. David Treloar
    January 10, 2020 at 06:36

    The truth behind the lies about the murder of Soleimani and Bethlehems Doctrine complicity in acts of warfare. Thank you Craig Murray for an outstanding piece of joirnalism

  12. michael
    January 10, 2020 at 06:26

    Nice explanation of the Bethleham Doctrine, which all nations will soon embrace. They ALL have the right to pre-emptive self defense.
    Since Russiagate started early in 2016, the US has embraced an evidence-free, faith-based fantastical approach in the National Security Apparatus, borrowing heavily from Israel and Saudi Arabia, who largely fund and staff our think tanks, which have taken over foreign policy in the US from our executive branch, the constitutional domain of foreign policy. Basically anything the National Security Apparatus believes is real, becomes real when their narratives are the only disseminated policies. This goes back to Carl Rove’s “creating reality”, which all of our politicians aspire to today. One would think self-delusion is a poor way to run a government?
    My biggest concern with Soleimani’s assassination were the claims from the Iraqi government that Soleimani was there in a diplomatic role and was essentially killed under a white flag of truce. Pompeo claims this is all a lie, Iranian propaganda. Iraq has not released any evidence in favor of this claim (as far as I know); it is incumbent on them to do so, since this frames the legality of the action. The post-truth “Trust me” hardly resonates when coming from any government nowadays.

  13. January 10, 2020 at 05:38

    Soleimani a “terrorist”? What does that make James Mattis, noble attacker of wedding parties?

  14. elmerfudzie
    January 9, 2020 at 19:45

    My response is not intended to invite a semantic discussion about murder. The USA and Western Occident vs middle east countries began their increasingly rampant polarization, mind you not globalization, through non state actors such as the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company or AIOC and later BP. The year was 1951, an unannounced war between the USA and Iran that began immediately following the AIOC’s nationalization ordered by Iran’s popular Premier, Mossadeq. His overthrow initiated by an oil corpotcracy working in cahoots with the OSS was not motivated by democratic ideals, quite the contrary! The Premier wanted real democracy for his people but international corporations strongly resist any idea that takes power out of their hands AKA investor portfolios and into the hands of the average voter, in this case Iranians. The illegally installed Shah was an incendiary figure who’s reign of terror, eventually brought about the 444 day hostage crisis. A crisis that included nightly theatrical performances by all major TV talking heads of that period namely CBS, NBC and ABC. Consequently a state of war existed but ran in the background of the unfolding story. The Iranians miscalculated, they took steps to ensure that President Carter would be replaced by Reagan.

    ASIDE: I’ve always argued that Carter was in a unique position to control the Intel agencies and deep state actors, recall his firing of some seven hundred “cowboys” at the CIA. Carter was neck deep in and very familiar with Naval and DIA intelligence field operations and goals. Without a second Prez term, the Iranians unwittingly handed over new powers to war mongers, Neo Cons, MIC or Military Industrial Complex, Thatcherism, her free marketeers who lack any social conscience, thriving on chaos and endless war, all this unnecessary turmoil by way Ronald Reagan and several of his familiars who were elected into office, beyond his regime.

    Point being, Soleimani was not murdered, he was just another casualty of (endless) war, a direct result of draconian shifts in our lexicon of words, in an Orwellian world. Words and phrases we have come to use without realizing their true meaning or consequences. Examples are many, familiar euphemisms such as police actions, kinetic military action, nation building and so on. Obama was said to use a dozen or more injected frequently injected into his speeches… In short, a policy of Undeclared War hiding behind a veil of disinformation to confuse us all, “terrorist organization” or “terrorist nation” “radical Islam” “extremists” and so on…

    This latest killing, of one General Soleimani is just another in a long procession of high visibility assassinations. Like the U.S. sponsored European GLADIO Intel program of planned assassinations in the 50’s 60’s and 70’s, were due to the ascension of and gradual corporate takeover of traditional politics. Those tried and true individuals with integrity who are formally educated in the art. Well heeled Diplomats are indeed available! they can be drawn from a pool within the United States Foreign Service however since Obama’s term, they were summarily retired, fired or replaced with unoccupied posts or worse, knuckleheads who if you pried their skulls open, one would find stocks, bonds, or a cash machine but nothing else.

    Just think what could have been accomplished had our new POTUS dispatched true Diplomats to the middle east, possessing those renowned skills of former Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford!

  15. January 9, 2020 at 18:04

    Craig Murray is, of course, spot on with his dissection and condemnation of Daniel Bethlehem’s corrupt and farcical use of the term “imminent threat” to justify criminal killing of imagined adversaries.
    As Usual,

  16. Helge Tietz
    January 9, 2020 at 17:55

    The best assessment of what happened in Baghdad a few days ago I have read so far, thanks Craig!

  17. Donald Duck
    January 9, 2020 at 17:18

    ”Let us now move on to the next lie, which is being widely repeated, this time originated by President Donald Trump, that Soleimani was responsible for the “deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans”. This lie has been parroted by everybody, Republicans and Democrats alike.”

    Soleimani was a solider. The duty of soldiers is to defend their countries against its enemies, even if this meant killing them. Period. If Soleimani did that he was only doing his job. He didn’t pick a fight with the Americans and Israelis, they picked one with him. So I really don’t know what they are complaining about. Terrorist indeed, pah!

    Did Americans ever complain about Curtis Le May fire-bombing of Tokyo and the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Did the British complain about about Arthur (Bomber) Harris fire bombing Hamburg and Dresden and killing tens of thousands of German civilians? Yes, but that was war comes the expected retort. But isn’t there war going on in the middle east?

    So who are the terrorists and who are the patriots?

    • Josep
      January 10, 2020 at 05:07

      Did Americans ever complain about Curtis Le May fire-bombing of Tokyo and the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

      Last month Anti-Empire, née Checkpoint Asia, ran an article discussing the Anglo-American race war against Japan, which managed to foment USian antipathy against Japan. (anti-empire[dot]com/hiroshima-bombing-was-the-culmination-of-the-anglo-american-race-war-on-japan/) So not only did many USians not complain about it; they also supported it.

  18. January 9, 2020 at 17:04

    Pretend to be a 70 year-old Iranian. You look back, and recall that the US government overthrew your own in 1953 and thereby restored US corporate control over your energy resources. Then, to suppress and punish opposition to this coup d’etat, the US trained the SAVAK, the Iranian CIA that made its American mentors looks like choirboys, engaging in the wholesale torture and killing of those opposed to the Peacock Dynasty run by the Shah of Iran.

    Then, looking through your neighborhood, you saw JFK in 1963 oust Qassam as Iraq’s leader. By 1980, the US has hired his Baathist successor Saddam to attack and gas your nation, slaughtering about One Million of your fellow countrymen over a nasty 8 year war. American corporations got rich selling the gas and weaponry raking your nation. As the war is ending, the US decorates the naval officer who ordered your airbus shot out of the skies, with 397 unarmed Iranians exploded like dynamite during a regularly scheduled and routed commercial flight. The American’s made a hero, even after it’s long been known that his actions had nothing to do with repelling a military assault.

    Then, after your country holds 9/11 vigils for the innocents killed by the Salafist-financed Saudis in NYC, the US comes after you, not the Sheiks of Saudi, even after you share with the US your intelligence on the Taliban, bin-Laden, and Afghanistan. Unlike Israel and India, your country actually signed and abides by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but you are still seen as a threat, so you must undergo sanctions while facing a cyber-attack via the STUXNET virus, with which the US Nobel Peace Prize-winning President ordered the Pentagon to attack Iranian technology. The President then jails the US General who told the truth about what O’Bomber admitted was a complete act of undeclared war against Iran. In the meantime, nuclear scientists across Iran are being mysteriously assassinated while US- sponsored terrorism against targets inside of Iran are being carried out by the MEK terrorists, who have retained such US notables as Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell on its payroll.

    Then, this illegal economic siege persists against you, even after you’ve agreed to limit your nuclear enrichment and be inspected 24/7 by 6 countries. Your economy shrinks by 1/6 in the face of what are literally acts of war. Finally, as we now sadly know, of course, your leading general is assassinated upon the orders of an American madman, or possibly at the behest of his Deep State, which may have picked up on the rumor that this General, traveling on a regular airline under a diplomatic passport, was about to receive from his host, the Iraqi Prime Minister, a proposal to reduce tensions between Shia Iran and Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia. Such a thaw would drop US defense stock by 1/5 in a single trading session, so it had to be stopped and was, deadly and decisively terminated last Thursday morning at the Baghdad Airport.

    Now, tell me why, my Southern US friends, it is that you are surprised that so many Iranians are so full of hate for the USA?

    • Baerbel Kavanaugh
      January 10, 2020 at 14:09

      EXCELLENT summary of our US / Iran situation. We have been using our super-power status to bully them for decades. And not only Iran, many other small nations as well. Sanctions are a form of Economic Warfare, or Economic Terrorism. Ask Cuba, they know. 60 some years of living with the US boot on their neck. Now we placed stricter sanctions on Iran – and then we wonder why terrorist cells form? Will full ignorance or a wicked plan to create opportunities for our MIC?

      And that at a time when ALL nations ought to pull together to fight a common enemy – Climate Change. TRULY an imminent danger, and denying the same amounts to “culpable negligence”, Pompeo’s favorite phrase right now!

  19. January 9, 2020 at 16:23

    The imminent doctrine is bizarre, a smoke screen for lawless behavior. It is just another way of the three countries mentioned to thumb their noses at the law and common decency It’s just part of their MO that there is nothing they can not do if they choose to do it. The whole idea of sovereign nations goes out the window, and we moan about casualties of Americans occurring in countries, where they have no right to be.

    We claim to be fighting ISIS but manage to kill the leader of the most effective force against ISIS, Trump’s contention to the contrary. And we kill a man who was fighting ISIS with the approval of the nations being threatened by ISIS.

    I applaud Craig Murray to call out the liars regarding American deaths at the hands of the Iranians. It is just another example of the string of lies about those we call enemies and watching powerful media pass these lies with not a shred of skepticism is perhaps the most troubling of all.

    Perhaps the only hopeful thing coming out of this last fiasco is that the hatred by the media and the powerful of Trump is so great that they are willing to give the likes of Senator Paul space to expose what is happening.

  20. Chet Roman
    January 9, 2020 at 15:59

    Excellent article as always by Craig Murray. Of course, the legal contortions required to produce such an appalling document like the Bethlehem Doctrine would be produced by an Israeli. The Israelis have been developing a weaponized (warfare) form of law for many years, Lawfare, to justify their murderous and racist policies. And their brethren and coreligionists in the Brookings Institute’s Lawfare have successfully weaponized and politicized the impeachment process with the collaboration of people like Schiff and Nadler.

    • January 10, 2020 at 11:38


    • Chet Roman
      January 10, 2020 at 13:49

      Also, the expansionist interpretation of “Obstruction of Justice” that was used in the second charge of the Mueller Report was developed by the same Brookings Institute’s Lawfare group. Attorney General Barr strongly stated that the Mueller’s legal interpretation of “Obstruction of Justice” in the Mueller Report was incorrect and that he and the DOJ did not agree with the expansive interpretation, which had the fingerprints of the Lawfare group and Strzok.

  21. January 9, 2020 at 15:09

    Great article! I think we all need to keep in mind that the same lying government that lied us into war with Iraq and is currently explaining what they just did with more lies are the same ones who told us who was responsible for 9/11. Be careful, cuz the 9/11 story, the reason we have troops in the middle east, was all explained to us by our so trustworthy government.

  22. January 9, 2020 at 14:30

    Kept in the dark
    Fed on bullshit and lies
    The illusion of choice
    Is something everybody buys
    Cookie cutter candidates
    Actors in a show
    All of this is just a ploy
    To maintain the status quo
    They demonize a ghost
    They fabricate a need
    To strip you of your rights
    So you’ll willingly concede
    Open your eyes
    Time you realize
    You’ve become the instrument
    To hasten the demise
    They raise the flag
    And wave the sword
    Then they march you off to war
    You think you’re free
    Well it’s just a misconception
    You live a lie
    In this matrix of dreams
    It’s a rich man’s trick
    A monstrous deception
    To keep you chained
    To their killing machine

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