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Author Topic: DOTCOM saga - updates  (Read 30616 times)
IainB
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« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2012, 09:44:50 PM »

Hmm...now the judge in question (David Harvey) has recused himself from the DOTCOM trial: Megaupload judge quits case after inflammatory comment
What a complete surprise (NOT).
The most rational conclusion for this that I can come up with at the moment is that he may have deliberately contrived the situation where he repeated the Twittered quote about "we have met the enemy and he is US", in such a public manner, in anticipation of subsequently recusing himself because of it. (I mean, after making such a statement, he would have to, wouldn't he? It's not like he wouldn't have known that.)
This conclusion is based on an assumption that, generally, judges are not complete idiots - debatable, perhaps, but just bear with me.

Knowing the little that we are allowed to know, at least two possibilities occur:
  • (a) Judge David Harvey had to be removed for granting Dotcom easier bail terms: they had been incredibly stern terms initially, presumably at the behest of the US SS, who would seem to have been orchestrating the whole Dotcom SWAT by a sort of remote control over the NZ authorities. So, perhaps to please the US contingent, he could have been quietly "got at" by the NZ government and told to manufacture his own recusal.

  • (b) Judge David Harvey wanted or saw no ethical option but to recuse himself: after reading the published ruling of New Zealand High Court judge Helen Winkelmann - that the Dotcom raid was illegal - probably no self-respecting judge would be able to rest easy.
    Even without that judgement, in his arriving at a judgement over Dotcom's bail terms, David Harvey would presumably - even had his hands been tied - have been able to make his own observations of the egregious wrongness/illegality about the whole business, and could therefore have ruled leniently on the bail terms. He could thus have become biased in this way, and especially if he had sincerely put 2 and 2 together in quoting the Twittered comments about the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) at the  NutHui Internet conference. For example, look at the possible reasoning:
    Quote
    "We have been instructed, and have complied, to carry out an illegal act (QED) against a New Zealand citizen over unsubstantiated charges (QED) of crimes related to Internet business, at the behest of the SS of a foreign power who is apparently regarded as being "the Enemy of Internet freedoms". Regardless of whether he has committed a crime (as yet unproven), NZ has thus done a great wrong to Dotcom, his family and his business and has thus breached his statutory and legal rights to protection by the government, justice and privacy. This is generally wrong on statutory, moral, ethical and legal grounds, and we have been complicit in it. It is tantamount to discrimination, victimisation, harrassment of an NZ citizen, compounded by theft, all committed by the NZ government."

My take on it is that it is probably (b). If the above suggested reasoning is generally correct, then most judges involved must be sick to their stomachs at what has happened. Even to a casual onlooker, it would seem to be a gross corruption of NZ authority and justice, and it now needs to be rectified. I'm not sure whether or to what extent the Big Bully is twisting NZ's arm over this (probably via threat of economic sanctions), but the NZ government must be sweating as to how to now gracefully extricate themselves from this mess and make proper reparation. The situation would be no different if Dotcom were subsequently found to be guilty of some crime. It is wrong on so many fronts that it beggars belief. Arguably no government deserves to be re-elected if it allows and/or continues to be complicit in this sort of thing. Judges need to remain impartial amidst the chaos.

If there is one thing that successive NZ governments have shown themselves to be, it is that they can be relatively legally balanced.
One of the best examples of this would be the agreement over the Treaty of Waitangi claims and settlements.
Whether you agree with it or not, the disenfranchisement of the Maori (aboriginal tribes) and the theft of their land via the TOW has been confronted, addressed and rectified. I think this reflects what any civilised society could do - if it put it's collective mind to it - to try to give back to the aboriginal inhabitants what was taken from them not so long ago by the colonists.
Try doing that for the American Indians or the Australian Aborigines and see how far you get.

We're all watching with acute interest here in NZ, because this Dotcom saga is turning into a watershed not only for NZ justice, but also apparently for Internet freedoms worldwide.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 09:57:01 PM by IainB; Reason: Minor corrections. » Logged
tomos
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« Reply #26 on: July 19, 2012, 02:25:45 AM »

Thanks for the update Iain.
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IainB
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« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2012, 03:27:39 PM »

Techdirt has an interesting post (copied below) about the US DoJ "tapdancing".
You have to wonder, given the seemingly grotesque logical distortions being used by the DoJ apparently to rationalise an irrational judicial approach, how many in the DoJ are ex-officio lawyers who have acted on behalf of clients in the **AA and then went through a revolving door to the DoJ? I would suggest that the possibility of Dotcom getting anything close to "a fair trial" in such an environment would seem to be as close to zero as makes no difference.

As it says in arstechnica - here:
Quote
...
...Dotcom also expressed anger at how he has been treated.
Quote
"You can't just engage armed forces halfway around the world, rip a peaceful man from his family, throw him in jail, terminate his business without a trial, take everything he owns without a hearing, deprive him of a fair chance to defend himself, and do all that while your propaganda machine is destroying him in the media," Dotcom wrote.
Dotcom has a point. His company has been effectively moribund since January, despite the fact that he hasn't been convicted of any crime. And last month, a New Zealand court ruled that the raid on his home had been conducted with an invalid search warrant, rendering the action illegal. But it remains to be seen whether government missteps will be sufficient to save Dotcom from extradition and conviction.

Here's the Techdirt post on the DoJ:
(Read the post to see some very apposite comments.)
Quote
DOJ Tries To Explain How It Can Get Around Requirement To Serve Megaupload In The US
from the tapdancing dept

Back in April, a US judge pointed out that US criminal law requires serving those accused of criminal activities and Megaupload, as a foreign-based corporation, might not be subject to such service -- potentially killing the lawsuit against the company (though, not against the individuals who run the company). The Justice Department has now hit back with a filing mocking the idea that Megaupload could avoid criminal charges as a company (pdf and embedded below).

The filing focuses on how Megaupload had extensive operations in the US, including having many of its servers hosted here -- and even had two separate CEOs at various points who reside in the US (including Swizz Beatz, who the filing notes, has refused to cooperate). It further argues that there is no rush to serve the company, and that it can do so once the execs are extradited to the US -- or it can serve them at the office listed in Hong Kong. Admittedly, part of this fight is really about process technicalities, so I wouldn't make too big a deal of them. However, there are legitimate jurisdictional questions about what the standards are if the US can go after a company anywhere in the globe, just because it's online. That could certainly come back to haunt the US, as US companies are frequently targeted by other countries. Having a case like this could be used as justification to retaliate against US companies.

The filing also highlights something that is somewhat self-contradictory about the US's case. In an effort to argue US jurisdiction, the DOJ argues that Megaupload has been involved in civil lawsuits (on both sides) in the US. That is true... but that seems to weaken another contention in the DOJ's wider case: that it had to take the actions it did because Megaupload was somehow "unreachable" as an offshore "rogue site." The actual evidence, as noted by the DOJ itself in this filing, proves otherwise.
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IainB
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« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2012, 12:55:43 PM »

Update via Slashdot:
Quote
US Gov't Says They Can Still Freeze Megaupload Assets If the Case Is Dismissed
Posted by Soulskill on Saturday July 28, @12:26AM
from the taking-your-toys-and-going-home dept.

The Megaupload case continues, and on Friday attorneys for the U.S. government made some interesting claims. They were in court to argue against a request to dismiss the indictment against Megaupload that was raised on the grounds that Megaupload has no U.S. address. After a debate about jurisdiction and precedent, this happened: "The government also argued that it could keep Megaupload in legal limbo indefinitely. 'None of the cases impose a time limit on service,' the government's attorney told the judge. Therefore, the government believes it can leave the indictment hanging over the company's head, and keep its assets frozen, indefinitely. Not only that, but the government believes it can continue to freeze Megaupload's assets and paralyze its operations even if the judge grants the motion to dismiss. That's because in the government's view, the assets are the proceeds of criminal activity and the prosecution against founder Kim Dotcom will still be pending. The fact that the assets are in the name of Megaupload rather than its founder is of no consequence, the government claimed."
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Renegade
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« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2012, 01:23:21 PM »

Update via Slashdot:

Umm... Guilty until proven innocent?


I have a serious allergy to this stuff. Causes me to break out in fits of logic, reason, and obscenity.
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« Reply #30 on: July 28, 2012, 09:05:59 PM »

Update via Slashdot:

Umm... Guilty until proven innocent?

I have a serious allergy to this stuff. Causes me to break out in fits of logic, reason, and obscenity.

Very close to "Guilty, regardless of innocence". And down THAT road come some VERY scary things.
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Renegade
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« Reply #31 on: July 28, 2012, 10:31:01 PM »

Very close to "Guilty, regardless of innocence". And down THAT road come some VERY scary things.

Hahahaha~!

+1

And very well put~! Grin

(Just for future reference, I think I just may steal that one! Wink )
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IainB
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« Reply #32 on: July 29, 2012, 02:49:41 AM »

..."Guilty, regardless of innocence"...
Well, yes, that is rather what it looks like, but it might just be the symptomatic effects of something else - something causal.
Just as nasty pustules on the skin might look pretty bad, we now know you look for the underlying cause - it'll be (say) the smallpox virus, or something like that.
My reading between the lines in the Dotcom saga leads me to wonder whether the **AA are not - quite understandably - naturally and aggressively fighting to protect their very existence. Their existence would presumably depend on their business model continuing to be relevant and to operate lucratively.

Yet, apparently - according to Kim Dotcom and others - the implementation of the proposed Megabox business plan could make the **AA business model(s) - and the **AA corporate entities - not only irrelevant but also largely obsolete, and over a relatively short period of time too.

If you were a business under that kind of competitive threat (annihilation), and if you were a good psychopathic corporation, then there'd probably only be one option open to you: take them out - with prejudice - before they take you out.

Just supposing, if this were true, then any loss of legal rights or justice, etc. could thus arguably be just so much collateral damage. I would guess that no-one really is deliberately seeking to destroy these rights per se, but if they stand in the way as obstacles to the successful takedown of Dotcom, all their associates and especially of Megabox, then casualties they must be. Dotcom must be (already has been) made an example of, so that the market can be taught a lesson by the Big **AA.
Quote
Don't threaten our business model.
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« Reply #33 on: July 29, 2012, 08:14:23 AM »

Very close to "Guilty, regardless of innocence". And down THAT road come some VERY scary things.

Hahahaha~!

+1

And very well put~! Grin

(Just for future reference, I think I just may steal that one! Wink )

Of course you mean that you will be requesting a Copyright License from me, right?  tongue

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« Reply #34 on: August 01, 2012, 07:57:43 AM »

Of course you mean that you will be requesting a Copyright License from me, right?  tongue

Arrr... That'd be a salty no thar~! tongue Ask agin' an' you'll be singing with the mermaids~! tongue cheesy


<takes pirate hat and eye-patch off - pets parrot for good measure />


In other news:

http://www.techdirt.com/a...t-seized-megaupload.shtml

Quote
US Has Ignored New Zealand Court Order To Return Data It Seized From Megaupload

from the of-course dept

There are a bunch of moving pieces in the various Megaupload legal proceedings, but if you recall, in the ruling in late June from New Zealand's High Court, it was made clear that the New Zealand government and the US FBI broke the law in sending data from Megaupload's hard drives overseas, and ordered them returned. Megaupload's lawyer, Ira Rothken is out reminding the world that the US has failed to comply with the order to return the data that was illegally taken, and has shown no signs of planning to comply. Apparently, the Justice Department, who is supposed to be enforcing the rule of law, doesn't believe such rule of law applies to its own activities.

Glad that I'm not the only one that noticed that. smiley
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IainB
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« Reply #35 on: August 08, 2012, 04:32:10 AM »

At the time of the Dotom raid, the news reports said that there were several operational CCTV security cameras located on the Dotcom's residence and that footage from them - that would have included footage of the raid itself - had been confiscated by the police. I wondered why at the time.
I also noticed this about the Stuff article, where it said:
Quote
The Crown is seeking for all images and CCTV footage from the raids to be suppressed.
And I wondered why. If it had all been done right and proper, then there should be nothing to hide.

This point has been picked up in a post by Techdirt, who asked the same question on 2012-08-07:Why Are New Zealand Prosecutors Seeking To Suppress All Images & Video Of Megaupload Raid?

However, on 2012-08-08, this report from the 3News website:
Quote
VIDEO: Suppression lifted on Dotcom raid footage
Wed, 08 Aug 2012 12:10p.m.

Footage of the raid on Kim Dotcom’s house was being played in court today.

Today Dotcom told the Auckland High Court that if Police had just knocked on his door, he would've let them in.

Instead the Special Tactics group raided Dotcom's Coatesville mansion in January, entering the grounds by helicopter and seizing belongings and computers allegedly being used for illegal activity.

Mr Dotcom told the court that officers used unnecessary force in the operation and claims he was punched and kicked during the raid.

Dotcom is in court as part of a judicial review of a ruling that said the US government had to give Dotcom and his co-accused access to seized evidence.

The CCTV footage of the raid was also seized by police, and is part of the evidence Dotcom wants access to. Footage taken from the police helicopter as it approached Dotcom's house during the raid was shown in court today and the CCTV footage is expected to be shown at some point this week.

The Crown wants the footage and any images from the raids to be suppressed and Chief High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann has ordered interim suppression of the material, NBR reports.

Identities of Special Tactics officers due to give evidence are also suppressed.

The US is trying to extradite Dotcom and his co-accused on charges of racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering relating to the Megaupload file-sharing website Dotcom founded.
The video shown in the above post is taken from the police helicopter, and shows very little of interest. The interesting stuff will be on the confiscated Dotcom CCTV footage, assuming none of it has been tampered with or deleted.

I won't be the only voting Kiwi who is looking on with keen interest to see how ethically and legitimately this case has been handled. We already have the judiciary coming out with the documented and stunning judgement that the raid was illegal (QED), and it appears that the US side of things was illegal too (QED).

I hope my faith in the judiciary and in the professionalism of the NZ Police/SS will not be shaken any more by unfolding events than it already has been by this business. There is nothing like a Second Amendment in NZ, and none of us want to wake up one morning to find ourselves in the reality of living in a police state run by thugs.
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« Reply #36 on: August 08, 2012, 05:13:46 AM »


I won't be the only voting Kiwi who is looking on with keen interest to see how ethically and legitimately this case has been handled. We already have the judiciary coming out with the documented and stunning judgement that the raid was illegal (QED), and it appears that the US side of things was illegal too (QED).


Unfortunately today, it seems that in matters of law enforcement and legislation, the words "ethical" and "legitimate" simply no longer apply.

Like seriously. It is virtually impossible to go a single day without hearing about some kind of government or law enforcement violation of some law or basic human right -- from some supposedly "free" country, e.g. UK, US, Canada, NZ, Oz, EU, etc. etc.

This case really has a huge impact worldwide though. It's not just a NZ/US issue. Because if the thugs in jackboots will kick in a Kiwi's teeth, they'll kick in a Canuck's teeth faster. (We're a bit closer after all.) I hope that this case gets more attention. It certainly deserves it. But, probably some pop singer will die of a drug overdose, or get charged with something, and that will be all you hear about until the next episode of "Jersey Shore" or some other vapid reality show. Sigh...


I hope my faith in the judiciary and in the professionalism of the NZ Police/SS will not be shaken any more by unfolding events than it already has been by this business. There is nothing like a Second Amendment in NZ, and none of us want to wake up one morning to find ourselves in the reality of living in a police state run by thugs.


When I first got to Australia, an Australian friend told me that there is no such thing as free speech here. I just about pooped myself. I looked it up. He's right. You pretty much have zero rights here. I was shocked.

No idea what it's like in NZ though... I hope it's a better situation than here.
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IainB
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« Reply #37 on: August 08, 2012, 06:20:03 AM »

@Renegade: I presume the NZ judiciary and the Government will be doing their best to be open and clearly communicating about this raid, as they should be, for the NZ public. They will also be aware that the world is likely to be watching, and that observers will be drawing their own conclusions where something is otherwise suppressed, concealed, obfuscated or inadequately explained.

Certainly, NZ doesn't want itself to look to the world like a banana republic.

Today: VIDEO: What really happened in the Dotcom raid?
I recommend you watch it all - and Campbell's commentary. Very interesting.
There is more footage - mostly from helicopter views and associated open radio chatter between the operatives - but there is one bit from a Dotcom CCTV security camera mounted in a tree.

Footage in-court shows Dotcom giving his testimony of the raid.
There is also in-court testimony from an anonymous (out-of-camera-view, for security) SS operative, who sounds like he was being evasive in his responses. He was also told off by the barrister questioning him for looking for queues from Queen's Counsel when being questioned - which is rather telling. He presumably knew something that he might blurt out and that could make a mess of the Crown's case, and so he was being minimally helpful and very guarded in what he said.
I think this is what might be called "a hostile witness", but it didn't look as though he was being allowed to get away with it - the court is not staffed with idiots.

It really worries me though, when, in an NZ court of law a police or SS officer is clearly being evasive or economical with the truth - presumably to avoid it messing-up the Crown's case for goodness' sake! Surely the case is not that insubstantial/flaky?
Obvious questions: What's to hide - and why?

Maybe there is a lot that is not being revealed about this case and that might never be revealed.
Who knows?
« Last Edit: August 08, 2012, 06:29:47 AM by IainB; Reason: Minor corrections. » Logged
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« Reply #38 on: August 08, 2012, 08:26:51 AM »

Today: VIDEO: What really happened in the Dotcom raid?
I recommend you watch it all - and Campbell's commentary. Very interesting.

Watched. Saddened. That's pretty shameful.

I just saw another short news video with Mike Adams interviewing Michael Schmidt in Ontario, Canada. While Schmidt is a farmer, you still hear all the same kinds of tactics.

Whether it's "piracy" or "milk" or "pigs" or "rain", we see all the same things --- armed troops attacking unarmed civilians, stealing their property, and throwing them in prison.

This isn't about "law and order". This is about destroying and controlling people.

All of these kinds of cases are sickening.
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« Reply #39 on: August 08, 2012, 07:13:47 PM »

There is an arsTechnica post here: Helicopters, guns, attack dogs: New video shows raid on Dotcom home

In the discussion thread that follows it, some of the readers' comments/points are really rather interesting. For example:
Quote
ReaderBot | Ars Tribunus Militum
I don't think even George Orwell foresaw the state using overwhelming force to protect the interests of private corporations that actively resist state oversight of their interests.
We are in Bizzaro Future.
___________________________________
Jon Brodkin | Senior IT reporter |
Story Author
Quote
ClownRazer wrote:
If this is the typical journalistic quality of a standard newscast in NZ, I'm impressed. It wasn't edited for an ADHD audience and actually discussed real issues, not what Justin Bieber had for breakfast.
I agree!
If TV news was like this in the US I might actually watch it once in a while.
___________________________________
kkipple | Ars Centurion
So is New Zealand America's 51 state or what?
Someone help me understand how our laws apply over there? Are they just that eager to please?
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« Reply #40 on: August 09, 2012, 09:59:30 AM »

Relevant to Internet freedoms and the Dotcom raid: Post at arsTechnica: (rather good video they made there - "Are Your Politicians for Sale?)
(Post copied below sans embedded links.)
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« Reply #41 on: August 09, 2012, 10:49:41 AM »

Quote
kkipple | Ars Centurion
So is New Zealand America's 51 state or what?

WELL! That was just a rude and ignorant comment! Everyone knows Canada is the 51st state~! Get in line Kiwis~! tongue Grin
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« Reply #42 on: August 09, 2012, 12:14:58 PM »

I thought it was the UK. Guess we'll have to battle it out for gold, silver and bronze positions.
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« Reply #43 on: August 09, 2012, 12:42:11 PM »

I thought it was the UK. Guess we'll have to battle it out for gold, silver and bronze positions.

Hmmm... Maybe we can sell tickets, then arrest people that don't smile. Grin
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« Reply #44 on: August 12, 2012, 04:04:14 PM »

RT just did an interview with Steve Wozniak on free speech online (and some other stuff).

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2nswmPfrTE" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2nswmPfrTE</a>

He talks about Dotcom and other issues.
I put @Renegade's separate post of this - Steve Wozniak (Apple co-founder) YouTube video of an interview by RTAmerica - in here because it's rather relevant.

I think Wozniak hits the nail on the head where he says:
Quote
Conservative types and libertarian types say, "Governments shouldn't have any say and control over that. That takes away our freedom."
Wrong. It takes away the freedom of the companies that are taking away the freedom from us.


However, I didn't really understand the bit where he seems to be stating in the interview that the Constitution "granted" rights. I had always thought the Constitution was merely a codification of pre-existing inalienable rights, for the sole purpose of keeping government in check - like one commenter says:
Quote
Const. explicitly limits powers DELEGATED to gvt, but NEVER limits those of the People, as reminded TWICE: 1st in the 9th, then in the 10th Amendment.
   tellme
« Last Edit: August 12, 2012, 04:21:09 PM by IainB » Logged
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« Reply #45 on: August 16, 2012, 03:13:04 AM »

Some more news from the latest legal proceedings:

IMHO, the latter provides a good summary:
(Copied below sans hyperlinks.)
Quote
Kim Dotcom Must Be Allowed To See FBI Evidence Against Him, Court Rules

The bid to have Kim Dotcom extradited to the United States suffered a significant setback today. US authorities had insisted there was no need for them to reveal the evidence they hold against the Megaupload founder. But today a New Zealand judge upheld an earlier decision and ordered the US to reveal the evidence they are relying on to have Dotcom and his associates shipped to the United States, including details of covert operations and confidential discussions with rights holders.

Responding to a request from Megaupload’s legal team, Judge Harvey at the North Shore District Court ruled in May on whether the United States government should be forced to reveal the evidence it holds on Kim Dotcom and other defendants in the case.

Megaupload said they have a right to see the case being built against them but the United States insisted that no right to disclosure exists. Judge Harvey disagreed with the prosecution and ordered disclosure of all documents relating to the alleged crimes of the so-called Megaupload Conspiracy.

“In my view there must be fairness and the hearing and balance must be struck, otherwise the record of case becomes dominant virtually to the exclusion of everything else and places the extradition process in danger of becoming an administrative one rather than judicial,” the Judge wrote. He later stepped down after allegedly describing the United States as “the enemy”.

Refusing to concede defeat, US authorities pushed back and sought a judicial review of Judge Harvey’s ruling. In a judgment today, the High Court upheld the earlier decision handed down in the North Shore District Court.

Justice Helen Winkelmann dismissed the application for a judicial review, noting that without disclosure of the evidence, Kim Dotcom and his co-accused – Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk – would not be able to mount a full and proper defense in their extradition hearing.
Quote
“Without disclosure [Kim Dotcom and associates] will be significantly constrained in [their] ability to participate in the hearing, and the requesting state will have a significant advantage in terms of access to information,” the ruling reads.

The documents to be disclosed are significant in their scope, encompassing all elements of the case from the allegations of infringement, through to information being held on the nature of the Megaupload rewards program. Interestingly, as part of a section marked Criminal Breach of Copyright, the ruling says that US authorities must disclose:
  • – All records obtained or created in connection with the covert operations undertaken by agents involved in the investigations related to these proceedings in transacting and uploading/downloading data and files on the Megaupload site.

  • – All records or information and/or material provided to or obtained by the investigation and/or prosecuting agencies by the investigating and/or prosecuting agencies in this case from holders and/or owners of copyright interests evidencing alleged infringement of their copyright and/or complaining of such infringement.

  • - All records and materials related to communications between relevant copyright holders and Megaupload and/or its employees regarding their copyright interest, the direct delete access provided by Megaupload to any such copyright holders, and any communications between the copyright holders and Megaupload and/or its staff regarding take-down notices.

Today’s ruling marks a significant victory for Kim Dotcom, his associates, and their legal team. Access to the evidence against them has been ruled crucial to the defendants being able to mount a proper defense, something that the US authorities have tried to deny. Last week Dotcom promised more revelations – they are now almost certainly on their way.

The extradition hearing is currently expected sometime early 2013.
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IainB
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« Reply #46 on: August 29, 2012, 06:03:56 AM »

Dotcom secures $6m for lawyers, living costs
(Copied below sans hyperlinks.)
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By David Fisher
2:39 PM Wednesday Aug 29, 2012

Kim Dotcom. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Kim Dotcom has secured the use of $6 million from seized funds to pay for his lawyers and cover living costs.

A decision from the High Court at Auckland has cleared the way for Dotcom to pay current and future legal bills of $3.6m - a decision which has trumped efforts by the police to shut down the internet tycoon's access to seized funds.

The money comes from a $10m government bond which was seized by the government on behalf of the United States as part of its internet piracy case against Dotcom and those involved in his Megaupload filesharing company. The United States position is that all the money and assets of Dotcom were gained through criminal copyright violation by internet piracy.

The ruling from Justice Judith Potter has also allowed Dotcom to sell some of the cars which were seized during the January raid. Among the vehicles to be sold is his modified and much-loved Mercedes E500 and a 2008 Rolls Royce Coupe.

The money freed up by the high court covers $2.6 million in current legal fees, another $1 million of future costs and $1 million rent for the $30 million north Auckland mansion where he and his family live.

Dotcom and three colleagues from Megaupload are facing extradition to the United States on a range of charges stemming from the Megaupload case.

The case is set to be heard in March.
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IainB
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« Reply #47 on: September 23, 2012, 10:37:09 PM »

Interesting. A very belated announcement (claims he was told by the director of the GCSB on 2012-09-17) by NZ Prime Minister John Key regarding illegal GCSB spying in the Dotcom case.
This has now given rise to the not unreasonable question as to whether John Key may actually find it difficult to maintain (as he had done) that he had no prior knowledge of the Dotcom raid - stating that he had not heard of Mr Dotcom until the day before the police raid was carried out. This could have seemed quite surprising to the majority of Kiwis, considering the international implications of the Dotcom raid.

Thin ice. If he can't solidly support his statements with some compelling facts or otherwise pull a rabbit out of his hat, then I suspect that he may run the risk of becoming dog tucker come the next election. He has been evasive, if not dissembling, on at least one other matter, I gather.
(NZ Herald post Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks.)
Quote
Dotcom: Illegal spying revealed
Updated 2:31 PM Monday Sep 24, 2012

An inquiry is to be launched into the illegal interception of communications by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) during the Megaupload case, Prime Minister John Key says.

Mr Key said he had requested the inquiry by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the circumstances of unlawful interception of communications of certain individuals by the GCSB.

Mr Key said the Crown filed a memorandum in the High Court in the Megaupload case advising the court and affected parties that the GCSB had acted unlawfully while assisting the police to locate certain individuals subject to arrest warrants issued in the case.

The bureau had acquired communications in some instances without statutory authority.

The Prime Minister was told about the matter by the director of the GCSB on September 17 and referred the bureau's actions to Inspector-General Paul Neazor.

The inspector-general is an independent statutory officer with the power to enquire into any matter related to a government intelligence agency's compliance with the law.

Mr Key expressed his disappointment that unlawful acts had taken place.

"I expect our intelligence agencies to operate always within the law. Their operations depend on public trust.''

Mr Key said he has also asked the inspector-general to recommend any measures he considered necessary to prevent such acts from happening again.

"I look forward to the inspector-general's inquiry getting to the heart of what took place and what can be done about it.

"Because this is also a matter for the High Court in its consideration of the Megaupload litigation, I am unable to comment further,'' he said.

Labour leader David Shearer said the alleged illegal spying amounted to a "shocking breach" of New Zealand law.

He said Mr Key needed to explain a claim he had not heard of Mr Dotcom until the day before a police raid was carried out at his Coatesville mansion.


Mr Key would have been called on to authorise monitoring carried out by the GCSB, Mr Shearer said.

"While it's been revealed that 'some' bugging was done illegally, it is not credible to think that other monitoring by the agency was not signed by the Prime Minister before the raid was carried out.

"This is not about national security. This is about John Key's own word and whether he has told the truth to New Zealanders."

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said Mr Key had failed in his responsibility to oversee the GCSB and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service.

His actions showed a "mega disregard" to his role and his actions amounted to "dereliction of duty", Mr Peters said.

"The taxpayers of New Zealand are about to pay a fortune to Mr Dotcom because of the Prime Minister's cavalier disregard for his responsibilities.

"Mr Key appears not to care about the security of New Zealanders, and is instead more concerned with photo opportunities, three-way handshakes at rugby games, and prancing down fashion runways."

Shortly after Mr Key made the announcement this afternoon, Dotcom tweeted: "The NZ equivalent of the CIA has spied on me UNLAWFULLY''.

Last week the Court of Appeal reserved a decision on whether Dotcom would receive disclosure from the US Government in its case against him.

The US government had lodged an appeal against a ruling that required them to disclose all evidence in its internet piracy case against him in order for a fair extradition hearing.

Dotcom, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram Van Der Kolk are defending accusations of copyright infringement and money laundering.
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #48 on: September 24, 2012, 12:15:20 AM »


"You seem to think rationality will preval".    Angry
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IainB
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« Reply #49 on: September 24, 2012, 06:48:15 AM »

"You seem to think rationality will preval".    Angry
Eh? What? Was that directed at me?
If it was, then no, I don't expect rationality to prevail. I mean, it seems to have been generally irrational most of the way so far, so why should that change? However, I would hope that the NZ judiciary could be rational about it though, and so far they don't seem to have done too badly.
No-one should expect sanity at a Mad Hatter's tea party.
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