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U.S. Arrests Online Gambling Company Chairman 634

Posted by Zonk
from the pokemon-next-on-their-hit-list dept.
imaginaryelf writes "Reuters reports that U.S. authorities have arrested Peter Dicks, the chairman of U.K. based online sports betting company Sportingbet Plc, while he was passing through Dallas. Just two months ago, the CEO of another U.K. based online sports betting company, BetOnSports, was arrested on U.S. soil as well. They are both charged with violating the 1961 Federal Wire Act, which can be broadly interpreted as declaring all forms of online gambling illegal in the U.S. Is online gambling the Alcohol Prohibition of the 21st century?"
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U.S. Arrests Online Gambling Company Chairman

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  • Yes! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quaoar (614366) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:21PM (#16062204)
    Now my $1000 bet that Peter Dicks would be arrested doesn't look quite so foolish...call my bookie!
  • JFK, not DFW (Score:3, Informative)

    by jimjamjoh (207342) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:23PM (#16062219)
    according the article, he was arrested @ kennedy, not in dallas.
  • Common sense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kooky45 (785515) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:24PM (#16062226)
    If you live outside of the US and have done something that the US have made illegal then don't go there.
    • by celardore (844933)
      If you live outside of the US and have done something that the US have made illegal then don't go there.


      Oh no! I went to Holland last year and smoked some weed, which is illegal in the US. Guess I won't be seeing those relatives across the pond now.
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:39PM (#16062336)
      It is nuts to arrest somebody for a "crime" committed elsewhere (where it is not a crime). For example, in many parts of the world civilians are not permitted to own or carry handguns. Should somebody be arrested on landing in the UK because they happened to own/carry a handgun while in the US?

      This is either harrassment or just the US thinking it has rights to push the rest of the world around.

      • by operagost (62405) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:50PM (#16062414) Homepage Journal
        It is nuts to arrest somebody for a "crime" committed elsewhere (where it is not a crime). For example, in many parts of the world civilians are not permitted to own or carry handguns. Should somebody be arrested on landing in the UK because they happened to own/carry a handgun while in the US?
        No, but if they sold and shipped the handgun to someone who lives in the UK they might be.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sjwest (948274)
      and refuse to trade with them too - consider the enron three http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5204030.stm [bbc.co.uk] - these three bankers are soley responisble for enron's demise. Praise be no american caused enron to fail.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ZeroExistenZ (721849)

      If you live outside of the US and have done something that the US have made illegal then don't go there.

      Now you know what I've been going through!

      I don't know if the FBI has these things I've done on the internet in the nineties on record desperatly waiting for me to fly over. I always have these nightmares where I set foot on American soil and have all these FBI guys grinning at me when I finally feel confident enough that the things I've done went unnoticed or uncared about, and shipping me off in a we

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Only a few million people should be arrested then. The age of consent is 14 or 16 in most European countries. So you're saying pretty much half of Europe should avoid travelling to the USA because they would be arrested?

      Fortunately, law doesn't work like this. You cannot exercise judicial power for things outside a country's juristiction or if you're not a citizen of that country (you can be held accountable for age of consent laws without borders solely based on citizenship, for example if you're an Aust
    • Mod parent up.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Intangion (816356)
      your all missing the point
      online gambling isnt illegal! (except in washington)

      another interesting thing is american companies do illegal things in america EVERY DAY and their CEOs are almost NEVER arrested, instead the companies are fined/penalized or get away with it.. yet this guy is held personally responsible for something that MAY be illegal in the FUTURE... WTF??

      whos racketeering here? the government is arresting these guys cause they dont pay protection (american taxes, cause they arent american comp
    • Re:Common sense (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @06:08PM (#16062540)
      Insightful? I think not. Here, let me fix it for you: "If you live out side of the {insert any country here} and have done something that the {insert any country here} has made illegal then don't go there.

      Our government isn't in the habit of arresting foreign nationals for activities that are perfectly legal in their country of origin. But if he was providing illegal services to U.S. citizens then he put himself at risk. Why that is such a shock to you people I don't know, unless you just need another excuse to America-bash. People complain bitterly when a Google or a Yahoo complies with the laws of another country when they disagree with those laws, fully expecting that those companies should simply break that country's laws with impunity. And maybe they should: but the principle works both ways ... if you break our laws, even over the Internet, we have the right to subject you to those laws when you're on our territory. That's how it is anywhere in the world.

      Now, having said that ... I'd rather our government kept its grubby little paternalistic fingers out of our lives and let us give all our hard-earned cash to crooked foreigners if we so choose. One of the most cherished rights that Americans have always enjoyed is the right to go to Hell in our own way. But unfortunately we have a lot of people in power over here that think they know better than we do what is best for us, want to force their pattern for living on everyone else.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GaryPatterson (852699)
      That should bar lots of US website operators and bloggers from going to the Middle-East, where their sites would land them in hot water. I wonder what the penalty is for running a porn site, or a site critical of the government.

      If a US website operator was executed, is that okay too? Should they just know better?

      I'm not saying that this is right or wrong, but prosecuting citizens of other countries for things which are legal in their country but illegal in yours will become a very slippery slope.
  • by AnderMoney (1001144) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:24PM (#16062227) Homepage
    I would say cigarette smoking is much closer to alcohol prohibition. I just hope that once they ban smoking in bars I can open up a speakeasy where we'll drink and smoke and gamble online to our heart's content....
    • by Ucklak (755284)
      I would say cigarette smoking is much closer to alcohol prohibition.

      It sure is getting there, and I hate it.

      I'm not a smoker and I hate being around smoke, if you want to smoke, that's your business.
      I don't see why a business that wants to cater to smokers isn't able to in some municipalities.
      I can understand banning smoking in libraries, museums, airplanes, and buses but come on, bars and nightclubs?
      If a smoker wants to smoke in a public park, let them. It's a public place meant for everyone. You can't p
      • by rainman_bc (735332) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @06:39PM (#16062764)

        If a smoker wants to smoke in a public park, let them. It's a public place meant for everyone. You can't please everyone.


        If a smoker comes though and blows smoke in my general direction, it should be considered socially acceptable for me to go fart in that smoker's space too.

        Thing is, my space belongs to me. I find having cigarette smoke blown in my direction akin to invading my space. I find it more disgusting than the smell of fart, and more harmful to my health.

        I think we should start a campaign where we go and fart in smoker's spaces.
  • by b0r1s (170449) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:26PM (#16062248) Homepage
    First one gets arrested, that's unfortunate for him.

    Second one gets arrested - man, how dumb to you have to be to fly through the US when you know you're likely to get arrested? It's not like international flight lists are ignored these days. Passengers that may pass on domestic flights aren't going to escape scrutiny on international (especially incoming) flights.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I think he might have believed in international law and customs that state a country's laws don't extend beyond their borders or citizens. How foolish of him eh? The USA is hell bent in the last few years (for the more history-savvy, for the last few decades) to ignore international law.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by whoever57 (658626)
      Second one gets arrested - man, how dumb to you have to be to fly through the US when you know you're likely to get arrested?
      It does sound dumb. But, given the UK/US extradition treaty that is highly biased in favor of the US, perhaps he felt the risk was no greater than he was exposed to by living in the UK.
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:26PM (#16062249) Homepage
    Its another great example of the US deciding that its perfectly okay to have their laws apply to people from other countries, but the idea of an international criminal court that might try CIA and US Soldiers for torture and crimes against humanity then the answer is no.

    Remind me again why people think the US is imperialist?
    • by b0r1s (170449) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:28PM (#16062265) Homepage
      They applied it in the US - if he didn't want to be subject to US laws, all he had to do was not fly into the US. Problem solved.
      • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:34PM (#16062297)
        So you're saying the server hosting the site somehow flew into the USA?

        The only way they could have arrested him legally, if he broke a law in the USA WHILE in the USA.

        You cannot break US laws outside the USA, so in the UK what he does is perfectly legal.

        Why isn't the british diplomacy concerned about the kidnapping of a UK citizen? In the 18th century they would have sent the gunboats already.
        • by wiggles (30088) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:58PM (#16062464)
          Not to defend this action, but the guy did commit a crime on US soil from the UK. I'm sure the US government's reasoning is something along these lines: By setting up a server in the UK to allow gambling in the US, the crime (slob in his underwear betting on cockroach races at 4am or whatever) was committed on US soil. The crime was only facilitated by offshore people and servers. They can use the same rationale to arrest and try South American drug lords, sea pirates (Avast!), money launderers who use offshore accounts, etc. They even have arrest warrants waiting to be served for the members of the DeBeers cartel for antitrust violations and contempt.

          Here's an analogy. Say I'm in Mexico with a trebuchet and tons of pot. Let's say for the sake of argument that we paid off the federales, and we can operate with impunity. Let's say you're in Texas with a catapult. If you send me money via your catapult and I send you bales of dope via my trebuchet, I'm guilty of selling drugs in the US, even though I never set foot on US soil.

          See?
          • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @06:24PM (#16062670)
            If we would accept your reasoning, why is that, that a citizen of the USA from a state where gambling is illegal can go to Las Vegas, gamble, then go back to his home state and NOT get arrested?
            • by wiggles (30088) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @06:39PM (#16062762)
              Good question.

              The reasoning is that it's because there was no crime committed. It's legal to gamble in Vegas, just like it's legal to smoke pot in Amsterdam. Americans can't be arrested for smoking pot in Amsterdam any more than they can be arrested for gambling in Vegas. It all depends on where the action took place, and whether or not the action was a crime in the place it was committed.

              The guy in the article was arrested because the gambling took place within an area where it's illegal -- namely, somewhere on US soil. He couldn't get arrested if the gambling only took place in Mexico or The Netherlands or Djibouti or wherever else gambling may be legal*.

              *I have no idea if gambling is legal in Mexico, The Netherlands, or Djibouti. I was just pulling country names out of my ass to make a point.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by radtea (464814)
                The guy in the article was arrested because the gambling took place within an area where it's illegal -- namely, somewhere on US soil.

                How do you figure that?

                The servers were in the U.K.

                The dice rolled (or rather, the RNG was called) in the U.K.

                Why do you place the gambling in the U.S.?
                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by wiggles (30088)
                  Because the guy physically doing the gambling was in the US. The servers were only facilitating the gambling. Go back to my drugs and catapaults analogy from two posts ago. Just because you're the only one in Texas doesn't mean I'm not guilty of selling you drugs in the US. Just because the servers are in the UK doesn't mean the guy in his basement in Little Rock wasn't gambling using Peter Dicks' facilities.

                  Again, I'm not trying to defend the actions of the government here, I'm just trying to explain h
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                Actually, this is a very small difference, but important:

                The action of gambling took place at TWO places (technically this still isn't accurate, but then we'd go into internet architecture):
                a.) client-side: the USA client broke the law for gambling.
                b.) server-side: the UK server and it's owners are in the clear, because it is legal to operate a gambling server in the UK.

                Btw, let me ask the following: let's say, a las vegas casino were to offer gambling online. Are you saying the casino owners were com
        • by flooey (695860)
          The only way they could have arrested him legally, if he broke a law in the USA WHILE in the USA.

          You cannot break US laws outside the USA, so in the UK what he does is perfectly legal.


          It doesn't matter where the person happens to be standing when the illegal act is carried out, it matters where the illegal act happened. If I throw an explosive across the US border, I still committed a crime in the US, despite not being within the border when the crime happened. In this case, it was a financial transa
        • by Aladrin (926209) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @06:11PM (#16062567)
          So you're saying that while he was in the US, he shut his company down or somehow else prevented US citizens from illegally using his site?

          He WAS in the US while breaking this law.

          I was leaning towards his rights until I found out that his site lists US phone numbers and EST calling times, and 77% of his business is from the US. It isn't like he's got a few people he didn't manage to keep off the site. He actively encourages them to break the law.

          Disclaimer: I stole those facts from above posts. They could be totally wrong. But I doubt it.
          • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @06:36PM (#16062745)
            he shut his company down or somehow else prevented US citizens from illegally using his site?
            People don't seem to get this. So, let me try to hilight it. IT IS NOT HIS RESPONSIBILITY TO PREVENT US CITIZENS FROM BREAKING THE LAW. He didn't break ANY laws. When a USA citizen buys something from a UK shop located in the UK and doing business in the UK, UK laws apply, UK taxes apply, and the rest is meaningless.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by phorm (591458)
            US phone numbers and EST calling times

            And now I'd also have to agree that sounds to me like what would actually push it into breaking US laws, since those US numbers indicate an actual presence in (and specific to) the US itself, and not just on the internet (which is quasi-international).

            Nice to see somebody who actually has a well-reasoned opinion and lets the facts speak (and even change one's mind when they're strong enough).
      • by Amouth (879122)
        but did he commit a crime while on US soil.. if he isn't a US citizen and he didn't commit crime on US soil then what does the US have to get him on..

        on another note.. i thought they where supposed to use that flight list stuff the stop terror peps not online poker..
      • by slarabee (184347) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:48PM (#16062395)
        And the reason he wasn't arrested during the previous ten years of the gambling site's existence? He has passed through the United States multiple times in the past decade while participating in this orgy of criminal vice. He has even held press conferences in the United States during this time. Officials in the federal government were well aware Carruthers was in their jurisdiction yet have done nothing.

        Could it have something to do with a vote dealing with a ban on Internet gambling coming up in the legislature in the next couple weeks? Could it have something to do with the fact Carruthers has been a vocal opponent of the upcoming bill. Strange that. The man is arrested based on his involvement in running an Internet gambling company. Yet referencing the vote on banning Internet gambling requires using the future tense.

        Perhaps using a 1961 law that only questionably relates to the Internet and even more questionably relates to an individual operating out of a different country is not quite so sound...

        http://www.reason.com/sullum/072606.shtml [reason.com]

        http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/09/sullum_ on_internet_gambling_ar.php [scienceblogs.com]

      • no, because HIS business was in the foriegn country... he did not come here and personally break the law here. That's where the legal fallacy comes into play.. imagine for instance driving from Michigan (speed limit 70) to Ohio (speed limit 60) driving legally in Ohio, but getting a ticket because you were "speeding" in Michigan... consider the effect if you were an Ohio citizen.. Can Ohio control your actions in another state? Consider if you are a citizen of Michigan? Or in another more charged case,
    • Its another great example of the US deciding that its perfectly okay to have their laws apply to people from other countries

      You have it exactly backwards. The guy is providing services to Americans that are illegal in America. What difference does it make where he's doing it from? Columbian drug runners are also regularly thrown in jail for selling services in the US.

      What you're really saying is that you think UK laws should be forced upon the USA. Sorry, but that's not how it works. If the guy breaks

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jeff4747 (256583)

        Columbian drug runners are also regularly thrown in jail for selling services in the US.

        With the "drug runners", they are actually in the US when they commit the crime.

        This case hinges on where the crime actually occurred. An argument could be made that the gambling was done in the US, because that's where the customer is located. Another argument can be made that the gambling took place in the UK, because that's where the "dice" were "rolled".

        IMO, the gambling took place in the UK. In the US, so

    • by RyoShin (610051)
      On the flip side, this man aided and abbeted criminal activities in the U.S.

      I don't necessarily agree with the gambling laws, but hear me out.

      While this man and his website are located in the U.K., he accepted money from people in the U.S. Another comment has pointed out that it would have been very simple for him to deny all credit cards with billing addresses inside the U.S., at least to the point of plausible deniability. So he is guilty of facilitating a criminal act, Americans involved in online gambli
  • >Is online gambling the Alcohol Prohibition of the 21st century?"

    How about drug prohibition or pornography prohibition? Anytime the governement gets in the way of people and what they want to do, someone will find a way around it.
  • Oh that's good... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bziman (223162)

    So it's okay for the United States to arrest foreign nationals because they run a business in their own country that is (sort of) illegal in the States.

    And yet the American government complains loudly when Freedom Fighters in the Middle East capture and detain members of the American invasion force who are obviously breaking the law by invading those countries?

    It would be really nifty if the American government spent as much time trying to provide health-care to its citizens, teaching science in its s

  • U.S. a no go zone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ConfusedSelfHating (1000521) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:28PM (#16062263)
    In the near future, the United States of America may be a country that non-Americans fear to travel to. With the DMCA, the Patriot Act, association with gambling sites, corporate deals with Iran, corporate deals with Cuba ... you just simply do not know whether or not you will be arrested when entering the United States. If your non-American company did business with Cuba, could you be arrested? If you engaged in fair use of media in your country, could you be arrested for DMCA violations?

    You won't know until you are on American soil.
    • by syousef (465911) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:51PM (#16062425) Journal
      I stopped wanting to go to the US a long time ago. My last name is Yousef and I'm very arabic looking. Never mind that my family's background is Christian not Muslim, that I don't believe in God, or that the work I do required security checks and clearance before I was employed. Last nail in the coffin was when they started fingerprinting everyone. I don't want to be treated like a criminal and randomly finger printed and searched all the way there and back. That's not something I want to do for a good job let alone for a holiday.

      In 1998 I went to the US to do training and none of this was a concern. The programmers boot camp I went to sucked by on one of my two weekends off in the 10 week hell I went to the Kennedy Space Center and I loved it! I always wanted to go back and take a look at the Grand Canyon. Now I wouldn't go if they paid me.

      Fuck 9/11. Fuck the terrorists. Fuck the people who've used it as a power grab. Fuck the blind sheep who'll let them until its too late. I've had a gut full of this bad behaviour from all sides. ...And if anyone wants to mod this as flamebait, that's fine be my guest, but before you do read the definition of a flame. I'm not saying these things just to piss people off. This is genuinely how I feel, and I'm not alone.
    • In the near future, the United States of America may be a country that non-Americans fear to travel to.

      Yeah, because every non-American is running services TO AMERICANS that are illegal in AMERICA. ::rolls eyes:: None of your examples fit that criteria.

      Guess what? If you sell cocaine in the USA that happens to be legal in your country, you'll be arrested as well.

  • Smoking bans are the new prohibition.

    Second is alcohol prohibition -- lowering the drunk driving standards until you're gulty of drunk driving even though you're not even impaired.

    Online gambling is 3rd.
    • Smoking bans are, as far as I've ever seen, meant to limit the health effects of secondhand smoke. This is not prohibition.

      Drunk driving bans are meant to limit the number of auto accidents. You may or may not be right about where the limit is set, but it isn't prohibition either.

      Gambling, on the other hand, has no "collateral damage" aspect to it. Or rather, it has no downside that causes people unrelated to the user to suffer.

      Prohibition was justified as a way to prevent people from being self destruct
  • British people. British companies. Americans charging them with crimes as soon as they set foot on US soil.

    What a load of bullshit.
    • Re:Um... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @06:03PM (#16062505)
      British people. British companies. Americans charging them with crimes as soon as they set foot on US soil.

      What a load of bullshit.


      So if cocaine was legal in the UK and they sold it to people in the US then the feds shouldn't go after them? (Replace cocaine with any product or service that fits) Just because something is legal in one country doesn't mean one can't face prosecution in another country where it's illegal if that product/service is offered in the other country.

      I worked briefly for a company that ran a gambling website in the UK in conjunction with Harrahs casino. On-line gaming is apparently huge in the UK. In order to legally operate the site there were all sorts of checks to verify that a user was based in the UK. It included not only identifying the physical location of an IP address but validating the address of a credit card and other steps. Apparently all legitimite gambling sites in the UK are required to take these sort of steps if you don't want to run afoul of UK gaming laws. If this was a legit UK gaming website then they would have these same checks in place that would prevent people in the US from using it. It's his own fault for violating US laws (that happen to be well known in the gambling community) and thinking that he could travel here without getting arrested.
  • And Lou Dobbs says that Canada harbours terrorists.

    Take a look at your so-called friend, Britain!

  • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:32PM (#16062284)
    I still wonder how this is illegal for a non-resident, hosted off shore, with no servers in the US at all. Now it should probably be illegal for US citizens.. many individual states have laws against gambling in any form...but that would be a state issue to their citizens. I sort of understand how the Federal Wire laws make state crimes illegal because you "used" a federal regulated wire service, but I can't understand how they can arrest citizens of other countries for running the service legally in their own country.


    Of course, were the USA we can do what ever we want... I often wonder how we'd react if say Bill Gates was arrested in Communist China for being an "obscenely rich capitalist".. .I'm sure that's still illegal over there, and Microsoft sells to China.. so why should the reds take a chance at getting him? It's the same basic principle.

    • Started up a website serving up good old kiddy porn, started charging US users to download those images I should be safe then.

      I think another person suggested that the US should have censured illegal sites.

      How about if you're going to conduct business in a country, you follow and obey all local rules and regulations? If you can't comply, then about making it so that you block access yourself so you don't violate those laws and regulations.

      Second, I can't believe this Dicks decided to go through the US even
  • With a name like that, I would have expected him to be in the p0rn industry instead.
  • by subreality (157447) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:46PM (#16062379)
    Is online gambling the Alcohol Prohibition of the 21st century?


    No. Marijuana is the Alcohol Prohibition of the 21st century.
  • by dougman (908) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:48PM (#16062399)
    First off, the link says, "Dicks was arrested in New York late on Wednesday at JFK Airport on a warrant from Louisiana" nothing about Dallas. What's up with the warrant from Louisiana? Sounds like some small-timer that wants to stir things up. There's got to be more to the story.

    I'm a big-time outspoken conservative and I love to play no-limit hold 'em (and hi/lo omaha). I'd like to state that I am very diappointed that republicans are backing this and I believe this really is just for votes this fall. There are democrat supporters on this as well, so it isn't completely one-sided. Everyone interested in keeping internet gambling alive needs to talk to their representative.

    The good news is that this was tried in the late 90's and failed. It passed the house in 2003 but the senate didn't take up the issue. With the rate at which poker in particular is gaining popularity, this should be an issue that can be defeated. I see the senate again not taking up this issue in 2006. Post 2006 elections, it should disappear for a while again. Apparently big money doesn't buy all the votes as online gambling is worth bilions of dollars. AFIAK, as long as we have state lottos and Indian casinos, I don't want to hear anything from the state about why online gambling should be illegal.

    Now as for the gentlemen who have been arested... the only good thing is that maybe they can sue and further clarify the law. The fifth circuit says the law only applies to sports. It would be great to see additional courts back this up as I believe they would.
  • Nope (Score:3, Interesting)

    by static0verdrive (776495) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @05:50PM (#16062411) Homepage Journal
    Marijuana Prohibition is the Alcohol Prohibition of the 21st Century.
  • by MythoBeast (54294) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @06:02PM (#16062491) Homepage Journal
    Well, no, marijuana prohibition is the alcohol prohibition of the modern age. With the sole details that the drug is significantly less harmful than alcohol, and the effects of the prohibition are significantly more widespread and harmful, it's essentially identical. We're just so used to it that we don't even notice any more.
  • all is forgiven.

    Didn't the US try this before and get told where to shove it ?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_case_of_Sklyarov% 2C_ElcomSoft%2C_Adobe%2C_and_the_DMCA [wikipedia.org]
  • Since no one has yet mention Arar...

    Maher Arar: Statement to the Media November 4, 2003 [amnesty.ca]

    One sentence summary: Maher Arer was a software engineer for the MathWorks in Canada, was vacationing in Tunis, was called back by The Mathworks on an emergency, scheduled a flight back with a transfer at Kennedy airport in NYC, and the U.S. deported him to Syria for torture.

  • by inviolet (797804) <slashdot.ideasmatter@org> on Thursday September 07, 2006 @06:16PM (#16062607) Journal

    > L
    You are sitting in an airplane seat, in the coach section of an airliner. The airliner is descending.

    > I
    You are carrying:
    • briefcase
    • wallet
    • cellphone
    • car keys
    • ticket stub
    • sword
    • bloody axe

    >READ TICKET
    I don't see any ticket here.

    >READ TICKET STUB
    The ticket stub is for an intercontinental flight from Great Britain to Mexico, with a stopover in Dallas.

    >DALLAS?
    I don't know how to dallas.

    >DOES THIS PLANE HAVE A STOPOVER IN DALLAS?
    I don't see any plane here.

    >LEAVE PLANE
    Your seatbelt holds you in the seat, preventing you from standing up.

    >OPEN SEATBELT
    You cannot open that.

    >UNFASTEN SEATBELT
    Unfastened.

    >LEAVE PLANE
    You need to stand up first.

    >STAND UP
    You are now standing. The passenger sitting next to you looks agitated.

    >LEAVE PLANE
    The exit doors are locked, as the plane is still in flight.

    >FUCK
    I don't know how to fuck.
    The plane is about to land in Dallas. You are likely to be arrested by a grue.

    >ARE THEY GOING TO ARREST ME?
    I don't see any they here.

    >EXIT
    You cannot exit now.
    Your sword is glowing faintly.

    >QUIT
    You cannot quit now.
    Your sword is glowing faintly.
  • Gambling Hypocrisy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mr. Lwanga (872401) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @06:17PM (#16062610) Journal
    The only crime the offshore gaming companies committed is competing against US based brick and mortar casinos. If you travel out of a state that doesn't have gambling to a state that does, isn't the casino enabling an act that couldn't occur in the gambler's home state? The gaming corporations don't want more competition (they spent alot of money in California to restrict Indian Casinos) and the federal and state government don't want to lose revenue from offshore gambling.
  • Racketeering? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mmmmbeer (107215) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @06:22PM (#16062655)
    The previous arrest had included charges of racketeering. It's quite possible this one does as well.

    As to the Wire Act, and the enforceability of such: This is really no different than betting over the phone or by mail. This is just a newer version of an old debate - when an activity takes place over a distance, and it is illegal in one location and not the other, can it be enforced on the person in the latter? Obviously, the government of Louisiana feels it can, provided that person comes within their territory, or can be extradited. Other governments have behaved similarly, for other laws, although most just prefer censorship.

    The issue is not whether gambling should be illegal. Sure, it's a stupid law, and it would be a simple answer for this one situation if gambling was legal, but it wouldn't answer the larger question. On the one hand, no government at any level wants its laws to be so easily avoided, and it's ineffective to go after the individuals who use the service rather than the providers (just ask the RIAA - well, in a few years anyway). On the other hand, there is certainly a case to be made that those who offer services should not expect to be held in violation of a law that didn't exist in the locality from which they offered said services.

    So I guess what I'm saying is, "I dunno." Is it fair to say, "If you do something that breaks the law here, and that has an effect here, you can never come here"? Or is it fair to say, "You can't touch us, you can only block access to our site from everyone in your country"? (This has in fact been suggested by other posts here! Is this something you want to encourage?) I for one am going to consider it some more rather than locking myself into some knee-jerk reaction.

    P.S. One last thought - it's possible the warrant was issued due to activities during a previous trip to the US. That would change the whole situation.
  • by nead (258866) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @06:36PM (#16062746) Homepage
    Is the Prohibition of the 21st Century.
  • by kinglink (195330) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @07:30PM (#16063040)
    can't be prosecuted.

    Why are we arresting these men under a Wire act that was written in 1961. The simple answer? We can't prosecute them under any other law. Gambling is illegal but because they arn't in america they arn't liable.

    The sad thing is that Americans want gambling, obviously. But they are accusing a EUROPEAN company, of breaking an American statute dealing with american "wires".

    Btw check the wikipedia article closely. "The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting and not other types of online gambling. The Supreme Court has not officially ruled on the meaning of the Federal Wire Act as it pertains to online gambling." The real question is was the betting on american sports?

    The sad fact is as an American I feel bad in this case. Every time we take an obscure law and hold someone under it, something that someone goes "oh we can nail them for that" and others go "that's clever", I die a little inside. The founding fathers didn't say "let's be clever" They said "let's make a country and laws". They didn't look for some loophole with the british, they busted some barrels of tea, got liquored up and won a war (not all in that order or the same night... I hope).

    If America really believes something like this is wrong make a law. If America really believes something like this is acceptable revoke the law. America is a very easy place but we make everything complex like this shit.
  • by neo (4625) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @09:22PM (#16063546)
    What's an international company supposed to do to keep americans from using their freedom? They ask if you're from the US. They tell you to check and see if it's legal to do what you're doing there. Are they supposed to visit you?

    The guy at my deli never asks for ID when I buy lottery tickets and all the bingo I played as a kid at church was when I was under 18... but you let one american bet the Packer's to win the SuperBowl and bam! You're in jail.

    We have a goverment that outlaws things so they can profit from doing it themselves. When the Mega-Millions jackpot is $25 million, you know how much money they make? Let's just say the goverment is taking more than half before showing you that number.
  • Jxn (Score:4, Informative)

    by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @10:55PM (#16063882) Homepage
    There seems to be a fair bit of confusion as to how the United States would have jurisdiction in this matter. Without getting too much into specifics, I'll quickly address this.

    The Constitution provides Congress with "Power ... To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations." International commerce with the US necessarily would involve some activities that occur outside of the US. But since the people engaging in those activities are engaged in commerce with us, they fall under the scope of what Congress can regulate. It's not necessary for them to physically be in the US at the time, for if it were, that wouldn't be international commerce; it would be wholly domestic.

    In this case, the person apparently set up a server in the UK and used it to conduct business with people in the US. Furthermore, in doing so, he apparently violated US laws which prohibit people from engaging in this form of commerce where it involves the US, regardless of where the person happens to be while doing it.

    The same sort of thing occurs regularly within the US. For example, if a person in Maine has a website which is part of a business, buying or selling something (as opposed to being merely informational), then they are engaging in interstate commerce nationwide. An Alaskan user who buys something from their site has engaged in commerce with them, and now the person in Maine is subject to Alaskan law. This is the price of doing business with people across borders in our legal system: the differing laws on both sides of the border apply, because the transaction as a whole is occuring in both, not just in one or the other.

    The actual situation is a bit more complex than this, but this is the gist of it.

    If the person who was arrested doesn't wish to get in more trouble in the future, then he's going to either need to comply with US law, or stop doing business that crosses the US border. Or he can try to avoid going to the US or having assets in the US so that he simply stays outside of our reach, despite violating our laws. (N.b. that airspace counts: there are plenty of instances of people flying on planes, and getting served while crossing the airspace of a particular jurisdiction, by someone that followed them on the plane and waited for the right moment. Landing in that jurisdiction isn't required.)

    In any case, this isn't much of an example of our stretching ourselves. If you want to see that, I'd suggest looking at the Alien Tort Claims Act. Personally, I don't have a problem with that, or with our general approach to this.

    To those who would argue that repressive countries such as China or Saudi Arabia could try the same thing for basically innocuous things like pointing out how repressive they are (as opposed to something arguably more serious, such as illegally running gambling operations), let's remember that they are repressive countries and thus no one should ever want to go there until they clean up their act. As many idiotic and downright evil things as the US has been doing lately (or historically), we're not quite that bad, and I hope we're soon to get significantly better.

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