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The Standard

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?

Written By: - Date published: 8:01 am, July 28th, 2013 - 63 comments
Categories: activism, afghanistan, capitalism, news, Spying, us politics - Tags: ,

For democracy to thrive, there needs to be open and accessible arenas where government, politics and all related issues can be openly debated and critiqued without interference from state or commercial interests.  It particularly needs a robust “fourth estate”, academic independence and means by which all citizens can protest and campaign against government activities that they perceive to be against their interests.

John Key’s planned amendments to the GCSB and related Bills works against such democratic processes.

Investigative journalism and public service broadcasting are important parts of a robust fourth estate, as I have argued here, here, here and here.  In these posts i frequently drew on Nicky Hager’s Jesson lecture of 2012 in which he explained the role of investigative journalism, which is actually what all democratic-serving journalism should be.  In my post “Media Bias and Democracy I: Truth to Power”, I wrote,

As Nicky Hager clearly explained, politicians and governments need to be questioned and held to account in a way that serves the public interest.

I then quoted from Hager’s lecture the following as necessary to serve the public interest,

the public service of investigating truthfulness in politics and of seeking facts when the truth is disputed, twisted or hidden. It can also involve a different kind of truth: trying to discover and illuminate what is right and wrong. In essence, it is about investigating and challenging the activities of the powerful …

In today’s Sunday Star Times, Nicky Hager (p. A6-7 SST hardcopy) has continued his long and excellent record of investigative journalism with a piece about the way US spy agencies and the GCSB are being used to prevent investigative journalism and other means of speaking truth to power.  Such means include academic freedom from political and commercial interference and the ability to protest and campaign against government policies.

The evidence provided to Hager by unnamed sources shows that the US spy agencies, most likely in conjunction with NZ military and spy services, were used to spy on NZ investigative journalist Jon Stephenson in Afghanistan.

The New Zealand military received help from US spy agencies to monitor the phone calls of Kiwi journalist Jon Stephenson and his associates while he was in Afghanistan reporting on the war.

[…]

The Sunday Star-Times has learned that New Zealand Defence Force personnel had copies of intercepted phone “metadata” for Stephenson, the type of intelligence publicised by US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden. The intelligence reports showed who Stephenson had phoned and then who those people had phoned, creating what the sources called a “tree” of the journalist’s associates.

New Zealand SAS troops in Kabul had access to the reports and were using them in active investigations into Stephenson.

The sources believed the phone monitoring was being done to try to identify Stephenson’s journalistic contacts and sources. They drew a picture of a metadata tree the Defence Force had obtained, which included Stephenson and named contacts in the Afghan government and military.

The sources who described the monitoring of Stephenson’s phone calls in Afghanistan said that the NZSIS has an officer based in Kabul who was known to be involved in the Stephenson investigations.

And since early in the Afghanistan war, the GCSB has secretly posted staff to the main US intelligence centre at Bagram, north of Kabul. They work in a special “signals intelligence” unit that co-ordinates electronic surveillance to assist military targeting. It is likely to be this organisation that monitored Stephenson.

Hager suggests that the proposed government changes to the GCSB Bill may be aimed at monitoring and preventing the kind of investigative journalism Stephenson was conducting in Afghanistan.

The Stephenson surveillance suggests the Defence Force may be seeking the GCSB assistance, in part, for investigating leaks and whistleblowers.

Stephenson said monitoring a journalist’s communications could also threaten the safety of their sources “by enabling security authorities to track down and intimidate people disclosing information to that journalist”.

He said there was “a world of difference between investigating a genuine security threat and monitoring a journalist because his reporting is inconvenient or embarrassing to politicians and defence officials”.

Hager has further evidence that the government’s planned extension of NZ surveillance service operations is aimed at preventing critical activities of journalists, academics and political activists.

An internal Defence document leaked to the Star-Times reveals that defence security staff viewed investigative journalists as “hostile” threats requiring “counteraction”. The classified security manual lists security threats, including “certain investigative journalists” who may attempt to obtain “politically sensitive information”.

The manual says Chief of Defence Force approval is required before any NZDF participation in “counter intelligence activity” is undertaken. (See separate story)

The “separate story”, as in the hardcopy, is added to the bottom of the online version, headed “Probing journalists deemed a threat”, and it outlines just how afraid the Key government has become of NZ citizens and democratic processes.  This section begins:

A leaked New Zealand Defence Force security manual reveals it sees three main “subversion” threats it needs to protect itself against: foreign intelligence services, organisations with extreme ideologies and “certain investigative journalists”.

In the minds of the defence chiefs, probing journalists apparently belong on the same list as the KGB and al Qaeda.

The manual’s first chapter is called “Basic Principles of Defence Security”. It says a key part of protecting classified information is investigating the “capabilities and intentions of hostile organisations and individuals” and taking counteraction against them.

The manual, which was issued as an order by the Chief of Defence Force, places journalists among the hostile individuals. It defines “The Threat” as espionage, sabotage, subversion and terrorism, and includes investigative journalists under the heading “subversion”.

Subversion, it says, is action designed to “weaken the military, economic or political strength of a nation by undermining the morale, loyalty or reliability of its citizens.”

It highlights people acquiring classified information to “bring the Government into disrepute”.

This confirms Jane Kelsey’s suspicions that she is very likely to be one of the New Zealanders spied on by GCSB, as explained in her speech at yesterday’s anti-GCSB protest:

She considers she and others campaigning against the TPP and related surveillance operations are engaging in legal and democratically necessary activities.  In the above video , Kelsey says:

What we are doing is using lawful means and democratic processes to protect our futures and those of future generations. And for me as an academic it is also making to sure that my role as a tax payer paid public intellectual, working for a university that has a statutory obligation to act as a critical conscience of society, do our jobs .

Thank you to

all yesterday’s protesters,

to the organisers of the events,

as well as to

Hager,

other journalists who still follow the fourth estate aim,

and all involved in the democratic process of speaking truth to power,

no matter how scary it is all becoming.

63 comments on “Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?”

  1. Paul 1

    No thanks though to the journalists from Fairfax and TV3.
    Stuff’s online report says there were hundreds of reporters protesters in Auckland. Downplaying the numbers to minimise its importance.
    TV3 smeared the whole lot or reports by headlining on rocks being thrown at Palmerston North. Witnesses say they never saw this.
    http://thestandard.org.nz/the-auckland-protest/#comment-669556

    [lprent: fixed your amusing typo. Autocorrect on a pad? ]

    • Sable 1.1

      AGREED. Theses right wing journalist are a BIG part of the problem. I think Labour and the Greens should start sending out monthly news letters and build their on line presence to combat this.

      The Australian Council of Trade Unions combated the lies of the Howard government and their confederates in the soc called mainstream press by repeatedly running ads renouncing Howard’s draconian work choices legislation. I believe was a big contributor to the Liberals defeat.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Those journalists are all going to be targets of this spying. Some already are. Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas.

        • Sable 1.1.1.1

          Any journalists that fail to tow the line will be spied upon, no doubt about it. Those that “behave” will be spied on to ensure they continue to behave.

        • Mooloo magic 1.1.1.2

          You are right Colonel, I am amazed that the MSM have failed to see that this legislation is an attack on the ‘Freedom of the Press’ they are so enamoured with Key that their loyalty to this charlatan means the MSM are unable to be objective. They rather find a non-existent story to attack Labour (re-Cunliffe’s supposed undermining of Shearer last week when he spoke at the Auckland anti GCSB meeting when there was no such thing) I despair at the NZ MSM they are a bunch of ill-informed sycophants .

        • Yoza 1.1.1.3

          Those journalists are all going to be targets of this spying.

          I remember reading somewhere that the profession that supplies the greatest number of informants to organisations like the SIS is journalism. The vast majority of ‘professionals’ have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and, as such, do not require monitoring. It is extraordinarily difficult to be promoted up the greasy pole in mainstream media institutions, or any institutions, without first demonstrating an unquestioning acceptance of current dogma.

      • Paul 1.1.2

        Social media is the way to bypass the corporate media.

        • Sable 1.1.2.1

          I agree, problem is search engines algorithms can be manipulated to make sites the powers that be don’t like effectively “disappear”.

  2. Don't worry be happy 2

    Thanks again Karol for the great read. We have some very gutsy journos, activists, bloggers, academics and judges in NZ and for that we should give thanks and hope and pray for more, maybe someone to dig into this story: Who on earth is the guy who tried to kill John Key in Korea? And what exactly may Key have done, or not done, to make this man homicidal/suicidal? What we know so far is that he is a ‘businessman’, a ‘property investor’ involved in some deal in NZ that went bad and he holds Key responsible, enough to try and kill him…..and Key reckons hasn’t got a clue about any of it. Don’t think so. Smells like 10 day old fish to me.

  3. Molly 3

    For those who may be unaware of who the Chief of Defence Force is, from Wikipedia a couple of familiar names:

    2006–2011 Lieutenant-General Sir Jerry Mateparae
    2011–present Lieutenant-General Rhys Jones

  4. … politicians and governments need to be questioned and held to account in a way that serves the public interest.

    That isn’t the way the NZ parliament works. It says that it is sovereign, a quality of sovereignty is being accountable to no-one.

    … the public service of investigating truthfulness in politics and of seeking facts when the truth is disputed, twisted or hidden. It can also involve a different kind of truth: trying to discover and illuminate what is right and wrong.

    This is a significant idea. Essentially it is about being grounded in reality, not in the superficial and twisted world of civil society.

    Subversion, it says, is action designed to “weaken the military, economic or political strength of a nation by undermining the morale, loyalty or reliability of its citizens.”

    Yet another example of the system attempt to redefine the meaning of a word in order to support its own agenda. The strength of a nation is not a function of citizenship, citizenship is a measure of the weakness or insecurity of a nation.

    The original meaning of subversion had nothing to do with citizenship:

    subversion (n.)
    late 14c., “physical destruction, demolition, ruination,” from Old French subversion, from Late Latin subversionem (nominative subversio) “an overthrow, ruin, destruction,” from past participle stem of subvertere (see subvert).
    http://etymonline.com/?term=subversion

    • muzza 4.1

      Keep at it UT – No counter strategy can be created, until the games rules are understood!

      How is it that we continue to hear that proposed/current bills/legislation, breaks laws, treaties and so on, yet this seemingly continues to happen as routine, with little to no challenge.

      How is it possible to enact legislations, which legal experts, state are likely to be illegal, and why is it seemingly so easy for the NZ government to ignore?

      Could it be the govt is aware of the rules under which it operate, or simply that it is pushing on regardless, be it’s action legal, illegal or not, and taking a scorched earth approach?

      • UglyTruth 4.1.1

        Hi Muzza,
        The seemingly irrational behaviour of the Nats over the GCSB can be summed up with one idea: necessity has no law.

        In other words the NZ parliament is under the power of foreign interests and has no choice in the matter of top-level policy regarding espionage. The NZ relationship with the US in matters of espionage dates back to the 1946 UKUSA agreement. 1946 was the year that Admiral Byrd led the Operation Hughjump, the US mission to Antarctica, which was arguably the strangest military expedition ever undertaken in terms of the conventional narrative about WW2.

        • JK 4.1.1.1

          To Ugly Truth ,and Muzza, and others – does anyone remember anything from the very first TV interviews when John Key became Prime Minister – just after the NAct Govt was elected ?
          I’ve got a vague memory of him (ShonKey) saying whenever he went for a job overseas (as a money trader) the intervewier asked him what his ambition really was and he’d say he wanted to be NZ”s PM, and they’d say “we’ll help you”. Does anyone else remember this ? ? ?

  5. Helen Kelly 5

    Thanks for this. It is a great post and mentions three NZ heros really – Jane, Nicky and Jon. I am sure they are all being spied on, and why? Because not only do they have an alternative view about how international relations should be conducted and about who should be the beneficiary of those relationshiops (i.e. the people), but they are smart enough and determined enough, brave enough, knowledgable enough and credible enough to be able to break though the barriers put up to stop any alternative view being expressed, and express them in an accessible way. The irony of the outrage by the National Party at Nicky getting its emails (by the traditonal brown envelope manner I suspect), to reveal its collaboration with groups like the Exclusive Bretheran but also its attempts to manipulate the public regarding its policy intentions in his most brilliant Hollow Men vs its defence of this Bill continues to astound me!

    • tracey 5.1

      Plus 100

      well said helen. Hager kelsy and stephenson are heroes. They deal in the facts some dont want to hear

    • Mooloo magic 5.2

      No doubt you are right Helen that Jane, Jon and Nicky are being spied on, fair minded Kiwis should be deeply alarmed at this. A lot of Kiwis have died in various battle fields around the world to ensure we lived in a free and democratic society. Has their ultimate sacrifice been in vain now that the insouciant Key and his egregious Cabinet seem hell bent in creating a Police State. All Kiwis should resist this Bill it is an affront to the people of this nation and our sense of fair play and a violation of our civil liberties and human rights.

    • karol 5.3

      Thanks, Helen.

      Yes – three NZ heroes for democracy, who are smart, knowledgeable, credible and brave..

      But I also imagine some Trade Union leaders are likely to be subject to surveillance by the NZ state services – especially ones involved in negotiating the Hobbit employment issue and laws.

      And I hope the stand of such heroes in relation to the GCSB and other related laws result in more of the public being aware of the threats to our democracy from such legislation.

  6. Richard Christie 6

    …reliability of its citizens…

    Hmm, there’s a loaded term.

  7. Jenny 7

    “If you are not guilty of anything you have nothing to fear.”

    Surely some of the most chilling words in the English language.

    If you are a journalist you have everything to fear. With the collection of the sort of metadata being sought by the GCSB they would be able to retrospectively track where every journalist had been, and by inference who they had met. Subverting journalistic integrity in protecting their sources.

    Leaked revelations show New Zealand military intelligence have been using the GCSB and other spy agencies to spy on Kiwi journalist Jon Stephenson. They tracked and bugged his phone calls and movements. They knew where he had been and who he had seen.

    Does no one find it disturbing that the Afghan military officer that Jon Stephenson interviewed and who was highly critical of the New Zealand armed forces for handing over captives to be tortured has gone missing without trace?

    And why are senior officers in the New Zealand armed forces absolutely certain that this Afghan officer will never be contacted again by Jon Stephenson, or lfor that matter by anyone else, who may want to confirm or disprove Stephenson’s story? Do they have privileged knowledge as to the exact nature of this officer’s disappearance that they are not revealing?

    http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/will-the-gcsb-spy-on-rachel-smalley/

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      With the collection of the sort of metadata being sought by the GCSB they would be able to retrospectively track where every journalist had been, and by inference who they had met.

      And now consider that they would be able to do that with everybody.

    • handle 7.2

      “Does no one find it disturbing that the Afghan military officer that Jon Stephenson interviewed and who was highly critical of the New Zealand armed forces for handing over captives to be tortured has gone missing without trace?”

      Do you have a link to back up this statement, Jenny?

      • Jenny 7.2.1

        I suppose I could find one. It was widely reported several times and was also raised in the court case.

        • Jenny 7.2.1.1

          Just googled it.

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/8903483/Afghan-at-heart-of-court-case-can-t-be-found

          Lawyer Hugh Rennie, QC, who is representing Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Rhys Jones and the Defence Force, said Colonel B could not be found. However, he said General Jones now accepted that, on the face of it, from what he had heard in court since Monday, Mr Stephenson did go to the base and probably spoke to the colonel.

          Stephenson said he was grateful for the recognition, because the situation had caused him considerable distress. He accepted Mr Jones was a man of integrity and decency.

          In May 2011, a Metro magazine article by Mr Stephenson said SAS troops in Afghanistan took prisoners who were handed over to authorities known to use torture. The article said that, about a year earlier, Mr Stephenson had been to the CRU base and had spoken to the colonel.

          On May 2, 2011, General Jones issued a press statement that said: “The CRU commander denies speaking with this journalist. The journalist has provided no evidence that he has ever entered the CRU base. We have evidence that he was denied entry.”

          • Jenny 7.2.1.1.1

            What is so disturbing about the sudden late change in the Defence force testimony. Was that it came out only after revelations provided by Edward Snowden that Jon Stephenson’s every movement was being illegally monitored by the secret services including our own GCSB. So despite Defence Force claims, “We have evidence that he was denied entry” all the time they knew exactly where he had been and who he had seen.

            So their phony evidence was never produced.

            Because no doubt Snowden could provide the detail to show them to be utter contemptible liars.

            General Rhys Jones would rather lie and defame and cover up, than investigate the serious issue raised by Stephenson of our forces involvement in torture.

            Maybe now he will do so.

            • Jenny 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Andrew Geddis take on the lies and cover up and defamation engaged in by our senior Defence Force officers to discredit Jon Stephenson and hide the truth.

  8. headbanger 8

    At the Christchurch rally against the GCSB bill I saw an interesting banner

    “1984 was not meant to be an instruction manual”.

    I made a point of reading 1984 in 1984 and remember it as being a horror story, but it was entertaining in the way watching a horror film is because you are actually sitting safely – nothing like could ever happen.

    Once this bill is passed you will become a person of interest for opening this page on your computer. GCSB through a company like Palantir will be able to check back against the saved records of all of your activity on the Internet, email and phone to immediately build a picture of you. They will be able to watch you without a warrant but can get one if they want to watch you really closely because they only have to ask and there is no independent oversight.

    The same will be the case with attending a rally against the government, protesting against something commercial like a mine, a deal to open a convention centre, or pointing out a Minister has lied about commercial lobbying from an international concern. A photo of you and facial recognition software will pinpoint you in seconds. All of your associates will also become persons of interest and their data will be checked by Palantir.

    Key’s comments about the protests on Q&A this morning were telling. He said that everyone protesting was “either politically aligned or misinformed”. Just like Hagar we will all be considered to be subversive for disagreeing or asking for oversight of what Key does.

    I guess this will at least create jobs – we will need lots of people to correct the truth from day to day (less paper-based newspapers will make this much easier), I am sure the GCSB will expand significantly to watch all of the subversive people and of course lots of prison guards in the privately operated prisons.

    I wonder what Orwell would think.

    • Sable 8.1

      1984 was a cautionary tale by George Orwell (real name Eric Blair) after experiencing the worst aspects of British imperialism first hand and the brutality of the fascists during and after the Spanish civil war. Orwell knew only too well this could easily happen again and now it has. I just took a bit longer than he predicted, at least within in the so called Western democracies.Many such as the US had been busy undermining human rights in other countries such as the Philippines, Chile, etc for years. I think it would be fair to say “imperialism has come home”.

      • Paul 8.1.1

        Watch the film V for Vendetta and read the book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley as other precautionary tales about our new surveillance society.
        Nothing to fear……

  9. Anne 9

    There have been some thoughts running through my mind this past week that have still to properly congeal but I will mention two of them here.

    Why have the MSM been so reluctant to delve too deeply into the political machinations of this government particularly in relation to security matters? FEAR. Simple, unadulterated fear that they will become a target if they don’t follow the party line? They have seen what happens to others who dare to stand up and be counted and they don’t want it happening to them? It has often puzzled me how contradictory some of them are when being interviewed themselves. They try to have it both ways by agreeing something is wrong… but at the same time defending the right of the government to be wrong. It’s bizarre!

    Then you have the ongoing denigration of some of our brightest minds in academia. You would think their intellectual capacities would be a godsend to any government wanting to introduce or change legislation in the most effective way possible. But instead this present government goes to extraordinary lengths to keep them away from any legislative consideration. (There maybe a few exceptions but they would have made it clear they will ‘toe the party line”.) Why? FEAR again. They are afraid of the academics? These are people who are far more intelligent than themselves and they fear being shown up by them and/or being forced to abandon stupid policy?

    It makes them a third rate government with a third rate prime minister. Oh, that the voters would start to recognise as much.

    • Paul 9.1

      The reason the media does not question the government’s actions is that it has the same paymasters as the government.
      Powerful unelected people and organisations control both our government and our media.
      Kim Dotcom was spot on when he said Key was just a puppet.
      Follow the money and ask who is benefiting from the direction New Zealand is taking.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1

        Kim Dotcom was spot on when he said Key was just a puppet.

        I’ve been saying that since before this government was elected. It was obvious watching John Key squirm when his desire to lower wages was published, from his lies about the number of shares he had and most especially when he tried to hide the fact that he’d had a meeting with Lord Ashcroft. What he said then was that it was in his diary and that he’s was just doing what was scheduled. John Key is a Yes man and only ever does what he’s told.

        The question we need answered is: Who’s telling him and, by extension National, what to do?

        • Paul 9.1.1.1

          Who is he speaking to at the TPP meetings? Remember Key and Groser are slavish supporters of this fee trade agreement. Indeed they are evangelists to other countries in the Pacific.There are 600 corporations on the inside on the TPP.
          The planned corporate takeover of our energy, prison, health and education programmes.
          G4S, Serco and other such companies would benefit.
          Regrettably we don’t have a 4th estate. They were bought up ages ago.
          As George Carlin, said, “you are owned.”
          http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hYIC0eZYEtI&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DhYIC0eZYEtI

    • Sable 9.2

      You need to ask yourself one simple question, who owns the mainstream media?

    • Colonial Viper 9.3

      In a full blooded democracy, the news media acts as an important check and balance against government. Journalists (and their editors) are supposed to challenge the given narrative, criticise underlying assumptions, check facts, and reveal new information.

      However today, the people in media move in the same socio-economic circles as the people in Government. Instead of constantly challenging the narrative put out by Government and politicians, they simply act as repeaters and reinforcers of the message.

      Far too many journos end up co-opted and employed as part of the PR machinery for a political party or government itself. Sometimes even selected as an MP. These are not career options open to those in the media who make a nuisance of themselves asking awkward questions and making unwanted revelations.

  10. RedBaronCV 10

    NZ Herald also minimised the the Wellington numbers. “More than 500 protesters……in a crowd more than 200m long” simply does not compute . Walking in single file that would mean only 2.5 people every metre hardly enough to hold up any traffic. But if it was 200 metres long, actually it was probably longer, then this is upwards of 5000 people. Misleading?
    Complaint to the Press Council country?

  11. RedBaronCV 11

    And now a couple of other things. Why are we hearing nothing from the Police as to why they want GCSB help?
    Something came to my attention the other day which implies that the police have open access to the Telco telephone numbers database. Otherwise how else would they be able to freely access unlisted numbers. If they can access that then what else can they see going through rtelco records.

    • Sable 11.1

      They have had for years as it happens. I know this for a fact.

      • RedBaronCV 11.1.1

        Thanks Sable , I’ll pass that on. I still find it a bit creepy though, as I imagine they are logging onto to actual Telco systems not using a data dump which would have to be continually refreshed to be up to date. And once you are in a database then usually you can see a lot of related information, call records for instance and payment data, that is attached to this number and the logs of internet activity too …. all without a warrant ….

      • Rhinocrates 11.1.2

        Likewise. Someone I won’t name has had her ex-husband stalk her through police resources.

        If anyone says that “according to the law” someone won’t abuse their power, I’ll reply, if the power exists, it will be abused – and it has been already.

        • Colonial Viper 11.1.2.1

          And as a for instance:

          The North Shore officer has kept his job despite giving confidential information to his partner, who was in a custody battle with her ex-husband over their young son at the time.

          The former husband discovered the leak when he found private details in an affidavit his ex-wife filed with the Family Court.

          The man, who asked not to be named to protect his son, does not have a criminal record.

          The Office of the Privacy Commissioner ruled the police breached two principles of the Privacy Act.

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10795461

    • Wayne 11.2

      Logically the police have to know the Telco number database. How else could they apply for surveillance warrants when they have prima facie ground that a crime is being committed. They have to be able to give numbers in the warrant.

      Having the database does not mean the Police can listen in to everyones conversations, to do that they have to get a warrant, which is a judicial process.

      • RedBaronCV 11.2.1

        I’m not saying that they are listening into conversations Wayne. I am saying they can access presumably all the data that can be seen when someone logs onto their account plus call logs of whom they have phoned and what internet sites they have accessed. Metadata. Nor should they be able to get numbers before getting a warrant. If they are applying ofr a warrant then they need grounds surrounding the application relating to a person. Then they should go to the telco for the phone number that the person pays for otherwise the warrant just validates what the police have already done illegally.

        However, I assume I have touched a large right wing nerve here.

      • Colonial Viper 11.2.2

        Don’t underestimate the invasive power of metadata, Wayne. The US government took all the metadata relating to over 20 Associated Press phone lines. Without even considering content, this had an immediate chilling effect on press freedoms in the US, as well as suppressing whistleblower/news source activity.

      • Murray Olsen 11.2.3

        Rubbish, Wayne. The application for the warrant could ask for access to phones used by the suspects, with the numbers to be divulged by the telephone company under warrant. The police do not need access at all. Warrants often have catch all clauses in them anyway. Have you ever seen one? I have, even though asking to see one is often likely to result in a punch in the head or a kick in the bollocks from an over zealous detective.

  12. Rogue Trooper 12

    “weaken the military, economic or political strength of a nation…by undermining the morale, loyalty or reliability of it’s citizens”- decades of typical US / UK influenced New Zealand political behaviour has been subverting the nation just fine.
    The diplomatic (trade and defense) pressures upon who ever the NZ government of the day is must be huge, and likely inevitable.

    • Tautoko Viper 12.1

      “weaken the military, economic or political strength of a nation…by undermining the morale, loyalty or reliability of it’s citizens”-

      Surely constant surveillance would undermine the morale of citizens so should be classified as subversion. How is loyalty defined? By willingness to wave a flag and cheer for Dear leader? My loyalty to my country is very strong but my loyalty to the sock puppet of the USA, John Key is nil. I consider myself to be very reliable and can be relied on to fight this disgusting law.

  13. Veutoviper 13

    I/S at NRT has now put up two posts that are well worth reading exploring the implications of the Jon Stephenson revelations.

    http://www.norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2013/07/a-point-that-needs-making.html

    http://www.norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2013/07/we-can-no-longer-trust-our-armed-forces.html

    The points I/S makes re metadata are also relevant to Wayne’s comment at 11.2 above and CV’s response at 11.2.2.

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    Dealing to Inequality Will Keep Us Safer than Mass Surveillance

    We are not criminals and we don’t need this kind of mass surveillance. It will not make New Zealand a safer place or a better place to live. What It will do is destroy our quality of life by creating a level of paranoia that makes us edgy and afraid, when there is no reason to be.

    • UglyTruth 14.1

      The reason for the surveillance goes back to the Truman era at the end of the second world war, along with the creation of the NSA and the UKUSA agreement.

  15. Woof! 15

    Now more than ever we need a space -whether facebook or an email list for journalists and others to be able to whistleblow and share info on different topics – from shenanigans around sales of property, abuses of the RMA, surveillance, GE through the backdoor, lack of monitoring of crops, mining, industry, fraud, add your concern here __________ .

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    Problems at the financially-strapped Southern District Health Board appear to stretch to its HR department with information obtained by Labour showing it still records staff leave entitlements using manual book-keeping methods. “The Board’s draft 10-year plan document forecasts a cumulative… ...
    4 hours ago
  • Teachers turn backs on new professional body
      The fact that just 56 per cent of nominations for the Education Council came from registered teachers shows the profession has turned its back on Hekia Parata’s new professional body, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Answers to written… ...
    4 hours ago
  • No spade work done on big building plan
      Only a quarter of the 500 hectares of Crown land the Government wants to use for new homes is understood to be suitable for building on, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This was National’s bold new idea to… ...
    5 hours ago
  • National: Seven KiwiSaver cuts in seven years
    National’s campaign of KiwiSaver cuts has reached seven in seven years as it dismantles KiwiSaver block by block, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “KiwiSaver is critical to establishing a savings culture in New Zealand but National has taken a jenga-style… ...
    5 hours ago
  • Tolley’s actions contradict reassurances
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has serious questions to answer following the forced closure of Relationships Aotearoa just days after her reassurances she was looking at ways to keep the service operating, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.… ...
    8 hours ago
  • SkyCity downsize another broken promise
    The downsized SkyCity Convention Centre does not deliver on the promised iconic world-class centre and shows the true extent of Steven Joyce’s incompetence, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today. “New Zealanders were promised an iconic world-class convention centre that would… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Te Arawa partnership model a step closer
    Councils around New Zealand have an opportunity to improve their consultation with Iwi Māori by following Rotorua District Council’s Te Arawa Partnership Model, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Rotorua District Council will today decide whether to adopt… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Labour mourns Dame Dorothy Fraser
    Labour Leader Andrew Little said the party is today mourning the loss of the youngest person to join the Labour Party, Dame Dorothy Fraser, who went on to be a stalwart of the Dunedin community and tireless worker for others.… ...
    1 day ago
  • The ultimate scapegoat: PM blames fruit fly for new tax
    The Prime Minister has found the ultimate scapegoat for breaking his promise not to introduce a new tax – the Queensland fruit fly, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “John Key’s first policy upon taking office and assigning himself the… ...
    1 day ago
  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    3 days ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    3 days ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    4 days ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    4 days ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    4 days ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    4 days ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    4 days ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    4 days ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    4 days ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    4 days ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    4 days ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    4 days ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    5 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    5 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    5 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    6 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    1 week ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    1 week ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    1 week ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    1 week ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    1 week ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    1 week ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    1 week ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    1 week ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    1 week ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    2 weeks ago

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