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From Robin: Year One

There have been a rash of disappearances of girls in their early teens around Gotham, police are looking but as yet there isn't really a pattern as such, thinking that at least some of them might be runaways. As such no warnings have been circulated amongst people beyond the standard Stranger Danger PSAs, but since this is Gotham some dangers are stranger than others.

As two classmates of the young Dick Grayson are about to find out...

Later that night Bruce and Dick duck out of a reception with the head of Rheelasia (an East Asian state in the DCU that has fufilled the function of numerous countries, most recently divided in half to serve as a reference to North and South Korea in the Young Justice TV show) to meet with Commissioner Gordon. With the disappearance of the above girl, the total number of missing kids has risen to eight and although it's possible that they might be runaways, he thought that Batman and Robin should check it out, just to be on the safeside.

They go and beat up the usual suspects, the gangsters and the like who might be into that kind of thing, but come up with no leads. The dynamic duo return to the Batcave to comb over what little they've been able to work out...

Yeah, that's right: the Mad Hatter has been kidnapping girls in their early teens off the street, dressing them as Alice (including dying their hair) and mindcontrolling them, all so he could sell them to a foreign head of state as sex slaves. With the possiblity that they might never have been found and just chalked up to being runaways, and are only really saved due to Tetch just happening to target the two girls from the first two pages (the blonde friend comes back to look for her friend and gets snatched as well, just as Dick was following her in secret).


Dick does manage to save the day, and with this supposedly being Tetch's first outing in this version of the DCU I guess the fact that the girls kept falling for his "free headphones!" thing wasn't yet a case of them not being particularly genre savvy about the city they lived in.

I would argue that the idea of a foreign head of state having people kidnapped from other countries for his own amusement was kind of racist... which it is... but Lee appears to be based partially on Kim Jong Il who did actually do this many, MANY times.

Lee manages to (smugly) escape prosecution by claiming he has diplomatic immunity and that Jim just doesn't have the authority to arrest visiting heads of state. Not sure about the second one, but yeah, I'm almost certain diplomatic immunity doesn't work that way.

Particularly since,
1. both Tetch and the girls were found on the yacht Lee was staying on in Gotham Harbour, and Lee's assistant/henchman attacked Robin when he discovered that he had nine kidnapped teenage girls in the hold.

2. He admitted he was involved, without even claiming his assistant was doing it without his knowledge or conscent. Pretty sure that committing a federal crime on US soil and openly admitting it to the police isn't something that the US State Department is going to get slide...

Date: 2012-12-11 11:28 pm (UTC)
filthysize: (Default)
From: [personal profile] filthysize
Actually, it does work that way, I believe.

All the US can do is deport someone out of the country if they have diplomatic immunity. If we want to prosecute them for a crime, even as serious as murder, the diplomat's home country must waive the immunity first.

Date: 2012-12-11 11:48 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] donnblake
It certainly does in comic books, anyways. Doom has been pulling the diplomatic immunity card for decades. And there have been real-life cases where diplomatic immunity shielded people from murder charges, although it generally comes with getting tossed out of the country.

And more cynically, even if the guy doesn't have legal diplomatic immunity, if he's an important figure in a regime that's seen to back US interests, there's every chance of the US government sweeping the whole thing under the rug and telling the Generalissimo not to do it again.

Date: 2012-12-12 12:20 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
Yes, exactly. The most a host country can do is ask for diplomatic immunity to be waived and/or expel the diplomat or head of state.

Date: 2012-12-12 04:18 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jmacq1
Yeah, the US can kick them out and bar them from re-entry to the country, but that's about it. Nations friendly to the US would likely waive the immunity of there were damning evidence of a serious crime, but nations that aren't would likely thumb their noses at them. However, my understanding is that diplomatic immunity only applies when you're actually a diplomat or in the country on a diplomatic matter. Parking your yacht in Gotham Harbor to kidnap teenage girl? Not so much, but whether mentioned in the story or not I'd imagine a suitable cover story was in place to explain his presence.

But yeah, where the Doom scenario falls apart is the "kick 'em out and bar 'em" segment. Yeah, he's the head of his own country so he naturally won't waive his own diplomatic immunity, but the US could (and realistically would) have deported and banned him from returning years ago. After that, Diplomatic Immunity would mean exactly squat. Has there ever been mention that Latveria has some kind of rare resource or whatnot that makes it so strategically vital that people would just put up with Doom's crap? I mean, does the US government really trust Doom's word over Reed Richards and family? ("Hey, this guy has repeatedly assaulted and/or kidnapped us, and threatened the lives of our children....")

I know, I know, it's comics...I mean the Marvel-UN (and DC) seem to barely give any thought to Atlantis, and strategically speaking they'd be WAY more relevant than any European micro nation. Even one ruled by a guy like Doom.

Though from my understanding Doom hasn't pulled the diplomatic immunity card anytime recently has he?

Date: 2012-12-12 05:03 pm (UTC)
ablackraptor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ablackraptor
I think Doom has nukes or something, or something else that's equally powerful, so they don't ban him under threat of him taking it as a personal slight (this is, after all, the same guy who wants to ruin the lives of one man's entire family just because he might be responsible for a tiny scar on his face) and retaliate by wiping out the Eastern Seaboard.

Date: 2012-12-12 01:54 am (UTC)
silverhammerman: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverhammerman
Yeah, see this is why I really don't like the Mad Hatter. The mind control is creepy enough, but the fact that he's often shown going after young girls just makes it that much worse. I would honestly be extremely happy if we never got another story from the Mad Hatter like this.
Anyhoo, as for the diplomatic immunity, without knowing how it wrapped up I have to assume that it has no way of preventing Batman's Hammers of Justicve from homing in on a villainous jaw.

Date: 2012-12-12 02:18 am (UTC)
leoboiko: manga-style picture of a female-identified person with long hair, face not drawn, putting on a Japanese fox-spirit max (Default)
From: [personal profile] leoboiko
I find I can't tolerate any darker-and-edgier versions of Alice characters. Dunno, man… the source material already IS creepy and disturbing, if you know where to look. Then authors completely ignore its subtle darkness and go for the low-hanging fruit, for shock value: "lol pedos".

Date: 2012-12-12 12:44 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Which always bugged me about that Batman story, where a particularly skeevy guy from South America, abuses and torments girls, and even drives one to suicide, but the alw can't touch him because he has diplomatic immunity because his father is a President or the like.

I just sat there thinking, "Batman and Robin are vigilante's, that sort of the POINT of them. They could make this guys life sheer, unadulterated hell on a scale he can't even conceive of yet and they're bothered about him having diplomatic immunity?" Batman works with the law when he can, but ultimately he serves justice, two very different things at times.

Date: 2012-12-12 03:58 pm (UTC)
ablackraptor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ablackraptor
That's the one whee Jason kills/is-implied-to-kill him in the end, right? Yeah, that one's pretty stupid on many levels of stupid.

Date: 2012-12-12 04:10 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Yup, that's the one...

Date: 2012-12-12 03:57 pm (UTC)
shadowpsykie: Information (Default)
From: [personal profile] shadowpsykie
i think that's why i liked Simone's Madhatter better... he was still skeevy as hell, but any sexual urges were directed towards his hats....

Date: 2012-12-13 12:02 pm (UTC)
mastermahan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mastermahan
Seconded. Hatophile Tetch was still plenty creepy, but more original and not such a darkgrim cliche.

Date: 2012-12-12 04:05 pm (UTC)
ablackraptor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ablackraptor
Yeah, there's many things wrong with Diplomatic Immunity in fiction. It doesn't, quite, work that way. Most countries will happily waive Diplomatic Immunity for anything worse than a parking ticket, since it doesn't look good for them to have diplomats and heads of states going around killing people for giggles.

Date: 2012-12-12 04:21 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jmacq1
That's true on many levels, but if it's a nation that's openly hostile to the US, and for whom said head of state has pretty iron-clad information control within his own country (and whose country is already about as cut off as can be, diplomatically speaking) then...the waivers probably aren't coming anytime soon.

But of course all that begs the question of why the guy would be in the US in the first place. I suppose you could argue "visiting the UN to give a speech" (about the only reason such an individual would come to the US under diplomatic immunity) but that wouldn't explain a yacht parked in Gotham Harbor since I don't think the UN is in Gotham...even in DC.

In other words, I don't think diplomatic immunity applies if you don't tell anyone that you're coming and why.

Date: 2012-12-12 04:43 pm (UTC)
ablackraptor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ablackraptor
Still, for a crime like this, if the don't waive immunity they run the risk of causing an incident worthy of starting a war. And, if its America you're in, starting a war with America, no matter what state its in, is a very bad idea.
Even there, they'll still lose the cooperation of the US and its allies (which at this point is pretty much any country with free elections and running water), as well as making the whole country look like they support rape and murder and child abductions and such. Which, really, is not something you want your country to be known for.
And, if they're really unlucky, they'll end up getting shot by Danny Glover as he makes a comment about revoking their immunity.

Either way, if you're running a country and a diplomat or someone big does something like that on US soil, the smartest move to do is 'no, keep him, we don't care'.

On the plus side, poor use of Diplomatic immunity gave birth to one of the most awesome moments in the first few episodes of Blue Bloods, where they hand over the DNA of a diplomat's rapist son to their country's police, who link them to a rape on their soil, meaning that the diplomat can either waive his son's immunity and let him be charged by a fair trial, or he can keep it, lose face with the US, and let his son be locked up in one of the worst prisons in the world.

Date: 2012-12-12 06:40 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jmacq1
Sure, but if you're dealing with a country like North Korea (whose leader of the time this character seems to be an expy of) that essentially has nothing to lose because they're already a pariah in the international community, and will simply loudly deny, deny, deny while controlling the flow of information to their own people such that they never even hear about the incident, they've nothing to lose by refusing to waive immunity, particularly when the immunity would presumably have to be waived by the very individual accused of the crime.

Date: 2012-12-12 06:43 pm (UTC)
ablackraptor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ablackraptor
Ah, good point. Though, something like this would surely pro give an excuse for the US to declare war on them for it.

Date: 2012-12-12 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jmacq1
Technically yes.

Practically speaking? Doubtful. I know it's cynical, but I don't forsee the United States government viewing a handful of innocent girls as grounds for an invasion unless some other overarching national concern were at stake.

Especially given that said girls were rescued.

Tetch would get locked up and the key thrown away, though.

Date: 2012-12-13 08:10 pm (UTC)
arysteia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] arysteia
Seriously? You want to start a war over a few abductions? That's really not how it works, thank God. As hideous as these crimes might be, they're no justification for starting a war that would kill thousands, or more. And remember, the country (by which I mean the people, not the regime) is not to blame for the actions of an individual diplomat.

As far as immunity generally goes, I remember reading a book a few years ago (I can't cite it unfortunately) about the sheer number of unprosecuted rapes that have been committed in the USA by (often the sons of) diplomats (who share their fathers' immunity). In each and every case the man was deported and that was it. It's an outrage, but it's also the way international diplomacy has to work. Otherwise, you could never risk sending diplomats to potentially hostile countries where they'd become hostages or worse.

ETA: I should have added, there have been some major reforms in the years since the worst of these crimes to attempt to mitigate the situation, but the basic fact of diplomatic immunity is unavoidable.
Edited Date: 2012-12-13 08:15 pm (UTC)


Date: 2012-12-12 09:58 pm (UTC)
steverodgers5: (Default)
From: [personal profile] steverodgers5
Wheres Riggs and Murtaugh when you need them?...


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