Corporate Police State: Cisco Enlists Prosecutors to Impede Whistleblower Lawsuit

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You know it’s bad when a significant court of one of your most loyal foreign allies issues a major slapdown.

David Sirota of Salon (hat tip reader Marshall Auerback) reports on a stunning case (and yours truly is not easily stunned) and serves to reveal the depth of corpocracy in the United States.

The very short form of this story is that Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that Cisco and US police and prosecutors engaged in a “massive abuse of process” to have a former executive who had filed an anti-trust suit against Cisco imprisoned.

Sirota gives a stinging write up, and if anything, the Vancouver Sun, which broke the story, is even more incendiary, reflecting the blistering tone of the court’s opinion.

First, the high points courtesy the Sun:

In a rare move, [Justice Robert]McKinnon stayed extradition proceedings against Peter Adekeye, a British computer entrepreneur who once worked for Cisco Systems, Inc.

The judge said U.S. prosecutors acted outrageously by having the respected executive bizarrely arrested in Vancouver on May 20, 2010 as he testified before a sitting of the American court he was accused of avoiding.

He called Adekeye’s ordeal something out of a novel by Joseph Heller, the author of Catch-22.

The RCMP took Adekeye into custody as he was testifying before a special U.S. hearing at the Wedgewood Hotel about the very case that supposedly required his urgent extradition.

Adekeye was perp-walked through the hotel lobby to a waiting police wagon.

“This speaks volumes for Cisco’s duplicity,” the judge said, adding the company had “the unmitigated gall” to try to use the criminal process to humiliate and force Adekeye to abandon a civil suit.

Adekeye was held in custody for 28 days and forced to remain in Canada until this week under strict bail conditions because of the false and misleading material from the U.S., McKinnon said.

Canadian Justice Department lawyer Diba Majzub argued that it didn’t matter U.S. prosecutors falsely portrayed Adekeye as a Nigerian scofflaw who was a flight risk.

He filed three thick volumes of legal precedent and emphasized that only five times since the current Extradition Act was enacted in 1999 has a judge sought to stay proceedings because of abuse of process.

A stay required extraordinary misconduct, he said.

Justice McKinnon thought this case met the test and was flabbergasted by Adekeye’s “shocking” arrest during a judicial proceeding: “It is simply not done in a civilized jurisdiction that is bound by the rule of law.”

The Sun also reported that Adekeye’s attorney said that “Almost nothing in the U.S. attorney’s letter was true.” Sounds an awful lot like what happens in some foreclosure proceedings, except here the stakes were vastly higher.

Sirota summarized the backstory:

Ex-Cisco exec Peter Alfred-Adekeye filed a whistle-blower suit against his former employer Cisco in civil court — a suit that could compel the company to pay millions in damages for allegedly “forcing customers to buy maintenance contracts,” according to the Vancouver Sun.

Cisco subsequently responded with two moves designed to intimidate Adekeye: First, the company filed a counter civil suit against him for allegedly “using a former colleague’s computer code to illicitly access Cisco services worth ‘more than $14,000.'” Then, the corporation had its allies in U.S. law enforcement cite the civil counter-suit to issue a whopping 97 criminal charges against Adekeye. In other words, instead of following Adekeye’s civil case with criminal antitrust charges against Cisco, U.S. authorities were convinced by the corporation to add criminal charges to Cisco’s counter civil suit against Adekeye (this move to add state-sanctioned criminal prosecution to a corporation’s civil action, of course, is a textbook definition of a Corporate Police State).

Ultimately, U.S. authorities demanded the Canadian government extradite Adekeye for prosecution, and Canadian officials proceeded to follow U.S. orders by arresting and detaining him.

It gets even weirder after that. Adekeye had been denied entry to the US since 2008 when he tried to participate in hearings on his case (ahem, you can already see the heavy hand of Cisco in government conduct). He then attended a special Canadian session so he could testify in Cisco’s civil suit against him. He then became the target of an extradition suit by the US. Sirota notes (emphasis his):

Indeed, as if to underscore the bizarre nature of the U.S. government’s change of posture, U.S. authorities actually had Adekeye arrested on extradition charges right as he was testifying before the special session of the U.S. court in Vancouver (he was actually perp-walked out of the hearing).

The Sun points out:

The entire incident was a planned and deliberate act by Cisco, which prevailed on U.S. prosecutors to “grotesquely inflate” a minor civil complaint into a criminal charge requiring 500 years imprisonment.

Now in case you wonder whether the charges by Cisco against Adekeye have merit, Cisco has dropped its counterclaim. , which led Justice McKennon to question how a criminal charge now could be proven when Cisco, the supposed victim, says it didn’t suffer any loss.” Furthermore, Sirota tells us that the IDG News Service has said that the US prosecutors have failed to present the evidence required to extradite Adekeye.

This looks like a tissue of sheer fabrication dumped in a Canadian court, with US officials confident no one would question their lies given the high bar in Canada for denying an extradition request. It show the gall and arrogance of the US police state, and mercifully, the Canadian courts were unwilling to accede when the evidence of abuse of process was presented to them.

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  1. Didier F

    Terrifying. In eastern Europe, we had popular democracies. Now, we have corporate democracies.

    1. hareli

      From the IDG News Service story about it:

      “In a statement on Friday, Cisco said the U.S. Secret Service had issued its criminal complaint against Alfred-Adekeye after nearly two years of investigation.”

      U.S. Secret Service?

      (BTW, this is going to do nothing for the Microsoft-Cisco-Facebook triumvirate that are pinning their hopes on, get this, Windows Phone 7.)

  2. Francois T

    First, Canada was dragged into the Maher Arar case, courtesy of some arrogant REMFs in American federal law enforcement. Then, the Omar Khadr case (another Canadian citizen). Now, this!

    The bottom line is this: the US is playing with highly radioactive material if they think they can try to snooker the foreign courts of their best ally with lies, innuendos and total fabrications.

    Imagine this scenario: Canadian authorities receive a serious and well-documented request about a “person of interest” in a sensitive terrorism case only to be told: “Since you have proved to be unreliable and have lied to us repeatedly in the past, we shall take our sweet time to study each and every angle of this so-called “request”. You may go now, and we do not wish you a good day!

    Alas, this time, the “person of interest” turned out to be the real deal…and is “successful”.

    Abusing your allies can have consequences.

    1. Altoid

      Can you imagine the Harper government *not* doing Uncle’s bidding? Especially now that it’s a majority and with such a weak opposition?

      It’ll be a while before we see the reaction you posit. Sadly.

  3. Paul Tioxon

    The Dual State Theory
    In addition to The NAZI Dual State analysis by Ernst Fraenkel, there is contemporary dual state analysis based on National Security / Civil Society-Public State conflicts.

    “In his Geopolitics in Post-Wall Europe, Tunander emphasized that the state’s traditional Friend-Foe divide had been supplemented by a Cosmos-Chaos divide that made European states seek centrality rather than territory and in some cases cut off less developed nationalist territories (i.e. the Czech case in 1993). He wrote articles on geopolitics, “amputation of territories” and the geopolitical scholar Rudolf Kjellén for Security Dialogue, Review of International Studies, Cooperation and Conflict, and Geopolitics as well as for the Italian journal Limes.[9] He argued in articles for above journals, for the European Commission,[10] and for a book volume Government of the Shadows (2009)[11] that U.S. hegemonic power divided the single Western state into a “dual state”: a regular democratic hierarchy versus a security hierarchy linked to the U.S. With reference to Schmitt,[12] Morgenthau and Fraenkel,[13] he developed the concept of “dual state” as composed by a regular democratic state or “public state” (Peter Dale Scott)[14] that acts according to the rule of law, and by a covert “deep state” or “security state” able to veto the decisions of the former (Morgenthau)[15] and to “securitize” regular politics by making certain activities an issue of life and death (Wæver).[16] Cold War military coups or coup attempts (i.e. Turkey, Greece, Italy, France and Spain) were understood in terms of the “veto power” of the “deep state”, which “securitized” regular democratic activities by the use of terrorism or what in Italy has been called the “strategy of tension”.[17] Tunander quotes his conversation with former CIA Director and former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, who spoke about a Swedish “dual state”: the neutral “Political Sweden” versus the “Military Sweden” that, according to Schlesinger, was “planning to get the USA involved as soon as possible”.[18] Tunander quotes U.S. secretaries of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, as saying: when it came to the most sensitive issues, as the Swedish-U.S. military ties, there was only one rule: “Nothing on paper”.[19]”

  4. niaanne holder

    Corporate democracy? Did you mean Corpocracy, Kleptocracy ..or plutocracy ? Or all of the above? This is a company with serious cronyism-suspicions of employee compliance and how they vote. Seriously since all public colleges and schools, federal buildings and multinational corporations use this company, they’re an international monopoly….So, Yeahhh dude ALL of the above.

  5. scraping_by

    Prime Minister Steve Harper is trying his best of bring Canada into neoliberal heaven, but it’s apparently a ways to go.

    Caught part of his Speech from the Throne last night. As part of God’s Work to protect corporations from citizens, there was this:

    “Our Government will reintroduce legislation to restore fair representation in the House of Commons. It will take steps to phase out direct taxpayer subsidies to federal political parties over the next three years.”

    In other words, politics should be bought and paid for by rich individuals, multinational corporations, and international financial institutions. The people who run a country should have a habit of reaching out for white envelopes stuffed with hundred dollar bills, in a perfectly legal greeting. Comittees of employees should be banded together into six figure votes of confidence. The phrase “have a relationship with” a politician should mean a financial, not social connection. And for those who won’t get or stay bought, there’s always the pussy bomb or the plane crash.

    There is no alternative. At least there shouldn’t be. And those of us who get ground upon by Faux know what ‘fair’ means.

    Get ready to crawl, eh?

    1. foppe

      “Our Government will reintroduce legislation to restore fair representation in the House of Commons. It will take steps to phase out direct taxpayer subsidies to federal political parties over the next three years.”

      Read: “any parties that do not fairly represent the interests of big money do not belong in the House of Commons”

    2. Punch My Ticket

      Corporate and union donations are forbidden to federal parties and candidates in Canada. There are no PACs. Only individuals – and they better be Canadian or legal residents – can donate. The annual limit is $1000 to a party and $1000 combined to candidates of any one party.

      1. Sauron

        One thing at a time, PMT, one thing at a time. I’m sure this will be an object of Harper “reform” soon enough.

  6. Liah

    Thank you Yves… this Very Important story would have passed me by but for your bringing attention to it.

  7. Francois T

    Isn’t it very telling that no big name media (read: teevee) has talked about this?

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Adding to the unreality of this is how the circus surrounding Weiner’s wiener now completely dominates the MSM. Truly astonishing.

      Talk about selling out, this is further evidence toward your compelling retort yesterday to Anonymous Jones on “Fauxgressive Rationalizations”, about how you can tell when a system has reached a supercritical state. It goes straight to your point #5 “Erosion of the Rule of Law”. Far worse than mere passive negligence; this is active malpractice, malfeasance and criminality by our Ministry of Justice. Stunning.

      1. Dan The Man

        The role of government is to protect the individual rights of it’s citizens. There is no wiggle room in this statement, if this rule is not followed succinctly we have nothing. Or on a spin of a Diderot quote, “Man will not be free until the last politician is hung with the guts of the last priest”

      2. Anonymous Jones

        Ha! I find this behavior as stunning as Yves does. It is not just stunning, but sickening (as much as I find, say, watching Glen Hubbard in Inside Job sit there in his pale weakness and utter unbelievably lame excuses for his stunning and sickening behavior).

        Oh my, but compelling? Yikes, I fear for you. You seriously don’t understand the argument. It’s sad, really. There’s always “evidence” that we’re in a “supercritical” state (which is obviously a *relative* term (notice the prefix “super”, in case you are still confused) and obviously based in *opinion* (notice the stem “critical” after the prefix, in case you are still confused). Any person’s opinion of the relative severity of anything can be relatively informed or relatively uninformed, and it can be highly dependent upon what one cares about and what one’s perspective on the world is, but it cannot be proven and the future cannot be predicted. And that is that. I know everyone wants to believe they understand and can partially control the world. And desperately wanting something makes one believe it is possible. But it doesn’t actually make it so.

  8. Proprietary Fraudclosures

    Looks like Cisco took a page out of the Criminal Bankster play book. Impressive and compelling.

  9. Crocodile Chuck

    Adekeye is a Nigerian name. So the poor guy gets mixed up in the US race angle as well…….

  10. Punch My Ticket

    “significant court”

    The Supreme Court of BC is a provincial court of first instance. It’s as significant as the Supreme Court of NY, i.e. not very.

    1. JCC

      After you’re first comment I thought you were being somewhat of a relatively low-key shill, but after this statement it seems that maybe you’re just out there trolling for fun. The Supreme Court of British Columbia is the superior trial court of the entire Province, whereas in NY each county has it’s own NY State Supreme Court. In fact, some counties share the court judges. The NY State Supreme Court is equivalent to a civil circuit court in other states, far, far less significant than the BC Supreme Court.

      Maybe you’re thinking of the NY State Court of Appeals… pretty “significant”.

  11. ForgottenPsuedonym

    It is hardly a surprise that the same company that built the Great Firewall of China for America’s partner corporate police state, would abuse the criminal justice system in such a grotesque fashion.

    It is difficult to see how or if any of this will end, at least in the foreseeable future. Most Americans are too easily distracted with manufactured partisan squabbles or celebrity culture to pay any attention to the rapidly creeping fascism going on in broad daylight. Liberals are placated because a Democrat currently resides in the White House, a Democrat who is putting the previous administration to shame when it comes to civil liberties abuses in the name of national security (naturally) and treatment (aggressive prosecution) of whistleblowers. Rule of law is for little people after all.

    If the nation had a functioning, responsible press, I would not be too worried. Sadly we all know that is not the case.

  12. Westcoastliberal

    Thanks for telling this story. Can’t you just imagine how much of this is happening that we don’t know about? Scary!

  13. Hugh

    I think this is more than an example of corporacracy. There the state uses its power to serve corporate interests against those of the people and immunizes corporations from their illegal behaviors. Here the state uses its monopoly on violence to punish private individuals on behalf of the corporation. This certainly has corporacratic aspects but the use of state violence for corporate purposes pushes this more into the realm of fascism.

  14. Demented Chimp

    Yet another example of the inexorable moral decay at the heart of our legal (and political) system.

    Having been on the end of a frivolous counter suit designed to intimidate and exhaust the coffers i have a tiny sense of what hes up against.
    – 20 boxes of documents turning up in the mail from Clifford Chance thankfully not criminal!

    The plebs have to get out of way/stay quiet or they will squash you.

  15. Externality

    Interesting article re: why the Feds may be so concerned about the lawsuit. Emptywheel @ Firedoglake speculates that:

    Just a gut level feel. If Adekeye’s initial suit hinted at something that played a key role in maintaining NSA’s access to all communications crossing Cisco’s routers, or if a successful suit would have made it harder to suck the worlds telecommunications off the network, that might explain the government’s seeming conspiracy with Cisco.

  16. nyquil762

    Bravo to Canada for seeing the truth. Now, if we could just get the US Congress and the american people to do the same?

  17. Independent Accountant

    Who does Cisco think it is? Goldman Sachs in the Aleynikov case? Or General Electric in the Joe Jett fiasco? Nothing about the US (In)Justice Department surprises me. I have first hand experience with how it really operates. It is a scam.

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