09 May 2007

The Dubious Long Arm of the... Well Whose Law Is It?

Pervasive proximity in action. A rather disturbing story from down under, in which a man
was extradited to the United States; Hew Griffiths, from Berkeley Vale in New South Wales, had never even set foot in America. But he had pirated software produced by American companies. Now, having been given up to the US ... Griffiths, 44, is in a Virginia cell, facing up to 10 years in an American prison after a guilty plea late last month.
I can understand extraditing someone accused of committing a criminal offence on the physical territory of the requesting country. What I find truly frightening is the stance of extraterritoriality that the United States now assumes. As the Australian legal community now considers the implications of the pro-Bush, Howard government's decision,
NSW Chief Judge in Equity, Peter Young, writes: "International copyright violations are a great problem. However, there is also the consideration that a country must protect its nationals from being removed from their homeland to a foreign country merely because the commercial interests of that foreign country are claimed to have been affected by the person's behaviour in Australia and the foreign country can exercise influence over Australia."
This action, of course, is the logical extension of the United States policy of extraordinary rendition. And when anything is pushed beyond the limit of its capacity, it tends to reverse what were its initial effects. So what are the reversal aspects of law enforcement?

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