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Last post Author Topic: DOTCOM saga - updates  (Read 48213 times)

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #150 on: March 07, 2013, 08:44:17 PM »
...sorry if I somehow offended...
Don't worry, you didn't offend me. I'm very thick-skinned anyway and might not have noticed even if you had intended to offend me.
I spelt out the facts as best I could, because what you wrote seemed to indicate that you might be unaware of them all, and I figured others might be too, so I just tried to pull together all the most relevant stuff in a way that might make sense to a reader who was unfamiliar with the context.
  • The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987 - and some implications:
    Spoiler
    I'm not sure even now whether you got the point that the kerfuffle regarding the "non-ban" was a self-imposed ban on US Naval vessels by the US Navy, attributable to the enactment of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987, and the US Navy's reluctance to comply with that Act, coupled with their wish/expectation to have the NZ government make a special exception so that the US Navy did not have to comply with the Act.

    The NZ government at the time - and now - could not agree to making any exceptions to the Act it had so cogently put together, so the Act applied equally to all ships of all types and under all/any nation flags that might want to enter NZ harbours. It was realised that it might make it difficult for some visiting warships from other countries, but it was a rational Act, and, notwithstanding, one would expect that any visiting ship to a country would respect the laws and sovereignty of that country.

    The Act supported NZ's primarily pastoral economy, which has a huge international and government-authorised dairy monopoly (sort of "co-operative") called Fonterra, which is the single biggest company and dairy produce export-earner in the NZ economy, generating on it own more than 7% of GDP. I recall reading somewhere that Fonterra controls approximately 30% of the world supply of dairy milk powder.
    The clean, green nuclear-free slogan is arguably at best a marketing puff to establish/tart up and differentiate a marketing image for all this. Other sectors sharing in benefit from this image would probably include: deer meat (venison) and velvet (young antlers), beef and lamb meat, Kiwifruit (Chinese gooseberries), various shellfish farming, the wine sector, and other pastoral/horticultural produce. I presume GM foods would definitely be a no-no in such a context.
    Ironically, some of the greatest environmental damage - including pollution of land/waterways and destruction of natural bush - seems to come from the milk/dairy industry, and all sorts of local bylaws seem to have had to be put in place to limit this damage.
    Fonterra's operation is so big that it must be difficult to manage its environmental footprint, wherever it operates in the world.


  • SACCWG: You probably can't afford to disregard/exclude the significance of the SACCWG, when trying to understand the drivers behind the Dotcom raid in NZ (the drivers in the US seem pretty clear).
« Last Edit: March 08, 2013, 01:25:36 AM by IainB »

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #151 on: March 09, 2013, 04:25:11 AM »
This is interesting. Once again, NZ Justice looks like it is doing its job.
NZ Herald post. (Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Dotcom wins right to sue
By Kurt Bayer KurtBayerAPNZ
5:26 PM Thursday Mar 7, 2013

Kim Dotcom has won the right to sue the Government for illegal spying.

A Court of Appeal judgement released today has ruled in favour of the internet mogul and will let him sue the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) alongside New Zealand Police.

Dotcom, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk are defending accusations of mass copyright infringement, online piracy, and money laundering through their Megaupload file sharing website.

A decision by Chief High Court judge Justice Helen Winkelmann last year to allow the GCSB be sued and to allow Dotcom to seek compensation from the Government agency, as well as the police, was challenged by the Attorney-General.

During the High Court case, it emerged that the GCSB had been illegally spying on Dotcom prior to the raid on his Coatesville mansion, on behalf of the FBI, who now wants the Megaupload millionaire extradited to face trial in the US over copyright infringements.

The Attorney-General challenged Justice Winkelmann's decision to order the GCSB to cough up documents that outlined the extent of their spying.

It also challenged the decision to bring the GCSB into court proceedings as a party, as well as saying it was inappropriate for compensation claims to be added to a judicial review.

Now, the Court of Appeal has ruled that the GCSB will be added to the case, and allowed the compensation claim to be heard during the April hearing. While the appeal judges emphasised the importance of keeping judicial review proceedings "simple and prompt'', and that it was "not usually appropriate'' for reviews to include compensation claims, there was no absolute rule.

But the Attorney-General did win its appeal against the High Court decision for the GCSB to hand over all of its spying evidence against Dotcom and his Megaupload associate van der Kolk.

The ruling means that Dotcom's legal team will only be told what information exists and to where it was sent, but will not receive copies of the documents. The 24-page judgement criticised the Crown for the way its handled the compensation case and for failing to follow proper procedures.

A final comment urges both parties to cooperate so that the issues before the High Court are "determined as expeditiously as possible''.

No award of costs were made which the judges said "reflects the fact that each party has had a measure of success in this court''.

Last week, the Court of Appeal quashed a decision to force the United States Government into handing over its evidence against Dotcom in its internet piracy case.

Dotcom's US lawyer Ira Rothken tweeted today: "We look forward to holding GCSB spy org accountable doing so will not only protect @KimDotcom's rights but the rights of all NZ residents.''

No word yet on what is being done re the apparent perjury by police.

But some real concerns in this (unrelated case) report:
'CONSERVATIVE' REMARK IRKS SUPREME COURT JUDGES
« Last Edit: March 09, 2013, 08:10:27 AM by IainB, Reason: Minor correction to link. »

40hz

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #152 on: March 09, 2013, 05:50:56 AM »
No word yet on what is being done re the apparent perjury by police.

I would be extremely interested in seeing what's done about that more than anything else actually.

If NZ could make something happen over that growing problem - and render a decision that would actually stick -  I'd put their legal system ahead of the rest of the world's at this point.

In the last 5 years it's become fairly apparent to even the most casual of news watchers that police perjury is becoming a standard tactic in law enforcement. And that's something that needs to be stopped before the legal system loses whatever credibility it has left.

Hope springs eternal. Go kiwis! :Thmbsup:

New-Zealand-120-animated-flag-gifs.gif

------------------------
@IainB - tried reading the article your link pointed to. Got this:

Screenshot from 2013-03-09 06:40:05.png

 :)




 

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #153 on: March 09, 2013, 08:12:00 AM »
...@IainB - tried reading the article your link pointed to. Got this:...
Sorry, bad link. I had pasted the link wrongly. Fixed now.

Renegade

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #154 on: March 09, 2013, 08:28:01 AM »
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

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

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #155 on: March 09, 2013, 07:21:23 PM »
I would be extremely interested in seeing what's done about that more than anything else actually.
+1 from me. "By their fruits ye shall know them."
Though it is not so important/relevant to the subject of this thread, it is extremely important to me and potentially the greater majority of New Zealanders who would be concerned about maintaining the country's hard-won freedoms and democracy.
(It doesn't seem so long ago that the country voted for reform of the electoral system and switched to proportional representation under MMP, the first use of same being in the election of 1996 - see here.)

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #156 on: March 09, 2013, 07:52:41 PM »
Sigh...
http://www.huffingto...5.html?utm_hp_ref=tw
:(
Yes - Sigh.
That post also refers to ECHELON - which is referred to in the Wikipedia article I mentioned in the thread, above - New Zealand–United States relations.
Wikipedia has a fuller note on it here - ECHELON.
There have apparently been quite a few protests about that in NZ. ECHELON and the protests seem to be rather "under reported" in NZ media, possibly because it is even more hush-hush than SACCWG. The experience of people working on similarly top secret Defence projects indicates that that would be par for the course - i.e., would be typical.
From the first time one becomes engaged in such projects, the use of, and reliance on science, mathematics and sophisticated computer systems becomes starkly evident.
If such systems were indeed being used to push a monopoly commercial-political agenda and research, as Dotcom seems to be suggesting here:
Quote
"The NSA receives billions in funding to fight terrorism and drug cartels with #Echolon and now copyright cases. Well done MPAA."
- then I would suggest that something must have come badly off the rails for such a corruption as that to happen.
Of course he could be mistaken, though I doubt that he would be daft enough to make it up.

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #157 on: March 17, 2013, 06:00:00 PM »
New developments per NZHerald report:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Spy boss left out in cold
By David Fisher @@DFisherJourno
5:30 AM Monday Mar 18, 2013

Hugh Wolfensohn, former deputy director of the GCSB, was with the bureau for 24 years. Photo / Bob Leonard

The spy master who oversaw the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom no longer works for the GCSB intelligence agency as it braces for fresh exposure of its failings.

The high-level inquiry ordered by the Prime Minister into the Government Communications Security Bureau is just weeks from being released.

When it comes, it will be the first big piece of work to leave the bureau in decades without the involvement of recently departed deputy director Hugh Wolfensohn.

Mr Wolfensohn emerged as a central figure in the Kim Dotcom spying scandal; he was the GCSB's deputy director, chief legal adviser and had oversight of intelligence missions at the time illegal spying on the Megaupload tycoon began.

During the course of the month-long interception, Mr Wolfensohn became acting director - one of five people to lead the GCSB in five years.

The bureau is prohibited by law from spying on New Zealand citizens and residents, which meant Mr Dotcom and co-accused Bram van der Kolk should have been protected from the GCSB's high-tech intrusions.

The bureau has claimed it did not realise Mr Dotcom and Mr van der Kolk were protected under the visa they held.

However, the Herald has found Mr Wolfensohn held all the information needed to judge the spying illegal from mid-February - seven months before the Prime Minister admitted his own department had broken the law.

The illegal spying blunder left Mr Key apologising to Mr Dotcom, who faces an extradition hearing in August with three colleagues to face charges of criminal copyright violation.

In the weeks following the admission, Mr Wolfensohn was placed on leave while Mr Key appointed Cabinet secretary Rebecca Kitteridge as associate director of the agency. Her job was to review the agency's systems and ability and put in place new procedures for assisting law enforcement. The initial three-month posting was extended to six months.

The bureau had told the Herald her report is expected in weeks and would be largely made public. A spokesman also confirmed Mr Wolfensohn no longer worked for the bureau.

Mr Wolfensohn has created a detailed profile on the LinkedIn online networking service, detailing his rise to the top of New Zealand's most secretive spy agency.

Mr Wolfensohn joined the GCSB in 1988 as legal officer. He began a steady rise through the bureau's ranks from 1996 and was appointed deputy director in 2000 and led the bureau's strategic policy and corporate services division before being appointed to oversight of mission enablement and chief legal officer in 2010. He lists the end of his employment with the bureau as 2013.

New chief must revive public trust
The job description for the new GCSB spy chief says a key result is making sure the public understands and trusts the bureau more than it does now.

Those applying to be Associate Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau will also be required to make changes identified in a review ordered by Prime Minister John Key.

Green co-leader Russel Norman said the unreleased review overlooks the need for an entire restructuring of New Zealand's spy agencies. He said there was not enough accountability, with spies at the GCSB and Security Intelligence Service answering only to a minister, an Inspector-General appointed by the executive and an oversight committee of senior politicians.

Labour leader David Shearer said he believed a review of oversight for the GCSB and SIS was necessary.

Hugh Wolfensohn
*Studied law at Oxford University in early 1970s before joining the Royal Navy.
*Moved to New Zealand in 1986 and joined the NZ navy.
*Went on to become NZ Defence Force legal officer.
*Worked at the GCSB from 1988, rising to deputy director and chief legal adviser.

By David Fisher @@DFisherJourno Email David

tomos

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #158 on: March 18, 2013, 10:36:24 AM »
Sort-of off-topic comment:
I'm not sure why a country of 4.5 million people thinks it needs a spy agency at all. Maybe I'm naive, maybe all countries do this, even the small ones. Must surely be a bit of a black hole for spending though...
Tom

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #159 on: March 18, 2013, 11:01:49 AM »
Sort-of off-topic comment:
I'm not sure why a country of 4.5 million people thinks it needs a spy agency at all. Maybe I'm naive, maybe all countries do this, even the small ones. Must surely be a bit of a black hole for spending though...

Spooks are everywhere. Heck... A lot of spooks will even introduce themselves to you. I think I have a few business cards floating around somewhere. A lot of them like to drink a lot as well. :P (I'm not kidding. Had a great conversation drinking with a British analyst on North Korea one time.)

For funding, my guess is that a lot of agencies make up for a lack of funding the same way the US agency does. Not sure, but it's probable.
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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #160 on: March 19, 2013, 05:47:11 PM »
Sort-of off-topic comment:
I'm not sure why a country of 4.5 million people thinks it needs a spy agency at all. Maybe I'm naive, maybe all countries do this, even the small ones. Must surely be a bit of a black hole for spending though...

A big question with a big answer! You will probably be able to understand this:
  • from a quick review of the history of WW2 and the role of the Allied Forces (and including NZ) in that war;
  • from a study of the role of NZ in acting as an ally and aid provider for small independent Pacific island nations, with some of whom NZ shares a special constitutional relationship as a member of the Commonwealth and whose citizens have an atomatic right to NZ citizenship if they wish to come and live/work in NZ;
  • from (especially) following up on the links in this comment:
    ...That post also refers to ECHELON - which is referred to in the Wikipedia article I mentioned in the thread, above - New Zealand–United States relations.
    Wikipedia has a fuller note on it here - ECHELON...

In global politics it is presumably always good to know who your dependable allies are in uncertain times. For example, NZ has always regarded the US as being that kind of ally, and presumably vice versa, though the same cannot be said (say) for France, which evidently sees nothing wrong in committing terrorist acts against those who helped to rescue it twice from German occupation.

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #161 on: March 20, 2013, 08:33:53 AM »
There is a report by TVNZ 3 News about some "documents" they have that put the police/SS in a bad light - particularly GCSB - in the Dotcom saga. However, after the fiasco we have witnessed, I am skeptical of whether this is anything more than a deliberate newsfeed from government sources intent on crucifying the now-retired head of GCSB (Hugh Wolfensohn, former deputy director of the GCSB) and deflecting blame away from others. It may transpire that Wolfensohn was thrown under a bus. (How would we know?)
The report is copied below, sans embedded hyperlinks/images.
Spoiler
Quote
New Dotcom papers reveal GCSB 'relaxed'

The documents show just how early the police officer in charge should have known Dotcom was a resident
By Patrick Gower
Political Editor

3 News has new details of the Kim Dotcom illegal spying scandal, with documents showing for the first time what spies from the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and police were saying behind the scenes.

Hugh Wolfensohn was once a spymaster – the chief legal adviser during the GCSB's botch-job of illegal spying on Dotcom. And for that Mr Wolfensohn has paid the price; he's gone, resigned after a 25-year career – the first real scalp of the scandal.

The question is: did he get a golden handshake on the way out? The spies aren't saying, and neither is their political master.

"You'll have to take that up with him," says Prime Minister John Key.

Documents, obtained by Labour, show for the first time the bungling by Mr Wolfensohn, his fellow spies and the police.

They had a codename for Dotcom: "Billy Big Steps". They certainly started off happy, slapping "BUSTED!" over 3 News footage in a slideshow debrief following the raid in January last year.

Quote
"This was a colossal cock-up inside the police and the GCSB," says Labour deputy leader Grant Robertson. "That's the agency that John Key's meant to be overseeing."

"Obviously I've been concerned," says Mr Key.

The documents show just how early the police officer in charge, Detective Inspector Grant Wormald, should have known Dotcom was a New Zealand resident and the spying may have been illegal.

On the same day the spying started, police were given information showing Dotcom was a resident. Soon after police had the entire Dotcom immigration file, before the spying ended and the raid.

In February, the GCSB knew spying could be illegal but it took seven months until it was revealed to Dotcom, the Prime Minister and the public. So in February there was a crisis, with Mr Wolfensohn the GCSB's top legal mind.

A GCSB operative describes an unnamed senior officer as "pretty relaxed" about it all. That's because the GCSB came up with a wrong interpretation of its own law, the operative saying "people here have been very relaxed about it all".

Quote
"The GCSB legal team was relaxed," says Mr Robertson. "They seem to have caught John Key being relaxed. That's not really good enough."

"In hindsight of course that decision was wrong and that decision is subject to a major inquiry we now have underway," says Mr Key.

The police had been worried about looking like "a bunch of clowns walking roughshod over the law". They took the GCSB at its word, replying "we can go back to celebrating taking down that criminal mastermind", the spies finally saying "so all done and dusted, bring on the next case".

The clean-up job is far from done, and there are likely more changes within the GCSB to follow.


Still no word yet on what is being done re the apparent perjury by police.

Enquiring minds need to know.

Renegade

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #162 on: March 20, 2013, 08:39:22 AM »
Still no word yet on what is being done re the apparent perjury by police.

Laws are for us. Not for police, banks, the rich, or big corps. It's for our own good so that the terrorists and bad economy don't get us. :P
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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 #163 on: March 20, 2013, 10:20:09 AM »
Still no word yet on what is being done re the apparent perjury by police.

It all depends on how high up the food chain the shared culpability goes. The higher the level of power implicated, the greater the incentive to "let bygones be bygones." At least from my experience with government wrongdoings.

In the end I'm guessing there will be little more than some very public hand-wringing and fervent apologies - possibly even coupled with a few additional resignations and/or firings of low to mid-level scapegoats (who were nearing retirement anyway) - followed by a spate of new directives and departmental policies that will apply to all future police actions. This will guarantee the NZ public that such an outrage will never happen again.

I had a fair degree of confidence that judicial and legal sanity would ultimately prevail in NZ. Then I saw this bit of news  and started to worry all over again.

BTW - I sincerely hope I'm wrong about the above...but I somehow doubt I will be. :(
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 12:38:23 PM by 40hz »

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #164 on: March 20, 2013, 04:10:34 PM »
Another day, another story: Now it is reported that the same (or more) "documents" were in fact "court documents" obtained by 3 News and/or the Labour party. Quite how/why they were made public first in this way via a news outlet as opposed to being made public directly by formal government announcement/report is a bit of a mystery.

The picture now seems to be that Wolfensohn made the judgement that the spying was legal, when he apparently was in a position to know that in fact it would have been illegal, and then he apparently tried to belatedly cover it up by getting the Deputy PM to sign it into secrecy.
Amazing. I find it hard to believe. On the face of it, this would seem to be an incredibly stupid and unethical series of actions - serial execution errors - for someone in Wolfensohn's position, and with his legal training, to do. Akin to professional suicide. Apparently he was put on "gardening leave" on February 27, 2012 - which usually means leave on full pay. It is unclear as to whether he is still employed in this capacity by GCSB.
Furthermore, they all - i.e., the police and GCSB - apparently knew it was illegal - per a Labour party spokesman.
(NZ Herald news report copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Spoiler
Quote
Spymaster in Dotcom suppression
By David Fisher
5:30 AM Thursday Mar 21, 2013

The spymaster who initially cleared the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) of illegally snooping on Kim Dotcom was also directly involved in seeking the suppression order signed by Bill English as Acting Prime Minister.

The Herald has learned former chief legal adviser Hugh Wolfensohn was involved in arranging the once-in-a-decade certificate which sought to bury the scandal.

The Prime Minister confirmed yesterday for the first time it was Mr Wolfensohn's advice that quelled GCSB and police fears they had illegally spied on Mr Dotcom and his co-accused Bram van der Kolk.

He told Parliament: "The best of the legal advice presented by Hugh Wolfensohn was that it was legal. As we now know, GCSB and Mr Wolfensohn were wrong."

Mr Wolfensohn no longer works at the bureau after being placed on "gardening leave". A spokesman for the GCSB said of Mr Wolfensohn's advice: "With hindsight, we know it wasn't right."

When GCSB's involvement began to emerge in August, the bureau tried to suppress its existence with a ministerial certificate. It needed the signature of the Prime Minister - and with Mr Key out of the country, it was signed by Mr English.

The Herald has confirmed Mr Wolfensohn was involved in arranging the certificate.

Mr Wolfensohn was a 25-year veteran of the bureau with key senior roles including as acting director during the illegal spying.

A month after the spying operation ended with the raid and arrests, concerns emerged the bureau had broken a law prohibiting spying on New Zealand residents. Mr Dotcom and Mr van der Kolk were residents at the time.

Mr Wolfensohn ruled the spying legal on February 27 last year.

Details of the GCSB's involvement have emerged in hundreds of pages of documents relating to the illegal spying obtained from court files by the Labour Party.

Included was a list showing the bureau received eight separate lots of legal advice in eight days before Mr Wolfensohn's eventual verdict the law was not broken.

Mr Robertson said the concerns, then advice dismissing fears and then the suppression certificate "had all the hallmarks of a cover-up".

"I find it inexplicable that having worked out it was unlawful that was changed by Wolfensohn. They all knew - and then worked themselves out of it."


Still no word yet on what is being done re the apparent perjury by police.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 04:15:49 PM by IainB, Reason: Minor corrections. »

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #165 on: March 25, 2013, 09:46:24 PM »
Two interesting news items from the NZ Herald:
  • 2013-03-25: Dotcom case back in court
    Quote
    Kim Dotcom's case is back in court today where legal arguments are happening behind closed doors...
    (Read the rest at the link.)

  • 2013-03-25: Residency agreed at last minute
    Quote
    Kim Dotcom questions whether his bid to live here was granted to make him easier to arrest and extradite to US.
    Kim Dotcom's residency application stalled and was then suddenly lifted.
    The Security Intelligence Service blocked Kim Dotcom's application for residency after learning of the FBI investigation into internet piracy - then lifted it at the last minute to allow him and his family to move to New Zealand...
    (Read the rest at the link.)

Neither article seems to carry any mention of what action is to be taken regarding the apparent perjury by police.

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #166 on: April 21, 2013, 08:28:19 AM »
In the US, it seems that, if the State can't lay a charge legally - i.e., under the prevailing law - then altering the law to fit the charge might be the best way around that.
Post from torrentfreak:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
U.S. Flip-flopping Proves Us Right, Megaupload Tells Court
In a filing just submitted to a U.S. federal court Megaupload is using the Government’s own words against it, hoping to get the case against it dismissed. Megaupload points out that the Department of Justice is trying to change the law to legitimize the destruction of Megaupload. The DoJ wants to amend the law so that it’s possible to serve foreign defendants, while it previously argued in court that the authorities didn’t require such power.

While Dotcom’s legal battle in New Zealand focuses on spying efforts and unwarranted seizures, the U.S. federal court still has to decide on Megaupload’s request to dismiss the entire case against the company.

Several months ago Megaupload filed a request to dismiss the indictment against it, until the U.S. Government finds a way to properly serve the company.

According to “Rule 4” of criminal procedure the authorities have to serve a company at an address in the United States. However, since Megaupload is a Hong Kong company, this was and is impossible.

Only by dismissing the case can the court protect Megaupload’s due process rights, the defense argued. However, the Government disagreed and asked the court to deny Megaupload’s motion. Among other things the Government claimed that the federal rules shouldn’t be interpreted so narrowly.

A company should only be served on a U.S. address if they have one, they argued.

Last week a new chapter was added to this standoff and it turned out that, behind the scenes, the Department of Justice is trying to change the law in its favor. In a letter to the Advisory Committee on the Criminal Rules the DoJ made suggestions that would directly influence the Megaupload case.

Among other things the Government asked to “remove the requirement that a copy of the summons be sent to the organization’s last known mailing address within the district or principal place of business within the United States,” and to amend the Rule to “provide the means to serve a summons upon an organization located outside the United States.”

These were the exact issues Megaupload used in its request to dismiss the charges against it, and Megaupload was even cited in the letter as an example of why the law should be improved.

The question is, however, whether the proposed amendments will help or hurt the Government’s case. Megaupload’s defense argues the latter and has now submitted the letter to court, using it as evidence that the authorities knew all along that they were not playing by the rules.

“The Government’s letter is directly relevant to the Court’s consideration of Megaupload’s pending motion to dismiss without prejudice, as it contradicts the Government’s repeated contention that it can validly serve Megaupload—a wholly foreign entity that has never had an office in the United States—without regard for Rule 4’s mailing requirement,” Megaupload’s lawyers write.

Megaupload’s legal team goes on to explain that the letter shows that the Government knew it couldn’t possibly serve the Hong Kong company.

“To the contrary, the Government explicitly acknowledges in the letter that it has a ‘duty’ under the current Rule to mail a copy of the summons to a corporate defendant’s last known address within the district or to its principal place of business elsewhere in the United States.”

“Moreover, by seeking to have the mailing requirement eliminated, the Government implicitly admits it cannot validly serve Megaupload consistent with Rule 4 as currently written,” Megaupload writes.

Adding up the bits and pieces Megaupload’s lawyers argue that the letter proves that there was no legal basis to destroy Megaupload. It therefore asks the court to take the letter into account when it decides on the motion for dismissal.

“The Government’s letter to the Advisory Committee thus confirms what Megaupload has argued all along—that the Government indicted Megaupload, branded it a criminal, froze every penny of its assets, took its servers offline, and inflicted a corporate death penalty, notwithstanding the fact that the Government had no prospect of serving the company in accordance with current law, yet to be amended.”

“Megaupload should not be made to bear the burdens of criminal limbo while the Government seeks to rewrite the Federal Rules to suit its purposes,” the lawyers conclude.

The court now has to decide whether or not Megaupload should be dismissed from the indictment. If that’s the case, Megaupload plans to give users access to the files that were seized, and it will also free up funds for a proper defense.

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #167 on: May 18, 2013, 02:28:39 PM »
Latest news update on the Dotcom extradition case in NZ:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Dotcom granted leave for Crown appeal
KIRSTY JOHNSTON
Last updated 14:25 16/05/20

Kim Dotcom has been granted leave to appeal his case against the Crown in the Supreme Court.

The MegaUpload mogul's legal team applied in March to be heard in the country's highest court after a decision about disclosure made in the Court of Appeal went against him.

Dotcom's lawyers want to be able to view the documents that make up the basis of the US Government's case against him.

US authorities are seeking to extradite the German-born internet entrepreneur to stand trial on criminal charges alleging copyright piracy and racketeering.

The Crown, on behalf of the US, argue he should not be allowed to see the documents..

Judges in the District Court and High Court ruled in favour of disclosure, but the Court of Appeal ruling made in March said extradition hearings were not trials and the full protections and procedures for criminal trials did not apply.

So far, US authorities have filed a 109-page record of the case against Dotcom, the contents of which are suppressed.

Dotcom denies his MegaUpload internet storage facility encouraged copyright breaches and wants to use the extradition hearing to challenge the assumptions made against him.

A date is yet to be set for the Supreme Court hearing.

Dotcom's extradition hearing is due to get under way in August, however it looks likely to be delayed again, as several strands of the case continued to be appealed.

The 39-year-old, a New Zealand resident, was arrested in a dramatic raid on his rented Coatesville mansion, north of Auckland, on January 20 last year.

Computers and assets were seized as New Zealand police co-operated with US authorities.

- © Fairfax NZ News

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #168 on: May 31, 2013, 04:43:04 AM »
News update on the Dotcom case from NZ Herald:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Dotcom: Police ordered to return assets
Updated 7:27 PM Friday May 31, 2013

The court has ordered the return of some assets belonging to Kim Dotcom and three of his associates, seized during the January 2012 raids.

High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann found police search warrants used during the raids were invalid because they could not authorise the seizure of irrelevant material.

She ordered that none of the items seized, nor copies or clones of them, be permitted to leave New Zealand and that any irrelevant material be returned to the four men.

Police said they were considering the judgement, and would work with Crown Law to determine their next steps.

"Police note that the judgement requires Mr Dotcom to provide Police with the appropriate passwords to enable Police to access the items seized (eg hard drives and laptops) in order to assess their content for relevance,'' a statement said.

"The judgement also provides for relevant material to be released to the FBI and for irrelevant material to be returned to Mr Dotcom and his associates.''

(I wonder what that all means?)

I have just seen this more informative report and summary from Stuff:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Police have to return material to Dotcom
KIRSTY JOHNSTON
Last updated 15:05 31/05/2013

HE WINS AGAIN: Kim Dotcom has won the right to material seized from his home returned.

A judge has ordered the police to sift through all digital material taken illegally from Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and to return anything irrelevant to their investigation- at their own cost.

Clones of hard-drives already sent to the United States must also be returned if they contain personal information, while any further copies must be destroyed, the court ruled.

Dotcom and his co-accused will then receive clones of devices deemed to be relevant to the case.

The judgement, made by chief High Court justice Helen Winkelmann today, says the seizure of devices without sorting them first was unlawful, and that the police have no right to keep irrelevant material.

Her orders follow a three-day remedies hearing in April, where Kim Dotcom's lawyers argued for the return of the material, while Crown lawyers said that was unnecessary.

It is the latest blow to the Crown and police following the January 2012 raid on Dotcom's Coatesville mansion.

The raid, requested by the FBI and carried out by the New Zealand police Special Tactics Group, was previously deemed illegal by the High Court last year, when Justice Helen Winkelmann ruled the warrants authorising it were too general.

Today, Winkelmann repeated that position, saying the defects in the search warrants "were such that the warrants were nullities", and that a miscarriage of justice did result.

She said, contrary to the police view, that she did not regard the deficiencies as minor or technical.

"The warrants could not authorise the permanent seizure of hard drives and digital materials against the possibility that they might contain relevant material, with no obligation to check them for relevance," Winkelmann wrote. "They could not authorise the shipping offshore of those hard drives with no check to see if they contained relevant material. Nor could they authorise keeping the plaintiffs out of their own information, including information irrelevant to the offences."

Winkelmann asked the police to inform the FBI of her decision.

Police are expected to complete the request at their own cost.

DOTCOM FOR DUMMIES
So far, the Dotcom case is up to five separate strands in four different courts. Confused? We don't blame you. But it's got a long way to go yet, so we've created a five-point guide to the case to help out.

1. Disclosure. Kim Dotcom's lawyers want to know what evidence the US Government has against them. The US says "disclosure" of evidence isn't required for an extradition hearing. Although the High Court ordered the evidence to be handed over, the Court of Appeal overturned that decision. This argument is now heading for the Supreme Court.

2. Search and Seizure: Last year, a court ruled the search warrants used in the January raid on Dotcom's house were too broad, and therefore illegal. Today, Dotcom's lawyers were granted a "remedy" - all his hard-drives to be returned to him. This is now likely to go to the Court of Appeal.

3. Compensation from police: This is also related to the search and seizure. Dotcom's team are effectively suing police for illegally searching his home and taking his property. This proceeding has the potential to get sexy - with the defence lawyers proposing to put two very senior police - including an Assistant Commissioner - on the witness stand. Also in the High Court.

4. Compensation from the GCSB: After it was revealed that the country's spy agency illegally recorded Dotcom's communications for a month (illegal because it's not allowed to spy on New Zealanders, and Dotcom's a resident), the Mega founder's lawyers applied to also get compensation from the GCSB. Originally, this was joined to the police hearing, but it's now separate. High Court.

5. The Extradition: Originally set down for March, due to the myriad of complications in the case, the extradition has now been moved to August. At this stage, it's looking likely it will be delayed again. Usually extradition hearings are relatively straight forward, but don't cross your fingers in this case.

- © Fairfax NZ News
« Last Edit: May 31, 2013, 04:50:50 AM by IainB, Reason: Added new post re Stuff report. »

Tinman57

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #169 on: June 01, 2013, 05:12:34 PM »

  Oh yeah, you just know that the U.S. is going to comply with everything right down to the letter....

  <Yep, that's sarcasm alright....>

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #170 on: December 07, 2013, 03:20:45 AM »
No news on the Dotcom fiasco from NZ at present, but I was gobsmacked by this in TechDirt:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
US Court Secretly Lets Government Share Megaupload Evidence With Copyright Industry
from the government-copyright-industrial-complex dept
by Mike Masnick Fri, Dec 6th 2013 7:39pm.

In the latest in a long list of travesties carried out by the US government in the Megaupload case, apparently it went to the US court handling the case, and without letting Megaupload know, got an ex parte order allowing the government to share evidence from the case with various copyright holders and then to issue press releases about the case. As Megaupload's lawyers point out, the whole thing is a clear due process violation.

    The defendants have been indicted, their assets have been frozen, their business has been destroyed, and their liberty has been restrained. Given these constraints, it is unclear what evils the Government fears defendants will inflict if provided notice of the Government’s submission, beyond having Defendants’ counsel come into court to make opposing arguments.

Basically, Megaupload's lawyers are asking to be a part of this process, since it appears that the government wanted (and the court allowed) to cut them out. As Megaupload's lawyers note, allowing the government to sort through and cherry-pick evidence to share, without any context or potential additional exonerating information, is a clear due process violation.

    “The Government’s request also substantially prejudices the defendants in the case. Permitting the Government to widely disseminate a one-sided, cherry-picked set of facts threatens to improperly infect the jury pool before defendants are afforded any opportunity to present their side of the story.”

Apparently part of the issue for the original filing to reveal this information was that some copyright holders are getting antsy that as the case drags on, they won't also be able to file civil cases against Megaupload before the three-year statute of limitations expires. However, as Megaupload's lawyers point out, there is no urgency here since the government itself made no move to share this information over the past two years. If it really wanted to share the information it had ample time to make the request and allow Megaupload's lawyers to review and take part in the process, rather than trying to route around them entirely.

I'm guessing the recent successes against IsoHunt and Hotfile may have contributed to the timing as well. The MPAA pretty clearly thinks it can use those two cases to go after Megaupload as well, outside of the criminal case which will continue.
Call me old-fashioned if you want, but I really have had a gutsfull of the American so-called "ethics" and "law" over this case, and of the arm-twisting it has subjected the NZ government, police and judiciary to. The country doesn't seem to deserve its Constitution.

40hz

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #171 on: December 07, 2013, 07:33:16 AM »
Call me old-fashioned if you want, but I really have had a gutsfull of the American so-called "ethics" and "law" over this case, and of the arm-twisting it has subjected the NZ government, police and judiciary to. The country doesn't seem to deserve its Constitution.

Poor NZ. It's merely a fully independent sovereign nation - as it's politicians and government keep reminding us. Besides...it didn't want to do it. The Big Bad Sam made them do it! (The US must have threatened drone strikes, right? Otherwise NZ never ever ever ever ever would have gone along with any of this...)

Call me old fashioned if you like. But it's hard for anybody in that equation to even broach the topic of  'ethics' let alone justice.

Not to apologize for the Obama administration (which is not the same thing as the people of the United States of America) but the sooner NZ's current government (which is not the same thing as the people of New Zealand/Aotearoa) accepts full responsibility for going along (with some apparent enthusiasm), the better off the people of NZ and their country as a whole will be.

With luck, the people of NZ won't allow their government to play the same game the US government has. The US used "The Communists," "The Russians," "The Chinese," - and now "The Terrorists" as a handy excuse to justify its lawless excesses, abuses of power, and hypocrisies.

Hopefully the people of New Zealand will be smart enough not to allow their government to employ the US as a justification for its own breaches of public faith and constitutional law.

Just my :two: anyway.

Note: I happen to really like NZ and hope, at the very least, to visit it someday. I pray it doesn't get completely mucked up before I do.
 :)
« Last Edit: December 07, 2013, 07:39:26 AM by 40hz »

cranioscopical

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #172 on: December 07, 2013, 11:10:30 AM »
I happen to really like NZ and hope, at the very least, to visit it someday. I pray it doesn't get completely mucked up before I do.[/i]
In order that you....  ;)

40hz

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #173 on: December 07, 2013, 11:39:14 AM »
I happen to really like NZ and hope, at the very least, to visit it someday. I pray it doesn't get completely mucked up before I do.[/i]
In order that you....  ;)

...have a place with an interesting climate and geography, an English-speaking populace (and decent ale!) where one can apply for political asylum. :P
« Last Edit: December 07, 2013, 11:46:46 AM by 40hz »

IainB

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Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #174 on: December 07, 2013, 04:15:49 PM »
...Otherwise NZ never ever ever ever ever would have gone along with any of this...
...Hopefully the people of New Zealand will be smart enough not to allow their government to employ the US as a justification for its own breaches of public faith and constitutional law. ...
Well, "if I see something that ain't right, I gotta' say it" - sorry if it offends you.
And apologies, I didn't mean to whinge or suggest that NZ wouldn't necessarily have "gone along" with any of it, but that is only because I am well aware that the arm-twisting is there - and has been there for years.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with people who were senior members of the NZ DPMC (Office of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet), the NZDF (Defence Force) - including the Chief - NZ GCSB and NZ Police, and they were the ones to educate me on the issue of NZ's relative powerlessness in world affairs - especially when it came to the US.
However, even without such education, it must have become blatantly obvious to anyone with eyes to see it that NZ had little room to establish its "sovereignty" if a larger economic power wished otherwise.
For example, including:
  • France: I recall watching a televised interview of the then retired NZ Prime Minister David Lange, where he vouchsafed the information that he had little option but to frustrate the execution of proper NZ justice on the French government terrorists found guilty of blowing up the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior as it lay docked in Auckland harbour (which also killed a crew member who was on board at the time), as the French government told him categorically that if he didn't, then NZ's access to sales of dairy and meat produce to the EU Common Market would be permanently blocked. This would have been a crippling economic sanction, as the NZ economy is primarily reliant on pastoral produce and the EU CM was/is a major market for them.

  • USA: It also mentions, in the Wikipedia entry for Lange (above) that:
    Quote
    Lange made his name on the international stage with a long-running campaign against nuclear weapons. His government refused to allow nuclear-armed ships into New Zealand waters, a policy that New Zealand continues to this day. The policy, developing in 1985, had the effect of prohibiting United States Navy ships from visiting New Zealand. This displeased the United States and Australia: they regarded the policy as a breach of treaty obligations under ANZUS and as an abrogation of responsibility in the context of the Cold War against the Soviet bloc. After consultations with Australia and after negotiations with New Zealand broke down, the United States announced that it would suspend its treaty obligations to New Zealand until the re-admission of United States Navy ships to New Zealand ports, characterising New Zealand as "a friend, but not an ally".
    Erroneous claims sometimes suggest that David Lange withdrew New Zealand from ANZUS. His government's policy may have prompted the US's decision to suspend its ANZUS Treaty obligations to New Zealand, but that decision rested with the U.S. government, not with the New Zealand government.
    _______________________

    .. and also:
    Quote
    In January 2006, Archives New Zealand released to The Sunday Star-Times newspaper a box of David Lange's previously classified documents. They revealed New Zealand's ongoing involvement in Western alliance espionage, and a threat by the United States to spy on New Zealand if it did not back down from its ban on nuclear ships.

    ...and anyone reading this Dotcom discussion thread and the Snowden thread will be able to see how NZ is inextricably a bit player in the global spy/surveillance network operated with the US NSA/CIA/FBI, UK GCHQ and their Australian counterparts.
    _______________________

In general, in any relationships that NZ has with the US on the world stage, the NZ actors know that it is an unequal relationship - that they are in bed with an elephant that could roll over them and squash them flat in the night without even noticing, and that the elephant could also turn very nasty if not appeased when roused/contradicted.
The US seems to be a world defender and a bully/oppressor of humungus proportions - arguably far worse than the British Empire ever was, and a good deal less subtle to boot. (Even the US President seems to think so too.)
For example:
  • including the U.S. Occupation of the Philippines (1898-1946), and its subsequent economic and military colonisation from then until September 16, 1991, when the RP-US Military Bases Agreement was junked (but the last vestiges of US occupation apparently didn't fully depart until finally booted out by President Fidel Ramos around 1996).

  • ...
    From: http://21stcenturywi...mon-ground-ideology/
    Quote
    "The entire history of America is towards concentration of power and oppression."
    - Barrack Obama (Strassman interview August of 1995)
    So, one valid question would seem to be: Is he intending continuing that history, or doing something about correcting it?
    _______________________

NZ, on the other hand, with its tiny population of about 4.4 million people (and far more sheep) spread over a land area slightly larger than the UK, is a politically and economically insignificant wart on the arse-end of the planet, and it generally gets treated as such.
Small wonder then, that NZ Defence/GCSD/Police seem to love playing with their American counterparts - they at least get the opportunity to feel significant and to play with the big boys' toys and join in international SWAT-fests from time to time.
It's probably not very stimulating for them being an arse-wart otherwise. One has to get a sense of fulfilment from one's vocation as best one can.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2013, 04:37:01 PM by IainB, Reason: Minor corrections. »