The Dim-Post

March 27, 2014

Dotcom’s struggle

Filed under: history,Politics — danylmc @ 9:34 am

Via the Herald: 

On the eve of his Internet Party launch, Kim Dotcom has admitted owning a rare copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

The Internet Party launches its online push for members today, but in an interview with 3 News last night, the German internet entrepreneur said he had bought a rare signed copy of Hitler’s autobiography at an auction four years ago.

A spokesman for Mr Dotcom told the Herald the Megaupload founder, who is fighting a US bid to extradite him on internet piracy charges, decided to go public over the book before his adversaries did.

“That’s where it’s been coming from by and large. It didn’t take a lot of rocket science as it were what the general thrust of these things were. It’s something that we thought we should front-foot.”

Cameron Slater and David Farrar both blogged not-so-cryptic hints (‘What sort of person buys a copy of Mein Kampf?’) about this a few weeks ago which in retrospect was rather foolish since it tipped Dotcom off and let him get the story out when he wanted instead of during the election campaign or the Banks trial.

This stuff comes from Dotcom’s ex-bodyguard, presumably, who was recently slapped with a gag-order preventing him from speaking to media about his time in the Coatsville mansion. Obviously that doesn’t stop him from giving stories to the media on background or as an anonymous source. I’ve always thought the Internet Party was a daft idea and going into an election campaign with the founder’s former personal aide leaking stories against him make it look even more doomed.

Slater has more allegations here. You never know with him but it all sounds pretty unlikely: if there was a Nazi flag hanging up in Dotcom’s mansion when the police raided I’m pretty sure we would have heard about it before now.

Meanwhile Mickey Savage at The Standard calls the story a ‘distraction’ writing: ‘I can’t help but think that our main stream media and blogosphere are being manipulated by some pretty skilled operatives.’

I don’t know if you’d call Cameron Slater a ‘skilled operator.’ His handling of the Len Brown story turned a resignation-level scandal into a media witch-hunt focused on Slater’s family and their connections with the Palino mayoral campaign, and the Prime Minister is currently in Europe, where he met with Obama and initiated a free-trade deal. As far as National is concerned right now, any story that isn’t making the Prime Minister look like an international statesman in an election year is an unwanted distraction.

Finally, there’s a famous Stephen King story called Apt Pupil about a young boy who gets obsessed with the Nazis, and in it one of the characters comments that many people have a ‘dark fascination’ for that period of history, which is detached from any kind of ideology or values. Having a fetish for this kind of paraphernalia doesn’t make someone a Nazi but it does make them pretty creepy.

53 Comments »

  1. Kiaora. I was not referring to Slater …

    Comment by Greg Presland — March 27, 2014 @ 9:38 am

  2. But Dont worry, Dotcom showed balance by getting stuff of the peace loving, kind hearted Stalin (who only purged 10s of millions of Soviets) so its all good!

    Comment by rjs131 — March 27, 2014 @ 9:56 am

  3. Dotcom has humiliated the NZ establishment, and that makes for some powerful enemies, especially when those enemies have access to plenty of cash a full panoply of traditional and new types of surveillance and a compliant media.

    Like establishments everywhere, the first step in the retaliation is character assassination to isolate and discredit the target. And nowadays Edward Snowden’s revelations show you don’t to think that is just some wild conspiracy theory:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/26/nsa-porn-muslims_n_4346128.html
    http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/snowdenslamsopponentsspyinhwhilesarkozytargettedbysurveillance.html
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/how-surveillance-state-insiders-try-to-discredit-nsa-critics/281941/

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 27, 2014 @ 10:10 am

  4. Having a fetish for this kind of paraphernalia doesn’t make someone a Nazi but it does make them pretty creepy.

    I’m not even sure it’s that creepy.

    Owning a signed copy of Mein Kampf doesn’t make KDC a fetishist, any more than owning a signed copy of Childhood’s End makes someone an Arthur C. Clarke fetishist who by inference, must have an fascination with young Sri Lankan boys.

    If he paraded around in his gin-palace wearing a Wermacht uniform, then yes, he’s a fetishist. Otherwise, nothing to see here.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 27, 2014 @ 10:22 am

  5. but it does make them pretty creepy.

    Which is an apt description of Dotcom, with or without Nazi paraphernalia

    Comment by eszettt — March 27, 2014 @ 10:25 am

  6. Is owning Churchill’s cigar holder creepy as well?

    Comment by garethw — March 27, 2014 @ 10:25 am

  7. garethw – thank your lucky stars its not bill clinton’s – THAT would be creepy🙂

    Comment by framu — March 27, 2014 @ 10:43 am

  8. @Danyl: Are you saying that owning a copy of Mein Kampf makes Dotcom a Nazi fetishist? If not, what is the point of the last paragraph?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 27, 2014 @ 10:48 am

  9. @Kel: I don’t think it’s so much that Dotcom has a copy of Mein Kampf, but that he has a signed copy. That goes from being interested in what a whack-job mass-murdering sonofabitch wrote, in being interested in said sonofabitch himself.

    Having said that, this story is such a beat-up that I’m a bit disgusted that TV3 led with it last night. Unless he’s hiring bodyguards by choosing those who will strangle puppies to prove their loyalty, there’s nothing really to see here.

    Comment by Ataahua — March 27, 2014 @ 11:01 am

  10. What if he owned a Confederate cavalry flag once owned by Nathan Bedford Forrest, would that make him a closet racist? Plenty of people collect strange stuff. Part of the appeal of collecting out-there stuff IS the taboo. For example, apparently the art done by Charles Manson in prison has a quite a following amongst the collectors of murderobilia, a genre of collecting so popular it has its own name. This story is so ridiculous it beggars belief.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 27, 2014 @ 11:05 am

  11. I would also find owning Charles Manson’s art and a confederate flag creepy.

    Comment by danylmc — March 27, 2014 @ 11:07 am

  12. “…I would also find owning Charles Manson’s art and a confederate flag creepy…”

    I once met a guy who collected weapons. He told me he had in his collection a machine gun reputedly used by the Germans on the first day of the Somme in 1916, where it was one of an estimated eighteen or so machine guns that inflicted 60,000 casualties on the British army. So much pain and suffering. Is that creepy? Is owning Enola Gay memorabilia creepy?

    But OK. How about this – what if Dotcom collected restraints (handcuffs and thumbscrews), would you find that “creepy” as well? Sex toys? Would Dotcom having the worlds most comprehensive collection of butt plugs and dildos violate (excuse the pun) your moral sensibility? Why is it anyone’s business anyway? Where does that all end up?

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 27, 2014 @ 11:23 am

  13. Good heavens, are we not allowed to own certain books now? Perhaps we should all grow up a bit and realise the Mein Kampf is an incredibly important document in the context of the 20th century. Sure, it might be a load of poorly written hogwash, but it is historically important hogwash.

    Comment by Alex Braae — March 27, 2014 @ 11:23 am

  14. “What if he owned a Confederate cavalry flag once owned by Nathan Bedford Forrest, would that make him a closet racist?”

    I don’t see anything sinister about it but I guess timing has something to do with it politically. Otherwise it’d be pretty hard to run a popular chain of Mongolian BBQ restaurants throughout New Zealand which celebrate Genghis Khan. I mean, by the same standards who’d want to be seen inside one of them if they knew what the guy got up to through his life?

    Comment by izogi — March 27, 2014 @ 11:25 am

  15. It’s amazing how many people overlook the fact that owning something like shows a complete lack of political nous, of Bevan Chuang / Exclusive Brethren scale.

    No one’s suggesting banning a bit of nookie or campaigning for your favourite party, but all three examples show a massive lack of political judgement, that rightly affect how voters see the people involved.

    Comment by rickrowling — March 27, 2014 @ 11:29 am

  16. @Danyl: With respect, I think you are sliding into pretty dubious territory here. Isn’t this just the territory of vague, “Oh well I can’t put my finger on it but there’s something not right” moralising of the sort favoured by less-than-rigorous journos?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 27, 2014 @ 11:32 am

  17. I haven’t read Mein Kampf, but it is on my ‘bucket list’. I see it as an entry-point into trying to understand one of the darkest periods in human history, and as a case-study of just how rapidly an entire nation can turn on itself and fall into the trap of logical insanity.

    The difference between KDC and I is that he’s a publicity whore of the highest order, and I am not. I am doubtful that KDC owns his copy for any other reason than because it will garner attention. That doesn’t make him ‘creepy’, but it fits with everything else we know about him.

    Comment by Phil — March 27, 2014 @ 11:40 am

  18. I gotta wonder how many people doing this cute ‘What’s the big deal about owning a copy of Mein Kampf personally signed by Hitler’ routine will claw their own eyes out with fury next time someone on the right makes some objectionable comment about race or gender?

    If you don’t get why its bad for a political figure to own Nazi memorabilia then I honestly can’t explain it to you, and frankly can’t be bothered trying.

    Comment by danylmc — March 27, 2014 @ 11:48 am

  19. I am doubtful that KDC owns his copy for any other reason than because it will garner attention.

    Precisely this.

    KDC is a showpony. What better way to faux-shock your hipster guests sensibilities at some soirée by dropping “Oh, so you know, I have my owned signed copy of Mein Kampf, ja? It cost me lidderally taaaaaasusands, I can tell you! Fancy this, a cherman owning zis. AHAHAHHAHHAHHA! Isn’t zis hilaaaaaaaarious! Where’s my Champange?”.

    If you don’t get why its bad for a political figure to own Nazi memorabilia then I honestly can’t explain it to you, and frankly can’t be bothered trying.

    Except that he is not a credible political figure. He a nouveau riche blowhard in a spot of legal trouble, masquerading as a credible political figure.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 27, 2014 @ 12:02 pm

  20. @Danyl: There is a massive difference between saying something racist and owning a racist book.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 27, 2014 @ 12:09 pm

  21. What better way to faux-shock your hipster guests sensibilities…

    Telling them you donated $50000 to the same John Banks who back in the early 90s advocated exploiting the Maori prison population to produce ‘handicrafts’ for the souvenir trade – a position which, as far as I’m aware, he’s never resiled from?

    Comment by Joe W — March 27, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

  22. “…I haven’t read Mein Kampf, but it is on my ‘bucket list’…”

    It is almost impossible to read, to call it a wandering screed is rather to kind.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 27, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

  23. I guess we can all pick our preferred jaw-dropper, but I don’t think Dotcom’s collection fetish is half as crazy as Patrick Gower’s performance on the news last night. It was Basil Fawlty meets Alan Partridge … “And that’s exactly how Nazi Germany started!”.

    That he did this with no trace of irony or self-awareness whatsoever does suggest he has a perspective problem, to put it politely.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — March 27, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

  24. “If you don’t get why its bad for a political figure to own Nazi memorabilia then I honestly can’t explain it to you, and frankly can’t be bothered trying.”

    What if it were simply war memorabilia? Mein Kampf, a flag from one of Eisenhower’s staff cars, a pair of binoculars left behind by the British at Somme, a Vichy flag, an Italian code book with apparent shrapnel damage, etc. Context can be everything.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 27, 2014 @ 1:47 pm

  25. Oh, and he owns a tank.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 27, 2014 @ 1:48 pm

  26. The signed copy of Mein Kampf could be a very valuable item to some other collector or in the future.

    Why are so many commenters here unable to appreciate the simple point that KDC lihas to make money and he saw the book as an investment worth punting on.

    Do so many of you (like Ataaahua) just live in some bubble somewhere where you get given money from the efforts of someone else every week and such thoughts as a risky investment therefore would never enter your heads.

    People who don’t have long term government jobs have to think of ways to make money from their own initiative. Or work for someone who has such ideas. There is a large section of the community that lives each day under this understanding. It probably doesn’t include Wellington civil servants, public school teachers, university professors and the like.

    Honestly, the want for such a simple everyday perception just amazes me.

    Comment by Redbaiter — March 27, 2014 @ 3:27 pm

  27. Oh, and he owns an inflatable tank.

    FIFY

    So owning a rare copy of Mein Kampf and storing it 18,000 kilometres away is creepy? Its not like he leaves it open on the coffee table in Coatesville.

    $50k to Banks to buy influence is meh and $20k on a shitty book signed by Hitler (who lost and has been roundly criticised for being f*&cking evil) we all lose our collective shit.

    Comment by andy (the other one) — March 27, 2014 @ 4:11 pm

  28. Redbaiter wrote: Do so many of you (like Ataaahua) just live in some bubble somewhere where you get given money from the efforts of someone else every week and such thoughts as a risky investment therefore would never enter your heads.

    True. Everyone in New Zealand ultimately owes their income to the initiative of people who create wealth and jobs by buying things like signed first editions of Mein Kampf.

    Comment by kahikatea — March 27, 2014 @ 5:21 pm

  29. I don’t know – this is all very relative isn’t it? To my mind this simply indicates the kind of narcissism that KDC appears to possess in spades. But if I were at a dinner party and he brought it out to look at – shit – I might want to gaze at the thing, but I think I’d decline… I’d respond politely to the stuff about it being a ‘great investment’ But on the way home, the conversation would inevitably turn to the question:
    :”why the fuck would he want to own that?”
    All those senseless deaths, you know ‘The final Solution’ is that what qualified this artefact as ‘cool’?
    But the real answer might be because megalomaniacs dig other megalomaniacs.
    He’s just coming over as just overgrown kid with too much money and too many toys.
    Bottom line here for me is by doing this, he has just done his own little bit to keep the Hitler mystique alive. There’s places out there waiting to offer him a free drink and a knowing wink, and this kind of senseless amoral self-gratification is shameful.
    If you disagree that’s fine, just remember that in some places and times ‘losing your shit’ would have bought you a one way ticket to an oven, and you book collection might have ended on a bonfire.

    Investment? Fucking buy some schoolbooks, you prick.

    Comment by Lee C — March 27, 2014 @ 7:07 pm

  30. All those senseless deaths, you know ‘The final Solution’ is that what qualified this artefact as ‘cool’?

    Meh. If you want to see people with a ghoulish interest in works of homicidal megalomaniacs that are a testament to huge numbers of people pointlessly worked to death as slave labour, take a look at anyone who’s visited the pyramids. I don’t think Gower will be wetting his pants over pictures of Dotcom sitting on a camel with a pyramid behind him anytime soon, though – Hitler got special Juju for people whose historical knowledge comes from movies and TV.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — March 27, 2014 @ 7:17 pm

  31. How many books does he own in total? If it’s 1,000+ then Mein Kampf isn’t so weird. If he owns ten books there’s something wrong.

    Comment by gazzaj — March 27, 2014 @ 7:26 pm

  32. There’s an episode of “Justified” which revolves around a guy whose life passion is buying up the watercolor paintings Hitler did when he was an “artist”. Turns out that he’s doing this so that he can burn them and keep the ashes in little jars, as a form of revenge against his Nazi-sympathising father.

    Not really sure what that’s got to do with Dotcom’s collection preferences … but I was feeling left out of the conversation.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — March 27, 2014 @ 7:26 pm

  33. How many books does he own in total?

    Maybe also, what other books are they? Because if it’s Mein Kampf and 999 copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion … well, just sayin’.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — March 27, 2014 @ 7:27 pm

  34. Gower will be wetting his pants over pictures of Dotcom sitting on a camel

    I’d certainly pity that camel.

    Comment by Joe W — March 27, 2014 @ 7:28 pm

  35. Said it on the previous thread, but worth repeating, since nobody in the media seems to want to ask.

    Prince Harry in the uniform. Kim Dotcom in the helmet. If there’s a difference, please explain. (Apart from – our PM wants to deport one, and grovel to the other).

    They’re a couple of immature Germans, but we’re supposed to be outraged by one and indulge the other? Why?

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — March 27, 2014 @ 8:24 pm

  36. @sammy: Ah, the whole “royal family are Germans LOL” meme rears its head again, I see.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 27, 2014 @ 8:45 pm

  37. Replace “immature Germans” with “grotesquely rich man-children” and sammy’s point holds.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 27, 2014 @ 9:00 pm

  38. Fair enough.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 27, 2014 @ 9:08 pm

  39. It’s further evidence of his personality, if any more was needed.

    Of it self it’s not necessarily of concern but given he’s such a objectionable and dangerous (how many reputations will he sacrifice on the alter of his ego) person, it’s significant.

    But there’s still a surprising number of liberal commentators that can’t see through his routine and see this as some isolated quirk to be rationalised away.

    Comment by NeiiM — March 28, 2014 @ 12:18 am

  40. Well said.

    Comment by Lee C — March 28, 2014 @ 5:51 am

  41. It’s further evidence of his personality, if any more was needed.

    I guess, but….

    Of it self it’s not necessarily of concern but given he’s such a objectionable and dangerous (how many reputations will he sacrifice on the alter of his ego) person, it’s significant.

    Wow. “Objectionable and dangerous person”? “sacrifice (reputations) on the alter of his ego”?

    NeilM – Gold medal for shark-jumping.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 28, 2014 @ 8:49 am

  42. “…It’s further evidence of his personality…”

    Personality! Heaven forbid! Strike him down now!

    This whole reaction to Dotcom having a quirky collection of memorabilia says something quite damining about New Zealand culture in general. It illustrates how culturally uncomfortably we are with real individuality, our massive need for conformism and throws into sharp relief an unreconstructed parochial and insular society always keen to cut down the tall poppy.

    John Key is pretty rich. Why doesn’t he own anything as interesting as a signed copy of Mein Kampf? Because is he is to much of an incurious intellectual oaf to have the imagination to be fascinated by such objects, thats why. John Key is the sort of guy who thinks Mozart’s music has to many notes. And that is exactly as a society how we like it. Key might be rich, but he enjoys his wealth in the safest of officially approved manners – a scaled up version of the Kiwi middle class that even the thickest aspirational Vodafone junior exec and his dolly girlfriend from Takapuna can understand. Dan and Gemma may envy Dotcom his money, but really they desperately want to conform and be rich, like John Key.

    We do bland provincialism just fine here in NZ thank you very much. Flashy Johnny foreigner with his dangerously controversial curiosities and frankly individualistic fascinations need not apply.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 28, 2014 @ 8:52 am

  43. Classic countermyth, Sanc. Owning mein kampf doesn’t say anything bad about Dotcom, but not owning it doesn’t say anything bad about John Key, either.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 28, 2014 @ 9:38 am

  44. Nah, that’s not the real Sanctuary, that’s an entry into a competition seeing how many left wing cliches and stereotypes can be packed into the fewest words. It was probably written by Chris Trotter

    Comment by Tinakori — March 28, 2014 @ 10:15 am

  45. “Nah, that’s not the real Sanctuary, that’s an entry into a competition seeing how many left wing cliches and stereotypes can be packed into the fewest words.”

    That sounds like the real Sanctuary to me!

    Only 8.5/10 though, he forgot to call himself a patriotic sixth generation New Zealander.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 28, 2014 @ 10:19 am

  46. NeilM – Gold medal for shark-jumping.

    In some kind of special event for the cognitively impaired, naturally.

    Comment by Joe W — March 28, 2014 @ 10:23 am

  47. There is a brilliant post by Rachel on The Standard that says what needs to be said.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/the-mein-kampf-distraction/#comment-790968

    Comment by northshoreguynz — March 28, 2014 @ 11:05 am

  48. “There is a brilliant post by Rachel on The Standard that says what needs to be said.”

    A series of contradictions embedded in this statement – brilliant post/The Standard, says what needs to be said/The Standard

    Comment by Tinakori — March 28, 2014 @ 11:17 am

  49. Sanctuary, how would a worker’s paradise ensure an ideologically correct distribution of signed first editions of Mein Kampf? Does the thickest aspirational Vodafone junior exec and his dolly girlfriend from Takapuna get to own a couple of paragraphs or what.

    Comment by Trouble Man — March 28, 2014 @ 11:42 am

  50. John Key is indeed nothing like KDC: KDC leases a mansion. John Key is more like Sanctuary: owns a lifestyle block, albeit in Hawaii.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 28, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

  51. This would be rather more credible if the slide deck describing how the NSA runs its smear operations hadn’t leaked:
    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/

    Comment by richdrich — March 28, 2014 @ 12:59 pm

  52. I wonder when the firearms charges against Tempero are going to be quietly dropped, or just never listed for trial…

    Comment by richdrich — March 28, 2014 @ 1:03 pm

  53. On a lighter note, to deflect from the ongoing Collins scandal and the impending collapse of the Dotcom case, Fairfax dutifully vomits out breathless agitprop disguised as journalism.

    Happy Easter!

    Comment by Gregor W — April 17, 2014 @ 3:49 pm


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