Sunday, December 02, 2007

United States Of Kidnapping

By Cernig

The members of the Bush administration don't think of themselves as the rulers of an American hegemony?

Pull the other one, it has bells on it.
AMERICA has told Britain that it can “kidnap” British citizens if they are wanted for crimes in the United States.

A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the US Supreme Court has sanctioned it.
Not just Brits - anyone.
Until now it was commonly assumed that US law permitted kidnapping only in the “extraordinary rendition” of terrorist suspects.

The American government has for the first time made it clear in a British court that the law applies to anyone, British or otherwise, suspected of a crime by Washington.

Legal experts confirmed this weekend that America viewed extradition as just one way of getting foreign suspects back to face trial. Rendition, or kidnapping, dates back to 19th-century bounty hunting and Washington believes it is still legitimate.
But the same administration has vigorously pursued immunity from prosecution for US citizens by other nations for crimes committed while in those nations. Such a double standard, fuelled by a view of American exceptionalism which draws its inspiration from past colonial powers (including, it must be admitted, Britain) gives a clear lie to administration supporters' claims of there being no intention for hegemonic dominance. Only the most blinkered "my country, right or wrong" zealots could argue otherwise.

British law, however, says that kidnapping is a crime with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The UK government should make it clear that charges will be brought against any US official authorising kidnapping under a purely American and outdated law - and that even if extradition is refused by the US then those charges will remain open indefinitely. It should also make it clear that should the accused travel to another nation where the UK has an extradition treaty, Britain will ask for remand of the suspect to a British court for trial. Other nations should follow suit.

Update Prominent British conservative blogger and pundit Iain Dale writes:
the US has told Britain it can 'kidnap' British citizens if they are wanted on sus[icion of committing a crime in the US. Apparently this is because the Supreme Court has "sanctioned it". What arrant nonsense. I wasn't aware that the US Supreme Court had jurisdiction over the entire planet. Surely the law of extradition takes precedence over the US Supreme Court? Maybe a lawyer can enlighten us.
I suspect it entirely depends on whether the lawyer is American or from another country.

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