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Re: [disabilitystudies] Terrorism, MLATs, the Patriot Act turning the rule of law on its ass

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  • l murray
    Most interesting, Keith. Thanks very much for this. I ve been doing a lot of research lately into the Patriot Act and various other agreements between Canada
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 21, 2004
      Most interesting, Keith.  Thanks very much for this.  I've been doing a lot of research lately into the Patriot Act and various other agreements between Canada and the U.S. in an effort to determine what Canadians can expect from our officials in the way of support when U.S. actions appear contrary to our policies.  There is a case right now before the U.S. Supreme Court in which three guys from the U.S. brought maybe $3 million in U.S. liquor to Canada w/o paying our sin tax.  The U.S. decided to prosecute and not by way of a smuggling charge but on the basis of wire fraud, which attracts something called civil forfeiture.  It's not clear from the decisions rendered so far whether this has happened already or even which country would be entitled to the tax money.  If the conviction stands, it means the U.S. will have steamrolled over about 300 years of common law, which has said quite clearly throughout the ages that no country will uphold another country's tax law; our own is already too weird and complex for most of us. 
      Louise's theory:  America has a big expensive war to fight and civil forfeiture in the U.S. is a hugely important revenue source.  The Busher is seeking 'creative' ways to finance Iraq.  Civil forfeiture is one of them.  With expanded international agreements with 26 countries, the U.S. may be clearing a path for further expansion in this regard.  How hard would it be for Uncle Sam, armed with MLATs, the Patriot Act and anti-terrorist legislation enacted in each country in response to 9/11, to enter a foreign jurisdiction like Canada and start seizing assets on the basis, for example, of what Sam believes is reasonable probable cause that a business has 'terrorist associations'?  Would Paul Martin's gov't defend us, I wonder?

      Keith Armstrong <keitharm@...> wrote:

      He is known to the outside world only as "P". Nearly two years ago,
      he was arrested without charge and imprisoned as an alleged foreign
      terrorist - an al-Qa'ida sympathiser who threatens Britain's national

      But P is now in a mental ward in Broadmoor secure hospital, one of
      four men arrested as suspect terrorists since September 11 who have
      suffered a severe mental collapse. And he is an alleged terrorist who
      has no arms.

      Until now, few details have emerged about P, but The Independent on
      Sunday has learnt that the man, a single north African male in his
      30s who came to Britain as a refugee, has lost one forearm with the
      other arm amputated above the elbow.

      His lawyer, Gareth Peirce, claims that P's experiences highlight
      precisely why nine Law Lords produced their devastating attack last
      Thursday on the Government's powers to intern suspected foreign

      Lord Hoffman, the most senior Law Lord, described the powers as "the
      real threat to the life of the nation". Other Law Lords branded them
      as "clearly" discriminatory and unjustifiably draconian.

      Ever since his arrest in January last year, P's story has become
      intimately wrapped up with the life of another detainee, another
      north African man known as "B".

      Also in his 30s, B became P's closest friend when they were
      incarcerated together in Belmarsh high-security prison in south
      London. B became his carer and cellmate, giving his friend the most
      basic assistance possible: help with dressing, eating and washing. Ms
      Peirce alleges that P was effectively helpless when he was jailed,
      and had no false arms or disability aids.

      "He had had prosthetic arms but had been arrested two years earlier,
      and the police had broken those arms. They'd actually caused
      wholesale damage. With that whole experience, he has never been able
      to bring himself to try them again," Ms Peirce said.

      The close relationship between the two men continues. As The
      Independent on Sunday revealed last week, both men became so mentally
      disturbed by their isolation and detention without trial, they were
      in a "life-threatening condition".

      In October and November, the two men were separately sent to
      Broadmoor for specialist psychiatric care.

      B's mental collapse, alleges Ms Peirce, was finally caused by the
      closure of a pottery class at Belmarsh. A skilled artist and potter,
      B had found escape in the class, in one case taking two years to
      fashion an elaborately decorated Islamic vase which was coveted by
      the prison's guards. Closure of the class, she said, "became the
      final straw".

      Their transfer to Broadmoor meant that a third of the current
      detainees under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 have
      been officially diagnosed as severely mentally ill.

      One man, a Palestinian named Abu Rideh, went to Broadmoor after
      attempting suicide and suffering a mental breakdown following an
      attempted hunger strike.

      A fourth detainee, "G", is living under extremely tight bail
      restrictions with his wife and children at home - restrictions that
      effectively ban him from leaving the house, making phone calls,
      having visitors or using his garden.

      G, who is wheelchair-bound with polio, was bailed by the Special
      Immigration Appeals Commission, a secretive tribunal set up by David
      Blunkett, the then Home Secretary, because of his mental collapse. Mr
      Blunkett famously described the tribunal's decision as "bonkers".

      Last week, the new Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, indicated that the
      Government would insist on keeping the men detained, a stance some
      observers believe Mr Clarke will gradually soften.

      As with other detainees, the Government alleges G was linked to a
      hard-line Islamist terror group in the al-Qa'ida network, in his case
      the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. They accuse him of providing false
      documents and money to extremists.

      B is alleged to have belonged to an Algerian extremist group, and to
      have helped find communications gear and other supplies for Algerian
      and Chechen terrorists.

      The most notorious detainee is Abu Qatada, the Jordanian cleric
      alleged to be al-Qa'ida's "spiritual leader" in Europe and a "highly
      dangerous man".

      One former Belmarsh inmate told The Independent on Sunday yesterday
      that the summary arrest and internment of the men was causing them to
      go slowly mad. The former inmate, a Kenyan who gave his name
      as "Ahmed", said: "You could see the stress and anxiety on their
      faces. It is really destroying them, and I don't think many will
      survive, even if they are released today. Many of them have been
      mentally destroyed."

      Ahmed was arrested under separate immigration legislation for
      allegedly helping to plot the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya
      and Tanzania in August 1998, claims the intelligence services
      eventually admitted were unfounded.

      Now with temporary leave to remain in Britain, he was held in
      Belmarsh for 14 months, and met the terror detainees every Friday at
      prayers and during education periods.

      "They feel they're being used for political purposes and were
      arrested to create fear in the public," he said. "They know they're
      no threat. They feel that if they had a fair trial, they could prove
      to the public they're not a threat. They say they escaped as refugees
      to this country for safety and justice: it's ludicrous for them to be
      described as a threat to this country."

      More goto: story=594575>

      By Severin Carrell 19 December 2004 Indy.

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