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Snowden performed a public service

Written By: - Date published: 10:16 am, January 4th, 2014 - 99 comments
Categories: International, internet, Media, Spying, us politics - Tags: ,

While I was looking for background on the GCSB yesterday, I happened on this AFB article “New York Times backs Snowden in US online spying row

Washington — The influential New York Times hailed fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden as a “whistleblower” on Thursday and threw its weight behind calls for him to be shown clemency.

The editorial was quickly seized upon by activists campaigning to persuade President Barack Obama’s administration to drop its bid to prosecute the former National Security Agency contractor.

And it touched a nerve with Times readers. More than 1,200 left comments on the daily’s website within hours of the item going online, and it soared to the top of its “most viewed” items of the day.

The editorial from the NYT’s  editorial board 1  proved to be interesting and well linked 2 reading.

Seven months ago, the world began to learn the vast scope of the National Security Agency’s reach into the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe, as it collects information about their phone calls, their email messages, their friends and contacts, how they spend their days and where they spend their nights. The public learned in great detail how the agency has exceeded its mandate and abused its authority, prompting outrage at kitchen tables and at the desks of Congress, which may finally begin to limit these practices.
The revelations have already prompted two federal judges to accuse the N.S.A. of violating the Constitution (although a third, unfortunately,found the dragnet surveillance to be legal). A panel appointed by President Obama issued a powerful indictment of the agency’s invasions of privacy and called for a major overhaul of its operations.

All of this is entirely because of information provided to journalists by Edward Snowden….

Those two other judicial probes are referenced further down in the editorial.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rebuked the N.S.A. for repeatedly providing misleading information about its surveillance practices, according to a ruling made public because of the Snowden documents. One of the practices violated the Constitution, according to the chief judge of the court.

A federal district judge ruled earlier this month that the phone-records-collection program probably violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. He called the program “almost Orwellian” and said there was no evidence that it stopped any imminent act of terror.

It is fascinating looking at the extent of the NSA’s activities, which clearly extend far beyond anything that is known in public about the powers they have been issued with.

One of the standard attacks on Snowden has been that he had other avenues to blow the whistle on these activities. Turns out this was not the case.

The president said in August that Mr. Snowden should come home to face those charges in court and suggested that if Mr. Snowden had wanted to avoid criminal charges he could have simply told his superiors about the abuses, acting, in other words, as a whistle-blower.

“If the concern was that somehow this was the only way to get this information out to the public, I signed an executive order well before Mr. Snowden leaked this information that provided whistle-blower protection to the intelligence community for the first time,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference. “So there were other avenues available for somebody whose conscience was stirred and thought that they needed to question government actions.”

In fact, that executive order did not apply to contractors, only to intelligence employees, rendering its protections useless to Mr. Snowden. More important, Mr. Snowden told The Washington Post earlier this month that he did report his misgivings to two superiors at the agency, showing them the volume of data collected by the N.S.A., and that they took no action. (The N.S.A. says there is no evidence of this.) That’s almost certainly because the agency and its leaders don’t consider these collection programs to be an abuse and would never have acted on Mr. Snowden’s concerns.

In retrospect, Mr. Snowden was clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not.

Indeed.

I must have a look at our local whistle blower legislation to see if the same contractor hole exists here. Anyone know?

 

  1. That the NYT publishes who writes / signs off on the editorials is a welcome contrast to the anonymity of newspapers like the NZ Herald. Look at this one today.
  2. What is it with newspapers? You can understand why newsprint can’t have links. But probably these days there are far more people reading online versions of every article. It is a welcome contrast to online newspapers like the NZ Herald when you see the NYT’s meticulous links in their editorial. 

99 comments on “Snowden performed a public service”

  1. Morrissey 1

    Snowden, Manning and Assange are all heroes, and all need to be released immediately.

    In a sane world, a law-abiding world, the politicians whose crimes they have exposed would be facing war crimes charges.

    • QoT 1.1

      Sigh. I’m not going to have the Assange argument again, but I will point out that he’s not imprisoned, he’s choosing to hide out in an Ecuadorian embassy.

      • Morrissey 1.1.1

        Sigh. I’m not going to have the Assange argument again…
        “Again”? You did not engage in an argument about him in the first place. All you did was to repeat the bizarre concoctions of a couple of not so ingenious fantasists in the Swedish police, who were helping out the embarrassed but vengeful U.K. and U.S. regimes.

        I note too that your defiant reiteration of the fantastical claims against Assange continued even after it had been pointed out to you that Swedish women’s groups, including Rape Crisis, had rejected the charges against Assange. They recognized a crude political set-up, straight out of the Soviet playbook, even if people like you perversely continue to refuse to face facts.

        …I will point out that he’s not imprisoned, he’s choosing to hide out in an Ecuadorian embassy.
        Similarly, using your logic, this guy was not imprisoned. He chose to hide out in an American embassy….
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-17877005

        And this guy was not imprisoned either. He chose to hide out in an American embassy….
        http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/5/9/1304949615150/Ai-Weiwei-001.jpg

        As for this guy: I wonder what you would have done if some vengeful right wing fanatics had worked with New Zealand’s secret services to concoct a sex scandal around him like happened to Julian Assange….
        http://cdn.3news.co.nz/3news/AM/0-Articles/156662/ahmedzaoui_320.jpg?width=370

        My bet is that you would have behaved in exactly the same way you behaved toward Julian Assange.

        • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1

          :roll:

        • The March Hare 1.1.1.2

          Sigh. Morrissey trots out the same tired old zombie arguments perpetuated by Assange and hus supporters. These arguments are entirely deconstructed, one by one, in a more convincing manner than I can ever hope to achieve, in the following article:

          http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/david-allen-green/2012/08/legal-myths-about-assange-extradition

          • Morrissey 1.1.1.2.1

            Four points, my bewildered Staggers-reading amigo…..

            1.) It’s invariably a bad sign when someone begins a speech with a world-weary sigh. It’s an expression of defeat, an admission one has nothing to contribute. How much worse it is, then, when someone actually uses the word “Sigh” to begin a WRITTEN piece. You have, foolishly, conceded that you don’t have the wherewithal to argue your case in this debate.

            2.) David Allen Green’s contemptible little attack-piece, which could have been written by Alistair Campbell himself, is firmly refuted in the Comments section. British readers are clearly more discerning than you are.

            3.) Why they (i.e. political functionaries and crawlers like David Allen Green) want to destroy Julian Assange….
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0

            4.) And finally, you—in fact every flunkey and amateur apparatchik—would do well to ponder this…..

            “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”—George Orwell

            • The March Hare 1.1.1.2.1.1

              Morrisey – is that *really* the best that you can provide as a response?

              Your first point is based on the assumption that anyone who starts their response by ‘sigh’ doesn’t know what they are talking about. This assumption is not underpinned by any evidence or logic.

              Your second point is simply a statement of opinion (yours) that again lacks any coherent argument or reasoning.

              Your third point is irrelevant. The worthy work of Wikileaks in releasing that video has nothing to do with the allegations of rape against Assange. It is disingenuous of Assange and his supporters to conflate the two.

              And the fourth point is simply an Orwellian quote that can be applied just as well to your position on this issue as to mine.

    • Te Reo Putake 1.2

      Only Manning can be ‘released’, Moz. Snowden has temporary asylum in Russia and the rapey one is hiding out in London, too scared to face up to a judicial critiquing of his own alleged crimes.

      Btw, what politician’s crimes have they exposed? I thought all 3 exposed the behaviour of the military, big business and the spy agencies, but I can’t recall any pollies shown to have engaged in proven criminal behaviour.

      Any examples I may have missed?

      • enjoy every sandwich 1.2.1

        ‘the rapey one…’

        geez I pity any person that has you on the jury.

        • Morrissey 1.2.1.1

          Pity the Labour Party: you can be sure he unleashes such foul personal attacks against people on the “wrong” side of any issue….
          http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-04082013/#comment-674390

          • Te Reo Putake 1.2.1.1.1

            Cite? You’ve made this absurd claim several times, Moz, without evidence. Because I regularly embarrass you with facts and common sense doesn’t entitle you to defame me.

            ps, still waiting for you to back up your claim about pollies. Not holding my breath, coz you’re not big on the truthiness, are you?

            • Morrissey 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Cite?
              I urge any Standardisti with a strong constitution to click on Te Reo’s name and scroll through his posts. Standardisti may like to take a pencil and note down every time where, instead of respectfully disagreeing, our friend accuses an opponent—not only this writer, i.e. moi—of “making shit up” as well as any number of other demeaning strategies.

              You’ve made this absurd claim several times, Moz, without evidence.
              The evidence, sadly for you, is no further away than a quick Boolean exercise.

              Because I regularly embarrass you with facts and common sense…
              Hmmmm…. What do we think about the reliability of THAT statement, Shaq?
              http://bigtonysfantasyleague.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/shaquille-oneal-yeah-right-face.jpg?w=368

              …doesn’t entitle you to defame me.
              Oh, the irony! As the late great Geoff Sinclair would have howled: Oh my giddy aunt! Next up, we’re going to have QoT railing against the use of foul language and Tequila-guzzling….

              • Te Reo Putake

                So no evidence to back up your claim? Oh, dear.

                • Morrissey

                  You’re floundering, my friend. I provided people with the means to check up for themselves just how craven and brutally personal your behaviour towards others has been on occasion—-and, sadly, quite clearly continues to be.

                  I cited two examples—your mindless repetition of the “making shit up” insult and (more damaging to your reputation) your willful reiteration of official lies and fantasies intended to destroy journalists, whistle-blowers and political dissenters.

                  You really do have no comeback, of course, so I expect to see many more of your ridiculous, desperate “no evidence” claims.

                  • Te Reo Putake

                    Yeah, so no evidence at all. Perhaps you’re still half asleep?

                    • Morrissey

                      Yeah, so no evidence at all.
                      As I pointed out just two minutes ago: You really do have no comeback, of course, so I expect to see many more of your ridiculous, desperate “no evidence” claims.

                      Perhaps you’re still half asleep?
                      Ha! And what if I were? That would make your performance look even worse, surely.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      How quickly the dim-witted forget:

                      http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mik-27122013/#comment-749972

                      ps, the names of the politicians you claim to have been exposed as criminals? Thx!

                    • Morrissey

                      Te Reo, that was an error on my part, which made me look kinda silly. I’m the first to admit I made foolish error, due no doubt to my expecting that particular reporter to have said something as hypocritical as I had imagined I heard him say.

                      I made a mistake: who hasn’t?

                      What YOU are up to, on the other hand, is something of a different order altogether. Your perverse insistence on continuing to repeat those spurious, discredited fantasies concocted by the Swedish Public Fantasist, Ms Ny, is not the result of a foolish eagerness to presume the worst—as my gaffe was. Whatever motivates you, and a few others on this otherwise excellent forum, to consciously, deliberately, flagrantly repeat this official black propaganda, it is not simple carelessness.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      And the names of the politicians are?

      • Morrissey 1.2.2

        “…the rapey one…”

        That obscene little slur says everything we need to know about your integrity.

        That moniker of “Squealer” has never seemed more apposite.

      • Yoza 1.2.3

        More ‘whistle-blowers’ have been prosecuted under the Obama regime in the US than at any other time in that nation’s history. Across the West, regardless of which band of crooks control the Treasury benches, there has been a determined effort to criminalise dissent.

        The New Zealand Labour party going after the democratically elected politician Ahmed Zaoui and overseeing the deeply racist paramilitary assault against Tuhoe during the raid on Ruatoki are a couple of domestic examples of the criminal behaviour of politicians. If a politician is in power and the departments over which they have oversight behave reprehensibly, then those politicians need to be held to account.

        • Te Reo Putake 1.2.3.1

          Except neither of your NZLP examples show criminal behaviour by politicians, Yosa. I suspect the same will be true of the Mother Jones article. No laws were broken, which is the real problem.

    • Bill 1.3

      Jeezuz fucking wept. Another thread trashed.

      • lprent 1.3.1

        I’d move them to open mike. However I am sitting in the sun at arrowtown. Doing that on a small tablet via cell isn’t a good idea.

        • Bill 1.3.1.1

          Yeah…last time I tried moving threads, hmm….not good results. I notice RL’s around ;-)

      • Morrissey 1.3.2

        Bill, are you criticising ME for responding to the provocations of someone who used the insult “the rapey one” to attack the reputation of a political dissident? Elsewhere on this column, someone has posted a funny-face in an ill-advised attempt to derail the discussion: maybe you were thinking of him.

        Please clarify who exactly you are having a go at.

        [RL: Any further diversionary comments along this line, from anyone, will be moved to Open Mike. The topic is Snowden and whistle-blowers in general, not just Assagne and his peculiar case.]

  2. tricledrown 2

    Trp
    What about the murdery ones they have exposed.
    And the coveryuppy ones that are not bringing the murdery ones to justice.
    But locking up the truthy whistley blowy ones.
    The Hawaiikey liarkey one? will be pleased with your efforts.

  3. tricledrown 3

    Booze Allen the socold contractor is the CIA.
    They have long links with the National Party.
    No Doubt Key will be getting breifed on how to use every dirty trick in the book from Booze Allen contractors in Hawaiikey the very office Snowden was contracted to.

  4. Bill 4

    Question I have is that amnesty is granted to people who have done some wrong ie, something criminal. What crime has Snowdon committed?

    edit – yes, I hear accusations of treason and espionage … but they are just kinda thrown out there with no examples or arguments of why ‘spilling the beans’ on agencies involved in (among other things) espionage constitutes either of those things.

    • Morrissey 4.1

      What crime has Assange committed? What crime has Manning committed?

      • Bill 4.1.1

        yeah Morrissey…I don’t believe Assange should be forced into holing up in embassies and I reckon Manning should be rewarded by society instead of being punished. But since the post is about Snowdon…

        • Morrissey 4.1.1.1

          Snowdon is the “good” one, is he? You can’t see a connection between the three of them?

          The U.S. and U.K. governments, who want to silence all three of them, certainly do. And so does everybody else. How can you possibly talk about Snowdon, and not talk about Assange and Manning?

          • Bill 4.1.1.1.1

            Did you actually read my comment before replying?

            • Morrissey 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes, Bill, I appreciate your point. But I am concerned at this recent move to separate Snowden off as the “acceptable” whistle-blower, while deliberately ignoring Chelsea Manning (currently condemned to a life sentence) and Julian Assange (forced into taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy—the modern equivalent of what Paris and London USED to be).

              I am sure that Edward Snowden, who acknowledges the great example of both Manning and Assange, would be concerned to learn that attempts are being made to portray him as qualitatively different to his two fellow dissenters.

        • Yoza 4.1.1.2

          I thought it was about the criminalising of dissent, of which Snowdon is but one example.

      • Te Reo Putake 4.1.2

        Assange is accused of rape. Manning plead guilty to ten charges related to espionage and was found guilty of a further 17 offences.

        • Morrissey 4.1.2.1

          Squealer. Reliable as ever…..

        • Bill 4.1.2.2

          I know what Assange is accused of TRP. And I know Manning plead guilty to some stuff….not that pleading guilty and actually being guilty are necessarily the same thing.

          But I won’t be engaging with you if, as I suspect, this is about to be another tedious example of your pointless jousting style of discussion/debate. Just saying.

    • Te Reo Putake 4.2

      He’s charged with espionage and the theft of Government property, Bill. On the face of it, he’s guilty, though, as the article suggests, he’s more of a whistleblower than a spy and the crimes were committed in the public good.

      • Bill 4.2.1

        He’s been formally charged in his absence, or when you say ‘charged’ do you mean accused? Because if he’s been formally charged, then surely there exists some argument centered on specifics out there, no?

        • Te Reo Putake 4.2.1.1

          Charged in absentia, Bill. There’s probably a formal state department document on the net somewhere, but this is how the Guardian reported it last year:

          http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/22/us-charging-edward-snowden-with-espionage

          edit: More here: http://jurist.org/forum/2013/07/tung-yin-edward-snowden.php

          • Bill 4.2.1.1.1

            Those charges were within a matter of hours (maybe a day or three). And seeing as how the NSA still doesn’t know what info he has, it kind of stretches credibility a bit to view them as anything other than a ‘catch-all’ they were hoping to justify retrospectively…and done primarily to smooth his extradition from Hong Kong.

            My question remains. See, if they had specific shit to build a case on or justify their stance, it would be out here and in our faces. They have a need to win over public opinion. And since they failed in previous attempts at character assassination (the idiotic attempt to portray him as a nutter on the back of a couple of chat logs)…and since he, unlike Assange, has been smart enough to make sure the leaks and not he are front stage and center, and smart enough to make sure he had a more free space than an embassy in the country of a US ally to live in…

          • Bill 4.2.1.1.2

            missed your edit. From the second link

            Section 793(d) states in relevant part

            …the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation…

            Well, that obviously doesn’t count.

            And Section 798(a)(3) makes reference to a fine being imposed as possible punishment if classified info is passed to a third party.

            So….chase somebody around the world ….take the extra-ordinary move of grounding the Presidential plane of a foreign nation…arrest and harangue the partner of a journalist… plus whatever else is going on under the radar…because someone committed a fineable offence?!!!

            • Te Reo Putake 4.2.1.1.2.1

              I saw in a couple of places that it was a sealed indictment. I’m assuming that the Gov’t don’t want it known whether the charges could lead to death penalty verdicts, which would complicate the extradition process.

              Regarding the legality, I’m not sure if Snowden is actually trying to defend his actions on the grounds that were not criminal per se. More that his motivation minimised his criminal liability. Similar to the attitude of those who stopped the Boks game in Hamilton, I think. Yes, it was breaking the law, but it needed to be done.

  5. greywarbler 5

    I think the moderator would be justified to do the Siberia thing. Send someone/s to Russia to be with Snowden on an indeterminate stay, out of sight, out of contention. Just a passing thought of no importance.

  6. joe90 6

    The sourcing in this article has me doubting the veracity of the claims made but if only half of what’s being insinuated is true I doubt there’ll be much in the way of clemency for Mr Snowden.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/03/snowden-lied-about-china-contacts.html

    • Morrissey 6.1

      Joe, you could not have chosen a more Obama-friendly, biased, partisan source than the Democratic Party rag The Daily Beast to find a piece denouncing an official enemy. A couple of generations ago, confused people were citing Pravda in the same manner, doubting the veracity of its claims, but feeling bound to give them the benefit of the doubt, just as you have done here. The same thing went on in apartheid South Africa, Mao’s China, and in Stalinist regimes like Czechoslovakia.

      At least you have the gumption and the wit to acknowledge that the veracity of that attack piece is highly questionable; but I’m concerned that you are prepared to give it any credence with your “if only half of what’s been insinuated is true” comment. That’s a good example of the Soviet/Red China/Te Reo Putake theory that if you fling enough mud some of it will stick. I urge you to reconsider your (admittedly half-hearted) semi-endorsement of that crude piece of black politics masquerading as an article.

      By the way: for connoisseurs of hypocrisy and irony, here’s another hilarious piece from the Beast, with especially disgusting bits of hypocrisy and irony in bold type….

      With a touching, handwritten letter, President Obama paid tribute to the power of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address on the speech’s 150th anniversary. In the note, posted online, Obama writes that he sometimes walks to Lincoln’s office late at night in the White House to look at the original copy. He ruminated on the lines “a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” and wrote: “Lincoln’s words give us confidence that whatever trials await us, this nation and the freedom we cherish can, and shall, prevail.”

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2013/11/19/obama-pens-gettysburg-tribute.html

  7. Morrissey 7

    Here’s Glenn Greenwald again. This time he’s schooling the bewildered former Bush aide Ari Fleischer (he’s the one who shakes his head toward the end of the clip) and Anderson Cooper (he’s the one trying really hard to look serious and intelligent)….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNjulveDqsk

  8. One Anonymous Knucklehead 8

    Snowden performed a public service.

    That may be so – personally I think it’s true – but “If a secret piece of news is divulged by a spy before the time is ripe, he must be put to death together with the man to whom the secret was told.”

    Snowden chose his profession and cannot expect any other treatment, but it begs the question: on whom is the war being waged and to what end?

    • Polish Pride 8.1

      “If a secret piece of news is divulged by a spy before the time is ripe, he must be put to death together with the man to whom the secret was told.”

      The question you need to ask yourself is ….Is this the kind of world you want to live in..

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 8.1.1

        Clearly, since I quote something, I approve of its content without qualification. On Planet Polish Pride.

        • Polish Pride 8.1.1.1

          not saying you approve. It is a question everyone should ask themselves.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 8.1.1.1.1

            I want to live in a world where people don’t proffer inanities. Thanks: another desire unsatisfied. I think I’ll become a Stoic.

            • lprent 8.1.1.1.1.1

              You could even extend the idea from the Greek concept to the more modern one of

              a person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining.

              Just try to avoid the path of becoming a flagalent. Or a Vulcan (those 7 year mating rituals sound like a real itch)

            • Polish Pride 8.1.1.1.1.2

              Really and pray tell exactly what are you doing about it or is having a whinge on a blog enough for you.

              See the thing is knucklehead – its easy to misconstrue intent with the written word and when it happens there’s no need to be a dick about it. There’s enough negativity in the world as it is.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                Enough negativity, but as yet no indication that you understand my original comment, let alone the question it poses. On whom is the war (Hence the quote from Tzun Tsu) being waged and to what end?

                Snowden got into bed with these crooks. Clearly, mechanised mass murder wasn’t enough to make him question his position, but wiretaps on American citizens? Beyond the pale!

  9. SPC 9

    Whistleblowers are an embarrassment to someone.

    The argument against government conspiracy theories was that if they were true we would know because they could not keep anything secret.

    Now we know that a number of American companies knew they were spying on us through them and they did not tell us either. The entire system – the security institutions, the legislature and the executive and all those corporates kept this massive illegal surveillance secret.

    Microsoft’s willing involvement the most credible – it explains why the anti-trust legal action against them in the late 90’s was killed off by Bush when he became President. They were so willing to be of service to the US government – they designed backdoors for the spooks to use.

    Now all the ruling classes seek is to make a show of trimming some of the excess to suggest they have listened to public opinion and then take that as consent to continue (with how much we do not know as well).

    And if what Snowden claims about how much there is yet to reveal – as if this is a beginners primer to the real depth of it all … .

    They will trace locations via cell phones, they have your digital DL or passport on record and they can use it to identify you when you are in public places, they can “bug” keyboard to screen interface.

    How do you communicate to organise political protest? This is regime security.

  10. CC 10

    On the topic of Edward Snowden, did Auckland and Christchurch International Airports have anyone waiting for him on the 3rd as part of the world-wide protest? (Refer to item on ‘The Liberal Agenda’ on TDB). He didn’t arrive at Wellington but had a pick-up waiting if he had done.

  11. Yoza 11

    Great interview Morrissey, Glenn Greenwald is brilliant in these kinds of interviews, especially when up against courtiers like Fleischer.

    Chomsky repeatedly makes the point that from the perspective of the state the real enemy is the general public. All ‘good’ politicians – whether Democrat, Republican, National or Labour – and senior public servants inherently understand the greatest threat to their positions of authority and status come from the aspirations of the general population. The ‘war on terror’ is a pretext the authorities cite to ratchet up their control over people generally. Snowdon’s great crime is warning the public of the reprehensible activity of unaccountable little despots. This is always a form of treason in the eyes of the state; one of its agents siding against them with the hated enemy – the general public!

    • Anne 11.1

      George Orwell’s “1984” Yoza?

      An interesting interview on Radio NZ recently:

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/2580163

      It covers a proposed “Amnesty” deal with Snowden provided he stops leaking official material. The NSA official spearheading the deal is one, Richard Leggett who, in due course, is in line to take over from the current NSA head… who is adamantly opposed to any deal with Edward Snowden. Oh dear, wheels within wheels.

      What the interview does suggest to me is that the USA Security Services are wetting their collective pants about what may be about to be revealed by Snowden.

      And talking of USA Security Services:

      Given John Key’s business background in the USA and the well known close ties between big business and the CIA… does it not seem reasonable to assume John Key has had “close ties” with the CIA since probably before he became NZ’s prime minister? Indeed I suspect they had a hand in getting him elected as PM in the first place. We know American money was involved in National’s 2008 victory (and probably 2011) and as a member of the Five Eyes network, it would be convenient to install someone who was essentially working for the USA rather than NZ.

      If so, there was just one hiccup. I bet they didn’t bank on Helen Clark getting a top position in the UN and likely to end up Secretary General when Ban Ki-Moon’s term expires.

      Tit for Tat Uncle Sam!

      • McFlock 11.1.1

        What the interview does suggest to me is that the USA Security Services are wetting their collective pants about what may be about to be revealed by Snowden.

        I suspect that by now they have a pretty good handle on how much and what data he compromised. While it’s possible that he has the file on who killed jfk, I suspect it’s more just concern at the aggregate quanitity of data that remains to be published. And he might actually have some folk within the hierarchy who agree with him, of course – as you say “wheels within wheels”.

      • RedbaronCV 11.1.2

        Which is one good reason for electoral donations to be public so foreign countries cannot buy our politicians and elections.

        • Anne 11.1.2.1

          Which is one good reason why National (and Key) will fight tooth and nail to stop full donation disclosures through political trusts and off-shore financial laundering institutions.

          Mr Snowden…. cooeee…. are you there.

  12. Philj 12

    Xox
    Imagine if Snowden
    exposed USA with
    Twin Towers revelations!

  13. Chooky 13

    “A panel appointed by President Obama issued a powerful indictment of the agency’s invasions of privacy and called for a major overhaul of its operations.”

    Question is: ….if it is not Obama or the CIA in charge of the NSA….who and what is?…is the USA even in charge of the NSA?

    …and why have they been able to get away with doing what they have been doing for so long and so comprehensively?

    …maybe Snowden was directed by the CIA to spring the NSA?

    ( more on this please….)

    • Anne 13.1

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Agency

      I think it originally came under the auspices of the US Military – the US Navy to be precise. I may have that wrong.

      Unlike the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), both of which specialize primarily in foreign human espionage, the NSA has no authority to conduct human-source intelligence gathering, although it is often portrayed so in popular culture. Instead, the NSA is entrusted with coordination and deconfliction of SIGINT components of otherwise non-SIGINT government organizations, which are prevented by law from engaging in such activities without the approval of the NSA via the Defense Secretary

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 13.2

      Bankers who knew about the impending GFC felt powerless to stop selling dodgy credit derivatives because they knew they’d simply be replaced. Bank CEOs rarely understand the complex financial instruments their employees create (cf. Eisman’s “Could you explain that again in English?”).

      Our forestry companies kill their employees.

      As with the NSA, what’s missing is genuine regulation and oversight.

  14. Chooky 14

    thanks Anne…yes that is what it says…but (maybe my spy novel imagination is running away with me) what is the NSA really?….who really controls it? ( at the moment it seems as if it has got away on the USA govt)

    • Anne 14.1

      …it seems as if it has got away on the USA govt

      That is how it looks to me too. That is why I am sure there are former colleagues of Snowden (I use the word colleagues in the loosest of terms) who will agree with him. It seems to me that the NSA has devolved into a huge powerful agency that has largely taken control of it’s own destiny.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 14.1.1

        I think you have too much faith in people’s ability to “control”. If the NSA is plotting its own course, it is almost certainly heading straight for some rocks.

  15. Chooky 15

    “Snowden performed a public service”…..I would agree Snowden has done us all a huge public service! ….in fact he is a HERO imo.

    In a December 2013 letter to the people of Brazil, Snowden wrote:

    “There is a huge difference between legal programs, legitimate spying … and these programs of dragnet mass surveillance that put entire populations under an all-seeing eye and save copies forever … These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.”[145]

    “I acted on my belief that the NSA’s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts. Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many.”[299]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden

    • Huginn 15.1

      Thanks Chooky. It definitely bears repeating that:

      ‘These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.’

      The problem that I have is that this is coming at a time of an angry, resentful, withdrawal from political engagement. In uncovering this massive breach of trust by a single agency, Snowden’s revelations are pointing to a much greater erosion of trust between the political class and the general population. They feel that they need to spy on us because they don’t trust us; they don’t trust us because we’ve stopped talking to them; we’ve stopped talking to them because they don’t listen, and we’re angry about that; they’re spying on us because we’re not talking – but they know we’re angry . . . and so on.

      I also can’t help wondering whether this withdrawal from political engagement is related to the way that real power is being shifted outside of the political process eg through the Reserve Bank Act, the TPPA, the re-structuring of local body politics and so on. These cack-handed implementations of the thoughts of James M Buchanan that are so dear to the Neo-Liberal Project.

      When the assumption is that the world is a unified, self-equilibrating structure subject to natural laws, then exceptions will be seen as transgressive aberrations. Which is possibly why there was so little sceptical inquiry into an overblown security agency that seemed to think that it was ok to spy on the entire population of the world, no doubt to positively identify a growing list of transgressive aberrations.

      There’s no room in this picture of the world for the notion of ‘trust’ or the idea that trust in politics has to be built and maintained with people who think differently.

      • Anne 15.1.1

        this is coming at a time of an angry, resentful, withdrawal from political engagement. In uncovering this massive breach of trust by a single agency, Snowden’s revelations are pointing to a much greater erosion of trust between the political class and the general population.

        And that I suspect is precisely why he did it.

        I also can’t help wondering whether this withdrawal from political engagement is related to the way that real power is being shifted outside of the political process eg through the Reserve Bank Act, the TPPA, the re-structuring of local body politics and so on.

        Insightful comments Huggin.

        And I’m going to repeat it again:

        These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.

        And there you have the whole sordid scene in a nutshell.

  16. Jan 16

    As far as I am aware not one of these ‘whistleblowers’ stood to gain personally from their actions, and indeed have all undergone a considerable amount of personal suffering. They have all, as far as I can see, acted for what they believe is the public good, and their actions should surely be perceived as civil disobedience which, Thoreau would argue, we have a moral obligation to carry out:
    “it is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right… Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice”
    or John Stuart Mill’s
    “‎Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

  17. BEATINGTHEBOKS 17

    Governments have always monitored their populations, spies have always been around, the only thing that has changed is now they can do it very easily, thanks to the technological devices that are now indispensible to us. All computers and phones can be used to eavesdrop , they can even see you through your phone camera ( and not just governments).

    It is unrealistic to expect governments to trust you just because you think you are a good person. The reality is a percentage of the population are literally plotting to kill you. The world is not a nice place, freedoms are hard won, thank God NZ is in the middle of nowhere and the only commodity we have worth a damn is grass.

    What about the right of governments to keep the people who voted for them safe, surely that is an idea worth considering.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 17.1

      Governments don’t have rights; they aren’t people. The people who comprise them have the same rights as you and I. This always proves difficult for authoritarians to understand. Here, wear this uniform.

    • Murray Olsen 17.2

      “The reality is a percentage of the population are literally plotting to kill you.”

      I think you should get some help with that paranoia. I find it quite hard to believe that any percentage of the Kiwi population is literally plotting to kill me. I find it even harder to believe that our paying spooks to break our laws and send information to the seppos will help defend me from your imaginary plotters.

      • BEATINGTHEBOKS 17.2.1

        To clarify, Reality is, it is unlikely people are plotting to kill you , you are not of strategic importance, more on this later ( you’d still be dead in a random attack though). An Orwelian type state is not ever going to be a desirable outcome, but the means now exists for it to be accomplished very easily. Nations like Nth Korea are a sad example of what can happen when a nation considers ideology more important than the real needs of its people, state surveillance there is extreme. The consequences of dissent are out of proportion. Nth Korea is no example to be proud of. It is what happens at the extreme ends of the right and left political spectrum. Some of the brainwashed population are happy but most are living in fear and paralysed as to what to do.

        NZ is an extremely safe place to live but it was only 60 years ago when a naked and powerful aggressor threatened our nation, Japan. Two nuclear bombs needed to be dropped to stop their madness and they are a relatively small nation. They got close to NZ and if we had lots of oil we would have been a serious strategic objective of theirs. We were saved by the US interestingly enough. There are other nations out there who would consider Pacific expansion when it suits them, China has a track record here with Tibet and ongoing territorial disputes with neighbouring islands. What if they wanted a nice big farm for fresh milk and lamb ( I know they are trying to buy up farms etc ). Possibly paranoia but it would be unwise in the extreme to bury our head in the sand. Keep an open mind. Wars always have and always will be fought over resources, Iraq Kuwait and Afghanistsan are examples, freedom or democracy were never a concern.

        On a domestic note what do you think Iti and co where doing performing stunts with vehicles and firearms. Playing a grown up version of cops and robbers perhaps, or were they planning serious mischief. Whatever they were up to was not good. I doubt civilians were targets but there were definitely targets, why else would a grown man waste hours playing in the bush, bang bang your’re dead. No I have no proof, but in my opinion something smells fishy here. Note the police raids killed no one, and the cops knew they had weapons ( this would cause a normal individual to panic/ trigger finger), they had been watching films of them pointing guns around for months, that moderates accustions of fascism and paranoia.

        You will never know the danger you were in or how safe you are, thanks to a brave few. It will be interesting to see what our next pm does around this issue, my bet they will stick to the status quo once they get to see the truth.

        • Colonial Viper 17.2.1.1

          What snivelling deference. Fear card played in order to bolster totalitarian surveillance state. Operation 8 raids are an example of a fuck up, not an example to follow. Couldnt even make simple firearms charges stick.

          Those with the most power in the state apparatus need to be the ones most accountable.

          Seen fuck all of that, so far.

          When the state knows every single thing about our activities all the time, but we know nothing of their activities any of the time, the power assymetry willwill be maximal and mean that democracy is over and the pooch will be well and truly screwed.

          We will continue to play a responsible role in empire, but let’s not kid ourselves that its an empire in decline.

  18. Jan 18

    So, BEATINGTHEBOCKS, are you saying that it’s alright because it’s been done before? Wow, that’s some code to live by.
    And as far as I can see, it’s mostly been less about protecting their ‘voters’ (and what about the people who didn’t vote for them – are they fair game?) than protecting their own agendas. What do you suppose the ordinary USA citizens would think if they knew what was being done in their name and to what degree of danger they are consequently being exposed ?

    • BEATINGTHEBOKS 18.1

      NO, In reply it is not okay that every government in the world has a history of spying on its population. My assertion is, the technology exists now to make it very easy to spy ( a simple mechainical reality), and if govts had the means we have now they would have used them.

      To answer the next part; in a democratic country the rights of the private citizen to dissent should always be protected, unless they involve discussions about concealed explosives etc. Now using that word explosives, could unfortunately trigger an automatic response to have the both of us investigated. Sorry, and I hope you have nothing to hide. That is the real problem or strength with mindless technology, it doesn’t care who you are, or who you voted for, it just records the situation.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 18.1.1

        I realise that as an authoritarian you may find some of these concepts difficult, but here goes.

        In a democracy private citizens are the government. The government has no “rights” (because it isn’t a person) to spy on us (otherwise it would just be called “looking”). The enforcement arm of the judiciary, they can apply for a warrant to spy on us under limited circumstances.

        Just trying to bring you up to speed.

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    Greens | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • The Final Fifth: The Last Great Task for Progressive New Zealand.
    MOST OF NEW ZEALAND’S social problems are concentrated among those living at the margins of what is otherwise a relatively wealthy society. Recently released international data on child poverty has exposed an acutely stressed social strata encompassing roughly 20 percent...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Myth Busting Rape Boasters
    In just one week a case that galvanised a nation into discussing rape culture is now being reframed as mischievous teen hi-jinx. One year ago the Roast Busters case came to the attention of the media and the public. This...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Workers rights weakened by new laws – fightback needed
    The government’s changes to the employment laws are designed to weaken workers bargaining power – at both the individual and collective level.   30-day rule The old law required an employer with a collective agreement in place to employ new...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – Where are Labour Candidates on disability?
    For the few people who know me (hello Mum), I am proudly New Zealand’s first Autistic Spectrum Lawyer, as well as being the very bottom Candidate on the Labour Party List. (64 out of 64). Being honoured like this is...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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