Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How to bankrupt the anti-death penalty groups in America:

Those American anti-death penalty activists in the United States appear to look powerful, although they are only a small minority. As most Americans continue to support the death penalty, the only way to defeat the Anti-death penalty groups are to bankrupt them. Currently, the European Union is funding them, once the EU collapses, those anti-death penalty groups will have no more funds left as most Americans will not fund them anymore. If they want to abolish the death penalty, they should move to Brazil, where they have a homicide rate that is five times worse than the United States.
Check this article by Nile Gardiner:

Nile Gardiner is a Washington-based foreign affairs analyst and political commentator. He appears frequently on American and British television and radio, including Fox News Channel, CNN, BBC, Sky News, and NPR.

The European Union gives millions in taxpayers’ money to anti-death penalty groups in America

By Nile Gardiner World Last updated: March 2nd, 2011

The EU lacks a respect for democratic rights (Photo: Rex)

Why on earth are British taxpayers being forced to fund European Union lobbying for policy campaigns in the United States? Furthermore, why is the EU directly interfering in domestic political debates in America, and so far without Congressional oversight? As the research detailed below demonstrates, the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is spending millions of Euros on US-based campaigns against the death penalty. An extraordinary development.

The EIDHR project list for 2009 (the latest year for which a full itemised list is given), unearthed by my intrepid colleague Sally McNamara, is a real eye-opener. While most of the projects focused on developing countries, several million Euros were actually set aside for projects in the United States, specifically for groups opposed to the death penalty.

This extremely unusual funding for US groups – by a taxpayer-funded foreign entity to advance a political cause – deserves to attract a great deal of public attention, including Congressional scrutiny in Washington and parliamentary scrutiny in London. On Capitol Hill both the House Judiciary Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee, as well as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, should apply oversight on EU funding for American groups. And this could be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of EU money flowing to US organisations on any number of causes.

Here is a list of US recipients of EU EIDHR aid in 2009, which amounted to €2,624,395 ($3,643,951). The recipients of EU aid include the rather wealthy American Bar Association, whose annual budget approached $150 million in 2008.

American Bar Association Fund for Justice and Education: EU grant: €708,162 ($983, 277)
Project: The Death Penalty Assessments Project: Toward a Nationwide Moratorium on Executions

Death Penalty Information Center: EU grant: €193,443 ($268,585)
Project: Changing the Course of the Death Penalty Debate. A proposal for public opinion research, message development, and communications of capital punishment in the US.

The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty: EU grant: €305,974 ($424,829)
Project: National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Intensive Assistance Program

Reprieve LBG: EU grant: €526,816 ($731,591) (some of these funds also went to “European countries”) Project: Engaging Europe in the fight for US abolition

Murder Victim’s Families for Human Rights Non-Profit Corporation: EU grant: €495,000 ($686,608) (some of these funds also went to other countries, including Japan and Taiwan). Project: Voices of Victims Against the Death Penalty

Witness to Innocence Protection: EU grant: €395,000 ($548,538)
Project: American DREAM Campaign
MPs reading this should be asking questions why British taxpayers’ money is being used by the European Union to fund campaigns against the death penalty in the United States, without the consent of the British people. (Not least when 51 per cent of the British public support the reintroduction of capital punishment for murder, with just 37 per cent opposing it, in a recent YouGov poll.)

This is also an extraordinary intervention in a highly charged, intensely political domestic debate in the United States over the death penalty, the use of which has been ruled Constitutional by the US Supreme Court on several occasions, and is backed by 64 percent of Americans according to Gallup, with just 29 percent opposing. Can you imagine the outcry in Brussels if the US government funded policy groups in the EU, and the charges of “American imperialism” that would inevitably follow?

It is bad enough that Brussels consistently interferes with the internal affairs of EU member states, but it is surely a bridge too far when it tries to intervene in the affairs of one of the world’s greatest democracies that isn’t even part of the EU. This is hugely insulting to the US. After all the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights is supposedly dedicated to “enhancing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in countries and regions where they are most at risk.”

Evidently, unelected bureaucrats sitting in the European Commission feel they have a divine right to lecture the United States and its citizens on how they should decide their own policies. This demonstrates a fundamental lack of respect for US national sovereignty, and a sneering condescension towards the American people. But perhaps this should come as no surprise. A supranational entity like the EU that has no respect for the democratic rights of hundreds of millions of Europeans can barely be expected to respect freedom and democracy outside its own borders.


Unelected EU apparatchik Baroness Ashton lectures America on 'human rights'

By Nile Gardiner World Last updated: March 14th, 2011

A couple of weeks back I wrote a post revealing that the EU has been giving millions of euros to anti-death penalty groups in the United States. As The Wall Street Journal subsequently commented in an editorial on my Telegraph piece:

European countries may need bailing out, but you’ll be pleased to know that the European Union has enough money to promote human rights and democracy—in America. Don’t laugh.
American states are free to decide their own penal codes, which vary widely and change as facts and public values evolve. Europe won’t allow such a debate at home but feels the moral afflatus to tax its own citizens to promote one side of the argument in America. Europe can’t find the money to pay for its fair share of NATO but it can spare a dime to hector its main defense benefactor on criminal law. This is why fewer and fewer Americans take Europe seriously.

One of those US groups that receives EU funding is the Illinois branch of the Death Penalty Information Center, which was given €193,443 in 2009 for a grant “changing the course of the death penalty debate” (hat tip: Sally McNamara). Illinois abolished the death penalty last week, making it one of 16 states in America that ban the practice, in contrast to 34 states that retain it. Needless to say, the EU’s foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton immediately used the occasion to lecture the United States on “the progressive development of human rights”, declaring in a March 11 statement:

The European Union congratulates the Governor and the Illinois State Legislature on this historic decision, making Illinois the 16th state in the United States to end the death penalty.

The European Union strongly hopes that this decision will encourage other US States to follow suit in joining the growing national and worldwide movement towards the abolition of the use of capital punishment.

The European Union considers that the abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights. The European Union reaffirms its objective of working towards the universal abolition of the death penalty.

It should of course come as no surprise that the European Union, which has zero respect for the sovereignty of its own member states, seeks to meddle in the affairs of a great democracy such as the United States. Baroness Ashton clearly has a greater interest in hectoring the American people than she does in condemning the brutal rule of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

The EU chief’s condescending statement is a reflection of a warped world view in Brussels that treats the United States as though it were a third world tyranny in need of enlightened guidance from Europe. After all, the EU’s Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, which gave nearly a million dollars to the American Bar Association for its anti-death penalty campaign, is dedicated to “enhancing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in countries and regions where they are most at risk.”

One of many glaring differences between the European Union and the United States is that US officials are accountable to the American people, whose laws are drafted by elected representatives in line with a Constitution that actually protects individual liberty rather than usurps it. The EU’s sneering at America’s stance on the death penalty is merely the latest reflection of Brussels’ contempt for democracy, national sovereignty, and political accountability. 

If unelected apparatchiks such as Baroness Ashton really care about human rights perhaps they should spend a bit more time examining the lack of political freedom that exists within the European Union itself.

EU funds anti-hanging lobby

December 20, 2005
THE European Union, applying subtle pressure on Jamaica, yesterday handed $24 million (euro320,000) to a local human rights group, saying the grant was to support continued advocacy against the death penalty. Capital punishment remains on Jamaica's books although no executions have occurred in 17 years.

The Independent Jamaican Council for Human Rights (IJCHR), which received the EU grant, has long lobbied against the death penalty, playing a role in an early 1990s law that differentiated between capital and non-capital murder - of which conviction on the former would have meant a mandatory death sentence.

However, the UK-based Privy Council, Jamaica's court of last resort, last year ruled, in the case of Lambert Watson, that the mandatory death was against Jamaica's constitution and ruled that it was up to the judge to determine from a range of sentences after a capital conviction.

Nancy Anderson, the executive director of the IJCHR, welcomed the grant, saying it was important to advancing the organisation's work.

"We are going to continue our efforts towards the abolition of the death penalty in Jamaica," she told the Observer.

Yesterday, the EU office in Kingston said the funds, to be spent over two years, were to assist with the resentencing hearings of several death row prisoners, who were affected by the Privy Council judgment. The sentences of some prisoners have already been commuted to life, while others are pending.

But the funds are also to be used for advocacy training, including direct assistance for attorneys fighting human rights cases in the courts, and for research on alternatives to capital punishment as well as reform of the parole system.

The Kingston-based IJCHR is also branching out into Montego Bay, and the EU grant will help seed the office there.

The Europeans have long been against the death penalty, and yesterday Gerd Jarchow, head of the delegation in Jamaica, signalled that the EU expected the IJHRC to eventually prevail in having capital punishment erased from the local statutes.

"Based on their track record, we are confident that IJCHR are the right people to carry this out," said Jarchow.

However, a majority of Jamaicans - 76 per cent - want the death penalty - more specifically, hanging - to remain an option, according to the November 2005 Observer/Stone Poll, in the fight against out-of-control crime.

The Opposition is also in support of putting certain convicts to death, saying a Jamaica Labour Party government would resume hanging immediately, and accused the government of wavering on the issue.

Subsequent to the Opposition declaring its position, Prime Minister and president of the People's National Party, PJ Patterson, invited Opposition leader and head of the JLP Bruce Golding to iron out a common position on the death penalty between the parties.

This, however, drew stern criticism from the Glenys Kinnock, co-chair of the African, Caribbean and Pacific/European Union Parliamentary Assembly, who visited here as part of a delegation in November.

This is not the first time that the issue of capital punishment is being placed firmly on the political agenda in Jamaica. In 1978, for instance, the government of the late Michael Manley allowed a parliamentary conscience vote on the issue. The House voted in favour of maintaining hanging, while the Senate voted against.

Jamaica's wishes notwithstanding, appeal court rulings and pressures from trade partners have had an influence on the position that the government takes....
Author: Vaughn Davis
Source: Jamaica Observer

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