Over the weekend, when the news broke that Gottfrid Svartholm, the founder of The Pirate Bay, had been arrested in Cambodia
, I didn't think too much of it. It was well known that he was in that part of the world, and you had to figure that sooner or later he'd be tracked down. Despite claims that he was too ill to show up for the appeal of The Pirate Bay trial in Sweden, many questioned if he was just hiding out in southeast Asia to avoid any potential jail time. Over the past few days, some additional info has come out that is certainly raising eyebrows, even if the evidence is circumstantial. And the biggest bit of news may be that his arrest might not even be about The Pirate Bay.
Either way, let's start with the basics. First, Cambodia has admitted that it will be deporting Svartholm
, even though there's no extradition treaty between Cambodia and Sweden. Of course, deportation and extradition are not the same thing, and you don't need an extradition treaty to deport someone. But it is still notable.
But then there are two bits of news that seem like quite
the coincidence. First up: Ron Kirk, the US Trade Rep, and the main US government official responsible for ACTA and the TPP... just happened to be in Cambodia
the very day that Svartholdm was arrested... and
, the very next day, Sweden just happened to announce a $59 million "aid package" with Cambodia
. Is it any wonder that some are asking if Sweden basically paid Cambodia
to arrest Svartholm... and if the US had a helping hand in all of this?
At this point, it certainly could all be a coincidence -- which is the direction I tend to lean for the time being -- but it is quite a coincidence. We already know that the US government has been heavily involved
in getting Sweden to put The Pirate Bay on trial. In fact, the US's deep involvement in Swedish copyright laws and policies has been a source of friction
with some Swedish officials. Furthermore, Ron Kirk's entire role
is about negotiating agreements and treaties between countries -- so the fact that a Swedish/Cambodia deal came together just as he was in the country? It certainly wouldn't be shocking to find out that he had a hand in making the deal happen.
But, let's add in one more bit of info. Svartholm's fellow TPB'er Peter Sunde is claiming that the arrest is not related to The Pirate Bay
, though other reports claim otherwise. Some other friends are also insisting that it's not related to TPB, though I will admit to being skeptical. More surprising, perhaps, is Sunde's suggestion that the arrest may actually have more to do with Wikileaks
, which Svartholm's company used to host, rather than The Pirate Bay... Of course, if that's the case, it doesn't discount the involvement of the US or Sweden (and might only reinforce it). Though it does add an element of... oddity to the whole situation.
Of course, even if the arrest is
about something else, if he does end up being shipped back to Sweden, the TPB issue won't just go away. And it's likely that whoever is involved -- whether it's these other two governments or not -- recognizes that as well.
: TorrentFreak is now reporting that the arrest is about a tax hack
Svartholm’s arrest is related to a hacking operation that may date back to 2010.
The hack targeted Swedish IT company Logica, which supplies services to the Swedish tax office. Earlier this year the hack made the headlines when the tax numbers of 9,000 Swedes leaked online.