You may never have heard of Julia O’Dwyer, but she deserves all our support, yours and mine.
You may be an American, and so you may be tired of the ungrateful America-bashing that seems to go on. Actually, I get tired of the Europe-bashing sponsored in our media by right-wing Republican business interests. Human rights, employment rights, product safety codes, anti-trust laws – the T– word (didn’t mention tax!) are anathema to global corporate interests, most of which are, unfortunately, driven from the USA.
You may also hate Big Government and be embarrassed that the USA locks up a higher proportion of its citizens in worse conditions than many third-world countries, where your security services have a distressing habit of sending people to be carefully treated, who have not been tried and convicted of any crime. Hypocrisy? hell, yes. And at your taxpaying expense.
But you may not be so aware of the fact that, in the interests of the ‘Special Relationship’ supposed to exist between our two great nations – your big one, our little one – our pusillanimous politicians signed into law a few years ago at the behest of Dick Cheney’s and Carl Rove’s ‘Bush administration’ some amendments to our criminal extradition treaty with your country, that allow your courts to snatch British citizens off British streets and drag them across the pond to put them on trial for doing naughty stuff in Britain, which is to say a sovereign country (i.e. you don’t own it, we do), that might (or might not) be crimes in the USA or even just in some states in the USA, or even just in some companies in the USA, but are not crimes in Britain, where they did (possibly) the stuff. Weird, huh?
Your courts don’t even have to show evidence that a crime has been committed; nor, indeed, I imagine, that a law exists; only, that they got the right guy: so, nothing to try in a court of law; no acquittal, because no defense. They only have to ask, and a judge has to rubber-stamp it. The accused remain in limbo, sometimes in gaol (we have eight cases pending), sometimes for years, without trial, while they mount legal battles at their own expense to show due cause why they should not be extradited to your somewhat harsher and more arbitrary system of punitive justice. But if we want one of your guys, we need evidence. Lots of it, oh, yes.
Did Kafka write this? (No, he died.)
If this worked two ways, we would be less angry with you, but it doesn’t. You get four times as many of our guys as we get of yours, but your population is five times the size of ours. Something wrong, surely? Also, the severity of the crimes is completely disparate: we get your rapists and murderers, sure – but you get our white-collar misdemeanours, sanctions-busters (doesn’t do to trade with bad regimes, does it?) and kids in their bedrooms doing stuff your corporations disapprove of (no, not that — internet stuff…)
In fact, we just ruled that we can’t send a convicted American paedophile back to the USA for trial, it would breach his human rights. But some Brit guy with a wife and kids who fell for an FBI sting over selling some batteries for a missile Iran might be building? Why, next to that, fucking hundreds of little boys and girls in the ass pales into insignificance in the sordid annals of crime.
Now, something even weirder. Much as we hate our politicians too, the majority of our Representatives (we call them MPs – Member of Parliament) are against this inequitable state of affairs and want it changed. But every time it gets to the Home Office, that’s like your State Department only smaller, it goes under the tea trolley and gets pushed around the corridors for a while, before the sameold statement comes trotting out like a nackered gelding, saying how everything is hunky-dory and there’s no problem, our legal guy looked into it and passed it fit for purpose, so you mind your own beeswax, you silly, ignorant lot. Who exactly is pulling the plonker of the Home Secretary (no-one, she’s a woman! But you get the idea, she thinks she’s got one)? We don’t know, but every now and then we get hints from the Justice department here that we are not entirely in charge of our own affairs, juridically speaking.
So, next time you accuse us stuffy Brits of being anti-Yanqui, try to understand. We’re not. We love and admire you really, especially your dentistry. We’re just like most of you: sick of politicians, our sons and daughters being ripped to bits in flyblown deserts around the world; the malign influence of the arms and oil industries. We resent being forced to pay taxes to buy multi-billion-dollar defense systems we don’t need, which we can’t even deploy ourselves without some eggvest in the Pentagon pushing the button; and we don’t care for our citizens spending years on bail without trial or even in gaol just because NASA or someone is embarrassed some UFO-spotting kid hacked their crappy computer security.
We consider this not unreasonably to be an abusive and arbitrary projection of power against what is supposed to be a friendly country. It would be against your Constitution to do this to your own citizens.
Oh, yes, Julia O’Dwyer, I forgot. She’s a children’s nurse. She’s fighting a one-woman battle to defend her son from vindictive US bullying, that is destroying her family. What did Richard – her son’s name is Richard – do? It is alleged that he broke your – I stress your, not our – copyright law by allegedly uploading stuff to people on the web that he had allegedly previously downloaded; stuff that was supposedly not in the public domain. Of course, you never did that, did you?
It has never been shown in any court of law that he did it; it isn’t anyway a crime where he lives (it might be a civil offence at best); he has never even been in your country – but your Justice system plans to lock him up for five years and destroy his family and his future. Wake up! Your multi-billion-dollar global media corporations that you never voted for are making US law, deciding arbitrarily that their laws apply internationally, although no-one here has been asked about it either – plus, obviously, of course, just because they can.
This arbitrary abuse of power is what we are so vehemently objecting to. You may tell us just to shut up, drop ’em and bend over, but we are a proud race.
Julia’s URL is http://juliasblog-the-fight-of-our-lives.blogspot.co.uk. Don’t say I told you to check it out, it’s your decision. It’s not an illegal link. Write your Congressman, get this changed. Then we’ll love you again. Promise. Don’t go eating too many cheeseburgers, now, y’all hear.