We have three writers reporting to you from New Zealand this evening after many attempts and short comments from New Zealand police.
So far the details given to the press have been slight and sketchy as the U.S. Legal System keeps all involved tight-lipped about Kim Dotcoms’ mansion and lifestyle before the raid occurred.
A one of our readers commented earlier suggesting that SOPA/PIPA is not required if sites like Megaupload are being pulled down BEFORE the bill has passed. It seems very strange that this all happened after the 24 hour blackouts participated in by sites like Reddit and Wikipedia but what strikes me as most odd is that although Megaupload is a major contributor to illegal file sharing, there are many other sites out there knowingly hosting illegal content.
Megaupload.com employees Bram van der Kolk, , left, Finn Batato,second from the left, Mathias Ortmann and founder/current chief innovation officer of Megaupload.com (and the sites under the “Mega” brand) Kim Dotcom (also known as Kim Schmitz and Kim Tim Jim Vestor), right, appear in court on charges of copyright infringement, with Hollywood legal representatives suggesting damages of up to 500 million US dollars.
Photographed below is Mr. Robert S. Bennett, the American attorney infamously known for representing President Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal has confirmed that he will represent the four Megaupload members arrested under terms of what he believes was “un-necessary action” (the police RAID at Dotcom’s mansion) and little documented evidence that Megaupload was issued copyright infringement warnings prior to the arrests.
The following images are of Dotcom’s mansion prior to (and after) the arrest was made. It is believed that the house has now been ceased by investigators after word came from the landlord that it was being rented for around $12,000 a day.
The 3 black cars shown below are just few of Mr. Dotcom’s Mercedes collection. Truck drivers await the all-clear before removing the vehicles for evidence. In an almost terrorist-attack-like search operation, Bomb squads and sniffer dogs arrived at the scene before any vehicle could be removed from the premises. The black helicopter is said to have been spotted by New Zealand locals prior to the event, with many claiming these aircrafts are commonly seen to be flown by New Zealand’s Border Security. Upon researching the the ‘copters registration (ZK-HKV) we found that this specific model belongs to Auckland’s border security team. It is registered to the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)
Here we see a broken intercom system which was photographed outside the Dotcom Mansion, just minutes after the police raided the home of accused Kim Dotcom, The site was often run from this $30 million property in Coatesville, Auckland. Funny how his house isn’t as big as some of the celebrities and producers that are claiming revenue loss from online piracy. At least they own their houses.
The status of the ‘Mega’ headquarters in Hong Kong currently remains unknown, however.
Many also may know that Kim donated roughly $600,000 towards the 2011 New Years Fireworks. It was the largest fireworks display in New Zealand’s history and Kim Dotcom had given the money as a means of celebrating his residency application’s approval. Kim Dotcom and his wife watched the event from a top of the line Helicopter that was hired and they floated in the air just 200 meters away from the explosions. The Dotcom family planned to sponsor Auckland’s New Years fireworks every year with a US$ 1 million display after the news that his wife had fallen pregnant and would be giving birth to a child in New Zealand, however he had been told he couldn’t buy a luxury mansion for his family in New Zealand because he had convictions overseas. Dotcom was what is called a “White-hat hacker” – meaning somebody who decrypts websites legitimately for detectives and governments investigating corruption and scams – but this was not suitable enough for New Zealand’s Simon Power who rejected his application to purchase a home. Disclosing details of his convictions for the first time, Dotcom said he was convicted for "hacking" under juvenile law and for insider trading because of ignorance about a share-trading law. He said both convictions were more than 10 years ago and had been wiped by Germany’s clean-slate law. "Officially I am as clean as it gets. I am not a bad person with a bad character and, in my opinion, Simon Power is small minded and unreasonable.”
Dotcom said the message he took from the rejection was that the Government wanted his money and job-creation capacity "but you can’t buy the home you desire for your family". This is even though he was accepted under the "high-investment category" after putting $10 million towards government relations and a significantly large – yet (at the time) anonymous – donation to the Christchurch earthquake fund.
Anonymous, which briefly knocked the FBI and Justice Department websites offline in retaliation of the shut-down and arrest, is a group of international “anonymous” hackers with no central hierarchy and very little is known about them and although many criticize that they are “just a bunch of hacking kids”, the criticizers seem to fail to realize the disturbance and security-threatening actions they have taken over this case. This French hacker was supposedly one of the many behind the FBI website’s outages. The Guy Fawkes mask as seen on the left screen is one that Occupy protesters, Anonymous group members and general supporters are known for. For those who don’t know, Guy Fawkes was synonymous for the “gunpowder plot” and we British celebrate Guy Fawkes Night every year. The mask itself was first featured on the front cover of David Lloyd’s book “V for Vendetta” in the 80’s. The book was turned into a film in 2005 by Warner Brothers, and in a capitalist irony, one of the largest media companies in the world, Time Warner (whom Warner Brothers operates under) is paid a fee with the sale of each mask, as it now owns the rights to the image.
However, remember that although most despise companies that force people to work in poor conditions to produce clothing, they wear the products offered by the industry giants. I don’t like the way the Taiwanese government runs, but I still purchase computer components that were manufactured there. Why? I have no choice if that is what I want to buy.
We will continue our coverage of the Megaupload case when we retrieve more details…