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Stop the “John Ashcroft Extradition Treaty”

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CoolOnion Donating Member (860 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-28-06 09:27 AM
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Stop the “John Ashcroft Extradition Treaty”
(A version of this article is posted at Daily Kos):

John Ashcroft is gone, but his legacy lives on in the form of a “fast track” extradition treaty he signed between our country and the UK in 2003. Usually, treaties between the U.S. and the U.K. are signed between our State Department (not the Justice Department) and the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (not the British Home Secretary). But in Bushland, anything can happen, even an extradition treaty that applies retroactively, has a loose interpretation of “probable cause,” has no statute of limitations, and leaves the definition of “political exception” up to the prosecutor.

The U.K. has already signed on to their half of the treaty, and Tony Blair’s constituents aren’t too happy about it. On September 7—the same day as the highly controversial John Bolton nomination—the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on whether or not to send this Treaty to the full Senate for ratification. Please contact members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, urging them to vote “no” on the US UK Extradition Treaty (Treaty 108-23). For talking points and further information, keep reading.

The story so far: the U.K. has signed on to their half of the treaty, and we have not, so right now, we have a “lopsided” extradition treaty with the U.K. The Bush Administration has wasted no time submitting extradition requests for British citizens in connection with white collar crime:

To hear U.S. prosecutors talk, you’d think Ian Norris was a terrorist. But the 62-year-old Norris, a U.K. citizen and resident, is anything but. Norris is the retired CEO of The Morgan Crucible Co., a British manufacturer of carbon products.
The U.S. is seeking to extradite Norris for allegedly conspiring to fix the price of carbon products in the U.S. between 1989 and 2000. The alleged crime wasn’t even a criminal offense in Britain until June 2003. In addition, it was committed primarily in the U.K. This has many lawyers both in the U.S. and Britain concerned...
What makes Norris’ extradition possible is the U.K.’s 2003 Extradition Act, which came into force January 2004. The legislation ratified a treaty between the U.S. and the U.K. to fast track the extradition of suspected terrorists.
The U.S. has yet to ratify the treaty, but that hasn’t stopped American authorities from trying to use it. So far the U.S. government has submitted 45 extradition applications, half of which relate to white-collar crime. And of the nine applications granted, not one has involved an alleged terrorist...

Did you catch this sentence? “The alleged crime wasn’t even a criminal offense in Britain until June 2003...” This is one problem with the proposed Treaty, it applies retroactively. Also, Mr. Norris was also never charged for a crime in Britain, which is also true of the “ NatWest 3,” currently in the U.S. awaiting trial. Blogger Brian Barder sums up the case of the NatWest 3 like this:
So we have here three UK citizens, charged with offences committed in Britain against a British company, for which they have never been charged in Britain: the Americans claiming extra-territorial jurisdiction as if Washington were the seat of a world government and a world court; an Act of Parliament under which all this is allowed to happen (thus effectively preventing the UK courts from offering protection to the victims); the cowardly refusal of the British law officers or the home secretary to exercise their discretion to prevent extradition from going ahead; a deeply flawed and one-sided agreement with the US, for which David Blunkett is unsurprisingly responsible from his days as home secretary; and three Britons about to be the victims of the deeply unjust American systems of plea bargaining, over-charging (remember Louise Woodward?), and grossly over-long prison sentences.

U.S. patriots are concerned that the proposed Treaty pays mere lip service to the political exception clause, and has no statute of limitations, which inspired the right-wing publication World Net Daily to ask Could treaty with UK target U.S. founders?

Critics say a new anti-terrorism treaty between the U.S. and the United Kingdom could conceivably result in Great Britain seizing the assets of dead enemies – like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

The treaty, forwarded April 19, 2004, by President Bush to the U.S. Senate for ratification, has generated little media attention and little controversy – probably due to the fact that it is an
agreement between coalition partners in the war on terrorism.

But some who have examined the small print see big problems with the new extradition treaty – saying it abrogates the constitutional rights of Americans accused of wrongdoing by
Great Britain and threatens the estates of long-dead antagonists of the crown...under the treaty as written, the British could demand recompense from anyone in the U.S. who stood up to British law – living or dead....

On September 7, the Senate Foreign Relation Committee will decide whether or not to send John Ashcroft’s treaty to the full Senate for ratification. Email them today, and tell them to vote “no” to the US UK Extradition Treaty (Treaty 108-23). (Scroll down for a list of committee members)

For more information, see the ACLU press release Oppose British-American Extradition Treaty and their list of talking points Support Proper Judicial Review for Extradition Requests. There is also further information at my Daily Kos diary Stop Bush/Blair and John Ashcroft’s Extradition Treaty.

Below is a list of Committee members. I’ve put an asterisk beside the names of those who voted for the flag burning amendment, because I thought readers of Democratic Underground would like to challenge these Senators to show how truly patriotic they are. Since they voted to protect the symbol of Democracy, tell them to cast a vote to protect Democracy itself, by voting no to the US/UK Extradition Treaty on September 7.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee (* = voted for flag burning amendment)

Richard Lugar *
Chuck Hagel
Lincoln Chafee
Norm Coleman *[br /> George Voinovich *
Lamar Alexander *
John Sununu *
Lisa Murkowski *
Mel Martinez *

Democrats (only 1 voted for flag burning amendment; for the rest, remind them that we actually do have an extradition treaty with the U.K. already, which is good enough to bring any criminals to the U.S. for trial, assuming we have just cause. We don’t need another treaty, especially not one endorsed by John Ashcroft.

Joseph R. Biden
Paul S. Sarbanes
Christopher J. Dodd
John F. Kerry
Russell D. Feingold
Barbara Boxer
Bill Nelson *
Barack Obama

One last thing—this treaty will be voted on the same day as the highly controversial John Bolton nomination, which will grab all the press. Don’t let the media sweep this treaty under the rug! Contact the editor of your local paper and ask them to cover the “John Ashcroft Treaty,” too.
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