Monday, September 24, 2012

Megaupload Phones Were Tapped by the Echelon Spies

A new twist on the MegaUpload case came today, amid revelations that intelligence services were in on the act. The New Zealand arm of the CIA’s Echelon program is reputed to have been invovled in the Dotcom case. The raid and it’s aftermaths, already looking like a Hollywood flm, has now turned into a blockbuster, with the New Zealand Prime Minister ordering an investigation into the use of the spy agency.

RAF Menwith Hill, an ECHELON site. 
If it were a film, it’d be cliche’d and predictable. Real life isn’t meant to be like that. Nevertheless, the ongoing saga of the Megaupload/Dotcom trial has been turning, by parts, into a movie by Hollywood, rather than an attempt for prosecution for sharing those movies.

We’ve already had overblown military raids, police officers executing worldwide simultaneous strikes under White House Direction, agents sneaking out of countries with evidence, and a larger-than-life central character. Now we can add the spy trope to the case with the announcement that the New Zealand foreign intelligence group may also have been invovled in the case.

While the return of Megaupload is forecast for 'soon', the January takedown is never far from the news. We’ve already learnt that New Zealand’s elite anti-terrorism squad was used to conduct the raid (that was later deemed to be illegal) and that the group providing the evidence for the raid – the FBI – absconded from the country with evidence they shouldn’t have. With this in mind, the revelations of potentially illegal use of foreign counterintelligence resources to spy on Dotcom and his codefendants.

After being informed by the head of the agency in question – the Government Communications Security Bureau - a week ago (September 17th) New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has announced that there will be an investigation by the inspector-General of Intelligence and Security over the actions.

The central issue is that the agency in question is a FOREIGN intelligence agency, and prohibited from eavedropping on New Zealand Citizens, or perminant residents. Instead they are supposed to target people overseas. They do this in cooperation with similar agencies in the UK, Australia, Canada and the USA, more commonly known as ‘Echelon’.

Dotcom for his part, played up to the movie angle, tweeting
He followed this by welcoming the investigation, and suggesting it be expanded to cover the entire case.

Meanwhile, the case widely applauded by the content industry denigrates further into comedic farce. It remains to be seen what other blunders, or over-reaches are left to come. One thing’s for certain, when the movie is made, the script-writer won’t have to do much to ‘jazz it up’ for the silver screen.

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