Wednesday, 14 March 2012
IS THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP?
FROM THE YORKSHIRE POST
Sheffield student ‘sold down the river’ over TV Shack piracy case, says mum
Published on Tuesday 13 March 2012 16:08
A SHEFFIELD student accused of infringing copyright laws is being “sold down the river” by the Government, his mother said today as the Home Secretary approved his extradition.
Sheffield Hallam University undergraduate Richard O’Dwyer, 23, allegedly earned thousands of pounds through advertising on the TVShack website before it was closed down by authorities in the United States.
Just hours before Prime Minister David Cameron arrives in the US for talks with President Barack Obama, his mother Julia warned the US was coming for the young, the old and the ill, “and our Government is paving the way”.
Mrs O’Dwyer, of Cheltenham, was told Home Secretary Theresa May had signed the order authorising her son’s extradition this afternoon, two months after a district judge said the allegations justified a trial in the US.
It follows a series of high-profile extradition cases, the latest of which saw retired British businessman Christopher Tappin, 65, of Orpington, Kent, extradited to the US last month to spend 23 hours a day alone in his cell awaiting trial over arms dealing charges.
And 10 years after the US first asked for Asperger’s sufferer Gary McKinnon to be extradited over charges he hacked in to military computers in 2002, McKinnon, who says he was looking for evidence of UFOs, is still awaiting the Home Secretary’s decision.
Mrs O’Dwyer said: “Today, yet another British citizen is being sold down the river by the British Government.
“Richard’s life - his studies, work opportunities, financial security - is being disrupted, for who knows how long, because the UK Government has not introduced the much needed changes to the extradition law.”
She said the so-called Natwest Three “were right when they said if it could happen to them, it could happen to anyone”.
Bankers Gary Mulgrew, Giles Darby and David Bermingham fought and lost a four-year battle against extradition to the US over allegations of conspiring with former Enron executives to dupe the bank out of 20 million US dollars (£12.7 million).
The men later admitted one charge of wire fraud and were sentenced to 37 months in jail.
Mrs O’Dwyer went on: “The US is coming for the young (Richard), the old (Chris Tappin) and the ill (Gary McKinnon) and our Government is paving the way.
“By rights, it should make for an interesting conversation between the Obamas and Camerons aboard Air Force One - but I’m not holding my breath.
“If Richard appears to have committed a crime in this country - then try him in this country.
“Instead the Home Secretary wants to send him thousands of miles away and leave him languishing, just like Chris Tappin, in a US jail, before he has a chance to demonstrate his innocence, under British law, of the allegations made against him.”
She added: “It’s disgusting. Next time it may be your son. I urge everyone who cares about unfair extradition to write to their MP and insist this disreputable law is changed.
“We are now carefully considering all Richard’s legal options.”
O’Dwyer faces up to 10 years’ jail if convicted of the allegations, which were brought following a crackdown by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
His lawyer Ben Cooper has argued that the site did not store copyright material itself and merely pointed users to other sites, in the same way that Google and Yahoo operate.
Mr Cooper also said his client would be the first British citizen to be extradited for such an offence and would effectively become a “guinea pig” for copyright law in the US.
The US authorities allege that the student received more than 230,000 US dollars (around £147,000) in advertising revenue between January 2008 and 2010, when the site was shut down.
Critics, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and many MPs, have argued the existing treaty between the UK and the US is “one-sided” and must be changed.
But an independent review by retired Court of Appeal judge Sir Scott Baker last year found it was both balanced and fair.
O’Dwyer could now appeal to the High Court, and then to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, in a bid to block moves to extradite him to the US.
Richard O Dwyer
THIS IS GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Whip-round pays census fine
WELLWISHERS and fellow activists have stumped up most of census refusenik Roger Franklin's court fine.
Hundreds of cheques, each for a couple of pounds, were sent in support of campaigner Mr Franklin, who was ordered to pay a total of £460 in fines, surcharge and costs last month.
That was after magistrates found him guilty of refusing to fill out the national census.
Pacifist Mr Franklin, who lives in Horsley, took his stance when defence firm Lockheed Martin won the government contract to conduct the survey.
Supporter Monica Jones from Frampton-on-Severn helped post the 222 cheques totalling £385 to the court. Donations pledged for the remaining £75 would be sent this week.
STROUD NEWS AND JOURNAL
Stroud mayor and peace activist make court appearance for refusing to fill out census forms
by Nick Wakefield
STROUD mayor John Marjoram and veteran peace activist Roger Franklin appeared at Bristol Magistrates’ Court this morning, Wednesday, charged with not filling in their census forms.
Franklin was proven to have committed the offence and fined £360 on top of costs, while Marjoram pleaded not guilty and will return to the court for trial on May 31.
The pair, who were supported in court by a gathering of friends, were given an opportunity to halt proceedings by completing the forms but they declined and maintained their opposition to the census, based on its links to US arms dealer Lockheed Martin which won the government contract to gather the data.
Franklin, aged 84, who has declared his Horsley home independent of British Sovereign rule, refused to enter a plea - leaving it to prosecutor Alison Harris to prove he had failed to complete his forms, which is a criminal offence under the Census Act 1920.
She read a statement from an Office of National Statistics (ONS) non-compliance officer, who visited Franklin on May 26 last year in an attempt to get him to complete the form, which he refused.
The bench was handed a six-page open letter Franklin had written outlining his ethical reasons for refusing to comply and warning he was ‘unlikely to co-operate with any penalties’ for doing so.
After considering the document the magistrates ruled that the evidence against him had been proven and he was fined £360 with £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
He was given 28 days to pay and warned he faces jail if he refused.
A not guilty plea was entered by Marjoram, aged 62, of Castle Street, Stroud, who had already submitted a letter to the court, detailing his reasons for rejecting the forms.
This outlined his moral objections to dealing with Lockheed Martin as a Quaker and suggested the Census Act conflicted with human rights legislation.
He also reiterated his suspicions that he and Franklin had been targeted for prosecution because of their high-profile anti-war stance.
However, Marjoram was advised that his points would not serve as an affective defence to the charge and was warned he faced significant costs if found guilty at a subsequent trial.
Despite this, Marjoram opted to maintain his not guilty plea and a trial date was set for 10am on May 31.
SEE NEXT WEEK’S SNJ FOR MORE ON THIS BREAKING NEWS
Lockheed Martin the American arms company ran the UK 2011 Census
Paul Murphy MP
THE DR DAVID KELLY MURDER COVER UP
Charles de Haes, Prince Bernhard, the WWF, Bilderberg and the Lockheed scandal