Natwest Three

The Guardian does not put the case of the Natwest Three on the front page of its website and the story was sandwiched between "Local Government" and the "Suez Crisis" in the Politics Section. When one sees the care with which the newspaper builds a case against Margaret Beckett, the new Foreign Secretary, for her "deference", it is strange that such a strong story as the Natwest Three, featured on the BBC and Telegraph, passes them by:

Margaret Beckett's determination to cause no offence to her hosts on her first visit to Washington as foreign secretary did not go unappreciated yesterday.

In one of the few accounts in the US press of a visit that seemed designed to pass under the radar, she was saluted for outdoing even the prime minister, Tony Blair, in her efforts to burnish the special relationship.

"It was an impressive show of deference, even for a British government that has been famous for such behaviour," Dana Milbank, the Washington Post sketch writer, wrote.

Still, one can see that Beckett went out of her way to help the government out in its PR crisis over extradition (sadly unmentioned in the Guardian article):

Where there were some clear differences, Beckett was almost apologetic. Asked about a U.S.-U.K. extradition treaty, which Britain has implemented but the Senate has failed to ratify, she said that she could "understand and accept" that it isn't an American priority.

Despite the Guardian's definite disinterest and one wonders if that stems from the white, middle-class private sector origins of the Birmingham Three, the story is causing a storm. Beckett should be dismissed for her inaction, but this demonstrates Blair's words, ever the dishonourable dischargeThe Home Office does not know how many British citizens the US wants to extradite:

Separately, the Home Office admitted it had no idea how many UK citizens were among a list of other people wanted by the US. It said America had sought the extradition of 19 people for alleged financial crimes since 2004. But a spokesman admitted officials did not know how many were British citizens. The Government is trying to find out how many were British, "but it would take time", he added.

Bring on the emergency debate as Parliament shows some backbone for the government's supine kowtowing to US extraterritorial demands.