The Ongoing Decline Of British Power

Authored by Patrick Cockburn via Counterpunch.org,

The British government purports to be re-establishing the UK as an independent nation state by leaving the EU, but British power and ability to decide its own policies are continuing to ebb in the real world.

The latest evidence of this is the decision by the Home Secretary Sajid Javid to give precedence to the US in putting on trial two alleged ISIS members from London, who belonged to the notorious “Beatles” group in Syria that specialised in torturing and beheading their captives.

The humiliating admission by a country that it is incapable of dealing effectively and legally with its worst criminals is normally made by states like Colombia and Mexico, which extradite drug lords to the US. Their governments are implicitly confessing that they are too feeble and corrupt to punish their most powerful lawbreakers.

The British authorities are encouraging the Syrian Kurds holding El Shafee Elsheik and Alexanda Kotey to extradite them to the US rather than Britain. The declared motive for this is that there is a better chance of a speedy trial and exemplary sentence before a US court than in a British one, though the record in the US since 9/11 makes this a dubious argument.

What does come across is that Britain is in a messy situation regarding Isis prisoners and the return of jihadis to UK, with which it is unable to cope. The decision is now being reviewed by a judge in the UK.

As with Mexico and Colombia, the overall impression left by Javid’s actions is one of weakness and incapacity.

First, he made the baffling and unexplained decision to drop the usual British condition that the UK would provide evidence and intelligence for a trial only if the death penalty was ruled out. Moreover, he not only abandoned the longheld British principle of opposing state executions but did so in secret, suggesting the government knew all too well the significance of its change of policy.

The simplest explanation for not seeking a “death penalty assurance” from the US is that Theresa May, Javid and Boris Johnson, foreign secretary when the decision was made, saw the “Beatles” as a political hot potato.

They would be squeezed between those who demand that Elsheik and Kotey be punished with extreme rigour, and those who believe that the worst way to respond to Isis is to be lured into some form of lynch law. It is possible that the Trump administration unofficially insisted that Britain step back from its open opposition to the death penalty.

An alternative solution would be to hand over the two accused men to the International Criminal Court in the Hague – the only real objection to this being that the US refuses to recognise the court and the British priority in the age of Brexit is, above all else, to keep onside with Washington.

Isis benefits from the imbroglio over these Beatles because its atrocities have always aimed at instilling fear, but at the same time provoking an over-reaction by those it targets. This strategy worked well for al-Qaeda after 9/11 when US judicial credibility was damaged beyond repair in the eyes of the world by rendition, waterboarding, imprisonment without trial at Guantanamo and ritualised mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

At every stage in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, successive British governments have made unforced errors. They never seem to grasp the nature of these civil wars and how difficult it is to give a fair trial to anybody caught up in them because anybody detained on the vaguest suspicion may be sent to prison, tortured into a confession and summarily executed.

I was in Taji, a Sunni Arab area north of Baghdad in June this year, a place which used to be an Isis stronghold. A farmer told me that several of his neighbours have not made the hour-long journey to Baghdad for 10 years because they are frightened of being detained at government checkpoints, imprisoned and forced into false confessions.

The same fears are pervasive in Syrian government areas. Several years ago, I was talking to Sunni Arab refugees living in a school in the partly ruined city of Homs, where fighting was particularly intense. I said that it must be dangerous for any man of military age to move on the roads.

This was greeted with bitter laughter from the older men who said they were in just as much danger as their younger relatives.

Often the only way to get out of prison is not proof of innocence, but a bribe to the right officials. This is expensive and does not always work because the bribe-takers do not necessarily deliver on their promises. Iraqis and Syrians commonly believe that those most likely to buy their way out of prison are Isis militants who can come up with large sums of money and are too dangerous to be short-changed by officials they have bribed.

After the capture of Mosul, the de facto Isis capital in Iraq, in 2017, local people told me they were aghast at seeing former Isis officials back on their streets after a short detention. They claimed that this was because of the wholesale bribery of Baghdad government security forces.

Iraqi soldiers in the front line were equally cynical and concluded that there was no point sending live prisoners back to Baghdad so they executed them on the spot.

The Beatles are more famous because they killed and mistreated Westerners, but otherwise they were no different from other cruel and murderous Isis gangs. It is claimed that one reason they could not be tried in Britain is that information from the intelligence agencies could not be used without compromising sources. This might be true but whenever secret intelligence from government agencies has been revealed by public inquiries over the past 15 years, it has turned out to be far shakier and less compelling than originally claimed.

Knowing who really was in Isis and what they did there is impossible in countries where torture is pervasive and false confessions the norm. The time to have dealt with British jihadis and the tens of thousands of other fanatical foreign fighters was several years ago when they were freely crossing the Turkish border into Syria.

But the British government and its allies showed little concern because the priority then was forcing regime change in Damascus, an aim shared by the jihadis.

Sajid Javid pretends that the principle of government opposition to the death penalty will only be set aside in this single exceptional case, though principles that can be discarded so easily at convenient moments automatically cease to be principles.

The controversy over the legal fate of the “Beatles” underlines once again the truth of Cicero’s saying that “the laws are silent in times of war”.

Comments

nmewn Last of the Mi… Sat, 08/04/2018 - 07:03 Permalink

BritBob is going to faint over this article...lol.

And speaking of whiny little bitches, I have noticed a moar subdued manner & tone in CNN's Jim Acosta lately, I think his estrogen level may be to low or his uterus is acting up again, maybe this will help...

“The press is a gang of cruel faggots. Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits—a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.” - Hunter S Thompson

....there ya go Jim!

From me to you ;-)

In reply to by Last of the Mi…

Adolfsteinbergovitch nmewn Sat, 08/04/2018 - 07:37 Permalink

Poor Brits don't want to judge them in UK because this would trigger most of their rapefugees sleeper cells. 

They have been properly chess mated, by no other than themselves. They shouldn't have jailed and murdered Rudolph Hess who came to them as an emissary to negotiate peace during ww2...

I won't cry for them. Neither will I weep for the mourning Britbob moron.

In reply to by nmewn

nmewn Adolfsteinbergovitch Sat, 08/04/2018 - 07:39 Permalink

"O"

O wut?

/////

Ya ever notice how these past colonial empires never want to discuss the Berlin Conference of 1884-85 where the euro-peons met to divide up Africa yet to this very day luuuv to interject their opinions on the American WBTS or raaaycism in general?

The cognitive dissonance of the present day common euro-peon is staggering. 

In reply to by Adolfsteinbergovitch

Cloud9.5 nmewn Sat, 08/04/2018 - 07:59 Permalink

The sins of the father will be visited upon the third and fourth generations.  Our chickens are just starting to come home to roost.  Western Europe is going to have its Beirut moment.  Then we will have ours.

In reply to by nmewn

MoreSun Cloud9.5 Sat, 08/04/2018 - 10:50 Permalink

The true downfall of England began when Cromwell let the jews back in to their country-Fact!

"A high-IQ white nationalism is a serious threat to Jewish globalism.

Jews know that the white race is their only serious competition that has the potential to threaten their Talmudic rule. They seek the marginalization of the White race for this reason.

Ultimately, Christianity and IQ are the two main reasons for Jewish hatred for whites. Cheap labor at home is third. In a divided land the most cohesive group will rule.

Jews have a high level of racial solidarity. This solidarity seems to be both the necessary and sufficient cause of social dominance. By reducing the White population to a minority the Jews will be able to control and/or eliminate all collective forces not aligned with their own.

A typical example of what characterizes the Jewish push for open immigration can be seen in the following 1948 quote by David Petegorsky, former Director of the American Jewish Congress: “Jewish survival can only take place within the framework of a progressive and expanding democratic society, which through its institutions and public policies gives expression to the concept of cultural pluralism.”

Few know Hitler stated in Mein Kampf:

"It was and it is Jews who bring the Negroes into the Rhineland, always with the same secret thought and clear aim of ruining the hated white race by the necessarily resulting bastardization, throwing it down from its cultural and political height, and himself rising to be its master" (Hitler, 1, 11).

This is a long-standing jewish strategy. For a small group to dominate a larger one, bringing in a third party, complete with grievances and created anger, is the easiest means to have a reserve army to use against their enemy."

In reply to by Cloud9.5

lock-stick MoreSun Sat, 08/04/2018 - 10:56 Permalink

ONE whackjob obsessed SPAMMER -- with numerous log-ons!!!

•• kr86096  ("I suck dick on the Internet!!!)

•• Free This  (same WHACK JOB -- used to be "Mr Hankey" -- also banned)

•• sanctificado  (DON'T CLICK THE LINKS!!! --  Biblicism SPAMMER -- banned as powow/Wadolt/ravolla/lloll/pier/etc.)

•• More Sun (it's the JOOS!! -- whack job extraordinaire)

•• Annanuki  (another imaginary friend)

•• Jumanji1959 (another imaginary friend)

•• PrivetHedge (another imaginary friend)

•• Adolfsteinbergovich  (another imaginary friend)

•• Cryptopithicus Homme  (another "imaginary friend")

 

spamming ZH for seven years --- dozens and dozens of banned log-ons

 

ONE DEEPLY DISTURBED INDIVIDUAL, alone in his leaky moldy single wide, playing with little action figures and his own microdick. 

 

Write to the Tylers ::  abuse@zerohedge.com

In reply to by MoreSun

EddieLomax Adolfsteinbergovitch Sat, 08/04/2018 - 08:15 Permalink

We screwed up in WW1 by being frightened of Germany, our normal ally, becoming a world power.  That war brought western civilisation to its knees.

We did plan to not get involved between fascism and Communism fighting each other, but then involved fighting a losing cause (Poland) and ended up siding with the USSR that had already murdered 17 million of its own citizens.

Now our politicians allowed mass immigration and generations of Britons living comfortably let them.  They treated Tommy in prison with deliberate cruelty, the same elites really need to be strung up from lamp posts, yet there are millions of Muslims in the UK and they fear their reaction to jailing one of them.

Really they should fear the majority, because when the silent majority speak it is with the voice of the mob.  The UK is going to be a much poorer place when that happens though, as its likely economic factors will kick everything off.

In reply to by Adolfsteinbergovitch

seryanhoj EddieLomax Sat, 08/04/2018 - 09:07 Permalink

There is an insanity in man which is still the same now. In WW1, say 17 million lost their lives and till this day students scratch their heads trying to write a decent essay on why it took place.

In WW2 we perfected the arts of propaganda ,demonization and false flag attacks.  They can now launch a war any time they want.

Herman Göring 18 Apr 1946
"Of course the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece?
 Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany.
 That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
 

In reply to by EddieLomax

OverTheHedge Voice of insanity Sat, 08/04/2018 - 07:56 Permalink

The inference that the foreign secretary chose not to prosecute because of political hot potato-ness is missing the point that the US probably wants a show-trial, to confirm their anti-isis credentials, now that the war is lost. Laddie has been told that the US will take the prisoners, so sort it out and get them in the post, good lad. Well done, here's a biscuit.

Also of interest in another area, the BBC is making a thing about Assange today, and the fact that the US really wants to extradite him for a trial - the word "Treason" was dropped in passing, with a note that it carries the death penalty. I'm not sure if a foreigner can commit treason - espionage, sabotage, acts of war, yes....but treason? Anyway, could this ISIS trial be the precedent that will be used to allow Assange to be extradited and executed? Do they really want wikileaks on death row for ten years, .with all the associated Twitter posts?

 

In reply to by Voice of insanity

opport.knocks OverTheHedge Sat, 08/04/2018 - 09:06 Permalink

Or perhaps more simply, they are their (or Academi) boys and need to get new identities for their next assignment.

You are correct, Assange must be a US Citizen for treason. Assande has had 6 years of house arrest, which is more than sufficient penalty. If Chelsea Manning gets to go free, there is no reason to punish Assange further. Unless they know he has more damaging unreleased information, which I expect is the case.

In reply to by OverTheHedge