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Last post Author Topic: DOTCOM saga - updates  (Read 48005 times)

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #125 on: December 06, 2012, 04:16:43 AM »
Looks like reason, and especially justice, are prevailing in this saga, at present. At any rate, this report from NZ Herald would seem to indicate that.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Dotcom can pursue case against police, GCSB
By David Fisher
11:50 AM Thursday Dec 6, 2012

Details of the top secret international spy agency ring known as Echelon will have to be produced after a new judgment in the Kim Dotcom case.

The internet tycoon was also cleared to pursue a case for damages against the police and the Government Communications Security Bureau in a judgment which has opened the Government's handling of the criminal copyright case for its harshest criticism yet.

The order for the GCSB to reveal top secret details came as the High Court at Auckland ruled the spy agency would now sit alongside the police in a case probing the unlawful search warrant used in the raid on Dotcom's north Auckland mansion.

Chief high court judge Helen Winkelmann said the GCSB would have to "confirm all entities" to which it gave information sourced through its illegal interception of Dotcom's communications.

She said her order included "members of Echelon/Five Eyes, including any United States authority". The Echelon network is an international intelligence network to which New Zealand and the United States are members, along with Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The judgment also recorded Dotcom's suspicions he had been spied on at least six weeks before the GCSB admitted to doing so, and sought details as to whether others had been swept up in the illegal operation.

The Crown had raised concerns about "secrecy", saying revealing the information could "compromise New Zealand's national security interests".

Justice Winkelmann said the concerns - which included revealing how the GCSB worked with "intelligence allies"- could be managed through the appointment of Stuart Grieve QC. Mr Grieve was appointed by the court to view top secret information and judge its relevance to the case.

The judgment also raised questions about evidence given by Detective Inspector Grant Wormald, the officer who commanded the raid on the mansion. It said evidence he had given about possible "live footage" of the raid "contradicted" earlier evidence given during the hearing.

The police were ordered to provide evidence from a senior New Zealand officer in the US who told an internal publication he "monitored" the raid from FBI headquarters.

Mr Wormald is also facing questions about other testimony after he assured the court there was no surveillance other than that carried out by police. The GCSB's illegal spying operation later emerged.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 05:00:49 AM by IainB, Reason: Minor correction. »

TaoPhoenix

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #126 on: December 06, 2012, 05:50:29 AM »
(Cynic)
Microsoft Clippy Sez:
"Hmm. You seem to think there's Justice prevailing. Do you know what a Folded Hand means?"

One huge problem I have with the current media structure is that it rewards faked short term news, both in Clicks for various schemes and longer public control. So despite big problems in the DotCom mess, one "folded hand" leads us to assume "Justice" is at work. But if you metaphorically equate such a saga like an entire *tournament* (of poker, for example, I haven't watched the blackjack ones), this is like one folded hand. So everyone screams in joy, but the player (US Gov-Corp Interests) simply folds a draw of a 3 and a 6 and waits for the next deal. It's not Justice. It's Drama. Justice means supposedly it will actually turn around. A Folded Hand means the player is playing the long stakes, and our media artificially rewards folded hands to the benefit of the Long Term Player.

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #127 on: December 07, 2012, 12:53:02 AM »
What? You mean Life is like a poker tournament?
Sheesh. And there I always thought it was like a box of chocolates.
I always knew it was a mistake for Cadbury's to sell themselves to Mondelēz International.

IainB

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Christmas cheer for Dotcom? + Acid dreaming.
« Reply #128 on: December 19, 2012, 08:00:56 PM »
December 2012, and maybe some Christmas cheer for Dotcom and co, in the shape of a "stay of execution" - of sorts. This is according to an nzherald news item: Dotcom extradition case delayed until August
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images. My emphasis.)
Spoiler
Quote
Dotcom extradition case delayed until August
5:01 PM Wednesday Dec 19, 2012

The extradition bid to force Kim Dotcom to the United States has been further delayed and will not be heard in court until August.
The alleged internet pirate was originally expected to fight extradition in the months after his arrest in January.
Complications revealed in the investigation, including illegal spying on the Megaupload millionaire prior to the raid on his mansion, had pushed the hearing to the first half of next year.

The courts confirmed today that Dotcom's four-week hearing had been set down to start on August 12.
It is expected to run until September 6.
He face allegations of money laundering, online piracy, racketeering and mass copyright infringement.
With appeals likely to follow any initial ruling on extradition, the case could extend into 2014.
Meanwhile, the Green Party says it has been advised by the police that an investigation into whether the Government Communications Security Bureau's surveillance of Dotcom was legal has been held up by the bureau becoming a party to his legal proceedings in the High Court.

The police wrote to Greens co-leader Norman today to say they expected to give him an update on the investigation early next year.

Information and disclosure related to the court cases were impacting on the technical processes in the police investigation, the police reportedly told Dr Norman.

Police are investigating after Dr Norman asked them to establish whether the bureau breached the Crimes Act through its surveillance of Dotcom.

Quote
"While we understand the difficulties involved in the court case proceeding while aspects of the GCSB's involvement are under investigation by the police, this investigation must come to a conclusion in its own right,''
Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.
Quote
"Our spies are subject to the laws of this land. They must be held accountable by the police and the courts when they violate those laws.
"The police, being the ones who called in the GCSB and who are now in court with the GCSB against Dotcom, must take extra effort to ensure the independence of their investigation into whether GCSB's illegal spying broke the Crimes Act.
"I take this letter to mean that police are taking such issues seriously, and are formulating measures to make sure the public can have confidence in the robustness of their criminal investigation,''
Mrs Turei said.

- APNZ

To try to make sense of things, my analytical approach is to summarise what seem to be all the salient Dotcom news reports so far, and including the latest news item above, which I have done here:
  • 1. The police had apparently (QED) carried out an unwarranted (i.e., illegal) raid in the shape of the Dotcom raid, and had thus effectively and by default seriously compromised and/or prejudiced the legality of their own actions in this matter, both during the raid and from that point onwards.

  • 2. Prior to the raid, the police had engaged the services of GCSB and possibly other SS ("Secret Service") agencies.

  • 3. The GCSB (SS) services were provided to the police prior to, and (possibly) during and post the raid, and - for all we know - may still be being provided in some official/unofficial capacity.

  • 4. The Prime Minister declared - apparently unequivocally - that he had known nothing of Dotcom or of the imminent raid, or that GCSB involvement had been approved by his Deputy in his absence, or that he had been informed about the matter subsequently until GCSB informed him directly, some time after the event. Teflon-coated.

  • 5. After the raid, it was progressively revealed that the GCSB services had been provided - and illegally at that - so the GCSB had thus effectively and by default seriously compromised and/or prejudiced the legality of their own actions in this matter, but also, by association and complicit action, the legality of the police actions (as the police were the ones to have engaged GCSB to carry out this illegal act in the first place).

  • 6. After the raid, it was revealed by a senior New Zealand police officer in an internal police publication that details of the raid itself had been transmitted live, online and in realtime via telecomms channels to the FBI HQ in the US, where he happened to be so that he could watch the proceedings in company with US FBI officers. The mind boggles.

  • 7. Evidence given by Detective Inspector Grant Wormald, the police officer who commanded the raid on the Dotcom mansion is being questioned by the court, and it seems that he may have knowingly committed perjury. Evidence he had given about possible "live footage" of the raid "contradicted" earlier evidence given during the hearing.
    The police were ordered to provide evidence from the senior New Zealand police officer in the US who told an internal police publication that he "monitored" the raid from FBI headquarters.
    Mr Wormald is also facing questions about other testimony after he assured the court there was no surveillance other than that carried out by police. The GCSB's illegal spying operation later emerged.

  • 8. In response to the Greens party co-leader Dr. Norman's request (he had asked them to establish whether the bureau - GCSB -  breached the Crimes Act through its surveillance of Dotcom), the police wrote to him on 2012-12-19 to say they expected to give him an update on the investigation early next year.

    Curiously, despite the police and GCSB having apparently acted in complicity and having effectively compromised and/or prejudiced the legality of their own and each others' actions (QED), and despite the fact that both parties are now engaged as the State in a court action versus Dotcom, Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei has indicated in press statements that she seems to expect the police to carry out a proper and balanced investigation:
    Quote
    "I take this letter to mean that police are taking such issues seriously, and are formulating measures to make sure the public can have confidence in the robustness of their criminal investigation''

Yeah, right.

This amazing statement brings to mind memories of the the sorts of loopy imaginings I used to have recounted to me in the sixties by our strange, acid-popping hippie neighbours in Kensington, London, before they ended up in hospital with hepatitis, liver damage and brain damage, and being treated for drug addiction. It seemed impossible to get a rational thought out of them, no matter how hard the poor creatures tried.

This case had already become a monumental fiasco/clusterfark of the first magnitude, and a political time-bomb, and with each new step/revelation it just seems to get worse.
The police and GCSB have demonstrated themselves in a very poor light indeed, and the PM seems to have been clueless as to what the heck was going on, and apparently had been deliberately uninformed on this important matter by his deputy.

As to the amazing statement: "...confidence in the robustness of their criminal investigation", it has to be some kind of a cynical joke, surely?
None of this could possibly impart confidence in the electorate that any of the above parties - and especially the police - could be trusted to manage their way out of a wet paper bag, let alone make an independent, objective, transparent and robust investigation into such a foul-up as this, in which the police would be investigating themselves, after having apparently been complicit with GCSB in illegal actions.

The only authority that so far seems to have remained objective and open from the start of this case is the judiciary.
Probably the only thing that could satisfy any sane member of the NZ electorate at this stage would be to have a Royal Commission of Enquiry.
However, the judicial proceedings are in train, and if they are left to get on with it, the justices should be able to continue to an appropriate finish - including a judicial enquiry - in an objective and open manner, in line with the standard they have already demonstrated that they can set and follow. Maybe by then an RC Enquiry might be generally acknowledged as being unnecessary.

This could be an interesting test of the integrity and mettle of the NZ justices and of the NZ justice system, now that it has removed itself from under the former highest court of the land, the British Privy Council, using the Supreme Court of New Zealand instead and as set up in 2003.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 11:59:06 PM by IainB »

IainB

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"Dotcom good for New Zealand" - NZ Herald editorial.
« Reply #129 on: December 26, 2012, 09:16:06 PM »
There's a rather good editorial on Dotcom in the NZ Herald, summarising the relevant events before during and after the raid. The editorial reckons that, for a variety of reasons, Dotcom "has been good for New Zealand". This includes such things as, for example:
  • the exposure of "irregularities" in the abuse by John Banks (ACT party leader) of NZ political party funding legislation, highlighted by Dotcom, investigated by police, and subsequently changed by statute (humorously known as "the John Banks bill") to prevent it from recurring;
  • the exposure of "irregularities" of police and GCSB/SS procedures in undertaking what it has transpired were apparently illegal actions before, during and after the SWATfest raid on Dotcom;
  • the exposure of police deliberately and knowingly giving apparently false/misleading testimony on the case, in a court of law.

Take a read - I reckon you might find it interesting: Editorial: Kim Dotcom sets off year of fireworks for politicians
Also take a look at some of the comments. It seems that the electorate is evidently watching this case with keen interest and is skeptical enough to be unlikely to be hoodwinked by any political sleight-of-hand. They will want a demonstrable correction of anything wrong/illegal and categorically will not want to see the corruption covered up or continued.

There's also a link to that editorial in a post at arstechnica: New Zealand's largest paper calls Kim Dotcom “good for this country”
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 09:21:34 PM by IainB »

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #130 on: January 15, 2013, 08:10:17 AM »
The public denials against allegations of entrapment begin: Megaupload’s Planted Evidence Allegations are Baseless, U.S. Says

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #131 on: January 17, 2013, 08:37:47 AM »
Arstechnica reports that, curiously, an NZ media network pulls 500 radio ads touting Dotcom's new Mega service.
The NZ Herald reports that Dotcom: Music label pressure led to cancelled advertisements.
If that was done by the media network under duress and at the behest of the RIAA members - e.g., under threats to pull RIAA members' and record label business from the network - then it could be a restrictive trade practice or a monopoly practice.
I'm not sure about NZ - which to some, by now, might look a bit like the lawless old Wild West (e.g., after the Dotcom raid, etc.) - but I would have thought that such practices would be illegal in many/most of the developed countries.

Elsewhere Arstechnica reports that, in what seems like almost opposite form to the NZ government/police/judiciary, the Canadians may be made of sterner stuff and have got some decent laws and the integrity to uphold them, despite pressure from the US authorities: US rebuffed in effort to get copies of Canadian Megaupload servers.

Renegade

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #132 on: January 17, 2013, 09:33:52 AM »
Iain, no offense but...

If that was done by the media network under duress and at the behest of the RIAA members - e.g., under threats to pull RIAA members' and record label business from the network - then it could be a restrictive trade practice or a monopoly practice.


If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, has webbed feet like duck, a broad bill like a duck, it's probably a <censored but rhymes with: /> duck.

Setting aside "rules of logic" and "proofs", common sense needs to prevail at some point. What is it likely? It's a <censored but rhymes with: /> duck.


I'm not sure about NZ - which to some, by now, might look a bit like the lawless old Wild West (e.g., after the Dotcom raid, etc.) - but I would have thought that such practices would be illegal in many/most of the developed countries.

Are you confusing "developed" with "sane" or "just"? They're not the same.

Pure & simple. Dotcom is a female mallard. The NZ establishment is a male mallard. It's mating season. What happens? Yep. You guessed it.

At this point, you need to be completely <censored but unfortunately doesn't rhyme with: /> brain dead to think that Dotcom is not being purposefully persecuted.

BTW - Good article finds there! :D   :Thmbsup:
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IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #133 on: January 17, 2013, 08:13:12 PM »
@Renegade: Yes, the duck analogy occurred to me too, as I was writing the above.    ;)

Renegade

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #134 on: January 17, 2013, 08:51:33 PM »
@Renegade: Yes, the duck analogy occurred to me too, as I was writing the above.    ;)

Ah, sorry. I was just being stupid silly last night. :D
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IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #135 on: January 18, 2013, 04:42:50 AM »
In techdirt: Megaupload to DOJ: Misleading Semantics Aside, You Told Us You Were Investigating Infringing Files, So We Preserved Them
Could be a valid point:
Quote
...Once again, it seems like the government simply rushed through the Megaupload case, ignoring many, many important details, and basing its case on the theory that if the entertainment industry hates Kim Dotcom so much, he must be all bad. And, if you're dealing with someone "all bad" apparently the DOJ seems to think it can take a bunch of shortcuts.
Some people (not me, you understand) might say that "...a bunch of shortcuts" could be a euphemism for "breaking the law", but I couldn't possibly comment.

Renegade

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #136 on: January 18, 2013, 05:02:49 AM »
Some people (not me, you understand) might say that "...a bunch of shortcuts" could be a euphemism for "breaking the law", but I couldn't possibly comment.

Hahahaa! ;D

Quack quack! :D
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IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #137 on: February 15, 2013, 05:53:33 PM »
There is a rather curious new item in Torrentfreak. In the matter of the undeleted files (see emboldened quotation below), it seems that Megaupload is currently not being allowed by the DOJ to attempt to establish in a court of law a defence that it (MU) had effectively been entrapped by what could apparently have been a tricky piece of underhand work by the DOJ.
But, given the facts as described (and which are apparently not disputed by the DOJ), then anyone (including the man on the Clapham omnibus) would presumably be able to see for themselves that that must have been the outcome/effect, whether or not the the DOJ had acted intentionally in that regard.

However, if, under the hard light of scrutiny in a legal court it can be shown that Megaupload acted in good faith in leaving the files undeleted, and if the Government did not mention Megaupload’s full cooperation in the indictment or the search warrants but instead used the fact that the files were not deleted as an example of criminal behavior as charged, then one obvious conclusion is that the Government may have acted in a deliberately biased or prejudicial manner so as to maximise the appearance that MU had exhibited criminal behaviour, whilst at the same time concealing from the court that there were mitigating circumstances that could clear MU of such a charge altogether. In that hard light, the charges might even seem bogus.

The thing is that this would seem to be a very easy thing for MU to demonstrate (it is factual), but a very flimsy assertion of guilt for the DOJ to hang on to. If it were challenged in a court of law, then it could even end up that the court could rule that the raids were carried out illegally under US law, as they have already been so deemed under New Zealand law.

So the DOJ has apparently decided to try to block MU from attempting to establish in a court of law a defence that it (MU) had effectively been innocent, if not entrapped, on this matter alone.
This seems remarkable to me. I hadn't realised that, under US law, an accused person could be blocked from defending themselves in such a manner.
If I have got all this aright, then I am completely mystified as to how it can be construed to be due legal process. I mean, how can a defence which points to genuine (not hypothetical) mitigating circumstances not be allowed? It would mean that the charges against MU would need to be reduced, if not collapsed.

It does seem to me as though someone in the Establishment must want to hang MU out to dry awful bad, and regardless of the legal niceties, and for such apparently legally flimsy and dubious accusations, to be so tightly protected by the Establishment.

Regardless of whether he has broken the law, it would seem to be no wonder that Dotcom might wish to avoid deportation to the US to face charges. How could he be expected to receive a fair hearing/trial given these (QED) and other circumstances (e.g., the NZ legal view)? The whole thing stinks - the planning and spying prior to the raid, the illegal raid, the apparent deliberate perjury by a/some police witnesses, the extraordinary mistakes/BS by the NZ government, the GCSB admissions of illegal spying.

The only bit that doesn't seem to stink so far is the good old objective NZ judiciary - which gives me some hope for that country's integrity.

Here is the Torrentfreak news item:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Megaupload “Planted Evidence” Claim is an Unfounded Conspiracy Theory, U.S. Says
    Ernesto, February 15, 2013.
 
The Department of Justice has responded to Megaupload’s claims that they “planted” evidence and tried to mislead the court. According to United States Attorney Neil MacBride these allegations are “sensationalist rhetoric” and a “conspiracy theory.” The Government says it never asked Kim Dotcom’s file-hosting service to preserve any infringing files, and asks the court to deny Megaupload’s request to be heard on the matter.

Early January Megaupload filed a motion claiming the U.S. Government deliberately misled the court.

When the U.S. Government applied for the search warrants against Megaupload last year it told the court that they had warned Megaupload in 2010 that it was hosting infringing files.

Through its hosting company Megaupload was informed about a criminal search warrant in an unrelated case where the Government requested information on 39 infringing files stored by the file-hosting service.

At the time Megaupload cooperated with this request and handed over details on the uploaders. The files were kept online as Megaupload believed it was not to touch any of the evidence. However, a year later this inaction is being used by the U.S. Government to claim that Megaupload was negligent, leaving out much of the context.

According to Megaupload this course of action was misleading and the company now wants to address the matter through a so-called Frank’s hearing.

However, in a new filing yesterday the U.S. Government asks the court to deny Megaupload’s request. According to United States Attorney Neil MacBride it would allow Megaupload to circumvent the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

The United States Attorney further refutes Megaupload’s “planted evidence” allegations, saying that they’re an unfounded conspiracy theory, and certainly not enough to grant a hearing.

“Megaupload has supplied nothing but a conspiracy theory; this is not enough,” the U.S. writes.

“Because Megaupload’s claims are insufficient as a matter of law to authorize its intervention in this matter, Megaupload has wrapped them in layers of sensationalist rhetoric. However, Megaupload’s claims regarding government misconduct are unfounded.”

The Government argues that it never asked Megaupload to preserve any of files that were under investigation in the NinjaVideo case.

“The government made no preservation request, and the government is not aware that the service of a search warrant creates an obligation on the part of the recipient of a search warrant to preserve infringing content on a computer in a way that continues to make it available for illegal download.”

Megaupload’s argument that they didn’t want to disable access to the files, because this could alert the targets of the investigation, is also weak according to the U.S. – especially when Megaupload regularly disabled access to infringing links.

“If this [removing links] practice was common, it would not necessarily be alerting. Megaupload also, when removing infringing content, did not as a practice inform customers that their content had been removed. It is also unlikely that any Court would interpret a sealing order to require the continued distribution of infringing content,” the U.S. writes.

The U.S. basically says they did not specifically request that the files should remain intact, or be removed.

Dotcom’s lawyers may not contest this specific language, but find it misleading that the Government did not mention Megaupload’s full cooperation in the indictment or the search warrants. Instead, the U.S. uses the fact that the files were not deleted as an example of criminal behavior.

The U.S., however, believes that is was not necessary to provide the complete context.

“Megaupload’s theory that the government misled the Court by omitting a discussion of the June 24, 2010 search warrant misstates the relevant law. An affiant does not need to include every potentially relevant fact in a seizure warrant affidavit,” the U.S. writes.

The above, leads the Government to conclude that Megaupload should be denied a hearing on the matter.

However, United States Attorney Neil MacBride does not object to a Megaupload representative being heard as a witness in the hearing that’s scheduled for Megaupload user Kyle Goodwin, the reporter who is trying to gain access to his lost files.

“Though Megaupload’s claims are false, nothing prevents Kyle Goodwin from asserting them. If Mr. Goodwin wants to develop a factual basis for his claim, and the Court allows the live testimony, Mr. Goodwin could call a representative from Megaupload as a witness.”

The court now has to decide what action is appropriate here.

This upcoming decision may become crucial for the ongoing criminal proceedings. If the hearing is granted and the warrants are declared unlawful, as happened earlier in New Zealand, then Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants will be at a significant advantage.

Renegade

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #138 on: March 03, 2013, 08:38:25 AM »
Sigh...

http://www.huffingto...9.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Quote
US Wins Appeal In Battle To Extradite Kim Dotcom

The United States on Friday won a court appeal in its battle to extradite Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom from New Zealand.

A New Zealand appeals court overturned an earlier ruling that would have allowed Dotcom broad access to evidence in the case against him at the time of his extradition hearing, which is scheduled for August. The appeals court ruled that extensive disclosure would bog down the process and that a summary of the U.S. case would suffice.

Huh? A summary of the US case is sufficient? Are these people joking?

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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #139 on: March 03, 2013, 02:04:46 PM »
Are these people joking?


No. It's just that 800lb gorilla showing up with a carrot and the stick again. I'm sure severe political pressure is being brought to bear on all relevant parties in NZ's government - along with some undisclosed percs being placed on the table in exchange for high-level 'cooperation.'

In the end, this won't really be about so much about Kim Dotcom. What it will become is an unofficial referendum on exactly how independent a nation New Zealand believes itself to be.
 :huh:

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #140 on: March 03, 2013, 06:42:30 PM »
...In the end, this won't really be about so much about Kim Dotcom. What it will become is an unofficial referendum on exactly how independent a nation New Zealand believes itself to be.
Yes, spot-on, except that the referendum on this was effectively given in 1985, in the case of Prieur and Mafart the French government agents/terrorists who committed illegal and terrorist acts in NZ, in the blowing up of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior and the killing of a crew member, in the port of Auckland.
The conclusion to that was that little NZ had to cave in big time when the Big Boys came and twisted their arms.
This was discussed earlier in this same discussion thread, here: Re: DOTCOM saga - updates

Here are the pertinent bits to your comment:
I don't know whether the authorities that executed the Dotcom raid could actually have criminal charges laid against them in an NZ court, though a UN court might be able to do that. However, any illegal actions of the people involved could presumably be a different matter.

Liability for illegal acts by a government's authorities generally rests with that government. It can't (wouldn't) take itself to court. One of the press reports suggested that the NZ government was going to have to foot the bill for restoration of justice to Dotcom+ Etc., and I feel sure that is now being considered anyway.
I wouldn't jump too quickly to the conclusion that because the NZ authorities responded with apparent alacrity to the pressure for action from the US authorities, that the NZ party is by definition inherently corrupt/illegal. The Dotcom raid seems to have been a stupid thing to do - or at least to do in an illegal fashion. Some BIG mistakes seem to have been made. You yourself have said that if it looks like collaboration or stupidity, you'd guess it was the latter every time (OWTTE). Same principle could apply here.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the investigation (which would presumably now be taking place) doesn't lead to some people being privately severely admonished and then quietly but rapidly retired, or promoted sideways into admin. positions, where they can't then screw anything else up ever again. This sort of thing must be excruciatingly embarrassing to the government, because it does rather demonstrate that someone (the government - and by association, the Prime Minister) might well have been guilty of collaborating in what was an illegal act - or at least negligent or asleep at the helm. Not a good look, and the voters are not so unsophisticated that they wouldn't notice this and remember, come the next election. So the government would probably want to be seen rectifying this shambolic mess in a legal, professional and ethical fashion.

The whole Dotcom thing seems to have been an illegal/criminal act instigated by the US government/SS. The NZ government/SS may have been forced/duped (I hope) into complying/collaborating.
The last NZ incident that I know of, where a criminal act sponsored by a foreign government (state terrorism) was committed in NZ was the case of the Sinking of the MV Rainbow Warrior.

As it says in Wikipedia: (see the actual link for embedded hyperlinks in Wikipedia)
Spoiler
Quote
http://en.wikipedia....ow_Warrior#Aftermath

After the bombing, the New Zealand Police started one of the country's largest police investigations. Most of the agents escaped New Zealand but two, Captain Dominique Prieur and Commander Alain Mafart – posing as married couple 'Sophie and Alain Turenge' and having Swiss passports – were identified as possible suspects with the help of a Neighborhood Watch group, and were arrested. Both were questioned and investigated, and their true identities were uncovered, along with the French government's responsibility. Both agents pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on November 22, 1985.

France threatened an economic embargo of New Zealand's exports to the European Economic Community if the pair was not released.[3] Such an action would have crippled the New Zealand economy, which was dependent on agricultural exports to Britain.

Hao atoll
In June 1986, in a political deal with Prime Minister of New Zealand David Lange and presided over by United Nations Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, France agreed to pay NZ$13 million (USD$6.5 million) to New Zealand and apologise, in return for which Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur would be detained at the French military base on Hao Atoll for three years. However, the two agents had both returned to France by May 1988, after less than two years on the atoll.


Some years ago, I was listening to a TVNZ interview with the then-retired ex-PM David Lange, where he was discussing this incident and its aftermath. I recall that he said he had no option but to comply with the French government's insistence to send Prieur and Mafart from NZ prison to the French military base on Hao Atoll, and that their early release was no surprise. He indicated that it went entirely against the grain for him and his ethics. It was wrong, and NZ were paid money to breach their own laws for the punishment sentence of these two French murderers, who committed their crime at the French government's direction. (OWTTE)
He explained that NZ was this insignificant little wart on the backside of the planet (the southern hemisphere), with a tiny population (then about 3.5million), and with a tiny and fragile economy which lived entirely by its ability to trade competitively with world markets, especially in pastoral produce (meat and dairy products).
"The big guys can twist your arm, and you have to give in to the bully." I think he said (OWTTE).
He reckoned that if he had refused to comply with the French "request", then the markets for NZ produce could mysteriously be closed to NZ. NZ would have been boycotted/blocked - especially in the EU, which had historically been favourably inclined towards NZ products - not least because of the NZ commitment to the Allies in WW2 and it being the "food basket" for Britain during that war.

I could be wrong, of course, but my take on this Dotcom thing is that it could well be that NZ may have already been having its arm twisted big time by an even bigger bully than France, to do the Dotcom raid. And they (NZ government) could have been in such panicky haste to comply before their arm was broken that they stuffed up the legal paperwork by mistake. So now it's all going to have to be PR damage control, and possibly some more unexplained judicial changes of judgement, as in the case of Prieur and Mafart.
Who knows?
We may one day be told the entire truth by our PM John Keys, when he is being interviewed in his retirement.

One thing that the Prieur and Mafart case showed to us all was that, if necessary for the government, then the judiciary are clearly going to do exactly what they are told, and from that time henceforth they must always be regarded as being unable to exist in a proper and independent way. So you can't expect too much of them.
Unfortunately for NZ, the NZ judiciary have been pushing for a long time to run their own highest court of appeal, and thus come out from under the Court of Privy Council (UK). They have succeeded in this, with apparently nary a peep from civil rights proponents, or the public, or the media.
The Supreme Court of New Zealand is now the highest court and the court of last resort in New Zealand, having formally come into existence on 1 January 2004. It was necessary to erect an approx. NZ$80 million building to house the court in Wellington, the capital.
NZ thus has lost access to what has been described as the finest independent collection of legal brains on the planet (The Privy Council), and gained a narrowed and partisan judiciary which acts under government directive (QED).
However, I would say that the published ruling of New Zealand High Court judge Helen Winkelmann in the Dotcom case at least does give me some cause for hope.

America and NZ were part of the Allied effort that ended the Second World War and which liberated France from the German Nazi occupation and liberated all of mankind from the real and existing threat of the horror of Nazi Fascist oppression, tyranny and genocide.
Like all the Allies, New Zealand spilt a great deal of blood in that war: with an estimated  population of just 1.6 million, 140,000 New Zealanders served in WWII, with 11,928 fatalities – that is almost one in every 12 New Zealanders that went to war (source: Ancestry.com.au, open online database release for ANZAC Day 2011).
In addition, NZ was "the food basket of Great Britain", sustaining that country throughout the war with massive food shipments as Britain geared up all its available productive resources to munitions manufacture and the war effort. (There is a huge man-made beach of yellow sand in Wellington's rocky harbour, called "Oriental Bay". It was the dumping-point for sand from British beaches, which had been carried as ballast in the otherwise empty holds of ships arriving from Britain, which queued up to fill up with fresh NZ food stores to ship back to the UK.)

Given that background, if the Yanks were seen to be pulling a similarly perfidious "Prieur and Mafart-type" manoeuvre to force NZ to overturn their normal and proper judicial/legal process, then in NZ they will probably be held in the same low regard as France, and it will leave a similarly very bitter taste in the mouths of the loyal NZ public, who cherish their freedom and their independence, and who tend to have long memories and use their vote wisely.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 02:55:05 AM by IainB, Reason: Minor correction. »

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #141 on: March 06, 2013, 02:41:29 AM »
Possibly not a good piece of news for New Zealand, this: Mega Eyes Stock Market as Secret Dotcom Extradition Hearing Gets Underway.

I'm not absolutely sure, but I don't think NZ courts held secret hearings before, whilst the UK's Privy Council was the highest court of appeal. These secret hearings, and the deliberate not recording or publishing of proceedings are things which seem to have been introduced by the NZ judiciary subsequently, as they now seem to be beholden to no-one, excepting perhaps the current government.

Whilst I was very happy about the objectivity of the NZ court ruling on the illegality of the Dotcom raid, I wonder whether this latest step could be down a potentially risky path for New Zealand's freedom/liberty and democracy. There was apparently perjury and/or mistake/incompetence by the police/SS on this matter, and we want to know what is being done about it, and whether the government were complicit in it. We shall just have to wait and see. I hope we will be told.

Quote
"The rule of thumb is that, if a business process can not stand the hard light of scrutiny, then there is probably something unethical about it". - Sir Adrian Cadbury (Chairman of the then Quaker family-owned Cadbury's) in his prize-winning article on Business Ethics for Harvard Business Review circa 1984.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 02:59:11 AM by IainB, Reason: Minor corrections. »

40hz

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #142 on: March 06, 2013, 08:06:10 AM »
Given that background, if the Yanks were seen to be pulling a similarly perfidious "Prieur and Mafart-type" manoeuvre to force NZ to overturn their normal and proper judicial/legal process, then in NZ they will probably be held in the same low regard as France, and it will leave a similarly very bitter taste in the mouths of the loyal NZ public, who cherish their freedom and their independence, and who tend to have long memories and use their vote wisely.

I certainly hope so. Because despite being the setting for Jackson's Middlearth, NZ does not loom very large in the psyche of most Americans. AFAIK NZ is not an official (as in 'by treaty') ally of the US or Nato. And there is still rancor in certain circles over that ban on US Navy vessels in NZ ports which has gone on for the last thirty or so years. So if the citizens of NZ were to develop a sudden contempt for Americans, it likely wouldn't register as even the tiniest of blips on the radar screen of general public awareness here in the USA. Not that that should matter to anybody in NZ. Or stop its people from doing what is right.
 :)
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 08:14:32 AM by 40hz »

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #143 on: March 06, 2013, 08:26:40 AM »
Given that background, if the Yanks were seen to be pulling a similarly perfidious "Prieur and Mafart-type" manoeuvre to force NZ to overturn their normal and proper judicial/legal process, then in NZ they will probably be held in the same low regard as France, and it will leave a similarly very bitter taste in the mouths of the loyal NZ public, who cherish their freedom and their independence, and who tend to have long memories and use their vote wisely.

I certainly hope so. Because despite being the setting for Jackson's Middlearth, NZ does not loom very large in the psyche of most Americans. AFAIK NZ is not an official (as in 'by treaty') ally of the US or Nato. And there is still rancor in certain circles over that ban on US Navy vessels in NZ ports which has gone on for the last thirty or so years. So if the citizens of NZ were to develop a sudden contempt for Americans, it likely wouldn't register as even the tiniest of blips on the radar screen of general public awareness here in the USA. Not that that should matter to anybody in NZ. Or stop its people from doing what is right.
 :)

What are you talking about?

Those damn Kiwis are nothing but lawless criminal terrorists! Better invade now and pre-empt their designs on world-wide anarchy! Bomb them Kiwi terrorists now! Stop the rape of the civilized world! Nuke NZ! :P ;D

Oh, yeah... they just want to avoid the fate of other countries that have defied the US masters... I'll shut up now. Carry on... :P
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40hz

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #144 on: March 06, 2013, 09:18:47 AM »

What are you talking about?

... they just want to avoid the fate of other countries that have defied the US masters

What are you talking about? US masters??? That's a freekin' golf tournament! :P :

But more seriously, exactly who is the master here? And who is dancing to who's tune? :huh:

Because when it comes to ownership of IP - the biggies aren't necessarily US companies... :o

From the folks at TechDirt comes this bit of curious info:

Quote
So Much For Protecting US Interests - Most Big 'IP Intensive' Firms Are Foreign-Owned
from the well,-look-at-that dept


These days, it's become quite common to talk about the importance of spreading copyright maximalism around the globe based on the US's interests. After all, the US seems to be the leading country in pushing for such maximalism, and people often talk about the big copyright players and their lobbyists, as being US-centric. After all, there's Hollywood for movies, NY for publishing and NY/LA/Nashville for music. And, so much activity seems to be driven by their lobbyists -- mostly the RIAA and MPAA. However, a new study is pointing out, for all this talk of the "American entertainment industry" driving the discussion on copyright laws, that a very, very large number of these companies are actually foreign, and much of the industry is really foreign (pdf). There's a nice infographic to go along with the report as well:

Quote
many have challenged whether or not those industries are truly "dependent" on intellectual property laws, but few have explored whether or not those industries are really "American." Turns out... they're not. And, as such, if we're making policy based on just propping up the few legacy companies who run those industries, we're often funneling US money to foreign countries, rather than investing it in the US. Among the findings (many of which are in the graphic above):

    
  •    Four of the "Big Six" publishers (who represent a huge percentage of English-language book publications) are foreign-owned. More than 80% of the revenue made by the Big Six goes to foreign-owned companies.
  •    Only 7 of the world's top 50 publishers are US-owned.
  •    The book publishing business in Europe employs twice as many people as the US
  •    Two of the three major record labels are foreign-owned. Those two labels represent nearly 60% of the market.
  •    13 out of the 20 best-selling artists are not American.
  •    Half of the 50 most popular movies in the US in 2012 were filmed partly or entirely outside the US.
  •    Over the last two years, half of all Oscar winners were foreign.
  •    The video game market is dominated by Japanese firms, with 70% of the market for the most recent generation coming from Japan

The report finds that this carries over to the patent side as well.

    
  • Foreign companies obtained 7,000 more US patents than US companies in 2011 (likely a bigger gap in 2012)
  •    Seven of the top 10 companies getting US patents were foreign in both 2011 and 2012.
  •    Nearly 60% of pharmaceutical revenue is generated by foreign-owned companies.
  •    The majority of employees in the pharma industry (including for US-owned firms) work outside the US.

Basically, the more you look, the more you realize that even with all this talk of how we need these laws to protect US interests, a significant amount of any benefits may actually be flowing right out of the country.

Read the whole thing here.

Looks like there's a good chance that the old strategy of playing up to the romantic cowboy fantasies and egos of American politicians (in order to double-shuffle the USA into acting as global policeman and relief aid provider) is now being employed by non-US businesses with vested interests in extending the scope of IP law globally.

And if the US takes the blame for all of it...well... that's just more sugar icing for the cake! :Thmbsup:

;D ;D ;D
 

tom_sawyers_fence.jpg

When is this country ever going to wake up? :-\
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 01:45:29 PM by 40hz »

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #145 on: March 06, 2013, 11:18:50 PM »
...I certainly hope so. Because despite being the setting for Jackson's Middlearth, NZ does not loom very large in the psyche of most Americans. AFAIK NZ is not an official (as in 'by treaty') ally of the US or Nato. And there is still rancor in certain circles over that ban on US Navy vessels in NZ ports which has gone on for the last thirty or so years. So if the citizens of NZ were to develop a sudden contempt for Americans, it likely wouldn't register as even the tiniest of blips on the radar screen of general public awareness here in the USA. Not that that should matter to anybody in NZ. Or stop its people from doing what is right.

Haha, yes, quite.    ;D
But:
  • (a) It would seem to bely the truth of the matter to say that "...NZ is not an official (as in 'by treaty') ally of the US or Nato" - e.g., see here. Furthermore, I am fairly certain that President Oama would himself say that "New Zealand is one of America's close allies and punches above their weight" - e.g., see here.    ;)
    Not only all of the above, but also NZ government agents have not committed any acts of war or terrorism against the US (as the French did against NZ, for example), but rather seem to have been there, risking their own lives and standing alongside US soldiers in most of the major military conflicts in which the US have engaged in foreign lands. So, not a good ally at all really? Hmm...   :tellme:

  • (b) It was categorically not "a ban on US Navy vessels in NZ ports", so you may have been misinformed - e.g., for the facts see here, and below.

  • (c) I was categorically not intending to suggest - as you seem to infer - that, if the citizens of NZ were to develop a sudden contempt for Americans, then it would register as even the tiniest of blips on the radar screen of general public awareness in the US. On the contrary, I feel sure it would not regsiter a blip, because NZ is probably largely politically impotent to do anything about anything on the world stage. Kiwis know this to be true and generally do not possess an over-inflated idea of their own importance, except perhaps when it comes to rugby.    ;)
    What I was getting at was simply that, if the NZ voting public perceived that their government had done something to allow the US to take a dump on the citizens and/or their due legal processes and in abrogation of either their own responsibilities or of any citizens' civil/legal rights, then they would probably tend to not vote that government back in the next election. As things stand, it would not seem correct to call the Dotcom fiasco "an example of the NZ police/SS acting responsibly and legally with the objective of protection and/or defence of the property or rights of the citizens or the country" (QED - per the Justice's ruling, the raid was illegal).

However, I should not complain, I suppose. Some people might say that, for a relatively insignificant, small and defenceless country, even belittlement or denigration by people from a large, powerful country might be interpreted as being a form of recognition, and so at least that way it was not being entirely ignored, but I couldn't possibly comment.

Sure, NZ has even been described as "a pimple on the #rse-end of the planet", and you get "How do you spell 'NZ' anyway?" and "Isn't it a state of Australia?". It's funny, and you hear such jokes quite often. Sometimes, of course, it's not intended as a joke and is just plain ignorance.
The US' main interest in the place (and presumably why it maintains an embassy and a low profile diplomatic presence in NZ) is probably the NZ strategic role in the SACCWG global intelligence-gathering, telecommunications and early warning defence network - eg., per Wikipedia, see New Zealand–United States relations. There's a lot of hush-hush stuff that apparently goes on there. This Strategic Alliance would presumably have been a decisive factor in the Dotcom raid.

NZ - US SSCCWAG police + SS collaboration.jpg

In addition there are the close ties between the US and NZ police/SS (referred to in the Wikipedia article above), and an NZ contingent will often go over to the US to take part in joint exercises learning to use the latest US police/SS technology and practices. The Dotcom raid would probably be a classic example of such a collaborative swat-fest, but being put into live practice on NZ territory - e.g., it was disclosed that there were even some of the senior NZ personnel watching events unfold via live video feeds, whilst they were ensconced in FBI offices in the US.
It must have been a marvellous opportunity to put the collaboration all together and test it all out, whilst engaging in a completely over-the-top, no-holds-barred, excessive violence and threat - "shock and awe" - exercise. Such adrenaline-pumping fun!
They probably didn't realise until somewhat later how ridiculous and potentially seriously dangerous/threatening to the public and civic society they might have looked in the public's eyes, in retrospect. Little boys playing with the Big Boys and their Big Boy toys - "and...and, like, we're using REAL BULLET-PROOF VESTS! and...and MACHINE-GUNS! and...and LIVE BULLETS! and...and HELICOPTERS!, and...and we're BREAKING DOWN DOORS! and...and things like THAT Mum!".
Sheesh.    :-[

For example, my response on watching the published video footage and following the semi-documentaries and news on the subject was a general uneasiness and real concern about the illegal actions and use of needless and excessive threat/force/violence by NZ police/SS - and all apparently being done at the sole behest of a foreign power. The question was and is being asked: How had NZ come to the state where this could happen? It was astounding.
It would not be correct to call this a good look for NZ's potential for future freedom/democracy. In fact, it was beginning to look more and more like what increasingly seems to be a prevailing police state in the US, which already seems to many to have irretrievably gone to hell in a basket.
I wonder whether, had the NZ government fully known and understood what was planned, the Dotcom raid would have been allowed to go ahead in such a fashion. Or just maybe, they might have cynically turned a blind eye to it so as to be able to claim ignorance of the swat-fest the boys had planned for the raid. I don't expect to be told the truth, but an objective, public judicial review would have done done that - though now it seems that we are to be denied even that.    :tellme:

It is true that the Lange Labour government's passing of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987 raised serious US diplomatic and US Naval/Defense concerns at the time, but since then US diplomats have murmured statements that "We're over that and now we're back to being good friends" (OWTTE), and NZ has continued - has never ceased - to send its soldiers to stand and die alongside US soldiers in fighting their battles. However, I remain somewhat skeptical regarding the sincerity of those statements. NZ is probably just a useful tool - a dog in it's kennel - and it will be told when to bark.

This all could backfire seriously on the NZ government and NZ's reputation as a relatively uncorrupted country, and the US wouldn't spare a thought for it. There was a joke I recall reading - I think it was in an old copy of Datamation - in an article about IBM's market monopoly. They had talked to and surveyed a large number of big corporate IT Operations Managers, whose operations had IBM mainframes in place, who had responded under strict conditions of anonymity - apparently through fear of a backlash from IBM (they could have lost their jobs). The issue of the magazine had a front cover that depicted two men's arms locked in an arm-wrestle. One of the arms was normal, and muscular, the other arm was blue-skinned and hugely muscular. It was clearly no contest. The joke went something like:
Quote
"Getting into bed with IBM is like getting into bed with an elephant. It might roll over and squash you in the night, without even noticing."
Well, I'd suggest that you could scale that up to NZ getting into bed with the US.

By the way, below is the world map as produced by NZ cartographers:    ;)

NZ world map view.jpg
« Last Edit: March 08, 2013, 01:21:56 AM by IainB, Reason: Minor corrections. »

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #146 on: March 07, 2013, 12:50:24 AM »
But more seriously, exactly who is the master here? And who is dancing to who's tune? :huh:

Because when it comes to ownership of IP - the biggies aren't necessarily US companies... :o

From the folks at TechDirt comes this bit of curious info:

True enough. Above I was confusing the company with the shareholders. But I guess it's good to know exactly who the shareholders for Washington D.C. Inc. are. :P

Speaking of, what's the ticker symbol for Washington? I think I'd like to short it. :P ;D

When is this country ever going to wake up? :-\

Um, never? :P Otherwise I'd probably go long. ;)
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IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #147 on: March 07, 2013, 01:56:38 AM »
Just for information:
NZ stats:
Area: 268,700 km²
(By comparison, area of England, Scotland and Wales: 229,848 km².)

1982:
  • People: 3.5 million
  • Sheep: 70 million
  • People with the surname "Dotcom": Nil

2012:
  • People: 4.4 million
  • Sheep: 40 million
  • People with the surname "Dotcom": 1

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #148 on: March 07, 2013, 06:20:53 AM »
They probably didn't realise until somewhat later how ridiculous and potentially seriously dangerous/threatening to the public and civic society they might have looked in the public's eyes, in retrospect. Little boys playing with the Big Boys and their Big Boy toys - "and...and, like, we're using REAL BULLET-PROOF VESTS! and...and MACHINE-GUNS! and...and LIVE BULLETS! and...and HELICOPTERS!, and...and we're BREAKING DOWN DOORS! and...and things like THAT Mum!".
Sheesh.    :-[

 ;D thanks for the laugh anyway, to brighten up the otherwise not-so-sunny news.

Tom

40hz

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #149 on: March 07, 2013, 11:48:53 AM »
@IainB - sorry if I somehow offended. That was not my intent. All I was trying to say is that NZ's public opinion is (without any prejudice) not news in the USA. This country gets such a steady double-serving of contempt from so many quarters (sometimes with justification and sometimes without) that we're fairly numb to it all by now. Which (unfortunately) is something a few of the more hawkish elements in the US government seem to be happy to take advantage of.

Regarding the ban on naval vessels, as was presented to me, the question came up when a US destroyer requested docking privileges and was denied it after refusing to confirm or deny whether it was carrying (or supposedly had the capability of carrying) nuclear weapons. Since no military would ever openly acknowledge or confirm the location of such weapons, both for strategic and security reasons, such a refusal to answer is hardly unusual or unexpected.

What supposedly next happened was classic local politics and puppet theater. NZ dug its heels in and demanded an answer. The US refused. And then upped the ante by asserting its "one fleet" policy - to wit: what applies to one ship applies to all ships in the US naval fleet. Therefor, if one ship is not allowed in NZ's waters for the reasons given then, by extrapolation, no US naval vessel would be allowed in either.

After that it just got more and more ridiculous - with both side getting increasingly intransigent. Which was sad since it was obviously being driven at that point by local politics rather than military expediency - or even common sense.

And unless I missed something along the way (very possible) that is still where it stands today. NZ is a "nuclear free" zone, and the US and NZ have since tap danced around the issue with the 2010 Wellington Declaration (not treaty) which neatly sidestepped the issue by "putting it all behind us" with no real resolution of the incident that provoked the initial falling out.

I guess the acid test would be what would happen if a US nuclear vessel showed up tomorrow and requested entry access to Devonport. I'm guessing both sides know the answer - and would do everything in their power not to "go there." ;)

It's all rather silly.

But boys will be.

"So it goes."  ;D