Nearly three years ago, the United States Government effectively wiped out Megaupload Limited, a cloud storage provider, along with related businesses, based on novel theories of criminal copyright infringement that were offered by the Government ex parte and have yet to be subjected to adversarial testing. Thus, the Government has already seized the criminal defendants’ websites, destroyed their business, and frozen their assets around the world—all without beneﬁt of an evidentiary hearing or any semblance of due process.
Without even attempting to serve the corporate defendants per the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Government has exercised all its might in a concerted, calculated effort to foreclose any opportunity for the defendants to challenge the allegations against them and also to deprive them of the funds and other tools (including exculpatory evidence residing on servers, counsel of choice, and ability to appear) that would equip robust defense in the criminal proceedings.
But all that, for the Government, was not enough. Now it seeks to pile on against ostensibly defenseless targets with a parallel civil action, seeking civil forfeiture, based on the same alleged copyright crimes that, when scrutinized, turn out to be ﬁgments of the Government’s boundless imagination. In fact, the crimes for which the Government seeks to punish the Megaupload defendants (now within the civil as well as the criminal realm) do not exist. Although there is no such crime as secondary criminal copyright infringement, that is the crime on which the Government’s Superseding Indictment and instant Complaint are predicated. That is the nonexistent crime for which Megaupload was destroyed and all of its innocent users were denied their rightful property. That is the nonexistent crime for which individual defendants were arrested, in their homes and at gunpoint, back in January 2012. And that is the nonexistent crime for which the Government would now strip the criminal defendants, and their families, of all their assets.
I believe the police actions are dangerous for journalism in New Zealand.
It matters to all people working in the media who could similarly have their property searched and seized to look for sources. People are less likely to help the media if the police act in this way.
The police want people to respect their role in society; they should in turn respect other people’s roles in society.
‘試問誰還未發聲’ The unofﬁcial theme of Occupy Central.
Occupy Central The audio version of my blog post tonight, ‘An expatriate’s view of Occupy Central and what Hong Kong wants’.
Journalist and artist Shirin Barghi has created a gripping, thought-provoking series of graphics that not only examines racial prejudice in today’s America, but also captures the sense of humanity that often gets lost in news coverage. Titled “Last Words,” the graphics illustrate the last recorded words by Brown and other young black people — Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant and others — who have been killed by police in recent years.
Last words Sad, in a country that seems so messed up when it comes to race and guns. We’re not perfect here with race, but we don’t go around shooting kids.
As for the commission’s claim that the trade deal will produce growth and jobs, this is also likely to be false. Barack Obama promised that the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement would increase US exports by $10bn. They immediately fell by $3.5bn. The 70,000 jobs it would deliver? Er, 40,000 were lost. Bill Clinton promised that the North American Free Trade Agreement would create 200,000 new jobs for the US; 680,000 went down the pan. As the commentator Glyn Moody says: “The beneﬁts are slight and illusory, while the risks are very real.”
This is the real election issue
Bryan Gould in The Standard today:
And could there be a clearer example of that abuse of power than the apparent secret complicity by a minister with a notorious muckraker and practitioner of the dubious art of destroying reputations with the intention of “gunning for” the chief executive of an important agency for which she had ministerial responsibility?
John Key tells us that he retains an open mind about the truth of these serious allegations. What is beyond doubt, however, is the close relationship between Judith Collins and Cameron Slater—the one treated by the other as his confidante and mentor—and her willingness to use his services in order to further her political goals …
[L]et us remind ourselves of the bizarre nature of John Key’s announcement of Judith Collins’ resignation and the holding of an inquiry. It is only a week or so ago that another inquiry was announced into yet another aspect of the dirty politics saga.
That inquiry was, in effect, into John Key’s own conduct. The inquiry will attempt to answer the question—did John Key know that the Security Intelligence Services, for which he is the responsible minister, would release a secret report, denied to all other media, but released with unusual alacrity to—that name again—Cameron Slater? That released report involved, of course, the then Leader of the Opposition and was used by Cameron Slater to denigrate him as a general election campaign got under way.
The other Judith Collins news: Bronwyn Pullar alleges Collins leaked false information to Whale Oil
Easy to miss the other Judith Collins news today, as reported by Chris Keall in the NBR.
In another development, this morning, Privacy Commissioner John Edwards conﬁrmed to NBR ONLINE that his ofﬁce has received a complaint from ACC claimant Bronwyn Pullar regarding Ms Collins.
ACC mistakenly sent 6500 ﬁles to Ms Pullar, some containing sensitive information. Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater learnt her name, then published posts accusing Ms Pullar of trying to black mail the agency; she would go to the media if ACC did not pay out on her own claim, Mr Slater alleged. Police investigated the allegation, but dropped the case after Ms Pullar and Michelle Boag released a recording of their meeting with ACC managers — which contained no discussion of blackmail. The affair was revisited in Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics.
Mr Edwards did not comment on the substance of Ms Pullar’s complaint, but it has been reported it relates to Ms Pullar alleging Ms Collins leaked false information about her to Whale Oil.
Last year, the Law Society felt impelled to report to the United Nations that Parliament had been used to pass a succession of acts that strip away rights, freedoms and protections from citizens, in breach of the Bill of Rights. Ministerial accountability has become a farce.
It is this steady erosion of democratic checks and balances in New Zealand that makes politicians feel above the law and contemptuous of those they represent. As the old adage goes, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
If many Kiwis feel disgusted with politics and politicians, and powerless at present, they have good reason.