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Don't Hold Your Breath

Seventeen days from now you're going to get a whiff of something incredibly foul.

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It was amusing to witness the reactions of open sorcerers to the first news of the SCO lawsuit against IBM. Most of them really thought there was something to discuss - as if anyone who could get Darl's ear would probably be able to convince him they were factually wrong and for the good of all concerned should drop the suit.

And that's pretty naïve. Darl never believed shit and it didn't matter what he did believe. He was Microsoft's monkey and his sole task was to harass open source and anyone connected with it - especially industry giant IBM.

They're still doing it to this day. Discussing the SCO suit that is. IBM never worried about accuracy or anything like that. They just took out their mafia legal eagles and settled down for the siege. No surprise who won.

There might be others of the same ilk out there who are hoping for a victory for The Pirate Bay in the trial that starts tomorrow in Stockholm. Don't hold your breath. This trial is no more about right and wrong than the SCO lawsuit was. This trial is instead a classic example of how the powers that be try to slide something by the public under the guise of 'justice'.

Try to remember how it all started. Representatives of the Swedish government were summoned to Washington. The White House. They were summoned. This is the same group of people who couldn't be bothered reacting to the tsunami in Southeast Asia - the prime minister who was in the country in his cottage and just couldn't be bothered and the minister sitting at the theatre when the call came in and told the callers they'd have to wait tsunami or no - she bought those theatre tickets months earlier and she was going to enjoy her play goddammit.

And legally they didn't have to do a thing. By law they were off the hook: people out there in Southeast Asia were on their own. By law. But then all the other countries got involved, a Swedish travel bureau chartered a plane and medical help, and so forth. They decided to get involved to preserve their relations with other countries and to not lose too much face to their own constituency.

Anyway: that's the same government. But in matters concerning The Pirate Bay they never hesitated. They skedaddled to Washington when the Bushies called. Oh did they ever.

The Bushies in turn were made to perspire by the MPAA and the RIAA who put inordinate pressure on them. There's a thing in the US called lobbying. It's a legal form of bribery and coercion. What did the MPAA and the RIAA want from the Bushies? They wanted the Bushies to pressure the Swedish government to shut down The Pirate Bay.

So the Swedes come back to Stockholm shaking like nuts on a palm tree in a tsunami. They have a big problem: what The Pirate Bay are doing isn't illegal. Not in Sweden. And of course this is what has the MPAA and the RIAA pissed off all along. So how do you shut someone down for illegal activities when they're not doing anything illegal?

Time to call in the number one Rotweiler. Håkan Roswall. State prosecutor. Specialist in computer crimes. Simultaneously notorious for being a complete boob when it comes to computer technology and even more for his documented disregard for what is right and wrong - if Håkan decides he has to get you he doesn't give a shit whether you're innocent - he'll destroy you anyway if he can.

He's the perfect attack dog for the wimpy Swedish cabinet. So then attorney general Thomas Bodström has to do something else that's illegal: he has to approach Håkan Roswall and tell him how to do his job. He has to tell him whom to go after and how to go about it.

This is highly illegal in Sweden where it's called ministerstyre - politicians are forbidden by law from interfering in the work of the police, the prosecutor's office, and so forth. And this was pointed out in the media at the time when it became known and the Swedish government did their best to bury the story.

It's at this point even the most hopelessly naïve person should realise it's never been about right and wrong. The Swedish government were under unbelievable pressure to get something done. The MPAA and the RIAA don't give a shit if something they're asking for is illegal - they want it done. Today.

Håkan Roswall went in a like a bull in a china shop three years ago this May. Three years. Like a tsunami. He's been holding half the planet's computer equipment hostage ever since. If you doubt this makes a big difference to the innocent then think again. A girl one of the founders of The Pirate Bay had known three years earlier and had dinner with on one or two occasions got busted too. All her electronic equipment was seized. It didn't matter one iota to Håkan Roswall that she hadn't met the guy for three years. Bust 'em all is Håkan Roswall's policy. He doesn't give a shit either.

What Håkan Roswall has to do is convince a court what The Pirate Bay are doing is illegal even though it's not. Actually he may not have to do that much convincing as the officers of the court have also been instructed by now by the new Swedish government: convict or we're all screwed. The one thing they're all aware they have to do is make the whole thing plausible to the Swedish public and the world at large. Scams like this don't generally require a real good show for the peanut gallery - a halfway decent show is adequate. By tomorrow most people will have forgot about it all anyway. But on the day of the verdict things must look good.

That's their task. This was never about right or wrong. The Swedish government know they have to convict. They've been ordered to shut down The Pirate Bay by the US government. They have to do it. What remains to be seen is how bad they come out smelling when it's all over.

Start holding your breath now and you're going to get a whiff of something incredibly foul in seventeen days.

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