Thursday, 25 November 2010

let the punishment fit the crime!

is this man a minicab driver?
said Gilbert and Sullivan all those decades ago.  But in a slightly different context, the Guardian has this, so it must be true.  They cite London-based men who go regularly to fight with the Taleban in Afghanistan against the elected government (the Guardian forgets to tell us that the fighting is the forces of the elected government of Afghanistan and their allies against the Taleban, who are an insurgent force) and who are engaged the rest of the year in raising funds for the Taleban.  The article quotes a man who describes himself as a minicab driver who earns "good money" in east London.  Now I knew at least eight years ago that there were prayers and fund-raising for the Taleban at the Alexandra Road mosque in Reading, I don't know if anyone who lives in Reading, British citizen or no, has ever gone to fight for the Taleban.  If, as might happen, one of these men is captured alive in Afghanistan, and turns out to be a British citizen, what should happen to him?  I really would like to know what readers think.  Harry's Place on the same subject titles the post "Traitors", which of course is technically accurate and also lets you know what the author of that post thinks - but what do you think?

6 comments:

Augustus Carp said...

For academic lawyers, this is a fascinating problem. Fortunately, I am not one, but the best ever essay on the subject was written by Lord Justice Russell of Liverpool in his book “Though The Heavens Fall”, which was about the 1945 War Crimes Tribunals. In particular, he examined the case of William Joyce, aka “Lord Haw-Haw”.

The technical (common law) definition of a traitor is “A subject who adheres to the Queen’s enemies at a time of war.” So, the question is, what is going on in Afghanistan? Are we (the British and other subjects of the Queen) at war with anyone there? George Bush said we were, but he was soon contradicted (if only because of the damage that would have ensued in the insurance markets, where a state of war renders many contracts voidable.) What nationality are the “taxi drivers”? Were they living under HM the Queen’s protection when the “war” broke out, and if so did they then join the other side (“adhere to her enemies”) or just go home to support their own side?

Lord Haw-Haw was born in New York of Irish parents; even though he had lived in the UK for many years before the war broke out, he claimed that he could not be tried for Treason (a capital offence) because he was not British. Might not some of the taxi drivers do the same? Lord Russell’s essay concludes … “Joyce was undoubtedly a traitor, but the question is, did he commit Treason?”

theflashingblade said...

If caught they must face the courts. Interestingly though they will not face a death sentence in the UK, what would they do with a British soldier they captured? How many of them have killed soldiers from NATO as thats what they're there for. have they killed British soldiers? The Guardian is usually namby-pamby in its writing of this and questioning of these traitors. If a newspaper can find out about these people, and the story is true, then surely the immigration people can and stop them coming back into the UK?

Finally the Guardian should report them to the London licensing people as they are not fit and proper people to be driving mini-cabs.(If they are licensed drivers at all rather than the unlicensed scum)

Jane Griffiths said...

well, if they are British citizens then they cannot be stopped from coming back into the UK but should face trial there for treason. Although their defence would then argue that there was no state of war and thus no treason, and that they were effectively mercenaries. But spot on about licensing - the Guardian is careless about letting people who have spoken to it be identified, so those who know should be shopping this man and others to the licensing authority.

Anonymous said...

Joyce was entitled to citizenship of the [then]Irish FreeState which would have meant thathe was no traitor to Britain.However,my understanding is that Joyce didnot consider himself Irish.As a young man he tried to join the auxilary police force[Black &Tans]but was rejected as he had not served in the trenches;during the thirties he was a virulent member of the British Union of Fascists before decamping to his spiritual homeland Nazi Germany.Francis Stuart who also broadcast from wartime germany,but to neutral Ireland,was exempt from prosecution on grounds of his citizenship of a nuetral country i.e.Eire.On his return to Erin he was greatly distressed to find himself blacklisted.[See Stuart Blacklist Section H.]P.G. Woodhouse also got himself into a spot of bother over certain broadcasts he made while a P.O.W.Then theres Ezra Pound...

Anonymous said...

There is also the interesting case (although much more clear cut) of John Amery (son of the Tory MP Leo Amery) who committed treason and was hanged at the end of WW2.

I can't remember the details, but I seem to recall that one of the events used to prove Joyce's guilt was that he travelled to Germany on a British passport. If our theoretical taxi driver went to Afghanistan on a British passport, and shot at a British squaddie, I would regard that as treasonable - even if he had dual nationality.

Anonymous said...

"Now I knew at least eight years ago that there were prayers and fund-raising for the Taleban at the Alexandra Road mosque in Reading..."

News which will come as a shock to absolutely no one outside Guardian towers and RLP.