Extradition Arrangements

American leg irons.jpg


It cannot be right that British citizens should be handed over so casually

Blair should intervene and put this unjust and one-sided treaty [2003 Extradition Treaty] on hold

The only way to ease the strains in the relations between England and Scotland, and strengthen the Union, is to end the injustice by which Scottish MPs can vote on English laws, whereas English MPs cannot vote on many provisions affecting Scotland. And it would certainly ease transatlantic tensions if people thought we were no longer being pushed around in our extradition arrangements

America defends its citizens, so why don’t we defend ours?

Look here, Blair, which country do you think you are running anyway?

When the people of Britain choose a government, they assume that their government will regard their security as its number one priority. They assume that if a foreign power should try to treat British citizens unfairly, then the government will intervene. They assume that the government will think it a sacred trust to protect British citizens.


They assume that a government can be relied upon to negotiate treaties that preserve the liberties of British people, and prevent them from being arbitrarily hoicked off to face trial in foreign jurisdictions.

That is why the Labour Government is failing in its primary function – to look after the people – in allowing Britons to be sent for trial in America, without requiring the Americans to produce any prima facie evidence, when we have no corresponding rights over suspects that we want to extradite from America.

The Government knows it is failing in this duty. As yesterday’s open letter in this newspaper showed, many distinguished folk in the City are scandalised and appalled at what is going on. The Government has completely failed to win the argument, mainly because they no longer make any effort to win the argument. If Tony Blair’s performance in the Commons was anything to go by, the Government’s tactic is just to stick their fingers in their ears and go la la la. Failing that, they try to bamboozle us with falsehoods.

At some time in the next few days, my constituent David Bermingham and his fellow alleged NatWest fraudsters will receive a call from the extradition squad, who are in possession of their passports. The men will be told to go to Gatwick and catch a certain flight, in the knowledge that if they should fail to show at the airport, they will be arrested and put on the flight anyway. On the flight, they will be attended by two US marshals. They will arrive in Newark, where they will be fitted out in Guantanamo-style boiler suits, handcuffs and leg-irons.

They will then be conveyed by bus for two days to Houston, Texas, where they will be welcomed to a federal penitentiary that is likely to be their home for two years. Surrounded by all the drug-crazed convenience-store robbers and psychokillers who have escaped Dubya’s death row, they will try to secure bail and to prepare their cases. This will be difficult, since if there was a fraud against NatWest, it took place in this country and against the interests of a UK bank.

Insofar as there is a case to defend, the evidence is all on this side of the Atlantic. You would therefore expect the case to be heard in this country, and yet no UK authority has shown the slightest interest in prosecuting any of the three. Not the police, not the CPS, not the Serious Fraud Office.

In fact the only reason they are going for trial in America is that their actions are said to have some bearing on the Enron affair, and since the Americans are going through one of their periodic Salem witch trials of white-collar criminals, it was thought that their testimony would be useful. Just give us these guys, would you? said the Americans, and the UK authorities have responded with a pliancy of a boneless wonder. Yes, sir, no, sir, three bags full, sir. Have three suspects.

Have as many as you like. After you, Claude. You should not suppose that this procedure is either extraordinary or unusual. Also on that flight will be five other UK citizens, part of the regular transatlantic shuttle of 40 British suspects that we send over to the US every year.

And guess how many suspects the Americans send over here, on average, for trial in Britain? Just under three a year. That’s right. America is a country of getting on for 300 million. Britain has a population of 60 million. And yet we produce far more extraditable suspects than America.

How can that be? Easy. It’s because we allow the Americans to give their citizens privileges and protections that we do not give our own.

Yesterday Mr Blair seriously misled (I will not say lied to) the House of Commons. He said that Britain and America had the same evidentiary requirements in extradition cases, when he knows that to be total tosh.

The critical difference is that if we want to extradite someone from America, then there is a hearing before a judge magistrate at which the evidence can be assessed and the accused can make his or her case.

There is no such protection in the UK. As soon as the Americans provide “information” – a simple statement of the accusation – we accept that there is a case to answer, and whoosh, it’s off on the plane to Newark and the leg-irons. It cannot be right that British citizens should be handed over so casually, when there are still many IRA suspects at large in America, whom we have sought for decades, who will never be handed over because of the Irish-American lobby. It cannot be right that we should continue to observe the 2003 extradition treaty, signed by David Blunkett in the aftermath of the World Trade Centre bombings, when pressure from the Irish lobby means that the Americans will almost certainly never ratify it themselves.

Blair should intervene and put this unjust and one-sided treaty on hold, not just for the protection of UK citizens but for the good of America. We have seen how the US is now declining in trust and popularity in this country, and one of the reasons is that people sense a lack of reciprocity in the relationship.

There must be symmetry. There must be balance. The only way to ease the strains in the relations between England and Scotland, and strengthen the Union, is to end the injustice by which Scottish MPs can vote on English laws, whereas English MPs cannot vote on many provisions affecting Scotland. And it would certainly ease transatlantic tensions if people thought we were no longer being pushed around in our extradition arrangements, and that sauce for the NatWest goose was sauce for the IRA gander.

48 thoughts on “Extradition Arrangements”

  1. What about that chap who was extradited for hacking into US government computers? He could have nicked here under the Computer Misuse Act. I don’t remember anyone making a fuss about that.

    If George W wants to take on white collar crime and financial fraud then good. The Met Police don’t even bother to investigate fraud over here unless it’s either open and shut and about a 7 figure sum, would make good press or its the commissioners wife thats been defrauded.

    Big fraud trials usually collapse over here anyway. Will these guys really be slopping out with ‘drug-crazed convenience-store robbers and psychokillers who have escaped Dubya’s death row’? I don’t know.

    Blair could just say ‘no’ and there aint a damn thing Bush could do really. But Blair aint very good at saying ‘no’ (unlike George W).

  2. it’s rather intersting that you should mention the IRA boris, i had a rather heated debate with some american pals of mine that the “war on terror” was in fact only a war on terror as long as the terrorists aren’t white or jewish, seeing as kennedy was the first president to openly support any actions taken by irish fundamentalists, though his support predates the troubles, that should not be forgotten. also am i the only person who notices the lack of symmetry in america’s foreign policy towards israel, denounce plaestinian attacks but ignore the israeli army when they kill palestinian civilians.

  3. The Oklahoma bombing and 9/11 basically killed off US funding to the IRA (apparently a lot of Americans didn’t actually know what terrorism was, they had some kind of romantic notion about Irish ‘freedom fighting’).

    George W did try to introduce the ‘roadmap to peace’, but the problem in Israel / Palastine is basically peoples attitudes if you ask me. I’ve seen documentries where (not uncommon in civil conficts) children are being taught that they can’t go to school because there is a war on and that the best thing they could possibly be in life is a ‘martyr’.

    Israel has every right to exist and is surrounded by hostile Islamist theocratic states, many of which encourage Palastinians (and arm them) to continue a pointless war against what is basically a free and democratic country.

    Just like we British can’t stand the idea of people in other nations who know nothing of our history or culture supporting a terrorist ideology (the IRA) the Israelis (who judging by all the Israelis I’ve met in London are lovely people) can’t stand all this militant Islamist nonsense that promotes war, suffering and terrorism. Hence they arm themselves and defend their freedom and democracy.

    You have to be very careful with the anti-Israel stuff, it can lead to anti-semitism and this is the roots of both facism and militant islamist jihad.

  4. (Off topic) – Secret talks between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown on when the Prime Minister will step down have collapsed.

    In private meetings last week, Blair insisted he would not yield to pressure from Brown, trade unions and backbench MPs to name a date.

    A source close to the PM said: “He has not decided to stand down next year. He won’t walk away with the job half finished.”

    But Brown supporters said the uncertainty was damaging Labour party.

  5. Keep up the good work Boris ! If Her Majesty’s Government can’t protect her subjects from foreign powers, then there not a whole lot of point to it or its generous pensions, salaries and other perks.

    Lay into them for us !

    And I hope you constituent gets a fair trial – but we often forget how much anti-English sentiment there is in the US. ( Especially in the Irish-American community. ) I’ve seen it in business and its shocking.

  6. ‘Secret talks’ ‘priavet meetings’ I hope our proper secret talks and private meetings are kept more secret and private than this.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Blair don’t give a damn, he’s just amusing himself, looking after himself and taking the mickey. He’ll get bored one day, or get a good job offer, or Cherie will decide that she wants to move out of number 10 and off he’ll toddle.

  7. Perhaps Steven L might remember that the legality of the Zionist state is debatable. Britain allowed it to come into existance because we felt sorry (understandably) for the Jews after WW2 and we had had made the damn silly Balfour agreement ’cause we needed the Jewish money to help us fight WW1. Perhaps he also forgets the number of British soldiers murdered by the same zionist terrorists led by Ben Gurion, whom then was honoured by them naming their main airport after him. USA support and financing of Israeli terrorists, Saudi despots, and IRA thugs was, and remains despicable. Don’t think that President Shrub is any better than previous ones. The USA is no role model for us or any other European country.

  8. Steven. I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic or not, and as this is a topic close to my heart I’ll attempt to stay out of future discussions on this topic, but the links between Ben Gurion and the Stern Gang terrorists are well documented. Perhaps even better documented than the (alleged)links between a much-applauded asassinated US president and the IRA)

  9. i actually went to scool with a few jewish guys and got on with them fairly well, but my problem with the israel situation comes down to the agreements in 1917 about the foundation of the independant palestinian state, this is the earliest legal agreement for the land and SHOULD have been honoured, and on the irish americans, though funding stopped for the ira and in truth it wasn’t that much in monetary terms it remains an insult to the people of this nation, and doubly so towards any victim or the familiy of any victim of irish terrorism and while most of the really horrific bombings were not carried out by the IRA and were in fact carried out by various splinter groups, i am going to tar them all with the same brush. i am a scotsman and if we were to fight for our independance i would gladly help but not if that fight was directed at non combatants on any side, the fact remains that america has supported both. just because hamas and other groups have attacked civilian populations in israel doesn’t give the israeli army the right to attack plaestinian civilians, although LOOK at their role models the US, they do the same thing, think about it. we only really know about vietnam and iraq, but how many others have there been, and don’t mention our own problems with these things we at least punish our men properly.

  10. ‘at least we punish our men properly’ (dave)

    Come on Dave! Our crime and punishment system is a joke. Bush on the other hand he knows what to do with vermin meth-heads that murder old ladies for 20 bucks…pump them full of potassium chloride! Jeb was a fan of frying them, but they are starting to think it’s a bit unconstitutional these days.

    As for the US military, I think Bush is an excellent Commander in Chief, just the guys on the ground don’t seem to listen to him and follow his orders very well. People whinge about him not signing up to the International Criminal Court for War Crimes but why the hell should he? Saying that why should we put our boys in the situation where they can be personally prosecuted on the orders of foreign powers?

    War is war, there are winners and there are losers and they started it. These so called ‘jihadists’ that want to destroy our way of life need taking out of the picture and Bush is the man to do it. The situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is more caused by France and Germany and other nations refusing to commit to the War on Terror like we did if you ask me.

  11. We seem to be getting off the subject which concerns the NW3. I assume everyone has actually taken the time to study the relevant documents concerning the case against the Natwest 3. The americans have a very strong case against these men and the reason for the extradition is that the millions of dollars they are alledged to have stolen came from an american company, Enron, and thus from american stockholders. The men may have been based in London at the time but the money was stolen from Texas!. Now if you reject their extradition on the grounds of principle or that the treaty is unfair then logically you must object to all extraditions to USA & that includes terrorist suspects, rapists, murders, etc. Now at the time this treaty was signed by Blair there was no protest from either Tory or Labour MP’s, no protest march by bankers/traders in the City nor any outcry in the Papers (especially The Telegraph). We have already extradited suspects using this treaty with very little fuss. My question is “why are we now so concerned about this sudden breach of our human rights and why the sudden waving of the Human rights Bill?”. I think all people should consider very carefully the full implications of this case and their support for the NatWest 3. At the very least they should seek out the relevant legal documents on the case and make up their own mind before jumping onto the band wagon. Just my thoughts on the subject.

  12. It is a true shame that we appear to be being ruled by a Draconian dictatorship. George Orwell gave us the words for the situation, it’s only a shame they are so apt.

  13. steve my words were taken incorrectly, i mean come on i have met liberals who think the criminal justice system in this country is joke, LIBERALS for christs sake. i was reffering to our treatment of military criminals in the past, saying at least we know how to treat the men who commit atrocities like the american slaughter at mai lai. but consider for a second the reasons that this whole “jihad” started, and think about this hypothetical situation, the americans come along and say that they are going to give half of this country to the wallonians because they deserve it for having had such a rough time of things. how would feel? miffed perhaps? miffed enough to declare jihad against america?

    i know it is a really bad example, because wallonia is in the low countries and they haven’t had a rough time of it, but the setup is fair.

    the rest of the targeted nations have been brought into things because we support the americans, at least the french learned their lesson from the trouble they had over the lebanon, we certainly didn’t.

  14. War is war, there are winners and there are losers and they started it. These so called ‘jihadists’ that want to destroy our way of life need taking out of the picture and Bush is the man to do it. (steven_L)

    Complete bunkum.

    Everything Bush has ever done has been has been a disastrous failure. Both Afghanistan and Iraq are pretty much disaster areas, in which America has been very successful in making millions more enemies for itself. The man is delusional, incompetent, and dangerous.

  15. Off-topic, but This Week’s Andrew Neal has just said that while fans of Ken Clarke and Boris regard their heroes as ‘authentic’, others regarded them as “master spinners of their own images”.

    Michael Portillo responded that Ken was exactly what he appeared to be – someone you’d find in a pub holding a pint. But he agreed that Boris was a “master spinner”.

    I’m shocked. Shocked.

    It had never once crossed my mind that Boris might not actually be what he appears to be. We all know this to be true of all politicians. But surely Boris must be the exception that proves the rule?

  16. boris is a great man, but does come across as little bit of a buffoon, through no fault of his own and certainly not if you read his column, but the image and public persona is very misleading, after all boris has an A1 analytical mind but such things rarely show through.

  17. Dead right, Boris. There’s something very wrong with a UK that jumps every time the US says jump, but can’t apply the same rules in return. Maybe it’s because we’ve never taken the trouble to clearly define our rights, preferring them to be embodied in traditions that most people don’t understand. I dunno.

    On the other hand, I know one of them’s a constituent and all, and there’s no prima facie evidence and all that, but these three guys were up to SOMETHING, and if it’s part of the Enron thing then it’s somebody else’s money they were doing it with. It just won’t wash making quips about the US pursuing a ‘witch-hunt against white collar workers’: there’s good business and bad business, and the Enron case is an example of very bad business indeed. Innocent people have suffered, and all the signs are that these three at NatWest were part of it in some way.

    So try them, but do it here. We’ve got the technology. Let’s use it.

    PS: while we’re on the subject of tradition getting in the way of things – if you think Blair lied to the house, bloody well say so. The Palace of Westminster may have been around for a long time, but that doesn’t make its rules sacrosanct. Far too many politicians have hidden behind this nonsense that you can’t call an Honourable Member a liar, and that’s just the sort of thing that makes ordinary citizens run screaming with disgust from the whole process of politics.

  18. ‘So try them, but do it here. We’ve got the technology. Let’s use it.’ (Mark Gamon)

    The English legal system is particularly ineffective in big fraud trials. The defence will usually try to confuse jurors with thousands of documents that they do not understand and will try to keep the trial running for so long that jurors are lost for various reasons and the trial collapses.

    Jeremy Clarkson wrote quite a humourous Telegraph article about this once. Something about a woman he met who thought that beetles were breeding in her head and the fact that she would have been eligable for jury service in a fraud trial and expected to decide whether or not it was legal to move vast sums of other peoples money through various offshore tax havens.

    I do think however that there are ulteria motives in this action. Motives to do with cutthroat big business deals accross the pond. It would be far easier for Enron’s receivers to sue the Nat West 3 over here in the High court where they onlty have to prove dishonesty in balance of probabilities and if they have done anything wrong finanically they can then be penalised financially and made to pay costs on top.

  19. another something thats off topic but it does make my blood boil came to mind when mark mentioned the palace of westminister. did you know that when the smoking ban in public places comes in that the only bars you will able to smoke in are the bars in the houses of parliament, because they are palaces and thus exempt, i am a smoker and this does smack somewhat of double standards.

  20. Double standards? I seem to remember them touting the idea of minimum drinks prices. Also this rubbish that if you drink 4 pints of continental lager you are a ‘binge drinker’ and as such are ‘anti-social’.

    Boris how much is a pint of Stella in the Commons bar again?

  21. (Off topic) – Tony Blair yesterday faced fresh pressure to step down!!!

    Former Health Secretary Frank Dobson said the PM’s authority had “substantially declined” since announcing he would not lead Labour into a fourth general election.

    Dobson told GMTV that Blair should probably tell Labour’s Autumn conference that he was going within weeks.

    Also, Brown ally Geoffrey Robinson, a former Treasury Minister, complained on Sky News that Tony Blair had an unfortunate tendency to “try to bounce the Commons and the party into particular decisions”.

  22. (Off topic) – Jittery John Prescott yesterday insisted he only made his controversial visit to American billionaire Philip Anschultz’s ranch because he likes… all cowboy movies (!!!).

    “Brokeback Mountain”, too?

  23. i thought that was prescotts fave. yes i know we should show the honourable members a great deal of respect but i do find that dificult when they show the people of this great nation nothing but utter contempt. so precott jokes are cool.

  24. Quite honestly, didn’t Prezza claim that he’d been discussing ranch economics? Coming as I have from an afternoon spend on such a spread in the Canadian West, I am unaware at this time of any extant Ponderosa spreads on the Salisbury Plain, ferinstance. Is this really even the most feeble of excuses?

    Utterly OT: I highly recommend an afternoon spent on a ranch, grooming someone else’s horses and petting their cats, dogs and tame, human-imprinted chickens. Okay, maybe not the chickens. But otherwise it was about as wholesome as it comes: I’m surprised Prescott didn’t spontaneously combust, it’s so bloody wholesome.

    Really, the only problem is that he returned.

  25. He has to arrive to US Court why others arrived already also from UK?

    Israeli Trojan espionage writers extradited for trial
    http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2006/02/01/213977/IsraeliTrojanespionagewritersextraditedfortrial.htm

    Fat Spaniard faces jail for online bank hack

    http://www.itweek.co.uk/computing/news/2153765/fat-spaniard-faces-jail-online

    International Software Piracy Ringleader Arrested With Assistance of San Francisco Electronic Crimes Task Force Agents in Bangkok, Thailand

    http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/can/press/html/2003_05_21_kovalchuk.html

  26. I may have a reason to stop these extraditions. I cannot find anywhere that it has been used before.
    Could someone please call me ASAP on 07703 23 23 32.

  27. Sure. Will you accept a collect call from Canada?

    You do know, don’t you, that with new treaties often there is a first time for something…the fact that it’s a new law means that this has never been done before and that they expect to do it and this happens to be the first time. Unless Mister Broken English up above is correct, which his use of the language does not, in fact, rule out.

    I am sure, Dave, that your primary concern is that justice be done; therefore I feel confident in NOT phoning you, but rather in relying on your goodwill and good actions. You go, girlfriend!

  28. Boris – re the Enron three – it is time to put away your comedy act and get serious – there is about to be a gross infringement of the British rights of your constituents – I know you have been trying but it is time to step up a gear and you can do it !

    I work in the city and this extradition law will stifle US / international business . Fraud should be prosecuted and dealt with severely but a citizen of the UK deserves a fair trial in the UK for alleged crimes committted in the UK. Their chances of a fair trial in Texas are remote

  29. i only just noticed reading todays paper that in fact the us congress has yet to ratify this treaty, now i know that our way has always been to show courtesy, but i think that until the treaty is ratified and we are able to get all those pleasant little irishmen who kill children for “the cause” we should refuse to extradite these individuals, plus the treaty is only meant to be used for terror suspects, these gentlemen have been allegedly linked with some frankly unsavoury things but terrorism isn’t it. so the way i see it is the americans treat some terrorists like royalty in boston and we give away loyal british citizens simply because not to do so would be bad form, while at the same time we can’t get our hands on some actual terrorists. it’s an utter disgrace, the more i think about it the sicker i feel.

  30. I was talking to a Texan last Friday night in the pub, he was telling me that they are making such a big fuss about Enron because of the job losses.

  31. just found out my dad has been doing consulting work for homeland security, i feel soooo dirty.

  32. Can’t you guys send Maggie over the pond to get it sorted out? She worked wonders in South Africa when her son paddled himself up **** creek.

    Maybe it would be a good strategy for the Tories to pretend that Blair and co don’t actually exist, in other words ignore them and rather than expect Tony and his cronies to sort things out just get on and do it yourselves?

  33. the problem being is that the party is solid, but we have IMO a weak leader, too liberal for the conservative party.

  34. John Humphrys interviewed John Prescott on BBC Radio 4 Today.
    This is serious. Please don’t laugh. Thanks.

    Humphrys:- There are now reports, and they are circulating on the internet, as you know, that you’ve had other extra-marital affairs. Is that true?

    Prescott:- John, you’re doing exactly what you read in the papers.

    Humphrys:- I asked you whether you’d had any other extra-marital affairs?

    Prescott:- I’ve told you what the answer, I’ve given a statement about that (Tracey Temple affair). I made a mistake, I’ve owned up to it immediately… (?!!!)

    Humphrys:- Have you had other extra-marital affairs?

    Prescott:- I watched Newsnight last night and the press, as you know – most people don’t – and it’s called, I think it’s called the internet, isn’t it? or blogs or something? (!!!) I’ve only just got used to letters, John, I haven’t got into all this new technology, but I watched the guy on television last night who does that, saying I have no evidence for these allegations I’ve made. (Internet blogger Iain Dale went on TV).

    Humphrys:- So they’re not true, are they?

    Prescott:- There’s no truth in much of the stories that are made in the papers…

    Humphrys:- So you have NOT had other extra-marital affairs?

    Prescott:- Listen, you’re talking about a lot of people here who have in fact denied these stories, names have been mentioned, some of them are in the process of perhaps suing about it (?!!!). I’m not going to get involved in that… (?!!!), but I notice the guy who’s making these allegations says there’s no evidence for it. So why are you justified to keep on trying to push this…?

    Humphrys:- Because I wanted for you to to clear it up for once and for all and say I made that mistake with that particular lady (Tracey Temple), and that I have had NO other extra-marital affairs.

    Prescott:- I made my mistake and I’ve made my denials. It doesn’t make any difference to what the press say, but I will… get on with my… job… (???).

    ** JOHN PRESCOTT FAILED TO DENY HE’D HAD OTHER EXTRA-MARITAL AFFAIRS 6 TIMES IN THIS INTERVIEW **

  35. Hugh O’Donnell – Its not that many of are sure the Natwest 3 are innocent – its that British Subjects can be deported without any case being tested. This looks worse as the crimes occured in the UK – but UK authorities won’t prosecute. It is a basic failure of the duty of government to its citizens.

    By the way what odds will you give on the US ratifying their version of this arrangement ? Given the need to protect IRA terrorists in the US I’d say very low.

  36. Boris,

    I think the time has come for shareholders and users of Natwests so-called facilities to withdraw their business. Hitting Natwest in the pocket may substantially concentrate their minds to do the right thing and make public the grounds for which the Natwest three are to be incarcerated. This bank is in so much awe of American Power aided and abetted by Blair only a grass roots revolt will work. Incidentally how much are Nat west in the pocket of HMG I see Goodwin has a Knighthood what did that cost?

  37. Man in a shed – The NW3 are charged with Wire Fraud. They are alleged, with the help of a number of Enron staff (who have already pleaded quilty), to have used Fax/Email to defaud Enron AND NatWest of millions of dollars. The fact that they were based in England has no bearing on the case. Again the actual money they now have in their own personal bank accounts came from the pockets of Enron shareholders. The wire fraud did not take place in Britain. The only way these men can be prosecuted is in America. Now if you are saying that these men should be released then you cannot allow them to be tried for a crime that did not take place in this country. That also would be an injustice. If you believe, like me, that crime cannot pay then these men must go to America and explain their actions. Is it not the duty of the government to protect its citzens from criminals? The problem with this country is that criminals already have too much protection and innocent people, like those shareholders, get shafted.

    You want the america government to prove their case before we can allow extradition. Do you want this for all suspects or just financial cases?. If these men were murders, rapists, or terrorists would you still demand their release! Remember the man who was extradited for the murder of his wife and child. Nobody spoke up for him and yet the same level of evidence was offered by the americans. I remember no outcry in the papers. No Telegraph campaign. Was this man not innocent until proved otherwise? Was he not a British citzen? Does he not reside in an American prison on remand, waiting for his trial? I say we cannot have one law for business men and another for the rest of us. Extradition is either for all suspects or none. We can’t pick and choose who we think might be innocent or guilty based on a PR campaign.

    As to the IRA terrorists. Even if they were extradited, under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, they would spend no time in prison. So basically we would be paying for the flights home for a holiday. I suspect the american’s reluctance to sign the treaty has little to do with irish terrorists (a group who George Bush has no time for) and more to do with their own business men and the behaviour of their troops abroad.

  38. I am sorry to badger people about this case but would they please look at the facts of the case before making their judgement. After this I promise never to write about this case again & to bow to the majority. But I will give it one more try, and maybe if I use an analogy it would make things easier.

    Imagine that a man inherits a beach house in the Caymen Islands and he decides to sell it. He also decides to ask his son & daughter to help. The son has the house valued and tells the old man it is worth 1 million pounds.(Not the true value but close to it) The father accepts his sons advice and agrees to sell. Next the son & daughter secretly buy the house and in conjunction with estate agents in Texas try and sell it to an American couple for 15 million pounds. They, along with the agents in Texas, provide false documents to back-up this value. The American family agree to the purchase and wire the money, at which point the conspirators split up the money and go their separate ways. Now at no point in this process did the son & daughter leave the UK. Everything was done by fax/email and electronic transfer. Now who do you think has the greater grievance? The father, the American family or the son & daughter and where did the crime take place. I vote the American family and USA!

    If after this you still think the NatWest 3 are totally innocent then you are an idiot. I am sorry but you are!. If on the other hand you think that they have a case to answer but due to the technicality that America has yet to ratified their end of the treaty, they should be released immediately then I bow to your greater sense of natural justice. I do ask you to do one thing for me. Next time an Afgan hijacker is set free due to a clerical mistake at the Home Office, or a child pornographer walks because the wrong date was placed on a search warrant, or a police murderer skips bail and leaves the country, I want you to go to your local, buy a pint of their finest and toast the great British legal system with its loopholes & technicalities which have so enriched our lawyers and criminals. Apologies if I don’t join you, I suspect the taste of that pint would turn my stomach.

    (I tried to post on another site but with no luck)

  39. With respect, the point is not the guilt or innocence of the NatWesties: it is their right to trial in the United Kingdom, and their right to proper extradition procedures as UK citizens and/or the UK’s right of reciprocity in extradition matters involving the US. Surely you don’t disagree with those?

    Thanks for your posts; more understanding of the case is better, but we must understand what the issues at hand are before we can make up our minds. Even the guilty have rights; it is our task as human beings and involved citizens (on both sides of the water) to discover and to respect those rights.

  40. ‘I suspect the american’s reluctance to sign the treaty has little to do with irish terrorists (a group who George Bush has no time for) and more to do with their own business men and the behaviour of their troops abroad.’ (Hugh O’Donnell)

    I think it is more to do with neo-conservatism in general. The US, under either Republican or Democrat administrations see’s itself as a defender of the free world and Western values, however under the current neo-con administration they refuse (and it can be argued this is right or wrong) to submit their troops and their citizens to foreign justice systems (unless you are talking aout some no-good sex offender or other such vermin).

  41. Boris

    At last a politician that does what he promises to do – to promote and protect the democratic and human rights of his constituents.

    The actions of Blair and his sycophants towards the US is a disgrace.

    Countless times in the past have US Citizens and members of their armed forces have been accused of committing crimes more henious than alleged fraud

    The countries where these crimes have been committed have time and again been refused their due democratic process of law because the US protects it citizens from prosecution abroad (Japan, Italy, Germay, Iraq, South Korea to name a few).

    When will we recognise the double standards in this and do something about it?

  42. It is often being reported that this one-sided legislation was pushed through in the context of the war on terror rather than white-collar crime. Dominic Grieve is reported as saying “The very point about white-collar crime was flagged-up and [the minister] was terribly reassuring about this and said ‘oh no, no these aren’t the sort of people we’re aiming at’. The necessity was post-9/11 terrorist requirements.”

    But is there any hard evidence that MPs were being told this? Would Boris go on record as saying so? I can’t find anything in Hansard, though am aware that the legislation did not exactly receive the scrutiny one would have wished.

  43. What puzzles me is that if they were to be extradited on state charges from, say, California, to Texas then there would at least be a hearing where some kind of evidence of a case to answer is produced. England doesn’t seem to be that concerned about sending people into situation where the case isn’t well formed (rumor has it that its going to take a year or two to bring this to trial) and nobody’s exactly sure what the case is anyway except that its Enron related and *somebody’s* going to have to pay, especially now Ken Lay’s out of the picture. Careers are on the line.

    You Brits may not know this but Mexico routinely refuses to extradite murderers without an explicit pledge that the prosecution will not seek the death penalty. Mexico, like most of the civilized world, isn’t into killing people as punishment so it enforces this even though some of the people involved have been the sort that you’d really want to drop down a very deep pit (with extra scorpions). One up for Mexico — they look out for people even if they’re not citizens. Maybe they could teach Blair a thing or two?

  44. Natwest Three

    The Lib Dems have started a campaign about the US/UK lopsided extradition treaty. Essentially the US can extradite a UK citizen without presenting probable cause. For the innocent, this can mean a multiple year trial (as well as expensive defence)…

  45. On a side issue – It was said in a number of newspaper reports and it was mentioned on BBC radio that if these men were tried in Britain they would receive Legal Aid. How can these men get Legal Aid? By their own admission they are very rich!. One lives in house worth over a million pounds. My next door neightbour was refused Legal Aid because “she earned too much” and she works in a supermarket. What the hell is going on with the legal system in this country.

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