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The Courts

Kim Dotcom Raid - What Really Happened 285

Posted by samzenpus
from the super-serious dept.
chill writes "People have been discussing the raid on the Dotcom mansion for months, but now more details and video footage of that morning have begun to emerge from the trial. From the article: 'At 6.46am on January 20, the raid was underway. The helicopter carrying members of the elite special tactics group flew into the Coatesville home of Dotcom. "Ground units, Gates are open," someone says into the radio. Dotcom's pregnant wife their three children, some guests and about a dozen staff were also there. All is quiet below. Within seconds four armed members of the special tactics group ran towards the main door. The helicopter immediately took off. The main justification for using it at all was that Dotcom's security staff could have stopped police vehicles at the gates. But as the chopper flew out, ground forces were already arriving just seconds behind.'"
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Kim Dotcom Raid - What Really Happened

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  • by TWX (665546) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:06PM (#40925105)
    ...to stage a raid on a high-profile target like this...

    First, shock-and-awe factor, in the real terms of cowing the target of the raid and ancillary subjects so that they don't do something dangerous to the authorities, like grab weapons. This can be especially important for security staff that might not be wired quite the same as everyone else.

    Second, disruption of other elements of critical thinking. If there are things to be destroyed, from the perspective of the target of the raid, this might disrupt that plan.

    Third, and in my opinion, most likely, to make a show of force for others. My guess is that this raid didn't require air support, a number of practiced officers could have detained or arrested people on the ground, even security, quickly enough, if enough people were involved in the raid in the first place. It is possible that this was more cost effective in not requiring as many officers to breach and secure, but helicopters aren't cheap either.
  • What a Joke (Score:5, Insightful)

    by metrix007 (200091) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:07PM (#40925107)

    Firstly, the NZ Police for being such a nice lapdog. Pretty funny when NZ stands up over something as silly as a nuclear free zone, but then does this.

    Secondly, this is the time of when the government needs to smack the government, HARD, and award Kim damages. Nothing else is really acceptable.

  • NZ Perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seriousity (1441391) <Seriousity@li[ ]com ['ve.' in gap]> on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:08PM (#40925131)
    As a New Zealander, I'm frankly outraged that the US has this kind of influence down here. It's about to get a LOT worse as the Trans-Pacific Partnership gets finished off and pushed through... Most people won't have even heard of it until the deal is done. Dodgy, dodgy secret deals with US corporations, and my country stands to gain absolutely nothing but the unjust legislative offspring off the MAFIAA.
  • Dog & Pony show (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CuriousGeorge113 (47122) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:10PM (#40925155) Homepage

    This whole thing is just a huge dog & pony show by Hollywood and the FBI. Its the exact same tactics they use when they catch someone downloading illegal content.

    Early on, they made a huge "example" out of the first offenders. Huge fines, drag them into court, media everywhere, blah blah blah. Now, the majority of the cases settle for a few thousand bucks and everyone moves on.

    Well, this is their first hosting provider that they (HollywoodFBI) have gone after, and they want to put on a big show so that everyone else knows they mean business. They'll bring in helicopters & troops & go after your kids and pregnant wife if you don't play by their rules.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:13PM (#40925197) Homepage Journal
    The elements of critical thinking were already disrupted in the people that authorized that kind of things, no need to look elsewhere.
  • by stms (1132653) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:16PM (#40925229)

    Watch the video the servers were seized before the raid occurred. There was little evidence Kim had access to to destroy at the time of the raid.

  • by MrBigInThePants (624986) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:17PM (#40925239)

    All very valid and totally justified reasons...if you live in a police state.

    NZers are generally shocked and totally disgusted with their police force over this. Especially the co-towing to the US authorities part.

    Given the current right-wing government's stance on doing whatever the US or its corporate owners say it is not surprising...

    Ref:
    - Changing employment law for the hobbit movie
    - Signing up to ACTA despite it being bad for NZ
    - 3 strikes law
    - General foreign policy
    - Our special forces in Afganistan

  • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:56PM (#40925589)

    You're right, Dotcom only robbed people of millions, not tens of millions - insider trading and embezzlement

    Of course that may be true, but it is also completely irrelevant. According to wikipedia : "Dotcom also pleaded guilty to embezzlement in November 2003 and received a two-year probation sentence."
    I find it amazing that the most common reaction is -- "yes, what happened would have been normally wrong/unlawful, but since Dotcom is a sleazebag, then it's ok. He had it coming." Laws should be applied the same way regardless of how much of an asshole the particular person happens to be.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @07:58PM (#40925601)

    Guess what, Slashdot hosts stolen content too. Sometimes submitters copy paste articles into Slashdot. Would you fault Slashdot for hosting stolen content? And would you justify Rob Malda's house being raided with a fucking SWAT teams and helicopters?
     
    And unfortunately I dont live in US or NZ. The only way I can hope to fix these is to get my country to go to war with one of these. For some reason I dont like that option.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @08:03PM (#40925661) Homepage

    He stole from no one, the court case to date is starting to show that. He barricaded himself after unknown armed assailants attacked the property. Consider this, does a kidnapper only need to use the magic word 'police' for a person to surrender themselves to an unknown fate or is more substantial identification required.

    Two policeman gainded admittance to the property the day before and could have quite easily arrested him. The reality here, is it was a show, forced upon New Zealand by the US government at the behest of the RIAA/MPAA, with possible lethal consequences, a straight up corruption of legal practices in two countries, that can pretty well be laid right at the feet of Barack 'The Betrayer' Obama.

    This distortion of the law to create a big show as a threat to others pretty well destroyed the case ie greed driven stupidity.

    The biggest crime of the last decades, lobbyists, they have robbed people of billions even trillions in the corruption of democracy and the resultant psychopathic distortions in economy. Right now every lobbyists practice should be subject to that kind of raid.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @08:04PM (#40925667)

    On Bernie Madoff.

    Madoff is part of the ruling class.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @08:13PM (#40925743)

    Nothing you said distinguishes this raid from any other instance of searching anything or arresting somebody. It's always possible that they will pull out a fully automatic rifle and lay waste to everything, but that possibility doesn't mean anything unless you've got a specific reason to suspect that that is what will happen. You either just accept that or you live in a police state with no rights. Unless you have good concrete evidence that searching an area is going to put the cop's welfare in danger, the proper procedure for searching an area is politely knocking on the door, showing the warrant and then proceeding to search the area. As long as the cop is not being prevented from doing his job he does not have any business being even just rude. What they actually did was send in a squad of heavily armed people with helicopter support to search the home of someone who makes a download service available and, as far as the story shows, that was done in the complete absence of any information showing that this person would be dangerous. If this is as it seems, drastic measures should be taken to root out that kind of culture in the police department responsible. Certainly in future, stunts like that should involve jail time for whomever ordered these measures (if things are as they seem, obviously).

  • by sjames (1099) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @08:33PM (#40925881) Homepage

    And without the religious people.

  • by Patent Lover (779809) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @08:37PM (#40925907)
    It appears that the New Zealand SWAT team is like the SWAT teams in so many backwater U.S. jurisdictions. They might get some kind of real hostage situation once a year. Therefore they have to justify their expensive existence by smashing down the doors of non violent minor offenders.
  • by amiga3D (567632) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @08:40PM (#40925923)

    President Obama is not a betrayer. He is an honest politician. An honest politician is one who once bought, stays bought. He performed at the behest of his backers. Strangely enough, the people that back him also back his opposition. Issues like abortion, gay rights, civil rights and other push button issues that get people screaming names at each other and waving signs are only positions to politicians. These emotion charged issues are used to divide the people so that they don't notice their government being purchased right in front of their noses. The irony is that one trip to opensecrets.org will show you who owns your favorite candidate but people naively think that their candidate actually cares about them and their interests.

  • Re:NZ Perspective (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @08:45PM (#40925975)

    >> Also, I think the two party system we have in the USA might makes us a little more resistant to politicians selling out

    Its exactly because the US has (only) a 2 party system that the US is so bad.
      Both parties (who are just as bad as each other) screw the citizens equally, because they know if they go a little to far and lose power at very worst they'll have to wait 5 years before they're back in anyway.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @08:59PM (#40926099)

    Not RIAA. Universal Records.
    They were the ones who demanded youtube remove Megaupload's ad/music video (and also Tech News Daily which included a 15-second clip of the ad). They were the ones who became upset when a judge ruled, "You can't claim ownership of somebody else's ad, or the artists that participated." They were probably the ones who called the Obama White House and demanded action, so the White House ordered the raids in foreign countries.

    Welcome to facism (aka "corporatism" according to Benito Mussolini). The government ignores the law, ignores the court orders, and just does whatever it takes to keep its corporate friends happy.

  • by interval1066 (668936) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @09:06PM (#40926155) Homepage Journal
    The difference here: if I recall correctly, Madoff was arrested by a couple (or at the most 5 or 6) lightly armed FTC investigators and FBI agents wearing ties. Madoff's crime: investor fruad in which he bilked hundreds of people directly out of $50 billion in a 20 year operation that had the respect of many wall street "experts" before he was caught. Wasn't he called the "darling" of wall st. or some shit? Dotcom: arrested by over 30 heavily armed New Zealand peace officers in armour using paramility tactics. Dotcom's crime: he sold advertising on a website that stored files placed there by users.

    I for one have a problem with this.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @10:04PM (#40926661)
    Nowadays in very many cases if you wipe out much of someone's life savings, you're reducing that person's life expectancy.

    Think about it, say you're retired and you have 30% of your savings in this supposedly great fund. And suddenly it's gone. Then another bunch in wall street wipe out another 40% (and still keep their bonuses). What are you going to do? How are you going to find a decent job if nobody wants to hire old people? It's not like you're as energetic as before.

    The other thieves are those who are holding 120 year monopolies on stuff that should have entered the public domain by now.

    As for megaupload, sure some of the stuff they are doing is dubious, but so what? Why not shutdown Monsanto if you don't like dubious?
  • by Sarius64 (880298) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @10:15PM (#40926769)
    ...and yet people will still vote for Obama. Oh, I forgot. Romney doesn't care for the little guy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @11:09PM (#40927193)

    Remember when democracy was supposed to give us options?

  • Re:NZ Perspective (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Genda (560240) <(mariet) (at) (got.net)> on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @11:26PM (#40927315) Journal

    (at least in the USA the massive corporate profits mostly stay in country and get spent on fancy cars, swimming pools, and bar tabs). And it's not my fault!

    Oh, sorry, you apparently didn't get the memo... the only thing "Trickling Down" in America is toxic sewage from D.C. The top 400 people in the U.S. have the same wealth and the lowest 1650,000,000. Exactly how many fancy sports cars and bottle of Clicquot do you think these clowns would have to buy to even make a dent in the vacuum in the American economy created by this level of hoarding? No, the only folks smiling (besides the insanely wealthy) are their Caribbean bankers. Even one else is swimming in something a wee bit browner than your typical pool. Corporations are turning America into a toilet.

  • by Alex Belits (437) * on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @11:39PM (#40927405) Homepage

    Remember when democracy was supposed to give us options?

    No.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) on Thursday August 09, 2012 @02:17AM (#40928267) Journal

    Would armed security staff make a difference?

    Not if they pull him over with a marked police car as soon as he leaves his driveway, or arrest him after a public appearance, or some other civilized method that does not involve a full scale home invasion. Sad thing is, apart from the mansion it sounds exactly like your average pot-head bust.

  • Megabox (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Thursday August 09, 2012 @02:19AM (#40928281) Homepage

    An interesting point of view. Here's one to counter it. I've been following Robert Fripp's struggles to get UMG to give him a simple accounting of how many King Crimson and related releases have been sold, for several years now. What I'd more, in violation of contract, KC music has got on to online stores like iTunes. Will you support SWAT teams raiding UMG at gunpoint to seize those records, and if not, why not?

    Kim Dotcom was on the way to launch Megabox [bbc.com] which would flip the ratio of money the artists get versus what is held on to by the labels. Color my cynical but this upcoming service seems to be the only major difference between Mega Upload and the other file storage services. He claims to be planning on still going through with the launch. If so it will cut the labels out of the loop by allowing artists to sell more or less directly to the public. Good riddance I say.

  • by BeanThere (28381) on Thursday August 09, 2012 @03:58AM (#40928801)

    So do you suppose we should keep "due process", or are you suggesting we just get rid of it as if it was just some quaint outdated notion?

  • by indeterminator (1829904) on Thursday August 09, 2012 @05:05AM (#40929147)

    Welcome to American democracy. Your choice between bad and really goddamn awful fucking bad.

    Why not vote on the third guy then? I mean, your country has to have more than two guys who want the job, right? Or is it somehow forbidden to have a political party that's neither republican nor democrat?

  • by Jedi Alec (258881) on Thursday August 09, 2012 @05:17AM (#40929203)

    It still does. The electorate just willfully and purposefully chooses to ignore them in favor of the guys with the flagpins, white teeth, perfect hair and the massive budgets.

  • by 1s44c (552956) on Thursday August 09, 2012 @05:36AM (#40929295)

    Why not vote on the third guy then? I mean, your country has to have more than two guys who want the job, right? Or is it somehow forbidden to have a political party that's neither republican nor democrat?

    The system is rigged in such a way that there is no effective third party. Neither of the parties with true power will change this as it means giving away a share of their power. The voters are confused with constant republican v democrat non-issues and believe that any vote for any other party is just a wasted vote.

    In essence US democracy has reduced to a republican/democrat alliance that is garenteed power forever, it's a dictatorship with the illusion of free choice.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday August 09, 2012 @06:25AM (#40929483) Journal
    Nope. Democracy is supposed to give you a way of overthrowing the government without having to kill lots of people (which tends to be bad for a society, leave it weak in the face of outside aggression, harm production, and, uh, kill lots of people). It doesn't give you options, it just provides a mechanism by which you can create options. Whether you choose to do so is up to you.
  • by dropadrop (1057046) on Thursday August 09, 2012 @06:43AM (#40929575)

    Why not vote on the third guy then? I mean, your country has to have more than two guys who want the job, right? Or is it somehow forbidden to have a political party that's neither republican nor democrat?

    The system is rigged in such a way that there is no effective third party. Neither of the parties with true power will change this as it means giving away a share of their power. The voters are confused with constant republican v democrat non-issues and believe that any vote for any other party is just a wasted vote.

    In essence US democracy has reduced to a republican/democrat alliance that is garenteed power forever, it's a dictatorship with the illusion of free choice.

    And until people start voting for the third parties it will stay that way, ironic isn't it? I'm not American, but I see this explanation every time. It's true, if you are liberal and vote for a third party you do risk giving the Republicans a win, and of course the same applies the other way around.

    However it's sure the parties who are in power would analyze why they lost, and if they found it was due to an increase in voters supporting third parties it would be sure to make a change in their tactics, and the more people would move to third parties, the more the current parties will be forced to make a change.

    While the problem is certainly more exaggerated in the US, it's not unique to you. For example here in Finland the strong parties have been trying to find ways to make it difficult for anyone to start a new party, and to find ways how a party with wide acceptance in some area will benefit from that in another area. Still, occasionally somebody finds a way to break their lock and it definitely makes a difference.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09, 2012 @07:13AM (#40929763)

    What could be more annoying and less productive than drawing minor distinctions as boundaries, separating two parties that are obviously a single party with the same goal in mind. Notice we face the same problems and only accumulate more, election by election? Taxes don't go down, they go up, liberty doesn't flourish, it wanes. They point fingers at each other and point out small differences in values over minor problems, but they have both ruled the U.S. as a single party for more than a century. They've replaced the SCOTUS with their drones who even now reinterpret the constitution for their own immoral purposes. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/pagedetails.action?granuleId=&packageId=GPO-CONAN-2002 [gpo.gov]
    Now we have a nation of drones, bolstering each others belief that they have been electing represenatives of their interests instead of being suckered into keeping a ruling class of criminals in office to utilize the people as livestock.
    Who's a dittohead now buddy?

  • by thej1nx (763573) on Thursday August 09, 2012 @07:22AM (#40929837)
    No it doesn't. What democracy actually is supposed to do is fool people into thinking they have any options or alternatives, and guaranteeing the physical safety and lives of ruling elites. Think of it this way. The french revolution was pretty much two power-hungry factions vying for control. One faction used the common people for this. However this involved the other faction having their necks chopped. And people will occasionally grow too angry and discontent, and will want to replace the rulers. Democracy is really a way to avoid the bloodshed of over-thrown elites in such case. Both sides get to loot the people, and grow rich in turns without any actual risk of life and limb. There are not really any options here, if you think honestly about it. Take USA as example. Having no anti-lobbying laws in USA, no proper limits on campaign donations pretty much ensures that USA can never be a democracy in any sense of the word, except as a mere meaningless label.
  • by SourceFrog (627014) on Thursday August 09, 2012 @09:38AM (#40931321)

    "You comment he was waiting for the police, but neglect to mention the fact he was waiting for them with a shotgun in his hands."

    Even if this were true (it isn't), I don't find this shocking. If an unknown armed gang attempt a home invasion of my household I would also grab my shotgun to try defend my life and family. What would you do? Let armed robbers kill you? There is no way for an innocent home-owner to tell the difference, on a split second, between a home invasion by robbers and a police raid (which is why police raids for non-violent offenses are wrong and immoral; innocent people keep dying [cato.org]). You put it in bold, like we're supposed to find it shocking. In spite of being "peaceful" NZ does have a culture of gun rights.

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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