Thursday, September 10, 2015

Unjustifiable Homicide?

You know, I could have sworn that we abolished the death penalty in this country back in the sixties.  Yet we've recently seen what can only be described as the execution of two alleged UK born ISIS militants in Syria by the UK via a drone strike.  Of course, Cameron and his cronies argue that this action was entirely justified as it constituted 'self defence'.  Yeah, self defence.  Apparently these two were plotting unspecified terror attacks against the UK.  (I say 'unspecified', but there are allegations that they planned to assassinate the Queen on VJ Day - which they clearly didn't do as she's still alive, but that didn't stop the government authorising their killing some time after VJ Day).  I'm afraid that I'm always dubious about these alleged terror plots - it's all too easy to make such claims when you don't have to back them up with concrete evidence, instead invoking the cloak of secrecy in order to 'protect sources'.  It's easier still when you know that you won't even have to present any evidence in one of those secret courts they use for terror trials these days, because the alleged perpetrators are conveniently dead.

In this case, it all suggests a level of intelligence which seems unlikely when the suspects were in Syria, where they presumably concocted their supposed plots.  The question is what exactly the intelligence services and government think constitutes reliable 'evidence'.  Sure, these guys might well have talked about wanting to kill the Queen, amongst other fantasy atrocities against their original homeland, but when does such idle bragging actually become a threat?  I've talked about the possibility of armed insurrection in the UK and the political assassination of the likes of Cameron and Osborne.  Does that make me a terrorist?  Should I be assassinated by drone?  Which of us hasn't openly stated that they'd like to see some public figure or other strung up from a lamppost?  Should that now carry a death penalty?  This sort of thing makes me very uneasy - the killing of those two guys in Syria sets a dangerous precedent.  It lowers the bar for the standard of proof required to take action against terror suspects and legitimises the idea of dispensing with such things as trials and evidence if they are inconveniently outside of the UK.  Most disturbing of all is the seemingly casual way in which both our Prime Minister and the media in the UK view the killing of two of its own citizens on the basis of highly dubious evidence. 

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