Extradition zombie

be43dotcom illegal extradition rights Extradition zombie

So there I was, poised to write an article about the illegal,frightening and shameful shift in the international extraditionlaws over the last 15 years – a move that potentially puts all ofus, everywhere, at risk of being snatched away to some bananarepublic show trial, sorry, the fairly-weighted andconstitutional process that is the US legal system.How was I hoping to do this? Well, by comparing and contrastingthe “good old days”, way back in the 1990s when MI5 whistleblower,David Shayler, was able to rely on evidence to defeat anextradition attempt by the Brits from France, and the currenttreatment being meted out in New Zealand to Kim Dotcom ofMegaupload fame.How was I hoping to achieve this? By linking to media reportsfrom the late 1999s describing the Shayler extraditioncase.But can I find them in media archives? No – they seem to havebeen airbrushed out of history. The closest I can was a article I had copied to my own website verbatim, even thoughthe link no longer works. Anyway, to recap: in 1998 the Britishgovernment asked the French to extradite Shayler “for being atraitor and selling secrets to an enemy power”.At that time protocol dictated that the French had no option butto arrest him and place him under stringent security measures(“mise au secret”) so that he didn’t see a lawyer forthree days and was forbidden any other visits. So, effectively, hewas disappeared.However, at that time the British government was required tosubmit within 40 days its full evidence about why Shayler should beextradited. On the fortieth day, the “evidence” was finally handedover. The French government immediately saw that Shayler was not atraitor; in fact he was a clearly whistleblower.Under French law, whistleblowing is a political offence and theFrench did not then extradite people for political acts. Simple. SoShayler was eventually released after almost four needless monthsin prison.But – imagine if that had happened today, when the say-so of aforeign government was enough to extradite someone completelywithout evidence. Shayler would have been parcelled up and shippedoff back to the UK faster than you could say “Kafkaesque”.And this is why my ire has now been roused by the case ofKim Dotcomin New Zealand. You may remember the headlines last year, when hishouse was illegally raidedby a US FBI SWAT team, helicopters, body armour, guns andall.Thinking he was under attack, Dotcom fled to a safe room. Theoperation has since been declared illegal and has caused a massive diplomatic, legal andpolitical stink. One court has just ruled that Dotcom can sue the NZ intelligence agenciesfor an illegal operation. Shades of Echelon,anyone?Yet in the same week, it was reported that the New Zealand Appeal Court has overturned anearlier ruling that Kim Dotcom can see all the evidence of hisaccusers in the run-up to his extradition hearing inAugust.He argues that he needs to see all this evidence to have thechance to provide a full defence; the US argues that in extraditioncases, they only need to provide evidence of probable cause, andthat the full evidence can be heard only in a US court of lawfollowing a successful extradition. And that’s what the New Zealandlaw courts are apparently acquiescing to now.The NZ courts do not need to know pesky bits of information,such as the actual facts of the case and putative evidence againstKim Dotcom. Oh no, they only need to be assured by the good old USof A that Dotcom is a “wanted man” and then let’s ship himout.This Wild West, lynch-mob mentality is spreading like anextra-legal fungus across the planet. In response, it appears thatthe New Zealand legal system is becoming distressingly confused aninconsistent.And what was the reason behind this extra-judicial cluster-fuck?Merely to take down Dotcom’s legitimate online business – Megaupload- which was a service that allowed people to pay for space toupload and share information in the “cloud”.Many companies and individuals used this to park corporatedocuments that were worked on internationally or family photos thatcould be shared with relatives on the other side of the world – acommon enough practice these days.However, some people also uploaded films or music that wascopyrighted, to share with their contacts, and this is whatofficially led to the raid. The corporatist entertainment industrysaw its outdated business model being further threatened and, lo,the US military-security complex swung into action. The site wasshut down, its servers seized, and millions of legitimate companiesand individuals lost their information, with no redress.The knock-on effect was that many other cyberlocker servicesthen voluntarily shut down or restricted services, for fear of the USself-proclaimed global legal hegemony, and many more businesses andindividuals were adversely affected. So much for the globalvillage. Megaupload pretty much offered the same service as GoogleDocs or Youtube, so why was it targeted?One possibility is that, shortly before the brutal raid,Megaupload announced a new service to artists: they could directlypublish their music a site called Megabox and keep 90% of any money then made from sales of their creativework; Megabox would only take a 10% commission. Somethingsimilar was also apparently in the pipeline for films:Megamovie.Well, you can imagine how this new internet business model wouldbe greeted by the Old Entertainment Industry – the middlemen, whofor decades have been growing rich on the work of artists.Under the old business model, artists were lucky to receive10-12.5% of the cover price for creative content they produced,while the corporate pimps in the middle waxed fat on the profits.This, it seems to me, was the real perceived threat ofMegaupload.And one of the most frightening aspects is that the US securityservices could be called upon to conduct an illegal raid in aforeign nation state to protect these corporatist bodies. This doesindeed seem to display, once again, what Benito Mussolini describedas fascism: themerger of the corporate and the state.I thought I had pretty much thrashed the extradition issue todeath over the last two years, writing multiple times about theghastly, asymmetrical extradition treaty between the US and the UK, and particularlyfocusing on the ordeals of Gary McKinnon, Richard O’Dwyer, and Julian Assange. But the issue keeps resurrecting itself likesome Kafkaesque zombie nightmare.


Extradition zombie

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