Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Easily fixed

From Sky News:

Foreign Secretary William Hague has said a number of Britons are fighting with ISIS, the extremist group that has taken over large parts of Iraq.

Mr Hague told the Commons about 400 UK-linked nationals were involved in the conflict in neighbouring Syria and some of them were "inevitably" fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Mr Hague said: "We estimate the number of UK-linked individuals fighting in Syria to include approximately 400 British nationals and other UK linked individuals who could present a particular risk should they return to the UK, and some of these inevitably are fighting with ISIL (ISIS)."


Not a big problem is it? If people with British passports go to join a terrorist group, just cancel their passports and don't let them back into the UK.

It can't be that difficult to work out who's become a terrorist, there's a checklist i.e. male; Muslim; travelling to Middle East; alone or with other males; cannot give plausible reason why they are going and back this up with some evidence; away for longer than a week etc.

Anybody who ticks enough of those boxes has his passport cancelled and is refused re-entry to the UK. There'll be a few false positives, but that's life.

20 comments:

Sobers said...

If it were that easy, the UK govt wouldn't have spent as long as it did trying to get rid of old Hooky to the US and the other one to Jordan. They've all got 'rights' you know. Mostly the right to live here on our money, all the while trying to kill us all it seems.

Bayard said...

"Foreign Secretary William Hague has said a number of Britons are fighting with ISIS,"

No he hasn't, see below.

"about 400 UK-linked nationals"

WTF is a "UK-linked national"?

"who could present a particular risk should they return to the UK"

or not if they were good 'ol Christian mercenaries, which they could be.

"and some of these inevitably are fighting with ISIL (ISIS)."

"Inevitably", eh? What it means is that he hasn't a clue whether they are or not. He hasn't even got any evidence that these "UK-linked nationals" are Muslims, or presumably he would have said so.

Complete bollocks, the whole thing. Must have been a slow news day.

L fairfax said...

Sounds a good idea. I wish you were still in UKIP we need people like you.

Mark Wadsworth said...

S, it is easy, you just do it and see how the electorate responds.

B, nope. Who cares if its 4, 40, 400 or 4,000? This is a question of principle.

LF, blindingly obvious idea and not party political. Feel free to pass it on to UKIP policy team, i.e. Nigel.

The Stigler said...

Win-win as far as I'm concerned.

A bunch of fanatics go off to fight another bunch of fanatics. Result: less fanatics, and the survivors have to stay in the middle-eastern dump, less likely to blow up buses here.

Kj said...

B: predictable view on your part, but you do raise good point, how to separate those that engage in foreign conflicts out of either idiot ideological/religious twattery, or just for hire, which is not that uncommon either.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, Kj, either being a paid mercenary elsewhere is a crime in the UK or it isn't, and I can't be bothered looking it up. Either way, it should be and they can whistle for their passports as well.

OTOH, if a friendly foreign power employs UK citizens with the approval of the UK government, whether that's as a doctor, bus driver or tank driver, all stamped and signed, well that is fine and reasonable.

Sobers said...

"it is easy, you just do it and see how the electorate responds. "

It has nothing to do with the electorate and you know it. The electorate wouldn't care if they were hung drawn and quartered. Its the law and the judges that get to decide these things. And they currently have all the power to prevent what you want to happen from happening.

Mark Wadsworth said...

S, I did constitutional law on my law degree. On a day to day basis, pol's can do what they like, if judges kick up a stink, then pol's can change the law which judges then have to enforce.

DBC Reed said...

Yes but in the case of the Spanish Civil War UK people went to defend the elected government against a fascist insurgency which started in N.Africa. Like-minded fascists soon attacked the whole of Europe.Don't people have the right to get themselves killed in causes they believe in?

Mark Wadsworth said...

DBC, read what I said:

"if a friendly foreign power employs UK citizens with the approval of the UK government, whether that's as a doctor, bus driver or tank driver, all stamped and signed, well that is fine and reasonable."

Now apply that to the Spanish civil war volunteers.

I don't know whether the UK government in the 1930s actually approved or not, but it was certainly not at war with Spain and the Spanish republican army had no designs on wreaking havoc on or in the UK. So had I been the government at the time I would have given them their stamp in their passport allowing them to return.

DBC Reed said...

I am not sure the Spanish government "employed" the International Brigade or Orwell's Trotskyite outfit the POUM etc. We are not actually "at war" with ISIS are we? Would we revoke the passports of Jewish people who want to defend Israel?.You either have a conscientious reason for fighting for somebody (or a conscientious objection for not fighting anybody) or you don't.You cannot distinguish between legitimate and allowable allegiances and those deemed the illegal.
Should IRA members have lost their UK passports?

Mark Wadsworth said...

DBC, look, it is not difficult.

Acceptable:
Republicans in Spanish Civil War
Israel

Not acceptable:
ISIS
IRA.

Im not going to go through every scenario in world history, it's common sense.

As a rough guideline, ask yourself "Would the government have an embargo on selling weapons to…" if the answer is "Yes" then going to fight for these people is also a crime and reason enough to refuse somebody re-entry to this country.

Bayard said...

"B, nope. Who cares if its 4, 40, 400 or 4,000? This is a question of principle"

You're missing the point here.
Despite the article kicking off with, "Foreign Secretary William Hague has said a number of Britons are fighting with ISIS," he hasn't actually said that. What he has said is that a number of "UK-linked nationals" are "involved in the conflict" in Syria. All the rest is pure supposition.
They aren't necessarily Britons, they aren't necessarily in Iraq, they aren't necessarily Muslims and they aren't necessarily fighting. Which means he could just as well be talking about Christians working for the Red Cross. Obviously it's likely that some of them could be British Jihadis who were fighting for the Syrian insurgents and have now gone to Iraq, but, if that's the case, WTF doesn't he say so? What I am objecting to is nothing to do with religion and everything to do with a politician fabricating a story out of thin air.

However, I have to agree with DBCR here. The British Muslims who go and fight in foreign countries are really no different to the Britons who went and fought in Spain, or the Irish who fought for Britain in WWII. They only become terrorists if they use terror tactics or join terrorist organisations. In Syria, most of the terrorism seems to be being perpetrated by the government, not the rebels. They are not de facto terrorists simply because they are young men who are taking the opportunity to go and fight in a war. None of the things on your "checklist" makes the traveller a terrorist, it just makes them a would-be soldier. There is only one thing on that needs to be on the list and that is "intends to join a terrorist group", which is something a little harder to determine.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B: The British Muslims who go and fight in foreign countries are really no different to the Britons who went and fought in Spain, or the Irish who fought for Britain in WWII.

There is a massive difference, do I really have to explain it again?

Kj said...

I hope we can agree that at least the difference is that the foreign soldiers in the spanish civil war were largely fighting fascists, and ISIS are the fascists.

DBC Reed said...

MW This embargo criterion for being an acceptable volunteer is impracticable in the circumstances. There is no arms embargo on the Iraqi government and so Brits travelling to fight there could say they were joining a Shia militia which supports the (Shia) government, which is not acceptable to, and has alienated, the Sunnis and Kurds. You would have a job denying somebody with Kurdish loyalties from fighting for Kurdish independence (which was envisaged in the treaties which set up the present borders in the area. What about Ukrainians living in UK who want to support pro Russian separation from the nasty quasi Fascist new state established with God knows how much American money and interference?
Is ISIS, which is not that big, likely to start aggressive activities in the UK when its principal mission is sectarian war in Iraq/ Syria and it does n't have the capacity to take on a western power which is capable of air striking them to a standstill.
Bayard is right: this is "a politician fabricating as story out of thin air".

Mark Wadsworth said...

DBC, it's easy. Is there an arms embargo in place, would the UK knowingly sell them weapons?

So...

Unacceptable

Iraq (although this might change in the next few weeks)
Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine

Acceptable

Kurdistan (or will be in a few weeks time when they break away from iraq and are officially recognised as a separate country, obviously we will have to be polite to Turkey about it).

DBC Reed said...

So Russian speaking separatists in the Ukraine are unacceptable but Kurdish separatists are OK?
(The Kurds have a great deal of autonomy in Iraq already.)
Why is anybody going to fight in Iraq unacceptable when there is no arms embargo on their government which volunteer Shias might want to support? Brit passports do not record religious beliefs,let alone Catholic/Protestant; Shia /Sunni sectarian prejudices
so how is this all going to work?
You can't say at Border control:" Shia? Off you go lad; Sunni? Step this way".
Would seem like a situation for a bit of that old laissez faire, people are always going on about on here. It's "laissez faire; laissez passer" in full isn't it?

Bayard said...

"There is a massive difference, do I really have to explain it again?"

Please do, without the assumption that British Muslims going to fight abroad are de facto going to join a terrorist organisation.

Remember that no-one has put forward a shred of evidence that anyone has gone to join ISIS, only that some people, not necessarily Britons, have gone to fight a fascist government in Syria, which employs terrorist tactics against its opponents.