Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • September 03, 2015, 06:28:22 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Last post Author Topic: DOTCOM saga - updates  (Read 36779 times)

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,432
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
DOTCOM saga - updates
« on: June 28, 2012, 06:52:03 AM »
And, following the seemingly excessively violent and over-the-top Dotcom New Zealand police raid at the behest of the US authorities, and the US apparently potentially illegal(?) takedown of the Dotcom business, there's this:
Kim Dotcom - John Banks Song
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8CvRSZxqk_I[youtube]
Apparently, John Banks (who is head of the NZ ACT political party) seems to have "forgotten all about" (amongst other things) having asked for Dotcom to split his donation to the party into 2 x $25,000 "anonymous" cheques, so as to avoid having to declare them as a $50,000 donation from a defined benefactor during the elections, or something. Wouldn't pass muster as being legit in an audit. Probably would have broken some elections laws there, if it were true.
This is a good rap song! - valid political comment using the contemporary musical idiom.    :Thmbsup:
According to Ars technica in their post Kim Dotcom lampoons New Zealand MP in his new rap song, the rap was made using the Black Eyed Peas' Printz Board.
from Ars technica:
Quote
Last Friday, Prime Minister John Key denied any knowledge of Dotcom "until the day before the raids even though his senior ministers, a string of senior civil servants, and his own electorate staff were involved in matters relating to him. It has emerged that staff in the Prime Minister's own department were aware of Dotcom and his bid through the Overseas Investment Office to buy the mansion in which he lived with his family."

It seems that the NZ justice system has, albeit slowly, arrived at a conclusion to its deliberations on this case, so far. This would now seem to have become a very serious issue for the NZ judiciary to address.
Scoop.co.nz reports on 2012-06-28: Kim Dotcom wins court challenge that police action unlawful
Spoiler
Quote
Thursday, 28 June 2012, 6:20 pm
Article: Businesswire

Kim Dotcom wins court challenge that police action unlawful
June 28 (BusinessDesk) - Kim Dotcom, founder of the Megaupload website being pursued by US authorities for multiple copyright breaches, has won a challenge to the legality of police searches in New Zealand.
Judge Helen Winkelmann ruled that the warrants used were too broad and thus invalid and the search and seizure illegal. Also unlawful was the release to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of ‘clones’ of harddrives that were seized.
He would hear from counsel before deciding on relief for the plaintiffs – Dotcom, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk – who sought return of hard-drives among their demands.
Dotcom is accused by US authorities of some US$500 million of copyright breaches. The US has sought to extradite Dotcom, who has been allowed by New Zealand authorities to return to his mansion north of Auckland.
(BusinessDesk)

The Judgement has been posted by courtsofnz.govt.nz in a pdf document here.
Dotcom judgement NZ 2012-06-28.png

It is discussed in an arstechnicha post of 2012-06-28: Mega-victory: Kim Dotcom search warrants "invalid," mansion raid "illegal" - A New Zealand judge savages the process used to target Megaupload's Kim Dotcom.
(You can read the post at the link above. It looks like quite a decent review of the judgement and the issues.)
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 07:03:28 AM by IainB, Reason: Minor corrections. »

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,432
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2012, 07:11:28 AM »
There is also a fairly detailed post by NZ Herald: Dotcom searches illegal: Judge
- which has a useful link to a Listener article: Kim Dotcom and Megaupload: a 2012 timeline

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 12,787
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2012, 11:01:48 AM »
Sigh... Maybe I'm being cynical, but...

It doesn't matter. It's all completely irrelevant.

They completely destroyed Megaupload. It's gone. It will NEVER recover. Other sites have been shutting down in mass numbers because they're all scared to shit of the same thing happening to them. Megaupload was the first summary execution.

Now, just ask yourself if the CRIMINALS that raided his house will be held to account for their CRIMES.

Ummm... No.

They will NEVER be prosecuted for their CRIMES. They are immune to prosecution. They are above the law.

What do you do with a CRIMINAL government/system?

And THAT, my friends, is why the US of A has the second amendment.

(This crap just sets me off...)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

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

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,883
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2012, 11:48:37 AM »
They completely destroyed Megaupload. It's gone. It will NEVER recover. Other sites have been shutting down in mass numbers because they're all scared to shit of the same thing happening to them. Megaupload was the first summary execution.

Agreed. They never gave a damn if the charges would "stick" ... They just wanted to sit back and watch the Shock and Awe ripple effect. The Italians did the same type of thing in Chicago back in the 40s. But the Feds thought that was criminal.

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,432
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2012, 08:12:58 PM »
They completely destroyed Megaupload. It's gone. It will NEVER recover. Other sites have been shutting down in mass numbers because they're all scared to shit of the same thing happening to them. Megaupload was the first summary execution.
Agreed. They never gave a damn if the charges would "stick" ... They just wanted to sit back and watch the Shock and Awe ripple effect. The Italians did the same type of thing in Chicago back in the 40s. But the Feds thought that was criminal.

You may well both be right - and if you are, then it is a sad indictment of the state of the US nation. I know next to nothing about the US legal/judicial system, or Kim Dotcom or MegaUpload to be able to make informed comment about them. If you recall, I commented about the NZ TV coverage of the Dotcom raid in NZ (see the post copied below). That comment was made by me as a Kiwi (an NZ citizen) who had great faith in the integrity of the police and NZ Defence Force personnel - I felt sure that the justification for the raid would become apparent as events unfolded:
I missed seeing the NZ TV3 programme when it aired, so watched it tonight on replay video:
Kim Dotcom's head of security, Wayne Tempero, walks John Campbell through the events on January 20 in a global TV exclusive.
Campbell Live enters Kim Dotcom's Coatesville mansion - Video
Campbell Live talks to Assistant Police Commissioner Malcolm Burgess, who signed off on the Dotcom police operation:
Police defend actions during Dotcom raid - Video
It doesn't make sense. I have the highest regard for the integrity of the NZ Defence and police people that I have had the opportunity to work with over the years. I feel sure there must be a lot more behind the charges against Mr Dotcom and possibly others, for the police to have acted in the way they did. For all we know, the police may be prohibited from telling us what it is.
"There were 70-odd officers distributed across a number of properties, executing up to 10 search warrants during the course of the day...
...There were 20 or 30 [officers] initially [at Dotcom's property] to seize the place..."

However, the published ruling of New Zealand High Court judge Helen Winkelmann:
Quote
"...who today ripped the "invalid" warrant and the subsequent search and seizure in a 56-page decision." per arstechnica - here.
- would apparently confirm that, as the arstechnica post put it, the raid:
Quote
"...was also totally illegal."

To summarise: (as I understand it at this stage)
  • The raid was carried out illegally by NZ police/military/SS officers (where "SS" means some kind of Special Services/Secret Services);
  • This illegal (QED) act was carried out at the apparently documented behest of the police/SS agencies of a foreign power (USA);
  • - which documentation is also apparently suspect and may be unlawful (per overseas media);
  • The result is almost certainly likely to have entailed the collapse of the huge MegaUpload service/business, and the serious discombobulation and/or significant consequential financial loss for Dotcom's business, family, business associates, and legitimate customers of MegaUpload.

My view (FWIW):
  • Presumably, speedy apology and reparation/restitution to the above parties (Dotcom's business, family, business associates, and legitimate customers of MegaUpload) would be in order.
  • We could probably expect something like this (apology and reparation/restitution) being proposed at some stage by the objective New Zealand judiciary (whether the High Court judge, Helen Winkelmann or her judicial colleagues) - which reasonable expectation would seem to be supported by the pretty incisive judgement above.
  • It would be reasonable to suppose that if an illegal action of such violence and severity can be executed against one NZ citizen (assuming Dotcom is a citizen) by the NZ officers of the law and/or NZ Defence personnel, then it could be executed against any citizen.
  • If it could be carried out without the penalty of legally-enforced reparation/restitution, then that would be a nightmare.

Any citizen (myself included) would probably find such prospect to be a frightening thought. For example, if it became a reality, then it would mean that NZ had become quite literally little different to a Fascist Banana Republic.
I do not for a moment believe that to be the case - quite the opposite. NZ has usually shown itself - by its actions - to be a great little country to live in and with a strong backbone - worth having on your side.
For this reason, I reckon the above penalty - in the form of legally-enforced reparation/restitution - should be punitive as opposed to being based on replacement cost-of-consequential-loss. This would send a clear signal outwards. Damages are usually awarded by courts on one basis or the other - punitive or replacement - but not both. You would tend to see punitive damages being awarded to set an example and discourage recurrence of similar illegal behaviours/actions.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2012, 08:19:55 PM by IainB, Reason: Minor corrections. »

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 12,787
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2012, 08:48:44 PM »
@IainB - I don't think I share your optimism there.

  • The raid was carried out illegally by NZ police/military/SS officers (where "SS" means some kind of Special Services/Secret Services);
  • This illegal (QED) act was carried out at the apparently documented behest of the police/SS agencies of a foreign power (USA);

My little rant wasn't really directed at the US criminals. Everyone knows the US is a terrorist police state. My rant was directed at the NZ officials that were responsible for cooperating with the US terrorists, which they are -- just ask any upload site owner that shut down if they were left in terror after MegaUpload was summarily executed. And yes - it was a summary execution. There was no trial and MegaUpload was completely destroyed in a day.

So what does this say about the NZ willingness to cooperate with terrorists? They went along with it all. Well, you can't very well unshoot a gun, and in this case, they simply can't undo the damage that they've done. All at the behest of a bunch of terrorists that are bought and paid for by the media mafia.

It's shameful. And they must be held to account for what they did for there to be justice. The "law" cannot be above the law. (I've ranted in the past about the rule of law, and this is exactly why.)

When you say that if they can do it to him, they can do it to anyone - complete and total 110% agreement there. (Reminds me of "First they came...")

Regarding your point about damages - I am curious to know what will happen there. It's quite impossible to actually repay the actual damage, so punitive damages seem more reasonable. But then again, I am curious to know whether criminal charges will be laid for what was a crime. I think THAT is the real measure of justice here -- i.e. Will the decision makers that were responsible for the crime there be personally held to account for their crimes? (It would be even better to see those responsible on the US side also criminally charged for their part.)

I hope that this is a 1-off travesty for justice in NZ. I really do hope that your optimism is well founded and that my cynicism is unwarranted.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

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

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,432
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2012, 12:07:53 AM »
...
...My little rant wasn't really directed at the US criminals. Everyone knows the US is a terrorist police state. My rant was directed at the NZ officials that were responsible for cooperating with the US terrorists, which they are -- just ask any upload site owner that shut down if they were left in terror after MegaUpload was summarily executed. And yes - it was a summary execution. There was no trial and MegaUpload was completely destroyed in a day.
So what does this say about the NZ willingness to cooperate with terrorists? They went along with it all...
...
...It's shameful. And they must be held to account for what they did for there to be justice. The "law" cannot be above the law.
...

Yes, I understand those were the points you were making.
And I am optimistic, yes, but admittedly I do usually expect the best of human nature.
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.

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,432
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2012, 12:37:42 AM »
This isn't the sort of publicity or rep that NZ really needs right now..if at any time.
From Sydney Morning Herald: NZ's piracy ruling 'embarrasses' FBI
NZ are USA FBI stooges? Maybe not.
Never mind, I'm sure Obama would describe NZ as "...the US' best/closest allies, and punch above their weight."
(Cringe.)
Insincerity BS: US smaller allies are the US' "best/closest allies, and punch above their weight".


tomos

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,524
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2012, 04:25:57 AM »
I'm not fully clear Iain - who would be expected to pay damages if awarded?

I cant see the US paying anything. If the NZ "SS" officers/department (i.e. the NZ government) had to pay, they wouldn't do this again quite so casually, and neither would other countries with any sense.
Tom

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,432
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2012, 05:25:06 AM »
...who would be expected to pay damages if awarded?
Well, as it has already been formally adjudged by the High Court judicary to be an illegal action, then I would presume the NZ government should offer to pay reparations, rather than that they have to be taken to court to oblige them to part with monies under some kind of civil action for committing what could be a criminal offence - i.e., illegal breaking and entering, false imprisonment, destruction and taking of property and business assets, with weapons and major intimidation thrown in for good measure - which crimes at least in part could go under the definition of "Home invasion" under NZ law.
There's probably more, but that could do for starters.

Criminal charges would otherwise usually be laid by the police against third parties, and not against themselves as a group.

So such reparation would come out of government coffers, which would really mean the taxpayers had just obligingly funded the police to have what in hindsight was apparently a real-live but totally over-the-top, uncalled-for and unnecessary kickass SWAT-fest exercise against apparently innocent taxpayers. Kinda kinky really.
The Americans seem to have this down to a fine art. We in NZ are probably really only rank amateurs by comparison, and are only just beginning to catch up.
For example, I suppose it's a bit like this:
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: SWAT Raids Home Investigating Threats Made To EPD Officers & Families
Some of the comments by the police and the readers are priceless.
For example:
Quote
Police officer: "We're not going to let these types of people take over and have us scared in our own homes."
Commenter: "No, instead you're going to have innocent citizens that you're sworn to serve and to protect be scared in their own homes."
No wonder there are 70% "Furious" readers on the thermometer in the screenshot below:
You'd probably have seen something similar in NZ if they had put a thermometer up re the Dotcom raid.

US SWAT on private home (FAIL).pngDOTCOM saga - updates
« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 07:13:35 AM by IainB, Reason: Minor corrections. »

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 7,328
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • wraith808
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2012, 12:23:27 PM »
Everyone knows the US is a terrorist police state.

Maybe this should be taken to the soapbox?  I ignore it for a reason.  I might not believe in everything that the US does, and disagree with quite a bit.  But to stand by while such flamebait is posted?  A little too much to ask.  And I don't want to bring such things into the mainstream of DC- doesn't usually work out.

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 12,787
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2012, 12:33:19 PM »
Everyone knows the US is a terrorist police state.

Maybe this should be taken to the soapbox?  I ignore it for a reason.  I might not believe in everything that the US does, and disagree with quite a bit.  But to stand by while such flamebait is posted?  A little too much to ask.  And I don't want to bring such things into the mainstream of DC- doesn't usually work out.

Good point. In the future, I'll try to start a topic in Soap Box and simply refer to that there. I know I can be extreme at times.

So, point taken. I'll try to keep it out of the Living Room.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

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

TaoPhoenix

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2011
  • **
  • Posts: 4,395
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2012, 01:33:37 PM »
Heh  - it's only extreme until it's you. Time to make a Canary Server!

"Today I was not arrested for copyright violations".
"Today I was not arrested for copyright violations".
"Today I was not arrested for copyright violations".
(Crickets)

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,432
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2012, 05:04:39 PM »
@TaoPhoenix:
^ +1   Very droll. Loved it.    :Thmbsup:

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,432
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2012, 02:26:13 AM »
Everyone knows the US is a terrorist police state.
Maybe this should be taken to the soapbox?  I ignore it for a reason.  I might not believe in everything that the US does, and disagree with quite a bit.  But to stand by while such flamebait is posted?  A little too much to ask.  And I don't want to bring such things into the mainstream of DC- doesn't usually work out.
Good point. In the future, I'll try to start a topic in Soap Box and simply refer to that there. I know I can be extreme at times.
So, point taken. I'll try to keep it out of the Living Room.

I did not perceive what you said as being worthy of the label "flamebait".
"Dangerous anarchic rebellious speech", perhaps   ;D   -  but I certainly didn't suppose that you were intending to goad anyone to debate the point. On the contrary, it seems that you were just stating your POV.
Everyone - including you and @wraith808 - is entitled to their POV, no matter how wrong they may be.     ;)
And what you said didn't goad me or make me feel obliged to respond either. It was harmless.
So please don't censor yourself on my behalf - I usually take what you say with a pinch of salt anyway...    ;D
Likewise, I would not deem to censor you.

The subject is the DOTCOM saga - updates, and the news shows what really would seem to be such an enormous need by the US government authorities to pursue DOTCOM that they are prepared to breach due legal process to do it, regardless, and NZ government seems to have been complicit in this.
The reason why this could be of interest to the Internet community - never mind the general public - is that we have recently come out of a major worldwide protest blackout (including the DCF website and thousands of others around the world). This was a protest against censorship of the Internet by/at the instigation of the US (SOPA, etc.). The protest was apparently successful, having got the thing stalled - for a time, at any rate.
But the DOTCOM thing looks like it could be intended as a major and deliberately exemplary attack by the RIAA/MAFIAA on what is apparently only supposed to be a fraudulent file-sharing operation. I say "supposed", because the NZ lawyers have apparently asked for evidence/substantiation of the criminal charges the US have against DOTCOM, which would back up the extradition request, but so far reports indicate that this evidence has not been provided.
Maybe it has, but it can't be declared/published and must be kept secret for some quite valid reason.

I've suggested before the view that the NZ police/SS are, as a rule, generally highly proficient and don't do things without good reason.
The exception to this for many NZers' could be the incredible and excessive police violence apparently authorised by the government to suppress the 1981 protests against the racially-biased Springboks rugby tour to NZ. (If this all doesn't make sense to you, then read up on it.)
That seemed to have caused a great deal of civil unrest, and certainly was not to be repeated.

So, up until the point of the publication of the ruling of New Zealand High Court judge Helen Winkelmann, the Dotcom raid had seemed disquietingly and unnecessarily excessively violent, but the public assumption would probably generally have been that Dotcom et al must have been involved in some pretty dodgy business for the authorities to take such extreme measures in the arrests - and there were reported to be about 10 arrests/raids involved, not just the one on Dotcom's residence.

As per the article in the Sydney Morning Herald: (my emphasis)
Quote
Dotcom's US-based lawyer, Ira Rothken, said the ruling was an embarrassment, especially as US authorities have called the case the largest in copyright history.
''One would think, with such a large case, that they would have a higher standard of care in how they conducted themselves,'' he said. ''In terms of egregious behaviour, this is at the high end of the scale of egregious, wrongful intrusion on privacy.''
Mr Rothken said the ruling supported the view that NZ police were acting at the FBI's beck and call.

I think the reasonable question to ask here could be "Why was this done and in this manner?", and then wait for a clear and open explanation.
Sans explanation, some people could draw their own conclusions and might well feel justified in saying that it illustrates that NZ is becoming a police state - never mind the US - though I couldn't possibly agree on ether count, of course.

But the central issue for me is whether this sorry affair is actually really just another major political onslaught on Internet freedoms by the US government, through the agency of the FBI.
Presumably it is not for nothing that Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc. and a founding member of the nonprofit EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has sought to return frozen Megaupload files to users, and said that authorities need to release some of Dotcom's frozen financial assets so he can pay his mounting legal fees - see here.

The raid on Dotcom's home - which he reportedly does not own, but rents(?) - took place in a suburb called Coatesville, Auckland, NZ. Auckland is a relatively small city, but the largest in NZ, with a pop. of approx. 500K. I live in Auckland. This raid was virtually "on my doorstep". Aucklanders might be forgiven for feeling uneasy and intimidated around police officers at present - as might the inhabitants of Evansville, USA. In the Aucklanders' case though, it could be inferred from the High Court judgement that potentially it could be anybody's turn next, and seemingly on any pretext.

And there is this too: Little fish caught in Dotcom net

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,432
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2012, 07:09:23 AM »
...
...Everyone knows the US is a terrorist police state.
I didn't know this to be a fact, and so I went googling to find out.
EDIT 2012-07-02 1521hrs NZT: This diverting comment was off-topic and @Renegade has since copied the subject of his comment across to the Soap Box, and I have copied this comment there also. Hence the spoiler:
Spoiler
There's a lot of material on this, but one of the best was a post on reasontv.com about the Evansville, Indiana SWAT raid: Police Raid Wrong House, Steal 18-Year-Old Girl's Computer Thanks to Unsecured WiFi Connection
At the bottom of the post it says:
Quote
Find more on overzealous police raids, look here, here, here, here, and here.

ReasonTV covered police raids here.

I followed all the links, and found them quite depressing, but the last one - here - is a YouTube vid of an educational (for me) interview with one Radley Balko who has written a book entitled OVERKILL - The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America (I put in the link to it on Amazon).
Para-militarisation of US police 01.pngDOTCOM saga - updates

The explanation for the paramilitarisation seems quite clear: it's attributable to mistaken political/policy directives regarding "the drug war", and the proliferation of surplus military-grade weapons by the the Pentagon into the police forces. Those dudes have some serious weapons in their armouries now, for example:
Para-militarisation of US police 02.pngDOTCOM saga - updates

So, I can quite see now why some Americans might say that the US has become or is becoming "a police state". There's some substantiation for that, right there. And there seems to be plenty more on the 'net. How sad.
I don't think NZ is remotely like this yet, by the way, and I hope it never will be. The Dotcom raid and ensuing saga is disquieting enough as it is, thanks very much.

« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 10:26:04 PM by IainB, Reason: Minor edits. »

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,432
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2012, 09:17:29 AM »
Looks like some real wins may be imminent for the MPAA - Using Megaupload Case as Backdoor SOPA/PIPA Scheme.
You may still have time to sign the brief support petition and spread the word before the hearing/decision referred to below.
Quote
  • To add weight to their plea, a new campaign titled “The Internet vs. Hollywood” is being launched today in which members of the public are invited to add their name as supporter of the brief.
  • These are worrying developments according to Demand Progress, not just for Megaupload users, but also for the hundreds of millions of people who store files on Google, Dropbox, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr and other online services.
  • 2012-06-28: MPAA Using Megaupload Case as Backdoor SOPA, Court Hears
    Spoiler
    Quote
    Political activist group Demand Progress has filed a brief in the Megaupload case, urging the court to disregard the MPAA’s concerns over the return of data to former Megaupload users. The group argues that Hollywood lobbyists are out to make it impossible for Megaupload users to access their property, effectively using the court case as a backdoor SOPA.

    Demand Progress is joining the Megaupload case as a non-party. The group has filed a brief refuting claims made by the MPAA, and asking the Court to consider the many innocent users who are still unable to access their personal files.

    The MPAA previously told the court that Megaupload users should only be allowed to get their files back as long as access to copyright-infringing files is blocked. According to Demand Progress this request is practically impossible, against the presumption of innocence, and effectively an attempt to enforce SOPA-like actions through the backdoor.

    In the brief the activist group says the MPAA is trying to use the Megaupload case to achieve what Congress rejected earlier this year, when it decided to shelve the SOPA and PIPA bills.

    “Legislation that sought to achieve the very results the MPAA now seeks to obtain de facto through mere seizure of Mega Servers — with or without a conviction – was rejected by Congress,” the brief reads.

    “Specifically, the failed legislation tried to render inaccessible data on websites that host user-uploaded files, and to do so at the request of private parties like MPAA, without due process for targeted business owners and users.”

    Despite the fact that Congress rejected SOPA and PIPA, the MPAA will now get the same secondary liability scheme enforced when the court grants the requests of the movie studios, the group argues.

    Demand Progress further tells the court that the MPAA’s request not to allow access to infringing files goes directly against the fundamental principle that Americans are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

    “The MPAA reasons property owners should prove their property non-infringing before the Court permits them access to it. This is akin to arguing that when a thief rents a hotel room and is caught, the contents of all of the guests’ luggage should be presumed contraband until proven otherwise. This result would be absurd and unreasonable.”

    “On its face, the MPAA’s request is suspect and asks the Court to bootstrap the guilt of parties onto a collateral motion, prior to a judgment,” they add.

    These are worrying developments according to Demand Progress, not just for Megaupload users, but also for the hundreds of millions of people who store files on Google, Dropbox, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr and other online services.

    To add weight to their plea, a new campaign titled “The Internet vs. Hollywood” is being launched today in which members of the public are invited to add their name as supporter of the brief.

  • 2012-06-28: The Internet v. Hollywood - Demand Progress petition
    Spoiler
    Quote
    HOLLYWOOD IS HIJACKING THE COURTS AND POLICE.
    YOUR FILES IN GMAIL, FLICKR, PICASA, ETC. ARE IN JEOPARDY

    Hollywood attorneys are trying to use the courts to circumvent Congress and implement a backdoor SOPA/PIPA scheme.

    Fight Back: YOUR FILES ON Google, Dropbox, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr, etc. and even your emails are in jeopardy.

    Demand Progress is fighting back in the courts and standing up for Internet users. We are taking on the United States and the MPAA. Please sign up at right to support our legal brief so the court understands that millions of people will be impacted by this decision. The judge is hearing the case TOMORROW.

    BACKGROUND: One day after the Internet staged a massive blackout to protest Congress's Internet censorship legislation (SOPA/PIPA), the United States responded by seizing millions of ordinary user files hosted on the popular website Megaupload.com.

    With an aim of shutting down Megaupload and other Cloud-based hosting services (like Dropbox, YouTube or even your email provider), the government is trying to claim website operators should face decades in prison for the misdeeds of some of their users. But while they pursue trumped up criminal charges against the companies' founders, they are shutting down dozens of websites, and leaving ordinary Internet users without any way of retrieving their files.

    Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak called the case against Megaupload a "threat to innovation." Wozniak likened the Megaupload site to a highway and those who shared pirated movies and songs to speeding motorists. "You don't just shut down the whole street because somebody is speeding," he said.

    Numerous laws on the books already give copyright holders plenty of avenues to stop actual infringement, but that's not enough to satisfy Hollywood's lawyers and lobbyists. The prosecutor in the case, Neil MacBride, previously served as the Anti-Piracy Vice President of the Business Software Alliance, where he represented the intellectual property interests of countless multinational corporations.

    Now Hollywood's lobbyists, represented by the Motion Picture Association of America, want him to make it nearly impossible for ordinary Internet users to get their property back.
    ______________________
     NOTE: Your name will appear below as a public supporter of our legal brief.

    We do not share your email address without your permission. We will send you updates on this and other important campaigns by email. If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from our email list, you may do so.

    The Demand Progress legal brief in United States vs. Kim Dotcom asks the government and all parties to facilitate the return to Megaupload users all files unrelated to the case. Stand with Demand Progress as we advance Internet user rights and fight to prevent the creation of dangerous legal precedent. Sign up to support our action in the Court.

    READ THE FULL BRIEF

    Please join us as we take it to the courts to fight Hollywood -- the hearing is TOMORROW, so please sign up right away. We need to make sure the judge understands just how many people will be affected by his decision.

  • 2012-06-30: Megaupload Judge To Issue Order On Return Of User Data “Shortly”
    Spoiler
    Quote
    A United States District Judge indicated in a hearing today that a little more time is needed to consider the fate of data uploaded by a Megaupload user and lost when the file-hosting company was closed without warning by U.S. authorities. The user’s case is being championed by the EFF who heard today that an order would be issued “shortly”. Additionally, the judge said he would schedule a hearing to consider Megaupload’s motion to dismiss.
    It’s been almost six months since Megaupload’s servers were raided and seized by U.S. authorities, a long time if you have valuable data stored on the companies now-frozen infrastructure.

    That’s the predicament sports reporter Kyle Goodwin found himself in after he chose Megaupload as the company to host his videos. Ever since he’s been campaigning for the return of his files with the invaluable help of the EFF. Together they filed a motion demanding a workable solution to enable him, and other users, to regain access to their data.

    Today the EFF appeared in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to continue the fight, in the face of what they describe as a government failure to assist Goodwin and other lawful Megaupload users to retrieve their property.

    According to Bloomberg, during the hearing prosecutors argued that users such as Goodwin should be treated as “unsecured creditors” who should file civil actions against either Megaupload itself or Carpathia Hosting, the company where Megaupload housed its rented servers and where the data remains in limbo.

    In Court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Peterson described Megaupload as a service provider as opposed to an entity that holds people’s property. “A file-copying service is what Megaupload provided,” he said.

    In response, Judge O’Grady noted that Goodwin wasn’t asking for a service to be restored, but his videos back. “He’s asking for his data back, and that’s property, right?” he said.

    O’Grady did not make a decision on return of the data today, but indicated that one will come soon.

    “We’ll look at it a little further and issue an order shortly,” he concluded at the end of the hearing.

    According to PC World, during the hearing O’Grady rejected a request from Megaupload’s lawyers to challenge the Department of Justice’s seizure of Megaupload assets, describing the request as “premature” while noting he’s still considering their motion to dismiss.

« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 09:38:20 AM by IainB »

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 7,328
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • wraith808
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2012, 07:37:59 PM »
Everyone knows the US is a terrorist police state.
Maybe this should be taken to the soapbox?  I ignore it for a reason.  I might not believe in everything that the US does, and disagree with quite a bit.  But to stand by while such flamebait is posted?  A little too much to ask.  And I don't want to bring such things into the mainstream of DC- doesn't usually work out.
Good point. In the future, I'll try to start a topic in Soap Box and simply refer to that there. I know I can be extreme at times.
So, point taken. I'll try to keep it out of the Living Room.

I did not perceive what you said as being worthy of the label "flamebait".
"Dangerous anarchic rebellious speech", perhaps   ;D   -  but I certainly didn't suppose that you were intending to goad anyone to debate the point. On the contrary, it seems that you were just stating your POV.
Everyone - including you and @wraith808 - is entitled to their POV, no matter how wrong they may be.     ;)
And what you said didn't goad me or make me feel obliged to respond either. It was harmless.

Perhaps flamebait was too harsh of a word, but the complaint is still valid.  We have a soap box for a reason- for conversations of these types.  Is asking someone to take it there denying them of their ability to respond?  It was also not even tangential to the conversation, i.e. you had to go google to find those particular instances to 'support' your position.  If something isn't part of the conversation, and is brought up, and is likely to bait people... well, perhaps the designation wasn't too far off?  If we didn't have an area, I would have said something in response... or not.  But I used a third option as given by the forum and by my ignoring that area for this very reason because I come here for light conversation and discussion about software and things peripheral to that and coding, which the DOTCOM saga is a part of.  This particular tangent isn't that.

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,432
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2012, 09:04:32 PM »
@wraith808:

@Renegade has moved this discussion subject across to the Soap Box:
Well, it seems obvious enough to me that the US is a terrorist police state, and I'd posted that in another thread, but it belongs in Soap Box.
I certainly don't mean it as any kind of flamebait. It simply seems obvious. Kind of like "it's dark at night" or "the sun is hot".
...
I have copied my post there, also.
So we can continue the discussion in that forum.
(Thanks.)

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 7,328
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • wraith808
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2012, 02:00:21 PM »
response to posting above
Now, it would seem to me obvious what such an intelligent poster had done above by quoting in stream of a topic that's not limited to that section a response from that section had done.  With that in mind, one would have to determine that this was calculated.  I tried above to ask in a nice manner that this be limited to the section that I had purposefully ignored- because people have opinions, and they have the right to voice them, just as others have the right to come to a board dedicated to software and not be assailed by those opinions, whether they agree or disagree with them.  But with that last quote brought from there to here (and the earlier links provided on said subject after it was asked), well, I do have to post this dissenting argument.

Quote
via Mirram-Webster
terrorism: The systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion
police state: A totalitarian state controlled by a political secret police force.

Though there are acts that are beyond the pale as have been committed by elements in the government (which is not a body, by the way, but a group of individuals, notably, usually ungoverned), it is neither systematic, or totalitarian, nor controlled by a political secret police force.  So yes, I do take objection to the rather heavy handed use of those terms, and no, it's not obvious in the "it's dark at night", or "the sun is hot" manner. 

My response above (and now) is in relation to the already off-topic comments posted in this thread, and still here, after the request was made.  Hopefully, this will end that.  If it's there, I'll neither see, nor reply, and be quite happy at the ignorance of the topic. I don't want to continue discussion, as I didn't want to discuss it originally, and that was all I was asking.  Thanks for moving it there.  :)


IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,432
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2012, 02:33:58 AM »
I've copied this post (above) to the relevant discussion in the Soap Box:
Re: "Terrorist Police State" [NSFW?]
...
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 02:40:14 AM by IainB »

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 7,328
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • wraith808
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2012, 10:32:20 AM »
I've copied this post (above) to the relevant discussion in the Soap Box:
Re: "Terrorist Police State" [NSFW?]
...

Why?  It wasn't to start discussion or anything, especially as I said in there that I don't want to discuss?  And of course you could have done it without the announcement.  But... whatever... have fun.

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,432
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2012, 08:56:27 AM »
Interesting update from techdirt:
FBI Continues To Insist There's No Reason For Kim Dotcom To Be Able To See The Evidence Against Him
Quote
from the of-course-not dept

We already noted that the New Zealand judicial system apparently isn't as willing as the US expected to rubberstamp approval of the extradition of Kim Dotcom. Part of that ruling was a requirement that the US turn over the evidence they're using against Dotcom, so that he can counter it in fighting against the extradition. However, it appears that the US is still fighting this, having the New Zealand prosecutor (who is fighting on their behalf) argue that Dotcom should only be allowed to see a single document out of the 22 million emails the FBI collected and that this really isn't a matter for the New Zealand courts to concern themselves with, as they should just let the Americans handle it.
  • Crown lawyer John Pike argued that there was no need for Dotcom to have access because he was not being tried in New Zealand.
  • The judge in the extradition case needed only to decide if there was a case for him to answer in the US, Mr Pike said, and that question was answered by the record of case.

That's kind of amazing when you think about it. He shouldn't be allowed to even see the evidence against him... even if it might prove that there is no "case for him to answer to in the US." That's what's so troubling about the US position on cases like this one and the O'Dwyer/TVshack case. They seem to assume that it shouldn't be of any concern if they drag someone thousands of miles across oceans to face trumped up charges in the US.
It's always nice to see justice being done. That's one thing I like to see in this case too.

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,432
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2012, 06:58:45 AM »
News via torrent freak: Kim Dotcom’s Extradition Hearing Delayed Until 2013
Spoiler
Quote
Kim Dotcom’s Extradition Hearing Delayed Until 2013
2012-07-10

Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing has been delayed until 2013. The Megaupload founder and his alleged co-conspirators were due to appear in court on August 6 in a hearing scheduled to last 3 weeks, but legal issues including questions over evidence disclosure have put the event back until March next year. Dotcom has slammed the delay as “dirty delay tactics by the US.”

Kim Dotcom, the founder of Megaupload, the now-defunct site at the center of what is believed to be the largest copyright infringement case in United States history, will have to wait until next year for his extradition hearing.

The hearing, which would see Dotcom and alleged co-conspirators Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk protest their extradition to the United States, was originally scheduled to take place next month in Auckland.

Following agreement between Dotcom’s lawyer Paul Davison QC and the prosecution, it has now been rescheduled for July 2013.

“It was inevitable that the hearing for August was going to be vacated because we have two existing cases in the High Court,” William Akel, one of Dotcom’s lawyers, told Reuters.

Dotcom, however, took to Twitter to voice his complaints.

“Dirty delay tactics by the US. They destroyed my business. Took all my assets. Time does the rest,” he wrote.

“The NZ government is refusing an NZ resident due process and a fair defense. Shame on you [Prime Minister of New Zealand] John Key for allowing this to happen. Shame on you.”

In recent weeks, legal arguments on a number of issues have further complicated the already controversial case, including an appeal of a court ruling last month that found the warrants used by New Zealand police to raid Dotcom’s Coatesville mansion in January were invalid, rendering the searches illegal.

Earlier, a judge criticized the shipping to the U.S. of hard drive copies taken from Dotcom’s computers by the FBI, describing the act as “unlawful”.

Last week, local prosecutors acting on behalf of the U.S. government argued in the High Court against an earlier District Court ruling that said Dotcom and the rest of the so-called “Mega Conspiracy” should be allowed access to the evidence set to be used against them in the extradition hearing.

Prosecutors said there was no need for Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk to see the evidence because they are not being tried in New Zealand. Their lawyers disagree, stating that it is crucial the information is examined in order for their clients to mount a fair defense.


IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 5,432
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: DOTCOM saga - updates
« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2012, 12:04:57 AM »
Not a development in the DOTCOM saga per se, but an interesting comment apparently coming from the the NZ judge to hear the Dotcom extradition case.
US "the Enemy" Says Dotcom Judge
Quote
Posted by samzenpus on Monday July 16, @10:14AM
from the know-your-enemy dept.

First time accepted submitter Flere Imsaho writes "During the NutHui Internet conference last week, the NZ judge to hear the Dotcom extradition case was speaking on the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement and how the U.S. entertainment industry is pushing to make region code hacking illegal, when he said 'Under TPP and the American Digital Millennium copyright provisions you will not be able to do that, that will be prohibited ... if you do you will be a criminal — that's what will happen. Even before the 2008 amendments it wasn't criminalized. There are all sorts of ways this whole thing is being ramped up and if I could use Russell [Brown's] tweet from earlier on: we have met the enemy and he is [the] U.S.'"
This gives me some hope that the principles of justice and liberty might be alive and well in the minds of the judiciary - in NZ, at least.
We shall see.