Tuesday, January 17, 2012

State Executions

I am always depressed, and overwhelmed at Christmas. It is a sad time of the year. This year I can't walk properly, which does not make things any better.

However, I must post a link and comment on an outstanding article in the Guardian today. It is written by Mehdi Hasan, described as a Senior Editor on the New Statesman.

It is timely because the British government has just lost the case for deporting Abu Qatada, a fundamentalist Muslim whom the government would dearly like to get rid of.

He cannot be deported but it would be OK for us to assassinate him? Does that make sense?

See Hasan's striking article in full at:


And think about these issues in the light of the very recent assassination of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, the deputy head of Iran's uranium enrichment programme.

".... western liberals who fall over one another to condemn the death penalty for murderers – who have, incidentally, had the benefit of lawyers, trials and appeals .... fall quiet as their states kill, with impunity, nuclear scientists, terror suspects and alleged militants in faraway lands. Yet a "targeted killing", human-rights lawyer and anti-drone activist Clive Stafford Smith tells me, "is just the death penalty without due process".

Cognitive dissonance abounds. To torture a terror suspect, for example, is always morally wrong; to kill him, video game style, with a missile fired from a remote-controlled drone, is morally justified. Crippled by fear and insecurity, we have sleepwalked into a situation where governments have arrogated to themselves the right to murder their enemies abroad.

Nor are we only talking about foreigners here. Take Anwar al-Awlaki, an Islamist preacher, al-Qaida supporter – and US citizen. On 30 September 2011, a CIA drone killed Awlaki and another US citizen, Samir Khan. Two weeks later, another CIA-led drone attack killed Awlaki's 21-year-old son, Abdul-Rahman. Neither father nor son were ever indicted, let alone tried or convicted, for committing a crime. Both US citizens were assassinated by the US government in violation of the Fifth Amendment ("No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law")."