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The Standard

‘Cleared’

Written By: - Date published: 8:15 am, May 22nd, 2013 - 59 comments
Categories: crime, Spying - Tags:

So, Neazor’s written his report into the 88 New Zealanders that the GCSB spied on. In the spirit of open government, National’s suppressing it. But we’re told it find that the GCSB ‘arguably’ didn’t break the law. That’s coming from the guy who excused them in the Dotcom case, too, remember. And, it’s hardly ‘clearing’ the GCSB as the Nats claims.

Frankly, I don’t think Neazor’s up to the job. In the media, he’s appeared senile, openly admitting to not remembering his past actions as the GCSB’s watchdog. And he’s clearly more of the mindset of a laptop than a watch-dog. In the Dotcom illegal spying case he bent logic and credulity to the maximum by claiming that the GCSB hadn’t understood that Dotcom’s permanent residency in New Zealand made him a New Zealander and, therefore, safe from their spying.

Now, Neazor and Key are taking an even more liberal interpretation – that the GCSB has been allowed to spy on New Zealanders all along, despite the clear wording of the Act and despite everyone’s understanding (including Neazor’s and GCSB’s when the Dotcom spying broke) that the GCSB can’t spy on New Zealanders. This is where Neazor’s finding that the spying on New Zealanders ‘arguably’ wasn’t illegal comes from. Frankly, that’s not a good enough answer from the public’s watchdog – Neazor should determine whether or not the spying was illegal, then take action.

Of course, that also means it ‘arguably’ was illegal. And we can expect to see that argument made in court when it comes out who was spied upon.

The craziness is that National’s already written a law change – before Neazor’s report, before any competent report – and is pushing it through Parliament. And the purpose of that law change is to make damn sure that GCSB can spy on any New Zealander that the Prime Minister authorises them to spy on.

59 comments on “‘Cleared’”

  1. Always look for the silver lining, I say.
    Even though we can’t find out who’s already been spied on, with key’s besty as head spook, and that for what ever reason our government can now and fully intends to spy on us at will, at least with everyone spying on each other there will be plenty of new apprentice agent jobs appearing on the winz notice boards soon.

    • SpaceMonkey 1.1

      No jobs from there… instead the Government will implore citizens to report suspicious behaviour as part of our civic duty… “if you see something, say something”, be a good Kiwi and help catch those terrorists and their WMDs. They will produce pictures as part of a public education campaign to “help” us identify potential suspects… but our terrorists won’t be the bearded muslim Arabs with tea-towels-on-their-heads stereotype. Ours will be beneficiaries and people opposed to foreign corporate interests.

      Help us Obi-Wan Kenobi…

      • ghostrider888 1.1.1

        this ‘surveillance’ of thy neighbour ‘ethic’ is already well under way.

  2. The basic problem is there is so little clarity on what the issues are. The Kitteridge Report had the discussions of the legal issues hidden from public review. The one benefit of Neazor’s report is that he at least confirms that the area of doubt is whether or not the GCSB can collect metadata on Kiwis.

    Key has walked a very narrow line. He had to beat the Kitteridge comments up to justify the use of urgency to get the legislation introduced, but the whole issue is starting to pong really badly and he is being affected.

    Who would have thought that a fat wealthy german businessman with a dubious past would have caused such consternation to National?

  3. Nick K 3

    Shame the law wasn’t clearer when written by Labour in 2002.

    Just like the Local Electoral Act when written in 2001, as you will all see when John Banks is found not to have breached it.

    • Come on Nick

      Where is the wriggle room in “[n]either the Director, nor an employee of the Bureau, nor a person acting on behalf of the Bureau may authorise or take any action for the purpose of intercepting the communications of a person (not being a foreign organisation or a foreign person) who is a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident.”?

      • SpaceMonkey 3.1.1

        As Keith Locke recalled in a blog entry yesterday…

        “I wish to reiterate that when the GCSB Bill passed through Parliament in 2003 (and I was then in Parliament and involved in the debate) speaker after speaker (from both National and Labour) insisted that it did not allow the GCSB to spy on New Zealand citizens and residents – and the text of Act proves that.”

        http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/05/21/gcsb-not-off-the-hook-inspector-general-repeats-wrong-interpretation-of-the-law/

        There is no wriggle room. The Government is deliberately fudging this clause in the Act so as to play down the illegality of the GCSB’s actions. It is classic case of it being easier to commit the crime and then beg for forgiveness later. My kids do a better job of that!

        • tracey 3.1.1.1

          perhaps neazor (and key who has seen the report) can confirm that none of the 82 people were NZ citizens or residents, that would put it to rest surely?

      • Augustus 3.1.2

        One of their first excuses was that they didn’t know “what kind of resident” Dotcom was. NZ, of course, only has one kind of resident. But the US and the UK have different types of residents. They are our trading partners and we are constantly bringing our laws “in line” with those of our main trading partners. How could a chief executive, who had just arrived from one of those jurisdictions, possibly know that spy laws hadn’t been brought in line yet?

        Its just a sign of who really runs the show in our “intelligence” community.

    • Shame the law wasn’t clearer when written by Labour in 2002.

      Bullshit, Nick.

      I call you on that Keyesque lie. The law is actually crystal clear; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/the-gcsb-law-vague-or-crystal-clear/

  4. Nick K 4

    It looks pretty clear from that section, Micky. And I haven’t read the legislation as a whole, which I suspect you have to do. But if both Kitteridge and Neazor found it ambiguous, I have to accept that.

    BTW – I like this Green bill which I think they recognise as a problem with the Local Electoral Act: http://www.greens.org.nz/bills/local-electoral-finance-amendment-bill

    Particularly the amendment to clause 5.

    • Lightly 4.1

      Sorry, there’s a clear section of the Act that says they can’ spy on NZers, and your response is ‘well, if government employees say it was unclear, I’ll believe the government’? Because when would the government ever act in its own interests, eh?

      Scratch a tory and find a fa scist, eh?

      • Nick K 4.1.1

        Maybe. But I’m no Tory.

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1

          Please, do go on.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1

            That must mean that he’s a Libertarian, otherwise known as a fascist.

            • TheContrarian 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Libertarian =/= fascism

              • ghostrider888

                sigh

              • Draco T Bastard

                When I’ve had libertarians telling me that democracy needs to be done away with then, yes, it bloody well does.

                • TheContrarian

                  Then they aren’t speaking for all libertarians – they are just dicks.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    I’d like yo believe you unfortunately I’ve communicated with too many libertarians and scratching the surface always reveals their internal authoritarianism.

                    • TheContrarian

                      You have an extremely black and white way of looking at the world Draco.
                      Your basic premise is “I have spoken to people who say they are libertarians who I find are authoritarian. Therefore all libertarians are authoritarians”

                      Using Draco logic:
                      Black and white thinking is a right-wing trait. Therefore Draco is a right-winger. Boom, done.

                      If a libertarian is an authoritarian then they ain’t a libertarian.

                • ghostrider888

                  to be polite Draco, democracy seems to be a little unfashionable at this historical juncture. Oligarchy is the word of the day.

                  • Rhinocrates

                    Plutocracy – and instead of idolatry, to coin a term, Plutolatry. Not just the rule of money, but the worship of money by the masses to justify it. Whatever a “Libertarian” imagines, that’s what they facilitate.

            • Murray Olsen 4.1.1.1.1.2

              Libertarians are the more socially inept subset of the fascists.

              • ghostrider888

                that is funny! Murray. (we hold up Rodney Hide, and Michael Laws, for the prosecution, Your Honour!).

    • Tom Gould 4.2

      Neazor’s a bit doddery, by all accounts, and is no longer a judge so is free from the old ‘without fear or favour’ pledge. But I guess anything is ‘arguable’ at the end of the day. For example, it is arguable whether Key is a liar or not. Simply telling a lie and having that lie on the record is not enough. Subsequent events might make that lie the truth. So it’s only a lie in the moment, which might not be a lie. What is a lie anyway? Arguably, a lie might be a lie and it might not.

    • @ Nick;

      And I haven’t read the legislation as a whole, which I suspect you have to do.

      Well, I think you should, before putting a quasi-religious faith into Key, et al.

      But if both Kitteridge and Neazor found it ambiguous, I have to accept that.

      No, you don’t. You’re in for a nasty surprise my little National fellow-traveler.

  5. Yes 5

    Neazor is a Helen Clark appointment…what’s the issue?

    • burt 5.1

      That explains why the actions of government, no matter how vile they are, are deemed OK.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.2

      Is keeping up too cognitively challenging? The issue is that the conclusion of Neazor’s report is at odds with the law governing the GCSB.

      • burt 5.2.1

        Oh, well in that case lets follow the precedent of the greatest PM we have ever had and retrospectively validate the actions of the government and denigrate Neazor as having made a bad call – Move on.

        • Macro 5.2.1.1

          you really are a stupid fellow burt – that is just what this shower of shit have done!

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.2.1.2

          Yeah, because you were completely fine with that, weren’t you? You didn’t howl the entire house down over it or anything, eh.

        • Frank Macskasy 5.2.1.3

          Burt – we don’t know what Neazor has reported. His findings have not been made public. The report is being kept secret.

          Which leds me to suspect that your Dear Leader is hiding something. You may be ok living in a quasi-fascist society, run by an egotistical liar, but the rest of us prefer a democracy.

    • Anne 5.3

      Neazor is a Helen Clark appointment… what’s the issue?

      Yeah well, he was 70 then (maybe in his late sixties) and still in charge of all his faculties.

  6. burt 6

    Eddie

    You seem to be forgetting that the business of government is whatever government define it to be.

    • Whenever the right are on the ropes it seems they hall poor old burt out and order him to go onto the Standard and say “but Helen did it too”. This is always a sign they are in trouble.

      • burt 6.1.1

        mickysavage

        No, you have it wrong. It’s not Clark did it too – when it comes to being self serving and using parliament to cover ones ass – it’s a given Clark did it too…. The point I’m making is that Eddie (and other lovers of self serving big government) defended this sort of crap under Clark but are not enjoying it so much under National.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 6.1.1.1

          Someone here defended criminal surveillance of New Zealand citizens and/or residents? Someone here advocated that since an arm of the state (the police, for example, although of course in this case it’s the GCSB) had committed offences that if you or I did them it would be covered by the crimes act, the law should be changed to make the crime legal?

          Really? You’re going to have to support that with a link or two.

          Personally I think you’re:

          a. Full of shit.
          b. Defending the National Party for a far worse offence than they committed over illegal party spending.
          c. So far up your own arse you can see daylight – you whine about “self-serving big government” and then try and divert attention from illegal surveillance. Wanker.

          • burt 6.1.1.1.1

            A grumpy little Knucklehead… Guess you use to believe that under the last government anything was different… Really… The GCSB who operate in secret were operating exactly as you think they should be… But now under Key it’s all changed. You are a Knucklehead… an ignorant stupid knucklehead at that. I’m proud that such a fool as yourself called me a wanker. I’m glad I made you think I’m full of shit. Might wake you up that all that has changed is we had a high profile case and your awareness increased.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 6.1.1.1.1.1

              What rubbish. You are missing the point entirely, and guessing wrong about my opinion of retrospective legislation. Especially that which seeks to legalise state-perpetrated crimes.

              Note that crimes by the state are not crimes by politicians or political parties. Say. for example, the National Party were so beyond corrupt they would suspend free elections so as to favour their clients in water management issues or sell our gambling laws to money-laundering outfits.

              That wouldn’t be as bad as what has occurred here. although the travesty that is section 70E of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill (No 2) is far worse.

              Two new lows for the National Party and it’s only May.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      Bullshit mate. When did you become a supporter of absolutism.

    • Spoken like a Good Citizen, Burt. Dear Leader smiles approvingly on you.

      • burt 6.3.1

        Frank the man who accepted such BS under Clark… Not liking it now… That quote was one of Dear Leaders finest moments… Right up there with never admitting any mistakes and using parliament to kill off a court case against her.

        • tracey 6.3.1.1

          it’s indefensible whoever is doing it… signing a painting for money for charity was evil incarnate, yet all of this is just the rea l world according to most national and act supporters.

    • ropata 6.4

      To be pedantic, Parliament’s role is to create law, set policy, and allocate $$$. Gov departments are supposed do the “governing” stuff per Parliament’s instruction (but the GCSB does whatever the fuck they want).

      The courts and the news media are the only institutions that have a realistic restraining effect. How long does NZ have to put up with these regular processions of elected dictatorships!?

  7. Observer Tokoroa 7

    Well – at least we all know who has thrown us into the “lets all spy on one another” form of democracy.

    Key, English, Turia and Neazor.

    A finer collection of individuals you could not wish to send to the complicit Queen for Knighting.

    Turia is special in all this – because many if not most of the people who will be spied upon … are what she calls “my People”.

    • ropata 7.1

      Did Banksie vote in favour of Big Brother legislation too?
      Wonder how his good mate Kim Dotcom feels about that.

  8. Poission 8

    Neazor is essentially marking his own homework,as he already had to view ( and approve) the interception warrants.

  9. One Anonymous Knucklehead 9

    GCSB watchdogs are just like lawyers you know, and I’ve found one who gave me a counterview.

  10. Hi folks!

    Seen this?

    A VERY good article by John Minto.

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/05/22/the-gcsb-where-life-imitates-comedy/

    My comment (yet to be published):

    “Very good John What amazes me is that it appears NONE of the following have actually read the underpinning legislation that governs their statutory duties – the GCSB Act?

    The Minister responsible for the GCSB – Prime Minister John Key?

    The Director of the GCSB – Ian Fletcher?

    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security – Paul Neazor?

    The SIS, who gave their warrants to the GCSB in order to get assistance from the GCSB to unlawfully spy on New Zealanders?

    The Police, who gave their warrants to the GCSB in order to get assistance from the GCSB to unlawfully spy on New Zealanders?

    The staff of the GCSB decided to act upon the SIS and Police warrants?

    Good grief – you couldn’t make this stuff up!

    Or – you couldn’t make a stuff up like the GCSB?

    I am only a tradesperson who has never attended University, and have not had a day’s formal legal training in my life – but I’m not stupid and I can read.

    Seems we can’t say the same about our NZ ‘Intelligence’ Services?

    Penny Bright ”
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    ‘Anti-corruption/anti-privatisation’ campaigner

    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate

    http://www.occupyaucklandvsaucklandcouncilappeal.org.nz/?page_id=137

  11. Matthew Hooton 11

    These are strange times. I have made similar points in the NBR. Headline is “Labour, Greens right on GCSB report”. See http://www.nbr.co.nz/report

    • Anne 11.1

      From Hooton’s linked article:

      This matters more than ever after the abuses of Ms Clark’s regime and with the prospect of a Labour/Green government just 18 months away.

      Poppycock!

      He derides Neazor and Fletcher – correctly – for dubious spin and then indulges in spin and misinformation himself by insinuating Labour was worse than the current regime. What? Signing a
      a painting for charity… sitting in the back seat of a car while the driver exceeded the speed limit (after an attempt by a person in Ch.Ch. to cause the PM physical harm)… and upholding the law by NOT interfering in a major police operation that subsequently proved to have included excessive and unlawful actions by the police. Since Helen Clark and Annette King (police minister at the time) are not clairvoyant, they cannot be held responsible for those specific actions. Oh, and the changes to the electoral law? As it turned out it was hastily prepared and needed refinement and clarification, but the claims of DEMOCRACY UNDER ATTACK and it’s associated inferences was mischievous and laughable but hey folks… Hooton thinks all of that was far worse than the NAct govt’s most recent exploits.

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    It is scurrilous that the Government is pushing ahead with plans to spend many millions of taxpayer money on an abattoir in Saudi Arabia without knowing who’ll end up owning it, Labour MP David Parker says. “More than $12 million… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce destroys Government rail link certainty
    Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce has destroyed the certainty the Prime Minister gave private sector investors in his State of the Nation announcement on the City Rail Link, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says.   “Steven Joyce has again poured… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce destroys Government rail link certainty
    Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce has destroyed the certainty the Prime Minister gave private sector investors in his State of the Nation announcement on the City Rail Link, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says.   “Steven Joyce has again poured… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce destroys Government rail link certainty
    Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce has destroyed the certainty the Prime Minister gave private sector investors in his State of the Nation announcement on the City Rail Link, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says.   “Steven Joyce has again poured… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce destroys Government rail link certainty
    Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce has destroyed the certainty the Prime Minister gave private sector investors in his State of the Nation announcement on the City Rail Link, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says.   “Steven Joyce has again poured… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce destroys Government rail link certainty
    Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce has destroyed the certainty the Prime Minister gave private sector investors in his State of the Nation announcement on the City Rail Link, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says.   “Steven Joyce has again poured… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce destroys Government rail link certainty
    Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce has destroyed the certainty the Prime Minister gave private sector investors in his State of the Nation announcement on the City Rail Link, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says.   “Steven Joyce has again poured… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika caucus visit as Kiribati water crisis deepens
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