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back to article 69,000 sign petition to save TV-linker O'Dwyer from US extradition

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has got over 69,000 signatures on a petition to save a 24-year-old Briton from extradition to the US. Wales wants British Home Secretary Theresa May to save the youngster from being sent to the US, where authorities want to try him for copyright infringement. The Wiki-daddy sees the plight of O' …

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Stop

Stop!

World Police!

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Pint

Re: Stop!

America!

America!

America, fuck yeah!

Comin' again to save the mother fuckin' day yeah!

America, fuck yeah!

Freedom is the only way yeah!

Terrorists your game is through, 'cause now you have to answer to...

America, fuck yeah!

So lick my butt and suck on my balls!

America, fuck yeah!

Whatcha gonna do when we come for you now?

It's the dream that we all share

It's the hope for tomorrow! Fuck yeah.

Mcdonalds, fuck yeah!

Wal-mart, fuck yeah!

The Gap, fuck yeah!

Baseball, fuck yeah!

The NFL, fuck yeah!

Rock and roll, fuck yeah!

The internet, fuck yeah!

Slavery, fuck yeah!

Fuck yeah!

Starbucks, fuck yeah!

Disney world, fuck yeah!

Porno, fuck yeah!

Valium, fuck yeah!

Reeboks, fuck yeah!;

Fake tits, fuck yeah!

Sushi, fuck yeah!

Taco bell, fuck yeah!

Rodeos, fuck yeah!

Bed bath and beyond, fuck yeah? (fuck yeah?)

Liberty, fuck yeah!

Wax lips, fuck yeah!

The Alamo, fuck yeah!

Bandaids, fuck yeah!

Las Vegas, fuck yeah!

Christmas, fuck yeah!

Immigrants, fuck yeah!

Pop-eye, fuck yeah!

Democrats, fuck yeah!

Republicans, fuck yeah?

Sportsmanship, fuck yeah?

Books...

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Invitation: Re: Stop!

Let' see: the kid's first website was closed by the order of a UK court, and having been shown that the enterprise was against the law, he went and re-opened it using a new domain. So really, he was inviting further legal trouble.

To me, he seems like *exactly* the kind of person that belongs in prison.

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Re: Invitation: Stop!

Maybe, but he doesn't belong in an American prison, and that's the point.

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Re: Invitation: Stop!

I agree except that he should be in a UK prison for breaking UK laws in the UK.

Problem is, in the UK, we would only punish him, whereas in the US they would Destroy him, which appears to be what the prosecuters want.

Of course, in the US, copyright infringement is considered a substantially more serious crime than Rape and Manslaugter and punished as such.

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Re: Invitation: Stop! (@Turtle)

"So really, he was inviting further legal trouble"

May be. But he expected -and it seems quite a reasonable assumption- to have this legal trouble with the British Legal system, not with the American one. This is one of those 'slippery slope' thingies, that could end up with British citizens being extradited to China or Iran for having said/written/done something that those governments consider illegal or just don't like. If what he did was illegal in the UK, he should be tried under UK Law. If it wasn't, he shouldn't be extradited. There is not a third option.

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Re: Invitation: Stop!

Murderers and rapists and BP executives and hedge-fund managers belong in prison. A kid who links to other places on the net belongs back in college, never to be bothered again. If you think someone who creates a link in his website to something else on the internet, no matter what that is (except kiddie porn) belongs in prison, your priorities and head need to be re-examined.

Speaking as an American, my official position is: We're doing what now??? {hangs head} We are such idiots. Patents and copyright need to be completely revamped.

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Re: Invitation: Stop!

Thanks, John O'Grady, for putting that far more succinctly than I would have. Whatever this is, it isn't a situation demanding jail-time.

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Re: Invitation: Stop! (@Turtle)

>>"his is one of those 'slippery slope' thingies, that could end up with British citizens being extradited to China or Iran for having said/written/done something that those governments consider illegal or just don't like."

For the most part, 'slippery slope' arguments seem to be when people try and argue against something not on its own merits, but on the basis of some wild exaggeration of some highly unlikely extreme case without explaining why there's some inevitable or hard-to-resist path from one to the other.

If anything, they tend to suggest (rightly or wrongly) that someone might be short of any better arguments

Extraditing this guy to the USA, whatever any individual thinks about how much it isn't or is justified, seems highly unlikely to meaningfully contribute to an attitude shift in public or politicians leading to some extradition free-for-all.

And in any case you're ignoring the basic extradition idea that an offence has to be criminal in both places to justify extradition.

There might have been legal debate in this case about how criminal the actions were in UK law, but no-one was suggesting that it didn't matter whether they were or not.

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Re: Invitation: Stop! (@Turtle)

If you've signed an international trade treaty specifying extradition to each others countries for prosecution of listed violations, it is UK law. If you don't like it, either negotiate different terms for the agreement or don't sign the treaty.

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Re: Invitation: Stop! (@ david wilson)

"For the most part, 'slippery slope' arguments seem to be when people try and argue against something not on its own merits, but on the basis of some wild exaggeration of some highly unlikely extreme case "without explaining why there's some inevitable or hard-to-resist path from one to the other."

What you wrote is true. Sometimes.

In this particular case you don't need to be a futurologist to think of one or too not-too-improbable ways in which this hypothetical situation might come to happen.

As an example, the way China is gaining weight in World's Politics and Economics, the prospect of the British govt' needing to appease the Chinese by sacrificing some British citizens doesn't look exactly as hard Science Fiction, does it?. :-)

"Extraditing this guy to the USA, whatever any individual thinks about how much it isn't or is justified, seems highly unlikely to meaningfully contribute to an attitude shift in public or politicians leading to some extradition free-for-all."

An 'extradition free-for-all' is exactly what the UK has now. The USA is just their first customer. I'd bet it won't be the last. :-(

"And in any case you're ignoring the basic extradition idea that an offence has to be criminal in both places to justify extradition"

Just as you're ignoring the idea that the US shouldn't have anything to say about crimes perpetrated in the UK. Using this legal tool - which was originally shown to the masses as a security improvement, to be used only against serious crimes- against copyright infringement just goes beyond f**king ridicule.

And in my opinion, the USA is not being too wise here. Throwing this kind of shit in one of their best allies will have serious consequences, one way or another.

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Re: Invitation: Stop!

"Let' see: the kid's first website was closed by the order of a UK court".

No, the domain was seized by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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@Thomas 18 -- Re: Invitation: Stop!

Correct. We shouldn't have to wait for China and India to get bigger and start flexing muscle before these bully-boy tactics stop.

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@Tom 13 -- Re: Invitation: Stop! (@Turtle)

"If you've signed an international trade treaty specifying extradition to each others countries for prosecution of listed violations, it is UK law."

Perhaps so.

But most governments of the world sign intentional treaties WITHOUT ever consulting their electorates!

Very unfortunately for democracies--all countries really--treaties are the bastion of the unelected diplomatic core and executive government (often not elected but appointed), who between them, ratify treaties.

Treaties are usually created through secret negotiations between rich and powerful (or influential) lobbyists and rubber-stamped by executive government. Trouble is, those who've absolutely no say in the formation of a treaty are usually the ones who feel its full force.

It is only when this 'unelected' branch of government comes under attack do we discover its full power. The wrath inflicted on WikiLeaks, Assange and Bradley Manning attests to this.

Sadly, I'm beginning to think the 'extradited' will have to become martyrs before there's significant change. Sooner or later, the population will eventually realise the threat they face from bad treaties and the over zealous application of them and they'll use people-power to break this abuse of executive power. Hopefully, changes will come about through reasoned and persuasive argument, if not, then it's as we've seen throughout history--the citizenry will resort to civil disobedience.

The primer on this is the classic essay 'Civil Disobedience' by the 19th C. US philosopher, Henry David Thoreau: http://archive.org/details/civildisobedienc00071gut

It's short. Read it soon before it's burnt.

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Re: @Tom 13 -- Invitation: Stop! (@Turtle)

I'm familiar with Thoreau. He was an overrated liberal twit.

I didn't say it was a good idea, I said it was the law. It's why in my country I'm opposed to approval of the ICC and LOST.

But you should stop flaming out on people because it turns out that the rest of us adapt better to the slanted tactics your side started using to force their morals down other people's throats. The law of unintended questions is a real bitch on inflicting karma.

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Boffin

Before playing the China card, Mephisto,

You might want to take a look at the conditions in one US prison, as described by contributing editor Andrew Cohen at the Atlantic. It might be objected that this article refers only one US prison, of very many, which is certainly the case, as the US gaols more of its population in both absolute and per-capita terms (about six times as many per capita as in China, about 4.6 times as many as in England and Wales). Some indication as to how things are in many of the others can be found in this New York Times OpEd. As you see, no need whatever to introduce the irrelevant Chinese bugbear at all ; conditions for those who fall into the clutches of the US (in)justice system more than suffice as a reason not to send Mr O'Dwyer there, even were what he has done a crime in the country that has jurisdiction, viz, the UK, which it is not....

Henri

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Re: Invitation: Stop! (@ david wilson)

>>"Just as you're ignoring the idea that the US shouldn't have anything to say about crimes perpetrated in the UK."

It's certainly an /opinion/ that if a deed done by someone here which had transnational effects could be prosecuted in both places, it should only ever be prosecuted here, but it's not 'ignoring' an opinion to not necessarily entirely share it.

There's a difference between seeming to ignore a fact about the process (which given the current situation would seem to be a difficult-to-remove bar preventing movement down the slippery slope) and simply failing to share an opinion that effectively claims some 'principle' without any obvious justification and states that that principle means there's only one way of looking at a particular case.

It would seem a perfectly arguable opinion that trying someone in the country where supposed effects of an alleged crime were greater isn't necessarily /automatically/ unjust, even if it might not always be the best course of action.

>>"Using this legal tool - which was originally shown to the masses as a security improvement, to be used only against serious crimes- "

Is that honestly the only way it was officially described to the masses?

It's fairly hard to imagine that 'the masses' were actually interested enough that it would have been thought necessary to have been described in such a way to them, especially since they weren't being asked their opinion, and don't seem to have been likely to count it at the time as any meaningful factor in the way they voted.

Now, it might have been lauded to parliament or elsewhere as making it easier to extradite people who were accused of particularly serious crimes, but that's obviously a completely different thing to it being continually officially claimed that it was /only/ to be used for doing that.

>>"And in my opinion, the USA is not being too wise here. Throwing this kind of shit in one of their best allies will have serious consequences, one way or another."

I think you may be overestimating the extent to which the average citizen (rightly or wrongly) cares.

And ultimately it seems a bit odd to argue that there's a 'slippery slope' while simultaneously stating that people already think the current situation has gone too far.

It'd seem like arguing that extending licensing hours for pubs was 'a slippery slope to 24-hour drinking' while also claiming that there was a serious backlash going on that was likely to succeed in changing things back to the good old days.

And it would actually seem to be basically going back to what I said - that slippery slope arguments seem to get used as a kind of way of saying 'I don't like that' but arguing on the basis of some extrapolated extreme rather than the case itself, whether or not the extreme is thought to be at all likely to actually happen.

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Re: Before playing the China card, Mephisto,

Thanks for the links, which are quite relevant to the discussion and the article. I was aware of these facts, but the links you provided are more current and add some interesting facts I didn't know before. It looks like the situation is not improving with time, either. Violence and prison rape were not enough. Undernourishment and/or downright slavery are either here already or very near.

A democratic country sending its citizens into this shit insults the word 'Democracy'.

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Stop

US has gone feral.

Tragedy really, if only Americans could see themselves as others do the world would be a much better place.

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Re: US has gone feral.

"US has gone feral.

Tragedy really, if only Americans could see themselves as others do the world would be a much better place."

Do you *really* know what the rest of the world thinks, outside of those people that inhabit echo chambers on the internet?

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@Turtle -- Re: US has gone feral.

Having lived in the US, Europe and worked in Asia my views weren't formed on the Net. Sorry.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: US has gone feral.

"Do you *really* know what the rest of the world thinks, outside of those people that inhabit echo chambers on the internet?"

Well, a large part of the later half of twentieth century world history concerns revolutions against corrupt, dictatorial governments which were lavishly supported by the US with arms and money. So yes, there is a fair consensus throughout the rest of the world as to the US' policies of involvement.

Think of:

Battista -> Castro

Ngo Din Diem -> Ho Chi Minh

Keeping the world free of communism and safe for democracy.

Also exporting democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan.

AC because of the black helicop...... aarghhh.

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Extradition?

For copyright offences?

What next - littering?

Insanity.

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Re: Extradition?

Simple solution: all he needs to do is get a minor offence recorded on his record and then he won't be on their 'no scumbags allowed' list.

At which point their logic gates should fail and their heads will finally disappear up their own arses.

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I'm sure a lawyer could come up with a justification, and it is in the nature of the Internet to make it unclear where an offence is committed, but the whole thing looks dodgy.

I'm rather glad we haven't totally abandoned jury trials, but this looks awfully like selling justice.

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Stupidity

I thought the idea of extradition was for serious offences only. This is a civil matter and the copyright holders are at liberty to pursue him for copyright violation in this country if they so desire. Extradition should not be used to move someone to a place where their act is a crime (from somewhere it isn't) or to somewhere where the penalties are higher or the cases simpler. All these sorts of cases are doing, is bring the whole extradition process into ill repute, which is not where we want to be. It's crazy when you can't extradite terrorists and murderers (often for human rights reasons), but a bit of copyright violation, no problem.

The USofA either don't care how they are perceived around the world (my favourite), or they simply don't realise. However, they will soon be challenged for the number 1 spot on the planet by other countries, probably Asian and will then not be able to bully their way around. When this happens (as it surely will), they'd better be careful. It happened for the UK some years ago. Used to be that we made a dictat and then simply sent a guboat......job done (in the old empire days). Now, we have to be somewhat more circumspect. We still try to lord it around a bit, but generally have realised our ability to bully other countries is somewhat dubious (at least without outside help). Maybe this is why politicians spend all their time bullying the residents of their own country now.

Hopefully the USofA will learn before it's too late.

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Stop

Re: Stupidity

They need to want to learn first.

Disagree with US policy? Own an iThing or a Ford car (etc, etc)? You helped fund them.

(Yes, yes to the pedants who're doubtless warming their trollflames, your Taiwanese PC might contain an intel chip, don't bother going there. Your iThing or Ford probably has Korean memory, too, and so on.)

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@Mad Mike -- Re: Stupidity

"Hopefully the USofA will learn before it's too late."

Hope so too, but it's always been a very slow learner.

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Re: @Mad Mike

"I thought the idea of extradition was for serious offences only."

Making money in Hollywood is srs bsns.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stupidity

re: Civil matter

Actually copyright infringement for profit is a criminal matter and he did profit, really rather a lot.

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Re: Stupidity (@ Mad Mike)

"Hopefully the USofA will learn before it's too late"

They never learn. The British Empire never learned that obvious truth, the Spanish Empire didn't either. Even the friggin Roman Empire didn't learn this until it was too late.

It seems that as a country/government becomes more powerful, its ruling classes gradually lose touch with reality. And in most cases, also with Ethics. Sad.

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Re: Stupidity (@ Mad Mike)

http://documentingfire.tumblr.com/post/17542908626/south-park-explanations

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Stop

Re: Stupidity

Copyright WAS a civil matter but that changed when its rich and powerful lobby subverted governments and the democratic process.

Score time:

Rich and powerful copyright lobby = 1

The Citizenry = 0

Democracy = 0

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Civil vs Criminal

Copyright infringement changes into a criminal offence when money is made off the back of it. I think you'll find that this guy made quite a lot of money from this website. This does not support the extradition action, just clarifying a point here.

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Re: Civil vs Criminal

I think you'll find that this guy made quite a lot of money from this website.

citation needed

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Re: Civil vs Criminal

From what I read there was no copyright infringement on the part of O'Dwyer - his site merely posted links to other sites.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Civil vs Criminal

You mean a bit like that other company (Boogle or something like that) that posts links to things. I'd no idea the Americans wanted to stop that.

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Re: Civil vs Criminal

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/24/richard-odwyer-extradition-threat-tvshack-net

"Over the three years it ran, according to court documents, the site's growing audience generated more than £140,000 in advertising revenue. O'Dwyer hasn't denied the figure, but says a lot of it went on running the site."

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Re: Civil vs Criminal

In the grand scheme of things, £140k over three years isn't a "lot of money". However, it might be enough to satisfy the "for profit" aspect. However, that needs to be decided by a court so that everyone can have some certainty - and that means a UK court, not USAan one . If the USA want to be involved, they can offer some witnesses to the prosecution, or the court itself.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Civil vs Criminal

@Intractable Potsherd: I don't know how much you consider a lot of money, but I earn only ten grand more than that in three years and I know that I earn a lot more than average salary. If I could run a site in my spare time and watch money raining in from advertising, to the degree that we're talking here, I would consider myself a very well off man indeed.

To put it another way: £140k in three years is paying off the mortgage for most people.

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Re: Civil vs Criminal

> I don't know how much you consider a lot of money

I'm assuming that this is a revenue figure.

Websites costs money to run don't you know?

His profit is entire speculation at this point.

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Re: Civil vs Criminal

@AC 12:52: I agree - on an individual level, £140k over three years is quite a lot, but I specifically used the phrase "in the grand scheme of things". This is peanuts - seriously - and it is difficult to see why the big fuss has been made. As has been pointed out elsewhere, if this had been in £1.4 billion, he would have been effectively immune from prosecution.

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Trollface

Re: "In the grand scheme of things, £140k over three years isn't a "lot of money".

In an equal but opposite grand scheme of things, 200,000 pounds of bail money forfeited by rich socialites isn't a lot of money either.

I suppose this means anyone who brings a couple dozen packs of chewing gum into Singapore, distributes them to Singaporeans and returns to Liverpool could be extradited back to Singapore to face the music.

And well they should be.

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How long is a piece of string?

What seems to happen is that one set of vested interests in the USA calls in a favour that their financial backing of politicians elections bought they (at least their politicians are honest: once bought, they stay bought) and "remind" said puppet lawmaker about all the goodness they've received - and now it's time for the quid pro quo.

Since the politician has nothing to gain from standing up for the little guy - he's a brit, so will never vote for an american politician - and a lot to lose from annoying his paymasters, so the extradition is demanded. The puppet strings are therefore extended across the Atlantic and the american government asks (a word that loses a lot in translation - "demands" is closer) for the warrant to be executed.

Again, the british Home Secretary has nothing to gain from annoying his/her/its puppet-master and a lot to lose from incurring their ire. So the form gets stamped and "justice" is done.

A guy gets shipped off to a foreign country. One where he cannot raise any sort of defence as the costs of flying witnesses over (at his expense), accommodating them until the trial calls them (again, he pays) and paying for an american defence team is crippling - even for british millionaires who've been shafted by this form of "justice". Hence he does what almost everyone else in his position does: makes a deal. Not only does that prove, in the eyes of their law, that he's guilty but it also justifies back to the HomSec that he/she/it was right in approving the extradition - "look, he pled guilty!"

In fact all that's happened is a commercial interest in one country has pulled the strings of a tame politician, who has yanked the chain of an emasculated and disinterested british minister. The level playing field of law then gets tilted massively in favour of the company and the defendant has no choice but to roll over, thus completing the circle and proving to all involved that the system works.

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Re: How long is a piece of string? (@ Pete 2)

Sir, yours is one of the most informative and truthful comments I have ever read in ElReg.

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Headmaster

Re: How long is a piece of string?

Sorry, Pete 2, but Theresa May could not be "emasculated" - a physical impossibility!

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I expect the USA to issue extradition warrants on every coffee shop owner in Amsterdam next for selling cannabis to US citizens while they were visiting the Netherlands, because as we all know US law is world law now.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm.

While I suspect you're trolling: Technically the US citizens are responsible for their actions when smoking dope (or generally breaking the law) in a foreign country, and are subject to arrest when they return to US soil, because US laws apply to US citizens while abroad. Practically this doesn't really count for anything that wouldn't be prosecuted in the foreign country, with exceptions like gun running, murder, child abuse etc. etc. The people facilitating that US crime would not be liable to prosecution/extradition if it weren't illegal locally.

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Big Brother

Re: Hmm.

So you're saying a US citizen commiting murder in, say, Amsterdam could be convicted for the same crime twice: once in The Netherlands and one in the Land of the Free? Interesting.

(Hearing somebody shout "ne bis in idem" very faintly... or perhaps you mean he could be convicted in the US if the Dutch didn't or something...)

... Couldn't parse your last sentence though... too many negatives in there... and either not enough coffee or too much cannabis to bother... take your pick ;)

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Headmaster

Re: Hmm. (@ AC)

"While I suspect you're trolling..."

Perhaps 'trolling' is not the best description of the comment. Irony or Sarcasm fit better, IMHO.

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