An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Tuesday, March 08, 2005  

Charles Clark and Anti-Terrorism

Deprived of cable, I am fortunate to receive BBC Radio 4 on long wave, and pretty good reception too. Each morning I manage to listen to a few minutes of Yesterday in Parliament and am monitoring Clark's attempts to get his fascist Anti-Terrorism Act through the Houses. I take a keener interest in this than is usual as Clark's policies are slightly close to home.

Prior to 2002, the status of black sheep of our family was held by the ex-priest, convicted of embezzling from a health board (his defence was that the money was for Aids Victims without proper paperwork). He bought a pub, gambled the profits, got bailed out by his brother-in-law, gambled more profits, got the bar lady pregnant, married her, gambled her inheritance and last we heard had fled to England with another woman. The rest of us are angels as almost all known vices appeared to be channelled towards this one individual and the rest of us were spared.

However, the alleged crimes of my second cousin, David Bermingham, make for more international headlines than those grubby acts. David is one of the NatWest lawyers accused by Texan prosecutors of conspiring with Enron executives to defraud NatWest of several million pounds (Stg). The US is seeking his extradition from England. As David points out, they want him extradited for an alleged crime, committed in England against an English bank. To do so, the US, under Blunket's post 911 anti-terrorism legislation, need not provide any shred of evidence that a crime was committed: they just ask the Home Secretary to send over anyone they want on the basis of 'information'. And as foreigners can be held indefinitely without bail in prison in the US, he and this two co-accused could languish in a Texan jail for years before getting a court date. Of course, when Blunket's bill was going thro' everyone just assumed that the only people to be extradited would be nasty Asian types who we would 'know' were mixed up in terrorism even if a government, committed to protecting its citizens, didn't have the pesky evidence to prove anything. No one considered that white, middle class, Oxbridge educated, Sandhurst trained officer-lawyers would end up pleading for their liberty.

Anyway, its all in the hands now of Clark, and who knows what he'll do. This update a fornight ago from the Daily Telegraph.

posted by Sarah | 21:25 0 comments
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