Tuesday, March 07, 2006

US: hands off our citizens

I have been meaning to write something about the Extradition Act 2003 for some time, on the grounds that it is one of those subjects when I would like to tell the US to shove their extradition requests where their prima facie evidence don't shine...

However, I'm exhausted already, I have another all-nighter ahead of me and can't really summon up the energy, so I will leave you in the capable hands of Boris, speaking in the House of Commons on Monday.
There are currently several cases before the courts that arise directly from the Extradition Act 2003. I know of one of those cases particularly, because it affects one of my constituents, who is one of three bankers who are being electromagnetically sucked--hoovered, even--across the Atlantic without any duty on the Americans to produce any prima facie evidence.

There is a second and related problem that greatly inflames the whole question. We are obliged by the terms of the Extradition Act 2003 to send our nationals to America without prima facie evidence, yet America is under no corresponding duty to send people we want from America without prima facie evidence being supplied by us.

Why does that grotesque imbalance exist? The Prime Minister said in Prime Minister's questions on Wednesday that it is because the American Congress has not ratified the 2003 treaty. That is not, strictly speaking, true. It is right to say that Congress does not want to ratify the 2003 treaty because many Congressmen want to keep the ability to retain in America people whom they fear would not get a fair trial overseas and they want to keep a political bar to extradition. That is why we have not succeeded in extraditing a single IRA suspect from America to this country in 30 years. However, even if Congress were to ratify this treaty, it is a dismal fact that... there would be no symmetry because we have to show due cause and they do not. Therefore, I think the whole treaty should be renegotiated.

The whole thing is definitely worth reading (as was The Spectator article a couple of weeks ago) but it basically boils down to the following points:
  1. The US can demand the extradition of any British citizen to stand trial in the US, even if the crime was not committed on US soil or against US interests.

  2. We cannot ask the same of the US.

  3. Our government has not yet told the US to go and fuck itself with a rusty tin can.

  4. Why the fuck not?

This is a very, very simple situation. Whilst I am, generally, in favour of following the US model over the EU model, I am actually far more concerned that everyone should follow my ideal GB model; we, if only we could stop squabbling amongst ourselves and allowing the state's insidious influence to continue corrupting our lives, are a world-power. We are the old-time masters of international trade; we are the inventors of just about every sodding invention that has made man's life a little bit better in the last 400 years; we have the finest army in the world, and we have The Bomb; we have an economy that not completely screwed yet; and we have a market and an army that the US must still rely on.

We aren't some pissy, little, lickspittle, third world country to be pushed around by sinister-looking men in 70s shades: we are the fucking British and we don't ship our citizens off to any fucking country unless that country can show us a really good reason why we should. And even then we might just tell you to piss off.

So here am I, telling the US Foreign Office and Justice Department to go fuck yourselves: you cannot have our citizens. Swivel, you fucks.

Wouldn't it be great if some British politician actually got up and said that? And actually meant it? You can almost hear that stirring martial music, eh...?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm an American Conservative, and I can see exactly where you are coming from. If memory serves, the War of 1812 was fought partly because of a similar issue, namely that Captains of His Majesty's Royal Navy were pressing American Citizens into service. My government ought to release those IRA terrorists to the British Gov't, and any other Subject of the Crown that Britain has a warrant for. But then, I'm one of the few here who actually still believe in justice.

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