How Cisco & The Justice Department Conspired To Try To Destroy One Man's Life For Daring To Sue Cisco

from the shameful dept

Whenever we talk about the very serious risks and likely abuses of new laws favored by the entertainment industry — such as PROTECT IP and the felony streaming bill, S.978, supporters of those bills insist that we’re crazy for suggesting that the laws will be abused or that there will be any unintended consequences. We’re told, over and over and over again that these laws are designed for and targeted only at the “worst of the worst.” They’re targeted at “rogue” actors, who must be stopped.

And yet, we’ve seen all too often how US officials have abused other such laws to attack and protect certain US companies from competition. A whole bunch of you have been sending over this incredibly frightening example of the Justice Department conspiring with Cisco to effectively try to destroy a former exec’s life for daring to file an antitrust claim against Cisco, due to Cisco’s desire to block competitors from servicing some of its products. Unfortunately, I actually found the version of the story at the Ars Technica link above a bit confusing (and it buries many of the key points). A much better way to understand just what Cisco and some federal prosecutors appear to have done is to read the ruling, embedded below, from a Canadian judge, who explains the whole thing clearly and bashes Cisco and the US Justice Department for its incredible overreach, for no reason other than to try to destroy the life of Peter Adekeye.

Adekeye, born in Nigeria, but a UK citizen, had apparently been a quite successful Cisco exec in both the UK and the US for many years. In 2005, he left Cisco and started a couple of companies himself, including one, Multiven, that offered to help provide maintenance services for various Cisco equipment. Apparently, Cisco tried to force customers into purchasing maintenance contracts only from them by denying third parties, such as Multiven, access to various bug reports and fixes. Because of this, Multiven sued Cisco, claiming antitrust violations. Cisco then countersued, including suing Adekeye directly, claiming that Adekeye had accessed Cisco’s internal network illegally over 90 times. Adekeye does not appear to deny accessing Cisco’s internal systems, but notes that he was given the login information from a Cisco employee, which he believed meant he was now authorized to use the system. It sounds like he used this access to get some of the info that Cisco had been denying Multiven. As part of its “hardball” litigation strategy, Cisco also sought to get the federal government to file criminal charges against Adekeye based on the exact same issue.

Separate from all of this, Adekeye had been dealing with attempts to get a work visa to be in the US for Multiven. The court ruling documents the incredibly ridiculous bureaucratic nightmare that Adekeye went through over the period of a few years in an attempt to seek proper visas to work in the US. At no time does it appear that Adekeye violated the various visas he did have. In fact, it sounds as though Adekeye bent over backwards (and then some) to always comply with US immigration and visa rules, even when it resulted in absolutely ridiculous circumstances, such as when he wasn’t allowed back into the US, even though he’d been granted his H-1B visa. That story is crazy, but tangential to the point here — though I suggest reading the ruling to get a sense of the ridiculousness of US immigration and visa policy.

In part because he was unable to get back into the US, Adekeye moved to Switzerland where a new Multiven office was opened, and continued his efforts to get his immigration status cleared up. As part of the ongoing legal dispute, Cisco wanted to depose Adekeye. Adekeye applied for permission to enter the US to do that… but was denied, and he was told if he went anyway, it could harm his chances of getting his visa status fixed. And Cisco used this to their advantage:

Notwithstanding this entirely reasonable explanation for his inability to attend a U.S. deposition, Cisco had the unmitigated gall to commence contempt proceedings for the applicant’s “failure” to attend a U.S. deposition. It was, of course, unsuccessful, but it speaks volumes for Cisco’s duplicity.

Eventually, all of the parties agreed to handle the deposition in Vancouver. It was outside the US, but close to Cisco’s offices here in Silicon Valley. There was a separate (again tangential) issue involving the belief (which may not have been accurate, apparently) that a US deposition could happen in Canada without having to alert Canadian officials. It was at this deposition hearing in Vancouver on May 19th of last year that things got crazy. Cisco, knowing full well where Adekeye was and why he was in Vancouver — and that he had tried and failed to get to the US — apparently told the US Attorneys, who they’d been pushing to file criminal charges, about Adekeye’s presence in Vancouver. The Justice Department then filed its criminal charges — once again totally abusing the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (CFAA) to make Adekeye’s actions sound much worse than they actually were, and had a warrant issued for Adekeye’s arrest.

They then sought rather extraordinary efforts from the Canadian government to arrest Adekeye immediately. Part of that, according to the Canadian judge who issued this ruling, appeared to involve a US Attorney leaving out key information, making blatantly false insinuations about other facts, and in some cases, what appears to just be lying:

The affidavit made no mention of the fact that United States immigration authorities had refused the applicant entry to the United States. No mention was made that the applicant had no criminal record. No mention was made that the United States Federal Court had ordered a deposition in Vancouver, presided over by a “special master” at which six or more United States lawyers would be present. No mention was made that the criminal complaint “mirrored” a counterclaim brought by Cisco in the main action in which the applicant was seeking large damages in an antitrust suit.

Sinister inferences were suggested, leading to an inference that the applicant would be a flight risk. The affidavit stated that the applicant “is a Nigerian citizen who claims to have citizenship from the United Kingdom”, and that he possibly had British citizenship, and that he was in Canada on a Nigerian passport. The latter reference invited an inference he might flee to Nigeria, a country from which extradition was highly unlikely. In fact, U.S. authorities well knew and had a duty to disclose to the issuing judge that the applicant was a citizen of the United Kingdom and possessed a British passport, on which passport he had entered Canada. They also knew and had a duty to disclose that he had been a resident of England, but was currently residing with his wife and child in Switzerland, and that he had travelled from Switzerland to Canada for purposes of the deposition.

What happened then was somewhat astounding. In the middle of the deposition, RCMP officials walked into the room, interrupted the deposition in progress and arrested Adekeye in the middle of the proceedings. The beginning of this is on videotape. Adekeye, his lawyers, and the “special master” clearly have no idea what’s going on, but what’s notable is that, while people repeatedly ask for the recording to be turned off, Cisco’s lawyers immediately say that the recording should be left on. It appears they knew exactly what was going on and wanted the humiliating arrest on the deposition tape. You can see the video below. As the judge in this ruling notes, the police’s actions “could be compared to entering a courtroom and arresting a person during the course of his or her testimony. It is simply not done in a civilized jurisdiction that is bound by the rule of law.”

Believe it or not, the situation then gets even worse and even more egregious. Adekeye was, in fact, arrested — and the charges could have resulted in almost 500 years in jail, all for accessing a Cisco network with a password given to him by a Cisco employee. As you can see, he was removed from the deposition, much to the confusion of the special master appointed by the US court. After being arrested, he asked for bail, and Richard Cheng, an Assistant US Attorney for the Justice Department, sent a letter that was chock full of false and misleading information, which the judge in this case goes through step by step. It falsely implies that Adekeye did not really have British citizenship and that he did not really live in Switzerland. It stated that he used his Nigerian passport to enter the US under an E visa, which was not true. It claimed that the US had denied all of Adekeye’s attempts to obtain a visa to visit the US since 2007, which as the ruling now notes “is simply not true.” It also falsely stated that Adekeye had fled from law enforcement in the past. Again, the ruling noted “this statement was completely untrue.”

And yet, federal officials continued to seek extradition. Even then, months after the arrest, the civil suit between Cisco and Multiven were settled, in a manner that everyone agrees was a “win” for Multiven, with Cisco changing its policy. So the key matter over which this highly questionable criminal charge was brought was settled. And yet, the feds continued to push forward. It was only in May of this year, a year after his arrest, that this new ruling came out and freed Adekeye to leave Canada and go back home.

Honestly, the whole story is really terrifying and makes me depressed to think that my government would do something like this. However, it should seriously call into question whether or not new laws like S.978 and the PROTECT IP Act should be allowed. It seems clear that the Justice Department has no problem using very questionable means to act as the private bullies of certain large companies. It should also call into question some of the recent efforts by other US Attorneys from the Justice Department, such as the efforts in coordination with Homeland Security/ICE to seize domains on questionable evidence, the attempt to extradite Richard O’Dwyer from the UK over very questionable charges and, of course, the recent charges against Aaron Swartz.

All of these cases have key factors in common. They involve what at best should be minor civil issues between private parties in court — but in which, due to the presence of certain large industry interests, the Justice Department steps in and starts throwing its considerable weight around, including insane possible punishment, all because of dubious and often extremely misleading claims from these private interests. It’s possible that the Justice Department officials here are simply incompetent (and honestly, that’s an only slightly more comforting idea than the alternative) and unable to realize they’re being manipulated by companies seeking to stamp out competition. But it’s certainly demonstrating a really horrifying pattern of questionable behavior by the Justice Department and US Attorneys not to focus on real criminal behavior, but to abuse the criminal justice system to take vindictive action against potential competitors for big US industry players.

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Comments on “How Cisco & The Justice Department Conspired To Try To Destroy One Man's Life For Daring To Sue Cisco”

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Anonymous Coward says:

But it’s certainly demonstrating a really horrifying pattern of questionable behavior by the Justice Department and US Attorneys not to focus on real criminal behavior, but to abuse the criminal justice system to take vindictive action against potential competitors for big US industry players.

So the feds are acting like cops? Color me surprised.

I think we all know deep down that both the local and federal ‘law enforcement’ agencies are completely without morals, ethics, or integrity. The most surprising thing is the lack of outrage, maybe I’m wrong or most people don’t see it.

The rule of law in america is for sale, has been since the 60s. I personally have no respect for it, often go out of my way to give it the middle finger, and know of many others(granted they are mostly of an age with me, being just graduated from college) with the same attitude.

Stories like this make me sick to be an american. Down with the government.

Donnicton says:

Re: Re:

It will balance out when they decide to pass on the costs to you, the consumer, as a good company always does. Either by way of higher prices, or reduced service, like how Tropicana discreetly dropped all of the volumes on their orange juice containers and hoped you wouldn’t notice(i.e. 64 fl. oz. to 59, and 16 fl. oz. to 14).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It wouldn’t even be a bad idea if there was real competition in any market in the US. The government has propped up oligarchys in certain markets, to the point where those monopolies, and douopolies have made enough money to buy the government out from under us and entrench their positition as the top 1%.

but if we had real competition in the market place of private security you could buy insurance from a security firm, and they would protect you to the best of their abilities, and arbitrate on your behalf if needed, and if they attempted to abuse the power you’ve given them, simply choose to defend yourself or find another secuity firm that will not abuse it’s authority. IF there is enough competition then it would never be in their best interests to screw you over, becuase you and the rest of their customers would leave. it only becomes a companies best interest to screw you over when they know you have no where else to turn.

Anonymous Coward says:

The fall of western civilization approaches

I really do believe that the subject I used for this post is true. I see more and more on a daily basis that our government refuses to follow the laws that we have.
When the government refuses to follow its own laws it sets an example for the people to look at those laws and think that there is no benefit in following them so why bother? Laws work only because the people believe that they should. Because the people choose to obey them. There are never going to be enough soldiers and police to stop the entire populace of any country from doing what they want to do if they decide that the law doesn’t apply to them. So, in a nutshell, the government that continues to ignore the law is the government that destroys itself.

PT says:

Re: The fall of western civilization approaches

I don’t know about the fall of Western civilization, as such. Fall of the US Federal Government as we know it, maybe. It seems to me that during the last decade the various agencies of the Executive branch have come to regard themselves as independent sovereign entities, not subject to any oversight or budgetary constraint whatsoever. As long as our elected representatives continue to paralyze the administration of government with their petty partisan squabbling, this attitude can only become more entrenched. In the end, as AC says, the people will revolt and put an end to it. There are plenty of signs already that things are moving in that direction. The dissidents (I’m thinking mostly of the Tea Party) may have been roped and tied, for now, but the underlying anger is building and won’t be contained for ever. It won’t be pleasant to live through the correction.

CommonSense (profile) says:

Re: Re: Consequences?

“And the Americans are blissfully sleeping thinking the US is the best place in the world.”

Maybe some, but I am personally offended that you would group all of us Americans together in that respect. Especially after reading this post written by an American, and seeing many of these comments expressing their disgust at these actions.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Really? How?

They are both unethical by the US Govt and by proxy it’s corporations (paypal, visa, m/c etc in case of Wikileaks) in the extreme.

They both involve the US government going after International actors that were doing citizens a public and legal service by showing in a public forum how the US Government and its Corporations are inept, hypocritical, fallacious, fraudulent, and bordering on criminal actions.

Dave (profile) says:

Checks and balances on government power.

The checks and balances we have in place clearly do not work when we have an executive office (who is in charge of the justice department) that is willing to act as the enforcement arm of businesses, a legislative branch who propose laws written by those businesses and industries and who depend on those organisations to keep their job (campaign donations), and a judicial branch that will never even get a chance to strike down bad actions by the other two because the goal is not to prosecute but to threaten, harass, and intimidate. I’m horrified. I don’t see a way out.

Mike42 (profile) says:

Re: Well, at last you're writing clearly and forcefully.

Have you seen, or are you seeing a mental health professional? After reading several of your posts, I am very conserned for your well-being.

Seriously. I think your lack of empathy for fellow humans and your slavish devotion to authority may produce a self-hatred culminating in suicidal or homicidal actions.

Please seek help!

Anonymous Tinkerer says:

Re: Re: Re: Well, at last you're writing clearly and forcefully.

History is filled with documented “conspiracies” – particularly when they involve profit. Nothing is less far-fetched; simply looking up the names William Randolph Herst, Joseph Pulitzer, Oliver North or JP Morgan will give you reams of documentation about collusive and plutocratic manipulation. So dismissing every possible question about such things with the tin-foil hat response is a knee-jerk trend that I don’t like very much.

I have been watching the “social media” blossom for the second time (the first was the early web and ICQ, AIM & etc). The chutes are narrowing until your Wallet ID is going to be legally required to matchable your Net ID, all for “your convenience” when it’s really the convenience of the marketeers or to save the children or whatever. Two approaches; two gates.

As government is theoretically restrained from overt surveillance and intrusion, it’s pretty convenient to have companies gather that data, in many cases willingly provided by users in return for “free services” or some pixel bragging badge, and simply buy it as another customer.

It’s not “tin-foil hat” to simply question that premise. The marketeers make no secret that thier business models are based on selling data. Governments throughout history have always been ferocious consumers of data; Alvin Toffler had a lot to say about that in Power Shift. His predictions about government, data and corporations remain a pretty accurate picture 21 years later.

Such a relationship is not any more “blue-sky” than questioning many of JP Morgan’s dealing with the government for railway dominance. After all, Google is getting pretty big for its britches and there’s definitely nosing-around going on regarding anti-trust, ability to conduct business on US soil and whatever else the Feds might decide would be a good lever to pressure Google or other companies with in order to “be allowed” to access or purchase those socio-metric goldmines. In the name of the children, or terrorists or chinese cyberwar or something.

If the NSA could pressure ATT to be silent about wiretapping rooms squatting on the major backbone points (which are fairly-well documented now)and then told ATT to use another supplier if they knew what was good for their business with the USGOV, it’s certainly worth thinking about to question whether the NSA could raise enough problems for even Google’s bottomless coffers and legions of hand-bred lawyers to have difficulty handling, unless they went full-out and simply bought the US wholesale.

Or they might just be becoming evil exactly like Cisco in this case. Or they might be being arm-twisted. Neither one is a far-fetched idea given the current climate of plutocratic Theatre Of Fear & Commerce.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I’ve been running network infrastructure for years without Cisco. Not only do they have ample (commercial) competition, but anyone with even moderate expertise can build their own from commodity hardware and open-source software. See, for example, OpenBGPD. And the “pf” firewall is easily — by such a wide margin that it isn’t even worth discussion — THE best firewall available anywhere. (It’s built into a number of BSD distribution.)

I still maintain a peripheral awareness of Cisco-isms because I need to deal with Cisco-centric operations. But that’s about it; every product they make has a superior alternative (or more than one), all you have to do is find it.

someone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

openBSD invented CARP to handle failover of devices because the industry standard methods to do so were patent encumbered by Cisco.

So you can even make redundant routers/firewalls with automatic failover using open source.

I have replaced all of my Cisco border routers with off the shelf hardware and openBSD.
I use openBGPD too, works great!

Hardware is cheaper, performance is better, configuration is easier and everything is more reliable.

I am very happy without Cisco gear!

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

I ask you nicely

Dear Countries that are not the US,

I ask you nicely, I beg you, I implore you, please by all means stop giving in to things the US wants. Do not bow to my government’s pressures. They are not in your best interest. My governments action’s are quite rarely in its own citizen’s best interests these days. Please do not give in. There are those of us who see reason and common sense here. I ask that you do not confuse us as liking this form of government and work. It is atrocious when our government does things such as the article above. We want it to stop. We want reason and good will back in our country. We currently have a problem that the rich and corporations have far more control than they should. Some of us are working to try to fix this but it is a tough process. I ask that you do not give in and let your country become what we are becoming. It will not work out for over 99% of the population.

So, I ask you again, please do not do stupid things our government asks. Stand up and do what is right and just.

A concerned US citizen

BearGriz72 (profile) says:

Re: Re: I ask you nicely

Quoting myself: Repost from here

Eleven score and fifteen years ago our forefathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all buisnesses are created equal….

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from this honored “intelectual property” we take increased devotion to that cause for which many gave their last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these lawsuits shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of enforcment — and that government of the people, by the lawyers, for big buisness, shall not perish from the earth.

william (profile) says:

Re: I ask you nicely

I agree. I blame my county’s idiocy on believing everything the US says.

Look, we Canadians been trying to forgo that “U.S.’s little lacky” for a long time now. And incidents like this does help at all.

Every government we elected so far lacks some serious spine, whether they are conservatives or liberal. The current Conservatives’ been trying to sneak in US DMCA into Canada repeatedly. They are pretty much US’ monkeys. US says, monkey do.

Hey Election Canada, wonder why voting percentage dropped again in the last election? This is why. Young people coming of age having no hope of changing how older “politicians” runs the freakin’ country.

PS. I feel for the US too. Who would have though Obama turns out to be more full of S*** then Bush. At least with Bush you know he’s going to mess you up. Obama is worse by telling you a whole bunch of lies to build a dream of the future, then mercilessly crush that dream behind the back doing everything he promised not to do. A evil doer is not scary. A evil doer who lies should scare your pants off.

DCX2 says:

What should happen

All of the US Attorneys involved should be disbarred. All of Cisco’s lawyers should be disbarred. The United States should pay reparations for lost wages as well as the mental anguish arising from the separation between Adekeye and his family. People everywhere should stop buying Cisco.

Somehow, though, I doubt any of this will come to pass.

Nicedoggy says:

I hope opensource routers displace CISCO.
Maybe Vyatta can do it. (open source hardware design) (open source game console from South Korea)

aldestrawk says:

Re: Re:

Cisco has a wide variety of products. Software based routers, including those of Vyatta, can replace only a portion of their products. The increase in computing power of CPUs and GPUs, and the addition of multi-core has allowed such routers to become capable of displacing part of the hardware-forwarded based routers. I worked on such a router before Vyatta’s existence and have followed Vyatta with interest. However, I take exception to their claim that their most capable product is an enterprise level router. There is still a place for hardware forwarding routers that do indeed come priced at a premium. Cisco is the leader but is definitely not the only player. I know people at Cisco, I have worked with people who formerly worked at Cisco and I may yet work at Cisco someday. I have to say this story leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

thedigitari says:

this has all been played out for years in the Military of the USA

a friend of mine on a ship was fined 600$ and reduced in rank

the charge against him

“suspicion of being in an area where Cannabis was suspected of being smoked”

No positive urine or blood test

they just didn’t like the Marine

this was 30 years ago……

Richard Hack (profile) says:

I'm shocked...SHOCKED!

“appeared to involve a US Attorney leaving out key information, making blatantly false insinuations about other facts, and in some cases, what appears to just be lying”

All I can say about this remark is…DUH!

I was once in a Federal holding cell awaiting an appearance in court. A defendant in an earlier case comes in laughing. He says the Magistrate was skeptical about the testimony of a DEA agent. The prosecuting attorney tells the Magistrate, “But Your Honor, this man is a Federal agent. He wouldn’t lie!”

The Magistrate bursts out laughing. He tells the attorney, “Don’t tell me a Federal agent wouldn’t lie in this courtroom!”

Attorneys and cops are professional liars and they do it most of the time.

And this: “the police’s actions ‘could be compared to entering a courtroom and arresting a person during the course of his or her testimony. It is simply not done in a civilized jurisdiction that is bound by the rule of law.'”

That term “civilized jurisdiction” doesn’t apply to either the US or Canada… Both are fascist-corporate states ruled by people with money and power, just like the worst South African zoo state – and with worse consequences because both countries are far more powerful than a zoo state. African zoo states tend to kill only their one people – not a million people and displace four million more in countries thousands of miles from their location whereas the US and Canada (and NATO countries in general) MAKE THEIR LIVING doing that sort of thing.

Ben Dover (America) (user link) says:

What Went Wrong in America? America's Secret Government Revealed.

It’s time to revert to Neo-feudalism, globally, via debt for all Nations and all Individuals, everywhere, with profits to the Central Bankers of the EU, and Wall St. What went wrong in America? This question answered, and America’s Secret Government revealed, in:

Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The Secret War Against the American People, by Servando Gonzalez

The elite have two primary goals: 1) Global Neo-feudalism, and 2) Global De-population, or Eugenics.

Vincent Clement (profile) says:

What do all the “if you don’t break the law, you have nothing to worry about” people have to say about this?

The DMCA is used to silence critics. Now you have a corporation AND the government conspiring together to have a person arrested and extradited with false information.

I can’t believe my government facilitated this arrest and sped up his extradition. Time for a revolution in every western nation.

Anonymous Coward says:


The problem is that the US Attorneys and so forth are actually committing crimes. But because they put themselves above the law, nobody can quite figure out how to arrest them.

This is a rather law-oriented society. Once people figure out how to set up their own courts, the people who committed crimes under color of law should watch out.

It has happened before. It will happen again. It will probably take a few decades.

nelson says:

Bitcoin recovery isn’t an easy task but very easy for a good expert like hacker Swann, I was scammed $170000 bitcoin and felt I’m finished until I meet this hacker on Reddit, he gave me hope and brought smile back to my face .
you can get in touch with him if you need help recovering any cryptocurrency. is the fastest and most secure hacker you can ever meet online

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