Sending a Message

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

I’ve noted before that the level of force the government chooses to use often is determined not by the nature of the threat so much as the message the government wants to send about the law it is enforcing. Hence, SWAT raids on medical marijuana dispensaries.

It looks like we’re also exporting that philosophy.

On January 20, dozens of New Zealand police’s elite special forces broke into Kim Dotcom’s mansionwith assault helicopters, M4A3 automatic weapons, Glock pistols, dogs, sledgehammers and even a circular chainsaw, as if they were expecting a vicious narco gang waiting inside, armed to the teeth.

What they found instead was two kids—three and four years old—a 15-month old baby, some Filipino nannies, two security guards, Dotcom’s bodyguard Wayne Tempero, Dotcom’s wife and meganerd Kim Dotcom himself, hiding in the security room you are seeing in this video.

Tempero told the story on how the Kiwi cops assaulted the Megaupload founder’s home and how they captured Kim himself to Kiwi news channel 3news. It sounds pretty scary and way out of proportion, given the nature of the alleged offense and the people involved.

The operation started at 6:45, when the thunder of the assault helicopters woke up the body guard and everyone in the house. He stepped outside to see the helicopters when a policeman in a bulletproof vest asked him to surrender. He didn’t have any weapons and he complied. He also said that he couldn’t even hear them identifying themselves as police officers because of the sound, but obviously these weren’t low-rent kidnappers.

As this was happening, the elite squads and police officers were going around the house, smashing doors and looking for Kim Dotcom with dogs. In the childhood area they found the kids and the Filipino nannies. According to Tempero, the police asked the Filipino nannies—who must be famous in New Zealand for their ferocity and skills in explosives manufacturing—if they had any bombs.

They also found the wife, who tried to give them the code to open the door to Kim Dotcom’s quarters before they attempted to slam the doors down. Dotcom had run to his secure Red Room, where he stayed for 30 minutes until he was apprehended. On the way to get him, the police smashed an old elevator door thinking it was the gate to a secret room.

Nobody in the house had a history of violence. Only two shotguns, with legal licenses, were stored in a gun locker. Neither Dotcom nor the security guards had any gun on them.

Remember, they’re enforcing copyright law, here. And as Gizmodo points out, the Kiwi heavy-handedness was almost certainly influenced and encouraged by federal law enforcement officials in the U.S. (Who in the past have had no qualms about enforcing copyright law with a SWAT team.)

(Thanks to Tim Lee for the tip.)

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18 Responses to “Sending a Message”

  1. #1 |  horseydeucey | 

    How is it that the American government is more intent on using money and resources in pursuing an international policy to enforce our domestic copyright laws in other sovereign states, then, say, protecting our rights and civil liberties here at home?

    I mean, what the fucking fuck?

    I want to throttle everyone I pass on my commute and scream in their faces to turn off the television and wake up to what’s happening. And I don’t trust them to do it for the sake of their rights–so many couldn’t care less about their rights. Do it for my rights. I need help protecting them.

  2. #2 |  el coronado | 

    All part of the evolving Police State Philosophy. Littering = Jaywalking = Copyright Infringement = Filming a Cop = Possession with Intent = Rape = Murder = Terrorism…..

    They’re all Crimes Against the Holy State, and the perpetrators will be dealt with harshly. See, Serfs, and Learn.

  3. #3 |  Sam | 

    The whole thing is outrageous, but you also have to wonder what sort of man would run to his safe room and abandon his wife and children?

  4. #4 |  nigmalg | 

    How embarrassing. As a US taxpayer and voter, I can’t help feel responsible for my own goons in these cases. It’s terrible when our police state puts a boot on my neighbors neck, but at least most of them have the opportunity to vote against it.

  5. #5 |  Mike | 

    What would those swat teams do if they ever met unexpected armed resistance? I’m guessing run and hide.

  6. #6 |  Whim | 

    American SWAT teams began in L.A. in the 1960’s to deal with armed and dangerous hostage situations, like a bank robbery with employees and customers taken hostage.

    Their usage profilerated to all arge cities, and then percolated down to smaller counties and cities.

    I even noted on a earlier post on this website where University of NC police now have their very own SWAT team. Swell.

    Besides spreading coast-to-coast, and now apparently spreading overseas, the USAGE of the SWAT team spread from armed and dangerous hostage situations to just serving drug warrants, and apparently, copywright offenses.

    Besides gratifying the Special Forces-wannabee types in the police forces, the police are apparently also using the well-publicized SWAT units to instill terror in the population, with the message of:

    Be Afraid; Be Very Afraid.

    I even wonder if all the wrong-door SWAT team raids are actually mistakes, wondering if they are actually intended as obediance training for medieval serfs.

    Afterall, it is the taxpayers (serfs) themselves that suffer any financial consequences for the damages inflicted by wrong-door SWAT team raids.

  7. #7 |  Nancy Lebovitz |

    More about Kim Dotcom, from a rapper who supports what he’s doing.

  8. #8 |  GT | 

    #5 – Mike, you hit the nail on the head. SWAT-tards could not actually fight their way out of a wet paper bag. They’re weak vermin, like that cowardly ‘super-sniper’ Kyle fuckwit who just released his retarded Freeper wank-mag about how he’s a hero for killing Iraqi resistance fighters (from a hiding-place, like a coward).

    A few of these retards from the local pigs’ Star-Wars-meets-Village-People team came to try out our local BJJ gym, all a-swagger; they left with their tails between their legs and never came back.

    Mock-Maori tattoos, sunglasses and a fake thousand-yard-stare don’t cut it when you’re one-on-one with a guy the same size, with no Kevlar and no backup – those guys got found out inside of five minutes. I was gutted, because they were all about 5’8″ and maybe a buck-70… 65lb lighter than me, so I never got matched up and thus didn’t get to slap some manners into them.

    That documentary on Waco (“Rules of Engagement”) shows how pussy-assed these gaylords are when someone shoots back – see – if they face any motivated adversary they are individually cowardly, tactically incompetent, strategically mismanaged and about as useless as a one-legged Indian in an ass-kicking contest.

    So maybe the BRAVER of them would run and hide. More likely drop to the foetal position, start crying and call for Mommy. Which is hilarious, since anybody who’s actually been in a firefight knows that your odds of getting hit are pretty low.

  9. #9 |  el coronado | 

    @#5&#8 –

    Hell, the SWAT Warrior Heroes playbook teaches that any *possibility* of resistance, especially armed resistance, is to be met as follows:

    1) Take cover
    2) Wait for the shooter to die by his own hand
    3) Any unarmed innocents inside can go piss up a rope
    4) Put in requisition for cooler automatic weapons and RPG’s. Maybe a .50 cal? Or a TANK!
    5) lather, rinse, repeat

    see: Columbine and VA Tech

  10. #10 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    Correction: it wasn’t a rapper, it’s the producer of the Black Eyed Peas.

  11. #11 |  contrarian | 

    Why is copyright infringement even a criminal matter in the first place? As a general rule, police don’t involve themselves in property disputes between individuals unless force is involved. It’s a civil matter, we have courts for that.

  12. #12 |  CyniCAl | 

    We live in a World of police States. How nice.

    I’m glad I’m such small potatoes. In order for a SWAT team to show up at my house, it would have to be a wrong-address raid. Guess I’ll just have to pray for luck.

  13. #13 |  Christ on a Cracker | 

    4) Put in requisition for cooler automatic weapons and RPG’s. Maybe a .50 cal? Or a TANK!

    Hey – Why not BOTH?!

  14. #14 |  Mattocracy | 

    At least the comments in the link are mostly positive.

  15. #15 |  tired dog | 

    I’m fairly certain US agents were on hand to enjoy their ‘ally’s’ work.

  16. #16 |  Frank Hummel | 

    #5 Mike
    The Ogden, UT “raid” is the answer to that. A single guy with a handgun took out the whole team then went and his in his shed.

    BTW, I can’t believe the guy changed his name to Dotcom…

  17. #17 |  February 19 roundup | 

    […] for ‘Secondary’ Copyright Lawsuits” [WSJ Law Blog] SWAT raid on Kiwi copyright scofflaw? [Balko] Despite its editor’s views, NYT finds it hard to avoid breaching copyright laws itself […]

  18. #18 |  ravenshrike | 

    Yo do realize that there was quite a bit of money laundering going on, yes? As in, organized crime. If it was just copyright infringement the HK cops and NZ cops probably wouldn’t have been quite so enthusiastic.

    I do like how he left his wife and kids out of the security room. Class act that is.