Three years since Dotcom raid

It’s been three years since the raid on Kim Dotcom on 20 January 2012.

Ars Technica marks the date and summarises progress (or lack therof):

Why Kim Dotcom hasn’t been extradited 3 years after the US smashed Megaupload

On January 20, 2012, New Zealand authorities raided Dotcom’s mansion, complete with two helicopters, as part of the American-led global shutdown of his Hong Kong-based file sharing company.

An extradition hearing is set for June 2015. Based on history, don’t hold your breath.

It’s not a bad summary but curiously they don’t say much about Dotcom’s lawyers quitting the case late last year.

Wikipedia’s summary of the Megaupload legal case

And going back into Dotcom’s past: Die Welt on Kim Schmitz/Dotcom

Dotcom claims he doesn’t want to leave New Zealand

In response to the Herald claiming that Kim Dotcom wants to leave New Zealand – Dotcom says he wants to face trial in the US :

Embattled internet tycoon Kim Dotcom says he is now considered a pariah and is looking to quit New Zealand.

Dotcom has responded.

@KimDotcom
The US DOJ won’t agree to me having bail and assets unfrozen for my legal defense because they have no confidence in their bogus case.

Or maybe they see him as a flight risk and don’t want him spending and hiding all his assets.

Then:

@KimDotcom
Media claiming that I want to leave NZ is simply false. But I do appreciate getting so many nice messages. Thank you.

He linked to one message of support:

Dotcom-Myers

Other tweets of support seem a bit over the top:

Murray ‏@unclemuzza
Yep, agree totally with Tony. We’ve always been in your corner, Battler Kiwi Kim and will remain there come what may!

Ratu Tibble ‏@RatuTibble
@KimDotcom You are NZs greatest citizen. You have served the internet world well. And your vision for Maori – computer education

He isn’t a New Zealand citizen. He has residency.

Mark Ryan ‏@markryan1956
@KimDotcom Woah kim…keep them at bay …you are NEEDED here man !!!

Robin Westenra ‏@seemorerocks
@KimDotcom I feel ashamed to be a NZer. You have done yr best to wake people up. Thank you!

Cardinal Karl Pearce ‏@KarlDotKiwi
@KimDotcom there is still plenty of us here who still want to see you win. There are plenty of Maori who are on your side

He still has a fanclub.

But Dotcom must have talked to the Herald as they quoted him. Perhaps he since found out or realised that the chance of bail or getting his assets back were minimal so he was trying to rebuild support in New Zealand.

Newstalk ZB also reported Little chance of charity in Dotcom deal:

Mr Dotcom says he’s ready to leave New Zealand after the backlash from his involvement in politics.

But he wants the Government to negotiate terms for his surrender, saying it’s the least they can do, after he was wronged.

However a spokesman for National has dismissed Mr Dotcom’s plea. He told Newstalk ZB there’s an extradition treaty which sets out the process, and it’s very rare for anyone to get special treatment.

This and the Herald quotes followed by Dotcom’s denial seems very strange.

Kim Dotcom has 442K followers. I’m not one of them: “You are blocked from following @KimDotcom and viewing @KimDotcom’s Tweets.”

Dotcom says he wants to face trial in the US

In “an exclusive interview with theHerald on Sunday” Kim Dotcom says he wants to voluntarily go to the US to face trial – ‘Pariah’ Dotcom prepares to quit NZ.

Embattled internet tycoon Kim Dotcom says he is now considered a pariah and is looking to quit New Zealand.

He said he was renewing his offer to the Department of Justice to voluntarily travel to the US for his trial. But this was on the condition he was given bail and that assets seized in the 2012 Dotcom mansion raid are returned to him.

From the outset he has maintained his innocence and says he is confident of winning any court action against him.

“What’s the problem with me having bail then I’m out of here.

“The Prime Minister will forget about me, New Zealanders will forget about me and I will be gone.”

He said he was sure he and his estranged wife, who currently lives in an adjacent home on his expansive Coatesville compound, could come to an arrangement that meant he was in constant contact with his five children.

“I’m sure Mona would go to the US with the kids.”

That would be a big move for Mona and the kids. Is it and assumption or wishful thinking, or has Mona indicated she would be willing to move?

Dotcom was at a loss to explain why the tide of public opinion had turned so harshly against him.

“It’s turned into something very ugly,” he said. “Now I am a pariah.

“The funny thing is I haven’t changed and I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong. I’m still the same guy who only a matter of months ago people were cheering for.”

What has changed is that he tried to manufacture a change of government and in doing so he exposed himself much more to the New Zealand public.

He got some initial support for his Internet-Mana project but as people saw more of him the support faded. Amongst a number of obnoxious things he bragged about hacking the leader of Germany because he didn’t like him and implied he would do the same to Key, who he said he disliked.

He pariahed himself.

It has also been reported:

“He is ready to leave NZ after his failure with his political party, and wants the government to negotiate his surrender to the USA”.

The government has said they don’t negotiate for those who are being extradited.

There’s no way the Government could negotiate terms for an extradition. It’s a legal issue, not a horse trading market.

Dotcom could try negotiating with the US. If he went there voluntarily they would no longer need to extradite him.

This change of tack suggests Dotcom doesn’t like his chances of avoiding extradition.

“Puffed up little shit”

The reviews of politics in 2014 continue in holiday fillers. Today NZ Herald has The year of speaking dangerously: the worst gaffe’s of 2014.

Their number one gaffe (and “quote of the year”) is Pam Corkery’s “puffed-up little shit” tirade.

Hot on the heels of the Dirty Politics scandal, Ms Corkery was steaming after a TV One reporter grew indignant when told Kim Dotcom would not give interviews at the party’s official campaign launch.

That’s a Herald gaffe. It was TV3’s Brook Sabin.

“You puffed-up little shit,” Ms Corkery said. “He doesn’t want to. He said three times, ‘I don’t want to give you an interview.’ He’s not a candidate. He doesn’t owe you anything.”

‘He’ is Kim Dotcom. He doesn’t owe the media anything. But he was a prominent part of the Internet-Mana campaign, so avoiding awkward media questions was not a good look.

And Corkery’s outburst was a worse look. She was Laila Harre’s media manager. This was major mis-management.

Media commentator Russell Brown called the Corkery outburst “ruinous and unprofessional”.

It was certainly very unprofessional. Corkery was obviously annoyed and frustrated but having been an MP and in media she knows how it all works. She lost her cool.

Was it ruinous? It certainly didn’t help the Internet-Mana campaign, but Dotcom’s omnipresence was a major turnoff as well, and Harre’s willingness to dump principles to become a paid promoter of Dotcom’s vanity/revenge campaign didn’t help either. Nor did Mana and Hone Harawira’s bizarre alliance with Dotcom.

In the One News coverage of Corkery’s outburst they included the reason for wanting to interview Dotcom from comments he made at his party’s campaign launch:

And I hacked out German credit rating system, and put our Prime Minister’s credit rating to zero because I didn’t like the guy.

And you have all figured by now there’s another Prime Minister I don’t like.

He had been saying that at meetings around the country. Promoting his hacking because “I didn’t like the guy” on it’s own was ill-advised. But this was just after the Whaledump release of hacked data so it hardly surprising media would have an interest in possible connections between Dotcom and the hacking news of the day.

There were obvious tensions within Internet-Mana, with Harawira not speaking at the launch.

The pressure of the campaign and lack of control of the media narrative resulted in Corkery’s comment.

But Internet-Mana’s main problem was how voters saw who was willing to dish out shit but tried to avoid being held to account.

“Puffed up little shit” was a reaction but highlighted bigger problems. It backfired badly, drawing more negative attention to the perception of Internet-Mana’s own puffed up big shit.

Slater accuses Hager of hacking complicity

A post on Whale Oil has typical wishes for Dotcom on his latest legal setback but also accuses Nicky Hager of complicity in hacking – Merry Effin’ Christmas Kim and Nicky

Dotcom’s delaying tactics are running out of steam.

One thing this case does though is make Nicky Hager’s attempts to do the same thing almost forlorn.

He too is delaying because he knows that he hasn’t told the truth about his interaction with the hacker, and likely also his own interactions with the paymaster of the hacker.

Word has been around for months that the police know the identity of ‘Rawshark’. Some journalists should know.

The raid on Nicky Hager may have been to check out more than just who Rawshark is.

Slater’s wife ‘Spanish Bride’ adds:

When you visited the Dotcom mansion all those times what did you talk about Nicky?

You were happy enough to visit him more than once and eat with him yet you expect us to believe that if he was the hackers paymaster you would have not used the stolen e-mails? Pull the other one Nicky.

You admit you went looking for the hacker to talk him into giving it to you to make into a book. You wanted it BAD.

You never did explain why Kim Dotcom being the paymaster would have put you off. Why would it? You said the hackers’s motivation was dislike of Cameron and that didn’t worry you so why would Kim Dotcom’s desire for revenge for Cam’s sunlight on his activities worry you?

I’ll be posting on investigations into Hager’s claims about his interactions with the hacker soon.

Another Dotcom get out of jail expensive card futile

Kim Dotcom’s attempt to have the police search warrants used in the raid on his house deemed illegal has been ruled out by four out of five Supreme Court judges.

And it has further implications – Dotcom ruling could undermine compo claim

The Supreme Court’s ruling search warrants used to search Kim Dotcom’s home were legal could undermine the internet businessman’s claim for compensation.

The Supreme Court has upheld that judgement by a four-to-one majority, finding that although the warrants could have been drafted more precisely, Mr Dotcom and his co-accused were reasonably able to understand what they related to. Chief Justice Sian Elias has issued a dissenting opinion.

Another card played out, another legal loss, and he’s clocked up another bill. He claims he’s broke, what happens if he can’t pay the costs that were awarded against him?

Radio New Zealand understands the ruling could affect Mr Dotcom’s $6 million compensation claim over the search.

Rather than simply arguing that the search was illegal, he will now have to prove the police used excessive and unnecessary force.

And a higher hurdle for another card he’s playing.

Internet Party may contest again in 2017

Mana have officially taken steps to end their relationship with the Internet party – see Harawira on what he and Mana are up to – and Laila Harre is stepping down, so Dotcom’s party is partnerless and leaderless.

And Dotcom says he is broke.

But he said yesterday he “would not be surprised if the Internet Party has another go”, as reported in NZ Herald’s Dotcom’s lost Mana but Internet Party may ride again at 2017 election.

Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom says his party could still make another bid for election in 2017 despite its merger with the Mana Party coming to an end.

The Internet Party will soon be leaderless as Laila Harre plans to stand down and its main backer, Mr Dotcom, says he has run out of money fighting his extradition to the United States.

But the internet entrepreneur suggested yesterday the movement was still alive, saying he “would not be surprised if the Internet Party has another go” in 2017.

He did not want to comment further as he was focused on getting the US branch of his party up and running for the US elections in 2016. The US Internet Party will be backed and run by American citizens, but Mr Dotcom is likely to play some role.

He says he has no money but that may be just in New Zealand.

Financing a party in the US would have to be on a much bigger scale. Perhaps others will front up with the dollars but Dotcom hasn’t got a good campaign record – he has a reputation as a political wrecking ball.

It would be hard to see any political ambitions as anything other than an anti US Government publicity stunt – which was how his attempt to bring down the Prime Minister and government of New Zealand was seen.

If Dotcom survives financially and legally his chances in 2017 don’t look good. This year he tried to piggy back into power off the Mana Party and that failed.

It’s very unlikely any other party here would consider campaigning with him no matter how much money he offered.

Russel Norman and Winston Peters visited him last year to discuss options and saw the dangers. They will be even less interested now.

I don’t think Labour would risk going anywhere near Dotcom’s financial incentives.

Internet-Mana got 1.42 per cent of the party vote in the September 20 election and won no seats. Its chances hinged on Mr Harawira keeping his Te Tai Tokerau seat, which he lost to Labour’s Kelvin Davis.

Harawira will find it hard enough to beat Davis in 2017. Mana have been burnt badly by their Dotcom association so a repeat must be unlikely.

And Mana isn’t the only self inflicted victim.

Harre’s political credibility has been scorched. The Internet Party will find it very difficult to attract a high profile leader with political experience, especially if the money has dried up.

It’s a long way from 1.42% to the 5% threshold. Dotcom misjudged his political chances badly this year. He must see the odds of turning that resounding failure around are very slim.

I would be surprised if the Internet Party will be a serious contender in 2017.

Harawira on what he and Mana are up to

Patrick Gower interviewed Hone Harawira on The Nation on Saturday and asked him what he’d been up to. The answer was not very much since turning his back on politics after a disastrous election result.

Gower: What are you up to, what are you doing for a crust these days, what’s Hone Harawira been up to?

Harawira: Actually for the first couple of months absolutely nothing. Just hanging about home ah with the mokopunas, doing a bit of paddling, trying to get my health back.

He seemed to have struggled through the election campaign, perhaps that was to do with his health.

Ah, yeah and then a trip to South Africa, then the Nga Puhi claims.

Now starting to look at a couple of projects to get started in the New Year.

Gower: Sweet. And what about Mana itself, is Mana still alive?

Harawira: Yeah no we had a great week just a couple of weeks ago at Auckland University Marae. We had about seventy, eighty people come from all around the country from as far south as Dunedin, and everybody’s really focused on getting back to stuff in their communities, which is what I’m doing as well, and rebuilding from that level.

Gower: And what about Kim Dotcom, have you had a chance to catch up with Kim Dotcom?

Harawira: No actually, no we missed a chance ah last weekend, ah we’re trying to do it this weekend, probably catch up some time soon.

It sounds like he has just shrugged and turned away from Dotcom. That’s odd considering the huge cash provided and major alliance in the campaign.

Gower: You might pop out to Helensville after this?

Harawira: No I can’t, ah I’m going to be too busy after this. I’ve got um Newstalk ZB, I’ve got a kuruwhanau (?) to see, then I’ve got yo fly home.

Gower: Now we had Laila Harre on the program a little while ago, she said that…

Harawira: Where, here?

Gower: No on The Nation a couple of weeks ago. She said that the Internet Party completely mismanaged that last month of the campaign, do you agree with her?

Harawira: Oh look, those days are gone. Suffice to say from our point of view it was a shot worth taking, it didn’t come off, ah but Laila, wonderful person, ah a great political commentator, a woman of great principle.

Harre was widely criticised for her lack of principle in teaming up with Dotcom.

So, I missed the opportunity to be working with her but I wish her well whatever she’s going to be working on in the future.

Gower: And what about yourself, you’re still keen to come back to Parliament?

Harawira: Well a lot of people are keen for me to come back to Parliament, including some strangely enough right wing types. I think I just get a sense there needs to be somebody in there who’s going to be strong on the basic issues of poverty and homelessness, those sorts of things.

A curious non-personal response, as if he doesn’t make his own decisions. And while Harawira spoke strongly on poverty and homelessness he failed to work effectively with other parties in Parliament, something that’s essential to progress policies.

Gower: Will you have a crack against Kelvin Davis again in 2017?

Harawira: Oh if I have a crack it won’t be because I’m having a crack against Kelvin Davis, ah, it will be because I’m having a fight to support the rights of  te pani me te rawakore, the poor and the homeless.

Gower: And will it be with the Internet Party, will it be with Kim Dotcom, will you go with him again?

Harawira: Ah no, look we’ve just we’ve just ah formerly closed off that relationship, so I don’t think it’s, I don’t think it’s public yet but the letter’s just gone off to ah the Electoral Commission I think.

It sounds like someone else is managing the formal split and Harawira is a semi-interested spectator.

So that’s over, but ah certainly the relationship with some of the people we met in the Internet Party, that will continue.

Harre?

Gower: All right then, is there anything more on that split or is it just all over completely?

Harawira: Ah well you never know, ah you never say never, ah suffice to say though that right now it’s focussing on what’s happening at home, what’s happening with the mokopunas, what’s happening with the whanau.

We’ve got to rap this up Paddy.  Thank you very much.

As Harawira said that he walked away, shutting down the interview.

Just as he seems to have shut off and walked away from his political career.

It sounds like he’s over Parliament and while others have tried to to talk about him having a go at returning his heart isn’t in it at all.

He looked shattered on election night and it looks like he isn’t over it. He could possibly recover, and the next election is a long way away, but he and Mana really need to campaign right through the term.

Otherwise they are likely to fade away into political history, a movement that lost it’s mojo after an unsuccessful Parliamentary stint brought to a close after a disastrous decision to try and benefit from Dotcom’s millions.

End of year picks

It’s the time of year when politicians seem to start winding down (a couple of weeks before I can) and pundits applaud and award.

Patrick Gower’s Politician of the Year

POLITICIAN OF YEAR: JOHN KEY

In fact, Key went from the crème-de-la-crème to the crème-de-la-crap at times.

RUNNER-UP (OPPOSITION POLITICIAN): ANDREW LITTLE

He won the leadership thanks to the Union vote, but hey – who cares? This is about politics, it is about winning. Little used the tool that was available to him and he won the leadership.

RUNNER-UP (BACKBENCHER): KELVIN DAVIS

Kelvin Davis stood up to Kim Dotcom and stopped him. This included annihilating Hone Harawira’s political career in an upset victory in Te Tai Tokerau that few pundits expected.

RUNNER-UP (“POLITICAL NON-POLITICIAN”): A three-way tie

KIM DOTCOM

WHALE OIL

NICKY HAGER

Not sure that Hager deserves that, he failed with his primary aim and it’s yet to be seen whether the gains he achieves outweigh the losses.

Dotcom must be there simply for impact rather than success. But otherwise that looks a reasonable line up.

Duncan Garner’s picks are along similar lines to Gower’s.

WINNERS

1. JOHN KEY

For all the obvious reasons. He is still the PM and he is still widely popular according to the polls. He had the kitchen sink thrown at him and he almost won the election outright. He’ll have to watch it doesn’t go to his head.

2. ANDREW LITTLE

Couldn’t win a fight in a kindergarten but ends the year on top. His caucus didn’t want him, his party didn’t want him, his electorate didn’t want him. Yet he ends the year looking strong and competent as Labour’s new leader.

3. KELVIN DAVIS

He beat Hone Harawira and therefore beat Kim Dotcom – do I have to say anymore?

4. SUE BRADFORD

She knew Dotcom and Harawira were in an unholy alliance and she put her principles before it all. She called it right – she has values and principles that are beyond reproach whether you agree with her politics or not.

5. CAM SLATER – WHALEOIL.

Yes he’s a dirt-bag, muck-raking, scum-bag attack blogger, but he likes it that way. He doesn’t play by any rule book yet he’s been judged a journalist by the courts. Despite having his dirty laundry aired for the world to see he remains talked about, his blog gets more hits than ever, he breaks stories and the PM returns his texts. Oh and he wins mainstream media awards.

LOSERS

1. KIM DOTCOM

Threw millions at trying to rig an election, but the public weren’t fooled. He’s now fighting to stay out of jail. Rest my case.

2. HONE HARAWIRA

He picked the wrong rich friends. Should have stayed poor. At least he’d still be in Parliament. Woeful judgement.

3. LAILA HARRE

See above.

4. JUDITH COLLINS

Was on track to be the next National Party Leader – now she’s struggling to be heard from the backbenchers. Huge fall from grace. Career in tatters.

5. DAVID CUNLIFFE

Came across as a fake and then apologised for being a man. Do we have to say anything more? Awful defeat.

(Close mention: Grant Robertson, rejected twice as Labour’s future leader. That will hurt and in politics if winning if everything, Robertson has twice failed. Ouch. Still, he has huge chance to recover well.)

That’s a pretty good summary.

Dotcom to take on Hillary Clinton, apparently

Dotcom on Twitter today:

I’m not a pirate.
I’m not a fugitive.
I’m not a flight risk.

I’m your Internet Freedom fighter

AND

Hillary’s worst nightmare in 2016!

The Internet Party is coming to the United States in 2015. Stay tuned for our celebrity founders from the music, film and Internet industry.

The Internet Party US will be well funded and run by American citizens. I will help with Public Relations ;-)

So if he wants to be Clinton’s ‘worst nightmare’ he wants the Republicans to win in 2016?

Taking the piss. Or nuts.

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