Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Join the March on the Home Office

You may well be aware that there is currently an unfair and aggressively policed extradition treaty with the US which has resulted in the dubious imprisonment in the US of one British businessman and the potential imprisonment of several more. Karl Watkin isn't just talking about it, he's organising a dignified demonstration of businesses' concern (that's a march to you and me) this THURSDAY 29th JUNE AT 5pm from the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall to the Home Office in Marsham Street, a short distance away.

A letter, addressed to the Home Secretary, will be delivered that expresses the extreme unease among the business community at the UK's extradition arrangements with the US. This concern has been highlighted in particular by the case of Ian Norris, the former chief executive of Morgan Crucible plc and the possible imminent extradition of “The NatWest 3” all of which is thrown into even sharper relief by the current OFT/Department of Justice probe into alleged price fixing at BA.

The Daily Telegraph has been running a vociferous campaign highlighting the dangers for UK business people; it carries the support of the CBI, the Institute of Directors and human rights organisations, Liberty and Justice. Regrettably, the Government is currently adamant that there is no problem that needs to be addressed and is consequently refusing to make the changes to the extradition procedures they introduced. Amendments to the Extradition Act 2003 have been tabled by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Peers during the passage of the Police & Justice Bill. These would address many of the business community’s concerns. The amendments are currently opposed by the Government.

The demonstration, which will last for no more than 30-45 mins in total will take the form of a short walk from the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall through St James’s Park to the Home Office in Marsham Street SW1. The demonstration is designed to be dignified and silent. In my view it ought to be taking a detour past the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square. Mind you, I suppose that's not allowed nowadays.

Spread the word...


Anonymous said...

Is this the case of a Labour MSP's son, among those facing extradition, whose cause has also been championed by the Scottish Socialist Party?

Anonymous said...

"The demonstration, which will last for no more than 30-45 mins in total will take the form of a short walk from the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall through St James’s Park to the Home Office in Marsham Street SW1. The demonstration is designed to be dignified and silent. In my view it ought to be taking a detour past the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square. Mind you, I suppose that's not allowed nowadays."

The US Embassy is not a problem, but once the demonstration has crossed St James's Park, it will have entered the Designated Area "in the vicinity of Parliament Square", and so section 132 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 comes into play.

You may well ask why the Home Office in Marsham Street is included in the Designated Area, but you might as well ask why the London Eye ferris wheel on the other side of the Thames is also included, yet St James's Park, literally a stone's throw from 10 Downing Street is not included.

The organisers of this demonstration will need to have applied, in writing, by post or at any Metropolitan Police station, (not by phone, fax, or email or verbally), to the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis i.e. Sir Ian Blair, "at least 6 clear days" or "not less than 24 hours" beforehand.

Sir Ian Blair must grant permission, but can impose arbitrary conditions, which can be added to or changed at the whim of the senior police officer on the scene of the "demonstration".

Will members of the Institute of Directors suffer the same fate as other peaceful demonstrators, e.g. Maya Evans, who was convicted of holding a peaceful ceremony ("demonstration") whilst reading out the names of British soldiers who have died in Iraq by the Cenotaph in Whitehall last October ?

See ParliamentProtest.org.uk for more details about this curtailment of our rights to peaceful freedom of assembly and free speech, on utterly spurious "security" grounds, by the current Labour regime.

It is not just businessmen who are facing extradition to the USA, without any prima facie evidence being heard or challenged in a British court, on charges which could easily be heard under UK law:

FreeGary.org.uk - Gary McKinnon, is facing over 60 years in prison (he is 40 years old now) accused of hacking into over 90 unsecured US Military computer systems (no password set on the administrator accounts and no Internet firewalls !), before and after September 11th 2001, apparently in search of UFO or anti-gravity information.

www.freebabarahmad.com - Babar Ahmad - accused of running a website hosted in the USA, but controlled from London, circa 1999 / 2000, which supported Chechen rebels and the then Afghan government, the Taliban.

Why has neither any Chechen group (even the one responsible for the Beslan school siege atrocity) nor the Taliban (even though British troops are fighting them right now) ever been put on the list of proscribed terrorist groups in the UK ?

Both Gary Mckinnon and babar Ahmad fear that once they are extradited to the USA, they might be hoiked out of the civilian justice system could be held and eventually tried under Guantanamo Bay style conditions as "enemy combatants", by a Military Tribunal.

www.friendsextradited.org - the NatWest 3 - David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew are merchant bankers accused of defrauding a UK company, in London, with only tenuous connections to the Enron scandal in the USA.

Gary McKinnon and the NatWest 3 merchant bankers have been out on bail, but Babar Ahmad has been held in Belmarah and Woodhill prisons awaiting extradition i.e. held without having been charged with any crime.

All these British citizens facing extradition to the USA were arrested in London, for alleged crimes they committed whilst physically in London. They , could and should have been tried many months, if not years ago, in the UK, under English law.

Would David Cameron's plans to scrap the Human Rights Act mean that British citizens could be extradited to the USA or elsewhere to face a possible death penalty ?

Anonymous said...

It's about time we cut these bloody ties with this so called "Special Friend" USA who use this country and its citizens as a doormat and always have done! This lapdog Blair and his brood of poodles accepted this situation without a thought of a reciprocal deal which only goes to prove he wasn't much of a lawyer.

neil craig said...

Absolutely. 100%.It takes a lot to get Telegraph readers on a demo but this is it.

It is a disgrace that we ever signed up for a treaty that effectively removes all sovereignty from the UK & send it to Washington. The US can literally demand that any british subject be turned over to them to be locked away for actions done in britain which are perfectly legal under our law.

Is there the slightest possibility that the US would ever contemplate such a craven surrender of their citizens to us? Of course not - sovering states just don't act like this.

Thank Ghod for the right of appeal to the European Court & I don't say that lightly.

Anonymous said...

The lack of reprocity in the Treaty is an absolute scandal. This alleged crime (NatWest 3), took place in the UK, by UK citizens against a UK company. The only connection with the US was that a few emails made their way across the Atlantic.

Anonymous said...

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.