Tuesday, November 01, 2011

US Extraterritorial Torture Statue and anti-union decree in Fiji

Air Pacific CEO David Pflieger and his New York lawyers should be pursued in US Federal Court for their conspiratorial roles in the drafting of the draconian Essential National Industries Decree

BY VICTOR LAL

We have incontrovertible evidence that Air Pacific CEO David Pflieger and his New York hired lawyers acted as covert legislators in conspiracy with the treasonous illegal Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum in the drafting and promulgation of the draconian anti-union Essential National [Employment] Industries Decree No 35 of 2011.

Khaiyum & Pflieger - treasonous co-conspirators(C4.5 photo) 
The promulgation of the ENI has resulted in the arrest and degrading treatment of Air Pacific pilot and whistleblower Salend Scott who has been released on bail by Justice Paul Madigan, a regime appointed High Court judge who notoriously conspired with Khaiyum in the hounding, persecution and prosecution of deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and former Chief Justice Daniel Fatiaki after the 2006 coup.

Under the ENI other high-ranking trade unionists have been arrested, tortured and beaten, and the basic worker’s rights have been drastically curtailed in contravention of the ILO Conventions and other international human rights instruments. Documents obtained and revealed by Coupfourpointfive regarding the ENI clearly demonstrate the DNA of Pflieger and his New York based lawyers. And by extension, they are indirectly and directly responsible for the violations that have followed, and will continue to follow, as long as the draconian ENI remains on the illegal regime’s statue books.

Pflieger claims that Air Pacific merely assisted and provided input in the drafting of the ENI. But documentary evidence proves otherwise. As opponents of the ENI have cogently argued that while they accept that “providing input to government on possible or proposed legislation is a common practice in Fiji” it surely is not common practice in Fiji or overseas for the national airline CEO to engage a local firm of lawyers to draft the whole legislation, hire an overseas firm of lawyers to fine tune and complete the drafting of the legislation and then forward the completed legislation to the regime who then brought it into force.

They also accept and “understand that other companies in Fiji were also consulted about the legislation and participation in the legislative process is normal” but those other companies did not hire a local and a US firm of lawyers to complete the legislation and did not pay the local and overseas firm of lawyers”.

The “Chuckie Taylor” Precedent for Pfielger and his lawyers

In January 2009 “Chuckie” Taylor, son of former Liberian president and dictator Charles Taylor (currently facing war crimes at the Hague), was sentenced by a federal US court to 97 years in prison for torture and summary executions during his father’s reign of terror and iron-fist rule of Liberia between 1997 and 2003.

The 31-year-old Charles McArthur Emmanuel Taylor (“Chuckie), a US citizen, was found guilty in October 2008 for crimes committed while he was the head of Liberia’s anti-terrorist services during his father’s rule.

Judge Cecilia Altonaga said there was no reason for a reduced, 20-year sentence requested by the defence, instead insisting “1,164 months in prison is the appropriate sentence" for crimes of "universally condemned torture”. “It is hard to conceive of any more serious offences against the dignity and life of human beings,” she said. “Chuckie”, who was born in Boston, Massachusetts, was indicted on torture charges, including where one victim was allegedly placed naked in a pit as stinging fire ants were shovelled over his body.

He was also alleged to have tormented his victims with melted plastic, electric shocks, scalding water and beatings with “sharp metal rods”.  Felix Anthony, Shalend Scott and others have their own tales to tell, if and when we proceed to indict Pflieger and his New York hired lawyers.

What made Chuckie Taylor’s conviction a precedent is that it was the first conviction under the 1994 Extraterritorial Torture Statue, 18 USC 2340 and 2340A, which was enacted to implement US obligations under the Convention Against Torture. This statute, according to US legal experts, has a very broad scope and is one of those few US criminal statutes that appears to embrace a theory of universal jurisdiction. The 18 USC 2340(A)(b) makes clear that this statute applies to acts committed in a foreign country whether or not the defendant is a US national or whether or not the victim is a US national. 

Pflieger and 1994 Extraterritorial Torture Stature 

Offense:

Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

Jurisdiction

There is jurisdiction over the activity prohibited in subsection (a) if—
(1) the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or
(2) the alleged offender is present in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged offender.

Conspiracy

A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.

There is incontrovertible evidence that Pfielger ands his New York lawyers conspired with the illegal Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum in the drafting and promulgation of the draconian ENI, which is in breach of US and international conventions on torture and other human rights.

It is time to pursue the regime’s covert legislator Pfielger in US Federal courts.
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