05 December 2007

A kid in need of a nap

US foreign policy has been a disaster ever since the second world war.

And it really has been a case of just one disaster after another. Now admittedly, not all of it has been America's own doing. But you just have to look at Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs, Grenada, Iraq etc to see how misguided their policy idiots are.

I thought I'd seen everything, until regular commenter Indefensible sent me this article from The Times Online website. In it, a QC representing the US State Department answers an enquiry in the UK Court of Appeal about an attempted abduction in Canada of a British citizen:

During a hearing last month Lord Justice Moses, one of the Court of Appeal judges, asked Alun Jones QC, representing the US government, about its treatment of Gavin, Tollman’s nephew. Gavin Tollman was the subject of an attempted abduction during a visit to Canada in 2005.

Jones replied that it was acceptable under American law to kidnap people if they were wanted for offences in America. “The United States does have a view about procuring people to its own shores which is not shared,” he said.

He said that if a person was kidnapped by the US authorities in another country and was brought back to face charges in America, no US court could rule that the abduction was illegal and free him: “If you kidnap a person outside the United States and you bring him there, the court has no jurisdiction to refuse — it goes back to bounty hunting days in the 1860s.”

Mr Justice Ouseley, a second judge, challenged Jones to be “honest about [his] position”.

Jones replied: “That is United States law.”


Jones then goes on to cite how US law condones abduction of foreign nationals to face charges in the US.


This ought to save the US money. Why go through expensive extradition cases, when you can fly a team of mercenaries into a country and bypass due process?

The last word:

There was concern this weekend from Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP, who said: “The very idea of kidnapping is repugnant to us and we must handle these cases with extreme caution and a thorough understanding of the implications in American law.”

Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, said: “This law may date back to bounty hunting days, but they should sort it out if they claim to be a civilised nation.”


I don't think anything else can be said. Someone in the US government or court system needs to wake up to themselves and stop behaving like a petulant child.

It's no wonder that the US is having popularity problems around the globe with stupid stuff like this. And the worst part about it is this: if another country did this in the US, they would be the first to complain. With extreme prejudice, too, I'm guessing.

10 comments:

Plonka said...

...and we must handle these cases with extreme caution and a thorough understanding of the implications in American law.

Why? What they should be doing is denouncing the policy in very public forum. Once that's done, an appeal to the international community. Perhaps even sanctions. That sort of fire needs to be fought with fire. Despicable policy.

Dikkii said...

Why? What they should be doing is denouncing the policy in very public forum. Once that's done, an appeal to the international community. Perhaps even sanctions. That sort of fire needs to be fought with fire. Despicable policy.

That's a good point and I'm surprised I didn't see it before.

I think Chakrabarti said it best, and it was refreshingly blunt as well.

Plonka said...

Mrs. Plonka just brought up a very good point. What happens if you're found not guilty? Can you sue for false imprisonment, kidnapping, etc...?

How much that there's also a US law that says you can't? I don't know, but I reckon that's probably a good bet, albeit at very short odds...

Dikkii said...

I'll bet that you can't. It's called having your cake and eating it too, and it's something that the US is very good at.

For all their bluster about civil liberties, the yanks are very good at removing them when they prove to be an obstacle.

Very perceptive, is Mrs Plonka.

Akusai said...

For all their bluster about civil liberties, the yanks are very good at removing them when they prove to be an obstacle.

That's because we prioritize. We know that it's far more important to kidnap people from other countries than it is to, for example, retain habeas corpus or freedom of speech. It's just plain fun to watch them whine.

And you Oz bastards are probably first on our list. Goddamned penal colony.

[/sarcasm]

Dikkii said...

Hey, Akusai, in fairness, you could have mentioned how most of us non-US English speaking countries don't even have constitutional bills of rights to be violated.

Us in Oz don't even have a statutory one.

Akusai said...

It bears mention that before our Bill of Rights was written and appended to the Constitution, the federalists were against it not because they thought people lacked fundamental rights, but because they thought that spelling out those rights explicitly would lead, in the future, to a government that believed people had those rights and only those rights, when in reality there were many that were never stated.

The anti-federalists, led by Thomas Jefferson, claimed that without a bill of rights, future government wouldn't protect any rights.

Well, looks like they were both right. The government wants to give us only those freedoms and rights that are explicitly spelled out, except they don't want to give us those, either.

So maybe the other former British colonies (and Britain herself) aren't missing out on anything spectacular.

Dikkii said...

Whoa man, that's deep.

Jefferson was one deep dude. Now I don't know what to think. I would have loved to get a Bill of Rights on the agenda here, but if it means that only what goes in that spiel is what is adhered to then I'm not so sure.

Perhaps you could have a bill of rights that reads:

"The people shall get to keep their fundamental rights. Whatever they are."

At least then you wouldn't have Jefferson's problem. (Although you might have a few others...)

Akusai said...

Like the douche who wrote an editorial in a local paper claiming "I have the right to drive as fast as I want and the rest of you should get out of my way!"

"Government shall make no law restricting the freedom of being an inconsiderate, shitty driver."

Dikkii said...

Heh heh heh. Mind you, that's the kind of argument that people were putting up here when they banned smoking inside pubs.

"I have the right to blow as much smoke around as I like and the rest of you can cough yourselves into a coma!"