Spear’s Exclusive: Kim Dotcom says US Government Drove Internet Activist Aaron Swartz to His Death

Internet activist and Reddit founder Aaron Swartz was driven to his death by the American government, Kim Dotcom, the embattled founder of file sharing website MegaUpload, has said today.

Internet activist and Reddit founder Aaron Swartz was driven to his death by the American government, Kim Dotcom, the embattled founder of file sharing website MegaUpload, has said today.

Responding to Spear’s question after a speech via a videolink from New Zealand to a breakfast meeting at the Lanesborough, he said: ‘There was a political desire to destroy the life of this man and unfortunately they succeeded.’

Aaron Swartz was being prosecuted by the American government for breach of copyright, having been accused of stealing files from online academic journal library Jstor, when, aged 26, he killed himself.

This was despite Jstor, the copyright holder, not wanting a prosecution.

Kim Dotcom paid tribute to Aaron Swartz at the Amsterdam & Partners breakfast, calling him ‘this young genius’ who ‘single-handedly stopped SOPA… that over-reaching act.’

SOPA – the Stop Online Piracy Act – would allow the government ‘the right to take down any website and censor any content they wanted without any due process,’ he said. ‘No hearing, no nothing.’ SOPA was defeated in 2011 after a concerted campaign by Swarzt.

‘The MPAA [Motion Picture Association of America] and the content owners have spent a lot of money and a lot of time lobbying to get this act passed. 90 per cent of the people in Congress were pro-SOPA. The White House was behind it. This young man turned it all around.

‘He became a political target.’

Dotcom was talking about the US prosecution of him for criminal copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering related to MegaUpload, and alleged that MegaUpload had been destroyed by the Obama White House, in thrall to Hollywood and its fundraisers.

He said that 220 people had lost their jobs when MegaUpload was shut down and that all his assets had been seized, leaving him without enough money even to pay for a lawyer. He is now being represented pro bono by Robert Amsterdam, the well-known human rights lawyer, who has defended Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Thaksin Shinawatra, and Spear’s international affairs columnist
 

Kim Dotcom speaking via a videolink from New Zealand this morning
 
Dotcom said that the New Zealand government had illegally co-operated in enforcing the American prosecution. He said he feared extradition to America: ‘They wanted us to be sitting in a jail cell without any funding, unable to mount a defence, and be extradited to the US, tortured into some kind of plea deal they would offer us.’

He described the growing online presence of corporate interests enforced by states as a ‘whole new system of colonisation when it comes to the internet’.

He has recently launched a new file sharing service called Mega, which allows users to store files in the Cloud, having encrypted them first. It has reached 3 million users in a month, and is storing over 125 million files.

Read Robert Amsterdam’s Spear’s columns

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