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Crimes of Moral Turpitude.

I have been to USA several times. I like Americans. I don’t like American government. Now I thought nothing came close to the sheer mendacity of the UK’s Home Office and it’s immigration and nationality directorate. But I looked something up last night. You see as a UK citizen I don’t need a visa to enter the USA. I fill in a visa waiver form which asks bizarre questions like, “Did you work for the government of Germany between 1933 and 1945″. Who actually freely admits to being a NAZI war criminal? But the one that always got me was “crimes of moral turpitude”. They sound fun.

Wikipedia has a list of things you can be denied entry to the USA over. It is staggeringly long. Here are some of the highlights and trust me you will have done something on the list. Or indeed even accused of it.

Rape (including “Statutory rape” by virtue of the victim’s age)

Would that make you guilty because the age of consent in the USA is considerably higher than in most everywhere? Personally I find the US concept of statutory rape vile. At a house party in the USA a few years back the captain of the football team gets a blow-job from the chief cheerleader and he gets 10 years in chokey because she’s like a year younger. There was no hint of coercion and she was 16. Get a grip USA!

I haven’t done that one but I bet a few readers are technically guilty. I would have been if I had half the chance.

Possessing burglar tools (without intent to commit burglary)

Not actually a crime of Moral Turpitude but enough to have you barred. But correct me if I am wrong. Isn’t the USA supposed to run on Common Law so Mens Rea does matter. Earlier this week we had a plumber round and he had a piratical selection of tools. He is technically guilty. That he only used them to replace a sink and work on a gas-fire would be no defense because that looks strict liability to me. Christ almighty I carry tools that can do lethal harm but if you want me to take the side of your computer to see what’s wrong with it you are going to have to trust me not to smite you under the fifth rib. I suspect that is the liver and the application of the jawbone of an ass to that area probs causes massive blood loss and generally death in short order. And what about locksmiths?

I very rarely carry the jawbone of an ass. A set of posidrives is generally more useful.

But this is storming…

Taking part in a conspiracy (or attempting to take part in a conspiracy) to commit a crime involving moral turpitude where the attempted crime would not itself constitute moral turpitude.

That is unbelievably vague. Just read it again. That could be anything from jay-walking to sending the prime minister of Canada a human foot in the post. What precisely is “attempting to take part in a conspiracy” anyway? Is it a crime to be really bad at attempting to conspire?

I love the USA but only after you get out of the airport and like meet pukka Americans. I mean if they genuinely imposed those laws with no fear or favour Congress would be lead to Dulles under armed guard and Bill Clinton would be doing 4-figures of jail time. And I mean years there. But laws are only for the little people.

23 Comments

  1. JuliaM says:

    ” Earlier this week we had a plumber round and he had a piratical selection of tools. He is technically guilty. “

    Do they anywhere define the term ‘burglar tools’? Because otherwise, they’d be arresting lots of workmen!

  2. JuliaM says:

    And re: the foot for the Canadian PM. Are you, like me, wondering who he/she’s saving the other foot for?

  3. john b says:

    The DHS are I think the most unpleasant officials I’ve had the misfortune to encounter anywhere. Even the immigration chaps in Nigeria are friendlier, as long as you pay the relevant [details of crime of moral turpitude redacted].

    I think the final one’s intended to get you for being Bill Wyman’s driver – ie you’re not swilling the moral turpentine yourself, but you are driving the underage girl to the hotel for him.

  4. This from a country where the President decides who to remotely murder (sic) by drone strike in foreign countries.

    Yep, I need moral lessons from that government.

  5. NickM says:

    Being Bill Wyman’s driver. Now that would be some form of hilarity.

    I honestly don’t have an issues with drone strikes. Just because a technologically advanced state can deploy robots rather than boots why shouldn’t it. I guess they could use the Iranian human wave mine clearance strategy or they could be a rich nation and use technology or some such. Let us talk frankly now. They think dying for a cause matters. We think winning does. That is why they have flip-flops and we have RQ-9s. That is why they think a dish-dasha is SOTA and we have Brimstone Missiles. They are a society that thinks the female age of consent ought to be nine because some deranged pederast fucked Aisha 1400 years ago. We have JDAMS and the Flame virus. It will end badly. For them. We have the kit and kaboodle. They have furious Islamic rhetoric and that worked brilliantly in 1683 at the siege of Vienna didn’t it? I seem to recall the Poles turned-up in huge numbers and an almighty slaughter happened. The Polish cavalry just fucking well cunted them did he not? Correct me if I am wrong. Or at Lepanto where John of Spain gave the Ottomans a buggeration beyond all human comprehension. The Turkish admiral Ali Pasha had his head cut off and it was stuck on the end of a pike and generally paraded. Now I am not saying that is a good thing but…

  6. Fotherington says:

    It’s actually MUCH worse than that.

    If you are arrested, and subsequently not even charged (and therefore not convicted) you STILL can’t travel under the VWP.

    And that’s just travel – said arrests (with “no further action”) also wind up the lovely CRBs, so you wind up stumped everywhere.

    Cheers for that.

  7. Tim Newman says:

    What turned me off the US more than anything (except for their reaction to Macondo, but don’t get me started on that) was this article in the Economist (leader is here) about the overzealousness of the federal government in prosecuting white collar “criminals”. Have a read, and tell me the difference between US and Soviet justice in these cases.

  8. Tim Newman says:

    If you are arrested, and subsequently not even charged (and therefore not convicted) you STILL can’t travel under the VWP.

    Yes, and the British police know this only too well: they know that they only need to arrest you to fuck your life up, the process is the punishment. Call a policehorse “gay” and get barred from the US. Great. We can thank that cunt Blair for that, who presided over an unprecedented expansion of arrestable crimes to include pretty much anything.

  9. Fotherington says:

    It’s not the fact that something is arrestable (or not) that I complain about – it’s the fact that it remains on “a” record (even if that isn’t a “criminal record”, although it’s still a “Criminal Records Bureau” that will report it – go figure).

    Add to that the marvelous situation in this country where the Criminal Rehabilitation Act states that convictions no longer need declaring (unless someone was sentenced to >= 30 months inside) but still show up on a CRB – so someone trying to “move on” is still hampered.

  10. Fotherington says:

    Sorry – that should read “states that convictions no longer need declaring after a set period of time”

  11. Sam Duncan says:

    Ever since I found out about it, I’ve had a burning desire to test the bit in the Treaty of Paris that grants British subjects “perpetual access” to the Mississippi. I reckoned as long as I didn’t touch the sides, I could get at least as far Minneapolis without the Feds being able to lay a finger on me. I could probably try out a few riverboat casinos on the way without, technically, leaving the water.

    Turns out that article lapsed when the Spanish blocked American access to the river during the build-up to the Spanish-American war.

    Bugger. They get you every way, don’t they?

    John B: “Swilling the moral turpentine”… I like that. :)

  12. NickM says:

    Julia,
    I’m just hoping the RCMP feel a collar very soon!

  13. I just discovered seven states ban you from public office unless you believe in a supreme being. I know being disqualified from office might seem like a good idea to many here, but even so…

  14. @ Nick M

    “Now I am not saying that is a good thing but”

    Er, you are really. I believe murder to be wrong. If we claim higher standards we must demonstrate them or just be the same murdering bastards as those we claim to oppose. And if all this killing is such a great idea, wouldn’t Israel be at peace right now instead of a police state for the Arabs?

    Nope, technology or stoning, one person or one group from a position of alleged authority can’t just decide to kill another one. That crap went out with the Star Chamber which is the poster-boy for misuse of power.

  15. NickM says:

    SAoT,
    It was a battle. Terrible things happen in battles. Israel is surrounded by a heck of a lot of people who want them all dead. I support them. I do because right or wrong they have the best fighter pilots on the planet. Morality is not a commodity when pulling 9G. I know this because whilst I never go to church I do go to airshows. I frankly don’t care how many fucking Syrians get nixxed. Fuck ‘em!

  16. RAB says:

    Ali Pasha was killed in battle, hardly murder was it? The gloating triumphalism I suppose we could have done without, but total war is total war, isn’t it SAOT? And what of the christian commander of the siege of Farmagusta which preceded the battle? Flayed alive between two roman pillars in front of the Cathedral now mosque? He had been promised safe passage for him and his few surviving men. The Ottaman commander lied and even sent his skin home to his relatives for a ransom. That’s not just taking the piss, it’s a war crime.

    I have sat drinking a beer in a cafe directly in front of the very spot. Efes is hard enough to keep down in the best of circumstances but on that occasion….

  17. Nick and RAB

    I wasn’t really talking about historical battles like Lepanto, Famagusta, the always forgotten battle of Tours, forgotten by people moaning about the crusades I mean, (predating the first crusade by some 350 years). By the standards of today you could argue Henry V at Agincourt was a war criminal, (I don’t, but you get the point). Nor am I saying some of the Muslims and Ottomans behaved properly, clearly they did not on many ocassions.

    I also wasn’t talking about Israeli air combat with Syria (1982?). I was talking in fact about Western, notably American policy to kill people because you, want to via drone strikes.

    Many, even in the intelligence community are concerned about this policy, particularly the so-called top 20 because when you off say the number one target, number 21 joins the top 20 and becomes a ‘priority’ target. It’s never ending, though this maybe the crypto-agenda of course.

    Like Ron Paul, I think such a policy has significant blowback and a major rethink is required because the neo-con foreign policy has landed us in two major wars and a number of regional scraps, delivered security theatre at home, cost enormous amounts of money and death of our troops, radicalised some rather dumb sections of our community, reintroduced and legitimised torture (which we never used against even Nazis, surely a far, far greater threat) but delivered little enough for us to question the very parameters we set.

  18. Furor Teutonicus says:

    XX Possessing burglar tools (without intent to commit burglary) XX

    Ahhh. We ARE talking the U.S here? Where in parts, it is entirely legal to keep and use everything from a .22 derringer to a full blown general purpose machine gun?

    A definate case of “Do as I say, not as I do”?

  19. Paul Marks says:

    If the American government is a hopeless mess (and it certainly seems to be – the last Preident to get an even partial grip was Reagan “I see air traffic controllers so you acting as if you think you can defy the Commander in Chief – let us see how you like being chained up [literally] and dragged off to prison” the bureacractic obstruction and illegal strike, magically vanished), but Americans are nice…..

    Then get rid of the Federal government (after all it is bankrupt anyway) – let the States govern themselves, some will be a mess, but some will not be.

    After all even that “loon” Rick Perry has govered Texas well for almost a dozen years.

    Can you (or me) say as much?

    Although I agree running for President when you have just had a major back operation and are high on pay killers, is not a wonderfully intelligent thing to do.

  20. Sam Duncan says:

    FT, we’re talking, surely, about the parts of the US population who hate the fact that you can own a gun (ie, governmental prodnoses, who are the same the world over, and the very reason the founding fathers made sure that you could). So if they can’t get you on those, woe betide anyone who tries to take a crowbar into the country.

  21. zack says:

    ———————-
    SAoT: Er, you are really. I believe murder to be wrong. If we claim higher standards we must demonstrate them or just be the same murdering bastards as those we claim to oppose. And if all this killing is such a great idea, wouldn’t Israel be at peace right now instead of a police state for the Arabs?
    ———————–
    Like Ron Paul, I think such a policy has significant blowback and a major rethink is required because the neo-con foreign policy has landed us in two major wars and a number of regional scraps, delivered security theatre at home, cost enormous amounts of money and death of our troops, radicalised some rather dumb sections of our community, reintroduced and legitimised torture (which we never used against even Nazis, surely a far, far greater threat) but delivered little enough for us to question the very parameters we set
    ————————-

    except it’s not. Arabs in Israel enjoy more rights then in any other country in the Mid East; they enjoy the full rights and privileges of Israeli citizenship, the full protection of Israeli legal system, and can vote in the Knesset. I don’t see how you can say it is a police state.

    Concerning “all of this killing”, we didn’t start this. The Islamo-fascists have been waging a war against the West since at least the 60′s; for most of that we ignored them and they continued they’re attacks, becoming bolder; we finally got serious about it after 9/11. Since then we’ve fought back against them, eliminated most of their head-honchos and hindered their ability to hit us back harder. Have otherwise moderate Muslims on the fence been radicalized by our retaliation? Hardly; in the years after 9/11, and after retaliations, support for Al-Qaeda, and terrorism in general, has cratered in the Mid-East.

    But lets assume that you’re right (which I’m not doing, but for the sake of argument) – lets look at the problem this way. There’s a group that hates you, that has attacked you in the past, and murdered your friends or family in an attempt to get to you. They declare that they’re going to keep doing this until you agree to become their slaves and do their bidding, or you’re dead. Now, lets say that you decide to fight back (as most people would), and manage to kill some of their leaders and many of their members. Do you care if the rest of this gangs members hate you more now that you’ve killed their leader? Or are you just happy that their ability to attack you and your family/friends has been greatly reduced? Personally, I wouldn’t care if people who hate me hate me more, as long as their ability to harm me has been reduced, I’m happy.

    The fact of the matter is, whether you don’t like “the neocon foreign policy”, but I for one think that it was our best bet. Iraq was a defeat for AQ, they lost alot of foot soldiers, alot of leaders, and alot of prestige. Was it a bloody slog? By today’s standards, yes, but by historical standards no – 5000 or so troop deaths (while a tragedy for each and everyone of those families) is a blip historically; 60,000 civilian casualties (most of whom were killed by AQ), while a tragedy for all of those families, is also low historically. And what did we get for it? We eliminated one of the worlds largest supporters of terrorism, and gave the Iraqi people a shot at freedom; whether or not they can keep it remains to be seen. In my book, Bush’s biggest mistake in this area was that he didn’t complete the job – he should have taken out the Mad Mullah’s in Iran – that I think, would have eliminated the other major supporter of terrorism, and prevented them from making all the trouble they are today (and made the rebuilding of Iraq easier because Iran was a major funder of the terrorists there). Taking out Saddam but not the Mullah’s is like defeating Mussolini but not Hitler.

    Concerning ‘torture’ – I don’t consider water boarding or sleep deprivation to be torture; we subject our soldiers to these as part of their training, and I see no reason to believe that these bastards deserve better treatment then our own soldiers (or even our criminals [even though the ones in Gitmo probably are]).

    All of that said, I must say I do share some of your concerns about the drone strikes – In principal I think that they can be good, but I do have worries that these are being used too liberally; what are the limits on the executives ability to decide who is a target, and what oversight is there? They are a powerful tool, and because of that I don’t think that there needs to be some clearly, publicly known criteria and limits placed on it. In all honesty, I think I would prefer that the targets be captured.

  22. Eddie Willers says:

    Back on-topic…

    Actually, traveling to the USA as a Limey, sans visa, under the Visa Waiver Program, is a privilege that can be denied at ANY time, for ANY reason, by ANY DHS official and with NO right of appeal.

    It’s the reason I have a 10 year B1/B2 visa in my UK passport.

  23. Red Rose says:

    “We can thank that cunt Blair for that, who presided over an unprecedented expansion of arrestable crimes to include pretty much anything.” (Tim Newman)

    But he made sure he (Blair) couldn’t be charged with anything. He conveniently had a passage removed from some Act or other so that he could not be charged with TREASON. Can’t recall the title of the Act, but it can be sourced on the Internet.

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