The Real Purpose of ACTA – Part Deux

OK, so most of you got the joke. Much to my surprise, some didn’t, and there were some articles referencing my original article who seemed to have taken it very seriously. OK folks – it was a joke. Sort of. Some of it actually was true. My wife did go to England, and she looks much like I described her. But 99% of it was the product of my demented mind. Heck, I even left out the craziest part of how it all had to be done before Sarah Palin was elected President, so it would block her from implementing her policies.

In that article I was trying to make a point. At present, no one can prove that what I wrote is a joke. It could have been real. But because of the secrecy involved with ACTA, there is no documentation to prove that I was lying. None.

So I wrote up a something that would have most conspiracy theorists drooling. And even now, you’ve only got my word that it’s a lie. After all, it could be that Barry Sookman has paid me off <GRIN>.

The Real Purpose of ACTA

The Real Purpose of ACTA

There’s been a lot of coverage of the secretive ACTA negotiations. Or rather there’s been a lot of attempts at coverage. Since the negotiations are secret, the coverage to date has been limited to a very few interviews, where very little was said, and to several leaks of documents.

The problem is that all of the articles that have been published to date are totally wrong, due to a fundamental misunderstanding of what ACTA is really about, a misunderstanding that the countries involved have deliberately let stand. The only truthful statement made about the negotiations so far was by Ambassador Ron Kirk, the head of the United States delegation when he told James Love that people would ‘walk away from the table’ if the text of the treaty negotiations were made public.

So we have a treaty being negotiated under exceptionally secretive conditions. This sent alarm bells ringing in a lot of places. There have been a variety of attempts to get more information using Freedom of Information requests. There have also been questions asked in the European Parliament, Canadian Parliament, United States House of Representatives and United States Senate, none of which have been answered, which has added to the paranoia.

The secret to understanding ACTA (ACTA stands for ‘Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement’) is in understanding the basics of how treaties are normally negotiated. The first point to consider is that trade treaties are usually negotiated in a relatively open manner. They have to be, to ensure that all of the stakeholders have a chance to heard. The ability of all stakeholders, including end users to be heard is what gives this sort of negotiation it’s legitimacy.

This hasn’t happened with ACTA. There has been some consultation with certain industry bodies, however all of the groups involved have had to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements. This was the first indication to me that ACTA isn’t really a trade agreement.

Some further though led to the conclusion that it had to be a cover for something else.

Consider. I’ve been doing research on ACTA for nearly six months. Every article I’ve seen calls it a trade agreement, but the backup information indicates that it can’t be. The public statements made by those supposedly involved in negotiating it have been contradictory in the extreme. One representative will claim that no changes need to be made to existing laws, another will claim that changes will be minimal, and another will imply that changes will be required, but that they are consistent with existing law, none of which makes any sense.

There have been a number of ‘leaks’ of documents supposedly pertaining to ACTA. These documents have also contradicted each other.

So it is obvious that whatever ACTA is, it isn’t a trade agreement. I came to this conclusion before Christmas 2009, but didn’t publish anything at the time, because I had no conclusive proof that it wasn’t a trade agreement. It’s obvious that something was being negotiated, but what?

The situation reminded me of the World War 2 Allied deception plans that were put in place to fool the Germans into thinking that the invasion of Europe would be anywhere other than Normandy.

So if ACTA is a deception plan, what is it hiding?

On February the Second, I dropped my wife off at the airport, for her trip to England. This would be her first trip back since her Mom and Dad moved their family here in 1973. She was really excited to be going back. On Wednesday she sent me an IM. Apparently she had gotten bumped to Business Class (she wasn’t complaining about that of course) and ended up sitting next to a 50ish guy in a suit, who was working away on his laptop. She noticed the word ‘copyright’ on the screen, and as a singer/songwriter copyright is very important to her. She also knows men. She made a quick trip to the loo, and came back with her top rearranged slightly to show her assets (a lot of our friends used to call her Heidi Hooters). She managed to engage the chap in conversation, and found out that he was returning to the UK from Mexico via a stop in Toronto to visit his brother.

This set off alarm bells. She was quite aware of my interest in ACTA (in fact she had been getting sick of hearing about it) and decided to play kitten. Several drinks later (for him, she doesn’t drink) he started to loosen up. Some of what he said she didn’t understand, but she did record it using the microphone and camera on her laptop. Some of what he said didn’t make a lot of sense, as he got drunker and drunker (she was buying, and he apparently appreciated this, and the chance to gaze down her top at her boobs).

The main points I got from her recording were:

  1. ACTA would not require any changes to IP laws. Note that this is impossible if the Treaty actually had anything to do with IP, but he was adamant on this point.
  2. He kept mentioning Prince William. He seemed to thing that Prince William would become King of the United States, as well as England, Canada, Australia, and Mexico.
  3. He was under the impression that no one would accept Prince Charles as King, due to his marriage to a divorced woman, an exceptionally archaic viewpoint as far as I am concerned.
  4. He then confirmed that ACTA would require changes to laws. When she questioned him on this, as he had said earlier that it wouldn’t require changes, he said ‘I said it wouldn’t require changes to IP laws, I didn’t say it wouldn’t require changes to other laws’.
  5. He then proceeded to mumble about how paranoid the Americans were, and how wrong they were about the ‘New World Order.’

Under questioning while he was very drunk indeed he finally admitted the truth. ACTA is not a trade agreement. ACTA is an attempt to replace the United Nations with a new British Empire, based on the model that has worked so well in Canada.

My wife nearly fell over when she heard this. It sounded so incredibly insane. And of course the guy was pretty drunk.

When she got home I viewed the video. The webcam that is incorporated into a MacBook Pro is really pretty good, as is the microphone, and the words were fairly clear.

  1. Charles Windsor would step aside so that his son, William Windsor could become King.
  2. Queen Elizabeth plans to step down shortly from her role as Monarch in favor of her grandson.
  3. The current system, where the King/Queen doesn’t introduce legislation would remain in effect.
  4. The King/Queen would be expected to take a more activist role in rejecting legislation which is harmful to the state and it’s people.
  5. The new ‘British Empire’ would take the place of the United Nations, which has in recent years become far less effective.
  6. The United States and the European Union have already agreed to this. There are concerns by certain states (Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden) which are monarchies, and which do not want their kings and/or queens to be reduced to a second class role. This would be handled by tying the blood lines together through marriage.
  7. Andorra and the Vatican also have issues, due to the structures of their governments, however they would probably take the Swiss route, declaring neutrality, and therefore not joining the new British Empire, but having close relations to it.
  8. Other countries would be invited to join, provided that they accept the basic laws of the Empire, which would include Free Speech rights, etc.

I was aghast at first when I viewed this. But after thinking about it for a while, I think it could work, and work well. And it would give all of the constituent nations (which would remain sovereign) a framework to work together.

I still don’t know what the letters ACTA stand for. Based on some of the mumbling near the end of the video, I think that the actual words are latin, but since my understanding of latin is minimal, I could be wrong.

Wayne Borean

Friday February 19, 2010


Microsoft – Tax Evader Par Excelence

I’m not a tax law expert. I’m especially not a U.S. Law tax expert, Canadian Tax law I know a bit about. However the people over at Microsofttaxdoge.com appear to know a fair bit about the tax laws, specifically in regards to Washington State law. Now they may be a bit biased, but the article ‘Washington to Give Microsoft a $100 Million Annual Tax Cut…and Possible Amnesty on Past Tax Evasion‘, if accurate, is troubling.

Microsoft plays a good game, trying to market their company as a responsible corporate citizen. Using the rules to avoid paying taxes by having an office in another state to collect one type of revenue may be legal (I’m not familiar with the local rules). It may not be legal. But avoiding taxes when your home state as a horrible budget deficit is not the act of a responsible corporate citizen.

Read it. Think about it. There could be 1.2 billion owed, depending upon how the law is interpreted. And the assemblyman responsible for the newest legislation used to work for Microsoft. The optics on this one are really bad.

Wayne Borean

Tuesday February 16, 2010

A New Rant – Microsoft, Ubuntu, Canonical, Novell, and Mono

I was reading Goblin’s latest post at OpenBytes. He had some interesting points, but I thought he was missing a few things. At point I hit four paragraphs in response, I decided to answer him here instead, because I kept on thinking of more things to say. Goblin’s concern is that Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu family of GNU/Linux operating systems, is bringing out a new product called Ubuntu One, and they are going to make a Windows version as well as a Linux version.

Goblin’s is right – Canonical seems to be moving closer to Microsoft, both in supplying a Windows version of Ubuntu One, and because of Canonical’s new search deal with Yahoo. Since  Yahoo has a search deal with Microsoft, Canonical is in effect delivering Microsoft Bing search results to GNU/Linux users.

Now Goblin switched to GNU/Linux to avoid Microsoft, and knowing a bit about Microsoft’s background as a convicted Monopolist, he’s concerned that Microsoft is up to it’s old tricks. But Goblin is missing one major point. Microsoft is incompetent. Totally and utterly incompetent. And it doesn’t appear that Canonical is much better, if at all.

Let’s consider Windows Vista for example. Windows Vista was advertised as the ‘Most secure and advanced Windows yet’ before it’s release. One year after it’s release Microsoft stopped talking about Windows Vista – the only thing it was willing to talk about was Windows 7, which wouldn’t be released until much later, and the reason for this was that Vista was a terrible operating system. It wasn’t much more secure than Windows XP, it was a resource hog, and it broke compatibility with a lot of older software. In fact if you had to run software designed for Windows XP you would have been better off running Xubuntu with WINE installed.

Yes, Microsoft is trying to use it’s monopoly to force everyone else out of the market. They’ve bought several companies recently who produced products for multiple operating systems, and then proceeded to make them Windows only. So sorry, we don’t make a Unix version anymore… The only problem with this sort of action, is that those customers who used the Unix version now know what Microsoft thinks of their business. Nothing. So they aren’t going to buy more Microsoft product. There’s no gain for Microsoft. Oh, strictly Microsoft shops might buy a bit more, but they are becoming rarer, as the advantages of GNU/Linux servers become more evident.

I imagine most of you won’t remember the Hunt Brothers. Those good old boys caused me a lot of trouble when they tried to corner the silver market, and they did it the same way that Microsoft is trying to corner the software market. The Hunts would buy a silver mine, and then shut it down. They did this often enough, that there was a silver shortage, and those of us who used silver in industry were squeezed badly. Silver went from $7.00 US per ounce to $55.00 US per ounce. The only problem was that every time the Hunts closed a mine and the price went up, prospectors went looking for more silver. And they found it, and when those new mines started coming online, the Hunt Brothers didn’t have enough money to buy them all, and the price of silver nose dived like a paralyzed falcon.

Microsoft is in the same situation. They don’t have enough money to buy every software company on the planet. Hell, they probably don’t have money, period. Boycott Novell has been doing some research, and according to what they have seen Microsoft now appears to be in debt. One Microsoft shareholder compared Steve Ballmer, the President, to Bernie Madoff, the Ponzi scam artist.

“During 2007, Apple spent $782 million on R&D, Oracle spent $85 million while Microsoft spent about $7.5 billion. In 2007, Apple annual revenue amounted to $24 billion and net income totaled $3.5 billion,” says Montgomery. “According to 2008 annual report, Apple increased revenue to $32 billion and net income to $4.8 billion. During the same period Microsoft spent $8 billion on R&D and increased revenue from $51 billion to $60 billion. Therefore, Apple has a R&D budget that equates to approximately 10% of Microsoft’s; however, during this period Apple increased revenue by $8 billion and Microsoft increased revenue by $9 billion.” (link here)

For this my thanks to Boycott Novell as well – if Roy hadn’t have posted about it, I would have missed it. The point being that Microsoft is wasting money. Apple spends a tenth of what Microsoft does on R&D, and managed to increase sales by almost the same amount. In 2009 the numbers were even worse, Microsoft sales fell in spite of their massive R&D spend, while Apple sales grew. The United States was suffering the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and Apple sales grew, even though they didn’t spend the R&D dollars that Microsoft did. Doesn’t that tell you something?

Microsoft can limit competition in the marketplace for a short period of time only. This combined with the damage that Microsoft has done to their brand by releasing failures like Windows Vista, which limits the amount of money they can spend on monopolistic practises means that we are probably only five-ten years from seeing a collapse of the company, driven partly by their own incompetence, and partly by the negative image that the Microsoft brand has gained over the last five years. For example Novell made a deal with Microsoft, and Microsoft’s bad reputation has affected Novell’s reputation, to the point where a lot of techs, even those who had used a lot of Novell in the past, will not recommend Novell products anymore. Another example is the migration under way from Yahoo to Google, because of Yahoo’s pending deal with Microsoft.

Ubuntu and the other Gnome based distributions are also suffering a migration. Those of us who dumped Microsoft, and wanted to no longer have to deal with ‘Microsoft Technology’ or lack thereof, weren’t amused when we realized that Gnome was incorporating Microsoft technology into GNU/Linux via Mono. Last summer I wrote an article about Mono titled ‘The Mono Firefight‘ covering the situation as I saw it. Not long after I found out that I’d been added to the ‘Mono Enemies List‘ which I found more than a little bit amusing, and also quite complimentary. I’d definitely struck a nerve. The point that those behind Mono and the Enemies list don’t understand, is that when you make the choice to avoid Microsoft, you want to avoid Microsoft. Instead David ‘Lefty’ Schlesinger thinks that we have no right to decide what we want to run, because we didn’t work on the project. Sorry Lefty. By that argument, I’d be stuck with running GEOS forever, because it was the first GUI I’d ever used…

But Gnome may no longer matter. There are rumours around the net about a ‘New Desktop Foundation.’ The rumour I heard was that this would be a fork of the Gnome desktop, removing all Mono and C# packages. There are enough people who are upset at Ubuntu, Gnome, and Miguel de Icaza (one of the founders of Gnome, and founder of the Mono project, and a Microsoft MVP) that it could possibly be true. I was also told that the use of ‘New’ was deliberate, since in English the pronunciation is the same as the pronunciation of ‘Gnu’.

Things are looking interesting!

Wayne Borean

Monday February 8, 2010

Oink.CD – Oink’s Pink Palace Part Two

This is the second, of a long series of posts about OINK.CD, the music file sharing site run by Alan Ellis, and Alan’s acquittal on charges of Conspiracy to Defraud. My apologies for the delay – I have been trying to obtain information on the case, and while I have obtained some of what I need, I’m still working on getting more.

If you have any documentary information on this case, please contact me. I am especially interested in statements made by the BPI, Police, and other agencies that were involved. I also would like to get copies of the Court Transcripts, and of the Search Warrant that was used.

So, onto the Oink!

The Search Warrant that the police used in the raids is particularly of interest. No one seems willing to supply a copy to me. And you have to start wondering why? A copy had to have been present in court, why won’t anyone supply a hard copy?

Rumours that the Search Warrant mentioned CD Duplication equipment have surfaced, and in one of them a police officer that was at the scene was quoted as being surprised that they didn’t find the CD Duplication equipment that they expected would be the centrepiece of the criminal case. If the police expected to find CD Duplication equipment, and did not, this brings into question how thorough the police investigation was in the first place? Were the police only relying on what the BPI/IFPI told them? And would reliance on the testimony of a trade organization in making out a search warrant even be legal? That also brings into question how thorough the BPI/IFPI investigation was. Did the BPI/IFPI actually expect to find CD Duplication equipment at Alan Ellis’s house and place of business? Or did they know that there wasn’t any, but told the police that there was to obtain their cooperation?

We don’t know. The police are being exceptionally closed mouth about the entire case. When I called them, they tried to refer me to the IFPI. When I explained that I intended to call the IFPI after I had talked to them, and that the IFPI wouldn’t have the information I immediately needed, the person at the Cleveland police station that I talked to (and yes, I know who it was, though I am not publishing their name) got scared. Quite scared. They covered the mouthpiece and started talking to someone else (and yes, I have this name too) but they didn’t do a very good job, and I could hear most of the conversation. The other person was no better off. Neither of them was willing to discuss the case at all. Quite frankly you would have thought that I’d drawn a gun on them instead of a pen.

I’ve also sent emails to Alan Ellis. He hasn’t responded so far, however I suspect that his lawyers have told him to shut up, and keep shut up. Tomorrow I’m calling his lawyers, I am looking forward to their reaction.

Another thing that I want to get copies of are the hosting bills for OINK.CD. The IFPI and the Crown Attorney made a lot of fuss over the supposed 300,000 pounds that had been donated to Oink. But what were the costs of running Oink? The news reports filed by the reporters covering the case have Alan having anywhere between 20,000 pounds and 300,000 pounds in the bank at the time of the raid. If it was 20,000 pounds, and the other 280,000 pounds went to cover hosting costs out of 300,000 pounds collected, that is a good indication that the BPI and IFPI lied from the start when they claimed that Alan was running OINK as a for profit enterprise. Most people aren’t aware of how high hosting costs can be for a large site with lots of members. Oink supposedly had 200,000 members. That’s a lot of web traffic.

Another point – there has been a concerted effort to bury information, particularly press releases. The Cleveland Police have taken down the early press releases from their site, and claim not to be able to supply them. The BPI has also ‘lost’ press releases. The IFPI on the other hand still has them up, and also has up copies of speeches made by IFPI representatives at various functions. These speeches categorize Oink as illegal. Based on the acquittal of Alan Ellis, Oink was probably not illegal. Is the IFPI going to correct those speeches? Are they going to go back to the organizations where those speeches were given and apologize for giving a speech that was full of hyperbole, and incorrect information?

I suspect not.

Anyone who has copies of any of the press releases please email them to me. If you have the Search Warrant, well, that would cause me to start dancing 🙂 If you have any information that has not been published, I would love to get my hands on it. If some of it has to be held back for privacy or other reasons, I will very happily do so. Also I store anything that could possibly be dangerous with my lawyer, who has instructions.

And now I’m finished this, I’m going to plug my Telecaster into the amp, and see if I can blow the window out.

Wayne Borean

Monday February 8, 2010

Should Stephen Harper be Considered a Traitor?

This is a really messy question. Specifically the question came up in regards to the Harper government’s Climate Change policies, or lack thereof. Is an action that damages the country and the citizens of the country, treason?

Technically no. If you check the definition of treason in the Criminal Code of Canada, the definition of treason is far more narrow than that. When you read

PART II

OFFENCES AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER

Treason and other Offences against the Queen’s Authority and Person

High treason

46. (1) Every one commits high treason who, in Canada,

(a) kills or attempts to kill Her Majesty, or does her any bodily harm tending to death or destruction, maims or wounds her, or imprisons or restrains her;

(b) levies war against Canada or does any act preparatory thereto; or

(c) assists an enemy at war with Canada, or any armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are.

Treason

(2) Every one commits treason who, in Canada,

(a) uses force or violence for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Canada or a province;

(b) without lawful authority, communicates or makes available to an agent of a state other than Canada, military or scientific information or any sketch, plan, model, article, note or document of a military or scientific character that he knows or ought to know may be used by that state for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or defence of Canada;

(c) conspires with any person to commit high treason or to do anything mentioned in paragraph (a);

(d) forms an intention to do anything that is high treason or that is mentioned in paragraph (a) and manifests that intention by an overt act; or

(e) conspires with any person to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) or forms an intention to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) and manifests that intention by an overt act.

Canadian citizen

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1) or (2), a Canadian citizen or a person who owes allegiance to Her Majesty in right of Canada,

(a) commits high treason if, while in or out of Canada, he does anything mentioned in subsection (1); or

(b) commits treason if, while in or out of Canada, he does anything mentioned in subsection (2).

Overt act

(4) Where it is treason to conspire with any person, the act of conspiring is an overt act of treason.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 46; 1974-75-76, c. 105, s. 2.

Punishment for high treason

47. (1) Every one who commits high treason is guilty of an indictable offence and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life.

Punishment for treason

(2) Every one who commits treason is guilty of an indictable offence and liable

(a) to be sentenced to imprisonment for life if he is guilty of an offence under paragraph 46(2)(a), (c) or (d);

(b) to be sentenced to imprisonment for life if he is guilty of an offence under paragraph 46(2)(b) or (e) committed while a state of war exists between Canada and another country; or

(c) to be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years if he is guilty of an offence under paragraph 46(2)(b) or (e) committed while no state of war exists between Canada and another country.

Corroboration

(3) No person shall be convicted of high treason or treason on the evidence of only one witness, unless the evidence of that witness is corroborated in a material particular by evidence that implicates the accused.

Minimum punishment

(4) For the purposes of Part XXIII, the sentence of imprisonment for life prescribed by subsection (1) is a minimum punishment.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 47; 1974-75-76, c. 105, s. 2.

Limitation

48. (1) No proceedings for an offence of treason as defined by paragraph 46(2)(a) shall be commenced more than three years after the time when the offence is alleged to have been committed.

Information for treasonable words

(2) No proceedings shall be commenced under section 47 in respect of an overt act of treason expressed or declared by open and considered speech unless

(a) an information setting out the overt act and the words by which it was expressed or declared is laid under oath before a justice within six days after the time when the words are alleged to have been spoken; and

(b) a warrant for the arrest of the accused is issued within ten days after the time when the information is laid.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 48; 1974-75-76, c. 105, s. 29.

The definition of Treason is a very narrow one. It is legal for the Prime Minister to cause tremendous damage to the country according to the criminal code.

Is this right?

I personally do not believe so. Consider the supposed Climate Change debate. A close investigation will reveal that it is not a debate. Instead it is an attempt by Fossil Fuel companies to sue confusion in the electorate, because if actions are taken to combat Climate Change, their profits will suffer. Any Prime Minister who damages the country, by working with the Fossil Fuel corporations against the citizens of the country, is guilty of Treason in my opinion.

I do not expect this to be a popular viewpoint. Both of the major opposition parties also depend upon corporate donations, and thus tend to be soft on Climate Change as well.

Wayne Borean

Sunday February 7, 2010