Megaupload Negotiating To Let US Gov't Officials (And Everyone Else) Retrieve Their Legit Files That Were Taken Down

from the funny-how-that-works dept

We've noted before that with the complete takedown of Megaupload by the US government, tons of people who had perfectly legitimate files hosted at the site lost those files and all the inbound links to them. While the government won't do a permanent restore, I'm sure, apparently negotiations are ongoing to let people go in and "rescue" their data. It sounds like, as part of that process, the Megaupload crew has been reviewing details of their users, and they note that many of their users appear to be in the federal government itself. That's really not a surprise, since there were plenty of legal uses for Megaupload (as well as infringing uses). But it does suggest just how widespread usage of the site was. It will certainly be interesting, however, to see if data on government users comes out as evidence in any possible trial.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

    The government cannot afford to deny this because it would annoy these legit users even more and turn them very much against the piracy fight.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 1:23pm

    Dodd wants his porn back.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Eh?

    Who needs porn when you can have the Secret Service ship prostitutes to/from the solitary jail cells?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 1:29pm

    "tons of people"

    Any idea how many? What percentage of traffic? With only 10% of the users uploading, it would seem to be a small count.

     

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  5.  
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    TheNutman69321 (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 1:39pm

    Re:

    10% of tens of millions of users is still a very large number.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 1:43pm

    Re:

    "tons of people"

    Any idea how many? What percentage of traffic? With only 10% of the users uploading, it would seem to be a small count.

    *typo* he meant, "tens".

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 1:45pm

    I'm still shocked at the idea that the US Government can just take down 4% of the web in one day, all without even being actually found guilty through a trial first.

    This makes me think that if they really wanted, they could also take down Twitter, Tumblr and Youtube, too, all just with a few outrageous accusations.

     

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  8.  
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    John Doe, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 1:47pm

    Hahaha!

    The government just wants to try to delete their user files from the database so they come out smelling like roses in the process.

    Don't give it to them. Expose the dirty government copyright thieves for the criminals they are!

    Sue the people? SUE THE GOVERNMENT!

     

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  9.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 1:49pm

    Re:

    Any idea how many? What percentage of traffic? With only 10% of the users uploading, it would seem to be a small count.

    Does it really matter? Any collateral damage to the innocent users is too much in my book. Even more so considering this about the US Government and items that are considered speech.

    And you really need to lay off on that "only 10% of the users uploading" crap. That is pretty close to the Pareto principle and only shows that Mega was pretty much normal in regards to uploader/downloader ratio.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 1:51pm

    They should let anyone not sueing them have their data back. See how long the legal fight lasts.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re:

    "Does it really matter? Any collateral damage to the innocent users is too much in my book"

    Thankfully, the courts don't agree with you.

     

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  12.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: !!!

    Oh, how much collateral damage is acceptable?!?

    Is it okay if 10% of the people put to death by the state are innocent?

    Is it okay if 20% of the people who're serving life sentences are innocent?

    Is it okay if 50% of the people stuck in the bullshit 'felon parol' system never did anything illegal?

    Where does one draw the line on acceptable collateral damage?

     

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  13.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Thankfully, the courts don't agree with you.

    Really? Has there been an adversarial hearing where both sides have presented arguments yet? I must have missed that.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:00pm

    and who reckons that the US officials that have/had files on Mega haven't already got them? no way would they be left there, it could have proven extremely embarrassing, not just with what the files were but who had been using Mega!

     

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  15.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm pretty sure Gwiz and I had this conversation with you or someone like you before. I'm pretty sure you're ignoring Gwiz's link to the Pareto principle or that you don't understand it.

     

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  16.  
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    Rekrul, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:03pm

    Re:

    They can...

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Too tired to go look it up again, but it's been a topic of discussion here over and over again. The courts have ruled that some free speech may be hurt in the process of removing illegal speech, and that is tolerable.

     

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  18.  
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    Rekrul, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:04pm

    It will certainly be interesting, however, to see if data on government users comes out as evidence in any possible trial.

    "It wasn't me! My account was hacked! It was one of my staffers! Someone used my WiFi!"

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:09pm

    Re:

    It maybe amazing but it's not surprising. That's the U.S. (in)justice system for you.

    Much of it stems from how the U.S. system has been engineered. Many people end up incarcerated or fined or punished with legal penalties and fines and settlements without even having a trial because trials can be very time consuming and the process can be more time consuming and require more effort and resources and money and risk than the punishments and settlements and fines themselves.

    From a Slashdot article

    "More than 90 percent of criminal cases are never tried before a jury, in part because the Supreme Court ruled in 1978 that threatening someone with life imprisonment for a minor crime in an effort to induce him to forfeit a jury trial did not violate his Sixth Amendment right to trial. 'The truth is that government officials have deliberately engineered the system to assure that the jury trial system established by the Constitution is seldom used,' says Timothy Lynch, director of the criminal justice project at the libertarian Cato Institute."


    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/03/12/2122247/how-to-crash-the-us-justice-system-d emand-a-trial

    The comments are also worth reading.

    As one of the comments points out, it wouldn't be too surprising to find that many people who are incarcerated or somehow punished by our legal system did, in fact, do nothing wrong or illegal but they just settled with a plea bargain because it's not worth the risk and trouble of going to trial.

     

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  20.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    And another AC states that he/she is ok with innocents being swept up and treated as criminals.

    Thanks for letting us know.

     

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  21.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The only illegal speech is speech that incites riots, violence and other crimes.

    Copyright infringement is not illegal speech.

     

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  22.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re:

    if everyone who was in trouble took it to court, the system would crash and most of the people who were accused would be let go.

    there's not enough lawyers and judges to cover everything.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    If everyone who was in trouble took it to court, the system may crash in the short run but in the long run, prosecutors would be more cautious about only prosecuting those whom they know they can successfully convict. They might then actually do their jobs and start gathering evidence and conducting more legitimate investigations.

    They would be less likely to conduct searches, seizures, and wiretaps without a prior warrant because they would know ahead of time that these types of invasions will likely not be permissible in court.

     

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  24.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:26pm

    Re:

    would explain the detention of people working for the server farm they were using in the US.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: !!!

    I think it's drawn at 110%.

     

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  26.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The courts have ruled that some free speech may be hurt in the process of removing illegal speech, and that is tolerable.

    Some back of the napkin math here:

    Megaupload Unique visitors: 82,764,913

    Now let's say for the sake of argument that only 1% were uploading legit files:

    That is 827,649 users. That is still a pretty large "some" there. And that is only looking at users and not even considering the actual number of files or what was actually infringing or not.

     

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  27.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:31pm

    I think it will be more interesting to map everything they had stored.
    Seeing the number of "officials" who were regularly using the site for nefarious purposes. Not like we've never seen this happen before, where they claim X is the end of the world, while they are violating the same law themselves.

    I wonder if this will also let them source many of the "suspect" files the Government claims were uploaded and shared back to the IP addresses of the **AA's and Government offices. While IP address alone should NOT be enough to run a court case, it currently is accepted practice in the US. If it is sourced from a copyright holder is it sill unauthorized?

    It would also be nice to show how much content was NOT infringing, so the Government can explain itself in taking away other peoples materials and then making a threat that they were to be destroyed.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:35pm

    Re:

    are you implying that government employees were infringing? impossible!

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    (evidence gathered from these types of invasions *)

     

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  30.  
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    Atkray (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I guess we can conclude he is not the AC that has insightful or funny comments.

     

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  31.  
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    bob, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 3:22pm

    The wishful dreams of legit users

    While I'm sure that there were some legit users of Megaupload out there in the world, I want to pour some cold water on the astroturfing dreams of the folks at EFF and TechDirt. Despite their hard work and advertising, the EFF still hasn't brought forth their sympathetic grandma who lost her knitting instructions in the takedown. Perhaps they'll find her and start parading her around the Internet, but I think the odds are long that there are many legit users.

    Why? Because Megaupload is not a backup service. It's a file transfer service. Anyone who wanted a backup would use a legit backup service with all of the features it offered. I'm sure someone thought, "Gosh, I think I'll stash a copy up at Megaupload", but most of them have got other copies.

    And who are these people? I would guess that 99% of the people are folks who started using Megaupload for the other benefits like the chance to "share" content for free.

    Do any of these people want the EFF to rescue their files and drag their names through the paper? I seriously doubt it. They're running for cover. They're hoping that the Feds will delete those files pronto.

    If I were a lawyer for a content company, I would subpoena those files and start suing everyone caught in the crosshairs. No one wants those files to reappear.

     

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  32.  
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    Richard (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 3:35pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    .Thankfully, the courts don't agree with you.

    Thankfully God doesn't agree with the courts.

     

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  33.  
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    Richard (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 3:39pm

    Re: The wishful dreams of legit users

    If I were a lawyer for a content company, I would subpoena those files and start suing everyone caught in the crosshairs. No one wants those files to reappear.

    If you were then your employer wouldn't stay in business for long....

     

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  34.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 3:43pm

    Re: The wishful dreams of legit users

    Do you really think that 99% of all large file transfers are copyright violations?

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 3:50pm

    Pretty good PR, now the accusers can't use the line, it was all illegal since they have a very large number of people using it for legal purposes.

     

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  36.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 4:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Exactly!

    Why...

    We might actually get a system of law that works!

     

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  37.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 4:20pm

    Re: The wishful dreams of legit users

    funny the content companies, when given access to these types of sites, often delete the works of others and things they assume belong to them moving well outside of their legal rights.

    And yes I think it would be AWESOME to get a list of who uploaded what, and when a bunch of Government people and **AA people are hauled into court we can all laugh at the biggest pirates being the people who claim to suffer the most from it.

     

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  38.  
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    helloword, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 5:01pm

    This was really good website to share files with friends and family but also was nightmare for music and movie production companies.
    Removals Worthing

     

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  39.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 5:45pm

    Re: The wishful dreams of legit users

    "I would guess..."

    Luckily, no one cares about your "guess".

     

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  40.  
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    Jay (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 7:11pm

    Re:

    What should scare you more is that there are 20 people with the power to take down websites...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    Midnight, Mar 13th, 2012 @ 10:29pm

    Re: Megaupload Negotiating

    What about all the "illegal" files and stuff that the Government flunkies uploaded?

    I'll bet they're eager to dump those files before the court case comes up!

    Bunch of hypocrites!!

     

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  42.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 13th, 2012 @ 10:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You do know that every thing you say here only makes people think things through. So please continue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 2:12am

    Storing my shit on a pirate site.

    yeah, there's a good idea.

    Darwin strikes again.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 3:05am

    Since megaupload can apparantly differentiate its users, and if users are allowed to "rescue" their data, just let those users who are not government employees access to their data. If government employees want their data back they will have to pressure the government to allow/force a permanent full restore.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
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    gab4moi (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 4:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah that works in most 'legal' wars too... thankfully you were not in the vicinity of the rockets...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And the fault of this would be on the people accused?
    Or on the people who keep expanding the law?

    Being able to threaten people to get them to give up a right, because it makes it convenient or easier for the accuser is appalling.

    I wonder how "fair" the actual system is when someone gets an overwhelmed public defender who has to give you the "best" advice to just take the deal because they can't possibly give you a decent defense, and if you are silly enough to think you have rights they will just increase the charges to make you cave in.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 8:48am

    Re:

    You do understand there is a world past the end of your nose yes? That for all of your gifted understanding of the interwebs, that there are a bunch of people out there who know nothing about the rest of the web.

    Google is a pirate site, we've seen the lawsuits and claims, yet millions of people place things on G+, Gmail, Google Calendars, etc...

    Just because your narrative states Mega = PIRATE DEN, does not mean everyone else on the planet had the same knowledge or used it in the manner. But it is much easier to paint them all as evil stupid pirates, than to consider they were innocent people using a service to move content they created/owned easily.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 8:50am

    Re:

    I am sure the list of files uploaded and downloaded by those Government employees would be the source of much entertainment for us, and total embarrassment for them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
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    tqk (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Hahaha!

    Expose the dirty government copyright thieves for the criminals they are! Sue the people? SUE THE GOVERNMENT!

    A bit hyperbolic the way you state it, but that was my first thought too. Did gov't employees infringe via the gov't's network? Well, how's that work out in other situations? The gov't network was complicit, their management was complicit for allowing it to happen, ICE should seize their domains, ... Too bad you can't extradite Obama.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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