The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has revealed that the UK government has revoked citizenship for 16 individuals, two of whom have then been killed by US drone strikes. Effectively, the UK is washing its hands of these ex-Brits and allowing the US to do its dirty work. As the Bureau reports, the move “allows those stripped of their citizenship to be killed or ‘rendered’ without any onus on the British government to intervene.”
Perhaps the UK is learning from the precedent set by the US, whose killing of its own citizens has provoked a degree of righteous indignation among its population. To be sure, this indignation is incredibly selective, as detailed in my post here: the care for extrajudicial killings of individuals without due process by the US government is extended only to (brown) people with American citizenship. A Hill survey indicated an 11% discrepancy (which again, was discussed here) between people who thought the US gov’t could kill foreign nationals it considered a threat, and people who thought the US gov’t could kill American citizens. That means that of the Americans who think their government has any right to kill people even beyond the borders of the US’s current armed conflicts – meaning in violation of international law – about a fifth of them are okay with dead brown people but not dead American brown people.
The killings of Anwar Al-Aulaqi, his son Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi, and Samir Khan have made it onto mainstream news, and even into the confirmation hearing for CIA director nominee John Brennan (the senior Al-Aulaqi was quickly condemned and convicted without any evidence by Brennan and Sen. Dianne Feinstein). Brennan has been grilled over the issue of whether or not the US gov’t can arbitrarily kill US citizens without due process, but as far as I am aware only Rand Paul has ventured to ask why they can kill anyone without due process (albeit, with the caveat that they are on US soil at the time of their targeting). By revoking the citizenship of future drone targets (an act that is undoubtedly coordinated with the US), the UK government has effectively circumvented the entire discussion of “can the British government kill British citizens without trial,” leaving it up to a population who is already acclimated to the state-led murder and terrorizing of Muslims to challenge this program. Furthermore, by getting the US to do the actual killing, the British government can completely wash its hands of the whole mess as they are no longer responsible for the livelihoods for non-Britts. With a growing army of drones in the US military and CIA, maybe this is the new role the US can take on in the coming future: third party drone assassin that takes all the heat for killing people from other countries.