When Bankers are treated like Terrorists
Critics of hastily arranged anti-terror legislation have long been warning that the laws allegedly intended to make us safe would ultimately remove our civil liberties step by step and put us all at the mercy of Big Brother's overreaching government. Nothing could illustrate this more clearly than today's demonstration by an unlikely group of protesters: business executives petitioning Downing Street about the inequity of Britain's new extradition treaty with the US.
In a letter to Home Secretary John Reid, prompted by the lost battle of three NatWest bankers to fight extradition to the US, the businessmen complain that the existing arrangement is inequitable because US officials have to offer less proof of wrongdoing than their UK counterparts. The US can ask for the extradition of UK citizens without any prima facie evidence of any misdemeanour, and the Home Office will simply rubber stamp the request. "We are extremely concerned that the current arrangements for extradition to the US expose British business people to unique and serious risks," they say in their letter. "Not only are our arrangements non-reciprocal but they deprive British business people of the opportunity to defend themselves, under UK jurisdiction, against allegations of conduct which patently should be heard in a UK court."
David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew were wanted by the US authorities as part of the fraud investigations following the Enron scandal. Ironically, the three are supported by Liberty who first fought the new extradition treaty on behalf of Barbar Ahmed, a so-called terror suspect whom they would most certainly not have supported in his struggle for justice. And this is precisely the point: The British people are turning a blind eye at government infringing the rights of individuals because those individuals are only "Muslim terrorists". When the chicken eventually come home to roost and they realise that those very same laws are also going to be used against them, it is too late to shed tears.