In January, Theresa May, the British Home Secretary, secured cross-party support for an alarming last-minute addition to the current Immigration Bill, allowing her to strip foreign-born British citizens of their citizenship, even if it leaves them stateless.
The timing appeared profoundly cynical. May already has the power to strip dual nationals of their citizenship, as a result of legislation passed in 2002 “enabling the Home Secretary to remove the citizenship of any dual nationals who [have] done something ‘seriously prejudicial’ to the UK,” as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism described it in February 2013, but “the power had rarely been used before the current government.”
In December, the Bureau, which has undertaken admirable investigation into the Tory-led mission to strip people of their citizenship, further clarified the situation, pointing out that the existing powers are part of the British Nationality Act, and allow the Home Secretary to “terminate the British citizenship of dual-nationality individuals if she believes their presence in the UK is ‘not conducive to the public good’, or if they have obtained their citizenship through fraud.” The Bureau added, “Deprivation of citizenship orders can be made with no judicial approval in advance, and take immediate effect — the only route for people to argue their case is through legal appeals. In all but two known cases, the orders have been issued while the individual is overseas, leaving them stranded abroad during legal appeals that can take years” — and also, of course, raising serious questions about who is supposedly responsible for them when their British citizenship is removed.
The Bureau has established that 41 individuals have been stripped of their British nationality since 2002, and that 37 of these cases have taken place under Theresa May, since the Tory-led coalition government was formed in May 2010, with 27 of these cases being on the grounds that their presence in the UK is “not conducive to the public good.” In December, the Bureau confirmed that, in 2013, Theresa May “removed the citizenship of 20 individuals — more than in every other year of the Coalition government put together.” As the Bureau suggested in February 2013, it appears that, in two cases, the stripping of UK citizenship led to the men in question subsequently being killed by US drone attacks.
The two men, Bilal al-Berjawi, a British-Lebanese citizen who grew up in London, and Mohamed Sakr, a British-Egyptian citizen who was born in the UK, travelled to Somalia in 2009, where they allegedly became involved with the militant group al-Shabaab. Theresa May stripped both men of their British nationalities in 2010, and, as the Bureau described it:
In June 2011 Mr. Berjawi was wounded in the first known US drone strike in Somalia and [in 2012] was killed by a drone strike – within hours of calling his wife in London to congratulate her on the birth of their first son. His family have claimed that US forces were able to pinpoint his location by monitoring the call he made to his wife in the UK. Mr. Sakr, too, was killed in a US airstrike in February 2012 … Mr. Sakr’s former UK solicitor said there appeared to be a link between the Home Secretary removing citizenships and subsequent US actions. “It appears that the process of deprivation of citizenship made it easier for the US to then designate Mr. Sakr as an enemy combatant, to whom the UK owes no responsibility whatsoever,” Saghir Hussain said.
Ian Macdonald QC, the president of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, who has long opposed the disturbing trend towards secrecy and unaccountability in Britain’s post-9/11 anti-terror laws, added that depriving people of their citizenship “means that the British government can completely wash their hands if the security services give information to the Americans who use their drones to track someone and kill them.” He also described the citizenship orders as “sinister,” and said of the government, “They’re using executive powers and I think they’re using them quite wrongly. It’s not open government; it’s closed, and it needs to be exposed.”
Another case exposed by the Bureau involves a man stranded in Pakistan, who says he is under threat from the Taliban and unable to find work to support his wife and three children His story was published on March 17, entitled, “‘My British citizenship was everything to me. Now I am nobody’ — A former British citizen speaks out.”
In another case, as Helena Kennedy QC noted in an article for the Bureau on March 20, another dual nationality UK citizen, Mahdi Hashi, “was picked up by Djibouti’s secret police, whom he told he was British. After calls, the agents told him the British authorities said he was no longer a British citizen. He had no other passport and was therefore rendered stateless. This meant he had no access to consular advice as to his rights; no representations were made that he should be brought before a court. As a result he was interrogated at length with no legal protection, handed over to American agents, further interrogated and then hooded and flown to the US without any extradition proceedings.” For more on Mahdi Hashi’s case, see this article in the Nation by Aviva Stahl, and you can listen to Aviva Stahl, in a recent radio interview with Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola here.
In December, a former senior Foreign Office official told the Bureau that “the steep rise in cases is at least partly due to the large number of British nationals travelling to Syria to participate in the civil war there,” as the Bureau described it. The former official said, “This [deprivation of citizenship] is happening. There are somewhere between 40 and 240 Brits in Syria and we are probably not quick as we should be to strip their citizenship.” The former official also “described the practice of revoking the citizenship of British nationals fighting in Syria as ‘an open secret’ in Foreign Office circles.”
In January, May presented her addition to the bill as, in the Guardian‘s words, “a last-ditch bid to reduce a damaging Tory rebellion in the Commons” after the Tory MP Dominic Raab had tabled an amendment seeking to change the law so that, as the BBC put it, “foreign criminals can no longer use Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights — a right to a family life — to escape deportation.”
May correctly told MPs that Raab’s amendment was “incompatible” with the European Convention on Human Rights, but the timing of the decision to add the citizen-stripping clause — Clause 60 — to the bill instead, which, disturbingly, passed by 297 votes to 34, was deeply suspicious. As the Bureau of Investigative Journalism noted earlier this month, May had announced her plans via the Times on November 12, 2013, in response to a ruling by the UK Supreme Court that “the Home Office had illegally revoked the UK citizenship of an Iraqi-born man, Hilal al-Jedda, because he held no other nationality.” (May subsequently issued another stripping al-Jedda’s citizenship for a second time).
The Bureau also noted on December 23 that May had already “held at least one confidential meeting with Coalition MPs to discuss the plans, including inserting an amendment into the Immigration Bill allowing her to remove the nationality of those who have acquired British citizenship, even if it will make them stateless, if they have done something ‘seriously prejudicial to the vital interests’ of the UK.”
In response to Theresa May’s dreadful innovations, Helena Kennedy QC wrote an article for the Bureau, in which she condemned the government for its disdain for the law following the Supreme Court’s Hilal al-Jedda ruling. She wrote, “The Government does not take well to judgments saying it has done something contrary to law,” and also pointed out:
The proposal to allow the Home Secretary to deprive a naturalised citizen of his or her citizenship not only risks damaging the UK’s international relations but also risks breaching a whole swathe of international obligations. The reason the government gives is that they want to prevent terrorism, but deprivation of citizenship is not a viable alternative to the responsible prosecution of alleged criminal conduct.
Citizenship is not a privilege; it is a protected legal status. The US, Germany and many other states would not dream of removing citizenship under any circumstances. The answer to conduct we deem criminal is to prosecute it.
Deprivation with all its consequences in the modern world is equivalent to a penal sanction of the most serious kind – but imposed without a criminal trial, without conviction, without close and open examination of the evidence and without the opportunity to defend yourself. All of this is contrary to due process — a fundamental human right.
Kennedy’s comment were in marked contrast to the position taken by the Home Office in December, when approached by the Bureau. On that occasion, the Home Office declined to comment on the reasons for the rise in deprivation of citizenship orders but said, “Citizenship is a privilege, not a right, and the Home Secretary will remove British citizenship from individuals where she feels it is conducive to the public good to do so.”
Helena Kennedy is correct, of course, but sadly most MPs failed to recognise the importance of proper legal safeguards for all citizens, and, last week, although there was a heated debate, the House of Lords failed to remove Clause 60 from the legislation, despite criticism by lawyers, by some MPs and by the Joint Committee on Human Rights, which issued a report on February 26 that, as the Bureau put it, “questioned the timing of Theresa May’s amendment on statelessness and said that the new power ran a ‘very great risk of breaching the UK’s obligations’ to other nations if Britons were to be made stateless while overseas.”
The clause passed despite the legal action charity Reprieve pointing out that the measures would “leave an estimated 3.4 million British citizens vulnerable to being arbitrarily made stateless in England and Wales alone, according to figures from the 2011 census,” and noting that, in 1958, the US Supreme Court denounced the stripping of citizenship as “a form of punishment more primitive than torture.”
As Reprieve described it, “Such a measure was held by the United States Supreme Court in the 1950s to constitute cruel and unusual punishment, and that the ‘use of denationalization as a punishment [means] the total destruction of the individual’s status in organized society. It is a form of punishment more primitive than torture, for it destroys for the individual the political existence that was centuries in the development…In short, [s/he] has lost the right to have rights.'”
As Helena Kennedy also explained, “Deprivation of citizenship is another way of avoiding the old-fashioned process of putting people on trial if they are suspected of doing wrong. It is a way of short-cutting the rule of law. Hannah Arendt said that statelessness deprives people of ‘the right to have rights’. It is a policy that has been used by the worst tyrannical regimes. It was why so many people wandered the world stateless after the Second World War and why in 1961 the UK with other nations signed up to the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. This intended change in the law will be a source of shame to us in the years to come. It must be opposed by us all.”
I will be posting a transcript of the House of Lords debate very soon, but the only hope now, legislatively, is that many of the Lords’ concerns will be “discussed at a meeting ahead of report stage,” as Alice Ross of the Bureau explained in an article compiling her live tweets of the debate. I hope at that point there will be further publicity, and further opportunities for this dreadful development to be challenged and, eventually, overturned.
Note: For further information on Clause 60, see Liberty’s briefing here.
Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).
To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.
On Facebook, Lada Alekseychuk wrote:
if they are SUSPECTED of being involved with terrorism or if it has BEEN PROVED THAT THEY ARE INVOLVED WITH TERRORISM? there is a big difference…
It has to be “suspected” rather than “proved,” Lada. There is no due process, no court is involved. Theresa May and representatives of the security services make the decisions, and we are supposed to – are required to – trust them. There are two fundamental and insuperable problems with this: 1) the security services are not as reliable as they like to think they are, as can be seen from the many, repeated and monstrous failures of intelligence in the last 12 years, including at Guantanamo; and 2) it shouldn’t be considered as an acceptable course of action anyway. As Helena Kennedy QC wrote last week (and I quoted in the article):
“Deprivation of citizenship is another way of avoiding the old-fashioned process of putting people on trial if they are suspected of doing wrong. It is a way of short-cutting the rule of law. Hannah Arendt said that statelessness deprives people of ‘the right to have rights’. It is a policy that has been used by the worst tyrannical regimes. It was why so many people wandered the world stateless after the Second World War and why in 1961 the UK with other nations signed up to the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. This intended change in the law will be a source of shame to us in the years to come. It must be opposed by us all.”
Lada Alekseychuk wrote:
I see…amazing that it comes from Britain, which is known for it’s love to law
Yes, it’s disgraceful, isn’t it, Lada? And to think that the English nobles came up with habeas corpus under King John, 800 years ago next year. That deserves some pointed commemoration!
Dejanka Bryant wrote:
Where are the suspects supposed to go? No man’s land and being droned?
Yes, Dejanka. The two cases the Bureau of Investigative Journalism exposed last February certainly seem to involve drone killings. In other cases, people have been stranded in their former countries of origin, like the case of the Pakistani man profiled by the Bureau here: http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2014/03/17/my-british-citizenship-was-everything-to-me-now-i-am-nobody/
Also very worrying is what happened to Mahdi Hashi, picked up by Djibouti’s secret police. They called UK intelligence, and he then promptly had his UK citizenship removed. Stateless, he was then in a position where he could then be “interrogated at length with no legal protection, handed over to American agents, further interrogated and then hooded and flown to the US without any extradition proceedings.” I find all of the above very alarming.
Holly Marie wrote:
I scanned this – does this only apply to brown skinned Brits? I am being totally serious, they all seem this way. Does it ever happen to white, WASPy individuals? I think it’s horrid practice, to strip citizenship.
Holly, there’s no indication that Theresa May and the UK security services are interested in anyone other than Muslims. I’m sure that white men would satisfy them if they were Muslims or Muslim converts, but otherwise the UK, like the US, seems to show no interest in other people – white supremacists, neo-Nazis, for example – being regarded as terrorists.
Holly Marie wrote:
Does appear to be a racist, bigoted policy to suit whatever they want. It’s not right.
Lada Alekseychuk wrote:
See. it is a double problem-the person is stripped of citizenship for nothing, and second-he himself believes that he is nothing without a citizenship.
Agreed, Holly. And Lada, yes, that’s true – but it’s also important to remember what message it sends to everyone not born in the UK with citizenship as a result of birth, and, it might need adding, with no recent immigration in their family background. Anyone granted citizenship can legitimately feel that they have no guarantee that citizenship will protect them; that there are now two types of citizenship.
Lada Alekseychuk wrote:
To me the true problem is the oppressive structure which makes people believe that they are nothing without…an approval of a small privileged group of people who happen to be ruling at the time. That is maddening…
I think that’s a more philosophical point, Lada, which I agree with wholeheartedly, although it’s a more fundamental problem for people subjected to the whims of politicians who have given themselves the kind of tyrannical power that allows them to make people stateless.
But on your point about the oppressive structure of society, which makes people believe they need approval, it is indeed maddening. If you work out what is important and what isn’t – and that process can take time (years or decades) – you don’t then need the kind of insecurity that allows opportunistic manipulators like politicians and advertisers to use you. I wish a questioning nature was a much higher priority in society!
Holly Marie wrote:
I see what you are saying Lada. But, I can see how holding some passports make you feel safer in the world. Not, if it is going to be yanked at the discretion of the government if they suspect you of anything (and not even convicted in a court). It’s a horrifying precedent they are setting, which appears to be solely a racist policy. The article said “foreign-born’ nationals. They are taking away any rights you may have for a legal process.
Lada Alekseychuk wrote:
Well, politics and philosophy are connected, aren’t they? At the root of everything are ideas and choices-what is right and what is wrong
Oh, they are absolutely connected, Lada, but the majority of people seem to have forgotten, if they ever knew. To me, that just plays into the hands of the powerful and greedy liars who are running the show more than they have for centuries at least.
Lada Alekseychuk wrote:
It seems to me that the next great battle humanity is facing is to liberate itself from being conditioned and manipulated by this or that government, ideology, religion, fashion, whatever…if we’ll continue to discuss “issues”-it is like house to house fighting. One gets lost in details. Let’s look at a bigger picture!
I think we need both details and the bigger picture, Lada, but first of all we need many many more people to wake up to the fact that there is a problem with a world of self-obsession, constant materialism and unfettered greed.
Hi is there any way I can contact u. I wanna leave the uk and I’ve had my passport stripped nt citizenship. N keep getting arrested under t acts and being cleared and being under surveillance 24 hours I just wanna leave mate but I can’t even do that what am I supposed to do
I think seeking legal advice would be the best thing for you to do. I’ll send you a recommendation.
Musa Adams wrote:
How about the fact that the UK signed a declaration with the EU accepting EU human rights policies which is represented by the Human Rights Act, and yet the police in the UK continue to do illegal stop and searches all day every day despite them being forbidden by the EU human rights policies?
And how about the fact that pepper spray is a banned chemical weapon as per the Chemical Weapons Convention and so the UK and many other western countries decided to invent a synthetic version of pepper spray which is actually the EXACT SAME chemical extracted from peppers in order to make pepper spray but FAR STRONGER than the banned version and just because this new version of pepper spray is “technically” not “pepper spray” because it wasn’t made from peppers?
They use it on people everywhere in the west despite the fact that the Chemical Weapons Convention banned the original far weaker “pepper spray” based on it being responsible for torturous side effects and even DEATH..!!
You touch on some of the many cruelties and/or hypocrisies of the UK, Musa. As with so many aspects of our lives, our leaders do not have our interests at heart, and serve only their own – generally brutal and greedy – agenda. Thanks for your comments.
Here in Canada individuals are supposed to be able to be stripped of citizenship if it can be proven they lied on their citizenship application.
There is a new law, being guided through the Canadian Parliament, that would give the Government greater powers to strip citizenship. I’ll look up the details. Many commentators say it is inspired by Harper’s wish to look tough on Omar Khadr, although it is hard to see how it could be applied to him as he was born Canadian.
So ‘an estimated 3.4 million British citizens’ cannot risk going on a holiday outside the UK anymore, as they might not be allowed back in (and supposedly loose all their possessions there)?
And among them, all those who are ‘off age’ will in addition risk being instantly stripped of their citizenship and left with no support whatsoever, if abroad they get into any trouble at all -a traffic accident, a drunken brawl on a tropical beach, suspicion of pick-pocketing or heaven forbid having talked or corresponded with anyone who is on a British/US/Canadian/Australian/NZ or other ‘coalition’ list of ‘suspects’. For without transparent rules and a lawful process, this new legal gadget can be applied indiscriminately in potentially any circumstances.
I was born stateless -the painful part of ‘wandering around the world stateless after the Second World War’ having been limited to my parents and eldest brother, I was spared this. But back then being stateless in western Europe was something quite different than it is now, although even then being a ‘white christian’ certainly made it easier than it was for coloured refugees.
One was not entitled to receive study grants or to vote -let alone to be elected- but such restrictions were relatively transparent and clearly defined, you knew what you were up for. Having residency rights, whether short-term or permanent, one was covered by the national law. All that changed for the better in the late ’70s and early ’80s, but did not last long as we now know.
Being stateless I needed a tourist visa to enter the UK until 1967. The other western European countries which required that were Greece (colonels), Spain (Franco) and Portugal (before the carnation revolution).
In those days we were jealous of the UK, where all it took to get citizenship was to be born on British soil, or even a British ship or airplane for that matter. That changed already a long time ago, the birthright citizenship being of inferior quality than the ‘true’ one. Now we have arrived at this horror, Hitler would have been proud of this, sorry to say.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m not by any means limiting the blame to Britain. Other European countries no doubt some time soon will be only too happy to follow the example in one form or another. If they’re not doing it already.
So much for beautiful speeches about Lampedusa, human rights and Millenium Goals …
Musa Adams wrote:
Of course, Andy. What do you expect when the British Empire is the mother of the harlot systems of this world and is the founding colonial empire of all the colonies of the world?
Just a few hundred years ago, in the the time referred to as “The Golden Age of Piracy”, there were two main colonial empires. They were Britain and Spain. Britain plundered as many Spanish armadas as they could and smashed Spain into the graveyard of the colonial history books.
Since then, the system of “common law” (like we are supposed to believe that is based upon the Bible when it is actually based upon paganism) has spread like a common virus around the globe and has become the rule of the day in almost every land in the world. Where the people have rebelled against the rule of Britain there is only war and a trail of destruction, disease, famine and propaganda against the natives of those lands (and believe me, the British Colonial Empire still does exist…. why else would there be OBE honours handed out around the world..? And more importantly, why else would almost EVERY world leader be a member of the OBE?)..
So, the cancer that has spread throughout the globe is clearly of British origin and so it should come as NO surprise that Britain are at the forefront of the wars taken to foreign lands around the world and Britain are actually the driving force behind the USA…. whoever, in my opinion, believes that the USA are a force of their own is merely ignorant or is stupid or both and has completely missed a lot of jigsaw puzzle pieces that make up the far bigger picture.. Effectively, THE USA IS BRITAIN..!!
The last strand of the Spanish Colonial Empire remaining is disunited South America, which is a fast dying conglomeration of small countries, not all of which are even Spanish colonies (ie. Guyana, Brazil, etc).
Spain is dead as far as colonial empires go, and they have NO influence really!
There is something darker behind all of this which many people have overlooked. BTW, i am NOT a conspiracy theorist. I deal with history and facts.
I will refer you all to the final battle of the Templar Knights in Palestine where they were massacred by Solaahuddeen al-Ayyoobi on a Friday the 13th (hence the Templar Knights have brainwashed nations into believing this to be a day of bad fate….. it was for the Templars, but why should you acknowledge this as a day of bad fate for yourselves? There is an agenda hidden in this)..
To cut this long piece of history short and stick to the very necessary points here:
The Templars retreated from the muslim lands they had been rampaging for around 600 years and returned to Rome where they were officially established and consecrated as an Order of Knighthood of the Roman Catholic Church. There they had a major dispute with the then pope who demanded that they hand over all the wealth they had accumulated and the books and scrolls of magic and artifacts they had dug up and the “wisdom” they had picked up whilst in the muslim lands and that they disband their Knighthood Order and return to ordinary life (this is something i could elaborate upon, but will keep short and concise here – but there is a clear reason i encapsulated the word “wisdom”).
In short, the Templar Knights outright refused to hand everything over, recognizing that by this wealth and with their large numbers and the “wisdom” they had accumulated they were now far more powerful and potentially far more influential than the Roman Catholic Church could ever hope to be.
Being that the Roman Catholic Church were – and still are – the old world Roman Empire in disguise as self-proclaimed followers of the prophet Jesus and his teachings (peace upon him), they were the rule of the day at that time and were not ready to watch another contender step up and potentially snatch away all their power and influence in the world, especially not a Knighthood Order they themselves constituted in the first place and thereby saw as their own “property” and serfs..!!
The Templar Knights, preferring a more peaceful approach after their defeat at Palestine at the hands of Solaahuddeen al-Ayyoobi, decided to flee with what they had. They eventually ended up in France, where they settled for some time and founded “Le Grand Priorie de France”. It may be well worth mentioning here that the Templar Knights were the founding fathers of the interest based banking system that is operated around the world today and that maintains much of their power and control over the people of the world via their Governments who are at their service through the debts they have incurred in our names!!!!
Eventually, Pope Pious VIII decided he wanted the Templars put to death and so he sent out orders to this effect to all his governors around Europe, in particular France.
Large numbers of Templars were arrested and executed and the Grand Master of that time, Jaques de Molay, was arrested and tortured in the basement of a Roman Catholic Church. The shroud of Turin is actually the death shroud of Jaques de Molay. He was killed after enduring around 14 days of torture which almost convinced the Catholic Church that he was invincible due to “the black arts” (magic) he procured and practiced. This soon became the source of myths that quickly flooded peoples’ minds regarding the Templar Knights (though they certainly did and still do study and practice magic and alchemy and call upon the jinns, mainly devils from the jinns).
The Templar Knights fled from France and went to Scotland where they knew Robert the Bruce was under threat from a 36,000 strong English army threatening to convene on Scottish land and conquer them and take over. There, the Templars saw their opportunity to once again pick up their power structure and re-establish themselves as potential world rulers.
There were only 3,000 men, mostly untrained peasants, in the Scottish army and they were facing an imminent defeat in the mind of Robert the Bruce. So the Templars took their chance to seal a contract with the Scottish king. The Templars convinced Robert the Bruce that despite the fact they only have around 3,000 knights themselves, they are highly skilled in fighting from the techniques they had picked up during their 600 years of fighting for survival in the muslim lands as they rampaged their way around and took wealth, artifacts, books and women by force.
Robert the Bruce, believing this to be a last ditch attempt with nothing to lose, accepted their contract with him. Their contract was:
We help you beat the English and take over all of England and their territories and then we will become the real rulers in the shadows whilst you and your descendants will rule as public faces.
Subsequently, the battle of Bannockburn took place in 1314 and the Templars and Scots massacred the 36,000 strong English army within 3 days and took everything. Edward II was defeated and his seat of power now belonged to the Templar Knights from the shadows as the Scots now became the public faces.
Being that the Templars and the Roman Catholic Church were at loggerheads, England and its territories soon rejected the Catholic way and became “Protestant Catholics” with their own church headed by Freemasonry. Freemasonry being a concept of the Templar Knights by which they recruited people and put them through a rigorous system of degrees to determine whether they are “trustworthy” enough and the right kind of men for the job of becoming high ranked Templar Knights in keeping of the secrets and the obscured history concerning themselves and their affairs.
Now, maybe you can all make a lot more sense of many of the things that have followed on from this series of important historical events.
By this, i mean the colonization of the countries of the world, the interest based banking system enslaving the masses through debt that only ever spirals out of control and ensnares people into living to work rather than working to live, and so on..
Make of this whatever you want, but i have only spoken from historical FACT here that is all documented and can be referenced easily.
I will reiterate here that i am NOT a conspiracy theorist, i do NOT peddle nor deal with conspiracy theories…. and i am sound of mind too..!!
I consider history to be very important if you truly want to comprehend what is happening around us today and why it is happening!
Therefore, i have merely provided you all with as concise a list of historical events (relating to much of it) as i could….
Like i said.. make of what you want.. that is your choice!
Musa Adams wrote:
BTW, Andy, have you read the document (published by the EU Parliament) named “An Appraisal of Weapons of Political Control”….?
It is a document that i stumbled across unintentionally many years ago when i was searching Google for something by a certain method i use to do research online. Since then, quite a few people have started to talk about it, but mainly those whacky conspiracy theorists like Alex CIA Agent Jones and co.
Yes, i do believe Alex Jones is a CIA agent and i have my reasons for believing so.. And once again, for the benefit of those who do not know me and who are not familiar with my usual method of research and dialogue, i will repeat….. I AM NOT a conspiracy theorist.. I view conspiracy theorists as whacky and zany people who most often pass off any old tosh as fact and will not have it any other way even when clear evidence is put before them.. clearly indicating that they may have mental health problems!
Well, thank you very much for the history lesson, Musa. Much food for thought.
Also, I hadn’t heard of “An Appraisal of Weapons of Political Control,” but a search found two documents, the first from 1999 published by Cryptome.org: http://cryptome.org/stoa-atpc.htm
and another here: http://publicintelligence.net/european-parliament-study-on-crowd-control-technologies/
Ajo Muhammad wrote:
It’s absurd for a nation that considers itself a first world country to behave as The UK in these modern times. Thanks Andy for leading the cause against injustice. Bless you!
Thank you for your interest and your supportive words, Ajo. It is indeed absurd and very disturbing.
Thanks, arcticredriver. Yes, I have heard about that, and just wrote about it here: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2014/03/26/making-uk-citizens-stateless-full-text-of-the-lords-debate-on-theresa-mays-citizenship-stripping-powers-march-17-2014/comment-page-1/#comment-211244
I think it’s racist posturing, but it’s paving the way for something that may eventually become acceptable unless it is actively resisted and explanations provided by those of us who care about how racist and unacceptable it is.
Thanks, Anna, for the powerful analysis. I suspect some people reading your comments may start off by thinking you’re exaggerating, but I hope they come too their senses when they read you line, “without transparent rules and a lawful process, this new legal gadget can be applied indiscriminately in potentially any circumstances.”
I believe you are correct to point out what could happen to people who get into any kind of trouble abroad if they happen to be in any suspect group – and while that, for now, is confined to Muslims, who is to say who will be regarded as the next “enemy within”? Unfortunately, our increasingly authoritarian governments are getting away with it because too many people say, “I’ve nothing to hide,” rather than understanding that our politicians are not necessarily people we should trust, who don’t necessarily have the interests of the majority of people at heart.
Your mention of yourself as having been stateless, and what that entailed until the progressive reforms of the 70s and 80s really made me feel for you, and for anyone in that position, but of course far too many people these days seem to have no empathy whatsoever, and everything that was gained has been being chipped away at since that time.
I wrote to Baroness Smith asking what more could be done, and she sent me the following reply:
Thank you for your e mail about the Immigration Bill.
Clause 60 was not voted on when it was debated at Committee Stage, but as you may be aware, every speaker, other than the Minister, opposed the Government proposals. It has now become Clause 64 because of new clauses earlier in the Bill.
This issue will be debated again at the report Stage of the Bill on 7th April on a new amendment that has been tabled in the names of Lord Pannick, myself, Lord MacDonald and Lord Brown of Eaton under Heywood.
Please feel free to write to any members of the House of Lords in support of this amendment. That would be helpful.
So that’s on Monday. You can find contact details for the Lords here: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/lords/
Or here: https://www.writetothem.com/lords
And yes, it did not take long for the next European country to follow the UK example. AlJazeera:
“France to stop citizens joining Syria war
Proposed measures include a dedicated hotline and stripping people of French nationality as deterrence and punishment.”
[The hotline being for parents to call authorities when they worry their kids show suspicious behaviour …, so that those authorities can step in.
But then, who is to check when the hotline rings, whether the snitch really is a parent …?]
“Speaking on France 2 television before officially unveiling the measures to the cabinet on Wednesday, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the steps could go as far as stripping people of French nationality – along the lines of new British legislation introduced last year.”
Who’ll be next? Other countries can be expected to also follow soon.
Any excuse will do.
Thanks, Anna. Yes, this is clearly a topic that requires cross-border resistance. This week we had the unedifying spectacle in the UK of politicians asking Muslim mums to shop their kids to the police. However, the good news is that, while I was away in Mexico, Theresa May’s citizenship-stripping proposals were defeated in the House of Lords. This is how Reprieve responded (on April 7):
Government plans which would allow ministers to strip Britons of their citizenship without due process – even where doing so would make them stateless – were tonight defeated in the House of Lords.
The measures, contained in clause 64 of the Immigration Bill, would have allowed the Home Secretary to deprive any naturalised Britons – i.e. any of the estimated 3-4 million not born in the country – of their citizenship, without having to first go through any legal process. It would also enable her to do so even if it would leave the person concerned without any nationality.
The measure, which had been brought forward by Theresa May at the last minute of the Bill’s progress through the Commons, was tonight removed from the Bill in favour of an amendment which requires it to be further considered by a joint committee of the Commons and Lords. The amendment was backed by a former Supreme Court Judge, Lord Brown, former Director of Public Prosecutions, Lord Macdonald, leading QC Lord Pannick and Labour front-bencher Baroness Smith. It passed by 242 votes to 180.
In a previous debate, Lord Macdonald had warned that the Home Secretary’s proposal “associates the United Kingdom with a policy beloved of the world’s worst regimes during the 20th century.”
Reprieve press release here: http://www.reprieve.org.uk/press/2014_04_07_Lords_defeat_citizenship_stripping/
And more from Open Democracy here: http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/patrick-galey-alice-ross/lords-impede-uk-citizenstripping-move
I hope a robust challenge can be mounted in France, and anywhere else that this latest virus of racism and Islamophobia emerges.
In the Open Democracy article, Patrick Galey and Alice Ross explained more about the amendment tabled by the cross-bencher Lord Pannick:
Pannick tabled an amendment that would force the government to submit its plans to a cross-parliamentary committee of six MPs and six Lords. It could also include a public consultation. The amendment, co-signed by leading lawyers including a former director of public prosecutions and a former Supreme Court judge, passed with 242 votes against the government’s 180.
Pannick’s amendment would effectively delay the use of the new power for months. The government could still attempt to introduce compromises at the bill’s third reading in the Lords in the first week of May and the amendment will face opposition from MPs of the governing, Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition when the bill goes back to the Commons.
The Commons debate may be as early as May 7, so please, if you can, write to your MP to ask them to vote against the citizenship proposals, which are now Clause 64 of the Immigration Bill: https://www.writetothem.com/
I am appalled to learn that the UK is stripping citizenship. I am a child of a Canadian soldier (sergeant in the Royal Canadian Artillery in WWII) and his British War Bride from West Sussex. We came to Canada in May, 1946 to join Dad who had been discharged back and to hospital in Toronto. We’ve been here ever since: I was only a year old so cannot remember England at all. My brother served 25+ years with the Canadian Navy, I worked for over 50 years and my parents were very involved in their farm community for well over 50 years. We were told(I have Mom’s documents) that we would be Canadian citizens when we arrived.
In 2003-4, my brother found when he tried to apply for a passport (not needed in the Navy) that our Canadian citizenship had been stripped. I went to my CIC office and was told (very rudely) that mine was also stripped and I should never have been given it in the first place. That put us into the ranks of Lost Canadians, whose citizenship was stripped or never acknowledged for 10 ridiculous reasons. My group was “war brides and children of war brides”. I have been told that I am a “bastard”( Canadian military were not allowed to marry until the end of the war and Dad could not get permission until then:citizenship requires legitimatacy). The last few years we are told that we have no right to Canadian citizenship because there were no Canadians (they say) in any war prior to 1947, so my father would not have qualified as Canadian as he was out of the country from 1940-45. I have been treated like an enemy by the bureaucracy, including the staff at the MP office in my riding.
When this happened, I called the British Embassy to enquire as to whether we were still British citizens. The lady there had had a lot of calls like mine and assured me we could never lose British citizenship “unless you committed high treason, and then there would be charges, notice of hearing, and a trial” – none of which we got! I always hoped I would be able to travel to England when I retired, but it has been 10 years now and I still cannot leave Canada due to my lack of status. If my Dad were alive, he would not be able to travel to Normandy this June with other D-Day Vets as he would be in the same situation.
So I would like to let you know that I am very disappointed to hear that the UK is going to now treat its citizens in the same fashion. I believe you will find that the real threats to your country will still find a way to get through while you are penalizing many perfectly innocent people.
Best wishes in stopping the plan for giving this power to revoke to an individual with his/her own beliefs and prejudices and bypassing the judicial process accorded any criminal.
Thanks for getting in touch, Marion, and for telling your story. I must admit that I had no idea that people like you are being treated so disgracefully, when you so obviously should have dual citizenship.
It looks like the British government has been defeated in its citizenship-stripping plans, but they’ll no doubt be back with another permutation. Shockingly, while I regard citizenship as a right, they explicitly regard it as a privilege, and that’s very worrying.
Thank you so much for your reply, Andy. I totally agree with you regarding the concept of citizenship: I believe it is a right, but our current government views it as a privilege, to be “granted” or “revoked” at the whim of the minister.
Presently, we have a large body of legislation being put through which encompasses many issues re citizenship and immigration (known as Bill C-24). This codifies the practice of stripping citizenship and also allows the Minister to determine whatever “terrorism” might mean (peaceful protests on issues not favoured by government?). One clause does deal with restoration of citizenship to Lost Canadians such as myself – “if qualified”. However, it does not deal with the remaining four groups who are equally deserving, I feel. And, if that goes through, it is only one part of a bill with many questionable plans, including revocation. There are (government sources told our leader, Don Chapman) over 37,000 of us, with more finding out when they go to apply for an Old Age pension or passport.
I must tell you that you share the same last name as one of the very few journalists who provided concern and support for Lost Canadians. Peter Worthington, who was the editor of the Toronto Sun, died a year ago and we do miss his outspoken articles, always bringing attention especially where veterans were not treated well.
My relatives in Worthing tell me there is a new memorial to the Canadian soldiers (I’m not sure of details): I will certainly be sending a picture of that sometime to those MP’s who insist there were no Canadian soldiers in WWII!
Thanks again for being in touch, Marion. I was deeply shocked, I must admit, to learn that there are “Lost Canadians,” deprived unjustly of citizenship. What a disgrace. You mention 37,000 people, so I would hope that rights groups in Canada feel that your campaign for justice is worthy of support. You also mention the clause in Bill C-24 which may restore rights to people like you — although the phrase “if qualified” doesn’t inspire confidence. You also note that the clause “does not deal with the remaining four groups who are equally deserving” – could you let me know who the other four groups are?
As for governments being allowed to determine what “terrorism” means, that should definitely not be allowed, as has been apparent since the start of the hysteria of the “war on terror.” In certain right-wing circles, people like myself – independent journalists and activists – are “terrorists” because we disagreed with and opposed the Bush administration’s lawless response to 9/11.
UPDATE: It was premature of me to write, two days ago, “It looks like the British government has been defeated in its citizenship-stripping plans.” Today (May 7), the House of Commons is expected to vote on the Immigration Bill, and Theresa May is pledging to reintroduce her citizenship-stripping provision, despite the Lords’ amendment.
I will be writing you again with more detail in a couple of days but I wanted to let you know I am thinking of the British people and hoping that citizenship-stripping provision is not passed.
One of the other LC groups with which I am familiar, as I live in Southwestern Ontario’s agricultural region, is the Mennonites. Numbers of them migrated after WWI to Mexico, farmed there and lived and married there, in their own religion. After WWII they started to move back to Canada. Our government realized that the Mexican government had not recognized those marriages as valid (non-Catholic) so Canada does not now recognize them either. As there was some rule about “first generation must be born in legal wedlock” which no one heard about until 2003, all of a sudden descendants of those Mennonites were finding their citizenship was stripped.
Some people lost citizenship as children when their parents moved to a job in the U.S. (i.e. Don Chapman, leader of the Lost Canadians ).
Often, “border babies” were born just across the border in the U.S. , probably in the nearest hospital to a rural area on the Canadian side of the border: that has been another group apparently still not included.
Second generation children of military families who are posted abroad are still having problems.
Those are just a few of the citizenship problems still not rectified, and ever increasing in numbers.
Thanks, Andy, for your interest and good luck with it all in your House of Commons!
Thanks, Marion. The more you tell me about this, the more depressing it becomes. Please do stay in touch and tell me more.
By now you may have heard that a majority of our MPs voted today to reinstate the citizenship-stripping provisions in the Immigration Bill, overturning a very sensible amendment voted for last month by the House of Lords, who wanted a committee to examine the proposals in detail before approving them. My article about today’s vote is here: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2014/05/07/mps-support-alarming-citizenship-stripping-measures-introduced-by-theresa-may/
So there you have it. 305 of our MPs have no regard for the inviolability of citizenship except in exceptional cases, and want to allow the home secretary, without any kind of consultation, to be able to strip naturalised citizens of their passports, even if it makes them stateless. What a disgraceful excuse for responsible human beings these politicians are!
I just tried, unsuccessfully, to forward some articles to you. All I can do is recommend checking out the Vancouver Observer, editor Jenny Uechi (an excellent paper, great journalism). They did over 50 articles on Lost Canadians and citizenship: there have been very few published in any other papers. In B.C., they have Chinese WWII veterans who are told they were never Canadian, after their families help build the country before 1867!
Also I would recommend checking out the website for CanadianWarBrides.com. When mine was stripped and I was “blown off” by the CIC and local MP, I called Canadian War Brides as I recalled going to local meetings with my mother when I was little (other farmer/soldiers here came back with wives from Sussex and Kent!). Melynda Jarratt is the curator who became a citizenship advocate, author and many other things – fantastic lady: my mother’s story is included in one of her books.
Sounds like we are all now involved in this same struggle and, somehow, I’ve found it is a bit reassuring to know that, at least, you are not alone.
Thanks for all your work, Andy.
Thanks, Marion, for reaching out from Canada and sharing your story, and helping me to realise how so many people are at the mercy of cruel governments. which nevertheless pretend to be paragons of virtue, justice and fairness.
I looked up “Lost Canadians” on the Vancouver Observer website, and found the wonderful archive you mentioned: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/world/lost-canadians
I also found the excellent Canadian War Brides website:
I note on the website that Melynda Jarratt will be appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in Ottawa to discuss the C-24 bill on May 12.
Thanks, Andy: I managed to find the CIMM meeting and listened to all the presentations. However, just before Don Chapman and Melynda Jarratt were to testify, a government MP motioned that the Committee go in camera. They never did resume the meeting so I don’t know what will happen next.
I tried to forward the Vancouver Observer article from the next morning to you but, for some reason, cannot get your email address to work from here. It refers to the “government muzzles citizenship experts…. so you may find that one interesting.
Our government is purporting to be protecting the populace from terrorism and also to be “tough on crime” as well as the virtues you have mentioned!
Thanks, Marion. I found the article on the Lost Canadians website here: http://blog.lostcanadian.com/2014/05/vancovuer-observor-government-muzzles.html
Very disturbing, as you explained. These are the opening paragraphs:
Citizenship advocates Don Chapman and Melynda Jarrett are fuming after seeing what they call a flagrant violation of the democratic process in Parliament unfold before their eyes.
Just moments before they were set to testify before the Citizen and Immigration committee on Monday, Conservative caucus member Ted Opitz motioned to close the meeting to the public, preventing them from speaking on bill C-24, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Chapman, stunned by the move. “This is an important bill that will determine who’s a Canadian, and yet they don’t want to hear from stakeholders about it?”
The article also states:
The bill … specifically includes a section on “Lost Canadians” — legitimate Canadians who lost their citizenship due to racial discrimination, sexism and the federal government’s insistence that Canadian citizenship began after 1947 despite Supreme Court precedents that clearly state otherwise.
Good morning, Andy:
Thanks for your response regarding our citizenship issues, once again, as they have much in common with yours.
I don’t know why, but I cannot seem to contact you by email, other than through this column.
This is our Victoria Day weekend, the first long weekend of the season and cause for rejoicing and fireworks, getting out to camp or cottage and starting work in the garden (unless you still have snow).
This weekend is the “event of the year” for the Six Nations of the Grand – native (Haudenosaunee or “Iroquois”) territory which I am so fortunate to have close by. I’m not sure if you know about that one, but it is the biggest in Canada. The Nations sided with the British in the war of 1812 and, although (fairly recently) were given citizenship, still regard themselves as “allies of the queen”. This weekend is a huge celebration, starting with a parade there and events all weekend, ending with the “bread and cheese”.
As I can’t forward you information, I would recommend the website for the Two Row Times where you’ll find the article “Community Awareness and Bread’n Cheese Traditions” by editor, Jim Windle. The TRT is a small but excellent newspaper distributed in communities near to “6N” – I’m sure you would find that paper interesting.
Also, in Port Dover (6 miles south from me) there is a battle re-enactment going on this weekend as it is now over 100 years since Dover was burned by the Americans in the War of 1812. Groups travel up from the US to take part (good of them because we beat them in the end, although they say they won).
I don’t know if you celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday but, I would like to wish you and your readers a very happy Victoria Day.
I’ve sent you an alternative email address should you need to contact me directly, but I’m very happy to receive your comments here!
The Two Row Times looks very interesting: http://www.tworowtimes.com/
Here it’s been one of the first genuinely hot days of the year today – very pleasant after the rainiest winter and spring in memory. I hope you had a great Victoria Day. I had to look it up, and I’m slightly amazed that you celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday, when we don’t here, and I’m sure most British people wouldn’t know when her birthday was!
Thanks Andy – great work. Liberties in England or Britain have always waxed and waned. The Romantic poets during the Napoleonic wars were at loggerheads with the political establishment over erosion and suppression of long cherished liberties. It seems to be cyclical. It’s certainly connected with war – even phoney wars such as the war against terror – hee hee. Obviously it’s a serious matter but a little irony and humour are essential – otherwise you’ll give way to despondency. Ultimately the human stage, as Shakespeare wisely taught us is just that – a stage – and so if the villains become the parliamentarians – then they’re setting themselves up for a fall – because there are forces at work deeper and more powerful than the fear or power ambitions of parties, secret organisations or individual politicians.
It’s always ironic when a politician or a government starts assuming it can legislate about citizenship, or likewise what constitutes a sausage, or what we can smoke or eat… no matter how well intentioned these individuals often are. There’s a kind of karmic law – that no sooner than politicians overstep this invisible mark and start trying to control what is not theirs to control, they undermine the power and authority of the institutions they are using – be it parliament, the judiciary or the executive. It would be like if the golf club you were a member of started trying to enforce a dress code not only on the golf course itself, but outside and beyond. It’s absurd, but sadly happens because politicians do not understand the limits of their authority.
On the one hand it’s good to fight them, or point out that they’re overreaching themselves, on the other hand fighting against something is never as effective as fighting for something – for ultimately the power was, is, and always will be with the individual who “knows his rights”, who is aware of his/ her place in the grand scheme of things – for in the grand scheme politicians, officials or dictators are like flies on the windshield of history. Bless their cotton socks – they like to feel important but they really make little difference one way or the other. As soon as people remember that they are first and foremost people, and only in a limited sense “citizens” of a geo-political legal entity, then the tables are reversed.
Good luck in your endeavour. It’s a bit shocking to find out that things are not as rosy as they should be, as they used to be, or as you imagined they were – but once you’ve got over the shock you start to learn that neither are we as powerless or helpless as we imagined. Beyond the “capricious universe” model there’s a whole new paradigm waiting to be discovered. All the best!
Thanks, James, for your interesting take on things. Definitely some food for thought there …
Absolute rubbish. It was long overdue. It is about time that people in and outside Britain started to realize that citizenship of this country is a privilege which carries duties and responsibilities and if you fail in those then you have no right to citizenship of this country. For too long we have allowed people to abuse our tolerance and take advantage of us. Enough is enough and we have had more than enough of this.
Barry, one problem with your viewpoint – beyond your unwise endorsement of the executive’s self-claimed right to make this kind of decision without due process – is that it fails to take into account that everyone must have some nationality or other. You can only strip dual nationals of their UK citizenship if you can send them somewhere else – and that may not always be as easy as you, and those who think like you, would like.
Can’t believe all those months have gone by since I last wrote, Andy. My citizenship here is still very much up in the air as the new legislation purportedly restoring citizenship to “more of the Lost Canadians” has not yet been implemented. As more details have come out, it appears it will be limited to “first generation born abroad” only. That was how they decided to give back citizenship to the War Brides (our mothers). But I am the “second generation born abroad” so don’t expect to qualify.
Even though I have been here since 1946, worked for over 50 years & paid all taxes, voted, etc., I still hear from people like the writer above who think we’ve been taking advantage of the Canadian-born residents all our lives and don’t deserve citizenship. That’s how our government got elected, by meeting demands of such harsh views. There are huge numbers of people here descended from those who were “kicked out” of Britain as children (see Home Children & Child Farm Labour under the Empire Settlement Act)and are now running into citizenship problems. So, you are right, Andy, it’s not as easy as some might think, to send dual nationals elsewhere.
Seems like bad news everywhere, but nevertheless I would like to wish you a very Happy New Year and a hope that people may feel kinder and things may get better for all.
Happy New Year to you too, Marion. Great to hear from you again, but sorry that the occasion is tinged with such injustice and uncertainty. I hope 2015 brings better news.
Very simple, they are not being stripped of their citizenship for being white doves and inocent. They are killers and terrorist that need to be dealt with. They got what they deserve.
That sounds so easy, doesn’t it, Sergio, but these are extra-judicial decisions, taken without any reference to the legal system, and that’s not acceptable in societies that claim to respect the rule of law. We are being asked to trust Theresa May as judge and jury, and she in turn is asking us to trust, without question, decisions taken by the security services, who actually make mistakes. Does that surprise you? Perhaps you are the kind of person who also thinks that the police never make mistakes either.
[…] to kill its own citizens away from any country in which it has not authorized war, it has also expanded a process of stripping its own citizens of their citizenship with “no judicial approval in […]
[…] to kill its own citizens away from any country in which it has not authorized war, it has also expanded a process of stripping its own citizens of their citizenship with “no judicial approval in […]
Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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