The cofounder of Pirate Bay was arrested last week in Cambodia on allegations he broke the law in Sweden. So there is absolutely no reason to think there is anything unusual involved in this case.
But today, in another one of those unusual political coincidences, Cambodian officials announced the “strengthening of bilateral ties” with Sweden – along with a $59 million aid package sweetener.Nothing unusual at all. Gottfrid Svartholm will be deported, not extradicted, because Cambodia and Sweden don't have an extradition treaty.
If that sounds a little unusual, it gets more extreme the further you dig down.
First up: Ron Kirk, the US Trade Rep, and the main US government official responsible for ACTA and the TPP... just happened to be in Cambodia the very day that Svartholdm was arrested... and, the very next day, Sweden just happened to announce a $59 million "aid package" with Cambodia. Is it any wonder that some are asking if Sweden basically paid Cambodia to arrest Svartholm... and if the US had a helping hand in all of this?...OK. That might sound like we've entered tinfoil-hat land. But is it?
But, let's add in one more bit of info. Svartholm's fellow TPB'er Peter Sunde is claiming that the arrest is not related to The Pirate Bay, though other reports claim otherwise. Some other friends are also insisting that it's not related to TPB, though I will admit to being skeptical. More surprising, perhaps, is Sunde's suggestion that the arrest may actually have more to do with Wikileaks, which Svartholm's company used to host, rather than The Pirate Bay... Of course, if that's the case, it doesn't discount the involvement of the US or Sweden (and might only reinforce it).
It's not like this is the first time foreign governments have went overboard to enforce American copyright laws. Consider the case of Kim Dotcom.
New Zealand authorities arrested Dotcom, a 38-year-old German national, when they raided his rented country estate near Auckland at the FBI’s request in late January, confiscating computers and hard drives, art work and cars.Dotcom, normally not the most sympathetic figure out there, was made into a martyr simply by the over-the-top law enforcement methods used, including police dropping from helicoptors.
The raid and evidence seizure has already been ruled illegal and the latest decision confirms that Dotcom should be allowed to see the evidence on which the extradition hearing will be based.
Dotcom now fears for the safety of his wife in regards to overenthusiastic FBI agents.
Let's take a step back and look at how we've gotten here.
The Pirate Party (Piratpartiet) was founded on New Year's Day 2006 in Sweden.
The Pirate Party wants to fundamentally reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure that citizens' rights to privacy are respected. With this agenda, and only this, we are making a bid for representation in the European and Swedish parliaments.Within 36 hours after the launch of the party's signature gathering effort, they had collected 4,725 signatures, far more than the 2,000 required to participate in the September election.
On May 31, 2006, the police seized the The Pirate Bay web servers, a popular file sharing site, as well as other unrelated web servers. The Pirate Bay, established in 2003, was not directly affiliated with the Pirate Party. Within a few days The Pirate Bay was operating again from another location.
The day after the raid, 930 people registered with The Pirate Party. Within a few days youth political groups were organizing demonstrations, and the issues of copyrights and patents started being discussed in the mainstream media.
The Pirate Bay trial became a public relations embarrassment for Hollywood film studios and music companies when emails were leaked in 2007 showing how the big corporations had discussed hiring the anti-piracy company MediaDefender to hack into Pirate Bay servers and pollute their data.
In April 2009 the Swedish court sentenced three members of Pirate Bay and one investor to one year in jail and a $3.6 million fine.
Because of the harshness, the Pirate Party saw a jump in membership to 40,000 in the week following the sentence. It was now a larger party than 5 of the 7 parties in the Swedish Parliament. The Pirate Party has won seats in the European Parliament. The Pirate Party's youth organization, Ung Pirat, is the largest political youth organization in Sweden.
The success of the Pirate Party has caused the Green Party and the Left Party to shift their stance on copyright reform.
On August 17, 2010, the Pirate Party announced that it would donate servers and bandwidth to Wikileaks free of charge. Technicians from the party would manage the servers, thus putting themselves on the front lines of the Wikileaks saga.
Pirate Party's from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Russia, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, and Serbia have also offered to help host Wikileaks.
“This is a fight for fundamental freedoms on the Internet. Pirates will not accept governmental attempts to restrict access to free press and constrain freedom of speech."The Swedish Pirate Party won over 7% of the vote in the 2009 election, while the German Pirate Party scored major electoral victories in 2012. Currently there are active Pirate Parties in more than 20 nations.
- Gregory Engels of the Pirate Party Germany
With the youth of the world pushing back against multinational corporations through copyright laws, those patent holders are taking off the gloves.
Which brings us back to the Wikileaks.
First of all, let's clear up a few things about Assange's rape charges, the ones that haven't actually been filed. Many rightly say that he needs to meet with police and answer questions about them.
In fact, Julian Assange had already done that.
Shortly after the investigation opened, however, chief prosecutor Eva Finné overruled the prosecutor on call the night the report was filed, withdrawing the warrant to arrest Assange and saying "I don't think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape."The warrant was revived after Assange had already met with police in Sweden, and only after the intervention of a politician, Claes Borgstr. At the pre-trial of Bradley Manning, a US army investigator confirmed that the FBI was secretly targeting the "founders, owners or managers of WikiLeaks" for espionage.
The case against Assange, much like the cases against Gottfrid Svartholm and Kim Dotcom, look obviously political. Why won't Sweden give assurances not to extradite Assange to the United States, where the Justice Department is already preparing prosecution? The American government has been pursuing Assange for 18 months. The current administration openly brags about how many whistleblowers it has prosecuted with the Espionage Act.
It's not like the Swedish government hasn't cooperated with the American government before. In 2001 they handed over two Egyptians to be tortured.
It is unlikely that we will get the whole story from the news media. It's rank hypocrisy on the matter is staggering.