US now on collision course with Spain over extradition of grandmother

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 By Simon Davies

The US Justice department last night contacted Spanish authorities to demand the extradition of an elderly Detroit pensioner who has been accused of “aiding the enemy”.

An extradition request presented yesterday to El Departamento de Justicia says 67 year-old grandmother and pottery enthusiast Rose Porter had spoken publicly about “matters of a secret nature concerning United States national security”.

The only known photograph of Rose Porter

The only known photograph of Rose Porter

A claim of evidence attached to the extradition request asserts that Mrs Porter, who suffers from a bipolar related condition and has only one leg, had “revealed certain facts that would be of strategic value to enemies of the United States.”

American authorities claim that while on holiday last month in the attractive French seaside resort of La Rochelle, Mrs Porter “spoke openly” in a supermarket about “a secret agreement between english-speaking countries and Germany to spy on everyone”.

It is now common knowledge that Mrs Porter’s candid remark went viral in the French media, eventually sparking mass protests and a deterioration in relations between France and the US.

The local newspaper Le Gardien had mentioned Mrs Porter’s casual reference to the secret agreement in its Vox Pop column, which the following day was picked up by the national newspaper Liberation and then subsequently featured at the back end of a national news report called “le pouvoir au peuple“. Her face then started to appear on billboards.

The tale of this simple woman standing up for truth in the face of an intrusive empire inspired the French government last week to apologise to Bolivian president Evo Morales over its refusal to grant air space for his jet.

The US goes to red alert

The French apology was viewed by many in the US administration as a treacherous act that triggered a geo-political shift. Within a week Mrs Porter was held responsible for the most dangerous slide in north-south relations in more than half a century.

Mrs Porter's hotel, the Paradiso

Mrs Porter’s hotel, the Paradiso

Furious at these events, the US initially sought Mrs Porter’s extradition from France – a request that the Ministre de la Justice famously described as “absurde!”

An aide to French President Francois Hollande was heard to remark that such demands could result in “us spilling the beans on them (the NSA) using the Dutch to spy on the Germans“.

The refusal followed a similar defeat in Ireland last week, where the US had requested the courts to provisionally grant extradition of notorious goatee Edward Snowden – should he ever happen to be passing through that country. The presiding judge remarked that the US authorities had failed to prove any wrong-doing by Snowden, and it had mistakenly placed someone’s packed lunch in the document pouch instead of the required paperwork.

On the run

Mrs Porter first learned of the US Government’s anger from part-time policeman Jean Cousseau, who had popped into her holiday cottage for coffee last Tuesday. She immediately packed up her suitcase and fled to neighbouring Spain in company with her sister Janice, a 64 year-old former seamstress from New Haven.

The French apology was viewed by many in the US administration as a treacherous act that triggered a geo-political shift.

Sources close to the Pentagon say the White House was “incensed” that Monsieur Cousseau had blabbed to Mrs Porter and allowed the fugitive to slip across the border.

US authorities had attempted to contact French border police to lodge a complaint but later discovered that France and Spain have for the past thirteen years enjoyed a common travel area that allows unrestricted movement across the border.

The State Department later tried to save face. One official commented “we can’t be expected to keep abreast of every little legal development in Europe“.

All eyes are now focused on the Spanish coastal town of Nerja, where Mrs Porter has been in hiding for the past four days. Although she has not been seen since arriving it is believed that the twice-married diabetic is holed up in the ladies toilet of the Paradiso hotel, just off the main street.

Under archaic Spanish provincial law the hotel is regarded as a lugar de refugio and as such any intervention by Madrid must be subject to an ancient Basque ritual on a full moon.

The arcane process means that Mrs Porter has until July 22nd to find a way to leave the hotel. It is believed a bus has been booked but no details have emerged.