Not Saussure

April 15, 2007

Long arm of the American law

Filed under: Law, UK, usa — notsaussure @ 5:55 pm

Crikey! I hadn’t realised this. We’re most of us well-enough informed about the way the EU keeps on trying to impinge on national criminal law, what with proposals about holocaust denial and what have you. But how about this:

British businessmen could find themselves in American jails after a crackdown by the US Department of Justice on trade with “rogue states”, leading lawyers say.Ali Manzarpour, a Brighton-based businessman, is in jail in Poland awaiting extradition to the United States, despite never having visited the country.

He is charged with trying to export an experimental single-engine aircraft to Iran. This is not believed to have contravened any British or European law, but because the aircraft originated in the US, the Americans are claiming jurisdiction.

The unfortunate Mr Manzarpour was apparently arrested in Poland two years ago and has been in prison there ever since, trying to avoid extradition to the USA — a country he’s never visited, remember — because of a perfectly legal transaction he undertook from the UK, having obtained all necessary UK export licences. As Lord Waddington asked, in a brief debate in the Lords, initiated by the Conservatives, this time last year

My Lords, is it not correct that, in exporting the goods to Iran from Britain, Mr Manzarpour broke no British law and, if he had remained in Britain, there would have been no question of his being extradited to the United States? If that be correct, why are we not protesting vigorously to the American authorities at their attempt to have Mr Manzarpour sent to America from Poland to stand trial for acts that took place in Britain and that were not contrary to our law?

According to Michael Marinelli, an international trade lawyer with Cooley Godward Kronish in Washington,

The US is asserting its juristiction over people in other countries… If you resell goods that originate in the US, then no matter what UK law says, the US says: ‘We can come after you.’

Particularly, it seems, if you’re small fry; The Times goes on to explain that

Cases being brought by the US Department of Commerce against companies breaching export rules indicate that, apart from rare cases, such as that of ITT [the world’s leading manufacturer of night-vision goggles, fined $100 million (£51 million) last month for sending classified material to China], nearly all involve small operations. Companies such as Shell, which is planning a £5 billion liquid natural gas venture in Iran, and Halliburton, which had an office in Tehran for years, appear to be of less concern to authorities in Washington than an individual allegedly attempting to to sell a light aircraft.

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18 Comments »

  1. Taking this to a logical conclusion, does that mean the US will support the extradition of 99% of eBayers to the People’s Republic of China, since that seems to be where virtually everything originates ? If they’re so concerned about weapons/technology smuggling, how’s about they stopp sending the stuff abroad in the first place ?

    Comment by maneatingcheesesandwich — April 15, 2007 @ 9:52 pm

  2. And what of the “big gun for iraq” scandal which was manufactured by BMARC just 400 yards from where I live, I saw the pieces for this weapon being trundled down the street on low loaders past where my house lies in Lincolnshire?

    Aside from this and going back to the main topic, I think that the US is trying to achieve world domination. (Radical Muslims? I don’t think so.)
    As long as Tony Bliar has a hole in his arse it could be a distinct possibility. He could be the key to help the ruling family in the USA into aforementioned position.

    Sod me! I have digressed again! Forgive me but the USA is trying to stretch its claws across the globe because it is financially broke, and the best way it can see fit to do so is to stop any trade which appears as if it could possibly do harm to its tentacles.
    Just like an octopus.

    (or did I mean “testicles?”)

    Don’t start me on the “Bush hating” thing. I hate to stand in line.

    Comment by Ron Knee — April 15, 2007 @ 10:02 pm

  3. I think Britain should become a colony or another state of America.

    I have linked to your post on my blog, pop over here again, and find that those two above tend to loaf around my place aswell.

    Comment by jailhouselawyer — April 15, 2007 @ 10:21 pm

  4. Being the USAs great big green aircraft carrier is more and more embarrassing for the UK.

    Comment by devolute — April 17, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

  5. This is nothing new. The owner of an online casino’s was arrested while changing plans in the USA (UK -> Costa Rica flight). He was arrested and charged with infractions of US law for running their non-American websites.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Carruthers#Arrest_during_US_transit_flight

    Absolutely outrageous. It would be like allowing Saudi Arabia to shut down playboy.com.

    Comment by Fred — April 17, 2007 @ 2:37 pm

  6. The Saudi comparison is a good one, to my mind. If someone published, in America, an article libelling the Saudi royal family, he’d be unwise to visit Saudi.

    However, people would think it rather odd if, during the course of a visit to the UK, he found himself arrested because the Saudis had issued an international arrest warrant for him, even though it’s perfectly legal to be rude about the Saudi government (so long as you don’t call for acts of terrorism) in a London paper, too.

    Comment by notsaussure — April 17, 2007 @ 2:44 pm

  7. Dick Cheney sold goods to Iraq (against a US imbargo) when he was president of Haliburton, but there were no charges. I guess it’s just a matter of who you know.

    Comment by bob — April 17, 2007 @ 4:27 pm

  8. I apologise for our president and his unitary government. Another man had such power and he did serious harm to Europe and the U.K. Rest assured that we are trying very hard to rid the world of this illegal and immoral administration…

    Comment by Jack Alexander — April 17, 2007 @ 5:31 pm

  9. Jack,
    please do this and a lot faster please..

    Comment by Bill Huffy — April 17, 2007 @ 8:10 pm

  10. […] an aeroplane to Iran. The trouble is he broke no laws in Poland, or the UK, or even the EU. Instead America have asked for him to be detained and then extradited to America for trial, despite the fact he has never set foot in the US before. The reason for this remarkably bizarre […]

    Pingback by Alonline » International law - an ass and a farce — April 17, 2007 @ 11:31 pm

  11. […] Long arm of the American law Crikey! I hadn’t realised this. We’re most of us well-enough informed about the way the EU keeps on trying […] […]

    Pingback by Top Posts « WordPress.com — April 17, 2007 @ 11:59 pm

  12. Ooookay there, Jack, let’s ease up for just a second. I dislike George W. Bush as much as the next person with more than 3 brain cells, but the man is not Hitler. All you do is make yourself look like an ignorant moron when you make such comparisons.

    Comment by Bob — April 18, 2007 @ 3:22 am

  13. Gee, Bob, you must be one of them. Let’s see, torturuing prisoners, suspending habeus corpus, his court overturns the 9th amendment, his cronies are getting rich off of his war, 50,000 emails are ‘missing’, the troups are being re-deployed over and over amounting to slavery, attempting to create a ‘War Czar’ to take the heat off of himself…and the list goes on and on. I don’t mind being on his enemies list. Guess you’re just a little afraid of him.

    Please see: http://georgewashington.blogspot.com/2006/04/real-men-stand-up-to-fascists.html
    George Washington’s Blog: Real Men Stand Up to Fascists

    Regards… j

    Comment by Jack Alexander — April 18, 2007 @ 4:41 am

  14. I wonder if there’s more to the story. At any rate, there is no doubt that big business gets a bit of “preferential treatment” in the US. And, come to think of it, worldwide. Yep. You don’t have to dig very far or very fast to find hypocrisy and corruption everywhere.

    Comment by shilohautumn — April 18, 2007 @ 5:34 am

  15. […] threaten to sue if Gore film showed in their kids schools (dumb).  U.S. Exerts Authority Over Foreign Citizens. This is scary – you can now be imprisoned if you sell something made in the U.S. to someone […]

    Pingback by Survival Acres Blog » In Other News — April 19, 2007 @ 2:54 am

  16. I don’t understand this story, although it’s certainly disturbing.

    But in the UK at least, in order to be extradited to the US you need to be accused of an act in the US that would also be a crime under UK law if committed under the UK’s jurisdiction.

    (if it’s a crime for which both the UK and the US have jurisdiction, like the NatWest/Enron guys, the UK has first call on prosecuting you and extradition is only allowed once it’s clear a UK prosecution will not happen.)

    Since exporting aeroplanes to Iran isn’t a crime in the UK, there is no way Mr Manzarpour could be extradited from here to the US.

    So the interesting question is – does Poland also have laws banning exports to Iran, in which case Mr Manzarpour is unfortunate but also careless for not checking; or does Poland’s extradition treaty with the US actually allow extradition for things which are legal in Poland, in which case it’s gibberingly mad?

    Comment by john b — April 20, 2007 @ 11:16 am

  17. Another fairly bizarre point to Mr. Manzarpour’s ordeal, is that Mr. Manzarpour, does not seem to wish to stand up for himself.
    Look, he either broke the law or he did not, right.??
    Evidently, from what the rest of the world has witnessed, he has not..
    Mr. Manzarpour however, does not seem to wish to stand up for himself, to prove his innocence, and his detachment from this scandal.
    Instead, he has been dwelling upon the U.S. foreign Trade Policies, and his dislike of these policies.
    CONGRATULATIONS MR. MANZARPOUR.
    YOU HAVE PROVEN TO THE REST OF THE WORLD, THAT YOU DO NOT AGREE WITH THE U.S. FOREIGN TRADE POLICIES.
    FOR THIS, WHEN THERE IS A MEDAL TO BE ALLOCATED, I SHALL SUPPORT THE IDEA OF RESERVING ONE FOR YOU!!
    Mr. Manzarpour MUST detach himself from useless rhetoric, and instead concentrate on publicizing his detachment from all this, so in time, he can recover his losses and perhaps start a “constructive career”, instead of “pointless activism”.
    Look, people, in particular in the western hemisphere, are intelligent enough to make conscious choices, and constructive reaction to global trade policies, BECAUSE THEY FREELY ELECT REPRESENTATIVES TO CREATE THESE POLICIES FOR THEM, IN THE FIRST PLACE.
    They( myself included) do not look kindly upon, or in layman terms” do not care for”, activists.
    We have grown to believe that activists, are simply pawns, in an ever-changing forward global economy.
    Mr. Manzarpour, needs to awaken from his undeveloped dreams, and grow up, so his family, friends and people around him in general, can think of him, as a part of their normal and rational lives.
    Concerned Canadian

    Comment by Canuck — June 8, 2007 @ 6:02 pm


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