Thousands of volunteering and self-organizing detectives have been meticulously laying a puzzle that reveals the Gox billion-dollar heist as an inside job. As smoke clears on the implosion of the Empty Gox bitcoin exchange, thousands of people in the community committed to revealing the truth behind the stonewalling exchange. What was claimed first to be a technical problem, then an outside theft, has been conclusively determined that the MtGox management knew too much, too long ago, to have this be an ordinary case of theft.
There are still many question marks remaining surrounding the missing 744,408 bitcoin at Empty Gox, valued at their peak to just under one billion US dollars, and which are well north of that in replacement value on the open market today. What’s becoming clear, though, is that this wasn’t a theft that properly shut down operations as soon as it was discovered. Instead, Empty Gox and its CEO Mark Karpeles appear to have attempted to benefit and profit from it. That would cross the line into criminal complicity, even if they were not part of the original loss – something that also remains an open question.
At this point, there are two outstanding principal questions:
- Who took the money?
- When was the money taken?
Let’s address the second question first and get the timeline in order, because it completes a lot of the puzzle. I have written before that it would be absolutely impossible to not notice the loss of one billion dollars from company assets, unless you were actively cooking the books to hide a gaping hole where a billion should have been. As it turns out, it seems such fraudulent cooking is exactly what has taken place.
An attempt at a timeline
Many different people have been working diligently to put together a timeline of events. Here’s an attempt to summarize the most important and credible ones.
June 2011 – the first possible time when the bitcoin in question might actually have disappeared (Jesse Powell). If true, Empty Gox has been operating with a lack of assets since, attempting to gradually cover the huge hole in its assets though operating profits. This would explain why there aren’t any books or balance sheets at all (Roger Ver), since making them would disclose the empty vault. Obviously, failing to disclose this would probably be at least criminal neglect toward shareholders, and quite possibly toward financial authorities as well.
June 23, 2011 – Under pressure to prove solvency, Karpeles moves a very specific huge amount of money (424,242 bitcoin) from one wallet to another. Thus, we know that he was in control of the target wallet of this transaction at this time, and can trace the funds forward from that point in time.
May 2, 2013 – Empty Gox was sued by CoinLab for 75 million USD for breach of contract. For unknown reasons, Gox failed to fulfill obligations to provide server access, resulting in a startup-crushing financial liability for failing to deliver. (Rob Banagale)
(Interestingly, there’s a massive selloff of 750,000 coins at an average price of about 100, totalling $75M, just following this event, suggesting customer coins were fraudulently sold to cover Gox liabilities. However, such a move wouldn’t make sense from a funding perspective, as it doesn’t change the amount customers have deposited in the exchange – if there was $75M deposited already, that could be used directly without a selloff; if there wasn’t, it would not magically appear because Gox sold customers’ coins on their own exchange.)
Summer 2013 – First Gox competitors get a significant foothold in the exchange market. Trading volume at Empty Gox, and therefore income from commissions, drops to one-third of pre-April levels.
August 2013 – First rumors that everything isn’t financially well with Empty Gox. Trouble with US Dollar withdrawals due to August 13 seizure of funds by US government. Nothing solid at this point, but in hindsight, this is when the game of musical chairs started (Weiner). The fractional reserve that was initiated some time 2011 has been holding up until this point.
September 10, 2013 – Empty Gox countersues CoinLab for five million US dollars in cash, which appears to have been withheld by CoinLab for some reason in a way Gox didn’t agree with. That would indicate Gox is now very short on cash. (Banagale)
October 20, 2013 – First report of a withdrawal from Empty Gox that didn’t go through, like an ATM executing a withdrawal but not dispensing any money. The stuck withdrawals are technically diagnosed by the community to be caused by an attempt at Empty Gox of spending the same money twice, which suggests that the Gox software believes it has money that it actually doesn’t. This is the date when Empty Gox management, at the latest point possible, must have been acutely aware that it was unable to serve withdrawals due to lack of funds. (Bryce Weiner)
November 26, 2013 – Last known transaction of the chain directly descending from the proof-of-solvency in June 2011 (easily manually traceable). On this date, Gox was able to access the cold storage that was used earlier, at least partially negating a “lost keys” theory.
December 2013 – People’s Bank of China announces an end to Chinese bitcoin trading by February 1, 2014. This causes Chinese to withdraw from Empty Gox in large numbers, depleting the reserves.
January 2014 – I try to empty my account at Gox. Bitcoin withdrawals are not coming through. It’s like emptying your account at an ATM but only getting dispensed a fraction of the money out of what was listed as withdrawn. Still not a large issue in the forums; you have to dig deep to find some technical discussion threads analyzing the withdrawal problems. Complaints to Gox get answered well after a week, at which point the balance is restored, and new withdrawals fail the same way. Rinse and repeat.
February 1, 2014 – Following the People’s Bank of China edict that times out on February 1, the amount of stuck withdrawals at Gox goes stratospheric enough for independent people to start tracking them on charts for debugging purposes.
February 4, 2014 – I publish my “38 million dollars missing at Gox” article, which is the first article to convert the question from a technical to a financial one, as far as I know. Several people would contact me after that article and hint that the situation was much worse than I could imagine.
February 7, 2014 – Gox shuts down bitcoin withdrawals entirely, citing technical problems and promising more information on February 10, a Monday.
February 9, 2014 – First recorded event of a so-called “transaction malleability attack” against the bitcoin blockchain, which Gox will blame the following day for all its ongoing problems. This contrasts with the fact that failed withdrawals occurred as early as October 20, 2013. (Weiner)
February 10, 2014 – Gox issues a press release explaining their halted withdrawals blaming problems with the bitcoin protocol as such, due to so-called “transaction malleability attacks”, and that they are working to solve the problem. This is immediately identitied as technical bullshit by a number of heavy names, plus myself.
February 15-17, 2014 – Empty Gox issues various “we’re working on it” updates, and gradually shuts down the exchange further, halting trading for six hours on February 15 for alleged maintenance and debugging. Gox promises an update on February 20.
February 19, 2014 – Gox moves to new offices according to a press release. The new address is a small virtual office in a rent-a-room business building in Tokyo, Cerulean Towers. Many in the community question the timing – you don’t move offices in the middle of a company existential crisis.
February 20, 2014 – Empty Gox issues a non-update to the situation, blaming delays caused by the office move, not giving a date for when its next update will follow. A few hours prior, there had been a massive selloff of coins on Gox, sending the price from $300 to $150, strongly suggesting insider trade (read: obviously showing).
Through February – People observing Gox actions remain hopeful at the slightest activity that things will sort out well in the end; some technical developments do take place. Meanwhile, the exchange rate of bitcoin tanks, especially on Empty Gox which is now isolated from the rest of the bitcoin economy. The exchange rate plummets from $1,000 per coin to sub-$100 per coin on Gox, and to about $600 on other exchanges. Allegedly, Karpeles is acting to profit personally from this difference in price, which is directly caused by his own mismanagement and shareholder deception, through active arbitrage (Selkis).
…Karpeles knew about the pervasive damage of the transaction malleability attacks for several weeks and was engaging in an arbitrage scheme that leveraged the depressed Mt. Gox price to reap gains on other exchanges. This was allegedly happening well before [February 25].
February 24, 2014 – A crisis strategy draft leaks, courtesy of Ryan Selkis, that indicates there has been a leak from Gox’ cold storage, leaving a hole of 744,408 bitcoin. As Andreas Antonopoulos points out, a “leak” from “cold storage” is a contradiction in terms: that means it either wasn’t a leak or it wasn’t cold storage. This document makes it clear that Empty Gox management knew that the problem wasn’t technical, and that they knew well what was going on:
For several weeks, MtGox customers have been affected by bitcoin withdrawal issues that compounded on themselves. Publicly, MtGox declared […technical problems with the bitcoin protocol…]. […] The truth is that the damage had already been done. At this point 744,408 bitcoin are missing…
February 25, 2014 – Empty Gox website goes completely blank. The music stops. This is consistent with the timeline presented in the “Crisis Strategy Draft” leaked the day before. The bitcoin exchange rate plummets to $400 per coin.
February 26, 2014 – The exchange rate of bitcoin has recovered completely from the shock of Empty Gox closing, back up to $600 per coin. Erik Voorhees notes that the bitcoin price fell less after the Gox implosion than the US equities fell after the Lehman implosion, which puts things in perspective. (Voorhees)
February 26, 2014 – Mark Karpeles posts a statement on the Gox website stating he is still in Japan and working to resolve the “recent issues” (see screenshot).
February 27, 2014 – Mark Karpeles’ neighbors say he moved out of his apartment in Tokyo a month ago (Kolin Burges).
February 27, 2014 – The 2014-2017 business plan of Gox leaks, courtesy of Ryan Selkis. It confirms the leaked document from February 24, and notably lacks any balance sheet. It reads very much like a prospectus aimed at courting buyers.
February 28, 2014 – Empty Gox files for bankruptcy protection, according to the Wall Street Journal (breaking at the time of writing).
This timeline, when seen from a zoomed-out perspective like this, paints a clear picture of a company – or at least a management – that was well aware of an insolvency, trying to actively deceive the community and shareholders, and profit personally from doing so.
Who took the money?
So, the trillion-dollar question: who took the money? Strictly speaking, we don’t know that yet. We’re talking about a sum of money so large that “humongous” and “enormous” aren’t sufficient to describe it – it’s 6% of all bitcoin in existence, and assuming bitcoin keeps growing to its potential, that means one individual is sitting on 6% of the world’s future trade and retail currency supply. In today’s USD value, such an amount would be on the order of 20 trillion US dollars, or roughly 250 times the fortune of today’s richest billionaire. It’s not exactly hard to see a motive here.
If this happened in the 2011 hack, then frankly, we have no idea. There are rumors floating around that Karpeles just lost the keys to the vault, that Gox has money stashed away, that the billion dollars are “temporarily unavailable”, and while an admirable theory to get hopes up that those keys may be found again, the zoomed-out picture says very clearly no such thing has happened. Somebody managing a company like this and treating it like his personal toy would have a personality that could well hint at all the money being just around the corner if you would only make a few more trades, acting just like any Prince of Nigeria. There is also unconfirmed research suggesting that Karpeles is in personal control of a very large amount of bitcoin (about 90,000) once used in the operations of Empty Gox; this research can be expected to be peer reviewed over the coming days. But no matter whether Karpeles personally robbed Gox blind, or profited personally on continuous deception from somebody else doing so in 2011 while deceiving clients and shareholders, it is clearly over the line into criminal territory and definition of an inside job.
In order to further boost hope in returning the money, there have been rumors of a buyout, apparently planted by Karpeles himself. Such rumors, getting hopes up that the client funds would be restored, turned out to be nothing but delusional bailout dreams from CEO Karpeles, as I predicted in my last article – while I understand the hopes of a competent management buying Gox, as I wrote, that’s a contradiction in terms. No competent management is going to go anywhere near this toxic crater. Instead, as revealed by bitcoin entrepreneur Ryan “Two-Bit Idiot” Selkis, once the businesses thus approached understood the magnitude of fraudulent mismanagement, they immediately notified authorities.
The silence from MtGox in general and its CEO Mark Karpeles in particular is stunning – and concerning – in this situation. A billion US dollars of clients’ money is missing, and the only public statement amounts to “stop asking us questions”.
In the first and only interview so far after the still-officially-unexplained shutdown, which has already led to multiple tragic suicides over the loss of fortunes, CEO Mark Karpeles responded to questions with a picture of his cat. This means that the communications skills from MtGox and Karpeles are either so carefully orchestrated here that only an experienced genius would understand them, or so incompetent that it falls below any description. Take a guess which is more probable.
According to research by Bryce Weiner, Karpeles himself is the person who took the funds, and this happened in 2011, which would be consistent with the observation by Jesse Powell (Weiner): “There’s nothing to indicate that Empty Gox was ever solvent.” While the timeline doesn’t conclusively show that Karpeles himself is behind the original disappearance of funds, it does show clear complicity in profiting from the heist.
As this article is almost finished, the Wall Street Journal reports that Empty Gox has just filed for bankruptcy.
According to an anonymous high-profile source, the first and original bitcoin scam was the online coin wallet Mybitcoin.com. People would deposit hundreds of thousands of coins there, as the currency was new and hundreds of thousands of coins weren’t yet worth a lot.
Then, on July 29, 2011, the site went blank, just like the Gox website did. People panicked and gradually accepted a catastrophic loss of funds.
On August 11, 14 days later, the site came back online and declared – just like Gox – that they “had been hacked”, had filed for bankruptcy protection, just like Gox, but “had managed to recover” 49% of the funds. People could fill out claim forms to recover these funds – 49% of their original balance. As this was enough time for most people to internalize the loss, they were happy again at the sudden windfall; things suddenly weren’t as bad as they had seemed. In the meantime, the anonymous person who ran mybitcoin.com disappeared with a huge amount of money, according to the source.
In other words, the scam cynically exploited people’s loss and grief to actually make them happy when they got something back. Most “hacks” of bitcoin sites since then have actually been copycat scams of mybitcoin.com, again according to this source. If – repeat, if Empty Gox is executing a copycat scam, we should expect the site to offer their clients a portion of the holdings back, a portion probably lower than 50% (just to drive the point home), and that offer should appear on or about March 11, 2014. Time will tell.
The one key difference between mybitcoin.com and MtGox would be that Mark Karpeles is not anonymous, which would make for a very poor execution of a copycat scam.
Live Updates Below
According to Associated Press, Assange’s lawyers (Thomas Olsson and Per E Samuelsson) will appeal today’s verdict.
The official verdict from the Stockholm District Court, in English, is here.
(No more news from today’s hearing. Liveblog ends.)
It would increasingly appear as though Julian Assange’s actual crime was “pissing off the United States”, just like the operators of The Pirate Bay. The Defense was walking all over the Prosecution in this hearing, literally quoting chapter and verse to show on the record that they are – and I am not exaggerating – criminally lazy on the job.
VERDICT: Julian Assange is to REMAIN in detention in absentia. Just announced.
According to side-channels from the Court to Swedish media, the verdict will probably be further delayed: “18:00 at earliest”. This is, of course, just a qualified guess.
It’s also important to remember that a lifted detention in absentia does not, repeat not, mean a closed or dismissed case. It does, however, mean that the Prosecution will have to deal respectfully with Assange without being able to restrict his movement in the continued investigation. If there is any.
The press conference has still not started, despite being announced to start at 17:00.
It’s been my consistent impression that the Defense was just steamrolling all over the Prosecution in this hearing. But this is a political trial, and I’ve seen those before. In those, common sense don’t apply, and the victor can be predetermined and therefore spit gibberish in the hearings if they like, they’ll still win.
Regardless of appeals, if this court lifts its previous detention in absentia, it’s undoubtedly a brighter picture even on appeal. Still waiting for a verdict.
It’s unclear whether and how this verdict (continued or discontinued detention) can be appealed, considering the Stockholm District Court issued the detention in absentia in the first place. If the same court lifts its previous order, how can that be appealed, and what are the precise mechanisms? Unsure.
Press conference in Stockholm District Court, announcing the verdict, is about to start.
Hearings are over [as of about 16:20]. The court closes its doors for deliberations.
Prosecution, final statement: “The European Arrest Warrant did in no way prevent Assange from coming to Sweden. Quite the opposite, it would have made sure he traveled to Sweden. While this may have been a question of form and comfort rather than actual destination, the EAW did not prevent Assange from traveling to Sweden as such.”
Defense: “This case also breaks three other Swedish judicial principles. One, use of force must not only be necessary and in the public interest. Two, it must also be effective, and the use of force must cease when it is no longer effective. In this case, the rules say, the detention shall – shall – be lifted. There’s also the question whether a continued detention is even legal. The court approved a detention because of a flight risk, which was a legitimate reason. However, we know now that this is no longer valid. It cannot be effectuated. The only reason for the Prosecution to keep him detained at this point is to pressure him into abandoning his right to asylum – and this is not legal. Detention may never be used against a defendant to force them into admitting guilt or to make them surrender rights. Third, the proportionality principle: no matter what happens, a continued detention has no positive effects for the Swedish state nor for this case, but it has enormous negative effects for Assange.”
Defense plays back clips from Fox News and other channels with political commentators stating Assange should be assassinated, calling him a terrorist, an enemy of the state, his organization a “weapon of mass destruction”, illustrating a clear and present danger to his person justifying political asylum. Defense argues that this shows clearly that Assange needs to exercise his political asylum, without that action being motivated by evading Swedish law. [UPDATED: Added link to video shown by Defense]
Defense: “I’d like to play back this clip.” / Court: “That’s not possible. There’s a sound cable missing. Defense didn’t inform they’d be playing sound, just video.” Court starts digging through drawers looking for a sound cable for several minutes.
Defense: “In an excerpt from Ecuador’s granting of asylum … it becomes clear that Ecuador is protecting Assange from Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Australia, from persecution in the United States. This has absolutely nothing to do with a Swedish legal case. The conclusion is that the assertion from the Prosecution that Assange only has himself to blame is nonsense on a pure legal basis; there are good reasons for political asylum which Ecuador has listed.”
Defense: “In the UN Declaration of Human Rights, it’s clear that political asylum is not just a right to apply for, but also a right to enjoy and exercise, once granted. It’s absolutely clear that Prosecution’s points are in complete violation with international law.”
Defense: “Applying for political asylum – is this even something reasonably encompassed in the concept of flight risk? First, you have to separate the application for asylum, and it actually being granted. If somebody is actively evading the law on their own, that’s one thing, but this is not what’s happened here. Assange can’t give himself this asylum. Prosecution is plain wrong in saying Assange did this on his own. He applied for political asylum, but a sovereign country granted it to him. That’s a legitimate mechanism. Granting somebody asylum can’t with any reason be construed to aid and abet a fugitive, of being a flight risk in the legal sense. International law requires respect for the institution of political asylum.”
Defense: “Then what legal relevance does it have where the fingers are pointed? Prosecution is pointing at Assange, who applied for political asylum. We’re pointing at the Prosecution. It’s the Prosecution who have a duty under law to be active in an investigation, and not the defendant.“
Defense: “By staying in the embassy, Assange has evaded British police and prevented effecutation of the detention, claims the Prosecution. He has chosen to stay in the embassy, they say. I’m not yet at that point, at proportionality. Rather, does the Prosecution have a legal right to stay passive? The answer, legally, is no. Prosecution is breaking the law in their handling of this case.”
Defense: “The prosecution is actively choosing to refrain from completing the investigation, with the justification that “Assange must come to Sweden for a trial or jail anyway” — this is a behavior that’s disgraceful for the Prosecution. This is not up the Prosecution. A sentence is communicated by a Court, and not by the Prosecution.”
Defense: “Since Assange has been granted political asylum, force can no longer be applied. The Court must lift the detention, and thereby force the Prosecution to move ahead with the investigation as a case where the defendant has freedom to roam.”
Defense: “What else? Well, this weakens the Defense, too. Björn Hurtig asked for hearings in London in fall 2010. We asked the same July 4 2012 in a mail, and repeated it in an in-person meeting. If the Prosecution had done what they were legally obliged to do all along, we [the Defense] would also be able to see the entire case by now. The behavior of the Prosecution is damaging the ability for Assange to mount a legal defense, which is his right. Passivity on the behalf of the Prosecution is not acceptable.”
Defense: “Hearings must be held in a time and place which brings the least inconvenience to the heard, unless there is significant danger to the investigation. This is a hard and fast law, and it is no secret at all where Assange is located. Prosecution is choosing to break this law.”
Defense: “This investigation is in the exact same state today, in 2014, as it was four years ago, in 2010. This can lead to one or more hearings. But it’s not a complex investigation. After this hearing, it’s time for the Prosecution to decide whether to press charges or not. The fact that this has not moved at all in four years is due to the facts that Attorney Olsson [the other defense attorney] just enumerated: detention for one and a half years, and a political asylum with deadlock for two years. We are at a de-facto deadlock. The only action Prosecution intends to take is to wait out the arrest warrant and wait for Assange to be brought to Sweden. My question to this court: is the Prosecution even formally allowed to just sit down and wait, doing nothing? The response is a clear and resounding NO: This kind of passiveness is not allowed beacuse of actions on behalf of the defendant, in particular not within their legal rights. What duty does the Proseuction have to drive the investigation forward, rather than staying passive, offering nothing but a continued deadlock? Who bears the responsibility? The Court must carry this responsibility, for the Prosecution has shown no intention whatsoever to execute anything but passiveness in this case. The basic fault in the thought process with the Prosecution is that they’re just pointing fingers and find it possible to sit down and do absolutely nothing, which is in violation of the right to a speedy trial [“skyndsamhetskrav”] in the law.”
Court has resumed [at 15:20]. Because of connectivity issues in the courtroom, the timestamps won’t match – they’re spread out from 15:20 onward, in reality. They’re posted after recess because the courtroom prevented mobile phone signals.
The court takes a twenty-minute break.
Defense repeats earlier points that Prosecution must have understood that Assange can’t stay in Sweden forever, and that Assange can be hard to reach, and hammers home the point that absolutely nothing in this justifies the use of force that Prosecution has applied.
Defense: “There’s a completely unreasonable dragging-out of time here, causing significant harm to Assange. It has been in everybody’s interest to just go there and hear him, but this hasn’t even been tried.”
Defense accuses Prosecution of being plain lazy in not going to London to hear Assange. “It’s too much work.”
Defense compares to a case where somebody was suspected of genocide, a much more serious crime, and had been detained for three years. This had been appealed to the European Court of Justice, and after three years, the case was dropped because the defendant had not had a speedy trial. This case has now dragged on for three and a half years. “If he hadn’t complained to the ECJ, he wouldn’t have been detained for three years, so it’s his own fault”, by the Prosecution’s logic. However, the Supreme Court is brutal in its verdict that a person exhausting their legal options cannot and must not be held against them.
Defense: “Assange was granted political asylum by Ecuador on August 16, 2012. There has been a clear and present danger in the form of threats from the United States, ranging from extradition to plain assassination and execution. The United Kingdom is bound to respect Ecuador’s asylum. Assange has been on the Ecuadorian embassy since June 19, 2012, which has cost the British [enormous amount] and which the British is starting to consider Sweden liable for. In all this time, Assange has not even been able to go outdoors, something normally considered a human right – even detainees in jail are given outdoors time. However, since Assange has shown no intention of surrendering his asylum, there is no purpose to continued detention: it serves no purpose and must therefore be lifted. Assange has a full legal right to maintain his political asylum, and therefore, the detention serves no further purpose. This has now dragged on for three years and six months. In this time, in all this time, Assange has been restrained in various ways, everything from jail to something resembling a permanent house arrest.”
Defense: “During these one and a half years, Assange has not been able to maintain a normal life. This is not a British citizen but an Australian citizen. He has been unable to have an income, unable to keep in touch with his family. He has been trapped in a foreign country, unable to fulfill professional or social obligations. Prosecution has used very unusual force in locking Assange in London in this way.”
Defense: “During these one and a half years, Assange’s freedom was severely restricted: he was unable to travel, unable to see his family, and unable to have an income, and this was solely use to Prosecution’s actions and use of force. It is clear to the Defense that the Prosecution has been obligated to go to London and hear him: Assange has been unable to travel to Sweden because of Prosecution’s very actions. Defense refers to a case where the prosecution says it’s “impractical” to hear a defendent abroad, coming across as plain lazy. This case was struck down by the Supreme Court for the specific reason that the defendant had repeatedly invited Prosecution to hear him on location. Defense draws clear and direct parallels to this case, except this case is much more serious with disproportionate effects.
Defense: “On December 7, Assange was apprehended and detained in London. From December 16, he was electronically shackled with an obligation to report daily to a police station. He was in partial house arrest. He had had his passport rescinded, and had been ordered by a court to not acquire travel documents. So from December 7, 2010, until June 14, 2012, Assange had no practical possibility of coming to Sweden for a hearing. Prosecution’s argument that Julian could have let himself be arrested is nonsense; an accused always has a right to exhaust their legal options, and this must never be held against them.”
Defense: “There has never ever been a statement from Assange to refuse a hearing.”
Defense: “It’s easy to see, looking at the time frame leading up to September 27, that Assange has showed up to a hearing, has stayed in Sweden, has asked the prosecution whether there would be a problem leaving Sweden, and that Assange could not stay in Sweden indefinitely waiting for whatever the Prosecution was doing. Nowhere here is there anything constituting anything resembling a flight risk (in the legal sense). Also, there was nothing preventing Prosecution and Assange to agree on a date for a hearing, and there was a tentative date set in October. It’s correct that it was hard to reach Assange. But this was a PRACTICAL matter, which does never constitute a flight risk. Flight risk must be based on intent of flight, not practical difficulties.“
Defense: “Assange leaving Sweden on September 27, 2010 was planned well in advance and was based on a planned keynote in Berlin, and was not related to this case or any imaginary flight risk.”
Defense enumerates the threat situations against Assange, and shows an article from [UPDATED:] Washington Times with the headline “Assassinate Assange”, with his face against a target with blood spilling out the back of his head. Defense argues that it’s beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a clear and present danger against Assange’s person, and that he has reason to fear being abducted to the United States and fear for his health, liberty, and even life. By reason of this, Defense argues, Assange has a good and valid reason to be careful to announce his whereabouts at all times, and that this had absolutely nothing to do with this case. [UPDATED: Clarified “American media” to “Washington Times”, which was named in hearing and stated to be a well-known publication; linked to article and its graphics; and added “blood out the back of his head” describing graphic, which was said in hearings but not initially noted here]
Defense: “One can clearly see that when these charges were filed, including when the decision was made to re-open some dismissed charges, Assange was visiting Sweden. He’s an Australian citizen and well known; it comes to a surprise to no one that he does a lot of travel and works internationally. Therefore, it’s unreasonable to assume that Assange had no need whatsoever to leave the country to do ordinary work. Still, Assange deliberately chose to stay in Sweden and showed up to the first hearing on August 30 . He shows no flight tendencies whatsoever. After that point, Assange stayed in Sweden until September 27. There were a few contacts between Prosecution and Defense in this time frame, when Defense asked if there was anything preventing Assange from leaving the country. Therefore, Prosecution was well aware that Assange had an interest in international travel.”
Defense: “Prosecution hasn’t taken any action that would indicate this is a matter of a serious nature. Even if there would be a public interest to theoretically move ahead with all charges ever filed, the nature of this case clearly shows that the ends can’t justify the means.”
Defense: “As for how these allegations were originally filed, there are considerable irregularities. The intention of the original accusers were NOT to press charges but something completely different, and there is considerable doubt whether the alleged actions even constitute a criminal act.”
Defense: “As for the flight risk: this may be acceptable as an argument in the general case. However, in this case specifically, there are several facts talking against a public interest of allowing any means imaginable to conduct this investigation, in particular the unacceptable time elapsed. First, the allegations are not one of the more serious crimes in the Swedish Law. We’re not talking about murder, genocide or terrorism. The Court must consider that the severity of the alleged crimes presented by the Prosecution is limited, and can’t justify any arbitrary use of force against a suspect.”
Defense: “The third principle is the principle of expedience, saying that any accused has the right to a speedy trial. These three principles are pillars in a democratic state. Putting a suspect in detention during the entire investigation would be considered by many to be considerably more use of force than sentencing somebody to jail following a trial – and, importantly: detention is only allowed to be used as an exceptional tool. It is not allowed to be used to be used by Prosecution and Police as a general rule or to get less work.”
Defense criticizes Prosecution that any unclarity must speak to the favor of the defendant, rather than in favor of use of more force.
Defense criticizes Prosecution that they haven’t justified how a continued detention remains in the public interest (European Convention on Human Rights specifies that a restriction in freedom must be necessary, effective, and proportionate).
Defense calls on European Convention on Human Rights point 5.3, the presumtion of innocence.
Defense: “There are three principles here. The necessity and proportionality principles, being applicable on the detention themselves, but also on the effectuation of this detention. Defense argues that you can’t effecutate a detention by any means available [letting the ends justify the means] but must evaluate whether the means applied must be evaluated whether they are proportionate to the presumed gains.”
Defense: “We claim this detention must be lifted. Is it reasonable to keep Assange detained given these circumstances? Prosecution brings up three issues, and in combination, Defense means they lead to unreasonable consequences. The first is the time passed. In Assange’s case, it’s the lack of progress in the case that has the real effect [and not an arbitrary day count in jail]. The second is the effects to Assange’s personal situation and the restrictions on his freedom, in real effect. The third is how the case has been handled by the Prosecution, and specificially, the Prosecution’s refusal to go to London to hear Assange.
Prosecution compares to other cases which appear peripheral to the argumentation. Prosecution closes: “There are no reasons whatsoever to re-evaluate this detention. There is a clear and present flight risk and we don’t consider a continued detention disproportionate.”
Prosecution: “We do not consider a continued detention disproportionate. Assange has not been formally detained more than ten days; he has chosen to restrict his own freedom over and above in Ecuador’s embassy in London, but we argue that the time detained should count as the ten days in British jail. His time in the embassy is not a restriction of freedom effected and under control of the State.”
Prosecution: “We have tried the question of hearing Assange in London and dismissed the idea as not effective.”
Prosecution: “We would not be able to conduct a secure and just investigation, were we to go to London to conduct the hearings.” Prosecution compares to a case where they did go abroad, which was a case concerning economic crime.
Prosecution: “There are several reasons we haven’t made hearings in London. This kind of allegation don’t work well for leaving public defenders or prosecutors on foreign soil, and we can’t apply force for taking DNA samples and similar if we consider it necessary. Besides, we can’t hold a trial in London. We’ve re-evaluated this continuously.”
Prosecution: “We have exhausted everything speaking in favor of the defendant. There’s nothing we’re withholding from his lawyers in that regard.”
Prosecution appears trying to define political asylum as a “flight risk”.
Prosecution: “We are arguing that Assange has deliberately refused to come to Sweden for this hearing … and have learned that Assange has no intention of coming to Sweden to such a hearing … which we consider to fill the definition of a flight risk.” Prosecution handwaves and tries to diminish a point of proportionality, which the defense will probably pounce on.
Prosecution talks about the possibility of traveling to London to hear Julian Assange. “We didn’t know where he was until December. We also tried repeated attempts to contact Assange through his lawyer, Björn Hurtig. This led to prosecutor Marianne Ny detaining Assange in absentia on Sep 27 2010.” … “These statements that the Prosecution has failed trying to hear Assange are forcefully refuted.” … “Detaining in absentia appeared as the only way to proceed with the investigation.”
Prosecution begins talking about “risk of flight”.
“The negotiations are now public again.” We are let back into the room. Guards remind us that no recording of sound or video is permitted.
It’s been over 30 minutes since the doors closed when the defense wanted to show something on-screen, after the first few minutes where the court just exchanged opening pleasantries. The effect of today’s proceedings remains uncertain: if the detention in absentia in Sweden is lifted, that’s one thing, but what’s keeping Julian Assange locked into a room in an Ecuadorian embassy is an Interpol Red Notice. In other words, the internation arrest warrant must be revoked, which is a separate step from lifting the Swedish detention. Will the Prosecution do that if they lose today’s proceedings? They would be supposed to.
It’s been over 30 minutes since the doors closed when the defense wanted to show something on-screen, after the first few minutes where the court just exchanged opening pleasantries. The effect of today’s proceedings remains uncertain: if the detention in absentia in Sweden is lifted, that’s one thing, but what’s keeping Julian Assange locked into a room in an Ecuadorian embassy is an Interpol Red Notice. In other words, the internation arrest warrant must be revoked, which is a separate step from lifting the Swedish detention. Will the Prosecution do that if they lose today’s proceedings? They would be supposed to.
Still waiting. More nothing.
We’re still waiting outside of room 27. There are quite a few reporters here talking to members of the public, including from the large news agencies. They’re typing a lot on laptops, despite oxygen-starved standing room only.
We’re still standing outside room 27 with no sign of what’s happening behind closed doors.
We of the public are standing waiting outside room 27 in the Stockholm District Court.
Network is painfully inadequate. (Testing.)
Before the doors closed, prosecutor and defender presented their respective stances. No surprises there: Defense; “we call for the detention of Julian Assange to be lifted, effective immediately”. Prosecution: “We object to this motion and call for its dismissal.” After that, the defense wanted to “show something” on-screen, at which point the court closed its doors to the public. This is not unusual for sensitive parts of trials dealing with privacy-sensitive material.
Parties greet each other. The court starts off by closing its doors and chasing everybody out, to resume public parts later.
Call over the PA system: “Renewed-detention negotiations, Prosecutor v Assange. Parties and representatives are called to room 37”. Room 27 opens; we of the public pour in.
It’s almost five past the hour, and the room has still not opened. Rumors in the audience here say that the press conference with the Police afterward won’t be open to the public and is by pre-announced presence only.
Some people have asked me why I haven’t taken a clear stance on this issue. The explanation is simple: since I have first-hand observations of the events surrounding the allegations, if this should ever come to trial, I would be a defense witness (and I have left a deposition with the Police to that effect). Therefore, I have refrained from speculating on the case in the media, given that such speculation could burn my testimony, and I consider that to be more valuable than a random voice with opinions. When people have asked me about my opinions anyway, I have pointed to the fact that I’m slated to be a defense witness and asked them if they can draw any conclusions from that, refusing to elaborate further.
The room (27) has not opened yet. Maybe 30 people of the public are gathered outside. I recognize many or most of them.
Only people with media accreditation are being let into the room where the actual court proceedings are held (room 37 in the Stockholm District Court) – the public is only welcome to an audio feed of the proceedings, which is fed to a room on a different floor (room 27). This mirrors the mock trial of The Pirate Bay, which was done the same way, in this very court, actually.
Closing: the European Pirate Parties grew significantly, having seven parties with a strong showing rather than just the one Swedish party five years ago. Still, we went from two seats to one. New summary written in an article edit (liveblog ends).
Unconfirmed reports say that the German Piratenpartei was 0.08% (zero point zero eight per cent) short of the bar for a second seat.
Pirates in Czech Republic finished at 4.78% with 5.0% needed to pass the bar for seat allocation, so the Czech Pirate Party fell just short of one seat.
As the vote count stabilizes, it appears final that the German Piratenpartei has won one seat and one seat only. The Czech Republic is still open.
First Swedish election results project the Swedish Piratpartiet at 2.2%, slightly below the exit polls. This confirms that the Swedish Pirate Party has lost both seats in the European Parliament.
Exit polls published in Sweden. The Pirate Party is projected to get 2.5% of the votes. That is not enough for a single seat, and it’s very unlikely that this can be caught up as the votes are counted.
According to Sampo Smolander in the comment field, Finland is not taking any seats with 0.5% of the votes.
The lowest score in Germany that gave a seat was 0.7%. The German Piratenpartei is projected at 1.4%, suggesting that they are very very close to a second seat.
Swedish exit polls are expected at 2100, in seven minutes. That’s the first gate we need to pass. If the exit polls are in the 1-2% range, achieving 4% is tough; if it’s 3-5%, the rest of the night is a nailbiter.
It’s going to be a while until results come in. Expect meaningful news at about 2200.
Exit polls in Germany predict between 1.3 and 1.5 percent for the Piratenpartei, securing one seat and closing in on a second. We’ll also need to pay close attention to Sweden, Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Finland as the night progresses.
MtGox has found 200,000 bitcoin which apparently were just laying around in a random drawer, following the scam blueprint to the letter, although on a slightly more drawn-out schedule.
An article at CryptoCoinsNews, dealing with the past of Mark Karpeles, describes a previous business arrangement of Karpeles’ where he basically took the money and ran, bankrupting his business partner and not doing any of the contracted work. This fits very well with the overall image of a string of complete and untroubled deceptions and lies.
Added more detail to the February 2014 timeline, with links to the now-gone press releases, courtesy of Internet Archive.
Don’t miss the comments in the discussion thread over this article at /r/bitcoin on Reddit. Otherwise, mostly silence today on the matter. First relatively quiet day on the subject of Empty Gox in what feels like a month.
Added the CoinLab lawsuits and the 2011 proof-of-solvency to the timeline. They are both relevant in context.
According to the bankruptcy filings, the situation is even worse than previously imagined: 64 million US dollars and 850,000 bitcoin are missing.
Unconfirmed just now (via Joanne Heidi): It seems Karpeles is seeking a reconstruction of Empty Gox though bankruptcy proceedings and to pay back account holders partially with a reconstructed company. If true, it continues the blueprint copycat scam.
It’s possible to watch Mark Karpeles in the Japanese press conference declaring the bankruptcy. His body language is interesting to observe.
A class action lawsuit has been filed that sues Mark Karpeles, MtGox Inc (US), MtGox KK (JP), and Tibanne KK (JP) for pretty much all of the above.
Live updates, additions, and/or corrections will be posted here as the story keeps unfolding. All timestamps are European.
You can feel the noose tighten around Karpeles’ neck as the picture becomes clearer, both in a figurative and literal sense. The horror stories of ordinary people losing all their savings, the money they were going to pay off their house or student loan, are beginning to surface. At the same time, the degree of mismanagement is becoming clearer – it appears that Karpeles was hiding a billion-dollar hole in the assets by cooking the books for three years. If that’s the case, this is no longer the “MtGox implosion” but the “Karpeles Scam”, second only to the Madoff scam as far as private schemes go (not counting LIBOR, etc). Jail would be one of few places Karpeles would be adequately protected from former clients, and there will be an interesting legal case as authorities will probably want to have a go at his personal assets.
New information from Two Bit Idiot who first leaked the crisis response document detailing the loss of 744,408 bitcoin: There were never any interested buyers, there was a desperate CEO of Empty Gox who tried to get bought out. Once the courted propspective buyers saw the extent of mismanagement or fraud, they alerted the authorities instead. All of them.
The site GoxBalance has been set up to gather information from individual people on just how much is stuck in Gox. As of this time, 807 people have submitted their claims on Empty Gox, adding up to 26.2 million US dollars and 108,522 bitcoin.
Jesse Powell, a self-declared MtGox insider, makes a very interesting qualified guess that the loss of coins happened much, much earlier and at a much higher amount – possibly over 800k coins, and in June 2011, almost three years ago – and that Gox has been operating a fractional reserve since, working to fill the hole. Powell guesses that it seemed to work until fiat withdrawal problems caused people to start withdrawing bitcoin instead, depleting the thin reserve. Hence the absence of books and balance sheets, posits Powell: they wouldn’t have added up, so Gox management preferred to go without them entirely rather than declare the gaping hole where its assets should have been.
Another update to the Gox home page. This one says “We’re working very hard […] to find a solution to our recent issues. Stop asking us questions”. Yes, they really are calling the loss of a billion dollars “recent issues”. Also, the “stop asking us questions” statement at this time has to go down as a superb case study of a glass crater in future Public Relations textbooks.
On Reddit, user ‘thesacred’ notes about the first interview with Mark Karpeles (CEO Gox) after the shutdown, that “in the first public communication after shutting down site containing millions of dollars belonging to thousands of people, who have been kept completely in the dark with no information about the status of their money, Karpeles posts a picture of his cat, links to a batman meme, and complains about getting fat.” He then adds, “This fucking guy”.
The bitcoin exchange rate passes $600 per coin, already having regained 50% from the bottoming out at $400 yesterday on these news. You have to give it to bitcoin; its ability to survive and overcome crises that would have killed anything else is remarkable.
Roger Ver, who has seen the Gox books, has made a video statement where he states that the cause was “…a total lack of book keeping on the part of Mtgox”. If the Gox management did indeed fail to list the one-billion-dollars-worth of vault bitcoin assets in their books and balance sheets, then that’s criminal mismanagement in most jurisdictions.
Andreas Antonopoulos (one of the key bitcoin developers) points out, in a rather technical post, that it is impossible for funds to “leak” from cold storage. The very definition of cold storage means it doesn’t leak. Either there was no leak, or there was no cold storage.
Mark Karpeles, CEO of Empty Gox, has confirmed the authenticity of the leaked document, though he points out that it’s a draft with suggested options.
This story has reached beyond tech and financial media; it’s being covered in mainstream oldmedia up to and including the evening TV news.
Mark Karpeles has recently bought the domain gox.com, according to the people who brokered it, which lends further credibility to the leaked crisis recommendations document which suggested just that – a rebranding to “Gox”.
The exchange rate seems to already recover from the loss of Empty Gox from the ecosystem; the exchange rate at Bitstamp is already back at $550, having bottomed out at $400. However, as with anything bitcoin, this is too early to call.
Empty Gox has added a nonsense statement on their previously-empty web page: “In the event of recent news reports and the potential repercussions on MtGox’s operations and the market, a decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being in order to protect the site and our users. We will be closely monitoring the situation and will react accordingly.”
The claim of a years-long-running hack against the vault comes from the leaked strategy document: “At this point 744,408 BTC are missing due to malleability-related theft which went unnoticed for several years”, in bold. At this point, there is nothing that contradicts its being genuine; to the contrary, the timetable of the report agrees with events unfolding today.
Yiiee-hah! Meteor server is operational on VM Smallwebs. In addition, this meteor.js seems better-behaved than the old one…
Testing after having configged Meteor better (hopefully)…
Testing II – why is Meteor not updating?
Testing aplenty – is the new Meteor up?
(End of liveblogging session. This page will not update further.)
I will publish a longer article about today’s events in about an hour.
Last question from the press – press conference is ending.
The press conference room is full, with people standing in the back again. The press is starting to ask (relevant!) questions – the room is acting as if ACTA is a done deal now, disregarding the fact that the European Parliament still has its plenary vote to go. The discussion feels like a post-mortem of just exactly where the crazy train was driven off the nearest cliff.
EPP representative plays down rumors of EPP gunning for a secret vote in INTA. “That’s not how it should be done.”
EPP: It appears that the Polish EPP delegates voted against ACTA, breaking party lines.
Andersdotter concludes with a healthy dose of reminder that today’s copyright/patent regime is an active impediment to the next generation of entrepreneurs and industries in Europe. More people need to hear that.
Amelia Andersdotter is applauded from the audience, as the first speaker getting that treatment.
“This was the first time that the citizens of Europe won against combined forces of big industry and the Commission. Epic, really.”
Amelia Andersdotter (Greens/EFA, Pirate Party). She talks about access to medicine, and weaves in the three pillars of the Swedish Pirate Party. She moves on to bash the Commission’s lack of respect of Parliament in the most eloquent and unmistakable ways.
“Thanks to participatory democracy, and citizens who voiced their concerns about this agreement, we canow go in a different direction.”
EPP: “We are going to lose a lot of time and put people at risk of counterfeit products where they’re working if we ultimately reject ACTA…” How does that work with ACTA not changing any laws whatsoever?
Now, a representative for the EPP group, explaining their desire for ACTA’s passage. “ACTA as it stands needs to be clarified and improved.” Yes, except that wasn’t possible. Smoke and mirrors.
Still can’t move my left foot without searing pain.
“Second lesson: Parliament needs to be better at engaging with citizens.”
“First lesson: This vote proves that the European Parliament is definitely perceptive; it is definitely hearing the voice of citizens.”
Rapporteur David Martin is sitting next to Amelia Andersdotter (Pirate Party MEP) on stage, talking about the benefits of “intellectual property”. Something tells me the entire stage doesn’t agree with that. Martin ends with a brilliant conclusion, though; “In the end, [we decided that] civil liberties should win over intellectual property.”
“I think it is quite telling that nobody put forward an alternative to adopt ACTA. The only alternative was to reject or postpone. What this shows is that ACTA was a political decision, and not a legal one.”
The rapporteur, David Martin, opens and thanks everybody involved in the process so far. “I welcome particularly the active involvement of citizens, who have been highly involved in this dossier.”
Press conference starts. “The committee decided today to recommend the rejection of ACTA, with 19 votes in favor [of rejection] and 12 votes against.”
If I were still in the military, I’d know exactly how to bandage my foot right now. But I don’t have any bandages… (It’s not broken, is it? Hurts terribly.)
Now in press conference room, where the rapporteur on ACTA (David Martin) will be giving comments on the INTA committee approving his opinion. On the way there, I sprained my left foot and ankle badly – I hope I’ll be able to get through the day despite the pain :/
“Could I ask the journalists to leave the room…” the room is in disarray. Moving to press conference room.
The recommendation to reject ACTA PASSES, in a 19-against-12 vote! WE WON! WE WON!
The final vote remains, and there appears to be some major confusion as to the results of the vote on the amendment that just happened.
WE WON IN INTA!
Amendment three is re-voted, and it is rejected 19 to 12. WE WON!
It is now clear that INTA will recommend a REJECTION of ACTA with a safe margin!
AMENDMENT THREE FAILS, 13 VOTES FOR AND 19 AGAINST! This, however, is 32 votes, one too many.
“If amendment three is adopted, the final vote on ACTA is suspended until the European Court of Justice has given its verdict. If it is rejected, we go to a final vote.”
Amendment procedures have started. Amendment one (yes to ACTA) was just WITHDRAWN. As was number two. There’s only one amendment – postpone ACTA.
ACTA COMING NOW.
People are not just standing along the back of the room now, but also along the sides of it. I count four TV cameras from where I’m sitting (Jerezim counted six, but I can’t see the entire room), in addition to the eleven (!) TV cameras built into the room itself.
“Establishment of instrument for stability”, six amendments. Still not ACTA.
Still not ACTA, but voting is proceeding at a breakneck pace on a large number of other items. ACTA is last in today’s session.
“Establishing rules and procedures for the European Union’s instruments for something something external actions”. Voting on amendments. In other words, still not ACTA.
Ok, so the live page is updating. All set for today’s main attraction: ACTA coming up any minute now.
Test – do I have enough bandwidth, here?
Still not voting on ACTA.
Bandwidth is becoming scarce in the room, indicating that we’re approaching today’s main attraction.
Another item. Still not ACTA. 58 amendments.
31 votes in a vote right now. A lot of stirring in the room. It appears another MEP with voting rights has joined the session, upsetting the vote balance AGAIN!
“We are approaching the end of the session…” INTA votes on an item with 57 amendments right now, didn’t catch which one, but obviously not ACTA as it has three or two amendments – two if MEP Fjellner (EPP) has retracted his amendment to recommend acceptance of ACTA, as he told media.
INTA session continuing. Still not ACTA. When ACTA arrives, there will be voting on amendments first, and then on the final, possibly amended, report. All amendments must fall for INTA to recommend a rejection of ACTA.
By “another vote just appeared”, I should clarify: it was not a random extra vote, as before, but another Member of European Parliament with voting rights actually entering session.
Another vote just appeared in INTA, changing the ACTA vote balance! It’s one of the non-inscrits, one of the groupless Members of European Parliament. I did not catch his name. This vote is now completely up in the air.
“One person too many was voting, there. It’s like a crime story – whose vote is extra?” Recurring theme.
I’ve been told that the EPP group tried to disqualify one vote count from the S&P group. One ordinary member was prevented from voting, and when this happens, reserves from the party group take their place – this is standard procedure. However, the EPP argued that the reserve would not be allowed to vote in stead of the ordinary member, and that S&P would have one vote less. This parliament can really be kindergarten level sometimes – such disrespect for democracy would never happen in places like a high school student council.
Media is everywhere in this INTA session, and people are standing in the back. Yes, the session room has run out of seats – this kind of bureaucracy practically never draws attention otherwise.
According to @EuroparlPress, the ACTA vote will come around 11:00, around 20 minutes from now. However, this is far from certain and determined – it will come whenever the previous items are finished.
The list of amendments on the still-upcoming ACTA vote is here, in LQDN’s summary. We see that amendments one and two, if adopted, change INTA’s recommendation to a “yes”, and amendment three calls for a postponement of the ACTA decision until the European Court of Justice has decided on the treaty’s legality. Thus, no amendments on ACTA must pass; the rapporteur’s draft opinion must be passed as written.
Yet ANOTHER vote interrupted because the EPP group had one vote too many. I did not track on which session item, but there’s a clear pattern here. That was the third time today.
Still not voting on ACTA. Some big-business industry group had gotten to the session entrance and put up big posters about how industry organizations comprising 120 million European jobs (this number climbs fast!) support ACTA passing.
The pace of voting is ridiculously fast. “Amendment two, those in favor, those against, abstentions, carried. Amendment three, those in favor, those against, abstentions, carried.”
The number of people voting are varying quite a bit. Another proposal (still not ACTA) just passed by 29 votes to none. I’ve been told that it’s supposed to be 14 INTA delegates in favor of ACTA and 14 against in session.
Ok, I was confused by the rapid pace of the voting here. We are not voting on ACTA yet; it is the final item of the day.
The final vote on a random item (not ACTA) was re-made AGAIN, with one too many EPP votes, and then passed 25 against 2.
An amendment to a random report (not ACTA) passed with a 16-13 vote, but was redone. The chair is now pointing out that there are too many EPP members voting. After a re-vote, the amendment passed 17-10.
Voting has started. The chair warns of a long list of items today. ACTA is last.
The session starts. The chairman addresses some media formalities for the session, and reminds the press that there will be a press conference 15 minutes after the vote [on ACTA, presumably]
The live video broadcast from this session is right here. Unfortunately, it appears to be Windows-Media only, so it doesn’t work on Android.
There is a live broadcast of this meeting for those who prefer following video. I am trying to find it; Google-fu with “INTA committee video european parliament” should be a starting point. Despite being past 10:00, the meeting has not yet started.
Jeremie Zimmermann from La Quadrature du Net is also here in the room.
The voting margins are harrowingly narrow, and nobody knows which way INTA will lean. One thing is clear – INTA does not care at all about the recommendations of the previous committees (ITRE, DEVE, JURI, and LIBE); this issue is far too high-profiled to vote on somebody else’s recommendation. But that sword swings two ways: that also means that INTA’s recommendation today will be next to meaningless, being little more than a half-time indication of what the plenary majority looks like, rather an actual recommendation with weight. Still, it draws enormous interest.
What we can expect from today is that the conservative and big-business party groups (ECR and EPP) will attempt to recommend a postponement of the final vote on ACTA until after the European Court of Justice has given its final opinion, thus delaying the final vote by about two years. Nobody knows if an INTA recommendation of postponement means an automatic postponement by the European Parliament as a whole: as usual, the ones deciding that are the ones interpreting the rules, and the ones interpreting the rules are the ones who are politically strongest for the time being.
On location in the INTA room, JAN-4Q1. I can’t recall having seen a room this full 15 minutes ahead of the session start time before.
Testing on reinstall of Peregrine with separate SATA controller.
Ok, live updates (refreshless) seem to work again. It was really a very simple error.
(Yes, I’m still testing.)
Except perhaps Game of Thrones.
Indeed it was. And that concludes the postmortem of this session. Nothing more to see here.
Testing again. Looks like it was a simple case of PEBKAC.
Testing April 16.
Ok, liveblogging appears broken. Sorry about that (it does not auto-refresh). I will have to troubleshoot that later.
Testing CloudFlare interference.
Ping meteor server.
My server died right after the last note. I still have no idea why – a cold reboot (power cycling) was needed to bring it back online, the hardwire reset button was not enough. Sorry about that.
Doctorow: “If all the Napster users in the US had voted for a particular president, that person would have been president.”
Now: Cory Doctorow!
I’m not sure if the live updates work on all browsers.
Meeting with many of the people who were at the first 2007 meeting in Vienna. It’s kind of funny how we share this feeling of being veterans, and explaining how things were “back then” – meaning five years ago – to new pirates.
Pulled back from the crowd for a few minutes just to breathe, hanging out in the openspace area where people are discussing various projects. Doctorow on soon.
Met Fabio Reinhardt, one of the people elected into the Berlin Parliament. He’s giving a keynote tomorrow, shortly before I give the closing keynote. Another guy I’m looking forward to hearing. The purposely chaotic arrangement of this conference really shows its strengths, letting each and every participant get the most from it.
The social parts of the PPI general assembly is starting to show its merits. Everybody is hanging out and getting to know one another, rather than necessarily listening to everything going on in the main session. People getting to know one another across country borders is what causes the organization to learn across those same country borders.
Cory Doctorow has arrived, hanging out at the bar with a really large coffee. Apparently, he just flew in from the States.
Several new pirate parties are being voted in as new members of the Pirate Parties International. Applause follows after every vote.
Back after lunch. I could hardly get through the door before being grabbed by reporters and have done three more interviews. This liveblog is getting a very boring message, me doing what I do. One observation, though, is that the (MANY!) reporters here have definitely done their homework. They know about minute details of the movement and ask about plans, about trends, about leadership. Cory Doctorow is coming up for a keynote shortly – I’m really looking forward to that.
Lunch break. My entire morning was spent before TV cameras, so I missed much of the in-session action, but on the other hand, I did things as well as I could in order to spread the ideas, the messages, and the message about the parties’ impact. Sessions resume… when people get back from lunch.
Another five interviews later, I need some air. Currently outside, chatting to a couple of Slovenian reps that I last met in Ljubljana.
Three TV interviews later. Interest remains high.
The room is full and out of seats, as I can tell. People are standing in the back – I can’t tell if media or participants. We are still in the meeting opening formalities. One of the organizers just asked me to go to the press room, so small pause in liveblogging.
What strikes me at the 2012 PPI meeting is how many new countries are here, and how successful they are already. Greece founded three months ago, and are already polling at 1%. Moldavia is here, as is Romania. I’ve met with reps from pretty much every country in Europe already. Oh, Portugal was another nice surprise.
The meeting as such has just started. media is EVERYWHERE. Gefion_UK tweeted succinctly, “wherever there is @Falkvinge, there is Camera”. The PPCZ has arranged this beautifully, especially given the unexpetedly large interest at the last minute.
Final test before disabling post
ooh aah, a little bit more
Testing a little bit more
Update, showing off as demo
Testing la la la
And more – foo
Testing after installing Meteor
As stated before, I lost 160 coins in this event, but I managed to get a majority of my holdings out in time. My heart and thoughts are with those in our community who lost everything, regardless of amount.