Andy Goff’s article about government hypocrisy and inter-departmental confusion over killing people is reproduced with permission from the Birmingham Press.
.FOREIGN OFFICE AT ODDS WITH THE MOD
According to the British Foreign Office: “The UK remains opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances.”
That does say all “All circumstances”.
This certainly applies in the case of a sentence like that handed down by a court in Indonesia on drug smuggling Lindsay Sandiford, a 56-year-old grandmother.
However, another section of the UK Government – the Ministry of Defence – seems to be perfectly comfortable with handing out death sentences in a quite random way by using drone attacks on a people we just don’t like.
Of course, we are told by righteous politicians that British Forces are acting abroad to keep us safe – a lie patently untrue but one propagated to justify the loss of life of British servicemen and woman. Now, however, we have the technology to deliver death by remote control from thousands of miles away and may never need to risk the life of a ‘squaddie’ again.
It’s little wonder the government is confident enough to cut the British Army down to 82,000. As technology improves there will be more cuts in the future. The real World of Warcraft is upon us; played out in video game fashion.
The self-serving former Labour leader and ex-Prime Minister, Tony Blair, pops up once more and joins in the clamour saying in The Sun: “We cannot afford to allow large areas of our world, no matter how remote or inhospitable they might seem, to fall under the control of those determined to export their brand of violence and hatred. … I wish I could say it was straightforward, or that there will be no more tragedies. … But David Cameron is right to warn that this is a battle for our values and way of life which will take years, even decades. … It is also a battle we cannot shirk.”
It is, of course, OK for us to export our brand of violence. By which actions we are guaranteeing that we will need to escalate and maintain our commitment to this war industry indefinitely.
But in delivering death from afar we are radicalising an ever increasing number of real people who resent the West’s intrusion into their way of life.
Raz Mohammadan, an Afghan Peace Volunteer, said in a recent interview: “My message to the ordinary people of the world is to listen, and become aware of drone warfare because what international governments say about using drones to kill terrorists is not true. Friends who come here can see that innocent people and women are killed. We should listen to the voices of Afghans and promote and defend humanity and humane relations. My message to the governments of the world is:
Why have you forgotten humanity and the love of humanity? You are killing human beings for your own monetary benefit. I demand that this (drone warfare) be stopped, especially the spending of so much money on drones in Afghanistan and the killing of so many innocent people. Isn’t it appropriate for you to help the people in alternative ways? We are human beings and are always your friends, thank you.”
‘Alternative ways’, however, are not good for UK business or jobs.
As David Cameron knew when he called for UK arms sales to Indonesia, there’s no business like the arms business.
I may be wrong, but my guess is that Lindsay Sandiford won’t suffer the death penalty at the hands of those pesky Indonesians trying to manage their drug problems. A bit of pressure here and there will result in a prison sentence.
For those we attack with remote drones that option is not available, despite the claims that “The UK remains opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances.” Unless, of course, it’s extra-judicial.