Summary justice is no justice at all

I have no sympathy for Reyaad Khan or Ruhul Amin, the British citizens fighting for the so-called Islamic State who were killed by an RAF drone strike. I’m sad for their families, who never asked for any of this. But Khan and Amin were foolish and arrogant young men who signed up to an organisation which thinks it just fine to oppress and rape women, to enslave non-believers, to throw gay people from high buildings, and to destroy the cultural heritage of humanity.

Khan and Amin went off to a foreign land where had no business being in order to kill those who don’t share their narrow misinterpretation of a holy book. But that doesn’t mean that the British state which ordered their deaths should escape criticism. By killing these two young men who had become enthralled to a perversion of an ancient faith, Britain has shown itself to be a state which practises summary justice. The great problem with summary justice is that it’s very difficult to distinguish from summary injustice. Summary justice is no justice at all. Even kangaroos have courts. The only difference between the UK and Latin American states with their death squads is that we have worse weather and no banana plantations in which to hide the bodies.

The chilling truth is that the British state has now sanctioned the assassination of British citizens, without trial, without public disclosure of the evidence against them, without accountability. That’s a dark and dangerous road to go down. The fact a drone strike is carried out remotely doesn’t make it any less of a death squad. Is that the country we want to live in? Because whether we like it or not we now live in a country which has a hit list of citizens whose deaths can be ordered by politicians behind closed doors for reasons that are not disclosed, on evidence that is not revealed.

The reason we condemn the so-called Islamic State is that it practises a perversion of justice that is clearly unjust. We condemn it because it has recourse to violence as a first option. We condemn it because we like to imagine that we occupy the moral high ground, that we have fair laws, that we have just rules, that we have impartial courts, that we have compassion and understanding as well as justice and punishment, that violence is never our first option. Ordering drone strikes puts us on the same knee jerk level as Khan and Amin. They should have been captured and put on trial. I expect, I demand, that a democratic state should adhere to higher standards. I want us to be better than the likes of Khan and Amin, not to adopt their tactics and methods, not to skulk in the undergrowth spreading death and then demanding that we trust blindly in its judgement as though it was holy writ interpreted by wise men whose word must not be challenged.

Because the harsh truth is that the judgement of the British state is suspect. That’s suspect in the same way that a DWP fit for work test is suspect, or you might suspect a man who’s climbing through your window of wanting to burgle your house. There’s a tide of refugees begging for help and homes, and Britain’s answer is to send some bombs. It wasn’t too long ago that the House of Commons voted on air strikes in Syria, and refused to allow permission for them. Yet here we are just two years later and there are British air strikes in Syria. But we’re supposed to believe that these air strikes are legal, because the wise men who interpret the holy writ of the UK government says so.

In the UK, justice and law increasingly mean whatever the government and the establishment want them to mean. When you get into that situation, then there is precious little law and there is no justice. Over twenty years ago the UK government ordered the shooting dead of three IRA members in Gibraltar, claiming after the event that they had been engaged in planning a terrorist action. Those shootings were ruled illegal by the European Court of Human Rights because the court did not accept that summary execution was the only means open to the UK to prevent the terrorist act. The IRA operatives could and should have been detained and put on trial. It’s hard to see the difference between that case and the present one. That’s the same court of Human Rights that the UK goverment wants to stop UK citizens having access to. It’s hard not to reach the conclusion that the UK government wants that because it wants to be able to kill with impunity.

Apparently the UK government in its gung ho macho let’s blow them to buggery approach to dealing with radicalisation and terrorism has a list of British citizens who are considered targets for drone strikes or hit squads. This is the same UK government that assured us that Iraq had WMDs which could be ready within 40 minutes, yet we’re supposed to trust blindly in its judgement when it comes to the extra-judicial killings of British citizens.

There is no justice in the UK any more, and any pretence that the British state is a democratic one is running away from the consequences of UK policies as quickly as Iain Duncan Smith would run from Easterhouse. If there was any justice, Alistair Carmichael would have been forced to sit through the grinding tedium of the case against him being heard in Edinburgh. If he wins his case it will be because he’s proven himself to be a political liar who sought refuge in legalisms. Which is a whole lot more refuge than the UK government is prepared to allow to Syrian refugees.

The lesson we learn from the Carmichael case is that in the UK lying is fine as long as it’s political lying. And this is the same political system that wants us to trust it with drone strikes against unconvicted British citizens. Is that political too? Does that mean that the UK can kill its own citizens with impunity and lie about it? It certainly seems so. Is this the kind of state we want to remain a part of? No wonder support for independence is growing.

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50 comments on “Summary justice is no justice at all

  1. macart763 says:

    I mentioned it the other day, but worth repeating. When we go into a polling booth be aware of the representation you elect to form your government, what they will do in your name and what legacy we leave our children.

    • Pam McMahon says:

      Few people are allowed to be aware of what they are actually voting for, thanks to MSM and the BBC. The hideous actions of our political representatives are only disclosed on online blogs such as these, and some/most of the electorate never see them.

      It is a situation not confined to the UK. The American electorate is currently being asked to vote for Donald Trump or one of the hundreds of other potential Presidential election candidates, on the basis that “all furringers have to speak “American”. and not on the fact that whoever is elected to the White House will have his/her shaky finger on the nuclear button.

    • hektorsmum says:

      Always worried about how people reach their decision when you look at those elected, I was going to say represent us, but do they, seems they represent those who live furth of our shores, we have all sorts of people with an oar in our water.
      I think that so many young men and women are being encouraged with religious zeal to go off and join ISIS and this will do nothing to stop them, and yes it has the reek of Gibraltar where those people were supposed to be found with a bomb and they had nothing of the sort.
      Tories, make my blood boil.

      • macart763 says:

        No, I don’t think they do represent us and almost certainly the conservatives don’t. Corporate interest, geo politics, party before people, the state, the class pyramid, and latterly themselves is the likely order of things. They believe in ‘the game’, that all is fair in the way they practice their politics. They believe that manipulating the public, their perceptions and emotions, their vote through any and all means at their disposal is acceptable. THAT is the world they have created for themselves and it is as far removed from our lives as it is possible to get.

        THAT is government beyond public control.

  2. […] Summary justice is no justice at all […]

  3. Mae Carson says:

    The next step will be to exterminate “enemies of the state” here on UK soil. Who decides who are enemies, on what evidence and what does that say about democracy and rule of law?

    What sort of “justice” is this in a country which abolished the death penalty in 1965 (NI 1973)?

    • Dan Huil says:

      The Attorney General, according to Cameron, told him the double murder was legal. Someone called Jeremy Wright MP is the current Attorney General for England and Wales.
      Wait a minute! Only for England and Wales?!
      Possible legal ramifications for, and by, Scotland?

  4. Justin Fayre says:

    Well that’s it then.
    Common Sense is now a dirty word because it implies as the name suggests sense belonging to the common man. So it’s out.
    Decency and integrity? So last century luvvie
    What’s next on the agenda?
    Drug Dealers celebrated as Captains of Industry and given seats in the House of Lords only to refuse on moral grounds
    People Traffickers. charging £10.000. to divulge their secrets of how to make massive profits from human misery to the DWP?
    As has been said many times.
    Will the last one left please switch off the lights

  5. We don’t have the death penalty in the UK.

    We have a system where people are arrested and charged, brought before a court where evidence is heard in front of judge and jury (usually) and the pronounced innocent or guilty (and, if guilty, sentenced).

    At no point, no matter how heinous the crime, does the Government try to be judge, jury and executioner.

    And when UK citizens are sentenced to death abroad (e.g. drug smugglers in Asia) the UK Government is usually first to jump up and down protesting.

    At least one of these guys was accused of planning terrible atrocities in the UK. That may or may not be true but I am willing to accept that it is and on that basis I would have no qualms about putting him behind bars for the rest of his life.

    But if he was doing this from a bedsit in London would he and his companions have had there car blown up by a missile fired from a drone on their way to the supermarket? Or would they have been arrested, charged and tried before (if found guilty) going to prison for a very long time?

    Surely that is the basis on which this action by UK Government should be judged?

    The trouble for me with this action is where does the State draw the line in relation to its own citizens given that in a democracy the State only has legitimacy at the behest of those same citizens?

    Don’t get me wrong – I am in the middle of reading a history of “Islamic State” and I am in no doubt about the depths of their violence towards others and if these guys had been killed in a conventional “fire fight” between one lot of combatants and another then they would have no-one to blame but themselves for getting involved with IS in the first place.

    But I am not comfortable with the UK Government executing its own citizens in this way.

  6. Sandra says:

    Once again I find myself saying NOT IN MY NAME. I want no part of this now or in the future. Sadly after reading numerous comments today and listening to media discussions, it appears there are many who agree with the action taken. At least two of the papers bear headlines which should shame us all. This is the slippery slope.

  7. Cag-does-thinking says:

    Covers all the important points Paul. It’s no different morally than Mr Putin killing his fellow citizens with a cuppa tea, in fact that sounds more British. It is indefensible, however unpleasant IS are, they deserved the opportunity of a trial and state sanctioned murder abroad can never be legal or legitimate.

  8. Mark Murray says:

    I don’t see how what amounts to an execution without trial could be lawful. The UK, reluctantly under this government, adheres to the European Convention on Human Rights which mandates fair legal procedures, including the right to a fair trial, and prohibits capital punishment. Additionally, the UK’s own Human Rights Act means that all institutions of the state must take into account the ECHR when acting.

    If these men were hors de combat (see here for definitions:;; at the time they were killed their deaths may amount to a war crime.

    If I was a family member of one of these men I would be heading to court.

  9. Was wondering if we have all been implanted with locator chips so we too can be targeted by drones at any time. Considering anti Fracking protestors are considered Domestic terrorists, it would be no surprise to me. This UK government has become a dictatorship!

  10. […] Source: Summary justice is no justice at all […]

  11. says:

    Willie MacRae ?

    • J Galt says:

      Exactly – my only interest in this is why we’re being told about it – they kill people all of the time and we’re never told about it, or given BS about suicide, accidents etc

      Why the full parliamentary/media “Song and Dance” over this?

      I suppose what you think about all of this depends on whether you accept the mainstream narrative of who ISIS/ISIL/IS are and what they do – utter extreme Islamist fanatics that never attack Israel?

      • says:

        That’s food for thought the Israel thing but here’s my take on it is is americian and Suadi created to over throw or weaken Syria everyone new back when it kicked of they were extreme via footage of hats badges and flags they fight with americian guns ? Also the turkish side of it they help them to weaken the Kurds now the whole country is destroyed Turkey will weaken Kurds who did the world proud at kobani women fighting is God bless them now Russia is Assads pal it’s the U.S. versus Russia via puppet army’s if you catch my drift let list the main players
        The Kurds
        The UK lead by David Cameron is not ment to be involved military wise due to democratic vote not to by all party’s. there dropping bombs without asking getting back to the Israel question it is real strange it’s the poor Muslim that is being wiped out here while rich are left alone the Israel thing is taken it all to new heights illuminate stuff which a would not put past them with Russia on one side and US on other and both economy’s reliant on sell weapons for greedy profits anything is possible here another reason for not bombing Israel could be fear of the back lash don’t for. Get there is sectarian factors here Shia versus sunny to its a real mess a hope a have added to the debate but the dark arts of war are at play here media misinformation to the tribal people of the region have suffered more and a hope at the end the Kurds have a state due to there women’s sacrifice in kobani that needs repaid Turkey are in Iraq just now tempory and lots of other nations special forces last but not least there telling u know as they are about to blitz it when the murdochs say bomb them there is only one out come .
        Don’t forget the stop the war vigils Saturday glasgow Edinburgh and london !

      • says:

        A get most of my info from the Kurds via Twitter its as it happens news

        And we’ll worth a view if you want to keep up to date with the women of war fighting is il

  12. says:

    Reblogged this on Bampots Utd.

  13. Kevin says:

    All day I’ve listened to high heid yins on the radio discussing this and I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard that we’ve ‘just got to trust the prime minister’

    Then you read about alistair Carmichael and his defence which basically separates his political and personal life and suggests it’s ok to tell lies in your political life.

    You’re the first person I’ve seen or heard connecting the two.

    When you also consider the consequences of the actions of the last prime minister and his interpretation of the truth then I’m sorry but when it comes to the state executing its own citizens I think we deserve a wee bit more than ‘trust the prime minister’

  14. The flaw in your argument is where you assert that they could have been arrested. How? And where?
    Unlike the Gibraltar case where British authority prevailed, there are no big polismen in the Islamic state who could lift them on our behalf. So arresting them was not an option.
    I have the same qualms as yourself about the state and execution squads but these people are unspeakable. Fuck them, just deserts!

  15. Philip Allan says:

    I find it odd that anyone makes a scene about the killing of two terrorists sworn to do as much damage to the State, when far less uproar was made about the State instructed murder of Dr David Kelly; Hilda Murrell; and Gareth Williams (to name but a few) all almost certainly murdered by MI5 on Government instructions. They were killed for ‘knowing too much’. And they were murdered in the UK – where there ARE ‘big polismen..who could have lifted them’!

  16. Jan Cowan says:

    In other words, long past time to leave the Union.

  17. […] all about ISIS and that the solution is to drop bombs on them till they go away. This is why summary executions are in the headlines today and, likely, will be in days to come even if the impending vote goes […]

  18. benmadigan says:

    Paul mentions the 3 IRAvolunteers who were illegally killed in Gibraltar according to the European Court. In here is a video of what happened at their funerals

    Working people in NI were subjected to summary killings. Have a look at what happened in these council estates

    and in an older inner city working class area of privately owned and rented two ups, two downs.

    To say nothing of the Diplock courts with only 1 judge and no jury which are still operative

    Most Catholic/Nationalist/Republican people in NI have no illusions about British justice

  19. gavin C Barrie says:

    I’ve been predicting for some time that ID chipping of newborn babies will come.

  20. Sooz says:

    @ Steve Asaneilan

    “But if he was doing this from a bedsit in London would he and his companions have had there car blown up by a missile fired from a drone on their way to the supermarket? Or would they have been arrested, charged and tried before (if found guilty) going to prison for a very long time?”

    That stood out for me as a point that needs repeating everywhere. But then, how do we know such summary executions aren’t already happening in the UK? Not death-by-drone but death-by-some-convenient-method that isn’t flaggable as a state sponsored execution.

    Then there’s the Strange Case of the Man Who Didn’t Die. There was an article back in July in the Telegraph that had suggested Reyaad Khan had been killed. Then it turned out he hadn’t, when Cameron said he had been killed in August in that summary execution. So maybe the Torygraph did get it wrong, but as the Guardian points out, they never did correct it.

    And yes, we do only have Cameron’s word that these two were planning attacks. I cannot trust Cameron implicitly, as we are invited to do “because he’s the PM” – his record of keeping his promises and telling the truth is not as one would wish. Convenient, isn’t it, that Assad is busy dealing with rebel factions, the originals of whom are funded by the west, while Israel gets their hands on the Golan Heights. Next we’ll have all-out attacks on Syria, ostensibly because we are under direct and imminent threat from terrorists but actually a) gain control of the region and secure it for Israel’s planned pipeline and b) for regime change, which is illegal under international law.

    And the sheep who believe anything they’re told celebrate the bombing and bay for more blood. Sickening.

  21. I believe nothing the British tell me anymore. In any case, I believe that IS is as much a creation and vehicle of the West and its dodgy allies. You only have to look at where in the region it HASN’T attacked to form suspicion.
    It’s notable that the freedom fighters of Rojava, who put up a highly effective fight against IS are now being bombed by Turkish forces with the blessing of Oberkommando NATO.

    • Justin Fayre says:

      Ever so slightly off topic but

      The James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies about a psychpathic Media Tycoon who tries to take over the world was released in 1997.
      The same year a psychopathic Prime Minister came to power.
      Isn’t life full of weird coincidences

  22. Yes, I often wonder whether popular culture contains ‘planted’ hints of actual policy.
    In any case, Children of Men , fertility plot aside is a pretty bob-on portrayal of where the UK is likely to be within 5-10 years, I reckon.

  23. Turkey has now sent troops to attack Kurds in Iraq, while the UK sends drones into Syria and armed forces personnel into Syria, albeit in US uniform (as if that makes it permissible!) on bombing raids. Why do I think of Cambodia?

  24. Dave Hansell says:

    Could we pause for breath for a moment please to consider the practicalities of the information put forward as the official position of the UK Government and associated sub parts on this issue?

    As far as I can ascertain from official statements and reporting of official statements the action taken is claimed to be in self defence because these two individuals posed an imminent threat to the UK.

    The first, practical, question to ask is what might the nature of that threat be?

    There appear to have been hints about possible terrorist attacks at events commemorating the anniversary of VJ day and other similar types of gatherings. Although with sparse details one is left with a sense that the nature of such an attack would be in the form of some form of bombing attack which might involve a suicide bomb and/or gunmen to increase the size of an atrocity and amplify the propaganda value.

    This would seem to be the most likely nature of any threat to be implied from the official information as it is unlikely that those involved in such a plot would be using NBC level munitions and tactics. In the first instance if they did have access to such weapons for that purpose it would seem reasonable to surmise the Government would use that knowledge to justify and swing opposition politicians and public opinion to support the obvious policy of choice for more bombing of all sides (ISIS, The Syrian Government, The Kurds, Hezbulah, Hamas etc) and would have made it public. Secondly, security would have been stepped up and made more visible.

    The second, practical, question is how would such an attack be carried out?

    The inference, from the official statements justifying the drone strikes, is that only these three individuals, the two British Citizens and the third individual reported to have been killed, were involved in the plot. If anyone else had been involved in such plots they would logically, because we are talking about practical realities here, have to be already living in the UK. Which then suggests that arrests and the resulting publicity would have already been made for maximum effect demonstrating the efficacy and efficiency of the Government and security services. The absence of any associated arrests and maximisation of publicity about foiling the plot (s) so far suggests this is not the case, ie there was no one else involved who was already present on the ground in the UK.

    In practical and logical terms this leaves three further identifiable possibilities – because any argument that the security services and the Government knew the existence of a plot or plots and the ringleaders located somewhere in the Middle East, requiring official sanction for their assassination, but had no knowledge of the terrorists located in the UK necessary to complete the plot (s) is not credible. Killing the ringleaders located thousands of miles away and leaving others necessary to complete the plot(s) free to roam at will within the UK is not removing the threat. The fact that no such event occurred at the events in question rules out this argument.

    The first possibility is that others necessary to carry out these plots and attacks had not entered the UK at the time of the drone strikes. This then still begs the question that if the UK Government and security services knew of the plot and it’s ringleaders did they know the identity of others who would by necessity have to be involved who would carry it/them out or not who had not yet entered the country? If they did not know who they are then the threat remains. If they did know who they are they would have had them arrested by other security forces as part of the the necessary self defence action and there would be little point in either case in drone strikes to kill the ringleaders located in the Middle East.

    Which logically leaves only two options, both of which in practical terms involve only the three individuals assassinated in these drone strikes. Firstly, because these three individuals are, on the balance of probabilities from the official information so far released, the only individuals involved in these plots – having logically rejected the only other practical options above – the only way they could have carried out the plots are remotely or travelling themselves into the UK to carry out the planned atrocities.

    The first option is, in all essentials, the same as Blair’s 45 minutes claim on WMD. It can be ruled out on the grounds that if terrorists within ISIS have such a capability then taking out three of them in a drone strike is not going to prevent the use of such a capability. The events like VJ day etc took place with no incidence of WMD delivered remotely from ISIS controlled territory thousands of miles away.

    Which leaves only one logical and practical realistic option. The plot the UK Government are talking about involved the two former British citizens and the third individual targeted in this drone strike who were going to travel from wherever they were in the Middle East into the UK to carry out these atrocities themselves. That would seem the reasonable conclusion from the available facts following on from the self defence justification.

    This being the case leaves one question to be answered. Given that the UK Government and security services knew of the existence of the plot and the identity of the only individuals involved why was the choice made to assassinate using a drone rather than arrest them as they tried to enter the country?

    Could it be that a conscious policy decision was made to cross a particular rubican and set a precedent with an eye on the future. Preparing the public psycologically for the idea of acquiescing and justifying the use of such technology and associated tactics for future mission creep in widening out the flexible definition of what constitutes a “terrorist?”

  25. Guga says:

    WGD that was an excellent summary of the situation. What it boils down to is that Camoron and his cabinet have now definitely joined the club of war criminals such as Bliar, Bush and Obama.

    Camoron had no right to attack Syria as he went against the wishes of parliament; nor did he have any right to target two individuals. Under international law he may have the right to defend the country against an imminent threat, but that is an imminent threat by a state, not by an individual.

    Given that Camoron is a proven liar, and now a proven war criminal, and that he has ignored the democratic wishes of parliament, he should, in the first instance, be impeached by parliament, then he should be charged with war crimes, tried at the Hague, and hanged, preferably in the company of the man he has admired so much, Bliar.

    I should point out that I have no sympathy for either Reyaad Khan or Ruhul Amin, but that is beside the point. No government has the right to carry out extra judicial assassinations of citizens of this country; nor does it have the right to carry out assassinations of other individuals who are citizens of countries we are not at war with. Moreover, if the war criminal Camoron gets away with this, what follows? Is he going to start having assassination squads, as in Brazil, roaming the streets and murdering anyone who he, Camoron, feels in an “imminent threat” to his government?

    The sooner Scotland frees itself from the shackles of the English, and avoids enrolling for membership of the North American Terrorist Organization, the better. Then Scotland with not have its reputation besmirched and dragged through the mud along with terrorist states.

  26. Dave Hansell says:

    A further observation involves the legal implications of this action vis a vis previous policy positions.

    In the Afghanistan and Iraq illegal invasions both the US and it’s non independent puppet state the UK came up with the concept, to get around the provisions of the Geneva Convention, of the “illegal combatant.” As a consequence many people, for various reasons, ended up in places like Guantanamo in a legal limbo land.

    In this particular case of the drone strikes by the UK Government one of the key arguments used to justify the action, rather than simply arrest the known perps. of the potential alleged plot, is that they are combatants in a war zone, not criminals subject to due legal process. Therefore, having chosen to be combatants the use of drones to target them is merely a method of conflict application, an extension of normal combat operations like a platoon sent in to engage a normal enemy combatant.

    As a result the action has by definition created a precedent which departs from the previous policy of treating anyone offering armed resistance to the exceptionalists as “illegal combatants” by definition and afforded those occupying the same role and position of the two former UK citizens and the third target of legal combatants subject to the provisions of the Geneva Convention.

  27. craig murray isn’t always right but……………………….

  28. Me thinks AWE YOU,S readers should get doon tae your local Library & request,hee hee hee, & no forgetting iScot mag dey the double ha ha.

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