EXCLUSIVE: An Aussie deal with the Executioner!

Australia has done a major trade and sporting deal with the world’s No.1 Executioner. But he isn’t the Saudi Arabian swordsman or North Korean Judge you might think!

Update – 14th July @bottom of article

It all appears like another sporting deal on the surface. Australia’s V8 Supercars series will head to Texas, USA in future years after a 5 year deal was struck to race at the yet to be completed Circuit of the America’s in Austin, Texas. The new circuit will host a round of the 2012 Formula One and likely host the MotoGP. A huge business coup for both the Texas government and Australian based and owned V8 Supercar series. But there is a dark side to this agreement and you won’t read about it anywhere else!

Texas Governor Rick Perry, QLD Premier Anna Bligh and V8 Chairman Tony Cochrane.

Anna Bligh (pictured above) didn’t need to fly all the way to the USA to oversee a sporting agreement, but she wasn’t just in Texas for sport. The QLD leader also signed a major Oil and Gas deal with the Texas Governor Rick Perry. “It commits both states to enhancing alliances between governments, industry, educational and research institutes.”

Anna Bligh is well known to us all in Australia and Tony Cochrane has been credited for turning the V8 series around. But who is Rick Perry? Texas Governor, possible 2012 Presidential candidate and the executioner of more than 200 people!

George W. Bush claimed a record for overseeing executions as Governor of Texas with 152,  but Rick Perry has broken the record and just keeps on going with more than 200 executions in his time as Texas Governor. But what makes Perry even more unique is the way he has handled the issue of the death penalty. With minors, mentally disabled and many innocent people amongst his victims. That there has been 35 DNA exonerations of wrongfully convicted prisoners on Death Row in the time Perry has been in power is worrying. More so that some of these prisoners were still executed and their exonerations didn’t come until they were dead.

There is the famous case of Judge  Sharon Keller who refused to allow a last-minute appeal filed by attorneys trying to save the life of a client scheduled to die that night because, in her words, “We close at 5”? The defendant was executed on the orders of Perry and no appeal was ever heard. More than 300 lawyers and the editorial of the New York Times called for her to resign.

There is the case of Todd Willingham who was convicted on  junk evidence, who Perry refused to spare and once Willingham was dead, the evidence was so compelling that Willingham was innocent, a commission was formed and were about to hand down their findings when Perry removed the chairman and two members of the commission. Willingham had been convicted of the murder of his sons via arson. The initial evidence was shaky and it required a jailhouse snitch to get a conviction. What the commission was about to find before Perry’s interference was that nine of the USA’s top fire experts had examined the case and  “All concluded that the original investigators relied on outdated theories and folklore to justify the determination of arson.”

There are violations of International law, as in the José Medellin case, when he was denied his rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Even then serving President Bush believed the execution should not take place. Perry disagreed and Medellin was executed. The whole time these cases were unfolding before the eyes of the public death row inmates were walking free with the aid of DNA evidence to prove their innocence. But Perry would not call a halt to executions and the killings continue to this day.

Bryan McCann, of the Austin chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty said: “For the 200th time in his career as governor, Rick Perry — with the complicity of the Texas Legislature and courts — has made it clear that he is uninterested in acknowledging the mounting and irrefutable evidence that the death penalty is incompatible with the aims of a just society.”

Australia has ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. And it doing so has undertaken to not only abolish the death penalty here in Australia but to encourage its abolition around the world and to take steps to bring about abolition through all instruments available to the state (including trade).

In 2010 with the exception of Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Yemen, Libya and Nth Korea, Rick Perry’s signature was responsible for nearly half of the worlds executions. Is that the sort of company Australia wants to keep? We are right to refuse to trade with nation’s like North Korea and Burma whose Human rights records are disgraceful. But in this agreement an Australian government and a major Australian sporting series has ensured Rick Perry can enter the 2012 race for President with claims to major foreign trade deals with a US friend. Or he can use the political mileage to stay on as Governor in Texas and let the killings continue, either way Australia has not the proverbial blood on its hands but the screams of the innocent next to feel the lethal injection. International law? Not before money….

Update – 14/07/2011

Perry’s Texas has carried out another execution. A Mexican citizen not granted his rights under the Vienna Convention. This time International law had been broken, the International Court of Justice, President Obama, The Mexican Government and even former President and Texas Governor George W. Bush were against the execution. Yet it went ahead and Perry was the man that signed the order. Again we ask, is this a man Australia should be doing business with?

 

Martin Hodgson

Anti death penalty co-ordinator

Foreignprisoners.com /// martin.hodgson@foreignprisoners.com

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Posted on July 2, 2011, in For your information, Get involved!, News, Politics. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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