|This article, written by Charles Jay, expresses views and opinions about the current attitude of the US government towards the online gambling industry, by showing how John Kyl, author of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act (H.R. 2143), is rejecting legalization of our industry, based on unproven accusations and just assumptions. Online casinos are a form of entertainment enjoyed by millions of US citizens every day, yet the governement refuses to completely legalize this industry, which can only benefit industry insiders, workers and customers as well. Charles Jay approaches in some paragraphs the Iraq War and make some analogy with the attitude of the US governement towards online gambling, so we advise to take this article lightly, as we prone the fact that everyone has the right to have his own opinion. Gambling-Pro.com does not endorse any possible political views expressed in this article. Charles Jay explains very well the contradictory US attitude towards online gambling, and it's this point we would like to share with our audience.
* Written on October, 30th - 2004 *
Kyl Bill might be the "Patriot Act" for online gamblers
By CHARLES JAY, Personal Choice Party Presidential Candidate
|The recent news that legislation designed to thwart online gambling will likely not have an opportunity to pass this year, either as a stand-alone measure or as an amendment snuck on to the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Bill, is welcome indeed. But that doesn't mean it won't come up when the new Congress convenes in 2005.
You see, whenever there's an activity that represents liberty and freedom of choice for Americans, you had better believe there is going to be someone ready to restrict consenting adults from taking part in it. The only question is whether the road block is going to come from the "Mommy" party (Democrats) or the "Daddy" party (Republicans). In this case, "Daddy" is Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, who, it seems, just can't stand the proposition that grownups can enjoy a form of entertainment that is outside his clutches.
If you've spent enough time around politics, you'll find that in order to provide justification for something they are hell-bent on doing, lawmakers will offer up just about anything in the way of evidence, and it need not have any basis in fact, logic or substance.
That brings us to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act, otherwise known as the "Kyl Bill".
In Section 2 of the bill, it is written,
"The Congress finds as follows:
..........(4) Internet gambling conducted through offshore jurisdictions has been identified by United States law enforcement officials as a significant money laundering vulnerability."
That's what will be used to invade the privacy of millions of American citizens, through the monitoring of financial transactions, if the bill eventually passes.
The concern - that which has motivated Rep. Michael Oxley (D-Ohio), chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, to attempt attaching it to the 9/11 bill (it was struck down by the Rules Committee) - is that internet casinos might somehow be linked to terrorism, because they could conceivably be used to launder money for the benefit of terrorist interests.
My questions are - How? To whom in particular? BY whom in particular? Is this industry-wide? Can more than just one or two isolated circumstances linking casinos and terrorists, even in the vaguest sense, be identified? Can, in fact, ANY instances be documented?
What about organizations that have been publicly-traded, both here or in other countries? Or those who have been licensed by one country or another? Do they fit into what would seem to be a wide generalization?
|These are the kinds of questions Senator John Kyl and others who so strongly support the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act (H.R. 2143, if you're into numbering them) should have asked and had answered before even introducing this bill into committee. And they're the same questions that should be asked by anyone who may ultimately have to vote on it, which includes every member of the House and Senate.
Senator John Kyl
These questions were not being raised at all, but in fact, it once again gave lawmakers the chance to play the politics of post-911 fear. According to a story which appeared on CNET News.com on June 10, 2003, "Rep. Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, chairman of the Financial Services committee, said restricting offshore gambling was necessary to thwart Al-Qaeda and other terrorist cells. 'Internet gambling services (are) a haven for money launderers,' Oxley said during the floor debate. 'Offshore Internet gambling sites can be a haven for terrorists to launder money.'"
At an October 3, 2001 hearing of Oxley's Financial Services committee, nothing more substantial was offered than testimony that internet gambling COULD serve as a vehicle for money laundering and consequently COULD be used by terrorists. But then again, profits from ANYTHING can be used for that purpose, can't they?
The terrorists who hijacked planes and attacked New York and Washington on September 11, 2001 did not get here through the internet; they did not own an online casino, nor were they financed by one. They arrived in this country right under the nose of United States security and intelligence interests. And some of them (Mohammad Attah and his crew that steered one of the planes into the World Trade Center) lived a block away from me. How did they get there, Mr. Oxley?
Rather than to speculate, castigate, or obfuscate, let's talk about the things that are generally regarded as fact.
And the fact is, as I am sitting here today, citizens of the United States are divided over a horrific war in Iraq. The invasion came as a result of "findings" (there's that word again) from the intelligence "community".
Those findings (I know this sounds remedial, but I beg your indulgence) apparently told the Bush Administration:
-- That there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and the terrorist organization Al Qaeda;
-- That there were "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq, AND,
-- That Hussein was ready to use those weapons, making him an imminent threat to the national security of the United States.
So at last count, over a thousand American service men and women have been sent to their death.
Obviously, what we seem to know now is that:
(a) No connection has been firmly established between Hussein's regime and Al-Qaeda, and in fact;
(b) No weapons of mass destruction have been found, and no evidence has been produced to substantiate their existence;
(c) That if Hussein were ready, willing, and able to use those "WMD's", he surely would have, since he had plenty of notice in advance of the United States' attack.
My own personal feeling is that we knew there were no WMD's and that was WHY we attacked, but leaving that out for the moment, there is nothing to indicate anyone in the intelligence community could prove their existence BEFORE we went to Iraq.
Then again, I don't really have to tell you any of this, do I? You've seen, read, and heard it all by now.
Let me tell you what I HAVEN'T seen, read, or heard. I haven't seen, read, or heard any hard news story supporting the notion that somehow, there is a connection between internet casinos and terrorism.
Certainly the intelligence agencies have come under fire for their miscalculations regarding the situation in Iraq. So has the Bush Administration. And members of Congress who voted for the war must shoulder some of the responsibility because they didn't demand any conclusive findings themselves.
CIA Director George Tenet is gone. Now we're talking about a national intelligence 'czar'. We've seen a 9/11 Commission that Bush fought against, because it doesn't help his case very much. We've heard Dick Cheney back way, way off on his earlier claim that there was a definite link between 9/11 and the Al-Qaeda organization. And $120 billion later, Osama Bin Laden, whom the United States of America is purportedly interested in tracking down, is talking into a television camera and quite possibly influencing a national election in the most powerful country in the world.
Amidst all this, is there any reason whatsoever to ascribe any credibility to a "finding" that, according to Rep. Oxley, internet casinos "can be a haven for terrorists to launder money'", especially as it's being delivered in such a nebulous fashion?
Isn't all of this, in fact, just another phony terrorism scare, like others before it, like those which seem to spawn the civil liberties violations in the Patriot Act? And is it anything more than just another shameless exploitation of the 9/11 attacks for the sake of rationalizing the legislation of morality?
Those questions are important, because in the report he furnished on this bill on behalf of the Committee on Financial Services, Oxley cites Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 of the Constitution as that which powers the "Constitutional Authority" for the legislation, "relating to the defense and general welfare of the United States".
According to Scot Montrey, a spokesman for Kyl, "I wouldn't bet the mortgage that (Internet gambling restrictions) will pass this year, but his (Kyl's) interest in this issue will not go away."
But it should go away. Far, far away.
Since the threat of terrorism was indeed used to provide moral 'leverage' for this bill, particularly among those lawmakers (the vast majority, I can assure you) who are not paying all that much attention, don't care one way or another about internet gambling, and are perfectly willing to trade, sell, or broker their vote, shouldn't the false and dishonest "findings" which provide a phony Constitutional basis for justification of this bill serve to, in fact, disqualify it completely, at least in its present form?
You bet it should.
|CHARLES JAY is the Personal Choice Party's candidate for President. He is on the presidential ballot in the state of Utah and is running a write-in campaign in other states. For further information on the Charles Jay--Marilyn Chambers campaign, please visit http://www.charlesjay.com. More information on the Personal Choice Party can be obtained at http://www.personalchoice.org.
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