Written By: - Date published: 11:36 am, May 23rd, 2014 - 47 comments
Categories: accountability, democracy under attack, john key, slippery, Spying, telecommunications, us politics - Tags: GCSB, ian fletcher
The Campbell Live programme this week on John Key’s relationship with the GCSB focused on some very interesting themes, issues and people. It points to a massive change in direction of government, and the NZ intelligence agencies under John Key’s watch. It focused specifically on NZ-US relations, and Ian Fletcher’s appointment as head of the GCSB, at a time when the surveillance of Kim Dotcom was initiated in NZ. The programme focused on some developments in 2011 and beyond.
Massive changes began soon after John Key took office in 2008-9. At the centre of this change is a shift in focus towards international trade and business that has extended to NZ’s intelligence services. It has involved increasing collaboration with the US, and to a lesser extent the UK governments, and all of the 5 Eyes intelligence partners.
Campbell Live 20 May 2014: “Key’s meeting with GCSB boss revealed“
The headline puts Key and Fletcher center stage. The programme begins with reference to the Kim Dotcom-GCSB saga, with a focus on the appointment to the GCSB of Ian Fletcher. Campbell begins by saying that the GCSB’s illegal surveillance of Kim Dotcom began in December 16th 2011. Campbell then goes on
Neither the Prime Minister nor the incoming GCSB head Ian Fletcher were told about it at the time. But tonight, for the first time anywhere, we can reveal that Ian Fletcher had taken leave from his job in Queensland to be in Wellington that week.
Following this framing, the programme shifts towards setting the story within the past and current context of US-NZ government relations. With this shift, Campbell identifies the significance of the timing of this programme, by saying:
But as we learn the Prime Minister has again been invited to Washington, and as we learn more and more about the GCSB and 5 Eyes, we begin with how the organisation, and our relationship with America, has changed.
On CL, this story begins with John Key’s sudden shift of Lt General Jerry Mateparae, from head of GCSB to Governor General in May 2011. This is followed by a chain of events which includes the following: James R Clapper, US Director of National Intelligence (DNI) visiting NZ, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully fronting an announcement, by then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, of stronger ties between the NZ and US.
The CL programme also highlights the way the GCSB, with the appointment of Ian Fletcher, moved away from the primary focus on physical threats to national security, to inorporating a strong focus on “economic threats” and protection for commerce and trade.
Key leads change in NZ “intelligence community”
On checking on Clappers role, I found this description of his brief:
The Honorable James R. Clapper was sworn in as the fourth Director of National Intelligence (DNI) on August 9, 2010. As DNI, Mr. Clapper leads the United States Intelligence Community and serves as the principal intelligence advisor to the President.
The term “Intelligence Community” reminded me of Chris Trotter’s post about the shift in the role of NZ intelligence services (April 11, 2013), as indicated by the Kitteridge Report:
The first clue Ms Kitteridge supplies is her reference to something called the New Zealand Intelligence “Community” (NZIC). This new kid on the national security block is the sum arrived at by adding the parts known as The NZ Security Intelligence Service, The GCSB and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).
This, increasingly co-ordinated and integrated, community includes a massive range of people, ultimately answerable to the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key. This stretches to include the operative national security component of the DPMC, the Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Co-ordination (ODESC), which includes
the Chief of Defence Force (Lt-General Rhys Jones), the Commissioner of Police (Peter Marshall), and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade (John Allen). The Directors of GCSB (Ian Fletcher) and NZSIS (Dr Warren Tucker) are not members, but attend most meetings.
Early after he first took office as PM, Key has led a shift to bring the vast array of services included under the “intelligence community” umbrella together under his control.
In an article on 36th Parallel earlier this month, Paul Buchanan explained the importance for democratic governance, of the separations of the powers of the state intelligence apparatus: the opposite of what John Key has been actioning.
The Bigger Picture
Here the whole story gets scarily massive, with too many threads to explain in detail in one post. I have posted before on how Key and Fletcher began meeting after Fletcher moved from the UK to work in Queensland in 2009; of how US Attorney General Eric Holder met with his 5 Eyes counterparts met with Chris Finlayson in Sydney in 15 July 2011 – focused on international and cyber crime.
People at meetings that were reported in this week’s Campbell Live programme, include the John Allen, Head of MFAT (Ministry of Foreign affairs and Trade); Chief of Defense Forces, Lt General Richard Rhys Jones; AND the British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell.
John Allen’s highly paid appointment in 2009, was part of a shift in MFAT away from the democratic principles of governance, towards the PM as CEO of NZ Inc, as spelled out by Fran O’Sullivan at the time.
He will also be a key driver in a huge transformational programme designed to leverage “New Zealand Inc”, so New Zealand’s vital economic and business interests are better projected offshore.
He oversaw a huge restructuring of MFAT, that resulted in large numbers of people losing their jobs.
NZ British High Commissioner since 2010, Vicki Treadell, came from a diplomatic background with a focus on international commerce and trade. (Also part of Fletcher’s UK roles when working in the UK and Australia).
Lt General Richard Rhys Jones, originally in NZ forces, also is a graduate of
The United States Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) educates and develops leaders for full spectrum joint, interagency and multinational operations; acts as lead agent for the Army’s leader development program; and advances the art and science of the profession of arms in support of Army operational requirements.
He suffered a career set back in 2000, was resurrected by John Key as Chief of NZ Defense Forces in 2010, then took the fall for safety failures in September 2013.
The Campbell Live programme pointed to shifts towards NZ Inc, closer ties with the US, and an invasive state surveillance apparatus. At the centre of the shifts is the relationship between John Key and Ian Fletcher. The programme features clips showing how Key tried to avoid admitting to the extent of this relationship; especially with regard to Key’s role in appointing Fletcher to the GCSB job. (See my summary of the programme here.)